Love Actually (Maybe)

“The magic moment is that in which a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ may change the whole of our existence” – Paulo Coehlo

Decisions, decisions. To text him, or not to text him. To kiss her, or not to kiss her. To get back together with the asshole, or to tell the asshole to go to hell. To marry her, or not to marry her. If at these kinds of relationship crossroads you’ve never second guessed yourself, or felt pulled in different directions, then you are one of the lucky ones.

It’s no secret that dating and relationships can be tricky. Love, and our pursuit of it is one of the most talked about and written about issues in our lives. It’s this emotion that in many ways is the most beautiful and uncomplicated thing in the world. Yet the amount of hours I’ve spent decoding conversations, analyzing feelings, and asking for advice, is insane. And I know I’m not the only one.

This also isn’t unique to our generation. I have a friend, who in all of her brilliance still calls me asking for dating advice even though she makes a living helping other people with their problems. She’s the one that everyone else goes to. Yet when it comes to dating in her forties, she’s got the very same questions my friends in their twenties do. Then there’s the 60-year-old woman I met in a mastermind program. One night I spent nearly two hours on Skype with her talking about the man she had feelings for. “Should I text him? What should I say?”

We’re not all that different. It’s the same rush of emotions, the same conversations, the same questions. Much of our time is spent in a grey area, unsure about where things are going, or if we want them to go anywhere at all.

The Law

In 2008, Mark Manson wrote an article titled Fuck Yes or No in which he explains, “Most dating advice exists to ‘solve’ this grey area for people. Say this line. Text her this. Call him this many times. Wear that. Much of it gets exceedingly analytical, to the point where some men and women actually spend more time analyzing behaviors than actually, you know, behaving.”

Indeed, the internet is full of articles insinuating that they hold the secret to finding love, or keeping it. The only problem is, there’s another human being involved. A human being with their own thoughts, feelings, patterns and behaviors that regardless of how much you perfect your behavior or text messages, will still act on their own accord.

So, Mark Manson provides some clarity. Here is the answer we’ve all been waiting for.

“The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them. The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.”

It’s uncomplicated, clear, and incredibly effective. If it’s not a ‘fuck yes’ then that means it’s a no. Manson explains that this gets rid of a lot, if not most of the grey area in dating. We would save ourselves a lot of energy and pain if we lived by this.

“The Law of ‘Fuck Yes or No’ implies that both parties must be enthusiastic about the prospect of one another’s company. Why? Because attractive, non-needy, high self-worth people don’t have time for people who they are not excited to be with and who are not excited to be with them.”

While I agree with everything this article says and try to live my entire life by this, I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a few minutes before I go back to following this law religiously.

What if …

  • What if you’re one of those people who falls really hard, really fast, for everyone that you meet. If this doesn’t apply to you, you know someone who does this.

“They’re the one, I know it!”

“This is it this time, I can feel it!”

“I’ve never felt this way before.”

For these hopeless romantics, everyone they date is a fuck yes.

  • What if it doesn’t feel like a fuck yes right away? 

My current relationship started with my boyfriend behaving like a ‘fuck boy.’ I was his manager at the time and he overheard me saying that all I really wanted for my birthday was birthday sex. (I know, I should have been more aware of who was listening) So he offered it and I promptly told him to fuck off. (I know, not very professional) But he’s a smart man; the seed was planted and obviously in this case it bloomed. He went from fuck boy to fuck yes, but it took a little bit of time.

  • What if it was a fuck yes, but things change?

Furthermore, what if this is a pattern that you keep repeating? Where no one seems to do it for you. Reasons for this could include but are not limited to: daddy issues, ex issues, or your own shit that you’re not dealing with. Maybe your parents got divorced and you’re therapy’s biggest cliche, unable to let yourself be loved for fear that it will be ripped away from you re: mom and dad. Maybe an ex-fling that you had amazing sex with keeps playing with your head. What if the reasons why that ‘fuck yes’ feeling goes away is about you, not about the relationship itself?

Manson does elaborate and explains that you should apply the law to your decisions as it suits your particular circumstance, “Fuck Yes or No doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be falling in knee-wobbling love at first sight. It doesn’t even mean you have be completely convinced that someone is right for you. You can be “Fuck Yes” about getting to know someone better. You can be “Fuck Yes” about seeing someone again because you think there’s something there. You can be “Fuck Yes” about giving things a few months to pan out and see if you can fix the problems in the relationship. The point is: both you and the other person need to be fuck yes about something, otherwise you’re just wasting your time.”

