Family and relationship values

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The other day, my father gave me a pep talk about my recent state of anxiety stemming from a bad dating experience. It was the first time in two years my anxiety had spiraled and it caused me to close up in my usual way of speaking up for myself. “This is not you. You are a happy, vibrant, and outgoing and you have your shit together. You are always trying to accommodate others. If someone doesn’t treat you right, you have always told them to fuck off and you write about it. That’s who you are. That’s what you do.” That’s when I realized that I was not defending my own right to happiness by letting someone else walk all over me and trying to keep a peaceful demeanor when they didn’t deserve it. The light bulb went off and I did what I needed to do for me; for my happiness and for my own peace. The anxiety I have been feeling the past five weeks instantly stopped. I finally feel like myself again. It made me think about who I am and who we all are as a result of our upbringing. My father and my parents marriage has set the standard of what I expect and search for in a partner. Having been married for nearly 32 years, and watching them communicate and handle their life struggles together as a team, I realized that my relationship values and the way I defend my position has everything to do with how I was raised. I am my mother’s daughter with the communication patience of my father.

I adore the relationship my parents have. My mother is a tough cookie and like myself, and she speaks her mind. Sure, she may be difficult at times (what woman isn’t?) but she’s tough as nails and my father loves her dearly, even if sometimes that anger is directed at him. He is patient with her. They communicate. They tackle life and all of it’s challenges together. They are in their mid 50’s and they still date and have fun like teenagers. My friends are always saying how awesome my parents are and how fun their relationship is. They don’t have all of the same interests, but they believe in the same core values about life. They support each other and still have time to themselves to keep their own sense of individuality. Not every couple is like this and it stems from what relationship values were displayed to us while growing up. We didn’t have much. It was never a glamorous life of luxury and having a ton of money, but the love that existed in my home was always felt and worth more than any material items could ever compare to. My brother and I fought like crazy at times, and sometimes we got in trouble from our parents when we rebelled, but at the end of the day, we always communicated and fixed our issues, because we wanted that loving feeling and warmth when we went to sleep each night.

Some of us come from broken homes, some of us only had one parent growing up, some of us don’t know who our biological parents are, and some of us watched our parents ignore each other for weeks on end whenever issues would arise. No relationship follows the same pattern but one thing is for sure, we get our relationship morals from what we started witnessing from a young age; no matter how many Disney and Rom-com movies we watched, although we can dream! We take the expectation from our reality rather than our fantasy, and there’s nothing wrong with that but it is about understanding that the person you are with may have a different perception of how they think a relationship or marriage is supposed to be, and sometimes that can be the deciding factor in your overall compatibility together for the long haul. Some of us defy this rule and some of us follow it inherently. There really is no right or wrong way, but overall happiness is achieved in relationships by understanding that shared values are better than shared interests. Two people need to understand that their personal beliefs are a fundamental part of who they are and are generally consistent throughout your life based on your personal upbringing. There might be exceptions to this such as a traumatic event in life that causes a shift in perception however, mostly we are who we are based on how we were raised. I’m a person who was around a healthy level of love, intimacy, communication, and ritual family bonding times; such as always spending Christmas eve together going to Christmas movies as a kid to playing board games with cocktails as an adult and routine family attendance at my brother and my soccer games, my mother with the oranges, and my father as the coach. We were always, and are still extremely close knit.

Sometimes we forget that who we are as people results from how were were raised and what examples were displayed to us. Whether you grew up eating Sunday dinners at the table as a family with the “good China,” or in front of the football game with TV trays, chances are you have taken those habits forward with you in your own adult life. While I was fortunate enough to have been raised by two loving parents who had problems that they met with solution and growing from the experiences, not everyone will share the values that I perpetuate forward within my own self. Identify your relationship values. Who are you and what is your expectation of a relationship in comparison to the values of the people you date? I’ve been analyzing my pattern of failures and with exception of two long term relationships, I haven’t been dating men that share a similar value system as I do. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how wonderful a person’s lifestyle or interests might be, we will live a happier life when we harness the relationships with the people whose values match our own.

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Mind Fuck

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I try to live with a strong sense of respect for the people I encounter in my life. I understand that everyone is battling demons and a struggle that lingers and trickles into our future. At no point in time do I ever believe that ones struggle of past experiences gives anyone the right to treat people like an absolute piece of shit. If you have been following my blog, you know that I have been through my fair share and beyond of hurtful, exhausting, bizarre and confusing experiences; but this one takes the cake and as much as I wanted to hold a high respect for this person, he hasn’t done the same and so I’m ready to talk.

I met a man a few months ago whose dating profile describes a man looking for a true gem. A man who describes himself as intelligent, open minded, not looking to date for sport, a genuine gentlemen, a true romantic type who will challenge you and be there for you. This all seemed so promising especially after the initial way he courted me. This man invited me into his life in a real way; the first real way I have experienced since my last true relationship. I met his mother, he took me to family events, went on weekend trips with him, he gave me a toothbrush and even invited me to leave pajamas at his place. It felt amazing. I let my guards come falling down and I reciprocated his kindness with my genuine open heart and natural kind nature. This sentiment and adornment I was feeling was quickly jilted when he told me he was still using his dating apps (he is a member of 4) and yes, going on dates with other women (so much for not dating for sport.) One would think, and any woman in my position, that his actions and words would dictate his loyalty even without label. It is an awful taste to give to someone who is just genuinely looking for that special someone. I was kind, respectful and honest in the way that I felt. He describes his perfect woman as fun, kind, respectful, happy and a joy to be around. All of which I am and was with him at all times. I let him in.

