Why Guys and Girls can’t be friends – #ChatsAndRantsWithAFriend:

“#ChatsAndRantsWithAFriend” will be a new feature that I’ll use on my blog, in which various friends of mine and I have when we feel the need to chat and rant to each other.

Friend: I really hate that we don’t appreciate platonic relationships between boys and girls more. Whenever a boy and a girl exchange any form of physical contact, it’s always viewed in a romantic/sexual or potentially romantic/sexual way and I really hate that.

For me personally, it’s made it difficult to be friends with guys because I have this constant thought in my mind, like, if he’s a guy, I need to be aware that he could be a potential romantic or sexual connection for me. And then I lose complete interest in wanting to be around that person.

I wish we normalised friendships between boys and girls more. If it was more normal for boys and girls to be friends then the transition into a relationship, I feel would be so much smoother. If it was normal for all of us to genuinely be around each other as friends without ANY romantic allusions, I think being in a relationship would be a lot less scary.

If you are comfortable with each other in a platonic way, that’s a much stronger foundation than one that is based exclusively on the fact that you’re romantically compatible for when things get tricky and romance isn’t going to pull you out of it.

Again, just because I am someone who isn’t comfortable with romantic relationships with anyone yet, I want male friends. Platonic male friends. Ones that I can be myself with to the same extent I can be myself with my girl friends. I always feel so suffocated by that pressure to be aware of a guy developing feelings that I never want to pursue any kind of comfortable friendship with guys.

It’s not like I have this idea that all men are going to fall for me, because that’s literally not true, but I guess I have it in my head that when it comes to guys, all I’m good for is being a romantic partner, because that’s all we see with boys and girls together.

Patriarchy, Hollywood, whatever, all of it has made it seem so abnormal to be friends with guys with never any intentions to be anything else.

It’s made it hard to be around a guy without always automatically showing off my wife skills, even if I’m not interested in being one for this particular guy, just because I’m so conditioned to feel like communicating with a guy should be done by expressing how good of a partner I’d be for him, and only showing the best, forced, fake version of myself to him.

A version of myself I’m not comfortable with and a version of myself I don’t even like because it isn’t me.

The ability for men and women to be genuine friends would be a big move forward for feminism as well, which does, after all, stand for equality between the genders. Women shouldn’t be feeling like they need to puff out their feathers for a man because that’s all women are good for or because it’s important to impress him because he is a man.

The same goes for men with women.

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There shouldn’t ever be pressure to be a certain way around a certain person just because they are a specific gender. As soon as we project some version of ourselves intended to impress, it’s where we get things wrong. It’s not a game of who is the most objectively ideal person for anyone, it’s really a case of knowing each other on a very platonic and uncomplicated level before adding the complication of romance to it.

Even if everything I’ve just said is complete BS and I’m seeing things totally wildly wrong, I still wish that I personally didn’t feel the way I do around guys.

I want connections with them that are the same as my girl friends you know. I want to be able to bear hug them randomly and normal hug them randomly and put my head on their shoulder randomly without it being a big deal and without stressing about what that particular behaviour means for our friendship or our relationship and if I’m pushing the boundary of friendship too far.

If it’s not something that makes me stress out about my friendships with girls when I behave a certain way, I don’t want it to be something that stresses me out when I behave a certain way with guys.

Me: I love this because this is so true. It is this constant irrational pressure on the boy/girl dynamic that affects everything in how men and women relate to each other.

Friend: Yeah absolutely. It if was more normal for guys and girls to be friends, there’d be so much less mistrust and jealousy between partners because it wouldn’t be weird for your boyfriend to hang around other girls and it wouldn’t he something that would make you suspicious. If romantic connections between boys and girls wasn’t something we automatically expected when boys and girls were together, we’d approach getting into relationships very differently.

But I understand that we are where we are because that’s never how it’s been before; there’s never been a time in human history where potential romantic partners first inclination was to be friends. It’s like a natural instinct to see someone’s romantic/sexual potential as soon as they are the gender you are attracted to.

Which sucks and I kinda think that since we are smarter now than being driven exclusively by instinct it should be something we think about, especially because instinct doesn’t protect you from emotional involvement with someone and it’s a conscious thing you need to be able to be aware of.

Me: It would be cool if life wasn’t so complicated. It would simplify miscommunication and unnecessary drama in relationships that come out of this. It makes me sad that the type of friendships you describe will never get to exist. Those platonic bonds are now at least fictional ideas that we can only hope exists one day.

“#ChatsAndRantsWithFriends” will be a new feature that I’ll use on my blog. I didn’t really have a lot to say in this story because when I initially replied I was busy so my responses were short but also she touched on everything. I just felt very compelled to listen.

