How Simone Got Her Groove Back

Between The Bankerthe creepy single Dads that hit on me in Walmart and these dudes, it seems like all you ever get to read about on Skinny Dip is men behaving badly. I think it’s high time I told you a good story about dating (one that doesn’t end with me having to change my phone number). So here it is:

While I was in Toronto, I went on a date and it was awesome.

(CORRECTION: I actually went on three dates (with the same person) and they were all pretty fantastic.)

I met “Handsome Guy” about 2 years ago through mutual friends. We got along easily and had instant chemistry. The kind of chemistry that other people in the room can sense because it crackles in the air like electricity. Precisely the kind of chemistry you ignore when you’re already in a serious relationship with someone else. Handsome Guy got relegated into the “The Distant Facebook Friend Zone” – an obscure dimension Handsome Guys often get exiled to when girls already have boyfriends. Since I’ve been single I’ve allowed myself to indulge in a bit of a crush on Handsome Guy. After all, he’s charming, handsome and wears nice glasses. Let me just say, Handsome Guy has serious Clark Kent appeal.

Although I’ve been telling myself for months that I’m not ready to date anyone, when Handsome Guy asked me if I’d like to go to an art show with him while I was Toronto, I said yes.

A few days later we met for a drink. When I sat down, one of the first things I blurted out was:


To which he replied, “Alright, I guess we’ll have to enjoy the time we have!”

When we got to the art show we had planned on attending, we discovered that it wasn’t a gallery exhibit, it was an adult “make your own art” event complete with a DJ and a make-shift bar.

We sat across from each other making paintings and sharing things about our lives. There were no awkward pauses in the conversation. Even when it came to our attention that my “South West inspired” drawing of a cactus really just looked like a giant penis, Handsome Guy gently teased me and I made a joke that unconscious phallic drawings are an occupational hazard of being a sex blogger.

(Although, I’m kind of concerned that my date persona as a 30-something is the female version of that kid from Superbad)

The event was in a chic loft space downtown. When we’d finished creating our masterpieces (I’d filled my canvas with lighting bolts and hearts, he’d managed to cleverly turn my penis/cactus drawing into a guitar which still kind of looked like a penis) we stepped out onto the loft’s fire-escape to get some air. The wrought iron railing of the fire escape was decorated with white Christmas lights and the downtown Toronto skyline shimmered in the background. This is when Handsome Guy kissed me.

It was one of those perfect romantic moments.

We ended the night as all great nights out in Toronto should end: by sharing late-night eats at a 24 hour Pho place in Chinatown.

He pulled out chairs, opened doors, helped me with my coat and after we finished eating, walked me to my subway stop the way a gentleman should.

When I got home I squeeled excitedly to my roommate:

“I went on a date with a hot guy…and it wasn’t horrible! In fact, he was the perfect gentleman!”

Date #2 included more of my favorite things: an oversized leisurely brunch, tacos, more kisses and a long walk through the Annex.  I dragged Handsome Guy into my favorite used bookstore (that I can never leave empty handed) and he kindly carried my purchases all the way back to my friend’s place in Kensington Market.

Date #3 was bittersweet and involved Handsome Guy driving me to the airport to catch my flight home. Everything was going great until we arrived at the airport, checked my bags and were told that they were massively overweight. The Air Canada agent told us that we needed to re-pack the bags and/or remove items or they wouldn’t be able to accept them.

I was grateful when Handsome Guy volunteered to help with the re-packing however, I knew that once I unzipped those suitcases he’d be privy to all my secrets. I looked at him and said:

“In about 2 seconds you’re going to get to know me a lot better. Are you ready for that?”

I unzipped the suitcases and suddenly it was like the contents of my life had barfed all over Pearson International Airport. Everything was on display and I mean EVERYTHING.

The Sock MonkeysThe Muppet Paraphernalia. The plastic guitar. More underwear and shoes than any one person requires. So. Many. Sex Toys.

Oddly enough, he didn’t seem phased by any of it.

We worked quickly and got my suitcases down to an acceptable weight. When I flung the largest suitcase back on the scale for what was hopefully the final weigh-in, the agent said to me:

Looks like you’re good to go. I knew you guys could do it!”

