The Spinster Wish: A Book Review

“I was twenty-eight. It was the year 2000. Nobody was making me marry anyone. But the pull toward it felt as strong as an undertow, the obvious next step in a mature and orderly existence. And when I thought about being alone at forty – the inconceivable far future – I froze.” Spinster (100)

Whether you’re engaged, comfortably coupled up, or so single you can’t remember how to talk to boys, you can probably relate to Kate Bolick as she describes what it feels like to be twenty-eight. If you’re on the cusp of thirty and marriage still feels like a big fat maybe, your grandparents have definitely expressed concern and you’re likely having terrifying thoughts of the title of Bolick’s book, thoughts of becoming a Spinster.

I turned 29 yesterday – I can absolutely feel ‘the pull’ and have for a long time. I’m not single, but I am far from living out a “mature and orderly existence.” There is no stable career and no foreseeable engagements or pregnancies. Instead, I’m getting everything in order to move across the ocean and work abroad for a year. 

When the people in my life found out about my travel plans, the number one question asked was, “What about x?” where x denotes my amazing, handsome, kind, sexy, supportive, perfect boyfriend.

Of course that’s their number one concern; I probably would have asked that same question if roles were reversed.

Surely my decisions must hinge on the fact that I am in a relationship. And here is why:

“Whom to marry, and when will it happen – these two questions define every woman’s existence, regardless of where she was raised or what religion she does or doesn’t practice. She may grow up to love women instead of men, or to decide she simply doesn’t believe in marriage. No matter. These dual contingencies govern her until they’re answered, even if the answers are nobody and never.” (1)

This is how the book starts. I knew I was going to dig this half-memoir/ half-history lesson as soon as I finished reading that sentence. It came as a blinding flash of the obvious to me; it was true, from the moment boys no longer had cooties, this had been the heart of the matter for myself and the females in my life in most romantic encounters, give or take a few nights of careless debauchery.

It’s always a question of whether or not you want to date them, followed promptly by the question of whether or not you think they are it, a conversation that gets really old, really fast, the longer you’ve been on the hunt. Eventually, we get sick of the search for stability and soulmates, and that’s when thoughts of spinsterhood become a regular occurrence.

In Spinster, a title that seems to turn a lot of people off when I suggest they read it, Bolick dives into the lives of five women in history who weren’t necessarily spinsters as the term is defined, but were women who definitely took the road less traveled. Fused together with her own refreshing perspectives on marriage and the single life, Spinster reveals all the ways in which the world around us makes remaining single seem like a terrible existence. She simultaneously offers up examples of the complete opposite – women who remained single and were happy anyway. This is not an angry feminist rant but side effects may include loving your single status more than ever – maybe even wanting to keep it more than you want a diamond ring. 

After revealing the story of one such woman, Kate Bolick writes, “Finally, here it was, the conversation I’d been looking for.” What she had been looking for was a conversation that I didn’t know I had also been looking for, until, of course, I found it in her book.

In her own life, Bolick grapples with a desire to be alone, even when coupled up with seemingly amazing men. Her willingness to tell the truth about her feelings pulled me right in – I underlined the shit out of that chapter.

Here it was, the conversation I’d been looking for. Nowhere have I ever found the conversation that let me know I wasn’t crazy for not remaining in perfectly stable relationships.

Once, back when I thought I was letting go of a pretty great relationship, one that seems painfully mediocre when I compare it to the one I’m in now, I remember thinking, “I know why so many people just stay together.” It hurt so much to walk away, and I was doing it to myself. But in that case, the only thing that felt more impossible than leaving was staying when deep down I wasn’t happy. And so once again I found myself single.

I always thought the problem was that I wasn’t with the right person. Otherwise, why would I have this strange desire to be alone? It wasn’t about wanting to keep playing the field; trust me, dating is not my sport.

The truth is, after a breakup I would always feel incredibly free, almost blissful. Colors seemed brighter, I’d play my music louder, I’d get more excited about my future… Often I’d be pulled back into the comforts of him one last time, whether it was his friendship, company, the sex, or something else. The comforts of relationships can be hard to say no to; I have not yet mastered the art of letting go. But I have always instinctively known the final outcome.

What I realized reading Spinster was that relationships always feeling stifling to me was never about the guy – it was about me. The huge success of self-help has taught us to always point the finger at ourselves. So I used to think that meant there was something wrong with me, some fucked up beliefs about marriage that needed to be sought out and let go of.

But finally, thanks to this book introducing me to a different conversation, one that had apparently been happening for centuries, I finally felt like maybe there was something right with me. Or that, at the very least, I wasn’t alone in my mixed up desires. This isn’t, and never was, about the guy in question.

Unlike the five women she writes about in history, as far back as the turn of the last century, the choices I am making are far from radical, These women were actually doing something worth writing about; they were, as the subtitle suggests, making a life of their own.

Bolick also gets us to consider the similarities and differences between her 5 single women of the last century, to the single woman today:

“Transport Edna to our own era, and she’s a lot like the rest of us – a woman who wanted to enjoy her youth as long as she could … with one crucial difference: How many of us today are able to unlace our contemporary corsetry of received attitudes? …I suspect she’d have told us that if there is a point to all of this, it’s to take life very, very seriously, and to love whomever you want, as abundantly as you can. Her legacy wasn’t recklessness, but a fierce individualism that even now evades our grasp.” (152)

Though we’ve come a long way, the single woman today doesn’t have it easy. We express worry for the thirty-two-year-old woman alone at a wedding, we half-jokingly make fun of ourselves for not being able to keep a man, we walk home from bars feeling lonely and fed up. Bolick pulls back the curtains and looks atwhy.

All my single ladies – please know that in my opinion, both existences can be wonderful and the grass is never greener. I love love and I love the man I’m with. He lets me be me, even if I’m kind of an asshole from time to time. I feel free to choose for myself, be myself, and create a life for myself. There’s this strange understanding between us mixed up with all the love. That we have to let one another be, to grow into who we are as individuals. We love each other independent of being in a couple; it’s quite possibly the best kind of love. 

It’s not that he, or any of them, were not the right guy. Any one of them could have been “the one,” but this was my part to play – this rather inconvenient wish to be in an incredible relationship, and to also be free.

I suppose I have what Bolick calls the “Spinster Wish”.

Sometimes I wish I was like the ‘vast majority’ that she references. I think life would be a lot easier that way. I wish all I wanted was to follow my boyfriend wherever he may go, never questioning my life and my love for him. To be a wonderful wife, and someday a wonderful mother.

Bolick eventually comes to the understanding, and allows us to do the same, that we don’t need to justify our lifestyles. We can decide which measures of adulthood we want to take up, and which to leave behind.

