A Love Lesson from Former Pro Golfer, Channing Tatum

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It’s a Wednesday night and I have the day off tomorrow. A girlfriend of mine comes to stay the night from a nearby town. She’s a teacher, and so she is on winter holidays, meaning tonight we can afford to risk hangovers. After some martini catch up we head to one of my favourite dive bars. It’s about 10-1030 when we arrive, and the tiny bar is pretty full. We start a tab, grab a few drinks, a bucket of peanuts, and squish into booth seats between a couple making out, and a large group of people.

We are in conversation when we are interrupted by an engineer who describes himself as, ‘ten beers drunk,’ and he asks to sit with us. His friend isn’t long behind and tries to direct him elsewhere, but eventually they join us for some uncomfortable conversation. They’re nice, but one has a girlfriend, and we’re not interested. Eventually, they go. Later, after politely turning down a drunk chef, he describes us as, ‘his last resort, anyway.’ Sweet. We get more drinks, and move seats to an empty table across the room. We get comfy in the booths and talk about out what’s new, what’s old, and what maybe will be one day. We’re finishing up our drinks and getting ready to go when in comes a Greek god.

From behind he is Channing Tatum. He is so gorgeous. He’s wearing a sweater, a toque, perfect fitting jeans, and hipster boots. We both notice him, and declare him too hot to engage with. He ping pongs around for a while, and spends a lot of time standing near our table, but close to the bar. Out of no where he turns around and asks, “do you mind if I sit with you girls?” We do not mind.

Pretend Channing Tatum is lovely. He used to be a professional golfer when he lived in Victoria, but has now moved to Ottawa where he works for the government doing something secret-ish with some intelligence something, I don’t know. I’m drunk enough to say, “I don’t believe you,” several times and he tells me I am, “the worst” several times back. I figure he’s too attractive to be interested in me, so I don’t have anything to lose. He’s 32. Married once for four years, no kids. Gorgeous. Did I mention he is beautiful? He makes conversation with us equally, and after a half an hour or so he invites his other two friends over. They’re both cute, and they seem nice, but Channing is a charismatic gun show. He pulls focus like a hot cult leader. There is a lot of friendly banter until all the sudden the bar lights are on. At the end of the night there is the exchanging of phone numbers with the promise to play Catan the next day. My friend and I jump into a cab, and (he’ll later tell me) he is surprised when we leave. My friend tells me at a point in the conversation he looked over at her and mouthed, “I like her.”

We’re in the cab home when he texts me to reiterate that I am, “the worst.” I text back, “miss me already?” He replies, “side note you are super incredibly cute and I wish you were here with me right now.” Because it’s getting near 230, and we’re ‘saucy’ drunk, (as he describes it) when he turns the conversation sexual we get down to brass tacks quickly. My friend who is staying on my futon gives her blessing to have to listen to other people have sex, and I find myself in the bath rushing to shave my legs. Then, what seems like five minutes later, he’s buzzing in. My heart is pounding as he walks from the front door to our suite on the second floor. He opens the door and says, “I have been waiting to do this since the second I saw you,” and kisses me.

He is a walking muscle. He’s made of granite. He’s so strong. He picks me up and pulls me onto his lap facing him. From then on we are tangled together until 1030, and I’m not sure if we even sleep. When we try to sleep, he spoons me, and it wakes us both back up, and we find each other again. He is a generous and kind partner. He asks me constantly, “Is this okay?,” “What do you like?,” “Can I…,” and, “How can it be better for you?” Even in our down minutes, between hours enjoying being squished up, he is passionate. He treats my body like it’s an honour to be in it’s presence. He calls me beautiful repeatedly. He runs his fingers through my hair, and holds my head. He kisses and rubs my back. He talks about women with the up most respect. When I express my gratitude he says, “isn’t this what your boyfriends do for you?” And I feel strange saying no. Channing tells me I deserve to be with a man who kisses the back of neck until I fall asleep. Do I? For a brief second I think about the drift racer who kissed my neck just over a week ago.