Of all of the dating advice I’ve ever heard, Mark Manson’s is in my opinion, the most refreshing. Frankly I’m a little upset that I didn’t come across it for another 7 years after publication. I could have really used that advice in the summer of 2008. And 2009. And 2011.

Of course, you don’t have to take this advice or any for that matter; as with all things, you get to decide for yourself. And no law or rule of thumb is going to make those decisions any easier. What I would suggest is making sure your choices are actually yours, and not a result of some personal shit that you aren’t dealing with. Make sure that that ‘fuck yes or no’ is coming from a clean slate.

Once you’ve got ‘you’ handled, then start saying “Fuck Yes.” Otherwise it might just be your ego or your pants doing the talking.

Originally published in Branded Magazine Issue 08: The Affirmation


Vanity & Tinder

Vanity & Tinder

Thoughts on the dating apocalypse.

In Vanity Fair September 2015, Nancy Jo Sales wrote an article titled “Tinder is the Night.”

When I finished reading it my overall feeling was, ‘Thank GOD I am not single anymore.’ It made me cringe, it made me feeling disgusted, it made me vow to never download that app ever again, no matter what.

With pull quotes like “Hit it and quit it” and, “It’s like ordering Seamless but you’re ordering a person,” as a woman, it’s hard not to feel like a commodity.

Yet, she didn’t write anything that I didn’t already know through my own experiences. Rather, it just proved my own personal findings to be true. It wasn’t just me. Yet after every failed date, fling, or almost-relationship, I continued to fully participate in the whole thing – dating via Tinder.

The article interviews groups of twenty-something girls and guys living in New York City. The stage is set: “It’s a balmy night in Manhattan’s financial district, and at a sports bar called Stout everyone is Tindering … Everyone is drinking, peering into their screens and swiping on the faces of strangers they may have sex with later that evening … ‘Tinder sucks,’ they say. But they don’t stop swiping.”

After reading the section where she chats with a group of girls post-Saturday night hookups, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of what they were saying was a facade.

They talk about being on the app nonstop, the disgusting messages they receive, but also admit that it’s a confidence booster. (Even though some of the guys that Nancy interviewed admitted to swiping right (yes) on every picture in order to increase their chances of getting laid.) The girls also laugh about how so many of the guys they hook up with are terrible in bed. They make fun of their hookups who can’t get hard, or who finish in two minutes. They laugh it all off with this breezy I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude.

It reads almost as callous as the guys’ interviews.

Do these girls really feel that way? Or are they just trying to impress each other and fit into what they think they’re supposed to be?

I know far too well how it feels to go back and forth between “Fuck it – whatever” and, “I know in my heart this isn’t fulfilling me.”

The article definitely gets this point across: It’s a competition to see who cares less.

And I’m calling bullshit.

“I slept my way across Europe,” said with pride by a girl I met through friends one night out. Soon after meeting her I found out what the catalyst for this was: Some guy had told her she was bad in bed when she was 16. I don’t have to have a degree in psychology to know that she most definitely cares.

It happens all of the time – Choosing sex over our self worth. Choosing the instant gratification of feeling wanted over taking a stand for what we really want.

Matthew Hussey, NY Times best selling author and columnist for Cosmopolitan, wrote an interesting response to this Vanity Fair article on his blog, Get The Guy

His message to all of us: We need to take responsibility for our love lives. “When did we get so awful at reading early signals in an age where everyone is so blatantly obvious with them?” asks Matthew.

Perhaps we are addicted to the challenge.

From my experience, we are not often honest about our real intentions. A frustrated twenty-five-year-old guy in the Vanity Fair article talks about the girls he’s been meeting. “They act like all they want is to have sex with you and then they yell at you for not wanting to have a relationship. How are you gonna feel romantic about a girl like that? I met you on Tinder,” he emphasizes.

I can understand his frustration about getting mixed messages. But, “A girl like that.” That pisses me off. Like what exactly? Is it that she gave it up too quickly, or is it that she’s using the app. There are double standards everywhere you look. 

But Matthew also points out, “It’s unacceptable for men to shrug off responsibility by saying ‘the app made me do it’ – If you’re a shitty guy on Tinder, you’re a shitty person. Period.”


“Human beings were this way before apps came along,” says Matthew. “They’ve just found the technological liquor cabinet, that’s all.”

