THE SYDNEY JOURNAL

BACK TO REALITY

I think you know me well enough by now to know I’m not one to beat around the bush. I’ve got some stern advice for you heading into 2017. So please, take a seat, pour yourself a wine, hair of the dog and all that, and let’s get down to dating business.

Some of you may not like what I have to say. It may ruin reality TV for you forever. But what is The Dating Journal if I’m not openly, blatantly honest with you all about all my dating experiences – the good, the bad, the very bad, and the ugly, right? So, I’m going to start the first journal of 2017 by addressing the elephant in the room. Why didn’t I acknowledge the big-eared mammal earlier? Simple – I just so could not be bothered. This is why.

For me, 2016 was filled with so many highs, got my face on national television, and so many lows, got my face on national television while wearing a wedding dress for a fake wedding, to say ‘I do’ to a complete stranger. Now, I can’t say that I entirely regret committing myself to the unrealistic experience of reality television. You wouldn’t be here reading The Dating Journal if I did. What I do regret, however, is using up all of my accrued annual leave on a ‘honeymoon’ to Fiji with someone who was not quite the match-made in heaven I was expecting #anotherpinacoladathanks

To cut a five-week ‘love’ story short: It became very clear early on in the piece that the ‘marriage’ to my TV husband was doomed. Destined to fail. Crash and burn. I know – shut the front door. Here’s the cold hard truth. Every reality ‘TV star’ has their own reasons for wanting to put themselves out into the public eye. Of course, each to their own. For me, though, when I received the phone call to say my perfect match had been found, after six months of filling in tedious questionnaires, I honestly thought that my single days were over. In my defense, I had a slight case of sunstroke that day. My brain was slightly fried. It’s quite unfortunate for all of those involved – you, me, my family and friends, but especially me because I am the bride. We all held such high hopes for my love life, and single lady parts. Truth be told, my TV husband did not don a tux for love, or my single lady parts, despite sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage while waiting for me at the altar.

Reality television, being the usual conniving, clever thing it is, caught hundreds of hours of footage of ‘married life’ and cut it down to a mere thirteen minutes per episode, per couple. Needless to say, our relationship, however it turned out, would have never been portrayed to its full authenticity. Not even close. Conversations and events were cut, copied, and pasted. I walked down the aisle four times, said my vows three times, and we kissed at the altar twice.  My faith in the ‘match-making’ process dwindled away somewhat when my TV husband shared with me immediately post-wedding ceremony that he hadn’t dated for years and never actually applied for the experiment. He was recruited from a local cafe and thought, ‘Yeah sure, why not?’ Just to kindly let you know, I’m no ‘yeah-sure-why-not’ kinda girl. You’re either all in or all out. No middle ground. Particularly if I’m going to ditch my usual black attire for bridal get-up.

So, when did I know the match-makers had really failed at their one job? One job! It became clear as day when my TV husband took great pleasure in asking the sound crew, camera crew, producers and what-have-you about potential front-of-house sports presenting gigs. When merely the thought of him talking about a black and white ball rolling across lush green grass for a living turned him on more than me presenting myself half naked in nothing but black lace underwear, I knew I was fighting a losing battle. Let me just open that door. I’ll see myself out. Truth be told, he just wasn’t that into me, the experiment, or sharing his humble man cave with a random single girl. He didn’t want a bar of it. Nothing. Nada.

Problem was, nobody knew. Nobody but me that is. Week two, day three, of the five-week experiment, while folding a pile of bathroom towels during a filming break, he said to me, and I quote, ‘I’m just not that into it’. Needless to say, it just snowballed from there #doyouwannabuildasnowman

Sure, the guy had a great rig, but unlike the casting crew, who obviously aren’t suffering as single members of society and actively dating themselves, I feel young single men with abs are as common as flies at a picnic. Just because a guy dons a washboard stomach and arms strong enough to crazy-Swayze you on a dancefloor, the result of an addiction to F45 and hard boiled eggs, does not mean he cuts the mustard in the ‘husband material’ department.

Once filming wrapped, I was more than over it. I was over the forced conversations that ended abruptly when the cameras switched off. I was over the staged dinners, literally, set-up by producers only to have to pretend my TV husband had done them himself #ohyoushouldnthave I was over overhearing his one-on-one interviews in the next room where he expressed his ‘growing’ feelings for me #vomit I was over being asked if I was in love yet. I was over being asked if I consider being taken to a soccer match romantic. Welllll, obviously not. I was over doing all the grocery shopping and cooking dinner for two. Every. Single. Night. But more than anything, I was over feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I was emotionally exhausted.

I wanted nothing more than to go back to my ‘old’ life. Real reality. But I couldn’t. I may have been single AF but at least I was genuinely happy. So why didn’t I leave? Simple. It wouldn’t have made sense to our ‘story’. How could I walk away when everything caught on film was nothing short of a blossoming ‘marriage’ starring the perfect ‘husband’? It was, in one word: fucked.

The day I moved out of his apartment was probably one of the happiest days of my life to date. No exaggeration. Once we broke up, yes, with each other, decision day, brilliant editing right there, I was ushered into a taxi, and that was that. The ride home was surreal. I remember staring at the back of the passenger headrest, asking myself, ‘What the hell just happened?’ In a matter of seconds, I went from being the most important person in a room of fifty-plus people to nothing but old news. I handed five weeks of rollercoaster emotions on a silver platter to the untrusting reality TV gods and now, it was only a matter of time before Australia would have free reign to judge my ability to hold down a relationship #projectilevomit

I stepped out of the taxi, gladly carrying my own bags up three flights of stairs before arriving at the front door of my apartment. I left my bags in the hallway and immediately entered my bedroom, collapsing face down on my soft, clean, white pillows of my bed. I was home. Home alone. All by myself. Just me, myself and I. I’d never been happier to be all alone, isolated, in my quiet, empty, apartment. I was single again. I was free. I clearly remember, I went out that evening, got tip-say in tha club, celebrating my returning freedom, and at the hands of fate bumped into “Flatmate Finders” Charlie. When one relationship closes, another relationship opens. That’s the saying, right? Thank you, Universe. I needed that pick-me-up. Pun intended.

So, what is the point of me sharing all of this with you now, just as I’ve erased all remnants of his blow-drying technique from my memory? My point is this, hope you’re taking mental notes:

Never stay in a relationship if you feel the need to convince the person to be with you. You should never have to persuade someone that you are worthy of their time.

Never stay in a relationship if you begin to question your self-worth. You should never feel like you’re not good enough.

Never stay in a relationship merely because you can’t handle the thought of having to wait around for the real deal. You should never feel the need to wonder, what if?

Let me end on this note. In the words of Bianca’s Dad in 10 Things I Hate About You: ‘I’ve got news for you. I’m down. I’ve got the 411 and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don’t care how dope his ride is.’ Dump his arse, get back to reality and move on – there’s plenty more washboard abs in the sea.

 

 

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