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Theo. Over and Out.

Why being called Gentleman offended me…

I have been writing a book on-and-off for the last few years, and it has given me a lot of opportunity to think about how I feel about a variety of matters and learn more about myself.

I won’t go into too many details regarding the story but there was something that I wrote years ago that I stumbled across in my current revisions:

“He is such the well-mannered gentleman,” he said.

I smiled politely.

It actually caught my attention that he described me liked that because it had been something that I’ve heard all too often. It wasn’t that I minded, as I understood that they meant it with care, but it had this connotation, almost like I was too sensitive.

I was sure that he meant it with the good intention but for me it seemed like anytime someone used while I was growing up, they were placating me or child-handling me; like I needed to be sheltered. I was aware that I may have been overanalyzing a polite compliment but…

Basically, going by the above text, it revealed to me this way of thinking that had started permeating within my consciousness, which is that being called gentleman became this thing that had a bad connotation to it.

We live in a world where so many men are growing up under the pressure of “what a real man is” and “men are supposed to be xyz” and often times that creates this limited definition of what a man is, and that if you don’t live up to that expectation or perform masculinity in a certain way then, you are not a man.

For example, if you don’t like sports –you’re not a man.  If you don’t like cars – you are not a man. If you’re not promiscuous – you’re not a man. If you don’t know how to fight – you’re not a man. If you can’t control your partner – you’re not a man. If your wife earns more money than you – you’re not a man. If you cry – you’re not a man.

And the list goes on…

One of the things that started messing with my head was that whenever people would call me a gentleman, they do so in a way that made it feel like less of a compliment and more of “he is such a gentle soul” or “he is so sensitive” and because I grew up with this limited notion of masculinity, it would make me feel like I was weak.

I got to a stage where I thought that being a gentleman was made me less of a man.

Now I’m at the stage where I don’t care about makes me look weak because I’m not here to perform “what a man is supposed to be” for anyone.

I am my own man and sometimes I cry because life is shit, sometimes I want to break shit because I get angry, and instead of bottling my feelings or shutting down, I tend to pour it out onto a page or speak to a friend and it helps me process and deal.

I’m also re-learning that being called a gentleman is not a bad thing.

I was recently referred to as a gentleman by two other men, both queer, in relation to a instance of how I treated someone and I had felt bad for a second, until I realised that they had meant it as compliment.

They had meant it as compliment to the type of person I am. They had given me this compliment when they had previously had no need. They had told me something to build me up and for me to learn that while I’m not perfect or always do the right thing, I have good intentions and try to treat others kindly.

That was in hindsight, a beautiful thing for them to say.

I need to learn that I should just accept the compliment, because that was what it was.

They were telling me that I was being a nice guy and I was doing the courteous thing.

While I am aware that not everyone will always have good intentions, and might mean it as a way to placate others or with ill intentions, there are a large number whom for the most part mean it well, and I need to remember that.

Sometimes we need to learn to accept a compliment, because as jaded as life has made us, there are people who want you to succeed.

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Theo. Over and Out.

Power Rangers – Movie Review

Plot: Five teens unwittingly find themselves tasked with defending the universe when they inadvertently unlock the powers of a spaceship buried for thirty five million years.

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Review:

Go Go Power Rangers! Talk about a Mighty Morphing time had at the movies.
I was fortunate enough to attend the press screening, and I say fortunate because my scheduled so packed that day that it was miracle that I got to the screening.
The new Power Rangers film is better than it had any right to be, and it is such a fun experience.
I was a big fan of the Power Rangers when I was younger and I tried to watch it as often as what I could. Unfortunately I missed out a few seasons, but whenever it was on, I would repeatedly find myself sitting in front of the TV getting caught up in the action, the angst and difficulty in being teenage superheroes.

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The new movie hits on all of those notes, but does so in a modern way.
The new era of Power Rangers aren’t goody two shoes, but rather good-hearted kids who make mistakes and aren’t always perfect. They make mistakes and have challenging home lives or facing challenges that they can’t speak openly about.
By removing the squeaky clean image of what we knew about the Power Rangers, it automatically gave the writers the ability to craft three dimensional characters, and for them to have done that with almost all of the Rangers in such a short time is a massive achievement.

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The film took risks in terms of character portrayals, and plot points, and witnessing that was exciting as a viewer as it gave the film a sense of individuality.
What I really enjoyed about the film is that when the Rangers do come together initially, it’s a coincidence, and felt natural. These are a group of teenagers who have detention together, and forcing them to become friends and bond too soon would have felt ingenuous but instead the movie uses that as a plot point.trinipowerrangers

Also what added to my enjoyment of the film was the use of a diverse cast, which was really something to behold. So many young children will get to see themselves represented as heroes on the screen and that is so exciting.

