Being nervous around the person you’re dating feels like reading a never-ending Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Parker was a man I pseudo-dated before I met Grant (if you’re wondering what pseudo-dating is, it’s basically seeing each other on a regular basis for an extended period of time, hanging out, having the occasional dinners and sleeping together, but never committing to anything resembling an actual relationship). Parker is quite the catch – funny, intelligent, charming, very attractive, kind, employed, athletic and he has a British accent just to top it off.
I pseudo-dated Parker for six months but I was still nervous around him. When we were together I would repeat a fun chant in my head to the effect of ‘be breezy, be calm, stop shaking, I bet he saw you shaking, shut up brain, be breezy…’

I wanted our pseudo-dates to be perfect, and I remember one particular dinner that stands out for this. I had just come back from a weekend away, he picked me up and we went to a restaurant, I ordered a salad and he had a burger. Everything was going swimmingly until about a quarter of the way through my salad when I saw a black hair. Parker was about half way done his burger and I played out two options in my head;
A) I could call the waitress over and point out the hair. She would take my salad and insist on replacing it. I did not want another salad, but if I refused that would mean I basically didn’t get to eat dinner. But by the time they brought out a new salad for me, Parker would probably be done his burger. The hair was also sure to be the only thing we remembered about the evening.
B) I could wait for him to look down and take a bite of his food, then pull the hair out of my salad and pretend nothing happened. It didn’t look long anyway, and this way our evening wouldn’t be ruined.
I chose option B, and I regret it every day. It wasn’t a short hair it was a very long hair. But now I’d taken it out so I couldn’t very well put it back in and call the waitress over. So I ate around the outside of my salad and chanted in my head to ‘be breezy’.

One of the reasons I fell for Grant was because he was the spazzy one.
The first time he phoned to ask me out he opened with “I’ve just given blood and I’m kind of light headed, so I think I’ve worked up the courage to ask if you would maybe like to get a drink sometime? You can say no.”
On our second date we were supposed to meet halfway between our places to walk to a restaurant for dinner. Enroute to meet him he called me and said, “would you be able to please go home and get some band aids, I’ve tripped over the curb and my toe is bleeding quite badly.”  When I met him he wasn’t lying, there was blood everywhere and we had to stop and administer first-aid in the street.
I was comfortable with Grant, I was calm, I was the breezy one without even having to try. And I loved it.

I’m trying to avoid music that reminds me of my Ex, so I mostly listen to Hasidic Jewish songs and the occasional banjo anthem now.

As I move on from the disaster that I affectionately refer to as ‘my last relationship’ (which I know seems harsh, but you wouldn’t call the Titanic a ‘lovely cruise’ just because the beginning was good.) I do so with all the grace of a baby deer learning to walk. I’ve had a few ups and downs with sporadic crying followed by a solid hour of female empowerment music, but I’ve mostly evened out now.
The only trick is to avoid things that remind me of him, which is much more difficult than I imagined. I am one of those people that forever attaches meaning and significances to useless things. When I dated that guy Brent 2 years ago we had a joke about pineapples, I just sent him a picture of a crystal pineapple a few days ago because it reminded me of him. Two years later and pineapples still remind me of a man who never came close to meaning what Grant did to me.

From the beginning I knew Grant was different than the other guys I dated, so I started keeping silly things from dates. I’m not saying I’m a hoarder, but I’m not not a hoarder. I’m not Grey Gardens level yet, but you know, another 30 years, some scarves and a lot of cats and I can probably get there.
I’ve had to collect the things I was saving and put them all in one place so that I can stop seeing them around. For Christmas Grant gave me a custom made version of my favourite book that has been hollowed out so you’re able to store things in it. My favourite book is The Great Gatsby – if you haven’t read it, it’s a wonderful love story that ends in abandonment and murder.

Things I’m packing up that remind me of Grant
1. The book he lent me after on our first date
2. The picture of the egg I accidentally smashed on his counter after proclaiming I make “the best eggs”
3. A tab from a beer can on our first date and napkin ring from a restaurant on our first trip together
4. A ticket stub from a hockey game and our winning raffle ticket from a charity event we attended
5. A t-shirt I wore the first time we made pizza together and he made fun of me endlessly for that says “Mikey’s Friends” across it
There is one thing I took during the breakup that won’t fit in the book and I can’t stand to look at. I took the pizza oven I bought him, with my exact words being “I’m taking the pizza oven, and I want you to know I’m never going to use it, I’m taking it out of spite because you don’t deserve to have crispy crusts.”

There are also a few things I left at his place that will remind him of me until he gets rid of them too.
1. My poncho and sombrero that I wear while preparing Mexican food (apologies for any cultural insensitivity)
2. My ice cream (which I hope he cried into while eating)
3. The pizza slicer (because I totally forgot and would have taken it out of spite too)
4. Strands of my hair (because I shed more than a cat)

Flowers won’t keep me around, but let me lip-sync to 90’s hits and I’ll be yours forever…

I was actually hesitant to accept Brent’s initial invitation for our first date, to be fair I was confused if it was even an actual date. Our work had brought us together on a project and afterwards he ended up emailing me to see if I wanted to go for drinks sometime. Since he picked a Saturday night, I felt safe enough to assume it was a date and not a casual ‘business drink’. A few months earlier things had ended (not well) with a man that I quite liked, and the dates I had been on since hadn’t been great (I’m positive one guy was totally high during our date).  So I wasn’t holding my breath for anything special.

