Also her farts smell real bad. Just another feature.

It’s Valentines day, and I think discussions of romance have been pretty scant around here as of late. Mentions of “love” or “relationships” have been reduced to a few token mentions of my/the girlfriend, hardly a sentiment overflowing with evocative imagery or flowery prose. I haven’t been talking about how things are going between us, ongoing tensions or resolutions. Peaks we’ve overcome or trials we’ve faced. Really though, I haven’t mentioned anything purely because things are going so well, and that’s boring to hear.

On the other side of the equation though, things going well feels anything but boring to experience. I remember the early days of the relationship fondly. One of our biggest issues was that we were terrible at watching things together. In short, every time we lay down to switch on a movie or show, we realised we could be fucking instead. Pure, adrenaline fuelled passion while we were figuring one another’s bodies out. Discovering sweet spots, how to drive one another wild. Steamy and unshackled, almost furious with desire. Throwing ideas at one another to see what stuck. Once again, fond memories. The unspoken element however, were nerves. Being unsure of how things could go, often being afraid to ask. At times, holding back or pushing too far. Communication, endless communication that to this day I still cherish. Asking before pushing blindly into new territory. Enthusiastic consent, or offering suggestions. We worked at it and improved on our chemistry together, discovering all the areas where we meshed. Aiding one another through the areas that needed help. The sex is less frequent now, as spare time, physical and emotional energy have been in shorter supply. It’s also a lot warmer, deeper (emotionally. My dick didn’t somehow grow an inch or anything) and satisfying on a whole different level. We’re still more than happy to try new things, but the way we communicate about them is much smoother, there’s no ego about it. We’re great together, we both love our sex and simply being able to touch skin night after night is one of the greatest daily pleasures I couldn’t have imagined a year ago. It’s not possible to take something for granted when it brings you so much joy.

This time last year we had a pending move on our hands. Time was wrapped up in prepping, packing and dealing with the associated stresses. A see saw of excitement and dread. So much potential hidden under piles of exhaustion. Once it happened, the stress seemed to fall away and we stumbled joyfully through the new boundaries of living together. Thankfully because of who we both are, it couldn’t have been easier to navigate. Learning about how to make space for one another, the tensions of desire for intimacy and a need for solo time. I don’t want to sound too saccharine about it, we had tons of fun. It allowed me to see a whole different side of her. Yeah, I knew who she was before we shared a home, but it wasn’t the same. When we’d visit one another there was an implied necessity to be “on”. If we were hanging out it sorta felt like we had to be our best selves, constantly try to remind the other why we were so rad to be around. Living together the artifice is gone. We have nothing to prove, we know we love one another and that ultimately we’re on the same team. We want the relationship to thrive and grow. Part of that being the ability to accept one another as we are. To accept the things that at first glance aren’t our favourite aspects, but are just another feature of the person we’d each love to spend the rest of our life with. To know and trust that we can talk things out. That if something truly bothers us, our partner is likely not being intentionally malicious, but blissfully ignorant. Using our words.

I’ve found myself sharing my life with a gorgeous soul through and through. She has a passion for the things she holds dear that’s awe inspiring to behold. I’m the luckiest person in the world to be one of those things. She’s smart and sensible, in ways that complement me. We work well as a team. She’s boisterous in all the right ways, always happy to look for the adventure in the simplest of errands. She shares my love of play, whenever we can find it. She’s a goofball, makes me laugh deep resonant belly laughs till I cry. Seeing her smile lights up my world. She’s so giving in everything she does. Her heart’s in her hand always, in her touch or desire to help those she loves. She cares so much and it warms me to my core, inspires me to look for the good in others. She’s beautiful and sexy and catching her eye is enough to make my heart quiver. It’s so effortless to be in love with her, because I can’t imagine any alternative. She makes me say things that could only sound cheesy if you hadn’t met her. I tell her I love her time and time again every day. I mean it every single time. My biggest worry is that no matter how many times I do, it won’t convey the depth. Then again, words never could. That’s something I’ve got the rest of my life to keep working at.

So that’s “the girlfriend”. She’s one hell of a dame and I’m one of a lucky fella. Happy Valentines day Lioness. Once again (but never enough), I love you.

