The Anti Valentines

For those of you who know me, you will know how this article is going to go.  As Valentines draws closer and closer I can see the glint in my friend’s eyes.  The hopes and dreams they excite of, candlelit dinners, red roses, marks and spencer’s dine in for 2, followed by a piece of jewellery if their very lucky.  For weeks before it’s the advertising, the pre-ordering of roses and booking of tables.  Valentines is there to apparently show couples how in love they are with each and other and how much they can show it, at a price of course.  If you’re single on the other hand, you can forget it.  It’s a night in with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and Bridget Jones (again).

Couples are subjected to a so called whirlwind of romance and flurries of flowers from their partners.  For that one day the social scene stops and all takes a look at couples and who can outdo each other in the romance stakes.  From dinner and a movie to a weekend away in Paris with Girardeau.  A classic valentine’s move is a romantic dinner for two at your favourite restaurant.  I mean I love a romantic meal with my beloved as much as the next person.  I just don’t want to be enjoying it with the whole restaurant enjoying it for all the same reasons.  Everyone eating from the same set menu and drinking the cheap prosecco that they couldn’t shift at Christmas is not what I deem romantic.  I mean you don’t even get a day off of work for it!  You have to spend 8 hours with your boss compiling a spread sheet on the most romantic day of the year.

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The idea of Valentines actually fills me with dread and exaggerated eye rolling, perish the thought.    For the first 3 years of my relationship by boyfriend was so confused thinking it was a trick, that he booked a table for us the first year, (post eye rolling and cringe).  Instead of being a good and gracious girlfriend and accepting the invitation of a free dinner; I swiftly told him to go and unbook the table, as I was not going to be sat in a room of other ‘nauseating’ couples’.  Poor bloke they probably thought he’d been dumped when unbooking said table.  He was left confused and on edge for the remainder of the evening.

Being in a couple on 14th February I try and just dodge the limelight of the whole one up man ship on who has the ‘best’ boyfriend for one night only.  Luckily my boyfriend works away so I shall remain alone on Valentine’s Day.  The only thing I have to look forward to on Valentines is pity looks and people feeling sorry for me.  (Which I’m fine with by the way).

Now there are the uber romantics who choose to get married on Valentine’s Day.  It may sound romantic for some; it’s a day for hearts and flowers.  However having to share your anniversary with the rest of the world kind of loses it individuality for the star crossed lovers in mind.  Never again will you be able to enjoy a meal out on your anniversary, without there being a tirade of Italian waiters in cheap suits trying to romance you with £5 roses.

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As much as I am the Anti-Valentines of February doom, there isn’t anything more exciting and ego pumping than getting a bunch of flowers from a secret admirer.  I can safely say for that year and that year only I embraced Valentines.  Receiving a phone call from my mum to say a bunch of red roses had been delivered to my house, was the single most ego lifting moment of my life.  A stranger delivering roses to my house, he must have been totally in love with me of course.  However I was much younger and much more easily impressed back then.  Turns out it was an ex-boyfriend trying to rekindle my heart.  Needless to say it didn’t work but top marks for effort.

If you want to impress me or any other Anti-Valentine’s Day girls, (because I know there’s more of us out there).  Then don’t follow the crowd and copy the other 6 million men out there.  Book a table sporadically, get us some flowers on a whim and cook dinner for us one day.  Just leave the 14th out of it.

Images reproduced from wrsol.com and shutterstock.com

What Kind of Singleton Are You?

Being single is something we all seem experience at some point in our lives; regardless of how we end up being alone its inevitable for most. But like most things in life being single has its ins and outs, up and downs and miss and preconceptions.

We all know better than anyone else how we are when we’re single and overall it would ultimately come down to how we ended up like that, but nonetheless being the simple humans we are it isn’t very hard to slap a label on it. There are many different types of singletons and we all individually embrace it in our own ways, each to their own and all that, but it generally falls into it into 3 categories.

