February 21, 2015

Long distance friendships - a crash guide

Friendship upkeep is hard. It's hard for anyone who lives close to their friends. It's about a million times more difficult if your friends live on the opposite side of the globe. But albeit being sometimes frustrating and tiring, having and keeping good friends is the most important pursuit in our social lives. It's more important than finding a partner. It's more important than keeping in touch with relatives you have nothing in common. Without friends, our lives are bland. They're empty and boring and lonely.

As with everything, friendships are sometimes borne out of necessity. Say for example you live in a small town with only a limited amount of kids your age. You become friends, but once you're off to school you realise how different you are and that there are people out there who are a better fit for you both. This cycle repeats itself a few times in our lifespan. But there are a handful of precious people who will never have to compete with anyone else. People who you stay close with even if you are a million miles away. The type of human you wouldn't mind spending every minute with, but it's not a big deal if you don't.

If there is one thing I could write a book about, it is how to keep a friendship going over months and months of travel. Moving away permanently is a harder blow for a friendship, because there is no time line, no end date, no return flight. But I have seen more friendships disintegrate over a few months of travel than I have over years of not living in the same country. There are the hurdles of time differences, sloppy wifi and a general "fuck it" attitude of the runaway. A mild case of "FOMO", regret and loneliness for the homie. Combine that with a lack of communication and you have a potent toxin sinking slowly into the blood stream of your friendship.

So, for the sake of saving millions of BFFs around the globe, here is my LDF (long distance friendship) crash guide! 

Simple channels

For the homie
Please get a smartphone. Without a smartphone you will hear from your friend maybe two to three times a year via letter or pigeon. Once you have a smartphone, install some apps.

For the runaway
Please take a smartphone and install all of the below apps:
Whatsapp, Facebook and Skype. (Whatsapp??? You may now scream the word "SPIES" in your head. If you're scared of spying, don't get a smartphone. The end.)

They're all you need. Phew...that was easy

Easy on the pressure

For the homie
This is the hardest part, homie. I know you miss her, I know you probably want nothing more than to share a bottle of wine with her and talk about life and love and the weirdness that is adulthood. And her replies to your hilarious (if sometimes a bit whiny) messages are few and far between, which makes you angry and sad at times. But please understand, this lady is out there meeting new faces everyday, seeing new mind blowing places and most of all is trying to be careless.

Internet connection is a luxury that she uses for maybe 10 minutes a day, trying to catch up on sharing some of her photos and to tell her mum and dad she is OK and equally free of STDs and babies. She will reply and you will catch up on Skype and she will probably have far more stories to tell than you. And then you won't hear form her for two or three weeks. But trust me when I say she hasn't forgotten you and if she could, she would share most of these experiences with you. So please, homie, don't pressure her. Don't send sarcastic messages about how she doesn't care at all about home, homie and everyone who loved her through those years of being a psychopathic teenager. Don't send accusatory emails in which you prompt her to spend more time writing to you. She won't write to you more. She will just feel guilty and pressured and book another flight to Mexico to prolong her right to be slutty and careless. (Edit: Never be slutty and careless at the same time! One after the other I say...one after the other.)

For the runaway
Yep, runaway. Despite me defending you in a huge paragraph above, you still need to get your act together. I am not asking you do be in a two hour messaging extravaganza every night with your homie. But just send a message. Maybe once every week. You remember how members of human society structure their time, right? Seven days make a week. So once every seven days, send a message to your friend. Even if the adventures of the previous week were slightly less exciting than the ones from a fortnight ago, wrap them in a nice little text. Maybe add a photo.

But it's not all about you and your life, runaway. Your homie needs some friendship stuff too. You know, support. Advice. A virtual drinking buddy. Someone to angry cry to when the stupid hairdresser went scissor crazy. Remember that being a friend isn't tainting your experience right now, even if you're sometimes not in the mood to talk on a crackly connection. It should have the opposite effect, it should elevate all your adventures. And it will keep you in line too! (AKA She'll remind you to stay away from American guys, slut!) And most of all it ensures you won't regret your decision to travel further down the track, because you made an effort to have something worthwhile to come back to.

Save some exclusivity

For the homie Ok, I know it's hard but don't let your best friend find out everything exciting in your life via public facebook statuses and Instagram posts. Try and bottle the excitement over a new job or your amazing marathon score or anything else you would usually call your amiga for and hold off sharing it on social media. Just a little while. Ok, ok. I know, we're all about instant gratification, so this is super hard. As an alternative and if you're about to explode, send an email or a whatsapp message first, then post it on facebook. The truth is, your friend won't mind on which platform she reads it first, as long as she knows you have gone through the effort of sending a separate message meant for her eyes only.

For the runaway 
This one is easy for your, runaway. You've made out with more dudes in the past six months than you have in your life. You've taken more photos than you have in your entire life (maybe of said dudes, maybe of something more scenic). You have a ton of homie-classified, explicit information. Now you just need to take five minutes out of your day to type it up and send it off!

Make time

For the homie and the runaway
Fleeting Skype conversations and snap shots are important to keep each other up to date. They are like the snack foods of communication - light, quick and satisfying. But you need to make time for something more substantial. You'll be craving a greasy and carb loaded plate of information being shoved from one side of the world to the other. You need those happy tears, those sad tears, the gossip, the whinging, the laughter and the love. But you need to plan ahead for those big meals. They require a bit of effort, cooking time and a hint of love. So here's my advice: Once a fortnight set aside an hour. Make it so in case there is a huge time difference between homie's and runaway's location, neither of you are super tired or in a major rush to get somewhere. Open a bottle of wine each. And then go for it. I promise you will not leave this restaurant dissatisfied. 

