Usually I know what I want as soon as I see it. With things it is easy, just buy or steal it. With people it’s different, there are things like consent and the need for mutual attraction to contend with. Being denied is one of the most terrifying things there is. It can feel overwhelming or embarrassing to put yourself out there, to make yourself vulnerable.

Wanting, yearning, waiting, waiting…. why wait when you can take? Why wait when life is so precious and short? The time is now, life cannot be wasted on waiting for things to happen to you. If you want someone, tell them! Obviously consent is the key, if you put it out there and they want it then you got the dream. If not you can move on, no more wasting time on yearning for someone who doesn’t feel the same.

Making the first move is all about reading the signs, a person’s body language says it all. How is the conversation? Light and upbeat is a good flow, don’t get too heavy and definitely don’t mention your ex or that you are on a quest for true love.

Are they making eye contact? Eye contact equals confidence. Is there any touch? Are they listening to you? There is no reason to go straight to number one, ease into things. While being slutty is fun, if you really like someone take it slow. Hugs, touching on the leg or shoulder, or anywhere else can be as erogenous as sex. Being flirty and direct on your intentions is a wonderful start to any new romance.

i want you

I have been in situations where I was attracted to someone for several years before making any kind of move. Even when I get shot down I take it in stride.

I have been told that I am intimidating. I need to stop thinking that people are out of my league, we are all on the same team, humans trying to touch each other’s butts. Yes or No, you like me back or I can finally move on.

That first kiss is something that you will never forget if you do it right. I remember my first First Kiss, I was 14 and innocent. I was walking with a group of friends and one of the guys told me I was beautiful, I responded with “It’s Dark” and then he kissed me. It was sloppy and fast, I have never been the same since.

I liked it, a lot. We made out in a basement that night. That much physical contact and teenage lustiness was astounding to me. I remember our tongues wrestling and me not knowing how to deal with the drool.

My favorite memories in life are those moments right before a first kiss. Things are going good, this beautiful human is here with me, they want this too, uncertainty melts away when they lean in or don’t run away when you advance. There is a surge of electricity, a sickness in your guts, you feel like there is about to be an explosion and your body will turn into rays of sunshine and music.

YES, THEY WANT IT! Your lips lock, tongues twist, licking, sucking, biting, nuzzling, smiling between breathes, as subtle waves of loveliness envelope your existence and justify all of the butterflies. Worth the wait, you linger. Wondering why it took so long, but happy that you waited for the perfect moment.

romanceFuck the concept of a perfect moment. I often wait for the stars to align, hoping that the right person will just appear, ready and willing, in my arms. It’s better to reach out and grab what you want, in the case of love bad things happen to those who wait.

I have sat by and watched too many people get “found” by someone else. I may have loved them for years, but due to my fears they never knew. If I could have just opened my mouth maybe they would have opened their hearts?

Instead they now “belong” to a new lover, which is a hard concept for me to wrap my fingers around. Love is not ownership, it is companionship, it is wanting to share adventures and help each other through tribulations.

I would never want to be in a relationship that stifled any part of my being. It is about celebrating each other and continuing to keep doing what it is that makes you wonderful.

Years pass, crushes come and go, you are still there, I am slow. I want to squeeze you tight. That girl kept talking, all I wanted her to do was start walking so I could “say goodnight.” Finally she left without a fight. I leaned into the car and onto those perfect lips. I wished it would have lasted longer, but it felt like pure magic. I was bursting from the seams, skipping down the street with joy. I did it! Now it’s all I can think of. I feel so scared that I want to run! I want to run my fingers down every inch of your perfect porcelain skin, put my face in the dark places of your loveliness.

I don’t know how to navigate relationships. I feel like a little kid chasing the ice cream truck and it never stops. The music taunting me, the dollar bill in my hand getting sweaty, pressed up against my handle bars.

I can’t expect anyone to make the first move, nobody can read my mind. Put yourself out there, don’t let fear ruin or consume you. If you like someone tell them! Tell them twice, tell them everyday. Treat every kiss like a first kiss.

The main problem with my life is that I am afraid of falling. I used to jump off of swings and fly through the air. Now I ride a tricycle so I don’t fall off of it.

I only regret the things I haven’t climbed. I know I have missed out on beautiful views because I didn’t have the guts to grab them. I’ve never done a cartwheel. I didn’t have the guts to grab a lot of things.

I never blame the people who “broke my heart” because it was never them who broke it, it was me. I wasn’t ready, I was afraid to fall. Then I would see them with their new happiness. I thought I wanted that, I can do better.

afraid cyclistI was supposed to finish this blog last night but I went to the beach instead. I lived my life instead of moping in my head. Sweating in my bed. Spent time with friends. I got in the fucking van. I don’t need any man. I can!

But, I still want you, I want you so bad, I want what I am not, I need what I just can’t have, someone else’s sweet reality is my dark fantasy, what lengths is a person willing to take to get what they think they need?

She’s got it, how’d she do it? I want that! No, I can’t. The big green monster lurking through the shadows and fully lit spaces and sometimes even in your wallet. You can’t always get what you want, especially instantly.

Money doesn’t equal success in the same way fame does not equal happiness. Fortune is in moments of discovery and kindness. Life is magic but there is also required work. Nothing is lounging on a silver platter.

Being greedy and selfish is a social atomic bomb. Stop being a spoiled white girl, a life full of privilege and decadence. You need to fight fear and ignorance with self actualization and solidarity. Nobody is your entire world but you. How do you shape your own reality?

For one I know I can be a big fat only child Amurican hippocrit. It’s ok for me to have desires and no expectations when it comes to a relationship but as soon as I see my “other” with someone else I lose my damn mind. At the end of the day it all boils down to my lack of self worth and confidence. Whenever I find someone with even the least amount of interest in me I latch on clinger status, I yearn to be loved.

Where does this entitlement comes from? Maybe because I have been “pretty” my entire life, I just get what I want before I even know I wanted it. I was always fawned over with sweet decadence, something about being a little child of the corn blonde girl that really breaks all the hearts, or at least temporarily melts them with my piercing baby blues.

Its so funny when people say I am so intimidating that they couldn’t even talk to me let alone be my friend or get to know me. Because I do burlesque and hold my head up high it is assumed that my bad assitude is real. I am really much more simple than that. Wind gusting under my torn patchwork skirt, justifying my existence. Freedom, jealous of no one. Right On!

The only true way to get the one you want is to give them space when they need it, smothering gets you nowhere fast, believe me I’ve done it.

There is no magic formula for the perfect relationship. Life is like the seasons, we need to have the change, the snow is as important as the sun, the draught as important as the rain. It makes us stronger and more well rounded. Happiness and sadness, love and loneliness, acceptance and rejection. It’s important to embrace the strange complexities of our modern world.

Relationships are so different. Nothing is cut and dry, or sorry, forever… Labeling is hard. Polyamory is different from the free love movement because there is structure. Primary and secondary lovers combine to shape your dating topography. Different vocabulary.

Lonely but never alone if you love yourself. Don’t invest everything in nothing, you deserve respect. I have loved people so hard for so long and never said anything because I didn’t feel like I was worthy of them. Then after all of my silent pining, someone swoops. By taking control she got what we both wanted. She gets to travel the world as his girl.

riding trike

Unhappiness, trapped in a world you don’t fit into. There is a young couple on my street that has a child their car is all full of baby stuff and has a bumpersticker that reads “I’d rather be stage diving.”

