Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Things I Miss About Being Single – Deborah Tan

Obviously, I have to be utterly sure and comfortable about my current relationship to write something like this. I’m confident that my boyfriend wouldn’t take offense in this article and he wouldn’t see it as me saying, “I really hate being with you.” No. This isn’t about regrets and making the wrong choices. It’s more about looking back into the past and picking out the things you loved best and still occasionally miss.

Being in a relationship is fun, especially when you enjoy the company of the person you’re with. But

Yep. There are a couple of things about being single that I miss sorely. You have to admit that sharing your space and life with another person can be trying and it is an exercise that requires practice and patience. As a singleton, you only have yourself to account to. As a couple, obviously there are decisions you need to make together. Although you may say, “Well, we pretty much lead our own lives,” you cannot deny that there exists – even a teensy weensy bit – in you the need to consider the other person whenever you make an important decision. This I-live-for-only-myself part is just one of the things I miss most about being single …

Enjoy your single life!

Enjoy your single life!

I miss … keeping a horrible diet
I am saying this without a tinge of irony or sarcasm. When I was living on my own, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted, no matter how appalling or how nutritionally-impoverished. As someone who hates eating by herself, I’d ignore my hunger till I could no longer do so. Then, I would cook myself a bowl of instant noodles. As a singleton, I was perfectly content calling chicken wings and beer dinner.

There was a feeling of laissez faire to that; that you are not hampered or tied down by a schedule, and you could eat whenever and whatever you fancy. Breakfast at 5pm? Sure!

I miss … being left alone
I think every coupled up person will agree with me on this. Some days, I just want to be left alone to “rot” on the bed and not have to feel “obliged” to get up and behave like a “useful” person. Do you also feel that living with someone else forces to you assume the facade of being “normal”? Even little quirks and bad behavior should be seen as an occasional joke and not something of a more chronic nature?

I miss … doing things my way and …
… not have to hear any protests or consider other suggestions. When I lived by myself, my shelves were always closed, my sinks were always wiped dry after use (okay, it is not a mark of psychosis!), and everything was pretty much left on their own with no one to move them around. Since having to live with someone else, I’ve had to put up with pleas to open the balcony door to “let some fresh air in”, nag at my boyfriend to do the dishes, cry murder if the bathroom is left in a sorry state after he uses them.

Furniture don’t argue back. Unless your house is home to a poltergeist, furniture also pretty much stay where they are! You don’t come home to a messed up couch, a sink filled with dirty dishes … when you are living on your own.

In the words of the part-time help who used to come clean my apartment once a week, “Now that your boyfriend is living with you, I have NO IDEA how to clean your place at all. It’s sooo … messy.” See what I mean?

Relish the time you have with YOU

Relish the time you have with YOU

Many singles fantasize about how life would be better if they have another person to share it with. When I was single, I’d imagine a well-dressed husband waiting for me at home, eager to take me out for a nice dinner. When I was single, I pictured how it would be so wonderful to snuggle up in bed with a guy on a weekend … instead, the reality is so, so far away.

I come home – most frequently – to a boyfriend with a Playstation controller in his hands, and on weekends, instead of wanting to snuggle, I’ve found I prefer to lock myself up in my bedroom just so I can get some quiet time to read.

I think the biggest allure of single life is that there is a POSSIBILITY, a chance that life could become what you imagine it to be. As a single, your life is only as fascinating as your imagination and fantasies, and that in itself makes life just a little bit more romantic. As a single, your life is your own to lead. What you eat, what you do, where you go, what you buy … you rarely have to ask anyone for his/her opinion.

So while I’m not saying I hate my life with Simon, I just want all you singletons out there to take a moment to relish your single life today. Yes, it is wonderful to have someone you love by your side during this year-end holiday season, but what is more wonderful is the realization that you don’t need another person to make your life beautiful – you are enough.

Yes, you alone are enough. Treasure this time you have with YOU and, with this, I wish you a Happy New Year!

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Deborah Tan talks about the trials and tribulations of living together with a partner. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She admits that Simon probably feels the same about his single life too. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

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3. [Love In Lines] Where Are All The Great Guys?

4. [Love In Lines] 5 Things Single People Hate

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Deborah Tan, Opinions

I’m A Singaporean Woman And I Don’t Care If I Intimidate You – Deborah Tan

Singaporean women marrying foreign men: everyone has something to say. Singaporean men marrying foreign brides: it’s the fault of local women who think too highly of themselves.

You know what? I’m sick of people blaming US, SINGAPOREAN WOMEN, for anything that has gone wrong with their love life, or the lack of it.

We have been labelled SPGs who love foreign men because of their money. We have been dismissed as materialistic, shallow beings who can’t tell that the foreign men we love are, according to popular urban legends, “losers” in their countries. We have to accept flak for being educated, for being good conversationalists, for excelling in our careers, and for being too independent.

