10 Things I’ve Learned About Love From “How I Met Your Mother”

A modified version of this post originally appeared on We Love Dates.

It’s no secret that I love How I Met Your Mother – in fact, rarely a day has gone by over the past 9 years when I haven’t quoted or referred to the show in conversation. Yes, I’m that friend. Trust me, between that and my 30 Rock references, it drives most people crazy. With only one final episode left before we say farewell to the show on March 31st, I’ve already begun preparing myself (as I’m sure many of you have) for major withdrawal symptoms. In fact, I have the second to last episode loaded on my computer ready to watch but I can’t yet because, well, it’s the second to last episode. Although I’m excited to see how everything wraps up, I’m not ready to say goodbye to this show. I probably never will be. There’s just so much about life, love and friendship that HIMYM just gets.

So, before we say goodbye and use ALL THE TISSUES in the world, here are a few of my favourite lessons about life & love from Ted, Robin, Lily, Marshall, Barney & the gang.

1. Too much compromise is never a good thing – Every relationship requires some level of compromise, after all,  a couple can’t work if they both had a personal mandate of “my way or the highway.” Being part of a relationship means working together. However, when you expect your partner to go to great lengths just to please you – for example, when Barney asked Quinn to quit her job, or Victoria asked Ted to stop being friends with Robin – it essentially means you want them to be someone they’re not. A relationship shouldn’t require you to give up things that are important to you. If it does, it means you’re in the wrong relationship.

2. Trust is Key – In order for a relationship to be successful you need to trust each other completely. Lack of trust is essentially is what undid the pairing of Quinn and Barney. However, when it comes to Lily and Marshall – the fact that they are willing to share everything and anything with each other (even bathroom habits) – keeps them in sync and connected.

3. Even “perfect” couples fight sometimes – Although Lily and Marshall are basically one of the most perfect couples ever, they don’t always see eye to eye. They fight. They make up. They do it again. Being in love doesn’t mean being “perfect.” If you’re afraid to have arguments, everything will just build up to the point where it’s unhealthy, resentment breeds or things become completely explosive. The fact that most of the couples on the show are shown having arguments on a fairly regular basis reminds us that like them, we’re all just humans trying to do our best.

4. Re-visiting exes usually doesn’t end well – Failure to follow this advice may find you on a date with your balding high-school ex-boyfriend from Canada who still works at a water-slide park, or getting kicked in the face in middle of a restaurant. Tread wisely my friends.

5. Love means accepting someone’s quirks – Whether it’s your best friend or the person you end up marrying, loving someone unconditionally means accepting their quirks, even if one of those quirks is a pair of bright red cowboy boots that they insist they’re “totally pulling off. ”

6. Sometimes your friends know you better than you know yourself – This is especially true when it comes to the people you date. When it comes to Ted’s love life, often the gang can spot things are amiss before he does – for example, when he gets back together with his painstakingly pretentious ex from college, Karen. Love is blind and sometimes we only see what we want to see. This is why you should always keep your good friends close. They want what’s best for you, whether you can see it at the time or not.

7. The “crazy eyes” are totally real – Listening to your intuition is an important part of dating. Often it’s our gut that gives us the best dating advice. If you look into your date’s eyes and feel uneasy, or your friends tell you that this new person you’re hanging out with gives them really bad vibes, take a moment to consider that the Universe may be trying to tell you something – i.e. that you should stay far, far away from this person.

8. You never know who you’ll end up with – [Spoiler Alert] At the beginning of Season One we never would have guessed that Robin would end up with Barney, but it happened. In fact, at various points throughout the show, several characters (including Ted himself) thought that Ted and Robin were destined to be together (even though as viewers we knew she was not The Mother.) I can’t tell you how many times this has played out in my life or the lives of my friends. Take a look at a summary of my sexual history – I thought a lot of these guys were “the one” at various points, however I am so glad that things never worked out with any of them. Same goes for friends of mine. Friends that I thought had “perfect relationships” have since split and moved on to new partners that are much better matches. This just goes to show that you can’t predict love. That womanizing, suit-obsessed guy that you currently don’t take seriously may just be the love of your life…or not.

