Words And Actions, Actions And Words – Part 3 of 4


Having got through the meeting of my friends relatively unscathed (other than a short term dip in my mental health on the night), Filipeen and I continued towards Christmas at full speed. Well, full speed with a couple of speed bumps.

His query about how close, or not, I was with my best straight guy friend he’d met at pie night came up again a couple of times, and with every time I had to defend my platonic relationship I found myself getting more frustrated. He’d also started to ask me more pointed questions about life goals, seemingly following on from the conversation at the steak restaurant, and every time would include him sitting in silence while I felt more and more inclined to fill the silence with justifications for whatever I’d just said. And his initial warmth was now being broken up with more and more cold patches, winter was definitely getting chillier.

We also spent an inordinate amount of time one night sat in his car in a Walmart parking lot discussing – I don’t want to say arguing about – weed. (This sentence makes me feel very North American. LOL.)

The “discussion” wasn’t actually about weed itself, but it stemmed from it. Smoking pot is an incredibly common occurrence in Vancouver, I always say you’re more likely to smell that than cigarette smoke here. He told me early on he smoked it to help with muscle pain he had from a snowboarding accident. My personal take on weed – I don’t smoke it, never have, my ex did, I don’t have good feelings about it. For me, that is. For you, for Filipeen, for anyone else? Carry on, knock yourself out, have fun, I have no judgement about it.

But as we were leaving the house that night, to go to Walmart to pick up another set of lights to decorate his place with, he made a comment about how tired he was and that when we got back I could roll him a joint and he’d make dinner. I laughed and said “um no, we’ll do the other way around” and that started the weirdest / most disproportionately reactive “discussion” I’d ever had with him.

Sat in the car once we reached Walmart he told me I was projecting feelings about my ex onto him, that I was judgemental and he topped off those statements by telling me that I was a hypocrite for not liking weed when I drank so much. Wow. Where the hell had that come from?

I remember being sat in the front passenger seat, him beside me, telling me how unhealthy my life was, as I looked out at the rain bouncing off the windshield, and thinking what the fuck is going on? Am I losing my mind? Why am I having to justify my lifestyle?

It became clear that we weren’t going to get to a consensus so in an effort to get out of the car which by that point felt like it was closing in on me after 20 long ass minutes, we agreed to disagree and instead walked round Walmart pretending everything was fine when in fact I had no clue what had just happened and was questioning my own sanity. Probably much like most people in Walmart.

We moved on from the Walmart car park debacle but it was still very much in the back of my head. Actually, more like the front and by the week before Christmas we both knew there was some underlying tension, given the rise in the number of tense conversations we were having. And we both knew it should be discussed – at least we were both on the same page about that – so we made plans to go out for dinner on the Friday night with the unspoken fact that we would try and work things out. .

As luck would have it by the end of that week I was sick as a dog with a cold and should have been in bed. Instead I drugged myself up, had a nip of whisky before I went out and steeled myself for what I didn’t think was going to be an all that fun night. When had I started to not look forward to seeing him?

The night didn’t start well with some confusion around the reservation time, I couldn’t get a cab and he was running late but I’d picked a place he’d had always wanted to go and where the food was great so at least we had that in our favour. Unfortunately I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to taste a single bite and in some respects I got to dinner just wanting to have the conversation and then get to bed.

We did the usual “how was your day” chit chat to begin with but as the starters arrived we got round to talking about the massive elephant in the room. We started by both agreeing that doing the couple-y things, like walking the dog or going to get groceries or decorating his house with Christmas lights, can be great but we’re really not there yet or at least not to the point where that had become almost all we did. And we don’t know each other well enough to be with each other when we’re trying to run errands or deal with stress or fit things into a crazy busy day.

I then explained I was having difficulty with his back and forth between hot and cold which had started in the last few weeks and that, ultimately, in those moments when he was being cold I was left feeling rejected. And rejection is my biggest fear. I think it’s likely most people’s, but since my divorce I know that I’ve actively sought to avoid any situation where rejection could arise. While also trying not to become a hermit – not easy.

He admitted that he wasn’t sure how he felt about me/us. He said “sometimes I look at you and think “I am not in the same place as her and I need to tell her””. I questioned why then he wouldn’t have put some distance between us or attempted not to create these ridiculously couple-y scenarios, or declined my offers to do things a girlfriend would do like walk his dog, and all he could say was “because sometimes I think I am in the same place as you but then most of the time I don’t think I am”.

I let the words hang in the air and could feel the tears sting behind my eyes. I wanted to believe it was just the cold but that admission weighed heavily on me and it would prove to haunt me for a long while afterwards. He did follow it up by saying that he hoped he would get to the same place as me but that for now he was feeling like I was “much further down the road”.

My head was already cloudy as shit with the cold but this conversation was really fogging it up and while I had hoped it would bring me clarity I was getting the distinct impression it might do the opposite. There was some other chat along the same lines which lasted for most of dinner, and between the topic of conversation, my inability to taste the difference between gumbo and mac and cheese (we were at a Southern restaurant) and only being able to breathe out of my mouth, it wasn’t the most fun Friday I’ve ever had.

We did however finish the night discussing how we were going to try and resolve things, both acknowledging that we did want to try. We decided to get back to proper dates – dinners and drinks and walks and cinema and other fun stuff. We knew we needed to spend time together getting to know each other doing fun, random stuff, not chores or errands at someone’s house. And no more friend intros, until we’d figured this out.

While I was totally on board for all of that, I knew I needed to be ok with feeling like it was going a little backwards and not take it as a negative. I also knew I had to stop offering to do things out of kindness and set some boundaries for myself. He clearly wasn’t going to say no, why would you when someone’s offering to walk your dog when it’s shitting snow outside and you can stay indoors and cook? I also had to let go of the fact that he argued that meeting my friends had been too soon, yet he was the one who was super keen to come that night. And that he was saying I was too far down the road, yet he hadn’t put up any vocal objections about any of the stuff we’d been doing.

We called it a night after main courses, thankfully he didn’t want dessert and all I wanted was my bed. As I went home alone (he didn’t stay, I was that sick), one of my friends called to ask how the dinner had gone and, after I told her the tale of the night and how confused by it all I was, she completely accurately stated – “it shouldn’t really be feeling this difficult this early on and you really shouldn’t be this confused.”

She was, of course, entirely right. And the confusion she spoke of, that was overwhelming for me, was only compounded the next day when, driven by what I can only think was maybe a sense of guilt after seeing my reaction to some of the things he’d had said to me (he’s Catholic after all), Filipeen messaged me early in the morning to see how I was feeling and to say sorry that last night hadn’t been a tonne of fun. That bit wasn’t confusing, that bit was nice.

What was confusing was that after all the chat we’d had a mere 12 hours prior, when we’d decided we’d stop doing couple-y things until we both felt ready, he insisted that I go over to his house so that he could take care of me while I was sick. He said he would have come to mine to look after me but he had work to do from home so if I could get over there he’d do the rest.

Now, ordinarily, in the cold light of a good health day, I wouldn’t have thought twice about saying no. Not least because a) I’ve found myself to be fiercely independent when it comes to taking care of myself since I got divorced, and also because b) it was the exact opposite of what we said we were going to do! However, I was feeling like such a bag of shit, so ridiculously sorry for myself and clearly having a weak moment that I took him up on it.

I packed a bag, and my self pity, and went over to his place. Cue the confusion rising…

He’d changed the sheets on his bed so they were fresh for me. He was making chicken soup to make me feel better. He had the air purifier on in his bedroom to help clear my head. The kettle was boiled to make me a honey and lemon drink. There had been a table moved next to the bed for me to put all my tissues, drinks, phone etc on. And there was a bath running with lavender epsom salts in it to relax me before I got into bed.

Don’t get me wrong, you can be kind to someone you’re dating when they’re sick – take them some soup or pick them up some meds. But all of that? And while I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven, there was a voice somewhere, really far back in my head, almost silently screaming “what in the actual fuck happened to what we talked about last night?!” At another time I would have tried to make sense of it but for then I took a long hot soak in the bath followed by an afternoon spent watching Netflix while he periodically checked on me, got me fresh water, made me more hot drinks and then made us dinner as well.

The next day as he drove me home on Sunday morning before he went to church, when thankfully I was feeling much better, we mused on the fact that in a week it was Christmas. Knowing we both had pretty busy weeks coming up we agreed that we’d see each other the following Friday, when we’d both have finished work for Christmas and could do something fun.

That felt a little better, a little more “normal”, a little more like what we’d talked about at dinner two nights previous.

That week passed by in a blur, work was so busy and seeing friends before they left for their Christmas trips kept me occupied but I was aware that there was definitely a shift in things. We didn’t text as much and when we did it was generally at night and him saying he was tired and going to bed. I tried to put it out of my mind as much as I could until I saw him on the Friday.

