Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Don't Look into My Eyes, Look at My Boobs

Walking on the street in London, nobody looks into your eyes.  But at your boobs, yes.

Do you know how that feels?  Humiliating. There is no celebration, no "Hi, sexy!" to make me feel good in return.

What are my options?

1. Kill myself
2. Kill everybody else
3. Take it as a compliment.

Joking aside, what hurts is that I just heard option 1 from one of the most beautiful women I ever seen. She will have her breasts reduced by surgery on Monday.  She cried when she said that.

"I am not a bimbo. I worked so hard to prove I am an intelligent person. And no matter what I wear, I still see their eye line going straight here", she says, pointing at her beautiful chest. "I want to be treated like a normal person."  Will surgery remove her feeling of humiliation?

In a country where women are not celebrated, except after hours when people get drunk, it is not easy to learn to celebrate yourself. There is a sense of shame or unease about dressing up and showing your body. I grew up in a Latin, sunshine country. My confidence as a woman came from compliments, from being celebrated, on the street and elsewhere by men complimenting me openly, with words or admiring glances (which included my eyes and face, by the way).

Coming to England, my confidence was shaken by the total lack of celebration of my womanhood - at least by sober people. There were no compliments, no Womens' Day, no feeling good about being a woman, let alone a young, pretty one.

If anything, there was something more akin humiliation, shame and being ignored.

If a man liked me, he invited me to the pub - and since I don't drink, I never got to hear the compliments that come after drinking, in the pub.

When I started working, after grueling years in university for top marks in Software Engineering and Politics, the new employers looked at me and my dress with suspicion, and one asked me in an interview: "Do you like working with men?" I said "I like men" - but my voice was frozen, and so was the rest of me.  There was nothing more intimidating than being one of the three women in an office full of men. Who would rarely speak to me, but would eye up my body and clothes. And I can really work well and hard. I run a team (of men) now.

Now, after many years, I learned my mantras. When I walk in a new office (full of men) I say in my head "They'll get used to it" - and I carry on wearing dresses and showing my cleavage. I am the one to get used to it. I sigh with relief every time a Latin man, an East European, or an African one comes along and gushes compliments at me, in and out of the office (or the pub). After all, we are both celebrating women, in a simple and necessary way.

Yes, I need compliments. We all do. It's our way of saying "Thank God for women".  What's wrong with that?  What is the point of feeling shamed by the society around us for having a woman's body, and boobs?  What's wrong with celebrating them?

I am still trying to persuade her not to have the boob job. I think she'll need the other options: 2. Kill everybody else - or 3. Take it as a compliment - and celebrate it.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Politics of Fashion - When Men Were Men and Women Were Women

“In those days men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 

How free is free choice?  How free are we, when we think we choose how we live our lives?  And how much do we actually choose things that other people choose, so we fit in, or that our group believes are good for you, or that are sold to us as free choice, but the consequences of not making that choice are dire?

Women are free to choose to wear scarves.  Or not to.  Or to wear short sleeves. But what are the consequences? Will I be safe if I wear short sleeves?  Will her sister get married or get a job if she doesn't wear the scarf, or gives up wearing it?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

I am a Woman and a Priest

There are no women priests in the Christian Orthodox church, so I go to Church when it's empty. I am my own priest, and I am a woman.

The first teachers of the Christian Church were women. In their homes, they gathered people and taught the new religion, spreading it. 

You can see these first women priests in the catacombs of Rome from 100 AD, where are the oldest Christian frescoes and mosaics. One mosaic shows the face of a woman with the word "Episcopa" around it - meaning "woman bishop".

Jesus never said that women are dirty or not worthy of being a priest, of entering the church or the altar, like the Christian Orthodox church says.

This is a political statement, made by those who decided to use the new church for political purpose. Men were leading the politcal life - all due respect, politics is hard work. When Christianity became widely spread and strong enough to influence a critical number of people, they decided to take over the leadership of this new social movement. So they decided to exclude women from being Christian priests at the Council of Nicea.