We both know this will likely be our only night together. Graciously he tells me if he lived here he’d love to take me out properly. I don’t know if anything he says is true, because I don’t know him. I do know that he is the only man who has said, ‘make love,’ that hasn’t made me gag. When he says it there is a sincerity my ear hasn’t caught before. Channing has shown me, at 27, what it feels like to be desired, appreciated, and satisfied, if only for a brief moment. Was it supposed to take this long? Can that kind of sincerity come so quickly and be so temporary? I won’t ever make Channing dinner on his birthday, but I know I don’t want be making dinner anymore for men on their birthdays, who don’t make me feel like I can sit in bed naked in daylight.

After 7 hours of enjoying him I am depleted, exhausted, and satisfied. For the first time in years I feel seen. I walk him to the door and he puts on his jacket and boots. He presses his entire clothed body against my naked one and he kisses me goodbye. I shower and go back to bed with my hair still pulled up on top of my head. I think about the drift racer from Christmas time, and resist texting him. I wonder who he woke up with today. I wonder if he kissed the back of her neck.

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The Pilot who had Fake Eyebrows

img_5795Pilot guy and I matched a few days ago on tinder. I decided to be like Carrie Bradshaw when she got dumped via post-it, and not waste time pining over a guy that did not have the decency to treat me respectfully. Onward and swiping leftwards. Pilot guy has cute pictures, and is charismatic over text. A few times he’s overtly sexual, but he’s also quite funny. Because tinder can be ambiguous I decide to be direct with him, and I tell him “I realize you’re a pilot, and it’s the holidays, but I’m ultimately looking for legitimate dating, so if you’re in transit that would be a problem.” He says he lives locally. He tells me to meet him at Clive’s Cocktail Bar at 6 on Boxing Day, and I tell him I’m on antibiotics and up at 5 the next morning, so I won’t be drinking. He says, “they make virgins.”

I believe in bringing my own vehicle to first dates so I have an escape route, but it’s raining and my windshield wiper on my car is broken. I don’t have time to fix it, so I tell him we can pick somewhere closer or I will be late. He suggests picking me up, and I break my own rule in favour of convenience. Also, this means we won’t have that terrible moment of trying to guess who the other one is.

He texts me to say he’s outside, but we can’t figure out which parking lot he’s in, so he says he’ll drive to the front door. When he pulls up he yells, “OH HI PRINCESS, WHAT’S WRONG, DON’T WANNA GET YOUR HAIR WET?” Oh good! He’s obnoxious! When I get into the car he starts speaking a stream of words that will not end until I am home again. He’s tall, and has long arms, and some how they’re already touching me. His right elbow is up near my left shoulder, and his arm is kind of dangling. When he talks he taps me for emphasis, and he’s 2-3 inches away from my left breast, which is alarming. I say, “uh oh, you’re already touching me,” and he says, “I like how sassy you are.” He’s good looking, and he knows it. If he stopped talking for a minute, and didn’t touch me he would be 70% more attractive. He takes us to Cactus Club downtown, and I’m a bit concerned we might run into someone I know, because from the amount he’s touching me I would have to introduce him as my boyfriend, and not my ‘new friend of ten minutes.’

We sit at the bar and look through the drink menu. To his credit he says it’s fine that I don’t want to drink. I do wonder why I’m sitting at a bar then? I get a virgin blackberry ginger mojito that I don’t want, and he gets a virgin caesar. Why couldn’t we have just gone somewhere for tea?

I’m sitting in my chair properly facing ahead, and he is sat completely sideways in his. Both his legs are touching me and his left hand is touching me every few minutes while he talks. Because I have already suggested that he is too close several times and he hasn’t backed off, I finally stop the joking tone when I say, “you’re too close to me.” He says, “you have to break the touch barrier soon or girls put you in the friend zone.” Throughout our short date he will word barf out a few more ‘dating rules,’ for me that make me feel like I’m being sold a shitty car. He talks about sex and dating like we’ve known each other for years. He tells me the world is, “easier for a woman.” I say, “excuse me?” And he says, “have you ever been in a club?” I say, “have you ever been in a job interview?” He says he’s not “getting into a feminist debate right now,” and changes the subject. He pulls out his phone to show me a video of him flying, and there are tinder notifications from other girls. Fair, but it makes me feel weird. Have I sent tinder messages to guys when they were on dates? He is a fighter pilot, which means if the time comes he will bomb people. I say, “that’s a massive weight to carry, does that stress you out?” He says, “no, some people should die.” Cute. Out of nowhere he says he lost all his hair once and his eyebrows are fake. He is a conversationalist.