When the end of the week rolled around, he suggested he cook dinner and we stay in seeing as we’d both had such busy weeks. And while that did sound like bliss, I couldn’t help but feel like again, that wasn’t quite what we’d agreed on at the Friday night dinner previous. I also know I’m a stickler for the rules and need to loosen up at times so I just went with it. We had a super chilled, super relaxed evening and a lot of really great sex.

Have I mentioned the sex? I don’t think I have. Or at least not enough. We had incredible sex. Throughout it all, even when that underlying tension was bubbling to the surface, the sex was always amazing. And there was always a lot of it. I’m pretty sure his shower had been designed specifically for it. Maybe that was why I always went to stay there…

But I digress, back to the weekend of Christmas. The Saturday morning rolled around and it was Christmas Eve. We started the day off with a run with the dog and then went to buy food and drink for a dinner he was hosting for friends on Boxing Day. And I know what you’re thinking – if that doesn’t sound like a couple-y Christmas Eve I don’t know what does. Yah, you and me both.

As he dropped me off home early that afternoon after all of our errands he made mention of the Boxing Day dinner we’d been doing all the shopping for. We’d previously discussed it and he’d hinted at me going, but that was before all the confusion and the weirdness and saying we weren’t going to do friends again until things were a little better. So when he brought it up in a way that presumed I was going to be there I couldn’t just let it slide.

I told him I presumed I wasn’t going to be there and I was absolutely ok with that. It was his best friends he was having round and I didn’t want to add a layer of complication to that, I also was trying to be respectful of the fact that just over a week ago he’d said he didn’t totally know how he felt about me and that we shouldn’t “do the friends thing”, so was it really wise for me to go?

He said he would love for me to be there but it was up to me. Way to put on the pressure. I told him I’d think about it but in the back of my head I knew I should sit this one out. Which would have been made easier if it hadn’t been for the fact that seeing as I was going to Filipeen’s on Christmas Night, I was obviously going to wake up there on Boxing Day.

Christmas night itself was… difficult. When he picked me up from my dinner (side story – I ended up going for Christmas dinner to a friend’s house, the friend who’d known Welsh Rugby Playing Lawyer, and it turned out he was coming for dinner too, so the four of us sat and ate turkey together all the while I wanted to ask what the fuck had happened and why the fuck he’d ghosted me, alas I did not – wow actually this story deserves it’s entire own blog post now I think about it…) his demeanour was not that of someone who had spent all Christmas Day with his family. Or maybe it was, I mean families can be stressful.

Either way, he wasn’t what I’d describe as “cheery”. So on what had been a really lovely day I’d spent with friends and had been looking forward to finishing it off with him, I found myself going through a car wash at 9pm on Christmas night on our way back to his place because his car needed a clean. That’s not a Christmas Day activity! I thought he was a Catholic!! He did also admit, mid soap suds, that he had found Christmas hard because he wasn’t where he wanted to be in his life, that he was with his brother and his family but he’d thought by his age (38) he would have a family of his own to have Christmas with.

Now I heard him, loud and clear. As I think I said in my very first blog post, did I really expect to be where I am? FUCK NO. But here I am. And yes, there are times it gets me down and there are times I wonder why, but they’re fairly few and far between now and as long as I know I’m doing what I can to get myself where I want to be and as long as I’m spending time with good people while I’m doing that then I feel like I’m able to manage my mood a little better than he apparently could.

After the very solemn Christmas Night car wash (honestly, this story, wtf) the rest of the night wasn’t a night of cosying up on the sofa and enjoying each others company. It ended up being spent starting prep for the feast the next day. There were about 15 people invited and he’d decided he wanted to do 3 main courses, 4 side dishes, 2 desserts and a tonne of appetisers to begin with – there was a lot to do.

However, he insisted I didn’t do anything apart from enjoy a gin from the bottle of Botanist I’d bought for us for Christmas. We decided we weren’t doing presents for each other, we agreed it was too early for that but apparently not for domesticated bliss on Christmas Night. Confused much?

So instead I got drunk (I’d started my Christmas Day at a bottomless mimosa brunch with one of my closest friends) and maybe a little belligerent, told him he was boring and took myself to bed. Yup! Merry Christmas folks!!

The next morning brought with it no mention of the night before, apart from the horrific hangover I had, more food prep and me playing sous chef and runner. There was a laundry list of things he’d forgotten from the supermarket so he asked me to drive his car to Safeway and pick them up. So now I’m driving his car, which is his pride and joy, to go grocery shopping for a dinner party for his friends that I wasn’t even planning on attending.

My girlfriends were getting a running commentary of it all over text and by this point they were all just like “GO HOME!”. I, of course, did not go home. I couldn’t find the opportune time to leave him to finish the prep himself, because I knew it would leave him in the shit. There was no way he’d get everything done by himself. And I couldn’t leave him, I’m not that person, I’m too nice.

As the time rolled around, and the day had passed to the point where people were due to be arriving in 20 minutes I resigned myself to the fact I was obviously staying and about to meet his closest friends. I should probably change out of my sweatpants.

The night was good, if a little awkward when I was introduced and no one even knew he was dating someone. Not helped by the fact that when guests were arriving he had disappeared into the kitchen so I ended up greeting people. You know, like a good girlfriend does. Oh that’s right, I’m not his girlfriend, he introduced me a couple of times as his “friend”. Right, got it.

Fuck. My. Life.

I desperately wanted to go home, but I couldn’t drive because my coping mechanism had been to get stuck into the wine. The wine he and I had chosen on Christmas Eve when we’d been doing the shopping together, LIKE A COUPLE. I got drunk again, and that night after everyone had left and he took himself to bed almost instantly, a little more belligerent. After helping him all day, being the perfect hostess for a dinner I wasn’t even hosting with people I didn’t even know (they were all lovely though thankfully), clearing up the kitchen afterwards, he barely thanked me and instead got into bed after “such a tiring day”.

I was angry. I was hurt. I was confused. I was drunk. And the way drunk me acts is always a great indicator of what else is going on in my life. If drunk me is a nutcase, I’m dealing with unresolved issues. If drunk me is laughing and having a great time, my life is all roses. Let’s just say drunk me wasn’t laughing and having a great time.

Luckily he was asleep, or at least trying to, so was entirely unresponsive when I told him I didn’t want to be a housewife and he’d treated me like a slave all day. It was maybe a little over dramatic but it was obviously my underlying feeling. I eventually joined him in bed and went to sleep in a drunken stupor of misery and confusion.

How had my first Christmas dating someone since my ex turned into such a shit show? Why was I so confused and on edge all the time now? How had he made me feel like I needed to prove to him that I was worthy of him wanting to date me and introduce me to his friends by playing hostess with the mostess? And why the hell wasn’t I calling him out on the fact that his actions and his words could not be more mismatched if they tried?

Next post…

…previous post

All The (Christmas) Feels – Part 2 of 4


After the second date’s surprising, but pretty great, turn of events where we ended up in bed, my girlfriends did their usual interrogation. Did he pay for dinner? Will we like him? How was his penis? The usual. I didn’t give up too many details, there was something very private about him and I also think some things should be kept just between the sheets… Or let’s say the four walls if you’re not strictly a bed kind of person… Or let’s just say yourselves if you’re not strictly an indoors kind of person 😉

As a result of there not being too much information shared, his nickname was built out of two things my friends did know: his ethnicity (he was Canadian Filipino); and the fact we’d already slept together and thus I had seen his penis even if I wasn’t giving them a full review. And so he was christened Filipeen.

After those first two dates, Filipeen and I quickly found ourselves seeing each other multiple times a week. We went out for dinners, we went to watch a movie (yes, singular, I’m not a big movie-goer and he was delighted he even got me to one, I was just delighted I didn’t fall asleep), we went for more walks with the dog and cooked together, a lot.

Mostly I’d go over to his place across the water. He worked later than I did and always had to go home for the dog so it made sense. It was the first time I’d “travelled” for dates. Note, after rush hour it was 18 minutes driving door to door so it was hardly a trek but given that my friends used to mock me about not going over bridges for guys, the fact I was doing this on a regular basis was quite something. They realised I must like this guy.

From talking about upcoming Halloween plans on our first date, to being in December and full on Christmas mode, I finally got to realise a dream date I had wanted to be taken on since I started dating again – to go and see the Christmas lights at the city park. Filipeen planned it to perfection. He picked me up, we drove to the park and on a crystal clear winter night enjoyed the display of over three million lights. It was cheesy, and romantic and I loved it. Especially when it was finished off with dinner at a great steak restaurant.

At dinner that night we got into pretty deep conversation about life goals. We had skirted around the topic of conversation before but this was one of those really in-depth convos where the wait staff, seemingly, purposefully avoid your table so as not to interrupt.

During said discussion, he asked how I felt about children. Yeesh… this minefield.