Coming back to the idea that "woman is dirty", which is why she is excluded from the altar and from priesthood, this is based on the menstrual blood, considered "dirty".

If you ever have the courage to taste it, you will see that it tastes exactly like the blood of your finger, when you cut yourself by accident. It is the same blood that flows through your veins, and those of any man.  There is no other "dirt" in it. I tasted it. In fact, I challenge you here and now to taste it, if you still believe that your period makes you, or any woman, inferiour and impure. It is a relic idea left from un-higienic times, that has not been brought up to date. And don't get me started on virginity, Mary and condoms.

Jesus never forbade any woman who had her period to enter the Church - just read the Bible. And anyway, it wasn't him who wrote it, but other men, later, from their memories and their point of view. I mean, what, He called to Him the blind, the prostitutes, He brought back Lazarus from the dead, but to women on their period He said - "Sorry, not you!"?

As to the idea that sex is dirty and sexual pleasure a sin, this was introduced by Saint Augustine, not Jesus. Augustine was a man who loved women, and not only one. From some reason (probably love hurt), he became a monk and an ascetic, and he wrote some very persuasive books about giving up the pleasure of sex - making it a sin.

This idea became dogma, because he wrote a lot and well - "it's written". His advantage was that he wrote at a time when few wrote, and little was kept. Had he written on Facebook, instead of ecclesiastical tomes, would anybody had paid any attention?  ("It's written - on Facebook"?!)

For Augustine, this was a way to vent. "These nasty women", that he loved so much, were sour grapes, and he made them responsible for this "sin".

The Bible and Christian dogma is a bit funny for its contradictions. Elsewhere in the Bible there is the Song of Songs, one of the most beautiful of love poems of the time - both soulful and erotic:

"Wear me on your breast like a seal, wear me on your arm like a bracelet".

(This is from a Romanian version - reading the English translations it's "heart" not "breast", amusingly. Anyway, the Song mentions "breasts" many times.)

Now that we clarified the "woman" bit, let's get on to the "woman priest".

I believe God lives in my soul, and I cannot give this responsibility to someone else. Because nobody knows better than me what is in my soul, what the Divine voice and my intuition whispers to me.  For me, it is a poet (yes, a man), who said it best:

"I want to dance, as I have never danced before!
I don't want God to feel,
inside me,
a prisoner in chains!"
(L. Blaga)

When I listen to this inner voice of my soul, I become my own priest. And I am a woman. My friends come to me to tell me their woes and to find solace, understanding, forgiveness.  I am their confessor.

Rarely have I found a priest to say to me anything more fitting than this voice. And those I did find, told me to go somewhere quiet, maybe in nature, or somewhere where I can be alone and meditate, and to listen to my inner voice, which will lead me. The priest didn't take this on himself.

So when I say I am a priest and a woman, I listen to and appreciate the voice of my divine intuition, and my body, capable to create, to enjoy, to be strong.

And to finish, a joke:

In a monastery comes a novice and finds out they copy the holy books from other copies. He goes to the Abbot and says:
"Father, what if there was a mistake in the first copies, and we keep copying it?"
"It's not possible, we are careful!" - but the priest goes to check anyway. A few days later, the monks get worried:
"Where is the Abbot?"
So the go and look for him, and they look, and they look, until at length they find him in the lowest cellar, the one where they keep the original of the Holy Book. They find him in tears, banging his head against the book.
"What happened, Father?"
"It was 'Celebrate', not 'Celibate'!"...

Links – Bibliography:
BBC Documentary: Divine Women, Bettany Hughes,
Lucian Blaga, Poemele Luminii (1919) – Vreau sa joc: 
Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch (1970)
Alexandra Chiriac si Madalina Vaidescu, conversations

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Sunt Femeie si Preot

In Biserica Ortodoxa nu sunt femei preot, drept pentru care ma duc la biserica cand e goala.  Imi sunt propriul preot, si sunt femeie.

