The Answer Feathers, Part One

Last summer, my friend gave me the gift of two feathers for my birthday. These indigenous “answer feathers” are like nature’s magic eight ball. You’re to look at them, feel their energy, think on two things you are choosing between and then choose the feather that speaks to you. Your answer will be clear within a day.

I had a kid-free Saturday, and I’ve gotten so good at curating them to be soul-filling. I wish I could convince my friends who are partnered with kids to do this for themselves more. It’s funny how we think we don’t have the time, because we are always attending to the needs of others, and yet when forced to share the kids by law, BOOM, there’s the time. I began the morning by going to my favourite cafe and took two oat milk lattes and some croissants to my hairdresser’s and we had our usual best time ever. “I was thinking of you and thinking sleek hair,” she said. I told her to go for it, because the last time she did my hair (wild and fuckable), I met Monsieur Magique at the party that changed my destiny.

I bought a reissue of Joni Mitchell’s Blue on vinyl, talked to my mom on the phone while walking to get some sundries, felt the cold winter sunshine on my face. Then I went to visit Gogo of the Witches, to get a pair of gloves I’d left there at her last party. She was in post-coital bliss, having reconnected with an old friend who had turned into a lover the night before, and we had such an awesome connection and discussion as always. I appreciate my big energy, open-hearted romantic friends so much. I ran into her again later and told her she feels like my Saturday elf — with her shockingly red hair and her Rainbow Brite snow suit — that seeing her on one of my free Saturdays almost always guarantees I’m going to have a good weekend. Do you have anyone in your life like that?


Then I went to yoga, where I set my intention to “centre,” because there were rumours of a racist rally in my neighbourhood and I felt that “centre” was the strongest word to dedicate to my community to prevent hate from showing up, while also serving me where I needed to be that busy Saturday (where I had admittedly over-scheduled myself). The rally never happened, so I’m gonna go with “my yoga intention worked,” because I honestly felt some very present vibrations during savasana. Yoga was HARD, a total sweat fest of flow-time, and I needed it to beat my brain into blissful submission, because I had two dates that day. Eek! WTF am I doing?

Monsieur Magique almost always books our next date as we are saying goodbye. When I had flagged that we kept getting drunk and could we have a day date so I could see how I feel about him when sober, he’d enthusiastically said yes to a “playdate” for Sunday of this weekend. But later that night, he’d texted to say he’d had such a fun time with me and might he come over after my dinner guests leave the night before so he could cuddle me in my cold basement bedroom and then start the day together Sunday. Swoon. I knew he’d be working working working, as is his non-dad mode lately due to pressures on his business. So I wasn’t surprised when he texted Saturday morning to explain that unfortunately he’d have to leave at 1pm the next day. He was sincerely apologetic, citing that he knew I’d put some thought into what we might do (I had planned to take him to play a sort of bocce-meets-mini-golf). I told him not to worry, that they were calling for rain and 100 km/hr winds, so I was changing the plan to staying in bed and watching Oscar movies with him. I went to buy new pillows, because MM’s bed is like a goddamn hotel bed, and I wanted that same fluffy feeling. I wanted my first ever man sleeping in my new basement bedroom (!!!) to feel comfortable and cared for.

I listened to an Oprah “Super Soul Conversations” episode on Spiritual Partnerships, while carrying all my stuff to the café where I was supposed to meet Stavros. By the time he arrived, I was good and centred, ready for what might come, knowing full well what I want from a partner. He showed up, dark, playfully brooding as always, a slight smile on his face to see me. We had an intense, intimate conversation, where I was surprised by his honesty and vulnerability. He admitted to being negative and anxious his whole life, a symptom of the way we’d been brought up, which I understood. He explained the breakdown of his marriage to his high school sweetheart, and how much work he’s done on himself to fight his negative thought patterns. He’s medicated for depression, which I respect a lot as my ex never got the medical care he needed for his. Stavros said that he feels a clarity of mind and focus that he never had before, but my red flags were going off big time. I am definitely drawn to him, but can’t help but feel like our timing is off. Like he’s a year behind where I’m at in my journey, and that he is a bit of work still (though he insists he’s not). His natural way is not “sunny.” Is this just another Theo in a better package? Employed steadily, working on himself, aware of his bullshit AND Greek? Honestly, a man that says “therapy” and can speak the language of psychology is pretty hot to me right now.

I told him that I know I want to be someone’s girlfriend eventually, I just don’t know if I can make that decision right now. He responded that he didn’t believe in labels, that the only thing he wants from me is my time. I’ve made it clear that I don’t want to be someone’s sunshine, that I want the sunshine in a man’s heart to greet the sunshine in mine. I can’t be responsible for someone else’s happiness. I tried to help a depressed partner once and it backfired.


Still, Stavros is so damn easy to talk to. Beyond our mother tongue, we share a language of culture, of music and movies. We have a similarly dry sense of humour. I decided I needed to kiss him to see if this was just a friendship. So when he offered to drive me home, I said yes. He put my bags in his car, opened my door for me, and off we went. I told him my funniest stories of working in the film industry (he’s film school grad and had spent some time working at film festivals, on top of his acting experience). I told the story of working on a major Hollywood film and being given the job of watching three hours of porn in the director’s office alone to select a super sexy scene that would ultimately appear in the film. They chose me for the task, because the production manager thought giving the job to my male colleague meant he’d masturbate, so I was the supposedly safer bet. Stavros asked what I did. “Of course I had a wank or three on the director’s couch! It’s not gender-specific! Three HOURS of porn-watching!”

