Splitting Up? Make It Official With a ‘Divorce Ceremony’
One in four marriages in Japan now ends in divorce. With this increase in people untying the knot, former salesman Hiroki Terai saw a business opportunity.
A year ago he set up his “divorce mansion” in a small undercover space in Tokyo. Couples pay around 55,000 yen ($606) to hold a ceremony with all the extravagance of a wedding that symbolically ends their relationship in front of all their family and friends.
Despite Japan’s soaring divorce levels, the practice is still taboo. These ceremonies help people to cope with the country’s changing social norms, Terai claims. “There’s no mistaking that divorce is a sad process,” he says. “But I believe that by declaring your new start in life in front for your friends, relatives and family, you draw a clear line. It helps emotionally.”
Common features of a divorce ceremony are the smashing of the old wedding rings with a heavy hammer painted with a green frog’s head (frogs symbolize change is Japanese culture) and a feast with the couple sitting back to back at opposing tables. At the end of the ceremony the pair give each other a polite bow and go their separate ways. “I feel better than before we did this,” says divorcee Taka after his ceremony. “It’s over.” (via CNN)
While it’s extremely difficult to get the precise numbers, I can say that unfortunately, unknowingly, and very much to my Brazilian waxed vaginal dismay I became part of 2009’s infidelity statistic. This unequivocally and absolutely goes against every grain of my moral, cellular and ethical being. And now my poor unsuspecting adulterous vagina — I just found out about this sexual and dishonorable tidbit of information last night over a Guinness beer at one of my favorite local Irish pubs.
I don’t remember the exact day, but what I do remember is that it was one of those typical warm California Summer nights — I recall feeling salty, sandy, and tanned from spending the afternoon at the beach, despite having taken a shower before heading out for food and cocktails. I was wearing black short shorts, brown equestrian style boots, and a vintage western blouse as I breezily went for sushi happy hour at an extremely trendy Venice Beach hot spot.
Once there, I ended up bumping into a local guy/friend that I once casually dated and his other friends at the bar. The guy I used to date had one friend who just so happened to be tall, dark and devilishly handsome. I was attracted to him immediately and the more he flirted with me the more charming and engaging he became.
The possibility of romance going further than the bar was absolutely the gigantic cartoonish caption bubble hovering over my captivated swooning head – A devilishly handsome flirty guy along with his tempting wooing ways was just too impossible to be true. However, he was I’d like to blank your brains out too hot to ignore.
As we all finished up at the bar, devilishly handsome guy invited me back to his swanky shoreline Santa Monica hotel for cocktails and while at the hotel’s bar the flirting became more sexual, but I was not objecting — perhaps he is “the one”?
Our heated exchange went on for about an hour and then he authoritatively asked for and paid our tab while simultaneously asking me if I wanted to go to his room. I’m not naive and figured that once getting there, I would go only as far as I wanted (sex wise). Immediately, when we got into the room he ordered a really good bottle of wine and it did not take long before we were on the bed kissing, clothes off, and having sex.
One thing that really pops out in my mind (no pun intended) was his forcefulness as he pushed my head to his “head” which in retrospect now seems to be overtly selfish behavior on his behalf. And what I now know became to be a one night stand with a married man.
He got up quickly right after he came and went to take a shower, as I laid there for a fast minute I knew I had to leave — something was not right. As I put my clothes back on, I wondered if I should leave my business card or my number on the hotel notepad. I opted not to and left quickly while he was still in the shower. I could see the steam drifting out from the slight crack in the pristine five-star hotel door….
To be continued.
Bad Date TV: Bad Date Betty and Ben – This Was A Date?
Even though things have evolved and been updated, unconventional ways of meeting people have been around since before I was born (actually since before I was even though of to be technical). Living proof is with my parents, who met through a dating service nearly 40 years ago.
Before you go out looking for love in the workplace, you have to find a little love for yourself.
There’s not a day when Chris Wardzala doesn’t think about how he unexpectedly met his fiance. It wasn’t in a bar, at the office or through friends.
Instead, it was the Twitterverse that brought them together.
“It was so random and just so weird. I think about how crazy it’s been that we met online in a place where we’re so restricted in what we can say,” said Wardzala, who teaches classes and workshops at the Apple store on Michigan Avenue.
Both new to the microblogging service in 2007, Wardzala and Magdelyn Skacan ended up following each other, at first sharing 140-character tweets about computer problems and sci-fi movies. It wasn’t long before they were on their way to tweet love.
