Tag Archives: women

How To Get Your Groove Back…

10 Oct

 

ParisIf you are single, reading this, and wondering if there are any decent men alive and single,  I have some advice for you.  Get the hell out of Nova Scotia, Canada, or North America for that matter.  I am just back from a fantastic vacation which took place across The Pond.  The Pond being The Atlantic Ocean.  I made the trip with my brilliant (and also single friend) Colette  – pictured with me in a very classy wine induced bathroom selfie.  I’ve visited Europe many times before, but at this age, this stage, and with a fantastic single friend – it was especially awesome.

As a woman in 2018 I am able to achieve just about anything I put my mind to.  Jobs, travel, adventures.  You name it.  A few years ago, I  spontaneously decided to climb Mt Kilimanjaro – the highest walkable mountain in the world.  I climbed that mountain.  I decided to run a half marathon.  I ran it.  Organize a big gala that raised loads of money.  No problem.  Meet a man who is an equal.  That is harder than running a half marathon to the base of Mt Kilimanjaro and planning the event while on top of the mountain with no connection to the world.  Over and over again, I hear myself (and my gfs) saying WTF when it comes to dating.

Halifax is an amazing city to live in.  Strong sense of community, beautiful landscape, no commute, friendly people, great restaurants, but what no tourist package or single woman in her 30’s living here will ever say – dating in Halifax is as good as the views.  There is a plethora of young ones and lots of old ones, but not much in the middle.  This phenomenon of wonderful women finding it hard to meet an equal spreads beyond the Nova Scotia border.  I was discussing dating with my co-worker in Toronto who is a smart, confident and funny single gal.    Big city.  Lots of options.  Her dating experiences have caused her to slot men into two categories:

  1. Completely afraid of an independent woman, who can take care of herself, speak her mind and won’t be all doe eyed for the rest of her life
  2. Emotionally unavailable and don’t know how to be a decent human being or reciprocate any sort of relationship behaviour.

There is a dating app called Bumble.  For those non-singletons reading this:  if you both swipe right you match, once you match the woman has 24 hours to write and once you write, the man has 24 hours to respond.  If the woman doesn’t write the man or the man doesn’t write back the match expires in 24 hrs.  Poof!  Mr. Wonderful is gone.  The idea being that you take it a bit more serious than say –  Tinder – where people just collect matches, but don’t write each other.  Bumble in Halifax is what I would describe as ‘scarcity of talent’.  How far am I willing to veer off what I am actually looking for?  How little am I actually willing to accept?  How bored would I be?  Almost every date I have gone on in the last year has been with someone who was visiting or here for work.  They stand out, however, they are only here for a short period of time.  I am telling you – it gets discouraging.

