Can Married and Single People Ever Really Be Friends?

In the first season of Sex & the City, Carried Bradshow asked viewers this question. She asked it again when it came to married people with children being friends with singles. But in true SATC fashion, there never were any answers. Just deep pauses meant to allow you – the viewer – to make up your mind on the issue.

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photo: Dailymail.co.uk

Being 33 means having a lot of my one time best friends either getting married or getting married and popping out babies. After the endless responses of “Sorry, I can’t make it cause we don’t have the sitter,” to outright silences even on your birthday, those of us on the single side of the fence start to wonder if there is any friendship left to speak of.

That said, whilst we drown our sorrows over losing a friend in yet another night out and by clicking ‘buy’ on some random thing we shouldn’t be purchasing – it turns out our married friends are feeling just as left out.

“I can’t believe she wasn’t more excited about Rhonda’s baby announcement. I mean, doesn’t she realised how big a deal it is? It’s not like, you know, buying another pair of shoes!” The comment irked me but wasn’t about me so I remained quiet. It was the comments of a married friend (with children) about another single friend who supposedly wasn’t shouting on rooftops about someone called Rhonda’s baby announcement.

As a single person, I can most certainly relate to being unable to choke up more than the requisite polite “Congratulations! That’s so great!” before moving on to wonder if that new sale on candy handbags will be ending any time soon. It was also natural that the comment rubbed me the wrong way. Was I showing enough ‘excitement’ at baby news? If I hadn’t – were similar things being said about me?

I had to stop myself from being really mad at said married friend and think. What I found was this: aren’t I upset because this person is not understanding what’s important  to me as I am equally trivialising what’s important to them?

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photo: Chicago Tribune

Importance and Magnitude is Relative to Where You Are in Life

And that is the plain truth. Single people think married people with children have forgotten what it’s like to be an individual instead of part of a squad of diaper-changing holier-than-thou, pseudo life gurus. Married people think single people are selfish and stuck in ‘extended adolescence’ (thank you SATC for the perfect term), unable to understand the joy and fulfillment that comes from taking care of another human being (be that a child or a husband).

To a level both are right, but so what? Isn’t friendship about accepting differences and being there for one another? When you were young, it was the compromise between a play or a movie because you differed in preferences; it was about finding the vegetarian restaurant for the non-meat eating friend or understanding that the less affluent friend couldn’t afford expensive restaurants and holidays. Now it’s just a little different – but it’s the same concept – what’s important to you, isn’t to me but I accept and love you anyway.

The Handy Step Programme to Getting on with Each Other

It seems the remedy is simple but if you need a step guide, I reckon this should do it.

To both single and married people, from a single woman I say:

Understand my schedule and I will understand yours.

Make time for me and I will make time for you.

Be excited about my advancements and I’ll be excited about yours.

Don’t tell me what I should find fulfilling and I won’t tell you.

Don’t ask me to do things I don’t want and I won’t ask it of you.

Accept what’s important to me and I’ll accept what’s important to you.

Don’t push me to marry and I won’t push you to make similarly large life decisions for which, you’re not ready.

We are where we are and if we care about each other – our statuses shouldn’t matter. So ‘like’ my 100th outfit photo and I’ll ‘like’ your 100th baby photo. Support my dream to build a new career and I’ll support your dream to be the perfect parent/partner.It’s always been a 2-way street. This isn’t a contest about whose life is more meaningful.

If the above sounds generic it’s because it is. The fundamentals of friendship don’t change. If you keep expecting your friends to compromise more than you no matter which side of the fence you’re on – then you aren’t a friend.

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So can married people and singles really be friends? Of course they can. They just both have to want it enough.

 

 

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Who will make my Wantan Mee?

One of my favourite things to do on a weekend morning or day off is to have wantan mee in old town, PJ with a side of yong tau foo. It’s really quite far from my home but I’d willingly drive there for what is to me, the best wantan mee I have ever had in the Klang Valley.

