Kissing – Pecks, open-mouthed, tongue.
Big deal?
Some people see it as a very intimate action.
Yet, in many cultures, kissing on the cheek or mouth is a normalized greeting.
There’s the myth perpetuated by Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts firmly tells Richard Gere, “I don’t kiss on the mouth.”
Or there’s The Inbetweeners 2 when Will’s childhood friend Katie greets everyone with an open mouth kiss.
People can be good kissers, bad kissers, sloppy kissers, hard kissers, soft kissers…

Even Wikipedia offers a long and almost contradictory explanation:

Cultural connotations of kissing vary widely. Depending on the culture and context, a kiss can express sentiments of love, passion, romance, sexual attraction, sexual activity, sexual arousal, affection, respect, greeting, friendship, peace and good luck, among many others. In some situations a kiss is a ritual, formal or symbolic gesture indicating devotion, respect, or sacrament.

What about kissing someone on a first date?  In this Tinder and booze-filled dating world is that even considered taboo anymore?

Last night a few of us were sitting around my house, having a few beers and shooting the shit.  We’d run through our arsenal of drinking games and card games and Kennedy joked that we should play “Spin The Bottle.”
“What are we 12?” our male guests asked in mock horror.  But Kennedy had the hots for one of our guests, I had the hots for another, so we kept jokingly pushing it.  Kennedy spun a plastic bottle and it landed on me, all the boys started heckling us, “What are you girls going to do now?”
So we leaned across the table and kissed each other quickly on the lips.  Then we continued to play.  I kissed both the guy I was pining over and the other one.  I was relatively sober.  I don’t regret it in the slightest.  It was nice, getting to kiss all these people.  In what other context is that ever acceptable?  (Other than, obviously, orgies.)

I kiss people all the time, for a variety of reasons and I enjoy it.  That’s not to say I’m necessarily easy.  If I don’t want to kiss someone, there’s no amount of convincing that will change my mind (I’ve been in such situations before.)
I’ve passionately made out with everyone of my girlfriends.  That’s not to say I do it for attention, since it’s always private and for our own enjoyment.

I just want to be a make out bandit.  Is that so wrong?


What’s the Deal With Blue Balls?

What’s the deal with Blue Balls.  Is it really a “thing”?

I was in high school and having my first real sexual experience with my first real boyfriend.  We started having sex, but I stopped him because it was too painful and uncomfortable.  The words “blue balls” were mentioned and he complained that he felt as if he had been kicked in the balls and went into the bathroom to relieve himself.  The funny thing was I actually felt sorry for him.  Me, the girl whose vagina was throbbing in pain and whose hymen was ripped and bleeding into my panties.  Throughout most of my adult life I have been painfully aware of the “blue balls” phenomenon.  Always careful not to get a man too excited unless I was intending to do something about it.  In fact, I felt guilty if I made out with a guy too passionately, like Shit, I got him all excited, I better have sex with him.

I am now convinced that blue balls is just an excuse peddled by adolescent boys to guilt women into succumbing to intercourse or at the very least, a BJ.  I believe there is a build up in the testicles and that, if unreleased, it could cause some discomfort, but some of these guys act like they’re fucking martyrs.  The fact that little to nothing has been written about it in medical literature reaffirms my beliefs.

Actually, I haven’t heard the words uttered in years.  For some reason I was thinking about it the other day and I nonchalantly asked LipRing.
“Nah, it’s not a real thing,” he insisted.

So now, a few glasses of wine deep I am wondering, “What’s the deal with blue balls?”  Real?  Mythical?

C’mon men, share a little light on the topic.



The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Today I googled myself.  I was hoping to find my old MSN Profile (apparently they don’t exist anymore?) to access old high school photos.  What I found instead was my old blog I kept in high school.  It was a little disarming since it contained my full name along with extremely personal details and real names of those involved.
The posts were fairly dull and contained huge time lapses.
Some stories I had completely forgotten about and so I had a good chuckle while skipping down memory lane.

Eventually, I stumbled upon a post that made my eyes well up with tears.