This is where things change folks.  This is where the normally positive, can’t be beaten down, always sees possibility Emilie comes back.  Last week , the afore mentioned friend and I jumped on a flight for a little Wanderlust – Paris and then Munich for Octoberfest.  We flew all night, went to our Air-Bnb, had a nap, got freshened up and made our way out into the streets of Paris.  We literally came out of the gate to see this masculine creature walking towards us.  I looked at him.  He looked at me.  “Bonjour” he said.  And in return Mousier.  We walk a little further where we sat down to have a cappuccino at a café.  Chairs face outward to the street.  Over the next hour Colette and I were like roosters – we didn’t know where to point our peckers.  Men. Men. Men.  They were coming from every direction.  It continued on, everywhere we went – doors were held open, eye contact made, compliments given, conversation.  Oh la la.   After a scrumptious dinner on our second night, we were still hungry for something more.  We stood contemplating our next move outside of the restaurant when the seas parted and we found two handsome guys walking towards us.  I ripped out my boldness (I was wearing a feather dress so I was feeling rather saucy) and said ‘Parlez vous Anglais?’  To which they replied – yes.   Some funny back and forth took place in the street.  We then decided to make our way to a Cuban Bar together.   After a few mojitos and dancing to very Cuban Michael Jackson music – one of the gentleman had fallen in love with Colette, so we set off on an adventure.   Eiffel Tower and Uber rides with blasting country music to parts unknown in search of fun.  We got home at 5 am.    The next day when we awoke around noon, we decided to take a look at Bumble (the afore mentioned dating app).   My jaw is still sore from dropping.  The men on there were amazing.  One after another.  Gorgeous, interesting, well travelled.  Match. Match. Match. Match.  The two of us were in fits of laughter – Henri, Louis, Lucien, Alexandre.  We wrote a few.  And they wrote back.  Imagine that!  At home, even guys who you aren’t really even interested in don’t write back.  I had a cheeky back and forth with an Italian architect.  We decided to meet for a drink later on.  I found myself across from this chic gentleman.  Well dressed.  Well travelled.  Well spoken.  Very intelligent.  He ASKED ME QUESTIONS!  Be still my beating heart.  He was curious about who I am, what my life is like and he wasn’t remotely ‘intimidated’ by it.  He is the head architect for Cartier globally, not a divorced teacher from Enfield who likes Netflix.  He asked me more questions.  “Bella, you are real woman”, he said.  Omg.  He was definitely interested in my architecture, but I had to bid adieu as the 5 am night before had caught up with me.  The next night Colette and I went for dinner at this Italian restaurant called Fulvio’s (same name as the architect coincidentally).  This short rotund Italian man named Fulvio and his wife own the place.  He came to every table with a board and described the menu with great flare and passion.  His energy was fantastic.  We joked.  We laughed.  We spoke to our neighbouring tables.  We shared parmesan.  Kisses and hugs were had, and we left full in the belly and in spirit.   The next morning we were off to Munich to experience Octoberfest.  We made our way to the train to head downtown from the airport.  The doors opened and this tall, handsome, silver haired version of Liam Neeson wearing a beautiful coat stepped off.  He smiled at me.  I smiled at him.  He smiled at Colette.  She smiled at him.  Colette and I have very different looks.  She is tall and blonde.  I am short with black hair and curves.   He liked both and made it known with hungry eyes.  And this just continued on.  While Colette was trying to rent a bike I stood waiting for her with my bike.  This guy came over and said something to me in German.  I didn’t understand.  He then asked me if I speak Italian. I said no.  English – Canadian.  Not the sexiest of dialects.  Colette made her way over to us to hear me explaining we were visiting.  He then said – well, what I wanted to say is that you are beautiful woman.  Ciao.   This was before we went to Octoberfest.  With no Drindles on, wearing only Canadian charisma, we walked into a sea of beer drinking-Drindle and Lederhoson wearing – German folk song singing-people.  Beeindruckend – that’s Wow in German.  My lipstick was referred to by an Irish guy as ‘the most fantastic display of lip coverage he had ever seen.’  We danced on tables, we sang, we laughed, we talked, we drank beer… it was absolutely hilarious.   We flew back to Canada renewed in our spirit, and our belief that there are indeed fun, intelligent, interesting, charismatic, good looking single men in this world! Well, actually, German men in Bravaria wear their wedding band on the right hand, so that did cause some confusion.  Though the interactions were quick and mostly foolish: eye contact, compliments, conversation (both intelligent and not), questions… all things Canadian men, ummm, don’t do – just like Stella  – it gave us our groove back.   

A few years back I reluctantly went to a psychic fair with my cousin.  I ended up getting my palm and energy read by this guy Brian.  I remember he looked at my palm and then at me and said – oh, you are too full of passion to be living in Canada.  Go to Europe.  They are passionate.  They will dance.  They will understand you. And so other amazing single ladies, I recommend you do the same.  Don’t get botox.  Don’t think you need to lose weight.   Wear less bold lipstick.  Not be yourself.  All you need to do is buy a plane ticket across the Atlantic to get your mojo back.

Xoxo.

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Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are…

3 Jul

Online dating

What’s new?  Likely one of the most used pleasantries when engaging in small talk.  I actually have my 20 year high school reunion this weekend and I am 100% positive that question will be asked many times.  What’s new with you?  Hmmm.  When you are single that is a hard question to answer.   You don’t have the usual filler material that those who are in a relationship or those who have children can use – ‘I got married’ or ‘I had a baby’.  Instead it feels somewhat awkward and I find myself grappling with what to say.  What’s new?  Well, I have lots of new things on the go, but not the type of stuff you say when engaging in small talk. If the level of small talk is a bit deeper and you perhaps know the person a bit better, ‘Are you seeing anyone?’ will come up.  I am willing to talk about that.  Dating.

