How to Become a Freelance Writer

I’m excited to write this post today because it’s long overdue. I regularly get emails from people who are looking for advice on how to break into freelance writing. While I’m happy to help other writers, I’m sometimes hesitant to give advice for two reasons. 

1. I started writing for magazines and websites in 2010. 

A lot has changed. My freelance career is the direct result of the blogging boom of the mid-to-late aughts. I also lived in Toronto, a major media centre and was able to do a lot of in-person networking. So, I fully recognize that my experiences aren’t necessarily relevant to 2020. 

2. A decade in, I’m still trying to figure this shit out.

I’m not an expert in pitching magazines. Instead, I’ve managed to get most of my writing jobs through people I know either directly or indirectly. If you’re looking for a magic recipe to get into The New Yorker or guarantee a cover story with the Atlantic, I’m not your girl (I’m pretty sure this isn’t a thing but if you manage to crack the code let me know). 

The short and super transparent story of how I started freelance writing for magazines and websites. 

I started this blog in 2009 as a portfolio with the end goal of writing for magazines (it happened!) and eventually penning a memoir (still working on it!). I wrote voraciously and within a year, I’d developed a readership. In 2010, I connected with a friend of a friend who was the beauty editor of Elle Canada. I wanted to learn more about writing for magazines. Familiar with my blog, she offered me my first gig writing for 29Secrets. This led to me writing pieces for Elle Canada. I also had a friend who worked as an editor at Slice and Food Network Canada, who assigned me some writing work. I did all this while still working at my former day job. 

In 2013, another acquaintance that I’d met at Toronto media events recommended me as a relationship expert for a video event with the Toronto Sun. I loved the experience and clicked with the editor. She didn’t have any writing work for me at the time, but a couple months later she reached out and offered me the Toronto Sun Sex Files column, which I’ve been writing ever since. Writing for the Sun has allowed me to build up a body of work which I’ve been able to leverage into other opportunities. 

I make it sound easy, but it wasn’t. There were a lot of late nights and bleary eyed mornings at my day job, alongside the usual blood, sweat and tears that come with side-hustling your way into a career. With that said, I also networked my ass off and was very, very lucky that I already knew a few people in the media. 

[I also think it’s important to acknowledge my privilege here. I’m a white, straight passing woman. Because of this, I was able to access certain media spaces with relative ease. I know this isn’t the case for everyone.] 

I can only share what I know based on my own experiences, which in some ways are atypical.

So without further ado, here are a few things that will may help you launch a freelance writing career. 

1. Start writing the stories and creating the content you want to see. 

One of the smartest things I did when I first started out was use my blog to showcase my skills as a writer. While blogs don’t have the same cachet that they did back in the late aughts, you can still use your online presence to create a portfolio and show the world what you’re capable of. 

Create a personal website or blog and regularly post things you’ve written. Publish on Medium. Don’t wait for permission. Whether you want to write about the local food scene, beauty products or your personal obsession with iguanas — just start writing and creating content about the stuff that interests you. This is a great way to sell a potential client or editor on your writing chops even if you don’t have any bylines yet. 

A great example of this is one of my favourite writers, Kate Kaput of Greatest Escapist. She has channeled her love of Cleveland, Ohio into an engaging & ultra long-running blog, personal essays and articles for local and national outlets. 

2. Take a pitching class. 

Not sure how to pitch publications? Looking to improve your pitching skills? I feel you. One thing that really helped was taking a version of Pitch Like a Honey Badger with Julie Schwietert Collazo. Not only did I learn the ins and outs of pitching, but it gave me a much needed confidence boost (the cost of the course paid for itself once I landed my first assignment). It also provided really great insight into the industry and how editors actually work. 

If you have budgetary restrictions, there’s a lot of free info online like this piece on freelance writing pitches that worked

There’s also a handful of writers online that regularly share pitching and freelance advice on Instagram. I love to follow travel writer and beauty editor, Kristin Corpuz for this reason. She’s another creative that’s used her platform in a really lovely way to showcase her skills as a writer and content creator. If you sign up for her newsletter, she sends you a quick guide to pitching. 

