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(referred to as TFZ for the rest of the entry)

So I’ve seen this issue discussed on two websites in the past fortnight, and also on another one about a month or two ago. What are blogs for except to throw in your two cents worth?

I know what is meant by the phrase, but I think it needs to be put to rest for a while because it’s generating negative connotations.  This is because of the tools who see someone as only an intimate partner, and nothing else. When they don’t get what they want, they say they’ve been put in TFZ Or if you don’t act quickly enough, you will never have a shot because you’re in “the friend zone” (this one is mainly a male idea). But it seems to be that there’s been a few things lost in the discussion:


  1. it’s not a feminist issue. There are plenty of males who are accused by females of putting them in TFZ I haven’t asked any gays about this, but I am going to assume that it happens there as well (please correct me if it is different).  It’s just a general “treat people as people, not objects” rule. I don’t mind that it’s discussed on feminist websites (not that what I mind really matters here anyway!), but some comments on said websites veer towards playing the gender card too much.

  2. The rejection of the phrase doesn’t mean “don’t make a pass at someone”. It just means “if you didn’t get what you want, move on. Either be a genuine friend and make peace with it, or cut yourself away if it’s too painful. But don’t go on with others about TFZ”

  3. Don’t vent your rage towards anyone who makes a pass/move that turns out to be misjudged. One comment on these websites was all about “grow up, get over it” It takes courage to do this, and it hurts when rejected. If they turn that embarrassment into TFZ rants, they’re tools, but don’t lump the ones who don’t react with TFZ inot the same category as the tools.

Rest In Peace, Aunt Shirley. You were always my favourite aunt. In a family where the women of the 50s, 60s and 70s basically did what was expected of them, you broke the traditions and encouraged your relatives (including my own mother) to do likewise. In a family where the women married the wrong people because they felt they had to, you were strong enough to be yourself and take your own life journey. You had a strong sense of feminism and social justice, not to mention great taste in culture (I remember talking about FARGO with you and being amazed that I could talk about this stuff with a Matthews!). I'm sorry I didn't keep as much in contact over the past decade, and I hope in the past few weeks that you learnt what you meant to me (and that you can see the tears as I type this). Farewell.
The above was what I put on FB. here comes the extra bit, the self-centred bit, the bit about me:

I really wanted to talk to you whilst I was in Adelaide earlier this month. I realised that you actually might have the answers to the questions I have been posing to myself over the past couple of shitty years. But you were weak and tired from the cancer, and I wanted to let you rest. I will do my best to get to the funeral next week, so I can hear from everyone else how wonderful a person you were. So many of our relatives are only fuzzy in my memory, but you will always be strong and clear. TC
So I finished off work just over two weeks ago, somehow managing to get through the hard work slog that was June. Then I spent a fortnight in the city I grew up in, staying with my brother and his family, and catching up with plenty of friends. Now I’m back in my home, and need to start doing things. Changing things. Applying for things, arranging things, volunteering for things. It’s not easy, though. Confidence is directly proportional to mood. Mood is affected by social interaction. Lack of social interaction means I get into a funk. I got into a funk today, just because I had one day without seeing anybody I knew, because I sounded like an idiot when I spoke to the cute manager at the cinema I frequent, because an internet chat I was having dried up. I watched a crap TV show tonight, and then suddenly felt very depressed. I managed to fight off the depression for 90 minutes this afternoon, in order to put in an application for something I stumbled upon today (with 5 minutes to spare!), but it wasn’t easy.

In other news (no pun intended)….watched Broadcast News again yesterday. I can’t remember when I first saw it but, apart from the few iconic scenes (the video tape rush, the sweat news read), I was surprised at how much of it felt new.

“Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If "needy" were a turn-on?”

It’s good to have a romantic comedy for the intelligent people. There aren’t many, but this si one of the best. Except that I’m Albert Brooks, and I’ve fallen for Holly Hunter too many times in my life.

“It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.” “No. It's awful.”
Getting something off my chest…..

Dating is messy. It’s a minefield of emotions and disasters. I personally hate it, and the success I’ve achieved in the process has generally been because of other factors that have happened prior to the dating of particular person.

 Dating is all of these and more because there are no real rules or guidelines. It’s not like job interviews, where you can find out the essential information beforehand, or ask for feedback after you don’t get to go through to the end.