As I mentioned before, I have anxiety. He unfortunately, has a stubborn inability to communicate; a problem he explained has been the main root of his drama in previous relationships. My anxiety causes for the need to communicate as an adult to prevent spiral and bottling up my emotions. I guess I’ve learned a lot in therapy about about the importance of communication for overall healthy living. When I learned about the other women, naturally I was deeply hurt. I bottled things up and he made several sarcastic and hurtful comments such as “I would prefer a blonde over you” and offering to help show me the tricks of the dating apps on my new phone. One day, I finally reached my boiling point and let out my frustration and feelings about how I was being treated. Naturally, he called me the crazy one and thus began the demise of something once promising; all because he genuinely did not give a flying fuck about my feelings as a fellow human being.

Things ended somewhat amicably. Basically, he said he didn’t see a future; even though two weeks prior, he took me furniture shopping and I helped him pick couches and talked about a trip to the Caribbean. My anxiety, an illness I never asked for which was jump-started by lack of respect and being completely lead on, was the reason he decided he could not be with me (so much for open minded.) He refused to communicate and ran from the first flaw he saw in the relationship. There was no room for compromise. He tried to tell me “everyone’s different” but in my opinion, this doesn’t give anyone justification to be hurtful, unfair and lead someone on. He told me in our face to face breakup, one he tried to complete with a text message the week before (rude!) that he was looking for a wife and it got me thinking. If we are all looking for that special someone, why is it that so many people only consider their own experience of it? What about the experience of the wife he’s looking for? It’s about her experience too. Like I said, relationship karma is a thing. Treat people the way you wish to be treated. I have reached out to try and end things peacefully and have a fresh start at friendship (also to get my belongings back); because I stubbornly see the good in people above the bad. Unfortunately this left room for more ignorance and silent treatment, for absolutely no fucking reason. I was mature, polite and even playful in the way I kindly made a peace offering to move forward. He read it, and didn’t respond. This is a 32 year old man.

People can’t just go around treating people with such disrespect and expect that their own individual struggle provides an excuse for it. The other person has had struggle too. Perpetuating that negative treatment forward isn’t healthy for anyone. Furthermore, communication is a detrimental key point in any lasting and loving relationship. This was a man who once joked that I was his fiancee and constantly got down on one knee with fake proposals. What a mind fuck indeed it is to sit here wondering what I did to deserve such cruel and unusual treatment from someone I was constantly kind too, just like he wanted in his profile. The thing about dating is this; some people date with selfish intent, and some people are like me, and consider the feelings and previous struggles of others. I knew he had been through a lot and I treated that information with special care. He knew my history and lived for himself anyways. That’s the reality of dating sometimes. The thing is this; the way people treat you isn’t a testament of who you are or what you’re worth as a person, but more of a reflection of who they are. I was my normal self with him. I had no hidden agenda. I just genuinely wanted to build upon the great times and connection we had. Instead, I’ve been left with ignorance, disrespect, confusion and trying to solve the riddle of why I’m back here. Enough is fucking enough. If people can’t go online and at least have respect for the people they court, introduce to family, make false hopes for and generally lead on, then we are absolutely doomed as a society. This is not the way to behave people and I genuinely hope that he realizes the error in his ways and learns how to better treat people going forward. As for myself, I just bled my pain through my writing and now I’m done. The truth sometimes hurts but it’s better to put it out there than to bottle it up inside. If I am supposed to be okay and understanding of another persons personality and selfish treatment of others, then I hope everyone can understand that I am a writer and a blogger who blogs about my experiences. Dating at this age to me is not a game and I don’t believe in playing people or behaving in selfish manner to get what I want. What I want is a partner in life. A partner in crime. Someone who respects me genuinely and I, in return will respect. Online dating has ruined that traditional sense of relationship value.

I tried to be the bigger person but this was just downright hurtful. He was not nice to me. But at the end of the day, and many others like myself, I’m a strong enough person to know right from wrong and to stand up for myself and what I believe in. As the quote says “if people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

NEXT!

The transition from online to first date

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Part of being a dating and relationship blogger, is that I have become a place of salvation for advice about how to handle new dating situations, specifically pertaining to online dating. This morning, a good male friend of mine messaged me to solicit my trusted opinion on what to do on the first dates he has planned with a couple of women he met online. The truth is I am no expert, but I am pretty stealthy and level-headed enough to know the best way to approach that sometimes awkward first date with a person whom you have found on the interwebs, and I know from plenty of experiences. When I first started online dating it was a process of trial and error. Sometimes I would meet the person after a few short and brief chats but I have evolved to a place where I now actually talk to the guy plenty before I accept that first date. This is part of your experience though so my first piece of advice is to meet when you feel comfortable enough to know the person isn’t a psycho stage-5 (or stage 6 chimney dweller- Google if you don’t understand this reference- you won’t be disappointed) or heaven forbid, a serial killer/murderer (again, I have learned this the hard way- I’m starting to understand why people think I am an expert on this stuff, I’ve literally been through it all)

