The Ex Factor: How Your Friends Help You Survive a Breakup

It’s Saturday night. You’re home, on your third glass of wine, staring hopelessly into a pint of cookie dough ice cream, wishing that something (anything!) would numb this post-breakup pain. Betcha feel like the saddest girl in the world, huh? But just think how much sadder things would be if you were back with your ex ?- a guy who is so unworthy of your greatness. Says who, you ask? Says Greg Behrendt, coauthor of last year’s hit He’s Just Not That into You, and his wife, Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. In their new book, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: A Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy, they show you why you absolutely must put down that tub of Häagen-Dazs and pick up the phone. No, not to call him. To call your friends. Yes, these are the good people who are going to help you get over your heartache and get back in the game.You may not have him, but you have something far more valuable right now ?- your friends. “Great. And my health, right? Oh, I’m so lucky.” We know it sounds corny, but having good friends to call on will get you through the heartbreak you’re feeling more quickly than you thought. Their love and companionship can be a beacon during your darkest hours ?- but believe us when we say that those beacons can go out. You want to take care of your friendships during this time, even as they are taking care of you. When you’re on the other side, there’s nothing worse than ending the relentless chatter of the breakup-obsessed friend who doesn’t listen to your or take your advice. Here’s the thing to remember about your friends: They want you to be happy. They want you to be a in a good, loving, and healthy relationship that inspires you to be the best you can be, not one that is difficult and painful. What’s more, your friends can see your ex and your relationship for what it was ?- warts and all ?- and they probably aren’t buying the rewritten version of the perfect love that you’re pining over.

Six months from now, when you are in a completely different emotional space (if not already in a better relationship), you’ll want to look back on this time and feel good about the way you behaved with the people around you. You won’t want visions of Lily Taylor singing “Joe Lies” and bumming out everyone at the party while her friends exchange uncomfortable glances. (If you haven’t seen Cameron Crowe’s film Say Anything, run, don’t walk, to the video store. But don’t wait for your ex to show up on your lawn with a boom box ?- it’s just a movie.)

We know… your friends are always supposed to be there, but for the love of God, give them a break and stop talking about your ex for one minute! We all have those tapes that play in our head ?- what are they called? Oh yeah, thoughts. But some of them are meant just for you. You don’t have to share every single one of them. In fact, stop listening to yourself! If you pay attention to your negative thoughts, you’re only affirming their validity. Those thoughts are like a bratty child ?- if you pay attention to the bad behavior, it only encourages a bigger tantrum. We say this with the greatest measure of love and empathy, but take a step back and try to understand why you need to make a conscious effort not to subject your friends to endless questions, endless tears, and endless analysis during this time. It’s one thing to get dumped by a guy, but it’s another to get dumped by your friends, because they won’t even have breakup sex with you.

You’re great and your friends all know it. They’re on call, ready and wiling to help you get over that loser who wasn’t right for you. However, right now you are stuck in the Melancholy Vortex of your breakup. It’s an uber-powerful trap that sucks you in and blinds you to all the bad, unhealthy, crapola times that were so glaring in your relationship, and it only plays back loops of the best moments, thus obliterating your sense of why it didn’t work out. It’s like A Clockwork Orange. You’re figuratively stuck in that chair with your eyes held open by those weird eyelash-curler contraptions while movies of the two of you in your happiest times flash through your brain to classical music or Coldplay. Your friends, on the other hand, are saying, “Hey there, Hot, Smart, Happening Lady, why don’t you stop strapping yourself into that chair and come sit with us?” And the reality of it is that if you don’t start actually listening to them and taking their advice, your friends will tire of you. Open your mind to what they have to say, and whatever you do, DON’T blame them for pointing out your ex’s less-than-admirable qualities, or trying to give you a reality check about your less-than-perfect relationship. That’s what they’re there for ?- to help you get up out of that chair and start moving on. In return, you need to set a time limit on how long you’re going to dwell on the past. Try setting the limit at eight weeks. If after eights weeks you still need to talk about it constantly, seek professional help and let your friends off the hook. Or talk to your dog. All the dog hears is “blah, blah, blah…” which ?- take it from us ?- is what you are starting to sound like to your friends.

But what if my friends are wrong?
Q: Dear Greg,
My boyfriend and I broke up three months ago after being together for almost four years. Even though it was a mutual decision, I’m wondering if it was the right one. My friends all think I need to get on with my life because I’ve spend my whole adult life with him (I’m three years out of college, which is where we met). They say I’ve been living in a vacuum and they’re sick of hearing about it and never really liked him that much anyway. But the more I dissect it with them, the more I think they’re wrong and just tired of hearing about it. What do you think?