Primii propovaduitori ai bisericii crestine au fost femei. La ele acasa, au strans lume si au povestit despre noua religie, raspandind-o.

In catacombele din Roma de la anul 100 AD, unde sunt cele mai vechi fresce si mozaice crestine, le poti vedea pe primele femei preot. Un mosaic arata chipul unei femei cu inscriptia “Episcopa”.

Isus nu a spus niciodata ca femeia ar fi murdara sau nedemna de a fi preot, de a intra in biserica sau in altar.

Aceasta e o afirmatie politica, pe care au inceput sa o faca cei care au hotarat sa foloseasca noua biserica cu scop politic. Barbatii erau cei care conduceau politica - tot respectul, politica e treaba grea.  Cand crestinismul a devenit indeajuns de raspandit si puternic pentru a avea o influenta asupra unui numar critic de oameni, ei au hotarat sa preia conducerea acestei noi miscari sociale.

Drept urmare, la Sinodul de la Niceea au hotarat excluderea femeilor din randul preotilor crestini.

Revenind la idea ca “femeia e murdara”, pe baza careia e exclusa si din altar si de la a fi preot, baza acestei afirmatii este sangele menstrual, considerat “murdar”. 

Daca vei avea vreodata curajul sa il pui pe limba, vei constata ca are acelasi gust ca sangele care iti curge din deget cand te tai din greseala. Este acelasi sange care iti curge si tie si oricarui barbat prin vene. Nu are nici o alta “murdarie”. Eu am incercat. De fapt, te provoc aici si acum sa il gusti, daca inca mai crezi ca ciclul face femeia, si pe tine, inferioara si impura.  O idee relicva ramasa din timpuri ne-igienice, ne adusa la curent.

Isus, in Biblie, nu a interzis nici unei femei la menstruatie sa intre in biserica. Si oricum, nu el a scris Biblia, ci alti barbati, mai tarziu, din amintiri si din punctul lor de vedere. Adica, cum vine asta: Isus a chemat la el pe orbi, pe prostituate, l-a sculat din morti pe Lazar, si femeilor la ciclu le-a zis, "Pardon, voi, nu!" ?

Cat despre idea ca sexul ar fi ceva murdar si placerea sexuala un pacat, asta a fost introdusa de Sfantul Augustin (si nu de Isus). Augustin era un om caruia ii placeau foarte mult femeile, si nu numai una.  Dintr-un motiv (probabil de suferinta in dragoste **), a devenit calugar si ascet, si a scris niste carti foarte convingatoare despre renuntarea la placerea sexului – facand din asta un pacat. 

Pentru ca a scris mult si convingator, aceasta idee a devenit dogma – “e scris”. Avantajul lui a fost ca a scris la un moment cand putini scriau sau putin se pastra. Daca ar fi scris pe Facebook, in loc de tomuri ecleziastice, il mai baga cineva in seama?

Pentru Augustin, asta a fost o defulare. “Nesimtitele astea de femei”, care ii placeau atat de mult, erau strugurii acri, si le-a facut responsabile pentru acest “pacat”.

Biblia si dogma crestina e usor comica prin contradictii. In alta parte a Bibliei e Cantarea Cantarilor, unul din cele mai frumoase poeme de dragoste, sufleteasca si erotica, ale acelui timp:  

Ca pecete pe sânul tău mă poartă, poartă-mă pe mâna ta ca pe o brăţară!”

Acum ca am elucidat partea de “femeie”, sa trecem la “femeia preot”. 

Pentru mine, Dumnezeu salasluieste in sufletul meu, si nu pot sa dau aceasta responsabilitate altcuiva. Pentru ca nimeni nu stie mai bine decat mine ce e in sufletul meu, ce mi sopteste mie vocea divina si intuitia mea. Pentru mine, Blaga (da, un barbat, un poet) e cel care a spus-o cel mai bine:

vreau să joc, cum niciodată n-am jucat!
Să nu se simtă Dumnezeu
în mine
un rob în temniţă- încătuşat.