They exchanged e-mails, talked on the phone and hopped on planes to visit each other. And in May 2008, Skacan moved to the Windy City.
The couple, now living in the South Loop, is engaged to be married next year.
Though Twitter wasn’t created as a dating platform, Skacan and Wardzala are one example of how social networking sites can be used to make a love connection.
Today, daters have an alternative–or supplement–to traditional online dating sites such as eHarmony or match.com. They are entering a new frontier of digital dating equipped with a slew of Facebook and iPhone applications coupled with mobile Web sites. But dating experts question whether such technology is a romance killer and whether it can lead to anything more than a hookup.
The mobile dating market–which includes apps, mobile Internet services and text-based services–has skyrocketed.
In 2007, the global mobile dating market was pegged at $330 million, according to Windsor Holden, principal analyst at Juniper Research, a U.K.-based telecoms analyst firm. That figure rose to just under $550 million worldwide in 2008 and is expected to more than double over the next five years, reaching nearly $1.3 billion by 2013, he said.
The driving force behind the mobile market’s growth is the development of user-friendly apps and the increased access to the Internet through smart phones, he said. As more people get phones with GPS capabilities, there is an opportunity for dating services to increase significantly over the next two to three years, Holden said.
Already, some apps activate GPS to search for nearby singles. They have names like meetMoi, Skout and Grindr and alert users of possible matches in the same vicinity in real-time so they can meet in person.
“I honestly consider these sorts of things mobile- or micro-dating,” said Laurie Davis,
a digital dating coach and blogger, who brands herself as an eFlirt expert. “You should
still be doing a regular online dating site, and this should be a tool to enhance your dating life.”
Daters could have more potential matches if they do both, she said. While some mobile sites or apps have unique features, they require less information compared to detailed profiles and search keywords or location compared to matching criteria, she said.
“It’s definitely a younger generation and it is more casual dating,” Davis said. “You want to go on a date tonight, so you do or hook up. It’s less people looking for serious relationships,” she said.
Mobile dating may be better for tech-savvy young daters, said Julie Spira, cyber-dating expert and author of “The Perils of cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online.” “Those are the ones that don’t want to sign up for online dating sites and fill out very long questionnaires. This is the instant gratification mode,” she said.
When Steve Odom got divorced two years ago, he tried online dating. But he came across superficial, carefully-worded profiles and grew tired of going on dates only to discover he really didn’t have much in common with his dates.
At the same time, he started using Twitter and found that by following someone, he felt like he really knew them.
Odom, now 41 and living in Austin, Texas, wanted that in a dating site, so he created Gelato, which launched earlier this month. The site taps into social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter, as well as information from Netflix, Flickr, Last.fm and Hulu. That way, potential matches can see real-time Facebook updates and tweets, plus movies rented, photos downloaded, music listened to and shows watched.
He said he built the site to be a time-saver to find out if the user and others looking for love have shared interests. “Say I’m watching the Chicago Bears game, I can do a search for ‘Show me women, 30-40, politically liberal, non-smoker, who has recently mentioned the Chicago Bears.’ And if a woman on Gelato meets those criteria and mentioned the Bears in her Twitter stream, on Facebook or added a Flickr photo with a Chicago Bears description, she will show up,” Odom said in an e-mail.
The information then can become a conversation starter and lead to a relationship, not a hookup, Odom said. “Romance comes from a feeling of connection with a person,” he said. “Sort of like when someone says, ‘I saw that you listened to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the other day’ and the other person’s eyes light up and says ‘Yeah, I love them!'”
On the flip side, providing too much information has the potential to be a romance killer.
“Part of attraction is the mystery. People want to know more about you,” said Thomas Edwards, a dating and lifestyle development consultant based in Boston. What’s the fun in going online for a scouting report on your potential date? he asked.
Dating experts also caution against putting too much information into cyberspace via mobile sites and apps.
“You still have to remember you don’t know who’s on the other end of that,” said Jennifer Kelton, founder of badonlinedates.com. “With the instantaneousness of this, it kind of removes that one other layer. At least with the Internet, there might have been a longer dialogue going on to get to know each other to some degree.”
Another safeguard, Davis said, is to be aware of logging on and off a dating service with GPS so others can’t search for your location if you don’t want them to know it. “You wouldn’t want someone approaching you when you’re with your family or on a date,” she said.
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