And yet there are some people out there who believe that they know the rules, and that this is the only way it will work.

I’d like to believe that I am open to different aspects of this courting lark. (For those who know me, please tell me if I’m wrong.) If my interpretation of what is happening and what should happen is different to others, hopefully the two of us can mangle our way through to some common ground. Or the inference comes through very quickly that there is no common ground, and you move on (with or without self-analysis and angst). Worst would be if two people are actually compatible to a certain extent, but differing approaches to the process mean that the common ground isn’t found quick enough – I’m sure it happened (one relationship I had took years to be consummated, because we were both too young to realize that we were both crap at sending and receiving signals, and didn’t get together until I was going out with someone else and could read the most obvious signs of jealousy and conflict (thrown together with some friends inside information on the said woman’s feelings towards me)).

So unless we go round with big signs saying “This is how I flirt/court/date/…”, we have to be open about this. And not…


  • wait for the most overt signal. Some people are shy, others are clumsy, others have personal space issues. Sometimes you just have to make a big clumsy move, to see if there’s anything happening, because talking about it won’t work, and waiting it out may seem like a missed opportunity.

  • get offended if someone does the big clumsy move. So you just wanted to be friends? Fine, see if you can get there after the awkwardness period. But you don’t need to get pissed off about it just because someone you weren’t interested in made a move on you. Signals were mixed. Or misread. It happens.

  • think there’s a “window of opportunity”.  Some couple friends hooked up with each other after one date. Others took a while to transition through “the friend” and into “the lover”. There is no connection I can see from my casual observation between any particular method and the length and/or stability of the relationship. They evolve in many ways. Restricting it to a “window of opportunity” doesn’t make sense. (This may get an entirely separate post devoted to it later.)

  • work in fucking “leagues”. He’s out of your league, she’s way hotter than you. Fuck, that’s just restrictive (and, if I’m honest, a bit overly arrogant)

  • think that you’re the only person who gets to make the move, and complain when someone hits on you without you telegraphing anything. This relates to the first point, of course. If I complained that some women should just walk around with a “crazy bitch” sign around their neck, I would be chastised, and rightly so.  Similarly, I don’t require anyone to walk around wearing a “I will make the first overt move/signal, thank you very much” T-shirt. I’d rather it be open to either person making the move.


If everyone did everyone else a favour and kept their feelings to themselves, how would anyone connect with anybody? We all need to take the risk. We then have to deal with the consequences. But a world where the person “receiving” the risk has the right to be pissed off about it? That doesn’t work. There are no rules. You do the best you can, with as much courage/bluntness/flirtatiousness/etc. as you can or need.
I’ve often mentioned to other people my dislike of Nora Ephron movies. Now that she has passed away, I need to qualify that (and feel less mean) by saying that one of her first screenplays (When Harry Met Sally…) and her last directorial effort (Julie and Julia) were actually quite good, I can then focus my rage on her 90s period, in particular, two atrocious movies – Sleepless In Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.

I have many peeves about these two.  The main peeve, though, is personal. (You can throw Michael in the 90s crap pile as well, but that one isn’t from a personal perspective).  It’s that I related to the character in each movie that was made out to be minor, the one that deserves more than he gets. In YGM, it’s Steve Zahn, but truth be told my memory of him in that movie is dimming. However, I still have a strong feeling about Bill Pullman’s character in SIS. He’s made out to be the “not-the-one”, that character in many rom-coms that is “obviously” not right for the main character (in this case he’s engaged to Meg Ryan, but she eventually ditches him for Tom Hanks). Now I know there’s the whole argument of “It’s gotta feel right” in relation to relationships that don’t are conflicted. But sometimes those subsequent relationships don’t turn out to be better in the long run. I have this sequel to SIS in my heads where the Ryan-Hanks thing turns out to be something that was based on fantasy alone, and cold light of day finds the relationship collapsing soon afterwards (I can also then see Ryan going back to Pullman, apologizing for dumping him because of his allergies and lack of charisma, but he has moved on. But that isn’t an essential part of my sequel (it’s a bit clichéd, as well as being more of a comeuppance fantasy for me)).

