Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Boyfriend Criteria

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I have found myself remembering the days of ‘new love’ (as opposed to ‘now we’ve been married forever love’).

Back towards the end of my single days, I was sick and tired of dating the wrong guy. Just to help clarify things in my mind, I developed a boyfriend criteria. The boyfriend criteria was designed to help me weed through the wrong guys in a bid to find the right guy.

Essentially it was a business card sized piece of paper that I had divided into two categories:

1.     Wish list – which included things such as ‘plays the guitar’ and ‘nice teeth’. The purpose of the wish list was to help me visualise what I thought would be nice to have in a partner. Of course, any guy who was otherwise perfect but didn’t match certain elements of the wish list could still slip through the cracks if he was lucky.

2.     Deal Breakers – which included things like ‘gambling addiction’ and ‘drug user’. Any characteristic that made it to this list meant that if I spotted it in a potential partner then I wasn’t prepared to waste any more time on them at all. End of story. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

On top of the copy I kept in my purse, I also hung a copy on my fridge, so that anyone who came into my house knew what I was chasing. It became a great conversation piece, and to be honest, mostly it was only good for a laugh.

Once The Farmer was on the scene, I ran the list past him too. He didn’t play the guitar. He didn’t live in the city. He had lovely teeth though and beautiful skin. Plus he got on well with his parents. Most importantly he didn’t meet any of the items on my deal breaker list. He was worth the effort.

So given that I had the criteria drawn up and then the universe provided, one has to wonder if the list played any part in nabbing me a husband? Which brings me to my next point… perhaps I need to renew the original list and rename it, ‘the husband criteria’? Maybe the new wish list items could include ‘shuts cupboard doors after using them’, ‘empties the rubbish without announcing that he’s emptying the rubbish loudly and repeatedly’ and ‘gives me a neck massage at the end of every day’ or ‘offers to take the kids off my hand at least once a day’.

I’m so relieved The Farmer didn’t have the foresight to do up a girlfriend criteria. I dread to think about if I’d have made the cut or not. One thing is for sure. My list certainly served a purpose. Fourteen years later and my Mr Right and I are still together. Perhaps it was the list, or perhaps it was all just a matter of timing.

In any event, I’m happy to still have him. Happy Valentine’s Day to The Farmer.
What would be on your 'wish list' and 'deal breaker' list?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Fifty Shades"

Tonight I headed out to go see what the "50 Shades of Grey" fuss was all about. I'd like to preface this review by saying I do not condone emotional or any other abuse or violence (domestic or otherwise), and that if you might find this post triggering, perhaps it's not for you. Also, if you are easily offended, perhaps now is also a good time to turn away. I'd also usually ask my mum to turn away now as well, but as she was sitting beside me as I watched it, I'm going to let you keep your eyes open for this one Mum.

Today I have read bad review after bad review of the movie. And every time it was written by someone who had scored freebie tickets to a showing, but had not actually read the book. FYI, if any movie peeps are out there reading this, I actually have read the books, which makes my review a little more well rounded I believe.

So I took my mother (#awkward #argh #webothhavekidssowhatevs) to a Gold Class showing of '50 Shades of Grey.' We had decided that if all else failed, at least we would have a comfy chair and food and drink to fall back on.

*This actually was great forethought on our part.

See here we are all 'hey, lets have a drink to cool our jets etc.'
At first we wondered WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE ACTUALLY GO TO WATCH THIS MOVIE?! And then we realised that it was just people like us, and so we buried ourselves in a deep dark corner of the room and finished our drinks quickly.

The two girls who were serving us drinks were asked to don some kind of 'mask' for the whole '50 Shades' thing. (Or 'Fitty Shades' as I like to call it). To be honest, it wasn't only me who found that completely degrading (none of the male staff were asked to wear them and the girls were clearly uncomfortable themselves), but thankfully they removed their masks before I jumped over the bar and flogged some sense into them. (Again, I do not condone violence, I am merely making a point).

Eventually we found our way inside the Gold Class cinema and made ourselves comfortable.

Getting comfortable.

As the movie opened I was curious as to how closely it would stick to the book. To be honest, I really didn't mind the books. They were easy on the brain, and I am a 30-something year old mother of three, eleven years into my marriage. They were right up my alley.

*A few late entries into Gold Class - two men with their girlfriends arrive after lights out. Poor fellas. (Or maybe LUCKY fellas depending on how the movie goes I suppose).

It only took five minutes for me to IMMENSELY dislike the character of Anastasia. For those not in the know, Anastasia is the underwhelming, lead female, lacking in self confidence, but witty enough to give readers of the book a few chuckles here and there. Yes, the script was basic (pretty much like the book) and the acting was mediocre (but again, maybe that's just making the best out of a bad situation), but the thing that I just could not take my eyes off and that drove me to ultimate distraction, was ANASTASIA'S HAIR!! It was bloody awful. Mum and I actually couldn't tell if it was just a bad wig, or if the costume department had gone nuts, but that hair took on a life of it's own. And I didn't like it.

Her hair actually looks GOOD in this pic.

