The Runner

Introducing our brand new contributor, Mindy Lahiri! She self-identifies as her own worst enemy when it comes to love and is looking to break some old patterns.  If you ask me (Samantha), she’s hilarious, courageous in her pursuit of love and has a massive heart.  Welcome Mindy to DTT6! 

Rewind to two years ago. I am new to the city and excited to be closer to all my friends and be working in a new job- but also am extremely unhappy with who I am as a person and felt as though I had no purpose. One of the friends I had in the city wanted to introduce me to “this guy who had seen my IG page and thinks I’m cute”. So after seeing his page, I was thinking to myself.. theres NO way this guy, thinks I’m cute.. but sure, let’s give it a try. Let’s call this guy The Runner.

After about a month of following each other on Instagram we finally met in person. He was (and still is) one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever laid my eyes on. He’s tall, dark, handsome and seemed to have his s*** together. To me at the age of 23, I couldn’t help but be drawn to this 31 year old man with his own apartment, an education and a steady job. Most importantly, he was kind hearted, intelligent and funny. He crossed off all the boxes for me and from the moment I met him (maybe even before I met him), I knew that I was going to fall so hard for this guy.

I remember the details of us meeting so vividly it might scare some people. We met on a Thursday night with our mutual friend there and I was too nervous to actually speak cause well, he was human perfection. From there, the DM’s started and eventually started texting each other. We hung out that next night and had some of the most mindblowing sex I’ve ever had. You know how sometimes sleeping with a new person can be awkward.. it was not like that with The Runner. He understood me and my body in a way that I don’t think I had experienced until then. We slept and cuddled that whole night, and then hung out the next night. Drank wine, talked about deep life stuff and had some amazing sex. When I wasn’t with him, I was thinking about him and being with him. You know that feeling when someone lights your crotch on fire but also makes you feel things emotionally? Yeah, this was that.

From there, we continued to text regularly and hangout on a pretty consistent basis. We went for dinner a couple times, but for the most part the hanging out was later at night in his apartment and usually involved sex and cuddling. He expressed to me numerous times that he was not looking for a relationship and that he was working on healing himself from his past relationship (**Some context: we started hanging out a month after his live in girlfriend and him ended… BAD IDEA) and that he wanted to figure out his career etc. I heard what he said and where he was at and in the moment because I so desperately wanted him, I agreed with him and told him I was okay with casual. In reality, I did not accept it and I continued to hope for more and that maybe one day we will work out. But nothing ever changed.. it all boiled down to us being at different places in our lives and wanting different things. But there was something about him that I could not let go of. Eventually, after 9 months of being 100% emotionally invested in someone who couldn’t even meet me 10% of the way- he started seeing someone else and we stopped talking. Don’t you love falling for an emotionally unavailable guy??

When he told me that he was seeing someone and that he wanted to see things through with her, it was one of the most painful things to hear. I thought it was going to be me and I was so furious that I had wasted so much of my time. I was mad at myself and mad at him. Turns out that it was ALL in my head. The hardest part of that was that I created a narrative in my head and expected him to live up to that- without the courtesy of a conversation to communicate what I expected. How’s a person supposed to live up to expectations they don’t know even exist?

So anyway, from there we went about a year without seeing or speaking to each other. I had convinced myself that I was over him.. I dated other people and I threw myself into my friendships and work. But The Runner was someone I thought about all the time. It didn’t matter that he had a new girlfriend.. I still thought, “maybe one day”. Just as I thought I was over him for good, I ran into him at an event and I felt like my legs turned to jello and I couldn’t form proper sentences. He gave me a hug and just his physical presence sent me way back in time. After seeing him I was anxious, I was sad, I had all these feelings that had been repressed for almost a year and they all surfaced at once.

After some really intense therapy sessions, talks with friends, A LOT of writing (we’re talking numerous notebooks full) I realized a few things:

  1. I lacked so much self love and respect that I was willing to let just about anybody stay in my life
  2. I was so scared of being alone and not having someone to love the parts of myself that I did not love- that I settled
  3. The behaviours I have with men are a reflection of how I feel about myself
  4. I was depending on someone else to make me happy because I couldn’t make myself happy.. that’s a fuck ton of pressure to put on a person who cant even make themselves happy
  5. If something doesn’t feel right at first, it likely isn’t
  6. That entire situation had NOTHING to do with me and everything to do with HIM
    1. It wasn’t a question of whether I was worthy or good enough for him.. we just didn’t have timing on our side
    2. He said himself “the only thing that was wrong with you was that you expected long deep conversations at 3 AM”

All of this made me think: which unhealed part of me is that desperate for love and affection that I consistently settle for less than I deserve? Why was I not good enough for him? WILL I EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH??