I prefer the movies that show these dalliances with the greener grass to be ultimately flawed. Take This Waltz was a recent (not perfect) example, but one of my all-time favourite movies – Brief Encounter – exemplifies this fully. But I also recognize that I am personally affected by any depiction of this “not-the-one” character in movies and television. The speed dating scene where the female protagonist is confronted with comedic stereotypes that are obviously losers for one reason or another (and she obviously SO much deserves better). The end scene where the male character who was rejected (for no apparent reason except for the other male character was hotter/more charismatic) hooks up with that random female character introduced somewhere else in the narrative, and therefore the audience doesn’t have to feel sorry for him. It’s all an unfortunate side effect from the “Girl Power”/Sex And The City movement of ten or fifteen years ago that, whilst giving certain women more confidence and freedom, actually makes some more selfish and less open.

(No, this isn’t an “All women are bitches’/”Nice guys finish last”/”I’m going to use the word misandry here because it’s cool” diatribe.)

Or at least that’s the way it appears, not just in movies, but from my personal experience too. In recent times, having to wade through the horrible world of internet dating, I’ve been exposed to these attitudes even more frequently. The barrage of “Thanks, but no thanks” messages I get form initial contacts – each one hurts that little bit. I even had one experience where, on a second date/meeting, there was a brief time when the girlfriends of the woman made an appearance, and I got a distinct vibe of “you can do better” (and, given that it was also the last date I had with her, I was probably right).

I’ve wafted around a bit in this stream of consciousness, but what I think I’m essentially saying is “I hate it when I am judged harshly as a potential intimate partner”. It’s happened plenty of times recently, and I am sure I will have more to say about it in future posts.

100 Days Of Bummer: Day 3 - Back Home

Brief post: I have travelled back to the city of my birth and first 23 years. Maybe I can find answers here?
I had many things go through my mind whilst re-watching this great movie. Afterwards, I tried to focus them, but couldn’t. So here’s a compendium of random thoughts and quotes:


“Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a fucked-up girl who's looking for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours.”

This line pops up a few times in the movie. It gives you time to ponder it. Clementine has a right to feel like this, of course. But she also needs to understand that everyone going into a relationship has some level of pre-conception. She certainly does when she’s flirting with Joel, both “first times”. And, whilst it’s true that one shouldn’t depend on a relationship with another to get “peace of mind”, there’s certainly a mass concept out there that being in a relationship gives one a sense of security. That sense could be fucked up, or it could be real, but either way, it comes from the self.


“What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she's a stranger.”

Many levels to this initial seemingly throwaway line.


“Clementine: This is it Joel. It's going to be gone soon.

Joel: I know.

Clementine: What do we do?

Joel: Enjoy it.”


“I ran back to the bonfire, trying to outrun my humiliation, I think.”


“I don't need nice. I don't need myself to be it, and I don't need anybody else to be it at me.”


“How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! / The world forgetting, by the world forgot / Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! / Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.”
 

(100) Days Of Bummer

Explanation: Friday 7th July was my last day of full-time work for 100 days. I have taken some leave…. and as it turns out, after I do the maths, it is exactly 100 days before I have to go back to my 8-5 job.

I have taken this leave because I am at a standstill in my life. I am hoping it is a crossroads, but at this stage it’s too foggy to see any roads.  After reaching a significant (decimal system) age, I have tried for two-and-a-half years to get my life into an area of contentment, but have only encountered failures mixed with personal tragedies that seem to have made things worse (I will probably expand on these over the course of the 100 days). I am now at a stage where I am not getting any pleasure out of the things I normally get enjoyment from, where I have been diagnosed as being in a depressive state, and am struggling to see where to go to next.

So what do I decide to do about it? Well, blog about it, of course. At best, I can hopefully keep track of thoughts, and try to steer clear of wasted days.

Winston Churchill (who suffered from the black dog himself) famously said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Let’s see which direction I have to take to get clear….

Date A Guy Who Watches Films



You should date a guy who watches films.

Date a guy who watches films. Date a guy who spends his money going to the cinema instead of going to the cricket, who has problems with lounge room feng shui because he has too many DVDs. Date a guy who knows what is coming out in cinemas over the next 12 months, who has reviewed movies ever since he was 12.

