At 25

I turned 25 a little less than a month ago. Age is a strange and bizarre concept. At 12 I think I was older than my years. At 22 I was younger. At 25, I feel my age.

I feel my body taking longer to recover from hangovers. I feel my back getting crunchy if I don’t stretch during the day. I feel last nights bed-time french fries clinging and sticking to my insides. I feel my energy dissipating for particular sorts of interactions. My patience has both grown and completely gives no fucks when the situation calls for it.

At 25 I feel more alert to the fact that I am sharing so personally so globally. But I am struck by the ultimate goal I once had for this blog – to start a dialogue. So thrust forward I shall.

My penchant for states of mental intoxication is infrequent and often comes with a strict mandatory list of fulfillment before I can go down the road of “hey brain, you might not be back for a few hours”. My capacity for brief relationships and interactions is dwindling and I’ve come to realize how strongly I value one-on-one time with people.

At 25, I finally feel my body is my own.

When I was 19 I ordered “The Art of Seduction” online. I was ecstatic and embarrassed when it was delivered to my door. A young, awkward, and hypersexual teenager learning to seduce. Such a strange experience it was. Dolling myself up on a day-to-day basis, taking hours to pamper and dress myself before I could even leave the house. And when people would stare at me or men would hit on me, I would feel my eyes well up. Walking out of the bathroom from the Eaton Centre, a woman looked me up and down and verbally slapped me with “Well God, sorry I didn’t brush my hair this morning.”

Traveling to Scarborough for school, I would get hit on repeatedly by young men with the one liner of “Hi… Do you have a boyfriend?” and the only way I knew how to push them away was to say “Yes” and let the highly-acclaimed Male Respect wash over my new fan-base and leave me even more convinced that my body and appearance were not for myself, but for the men around me.

At 25, I know the difference. At 25 my relationships don’t change when I take my makeup off or wear sweatpants outside or get food on my face. At 25 I feel I have erased enough of this bizarre hypocritical life society expects of its young women. At 25 I have finally undone this engrained backwards thinking.

At 25, I understand how fleeting relationships can be because people are fleeting. You can never hold onto anyone because a person is not an anchor and often one has difficulty even holding onto themselves. At 25 I have learned sometimes it is ok if you don’t have enough energy to give. Some relationships are too drenched in history to unbury new kindling. Sometimes you can sit across from someone you’ve known deeply for years, and there is nothing you can say or do to resolve the personal conflicts you have both gone through together. I have been too loud to hear someone. I have been too quiet to have been heard. There is no possible way to resolve all conflict in all relationships. At 25, I am letting myself have “this is okay,” because if it’s not, I might not be able to anchor myself.

At 25, I breath deeply enough and have read enough Chopra, Mate, Tolle, Robbins, that I *hope* I can stand diplomatically and with open arms in the middle of a world that is very quick to shoot arrows and stay standing with minimal holes to my person.

At 25, I feel I have both lived 7 lives and lived none at all.

At 25, I both want to apologize to everyone I have ever unintentionally hurt and also reside in my bubble of stubborn, holding a mirror up to everyone I have fought with just so we recognize that we are just staring at ourselves. I see my own flaws so clearly in other people. I see my strengths, too.

My heart remains open, even though my head is exhausted. I sincerely appreciate and value the people in my life whose hearts are also open – it is an honor to be surrounded by friends and family who are so eager to give. I hope I am able to mirror your generosity.

At 25, I feel I have worked so hard just to go three feet forward and one foot back. And I think about all of the work that is still ahead of me and a part of me wants to lie in my bed nest with Max dog and just drink wine and fall asleep and a part of me has found the energy to keep going because passion or… something.

Here’s to my quarter-life crisis and the new sets of adventures this feeling of adult-hood will bring on.

At 30, I hope I will continue to laugh at myself.

The things I haven’t learned

At the bright and ripe age of 24, I have successfully failed at marriage.

If you are new to reading this blog, you will probably take one look at the name and think to yourself ‘well, duh, why would you even GET married’. If you know me… You might be thinking the same thing, regardless.