Still waiting for the kind-hearted pirate doctor film Eye Patch Adams.

In lieu of anything important going on right now, here are some short snippets.

  • I was really tired this morning, so for the first time since I returned to Canada I had coffee. It perked me up instantly and I was so confident that I peed in the middle urinal. If you weren’t sure already, that’s a ballsy move. I basically deserve a medal.
  • I haven’t been going out a ton. It’s been nice for a change. It’s also been a nice change for my wallet. My tuna/cracker lunches have been simple and cheap, saving a ton on lunchtime meals. I guess I’m paying for it in mercury poisoning. Next time everyone starts complaining about their mercury being in retrograde, it’ll be a very real concern for me.
  • Being a hermit has also meant I’m not shelling out for alcohol and meals. It’s a massive difference. Consequently my Magic the Gathering expenditure has gone way up. Suddenly it feels simple to be more blasé about spending money on something I want. It’s like wait, I can get all of these things I’ll use for ages and it’ll cost me less than the price of three beers? In short, I don’t know if I’m really saving any money. Net result zero.
  • I’ve done a few RPM classes at the gym lately as a way of getting in winter cardio. RPM people are different from normal gym people (though when have gym people ever been normal?). There are the hyper dudes who always pull their sleeves up and leave puddles on the ground beneath their bikes. Good on you for the effort, but if you’re that anti-sleeves, why not buy a tank top or something? I’m also unsure about the level of commitment required to buy those clip-in shoes. I guess if you’re a career RPMist you probably get more pull from them? How much do they help? Also what kind of disposable income do you have (that’s not already going to Magic cards)? Also what was with the woman who spent half the class looking at her phone? If something on your phone was that important, wouldn’t the lights, music and instructor be really distracting? Also how good was your subterranean reception? I need your plan.
  • Speaking of RPM, having heavily worked quads sure makes sex an uphill battle. It’s like a post-workout workout.
  • Apparently weather is so crummy today that we have freezing rain. I don’t know precisely what freezing rain is (though I could guess), but it sounds like a made up sci-fi concept. You know in Flash Gordon how Ming the Merciless is using his weather changing machine to plague planets with such nefarious ordeals as “hot hail”? Freezing rain sounds a lot like that.
  • The bathrooms at work have two toilet roll holders in each stall. While this sounds unremarkable, it’s actually amazing. No longer do we need to battle between over and under orientation. Instead, both sides are represented. Is this a recipe for world peace?
  • At work they have a TV on in the background screening Global TV. During the day it plays Days of our Lives, which isn’t notable. What is notable, is that there’s a long running character who looks like Snake Plissken. I guess he escaped from LA only to find himself in Salem. Today’s episode had a masquerade ball, which he attended. He wore his eye patch underneath his mask, which not only looked ridiculous, but also flew in the face (pun totally intended) of any kind of subterfuge.

I warned you nothing important was going on. This is what you get for not listening.

This is what I get for listening to too much Lenny Kravitz

Wow, am I ever on edge. We’ve set up our camp right by the river side. It’s a beautiful, nay idyllic sight (like almost everything nature has thrown our way on this trip). The grass is soft and loamy. The trees alternate between lush canopies and lovely clearings. The area is also swarming with midge flies and I’m losing my mind. If there’s a German compound word for a combination of miserable and furious it’d be a perfect fit.

I wish I was exaggerating, but I’ve already experienced mild dissociation. We’ve arrived in this stunning location (albeit with the wind and rain setting in) and the only thought in my mind is of 16 hours time when we can leave. We’re safely nestled in our tent (thanks to fly screens and the rain shell), both my skin and clothes are smothered in bug spray, but I can’t stop thinking of the endless swarms waiting just outside. It’s ridiculous and more than a little petulant. I understand this logically, but emotionally I’m overwhelmed and incapable of succumbing to rational thought. I didn’t even know this was such a huge issue for me. Bruises and scrapes, physical exhaustion, etc I’d probably be fine with. I’m having difficulty thinking of anything else. I don’t want to move, I’m dreading having to leave the tent to go to the toilet or eat dinner. My body has even started creating phantom itches all over. Between my legs, on my scalp, the hand I’m typing with (where I can see no visible bites), my face, behind my ear. It’s insane. You’d think I was having a bad meth reaction.

