Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Report: In Real Life, by Nev Schulman


http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1455584290/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=15121&creative=330641&creativeASIN=1455584290&linkCode=as2&tag=quircanu-20
Nev Schulman, if you're not aware, was the subject of the 2011 documentary Catfish.  Nev's brother and filmmaker friend captured his online romance on film, and struck gold when things didn't turn out the way anyone expected. The indie film was a hit, and Nev was thrust into the spotlight and commended for his behaviour in the film.

Without giving too much of a spoiler, I'll say he acted like a perfect gentleman in a situation where most of us would be yelling and breaking shit.

The documentary gave rise to the MTV series of the same name where Nev and his co-host Max Joseph (both of whom I have enormous crushes on) meet with "hopefuls" who want to confront their online crushes, who most of the time have been scamming to them or otherwise lying in some way. It's a great show and there are many elements to it that we can all relate to, even if we've never personally been catfished. Way to go, Nev. You coined a term. I love it. I'm jealous.

The show, in turn, gave rise to Nev's 2014 literary debut, In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age. I loved the movie, I loved the show, I loved Nev, so of course I had to read the book.

Throughout the book, Nev interweaves details of his catfish experience that we didn't see in the film with his personal history, throwing in his observances of the way modern technology has infiltrated the human condition and affected the way we build relationships and communicate.

I really enjoyed getting his personal back-story, and I was very surprised by some of the details. Nev, you ladies man, you! (Again, jealous.)

Nev talks a lot about self-image and confidence, and how we use the internet to alter and improve both of those things. His general thesis, however, is that technology is giving us a false sense of importance and achievement and actually removing us further from personal improvement and from society. Essentially, social media is making us antisocial.

Through his anecdotes he shows the reader how we've begun to value digital 'likes' more than real human interaction. I'll admit I felt guilty of many of the behaviours he dissects, like texting instead of calling, curating my public photos to present just the right image of myself, etc. He's right when he says we should get out and live more instead of doing everything just for the sake of sharing it online.

The casual writing style makes the book fun and easy and quick to get through, and gives you the impression of talking to a friend, not some fancy-pants PhD who is using technical psychology/sociology jargon. Nev is just a regular person to whom you can completely relate.

That being said, there were moments that felt a tad patronizing. It can be hard to take life advice  from someone less than one year older than me whose credentials include being fooled on the internet. He did learn a lot from that, and from the experiences he's accrued helping others expose online frauds. The specific advice on how to comport oneself online and watch one's back when communicating with strangers is extremely enlightening. I just got slightly eye-rolly when he told me how to love myself for who I am, go out and make my dreams come true, etc.

I was also a little taken aback at one point by his advice on how to make said dreams come true. Nev suggest living outside your means as a way to force yourself to work harder to be able to afford the life you really want. I will have to heartily disagree with that lifestyle recommendation as it can lead to disastrous results, as not everyone will get their big break at the Sundance Film Festival.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the whole book. It was perfectly structured to keep my attention all the way through, it made me giggle, and it made me a bit sad at times. It even had a few fun graphics for the visual learners out there. I would recommend it to anyone who spends a significant amount of time online (isn't that all of us?) and especially to anyone who has found romance online that has not evolved into real-world dating.

So Nev... in the book (and in your podcast, yes I listen to that too) you talk about how people recognize you on the street, snap a photo with you, and walk away. They seem to have no desire to interact with you, ask you a question, or have an experience with you. All they care about is being able to post the photo and garner some likes. 

I say this to you, Nev - if I ever see you out and about, I will offer to buy you coffee or a beer if you let me pick your brain. I'm totally into interacting with you face to face. And not just because of my mondo crush on you (and Max), but because it would make for an awesome blog post. Just kidding. Because you seem like a cool guy with lots of insightful things to say that tend to go against the grain of a lot of the values and trends of our generation. As a quirky soul myself, I can relate.



 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Open Letter To The Men Who Are Cheating At Tinder

Dear men on Tinder, 

I know your dirty little online dating secret. For shame. I'm letting the world know. 

When a user matches with someone on this app, you get a notification that reads "Keep playing!" So you see, we are all playing a game of sorts. And many of you men are cheating. I'm sure you don't realize that your behaviour should be classified as cheating, but it does. 



I sat across the table on my second date with Craig, and I was very excited. The chemistry was palpable, the back and forth was flawless and funny, our reparté was seriously on point. He was into me. Oh yeah. Fo sho.

"So why did you swipe right on me?" He asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"Probably because you were smiling in all your photos," I said. (You see, guys? This matters!) 

Craig grinned and looked a little bashful.

"Why did you right-swipe me?" I followed-up.

Suddenly his expression changed and he seemed almost embarrassed. "I swipe right on everyone."

I had a mini-stroke, but I laughed it off, called him slick or something, and let it slide. After all, the date was going so well and there was so much potential! Why would I muck this up just because of one minor faux-pas that is actually the reason we had gotten started?

And this, people, is an example of ignoring a red flag. Because we dismiss the warning in favour of the butterflies in our stomachs. In the end, four months later, I learned that Craig's true nature was duplicitous. He was addicted to the start of relationships, setting women up for failure, making them feel comfortable and loved, then causing them tremendous pain by pulling the rug out from under them with no warning because he "didn't mean to get in this deep." A real catch.

So dudes, now that I'm back on the market, I'm acutely aware of what you're doing, and I pretty much have all the proof I need, aside from Craig's rather stupid confession.

By swiping right on all users, you (the cheater) get to find out every single person who has 'liked' you. You may then examine your matches and whittle them down to the ones you're actually interested in.

How is this cheating, you ask? Well, the nature of the app is intended to eliminate the sense of rejection. You can only communicate with those that liked you back. When you like, or 'right-swipe,' someone, and there is no match notification, you get to tell yourself that maybe they just haven't seen your mini-profile yet, and you cheerfully move on to the next hot-or-not contestant.