Me: “Would you believe this is our third date?!”

Her: “You guys seem really good together

I looked at Handsome Guy smiling back at me as he loaded my Prada tote bag overflowing with shoes and a big bag of vibrators back onto the luggage cart (to be shipped to me at a later date) and said:

Yes, yes we do

When Handsome Guy and I said goodbye at the gate I told him:

“Thank you for restoring my faith that there are good people out there”

To which he replied, “Thank YOU for restoring my faith”

A few days after I arrived home in BC, I finally decided to crack open the book I had purchased to read on the airplane and out fell an envelope. It was a card from Handsome Guy wishing me a safe trip home & letting me know how much he had enjoyed the time we spent together. He must have slipped it in my bag sometime between arriving at the airport and kissing me goodbye. I smile every time I see the card sitting on my dresser.

Ever since the break-up my heart and sexuality have been on lock-down. I’ve been telling myself that I’m just not ready to get close to anyone (and for a long time this was true). However, before I went to Toronto I had recently graduated to saying “Maybe in 6 months I’ll be ready for a fling but not before then” I saw dating as something I’d do in the distant future however, things don’t always go as planned. Even though I’ve been telling myself that I am not ready for anything, I was so, so ready for this. I was ready to feel sexy again. I was ready to enjoy spending time with someone who enjoys spending time with me. Now that I’m back on the other side of the country I don’t know what the future holds for Handsome Guy and I, but I’m really grateful for the time we’ve been able to spend together.

I was ready to get my groove back.

This is all to say…

Women: Even though this blog often suggests otherwise, there are good guys out there – guys who are sexy AND thoughtful and who’ll hold doors open for you (if you are into that kind of thing… which I am)

Men: Take note, this is how it’s done.

So, now that I sort of feel like I’m back in the blogging groove, what did I miss? What’s new with you guys?! Tell me something good!

What Do You Really, REALLY Want?

If the title of this post sounds a bit like a Spice Girls song it’s because I’ve had “Wannabe” stuck in my head for a week. Do you remember the Spice Girls? As far as pop groups go, they were pretty cool. They were all about “Girl Power” & taking control of your life while in perilously high platform sneakers. Anyways…

I’ve learned over the past few months that in order to fully take control of your life you need to listen to yourself. Slow down, tune in and listen. What do you really want? What is your heart telling you to do?

After the big break-up at the end of October, I came to BC to stay with my parents. I arrived on November 15th with the plan to stay for 6 weeks and return after Christmas. As you’ve probably noticed from my posts: I’M STILL HERE. Oh and it’s what…March?! Sometimes things just don’t go as planned.

While I’ve been here I’ve spent many evenings sitting at the kitchen table, pouring out my heart to my Mom, trying to figure out what to do next. Really, I was just afraid to listen to what I really wanted. Because listening to what you really want can lead to making big decisions and taking risks which, while exciting, can also be scary. When I finally “tuned in”  and really listened to my heart, this is what it said loud and clear:

{I love this photo via}

I don’t want to be in Toronto.

If I really wanted to be there, I would have gone back months ago.

So what do I really, really want?

I want to write.

I want to travel.

I want to be somewhere peaceful.

I want to spend more time with my family & watching my best-friend’s daughter (who recently started calling me “Auntie Mone”) grow up.

These are the things I want. Right now.

The reality is, it’s easier to make these things happen if I am in BC. In theory, I could go back to Toronto and do all the things I feel like people expect me to do (get another well paying job in communications, work hard for an expensive apartment, interact in the large social circle I’ve spent 12 years building up, date, settle down) but I know if I did, it wouldn’t be long before I’d end up feeling just as restless and frustrated as I did before. So, I’m taking a break from Toronto. I know I’m going to miss my friends and the city but, at the same time I’m relieved to have a change of pace. It’s not for forever, it’s just what I need right now.

I’m going back to Toronto later this week for 1o days to visit & put my things in storage. Then, I’m a free agent! No attachments or commitments other than a storage locker. Adventures, here I come!

It’s funny, deep down I know this is what I wanted for a very long time. I’m glad I finally had the courage to tune in.

