Something Slipped in your Drink? Why We Need #MeToo

This afternoon some friends and I ended up at an impromptu get together, where I asked one of my guy friends to grab me a cider, in exchange for me sparing him from my next, sure-to-come feminism lecture. Little did either of us know that the form in which he brought me my drink was about to spark an important one.

Ladies! When a guy brings you a drink that is either already open or poured into a glass, what is your initial reaction?

Men! Do you have any idea why this might worry someone? Because of course my friend – who logically I know would never do this to me (otherwise I never would have asked him to get me a drink in the first place) – thought I was paranoid.

He thought I was paranoid because a) he is not a woman and has never woken up with no panties on, next to a man, with absolutely no idea how he got there or what happened. And b) he (thankfully) is just not the type of man who feels the need or desire to slip something into a friends drink.

When he first handed me my cider, in its red solo cup with ice, alarm bells shot all throughout my body. I was instantly afraid to even sip it, and was trying to figure out how I could discreetly dump it out without him noticing, when I realized that this was a guy I’ve known since about kindergarten, who has never shown any signs of being that type of guy. Even so, the only thing that was going to bring me out of that anxiety was to talk about it and watch his reaction.

Although at first he thought I was joking, and then seemed to think maybe I was a little paranoid, another girl sitting with us chimed in and before you knew it, there we were, two strangers, sharing intimate details of our lives with the only connection being our fear of someone drugging our drinks and what the reality of that possibility really is.

There are a couple of times throughout my life that I wonder if I may have been drugged. But also, maybe I just drank too much. And unless its obvious, or a drug test has been done, how does one really know for sure?

This is why these conversations have to be had. Because two complete strangers, both female, can sit and have a conversation about the different times that they think they may have had something slipped into their drinks like its no big deal. My male friend was shocked by this. One of the possible offenders was even there at this get together, and my buddy was all, “how is this no big deal”. Which is exactly how he should have been reacting. Because it is fucked up! There is no other way of putting it. Two strangers being able to have this conversation as if they’re talking about what they like in their coffee, while one of the possible offenders is across the yard, is fucked up. But that is the reality of this situation. It’s not always a stranger or a bartender or a date that does these things. It’s people you know and wouldn’t necessarily suspect. It’s sometimes even people you trust. Especially if you’re like me and all of your broken pieces love all of other people’s broken pieces and it tricks you into only seeing their light and none of their darkness until it is so obvious and in your face that you are no longer able to deny it.

This is why we need feminism. This is why we need #MeToo. This is why we need to have these conversations. Not so that it becomes men against women, but so that it becomes good men standing with good women, against the people who so frequently assume that they have more rights over our bodies than we do. Our fight for equality isn’t always about the stuff that is in your face or obvious. It’s in the subtle nuances of how it feels to be a woman and those extra precautionary steps that we need to take every day to protect ourselves, not because we’re paranoid but because these things actually happen. Even in our small, safe town of Ladner. Even in the perceived safety of a friends house.

In the meantime however, I’m just going to embrace and enjoy the fact that I still have male friends who truly are so innocent that they do not understand why I am scared when they bring me an opened drink, because they genuinely just thought that I would like ice and went the extra step for me; fully understanding that the next time I might not be so lucky.

My new dating profile

Releasing myself from societal norms and 300 characters or less.

We live in a world that is afraid to be seen. We hide behind computer screens and then wonder why we don’t have any real relationships. We don’t want to listen to other people’s problems because they’re too real and we don’t like having to face that kind of reality but then we wonder why we’re all alone in our own. All we want is a date, a relationship, but we’re too afraid of being rejected to ask anyone out on a date. We stay within our comfort zones of 300 characters or less and a few photos and talk about how much “fun” our lives are. No one wants to do the hard stuff so we pretend it doesn’t exist until we can’t pretend anymore. But when we finally stop pretending

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Real men are not Unicorns.