Kate Bolick helped me find my tribe, women whose “personal freedom is more precious to them than the protection of the best men” – Josephine Redding, 1895.

I just had no idea they’d been around for so long.  My overwhelming feeling after I had finished the book, the feeling that makes literature so beautiful, was, “I’m not the only one that feels this way.”

Read Spinster. It will make you rethink why you want what you want, and if anything, will make you see that it’s okay if you happen to want something different. 

On Being Alone

In this summer’s issue of FLARE, Briony Smith wrote an article called “The L Word”, and no she wasn’t writing about love. Instead, she wrote about a topic much less talked about: That of loneliness.

It made me think about two summers ago when I was one of the only single people at a friend’s wedding.

I was in a coral lace dress sitting alone at a table for 10 waiting for my friends and their dates. We had some time to kill between ceremony and reception so we all met for drinks in Eau Claire. I was more comfortable sitting there overdressed and alone sipping my drink than I was two hours later when it dawned on me that I was the only solo person at the table.

But wasn’t I having fun until that moment of single girl panic? I was drinking and laughing with the dudes that my friends had chosen. I was absolutely, positively okay.

Later that week I was alone in the middle of my condo with boxes and pillows and books everywhere. Sixteen months had gone by since I moved there. It boggled my mind how much had happened, but also how much hadn’t. I never brought any guys home. A few slept on the couch, but it was only my girlfriends or coworkers that had slept in my bedroom. Shouldn’t I be having loads of sex and dates and choosing which guy I thought was a keeper? I thought.

And who put this idea in my head-that my mid-twenties should be bursting with men?

See, I wasn’t lonely until I was surrounded by couples at that table two summers ago. And I wasn’t lonely in my mid-twenties until I was packing up my apartment and realized I hadn’t brought anyone home the entire time I lived there. I wasn’t lonely until some expectation about what my life should have been like started to sink in.

Now, two years later, on the other side of singledom, I sometimes feel weird talking about “what worked” or offering up any kind of advice. Who am I to talk? I was making mistakes right up until the day my boyfriend made a move on me. *

There is nothing more annoying than being single in a group of girls, (or even worse – family members) who decide they ought to start dishing up advice.

Stop focusing on it.

Maybe you’re looking in all the wrong places.

You’re being too picky. What about [insert name of guy you’ve friend zoned here]

It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it.

Join a beer league.

And my personal favorite, “Just focus on yourself”

Are you kidding me? I’ve had half a decade worth of ‘me-time’, self-improvement, and staying selfishly busy. 

Hearing “Just focus on yourself” just pissed me off.

Single girls don’t want advice. As Briony Smith points out in her article, all a single girl needs is some empathy and your hot friend’s number. (2015, Summer) The L Word. Flare, page 92.

But if there’s any advice I wish I had let sink in as a single lady, it’s that I never needed to be anything more or less than what I already was.

All that self-awareness stuff, sure it’s worth it in a lot of ways. But is it necessary to find love? Aren’t we supposed to be loveable just as we are? And why did it always feel so weak to admit that “Yeah, I’d really like to have someone to go home and have relationship-y sex with.”

I would have really enjoyed a date sitting beside me at that wedding two summers ago, but I shouldn’t have felt, even for a moment, like there was anything wrong with me because I didn’t.

“This obsession with dating success by way of self-improvement is a by-product of western society’s can-do ideal …. I tried, for a long time, to eradicate my undesirable bits. Some changes made me a better person, like going to the gym and softening my bitchy resting face … I eventually gave up. There’s only so much of myself I can change before there’s nothing left.” Smith, Briony (2015, Summer) The L Word. Flare, page 94.

As the months went by and my single status never changed, I really started to feel like I wasn’t pretty enough, skinny enough, witty enough, smart enough, and so on and so forth. It makes me cringe that some nights, the lack of some drunk guy hitting on me had that much of an impact on my self-worth. And even worse, that the same kind of guy also had the ability to make my self-confidence soar.

“You’re gorgeous” said the devil.

I believed him. And I believed all sorts of other vain compliments from guys over the years. But when the guy who is falling in love with me says the same words, I automatically think, “He has to say that”.

I’m admitting this because I wish I could tell my fifteen year old self that even if no one is loving you at certain points in your life, you’re still super loveable. I wish I had never given my power away to this idea that I needed to be better in order to be desirable.

So no. You don’t have to master self-confidence in order to find love. You do not have to be the smartest or wittiest girl in the bar. You don’t have to start or stop anything. You’re not doing anything wrong. Stop giving away that much power to the idea of romance, when most of what our dating lives consist of is meaningless hookups and mediocre dates. It’s not worth beating yourself up over.

You can want it as much as you want, just don’t base your self worth on whether the real thing is in your life yet or not.

It’s easier said than done. But I wish I could make that feeling disappear for every girl and guy in the world. Because it’s a liar.

Fresh out of dating, newly retired if you will, I don’t miss being single at all. I suppose there was something thrilling about knowing it was all ahead of you – the meet, the first kiss, the falling. But what’s better than all of that is the kiss that says “I missed you.” 

The difference now is that being alone doesn’t worry me anymore. Not that heartbreak doesn’t scare me – nobody likes heartbreak; it’s what fucks us all up. Even our parents heartbreak can have a huge impact on us.

#daddyissues

But the being alone bit, the waiting for love to show up again, that I can do. Because now I know for sure that you can be totally surprised by it. It can show up in the most unlikely of ways, when you least deserve it. And you don’t have to change a single thing about yourself. I really didn’t think I was going to be surprised by love ever again. 

“You might already know him.”

Pffffft. YA right.

I was surprised, to say the least.

No advice here. Just a message to future romantics and seekers of love (and to my fifteen year old self if I could talk to her):

Someone will get over themselves and their shit and go to the depths it takes to love somebody like you. In the meantime, be as much of yourself as humanely possible because even though at times it will feel like a game that you desperately want to tap out of, the right person will want you. Including the undesirable bits.

Ugh. I feel like the advice that annoyed me the most probably annoyed me so much because it’s TRUE.

“Just focus on yourself”

But don’t make that mean that you have to focus on changing yourself. You don’t have to change a thing.

*I was still sleeping with the devil

Don’t Call Me Baby, But Please Fix My Dishwasher

“You’re pretty.”

The boyfriend whispers those words into my ears. It’s 5:45 am and I can barely open my eyes. I have floor to ceiling windows in my condo and I face east, so my bedroom is like a sauna, a very unflatteringly bright sauna.

I make a pathetic whining noise and hide my face in his shoulder.

You’re pretty.” I say, as if I’m challenging him.

His compliment is genuine and sweet, but I do not believe him – especially in the early morning light.

But the thing is, even if he was saying those words while I was sporting effortlessly perfect hair, a sexy spray tan and my dream outfit, I would still have a hard time letting those words sink in.

