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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10 Things I’ve Learned About Love From “How I Met Your Mother”

A modified version of this post originally appeared on We Love Dates.

It’s no secret that I love How I Met Your Mother – in fact, rarely a day has gone by over the past 9 years when I haven’t quoted or referred to the show in conversation. Yes, I’m that friend. Trust me, between that and my 30 Rock references, it drives most people crazy. With only one final episode left before we say farewell to the show on March 31st, I’ve already begun preparing myself (as I’m sure many of you have) for major withdrawal symptoms. In fact, I have the second to last episode loaded on my computer ready to watch but I can’t yet because, well, it’s the second to last episode. Although I’m excited to see how everything wraps up, I’m not ready to say goodbye to this show. I probably never will be. There’s just so much about life, love and friendship that HIMYM just gets.

So, before we say goodbye and use ALL THE TISSUES in the world, here are a few of my favourite lessons about life & love from Ted, Robin, Lily, Marshall, Barney & the gang.

1. Too much compromise is never a good thing – Every relationship requires some level of compromise, after all,  a couple can’t work if they both had a personal mandate of “my way or the highway.” Being part of a relationship means working together. However, when you expect your partner to go to great lengths just to please you – for example, when Barney asked Quinn to quit her job, or Victoria asked Ted to stop being friends with Robin – it essentially means you want them to be someone they’re not. A relationship shouldn’t require you to give up things that are important to you. If it does, it means you’re in the wrong relationship.

2. Trust is Key – In order for a relationship to be successful you need to trust each other completely. Lack of trust is essentially is what undid the pairing of Quinn and Barney. However, when it comes to Lily and Marshall – the fact that they are willing to share everything and anything with each other (even bathroom habits) – keeps them in sync and connected.

3. Even “perfect” couples fight sometimes – Although Lily and Marshall are basically one of the most perfect couples ever, they don’t always see eye to eye. They fight. They make up. They do it again. Being in love doesn’t mean being “perfect.” If you’re afraid to have arguments, everything will just build up to the point where it’s unhealthy, resentment breeds or things become completely explosive. The fact that most of the couples on the show are shown having arguments on a fairly regular basis reminds us that like them, we’re all just humans trying to do our best.

4. Re-visiting exes usually doesn’t end well – Failure to follow this advice may find you on a date with your balding high-school ex-boyfriend from Canada who still works at a water-slide park, or getting kicked in the face in middle of a restaurant. Tread wisely my friends.

5. Love means accepting someone’s quirks – Whether it’s your best friend or the person you end up marrying, loving someone unconditionally means accepting their quirks, even if one of those quirks is a pair of bright red cowboy boots that they insist they’re “totally pulling off. ”

6. Sometimes your friends know you better than you know yourself – This is especially true when it comes to the people you date. When it comes to Ted’s love life, often the gang can spot things are amiss before he does – for example, when he gets back together with his painstakingly pretentious ex from college, Karen. Love is blind and sometimes we only see what we want to see. This is why you should always keep your good friends close. They want what’s best for you, whether you can see it at the time or not.

7. The “crazy eyes” are totally real – Listening to your intuition is an important part of dating. Often it’s our gut that gives us the best dating advice. If you look into your date’s eyes and feel uneasy, or your friends tell you that this new person you’re hanging out with gives them really bad vibes, take a moment to consider that the Universe may be trying to tell you something – i.e. that you should stay far, far away from this person.

8. You never know who you’ll end up with – [Spoiler Alert] At the beginning of Season One we never would have guessed that Robin would end up with Barney, but it happened. In fact, at various points throughout the show, several characters (including Ted himself) thought that Ted and Robin were destined to be together (even though as viewers we knew she was not The Mother.) I can’t tell you how many times this has played out in my life or the lives of my friends. Take a look at a summary of my sexual history – I thought a lot of these guys were “the one” at various points, however I am so glad that things never worked out with any of them. Same goes for friends of mine. Friends that I thought had “perfect relationships” have since split and moved on to new partners that are much better matches. This just goes to show that you can’t predict love. That womanizing, suit-obsessed guy that you currently don’t take seriously may just be the love of your life…or not.

9. Letting go is hard, but necessary – Throughout the series Ted struggles to let go of the feelings he has for Robin, to the point where it actually screws up several of his relationships. It’s only when he finally finds the courage to let Robin go that he opens himself up to finding true love. Coincidence? I think not. Sometimes we need to let go of good things to make room for amazing, awesome things.

