A Blog About A Book

As you’re maybe aware if you follow my social media, I’m writing a book! The blog inspired more writing and so what started as just the blog in book format has snowballed into a 6 year memoir of me rebuilding post-divorce and getting back into dating. Many of the stories from the blog are in the book but there’s also a lot more about my personal growth and struggle, and other areas of my life – not just the men.

The book is highly personal and honest, I’ve attempted not to sugarcoat anything and hope my self reflection allows readers to relate to at least one if not many parts of the book. And while allowing myself to be so vulnerable within those pages was difficult, and at times resulted in me crying into my laptop in Starbucks, arguably the harder part has actually been knowing where the line is drawn between telling the stories that are mine & telling someone else’s story.

My approach to the book, and including the stories and people that I do, is that this is my life story, this is my experience of the events I talk about and I attempt to be as unbiased as possible. But as they say every story has 3 versions: your version; the other person’s version; and the truth. So what I’m offering is my version and I don’t doubt the people involved in these stories, particularly when it comes to the men, may have different versions of events. It’s been the same the whole time with the blog. I tell the stories of the dates from my perspective. After all, it’s all I have.

However there is a line that exists, which I’m trying to stay on the right side of and ensure I’m not attempting to offer up explanations for someone else’s behaviour or hazard guesses as to why someone’s character is the way it is. That is not my place, regardless of my interaction with that person, all I can talk to is my behaviour and my character. If this was a fiction book I could run wild with assumptions and distanced analysis but these are real people and I’ve always been firm in my want to respect them as much as possible, despite the outcome of our dalliances.

Some of the men I’ve written about both here on the blog and in the book have read their sections and it’s been fascinating both to see them register my thoughts on the situation but also to hear theirs. No two people truly ever see a situation in 100% the same light, even if both do see it positively! It is simply part of the human condition. It’s like that question that keeps me awake at night – how do you know what you see as the colour blue (for example) is what everyone else sees as the colour blue? That’s a rabbit hole that’s kept me up for hours. 

People may also argue it’s not my place to include these men in my writing without their consent, or at least knowledge, but the fact is these stories are mine, and providing the context of the dates and the men simply allows me to make commentary on life, people, dating, myself, gender stereotypes, and a whole host of other topics. But their privacy is still paramount and so I ensure I’ve always used their nicknames and never given too much detail about them that would make them recognisable or Google-able.

I have met some fascinating men, some beautiful men and some incredibly wounded men – all have taught me something. And for any of the ways the stories have ended, I am eternally grateful for the experiences and lessons those men have brought to my life.

Lou Who? Will be out later in summer – you can sign up to the mailing list here to receive updates!! 

To Valentine’s Or Not?


Does Valentine’s only serve to remind those of us without partners of our singledom? Or is it a day that can genuinely serve as a reminder to love ourselves? Or are in fact both options simply a commercial ploy to increase business for florists, chocolatiers, hotels, restaurants, spas, sex toys, jewellers, alcohol, [insert your preferred method of love / self love here]?

Love should be celebrated. I fully believe that, still… despite everything. But does it have to be so prescribed to us? I’d rather people took a moment to reflect on the incredible relationships and people they have in their lives on any other day of the year. There is something to be said for the fact that we so often take it for granted, ordinarily not stopping to acknowledge the wealth of love we all have in our lives, in some form or another.

Despite my enduring love for love, there are definitely moments during the 14th of February when a little bit of vom will come back up on me and I have to suppress an eye roll as I scroll past yet another gushing Instagram post. But I also love seeing people making an effort, furrowed brows agonising over the choice of flowers, increased google searches for “how to cook the perfect steak”, colleagues leaving work early to be on time for their evening of romance.

My ex-husband and I always celebrated Valentine’s Day, but we were also fans of random date nights, flowers for no reason, and surprise gifts. I know mine offered for genuinely no reason other than love, though I now wonder how many of his were from guilt.

Nowadays, I prescribe much more to the Galentine’s / self love thread of Valentine’s. I love my girlfriends, I love myself, so what’s not to love – as it were.

Ultimately, any occasion that celebrates togetherness and connection has the capacity to make you feel incredibly alone and excluded when you don’t have that “someone special” in your life, especially if you are in a place where you’re ready for and open to it. But my belief remains that this isn’t where I’m going to be forever, it’s obviously just where I’m meant to be for now.

Can I get on board with spending Valentine’s night by myself, going for a workout, then eating ice cream before crawling into bed, surrounded by nothing but my own peace? 100%. Would it also be nice to receive a little something from Tiffany? Sure. But you can’t have everything and if it’s a choice between the sweat sesh and dairy indulgence on my own or a gift from someone I was ultimately betrayed by, I’ll take the former every time.

Much like it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees, sometimes we can’t see the gratitude for the ridiculously over-priced roses, but when the 15th of February rolls around and you get to take advantage of the discounted chocolate, knowing at least one of the couples you saw gazing into each other’s eyes yesterday will have for sure had an argument before bedtime, you know it ultimately doesn’t matter, it’s a day and it’ll pass like every other.

Just like today has.

Did Someone Say Sandwiches?


You know the internet is crazy when an inanimate object slides into your DMs. And it’s even creepier when said inanimate object messages in reply to one of your instagram stories “hey, that’s my view” when you’ve posted a pic from your balcony. 

The account was a personification of a bar signage board, the type that has witty, daily comments to entice you in to drink their alcohol, watch their sports and play their games. I’d been at the bar a few weeks before, tagged them in a post and I guess that was how they’d found me. But I allowed the conversation to go on far longer than I should have before requesting some personal information about the writer. 

He worked part time at the bar, and wrote the signs, and when I finally got a name I also realised if I scrolled far enough back on the Instagram account there were actually pics of him, and looked fairly normal, which was a relief. But I had to wonder how many times he used the guise of the sandwich board to lure people into convos, far more than if it had just been a personal account I’m guessing. 

It was a long weekend when we started chatting and he was away camping with his friends. I presumed it was going to be a rager but he said while he had certainly taken enough alcohol to sink the ferry he was going over on, it would likely be fairly tame considering all of his friends were taking their kids. 

He was older, and at 39 it wasn’t surprising that most of his friends were settled down but from comments he made and the lifestyle he lived (he had a professional career but still chose to work part time in the bar (and write the signs)) it was clear he was very far away from that point in his life. 

It also turned out we lived across the street from each other. That hadn’t worked out well before but maybe this time would be different. We chatted throughout the weekend and when he was back in the city we made plans to go on a date. 

Somehow, and honestly, I’m not sure how it happened, I truly don’t understand how I didn’t see it happening and stop it before it was too late, but our first date ended up being to a Whitecaps football (/soccer) game. Which would have been fine, except I was still seeing The Whitecaps Player

I could have and should have made an excuse, any excuse!, to get out of it but he had the tickets and I just felt like anything I said would sound sketchy because he knew I liked sports, he knew I was a football fan and I’d already said I was free that night. 

