I Really Like Natural Boobs… And Personality.

One of my goals for 2017 is to start a more consistent exercise program… of some sort.  I don’t really care if it’s ensuring that I get 10,000 steps in a day or if I swim laps for 45 minutes.  I just want to know that, most days of the week, I’ve used my body.  Done something good for it.

And so I’ve been finding myself at the pool lately.

I find the pool intimidating.  How does one know which lane to swim in?  How does one ensure that one doesn’t crash into that person flying by oh-so-close?  How does one wander about in their bathing suit while running into colleagues and such?  How does one get over their fear of running into Aggressive Guy whilst in a bathing suit?

I was at the pool last week.  I’d been swimming laps and was feeling really good as I opened the door to the sauna and saw three men in their early 30s look up as I entered.  I hesitated for a moment in the way that most women do when confronted with a room of only men.  But I went in.  Because it’s the public pool, it’s a safe place, and there’s nothing to worry about.  Silly me for my hesitation.

Let’s call these three gentlemen: Guy 1, Guy 2, and Guy 3.

Guy 3 leaves the sauna within a few moments of my entering.

Guy 2: “Did you see his new girlfriend?”

Guy 1: “Yeah, she’s totally a downgrade from the last chick.”

Guy 2: “Totally.  She’s still pretty hot though.”

Guy 1: “Nah.  I don’t go for the fake boobs.  So many of the chicks in the hot tub tonight have fakes.”

Guy 2: “I hate fakes.  She really is a downgrade.”

Guy 1, apparently realizing that this conversation might be inappropriate, glances over at me, assesses my situation, and says: “I really like natural boobs.”

Guy 2, realizes that they have been less than gentlemanly with their conversation, glances at me, assesses my situation, and says: “And personality.  Really I just want a good personality.”

(Throughout this conversation I had my head down and my eyes half shut in an attempt to block them out.  Politely.)

They then proceeded to discuss the girls in the hot tub and which of them they figured had fake boobs.  They rated their bodies and hotness.

At another iteration of “Fake boobs are so gross” I lifted my head, looked the offender in the eye, and said: “I guess it just depends on how good the surgeon is.”

(I’m not sure why this is what I chose to say.  It was like my Santa Claus moment of a couple years ago.  That’s what slipped out.)

Both guys turned bright red at the confirmation that I wasn’t in fact deaf and one stuttered out a: “Sorry, we weren’t trying to be rude.”

I shrugged, smiled, and replied that it was all good.

I hate myself a little bit for that smile.

But I was in a small contained space with two unknown men and I really did not want to lose my proud post-workout buzz by having to have that conversation.

You know the conversation.  The conversation that asks them if they would be okay with their mothers, daughters, sisters, wives or girlfriends being spoken about in the way that they were talking about the ‘downgrade girlfriend’.  (And can we just think about this for a moment… )

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The conversation that asks them if they wanted me to dissect their bodies as I sat in the sauna with a friend.  Should I speculate that they probably have small dicks?  ED?  (What is the equivalent on a man of fake breasts on a woman?)

The conversation that asks them why the fuck I need to ask them these fucking questions.

So I smiled at them.  And I made nice.  Because I didn’t have the energy for that conversation on this particular day.  Because I’m good at backing down.  Because men kind of scare me and life seems to reinforce that that’s smart.

And I shut down that little voice inside that wondered how lacking they found my body, encased as it was in a one piece swimsuit with far too much cleavage.  What did they think about the dimples on my thighs, the very visible dent in my ass from a fall last year?  What did they have to say about my lack of makeup, about my too-high BMI?  About the stretch marks littering the undersides of my upper arms?

I’ve fought so hard to be okay in my body.  It had been a fight to get myself to the pool that night.  To expose myself in such a way.

And to find that all my fears were true?  That the men I passed in on the deck really were staring, make assessments, and certainly finding me lacking?

Suddenly I remembered this…

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(I can’t find a source for this beautiful image…)

Yeah.  I still need to remind myself of that once in awhile.

I don’t care to excuse guys who talk like this anymore.  The men in my world don’t.  Boys won’t be boys.  Boys need to Find Something Else to Talk About.  Fuck off.  Realize that my body, and the bodies of all those women in the hot tub, are not fodder for your amusement.

Seriously boys.  It’s time to grow the fuck up.

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…”Do You Spend Lots of Time on Your Knees?”

When I was 19 I got a job working at a car dealership as an accounts payable clerk.  It was a couple days per week, while I was going to school full time, oh, and working a second job as an office manager in downtown Vancouver.  I was a busy, busy girl.

