For a few years of her life, author Lucy Cavendish did online dating to death. She had became single at 44 and from match.com and Plenty of Fish to Tinder, she tried them all. “As a middle-aged mother with four children, the mature dating arena was particularly fraught. It was nothing like when I was young and you met people through friends and work”, she said.
Instead, it was like stepping in to a world she no longer understood, that didn’t seem to work in any way she recognised.
Men she thought were single and available turned out to be married and available for only one thing. She became wise to this fact after her friend pointed out that a man she’d been talking to online and was very interested in never happened to be available to ‘chat’ at weekends.
There also seemed to be a particular lingo. ‘Favourite activities’, she discovered, referred to activities in the bedroom, rather than hobbies.
“So I felt for Edwina Currie – probably the only time I will ever have feelings for Edwina Currie” she joked – “when she said that online dating over a certain age is a nightmare”.
Lucy also believes that people view sex differently these days citing the example of several couples she knowsn – one who are actually getting married – who started with the sex and got to know each other later.
Conversely, she recalls meeting many men who were terrified of women, especially sexually rapacious ones. One rather artistic South African creative spent an entire evening telling her how distressing it was that women kept on trying to entice him in to bed.
But online dating in your middle ages can undoubtedly be a minefield of subterfuge and pitfalls. After four years in the trenches, Lucy finally met her match. They had mutual friends on Facebook and he chatted her up by saying he liked her photograph.
They got married just before Christmas.
Looking back, Lucy says “If I am relieved, at 50, to be back out of the dating arena again, I am also determined to pass on my dating tips. Here’s what I wish I’d known before logging on..!
These days it is hard to walk the streets without running into someone who is anxiously looking at their wrist to see if they are on target to reach the magic 10,000 steps.
Is it really a goal worth striving for, or might there be something better?
And where did that figure come from?
You might be surprised to hear it was the result of a 1960s marketing campaign in Japan.
In the run-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, a company came up with a device which they started marketing to the health-conscious.
It was called a Manpo-Kei. In Japanese, “man” means 10,000, “po” means steps and “kei” means meter. So it was, literally, a 10,000 steps meter.
The device was an early pedometer, based on the work of Dr Yoshiro Hatano, a young academic at Kyushu University of Health and Welfare.
Dr Hatano was worried that the Japanese were busy importing a slothful American lifestyle, as well as a love of watching baseball, and wanted to help them get more active.
He reckoned that if he could persuade his fellow Japanese to increase their daily steps from 4,000 to around 10,000 then they would burn off approximately 500 extra calories a day and remain slim.
That, apparently, was how the “10,000 steps a day” regime was born.
It was clearly a great marketing success. But is it still the most effective way to improve our fitness?
For BBC’s The Truth about Getting Fit, I went to a factory in Sheffield with Prof Rob Copeland from Sheffield Hallam University.
Our aim was to do a small experiment in which we would compare the benefits and ease of doing 10,000 steps against something called, “Active 10“.
With Active 10 you don’t need to count steps. You simply aim to do three brisk 10-minute walks a day.
Our volunteers all had different reasons for wanting to get fitter.
Dave said: “I’m very aware that I’m not as fit as I used to be and I’ve put a lot of weight on,” while Judy confessed: “My only activity at the moment is knitting.”
And Nathan, who has a six-year-old daughter, said: “She runs so fast, and I run so slowly, I can’t catch her up.”
Our small group of volunteers was fitted with activity monitors so we could not only monitor what they did, but also how vigorously they did it.
First, a normal day’s activity was measured.
Rob then split them into two groups. One was asked to hit the 10,000-step target – around five miles – in a day, while the other group was asked to do three sessions of “Active 10” – which adds up to around 1.5 miles – more like 3,000 steps.
The Active 10 group were also told that their aim was not to amble but to get their pace up so that they would be working their heart and lungs. Prof Copeland told them: “You are aiming to walk fast enough so that you can still talk but not sing.”
When we looked at the volunteers’ results, two out of the three asked to do 10,000 steps had managed to hit their target. But they had all struggled.
The Active 10 group, on the other hand, had found it relatively easy. They had formed a small walking group and met together at convenient times during their working day to go for a brisk walk together.
So 10,000 steps was harder to achieve – but which activity was better for health?
Prof Copeland had analysed the data from their tracking monitors and he said the findings were very clear.
“The Active 10 group actually did 30% more ‘moderate to vigorous physical activity’ than the 10,000-step group, even though they moved for less time.
“And it’s when you are doing moderate intensity activity that you are starting to get the greatest health benefits.”