I am NOT jealous of that life. That bumper sticker says so much. “I’d rather be ______(insert passion here)” is so depressing. My dad’s friend just got married and had his first baby in his late 50s. That’s happiness.

When I was a little girl I would love to play wedding and marry all the boys in the neighborhood. Then I would make my Barbie dolls have the most lesbian sex ever.

As I grow up I realize that I want it all, but fear has me pinned. If I only had gears and less emotional weight in my basket, I’d go faster.

At the end of the day, I am still afraid to fall. To fall of a bike, to fall in love, to fall off a mountain, to fall down the stairs. I need to rise above irrational fears and take more chances, get in more vans, and go on more adventures.

Traveling through California was a step, I need to do more of that. I can’t pine over people who don’t want me. Actively seek people who do want me, actually no, fuck that, stop seeking anybody and those who are worth it will withstand my silliness and be standing by my side when I need them to be.

Stop being so patient and grab it, time is of the essence. You are worth the risk. There are worse things than falling. You will always get back up and scraped knees are sexy.

To kick off ASK CAT, a new monthly advice column on FTB, Cat McCarthy dared her Facebook friends to ask her anything about Sex, Dating, Politics, Art, Feminism, Activism, LGBTQ issues, Drugs, Culture, etc. We published the first three responses and now the rest.

Now, it’s your turn. ASK CAT anything: Cat@ForgetTheBox.net

Dear Cat, What should I do if I wake up in between two dudes with cake smeared all over my chest, I’m wearing a 1980s blond wig, I’m thirsty, my feet are bound together, my nose is running and one of them looks like the messiah….while some famous director is filming me in his bloody underwear. Should I wait for an invite to the threesome?

– Melissa Campbell

Hi Melscamp! As you know from personal experience I am not the person to ask about joining into a threesome. While I have had several successful and life changing threeways in my life they don’t always end well for me. It will not work if you feel self conscious, if you feel like they are more interested in each other and not you, or if the girl doesn’t like you but the guy does and you would both rather just be with him. Threesomes must be mutual, all on the same playing field.

she lives richard simmons cat sinclairDid you smear the cake before you fell asleep? Is it tasty? Were you drunk or on drugs? Is this consensual? Are the guys hot? Is that REAL blood? Why is Dirty Jesus called that? Do you want this? Are you in the non-consent yurt? Is there a lambskin condom?

I know you are into some kinky shit, so in my opinion, YES, get into that threesome. Don’t be like me and wait for the invite, nobody is ever going to invite you, if you are already into it that far with them they want you there! Any self made flaws are not noticed in groupsex.

I once hooked with two friends, they answered the door wearing matching boxer briefs. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was a goddess to them. Make sure you are being treated with respect and have a safe word. You are a goddess and I blame you for everything

Dear Cat, Which side of a double sided dildo is preferable?

– Velvet

cat noseHi Al! Well my dad always says “if you go to the right, you can’t go wrong,” so the answer is you must spin the dildo
around counterclockwise in the center of a lesbian boob circle and whichever way it lands pick the side to your right, add lube, and enjoy with a special friend on the left end.

Or I would also say inspect the dildo and pick the side with less cat hair stuck to it. Silicone dildos are big time attractors of cat hair (which is prevalent in most lesbian relationships, the most common owners of double ended dildos).

Got a question for Cat? Ask it: Cat@ForgetTheBox.net

Hello faithful readers! I don’t know if this is going to make me seem like more or less of a narcissist but I am going to be writing a monthly ASK CAT column for Forget The Box.

While I don’t claim to be a real expert on anything in particular, I do know that I am real. I have been through a lot in my life and can use my experiences to help you with any question you throw at me.

I will answer you blatantly and honestly, without a filter, and completely from the heart. I will answer anything from questions about Sex, Dating, Politics, Art, Feminism, Activism, LGBTQ issues, Drugs, Culture, or anything else you can think of.

Email your questions to Cat@ForgetTheBox.net and I will answer them ASAP in a monthly blog entry. (“Ask Cat” sounds like “Ass Cat” when said out loud)

I threw this idea out there to my Facebook friends and responded to the first six questions I received (my friends are f*cked up). Here are the first three, with three more to come next time:

Dear Cat, what are your thoughts on art expression over personal issues with waste? I feel a calling to do a photo shoot in a giant tub full of blue cheese for the sake of art because I feel like the Buffalo chicken wing of life. My problem is I can’t convince myself to waste all of that blue cheese. I recall some of your work with the Wesley Willis song “rock n roll McDonalds” and how you were able to incorporate food into the act. Some of the fries never made it to the mouth. How do we approach artist feats like this and overcome the guilt?

– Micheal

cat mccarthy ronald mcdonald clown burlesque

Hi Micheal! As you know I am very much against the issue of food waste in this world, I am a big activist for dumpster diving and Food Not Bombs, using food that would have otherwise been thrown away to feed the hungry. It is also true that I often use food in my performance.

It’s a catch 22. I want to make a comment on shitty corporate food and the accessibility of vegetables and healthy stuff, but still feel bad for wasting. I am a hypocrite when I throw out rotten leftovers or put compost in the trash, I am even more wrong when I ejaculate burgers and toss perfectly good french fries into an audience, half to be smushed on the floor, or smash a 100 cupcakes on my body dressed like Marie Antoinette, cover myself in galloons of pudding in response to Bill Cosby, rub donuts on my boobs dressed like a cop, or dressed like Colonel Sanders throwing chicken at someone who is texting.

I make comments about greed, consent,corruption, body image, and corporate waste with my art. My vision is to participate in the bad parts of society on a stage so people can become aware of the abject horror of reality, kind of like John Waters. It’s like there must be sacrifices made for the revolution to be a success.

wet dreamland pudding buffalo infringement

Nobody is perfect all the time, myself definitely included. Of course I feel bad about the fries on the floor when there are hungry mouths to feed. I guess where I was coming from with that is the food I was “feeding” to people is shit food with no positive nutritional value anyways, so I feel less guilty about that.

I fully support the idea of you submerging yourself in blue cheese, make sure it’s the good kind. Buy it, and put yourself in a claw foot tub in the middle of an art gallery. Lay in in naked, submerged.

cat fashionHave plates full of chicken wings, carrots, celery, pizza, all the vessels for blue cheese. Invite people to dip in your tub, see how long it takes, see how far they will go for blue cheesy goodness. Will they lick it off of your body? People are obsessed with that shit. People also get weird in the name of art.

Document the entire thing. The exhibit ends when the food is gone, nothing is wasted, and you can probably get a pizza shop to sponsor you. I once wore a dress sponsored by Mr. Pizza. It was a collaboration with Melissa Campbell called Upper Crust Punk, we literally bit every slice of pizza. It was a cathartic, gross indulgence in the name of fashion, there was a spittune. I was empowered by food.

When we made the PBR corset, some of the PBRs were dumped down the drain because they couldn’t physically drink anymore damn PBRs and there was a deadline. It was a sin! If I was there I would have shotgunned every single one of those PBRs, waste not want not,bro. Let them eat blue cheese! Let them scrape it off of your flesh!

Dear Cat, what happened last night? I know I showed up at the bar with $1.25 in quarters, the last shot I took made me black out, and I know I fell off my bike mounting on the way home because of a bruise on my arm and a scratch on my face. I think you were there dressed in white.

– Darren

Hi Daren! I remember seeing you at Nietzsches last night for the Stripteasers weekly bar show, I was dressed in white because we were doing a tribute to Prince and I was a crying dove.

