Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self #16 – Joshua

joshua pompeyToday’s instalment of Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self  comes from my friend & online dating expert, Joshua of JPompey. Check out the rest of the series here.

Dear twenty year old Joshua,

Right about now you are walking the streets of Downtown Albany, probably drunk, trying to live it up in your final year of college.  And while I can’t argue that you have come more into your own this year than at any other point in your life so far, we really need to sit down and have a chat about how you could go from making this one of the best years of your life, to being an all-time, legendary year that drunk college students for generations will want to emulate.  Are you ready for this?  You might want to sit down for a few moments.

1.  For Christ sake, take those damn jeans off and get it together!

Seriously dude.  You dress like an absolute clown.  Your jeans are five sizes too big.  They are shredded at the bottom.  And your t-shirts could fit at least two of you inside.  You are in shape for someone who drinks a thirty pack a week, you go the gym, and you have a nice body, so for crying out loud, take a woman to the mall with you, charge a few pairs of skinny jeans before the Brooklyn hipsters steal your thunder one day, and invest in looking like you don’t need your mommy to come to Albany to help lay out your clothes.

2.  Keep your mouth shut when you hook up with someone.

I know you are insecure.  I know sometimes you wonder if the whole world secretly thinks you rarely ever get to see the Golden Palace of the Himalayas as you strut your wanna-be macho self around the city.  But on those rare occasions where for some absurd reason a girl actually wants to take off those over-sized, baggy shredded jeans of yours, don’t start telling every single friend you know that you gave a girl really mediocre sex last night.  You may get fake props, but women will find out and tell all their female friends to blacklist you from the, “I’ll go home with any guy after five drinks,” community.

3.  Cough up the extra few bucks.

I know you are poor.  I know you think you are so insanely cool for buying 30 packs of Keystone Light and “The Beast”, a.k.a., Milwaukee’s Best every week.  But the internal damage you have done to yourself from all those beers no longer allows me to eat oversized Pastrami sandwiches without popping several Tum’s, downing Pepto Bismal, and listening to Mumford and Sons to calm my nerves.  Be a baller and cough up the extra ten bucks for something classy, like Bud Light.

4.  Have the foresight to invent the world’s corniest shot.

It will taste like crap.  It won’t make sense.  And it will make you feel so lame when you are my age.  But one day, at least once during every party you attend, some lame guy will take out a bottle, yell, “FIREBALL SHOTS!” and make everyone at the party take at least one.  You won’t have a choice.  You’ll just have to suck up this lame excuse for a whisky that tastes like a combination of whisky, Big Red gum, and dying souls.  This trend seemingly will not go away, so while you still can, figure out the recipe that is currently in the works and get rich.  We will toast to our success one day with a Jagar Bomb.

5.  Be more confident in the bedroom.

I don’t know if anyone ever told you this, but you have the world’s biggest hands.  Apparently you never new just how lucky you were until years later.  So stop being such a sissy worrier in the bedroom.  Sometimes when you drink 25 beers in a night, your junk stops working.  That doesn’t mean you have to carry that fear to the next time, seven months later, when it only took you 8 beers to work up the courage to get a girl in bed.  Have confidence and show why you wear such big gloves in ways that will be remembered forever.

About Joshua – 

For some amazing free advice from my current self, where I have been helping online daters to succeed at a rate of over 99% since 2009, men, read this article now on how to save over $5,000 and 500 hours.  Women, read this free article to view actual profile examples.

What would you tell your younger self?

Yoga Speed Dating: Would You Try It?

Studio Blue - CoupleYoga Speed Dating: It’s a thing. 

And it’s happening in Toronto.

If you’re sick of Tinder and OkCupid, tomorrow night Studio Blue Yoga is hosting it’s first ever I <3 Yoga Speed Dating event, Thursday February 26th from 7:30-9pm. Toronto singles will be stretching it out on yoga mats… together. With five minutes for each “date,” singles will do couples yoga poses like hand-holding seated twist or wide legged forward fold, giving them a chance to get up close and personal with a potential date. With more men and women turning to yoga for their physical and spiritual wellness,  I <3 Yoga Speed Dating allows for two singles to touch, hold and breath together and see if there’s a spark and deep connection in a short amount of time.

“Yoga intensifies self-awareness of ones body, feelings and desires, and practicing with a partner increases ones trust, openness and sensuality,” says yogi and owner of Studio Blue, Jessica McIntyre. “It’s a great way for singles to get in touch with themselves and a partner. I’m excited to see sparks fly with some partner stretching, holding and joint poses. It will definitely bring a new meaning to a down-ward dog.”