The long story short on my feelings about having kids is this – when I got married we were only mid-twenties and neither of us had decided about kids, it wasn’t top of my priority list and in a lot of ways I could see myself never having kids, but I figured as we grew older together we would likely just slide into feeling that we were ready for it. As it turned out, 6 weeks after we got married I knew I would never have children with my husband. At the same time as trying to repair my marriage, I also made peace with the fact that I might remain childless, and that wasn’t a huge issue for me. Which was handy because when you find yourself single again at 30 you realise that might not be an active choice you get to make.

My feeling on children now is that I can picture my life without them. But I would love nothing more than to meet someone who makes me want to have their babies (and not in a gun to my head kind of a way, but in a “he is an incredible person who I would be lucky to procreate with” kind of a way).

I explained that to Filipeen – in slightly different words – and as I finished talking he sat back in his chair and just looked at me. He didn’t say anything. It was a habit I’d noticed from him previously, and is a technique that I know people use when they want to make people uncomfortable to the point where they fill the silence with information they otherwise weren’t going to offer up. I dutifully fell for it and started falling over my words a bit until he did finally speak and the conversation resumed to normal and he stated, as I well knew, that he absolutely wanted a family.

I never really thought anything else of it but I was aware that it had been a pretty important part in us both setting out our life plans to each other, as far as I was concerned there weren’t any red flags.

Another result of it being the Holiday period was all the social invites that go along with it. I had contemplated inviting him to my company holiday party but he was travelling with work so I didn’t need to make a decision, which I was grateful for. I also had another party the night of his work party so that never came up either. But when one of my girlfriends invited me to her and her husband’s annual Christmas pie night (yup, it’s a night with just a tonne of home baked pies!) and told me that I had to invite Filipeen because he was Filipino and so was she and it was rude otherwise, I dutifully agreed.

He then informed me when I passed on the invite that it’s rude for Filipinos to turn down an invite from another Filipino, especially when it involves food, and so on a Sunday night in December I find myself in the car with Filipeen headed to my friends house where he will meet five of my closest friends. What struck me just before I got in the car was that I had never done “meet the friends” before.

My ex had been a family friend since we were kids and all my friends knew him so all we had to do was actually just tell them we were dating, and prior to him it had just been highschool boyfriends so again, no intros needed. But this? This was a whole different ball game.

And it really stressed me out. More than I could have imagined. And I couldn’t work out why. To the point that over the course of the night, which went incredibly well, a couple of my friends said to me “what’s wrong with you?!” I was definitely out of sorts.

I’d asked my friends to play nice, which they indeed did with Filipeen and instead took the piss out of me, which he joined in with. But it was all fun and everyone seemed to get along, which I was very grateful for. He asked them which one had given him his nickname, which I had somehow ended up telling him about a few weeks earlier, and they all had a good laugh about that.

Amongst nine pies (sweet and savoury) and a whole lot of chatting I finally started to ease into it. He was still very tactile with me in front of my friends as he was in public , which is something I love in a partner, but it definitely felt a little strange in front of my friends. They have never seen me with a guy. They’ve maybe seen me chatting to a guy at a bar, or have walked passed me on a date, but actually with a guy, spending time with us? This was the first time. And I was relieved that they all were getting along.

After the end of what seemed like a super successful night, Filipeen was going to drop me off but instead we decided I’d go over to his and stay. I was finding myself spending almost as much time over on the North shore as I was downtown. So we stopped by mine for me to pack a bag and then headed for the bridge

Almost as soon as we started on the road for his, out of nowhere he asked “have you ever slept with any of your guy friends?” Without even hesitating I said “my guy friends here? No”. Then when I thought about it I realised I hadn’t slept with any of my guy friends back home either. Arms was probably the only one who would fall into that category but I don’t think that was what he was getting at. It seemed like there was something underlying.

I asked him the same in return, I knew he had a lot of female friends, in fact it seemed like his best friends were mostly female and to be honest, as soon as the question was out of my mouth I kind of wished I hadn’t asked. I didn’t know that I actually needed the information. He said no also, but that people normally presume he would have.

He then asked me if one of my friends, essentially my closest straight guy friend who had been at pie night, was single. I said yes but his ex was kind of on the scene and I wasn’t sure where that was at. And with that I knew that we may have a problem. With those two questions – have you ever slept with one of your guy friends and is your guy friend single – I knew there was a mind racing with other questions he wasn’t going to ask me.

I tried to pre-empt it by repeating what he’d said about people presuming you’ve slept with your friends of the opposite sex but it was actually possible to have platonic relationships. Exactly what he’d just said to me.

He then commented on a point earlier in the night when said friend had been furiously shaking his leg at the table – a super annoying habit he has – and after a couple of us asking him to stop doing it and it falling on deaf ears a couple of times, as I was sat beside him I just grabbed hold of his thigh and held it down. Filipeen was beside me but I never thought anything of it. It was obvious why I’d done it, and I was hardly fondling or groping his leg as I did it. But apparently this had been noted and put in the memory bank for later,

I laughed his comment off, while also trying to reassure him. I would never want to make anyone feel uneasy or disrespected, I’ve been there myself way too many times, and I made sure to be aware of any situation like that again. But it didn’t totally sit well with me that from the first time of Filipeen meeting one of my best friends that he’d already created, what I could only imagine, was a warped backstory in his head about him and I.

We eventually got back to his after what felt like an eternity in the car having this awkward conversation but once we were home it all seemed fine. And the following morning being one of Vancouver’s snowiest days of the year meant we had other things to talk and think about (how the hell was I going to get back downtown when the bridges were gridlocked) than the discussion from the night before.

When I saw him again two nights later it seemed that everything had gotten back to normal. We were also only a few weeks from Christmas at that point and so Christmas Day plans came up in conversation. Him being a devout Catholic (as he put it when we first started dating “I go to church every Sunday I hope you don’t have a problem with that” to which I replied “I don’t have a problem with you going as long as you don’t have a problem with me staying in bed while you do” and we were both happy) I presumed Christmas was a pretty big family deal and so never even expected it to come up.

When he suggested that we could maybe see each other on Christmas Night I was surprised to say the least. Because A) like I said, I just thought it would be a family day for him and nothing else and B) it felt like that was kind of a big step, seeing each other on Christmas Day?

But I’m also of the mind that days with names are still just days and for me, with no family here, that was definitely the case. I did have plans with friends during the day but I wasn’t planning to go to a dinner so seeing him would work out perfectly. He’d pick me up after his Christmas Day with his family and we’d go to his place for our own Christmas date night.

He then also said about doing something around Christmas Eve too – the Friday was the 23rd and we’d finish up work that night so we should do dinner and then I could stay over and we’d start Christmas Eve together.

At that point I realised, for the first time in quite a few years, I was going to be dating someone over Christmas, someone who was making me part of their Christmas plans. There was a spring in my step, and more than just a flutter of snow in the air and excitement in my heart.

Next post…

…previous post

Getting Into Cars With Strange Men – Part 1 of 4


You know when you were young and your Mum always told you not to take sweets from strangers and your school used to have sessions about how you shouldn’t get into cars with strange men? When did that change to the point that one random October Sunday I decided it was a good idea to make plans for a strange guy to pick me up and take me to the woods for a walk? It’s funny how things change; at eight I would have been shouting “STRANGER DANGER” to ward him off, but at 32 I was hoping it would be romantic.

On said Sunday, I came out of a morning kickboxing class to a message on Bumble from this guy who I’d exchanged a few messages with a couple of months ago. When he ghosted mid-conversation I never thought anything of it, it happens so frequently when you’re chatting to people on dating apps. Him reappearing was actually more surprising. In fact, it was just nice that the message had been sent at 9am on a Sunday and not middle of the night Saturday, so I didn’t need to try and work out if it was the dating app equivalent of a drunk text, such is the sad state of affairs that we’re dating in.

I replied and we chatted back and forth about what a gorgeous day it was and what we had planned for our Sundays. He said he was going to take his dog out for a walk to this trail round a beautiful cove I’d heard a lot about but never been to. My mindless reply telling him that exact thought, along with “it’s a perfect day for a walk”, resulted in the quickest date arrangement I’ve maybe ever experienced, when he invited me to go with him (and the dog).

By this time, I was home and showered, our chats had moved to text so he had my number and just as I was mulling over in my head whether this hastily arranged date seemed like a good idea, he called me. I was impressed. People are so apprehensive to use the phone nowadays!

He said he would come and pick me up (which also impressed me because it was entirely out of his way) and he’d drop me off again after but he thought maybe I’d want to hear his voice before a strange man came and picked me up. It was a fair point and I appreciated the fact he’d had the foresight to realise that.