I spent a lot of time this weekend with single girlfriends.  They’re smart, confident, fun, pretty, athletic, independent, well travelled, social, interesting and not emotionally messed up women.  I would say the topic of dating comes up every single time we are together.  In fact, it might trump the topic of weather – it even trumps the topic of Trump.  It is like a merry-go-round… we always circle back to it.  It is hard to find someone who is a good match for you.  It is even harder to find someone who is a good match for you when you are 38 and not normal.  That is right NOT NORMAL.  The new normal is flakey and complicated.

Dating has always been a source of emotional highs and low for anyone who engages in it:  triumphs and also complete emotional vulnerability.  In the past, it was giving your number to a guy at a bar and then obsessing with your girlfriends over when he was going to call.   Checking the messages just in case the phone didn’t actually ring when he called.  I remember one girlfriend telling me that she hid in a bush outside a guys house as she was sure he was dating someone else. A low moment.  There have always been the ‘ghosting’ tendencies – not calling after taking the number, not calling back for a second date or being stood up.  Today though, it is a real jungle.  You are no longer required to get dressed up, drink a bottle of wine, take a taxi downtown to your favourite bar to sort through a room full of drunk people in the hopes of finding someone who floats your boat.   You can do it from anywhere – from your toilet, your bed, your sofa, the subway, the doctors office or when even when your date goes to the bathroom if you’re not that into them – you can swipe away as you have access to every other single who is within a given radius of where you are.   More is more.  Options are endless. We make quick judgements based on carefully (or sometimes not so carefully) curated photos of potential mates.  While I was typing this I decided to look at Tinder to see who is around me.  There is a guy named Liam, 36, with 4 sexy photos of himself.   He wrote:  ‘Always love pizza.  Down for whatever’.  John, 42, 3 photos – one of his truck, one of his dog and another of him smoking and having a beer with the dog in the background.  He didn’t write anything.  Graham, 47, one pic of himself with balloons up his shirt which look like breasts. He wrote ‘Married, looking for summer fun.’ I wonder who swipes Yes to these guys?   The pool isn’t overflowing with options.  Just like ordering from the Sears catalog when I was a kid – a lot of stuff in the photos didn’t look as good in person or it just didn’t fit.  On top of this catalog style mate selection – no one talks to each other anymore.   Human to human connections are limited these days.  We shop online, we pay our bills online, we book travel online and we can even order groceries online which greatly lowers the likelihood of meeting someone in a grocery store.  Look around the next time you are sitting at a bar or you’re at an event – everyone is looking at their phones.  It fills a void for the social awkwardness that being alone creates.  I am guilty of it.  They might even be swiping you while you are sitting beside them.   I used to be an amazing wing woman.  I brought a lot friends to the men they were lusting over – there have been a few marriages as a result of my skills .  I wasn’t shy to go over, strike up the conversation, slyly bring my friend into the mix if he seemed cool and then slide away.  I was like Will Smith in Hitch.    I think that’s why old guys always like me because I still enjoy talking to people.  I remind them of ‘the good old days’ when people, just, you know, spoke to each other.  Now if someone comes up to you, you think they are a Jehovah’s Witness or they’re going to put a drug in your drink.  Now don’t get me wrong – online dating has brought me to meet some great guys.  I am discerning with who I meet – you can sniff out quite quickly if someone is worth meeting or not.  You know, if they ask you a question beyond ‘what’s up’ they are really standing out of the crowd.  I’ve had some hilarious dates, great connections and lots of fun.  In fact, this past winter I thought I met someone who was a keeper via online.  It ends up it wasn’t my ring finger I gave him… it was the middle one.

Sex and the City aired for the first time 20 years ago – they were more or less the same age as I am now.  I’ve watched every episode a few times over, and do you want to know what I notice – it is the same stuff my friends and I are dealing with today just in a different package.  My sister-in-law (who luckily found my anomaly of a brother while they were in university) said she thinks she would die if she had to date today.  I am telling you I deserve a medal for the resilience I have shown.  It is actually harder than running a marathon… at least in a marathon you know the struggle is over at 42 km’s.

