Dating in College. It’s Weird.

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May 2016 will mark the 12th anniversary of my college graduation (Jeebus, when did that happen?!) Although my college days are in the rear view mirror, there are some things that still are fresh in my mind – namely, what it was like dating as a university student. I dated a bunch of different people, had my heart broken a bunch of times and learned a lot of important stuff along the way. These were formative years. While I don’t regret my college dating experiences (ok, maybe I regret a few…) and I kind of wish I still had the hair volume of my early 20’s, you couldn’t pay me to go back to that era of my life. So, when asked me to share my thoughts about my college dating, I gladly stepped up to challenge.

Here’s a few reasons why dating in college can be challenging.

Time constraints. 

College students have no time to date properly. I went to a really academically challenging and competitive university. I also typically worked 20+ hours a week.  Dating wasn’t high on my list of priorities. Instead, I was focused on getting good grades and making money. When I had free time, I wanted to go out with my friends and party (read: drink my face off.) If I met someone while I was out with friends, cool. If not, that was OK too. I’m sure college dating is really different now that there’s apps like Tinder, but back then, I would much rather be out with my friends (where I could meet people organically) or working on my Linguistic Anthropology paper than trolling online dating sites for a potential soulmate. In other words, my priorities looked something like this: dating < school work, money, partying, sexy times with hot people I met randomly (in that order.)

Although I used to complain that most of my romantic adventures never amounted to real relationships, I honestly don’t think I could have handled the time and emotional investment that having an actual boyfriend would have required.

Lack of options or access. 

The first time one of my closest friends came to visit me at school, she scrunched up her face and asked, “what’s up with the guys here?! Why does everyone look like they’re vying for a spot on the Fortune 50?” She had a point.

I want you to imagine the ultimate party school (crazy keggers! Dorm parties! Football games! Greek row!) Now imagine the complete opposite of that and you’ve got my alma mater. I think we had a hockey team, but everyone was too busy studying to go watch any games. My school was big, anti-social and nerdy. The male population generally fell into one of three categories:

1) The above mentioned group: Izod shirts, Docker khakis, a copy of the Wall Street Journal or the New Yorker conspicuously peeking out of their Cole Haan messenger bag.

2) Suburban commuter students that looked like their mom still bought all their clothes at Eddie Bauer and maybe even cut their hair.

3) Guys who looked borderline homeless: greasy hair, torn jeans, pyjamas in public, multiple coffee mugs dangling from their MEC backpack. I once saw a guy wear a bathrobe to class. A bathrobe. 

In my four years of undergrad, I only met 3-4 guys at school that I was actually attracted to. I briefly dated one of them (and by “brief,” I mean we went out twice.) The rest of my love interests I met through housemates, coworkers or while partying at underground clubs with my friends.

No one really knows how to date. Not really. 

A few years ago, New York Times writer Alex Williams, wrote a piece about “The End of Courtship” which blamed all of the usual suspects (smartphones, technology, online dating, hook-up culture) for the death of modern romance. As she writes, “Dinner at a romantic new bistro? Forget it. Women in their 20s these days are lucky to get a last-minute text to tag along. Raised in the age of so-called “hookup culture,” millennials — who are reaching an age where they are starting to think about settling down — are subverting the rules of courtship.” 

While I don’t disagree with Williams, the fact that traditional dating is lacking in your 20’s isn’t anything new. I can count on one hand the number of times I went on a “real date” in college. Not only does the average 20-something not have the disposable income to wine & dine each and every one of their love interests, there’s also a good chance that they haven’t learned how to date in this way yet. In college, the best dates were usually the most casual ones. The times I did go on traditional dates in college that involved wine, a fancy dinner & roses, it always felt forced and awkward. It wasn’t until I was out of university and dating guys who were a bit older that I started to go on “real dates” that were actually enjoyable – chic bistro & all. So, a note to the college students: if you’re after the latter, dating does get better with age.

Hook-up culture is a thing. 

People like to pretend that hook-up culture is also a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s not. College is a time to experiment with all kinds of things…including sex. I know I did. Similar to the women in Kate Taylor’s New York Times article (“Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too“), I saw my college escapades as a cost/benefit kind of situation. I wanted to get the maximum return, for the least investment. Like the girls interviewed in Taylor’s article, I was super busy and the people I was interested in were also super busy. Dating in the traditional sense wasn’t really a thing. Instead, it was easier to seek out casual relationships (i.e. a friend with benefits) that allowed me to skip ahead to the good stuff – sex and cuddling – without the emotional investment of a long term relationship. This kind of arrangement worked for me until it didn’t.