By the way, if you know me in real life and this is the first time you’re hearing of this, I apologize. I tried to email everyone individually but there has just been a lot of details to organize and if I missed you, I’m sorry. Please feel free to email me if you have questions! xox

What do you really, really want?

10 Things I Wish Sex Ed Had Taught Me

One of the things I love about the Eden Fantasys website is that there is so much cool content on there. If you get bored looking at all the brightly colored sex toys, lingerie & the like, there’s forums, video reviews, the Eden Cafe Blog and SexIs Magazine – all of which feature fun & informative information about sex. Recently, I’ve become totally addicted to watching Producer & Sex Educator, Nikol Hasler’s  “What Did We Learn” video series. Nikol Hasler’s story is interesting. Sexually active at a young age, her early life was marked by moving from various foster homes, conquering subsequent drug abuse, becoming homeless and pregnant – all before the age of 18. These experiences have given Nikol a unique perspective on sex education. In 2008 she teamed up with a friend to create the Midwest Teen Sex Show – a very popular comedy podcast where she uses her experiences & biting sense of humor to provide straight forward info to teens about sex. She’s since written a book & moved to LA to write a pilot based on her podcast for Comedy Central. In other words, color me impressed. Did I mention she’s also really funny?

Producer & Sex Educator, Nikol Hasler

I was watching her video “Five Things I Wish Someone Else Would Tell My Son”  and it got me thinking about what I wish someone had told me about sex when I was a teenager.

The sex education I received in High School was spotty at best. In grade 10 our guidance counsellor Mrs. M (a bleach blonde, middle aged woman with a thick Eastern European accent & a fondness for spike heels, low cut tops & drinking out of a plaid thermos that I swear contained something stronger than coffee) turned on a VHS tape of the Degrassi High’s “School’s Out” TV movie and barked out “VATCH THIS!” before stumbling out of the room. If you haven’t seen this cheesy 1990’s masterpiece, it features a totally awkward scene where a girl shows her friend how to put a condom on a banana – because you know, that’s something that occurs all the time in normal social situations. I knew the basic “birds and bees” stuff but for the most part, sex ed left a lot to be desired. By the time I got to grade 11 my school had it’s own daycare. It’s funny how no one connected the dots here.

So, here’s some basic things I wish someone had told me in Sex Ed:

1. Always, ALWAYS pee after sex. When I was 19, I woke up one morning feeling like someone was stabbing my bladder with Ginsu knives. I thought I was dying. Turns out it was only a bladder infection – something I later learned could have been prevented if I had gone to the bathroom after doing the deed with my boyfriend the night before.

2. Sex Toys exist. Using them and pleasuring yourself isn’t weird or wrong. I feel like there is this massive double standard for men & women when it comes to self-pleasure. In popular culture, guys masturbating is considered “ha ha funny” (think the movie American Pie) whereas when it comes to women pleasuring themselves, it’s still looked upon as something slightly shameful. I didn’t even know vibrators existed for the longest time. When I finally worked up the nerve to go buy one in university it was like this big, secretive deal. Now that I own a whole drawer full of them I realize it’s not a big deal at all. Toys are actually really empowering. I wish more girls knew this.

With that said, if you’re going to use toys make sure they are body safe. Unfortunately, there are many toys out there made of materials that contain phthalates and other toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and serious health problems. Protect your girl parts and make sure the sex toy you are buying is labeled as “body safe and phthalate free”. I cringe to think what my first vibe was made of.

3. Sex sometimes involves weird noises, unexpected fluids and laughter. A healthy sex life involves having a sense of humor. Years ago, I was in bed with a former booty call of mine during a heat wave in Toronto. The sex was hot and our body temperatures were even hotter. We were SO sweaty that we were desperately clinging onto each other in fear that if we let go, we might actually slide off the bed. Because there was so much moisture, it created a suction cup effect. Every time we would separate our bodies, a funny farting sound would happen. The sex was so good we didn’t care. This kind of stuff happens. Bodies sometimes make strange noises. Periods arrive unexpectedly. If you’re not mature enough to deal with this & laugh it off with your partner, you’re probably not mature enough to be having sex.