In my head I knew that agreeing to a random guy coming to pick me up in his car and taking me to the woods didn’t seem like the most sensible thing I’d ever done but I was trying to listen to my gut, and it was telling me it was ok. Even writing that now, I know it sounds nuts. If a friend had been telling me this story or that they were intending to do this I’d be like “NO! STRANGER DANGER!!!!” My eight year old self, and normally my 32 year old self, was a stickler for the rules.

Instead I decided to text my friend all the information on him that I had – his full name, where he worked, his phone number, screenshots of his Bumble profile – and hoped that if my body was found in the woods, they would at least be able to catch him. Ain’t that a romantic first date thought!

After the sobering experience of having to decide what to wear for my first ever “active first date” (seriously, who am I? I’m that person going on a hiking first date. Ugh. Get out.) and despite the insanity of the situation I was actually feeling pretty good about it.

Until, that is, as I crossed the road to his car after he’d texted to let me know he’d arrived and he got out to hug me and open the passenger door, I realised I couldn’t see a dog. The dog we were supposed to be walking. The dog he’d said was pretty big. So big that surely I couldn’t miss her in his Audi hatchback. Where was the damn dog?!

I tried not to let the panic rise too quickly, even as I started to slide into the passenger seat, but just as I tried to resist him the closing my door, on the off chance I needed to make a run for it, I saw the sweet relief of a dog ear pop up behind the back seat. Thank god.

She was a gorgeous 5 year old Rottweiler / Rhodesian Ridgeback mix and he was a 38 year old Filipino Canadian who worked in corporate travel and lived in an apartment he owned over on the North Shore. They were both great companions for a Sunday afternoon hike.

The chat in the car was easy, we hadn’t covered much ground in our messaging conversations previously so it gave us a lot to talk about on the 25 minute or so drive out there. And that didn’t stop while we were walking up through the woods to the lookout point over the cove. Or on the way back down as the rain randomly started. And even when we got all the way back downtown for him to drop me off a number of hours after he’d picked me up, he actually drove around the block a couple of times so we could finish our conversation.

Arriving back to my apartment building, all I could think was “I’d really like it if he kissed me” and I was aware that since he’d picked me up earlier that afternoon he’d opened and closed every (car) door for me, so if that continued it would likely present itself as a pretty good opportunity for him to make a move should he want. Well, it would have if it weren’t for my over-eager concierge coming to open my door first.

Why is it that when I’m struggling with shopping bags or luggage, they’re never anywhere to be found, but when I’d like to be left alone to hopefully invoke the perfect end to a date, they come rushing out with a “hi, how are you? Do you have anything in the trunk?” No, fuck off! (Jokes, I’m actually very appreciative of the service they offer. Sigh.) And so a big romantic end of date kiss didn’t happen, but a peck on the cheek and a pretty tight hug wasn’t the worst alternative, albeit that it was done with the concierge only a few feet away.

Closing the door behind me as I got back into my apartment, I remember having an incredibly gleeful moment of “WTF”, which made a nice change from the “WTF I want to kill myself” moments that some previous dates have induced. The whole thing had been such a surprise, both in it’s spontaneity – that morning I’d been planning on a quiet day of chores – and in it’s success – we seemed to really click, he seemed to have his shit together, it seemed like a great first date.

I texted him as I was getting into bed that night and thanked him for including me in their walk (he’d made it very clear, he and the dog came as a pair) and for going out of his way to pick me up and drop me off. He responded by saying they don’t normally let outsiders crash their Sunday walks but they were both incredibly happy they’d made an exception for me and they couldn’t decide which one of them liked me more. Cue falling asleep with a smile on my face.

Four days later we were meeting for our second date. After the outdoorsy nature of the first date, he suggested we go the other direction and do dinner and drinks downtown – much more my natural habitat and far easier to get dressed for. Seriously, trying to decide on an outfit for a first date when you have to take into consideration that you’re going to be doing some exercise, you don’t want to get too sweaty, but it’s kinda cold outside AND you want to look cute? Not easy my friend, not easy.

On the Thursday night we planned a date at a bar not far from my place and about half an hour before we were due to meet he messaged and said “I’m running late so do you mind if I don’t pick you up, I’ll meet you there but I promise I’ll walk you home?” Now, the place we were meeting was literally 4 blocks from my house, which he knew, and he was using transit to get downtown so it wasn’t like he could just swing by in his car. At no point had I imagined he would have been coming to “pick me up”. His manners were a massive turn on, there is something about chivalry that gets me riled up, in the best possible way.

In a similar fashion to our first date, our second followed suit with more to talk about than we had time for. Over multiple drinks (we discovered a mutual love of gin) and some food, we covered a variety of topics of conversation. But what was nice was that, whereas on our first date we covered some fairly hefty topics – our parents’ divorces, our past relationships, sibling relationships, how he was open to a relationship but would want to take anything really slowly and the reasons for that -, on our second date we actually talked about a lot more light, random stuff – favourite trips, food and drink loves, friends, home decor.

We also talked about alter egos. A subject I had never thought much about before. Don’t get me wrong there’s a drunk me, but I hardly would call her an alter ego. She’s just an ego. LOL. But he had this whole persona, which in fairness he said did come out when he was drunk but also when he was in any competitive situation. He had a name and everything, his friends would refer to it oftentimes…. Ok, good to know, I guess.

The seeming end of the date brought with it the sense that, again, we didn’t have enough time to say everything we wanted to. So as he walked me home, and made a comment about my apartment, I decided that a nightcap would give us the perfect opportunity for some more time together and for him to see the apartment he was enquiring about.

As we headed up in the elevator I had hopes that he would kiss me at some point, his tactile taking of my arm as we walked home seemed like a good sign. But I was also sure, and happy with the likelihood, that a kiss was as far as it would go. Nothing that I knew of him up to that point gave me the impression he would sleep with someone on a second date and given what he’d said on the first date about wanting to take things really slowly, which again he’d re-iterated over dinner that night, it really wasn’t even a consideration.

Once back in my apartment, I got to making us each another gin of the night. As I did he moved up behind me just close enough that I could feel his clothes just lightly touching mine. Taken by surprise that he didn’t seem to even be waiting for drinks before making a move, I carried on measuring out the gin. As I poured the tonic, he slipped his hand round my waist, turned me to face him and right there, with tonic can in hand, we had our first kiss.

He was sweet and gentle and as far as first kisses go, it was pretty great. It lead to a whole lot of kissing on my couch, interspersed with more chatting and drinking the gins that I’d eventually finished pouring. I had been hopeful for a kiss but this was probably more than I’d been prepared for. It got pretty hot and heavy pretty quickly.

What I definitely wasn’t prepared for was that during the teenage-like make out session, he made a comment along the lines of “I would love to sleep with you”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t exactly not having the same thought but, as I mentioned, he had made it so clear, so absolutely crystal clear, that he wanted any new relationship to go slowly that I presumed that would have meant he’d take longer than two dates before he slept with someone.

It turns out, two dates was just the right amount of time for him to be ready to sleep with me. I was surprised, but not unpleasantly so. Much like the first date, it took me by surprise but it felt right despite it also kind of seeming a little insane. Initially I did stop and ask him if he was sure. I didn’t want the fun of the night, or the gin, to be clouding anyone’s judgement. He barely let me get the question out before he assured me.

I went with it and I wasn’t disappointed. And neither was he.

He stayed over til morning, and throughout the night there was more great chatting, a lot of incredible sex and an abundance of snuggling. And I’m not going to lie, the snuggling may have been my favourite. Being single there are a lot of things I miss about being in a relationship but snuggles? They might be at the top of that list. And, despite it only being the second date, I was hoping there might be a lot more snuggles to come…

Next post…

…previous post

You And Me Does Not Equal One Plus One


When it comes to dating someone new, I’m sure most of us have been guilty of rushing a little bit ahead of ourselves at one time, at least I know I have. Hell, that’s my go to when I meet someone new! But when is it flattering and when is it too much?

I matched with Ukrainian Nigerian Engineer (clearly the nicknames write themselves most of the times) on Bumble and it turned out this tall, dark skinned, well dressed 28 year old lived on the opposite corner of my cross-streets. He asked me out fairly swiftly, which I always give multiple brownie points for and he also suggested a really nice bar that was close to where we both lived. Add to that the sensibility to suggest earlier in the evening considering it was a Sunday, and I was impressed so far, though maybe I’d already mentioned to him how much of a Granny I am and love early nights?

On the night in question though the bar turned out to be closed for a private event so we ended up in a nearby, although not quite as nice, alternative. Other than that slight hiccup, it was a good first date. He was chatty, he was interesting, he told me all about his new job and the travel he might get to undertake as a result, he seemed to have a good group of friends and he was also super interested, asking lots of questions of me. Interesting and interested are two key things I look for in someone, especially on a first date.