By swiveling my head around the tent I can see at least 60 on the layer outside ours. Sitting there, waiting for us to make a move. As time has gone on they’ve increased in numbers. It feels like a zombie contagion, they’re all out there with a taste for blood, awaiting critical mass. If there’s one little hole they’ll be able to burst in and we’re fucked. Then the next week is a bust, an itchy waste. The rest of an otherwise amazing holiday tainted.

I’m also angry at myself for having this reaction, which doesn’t help anything. I don’t know what to do to salvage the situation. I assume that I’ll do the usual: hit breaking point, meltdown, let it out and let it go. I’d love to avoid the usual, but I’m not sure how. I know my girlfriend and friends would love to help, but right now I’ve got very little to access, let alone offer as suggestion. You know something’s up when my strategy is to want to sleep for 15 hours and basically skip a day. I’m not a big fan of sleep or anything that precludes you from doing stuff. Who knows, maaan? Maybe we’ll get attacked by zombies and I’ll be given something more pressing to worry about. Perspective is a gift. A guy can dream, can’t he?

I guess I can look on the bright side. After writing this there are only 15.5 hours left to go.

Edit: Sex. Sex helped.

If only this entry had as much direction.

I was at the office bar farewelling a colleague, chatting with a co-worker. She was talking excitedly about an upcoming date on Saturday. I’m into this kind of stuff, so I was listening intently. She’d decided she wanted to try a Dundas pub crawl and wondered if that was a good idea for a second date. I couldn’t help but reply emphatically. It was an awesome idea. Having a few drinks would mean conversation would flow pretty steadily. They could chat about what they were drinking, try different things wherever they went, share drinks, see how one another looked in different lighting. There’d be no end to interesting things to comment on, plus by being the one constant over multiple locations, it’d engender a familiarity and closeness. Best of all, your date would likely be in an open mood and communicate, freer to share so you could better gauge who they really were. I met one of my favourite Toronto people doing a Dundas pub crawl date, and while we didn’t have chemistry, we clicked as friends. It was perfect. I told her that I’d met a bunch of friends by dating them first.
She seemed disappointed. “I’d never want to date someone that I’d be friends with.” She replied. I visibly recoiled. People still think like this? “Why not?” I replied. “Well” she responded “if someone seemed like a friend type person, they wouldn’t be the kind of person I’d date.” “So” I said “you’re just looking for people to sleep with? That’s fine, no judgement.” She shook her head. “No, I’m looking for a boyfriend. Someone long term.” I quirked my head. “Then why wouldn’t you want to date someone you could be friends with? Isn’t that planning for the long term?” “Huh?” She replied. I went on “well if you’re friends with someone, you have things in common. You can do things together, enjoy each other’s company, y’know?” She nodded. “But if you date someone who you’re attracted to when they’re not the kind of person you’d be friends with, what do you do when you’re not fucking? Like, in between sex, food and sleep?” She paused. “Uhh.”
“And you’re looking for long term, right?” I started monologuing. “What happens after a year, when the honeymoon period is over? Two years? Five years? If you don’t like each other as people, how are you still gonna want to be together? Sex is great, it’s not worth just tolerating someone. When you want to get somewhere, do you just get in a car and drive? Or do you have some idea of where you’re looking to go? Instead of relying totally on street signs to guide the way, treating them as helpful indications that you’re heading in the right direction?” “I don’t drive.” She responded. “But do you want to get somewhere? Or keep heading in circles?” She sighed. “Yeah, I get it.”
A beat.
“So” I inquired “are you looking forward to Saturday?” She nodded. “Yeah, it should be fun.”

Like Anzac Day, 9/11 and Dre, lest we forget.

My girlfriend and I were lying on the couch last night. Exhausted both mentally and physically, huddling for emotional warmth was near all we could do. The past few months have been tough. While we’ve slept side by side each night, we’ve found ourselves leading inextricably separate lives. She’s been doing shift work split between mornings and evenings, while I’ve held a regular 9-5. Even when we’ve had free nights, they’ve infrequently aligned. I’ve been spending at least two nights per week on the Pawdcast, while she has regular choir rehearsals. They’re doing a concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra tonight and ramping up to that has meant even more preparation than normal.