It was another “how the fuck did I get myself here” moment as we walked from the concourse out into the open arena to take our seats and there’s The Whitecaps Player warming up on the pitch. I attempted to distract myself from my internal awkwardness but, while Sandwich Board Guy was nice, from a physical attraction standpoint my eyes were much more drawn to the field than the seat to my left. It was only made worse when The Whitecaps Player got sent off during the game and Sandwich Board Guy and I then had to have a long discussion about what an idiot he was. All the while I was thinking, yeah I’ll be messaging that idiot later, no doubt. 

God, I’m an awful person. As I write this story and admit to the proximity of these two strings of my dating life, I know if it was the other way around I would be less than happy about the situation. Does it absolve me of guilt because Vancouver is so small? Because it wasn’t as if I orchestrated the situation? Because this is just the way dating is nowadays? Ugh. I hate that excuse!!

But I wanted to try and give Sandwich Board Guy a chance, he seemed like a standup guy, he was super nice and he’d had an interesting life so we had a bit to chat about. But it wasn’t my proudest dating moment. 

The date ended with a brief hug after we walked the two minutes back to our joint street corner and discussions of another date. It felt like it would be a slow burn but I was prepared to give it a chance. I just couldn’t work out if his self deprecation was kinda cute or kinda off putting. I mean, I don’t want a guy that can’t get enough of himself but a little bit of confidence doesn’t go amiss. 

On our second date we went to a few different bars near where we lived, and with him working in the industry, albeit just one night a week, he knew a lot of people and seemed to get a lot of free drinks, which included shots of tequila, followed by shots of gin. Those were my idea… but there was method to my madness, honestly! I was drinking gin and didn’t your mother ever tell you not to mix your drinks? Actually, my mother told me a lot of things about drinking that I clearly never took heed of, but in this instance it just seemed sensible to do shots of the same alcohol. But shots of gin are not good. 

Still, I kept my wits about me and when he made a “jokey” comment about coming home with me as we walked the few blocks home, there was no doubt in my mind I was going to bed alone. 

He was nice. Like really nice. Like, one of those guys you can totally see falling into the “last guys finish last” categories, and that turned me off. Because us women just can’t seem to appreciate a good guy, can we? Why is that?! I totally understand men’s frustration when they say we overlook good guys for bad boys. I’m totally guilty of it. Although my retaliation is always that men say they hate drama but will also go for the hot girls despite the drama they bring. Wow, so many generalisations in a paragraph. 

When we next met up, after we’d both separately watched the Mayweather MacGregor boxing match, I knew I wasn’t attracted to him. So I’d love for someone to explain to me how he ended up in my apartment kissing me. I’m in no way suggesting he forced that. I’m just suggesting I make the weirdest fucking decisions, that make no actual sense. Was I lonely? Did I just like the attention? Did I hope maybe a kiss would turn things around? 

Worse still, the moment that brought me back to my senses was when he suggested he stayed and share my ice cream…. Um. No. Absolutely not. Hard pass. Kiss me? Sure. Share my ice cream? Get outta town. 

In the days that followed that night, after I’d swiftly said goodnight and ushered him from my apartment so I could eat my ice cream in private peace, I was as honest as I could be with him and said there were other guys I was dating that I was more interested in. Did it matter that I already knew nothing serious would come of the time with The Whitecaps Player? No. All I knew was that I didn’t feel the same way about Sandwich Board Guy so I had to be honest. 

However, despite the honesty, Sandwich Board Guy was persistent. Not in a forceful way, just in that he kind of hung around on the periphery, texting, making jokes about how he was in love with me and I wouldn’t reciprocate, and telling me I’d inspired him to start running prior to his 40th birthday. Well at least I did one thing right!

I often wonder what depth of feeling he did have for me, and if in any way I perpetuated that and led him on. I tried to be aware of it, I told him about other guys I was dating, I even told him about the blog! (His wish is now granted that he’s included in it) I tried to make sure it was clear that I wouldn’t date him, but I’m also not sure if I made it worse by letting him stay on the periphery. 

Months later, I’d find myself back in the same stadium with him, this time watching rugby sevens after he invited himself to join my group of friends. This time there was no player I was dating on the field, though I was awkwardly covering lovebites on my neck from the night before courtesy of some over eager Irishman, and randomly Malaysian Persuasion had pitched up and was now sat next to me fondling my thigh. Another story for another time. 

To say Sandwich Board Guy was always on the periphery feels pretty apt. I just hope he didn’t stay there because of any false hope I gave him. I’ve been on the receiving end of that and it’s not fun. Knowingly not allowing someone the closure to get over you and move on is one of the most selfish things you can do. To this day, I hope that wasn’t the part I played.

…previous post

Nevertheless, she persisted


I haven’t written for a while. I haven’t written because this year has kicked my ass. There has been man stress, work stress, more man stress, and now more work stress. I haven’t had mental capacity for the blog and, for months now, I haven’t been “properly” dating either, albeit somehow there are still men in my life.

Throughout the man stress I’ve wished work felt more stable, fulfilling and enjoyable. And throughout the work stress I have desperately wished for a partner to walk through it with me, and comfort me on the many nights of tears. I have incredible friends, who have supported me constantly but, at the end of it all, what I’ve had and what I will always continue to have has been solely me, myself and I. 

When I let myself go down the rabbit hole, it’s incredibly easy to feel butt hurt for myself and wonder what I did so bad in a previous life that I’m being dealt so many personal challenges in this one. I can lament the fact that never did I imagine that I’d be 35 with no job, no financial stability and no relationship. I can compare myself to other people who are seemingly thriving and wonder when will it be my turn for success and happiness and love. It can be a pretty quick downward spiral into a full on Joey-esque “why me god, why????”

But there are no answers to any of those questions, especially not down the bottom of a rabbit hole, so what good does it do to ask them. While I believe in allowing yourself to feel the feelings and not just slap on a smile for the sake of it, I also don’t believe in wallowing or perpetuating negative emotions. 

I have no understanding of where my life is taking me, or what exactly this path is leading to, but I’m trying to trust in it, attempting to become comfortable with the uncertainty and instead accept that this is just where I’m at, for now. We often get so wrapped up in where we’re trying to go that getting there just feels like it gets in the way. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will perpetually live in the journey and so I should probably get comfortable with it.

And with every challenge, with every “what the actual fuck” moment, I find myself believing in myself a little bit more, less questioning if I’ll be able to get through something and more wondering how I’m going to get through it. Challenges, disappointments and time spent outwith our comfort zones are truly the best place for growth. And, honestly, I feel like it’s going to take something pretty spectacular to “beat” the trauma that my divorce inflicted. Not that I’m hoping to ever have that happen.

Within it all this year I’ve also seen myself start to harden, something that until now I had never let happen. I was always proud of remaining open, and soft, and hopeful, but I guess after a certain amount of shit you get to the point that it just makes sense to put up some walls – finally! I’ve found myself regressing from new social situations and shutting myself off from hope of new relationships. 

I’m hoping it’s a temporary solution while I find my feet, while I try to get some of my shit together – knowing no one ever fully has their shit together. But in the grand scheme of shits being together or not, I’m definitely on the “absolutely do not have them together” end of the spectrum. 