Sometimes we are forced to reevaluate our lives and the choices that we are making and patterns we are falling into and why our lives look the way that they do. Tonight I realized something, probably for the first time realizing it deep within me and not just brushing it off but actually feeling it and allowing it to process. This something, is something that I felt needed to be shared because I bet that there are a  lot of people out there living the same way and wondering why.

I realized that never in my life have I “expected” to be in a healthy relationship. When you think about how you speak – either out loud or in your head about relationships, what words are you using? Do you think of a loving couple, children, a home? Do you think of parties, arguments? Do you think of fear or do you think of love?

For years I said I was going to adopt, because I didn’t want to pass along my genes and risk the children having mental health issues (and now Lyme).

I’ve always said I was pro-divorce and that its never too late to leave. I do stand by this in cases of abuse or where two people are truly not happy, but maybe it would be nice if I didn’t think of it for myself!

I’ve always said its okay to be single forever. And it is. But again, maybe I should be at least thinking like I’m not going to be?

I have never been able to picture myself in a healthy relationship. My trust for a man to be there for me and stand by me and take care of his own shit never existed. I am not even sure what that would look like.

I have always expected to have to be able to financially, physically and emotionally, take care of myself, my pets, my future children and possibly my husband; or at least to to play a minimum of a 50% role in that area. I’ve never even really expected a man to take me on a real date. You know, plan it with no help from me (control freak!), pick me up, pay without that awkward conversation finishing with me insisting on paying for at least my part if not all of it.

I’ve never even expected a man to be able to handle his own shit, let alone a relationship. Or to be a real man. I’ve basically just believed that they don’t exist.

In fully, truly, deeply understanding this I can’t help but think “uhh duh. No wonder you’ve never had a good, stable, healthy relationship. No wonder successful, nice, got their shit together men are not knocking your door down. You made them out to be unicorns.”

Well, apparently they are not unicorns and they do exist. I, however, never let them exist within my mind and therefore they could never exist within my 3 dimensional life. How many other men and women are walking around thinking just like me and never getting their wake-up call? Well, this is it! What you think about, you attract. What language are you using when actually thinking about the things that you want in life? I for one, will certainly be changing mine.

Online Dating in Modern Day

So I hop in and out of the online dating world whenever I have some extra time on my hands and think I’d like to put myself out there, and boy is there never a dull moment. I have said it before but truly I cannot believe what dating has come to in modern day. In some ways I see the positives, you have an easy and low-risk way of being introduced to people you never would have otherwise met, and you can do it from the couch in your pajamas’s with your favorite glass of wine – so right there we all know I’m in! On the down side though, you have to filter through hundreds of prospects (half of which on the free sites are not even serious about dating), and you have no good way of knowing who you’re really talking to or how many lies they’re telling you.

Needless to say, I don’t get too worked up over all of this but I do take some time to scroll through every now and again, swiping right on anyone that I feel I could enjoy getting to know, and left on the others. I am one of those people who actually look for a write up in the potential prospect’s ‘about me’ section and base the majority of my decision on said write up, and I can’t believe what some people say in theirs. First of all, there are countless men’s profiles that have absolutely nothing written in their about me section, and maybe that works for them as some people must judge based on looks alone, but seriously you can’t take two minutes to write a couple sentences about yourself? Even point form would do. The way I see it is if you can’t take a couple of minutes between your hours of swiping left or right to tell the app a tiny bit about yourself you either don’t know yourself well enough, don’t take your needs or lifestyle into enough importance or are not taking online dating seriously at all. And frankly, I can’t take you seriously enough to swipe right. Which is totally fine! There are probably lots of women who base their swipes solely on looks, and they may not care that you can’t form a couple of decent sentences about yourself.

Other people put it all out there, here is a profile I read the other day that although I have zero interest in, I actually have a lot of respect for their honesty. “In an open relationship, looking for someone for sex and experimentation. Will have open conversations to discuss clear boundaries.”
I actually find myself wanting to swipe right on these people simply to congratulate them on their honesty, but then I realize that I’d have to follow up with, “but actually that doesn’t interest me at all, so best of luck to you byeeeee!” and I just keep on swiping left.