It’s our fault that we try to make something of ourselves. We are so unmarriageable in the eyes of the Singaporean man that we should be crying at home instead of looking at other options! O.M.G!

As Singaporean women, we should feel so ashamed our men don’t want us that heaven forbids we should fall for a foreign man! [Note the sarcasm, please]

I’m not going to launch into a comparison between local and foreign men because that would just take us all into the same ridiculous territory a certain Mr Goh wants us to go into.

I’m not going to talk about why love is more than just about nationality, about money, about jobs, about status. Many people out there marry or date for the wrong reason AND, surprise! It’s not a phenomenon limited to Singaporeans only. Ever heard about schools in China teaching women how to attract rich men? If you are so cynical as to think Singaporean women are incapable of love, perhaps the concept of love is beyond your depth.

As a woman, I refuse to be blamed for not being “attractive” enough to men who find my education, my career, and my personality too intimidating. As a Singaporean, I’m disgraced by this continuous whining and moaning about why you are forced to remain single because you are too poor/uneducated/unsuccessful/disadvantaged/[insert whatever other crosses you bear as a local man]. People everywhere in this world struggle against bigger issues every day and still they continue on with life with dignity.

You know who else blame women for their problems? The same people who forbid their daughters to go to school, the same people who think women who go out by themselves deserve to be gang-raped, the same people who throw acid on women who refuse to marry them.

Are you like that? If not, then stop writing shit about Singaporean women who are dating, or married to, foreigners. We are dating HUMAN BEINGS. We are marrying men who appreciate us for who we are.

Maybe if you can drop your feudalistic ideas that women today still marry for green cards and a condo, you would be able to – FINALLY – appreciate what makes us Singaporean women special and desirable.

On behalf of all Singaporean women, I say STOP pretending you know how we conduct our relationships, how we live our lives. Instead of bitching about why we are NOT the ideal wives, try and be the men we want, for once.

Note: I reserve the right to delete any RUDE, DISRESPECTFUL comments about me, my friends, my fiance, and any women in relationships with foreigners. Just like how you have taken the right to state your unhappiness, I’m taking the right to protect myself and the ones I care about from xenophobic, misogynistic and racist comments anyone may make in response to my post.

STRONG-WOMAN

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. And yes, she’s engaged to a foreigner. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

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Infographics, Love, Marriage, Relationships

[Infographic] The Dirty On Cheating (Part 2) – Deborah Tan

Exactly a month ago, I did up an infographic about some interesting statistics on cheating. As the results reflected findings from US and UK, we thought it would be great if Singaporeans can give us an insight into the cheater’s mind with a survey.

Tonight, Material World presents an infographic that reflects the results of this survey. Although more women than men took part in this survey, we found that patterns are generally similar between both sexes. And, the good news – it seems – Singaporeans are pretty loyal. Most of the respondents turned out to be non-cheaters. Those who are cheating or have cheated tend to get into affairs with their friends – someone who knows and understands them.

Unlike the UK survey that revealed Audi drivers to be most likely to cheat, in Singapore, cheaters here are most likely to drive a Toyota. Anyway, have fun going through this infographic!

Pssst … wanna help us out with another survey? Click here to take our Happy Endings survey now!

Cheating in Singapore

Copyright of Material World

[If you like this story, you’ll love]

1. [Infographic] The Dirty On Cheating

2. [Infographic] When Is It A Good Time To Talk?

3. [Infographic] The Science Of Flirting 

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits and thinks cheating is more stress than it’s worth. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Love In Lines, Marriage, Relationships

[Love In Lines] He Proposed – Deborah Tan

So yes, Simon proposed to me while we were on our holiday in Bali yesterday. After 3 years, the man has finally decided to make a respectable woman out of me.

Us in a shameless selfie taken at Sardine in Bali - the most proposal-suitable restaurant we went on our first day there. Our proposal didn't happen there.

Us in a shameless selfie taken at Sardine in Bali – the most proposal-suitable restaurant we went on our first day there. Our proposal didn’t happen there.

After the event, I posted on Facebook how those who’ve been threatening to embarrass me at my wedding could now take a queue number to do that. The deluge of Likes and “Congrats” was heartwarming as it was overwhelming. Honestly, I didn’t expect such an outpouring of love from my friends and family. Really.

One friend’s response, however, really summed it up: “Well done! Hell has frozen over!”

Yes. The unthinkable has happened. The Deborah who used to bug her married friends with questions like, “How do you know he’s the one you want to live with for the rest of your life?”, “What makes you think you won’t meet someone better?”, or “What’s going to happen if you regret your choice?” is engaged. The Deborah who felt uncomfortable doing bridal magazines is probably going to be needing one of those very soon.

