Things That Are True at 32

At 32 you do things that your 20-year old self  would have scoffed at. You spend time creating inspiration boards, setting goals, taking life coaching classes and getting excited about the book club you joined. You do these things because they make you happy. When a 25-year old Hipster calls you lame, you just laugh because they haven’t figured out that being your authentic self is way more important than being someone’s definition of “cool”

After a very brief flirtation with the couch potato lifestyle, you wake up one night – on the sofa with your hand inside a bag of rice crackers – and realize that something has to change. You’ve been athletic your whole life. As a kid you swam, ran track and danced ballet 4 times a week. Your body and mind runs best when it’s getting intense, sweaty exercise and not just of the amorous variety. When you cut out the gluten, lower your carb intake & start hitting the gym again, you feel awesome. Pushing your body and being active isn’t just something you need to do, it’s part of who you are.

You’ve always been petite and your body didn’t change much throughout your twenties. However, when you try on the size 0 cocktail dress you wore to your 28th birthday and you can no longer zip it up, you frantically run into the other room and ask your Mom:

“Is it possible that my rib cage expanded over the past year?”

Yes, yes it is.

Your body changes at 32. Your rib cage expands and your hips widen. Your bust increases, you go up 2 bra sizes and your boobs become a force to be reckoned with. You go from 105lbs to 120lbs in just over a year. Although it’s a bit weird adjusting to these new curves, for the first time in your life you no longer feel like you’re going to float away, you feel grounded. When you see one of your best friends in Toronto she says, “Are you sure you’re not pregnant? I’m not trying to be mean, it’s just that your boobs are huge and you’re positively glowing.”  You just laugh and smile.

You start understand what Audrey Hepburn meant when she said “happy girls are the prettiest.”

At 32, Divorced is the new Single. Half of your friends who got married in their twenties are now split from their original spouses and are exploring relationships with new partners who are a much better match. Some of your friends start to get married for the second time – which, you’ll admit feels a bit weird & deja-vu-ish, but also kind of awesome because you’ve never seen them this happy before.

When it comes to sex, you and your friends start to see the effect exposure to porn has had on the male population. For example:  Gents, if you want to have anal sex with a woman, do not spit on her ass-crack while having sex with her doggy-style and just hope she takes the hint. It’s likely she won’t want to have any kind of sex with you after that move. To be safe, just don’t spit on women… ever. Unless she asks you to do it. If she’s in her 30’s, she likely knows what she wants in bed and whoa, hormones be crazy at this age. Just roll with it. Unless it’s anal sex – you should always talk about that first.

At 32, if a man has a full head of hair, it’s an asset. Furthermore, you never thought you’d reach the point in your dating career where you become attracted to men with grey hair. Around 31-32 you start to appreciate a little salt and pepper action. It’s to the point where you don’t even notice the grey hair and you just think “that man is fucking hot.”

You realize the importance of pheromones – those invisible love chemicals that lead to sexual attraction. A man who smells good for no apparent reason makes you weak in the knees. It’s this very powerful sensation that leads you to have a steamy two night fling with a guy that you meet while you’re on vacation.

The chemistry is great and you just want more, more, more. However, when he drops you off in the morning, and you kiss goodbye, making vague plans to see each other again (that you both know probably won’t work out because of geography), you suddenly feel this aching sense of loss in your gut. This leads to the realization that maybe you’re not as thick skinned as you once thought. That maybe casual sex isn’t for you. That although you’d like to deny it, your heart lives in your vagina.

27 years of friendship, and your best-friend is still the person who always makes you feel better.

“I did something last night that I’m afraid to tell you about”

“Oh god, did you have an orgy?!”

“What?! No! Although I’m kind of impressed that you actually think I’m the kind of person who would do that.”

“Well, I dunno. You never know”

“I just slept with someone I barely knew and now I feel weird about it.”

She laughs and says, “Oh, Simone. That’s OK! Did you have fun?”

“Yes, very much so! But now I have all these weird feelings that I don’t know what to do with”

“It’s Ok, it’s just a shock to your system. You went from living with your mom, not dating, to being in another city and…..”

“Full out sex, drugs and rock-and-roll?”

“Pretty much.”

The ache in your gut eventually goes away, however it leads to another important realization:

You love sex but you also need to feel safe and protected. You want someone who will rip your clothes off, throw you down on the bed, say and do dirty things to you, but who will also hold you afterwards because they think you’re lovely & special. Someone who smells good, holds doors open, and loves it when you read stories you’ve written outloud because they love it when you do all of the different voices.