So even though the Active 10 group spent less time actually moving, they spent more time getting out of breath and increasing their heart rate.
Prof Copeland told the group: “What we really wanted you to do was to get your heart beating faster. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that by doing so you can lower your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.”
So three short brisk walks were easier to fit into the day and better for health.
I thought that was really interesting and I found it very encouraging, because I really don’t like doing 10,000 steps.
So the fact that you can get similar, perhaps greater, benefits from a few brisk walks a day is enormously encouraging.
To start doing some Active 10s in your day go to the NHS website where you can download a free Public Health England app. It is a good way to see how much brisk walking you’re doing, and how to do more.
Article culled from BBC-Health
Columnist Amanda Chatel writes:
I’m preparing to move to Paris for about a year or so. One of the major things this involves is getting rid of stuff that I should have tossed forever ago, but just haven’t yet. While tossing clothes and shoes is emotional enough in its own right, what’s really killing me the most is my “box of yesterday.”
True to its name, my “box of yesterday” is a nightmare collection of things from past relationships. I say nightmare, because who saves receipts from Brooklyn Bowl because it has an ex-boyfriend’s name on it? This gal. Who thinks it’s necessary to keep shreds of a ripped T-shirt from a wrestling match after too many martinis? Me, obviously.
The project of weeding through these things and deciding which is reasonable to keep and which solidifies me as a straight-up lunatic has forced me to face a fact: My last relationship, if we can even call it that, wasn’t love at all. Of course, at the time I was convinced it was love, as we all tend to think in similar situations, but in reality it was nothing but lust tangled up with infatuation, and because of it I was the most unstable, crazy, jealous, human being I’ve ever been. Looking back now, I blush at who I was, and that I was capable of such insanity because of a man.
With those days officially in my past and locked there safely so I can no longer touch them, I can see more clearly than ever what I was experiencing. I was not in love with a guy whom we’ll call “C,” but in lust.
Here’s what I learned from it all. If you recognize yourself in any of this, I suggest you run like hell. Now.
Love — real love — is about commitment and communication. These two important components lead to stability within a relationship. Of course, fire can be part of the equation, but when there’s lots of drama, chaos and more emotional gut blows than butterflies, you’re looking at a lustful situation.
I could stare at C for hours. I was so enamored with his beauty. To me, he was gorgeous from head to toe without a single flaw to be found. I was obsessed with his beauty, and relished in the fact that I got to be seen in public with him and got to “tap that” at the end of the night.
From the beginning, I knew C and I didn’t have a future. We were far too similar to have been able to conduct a grown-up relationship, and he was never going to want me the way I wanted him. With him, I acted younger than I was for far longer than I should have — the drinking, acting out, immaturity and irresponsibility were quadrupled when we were together. I didn’t want a “grown-up” life with him; I loved the days on end of debauchery that allowed me to escape from reality.
Although I loved talking to C, because we did have so much in common, whenever we were together just hanging around or watching a movie, I’d always catch myself wondering, “Why aren’t we having sex right now?” I’m serious. I couldn’t give a damn about the ending to whatever movie was on, if it meant we were having sex instead.
C and I were not friends. For a long time we called each other “best friend,” but the truth was I was in lust, and he was just waiting for something else, something, to use his words, better. Despite knowing that, the lust kept me coming back for more.
Although cuddling can be really satisfying and comforting when you’re in love, when you’re in lust a body against you just feels like dead weight. You’re also likely to ask yourself again, “Why aren’t we having sex right now?”
If I didn’t get the attention I needed from C on a daily basis, I felt like my world was falling apart. Was he texting with someone else instead? Was he not home, as he said, but out with someone else? Having sex with someone else? Why isn’t he answering my calls? It was exhausting, to say the least.
Anyone who’s been in love can attest to the fact that love is unconditional. Lust, however, is not. Lust is steeped in gratification without concern to anything else. I could easily sleep with someone other than C and not feel a twinge of regret, but if I were to do the same to the man I love, I’d never forgive myself. Lust has blurred boundaries as to what’s right; love kicks those blurred lines into place.
Many people end up in marriages where their lust has been mistaken for love and they wonder why they end up hating each other after a few years. I discovered my ex and I were not friends and we didn’t particularly like each other hence the constant fighting and hostility in the marriage. But the sex was great and even when we were not speaking, we always managed to get the sex going and unfortunately, we mistook this for love. At the end of the day, removing sex from our marriage, we discovered we had absolutely nothing in common.
When a choice of a partner is based more on the pre-set list of physical attributes such as weight, height, looks, colour over more mental. Emotional or some will even say spiritual connections, then the relationship’s entire foundation will rest solidly on lust rather than love.