Just like Carrie never lost sight of the fact that her Mr. Big existed and that romance was not dead… I too remain steadfast in my belief that there is an amazing man out there for my girlfriends, and hopefully for me too.  I am not sure what he looks like, what his age is, where he lives, what he does for work or how much hair he has – it seems that those things matter less and less.   Emotional intelligence, the ability to communicate, the ability to compromise, consideration, reliability, integrity… those attributes are actually the sexy ones.  I know he exists, it only makes rational sense to me that there are also amazing single men out there who are  thinking the same things as my single friends and I.   I don’t think, however, that he is on Tinder with pics of himself at the gym or with balloons up his shirt.  Come out, come out, wherever you are… please.

 

Resolution Revolution

4 Jan

resolution

 

Every single year in early January we make BIG declarations about what we are going to be better at this year.  Exercise more! Lose weight! Money! Time management!  No drinking!  Putting yourself ‘out there’ more!  More adventure!  And so on.  Monday, January 16th, will be what we call Blue Monday or better known as ‘The Most Depressing Day of The Year’.  Christmas cheer has worn off, you’ve likely broken your resolutions, its flipping freezing out and your December credit card statement has arrived in your inbox.  A dirty-dirty combination indeed.

I am going to focus on the one I think is the most common:  lose weight.  I don’t know about you, but most every weight related resolution I’ve ever made has not happened or if it happened it wasn’t maintained long term.  I go out of the gate strong, planning, hitting the gym, packing my lunch and then I fall off the self  betterment rails – thus making the resolution a failure.  Left with tight pants, a gym membership not being used and a bad case of the guilt’s for not using it (and for failing at the big resolution).  Oprah is a favorite of mine and as you most certainly know she has dealt with weight her entire life.  Up and down.  Skinny to fat – fat to skinny.  This was all under the watchful eye of the world.  I remember she once said that when her pants don’t fit her she feels the exact same way as anyone else does.  The difference being she was photographed, scrutinized and criticized.  How could someone who has chefs and trainers at her beck and call, still fail at weight loss?  Over the last few years, she says, she has changed her relationship with her body (and food).  In the past she focused on hating her thighs, criticizing her body and dieting.  Instead, she changed her thoughts: it isn’t about a diet, but instead a commitment to see things differently.  Starting out from a place of gratitude and positivity instead of a state of self loathing.  It isn’t about saying: I am cutting out sugar! I am cutting out carbs! I am cutting out gluten! I am cutting out wine!   I am running a marathon!  Or when I lose 20 pounds I’ll be HAPPY.  I’ve run 3 half marathons in my life and when I did them I lost weight.  I hated every-single-minute of it.  That runners high everyone talks about.  I never achieved it.  The only high I ever felt was when I crossed the finish line and thought THANK JESUS that is over and I was able to take off my two sports bras.  Resolution statements are usually short term – 5 pounds down and then 7 back on when you start to eat pasta again or stop doing whatever you were doing as it probably wasn’t enjoyable!

Here are a few things I know about myself:

  1. I am not a naturally thin woman
  2. I love amazing food and culinary experiences
  3. I am not a lover of winter
  4. My disdain for winter causes me to not be as active
  5. 1 + 2 + 3 +4 = weight gain over the winter

So, here is my little attitude-behaviour changing story: I started to change my winter attitude about 7 years ago when I got a dog. That little white rocket requires me to hit the pavement no matter what day, no matter what season and no matter what weather. My brother and his family got a dog last year too. I already bring Millie to work with me, so it only made sense to add him into the gang! I now walk to my brothers most days of the week, pick him up and deliver him back end of day. That’s about 8 km of extra walking a day. It helps them, he adds more joy to my day and it adds to my movement.  So everyday I get nearly 10 km in.  I know that I would rather walk 10 kms than run 1.   It works for me.  For the past 6 months I do hot yoga over my lunch on average 4 times a week.  I love it.  I am in competition with no one but myself.  I am still not sporting a six pack (nor do I want to or ever will), but I feel healthy, it is consistent, it works for me and it creates a solid base. One pound, two pounds, three pounds… it has consistently come off.   If I add anything more to more routine it makes a real difference.  Rather than the usual January boom and bust and being cooped up inside wearing lululemon’s (which trick you into thinking you are not putting on weight)  I am on the move when the snow flies!   It is already a habit.   Also, being single is definitely a way to keep yourself slimmer – just like in nature, when you’re on the hunt you’re hungry!!