Another one I read this week was particularly interesting, “What I lack in penis size I more than make up for in emotional support! Irish, new in Van, potato connoisseur,” huh… not really sure where to start with that one. Potato connoisseur? Unless you’re a farmer or a professional french fry chef, who cares? And as for your penis size, I don’t expect to know that off of an app, and maybe if you do happen to be lacking in that area you’d like someone to fall for your charm and emotional support abilities first? Also typically, unless you’re sleeping with everyone you chat with online, wouldn’t someone typically naturally fall for your personality before learning your penis size? Or is that just me…

What is with everyone who does take the time to do a write up including whether or not they have a costco card in it? Or, “I’m really only on here to meet someone with a costco card.”
Have I missed something? Is this a thing? Or is having or not having a costco card suddenly a marker of your personality traits that I can somehow use to determine how decent of a boyfriend you would be along with your 4 photos in dim lighting with hats and sunglasses on and your write up of 140 characters or less that is mostly emoji’s?

Like I said, I hop in and out of online dating whenever I feel like it. I have a business to run, I have a dog to take care of, I have a good social life, a chronic illness to deal with… all of these things lead me to ignoring my online dating profile on the regular. Also, there’s a large part of me that just doesn’t give a fuck. So ya, if I’m not in a conversation that is riveting and outside of the basic “how are you, what do you do, how was your weekend, how much did you party, wanna fuck?” I may forget to open my app for weeks at a time and forget to reply. It happens. It’s not personal. But recently one guy had a unique way of handling it. It went a little like this,

Guy: “I hope you had a good time off of bumble,”
Guy: sends dick pic
Me: “I did have a nice time away from bumble actually and that picture doesn’t make me want to come back anytime soon you are disgusting and should be ashamed of yourself. And if you think that would impress me you are extremely mistaken I wouldn’t use that as a pick up line anytime soon as it was nothing to be proud of you pathetic little man.”
Me: Block.

True story. And in reality I didn’t even look at the photo long enough to judge his size but the fact that this was his answer to me being busy and forgetting to check my app spoke for itself.

Yesterday I was told that I was too good for someone. This someone was not someone that I have interest in as more than a friend, and I believe the same goes for him, yet his friend felt the need to tell me that I was too good anyways. I don’t believe in one person being “too good” or “not good enough” for another person. We are all equal. I do believe however that in order to make a happy and fulfilling life with another person everyone needs to be honest about what they want, what they’re willing to give, what they’re willing to sacrifice and what are deal breakers. Everyone makes choices that create the life that they’re living. If we were all honest about what we actually wanted and what we are and are not okay with, I believe that everyone could find someone who fit with their life, wants and needs. No one would be better or worse, people would simply be good for each other or not. Nothing personal just reality.

There is always going to be someone, both male and female, who is just looking for sex. And good for them if that’s what they need at the time! I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that as long as both parties are open and honest about it. There are also always going to be both men and women pretending that they’re only looking for sex when really they want a relationship, and there is always going to be both men and women pretending they’re looking for a relationship when really all they want is sex. Then there will be the handful of people who are comfortable enough with themselves and over the game playing that they’re just flat out honest about what they want. Wouldn’t it be simpler if we could all just embrace our needs, our desires, our strengths and our weaknesses, and be honest about them knowing that that’s the simplest way to find who we’re looking for?

Could everyone just embrace the fact that there is always going to be someone who is just as shy, just as geeky, just as kinky, just as normal or just as weird as they are out there, wanting the same things as they are at the same time, and that if we were all just honest about it we’d be able to find each other much easier?