Okay so, you have been chatting to your object of interest for X amount of time, they seem swell and you’ve finally decided to set up that first date. Yay! Congrats to you! Now, what is a safe bet for a first date? Like I said, feel it out to your comfort level. My usual level of comfort is to meet the guy for a quick drink and an appetizer, or a coffee and a walk. It’s light, short and provides an easy escape in case things go awry. Rarely, and I mean very rarely do I allow a guy to come to my home and pick me up to take me on anything more than a two hour date for our first meet. This is ultimately because A) I’m a smart and safe cookie, and B) Unless the connection is undeniably awesome beforehand, there’s no need to plan a marathon of a first date. Short and sweet does the trick. Okay, so here’s my guide to first dates:

Pick a neutral location

I usually advise that a first meeting should be a midway point between you and the other person. In the lower mainland, some people take transit and others drive so this way, it’s not an inconvenience for either party. Picking somewhere in between whether it be from your workplaces or homes, whatever makes sense for your situation, will just take the pressure off the both of you. I also recommend a public place – none of this meeting in a park at 1am through Cuddlr to cuddle, or whatever. I also highly advise not to ever invite anyone over to your place for a first date, unless you’re just looking to dance the mattress mambo like the Tinder whore you are, in which case, please use a jimmy and stop pro-creating your morally appalling breed. Yes, you read correctly. Sorry but not sorry.

Keep it light

First dates feel like an interview, and it’s a painful process sometimes to have the person across from you asking you your personal life resume details. Depending on the conversations that built up to the first date, I recommend to keep it light. Don’t engage in touchy subjects like politics, religion, sexual orientation etc. And for the love of god, men especially, please don’t talk about your penis as I’m sipping my beer and trying to stomach my Calamari. We don’t want to hear it. The first face-to-face should be about your chemistry together and to determine if a second date is going to happen. If the vibe is good, you will be laughing and joking in no time. Don’t be too serious. Just have fun!

Don’t be awkward about the bill

This is a touchy subject. I’m pretty old school and still believe in the fairy-tale of chivalry. Lucky for me, I have been fortunate enough that most of my gentlemen suitors are exactly that; gentlemen. There have been a few instances however where the bill comes and they read me my portion of the cheque to which point I happily reach for my wallet. A note to women–do not go on any date if you can’t afford to pay for yourself. I’ve touched on this point in a YouTube segment with my host, Susan McCord which I will link below for your viewing pleasures. When the bill comes, don’t be awkward and to the men-if you don’t plan on seeing her again, then it’s okay to ask for her to pay her portion. After all, this online dating thing can get expensive if you’re constantly going on a bunch of dead-end first dates. However, if you want to see the woman again, treat her like the lady that she is, and only go to places you know you can afford. This is a key point.

End the date peacefully

Whether you do or don’t want to see the person again, it’s best to end the date gracefully. If things went well, it might be with a kiss after you walk them to their door or car, or it might be with a handshake or a simple wave. Don’t be a dick and don’t be misleading. Always say it was nice to meet them and exit with class. No one wants to be that idiot date that ends up being blogged about (hah!)

Post-date etiquette

Of all the confusing factors that contribute to online dating, I have to say that this behavior is always the most frustrating. I believe highly in relationship karma; treat others the way you wish to be treated. If the girl or guy texts you the next day or days following and you don’t want to see them, don’t go on a rant to your friends saying “Wow, this girl is needy” or “This guy is clearly desperate” just tell them “Hey, it was nice to meet you but I’m just not feeling it” Ignoring people after a first date, or several dates is just plain bad manners. Period. You get what you give and if you really want to meet a kind and genuine person, you have to coat check your ego and consider that the other person is also on this journey as well. By being honest and ending things on a high and polite note, you contribute to changing the game not only for yourself, but for that person as well. No one likes a bad dating aftertaste. This plays a part in what makes us all so fucked up about dating to begin with. So basically, be a decent human being and have some manners, okay? It’s really not that hard. Effective communication makes everything in life a lot more pleasant and drama free. Everything.

Side notes:

*Sometimes the first date isn’t the final indication of one’s character. Some people are just plain shy and nervous about it. If you’re on the fence, an equally as low key second date can really help solidify your assessment.

*A couple phone calls before meeting in person will benefit you in a huge way. I absolutely adore phone calls. You get an immediate sense of the personality of the person. Texting and message exchanges can be very misconstrued and don’t offer proper reveal of the person’s true character or intended tone. Go old school and dial the digits. Have a phone date first. Sometimes it’s less nerve-wracking if you’ve knocked this wall down prior to meeting. At least that way their adorable snorting laugh won’t make you sputter your drink all over them from across the table while laughing.

So there you have it! The official Singlevancouver first date survival guide. I can tell you that I have had a lot of first dates in the past three years and I have learned through trial and error how to behave like a lady/decent human being. Basically, it has dramatically changed who I am as a person and how I view and handle relationships. With this new and modern dating game you really have to believe that you get what you give. If you’re really looking for a life partner or a great relationship, then you need to behave that way and treat people with that high regard of kindness no matter what the outcome. You will go on weird dates, you will meet people who don’t have the same life ambition and you will also meet people who have quirks and massive flaws you can’t live with. Through the process of trial and error however, you will start to see different varieties of people which will make those rare gems stand out more. I know from my bizarre and insane experiences and in hearing stories from my male friends about the horrible women they have met that finding a good solid connection is quite rare so tread carefully and be kind and gentle in the process. The most important thing is to smile, be yourself and have fun! Like I said, we are all on this journey together so try not to leave people with a bad taste in their mouth.

