Friday 24 May 2019

No text please, we're married - Nicole Kidman might be on to something with her marriage rule

Keith Urban, and Nicole Kidman in the audience at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards (John Salangsang/AP/Press Association Images)
Keith Urban, and Nicole Kidman in the audience at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards (John Salangsang/AP/Press Association Images)
Skin to skin: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have been married 12 years
Nicole Kidman (R) and musician Keith Urban attend the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. 27522_009 (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner Image)
Nicole Kidman (L) and Keith Urban attend the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
Nicole Kidman (L) and singer-songwriter Keith Urban attend Lincoln Center's American Songbook Gala at Alice Tully Hall on May 29, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lincoln Center)
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

If you've ever texted your partner from another room, you might want to take notice of Nicole Kidman's relationship rule.

In an interview with Parade magazine, the actress was asked about the secret of her 12-year marriage to Keith Urban, and there was no talk of date nights, dishwasher etiquette or never going to bed angry.

Actually, the couple only have one relationship rule: they never text.

"That is so not our relationship, which is interesting right?" she said. "We call. We've done this since the very beginning."

It's an unusual rule, especially in the instant messaging era. Imagine a relationship with no emoji hearts, autocorrect fails or drunken nudes.

Imagine not having to decipher your love interest's earliest text messages like a scholar trying to decode the Rosetta Stone (See you soon? Is that soon tomorrow, or soon next week?)

Imagine not having to worry about crafting pithy and witty messages that somehow strike just the right balance between interest and aloofness.

Nicole admits that the rule started because she was something of a technological Luddite back in 2005. She didn't know how to text and she was always asking people to help her decode messages that she received.

"I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times," she explained. "And I've had the thing where I reread texts and I'm like, 'What does that mean?,' and then read it to somebody and go, 'Can you interpret that?' I don't want that between my lover and I."

She's right. Text messaging can be a minefield of misinterpretation, especially in a romantic relationship where anything more meaningful than 'Can you bring me home a Twirl?' can be misconstrued.

Is he being passive-aggressive with that monosyllabic reply? Why hasn't she replied when the two blue ticks lit up over an hour ago?

Emoji is supposed to clear up any confusion but even the 'Confused Face' emoticon can be open to interpretation.

This is probably why we love bomb instant message recipients with rainbows, unicorns and magic sparkles - better to seem mawkish than standoffish.

We used to talk. We called shared landlines and stood in battered phone boxes and talked until there was nothing left to talk about. No, you hang up...

We could read the tone and cadence of each other's voices better than we'll ever read between the lines of a text message and we never had to wonder if a LOL was genuine or if an OMG was just for effect.

Nowadays, entire relationships are conducted by text message.

People strike up conversations on dating sites before building rapport and establishing intimacy through text.

It's a little like talking to a sophisticated chatbot, only a chatbot would never ghost you.

Sometimes one party will be into kinky stuff and suggest - whisper it - a phone call, but, for the most part, text is preferred to voice these days.

Nicole and her husband only do "voice to voice or skin to skin", as she puts it. And while that's a quaint and charming idea, it's also a terrifying proposition for a generation of people who feel like a phone call is an invasion of their personal space.

They know a text conversation doesn't offer the subtle nuances of a voice conversation. They know textese isn't their native language and things can get lost in translation.

They know they are addicted to the dopamine hit of message alerts and that they should probably do something about it.

But for know, at least, they know that they are out of practise on the voice call front and it's easier to just wind down the conversation.

Dublin Bus on board for today's Pride parade


The annual Pride Parade sets off from Stephen's Green at 2pm today, and Dublin Bus are once again proud to be on board.

The transport company will be front and centre of the parade with two double decker buses wrapped in the rainbow flag.

The first bus will be behind grand marshal Sara Phillips, chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha. Behind them, the second bus will carry Dublin Bus employees and customers who entered a competition to win some of the best seats in the house.

When we think of progressive companies, we tend to think towards US tech firm with beanbags on the floor and motivational mantras on the walls. We don't think of Dublin Bus. Vivienne Kavanagh, Dublin Bus's employee development and equality executive, agreed when she spoke to Review earlier this week.

"Our employees know that diversity is part of our DNA," she said. "But yes, externally, some people would be surprised.

"We're seen as a traditional, male-dominated, unionised organisation, so some people are very surprised by the work we're doing."

Kavanagh initiated the creation of the company's Workplace Gender Transition Policy, in consultation with TENI, in 2017. The following year, the company won an award for the policy at the CIPD Ireland Awards under the Diversity and Inclusion category.

In 2014, the company extended their paternity leave policy to same-sex couples and were named GLEN 'Diversity Champions'.

"We are part of the community in Dublin," said Kavanagh, "and we want our employees to be representative of our customers."



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