Anyone who knows me is probably aware that I’m incredibly skeptical about new dating trends – especially ones that involve potentially touching other strangers. In fact, as soon as I read the phrase “joint poses,” my mind immediately jumped to this post I wrote years ago. So, naturally when Studio Blue got in touch with me I had some questions (mainly, “will I have to touch people?”)

Studio Blue-34Yesterday I had a chance to catch up with Jessica McIntyre, owner of Studio Blue and organizer of I <3 Yoga Speed Dating. Jessica was incredibly sweet & lovely. After chatting for a few minutes she managed to answer all of my questions and quell any anxieties I had about the possibility of looking for love on a yoga mat (in fact, I’m totally pumped to try I <3 Yoga Speed Dating next time I’m in Toronto!)

When I asked Jessica what inspired to her to create this event, she explained that typically February can be a really tough month for many people. Although it’s already Spring on the West Coast, in Toronto it’s still the dead of winter, which can feel very “blah” (having lived through 12 winters in Toronto, I can attest to that.) Since Studio Blue did a couples event on February 14th, they wanted to do something fun for their single clientele. Hence, I <3 Yoga was born.

Sun_SalutationSo, how does it work? The evening starts by enjoying a glass of champagne (YES!) which is then followed by some solo yoga practice  to allow everyone to get warmed up and comfortable. Mats are lined up in two rows, facing each other – men on one side, ladies on the other. The teachers then demonstrate the poses and each couple has a chance to try them while they connect. Each “date” lasts 5 minutes.The men rotate from mat to mat, while the women stay put.

When asked how much physical contact is involved (because, the photo at the top of this post seems pretty full contact!) Jessica was careful to point out that you’re never required to touch your partner – unless that’s something you’re both comfortable doing. The teachers will demonstrate a variety of poses with different variations to suit all comfort levels so that you always have options.

Yoga speed dating is then followed by a “mix and mingle” from 8:30-9pm with light refreshments (more champagne!) so that singles connect some more.

As Jessica points out, “It’s meant to be a fun and light event that provides a different way to meet people.” After all, Studio Blue’s mantra is “practice playfully.” With regular classes like “Hangover Helper” “Hip Hop Yoga” and “Yoga Ballet Fusion,” Studio Blue aims to offer classes that are playful, welcoming and vigorous. Creating a vibrant community is also really important to Jessica. As she shared, “I want to create a safe space for women, where they can connect and feel less alone” – a statement I can definitely relate to. I <3 Yoga is just a small part of that.

While Jessica didn’t meet her boyfriend on a yoga mat, they do enjoy practicing together on a regular basis 🙂

Jessica and JasonMaybe living on the yoga-obsessed West Coast is finally getting to me, but I actually think Yoga Speed Dating sounds like fun. If I’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s that while online dating is all fine and dandy, nothing beats the rush you get from meeting someone in person. Considering I logged on to OkCupid last night and saw the same 20 guys that are always on there, switching up my dating strategy sounds pretty appealing right now. Besides, doing Yoga feels good – even Joe the Intern is onboard.

IMG_0085After a long week of interning, I really look forward to my candlelit yoga sessions with my girlfriend Milly. It’s a great way to connect as a couple. Last night we reached a meditative state together.” – Joe the Intern.

If you’d like to give  I <3 Yoga Speed Dating a try, here are the details:

WHAT: I <3 yoga, Studio Blue’s Yoga Speed Dating. Toronto singles between 22-35 will be meeting on the yoga mats to do couples poses. All levels welcome!  To register visit www.studioblue.co.

WHEN: Thursday, February 26 from 7:30-9pm with “mix & mingle” from 8:30-9pm.

WHERE: Studio Blue Yoga and Fitness at 1457 Dundas St West (Dundas and Dufferin)

WHO: Toronto singles between 22-35 years of age will enjoy Yoga Speed Dating with Jessica McIntyre, yogi and owner of Studio Blue Yoga & Fitness.

Would you try Yoga Speed Dating? 

When It Feels Good in Your Pants, But Terrible in Your Heart

LOST MONTH 2December 2014 will be forever etched in my mind as my “lost month.”

During the first week of January I sat down with a friend of mine and told him, “I think I’ve reached my 2015 quota for dysfunctional relationships.”