He walked me home afterwards but we were essentially going to the same place so it was hard not to I guess. We said a very respectful goodnight with what felt like a bit of a cursory hug and I remember leaving and not really feeling like I’d got a good read on him. As easy as he was to talk to, I got the feeling he was kind of quiet and we know how I do with quiet guys… He also hadn’t really given me any strong indication about how he felt about either the date or me.

I followed up later that night with my usual “thanks for the date and the drinks” (he paid) text and over the next few days we exchanged polite chit chat about our working days before he asked if I’d like to go out on the Thursday night. He’d read about some gallery opening and suggested we go check it out and then have dinner. I love a man with a plan! And not just “drinks”. So given that I wasn’t sure exactly where things were going prior to that, I took the second date intention as a good sign.

On a pouring wet October night, he picked me up and we went to this random little gallery over on the east side of the city and checked out what turned out to be a fairly small exhibit. But it had some great pieces and the wall with artwork made entirely out of business cards provided us with plenty to discuss around the merits of modern art.

After deciding neither of us were going to be making an investment in business card art, we made our way back towards downtown and an Italian place that does great pizzas a little closer to home. And while sipping on our wine and waiting for our food to arrive, I had one of those moments when recognising something in someone else makes you realise something about yourself. I love those kind of realisations, they fascinate me!

We were discussing his background – Ukrainian, Nigerian, in Canada since he was a young child is fairly unique – and when I asked how often he goes back to Nigeria he said “I’ve only been once and to be honest I don’t think I’ll go again.” I asked if he felt a bond to the country or if it would be a heritage he would pass onto his children ,if he had a family, and he said “no” to both.

In that moment I realised that if I were ever to have children, which is still TBC, of huge importance to me would be making sure they knew they were Scottish. (This presuming I have them here in Canada. I’d hope they’d be bright enough to know that they were Scottish if they were born there…) I realised that having children in Canada would mean I would have no commonality in terms of upbringing with my children, we would have had completely different lives, they wouldn’t even necessarily understand the cultural nuances and the pop culture references of an entire part of my life.

These were all gaps I’d considered that I would potentially need to bridge with a partner if they weren’t from Scotland, but I’d never thought about having a similar disconnect with my own offspring. And I know there’s a debate around nature vs nurture (and I think there’s a lot to be said about both) but as we sat at the table I was struck by what an enormous responsibility that felt.

At the same time, I realised that his answer of not wanting to pass his Nigerian heritage onto his children was kind of disappointing to me. I know it’s likely due to the fact that he didn’t feel a connection to it himself but it just didn’t sit particularly well with me.

While I was trying to digest the nugget of self discovery I’d just unearthed, along with my incredibly delightful truffle pizza which had since arrived, it was unfortunate timing for him to tell me a story that would literally make me choke.

You know there are those times when you start telling a story, or you’re halfway through, or maybe in fact you’ve gotten right to the end of it and you all of a sudden think to yourself “why the fuck am I telling this story?” Yeah, well this obviously wasn’t one of those times for Ukrainian Nigerian Engineer cause he just kept right on telling his story while I’m pretty sure my face contorted into the exact human version of the flushed face emoji.

It turns out his new company were getting in the planning of their Christmas party early and were asking everyone to RSVP that week. His colleague who was organising it had gone up to him in the middle of the lunch room, catching him entirely off guard, and said “are you coming to the Christmas party?” and as quickly as he said yes, she then tacked on “And what’s your plus one’s name?”

Now, there are many answers he could have given to that question: “I don’t have one”’ “I’ll need to see if she’s available”; “I’m a lone wolf”; “she lives in Yemen” – I mean, so many answers. Instead he gave my name. Not only did he give my name, he then thought it was a good idea to tell me that he’d given my name and so was now essentially asking me to go to his office Christmas party.

Now, again, there are many things wrong with this, but the first one that came to my mind was that the Christmas party was on the 16th December. It was only the 27th October. And it was our second date. Holy shit balls, we were making plans for 7 weeks away… To compound my shock, I still wasn’t really getting any in-person vibes from him that he was particularly interested in me. Apart from, you know, giving my name as his plus one to his work party in almost two months time.

Having picked my jaw up off the floor and returned my eyes to their normal size, I tried to quickly end the date. The heritage discussion, Christmas party plus one invitation and also a discussion we’d had about his car while parking that sort of presented him as a little materialistic had all really turned me off.

When we said goodbye as he dropped me back off at home, I had kind of made up my mind that I probably wouldn’t see him again – so he was going to have to change his party plus one’s details – and realised the fact I could see his building from mine probably wasn’t ideal in this situation but I’d never seen him around before we’d met online so why should I now?

Because Sod’s Law, that’s why.

Of course, just over a week later I was out with friends at a bar round the corner from my apartment and as we were all sat chatting, actually about another date I’d just been on (blog post to come), some guy walking behind me just caught the corner of my eye as he stopped right over my shoulder and just stood staring, the way someone would when you want them to notice you’re looking at them.

I turn around to meet the stare and there’s Ukrainian Nigerian Engineer. I get up from the table, hoping he didn’t just hear the last comment my very crude friends just made, and try to usher him away from the group. But he seemingly had other plans and as soon as our hug was over he started introducing himself to my friends. Um, ok then.

I was really caught off guard. I never introduce people to my friends, they’re too much of a liability and now was definitely not the best time for intros considering they all knew I wasn’t planning to see this guy again.

Despite him now being ensconced in hellos with my friends, I still felt like there was someone staring at me and as I turned around again I realised the table of what I presumed were his friends are now all watching our table intently. I laughed and said “oh looks like you’re wanted, you better go” hoping it would cut short this very out of the blue meetup. But no. He insisted I go and meet his friends now also.

So I politely went over, how could I say no when they were all watching me?, and did the round of names and waved hellos but before that was even finished one of them piped up with “so I hear you’re going to the Christmas party?” Cue incredibly awkward silence from him, who had taken his seat again and left me standing like a lemon by the side of the table. Cheers.

I mumbled something about how I’ve heard engineering Christmas parties are the best (what?! I don’t know!!!) before sharing an awkward standing/seated goodbye hug with Ukrainian Nigerian Engineer and then making the hastiest of hasty retreats back to my table of friends, where I swiftly told them all to “drink up, we’re leaving.”

First the Christmas party, now the friend introductions… but yet still no real sense of intention from him. It was just slightly confusing.

We texted a little after that bar encounter but my Mum came to visit and then it was almost Christmas and eventually we just stopped all communication, which suited me fine. Until that is I bumped into him in the street one day. Of course.

We shared the usual “what have you been up to” chat while dodging weekend shoppers passing us by but when he started to go down the route of “we should catch up sometime” I stopped him before it went any further and said “I’m actually seeing someone just now”. It sounded like such a lie coming out my mouth but it wasn’t.

Regardless of who else I was seeing, and there was someone else by then, all of the interactions I’d had with him had either left me wondering if he was interested in me at all or wanting him to massively pump the breaks, there was no in between, no happy medium and in neither circumstance was I that attracted to him.

So I decided to chalk this one up to experience, appreciate the lesson I’d learnt about how important passing on my Scottish roots is to me and vow not to date anyone who lived across the street again. That last part has not held true…

Next post…

…previous post

Women Can Be Assholes Too


This blog of mine is in no way meant to man-bash. Despite the frustrations I may have encountered with dating, and my experience with my ex-husband, and some of the shitty things guys have done, I’m still pro-men, I’m still pro-dating, I’m still pro-relationships.

I’ve talked a number of times with my guy friends about approaches they’ve taken to dating and, of course, I know them as good guys – they’re my friends, I like them for a reason. But I also know that from some of the stories they tell me about their dating I’m like “wow, that was a dick move, but you’re not a dick”. And inherently, I know that just because a guy’s actions may make them seem like a total douchebag, that does not in fact mean they are a total douchebag.

In the case of my dates with Fresh Off The Boat Irish, I hope he remembers that too…

I remember when I first got to Vancouver, my priorities were settling into my job, finding out where to get good pizza and trying to work out the coins (loonies and toonies confused the hell out of me). For others, like Fresh Off The Boat Irish, as he became aptly known, the priorities lie with finding a date it seemed.

When I matched with him on Tinder, I was still going through my phase of going on as many dates as possible in the hope that by doing so I’d find “my person” quicker. Up until this point it had actually only resulted in meeting more wrong ‘uns quicker. But that wasn’t deterring me and so soon after my Blah, Blah, Blah & Blah dates, I set up an after work drink with this funny, rugby playing, Northern Irish guy who was full of great banter.

But from about half way through the first beer on our date, I knew this wouldn’t be going anywhere romantically. Not least because it kind of ended up being a “welcome to Vancouver” seminar presented by Yours Truly. I’m not sure if I instigated that or he did but between telling him about rent prices, how to get a phone contract, the best place to watch rugby from home, and generally an overview of life as a foreigner in Vancouver I felt like I could have been working for the working holiday visa people.