When you pretend to like everyone, you are pretty much outing all those people who liked you even though you have no interest in most of them.

What further evidence do I have, you ask? Well, a few times a week I get that happy little message - "Congratulations! You have a new match on Tinder!" Hoorah! Since my phone is always at my side, I am quick to check on notifications of all kinds, so I'm usually viewing this match within a minute or so. 

I'd say about 40% of the time, the match has disappeared by the time I open the app. This means that the person on the other end is going "swipe swipe swipe swipe ooooh a match, let me see, oh... no thanks, unmatch."

The other day I was sending a message to a brand new possible suitor, but he had unmatched me by the time I hit send. Gone from my matches in a flash. The app that was supposed to be bad-feelings-free now has an element of rejection. Thanks, guys.

This behaviour is like peeking behind the curtain of a magic show. Sneaking an early look at your Christmas presents. Reading the Wikipedia entry of a movie before seeing it. It reveals a certain level of impatience and immaturity. 

You're in so much of a hurry to make the matches and see who's into you that you don't even care if you want them to be your matches. Instead, you'll pick through the hits later, once you can really see all of your options. It's defeating the entire purpose of the app, if you ask me, which is to make real matches that you intended to make.

This doesn't mean I feel Tinder should be taken too seriously, but come on. Can we all just play by the rules? So men, I challenge you to take your time. Is it really so much to ask? I'm asking you to take those few seconds and make a real decision about the swipe-direction in the moment. Think about it - you're still going to have to make that decision later. It should also be noted that you're wasting people's time. It's not much time, but it's annoying to craft a cleverly flirtatious message only to see that you've ghosted before I could even say hi.

Knowing that Craig did this to me (and other women) has been a real eye-opener, especially with regards to that specific break-up. It made me realize that, when it comes down to it, he outed me for being interested in him by the constant right-swipe behaviour, and just wanted to see how far he could take it. He didn't really, actually choose me; he discovered I had said yes to him and decided to give it a whirl. Craig had the upper hand all along because of that knowledge, and I suppose I was left feeling insecure all the way through the relationship because of it.

So instead of trying to keep the power position for yourselves, guys, let's all save our right-swiping for people we're actually interested in.

Play fair.

Sincerely,

The Quirky Canuck

#swiperightforreal

Sunday, July 26, 2015

This Week in Online Dating: Pig Roasts and Gang Signs and Six Packs, OH MY!

I feel like this week was particularly fruitful for me in the world of online dating. Oh no no wait, don't get confused. I haven't made any meaningful connections. What I mean is that the goofs out there have provided me with some solid blog content. Because that's pretty much what OkCupid and Tinder have devolved into for me - content sources. Meh, at least they serve me some purpose now.

EXHIBIT A: The horror! The HORROR! 

Mmmmm dead roasting flesh. Did you hear that? That was the sound of my panties hitting the floor, lubricated all the way down my legs with bacon grease.


I AM a meat-eater so I can't be a total hypocrite about it, but a dead animal cooking over hot coals, especially one that is in one piece and so recognizable as a dead animal, is not the most pleasant image. Even to a lot of carnivores. I want to be invited to maybe taste the final product, maybe, but that's about it.

Also, this image would make more sense in a Hawaiian setting, or the Caribbean, but this looks like the suburbs. I don't know why, I just find that... odd. Like, did By-Law come by at any point? "Uh excuse me sir, you can't roast full animals over open flames past 11 pm. And if your fire pit exceeds two feet by one foot I'm gonna have to call the fire marshal. Oh hey, this moment would make a sweet dating profile pic. Make sure the pig's mouth is gaping open as if to suggest a scream of agony. Have a good night!"


EXHIBIT B: Damn it feels good to be a gangsta

Or rather, feels slightly uncomfortable, as this dude demonstrates. I left his face intact so you could see just how freakin' happy he is to be participating in the online dating world. /sarcasm

Come on now, people. Don't we remember rule 1a?


The best part about this? Although I made the collage, this guy actually added his own fancy borders (RESPECT YO!) and flower graphics. Hard core artsy type I guess. "Yo dawg, I gots mad skillz in MS Paint!"


EXHIBIT C) The Triple Threat

This man is noteworthy for having committed three of my major sins in a dating profile. If you've read my previous advice, you know what these are. EVERYONE TOGETHER! Far away action shot, group photo, and a fucking fish!



EXHIBIT D) Back to Basics

Simple. If you can't spell HI, we have a problem. Also, this man's three photos were gratuitous ab shots. Which gives me a pretty good idea about what he values. And, just as important, what the type of women he's looking for value. Not I, sir. Not I. I'd rather take the pig-roast guy. He may have a dad-bod but at least we can eat pork together in sweatpants and blissfully lick each other's bacony fingers.



EXHIBIT E) Casual Sax

I just wanted to give this guy kudos on the hilarity of this photo and for not taking himself too seriously. Blow it, sax man.


EXHIBIT F) What's in a name?

I don't believe hung4ladies' claim for a second. I think guys with huge shlongs don't go around advertising because they just naturally have confidence. And it might be like being rich, where people question motives - "Are you interested in me for me? Or for my gigantigenitals?"

Size doesn't matter, dude. But a good username does.




EXHIBIT G) FOR SHAAAAAME!

What the hell dude?! What is the world coming to? This is a sad example of the state of our society.


We're getting worse as a species. Seeing stuff like this out there makes me sick. I don't like judging people, but I think I'm just gonna say it...

... IT'S YOU'RE not YUR!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

This Week in Online Dating

Well, it was another interesting yet fruitless week in the online dating world. What's the expression? Same shit, different day? Yeah, that's it.


EXHIBIT A) LOOK AT MY FISH!!!

This one was impressive because the below foursome of images are ONE DUDE'S PROFILE. He had only four photos posted, and THREE were fish. And one is a far away artsy fartsy shot.


Here was my next fish-match. I admit I was intrigued by the offer to go watch amateur wrestling in a sketchy neighbourhood round these parts.