Find a guy who watches films. You’ll know that he does because he will always be distracted when walking past any cinema or film poster. He’s the one looking through the DVD shelves in either the big chain or art-house bookstore, the one who does a quiet fist-pump when he has found the Ingmar Bergman rare movie he has been wanting for years. You see that weird guy re-arranging some of the DVDs on the top shelf? That’s the film watcher. They can never resist putting a misplaced DVD in its correct place (alphabetized or other).

He’s the guy sitting on his own in the local cinema. If you take a look at the seat next to him, you’ll see that he’s put his bag/snacks/movie magazines on it, because he’s used his free double pass to buy both seats (as none of his friends were available or interested in the new Sam Mendes movie). If the trailers have started, he’s already lost in a world of cinematic possibilities. Sit down. He might give you a glance, to make sure that you haven’t got your phone turned on, or have rustling lolly wrappers. Ask him if he’s looking forward to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, when the trailer has finished of course.

Leave him be for the duration of the movie. Unless it’s a frivolous comedy, don’t speak to him until the credits start to roll (and even then, not if there’s an The Avengers-like post-credit sequence).

Let him know what you really think of Lars von Trier. See if he has ever got through all of the Lord Of The Rings films in one sitting. Understand that if he says he understands every one of David Lynch’s films, he’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask him if he loves Bogey or he would ever like to be Bogey.

He will have mapped out your entire life together, scene by scene, within minutes of getting the first sign that you’re interested in him. This is not because he has expectations, but because he can’t help but be creative with his emotional state.

It’s easy to date a guy who watches film. Give him film books for his birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give him the gift of cinema, both in written and digital form. Give him Star Wars blu-rays, Werner Herzog box sets, Wizard Of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition, the latest version of Metropolis with that extra 9 seconds of lost footage restored. Let him know that you understand that cinema is life. Understand that he knows the difference between films and reality but by god, he’s going to try and make his life a little like his favourite film. It will never be your fault if he does.

He has to give it a shot somehow.

Disagree with him. If he understands perspective, he will appreciate your viewpoint, as well as the opportunity to debate the point. He will feel a sense of emptiness if you just agree with him on every film he likes.

Fail him. Because a guy who watches film knows that life more often imitates a Mike Leigh vision as opposed to a Julia Roberts film. Because guys who watch films understand that all things must come to an end, but you can always make a Part II (but never make a sequel that just re-produces what has already past, with no sense of progress). That flawless people never make for interesting narratives. That any character is redeemable, or can make you understand their humanity, as long as he/she/it is written and acted well enough.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Guys who watch films understand that real conversations, relationships and circumstances are never as written or framed as perfectly as they are in the movies (even though he will strive to replicate that magic). The Twilight films are all crap, everyone knows that (not that he’ll admit he paid to see any of them, of course).

If you find a guy who watches films, keep him close. When you find him up at 2AM watching the credits, refill that empty bowl with more chips and ask him what he’s thinking. He may get lost in exposition, giving all the reason why Terrence Malick is not quite as good as Stanley Kubrick, but he will always come back to you. He’ll talk as if the characters in the film are real, because for a while, they always are.

He will want you to try and explain the purpose of Jane Campion movies, or why the minor, more sensitive characters in Nora Ephron movies (e.g. Bill Pullman in Sleepless In Seattle or Steve Zahn in You’ve Got Mail) are the ones that Meg Ryan ignores or rejects in favour of Tom Hanks. You may never be able to give an answer that satisfies him, but he will appreciate your insight.

He will propose using Mr. Darcy’s speech from that scene in Pride and Prejudice. Or whilst re-enacting some cheesy scene from a John Hughes movie. Or very casually on the couch after watching either Dirty Dancing or Brief Encounter (depending on whose choice it is that night) for the 42nd time. He just won’t do it publicly, because that’s so cheesy and clichéd!

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. He will introduce your children to Miyazaki and Buster Keaton, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and he will quote Woody Allen or Kevin Smith under his breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a guy who watches film because you deserve it. You deserve a guy who can colour your world with his imagination and insight. If you can only give him Katherine Heigl flicks and Sex and the City sequels, and only want to watch movies that are in colour and not subtitled, then you’re better off alone. If you want romance and depth and infinite compassion, date a guy who watches film.

Or better yet, date a guy who directs films. (But never date an actor or producer, because they’re usually wankers!)