“There’s another way you’re not like any other Greek girl,” he said through impressed laughs. To which I retorted, “I’m not like any girl you’ll ever meet.” A bit cocky of me, I’ll admit.

He managed to get a parking space on my snowy street. “Yay,” I bluffed, “Now you can help me bring my bags to the door!” We went up to my place, not edging past the doorway vestibule (yay for winter boots creating boundaries). “Wow,” he exclaimed looking around at the kid art and the photos and the books, “Your place is so full!” I reminded him that I didn’t start with a blank canvas like he did, that all I had to do was fill in the spaces Theo left when he took his comic books and concert posters. “I hate comic books,” he said, trying to be funny. A red flag. I probed him on why and he back-tracked a bit. We chatted until it got awkward. “Are you gonna kiss me or what?” I asked. “First I’m going to hug you,” he said. And the hug was intimate and wonderful. And then we kissed, a bit formally at first, but then it got hot pretty fast. He held my face with both hands and kissed me passionately. DAMN! I was really hoping for a bad kiss so I could call this already.

“I’m going to let you lead,” he said, putting all his trust in me, making me feel guilt at the duplicitousness of dating two men without telling any of them. It’s my control habit energy showing up — the need to feel like I’m the one who gets to make this decision. Sigh. It feels very unlike me to have secrets at all, though I realize that having two men keeps me distant and mysterious enough that I’m not overly available to either one, creating a desire that wouldn’t exist if I was my usual “dog greeting his owner when he gets home from work” excited and overly loving self.

To be fair, the common thing I hear when talking to others is, “Everyone should assume that everyone is dating everyone, unless you’ve had a conversation otherwise.” I do like this, because then it takes the pressure off. You don’t need to make anything a THING until some time has passed and it organically makes sense to. And yet, when I was out with my coach and biz partner, Rock n’ Roll Cowgirl, the other day, she asked if Monsieur Magique knew about Stavros. When I said no, citing the modern day rule above, she said, “Yeah, but somehow I don’t think he would like it if he knew.” I agree with her. He’s romantic and a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to matters of the heart. If I hadn’t been so surprised by all the similarities between Stavros and myself that I swiped right and messaged, I wouldn’t be in this situation. And I know fully well that beyond the curiosity of it, I did it to protect myself and pace myself from going all in with Monsieur Magique too quickly. So here I am.

“Should I text you less?” He looked a bit hurt when I said yes, it was a bit much, that I wasn’t getting anything done during the day, not paying attention in meetings, due to our constant text banter. “I mean, I could also just not be so responsive,” I said. He touched my collar bone and then we kissed again with such feeling that I was grateful that lazy me hadn’t made her bed that morning. “OK, you have to leave, I have a dinner party to prepare for,” I told him. We made a plan to see a movie on Thursday. I closed the door and said, “Fuuuuuuuck. What now?”

To be continued…

Well this complicates things…

It started out as a lark. I’d popped back into OK Cupid in December when my therapist suggested I could make time to swipe right a few times before the holidays if I really wanted. She wanted me to remember that anything could happen, that I didn’t have to put arbitrary timelines on starting to seek something new, that I should embrace the moment.

So I did some swiping and then promptly forgot about the app. In my mind, I’d deleted it. But then every now and again, an email notification would appear in my Gmail. And I’d screen grab them (because they are hilariously bad more times than not) and share them on my Instagram stories. Then one day, I got one that piqued my curiosity completely.

“Well, from one media professional to another, hello.”

The message was from Stavros, a name I instantly recognized to belong to a fellow Greek like me. What are the chances? We work in the same industry and we have the same ethnicity… come on!

“Well, from one Greek to another, yassou!” I replied.

Our text exchanges were initially not great, but I gleaned that he’s a TV producer and sometimes actor, and the father of two. I didn’t feel like he asked me enough questions about myself. Or rather, he didn’t know how to volley conversation over text to keep it going. I’d wake up to a “Psst” — what do you want me to do with that? I’m not a cat! Do some inquiring, otherwise all you want is my attention lavished on you and you have to earn that!

I also detest the apps. They’re a necessary evil. I don’t like how someone can see when you’re on there or when the last time you checked in was. I don’t even know why I asked him to take it to text. But I gave him my number (and one other guy, but that’s another story), told him that I had a weekend to myself so he wouldn’t hear from me until Sunday, and then deleted my profile. I have Frenchie, I don’t need further complications.


