The Fantasy Boyfriend Draft

It’s that time of year again, folks- when body paint, beer and tailgate parties abound, and the men in your life fall into a state of temporary insanity for the next few months.

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That’s right it’s football season!

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How do I, a girl whose only knowledge of football stems from the movie The Water Boy, even know this, you might ask?

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Because for the past two weeks, I have listened to nothing but my male coworkers and friends discuss their fantasy football leagues.

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While at first I sat there bored to tears, praying for imminent death, after a while the idea of a fantasy draft started to sound kind of appealing to me. Not the football part of course – more the plotting, scheming, strategizing and overall shit-talking involved. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a fantasy draft focused on something I actually cared about?

…. like boys.

You guys… what if there was A FANTASY BOYFRIEND LEAGUE??

A dream-like place where a roster of all of your ideal boyfriends would compete against teams of other ladies’ choosing in all of the manliest of activities? I’ m talking wood chopping, moustache growing, outdoor survival skills, shirtless acoustic guitar playing, and of course- the manliest of all artisinal crafts: furniture making.

Or maybe they would just fan you with palm fronds and feed you bunches of grapes all day. I haven’t quite figured it all out just yet.

But what I HAVE figured out, is who would make up my team. Hold onto your hats ladies, because the draft is about to begin!

Round 1: Ryan Gosling

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You knew it was coming. Like 99.999% of the other women on the planet, I’ve loved this piece of sexy Canadian man-candy since he first stole my heart as Sean on Breaker High.

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That pleather jacket! My heart be still.

Round 2: Bradley Cooper

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In the event that the reigning Sexiest Man Alive happened to still be available, you better believe he’d be coming home with me as a second round draft pick. Not only has homeboy got the whole rugged, charmingly befuddled thing going on, he also loves his mama.

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Awww.

Round 3: Seth Meyers

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The lovable SNL head writer and Weekend Update host always had a special place in my heart- despite the fact that he is already engaged to a (different) sexy lawyer. Well, Seth- I just have one thing to say about that:

Really? Really?

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Round 4: Joseph Gordon Levitt

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Hey JGL, what’s that vest made of? Oh yeah… BOYFRIEND MATERIAL.

Ever since I saw him rocking out to The Smiths in 500 Days of Summer, I knew the indie heart-throb had to be mine. In fact, I’d take him even with this haircut:

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That’s love.

Round 5: Rafael Nadal

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Since every fantasy boyfriend team needs at least one professional athlete (<– I just made that rule up right now), I have chosen the 12-time Grand Slam winning tennis star and sexy Spaniard that is Rafa. Admittedly- his English is a bit touch and go – but something tells me I could learn look past that.

…..with these biceps. (Please ignore the fact that he looks a bit like Michelangelo in this pic)

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Round 6: Jason Sudeikis

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Damn you and your perfect cheekbones, Olivia Wilde! Why must you take my perfect man away from me!

Round 7: Colin Firth

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This one needs no explaining. If my boy Mark Darcy isn’t the penultimate boyfriend, then I really don’t know who is.

Yes, I like you very much, Colin – just as you are.

Round 8: Chris O’Dowd

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This one falls into my “up and comer” category. I first developed a crush on this Irish hottie when he portrayed Kristin Wiig’s love interest in Bridesmaids. This crush later blossomed into a full-on stalker flower while watching him HBO’s Family Tree. He’s cute, tall, funny, loveable- and I kinda wanna pinch his cheeks.

It’s not weird.

Round 9: Joel McHale

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Joel for me falls into the “underrated” category. He cracks me up every day on The Soup and is hella handsome, but for some reason hasn’t reached leading man status just yet. Don’t worry Joel.. you’re a leading man in my heart.

Round 10: Thomas Mars

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This might seem like a strange pick, given that he is not all that conventionally good-looking, but I’ve been seriously crushing on the Phoenix lead singer since I saw him crowd surf at Lollapalooza.

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Plus, he’s married to Sofia Coppola which officially makes him 1/2 of the coolest couple of all time. Sigh.

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P.S. Did I just use the expression “seriously crushing”?

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Round 11: Jay Baruchel

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I’ve loved the Canadian funny man since I used to watch him on “Popular Mechanics For Kids” alongside Elisha Cuthbert.

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Yes, this really happened.

Since he only lives a few hours away in Montreal, I actually kind of like my chances on this one. It’s all about pipe dreams, kids.

Round 12: Prince Harry

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I was about to cut it off at 11, but then I remembered that every fantasy boyfriend team needs a royal! Enter Prince Hot Ginge (or “PHG”). While the reality of ginger babies would be a risk I would have to take, I’m confident PHG’s playfullness, charm and winning smile would outweigh the potential downsides. Plus, I just love attention. Bring on the paparazzi!!

Question of the Day: Who would be on your fantasy boyfriend (or girlfriend) team?

Love Lessons From My Childhood Pen Pal

I got a letter in the mail the other day. It was a bit of an unexpected thrill, considering my mailbox is usually filled with nothing but Domino’s pizza flyers. (Which, don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate.) 

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While reading it, I was reminded of a time in my life when letters weren’t quite so infrequent.

