“Meh” Is Not What We’re Looking For


I always go on a dates hoping I’ll have a great time, feel a spark with the other person and see a potential for more fun dates. Who wants to go on a date and feel like it was a waste of their time and that watching paint dry might have been a better option? So what do you do when you’re on a run of dates that aren’t going to be even flickering a match, nevermind lighting a fire anytime soon? As my Mum says “”meh” is not what we’re looking for”.

Still stinging a little from the Canadian DJ debacle and only being helped to a point by the Lumbersexual therapy, I had another month of not dating before deciding to slowly get back into it but when I did, I made a conscious decision to open my mind and consider people I may not have previously swiped right (yes) for. Specifically “quieter looking” guys.

I know, how can you tell a guy is quiet from a few profile pics? Trust me, you just can.

I’d always said I never had a type. Apparently I do, though not so much physically, more personality-wise. Generally, I’m attracted to men who are confident and outgoing, extroverted, loud. My ex-husband was like that, Canadian DJ was the same. I blame my Father (I blame him for a lot) – he was that way and it’s true what they say about you being attracted to what you know and what you grew up around.

With that in mind, and knowing that those traits I’m attracted to are often displayed by narcissists (good choice), I decided that maybe someone quiet would be a good change. I’m an introverted extrovert so, while it wasn’t what I normally went for, there’s something appealing about a guy who can say a lot without saying much and doesn’t need to be “on” all the time.

So bring on the quiet guys! Wait, does that mean I need to tone down as well?

The first date in my new “quieter” phase was an Irish guy – not a nationality I would typically date – and he was definitely a little more on the timid side than I’m used to when we first met. After a few drinks though, he loosened up and I saw a glimpse of what he was no doubt like with all the Irish friends that he had in the city. We went on a couple of dates but after each the only response I could really come up with was that it had been “fine”. Physically he was smaller than I’d have liked. I don’t have a height issue, just as long as I don’t feel bigger than a guy. No girl wants that.

After a couple of “fine” dates there really wasn’t enough of a spark to continue, we hadn’t even kissed, and we just sort of stopped texting. A few weeks later, while I was out for drinks with an Irish friend who knew him, we somehow, magically, coincidentally ended up in the same (Irish) bar as he and a friend. Funny that… As the night went on drinks were had, dancing was done and a kiss was exchanged.

By the end of the night, I’d had enough gins to think that him coming home with me was a good idea (I blame gin for a lot too).

We got home and both promptly passed out but in the morning he was definitely up for continuing what the kissing had started the night before. And, well, there’s really no way to put this delicately, but when it comes to discovering the intimate details of someone, he fell way short. And thin!?

That unsavoury surprise coupled with the hangover and with memories of Lumbersexual’s near perfect attributes still pretty fresh, plus the fact our dates hadn’t even been that good meant there was a sudden engagement in my diary that I needed to be getting up and ready for, and Teeny Irish Peen (as he later became affectionately known) needed to vacate the premises.

Is a poorly sized (and shaped – seriously it was pencil like!) penis reason enough not to see someone again? Yes. Yes it is.

A few weeks later I had a date with a wind power engineer from Eastern Canada and I realise now he never got a nickname, that’s how badly the date went, which is unfortunate because I think my friends and I really could have done great things with that profession for the basis of a name.

Regardless, his passion for his work and hobbies similar to mine encouraged me to set up a date with him. I knew from our texts he was definitely on the quieter end of the spectrum and although it hadn’t gone great with Teeny Irish Peen, that didn’t have anything to do with him being too quiet, I was still optimistic that it could be a good option for me.

We met for a happy hour drink after work and the date itself was, again, fine. We talked a lot, although definitely me more than him, and we had enough commonalities to make it an easy hour and a half. But was I excited? No. Was I desperate to spend more time with him? No. Would I have rather been at home, bra off, watching an episode of Friends for the 100th time, eating ice cream and painting my nails? 100% yes. And as I walked home at 6.30pm on a Friday evening, I realised that “meh” was definitely the only way to describe that date.

Just as I had that thought, I got a text from another guy I’d been messaging for the last few days asking what I was up to that night. Now, I really had learnt my lesson after the horrible day of two dates, but this was different – I hadn’t planned to see both of them on one day and I really didn’t want to be sat in again on a Friday night, even if I had already been on a date earlier.

With that argument settled in my head, I arranged my second date of the night.

He’d been fun in messages but fell into the category of “could be hot, could be not” from his pics. You know, like some angles are great and he could be quite attractive and then others make you question why he chose that pic? Those are always nerve-wracking to go and meet but you’ve just got to expect the worst and hope for the best!

When I met him, he was probably about in the middle of the scale of worst case to best case, worked in finance, had recently moved to Vancouver from the US but seemed to have had every job under the sun and wasn’t sure finance was really his thing.

It’s funny how as you become older (wiser?, more cynical?, more boring?) a potential partner’s occupation becomes a big deal. I hate that it’s even a factor and that we make judgements based on what someone does for a job but, for me, it talks to passion and drive and compatibility. If you’ve been a bartender at the same place for 10 years, first of all I like that we’ll probably be able to talk for hours about gin but soon after I’m wondering if you have any goals for career development and I know that the lifestyle of someone working nights in a bar doesn’t really fit with my Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.

So career/occupation/job, call it what you will, does need to be a consideration. And someone unhappy in their job is definitely a bit of a red flag for me. Or, to be clear, someone unhappy in their job who will tell you all about how shit it is but isn’t doing anything to rectify that. Similarly someone who’s had a number of different jobs. Now, if it’s because they’re actively searching for their passion but haven’t found it yet I could get on board with that. Lord knows not all of us know what we want to be from a young age, or even an old age! But if it’s because you just can’t stick anything out long term and you get “easily bored”, I’m probably gonna pass.

It’s fair to say, then, that him questioning a career in finance, while telling me how awful his boss was and listing all the other 50 jobs he’d had in his adult life was a definite turn off. The big city also seemed like it was overwhelming him, and Vancouver isn’t even that big, which doesn’t exactly sit well with me, I’m a city girl at heart. I don’t even acquaint myself with the ‘burbs, remember?