I messaged Stavros that Sunday. I know why. Part curiosity, part “OH MY GOD I HAVE FEELINGS FOR FRENCHIE!” You see, I don’t trust myself yet. I am not convinced I know my own heart. I’m too romantic, too idealistic, and too eager to have an eligible person take me off this dating ride. Plus, I have some red flags about Frenchie/Monsieur Magique and I need some objectivity around him, because he’s so damn dynamic and confident. Can I build a life with a smoking, drinking, Frenchman who can go days without checking in on me? I long for banter over text, which is maybe ridiculous, but is something that makes me happy. I have super eclectic musical tastes — can I build a life with someone who likely won’t go to indie rock concerts with me? I know a lot of this is form identity, but while we are in human bodies, we should ideally be with someone who not only makes us feel good, but who also wants to do the kinds of things with you that you love doing, no? Anyway, this needs validation in terms of a judgment on Frenchie. He does like to do a lot of things I like to do. And maybe edgy indie rock types are my past and, as such, should not be my present or future.

Stavros was glad to hear from me and we texted back and forth, getting a sense of each other without ever having met. Online dating lacks that magic “lock eyes across the room” spark that is so damn great. On Wednesday I was supposed to go out with Guy #3 (another story), but he cancelled last minute and I found myself free. I thought about going to the movies alone — something I have yet to do. Monsieur Magique was out of town on business. But then I found myself texting Stavros. “Long shot, but I’m unexpectedly free tonight. Want to meet up for a drink or a movie?”

“Long shot might pay off. What time were you thinking?”

And that’s how I met Stavros. He was waiting for me in the cafe I had chosen for its cute decor and cosy lighting, when I arrived exactly on-time (which is considered late by people who are never late, AKA not me). He had made reservations, something he reiterated at the end of the date, to say they’d denied him but when he explained his situation, they made it work. I appreciate this tenacity; there’s something to it.

He stood up, but having never met before, I didn’t go in for a hug or a cheek kiss. To be totally honest, I didn’t think I was going to like him at all, something he also said to me later that night over text. There’s this inherent bias that intellectual/artsy Greeks have about the average Greek. And we both assumed that the other would be more traditional. So I was surprised when HOURS went by, the two of us talking easily and making each other laugh through sarcasm. Stavros described himself as a bit of a Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of my favourite shows).

There is, of course, the obvious — coming from a very similar experience of growing up Greek in North America means we share a language beyond our mother tongue. That we both inherently understand some of the childhood experience of the other, the dynamic in our families and what it’s like to grow up ethnic but not racialized and yet still feeling like you didn’t fit in. There’s the fact that we both dealt with it similarly, by exploring the arts and media and using that as an escape. But that’s where it stops. He married his high school sweetheart, and by the sounds of it, he has not really been with anyone since.

Turns out I liked him. A lot. There was something so easy about it.

Pros: He’s funny. We have a similar sense of humour. He dresses well (he had on great shoes) and I enjoyed making him laugh. Those laughs were hard-won. We like the same kinds of music and movies so there’s loads to talk about and share there. He is really into me and not afraid to share that. We have similar tastes in the arts we consume. He is a communicator. We have a few friends in common. That’s all I know so far.

Red flags: He’s a bit of a downer in that George Constanza way. Self-deprecating. Eeyore-esque? He hasn’t put himself out there for the past 2.5 years, not really. He prefers to stay home alone. He doesn’t exercise. (Frenchie swims and plays tennis and does winter sports.) He’s Greek so he probably has a hairy arse… (So does Frenchie — I mean I could get used to it, but my preference is a smooth bum… WHAT? Men can police women’s body hair, I think it’s fine to say I have preferences!) He doesn’t seem to have a life when his kids aren’t with him or he’s not at work. Unlike me, he hasn’t learned to fill his time with interests that take him out of the home. I don’t think he sleeps much and then he fuels himself on coffee. My spidey sense wonders if he has ADHD like me.

But the worst offence is that he messages me ALL. THE. TIME. He’s like me, 2.5 years ago, when I was a mere zygote in the dating world. I’m as neurotic and needy as the next girl, but funnily enough, all this experience with men who don’t text has made me want to text WAY less. In fact, in tuning into my texting habits, I realize that it’s a crutch. I reach for it when I’m uncomfortable or needing validation. Stavros is all about the validation. He gives it and he needs it. CONSTANTLY. When I try to put some boundaries on it, he respects them, but when I message him the next day, he very honestly says that he’s so glad that I did. I just don’t want to be on my phone that much. And if I don’t write him back, there’s always an attempt to re-engage me. It suggests an insecurity I don’t need in my life where it’s at right now.

So while Stavros is fun and chatty and distracting, and the commonalities between our jobs, cultures and interests are lovely, I’m not yet sure if our values are aligned. Monsieur Magique to me is an aspirational potential boyfriend. He has qualities I aspire to inherit. Where as my gut feeling with Stavros so far is that he’s work. And I really don’t want to be someone’s CONSTANT cheerleader, especially if they are prone to depressive tendencies, because it backfires and works against you after a while. I lived that once already.

Anyway, I’ve got a busy weekend coming up, but I decided to squeeze Stavros in for a quick coffee date to chat some more and see if my assumptions/instincts hold up. Then we’ll see about moving onto activities dates. Right now I’m most excited about my sleepover and then day date with Monsieur Magique (taking him to play some sort of bocce golf!). Exciting times, friends. Exciting times!