 
EXHIBIT B) Not thrilled by the throne

This one is reader-submitted (I HAVE A READER!).

Notice first the toilet. I think it's probably best to leave toilets and all the things they bring to mind OUT of your first impression, although the hand-towel game here is on point. Also notice that he is not the only photographer. There is someone with a more badass camera capturing this moment. Why would anyone want to have a photo of a guy taking a bathroom selfie? Probably only to mock it later when looking at the rest of the wedding photos. My assumption, given his outfit and the presence of a real photog, is wedding.

EXHIBIT C: Try harder, whoever you are

Again with the (likely) copy/paste message. I'm not a bitch and I'm not opposed to someone paying me a compliment. In fact, I think that's very nice! And I would have responded if, 1) he made one singular comment about what I'd written on my profile 2) I knew who the fuck he was in this group of three (and it was his only photo).

0% match also indicates this person hasn't filled out any of the questions


EXHIBIT D) The Flooder

This guy I actually responded to (as I do sometimes, I'm not on these apps solely for the purposes of mocking, it's just a side benefit), which incited a barrage of messages one after the other, with very little time in between. I'm talking a minute or so. I'm not a fan of the flood over any medium, be it text, email, or a messaging service like Kik, or OKCupid or Tinder. It's very poor online etiquette. Just. Don't. Do it.

My advice, to anyone messaging anyone for any reason, is to think what you want to say in advance, self-edit, and be concise. This deluge of messages, at least in the dating world, reeks of desperation and impatience, and also indicates a bit of a scattered personality.


See ya next week! More adventures to come, I'm sure.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Dennis Quaid And Meg Ryan First Taught Me About Sex



From what I gather, most people had an uncomfortable discussion about sex with their parents or an authority figure at one point in their lives.
 
I think the majority of those people already had a general idea of what goes where when this talk occurred, but the parents insisted on having their kid hear it from them. Because the playground is no place to learn about sex.

My parents have never spoken to me about sex. My dad makes the odd dirty joke to which my mom crinkles her nose and calls him gross, but that’s about it. When I was 17 and had my first serious boyfriend, about six months in my mom said the following – “Now that you're in a long-term relationship, we should go see the doctor.” We both knew what she meant by this.

“No need, mum. I already took care of it.” 

“Ah.”

And that was it. That was the sex talk with my mother. Short and sweet, to the point, with a quiet understanding and no delving into the nitty gritty.

On a side note, I hadn’t taken care of it very well because my first foray into birth control was the depo shot, which we now know (12 years later) causes loss of bone density and is not recommended to young people at all any more.

The schoolyard isn’t the best sex educator, and our friends can tell us some wild stories when we’re first learning about this delicate subject. My experience, my introduction to sex, was probably even more messed up.

I learned about sex from the 1987 movie Innerspace, starring Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, and Martin Short. Wait no. Let me clarify. I THOUGHT I was learning about sex from an 80s sci-fi rom-com adventure.

I love a hand-drawn movie poster. Another example

First of all, let’s take a look at 1987 Dennis Quaid at age 33, because YOWZA. He made my prepubescent body feel weird and tingly and, although I didn’t realize it then, he confirmed my heterosexuality.

Dayum, Quaid!

So how did this movie teach me about sex? Let me explain.

The film opens with Meg Ryan storming out of Quaid’s apartment after what looks like a night of adult fun times. Is this how I learned about sex? By the implication of actual sex? No. It isn’t.

In the movie, SPOILET ALERT, Quaid is shrunken down in a teeny ship and he accidentally ends up inside Martin Short’s body. I don’t feel like explaining, so just watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

He communicates with Short’s character and eventually gets him to find Meg Ryan to tell her what’s happened. Ryan and Short go through all kinds of shenanigans together, and at one point (the details are fuzzy) they kiss. Quaid surfs a wave of saliva and enters Meg Ryan’s body.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Mini-ship and gooey bits

Eventually he makes his way in his itty-bitty ship down to Meg’s uterus and… GASP! A FOETUS! She’s pregnant! It’s an emotional moment for mini-Quaid.

But for mini-Adelaide? This was a revelation. Here’s how my child-mind absorbed all of this: “Man and woman kiss. Fluids enter woman’s mouth. BAM – YOU MADE A BABY.”

It’s very simplified, obviously, but that’s how I perceived the baby-making process. I didn’t ask many questions, such as “Who’s the daddy? Is it Martin Short’s because he kissed her? Is it somehow Dennis Quaid’s baby because he entered her body through the mouth?” Needless to say I wasn’t concerned with the mechanism for how this was possible. All I knew was that kiss = baby.

On the school bus, a couple of years later, my best friend at the time proudly explained “The penis goes in the vagina and then a baby grows there!”

“You idiot,” I enlightened her. “You have the entirely wrong end of the body. Baby’s come from kissing!” I gave her the breakdown of Innerspace and all the valuable biology lessons I’d learned from it, to which she advised me that her mom had told her about sex so it had to be true. I remember feeling angry with her. Super pissed. But I didn’t know why. I couldn’t articulate it, but she had burst my bubble and I somehow knew she had taken away a piece of my innocence.

Funnily enough, this is the same friend who told me, SPOILER ALERT, there was no Santa Claus, just a few short years later. What a bitch, right?

From that point on, I accepted the reality that P goes in V, even though I never confirmed it with my own mom. My friend’s mom was a reliable enough source. When I eventually learned that penises get hard for intercourse, I had a narrow frame of reference for such things. More specifically, my friend’s big dog and the things I’d seen when he was excited to see us. 

So, I went on to believe for about a year that men’s erections were red rockets that came protruding from a sheath of skin in a most horrifying way. And thanks to my know-it-all friend, I thought “I have to put that WHERE?!”

Regardless of this wealth of misinformation, I turned out okay, sexually speaking. I ended up getting all the right information and generally being a sex positive person.