10. Sometimes it takes a really, really long time to find the right person – If Ted’s 9-year long narrative has taught us anything, it’s that the path to true love is a long and winding road full of joy, heartache & lots of twisty turns. There’s someone for everyone and if you don’t give up faith, you will eventually find them. In the mean time, you’ll get by with a little help from your friends…

18 Photos To Delete From Your Online Dating Profile Immediately

Since initiating myself into the world of online dating a year and a half ago, I’ve realized that you can’t discuss online dating without mentioning the photos. Oh, the photos. Despite countless articles about how to create a decent online profile (written by well intentioned writers like myself), I’ve noticed that guys continue to post the same hilariously terrible photos again and again. From the endless stream of shirtless selfies to photos that scream out “serial killer!”, it seems like a lot of men out there are still confused as to what kind of photos to include in their profile.

FYI. I am aware that women post ridiculous stuff online too. However, since I’m a woman who dates men I can’t really speak to what the ladies are up to without doing extensive research. If anyone would like to help me with this, let me know.

Because I’m here to help,  Joe the Intern and I have put together a list of 18 photos that should be deleted from your online dating profile immediately.

I’m all for “action shots” in online dating profiles. Whether you love hiking, camping, fishing, playing music, salsa dancing, scotch tasting, travelling to exotic locations or all of the above – photos of you enjoying your interests are a great way to show people who you are and what you’re passionate about. With that said, these photos must make sense. I once saw an online dating profile where the dude’s only photo was a blurry shot of him frying sausages in a dingy kitchen. All I could think was, “WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?” That photo of you awkwardly nuzzling a snowman, riding a giant silver chicken or petting a hedgehog while you stare into the camera at a super awkward angle does not belong on your online dating profile.

The truth is, awkwardness is contagious. I don’t care how awesome that chicken ride was. If we can tell you feel awkward in the photo, we feel awkward too.

 

It’s not 2004 and you are not a 16-year old girl. There is absolutely no reason to have a photo of your face making sweet, mysterious love to a bathroom mirror. I don’t care how “soulful” you think your eyes look. DELETE. DELETE. DELETE!

This is a photo I see all. the. time. Am I supposed to be turned on by the fact that you’re surrounded by a bunch of random lady friends that it looks like you picked up at Margarita Monday? Because, I could just walk over to the local Chilis and meet those ladies myself.

Seriously though, I know you think showing photos of you with scantily clad women will make you look more desirable, but you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Yes, we’re all adults with romantic pasts. However, until we’ve gotten to know each other I prefer to imagine you as untainted and like the kind of guy who would never even consider doing body shots off a hot blonde at Señor Frog’s (and if you did, would have the common sense to keep it to yourself. After all, what happens at Señor Frog’s, stays at Señor Frog’s.) It’s called romance. Please don’t kill it.

As someone who has been flashed in public more times than I’d like to admit, there’s something very unsettling about seeing a strange man with his pants undone, or in his underwear…and yet, people seem to think that it’s totally OK to post these kinds of photos on their online profiles. Yes, Creepy Single Dad I’m looking at you. I have a rule: “Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in person.” If you wouldn’t walk into a Starbucks without pants on, you certainly shouldn’t be pantless in your online profile. Just like the morning coffee crowd isn’t interested in seeing your ample treasure trail, neither is the general online dating population. Put some pants on, bro.

These photos usually come with a caption like, “Just hanging with my friends” when really they should say, “I’m the one in the background looking dejected and giving you the crazy eyes.” There’s nothing wrong with including a few photos taken with friends. After all, it shows that you are a fun person with a social life. Just make sure that in the photos you actually look like you’re being sociable and having fun. No one likes a lurker. Choose photos where you’re upfront and centre, and for the love of jeebus, smile. 

One of the perils of living and dating on the West Coast is that you encounter a lot of photos of guys in wetsuits or scuba gear. That’s cool that you’re into aquatic activities, however just make sure you include some photos that show what you look like when you’re not in all your gear. However, more often than not I see profiles chock full of photos like the ones above with a tagline like, “This is me.” Well, that totally clears things up! (Not)

I’m always suspicious of anyone who has photos where their ex is noticeably cropped out, or worse, blurred out. Looking at your dating profile shouldn’t make me feel like I’m watching an episode of COPS. Also, If your most recent photo is from that time you took your ex to your cousin Artie’s wedding in ’98, it’s time for some new photos.