But were we always this bad? To everyone’s horror, Calgary got second place on Ashley Madison, a dating site for married people. Not a silver medal that we should be proud of. Does having choice at our fingertips make us more likely to behave like these men and women in New York City that Nancy interviewed, or more likely to cheat when we do find someone we want to commit to? Or, were we always this way and just got caught less?

It’s a question I’m not sure I want the answer to.

At least Matthew has some kind of solution for us: “As always, the way to stand out is not to play the same game everyone is playing, and right now the most valuable commodities in the dating marketplace are authenticity and a backbone.”

His advice is that social skills are where it’s at.

Again, I can’t help but feel like our dating success or failure is being directly related to ‘self improvement’, and that feels icky in and of itself. 

In short, dating can be a minefield. But as with a lot of things, the solution is usually simple.

I remember grappling with the questions, “Is it me? Am I single because I’m choosing not to settle? Or am I single because I’m incapable of attracting the right person? What am I doing wrong?”

And then a particularly sickening conversation with the last guy I “dated” before my current relationship. He voiced every self-doubt I had ever had. “Poor you, you want it all, the relationship, true love … and you can’t find it.”

Needless to say, I never saw him again after that. The funny thing about life is that usually when you feel like you’ve hit a wall and you want to give up, that’s when there’s some kind of breakthrough. 

I met someone awesome a couple of weeks after that horrifying conversation. Falling into a relationship with him was a breeze. I didn’t have to pretend like I didn’t care. I didn’t have to perfect my social skills. And I didn’t have to be anything other than myself. It was simple, as it should be.

The solution to the ‘dating apocalypse’ might require something radical. Perhaps what we should do is put our phones away, be our imperfect honest selves, and call bullshit when we see it.

How To Never Get Laid And/Or Find A Girlfriend

Published on It’s Date Night

Brought to you by my friends Steven and Ty

Valentines weekend had the potential to turn into a successful double date getaway to Banff. My girlfriend and I decided to drive to the mountains last minute and meet one of her coworkers and his friend visiting from Ontario.

It was going to be a standard Banff Saturday night; Grizzly House, hotel pre-drinks, Aurora, Dancing Sasquatch, McDonald’s.

And possibly even Valentines Day brunch at the Banff Springs in the morning.

But alas, the boys failed miserably at whatever it was they were trying to achieve. I’m gonna take a wild guess and say their goal was sex…based on this hotel room conversation at 3:00 am:

“Ty why are you pouting?”

“I’m fine.”

“No Tyler – you’re obviously upset about something. Do you regret not getting McDonalds?”

Slouched over in bed he tells me, “I’m not mad that you didn’t have sex with me; I’m just mad that nobody did.”

There I was, consoling a thirty one year old male who I may or may not have mistakenly made out with 5 hours prior because nobody wanted to have sex with him.

Another Valentines Day for the books.

I felt sorry for the guys. Not because they didn’t get laid, but because they seemingly had no clue as to why their behavior produced those results. Or rather, no results.

But I can definitely tell you what happened.

For reference, a backhanded compliment is an insult disguised as a compliment. Usually a person will recognize when they’ve delivered one of these by accident. Both parties will have a chuckle as one person says, “I didn’t mean it like that!”

Or sometimes a guy will give a girl a backhanded compliment on purpose to get her attention and undermine her self confidence. Neil Strauss, author of The Game, calls this “negging”. It’s like the adult version of teasing the girl you had a crush on in elementary school. For example, one guy I was seeing for a little while told me, “You’re a 6.5/7.” He explained his completely superficial 7 point rating system that included legs, hair, eyes, breasts, etc, etc. Not a bad rating [that’s the compliment part] but he obviously got my attention with the 0.5 point loss.

“You lose half a point because you kind of sound like a little mouse.” [There’s the insult meant to shock me, cut me down a little, and then cause me to want his approval. It’s a mean little trick.]

Ya – he was a dick. But that was a perfect example of negging. He knew what he was doing.

Steven and Ty did not know what they were doing. Zero game. And zero apologies for their accidental insults.

One way to not get laid? Unintentional backhanded compliments followed by no recognition makes you look both inconsiderate and unintelligent. And this is what Steven and Ty did. All. Night. Long.


When we arrived in Banff we met the guys at Earls for double mojitos.

Steven to Julia: “You look better with glasses on.”

Ty to Julia: “You’re prettier than I remember.”

They sure know how to make a girl feel beautiful.

