Ladies, let’s chat.

Ladies, we need to talk about something. I don’t know how well this one is going to go down, so maybe take a moment to go and grab that lemon, that chase, that honey, that spoonful of sugar – whatever you need to make the medicine go down – and continue on.

Let’s have a little chat about dating and hypocrisy.

Note: If you don’t want to read this whole post, at least read and remember this:

Take responsibility for your own actions.

** write that 10 times

Well look at you… you’re still reading. Thanks for sticking around. Let’s get to it.

If you’ve hung around me lately, you may have heard me say I have two rules for my friends and for myself: Own your decisions and handle your shit. In this post, I’m going to try to keep the rant to a minimum (it’s a struggle for me, so you’re welcome) and just focus on the first one, because that one just happens to be annoying me more at the moment. What I’ve been noticing for a while now is that when something in our personal lives doesn’t work out, we can be quick to place blame and pretend nothing we did ourselves factored into that outcome. We fail to take responsibility for the decisions we made leading up to that point.

That needs to stop.

What also needs to stop is how we often get so mad at guys for doing some of the things that in my opinion, are just common occurrences in this messy game that is dating in 2016. To reiterate: WE DO THEM TOO.

I once wrote a list titled, “The 15 Guys You’ll Date in University.” It was first published on this little blog of mine and I wrote in the beginning that every guy on the list was based on either a guy in my life or the life of a friend. *Cue the guessing game and some hilarious text messages*. I thought it was a fun list, so I submitted it to a student-run site for other people to read.

I promise there’s a point to this story…

When it was posted, it was shortened to 12 guys. That’s totally fine; I expected them to shorten it. I had resubmitted it with 16 guys after adding one more for a friend. What bothered me was which guys had been deleted.

The ones removed were all scenarios on the list where the girl was really accountable for the fling/relationship/whatever you want to call it ending. That frustrated me (as did the ADDED grammatical errors and emojis. I DON’T DO WINKING FACES). It frustrated me so much that I didn’t even share the published article. I even emailed the editor to see if she could find out for me why the copy editor took those ones off the list. She was nice enough to investigate and got back to me explaining that the copy editor wanted to shorten it and felt “those ones were the least relatable.”

Least relatable? Girls…. Sometimes we fuck up. Sometimes we break hearts. Sometimes we turn a good thing into a mess. Why is admitting that something which is considered “not relatable”?

We need to take accountability for the roles we play in our failed relationships. Sometimes we do get hurt and didn’t do anything to warrant it. Sometimes the guy is just scared. Sometimes people move. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. But so many times, we pretend we had nothing to do with the crash and burn of the relationship when we actually did. It’s bullshit.

Let’s play a little game of check yourself. Can you honestly say you have never ‘ghosted’ or ‘faded out’ on a guy before? You’ve never ignored the morning message from the guy you gave your number to at the bar the night before? You’ve never flirted with a guy while you’re in a grey area with another? COME ON. Now think about this: have you ever ranted to your friends about how “shady” some guy is because he did any of those things to you?

There’s an awful double standard here where if a guy stops texting you, or a friend, he’s a despicable person who has no regard for the feelings of others. But when girls do it we say things like, “we haven’t been seeing each other long and we’re not even dating, so I don’t really owe him an explanation.” And then we sip our wine, nod along with our friends and go on thinking it’s completely acceptable. Fast forward a few months later and we’re gulping that wine, talk-yelling about how what’s-his-face is so rude for ignoring your messages.

In these situations, there are two things to remember:

  1. If you can do it and not be shady, so can he. If something was acceptable for you to do, it’s acceptable for him to do. That’s called being fair.
  2. If your relationship isn’t working out, you may be part of the problem. Nobody’s perfect, so stop acting like you are. That’s called reality.

