Things I’d Tell My 20-Something Self – Part 3

I don’t know about you guys, but birthdays always trigger a lot of self-reflection for me. I turned 36 a few weeks ago. If someone were to ask me what I like best about being in my mid-thirties I’d say the clarity. It’s nice to look back and be able to identify everything you’ve grown out of. So, in honour of birthdays and hindsight, I thought it was time to share some more things I’d tell my 20-year old self (you can check out the full series here.)

It’s never too soon to learn about good alcohol

Fifteen years from now you’ll be sharing some Pinot Grigio with a ridiculously handsome man. You’ll hold up the bottle of Masi (a wine which was introduced to you by another man that you once found charming circa 2001and tell him, “this is the only good decision that came out of my years of drinking as a 20-something.” You’ll be 180% right. I know the urge to try things just for the sake of trying things is strong this decade, so I’ll just cut to the chase:

The pink bottle of $4.99 “strawberry wine” you keep passing at the liquor store on the way to the cooler aisle tastes exactly as terrible as it’s neon packaging suggests. That non-FDA approved liquor your friend brought back from Israel will make you black out. And throw-up. Then black out again. It will also make your friends simultaneously black out and throw up. Any drink with Red Bull as an ingredient is sure to make you jump up on furniture (which sounds kind of fun now, but it’s something you’ll grow out of. Trust me.) Drinking on the subway is hilarious, but it’s not classy. Southern Comfort is awful. Stop treating your Friday nights like you’re Janis Joplin on an epic bender. Instead, drink the Masi. Always drink the Masi.

The “one that got away” is a myth.

They didn’t “get away” – they left you. It sucks and it hurts and you’re going to cry over these people, but it’s for the best. I promise. Have the feelings you need to have and then move the fuck on. Don’t waste time obsessing over or longing for people who simply didn’t choose you. They. Didn’t. Choose. You. (Keep this in mind when these people resurface requesting a second chance.) Spend your time loving the people who have chosen to be in your life. Start with yourself.

Expect more from the people you date.

As a 20-something you joke that your dating motto is, “have low expectations and you’ll always be pleasantly surprised.” You adopt this line of thinking after a series of breakups and disappointing sexual encounters – both wanted and unwanted – leave you heartbroken and confused. You start asking for less, when really you should ask for more. Don’t do this. You should expect things from the people you date – like, respect, honesty and integrity. Be picky. Ask for what you want out of relationships. It might mean that you spend more time alone, but it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

Learn to be still.

I know it’s hard. You live in a city of 5 million people and around every corner there’s something or someone new & shiny to distract you, but please try. Stop focusing on things and people that don’t serve you, just so that you won’t have to be alone with your own thoughts. The only way you’re ever going to feel at peace with yourself is if you face your problems head-on and deal with your personal shit. Don’t wait until the end of the decade. Begin early.

What would you tell your 20-something self?

Here’s 10 Guys That I’d Like To Meet

Hi, it’s me. Still single. Still 35 (at least for another 12 days.) A few weeks ago, authors Blythe Roberson and Jason Adam Katzenstein posted in the New Yorker an illustrated article titled Types of Guys I Would Like To Date, If Someone Could Please Introduce Me to Them. I couldn’t help but giggle. I mean, what 30-something woman hasn’t yearned to date a guy that owns a rug? (“a huge achievement, as rugs cost millions of dollars and require vacuuming“). The piece also made me ponder the kinds of guys I would like to be introduced to. (Because, let’s face it — the singles in Victoria leave quite a bit to be desired.)

Because I don’t have the artistic skills of a New Yorker cartoonist, Joe the Intern and his friends have stepped in to help with this post.

So, gather around my friends while I cue up Michael Buble’s “I Still Haven’t Met You Yet” and press the repeat button. Here’s some men I’m interested in getting to know.

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

40-something Musical Yogis with 20-something rockstar dreams, need not apply. Whether it’s a full time job or a side-hustle, this guy likes making things and he wants to make things with you (websites! music! photos! smoked meat! pickles! A new fence! Stop animation with Joe the Intern!) I know you’re out there. If your idea of a great Saturday is brunch, followed by creating something together, I want to be your Ride and #DIY. (photo credit)

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

Sure, he mainlines kale juice and eats sandwiches that are made with thinly cut organic tempeh steaks instead of bread, but he doesn’t need to talk about it. He’ll never shame you for not drinking as many vegetables as he does, because he totally gets the concept of balance. I.e. there’s a time for kale chips and a time for diving face first into a stack of chicken and waffles.

