The Importance of a Good Father

While this story is six months old, I saw this on Facebook this morning and wanted to share it.

A single father took his six year old daughter for a Valentine’s Day dinner, and during the meal was given this note…


It reads:

Hi there! Sorry to spy but my husband and I saw you out with your little date and were so impressed with what a great Dad you are. From two adults who grew up without dads, it’s so important to have a male role model at a young age. Keep up the good work Dad! Dinner is on us! 🙂 

The note was left anonymously, and the father was overwhelmed by the gesture…

It’s so true that a positive male role model will help young females form healthy relationships with men in later life, and it’s unfortunate and wrong that many stories about men and fathers focus on the negative.

So, for all the wonderful fathers out there – this one is for you!


How To Decorate Your Man During the Festive Season

2014 has certainly been the year of the beard and photographer Stephanie Jarstad has taken this hairy celebration to a whole new level. While supporting Movember she created a project that would continue to highlight men’s health and prostate cancer awareness in the form of DecemBEARD, photographing festively adorned men in all their fuzzy glory. The results are superb.








Like what you see? You can purchase pictures of these bearded lovelies and more from Stephanie’s Etsy store in the form of Christmas cards and poster prints.

What about you guys? Do you decorate your loved ones during the holiday season?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page

Photo Credits: Stephanie Jarstad

Twelve Things Men Should Know About Women

I love being a woman. We’re strong, independent, beautiful, interesting and complex creatures that have the power to bring new life into the world, and I am lucky in that I am surrounded by many examples of fabulous women on a daily basis. However, I have lots of male friends, perhaps more than I have that are female, and after having many conversations with them I still feel that there are a few misconceptions about my gender than men need to know. Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of every woman, in the same way that I cannot assume that all men have these misconceptions and it certainly isn’t an opportunity to attack the male sex, but I thought I would have a little fun on this dreary Sunday afternoon.

1. We have bodily functions. I am still always surprised by the amount of my male counterparts who haven’t grasped the concept of this. I’m sorry to dispel the myth here fellas, but we poop. We fart. We burp. And most women I know have the capacity to do it far louder than any man. Continue reading

No Means No!

imageWhen I was at University I worked at a local bar that was about ten minutes walk away from the apartment that I lived in. One Saturday afternoon I was on my way to a shift that started at 4.00pm. I was wearing a baggy blue checked shirt with the logo of the bar on it, long black trousers and a sturdy pair of black boots. I wasn’t wearing any make-up, my hair was tied up and I was minding my own business. Suddenly, I heard a man shout:

“Oi! Sexy! Where are you going?”

I turned around, thinking it was one of my friends. I didn’t recognise this man or his friend and so I turned around and carried on walking.

“Aww, don’t walk away! Where are you going? Give me your number!”

I ignored him, but the sound of his voice didn’t get any quieter. They were obviously following me.

“Hey baby, have you got a lighter? Come on baby, give me your number!”

I could see my workplace in the distance and I lost my temper, telling them in no uncertain terms to f*ck off in the hope that they would go away. They didn’t. Instead, they sucked their teeth at me and continued to follow, this time shouting abuse and calling me a ‘slag’ and and ‘f*cking stupid b*tch.’ They disappeared when I arrived at work, but it was the scariest experience I’ve had on my own in the street.

It was broad daylight, I wasn’t dressed in a provocative way and I hadn’t prompted any conversation or even looked at them in a way that would suggest I was interested in them. However, it could have been 3.00am and pitch dark, I could have been wearing a bikini and could have applied my make-up on with a shovel, and my thoughts on the matter would still be the same:

No means no.

I’ve been extremely lucky in life. As I write I am sitting next to The Bloke. He towers over me, being 6’3″, he weighs more than me and is considerably stronger than I am, but in the years that I have known him there hasn’t been a single moment where I have felt the least bit intimidated by him. In fact, I haven’t felt physically intimidated by any man that I have dated or had a relationship with (not that there have been many) and I have never engaged in activities that I didn’t want to do.

Unfortunately, some of my friends haven’t been so lucky.

I awoke this morning to the news of the tragedy in Santa Barbara. An obviously mentally ill young man took the lives of six innocent people, before killing himself, an incident that once again leaves everyone in shock. To make matters worse, he created a 141 page manifesto in which he stated that all women should be placed in concentration camps and starved to death, and this has prompted and understandably aggressive stance on the issue of gender equality, assault and abuse across my social media networks. The trolls are out in force – I was horrified to see this conversation posted on Twitter…


I’m proud to be a woman, and as a woman I believe that I should be treated equally. I should be paid the same wages as a man in the same role and should be offered the same opportunities as my male counterparts. It shouldn’t automatically be assumed that my status as a female means that I will spend my life raising children and/or looking after a home. Above all, I believe that I shouldn’t be harassed or propositioned and should be treated with respect, not just because I am a woman, but because I am a human being.