I was ranting about my best friend Dillon.  I complained about how clingy he was and bemoaned that fact that he obviously liked me.
“I DON’T like him,” I had so venomously stated, “Why can’t he just accept that?”
I went on to describe how at a party at Dillon’s parents I had hooked up with our friend Arthur.  Dillon made some snide comment in which he referred to me as promiscuous.  I was outraged and angrily asked the cyber world: “Why does he think he owns me cause we’re going to prom together?  The only reason I accepted was cause my first two options bailed and I didn’t want to go stag.”  Ouch.
I was shocked at my cruelty and callousness.  Dillon is my best friend and has been since high school.  Sure we’ve had fights and falling outs, but not back then.  Back then we’d just begun getting really close, he’d done no wrong at this point.
I clicked over to my next post, it begun with an email I had copied and pasted:

“I realize you’re mad and you have every right to be.  I wasn’t trying to call you a slut, but I can see how it came off that way.  So, I’m sorry.  Something like this was bound to happen eventually.  I just have to accept the fact that we’re not going to happen.  So yeah, I’m sorry about what I said and I hope you forgive me!”
My heart broke when I re-read those words (and apparently did at the time, according to the remainder of my post.)
I knew Dillon liked me, but the story I usually tell about how we came to be friends went something like this:
He liked me, we went on a date.  I wasn’t feeling it, I told him I just wanted to be friends and we have been ever since.
It’s a story I tell myself more than anyone else.  The truth is, I hurt him, badly.  He cared about me and probably still does and I never gave him a chance.
I began to see the light a little when trying to describe the nature of our relationship to Kennedy.  I mentioned that his one and only girlfriend and my ex both told me the same thing:
He’s in love with you and always will be.  How can you not see it?
But still, I denied it, I refused to acknowledge it, I pushed it out of my mind.  Sure he had liked me at some point, but that was 10 years ago, he’s moved on.

What if that’s just a story I tell myself so I can hide from my own guilt?  When I met Dillon, he was a nice, sweet, lovesick little puppy.  He was a virgin until after we graduated.  Then he started reading Tucker Max realized, ‘Hey! Assholes really do finish first!’ so he set out to become one and he succeeded.  And it worked.  He got laid.  A lot.  At 27 he is an intelligent, confident man about to finish law school.  Beautiful women throw themselves at him, they trip over themselves to be with him, they blurt out they love him after sex, they pine after him when he pulls away.  He’s never had a real girlfriend (well, one for a few months) he always finds something wrong with them.  Yet something tells me, it’s because he’s still patiently waiting for me….

I think about how it must have been for him, watching me date my ex from Hell.  Seeing me get treated like shit and yet always going back for more.  Witnessing me suffer at the hands of a man I claimed to love.  Becoming an asshole himself in the hopes it would get him ahead.  Then watching me launch straight into a new relationship with a nice, normal, virginal guy, and his own cousin no less!  No wonder he became so bitter!  No wonder we didn’t talk during those relationships.
I recall talking to his brother who said, “You know he’s a jerk cause he likes you right?” and me whining, “If he likes me, why can’t he be nice to me?  Win me over with kindness…”  Of course he wasn’t.  He’d tried that before and it got him instantly friend zoned.  Besides, why would he when being a dick was proving so successful?  Now I sit here, with the heaviest question on my mind:
Am I responsible for the person Dillon is today?  Will he always be bitter and alone because of me?
I know it may sound like the most self-absorbed, presumptuous question in the world, but its the first time I’ve seriously asked myself this and I’m scared it may just as well be true.
Holy fuck I’m an asshole!

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I have wondered what it’d be like to be with him.
We talk openly and honestly about sex and I have no reason to doubt he’d be incredible in bed.  I don’t find him unattractive though he’s not really my type.  But what?  What could ever happen?  We couldn’t be together, we’re too different.  I know “opposites attract” but we are on opposite sides of the fence on every issue.  He wants to go back to our hometown and be a criminal defence lawyer, he wants that materialistic security.  I want to travel the world, be a happy bum and avoid responsibility and commitment forever.
Years ago we promised that if we hit a certain age and were both single we’d marry each other.  But now I’m questioning if I ever want to get married, let alone do it out of convenience and social pressure.  So what, should we just fuck?  Just to see what it’d be like?  Maybe ruin our friendship and for what?
I love Dillon, I can’t lose him.  We’re living our separate lives in different countries, but he’s always been there for me, we’ve always kept in touch.