I am countlessly asked ‘What happened?” And as someone who has never been shy about sharing, I can honestly say, in the grand scheme of things… I don’t know. I really, truly, do not know anything about marriage.

And I know that these are things that don’t need to be said. I don’t owe any explanation to anyone, nor do I particularly want to give one. But in the interest in continuing this blog with the honesty and integrity I started it with, with the deep and real belief I have that the more we share and talk about things, the easier they become to change. So here we go.

A lovely thing someone posted on facebook the other day:

“Being married does not mean your relationship has more value than someone else’s.”

Which carries something beautiful with it and is, of course, 100% accurate. The government knows nothing about your relationship. Some of the most malfunctioning relationships could exist within marriage and some of the most magnificent relationships could exist outside of it.

I did not fail without a fight… Probably too many fights. I wrote countless letters that were never shared, attempting to find some wisdom in repetitive insight… (I never did… or maybe I did. Who knows). When it comes down to it, I physically and emotionally had no more to give. My posture collapsed in upon itself, my eyes welled up with tears, I became useless. Even writing this my chest is constricting and I have a headache. I had reached the threshold of what I could give of myself in this particular relationship.

Maybe it was because, as my mother never failed to remind me, “I was too young”… (I think I will always be too young). Maybe, it was because my brain, overridden by countless Disney movies and hollywood chick flicks,  had very small amounts of other options of what to do when you are entirely consumed by love but to tie yourself to that person for your entire life. Maybe it was my over zealous spontaneity or confidence in my decision-making skills that marriage didn’t seem as daunting as it does now.

Whichever it was or is… I am okay with it. Of course. How could you not be. It was a relationship and relationships are so infused with love and beauty and consumption of wanting something so badly. Relationships are the epitome of the ultimate human expression, in whatever form that expression chooses to come out in.

There are so many other things that need to be said about being married and separating from the person who you existed in marriage with. There are so many moments that you ache for. There are feelings you wonder if you will ever feel again.

“I love your face. Like, so much so. Everything about it is something I find to be so appealing and handsome – a face I would want to spend forever with if I believed in forevers.”

In the painfully honest words of the most romantic teen fiction novel of our time:

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I’d Tap That & to be a slut on the MTV’s!

Some awesome folks over at MTV are in their second season of ‘Losing It’ , providing the public with variations of virginity loss. After hearing how badly the sex-ed system failed so many of us, they decided to do a ‘Sex Ed Special’ and guess who’s in it! You can watch it here: Losing It Sex Ed Special!

What a fantastically awesome project to begin constructing a new social narrative in regards to how we talk about and approach sex. Losing It allows you to see just how differently each of us experience sex and sexuality. Big shout out to you guys over at MTV for kicking ass!

Oh! And thanks for letting me fulfill my dream of dancing about naked on TV! (With a super babely naked partner-in-crime to boot!)

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Face Plaster and Other Strange Goop Bought From Drugstores

I have a curious relationship with makeup.

I was looking in the mirror just now when I had a very factual realization that I have not ever had before (and bear with me, because this might sound weird coming from the chick who has naked workshops about embracing ones body as it is):  I like the way I look without makeup.

For some of you, this might be a normal day-to-day occurrence, but I started wearing makeup when I was 14 and realized that my eyebrows were not only asymmetrical, but very sparse and lightly-colored. I had died my hair black at this point because I was hardcore and cool, and the only logical thought I had was that my eyebrows needed to match my hair. So, logically, I started filling in the brows (although, at this point, not well).
This. This is how they found their way onto my face.
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No… This is not actually true, but this is the only picture I could find of myself at this age with fake eyebrows. Below is a picture in the same time frame of me without eyebrows.
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Pretty sexy, eh? Oh to be 14 again.

Anyhow. The point here is that I was born with genetically sparse eyebrows, and no where in the vast space that is the media did I see someone who was rocking sparse eyebrows. Apart from this one point of focus, I also realized I had bags under my eyes, red skin blemishes, short eyelashes, eyes that were too close together, and a lack of cheekbone definition… Seriously… This is what went through my mind when I was 14. For some stupid, stupid reason, the day and age we are growing up in is tampering with our brains to get us to be as self-critical as possible as young as possible.