Our friends are hustling us for the details.

I can tell all of you this: There was no sunset. We weren’t in a beautiful Balinese restaurant overlooking the padi fields (we did that on our first day in Bali). There was no fancy surprise. And …

There was no ring.

So those of you hoping to catch a glimpse of a big rock on my right hand can give up now and go back to watching “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”.

Did I mind that we didn’t have a ring? No. Absolutely not.

tattoorings

Quite nice, what?!?!

When was the last time anyone spotted a ring on my fingers? I don’t wear rings usually and I don’t expect my proposal to feature one. In fact, I’m campaigning for a TATTOO around our ring fingers instead. Cheesy? Well, not if you know that I’m someone who already has five tattoos. Practical? You bet! Have you seen anyone try to take off a “tattoo” ring? That’s impossible! So yes, I am going to try my darnest to sell him the idea of a tattoo ring. He’s not very keen on that idea and I suspect he is going to work very hard to try to change my mind. Good luck, Simon.

How did he propose? Well, we were waiting for our takeaway at Made’s Warung and our conversation led to him asking me, “Shall we get married?” No bended knee. No crying. No declarations of everlasting love. I jokingly replied, “Haha! OK. You going to get down on your knee or what?” He had planned to pop the question when we go for dinner at Poppies – a Balinese institution in Kuta since 1973. As fate would have it, I had to “ruin things” by whining about getting a massage and then heading back to the hotel with some cheap local fare from Made’s.

On hindsight, I would be at a total lost if an entire restaurant was looking at us. As much as my friends think I’m a drama queen, my proposal should preferably not be a scene out of a rom-com. Not for me.

Two years of living together have taught us both a thing or two about grand gestures. Neither of us are fans of them. I envision my wedding to be a party where friends basically drink themselves silly, where we’ll be playing embarrassing frat-boy games, where people will be able to eat, have fun, have conversations, and get drunk.

But you know what, girls? There is one wedding tradition I must insist on:

A hen party. And, for this one night in my life, I promise I will not try to take control of things.

Hell has indeed frozen over. Two cynical individuals are getting married. Now, let’s hope we don’t ever change our minds on children.

 

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Deborah Tan talks about the trials and tribulations of living together with a partner. Stay tuned for more! 

 

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and wants Henry Cavill (or a lookalike) as her hen night’s stripper. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

 

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Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] The Strange Habits We Put Up With – Deborah Tan

couple1

“I believe that toothpaste stain belongs to you…”

Love makes us do stupid things? I’m not sure about that. What I can be certain of is that Love makes us very patient people.

I think I’ve mentioned more than a couple of times that I often have very exacting standards for many things in my life. When I moved into my apartment, I had the illusion that it was going to be a clean, sparse, cold, detached, minimally lived-in space that I would use like a hotel room. I imagined myself getting up in the morning, going to work, staying out till the wee hours of the night, only to return home to get the requisite seven hours of sleep.

I guess, by that time, I had already made peace with the fact that I was going to be single for a very long time. My living space would be a chic reflection of the space inside my heart – unpopulated, but nonetheless, well-maintained. The kitchen wasn’t made for cooking – you’ll find neither a gas-stove nor an oven in it. The bathroom featured tiles that “could not get wet” – you had to wipe down its surfaces after every use. The rationale was that if it was going to be just me, I could be “anal” about things.

Then I met Simon and things for the apartment pretty much went downhill from there. From the chic, cool hotel-room vibes it used to have, my apartment now looks like the illegitimate child of a bunker and a gym.

The first time he used the bathroom, I told him pointedly that he had to wipe down the sink counter or the tiles would get stained. He thought I was joking. Three months down the road, he realised I wasn’t when I took him to task for a toothpaste stain that had formed on the counter. To this day, he continues to roll his eyes every time he has to use a towel to wipe away any rogue water droplets after he washes his hands.

Every time he cooks, he would snidely remark, “A gas stove would have been much better …” Whatever.

Before you go, “This guy is amazing to put up with Debs’ crazy habits!”, let me just say that he isn’t without his own set of idiosyncrasies.

Meet my fellow housemates

Meet my fellow housemates

1. Someone from Star Trek announces the arrival of a new sms. EVERY TIME.

2. Whereas a can of tuna lasts me for a week, he finishes 2 cans in a sitting. He wiped out my Doomsday stash of canned food 10 days before 21 December 2012. Where’s the support?!?!

3. Whenever I am too busy to go grocery shopping with him, he returns with the entire supermarket.

4. It’s his turn to clean out the refrigerator and he uses the vacuum cleaner to help.

5. It is NEVER his turn to take the trash out.

6. He doesn’t always remember to flush the toilet.

7. He uses my super expensive hair conditioner as a shaving cream.

8. At any one point, he has a collection of 3 cups displayed around the apartment.

9. He insists on fighting me for the duvet every night … and he doesn’t even use it!

10. He likes to remind me whenever Mark Webber finishes after Lewis Hamilton in a race.

And the list goes on.