I don’t remember much about this job, it was so long ago.  But I do have one very clear memory.  I was filing a pile of invoices, kneeling on the floor, when one of the salesmen, a much older man, came wandering over.  He placed his body directly in front of me so that I was trapped between him, the cabinet, and the wall.  His crotch was at eye level about four inches from touching my face.  He laughed and asked if I spent lots of time on my knees.

I could see past him to several other men who worked there watching and laughing.

I just remember turning bright red, forcing myself to laugh, and responding with some inane remark.  I remember feeling trapped, uncomfortable, and beyond angry.  I remember thinking that I needed to keep my cool so as to avoid making the situation worse.  I left that job quickly.

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A few years later I had a boss who would stand behind my deck, close, breathing down my neck.  Literally.  I remember that whenever I went into his office he would ask me questions aggressively about the file that I was working on and then interrupt the moment that I attempted to explain, as if I was the stupidest girl he’d ever been forced to deal with.  I remember that after almost every single meeting I would go into the bathroom and shake and cry in one of the stalls for several minutes until I could calm down from the way this man spoke to me.  I remember that there was a couple of other women who did the same thing.

I remember my boss Greg.  Greg owned a small accounting firm and I was his only employee.  It was just Greg and I most of the time.  I was in my early twenties and worked for Greg for a number of years as I completed my degree.

Greg was an incredible boss.  

He was a few years older than me.  He mentored me, believed in me.  He paid me a fair wage and gave me a ridiculously generous bonus each Christmas.

If I was struggling with a class Greg would offer to help.  He would give me time off for exams.  If I did something wrong Greg would teach me.  Greg didn’t mansplain, or bully, or stand too close.  He didn’t stare at my breasts and ass when he thought I wouldn’t notice.  (Or when he knew I would).

There are good men in this world.  Lots and lots of them and I have been blessed to have many in my life.

I have also had some pretty awful men in my life.  Without the good men I don’t know if I would have realized that they were treating me badly.  It’s easy to become used to this behaviour and brush it off as “locker room talk”.

It’s not locker room talk.  Or.  It shouldn’t be.

I am not a political person.  I don’t watch debates or hold strong policy opinions.  When it is time to vote I look around, find out who matches best with my values, drop a ballot into a box and wait until the next time.

But I watched the debate last night.  I watched the debate last night because it was all we could talk about at book club earlier in the week (this was pre-“grabbed her by the p*ssy”) and already all we were talking about was feminism and Trumps attitude towards women.  We were despairing that Hilary might not make it, even though people don’t want Trump because, for some men, it would just be too hard to vote for a woman.

And I know nothing about US politics, okay?!  I don’t want to hear about policy.  Trump is a racist, and a sexist, and I think that that alone should disqualify him.

Hilary is going to win.  I have too much faith in humanity to believe otherwise.

But I think that something even more powerful is going to come out of this.

We are talking about it.  We are talking about our own “grabbed her by the p*ssy” moments.  We are saying: we are done smiling when uncomfortable.

It won’t happen overnight.  Two months ago, on a first date, a man pinched my nipples so hard he left a bruise.  (He did not have permission to touch my nipples).  I left and the next day told him he had made me very uncomfortable.  I left it at that because, what else is there to do?

A quote from Amy Schumer…

“Most women I know that I’m close to have had a sexual experience that they were really uncomfortable [with]. If it wasn’t completely rape, it was something very similar to rape. And so I say it’s not all black and white. There’s a gray area of rape, and I call it ‘grape.’ It’s the guy you went home with in college, and you said, ‘No,’ and then he still did it, or maybe you woke up and it was someone you were dating. …

“There’s just so many different things that can happen, so it’s not always this, ‘Well, you’re going to jail and that’s it.’ There’s other stuff where it’s like, ‘Wow, it would be so much work, and it would be such a life-changer for me to … press charges or take any action against this person.’ But every girl I know has had some experience that is kind of like ‘grape.’ “

(There is a really great article about “grape” here).

Mine wasn’t “grape”, I left and he let me, but it was kind of… Assault-Light?

My point.  What’s my point again?

We are in a culture where every single woman I know has a story about grape, about their “grabbed her by the p*ssy” moment(s), and we don’t talk about it.

And, suddenly, the conversation, uncomfortable as some might find it, has opened up.

So let’s talk about it.  All those good men in our world, you guys need to talk about it too.

Let’s make it clear that it isn’t something we are okay with.