If someone had told me at 14 that one day I would eventually alter my appearance enough to resemble all those blonde, seductive movie stars I cut out of magazines, I would’ve thought they were cray-cray. Regardless, it is my particular belief that we are all beautiful despite and with our altered appearances. At this point in my life, when I dye or cut my hair, change my wardrobe or apply heavy makeup – it is because I am intrinsically enjoying the variations of self that I can have. At 14, I wanted to do it because I thought my natural self wasn’t good-looking enough.

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I think this is partially why I started running the Body Pride workshops. Because while Jessica Simpson is very beautiful, she is just one specimen of the human race. It’s an infuriating process to start to deconstruct the social constructs that have been building up in our minds since we gained access to magazines, the internet, TV and books. It is also a very slow process because they tend to only come one at a time.

For about 8 years I could not leave the house unless I had my eyebrows on. Which is a very silly thing to think, especially because no one but myself made this rule up. In tangent with this eyebrow rule, there existed a large period of time that I wore a considerable amount of heavy of makeup: primer, concealor, cover-up, bronzer, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, highlighter eyeshadow, eyebrow dust, mascara. You name it. Except lipstick. Lipstick and I never became friends.

Not only was this expensive and time-consuming, but also annoying. In my head, I had to apply all of this gunk to my face before going anywhere or allowing anyone to see me. And I mean anyone – my own family went months without seeing my natural face. It got to a point where, upon sleeping at a partners house, I left the bed in the morning to go apply all of this makeup again, fearful they would turn to stone if they saw me without my eyebrows on, god forbid.

It didn’t help that my first boyfriend had told one of our mutual friends that I looked like a bulldog. And we met at camp where makeup didn’t exist. That was nice to hear at 16.

I owe huge thanks to one partner who finally just told me to “Relax a little”. I took a few deep breathes, thought about it, and started to believe that not caring what you looked like when you woke up in the morning, was by far sexier than darting to the bathroom to apply a thick layer of foundation.

So, my life lessons thus far go along the lines of ‘if you are experiencing it, someone else definitely is’. Which is why I have made a post about this. For something that should not be a big deal, it has taken me years, a lot of confirmation (from a husband who seems to have a PhD in flattery), a lot of self-validation (confirming that people don’t actually cover their eyes and hiss when they see me bare-faced) and a puppy (you don’t have a chance to put yo’ eyebrows on when the pup has gots ta pee) in order for me to happily say, I like the way I look without makeup.

And while I do enjoy the wonders that makeup brings (can’t lie about the fun), there is this giant weight that has been lifting by removing this strange goopy rule that I had inflicted so early on myself… So, once again, baring it all, gooplessy yours.

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ONE YEAR OF AWESOME

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Last May, myself and three other ladies began something incredible: Crush. Crush has developed into a place where everyone of any sexual orientation/gender identity can come and just be awesome. From the feedback we have received, we have accomplished creating a space free of judgment, full of love, and packed with half-naked beings.

With this, I invite you to come celebrate CrushTO’s one year anniversary with us on May 25th. I will be flying in from St. John’s (with my husband) to partake in the exuberant excellence of this evening and I could not be more excited.

And on another awesome hand, SPIT is prepping to launch July 5!! We are having a very sexy party to leap into the world of raunchy eroticism, but we need some support from you guys, to cover some of the fees of the venue and to pay our super cool web-developer, we need to raise some funds and we have set up an account with Indiegogo. This way, we can ensure you get awesome things when you give us your money (as well as a bunch of free porn).

OR, if you have no money, we would deeply appreciate you sharing our indiegogo page and talking us up a lot so that your rich friends will support us. OR, if you are just super interested in sex and porn and nudity and art, shoot me an email at ck@tobeaslut.com to talk about submitting your work/modelling!

SEE YOU AT CRUSH!!!

