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Thursday, 4 November 2010

More Self-Care Needed

Dear Reader

It has always been my sincere conviction that saving on money should be a priority; as a result, I have often stinged on my own needs, while generously spending on those close to me. Well -- that should be reworded: I often stinge on my own needs, while generously granting wishes to the person that I love. This is true; the person who is stingy also has an Achilles Heel. For some, the Achilles Heel is the feeling of being loved, that feeling that s/he is appreciated. How many times have you heard of an old Ah Pek (Chinese male retiree) who squandered all his savings on a China Doll (female Chinese national)? I've also heard of some charming Casanovas who charm old ladies with promises of romance, only to fleece them of their money and leave shortly after. These confidence tricksters are playing on dreams and hopes; pretty soon, their victim awakens from the drunken stupor of l-o-v-e and discover that they have been cheated of everything. And what then? Some of them admit openly that they have been conned, while a proud few stand up to say, "Hell, it was a good experience! I'd do it all over again ... IF I HAD THE MONEY." (They never learn.)

I've been spending, spending, spending... in hopes of saving the relationship with the girlfriend. I'm sponsoring her trip to Taiwan, where she will tour the country with her friends for 12 days -- I join them only on the last 4 days. Trust me when I say that the amount I have set aside is not a small amount, but it is possibly one of the things that could save this relationship. I've even broken (or cashed in) my "Guaranteed Capital" investment with a major bank to finance this trip. But as all the best plans go, they have a way of going awry. Every little detail has led her to express unhappiness and dissatisfaction, sometimes blowing into little tantrums. Somebody (with a sultry profile) added me on Facebook, and I approved it: She lost her temper. She went out last night with her friends, and I sent her an SMS at 8pm that went unanswered: I sent another three SMS's throughout the night,  10.30pm, 12am, and 1.30am. She said that I was oversensitive, overbearing, over... just "over". (for the record, all my SMS's were short, simply asking if everything was OK, and that she could call me if she needs me.) Despite all of these, I continue to bring her out for treats and outings, believing fervently that the situation will change for the better if I spend a little more time, a little more money, on her. I buy things for her and I earn her contempt. I put up with it because I think that the relationship is coming to an end, perhaps I should try my best-est to salvage it.

In the meantime, I walk around with too-tight trousers (waist size: 31, whereas my present waist size is 33), trousers with holes in the sides (the Made-In-China trousers I purchased in Shenzhen just could not hold together at the seams), trousers with unkempt, frayed cuffs/hemlines (because the leg sleeves were too long, and the cuffs kept getting under my shoe heel). I should be buying new trousers, getting a proper fit. Today, I am wearing for the first time, a pair of trousers that I purchased together with a jacket in Shenzhen. It fits well. I am reminded that I should spend a little more on my personal needs, so that I won't live life like a beggar, always trying to stinge a little here, a little there -- only to splurge it all on some fancy dress on a weekend with a sale. (I am beginning to feel a little like an Ah Pek now -- only my China Doll is from KL, born & bred here.)

Here are some things that I've thought of spending money on.

1. I'd like more "me-time" at Starbucks, sipping the Mint Blend while enjoying jazz music and blogging. (RM10.50 for a grande, and there's the possibility of refill)

2. Buying a few good trousers and shirts, to make up my personal wardrobe, for those "moments that count". Many of my clothes have been with me for more than a decade. Some of the white shirts have been washed so many times that the cloth has become thin, revealing the colour of flesh that rests below the threads.

3. A second-hand treadmill, to make up for the gym membership that I've terminated. I've been paying for two persons' membership at Fitness First for the past twelve months, only to discover my partner (girlfriend, or fiancee, if you will) does not share my enthusiasm for sweating it out indoors. She prefers supplements and meeting friends in the evening time.

I've also come to the conclusion that purchasing more dresses, more cameras, more laptops, more Yorkshire Terriers, and more fancy sandals, for my girlfriend, isn't going to help us bond better. Instead, it's the experiences that we share, that will make us bond better. So in the future, I'll buy less things for her (because they are things, not "me", just things that she needs and wants and vacillates about and forgets the moment she gets) and spend more on activities that we can share: karaoke (they serve lunch and you can sing your heart out!), movies, outstation outings. The only thing is, my significant other has a penchant for shopping, purchasing clothes at bazaars, with the ever familiar line: "If I buy two, or more, how much of a discount will I get? How about four?" And then we end up buying three or four or more, and she'll say, "What a great bargain!" When in fact we spend more than if we were to purchase a single one.

Life's like that. My course is still on-going. It feels funny to be doing a course in management when certain aspects of my life are beyond managing. Push a little, and the lady grumbles. Assert myself a little, and she goes off with other guys to the pub and the club. Just tonight I dropped her off at Jln Ampang for her to see her "friend" who will send her home, late at night. She told me not to question or to limit her movements. Sigh! If everything does not work out, all my efforts would have been in vain, but then I console myself with the thought: Would I rather let it all go, and go through life wondering: "What if.....?" I'd rather fail gloriously and find out for myself that despite my best efforts to save the relationship, it would never have worked out anyway. On the other hand, if things do work out between us, I'm with this lady for life -- as my wife. The only consolation I get is the commonly held perception that ladies often tone down after bearing their firstborn baby: the maternal instincts set in. I'm counting on that, so much, so badly.

Wish me luck.

Thank you for reading.