Have we lost all hope in chivalry?

As much as we’d still love to see a gentleman on the 1st, 4th and 29th date, rush to hold open the door for us, we first must at least appreciate the changing of the times. This isn’t suggesting we’re providing an easy escape route to all things gentlemanly, but given the progression from the push and pull door to the automatic and revolving door, chivalry might not always be possible. Though even if this could be done, we’ve seen from Bridget Jones’ Baby that helping a lady through a revolving door isn’t as smooth and gentlemanly as we might have expected. However, it’s very unlikely that we would refuse the invitation to be carried over the threshold anyway, as unorthodox as it may materialise to be.

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Only recently had a date pulled out my chair for me, was I so taken aback, that I almost fell off the chair from a lack of judgement. Manners aside, it sadly didn’t work out, but the thought certainly didn’t go unnoticed. However should I have been that surprised by his act of chivalry? Or should I have adamantly remained standing, hovering above my seat, emitting a subtle cough, until he rushed to my legs’ aid to pull out my chair?

For years, women have fought for equal rights and to be on an equal level playing field as men. Yet not long ago did Tweets spark out of control, when the TV show First Dates aired a woman who was left appalled by her date who didn’t honour the entire bill in what was their fine-dining London experience – with all the bubbly trimmings F.Y.I.

As a society, we generally opt to decide when we would like things to remain in line with the current times, or when we would like things to revert back to the “old days”. We can angrily pull on our yellow marigolds as we scrub through the pile of washing up because our ancestors have taught us so, yet presumptuously still expect the male on the same occasion to fork out for the caviar and lobster you’ve just ordered. Marigolds may have gone as far as adopting pink, furry ruffles along the rim of the glove, which for the record, doesn’t make such a chore of the dishes any more appealing for the lady, but where should we actually draw the line on gender roles? Do we start making extra-large blue gloves with action man print taped to the side, in a bid to encourage role reversal?

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We’ve seen from different walks of the animal kingdom, that a lot of a male’s life involves impressing their prospective female mate and we hope that still hasn’t changed for the male human. Even just the offer of contributing to 100% of the bill or the gesture of trying to halt the automatic, revolving door using mind trickery is impressive, and will go a long way with a lot of females, but I simply propose that it works like a two-way street, or a two-way swinging door for that matter. I can’t say that I will persist to insist on splitting the bill down the middle, but given I’d just ordered the fresh cut of sirloin steak and 3 large glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, I’d by every means encourage that I sufficiently contribute, which I feel should always be the case. Had you been invited on the date, then we’d probably face a different discussion, but there should by no means be any expectation that men should be forced to pay for the entire bill.

Whether it’s the pink, blue or yellow marigolds that make an appearance after a home-cooked meal, given it’s the party who didn’t load the dishes with food that’s wearing the gloves, you’re probably doing a good job in maintaining an equal partnership. I cook, you clean and vice versa.

Though a surprise bunch of flowers will never become too old-fashioned and should remain as sweet a gesture as it did in the “old days”, let’s just make an effort to return their act of chivalry with a 6 pack of beers. Or a blue pair of marigolds…!

It’s not me, It’s you.

You’d think I was undergoing some serious emotional meltdown with all these recurring, relationship break-up type themes that seem to be my main topic of writing in my posts at the moment. I’m sincerely not this emotional wreck I appear to be making out, it’s actually just that using a relationship as a comparison to what’s going on in this head of mine, feels like a much better relatable tool for those who are reading.

Through several prompts and also due to the fact I love to write, I long ago made the decision to share my eating issues in the form of this wonderful website you now see before you. It was by no means my way of creating the sequel to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings with the hope of an ensemble of violin players to follow me around, plucking the right chords to portray what a pitiful situation I’m in and get the sympathy vote . It was more so just my way of detracting my attention, potentially analyse what the root of my issues were and to most importantly help me on my way to getting over it all. So completely selfish really.

With this decision came such enormous benefits that I never imagined would occur. I’ve found something I love to do and I’ve actually found a new career direction I want to pursue when I initially thought I wanted to count s*** up for a living. However, with the decision to broadcast, also lead to some unintentional downsides: this being, you (plural).

