It’s been a minute since I’ve talked about dating. And if I’m being totally honest, there was a different beginning to this piece. There was an opening that talked about dating apps that will likely get recycled and used in a different post. Because, as much as I have my fair share to say about dating apps, as this story unfolded it started being about something entirely different.
I have been single for four years. Almost exactly. And in that time, I’ve met a lot of really cool people. On dating apps, at parties, through friends, at (vomit) fraternities, at bars. There were times I really felt like I was living my best sitcom lifestyle, and times I felt like Taylor Swift in her White Horse music video. For four years, I’ve been the friend with the date stories, the friend with the roster, the friend who makes terrible decisions and maximizes a bad thing to turn them into blog posts or songs.
And I wanted to date, but I didn’t want to be in a relationship. It’s not to say that I was never completely without emotions, but long-term relationships didn’t seem to suit me. Sometimes I would talk about relationships or think that I wanted one, however in my heart of hearts I know I wasn’t quite ready. And I had a handful of reasons to stay single over the years:
“It doesn’t make sense to settle down because I’m actually into ______________” (ifkyk)**
“I don’t want to date a guy while I’m moving back and forth between Toronto and Vancouver”
“I really want to be single when things open up from lockdown”
“I’m coming back and forth from New Brunswick so it would be a big hassle”
And there are parts of being single that I wouldn’t’ want to necessarily give up. I love going on dates and meeting new people. I love that “will they/won’t they” feeling at the end of a date where you’re waiting for a first kiss. I love writing music about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I love trading date stories with my friends until we are all curled over from laughing so hard.
It’s not that a switch has flipped and I hate dating now. I still am an avid user of Bumble and Hinge. I still love a good first date and more importantly, a bad first date story. But something is a bit different now. Because I don’t want a relationship in the sense that I want to find my Forever person. The idea of being 23 and meeting the person I’ll spend the rest of my life with honestly makes me break out into nervous hives. Plus, I already have my Forever people. I have people that hold citizenships in Victoria-ville. They collect frequent flyer miles in my brain, and I should start paying for their phone bills with the number of minutes I rack up with them
I just want a Right Now person. I don’t need to talk about marriage and babies, but I want to feel comfortable talking about next week or God forbid a month from now without someone getting jumpy. I want to feel special and prioritized. I just want someone who makes me happy now and that’s enough.
One day I’m going to want that Ed-Sheeran-love-song kind of love. I’m going to want the love that grows old in a rocking chair. The love you fight for and work at, but I don’t want that right now. I want easy. I want someone to look at me and think, “Despite the sprinkles of crazy, I could spend time with her right now and that’s enough”. I’m enough for me. But sometimes I want to be enough for someone else as well. You know?
It’s a narrow distinction. It’s a fine line, so razor thin that if you don’t focus hard, you can’t see it. And you may think I’m wrong, but I bet you’ve had Right Now people in your life. They relationship that got you over a bad breakup and was exactly what you needed at the time. The friend you had in residence but drifted apart from after. The colleague who was your right hand at work, but you lost touch with when you left. It doesn’t mean that ending those relationships doesn’t hurt, but those were the people you needed.
This also doesn’t mean that I’m dissatisfied with my life. I have a new job that I love, I’m back in the studio, I have my Forever people, my anxiety is manageable, and – if you’ve somehow forgotten – I’m a goddamn treat. I just want someone to validate me. Someone to stick around for a while. Someone who wants to see me. Someone who doesn’t feel the need to keep shopping the market. Someone who doesn’t make me feel like a sociopath if I catch feelings, because fuck we need to take the pressure of catching feelings – but that’s an entirely different rant for a different post.
So here I am, yelling at the internet the things that I want. It’s a little funny, I always say you can’t look for things when you’re dating. When you look for a relationship, you’ll find garbage men and mediocre hook ups. When you look for casual, you’ll find love. But here I am, looking for Right Now, because Forever seems like too much to put on my plate at the moment. So fingers crossed that I’m wrong and I’ll actually stumble into the thing that I’m looking for.