The reason I stuck things out for 3 months with Brent was because he showed so much promise at the beginning, but especially on our first date. He let me pick where I wanted to go for drinks, so I picked my go-to after work spot, which is an oyster bar. I didn’t think twice about it until I showed up 10 minutes late and he had thoughtfully ordered a tray of oysters for us – I’m allergic to shellfish (my bad). Even though I told him I was fine without food he insisted on ordering something that I could eat.
During the date I told him that I’m not sure how I’ll ever be able to live with someone again after living on my own for so long. I was very concerned about having to use cutlery at home when I ate, and what would happen to my nightly lip-syncing performances of 90’s hits (fyi – tonight was Mariah’s classic, Always Be My Baby). He looked me straight in the eyes and said; “the right person will never let you change that.” And then followed it up with; “we’re going to go out again, and the next time we go out I want to hear about you. Not about your work, not about your friends, I want to learn about you.” Then he drove me home and waited until I got in the door before he drove away (a sure sign that he didn’t want me to be attacked before he got a second date *bonus*).

As we continued to see each other he picked up on my favorite habit of seeing how uncomfortable I can make a situation with sarcasm and oversharing, and was happy to keep me on my toes. I’m not even sure what date it was but we had gone back to his place after dinner.  I had decided to wear nylons that had black lines running up the back of the legs. He leaned towards me and said; “your nylons are very sexy.” In my most seductive voice I replied back; “thanks, they’re control top…” Not missing a beat or breaking character he said “that’s hot… and is this a pleather skirt? You’re spoiling me tonight.” I started cracking up after that.
On a different occasion we had come up with an inside joke about pineapples (best not to ask). To keep the joke going I had stopped into the grocery store so I could text him a picture to show him they were on sale. A few days later I was watching his tv show and he actually managed to work the word ‘pineapple’ into the conversation with his co-host. He also mentioned it on the show’s Twitter for good measure in case I wasn’t watching.

So it was the little things that kept me around for 3 months, because the little things made me smile in the middle of a work day. The little things also make it a bit easier to deal with the big thing that was being ignored, “the keyboardist”.

When “playing crazy” on a date goes wrong…

I was on a date recently, and I will begin by saying there was nothing terribly wrong with this guy, but he was nowhere close to my type. This was a setup from a mutual friend, and although I generally don’t agree to setups, he sounded very promising.
About 20minutes into the date I could tell there wouldn’t be a second date. To avoid having to turn him down later, when he would inevitably phone for the second date, I decided to have some fun to make sure he wouldn’t want a second date with me.
I’m a very convincing person, it’s not by accident I received a 93% in Acting in grade 12. So I put on my serious face over the beautiful candlelit table, looked him right in the eye and asked “Are you worried about dying alone? I am. I mean not totally alone, I’ll have cats, but you know what I mean?” He told me he was sure I wont die alone (obviously I wont, he may though) and politely changed the topic.
He started telling me how he pays off his credit card statement in full every month because it’s very important. So I told him that I loooove to shop, uncontrollably, all the time. I told him I max out my credit cards but its ok, because they just keep increasing my limit. He asked if I was a “minimum payment” type. To which I answered “yes, well I certainly try, but I always seem to spend the money on alcohol before I can pay my Visa.” Then tilted my head to the left and smiled. He seemed a little confused and asked if I drank a lot; “oh, well, no, I wouldn’t say a lot, I mean I blackout a lot, but I only drink every weekend.”
God bless him, trying again to change the topic, he asked what my favorite car is. “I don’t like cars. I like shoes.” So he asked what my favorite shoe is. At this point I leaned in, with a very serious look on my face and whispered “I can’t tell you, because the other shoes will get jealous.” Then I flared my eyes.
Here’s where “playing crazy” goes wrong; he wasn’t running for the hills, in fact, he was having a good time. Dinner was over and I was trying to make my polite exit, he said he wanted to walk me home; I declined and said I was going to the drug store first. He asked if he could come with me… I told him no. So when I tried to say goodbye to him at the drug store, he told me he would wait outside for me until I finished shopping. This is where London Drugs failed me, because they had no other exit that I could use that wouldn’t set off the fire alarm. And so, indeed he was still waiting for me outside, and even though I told him several times that it was not necessary for him to walk me home, he did anyway. While walking he said “don’t you feel so much safer with me?” the answer was no, I felt safer with my personal alarm. But I told him “yes, because the attackers would go for you first, so I would have time to get away.” I got home, patted him on the shoulder and ran inside.
Not only did I get a text message that same night saying what wonderful company I was, and that he wanted to hang out again that weekend, but he also called me on Sunday evening.
Sometimes, despite one’s best efforts to sabotage a date; having to reject someone is inevitable.