Last year I spent a month in Australia where you would think I would have tipped the scales to the right.  Nope.  I lost weight.  Why?  Because I was on the go all day long.  Walking, swimming, moving, talking and sweating from that glorious sunshine!  Doing things I love to do.  Not sitting in front of a computer, avoiding going out at lunch as it is freezing, and then crashing home in the dark (it is dark here shortly after 4 pm in the winter) cursing about my numb fingers.

In an effort to combat my winter weight I am doing the same thing this winter. Walking every day, downward dogging and sweating at hot yoga over lunch, going away on a trip mid-February to a hot country for 3 weeks, and I am going to keeping myself busy doing things that bring me joy.  I’ll be busy doing things I love.  Busy learning new things.  Busy spending time with people who make my mind curious.  Keeping my mind positive, laughing and feeling grateful for my life.  I am going to bring out my French heritage – as you know those bitches are skinny and they eat cheese everyday.  The secret is that they don’t deprive themselves and physical exercise generally flows within their daily life – the slow burn.  I can guarantee you that when you lose 10 lbs by starving yourself or doing a physical activity you hate –  the relationship you have with your body, food and exercise isn’t positive and it will limit you in other ways. The conversations we have with ourselves directly correspond to how we present ourselves to the outside world and those closest to us.

So, if you are looking to shed some lbs, get tighter or achieve some kind of health goal – don’t give your credit card so readily to a gym.  Figure out what it is you really love to do, amuse-toi bien (have fun), do more of it and give yourself some self love along the way.  I can guarantee if you asked someone else what they see when they see you – it isn’t your cellulite.

Flying on your own

24 Dec

single-xmas

I went to Christmas Eve mass tonight in the small church where I was baptized and got my first communion.  Well actually, it is not the same church as a few years back the original building went up in flames and needed to be replaced.   It seems there was a local fire starter as that year 3 or 4 big buildings burnt to the ground in this small rural community.  Although no one was ever arrested in the words of my mother ‘something queer was going on.’  Most of the people in the church are related to me or I grew up with them.  It has always been a social sniff out – see who is home for Christmas, who brought a new  man/woman home, who had a baby, who looks better and who looks worse

Last year I wanted to go to church even less than I usually want to go as I had very recently broken up with my boyfriend who I lived with.  It was an absolute guarantee someone was going to ask me where he was or the real gassy ones might say ‘are you getting a diamond for Christmas?’  Nope, I gave him a different finger.  When you see someone you haven’t seen in a bit it is very standard to ask ‘what is new with you?  There are social norms for someone my age to respond with:

  1. I got engaged
  2. I got married
  3. I had a baby

When you have none of those things to report it feels so goddamn awkward.  It is kind of like the autopilot question ‘how are you’ to which we respond ‘good’.  No one actually wants to hear you say ‘my boyfriend and I just broke up, I don’t know where I am going to be living and I hope Mom and Dad give me a Christmas present.’  But that was a year ago and although that question still feels awkward I am completely confidant in reporting the fact that I am single and ready to mingle (if anyone reading knows a fabulous guy let a girl know).  My ever-so-thoughtful best friend is also home for Christmas.  She just had a baby so she has something to report this year. She was on a brain storm last night of who the guy for me might be and where I could meet him.  She said – tomorrow night in church look around and see if there is anyone there.  You never know who might be home or who might be single now.’  As much as I appreciate the gesture finding someone in church in Maryvale would be like having a sighting of The Lochness Monster or winning the lottery.  Very unlikely.

Tonight, in the middle of mass there was a commotion at the back of the church.  At first I thought it was the man of my dreams coming to find me.  Shit, my imagination got the better of me.    In reality someone fainted.   My Dad loves Rita MacNeil, a singer from Cape Breton.  She had a cleft pallet and was as wide as she was tall.  There were many Rita MacNeil jokes – she threw her underwear into the crowd at her concert and suffocated the first two rows. For a woman who outwardly looked like someone I would never relate to, her lyrics resonate with me.  I too love her songs.  If my dear friend Sacha is reading this she will be dying laughing at this point as she also is an in-the-closet Rita MacNeil lover. We have both increased the YouTube views of Rita’s songs. One song in particular is Flying On Your Own.  If Rita can do it so can I.