If you’re just joining my dating stories now, know that I write with a fairly large time gap from when the stories happened to me writing about them. Partly to protect everyone involved and partly to allow me to reflect on them in a less emotional way. Also that gap is now much bigger simply because I took time off from posting them. *the date I write at the top of each post is the date the story / thoughts happened, so most of the stories are in the past, but a lot of the thoughts (like this post) are from the present.

So far what we’ve covered is the “finding my feet” stage – where I was like a deer in headlights, realising online dating was some merry hell that a happily married person must have come up with to punish us for the other freedoms we have. Then we moved into the “oh, these men are kinda hot” stage – where I was surprised at my pulling ability and got a little too carried away with gym bods, after having found my own. And now the stories are moving into the “but none of this is working so let’s change it up” stage – where I tried to move out of my comfort zone, go with the less obvious choices and see if anything there worked. It’s been… fun!

But throughout it all, from those very first stories and right up to where I find myself now, one thought, one mantra, has remained in my head – “nevertheless, she persisted”.

…previous post

Do you have the answer?


Questions are good. Curiosity and inquiring minds are the foundation of the world but after a date, should you be left with more questions than answers?

Is it really a good use of my time to meet people who, even from our texts, I’m not convinced about? Is dating a 26 year old really a good idea? Was ditching our first date because he got “sunburnt” just an excuse?

Why did he offer to meet me at my place and then choose a bar such a long walk away? Is a 25 minute walk far, or am I just a moaning minnie? But really, why couldn’t we have just arranged to meet there & I could have cabbed? Or why couldn’t he have just planned better?

Why did he wear a Hawaiian shirt? Weird, why couldn’t I see any of this so called sunburn under the shirt? How was my face supposed to react when he admitted it wasn’t sunburn that kept him from our first date, he’d just got drunk with friends? Other than the unimpressed look I apparently gave him?

When I was already thinking that maybe his age was a problem, what made him think it was necessary to show me his id to confirm his name and thus reinforcing just how young he was? So he lived between Vancouver and Edmonton, how exactly was that going to work if we were dating?

How traditional were his Korean family? And what must it be like for your family to have a say in what you end up doing for a career? Would he have chosen to be a paratrooper, if they hadn’t? Could I feel like my job working in tech was any less meaningful when he’s talking about going to fight forest fires? Do I need a new career?

Is it possible to feel any older when he’s talking about nights out on Granville Street with his friends? When did I get so old that the thought of nights out in Vancouver’s “entertainment district” made me shudder?

When I didn’t want another drink, maybe he could have picked up on the subtle hint and not ordered another one for himself so we could leave? Maybe 25 minutes is a long walk, considering even he commented on it during the walk back?

Why would he park his car in a lot that clearly states it closes at 9pm? After I made fun of his inability to read signage (wow, am I a bitch?), why did he still want to kiss me? Why is it that I know instantly if I like someone by my want to reciprocate kissing them on a street corner in full view of other people? Or in this case, my horror?

Why did he think I’d want to meet up with him again next week before he flew back to Edmonton? How can two people be on such different pages at the end of a date? Did my “thanks but no thanks” text message afterwards do the job of ending this before it begun? Am I getting better at writing those text messages?

Will I, one day, meet someone I don’t have to send one of those texts to? And who maybe has the answer?

Next post…

…previous post

You, Me & Translator Makes Three


How much do you really need to be able to communicate in a relationship? When you’re from incredibly different backgrounds AND there’s a language barrier, should we just accept that communication is going to be difficult, and maybe this isn’t going to be one of those deep and meaningful relationships?

When I first matched with The Whitecaps Player on Bumble, I wasn’t sure he was definitely a player. (The Whitecaps are Vancouver’s local football/soccer team that play in the MLS) There were pictures of him in some kit but I thought he may have been a member of the coaching or support team and in our first messages he attempted to tell me he was the mascot, Spike. I told him that was unfortunate because I don’t like birds (Spike is a kingfisher) and eventually he gave it up and admitted he played for the team.

The problem was his name on Bumble didn’t match any first name of a player on the squad, so in an attempt not to be scammed by some guy claiming to be a professional football player (yes, I live in North America, but the game you play with the ball at your feet I will almost always call football) I started a pretty in depth Google search and a reverse image google search.

Wikipedia gave me all I needed to know – the name on Bumble was his middle name. He was born in Africa, grew up in the US and had just been traded to Vancouver from a US MLS team. I was going to start dropping some of that info into our messages to let him know I was onto him but didn’t want to seem like a total stalker. I figured it probably wouldn’t be a good look.

In our chats we realised we lived a block from each other and made plans pretty quickly to meet up that night. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) a friend messaged me and asked if I wanted to go see Lady Gaga in a box at Rogers Arena that night. I wasn’t the hugest Lady Gaga fan but I wasn’t about to pass it up. I had just made plans to meet him though and I didn’t want to do the typical Vancouver thing and bail… but when I mentioned this to my friend she told me to bring him too. God love my friends for their deep understanding about the need not to inhibit any dating opportunities.

The crazy thing is having a first date in a box at a Lady Gaga concert with a bunch of friends of mine probably wouldn’t be the weirdest first date I’ve had. See the date with Canada Day Boat Guy. So I asked him. He called me boujee for going to a box, asked if I always did “such fancy things” and eventually said thanks but Lady Gaga wasn’t his thing. I understood, it was a stretch to think he’d be up for it. But we both lived a couple of blocks from the arena so I thought it might have worked.

Instead he told me to go and text him later. I don’t need told twice so I did. We texted a little during the concert and as it was wrapping up he said he’d walk to meet me at mine. I don’t remember the exact details of the text exchange, but it was clear her wasn’t coming up to my apartment, it was more just that we were so close by that we may as well just meet in person, even if for 10 minutes.

As ended up happening, we sat in the lobby of my apartment building for about 45 minutes chatting. We briefly mentioned going to a bar but that never happened and I think we were both equally just testing the water.

When he’d arrived it was entirely apparent how drastically different we were, at least outwardly anyway. He looked like he should be in a music video. He had a pretty solid gold chain around his neck, and fairly sizeable diamond studs in both ears which glistened under the bright, lobby lights. He was in a designer t-shirt and long basketball shorts, designer sneakers with socks pulled up to mid-calf and a cap. I could not have felt more like a white girl if I’d tried.

There is nothing cool or urban about me, nothing remotely edgy. And here he was looking like he could have been part of Migos and friends with Drake.

I wondered how it looked to people. Not that I cared, at all. But I was genuinely interested in what people thought when they looked at us sat there. Did I look like a groupie? Did I look like his personal assistant? Cause I wasn’t sure I looked like his date (if sitting chatting in my lobby even qualified as a date). By this point, I’d dated a whole host of ethnicities but I think with The Whitecaps Player it was so visually stark, it opened up a whole host of different thoughts for me.

