Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Summer Lovin'..............

Can you believe it .....summertime is whizzing by and almost over. In a little over 2 weeks the schools will start a new term, the evenings will grow darker and advertisements for Christmas will fill our TVs. Depressing I know. But as we look back and reflect on another typical wet and windy British summer I wonder how many returned from sunny, hot, far flung places, were hit by "Summer Lovin'"?

Hot temparatures, half naked bodies, cocktails and dancing ...... the perfect recipe to spark a holiday romance and bring "Sandy" to her "Danny".  The stresses and strains of everyday life are left far behind as we become chilled out, easy going, bronzed "happy" people. The sexiness of the Mediterranean to the exoticness of the Caribbean seduces, tantilises and makes "falling in love" fast and easy...all part of the holiday package.
But do they last? Is a holiday romance the start of something special or just fun in the sun?

All the ingredients  pretty much disappear as soon as the airplane hits the tarmac back at home. Sun replaces rain and days melting in to one are now structured and dominated by office hours.  What are the chances you live near to each other? Despite Facebook, Skype etc when everyday life gets in the way how long can you be bothered to make those long distant phone calls or even visit each other trying to rekindle the "connection" made under a burning sun?  Will you still lust after each other when the sun kissed half naked bodies turn a whiter shade of pale after being covered up against the cooler temperatures? How long before the novelty wears off?

You on holiday is unlikely to be 100% the same person you are at home. The fun loving carefree person on the beach maybe more stressed, hurried and serious in the cold light of day.  I mean that's why we go on holiday isn' relax? So it's pretty much expected that you will meet other relaxed people.

Some years back I had a holiday romance.  It lasted 9 months after we got back and during that time we even went back on holiday to where we first met. However, like any relationship when the first flush of romance wears off it depends whether there is enough leftover to work hard enough at keeping it going.

Generally speaking though the chances that you will be walking down the aisle with your holiday romance is pretty slim. It's called a holiday romance for a reason because really that's precisely what it is.

Friday, 5 August 2011

beauty and the mass media beast!

Looking back at my dating experiences I realise that the majority of men with whom I've gone out with, dated or had a relationship with, have been younger than me. I'm not talking about the Demi Moore - Ashton Kutcher 15 year age gap however but enough of a difference to put my self-consciousness on high alert. Facial lines appear more pronounced despite the plethora of anti aging creams in the bathroom cabinet and the once every 2 monthly visit to the hair salon increases to 4-6 weekly, should he,God forbid, find a stray grey hair or two.

The pressure to stay looking young is evident in all that we read in magazines and watch in movies or on TV however it is fiercly highlighted when dating a younger man. Referring back to Demi More and Ashton Kutcher's 15 year age gap, it is rumoured that she has spent £250k since 2007 on plastic surgery, liposuction and even knee surgery. If an A list Hollywood star, as naturally beautiful and talented as Demi Moore, feels the pressure to stay young looking for her toy boy husband, then what hope is there for the rest of us? Does Michael Douglas feel under pressure to embark on a quest for eternal youth in order to stop his stunning wife Catherine Zeta Jones runnning for the (Hollywood) hills? Apparantley so. It's been reported that he has undergone a face and brow lift. But even Catherine Zeta Jones herself has had help from the surgeon's knife in maintaining her beauty.

So is the pressure to literally peel back the years from having a younger spouse? or really from being in the fickle scrutinising eye of the mass media?

"Cougars" are the vastly growing number of savvy ladies on the hunt for younger men. This woman has the self confidence to command awestruck respect from her younger prey that she can manipulate him to go along with whatever she says. Enough life experiences have taught her what matters and what doesn't and she has faced her insecurities and fears. She is not going to bother her latest squeeze with feminine frivalities that often turn men off, ie: "Does my bum look big in this?". She knows what she looks good in and what to avoid. Probably most importantly for her less experienced partner, is that she can teach him a thing or two between the sheets...with the light on and not worrying about showing her stretch marks or cellulite I might add! She's there for a good time for as long as it lasts. No strings, no long term commitment. This seems to be a happy middle ground in recapturing your lost youth yet not worrying whether he sticks around or not.  No wonder "Mrs Robinson" is still such an iconic role model for these temptress ladies.

As a society though are we still made to feel a little uncomfortable at the thought of an older woman dating a much younger man?  Were eyebrows raised when Michael Douglas married Catherine Zeta Jones, 25 years his junior?Rod Stewert married Penny Lancaster with also a 25 year age gap? Not really. Some thought it may not last, the younger spouses wanting to stay up late and party perhaps. But these men bring alot to the table. Not just wealth but experience, maturity and most importanly less likely to stray. Turn the tables, however and we are not so readily able to accept such an age gap between an older woman and younger man.

But why? Because we have been brain washed by the mass media that beauty and youth are the only attributes that serve a woman. We have been led to believe that men are influenced first and foremost by physical beauty and not inner beauty. And yes even in the 21st century. Lets be honest ageism is very much alive and kicking down the self esteem of women and men eveywhere. You would be a liar and a fool to deny it. The proof? Just look in the magazines and shops. Anti wrinkle this and anti age that. The companies that make such products would not survive if we were not slaves to the beauty industry. Ladies, we are the ones who buy into this misconception that we are only as good as the moisturiser we use. And whilst I wholeheartedly subscribe to taking care of oneself both in health and appearance, I do not want to waste my life worrying whether I look 10 years younger than I really am.

Can you imagine a world where make up, hair dye, plastic surgery, botox, anti wrinkle creams  and designer clothers did not exist? In that world we would have to look for something else to act as our self worth. How about intelligence, sense of humour, kindness, patience and a positive outlook. Guess what? I already have these attributes and so do most  men and women out there. It's just a shame that they are not the primary focus in the mass media, the most powerful influence in our lives.
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