Date on! 🙂

Change: Raincouver edition

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They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This morning I woke up slightly irritated. The past few days I have come home to a new mess in my apartment. First, the cable guys came to switch the wiring and accidentally drilled into my heat line. This resulted in the need for furnace techs and in their repair, they had to take out concrete from my floor and also ended up knocking out my cable. This resulted in the cable technicians having to make another house call. For four days straight, I have come home to an upside down apartment and a disgruntled cat confused by the strange men in my home in my absence. I have two holes in the walls of my apartment and this morning when I unplugged the temporary heater my building managers gave me in the interim, it started smoking and half of the prong melted into the socket. This on top of the rain apocalypse that was happening outside caused for a “what in the actual fuck?” start to my day and it wasn’t even 6 am yet.

I started driving to work and road rage was everywhere. Honking horns in the dark dreary morning and ridiculous pond sized puddles splashing pedestrians left and right set the tone for a hard day ahead. Then something funny happened, as I started walking from my truck to my office in what I can only explain as monsoon rainfall, I started to notice the cascades of rain washing down the streets. It was like every curb had a river flowing beside it. The rain was actually so absurd that it made me laugh. It was actually kind of pretty too. My socks were soaked through my boots but I was actually enjoying the absurdity around me. Every day we have a choice. You can smile at the absurdities you can’t control, or you can have a shitty attitude because it’s raining, and let’s face it; if you live in Vancouver, you’re going to have a bad time if you choose the latter. I bounced into my office happy and beamed my smile at everyone with a good morning greeting. I cracked jokes like “gorgeous weather today!” and asked a co-worker if we were still on for our beach date after work. I could tell everyone around me had a hard commute into the office because of the weather, but as soon as something positive was directed at them, it lit them up. It made me realize that as cliché as it sounds, if you change the way you look at things, things you look at change. It got my brain moving on the subject of change.

You can choose to be stuck in bad behavioural patterns and continue to have the same results, or you can make the choice to look and behave differently to see if the outcome is more desirable than the misery you continuously cycle yourself through. This is true of how you handle your career, your health and your relationships. If you never change or try to improve on the things that attract negativity, you are only creating your own insanity. Take a relationship for example. We all have bad habits and we all have flaws; I can definitely attest to my own. If you are constantly failing and experiencing the same negative outcome each time, the insanity lies in the fact that you allow yourself to repeat the same bad habits and mistakes and expect a different outcome. You have to be willing to step out of your usual comfort zone to see if a new approach might make a more positive outcome, much like my attitude towards the weather. It’s like that argument in Bridesmaids between Helen and Annie:

Annie: Yeah, but, I mean, they still stay who they are, pretty much.

Helen: I think we change all the time.

Annie: I think we stay the same, but grow, I guess, a little bit.

Helen: I think if you are growing, then you are changing.

Some people are afraid and stuck in the thinking pattern that change takes away from who they truly are but the opposite is true. Change is simply growth. You are the same person but you develop better habits and strategies in life. You acquire skills and problem solving abilities to make yourself better. It’s like taking a course to further your career, but instead you are coursing yourself to improve on life. Making statements like “I won’t change” is basically saying “I refuse to grow as an individual” and thus, you will repeat history again and again. There’s a difference between changing your beliefs and changing habits. Changing your beliefs for someone else’s benefit is one thing, but changing bad life habits like being a miserable person on a rainy day to someone more positive will never work against who you are as a person, it’s simply improving upon your character flaws.

If I entered every friendship, business relationship and personal relationship with the same bad habits that has proved to cause me misery and failure in the past, then I would be perpetually stuck with the same bad cycle but my life is constantly improving and that is because I put in the work every day to make myself better and this point proves strong when I look at how strong my friendships and family life has become. If I had chosen to accept my diagnosis of severe panic and anxiety disorders without the willingness to improve myself and work through my struggle, then I would still be popping Ativan’s and having two to three panic attacks a day. I did the work, and I am seeing the results and it feels way better than being addicted to pills and miserable all the time. As a writer, when I started my first blog and started writing for a website called Examiner, I received negative comments and insults about my writing abilities all the time. I could have decided “oh well, that’s just me. I won’t change” but instead I took the criticism, developed my craft and grew myself and my style. Now my writing abilities are above and beyond what I would have expected and drastically different than six years ago. My psychologist was so blown away by my piece about dating with anxiety that she wants a copy of it for reference for other patients who face the same struggle and to me that’s a huge compliment to how far I have come because I was willing and open to change. JD Houston, an American novelist, quotes “If you want something in your life you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.” So get out of your bad habits, accept the rain and start your day differently with a better attitude and the willingness to make positive changes.

Is modern dating ruining how women view sex?

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Depending on who you talk to, everyone has a different opinion on sex. A person in a committed relationship will have virtually no quarrels about the security of their sexual activities but if you are single and part of the new movement of modern dating using various technologies, you have probably found that the way you used to interpret and enjoy sex in your earlier years has changed and this particularly pertains to women. For many women, the goal is to actually care about one person but this trend is so sorely missed from our male counterparts. The majority of single women want connection both emotionally and sexually but we want the emotional connection to occur first. We take a huge risk these days in going online to find the right kind of person for us and are instantly overwhealmed with hundreds of advances that streamline to sex right off the bat.