In contrast, my older sister got a talking-to about the birds and the bees from my mother at an appropriate age. I asked her what was said during this talk.

“All I really remember is that I was eating a hot dog at the time and I spit it out.”

Classic.

Did you have any hilarious misconceptions about sex as a kid?
____________________

If you haven't seen this movie, it's worth watching, if only for this part:






Sunday, July 12, 2015

This Week In Online Dating

What follows are actual messages I've received, people I've matched with, and others I just passed on by in the realm of online dating this week.

EXHIBIT A) Here we have some grammar problems. His message to me reads "hi how are you i am looking for a relationship if you are interested lets me know i read your profile and you seem interesting to get to know and to talk too send me back if you are interested."


Firstly, this is a run-on sentence. I guess he just figured FUCK PUNCTUATION, AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT! Now, it would seem English is not his first language, which is completely fine, but still - a comma transcends language barriers.

Secondly, although I've covered his face, trust me when I say he didn't look too happy. This was the classic mugshot dating profile pic. No smile. Just an angry, hardened criminal who wants to get to know me.

Lastly, that's very likely some copy/paste bullshit right there. Remember - generic mass messages are icky. There's no sign he actually read my profile or has any idea what differentiates me from any other woman on this dating app that he wants to "talk too."


EXHIBIT B) First instinct, this is a bot or scam of some kind. It's suspicious and weird and from the States (very far from this here Quirky Canuck), so he's not a local match. He had a good, smiling face (only the one photo), but he offers up too much contact information which is super sketchy. 





I won't lie, I was SUPER tempted to 1) prank text the number endless pictures of cats and 2) post the full number here so the internet folks could just have at it.

Because of the suspicious nature, I also suspect copy/paste nonsense. Nothing specific to me or my profile here at all.



EXHIBIT C)   I'm sorry for not obscuring his face, but this is too important. This photo here was the ONLY photo this guy had to offer on his profile. And this was Tinder,  so considering he wrote nothing, he gave me this GRIMACE, and ONLY THIS GRIMACE to determine if I was interested.



Really think about this. Guy is sitting in his car, making the conscious decision to photograph himself. "Hmm, should I look slightly pleasant? Fuck no! GRRR!" And I'll bet he had five failed selfies before he settled on this one as the best. Something to remember when looking at people's internet photos - most people only post the ones where they think they look good, the best of the best. So it's safe to assume, when looking through pics on a profile, that this is their opinion of themselves looking hot as hell.

So listen Grimace Guy, nobody really loves the fact that we have to resort to internet dating, but try not to look too super fucking pissed about it. Being an angry hard-ass is unsexy to most women. Finding a man online is already difficult and scary for us. Smile, dammit.

SWIPED LEFT.


EXHIBIT D) Fish, fish, and more fish.

I just... I mean... I don't even.... *sigh*. Whatever. I will have to resign myself to the fact that in my geographical area there are lots of guys who fish, and who want to show me.






Thursday, July 9, 2015

Do Nice Guys Finish Last? NO, And Here's Why That's Bullshit

There aren't many clichés that piss me off more than "Nice guys finish last!" in the context of dating. I have unfriended guys on Facebook (the harshest modern punishment) because of their constant meme-posting and whining.

(I'm not sure that there is a female equivalent cliché, but I get just as annoyed when women bitch, "nobody likes me!" so this opinion can be gender-flipped and aimed towards the ladies just as easily.)

NICE GUYS DO NOT FINISH LAST. And let me tell you why.

Nice guys do just fine. They are no better or worse than any other guy. Some are killin' it at this thing called life, and others are utter failures. Being nice does not equate with failure. Not with the ladies, anyway.

"But Adelaide!" you're screaming at your computer screen. "I'm a nice guy and women don't dig me!"

I hear you anonymous reader! I really do! But I'll tell you where your argument falls flat. Your dating failures have nothing to do with your level of niceness. You only wish they did because that would mean you're sucking at dating and relationships for the best reason ever - you're a nice guy! That's what you WANT to believe. But using this cliché is just a cop-out, a victim's mentality that will get you nowhere. If you want to experience a bit of success, step one is coming to terms with the fact that this just isn't the case. Being nice and where you "finish" are completely unrelated when it comes to dating.

Let's get nerdy for a second. The entire argument of nice guys finishing last (with regards to dating) is a logical fallacy.

In fact, when you unpack this issue with a man, it usually contains several types of fallacies:
  • Anecdotal fallacy: "I'M nice and women don't like ME, therefore all nice guys are disliked by women." It's happening to you, therefore it must be a universal truth.
  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc (correlation proves causation): "I'm nice and women don't like me, therefore women don't like me BECAUSE I'm nice." Your niceness is the reason women stay away.
  • False binary: "Nice guys finish last and assholes finish first." There are only two possibilities. Women hate nice guys and love bad boys.
Enough examples for now, but I encourage you to look into moral high ground, and red herring as they relate to this argument as well.

Here are some real possibilities for why you're "finishing last."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Single Straight Men: How to Create an Amazing Online Dating Profile... Because, Honestly - You Need Help

I've been dabbling in the online dating world for almost ten years. Holy shit, that looks crazy to me in writing, but it's true. I made my first profile when I was 18, in 2004. It was on OkCupid, before smartphones and apps. I sat at my family's bulky desktop computer and started looking for love. God, I WISH I could see what I wrote in that first profile, but all I remember is filling it with blurry photos taken by our sub-par webcam and giving duckface before duckface was a coined term.

So needless to say, a decade of doing something gives you a lot of experience and wisdom. While I haven't been on innumerable dates (I remember every online-to-in-person encounter I've had because I can count on my fingers), I have spent hours upon hours browsing profiles, and getting to know the way straight men use these kinds of sites/apps.