9. Letting go is hard, but necessary – Throughout the series Ted struggles to let go of the feelings he has for Robin, to the point where it actually screws up several of his relationships. It’s only when he finally finds the courage to let Robin go that he opens himself up to finding true love. Coincidence? I think not. Sometimes we need to let go of good things to make room for amazing, awesome things.

10. Sometimes it takes a really, really long time to find the right person – If Ted’s 9-year long narrative has taught us anything, it’s that the path to true love is a long and winding road full of joy, heartache & lots of twisty turns. There’s someone for everyone and if you don’t give up faith, you will eventually find them. In the mean time, you’ll get by with a little help from your friends…

Greetings From The Bro-Zone

A few weeks ago, when I found out the guy I was interested in was seeing someone, I told one of my friends about the situation.

“So, he just casually slipped it into the conversation that he was dating someone, like out of the blue?!”

I was about to reply when it hit me –

“Yes, it was like he was telling his Bro or something. OMG, HE THINKS I’M HIS BRO. I’m in the Bro-Zone!”

I’m no stranger to the Bro-Zone. I’ve been in and out of the “zone” so many times over the past decade I’ve lost count.

Years ago, when I had just moved to Toronto started dating my first Toronto boyfriend, we went out for brunch with two of his best friends. We were still in the honeymoon stage and I remember my ex telling his buddies,

“Isn’t Simone great?!”

To which one of his buddies replied, “Yeah! You know who you remind me of Simone? You’re like the real life version of Janeane Garofalo’s character on Seinfeld. She’s funny, smart and sarcastic but when Jerry tries to date her he can’t because she reminds him too much of himself”

“Yeah, I mean you’re totally attractive but I’d never want to sleep you. You’re like, one of the guys. You’re too smart and cool to actually have sex with.”

The disturbing part was that I watched as my ex-boyfriend nodded in approval.

Ok, so being compared to Janeane Garofalo isn’t the worst thing ever (because, hello, she’s awesome) and I get that it’s totally not cool to tell your buddy, “Hey, I want to bang your girlfriend!” – but, was the last part really necessary?!

(For those of you who don’t “Speak Seinfeld” please see below)

This wasn’t the last time that I would unexpectedly find myself in what I’ve come to call the Bro-Zone. The ex I mentioned above would eventually decide that he wanted to be in the Bro-Zone all the time…and preferably naked. He bid farewell to vagina and our relationship when he broke things off a year later to date a guy he had met while working on a production of “Guys and Dolls.” File that under, “World’s Biggest Cliches.”

About a year after we split, I had a falling out with two of my closest female friends at that time. My partying had reached the point of self-destruction and both falling outs were the result of some pretty terrible decisions on my part. Although I knew my behaviour was at fault, the end of these friendships made me sad. I was carrying around so much guilt and hurt that for the next few years I was almost afraid to make new female friends out of fear that I might fuck those friendships up too. Instead, I focused on being friends with guys.

I love having male friends. Guys tend to be pretty straightforward and as long as you don’t sleep together (and even sometimes when you do), there’s considerably less drama than what often comes hand in hand with many female friendships. Looking to escape my recent bout of girl-drama, I took comfort in my male friendships.

In the inner circle, there was my Gay BFFs – my friend Trevor, one of my closest friends from BC (and my former prom date) and my friend Chris who was also my next-door neighbour.  Between these two, there was always someone around to talk to (often bemoaning dating, or the lack thereof), cook dinner with, go to concerts with & to spend late nights watching sex and the city episodes with when we were too tired or broke to go out drinking. These guys were my rocks and I don’t think I would have made it through that period of my life without them.

At the time I worked at a store that sold beauty products. Through my male coworkers I met a whole other slew of “gay boyfriends.” When I wasn’t hanging out with Trevor or Chris, I was getting into drunken antics with these guys. Gender never played a part in my other friendships, however my Gay Boyfriends always made a point of letting me know I was one of the guys – or, as they liked to say “One of the girls!”

I also had my straight male friends. We’d drink beer together after class, talk about “chicks” and sometimes they would help me lift heavy furniture. I was intent on becoming the best pseudo-bro I could be. For awhile there I was like the Paul Rudd to their Seth Rogan, The Michael Cera to their Jonah Hill, the Bradley Cooper to the Wolf Pack – except, I had boobs.