Sometimes, hooking up sucks. 

When you decide that you want more than a casual relationship, the college dating scene can be a really lonely place. It can also hurt like a hell when you develop feelings for the person you’re hooking up with, only to find out that they just want to keep things casual. True story.

Everyone is trying to figure out who they are. 

I think the biggest challenge of dating in college is that everyone you meet is still trying to figure themselves out. That’s not a bad thing – after all, that’s what college is for. Unfortunately, even if you think you have a clear idea of who you are and what you want, a lot of the people you try to date don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I was broken up with because the other person “just needed to find himself/go to India on a vision quest/join the Peace Corps/Do Ayahuasca” or all of the above.

While it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of dating in college, it can also be a lot of fun. I’m grateful for all my college year hook-ups and romantic failures. If I hadn’t had these experiences and been dissatisfied with many of them, I never would have learned what I really wanted and needed out of my relationships.

What do you think are some of the challenges of dating in college?

This post was brought to you by All opinions are my own because that’s how I roll. Image credit: The Little Things. 

An Open Letter to 2015: You Were a Wild Ride

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Dear 2015,

You were a wild ride. So much so, that I had to take a few weeks off from blogging to process everything that’s happened over the past year.

If I remember you for anything, it’s for being the year I finished writing my very first book. 200+ pages of blood, sweat and tears that pushed me (in a good way) as both a human and a writer. Now that I’m putting the finishing touches on the manuscript and getting it ready to send out to potential publishers, the fact that I wrote a book is finally starting to sink in. The reality that I accomplished one of my biggest goals, will always make you special to me.

I will also remember you as the year I did all the fun things. I spent two weeks exploring Los Angeles, visited Palm Springs and saw more amazing live music in 12 months than I ever thought possible. In fact, when I think of all the concerts I saw in the past year, it makes my head spin (D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Rudimental, Sam Smith, Drake & A$ap Rocky to name a few.)

But, let’s get real, 2015. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Amidst all the travel, awesome dates and adventures, you also brought a lot of stuff that was just fucking hard. Breakups. Regrettable choices. Self-doubt. A book that at times was very difficult to write because it required me to sift through a lot of really uncomfortable emotions. But, if I’ve learned anything from the past 12 months it’s that I can do hard things. 

So, lets recount some of the best and worst of our adventures together, 2015.

January started off with a bang (um, literally) with a bunch of sexy reviews. I discovered the Fun Factory Stronic Eins (a vibrator that thrusts. Yep, like an actual person), tried out two new lingerie looks and reviewed one of the most luxurious products yet, The Crave Vesper – a gorgeous gold vibrator that’s worn as a necklace. I also shared the story of Vancouver Guy and decided that dating in your thirties is like that Amerie song – there’s just one thing that’s got you tripping…and it’s BAD. 

In February I reflected on the “lost month” I spent with Party Guy and came to the conclusion that no good can come from doing things that feel good in the pants, but bad in the heart. I also started to date a much younger guy. Although our relationship only lasted a few weeks, he was incredibly sweet and kind. February also saw the launch of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. To celebrate the release I interviewed Cynthia Loyst from The Social and spent a Galantine weekend in Vancouver with my friend Courtney. Another reason February was a big month: I discovered one of my (new) favourite sex toys: the Lelo Ina Wave. It’s been almost a year of play and I’m still smitten (just sayin’)

With the help of Joe the Intern and his friends, I tackled yet again, the epidemic of terrible online dating photos in one of my favourite posts from the past year. I also wrote about what it’s like to date in a small town (sometimes it feels like you’re wearing a scarlet letter) in a another favourite post.

April was a big month for book writing so I didn’t blog much. I did however, go on a virtual shopping trip to Cupid Boutique and celebrate’s 20th anniversary. April was also when I went on my first date with The Secret Agent, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

In May I had the pleasure of being on a podcast hosted by one of my favourite people, Nicole Antoinette. Our conversation spawned another one of my favourite posts: the one where I dispose of the world’s worst sex toy. During this month, Joe the Intern experimented with Sexting and the results were….interesting. 

