On Love, Dating & “Hardboiled” Non-Negotiables

When you start to approach your mid-thirties and the topic of “eggs” comes up, it usually goes in this direction: “I wonder how many I have left?” “I don’t want to reach the point where mine go bad. Aren’t you worried about that?” “Should I freeze them?” However, I’m here today to talk about eggs of a different kind: mainly those of the hardboiled variety.

Yes, this is a post about hard boiled eggs.

(I was hanging out with a friend the other day and when she heard my thoughts on hardboiled eggs, she encouraged me to share them in a post. So, here we go.)

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I’m not exactly a picky eater. I’ll eat almost anything once (like that time I ate raw Geoduck – a local variety of clam that basically looks like it has a giant, uncircumcised penis attached to it. Fitting, I know) and I don’t have very many hang ups when it comes to food. If I don’t eat something very often (like steak) it’s because my body has a hard time digesting it. There’s only one food that I truly despise and that’s hard boiled eggs.

“What’s wrong with hardboiled eggs?” you ask.

Many, many things. 

The texture: the rubberiness of the egg white, paired with the pasty, powdery yoke. I can never figure out which is worse, because to me, both textures are equally horrific (although I’d wager the gelatinous white is just a little bit worse.) If I was Detective Boyle from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I’d give the hardboiled egg a big, fat zero on “mouth feel.”

That weird grey part: You know exactly what I’m talking about – that grey outer layer that often appears in between the white and the yoke. Yes, that disgusting thing. Grey is not a colour that I associate with things that are edible. The grey layer has always seemed decidedly alien and brain-like to me — as if, by biting into a hardboiled egg I’m consuming tiny, alien brains.

The smell: To be honest, I might be able to get past my other objections if it weren’t for the smell of hardboiled eggs. Just a whiff of a hardboiled egg is enough to actually  make me gag. This is coming from a woman who survived a summer in Toronto during a garbage strike. If I get close enough to a hard boiled egg to actually smell it, I have to stifle a heave.

The taste: As far as I’m concerned, it’s basically one and the same with the smell. Why do we eat these things?!

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My utter fear and loathing of hardboiled eggs is nothing new. As these things usually go, it’s something that started in childhood. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t find them absolutely repulsive.

When I told my friend about my hardboiled issues, she asked what most people do.

“What about Devilled Eggs?”

“No. Absolutely not. That’s like putting lipstick on a pig. There’s no hiding what it is, they’ve just dressed it up.”

“What about egg salad?”

“Are you serious?”

The problem is that I was born into a culture that seems intent on making you like hardboiled eggs. As I was writing this post I remembered the “hardboiled egg mice” of my childhood. These were a regular feature at kids birthday parties in the 1980’s. The first time I saw them sitting on a table, next to a plate of finger sandwiches and a veggie platter I thought “How cute!” I grabbed one and took a bite thinking that they’d be filled with something delicious like chocolate or cheddar cheese, only to realize once it was in my mouth that it was actually a hardboiled egg. To this day, I still consider hardboiled egg mice to be a culinary war-crime.

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With that said, my life is not devoid of hardboiled eggs. There have been times I have eaten them out of necessity – like, when they’re the only option available (I just try not to inhale too deeply) and other times where I’ve actually found them “edible” – like when they’re in a delicious Nicoise Salad. I’m not one of those people like on My Strange Phobia that starts hyperventilating and screaming as soon as they see a hardboiled egg. I can eat around them. However, they will never be something I love. This is non-negotiable.

So, what exactly does this have to do with dating?

Well, lots of things. I promise.

Last Spring, when I was still trying to date Fitness Guy, I remember the topic of lunch came up.

When he told me, “For lunch I usually eat 4 hardboiled eggs and some carrot sticks while sitting at my desk” I nearly threw up.

All I could think was, “And you kiss me with that mouth?”

Besides the fact that that sounds like the saddest desk lunch ever, I struggled with the concept that someone I was attracted to could eat something I hated so much and in such excess.

Could I date and fall in love with someone who loved hardboiled eggs? Sure. However, this little egg-centricity (har har, I couldn’t resist) was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to our differences – for example, his politics and that he likes to hunt & kill some of my favourite animals – you know, the big stuff.