Those are some pretty loaded questions that I am still figuring out how to answer. But in regards to The Runner I know I am finally at peace with the situation. It took a lot of work and a lot of digging deep within myself- because a lot of the reason I was so “sad” about him- really had nothing to do with him and had everything to do with me and who I was. Yes, he treated me poorly at times and he has since apologized and he was not innocent in the whole thing but neither was I. I am so beyond grateful for what I went through with him because it taught me so much. If I had known 2 years ago what I know now, I never would have let it get that far with him.. but I was meant to learn that lesson the hard way and I’m glad I did.

Since then, The Runner and I have become friends. I joke that he is my best friend and it makes my REAL best friends, aka Samantha, upset. He is not my best friend, but he is someone who knows me and knows how hard things were for me and knows all the growing up I had to do to get to the place I am at now. If you even asked me 3 months ago about The Runner, the story would have gone a lot differently- but now that I am at peace with it 100% and I know that him and I are on good terms, I can finally close that chapter of my life and look back knowing that it helped to make me a stronger woman and a stronger person. On to the next..

PS- This whole article was written while sitting across from The Runner at a local coffee shop.

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Samantha meets Smith

Have you ever felt your heart squeeze? Not in a concerning way requiring emergency services or medical intervention…I’m talking about the oddly pleasant sensation that feels like someone reached into your chest and tightened their grip. You know that one? I call it Love.

Why do I describe this, you ask? Well loyal readers, I am in love. The jump in head first, all-consuming, giggle-for-no-reason kind of love. It’s true! When we left off I was a recovering toxic-relationship junkie, just on the other side of my most recent relapse with Mr. Man, and today I am a woman free from her vices. In fact, my last blog post declaring our finality was just a few weeks into my then-budding relationship, which is now almost 6 months long. How the hell did that happen?

Well, without belaboring the past or belittling my journey to get here, I want to try to summarize the last few months. Toward the end of August I was entirely trapped in an emotional tower of my own making. Given I am still in full-time work and full-time school mode, I didn’t think I could handle a real relationship, nor did I think I wanted one. Without a real need to leave Mr. Man behind, I didn’t feel like I had to, keeping me trapped in my tower for far too long. Now, I’m not one who typically subscribes to fairy tale tropes, but in true Disney fashion, it was my Prince Charming (Smith) who showed me how to break out from behind the wall I’d built around me.

Smith is unlike anyone I have ever dated. He is strong but kind, smart but sensitive and intense but doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is in a word, balanced, and I am in a word, not. My parents have always described me as going from 0-100 real quick, a pattern I have only reinforced through my experiences with men time and time again. But that’s why he’s different. He evens me out. I feel calmer around him without ever feeling dulled, something I have grown to truly cherish.

I feel like I almost didn’t have a choice but to fall in love with Smith. There was a time early on in our relationship when I did something stupid to try keep him at a distance, for fear of getting too close. As mentioned in the past, I’m one of those dumbasses who likes to push people away only to confirm their fears of being left alone. And can you really blame me? I spent a year holding back  emotions from the person I cared about, so being vulnerable and trusting of his feelings for me was way harder than I expected. Nonetheless, instead of letting me push him away with my typical habits, he (figuratively and literally) held on, showing me I could depend on him entirely. After meeting in undoubtedly the most stressful time in my life, he has loved me at every mood and brought me a sense of comfort that I’m very grateful for.

I am self-aware enough to recognize that I have a Type-A personality and fiend control. I (like most people) just want to eliminate some of the ambiguity that exists in everyday life. But this super busy schedule of mine doesn’t leave enough space to be a control freak and getting used to that definitely took some time…In my past, exes have complained that I never full let go and always need to do things for myself, a criticism I’d taken offense to…Why should they do something for me that I can do it for myself? I pride myself on being fiercely independent, but the extreme lengths I’ve pushed myself to this year have forced me to rely on Smith, not from a want but from sheer necessity. Part of me thinks that we might not be together if not for my busy-ness, which has forced me to relinquish my fear of showing weakness and to let my man bring me lunch when I forget it at home. He wants to help because he cares, and I shouldn’t misattribute his kindness as a sign of my own weakness, something I wouldn’t have recognized otherwise.