(Disclaimer - I am highly aware that everybody finds different things appealing and attractive, that different pickup tactics work for different people. This is only my personal experience and opinion, online dating filtered through the lens of Quirky Canuck, and meant to be a fluff piece only. It should also be noted that this advice MAY have geographical relevancy, since I am in a major Canadian city, and perhaps online dating has regional trends. But hey - I hope it helps someone, somewhere, somehow. So now, on with my schtick!)

Single, straight men of the world! Are you sick of the rejection that comes with online dating? Are you struggling to get replies to your messages? Are you constantly stuck chatting with women who have no intention of meeting in person? Are you wondering why, as a nice guy, you're finishing last? Well, stop crying those lonely penis-tears into that tissue/sock/what-have-you and listen up!

You're doing it wrong. That may sound harsh, but you need to face it if we're going to move forward and get you some success.

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.


1) Your photos. They suck.

I'm sorry, but it's not what you think. Hear me out. I'm not saying you're ugly. I'm saying you have no idea how to choose the right photos of yourself for the purposes of online dating. Since this bullet point is so important, it actually has several subdivisions. Here we go.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Friends are Weirdos and I Love Them

I've found that as I've gotten older, my circle of friends has, shall we say, tightened up. There are no more loosey-goosey hangers-on from the past sticking around out of pure loyalty with nothing in common. The ones I have now, the ones that I've chosen to keep around (and they've chosen me equally), the people I've forged relationships with in adult life, are gems. 

They're in my life because of similar interests, outlooks on life, goals, and bonding experiences.

I would say I have about five close friends. The kind of friends I go out of my way to spend time with, the kind I miss when they're away, the kind I will text an ugly-selfie just to make them laugh. And I think that's a good number. There are folks outside of that immediate circle, or course, the once in a while hangout and catch-up, the texters that you chat with but never actually see. We're all familiar with these unspoken levels of friends. 

I peruse Facebook sometimes and see people from high school in group photos, and every single person in the shot was hanging with that same crowd back in the day. There is one particular group of about 15 that still, it would seem through social media, see each other all the time, cottaging, marathoning, partying, and hell -  even marrying each other. 

While I see the merits of having lifelong friendships like this, I can't help but think, 'haven't you people changed?' I, personally, am not the same person I was in high school. One person from that time has remained a friend (the Bride from my previous post) and a few others have reached outer-circle texting levels, but that's about it. All of my current friendships were forged as a grown-up, once I really discovered, and became comfortable with, the person I turned out to be.

With regard to friendships, I think a lot of adults embrace quality over quantity as the years go by.

Anyway, this isn't meant to be a deep speculation on the nature of human friendships. What I really want to do is introduce my friends, because they're fucking awesome people.

First and foremost is my sister. Aside from maybe a five year period in adolescence when the age gap was just too big, we have been joined at the hip our whole lives. We often joke about how convenient it is to have your best friend in the family. But she is not a best friend by default - we have consciously chosen each other for this role. And it works for us.

Second, now in no particular order, is a former colleague. Out of a group of about 75 women in that workplace, she is the one to whom I bonded, and she's stayed a big part of my life for the last eight years, even though I only worked with her for one and a half. Friend, in the spirit of anonymity, I dub thee Cathy.

Next we have my current colleagues, one woman, one man, who are part of the reason I'm able to drag my ass out of bed on -30 degree Celsius days (Canadian, don't forget) and make the hour-long commute to the office. Over six years working together, we've passed from co-workers to great friends who would do anything for each other. And we have done some crazy shit for each other. You shall henceforth be... Kayla and James.

James' wonderful partner, Ross, has been welcomed into the fold with all of us as well. Meeting him for the first time was one of those moments where you feel a certain click and think, 'We shall be friends. Oh yes - we shall be friends indeed.'

Kayla has been on leave from work for a month due to a pretty intense surgery, and James and I have been wallowing ever since. It's not only a familiar, much loved presence that is missing, but also a cog in a well-oiled machine, so we've been sad and frantic at the same time to fill that void in the workplace. 

James, Ross and I went to visit Kayla after work on Friday. She was finally feeling up to visitors and was feeling deprived of socialization as well as suffering from major cabin fever.

After some huge hugs, we established ourselves in an array of comfy chairs in her backyard and got to gabbing. With the gabbing came wine, beers, and two joints, so we were all pretty happy. This is the kind of colleagues we are - all business in the office, we work so well together, but outside the building we switch to friend-mode and anything goes.

Once the usual catching-up of office and personal gossip was out of the way (I absolutely had to fill Kayla in on my wedding story - she was so proud), we turned to some classic games to pass the time.

Would you rather...

The options that popped up here were so hilarious and so bizarre, that I think this is a great way to showcase my friends, and the amazing way their brains work. I'll give you a taste of the Q&A.

Kayla: Would you rather wear your absolute BEST, most flattering outfit every single day and never be able to change... OR... wear frumpy, unflattering, out-of-fashion shit every single day but have variety?

Me: I'd take my best outfit.

James: Okay, but do people acknowledge you're not changing your clothes?

Kayla: Yes. People comment on it and it makes you a total weirdo.

Me: I'd like to change my answer to frumpy variety.

James: Me too. I don't have really frumpy stuff anyway.

Kayla: It's a game, James. In this scenario you do. You'll be in sweatpants at weddings, funerals...

James: Best outfit then.

Next up was this one, again from Kayla, clearly the master of this game.

Kayla: Would you rather... Cut off your finger, any finger - your choice, cook it and eat it... OR... have a dog shit in your mouth continuously for 24 hours?

Group: OOHHH GOD! What the fuck?!

Nobody could answer, so Kayla unpacked the choices for us.

Kayla: Think of it this way - cut off a finger you deem to be the least important, cook it any way you like and consume it, and be without the finger forever, OR keep your fingers and sacrifice one day of your life to something awful and disgusting and traumatic. How much do you value one finger? How fucked up would you be by letting a dog shit in your mouth for that long?

Thanks, Kayla. The choices are very clear now.

Ross: I'd take the dog shit.

James: WHAT? WHY?!

Ross: Because you'd just choke and die and it would all be over.