………. Cue the flashback (you knew it was coming)

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The year was 1995: I was 9 years old, bookish, and heavy into Blossom Hats and The Babysitter’s Club. I was teetering on the verge of what would soon become my five-year “awkward phase”, but didn’t know it yet. Life was good.

It was also the year I made my first Pen Pal.

*Not me or my dog.

*Not me or my dog.

I acquired my Pen Pal through somewhat unusual circumstances. My father, the son of Croatian immigrants, liked to keep ties with his Eastern European heritage. This manifested itself mostly in three ways: cooking obscene amounts of cabbage, hoarding things, and subscribing to a Croatian newsletter called  Zajedničar. 

Zajedničar, as I recall it, was a bizarre publication filled with ads for life insurance, way too many consonants, and people in weird costumes playing Tamburitzas.

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 I never paid much attention to it until one day, my dad showed me an ad offering a PenPal service connecting Croatian children across North America.  

Now this was something I could get down with. The opportunity to correspond with a real live girl in another country? Sign me up!

I immediately submitted my information to the magazine, and a few weeks later, received my first letter.  It was from a girl named Jessica in Erie, Pennsylvania. She was 10 years old, and loved Barbies, gymnastics and stickers- in that order.  She even sent me her school photo, in which she was wearing one of those Western bolo shirts that were popular at the time.

This was the best I could do on Google images. In reality, she looked nothing like this.

This was the best I could do on Google images. She actually looked nothing like this.

Her long, sandy blond hair was tied into a side braid with a fluffy white scrunchie on the end, and she accessorized with dangly troll earrings, gummy bracelets and a toothpaste-commercial smile.

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To me, she was impossibly cool.

I immediately began crafting my response. Besides just telling her my entire life story, I also spent hours researching her hobbies and interests in order to prove what a thoughtful and conscientious Pen Pal I could be. I even had my dad pull out the atlas to show me where Erie was on the map. 

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I was certain she would be impressed by such informational gems as:

Did you know your town is named after a lake??!”; and 

I heard toothpaste is great for removing sticker residue!” 

We corresponded for the next few months, sending letters as well as other totems of our respective 90’s childhoods: stickers, colorful erasers, POGS, temporary tattoos.We never spoke a single word about Croatia, but that was OK. 

Eventually, things kind of fizzled out. Ok, I’m lying. Jessica just straight-up stopped writing to me. I don’t really know what happened. I mean, maybe I was a little overzealous in my pursuits- spending hours drafting elaborate letters, consulting atlases and whatnot. And maybe I should’ve seen this one coming when my 10-page anthologies met with only a few measly paragraphs in response. “Maybe she’s busy practicing her tumbling,” my mother would say. But deep down, I knew the score. 

While being blown-off so coldly hurt at the time, in a way I’m thankful, because it probably prevented me from becoming a full-on stage 5 clinger in future romantic relationships.  

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Now I’m just incredibly closed-off and distant. I think it’s working out pretty well for me.

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So thank you, Jessica, for teaching me that there is such a thing as coming on way too strong. I  hope you finally found that Sailor Moon sticker sheet you were looking for, and that somewhere, out there, you and your side braid are tumbling off into the sunset.

Question of the Day: Did You Have A Pen Pal Growing Up?

When Did Valentine’s Day Get Such a Bad Rap?

The other day, I got a package in the mail from my mom and dad. In it, was a little Valentine’s day gift (yes, I know I am 27 years old.. what is your point, please?), as well as this vintage looking card with Raggedy Ann on the front:

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Curious, I opened it up to reveal that this was one of the cards I had given away myself in elementary school.

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Cute, eh? I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure I gave these out in grade 3. I also dressed up as Raggedy Ann for Halloween that year, so the timeline (and sadness) of it all would make sense.

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Grade 3 was a bit of an awkward year for me.

Anyway, it all got me to thinking about Valentine’s days past.

I will take any excuse to use this flashback image.

I will take any excuse to use this flashback image.

Back when I was a kid, Valentine’s day was invariably awesome. I’d wake up to some little treat from my parents; a card with some chocolate, some new barrettes, maybe even a Barbie (!!!) and then sit down to what I can only assume were my dad’s attempt at heart-shaped pancakes.

He tried.

He tried.

Then, I would deck myself out in red from head to toe (even the socks. I was a Valentine’s day extremist) and head to school, where we’d spend the morning fashioning little envelopes out of construction paper to hang on the edge of our desks to collect our Valentine’s bounty.

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After lunch was when the magic happened: Everyone brought in some food item to share with the class; (homemade cupcakes if your mom was fancy; a box of Oreos in my case) and there was often a bowl of punch, which, as a kid always made you feel very grown up.

Then, when it was time, you’d walk around the room and drop your painstakingly chosen Valentines into the newly minted envelopes of each of your classmates. No one was ever left out; as the rule in my school was that everyone got a Valentine.

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When all was said and done, I’d lay them all out on my desk; analyzing my haul the way I would my Halloween candy. Disney cards were always a constant; The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast. Other themes varied from year to year. One year Power Rangers was big; another year I distinctly remember getting 6 separate Sailor Moon cards.