It comes out that he actually lives in Alberta and is here for the holidays. I’m annoyed, because I’m not interested in dating tourism, and have been explicit about that. He says, “yeah, but I knew you’d like my personality.” I tell him I would like to go home now. While he’s driving me home he talks about his ex girlfriend with the ‘short vagina.’ He says he could never date another girl like that again because she didn’t like sex. Is this his way of weeding out girls with short vaginas? Is that a thing I was supposed to be concerned about in dating? He asks to come up and I say, “no,” point blank. He says he’ll, “show me how to play guitar, and guitar is a euphemism for his dick.” I again say “no,” on account of I don’t require ‘dick playing’ lessons on this Monday night. I’m impressed he knew how to say euphemism. He asks again, and I laugh so hard I cough. He says we’ll ‘make out for five minutes and I’ll go.” I say, “bye.” He says, “night babe,” and I just say, “ugh.”

When I get in the door I text my dear single same aged friend, who I text all my dating woes too. She validates my overall disgust, and mild disappointment in a way only a solid woman to woman friendship can. I make tea, and bring it to the bathtub where I also eat a quarter of a gingerbread house.

The Cup of Tea that Wasn’t Really ft. The Australian

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It’s October and I’m bored. I have recently had a summer dating situation fizzle pretty hard, and I’m listening to a lot of Whitney Houston. I miss having someone to be Whitney-Houston-singing level mad at. I miss having a predetermined date to things. I miss having someone to get breakfast with when I’m hungover. I start to Tinder. I’m chatting to a man who is 25, meaning he’s two years younger than me. He says he works a lot, but has today off, and wants to grab tea. I’m so, so, so, desperately hungover from the night before, which makes me not want to go, but also exacerbates how lonely I feel today. We agree on tea at 7pm. It’s fall, and I think I can get away with a sweater, a big scarf, and my hair up. It’s tea after all.

He picks me up in the most ridiculous custom painted sports car I have ever seen. I wish I could tell you what it was, but I have no idea. It’s painted in a way a 14 year old might pick out for a car on a video game. He’s tall, he’s handsome, hes Australian, he’s…wearing a three piece suit?! I’m very aware that I am wearing a sports bra.

He drives like an asshole. He tail gates, his music is incredibly loud, and he’s speeding excessively. I am intrigued with how poorly we are matched. I turn his music down and say, “I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” He laughs, turns it back up, and keeps talking. I’m yelling now, “I KNOW YOU’RE TALKING, BUT I CAN’T HEAR YOU SO I CAN’T ANSWER YOU.” He drives around town for a while in no apparent direction. Eventually he takes us to the highway. We are going 160km in a 90km zone, and I’m horrified. I ask him if he’s an organ donor, but he can’t hear me on account of his music. I turn down his music and ask him to please, please slow down. He says he, “gets bored a lot, and use to race cars.” He slows down to a saucy 130km, and I don’t have the guts to tell him to slow down more. He takes me to Bear Mountain, to an over the top fancy restaurant. I’m thinking about my sports bra again, and how the smell of food is going to make me hangover hurl. What happened to tea? He asks if I’ve been here before and I say, “no, I’m poor.” He says, “not me.”

Sports bra.

He orders an appetizer, a meal, a scotch, and I order a pot of tea. He insists I eat something. I say “no, I feel sick.” He orders me soup.