We’ve somehow reached the point where we concurrently live together and miss each other constantly. On the rare occasions where we have a night together, it’s difficult to muster the energy for more than cooking a meal, catching up on TV and going to bed. The proviso has always been that we’ll get up to more when we have the time, but that hasn’t happened. Things haven’t yet reached the point of getting stale. We want to be seeking out excitement together. We’re still very much in love, but keeping the spark alive has been harder than it was when we were consumed by passion. Lying on the couch, it came to me.

“You realise that we’re not just busy for now, right? This is how things are. We’re gonna keep being busy, but if we want things to remain exciting that’s something we need to be intentional about. We need to make it happen.”

So today we went on a date. In between her rehearsal and call time, we went out and adventured. You know the feeling of reuniting with long lost friends? That’s how it felt. The warmth came back to our cheeks, which soon hurt from laughing. We were silly and goofy. At one point I picked her up and held her at my hip, while I withdrew money from an ATM. At an open bank, two fully grown adults acting like kids. We were handsy, sexy, grabbing at one another like teenagers. Butt touching all day. Kisses everywhere to the point of absurdity. Simply walking along the footpath with her was more fun than I’ve had in some time.

We brunched with friends and hung out, catching up spending stress free quality time. We ordered coffee and, after I’d ordered, she told the barista just how I liked it. She was right. We visited the IKEA retrospect exhibit, groped each other under the cover of the ball pit and staged a faux domestic argument in the picturesque IKEA catalogue photobooth. We sat on a park bench in David Pecaut Square and, in lieu of having the time or space to do so, told one another just what we wanted to do to the other had we said time or space.

It’s easy to forget who you’re really with if you don’t make a point of reminding yourself. It’s scary that you could lose what you have without tending to it. Like anything that grows, a relationship can stagnate and die off without the proper attention. Like anything that’s worth it, effort is required. Like anything that takes effort, that’s a choice you make.

I’ve made her my choice and that’s something I need to remember every day.

Isn’t that what love is?

If anything, this showcases how few sports metaphors I really know.

I was talking to a friend today about relationships. Big surprise, right? We were chatting about people we’d dated, what we learned in the past. Things that had challenged us and how we’d taken that knowledge to move onto bigger and better things. My friend talked about someone they dated who’d supposedly been “dating down” while they were together. I was shocked. My friend is the checklist of things you’d want in a partner: Hilarious, clever, attractive, smart, emotionally intelligent and observant. Here they thought their partner was the one who’d been trading down?

Apparently their partner had gone on to date tall, attractive people that looked like they had their shit together. The phrase “out of my league” came up, which stumped me further. As if there was a hierarchy of inherent quality to people, or rankings that we all adhere to. Can we retire this phrase already? People aren’t better or worse, they’re different. Compatibility is everything and that’s irrespective of how much you earn or what you look like. Dating is about finding people who synch with you, who you can open up to and be yourself around. It’s not about other people ranking higher than you at all. The league idea does not work. If you keep giving it power, it only serves to fuck you over even more.

I get where the sentiment comes from. We’re bombarded with messages from all corners that tell us what success looks like, what to aspire to. We’re force fed the qualities we’re told to admire. That beauty is an Amazonian goddess or a well square jawed stud. People in positions of influence or power. When we’re used to hearing this, it’s very easy to believe it. We place value on ourselves for bringing these people into our lives and, by association, qualities these people possess. Everyone has excellent and less excellent qualities. It’s just that people’s appeal shines and hides their detractors in the shadow. Someone might be so attractive or intelligent, you forget how much their lack of punctuality irritates you. Or how they chew with their mouth open. The handsome bubble is real, and it extends beyond mere looks. It’s as if by connecting ourselves intimately to them we hope this will rub off on us and we’ll be seen by others in a similar light. Then if there’s a risk of losing them, a faint desperation arises of losing not only them, but that additional layer they added to your life. If you break up, they’ll be fine and you’ll be the broken one. Because they were out of your league, right?