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I can’t help but wonder; when did it all change? When did Valentine’s day go from being this awesome day filled with treats, kitschy cards and self-assurance; to the polarizing, commercial holiday it is today? When did we start calling it “Singles Awareness Day”, rather than just “Best Day Ever”?

sadWas it once elementary school ended, and the safety net of everyone getting a card was cruelly ripped out from under us? Or was it even sooner? Come to think of it, I remember as early as grade four, poring over the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles card given to me by my crush, analyzing the cryptic message inside. “You have a Pizza My Heart” it read. Did this mean we were officially an item now? He had pushed me in the mud earlier that day…

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I can’t say for sure, but I kind of long to have those days back. I want to make sh*t out of construction paper again, and dress in monochromatic red with reckless abandon. I want to drink Hawaiian punch out of a fancy bowl and gorge myself on Grocery store slab cake. (Ok, that last part I will probably still do; though it will be in the solace of my own home rather than a classroom setting. And the punch will probably be spiked with the good stuff). Who’s with me? Let’s find a DeLorean and make it happen.

Question of the Day: When did your perception of Valentine’s Day shift?

The Mystery of the Long Stem Roses

It all started innocently enough: I was struggling to fit an oversize bag of garbage down the chute in my condo building when I noticed a bouquet of a dozen, long stem red roses, still in their original packaging, sitting on floor beside the chute.

My immediate reaction was one of intense curiosity. Whose roses were these? And why had they thrown them away? Perhaps there had been a lover’s quarrel? (Red, of course, being the universal colour of love). I needed more information.

I opened the flap of the packaging and found that no note had been included. This only added to my intrigue. Had the recipient removed the note prior to disposing with the flowers? And if so, why? Or maybe there had never been a note at all. Maybe this was a secret-admirer type situation. Or a stalking one.

I briefly considered taking theses roses myself- rescuing them from the metal clutches of certain death and bringing them back to my apartment where they could live a happy (albeit brief) life on my coffee table beside all of my US Weeklys and old Wal-Mart candles. But ultimately, I decided against it.

Like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, these roses seemed too good to be true. What if I took them and it opened up a Pandora’s box of heartache and unhappiness?

Don’t do it, Pandy!

I was reminded of a conversation I’d had with a friend recently, where she told me about a plant she had agreed to inherit from a woman at work who was leaving. “You better make sure you think long and hard about that decision,” I told her. “Like what are the circumstances of her departure, for one thing? What if she was miserable and hated her life? Do you really want to bring a plant into your office that had to live with that woman’s unhappiness for years?”

Eventually, I was satisfied when my friend assured me that the woman was, in fact, retiring after a very happy and successful 30 year career, and planned to travel the world with her husband – and thus was in need of a good home for the plant.

I could get no similar comfort, however, with these roses. Whatever the circumstances surrounding their disposal, it didn’t seem positive. And I didn’t want any of that bad energy messing up my apartment chi.

And so I left the roses untouched, and instead focused on solving the mystery of who left them there in the first place.

Everyone I encountered in my building became a suspect. Could it have been the punk-rock clad university student sharing an elevator with me? Judging from her heavy eyeliner and spiked backpack, she seemed no stranger to misery. Or perhaps it was the middle-aged man, picking up his Amazon package from the concierge. His eyes held a profound sense of sadness.

There was no way of knowing for sure.

The whole thing began to depress me, and I began wracking my brain for other, less distressing explanations. Maybe there had been no lover’s quarrel at all, I thought. Maybe the recipient was simply allergic to roses.

This seemed plausible. I once received lilies from an ex-boyfriend and had to throw them away due to my severe allergies. I tried to live with it, but in the end, I just couldn’t stand it.

A metaphor, you might say, for how the relationship itself eventually became.

Unfortunately, a quick google search confirmed that roses are among the least common of all allergies. Foiled again.

I have since resigned myself to the fact that I may never get the answers I’m looking for… and just like that damn movie Inception, I may never fully understand what went on that day. Whatever the case, I hope that the recipient of those fateful roses has since found peace. And to the person who gave them in the first place: I’m rooting for you, buddy.

Question of the Day: Would you have taken the roses?

6 Reasons Why You Probably Shouldn’t Invite Me to Your Wedding

This past weekend I flew home to Halifax, Nova Scotia to attended the wedding of my good friends Alison and Kevin.

The ceremony, which took place at a yacht club overlooking the Halifax Harbour, was truly gorgeous, and I was so happy to have been included in their special day. At the risk of getting all sentimental and spoiling my jaded, sarcastic persona, I have to admit that I really do love weddings. There’s just such a sense of occasion about them: getting dressed up, catching up with old friends, throwing rice around. (I mean come on.. who throws rice around?)

It’s wedding season!

But despite all of my enthusiasm, I actually get invited to relatively few of them. This wedding was the only one in my roster for all of 2012.  This hardly seems proportional, given that I am almost 27, and for all intents and purposes should be right at the apex of my wedding-attending career.

