The Princess Bride

Wedding Cake

Yes, this is my really truly wedding cake. Gluten free chocolate – mmmmm

My love is nothing like a storybook story. There is no chaotic traumatic event that threw us together. There was no miscommunication or misunderstanding that led to a major break up and caused us to realise our true feelings for each other. It was a short courtship, but hardly whirlwind. There was no pressure from well-meaning friends and family keeping us apart.

No dragons to slay, no heroic quests to perform.

In short, we had a boring, normal, almost stress-free relationship, right from the beginning. And I am secure and stable and utterly certain of my husband’s love for me.

From the beginning, from before the beginning in fact, we knew that we had a lot in common. Shortly after we officially started dating we had a discussion of our expectations and baggage, so that we each knew where the other was coming from and what to expect. When we got engaged and moved in together we also very carefully and clearly laid out our feelings on communication and finances and respective space requirements.

Intimate venue for an intimate wedding

Intimate venue for an intimate wedding

Our wedding was small and intimate and only included very close family and friends. Our families mesh with no tension, and all in all we just had one big awesome party.

For the longest time I had been waiting for all the romantic trappings – the love at first sight (which in my case was actually love at first Skype), the barriers to be overcome, the whisking away for a sudden elopement, all that. And I was wrong. Because there is nothing more romantic than knowing that the man you’re with knows exactly who you are, all your insecurities and foibles and deepest shameful secrets… and loves you for it. Not despite it, but because those hidden aspects are what make you who you are. And I love him the same. My husband is never going to rival Chris Hemsworth with his shirt off, but I find him irresistible in all his realness. I’m never going to be a Scarlett Johansson, but that doesn’t stop him leering at me whenever he gets a chance.

So don’t hold out for the storybook hero. Because a real man is right around the corner, and so much easier to live with. Also he’s usually brighter than your average hero, and more likely to laugh at your jokes. If you’re as lucky as I am, you may actually find someone who will recognise and enjoy your numerous “Friends” quotes and giggle with you. Although you may be out of luck with that, since I think I got the last one.

 

And remember: “True love is the greatest thing in the world – except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe.”

– Miracle Max, The Princess Bride

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The Endless Steppe

Solitude

I have recently become more and more aware of the fact that very few people actually, genuinely, CARE about others. I know I myself am guilty of self-absorption and introspection to a shocking degree.

I recently dropped out of social media almost entirely for over a month. I did not Tweet or Facebook or interact with anyone, really, and none of my online friends even seemed to notice. Nobody messaged me or tried to contact me or even asked “Are you ok?” I was even introduced at a subsequent social event as someone who “met a guy and basically stopped talking to us”.

While I was somewhat absorbed by the wonderful new man in my life, that was not what happened at all. I hit a wall. I had trouble reaching deadlines at my day job and seemed to be constantly behind or trying to play catch up. My supplementary income more or less shriveled and died due to a financial crisis experienced by my main source of freelance work, who also happens to be my sister and housemate. We as a family went through an incredibly stressful and difficult time with basically my extremely meager 4-figure salary as the only reliable source of income for a family of five. All of my strength and will was taken up by surviving each day and hoping like hell that there would be a meal for the next.

And nobody knew. Because nobody asked, and I had too much pride to say: “I’m going through crap – is there anyone there?”

What I learned (and what I hope to be able to apply in the future) is that we can’t actually assume that we know why people act the way that they do. We can’t assume that someone is ok – we should try to reach out and ask. I am very bad at this thanks to my introvert nature, but I need to make the effort. I’ve known for ages that I have trouble making and keeping friends because of trust issues, and this period helped me to clarify who I can classify as a friend, and who I want to invest time in and with. I will cultivate the friendships where I can both be supporter and supported. I no longer want to be the one who is constantly reaching out and trying to make contact, with little or no reciprocal effort. There are those who drain us, and those who build us up. And while we do need to sometimes be the ones doing the building for those who drain us, we also need to find those who can hold us up when we need it, and who will just take the time to ask: “Are you ok?”

The Stepford Wife

Once again it has been many months since my last post. This is partly because I am, at best, a sporadic blogger, but mostly because these past few months have been among the most hectic and life-changing months of my life.

Despite all my excitement for going back to the UK, that plan has been completely derailed by the advent of the man of my dreams. I met R at the beginning of March, and we have just announced our engagement. So, thanks to true love, I will be remaining in sunny South Africa for the foreseeable future.

I am very traditional in many ways, and the one way that this manifests is in my relationship. I am fully intending to be an absolute 50’s wife – not by decree, but by choice.

vintage housewife

I am supremely fortunate that I am able to work from home, at least most of the time, so I can be fulfilled in my career as well as my home life, and this enables me to bake and cook and clean etc to my heart’s content. Apparently I am much more of a nester than I thought. Our current abode, however, does not have much of a kitchen, which causes me quite a bit of distress, but I am overcoming the lack by creative use of a slow cooker and electric frying pan. I love to cook, and learning new methods is always fun. I am excited and enthusiastic about this step in my life, and very glad to have found someone who completely accepts me for who I am and complements me in every way.

 

The reason for this post is that the has been quite a lot of online chatter lately about the disparity between men and women and their representation in various forms of media and entertainment. Since my new hubby-to-be is an avid gamer and has infected me with a similar interest, we have been exposed to the front lines of the debate regarding gender representation and segregation. There are a number of rabid misandrists out there who claim that men are purposefully degrading and denigrating women in media. While this may be true to some extent, I find their reaction distasteful and unnecessary.

A large part of the argument is that many games do not have a female protagonist. To my mind, this makes no difference. I play because I enjoy the game, not because I want to be the character, although my favourite game (of the moment) is Diablo 3, which has a range of completely kick-ass chick characters, all of which I enjoy, although I find the witch doctor character a bit lame. The point is, however, that the gaming world is predominantly male, and the girl gamer is still a relatively new phenomenon. Give them a chance to catch up – there are many games with female leads and characters, but the point is still the game. Of course, the first exposure I had to gaming was years ago with Duke Nukem, so I kinda got used to the idea of a male lead.

Another recent development in this area is the regenderment of Thor. Yay for Marvel showing equal opportunity, blah blah blah; but my question is: what about my eye candy?! Despite my sci-fi fantasy preferences and strong geek tendencies, a large part of why I watch superhero movies is built topless guys (helllooooooo, Chis Hemsworth!). Since I’m straight, watching a chick in the role of Thor does not present the same appeal. Objectification of the opposite sex is not limited to men – I am very skilled in this myself. How many chicks will no longer watch these movies because the lead is not a hunky guy with an awesome weapon? #JustSaying