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

When I was in university, it wasn’t uncommon to meet guys who’d say stuff like, “oh, you like 2Pac? I only listen to conscious hip-hop or stuff from the 80’s.” These guys are still around. They read Pitchfork and the only Kendrick Lamar song they think is relevant is the one you’ve never heard of because “it’s so obscure.”  The Guy Who Isn’t Afraid to Shamelessly Rock out to Lil’ Wayne is the opposite of that guy. He’s politically aware and understands why something might be offensive but isn’t opposed to dancing around the living room with you as Weezy chants “a milli a milli a milli.”

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

The stack of Prince LPs and his turntable are the only church he needs. He thinks “Call My Name” is one of the sexiest, most romantic, panty-dropping songs of all time and to your delight, insists that you go as The Kid and Apollonia for Halloween. When you fidget in your costume, he says, “I don’t care that you’re not an ingenue of indeterminate ethnic origin, you look amazing in that leather bustier.”

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

No, I’m not talking about one of those greaseballs on Millionaire Matchmaker that owns a yacht. I’m thinking of something more organic, like you meet at a record store in Silverlake and you catch each other’s eye because you’re both wearing the same Prince pin on the lapel of your matching leather jackets. Flash forward to the future where you’re sitting out by your backyard pool perched high in the Elysian Hills, eating tacos and writing dialogue for Joe the Intern.

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

He’s like Feminist Ryan Gosling, but he’s Idris Elba. He would never use the hashtag #NotAllMen seriously and often says stuff like, “Hey, girl, you’ve worked really hard today. Let me do the dishes while you kick back and photograph your collection of weird Ken Dolls.”  

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

He’s like Colin Miller meets Jesse Williams. He’s tough, but kind & empathetic, and he’s unafraid to stand up for what he believes in. He’s not the guy who “doesn’t give a fuck,” he’s the guy who gives all the fucks. You catch each other’s eyes across a crowded movie theatre after a documentary about a depressing social issue has just let out. When you walk towards him, you realize he’s wearing a t-shirt that says #FreeEdwardAtes. (photo credit)

“I thought you only existed on the internet” you say to him.

He smiles and replies, “I thought you only existed on the internet.”

You spend lots of time listening to wrongful conviction podcasts together and admiring how he looks good in hats that aren’t fedoras.

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

Recently I texted my friend, “So, if a man is in his late 30’s and he’s still sleeping on a mattress on the floor, that’s a deal breaker, right?” She responded, “please tell me that’s a rhetorical question.” A few years ago I went on a couple of dates with a smart, very successful 30-something man who kept all of this non-perishable food in a small heap next to his bed (which was also just a mattress on the floor) so he’d never have to get up while watching Netflix to grab snacks. I know there are lots of men out there who have mastered the art of #adulting, but clearly there aren’t enough to go around. If you own a dresser that isn’t covered in stickers and you don’t use a upside down laundry basket as a nightstand, let’s talk.

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

Here’s a gentleman who is no stranger to having his hand all up inside some green felt. On Sunday mornings you like to create elaborate puppet shows that include lots of original songs and are heavy on  character development (“I mean, Barry the Sloth is basically a decent guy. He only drinks and bites people because he’s misunderstood – and that thing that happened when he was in the circus.”) 

Online Dating in Victoria BC: 10 Guys That I'd Like To Meet

It’s easy to find men who love dogs, but I’d like to meet someone who is crazy about felines just to see what he’d be like. I know he’s out there somewhere, happily whistling away as he meticulously cleans his couch cushions with a dust buster. Call me. 

