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I met this super cool girl at my officemate’s wedding. We’ve been dating a few months, and I can see this getting serious—if it wasn’t for the fact that she lives in Paranaque. I live in Fairview, and the daily drives are killing me. Not only that, I’m a little baffled by the whole South thing. Why does it seem like people who grew up there have a whole different vibe? I sort of feel like an outsider whenever we do stuff on her side of the city. How do I deal?
We get you—traffic is no joke, man. Even the most zen of us go ape-shit when confronted with the #carmageddon that greets us every rush hour. It shouldn’t have to take three hours, a whole phone battery’s worth of Insta-scrolling, a circuitous Waze re-route, a McDonalds drive through, and two gas station pee breaks just to lay your weary head on your pillow each day.
So when you realize that you need to drive all the way South to pick up and/or drop off your girl, in addition to enduring the aforementioned hell to get home, it’s certainly enough to give you pause.
But that’s all it should give you—a momentary pause as you accept the reality of navigating Metro Manila’s clogged and shitty urban planning as you navigate your (hopefully) smooth-sailing-for-once love life. After all, what’s astronomical gas expenses, a sore back, and toll fees when faced with the angel strapped into your front seat, right?
We’re not saying all that magically doesn’t matter because you’re in love. The point is, she’s supposed to be worth it. Where she lives is not supposed to be a bone of contention. If you’re constantly harping on the distance instead of making it work, then maybe she isn’t all that and a bag of chips, after all? (Speaking of chips, always having some in the car helps stave off the hangry).
As anyone who’s ever been in a real, long-term relationship will tell you, true love isn’t supposed to be convenient. We aren’t in high school anymore—your kachupoy-haired idealistic ass isn’t going to land some girl from the nearest all-girls school with practically zero effort, after one of two awkward soirees. You can meet your dream girl anywhere—and she could come from anywhere, too.
If it’s just a bit of a logistical snafu, you can totally try to make it work with her. Split gas and toll costs if money is an issue. Find cozy new places to hang out in areas that work for both of you—maybe you’ll discover that you can make that Starbucks along C-5 your official palipas-traffic spot. Maybe you don’t have to drive her home every day—if the stress of traffic is getting you both down, then cut yourself both some slack and opt to spend a few rides home apart. Also: sleepovers. It could work, you know.
More problematic, TBH, is your difference in personality that you’re so hung up on. You say she’s a South girl through-and-through, happier with a quiet, small-neighborhood vibe, while you’re used to the hectic pace and hustle and bustle of the city. She may complain about the noise and crowds, while you find the slow pace of the South a little too sleepy for you. Again, it’s about compromise—surely her whole laidback South vibe is one of the reasons you’re attracted to her? Try to give her weekly backyard inumans with childhood friends a chance. Try not to be so hung up on the whole “taga-South” dynamic. Don’t stress so much about demystifying it—just focus on your girl and what makes her happy, which in turn should make you happy. Happy enough to sit calmly through traffic? You could try.
Illustration Borg Sinaban