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Sexy Updates

crushmarchI would just like to take a moment to thank all of you incredible amazing people who fill the Crush parties with so much acceptance and love. It was so wonderful to be back amongst all of you, even if it was just for one night. And to the beautiful naked ladies that joined me (once again) in a splendiferous evening of hilarious stories and boob-bouncing dance moves – THANK YOU. You are constantly reminding me to be as naked as often as possible. And to top it all off, I also had the amazing opportunity to partake in MTV’s ‘Losing It’ (a sex-positive show collecting and sharing stories of first times) and there shall be a naked surprise coming up for those that follow this project (wink wink!).

There are so many exciting things on the horizon! The girls of I’d Tap That are setting the motion of the sexy ocean and I cannot wait to see what next year will look like!

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If you missed the last Crush Party, the next one will be Saturday April 27th, see poster below. Alas, I shall not be present for that one. I will, however, be in Toronto for our one year crush-versary! Stay posted!!

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(As a side note, if anyone who may have access to cheaper/free flights would like to help me out, I would be eternally in your debt! Please shoot me a message at ck@tobeslut.com)

Thoughts on That Thing Called Marriage and Long-Term Commitment in General

 

Hello internet-dwelling love bugs.

So, this will be an interesting experiment where I journey forward into writing about relationships. To summarize, my history with relationships that last longer than a year is bleak. It is perfectly ironic that I so quickly knew I wanted to marry Jake when we began seeing each other.

That being said, I must confess: I have very little hands-on experience being in a relationship. Do you want to know a secret, though? I haven’t needed any.

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I learned this in many idiotic attempts to be everyone’s perfect girlfriend back when I was chain-dating. It never worked. Enough time would always eventually pass for either a portion of my real self to slip into a conversation, or for me to realize that I was really not with someone I wanted to be with.

Albeit, I was a few years younger than I am now, and it’s possible that the path of every young adult involves screwing up in both relationships with others and themself. I like to think so. It makes for a more empathetic connection to one’s mistakes.

I eventually stopped the identity altering and discovered how much easier it was to be myself (more fun, too). It was also simpler to understand that maybe whomever I was dating might just not ‘click’ with my reckless and wild soul. Each time I had a bad date or stopped seeing someone, I became more excited about the person I would meet who I did ‘click’ with – they would just have to be that much more awesome.

I am telling you all of this because I think I am finally coming to a conclusion about relationships. I have been trying to write this blog post for the past four months and every time I think I’ve read something that encompasses the overall ‘gist’ of relationships, something comes up in my own in relationship that proves otherwise. I read many books during this period of relationship philosophizing, two of which stuck out.  David Schnarch’s “Passionate Marriage” was helpful, enlightening and convincing, and Thomas Moore’s “Soul Mates”, although not quite as accessible, I think had something deeper melded to its core message.

The conclusions I have reached in regards to my own relationship did not come jolting out at me from either book… Or perhaps they are a combination of many ideas merging into a greater whole… Regardless, what follows are now my relationship goal posts. HUZZAH.

1. It’s intrinsic. No one can tell you how to navigate your own relationship with another person. Mostly because no one besides you and your partner has been heavily immersed in the weaving of your particular souls. Thomas Moore was ballsy enough to say in his own book that, “Establishing intimacy with yourself or another is not a matter of finding new information or borrowing new words for your condition or your personality. Nor is it the application of these words and ideas to your experiences. New ideas about psychology often lead to suggested programs of self-improvement, but such programs work against the soul.” You will be the one to create your own story. Isn’t that a nice thought?

2. The lows are just as good as the highs. As a society we are quick to assume that any negative emotion is a gateway into depression or a disconnect from our inner workings. Feeling happy may be a whole lot healthier and genuinely feel better, but you can’t evolve as a person without experiencing the bad stuff. I don’t mean that you should go and make yourself a nest in the deepest, darkest hollow of your being so you can wallow, rather, you should at least allow yourself to touch upon that real, living sense of being. I say this because the more empathy we have for ourselves – the more we can forgive ourselves, accept ourselves and feel for ourselves – the more accepting and understanding we become of our also-imperfect fellow human beings. If more married people said that the good stuff also lies in the arguments and shaky emotions, maybe we wouldn’t feel like such fuck-ups every time we experience something other than joy.