Not only that, but also children who differ from the norm. I would go into more details here, but I don’t want to reveal anything because part of the fun was discovering it for the first time on the screen without it being spoiled.

Elizabeth Banks was so good as Rita Repulsa, and I will confirm the theory that she was originally the green who then went bad.

This fact is revealed within the first few minutes of the film, and honestly it adds a wonderful dimension to her villain knowing that she used to be one of the good guys.

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POWER RANGERS (2017) Trini the Yellow Ranger (Becky G) and Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks)

Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader were really entertaining as Zordon and Alpha 5 respectfully. While Hader’s character is for comedic effect, Cranston’s character, Zordon, is a little more serious.

His character was originally this wise advice giving computer in the series however in the movie he is far more interesting with a intricate back-story. His motives are not without thought.

One of the reasons the movie is so good is because it knows how silly and outlandish the plot is, and doesn’t try to take itself too serious. The film knows exactly what it is, and in doing so, it allows itself to really play up its cheesy aspects.

The comedy in the film works so well. It really helps the movie not get too bogged down in the seriousness.

The movie isn’t without its flaws – the look of Goldar was seen within the trailer isn’t perfect with the monster that the rangers have to battle being a faceless villain.

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Also the scenes where the rangers are battling Rita’s Putty’s for the first time use a lot of CGI, and my only gripe is that the fighting scenes could have been made to look more practical.

Given that fight scenes in films are evolving and we’re getting better action, it means that we often now judge action scenes while having seen better. While not bad, they could have put in more effort.

If you’ve seen the gritty fan film, then you will also notice a few similarities which aren’t a bad thing. It definitely gives better understanding as to why there were plans for a lawsuit against that film.

The Power Rangers movie knows exactly when to pay homage to its original history with the theme song and catch phrases being used are moments when they can pack the biggest punch, and have those of us who grew up with the Power Rangers geeking out.

The new Power Rangers movie is a definite must see, it is fun, humorous and tells a story worth being seen, especially if you are a fan of the original series.

There is a mid-credits scene which is worth sticking around for, and it definitely sets up the introduction for the sequel, which I hope there will be. This movie is really fun and enjoyable that it deserves a sequel.

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Lionsgate/Summit took the time to properly setup the first film, and with alleged six film movie plan in place, it makes sense. So long as they keep taking risks and pushing the story into new territory without going overboard like the Transformer movie series did, then I’m certainly going to be coming back and repeatedly watch these films.

Theo. Over and Out

“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory”

“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
When’s it gonna get me?
In my sleep? Seven feet ahead of me?
If I see it comin’, do I run or do I let it be?
Is it like a beat without a melody?”

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote these lyrics in his play Hamilton for the song “My Shot”.

He said  the scariest lyric he wrote was “I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory” because it was an extremely vulnerable admission.

Honestly, I understand why…

This isn’t exactly the most exciting subject matter, its quite morose actually. More than that it is also a kind of taboo to speak about death because apparently you’re “calling out” to death.

I don’t know what that is supposed to mean, but from my understanding I’m apparently inviting death into my life?

I don’t think there is such a thing as inviting death into your life, because the fact of the matter is that death is always a part of life.

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We’ve all experienced the death of a loved one and it’s not a easy thing to understand or explain because all we do is learn how to process it and then move on.

The reason why I started this post with that quote was because it is something that I think about often enough too, that it feels like a memory.

Let me just straight out explain that I DO NOT think about killing myself. That is not what I mean.

Despite being nearly 25, I do think about my death often. I’m not sure how it started but it’s become a thing I think of once every few days. It scares me sure, but another part of it is in doing so, I’m growing more aware of the fact that everyone dies, and you can’t predict it.

I wonder if I’ll die young, or die old, die crossing the rode, die in a mugging, be murdered, die in a car accident or from an unexpected medical condition.

I think that thinking about death reminds me that nothing in life is guaranteed and that I’m fortunate to have experienced the things that I have so far. So many people younger than me have died and never got to experience the mess and wonder of life.

I’m very grateful for everything in my life especially because none of it has ever been guaranteed. In some ways its what constantly motivates me too because I want to leave my mark on the world before I die. Having made an impact no matter how small.

I understand the taboo around it, and I’m sure I’ll get the few messages asking if I’m alright because this isn’t something people normally speak about, but i guess I’ve never been much of normal person.

Life has been tough lately, but no more so than usual. I think the thing I’m probably struggling with most is balancing it all, and making time for my mental health.