After a year of being happily single, of not wanting to be attached to anyone, you come to the conclusion don’t want to date and/or sleep with a bunch of different people, you just want to just spend time and sleep with one special person. Oh wait, there’s a name for this kind of person! It’s called a boyfriend. 

Does this mean…. you want to be in a relationship?! I think it does.

And at 32 1/2, you decide this isn’t such a bad thing.

A Week of Long Journeys and Listening to Your “Buddy” Voice.

Last week, I stepped outside after an early morning doctor’s appointment and a seagull promptly pooped all over my $400 parka. I think my avian friend was aiming for my shoulders but by the time I noticed what I had happened the mess had already migrated to my sleeve and started to drip down all over the front of my jacket. Random seagull blitzkriegs are one of the few tradeoffs of living in such a beautiful coastal place. I came to the conclusion that there is no journey longer and more agonizing than the crowded cross-town bus trip you take covered seagull poop. However, a few days later I learned that there is something much worse: the silent car ride you take after you’ve broken up with someone at 2 am.

Since December I’ve been hanging out with “The Chef” one of the guys I’ve met through my recent initiation into  online dating. The Chef is a good guy. He’s the kind of guy you only hope you’ll meet through online dating. He’s kind, generous and does not own a kayak or a rotating tie-rack. He’s an adventurous, fun loving guy who shares my intense passion for food and eating, and enjoyed cooking for me. When we weren’t out sampling restaurants or cooking up a storm, we’d indulge in marathon viewing sessions of the Food Network. Sounds perfect right?

We look nothing like this of course.

A few weeks ago, while watching “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” we started to make-out. When I opened my eyes and glanced towards the TV screen I saw Guy Fieri biting into a massive, oozing, Philly Cheesesteak and was suddenly filled with panic. Was it possible that food was the only thing we had in common??

Sometimes I think dating would be so much easier if I’d never been in love. If I didn’t know what it felt like to curl up in someone’s arms and know that this person is your person. I’ve only experienced this a few times in my life, but I know the feeling very well. If it’s not there, I can still enjoy being with the person for awhile but eventually I just start to feel sad and my instinct to run kicks in. That’s generally when things start to get messy. Maybe ignorance is bliss?

Flash forward to last week when I was laying the the Chef’s bed. He was curled up next to me when the panic started again and I said the words that no one wants to hear, let alone at 2 in the morning.

“I don’t think I can do this”

Recently I wrote about overcoming sexual shyness. In case you hadn’t already guessed from reading this blog, sexual shyness is not one of my issues. I kind of have the opposite problem. In the past, I’ve found myself in situations (both romantic and sexual) where I decided to just go with the flow, because it just felt easier to say “yes” than to say “no.” However, that was then and this is now. I made a pact with myself after my big breakup, that I would look after myself – both physically and emotionally – and not do things that were self-destructive. My good friend Lindsay says that this means “listening to your Buddy voice” at all times. In other words, listening to your instincts, showing yourself some love and only doing things that feel right and authentic to you. So, last week that’s exactly what I did.

Be your own BFF and listen to your buddy voice. She's a peach.

He drove me home in stony silence, the 15 minute drive feeling like 50.

I thanked him for being good to me and asked him whether we could stay friends.

His response, “I don’t think so”

Can you blame him?

I’m proud of myself for listening to my “Buddy voice”. It just really sucks that I ended up hurting someone’s feelings in the process. Given the option between how I felt stepping out of the car that night and what happened earlier in the week, I’d choose the bird poop – hands down.

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

Hope Dies Last Giveaway

After the big break-up in the fall and some minor romantic set-backs in January, I’m finally starting to embrace my singleness. I haven’t been truly single in close to 7 years and even before that I was always dating some guy or another. Right now I’m working on getting to know myself better and trying to figure out what being single means to me. I’ve also been reflecting back on my past relationships, owning up to what failed and making a solid blue-print for what I want in the future (when I’m ready to date that is) I’m done with crying and have moved on to learning & reflecting.

This is why I initially gravitated to Eleni Zoe’s blog Hope Dies Last. If you haven’t checked out her blog, you’re missing out. Eleni writes about life, love and self-discovery with such honesty, clarity and vulnerability that I often catch myself saying “Oh my god, YES. I feel what she’s writing about. I’ve been there” while reading her posts. I love blogs that get inside my head like that.