In an effort to identify why I keep getting left off the “A” list, I started thinking back to my previous history as a wedding guest. Yeah, there were probably a few missteps along the way…. like that time I slow danced inappropriately with the groom, assaulted the bride and pushed a pregnant lady. Awwwkard. (just kidding. That was her)

I decided that after all the antics I had pulled in my time, I probably wouldn’t invite me to my own wedding either. And to be honest, neither should you. Here’s why:

1. I’ll probably be late for it.

Although I have no problem making my bi-weekly nail appointment, or rushing home in time to catch the Season Premiere of Bachelor Pad, for some reason it’s the one time, monumental events that I just can’t manage to be on time for. This past wedding was no exception. After getting lost en route to the ceremony and arriving 15 minutes late, I saw from the parking lot that the bridal procession had already started. Since the actual ceremony was still about 400m away, and down a steep grass hill, I decided to do what any self-respecting girl would do: whip off my 4 inch heels and pull a Usain Bolt straight down the hill in my cocktail dress, in direct view of the entire audience.  I think even the bridesmaid walking down the aisle turned to see the crazy woman barreling down the hill at 100 km/hour.

I finally made it to my seat (after almost taking out the photographer, the flower girl and more than a few pew markers along the way) just in time to see my friend walk down the aisle. Can’t say I don’t know how to make an entrance.
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2. I’ll make you rue the day you ever decided to have an open bar.

Free booze is a saucy temptress. Despite my best efforts to act like a responsible, 26-year-old woman in the face of unlimited free alcohol, instead I usually end up behaving more like a contestant on “cash grab”, attempting to beat the clock by imbibing as much as possible in the limited time I have. So word to the wise: Unless you want 80 bottles of grey goose and 145 sour puss shots* on your bar tab at the end of the night, maybe consider leaving my name off the invite list.

*actual statistics.

3. I’ll probably dance.

Although I am a woman of many talents (writing, running sub 3 hour marathons, generally winning at life), dancing, unfortunately, is not one of them. I think my dancing skills (or, lack thereof) can best be described as a formula of  one part Elaine Benes:

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One part Carlton Banks:

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Two parts Ron Swanson:

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One part Paull Rudd from the 80′s:
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Three parts Napoleon Dynamite:

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With a few jersey shore fist pumps thrown in there.
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But worse.

Although generally self-aware enough to save the world from having to endure this agony, coupled with the effects of the aforementioned grey goose + sour puss shots, I pretty much lose all control of my actions.. and appendages. And let’s face it- nobody wants to see that.

4. I will likely harass your DJ and/or Photographer

Because I live in a universe known as Self-Absorbtion, I think everything is about me. Unfortunately for you, this goes for your wedding too. If I feel like listening to Urrrrsher or Mr. Worldwide Pitbull  instead of  Kool and the Gang, then so help me god, I’m going to. Even if it means harassing, haranguing and/or bribing your DJ along the way. And as for pictures: there better be a lot of them. Of me. I didn’t spend 3 hours doing my hair and makeup for nothing.

5. I don’t understand portion control.

When you decided to order those delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and donuts as a late night snack at your wedding, you probably anticipated each guest having one of them, right? Au contraire bonjour. At least not if I’m one of your guests.

I’m not gonna get into exactly what went down that night… but lets just say there was one very full belly, and more than a few hungry mouths at the end of it.

6. I’ll probably write about it on my blog

When all else fails, you can count on me to exploit our close, personal relationship for shameless blog fodder.

Because after all, what are friends for??

Question of the Day: Do you like weddings? Do you make a good wedding guest?

The Friend Zone

I love you guys. Really, I do. That’s why today, I’m giving you a break from hearing the sound of my own virtual voice (be thankful you never have to hear my actual voice.  I sound like a 6-year-old on coke) and instead, I’m giving it over to the beautiful, funny and talented Miss Karen from The Chronicles.

She wrote a great guest post for me about dating, so check it out below! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll emotionally eat ice cream….and at the end everyone will be richer from the  experience.  Promise. And make sure to head on over to her blog to read some more when you’re done. If this post wasn’t enough to convince you, well…sometimes she posts pictures of herself.  Yeah, that’s what I thought you said.

K I’ll stop being such a scene stealer now and just let you read it. Here goes!

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Hello everyone! So some of you may know me from The Chronicles of a Skinny Jeans wearing Toronto girl and the others may now me as Breezyk’s eternal stalker and not so secret admirer. I’ve known Breezy for a few months now and through numerous brunch dates, major girl crush and hopeless love only begins to scratch the surface.

When Breezyk asked me to write a post for her I got all anxious. Mainly because her blog is amazing (but you already knew that right?) and whatever I wrote would have to be nothing short of perfect. Well, that was an impossible task and after a month of struggling, this is all I came up with. And I’m honored that she wants to feature this J

The Scourge of the Friend Zone

You guys all know how much I like joshing around making fun of people, judging them through my judgmental eyes (in this case, fingers) and such. And so the inspiration for this post came from none other than my favorite josher, Barney Stinson: 

The proverbial friend zone. On one hand, at least you’re friends. On the other hand, Cupid has no more arrows in his nappy for you and friends is all you will ever be. Unless you’re a time-travelling caveman or an asexual plant, all of us at some point will have done our time in this miserable middle ground of hell. Hell as we all know is just another word for unrequited love…and bikini waxes.

