Top 10 Tips to Survive Dating in 2018

In my free time, I’ve become a dating tip connoisseur. In fact, it’s almost a hobby at this point. I’ve been soaking up everything I can from Youtube videos, dating coaches and podcasts to learn everything I can to successfully date in the social media/technological age that we’re in. I think it’s a fascinating world and there’s so much content to learn from. In conversation with Sam the other day, she suggested I pull together a shortlist of tips that I’ve found effective so far in my life. Although there are specific do’s and dont’s from what I’ve listed, it’s not so much about the exact wording or protocol about doing things. Instead, it’s more about your mental state and approach to conducting yourself to date in a positive, healthy and self-respectful way.

So here goes, in no particular order, what I’ve found works best for me:

  1. Don’t contact him after the first date. Unless you forgot something or he said to text you when you got home safely, let him make the move. Having him text first when he’s ready will show an indication of his interest level. Too often I’ve gone on dates and focused on gauging MY attraction to them when I realize that’s only half the battle.
  2. Let him take the initiative to make plans. I want a guy that takes initiative and isn’t afraid to setup the plan. If he puts the ball back in your court, just say you’re up for anything and to surprise you. Having him put the effort in is also an indication of his interest level.
  3. Keep the texts short and sweet. It doesn’t need to come across rude, keep it flirty but get to the point. The purpose of texting should be make plans, not to get to know each other via message. As long as you’ve found out the basics about him and there’s somewhat of a common interest, everything about him can be learned on the actual date.
  4. If you’re unsure about the guy, make it a coffee date. It’s short, quicker and not as expensive as dinner or drinks. And if you both find out you like each other, it’s easy to transition into a drinks date after.
  5. Take the time to evaluate your hard yes’s and maybe’s. You don’t need a must have list of 20 physical qualities and characteristics – it’s not realistic, but focus more on the values and morals that you’d want in a person. At the same time keep an open mind on the date, he may surprise you and you may discover certain things you didn’t realize you’d be attracted to.
  6. Do not ever feel like you owe a guy anything after a date, no matter how much he’s spent on you. You are in control of your own body.
  7. If you can and are able, date multiple people casually at the same time. Trust me, I haven’t figure out how to successfully do it yet myself but I am told it is the healthiest approach to dating. By not focusing all your energy (and therefore desperation) on one guy, you can feel more at ease knowing that you have options and can take your time when evaluating for a good partner before you get into anything serious.
  8. If he cancels or comes across flakey, give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him to reschedule. If he doesn’t, move on. You’re not a top priority in his mind and you shouldn’t waste your time on someone who sees you as an afterthought.
  9. Self-reflect on your dating goals. What are you looking for? Are your actions and behavior aligning with your goals? Alter as necessary. There have been times where I say I’m looking for a relationship, but in truth, my body seems to yearn for something more casual. Coming to that realization was eye-opening for me and allowed me to tailor my dating style based on what I was looking for at the time.
  10. Above all, respect yourself and those around you. You deserve to have someone treat you well, and you should treat them in kind. If it’s not the right fit, don’t force it just because you’re lonely, it may damage you more in the long run.

That was just a few of the things I’ve learned over the years. It might not be to everyone’s taste but I think there is a fundamental vein of truth that runs throughout them. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any tips to share with our readers as well.

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Jane the Virgin is Woke AF

 

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Last weekend I was catching up on a couple episodes of Jane the Virgin, the amazingly exaggerated CW telenovela, when I was struck by how much I related to the usually over-dramatic show. ‘Chapter Seventy-Five’ centred around the concept of “re-framing”, a narrative device that uses previously withheld information to reshape the context of the plot.  In Jane’s storyline, the episode focused on re-framing her relationship with old flame Jonathan Chavez, her hot graduate professor that she almost lost her virginity to.  This episode really struck a nerve with me, dredging up emotions I’ve been wrestling with the past few months and rousing me from a 2.5 month blogging stupor. Jane, and her complex relationship with Chavez so articulately encapsulate everything I feel toward Mr. Man. So to borrow a page from Jane’s own playbook, I’ll be using her story to re-frame how I’ve been feeling in mine. Meta…I know.

Scene One:

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Jane needs a job, which leads her to message Chavez asking for an introduction to a professor who is currently hiring. Rightfully so, she feels tentative about reigniting things, re-writing her email to him over and over to ensure she’s portraying the right message of easy, breezy, and unbothered by the shitty end to
their relationship.