4. Better awareness about condoms. Condoms come in all kinds of different textures, sizes, colors, lubricated/non-lubricated, ribbed/non-ribbed, pineapple flavor etc. Ahhh!!! It’s all very confusing!!! Not all of these condoms are going to work for you. For example, you might be allergic to latex, certain lubes or even spermicide. A sign you might be allergic to spermicide: your girl parts feel like they are on fire after coming in contact with it. True story.

5. Be careful, but don’t be terrified.  I came of age amidst the height of the AIDS crisis. In grade 11, our drama teacher brought in an HIV+ AIDS activist to speak to our class. He got up and gave us the following piece of confusing advice: “Kids, don’t fuck your way through Europe like I did” while we all stared at him, open jawed. Combined with a Catholic upbringing, I spent a lot of my late teens/early 20’s having a lot of fear & guilt around sex. I wish someone had just said, “You can have a healthy, fun sex life that’s also safe”

6. Sex Ed for Gay Students. If I felt like I wasn’t getting much out of sex ed class I can’t imagine how my gay classmates must have felt. There was hardly any mention of homosexuality except “It exists. Don’t be homophobic”. No one ever brought up how gay people actually get it on. It was only last year , while watching an episode of “The Real L-Word” that I learned what “scissoring” was all about.

7. If a guy says he doesn’t want to wear a condom, dump him. Guys will go to great lengths to get out of wearing a condom. This includes telling you stuff like “I love you & would feel so much closer to you without one.” I once had a 35-year old man tell me “Condoms just feel impersonal” (and getting/spreading an STD is way more personal) Recently, I also heard another 30-something guy say that his method for protecting himself from STD’s is to “pull out” (um, I don’t think it works that way buddy). Which brings me to #8…

8. Unfortunately, it’s likely some of the people you will sleep with will be morons. Until proven otherwise, assume everyone is as clueless as the guys I mentioned above & take your health into your own hands. Wrap. It. Up. Play safe.

9. Sex often comes with these messy things called FEEEEELINGS. In high school we were told “wait until you’re in a relationship or married” but life doesn’t always happen that way. When I was 18 I started having a slightly scandalous affair with a much older man. The first time we slept together, he came over, we had sex & then he went home 5 minutes later. Nothing could have prepared me for the sense of emptiness I felt after my first casual sex experience. As much as I tried to front like I was all tough & cool when it came to sex back then, the truth was I got attached to people after I slept with them. When those feelings weren’t reciprocated it hurt.

10. Whatever you’re into is OK. Do you want to be spanked? Does porn turn you on? Are you into guys and girls? As long as it’s consensual and no one is getting hurt, whatever you’re into is totally OK. Except maybe clown porn. That’s kind of weird.

What do you wish you had learned in Sex Ed? 

Sexis - a provocative sex magazine at

*This post was sponsored by Eden Fantasys who kindly sent me a gift certificate in exchange for my over-sharing. As always, all opinions and sordid tidbits are my own. 

Vive La Revolution

Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have occurred between my Mom and I while we sit at our kitchen table. We have a nice living room but we really only use it for watching TV. The kitchen table is where everything goes down in our house. It’s where we show our love through food, have our morning coffee, talk about life, laugh, cry. It’s the same story whenever I go to my grandma’s house. The kitchen table is where it’s at. I haven’t figured out if this is a Eastern European thing or just a “my family thing.” Last week one of my kitchen table conversations with my Mom turned to my recent (albeit reluctant) foray into self-help books. I was trying to explain to my Mom the concept behind the book He’s Just Not That Into that I wrote about recently. I explained that the book teaches you how to value you yourself, not waste time on guys who aren’t really into you and to let the good ones come to you.

I absolutely adore this photo.

 {found via Pinterest}

“I don’t know Simone. It doesn’t sound very modern. It sounds like the men still have all the power. Like, they are allowed to just go ahead and do whatever they want and all the responsibility for dating falls on the women to let them know that they are jerks” my Mom responded.

“I know it probably sounds that way Mom but think about it: If more women made a commitment to stop accepting sub-par treatment from the people they date and men realized that they could no longer get laid as easily, the game would change. Basically it comes down to basic economics. If the market changes and you don’t adapt you get left in the dust.”