Low self esteem? Not really. Ungrateful bitch? Some might say. But I think there’s more to the story.

Dr. Gary Chapman, relationship expert and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Five Love Languages, claims there are five different methods people naturally gravitate towards in how they give and receive love. These include words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

After reading Chapman’s book, I’ve come to the conclusion that simply put, words of affirmation just aren’t my jam.

A LESSON IN COMMUNICATION

Hopeless romantics out there might not like hearing this, but you know that euphoric feeling you get when you “fall in love”? Gary Chapman says that’s not going to last. 

In fact, you’ve got about two years max.

I almost closed the book when I read this, die hard romantic that I am. It was like learning that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny weren’t real all over again.

But I kept reading out of curiosity. After all, the subtitle to the book is “The Secret to Love that Lasts.”

I needed to find out the secret.

So after the “I’m so in love” fireworks settle down, things get a little trickier. In a very non-romantic way, Chapman explains that one of our basic human needs is to feel loved, but how we actually have that emotional need met after the euphoria dies, is not the same for everyone.

After years of research and counseling he found one fundamental truth: “People speak different love languages.” Someone could be expressing their love for me in Italian, but I don’t understand Italian, so I’m not going to get the message.

When expressing your affection for bae, it’s the very same thing.

“Language differences are part and parcel of human culture,” Chapman explains . Just like how we don’t all speak the same languages around the world, in order to be “effective communicators of love”, we need to communicate in the love language that our partners understand.

Hearing about how pretty you are in the morning might fill you up with love and emotion, but it does nothing for me. And on the flip side, just because I don’t feel the need to hear how much my boyfriend loves me five times a day, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need to hear some kind of verbal affirmation himself in order to feel secure in our relationship.

In other words, knowing each other’s love language is basically the secret to not fighting with your significant other.

That’s a bold generalization, but if you’re curious, read on.

After reading “The Five Love Languages” and becoming more aware of the “expressions of love” in my life, I’ve discovered that I’m quite needy. I think depending on my relationship status, time of the month, how things are going at work, how tight my jeans are fitting, and where Mercury is in rotation, I need a combination of everything. 

Here’s a look at three of the five love languages. 

Acts of Service (You’re a Brat)

I can list the moments in my dating career where I felt the most love rushing through my veins.

  1. When my boyfriend in high school helped me with my math homework
  2. When my one night stand last summer made my bed for me
  3. When one of my Tinder dates fixed my kitchen cabinet
  4. When the jerk I was dating last fall said he’d do my taxes for me.
  5. When my boyfriend picked me up my favorite flavor of toothpaste when he saw that I was running low.

It’s very clear that my top love language is ‘Acts of Service’. I love it when people do things that make my life easier or take a burden off my shoulders. Sometimes I feel like a lazy little brat, especially when my boyfriend does something that I could totally do myself.

But no matter how many times I take the love languages quiz, single or taken, I always score the highest in ‘Acts of Service’.

Tell me I’m pretty? I get upset with you.

Buy me toothpaste? You’re getting lucky that night.

Quality Time (Dating You is Very Time Consuming)

“You never talk to me.”

“Do you have to have the TV on right now?”

“You’re always on your phone.”

Sound familiar?

Chapman explains, “People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.”

If quality time is your thing, you need undivided attention, real conversation, and probably a lot of it. And you’re likely to point out when your partner isn’t giving it to you.

Where I get critical, and this was a big clue as to which love language is foreign to me, is when I hear disgusting things like, “Has anyone told you how beautiful you are today?” or, “I missed you baby.”

When an ex said those things, it took everything in me not to yell, “DON’T CALL ME BABY.” I was critical of every nice thing he said.

That brings me to another love language worth talking about.

Words of Affirmation (Dirty Talk Doesn’t Count)

“I knew I loved you when you drooled on me and I wasn’t mad.”

Even though ‘Words of Affirmation’ aren’t my jam, hearing this made me pretty damn happy. I guess when it’s the right guy I don’t mind a little verbal acknowledgment.

There’s no doubt that during the beginning phases of dating someone, it’s a dream to hear how they feel about you (even if it’s a reminder of the time you fell asleep and drooled on their shoulder), especially if what they’re feeling is L.O.V.E. After you’ve been together for awhile, a common question you’ll get from your friends is, “Have you dropped the L bomb yet?”

This conversation is a marker.

But after that initial declaration of one’s feelings, some of us need more consistent affirmations than others do.

After seven years together, my girlfriend and her fiance took the love languages quiz. She realized that she had spent the last seven years expressing her love through ‘Acts of Service’, constantly doing things for her love that would make his life easier.

Except he hardly seemed to notice. This drove her nuts.

But as they found out, her fiances love language was not acts of service. They did nothing for him. What he really needed wasn’t being taken care of, it was words

“You mean all I have to do is say nice things to him and he’ll be happy?”

Could it really be that simple?

Yes actually. 

“This damn book changed my life,” she tells me now on the regular.

She has a difficult time expressing her feelings through words, so now I remind her weekly that she should probably tell him that she loves him, appreciates him, finds him sexy, etc. Sometimes I even write the text messages for her.

But he doesn’t need to know that. He’s finally getting his words of affirmation, and therefore, he’s a much happier fiance.

LOVE & CHOICE

The heart wants what the heart wants. At first, it doesn’t feel like we have much choice in the matter. Maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s chemistry, maybe it’s Cupid. Whatever it is, when sparks start flying there doesn’t seem to be much logic in falling in love.

But as the months and years go by, choice seems to play a larger part in that love actually lasting. This is where Gary Chapman’s logical approach to relationships makes a lot of sense.

There are mornings when I might fight the urge to yell “Get OFF of me,” but I don’t, because my boyfriend’s love language is ‘Physical Touch’. Falling in love with him wasn’t a choice. Letting him get his morning snuggle in is definitely a choice.

Seemingly minor interactions with one’s partner can add up, for the better or worse of the relationship.

Chapman concludes, “If I have not learned her primary love language or have chosen not to speak it, when she descends from the emotional high, she will have the natural yearning of unmet emotional needs. After some years of living with an empty love tank, she will likely “fall in love” with someone else, and the cycle will begin again.” (136)

I don’t like the sounds of that.

It really is the little things that end up mattering. That one phrase, “I knew I loved you when you drooled on me,” or that one hug that you ran back for, could make the difference in your lover feeling happy and secure.

So learn your love languages, speak them, and fill each other up. This just might be the secret to our generation defying the odds and actually having love that lasts, decade after decade.

Spirit Animals & Eskimo Sisters

“It looks like an expired Cheeto.”

We were admiring my friend’s new gemstone collection at a booth in Earls earlier this summer. 