James: Death?! Then wouldn't you rather just go without a finger?

Ross: That's too hard! Imagine the actual cutting! I'd take the dog, then death would be fast and I wouldn't have to think about either of these two horrible options anymore.

Now THAT is some great logic.

The game then devolved into 'who would you rather fuck,' because I suppose that's the way our brains naturally work. Especially when we're in a group.

We started with tough choices like Channing Tatum versus Chris Pratt, Daniel Craig versus Jason Statham, then got into weirder territory like Tom Cruise versus Mel Gibson (we tried the old "Mel Gibson in Braveheart or Mel Gibson now?" trick, but it was always the celeb in their current state, making the choice that much harder."

For that particular one we got into debates about their beliefs. Which is better? Scary Scientology or Alcoholic antisemitism? Obviously there's no right answer, but Kayla cleared it all up by reminding us "It doesn't matter. It's just a one night thing."

Kayla's boyfriend, Eric, arrived at this moment, just in time for Jack Nicholson versus Sean Connery. Eric, a tall, burly, macho-looking dude, chose Nicholson without hesitation. I had to jump in with a question, because up until this point we were two straight women and two gay men. Nobody was crossing any sexual orientation boundaries by answering.

"But Eric," I asked, "as a straight man playing this game, and having to make a homosexual choice, have you considered whether you are the top or the bottom in this scenario?"

Eric paused a moment. "As a heterosexual man, I think I just assumed I'd be the top."

"Fair," I said. "But would your answers be different if I said you had to be the bottom?"

The conversation was lost to laughter at that point so I don't think I got an answer, but now I'm curious to play this game with more straight guys and get that clarification from someone.

Kayla, the undisputed master now, then came out with this amazing gem.

"Bea Arthur or Miley Cyrus?"

I instinctualy jumped to Miley just based on age, but the others, all hard-core Golden Girls fans, had other ideas. Once the initial laughter subsided and the tears were wiped away, the rest of the group chose Bea Arthur.

"Think about it," said Kayla. "She has a deeper kinda voice, and she'd probably have some shoulder pads to make her a big bigger, more masculine."

By this point I was dying of the giggles at the fact that she had obviously put some thought into this.

"And think of her facial expressions. It'd be priceless."

Kayla was the winner of Would You Rather that day.

Kayla, here's a visual for you. Enjoy.


In summary, my friends are weird and unique and, as demonstrated here, out of the box thinkers. What more could a quirky canuck ask for? If you can't debate which Golden Girl you'd fuck, what kind of friends do you really have? I think the measure of a true friend lies in their ability to help you make tough choices, like eating your finger.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Time I Had a One-Night Stand on Purpose

(Author's note: I use the phrase "on purpose" here because I've had one-time flings before. But as I mention in the previous post, I didn't know they were going to be so at the time. THIS time, I was in on it.)

My best friend got married in June and I was a bridesmaid. This was my first time being in a wedding party, and unlike many people in this situation, I was very excited to be involved. The bride was amazing, zero bridezilla moments, and she made everything about the process easy and breezy.

For a short time I had a plus-one for this particular event, but that blew up in my face (a story for another time) so I ended up flying solo. I was fine with this as I wasn't the only single bridesmaid. And this way I could cruise the guests in my usual dorky awkward fashion. My friend and I live in different cities, so apart from each other, our social circles are totally different. Almost everyone attending was a stranger to me.

During the ceremony, I noticed a guy in the audience standing at the back with his buddies (not enough chairs and yet the bride was still cool as a cucumber) taking selfies with the vows in progress. A little douchey but I still giggled.

I got to my alcohol-induced happy place by the time dinner was over and inserted myself into the speech-giving agenda with what I called a "speech bomb." It was a short, unscheduled bit about the bride, as I was the friend who dated back the furthest with her, and it was a hit. It was improvised, but got a lot of laughs.

As the night wore on, I noticed said selfie-dude standing at the side of the dance floor. I had already made friends with almost everyone in attendance (just doing my duty as a part of the wedding party to be sociable and fun) except him. My liquid courage made me go over and say hi. Because, well, he was hot.

He looked miserable as he sipped his beer.

"Why aren't you dancing?" I asked, giving him a little jiggle of my hips to entice him.

"My date is ruining this for me." Swig of beer.

Red flag. Okay, don't hit on him TOO hard. He's here with someone.

"Oh? What's happening?"

"She's sloppy drunk. Vomiting in the porta potty." (Outdoor wedding)

"Oh shit, that's too bad," I offered.

"Yeah, it's only our second date."

"Whooooa," I couldn't hide my pity and embarrassment for him.

At that moment I heard my name from across the dance floor and turned to see a guest/new friend calling me over for a particularly fun tune. By the time I looked back, my dude was gone.

"Okey dokey," I thought. And off I went to do the Macarena.

Two hours later, the night had wound down and the shuttle buses had arrived to take us back to the hotel. As I went to board, that's when I saw a group of people huddled around someone. I approached to find the maid of honour and mother of the bride, among others, holding a puking girl upright, keeping her hair back, and generally trying to calm her down. The MoH and MoB both had vom-stains on their pretty outfits. 

Naturally it took some time to get this chick under control so the bus driver would let her on. I boarded and chatted with new friends all the way to the hotel, not giving the hurl-queen another thought.

We all stood in front of the hotel, milling around, waiting for the second and final bus to arrive and for news of the after party. The bride and I laughed, had a few cigarettes, and she filled me in on the shenanigans pulled by Drunky McIdiot, who was someone she didn't even know. Luckily, the bride's good time wasn't spoiled by this guest who was too old to be pulling stunts like that. We're all pushing 30 and beyond, lady. We've all figured out our limits by now. Get with the program.

As we stood around chatting and making decisions, I noticed selfie-guy arguing in the distance with Pukes-a-Lot, who was slur-crying. He put her into a cab, yelled something at her, and she sped off. He then came trudging towards us, rolling his eyes harder than I would have thought possible.