Atunci cand ascult aceasta voce din adancul sufletului meu, devin preot, imi devin propriul preot. Si sunt femeie.  Prietenele si prietenii vin la mine sa isi spuna pasurile si sa gaseasca alinare si iertare, intelegere. Le sunt duhovnic.

Foarte rar am aflat un preot care sa imi spuna ceva mai potrivit decat ce imi spune aceasta voce a sufletului. Si cand am aflat acest gen de preot, mi-a spus sa ma duc undeva unde sa fiu in liniste, poate in natura, sau in alt loc de singuratate si meditatie, si sa imi ascult vocea launtrica, care ma va calauzi. Nu el, preotul - nu el si-a asumat acest rol.

Asa ca atunci cand spun ca sunt femeie si preot, imi ascult si apreciez vocea intuitiei divine, si si corpul meu capabil de a creea, de a se bucura, de a fi puternica.

Si ca sa inchei, un banc:

Intr-o manastire vine un novice si afla ca textele sfinte se copiaza dupa alte copii. Se duce la staret si ii spune: "Taica staret, daca s-a strecurat vreo greseala in prima copie, si noi tot copiem aceeasi greseala?" "Nu se poate, suntem atenti", spune staretul, dar totusi coboara sa verifice. Dupa cateva zile, calugarii se ingrijoreaza: "Unde e taica staret?" Incep sa il caute, si il cauta, si il cauta, pana il gasesc in beciul cel mai de jos, cel de taina, unde e pastrat originalul cartii sfinte. Il gasesc pe staret in lacrimi, dandu-se cu capul de carte. "Ce s-a intamplat?", il intreaba. "Era 'celebrat', nu 'celibat'!"...

Links – Bibliografie:
BBC Documentary: Divine Women, Bettany Hughes,
Blaga, Poemele Luminii (1919) – Vreau sa joc:
Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch (1970)
Alexandra Chiriac si Madalina Vaidescu, conversatii

Dancing with the Blind, on Whales and Bad Accents

I wrote this over a night of dancing, a night of surprise, harmony, and laughter.

I am at a dance class, a dance I know, so I am sitting down, watching, until the social dance starts after the lesson. It's cold, how else. I am not very inspired when I'm cold and have not danced, but never mind.


Now I'm a new woman. I danced, the first time since the New Year. I got a few gremlins out of my system.

It's very funny to go dancing, and sometimes sublime, or somewhere in between. 

One of the guys dances like a grasshopper, jumping around with bent legs, just like an insect.
Another one looks like he is moving wardrobes - I make a mental note to avoid him. It's a couple dance - I'd be the wardrobe!

None of them has any idea of how he looks like, or how much I am giggling in my head, or with my girlfriends if we go together. Usually I go by myself, since one of them let me down, and I decided that passion matters more than being accompanied.

Back to boys. One of them tells me that "you look like you can be made love to", to which I obviously say - "Absolutely!" - but I don't give him my phone number. Which is good, because he starts on some spectacular moves to show me what he can do - he lifts me in the air. This is rare and high skill, because without skill we can both fall flat on our faces. (It wouldn't be the first time.)  He gives me back my shaky confidence, as I often forget that some like me just the way I look, and that they also come "in my size". 

It's great to be lifted up, on time, on the beat, with full balance and control. Both I and him need to know what we are doing, I need to hold on to his shoulders to control my weight and balance, and to bend my knees around his, so we don't hit someone else, and for aerodynamics. Practically, together we become a spindle that tuns for a second or two in the air, and then we come back down on our own, personal feet, on the beat, in time for the next move. It's fab!

I am wearing my black work trousers, trainers and a long-sleeved top - OK, with a cleavage, but that's it. Dancers know each-other by the face and its expression. Anyway, I invite, I choose.