I’ve seen some really interesting conversations this morning and I seen examples of some of the arguments that were offered in my own life. However, there were a few things that annoyed me slightly – there were some women who seem to be blaming ALL men for this, when most are actually kind, hard-working genuine people, and it isn’t just women who are assaulted. Still, it still doesn’t take away from that fact that no means no, regardless of gender or circumstance.

For example:

Women can easily manipulate men by using sex. An ex-friend of mine is beautiful, but she was highly aware of this and used it to her advantage. During her 18 month relationship with a rich older man she frequently told me that she wasn’t attracted to him, that having sex with him made her skin crawl and that she only did it because he bought her things. However, he didn’t force her at any point to do anything, she did so willingly.

But no means no.

Men can easily manipulate women by using money. A male friend that I haven’t seen in years is rich and he will spend his money on women so they will sleep with him (which he admitted to me when he was drunk).

But no means no.

Women will dress provocatively and are perfectly happy to be chatted up by someone that they find attractive, but they will take offence and refer to them as a ‘pervert’ if they find them unnattractive. I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I have seen this happen in nightclubs.

No still means no.

It isn’t just women who are sexually objectified. One of my male friends, who is extremely attractive and has a very defined, muscular body is often groped by drunken women when we go out, particularly if he wears tight T- shirts. His male friends joke about it, but sometimes I can see that he’s really uncomfortable. And male rape is extremely common, it just isn’t talked about.

No means no for men too.

Some women will ‘friend zone’ men without being honest about their feelings and giving the impression that they are romantically interested, keeping them hanging on just enough to give them hope just in case they can’t find anyone that they deem to be better, and this often leaves the men feeling angry and frustrated. The Bloke, being the quintessential ‘nice guy’ has told me many stories of instances where he has been used by his female friends and then promptly friend zoned later, leaving him heartbroken (and obviously, they didn’t know a good thing when they had it – more fool them!)

And again, no means no.


No means no if you’re a man or woman.

No means no whether you’re in a relationship with a person or whether you’ve just met them.

‘Not now’ means no.

‘I’m in a relationship’ means no.

‘No thanks’ means no.

‘I’m not interested’ means no.

If I have been out in the evening to a local bar, one of my male friends will walk me home or The Bloke will walk down and meet me. If I’m in town my friends will walk me to a taxi station and will insist that I ring them when I am home safely, and I do the same for them. I’m lucky to have great friends, but I shouldn’t have to go through that process. I shouldn’t have to fear walking down the street at night by myself, I shouldn’t have to consider what I wear in case it attracts attention, and I shouldn’t have to avoid eye contact or innocent conversations with people just in case they assume I am hitting on them.

imageThe events in Santa Barbara are horrific, and it has once again brought to light the stigma and taboo that still surrounds the issue of abuse and assault. I hope that instead of feeding the trolls, we can learn from this tragedy and continue to educate each other and our children that no does in fact mean no. And to those of you who have suffered at the hands of another person… You are not alone. Say something. Talk to us. We’re here.

My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

Can Men and Women Be Just Friends?

whenHarryMetSally3It’s a question that is the subject of debate amongst scientists, psychologists and sociologists the world over. When researching this post I discovered thousands of different articles on the Internet, all with conflicting arguments and conclusions. I don’t possess any of these scientific qualifications and therefore can only rely on my own thoughts and experiences, and therefore I apologise if this is one of many similar posts.

There is one thing that all of these articles have in common – the film ‘When Harry Met Sally’. In the opening sequence Billy Crystal declares that “no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive”.  But is this statement actually true?