What I assume happened is that people bought your fine ass some drinks, since the bar is cash only. You then were too drunk to bike and should have left your bike at the bar and gotten a ride home or walked.

Or perhaps you were abducted by aliens and drugged, not remembering the experience. The bruise and scratches were from the alien probing, not from a bike fall like you initially thought. Maybe I wasn’t there at all and the “girl in white” was some kind of extraterrestrial being.

I cannot let you know for sure what happened to you, but am happy you made it home safe with minimal damage. Stay safe dude! Use the buddy system in the future. Or be like me and get a trike, I never fall off that thing when drunk riding!

Cat cycling (3)

Dear Cat, I think that you are the cat’s meow! Were you always fearless or did you work up to it?

– Melissa

Hi Melissa! Thank you for the amazing compliment, you too are the cat’s meow! I think have always been pretty fearless (sometimes stupidly fearless)! My parents are amazing and taught me to only speak my mind and fight for what I believe in.

As a little kid I was the one who stated the blatantly obvious. I was a little feminist, fighting to play football with the boys. I love myself and fight for those who are afraid. It’s important to be strong and never give up on important things.

I am also a constant work in progress, I know that I continue to grow and learn each day. I can’t say I’m fearless. I definitely get afraid of walking upstairs from basements, that feeling that something evil is coming up after you to pull you down the dark rickety stairs is real.

Got a question for Cat? Ask it: Cat@ForgetTheBox.net

Everybody struggles with their identity. Step back and stop trying to be anything but authentic to find meaning in life. Be yourself and use your own unique set of skills to make this world a more sustainable place.

I am inspired daily by my friends’ strength. Everyday on Facebook (where the struggle is real) and in actual real life I have friends who are open about their HIV positive status, about being Transgender, or on the Autism spectrum, or recently broken free from abuse (from a person or an addiction), anything that can cast an unjust judgement should be set on the table with a proper place setting.

My life is full of humans who celebrate their beautiful and diverse humanity! Skinny or fat, black or white, red head or bald, gender fluidity, diversity and pride in your culture is the fruit of life. It is only society and the expectations of the patriarchy that ever told us differently.

Vanity masks insecurity. I hide behind my perfect teeth and Marilyn locks. Selfies instead of being selfless. Curse of the bleach blond material girl. That dark comes creeping in. Courtney Love, Madonna, and Debbie Harry are my style goddesses because they didn’t care.

There is a point where letting your roots hang out is sexy, it reminds you of who you are a little bit. I have been hiding behind blonde hair my entire life. I was born with it, I loved it, I identified with it. Then my hair started getting darker and I wasn’t having it! I highlighted at first and then went right for full throttle bleach blonde and haven’t turned back since.

I literally freak out if I dye it too much of another color. Its just like how I identify with being fat. I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t a large blonde woman anymore. Buxom blonde is me, I cannot be a thin brunette.

What is a poser? People are entitled to change their mind, and sometimes in the beginning of that change they are  going to be considered posers. It’s like when I was a teenager and I decided that I really did like punk music, I wanted pink hair, a plaid skirt, and combat boots. I knew that it couldn’t come from Hot Topic or I would be shunned. I also knew that I wasn’t about that dirty blonde Gap t-shirt Old Navy denim white Nike kind of life anymore either.

Eventually I found out that it didn’t matter what you wore as long as it was yours. It is not cool to completely appropriate ANY culture that is not yours just for the sake of fashion. Of course it is cool to learn about other people’s perspectives and earn the chance to be part of their traditions, learn why they are there and respect their significance.

Be yourself, don’t ever try and be something you are not, but DO constantly re-invent yourself! Don’t ever feel trapped by who people think you are or what they expect you to be like.

My style is a mixture of 1950s housewife, 1980s teenager, and a crazy high school art teacher that is covered in cat hair. But sometimes I prefer to be a man. I like my Zubaz and American Pride gear, I like my unlatching Tevas with dirty knee high tube socks, I could go undercover at a Donald Trump rally and nobody would know the difference, satirically blasting David Alan Coe from a boombox.

american man
All I need is a dirty blonde lace front mullet wig with a matching mustache. That’s next level, with a little investment he will be believable even. I would no longer be just a girl in a wig,

I often wonder what I would look like if I was just left to my own devices and not brought up in the society that told me I had to be a girl because I was born with a vagina and not a penis. It’s not like my parents bought in though, I could have had GI Joes if I wanted them, I just really did love Barbies. I liked to dress them up and make them bang, didn’t everyone do that?

I went on fishing trips and had season tickets to the Buffalo Bills, always in places normally designated for just the boys. I took after my amazing grandma, her name was Fred (Mary Freda). Non gendered names are the best.

gay unicorns
Everyone is a sparkling  unicorn. We all need to get connected on this idea. If everyone treasured every life we would have no hate or war, no murder or conflict.

Take the time to curl your hair and use the sugar scrub, paint your toe nails neon pink. My toes aren’t mean for those with a foot fetish, you cannot suck on these toes.

My legs are hairy and covered in scales. I have always tried to compensate for my insecurities by making something else way more extravagant. If my hair and makeup is fancy and I have on a pretty dress nobody will notice how flawed the rest of me is.

I need to wake up and realize that there are NO flaws. I am ok being naked on stage or posing for art students but scared of being photographed nude because of my skin, the weight doesn’t bother me as much as the skin condition,

Disease is not beautiful. But in the last two days I have met two beautiful women who have the same stupid auto immune skin disease as I do. I didn’t judge their skin issues and they didn’t judge mine.

My life is as important as my cat’s life, or the life of a new born baby, or a 98 year old man, or a cow waiting to be slaughtered. Every being is perfect and worth it. There is no life that matters more than another life, we all are equal and beautiful.

I have the gift of bringing people or situations together. I’m an artist, I have a keen eye for seeing other people check each other out and even more so when it is one of my friends.

The most important part of being a great wingwoman is to know when to walk away. There is a fine line between a clingy friend and helping a bro out.

You can’t be in competition with your friends, the game is to motivate them. You have to boost your friend’s confidence and keep her looking good, no TP stuck to the shoe here.

Be the conversation starter if your friend is nervous, pump them up. Be a good cock block for your bro too, make sure nobody else tries to get in on your bud’s prospect.

It’s a beautiful sight to give your friend some words of advice, give them a hearty “Go get um tiger!” slap on the ass and watch the magic ensue. It’s important to adapt and blend into the wallpaper when necessary. You have to get them set up and make sure that your friend is consenting and wants this person.

Some techniques I use to seamlessly ghost out of a situation are going to the bathroom and never coming back, running to the car to smoke a bowl and never coming back, or just ghosting out with no explanation at all.

Leave your friend a “stranded” damsel in a dress. Oh no! my ride ditched me, guess I have to get a ride home from you while batting their eyelashes seductively.

My best wing woman moment was when I was visiting Florida. My friend lived there. She met this girl online and their first date was to drive upstate to get me and then we were going to go party in Miami.

We had an incredible night at a burlesque lesbian sushi bar that ended with us running out of gas on a six lane highway in the wee hours of morning. While we were waiting for a tow I was in the front seat. I told them to both go in back, I could feel the hot and heaviness coming on. So I pretended to fall asleep. They checked me several times to make sure I was legit sleeping to be respectful, and then got hot and heavy in the back. My eyes were glued shut so it was the best porno ever, my imagination is better than anything.