I’m learning to be more grateful for what live has given me, because so many things could have gone wrong in my life, but i’m so happy to have worked hard and made it as far as I have.

I still have a lot of things I want to achieve in my life – become a published author, find love, build a home, raise children, write, travel and do things in life that occasionally scare me but i’m already grateful about what I have already achieved.

I’d like to believe that I’ve made a positive impact over someone’s life so far, and I hope to continue being one.

There is this phrase from a song that has stuck with me, and it just works: “Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see, que sera sera.”

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Theo. Over and Out.

PS – It’s trippy, scary and interesting when you realize that not just this moment, but every day of your life you’re closer to dying.

Season of Love: Nidha and Adrian

I know Valentines Day and the month of love always gets a bit of a bad rap for being a commercial marketing day to get couples to spend money, but that angle of it aside, I thought it was important to tackle the honesty of romance.

I put up a post asking for people to share their stories of how they met their partner, and this is what they had to say.

This is the last couple in our #SeasonOfLove – Enjoy their story.

Nidha and Adrian

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I could have torn a ligament in my knee. I could have left behind my knee cap. I had pivoted on the balls of my left foot and swung around in my haste to change direction and walk back to a room I had just passed.

It was the smoking room at 47 Sauer Street, Johannesburg I used to frequent. Something caught the corner of my eye as I walked past, intent on poisoning my lungs outside for once, in the fresh air. But a well-groomed head of long hair and a beautiful face made me change direction.

I was curious, and I wanted to see more.

The rubber soles of my shoes caught the dirty tiles and twisted my knee enough to send a sharp pain signal to my brain, saying “Fuuuuck!” My brain sent a signal back saying,“Not now.” I gathered myself and took a few steps.

In that split second of changing direction and nearly putting my knee out and causing long term injury, my life changed forever.

This was The Star building and many cool and incredible people have passed through this room. Legends. Though none were as beautiful as what was sitting in front me when I pushed open the door. Through the floating dance of cigarette smoke, seated at a round table, legs crossed, arms folded – there she was.

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She was a twig of a woman. Skinny, wearing blue jeans and a blue jersey. My gaze lingered on her hair. I confirmed it was a beautiful dark brown with streaks of light brown and blonde. It perched upon her shoulders effortlessly. She held a cigarette in her hand, a little awkwardly. Dunhill Menthol.

I smoked Dunhill Lights, so at that point I figured we were meant to be together.

A match made in heaven. But I played it cool.

I took my seat a few chairs away from her, and looked ahead of me into space, then looking around for something to read. Nothing. I stared at the floor.

Seconds later I felt the need to introduce myself, I don’t know why. Maybe because I had been in the company for a now and felt a sense of duty to break the ice and make a new employee feel comfortable. (Which is complete bullshit. I would never do that under normal circumstances. I would just greet a person and stare into space.) Maybe it was her eyes. They were big and light brown and piercing like they could see through my heart.

We shook hands. I said, “Hi, I’m Adrian.”

“Nidha,” she said under her breath. I didn’t quite hear her name the first time, but I didn’t ask her to clarify. I thought to myself, “Nita? Nina? Shit.”

Her hands were soft and cold. The great handshake lasted all of two seconds. Now what?

I leaned back in my chair as my chest cavity began to beat a little faster. My breathing seemed to lose its rhythm, so I pulled harder at the cigarette. Playing it cool and acting casual is not something I practice. Besides, two colleagues were sitting with us in the same room. This was awkward. There are many awkward silences in smoke rooms and balconies. Smokers are often forced to make idle chit chat with strangers or risk alienation at ashing time and there’s only one ashtray around.

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I stole another glimpse while she leaned forward towards the ashtray.

I asked her which Department she worked for. She mumbled something about News or Subs or something; I wasn’t really paying attention. It didn’t matter. She was in the building and that was good enough. Besides, my brain had stalled on her eyes, and someone had switched the sound off.

Again, this is perfectly acceptable social behaviour. Not creepy at all. People do this all the time. Many people except me.

I was outside my comfort zone. I had just come out of a shitty divorce and wasn’t in the mood for love or anything resembling it. But I was intrigued by “Nita”.

I went back to my desk, and rummaged through the newspaper publishing system we all use. I found a name I didn’t recognize, that could possibly sound like “Nita”. She was designing a news page. Her name was “Nidha Narrandes”.

Now, at this point you’re thinking “stalker” right? Wrong.