I gravitated towards a green one that apparently brings prosperity. Stampede was fast approaching and my plan to save some extra funds had failed, as per usual. The one that my friend decided resembled an expired Cheeto supposedly aides in manifesting love, something that caused the three single friends I was with to go “Ooooo lemme see that one.”

As a joke, I carried the green money manifesting stone in my pocket the first weekend of Stampede. Do I believe a gemstone is the key to my financial freedom? No. Do I occasionally pick up that little stone still sitting on my dresser beside my jewelry and pretend that it’s working? Yes.

I just paid off my credit card and I’ve barely worked since mid-June. Coincidence or crystal powers? 

The collecting of gemstones, the reading of horoscopes, and the finding out of spirit animals, all falls in the realm of things my brother would call, “fucking weird.”

I on the other hand eat that shit up. When I’ve found myself in situations that many people might find “woo-woo”, I’ve always tried to keep an open mind. The shaman who led me through the sweat lodge ceremony that I attended in Mexico last year seemed like a very happy and content guy, making me curious about how he came to be so. Why wouldn’t I be open to what he had to say?

Similarly, when I found out what my spirit animal was, I wasn’t sitting on my couch filling out a quiz that I had just googled. I found out what mine was last summer from a reliable source, someone much more practiced in the spiritual realm than the Google search bar.   

This doesn’t mean I think my spirit animal is better than your spirit animal. I am mostly ignorant when it comes to these practices, I can only speak of my experiences in being open to them. In fact, I threw a temper tantrum when my boyfriend did the googled spirit animal quiz and got “hummingbird”.

“YOU’RE a fucking hummingbird!? I’M supposed to be a hummingbird!”

I really like hummingbirds and always thought that that should have been my designated animal. I’m not taking liberties and adding the F-word for emphasis here; that is in fact how I responded.

I’m actually a hawk, incase you were wondering. 

This means that I have a keen eye and am good at seeing the overall perspective of things while also narrowing in on what’s important – clearly not demonstrated in that conversation with my boyfriend post quiz. 

A lot of people, myself included, also like to believe that things happen for a reason. That there are no coincidences.

When I think about coincidences and chance, I always think about the time I was picked as one of Calgary’s most eligible singles by Branded Magazine, only to find out that the other two girls chosen were the exes of the last two guys I had dated.

[I can’t even say exes. I just mean we had slept with the same guys-is there a female equivalent to eskimo brothers?]

Sure you could call it coincidence and say, “it’s a small world” but really – when something that unlikely happens my mind goes straight to “Why is this happening???

The conclusion I came to was that Calgary’s dating pool was much too small and I should probably consider moving cities if not provinces.

What I did instead was find a different age bracket 😉 Worked like a charm.

But in all seriousness, what actually occurred because of that huge coincidence was that I met someone who is now one of my closest friends and her “I don’t give a shit about what the world thinks of me” attitude was exactly what I needed at the time, and still do. She was a breath of fresh air and whether by coincidence or divine intervention, I like to believe we met for a reason and that the timing was perfect.

No matter how seriously we believe in gemstones, spirit animals, horoscopes and the like, I think there’s something to be said about believing in something. 

I think of it like I do my favourite photograph filter. Stuff happens, and then I decide how to make it appear better, or at least have it make sense in the grand scheme of things. I am a very optimistic hawk.

How you choose to see the world, which filter you choose, is up to you. I like bright sunny ones. And I can’t help but feel enchanted by and curious about all of this, to quote my brother, “fucking weird” stuff. Even if at the end of the day all it does is give me a false sense of clarity on how the universe works.

– I have no financial worries right now. Must be the green gemstone.

– Why am I being such a bitch?  Let’s see what my horoscope says.

– I keep running into adorable baby french bull dogs. The universe is clearly telling me I need a puppy.

As for the love-bringing stone that resembled a Cheeto, it seems to be as effective as Tinder.

In other words, it’s usually not.

Dating is kind of like eating a Cheeto. It looks good from far away – you definitely want a bite. Up close, you’re not so sure; it looks messy. After awhile it gets stale and you crave something with more substance. Except does that even exist anymore? What you actually want seems hard to find, so after awhile you start going for the expired Cheeto(s) and some nights you think to yourself, what the hell am I doing with this orange dirt bag? Yet, there’s something larger at play. All of those stale processed bad-for-you snacks are leading you to something greater. You’re learning about yourself, what you want, and what you’re worth. And then one day you realize you’re better than an expired Cheeto. You want a Ritz Cracker.

I’ll stop now.

All I’m saying is that sometimes the universe works in magical ways and gives you exactly what you need: a new friend, a green gemstone, a surprise tax refund. And whether it’s true or not, every time I see a hawk – which isn’t very often – I feel like everything is going to be alright.

Get Your Eggs Out of My Basket

Originally published on It’s Date Night

I’ve heard this dating advice many times over the last few years – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

I can’t say I’ve followed this advice religiously, or at all for that matter. When I meet someone I like, I like them and only them. I’m kind of like a bug. If the men in my life are a bunch of glowing lights, I go for the shiniest one and he’s got my full attention. 

I put all my eggs in one basket you could say. His basket.

This keeps biting me in the ass. 

Another problem has arisen since that terrible mercury retrograde we went through in February. Even though nothing has panned out [clearly still single]they keep lingering. It’s like I still have a few egg shells out there that I haven’t collected.

Now they’re the bugs. Annoying ones that keep buzzing around my periphery. 

I’m partially to blame for this.  Whenever I get a brazilian wax I tend to make bad decisions. [Don’t judge me, I know I’m not the only one.] My new year’s resolution was to not sleep with any assholes. Then it came time for my next wax. 

Two days after the fact I had failed my 2015 promise to myself and brought one of them back into the mix. Self-restraint? What’s that?

Then there’s this guy I dated last year for awhile. I keep randomly hearing from him. Maybe he thinks it’s nice of him to “check in”. I know better – His check in’s are usually in between his spurts on Tinder.

And then there’s Carlton. 

There’s a common sentiment that exists within my friend circle. “Poor Carlton.”

Now, I definitely don’t like being pitied, and there’s really no reason for us to feel pity for Carlton either. He’s smart, sexy, tall, kind, etc, etc. There would have been some definite perks to dating him. My mother would have been very excited if I had brought him home for Easter this weekend. 

Except I wasn’t into him. I tried, but the elusive spark was not there. After a month of dating I realized that I had put him in the friend zone and as much as I tried to convince myself that continuing to see him was a good idea, I knew doing so wasn’t fair to him, or to myself. 

And unfortunately, he was one of those guys who just wasn’t getting the hint.  

In fact, I can’t even call it hinting. I was very straight and clear with him, multiple times.