Falling slowly

Soundtrack for this post: “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglová

I don’t know you
But I want you
All the more for that

I open the door to Monsieur Magique’s beautiful home and try to play it cool. He bought it before his kids were born, before his marriage even, when he was on his own in the world. He’s lovingly renovated it himself. It lacks clutter and pretension, it’s imperfect and yet simply beautiful… kind of like him.

He’s making us a salad at the breakfast bar and pours me some bubbly with a glint of the magic that first drew me to him. There’s a confident, shit-disturbing impishness to him. I am butterflies and yet completely calm. I recognize this feeling, but I don’t want to name it yet, because I need to examine if it’s true. Everyone is their best at the start of a relationship, so it’s important to watch for the rough spots and see if they will become deal-breakers as days, years, decades pass.

We talk easily and laugh plenty. He’s fun, SO FUN! We tease each other playfully, and it’s not mean-spirited but exactly the kind of flirting I adore. Physically, he’s not totally my usual type, a bit shorter and stockier than I normally go for, but I’m so attracted to him. He’s so comfortable, barefoot in his kitchen, shirt sleeves rolled up, the way he is making a vinaigrette or tossing pistachios on the salad. He gives me a tour of his house. His kids’ rooms are lovingly appointed. Nothing is ostentatious. It’s bigger and nicer than my house, but not in a way that makes me uncomfortable.


Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can’t react

I keep looking at him, trying to understand what all these feelings are. Could I fall for this person? Have I already? I feel like he’s all heart, and I’m all heart, and that the sunshine in his heart acknowledges the sunshine in mine. But what happens on days we are both cloudy? Is there a way to know? The red flags I see are mostly around the smoking, and yet I enjoy sitting on a porch or deck with him while he politely has a cigarette, careful to blow smoke away from me. His post-cigarette smell is oddly SEXY AF. He’s so careful to wash his hands and chew gum or take a mint after. It says a lot about who he is, his occasional self-deprecating comments about it, but also how he’s unapologetic about his stereotypically French vice, out in plain view. I think there may be challenges with stress relief, he’s incredibly hard on himself in general, he’s a “weight of the world on his shoulders” type. So when he’s in fun mode, he is down to blow off some steam.

Leading me to the other red flag: His European attitude towards drinking. We seem to get stinking drunk every time we hang out. My old drinking habits find their way to me; I will drink whatever you put in front of me, and fast. The “best rosé in all of France” goes down like water. He thinks he’s being a good host with the subtle top-ups, and I don’t ever get a sense of how much we are imbibing, but there are two bottles turned upside down in the champagne cooler. Is he this much fun when I’m not so drunk? Why do we need to get so drunk when we are clearly so compatible? I feel too old to continue doing this to myself and make a note to call him on it.

And games that never amount
To more than they’re meant
Will play themselves out


After a delicious dinner of roasted halibut and ratatouille (elegant in its simplicity, homey, nourishing, comforting… like him), we retire to the couch to watch concerts. It’s a YouTube sharing bonanza. He loves going down rabbit holes and we use concerts and other things we enjoy on YouTube to tell the story of ourselves. It’s different, for sure, but there’s just so much sharing. In contrast, Mr. SN would tell me about certain shows but we never watched one together in 10 months.

Monsieur Magique’s tastes are on the lighter side, far cheesier than most men would admit to loving, but he’s resolutely French and makes no apologies for his Eurovision ways. He LOVES the Grammys, and Daft Punk, and fun collaborations. We watch old French singers and movie clips. I tell him I have a love of Celine Dion that I will never apologize for and he casually says we should go to Vegas before her show of 15 years ends in June. I die a little? No, I come alive a little bit more. Everything is suddenly more vibrant. This is a man who would whisk me away to places to see a great show. He’s mentally planning weekends away already, which is something I have tried to do in the past with others like Ali and Mr. SN, only to get pushback. Is this really happening? Am I allowed to indulge in this daydreaming about future trips? What does it say about him that he’s so self-assured, that he completely seems to lack any fear about me? Pace yourself, Maria.


Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice
You’ll make it now


I make him watch La Divina doing Casta Diva. Then I let him see me in a celebrity’s kitchen watching my favourite band do a private concert. “You told me I could Google you easily, but I haven’t yet,” he says. The alcohol makes me slow to react. I don’t pursue this off-the-cuff comment, but in hindsight I should. I don’t even think he knows my last name, which is different on social media than it is in the public sphere.

We dance until two or three in the morning again, trying once again to outdo each other with song selections. He says he let me think I won when I played “Groove is in the Heart” as a reaction to him playing “Funkytown,” but that “Funkytown” will always be superior. And that really says it all for me. This is not someone who is cool in that downtown, “city guy in the know,” “go where the hip bands go” way. He’s an unabashed pop music lover, something that was always insulted in my marriage. We kiss and dance and hold each other close and he spins me around and then we kiss some more. He doesn’t have cool dance moves, but he’s so damn happy when he’s dancing! You can’t help but be carried away by the spirit of him.

After a big bout of giggles, he holds me still and looks into my eyes. “I think we should go to bed.”

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can’t go back


We weren’t supposed to sleep together. I haven’t had a first-time sleepover with a man since 1998. I tell him this is a big deal and he should know that it’s A BIG DEAL! He has given me many options to back out and somehow I just never call that Uber. I have bought a travel toothbrush and face wipes and a clean pair of undies. I’m a big girl now. I’m ready for this. I think?