I am not alone in my estimation. During peak hours, you will have to wait a good 20 mins for your fix when the dish only really takes 2mins to prepare. The crowd is a testament to how good this stuff is.

But what got me a couple of days ago when I sat down to enjoy yet another quiet breakfast – was that both of my favourite stalls were manned by aging couples.

They couldn’t be younger than 60. 

It instantly made me sad. As with all amazing things, the great food from these 2 elderly pairs will soon just be a memory.

The art and pride in preparing good food is lost in a generation where we’re replacing everything we can with an automated bot or the modern day equivalent of slave labour. 

But that said, I know it would be unfair to expect the children of hawkers to automatically want to take over the family business. Heck, I can only imagine how hopeless I’d be if my parents were hawkers and I needed to carry on the legacy. I wouldn’t know which side of the wok is up.

There surely must be a better way to preserve a culinary legacy without dooming it to failure in the hands of unwilling descendents.

It brings me to the poignant question in my title: who will make my wantan mee then?

I don’t know. In an ideal world, an organisation of foodie apprentices will take on the task of carrying on the trade. An eager acolyte to take over the ritualistic preparation of savoury noodles accompanied by comforting dumpling soup.

But it isn’t an ideal world we live in. So as long as I still can, I am going to enjoy my breakfast mornings over good food and good company. 

The 6 Trolls You Meet When Selling Preloved Clothes Online

I can’t say I have been selling long – and I certainly can’t say I’ve ‘made money’ off it. At most, I was able to buy a popsicle after getting rid of old clothes and spending inordinate amounts of time getting to know the inside of a POS Malaysia branch.

Online selling of your preloved items, especially clothes, is mostly a labour of love so you don’t have to feel guilty stuffing the lot in a bag and dumping it in an orange recycle bin, because sweetie, you aren’t even going to recoup 30% of what you spent on the items.

You might wonder if this is true – some of you may have paid pretty decent prices of RM50 and up for preloved outfits but when you factor that the ‘seller’ has to take time off work, pay GST on packing equipment (yeah, in case you didn’t know, a GST charge is levied on even prepaid Poslaju bags – consider yourselves informed), and spend hours a week going to the post office because nobody pays in a uniformed timeline – that’s time, effort and money that gobbles up at least half what was paid for an outfit that has already been marked down 50-70%.

But despite these cold numbers, I still do it as I said, mostly because it’s a thrill to see old favourites find new life and make friends in the process. The part about helping the environment ain’t so bad either. What does make it a pain in the rear, is of course, the troll buyers you will meet. And boy, will you meet them.

1. Rita ‘Can’t Read’

Rita Can’t Reads delight in asking you questions about an item that is already available on your original sale posting online. Perhaps Rita prefers being personally informed because universal posts of information are too plebeian but she will certainly waste your time asking you everywhere she possibly can for information that is so obviously stated just lines above her question.

Dare you tell Rita to please read the post – she will take it as a personal insult and huff-puff away. Not that she intended to buy the item in any case. Rita Can’t Reads never do.

2. Ivy the Interrogator

I am not sure what Ivy the Interrogator’s beef is but she often decides it completely necessary to ask a barrage of irrelevant questions regarding an item.

“Why did you buy?”

“Why did you buy this size?”

“Why do you have so many clothes?”

“Why did you buy green and not black?”

“Why is the moon not made of cheese?”

Except not the last one but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d get there eventually if she was sufficiently encouraged.

Fail to answer any of Ivy’s Irrelevant Inquiries and she’ll be sure to leave in a huff – taking her ‘business’ elsewhere. Although, I quite doubt she ever intended to buy anything.

Must be lonely wherever she’s from that she needs to make conversation with random internet sellers.

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3. Alice All Angles

Alice All Angles wants just that – measurements and photos of every angle possible. After asking for all this added information, she often ‘goes dark’ – ie. drops off the internet without so much as telling you “sorry, not interested”.

Now, I understand buying online is risky so we all need as much information as possible and I am happy to provide measurements where necessary but you can spot the really interested shoppers from Alice All Angles by the sometimes completely immaterial, and even bizarre measurements/photos she asks.