The past 6-months have been some of the best of my life. Though I’ve felt challenged like never before I’ve maintained a healthy dose of perspective as well. If work sucks or I get a shitty grade it doesn’t change the person I am or the fact that someone loves that person. To date, this blog has been used as to encapsulate the ups and downs of dating, with my friends (and I) finding it hard to blog about an ongoing relationship. Nonetheless, I’ll keep trying to keep up the blog, as my attempts to explain this healthy, promising and real situation has only reinforced how healthy, promising and real it really is. I don’t know what the future holds for us but I am lucky to have met such a wildly patient and understanding man and am excited to see what comes next. 

The 6ix Month Relationship

Miranda – I’m so proud of the title of this blog post. It just hit me like a ton of bricks and I realized it was the perfect depiction of what I’ve been going through the past half year…

I’d like to thank Pam Beesley for her insightful blog post and inspiration for getting me to write this. She reminded me that we had this marvelous platform as an outlet to vent,
write our feelings and just genuinely sort our internal shit out.

My last post, The Fkboi Myth, made me realize how much has changed since I initially wrote it. The boy in question in that post, Mr. Black, ended up being such a whirlwind
of an experience. As of 2 weeks ago, it’s officially over, but not without some highs and low, and bumps and bruises.

The reason why I call this the 6ix month relationship is because this is as long and as close as I’ve had to a real relationship. Yes, I’ve had a “bf” years ago but that ended in
under 2 months due to me going on an International Exchange in school. Mr. Black, on the other hand, lasted just under 6 months and we were in an exclusive but not a committed, serious relationship (so no boyfriend/girlfriend labels). Essentially, just like the Fkboi central city we live in, it was the epitome of a very 6ix style relationship.

For the purposes of this post, I would like to rename him from Mr. Black to Mr. Nigerian Prince. I’ve decided to change his nickname from Mr. Black to Mr. Nigerian Prince because it’s a much more accurate reflection of him. I think Mr. Black at the time was a quick decision by picking on his most obvious physical trait in that it was the first black guy I’ve really dated and well…slept with. Up until now I’ve maybe just kissed 1.5 black guys (3 mixed people – do the math). I know I’m perhaps being racist with my explanation but I’m just saying it as it is. Before this, I’ve never been particularly
interested in dating black guys but let’s just say, after this experience, my
mind (and legs), are much more open to the thought. Maybe an entire separate
blog post is needed on this to explain my new found affinity towards black men.

Anyways, he is now Mr. Nigerian Prince because he is a recent expat from Nigeria. And like all traditional Nigerian Prince situations, it was kind of a scam. But, in this
case, he wasn’t scamming me, I was scamming myself.

Let me explain. One of the best (and worst) aspects of getting to know him was his brutal honesty. Quite early on he was upfront that he does not do committed relationships (like, ever) – but he was happy to be exclusive with me. I was taken aback when I first learned this but I consciously decided to remain with him, as it would be a test and learning experience for myself. Could I deal with gray areas? What does it mean to be exclusive but not committed? Is it just labels or is there actually a difference? In the back of my mind, I knew it would come to an close eventually because of his non-commital ways, but it was still something I was willing to see through. So, I guess in that sense I was scamming myself.

Even so, I have no regrets about deciding to pursue this. From the beginning to the end, it’s been a fascinating experience and I’m honestly just proud of myself for coming out
of it relatively unscathed. The fact that I allowed it to last this long in such a gray space is a miracle for someone as high strung and anxious as me. But in the end I had to call it quits, as I eventually learned, among other things, that this was not a good fit for me anymore. To sum up, these are the biggest learnings and takeaways from my time with Mr. Nigerian Prince:

