Things You’ll Learn About Love & Sex at 33

When it comes to love and sex, being 33 is both totally weird and awesome.

On one hand, your hormones are raging and you want to have as much sex as possible. However, after a decade of bad decisions in your 20′s you’re now way more selective about who you sleep with…well, sort of. Most days you want to have sex with everyone and no one all at all the same time.

You’ll tell yourself that marriage isn’t really on your mind, but that it would be nice to meet someone that you could actually settle down with. However, some days you’ll catch yourself saying stuff like,  “At this point I don’t even care about finding ONE, I’d be happy to meet someone who is nice and reasonably normal that I can have regular, good, sex with.”

(gorgeous photo found via Keiko Lynn)

Your Pinterest account reveals your true feelings though. Amongst boards devoted to home decor, lingerie and whimsical vintage imagery, lurks one called “Creepy Imaginary Wedding” where you pin to your hearts content all things nuptial related. For someone who is always saying she isn’t even sure whether she believes in marriage, you sure do know what you want. (FYI, you’re thinking a classic, old school Hollywood vibe, bright fuchsia flower arrangments, a modern multi-cultural menu, somewhere like the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It will be hip and quirky, but still very classic and you’ll wear something Reem Accra or Elie Saab -ish obviously. Your groom will look elegant and handsome and won’t be wearing wrap-around sunglasses)

You spend more time than you’d like to admit wondering what your future dates will find more off-putting: The Creepy Imaginary Wedding, your professional relationship with Joe the Intern or the fact that you write about your vagina on the internet. You decide to stop worrying about it and instead just own it. After all, someone who doesn’t accept you for who you really are isn’t worth your time.

You’ll have good sex, “Okay-ish” sex and sex that is so bad it’s comical. More often than not you’ll have sex with yourself. You’ll come to the conclusion that you can go without sex for a long time, however going without an orgasm is another story. Your collection of sex toys will grow exponentially to the point where you start to run into storage issues.

When you get the urge for actual human contact, you’ll date people.

You’ll meet a 40-something single dad, whom your attraction to defies logic. However, when you go to have sex, you’ll be reminded that some people will use ridiculous excuses to get out of using condoms. He’ll insist that instead of using a condom, you should “just trust him.” This will also remind you of something you learned in your 20’s: that anyone who uses the line “just trust me!” should absolutely not be trusted. Later you watch an episode of Portlandia and determine that this guy must liken himself to be some sort of “pull out king” – albeit, a rather unsuccessful one: he has three kids.

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15 (More) Must Read Books About Love, Life & Being a Woman

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably clued in to the fact that I love to read. I always have a book on the go and when I’m not reading I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time browsing bookstores and obsessing over what I’m going to read next. A couple of you have asked me for book recommendations recently, so I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favourite reads.

Ever since I wrote a post called 12 Books About Love, Life and Being a Woman last spring, I’ve been dying to write a sequel. Here are 15 more books about love, life and being a woman. Some of these titles are things I have read & enjoyed over the past year, while others are long time favourites.

If you enjoy this blog, you might enjoy these books too.

1. Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple – Part adventure & mystery, part hilarious satire, this was one of my favourite books I read in 2013. I love the character of Bernadette – she’s smart, witty, totally eccentric and utterly original. Set in Seattle, the book really captures (in the most hilarious way possible) the organic- granola-crunching-designer-rubber-boot-wearing-overly-PC atmosphere of life on the West Coast and what it’s like to feel like an outsider in this milieu (hmm, sound familiar?)

2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell –  “Hi, I”m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ” When Lincoln, a mild-mannered, slightly nerdy IT guy is put in charge of monitoring office emails he never expects to become captivated by the entertaining emails exchanged between best-friends and co-workers Beth and  Jennifer. By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s too late to introduce himself – after all, he doesn’t even know what she looks like. What should be the creepiest story ever, turns into one of the sweetest, non-sucky love stories I’ve come across in a long time. I also loved the witty exchanges between Beth & Jennifer because their characters remind me so much of my best friend and I. Whenever someone asks for the perfect “feel good book” I tell them, “THIS. Read this.

3. Monkey Mind: a Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith – Although this book isn’t really about love and wasn’t written by a woman, as someone with an anxiety disorder, I could really relate to this memoir. As Smith describes the various layers of anxiety and how he experiences his day to day life, I kept finding myself saying, “Yes. yes. yes. I know what that’s like.” I feel like this book put into words a lot of thoughts and feelings I’ve had, but haven’t been able to express. The book is also full of witty humour as Smith describes the self-destructive absurdity that is living with anxiety. A good one to read if you or are a loved one are anxious.

4. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta – Ever since I started blogging, I’ve become completely obsessed with reading memoirs of other 30-something women writers. This is a fantastic memoir and one of my favourite books from 2013. Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving town north of Boston, in a trash-filled house, with her drug addicted mother Kathi – a notorious local figure, whose life swung between welfare and riches, and whose highbrow taste was at odds with her hardscrabble life. With or Without You is a gritty coming of age tale about loving, leaving and healing your personal demons. I couldn’t put it down.