“Take a photo of the bottom seam.”

“Take a photo of you wearing it on a camel.”

“What is the measurement of the brand label?”

“What is the measurement of the head opening?”

What the actual…

4. Billie the Bargainator

Billie the Bargainator isn’t satisfied with paying 70% off purchase price for an almost new item. No, Billie wants 95% off. It doesn’t matter what the item is, nor the price – Billie will open her message to the seller with “Can reduce ah?”.

Now, if you really are interested in an item but you think the price isn’t reasonable, you will bargain. You might also bargain if you are buying more items from the same seller. That’s normal . It’s what regular shoppers do. What isn’t regular is bargaining every.single.item you are interested in and giving low-ball offers, depriving the seller of actually getting the price they asked from other interested parties.

Add on the fact that Billie the Bargainator isn’t one to sell her items cheap. Nope, her ‘for sale’ items will be only 30% off the purchase price. You’re welcome.

just cheap

5. Kelly Kiasu

Kelly Kiasu is exactly as her name suggests – she must be first and have the best. So she professes interest on EVERYTHING posted for sale and the conveniently forgets to pay, leaving a LONG line of disgruntled ladies waiting in Q behind her.

But that isn’t the worst of Kelly Kiasu’s traits – the worst is she feels absolutely entitled to behave this way. Try to gently remind her to pay, just try it. She will abuse you with guilt-tripping excuses like you are the lowest scum on earth to remind her.

She will often, 3 days later, decide she doesn’t want the item and everyone else in Q has already meandered on to buy something else. #Truestory

6. Karen Kiam Sap

Karen Kiam Sap is reluctant to part with her hard earned money and is looking for a deal – most of the time at other people’s expense. She asks you if she can ‘try on’ the items first before deciding to buy. This isn’t even a COD transaction ladies – she is completely free to try on and decide she doesn’t want it, wasting your time and effort in the process. Why? Because Karen is super afraid of parting with her money on the off-chance the item doesn’t fit.

But there are other kinds of ‘Karens’. There’s the Karen who tries to get out of paying postage fees with inane requests such as “Eh, I buy from you before – cannot give free shipping ah?” or my favourite; “Eh, you put price RM25 because you add shipping. Can I pay you RM10 if we COD?” Because, you know, your petrol and time is free.

No, Karen, just no.

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But Yet, We Love It

Despite these trolls I have to say that by and large, I’ve enjoyed selling my items online. Most of your buyers will be awesome people and you’re going to clear you closets, earn a small bit of dosh AND help the environment – what’s not to love?

Just when the trolls come out – give them a polite “Sorry, it’s sold.” 🙂

27-Dresses

Should You Attend a Wedding if You are a B List Guest?

Having never been on the planning committee of a wedding (or getting married for that matter); I never knew wedding guest lists were subject to grading. I mean, I did suspect something of a kind when I received a frantic invitation to the wedding of someone I hadn’t spoken to in years for a wedding just two weeks (or less away) but usually by that time, my schedule is so booked out – I don’t get to attend much less be offended by the late by-the-way invite.

But after chancing upon a wedding planning article on the far reaches of the web I rarely go (you know, the wedding sections) – I found the ‘horrifying’ truth: Guest lists are graded and YOU could be a B, C or even a D list guest.

Shock! Horror

Okay, those of you who knew this – bear with me because I certainly didn’t but it makes a whole of things appear a little clearer. For those of you who didn’t; this post is for you.

First of course, is the hows and whys a guest list is graded.