We went on a second date though, I wanted to see if maybe I’d been too quick to judge. He had a great personality and he was a lot of fun, so maybe I could get over his (lack of) height and find him physically attractive eventually? Ugh, that’s my least favourite conundrum. How to know if the guy you don’t find physically attractive will ever become appealing to you sexually… I’m yet to work this out… I feel a whole other blog post coming on about type…

Alas no, the second date really only confirmed my initial suspicions but he was a really funny guy and I know he wanted to meet people so I decided the next time I was out with my friend group, I’d invite him out thereby not only introducing him to people but also maybe giving him the indication that I saw him more as a friend and so getting me out of having to have the difficult conversation. I know, I know, I always talk about wanting people to just strap on a pair and have the goddamn difficult conversation. In this instance, I was definitely shying away from my own mantra.

So come the long Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, I was going out with a group of my friends to an Oktoberfest event that was essentially an afternoon of drinking, obviously, and I figured it was the perfect time to bring him out. However, the couple whose basement he was living in had invited him to join them for Thanksgiving dinner so he couldn’t join the beer festivities but I suggested we’d be going out after so maybe he could meet up with us then.

Unsurprisingly, the afternoon at the Oktoberfest were indeed beer soaked and as it drew to a close and we made plans for where we were going next I made sure to keep Fresh Off The Boat in the loop. He was really keen to come and meet us, he said dinner had been great but it was a bit weird being with a family he didn’t know and there wasn’t a whole lot of drinking going on so he’d love to escape to something potentially more fun. I promised him we most likely were.

The only problem was his dinner was still kind of tailing off and he was waiting for the right moment to take his leave of absence, plus he was staying out in a suburb of Vancouver that was going to take him about 45 minutes to an hour to get into Downtown from. So I kept him updated of our movements and he was going to join us when he could.

However, somewhere in the midst of him saying his thank you’s and goodbye’s and getting to downtown, the afternoon of drinking really started to take its toll on me and spending the best part of the early evening bar hopping had only compounded that. So at some point I decided to that the most sensible thing to do would be to go home. My mother would be so proud. Or at least she would have if I hadn’t already been incredibly drunk. But, put it this way, I missed the part of the night where two of my friends ended up in a bush (and that’s not a euphemism) so I’m thinking it was the right decision.

The one thing I forgot to do was let Fresh Off The Boat know that I’d called it a night and was no longer in the last bar I’d given him an update from. Oops. What didn’t help was that my phone had also completely died, which is very unlike me to let that happen given that it’s like a third hand to me. Double oops.

Fast forward 6 hours and I wake up at 4am and have 7 missed calls, 3 voicemails, and 12 texts from a progressively more angry Fresh Off The Boat. It started with the “ok, I’m out! getting in a cab and headed for downtown” through “hey, where should I meet u?” to “are u still out???” to a voicemail saying “I’m downtown, outside the last bar you said you were in, I’m looking like a bit of an idiot just hanging around, can you answer my texts?” right to “you better not have gone home and fallen asleep! Are you fucking kidding me?”

Oh. Holy. Shit.

I’m a terrible terrible person. I felt so unbelievably bad. Dicking people around like that is my least favourite thing and I can only imagine how I would have felt if it had been the other way around. And there was nothing I could say. I got drunk, I took myself home, I passed out and forgot I’d said for you to come all the way in from the burbs just to get stood up on a slightly chilly Vancouver October evening. There’s not really a way of dressing it up to make it look better. So I didn’t bother.

I texted him a few hours later when the hangover blindness had subsided and I could face the world a little more. He replied much, much later in the day saying “I can’t believe you did that” and that was pretty much all he said. I apologised a number of times, but made sure to never over-promise just to make it up to him. I had to remind myself I was trying to friend-zone him so taking him out for drinks or a dinner would for sure give him the wrong impression and maybe making him hate me by standing him up was at least one way to avoid the awkward conversation?

So there, I said it, I hold my hands up – sometimes I can be an asshole to date too and I’m not too proud to admit it!

Next post…

…previous post

Blah, Blah, Blah & Blah


After the excitement of Arms (part 1 & part 2), I guess I knew the next dates would be… interesting. Physically they had a lot to hold up to. Sexually, if it got that far, they were going to have to be out of this world. And on a common connection level they’d need to be pretty spot on. Unfortunately, if not unsurprisingly, none of those marks were hit.

The first, was a 26 year old Canadian, who’d just moved back from Vancouver after being in Australia for a year. He was a lawyer, lived and worked downtown, and we arranged to meet for drinks one day after work.

I always think if someone has travelled they should be fairly well socialised and have something about them, something interesting, something to say. This guy? Not so much.

The fact that even making the arrangements of where to meet was difficult should have been a red flag. He kept saying “I haven’t lived here for a few years”. Yeah but prior to that this was the only place you lived, you were back here visiting within those two years you lived away and things don’t change that fast – just pick a goddamn place! Then he did and it was shit, so be careful what you wish for, I guess.

Unfortunately, things didn’t get any better when we met. On first sight he was cute, with a lingering tan from his recent travels and blonde curls framing his babyface. Which at least was pretty to look at when very swiftly after we arrived I found myself bored. Like, looking around the bar bored. Generally I can, and will, talk to anyone. But this was painful.

Add to his lack of chat the fact that anything he did say centred around really not wanting to be back in Vancouver, not liking the job he’d gotten since he moved back but thought it was the best he could get, and hating where he was living. I actually left feeling marginally depressed.

Babyfaced Non-Aussie Lawyer had brought my mood down to zero over the course of two gin and tonics. That takes some doing, cause the gin alone lifts my mood so he’d managed to entirely counter those effects. Dating is hard!

The next date was with a 32 year old Canadian travel marketer at a really great cocktail bar I’d been wanting to try for a while so this guy got instant brownie points for a) picking somewhere and b) picking somewhere good. However, for happy hour at 5pm on a Tuesday it was lacking a little bit of atmosphere.

Thankfully we had a lot to talk about and enjoyed 3 cocktails each while discussing his travels around the UK, his job which I was pretty fascinated by and my recent found love of kickboxing and half marathons.

By the time he paid the bill and we left though, I knew that no matter how easy our chats on that date had been and how much of a nice guy he was, I wasn’t attracted to him. He looked decidedly middle aged for his 32 years, and while I know I’m no 20 year old, it was a little off putting. In my mind now, I associate the colour brown with him for some reason, though I’m sure that’s not the only colour he was wearing…

I was only just formulating these thoughts as we were fumbling with the door and umbrellas though, so when he quickly said he’d love to do it again I didn’t have time to respond appropriately so just responded inappropriately with “sure, I’d love to!”

Ugh, I hate that. I hate being that girl, I hate being the one who lied, who was dishonest with their intention. Nobody really wants to be the one that has to tell the ugly truth but, in my opinion, it’s far better than doing what I did and then having to follow it up with a text that explains that… what? I changed my mind? Had a change of heart? Am just a big ol’ liar who couldn’t just strap on her big girl pants and say “this was lovely, but I don’t think there’s anything there for me”? Why is that so hard????

I won’t even repeat word for word the bullshit text I sent, but suffice to say, it was bullshit but covered what I should have just said at the time. And Canadian Travel Marketer was such a nice guy he just said in reply “that’s a shame, I thought we had a lot in common but I wish you the best”. Seriously, dating is hard.

Next up was a lunchtime date with a 34 year old Irish financial worker. He’d been fairly lowkey in messages but was quick to make a plan for us to meetup and after realising neither of us had time after work for a few weeks, we decided a lunch hour date was going to be the best bet.

So I kept my schedule clear, made sure I took makeup with me to work to do a little refresh before I rushed to meet him to ensure we had enough time to eat and chat before either of us had to get back to our respective offices.

Possibly the only good thing to say about this date was that I got to eat. I mean, I paid for my own, but at least I got to eat. And, let’s be honest, if that’s the best thing you can say about it, you know it was a shithole of a date.

He’s quite possibly the most negative guy I’ve ever been on a date with.

His job was ok but he wasn’t loving it. The friends he’d made since he moved here were nice but a bit boring. Vancouver was ok but he’d probably rather be at home. He was applying for his permanent residency but the whole process was a hassle and expensive.

Here’s a thought bud – if you dislike it so much here why don’t you fuck off back to Ireland and not apply for residency, you absolute loon? I felt like I worked for the City of Vancouver’s PR department by the end of lunch – I had put so much effort into trying to convince him it was a great place to stay. And I spent the entire walk back to my office wondering why I’d done that. I’d actually rather he left.

And quite possibly my breezy disposition and selling of Vancouver put him off as well because we clearly both ended the date on the same page – never wanting to text again. We didn’t text again after it, at all. Mutual ghosting is the only ghosting that’s acceptable. Is dating supposed to be this hard?