Many lucky people snapped up luxury designer handbags from Harrods for just a tiny fraction of the price after an apparent website blunder.
The top London department store completely sold out of its cheap Aspinal of London handbags online on Thursday after gleeful shoppers quickly realised the upmarket bags were listed as heavily under-priced.
Fine Italian leather handbags which would have usually cost several hundred pound were listed at under £5.
One £250 pure leather tote bag cost just £2.13, while the brand’s Marylebone tote bag usually costing £950 was on sale for just £8.08.
An Aspinal of London Lottie shoulder bag, which usually costs £340, was also being bought by buyers for just £3.61.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes and luck when I saw the handbags,” one delighted shopper told the Standard.
“Now I hope that Harrods honour the mistake and I get my £800 handbag for a fiver.”
The pricing gaffe appeared to affect most of the range, although a few handbags remained listed at full price.
By Thursday evening, the entire range of the cut-price handbags were sold out on the Harrods website.
According to one shopper, who said her entire office were quickly buying up the bargain accessories, the last three handbags were bought at just before 4pm.
The customers have called on Harrods to honour the mistake and still dispatch the handbags to the lucky shoppers.
Marriage is becoming a risky business by the hour. Instead of enlarging the family, it is reducing it. When your son or daughter marries, you expect grandchildren as dividends. Now, your initial investment gets liquidated in a pool of blood, without recourse to you. One infuriated sick and weak girl just grabs a kitchen knife and carves up your son in a flash, ripping out your heart and dreams of being surrounded by happiness in your old age. One silly boy in a moment of uncontrollable blinding fury stabs your daughter in the throat, leaving you reeling in that kind of pain no parent can recover from. Wives killing their husbands. Husbands killing their wives.
How did our innocent babies become murderers? How did we miss it? What did we do wrong, or failed to do that is filling our doorsteps with shoes of mourners and our once happy homes with wailings and gnashing of teeth? Did the Bible not promise that our children will surround our tables and that we will not cast our young? So, what is going on? It is bad enough that more and more young marriages are failing. It is already a sad testimony that more women are becoming breadwinners and telling our sons when to snore in their own beds. But this added blood and gore and loss and unending pain… Or are you not worried?
Sure, the latest tragedies happened far from you but they are really closer than you think. If you still think these recent spousal murders do not really concern you, take a look at your daughter, your son and tell yourself you can vouch for the spouses they will end up with. And if your children are already in their 20s and of marriage age, swear you are not a teensy bit concerned about the suitors milling around them. That fine-boy-no-pimples full of smiles and politeness, does he have anger issues? Is he a keeper, a reaper or a taker? That babe who is already calling your son ‘Ayo mi’ (my joy) or ‘honey’, can you trust her with your greatest treasure, your brilliant caring son?
There is no retirement age for parents. We are parents for life. Our job is cut out for us and we must do it with all our heart and might. There is really no short cut. This is our calling until we are called home by He who chose us for this assignment as daddies and mummies. Of course, the temptation to hand over our daughters and our parenting jobs over to our in-laws the day we give them out in marriage will always be there. But it is a temptation we must resist as soon as the effects of red wine champagne wears off. Yeah. Wine-carrying, celebrated destination wedding ceremonies with the captains of industry and 10 governors in attendance is what it is, just another party. The marriage itself begins the following day. And let’s not forget that the young bride and groom had lived a protected life up until their wedding day. They were chauffeured to primary and secondary schools, assisted in picking their universities. Their NYSC postings were arranged by daddy. Their first jobs too via daddy’s connections. This is the first time they would be taking huge steps on their own. They probably will still be using daddy’s mechanic and mummy’s travel agent and caterer. Don’t bother denying it. We are all guilty of over-parenting. We all look forward so much to the days our children will get married that we forget there are things we must do, that is, beyond the small chops and assorted meals from here to China.
Raise your hand if you did a proper background check on your son’s wife before the wedding. Seriously? Yeah.
Let me stress this point then. You must investigate your daughter’s suitor, your son’s intended. Don’t be overly excited by the diamond ring he gave her or the rich family she comes from. You must do your research. You must ensure you are not handing over your treasure to a pig who’ll go play in the mud with it. Most parents hardly ever do that background check before calling the wedding planner. Is he abusive? Does she throw flower vases at television sets? Does his father beat his mother? Is her mother cantankerous? Before you fix the wedding date, make sure you are not funding a ceremony that will put your child in an early grave. That is the pre-wedding warning.