Ever since man learnt to walk upright and speak in full sentences, the Friend Zone has basically been understood as a male populated island surrounded by Lake Testosterone.

But while I would absolutely LOVE to sit here forever and spend the next ten thousand words bitching about the stupid bitches that put them there, I’m here for a bigger purpose. Because whether you fellas realise this or not, there IS a female version of the friend zone. It exists and is no more a myth than gravity or the five second rule.

The female friend zone unbeknownst to many is more popularly known as “the mother zone” and in certain circles the “sister zone”. Mother and sister. Important roles in a woman’s life. None of which you want to be playing when you’re seeing a guy you want to knock socks with.

So because I’m a nice girl, I will offer myself as a prime example of how women get a one way ticket to the non erogenous zones of mother and sister.

Case Study #1: The Hug-a-bug

Dated this guy for a month and a half. Of the many red flags that were burning holes into my corneas, the biggest and brightest one was that we never kissed. Just hugged all the time. And how did I respond? I made him a bunch of cutesy birthday coupons promising the world (and more hugs).

The Aftermath: He broke up with me, the reason being that “he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship and that I was the sweetest girl ever”. Two weeks later he started dating a close friend of mine and now they’re married.

Moral of the Story: Most guys like to hug their “sweetest girl ever” sisters, not date them.

Ed note: Thank you Karen, for teaching me never to trust this man.

Case Study 2: The best friend.

I walked in to my first lecture of my Humanities class and took a seat next to the cutest boy my eyes could scan. Two weeks later we became inseparable. And obviously by the end of the semester I was hopelessly in love. I could completely be myself around him, argue with him, and even yell at him when he was being a dick.

The Aftermath: I did eventually tell him how I felt. He responded by telling me how he’d always be there for me and how I’m the kind of girl any man would be lucky to settle down with.

Moral of the Story: Maybe the only thing worse than being in the sister zone is being in the mother zone and sister zone at the same time.

Case Study 3: The worker.

Having learnt nothing from Case Study 1 and 2, I moved on to my next male encounter with The Worker. He worked the craziest hours in the world. Sometimes he’d leave at 4am and come home exhausted by 8pm. Sometimes he’d be so tired that he would fall asleep at the wheel. And despite all that, sometimes if I had a bad day, he would still drive all the way to my place just to give me a hug. He made me happy. And I made him elaborately packed lunches so he would save the time it took to pack a lunch to sleep in a few extra minutes.

The Aftermath: Things didn’t work out for the mere fact of it being shitty life circumstances. But he did say that not even his mother took care of him the way I did.

Moral of the Story: You’ll probably need therapy when you realize that perhaps the biggest reason the relationship even lasted as long as it did was because you took care of him like a mother.

Ed note: Listen to the woman and never pack that man a lunch. Especially not this one. Nothing says “mother zone” like a dinosaur shaped, crustless sandwich.

And what did I learn from this all? Nothing. In fact, I never really thought about this till at this very moment at 1:00 in the morning unable to sleep. Over the past three years that I’ve been single, I read all the latest fad books on dating…He’s just on that into you, It’s called a breakup because its broken, Why Men love bitches…you name it.

All of these told me to act the exact opposite of the way I did in my innocent unjaded past. And I listened to them and completely bought into that idea. I drank it all in. I scolded my girlfriends when they came to me with complicated boy problems, telling them to cut it off and be single, telling them not to be so weak (in not so many words). I loved the idea of flirting with guys but could never bring myself to think anything past that. Hence was born my debilitating condition of Dating ADD.

And it was not until this very moment after just going back and reading it again that I found out why I did those things. With each of these guys I became creative, I wasn’t afraid to be myself and most of all, I was happy.

There is a paradox about happiness that holds true for every aspect of life:

In order to be happy, you have to make someone happy.

In order to make someone happy, you have to be happy yourself.

And so from this 2am epiphany, here is what I’m going to try to take from it. Maybe you’ll laugh at me. Maybe you’ll call me naive or just maybe for some crazy reason you may even agree with me but the truth is.:

I didn’t make coupons because I was blissfully unaware of not being kissed. I did it because I wanted to in spite of it.

I didn’t argue and give my two cents on everything because I thought that’s a sure-fire way to a man’s heart. I did it because I was made to feel comfortable enough to do so.

And I certainly didn’t pack a lunch because that’s the motherly thing to do. I did it because I was happy. And when you’re happy, you become creative in finding ways of making someone else happy.

And I know that when I find someone who makes me happy, makes me want to get creative and isn’t scared off when I am myself, I’ll still be jaded. I’ll still panic and remember everything I read in dating books. But you know what? Of all the million things that could go wrong with trusting someone, I’d like to remember that something could go right.

So is this all too idealistic for this world? You bet it is. But I’m not asking you to adopt the same thought process. Perhaps one night when you can’t sleep, you may come up with a formula that works for you better. But maybe consider just one thing out of all this, when you do find someone who brings out a side of you that wants to be unjaded and innocent, throw away those dating books, make those coupons and pack those lunches and risk being in the friend zone. Because in the end, it’s not just him that deserves a fair shot. You do too.