A blog face-lift was in order, so in June I launched a new look for Skinny Dip! I also wrote about how it’s important to be brave and follow your intuition when it comes to dating. With the new blog design in place, I finally wrote about The Secret Agent and how we met.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’re probably aware that I spent most of the summer hanging out with SA by the pool and going on a bunch of different adventures. However, July also brought some fun reviews: sexy black lingerie, red underthings or porcelain dildos, anyone?

The highlight of August was attending Squamish Fest – my very first music festival experience, where I saw so many awesome acts (Alabama Shakes! Schoolboy Q! Mumford & Sons! Hot Chip! DRAKE). After the weekend festival, SA and I drove down to Seattle to see D’Angelo. I’ve been dying to see him for YEARS and it was without a doubt, one of the best concerts I have ever seen.

The summer was so jam packed with activity that I wrote about how to recharge and stay inspired when you’re really busy. In preparation for fall, I gave my bedroom a sexy makeover with a new nightstand.

In September (my birthday month) Joe the Intern professed his love to Hipster Barbie and I celebrated my 35th birthday in style with friends and family.

October was all about California! My trip to the Golden State was very, very dreamy. So much so, that it was hard to come back to reality.

2015, I could have done without November. It was a difficult month. SA and I broke up right before Halloween. Between having all the feelings, suffering from post-California let down and experiencing seasonal depression brought on by the dark, dreary weather, November wasn’t my favourite.

I liked December. I wrote about how to get through a breakup on a budget, spent some time in Vancouver and capped off the year with a fun sex toy review. I finished the year with some much needed time off that I spent with friends, family & catching up on books + Netflix.

Whereas I spent last New Year’s Eve swilling champagne and partying my ass off, this year’s celebration was much more subdued. I spent it at home with a good friend & her husband, having a few drinks and eating delicious things. It was a perfect relaxing end to a year that went by at break-neck speed.

2015, you were really something else. You involved epic highs and soul-crushing lows, but I’m grateful for both the good and the bad that you brought. Your ups and downs made me stronger and that much more ready to take on everything 2016 has in store.

Cheers & love,



Dating Confessions: I Married a Russian Women I Met Online

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(photo: buzzfeed)

Welcome to a new series on the blog called “dating confessions.”  I get a lot of emails from readers wanting to share their stories, so I thought this might be a fun experiment. As I’ve written before, online dating within your own city can be an… interesting experience. But, what if you meet someone from another country? What if you decide to marry them? What if you don’t know each other that well yet?! This is exactly Brent from Texas’ story & he volunteered to write about it. Got a dating confession of your own? Email me at skinnydipblog AT 

Since I have married my Russian wife, people never stop asking me why have I chosen a Russian girl for dating. The answer is simple – she is my soulmate and my destiny. I’ve never thought of marrying a Russian woman, however by a strange quirk of fate I have found  my wife in Russia. So, here is our love story.

Our story started in 2002, the year when I got divorced with my first wife. That was a painful separation, I felt down and depressed. Though I lived with my grownup daughter, we didn’t have very close  relationship. She was a student who lived her own life and I was a lonely divorced guy who didn’t know how to change his life for better.

To ward off loneliness, I’d often spend my evenings online. One night, as was surfing the Internet, I came across a dating site. I decided to try my luck there and shared my plans with my daughter. She was skeptical about that decision, as didn’t believe it was possible for find true love online. Frankly speaking, I didn’t  have high hopes for this endeavour, but I was tired of feeling lonely and decided to give it a try. So, I registered with a dating site, wrote a couple of ladies and even had several dates, but unfortunately not very successful ones.

Despite several failures I didn’t lose hope and continued looking for someone to date and perhaps even build relationship with. Six months in, I came across a profile of a woman named Nadia. I liked her unusual name, but I didn’t pay attention to her nationality. I was just charmed by the women in the photo and looked through her profile about ten times before deciding to write her.

Every day I was impatiently checking my incoming messages, hoping to see a message from Nadia. That long-awaited message appeared in three days. Nadia thanked me for my message and told me a little bit about her life (that is when I found out she was from Russia). She asked me to tell her more about what I wanted out of life. That question puzzled me greatly and I started thinking about how I would like to live the rest of my life. My daughter was pretty independent at that time, she was finishing university, working part-time and was engaged to a nice guy. This when I realized that I didn’t want to be lonely anymore and that I was open to new relationships.

We had been in touch for about two months, when I really wanted to hear her voice. When we finally spoke on the phone, our first real conversation lasted for two hours and it was amazing! I can’t describe what a great pleasure it was talking to Nadia. We had a few more phone conversations. The next move was meeting her in person. Nadia agreed to come to Texas and I was very excited about that.