Safe travels everyone! And may runaway and homie stay united through gap years and relocations and live happily ever after.

images via pinterest

February 08, 2015

Do you have garment amnesia?

From time to time I feel the urge to wear a smart casual pants and shirt outfit.
I choose from the vast selection of pants in my closet and wonder why, oh why I don't wear them more often. Confidently strutting out the door, I feel as light as an Alexa or an Elin.
But then, two hours into wearing those pantalones my positive attitude disappears and the painful fact resurfaces: Pants just aren't for me. They cut into the wrong bits and accentuate what is already getting too much air time. They give me camel toes or find their ways into my butt, where they reside happily ever after unless I tirelessly pluck and pluck and pluck. They are either a little too short or a little too long and they always stretch into an unsightly shape that does nothing for my rock hard* glutes. Every single time I bend or crouch I have to decide whether I will allow my ass crack to greet every stranger walking past me, or if I should pull those pants up. If I go with the latter (and apparently that's the more acceptable choice), I pull every thirty seconds. Hundreds if not thousands of times a day. Everywhere I go, I am already anxiously anticipating for them to slide back down my hips. Walking through malls, my thoughts evolve around when it's time to put those suckers in their rightful place again, wondering how soon is too soon to make readjustments gracefully by kicking one leg at a time and semi-jumping into them as though I was in a potato sack race. By this point there are people staring at me. Desperately trying to balance my handbag in one and some groceries in the other hand, I am forced to stop regularly to take pants adjustment breaks. And when I finally walk through my front door at night, I have calluses on my hands from all the pulling and friction burn on my hips. It's my personal hell. Just the thought of it makes me anxious. And even though I hate them, I naively and repeatedly give these awful but so smart looking assholes a chance. Time and time again. And the worst part is: I can never remember why I stopped the pants wearing business in the first place until it is already too late...

*glutes not rock hard

So here's my question for you: do you suffer from garment amnesia? Do you too buy and wear clothes you have supposedly sworn off completely? Do you, like me, stand in the change room of your favorite store, thinking to yourself: "Why on EARTH have I not invested in a pair of Wrangler jeans sooner?", to then ($ 200 later) find out that pants pulling and camel toes are still a side effect even with HIGH RISE pants. Why must my beloved high rise jeans turn on me like that? It's an outrage!

But the horror doesn't stop with pants or jeans or any other incarnation of the lower body stray jacket. There are long sleeved cotton shirts. And I am talking about those H&M cotton/elasthan tight long sleeved horror shirts that aren't thick enough to keep you from shivering but somehow still manage to turn your armpits into waterfalls. The discomfort around your shoulders is worse than that time your cool childless aunt got you ready for school and tightened up your backpack straps so much your chest inflated like a helium balloon and you flew off into the sky.

Long sleeved cotton shirts ruined me so much during my alternative puberty-rage fuelled teenage years (we wore them underneath stripey polo shirts with equally ill fitting sleeves), that I still hyperventilate whenever I try on a shirt, blazer or jacket that is cut too narrow for my monstrous Behemoth shoulders. Get it off me! GET! IT! OFF!
And yet...every now and again... I look at a long sleeved dress or shirt on ASOS and happily press the "pay now" button. Hopeless. Amnesia.

But it doesn't stop there either. Think elastic waistbands. Asymmetrical tops. High neck dresses. Everything JERSEY!

And almost immediately after having the idea for this post, I looked at a distressed denim pencil skirt. "It would make the perfect addition to my closet" I thought as I stared at it for an obscene amount of time. Obscene because it was ON a sales assistant, not a mannequin. I have a staring problem. But there was this feeling of discomfort in my gut every time I attempted to buy it. I couldn't pinpoint what made me feel hesitant about this skirt, so of course I ended up in the change room. As per official fitting room procedure, I paid little to no attention to the skirt or how it moved and felt on my body and instead pouted, took selfies, did supermodel poses and fixed my hair. But as expected and despite that weird feeling, I bought it.

And then I wore it and guess what - it rides up. Of course it does. I have solid quads the size of kebab rotisserie meat slabs and a in proportion tiny waist.  How would that piece of cheap fabric not move upwards? It's science, d'uh! And that's not even the worst part. Not only am I now practicing the pull-down discipline every second step I take in this skirt, I have to be quick and vigorous because it comes with a back split. A split so perfectly centered I'm sure it would just blend in with my exposed butt crack after step three. This would be Ok with me, but there are kids around. And creepy dudes. So again I pull from sunrise to sundown and curse myself and swear with both hands lifted over my head that I will never, NEVER buy a midi skirt with a back split again.

Pulling and pulling....

Garment amnesia you guys. Garment fucking amnesia. I swear to God I have been in these situations before, stood in these change rooms before, tucked and plucked and pulled away until I was ready for capitulation and just went naked. Only I was in Austria and approximately 35 years** younger than I am now. And here goes to show that as a human being you absolutely do not automatically evolve into a better version of yourself. You can stay just as hopeless as a twenty-something as you were as a teen. And hey, that's ok as long as you can camouflage your weirdness to the point where society accepts you as one of their own. Trickery and quasi-control is what this adult life is about.

And on that note I am off spending money I don't have on clothes I don't really want to wear. :)

**dog years