When examining cross-sex relationships in TV programmes we are given the impression that platonic friendships aren’t always possible. There are hundreds of examples of friendships that develop into romance – Luke and Lorelai in the ‘Gilmore Girls’, J.D. and Elliot in ‘Scrubs’, Pacey and Joey in ‘Dawson’s Creek’, Mulder and Scully in the ‘X – Files’… In ‘Friends’, four of the six end up falling in love – Rachel and Ross’s ‘will they, wont they’ relationship dominates the entire show, and Monica and Chandler get married. Even Rachel and Joey have a romantic liaison at one point, with the only platonic relationship being that of the friendship between Phoebe and Joey. Obviously the romantic element of a show is added to the plot to attract more viewers, but it left me wondering whether these sorts of friendships can actually exist in real life.

whenharrymetsallyI am the worst possible example within the discussion of platonic cross – sex relationships as almost all of my long term relationships (not that there have been many) have resulted from a strong friendship first.  My best friend is male. I’ve known him since I was nineteen and we see or speak to each other on the phone several times a week. We support each other, we’ve borrowed money from each other, we ask each other advice. We have no romantic feelings towards each other, we’ve both been in long term relationships over the years and have always liked each others partners. However, when we first met we instantly became very close, resulting in a quite intense (on my part anyway) relationship for several months. It didn’t last long, but I feel that because we got the intimate part of the relationship out of the way we have been able to simply relax and enjoy each others company without anything getting in the way. The Bloke and I have been together for a long time, but were friends for several years before we became romantically involved.

I have lots of male friends, but I have a much stronger friendships with my female friends. I don’t discuss certain things with most of my male friends and the majority of our activities are centred on exercise or drinking. It’s rare that I will meet them without somebody else present, with only two exceptions, my best friend and my fireman friend, who is happily engaged to a lovely woman.

428507874_1387622695However, in my life there are some examples where cross-sex relationships exist and work effectively. I’ve known MM and GB for years – we met as struggling students and have remained friends. MM is male, GB is female and as long as I’ve known them, I (and several others) have always had the notion that they would be absolutely perfect together – they have similar interests, they make each other laugh and they genuinely enjoy each others company. They, however, completely disagree and nothing has ever happened between them. Both are content in their own serious relationships and are happy for each other.

Two of our other university friends are similar in that they’ve always had a strong friendship and have never crossed the line. However, the male quite obviously is very attracted to the female, which isn’t reciprocated although she’s clearly aware of it.

I decided to create a scientific study on the subject (and by scientific, I mean that I asked my friends what they thought). I’ve compiled their responses in the list below.

1. One or both are gay.

2. One or both is in a committed relationship and is not willing to cross any boundaries.

3. One is not attracted to the other (although when my friend suggested this she also added that this eventually may have a negative effect on their friendship as one will inevitably want more).

4. Neither are physically attracted to each other.

5. Both are attracted to each other, but have mutually agreed that they value their friendship more.

What do you think? Do you have a platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

What About Mr Nice Guy?

spangel__spike_and_angel_by_roowsj-d41sxlvI was late to jump on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer bandwagon. I had seen the 1992 film and had watched the occasional TV episode when visiting my friend (who was obsessed), but it wasn’t until I moved in with my ex-boyfriend that I really started to take an interest in the show – by this point Season 7 had finished and the programme had ended completely. It began during an evening of boredom, and so the ex suggested that we watched a few episodes to see whether I liked it. From that moment I was hooked, and managed to watch all seven seasons within just a few months.

I was surprised at myself – I was in my early-20’s, I’ve never been a member of anything that even closely resembled a ‘fandom’ and had always rolled my eyes whenever my friends discussed films and TV shows that were based on the notion of werewolves, vampires and suchlike, (and bear in mind that this was several years before the likes of ‘True Blood,’ ‘Twilight’ and ‘Vampire Diaries’ had hit our screens and bookshelves) – but I found myself engrossed in the storyline, willing the characters on in their battles with the ‘big bad’ of that season, and cheering with them in their victories.

However, above all else, there was one character that kept me coming back for more in the earlier series. Spike. Aesthetically, Spike, played by James Marsters, wasn’t my type at all. Angel, played by David Boreanaz was (and still is – David, that is) so pretty I could have cried, but there was something about the dark, brooding ‘Slayer of Slayers‘ that made me weak at the knees, despite the awful English accent and Billy Idol platinum look. Spike was the ‘bad boy.’ In his long, black leather coat he was rude, antagonistic, dismissive, sarcastic and dangerous and I couldn’t get enough. I must admit that I was a little disappointed when he changed over time into a much more sensitive character.

imagesThere are hundreds of characters that surround the archetype of the ‘bad boy’ in literature and the media – Christian Grey, James Bond, Mr Big, Tyler Durden, Captain Jack Sparrow, Loki, Tony Stark to name just a few – the drama, the fights, the rebellion, smouldering good looks and the lack of consideration for the future have an appeal that may be hard to resist for some women (and men). There may be all sorts of different reasons for this – a lack of self-esteem and a feeling that they don’t deserve better, a lack of desire for commitment, an attraction to drama or an attraction to something that they can’t have, a need to rescue the bad boys and encourage them to change their ways, even the desire to date someone opposite in character to a father figure… However, it still doesn’t stop the tears and disappointment when the Bad Boy has lived up to his namesake, again.