Sports bra.
He mentions money 95 times in ten minutes. It just won’t stop. He tells me his parents are loaded, and he had an incredible education, and now has a subsequent high paying job. He explains what he does, but I don’t understand, so I file him under ‘business guy,’ in my brain. He doesn’t really ask about me, but I’m okay with that because I want to dissolve into the soup I don’t want, and take this sports bra with me. He’s not particularly warm, but he’s disarmingly good looking, and he has an accent so I feel like I should be impressing him. I should be wearing heels. I should have highlighted my cheekbones and had my hair down. I want this deplorable dick bag to like me, and I’m not sure that I appreciate his company. He pays, I offer to pay for myself, and he laughs in a condescending way and says “nurses make shit money.” Back in his car and back to driving irresponsibly, turning his music loud, and talking about money. He is taking me on an indirect route home, which I find obnoxious. I have headache, and I want to go home. The 45 minutes I allotted for this date has already turned into 2ish hours, and my patience all at once runs out. I tell him I can’t handle any more money talk, and he needs to slow down. (We’re going 170km). He says he “knows how he comes across,” and that sometimes he’s “covering his own insecurities.” He also says he is often used by women for his money. Those two statements are in such a wildly different tone from the rest of the night that I start to care about what he’ll say next. He tells me why he’s in Canada, and about a girl who broke his heart. He talks about his stressful job. The only two things he knows about me at this juncture are my address, and the fact that I’m hungover. I could be any person in this car.

He takes me to a beach near his house and drives us down a secluded ramp, and we’re out of public view. This date is getting to be four hours long. He turns off his car. I say, “I have to go home and let my dog out.” He says, “your dog is okay, you leave it when you’re at work right?” He awkwardly puts his hand on my thigh and I say, “mmmmnope.” There’s a really long uncomfortable silence that I decide needs to be filled, so I spew out a non-stop stream of words with the thesis being ‘I’m not having sex with you.’ He says, “I like when you’re uncomfortable, it’s cute, but you’re making shit up.” He turns the car on and drives like an ambulance back to my condo. We agree to see each other again, but I’m pretty sure we repulse each other.

Sports bra.
A few weeks pass and we don’t speak. The man from summer and I reconnect briefly, just long enough to make it sting again when things inevitably don’t work. I call the Australian and tell him I want to go out again. Now. He asks what I would like to do, and I say there is a show about a transgender woman downtown in an hour. He agrees, I’m surprised. I wear my ‘vegan leather’ pants because they are my second date pants, and they make me feel like bad Sandy. He wears a three piece suit. The show is excellent, he laughs at all the right parts, and gives a poignant critique after. He is a level of rich that I can’t relate to, and don’t understand. He has a homophobic driver, named Butters, who he ends phone conversations with by saying, “Okay, thanks baby, I love you.” Who is this guy? We get into his car and he drives like we are on a go-cart track. People flip us off constantly. We’re at a stop sign by a group of people out side of a pub, and I recognize one of the guys to be a guy who had sex with me a few weeks ago, and then instantly told me he ‘doesn’t date.’ I think he can see me too. Sucker. Look how boss I am in this boss car in my vegan pants.

We go to a pub I didn’t know existed. It’s pricey, and has every kind of scotch you can imagine. He’s good at chatting to the bartender and the servers. He’s friendly and polite. We drink about 200$ worth of scotch, and my brain is out of focus. We leave his car and take a cab to a bar on the 18th story of a building, and sit in a big window room. He asks me to stand with him across the room for a second at a look out point, because the view is really incredible. It is. His hands are on my shoulders. I have a zit exactly where he’s touching me and I’m super aware of it. One hand moves to my waist, and the other tilts my head and he kisses me. I think it should be romantic, but it feels so orchestrated. I know I’m one of many who has had that kiss. I’m so drunk. He orders meatballs, and I eat one. I could eat 17 more, but my vegan leather pants disagree. He says, “I want to show you my house.”