“Um, Simone, it’s like January 6th.”

“My point exactly.”

Although lots of good things happened in December, for the most part the month was a complete shit show. During the week I was “normal me” – a unassuming, work at home, writer who belongs to a book club, loves green smoothies, going to the gym and eating salads while watching Parks & Recreation. However, on the weekends I found myself on a pathway to self-destruction: drinking my face off. Wine. Bourbon. Champagne. More Wine. More bourbon. Stumbling home in the morning. 48 hour hangovers.

Because self-destruction loves company, Party Guy (see: the Spanx incident) was along for most of the ride. With The European out of the picture, he became my new naked-time, unhealthy substitute. I say “unhealthy” because he shared my fondness for bourbon, nights out that turn into mornings and he seemed to really like being naked with me, even though he’s in love with someone else. Although he could be kind of abrasive at times, I liked his company – the way his skin felt against mine and his perfect heart shaped lips that I couldn’t help but run my fingers over whenever we were in private.

I figured, “this feels good in the pants, so I’m just going to roll with it.” After all, when have the feelings in my pants ever steered me wrong?! (insert sarcastic cough here.) I just saw us as two more or less good humans who just happened to both have some shit to work out.

However, when I had to deal with my 4th (5th? 6th?) 48 hour hangover in a matter of weeks, I hit a wall emotionally. We both did. Things had to change. We made a pact. The only way to get off this crazy roller-coaster was to quit each other cold turkey. So we did.

Even though that was December, the emotional reverberations of my “lost month” can still be felt. It’s hard to look yourself in the mirror and admit that you spent the better part of a month acting like a complete idiot. It’s even harder to own up to the fact that you let yourself down by backsliding into behaviour reminiscent of your tumultuous early 20’s.

What I’ve learned this month (besides the fact that bourbon is indeed, delicious) is that fear can make you do some pretty weird stuff. 

I remember a conversation I had with Party Guy on the last night we spent together. We were at his house, drunk. I’d just slipped out of my dress because, as I’d told him, “My clothes feel like they’re on fire.” We were laying on the couch together, in each other’s arms, my head rested on his chest. He asked me what I was looking for in life, besides a career.

I told him, “A husband. Someone I could see myself having a child with – the right way. Love, marriage, the whole deal.”

“Then why are you lying here with me?” he asked.

“Because the last time I fell in love with someone it nearly gutted me.”

I remembered the conversation when I woke up the next morning.

I’m afraid. We’re all afraid.

With fear comes the desire to seek comfort. Although I know that dysfunction isn’t the ideal state, it’s a familiar one for me. The particular brand of dysfunction that Party Guy offered is one I know all too well. He reminds me of guys I used to know when I lived in Toronto as a young twenty something, except with a successful career and better wardrobe. I think this is why I was initially drawn to him. Because sometimes, it’s so much easier to allow yourself to fall backwards into the familiar, than push yourself forward into the unknown, even when you know that’s where you have to go.

So, that was December.

Since then I have met a really sweet guy. He’s 8 years younger than me. Smart. Handsome. Lovely. Totally unexpected. He always shows up places with freshly picked flowers for me. He’s a romantic and being around him feels good. I don’t even hate holding his hand in public – in fact, I like it.

What I’ve learned since my “lost month” is that there comes a time when (in the words of Scandal‘s Olivia Pope) you need to go ‘stand in the sun.’

In my case, I need to face my fears and stop doing things that feel good in my pants, but bad in my heart. 

However, I’ve also learned over the years that you can’t rely on other people to change your life for you. You need to do that heavy lifting yourself. I don’t need my very own Jake Ballard to lead the way, but if someone wants to come stand in the sun with me, I’ll welcome them with open arms. I might even hold their hand.

All I know is that the sun is where I need to be.

But, There’s Just This One Thing

I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine recently about dating in your 30’s. When she asked me about my dating life, I told her, “I feel like dating in your 30’s involves rejecting a lot of good people. I’m rejecting kind, smart, handsome men for the sole reason that I just know that they’re not right for me long-term. I mean, what is that?”

To which she replied, “I think that’s what they call progress.”

For the most part, dating in my twenties was very “exploratory.” I dated a wide variety of people. I was open to any and every new experience, and drank each one up with a straw. Although much of the same can be said about some of my dating experiences in my 30’s, when I was younger I had more time on my hands. Even if I knew someone wasn’t quite right for me, I’d date them anyways just for the story. When I had to reject someone, the signs were glaringly clear and lit up in big, neon, letters (which often I’d ignore anyways, once again for the story – or worse love.)