And that`s my two cents on the friend zone. I`m not an award-winning author of a dating book or about to make millions on my late night findings. Just some uncool schlep who’s been stuck in the friend zone since 1986. And you what? For now, I`m okay with that.

Question of the Day: Have you ever found yourself in the Friend Zone?

Things Not to Do On A Saturday Night

Faithful readers. While I know that many of you look to me as a pillar of emotional strength, stability, and excellent decision-making, you should know that sometimes, even BreezyK has bad days too.

Like the one I had this past Saturday.

After spending Friday night calling upon my BFF’s vodka, water and lime to fix my life problems, and that having resulted in nothing but a couple (ok, a lot) of drunk dials and a subsequent case of the booze blues,  I decided that Saturday night was going to be a “stay home and wallow” kind of evening. Only one problem: an empty fridge.  AKA: nothing to emotionally eat.

So I decided to go grocery shopping.

I had been warned never to go grocery shopping alone on a Saturday night by my former roommate, who did it once and came home scarred for life by all of the lonely, tortured souls she encountered. But to be honest, I didn’t find it that bad. In fact. 9pm on a Saturday is probably the best possible time to go. The store was virtually empty, with no screaming children or annoying novelty carts to contend with, and what other shoppers I did see didn’t look all that sad. Couples picking up odds and ends.. young moms stocking up on diapers for the week to come.. we weren’t pathetic. We just knew the “secret”.

I tried to keep my emotions in check- and consequently, the amount of junk that found its way into my cart. I stood at the cash register surveying my items: bananas. salad greens. Organic cereal. All looked to be in order. I gave myself a mental pat on the back as I flipped through  People Stylewatch, wondering who, besides Jenna Dewan, could ever pull off “lemon” coloured skinny jeans.

image via People.com

I was walking home with my many bags when a group of young women in party dresses and 5 inch heels breezed past me, carrying with them the scent of cheap chardonnay, cigarette smoke and Harajuku Lovers by Gwen Stefani. As I hastily moved out of their way and attempted to keep my fruit and veg from spilling onto the sidewalk and becoming a certified organic pigeon feast, I felt a pang of sadness. That should be me, out there…  looking hot and wearing cheap perfume. Not standing here on the street in leggings and oversized sweatshirt, with nothing but a bag of overpriced Honeycrisps and broken dreams.

Dejected, I continued my walk home, cursing myself for being so god damn healthy. Now I had nothing-not even a piece of dark chocolate- to take the edge off! I remembered then, that there was a candy store right down the street. I’ll just go have a look, I thought. It probably won’t even be open.

But guess what guys? IT WAS.

Screw the apples. God obviously wanted me to have Reese Peanut Butter Cups. So in I went.

*not the actual candy store. This one only exists in my dreams.

This store had everything- from individually wrapped bazooka joes, to gobstoppers the size of your head, to chocolate covered, PEANUT BUTTER FILLED pretzels. As I struggled with my grocery bags and tried to scoop each of these treasures into their individual baggies, it occurred to me that I knew now why the grocery store didn’t seem so sad.

It’s because all the really sad people…. came here.

As I took a moment to reflect on this, I saw a guy about my age filling a bag with what looked to be 2lbs worth of sour patch kids. Poor dude, I thought. He definitely just got dumped… and now he’s trying to redirect the pain through the self-infliction of countless canker sores.

I began to worry that someone I knew might see me. Let’s be honest-  a bulk candy store is probably the last place you ever want to be seen alone on a Saturday night. Except for maybe the self-help aisle of a book store. But even then, at least you are actively trying to solve your problems. Not just medicating them with fuzzy peaches and M&Ms.

Suddenly the decision between sour or regular jujubes didn’t seem so critical, and I dropped the oversized metal scoop I had been holding, and headed straight to the cash register. Might as well quit while I was ahead.

I’d like to tell you that my sad realization snapped some sense back into me and that I went home, got dressed, and made some plans. But sadly, I just put on my oldest PJs and settled in for a night of moping and a marathon of Campus PD on MTV ( FYI: if you were considering doing donuts on the beach while drunk and underage without a license in Texas..just don’t. The Galveston PD does not take kindly to it. )

And as I pulled a cherry twist from my bag of temporary happiness, I gave a silent little toast: To all the other lonely souls out there. Please, God, let none of you be  watching The Notebook.

Question of the Day: Have you had a sad Saturday night lately?

How to Snag the Boy Next Door in 10 Minutes or Less

Ahh the boy next door. Wholesome, unassuming, and of “average” masculinity, he has stolen many a heart with his  sweet, shy demeanor, and extensive collections of vintage comic books, graphic tees, and subtitled films.

Perhaps hardened by his status as the perpetual underdog, the boy next door is also known for being somewhat elusive, and difficult to pin down.. or at least that’s what Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen Videos tell me, anyway.

So that’s why, when my girl Karen from The Chronicles of a Skinny Jeans Wearing Toronto Girl recently discovered the boy she had been stalking seeing around and pining over for the past two years was actually her NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR… she enlisted my help to come up with some ideas for getting his attention and making him hers.