In my opinion, it’s nothing to be ashamed of—being the one who caused the end. So something didn’t work and you chose to cut ties. Good for you. Way to make a choice. We don’t need to always be the one crying into the ice cream. We don’t even need to be the ones waiting around to get asked out. A few months back, a friend of mine told me that a girl had a beer sent to him at a bar. Good for that girl. Way to be bold. My point is men and women are even in this game. Stop pretending otherwise.

mic drop

Just kidding… one more little note to finish off this rant…

If you’re that girl who is trying to support a friend who just got dumped or ghosted or whatever, don’t start shredding the guy’s personality, appearance, attitude or anything else. Your friend already feels like shit – don’t pile it on further by making her feel like she was foolish for falling for the guy in the first place. The “I told you so” attitude is the last thing she needs. I’m sure she’ll appreciate the sister solidarity, but maybe try something along the lines of, “I’m sorry things didn’t work out. You deserve better than that.” Okay? And let’s not forget – once upon a time, at some point, you might have done the same thing he did.

Dates vs. Interviews

After sifting through the options online, you’ve sent a few messages back and forth… You’ve been wired with anticipation each time you hear that satisfying ‘ding’ of a new message reaching your phone. You click on the message to find a request to meet up in person. This is it. You reply, set a time and call and text everyone important in your life to tell them the news. Excitement builds, nerves settle in and the wait is excruciating.

To pass some time, you read various tips in articles and talk to your friends about it—you don’t want to mess this up after all. This could be the one. You head to your closet and pick out the perfect outfit. After trying on multiple combinations and standing in front of your full-length mirror, you send your most brutally honest friend a picture to see if she agrees that it’s what you should wear. You get her approval and you’re ready to go. You have your questions and talking points prepared, your outfit is on point, you’ve read advice for success, you’ve triple checked the time and place you’re meeting at. You are prepared.ross3

When it’s time, you walk into the room and see the person you’re supposed to meet. You say your awkward hellos and sit down, thinking to yourself, “calm the fuck down. You’re going to do fine. You’ve got this.”

After reading that, are you thinking this is a date or a job interview? See, the lovely Emma Josephine helped me realize last night that finding a boyfriend and finding a job are the same process.

Dating sites are the job boards of the relationship world where you may find something that works, but you’re going to have to weed through a lot of creepy, questionable options before you find one that seems like a good idea.

The get-to-know-you dates and interviews are the same damn thing. You’re seeing if someone is a good fit and one wrong answer can matter more than you expect.

The guy or girl who says, “I don’t want anything serious right now” and wants to be casual is like the employer who warns that your internship will not lead to a job: non-committal.

The guy or girl who says, “this date was great, but I think I just want to be single,” is like the employer who you interview for, only to be told later that they decided not to carry on with that position.

A good date is the same relief and excitement as a good interview—it makes you think it will lead to something more.

A bad date is the same disappointment as a bad interview—it makes you feel like you’re stuck and life just isn’t moving forward.

Basically, being single is like being unemployed—you’re always asked about it and people say encouraging things like, “Oh, sweetie… You’ll find someone/something soon” and “You’re so great! Someone/something will come along” and “I’ll let you know if I hear of anyone looking for someone like you!”

Finding a relationship can be just as frustrating as finding a job and at times it can seem like there’s nothing suitable available. They are equally as difficult and if you’re dealing with both at the same time, well I’m sorry… I’m not very good at comforting people, so maybe just read one of those above comments…

I will say this though: For all of us in one or both of those situations, at least we get credit for trying. Plus, we probably have some damn good stories to tell during wine night.

wine night

Shut up, zero IS a size.

December is coming. I love December. I’m usually on a high from mega sales for Black Friday and Christmas is nearing, which means it is once again socially acceptable to listen to Michael Buble’s Christmas album. December is a magical and happy month, except for one little trend that I’ve noticed. And the -25 degree weather– not a fan of that either.

Each year in December, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airs. And each year, people bring up the issue of body image– not surprising since it’s a show of petite (please notice the use of the word petite instead of twiggy, anorexic or any other derogatory term for skinny people) women strutting down a runway in lingerie.

Cue the “skinny vs curvy” campaigns… plus a long stream of tweets about going to the gym the next day.

Now let me be clear here. I like that there is a discourse about body image.  I completely agree it is a problem that there is a serious lack of confidence in women and young girls today. I do not think it is fair that you see more size 2 models than size 6 or 12. I do not like that size 8 is what the fashion industry calls ‘plus size’. I like that people are taking a stand and challenging this ridiculous idea that beauty is defined by size.