  1. I should not hold  onto my feelings and build up resentment. I cannot expect someone, especially a guy, to be able to read my mind and my mood swings. It’s only fair to open up and communicate them clearly with my expectations and my feelings. Ask them for what you want, so  everything’s fair game and on the table. How he decides to react and act is then on him and you can gauge appropriately from there.
  2. Believe what a guy tells you if he’s speaking honestly. It’s not your role to “read between the lines” or decide whether he actually knows what he wants or not. You either decide to accept him as he is and perceives himself, or don’t accept him at all and move on. Just don’t ask him or force him to change, because that’s unhealthy for both of you.
  3. How to breakup with someone (first one didn’t go so well, second one went a lot smoother). And the emotional rollercoaster that happens afterwards. I didn’t know I was capable of ugly crying for the better part of a day nonstop, mam, that was exhausting. In fact, I’m still in the recovery stage now and trying to figure out the next steps are to get over it.
  4. What I’m capable of giving in a relationship. Throughout my time with Mr. Nigerian Prince, I had to hold back so much with him. I felt ready to give so much more, whether that be in the form of my time, emotional vulnerability, and the desire of creating new experiences together. So, it was very frustrating for me to constantly quiet my internal wants and ultimately, this was what drove me to ending it.
  5. What I want in a relationship. The qualities of a man that ACTUALLY matters. Not their height, their looks, or what they do. I want to focus on how they make me feel, that our communication styles match, and that they are emotionally available and ready to commit.
  6. Lastly, I have jungle fever. This is an exciting realization because it opens up my dating pool much more.

Again, I feel really thankful for this experience and even though ending it wasn’t easy, it’s what was right for me. The crying was definitely ugly (which left my face so puffy I had slits for eyes), and the companionship (and his fine ass) will definitely be missed. However, since coming to terms with what I want, it no longer made sense to keep it going. I was pouring my energy and time into a vessel with a hole in it and left feeling drained.

6ix months later, it’s 2019 and I feel empowered. It’s time to make room for new experiences and to meet other sexy men.

Mr. Man Returns

With this post I declare the Mr. Man chapter of my life officially closed. Given it has been a full year, let me recap the timeline of events. Mr. Man is a 40-something year old executive who works on my floor. We met last July at an office karaoke night and hit it off immediately, having an insanely intense chemistry (See blog post: Mr. Man). We spent the next few months hanging out with increased frequency, progressing from extended “coffee chats” at work to full nights of drinking and talking about our lives. Our 17-year age difference was intriguing, and I wanted to explore the fantasy-like situation in which I found myself.

Image result for christian grey office

Along with my friends, I’ve spent hours deciphering his flirty behaviour and wondering if he’d ever cross the line between us. We’ve had many highs and lows along the way, going from being super involved in each other’s lives to barely speaking for weeks at a time. Throughout it all I craved his attention, was infuriated by his inconsistency, and wondered if our chemistry would extend past banter and into the bedroom.  By January he started dating someone and I’d given up on thinking anything would ever happen between us (See: An Ode to 2017). Though we continued to spend time together, I became increasingly irritated by the idea that he was deriving some fetishized pleasure from the attention of a younger girl, not understanding what he wanted from me. I was emotionally exhausted and fed up with the drama, so I put aside all my feelings and closed the door to that part of my heart (See: Jane the Virgin is Woke AF).

But, as per the usual I got reeled back in by his charms. The difference this time around was that I knew the scoop. This overgrown fuckboi was not to be trusted and while he may have had genuine feelings toward me, I would not let myself feel any type of way toward him. This was pretty easy to do given how vastly different our lives really are, knowing it probably wouldn’t work even if we wanted it to.

Fast forward to June and we were on one of our “highs” – talking a lot and getting drinks after work all the time. He was still seeing this girl but continuously said it wasn’t serious, and whether it truly was didn’t matter to me. He’d had ample opportunity to make a move when we were both single and didn’t, so I had no reason to expect that he would now. Then one night, we got particularly drunk and it finally happened…we hooked up. Legit, I could write a full post on this night alone, and I mean it when I say I didn’t expect it at all. I’d actually had plans to meet up with friends after our drinks, but needless to say I never ended up meeting them. Following that night we started hooking up more consistently, constantly expressing how natural it felt to be together and that we should’ve been doing this for so much longer. We spoke pretty openly about how we felt and what we were doing. He didn’t seem to mind that he was cheating, and I was so drunk with desire that I found ways to rationalize it. Telling myself that they weren’t serious and having him reinforce that seemed sufficient, justifying that he’s grown man dating someone for 6 months and not living with her.