Then we all went to the Grizzly House for fondue where I’m sure we disturbed the couples around us with our completely inappropriate conversation topics.

Ty to Katie: “You have big boobs but you’re trying to hide them in that dress. Can I see?”


“I just want to see what you bring to the table.”

Are you kidding me? This guy is 31 years old.

Later on in Aurora we were all on the dance floor. Incase you’ve never been to this night club let me give you some context: It’s very dark in there.

Ty to Katie: “You look amazing in this lighting”

It’s DARK in here Ty. Was that supposed to make me feel pretty??

By the time we arrived at Dancing Sasquatch Julia and I were almost ready to call it a night [probably because we felt ugly]. Things turned around when we met a bachelor party inside. Our “valentines dates” pouted in the corner until we decided it was time for chicken mcnuggets and cheese burgers.

Julia met an attractive Australian outside of McDonald’s and made out with him (obviously). The whole way home the guys whined and bitched about “Australians” and how “You girls could go home with anyone you wanted” followed by “Can we cuddle when we get back?”


Don’t get me wrong. These two were hilarious and really fun to spend a Saturday night with in Banff. [Ok, mostly they were just fun to make fun of] But never in my wildest dreams would I date either of them.

I’m not sure what was worse; the backhanded compliments, the fact that they didn’t recognize how insulting they were being, or the pouting.

Needless to say we skipped out on Valentines Brunch. Julia and I put on our glasses and went to Starbucks by ourselves where the lighting was dark and moody so I’m sure we looked amazing.

What’s the greatest/worst back handed compliment you’ve ever received? I’d love to hear. If anything, you might make Steven and Ty not look so bad.

Best of luck to them both.

A Grumpy Cat and Two Flamingos Walk Into a Bar

“We lost the kitten to a heterosexual drag queen.”

So said a text between two of my friends.

Halloween. It was like every other mediocre Friday night at National, except there were costumes. The best part of the night was in my condo. Girls, “punch”, and Taylor Swifts new album on repeat.

Shortly after we arrived my friends found a large group of Waldo’s.

I don’t have anything against Waldo, but I was not into being chatted up by these guys. Maybe I was just getting into character. I was Grumpy Cat. And the grumpy part set in as soon as I was surrounded by men dressed in red and white stripes.

I was contemplating leaving when my friend and I noticed a large woman in a revealing tight pink dress with cupcakes all over it. She was wearing a curly hot pink wig and looked kind of sad.

She waved; we waved back and went to sit with her.

Okay so, not a woman.

“Hey gorgeous how are you?” he said to my friend. My girlfriend would go on to say that she loved gay guys; she instantly felt incredibly comfortable with the guy in the pink wig and thick falsies.

Eventually my friend went back to her Waldo of choice and I got into conversation with the drag queen.

“Why do you look so grumpy babe?”

Because I’m Grumpy Cat, obviously.

He didn’t fall for that answer. You know when you don’t feel like talking about your problems with a stranger dressed as a drag queen but for some reason they feel compelled to give you a bunch of life advice anyways?

Eventually he stopped and said, “Take my arm darling, I’m not going to buy you a drink because there’s another girl here that I’m into, but I’m going to show you a good time.”

Wait, what? Apparently not gay either.

I decided to take his arm and do one lap. I’d have one more drink, go get a slice of pepperoni, and call it a night.

Unfortunately for my drag queen who had coined himself my fairy godmother, we ran into the mystery girl that he was into. But she didn’t see that he was just my fairy godmother, holding my hand in friendly companionship.

“What the fuck Dustin.”

I immediately snatched my hand away as he tried to reason with her. Was I going to get into a cat fight dressed as Grumpy Cat? That would be kind of funny.

She stormed off; he looked defeated.

“She wasn’t even dressed up. Look at you, Dustin. You deserve someone who will put as much effort into a costume as you did tonight. I seriously thought you were a woman.”

It was my turn to cheer him up. We spent the rest of the night standing at the bar. He started slurring and complimenting me way too much in between more life advice.

“Look at you. You’re so pretty. Except is your nose always that pink?”

No Dustin. It’s part of the kitty costume.

My phone buzzed. “Where are you Grumpy Cat!?” My friends noticed I was missing.

“Still with the drag queen. Pizza time?”

We all got given a phone number that night. 2 Waldo’s and 1 heterosexual drag queen.