Now here’s what I don’t like.

I’m not sure who decided that the best way to combat diminishing body confidence was to teach people to put down skinny people, but it’s not right and it doesn’t solve the problem. That just shifts the hurt from one size to another.

There are two common campaigns that I often see, especially around the time of the VS Fashion Show.  The first is “zero is not a size”.  The second is “real women have curves”.

Seeing those campaigns now, I get annoyed. I don’t feel less confident, but that’s because I’ve learned my lesson about not letting other people dictate how I should see myself. I’m a confident person woman, but it took me a lot of years to reach this point.  If I were looking at these campaigns as a young teen, I’d be unrolling my sweater sleeves to hide my tiny wrists and making a note to buy more long-sleeve shirts. I had so many people point out how skinny I was in early high school that I wouldn’t wear short sleeves unless I had a sweater. I remember in later high school years liking skinny jeans, but thinking I couldn’t wear them because my legs were too small.

Everyone struggles with confidence. If you can honestly say you don’t and never have, congratulations, you should write a book. But I don’t think that’s the case for most people. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume the vast majority of us have had low self-esteem at some point. Guess what? Some of those girls are skinny. Gasp!

My self-esteem was probably lowest from age 12 to 14.  My peers were shopping at stores that sold clothes I couldn’t fit into and there was nothing I could do about it.  I’ve always been one of those people who struggles with gaining weight.  At age 12, I was 72 lbs. It took me until I was 17 and in my first semester of university to tip the scale over 100 (I’d like to thank Tim Horton’s and the residence dining hall for the help). Being underweight made it difficult to make the transition from kids stores to teen stores and I hated clothes shopping because nothing fit.  Looking back, it’s probably why I became obsessed with shoes and accessories, but that’s beside the point.

Not being able to dress the same as your peers makes those painful awkward years so much worse.

For me, the worst was bathing suit shopping. I have a very distinct memory of crying in a change room because I tried on the last bathing suit I had selected and it didn’t fit.  It was the last bathing suit from the last store in the mall that my mom could think of that might sell a bathing suit I could buy. I was devastated and felt so defeated and frustrated. I was young at the time. My friends weren’t yet wearing bikinis, but they were able to find things that fit.  It got worse when they could buy bikinis and I was wearing the same bathing suit as my neighbour who is four years my junior.

When I wasn’t crying over bathing suits, I was struggling with pants.  Everyone started buying jeans from Garage or American Eagle and I was trying to buy denim that had no details on it that could give away the place I bought it, which was usually the kids section somewhere.

That’s why this “zero is not a size” thing pisses me off. Zero is a size. In fact, so is double zero. Double zero is the size that let sad little 13 year-old me start shopping at stores designed for teenagers.  Double zero saved me from the kids section and kickstarted my shopping habit. Don’t tell me zero is not a size. I’m now 21 and I’m still a size zero in most places. Does that mean I’m not a ‘real woman’?

No? That’s crazy? I thought so, too. Please, pass that reaction along to whoever came up with “real women have curves.”

If you’re a girl, I’m sure you’ve seen those charts online or in change rooms that show the different body types we’re supposed to fit into. Apparently, we can be characterized into seven body types. I swear it used to be four, but all of a sudden there’s this expanded version. Now it’s not just ‘hourglass’, it’s ‘neat hourglass’ and ‘full hourglass’. I thought I was a rectangle, but apparently the system has been kicked up a notch and I’m actually a ‘lean column’. The characteristics listed for ‘lean column’ are: narrow shoulders, flat chest or small bust, small and non-defined waist, and narrow hips and flat bottom.

Dear boys, I’m single. Line up.

Okay, back on track… the point is I definitely don’t have curves. Apparently that means I can’t be a ‘real woman’. That’s bullshit. I may not be able to wear a plunging V-neck dress or shirt, but that doesn’t mean I should be ashamed.