 

2.5 hours free from “The girl with Lyme”

I went on a date this afternoon with a guy who doesn’t know that I’m sick. Mental health came up, that’s no big deal, what I mean is, Lyme never came up once, at no point in our conversations did I feel like I had to talk about Lyme, or being unwell, or how I was feeling. Of course it popped into my head when I was having trouble walking as well as when other symptoms pulled at me, however, besides those, for 2.5 hours I felt like an average person again. There was no talk about doctors and treatments and how fucked up our medical system is. No pain discussions or explaining symptoms or why I’m still not better after a year of treatment. No wondering if someone offered to do something for me out of general kindness or feeling sorry for me. No wishing someone would offer to do something for me because they can see that I’m struggling. No discussing gluten or dairy or sugar tolerance or what diet is best for Lyme patients. No explaining that the reason I’m making and selling jewelery in my spare time is because I’m making any attempt at trying to cover the cost of treatment. No one telling me that long term antibiotics will kill my stomach or my liver or my kidneys. No explaining that the long term antibiotics may hurt me but they also are the most likely treatment to get some form of my life back. No talks of vaccines or why I can no longer get them or why I’m not necessarily 100% pro-vaccine. No sorting through pills or talk of IV’s. No discussion about why I’m not currently fitness coaching or why I’ve gained weight, why I sleep so much or why I can’t workout or why I only work 4 days a week.

No one looking at me with those sad eyes, or politely trying to find a way to ask how I am. No one telling me how sorry they feel for me.

For 2.5 hours I was Denise the hairstylist, the business owner, the mental health advocate, the French bulldog mom. For 2.5 hours I wasn’t Denise, the sick girl.

On Sunday I went to an event at our cabin and I had to use a cane. I could barely walk at all. I was stiff and in pain, embarrassed and exhausted. To all of the people around me who are used to seeing me put my happy face on and swallow back the pain, my invisible illness suddenly became very visible. The way that people look at you in that situation, some with understanding, some with confusion, others with judgement or compassion or simply surprise, is awful. And when they ask me how I am I swallow the giant lump in my throat and change the subject. I do believe that the majority of people mean well, but all of the stares and the pity is an unexplainable level of discomfort that made me want to live in a cave.

I have no idea how I will approach the subject of Lyme with this new guy, I have no idea if I’ll even see him again. For tonight though, I am just so grateful to have had 2.5 hours where I didn’t feel at all like Denise, the girl with Lyme.

Happily single or miserably dating?

Gone are the days of flowers and pick-ups and a guy planning and paying for a date. In are the days of dick-pics, splitting the cheque with a guy with no job because he’s “finding himself” or because he “gets bored easily”, and date-rape drugs. Yay for 2017, we’ve come so far and yet have lost so much.

I have such a love-hate relationship with dating. On the one hand, I love meeting new people, I love learning about other people’s lives and other cultures, I love learning about other families, the way they do things and the way their brains work. On the other hand, I seriously hate all of the “rules”. Perhaps hate is a strong word… but really, who has the time or energy for all of that bullsh*t?! Playing by the “rules” means we’re playing games, and I don’t have the patience for that shit.

It recently occurred to me that I’ve been happily single for a while now, so happily single that I have not made any effort to meet anyone. At all. Which is fine except that I’ll turn 27 this winter which means that if I want to be married and having children by approximately the age of 34, it wouldn’t hurt me to widen my opportunities to meet someone outside of the familiar people within my small town. And how does one do this in 2017? Through swiping left or right on their cell phone, obviously! (How the heck did we get to a place where dating has literally become swiping left or right on someones face if you find them attractive or not?!)

So basically, this is ridiculous. How I’m supposed to know within a few heavily filtered pictures and a bio of 300 characters or less, if this person is a) not a serial killer, b) not going to drug my drink and c) someone I’d actually like to talk to and, ideally meet, is not within my knowledge. Not to mention that you can’t smell a person through a phone, isn’t a good percentage of attraction scent? What if he smells like rotting eggs? Or ladies perfume? Not only are we heading into the dating realm without any physical sense of the other person’s energy, but without a nose as well.