This photo is just as awkward for me as it is for you. Photoshop is not my strong suit. 

Then, there were the guys I slept with. I’ll get to those guys in a minute…

View Post

Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Going from a long-term relationship to being single again is an adjustment process. When you’re with the same person for a really long time and then suddenly you’re not, it’s like you have to re-learn how to be single. In my case, the last time I was single for an extended period of time was when I was in my early 20’s and as I’ve learned, being single as a 30-something is a completely different ball-game. I’ve been single for two years now, but there are still things I’m getting used to. From having feelings for people to being rejected, emotions and situations will present themselves, catching you off guard.

Recently I found out that a guy I was into is now dating someone. Really, it shouldn’t be that big a deal. Although this person and I have hooked up in the past, we never made any promises to each other and I knew in the back of my head that the likelihood of anything more happening between us was slim. I knew this was always a possibility, it’s just the news hit me harder than I expected. It left me with this sinking feeling in my stomach that I’ve had a hard time shaking. As a so-called bad-ass sex and relationship blogger I’m supposed to have thicker skin than this, so why do I feel so…well, uncomfortable?

I read an interesting post a while back by Shannon of Frugal Beautiful about how her journey becoming a long distance runner has taught her to become more “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This is exactly how I feel about the “gladiator” fitness classes  I’ve been taking. When I’m at the gym early in the morning trying to hold a one-armed plank, you better believe it’s uncomfortable. Your whole body is straining, often times shaking, and all you can do is breathe through it. It fucking sucks, but you do it anyways because the hard parts are what make it good. Thanks to years of ballet training, I’m no stranger to physical discomfort or pushing my body to the max but I’m not use to this emotional stuff.

In the past these kinds of feelings would have sent me off on a tailspin of vodka, impulse shopping, more vodka and bad decisions, however this time around I haven’t done any of those things. Last weekend I went out for drinks and politely declined several rounds of shots that were offered to me. Although I drank steadily throughout the evening, I failed to get drunk or do anything I’d regret later. I guess making myself numb isn’t as appealing as it used to be.

Instead, I’ve been working out like a beast, perfecting my roundhouse punch-kick-combo at the gym and being super productive at work.  I haven’t even tried to eat my feelings and my carb intake is shockingly low this week. In other words, despite some emotional discomfort I’m actually doing really great.

I’ve realized that without the haze of vodka or acute anxiety to cover them up, I have a lot of feelings. I’m way more sensitive than I like to admit and when I like someone, I get attached (which has made me re-evaluate how I feel about casual sex in the first place.) It takes me a while to process all the feelings, but once I do I’m fine.

And that’s the thing – sometimes being single feels like you’re doing a one-armed plank with your heart. You’re out there, you’re vulnerable and sometimes it’s really, really uncomfortable, but unless you’re willing to become a hermit (which I’m not), there’s no way around it. You have to forge ahead.

So, here I am. Getting more comfortable with the uncomfortable. Breathing. Waiting for things to shift. Because I know they will. They always do.

Nobody is Perfect. Not Even Barbie & Ken.

If you’ve been following my Instagram, you have probably noticed that for the past few weekends I’ve been attending Sleepytown’s local flea market, helping my Mom with her vintage clothing and jewelry business. The flea market is an interesting place full of bizarre finds and quirky, colourful characters selling their wares. One of my favourite sellers is an older lady who sells vintage toys. Thanks to her, Joe the Intern with has had new “friends” arriving at Skinny Dip headquarters on a weekly basis.

I was purchasing this guy from her last week when she said to me, “You know, I’ve always thought Ken was kind of gay.” Considering this was coming from a white haired, 70-something grandma type, I had to laugh. I  agreed with her and we spent the next 10 minutes having a very frank and hilarious conversation about men, sexuality and Ken dolls…at the flea market.

When I came home, I told the story to my Mom. A few days later she called me to tell me about this article that she’d stumbled across in the Georgia Straight, our local alternative newspaper.

Vancouver based photographer extraordinaire Dina Goldstein – the artist behind 2009’s Fallen Princesses series (Snow White as weary housewife or Pocahontas as lonely cat lady, anyone?) has turned her skewed lens on iconic couple, Barbie and Ken, in a collection of 10 images titled In the Dollhouse.