However, marriage is the critical point. While I think it is a sin to meddle in your children’s marriage, I also think it is a crime to push our children into the deep end of the pool without providing life jackets. Parents should let new couples totter, falter, fall even but be there to help them back on their feet. Watch from a distance but watch you must, keenly, discreetly, wisely. The fear of failure and what the society would say make a lot of new couples die in silence. Without being intrusive, nudge your daughter or daughter-in-law to speak freely. Call her to accompany you to a party you don’t want to attend alone. Start a topic that will help her open up. It could be a new television series, a movie with a relationship or marriage theme. And being a busy politician or high flying executive is not an excuse. I open such topics with my girls while they are helping me pick an evening dress, do my make-up or while we are watching a movie that I had picked for that purpose. I have also had such intimate talks with my son as he drove us to church.
Fathers, let your son-in-law accompany you to events, golf course, church, mosque. What’s wrong with an occasional barber-date together? Get your grooming Saturday in sync. It helps you see through what they may be trying to hide without asking probing questions. You have gained an extra child and that should be an advantage.
Stop by unannounced occasionally too and make such visits brief, very brief. Take along gifts. Those unannounced visits help you to catch them without rehearsed speeches. Hug the wife, she will wince or grunt if she has been kicked or punched. Does she have puffy eyes, discoloured cheeks or walking with a limp? If every time you go there, there is always a story why a piece of furniture is broken or cracked, one of them may be violent, hurling coffee mugs at the television or kicking flower vases.
And if you discover that one of them is abusive, don’t expect them to sort it out on their own or with their pastor. An abusive wife or husband is a sick person. He needs help. She needs to see the appropriate doctor, it is an emergency. If the abusive partner refuses to get help, retrieve the one that belongs to you to safety. My mother used to counsel that a safe small corner on earth is better than a big space in the grave. You cannot fold your arms and hope she will stop slapping your son while she graduates to stabbing him. If he has pushed her down the staircase once and you leave her there, who will you blame when your church elders arrive with sober faces to break the news of your daughter?
Of course I know my pastor, and many other pastors reading this, will object to my ‘retrieve-your-child’ solution but I prefer my pastor chides me to him telling me ‘it is well’ later. God forbid. If a sick spouse gets help, the marriage can get back on track and everybody gets a chance to live happily ever after. And read the Bible too.
Where someone’s gaze falls could indicate almost instantly whether attraction is based on feelings of love or of lust.
Scientists say if the gaze is focused on a stranger’s face, then love is possible, but if the gaze focuses more on the stranger’s body, then the attraction is more sexual in nature. That automatic judgment can occur in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns.
“Although little is currently known about the science of love at first sight or how people fall in love, these patterns of response provide the first clues regarding how automatic attentional processes, such as eye gaze, may differentiate feelings of love from feelings of desire toward strangers,” says lead author Stephanie Cacioppo, director of the High-Performance Electrical NeuroImaging Laboratory at the University of Chicago.
Previous research by Cacioppo has shown that different networks of brain regions are activated by love and sexual desire. In this study, the team performed two experiments to test visual patterns in an effort to assess two different emotional and cognitive states that are often difficult to mdisentangle from one another—romantic love and sexual desire.
Male and female students from the University of Geneva viewed a series of black-and-white photographs of persons they had never met. In part one of the study, participants viewed photos of young, adult heterosexual couples who were looking at or interacting with each other. In part two, participants viewed photographs of attractive individuals of the opposite sex who were looking directly at the camera/viewer. None of the photos contained nudity or erotic images.
In both experiments, participants were placed before a computer and asked to look at different blocks of photographs and decide as rapidly and precisely as possible whether they perceived each photograph or the persons in the photograph as eliciting feelings of lust or romantic love.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, showed no significant difference in the time it took subjects to identify romantic love versus sexual desire, which suggests how quickly the brain can process both emotions, the researchers note.
But analysis of the eye-tracking data from the two studies revealed marked differences in eye movement patterns, depending on whether the subjects reported feeling sexual desire or romantic love.
People tended to visually fixate on the face, especially when they said an image elicited a feeling of romantic love. However, with images that evoked sexual desire, the subjects’ eyes moved from the face to fixate on the rest of the body. The effect was found for male and female participants.
“By identifying eye patterns that are specific to love-related stimuli, the study may contribute to the development of a biomarker that differentiates feelings of romantic love versus sexual desire,” says coauthor John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. “An eye-tracking paradigm may eventually offer a new avenue of diagnosis in clinicians’ daily practice or for routine clinical exams in psychiatry and/or couple therapy.”
Coauthor Mylene Bolmont, a graduate student at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, contributed to the study.
Source: University of Chicago