basic love economics: screw your sunk costs

“But we’ve been together for X number of years… I can’t throw that away.”

I’ve heard this a billion times. I usually want to slap the person senseless. This statement is terrifyingly untrue. Anyone who’s been exposed to ultra-basic economics will know about the Sunk Cost. Love is just so irrational.. damn you love!

Sunk Cost: a cost that you have already incurred and that you cannot recover.  – c2.com

BAM. Cannot. Recover.

Giving him more time? Your man still won’t somehow rewind into yesteryear’s Edward Cullen to your faithful Bella. Staying with someone because you’ve been staying with him is circular bunk.  Soon you might catch yourself identifying with victims of the Stockholm syndrome!

It’s bewildering to think about your relationship in terms of what it isn’t. But making decisions based on nostalgia for what is forever irretrievable makes even less sense.

So your significant other that’s been at your side forever? He isn’t yours to have. ‘Having’ a long-term relationship and ‘having’ a boyfriend is pure delusion. All you have is yourself–and that’s who you need to love the most.

Stay Pretty. and Smart.

truth, simplified

Some of us know how to wring guys dry until we draw blood. These poor chumps go into overdraft to afford our meals, show passes, oil changes, latest teacup monstrosity. We throw fits if they deny us access to their hard-earned money.

Alright, maybe I just made that up. That sounds crazy right? Stuff like that doesn’t actually happen in real life (there’s a Pandora’s box full of East meets West cultural dating differences that we aren’t exploring).

Wrong. My friend, Allan, consistently paid for his girlfriend’s tanning, dye jobs, mani-pedi’s–it had gotten to the point where it wasn’t just empty money spent–he would wait the excruciating four hours for her streaks to set in. They’ve broken up since, after two years of unrelenting wallet abuse. Allan was a gentleman from beginning to end. Could he be faulted for that? Some women out there would brave Walmart grand openings for that kind of treatment.

How can we prevent these disheartening tales from manifesting? I’m not saying every female out there is a bloodsucking diva. Many women healthily and considerately invest time, emotions and money into their love life. But once you get a taste of diva treatment, it’s hard to give that up. Having all of your needs taken care of is honestly quite pleasant. It’s so pleasing that you may forget that this credit card owner is also a human being that needs to be shown caring as well. So go pick up the tab, show him some love back. And if you do already–you rock.

Beauty gets old fast when it’s strictly on the outside. Stay Pretty.

this is a diva

buy me shoes, and a cute toddler

Disclaimer:

Allan is a fictional name.

Don’t before the 3rd date.

This is a classic rule that some females religiously follow. Don’t have sex with the guy until the 3rd date. We want him to become captivated with our delightful personality. Enchant him with our allure and mystique before allowing entrance into the only temple that all (straight) men still want to enter–provided they aren’t entering other temples elsewhere.

The problem is, most guys are aware of this rule. You make him wait a couple weekends in anticipation of the Big Night. He knows it’s coming up, and is planning on plying you with booze to make sure he isn’t disappointed. You succumb to his advances after a handful of Blue Hawaiians, confident in your pre-emptive strategizing. After all, you waited until the 3rd date. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, you can perhaps plan a couples’ getaway. Sexual intimacy takes the relationship to the next level, right? He called you beautiful just yesterday!

Wrong. After a week, your smartphone doesn’t vibrate very often. No call in days. Sound familiar? You start getting the sinking feeling that he’s become yet another bedpost notch that didn’t get etched deep enough. You drunk message him or even drunk dial after a rowdy girls’ night–even a bootycall would suffice. Your dignity is in shreds.

male deterrence

weeding out the commitment-phobic since 1969

The moral of this story is, THERE’S NO MAGIC NUMBER. Making him wait 3 or 30 dates is still rubbish if your focus is on sex with him. Focus on yourself first.

3 is an arbitrary number that was probably chosen by a guy to guarantee other guys a surefire Big Night. Unless you are so out of his league that you issue pity-sex dates, don’t give in to your own libido until you can’t help it. And when you can’t help it, go read 50 Shades of Grey. By yourself.

You kept getting a weird vibe from this guy. He was saying things that didn’t sound like they should be coming from his mouth. You chalked it up to cultural differences or perhaps a bad lisp. Maybe his pet had just died. You’re probably reading too much into things.

But then again, maybe not. This documentary on body language starring George W. Bush, Churchill, Stalin and other influential men states that 93% of how we communicate is non-verbal. 93%! That’s higher than my GPA (way higher). Business leaders, people in power and law enforcement agencies know it’s easiest to lie using words. Hand gestures, facial expressions and other bodily cues take communication to a whole new level. Hence Joe the border guard staring you down while you mumble your replies like you’re on the Most Wanted list. Joe wants to read your body language, not turn you into a mute.