A: Dear Tamara Never Comes,
Here’s the thing people forget: You are also in a relationship with your friends. These relationships will ultimately prove to be more profound that the one you just came out of, and right now, they are certainly more important. Your friends want what’s best for you, and you need to recognize that they’ve been living through your relationship for as long as you have, because friends care about and share in each other’s lives. So accept their opinions and move on. Not only should you trust your own instincts that getting out of the relationship was the right move, but the fact that your friends are backing your decision should only make you feel better about it. You should also trust your instinct when it tells you your friends are sick of hearing about your breakup. Give it a rest and take advantage of the other great things that good friends have to offer: fun, laughter, clothes to borrow, and best of all, activities that have nothing to do with your ex.

Excerpt from It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy, © 2005 by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola Behrendt. Used with permission from Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House.


Steve Carell is 40 Year Old Virgin

40 year old virginThe mix of hilarious, amazingly rude slapstick with a shrewd observation of human behaviour and honest emotions makes it one of the year’s best comedies. Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler should look to their wilting laurels because Steve Carell can match their raunch but he adds intelligence and careful observation to the mix so that the film touches your heart as well as kicking your funnybone.

Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd.
(116 min.16SL)

This flat-out, in-your-face sex comedy is probably the rudest comedy we are likely to see this year, but it is also one of the funniest. The title more-or-less describes the story. Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is a fairly good-looking, genuinely nice guy who has managed to turn 40 without ever having sex. There’s nothing physically wrong with him and he’s not repulsive. If anything he’s too nice and too concerned about offending any woman he likes, so after a series of missed opportunities he’s more or less settled into a terminal virginity.

When his secret is uncovered by his work buddies, they make it their mission in life to get Andy laid. In the process we are taken on a tongue-in-cheek, whistle-stop tour of the sex lives of the average American male and its messy and silly enough to make us wonder if Andy does not have the right idea about virginity.

The genius of the script is that underneath all the raw and raunchy comedy is a lot of sound good sense about relationships, affection and companionship. That’s the secret of the film’s charm. As the film progresses we get to see more of the lives of Andy’s buddies and they are a sorry lot. David (Paul Rudd) can’t get over a failed relationship. He’s saddled with a sense of failure and despite the fact that girls really like him, the sex he gets does nothing to please or comfort him. He’s getting what he thinks he wants, but in fact the only thing he really wants is someone to love and he had that but lost it. He’s far worse off than Andy is, yet he presumes to be the great sexual maestro.

The same is true of the other two guys Jay (Romany Malco) and Cal (Seth Rogen) who flee from relationships and when they are involved they lie and cheat to preserve the illusion that they are still sex-gods who can go out and have no-strings fun with women whenever they choose. They are dragged through their lives by their dicks and they are rapidly reaching the same age as Andy, and the question is which is worse? To be a 40-year old virgin or to be a 40-year old adolescent with chronic commitment issues?

Despite the parade of willing babes that the friends shove in front of him, Andy forms his own edgy, off relationship with Trish (Catherine Keener) who gives the other great performance in the film. Keener has done sterling work on the independent film circuit, moving from “Being John Malkovich” and “Your Friends and Neighbours” through “Lovely and Amazing” to “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”. She is a resourceful and intelligent actor, who goes right to the emotional core this character. Trish has a failed relationship behind her and a teenage daughter. She’s lonely but wary, but she is also a bit flakey, a woman with weird ideas who works to her own odd agenda. Andy is Mr Normal, scrupulously clean and neat, disciplined and polite. They are the proverbial opposites that always attract but it’s a very strange and hilarious attraction. Catherine Keener gives a very detailed and emotionally true performance, edging the comedy with pathos and lifting the situation onto another level..

Mention must also be made of Paula (Jane Lynch), Andy’s boss, who never gave him the time of day before she knew his sexual status, but the idea of being able to take a man’s virginity sends her hormones into overdrive. The scene I which she sings him a tango is one of the funniest moments in recent screen comedy. Everything in the film is exactly judged and director Judd Apatow understand Steve Carell’s comic style and timing so well that the film does not have one single dud joke. It’s consistently funny but it also exposes real truths about ordinary people, but it never turns into a mealy-mouthed sermon. In the overcrowded field of macho farce this film is funky and completely original.


Are They The Perfect Partner For Me?