Because I divulged and revealed so much about my eating quirks, what I ate, what I eat now and my general rules and fears about certain food groups, it almost became this attribute I had to constantly adhere to. When you adopt certain traits and characteristics, i.e. it might be that you’re the one that always has great skin or the one that never gets angry, as soon as you stop to cohere to these traits, all hell breaks loose. But really you’ve every right to feel anger after discovering Paul Hollywood abandoned his post with BBC and has now ruined The Great British Bake Off for life and be completely normal to have a face that becomes bespeckled with a bout of red spots because it’s just that time of the month (ironic that I’m amenorrheic). Now suddenly, because you’ve abandoned the ‘never angry’ and ‘flawless skin’ traits, you’re suddenly impeded with an influx of who/what/why questions and have become some completely unrecognisable stranger to the person masking these accusations. Give it a break, will you!

I sometimes feel in a constant episode of Big Brother whereby I’m forced to retreat to the Diary Room to explain my actions as to why I decided to eat so much vanilla frozen yogurt last night. “But you suffer with an eating disorder?”, “Surely you don’t eat yogurt?”, “I thought it was just an apple you ate?” I feel like a key reason for me remaining tied to the disorder, is because I’m almost scared of what people are indirectly presuming about why I am suddenly eating more. I feel like because of the traits that are formed with anorexia, I have to remain adherent to these traits forever, otherwise people will start talking and making comments about the way I do things now.

I think we’re all guilty of feeling like we’ve stepped into a persistent game of paranoia and I for one, am probably guilty, given the above. I’m sure people really do have better things to do and more important things in their own life to worry about, rather than the fact that they’ve noticed I had my mid-morning snack at 10:28 and not the usual 10:30. However, please pretend like you didn’t notice the missing biscuit from the tin. It was me okay. I REALLY wanted one, and who can really say no to a biscuit, anyway!

Single and not so ready to mingle

Break ups are hard, even worse so when you don’t realise you’re going through one and still living in the hope of it being a temporary sponsored silence they’re partaking in. However so, there’s generally a reason for them happening and after the “I’ll never love again!” phase, you realise that you can grow in love again for the only two people you’ll ever need in your life anyway… Ben & Jerry – though mine is more Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry if I’m truly honest. (But I’d appreciate if my mum, dad, sister, family and friends stayed put in my life too. Obviously.)

I’ve had my little share of break ups: some very real, and some that felt very real until you realise it’s actually only their free taxi service and the access to their orange Wednesday code that you’re sad to have broken up with as opposed to the person, themselves. That is true heartbreak. On the other hand, I’m not yet damaged enough from a break up that I’m not ready to mingle again, regardless of the title to this post. In actual fact, I’m talking about being single from anorexia and not ready to mingle with it EVER again.

Anorexia relationship status: it’s complicated.

As pictured in a fairy tale or in one of Disney’s great movies, this week I merrily skipped out of the hospital, hand in hand with a life-size piece of cake* and a giant ‘eff’ off scrawled across a piece of paper that was conceptually stamped to my back. The nurse must have put it there after I left her surgery as we both made a positive bid goodbye to each other now that anorexia was no longer keeping us together. Because this week, I was discharged!

Though fairly anti-climatical as I was half expecting to be greeted outside of the doors by a marching band and a huge ‘Congratulations’ banner held by a human-sized walking bottle of Prosecco, I instead retreated to the car and felt almost on the verge of tears.

It goes completely without saying that I’m so pleased I’ve fought as hard as I have done to get into the position I am in now. Life has been and is so much better on this side of the disorder, but you can’t help but feel sadness towards something you’d grown so close to. Almost like the part of the break-up where you suddenly feel like you really are ready to move on and it can sometimes feel more upsetting at the very real thought of living without it, even though you know it’s potentially for the better.

For better understanding for both myself and anyone that cares to learn about eating disorders, I frequently compare anorexia to be like that of a relationship. And for me, this has unexplainably been the hardest break-up yet, though by far the most important break-up (at least for my health) I’ll probably ever have to make. Given that my life is still very much governed by food, exercise and the absolute fear of gaining too much weight, there are still various parts of me that remain tied to the disorder, hence the complication status.

At least for now I sincerely feel like people around me are no longer having to cope with me and some other me with an eating disorder lurking behind. I still very much have lots of unusual eating quirks but they are far from making me unhappy, so for now just deal with the fact that I’ll have a steak salad for my dinner… Just perhaps without the steak and the dressing and the cheese. The rabbit food will be just fine.

*okay, me and cake aren’t that good a friends just yet.