3. I have only been married for six months, so everything I am typing now could be complete nonsense. But I feel once those vows have been said and the knot has been tied, you are left staring at a very real attachment to another person. I am going to live with this person for as long as life permits it. (A cab driver once informed me that his first wife died, and his second became a lesbian and left him – thus, as long as life permits it). As I looked upon this wondrous commitment that I was so very compelled to make, I found myself seeking out a road map or a model that would frame and shape the existence of Jake’s and my relationship. Getting married really does suddenly make the relationship very different, but there were way too many movies, books and TV shows that presented a vision of what the role of husband and wife “should” look like or “should” be that did not resonate with me at all – and that terrifies me.

Jake and I recently went and saw “This is 40” in theatres… It was quite possibly one of the most depressing movies I have seen. I walked out of the theatre, with Jake’s hand in mine, popcorn-butter smeared across my fretful face, and I could not help but worry that this is what my fate might be. That, one day, I would wake up and my day would begin in and end in frustration and yelling.

When we first got hitched, I had it in my head that maybe we now needed to meet all these marriage requirements; that we now had to act, look and live like grown-ups because we had made this big grown-up decision.

To this, I now say: donkey bullocks.

It is our generation that I believe can rewrite this narrative. I would like to fill the world with more stories of marriages and relationships that embrace our inadequacies. I would like to stop trying to be a “good” girlfriend or an “effective” wife and just be me.

 “Another problem with the idea of self-improvement is that it implies there is something wrong with who we are. Everyone wants to be someone else, but getting to know and love yourself means accepting who you are, complete with your inadequacies and irrationalities.” – Thomas Moore, Soul Mates

That’s what I wanted, anyway. When I got married, I just wanted Jake to always be there while I continued being myself. When Jake and I began seeing each other, neither of us wanted a relationship, and when it came to the point where we were obviously more than just friends, we had a very awkward, but valuable conversation about our relationship. We were both afraid of having to follow the same “relationship rules” that we had in previous relationships, that we would no longer be able to have the same fun we’d been having together. We concurred that we would approach our future in a manner that was similar to an art project. Onto a canvas we wanted to throw spontaneity, happiness and a mutual appreciation for one another (we hadn’t dropped the L-bomb yet).

With all of the wonderful marital advice we received, none of it really makes a dent until you are actually doing the marriage stuff. And even when you are, you very rarely remember the advice. But maybe this will help or sit somewhere deep in the subconscious of your future or current married/long-term committed brain: resist nothing and enjoy the ride.

“Nobody’s ready for marriage. Marriage makes you ready for marriage.” – David Shnarch, Passionate Marriage
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JennaMarbles: Slut Edition

Dear Jenna,

My name is Caitlin Roberts, and I am a slut.

By your definition, I suppose I am a retired slut, but I still hold on dearly to the title.

There have been many enlightening responses to your latest video regarding your confusion about the choices sluts make. Laci Green and Haley G Hoover have put together very informative monologues (if you haven’t watched them, I recommend you do, they both still love you).

Alas, as I am letting it be known to the entire internet world through this blog, I am a slut. A very happy and contented slut. So it feels only appropriate that a slut respond to your curiosities.

I started my slut-hood at a young age, some would say. Which came with its own set of problems, much similar to the ones you mentioned in your videos. I had low self-esteem as a teenager in regards to my physical appearance and would often make imbalanced choices that seemed, at the time, like they may boost this problem (a problem that every single girl goes through unless you’ve come out of the womb as a mutant sexpot mix of Aphrodite and Marilyn Monroe).

Now, ideally, no young woman should gain her self confidence by having sex with various partners. But, unfortunately, there are no great systems available to those same young women informing them that they are indeed attractive and beautiful. Nor are there many that will just sit them down and tell them how friggin’ smart or intelligent they are.

And maybe it was not the best way to absorb this information, but after a week in Cuba at 18, my confidence meter was pretty arrogant.

And, although I did consume alcohol on that trip, I was sober every time I made the decision to sleep with someone. Actually, I was completing a crossword at 9pm while drinking coffee at a piano bar during one of those decision-making times. (Yeah… I was odd for an 18-year-old on a parentless trip to a hot island.)