At the quiet end of the bar I see something very strange. A cane. Someone sits with a big stick in his hand, although he is sitting down. I stop to look closer. He is blind. He nods his head to the beat, he likes the music. He has a small, tiny woman with him, who talks to him. I feel something in my chest, something that tastes salty, like tears, the tears when I cannot dance. 

I carry on looking over - there are a few "good-lookers" that are looking at me from the bar, but I am not interested. I danced with men without a hand, old and frail, short, obese, sweaty like freshly fished out of a lake, smelly or perfumed, but a blind man, I have never seen one at a dance. Only in London. I look at him - he doesn't bob about, but I can see the tip of his shoes flicking up and down like the tip of the tail of a cat at ready - so he can dance, he knows something. 

You know good dancers when they are standing aside, because they don't bob about. Usually they stand without moving at all, or they give out minute signs. The less a man knows how to dance, the more they jump around, wiggling, usually with a beer in their hand. To avoid. One, they are annoying, two, they spill the beer.

The girl beside the blind man has left, he is alone. The floor around him is free, safe. I hike up my courage, I'll try. Who knows. I go and touch his elbow, and I ask if he dances. Yes!

Remarkable, he gets up, and he really knows. A little off-beat, but this has nothing to do with sight - but he knows how to dance, even with hand-led turns - he anticipates my moves, he leads, he knows what he is doing. I am near tears. Most people were standing with their back to him. I too know what it's like to be "different" and excluded. And I know what it's like to be given a chance!  He is blind, invisible, but he exists, and he can dance - which I couldn't have imagined. 

I remember the African man with an impossible accent that I insisted to my boss that we hire. He could write impeccable English, and he knew how to do the job. My boss passed him on to me, as only I was willing to try and understand what he was saying. I even told the man of an accent training course after a while, and he wasn't offended.  I don't think he has taken it yet... He was cute, he kept kissing me on the cheek whenever I helped him - nobody has ever kissed me in the office, neither before or after.

I go back to the "action", and I bump into a guy that I vaguely remember to be good. We dance, he is excellent. He holds me in the close embrace, with my cheek on his and my nose in his big, curly, Brazilian hair. It's a gorgeous hold to dance in, but it's also very precise - any hesitation, any trip-up, you feel it straight away. He dances with small steps and fluid, contained moves. I close my eyes, because this way I feel his body precisely, and I know which way he will go, and I have the clear sensation that we have become together an animal with four legs, totally co-ordinated, who know exactly how to fit together - I step between his feet, he between mine. An animal that moves to the music, feet that step to the rhythm. And curly, soft fur. 

I read somewhere about the sound waves that guides whales or dolphins when they migrate from one sea to another, on long distances between continents - the song of the whales. Or something like that. This is like the song that I and him, with our four legs, are moving to, right now. There are some guys in the front with accordions playing it. 

He lets me go, and I look around for another. There is a short latino, curly hair and tanned skin, who dances with a very tall girl. It's funny, his nose reaches her cleavage. He doesn't abuse it, but it's still funny - and he keeps going back to her, although partners are rotating. 

One of the boys is restful, we dance something slow, and he tells me it's called "xote". In his arms I take a deep breath and relax. Each dancer is different. 

I dance with another one, and it is as easy as if I was swimming and there are sea water waves, pulsating softly to the rhythm, but yielding to my touch after a delicate resistance of a milli-second. A totally invisible guy otherwise, bald or shaven, with a grey t-shirt, short and puny. It doesn't matter, it's the sensation that matters to me.

These are all sensations. I forget the men whose arms I've been in, dancing, and the sensations, but somewhere their harmony remains, a longing when it isn't there, a flow when it is. They are all different sensations, and different degrees of harmony, but when I can close my eyes and perfectly co-ordinate with someone else, with another body, and with music, this is the closest thing to flying. I mean, comfortable flying, pleasant and restful, not on a broomstick without gas, in the rain, with altitude drops.