Except the fucking BOIL. Susan BOIL! It’s a fraction of what it was, just a tiny pin head really, but it’s still present. I have come up with a game plan and tell him I’ve had a small procedure, then end up talking WAY too much, making up shit that no one needs to hear. “I’m cysty and sometimes things have to come out when they are too painful,” I tell him. WHAT?! (Well, I AM cysty, my body loves to make cysts to deal with stress, but did he need to know this on date #4?) He laughs at my use of the made-up word “cysty” and tells me no problem.

I tell him everything else is available but my underpants are off limits, and he’s respectful. But I’m drunk and the second his mouth is on my naked body and he’s begging to see and taste more of me, I buckle. Because I want him too. And my normally solid willpower is nowhere to be found. Booze and sex are my vices and both are partying with me tonight.

It’s dark and I’m slutty. I guide his hand to the bandaid on Susan BOIL, “Avoid this part.” The rest is a loud, drunken fumble. It’s messy, but fun. He spoons me without hesitation afterwards. He apologizes for the fact that he will snore and we fall asleep holding each other.

Moods that take me and erase me
And I’m painted black


I wake up every time his cat meows but manage to experience the snoring as a sort of white noise, and fall in and out of dreamy sleep. Until 5 am, when I experience an intense hot flash. Hormones and alcohol and 40-something me do not mix. I’m AWAKE. And THINKING.

Is this real?
Is this happening?
Why doesn’t he have curtains?
Will the cat shut the fuck up?
Does it endear me to him that his cat is all up in my grill, or does she do this to every woman he brings home?
Is any of this sustainable?
Will I get used to this snoring?
Why didn’t I say no to the digestive cognac?
Why didn’t we just fool around without full fucking?
Why am I so soft on my healthy boundaries around drinking and shagging? And so on, and so on.

I try to use my meditation skills to sort myself out, but my brain is MUSH and I can’t recall a single mantra from Thich Naht Hanh. I just lie there, with my eyes closed, in his dreamy bed, trying to get out from underneath his snuggle grip without waking him.

Later, he comments that I’m a furnace. I tell him I’m perimenopausal and to get used to it.


You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won

Then WHOOSH! I decide to just accept that I’m not going to sleep. I decide to delight in the warm glow of the sunrise in his picture window, the hotel quality fluffiness of the duvet and the pillows, the arms wrapped around me, attached to the caring, snoring Frenchman next to me. Haven’t I earned this comfort, this security that I don’t seem to be able to trust? Don’t I get to have this after the past 5-10 years of struggle and heartache and pain? I think I do.

He wakes up around eight and says, “I think we should eat and then come back to bed.” We are both FAMISHED. I love how sensible and “here’s what the right thing to do next” he is. I borrow a t-shirt and I can barely speak from sleeplessness and hangover. He expertly whips up some eggs and reheats some ratatouille. He has NO COFFEE. Well he has coffee, he just has no way to MAKE IT and I am too out of it to try to rig some camping style contraption to have it. I make a mental note to bring a French press next time I visit.

We talk about our kids, their personalities, their weak spots. The conversation is so natural, even without coffee. He looks at me intently as I describe reading about my son’s perspective on his sister’s illness in his high school application essay. His eyes are so blue. Gah! WHAT IS HAPPENING? I break his gaze but then meet it again. It’s like he SEES me.


Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice
You’ve made it now

We go back to bed, and joke around about our rumble in the sheets the night before (“Who needs Callas when there’s you?” Hahaha!), then we fool around a bit, with exploring hands only. I tell him no more drinking so much, that I want to get to know what we are like together sober and he agrees. Then he spoons me again and we take a four-hour nap. And I sleep this time, relaxing into the unknown, embracing this imperfect human who is so open and giving. Grateful to have him lead me a tiny step towards who I can be in a relationship, while figuring out how to stay in the present when with him.

I decide I should leave. We both have to work. He offers me a shower, which I take gratefully. His bathroom is full of sample sized shampoos and soaps from all his business trips and I love that he’s a sample hoarder like me. The shower does me good, I feel half alive after. I get dressed, but half of me doesn’t want to leave. The alive half.

He sits on the stairs and makes sure to put our next date in his mental calendar. Our kid-free weekends typically line up, and unlike Mr. SN, he seems comfortable booking me so far in advance. He seems to get that I’m a planner, and if he wants to be in those plans he has to be vocal about it. He texts later to say I can drive the next date, but might he come over the night before, after my dinner guests go home, to keep me warm in my cold basement bedroom?

It’s a beautiful dance this. Not a cool one, not a smooth one, just so damn flawesomely pretty in how it’s coming together.

Falling slowly sing your melody
I’ll sing it loud

“Falling Slowly” written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglová, from the film, Once

A watched pot never boils

A few days after my last visit with Mr. Saturday Night, I felt a sharp pain on my right butt cheek. A closer look revealed that an ingrown hair was screaming at me, angry and red. I washed it, put some cream on it and went to bed. The next day, it had grown bigger, but I went about my day anyway. Having just injured my foot in a bout of mindlessness a few days earlier, I figured ignoring would be better for my mental health. I was having a WEEK!