Probably cause she knows I’m really good at writing blog post titles that could double as Seventeen magazine headlines.  Anyway, if you want to hear my really serious and not-at-all sarcastic tips- Click this link to check out my guest post on her blog! Enjoy :)

Question of the Day: Have you ever fallen for the Boy (or Girl) Next Door?

Missed Connections

A few weeks back, while catching up on all of my favourite high brow, intellectual publications (read: Buzzfeed, dlisted, Best Week Ever, etc.), I stumbled across Mashable.com’s list of 2011′s Top 12 Missed Connections Ads on Craigslist.

If you’re not familiar with Missed Connections (as I wasn’t before reading this) it’s a feature on Craiglist where you can post a message to someone you recently saw or briefly met but didn’t get a name or contact information.

Obviously this type of thing would speak to my perpetually (and well documented) lonely soul, so I clicked on the link and browsed through some of the ads.  Most of them were hilarious (e.g. “You were dressed as Einstein. You jumped off the stage into my arms. I held you for an almost awkward amount of time.“), which  inspired me to log onto Toronto’s Missed Connections page to check out “just a few more”.

Guys, a word to the wise- don’t try this one at home. Unless you want to be sucked into an internet time warp vortex and never see any of your friends or family again…because believe me when I say, that sh*t is addictive.

This little boy from the 90's could be you.

The ads ran the gamut:

From funny:

You told me that whool doesn’t breathe… – m4w – 25

Me: Random dude in the coat check line. You approached me and told me that my shirt was the wrong shirt for the event. I’m glad I wore that shirt :) You were right about it looking like a frontal half sweatter vest. You were right.

You: One word: Phenomenal. Second word?: Wow

To sweet:

We work together at a store downtown – m4w – 29 (Downtown Toronto)

.. your first name starts with S and mine starts with A….  I’m not 100% sure what my intentions are S, I just know that we get along well, and I would like to talk to you more outside of work. If you know this is about you, let me know how you feel.  HINT: I bought you a personal Hawaiian pizza a few weeks back for your dinner. [Ed note: nothing says romance like a personal Hawaiian pizza....]

 

To just plain sad:

Miss you

always.
 
Checking the missed connections ads quickly became part of my regular internet routine. Glass of wine and shards of dignity in hand, I would peruse the new ads each night while a soundtrack of “Eleanor Rigby” played on a continuous loop in my head.
 
It sort of became like my own personal version of a reality show, playing out in real-time over my computer. Plus, it felt sort of  like a romantic throwback to a simpler time- before the age of speed dating, facebook and other instantaneous forms of connecting with people……. it was akin to throwing out a message in a bottle…. only with incrementally more aim.
 
 
My favourite thing is when someone responds to an ad. Yes, I’m aware that the responder was probably not the intended recipient… and, let’s be honest, they probably just wanted casual sex.. but in my head, “Girl with the green backpack” was totally Kate Hudson… and “M, 27” was obviously Matthew McCoughnahey, and they would fall madly in love. Sure, there would be a few missteps along the way- some third-act misunderstanding or complicating circumstance that would result in a temporary fallout….but after a lost-love montage set to some Sad F.M. song, ultimately both would realize they were meant to be together. A grandiose love declaration would inevitably follow (perhaps hijacking the mic at a mutual friend’s wedding.. or maybe a flash mob), and everyone would live happily ever after.
 
……Wow, I really went for it on the whole “Romantic Comedy” analogy there, eh?
 
 
Moving on.

Another reason why all of this resonated with me is because of this post, where I wrote about the fact that we all crave human interaction- it’s just a spectrum of how much.

Well, just like conversational lingering and making unsolicited small talk with the cashier at Loblaws, I think posting a Missed Connection is just another way to reach out to people in this lonely world. We’re all living on a prayer that we will one day miraculously be plucked from our urban obscurity and become someone special to someone- and this keeps that hope alive.

Plus, if we’re all craving human interaction, then we’re definitely all craving a serendipitous encounter. I’d be lying if I said that in all of my Craigslist perusing, I wasn’t secretly hoping to find a post written for me. In my fantasy, this would involve being spotted reading some cool, yet mainstream-enough-to-be-approachable book at a coffee shop.

E.g. “You: reading High Fidelity over a Grande Americano…. Me: Smitten. Let’s share that Americano next time, and discuss which came first? The music or the misery…” 

Thank you, Nick Hornby.

No luck yet though. Well, except for this one, which was clearly written about me:

Your Writing

is so amazing & beautiful. I’m grateful to find a place to experience all your thoughts, feelings and great wonders. Don’t ever stop baby!

I won’t, baby… I won’t.

Question of the Day: Have you ever experienced a “Missed Connection?”

P.S. As you may have noticed on the sidebar, The Camel Life now has it’s own facebook page! Like it if you want to get updates on all my new posts (and of course, my abject loneliness).

The 5 Habits of Highly Lonely People

So, since Valentine’s Day is looming like a root canal, and just what everyone needs is another reason to be depressed, I thought it only fitting to write a post devoted to the true meaning of the season:

Loneliness. Complete and Utter Loneliness.

Just Kidding. I think it’s actually about love or some sh*t. But today, we are going to talk about loneliness. More specifically, the fine art of living alone.

