Saturday, July 29, 2006

COLUMN: A ball game called love

BAD NEWS:

A) Those beautiful shoes sold out so I couldn't get em.

B) They're axeing the column. All a girl wants is no more. Kaput. And this is the final published entry. Ok so in their words, we're being "put on hold" but bite my ass if that that doesn't mean byebye. Write in and complain if you love us, or pull out the champagne and celebrate if you don't.

Sod's law is that just as we start blogging more regularly, they give us the boot. Still, we plan on maintaining this blog though so please continue to drop round when you're free and tell everybody you know just how fabulous we are. hah!


Love, T & T
xxxx


All a girl wants...

... is to win in the game of relationships and dating.

What’s that all about, anyway, this ding-donging back and forth between our feelings and their feelings, our actions and their reactions – this need to feel like the ball’s back in our court again in the relationship game?

There are two distinct camps of people on this subject matter. There are the ones who think we should do away entirely with playing games and advocate honesty as being the best policy.
The other group like, and thrive on, playing games. Some in this latter group take it so far as to see the thrill of “playing chase” as being more fun than actually achieving your objective.

Most, though, acknowledge that a certain degree of power play and mind-guessing is needed in a relationship to keep it at a healthy level and prevent either party from getting too complacent.
I’m inclined to agree that we need to play games. I don’t mean we should all start scheming ways of getting men into our lair and manipulating them (though that does sound like fun), only that we need to keep ahead of ourselves.

You’ve got to be a sport and play a good game so that both you and your opponent enjoy yourselves and leave feeling re-energised and raring to go. Playing games isn’t about deception but about understanding the subtleties of what makes your opposite number tick, so that it keeps the adrenaline going.

It’s bit of a balancing act that requires you to negotiate the line between being too available and being too uninterested. Tipping either side of the scale will probably just end up making the other party bored, irritated or both.

Being too keen, too soon, before any dating bells have even begun to sound, kills the excitement. You know the sort – the boys who will always answer your SMS within the minute, ring intermittently throughout the day to check if you’ve eaten, always have good-boy manners and answer all your questions straight up.

These boys are not playing the game, and having the ball in your court all the time starts to feel a bit pointless after a while.

On the other hand, playing too hard to get can result in the other person just throwing up their hands in exasperation and moving on. When you do finally decide you’re going to play fair, it’ll probably be too little, too late, and you just end up looking fickle, or like a player.

Remember, the mind games aren’t about making life difficult for the other person, but to hold your own ground. Being too available too soon signals a sort of desperation and loneliness, but more than that it reveals that you’re too willing to give your personal power away to someone else. That someone else may possibly step all over you as a result.

Are games a waste of time? There will always be those who think that being straightforward is the best way forward. In my younger, more na├»ve days, I used to think so too, but it just doesn’t work. Sometimes you lose out from being too honest – truthfulness often comes across as too aggressive or insensitive, or it turns you into a “yes man”, all too willing to nod along with the other party. Either way, it’s a turn off.

And, by the way, the perimeters of the playing field don’t just dissolve into a white picket fence once you’ve got the guy (or girl) and are living happily-ever-after in the realm of relationship.
Game-playing continues well into a steady relationship – not in terms of deception or cheating, but of making sure you keep back something for yourself, hold on to a few playing cards that could be useful in future.

It’s about preventing either one of you from becoming too complacent or forgetting what made you value that person in the first place. Playing a game in a relationship allows you to hold on to your own identity and your own person.

It means staying as flirty, adventurous and outspoken as you were before. And it keeps the other person in line, for they know they can lose you if they start to get too comfortable and neglect you.

Winning the dating/relationship game isn’t ever about how much you can mess up the other person’s head. To gain the upper hand in the game is to stop yourself from messing with your own head, which we know is more than likely to happen in any relationship.

To win the game is to stay the same person you were before and during the whole big, messy, but totally exciting, dating adventure.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The big fat Malaysian sale!

Okay, so half the people I know are convinced that I've got more boy-ly genes in me than girly ones because of things like my apparent innate fear of commitment and my lack of girly hair-tossing, giggling, highly made-up traits.