That evening, I went to a book launch with my friend Champers, and I was in SO much pain. The bump had grown SIGNIFICANTLY, bigger than a marble in size. It hurt to sit or walk. So during the launch I stupidly went to Dr. Google to read up on boils (a malaise I thought died with my favourite nun on Call the Midwife) and promptly had a panic attack. Was I going to get sepsis? Necrotizing fasciitis? Thankfully, Champers acted like my therapy dog and got me home. I got Dr. X on it the next morning, went to the doctor’s office for visual confirmation that I wasn’t dying and then spent a weekend on the couch, getting up only to do warm compresses on my new third ass. 


Everything with me is metaphysical. I know that this is an unpopular theory, because it can have a victim-blaming feel to it, but allow me dig in here a bit. I had seen Mr. SN on Saturday night, and I was feeling a bit guilty about it, because part of me was sending warnings about how going was akin to not honouring myself. I knew I was going there to have hot, dirty sex. I knew the chances of finding toilet paper were 50/50. I also knew I’d just met someone who flipped everything on its head and I wasn’t being totally honest with either of these men, nor myself for that matter. I felt entitled to have both men in my life until someone asked me to settle down or be exclusive, because I felt it protected me from getting too excited about either option. I’m a modern woman, dammit! I can date all the men!

Except in my heart, I am not that person and have never been. I am not one-night-stand girl. I am not casual lover girl. My overthinking brain prevents me from actually detaching my emotions from pretty much any activity I do. I even get the feels while brushing my teeth. It’s who I am. This is my curse – I HAVE ZERO CHILL. I’m working on it, I swear. Meditation, mindfulness, exercise, coaching, journaling. I get glimpses of a quiet mind, but it doesn’t last. It’s going to take a LOT of practice. I’m addicted to chatter and conversation. I’m addicted to text messaging with friends. I know this. 

I am hoping that through new chapter with Monsieur Magique I can build the practice of exploring that. You see with MM, there’s a cool confidence, a trust that if this is meant to be, it’s going to happen. I mean this sincerely. He almost fell from the sky into my lap when I first met him. When he’s with me he is crystal clear that I am the person he is curious about and wants to be with. We are ridiculously compatible. I am trying to avoid him becoming a story, so I don’t like even writing about him. With him, I just want to BE.

MM compartmentalizes his life. It’s something I’m having to get used to. He has work mode and dad mode and fun mode. Work mode means he also travels a ton when he doesn’t have his kids. And fun mode has friends in there too, so if I want to pursue this, I have to accept that he’s a man with healthy boundaries and I might get an eighth of his time for starters. He doesn’t check work emails when with me and so I imagine that he doesn’t think about me when at work. This is healthy. I need this in my life. As a lifestyle writer for most of my career, everything always bled into the other. Life was content and so work became life. I need to work towards more separation of work and life. I need to learn the value of separating the public and the private. Or not. As my bestie suggested last night, “Maybe you just need workarounds.”


I am not new to men who don’t text or call at the cadence I would like. Mr. SN was also very busy. We would only see each other once or twice a month. I think at most we made it to three times in a month. The difference is, Mr. SN didn’t want to see me more. He wasn’t puzzling over how we could make time for each other. I could not see a path to a time where he might ask me to spend the night, or go away for a weekend together. There was no opportunity for a future there, because he was so guarded, like Patrick Swayze/Johnny telling Jennifer Grey/Baby, “This is your space, this is my space.” And yet I kept trying to see one. I kept wondering, “Well is he just not going deeper because he’s waiting for a signal from me?”

The Sunday after the last Saturday with Mr. SN, I dropped a very heavy wooden barstool on my foot in a moment of mindlessness. Have you ever mentally poured the coffee while you’re still reaching for the mug? That’s the headspace I was in. I almost puked from the pain but shook it off, only to find that after hours of ignoring the foot, I couldn’t walk on it. Dr. X cured me to the point that I was just left with a bruise. But then three days later, the boil. My foot and my butt, the two points of groundedness and also two points from which one can move forward. Having a hurt foot can certainly keep you stuck in a place, and even if it’s uncomfortable, you know it, you’re bringing it upon yourself. The plateau is fine, you tell yourself, because you don’t know what’s ahead and going it alone is scary. I knew, deep down, that I had to end it. I’ve known this for MONTHS. But me being me, I crowdsourced how best to tell him. Did I have to do it in person? Would a text suffice?

The butt, the boil, was my body trying to purge itself of this toxic stuckness. Couldn’t sit, couldn’t walk. Stuck and uncomfortable. Something had to give. So Dr. X pushed me. “You need to tell Mr. SN that it’s over.” Sigh.
There’s nothing that makes you stop thinking about the great sex you have with your bohemian lover like a flaming injury in your lady parts region (not to mention doing first aid in the work bathroom to prevent a staph infection from spreading!). She was right. It was time. I had to put on my big girl panties and do a hard thing. The sex and the fun are not worth the emotional toll of me trying to be someone I’m not. I prefer to leave most parties on a high note, just when they are at the precipice of good and bizzaro-world.