3. Use the resources available to you. 

While going to in-person networking events isn’t realistic during a pandemic, there are still many ways you can connect with fellow writers and editors online. Start by follow writers and editors you like on Twitter to get an idea of the kinds of stories people are looking for. They’ll often share bylines and calls for pitches. 

There are also a host of Freelance Writer Binder groups on Facebook. I don’t know what their current joining criteria is but Binders Full of Global Freelance Writers is the one I frequent the most. It’s where you can connect with other writers, ask for advice about stories and see editor’s calls for pitches. 

4. Ask yourself why you want to write.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you have a desire to tell your stories in a big way and get paid for it — and that’s totally valid. Just be aware that if you’re looking to make money quickly, freelance writing isn’t necessarily where it’s at. Yes, you can make money doing editorial work but outlets typically don’t pay as soon as you turn in your assignment. While there are exceptions, on average don’t expect to receive payment for an article for at least 4-6 weeks. Which brings me to my next point..

5. Don’t limit yourself to publications and editorial work. 

Only ⅓ of my income comes from editorial work (writing articles for other media outlets). The majority of my monthly revenue comes from “behind the scenes” writing (copyediting, ghost-blogging, copywriting, curating and managing social media feeds) for a small roster of regular clients. While it’s less glory than a bunch of splashy bylines, doing this kind of work ensures that my bills get paid on time. The editorial work I do get is a fun bonus. This is true for most of the successful freelancers I know. 

If you’re looking to make money writing I’d suggest looking beyond magazine writing. Can you help a local business or brand revamp their blog or social media? Do you have a friend that needs editing help? Are there other ways you can get paid to write? Reach out to your contacts and put yourself out there! This is where having an online platform that showcases your skills really comes into play. 

6. Don’t be gross about “networking.”

It’s alarming how many times I’ve had aspiring writers reach out to me and straight up ask for my rolodex of editor contacts and clients. Do not do this. This isn’t how you network. Freelance writing is a precarious, unpredictable line of work that’s all about relationships. Most writers have spent years cultivating relationships with editors. No one wants to hand over their contacts and potentially jeopardize these relationships and their paycheque. So, don’t do this. Ever. It’s gross. 

Instead, do the work. Start writing. Set up your portfolio. Ask writers and editors thoughtful questions and be mindful of their time. If someone declines your offer to “pick their brain” don’t take it personally. As freelancers and/or editors they’re probably (like me) juggling a bunch of different projects and deadlines that are all time sensitive, while also trying to maintain a semblance of a personal life

(With that being said, if you’re friendly & respectful I will always try and help in whatever capacity I can — even if I can’t meet up in person or virtually.) 

Is there anything I missed? What else are you curious about? 

Drop a comment or feel free to send me a private message on Twitter, Instagram or via email. I’d love to hear from you. 

Some Brief Thoughts on Love, Addiction and Dealing with Alcoholism

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was in love with a guy who I now understand was an addict. When we got together he was open about his past struggles with alcoholism and drugs, but he assured me that those days were well behind him and that he “no longer had a problem” because he “knew his limits.” Spoiler alert: he didn’t.

Over the next few years, I got a front row seat to his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. The all night coke binges. His angry tirades when he was drunk or high. Getting kicked out of places because my boyfriend was drunk and belligerent. I was only nineteen when I met him and thought (like most people on the cusp of adulthood) that I could handle anything — including “fixing” him. I was wrong. I was young, naive and living alone in a new, big city with almost no support system. In the end, I turned to self-medicating as a way of dealing with the things that were happening in my life.

I’ll never forget the day my roommate told me she thought I might need help. Earlier that day she’d come home from an early morning class to find me passed out drunk on the kitchen floor. Although I never sought formal addiction treatment, I did eventually seek out a therapist who helped me better understand and deal with the reasons I was drinking in the first place. The truth is, I didn’t really start to work through a lot of my issues until I was in my 30’s. While my life is good now, I often wonder how different things would have been if I’d gotten help right then and there.