I head to the corner where I left my coat, to leave, and there are 2-3 guys sitting down and talking among themselves. At least one is a body-builder and he looks spectacular, but he doesn't seem at ease, "gabble-gabble" in a corner, with everybody else around dancing, in sweaty ecstasy, with skirts flowering around them. 

It's a relaxed dance, forro, the girls come in flats, some dance barefoot. It's a beach music, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, rhythmical with a drum and a triangle.

Sometimes I remember them, and after 10 years we recognise each-other. These are those with high chemistry - good dancers and compatible, and if there is sexual attraction, all the better. There isn't every time - there can be harmony without sexual chemistry, pure compatibility of the way to move and understanding the music, or to feel it in our bodies. Because when we dance we are not thinking - we know the steps, the muscles and elements of our bodies answer directly to the music and to the other body connected to mine in dance. We feel the music in our stomach, in our hips, in our feet, in our shoulders.

I know who to dance with, and whom to avoid. There is something in the eyes. I know, at parties, those isolated dancers sitting down obediently next to their prematurely aged husbands or wives, who eat and drink and chat, oblivious to the tingle pulsing through their partner's body to the beat of the music. I see that pulse in their eyes, the keen, attentive look they have, searching the empty dance floor for an excuse to get up, for a rescuer, or watching intently the feet and bodies of dancers, for tips on new moves.

When I go dancing, I watch for that keen, intent look. It's settled but willing, open, a look that says to me "Let's have some fun together", "Don't you love this song?", "Don't you love this beat?", "Let's enjoy it together."

You can't dance this alone. Or you can, but it's less than half the fun.

You know a dancer by the smile in their eyes and sometimes on their face. It's a "Let's play" smile.

And there's a difference to the chat-up, assessing look. The one that says "I want to eat you", "I want to grab you and show you how good I am in bed". The sleazy look, or the over-saturated look of lonely fantasising, hoping you may just take them on for the night.

You want to be in the arms of the dancer who'd close his eyes, even for a second, and take a deep breath, breathe in the pleasure of music and of their own body, swimming on its harmony. A synchronous swim that moves your body together with his, out of their own volition and independent of what you say to yourself in your mind - if anything at all.

If you are curious, here's the music and where to dance it -

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A Country Full of Crying Schoolgirls

I was supposed to be a 10 mark schoolgirl ("o fata de nota 10"). All thorough my first year at school I only got a 10 out of 10. This was what was expected of me. And then the catastrophe happened: I got my first 9, in my second year. That day I cried all the way home.

I tell this to many of my girlfriends, and they reply "Me too". We all cried for getting 9 out of 10. We still do.

When I came to the UK and I got my first essay back, it was an A - 80%.  I was furious. I had a 1 hour long argument with my teacher after class - "What's wrong with it?".  What is missing?  He tried very hard to explain to me this was a top mark, but I was having none of it. Why didn't he give me 100%?  I had failed.

I am 35 now - 25 years later - and whenever I make a mistake, especially at work, I tell myself  "I am stupid". When someone else tells me I make a mistake, it's 100 times worse. I lose sleep. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop apologizing. It should have never happened.

I am still crying for the 9 mark.

It's only very recently that I came to think about what a 9 mark means. It really means that I worked as hard as to bring it up from 0 all the way to 9.  It really means there is only 1 missing to bring it up to a 10. It really means 1 is a very small thing in proportion to 9. It means I have done really well, and maybe that missing 1 is really not that important. Maybe it's OK to do a 9-mark job. It still means you have done a hell of a lot of work.

This Christmas I took a photo of my best painting with my phone - only I got one edge wonky.  I agonised for two weeks to take another perfect photo, so I can use it to make my Christmas cards - until it was the last day to get them printed on time. So I did the un-imaginable: I cropped the photo!  So what came out was a beautiful Christmas card - and only I knew it's a 9-mark job. 

I keep it on my desk, to remind myself what a 90%, 9-mark, "mistaken" job looks like.  I like it.