Will I be calling my fairy godmother? Probably not. There’s something about thinking a guy is a woman, and then gay, and then realizing he’s as straight as can be that kind of kills any potential attraction.

But I made sure he knew how much I appreciated his kindness. He could have spent his night trying to pick up (and probably confusing) any of the witches, animals, nurses, slutty ____’s in the place, but he chose to try and cheer up a grumpy cat.

Seventeen Didn’t Last Forever

If having a boyfriend was a skill, I used to be pretty good at it. I was good at finding them, keeping them, and not ever making them too mad. Things always, without fail, would progress from crush to boyfriend. Remember when there was always a great guy to tell your friends about?

Things are a little different now. We spend the majority of our time deciphering text messages and cringing at the selection of people on tinder. I go on dates with guys who think it’s okay to call me baby after 45 minutes. It’s not.

I’d like to share just how smitten and perfect my love life was at seventeen. Prepare to be sick. When I moved last summer I found a box full of notes from an ex-boyfriend that my mother had failed to throw out when a decade ago, in tears, I had ordered her to burn them. Here are some excerpts:

I picked up a note titled: Happy 2 Months! He tells me that the picture I gave him of myself–the 2003 version of a selfie–is in a silver frame with a red heart sitting above his bed. Then this: “I think I would go on a few double dates at least until I start getting made fun of really really bad. I’m entering uncharted territory with you Katie, so I apologize in advance for when I do something stupid. I just hope we can keep having a good time and who knows what will happen. Wherever we end up, I hope we’re both still really, really ridiculously good looking.”

For our 2 month anniversary I also received a crayon colored coupon book that allowed me several back massages–20 minutes max–and multiple sexual favors which I checked off every time they were redeemed. There is no check mark on the last page which was a “FREE coupon of KT’s choice”

Shit, why didn’t I use that?

There’s nothing written about an expiry date…

His fiance would not appreciate that joke.

But seriously what a great gift! Who wouldn’t want a coupon book full of sexual favors that you could redeem whenever you wanted? I had it pretty good back then.

Then I picked up a break up note. “I miss everything about you Katie, especially making you laugh. I wanna be with you, but you don’t trust me anymore and more importantly I don’t trust myself. Your feelings are way more important than mine; you have been hurt enough and it would be selfish of me to try and make this work again. I’m sorry I said things that I could not back up. Thank you for being the best girlfriend a guy could ask for. I didn’t deserve you. I hope you find someone who does.”

That is actually a really nice apology. Like, way nicer than any apology or explanation I’ve gotten from anyone since.

Then of course we got back together and there were a lot of notes with promises not to give up on each other. This one I probably showed all of my friends: “For some reason whenever I watch Newly Weds I always think of us. Maybe because we’re also really hot…” He was a bit full of himself. But then again I’m the one who framed a picture of myself. Not of the two of us, just myself. “…but I always get this tingly feeling about us getting married. I know, weird, I’ll stop there. I love you Katie. You’re 99% of my heart. (Ya gotta have 1% for other stuff).”

In a time before cell phones or cars and when we still had our virginity in tact, there were exciting notes like this one: “Even though I’m nowhere near having enough money to buy a car I’m sure excited about it! Then we could make out in the back, or something like that. I love you; I was so happy when I realized that I did (smiley face). Now all we have left to do is just chill and make each other laugh and have sex…I guess..I’m not really sure what that is (winky face) but I hear it’s okay. We’ll see. I don’t want to yet and neither do you so that’s cool. We can talk about it again at 6 months!”

I just miss the simplicity of my first slightly cocky boyfriend and I. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect relationship? You realize you love each other and then you can just chill, make each other laugh, and have lots of sex. “I love you” meant all you had to do was keep making each other laugh. Now “I love you” is often followed by a whole ton of questions and fears.

What was nice about being seventeen and in love was that there was never any doubt in my mind that he was who I wanted to be with. We weren’t thinking about where we were headed or whether or not we had the same values. It didn’t matter if our vision for what we wanted our lives to look like ten years later matched up. I didn’t have a list of must-haves that needed checking off and neither of us had any baggage. We just had crushes on each other, decided to date, declared that we were in love, and that was enough.

It wasn’t until I was twenty four and dated my first older guy that I was slapped in the face when our little crush didn’t effortlessly turn into a happy relationship. But what he said was perfectly true and accurate: “We’re just too different.”