Once he reached the group, I got an actual introduction (let's call him Tim), and we were all regaled with the full story of what had happened. Long story short, this was a second and last date, and he was mortified that she had behaved that way.

Not really giving a fuck and being just drunk enough to be sassy, another bridesmaid and I began to tease him about raising his dating standards. He chuckled and blushed, but basically agreed, which I found charming in my liquored-up state.

After an hour of standing around waiting for people to join, the plan finally solidified for an after party in the bridal suite. It was 2am and I decided I was thoroughly too old for this shit. Myself and a group of others excused ourselves to our rooms. As the group dispersed, I felt a surge of bravery course through me. 

"Hey Tim!" I yelled. "The real party's in room 414!"

No reaction. No acknowledgment. No sign he heard at all. I'd mostly done it for the laugh, as is my motivation for most things. He was physically out of my league (although not intellectually from what I gathered) so my invite was a total goof.

A few of us laughed, and we boarded the elevator, bound for bed.

I got to my room and realized I was too drunk to lay down and sleep. I know myself, and I knew that a vomitous hangover was in my near future if I crashed like this. I hastily pulled off my false eyelashes, rubbed my face with water, put my crunchy, hairspray laden hair in a scrunchie (yes, a scrunchie) and slipped into PJs.

I'M HUNGRY, I decided. I had barely touched my dinner and didn't eat the late night snacks that were offered. YES, PIZZA IS THE ANSWER! In my still-drunk state I figured food in my belly before sleeping might alleviate the possible hangover.

I was eating pizza by 2:45am, a right mess splayed out over the bed watching Netflix on my laptop. I was slowly sobering up. My plan was working.

I closed my eyes for what felt like a second, and was brutally thrown back into consciousness by a rapping on my door. Immediately I thought THE BRIDE! And I jumped out of bed like lightning. Looking through the peephole, I had a mini-stroke, followed by a mini-panic-attack. It was Tim. At 3:30am there was a man I'd just met standing outside my hotel room door. And I had invited him.

I quickly assessed my drunkenness, not slobbering but still happy, and opened the door, because why the fuck not.

As soon as the door opened I regretted it, because a mental image of myself flashed through my brain. The words HOT MESS flashed in my mind like a tacky neon sign. Smudged mascara, rat's nest hair, pants with teddy bears on them, and an oversized Boba Fett t-shirt. I wouldn't have blamed him if he decided in that moment that he didn't really want what he initially came for.

I think I said something like "hey" but it was probably more like "hrrmmpphh hi whatdude?" I had been jolted from deep sleep and was still tipsy. Would you be eloquent in that moment? Doubtful.

Tim then said something that shocked me back into my full mental capacities.

"I heard there's an after party here." A little eyebrow waggle.

My inner monologue: IS THIS REALLY FUCKING HAPPENING?

What I said like an idiot: "Uhhh no it's in the bridal suite."

What a fucking tool I am. Being unaccustomed to the concept of sleeping with a stranger, I was missing all the sexy cues.

"Really, because I was told it was in 414."

Shit. He was calling me out on my invite. "No dude, there's no party here." My first instinct was terror, and I just wanted him to go away.

What followed was the saddest puppy dog demeanor I've ever seen, complete with drooping, big dopey eyes, and a little toe kick of the carpet. Complete resignation. Complete rejection, in fact.

Now, to be clear, I did not invite him inside out of pity or guilt. Not at all. But I did experience a wave of bravery then and there. 

The little devil on my shoulder said the following: "Listen up. Everything that freaks you out about sex with someone new pretty much doesn't exist in this scenario. Firstly, he's at the door, so rejection is unlikely. Second, you know what this is and so does he - there will be no trying to impress someone for a second date. This would be a one-off so whatever happens is not something you'll ever have to face again. Thirdly, the opportunity is right here in front of your face. You don't have time to be a headcase. There's no time to plan, and most importantly - no time to be anxious. Fourthly, this is a new experience for you so don't waste your chance.  You've been thinking you need more penises, right?"

YOU'RE SO RIGHT!

So what I said out loud was, "Are you hungry?"

"Starving." Cheeky little dude.

"I have pizza. Come in."

I didn't even have time to think about how odd it looked that I'd just come from an event full of food and had ordered pizza to my hotel room. Given more time and less alcohol my inner monologue would have been screaming at me about my body issues (I am plump and therefore struggle with being seen eating unhealthy food). But he didn't seem to mind. He dove right into my leftovers (not a sexual euphemism).

Tim sat on the bed while he ate, telling me the story of his disastrous second date, while I slyly used a makeup wipe to clean my hot-mess face. I also readjusted the turd-bun on the back of my head. It was the best I could do with no time for sex-prep, but I was comforted by the thought that he'd already seen me looking my best at the wedding, and he was already sitting on my bed. He was a sure thing.

I was endeared by how nervous he looked, sitting on the edge of the bed. I was reclined and pretending I was totally relaxed, but inside I was wondering how these things work. How long do we chit-chat? Who makes the move here? The host, or the guest? What if he just came for company? Yes, I suppose I'm naive.

Finally I laughed out loud and told him how nervous he looked. I asked him to get comfortable and he obliged. The most charming part of it was that I had assumed he'd be Rico Suavé and know how these things were done (a judgment based solely on his exceptional good looks). I expected him, of the two of us, to have the moves. As it turned out, I have moves.

We laid down and chatted a bit more, I picked some sparkles out of his hair, and eventually I mentioned in passing how nice, though tacky, the hotel room was. It was huge, and it had a jacuzzi outside of the bathroom, right beside the bed. I kid you not. This was the perfect setup.

"I haven't even tried the thing yet," I said.

"Well you gotta try it before you leave!" Tim added.

We were dancing around the matter, so I went for it.

"Let's try it!" OH MY GOD, WHERE DID THESE BALLS COME FROM?

"Really?" His eyes lit up. "Okay!'