  1. Grade A guests: People who absolutely MUST be at the wedding. Namely relatives, people who will throw a hissy-fit at not being invited even though they have no idea what you look like these days, and anyone you or the wedding party decides must be included come hell or high water.
  2. Grade B guests: Thanks to budget constraints, you probably wouldn’t be able to fit all your friends and co-workers into your seating plan so a second list is made (in order of preference!) of who will be invited if anyone from Guest list A doesn’t show up. Yup, you’re a stand-in so a plate of something won’t be wasted at dinner. I hate to be trite about it but that is the fact of the matter.
  3. Grade C and D guests: If the planning party did planning so badly as to have fallout from BOTH A and B lists, emergency C and D lists would be drawn up. These are really space fillers and you might find the couple’s dentist and daily cleaning lady sharing a table with you.
  4. The Grade R Guest: This I created especially for the Malaysian context. It’s the guest who only gets an invite to the religious ceremony and not the wedding dinner party in order to help the couple save costs.

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Sounds a little mercenary doesn’t it? It does offend many people to be anything other than Grade A guests but there are good reasons why a couple draws up the tiers of lists:

  • Cost factors: Hey, a wedding isn’t cheap and as much as you’d like to have a place for every one in your life – you may not be able to afford it.
  • Familial obligations: Following from the first factor – the second quickly takes centre stage. If your family has foot the cost of the wedding (but often in Asian families – even if they didn’t!); they would want a say on who attends. “You know, Aunty Margaret will be so upset you didn’t invite her and she will tell ALL your cousins-twice-removed what a horrible person you are! No dear, it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t even recognise you on the street – YOU MUST invite her. Our family honour is at stake! After she will say we are too cheap to invite her.” You get the idea. A couple may not even want half of the people on the Grade A list invited but must and so they draw up Grade B in hopes the people they really like get to attend at the last minute because “Aunty Margaret’s gout is acting up” or “Great-uncle Roger’s just passed away.”
  • Hotel obligations: For a wedding, it is often necessary to book a hotel and lock down the guest list before even inviting the guests so every seat wasted is a cost per head lost. No couple wants that especially when the bill is so large.
  • Actual mercenary reasons: Now I am going to add a disclaimer on this and say it’s more of an exception than a rule but some couples really are a bunch of dicks even if it isn’t a gay wedding. These types of couples look at each guest as a potential ang pow in hand so an empty seat isn’t just wedding cost wasting – it’s the loss of potential to recoup even a little of what they spent. It’s shitty but the internet has proven me rightTwice.

money box wedding

Are these acceptable reasons to a guest? To some, yes but to others not so to those planning a wedding – it may still be wise to keep the grading to yourselves.

But as a guest, how can you spot the tell-tale signs of being a Grade B guest?

  1. Your invite is mere weeks away from the wedding. No one plans their guest list 1 month before the big day. No.One. Unless it’s a shot-gun wedding so take a good look at the bride’s tummy.
  2. You don’t get a physical invite. Did you get an e-invite, SMS, Whatsapp message or FB invite? There’s a good chance you’re a B-lister at this red carpet. Of course, many couples are now saving more costs by going completely online with their invites so this is not always a hard and fast rule. If the e-invite is addressed to a mass of a 100 people – safe to say the couple chose to save paper.
  3. Your seat at the wedding is either in awkward position amongst close relatives (you replaced one of them!) OR right at the back/far corners or the hall where no-one can find you dead or alive.

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But to every rule, there are exceptions. So now we come the real reason for this lengthy narrative: Should you attend a wedding where YOU are the Grade B (or R) guest? And here is the question that really trumps everything else in this post: how much do you care about the couple?

If it is someone you care about who is getting married – then why not just go? They may have good reasons for putting you in a list other than A (as listed above) and they probably (if you are close) want you there so much more than they do those obligationary ‘A-listers’. Go forth, lovelies and have a great time supporting a loved one at the biggest day of their lives.

However, if you have an inkling that this person you’ve never spoken more than 2 words to in the gym is just fishing for another ang-pow, I hear that night is a great time to feel a headache coming on.

sorry-i-cant-make-this-wedding-but-be-sure-to-invite-me-to-your-next-one-MQg

Photo sources: 1) snippetandink.com 2) english-wedding.com; 3&4) pinterest.com; 5) someecards.com.

Eek! Someone Died in Your Dream House – Should You Still Take it?