We were. But that never seemed to matter before. Before being a decade ago when we were all young and innocent and no one had hurt us yet. Now I have friends tell me that if for some reason their happy long term relationship didn’t work out, they would have no clue how to navigate the world I live in.

I’ll admit that as much fun as I’m having navigating this hook up culture and world of dating apps, sometimes I miss being seventeen. You weren’t afraid to give someone 100%, or in my ex’s words, 99% of your heart. Where is this going?didn’t matter. We took things slow in all the right ways and went too fast in the best of ways. We poured our hearts out on lined paper and sticky notes. It was a time where love actually was enough and kissing in cars was the best thing ever.

An Attempt To Understand the Universe

The last time I tried to go camping I decided to drive out alone late on a Saturday evening to where my brother and our mutual friends were.

Except Google maps took me to a dead end on a dirt road with no cell service. By the time I hit the dead end it was pitch dark out.

‘THIS is how horror movies start’, was all I could think. And later, ‘fuck you Google.’

Luckily no axe murderer appeared in the truck behind me and I didn’t let myself cry until I had cell service and could see signs of civilization. So no camping for me that summer.

The next chance I had to go camping was a few months ago. I said yes to this opportunity for a few reasons. I really liked the douche bag that invited me and surely I wouldn’t get lost this time because I wouldn’t be driving, he would. I felt better knowing there wasn’t a chance of reliving my dead end nightmare because he had taken me up to the camping spot for the day the weekend before; no dead ends. I was excited.

Except he never came to pick me up.

In fact, I never heard from him again.

I went through various stages of anger as the days went on with no sign of him. I went from making excuses for him, to disbelief, to thinking ‘maybe he’s dead,’ to hoping he was dead, to planning on killing him myself.

But this story isn’t about him. It’s actually about a neck injury I endured the week after scheming about killing him. And about my theory that the Universe just doesn’t want me to go camping.

It’s the best conclusion I could come to. One other possible theory: Perhaps I’m meant to stay single for another Calgary stampede. I do love a rowdy July.

So about my neck injury. I wish I could tell you something serious had happened to me, or that I was in a really difficult & impressive yoga pose, or at the very least had fallen down the stairs. But no-I hurt my neck so badly that I had to take time off of work because apparently shaving your armpit in the shower is actually quite dangerous.

The worst part is that I was unnecessarily shaving my armpit. But my thought process went like this:

‘They’re still perfectly smooth’

‘But I probably won’t shower tomorrow and then they won’t be in condition for going out tomorrow night’

‘If I see that idiot tomorrow night I’m going to give him a piece of my mind and look really pretty doing it’

‘Better shave them now.’


Then I almost threw up.

Somehow I managed to put a shirt on and arrive at work without shoulder checking. Sitting hurt, walking made me cry, talking was frequently interrupted by flashes of pain. My coworkers insisted I go home, rest, and think of a better story as to how I hurt myself.

My friends are wonderful; I was very well taken care of. I even received homemade chocolate chip cookies with a note that said, Rx: take 3 cookies daily until neck pain subsides which obviously I overdosed on that afternoon.

But the best diagnosis I got came from my energy healer friend. She fixed me up with magnesium, some energy healing magic, a bean bag, and the root of my problem:

“Honey, has anyone been a real pain in your neck lately?”

That ASSHOLE, I immediately thought.

I have heard many, many times that stress causes illness. But never have I actually recognized it working that way in my life. I’m a generally stress free person. Until I start dating cowardly camping ditchers.

It does seem fishy that I hurt my neck that badly by turning my head slightly to the left to perform a task that most females do every other morning. I run, I work my butt off in spin classes, I take power yoga classes, and I party like a rockstar.

So how I cracked my neck shaving my armpit is beyond me. So I’ll take her assessment of the situation as correct. “This guy was nothing but a pain in your neck, literally”.

When the neck pain finally subsided and I still hadn’t heard from him I got a little too drunk with my roommate and impulsively got an eharmony account. I swore off Tinder.

This was a bad decision. Don’t let those well-crafted commercials convince you. I went on the worst dates of all time. I would have rather relived my first date with that French guy who wouldn’t stop calling me baby. That says something.

This series of bad dates ended with a bang when I got stood up for the first time. I was at my hairdressers house; we were hanging out on the front porch. This guy was meant to pick me up from her place at 7:00. 7:30 rolls around and he’s not responding to my text so I call a cab.

My hairdresser tries to make me feel better. “Maybe he died too.”

On the way home I decided three things.