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your ThirtiesBack then, my reasons for breaking up with someone usually sounded something like, “He didn’t call me because he was in jail” or “I think I need to dump him. He keeps getting drunk and throwing up in my roommate’s car.” However, in your 30’s the impetus to reject someone is more like a whisper – the reasons often more subtle, but so much harder to ignore. 

Lately I’ve noticed a pattern in my dating life: I’ll meet someone I like, things will be going well until BAM! This one thing reveals itself – call it a fatal flaw or what-not – and it suddenly becomes abundantly clear that things won’t work out. It’s like that Amerie song, except the “one thing” that’s got you “tripping” is BAD.

For example, Donald was perfect on paper but I just wasn’t attracted to him, Donny was a dreamboat but unreliable, Young Guy didn’t want a girlfriend and The European already had one – and Fitness Guy, well, I don’t think there was ever any room for me in his life. With the exception of maybe Fitness Guy, none of these guys were bad dudes.

There was just this one thing….

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your Thirties

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your ThirtiesProbably the best example of this phenomenon would a person we’ll call Vancouver Guy.

Vancouver Guy and I met a few years ago through mutual friends and have since stayed in touch online. We met up for dinner this past summer when I was in Vancouver for a work function. I’ve always found Vancouver Guy cute, however all I was expecting from our night out was to get to know each other better as friends over some really good Chinese food – which is pretty much exactly what happened.

As we sat across from each other, chowing down on delicious handmade dumplings and noodles and discussing everything from startups to dating, I was overcome with how much I really enjoyed Vancouver Guy’s company. He was smart, driven, thoughtful and shared my passion for culinary adventures. It was an unusually warm, mid-summer night. Not wanting the evening to end, I suggested we go grab a drink at a local rooftop bar.

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your Thirties

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your ThirtiesBy the time Vancouver Guy walked me back to where I was staying, I knew that I wanted something to happen. However, before I had a chance to make a move, he grabbed me and kissed me. It was a good kiss. Very, very good.

The kiss wasn’t an anomaly. Half an hour later, we were back at his nearby apartment frantically making out on his couch. It was clear that we had undeniable chemistry.

When I went back to the island, we stayed in touch. Soon we were talking all day, everyday via text or the phone. Vancouver Guy made sure to text me every morning to wish me “good morning” and every night before I went to wish we “good night.” After things had ended in total radio silence with Young Guy, this man was refreshingly attentive. Through our correspondence I learned that we shared similar values, as well as a life-long fondness for the Muppets. When my phone would ping with a text from him, I remember thinking excitedly, “This. Could. Be. Something.” 

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your Thirties

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your ThirtiesHowever, then life happened (as it does.) I went on a trip to visit my family. While staying with my relatives, I noticed my text correspondence with Vancouver Guy was cutting into family time, so I pulled back a bit. Soon after, I got really sick with bronchitis and my asthma kicked into high gear. My daily focus became work and literally, breathing. During this time, Vancouver Guy’s bi-hourly texts, became difficult to keep up with. However, when I pulled back, it seemed like he just tried harder.

When I was well enough to catch up with friends, and Vancouver Guy knew I’d be out for the evening, he’d text me trying to initiate conversation. Sometimes he’d send me messages that said stuff like “Don’t drink too much, Missy!” (ugh) or worse, inappropriate sexts when he knew I was going to be out with my girlfriends. When I wouldn’t reply to him within a few hours, he’d send a “Did you forget about me??” message accompanied with an emoticon of a happy face bawling it’s eyes out. (Which, I might add isn’t exactly a turn on – especially from a man in his mid-thirties.)

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your Thirties

 

There's Just This One Thing: Dating in Your ThirtiesLong story short, what had once seemed sweet and romantic, started to feel annoying and smothering. I like attentive guys, but I also need some breathing room. We weren’t even in the same city and yet, I felt completely cornered.

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A Year of Lust, Life Lessons & Labours of Love

2014- year in reviewAt the beginning of 2014, I decided that my theme for the year would be “GO ALL IN”: with my work, but also with my heart. My intention was to live life without holding myself back or sitting on the sidelines. I think I definitely lived up to this theme because 2014 was a year full of lots of hard work, romantic adventures and consequently, some meaningful life lessons.