From then on, we fell into our own pseudo-routine where I’d go over to his place, spend hours just talking or immediately getting down to it. Our drunken first attempt was a little clumsy, but after that first time, we had some of the best sex I’ve ever had. Hey, 10 months of foreplay will do that for you. If I’m totally honest sex with Mr. Man was unlike with anyone I’ve ever slept with before. Having held back for so long meant we had established a real connection and the intimacy was so apparent while still having fiery passion. Simply, our sex game was next level. After a little over a month of late night encounters he went on vacation. Though I was sad he was going I needed that time to evaluate how I felt about the situation. After all, we were still doing something inherently wrong, and I also didn’t love seeing a pair of heels lying around his place when they didn’t belong to me.

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When he came back we immediately fell into our patterns, but with one major difference. The first time he had me over after his vacay, I walked into a completely empty condo (except for the Murphy bed in the guest room). I had known he was house-sitting a place in the suburbs but was not aware he was fulling moving out of his downtown condo. Nor did I know, but would soon discover, that he had spent part of the vacation moving in with his “non-serious girlfriend”. Though quite blindsided and bothered that he’d intentionally misled me, my hormones trumped all else and we had one of the best nights together we’d ever had. Lying in his arms is the most comfortable I have ever felt with a man and I didn’t want it to end. Hours later I awoke, not even realizing I’d fallen asleep and we got up to go home. Yep, that’s right, the condo we’d spent the last 6 hours in was not his home anymore and he had to get back to the suburbs to his real life. And that’s where it all changed.

There were a number of things that left me feeling unsettled when I woke up the next day. To highlight just a few, I was really put off by the number of times he referred to his girlfriend by name, bringing the closeness of the situation to new heights. As well, I didn’t like the open way he was talked about his feelings for me, still not understanding how anyone can feel that way (unless they’re full of shit) and be with someone else. The confusing part is that he had absolutely no reason to lie to me as I’ve said possibly 100 times that I am not looking to get romantically involved.

Truly, the worst part was that he seemed  fine going home to his girlfriend right after sleeping with me.  This left me feeling icky in more ways than one and is what definitively made me decide to cut it off. The difference in the level of betrayal was no longer something I could turn a blind eye to or be a part of without feeling overcome with guilt. And completely selfishly, it made me feel like shit that he made a move right before taking this next step with his girlfriend. By hooking up with me right before this step, he was indirectly using me as an excuse to blow up his relationship, clearly not ready for the commitment. Being a side piece is bad enough, but being someone’s excuse for a relationship falling apart feels even worse.

So as much as I don’t want to (and trust me when I say I don’t want to) I’m “ending it”. It’s been 2 weeks since we last hooked up and we have barely spoken or seen each other, but that’s ok. I’m not going out of my way to make plans only to end something that never really was. If he wants to see me again he’ll message, and that’s when I’ll let him know. Unless he’s developed a conscience since our last encounter I’m sure I’ll get the opportunity eventually. And if I don’t then that’ll have to be okay too. I don’t feel weird or awkward around him, but when we last spoke there was a definite pang of longing in my heart knowing it was actually over.

Though this wasn’t a relationship it is the longest standing involvement I’ve had with someone in a while and it’s hard for me to let go of our connection. I am addicted to the way that he makes me feel and to the rush of adrenaline I get whenever he smiles in my direction. I’ve always said that I don’t have a type, I’m attracted to people’s vibes, and this has never been more true than with Mr. Man.  Given this”crush” ended up lasting a year I think I’ll always wonder “what if” we gave it a real go without all the complication.

In spite of it all I think that I’ve come out of the experience netting positive. There weren’t many clean ways this could’ve ended, so I’m glad to get out before it got messy or I was really hurt. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I want from this experience that I could probably write 30 other blog posts, and maybe I will…but for now I’ll say that being with Mr. Man was a roller coaster – exhilarating, exciting, but not something you can do forever, so get out before you’re stuck in an uncomfortable position.

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The Fkboi Myth

Miranda – So I’m back, if only for a post. I’ll probably ghost for a year or so after, like a fckboi, so don’t start getting any expectations of me. I recently had an epiphany and felt the need to share with our beloved DTT6 readers.

I’m dating someone right now. I know, shocker. And it feels different this time. It’s still early stages but the stress and anxiety I usually feel doesn’t exist this time around because he’s made the whole process quite seamless and transparent. It’s been about a month and even though we haven’t had any formal discussion of where we’re headed, I feel comfortable and not pressured to become anything more with him at this time. Regardless, that’s not what this post is about. It’s actually about what he told me during one of our conversations and since then, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head and needed to put it on metaphorical paper.