What I’ve learned from both of these experiences is that you should never be ashamed to get the help you need. With that said, there’s a lot of mystery and misconceptions surrounding what drug and alcohol treatment actually looks like. (I mean, I’ve seen the episode of Californication where Hank Moody does a stint in a rehab, but I’m smart enough to know that the process probably involves less hot celebrities and witty quips around the group therapy circle than what’s shown on screen). This is a cause that’s important to me, so today I’m sharing some info about addiction recovery on behalf of Recovery Village Rehab.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, here’s a few things you should know:

What is drug rehab and treatment?

Drug rehabilitation, commonly referred to as “rehab,” is the process of treatment for dependency on drugs. The purpose of drug rehab is to release a person from the grips of substance abuse. These individuals often seek treatment when their substance use has become compulsive and out of control, and the negative side effects aren’t enough to deter their decisions. There are hundreds of drug rehabilitation centers all over the country designed to help men, women and adolescents struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol or both.

Whether you’ve been struggling with addiction for months or years, rehab can be a source of strength for people. Drug rehab centers typically employ a variety of methods to overcome substance use disorder, including programs that range from medical detox to inpatient and outpatient programs. Understanding the process can help you choose the right process for you or the person you love.

The rehab process is typically divided into 4 steps:

  • Assessment: The person seeking treatment meets with a team of counselors and doctors to identify the right treatment plan.
  • Detoxification (detox): In order to begin the rehab process, abused drugs need to be removed from the body. This process can be dangerous, which is why it’s overseen by doctors. Detoxification also involves taking medication to manage withdrawal symptoms.
  • Rehabilitation: getting drugs and alcohol out of the system is just the beginning. This part of the process involves working with therapists to get at the core reasons the person is using in the first place.
  • Aftercare: The main purpose of aftercare is to ensure the transformation that happened during the rehabilitation process endures. This involves taking steps to ensure that the skills learned during rehabilitation become a part of everyday life.

Kinds of Treatment Programs

Everyone needs something slightly different which is why treatment programs should be tailored to individual needs. Programs for treatment of alcoholism include:

  • Inpatient/residential programs: Residential inpatient treatment is the next step for clients who have completed or are near completion of their detox program. For those in residential inpatient treatment, a medical and non-medical option exists based on the client’s needs.
    Recovery Village Rehab is a type of inpatient rehabilitation center that is designed for specific patient’s needs. It offers various treatment options, wellness programs and support to clients to enhance healing.
  • Partial hospitalization: This is for people who have stable situation but are in need of continuous medical monitoring. The program is conducted between 3 and 5 days a week for up to 6 hours a day. Treatment is done during the day and the client can go home in evening.
  • Outpatient rehabilitation: An option for individuals whose addiction is less severe and doesn’t require inpatient treatment. Clients in this phase of rehab drug treatment visit the facility regularly, but do not stay overnight. This approach allows the individual to receive drug treatment while maintaining family and job responsibilities.
  • Individual, group or family therapy. Aftercare is so important. Therapy helps in identifying the root cause of addiction while building relationships and helping patients learn coping skills.

In conclusion, I wish I’d known more about these options when I was younger — or at the very least sought counseling to talk through the reasons why I felt I needed to self-medicate. This is all to say that there’s help available and that there’s absolutely no shame in getting it.

Gorgeous photo by Stephanie Dimiskovski and found via Pinterest.

Thanks for tuning in for this very special episode of Skinny Dip! This post was brought to you by Recovery Village Rehab. Thanks for supporting the posts that support Skinny Dip. xx

How To Be Your Own Best Friend

 

This post was brought to you by omgkinky.com. Thanks for supporting the posts that support Skinny Dip.

There was a period in my life between ages 18 and 22 where I really struggled with spending alone. I went from living with my family, where I was always surrounded by people and spending time alone was a choice, to living by myself in Toronto where being alone was the default. I now covet my alone time, but back then I was terrified of my own company — especially on the weekends, when I assumed everyone but me was out doing “cool stuff.” I’d sign up for extra shifts at work and say yes to plans with friends (no matter how ridiculous) just so I wouldn’t have to deal with the inevitable panic attack that would set in whenever I thought of staying home alone in my apartment.