I decided to cut the date short after just two drinks, not least because of the job chat but I also absolutely hated the bar he’d chosen. I’m now in a place where I feel more comfortable communicating where I do or don’t want to go, but back then I was still finding my feet with going on first dates and the quick turnaround from suggestion of date to actual date that night had caught me off guard re arrangements hence why we ended up somewhere that any time I’ve been in it has only made me want to leave.

As I walked home that night I thought that maybe quiet guys weren’t for me. None of the 3 dates had provided me with even a single proper belly laugh nor did I feel genuinely wowed by the conversations. None of them assumed the role of leader on the dates and I realised that’s not just what I not like but what I need also. I need someone who’ll tell me when to get my head out my ass, challenge me, tell me I’m wrong. I didn’t get the feeling any of them would do that.

I’m not saying you can’t do all of those things if you’re a quiet guy, but after my sample size of 3 I decided that maybe it wasn’t the right direction for me.

To close the loop on my quiet guy phase, I texted Wind Power Engineer from the first date that night to say thank you for the date, as I always do when someone has paid. He replied with “it was great to meet you too but I think we’re on different pages.” I was a little confused as to what he was referring to, and with the drinks from the two dates piling up I decided to not try and work it out and instead wrote back “hahah, this is awkward, I don’t know what you’re talking about and I can’t tell if you’re joking”. He replied “you and me, we’re on different pages, I don’t think it would work and I’m not joking”. This actually gave me the biggest laugh of the night. We were so different that I couldn’t even tell when he was properly giving me the brushoff and in fairness, it proved his point entirely.

At least in the sense of knowing we would never work, we were on the same page.

Next post…

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Dating App Profile Pictures: An Observation


It’s times like my break from dating after the Lumbersexual interlude, that the dating apps can really galvanise your need for time out. I was still going through the dating apps on my phone – they truly are a boredom buster, and there lies one of the issues with them. People are on there mindlessly swiping, while watching TV or lying in bed (hopefully) alone. And I definitely spent my fair share of evenings swiping and judging, and judging and swiping, with my inner narrative going wild at all the cliche pics, such as….

Car selfies – is the purpose of this pic to show me you can drive, Rich? Or a metaphor for your desire to be in the driving seat? I’m still unsure, but it’s a strange place to take a picture of yourself.

Other people’s dogs – If you’re trying to get me to swipe on the cuteness of your dog, Ryan, you’re barking up the wrong tree (yup, I just wrote that). I know a lot of girls, and guys, that actually do swipe for a cute dog so it’s kind of mis-selling if it turns out not to be yours. As much as I like dogs, there ain’t a dog cute enough to get me to swipe on a profile that I wouldn’t have swiped on sans dog.

All groups – Dan, your friends all look super fun but I’ve spent two minutes trying to work out which one you are in all 5 of your group pics, I’m now convinced there’s twins in the group, I’m distracted by that one guy’s leg tattoo, I’m wondering if I’ve already dated that guy on the left in the second pic and so I’ll be fucked if I’m going to swipe right on someone I literally can’t pick out of a line up.

With a hot friend – if your first pic is with your hottest friend it’s going to be disappointment all round when I scroll to the next pic and the hot guy from the first pic has disappeared, Tom.

A lil’ too close to a girl – I don’t know who that girl is you’re snuggling up to Brad, but I don’t think any good conversation starts with the question “is that your girlfriend or your sister?”

In a wedding – if it was to have a pic of you in a suit, Matt, I get it, I love man in a suit, but those suits hired for the wedding party you’re in are cheap and/or don’t fit well. It’s not a good look on anyone. And if it’s to show that you’re responsible enough to have been chosen to be in a wedding party, that’s really not saying much. Most weddings I’ve gone to have always had one groomsman who’s the loose canon that the bride didn’t want but the groom insisted because they’ve been friends for 25 years. How do I know you’re not that guy, Will?

Old pics – in only one of your pics, Abe, do you look like the 39 years your profile says you are. The others are clearly from about 15 years prior. Own your age cause if we meet you’re gonna have a hard time pulling off 24.

Blurred/cut off pics – listen, Alex, if you can’t work out how to crop a pic for your profile pic then I fear the delta in our technological abilities may be indicative of a personality mis-match too.

Views – that’s a really nice pic of a mountain, Jackson, but what am I supposed to glean from this? How do I even know you took that pic? You coulda got it off Google.

All selfies – I have to question where your friends are Blair. Doesn’t every group of friends have a photographer? I’m it for my group, which can make getting non-selfie pics of myself tricky but even I’ve managed it. So if all you can muster is selfies, especially that look like they’ve all been taken on the same day, I’m wondering about your social life.

Kilts – unless I’m at home in Scotland, where kilt pics can be the equivalent of the above “in a wedding” pics, I’m going to presume you’re wearing a kilt cause your great-great-great grandfather was half Scottish, Devan, and that’s about as close as you get to Scots heritage. Almost always makes me swipe left.

Naked torsos only – I get it Nick, you’re only here for sex. Your three practically naked pics, especially the one with you suggestively pulling down your shorts at the side with one finger, are hardly screaming that you’re here for anything serious.

Fishing – I’m guessing that “massive catch” you’re showing off is supposed to be an indication of how big your dick is, Niall? I don’t like fish.

Next post…

…previous post

Lumbersexual Therapy


You know those times when you’ve decided what you need is some self care but somehow something/someone else takes your attention? Generally it frustrates me, but when it’s a pretty hot lumbersexual I guess I can let it slide.

After the setback of Canadian DJ, I needed more than just a little time to get back into actively dating. Most of that time was filled by going to kickboxing. I’d started earlier in the year and found that the immense satisfaction from landing a good roundhouse kick or the aggression you can release with a swift jab-cross does wonders when you’re having a bad day, reliving all the WTF moments from the most recent dating trauma. Not to mention the between-rounds chat with a couple of great girlfriends I’d made at class.

What I didn’t realise would also help was a hookup with a lumbersexual.