Inspired by the traditional gender rolls she saw her daughters reproduce while playing with the dolls, Goldstein decided to take a closer look at the famous dolls, and became convinced that Ken was definitely not a ladies’ man. As she told the Georgia Straight, “Mattel has totally, I think, emasculated him. It’s like, come on… I started playing with dolls in my head, and started thinking that this marriage [with Barbie] has been imposed on him, and now he’s just breaking free and breaking loose, and finding his authentic self.”

Created over 30 days and shot in a purpose built set located in a former art gallery, the series follows the marital breakdown of the world’s most famous set of dolls, depicted by human models. The photos are pretty amazing, which is why I’m sharing them with you today.

Ken and Barbie reading in Bed. It’s OK Ken, those “O” relationship stories get to me too.

Barbie, I feel you. It’s never a good feeling when you’re half naked and your partner is more interested in his hair dryer than what’s under your monogrammed towel.

The subconscious is a murky place. Both Ken and Barbie dream of a moustachioed GI Joe.

Tea time is totally awkward when your beloved insists on wearing your favourite pair of bright pink pumps. The look on Barbie’s face says it all.

View Post

Guest Post | Sexiest Locations to Spend a Winter Getaway

As soon as the weather cools off and the grey November days (which are typical for the West Coast) start to roll in, my sense of Wanderlust gets even stronger. In fact, I’ve caught myself numerous times looking over photos from LA and Miami (two of my favourite destinations south of the border) and daydreaming about an impromptu trip to New Orleans. I can’t help it!

Since travel is obviously on my mind, today I thought I’d let my travel writer friend, Susan step in with a guest post. Take it away Susan!

When people think of getting away, they think of summer getaways to white sandy beaches and clear Blue Ocean. If a summer vacation is not within your budget or nor does it fall into the timing you need, consider a winter break with your partner or friends instead.Think about it –  it’s unique!

Winter Olympics in Sochi –

There are so many wintry destinations to choose from and winter next year is going to be very fashionable considering the Winter Olympics in  Sochi will be on the international calendar. If you can get tickets, what better way to remember your time together and take in the world’s best talent in skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding, ice skating, and even more. The Winter Olympics have been slightly controversial due to Russia’s conservative views on gay rights, but if you’re set on attending the games then book your accommodation well in advance. There’s sure to be a lot on offer nearby as Russia tries to make the most of the Olympic tourism traffic.

Ice Hotel Vacations – 

Quebec plays host to the world famous Hotel Glace. Take in the best of French Canadian culture at this luxury  spa hotel, which has first-class accommodation, a wonderful restaurant and bar, and every type of spa comfort and pampering service which you could possibly imagine. You can also get some wonderful photos in this incredible and unique ice architecture.

Whilst the Hotel Ranga is not an ice hotel, its location in Iceland is a prime place to see the Northern lights in 2013. Accommodation wise, you can stay in themed rooms that represent each of the 6 continents.

Hit the winter beaches of Hawaii – 

It might surprise you to know that Hawaii is very active in the winter months. More than just active in fact, Hawaii has unique attractions that really come into their own in the last quarter of the year. The waters are still warm, and from November onwards you can enjoy prime whale watching season with humpbacks a specialty in the area. Surfing fanatics can also enjoy the busy season from October to May. If you are an active, outdoor kind of couple, this might make the perfect winter beach getaway for you.

Scottish Highland retreat Scotland has some fantastic winter countryside, where you can escape the busy city. Many of Scotland’s most fantastic houses remain intact and they cater perfectly for a hot and spicy getaway. Prices are reasonable and the winter weather is actually a bonus, especially if you go around Christmas time. Check out cheap flights via air transat.

Winter getaways needn’t be a drag or a second-best option. They can be every bit as fun and as appealing as a summer trip. As you will be flying in the winter, and booking hotels and during less busy periods, you will also save yourself a lot of money and stress. Give a winter getaway destination a chance and find yourself pleasantly surprised by what the latter quarter of the year can offer.

Where are you daydreaming of this winter? Let us know in the comments!

Susan Varano is a freelance writer. Residing in the UK, but more often than not traveling the globe, Susan has spent over 15 years in freelance, writing about some of the worldís best and sometimes unheard of travel destinations.

Latest pins

Follow on Pinterest