A long time ago I had another best guy friend.  Our relationship was awesome and open, we had the best times together.  He told me he loved me and I said I couldn’t.  He wouldn’t relent, he said he loved me and wanted to be with me.  He treated me like gold and refused to give up.  One night camping, in a drunken haze, we hooked up and it just felt right.  He asked me again to be his girlfriend, but this time I said yes.  He was my first and I was totally and utterly in love.  Then everything changed.  I changed, he changed, we couldn’t just be us, we were like this one entity.  He grew cold and turned on me.  He broke my heart in the cruelest and most malicious way.  I felt all the pain and anguish from all those years ago as I re-read my heartbroken entries,  After that I vowed never to date a friend again.  But I did.  I met him and he loved me and one day I saw that I might love him too.  So we gave it a shot.  I still love him but I broke his heart and he’ll never forgive me and I’ll never have his friendship again.

I guess it’s better to have loved and lost than always wondered what could have been, but not this time, not in this case.  I can’t lose Dillon.

I guess I’m still a selfish asshole.


Daddy Issues

It’s one of the most commonly used phrases.
If a woman is promiscuous, flirtatious or suffers from low self-esteem, it must be due to her ‘daddy issues.’  Just a simple Google search of the words brings up over 5 million results.  Pages and pages on how to read the signs, how to combat it and why these ‘damaged’ women should be avoided.
Certainly women aren’t alone in this.  Men are often as guilty of having overarching emotional issues due to over-bearing mothers.
According to Freud and Jung, children become attracted to their opposite sex parent and jealous of their same sex parent.  The two psychologists call this phenomenon an Oedipus Complex.  Although I’m not totally inclined to agree with Freud’s morose sexual viewpoints, it seems he is on to something.
We desperately seek the love and affection of our parents and as an adult we often feel as if we did not get the approval we desired.
I find this true of myself and of most of my female friends.

When I was growing up I didn’t see much of my father.  He worked evenings managing his restaurant and often worked late into the night.  Most of our time spent with him was at the restaurant where my brother and I would sneak mozzarella balls from the walk-in cooler, drink Shirley Temples or have mini sword fights with swizzle sticks.  Those rare times when he was off work were always spent doing something fun.  I remember doubling up in my dad’s vintage sports car, he would speed down narrow alleys with my brother and I screamed in glee.  My dad started a risky business venture that didn’t pay off.  We declared bankruptcy and moved to a small town on a sleepy island.
That’s when my memories of him begin to slight.

I worked for him in his new restaurants and witnessed how cruel he was to employees.  I saw how much they hated him and therefore me, “Daddy’s Little Princess.”
My dad was your typical Italian father.  He didn’t believe young ladies should cuss or burp or wear makeup.  He convinced my younger brother that it was his duty, as a man, to watch over me and keep me away from boys.  A responsibility my brother still enacts to this day.
The older I got, the more my father and I butted heads.  He was quick to anger and I, being his daughter, was much the same.
He was a huge believer in respect.  If I didn’t get up in the morning and immediately say to him in my sweetest, most adoring voice, “Good morning Poppa,” he was outraged.
If I closed a door too loudly when he was trying to sleep, it was an all out war.
The most frustrating thing about arguing with my dad was that anything could set him off and he would start screaming and yelling.  I would muster all my strength and remain cool.  I would tell him he was right and apologize over and over again, but it seemed to make him angrier.  I would feel my patience dwindling and my anger rising.  I’d calmly say, “I’m sorry, but please, I need a moment alone so I can cool down.”
But he would follow me, screaming and cursing, calling me every bad name in the book until finally I would turn to him and explode.  That’s when things would get really ugly and often violent.
One time, I couldn’t successfully help him figure out his voicemail and my dad became so enraged that I fearfully locked myself in the bathroom.  He punched a hole through the door trying to get at me then stormed out of the house.  I left immediately after and hid out at a friends house.  When I got home that night my mother angrily asked, “What did you do this time?”
I don’t blame my mom, she was terrified of upsetting him.  I don’t blame my dad, he had a miserable, abusive childhood.  But I still felt utterly alone.
As I got older, I wavered back and forth from thinking my dad was an asshole to thinking he was the coolest.  He grew weed and would get me stoned all the time.  When I turned 16 we got tattoos together.  I never doubted he loved me, I just wished he would show it in a more conventional way.

In grade 12 my dad lost his business and moved up North to find work.  He was only home one weekend a month.  My mother gave me freedom and respect and I never once abused her trust.  It was the greatest time of my high school career, but it didn’t last.  My dad came back.  I started rebelling.  I dated a much older guy, a bi-polar drug dealer who abused steroids.  He cheated on me, treated me like garbage, physically, mentally and emotionally abused me, but I thought that was love.  My parents kicked me out and I moved in with him.  I finally found the strength to leave my relationship and thankfully, my mother gladly accepted me back into their home.