5. And the Heart Says Whatever by Emily Gould – Unlike Ruta, Emily Gould grew up in relative privilege and following college, landed a job in NYC working at Gawker. I resisted reading this book for a long time because I’d heard it described as “narcissistic, angsty hipster drivel” however, I’m glad I picked this book. Gould’s memoir is written in stark, clear prose and seems to perfectly capture the numbness that a lot of us feel in our post-college mid-twenties. I rarely ever cry over a book, but when I read the passage where Gould breaks up with her boyfriend (in a scene so eerily similar to my own breakup), it brought me to tears. Gould grew on me throughout the book, to the point where I didn’t really want to let her go when it was over.

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Twenty Year Olds Think I’m Funny

For those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile, you probably know that I have a long running and complicated history with the hipster coffee shop around the corner from my house. Yes, the coffee isn’t that great, there’s rarely any free seats and more often than not it smells like unwashed hair, but it’s only a block away from my house – as someone who works from home this means something. When working from my bedroom/office starts to feel claustrophobic, I need that place as my quick “getaway” just as much as they need the four dollars I willingly give them for my cafe mocha.

Another thing you need to understand about me is that I have a fondness for groan inducing corny jokes and puns. When my Mom, sister and I are hanging out I’m the Ted Mosby of the family. I’ll periodically catch myself saying stuff like, “No, you have the last prawn. I don’t want to be shellfish. Get it guys?!” I may or may not also watch too much How I Met Your Mother on a regular basis.

I think I’m hilarious, but my attempts at dinner time humour are often met with a groan from my family that usually sounds something like, “UGH, SIMONE! Please, no more jokes!”

Today when I walked up to the counter to grab my usual afternoon snack from the hipster coffee shop, the young, ironically coiffed gent manning the cash literally spit up his drink. It was running down the side of his face and the front of his shirt as he promptly apologized to me.

“Ugh, I’m so sorry. I’m disgusting!”

Before I could help myself, I told him, “Son, it looks like you have a drinking problem.

Which, for those of you who don’t know is actually a quote from one of my favourite childhood movies, Airplane. Of course, he wouldn’t know this because when Airplane came out in 1980, this guy wasn’t even a twinkle in his father’s eye.

A scene from Airplane. If only you 20-somethings knew what you were missing out on.

The Hipsterista (Hipster + Barrista. I’m totally going to make this a thing) burst out laughing, as did his Rayban & suspender clad female counterpart.

“Omg! That’s hilarious. Do you have any more jokes?”

“Nope, sorry. That’s all I’ve got today.”

“You’re really funny! Like, actually funny.”

“Thanks.”

As he put together my order, he asked me how my day was going. I told him that I was a writer. He told me he thought my job sounded really cool, but in his words, “I could never do that for a living because I have dyslexia.”  I take it since The Self Proclaimed Nudist wasn’t working today, this guy was put in charge of over-sharing.

He was a sweet kid. I also think I’ve figured out the secret to getting good service at the Hipster Coffee Shop: crack a joke – preferably one that’s pre-1985.

Maybe next time I’ll try out my Naked Gun or Police Academy material.

drinking-problem-airplane-gif

Nobody is Perfect. Not Even Barbie & Ken.

If you’ve been following my Instagram, you have probably noticed that for the past few weekends I’ve been attending Sleepytown’s local flea market, helping my Mom with her vintage clothing and jewelry business. The flea market is an interesting place full of bizarre finds and quirky, colourful characters selling their wares. One of my favourite sellers is an older lady who sells vintage toys. Thanks to her, Joe the Intern with has had new “friends” arriving at Skinny Dip headquarters on a weekly basis.

I was purchasing this guy from her last week when she said to me, “You know, I’ve always thought Ken was kind of gay.” Considering this was coming from a white haired, 70-something grandma type, I had to laugh. I  agreed with her and we spent the next 10 minutes having a very frank and hilarious conversation about men, sexuality and Ken dolls…at the flea market.

When I came home, I told the story to my Mom. A few days later she called me to tell me about this article that she’d stumbled across in the Georgia Straight, our local alternative newspaper.

Vancouver based photographer extraordinaire Dina Goldstein – the artist behind 2009’s Fallen Princesses series (Snow White as weary housewife or Pocahontas as lonely cat lady, anyone?) has turned her skewed lens on iconic couple, Barbie and Ken, in a collection of 10 images titled In the Dollhouse.

Inspired by the traditional gender rolls she saw her daughters reproduce while playing with the dolls, Goldstein decided to take a closer look at the famous dolls, and became convinced that Ken was definitely not a ladies’ man. As she told the Georgia Straight, “Mattel has totally, I think, emasculated him. It’s like, come on… I started playing with dolls in my head, and started thinking that this marriage [with Barbie] has been imposed on him, and now he’s just breaking free and breaking loose, and finding his authentic self.”