A Cat success story
A Cat success story
They are now engaged. Months later when she popped the question, all I could think is “you’re welcome!” Because of my awesome faux slumber skills they were able to lay the bricks to the foundation of their life together, aka get it on in the back of their SUV.

I have used my fake sleep technique to get myself out of a lot of potentially awkward situations. I’ve noticed that I was a third wheel and had no escape plan because I was drunk, so I just passed out on a couch and let magic happen.

When I cruise for poon I do it alone. I love going into bars, parties, and social situations by myself. I can get anyone I want when I am by myself. I am either a lone wolf or a mama bear.

I will always boost up my friends before myself. I will always hand over the hottie and bounce. But when I’m flying solo watch out!

I play wing for a few times to help you build confidence. After that my biggest advice is to roll solo, that is when you are truly free. You can get sweaty and nasty in a skank pit, stay as late as you want, go where your heart leads, there is nothing or nobody holding you back.

Yes, sometimes it is nice to walk into a bar with someone, but then you just talk to that person and never get to meet new people, if you are alone you are forced out of your comfort zone. You are instantly more appealing and approachable. That is why the best wingman always leaves. You start out as a team and get promoted to lone wolf when you are ready.

I am single, but I am not depressed. I’m currently cleaning my room so I can have future sex in it someday. Others are taking home Cuban male strippers and getting head from strangers in the street and I am making art and writing poems about boys and girls who love me not.

I don’t feel pressured to jump when anyone tells me too, I answer to no one. I’m cool with being a wingman and not a point man. Life is good. My whole life I have been “The Fat Friend” and that is what has turned me into the incredible wingwoman I am today. I love my body.

I understand that many people judge others based solely on their appearance. I know I am sexy, I know I am desirable, I do not need anyone to affirm that for me.

I finally realized that the path to self discovery is in my own head. Of course I want to get fucked more often and find some good ol’ fashioned companionship, but it’s not easy.

My style is to find someone, then silently fall in love and obsess over just that one person until it is too unbearable. Then of course, I run away because I’m a creep. I wish I could be the type of girl who just meets someone at a bar and goes for it right without hesitation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken plenty of humans home, but not lately. When it comes to love and sex I yearn for something greater, someone who really gets my weird.

Maybe I’m getting older or maybe I just need to find my own unselfish, ride or die wing woman to up my game.

* Featured art by Amy Lynn Duengfelder

If you wanna be my lover you gotta “get” with my friends. If you don’t want to be my lover I am going to “get” with your friends and probably every girl you are interested in too just because well, I can.

To most people it would seem that I get what I want. And I do, but it’s not always what I really, really want. I am confident and successful in most areas of my life and I often have multiple suitors barking up my tree. It’s all a facade.

To be honest with you I suck at love. I’ve been heartbroken before and try to keep my heart safe at all costs. This makes me a pussy, incapable of making the first move. I can never seem to seal the deal when I fall for someone. It sucks. I’m lonely and desperately want to be touched and kissed, but not just by anyone. I need something more true and worthwhile.

So I don’t jump in head first. I become friends with them and then can never break out of that zone. The person I want does fall in love with me, but for some reason only at a platonic level. Years go by. I’m still here, alone with all of my talent, pure wonderfulness, and cats.

It’s torture to long for something and be paralyzed by fear when trying to get it. It is however creepily easy for me to pick up all of their friends and potential love interests. I know this sounds absolutely shitty.

I can hit on and have a successful one night stand with any girl or guy that they are into. It’s easy to get with someone that you have no intention of loving later. Am I just spite fucking these poor unfortunate souls? Yes, yes I probably am.

I’ve hooked up with some best friends, bandmates, brothers, and random girls that I knew my love interest of moment was into. You would be surprised at how many people really do not respect the bros before hoes law.

bros before hoes

The “you” I speak of in the next paragraph is the hypothetical love of my life.

The other day I fucked someone who inspires you, someone who thinks you are incredible, he looks up to you even though he’s older than you. He talked about you while we were together, it made me want you even more. His first question was you aren’t dating that guy right? You would be surprised how many people ask me that. It kills me to say no.

Is it fucked up that you pop into my mind when I close my eyes to kiss anyone else? I want to open my eyes and see you looking back at me, I’m always disappointed when it’s not. It’s not their fault either, they are all amazing and worthwhile humans that I am attracted to, but none of them compare. You make my body tingle without even touching it, without even being here, just thinking about you erupts me.

Gross right? I deserve someone who feels the same way about me and nothing less, but love and lust is so infinitely complex and difficult. There are no rules. You can’t tell your damn heart or libido how to feel.

I don’t know if I did it to feel strangely closer to you or because I am legitimately attracted to this guy. I can see why you are friends with him. Without me even saying your name he told me how you guys met and all the details of your friendship.

He played my harmonica in the key of “V” like a master. But I couldn’t cum. I couldn’t cum because it wasn’t you. It was your friend instead. It was who I could get. It was a version of you that wanted me back. Seemed like a good idea when I was drunk.

He held me after and said all the shit I wanted to hear from your lips. He kissed me goodbye in the morning and told me to say hi to you the next time I saw you. Yea that’s not going to happen.

I fixate on things and people. I need to be absolutely swept off my feet by someone else to get over you, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to throw in the towel and admit defeat. I want you to wake up and realize how incredible we could be together. My fantasy is so tangible that I can’t stop feeling how I do.

I’m definitely a stupid girl sometimes. I don’t use my brain, only my flimsy heart and unbridled sex appeal.

It’s a terrible idea to seek out the best friends and loved ones of your crush and fuck them. Shit happens and it leaves you feeling empty and mean for playing with this other innocent person’s emotions.

I don’t do it to hurt the one I love, I don’t ever want them to know. I just long for a connection.

Here’s the double standard. I would be devastated if it were the other way. If I found out that my crush was banging one of my friends I’d be done. I should think about that next time this situation presents itself. You get what you give.

Spite fucking is ultimately not a good idea. When you truly love someone the ultimate goal is to make them happy or wish them happiness elsewhere and move the fuck on if they don’t want you. Maybe you will remain friends, but probably not. If you are a total psycho like me you will operate a little differently. It’s vitally important to learn from your mistakes and take charge of your own destiny. You will find yours someday, and so will I.

The summer is coming to an end but that’s no reason to let the seasonal effect disorder kick in just yet. Live life spontaneously, don’t give a fuck what people think, and have all the fun. Today is what you make of it. With very little effort you can be an extremely happy human. I woke up smiling today and you can to!

Here are some tips:

1. Say Yes to Naked Mac and Cheese!

mac and cheeseNever accept that you can’t get what you want and settle for less, just make it yourself. My roommate and a friend, Max and Seth, went to a bar that will remain unnamed to get mac and cheese at 2:30 am post show. After making Max put on a shirt (he was only wearing a fur cape) and probably looking at me twice because I was in full cat makeup, we get in.

We order water and get unnecessary menus. One thing in mind, we all know exactly what we have want. The conquest is almost complete. Guess what? Mac and cheese was no longer on the menu, I imagine because it was the cheapest thing on the menu and didn’t include “truffle oil.” Bummer.

So whatever, tipped the hot bartender a dollar, and was like “Boys, we are going to Wegmans!” If you love people cook them tasty food… I’ve seen this on a bumper sticker and love it.

By 3am we were balls deep in deliciousness. Our homemade mac and cheese was fucking immaculate cheese! We got the most kinds of cheeses, the best kind of pasta, and the secret ingredient is that Max cooked it butt ass naked.