There is a slight misconception when it comes to leading the single life and it’s understandable… it would appear that being single goes hand in hand with having fun.There are worries that you can only have one or the other, independence or a committed relationship…introducing the YWF.

The Young Wild & Free (YWF) Single

This is pretty much what it says on the tin. People sometimes see relationships as a burden or a sacrifice of any remotely interesting life whatsoever, so when they are single there is an over excessive need to ‘live it up’.  Take the likes of pop star Rihanna; we constantly see outrageous images of her ‘enjoying’ being alone and you wouldn’t be wrong in assuming it was probably the best, unremembered, nights of her life. These are qualities the ‘YWF’ singles tend to have. Life is taken in its stride and every day is Friday *fist pumps*.

But don’t be fooled by the wild nights out, constant picture uploads and ‘OMG! WTF! BEST NIGHT EVER’ captions. It may look fun to an outsider looking in but the reality might display a broken person who is not very accepting of their circumstances at all. It’s all a façade… maybe?

Meanwhile on the other side of the spectrum there are the people who just can’t seem to understand why the heck they are single?? In theory they have it all, looks, money; you name it, but always fall short at the hands of cupids bow and arrow. “What gives?” is a question they are all too familiar with; however there is no actual answer. This type of single carries a slight arrogance to their nature, obviously.  Many of us are guilty of this next point from time to time, but If you find yourself looking on at couples, more times than deemed sane,  and wonder what on earth she/he has that you don’t, that he/she is in a relationship and you aren’t… you are in fact the “Why am I single” person. But not to worry there’s never actually anything wrong with you; you’re apparently just “looking in ALL the wrong places”. ALWAYS.

Last but not least…

The WASP (well-adjusted single person)

The WASP. Possibly the best single person you can come across. They have it all in check. A WASP might be in a relationship and be completely content but can also completely accept when they are not. For them being single does not necessarily mean they are looking. It is the middle point between the previous two which allows them to enjoy being single without blind sighting the future in terms of love and relationship. The best quote for a well-adjusted single person would be ‘when life gives you lemons make lemonade’ and this is exactly what a WASP does. They have the blueprints for nearly everything in their lives; except of course how to stay in the relationship but not everything needs a plan I guess.

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Reasons to be Single!

Ok so summers’ drawing to an end but that doesn’t mean that we need to get our boyfriend heads on and start prowling for long term meat!  There is still so much fun to be had as a single gal in the city (or country).  There are some ideals that being single in the summer and having a boyfriend in the winter might just be the perfect combination for the girl about town.  However as the nights are drawing in there are many reasons why it’s just as fun to keep frolicking with your girls and not the boys!

31-Great-Reasons-to-Live-Single-300x199Sending quality time with your girlfriends.  You can hook up with your girlfriends at any time without having to feel guilty that you haven’t spent enough time with your boyfriend.  Cocktails with Amy on a Tuesday night without having to clear it with homeboy first.

Being able to order 241 cocktails. Being able to take advantage of 241 cocktails with your best girl.  Not having to neck 2 while homeboy sits there with a Becks.

Being able to kiss as many boys or girls as you like!  This has got to be the best reason, right?  Kissing numerous boys has got to be the highlight of being single.  The best thing about just kissing is that you don’t have to feel committed afterwards.  You can be like a teenager again and just spend your nights kissing boys with no judgement.  The best thing is, it’s completely safe and you can’t catch anything!  Ok watch out for those pesky cold sores, they’re hard to see in the dark.

Go on a girlie holiday minus the guilt.  Not having to choose between a holiday with your man and a trip to Italy with the girls.  Something all single gals should do at one point in their lives.  It’s like a rite of passage the girls holiday.  An action packed week with 3 of your best girls, that’s points 1,2 and 3 all rolled into one!  And frolic you shall!

Being able to take that promotion in London.  If you’re lucky enough to be given a job opportunity in a different area of the country you don’t have to either turn it down because your boy wont move, or have to think about anyone else’s needs.  You are free to live where you like!