Christian was not how I had imagined, but not completely awful - another foot note... I totally think my hubby was WAY hotter when WE met than the character of Christian was; and I had kind of pictured it the other way around when I read the books. Again, is it a case of bad acting? Or just a bad script/novel?

As I mentioned above I had read so many bad reviews going on and on about how it objectifies women, promotes emotional and domestic violence and blah blah blah. And seriously, I get where people are coming from, and there were definite FLASHES of that in the movie (especially if you take the sex out of the equation), but I really don't think it's as bad as everyone made out. If you've read the books, you better understand character development. I also don't believe that it constitutes abuse in the extreme ways I have read. Yes, he stalks her. Yes, he shows up at her house and lets himself in. Yes, he makes her sign a non-disclosure contract. Yes, he gets jealous and possessive. Yes, he is emotionally crazy to her. And all that sucks. BUT, he allows her to leave if and when she wants to. AND, he doesn't want to hurt her. AND, it's consensual, blah blah blah. (Either you agree or disagree - I couldn't care less, this isn't the page to vent).

 I didn't watch the movie to get any tips for my own relationship. My husband and I are quite happy the way we are, but to each his own. I also don't actively seek a relationship akin to that of Anastasia and Christian. You'd be crazy if you did, and maybe young girls and women actually DO (and maybe that's a problem). I personally hope I spend more time raising mentally happy and emotionally strong girls who would know that this is not a 'normal' relationship, and less time trolling review writers of the movie on the internet. I also believe that if you removed the 'violence' and made it a gay relationship with sex and all, people who watch the movie are in no way going to 'turn gay' any more than they are going to 'turn into a violent relationship' by watching it. I don't buy into 50 Shades any more or less than I buy into the Bible (also full of degrading women and violence etc).

Speaking of which, there WAS nudity. At least, there was definitely female nudity. And pubes. (Can I add how refreshing it is to see pubes on a young woman these days? Might start a trend...) I'm sure that there MUST have been male nudity (surely...? anyone??) but as fate would have it, JUST as Dakota and Jamie stripped off into their birthday suits and were about to go at it like rabbits, our first round of food arrived! As my mother and I began to feast on tapas and Arancini balls (and everyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE my food) I almost completely missed the first sex scene of the movie. Did Jamie get 'his bits' out? And am I mature enough to watch this movie if I refer to 'his bits' as 'his bits'? In any event, Dakota's hair stayed unmoved throughout... from what I can gather through my mouthfuls of cheesy goodness. I made a few awkward jabs to my mother about how I definitely wouldn't let her watch this movie if I was the lead female etc - Assuming of course that they would be interested in casting a late 30-something year old mother of three in the role of a 21 year old virgin). After all of that I definitely needed another drink, and right on cue, our next round arrived.

By now I was lamenting my late night out at a One Direction concert last night. I contemplated having a quick nap between sex scenes, and then reflected on how unimpressed the character of Anastasia would be with the 'Red Room of Pain' after ten years of marriage and three kids. And especially if Christian wanted to try it on her after she'd spent the night before out late with her kids at a One Direction Concert. And I don't care how hot his body is, ten years of marriage and three kids can be a real buzz kill. Yawn. WAIT! MORE SEX! Still no full frontal or anything that isn't pretty much 'vanilla sex', but I am reminded of a time I went to a movie with my brother and his friends, who yelled and shouted in excitement when they movie ratings came out. "YEAH SEX!" "Yeah! Violent themes!" Except I had to restrain myself from yelling out... because I was sitting next to my mother tonight.

Plot development... Anastasia is going to go along with this whole punishment thing. All is going well. More talking. Yawn. I start wondering about whether or not I should download the soundtrack once I can get outside the cinema - it's pretty good. DESSERT ARRIVES! I am so excited by the waffles, ice cream, churros and brownie tasting platter in front of me that I am certain I miss Jamie Doornan's 'bits' again (or did I? because surely they wouldn't leave them out of this movie?) and most of another sex scene. Clearly my priorities are skewed.

Another side note - I totally never in my wildest dreams imagined watching a movie with my mum that contained the words 'anal fisting'. An interesting turn of events. Life is full of surprises. Like the fact that now I am also going to have to go and watch the sequels! I had hoped they'd squeeze all three into one happy little movie. But no. The potential revenue of a franchise was just too appealing I guess. Sucks to be me... especially as I need the food to keep me going throughout a movie these days.

So all in all here is my final say on the matter. If you liked the books, you will probably enjoy the movie. I say PROBABLY because maybe Anastasia's hair will put you off as much as it put me off. And maybe Christian doesn't look how you thought he'd look. But it's not too bad. OR, if you are the kind of person who posts "how to peel an egg correctly" links to your Facebook page, you probably won't enjoy this movie either. It's certainly not to everyone's tastes. But it's not porn - anyone who think it is clearly hasn't ever seen porn before. And maybe there is a smidgen of domestic and emotional abuse in there, but I'm not going to get bogged down in semantics.

It's a movie. And the Bible is a book. Go live your life and just be a good person. x 3 out of 5 stars from me. Easy on the brain. Not going to win any awards. Only recommended to people who have read the books.