That we aren’t going to stay quiet anymore.

(Even if it just means telling that man from work that, no, you don’t spend a lot of time on your knees).

Bridget Jones’s Baby…

I woke up this morning, a headache pulsing, low and threatening, at the base of my skull.

I had big plans for today involving the beach and a blanket and a bucket of fish and chips.  Instead I ate cold leftover lasagna for breakfast (and then lunch).  I took three baths in my tiny tub.  I had two naps.  Nothing touched the pain.  In fact, it began to build.

I finally got out of bed around 3 pm and decided that I was going to laugh my pain away with a good dose of Bridget Jones.

So I went to the movies.

I have to tell you all:  GO SEE BRIDGET JONES’S BABY!!!

It was so good to catch up with Bridget Jones.  She’s all grown up now and has finally reached her goal weight, but has maintained that quirky gets-nothing-quite-right attitude that made us all fall for her in the first place.

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(Points to anyone who really gets what is going on in this scene…)

There’s a scene at the start of the movie where she dances around her house with a large glass of wine singing all the lyrics to Jump Around that I’m fairly certain any woman living on her own will find very relate-able. (Also I may have caught myself singing along with Lily Allen’s Fuck You when the music abruptly cut off and my voice was, for a brief moment, the only sound in the theater.)  The soundtrack to this movie is absolutely fantastic.

Anyways.  Bridget Jones is having a baby.  She just doesn’t know who the father is.

(Cue lots of jokes about sex and semen and polyamory.)

It was completely charming.  And rather touching.

I liked that we are reunited with the stiff and awkward Mr Darcy who still adores Bridget and still can’t quite acknowledge it.  I fucking love Mr Darcy.  I liked Jack, the new guy on the scene, as the open and loving match who tries to sweep her off her feet.  I’m not going to spoil the ending and tell you who the father is, k?

It’s fun to find out.

I kind of wished that I’d brought my notebook to take down quotes as the movie went on but I’m sure that we’ll see lots of lines from the movie in our Pinterest quote feeds soon.  I did break out my pen and jot this one down though…

Sometimes you love a person for all the reasons they’re not like you.  Sometimes you love a person just because they feel like home.   – Bridget Jones

This seems to be a constant refrain for me here.  Looking for a love that feels like home.  For someone who fits in that way.  For someone who wants to have me (and keep me).

It takes a long time and lots of effort to know whether or not you want a person enough to keep them.  There’s always a risk.

It takes Bridget Jones until 43 to find home.

In conclusion?  I’m in my jammies now and the pain has migrated to the front of my face and filled the tissues of my upper back and shoulders.  Tonight is gonna suck.  But at least I got to see BJ’s Baby?!

This song is dedicated to my head:

(Warning, do not play with children in the room.)

“Your lips would look great wra…”

Warning: the following is a rather ineloquent rant on men, dating and love in general.

I am so sick of men.  And dating.  And love.

Online dating is a constant battle of bizarre encounters, disgusting propositions and poor grammar.  Honestly, if I get one more “Your gorgeous” I’m going to stab my own eye out.

(Speaking of eyes, yes, mine are blue.  I was born with them.  I get that you’d absolutely looooove to wake up with those eyes next to you.  If you like them that much I will provide you with the one that I stabbed out.  You can keep it.  It might start to smell after awhile.)

And, men, if you could figure out what the fuck it is that you want, that’d also be great.  It isn’t that hard.  Just fucking make a decision.  Early in the game, please.  If you just want to fuck me, fine.  Tell me.  I’ll be into it (or not!) and we can all move the fuck on.  There is nothing wrong with not wanting a serious relationship or marriage or babies.  Just fucking know what the fuck you want.  And be fucking up front about it.

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(Sorry for all the swearing Mom.  See warning above.)

And, love.  Yes love.  It is such bullshit.  Such.  Bullshit.  You see: you will fall in love.  And it will shatter you.  And then you’ll be left picking up the pieces while… (Okay.  I’m not going to finish that sentence because I was going somewhere really unkind.)

Seriously though.  Love is bullshit.  It’s a bunch of chemicals released by your brain because of orgasms, or the imminent possibility of orgasms.  It’s not real people.

(Except Love is real and it soaks through you and leaves you completely bereft.)

Dating is a constant cycle of rejection and second guessing oneself.  You need nerves of steel because that new message could be sweet… But it could just as easily be “Your lips are great… They’d look great wrapped around my…”.

(By the way: he did finish that sentence and he is the reason for this rant.)