Created over 30 days and shot in a purpose built set located in a former art gallery, the series follows the marital breakdown of the world’s most famous set of dolls, depicted by human models. The photos are pretty amazing, which is why I’m sharing them with you today.

Ken and Barbie reading in Bed. It’s OK Ken, those “O” relationship stories get to me too.

Barbie, I feel you. It’s never a good feeling when you’re half naked and your partner is more interested in his hair dryer than what’s under your monogrammed towel.

The subconscious is a murky place. Both Ken and Barbie dream of a moustachioed GI Joe.

Tea time is totally awkward when your beloved insists on wearing your favourite pair of bright pink pumps. The look on Barbie’s face says it all.

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How To Get Ready For a Night Out as a 30-Something

Last week, when the Universe sent me a sign that I’m likely headed towards a life of living alone with an extensive collection of cat figurines, I decided to take matters in my own hands. Within a few minutes of publishing my last blog post I was on my phone texting one of single friends to arrange a girls night out.

Although I still love a good night of drinks and dancing, getting ready for a night on the town as a 30-something is an entirely different operation than getting ready for a night out as an early 20-something. When I was in my early 20’s party prep usually involved getting drunk in the shower, putting on clothes & eating a piece of 3 day old pizza so I wouldn’t throw up later. Party prep as a 30-something involves considerably more pre-planning.

Game day – 

The key to a successful night out relies on establishing the perfect caffeine to power nap ratio. You want to have just enough caffeine in your system to feel human, but not enough that you feel too jittery to have a late afternoon power nap. Failure to power nap before heading out will likely result in your getting the nods at 11pm or worse, copious pre-game consumption of red bull. You’ve learned from your twenties that the latter never ends well.

You look in the mirror and realize that your roots are starting to look way more like Barrack Obama circa 2013 than 2009. There’s no way you can go out like this, which means you’re going to have a to schedule in a trip to the drugstore to buy hair dye.

However, be careful that you don’t linger at the mall and whatever you do don’t say yes to that second latte – you wouldn’t want to risk missing out on your precious nap time! You end up lingering at the mall anyways (“Oooh, free tea testing at David’s Tea!”) leaving you only a 2 hour window to eat, dye your hair and get ready. Colouring your hair under tight time constraints: what could possibly go wrong?!

Forgo nap time. Make coffee instead.

Nutrition – 

You’ve learned from an unfortunate incident in your twenties where you spent two hours throwing up in the washroom of Woody’s that eating before drinking is imperative. To ensure optimal stomach comfort you eat a healthy, protein rich meal with just enough carbs to make you feel full without making you feel sleepy. Now it’s time for the grooming portion of the evening!

Grooming – 

In effort to get the hair dye on your head in the most efficient way possible you manage to drop the applicator. The dye splatters everywhere. There’s purple goop on the counter, on the floor, on the ceiling, behind the toilet.

Purple? That doesn’t seem right.

20 minutes later: Your hair isn’t purple. However, in the haste of cleaning up the bathroom, you’ve also managed to get the dye all over yourself. Your arm now has this weird purplish black pattern that looks like a cross between a bruise and a prison tattoo gone wrong. If you keep your right arm glued to your body the whole night no one will notice. Yes, that will totally work.

Your beauty routine hasn’t changed that much since your early 20’s. However, as a 30-something you’ve developed an addiction to $50 YSL Concealer. When you worked in your cushy day job you wore it everyday, however now that you’re a freelance writer you dole out your YSL with the same discretion as Elaine Benes deciding whether a guy is “Sponge Worthy.” It’s time to bring out the big guns. You apply your YSL liberally and hope it’s worth it.

Wardrobe Selection – 

Your hair & make-up are done and you’re feeling pretty awesome. Now, comes the tricky part: deciding what to wear. As a woman of the world, you know exactly what to wear for a night out in Toronto, Las Vegas, or even Miami. However, when it comes what to wear to go out in Sleepytown you always draw a blank. You know that whatever you decide to wear, you’re likely going to be overdressed or look out of place. If you show up in jeans and heels, everyone will be in sweats. If you show up in a cocktail dress, everyone will be in jeans. If you show up in a Elie Tahari suit, everyone will be in skin-tight body-con dresses. You can’t win.

At 8:01 pm you decide to say “Fuck it!” and go for a look you call “downtown cool” – a white Alexander Wang silk blouse, a vintage Tibi mini-skirt & a Miu Miu clutch. At 8:01 pm you put the Alexander Wang blouse back in the closet after you have visions of someone spilling Jungle Juice all over you. At 8:02 the Tibi skirt also goes back in the closet when you remember what a bitch it is to dry clean.

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