My point here isn’t to get some pity and make you want to come give me a hug. In fact, I have a thing about personal space, so I’d really prefer if you didn’t do that. My point here is to hopefully make you think. Next time someone posts a picture of a skinny model and captions it with something pointing out how gross it is that you can see her bones, remember that some people are that way naturally and they’re reading that, too. Actually, that comment probably just highlighted some of their deepest insecurities.

It’s not fair to push other people down to make yourself feel better and that’s what these campaigns do. Size shaming is hurtful regardless of the size you’re putting down. I understand people are trying to point out that girls should be healthy and eat well instead of trying to look like the models they see in magazines or on runways, but it doesn’t necessarily come across that way.  And it doesn’t necessarily make girls stop trying to lose weight, it likely just makes them want to stop before they get to a zero.

The campaigns that are on the right track are the ones that advertise that every body type is beautiful.

It is absolutely ridiculous that people want a round of applause for posting these images that are so hurtful to girls who may be struggling with their body image.  I get that their heart may be in the right place, but stop being so selective about who gets to be deemed pretty. Imagine if someone posted a picture that said ‘size 14 is not a size’. The social media storm that would unleash would be insane. Please explain to me why it’s appreciated from the other direction.

We need girls to understand that size does not determine beauty and confidence is about loving yourself, not just your waistline or cup size. It’s time that people realize this needs to be done without stripping away someone’s confidence to take it for themselves.

How do people ever focus in the library?

Like most university students, my calendar is packed with menacing red marks signalling pre-reading week deadlines that I really don’t feel like dealing with.  So naturally, to cope with the stress that is weighing me down, I turned to Netflix.

After spending all of the free time I had the last few days watching Prison Break, falling for the “Next Episode” trap that tests my willpower every 40 minutes, I realized that I needed to find a way to overcome this binge-watch situation and move on to being productive.

My brilliant plan? Read all of the episode summaries for the remaining two seasons I haven’t yet watched.  That seemed smart. If I knew everything that was going to happen, I wouldn’t feel compelled to watch the rest of it, right? Wrong.  I’m too attached the show… I have to watch it to the end– even though I know what that end is.

Knowing that if I tried to do work in my apartment this morning I would just migrate to the couch and push that tempting red Netflix button on the remote, I headed to campus.  I figured if I trapped myself in the library, I would definitely get some work done.

Wrong again…

I don’t know how anyone gets anything done here.  I’m in the newly renovated area on the first floor and this place is FULL of distractions.  The people watching you can do in here is most distracting.  It’s bad enough that you can watch people through the windows that face the quad.  The unusual things in here just make it worse.

Not to sound like I’m writing a boring academic paper, but… for example, s

o many people in here aren’t wearing shoes.  They’re just lounging around without them.  I distracted myself looking around to see how many people I could find without shoes on. My count so far is 5 by the way.

Then there’s the distracting art.

There’s some sort of statue across the room that I just do not understand.  I debated sending a picture to my friend who is in the Fine Arts program at Guelph, because that’s just a great use of my time.

There are also silly little things that redirect your attention… like those damn stools.  There are these rolling stools in the couch area. Every 30 seconds I have to scan the room to see if there’s one available because everyone using them as footrests just looks so comfortable and maybe if I was that comfy, I could get work done.

So that’s my struggle today… working in the library. It really isn’t going well.  Writing this blog post isn’t helping either.  If I knew I wasn’t going to get anything done anyway, I would have just stayed home and watched Prison Break.

Writing to you from the 5:30am VIA…

I figured I would write a little about my hometown since I’m on my way there for Thanksgiving.

Uxbridge is a tiny little town, but it’s my favourite place in the whole wide– JUST KIDDING.

My friends and family are in Uxbridge, so I’m excited to go back, but I can’t say I’m the town’s biggest fan.   Here’s how it compares to Ottawa:

1. Ottawa has bars.  Notice the ‘s’ on the end of ‘bar’.  There’s not just one bar, there are MULTIPLE bars.  And get this: they’re not the basement of sports pubs.  Actually, I should add that the little basement bar in Uxbridge got shut down, so now the number of bars is 0.

2. Ottawa has theatres with more than two screens.  I do have a soft spot for my tiny little hometown theatre, but to be honest, my friends and I usually have to leave town to see the movie we want to.