Lastly on my run of blah dates was this really quiet Canadian Country Boy. He’d moved to the city and seemed a little overwhelmed by it all, but I admired his bravery and not once did he talk about moving back out to the sticks where all his family still were. He didn’t seem to have spent too much time downtown but was keen to meet me somewhere near where I lived, and again I admired the fact he wasn’t shunning something he obviously wasn’t super comfortable with. Not least because I’m a city girl so if he couldn’t get on board with that then it would have been a non-starter.

Our first date was at one of my favourite happy hours that I suggested. I did all the ordering, seeing as he’d never been and I knew what was great, and for that night at least it worked. But when on the second date (yes this one got to a second date, such a rare occurrence for me, I know!) he still wasn’t really able to order his own beer without some assistance I started to wonder how far out in the country he’d actually been living. Did they not have bars out there?

His initial quietness turned out to be real shyness, which in turn presented itself as awkwardness. Unfortunately, if I can’t make someone comfortable, I don’t deal well with that and I’ll do one of two things – laugh or become really awkward myself. So you end up with a shit show one way or another. And when he admitted he was even shy around his nieces, who are toddlers!!!, I pretty much knew this was probably done.

The last game of the World Series was on in the bar we’d met at and I worked out that if we got the bill right then I could probably be home before the Chicago Cubs would eventually beat the Cleveland Indians and watch it by myself, which at this point was preferable.

Shortly after I watched all the celebrations in the comfort and non-awkward silence of my own apartment, I texted Canadian Country Boy to say I just didn’t think there was a spark and I thought he was maybe a bit too quiet for me, or in fact maybe I was just too loud for him. He texted back saying “thanks for your message, maybe you’re right.” Way to grab it by the balls!

And so in a short space of time, I went through four first dates and a second date, which left me feeling flatter than flat. And in these instances, I’d gone for the nice guys, the good guys, the ones with “good” jobs, not swiping on them because of their muscles (or arms!) and this was where it got me…

Dating. Is. Hard.

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The Arms Are Here To Stay – Part 2 of 2


I spent the remainder of that Friday in the office, still wondering what the hell had happened in the last 20 or so hours, but mostly attempting to remain awake. I chose to work in the office lounge, on a comfy chair with my feet up on a foot rest and there were definite moments of head bobbing, almost falling asleep. It wasn’t my finest hour at work, I promise I’m usually a professional, but the lack of sleep – it really had been 3 hours max – was killing me.

Turns out it was killing him too. We texted as they drove south from Vancouver to the States and Arms had passed the driving duties to his friend so he could nap. I was incredibly jealous of a car ride nap.

As it would turn out, Arms and I would text off and on throughout the rest of his trip and, having started following each other on Instagram, would keep up with what each other was doing that way too. I figured it might stop when the vacation ended and he got home to Calgary but given that his daily routine of Crossfit Coaching was different to my office schedule our texting actually increased to where we were texting or messaging on Instagram everyday.

While it was incredibly lovely, albeit surprising, to still be in such close contact with him, I was finding it quite confusing too. I’d gone into the “date” (can you call it that when his mate comes along too?) seeing it for what it was – a guy in town for a few days, in fact, only one night by that point, who lives in Calgary and had made no mention of looking for a relationship. I was hardly expecting it to be the great romance of the century. But we’d gotten on so well when we’d met, the sex had been pretty goddamn great, at least for me, and now here we were still messaging a month later.

Was this going to progress to something more?

Up until that point we’d not really mentioned anyone else when we’d been chatting to each other, like if he was seeing anyone else or if I was. It’s that unspoken rule of dating (not that Arms and I were dating), you don’t mention who else you’re dating unless you’re asked. (And then if you’re asked you should always counter with “are you sure you’re ready for the answer?”) But I wasn’t naive enough to think that he wasn’t seeing anyone and I would have been lying if I said I hadn’t been out on dates in that time too.

So why weren’t we having the conversation?

I think we each knew the answer to where the other person was at but for, me anyway, I felt like I needed it clarified. Almost as if anything else between us had to be taken off the table. The last thing I wanted to do was start telling him about other dates if there was ever likely to be anything with us again. But I knew that he lived there, I lived here, he’d never mentioned wanting a relationship or even serious dating and there was definitely a chance I was taking his friendliness to mean more than he may be intended.

I do have a gift for letting my heart run away with my head. I get swept up in imagining what might/could/possibly be rather than looking at the cold hard facts and treating as they should be.

Eventually one day when we were texting, we were talking about a hypothetical situation with both of us in it and I decided to take the opportunity to expressly say “yeah but it would only ever be platonic”. Even just typing those words in a text instantly made me feel better, lighter and more in control. He agreed and the conversation moved on. I don’t even know if he’d remember that part of the conversation but it was so significant for me.

From that moment onwards, he went from being “this super hot guy I’d had incredible sex with and had been messaging with everyday since” to “my friend Arms who, oh yeah, we hooked up this one time”. It was an important shift and changed even the conversations I had with my girlfriends about him. Up until that point the first description of him had got all their heads running away with my heart but after the re-framing they were definitely a little less excitable about it all.

They were also sceptical. Sceptical that we could just all of a sudden be these kind of friends who could have honest and vulnerable discussions about dating and sex, and random conversations about Instagram memes and working out, having had the history of that one night together and him looking the way he does with his shirt off. I was kind of surprised too but I loved it.

Once I knew exactly where I stood, I was able to completely let my guard down and we talked about everything. I told him about every bad date, every good date (though there were fewer of those), we’d help each other craft the perfect Tinder replies or post-date texts, we talked about sex (a lot), he’d tell me about all these girls at his gym and I’d warn him about shitting on his own doorstep, and he wouldn’t listen. We’d also talk about how we were doing with friends, or self improvement stuff, we’d cover family goings on, books we’d read or how we were dealing with shit we were going through.

We were now texting everyday and speaking on the phone maybe once a week and every so often a friend would say to me “are you still chatting to Arms?” and I’d say “yep, he just texted me” and it would always be followed with “and you’re really just friends?” usually with a side of an eye roll too.

The things we’d talked about, however, the details we’d gone into with each other on certain stories/people, we could never look at each other in anyway but as friends. Some of those stories were dark! Some of the admissions we made, to the things we did sexually (more him than me) or the level of crazy we got to (more me than him), were things we would barely have let ourselves speak out loud let alone to another person. But we made a safe space for each other. There was never any judgement and we’d frequently find ourselves giving advice but always finishing with “but whatever you do, I’ve still got your back.”

We also don’t always help each other. I’d been texting this guy, who I’ll write a post about later, and he had really great banter. I was in the middle of simultaneously texting him and texting Arms to tell him how funny this guy was. To make it easier to illustrate, I took a screenshot of my text convo with the guy to send to Arms. Of course I got mixed up in my text windows (I was on my laptop) and somehow sent the screenshot of the convo with the guy back to the guy along with a message saying “see he’s funny! He’s getting massive brownie points right now”.


I almost had a heart attack. I was sat at my desk having palpitations. I texted Arms to explain the situation who could do nothing but send me back a bunch of laughing face emojis. Then a bunch of “haha”s. Then a meme about doing exactly what I’d done.

Like I said, not always helpful. Though he eventually stopped laughing long enough to tell me not to worry, that the guy should be flattered because it was a nice message. He was right and I managed to kind of talk my way out of it. But I appreciated Arms’ eventual support, even if he still enjoys referencing this little snafu way more than I’d like. The tables were turned though when he screenshotted a convo with a girl to send to me, and accidentally sent it to ANOTHER girl. Who’s laughing now?

We’ve talked each other out of the darkness when things have gone to shit too. A relationship I thought was going somewhere ended up biting me in the ass and he talked me off a ledge. And when he started being vulnerable with a girl he was seeing and she shut him down, I was there to find the silver lining of the situation.

So we’ve  been in the dating trenches together. He provides a male perspective to me, I provide a female perspective to him and we both provide a shit tonne of dark memes to each other that are so bad you wouldn’t even give them a double tap like on Instagram, god forbid someone saw you’d liked it. And they’re always followed them up with a “this is why we friends” message. We’re as bad as each other.

He’s been here to visit twice since that initial road trip brought him to Vancouver and none of my friends believed me when I said he was staying on the couch and we wouldn’t be sleeping together. Now there really is nothing further from my mind. He’s one of my closest confidantes. He moved to Australia a few months ago and the time change hassle might be my only complaint about him.

I like to call him my favourite Tinder Fail Success – I didn’t find the romantic relationship I was looking for but the friendship that came out of it was worth far more and he was the greatest lesson in looking under the hood (as it were). And I am hopeful that Arms will be in my life for a long time, if not forever.