Dating Coach Katherin Key Questions to Ask Yourself Now! When Jen and Steve met, they were instantly attracted to each other. Those electrifying sparks started to fly. In an exciting whirlwind of activities and romantic dates, they swept each other off their feet. You know the feeling. That split-second of physical attraction followed by that thrilling feeling of chemistry. But when that “sweaty palm” stage is over and the romance veil starts to lift, did you really choose the perfect partner for you?

What if there was a surefire way to know if a person was right for you? If 3 key questions would save you time, energy and ultimately, heartbreak, would you be willing to ask yourself the questions? Of course you would. Dating can be fun, but if your ultimate goal is to find your life partner, there is no reason to spend time with people who aren’t right for you.

If you can honestly answer YES to the following three questions, the person you are dating is definitely a potential life partner. If not, they are most likely not a match.

#1. Do I respect this person so much that I want to be more like him/her?

Respect is crucial in any relationship, particularly in a life partnership or marriage. As a Dating Coach, I am frequently asked if I believe any two people can be successful in a relationship. My answer is yes, if there is mutual respect and they appreciate their differences. Notice I didn’t say it would be easy for all couples, just possible. Respect is key. However, shared values, emotional health and maturity, and good communication skills will ultimately make the success of a relationship easier than if these key elements (to name a few) are missing.

The litmus test for respect is determining if you want to emulate this person. What qualities do you respect in this person? Would you be happy if your child turns out like him/her?

#2. If his/her personality and habits stay exactly the same as they are today, will I be happy 20, 30, 40+ years from now?

Dena and Bob met at work. They were engaged to be married. Bob’s passion was baseball. He watched baseball on TV, he talked about baseball with friends and played on a league. Dena couldn’t stand the sport. Dena told me she couldn’t wait to be married so that Bob would stop “this baseball stuff”. She was going to lay down the law about no more baseball.

If you can’t be happy with the person the way he or she is now, don’t get married. Don’t expect to change another person. You’ll be frustrated and he/she’ll be resentful. Can you accept this person exactly as they are, for the rest of your life?

#3. Do we share common goals and priorities?

Sure, chemistry and common interests are important. However, make sure you share the deeper level of connection that comes through sharing life goals. To avoid growing apart from your life partner, figure out what you’re living for while you’re single and then find someone who independently came to the same conclusion as you.

Two people who ultimately share the same understanding of life’s purpose, respect each other, and accept each other are truly partners for life.

Source: Dating Coach Katherin Website Review has only been around since 2004. Like many other dating services today they are punting the mixture of matchmaking and social events. A conversation with the owner Lyle Tapinos explains that there’s more to it and they want to help people improve themselves. For example a guy who’s inexperienced is going out on a hot date, AffinitySA would send someone out to help him with selecting the best clothes and also give him a pep talk to boost his self-esteem.

The launch party in June 2005 at Cafe Vacca Matta was amazing. The quality of the women and the men was superior to any night club I’d been to in years. Since then I’ve been back to Vacca Matta and I do believe this is more attributed to the type of people that Vacca Matta attracts anyway. There’s hope though because one thing that’s a sure winner is to attract people of high status and Vacca Matta certainly does so without trying to hard.

Before registering a general look around website shows them advertising their “next event” as the “Know Your Man” special on 3 August which is long ago. The other major dissappointment is the Featured Profiles which is shown and changes often enough but you are not able to click on them. This really defeats the purpose of showing or rotating profiles on the front page. The registration is simple enough and when you click on “join” you get slapped with all the terms and conditions which are standard fare on the Internet. What’s really super is that only the most basic details is asked when you’re registering, after which a confirmation email is sent, and then you go back to complete the registration.

Only at this point are you asked to complete more questions as well as allowing you to upload your photos. This is the type of registration process which makes it smooth sailing for people who are inexperienced on the Internet. It’s good web usability practise to have this kind of multi-step registration process. Once you’re registered the and you login to the website there is a Latest News section which is blank, the Featured Profiles on the right is replaced with your own profile. The automated matching uses the criteria specified in “Describing your Match.” Something I’ve seen before is that when you’re only allowed to select one criterie e.g. “blue eyes” it excludes all the rest. And you may want to select “blue” + “green” eyes but because it’s a drop down list doesn’t allow you to have multiple selections. When I clicked on “Who’s Online?” I found I’m the only one and this is a Wed 10am. Maybe the busiest time of the day is the evening but I doubt that because most people who use Online Dating do so during work time because they got unlimited access to Internet at the office.

You can also place little classified ads. At the time of writing this review there’s only a few ads by some horny guys on the website. The overall impression of is that it’s a work in progress. The website is not updated frequently enough and will continue to be a major problem with credibility. On the upside if is hosting another function at Cafe Vacca Matta in Montecasino, Fourways, Johannesburg, make sure you’re there because it’s a blast.