Something changed around 22 or 23 and I finally re-learned how to date myself. Here’s a few things that have helped me build a better relationship with myself.

1. Find out what you love and do more of that thing.

A few years ago, I realized I feel most like myself when I’m dancing or moving my body (barre, yoga, climbing a pole), so I’ve made a concerted effort to do those things. If you’re not sure what you love, give yourself permission to experiment and try as many new things as possible. You might end up falling in love with a part of yourself that you never knew existed (or you might just end up taking a lot of photos of a half-naked G.I. Joe).

2. Take yourself on dates.

Solo dates are the best because you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT! I used to feel really awkward sitting alone in a restaurant or a movie theater, but now I kind of love it. I still love doing these things with other people best, but sometimes it’s nice to know you can go have an awesome day/night all on your own.

3. Listen to your buddy voice.

Our intuition often gives us the best advice… if we’re willing to listen. That rising sense of anxiety you get whenever you get a text from a certain person? The sinking feeling you get before doing x, y or z? The nagging sense that something just feels off? These aren’t just random thoughts. Your intuition wants the best for you, so it’s important to listen to “your buddy voice” (as my friend likes to call it). Respect your personal boundaries. If something feels wrong, it probably is.

4. Masturbate.

Seriously. I’m of the firm belief that the world would be a better place if we all took more time for self-pleasure. To quote RuPaul, “if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” The same applies to sex: you can’t expect someone to please you, if you don’t know how to please yourself. So don’t be afraid to explore and experiment in this regard too. You can check out omgkinky.com for some suggestions. The Skinny Dip archives are also chock-full of ideas for solo-play!

5. Stop emotionally drop-kicking yourself.

I can be my own worst enemy, but I’m trying to get better at quieting the negative self talk. Treat yourself how you’d want to be treated. Would your best friend repeatedly tell you that you suck? No, of course not. So, stop saying these things to yourself. Instead, remind yourself that you’re pretty great & are doing your best.

6. Be unapologetic about your interests.

My interests are eclectic to say the least. I like taking photos of Joe the Intern, collecting pins, reading like a beast, looking at art and occasionally taking a few spins around the pole. I’m also obsessed with soul music, hip hop and true crime podcasts. I used to think that I had to hide certain interests so that my story as a person would make sense for other people (I mean, it’s already weird enough that I’m a sex writer without having to add, “oh and by the way, I’m also super into doll photography!”) but I’ve since learned that I’m not doing the world any favors by pressing the dimmer switch on my identity. The more I embrace my interests, the more confident I feel and the easier it becomes to spend time solo.

7. Take a trip by yourself.

My recent foray into solo travel has definitely evolved the relationship I have with myself. While I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some lonely moments when I went to Los Angeles, Mexico or Jamaica solo, for the most part traveling solo was an exhilarating experience. You can visit unique destinations and once you’re there, explore them however you like. Traveling solo is something everyone should try at least once.


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Guys, We Need To Talk About Your Texts

 

This post has been brewing for awhile. Today we’re going to talk about text messages. Gross, disturbing, overtly sexual, inappropriate, creepy and uncalled for sexts.

But, before we get to that we need to talk about The Actor. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him, which now seems like a major oversight.

The Actor and I met in 1999 while we were both working at an upscale menswear store in downtown Toronto (one of my first part time jobs when I moved to the city.) Although we only worked together for a short time, he made an impression on me. He was studying pre-med and seemed kind & thoughtful. He was also cute – in a rather unsettling way.

The Actor and I look alike. Scarily alike.

In fact, when we were introduced my first thought was, “if I was a man, I would look exactly like him.” He has a porcelain complexion, blue-green eyes framed by dark expressive eye-brows and a thick mop of curly dark hair. Although my hair at the time was dyed a frosted blonde (hello, it was the late 90’s), other people noticed the resemblance too. A bunch of my coworkers just assumed The Actor and I we were related. On several occasions people asked me in earnest if he was my brother.