In 2009, my parents were looking to move to a bigger house to fit all of us and our burgeoning possessions. With my younger brother fast reaching the time-for-his-own-room phase, it was looking more and more necessary.

They saw many houses but particularly one corner lot unit, beautifully renovated, painted and maintained.There was just something odd about the random 3-seater sofa in the living room. When asked, the owner informed my folks that the couch was a favourite of his mother (or mother-in-law, I forget now) who died in the house. If the chair was moved, let’s just say the house would be less peaceful to live in.

Despite his protests that the house really was nice to live in and that the chair would just be a nice addition, my folks invariably said NO.

empty house

Fast forward to 2016, the house remains vacant. It is not far from where my parents eventually bought their larger corner lot, so every time I pass by, I wonder if that chair remains in the middle of the living room.

House-hunting and the Possibility of a Death Scar

Of course, not all deaths in a house bring about such lasting eerie effects. After all, if a house is old enough, it is sure to have seen it’s fair share of death. It’s a certainty of life. But depending on how the person died, you might find yourself less than comfortable to move in. Malaysians are after all, a superstitious lot.

Even if the house is everything of which you’ve dreamed: the perfect locale, all the space
and architecture you envision for that homely abode, and all for a price you can stomach, you might still wish you didn’t hear of the death that took place in it not long ago.

But even if you weren’t superstitious, should you ignore the idle chatter? I’d say not so fast. Brave as you may be – some questions are worth asking.

1. Has the death affected the value of the house?

For violent, sudden or scandalous deaths; it’s not uncommon to find the house going for dirt cheap prices. But even if you don’t care about the things that go bump in the night, you would at least be concerned if you’re taking on a bum deal. Can you sell the house later for a sum that is good enough to at least cover your costs or is the reputation of the house beyond redemption?

A quick check online and asking around should get you the answers. Also, be wary if the deal is too good to be true – you might find yourself stuck with a dud.

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2. How did the person die?

It is unlikely that you can avoid a death by natural causes in an older house so such an occurrence is not usually remarkable. But did the house in some way cause the death?

There have been cases where faulty wiring or some structural flaw have caused deaths to  occupants in a house. Whether or not you are taking on ‘additional house guests’ is one thing but you also wouldn’t want the problem of putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

Violent death caused by robberies or murders owing to the vulnerability of the house’s location should also be a cause for concern. Some houses could be situated in such a way that it makes breaking into easy or perhaps a lot of abandoned properties in the area have given rise to an increasing crime rate.

It’s not to say that lightning will strike twice but wouldn’t you want to know if the neighbourhood is safe for you to move in?

3. Has the house been damaged by this particular death?

Brutal, violent deaths or deaths that have gone undiscovered for some time can leave lingering smells, rotten wood, colonies of vermin or cause a decaying spot in the house. This can be covered up superficially with a coat of paint or some air-freshener only to reveal itself later.

Aftermath.com describes the damage a death can do:

“If left untreated, even the smallest amount of biological material may lead to serious physical damage within the home. Airborne bacteria cause lingering odors which, in addition to being unpleasant, can impact both the safety and well-being of future occupants.

Most people are shocked to realize that a decomposed body can begin to impact a home’s livability in only a few hours, under some weather conditions. Often within a few days, personal property such as furniture, books, clothes and carpeting are forever ruined.”

If the owner/agent did not take the trouble to properly clean, bacteria may linger. It may be necessary to find out the circumstances of the death and properly inspect the house with a contractor for lingering damage just to save yourself the costly fixes later.

4. How does the house make you feel?

This may sound like a pseudo-science, and a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo but how you feel in a house is paramount since after all, you will be living in it. It’s also a big commitment in terms of money so being comfortable with your investment is important.