I like to be naked as much as possible and don’t trust people who don’t like nudity. You have got to be comfortable in your own skin and not judge those who are.

2. Strap on a Fanny Pack

fanny pack catFanny packs are considered by some a serious fashion faux pas. Popular with the bingo crowd and dads at Disney World. I have proudly been wearing my camouflage fanny pack since Buffalo Pride and couldn’t be happier.

I get more compliments on this thing than I would any designer handbag. It’s everyone too, from young beautiful hipsters to grandmas. Wearing it seems like the most functional and rebellious thing I have ever done, and I’ve done some shit.

I had a friend who talked so much shit about fanny packs. She made fun of my other friend’s Winnie the Pooh fanny pack (I mean come on, how funny is it to say “I have Pooh on my fanny”?). Then one day the fanny pack hater’s new boyfriend came over and guess what he was wearing?! Yup, a fanny pack!

3. Take Time for Last Minute Road Trips

It feels so good to be in another city where nobody knows you for a night. You open your world up to new experiences when you travel.

I went to Cleveland the other day to see my friends’ band play and it was incredible. It happened to be at the coolest punk bar I have never heard of. Fantastic beer selection, a skate ramp in the back, and a whole bunch of sexy humans I never would have met otherwise. Life is about new things and if you don’t leave your home town you will never find true bliss.

4. Oh Baby I Like it Raw!

sushi

Get sushi with your bros. I often bond over meals, and sushi is one of those things that makes life a little more beautiful. I got called in late to work yesterday and was excited to make the most of my day. I instantly made plans with one of my best friends to get sushi. We ate like fucking queens.

A Couple More Tips for Life Success:

Volunteer: It makes you feel better and more connected to the world around you! Small gestures of love can change the world. The little things in life like sharing your leftovers, complimenting a stranger or acknowledging someone’s birthday make all the difference.

Bike to Work: Today might be the last day of summer. Going to a festival and it rains out? Go anyways and dress appropriately, and if that means a Batman mask and rain poncho do it. Make the most of moments and act now because time is running out.

Don’t Waste Your Life: There is more time then you think. Do things for you. Buy the bag of weed, get that extra side of feta. Yeah you need two new pairs of sunglasses from the Chinese dollar store. Take time to smell the roses, get high, pet your cats, and hug your parents. You fucking deserve it. Smile. You are beautiful and today is positive.

When you are in love with someone it is all consuming. Your life meshes with theirs and nothing else matters. You live to make them smile. But, all good things come to an end. Most crushes end up being, well, crushed.

Moving on after being shot down or dumped can be one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do in your life. I am not the type to stay friends with my ex-lovers, but I know many people who make it work. It takes some time and distance before a new chapter of friendship can be opened. You will survive and endure! It gets better with time.

It is even harder when the unrequited love is with someone you consider to be your friend. Then it’s really difficult to get past. Losing this person as a friend would be unbearable – just not an option. But you gotta give it space to breathe. Don’t smother the fire; feed it with air and possibilities.

Anything is possible. I am one of those people that if told “Don’t make this weird” will immediately make things weird. I can’t help it. When I am into someone, it takes hold of me. I can’t think of anyone else, it’s fucked up and beautiful. My love is passionate – you really need to earn it.

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. I’m not saying become a raging slut, but take steps to becoming more approachable and open to new experiences and lovers. Keep going, keep doing you, go to new places, talk to new people, and everything will fall into place. Don’t go into things with a defeated attitude. Just go out there and have a good time. Do not obsess about meeting “the one” or trying to replace that someone either, let it happen naturally.

I have recently made a conscious effort to get over someone. Once I decided that I needed to stop trying to beat a dead horse and move on, the results were instant. It was like the universe knew I was emotionally available. The last couple weeks have been some of the best and most exciting moments of my life.

Is this the real life is this just a fantasy? All of the sexiest blonde perfect girls and the hottest guys are hitting on ME?! Are they on drugs? Yes. I am intoxicating. I am worth their effort.

Be confident and you will have everyone hitting on you, see even this guy gets the ladies. Photo by Brandon Perdomo
Be confident and you will have everyone hitting on you, see even this guy gets the ladies. Photo by Brandon Perdomo

It’s time to go any way the wind will blow. You may think that life is over since you lost that person. Life has actually just begun. Relish in this freedom. Face the truth, look it in the eye! You are a force to be reckoned with. Get addicted to loving yourself. In order to get over the past, you need to take an emotional dump and find something new and completely different to excite you. I guarantee that someone will walk into your life who will make you forget you were ever obsessed with the wrong match.

Now that you’ve let go and aren’t blinded by love, you can live life for you! I know it’s not easy to get over something so quickly – I’m not even saying fuck those feelings completely. Just realize that the timing is off. Let them go, perhaps your person will realize what they’ve lost once they see how happy and incredible your life is now. The satisfaction of turning someone who once denied you down is like no other high! To watch them grovel at your feet and beg for the love they once spit on is totally satisfying and will happen if you just stay strong.

You can’t be mad if they don’t come back either and you definitely can’t expect it. People are allowed to not love you too. You can’t tell your heart whom to love or how to feel – you know this though. Their lack of affection for you is as valid as your love for them. It’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Open up to new experiences and do things you are scared of. I did and It’s like the universe knew I finally let it go, I took it out back and shot it like Old Yeller.

It’s intimidating to talk to someone new as it is, but nearly impossible to talk to someone and their twenty snarling friends.

My advice is to start being independent and going to events by yourself or with a really awesome wingman. If you travel with a pack of besties you will scare away potential suitors. It’s intimidating to talk to someone new as it is, but nearly impossible to talk to someone and their twenty snarling friends. Don’t blend into your friends, you are more than that. Sparkle!

Don’t appear occupied either, that means put the fucking phone down. Nobody wants someone who is sitting in a corner texting away with a glowing face, that’s just sad. Eye contact is the sexiest thing.

You have to look good! Feel confident, get your hair done, buy a new outfit, smile! You don’t have to flaunt all your goods, be provocative and classy. A little tease goes a long way. Once you are looking and feeling cute the world will respond. Accept compliments and believe them, be empowered by them.

Body language is super important. Keep your head up and your posture good, don’t slump or hide. Be proud and powerful. Shoulders back, don’t cross your arms and look intimidating. It’s all about how you carry yourself.

Don’t judge someone based on their appearance. You’ll never know how awesome they are if you don’t give them a chance.

Treat others how you want to be treated. Your newfound confidence will bring the good with the bad. Don’t judge someone based on their appearance. You’ll never know how awesome they are if you don’t give them a chance. It’s ok to turn someone down too. Be respectful with their emotions and let them down with the kindness we all deserve. Remember when the show was on the other foot.

Not all places create the right scenario for new conversations. If you want someone to approach you, pick a place that’s perfect. Coffee shops, go to bars over loud clubs, volunteering, or even book or record stores offer limitless opportunities for someone new to start a conversation with you. Always be positive and have fun, people will want to join in. Ask that hot guy about the record that he is holding. Chances are he’s passionate about it. Lean in slightly to make the conversation more intimate. You will be irresistible.

I love being the lone wolf. I thrive on being thrust into slightly uncomfortable moments. Getting hit on is not a game of chance. You also just can’t sit around waiting, you have to put yourself out there and be more approachable. I have never regretted the things I’ve done that scared me at first. It’s amazing how easy it is just to smile at someone or compliment them. Boom, you are suddenly engaged in an interesting conversation and not alone.