Oh whatever. I know I'm definitely a girl.

And the huge obsession with shopping proves it.

Oh my god. Such totally divine sales. And the gods have been kind to me this month by sending lots of cheques my way. The voice of reason tells me I should save for Big Important Things like a house or a car or health insurance for when I fall down a stairs one day because I tripped over my own skirt.

But you know how it is when you see Beautiful Yellow High Heels and you have to have them. I've planned my whole week around when I'm going to town to buy them. Knowing my luck, my size will be all out but it's okay, I'll just spend the money on something else... as you do!

I don't even like KLCC and now it's full of very slow moving tourists, who all seem to be incredibly big. The Arabs are great etc but everytime I see a woman all covered up in black, it makes me think of those poor women in the Middle East who get killed and beaten up by their families and it makes me want to CRY.

So. KLCC depresses me, and I seem to have real bad experiences whenever I'm there. ONE: Did an interview with some woman there once and then (oops) spelt her name wrong and she threw the biggest hissy fit EVER. I apologised, the newspaper apologised, and she was still being a bitch about it. Now everytime I walk past her store, I feel like running in and addressing her by the wrong name just to piss her off.

TWO: The floors are too darn slippery there and make my legs hurt from trying not to fall down.

THREE: There is nothing good to eat there.

FOUR: Parking is shitty and scary.

FIVE: The shops are a mess because there's too many people.

SIX: The air conditioning is terrible there.

And yet, despite all this, I'm going all the way there to buy shoes (you can't get them anywhere else - I've checked!). They bloody better well have my size.

And when I finally get them, I damn well better have lots of men kissing my feet.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mamak Culture vs Smog-Free Air

I have a confession to add to Trixie's but it has nothing to do with writing - ok its got something to do with writing but its more about WHERE I'm writing from....

Did I confuse you guys? Alright. I'm not in Malaysia at the moment. I'm away in East Africa. Tanzania to be exact. If you're wondering what I'm doing here, so am I - no lah!

Actually, I'm here coz my husband (The Engineer) is a consultant in the capitol city - Dar Es Salaam and I thought - what the heck? How often does someone get to live in an exotic location, anyway?
Besides, I just know that I'll regret it one day if I don't and if you guys have been reading the column - you already know how I feel about LDRs! (long distance
relationships)

I've been here a couple of months and was initially SO homesick that it hurt to blink. Then everyone told me that I'd get over it in about 3 months. Its coming
up to that now and they're quite right. I'm still homesick, of course, but it doesn't hit me like a ton of bricks anymore.

The fabulous thing about this place is that the air is SO clean everything looks like its being viewed through ultra sharp, super contrast, Technicolor.
Plus Dar is right next to the Indian Ocean and I promise sometimes, the water is violet!

The downside is, my friends, family and darling cat aren't around and sometimes I want to be home SO much that inhaling hazy smog seems like such a tempting option.

So, there's my big confession. I'm continuing with my writing via email (thank goodness for the Internet!).

I miss going to the mamak and do think of me everytime you go. Mamak culture is such a Fabulously Malaysian thing lah!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Disorganisation

Ok so here's a little confession. My column (for this weekend) was due today and I err... only wrote it this afternoon. Actually, that seems to be the case for most of what I do. You'd think that as a freelancer, I have all this time to do everything well in advance but it always seems to be the night before (at about 3am) or two hours before 5o'clock on the due date.

Funny yah, when I was a kid I was one of those keen annoying geeks who did everything well ahead of time, finished all my homework before it was due and then sat there looking smug at everyone who was cramming it last minute. Now I spend all day fucking about, hanging out in shops, finding people to go drink coffee with me in the middle of the day, and then cram like crazy in the middle of the night.

This means I play when everyone works, and work when everyone plays which probably explains why I haven't seen any of my friends in ages.

Still, I like to think this disorganised way of life is part of my charm. hah!