Regardless, he had this really lovely demeanour about him, he seemed pretty quiet but funny, and super relaxed. Like almost horizontal. I was fascinated by what he saw in me. Because again, the quiet and relaxed thing? Yeah, probably not something I’d describe myself as.

Given his texts and knowing he’d been in the US for about 12 years, something I definitely wasn’t expecting was the language barrier. Well, I guess it was less of a language barrier and more of an accent barrier. He had an incredibly thick, French African accent which, much to my surprise, I found incredibly attractive. He was telling me about a game they were going to play in Salt Lake City and I thought he was telling me how the attitude of the other team was terrible, but he was really talking about the altitude and it took us a while to get there. We just laughed when we worked it out, or rather I laughed and he looked at me like he couldn’t understand why I had a problem comprehending the English language. This was to be the first of many of these exchanges.

Thankfully, we did still manage to laugh together. It has always been one of the reasons I’ve said that dating someone who is ESL (English as a Second Language) probably wasn’t something I would want to do. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone not getting my jokes. Although I guess that’s a better reason for someone not getting my jokes, than that they just aren’t funny…

Sitting in the lobby that first night I was pretty intrigued by him. I had so many questions about his upbringing, his family, playing in the MLS, moving to Vancouver… so much. This is why sometimes, just sometimes!, I love dating. Meeting someone who you would likely not otherwise encounter and getting to hear their stories – it’s the best!

But it was getting late so we said goodbye and agreed we’d meet up when he got back from their game in Salt Lake City. He kissed me on the cheek, gave me a slightly awkward hug and started the short walk back to his place. He told me he wished he’d driven, which I presumed was a joke!?

We texted a little during the time he was away and when he was back we arranged to go for dinner. He walked to meet me at my place and we decided on a super casual bar nearby, because “he didn’t want to walk far”. Um, which one of us is the athlete? So we walked at his snail’s pace, part of his whole “relaxed” thing I was guessing, the couple of blocks up the street.

Going into the bar I thought I saw a flicker of confusion from the hostess about whether we entered together or not. Was I imagining it? I mean, I got it, we didn’t look like a likely pairing, but I’d even tried to dress less.. I’m not even sure what… to go out with him. Unfortunately my wardrobe was severely lacking in Gucci sneakers and ostentatious bling so we still weren’t quite on the same level.

Conversation over dinner was slow, in that he even talked at a slow pace. It took a while before I saw him get even remotely animated about a topic. But it was still easy, despite a couple more misunderstandings. We talked sports, and growing up, and working out, and diet – he ate 3 plates of chicken wings.

He walked me home, again kiss on the cheek, awkward hug, and a mention that he wished he’d driven. Maybe he wasn’t joking the last time!?

On our 3rd date he came over to mine. I was pretty tired and he was leaving for another away game the next day so we agreed we’d watch a movie. I don’t even remember what we watched. But I remember being stressed about what we were going to watch. I was pretty sure we’d have very different tastes in movies, not counting the fact that I don’t even really like movies, and what if his preference wasn’t an English language movie. Like is that a part of the choice we’d make?

We didn’t end up really watching a lot of the movie, which is maybe why I can’t remember what it was. Instead we talked, watched YouTube videos on his phone and eventually, finally!, he actually made a move on me.

There had been a few brushes of his hand against my leg, a rub of the back, or a grab of the shoulder but they were all incredibly brief. I was beginning to wonder if he actually wasn’t attracted to me at all (which of course in my head this was down to the fact I was so different to him) and instead maybe he was just a bit bored and looking for company, having not been in Vancouver for long and not having very many friends outside the team.

But after making his move it was very clear there was at least some level of mutual attraction between us. And he had one of the leanest bodies I’d possibly ever seen – yes we got naked, yes there was sex. There was not an inch of fat on him, he wasn’t super muscly in a bulging biceps way, you could just tell he was incredibly fit. His skin stretched over his long limbs in the most perfect way and I’m pretty sure it glistened… or maybe I imagined that.

The sex was also pretty great, albeit my overriding memory was one of having to dodge his gold necklace as it swung at my face every so often when it would slide round from the back of his neck where he tried to keep it out the way while we got down to it. Now, I’ve been hit in the face with worse, but it was kinda off putting. There was also zero post-sex snuggles. Dude was not a snuggler. That much was clear.

In all the times we met up, and hooked up, we never spoke about what we were doing, who else we were (or weren’t) seeing, when we would next see each other, nothing. It was super casual and it was ideal. I enjoyed having that level of understanding with someone without either of us having to say anything. Which was handy considering the language barrier we were always trying to navigate.

I can so often get so caught up in my head and want clarity and something more concrete agreed. But with The Whitecaps Player, maybe it was because I couldn’t see it going anywhere anyway, because he was always likely to move again with his job, because we were so starkly different, I don’t know, but I was really ok with the unknown. With the simplicity that we would text each other every so often, we would see each other about once a week and there were no other expectations.

Generally it was always a dinner, we went to a movie once, or he’d come over to mine. Nothing ever really “happened” on the dates, my friends would ask how the date was and all I could ever reply was “fine”. I enjoyed the chillness of just lying on the sofa with him, him normally falling asleep because apparently training in the MLS is exhausting…

Eventually one night I did end up over at his place. We were both out. Him celebrating after an incredible last minute winning goal he scored against his old team and me at a wedding. We messaged during the course of the night, and for the first time our texts turned more than a little flirty and eventually downright dirty. I got dropped off at his apartment after the wedding and arriving on his doorstep still in my full gown (it had been a VERY fancy wedding) made it even more clear to our differences as he was there in what looked like an outfit almost entirely designed by Balmain, and something that James Harden may have worn.

My point about the differences between us, is not because they mattered to me at all, truly they didn’t. It’s more to highlight how I’ve never encountered the awareness about it before. And I wonder if the Chinese guy or the Persian or any other ethnicity I’ve dated, have felt the same just the other way around? But that I, from my place of white privilege, has failed to notice? Is this what it’s like to truly notice skin colour? I’m aware enough to know that me saying “I don’t notice skin colour” is racist in itself because there are different skin colours and they’re not to be ignored, and more obviously, also not to be the reason for any change, particularly negative, in behaviour or level of respect shown.

It was just a mind frame I hadn’t encountered before in dating and if I was feeling those things I wondered what his thoughts were around dating a white girl. Did he even have any? Was this topic so much part of his daily life that it wasn’t even a separate conversation, it just was life? In some ways I’d wished he and I would have had a deeper relationship to have been at a place where I could have asked him these things, and used the situation as a way to educate myself. But I also knew it wasn’t his place to have to educate the white girl on race.

Instead I read books like The Shock Doctrine and Caucasia, both of which I finished after things with him had kind of petered out, but the experience had awakened something in me whereby I wanted to try and understand more and not just stay ignorant because I could. Again, Whitecaps Player’s lackadaisical approach to everything meant he seemed neither perturbed nor even interested in that aspect of our very casual relationship.