I solicitied the opinion of some of my trusted single ladies who have gone through these unnerving experiences as well and while there were some different perspectives, most women felt that men have put unwanted pressure on us sexually which is causing us to close up and remain on guard even when a respectful person comes along. We don’t even know what genuine sex and connection feels like anymore because we are constantly bombarded with a haze of men who will do and say anything to get you into bed and then they are out faster than the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs. The Rico Suave type is the new swine flu; it’s a pig virus that no one likes.

One friend says,

“In the past few months I find that everytime I go on a date, there is almost an expectation of sex on the guys part… Also I’m really sick of just getting to know someone and the text convo turning sexual in the first day or hour. If I don’t know your last name yet, I certainly don’t need to know about your massive boner and what you’ll hope to do with it”

Another friend says,

“Can we please discuss why every man I meet via internet wants a pic of my boobs or ass!? Ugh!”

And another,

“I am a very sexual person but I also believe in sharing that with someone I’m emotionally connected to. I feel like men are the same. We all just want love. Both sexes may just not know how to go about that anymore. We live in a world that highlights public personas and appearances. We don’t know how to be raw anymore, and far too many people feel vulnerability is a weakness”

And I myself, have experienced this more than I ever wanted or should have to in my lifetime. I met a man at the Cloverdale Rodeo a couple years ago who took me out on one date; singular. He showed up with flowers and we had a great PG night in the city. The following day, he began making sexual references over text messages and my past experiences caused me to instantly close off and become defensive. I told him honestly that I wasn’t comfortable with talking like that. He then said “I’m sorry, you’re too serious for me.” Is it serious that I don’t want to be treated and spoken to as a sexual object before I’ve even become intimate with you? Why do men feel they have the right to belittle us when we say “No, this is not okay!” Another guy I encountered on my Tinderella gone wild experiment and I had a few pleasant exchanges so I didn’t use him as research material because he seemed decent. A few messages in, he started talking about blow jobs and how I should cook him dinner. When I called him on his shitty manners, he called me a psycho. It sucks because prior to all these experiences, I used to be very playful and flirty in that regard with the person I was dating but I feel like due to modern advances, we have to constantly be on high alert for an ulterior motive.

This brings me to the male “dick brain.” What is a “dick brain?” It’s simple… the dick brain is the mechanical process in which a man allows the feelings pertruding through his pants come straight out of his mouth or through his fingertips. Typically the messages stemming from the dick brain do not travel through the actual brain itself, thus bypassing any logical filters that the actual brain would otherwise flag as offensive. Unfortunately in online dating and early courtship with a Rico Suave type, dick brain does most of the talking.

It is taking women who online date with genuine intent much longer to open up and be comfortable with men sexually because of the way we are being treated. It’s not that we don’t want and enjoy sex, but it’s how it’s presented and expected now that is shattering the way we feel about it. Even after a bad date, men try to invite you over, move things from the couch to the bedroom and some might even outwardly say “did you seriously think I came over to your place for sushi and that we weren’t going to have sex?” and then we submit, because we feel stupid and outlandish to have assumed that our fun interraction and courtship would be innocent until we felt ready, so we get baited into being ready before we want to be. When men hear the word “no”, they act shocked and confused as if there is a herd of women running around with edible underwear waiting to be devoured by the sugar addicts A.K.A, horny men. Do men not want to work for it anymore because they don’t have to? Do men really want a slew of women, one after another who give in easily? Personally, I want the man who respects when I say no, even if it’s multiple times and after several sleepovers. I stopped giving in a long time ago and unfortunately, I’ve been called a ton of names by men because of it. I became closed off sexually and coming out of the shell is proving to be a very hard internal struggle and I blame the internet and the shit storm of men who lack manners and respect towards women.

Many men and even some women will argue “he’s just a typical man” and with the evolution of dating, this theory needs to be tossed off the fire escape along with the expectation that women should submit to men on command. If men want women to be ladylike, and behave with a level of softness, then they need to get their shit together and start treating us as such. Why not re-breed the culture of innocence and resistance so that once you do reach those intimate levels and encounters, they are genuine and trusting? Women are sick of having to behave in a certain way, dress a certain way and reject men in a defensive manner that makes men label us crazy all because we are sick of being exploited and disrespected for having a vagina that isn’t open 24 hours like 7/11. Isn’t it sad that women are becoming fearful to be playful and sexual with men because of these constant experiences? When one finally does come across a genuine man who isn’t like the new majority, it’s hard to even recognize it. Does such a man even exist? Yes, they do and when we finally come across one, we are too guarded to even enjoy and trust it.

So where do we go from here and how do we change this dynamic? What should the end point be? Are women being unreasonable to expect respect or do men need to better control the way they operate their dick brain? The answer is both. There are some girls that want the racy pictures and to roll around with you before even knowing your last name but men need to stop assuming that every woman is like that and be respectful of that instead of allowing dick brain to insult us remaining decent females. Us women realize that the supply of sex has increased and demand has decreased as a result of online dating, and if a classless slut is what you prefer, then don’t let us hold you up on your conquest for an STI, but don’t call us psycho or make us feel awful because we didn’t instantly bow when you palmed the top of our heads downwards. Understand that no means fucking no and be on your merry little way, dick brain in tote.