Wikipedia’s definition – “A ‘lumbersexual’ or ‘urban lumberjack’ is a man who has adopted style traits typical of a traditional lumberjack, namely a beard, plaid shirt, and/or scruffy hair, substituting otherwise clean-cut and fashionable style choices.” Vancouver is filled with them and there’s fine line between a lumbersexual and a hipster but this guy was definitely a lumbersexual.

I’d been having drinks with a girlfriend whose husband plays rugby and it was their rugby club’s end of year awards that night. After making our way through a few bottles of wine she was trying to motivate herself to go the two blocks from my place to the bar where the event was being held. She suggested it would be much easier for her to leave if I was going too. Now “technically” I wasn’t invited but who’s ever let a technicality get in the way of a good night out?

So we finish up our wine and twenty minutes later we’re there chatting to her husband and our other friends that play at the club and their girlfriends. It was a fun night with plenty of drinks, pretty good music and it was a better alternative to the post-wine pity party I’d have had if my girlfriend left me at home.

The night, and the wine, was wearing on me but as I was sidling my way up to the bar to start goodbyes, my girlfriend was chatting to this one player who I’d never properly spoken to as he’d always seemed so quiet. He was tall and dark and brooding. Maybe it was the beard, or the fact he’s almost 6 and a half foot and built to all the right standards, but I’d always found him sort of intimidating. Unbeknownst to me my girlfriend had just been having the “so are you still single?” chat with him. When he confirmed he was, she didn’t waste a minute to say “well I have someone you should meet”.

Enter me.

Despite him seeming fairly quiet when you actually get him talking, especially after a few beers, he’s pretty chatty. We spent the rest of the night talking work, rugby, Vancouver and all with a side of flirting. He’s clearly a well liked member of the rugby team, as was proven by the near constant interruptions to our chats so I decided I was going to go home and leave him to enjoy the rest of his night with the guys. The flirtation had been fun and it was nice to feel a little bit of excitement again but I was ready for my bed.

Turns out so was he.

However it happened, and I don’t quite remember the details, not too long later we were on the way back to my place. We’d gone from having a fairly polite, friendly conversation at the bar to now making out in my elevator. It was a swift change of tempo.

Back in my apartment, clothes were all of a sudden surplus to requirements. At this point, all the right standards he’d been built to that I mentioned earlier were incredibly apparent. I realised fairly quickly, this was probably the (physically) fittest guy I’d ever been with. After a momentary crash of body confidence, I was just thankful all the kickboxing had started to make positive changes to my body and decided to enjoy it. He was a big guy in great shape, especially his arms, which I’ve since found (developed?) a real thing for as a male body part.

It was fun and easy, and with that very fit frame came an incredible amount of stamina, even after all the beer he’d consumed. Those arms were also delightful to fall asleep in afterwards. Though between being so unused to sharing a bed and the wine I’d had, I didn’t sleep all that well.

The morning after a one night stand is always… interesting. Does anyone have regrets? Who’s the most hungover? How quickly will the guest try to leave? Is there going to be a morning encore? Does the host feel obliged to make breakfast?

Thankfully, much like the sex, the morning after was void of any awkwardness and instead we lay in bed having open and honest discussions about our dating lives. He told me about a girl he had been seeing in LA that he still really liked and I gave him the story of Canadian DJ. It was the first time I woke up next to someone knowing there would be nothing more to it and was able to just enjoy it for the fun it had been.

There was something incredibly liberating about that.

It was a conscious choice I’d made to sleep with him, I was comfortable with the fact it was only going to be a short lived coming together (pun fully intended), I knew what I wanted out of it and what it would provide me with. There’s a lot of judgement around one night stands, and I have definitely been on the judging end before. But judgements are a confession of character and society has made it appear that one night stands are understandable, necessary even, for men but somehow a sign of low self worth or “easiness” on the part of women.

It’s just another gender bias I was coming up against in the course of dating and one that couldn’t have been more different to my reality.

I’d also always previously needed some kind of emotional connection with a sexual partner, a basis of something more, something deeper. It had never occurred to me before that it could just be about sex, fulfilling those specific needs, and that there was nothing wrong with that. Provided both parties were on the same page.

These revelations were important lessons for me but I knew they weren’t opinions shared by all of society, including some of my friends, and this was probably the first dating story (sex dates still count) that I was a little more careful about who I shared the story with and what details were given. Having said that, most of my close friends loved every bit of the story and the girls that know Lumbersexual were especially excited to find out if all their fantasies about him were correct and the fact that I’d now slept with the guy they consider the hottest at the rugby club (their own partners aside, I’m sure). Do I get a medal?

We said our goodbyes after our morning in bed (to answer the earlier questions – neither of us had regrets, he was definitely the most hungover, he wasn’t too quick/slow to leave, there was indeed a morning encore and no I didn’t feel obliged to make breakfast) with no swap of numbers and a casual “see you around” and a hug.

As I was slowly getting my face prepared for the outside world and brunch with my girlfriend, who I’d gone to the party with, and her husband, I got a text from the husband “[Lumbersexual] has texted me asking for your number. He says he forgot something at yours. Can I give him your number?” I loved the fact he checked with me rather than giving it to him right away. I said yes and had a quick look round my place for what he might have left. My place isn’t huge and there’s not a whole lot of stuff in it so things don’t really get lost very easily. But I couldn’t see anything out of place so I started to panic that he’d lent me his jacket or something the night before and I’d left it in the bar… but I didn’t spend too much time worrying, there were mimosas waiting for me.

Walking to brunch my phone buzzed with a message from an unknown number “Hi, it’s [Lumbersexual], from last night. I had a lot of fun but I just wanted to check, when were you last tested? I know we were careful but I just like to make sure I’m being responsible.”

Wow. Way to kill my buzz big guy.

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Can You Say Whirlwind? – Part 3 of 3


It started just a bit before April 1st, but by May 1st it felt like it was done. Changed beyond recognition, with the first 2 weeks of fun first dates and romanticised Mexico plans a distant memory. It’s like that person left. Or he never really existed in the first place. Being someone he maybe wanted to be for just as long as he could keep the mask in place and while it met his needs.