I go back and forth on whether humans were ever actually meant to live alone. Sure, there’s something to be said for walking around naked, and not having anyone tell you to turn down the “Wayback Playback” Mixtape you just finished compiling (don’t act like you don’t do this),  but it can also be isolating at times, and a little bit lonely.

I’ve lived alone for about a year now, and I’ve noticed that in this time, besides my  loneliness having become immediately palpable to everyone around me (and the  fact that at times, my life parallels The Shining), I’ve also developed a number of  pesky bad habits. My other solitary-dwelling friends tell me I’m not alone on these… but I’ll let you guys be the judge.

Here, without further adieu, are The Top 5 Bad Habits I’ve Developed from Living Alone:

1. Allowing standards for Cleanliness (and, let’s be honest- personal hygeine) to fall by the wayside

I’ve never been what you would call a “domestic diva”. I’m not sure why, given that my mother is basically the reigning queen of clean.

This is not my mother... but I guarantee she could out-hoover this b*tch

Maybe it’s one of those recessive genes. Like having twins. Or being a ginge. Anyway, now that I’ve escaped her clutches, and have no roommates to hold me accountable,  it’s much easier to let things slide. Don’t feel like cleaning your bathroom  or making your bed for a week? NBD.  Just so long as you never plan on having any houseguests.. ever. Same goes for weekend bathing and wearing things other than pajamas. I consider these behaviours both to be highly overrated. Plus, there’s just something less threatening- tolerable even- about your own dirt. (And If you think this theory might lead me to being featured on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive… you might not be wrong).

2. Balanced diet? Schmalanced diet!

These aren't tears of sadness... I've just been cutting onions- I'm making a lasagna...... for one

Cooking for one can be expensive, time consuming, and even a little bit sad. Not to mention hella wasteful. I’ll often buy fresh produce, only to have it go bad a week later. Bananas are the worst for this. I struggle every week with what I call the “banana sweet spot”. How many bananas I will realistically consume in a week is anyone’s guess.. but get it wrong, and prepare to pay the price. Buy too few, and you’ve got banana FOMO. But Buy too many, and the telltale brown spots serve as a haunting reminder of your incompetence.

Needless to say, dinner most nights consists of a big-ass bowl of cereal and way too many peanut M&M’s  It’s possible that I have scurvy. In fact, it’s highly likely, given that no one’s around to remind me to make a doctor’s appointment.

3. Conversational Lingering

You know those people who always try to stretch out a conversation past it’s natural conclusion by asking just one more question, or giving a too-long response? Well I’ve got news for you Linda/Larry Lives Alone- this might just be you.

Sometimes I find myself attempting to make conversation or establish connections with complete strangers.  It doesn’t really matter who- the  grocery store cashier…the person behind me in line.. I once even struck up a conversation with a friendly-looking bichon frise  outside of a Whole Foods. (his eyes held a profound sense of longing. I was inexplicably drawn to it). We all crave human interaction- it’s just a spectrum of how much. The problem is, you never really know where the person you’re interacting with falls on that spectrum. It’s highly likely that Miguel, the Shoppers Drug Mart clerk, just wants you to shut the hell up about alternatives to pricey body scrubs; but then again, he too may live alone, and may be enjoying this conversation as much as you are. He may even suggest brown sugar. Perhaps that Starbucks barista who cradles your hand when giving you your change is not only ensuring no rogue nickels cascade onto the counter-  he’s also reaching out,  attempting to form a bridge between two lone souls, barreling through the universe. You’ll never know.

4. Emo Funks/ Prolonged Bouts of Infinite Indie Sadness

Sure, we all fall into our little emo funks sometimes- but it’s hard to wallow too much when there are other people around. There’s just something about openly sobbing in public that seems to make people uncomfortable.  But when there’s no one around to snap you out of your devastating, yet poignant bout of introspection,  you end up stuck in a rut for days; culminating in a Friday night spent watching Say Yes to the Dress and sobbing into your Haagen Daz.

Cry on, tortured soul… cry on.

5. Overindulgence of  embarrasing  guilty pleasures.

Admit it… when left to our own devices, we all get up to some pretty lame shit. I know I do. I’ve spent many a Saturday engaging in such past-times as reading my childhood diary; sifting through my shoebox full of memories ( my “Museum of Innocence” as I like to call it); and watching every movie John Hughes ever made.  I think it’s safe to say that we’d all be better off  having a filter for this kind of thing. And that’s where roomates come in. They may not be able to save you from yourself entirely- but at they very least, they serve as good WTF barometer,  keeping your shit in check  when they see you gearing up for episode #6 of Teen Mom in a row.

So where does that leave us? Initially I had hoped to cushion the blow of informing you that you’re probably a hoarding, malnourished, depressed , stage-5 clinger by offering you some tips to overcome these problems. But sadly, I’ve got no answers for you.  The most I can do is offer to let you borrow my imaginary friend Jenna, and promise to keep writing posts that are guaranteed to make you feel better about your own life.  Rest assured- your misery will always find company here at The Camel Life.  (<—- New Slogan?)

Question of the Day: What is the best/worst part about living alone?