As seemed maybe inevitable, as his season was coming to an end so too did our dates. We never had a conversation about it, I just knew he was going back to visit his Mom in the States and then was heading back to Africa while on the off season. What I hadn’t really banked on was that during said off season, he’d also be traded to a team back in the US and so he was never back in Vancouver as far as I know, and things were just done. No words said, or needed.

It turned out the guy I could communicate the least with, was the guy I didn’t really need to communicate with at all, and it was as refreshing as his cool, taught skin.

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Should We Build Walls?


Are walls a good thing? Should we be erecting them? No, not the Mexican border kind ordered by an over-tanned, over-inflated world leader. But the kind that protect ourselves, protect our hearts?

We hear all the time about people having built walls up, not letting anyone in and it being a barrier for them to move forward and start new relationships. Often this is the result of a particularly bad breakup or a traumatic past experience.

I don’t have that problem. My problem is I have no walls. I don’t even have a little fence. There’s barely even a step at the front door.

The surprising thing is that I’m like this even after my divorce, hello bad breakup AND traumatic past experience. I had expected I may be battling to let anyone get close, to open up to people, to let myself believe in anything/anyone again. The only thing I do struggle with is trust, and so to a degree maybe there is an element of a barrier, but that doesn’t stop me letting people get as close as they want, as quickly as they want, as has been witnessed here, here, and here… in fact, just read the rest of the blog for examples.

Those experiences have unfortunately all resulted in my heart being hurt, to varying degrees, multiple more times. So while we often read and hear about how we should be breaking down walls, I’ve been wondering if I should in fact attempt at erecting some?

Would it stop me from experiencing the crush of yet another potential relationship failing? Would it stop the feeling of never being good enough? Would it quell the frustration at yet another effort being wasted?

The answer to all of those questions is “possibly”. But the added side effect is that by having those walls in place, I’d also minimise the connections I make, I’d diminish the experiences I could be having, there’s a chance I’d block out the very thing or person that could enrich my life. And surely that is worse than a little heart hurt?

Side note – I don’t call it heartbreak with these dating experiences, mostly because my heart was never fully exposed, it was never love and so, for me, I don’t feel like it was heartbreak. At least not in the way it was with my divorce, which was a heart shattering, million pieces everywhere, kind of a mess. So “heart hurt” feels a little more apt.

After all, you can’t experience love, joy, happiness, fulfilment, if you don’t also experience sadness, hurt, fear. One end of the emotion spectrum simply cannot exist in a vacuum. Brené Brown’s TED Talk ‘The power of vulnerability’ talks exactly to this. Brené states, ‘you can’t selectively numb”. If you numb the “negative” emotions, you also numb the “positive” emotions. And a life void of emotion doesn’t sound like much of a life to me, at least not one I want to live. So being open to all of it, the full gamut of emotions, is what can bring you a truly fulfilling life.

I would love to find a balance though; a happy medium between being wide open and totally closed off. Maybe I need slightly better screening of the applications to enter my heart space? Or trying to keep my emotions in check until I better understand someone’s intentions? Or even just expecting a certain level of respect, kindness and commitment from them? I guess most people would call that having boundaries? Yeah, let’s get some of them.

So instead of walls (which, FYI Trump, cost a fuck tonne), I’ll look to better understand, and uphold, my boundaries while still being open and vulnerable to all of the possible experiences and people and emotions that come with dating. Being an open book with my heart firmly on my sleeve is something I no longer want to feel like I need to change, or feeling shame because “I did it to myself” when another blossoming romance goes south.

I’m controlled and careful in most areas of my life, but when it comes to love I don’t want to be controlled or careful, I don’t think that’s how love is supposed to be experienced. I hope I’m forever an eternal romantic optimist, with no walls required.

“A woman who has endured pain, overcome heartbreaking experiences and still allows herself to be led by hope and faith; is truly unmatched.” – Dau Voire

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To Me, From Me


The end of a year or a significant milestone in time can be a great time for self reflection and a reset. But how do we know we’re truly assessing from an objective point of view and not just following a narrative that has already been constructed and we’re obliviously following?

The end of September was a difficult time for me. It marked five years since I’d moved to Vancouver and while I was, and am, incredibly proud of the life I’ve built for myself here, there was also a sense that it wasn’t quite entirely what I’d imagined or hoped.

If someone had told me when I arrived here that in five years time I’d still be single and no closer to having really had a meaningful romantic relationship in that time, I would have been pretty god damn upset. As it turned out, that was exactly what I was facing. My naivety about dating, which quickly was dashed as I started my dating journey that I’ve been documenting here, had led me to believe I’d be in a relationship in no time, if I so desired which I thought I did.

While yes, many people will and have said to me, “you could be in a relationship if you settled for less than you want” – that’s not their suggestion, it’s just a statement that I’m looking for the right thing – my expectation was that I’d have been able to find a partner that provided what I wanted. And that hasn’t happened.

Add to that the fact that the core group of friends I made when I first moved here have almost all had significant life changes – marriages, babies, engagements, and  for one friend a breakup followed by a reunion and moving in together two years later. I couldn’t be happier for all of them, but it has been significantly difficult for me not to compare.

Admittedly, there is envy there – the devil of all emotions – but it’s mostly sadness and disappointment. And maybe a hint of fear. Granted, I’ve only been dating again for two and a half years but if it’s not happened yet, will it? That thought creeps in more and more frequently.

As I was dealing with the five year review,  resetting my expectations and reconfirming what I know deep down – that I have achieved a lot in those five years, and I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone else – I came to realise that as a result of my unspoken expectation that I’d be in a relationship by now, I’d in fact put part of my life on hold unconsciously.

When I moved to Vancouver I chose to live downtown, it was something I’d always wanted to do – live downtown in a North American city (don’t ask me which movie I got that notion from as a kid)  – so, great, check that off the bucket list! But moving into my latest apartment and kitting out the 500 square feet fully in Ikea furniture, I had written myself a narrative I didn’t even know at the time. “This place is perfect for me until I get into a relationship. Once that happens we (whoever we is) will eventually build a home together and I’ll get to have space for a dining table and we’ll host dinner parties.”

Fast forward all these years later and I realised the relationship is no closer, and so neither is that space that feels like home, the dining table or those dinner parties, which I so desperately want. And while the relationship isn’t something I can fabricate myself, trust me I’ve tried, the home, dining table and those dinner parties are.

Living downtown had also made complete sense for a number of years – my proximity to some of the best happy hours in the city was fully utilised three, sometimes four, nights a week and my friends made jokes about me not going over bridges (i.e. never leaving downtown). To begin with they probably weren’t too wrong.

However in recent years, as my interest in being outdoors more often and seeing as many sunrises and sunsets as possible (something which brings me untold peace) has grown, the match made in heaven between me and downtown living had started to wane.  Yet if you asked any of my friends, or even me until recently, you’d have been told I embodied a downtown girl. Such was the narrative that I had adhered to and had been fully bought into by everyone that knew me. And then never questioned again. I’d even uttered the words “I don’t think I can ever see myself moving out of downtown.”