Initial break up text: “I don’t see this going any further for me.”

Two weeks later: “No I don’t think going for wine is a good idea.”

Four weeks later: “No Carlton I don’t want to sleep with you. Yes, I realize you mean friends-with-benefits but I don’t want that either.”

Then the final straw. I was very excited when I found out that he had gone on a couple of dates with a girl I knew. When I heard from him again I asked him about it. “I heard you went on a few dates with Hannah! She’s great!” 

He must have taken my inquiry as jealousy. 

His response: “What, did you think I was going to put all my eggs in one basket with you?”

I DON’T WANT ANY OF YOUR EGGS IN MY BASKET CARL.  

Yes I actually texted him that and yes I still heard from him a few months later offering to take me for dinner. 

So here’s what I’ve learned. Sometimes we put our eggs in people’s baskets too soon. Sometimes they still have one of our eggs even when they shouldn’t. And sometimes you get eggs put into your basket that you really don’t want but if the other person won’t take it back, there’s not much you can do about it. 

Part of my spring cleaning is going to involve organizing my egg collection if you will. 

Happy Easter everyone! The hunt continues.

Girlfriend Zone: The Grey Area

Published on It’s Date Night

“Katie, I think he thinks I’m his girlfriend.”

Like it or not, if you live with me, you’re going to become someones girlfriend. I’m sort of like Good Luck Chuck. Except if I remember correctly he had to sleep with a girl in order for her to find true love. That’s not the case here, I assure you.

Before you start lining up to be my next roommate I should put a disclaimer on this.

*These relationships don’t necessarily last. So far I’m 4 for 4, but only one past roommate is with the same guy and my current roommates situation is yet to be determined. It’s in the grey area. 

My absolute favorite and least favorite part of dating is when you don’t know where it’s going. I love it because it’s thrilling and exciting and you spend most of your time day dreaming about seeing them again/taking their pants off. 

I hate it for the same reason I love it: Like I said, you don’t know where it’s going.

A friend recently asked me, “I have a toothbrush at his place – what does this mean??”

“That you care about your oral hygiene?”

Obviously it means more than that in our girl brains. A tooth brush is not just a tooth brush. I even think something of it when my girlfriends leave toothbrushes at my apartment. It’s like our relationship has reached new heights. You are officially one of my people.

I’m gonna make the assumption that if there are oral hygiene products being left places, you are slowly but surely leaving the grey area that we all love and hate so much.

Other pieces of evidence I personally watch for: men’s hoodies, his favorite beer in my fridge, and extra lint rollers. 

Let me explain.

I am reluctant to sleep in a guys oversized university hoodie unless I think it’s going somewhere. It’s like forehead kisses. There’s something mushy and relationship-y about it.

Beer in the fridge is an obvious one. It means we have established our drinking buddy dynamic and the relationship is off to a good start.

Extra lint rollers is a big one because while I don’t really care about kitten fur on my lululemon leggings, I do care about kitten fur on his jeans. It’s sort of like how you’ll clean up your apartment when you have people coming over but if it’s just you, you’re fine to let the dust and wine bottles collect.

One time my cat threw up on a guys pants that had been laying on the floor beside my bed. This, and the fact that I didn’t own a lint roller at the time, were very clear indicators that the relationship was doomed.

Things are changing in my world. I have extra lint rollers laying around and I’m sleeping in a men’s hoodie.

Here’s what I’m realizing. The grey area is either one of two things; amazing, or torture. If it feels good, you don’t listen to any dating rules or the plethora of advice that we’re bombarded with all of the time.

But if it feels like torture you’ll start clinging to the rules, steps, and advice you think will land you what you really want. [To get your butt out of that grey area.]

“Follow these 12 rules and you’ll find lasting happiness.”

“7 steps to nailing the relationship you want.”

“Don’t do x,y and z or you’ll come across as bat shit crazy.”

“But do a, b and c and he’ll fall madly in love with you.”

Usually all of these recipes for success and happiness just cloud my brain and my own intuition. Which, as the universe keeps reminding me over and over and over again, never fails me. I just ignore it sometimes. 

Mistakes

If the grey area feels sticky and stressful and hard, it’s probably because it’s not right, and you probably already know it.

Whereas if the grey area feels fun and light and easy, you can’t really fuck up and you don’t mind sitting in it. If it’s right, it’s just gonna work. You can be completely uncool and he’s still going to leave his toothbrush at your place, give you a hoodie to sleep in, and think your drunk sloppy self is adorable. Remember this?

He can kiss you on the forehead and you won’t freak out because you both know there really isn’t much of a grey area to begin with. 

What I’ve suspected all along might actually be true. There are no rules and there is no recipe.

But The Astrologer Said

But The Astrologer Said

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once upon a time, not very long ago in the grand scheme of things, I was curious about how the next decade was going to unfold. So I had my astrology chart read. I had always been a little freaked out at the thought of going to a psychic or tarot card reader; astrology always seemed a little more up in the air, and therefore, up for debate. If an astrologist told me I was destined for three marriages, I would think, “Highly unlikely”. But if a psychic predicted a similar fate, it would completely mind-fuck me to the point that I would probably say yes to the first loser who proposed just to get the ball rolling.

My astrology forecast predicted that at twenty-eight, everything was going to fall into place and life was going to be freakin fantastic. For the rest of my twenties, I anticipated the awesome life that awaited me. And, in astrology’s defense, I can confidently say that in my 28th year of living on earth, everything did in fact fall into place. From a dream job to a dream man, this girl had it made. Goals achieved, single status eliminated, words published, and new friends made, I really did have an epic year.

If you’re a yogi or self-helpery junkie, you’ll likely have learned (theoretically anyways) that clinging to things causes suffering. If you’re a big dater, you’ve also likely learned that any form of ‘clinging’ will cause the person you’re obsessed with to promptly run the other way. Usually in the form of “ghosting” because most of us are cowards. In short, becoming too attached to any particular job, person, thing or fantasy is usually a quick road to disappointment.

You’ve got to muster up some flexibility if you’re looking for lasting happiness.

Almost one year later, I could be choosing to curse the cosmos, wondering why they didn’t specify that “everything falling into place” actually meant “everything will fall into place for about ten months and then good luck”.

It’s not as if everything in my life has blown up, it’s just going in a completely different direction than I could have expected, and I’m the one making the decisions here.

If you suffer from a feeling of panic whenever everything is amazing because you think, “OMG I’m happy; it’s going to go away,” I can relate. There seems to be a delicate balance of reveling in your happiness, and not clinging to the circumstances of such happiness for fear that it will disappear.

When everything that was “in place” started to feel off, it was tempting for me to want to freeze and think that no, this is it, this is how my life has to stay. Job, man, condo, life. STAY PUT.