After deciding not to go to Mexico (that’s a spoiler if you didn’t read part 1 and part 2), we endured the final 7 days of Canadian DJ’s trip away with lots of “if you’d come to Mexico we’d be doing [insert fun/drunk/sexual activity here]” texts but thankfully more “when you’re home we’re going to [insert fun/drunk/sexual activity here]” chats. The tension and excitement built in the days prior to his return and by the Friday we were both like kids at Christmas. It’s fair to say we had a lot of fun that night and dinner – at a Mexican restaurant “to make it seem like [I was] there” – seemed like nothing more than a distraction.

That night and the next few days were everything I thought they’d be. We hung out, we talked (at normal times of the day, for which my sleep schedule was thankful), we talked about all the things we were going to do and and places we wanted to go. He did mention it was coming into the busy season again with his work but it wasn’t a concern and said we’d figure it out.

While I knew that the level of contact would change, it had to, he was no longer lying on a beach with nothing to do, what I hadn’t expected was that come the Monday he would almost instantly start to pull away. Texts would go unanswered for 10, 12 hours at a time, any suggestion of meeting up was met with him having a potential client meeting or an event he had to go to and would let me know, but never did. All the while Instagram and Facebook (god damn you social media and the ability you’ve provided to know far more than we need to about people) were telling me he was looking for someone to go on a bike ride with that day or that he’d been to the beach with his dog.

At the time all I could think was “well he’s not that fucking busy, is he?” but as I heard someone say recently, it’s not that he wasn’t busy. He was, he was busy with things he was prioritising over me. And that can be a hard fact to swallow. At this point, I feel it necessary to point out I’m fully aware that we’re still only 3 weeks into this thing and usually I wouldn’t expect anyone to be prioritising me over shit at that point. But the speed at which it had escalated and the things we’d talked about had, understandably, elevated my expectations. It’s not that I go into the first 3 weeks of dating just anyone and expect this same level of contact or time commitment. I’m not that not of touch with relationships and dating.

This was when I realised that consistency is probably one of the key things I look for from someone. Having had so much uncertainty previously in my life, and ultimately in my marriage, knowing where I am with someone and what I can expect of them is of huge importance. It helps with that fabulous anxiety I developed in the midst of my divorce. The only issue with having this need is that I also believe you should accept and not expect of people, so it’s a tricky balance. But all it takes is someone’s actions meeting their words – it sounds so simple…

In the midst of the growing weirdness, we finally managed to arrange a dinner, which felt like pulling teeth, especially when he bailed on the original time we’d set up approximately an hour before and only when I texted him for the final plans. I let it slide and having finally got another time arranged, we had a great meal on a gorgeous rooftop patio but there was definitely not the fun or ease or spark that we’d had previously. When he dropped me off after dinner I couldn’t tell if he just hadn’t wanted to kiss me for longer, or if he was in fact just worried about the traffic like he said… but it left me feeling confused and what had looked like maybe a distant red flag fluttering on the horizon was now a full on sea of red flags that I was drowning in.

We texted the next morning and again there was a lot of talk from him about being super busy and not sure when he’d next see me… I tried to maintain some dignity (let’s pretend I wasn’t checking Facebook on the hour, every hour, ok?) and decided I wasn’t going to reach out to him until I heard from him.

Well I got to Sunday and by then I was seething. Not even gonna lie, I had the rage. You know the kind that makes you send texts about it to your friends in FULL CAPS? Or requires a pint of gin before you can even start to spill your guts to the girls. Yup, that.

So as I headed out to a birthday brunch I decided to call him. Nothing like a Sunday morning call to put someone on the spot. Surprisingly he answered, I was fully expecting it to ring out and then get a “sorry was busy, will call later” text. Although before we’d even finished exchanging pleasantries he cut in with “I’m just about to go into Mother’s Day brunch, can I call you later, as soon as I’m done brunch?” Well, shit, what was I going to say? No, make your Mother wait and talk to me? Obviously not. Side note – why can’t Mother’s Day be celebrated on the same day everywhere to make it easier to keep track?!

After Birthday brunch we all ended up with in the park drinking beers in the beautiful May sunshine, all the while I’m thinking “well his brunch sure is taking a while…”. Cut to 7pm, the rage is bubbling to the surface, fuelled by a morning of mimosas and an afternoon of beers. No good can come of this. I pick up the phone to text him, I decided to lull him into a false sense of security so started with an easy “how was brunch?” to which he responded. Ok so his phone isn’t broken and unless he’s dictating to Siri, he hasn’t lost his opposable thumbs. Time for a call. (Actually, he had an Android not an iPhone but I’ll be damned if I know the Siri equivalent on Android.)

Despite a slight delay when he had to take the dog out for a walk and his phone apparently stopped working, (really? How many more ways was he going to try and dodge this call?) I finally got my chance. “Tell me if I’m wrong, but it seems like something’s changed and it feels like you don’t want to talk about it.” It was such a stark sentence and it kind of hung in a moment of silence before he made a joke about me being “very perceptive”. Very good jackass, just give me an answer.

Finally, after many pauses and deep breaths and ifs, ands and buts, he admitted that when we’d gone out for the last dinner it had felt “forced” and like he had to put on an act. Ouch. And that he was feeling like his last relationship (his marriage) had just continued. Ouch ouch. Ok, we’re going to need some gin for this pain. He concluded he didn’t think he could give me what I wanted, which was funny because I felt like we’d both escalated together and then when he got cold feet somehow it was me who’d gone too far too fast. I told him I needed consistency, which he obviously couldn’t offer so all I wanted now was closure. And with that the conversation was done.

Pursuing the conversation with him, knowing that the likely outcome would be him agreeing that things had changed and he didn’t feel the same anymore, is something I’m proud I did. I could have buried my head in the sand, appreciated the few texts I did get from him and just let it fizzle on/out. But I didn’t, I knew I had to get clarity, draw a line under it and hoped it would let me move on.