What I hadn’t questioned was why that was. Why couldn’t I see myself moving? Was my life downtown everything I wanted? Was I truly living the life I wanted? No. I was living the life I felt I should be living at that time. As a single female. As if somehow I should be living in a shoebox sized apartment and enjoying nights out in Yaletown bars drinking wine. That was my narrative. And no one had forced it on me, it had just happened. 

So when one random Saturday morning, while wandering around Kitsilano (a residential neighbourhood just across the water from downtown) with a couple of friends who lived there, sipping coffee and enjoying the beach views, I suggested maybe I should look at what apartments were available there. That day I didn’t truly believe it would lead to me moving. And I definitely didn’t expect it would see me view 21 apartments in the next seven days and sign a lease on a new home a week later.

It was a transformative week. I realised not only that apartments weren’t all as expensive (or old and crumbly) in Kits as I had imagined, it also wasn’t as far from downtown as I’d maybe previously thought, but also that I had been holding out on myself. I’d been holding out on giving myself the life I wanted, waiting for someone to join me before the next stage of my life could begin, the stage that included a home and a dining table. “Could” according to who?!?

I was more than horrified when I realised I had subconsciously told myself that having more space, a dining table, a home, were things I couldn’t have by myself. Partly that came from a financial perspective, but even that wasn’t correct. A quick look at Craigslist and a cancellation of a gym membership later and I could make the numbers work.

And maybe, just maybe, my often severe and numerous disappointments from failed dates wasn’t just down to the fact that I was no closer to a relationship, but also that with the relationship dream, so too went the home dream. Those two were intrinsically linked in the depths of my brain it seemed. How had I let that happen? And without even noticing? It honestly shocked me.

Signing the lease on my new place so quickly was partly down to logistics, it was such a good find and I needed to do it before it got snapped up, and partly down to me not wanting to give myself time to start talking myself out of it. So strong was that narrative of me being a “downtown girl”. Only enforced further when every friend I told about me possibly moving reacted with shock that I would consider leaving downtown.

In reply to every comment like that, when I put it to them that I didn’t know the last time I’d been out for happy hour in Yaletown, and proposed to them to think about just how often I was leaving my apartment to chase a sunrise or sunset (both of which would be much more accessible from Kits), it didn’t take long for them to come to the same conclusion as me. Downtown didn’t fit my life anymore. Somewhere like Kits made much more sense. And it literally took all of two seconds for friends to agree, yet until that point we’d all just been following the same old story, I’m downtown, I don’t cross bridges, I live at happy hours…

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with any of that. Those things were all true for a time and I loved it. While it made sense. But it didn’t anymore.

The speed with which the realisation and subsequent move happened, was probably the only thing that surprised people more than the move itself,  including myself. And I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and realise I’d made a terrible mistake… but it never did. It still hasn’t and now, fully settled in my new place with an extra 200 square feet and a beautiful marble dining table that was the very first piece I moved in, I don’t think there is another shoe to drop. Both shoes are firmly removed and my feet are fully ensconced in the sand of Kits beach.

It was a stark lesson in re-assessing where we are, where we want to be and if we’re being true to ourselves. Whether it’s about your living situation, your job, your relationships, whatever, we all too often get in a comfort zone, a rut, a habit, call it what you will, and breaking out of that can feel uncomfortable and, at times, unnecessary. But being brutally honest with yourself, coming to the realisation and doing something about it is truly liberating.

What may seem like a small change to some – I mean, I only moved a 10 minute drive away! – has been genuinely life changing for me. I gave myself the life I wanted, the life I’d been unconsciously wanting for a while. And how fucking great is that?! I got to do that for myself, by myself. Granted with a lot of help from friends, and their cars, and moving muscles. But the point is, I didn’t need a relationship for any of it, which I’d somehow put on as a condition. What the hell was that? 1950’s me?!

For a year which I wasn’t sure I could sum up with any real “successes” come New Years and it’s unavoidable time of reflection, other than still being here to tell the tales, I can now say “Happy Birthday to me, Merry Christmas to me and Happy 2018 to me. You’re goddamn welcome.”

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How do you ignore your gut? Should you even try? Or should you just always go with it? Even when you want it to be wrong?

After the weekend of distant texting, by the time O texted on the Sunday night my gut was on full red alert. He sent a half assed text telling me they’d won the basketball tournament, and that was about it. My reply was that I guessed we weren’t doing dinner? He replied apologising, saying he didn’t realise he wouldn’t be back til later. It felt insincere. And I was majorly pissed off.  But mostly, I felt panicked. I felt panicked that things were changing and I couldn’t control them and I didn’t understand them.

I told him that I didn’t want to have to deal with inconsistency. He couldn’t go from being the texter of the century (while always claiming he wasn’t a texter) to essentially being MIA for 24 hours.

Here’s the thing with consistency when it comes to communication – I don’t need 24/7 communication but I do need 24/7 consistency. So if you only text me once every three days, that’s fine, but keep doing that. If you text me once every hour (don’t. I don’t think anyone should text someone that much), then you better be setting your alarm to keep that shit going so I don’t think you’ve died. Granted that’s an extreme example but my point is, don’t fuck with the consistency of communication. Yes life happens, yes it’s not always possible, but that’s why it’s important to think about the levels of expectation you’re setting. And that’s why numerous times I’d questioned O about the likelihood of this high bar being kept up there. And he’d always insisted it wasn’t a problem…

We didn’t end up seeing each other on the Sunday night and, in fact, it was eight days until I saw him again. Over the week his texts became less and less frequent and he dodged every opportunity for us to meet – he was busy. We eventually made preliminary plans to meet on Saturday. I was actually busy on Saturday, I was heading out of town to stay with my adopted Canadian Granny, but I didn’t want to be the blocker so I said it worked for me. And as I headed for the skytrain for a night out the city, I got the text I knew was coming from O – “really sorry, I don’t think I can meet today, I’ve thrown my back out”.

I could have written it myself, albeit the back injury was an added flair of an excuse. I had fully expected it. So why did the disappointment sting my eyes? Why did the expected call off still result in brimming tear ducts?

I think I knew at this point things weren’t going to be the same again. There would be no reverting change in his behaviour that could now not make me question him, question his integrity, question his motives, question his honesty.

Despite being on the Skytrain, heading out the city, I replied and suggested I go over with some food for him and asked if there was anything else I could take him. Banking on the fact he’d decline I didn’t pause my trip to White Rock for a single step. Expectedly, he declined the offer but said “maybe tomorrow”. I decided at that point that I’d be seeing him the next day whether it meant I had to doorstep him or not.

Later that afternoon, sat in Granny’s garden, surrounded by her beautiful potted plants with the sun beating down, I told her the whole story over numerous glasses of wine. And what she said to me still sticks in my mind – “when you’ve explained to someone how inconsistency causes you anxiety, you can’t believe someone only has good intentions for you when they then become inconsistent and seem unconcerned for the anxiety they must know they’re causing you.”

It was followed up with some sage advice about trying to draw a line in the sand and not giving anymore of myself to him. I realised I’d already given more than I would have liked, more than I intended to, more than I felt comfortable with. I’d been swept away by the whole thing and now I was left feeling adrift. Granny did a great job at lifting my spirits over dinner but there was no denying the growing sadness and confusion.