If you are uncomfortable with having a death in the house, then pull out by all means. At the end of the day, a house is a large financial commitment, so why take the risk if you aren’t  sure?

creative pair

Dealing with Death in Your Dream House

Once you’ve answered the above, the question dawns – what can you do? If you still really want the house but need to deal with what happened, here are a few preliminary steps you can take:

a) Find out all you can about the history of the house. Knowledge is power and knowing exactly what happened may help you deal with any untoward event that comes up.

b) Have the house professionally inspected. Have a contractor inspect the house for flaws and odd superficial fixes. You can also have pest control give the area a once over.

c) Talk to others in the neighbourhood. Your neighbours may be a source of good knowledge about living in the area and the house in question but of course, remember to take everything with a pinch of salt.

d) Talk to family and friends. Perhaps they’ve dealt with a similar situation. Doesn’t hurt to have feedback.

e) Be ready for the cost. Be it monetary or simply peace of mind; taking on a house that isn’t developer sealed, and factory perfect, will cost you. Are you ready to take on the possibilities?

f) Remember: it is your home! At the end of the day, the home is where you will live so consider your wants and needs. If the house works for you, then go ahead but if it doesn’t, don’t fret. There’s sure to be another.

Would you buy a house that has seen the face of death? What is your ultimate dealbreaker?

Photo sources: 1) Painting by LS Lowry from tate.org.uk; 2) FLOW Mag Facebook Page; 3) The Creative Pair.

What Social Media isn’t Telling You About Your Ex’s Charmed Life

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First up I’ll have to say I just lied. This post isn’t bout your ex. It isn’t about how he/she is actually miserable without you and is ruing the day they broke your heart. NO. But you work with profit-making businesses using articles to sell products and see if YOU don’t get a little click-baity!

But I wasn’t completely lying. It IS about what social media doesn’t tell you about ANYONE. It could be the company you follow; the celebrity you’re NOT fan-girling over (or at least that’s your official stand); the friend you forgot existed from middle school and Alice from Accounting- because who doesn’t have Alice from Accounting on their friend/follow list? Sure, this also includes your ex. All your exes: ex Tinder fling, ex fiancee, ex bar buddy who bought you a drink but who’s name you can’t remember because you were so smashed, weeping about the previous two exes.

All of these people probably have a social media account that you are following. And all of them are consistently lying to you. Heck, this blog post started off lying to you – the difference between that and the other posts you see is that I just told you I lied to you. So now let me tell you something else…

Everyone Lies on Social Media

The lure of lying on the internet is great. It’s where you can create the log of the best moments of your life to show the world and all your friends what you (think you) are about. In fact, pick from any of these endearing social media personalities you definitely have lurking in your list:

  • Sheila the Selfie Queen who despite having trademark endorsements from every cosmetic company imaginable; hasn’t quite figured out that people don’t wake up with green eyelids and insist she “woke up like this.” No, Sheila – if you did, please see a doctor because moss is growing out of your eyes.
  • Or what about the so lovable character of Jack the Nice Guy Who’s Always in the Friendzone? Hear all about Jack’s insistence that nice guys can’t cut a break and then slag off Alice from Accounting because she’s putting on a bit of weight. She’s PREGNANT idiot – perhaps the reason you cannot get a date is because you don’t fucking know the meaning of NICE. Here’s a dictionary. Hit yourself over the head with it.
  • But certainly we ALL, no matter what age we may be, have Ginny the Constantly Drunk in a Bar even if it’s Tuesday and an hour after her Gran’s funeral. “I am drowning my sorrows!” she will yell and you usually go “Ok, Ginny…” just in case she starts telling you how you are so jealous of her party life and then pukes on your profile.
  • Of course, one day Ginny may grow up, get married and then become Patsy the My-Child-is-so-beautiful-so-you-need-a-snapshot-of him/her-everyday-til-you-die-type. Because if she thought puke on her hair was a beautiful moment for social in her 20s; she probably thinks the same now  (well, at least it prepared her for projectile child vomit).
  • And we end this list with George and Annie the perfectly in love; we were made for each other but we need everyone to know it or it won’t be real type. Nevermind, that they fought just 5 minutes before every shot about who gets to have that perfect 45° angle this time but what matters is.that.you.know.they’re.in.a.relationship. And you’re a sad, lonely bastard. Thank you, George and Annie!