The moment I saw Nadia at the airport, I knew I couldn’t let her go back to Russia. I presented Nadia to my family and asked her to marry me. Luckily, she agreed without any hesitations. We have been married for two years already and we are both very happy. Moreover, my daughter and Nadia became friends very quickly and our relationship is now better than ever. 

Today, I can safely say that finding true love online is possible, so don’t lose your chance of being happy.

Thanks for sharing your story, Brent! Thank you also for supporting the posts that keep Skinny Dip going. xo


On Bromances, Breakups & The Stories That Bind Us

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When I start dating someone new I have to “come out” to them about a lot of stuff. For example, that I write about sex & relationships on the internet, that I live with my mother and that I have an anxiety disorder (I usually save the last one until I’ve had a chance to get to know them.) However, since bringing on Joe the Intern in 2013, if they’re OK with all of the above, then I have to add, “Oh and by the way…I also have an “employee”  who is a 12 inch tall half naked man.” You either get what Joe is about or you don’t. But, if you are going to date me, you need to know that me and Joe are a 2-for-1 package.

One of the things that initially impressed me about The Secret Agent was that he wholeheartedly embraced the presence of Joe the Intern, right from the beginning.

A few days after our very first date, The Secret Agent was scheduled to go on a business trip. He texted me from his destination and asked, “Is there anything that you or Joe need from the mainland?”

I told him I was good, but sent him this photo of Joe just for fun.


He came back from his business trip with a box of jellybeans for Joe and I to share. This was the start of what would be an epic bromance between the Secret Agent and Joe.

Actions speak louder than words. By accepting Joe into his life, The Secret Agent made it clear that he also accepted my quirks – a sign that he was the right person to have in my life.

After that initial offering of jellybeans, The Secret Agent and Joe would exchange messages on the regular.

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And, like any Step-Boss trying to impress his lady, he spoiled both of us rotten. He made sure Joe & Hammer kept their fanciness on fleek with a pair of jaunty top hats. He also purchased Joe a tiny pair of vintage cowboy boots and generously donated to the Skinny Dip vehicle pool, much to the delight of the interns.

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To show his affection for Joe, The Secret Agent even went so far as to get this T-shirt made for our adventure at the Squamish Music Fest.


However, it’s not about the material things that The Secret Agent brought into the relationship, but rather, the unending patience he showed for my unconventional hobby/intern. He travelled with Joe, helped me shop for props and never complained when I had to do multiple takes of the same photo just to get the perfect shot (doll photography is a lot harder than it looks!)

I know if you asked the The Secret Agent, he’d tell you that he doesn’t just tolerate Joe, he truly enjoys spending time with him and helping with the photos (& disposing of um, “personal items” in elaborate ways.)

While we were California, we used the bikes provided by our airbnb hosts and spent an afternoon riding around Venice beach & Santa Monica. When I looked up at The Secret Agent riding ahead of me on the boardwalk and saw Joe’s tiny head peeking out of the top of his cross body bag, I not only smiled – I felt grateful to have S.A in my life.

As I’ve explained before, The Secret Agent and I are alike in some ways, but also very different in others. Despite differences in lifestyle and ways of being, a shared affection for Joe was always a constant in our lives.

Whenever these differences became impossible to ignore or silence crept into our conversations, there was always Joe, standing by to break the tension.

The Secret Agent would ask me, “What do you think Joe’s up to right now?”

And I would reply with something like, “Shhhh, don’t break his concentration. He’s telepathically communicating with Hammer about all the margaritas they’re going to make tonight.”

That tiny 12 inches of muscled plastic was the glue that held us together, until it was no longer enough. 

I’ve always thought that the worst parts of breakups aren’t the actual moment of the split, but rather the weeks, days, hours leading up to it. When you stop holding hands in your sleep. When texts that used to be signed by “xoxox” are now signed with happy faces instead. When kisses on the lips are replaced with kisses on the nose. When you start feeling more like friends than lovers. You try and convince yourself that you’re just imagining these things; that you’re reading too much into it, despite the fact that evidence to the contrary is staring you right in the face.

These are the moments that suck the most.

This is all to say that The Secret Agent and I broke up about a month ago.