For a few years after this revelation of my own personal awesomeness, I continued to have frequent casual sex. Either with people I was dating, or people I had met just for the night. I was very content and happy with my sexual lifestyle. I was introduced to non-monogamy very early and the concept appealed to me tenfold. Why? I wanted to have sex. I didn’t want to force myself to fall in love with someone I only maybe liked a little bit. But I definitely could have sex with that person, respect them, make them coffee in the morning and high five them on their way out the door for an epic evening of epicness.

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In my personal opinion, acknowledging a physical desire and making (responsible) choices to care for and cherish those desires built more integrity in my character than feigning love with someone who didn’t bother me too much.

Now, I am all too aware that this is not the lifestyle choice of everybody (my mother reminds me daily). And now that I am wrapped within the warm and fuzzy bounds of a monogamous relationship with someone I am head over heels in love with, it is a very long ways away that my mind could even contemplate enjoying a sexual encounter with someone other than my husband.

But yet, I still do not give up my slut title. Why, you might ask?

Because I am a firm believer that if I am making sexual choices that are informed (meaning I understand and recognize what the potential consequences may be) and I am happy and content with those choices, and this what being a slut is, than yes. I am STILL a slut.

I just wanted to let you know that I thought I was in the wrong. That although I was happy with my decisions, every time I woke up the next morning I was slapped in the face by what society was telling me: that I was unworthy because I was letting so many people close to my body, that because I wasn’t in love my sexuality was dirty, that giving into my desires was irregular and that I should have had more self-control.

But this was because nobody told me otherwise. I had nothing else to bank off except my mothers beliefs, the media, and what the school system was teaching me. I had to go looking for information. I very recently had a 16-year-old girl tell me that after reading my article about virginity, it was the first time in 2 years that she did not feel guilt or shame about losing her v-card.

My point here is that unless you had gone looking for information about slut-shaming or rape culture, you likely had no idea about the intricately woven story that is ‘promiscuous’ female sexuality. And although not ideal for someone speaking to so many young women, I can truly understand how you would have not been informed.

I guess we could say that my Christmas wish to you, dear Jenna, is that you, hopefully, may have gained an insight after this onslaught of people making you videos and writing you internet letters, and may be able to inform all the other girls out there who also don’t know this information exists, and perhaps relieve them of any fear or shame of their sexual choices and take the blame off of those that are victims of sexual assault.

I would be a very happy camper if this could come true.

Sincerely yours,

Caitlin the Slut.

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JustIn Credible

Very rarely will I write a post about a singular person… In fact, unless it is relevant to a point I am making, I avoid mentioning the men I have interacted with. But something a little bizarre happened last night.

I was sitting around a table with 3 girls from Toronto (we were in Newfoundland, somehow we all managed to find each other through Toronto-vibes) and we are talking about bad dates. I mention one in which I had to fake an emergency phone call from his bathroom because he was just so insanely self-important and boring. A friend tells her story of a first date taking her home to a Middle Eastern family celebration with the title of his ‘girlfriend’… And then I remember, Justin.

I used to work at a 24-hour diner downtown. I used to work night shifts at this diner. One Friday night, I got off work at around 5 AM. At this time in the day, having worked a double-shift, you want nothing more than to go home and sleep. That is all. Still in my work garb, doused in ketchup, toast crumbs and shame, I am waiting for the night bus at Yonge and College. The sun is rising and I am falling asleep while standing, when there walks up to me this guy:

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Yes, I find myself face-to-face with something that seems to have escaped a Japanese cartoon. He is bouncing towards me with a MacDonalds milkshake in hand, and at that precise moment in which someone has the opportunity to no longer have a place your life, JustIn Credible turns and says to me:

“What would you do if some cute guy came up to you and told you you were pretty?”

I stare at him, not only recognizing that everything about him has walked out of the first half of “The Game; The Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists” (a book that actually has decent pointers for socially uncomfortable men, and then becomes increasingly sexist in the second half…) and dumbfounded by the fact that anyone could be hitting on anyone at 5 in the morning… Except in love stories, which is the only reason I reply to him:

“I dunno… High-five him, I guess.”