PS we're going to try to get at least organised enough to write more regularly. I promise. Really. Truly madly deeply.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Time of your life

I've been in a really blue mood today. I just discovered that a friend suddenly passed away.

My husband and I both knew him and although I didn't see him very often it was so much fun when we did. He was always full of life and was never at a loss for words. He had razor sharp wit and could come up with hilarious oneliners even after a long night at the bar when everyone else would find it hard pressed to walk a straight line much less maintain witty repartee.

He was young as well and I cannot begin to imagine what his family is going through -my heart goes out to his wife.

This has got me thinking about all the petty things that seem so important to us but which suddenly shrink into oblivion when a real tragedy occurs. Is it really that bad if someone cuts in front of you in traffic? Will your life be destroyed if your husband forgets your anniversary?

It shouldn't take something heartbreaking to jolt us into realizing what's really important in life - the people you love and the time you spend with them.

I saw this friend of mine about three months ago and I can't believe I'll never see him again. It just goes to show that the last time you see someone may actually be the last time.

Green Day said it well in Time of Your Life:

Another turning point;
a fork stuck in the road.

Time grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.

So make the best of this test
and don't ask why.

It's not a question
but a lesson learned in time.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

COLUMN: Money Minded Maidens

Gold diggers. They're the ones who give women a bad name when it comes to money. Kanye West wrote that hit about them (with Jamie Foxx lending his heartfelt vocals as backup) and I can't say I disagree with what they have to say!

Look at Donald Trump and his wife. It isn't love that's blinding her to his ghastly crowning glory, its bling, bling, bling! I could be wrong but I seriously doubt it.

I must say, though, that this sort of stereotype view of women and money may not be as straightforward as we think. Women who love money can't be all bad or can they? Here's my take on it...


COLUMN: MONEY MINDED MAIDENS

All a girl wants... is a rich man, or so everyone believes.

I’m not sure if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but it often appears that the way to a woman’s is through his wallet!

There is currently no scientific evidence to prove or disprove this theory but the notion is popular. I wonder if Cinderella would have been so quick to admit that the glass slipper was hers if it was a pauper who had come a-calling instead of a prince.

Even the Frog Prince was royalty. What if the princess had kissed the frog and he turned into the Imperial Lavatory Cleaner? She would have immediately gargled with Listerine, thrown him back into the well and lived happily ever after with the next prince who asked for a kiss!

Perhaps it was prudent back in the old days to look out for a wealthy mate if you were a woman. Society didn’t take too kindly to independent, single women and the quality of a woman’s life depended very much on the sort of man she married. So it made good sense to try and snag a rich husband.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Women everywhere are earning for themselves and there is little practical need to resort to ensnaring a man for his money. But I think few women are going to cling to their careers, in the name of female independence, if the opportunity to chuck it all away presented itself in the form of a well-heeled gentleman with a marriage proposal.

I can almost hear a number of women out there exclaiming that I’m inexcusably cynical and ridiculously old-fashioned. They’d probably tell me that there are plenty of women who genuinely enjoy their jobs. Besides, love has nothing to do with money and true love will just as soon live in a hovel than a mansion (these are the same women you’ll spot in the romance section of MPH).

True, but there are many girls who recognise that true love doesn’t pay for Astro, the monthly instalments on the Beemer or the holidays in the Caribbean.

Yes, compatibility and physical attraction are certainly essential. However, if a woman is brutally honest, she’d tell you that a tycoon with a propensity for being late is far more tolerable than a tukang kasut with the same tendency, and that it’s a whole lot easier to overlook a hairy back and skinny legs on a rich man than a poor one.

Men seem to buy into this idea of women as well. Men who aren’t very athletic or easy on the eye compensate with affluence. This type believe that with women, it’s all about size – the size of your bank account, that is!

I am in no way suggesting that women are money-hungry creatures, in search of a man with riches to satisfy their insatiable thirst for luxury. Lest you think I’m declaring that all women are on the prowl for rich men, let me explain. The way I see it there are just two kinds of women who aim to bag a billionaire.