Free to come and go as you please.  You can stay out till 3 am on a Wednesday night and not have to explain your actions to anyone.  Not having to pretend that you only really had 1 bottle of wine, when really it was 3 and you passed out in the toilets for several hours.

Waking up in your clothes with no judgement.  Girlfriends never judge they help you get undressed and don’t shout at you the next day for how drunk you were the night before.  They hold your hair and they get you chips on the way home.

Not having to watch the Grand Prix.  Or football, or golf or have to pretend to be interested in any of those things.  Instead choosing to watch Friends reruns on comedy central.

Wearing whatever you like.  Not having to worry your boyfriend thinks its too slutty.  Hopefully none of you will be told what to wear but sometimes a disapproving look is all it takes

Getting yourself those Choos.  Not having to wait (and wait, and wait) for someone to buy them for you.  You can stop wishing at Christmas and birthdays and just save up and buy them yourself!  Simples!

Playing Taylor Swift. Brittany, Backstreet Boys, Girls Aloud, PSY

Remember, you are not Bridget Jones.  Get your leather wet looks on and get the mojitos in ladies its 241.

Brush Away Those Singleton Blues

With the sudden dip of temperature causing us to dust the cobwebs from our hats, gloves and scarves, Winter is definitely here! For most people, thoughts turn to the planning of impending significant family occasions and the countdown to Christmas, but for some, the idea of spending the next few months with only the duvet and a hot water bottle for comfort is a terrifying prospect.

Being single is a double edged sword. Depending on your viewpoint, you can either be the tragic ‘Bridget Jones,’ desperately searching for Mr Right, or see it as a choice to mould your future, embracing experiences and opportunities that present themselves, like the ladies in ‘Sex in the City’. Whilst you may inwardly rejoice the fact you are not ‘tied down’, public displays of affection may unearth a tinge of jealously and lack of companionship after a bad day at work can certainly be disheartening. Nevertheless, it seems that with our changing roles and emergence of the ‘independent’ career driven woman, one no longer feels obliged to move from one relationship to another, in fear of being rejected or viewed as a failure.

As Kelly Rowland and Natasha Beddingfield have musically demonstrated, being single is just another adventure, so whilst the cold chills may restrict your social opportunities, one just has to consider other ways to shrug off that snow blanket.

Keep your friends close
Some of the components that solidify your close relationships, such as communication and familiarity, can provide the comfort and reassurance needed after a painful reminder of an ex, or a frustrating day at the hands of work colleagues. Pick up the phone or go for a cocktail with your friend. You might not get the intimacy you crave, but an entertaining evening of laughs, gossip and hugs is a perfect tonic to lift and distract your mood.

Defy the norm
Whilst it is important to appreciate your friends, show willing at family functions and attend the odd work party, try not to limit yourself to one social circle. You may find that most of your social circle will be comprised of people who are already in a relationship, so use your compass to go out and meet other singletons to widen it. The sudden popularity of speed dating, events organised specifically for singles, and the ‘old-fashioned’ online dating sites, has brought more opportunities for singles. With the less enticing weather setting in, one can now chat, flirt and practice their socialising skills at the click of a button, in the comfort of their home. The idea of snatching your soul mate on the internet may be alluring, but nothing replaces the security of human interaction. So if you are thinking of dipping your toes into the virtual world, keep it light hearted, be sceptical and have fun.

Dip your toes
One of the main advantages of being single is that you stand alone when making choices, which means that if there is a particular career or a thrill seeking adventure you want to pursue, this is the best time to do it. Enjoy the things you are happy doing and people will be drawn to your drive and enthusiasm. When you do have your low points, remember that there are so many other people who are in the same situation, but it is what you choose to do with this new found freedom that will either make it momentus or just another painful memory.

Remember the pros
Like a vacation, being single can refresh you and help you gain perspective. It is a time that allows for spontaneity, abolishes compromise and permits you to dip your toes into the unknown. Used productively, it can create meaningful relationships and ensure you get exactly what you want from life. Patience is crucial, but it is important that you do not wait to be rescued from that knight in shining armour. Instead, confidently explore, realise your own potential and your Prince Charming will turn up with that glass slipper when you least expect it.