The next day as I returned back to Vancouver, I lured him into a false sense of security – I hate games, but fuck you – getting him to confirm he was still at home in bed and his flatmate was out. With that info in hand, I told him I was taking him coffee and his favourite doughnut from Tim Horton’s and I’d be over in half an hour. I didn’t ask, I told him. I left him no choice.

And here’s where I know I differ from some people. For some, as soon as someone backs away from them they put their own walls up, turn the other way and don’t look back. I, on the other hand, like to get right in amongst the shit pile and stir it up. It’s like I can’t be done with it until I’ve tested it to the nth degree. Partly it’s because I’m a hopeless optimist and hope that one day my gut will be wrong and someone backing away will all of a sudden change their mind and come running back. And I know the retort to that is why would you want someone who wasn’t sure about you? Don’t ask me, I’m all sorts of fucked up.

It’s also partly because if someone wants to end something with me I want them to say it. I want to make them say the words. Both for their discomfort and my closure. I’d rather be stabbed with a knife than slapped with a fish. Does that even make sense as a saying? I’m going with it. Like, if you’re going to walk away from me, then tell me, give me the brutally honest reason, don’t just leave me hanging.

So looking to get into the middle of this shit pile, I went round to O’s and for the first time since I’d known him, it was awkward. Not just because his 6’5 frame was barely able to move – apparently the back injury wasn’t a lie – but it was clear something had changed. He was in pain. And I  wasn’t very sympathetic. I couldn’t be. I couldn’t bring myself to give any more of myself. The doughnut and coffee were the extent of it.

In the 45 minutes I was there, one of his best friends came to pick something up with his girlfriend. It was another awkward interaction, with O briefly introducing me, while I sat on the edge of his bed like some pathetic groupie. They left and there was more awkward chat between us. He commented that I seemed to be enjoying his discomfort. He wasn’t wrong. But I wasn’t enjoying mine.

I left him in bed to go and meet friends at the beach, as had always been my Sunday plan before my impromptu home delivery to the invalid. I never intended to stay at his for long, I just wanted to see him, look him in the eyes, try to get a read on the situation. But I think all I’d managed to deduce in my time there was that the situation was fucked up.

He clearly knew I was pissed off but I couldn’t tell if he cared. We texted a little that afternoon, while I was enjoying a sunny beach day and he was feeling sorry for himself in bed. I still couldn’t muster any sympathy.

When he asked me to go round for dinner the next night, I was slightly surprised but I couldn’t decide if it was a good thing or not. Maybe he was going to take the opportunity to chat about things, have those open and honest (and maybe difficult) conversations that we both agreed during our first date we preferred to games and confusion and things left unsaid.

Turns out, he just wanted someone to snuggle with on the sofa. He’d made it to work that day and we met halfway between our apartments as he walked home. His 6’5 frame stood out even more when he walked with a limp. On this occasion I did feel some sympathy for him. He was clearly in a lot of pain, so I offered to take his backpack, cause I’m nice like that and despite how confused I was by the whole situation, I apparently couldn’t help myself. We stopped for food on the way home and continued back to his for a night of laying on the sofa.

There was no explanation for his distance, no reference even made to it. It was like those eight days of us not seeing each other, and the diminishing texts, hadn’t even happened. We had sex that night, despite his back injury – funny what guys can rally for – but even it wasn’t the same. Maybe because he wasn’t his usual energetic self, maybe because part of me wondered how many times this was likely to happen again, or if in fact this might be the last.

The rest of the week was more of the same, infrequent texts and an inability to meet up. I stopped attempting to make plans by the Thursday. I was sick of suggesting times, making myself available, being accommodating in the hope he might actually say yes. There’s only so many times you can be told no. I wish I was one of those people who only needed to be told no once… alas, I’m a sucker for punishment.

My anxiety was out of control, my mind a constant whirring of how the situation might be rectified, why he might have changed his mind, what I could do to change it back… talk about mental torture. I threw myself into working out. And trying to ignore the deafening silence from my phone.

It got to the weekend and I had no idea what his plans were. I made my own and adjusted to the deep, sinking feeling that had been perpetually in my stomach for the last two weeks.

Waking on Sunday morning at 8am I read a text from him that he’d sent at 3am – “any chance you’re having a late night?” Was it a drunk booty call or was he just finishing work (not uncommon for him) and he wanted to talk?

I responded saying I had but clearly not as late as some people and asked if he was ok. And then I waited. And waited. And waited for a reply. At 4pm, I decided I’d pretty much had enough. “So you’re going to text me at 3am, I reply when I wake up and then you go back to ignoring me as you’ve done for much of the past week? Really?”

Interestingly, that got his attention. He replied saying he’d been meaning to call me. “And yet here we are, texting” I replied. My phone rang almost instantly. I gave myself a couple of seconds to compose myself, or at least try to. There was a fairly high chance I was going to lose it – whether “it” was my temper or my tears, I wasn’t sure.

He said he knew he’d been off, he knew he’d been busy, he knew things had been different. I said I was disappointed with the inconsistency. He said he was sorry, he’d never meant to let me down, but that he also knew he didn’t have space in his life for someone right now, for a number of reasons.

He didn’t have space for someone in his life right now.

The very thing I’d asked him a number of times and he said we’d figure it out. Wow. I guess what he meant when he said we’d “figure it out” is that he would just wait til he came to the startling realisation himself that he didn’t have space and choose to do a great impression of a ghost rather than actually talk to me about it.

So then why the fuck would he text me at 3am and ask if I’d “had a late night by any chance” then? Cause he wanted to have the chat then? I’m going to guess not. Because he wanted to see if he could squeeze one more sexscapade out of me before he ghosted me entirely? More likely.

My mind was racing while he spoke. I had so much I wanted to say to him. So much I wanted to shout at him. And instead I just asked “so that’s it?” and he said “yeah, so that’s it.” And just like that it was done. We said goodbye, I hung up and finally lost it. My tears, that is.

To say I was disappointed, is an understatement. Mostly I was disappointed in myself. Mostly because I knew I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be swept along, because I knew I was opening myself up to getting hurt again, because I knew it was going too fast. But he assured me, he said all the right things, convinced me he wouldn’t be leaving an O shaped hole in my life anytime soon. Four weeks later, that’s exactly what I was left with.

I’ll never understand how he ever thought he was going to make it work with his schedule or with whatever other issues he had going on. I’ll never understand how he could sit and talk about consistency and honesty and communication and then let things go the way they did.

And once again with a guy, I had to go looking for the answers. They just start to drift a little, but not far enough that it’s undeniable, they deny anything’s changed or they feel differently, until it gets to a point where I have to call them out on it. I’m not one of these people that can just let it go or fizzle out. I want that last conversation, I want at least some reasoning or explanation even if it’s bullshit & makes no sense. But it’s always me who has to ask the question. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn’t.