I kicked off January with what would be one of my favourite memories of 2014. I took my fourth trip to Vegas in three years and finally had a chance to meet my long time internet friend and colleague Liz. I also tried my hand at online dating again and discovered that Ok Cupid is a totally different scene than Plenty of Fish (Spoiler alert: more beards and less actual fish = proof that maybe I’m not Hipster Kryptonite as I once suspected.)

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, February is peak season for sex and relationship bloggers like myself. I spent my Valentines Day weekend with my best friend and her fiancé hanging out in Vancouver. I also wrote one of my most popular posts ever about the 20 guys you’ll meet online dating in Victoria. The article went viral in my town, which lead to being interviewed by the CBC and a series of radio appearances on Kool FM. It’s funny, because so many people saw the article that whenever it comes up, people are like, “that was you?” I’ve since become known at parties as “that girl that wrote that thing about dating that everyone read.”

In March I shared the 10 things I learned from How I Met Your Mother, waxed poetic about some of my favourite female centric books and reviewed some very sexy pink lingerie. While continuing to date, I shared the 18 photos that you should remove from your online profile immediately – a favourite post of mine that was featured in Business Insider.

April was an introspective month for me. I shared with you guys why I can’t have sex in my own bedroom and other things that I have learned about love, sex and dating at 33. I reviewed more pink lingerie and had the Interns help me with my critique of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video (another favourite post from 2014)

May was National Masturbation Month, so I devoted the entire month of posts to reviewing sex toys. Writing this many reviews back to back made me realize that I was suffering from sex-blogger burnout and needed to scale back on the products I showcase on the blog in order to focus on other writing projects. May also marked the swift return and departure of Fitness Guy – an experience that reminded me that lust be damned, the right guy isn’t the one who disappears. 

One of the highlights of July was that I got a sexy, new work/living space that I totally adore. I also mused on what we can learn about “sensuality” from the 1970’s and wrote about the positive side of rejection & why chemistry is so, so important. I also started dating a younger man and learned a few things along the way.

August found me attending my best friend’s wedding, as well as taking a mini-vacation to Kelowna and Seattle. The month was a heady mix of writing and socializing…and yes, I’m writing a book.

September (my birthday month!) was absolutely gorgeous and I fully took advantage of it with this poolside bikini review. I also discussed how when it comes to dating, everyone has their hardboiled non-negotiables.  This was also the month that I took another trip to Seattle where I met up with Berrak & Kelly.

In October I decided to try eHarmony only to realize that it’s the online dating equivalent of a Jane Austen novel  ( & apparently the computer thinks that my “soulmate” is a guy who dresses up in blackface for Halloween. Shudder.) I may have struck out on eHarmony, but I was chosen as one of Vancouver’s Most Eligible Bachelorettes (wahoo!) which still seems surreal to me. I also shared a story about my fling with the sexy Russian.

In November I wrote about my affair with The European and one of the big lessons I’ve learned this year: that it’s possible to have meaningful, respectful, good sex that’s also casual, without losing your heart or your head.

Although December was a blur of writing and holiday activities, I’m happy that I finished off the year by sharing the story of what I learned from falling for Donny: that chemistry is ridiculously important, however it can’t be everything.  I got my heart knocked around a bit with that experience, but it helped me get a better picture on what I really am looking for.

When came to “going all in” this past year I learned one really important lesson: “going all in” definitely pays off, however you can’t go big in all areas of your life, all at the same time. When I went big with my writing, my social life suffered. When I threw my heart and body into my relationships, (while fun and exciting) my feelings and sense of peace often suffered. I opened my heart, worked hard and took some blows both personally & professionally, however I’m happy with how the year turned out. I rang in the New Year exactly as I hoped I would: with a great group of friends, dancing with champagne in hand to Notorious B.I.G. It doesn’t really get any better than that in my books.

I have even bigger goals I plan on accomplishing in 2015. I’ll need to keep my wits about me, so I‘ve decided instead of another year of going big in all areas of my life, I’m going to place a greater focus on balance and consistency. To make it easy for you to join me on this journey, I’ve finally broken the seal on the newsletter subscription for this blog. If you’d like to get weekly-ish updates from me designed to make your day a little bit more fun and sexy (think links to cool stuff, discount codes & other goodies), you can sign up for the newsletter here or via the opt-in banner on the righthand sidebar of the blog. I hope you’ll join me! It’s going to be an interesting ride.

What’s your theme for 2015?

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