I texted him to see if I could call him. We have spoken on the phone once in 10 months and that’s telling. I called and his voice and charm were immediate, so I blurted it all out before I could chicken out. “Hey, so I, uh, met someone and it was quite unexpected. And, uh it’s been really casual with us and we’ve put a fence around what this could be, and I didn’t think I was ready for more but I am as it turns out, and I want to go explore this new relationship and can only date one person at a time.”

Mr. SN sounded surprised. I don’t blame him. Our last text exchange had been 10 days prior, when I’d asked him if maybe he’d given me and STI (JUST A BOIL, THANKS) and then said, “Just to be clear, you are the only person I am sleeping with.” To which he responded, “Just to be clear, you are the only person I am sleeping with.” And that hasn’t changed… yet. But what’s changed is that I’m listening to my heart, and it’s whispering what it has been afraid to say out loud. “I want to be someone’s girlfriend!”

His only questions were, “What does this mean for you and me?” (Or something like that. Answer: “It means I don’t think we can continue as we have been.”) And, “Can I ask how you met them? Was it online?” No, I told him, at a party before Christmas. Quite unexpected, I repeated. I told him our friendship over the past few months has meant the world and that my time with him was one of the best experiences of my life. “I’m going to miss you,” I said sadly. “I’m going to miss you too.” And that was the only emotional sentence he uttered over the whole call. “Keep me posted on how it goes and let me know over text if you want to hang out again sometime.”

It was lovely, Mr. Saturday Night. But I have to hop in a cab before they start playing “Rhythm is a Dancer” and doing bumps off the TV set. I have to go home to roost in my own heart for a while, before I go giving it to someone else.

Le sigh

Le sigh. That is all.

Ok, not all. Date #3. I’ve never met anyone like him before.

We dance in my dining room until 2am. He was a DJ when at university, but there’s nothing that explains why he’d be the best guy to take to a wedding. He intrinsically knows how to twirl me around.

We are almost exactly the same age (he’s two months older). He plays me Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Paul Young… we spin my old records: Aznavour and Françoise Hardy and Billy Ocean. “Anchor yourself to me,” he demands as he spins me around. I don’t know how to let men lead. So much of this is trust. I let go a little bit.

“I feel like you’re holding back,” he whispers later on the couch. We were both half asleep at the hour. I open my sleepy eyes to find him staring and smiling at me in a way that was welcome and not creepy. “I just want you to know you can be yourself with me.”

I’m going to try. I’m still figuring out how to just “be” let alone do it in front of others. But I haven’t been this happy around a man in a long time. I’m going to have to TRUST, in ALL CAPS.

Mr. Saturday Sometimes

So you’re probably wondering about Mr. Saturday Night. I mean, I’ve been seeing him for nine…? ten months now, and it’s been delightfully challenging in terms of learning. But didn’t we always know this wasn’t ever going to be the real deal?

I don’t know why for certain. When we are together we are thoroughly engaged in one another’s company. But perhaps it’s because from the beginning, it was always just for me. I didn’t want to see this relationship through the context of the eyes of my cherished friends, because that would burst my romantic Bohemian bubble of an affair.

I ADORE him. When we’re together, when he has energy to give and is full of stories and curiosity, I drink him in. I ENJOY him, his company, his stories, the lines in his face, how his hands seem impossibly small for someone who can do so much with them. How his mind is always jumping to creative projects, how he’s passionate about his work, about what he can contribute to this fair city, his impact. What a devoted dad he is… but… well you’ve read various iterations of this hemming and hawing for months now.

I didn’t want to assume that a 56-year-old lifelong bachelor would not be ideal for coupledom. The thing is, until recently, I wasn’t sure I wanted I even wanted coupledom. There’s a difference between companionship and partnership. I had a companion and while I never got the chance to test out this theory, I still believe that if I had a +1 to an event, he would be lovely to take with me. He could charm the pants out of any room.

When we started out I’d asked him over text what exactly he wanted out of a relationship. He’d said something along the lines of, “If a person wanted something casual, I’d be into that. But I’m also open to the possibility of magic.” And that’s just what it’s been. It’s been casual AND magical. And while we are both kind humans who offer each other support, there’s been nothing, NOTHING, to suggest that the opportunity for partnership is there.

I get into these strange thought patterns where I wonder if he’s assuming all these things about me and that’s why he’s not able to talk feelings or give an generous compliment. But then I go over the facts. He has not shown himself to be someone for whom romantic generosity comes easily to outside the bedroom (where he gives his ALL). He’s in love with the history of our city and his telling of it. He has space in his heart for his adult child, his adorable dog, but does he want to make room in there for me?

And if he did, wouldn’t it just freak me the fuck out, because I know this isn’t right in the long run? But is it not right because he decided that, with a look, when we first met? Or is it not right because it’s just not and it’s time to let go?

Sigh.


I have other single mom friends who are now partnered up, and they all have a longing look in their eye when they talk about that one certain lover. “Ah, my Turk,” says one friend, recounting nights spent smoking pot and talk serious pothead talks about existentialism and the theories of the universe, before making love on his mattress on the floor.