I’ve since found out that I can’t let things like that lie. I always want an explanation, the last conversation, the chance to call them out on their shit. Actions have consequences and if the only consequence is that they have to squirm for a 5 minute phone call then so be it.

The hardest thing was that, despite how poorly he ended up treating me, I never wanted him out of my life but other than dating him I didn’t know how he fitted into my life or me into his. So was that the only option? That he disappear as quickly as he came in? That made me really really sad.

And I couldn’t connect how I felt at the end to how I’d been feeling in those first days. It’s like thinking of completely different situations, and their proximity in time only made it harder to understand.

Did he never really feel like that in the first place? Can those sorts of feelings really change that quickly? Is that just who he is, talking a big game and then running the other direction? The confusion was insurmountable. He had been a genuine ray of light, he made me laugh like I’d never laughed in years and he made me feel incredible. But timing is a bitch.

I knew going in that anything with someone as fresh into divorce proceedings as he was, could make for slightly tricky times. I guess I thought as long as he was ok with it, so was I. Turns out he wasn’t ok with it and as much as that hurts, I always said I wanted him to make the best decisions for himself.

But in the end I had to make the best decision for myself and pushing to have that conversation and get him to actually admit that he was feeling different was key to that. If he couldn’t provide the consistency I need in a relationship, then clarity and closure were the next best things.

Him saying he felt like he’d been acting on our last date, and that it felt like a continuation of his marriage, those things stung. Like, really stung. Knowing he was feeling overwhelmed and couldn’t get his head together is one thing, but feeling like at any point he’d been inauthentic with me was hard to hear. I’d hoped I’d made it clear that honesty was my only policy and I know it’s not a fun conversation to have but I didn’t want to have to be the one to go looking for the answers when he already had them.

Whether he was struggling with everything that was going on in his life or not, there’s still things he did and ways he acted that just weren’t right or proper. I know had had a lot going on and he was coming at it from a shitty place but we’ve all got a lot going on and we’ve all been in shitty places. That doesn’t make him special and it doesn’t get him special allowances.

I’d love to say I came off the call, threw back a gin and chalked it up to experience but this was the first time I’d actually liked anyone since my ex-husband, this had been huge for me. There were tears before bedtime. And actually during bedtime. And the next day… I was questioning everything – all of our interactions, my own self-worth, whether here was the right place for me to be living, if I could have done something different. All the unhealthy stuff that you hope as a grown woman you’d be confident in.

The following day brought with it a realisation. Nothing will ever feel like my divorce. I don’t know that anything could be that harrowing and that traumatising ever again. It’s not to say that terrible, bad things won’t happen. They will. But even though this felt like it hit me hard, I still went into the situation with my eyes more open and with a whole lot more emotional experience than I’d ever had before.

Comments of “but it was only a month!” or “just delete him?” weren’t particularly helpful, that month had been a whirlwind of emotions and unfortunately you can’t just delete someone from your memory bank. But while on a day to day level I missed him in my life, I knew in the grand scheme of things this just wasn’t that big a deal. I just had to get my head and my heart aligned on that… it’s fair to say it took some time.

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To Mexico Or Not To Mexico? That Is The Question – Part 2 of 3


After the mammoth 23 hour first date, I sailed through the twins’ birthday party high on life, as well as a more than slightly hungover Sunday brunch the next day which happened to be with my girlfriend, Canadian DJ’s step-sister. Apparently he had texted her the night before saying I was “quite lovely” and it’s fair to say she got a little over-excited, claiming she was so happy to have me in the family and that family dinners were going to be so much fun. This was after just one date. They don’t do things by half in that family. But I presumed she was joking when she suggested I go to Mexico with him when he left the next day. Woah. Let’s all chill out.

Having accidentally left my jacket at his place, I ended up seeing him on the Sunday evening when he returned it, which lead to an impromptu second date with dinner at the izakaya place next door to my building. Again, there was an ease between us, like no subject was off topic and neither of us were guarding ourselves unnecessarily.

He left for Mexico the next morning and there was a feeling from both of us even then that the next 2 weeks could feel like 2 years. I know, pass me the bucket. While he was travelling we kept in almost constant contact, barring when he was on flights, although he admitted he almost paid for in-flight wifi just so we could text. We’re definitely in the age of digital romance.

What followed was an unexpected, battery draining, heart fluttering, stomach flipping two weeks of all day texts and middle of the night calls. We texted every day and most nights we would end up on the phone, for hours. I was incredibly sleep deprived but it was unbelievably lovely having someone checking in on me, telling me about their day (mostly beach related), asking me about my day (mostly work related), telling me they missed me… It was enough to get me through the workday and any subsequent social engagements or workouts before I’d climb into bed again knowing sleep wouldn’t follow for at least another couple of hours. We talked about everything; our childhoods, passions and bugbears, our careers, our friends, trips we’d taken, trips we wanted to take, relationships, love and sex.

That last topic lead us down a tricky path. No one wants to be over 2000 miles away from each other developing a severe sexual attraction to someone and  talking about what they’d like to do to each other. Or, worse still, sending those types of messages when one of you isn’t on vacation and trying to concentrate on work. Maybe the no sex on the first date thing was foolish, or maybe it would have made it worse if we’d gone there already. All I knew was the remaining days of his trip couldn’t pass quick enough.

Maybe as a result of that growing frustration and the fact he was getting restless staying with his parents, in the midst of our evening text sessions on the Thursday I jokingly said in response to one of his texts “oh yeah I’ll just get on a plane to Mexico” and he responded with “why don’t you?” I laughed it off, the daily tequila intake was going to his head. But when he brought it up again later that night and started proposing road trips we could take and offering to pay, I realised he wasn’t joking.

High on late night chats and the knowledge someone wanted me to fly to another continent to see them, I started to seriously consider it. I mean, I had vacation days to take and my boss was pretty flexible, so I took a quick look at possible flights if only to prove it would be an insane idea. Turns out that had the opposite effect. But this was the Thursday night and we were talking about me flying there on the Saturday. Insane.