It’s incredible how good you will feel once you put yourself out there and stop obsessing over finding the perfect relationship. One you stop looking it finds you. Being happy with yourself and doing new and fantastic things is the only way to live

In light of the New Year, I started to think about the appeal of a blank slate, of starting over. Having something new and fresh to look forward to. You count down from ten, and reset the clock. Maybe even throw in a little confetti. No headaches. Wave bye-bye to last year – it’s so 2014 anyway.

Saying goodbye to expired relationships, however… Not so blissfully clean-cut. Nope. Those are more like the streaks of shit left behind, which you can never seem to wipe off completely. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” was basically a documentary.

My dad always told me, “Jules, men are like jobs. You don’t leave one until you find another.” (FYI: badass parenting wisdom). But – I must admit – coming from a thrice-married man, this might not have been the soundest of advice. Still, it’s a concept we appropriate to a lot of other scenarios, every day, sans qualms.

Think about it.

If you need to upgrade your car, you don’t just sell your rusty clunker without finding a replacement first. It wouldn’t be practical, right?

And we always have to have a plan B. Restaurants, college alternatives, backup Saturday night plans (in case your TiVo pulls some diva sass on your ass, and you need to put on something else than sweatpants).

It’s a defense mechanism thing. We like to expect the unexpected. Surprises aren’t always good surprises – unless they’re jumping out of a cake.

What’s messed up, though, is how you’re perceived if things don’t workout, and your emotional balance dares to falter for a second. Society holds you accountable for not being better equipped at facing the unpredicted ‘what ifs’ that have smacked you in the face. Because putting all your eggs in one basket is a ludicrous thing. Tsk tsk.

Optimism is dead. No wonder we live in a world of prenups and trust issues.

HEART JULES

And as a result, we’ve perfected the art of coping mechanisms when it comes to love and other hot messes, which is why you don’t ever really get over someone until you find someone new.

Now, now, hakuna your tatas everyone, because this isn’t meant to argue with how we need to be happy by ourselves before sharing our life with another, or similar self-empowerment hoopla of sorts. Because I agree with this notion, 100%.

What I’m talking about here is not in regards to the actual letting go, but in regards to points of reference your donzo relationship still provides in the aftermath.

You see, mourning a relationship (or an idea of a relationship) is a two-part deal: letting go of the entity that you (thought) was so important, and adjusting to your reality 2.0. It’s pretty much a face fuck-full of emotions. And I mean this literally because, believe me, nobody cries pretty.

Thing is, no matter how much time has passed, no matter how many arts and crafts classes you sign up to, or how many holes you burn through your credit card with shopping sprees every second Sunday…

Repeat after me:
You never get over someone until you find someone new.

Last date? That jerk.
Last fancy dinner? Ugh, right.
Last person you swapped spit with? You guessed it.

No matter how amazeballs your life is, or how comfortable you are with being a dinner-for-one, your last special someone will remain your last reference for all romantic contexts. Until you find a new replacement piece. Fact.

And there’s no shame in that. It’s perfectly normal.

What I’m trying to say is: we can’t judge anyone on the time it takes for him or her to move on. And we need to cut ourselves some slack too, for that matter. Sometimes, one just needs to jump right into a get-laid-parade to break the ice for themselves and their newfound singlehood. Other times, it takes a little longer to experience butterflies again, even if just dick butterflies for a night.

All in all, take your time. Everyone is entitled to his or her own process.

Unless you’re hitting expert-level “sad single,” where your cat is eating your Michelina’s sad-ghetti leftovers by the side of your bed. In which case: get up, shower off and go kiss a stranger. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Well, it’s that time again. Time to say farewell to all the failures of the old year and greet the promise of the new one with verve and gusto. To look back one year and reflect upon the resolutions we didn’t manage to achieve, and set forth into the next year with the drive to do better this time around.

I’ll admit it, I didn’t do too well with my promises for 2013. Maybe they were too ambitious. Maybe this year I should set my goals a little more realistically.

For example, one of my resolutions last year was to join a gym and go to it regularly. Well, I achieved half of that one. Joining the gym was easy. But who has time to go to they gym on a consistent basis? I sure don’t. I’m a busy man. I have a job and a social life and a lot of my time is devoted to keeping the forest around my village free of prowling wolves and imps.

I think it’s too easy to fall again and again into the stock resolutions like “lose weight,” or “quit smoking,” or “drink less potions.” You’re never going to be successful at bettering yourself unless you take a real, honest look at your own personal situation before you commit to anything.

I mean, it’s totally impractical for me to try to quit smoking right now. I’ve still got this jade spectre possessing my lungs; if I stopped smoking a hash of sycamore root and oleander, by this time next year my New Year’s resolution would be to not be a reanimated scion of the Dark Gnome Emperor, Gord.

It’s also important to prioritize your goals. If you overwhelm yourself by trying to conquer all of them at once, you’re bound to fail. Rather, take each one at a time and focus on the most crucial ones first. Everything falls apart if you don’t have a firm plan of action.

For example, I know I must defeat the terrible sorcerer Jeremy to free my father from the grip of his spell of Draining. But I can’t defeat Jeremy without first having my sword tempered with the mighty ore of Magmar, which I must obtain from the belly of the great fire-breathing salamander, James, who lives in the depths of the Cave of Woe. And to even get in to that cave, I need the Key of Sorrow, and getting a hold of that is another quest entirely.

So you see, it would be ridiculous and imprudent of me to just traipse into the terrible sorcerer Jeremy’s lair and try to slay him with a regular sword. It’s all about prioritizing. Like, don’t you think I want rescuing my beautiful Elfin bride, Stacy, from the clutches of Ted, Warrior King of the Mountains, to be at the top of my list?

But there’s, like, a thousand little side-resolutions I have to take care of before I even get access to the airship that will take me to the continent that Ted’s Skull Fortress is on. And even then I have to first defeat his Ravenous Hordes.

Anyway, my point is, don’t over-extend yourself. Most New Year’s resolutions fail within the first few months, because people try too hard to make them all happen at once. You’ve got a whole year to make sure you do this right. Don’t try to rush things and end up like so many other wayward travelers, wandering for eternity in the misty Swamps of Displaced Souls.

You have it in you to achieve whatever lofty goals you seek and conquer whatever twists and trials your adventure throws your way this year. The first goblin you slay on January 1st may not seem like much at the time, but when you’re heaving that final decimating sword slash upon the Undead Lord of Chaos next year at this time, freeing your land and people from centuries of darkness, you’ll look back on that runty little thing and realize that slipping your dagger between his gnarled ribs was the first step on a much larger journey.

Happy New Year, Hero. Your quest begins now. Please enter your name and press start.

 

Photo by arbyreed via Flickr

Just over one year ago I signed up for Okcupid in hopes of generating some story ideas. I planned on carrying out some type of social experiment on how well people’s online personalities stacked up with their real selves, as well as to see what types of answers to profile questions attracted what types of people. I didn’t really get very far into my little experiment, as the third person I went out with ending up turning into the most significant relationship in my life so far.