{Eleni. Isn’t she lovely?}

Eleni is a total rockstar and has written a a book, Hope Dies Last: Lessons in Love. The book includes stories collected from some of her most powerful blog posts, organised into a narrative that will remind you of the best (and worst) parts of dating.

About the book:

“I wanted intimacy in capslock but I got it in parentheses” 

Hope Dies Last is the true story of twenty-something Eleni Zoe’s pursuit of love, a boy who will sit still with her for a while and the perfect mantra.  As a self-confessed perpetual singleton, she shares her tragicomic stories as if she’s whispering her heart out to you over a girly dinner. From first kisses and what sex is really like to bruised egos and broken hearts, Eleni asks the questions we each have on our quest for love. The difference is, she’s also got some answers.

The exciting news?! Because we could all use a little bit more hope in our lives, I’m giving away a SIGNED copy of the book to one of you!

To win a copy of Hope Dies Last: Lessons in Love here’s what you need to do:

Simply comment on this entry & let me know why you’d like to read the book.

Additional entries will be given for the following:

-Following me on Twitter.

-Following Skinny Dip on Facebook

-Each time you tweet “Giveaway alert! @by_simone is giving away a SIGNED copy of @elenizoe ‘s Hope Dies Last: http://su.pr/3TAfsx” 

*Make sure you include in your comment some way of getting hold of you (ie. complete the email field or leave your twitter/blog address). Also make sure you mention in your comment if you’ve done any of the additional things above.

The giveaway is open to everyone regardless of where you live in the world. The giveaway runs from today until February 3rd. I’ll select a winner at random on the 4th.

Good Luck! xo

S.

Fuck Broken Hearts. I’m Going to Vegas.

Following the big break-up this fall, my romantic interactions with the opposite sex have not proven to be successful. This post is just a small fraction of the whole story. There’s lots more. Too much to share on the blog at this point. I prefer to air my dirty laundry only once it has been hung out to dry for a long time and is considered old news. Long story short, on Monday night I had my heart stomped on. That’s all I’m going to say right now. I know that whatever I write at this point is probably going to be tinged with anger. I don’t want to put something up here that I’ll regret later. I prefer to write about matters of the heart once I’ve had time to reflect.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I am no stranger to romantic disappointment. It’s just that with everything that’s happened over the past few months, I’m emotionally exhausted.

Monday should have been the happiest of days – it was Bloggers in Sin City registration day! Remember that amazing event that I went to last year that I couldn’t stop blogging about?! Yes, THAT. I was super psyched to sign up this year but then over the weekend my excitement started to wane. My anxiety kicked into overdrive (making me feel sluggish yet wired at the same time) and I got a terrible headache that wouldn’t leave me alone no matter how many Advils I popped. My body always knows when something is up. It just does.

I started to wonder whether going to Vegas again was a good idea. I told myself “Should I really be doing this now? Maybe I should just save the money? Didn’t I just write a post about personal finances?!” Even on Monday morning, while I was sitting at my computer, head pounding, waiting for registration to open, I was on the fence. Is this really a good idea? But you know what?! I’m so, so glad I signed up again.

There is something slightly magical about Bloggers in Sin City. After the disappointment on Monday night, I was huddled on my bed, wrapped in a blanket and feeling pretty fucking hurt. One of the only things that made me feel better was when I decided to go on the BiSC website and read through all the profiles and tweets from the other attendees. I said to myself:

“How I feel right now fucking sucks…but I’m going to Vegas. In a few months I’ll be with my tribe of crazy, glittery, hilarious, wonderful bloggers”

I woke up yesterday morning and everything looked different – literally – I looked out my bedroom window and saw my Mom’s backyard which is full of bamboo and palm plants, dusted in a thick layer of snow (a West Coast rarity). I took a deep breath and finally started to process something I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around until that moment:

I am single. 

There is nothing or no one holding me back from doing whatever I want from this point forward. There is so much I want to do….

Travel to Latin America. Travel to Asia. Drink sangria in Barcelona. Live in New York and LA. Travel the world and write articles from every corner of the globe. Write a book. Be perfectly happy being roaming gypsy for awhile sans any kind of attachments.

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I called my best friend yesterday morning to let her know I was feeling better. I told her “I feel like I have my whole life ahead of me”Her reply: “You always did Simone”

 & I’m starting by going to Vegas. 

(PS. If you too are suffering from Wanderlust, check out my post I wrote about Toronto over at my friend Abby’s fabulous travel blog The Jungle Princess.)

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