He has an ocean view penthouse in one of the most expensive parts of town. He also has two Tibetan Mastiffs that are the size of lions. The house looks like it has just been moved out of. There’s no art on the walls, no clocks, no pictures. There are a few couches, an x-box, and a dining table. Butters is there with his girlfriend feeding the dogs, and they leave when we arrive. Butters thinks we’ve already met before. Hm. His bedroom is massive, and looks like a fancy hotel. The entire back wall is a view of the city. There’s art in here, there’s some kind of special lighting. He wants to cuddle. I want to vomit scotch and meatball. I say, “if we have sex I’ll puke, no offence.” I haven’t shaved my legs which is how sober me helps remind drunk me to leave my vegan pants on. Within 20 minutes we’re both naked. Well, I’m naked, he’s pant-less, but still wearing a collared shirt. His tie is undone, at least. I tell him I’m not sure that sex is the best idea, and that I should go. We’re kissing, and maybe I’m not being particularly thoughtful, but I like the attention. I’m thinking about the guy from summer. We start to have sex when he pushes himself on me, and I think I should care more, but I don’t. After a few minutes of laying on my back thinking about how I can’t wait to puke, and wondering if I have any sourdough bread left at home, I stand up. I go to the bathroom. I take my phone and see that guy from the summer is texting me. He’s out, he’s been drinking, he wonders what I’m ‘up to.’ I tell him to “go outside the bar in twenty minutes and I’ll pick him up in a cab.” I leave the bathroom without vomiting or peeing, both of which were imperative at the time. I dress quickly and ask his address for my cab. He asks why I’m leaving so suddenly, and says he wants to cuddle. I lie and say I’m too tired. He walks me to the cab and kisses me goodnight, which I don’t really care for, but seems rude to shirk off now. The cab driver asks me if that was my boyfriend and I say, “no,” and then we don’t talk anymore. We pick up the guy from summer outside the bar. He’s chatting up a girl outside and keeps touching her when he talks. I’m yelling at him to get into the cab, but he hasn’t heard me yet. Finally he sees, comes over, and gets in the back seat. He sloppy kisses me hello and says he, “can’t wait to get me home.” The cab driver scoffs just loud enough for me to hear.

The Grinch Who Stole my Dignity

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I knew that he would never be my boyfriend on our second date when he said, “you’re really funny.” I am really funny. I am the deeply unattractive mix of ‘really funny,’ and competitive, and it has always been boner poison for me. Once a guy sincerely deep gut laughs at one of your jokes he starts to care less what you would look like making those jokes naked. I digress.

It’s noon, the day after a date I have been looking forward to for two weeks. For context it was our fourth date, our first being about a month ago. We had the perfect first date. We decided to meet for a drink at a pub between our houses, not knowing it was music bingo night. It was so full we had to sit at the bar, and by the end of the bar night I had watched him be lovely to the people sitting around us, slay at music bingo, and have excellent taste in beer. He was charming and lovely. He was a varsity rower, it shows. He is passionate about his hobbies. He’s a little bit self deprecating, but not in a way that begs me to disagree. He walks me home. We have the perfect first kiss. He comes in. He stays the night. I feel like I would like him to leave 12 hours earlier than he does, and I misinterpret this as him liking me. (Actually, I think he was waiting to be offered a ride home.)
The other two ‘dates,’ are him coming over to Netflix and talk about his ex. A lot. I tell him I want to make it clear that I’m looking to actually date someone, and I’m not in the pursuit of something casual. He says he’s “in a weird place.” I say that’s fine, but if he’s not looking to date someone then we really have no reason to carry on. He says he wants to keep talking, and implies things could be different over time. I want him to think I’m ‘chill,’ and confident enough to be okay with that answer, so I say it’s okay. He kisses me goodnight at the doorway, and it’s so good I think I could be fine with waiting for him to figure it out. Maybe?

After date three I go home to visit family for two weeks. He tells me he got his first phone when he was 25, and is ‘bad at texting,’ and he’s not lying. It’s okay. I don’t need to text. He keeps initiating it though, which is endearing at first, because he’s trying. He’s just such a different person over text, his punctuation makes him sound permanently angry, and I know the concentrated effort I’m putting into coming across cute/chill is not reading. It’s not working for me, I feel deflated when I see his name on my phone and open a text that says, “I have glue on my hands,” when I really want to see one that says “I miss you, and I’m thinking about you too.” I suggest we don’t speak until I’m back, or we talk on the phone instead of texting. He completely ignores those suggestions favouring the idea that he will text me every 48 hours to explain how his sinuses feel. Okay? Magically, he manages to text me about his ex. I suggest I am the incorrect audience for that. He had a taco today. I have been looking forward to the Christmas show at the Belfry for quite some time, and I remember how our first date felt. Surely we could get that again at the magic Belfry Christmas show! I’ll wear the unbelievably expensive dress I bought for my brother’s wedding reception! He’ll wear some version of formal! There will be wine! The show will make us warm and Christmas-y, and he’ll realize I’m cultured because I love theatre. I ask him to come with me, he says, “I guess.” Jackpot.