While it’s always sad when something ends, I don’t have any regrets when it comes to my relationship with The Secret Agent. Unlike my relationships in the past, which involved a lot of self-sabotage and trying to force square pegs into round holes, I’m proud of how I handled us being together. I committed, I was patient and I let the relationship evolve organically – we both did. We had a great few months together, but when those differences became too big to overcome, we parted ways as adults without any drama.

{Epilogue} I’m fine. The Secret Agent is fine. Joe is fine. The Secret Agent & Joe have decided to stay in touch and continue being “bros.” Joe is handling it all like a champ, with his signature brand of stoic silence.

(Top photo is via Steven Henke‘s series, “Barbie Does Palm Springs“)

Dating Advice for Guys: 6 Tips For a Successful Date

joe header 2Hey dudes, Joe the Intern here. Some of you have been requesting more posts that feature dating advice for men. Unfortunately, I haven’t been going on many dates lately – my girlfriend Milly left me to go on what she describes as a “sexual walkabout” with Malibu Ken – I mean, I get it. He has a beach cabana and I live in a bachelor apartment located in a filing cabinet. So, lately I’ve just been having a lot of feelings and practicing my Krav Maga moves. Anyway, I brought in my friend Joshua Pompey to provide some dating tips for the dudes. You might remember him from his instalment of the Things I’d Tell My 20-year Old Self series. Take it away Joshua!

6 tips for a successful date

By Joshua Pompey

The day is finally here.  You somehow managed to meet a single, attractive, funny, and sane woman online, and now she has agreed to meet you in person.  What comes next?  Panic.  Sweat.  Heavy Breathing.  Once all of that passes, remember these 6 tips and you’ll have that second date planned in no time.

1.  Arrive Early

There’s an old saying in the military “If you’re on-time, you’re late.”  I’m not saying to arrive for your 8 PM dinner date at 5 PM and take advantage of happy hour(s), but planning to arrive 20 minutes early will ensure success.  Even if you lose 10 minutes because of traffic because you get lost, or because it takes a while to find a parking spot for your massive SUV, you’ll still have another 10 minutes to spare.  The last thing you want to do is keep her waiting.

2.  Dress Appropriately

Where are you going?  If the first date is at a park for a picnic, don’t wear a suit.  If you’re meeting at a fancy restaurant, leave the sandals at home next to your superman tie.  The best trick is to go to a department store, find a pretty saleswoman, and ask her for help.  Let her know you are going on a first date and chances are she will set you up nicely.  If you cannot afford to buy something new, make sure you’re comfortable in what you pick out of your closet.  A woman can tell a lot from a man by his clothes.

3.  Smile

Never underestimate the power of a smile.  There’s just something about this odd facial expression that helps people connect with each other.  From the very first time you meet and at times throughout the conversation you must always remember to smile.  A real smile will engage the entire face, the cheeks, and the eyes.  A fake smile will make it look like you’re holding in a fart.   So unless you’re lactose intolerant and out for ice cream with your sweetie, let her know you’re happy to be with by showing her your real smile.

4.  Shut Up and Listen.

Speak to a seasoned sales-person and ask them the best tactic for making a sale.  They will tell you “Listening to the customer’s needs.”  The same can be true for personal relationships and when the product you are selling is yourself.  A woman who feels she can open up to a man because he truly listens to her is going to become more interested and comfortable at a much quicker pace.  Spewing out stories of how you and your buddies “Got so wasted” or receipting lines from every episode of Entourage is probably not going to keep her interested in you.  Listening is a skill not owned by many.  Master it and you will be ahead of the curve.

5.  Treat Others Nicely

When she sees how nice you are to the waiter, to the cab driver, to the other couple who you held the door for, she will notice you more.  She is an extension of you, and when others thank you and recognize you as a gentleman, she will feel part of that recognition.

6.  Always Pay, But Do It The Right Way

Let’s be honest – the man pays.  Women will tell you that they are equal (which they are) and can also pay.  The right thing to do, the chivalrous thing to do, and the impressive thing to do is to pay for your woman during a date.  Let her offer to pay at which time you can politely thank her and say “It’s my pleasure.”

The first date can be a nerve-tingling experience, one surely to leave you hot under the collar.  If you follow these 6 tips for success not only will you impress your woman but you’ll leave her asking for more by the time the night is over.  And if not, there’s always that pretty saleswoman at the department store!

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Joshua has successfully been helping online daters find love since 2009. For more great dating advice from Joshua, visit, or click here now for a free article on how to write a great online dating opener.

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