The first consists of women who just want tons of funds without having to lift a manicured finger for it. They are usually known as gold diggers and are regularly referred to by assorted unsavoury names not permissible in a family paper! They’re the ones who don’t mind a philandering husband as long as he’s a rich one. Their existence, unfortunately, creates a bad reputation for all women.

The second category of women doesn’t discount love and romance but they place financial security slightly higher on the priority list. These women are guilty of nothing more than being extremely pragmatic in a world that is often unforgiving of the underprivileged.

They’re respectable girls who don’t mind earning a living but don’t really rake in big bucks on their own. To them, securing a wealthy husband is much like having a diverse investment portfolio in the stock market – if something flops, you’ve always got back-up.

So, unless she’s a heartless fortune hunter, perhaps a girl who values riches a little more than romance is not the fiend everyone thinks she is. She may not be a hopeless romantic but she’s certainly a clever minx.

After all, no one can deny that it’s a good idea to protect yourself in a big, bad world with a big bundle of cash. Shrewd girls learned long ago that it’s a lot easier to part a fool and his money than to earn it themselves!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A snob's guide to socialising

I'm not sure what Trisha (or you) are going to make of me sort of taking over this blog, but well, too bad, you'll have to bear with me!

I was sent out for an event yesterday down Asian Heritage row, and as I tripped my way down the little glitzy street of preeeeetty bars and things, realised just how little I've been out lately. Like, where the hell did all these places come from?

Turned into a right little old hermit, I have, and become one of those creatures of habit that end up trawling the same old places. This is how it works: at the beginning of every week, friends and I are always, "Oh let's go out this weekend! Go to town and go gila, yah?" By Friday evening, we're all "Aiyoh, so damn far away lah. Sure get stuck in traffic jam. Just go to Bangsar lah." Then we'll end up in La Bodega, or worse (and even less original), the mamak. I bluff myself into think I'm being patriotic to what's truly Malaysian.

Yes yes, I have no idea what's cool or not anymore.

I confess
I'm SO not in the "in crowd"
I'm SO getting old beyond my years


Or

I'm developing more refined tastes (depending on how you look at it).

See, the clubs just don't agree with me anymore. In fact, they almost bore me. All the same people, same music (house, house, RnB, house, more house, RnB, and the occasional bad techno), same old game, just in a different setting. (And nobody plays drum n bass, which is the only thing I like).

Since when did the KL clubbing scene become so samey? And when did the clubbers all start looking like clones of each other? *sigh* And why lah are the drink so crappy in the all the supposedly hottest places? Why is it that there's always too much vodka in the vodkatonics?! I know we're kiasu, but too much vodka and it tastes like you're drinking baygon. Won't someone tell the bartenders that sometimes less really is more! *whinge whinge*

…Which is why yum beautiful cocktails in adorable colours, an excellent menu and a great view has become preferable, in my older age, to overcrowded small-spaces, squeezing through a million people just to pee, stale smoke, bad drinks, smelly oily people, and having your feet stepped on by stilettos all night.

And so Luna Bar, Bijan, Cafe Cafe, Hilton's lounge, Tiffin Bay, Attic, Qba (on its quieter nights), Eest make for some of Allagirl's most favourite places. They're all places with lots of leg room, enough space to think, boooooootiful decor and lots of joy to make you stay all night – all of which are essential for socialising!

Monday, July 03, 2006

PS: Grammar

I'm sure you'd already noticed but I've only just seen that there are a million mistakes in the last column entry - inconsistent grammar, inverted commas in the wrong places and reads about as smoothly as the traffic does through all those traffic lights on Jalan Maarof.

THIS ISN'T MY FAULT! *Cries*

After sending it in with spotless, perfect grammar (because I am an anal grammar queen) and character to make it a more interesting read (it is a column, after all, not a news story) somebody hacked it into pieces and instead of editing it for the better, made me sound like I didn't make it past my GCSEs. I mean, he/she's only editing for the largest newspaper in Malaysia - couldn't they get the punctuation marks right at the very least?!

Pfftttttttttttt.