I’d have to explain, “Oh, you mean ________? Yeah, we’re not related.”

Coworker: “Are you sure?”

Faux familial ressemblance aside, The Actor and I had a connection but I never pursued anything with him because I had a boyfriend at the time. We both stopped working at the menswear store shortly thereafter.

Flash-forward a year later: I’m now single and attending the same university as The Actor where e’d periodically bump into each other around campus every few months. At the end of third year, I ran into him while on the way to my summer school class and we ended up having an extended stop & chat. He told me he had been doing some acting. I assumed he had (like me) shot a few low budget student films. We exchanged numbers and agreed to hang out (finally!)

I was at the video store near my apartment when I saw the poster. The bottom half featured a dark haired man and woman in bed. Above the image: a 2-ft wide set of eerily familiar blue-green eyes. It was The Actor. The movie he had starred in wasn’t some run of the mill student production, it was an award winning film by a world renowned director. I was stunned.

The Actor was kind of a big deal. 

A few nights later we went on our first date to a popular upscale pub located near campus. We sat on the patio and the conversation flowed nicely. At this point in my dating career, I was used to spending time with sullen, sardonic, troubled dudes (read: douchebags), so The Actor’s disposition caught me off guard. He seemed legitimately happy and excited about everything – including hanging out with me.

At some point during the night I got up to use the washroom and was accosted by two girls.

“Are you with ________?” they asked.

“Yes, we’re having a drink.”

“Oh my god, he’s so dreamy,” one of them said.

“Uh, yeah, I guess” I replied.

“You know he’s like a total player right?” the other one said.

“Uh?”

“Yeah, you should be careful. He like, totally broke two of my friends’ hearts.”

All I could think during this interaction was, “THAT GUY?! REALLY?” Sure, he was adorable but The Actor just seemed really sweet and kind of hapless. I was well versed in dating players and he didn’t strike me as one.

I politely assured them that I could handle myself and went back to our table.

I was dating several different guys that summer. When I told my best friend this story, she said, “really, he should have been worried about you.” She has a point.

We went out 3 or 4 more times, during which we had a few make-out sessions. On our second to last date, I invited him back to my place. We were kissing, when he pretended to lose his balance, pulling me onto my bed. It was a move out of…well, a movie (and not a good one).

We kissed some more but I stopped things before they went too far. Maybe it was his cheesy make-out move, his exuberant (bordering on slightly manic) energy or the fact that WE LOOKED RELATED, but something felt a bit off. Although I liked The Actor, I decided to hold off on sex until I could get a better read on him.

A few weeks later, I went back to the West Coast for the summer. In September, he invited me to be his date at the Toronto Film Festival Holt Renfrew party, but I had a terrible case of bronchitis and couldn’t go.

(My Mom is still mad at me for this and insists I should have just “sucked it up and went.” She’s always been a fan of The Actor and sees him as “the one that got away.” She never misses a chance to remind me of this whenever she sees him in something on TV.)

The Actor and I lost touch for a few years until we found each other on Facebook. By that point he’d moved to LA to pursue acting full time and I was in a serious long term relationship.

There have been many times between then and now that I have thought back on what did, or rather what didn’t happen between me and The Actor. Was I really not into him, or was I just turned off by the fact that he seemed too nice? Accustomed to dating assholes, I used to think that nice guys were corny. However, now that I’m in my 30’s and a little bit wiser, a corny guy actually sounds pretty great.

So, when The Actor reached out to me on Instagram a few months ago, I was intrigued. He’d noticed photos from my recent trip to Los Angeles and mentioned that we should hang out next time I was in town. We exchanged numbers and he texted me that night.

Maybe I was being totally naive, but that evening I allowed myself to daydream about what our time in LA might look like: afternoon bike rides along the Venice boardwalk followed by dinner & drinks at Sugarfish. This could turn into the perfect vacation fling…. or maybe something more? Was The Universe finally sending me my very own Canadian/American Angeleno Dream Man?!