When it comes to dating, we all have our non-negotiables.

Although a love for hardboiled eggs isn’t necessarily a non-negotiable in a partner (unless they force me to eat “egg mice”), I do have my share of non-negotiables. They’re pretty simple:

-Healthy lifestyle.

-Agreement on major issues like abortion & gay marriage.

-No smoking.

-Positive outlook on life.

-Kind.

In my twenties, I definitely ignored some of these non-negotiables in the spirit of adventure and experimentation. I dated a series of smokers and even a hyper-conservative, pro-life Christian (I know, right?) However, the older I get the more I realize how important these core non-negotiables are.

So, the question is – what are your non-negotiables?

Things You Will Learn From Dating a Younger Man

On July 1st you receive an email from your ex in Toronto – the one you left behind when you moved back to the West Coast – letting you know that he’s met someone and in a few months he will be a father.

The news throws you – not because you aren’t happy for him – you are (he will be a kick-ass dad) – but because this is his dream. The dream he wanted for the two of you. The dream that you couldn’t deliver on for him.

Clutching your smartphone, you break down in tears in the garden section of Capital Iron, while your Mom strokes your back and asks you what’s wrong.

You haven’t lived in Toronto in nearly three years, however you cry because in this moment it feels like the life that you used to have there really is over. Although the future is exciting and exhilarating, it’s also kind of fucking scary.

The future is happening right now.

Although you feel slightly untethered, you decide to slap on some make-up, put on that new dress and go to a Canada Day BBQ that you’ve been invited to.

Dating a Younger Man
Your friends pick you up in a 1950’s mustang convertible. Disclosure is playing on the stereo. Driving along the beach as the warm air rushes past you, life feels oddly perfect.

At the BBQ is where you meet him. You notice him right away because he has what some people might call “swagger.” He’s tall and athletic looking with a strawberry blonde Macklemore haircut. Acne scars faintly dot his chin.

You hear him talking to some other people about Toronto, at which point you join in on the conversation. It turns out that he used to live there, on the same street as you – just a few houses down from the gorgeous brownstone that you used to share with your ex. What are the odds? This must be kismet.

You’re on your third hot dog of the evening. He’s eating ribs. When you notice him scrambling with his hands full to pick up another beer, you politely offer assistance.

“Would you like me to hold your bone?” you ask.

“Yes, please” he replies.

You talk some more. You laugh. He comes with your friends to watch the fireworks from a cliff overlooking the ocean.

It’s only later that you learn that he’s six years younger than you and went to junior high school with your baby sister.

A few nights later you go for drinks at a chic wine bar. He insists on ordering a nice bottle of wine to share and picking up the cheque. You’re impressed.

You laugh. You kiss. You have sex. You wake up wrapped in his sinewy tanned arms and think,

“I could get used to this”

By midsummer you’ll change your mind and you will no longer be dating. However, before that happens you’ll learn a few things along the way.

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You’ve never dated a younger guy before. After attempting to date a variety of divorcees and single dads, you’ll find this guy’s total lack of relationship baggage utterly refreshing. However, you’ll soon realize that the flip side of this is that he seems to have no serious relationship experience whatsoever. This starts to reveal itself quickly.

Dating someone younger often means that their exes are young too. When you stumble across a photo of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook, you discover that she looks like a younger, firmer, more proportional Kim Kardashian. It gets worse when he tells you that they broke up six months ago – right before her 19th birthday. Now, you know you look good for a 30-something, however when you don’t hear from him for a few days you start to wonder if maybe he finally noticed the fine creases on the corner of your eyes and promptly got freaked out.

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10 Things We Can Learn From a 1970’s Guide to Sensual Massage

We need to talk about massage – or more specifically The Art of Sensual Massage, a book from the 1970’s that I found while cleaning out my basement the other day.