But that’s not how she goes. They say that the only thing constant in life is change, and as much as I’ve loved my astrologically predicted happiness of 28, I know better than to think that happiness and fulfillment lie in only one set of circumstances.

I’ll save the reminiscing for another time, maybe when this decade actually does come to a close. Surely I’ll feel like a big wrap-up will be in order. In the meantime, I have a whole other year to do the reckless and immature things that one day I will justify by saying, “I was in my twenties, I didn’t know any better …” #lies

If it is all up to us, then I’ve managed to ensure that this year will be pretty rad too, even though everything that made 28 so great is looking pretty wobbly at the moment. When I scribbled down in my daytimer under my birthday, “Do something spontaneous to end your twenties,” I didn’t quite have moving continents in mind – I was thinking more like get drunk and sing karaoke or fly to Vegas on a whim.

If all of this is preordained by the cosmos, and if tarot card readers and psychics really do know what’s up, I guess I can say that I’ve been impressed with their work so far and I might pay one a visit to see what’s next.

Or I’ll just decide for myself.

In summary: Let it in, be happy, let it go, be happy again.

Three’s A Crowd

An Experiment.

There are a lot of good things that come in three. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, BLT’s, or being three sheets to the wind on a Friday night. All great things. There’s even a Latin phrase, “omne trium perfectum” which means everything that comes in three’s is perfect.

But what if the thing that’s coming in three is men?

A little while ago a friend said to me, “You should try dating three guys at once.”

“Three!?” The good-girl in me disapproved.

Also, who has time for that?

“You’re not sleeping with three-just casually dating.” She clarified.

“And how long am I supposed to continue seeing three?”

“Until one of them declares his undying love for you, obviously.” What she really meant was date three until you get what you want.

After some pondering and the weighing of pros and cons, my roommate and I decided to give it a go. Dating one at a time wasn’t proving successful. I was starting to think I had a 30 day expiry date written on me. I truly felt like Taylor Swift was speaking to me when I first heard the lyrics, Find out what you want; be that girl for a month; wait the worst is yet to come.

Amen sister.

Story Time.

After a couple weeks of attempting this my roommate came home from one of her dates and tried to wake me up. I didn’t wake up–probably because I was exhausted from my own string of dates that week–but I did recall panic in her voice and I remember picking up on a lot of negative energy. In the morning I found out why.

She had been at a movie with Bachelor #1 who we had nicknamed Nice Matt because there was literally no other adjective to describe him. He was just so, nice. She had a tiny anxiety attack before the date, probably a sign that 1. She didn’t really like him and 2. Something bad was about to happen.

They sat down in their seats and Nice Matt put his arm around my roommate. Then, to her horror, Bachelor #2 sat down in the seat two rows in front of her.

She got up to head to the washroom, needing a moment alone. As she stepped into the crowded hallway the first person she laid eyes on was Bachelor #3.

I’m not kidding. This is a true story.

Bachelor #3 had been around for awhile. He had pulled the I-Don’t-Want-A-Relationship card awhile back but she kept him around for his…skills. By the way, when I learned about the birds and the bees in Sex Ed I really wish someone had warned me about all of the grown men in my future that would tell me they didn’t want to be in a committed relationship but would still like to have sex with me. What is that!?

So she bumped into Non-Committal Bachelor #3. He smiled his cocky grin and she briefly thought about running away with him. But she couldn’t do that to Nice Matt.

“Calgary is TOO small for this,” She vented to me. “I’m exhausted, I give up.”

But, like so many things in life, the moment when you want to give up is the moment you have a breakthrough. Spin instructors yell that at me all the time. My roommate is now seeing someone exclusively who is pretty much everything she wants. She’s really happy, and he’s not too nice.

Why This Might Work.

The trouble with focusing on one, especially if you fall for them quite quickly, is that it’s easy to get ahead of yourself. You’re cool and collected until Cupid’s arrow strikes. Suddenly your inner peace is in the hands of this one girl or guy texting you back. You turn into a social media stalker. Nobody likes obsessive social media stalker.

This kind of tunnel vision can lead to trouble because you stop thinking rationally and start ignoring red flags. I literally had a guy tell me that he had no interest in any of the things on my bucket list and didn’t see the point in spending money on travel or experiences; he’d rather buy nice things like his new $800 coffee table. To each their own, but I prefer experiences. And I’m not big on coffee tables. But I ignored this big red flag because I thought I was falling in love with him.

That was me having tunnel vision to the MAX.

I chatted with Debra Macleod, Calgary based relationship expert, about this Date-Three-Theory. She pointed out that whether it’s in a career or a relationship, when we have options and choice we’re more confident and we don’t put up with crap. According to Debra, it’s all about getting your power back in a world where dating has taken a turn for the worse.

Not putting all your eggs in one basket too quickly is one way to do so. By having three potential suitors on the go my aforementioned tunnel vision was eliminated. Yes my roommate and I were tired, but not once did we feel insecure about whether or not one of these guys was into us. We were too busy and preoccupied for that nonsense.

I had some of the best dates during those few weeks. All that serious “Does he like me? Where is this going?” stuff fell away and I actually had the mental space to just be myself and have a great time. Dating became fun again. Not to mention I probably gave off that mysterious unavailable [I don’t give a shit] vibe that makes men magically flock in your direction.

Why it might not work.

There was a down side. Dating three was bad for my health and productivity. I was missing spin class in favor of pints and bottles of wine. I spent my Saturday mornings eating brunch instead of cleaning my condo. The hangover from my Friday night date was sabotaging my Saturday morning coffee date because I couldn’t remember which conversation I had had with what guy.

But the real fear was “What happens when I meet someone I actually really like?” Dating multiple people, no matter how casual, went against everything I had ever done.

Enter in the guilt.

In Debra’s opinion this is the biggest con and a risk you take. “If you do meet a really decent guy in this process, he could get the wrong idea and think that you’re not serious about finding someone.” But Debra also points out that when it comes down to it, dating is a screening process and if you’ve only gone on two dates with someone, there is nothing to feel guilty about.

“You owe people honesty-that’s it.”

Her rule of thumb is that if you meet someone you really like, don’t let things go longer than three dates with the rest of them. Put things on hold to see where things go with the one you’re really into.

See, another good rule of three!

So yes, it was exhausting and I was really unproductive for a couple of weeks. I missed a few spin classes and broke my No-Drinking-on-Tuesday’s rule. And as my roommate found out, our city is quite small. But I have to admit that for the first time in a long time dating felt fun again. My mindset was totally different. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t excited when I met someone I really clicked with, it just meant that this time I wasn’t going to put all my eggs in his basket until I was more certain that we were compatible. Any mention of expensive coffee tables and I’d be out of there.