Visit and let us know what you think.


Steve Jobs speech: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish is the commencement address by Steve Jobs at Harvard University in June 2005. It’s one of the most inspirational speeches I’ve every come across and I believe it will go down in history along side Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream.”

For those who you who want to get a small insight into the life of one of the greatest entrepreneurs ever to come out of Silicon Valley, this is a must read. You can read the full text of the speech “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” by Steve Jobs here or just watch the video:


It’s a date: How to find love online

Here’s a reprint of an article that quotes my research into online dating industry in South Africa…

Clean-shaven, straight teeth and a friendly smile … in a word, handsome. After a week of vigorous SMSing and long phone conversations, “handsome” and I decide to meet.

Eager to see each other in real life, we meet in a parking lot — and as I walk towards him, my excitement is replaced with anger almost immediately.

“That’s not you in the picture,” I blurted.

We haven’t spoken since.

Hundreds of thousands of South Africans are looking for love on the internet, which offers a chance to get to know the other person before meeting him or her face to face.

DatingBuzz, South Africa’s biggest dating website — launched in March 2002 — has 140 000 South African users and 260 000 users worldwide, mostly between the ages of 24 and 29.

Ramon Thomas, MD of NETucation, an internet research company, told the Mail & Guardian Online that South Africa has generated “approximately R20-million in revenue in 2004, based on the approximately 10% of all the users who are paying members”. The other 90% are simply window-shopping.

According to a NETucation report, Online Dating in South Africa 2004, almost a quarter of a million South Africans have used online dating services. The research was conducted on nine South African dating websites, including DatingBuzz.

DatingBuzz user Christine says she got married after chatting for seven months in cyberspace and 13 days after meeting her match.

Another user, Edna, says: “After my husband’s death, I never thought that I would have another chance of happiness with a man. He’s helping me deal with my loss and I am happy again.”

Sceptics like Sarah “used to read the success stories and laugh to myself, thinking that the marketing/PR behind the site must be really good at making up matched couples”.

“Well, since then I have [had] to eat humble pie as I met the man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life,” she admits.

One of the United States’s largest dating websites,, which was launched in 1995, says there are 40-million Americans who use online dating services.

In April 2002, polled 2006 single people, of which 49% admitting to searching for love online instead of wasting time at bars.

Jupiter Research reported that $473-million (about R3-billion) was raked in from American users of various dating websites last year. It expects revenues to reach $516-million (R3,3-billion) this year.

How it all starts

Anyone can create a profile for free on DatingBuzz. A registered user has a profile and is matched for free, but a subscription is needed if one user wants to contact another.

DatingBuzz CEO David Burstein told the M&G Online that his company’s revenues have “doubled over the last year”.

Demographics show that South African users who have profiles on DatingBuzz are 55% white, 19% black, 4% Indian and 4% coloured. Gauteng has the most registered users to date.

Profiles on dating websites often require users to provide their geographic information, age and physical description, education, cultural characteristics, and drinking and smoking habits, as well as a few words about themselves.

DatingBuzz has an additional option of a more in-depth survey. It details a user’s HIV status, personality traits, physical appearance, leisure activities, work and lifestyle, interests, likes and dislikes, and goals — and it asks whether the user answered the questionnaire honestly.

Burstein says DatingBuzz also has a site specifically for HIV-positive people, called PositiveDatingBuzz. There are about 200 people using the site, which was launched last year.

Matches are calculated specifically by what users choose as their ideal match, Burstein says.

Users on DatingBuzz can choose a partner, for example, who is a “fat cat” or one who is “struggling” with his or her income; a person with a “curvaceous” body type who looks like a “beauty-contest winner”; or someone whose hair colour “changes often”.

In South Africa, only 0,5% of users of DatingBuzz have admitted to being a “fat cat” and 1% are “struggling” with their income.

Users can specify what star sign they want their match to be, where they should live, their age, eye colour, height, religion, profession, drinking and smoking habits and current relationship status — as well as whether they want children.

The criteria for their ideal match can be ranked as anything from “non-negotiable” to “not important at all”.

DatingBuzz has created its own in-house software to match users. The programme calculates a score in percentage format for potential matches, according to what each user has specified.

The programme does a two-way match and users are able to view not only able their own compatibility with their matches, but also their matches’ compatibility with them. For example, if a user specifies a match from Gauteng as non-negotiable, a user in Cape Town will not have a high compatibility rating.

NETucation research shows that 84,8% of South African online daters claim to be honest when providing their details. There’s no real point in lying — it would mean there is less of a chance of a user finding his or her ideal match.