Here it is - you won't know the difference:

Monday, 10 November 2014

Why I Don't Like Diamonds

By a bride-to-be

Getting married in London.  I am five foot tall - a meter and a half. I try on wedding dresses, they are wider than I am tall. I can barely walk in them, let alone dance or feel sexy.  And they cost more than a buggy or a beach holiday.

I am expected to:
  • Think this is the best day of my life – unlike the day, say, when my baby is born (each one of them), or unlike the day I recover from that hideous, life and sanity-threatening illness
  •  Wear a massive white dress that starts at £400, takes a few months to find, to try on and to adjust
  • Buy new bridal shoes – god forbid I look in my wardrobe!
  • Get a diamond ring from my fiancée, to the order of a few thousand pounds
  •  Have a massive party, also to the order of a few thousand pounds, that takes me a few hassled months to organise and zooms by in a couple of hours
  • As a bride, it’s really my job to organise it, and the groom is free to dip in and out of the whole coordination exercise when he feels like it
  •  Get my guests to pay a hefty sum for the privilege, perhaps even travel abroad or book hotel rooms to come to my wedding.

Now, I walk down the street, and all the women have the same straightened hair, the same handbag, the same black coat – and the same diamond ring.

My wedding planners expect me to have a flower-swamped, colour-coordinated party of over 100 people that will cost over £5,000.  They come back to me dejected with smelly, far-away party halls I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, because, they say, that’s all you can get for my budget of £3k.

Honestly, I am giving up.

I like a party, but I want to turn up and have some fun, not fret and swear for months trying to organise it. It’s only one day, for God’s sake!

I would like to have a party with all my friends and family, and with those of my man’s, but I want to feel happy about it. As it stands, I feel frustrated. 

My partner is totally relaxed about it. He “just” wants specific food from his country, because, he says, that’s the only thing that people remember. I want a good dance. 

As it stands, we either have to go over budget, or take a cramped, far-away location with cooks that swear they will cook the authentic recipes of our countries. Right!...

Now, I don’t see the point in spending the money either. I am planning babies and buying a house. That’s what my savings are for. I never budgeted to save half of my yearly salary for a one-day party, in an uncomfortable dress, that looks like any other bride’s dress. I just don’t see the point. 

So the last decision is to have the party at home, with just as many people as will fit inside and move on. Or maybe two parties, one with family, one with friends. I relax just thinking about it. 

I bought a £20 white office dress in a sale and it actually fits me, let alone that I can also move in it. I thing that’s exactly the price it’s worth, for a dress that I will only wear once, and maybe one more time on a beach holiday. I mean, how often do we wear white dresses, during the 2-week summers of London?  Since I bought it, I saw a picture of Dita Van Teese’s wedding dress: purple. Now that’s more like it.

So there: I am looking now for a delivery service to bring me food from the tiny authentic restaurants at the edges of the metropolis. 

And I forbid my man to buy me a diamond. Get me a holiday to Bali instead, or to Madagascar. It will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I won’t be afraid to lose it in a swimming pool. And I won’t look like all the other women, all with the same diamond ring. 

Why would I wear or want a diamond?  So De Beers, the diamond monopoly holders, can stay in business, with this made-up tradition?  My mother doesn’t have a diamond engagement ring. Just a plain band.  

Why would I wear a diamond?  So other men can say “that’s a small diamond”, and calculate how much money my husband has?  Remembering the size and price of their wife’s ring? (Really, one of my friends heard that remark from her boss on showing off her new engagement ring.)  The same men who used to ask me, “What does your father do?” and I’d answer, “My mother, not my father, …”  

Why would I wear a diamond?  So my man can weigh in money and carats his love for me?

A friend of mine has received a large diamond-and-gold set from her in-laws. She doesn’t remember where she put it in the house. She can’t really wear it to the office or to the playground. I ask her why she doesn’t put it in holding at a bank safe?  “Why, so I can pay for having it?”, comes her answer.

That’s why I don’t like diamonds.

I told this to a friend – and her answer came back in an SMS: you don’t like them? Give them to me!