I doubt it though.
From me, with love, to you,
**I cannot describe the hysterical laughter that ensues from thinking about all of the boys who saw this line and thought, “She’s definitely talking about me.” TRUST ME. I’m not.
In May of 2017 I came back to Toronto for the summer. For the previous two years I had held summer jobs and frankly, I hated them both. That summer, I was 18 and I wanted a job downtown. I wanted something new, something I wouldn’t hate. So, I took a handful of resumes to Toronto Eaton Centre and handed them out to every retail establishment I could.
As I plastered the mall with opportunities, I found myself at American Eagle. I had never been a frequent shopper – or even a shopper there at all. I was a religious wearer of BDG jeans at the time and my only real interaction with the company was my collection of Aerie underwear. However, my cousin had worked at American Eagle in the past and didn’t hate it. Plus, I needed a job. I walked into the store with no familiarity of the product, no understanding of the company values and a handful of resumes filled with irrelevant job experience. I left the store with one less resume and an interview scheduled for later that afternoon.
Four and a half years later, I find myself leaving my “summer job”. If you asked me-of-2017, I would viciously deny that the store in the basement of the Eaton Centre would become as integral to my life as it has. That job funded my first album. It allowed me to live in Vancouver. It kept me employed during the pandemic. It provided me with the experience I needed to get a new job I am more than excited to start.
However, that doesn’t mean that I am more than excited to leave. I understand I initiated the launch, I was the one who sought out and found a new job, but there are thing I’m leaving behind that I’m going to miss. I’m going to miss meeting so many people. I helped young girls get ready for their first day of high school. I shopped with children who were taking a day off from chemotherapy at Sick Kids. I shopped with trans individuals who were buying their first items of clothing that represented who they truly were. I helped stylists for movies, people find clothes for their first job, and tourists on vacation. I got to speak German and French and American Sign Language. Additionally, I met a handful of Karens who provided me stories for Tik Toks.
I’m going to miss learning the hard life lessons. Growing up my dad said everyone should work in either service or retail. It makes you a better person, he said. It will teach you life skills, he said. And after a near half decade in retail, I can thoroughly agree. You learn to be kind to others, particularly those working in service and retail. You have a greater appreciation for our friends working minimum wage jobs and expected to perform at 100% all the time. You learn to appreciate hard work, because nothing says hard work like a Boxing Day shift at the Eaton Centre. You learn to appreciate money. When you work hourly, you look at all your transactions thinking about how worth it something is. “Is this sweater worth 5 hours of work?” or “Is this Starbucks worth 30mins?”.
I’m going to miss working with clothes. Growing up, clothes were always an important part of my life. Most of the people in my family respect and talk about fashion and style. We watched TV shows and read magazines and curated closets that represented how we wanted the world to see us. It only makes sense that I thrived in an environment where a passion for style is necessary. I’m going to miss helping customers style pieces. Getting people out of their comfort zones. God’s honest opinion, I’m going to miss my associate discount.
And of course, I’m going to miss the people I worked with. Retail environments have a high turnover of people, so I worked with an infinite number of people over the last 5 ish years. I worked with people who have become close friends of mine, people who got me through the days where I swore I was going to slam my head in a fitting room door. People who became a sounding bored for real life problems and listened to me talk about my sisters over and over again. But I also met people who made me grow. People who I butted heads with and had arguments with and frankly, I’m not going to miss that much but I appreciate them all the same.
So, all in all, I’m excited for my new chapter. I greatly appreciate the opportunities I’ve had over the last year and the lessons I learned working at that store. I greatly appreciate all the free clothes I’ve gotten in the last year and I will shed a tear for that loss. Although, I know I’ll be back. One day soon I’ll need a pair of black skinny jeans because the world will get over their bizarre aversion to tight jeans. And I’ll have to walk down to the basement of the Eaton Centre, and some bright-eyed new associate will come up to me and ask me that question that every American Eagle associate has burned into their brain: How do you like your jeans to fit?