I’ve done the Bad Boy relationship. Over the space of 18 months I made excuses for his behaviour and accepted the awful way in which he treated me because I felt that he loved me and wanted to be in a relationship. Eventually, after I’d lost a lot of friends and my self-esteem was at rock bottom, I decided that I deserved better and left.

I’ve got some news for you ladies – it is very rare that the Bad Boy will change his ways for you and you alone. Very rare.

But what about Mr Nice Guy?

The nice guy. The one who calls when he says he will, who is where he says he is, with who he says he’s with. The one who is upfront, honest and reliable. The one who doesn’t get involved in mind games. The one women will often go to for a shoulder to cry on after the Bad Boy has let them down.

Yes, that one.

The stereotype that seems to surround Mr Nice Guy is that nice is boring, unexciting and is physically unnatractive, and in my experience I absolutely disagree with all of these. I saw a quote somewhere that stated ‘Nice is not boring, boring is boring.’ Attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder – we all have different tastes and opinions on what we deem to be pleasing to the eye. Nice people are often more respectful, happier and easier to be around.

Here are my reasons why you should get rid of the Bad Boy and give dating Mr Nice Guy a chance.

Nice+guys+finish+last.+Ba+Dum+Tst+Porn+stars+without+makeup_ed7d74_46752431. What you see is what you get. While it is impossible to absolutely, truly know someone, Mr Nice Guy is usually who you think he is. There are no mind games, no lies and no bullshit. If he likes or dislikes something, he’ll tell you.

2. He follows through on what he says. He calls and texts when he says he will, he suggests plans and sticks to them.

3. He likes you for you. He listens to you, cares about your opinion, has respect for you and accepts your quirks.

4. He’s up for anything and willing to please. Read into that as you will ;). Note: whatever you imagine is likely to be followed by Mr Nice Guy cooking you breakfast the following morning.

5. Chivalry. Before I start being attacked by feminists, I strongly believe that men and women should be treated equally and that it is important that women should stand up for their rights and what they believe in. However, I do like the chivalrous aspects that accompany a date with Mr Nice Guy. I have been given a date’s coat when it has been cold, doors have been held open for me – I’ve even been offered a pair of shoes at the end of a night after a night of dancing in high heels. I turned down the offer, but I thought it was a lovely gesture. Others may disagree and think that the man had no backbone – I saw it that he wanted to make me comfortable. Unfortunately, this leaves Mr Nice Guy in a situation that he may not ever win – if he opens a door, his date may be offended. If he doesn’t, his date may think he is rude.

6. Others will like him. While the opinions of others shouldn’t matter too much when you are dating someone, the stress of negative feelings from family and friends can sometimes cause a strain on the relationship. Chances are, they’ll like Mr Nice Guy as much as you do.

Note: By no means am I suggesting in this list that Mr Nice Guy is a pushover and someone who can be taken advantage of. Mr Nice Guy will have faults, as we all do, and shouldn’t be settled for simply because the Bad Boy has let you down.

says-she-wants-a-nice-guy-like-you-doesnt-want-to-date-youSo ladies (and gentlemen), if you want to be spending your evenings waiting by the phone, crying because he’s lied yet again, belittled you, cheated on you and hurt you, you have every right to do so. Carry on. Enjoy yourselves. But stop complaining when you’ve been let down.

However, if you genuinely want to have a committed, fulfilling, adult relationship, then look no further than Mr Nice Guy. Stop putting them in the friend zone and give them a chance. There’s more to them than you think.

Can anybody add to this? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences – do you prefer the bad boy or nice guy?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81blog.

Don’t forget to check out the winners of my New Year competition by clicking on the buttons on the sidebar of my blog!

Image Credit 1: roowsj
Image Credit 2 & 3:
Image Credit 4: thecontrarion1012

46 Reasons Why Men Are Amazing

After writing a post on ’46 Reasons Why Women Are Amazing’ I thought that I would do a similar list about our male counterparts. I think men get a raw deal sometimes and have an unfair reputation for being poor role-models and deadbeats. This list is based upon the opinions of my male friends and my own thoughts. (I think at this point I should also be rewarded for resisting the urge just to post 46 pictures of Dolph Lundgren with no shirt on… ) Continue reading