1. eHarmony had already paid for itself; I had been taken out for enough dinners and drinks and coffees to make it worth it.

2. The All Mighty Universe doesn’t want me to go camping.

3. And it wants me to stay single.

I paid my cab driver and felt kind of sad that only my hairdresser and him got to see my cute date outfit. But I also felt at peace with my conclusions. After a string of bad dates and a neck injury, I was ready to pack it in for the summer and dust off my cowboy boots.

But as I approached my building a handsome man was running across 11th Avenue towards me.

“Hey! Is Sunterra closed? I’m starving and there’s nothing in my fridge.”

“I hope so; I’m hungry too.”

It was closed.

Two starving strangers stood at the doors of Sunterra. I blurted out to him why I was so hungry-he was the first person I told about being stood up for the first time.

“Oh no, it wasn’t Tinder was it?”

Then he asked me if I wanted to get a coffee. What the fuck Universe. We literally just decided no more dates. That included coffee dates.

…stay tuned.

Shania Twain & The Australian Invasion

My last blog post ended with that handsome neighbor offering to buy me a coffee outside of Sunterra after I had been stood up.

What happened next was he took me for coffee and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

Just kidding.

What actually happened next was that I said “No, it’s okay” which I immediately regretted as soon as I stepped into my elevator. I guess I had had a shitty enough day and wasn’t interested in a pity coffee. I just wanted to curl up on the couch and watch The Mindy Project.

My energy healer friend told me, “You need to learn how to be a better receiver”.

My roommate called me an idiot. “He lives in the LOFTS!? Those are expensive!!”

Coworkers shook their heads in disappointment.

I know!! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was being stubborn with the pact I had only moments ago made with the universe to stop dating for the rest of summer. But it’s okay because the next weekend the British Army was in town. And I was practicing being a better receiver.

Enter Stew. I actually don’t really like the British accent except for a select few people. My roommate, Bridget Jones, and my roommate’s handsome friend that she FaceTimes on a weekly basis. They are charming and intelligent. Most often I find the accent quite arrogant and snobby sounding.

So Stew’s accent wasn’t doing him any favors. But the drinks I had were working and I was trying to be a good receiver of his affection. I thought he was quite handsome but my coworker kept telling me, “He is NOT handsome Katie”.

I concluded that we must just have different types.

So my three friends, Stew, and the rest of the British Army ended up at Cowboys. I should grow up, I know. But it’s the only place I really like to dance. Or maybe I should just move to the South. I should also note that Stew and all of his friends were wearing literally the same thing. Blue jeans and baby blue checkered button ups. You couldn’t tell who was who.

Stew got real sloppy so I wandered off. There was a handsome guy in a striped sweater that caught my eye. I went up and said hello. Also British. Also sloppy drunk.

Then my roommate and I spotted a tall guy from across the room. She bet me ten dollars that he was also British. Even though this bar seemed to be bursting with the UK I was still skeptical. How could she possibly tell? He wasn’t wearing a checkered blue shirt.

But sure enough when I went up to speak to him I was greeted with the same accent. This one’s name was Robert. My roommate and Robert got talking as I wandered the crowd of British men in checkered shirts. Turns out Robert lived in the lofts across the street from our building.

Roommate: “Katie got asked out by a guy that lives in your building after she got stood up one night, but she was rude and said no.”

Robert: “No way! I’ve heard that story before. I know the guy!”

Robert may or may not have been pulling our leg. His friend who we all thought may have been the same guy who asked me out was supposedly from Australia but I’m pretty sure I would have remembered an Australian accent.

Remember, I wasn’t drunk at the time. I was hungry, pissed off, and dead sober.

I learned a few things about British men that night. They are very convincing; whether it’s to let them buy you a drink, kiss you, or convince you they know the guy you regret shutting down.

That night will forever be known as the British Invasion because of the three of us, we were at the very least kissed by one (or two) and there may or may not have been a few British men in my apartment that night.

So that was the British Invasion, but we’re not finished with Australia yet.

On Sunday, July 13th, a little after midnight, my phone kept buzzing. It was the last night of Stampede. Snoop-dog was playing in the Cowboys tent across the street and all I could hear were sirens-most of them headed towards the tent. I watched the fireworks from my balcony. Despite a bad case of FOMO I had convinced myself to stay in and drink a detox tea because Stampede 2014 took a serious toll on my body. I had enough stories and I had lost my voice; I couldn’t handle one more night.