So please don’t judge me too harshly that I went to see him on a Saturday after a month of only random texts. That I went to see Mr. SN, even though I’ve met Monsieur Magique and would like nothing more than to spend the rest of this gloriously new year exploring what that could be. See, I’ve spent a lifetime being taught to be monogamous, and while I do truly believe that I’m inherently monogamous, no one has asked me to be exclusive yet…

…But a boy did ask if he could hold my hand while we crossed the street to a bistro on one late December night, causing a shiver up my spine. And I do REALLY, REALLY want that to be more than just the most magical first date I’ve ever experienced (and a pretty great second date in January). But in the meantime, I’m guarded, I’m cautious. Is Mr. SN like a lottery ticket you know probably isn’t a winner, but you keep in your wallet anyway, just in case it might ferment into a winner the longer you hang on to it?

How do I say goodbye? All my past breakups were messy, teary dramatic affairs. And usually someone had really wronged me. But Mr. SN is a dear friend now. I hope he is always in my life in some way. I feel so blessed that I’ve gotten to know him a bit. He has done SO MUCH, without realizing it, for me on my road to self-acceptance. To embracing my sexual self free of past scars, free of patriarchal religious ideals.


There was a time in the recent past, when Mr. SN really needed a friend. I was someone he could confide in, so I couldn’t kick a man while he was down. But at the same time, staying put in this limbo relationship (where we’re not FB friends, we don’t ever hold hands, and I’m only ever introduced as a “friend”) is subconsciously keeping me from fully moving forward into the present and into the possibility of a future with Monsieur Magique.

I’ve been trying to “optimize my life” to such a point, that I’ve been head down and focusing on a lot of unsexy things like, “Make your bed every day,” and, “Pay off your credit cards by January.” Sure, these tasks will make me a more responsible human, but in talking to Dr. X I realized that I’d stopped dreaming. That in an attempt to stay in the present moment, I’d stopped truly imagining what my future could be.

Part of that is that I am a hopeful romantic, and I don’t trust myself. I worry, as do lots of my closest friends and family, that I will end up choosing another version of my ex-husband, another Peter Pan. I don’t trust that things are different now; that I’m not a 20-something this time and in the two decades that have passed I have learned a few things and have become a more fully actualized individual. Shortly after I met Monsieur Magique (MMmm), I wrote in my journal, “It’s too soon to tell if what I am feeling is truth or imagination, but something in me says that my sunny heart sees the sunshine of MM’s heart shining back. I’m curious about it.”

So I’m spinning a bit, which we all know I do. A friend asked whether I shouldn’t just “stop spending energy looking for a man at all right now. Why not spend the energy getting into the headspace you want to be in, then seeing clearly the kind of partner you deserve?” (Clearly some friends are getting tired of all the questioning… as am I, as I edit this weeks after first drafting it!)

The thing is, I’ve spent two years trying to get grounded, centred. I’m ready to explore groundlessness. Giving up on the idea of getting ground. As RuPaul says, we’re all just the universe pretending to be humans for a time. I don’t want to get hung up in my identity any longer. In labels and definitions and in using my great taste in ALL THE THINGS to define me. When I wrote all those paragraphs above, I wasn’t grounded. I can see that clearly now, two weeks later, after going through some major things. (A WHOLE ‘NOTHER POST).

I’ve lost the ending to this a bit, which is fitting, given I’m trying to determine how to close the chapter of Mr. Saturday Night. Even the super fun, super delicious in life gets boring if there’s no substance. If you decided to eat nothing but hipster donuts for a week because you felt entitled to that experience, you’d not be wrong, it wouldn’t be bad really. But in time, you’d probably be craving something healthier, something with sustenance that could fuel your body better. My next post will deal with the metaphysical more directly, because it matters to this story and where I’m at in my journey. In the meantime, I’ve decided not to reach out to Mr. SN at all and see what happens next. More to come.


When the time is right…

Sometimes, often, life happens when you least expect it. Like you’re chugging along, asking yourself if you’re ready to truly open your heart, and then you get scared so you retreat. And then your therapist gives you a good talking to, tells you that you need to enter the holidays with an open mind and embrace the fact that anything can happen.

And then it does. Boom. Right in your lap. Where did you come from?

I met someone special. He’d say the same about me. He HAS said the same about me. To my face. I went to a party with my hair and nails done and spent the night with a giant smile on my face, expecting nothing, but open to anything. And then I felt him. Before I even saw him. I knew he was there. And I looked up at the balcony and saw him smiling down on me.

I haven’t wanted to write about it, nickname him, anything. I don’t want to jinx it. Except I don’t believe in jinxes anymore. I believe in living with intention. And dating mindfully. He’s not perfect. Neither am I. We’ve been on two dates and I’ve already talked myself into some nutty places, and then out of them again (thanks friends).

I don’t know what kind of runway we have, in terms of time together. But I’m curious AF to learn how this story plays out, and how it butts up against the stories I tell myself that tend to be rooted in fear and not truth. My mantra for 2019 is “Uncertainty is exciting!” I am learning to surrender to the now and also in my practice to let go of trying to control the outcome. It’s tough when you’re a daydreamer like me.

So all I will say is that I met someone. Someone as romantic as me, who makes me laugh and whom I make laugh, who meets me at my level, who doesn’t play games and who is open with his heart. Someone magical.

Happy New Year, readers.