However, NOTHING could have prepared me for what came next.

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I Would Die 4 U: 10 Dating Lessons From Prince’s Purple Rain

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A few weeks ago I was in Los Angeles, alone with no plans on a Tuesday night. When I checked the movie app on my phone and saw that a screening of Purple Rain was playing at LA Live, I bought a ticket without thinking twice. A few hours later I was sitting in the dark with my fellow Prince fans, watching the late, great, Purple One come alive on screen. We sang along, laughed in unison at the awkward moments and some of us even danced in the aisles. My Mom and I are big Prince fans, so his passing ten days earlier hit us hard. But, that night I felt pure joy and gratitude – like all of us were in this together.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Purple Rain follows “The Kid” (Prince) a young, talented musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home. When The Kid meets Apollonia, a beautiful, aspiring singer, he has to contend with a burgeoning romance, a rival singer and his own personal demons. The movie itself is a bit goofy (it was made in 1984 so there’s a lot of eye-liner and stilted dialogue) but the musical performances are utterly flawless. As a cultural artifact, it’s a beautiful thing.

Originally I planned on writing about how Prince’s music has affected my life – how songs like Little Red Corvette provided the soundtrack to my sexual awakening and how seeing him live for the first time in 2011 made me believe in the healing and transcendent power of music – but, I’ve already covered that ground. So, I’ll say this –

Ladies and gents, we need to talk about Purple Rain.

Watching Purple Rain again as a sex and relationship writer, I couldn’t help but remark on some of the important things the film can teach us about modern love and dating. So, in an effort to keep things light, here’s a few of my favourites.

1. No one likes a lurker.

Well, unless that lurker is Prince. Generally, I would say that lurking awkwardly behind a woman, wearing sunglasses in a darkened night club is not a good move. Neither is disappearing into thin air as soon as she turns around and says, “I really liked your song too.” But, Prince makes it work.

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In fact, there are a lot of dating moves in Purple Rain that are a bad idea, like stealing a woman’s jewelry or having sex in a room filled with clown dolls (Don’t worry – I’ll  get to that in a minute.) But, what you need to understand is that different rules apply to Prince.

 Because, Prince is magic. 

 

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2. Eye Contact is everything.

Before there was Facebook, Tinder and sites like flirtfair.ca, singles relied on smoky bars like First Avenue, awesome guitar solos and eye-contact to impress the opposite sex. Lots and lots of eye-contact. Prince is king of the sex stare. The way he looks at Apollonia is so direct it’s almost unsettling, but it lures her (and us) in anyways.

FYI, I attribute Prince’s sex stare to why I spent most of my twenties serially dating really intense dudes with big brown eyes.

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3. Beware of men who play with puppets. 

Although Prince’s vampire mini-me is kind of adorable, there’s something a bit creepy about guys who use puppets to express their feelings (pro-tip: I wouldn’t recommend adding “ventriloquism” to your Tinder profile.) But, because it’s Prince we also let this one slide. Just remember – you’ve been warned.

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4. If a guy asks you to “pass an initiation” and “purify yourself in Lake Minnetonka”- keep your clothes on.

Take it from Apollonia – it’s never the right lake. Also, when your boyfriend drives off on his purple motorcycle and you’re left naked, without a towel, it’s a real bitch getting back into your leather pants.

5. Stay away from Morris Day (&/or guys like him.)

Sure, Morris Day is really good at dancing “The Bird” and manages to keep his light coloured suits really clean despite spending most of his working hours in a bar, but his character in Purple Rain is bad news. First of all, he has some of the best/worst/creepiest pick up lines ever.

For example, “Your lips would make a lollipop too happy” (shudder) and everyone’s favourite, “I have a brass waterbed.” Morris, that doesn’t even make any sense, but if I had to visualize your bedroom it would look something like this. (photo credit)

BrassBed

In addition to mentioning his bedroom furniture, Morris also tells Apollonia, “I’m going to make you love me” which, he attempts to do by opening his white coat and repeatedly thrusting his pelvis while making bird noises in a darkened alleyway.