"For real?" I asked, my fear of rejection bubbling to the surface. "I'm gonna fill it up! Don't back out on me!"

"No way!" he reassured me. "I'm in!"

I got up and got the water running, the lighting properly dimmed for the mood, and got the jets going. In what felt like the blink of an eye, the friggin' thing was full and it was time to put my money where my mouth was. Tim got off the bed.

We stood in front of each other for a brief, awkward moment before I said something losery like, "Okay then! Here we go!" And off came my pants and top (so-long Boba Fett), while I watched him disrobe in my peripherals.

I was in the water in a flash, reclining at one end of the tub. Although alcohol was still helping my anxiety get through this, I had the good sense to dip my head and rinse my disgusting hair, and quickly give my face another wash. This was turning out to be an awesome idea.

Suddenly there was a new penis in front of me. This is a big deal to me since I'm 29 years old and have had the experience of first-witnessing new genitals only seven times before, and always with people I know at least a little about and was hoping to date. This is a rare occurrence for me. With that visual, I knew that what I thought was about to happen was now a guarantee. It was the sexual event horizon. The point of no return. Sex was now an eventuality. Guy who wants company after a wedding does not get nekkid.

Tim dipped himself into the water and reclined on the opposite side of the tub with a big sigh. I caught his eyes as they darted to my breasts and back up. He stifled a goofy smile. I felt instantly more comfortable.

Our legs intertwined and he caressed me gently as we made small talk about how nice the water was and how we both in fact needed to be bathed after the long day. What followed was maybe a five minute silence as we, or at least I, closed my eyes, enjoyed the soothing sound of the water jets, the feel of the bubbles, and the sensation of his hands tickling my legs. Physical contact was now happening. Rejection now highly unlikely.

A thought struck me suddenly.

"Do you remember my name?" I teased.

Bless his honesty. "Uh no, I'm sorry, I don't."

That moment was like a smack in the face. Not a painful smack, but the kind that makes you abruptly hyper aware of the situation. The simple, blunt, reality was this: we were strangers, naked and surely about to bone, and we didn't know each other at all. Adults do this kind of thing all the time, but to me it was very strange and new. I laughed. And so did Tim.

So I reminded him of my name. Not like it really mattered, but I deemed that to be the basic requirement for this to continue.

Tim grinned and told me it was nice to meet me. I offered him a chuckle as I noticed through the bubbling water that he was officially excited. This made me giddy, and the last layer of self-consciousness melted away. Not only was I enough to inspire lust, but his equipment was still in working order despite the amount of booze consumed. (disclaimer - he was very lucid and aware, although still on the same level of tipsiness as myself)

I gave us a few more moments of comfortable silence before deciding it was time to get the show on the road. Perhaps he sensed that this whole thing was new to me and was waiting for me to take each step forward. Perhaps he was just not in a rush. Maybe he was still nervous like I'd seen earlier.

"Do you mind if I come closer?" I asked. MAN, MY NEW-FOUND BALLS ARE HUGE!

"Of course not," he smiled.

I had another mini-internal-panic-attack at this because, once again, my body issues reared their nasty heads. "You can't move gracefully while naked," they sneered. "Especially this maneuver. This is tricky stuff. Getting from one side of the tub to the other, in the nude, water splashing, things jiggling, rolls rolling. Don't kill his boner!"

I told them to fuck off, and over I went. My maneuver was surprisingly a success as I found myself on top of him, propped up on my knees to avoid crushing him (fucking body issues). I dove in to kiss him and was delighted at the level of reciprocity. Good. I hadn't misunderstood anything. Sex was a go!

There was some tender making out for a while before I dunked my hand under the water to make sure things were still functioning below the belt. Huzzah, they were! After a bit of rubbing and tugging, he made a comment that it was time to get out, and I agreed.

We toweled off separately, my back turned to him. I haven't yet mastered looking sexy while drying off, though I did leave out that special move where you towel-floss between your legs.

Tim grabbed me from behind. The towels fell and the throw-down began. He was finally making his own moves.

I shan't go into further details about the actual bangarangin' because I'm sure you all know how that shit works. I will only say there were some super fun kinky moments, and lots of dirty talk. It turned out giving him my name did in fact come into play. Booya.

When all was said and done, we laid there peacefully and talked. This talking was much more relaxed than before, and I felt I was seeing him finally be himself. With the deed done, men are always less guarded.

We talked about nothing important or memorable. He teased me about flip-flopping at the door initially when he arrived, and I told him he was witness to my decision making process. To fuck or not to fuck? I told him surely he didn't often see a woman so brazenly decide to let him in or not, literally and metaphorically. I commended him for his braveness to even show up. He commended me on the success of my speech-bomb.

One thing that stayed with me was this comment: "Way to go with the jacuzzi idea. That was actually a great ice-breaker."

Why thank you very much, Tim. I was and am very proud of that move. It was the perfect, smooth segue from clothed, idle chit-chat to super sexy foreplay.

So what was my takeaway from all this? Well it changed my view on a few things. Most importantly, there's no need to be so damn nervous about first-time sex. Generally speaking, it's the same every time, and it's not as if it's something I don't know how to do. In fact, feedback tells me I'm pretty good at it.

Second, my body issues are mine and mine alone. For the most part, my partner is not concerned with the teeny details that bother me. I'm sure as I was stripping down for the tub he was not looking at my stomach roll. Actually, I caught him as he peeked, so I know exactly what he was looking at. Those insecurities are best ignored,  because bringing them to someone else's attention can do no good whatsoever. Confidence is sexy. 

Lastly, I learned that this casual sex business is something that I am capable of, and can actually enjoy. The circumstances still have to be right in a lot of ways, but this whole situation made me feel like I took a long overdue step into adultland. 

I won't plan to seek out one-nighters on a regular basis like some addict who is now hooked, but I now know that if a similar scenario arises again, and I want it to happen, I will have the chutzpah to see it through.