A friend of mine, Steph, kept insisting she wasn’t upset. But every time she smiled, her eyes looked empty, even feral at times. Turns out Steph had been undergoing depression, and embarked on a soul-searching Europe trip soon afterwards. Guys, your girlfriend: “I’m not mad.” Familiar scenario? She’s definitely mad! Steph and all those upset girlfriends don’t intend to lie. But in this crazy world, some people out there want you to believe falsehoods. Lies are told on a constant basis and it’s up to us to sort through the rubbish.

Watch people when they talk. You may notice some strange things, and it won’t be their Irish accent.

Disclaimers:

*Steph is a fictitious name, to maintain privacy.

*Irish accents are strange but only because they’re so endearing.

You aren’t worth my time… nor worth moving my facial muscles.

We’re a city that boasts a broad spectrum of natural treasures–craggy evergreen, snow-dumped slopes, trails alongside glacial rivers, a picturesque coastline. Our reputation as one of the world’s best cities is constantly reaffirmed by locals and tourists alike. Even if a startling change from 9 years of 1st place, the Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU) still ranked us #3 out of 140 cities for livability in August last year. And yet one complaint that keeps rearing up is how stuck up we are. Especially the females.

It’s natural for girls to start fortifying emotions and their 30 cm of personal space after years of bad game and no shame–especially when Vancouver is pulling on a brand new pair of “big city” britches. Sometimes being approachable gets tiring when you’re constantly thinking that it might be mistaken for sexual interest. I remember learning in 3rd year Human Sexuality that more guys than girls misconstrue friendliness as ready-to-trot interest. But what does self-preservation do to the quality of our daily social interactions–the face-to-face kind? What do others see when we activate bitch mode?

It sure isn’t inner beauty shining through.

Whistler Blackcomb, BC

Whistler: clear skies, lush evergreen, pure snow

A friend recently remarked that “just because a random guy/girl comes up and says hi doesn’t mean anything.” Are our egos so overblown that we immediately need to be en garde at the slightest approach? This isn’t a female-only phenomenon either. Lots of men, especially the downtown breed, strut around like self-acclaimed celebrities.

We aren’t such amazingly well-rounded individuals that having a conversation with a stranger won’t enhance your life. Maybe if we smile more freely, the universe will smile on us.

Stay Pretty.

White Rock, BC

How many smiles can you count on the beach?

It’s hard to stay pretty when you’re becoming increasingly bloody and swollen from blows to the face.

Chris Brown’s attack on Rihanna back in February 2009 lost him multi-million dollar record deals, numerous ad sponsors and the respect of millions. His career came to a screeching, unnatural halt at age 19. Two years after a grudging retreat into entertainment exile, he’s back on the charts. May 2011 saw more BET award nominations for Brown than for any other artist. Currently, his new singles are cropping up like too-tight jeans on the local radio stations that I mindlessly hum to during my commute. Except when I realize it’s a Brown production the station is instantly changed. Sometimes I irrationally berate the radio for allowing him airtime.

Rihanna & Brown

past their differences… and Brown’s fists

Is it unfair of me to grade his professional achievements using a personal rap sheet?

What if it was you? You’re a successful, visionary Marketing Director that’s been accumulating a sizable child pornography stash alongside your company accolades. Global sexual exploitation of toddlers and children is nurtured and buoyed by the internet’s lack of physical limits. Is it fair for judgment on an abhorrent personal life to carry over to the professional? Which skeletons can we leave in the dark?

Nobody is perfect. Celebrities survive and thrive under a limelight that is obsessive, all-consuming and incredibly draining. Average Joe’s can stroll around the house naked without much social repercussion (unless someone spotted you). Try doing that with an auto-tuned platinum track under your belt and your photoshopped parts will be strewn across the netscape in minutes. So if your followers number in the millions, watch your privates. The bigger your reach, the higher your social accountability.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Voltaire

“It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” – Lord Alfred Tennyson

Or is it?

Like any other female with a biological clock, it’s only a matter of time before you’re waylaid by panicky feelings of discomfort when weddings and baby showers start littering your schedule like raccoons at Stanley Park. Doubts about whether you’ll find the One before 30 start surfacing. You may start to reason away previous standards set for dating, like that one about how he’s still in second year at UBC and a Phi Theta.

Being single is hard. It’s even harder when when your friends aren’t.

As a quarter-life female that just successfully overcame a ‘who am I?’ episode, I know it’s difficult to rise above that primal procreative drive. But the fact of the matter is that we must. There are too many couples that are together from a weak sense of self. They can’t be alone without being lonely.

This is why the most valuable favour we can do ourselves is to stay single until we can smile without a man’s presence. Commit to loving yourself. The world will see, and the rest will follow.

Stay Pretty.