I was merely doing research. Facebook wasn’t that popular, so I couldn’t do the usual stalker thing, so the next few weeks consisted of finding excuses to walk past her desk, and “coincidentally” meeting her in the smoke room. I worked a few metres from the smoke room and every time I heard the tick tock of high heels enter the room, chances are it was Nidha. Sometimes I was wrong, and so I tried meeting her for the next round. I smoked a lot back then as a result.

Every time we met we talked a little bit more, learnt a little more about each other, found common interests and similar life experiences. It turned out we lived parallel lives, growing up in Pietermaritzburg, attending the same pre-school, then studying journalism, me at Natal Technikon and Nidha at ML Sultan, just a few blocks away from each other.

When a trip to Cape Town was organised by the two journalism institutions together we would have met for the first time in 1998. But her mum fell seriously ill and so Nidha pulled out at the last minute.ad-nidha-4

A few years later during our early working years Nidha was employed at Independent Newspapers in Durban months after I had left there to start working in Johannesburg. Again we had missed each other until that day in June.

I learnt that Nidha moved to Joburg because of a man she was dating, but got her heart broken in the process. Selfishly and silently, I was pleased about that.

We’d bump in each other on the way home, in the lift, share idle chit chat and say goodbye. We’d buy each other breakfast at work and share lunch. We ate a lot back then. We’d continue to take longer than usual smoke breaks and pass knowing glances when others were around.

We would grow closer and closer with each passing hour and day and week and month. Slowly our conversations became personal. We confided in each other, and let down our guards. We were old enough to know what we didn’t want in a relationship, and what we weren’t willing to compromise on. But at that stage we weren’t sure how much to give. Time solved that puzzle for us, but along the way we gave as much as the other would accept. Everything. We still do.

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Fast forward 10 years, two kids and two cities later and we are that annoying couple on Facebook who puts all their shit out in the open. The syrupy posts about being in love and forever and how much we adore everything about each other. We make others want to hurl, I know. But here’s the thing, we actually mean it, and frankly we don’t care what people think.

We’ve learnt that life is too short to waste your love on the wrong person, and when you find that right person, tell them whole goddamn world about it! We’ve learnt that love needn’t be a struggle. It should be the easiest thing you do, the most natural and the most fulfilling.

Love should make you want to break your knees for it.

Season of Love: The shorties…

I know Valentines Day and the month of love always gets a bit of a bad rap for being a commercial marketing day to get couples to spend money, but that angle of it aside, I thought it was important to tackle the honesty of romance.

I put up a post asking for people to share their stories of how they met their partner, and this is what they had to say.

Yasmine and Dylan:

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So it all started at an anime convention… We met in person for the first time at the convention but we kind of knew about each other because of an anime group chat.

Things didn’t kick off immediately though…

He always teased me in the group about a few things, but when it was just us, he was kind of sweet.

He still annoyed me though.

*Fast forward a few months*

One day, we were watching – you guessed right – anime at his house.

By then, we both liked each other but neither was sure so we didn’t say anything.

At the end of the night, we hugged each other and then had this agreement that we are going to start dating. 😂😂

I did say we met through anime and that is how they do it…kind of 😂😂

So basically, I thank anime for meeting him 😊😊

 

Ashleigh and Johan:

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We met on tinder in August 2015.

His first question to me was are you related to Jacques Kallis? After that we just clicked and started chatting…

After a month he invited me for coffee one Saturday morning and we met for the first time at Canal Walk roof entrance – not the most romantic but it’s a spot we will never forget.

Every time we go to Canal Walk and walk in by the roof entrance, we always smile knowing that’s where we met!

Look at us now 1 year 5 months together!

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M and S:

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Anyway, we met at UCT, I was second year and he was third, and was tutoring a second year course.

We didn’t talk to each other for 90% of the course, during the last 10% he asked me if I would be around during the holidays and I was pretty snappy with him, stressed and all, and then he added me on Facebook (he still had it back then) about a week into the holidays and we grabbed a cuppa tea.

Season of Love: Darron and Patrick

I know Valentines Day and the month of love always gets a bit of a bad rap for being a commercial marketing day to get couples to spend money, but that angle of it aside, I thought it was important to tackle the honesty of romance.

I put up a post asking for people to share their stories of how they met their partner, and this is what they had to say.

Darron and Patrick:

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OK, so what happened was we both had profiles on a dating site.

He had sent me a message before but I couldn’t respond as I wasn’t a paying member of the site.

About 3 months later, I had received a weeks free membership from the site as part of some promotion they were running. We had a mutual friend on Facebook, who’s wall I had written on.

He recognized my profile picture with the dating profile and then sent me another message, and as I had the free membership I was luckily able to respond.

Exchanged a few emails, then a few texts and then decided to meet up one night.

And it’s been happily ever after since: