Category Archives: Relationships

Talk To Me

At work, I come into contact with several people on a daily basis, and sometimes, since some people prefer to wait while having their services done, there is ample opportunity for them to strike up a conversation. It is during those times that I realize that some people have absolutely no problem telling all their business to somebody they don’t even know.

Facebook has taken over, mind you, but some of the things that people tell me, wouldn’t even be detailed there. I would constantly marvel at the fact that they would give me information about themselves and their situations, when all I wanted to accept was their money for services rendered.

I like to think that my face is a fairly pleasant one to look at, but apparently my eyes seemed to have hypnotized them into telling me all. Maybe I missed my calling as a therapist, because I dutifully listen, make the appropriate noises to assure them that I am still listening, and profess outrage when it seems appropriate to do so. They never ask my advice – which is good, because I would have been hard pressed to provide any.

I mean, what do you say to the guy who tells you that he’s interested in a woman, but when he talks to her on the phone to try to get to know her better, she declares that his conversations bore her? I guess you would ask him what it felt like to hang up on somebody who wasn’t worth his time.

Or to the person who tells you that his former girlfriend married someone else very soon after leaving him, but her husband has been in trouble with the law – a few times? Probably, to take his time to find a new girl and that when he did, to be sure to drive by his ex’s house – very slowly.

I’ve always thought though, that people who write into advice columns already know the answers to the questions they’re asking.

Such as, “My boyfriend says that he doesn’t believe in marriage. I’ve been dreaming about walking down the aisle since I was a little girl. Should I fool myself into thinking that I’ll be the one to change his mind?”

Or, “Should I tell my friend that her husband is cheating on her? Or should I just call our friendship quits now, because she’ll certainly do that when she eventually finds out?”

How about, “My family doesn’t like the person I intend to marry. Will we be happy even though I’ll blame him when I no longer have contact with them?”

Just this week, after asking how many children I had, a customer declared that she was giving herself until the age of forty-six to have her first child – and she tells me, she isn’t too far away from her deadline. It seemed a strange number to pick, but knowing that she was engaged in studies, I remarked that she had other things that were probably taking first place.

After she left, I wondered how successful she was going to be in her quest at motherhood, and I was thinking that maybe I should have gotten some more details. Like, did she actually have a boyfriend? If not, how was she going to meet her goal? And what would happen if things didn’t work out for her as they had for Halle Berry, whom she mentioned, and who at forty six recently had her second child.

But I’m sure she didn’t want me all up in her business. She just wanted to talk.

Are you okay, Madame?

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Valerie Trierweiler and Francois Hollande
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If only all of us had the luxury. Of checking into the hospital for “rest and a few tests” when we get wind that our significant other has been stepping out on us. But most of us have to actually get on with our lives and go to work the next day.

I’m not making light of the fact that Valerie Trierweiler, who is the partner of France’s president Francois Hollande, was seemingly unable to deal with the “shock” of finding out that he was having an affair with a French actress – because not everyone processes bad news in the same way. And having worked for years as a journalist herself, she knew that her unfortunate circumstance would have been the story of the day.

It was expected that she would be released from the hospital a few days after she was admitted, but she might need a few more days to recover. Or to get over the embarrassment of having everyone else find out. Because if we are to believe from certain sources, that there were evenings when the gentleman did not make it home, she should have been smelling the ‘poisson’ long before now.

But one does have to take what the tabloids say with a grain of salt, because the President may have had some late night meetings of which they were not aware, and these may have been what prevented him from arriving home at a decent hour. And since the lady is ensconced in the “madame wing” of the presidential palace, it’s likely that he tried his best not to wake her when he came in late – on his side of the house.

I’m told that more than most, the French are willing to look the other way with regards to infidelity, and marriage seems to be something that quite a few can take or leave. Francois Mitterand, a former president of France even had a second family, something that was well-known but not spoken about in polite company.

But you have to give it to Ms. Trierweiler. She wasn’t inventing any mysterious ailments. She wasn’t claiming exhaustion or dehydration. She said she wanted to go lie down in the hospital and have her pressure taken, because she couldn’t believe that this man to whom she has so far given a good eight years of her life would do her like that.

Anyway, according to a friend, she’s not closing the door on the relationship just yet. It appears the affair may be considered a lapse of judgement – a “whim”, to quote the friend. But the cuckolded lady rightfully wants to know exactly what his intentions are. Well, as we used to say on the night before an exam – “if you don’t know now, you not going to know again”.

But maybe she will. Since she says she doesn’t care for marriage herself, maybe she’ll get something even better.

Crazy in Love

Do you all remember that Diana Ross song from the 80’s entitled “Upside Down”? I was passing a neighbourhood bar and restaurant the other day, and that song was blasting out of the speakers. It brought back memories, and I remember quite well an album cover that featured the singer with her signature flowing hair and red lips.

Now I’ve heard this song multiple times, and sung along to the lyrics just as often, so it surprised me that this time I was struck by the lines, “Respectfully I say to thee/I’m aware that you’re cheating/But no one makes me feel like you do”.

Which told me that in spite of the disrespect, this woman was planning on sticking around.

It’s amazing how you don’t really pay attention to the words when it’s accompanied by a catchy beat. And back then, as a teenager, when this song was popular, I was more concerned about endless love – unfaithfulness never entered my mind.

Some people try to explain tolerating infidelity by saying that the heart wants what it wants. I suppose that’s what Ms. Ross meant when she sang, “There’s a place in my heart for you/That’s the bottom line”, just after she had finished admitting to knowing that her loved one was playing around.

But this guy had charm and great appeal, and used it to his own advantage. He also, she says, instinctively gave to her, the love that she needed. More than likely though, what he instinctively knew, was to tell her what she wanted to hear.

In Beyonce’s 2003 hit, Crazy in Love, she blamed her inability to fight her feelings, on the fact that her pride wasn’t doing its job. Because not even she could understand “just how [his] love can do what no one else can”.

I don’t think she was in competition with anyone else, but maybe the fact that she’s admitted to begging the fellow not to go and calling his name “several times in a row”, should give us some indication of how serious this thing called love is.

But when we put up with certain things that hurt us, we shouldn’t call it love. We should really call it what it is. Crazy.

Spring Cleaning

Once a year, give or take, some of us do what we call spring cleaning – of our closets, our drawers, or the entire house. Most are known to do this around Christmas time prior to putting up the newly bought curtains. I once did it on an Independence Day holiday, but nowadays I do it whenever I have the time.

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It was upon moving to my present home that I realized that I either hadn’t made the time, or I wasn’t doing my cleaning very well because apparently, I never threw anything out. Old curtains that I never re-used, well-thumbed magazines, shoes past their prime, baby blankets long bereft of that I-could-just-eat-you-up-smell, even baby teeth and the first lock of hair. The last two items were probably held for sentimental reasons, but I really can’t explain the rest.

I don’t think I’m entirely to blame. I believe that many of us who grew up in the Caribbean, had parents who, even though they purchased a replacement for an item, would still keep the old one because they never knew when they would have to turn back to it again. I won’t go into the wedding presents that years later have yet to be used, or the “special” items that never came out for the special occasion.

Even in my own household, I still held on to an iron that no longer worked, because I knew that when the electricity went off (as sometimes happens here), I could place it on the stove’s lit burner and iron my clothes. Necessity really is the mother of invention, and I thought that I had come up with that brilliant idea all by myself until I heard that it was called a “goose”, and then I cut off the cord.

Nowadays, when cleaning out my drawers and closets I employ a certain rule. If I haven’t used the item since the last cleaning, it means I don’t need it. If I’ve used it once or twice I will consider keeping it – but getting back into the closet may depend on whatever room is left. This cleansing process is part-stroll down memory lane and part-reality check because you find out how much or how little you have changed – in size, in taste or preferences and in expectations.

I’m thinking that this process of purging could serve many of us well in our relationships too. For some of my clothing items, I had to ask myself what I was thinking when I purchased them. Other items that didn’t fit then, might fit me now, but I had already determined that they would suit someone else better. In tossing them, it has allowed me to make more room for new pieces, while the items that I do keep are the ones that I continue to go back to – time and time again.