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies” (Sex in the City)

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Picky, Faulty or Simply Unlucky – Part 1

With Beyonce’s undeniable vocal skill celebrating its benefits, alongside Ne-yo’s sexy tones highlighting the magnetic allure of them, the single woman in 2013 is largely considered as a physically autonomous and mentally powerful female, armed with abundant choices. However, despite glamorous examples of females, such as Kelly Rowland and January Jones, it seems that the once celebratory and supportive consensus, (that is enjoyed by most in their 20’s), gradually fades once individuals reach their thirties. Recent statistics illustrate that one in five women, in Britain, over 35 is single and childless, with numbers suggesting that women are more financially capable if they choose to marry later in life. Nevertheless, the single 30-something is still met with negative attitudes, stigmas and messages ingrained from childhood.

SJP as Carrie Bradshaw

SJP as Carrie Bradshaw

I don’t need a man!

The Pussycat Dolls confidently crooned about their ability to enjoy life without having someone to share it with, but do these lyrics reflect the true feelings of singletons? From a young age, we tend to set the thirties as a benchmark for that perfect job, 2.4 families, amorous relationships and stability. Braced for battle, we enter this decade with an increased sense of self awareness and anticipation, (which if single), appears to be unevenly matched with a suspected shrinking dating pool, increased personal responsibilities and a detachment to our previous social crowd, who have all settled down. Whilst there may not be any malicious intent; the raised eyebrows, shocked expressions and psychological questioning used to ascertain what is wrong with you, can be a little tedious.

Someone press the snooze button!

The antics of the notorious Sex in the City girls, alongside the infamously engaging and humorous journey of Bridget Jones, has provided years of inspiration and seemed to disassociate the assumption that being single later in life, is linked to feelings of loneliness, failure and melancholy.  Highlighting the fun of flirting, rejuvenating those belly butterflies and encouraging females to take more control in being the masters of their own destiny, (whilst the plots focused on finding true love), they gave females the encouragement to experiment and enjoy their status of being single.

Venus vs. Mars

Their effect just scratched the surface. As whilst you can openly drool over the mature eligible bachelors, (who have more time to play the field and enjoy the bachelor life with a prosperous career), in popular magazines, there is a distinct lack of the female equivalent. Instead this is replaced with constant reminders of how loud your body clock is ticking, scrutinising statements, sympathetic suggestions on how to date and offers to match make.

Why are you single?

This question alone can be uncomfortable for some singletons, but in order to dispel the stereotypes, or try to alleviate the pressures on 30-somethings looking for love, it has to be addressed. Everyone seems to have an opinion, so we at City Connect have decided to explore the stereotypes and stigmas that may give rise to the woman whose bad experiences, ambitious streak or personal preferences, prevent her from walking down the aisle!

Single Stunner!

From the outside world, you are extremely aesthetically pleasing! Blessed with amazing genes, never short of male attention and constantly receiving compliments, there is the immediate assumption that there has to be an inherent negative reason as to why you are still single. With a supposed line of dates at your door, you may be considered to be too picky, possess personality defaults, or have unrealistically high standards.  Family members will express their concerns, friends may be tempted to encourage you to settle with the last average date and the daily briefing at work may consist of some dating tips from fellow colleagues.

The truth is…

You have edited your perfect man requirement list and have made a conscious choice to entrust yourself to fate, rather than the pressures of society. You are not one for excuses, but maturity has given you an acute sense of consciousness. You are aware of your worth and would not purchase a wedding dress that you had reservations about simply because it fit you.

Reeling in the wrong fish?

You may have experienced quite a few relationships, but they all seem to come to the same ill-fated end. Friends can compose a physical e-fit of your potential beau and family members are able to list the traits you look for, simply because all your ex’s seem to be the same. You fall fast for the cheeky boy personality and furiously shrug off the composed intellect, preferring a rugged Vin Diesel, to a well groomed Paul Walker. To the outside world, you are your own worst enemy for refusing to open up your pool to other potentials.