Usually I watch the last set of thundering fireworks and feel like crying knowing that I have to wait three hundred and fifty five more days to do it all over again. But on this summer night I felt content and complete, besides the hoarse smoker cough. It had been a fun, eventful year full of questionable decisions and new memories.

So my phone was buzzing nonstop.

“Hey it’s the Bear from Cowboys” Of all the pretend cowboys this year by far my favorite was the man wearing a stuffed animal bear head. I spotted him on the dance floor and wanted nothing more than to two step with this adorable fuzzy bear with great biceps. I don’t know what his name is. He knows mine because I’m in his phone as “Katie She Likes Bears”

Then there was small town Ontario guy. In our drunken stupor he had said to me, “I haven’t had a kiss like that in a decade”. I wonder how many people think they’ve found love in that tent. We definitely thought we had. I smile at the blurry memory of it. It was like being eighteen and in love on the Cowboys dance floor all over again.

And then there’s Tom. It was the night of Shania Twain’s first show. A Wednesday. The plan was to have a few drinks at my condo, go see the concert, and be home at a respectable hour. I should know better. Those nights never, ever, turn out as such.

I almost want to skip to the part, seven hours later, where there’s three Australian men on my balcony.

We drank a few spiked Twisted Tea’s before heading over to Shania. Obviously, she was UNREAL. To the annoyance of the old people behind us we belted out her entire concert and even got to touch her hand.

“SHE LOOKED AT ME!!” was what I texted nearly my entire contact list.

The Twisted Tea’s had worn off but the buzz we had got from Shania wasn’t going anywhere so obviously we thought it was a good idea to head to one of the tents. “The night is young!” we screeched. My voice was already starting to go.

I saw him in the lineup. He had the jawline of a model, dark brown hair, and piercing come at me eyes. That’s the best way I can describe them. Way too good looking, so I looked away. My wimpy signature move.

Inside I was standing at a bar waiting for a drink when he turned around and grabbed at my nose. An odd yet slightly charming gesture. Up close I saw that he had a lip ring. Not sure how I felt about that, but then he spoke.

“You’re gorgeous.”

Shit, Australian.

“I saw you in line…” he continued.

He was thrilled to meet a born-and-raised Calgarian girl and his friends were just as excited to meet my friends. Before long we were in the middle of the dance floor singing the Canadian anthem with a bunch of good looking Aussies.

I would like to mention that I have never had a one night stand.

I never really felt the need to. Take the night of Stew and the British Invasion for example. I was satisfied with a few hours of flirting and kissing. To his frustration I insisted on walking home without him. I’ve done this many, many times.

Until Australia.

Usually in order for me to be attracted enough to someone to take them home I have to be somewhat emotionally invested. I’ll give it four or five dates. I have to find you intriguing and intelligent.

Unless we’re on the Cowboys dance floor and you have an Australian accent and a lip ring that seems to serve the purpose of a “peacock effect.”

Yes I’ve read the book The Game. It’s genius.

It was nearing the end of the night and Tom kept tugging at my cut offs. I glanced at my friend Amanda and telecommunicated “Should I do this?” with my eyes. She nodded a definite yes.

Ten minutes later Tom, one of his friends, Amanda and I were drinking on my balcony watching the lights from the rides and the drunks stumble across Macleod Trail. It wasn’t long until my roommate walked through the door with a man behind her. I don’t remember his name, but he was also from Australia, yet not from the same Australian posse as Tom and the redhead on my balcony.

How she happened to find another Australian in that gigantic tent beats me. Obviously this night will be forever known as the Australian Invasion and yes we’ve already half-jokingly pondered what country will be next.

I’m not really sure if there’s a lesson in any of this. Perhaps this: If one is feeling frustrated with the lack of men in her life she should simply make a pact with the universe to stop dating and then prepare to be showered with a variety of men with accents.

Or maybe I was right in thinking that I was meant to stay single for another Calgary Stampede because of all the summers and tents I’ve romped around in, this has been the most memorable, and not just because Shania locked eyes with me.

I’ll be forever grateful to Dean Brody’s incredible kick off on Canada Day (I wish I could remember him singing Canadian Girls; I was really excited for that), my roommate who is the only friend I’ve ever had that can keep up with me, and to Cowboy’s serving chicken fingers & fries. And to Tom of course.

Alternative Shania Twain song titles for this blog:

Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?

Rock This Country

I’m Not in the Mood (To Say No)