Okay, so I may sound a little disgruntled but that’s because I KNOW the entire list are one dimensional, cherry-picked facts that the account user thinks will make them look better to you.

For some people, their party lifestyle; their children; their travels; their partners; their religion or even their sadness (at being dumped, broke or cheated) is social media worthy bragging. They assume it one-ups them in the eyes of their peers. But that isn’t all there is to their lives. It’s just what they want you to know.

Most of the time, such behaviour is nothing more than being annoying and can easily be fixed with the help of an unfollow button but sometimes, it becomes much more serious.

Why It’s Important to Separate the Lies

Having people lie on social media are often harmless and simply deleting them or unfollowing; you could solve the problem. But some of the more vulnerable in our lives can’t. They are our children, our parents who aren’t social media savvy, our friends with depression or even ourselves – when the pressure to measure up sends us down a dark path.

social media

In an article by Forbes, social media use was linked to an increase in depression symptoms. The most illuminating quote in the entire article is this:

“our study is the first of its kind to determine that the underlying mechanism between this association is social comparison. In other words, heavy Facebook users might be comparing themselves to their friends, which in turn, can make them feel more depressed.”

Exactly. They are comparing themselves to friends who are probably not telling the whole truth anyway.

Telling yourself you suck after looking through Facebook is one thing. But the brazen lie-inducing, fabricated existence created by internet anonymity has fueled much more sinister things.

Cyber-bullying is real for young people and can have devastating effects on a teenager’s psychology. A child who cannot tell the difference between their social media persona and their real lives can translate virtual internet bullying into real effects. The Herald reported that social media can cause damage to a young person’s mental health but if that wasn’t enough – it has taken lives.

In fact, this is so big that there is a Buzzfeed article dedicated to suicides that are linked to cyber-bullying on really disgusting site Ask.fm. You know it’s real when it’s on Buzzfeed.

The point is that people shouldn’t be killing themselves over social media comments – from a dimension so fake and pretentious it makes the Human Barbie look au naturale.

The internet isn’t real. You can be anyone you want on it. The true danger of allowing this form of virtual role-playing was seen in the heartbreaking case I will talk about next.

The ‘Entrepreneur’ Who Was a Murderer

The story of Breck Bednar made me tear. And if you know me, you know that’s a big deal. I have often no emotion beyond anger and my tear ducts are usually sealed shut by craft glue and eye gunk.

Breck was 14 when he was murdered by another teen, Lewis Daynes who was posing as a successful entrepreneur with a very exciting life (sound familiar?). In a report by the Guardian, this chilling quote summed up how a lie could manipulate a naive mind. Breck’s mother describes the online predator, Lewis:

He claimed to be a 17-year-old computer engineer running a multimillion pound company. Sometimes he was in New York, working for the US government. Other times, he was in Dubai, or off to Syria. “To Breck, who still had his baby teeth and saw no evil in the world, Daynes seemed very cool, very exciting,” says Lorin.

In truth, Lewis was 19, unemployed and living alone in a flat where he rented server space to set up a gaming site for little boys like Breck. The lie he told about his life earned the trust and respect of young, impressionable boys. Not a big deal if you do nothing but bask in your glory at successfully making yourself more than you really are but much more dangerous when you are a child predator.

This may be a stretch and you’re thinking that the liars on your list aren’t psychopathic murderers but kudos to you if you can tell the difference – what about those who can’t?

What Can You Do?

You might be confused at this point. What do little white lies on the internet have to do with a tragic murder of a young boy?

Teenage boy using laptop in office

In my opinion, plenty. It’s the way we interact with social media and what we teach our kids about it. For healthy, mature and well-informed individuals, spotting a predator, a scam or a lie on the internet may be easier to brush off.

But even the most intelligent have fallen victim to love scams and money laundering syndicates. No one is really safe from the internet’s net of lies. It is much worse for those among us who aren’t so easily able to spot trouble before it occurs.