The truth is…

You have dated a variety of different men, no longer base your ideal man on his superficial appearance and you are mature enough to understand that whilst men may physically possess similar components, they vary in substance. However, if you find that you are consistently complaining that your ex’s take financial advantage, never have enough time for you, or serially cheat, you may have to reassess your relationships and the part you play in them.

“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” (Sex and the City)

Post Break-Up – Are You Hard or Soft Centred?

The end of a meaningful relationship is one of the hardest things to cope with, as it often leaves us exposed to a Pandora’s box of emotions. Newly single, you are forced to cope with the loss of that special person, as well as the shattered hopes and dreams of your previously planned future together. Advice of how to cope is abundant; from taking the time to invest in yourself and reconnecting with friends, to assessing your options and finding that new lease of life to help fill the void. So, whilst Cheryl Cole chose to inherently focus on her career, other celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Kate Winslett and Kim Kardashian elected to invest in luxurious pampering treats and holidays abroad to help them deal with the heartache.

We all possess unique traits and characteristics, so whilst generic advice will aid the process, every break up will affect each individual in an inimitable way. Most of us accept that the majority of relationships end for a reason, but very few of us recognise the subconscious personal transformations we make as individuals, to help us cope with the hurt and heartache.

Rhianna’s ‘Good Girl Gone Bad!’

The easiest trap to fall into after a break up is to indulge in insalubrious distractions such as excessive drinking or casual sex, in an attempt to regain power, attractiveness and attention. This individual was once naive, trusting and loyal, but her inability to cope with the enormity of her emotions, exploded into a hurricane of excessive behaviour, poor decisions and a general lack of control. She will experiment with her new found freedom, unknowingly hurt others with her blasé demeanour and lose sight of boundaries. She may blame the opposite sex for her misfortunes or ineptitudes and will engage in numerous no-strings-attached encounters to fulfil her sexual needs. Not allowing herself time to heal, she opts for the quick fix and it subconsciously manifests itself into a self destructive pattern of serial dating, unfulfilling nights out and encounters. To the outside world, she is content in living for the day; secretly she is incessantly looking for the next ‘high’ to compensate for the loneliness to her detriment. Guys take heed of Lauryn Hill’s warning in her song ‘Doo Wop’ and watch out.

The Stone Queen

This female is characterised by her strong personality, substantial confidence and commonsensical way of approaching others. The very definition to Destiny’s Child’s ‘Independent woman,’ (she provides for herself and depends on no one), but may approach men with scepticism, generalise on past experience and be quick to make judgements. She enjoys the benefits of the other sex, but her emotional detachment and sometimes unobtainable expectations may make her appear aloof, unapproachable and a little intimidating. Taking a fighting stance when it comes to love, she remains in full control of the emotional wall, (she has subconsciously built), effortlessly brushing off anyone who taps into any of her weaknesses. She may cling onto the past, continuously make comparisons and subconsciously ensure that no one matches up to her idea of her ideal partner.

Often expecting the man to initiate and maintain contact, she finds it hard to be tactile, hides behind a cheeky exterior and will often play hard to get. Sadly, her success at masking her pain and fears may inevitably make her, her own worst enemy and scare of any potential suitors!

The Settler

Ruffled by the sudden change, this female will immediately seek solace in the arms of the first admirer who expresses interest, just to fill the void. Shunning the opportunity to reunite with old friends, meet new acquaintances and date others, she is blinded by the subliminal messages that convince her that she cannot be alone. The split may have caused a sudden lack of confidence and self esteem and she is anxious about the future, so she invests in the next human replacement to place her back into her comfort zone. Not giving herself time to lament over her last relationship, she jumps straight into the deep end, guided only by fear. Fear of solitude, attending functions alone and ultimately scared of being that female that Adele sings about in her song, ‘Someone Like You’! Positive distractions can open a plethora of opportunities and lift the spirit, but without standards, aspirations or purpose, they can have the converse effect. This female’s impatience and lack of self-love may make her prey to undesirables, lead to future destructive relationships and leave her unfulfilled when it comes to love!