…or maybe I’ll just order online…
From me, with love, to you,
A little over a month ago, my sister and I were coming back from my aunt’s cottage. My younger sister and I have an agreement that driving on the highway must involve a fast-food pit stop, and for this particular adventure we had settled on A&W because – in my sister’s opinion – they have the best chicken fingers. So, my sister and I sat in me mom’s car (vroom vroom) and we ate our respective chicken fingers.
Of course, when eating chicken fingers, you have to talk about how amazing chicken fingers are. And in discussing the food, I said, “Wouldn’t it be disappointing to date someone who doesn’t like chicken fingers?” Which would be disappointing. There is something oddly wonderful about eating fast-food in the front seat of a car.
I think a lot about red flags and deal breakers when it comes to boys. More because it’s a fun topic of conversation than anything else. But also, I think it tells you a lot about a person. For example, my cousin loves old movies and old music (not that old, but old-ish), so she finds it a bit off putting when someone doesn’t listen to old music. She says that in the long run, they likely wouldn’t work out.
Which brings me back to chicken fingers. I think it might be a red flag if someone doesn’t like chicken fingers. More importantly, if someone thinks they’re too good for chicken fingers. It’s not even that chicken fingers are my favourite fast-food. I would probably pick poutine 9 times out of 10. But I would never kick chicken fingers out of bed. I want someone who can sit at a dirty old pub or a roadside McDonald’s and bond over a box of McNuggets.
ver have, whether or not I ever eat them again. I want to eat Indian food so spicy that I reconsider every life decision up until that point. And whilst on these food adventures, I don’t want to drag around a significant other that tries to order chicken fingers at every turn.
And thus, the chicken finger rule was born. A window in which there is the correct appreciation for chicken fingers. You want to date someone who will eat drunk nuggets with you, but also not try to order tenders while out for Korean food. The chicken finger rule.
It might seem trivial, to place so much importance on chicken fingers, a food which I rank behind poutine, burgers, and nachos. However, the chicken fingers represent a bit more than chicken fingers. It’s more about the person’s attitude towards life. You want someone who can be messy and silly and enjoy simple Big Mac, but also feels comfortable eating squid ink and reading a wine list. I guess it’s all about being flexible. It’s all about going with the flow and being able to take life as it comes, with all weird and wonderful adventures. It’s all about finding someone to eat chicken fingers with at a roadside A&W.
From me, with love, to you,
P.S. This is my second dating theory that is based around fast food. If you want to read about “getting Big Mac’ed” that’s below 😊.
When I was 17, I was driving with my at-the-time boyfriend. I was (obviously) picking the music and (obviously) belting at the top of my lungs. It was the summer of 2016, and I was in a pop mood, so I played the laundry list of hits from that summer:
And OF COURSE Into You by the tiny icon herself, Ariana Grande. My boyfriend and I had listened to that song 300 times at that point in the summer, so when it came on I said, “I love this song!”. Usually, that would have been the end of the conversation, however, this time my boyfriend decided to make the side comment of: “You only like this song because it makes you feel hot.”
Immediately I felt myself recoil. I turned the music down and tried to justify why I liked the song for reasons other than feeling hot. I talked about the production and her voice and that it was just a fun song. I wanted more than anything to validate my love for the song in a way that wasn’t “It makes me feel hot”.
Granted I haven’t spoken to this boy in a hot minute, but I can guarantee that if I brought this moment up, he wouldn’t remember it at all. For him it was likely nothing more than a passing comment. But it stuck with me. It’s 5 years later and I’m still thinking about it. I wish I could go back and say, “Yeah, what’s your point?”. But I didn’t say that.