As the story goes, my sister procured this book at a garage sale to use as part of an art project, however I also suspect it was to horrify my Mom. I believe her exact words were, “Mom, this is going to make you barf.” My Mom is about as anxious to re-visit the 1970’s as I am to return to my junior high days of the mid-90’s (overly gelled “wet look” hair and crocheted vests, anyone?) Mom, I feel your pain. However, I also feel like there are some important things we can learn from the shudder inducing cultural artifact that is The Art of Sensual Massage. 

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According to the back of the book, massage is “as easy as making love. It’s the rediscovery of an ancient art, an erotic and healthy way of touching that has been practiced everywhere on earth from biblical times to the present. It’s as near as your own hands and as easy as your lover’s body.” 

And no, this book is not a Phil Collins song, although it sure sounds like it. Although it’s not formally suggested, I feel like this fine piece of literature would be best enjoyed while listening to some sitar music and wearing something tie-dyed….or as the book suggests, nothing at all. Because, as The Art of Sensual Massage wants you to know…

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Well, now that that’s cleared up let’s begin! The Art of Sensual Massage provides a bunch of tips on how to massage your lover or friend. If you’re not sure what’s “sensual,” The Art of Sensual Massage is happy to provide some insight.

1. Parakeets are sensual. 

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If you want to up the ante on your erotic massage experience, I would suggest you make like a Portlandia episode and put a bird on it. Parakeet, Toucan or Budgie – whatever you can get to sit on your naked shoulder while you massage your partner – just roll with it. Birds = very sensual.

2. Dolls are sensual. 

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For a sensual massage environment, make sure at least one creepy doll is watching you at all times.

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On Dating, Chemistry and Rejection

Disclaimer: none of these gorgeous photos were taken by me. All have been found via One Sixth Avenue, Black Mountain Prophet &Steven Henke.

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering love, dating and rejection.

Why? Because if you’ve dated more than one person, most likely you’ve been rejected.

Think back to the first time someone broke your heart. For me, it was the summer after high school. I was dating a guy who has since become known as “Dave the Rollerblader.” Dave was your typical happy go-lucky beach bum with an affinity for tanning, taking photos of himself with his shirt off and long rollerblading sessions along the beach. We’d spend long, warm summer evenings making out in the front seat of his pick-up truck. We had nothing in common, and yet I fell head over rollerblades for him. When he broke up with me because he was moving to Australia to surf full time, my heart was broken. I stayed in my bedroom for a whole weekend listening to Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” while bawling my eyes out. To say I didn’t handle this initial rejection well would be the understatement of the century. Then again, I was 18 years old, experiencing heartbreak for the first time. Can you really blame me?

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If you read the story about my romance with rollerblading Dave, you’ll understand what I do now: that by breaking up with me he did me a huge favour. Our short-lived  relationship and it’s eventual demise now seems laughable, however at the time it was absolutely crushing. That’s because when I was in my teens and early twenties I lived in a perpetual state of fear when it came to rejection. I’d meet someone I really liked, start dating them and then spend the entire relationship worrying about when they would break up with me. I was guarded, I was a little paranoid and I tried way to hard to hang on to people that I should have just let walk away. In turn, my fear of rejection became a self-fullfilling prophecy of sorts. When things eventually did fall apart (as they inevitably would) the break-up would seem completely debilitating. {photo via Steven Henke}

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I read a quote recently that went something like this: “Everyone you date, you’ll eventually break up with or end up marrying.” Although a lot of couples do stay together forever without a legally binding agreement, it’s still a sobering thought. {photo via One Sixth Avenue}

Rejection sucks and sometimes it really, really hurts. However, as much as we try and deny it, it’s an inevitable by-product of dating. How are we supposed to find the right person if we never reject or get rejected by the ones that aren’t right for us?

I have a lot of experience being rejected, to the point where I now consider myself a veritable rejection expert. However, now that I’m single and dating in my 30’s, I’ve decided to take a more positive approach to rejection – both as the rejector and the rejectee.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about rejection that I wish someone had told me when I was younger.