Destiny Child’s – ‘Survivor’

Without a doubt, most people would like to fall into this category. This female has mastered the art of simply using past relationships as learning curbs and stepping stones. She takes time to focus on herself, skilfully manages unconstructive emotions and refuses to allow negative past experiences to influence, or shape her future relationships. The break up was particularly hard, but she allowed herself the recovery time needed to dissect her emotions, scrutinize past faults and make new dreams and objectives. Content in living for the day; she holds on to the hope of new love, innovative experiences and enthusiastically embraces the quest to find her soul mate. Cushioned with the support of her friends and family, she works hard and plays hard, but always has time to make eye contact with that cute man at the bar!

Letting someone go to allow for something better can be a timely, yet rewarding process. Whether you choose to build a fortress around your heart, or allow others to trample on your exposed vulnerabilities, can make a significant impact on your development and the next individual you attract. Ideally we may all want to possess the traits of the ‘Survivor,’ however individuality will dictate that most of us won’t. Remember that very few people leave relationships unscathed, but if you take Christina Aguilera’s advice by unleashing the ‘fighter’ in you and ‘trusting the voice within,’ it might make the process a lot easier!

Images reproduced from sgclub.com, ultimate-rihanna.com, weheartit.com, blog.thirdeyehealth.com and poplicks.com

Is it Ever OK to Get Back With an Ex?

We’ve all been there, the love of our lives (or so we think) has trampled over our hearts and shattered our illusions of love.  Everything was going so smoothly until he tells you he’s not ready for a relationship!  You’re left crying into your cosmo wondering what it is you said or did wrong.  But 2 weeks later he’s begging for forgiveness and a free pass to your La Perla twin set.  It’s as if they know as soon as you start to get over them, then that’s their que to call.

But the question is, should you ever take an ex back?  Remember they are an ex for a reason.  If they dumped you then it should really be a flat out no!  But life is never that simple.  There are lots of reasons that getting back with an ex seems like the right thing to do.

taylor-swift-we-are-never-ever-getting-back-together-music-video

You do love him for sure, of course you do.  You want to stop the searing pain that you’re feeling right now, and lying in his arms is the only way to do this.  He knows all your weird and kooky ways.  He’s the only one who knows that you secretly like to watch scrapheap challenge in your onesie.  Its comfortable and its easy, you don’t have to try with an ex.  He knows what you like and you complement each other in the bedroom.  He’s sorry and he’s going to change and you are the only one for him.  Everyone can change right?  And everyone deserves a second chance right?  Wrong.

However as dreamy as this may sound (and it does sound dreamy), remember why you broke up in the first place.  If somebody needs to be reminded that they are in love you, or they need time away from you to realise that they love you.  Then they don’t love you.  They’ve just realised that the grass is not greener, juicer or more bootylicious on the other side.  Its dark and full of traffic light nights in the local.  Getting back with an ex can be fun in the short term.  You have forgiven him and the two of you are like newlyweds again.  Its like the first dates without the nerves and the ‘will we wont we’ anticipation.  However this can be detrimental in the long term.  Wondering if and when he is going to do this again is the biggest worry.  If he suddenly gets cold feet again and after 6 months you’re back in the same position pouring over the same cosmopolitan wondering where you went wrong.

If however you decide to give him a second chance then remember he should get one last chance and one last chance only.  Reasons depending but personally I believe that its only worth getting back with an ex if you’re going to marry them, ideally he should have a ring ready (but that’s another article).  Otherwise there’s always room for another sharp exit perhaps….

If you are unfortunate enough to break up more than once then remember it gives him the green light to do this again as he knows that after a bit of begging and a bit of grovelling he knows that you will always take him back!

Have some respect ladies in the words of Taylor Swift, ‘We are never, ever, getting back together!’