Of course, Justing raises his hand waiting for me to high-five him. He continues to ramble on about dinosaurs – I don’t really recall because it was 5 in the morning and I wanted to face plant into a pillow but my bus wasn’t coming. The next thing I know Justin, just as any romantic anime character would, holds out his hand to me and says “Want to go for an adventure?”

Now, whether I take his hand or not is irrelevant to this post, but I will at least tell you what was going through my mind. Two things:

1. This guy is going to take me somewhere so we can get it on.
2. There is a 2% chance that I am currently partaking in someone’s spontaneous life decision to connect with a stranger/live out a dramatic romance. And I could hold on to the idea that JustIn Credible wants to break into a building, run the stairs to the top and watch the sunrise while we hold hands…

I will leave you at a cliffhanger.

This all wouldn’t be particularly odd if I hadn’t told my close friend about it a few days afterwards. And upon mention of ‘very good looking Asian anime guy’, she asked me what his name was. Turns out, only two months ago, the same guy had asked for her phone number at a subway station.

Of course, her and I have a good chuckle and think that we both must be super good-looking for the same guy to pick us BOTH up.

And then, about a year later as I sit in a restaurant in St. John’s, Newfoundland, talking to 3 Toronto-based females, TWO out of the THREE had also been picked up by the same guy with extremely random and seemingly creative pick-up lines (right from Neil Strauss’s ‘The Game’).

This is a shout-out to JustIn Credible (his Facebook name, of course. Given to me by one of the most recently discovered hit-on lady’s). Not because you seem to come onto everyone with a vagina, but because you have made yourself ‘Barney Stinson’ Lengendary. I honestly have to give kudos to a guy who has made himself known to so many females that we can connect over wine in another province with stories of your attempts to get into our pants. If you read this, JustIn – contact me, I would like to interview you.

If you are a female who has been hit on by a lean, muscular, tattooed Asian guy named Justin, email me with your story. I would seriously like to know just how many women I know have been swooned by this fellow.

Tell An 11-Year-Old They’re Beautiful

In my oh-so dramatically turbulent teenaged years, I had a mild obsession with the word ‘beautiful’.

Or rather, I should clarify, I had a mild obsession with maybe one day, if I was lucky, someone would refer to me as being ‘beautiful’.

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I’ve recently been delving into all corners of my mind trying to pull out all of the things that I have forgotten to remember. (As a creative writing exercise, of course.)

There is one girl, let’s call her Suzie, she must be about 10 or 11. She and her mother/aunt/older sister were regulars at Fran’s (a 50’s style 24 hour diner I used to work at). This girl was overweight. By the standards that doctors give for healthy and average weight frames for girls her height and age, she was in the red zone. Every time she came into the diner, she and her chaperone would have just finished swimming at the ‘Y’. I know this because she told me this, right before she ordered the usual burger and fries along side the king size chocolate milkshake’s that are one of the trademarks at Fran’s (they also acted as the bane of my existence for the year and a half I worked there).

Suzie, at least once every meal she ate at the diner, would stare up at me from the table and tell me how pretty she thought I was.

Not once did I ever tell Suzie how beautiful she was.

Perhaps I was struck by the honesty that tends to spill forth from children’s lips. Perhaps, amidst so many other people, bathing in the florescent lights and pop rock, I did not think that I would be able to be sincere enough that she would believe me. Perhaps I was thinking about how differently my life would have gone had some complete stranger that I thought was ‘pretty’ told me that she thought I was beautiful when I was 11.

To recap what being 11 is like: I had just begun to discover the correlation with how greasy my hair was or how tight-fitting my clothes were to my social worth in popularity. Even with secretly starting to shave my legs, wearing training bras, and wearing 5-inch hooker shoes and a skimpy little dress to my grade 6 graduation, I was by no means ‘cool’. I liked every single boy, but was convinced, due to my low level in the social food chain, that not a single boy was looking at me.

No one told me I was beautiful until I was 15.