I was conflicted. It sounded so crazy fun and sometimes you need that in your life. However, it was also plain crazy. We’d been on 2 dates (if you count the impromptu dinner) and while, yes I knew his family and was pretty sure he wasn’t about to kill me in some Mexican hacienda, it was still pretty early on in this…. whatever you’d call it whatever this was… to be going taking a trip together.

There was also the part of me, as one of my friends pointed out (team dating came back into effect) that was aware that I hadn’t been on a vacation with a guy since my ex-husband. In fact the longest I’d spent with a guy since my ex was in fact the 23 hours of my first date with Canadian DJ. And now he wanted me to go to Mexico and spend 4 days with him?!

What if I got there and freaked the hell out? How could I be sure we wouldn’t be sick of each other after 2 nights? Maybe 23 hours was our max, our peak, just the right amount of time for us to spend together at this time?

To appease him and essentially take the decision out of my hands, I decided I’d ask my boss and if he said ok to the time off I’d do it. If he said no, then it was a moot point. I emailed my boss and waited.

Friday morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I got a reply from my boss who’d I’ve given a slightly restrained explanation to (my friend wants me to join them in Mexico!). “Sure, Mexico for 4 days is crazy but sure.” Well he wasn’t wrong.

I decided not to pass on the good(?) news to DJ yet, I was still mulling it over. The general consensus amongst friends was “are you crazy?!” with a couple who fell on the side of “fuck it! Just do it!!” Including, unbelievably, my Mum. My mother, she who is usually sensible and level headed. Her response was “sometimes, you just have to say “life is too short” and go for it.” I was gobsmacked. And only more confused by this unexpected advice coming from this unexpected source. I was also pretty sure she’d been on the gin.

As the working day drew to a close and a sunny patio happy hour with friends approached I knew it would be the topic of conversation as we sipped wine in the sun. The first friend that arrived was all for it: “think how romantic it would be, what a great story! And seriously, it’s sunny here but think how hot it will be in Mexico.” She knew I had a weakness for the heat.

The next friend wasn’t quite as into the idea, she’s always more level headed and appreciate her ability to take emotion out of decisions. “Mexico isn’t going anywhere. Let him have his trip and have more dates once he’s back, then if it’s all going well then you can go to Mexico anytime you want. You don’t need to go now, after 2 dates, it’s just too much.” Her argument was definitely not as exciting to hear.

I think this was my first experience of having to decide between pumping the breaks, not rushing things and generally being “sensible” and the alternative which was an incredibly exciting, romantic and pretty epic opportunity for a crazy great story in years to come. You get such conflicting advice on both sides of the spectrum; don’t ruin it by rushing it, life’s too short, make him wait, he’s not going anywhere, if it feels right do it.

That last one, that’s the one that got me. There was something that really didn’t feel quite right. It was just slightly off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it was my own ongoing battle with spontaneity, it was my anxiety’s favourite entry point. Maybe it was a fear about the escalation in a new “relationship” (I use that term loosely), given that I was a little out of practice. For whatever reason I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I’d had the flights pulled up on my computer all day at work, ready to book. I had them now on my phone screen as I sat drinking Viognier looking out over the water.

I closed Safari on my phone and opened WhatsApp. “So good news and bad news. Good news – my boss approved the days off. The bad news – despite that I don’t think I should come. I think you should enjoy the rest of your trip like you’d planned and when you come back we can spend some more time together before we take our first trip together. You’ve no idea how close I was to booking those flights, and I know come tomorrow morning when I could have been heading for the airport and instead I’ll likely be going for a run I’ll regret my decision but I do think it’s for the best. TL;DR: my boss is great, I suck.”

His reply was what I expected “I understand” then when pressed about the slightly short response “I’m not upset, I’m just disappointed.” Ugh, great. Who doesn’t like to be called disappointing on a Friday afternoon? Server, I’ll take another glass of Viognier.

We texted about it throughout the evening, he said he really did understand while at the same time trying to convince me that the trip wouldn’t mean anything, it wasn’t a big deal, to think of it just as a really long, far away third date. He was a pretty smooth talker and there were a number of times I almost caved. He’s an impulsive, spontaneous, living life to the fullest type of guy so I could understand why my reluctance to throw caution to the wind wasn’t something he was going to easily accept.

At the end of the day, I didn’t want to rush before I was sure what this was. I wasn’t asking for any commitment from him but, given both of our past-relationship situations, I didn’t think either of us needed to be getting into a position where we could end up potentially getting hurt.

Turns out, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do to try and prevent that, it can still happen…

Next post…

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I Forgot What This Felt Like – Part 1 of 3


In amongst all the dodgy dates and crap conversations, I had actually met someone – offline, organically, “normally”. It was a friend’s step-brother (her Mom married his Dad), who I don’t think I even knew existed before she introduced me to him on the Thursday before Easter weekend.

Her and I were out for a few drinks to celebrate the long weekend and were going to see a film about Renoir later in the evening. We’re so cultured. When her step-dad called and said he was in town and wondered if she was around, our drinks and movie turned into drinks, dinner and more drinks with him and her step-brother. Maybe we’re not so cultured.

When the brother arrived it was one of those times apt for the phrase “sit up and take note” – I definitely did that. Partly because she’d barely mentioned him before, but also because she’d definitely never mentioned her incredibly funny and charming step-brother before. My head was turned. When he started talking about his divorce and how he’d just moved to a new place, I was really listening.

He was Canadian and a DJ and so his nickname in time would be “Canadian DJ” – don’t say we’re not creative. He was funny and engaging and chatty, and when we ended up sat next to each other at dinner I definitely felt like there was some sort of a spark, like a proper frisson of electricity, between us. But I was a few drinks in and sometimes my awareness in these situations can be totally off so I tried not to get too far ahead of myself.  Plus he was related (by marriage if not birth) to one of my best girlfriend’s so I wanted to get her take on it first.

She must have been wondering what the hell I was on with all the schoolgirl like giggling I was doing and I’m pretty sure she was going to cut me off with the bar when, on telling us about the real fire in his new apartment, I asked “where do you get your wood?” – it wasn’t even intended innuendo, which only made it more embarrassing. He took it well and responded with a suitably innuendo-laden answer.