Finally, it’s last night. Date night. I remind myself to keep my hopes at bay, and then I don’t. I text him to ask about the logistics of driving, and he gives me a weird vague answer. I ask again, he tells me he got called racist at work today. I ask in all caps, “AM I DRIVING OR ARE YOU?” He says he will, and I say “GREAT.” I tell him we should be there for 7. He asks what to wear, and says he’ll wear a tie. (Cuteness!) At 6:15 I text to say, “just to clarify we need to be there for 7, so I’ll see you at 6:45?” A few minutes later he says he’s downtown, out for dinner with friends, and needed a ride home that never came. He makes me do all the problem solving, which eventually whittles down to I’m driving, I’m going downtown to pick him up, and I’m leaving 25 minutes earlier than I expected to be, because I have to leave right now. 25 minutes pre-date is crucial hair/makeup time that I now have to squeeze into a one minute slap and dash. I’m unimpressed that he did not communicate this to me in a considerate way. Had I not texted him at 6:15 would I be waiting at 6:45? Would we have made the show? I pick him up and he’s wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a plaid shirt over top that he got mustard on. He smells like alcohol. We get to the beautiful Belfry and my dear friend Eryn, who works there, gives us two free drink tickets (babe), so we go to the bar. He seems like he doesn’t quite fit into this world, or maybe he doesn’t want to. I talk about past shows I’ve seen, he doesn’t really seem to be listening. We take our seats, (the ones I booked carefully two weeks ago) and the show starts. I wait the entire time for him hold my hand, or put his hand on my leg like he has before, but when I shift in my seat to uncross and recross my legs he leans away from me. I touch his arm to ask him a question and he pulls back. I’m sinking. The show ends, and I ask if I’m driving him home. He says we could grab a drink, so we do. He has three beers, I have one. We talk, and he’s so charming. There he is! The guy hiding behind all those ambiguous shitty texts. There’s varsity rower guy with a big enough heart to hand write 30 Christmas cards. He asks if I want to meet his dogs, and I’m beaming. It’s the first time I’ve been invited into his world in any capacity. I drive us to his house where he shows me his driveway full of cars. He’s into drift racing, and works on his own cars. We go inside and I meet his roommate, we smoke his hookah, he smokes a joint, and they show me videos of themselves racing. They banter together in a cute way. I’m freezing, and trying to find a way to sit on his couch in my over priced dress that will make me look maximum skinny/not get covered in dog hair. He gets smoke all over me. I don’t like it. I tell him I’m cold so he gives me the world’s biggest most ridiculous coveralls that he wears when he works on cars. He says, “you look wide now.” Cool. His roommate goes to sleep, finally, and we’re alone. He kisses me, and then carries me to his room. We talk a lot about lighting. Finally, he turns them off. We have fourth date sex, which is pretty excellent. We cuddle. We have round two fourth date sex, which is even better. I really like him. I tell him. We’re spooning. He’s kissing the back of my neck. He talks about his ex. I say, “every time I tell you I like you, you change the subject.” He tells me he’s, “not really into this.” He implies we’re friends. I say, “no, no, see, I don’t do this with my friends.” He says, “what else would we be?” I start to cry. Maybe it’s because I’m naked, or because I’m embarrassed at this semi expected rejection, either way, I don’t want him to see. He says he, “cares about me as a person,” and I laugh the most manic batshit laugh I can possibly laugh. I put my dress on, and leave his room holding my bra. I put my coat on slowly, waiting for an apology that never comes. I leave, and ugly cry in my car until I get home. I cry in the shower at 230 in the morning, and my tears mix with my makeup and the water. I cry in bed until I’m asleep. I wake up at 10 and realize I won’t be getting the money he owes me for his theatre ticket. I download Tinder again on my phone, and go back to sleep.