Tinder kings, queens and addicts

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Last week during my hugging and Cuddlr experimentation on live subjects in a crowded bar, I came across one table of mid-twenties men who basically shot me a look of pity when I offered to give them a PG rated public hug for no reason. It was as if the act of innocence was so foreign to them, and so I pried, “why are you weirded out by hugs, do you use Tinder?” I asked. One of the guys responded with laugh followed by “oh, this guy is the Tinder King” and pointed to the guy beside him. I will admit, he was very good looking but I’ve seen guys like him on Tinder time and time again. Their profile description typically consists of a generic “looking to have some fun” tagline and a few shirtless selfies in the bathroom mirror at the gym (ab shots mandatory) I have also been personally victimized by having to eyeball profiles in passing of men on Tinder that literally have a throbbing erection poking from beneath their tight and white boxer briefs, and this is their actual front page picture. These are apparently the kings of Tinder. So I asked this supposed “Tinder King” about his successes, and more importantly, how many women he was hooking up with weekly.

I was shocked to learn that he was sleeping with 1-2 women a week and had an actual system in place. He would sleep with said women for about a month at which time he would begin a new cycle. I asked him why, and it was simple. It’s easy and addicting. Women are doing it too. Bikini body selfies, lingerie pictures and offering everything up front on the first date is not uncommon now, but it is sad in my opinion. Call me old fashioned but it made me wonder why we are so addicted to dating apps, and the reason is not because we are having a hard time searching for someone to fulfill a long term void, but because we now have the ability to boost our egos and conquer our human urges on command, just by logging on, swiping and clicking away until we settle the loneliness. My question is, does having this attitude and the satisfaction of having multiple women or men chasing you down at once make you a Tinder King or Queen, or does it make you someone who needs someone to validate something you can’t find in yourself?

Everyone has a different reason for using Tinder and while on rare occasion, you might actually cross paths with someone who is of sound and like mind with a level of integrity and class, take it from me and my three years of online dating experiences, those occasions are rare so if you found it early on without much weeding, count your lucky fucking stars. When we are single, these apps become addicting because we can find the means to continue on alone with little to no effort. I know many single women like myself who live alone and will often use the apps just for an ego boost and men are no different. If you live alone, subscribe to Netflix and relish evenings alone with your pet, chances are you curl up on your couch and start swiping. Why? For a boost of the ego. For conversation. For sex. For the sole purpose of not feeling alone. And then you move on to the next swipe right. Sound familiar? You’re not the only one doing this.

Online dating was supposed to act as a gateway to meeting a person to date and form a relationship with. Because of our twisted usage of apps and dating sites, we have become addicted to connections of little substance, because it’s easily and readily available for us. Hell, even if you’re in a relationship or dating someone, curiosity can easily be settled by a simple download and I know this because I have unfortunately caught a few of my friends spouses online as well. Nothing is sacred anymore especially in the world of online dating. Good and genuine connections are very few and far between because we are now inundated with a sea of ego and sex seekers. While Tinder and online dating apps like this may be a good gateway to boost your self esteem and give you plenty of entertainment (clearly) it’s probably not the best solution to your loneliness, not in the long term anyways. I’ve been off dating apps for over a month now and I have to say the feeling is odd because it has been a safe haven for me and my lifestyle for quite some time now. The further I get from this world, the less I miss it. Sometimes focusing on your own inner circle of friends and people you care for feels much better than constantly seeking meaningless companionship whether it’s through innocent and flirtatious conversation or no strings attached sex. Eventually you get tired of the false advertising and people only looking to validate themselves. Eventually, you have to validate yourself on your own and this starts by taking the food dish away from the wolf pack.

D.T.C = Down to cuddle. Cuddlr Review

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It seems like we’ve got an app for basically everything now, as if we can’t solve our first world life problems on our own, now we have a device boasting intricate schedulers, list makers, recipe builders, social and dating networking and now we have evolved to a whole new level of desperation with a new app called Cuddlr. Everyone has been buzzing about it since its launch but I was curious to see how many people in Vancouver were actually using it, so my curious and quizzical mind decided to test it out. Pull up a chair, it’s about to get weird.

Firstly as I searched for the App in my iTunes store, it tells me immediately the creators name is Charlie Williams. After using the app, I will say to Charlie, take your name off of this creepy app. After I downloaded it, I was greeted with a series of instructions, which I will list verbatim:

“Welcome to Cuddlr

Cuddlr lets you find people near you who are up for a cuddle. When you see someone who looks nice, send them a cuddle request. When you get a request, you have 60 minutes to accept. When accepting, you can send one 140-character message to say something like “Let’s meet in the park” or “I’m wearing a green shirt”.

Accepting a request shows you the location of the sender, and shares your location with them. Real-time updates and walking directions help you find each other. Then the fun part: Have a cuddle!

Unlike some other apps, Cuddlr is strictly about PG-Rated experiences. Keep the cuddle a cuddle! At times, you may want to ask someone about having a coffee or learning to knit. Wait until the end of the cuddle, and then ask politely.

Completing a good cuddle will get you upvotes. Being a bad cuddlr will get you downvotes. You can tell how reliable a cuddlr is by looking at their scores.”

And then the mission statement:

“Cuddlr springs from the belief that we don’t have enough opportunities for safe, consensual, non-scripted, communicative, fun, silly, serious, spontaneous, physical affection carrying no further expectation. A cuddle can be many things: lying together in a park, window shopping holding hands, hugging, playing with each other’s hair, putting your head in someone lap. Keep communicating and find an idea you both like!”