When he and his dad left after dinner, I instantly said “so you’re step-brother…?” By her response I’m pretty sure she wasn’t expecting that: “What?! You like him? Really?! I never even thought of him for you.” While surprised, she didn’t seem against the idea so I said no more and we finished our night with more drinks, Renoir having long been forgotten.

The next day her and I were visiting her Granny who had pretty much adopted me since I moved to Canada – I was seriously missing family time and you can never beat some Granny cooking and chats. As we drove south I engineered Canadian DJ into the conversation and my girlfriend encouraged me to add him on Facebook. 15 minutes later, we were FB friends. It’s getting serious, millennials.

Later at Granny’s, my friend’s Mom called to wish us all Happy Easter and when she specifically asked to speak to me after chatting to her Mom (Granny) and her daughter (my girlfriend) I figured it was just to make me feel included. Turns out, she had been speaking to her husband (girlfriend’s step-dad, Canadian DJ’s dad – are you following along?) who mentioned our drinks the night before and that his son had apparently said, speaking of me, “she’s exactly the sort of person I should date”. Needless to say, that was not what I was expecting to hear and it more than put a smile on my face and a flutter in my stomach while sending my mind into overdrive. Did I mention I’m an overthinker?

Naturally he came up in conversation a few times over the weekend and by the Monday I decided that I was going to be brave and bold and send him a message on Facebook. I sent that first message (you know the kind that’s meant to sounds really easy and breezy and casual but in reality took a good hour and a half of rewrites to perfect? Yup one of those) and then panicked. For a whole 21 hours. It took almost a day to get a response… WTF. I felt close to a stroke the entire time. How can the sending of one little message do that to you? I’m an adult!

I’d included my phone number in the Facebook message, as well as a reference to my embarrassing wood comment, so when I got a text the following day from an unknown number that just said “Goooood morning!” I so wanted it to be from him and not a wrong number. Google was able to confirm it as for the former for me, as it was the number he had on his website for his business, and then I died with excitement. Um, hi, am I 15 again?

By the 12th message we were talking about Vegas (one of my favourite subjects) and when he mentioned about going for a drink I was more than a little keen to get it planned. We were trying to figure out a suitable time as I was on my way to my date with Dubsmash Dude and I was definitely more excited about the prospect of the DJ date than the Dubsmash date.

Gutted doesn’t quite cover what I felt when we didn’t think we’d be able to get time for a drink before he went on vacation the following Monday to visit his Dad and Step-Mom (my girlfriend’s Mom) for 2 weeks. We said we’d catch up when he was back but there was a feeling, on my side anyway, that the impetus might have dissipated. So when he messaged me on the Thursday confirming I was definitely busy on the Friday night because he had a spare ticket to a concert he was going to, I had to make a snap decision as to whether I was the type of girl who ditched plans with her friends to go on a date…. Death Cab For Cutie with a boy or Elie Goulding with my girlfriends….

Not before clarifying with him “is it you and a group of friends or is this a potential “date”…?” When he responded with “hahahahaha not a group of friends so let’s go with “date”;)”. Let’s just say team dating came back into play in a big way.

The girls rallied, there were suggested alternatives, opinions, debates, it got pretty heated between those who were in the ‘chicks before dicks’ camp and those that thought when presented with the prospect of a good date, one can’t simply turn it down. Ultimately it was decided I should change my plans and go on the date, especially once I checked with the friend I had plans with whose emphatic text response was “GO GET IT GIRL”. I bloody love my friends.

So the plans were made – drinks and dinner before Death Cab For Cutie. We both noted how we’d gone from maybe not having time for a drink before his trip to now planning a full on first date.

This would be the first of many escalations. I loved it and was overcome with anxiety about it all at the same time. My group chats were on fire with excitement, questions and, most importantly, shopping plans for that night to ensure I had something to wear. No, but really, are we 15 again? It would seem so and, I’m not gonna lie, it was a tonne of fun. I had forgotten this feeling, the giddiness of boy chat, prospective dates, hopefully impending first kisses.

The next day I was an anxiety ridden mess, partly down to general nerves about the date and partly down to not hearing from him until 3pm by which time I’d convinced myself he’d changed his mind, or hadn’t been serious about the date in the first place.

Hi there self-doubt, you’ve been silent for a whole week, I missed you. It’s incredible how you can be sailing along, feeling great, on top of the word, winning at life and then BAM! The takedown of your self-worth and self-confidence that a previous partner performed comes crawling back like a disease.

I tried my best to push the doubts out of my head and got to the bar we were meeting at first because somehow he’d managed to forget the tickets at home and had to go back for them. The bar was my local right across from my apartment, yes it had been my suggestion, so it worked out perfectly for me as I was able to get a double gin and ginger ale in before he even arrived. As soon as he did I was instantly calmer, albeit with a flutter of excitement in my stomach. It wasn’t the worst feeling.

We had a quick dinner with drinks then got a cab out to the venue. We talked constantly, it was so easy. We talked family and music, travel and tv shows, working out and drinking, plans for Summer and life plans. There were no silences, no uncertainties as we both happily shared and eagerly listened.

The only slightly awkward moment was bumping into friends of his on our way into the venue, and I only say awkward because it always is on a date, especially a first date. When it’s not your friends and you’re not quite sure how, or even if!, you’re going to be introduced or if you’ll just stand there like a lemon while your date chats with his friends. Thankfully there was a quick intro and we moved on into the university stadium where the gig was. He later told me the friend messaged him after we met and said I was cute. Blushes ensued.

When we got inside, amidst the lineups for the concession stands and washrooms and people trying to find their seats, I realised that going to a gig with someone on a first date had potential for some uneasiness. I mean, do you dance? Clap along? God forbid sing? My over-thinking nerve was on high alert. Thankfully, when Death Cab started we quickly found an easy balance between singing (yeah I’d had to brush up on some of their songs earlier in the day) and chatting and laughing throughout. My self-consciousness slowly slipped away.
At one point while we were laughing about something in the crowd (can we all just take a minute to appreciate how great people watching is for an ice breaker on a first date?!), I remember thinking “please kiss me… also if this wasn’t a first date, I would so be having sex with you later”. Yup, you could say I was having a good time.