We all by this point know what a fckboi is, right? He is essentially a single guy who loves going out and having a good time, but is non-committal and will do whatever it takes to get into your pants. The modern day player – with the benefit of a range of online hookup apps in his arsenal. It’s all about him, his swag, and getting laid. We’ve all met quite a few in our life I’m sure, and will continue to. So here’s the Fuckboi Myth that I recently uncovered.

Contrary to popular belief, a fuckboi is not an identity but more a state of mind.

Let me explain. Take the guy I’m dating right now, let’s call him Mr. Black. In the time I’ve gotten to know him, he’s been super sweet and thoughtful and is very clear in his motives of wanting to date me. Never in a million years could I see him as fckboi – but that’s just based on my experience with him. However, he told me that he’s had his share of one night stands and flings. No surprise there. But what got me is when he then said he can be quite “rude and mean” about his hookups – so much so that there has been moments in the past where he’s slept with a girl without ever kissing her. Kissing to him is what he calls “intimate” and there’s no point if he feels nothing toward that person. That statement completely blindsided me – it’s so crude and yet I only know him as a super affectionate and romantic guy! Again, maybe I’m looking at it from a more traditional perspective but I find it shocking that a guy can have sex with a girl and not even kiss her once at any point. Yes, I agree it’s more intimate but I look at it as part of the process of hooking up –it seems like a natural progression from kissing to having sex, if you so choose. The fact that you can separate one without the other seems barbaric to me.

My point is, it seems like most, if not all guys, are capable of being both a fuckboi and a romantic, or whatever the equivalent opposite term is. Having had conversations with other friends around this topic, it seems that this statement has been seen multiple times over and been witnessed amongst their guy friends as well.

I guess part of me always knew this deep down, especially since I’ve experienced it myself in the diversity of men I’ve met but I’m really letting the idea of it settle in me now.

It’s still unknown where my dating life is headed with Mr. Black but regardless, this is one fact that I will keep in mind in future with anyone else I meet and I think all of you should too! The same guy could be a fckboi to you and Prince Charming to someone else, and vice versa! Essentially, we can hate on fckbois as much as we want, but they treat you that way for a reason. Not because you deserve it but because they don’t see you as more. They are capable of being and doing more but for whatever reason, whether it’s timing in their life, lack of chemistry, or potential neediness coming from our end , you may not get to see that other side of him.

This epiphany doesn’t depress me, and it shouldn’t depress you either. It just makes it so much clearer what the intention of the guy is. If he’s being shady and you don’t really know what’s going on, it’s probably because he’s got his fckboi lense on and from there it’s easy for you to move on until you meet the guy that doesn’t treat you that way. End of story.

Fckgirl out.

 

 

 

To the girl(s) after me:

Carrie – Hey, it’s me. Someone you don’t know and someone you probably will never know.  The only reason why I’m aware we’re connected in this universe is because we were both intimate with someone who once meant a lot to me. I just have so many questions for you though and the unknown has been bothering me.

So you just started seeing him – my ex. I imagine you met on Tinder cause he never goes out or does anything social, including interact with humans.

Continue reading “To the girl(s) after me:”

What’s Your Number?

whats your number

A couple of weeks ago my roommate and I were involved in our favourite Sunday ritual: rom-coms, Uber Eats and vegetating on the couch. We’ve passed many a weekend watching Cameron Diaz in “The Sweetest Thing”, Cameron Diaz in “The Holiday”, Cameron Diaz in “The Other Woman”…you get the idea, she plays ‘hard-ass looking for love’ quite well. Anyway, on this particular Sunday we flipped on “What’s Your Number”, a silly story about Anna Farris’ character tracking down her 20 ex-ual partners (Trademark: Samantha Jones) to see if any of them are worth a second shot. Why, you ask? Well, thanks to trashy magazines designed to make women feel miserable, her character learns that the average number of partners a woman has in her lifetime is 8, and anyone over 20 is deemed “unmarriable”- a category that she finds herself in right before her younger sister’s wedding….yikes on bikes.

Now, my roomie and I are usually quite talkative during our slothy Sundays, constantly interjecting to discuss drama from the previous night or to comment on the latest pic of avo toast on Instagram….but as we watched a VERY skinny Anna flirt with a VERY gorgeous Chris Evans, we were both oddly quiet. About half an hour into the movie I looked at her and awkwardly said: “Doesn’t 8 feel kind of low?” To my relief she immediately agreed, having been wondering the exact same thing.