Once upon a time you looked like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever and now you look like John Locke from Lost. Ain’t no shame in that game! However, what is shameful is posting super old photos in an attempt to get more dates. It’s a disservice to yourself because when we meet you in person, trust me…WE’LL BE ABLE TO TELL. However you look – own it. It’s way sexier.

No good can come of the  shirtless bathroom mirror selfie, yet like a bad case of bedbugs, it just won’t go away. This leads me to a very scary conclusion: some women must actually respond to them. It also makes me wonder what it would be like to go on a date with a guy who thinks taking a photo of himself in a cloudy mirror is a good idea. What exactly would this date entail? A trip to the local dog-fighting ring? Drinks at the Cactus Club followed by having sex while a UFC game played in the background? Am I just unfairly stereotyping these guys and most of them really just want to cuddle and discuss Proust by candlelight? My perverse journalistic curiosity almost makes me want to find out. Almost.

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The 20 Guys You’ll Meet Online Dating in Victoria

I’ve been Online Dating in Victoria on and off for the past year or so. It’s been entertaining to say the least. However, often when I take a break from dating and log on to my account a few months later, I feel like it’s always the same people online. Yes, the names, faces and identities may have changed, but it always feels a bit like I’m meeting the same 20 guys over and over again. So, with the help of Joe the Intern I’ve put together this post. Skinny Dippers, I present to you “The 20 Guys You’ll Meet Online in Victoria.”

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Dispatches From The Dating Trenches

Hello Skinny Dippers. As promised, I am back with some dating updates. Like I mentioned before, one of my plans for 2014 is to put myself out there and revitalize my dating life. If you were reading this blog at this time last year, you probably remember reading about my adventures on Plenty of Fish which ranged from positive to positively fishy – literally. Since meeting people in person in Victoria has proven fruitless for the most part, I decided before Christmas that I would give Ok Cupid a try. Since the middle of December I have gone on a few dates and am now ready to report back with field notes.

Gather around everyone. We have a few things we need to discuss.

First up on the agenda is beards, or just facial hair in general. I never noticed how much facial hair there was in this city until I opened an Ok Cupid account. Within hours of setting up my account I was suddenly receiving messages and being matched with throngs of bearded gentlemen. From the hipster glamour beards and standard “urban lumberjack” beards, to overgrown facial hair of the Duck Dynasty variety, there were  JUST. SO. MANY. BEARDS. How had I never noticed this about my city?

Is this a Victoria thing? Like the giant trees, does facial hair grow faster here because of all of the fresh, moist sea hair? What’s the deal guys?!

Originally I thought the plethora of facial hair – ironic or otherwise – might just be spill over from Movember. However, we’re into January and the beards are still around, in fact they seem to be multiplying like Gremlins. When I mentioned this to my Mom before Christmas, she told me in all seriousness, “Maybe, it’s like a Christmas thing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, maybe they’re trying to look like Santa Claus?”

“You mean like they’re Mall Santas?”

“Well, I don’t know Simone. It’s possible.”

The suggestion that 75% of the single men in this city are lying about their professions and are in fact, secretly Mall Santas, is indeed a terrifying thought.

I know some women love facial hair, but it’s probably a good time to mention that it’s never really been my thing. Yes, a little bit of stubble can definitely be sexy, but full out beard? Not for me. I have really sensitive skin and chafe easily, and there’s nothing worse than waking up after a night of making out to what looks like wind burn on the lower half of your face. So, with the exception of my spring fling, who had a lovely, close cropped beard (that surprisingly didn’t bother me at all), I tend to go more for clean shaven types.

With that said, I’m trying to break away from my usual dating patterns. I figure I need to give facial hair a fighting chance if I want to date in 2014. Besides, my recent experience has shown me that with the right guy, often comes the right beard. However, I have two ground rules: your beard has to be close cropped and well maintained, and if you have a fondness for red toques, we might have a problem.

At the risk of sounding like Jerry  Seinfeld, what’s the deal with people who want to hold hands on the first or second date? I’ve been on several dates with men in this city who want to hold your hand almost immediately – which, for some reason totally freaks me out. When I lived and dated in Toronto, hand holding was usually only something you did once you were “together”, or at the very least had seen each other naked. Whereas this may not have bothered me when I was younger, now that I’m in my 30’s I see hand holding as a fairly intimate act – in other words, not something I want to do with someone I barely know. Am I crazy to feel this way?

To gain some perspective on the issue I consulted with my friend Trevor who was visiting over the holidays. His response was very much in line with mine.

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