Waiting for a cab to get back downtown after the show, it was a pretty chilly April night and only one of us had brought a jacket (thanks to that shopping trip Michele had taken me on the afternoon before) so it was a perfect excuse for him to get closer for some warmth. But no kiss.

Deciding the night was too early to finish, we went for a few cocktails at a sushi place and after drinks with dinner and during the gig, we probably could have done with some more food at that point but stuck with just the alcohol. The conversation got a little more in-depth, chats about our divorces (or separations as his was at the time), our parents divorces, our own struggles. There was a lot we had in common and I liked that for once I didn’t feel like my divorce was the elephant in the room.

His separation was still fairly fresh, though he was sure it was definitely over and barring some back and forth about pet custody (it seems almost as contentious to navigate post-breakup as child custody) there was nothing left for them to discuss. I recognised the sadness still in him that I’d felt myself, that sense of not quite believing that it had come to an end, that you were now without that person you’d thought you’d be with forever. I marvelled at how much quicker he’d obviously been able to start to come out the other side in comparison to me. He was on a date only months after, while I’d taken years. Actual years. I was envious of, and impressed by, his resilience.

The restaurant was closing and he insisted on walking me back to my place. All night I had been floored by his manners. Doors were opened for me, seats pulled out, jackets put on, everything paid for – I wasn’t used to it but jeez, I could definitely adjust. Every little gesture made my stomach flip just a little.  And actually, knowing his family, I wasn’t surprised he was like that. They’re very much of the thinking that a man should be the man and a woman should be the woman, without being archaic. I’m all for equality and women doing things for themselves but there’s something about chivalry that gets me, and I do believe both can exist simultaneously.

On the walk home, in the crisp night air, the most recent intake of alcohol filtering into my bloodstream, with him of course on the road side, having moved me onto the inside of the sidewalk, I made another bold decision and asked him if he wanted to come up. Earlier in the night we’d shared our love for whisky and I just happened to have a great bottle that I thought he’d like to try.

10 minutes later, whiskies in hand, random YouTube videos on AppleTV and the sofa bed pulled out for full comfort, it felt like I was hanging out with an old friend. But an old friend who I really, really wanted to kiss me. Eventually, as we got progressively closer video after video, I was clearly feeling emboldened by the whisky and straight out asked him if he intended to kiss me.

After being taken aback a little, he said “I’ve really wanted to but it’s the first time I’ve kissed someone since… and I didn’t know I’d be so excited about it” before finally, FINALLY!, leaning forward and kissing me. I was sitting but there was a definite weakening in the knees. He was a great kisser and we proceeded to make out like teenagers. We really are 15 again.
At some point during the make out, YouTube, whisky session the fact he was having a sofa delivered at 9am came up, so after not that long a discussion I packed a bag and we got a cab out to where he lived, half an hour away, at 4am in the morning… another escalation.

As we drove along the empty streets and highway we drunkenly chatted, telling the cab driver the story of our night, him telling me how much he loved furnishing and decorating his new place, bought after his separation, me exclaiming the fact I barely leave downtown during daylight hours nevermind for a 4am cab ride to some far off suburb on a first date.
He wanted exactly 1 minute and 36 seconds to clean his apartment when we got there, so I stood outside the door and waited. For more like 5 minutes. A grand tour of his new pride and joy of a house and an introduction to the cat and dog, was followed by more whisky, Japanese this time, by the fire. But seriously, where did he get his wood from?

Things get fuzzy, but I remember us making out a lot before him saying “don’t look behind you, but it’s getting light outside”. It was 7am. We got to bed, him leaving the bedroom to let me get changed into my pjs – seriously, manners – and after some fairly heavy petting (definitely 15 again) with an unspoken understanding that we definitely weren’t going to have sex, we fell soundly asleep.

For an hour and a half anyway. Remember that sofa delivery? Yah, 9am. Bang on time. Why are they never there at the start of the delivery slot when you want them to be?! We barely made it up to let them in, and when I say we I mean he. I stayed put. He then had to take the dog out as well (sucks to have responsibility). Still I stayed put.

We spent the morning in bed, feeling more than a little worse for wear but entirely comfortable, chatting about the night before, how we’d both had a better time than either of us were even expecting, again sharing more stories of our marriages and the breakdown of them. It was a strange thing to be bonding over but we seemed to have had very similar experiences and he was relieved he could talk about it when it’s not something that you’d normally lead with on a first date.

With me complimenting the newly delivered couch – velvet teal was a bold but admirable choice but he’s not exactly a shy and retiring guy – at 1.30pm we dragged our asses out of bed and up the street to the pub where we managed some food and a Guinness each. Hair of the dog seemed like a good (the only?) idea. We sent a pic to his step-sister, my girlfriend, who loved the fact we’d clearly spent the night together and sent back a heart emoji filled response along with a pic of her and her boyfriend also having lunch.

Post-food and hair of the dog another nap was needed and it felt like one of those really lovely, lazy Saturdays I missed sharing with someone. I love my time to myself but having no plans with someone, is much better than having no plans by yourself. I was aware I was going out that night though and needed to get myself together for what was going to be a big night for the twins’ birthday so his insistence on driving me home was welcome cause I sure as hell wasn’t getting on the skytrain.

A whole 23 hours after our, what can only be described as epic, first date started, he drove me back along the highway, much busier now than 12 hours earlier in the middle of the night. He dropped me off at exactly 4pm, of course getting out to open my door and help me out his SUV. There was a last kiss, ok maybe many last kisses, before I tore myself away to go and get ready for early drinks with friends before the birthday celebrations. Despite the hangover and severe lack of sleep, I’m pretty sure I could have floated up to the 10th floor high on life, no elevator needed.

At 4.12pm as I was jumping in the shower, my phone buzzed. “I think I’m going through withdrawal from you”. Heart melt. Knees weak. Stomach flipped.

I truly forgot what this felt like.

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