We’ve had our ups and downs, though I’m happy to report that it’s mostly ups! He makes me laugh every single day and always tell me how beautiful I am and how much he loves me. I know this might be making all you single people out there puke in your mouths a bit but bear with me, I was once in your shoes. Honestly, this is my first serious relationship in over a decade, and that being said, I wish to impart some wisdom that I’ve picked up along the way:

Relationships Take Work (But it Should be Worth it)

Relationships may seem easy at first when it’s all fresh and new, when all you want to do is be around the person and learn everything about them (and every inch of them). In the beginning, we want to put forth the best version of ourselves to impress our newfound love. But somewhere around the 4-6 month mark, the bubble bursts, ending the honeymoon phase and kicking in the “we can work it out” phase where you start to wonder why you’re bickering over seemingly insignificant things like which restaurant to eat at or who forgot to take out the trash.

Basically, it’s not like it should really take a lot of work at once, just a little bit of work every day from both parties. Compliments, listening, honesty and compassion go a long way.

Strive for a Similar Drive

Obviously you want to get into a relationship with someone compatible in certain areas like morals, beliefs and desires from life. One of the most important desires not to be overlooked is sex drive since this is the main aspect that differentiates your romantic relationship from the other ones in your life.

Finding someone who has a drive equal to yours is one of the keys to a happy and healthy long-term relationship, because if one person’s drive is higher than the other, someone will always be getting more or less than what they want. Since this is something that you can’t really change about yourself, it makes it easier when you find someone whose appetites are similar to your own.

Pick your Battles Wisely

A wise man once crooned that you gotta know when to hold em’ and when to fold em’. Compromise is the foundation upon which all great relationships are built. In an equal partnership, no one can get exactly what they want all the time. By focusing on which things are most important to you, you can figure out when to give in and let your partner win sometimes too.

Learn How to Fight Constructively

Fighting is a natural part of any relationship, and all couples do it in one way, shape or form. It naturally comes from spending so much time with another person and sharing your most intimate moments, both good and bad. I’m not really an authority on the subject, as our relationship is pretty amicable. The worst fight we ever had was when he shaved his hair much shorter that I thought he would, giving him the look of an ex-con… and not in a good way.

Bringing up issues as soon as they arise is the mature way of dealing with conflict. There’s no sense in letting resentment build, as this causes a massive imbalance in the relationship that one party isn’t even aware of. Letting things go once they’re resolved is crucially important too, because using old fights as ammunition in current conflicts isn’t exactly fair game.

 

So yeah… this counts as a gift, right? Seeing as how the traditional anniversary gift for the first year is paper, baby you can just print this out and voila!

This post was originally published a couple of years ago, but it’s all too relevant today. Hope the tips help…

It’s hot. I love it. But I could do without my sauna of an apartment. Maybe this is what my rent increase is paying for, a built-in summer sauna. I can just hear my delusive landlord pitching the benefits to me now: “maintain a constant dewy complexion, sweat away those extra pounds and enjoy a higher power bill due to electric fans!”

Ah yes, electric fan. It’s a love hate relationship, isn’t it? If your pay checks are as piddly as mine are, and the idea of using a precious hundred bucks of it on an air conditioner gives you the cold (refreshing) sweats, then you’ve probably got at least two fans in your stifling hot abode. But let’s face it, all they really do is blow around hot air and give the illusion of a cooler temperature which lasts for about 3 minutes, and only if you’re sprawled out on the floor with both fans on either side of you. So basically, the only thing to do is pack a bag, pack a lunch, and get the hell out of your apartment.

The last few days have seen me wandering around, trying to get my air conditioned fix where I can. My empty wallet and dollar-less pockets have forced me to come up with creative ways of keeping cool. Maybe they’re not all ideal, but hey, it’s 30 degrees and only the most innovative survive!

1. Head to the grocery store.

No, no, you don’t actually have to grocery shop, you just need to grab a cart and pretend like you are! It’s like loitering…but you can justify it by calling it pre-grocery shopping, or grocery window-shopping. Grocery stores are always superiorly air conditioned, and they’re big enough to conceal you for a little while. But when a staff member halts you in Aisle 3 to see if they can help you find something (since your cart looks suspiciously empty), whatever you do, don’t tell them you’re browsing. This will certainly lead to your removal.

2. Go for a walk beside a high rise apartment.

I can see the questioning looks on your faces now. Understandable. So the other day, I found myself walking beside a towering high rise apartment building. Suddenly, droplets of cool water where gently falling on my sun-scorched arms and shoulders. I looked up to see what bird was pissing on me and realized that, instead, it was droplets of scuzzy humidity dripping from those lucky tenant’s air conditioners. But did I keep walking, out of the line of dirty droplets? Oh hell no, I’ve no shame. If I can’t afford an air conditioner, I’m going to damn well utilize everyone else’s!

3. Put a towel in the freezer.

This is the only legit method on the list for keeping cool, and it’s not even my idea. One of my awesome friends showed it to me, so all the credit goes to him. All you need is a face towel and a freezer and you are good to go! Ahem. Take the towel. Place it in your freezer. Wait. Wait. Wait. Remove the towel and place it on your shoulders, or your legs, or your face, or wherever. Your body will instantly feel ten degrees cooler, as if ice-cold ocean waves are lapping against your ankles, or like the time you got super drunk on New Year’s Eve and found yourself semi-naked outside in the snow as part of the Polar Bear Dip.

Well, these suggestions may or may not prove helpful, but they saw me through this week’s inhumane temperatures and a stifling hot apartment. As for keeping yourself hydrated, may I suggest popsicles and brewed ice tea (or sangria, it looks and tastes like juice, no one will know the difference!)

Good luck!

Photos:  sangitagurung.com

 

As the sweat poured down my back during my bike ride home and I struggled to breathe in the haze of humid air, I came to one conclusion: summer seems to have finally arrived here in Montreal and all I see around me are babes, babes, babes! This city’s sweltering heat seems to bring out the sexiest in people, or at least the brightest and skimpiest, which is pretty damn sexy to me.

Whether you’re courting a new crush or rekindling the flames with your long-time love, the possibilities for unforgettable summertime dates are seemingly limitless:

Gazing at Gorgeous Glass

summerdate2While moving from the Plateau to NDG last weekend, we spent a lot of time driving up and down (and stuck in traffic on) Sherbrooke street. Coasting past the Musee des Beaux Arts, a giant, glimmering yellow and red glass sculpture resembling oceanic vegetation on acid caught my eye, one of many pieces in town for exhibit of American glass artist Dale Chihuly, aptly titled Utterly Breaktaking.

It is the first major showing of his work in Canada, which has been described as an “immersive, astounding and grandiose visual experience.” I cannot wait to see the exhibit for myself! As an added bonus, the gallery is air-conditioned and you can check out their expansive permanent collection that covers everything from Mexican folk art to brightly colored contemporary canvases by the likes of Picasso and Matisse.

Could Fireworks Lead To… Well, Fireworks?

If you’re looking for a fun, romantic date that will give you the most bang for your buck, take your sweetie down by the Jacques-Cartier bridge to capture the magic of L’International des Feux Loto Quebec aka the fireworks festival at La Ronde. An instant success since its founding in 1985, it now attracts nearly 3 million people annually, making it one of the most attended summer festivals in the city.

The best place to bask in the awe-inspiring bursts of chemical color is La Ronde, so if you can time it with a day to ride the rides, it’s worth the high cost of entry. The view is pretty much equal from the other side of the St. Laurence (just south of Papineau metro), though if you watch from the Old Port, you’ll be treated to the musical selections synchronized with the spectacle. The schedule is a bit different from last year so consult the website before making the trip down. This year’s finale is a tribute to Irish rockers U2.