Cut-to: Me trying to compose work emails to Mr. Man that are friendly without being flirty, polite yet professional, but not like I’m trying to intentionally be so. Our ending may have been a little different from Jane’s (she cried before a hook up, while we just stopped talking) but nonetheless, the same awkward, unresolved tones hang in the air in both cases. Honestly, I’m sure that I’ve written university papers that are less edited than some of my responses to Mr. Man.

Scene Two: 

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 6.43.56 PMJane manages to overcome her email communication hurdles and reconnects with Chavez, just in time to learn that he’s seeing another student. She stalks him a bit online only to see that this pattern has happened not once, twice, but at least four other times…ouch.

Cut-to: Me finding out from a friend at work (Margaret) that Mr. Man has a rather widespread reputation for hitting up young girls in the office. Nice huh? This new-found information made the whole situation seem incredibly icky and I couldn’t help but feel like it was a reflection of my own optimistic naivety, where I somehow thought that I was *shudders* something special.  Maggie & I agree that it’s possible that I was to some degree based on what he’s shared with me, but it doesn’t matter either way. Finding out about this pattern basically invalidated all of my feelings and made me realize that at best I am just a rainbow chip in a larger chocolate chip cookie…damn, now I’m depressed and hungry.

Scene Three: 

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 1.00.48 AM.pngJane explains the situation to Raf in the quintessential intersection of her storyline and mine, sharing how she (and I) felt in two succinct sentences:

Jane: “I didn’t feel like he took advantage of me, at the time. I had a  huge crush on him and I went after him. But knowing that he slept with all these other grad students, it just reframes everything.”

Raf: ”You should report him.”

Jane: “For what? He’s not Marissa’s advisor. I checked. And there’s no clear university policy.”

Raf: “Well there should be, those are some intense power dynamics.”

Swap out Jane for me and Raf for Maggie and I SWEAR I’ve had almost this exact  conversation. While I don’t think that Mr. Man has ever ventured as far as Chavez, the parallels are still apparent. I didn’t feel like anything was wrong with his attention because I was really into it, I let him know I was open to something and was not innocent prey by any means. But knowing that he may have tried to pull the same thing with others is so disheartening, as is the realization that what I deemed to be ok behaviour really wasn’t, it just seemed that way because I was drunk on hormones.

So, should I report him? I’ve thought about it…but what would I report? Clearly he’s well-practiced in tip-toeing the line, making sure to push his bounds while never doing anything I could overtly point to at the end of the day. Thiss tactical approach only shows me how well-versed he truly is at this game, definitely upping the ick factor.

I feel as if the notion of power dynamics is one that becomes even more exaggerated in a business context. This is because in a literal sense some positions are just more powerful than others, a notion that isn’t groundbreaking by any means. However, on a more nuanced level, men in powerful positions also seem to have an inflated sense of self-importance, as if their role somehow points to having a higher status level overall. I can’t definitively claim that Mr. Man’s role at work made him feel as if he could treat me like a play thing with no feelings. But as the ‘feelingless play thing’ in this particular circumstance, it sure as hell seems that way.

So shout out to Raf for saying it best…those really were some intense power dynamics. Really what else was I to do in that situation…Be rude? I had no reason to think that he was being anything but genuine and only looking back does the game become more clear. From the moment he bought me a drink at the bar I was indebted to him to some degree. He always got our bills, made me feel special (*shudders* there it is again) and even recommended me for another job, making me feel like I should be grateful for his attention and cleverly masquerading whether or not I was being manipulated. He’s mindfucked me to the point that even now I feel absurd writing this blog post when “nothing” has really happened…but “nothing”doesn’t bother you for months after, so it’s time to put to rest the notion that this fabrication was created all on my own.

The last thing I will say is that I am so grateful that Jane the Virgin, which sounds like campy show about sex, tackled an issue as difficult as the power imbalances between men and women. While I never thought I was the only person to experience something like this, it was comforting seeing my own experiences articulated so clearly, and helped me re-frame those 6 months for what they really were: an inflated fantasy of an office romance constructed by trashy rom-coms, my own optimism and most of all, by Mr. Man.

 

Mr. Heartbreak Breakup

Carrie – The curse of having a great memory is having to disassociate every moment you’ve ever shared with him. 

The latest memory that sent me into tears was mini donuts. Yes my friends mentioned mini donuts, a great joy in people’s lives and diets, but a bitter sweet reminder of our first date when we lined up in front of the “hot and fresh” carnival donut stand.

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yes, this made me cry recently

The saddest part of having a formal relationship is knowing that the transition never really involves after-the-fact friendship. Maybe ex-sex or the occasional run-in. But rare to have true friendship if you didn’t start off with it. Continue reading “Mr. Heartbreak Breakup”