Attitude is everything. We hear that in more words or less everywhere now and there’s a lot of truth in it. So it makes sense that shifting something in your love life that leads to a better mindset might be worth trying.

The Bad Boy

As seen in Branded Magazine’s “The Rise”

Christian Grey, Jude Law, Mr. Big, Damon in the Vampire Diaries … they all have two things in common.

1. They’re bad

2. They make us weak in the knees

Every girl has liked her fair share of bad boys, but dating one is a different story. There’s a change in the air. In this city, nice guys won’t finish last.

——————-

Urban dictionary defines a bad boy as something like this: “He does what he wants when he wants. He’s unapologetic. He’s independent. He’s a heartbreaker with 5 o’clock shadow.  He’s a selfish, manipulative bastard who sees women as little more than sexual conquests to brag about or mere objects that are there for his pleasure.”

I mean, if I had to summarize the personality of the “baddest” guy I’ve ever dated, that nails it on the head, right down to the 5 o’clock shadow.

When I told a couple of guy friends that I was about to write a piece on bad boys, I was told that I should meet Bad Boy X. A mutual friend called him to propose the idea and Bad Boy X was down to chat about all things manipulative and reckless. As my friend was on the phone with him I made sure to yell, “I’m never going on a date with you – so don’t get any ideas!” We texted back and forth a bit, trying to decide on a time to meet up. I was having some mutual friends over for some drinks and then a skating rendezvous so I invited him.

I knew I might be in trouble when I got this message: “Are you going to be able to interview me while I’m skating circles around you?”

I smirked.

Shit! No! This is where it starts.

The Allure

They sass you and you kind of like it.

They compliment you and you melt.

Even worse, they know the effect they can have on you. When a bad boy makes you feel good you feel really special. As if you’re somehow different than all of the other girls he’s jerked around over the years. For whatever reason, daddy issues maybe, the validation we get from these guys does wonders for our ego.

It’s a dangerous little game. When a nice guy compliments you? Eh. They’re nice to everyone aren’t they?

Here’s the honest truth about bad boys: Usually you can’t stay away from them. Usually they’re hot as f*ck.  Usually they leave you heartbroken.

Honesty: The Ultimate Excuse

The thing is, some of them have qualities that women really like.

Personally, I love human beings who are unapologetically themselves. I’m attracted to them – as friends and as potential future boyfriends. I appreciate people who are brutally honest about who they are and what they want; it’s refreshing.

But this doesn’t excuse being an asshole in the name of honesty.

My old roommate was sleeping with a guy who prided himself in being “straight up” about what he wanted from women. He was everything your mother warned you about: A cheater, a liar, he expected an open relationship with his ex, he spoke crudely about other women, etc, etc.

After some horrible pillow talk about yet another one of his sexual conquests, my roommate called him out: “You know Paul, just because you’re honest about being an asshole doesn’t make it okay to be an asshole.”

Calgary based relationship expert Debra Macleod, and probably the most brutally honest woman you’ll ever meet, had a lot to say about this.

“These guys use honesty as a manipulative tool. They think it excuses their lack of compassion and tact.”

But actually, it just shows that you have no tact.

Talk is Cheap

In today’s dating world where finding a new prospect is as easy as a swipe of a finger, we’re treating each other as more disposable than ever. We say “Next” with little or no explanation to the poor soul waiting for a text back.

My best guy friend is probably considered a “bad boy” by a good chunk of girls in southern Alberta. Not exaggerating. Yet he tells me all of the time how much he misses sex that actually means something. This guy wants a great relationship. And I actually believe him.

But the thing is, how we’re treating each other says something different. If deep down we all want the same thing – a great connection, great sex, a drinking/Netflix buddy – we sure have a funny way of going about finding it.

We want to meet a “great guy” but we’ll indulge the behavior of jerks like Paul in the mean time. My best guy friend wants true love but he’ll take home a different girl every night.

To each their own – if what you want is all of the sex all of the time, go for it. But from what I can see in my own friend circle there’s a disconnect between what we want and how we’re acting.

I told Debra about my bestie and argued “But he really does want to meet a great girl.” She reminded me once again that talk is cheap. “When people show you who they are – listen.”

She has a point. Sure maybe deep down his intentions are good and one day I bet he’ll make some girl really happy, but I feel bad for the girls sticking around in the mean time hoping to be the one who changes him.

A tough pill to swallow:

Here’s something you might not want to admit to yourself.

Most likely, you knew what you were getting yourself into. Whether it was the tiniest of gut feelings that told you, or he did something that made it blatantly obvious, you knew he was “bad” from the start.

I chatted with some girls about their bad boy drama:

“I knew right away I was in trouble”

“The baddest guy I’ve dated is also the one I couldn’t resist”

“He mistreated me the DAY I met him; but I couldn’t stay away from him”

“UGH. What a waste of a handsome face he was!”

“I knew it on the first date. My gut said, this guy is going to hurt me.”

So why don’t we listen to ourselves?

Well aside from them being all alluring and shit, Debra bluntly tells me, “Our fear of being alone can be louder than that gut feeling.”

Ouch. That one stung. And I didn’t like it.

So, will the nice guys finish last?

But do not fret! It looks like true bad boys are losing their charm.

In her book ‘The Modest Minx’ Debra talks about the double-standard between the way we view promiscuous women versus men. We’ve all heard it. “She’s a whore” yet he’s a “ladies’ man”.

Ok I actually haven’t heard the term “ladies man” since 2002 but you know what I mean.

“More and more I see this double-standard loosening it’s grip, and rightly so” writes Debra. “The concept of the “playboy” has gone from glam to gross and I think the trend will only continue. Most women nowadays have a very low opinion of men they see as promiscuous.”

The allure of the bad boy might still be there, but we’re starting to really question a persons values, character, and self-restraint if how they’re treating the opposite sex is not much better than how they treat garbage.

I know a plethora of happy single women who will admit they love a good bad boy, but there’s no way in hell they’re going to settle for one when it comes to actually choosing which guy to take home for Christmas next year. Girls want a guy with strength of character, and vice versa.

You can still be hot as fuck, have a 5 o’clock shadow, be witty, honest, charming, masculine AND be a kind person.

At least I hope that’s possible or I’m in for a lifetime of girls nights and probably a second cat.

I never did meet up with Bad Boy X. He had too many dates that week and I was playing a little flaky. It’s probably for the best as he likely would have taken the brunt of my dating frustrations and I would have just gotten angry and mean.

Or, fallen stupidly in love with him.

Age: Just A Number?

As seen in Branded Magazine Issue 07: The Drive

“Is he immature when you fight?”
“Is he good in bed?”
“He was born in the 90s?”
“Early twenties is the way to go. You can mould them while they’re young.”

“Does he _____  you all the time?”