So what can we do? Change, clichédly starts with each of us.

1. Begin at the Premise that Everyone You Meet or Interact with on Social Media is Lying to Some Degree

From the lesser harm of feeling a little inadequate by looking at seemingly more successful friends to avoiding scam artists and predators; always reminding yourself that social media is nothing more than farces of varying degrees would help you distance what’s happening on your feed from what’s happening in your life.

2. Engage Your Children on the Topic of Social Media Instead of Outright Banning Them From It

Just as the cry for abstinence has questionable records of effectiveness; often telling your child specifically not to do something is a surefire way to ensure he/she does exactly what is being objected to.

By sharing rationale, calm but fact-driven thoughts with your children on the lies and danger of virtual reality may at least to some extent help you get through to them.

Hey, you could even give them the example of how perfect you look online versus the crazy you are at home. If that doesn’t drive the message home; well I don’t know what else will.

3. Unfollow Toxic People or Take Breaks From Social Media

No doubt, social media can be an excellent source of news and exchanging viewpoints but if it is beginning to harm you in some way – it’s best to take a few steps back. Are some people’s posts particularly more disturbing than others? If so, try unfollowing or outright removing them if the option is available (you know, if it isn’t some particular close relative who will throw a hissy-fit).

4. Keep in Touch with What’s Real

Call your friend out for drinks. Get to really know the colleague you just added as a friend. Stop following personalities if they constantly make you feel bad about your life. Keep in touch with what’s real and you’ll be able to take social media as the joke it often is.

Now Stop Reading This Blog and Go Socialise for Real!

Unless of course, you’re using it to scam ISIS militants. In which case, KUDOS.

Photo credits: 1) http://socialmediamom.com/february-roundu/, 2) http://iuhealth.org/blog/riley-detail/tech-talk-impacts-of-social-media-on-children/#.VwWyK_l97IU, 3)http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/tech/8-dangers-social-media-were-not-willing-admit. 

Which Retro Haircut Should I Choose?

For a woman with hair that just won’t do as it’s told; getting a haircut can be the worst ordeal. I can already feel the nerves building up before my dreaded trip to the salon. As I usually do before such a visit; I turn to the internet for some hair-inspiration.

See, I could try something modern and chic, like this “I am not quite sure how short I wanted my hair” look but considering how much I love the ‘good old days’ (this blog would exist otherwise); I wanted something a little more ‘classic’.

modern hair.jpg

Choosing the Retro Hairstyle For You

I am by no means an expert on hairstyle choices or any such thing but it’s getting hard to ignore the fact that my hair goes from limp and straight to imitating Simba in a blink. It’s time for a haircut and I’d like one that represented some old world glamour.

How should you go about choosing a retro hairstyle? Well, works best to start with what you have! Do you have short, long, curly or straight hair? What is the texture like? Retro hair isn’t much different from hair of today and unless you plan to get drastic with expensive extensions, straightening or curling; best to work with what you got!

Next comes considering whether your stylist can handle it. It is not that retro hairstyles are difficult to do; it’s just that many stylists are more accustomed to working with contemporary styles and methods. You will most likely earn yourself some weird stares indeed when you whip out that black and white picture of Elizabeth Taylor’s pixie cut.

Once you know what you have to work with and the calibre of your hair-stylist; the fun begins with actually choosing a style you could live with everyday. Remember, ladies in the early years tend to take hair curling and setting super seriously, so achieving the classic retro hairdo is not as easy as merely getting a good trim.

It’s either you get your mitts on some hot rollers or resign yourself to the fact that you will never have the perfect Lana Turner puff fringe and waves.

lana turner
She did NOT wake up like this!

Exploring the Possibilities and then Taking the Plunge!

Opening up Pinterest, I hit the keyword ‘retro hairstyle’ like my life depended on it. Considering that I have wavy hair and it’s only shoulder length at best; I’ve narrowed my choices to these few.

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Taking a look at them now, they kinda look similar. I guess I knew what I wanted all along! Which retro hairstyle do you dream of having?