Interview | Living a Sexy Life With Dr Rebecca Rosenblat

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The word “sexpert” gets thrown around a lot these days. Heck, I’ve even had the word featured under my byline. However, Rebecca Rosenblat is the real deal. Call her an “OG” Sexpert if you will. Rebecca’s credentials are impressive to say the least. She’s a Toronto based Certified Psychotherapist, Relationship & Sexuality Educator, Author, Talk Show Host and one of Top10AdultDatingSites resident Sexperts. Along with being a popular voice in Canadian media, she’s a professional member of CRPO, AASECT, AAMFT, OAMFT, IITAP and FRSH. Yes, this woman does it all.

photo-rebecca-new

 

Tell us a bit about your role as a Sexpert for Top10AdultDatingSites

It’s an honor and a privilege to have a venue that allows me to spread important messages all across the world – a classic example of how amazing it is that the globe is now a small enough place for all of us to join forces, in helping people.

As one of Canada’s leading relationship, sexuality and healing experts, what’s your favourite part of your job? 

All of it – I can no more choose between the various facets than between my kids.  The broadcast aspect has a far reach, the one-on-one work goes much deeper and shows profound results.  With the former, I barely realize the impact, outside of when people pull me aside in public places and share how my show has transformed them – I suppose even a tiny mind shift is worth the effort!

I’ve written about my experiences as a woman who writes about sex and some of the (often hilarious) misconceptions and attitudes that I’ve had to face. What are some of the challenges of being a woman who’s an expert in the field of sexuality and relationships?

I guess you’re aware of how your sex life doesn’t feel so private any more – people will ask direct questions that they wouldn’t of anyone else .  People also assume that I must want sex all the time, I must swing from chandeliers – not to mention participate in every fetish I speak/write about.  The other side is curiosity – especially from men – so you have all kinds of people hitting on you all the time, which can be flattering, but I think I disappoint them by not accepting their offers.  Finally, and very sadly, many women get jealous if I’m around – ladies, I don’t want your husbands, I barely have time to tend to mine!

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I love that you have a variety of different seminars and lectures that are designed to help women (& men!) lead their best romantic lives. What inspired you to create the “Doormat to Diva” series? 

I feel women are under a lot of pressure – we’re expected to look good but then judged for trying to do so; we’re expected to be nice but then taken advantage of; we’re expected to have self esteem, but then referred to negatively, so many end up holding back, and living to pleasing others, while possibly looking for outside validation.  It’s the reason I wrote my latest book “Sexual Power” which gives women (and men) the permission to live life on their own terms, so they can be happier, and make for better partners.

I also do male focused stuff, because they too often suffer from double standards.  It’s okay for a woman to have a male friend or a vibrator, but a guy having a female plutonic friend is thought of as a phoney – heaven forbid if he has a Fleshlight in his night table, right beside his partner’s toys.

But overall, it’s not so much about the genders as it is about giving people the permission and the instruction to be their best selves!

book cover - front and back

If a woman feels like she has fallen into “doormat” territory what are a few ways she can turn that around? 

First and foremost, she needs to be clear on what she wants, what makes her happy, what fills her, so she can go after those things.

Next, she needs to see what/who stands in her way – sometimes it can be she herself.  This may require digging deep – involving therapy at times – so she can see if she’s caught in repetition compulsion, i.e., repeating old, traumatic patterns, hoping to rewrite a happy ending.

Once she understands what she needs to, she should find supportive people who will cheer her on – and help her, if need be – so she can clean out the unnecessary baggage in her emotional closet, and come out as the person she is, the woman she was meant to be!

When it comes to sex advice, what’s one of the most common questions you get from women?

How can I teach my partner to be a better lover without hurting his/her ego?  A close second, how can I make my sex life better? – this can tie into anything from libido to technique, getting past abuse to coping with menopause.

Once a woman has become a “Diva” (in your words) what advice would you give her when it comes to seducing a man?

Ladies first – i.e. even though you may be seducing him, make sure you don’t forget about your own desires, because that’s the sexiest thing of all.

For the women out there who feel awkward flirting, what tips would you give them?

We were born to flirt!  Just look at babies – they mirror your posture, open up their body language, smile, and then mimic your every move; it’s that simple.  So ditch what you’ve been told about flirting and go for it.  It’s not about taking someone to bed, it’s about being playful to make yourself and the other person feel good.