One full week in I am making the most of it, I even met one guy in person. I don’t believe that he is a serial killer and he did not drug my drink. That being said, I don’t plan to see him again either. I learned about his several moves, his travels, his job, why he doesn’t like his job, why he hasn’t yet left his job, his alcoholic brother, his lazy sister, his lazy mother, his dad, his parents separation, his step dad, his step-parents separation, his time so far in BC, his trade tickets, what courses he’s taking and more. What did he learn about me? That I am a hairstylist and barber who rents a chair. It didn’t fully occur to me until after the date was over that he maybe asked me one question the entire 3 hours that we were together. At one point in conversation I even said, “Well you haven’t asked me anything yet,” and he replied, “Oh, I guess you just told me everything,”.

Why am I confident about sharing all of this in my blog so publicly? Because he doesn’t know it exists. Why doesn’t he know it exists? Because he literally knows nothing about me.

I am an open book, ask me just about anything and I will answer honestly. What I can’t play into is all of the so called dating rules. I say things that I’m not supposed to say, do things that I’m not supposed to do, and basically the rule book is up in flames. For example, when my phone rings halfway through the date and I wouldn’t normally answer it, but I have to because it’s my girlfriend calling to offer me an out and if I don’t pick up she’ll assume he’s kidnapped me, why can’t I tell him after saying, “I’m fine,” and hanging up, that it was my escape call? Doesn’t everybody do this? And even if they don’t, wouldn’t he be happy that I didn’t take the out? Or online before agreeing to meet, why can’t I send him a list of questions that helps me determine whether or not he’s worth meeting in person? Mine goes a little something like this:

“Do you smoke?
Is the glass half full or half empty?
Is country music a blessing or a deal breaker?
can you cross the border into the U.S.?
How much alcohol do you drink on average?
Do you like to party?
Do you have any children?
Are you currently married?
Assuming one day in the future you meet the right person would you like to one day be married?
Do you want children?
What is your goal on online dating?
Is this form of questioning too much for you? [insert mood-lightening emoji]”

I’m not stupid, but I’m also not desperate or looking for a cheap hookup. I realize that these questions will scare some people off, but the way I see it is that will weed out the ones who aren’t worth me taking the time and energy to meet in person. I mean really, if you can’t answer some pretty basic questions about yourself and where you would like your life to go, then should you be dating at all? Certainly you should not be dating someone like me!

My date last week was a good sport about these questions, which is why I decided to meet him, and when we did he told me that if he ever asked a girl a series of questions like that she’d stop talking to him. Are we so uncomfortable with who we are or what we want in life that these questions should be scary? There are a lot worse and scarier things being sent through online dating before meeting a guy! There are thousands of people online dating, so what if I don’t want to meet you if you smoke? Someone else is still going to want to meet you. So what if someone doesn’t want to meet me because they’re uncomfortable asking those questions? There are a thousand others to choose from. This is both the blessing and the curse of online dating. Your options are endless.

Would I ask this series of questions to someone who asked me on a date in person? No, of course not. When you get asked on a date in person you can sense the other person’s energy. You have a gut reaction based on this energy that tells you whether to say yes or no. Online all you have are potentially fake photos and conversation in which the person may or may not lie. No facial cues, no body language, no tone of voice, no eye contact. I would think that in an age where the dating options were endless, people would be true to themselves more than ever, knowing that if one person didn’t like them, another would. However, all it seems to have done is increase our chances of rejection and hide us behind a computer screen so that we can portray ourselves however we think the other person will want us to. In a time where we are more free to be our true selves than ever in the past, why are we all still hiding and playing these games?

Am I the weird one or is everybody else? Does everybody who successfully online dates play into the social standards and so-called norms? To meet someone do I have to pretend to be someone I’m not, scrap my list of questions, let the guy send me an un-requested dick-pic and smoke in the car after not picking me up? Personally, I’d rather stay single.

 

Send me your online dating horror stories to share! Do you follow the rules or play by your own?