Archive for August, 2012

Beach volleyball

On a website dedicated to style that attracts men, I know that beach volleyball belongs under the sartorial category of So Right, but on the social side, I can’t help but to think So Wrong.

Am I a buzz kill? Probably. But first let me say this: I love a bikini; at last count I had 12. I also love athletic bodies and powerful woman. Put the two together and you’d think I’d be in Heaven.

But the feminist in me can’t help but to get irked by the production, the photography and the pervy focus on secret hand signals that cause commentators eyes to linger on women’s asses. Or the water cooler chat about it all.

These Olympic games gave us some of the most inspiring women in recent times, especially in Britain. We had the unfathomable graciousness, talent and six-pack of Jessica Ennis, the history making punch of Nicola Adams, the endurance of Judo player Gemma Gibbons who fought back the pain of a broken thumb to take Silver. Then there’s the combination of speed, power and extreme modesty present in multiple cyclists at the Velodrome and multiple rowers at Eton Dorney. We even saw Sarah Attar, the first female from Saudi Arabia to compete in Olympic athletics, complete her race even though she was 43 seconds behind the competition. She hoped it would ‘spark something amazing.’ That is what the Olympics should be about.

Yet, for the first few days, men were entranced about the camera angles and interactive features of beach volleyball. And women played right into it, cooing about what we’d do to have a body like that (here’s a tip: start with the gym). We didn’t flag that in the realm of all Olympic events, beach volleyball is definitely on the more leisurely end of the spectrum. And those outfits? To pretend for one minute they have anything to do with performance — IN A LANDLOCKED LONDON, MOSTLY AT NIGHT — is laughable. People wear bikinis to play beach volleyball because we are at the beach. You soak up some sun, you go for a swim, you eat a sandwich, you work it off in a playful set. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I know I’m risking losing some subscribers, but I can’t help to call sexism on this one. (By the way, please don’t leave me, instead just leave mean comments. I love a debate!)

These Olympics have been amazing and I don’t want them to end. London has been a phenomenal host. These athletes have impressed me like none before. I don’t mean to take anything away from the beach volleyball players who have worked so hard to get here, but I do want people to take into account some of the less noble traits that colour society, even within the greater vision of the games.

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Male friends

This is an excerpt from a recent article on SheKnows.co.uk that is in the style and voice of Soho. For more of my articles, click here.

It’s logical to assume that having loads of male friends will open doors to other networks of male friends, increasing your chances of finding one suitable for you. It’s also nice to have access to the other side’s playbook. We love hearing men talk about women — and we love getting their advice on our romantic dilemmas. After all, who knows the male mind better than… a man?

Yes, male friends have their perks. They think differently, they talk straight and they forgive easily. We don’t get ‘girl drama’ with a man friend. Of course, this also means they may be less thoughtful and attentive confidantes. Let’s not diss the girls.

But they also carry risks if you’re single.

Risk 1: Blocking anatomy

First ask the question ingrained in our minds since When Harry Met Sally. Is there such a thing as a platonic relationship between a man and a woman? If the study results published in the Journal of Sex Research (2011) are right and men think about sex 19 times a day, then the answer is no. They have likely thought about having sex with you — and if that’s true, they probably don’t want somebody else to. Check to see they are not working against you when you are working a room.

Risk 2: Confusing signals

This one is pretty obvious, but worth stating. If you’re out with a man, especially one-on-one, other men are bound to think you are with that man. If you’re a good listener, your eyes will be locked on him and you won’t be able to survey the room. And if you’re scanning, the people you’re making eye contact with might think you’re a player wasting another guy’s time.

Risk 3: The good time girl

Being one woman in a group of men (or one of very few) certainly lets other men know that 1) you’re a lot of fun and 2) you can keep up with the boys. It can also lead people to think you’re a bit “laddish” and not a serious prospect.

Risk 4: Weight gain

Men eat and drink a lot and you will, too, if you go out with them often.

With all this in mind, what are our risk management tips?

  1. Use one-to-one time sparingly — Know your motive and plan accordingly. Are you looking to pull or are you looking for a catch up? If the latter, either stay in or resign yourself to a night without a new number in your phone.
  2. Integrate women into your group — This will help you look more approachable and feminine. Who knows, you might even play matchmaker.
  3. Keep your eyes open — If it’s true that men and women can’t truly be friends without romance getting in the way, take a closer look at your group. Ask if what — or who — you’ve been looking for is in front of you. It happens all the time.
  4. Remember that men do forgive easily — If you have to abandon them for a romantic pursuit, they might be more understanding than your female friends.
  5. Ask if it’s worth it — Are your male friends giving you more joy than finding a new mate would? If the answer is yes, then who cares about the risks above? They are far outweighed by benefits.
  6. Join a gym — You’ll need to work off those pints and crisps.

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