And then the fun part; finding people in my area who wanted to cuddle. At the time, I wasn’t local to where I live (thank god because once you match with a cuddlr, it automatically zones in on your GPS coordinates and gives actual walking directions and the time it will take you to reach your cuddlr which seems a bit dangerous in my opinion) There were 4 people. Apparently people in Vancouver aren’t much into cuddling. I chose the person whose picture was of a Collie, under the assumption that I could cuddle with the dog instead (I know, I’m a shit head sometimes) Anyways, I match up to them and as soon as the map comes up to start zoning in my location, I politely cancelled the cuddle; because A. it’s fucking creepy for a stranger to know exactly where I am and B. why are we so lazy and resorting to this?

At this point, my friends and I are laughing hysterically at the sheer creepiness of this new app. We were in a crowded pub on an NFL night and a thought struck me. What if I just went up to every possible stranger I could and asked them for hugs? Why did I need this app to get a warm hug or a cuddle? I was determined to prove the internet wrong.

I started out simple. I went up to tables full of men and asked them how they felt about hugs. The first table was a group of late 20’s to mid-30’s guys. There were 5 of them. They all told me they thought hugging was great and so I asked if they would like one. One by one by one, each guy got a hug and then we started talking about why I was doing what I was doing, so I told them about the blog and the Cuddlr app. This went on with each table I victimized with my pint sized bear hugs. 90% of the people I approached were ecstatic to receive a hug from a random stranger. Some of the older men I hugged would even comment that it had been so long since they had hugged their wives. Most told me it was so nice and unexpected to get a happy hug from a happy smiley girl. The only table who didn’t hug me was a group of Tinder whispering men in which I will write about in a later blog. There were 5 of them but on their way out, after getting scolded by the other men I had hugged in the bar, they hugged me goodbye.

While this experiment was fun and friendly, and I smelled of 40 different men’s colognes afterwards, the conversations I had with people about why this is necessary now were interesting. We have become a society who has become disconnected with innocent acts of intimacy. Instead of hugging, kissing and hand holding, we lust for a more vulgar and disconnected form of connection. No strings attached sex seekers and commitment phobias has driven our world to the need to have apps like Cuddlr so that people can get the intimate connection they want, but now are having to source them from many different outlets instead of getting them from just one person as people have done traditionally. Now you have Tinder, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish for your sex and ego boost, Cuddlr for your need of innocent intimacy and Facebook and Instagram for your social connection with friends. Isn’t it time we draw the line and focus on finding one person to satisfy all of what we want in a person or are we going to continue this path of creating apps to fulfill voids in our lives that used to come from just meeting one person who you fit with? The sooner we condense this modern world of dating technology, the sooner we can be happy. There’s no need to have 6 apps on our phones to seek connection and yet here we are, eager to download the newest way to connect.

What made me happiest about last night was that it showed me that people are willing to connect, converse and even hug strangers in a physical environment. I can be pretty shy at times so it took me several nudges before I actually got up from the table and approached people but once I was connecting with people, I was happy I did. Dating is a painful process. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and at times, stressful. The thing is though these have always been normal stages in any relationship but now that we have this technology, the painful process lasts a lot longer unless you break the cycle. In short, Cuddlr isn’t a breakthrough app, but more of a wake-up call to society of how sad we have become.

The “I forgot to mention” people

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Have you ever dated someone and things are going great when all of a sudden a few dates (or months) in, they blindside you with a seemingly important detail of their life that you’re just kind of like “what the fuck?” and wonder why it wasn’t brought up initially. Not surprisingly, in this crippled world of constant failure to communicate, many people have experienced this baffling phenomenon of people keeping important details that can be considered deal breakers to some, in their skeleton closet until they feel they have you invested, and then they pop out at you like a psychotic clown in a fun house. That’s kind of what dating is like now; it’s like walking through a fun house… and you’re just waiting for the next clown to pop out at you around the corner. A couple of my single girlfriends and even some men I know have vented their dismay over these incidents they seem to keep encountering and it brought me back to a situation of my own that I experienced with a man a couple years back.

I was pretty newly single, and 27 at the time. I had met a nice man who was a few years older than me; 34. We went on a few great dates together and things were going well. He seemed to have his life in order and good life morals, which is important to me, because I have my shit together too. On the 8th date, he invited me to finally see his place, have drinks and then go to a movie downtown together. When I got to his place, a vintage Vancouver basement greeted me along with furniture he had covered in torn sheets and pressed up against the wall. He gave me the grand two-minute tour of the 500 square foot space and tried to make light of the fact that instead of a dresser, he had a 5 ft. pile of clothes at the end of his bed. No biggie, at this point I’m just ready to have a drink. So we’re sitting on the couch and I notice this chair. This chair is quite modern and out of place from the rest of the “décor theme.” It had a remote control built into the side and was a light beige microfiber suede. The shape was like a lounger and looked incredibly sleek and aero dynamic. It reminded me of something like a gamer chair. So I ask about the chair and I remember this conversation perfectly…

“So that chair… it’s interesting… tell me about the chair…”
“Oh my heated chair you mean?”
“Yea, what made you buy that?”
“Oh well after my divorce… ” I don’t remember what he said after that.
“Umm… divorce?”
“Oh, umm… ya! I forgot to mention that. Usually I tell people on the first or second date!”