And, because I'm anal like that, I'm replacing the column entry below with my original unedited copy.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

COLUMN: Turning another colour

Hope you all like the pretty new format - can't go wrong with pink and stars, for our illusions of grandeur. Am too damn lazy to write any more right now - am off food shopping for a party tomorrow!

T x x x

All a girl wants…

… is to kill that evil green-eyed monster.

Ah, jealousy! That mental affliction that plagues us all at some point or other in a relationship.

Someone once pointed out to me how useless an emotion jealousy actually is. It isn’t constructive in any way – it doesn’t help us grow and taken to extremes, can cause an irreparable amount of damage (remember Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction?).

And yet, why do so many of us let it take such a strong hold of us?

Unfortunately, it seems that girls are usually more prone to submitting to turning green. It’s not that men don’t feel jealous but that women are more likely to react to it, often in bad hissy fits of hysteria.

You’ve seen the parodies of women who go ballistic when their boyfriends just look at another woman as she walks by their coffee table. “Why did you have to look at her?” demands the jealous girlfriend. “Aren’t I good enough for you? What does she have that I don’t?” ad nauseum.

Poor guy, all he did was look. Perhaps because he needed a break from her nagging in the first place and the next change of scenery just happened to be a woman. Or maybe he just turned his head instinctually, as we all do when anyone walks past.

So she’ll rant and rave and it’ll become a big issue every time he looks at someone or comments on Scarlett Johansson’s rack.

And what about men? Underneath that calm, unruffled exterior don’t they ever feel that slight ping of jealousy as their girlfriends go on and on and on about just how gorgeous-strong-tall-talented their friend-with-the-best-smile-in-the-world is?

Trisha and I cornered a former colleague and asked him if they do.

“Of course they do. They’ll just never admit it,” he said with a fat grin.

I confirmed this with my boyfriend who agreed that he “would rather die than admit I was jealous.” (This male pride thing is just hysterical!)

I’m assuming that all this stems from the fact that women are far more insecure about themselves than men are – jealousy seems the only natural expression of their need for reassurance.

I.e. “Darling, even if she has long legs, Jessica Alba isn’t a patch on how beautiful you are!” makes a girl feel much better even though it’s probably all bollocks and he’s only saying it because he doesn’t want to be in the doghouse for the next week. Best just acknowledge that Jessica is a babe and get on with it.

Then again, I do think that feeling some level of jealousy is necessary, even healthy. It shows us we’re still human, that the other person does matter and that we don’t want to lose them - which is only natural when you’re all loved up!

After all, if we didn’t feel anything – no jealousy, no envy, no tiny inclination to compare to near-naked pin ups and red carpet glamour – wouldn’t that mean we also didn’t care?

By the same token, I have to admit that though it stings to hear the boyfriend go on and on about how fabulous Devon Aoki is, I would probably be more worried if he never, ever commented on another girl.

I run the other extreme through my head: that the boyfriend had eyes only for me and worshipped me 24/7. I freaked out. That seems to be only the tendencies of obsessive compulsive psychos that go totally crazy and strangle you in your sleep…in which case, moments of jealousy seem far more desirable than risking excessive, infatuated behaviour.

And while men claim they don’t get jealous, it is also, I feel, rather important to ensure they’re properly kept on their toes too. No need to go the other extreme of acting the bullish Female Chauvanist Pig by flirting down the whole bar just to prove something to your man, of course, but just the casual mention by-the-by that that lovely new colleague of yours just does have the most spectacular eyes.

In defence of their male pride, they won’t sulk or get moody. In any case, the point is not to try to piss them off, it’s to let them know that we ain’t dead now we’re in a relationship, and that no, we don’t think they are the best thing since sliced bread so they can’t just get complacent and turn into couch potatoes.

Keeps up the standards, at the very least.

This can be a tough card to deal though because you never can quite tell if a jealousy trick will tip the other person into a frenzy or just fall on seemingly deaf ears, making you look rather the fool.

But playing the game is all part of the fun isn’t it? And that’s another story for another day – stay tuned for my next entry about games, and how to win ‘em!