This got us thinking…is 8 really the average? It felt kind of low to us but honestly, we’ve been known to be a wild pair so maybe we were the outliers? Thus, we set out on a noble quest for the sake of all womankind: conduct an experiment to determine what today’s average truly is (amongst our friends at least).

So, once again I don my scientist lab coat and present to you, The Thirsty Thesis: A study investigating the response pattern of millennial women when questioned on their sexual history. 

samantha-jones-1024

Thesis: The average number of sexual partners a woman has in her life is greater that 8, contrary to that reported in “What’s Your Number”.

Method: We sourced voluntary responses from 19 of our friends to determine statistically significant results (Funny, had we gotten one more participant our list would’ve been deemed unmarriable…).

Findings:

  1. The mean was 20, however, the median and mode were both 14. For those of you forgetting statistics, the mean is the average, median is the middle number  and the mode is the most frequently reported number.
    • These data points show that we had a high degree of variability in our results, with a couple numbers largely skewing the data. Removing the bottom and top 2 outliers to adjust for this variance (I told you I’m a scientist), the more accurate average amongst us was 15 sexual partners. 
  2. If the girl’s unsure, don’t listen to her. EVERY TIME someone was unsure of her number and reported two potential responses, she’d end up realizing the higher number was true when pushed to confirm.
    • In my expert opinion, this highlights a subconscious pressure amongst women to keep their number low, as no one actively admitted to misrepresenting themselves for any reason other than failure to recall.
  3. Three participants asked for clarification on what actually counted, providing  further support for the hypothesis that women will try to lower their number wherever possible.
  4. The difference between the highest and lowest number reported was 78 people.
    • For those of you gasping, don’t…this was a significant outlier and honestly…to each their own. See ‘Discussion’ below for further details on “slut-shaming”.

Limitations:

  1. When the numbers seemed too low, I polled more sexually promiscuous friends of mine…sue me, I was 3rd highest on the list until 90% of the polling was complete.
  2. This study relied on self-report, which given on the sensitive subject matter may not be an accurate reflection of the proper numerical response..

Discussion:

If you’re a sexually active woman in 2018, the topic of your number is definitely something you’ve thought about at least once (in the last week). Post after post on DTT6 highlights our sexual exploits, with some referring to the count explicitly (Sorry Carrie, there’s no such thing as a 10 a & 10 b 😉 ) and others shying away from posting about every tantalizing tale (myself being one of the biggest perpetrators here). Come to think of it, I’ve actually even added a notch to my metaphorical bedpost since conducting this study…

Nonetheless, whether you report a 2 or a 20, there seems to be a connotation attached to the number of partners you have as somehow reflecting of the kind of person that you are. In my mind, this is completely absurd and totally problematic. The “2”, who may be cautious with her heart or just had multiple long term relationships, is no better or no worse than the “20”, who may be focused on her career or just hasn’t met the right guy to settle down with. When you’re perpetually single and want to have a lot of sex you end up sleeping with a lot of people, it’s just the reality of the situation.

And honestly, the very idea that a woman is somehow deemed “unmarriable” because she surpassed an arbitrary number picked to be “normal” is both archaic and downright offensive. The tagline for this very movie perfectly points out the root of the problem: Women subtract, men add. This common-held conception posits that men can have as many partners as they want and this is acceptable, but women should remain pure for their husbands. Though pre-dating the 1950’s, this ideal really took off when Hugh Hefner (RIP) brought to life the modern ‘Bachelor’ with the introduction of Playboy. Keep in mind, this was a marketing construction, built to sell magazines and a lifestyle to sad consumers who needed an outlet from their painfully repressed suburban lives.

Sidenote: If you don’t know the history behind Playboy, Penthouse & Bachelor pads, you totally should read on up…it’s beyond fascinating and such an interesting outcome from that time period. I’d suggest “The answer to suburbia: Playboy’s urban lifestyle.” Fraterrigo, Elizabeth. (2008). Journal of Urban History 34 (5): 747-774. It’s accessible online AND YES THAT IS A PROPER MLA CITATION THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

But I digress…Despite Hef’s genius marketing strategy, there really shouldn’t be differences in the way that men and women are perceived for the sexual choices that they make. I’m not naive to think that we can fully disrupt these norms, but we all biologically have hormones, so I refuse to support an antiquated ideal that forced women to wear CHASTITY BELTS to contain their sexual urges. Women want it just as men do and this is not blasphemous by any means.