Which is dumb, because people don’t exist in tiers. It’s easy to be blinded by the things that society tells us matter, when, if we’d look closer, we’d see all the ways we’re not compatible. Nobody is truly out of your league, when the issue isn’t someone being too good, but not the right fit. What if you’re attracted to someone, but don’t have interests or values in common? Are you willing to overlook or compromise on things that are actually important to you? To let go of things that actually define you in order to let your partner shine through?

 If the notion of leagues has any truth, it misses the fact that you, too are out of their league. In fact, you’re not even playing the same sport. If you’re looking for people who are better than you at a different game, nobody is gonna win. Instead of buying into what you’re told you should be looking for, discover what it is that matters to you, what turns you on, lights you up, and also what your bottom line is. What are your dealbreakers? If your needs aren’t being met, are you really holding onto a winner? If the goal is the greatest amount of happiness for all players, maybe take some time to work out a strategy and play with the long game in mind.

If fish aren’t judgy then why are their mouths always agape?

Here is a not so definitive list of places in which I haven’t had sex.

  • A McDonald’s bathroom. I once entered a McDonald’s bathroom and the floor was covered in blood. Other memories I have of McDonald’s bathrooms involve foul stenches and clusters of wet toilet paper scattered around. I’m sure I’ve had experiences in McDonald’s bathrooms where I just dropped trou, did my business and left without incident. These experiences are vacant in the face of the aforementioned terrible ones. If I did once have sex in a McDonald’s bathroom I bet I blocked out the surely painful memory. I’ve never even wanked in one.
  • An aquarium. While the idea of doing doggy style on a moving conveyor belt and watching marine life as we went sounds fantastic, have you seen fish eyes? How many fish live in one of those glass tunnels? How could I climax feeling that judged from all these gormless, staring cod? If I managed to get there I’m sure it’d awaken something I’m not ready for.
  • A sauna/steam room. All the elements are there, it’s hot and sweaty. You’re merely wearing a towel if anything at all. There’s even a steam room at the local sex club, but I think it’s the one room you’re not allowed to have sex in. Somehow, whether it’s the fact that nobody I know owns a private steam room (or my own fainting concerns), it’s never happened. Pity, in my head it’s just like that Titanic scene, but sexier and with less impending disaster. Unless of course you’re counting the part where I pass out and crack my head open on the tiles.
  • My parents’ bedroom. I had the chance too, an ex and I were house sitting and the thought came up. Something didn’t feel quite right about it though. At the end of the day a bed is just a mix of natural and synthetic fibers, a frame, sheets, mattress stuffing, pillows and a headboard. Still, there was weird symbolism that I couldn’t grapple with. I mean, we for sure had sex in the house. Where? Well this is the wrong list for that. They were away for at least a week. Oh, if you’re reading, hi Mum and Dad.
  • Costco. Which seems unusual, because anything we’d need would be abundantly available and they do free samples all the time. I’m sure if we decided to go through with it there’d be a helpful attendant standing by with a little cardboard cup of lube and a condom topped with a delicious salsa verde.
  • The beach. I can’t say the idea doesn’t hold appeal. Picture this: A soft expanse of white sand, the sun sinking slowly, a large towel surrounded by champagne and strawberries (and knowing me some dumb novelty inflatable or sand castle building kit) with nobody in sight. Then yes, possibly. The last time I saw someone naked at the beach, however, it was a nude beach. Some old dude was watching my girlfriend and I make out and he had a long glistening strand leaking from the tip of his penis to the sand beneath. I can’t fault his taste, but that didn’t make it any less off-putting.
  • A school, any school. There’s something naughty about the idea of, say, having sex in the place where I was repeatedly bullied as a child. A long, hard middle finger of sorts to those arsehole kids. The flip side of that is fucking in a place that kids frequent. I remember being all of ten years old and finding a condom by the playground. Even then I thought to myself really? Couldn’t they aim a little higher? So for the sake of ten year old me and all the small humans out there, I won’t have sex at my childhood school when I go home in January. Also because getting criminal prosecution over something like that would place me on a ton of lists. Once again, entirely different lists than that one.
  • Work. Ever.

Is this a sign I need to be more adventurous? More creative? Or that beds are just really fucking comfortable? Maybe fish actually want to watch, but they’re too afraid to ask. Also, insufficient vocal chords and all that.