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You know, all totally normal stuff men do to attract beautiful women. I think Apollonia’s expression says it all.

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Failure to stay away from dudes like Morris means that you may find yourself cornered by a pelvic thrusting lothario or literally, thrown in a dumpster. However, unlike in the movie, a guy in high heels won’t show up on his purple motorcycle to save you.

Instead, it’s all about the strategic nipple flash.

If only Morris Day knew. If you feel like you’re losing your girl, flash a nipple. It worked for Prince. However, it also doesn’t hurt if you sing a knee weakening rendition of Beautiful Ones while you flash said nipple. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go take a cold shower.

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6. Closed mouth kissing is weird, dude.

My sister and I rarely see eye to eye, but when we watched Purple Rain for the first time together we were in agreement about one thing: “what is up with the kissing?” Prince is/was an incredibly sexy human being, but he kisses Apollonia like I used to make my Barbies kiss my lone Ken doll. I’d mash their permanently closed mouths together and move their heads around a bunch (probably because my only point of reference was Purple Rain.)

For the record, I’ve dated guys who wouldn’t open their mouths or relax their lips while kissing and it’s frustrating. I can’t help but watch this movie and think, “relax your lips” – especially since Prince’s lips are a work of art.

I want to believe the reason for this comes down to shyness. As a musician, maybe Prince was uncomfortable with the love scenes? But, then there’s the bed scene where Prince clearly gets a handful (and then some) of Apollonia (cue: cold shower #2) so, I don’t know.

In the words, of Prince, “Purple Rain, you make me so confused.”

7. Remove all clowns from your bedroom (Unless you’re into that. Then, carry on.)

We also need to talk about the clowns. Prince’s character in the movie lives in his parents’ basement. Inside his living space we see the following: music stuff, some pseudo Warhol-esque prints, canning supplies and clown dolls.

His movie bedroom kind of reminds me of the summer I spent dating our neighbourhood’s weed dealer – a guy who also had a finely honed sex stare, lived in a dingy basement suite and collected plush tigers (which, almost seems less creepy, but not really.) There was a period in the 80’s when these clown dolls weren’t considered totally terrifying. We are no longer living in that era. TLDR: if Bae’s apartment looks like a casting call for a miniature circus, run.

The clowns of Purple Rain

8. Parents give really grim dating advice.

When Prince’s movie Dad tells him, “never get married” my heart breaks a tiny bit – partly, because this is a really heart-wrenching moment in the film but also because I’ve heard similar advice from my own relatives. While they likely have good intentions, it can be incredibly disheartening to hear these kinds of things from our parents. It’s also important to keep in mind that none of us are destined to repeat their mistakes.

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9. But, sometimes we repeat our parents mistakes anyways.

Sometimes we really are like our father/mother (too bold/never satisfied) and we end up repeating the same relationship patterns we witnessed growing up. This becomes abundantly clear when “The Kid” slaps his girlfriend and then struggles with his feelings during a montage set to When Doves Cry.  But, here’s the thing – regardless of our past, we’re all capable of having healthy relationships. In order to get there though, we need to sort through our personal shit first. Whether that’s through an epic guitar solo or psychotherapy, we all have emotional baggage that we need to unpack.

10. Relationships are weird and wonderful.

If aliens were forced to watch Purple Rain, I’m pretty sure they’d think it was a weird movie – because it kind of is (remove all of Prince’s iconic musical performances, and you’re basically left with the plot line of a horror film where a socially inept dude lives in a basement, makes a lot of really intense eye contact and pops up places he’s not supposed to be.) But, for those of us who are familiar with Prince, watching Purple Rain is pure love. In fact, Purple Rain is a bit like any relationship. Moments of joy and beauty are interspersed with truly cringe worthy ones and shit you just can’t explain (like weird kissing, puffy shirts and clown doll collections) but that (for whatever reason) you adore anyways. We accept the imperfections, because taken as a whole, it’s magical.

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Rest in Peace, Prince.

 

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