Most online daters (45%) in South Africa are single when they first begin their search for love on the internet. Most (26,8%) meet other users within one or two weeks from first making contact on the internet; 21,5% meet within a month and 20,1% don’t meet at all.

Risks of the game

Online dating could also be risky — there is, after all, no guarantee that the virtual Mr Right won’t be a serial rapist in real life.

However, some online dating services offer security, such as American site True, which does criminal background checks on users and tries to ensure no married person sneaks in a profile. is also one of the websites that allows members to block users permanently and no longer receive messages from them.

DatingBuzz deletes scam profiles; for example, a Russian scam that cons South African users into buying airline tickets for Russian users. The money, however, isn’t really for the tickets, and before the South African users realise they’ve been conned, their money is gone.

Other profiles that DatingBuzz deletes are those that promote users’ businesses, or those that are obscene in nature.

If a complaint is made about a user, he or she could receive a written warning. If a rape allegation is made against a user and a criminal charge is laid, DatingBuzz freezes his or her profile and will provide any information about the user to aid the investigation.

Other dating services that are popular in South Africa include MSN Match, Galaxy Singles, LoveFinda, The Positive Connection, Dateline SA, Couples, Gaydar (focused on the gay community), Lovemail and MyDate (one of the longest-running dating websites).

NETucation will release its 2005 online dating statistics before the end of October.

source: M&G Online


Tiger and the Snow

I just found an article about a new film, Tiger and the Snow by Roberto Benigni who won an Oscar for Life is Beautiful. I rented the DVD of Life is Beautiful after listening to Tony Robbins’s Get The Edge. I remember I didn’t want to watch this movie when it came out in theatres originally because I saw it as “yet another” concentration camp movie. I was so surprised by the beautiful story telling, the honesty, the humour, the love and caring the main character has for his wife and child. Well I will be first in line to watch Tiger and the Snow.


The Art and Strategy of Being a Superflirt by Tracey Cox

Superflirt by Tracey CoxWatching two people flirt is kind of like watching a car wreck. There’s all the discomfort, the unmistakable fear and the inability, for the life of you, to look away. But that’s until you learn the tricks of the trade, according to dating (and sex) expert Tracey Cox.

Review by Faraaz Mahomed…

Superflirt’ is one of Ms. Cox’s brand of in-your-face, brutally open, books that aims to make anyone instantly appealing. With an emphasis on body language and unspoken signals, the book delves into the murky underworld that is the mind of the single guy or girl on the prowl. And murky it certainly is. Devious even. Which is exactly why, argues Cox, anyone looking to arrive single and leave attached needs a well-orchestrated plan of attack.

From the section on the ‘Ten second turn-on’ to the illustrated guides on the correct way to stand, sit and do pretty much anything else, those of us who find such ‘advice’ slightly difficult to stomach may find reason to object to the book’s over-the-top promises. But anything’s worth a try. Right?

Courtesy of this self-styled guru, the reader is invited to unlock the mystery behind every look, every gesture and every carefully-planned expression of interest. The author shows us just how elaborate one can be when flirting and just how clueless some of us really are. The slightest touch is often momentously significant. So too, is the coquettish smile or the confident stride. I can just feel the light bulbs going off everywhere.

So not only should you know where to put this and when to do that but what about being able to tell if it’s working? The book is particularly useful if you’re interested in knowing how to tell if your prey is up for it or not. It even has a section called, “Help, it doesn’t seem to be working! Are they interested or aren’t they?” Maybe not the most convincing advertisement, but nothing’s foolproof. At least she admits it.

There are also tips on chatting a prospective partner up and the all-important sex chapter. As with everything else, Cox seems to be privy to a wealth of hitherto undisclosed information. The sex signals are mesmerisingly accurate and almost irritatingly revealing. I guess some of us will have to find some new tricks.

Cox has a background in psychology and it shows. The reader is navigated not simply through the signals but, also, the intentions behind them. And she has countless anecdotal stories to back her up. Beware though. For someone who has all the answers, she seems to have been around the block and then some. Look a little closer, and you’ll find that Cox is ‘happily settled’, whatever that means. Perhaps, then, there’s no one better to share some secrets. Either way, there’s no doubting her worldwide success. ‘Superflirt’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea (forgive the heinous cliché) but it is, at worst, an entertaining read about a topic where some of us will need all the help we can get. Stylish and creative, anyone would be taken in by the book’s appearance and swept away by its promises.

‘Superflirt’ by Tracey Cox published by Dorling Kindersley