These are the questions and statements I was bombarded with when it became common knowledge that I was dating someone younger than me.

To address your concerns: No. Yes. Yes. Debatable. Yes.

But I admit I had my fair share of concerns when I realized that my ‘baby crush’ was starting to turn into a full on ‘Oh shit I think I like him’ crush. Would this age gap be a problem? Maybe not now – but what about in the foreseeable future. Would we want different things in the next few years?

I was taking “getting ahead of yourself” to a whole new level.

initial concerns

My greatest concern stemmed from having dated a multitude of men in the last four years who were closer to my age, or older, that seemed to hate the idea of committing to anyone or anything. It was always about sex.

So naturally I became afraid that in a few months, or years, he would think to himself, “Wait a second – I’m a dude in my mid-twenties, I should be sleeping with everyone and everything.”

I knew this wasn’t fair to him – I wasn’t giving him any credit. Just because he’s a handsome guy, doesn’t mean he’s going to turn into a monster. But still, I was afraid.

I blame Tinder and ‘The Dating Apocalypsere: the newest issue of Vanity Fair.

Even though he has eased my fears and has proven to me time and time again that he’s one of the greatest human beings on earth, there are some things one needs to consider before dating someone a lot younger, or older for that matter.

I have enough friends of different ages that I know it’s possible to have amazing relationships and connections with people that are both younger and older. Being young at heart, or an old soul, is a real thing. But romantic love is a little more complicated.

As a girl in her late twenties, the last thing I want is to feel maternal in a relationship. Ew. Which is why I always stayed clear of men (boys) a lot younger than me. I never wanted to have to take care of a guy who didn’t have his shit together, or couldn’t handle his alcohol. I on the other hand, am allowed to drink too much tequila and need carrying home. I am fully aware of how hypocritical this sounds, but after dating for over a decade, I knew what I wanted:

A strong intelligent man, who handles his alcohol, but lets me abuse half-priced wine night. He doesn’t judge me – he thinks I’m adorable.

So no ‘boys’ allowed.

when love takes over

That was until I fell for one that I found to be more emotionally mature and intelligent than anyone else I had dated, probably ever. He was everything I had ever wanted. He was a ‘fuck yes’, the kind that I could stay up until 3 a.m. talking to.

The only catch: He’s seven years younger than me.

But after a few months of seriously seeing each other, it stopped crossing my mind entirely until someone would ask, “How old is he? What does he do?” Maybe that’s when you know the age gap isn’t a big deal – when you never notice it. Our connection made me curious enough to keep seeing him, and eventually that connection far outweighed the seven-year gap. In fact, how great he is as a person outweighs the age difference even for my mother whose first reaction was naturally, “WTF are you doing?”

But there’s one timeline none of us can escape— the biological clock.

If you’re a girl approaching her thirties who wants babies, and your lover is in his early twenties, you might have a problem. Everyone wants different things, but how many guys do you know under 25 that are ready to be a father?

That’s what I thought.

Lucky for me, I’m not even sure I want kids. My boyfriend is the one who would happily give me a whole bunch of babies if that was what I wanted. Even in his early twenties, he knows he wants to be a dad someday. But let’s say I was dating someone in his early thirties who couldn’t wait to have offspring, and here I am approaching 29 still reveling in zero responsibility with a to-do list that includes everything but babies.

I’d most definitely be running the other way.

decisions, decisions

In case love was blinding me, I wanted to find out what other people were saying about the matter.

An expert at marriagesos.com says that seven to nine years’ difference in either direction is doable without any major issues. This put me at ease, though I still get quite the reaction when I tell people that my boyfriend plays football—universityfootball.

One afternoon during a particularly long procrastination spell, I came across Matthew Hussey on Instagram, dating columnist for Cosmopolitan and NY Times best selling author of ‘Get The Guy.’

I typed ‘age gap’ in the search bar. This is what Matthew had to say.

“One school of thought is love is love and you can’t help who you fall in love with. You have to just go with it. That’s certainly true in some cases and there is some romanticism to that, but we also have to apply pragmatism to every situation and say, is this an unnecessary risk I’m taking at this stage…You have to be smart as well because let me tell you something: The guy won’t be smart for you.”

He points out that the younger person of the two of you, girl or guy, won’t be the one to be pragmatic or realistic. Your younger counterpart is more likely to be reckless, positive, and carefree about the matter. “They don’t have the same references as you. You have to ask yourself: Am I willing to take the risk that 10 years from now they won’t be in the same place as me. So go in eyes wide open; if it’s really important and you think it can work, go for it, but be aware of the risk involved.”

I suppose if it’s not age, there may be some other gap or difference that might cause issues down the road. From tastes in music to crazy exes, relationships require you to jump over the odd hurdle, big and small. Far more dangerous than an age gap would be a difference in values, morals, or what you want in your life.

I would way rather take the risk of dating someone younger who doesn’t
yet have a career under his belt, than someone who makes bank but doesn’t have that little thing called integrity figured out.

I recently read a Cosmopolitan article by Monique El Faizy who is also dating someone younger than her. But in her case, it’s a whooping 20 years. She’s calling it a “Life ‘Do-Over’ with a younger man” because her first marriage, and the resulting life that she fell into, didn’t suit her. It’s like she’s reliving that part of her twenties, but this time, “I’m a better version of myself.” She’s well aware of the risks, and even mentions the ever present fear that he might leave her. But here’s the thing worth remembering, and then forgetting: Heartbreak could happen whether we’re identical in age, or 20 years a part.

Monique recounts a conversation at dinner with a friend she hadn’t seen in years. “She liked my husband, she explained, but he and my married life never quite fit with the person she’d known me to be. ‘This makes more sense,’ she said [of the new love].” Who would have thought that a relationship with a twenty year age gap would ‘make more sense’? But for this woman it does. As realistic and pragmatic as we try to be, love and logic don’t often live together. And what’s ‘logical’ for each of us is completely subjective.

She ends the article with this truth bomb: “I think the convention-busting girl I was in my premarital 20s may have had it right. Risk is relative and personal, and sometimes, the socially mandated choices are the most hazardous of all.”

So whether I regret it or not, I know I won’t be using the, “He’s too young” excuse to self sabotage this relationship. As he told me one night after I confessed my fears about him turning into a future fuck boy, “If we don’t work out, I can promise you it won’t be because of that. I’m not that guy, and I never will be.”

If you’re in love with someone born in a different decade, but the risk never seems to cross your mind because everything else is smooth sailing, then age is most definitely just a number.

To the realists in your life that might see it otherwise, remember that we’re all fools when it comes to love. Passing up a “fuck yes” who you have a healthy and happy relationship with because of something as trivial as a number would be far more foolish.

Cheesy as it may be, love is always worth the risk.