Basically…

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So what I am saying is simple:  Dating is awful.  Men are horrible.  Love is a fucked up sham.  

And I’m going to keep trying.

Because I look around me and I constantly see these couples who finish each other’s sentences and hold hands in the grocery store and have each other’s back.  And I deserve that.  I deserve someone who is going to fight for me, who is going to stick around when things get tough, who is going to have my back as much as I have his.

And I know that he’s out there and he probably just left a horrible date with a woman who ordered champagne and lobster and talked about her Pilates routine for 3 hours without pause and he’s flicking on Netflix wishing that women weren’t so awful.

I’ve been married.  I know how hard it is.  And I’m not trying to minimize that.  But here’s what I’d like  you to do, right now.  Step over the shoes, or socks, or underwear that your partner hasn’t put away properly (yet again).  Walk across the room, the house, the yard until you are standing in front of them. Tell that that you love them.  That you appreciate that they have your back, remind them that you have theirs.  Give them a kiss.

I’m happier single than I ever was married.  But I want to try again.  I want to get the chance to sit on a porch swing watching grand kids run around the front yard holding the same hand I’ve held for 40 years.  And that’s cliche and that’s not guaranteed.  But I want the chance.

So, no.  My lips WOULDN’T look great wrapped around your…  In fact I hope it rots off.

And to my Netflix boy.  I hope that it doesn’t take too long to connect.

Mother Dearest…

I remember once, when I was 12, and too many hormones were filling my body, and I felt friendless and odd and left out, my Mom picked me up at school at the start of lunch and took me to McDonalds.  I remember that this brief reprieve from a world that felt so overwhelming felt like it lasted for hours.  I remember wishing that we could do this every single day.  I remember feeling grown up and loved having my lunch break out with my Mom.  I remember that we talked about how I was feeling at school and what it was like for me.  I remember feeling so hopeful after that lunch.

My Mom, and so many of the other Moms in my life, is such an incredible woman.  These women balance family and friends and careers.  They look after everyone else and often overlook themselves.  They are beautiful and motivating and they inspire me every single day.

As I watch so many of my friends take that plunge into motherhood I watch their grace with amazement.  I watch how they shift into this new role and I am awed by their capacity for love and care.

My Mom has always been in my corner.  Even when she didn’t love my decisions, even when my propensity for a messy home and too few vegetables drove her crazy, she was there.

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If I am ever lucky enough to join her in motherhood I hope that I am as graceful, as loving, as kind and as fun.  I learned so much about how to be a woman, how to be a person, from my Mom.

Thanks aren’t really enough but: Thanks.  Love you.

I Checked Out Your Thing, You Seem Pretty Good…

Dudes of my generation: Could you step up your game?  Please?

I reactivated my OkCupid profile about a week ago out of sheer boredom.  I’m really not looking for anything at the moment, though if something can up I’d go with it.  But I was bored and online dating is nothing if not entertaining.

Some real opening lines I have received this week…

How did this guy make these question marks?  I wasn’t brave enough to ask what the question was… 

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And this guy, looking for a really deep connection.  Deep.  (If you know what I mean…)

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This dude seems eloquent…

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I have blown this guy away…

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Jailbait…

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I have had a few interesting conversations.  But in the past 7 days I have probably received close to a hundred messages.  And these represent the general theme.

Underwhelming to say the least.

I’m kind of serious and kind of teasing.  Online dating is hard.  I have sent some really cringe-worthy opening lines.

At least I “seem pretty good”?

Is this okay to say?

Is it okay to say that I am sick of being on my own?

Is it okay to say that I am tired of going to bed alone, getting up alone, making dinner for one?

Is it okay to say that I am tired of car repairs and house repairs and budgets?

Is it okay to say that I am tired of having no shoulder to cry on or share the load?

Is it okay to say that sometimes I get scared that this is it for me?

My life is full and fun and wonderful.  I’m not waiting for a knight on a white horse.  I’m not compromising on some man.  I am whole and fine on my own.

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This doesn’t change the truth that… being on one’s own? Some days it’s hard.  It’s so damn hard.

And some days that just soaks in and won’t let go.

So I go for a long walk.  Or sing for a few hours.  Or have a drink with a friend.

And it’s great.

But it doesn’t replace having someone to shoulder life with.

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I feel like saying “I’m lonely” or “I’m scared” isn’t okay.  But here’s my 3am confession…

I’m lonely.

I’m scared.

I know I can do it on my own.  I know that in the morning things will look brighter.  

But tonight?  It’s so damn hard.