A simple way to start is, when you like someone, try to catch their gaze, instead of turning away quickly.  Basically, you smile, and look at them for at least 2-3 seconds, doing a flirting triangle – your gaze should go from their left eye to right eye to mouth, back to left eye – then look away for a second or two and return with the triangle, starting with the right eye this time.

I also love that you have a seminar called The Art of Dating. If you could tell women one thing that would improve their success at dating, what would it be? What about men?

For both men and women, make the goal “having fun”, and really getting to know people – don’t stress over whether or not they’re the one.  And don’t worry about how you appear to them – they’re more worried about how they appear to you.  So just ask open ended questions and let them talk.  We have two eyes, two ears and one mouth – use that ratio to be twice as attentive to them, versus talking about yourself.

Lastly, the term “sexy” gets thrown around a lot. What does “living a sexy life” mean to you personally?

It means embracing my sensuality and not being afraid of it – it doesn’t mean forcefully trying to show that I’m sexy, since we can appear trashy that way.  My whole book talks about embracing your sexual power unapologetically, ’cause it creates the most fun, level playing field!

Thank you Rebecca for the great interview!

This post was brought to you by Top10AdultDatingSites. Thanks for supporting the posts that support this blog. 

On Dating, Intuition and Being Brave

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One of my favourite parts of my job is when readers email me with questions. I don’t always feel qualified to answer them (after all, I always joke that this blog is basically the blind leading the blind – except when it comes to sex toys. I actually know quite a bit about those.) However, the email below, which was sent to me by a reader that I also consider a friend, hit really close to home. It was one of those, “Yup. Girl, I have been there” moments. Because of this, I thought it would be a really good one to answer on the blog –

“Simone – I can’t bring myself to date yet! How do you bounce back from all the whack situations and disappointments? What is your mindset when you date? How do you know when to walk away? I feel like I’ve lost faith and trust in myself for misjudging the last two situations…I always try to make things work or give it more time “to see.”

 I also have this belief that my anxiety and any flaw in me has to be fixed before I can truly attract the love I want and be the partner that I envision. This is a really good mind trick to never date again! In short: gearing up to get back out there but terrified.” 

Ok, so a few things –

First of all, if you’re not ready to date – that’s totally OK. I feel like we live in a culture where everyone is constantly being encouraged to date, pair off and be together – something that just isn’t always realistic, fair or even healthy. We’re fed the message that if we’re not dating, in a relationship or trying to find one, that there’s something wrong with us – something that inevitably needs fixing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes hearts just need time to heal. Being alone can help facilitate this. If not dating feels like the most authentic and right thing for you right now; follow your intuition. However long you need, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a breather.

The truth is, although this blog covers a lot of my life, there are also a lot of things that you don’t see. It may seem like I’m always dating up a storm; immediately climbing back atop of the proverbial horse every time I get knocked down, however this isn’t always the case. Over the past three years I’ve taken several lengthly hiatuses from dating and sex. It just doesn’t always read this way because more often than not, I don’t always write about my experiences in real time.

With that said, this wasn’t always the case. While writing my book, which involved digging through the romantic wreckage of my past, I realized there were so many times that I flung myself, head-first into various relationships with very little regard for my own self-preservation. I practiced what I like to call “emotional cliff-diving.” I wanted to feel and experience things, and didn’t really think through consequences. I was brave to a fault. I had some good experiences but also lots of really, really bad ones.

Although a lot of good writing material came from these experiences, I wouldn’t recommend emotional cliff diving to anyone (well, at least anyone over the age of 23.) With that said, here’s what I’ve learned now that I’m older and a tiny bit wiser: dating is always going to make you feel somewhat vulnerable. The only way you can avoid vulnerability is by closing yourself off emotionally from other people – which doesn’t work if your goal is to meet someone. You have to be brave. Once I decided that I wanted to start dating again, I realized that the only way I was going to get through it was by becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

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Why You Should Buy a Woman Flowers & How to Do it Properly

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If you check out my Pinterest or Instagram, it’s pretty obvious that I’m kind of obsessed with flowers – especially now that so many of them are in bloom around here! When it comes to me & flowers, the brighter, the more vivid, the better.