I was doing well in college and started dating a ‘nice guy’ from a ‘normal’ family.  He treated me with love and affection, showed me courtesy and respect.  I felt I’d finally straightened my life out and outrun my daddy issues.
Out of nowhere, this ‘nice guy’ ripped out my heart and stomped on it, I felt certain that I was undeserving of love.  I went off the deep end.  I started drinking excessively and sleeping around.  My dad hated me, he wouldn’t speak to me or even look me in the eyes.  I hated him and his oppressive nature.  I transferred to a university in a city 2 hours away and left all the men who’d hurt me behind.  After that, I barely spoke to my dad.

Whenever I did visit home my dad would lecture me about everything from my major to my job.  I watched him treat my mom with the utmost contempt while she began descending into alcoholism.  I stopped visiting home as much.
My brother would call me, worried, “I think mom and dad are going to split up.  They sleep in separate rooms and never speak.”
I didn’t believe my mom had the guts to leave him and I knew he would never leave her.
My graduating year, they announced their separation and I knew it was my mother’s decision.  Suddenly, my heart broke for my dad: jobless, alone and depressed.  We all feared he’d kill himself.  He wanted to start a new restaurant and wanted me and my current boyfriend to move back and manage it.  He made it sound too incredible to pass up.

From the get-go there were issues from finding start-up money to securing the lease.  It seemed he hadn’t really thought anything through.  I began to get cold feet and tried to convince my boyfriend to back out, but he refused.  When things were finally up and running my dad was a tyrant.  He was rude and cruel, he showed up to work high and had become increasingly paranoid.  He gossiped salaciously about his staff and drove them all away.  He made a lot of enemies, fast.  He allegedly sexually harassed a waitress causing my boyfriend to finally quit.  But I stayed.  My dad followed me around the restaurant, shit talking my boyfriend and my mother’s family, calling me a bitch and accusing me of being just like her.  He openly blamed me for their divorce, he blamed me for the restaurant not doing well, he blamed me for all the staff quitting.  Yet still, I did not leave, I couldn’t bring myself to abandon him no matter how many times I tried.  There was only one other person in the world still speaking to him and that was my brother who lived 4 hours away and never came to visit.  My dad sabotaged his business, his relationships, his happiness.  He drove it all into the ground, ran out of money and had no choice but to close the doors of yet another failed business.
My boyfriend and I resolved to moved away from our crazy families and chose a city 12 hours away.

My brother was outraged, he accused me of abandoning my father and ruining the business.  When I tried to explain my point of view, my brother covered his ears and refused to hear it.  He took my father at his word and believed all of his delusional accusations.  He never once offered to move back and help out, he felt that it was the responsibility of either my mother or me to care for my father.

I left and once again all but entirely cut my dad out.
I felt bad losing contact with him, but I couldn’t forget the way he treated me and the horrendous things he said.  He was hurt, but you can’t treat people like crap and then demand their affection.  You can’t blame everyone else for your own problems.  If you wake up one day and find that no one wants you in their life, well then it’s time to take a good hard look at yourself and your behaviours.
When my relationship finally fell apart, I returned to my hometown and moved in temporarily with my mother.  The first thing my dad did was ask to borrow money.  A lot of money.  My entire savings.  He still refused to get a job and had accumulated a staggering amount of debt.  He was already receiving spousal support from my mother and a part of her pension AND she had given him their life savings.
I was extremely hesitant, I asked my dad what his long term plans were.  He rambled on nonsensically, claiming he was too ill to work and was trying to get on unemployment.  Nothing he said made sense.  He started sobbing uncontrollably and cried, “You’re going to let your own father become homeless?!”
I called my brother and tried to discuss the issue with him.
“Dad is unwell,” I told him, “I think he may be schizophrenic or manic-depressive.  I want to seek legal advise and to take control of his finances.”
“Dad’s fine.  We need to help him financially and let him live his life.”
Once again, my brother didn’t support me, didn’t want to see the truth.  I was crushed.  I gave all the money I had to my dad and he moved closer to be near my brother.
Around this time, I myself was considering moving to the same resort town, but began questioning my decision.  I wanted to create as much distance as I could between myself and those two.

Somewhere along the line I decided for the move and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.  The three of us patched things up.  My dad got a job and started paying back his kids and his creditors.  He quit smoking weed and drank less.  He seemed more level-headed.  I’m so grateful that he is in control of his life again and that we were able to begin having a loving father-daughter relationship.