Next post…

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The Arrival Of Arms – Part 1 of 2


Offering to play tour guide for two Kiwi guys who were in town for a couple of days, I knew it wasn’t going to be the most conventional of Tinder dates but I’m not sure I could have imagined just how unexpectedly it would turn out…

I matched with this super fit Maori Kiwi guy on Tinder that turned out was living in Calgary, far far out of my preset distance radius of 10km – what can I say? I want to meet a man but I don’t want to travel far to do it! He explained he’d used the feature on Tinder where you can swipe in other cities, to meet some “people” before a road trip he was planning to take with his friend in a few months, but let’s call it what it was, it was to meet girls, not people! We chatted a little but it never came to much and, despite his washboard-stomach-filled pics, I quickly forgot about him.

Until, that is, he turned up in my Bumble search a few months later and we matched again. Being that the female has to start the convo on Bumble, I opened with the classic “I might be wrong but I think we’ve matched before on Tinder – the joy of being on multiple dating apps!” He responded pretty quickly and said he thought so too but unlike last time he was now in Vancouver on his road trip.

It was a random Wednesday night and I’d just had a couple of girlfriends round to watch a naked dating show from back home (if you haven’t seen Naked Attraction, google that shit) when he asked what I was doing night. I said I wasn’t up for going out but we could maybe arrange to meet up the next day. And when I say we, I mean “we three”, yup his friend was going to come too… At first it seemed like it could be a little weird but actually it felt like it might take the pressure off in a strange way.

So we made plans to go for drinks that next night and, after waiting for what seemed like AN AGE for them both to get ready at their hotel (which happened to be in the dodgiest part of town), they finally made their way to meet me by my apartment, with just one slight misunderstanding of directions enroute.

Prior to arriving, he told me that he was wearing a shirt that was too tight for him and not to laugh when I saw him. Hmm…interesting tactic to make sure I fully checked out the tightness of said shirt the minute I saw him. In fairness, as soon as I came through the doors of my building out onto the street, even if he hadn’t mentioned his shirt beforehand, I’m pretty sure my eyes would have still gone straight to the arms.


As I think I’ve mentioned before on here, I have a thing for arms. It’s been getting progressively “worse” as the years have passed. A bicep you can really grab onto? Bliss. A shirt just slightly straining to contain the muscle? Heaven. I have to seriously restrain myself from just reaching out and touching a good one. Like a lot of people do with pregnant women’s bellies? I’m like that with arms, just wanna reach out and have a stroke.

Ok, anyway, the arms were great but you see how they sidetrack me? And I knew instantly he would forever be referred to as Kiwi Arms. Not least because his actual name wasn’t too far from Arms, so it all made sense.

As the three of us started to make our way to the bar I’d suggested for drinks, Kiwi Arms declared he didn’t actually drink. He’s a Crossfit coach and lives a pretty healthy lifestyle. Um.. ok, well this should be… interesting (read boring)? Thankfully his friend piped up with “well he maybe doesn’t drink but I sure as hell do” and with that we became like 3 mates just going out for drinks.

And that was kind of how I felt the night was going as we were having some drinks (alcoholic for two of us, non for the other one), sharing life stories and grilling Kiwi Arms’ mate about his dating life. I’m pretty sure the waitress probably thought I had two friends visiting from New Zealand and not that I was kinda, sorta, not really on a Tinder date with the one I was sat next to.

At least that was how it felt, and what it likely appeared as, until I felt a hand slide up my leg under the table. At first I couldn’t tell if it was an accidental graze but after the second or third lingering touch I decided it was maybe a little more purposeful than I first thought. And for the first time on the “date” I actually thought there might have been a chance of something happening.

His friend looking across the table at us made me rethink that in an instant though. How exactly was this going to work? Dear god, I hope they didn’t expect a threesome…

We moved from the first bar to more of a club type place but it turns out we were one of only two groups in there – it’s fair to say I don’t normally go out on a Thursday night. Having said that the tunes were 90’s classics and despite not drinking anything Kiwi Arms was more than happy to bust out some moves. For such a random night, which had the potential to be ridiculously awkward, it was incredibly fun.

Not enough fun to keep us in that bar though, and after one round I suggested we went back to mine for our next drink. But as soon as the words were out of my mouth I quickly followed it up with “but seriously, just for a drink, there’s no three-way stuff happening.’ I didn’t think it needed to be said but you never know and I figured it was better to state my case before I ended up with 2 strange men in my apartment looking for a threesome. Ya know? Or maybe you don’t..

Anyway! After they had a quick chat with each other (the content of that conversation I would’ve loved to have been privy to), we headed back to mine and Kiwi Arm’s friend and I had another drink. After the one beer, his friend made his excuses and asked me to call him a cab. There wasn’t much of a discussion other than some comment from his friend along the lines of “I’ll leave you two kids to it”.

The door had barely closed behind him when Kiwi Arms clearly decided to make up for all the wasted time during the first part of the night and let’s just say I was much more sure of his intent than with the first under-the-table leg graze… For someone I wasn’t sure had any interest in me a couple of hours ago, he was now making things crystal clear.

To say things escalated quickly is an understatement. The catalyst was a single question which has haunted me since – “have you ever done it on your balcony?” My answer to that was no, and at that time it was truthful. But since that night, I’ve been asked that same question by a number of other men and have always had to deflect it in anyway possible. Because honestly, they only want to hear the answer I was able to give Kiwi Arms that night. And I’ve never been able to give it again.

All I’ll say is sex with a view and fresh air isn’t the worst. Would recommend. Add in glimpsing those arms gripping onto the handrail in front of me and you have yourself a party. A balcony sex party that is.

From the balcony, to the bedroom, it was a long, and amazing, night. In fact so long that at one point we took a break and ended up in the kitchen cooking bacon in just our underwear – he needed protein and it was the only thing I had in my fridge that wasn’t alcohol. But it was at this point that the saying “never judge a book by it’s cover” presented itself in human form to me.

We talked about everything. He spoke about his family (he’s one of 13!), his previous drug problems, his decision to leave a well paying engineering job to pursue his passion of becoming a Crossfit coach, how he’d followed a girl out to Canada which was how he ended up in Calgary, his process for writing in his journal everyday. And he didn’t just speak. He asked.

He asked me about my marriage, about moving out to Canada by myself, how I dealt with the loss of that relationship, why I took so long to get back into dating, how gratitude had played a part in where I was now.

These were deep, raw, long, honest conversations. And he was no longer this muscle-head gym junkie that I’d maybe first assumed from his dating app profiles. He was this sweet, funny, sincere, genuine, emotionally sensitive, self aware guy.

Albeit with massive muscles, stood in my kitchen, now eating bacon in his underwear.

There wasn’t a lot of sleep had but their road trip was carrying onto the States the next day and I had an easy Friday ahead, so we made the most of it. There was a lot of sex. It was probably the most energetic sex I’d had up until that point of my dating life. And while at first I was a little intimidated by his clear and present hotness, it actually only made me feel better about myself. Neither of us hated the mirrors in my bedroom…

In the morning, after maybe 3 hours sleep, we rallied for some pre-work, pre-road trip fun. Though this time we kept to the confines of the bedroom, it was daylight after all and my balcony isn’t exactly out of view of the neighbouring buildings. What do you take me for?!

He commented afterwards that it was a good showing for our last time and I unthinkingly said “unless of course you’re still here at lunchtime and fancy a quick one.” Fast forward 4 hours, turns out he is still in Vancouver, he’s somewhere near my apartment (which in turn is near my office) and he does in fact fancy a quick one.

Having re-lived many, many of the previous evening’s events in my head while sat mindlessly at my desk since getting into the office, I weighed up the fact I’d never had lunchtime sex, I was never going to see him again and, as they say, a girl’s gotta eat. Jokes. That’s disgusting. Full disclosure – that exact saying did run through my head and I did laugh.

In the midst of this one of my colleagues had been messaging me about maybe going for lunch but as soon as I got the text from Kiwi Arms saying “I’ll be at yours in 10”, my Brazilian colleague must have wondered where my appetite had disappeared to as I grabbed my keys and my bag and practically ran for the door, while shouting something about having to move our lunch to Monday.

We arrived at my apartment building at about the same time and, unsurprisingly(?), today’s shirt didn’t seem that much looser than last night’s. Albeit maroon and last night’s was white, the muscles were still being effortlessly well presented where the cotton met the skin, mid-bicep.

Whether it was tiredness, ill-preparedness or the lunchtime rush, our middle of the day session wasn’t without its difficulties. But the ease with which we laughed through it and managed to eventually get it to “work” had us actually high five each other afterwards. And, if my memory serves me right, I’m pretty sure he called me “champ”. We were all romance.

And with that high five, and a cursory kiss and hug in my building lobby, 10 minutes later I was on my way back to the office. Tired, every so slightly sensitive in certain areas and wondering what the hell had just happened in the past 20 hours…

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