I remember feeling really gross when he said that. His comment made me feel self-absorbed because God’s honest truth is he was right. I liked Into You because it made me feel hot. It made me feel powerful and confident in a way that I was unfamiliar with. When I was 17, despite being a size 4, 6ft tall and having great boobs, I hated the way I looked. Like many teenage girls, I was grossly dissatisfied when I looked in the mirror, and for 4 minutes and 4 seconds, Ariana Grande made that feeling go away.
unattainable standard for me to achieve. It felt like my Everest, and I became frustrated that nobody saw me that way. On the other hand, I desperately didn’t want to be seen that way. All the girls I had known who had been called “hot”, had also been called “slut”, “skank” and “whore”.
It became a lose-lose situation. I wanted to feel like a goddamn smoke show, but I lived in fear of appearing slutty. I had associated the positive confident feeling of feeling sexy, with the negative name-calling of being slut-shamed. I didn’t know how to have one without the other. When my at-the-time boyfriend called me out for feeling hot, all I heard was the negative connotation that I had associated with the word.
Now, at the wise old age of 22, I understand that feeling sexy isn’t just about the way you interact with the people you’re attracted to, but it’s about the way you interact with yourself. How do you interpret your own sexuality? How do you carry yourself? How do you portray your confidence? You can feel like a sex symbol and never hop into bed with anyone, or you can hop into bed with everyone. The point it, you get to play out “sexy” in the way that you deem fit.
Into You is still in my heavy rotation of songs. It’s a kitchen dance party, highway driving, getting ready for a date kind of song. And do you know why? BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEELING FUCKING HOT. And there’s nothing wrong with that feeling. There’s nothing wrong with feeling desirable, despite what I previously believed. I still don’t get called “hot” that often, it happens sometimes but not regularly. I still get “pretty” and “cute” and “beautiful” more than I get “hot”. And I’ve come to terms with that. It doesn’t really matter how other people interpret my appearance, what matters is how I feel.
From me, with love, to you,
Growing up, I was a proud, born and bred Canadian. There are these old photos of my sisters and I, covered head to toe in Canada-Day-themed temporary tattoos. I love Canada, my family is here, my home is here, I’ve travelled this country more than anywhere else in the world. But I’m really privileged to have this viewpoint, to look at my country and see it with rose-coloured glasses. A do-good country in which people are seen as equal, because it’s not true. We are not a unicorn-country, built upon equity. Canada, my home, is flawed. From it’s conception it could never be equal. It’s not that this country has fallen so far from the place that I saw as a child, it is simply that the country I saw as I child never existed.
And I’m disappointed in Canada. I’m disappointed in my education surrounding the indigenous communities. That my education was diluted to make Canadians feel better about the atrocities committed by the people that came before us. I’m disappointed in the systems built that benefit me and people that look like me, while not being equal for marginalised communities. I’m disappointed in a lot of things, but most importantly I’m disappointed in myself.
That I didn’t get involved in the conversation sooner. All those times I didn’t ask more questions or work to learn more about the peoples my country had villainized. I’m disappointed that I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable about the nation I identified with, so I didn’t engage in the conversation as much as I should have.
Because it’s uncomfortable to admit that you are wrong. And it is uncomfortable to admit that the country you live in is not the same for everyone. That my experiences, not matter how great and opportunistic, are not equal to those around me. I should be uncomfortable. I should sit in the discomfort and use it to motivate change, use it to motivate education. Use it to be an ally for others.
I am a Canadian. I was born here, and my family is here. I love the flavour of maple syrup, I eat poutine probably too often, and I make jokes aboot hockey and moose. But I don’t get to be that person, that Canadian, if other people don’t get to be too. I don’t get to act like the world around me is equal, because it isn’t. Every week, I run past 215 pairs of shoes on the ground outside the provincial parliament building to remind me of this.
And I don’t know how to fix all these problems. I’m not going to come out here and say I know the solutions because I don’t. Better people than me have tried and continue to do so. But I want to be in the conversation, I want to be part of the solution. I want to work towards that fictional country I loved as a kid. I am Canadian, and I want to find a way to be proud of that again.
From me, with love, to you,
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