Over the years I’ve learned exactly what kinds of flowers I do and don’t like – especially when it comes to romance. I love peonies, camellias, orchids and anything bright & tropical. I despise carnations and daisies have never been my thing. I love roses, but prefer the brightly coloured ones (deep red roses have always seemed kind of morbid to me.) I used to think it would be super romantic if a guy scattered rose petals on my bed, however the two times someone has done this for me I haven’t enjoyed either experience because it just seemed contrived and forced (hence, my aversion to rose petals.) However, pick me a single camellia while we’re out for an evening walk and I’m yours.

Although I have my preferences when it comes to flowers, I still believe any kind of flower is better than no flower. Here’s a few reasons why I think we should all send and receive more flowers in general.

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Seriously though, I don’t know why people don’t send more flowers. It’s such an easy way to make your loved one feel special and thought of. Any guy who takes the initiative to bring me flowers – even if they’re wild ones he’s picked himself – wins major points. Because, #ROMANCE.

Since Easter and Mother’s Day are coming up, I thought I would consult with Ola Balas, owner of EuroFlowers – one of my favourite florists located in Mississauga, Ontario. Here are a few of her flower giving tips. I’ve also piped in with a few of mine!

FLOWERS 2As you have probably surmised, flowers can be a very personal thing. Although I’m always happy when I receive any kind of flowers, it’s always nice when you can tell that the person took the time to choose something that suits me. For example, I think it’s pretty obvious from my blog that I love bold, bright colours like fuchsia and pink, and all things tropical. My personal style is classic with a bit of edge. Even if you don’t know what kind of flowers she likes, if you have a general idea of her favourite colours or her personal style, that’s always a good place to start. Also keep in mind that your florist is there to help!

FLOWERS 3If you don’t want disappointing flowers, Balas suggests sticking with a local florist. As she explains, the trick is to avoid using a large, discount, flower service like 1-800-flowers and the like.  “These flowers come in a box, dry, with a vase and a set of instructions. The recipient has to set it up herself. It’s awkward and cheap, and the flowers themselves look like they’ve been through a war. Never do this” says Balas. By cutting out the middle man and going directly to a local florist like EuroFlowers, you not only get to support a small business in your community, you’re also more likely to get an arrangement that’s high quality, unique and artful – in other words, you’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck.

FLOWERS 4Still not sure what kind of flowers to send the object of your affection? Fear not, that’s what your florist is there for! As Balas advises, if you can’t find something perfect on the website, don’t hesitate to call the store directly. As she explains, “always offer a few guidelines but let them use their judgment and expertise. “Something really spectacular”, “something different and edgy”, “romantic but not roses” “as unique and beautiful as she is” and trust that your florist will put together something awesome based on the budget you’ve provided and what’s in stock. As Balas likes to remind us, “florists are artists! Let them show off their talent!”

PS. If you think you might need a vase or container of sorts, make sure you let your florist know. Nothing kills the romance like a gorgeous bouquet that ends up slowly dying on her desk. 

FLOWERS 5And by personalized message, I don’t mean writing something like “Nice boobs, lol” (true story, unfortunately.) However, a sweet, thoughtful, personalized message goes a long way. As Balas explains, “Do NOT just have them add your name to the card. Say something. Imagine the state she’s going to be in when she opens the card after receiving the flowers–take advantage of it.” Also, it  never hurts to include a funny inside joke that only she’ll get. Keep it short and sweet. Be cool. Be appropriate. You’ve got this! 

FLOWERS 6When is a good time to send flowers? Any time! Although flowers are always nice on birthdays, Valentine’s Day and other special holidays or anniversaries, you don’t need it to be a special day to send flowers. Want to make a memorable impression? Send your special person flowers during the day if you know you’re going to see them that night. I asked a couple of my girlfriends what their most memorable flower experience said and unsurprisingly, most of them said that it was when they received them “just because.” However, there is such a thing as overkill. As Balas reminds us, send flowers whenever “but not too often. Don’t spoil her too much!” 

Do you like sending and/or receiving flowers? 

*This post was brought to you by EuroFlowers, a Mississauga florist and flower shop that has been serving Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Toronto for over 20 years. All opinions are my own. Thanks for reading posts that support Skinny Dip

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