To be fair, in my own mind, I hadn’t reached any sort of impeccable beauty standard. I was not lithe and athletic. I was not the sort of voluptuous that stopped cars or caught the eyes of men. Had I recognized that I had a waist and what the wonders of a proper bra could do, I would have had a very different high-school experience. But alas.

The first person to use the word ‘beautiful’ in reference to me (that wasn’t a doting relative) was a 17-year-old boy who was unknowingly hitting a homerun with this word that oh-so nonchalantly escaped his lips.

I idolized him. Over the month that I had known him at camp I had continued to feed my brain whatever little detail I could about the delightfulness of his movie-star self: his unwashed, dark curls that bounced just below his eyebrows, the aviator sunglasses that didn’t quite sit right on his nose, but made him seem contradictingly law-enforcing and law-breaking all at once, the puss-filled pimples that were begging to be popped and loved – oh the character an uneven complexion aroused from my brain, the misunderstood loner who was just hit by a bad bunch of teen-genes.

We even had a few moments of utter ecstatical adoration for each other: catching each others eyes across the room. Slightly grazing shoulders. Being paired up in some form of tag game. Had known how to masturbate at this age, I would’ve been going at it everyday in the shower with the thoughts of him that were, by the minute, dissolving whatever else I had absorbed in my short time on Earth.

The real story came about when I officially returned to camp as a counselor instead of a ‘counselor in training’ (apparently, as long as you are paying to be there, you are still, technically, a camper, despite the title change – it was also at this point that I discovered how nun-tight they are about preventing camper-counselor relationships. I quickly realized how many of my male counselors avoided me in the years at my camp due to my exorbitantly obvious crushes on them…).

The day I returned, there was an instant click of a switch and some rather painfully obvious forms of universal signs presented themselves in front of us: on the ride to camp I was squished into the seat beside him. With our legs touching, he hands me the fortune he broke free of his recently consumed Chinese desert: You will find happiness beside you. If the truck had not been full of my other people I likely would’ve jumped him then and there – had I known how to kiss.

Because no one told me I was beautiful, I did as any normal teenager who hasn’t yet read a plethora of novels would do: I based my looks off magazine, TV and my peers. How this worked for my brain and self-confidence was that every time I looked up into a mirror I saw the hugeness of my forehead, the lankiness of my hair, the braces, the thin lips, the belly that cascaded in the lumps and bumps of a rolling hillside, the lack of booty and the uncompromising, thick, dark pubic hair. Not to mention two boulders attached to my chest that would roll out of any contraption you could buy at LaSenza.

To be quite frank, when this teenage camp-crush whispered “Morning, beautiful” into my ear right after we had done the Morning Freshie (a tortuous experiment enforced by the camp leader whose genius mind figured stampeding into a freezing cold Northern lake at 7 AM would be a great way to not only wake kids up, but keep their hygiene level at a decent level of stink), I didn’t believe him. In my normal state of being, I knew I was nothing shiny to gaze upon, but at the break of dawn, in a tight, unflattering bathing suit, after I had doused my body in sub-arctic lake water… Go fuck yourself.

But nonetheless, a shiver of endorphins and dopamine ran up and down my spine that sent myself the message that I was living out the dream in that moment. The rest of my life would likely go to shit at that point, because the boy I had a gynormous crush on was telling me I was beautiful – and this would be the climax of my lifes story.

beauty. in a nutshell.

But this was not the case. As you can tell by the picture above, I would grow to be an insanely beautiful lady, with the class and grace of a child raised in the company of royalty and strict nannies.

I’m not saying that no good evolved of my childhood ugly ducklingness. Instead of just assuming boys would be interested in me, I ordered books like ‘The Art of Seduction” off the internets and studied about non-monogamy. Which was a hoot in its own way. But, if someone had told me, if someone in their 20’s with a funky haircut, a neat tattoo, someone who wore Doc Martens and black eyeliner, or some babely chick had looked at me and told me without flinching, “You are so beautiful” … the heartbreaking, self-hatred I had formed for my body at the age 11, may have diminished some.

When you were 11, and a complete stranger of a young woman told you they thought you were beautiful, how would it have effected you?