What is surprising, however, is that, instead of getting frustrated and angry at these habits of his, I’ve come to accept them as what makes him special. Certainly I’m impressed at how he doesn’t seem to care when I threaten severe consequences will befall him if he does not change his ways. But what really amazes me (and makes me love him a little more) is how he manages to make me feel exasperated and amused at the same time.

And this is why I say, in my Love In Line’s column this month, that Love makes us all strangely patient people.

 

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Deborah Tan talks about the trials and tribulations of living together with a partner. Stay tuned for more! 

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and blames her boyfriend for the ant-problem in her kitchen. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Love, Relationships

The Girlfriend Report Card – Deborah Tan

I pride myself on being great in many areas of my life.

Many of the people I’ve worked with have said I’m a supportive boss who leads by example. Over the years, friends describe me as a loyal person who would not hesitate to stick my neck out for a pal. While I may not be the best sister or daughter, I definitely value family ties and make it a point to be present at gatherings and important dinners.

The one thing I don’t actually do very well in – to be honest – is being a girlfriend.

No. I’m not being harsh on myself.

One of the most common complaints my boyfriend has of me is that I’m a “miserable git”. You see, he’s one of those “annoying” people who wake up in the morning with a big, bright smile on his face. He really jumps out of bed with his arms wide open, as if ready to embrace the day ahead. I, on the other hand, would moan, groan, roll out of bed with the duvet tangled around my legs, crawl to the bathroom, and let out a cry of agony at the sight of first light.

“Good morning!” He never fails to greet me cheerfully each day. Then he would smile and look expectantly at me.

“Urrrrrghmmm …” would be my reply.

“Oh, c’mon!” he’d say. “SMILE! Don’t be a miserable git!” And proceeds – laughing – to the kitchen to make his morning smoothie.

How does someone muster up so much cheerfulness in the morning?

I tell myself – and sometimes him – every day that I’d be more pleasant after I’ve had some food inside me. Or, that I’ll be able to smile once 12pm rolls around. I tell him that I’m not a morning-person.

Actually, I’m not a morning-person, an afternoon-person, and an evening-person. He would skip and hop to the car as we make our way to our respective morning appointments. I would skulk. He would meet me for lunch and talk about stuff. I would nod and grunt. When I get home in the evenings, he would be contentedly playing on his Playstation and upon seeing me, ask, “Hello! How was your day?” What do I do? I look at the kitchen sink, and I go, “Why are there so many dirty cups?!?!?!”

Don't let Love slip out of your hand

Don’t let Love slip out of your hand

On the Girlfriend Report Card, I fully deserve my fail-grade.

It’s not that my boyfriend makes me unhappy. Or, that I’m unhappy with him. Sometimes, when he isn’t looking, I would be observing how he seems so capable of amusing himself with antics like peeling a sticker off an apple and pasting it – with meticulous care – over my fridge magnets, and I would smile.

He has an almost childlike disposition about him that never fails to lift the grey clouds over my moods. And to top it all off, he is affectionate and never fails to want to give me a hug or a kiss. I, on the other hand, would go, “Leave me alone! It’s very hot today!!!” And, to make me feel even worse, he would good-naturedly say, “Be nice! At least one of us is being affectionate in this relationship.” Then proceed to try to drown me in another bear-hug.

I really wish I am not such a miserable git.

I’m not even going to try to make any excuses or attempt to explain away why I’m such a lousy girlfriend. I’ve never been the sort who likes hugs and cuddles. The first thing I think about once I am fully awake is going to my computer to write. And really, once I’m in my zone, I resent any attempt by anyone to drag me out of it.

Of course, I feel guilty.

And I make it up by letting him “torment” me every couple of hours. Whether it be allowing him to practice rugby tackles on me, or allowing myself to be dragged to the playground for an hour of kettle-bell workout, I try my best to do something with him.

I am lucky to have a man who doesn’t stop trying to make the relationship work. I count myself blessed to have a boyfriend who is so good-natured, who has such a great sense of humor that he sees the funny side of my not-so-good side.

With the launch of Material World, I’m definitely working longer hours and the worst thing is, the line between home and office has blurred even more now that I have a workdesk set up in my apartment. Where does work end and home-life begin? How do I stop being an overachieving workaholic and start getting my act together as the under-performing girlfriend?

I realize that I have to buck up.

Because, if I continue to take this man for granted, I will lose one of the most important things in my life and, I will regret it.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of  Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes to meet Steven Tyler in person one day.

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