3. Ottawa doesn’t have tractor traffic.  I’m not kidding… this happens rather frequently in Uxbridge.

4. Ottawa has more 24 hour options. You’re not always forced to choose between Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s, which by the way are probably the most popular places to hang out in that town.

5. Ottawa has more options in general. If I have Boston Pizza one more time….

6. Ottawa has places to shop. Unless you can afford to shop at the swanky little boutiques in Uxbridge, you’re basically S.O.L.  The biggest and most popular place to shop is Walmart.   Feel my pain, people.

7. Ottawa has options for new experiences.  In Ottawa, you can find a new restaurant, a new bar, new people, a new park to walk through, a new store to shop at, etc.  There’s always an option to find something new.  In Uxbridge, new does not exist.  There’s nothing new to see, no one new to meet and no where new to go.  That fact is probably my least favourite thing.

I think I’ll leave it at that for now.

If you do happen to visit Uxbridge one day, try not blink while you drive through it– you’ll miss it.

P.S. In case you haven’t noticed, I really like lists.

Things I Don’t Understand

Just a few  super important things I’ve been wondering about lately.

1. The obsession with tea. Everyone seems to be in love with David’s Tea and all of the magical flavours and clear travel mugs and all I can do is wonder why I would want my tea to taste like birthday cake. I don’t want to drink birthday cake… I want to eat it. In cake form.

2. Why Everyone Loves Breaking Bad. Guys, I watched every episode. I still don’t get why everyone thinks it is so intense.  Although I think the series was wrapped up well, I found most of the episodes rather boring and repetitive.

3. The excitement over iOS 7.  I thought it was just a software update that most people ignore, like iTunes updates. When I open that, I’m like, “No thanks.  I do not wish to update from version 9.7.7  to version 11.5.3. That would just take time and it seems pointless.” I was a little thrown off when Twitter blew up with excitement from a software update for phones. I mean come on guys, cool your jets… they changed the icons.

4. Instagram. I don’t have it.  I really just can’t be bothered to know what Girl A’s Starbucks order was this morning or what Girl B’s ‘Outfit of the Day’ is. I don’t know what is so #fascinating or #interesting about #pictures with #twelve #hashtags.

5. Why People Think Pinterest Projects Are Easy. I’ve tried the odd DIY project off of Pinterest. They seemed easy enough… Well guess what? All I have to show for it is a ruined canvas that is hiding in my closet and some painted wine bottles that look terrible and occupy the floor of my closet… beside the ruined canvas.

6. Why People Request the Final Stop on the Bus Route. The announcement actually says, “Billings Bridge Station. Last Stop.” I promise you, the bus driver will stop to let you off the bus.

7.  Why People Feel the Need to Share Every Update in Their Life. Does the world really care about your cat or what you ate for dinner? No. But you post about it anyway.  I don’t understand why we do that… For example, why am I posting this list? This benefits no one.

8. Why Tim Horton’s on Campus Only Has One Cash Open in the Morning.  University students need coffee before 8:30am classes. Having only one till open is just stupid. I have to take an earlier bus just to get coffee before class.  And yes, I know I could make coffee at home, but then I would have to carry around a travel mug all day. Not interested.

If you’re reading this, you must be even more bored than I was when I started writing this list. You poor soul. Go do whatever it is you’re procrastinating right now.

Step One

This is the third summer that I have said I am going to start a blog.  Today, I decided that it was about time I got around to it.  I always figured writing the first post would be the most difficult part, but I was wrong.  The most difficult part would be actually setting up the blog.

Apparently, WordPress isn’t like Facebook or Twitter.  You don’t just type in your information, choose a profile picture and start looking for people to receive updates from.  No… with WordPress, you type in your email, username and password and when you advance to the next screen, it’s pick a theme, set up menus, something about links, something else about categories and another thing about widgets.

After looping around through menus that led to other menus about personalizing and customizing my blog, I realized starting a blog is more complicated than I expected. So, I’m taking it step by step.  I decided the first one would be to create a post.

Step One: Complete.