Yet sadly, to this day, I’m still not able to fully forgive my father who admits no wrongdoing on his part.  I can’t forget everything he said and did no matter how hard I try. I still keep him at arms length and only call him once in a blue moon.  My brother still lectures me on how I should be a better daughter, he still blames my mother and I for everything.  They both continue to meddle in my personal life even though I’m on the other side of the world.
I love them both more than words can explain and I always will, but I still have so much sadness in my heart.  It’s taken years for me to finally sit down and write out all my feelings instead of suppressing it deep inside.  I believe I’m on the mend and that admitting these things out loud is extremely healing.  Still, I can’t help but wonder…

Will my ‘daddy issues’ follow me for the rest of my life?  Am I doomed to be attracted to men who are incapable of returning my affection?  My brother is 25, he’s never had a real relationship.  I’m 27 and have had a series on unhappy, unhealthy relationships.

Are we both doomed to love those who will never love us back?  Or are we making excuses for our own failures?

Perhaps daddy issues aren’t even an issue.  Maybe they’re an inevitable part of life.


Reading the Signs

Life is a test. A challenge. A race.
I have attempted to ignore what the Universe is trying to tell me, but it refuses to stand down.
Sometimes I convince myself that I’m satisfied with my current situation.
I try to tell myself that if I stay perfectly still where I am – curled up in a corner, eyes shut tightly – things around me will changed on their own.
Life is full of ups and downs and happiness ebbs and flows like waves breaking on a shore.  Yet sometimes so many roadblocks appear on one journey, you can’t help but wonder: Is the Universe trying to tell me something and steer me away from the path I’m on? Or is it all the more reason to fight harder, be stronger and carry on?
I guess the answer lies within, in the form of yet another question:
How badly do you want it?

Often the challenges I face are moral in nature, they say:
This is what you claim to stand for, now is your chance to prove it. Will you step onto your soapbox, stand up for what you believe in and defend those without a voice? Or will you slink away, because it’s easier and more convenient?
It’s easy to feel helpless.
Recently I found myself in a shitty situation where I was witness to some unsavoury behaviour from our landlord. He acted in an inappropriate way towards one of my flatmates and I fell into the uncomfortable position of having to relay the information to my unknowing friend. He was surprised, hurt, shocked. A day later he had sat on the information and his anger had only grown. He was upset and wanted to speak up and out, but didn’t know what to say and I mirrored his frustrations.
If we confronted our landlord, would he kick us out, or begin treating us with hostility?
When you live in a tourist town where everyone is struggling to find work or accommodation, you consider yourself one of the lucky ones when those things materialize for you. In fact, you feel so grateful, that you’re afraid to rock the boat for fear of losing everything.

An asshole boss at a job you desperately need.
An inappropriate landlord in a house you were barely able to find.
These people are in a place of power above you.
There are even more above them and a select few that reign over our whole society.
The thought of fighting to the top is exhausting, especially when it’s obviously easier to walk away.
People can be cruel and there are a lot of the people I’ve met here that I would rather forget. The locals are unfriendly and proud, the natives are aggressive and intense, the tourists are just looking to party.

It seems as if every day I find myself in another shitty situation that tempts me to run away with my tail between my legs, but the competitive side of me refuses to stand down: at least not until I’ve made a complete life for myself here.  Once I’m nice and comfortable, that’s the perfect time to move on and start again.
Maybe the reason I am picking up on these perceived signs is because of the doubts within myself. I’m not totally psyched on my life right now, so I look for signs in my environment that might tell me if I am making the wrong decision.
I’ve reached out for spiritual guidance, as I always do in times of uncertainty.
The last few times I’ve read my tarot cards or my horoscope, the same themes continue to appear: Strength, travel, personal growth, but above all: Career.
Everywhere I go, everything I see screams: WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?!
I like having a life void of responsibility and full of fun, but I feel unsatisfied. I want to feel that I am doing something meaningful with my life, but I’m scared to take that next step and become a “responsible adult.” At the beginning of the year, I set a goal for myself: Teach in another country. I’ve taken strides towards that goal, but now that I’m close I’ve begun cowering away.
A life with a purpose, with a schedule.
Being responsible for a person’s education.
Standing in front of a classroom.
Yet, maybe exactly what I need. I can’t run forever, I can’t ignore the signs from within.