A few days later, I ended things. At the time and at the age of 27, a divorcee with a jaded heart was a deal-breaker for me. To many people, certain things are pretty important. People have beliefs and morals that can hinder the possibility of a future. They shouldn’t be petty deal-breakers but there are some things that are worth mentioning. Things like,

“I forgot to mention I have a child”
“I forgot to mention I am divorced”
“I forgot to mention I am mid-divorce”
“I forgot to mention I have herpes”
“I forgot to mention I’m moving to Haiti for a year”
“I forgot to mention that my ex is still stalking me”
“I forgot to mention that I am a swinger”
“I forgot to mention I occasionally escort”
“I forgot to mention I have a mayonnaise fetish”
And so on…

It all boils down to communication. You simply can’t bait a person based on a façade you create of yourself. You have to be open, honest and real in my opinion. If you aren’t, you’re only ripping yourself off from opening up the possibility of something good coming from your honesty. I smoke. It’s a hard one to tell people because yes, I know it’s gross and a lot of people have issues with it but I am open and honest about it and while it is scary telling someone you’re into knowing it might be their deal-breaker, it’s still best to be yourself and be accepted by someone who accepts all of who you are. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you should also take time to ask yourself why these things are deal-breakers? Let’s face it, if you read my blog or go out on your own dating adventures and have been doing so for a while, you probably already know by now that everyone has something that makes them a little messed up. There’s always some flaw. No one is perfect. You can’t back down after minor details but it all comes down to prioritizing what is the most important to you about the kind of person you want to date. Are they kind? Do they have the same ambition and life morals? Do they make you laugh? Sometimes we wander around dating like chickens with our heads cut off. We let the most trivial things bother us and then we run from it like it’s a plague. This isn’t always the answer. Being open and honest will get you further than by shutting things down at face value. If you really can’t date someone who is divorced, has children or whatever the reason, then just be honest but make sure you think about it before you hit the fun house again.

Romance in modern times

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Women are raised to believe in fairy tales. From an early age, we are exposed to an array of Disney movies which predominantly give us the idea that Prince Charming eventually finds us, showers us with flowery and glittery trinkets, whispers sweet nothings into our ears and lifts us up onto his saddled up white horse as we gallop off into the sunset while forest creatures serenade our departure with a catchy love song. Fast forward to modern day and this notion is still fed into our beliefs even in our adulthood with shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette teaching us that the perfect date is sailing the French Riviera on a boat decorated with rose petals boasting chocolate covered strawberries and a perfectly chilled bottle of Bollinger. The word most commonly associated with these types of situations is none other than “romance.” We think of flowers, we think “romance.” We think of candlelit dinners, we think “romance.” In reality, the true definition of romance is this “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love or a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” In a verb tense, it means to “court; woo.” At no point do these references mention anything of a material nature and yet as a society, we long to believe that certain items are the monumental signs of romance.

My best friend recently got engaged to an amazing guy. Perhaps the most admirable quality and characteristics about their relationship is the way they show affections towards each other. While certain situations provoke flowers, the relationship is not based on the hallmark version of romance, but more in line with the true definition itself. Romance is not about what is presented, but the feeling that is created from actions. It’s not about the material things that we are taught to believe shows care, but about those little things he does for her that prove sacred because you know he does it because he genuinely wants to make her feel special. Things like remembering mention of wanting to build a gingerbread house and the following day having one ready to make together. Things like giving her the cheeseburger with the most onions even though they both asked for extra. Things like surprising each other with coffees and wanting to provide and offer the basic things we need to someone else; someone we care about. The occurrence of these small things may be few and far between but the feelings they create echo for longer than someone who just buys flowers every other week.

Many women make the mistake of believing that a man who doesn’t show up with a bouquet of long stems isn’t capable of romance or being romantic. Take for example a show like the Bachelor. At the end of each episode, there is a rose ceremony. The bachelor calls upon his selected women one by one and presents them each with a single long stem rose while proposing “will you accept this rose?” The women gazes up starry eyed, coo’s “yes, I will” in his ear, kisses him and takes her place back in line. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers just as much as any woman but if the Bachelor handed me an ice cold long neck import lager and asked “will you accept this beer?” I would be tickled pink with romance. Mostly because A) I love beer and B) he paid attention to me and what I like.

There are two types of women in this world; women who make demands and nag what they fail to receive and women who are elated and appreciative of the little things that have big impact. Any man who has ever experienced the “you never buy me flowers” attack will understand this statement. Any woman who has ever shouted those words will probably stop reading here.

In my experiences and expertise with dating these past few years, I have learned that the game has changed and romance is no different. There are all different types of men in this regard ranging from the ones who will recite Shakespearean quotes to those who stick their smart phones down their pants. While the later has proven to be my least preferred and most hated type of Bachelor, it’s those men in the middle who seem to shine the brightest. Women need to give men a break when it comes to romance and recognize that it happens in different forms. There’s a reason why women like my friend have been taken off the market. It’s because she gets it. She knows what and when to appreciate. He may not serenade you on your balcony and he may never buy you a teddy bear holding a heart but if you’re lucky, he will hand you your favorite beer or selflessly sacrifice his cheeseburger, just to see you smile. That’s romance.