A steel fist in a velvet glove

9 Oct

mom-quote

The fall is always a nostalgic time of year for me – schools get into swing, the leaves turn color and Thanksgiving weekend rolls around.  Contrary to popular opinion I am not a lover of Thanksgiving dinner. So much work and so many dishes for a meal that (for me) is underwhelming.   Mom and Dads’ kitchen is not particularly large and Mom (how do I put this) is rather, ummm, bossy when she is in there.  Mom is not a chef with papers, but boy she can handle herself in the kitchen just as well as Jamie Oliver, Rachel Ray or Mario Batali. This weekend it is just me home so we decided to keep it simple and not prepare a meal fit for a small country.  Over the years Mom has produced more food, for more people than Michelin produces tires.  On the topic of Mom and since it is Thanksgiving I will tell you about her.

My mother is an extremely capable, selfless and productive human being.  Last night we were invited over to friends of our family for dinner.  During our after dinner conversation Kathy (our hostess) said ‘Emilie, can you tell me if you’ve ever seen your mother just do nothing for a day?’ Honestly, unless she was down and out with some kind of an ailment I couldn’t remember ever seeing her just be lazy.  Mom was a nurse doing shift work until I was in grade 9 and after that moved to management where she worked Monday to Friday. It would be nothing for her to make us a gourmet breakfast, send us off to school with lunches all made from scratch (I often traded her homemade cookies for a can of caramel pudding or a Flaky- you always want what you don’t have), wash the walls, clean out a flowerbed and head off to a 12 hour shift at the hospital.  About 10 years ago Mom had to have her thyroid taken out.  The doctors said she had a very hyper thyroid (in overdrive), so finally we had an answer as to why this woman never seemed to run out of energy. After her surgery it took quite sometime to get her TSH levels regulated and so she felt tired and might fall asleep in the chair.  Very unusual.  My father (who could be described as being as laid back as a Saint Bernard) said he loved that Mom was exhibiting laziness as it made him feel human.  Fast forward to now, it seems that her natural determination has made up for her biological changes.  What this woman achieves in a week should be analyzed by productivity experts as I think she could teach them a few things.  One year Dad said he was going to get her a miners lamp for a gift so that she could continue working after dark.

I love how perspective allows you to see things more clearly.  At my age my mother had 4 children.  In fact, I am shocked that I was even conceived as mom had awful pregnancies with terrible morning sickness and many other complications.  Thankfully they went for a 4th and got me.  A few years ago on mothers day I took my Mom and Grandma out for lunch.  Mom said ‘thank you’ when we were done and I said ‘thanks for giving birth to me’.  To which she said ‘it was quite the strenuous affair, you were posterior’.  My 90 year old grandmother piped up and said ‘that is nothing you came out feet first Janice.’

On top of that a full-time job, a husband, a house, a massive property with gardens galore, and animals, she somehow managed to cook, pickle and jam it all, visit family, maintain friendships, keep a clean house, plan/host most any event happening in our lives, cart us around to our sports/after school bits, and keep my 3 gong show brothers in line. We always had friends over which meant she was cooking for more than 6 on a regular basis. She starts thinking about Christmas at least 11 months in advance – making quilts for each us or dolls for the grand kids.  Honestly, when I compare my days to hers it makes me feel a wee bit self absorbed… as I get my nails done and sip a latte.   I talk to Mom daily on the phone.  Sometimes it is 5 minutes and sometimes it is an hour. General gab about the day, what is happening at home, what we cooked for dinner and what is on deck for the next day.  Nowadays we are more friends than Mother/Daughter.

When I was a kid I didn’t look at my mother as leader – I looked at her as my mom.  As an adult I now see she has all of the attributes of a great leader – loyalty, patience, generousity, responsibility, determination, trustworthiness, supportive and selflessness.  When you have a great leader you are bound to be more successful in life.   On the outside she comes across as a total softie, but in reality she is a steel fist in a velvet glove.  Donald Trump should get an injection of her modesty.  In the words of Mother Teresa ‘if you want to change the world go home and love your family.’  Thanks for doing that Mom.