(As you can tell I’ve been watching too many episodes of House of Lies – which I love BTW)

“Oh and Mom, this doesn’t just apply to men. There’s women out who treat men like crap too.”

“Ok, I see your point”

“Besides, as much as we like to think we can control other people’s actions, we can’t. We can only control how we react to them.”

“That’s true”

“I’m learning stuff Mom”

“I know. I raised a smart cookie”

(and yes, I learned that last bit in therapy. THERAPY RULES!)

My final thoughts on He’s Just Not that Into You

I initially thought this book was going to be silly but it got me thinking. We are all entitled to awesome relationships that make us happy. Imagine what would happen if we all made a commitment to stop wasting the pretty, to respect and demand respect from the people around us and only accept the best treatment:  I think we’d start a love revolution. My suggestion:

Let’s start a love revolution this weekend. Who’s onboard?!

Happy Weekend! xox

Don’t Waste the Pretty

Once upon a time I had “game”.

When I was in my twenties I dated a whole string of unsuitable dudes. I had my feelings hurt, my heart crushed, learned a lot about myself and grew stronger as a result. Eventually I got to the point where I stopped accepting negative treatment from the people I dated. I became more confident, I started asking for what I wanted and I upped my standards. I came to the realization that it was much better to be alone on a Saturday night than be dating a guy who would forget to call  because he was too busy skateboarding with his friends/”jamming” in his buddy’s garage/getting wasted/in the middle of a Battlestar Gallactica marathon with his gay neighbor/ You get the picture. Like that New Radicals song from the 90’s, I do believe “you get what you give” when it comes to the universe & love. I’m convinced that by valuing myself, the universe eventually brought me a man who valued me too – my ex that I spent 6 years with. He was a good boyfriend and had a big heart. I never had to question whether he cared about me, he always called when he said he would  & most weekends he made sure we had coffee in bed. It’s been so long since I’ve been single that I kind of forgot that not everyone is as decent as this.

With my first romantic interaction following the break-up, it’s like my game went out the window. I got so wrapped up in my  feeeeeelings that I let certain things like unreturned messages & a lack of communication just slide. It’s like I temporarily regressed to being a teenager again. Which is like, totally embarrassing because aren’t I supposed to be this bad-ass relationship blogger who knows better?! Getting hurt a tiny bit was actually a humbling experience because it made me realize that I’m not as invincible as I like to think I am. I guess everyone needs a romantic “tune up” every now and then. Maybe it’s time for mine.

I was telling my best friend all about this the other day when she picked up her copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You”, handed it to me and said:

“You need to read this”

I’ll admit, I was skeptical of this book because I tend to associate “self help” with “cheesy” and “not for me”.  Also, I caught myself getting all defensive: “If a guy doesn’t call you, he doesn’t like you. Got it. Isn’t this book all common sense?! I mean, I probably don’t need to read this. I already know everything it’s going to tell me bah blah blah blah”

However, last week I sat down with “He’s Just Not That Into You” and read it cover to cover. I’m glad I read the book. Like my best friend predicted, it was exactly what I needed to read right at this moment. Sure some of the scenarios in the book are kind of silly and common sense however, in general the book left me feeling empowered and reminded of some important lessons that we should all keep in mind whether we are out in the dating battlefield or in a steady relationship:

  • There’s never a good excuse for someone to hurt your feelings. EVER. So, stop making excuses for people.
  • If someone really wants to be with you, they’ll do what it takes to make sure that’s possible.
  • Not everyone is going to be that into you and that’s totally OK. Don’t waste your time on these people. Removing the relationship “clutter” leaves room for better things to come along.
  • Freaks should stay in the circus, not your apartment.
  • My favorite one of all: When it comes to the freaks, the time wasters & the people who just can’t bring themselves to turn off that Battlestar Gallactica episode to be with you: Don’t waste the pretty.
I think that’s going to be my new mantra.

Have any of you read the book? What’s your favorite book about dating/relationships/sex? (I’m on a roll here and might actually read more books like this if you have suggestions. If they’re humorous, even better!)

PS. Speaking of books, make sure you head over to the GIVEAWAY to win a copy of Eleni Zoe’s Hope Dies Last: Lessons in Love. Contest closes at the end of today!

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