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1) It’s not about you – I used to take every rejection, every ghosting, every unreturned text message as a personal assault on my character. However, I’ve since learned that often getting rejected has very little to do with you. If someone chooses to not ask you out on another date or continue a romantic relationship with you – that’s their choice. They were choosing what was best for their life situation. For example, I’ve met tons of guys who I thought were truly fantastic, however we just didn’t have any chemistry. I imagine there have been many guys who have felt the same way about me. {photo via One Sixth Avenue}

Furthermore, if someone chooses to reject you in a really immature manner – for example, by literally disappearing off the face of the earth with no explanation, being lame about returning your texts or standing you up on a date, that’s on them. I read a quote somewhere that went something like this: “It’s not our responsibility to try and understand why people have the shortcomings they do, but to accept them & move on.”

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2) Chemistry is ridiculously important – Like I mentioned above, I’ve met some truly fantastic dudes since moving back to BC, however kissing them feels like kissing a brother. There’s no big fireworks. It’s just…well, neutral.

Chemistry is a mysterious, biological force that acts on a subconscious level. Dating is like a science experiment: you combine different chemicals and hope for a reaction, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen – and you know what? That’s OK.

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True Story: I Can’t Have Sex In My Own Bedroom

Given that I’ve been living with my Mom ever since I moved back to the West Coast, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that there isn’t a whole lot of sex happening in my bedroom these days (at least not with a partner.) Although I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity to live with family while I grow a successful freelance writing business (I couldn’t have done it otherwise), it hasn’t exactly been great for my sex life. Not only do I live under my Mother’s roof, her bedroom is right next to mine. It’s not exactly a set-up conducive to sexy times.

However, I’d be lying if I said nothing ever happened in my bed. My Mom travels a lot, so there are times when I have the house to myself. And sometimes I date people. At 33 it often feels like my hormones are raging and I want to have sex with everyone & no one all at the same time. So, when the opportunity for sex arises sometimes you just have to roll with it and make do with what you have.

This is exactly what happened the first time Fitness Guy and I hooked up last year. After a fantastic date, I invited him inside and things progressed from there. However, once we were making out on my bed, I realized I was completely distracted by my familiar surroundings. While I should have been focusing all of my energy on squeezing my pelvic floor muscles or how amazing his ass felt cupped in my hands, there was this inner voice that kept saying things like, “What if he looks away from my boobs and notices that I have an extensive wooden monkey collection? Oh god, did I forget to hide my Muppet memorabilia before he came over?! Oh no wait, that isn’t Gonzo’s nose, that’s just an errant purple Dildo I reviewed last week.”

It was Fitness guy himself who pulled me back into the moment.

Hey, there you are.” he said, as he tenderly held my face in his hands.

It was only when he forced me to make eye contact that I realized how distracted I had been. Our tryst was steamy and passionate, yet part of me couldn’t fully relax. It was silly, because at the end of the day I don’t really think Fitness Guy cared about what was on my walls or any of my strange collections of objects d’art. In fact, when we were finished he wandered around my room, thoughtfully looking at the artwork on the walls and eye-ing my book collection with admiration. If there was something about my decor that he found off putting, he didn’t let on.

With that said, I vowed that the next time I had a guy over I would make sure that my space was cleansed of anything that I might find embarrassing. Now, flash-forward to close to a year later, when I found myself in a similar situation with a new guy I was dating. When it was decided that we would move our make-out from the front seat of his station wagon into my bedroom, I asked him to give me a 4 minute lead so I could run inside and tidy up a bit.

Mainly I was concerned about Joe and Hammer (who at the time had been going through a particularly interesting week costume wise). So, I spent the next 3.5 minutes shoving everything (and everyone) into the closet as quickly as possible.

However, the same thing happened again.

Things were fine, until they weren’t. When my date noticed mid-makeout session that I seemed kind of distracted and asked, “What are you looking at?” I couldn’t tell him that it was this….

Sigh. Joe the Intern: always there when you need him and even when you don’t.

Whether it’s just casual or I’m in a relationship, I like my sex full of intimate eye-contact, playfulness and connection. However, for some reason I can’t quite get there when I’m in my own space. Instead, I find myself really holding back. The irony is that anyone who attempts to have sex with me in my own bedroom likely leaves with the impression that I’m a bit uptight and possibly have some detachment issues- which couldn’t be further from the truth.

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