But once again, that feeling of being cast adrift was with me, making itself at home within me. It had become the thing I feared the most. The feeling I don’t know how to quell and the feeling which causes self doubt in me like nothing else. Wondering if anything will ever work out, if anyone will ever live up to what they say they’re going to do, if there’s something inherently wrong with me. I wasn’t sure I could do it again. I honestly felt like I’d reached the tipping point.

I had more questions than answers, and more concerns than confidences. A friend said to me a while afterwards, realising I was struggling to come to terms with the swiftness of the zero to 100 to zero journey we’d been on – “you don’t need to know why he did what he did, just know that it wasn’t an accident.” I have no clue what happened on his end, what changed in his mind. All I know is how I felt and what I did. And those are the things I can learn from.

I didn’t want to write this story. It still stings. Not because I still harbour feelings. Unless that feeling is confusion. I like closure, I like tying up loose ends, I like closing the loop – I was able to do none of that with this situation. Him saying he didn’t have space for me or anyone in his life right now would have been an acceptable explanation (let’s forget the ghosting that took place to get there), except for the fact that two weeks later, I saw him on Bumble again, with an updated profile which now read “looking to date a tall girl”….

To O,

Fuck you.

Sincerely, this 5’4 shortarse


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Always Say Yes To A Boat


If there’s one rule I try to live by in life, and dating, it’s “always say yes to a boat”. But should the answer still be yes if it’s a first date, you’re not even sure you find the guy attractive, and said boat date is going to be with a bunch of his friends on a national holiday?

In my world, the answer is yes, still say yes to the boat. And so I found myself trying to decide what to wear to a first date on a boat on Canada Day when the (obvious) theme was red. At the time I had one thing in my closet that was red – an all-in-one playsuit. I figured I could dress it down with a pair of converse and it wouldn’t be too dressy, but cute and on theme, albeit not ideal for peeing on a boat… but you can’t have everything.

We weren’t supposed to have such an unconventional first date. We had initially arranged drinks on a Friday night, but when I got carried away having drinks beforehand with a couple of friends, they persuaded me to bail on the date and stay out with them. Which I duly did and, if I’m honest, felt very little remorse about because, well, chicks before dicks. But it definitely moved me one step closer to being the sort of Vancouver flakey dater that I hated, so really not something I wanted to get into the habit of.

He was incredibly gracious about the eleventh hour call off though, and instead he suggested we did something over the long weekend we were embarking on, like maybe watch the Canada Day fireworks. I agreed and when he then got invited onto his friends boat to watch the fireworks, he asked me to join him or said we could still just watch them as planned from land, just the two of us, as we’d already made those plans and he didn’t want to back out. A subtle dig at my Friday night bail? Maybe, but he was more than entitled.

And that’s when the “always say yes to a boat” rule came in. Because you never know how big that boat might be! It’s similar to dating, but in dating it’s not a boat whose size is of interest… it’s his brain. Get your mind out the gutter.

He suggested we meet first for a drink to ensure neither of us were crazy and to make sure I felt comfortable getting onto a boat with a total stranger. When I got to the place he’d suggested and it was closed for the day I was more than a little concerned the whole thing was a set up to get back at me for bailing on him. But when he turned up a few minutes later as I was still texting him to ask for an alternative plan, he quickly found an alternative and we sat down to have our first proper conversation after what had been weeks of texting. In fact it had been so long of back and forth that eventually I’d had to say “let’s go on a date or let’s quit the chitter chatter”. I like a text convo as much as the next basic bitch, but not with guys I haven’t even met yet.

It had given me the feeling that he wasn’t the most authoritative of guys, and in our (many days and weeks of) text conversations he’d come across as a super nice guy… Maybe too nice? I definitely had a feeling that could be the case. But nice guys shouldn’t always finish last so I gave it a chance.

He was a 35 year old Canadian, who worked in business development for a food delivery company and had recently moved to the city from Ontario. I knew from our texts that he was pretty active and had travelled a lot so we had a lot to talk about. Thankfully, Canada Day Boat Guy, as he would be known, was friendly and easy to talk to but even before we’d finished our first drink I knew I wasn’t going to be romantically interested in him.

Had we been partaking in a “normal” first date, I likely would have been ready to go after a couple of drinks, so part of me was relieved when the date moved onto the boat with 6 other people. Though as we walked down to the marina part of me was aware that I was about to essentially be stuck with these people for the next four or five hours, whether I liked it or not, as soon as we set sail.

Thankfully all of his friends were lovely, and amazed that I’d agreed to go on a first date with a guy and his mates on a boat, at night. When they put it like that I realised that, yeah, maybe it was a kind of crazy thing to agree to. But seriously… the boat rule! Unfortunately this boat wasn’t the biggest. It was a little sailboat, maybe 25 feet, but it was cute and had a BBQ on the back for some food later. And as Canada Day Boat Guy had promised, they had all the food and drink bases covered, which was pretty nice. So I just showed up with a bottle of champagne for the start of the fireworks.

The night was great, although I was aware that I spent far more time talking to everyone else than I did Canada Day Boat Guy. A couple of my boat mates were visiting from California, there was a couple from Vancouver, and it turned out that one of the other friends knew Chinese Weightlifting Firefighter, so we weren’t short of conversation. And irrespective of the company, watching the Canada Day fireworks from on the water was quite the memory maker.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the romantic moment it might have been, I guess that’s what happens when your first date includes six other people. It ain’t as cute as it sounds!

By the time the fireworks were finished I was really ready to get off the boat. It had been fun, yes, but things with Canada Day Boat Guy weren’t going anywhere and I was pretty damn tired by that point. Turns out the boat wasn’t really going anywhere either – with a severe lack of wind it took quite some time for us to get back to the marina from the harbour where we’d watched the fireworks.

When we finally made it back to land I realised it wasn’t just a matter of saying goodbye to everyone and heading home. Canadian Boat Guy and I should probably have a chat just ourselves. So we made the walk back along the marina and I felt like there was some similar resignation within him that this wasn’t going anywhere and it hadn’t quite been the first date to spark a million more. At least not with each other.

When we finally reached the gate of the dock and he was going to get on his bike and go one way and I was going to walk home the opposite way, we agreed it had been fun but maybe there wasn’t a second date in our future. It was all very amicable but he then ended it by saying “but if you see me around you can buy me a beer as payback for the boat”.

I laughed it off and agreed but afterwards I felt distinctively like it had been a dig at me, as if I somehow owed him because he’d taken me on a date and it hadn’t gone anywhere. It may not have been how he intended it, but that was entirely the way I took it. And I felt uncomfortable about it every time I thought of it afterwards.

Did he think I’d used him for the boat? Did he think I’d been rude by speaking to his friends so much? Had he expected me to go home with him? I wasn’t sure where that had come from but I decided I really didn’t care to find out. I texted him later that night to thank him for the date – as I always do after a date if he’s paid for anything, as Canada Day Boat Guy had when we first met for a drink – and the next day I deleted his number.

You should always say yes to a boat, but you shouldn’t keep saying yes if there’s nothing but the boat that you’re interested in.

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