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Damn – Between the Playboy and chastity belts references, this may be the most I’ve ever used my Communication Studies major in real life.

I am not saying that there isn’t a point in time where being sexually frivolous can be unfair to your partner and to yourself, especially if you aren’t taking necessary precautions. However, I truly believe that as long as you are being safe, respectful and doing your thing for the right reasons, you should feel empowered to sow your seeds in whatever field you’d like (Farming euphemism for the win!).  To me this means owning your choices and making them because you want to, not because they may perceived one way or another by someone else.

End of the day I still enjoyed parts of this movie – particularly Chris Pratt as Disgusting Donald and Andy Samberg as the sexually-perverse puppeteer – but I CANNOT STAND the ending message. Anna ends up with Chris Evans’ character, finally accepting that she can cross 20 partners and still get married, only to find out that she didn’t actually sleep with one of the guys and Evans is her 20th partner, putting her in the marriage range….wow, progressive AF you guys. One small step for feminism, followed by one subsequent face-plant into gender normativity.

Conclusion:

Forget everything this study has taught you. While it was fun to do and actually quite informative, the lesson here that is way more important than knowing how you compare to an average of your peers. It’s about realizing that the number of partners you have does not determine your self-worth. It is the choices you make that define who you are. Now that’s a tagline I can get behind.

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.

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. Love You, Love You Not

Carrie – On the advice of my friends Pam and Sam, I’ve started to watch Jane the Virgin. 15 episodes in one day later (I’ve had a very relaxing holiday season, okay?), young Jane asks her mom “what does love feel like?”

Jane’s question inspired me to try to encapsulate my answers in a blog post. So also on strongly-worded suggestions from Pam and Sam, I’ve decided to finally write this blog that I’ve been putting off: the “I’m finally in a relationship again and I’m not sure if I’m in love” post.

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There are definitely benefits to being in a serious relationship again and more importantly, committing to someone you really care about. I’ve got a cute, beardy, genuinely nice guy from small-town Manitoba (SO not 6ix) who not only texts me back but calls me first; someone who has got his shit together; moreso than me, with a job, car, and no insane amounts of debt (thanks #lawschool). Bonus: he’s got two eyebrows! (see Mr. Unibrow). He is quick-witted; he remembers minute details like when I randomly told him I hated the taste of Dasani water and weeks later, he grabbed me an Aquafina bottle at the gas station; and my brain’s dopamine levels probably go off the charts when I see him calling my phone. It’s for sure the most mature relationship I’ve been in, with someone who is willing to talk about our issues, own up, and apologize (cause he’s the one who’s always wrong).

But sometimes I have nagging single-girl tendencies that come creeping up from the depths of my subconscious.

  • For example, gone are the days of the stints of dry spells; I have a consistent sex-source. (But also my only sex source.)
  • No longer do I have to worry about finding someone who’s down to Netflix with me on a Friday night in the -30 weather when I don’t feel like going out, I’ve got a go-to cuddle buddy. (But sometimes I miss regaling my girlfriends with stories of the latest fuckbois over brunch.)

I’m not sure what I was waiting for. I mean that in two ways. Firstly, I don’t know why I made such a big deal of holding out for my tenth kill. In fact, it was putting myself out there back on the Tinder grind full-throttle led me to Mr. LY/LYN. And now, with the thought of being tied down again, I wonder if I did myself a disservice to not have “lived” a little more while I’m still in my prime (I am convinced I peaked in fourth year).

But secondly, and maybe more curiously, I mean holding off this blog post. Is it my need to have the holistic picture after the end of relationships to be able to write about it? Is it my fear of publicizing my rejection online if/when things inevitably come to an end? Is it my perpetual mode to be cynical?

So here is my attempt to Be Brave and write about the thing that scares me the most: have I fallen in love again?

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“What does love feel like? How do you know for sure you’re in love?”

While Jane’s mother responds, “it sort of feels like your heart is glowing,” I find this very unhelpful in terms of practical assessment. If I were writing on the show, I would say there should be:

Continue reading “Mr. Love You, Love You Not”