I Want to Ride it Where I Like

Hands down, the best way to get around Montreal in the summer is by bike. Grab a Bixi or bring your own and travel around to see some of the city’s best attractions and green spaces like the Mountain, the Lachine Canal, Parc Maisonneuve and Iles Notre-Dame and Ste Helene. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, hop on the Route Verte, the most extensive network of biking trails in North America that cover both the city and large areas of the entire province. As added incentive, biking behind your date gives you a shameless opportunity to check out their ass!

It’s that time of the year when many Montrealers scour the streets for boxes and scramble to rent overpriced trucks in search of a slightly better deal on a living space. Yes, it’s almost Moving Day, and it will be a particularly eventful one for me, as I will be moving in with my boyfriend, hitting that significant milestone of a serious relationship for the first time ever.

At least I’m not the only one “living in sin” – according to the Statistics Canada, the number of common-law couples rose almost 14% between 2006 and 2011, which was four times the increase for married couples. Since data on common-law couples was first gathered in 1981, they went from representing 5.6% of all census families to 16.7% in 2011.

We’ll be joining the ranks of the other 1.2 million other Quebecers living common-law. Here, over one-quarter of all census families are common-law couples, the highest percentage of all the provinces.

Studies have shown that cohabitation before marriage can lead to more trouble than it’s worth. While some of the advantages include a higher level of commitment and a spike in sex frequency after first shacking up, there was also an overall decline in relationship quality and satisfaction. This manifests itself in yelling and name-calling, physical aggression and a lack of intimacy.

In a piece for the New York Times, clinical psychologist Meg Jay warns against entering into cohabitation without discussing the motivation for the decision and questioning the commitment level of the relationship, something researchers have dubbed sliding not deciding. “Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean,” she wrote.

This, in fact, is the complete opposite of my situation, where my boyfriend tells pretty much every waking moment how excited he is for us to be living together, especially cutting down on travel time between his St. Henri apartment and my place on the Plateau. We’re also excited to start building a life together, playing off each other’s strengths and share the responsibilities to create a happy and healthy home.

Upon consulting friends, family and relationship experts, it seems that the universal piece of advice for someone moving in with a lover for the first time is to make a point in spending quality time together. Since living with anyone, be it a family member, roommate or boyfriend, involves a lot of daily maintenance and dull, ordinary transactions, it’s important not to let it slide into too far into that realm.

As someone who’s been living alone and loving it for over five years, getting accustomed to sharing my space with anyone is going to be a bit of a learning curve. I’m also going to need to learn when to ask for time alone.

I guess what it boils down to is that while my expectations are quite high, I’m confident that we will be able to pull this off with all the finesse and flair befitting of our fabulous new apartment… but not before I have one more sloppy crazy party to celebrate the end of my bachelorette-hood.

Stop me if this sounds familiar:

You graduated a year (or two or five years) ago with high honours and the greatest hopes for your bourgeoning career in the arts.

Maybe you were going to be a brilliant poet, or painter, or sculptor, or DJ, or performance artist or writer – but whatever it was – you were going to be living a creative, independent lifestyle, making your voice and unique perspective on life, the universe and everything known to the community at large.

The fact that you had to take a shitty customer service or tele-surveying job is just what new artists have to do before the world sits up and takes note of your brilliance.

Am I ringing any bells?

You still make art and you’re still involved in the creative communities that mean so much to you – but it’s not exactly paying the bills.

Worse – you’re still working your shitty service job because at the end of the day, bills need to be paid and food put on your table.

You may get the occasional gig, and that vernissage you put on last year was just lovely, I promise – but it’s not enough. It’s not what you’d planned for yourself, and it’s not how you see the rest of your life shaping up.

What’s a creative type to do?

hustling

Why You’re Not Making a Living as an Artist

Before we get into how you can turn some of your art into cold, hard cash, let’s look at why so many artists fail to make it happen – and it’s not some kind of high-minded refusal to sell out. That’s just what you tell your parents.

It’s simply that most artists, writers, designers and musicians are great at what they do – really spectacular! But they know shit-all about business. Starting one, running one, growing one – no one went over any of that stuff in college because of the beautiful but false myth that talent will rise to the top and be recognized.

It won’t. Being amazing at what you do isn’t enough. Not nearly.

It doesn’t matter how epic your short stories are, how sublime your oil paintings, how incendiary your beats – if no one knows what you’re doing – no one cares.

Making art isn’t enough to make a living through art – you need to dive into business and get your hands dirty, meet the right people, find the right market and charge the right price.

It’s hard, mostly thankless work, the potential for failure is high, and screwing up will feel like a decisive kick in the groin.

In short – creating a business is very much like creating art.

You take a set of tools that are more or less common across the board, and manipulate them to reflect your vision.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

What is a business, really?

Quite simply, you can have a business if you have something to sell, a person to sell it to and a way to collect payment.

That’s it. That’s all.

I’ve got a little exercise for you:

  1. Get a blank sheet of paper, and draw a line down the center of it. On one side write: “Things I can do.”  On the other side write: “Who cares?”
  2. Fill in the “Things I can do” side with all of the skills, relating to your craft, that you poses. This can mean anything from the ability to draw a recognizable portrait, to play an instrument, to wedge clay, to speak eloquently, to dress with style, to mix colors, to keep a workplace clean to recognize obscure musical references. Go as far afield as you can and list every single thing that contributes to you being able to conceive of and produce art.
  3. Fill in the “Who Cares” side with every type of person who might possible be able to use (and be willing to pay for) that skill. If you can’t think of anyone who might care about knowing someone who has a particular skill – cross out that skill.
  4. Cross out the ones that make you sad to look at and think about.
  5. Re-copy the rest into a fresh list. It might look like this:
  • Write eloquently – People who need about pages.
  • Edit and Proofread – Students and bloggers.
  • Play an instrument – College guys wanting to impress their girlfriends.

Do you see where this is going?

thinking_boxThe trick here is to start thinking outside of your artistic box a little bit.

Do you sketch beautiful pictures? What a wonderful mother’s day gift someone could give!

Do you play music and like people? So many folks want to learn how!

Do you have a gift for witty prose? How many best men are aching to get out of writing a speech themselves?

You don’t have to be doing it the traditional way to be making money from your talent – you just need something that will act as a bridge while you’re getting out there.

Hammering all of this out is one thing, of course – getting someone to pay attention – and then pay you money, is another.

But it’s not really all that hard.

Craigslist and Kijiji are amazing starting places, a well-placed flyer can work wonders, and even a professional looking website can be knocked together without too much effort,

And dollars to donuts you’re already on Facebook and Twitter.

Stop pussy-footing around and TRY. The worst that will happen is you’ll be out a few hours and know that you’ve eliminated a possibility from your list.

Figure out what you can do. Figure out who might care. Make the offer.

Further Resources

This has been a very, very brief run-down of how to start an artistic side project – turning it into a real business is another kettle of fish.

But if I know anything, I know this: it’s possible. There are as many ways to bring joy and inspiration and insight to the world as there are artists and there is always someone who wants to know what you have to say – they just might not be aware of it yet.

If this interests you at all – if this is getting the motors in your head going a little bit – I’d like to point you at a few resources that I’m a real believer in:

Be a Freelance Blogger  – Make money by freelancing. Do it today.

The BootStrapper Guild – Micro-business building and growing

The Art of NonConformity – Creating an interesting life – and financing it.

Firepole Marketing  – Get more real people to pay you more money, more often.

Fine Art Tips – Blog, business and social media tips especially for fine artists.

None of these are affiliate links-  just honest recommendations for blogs and companies doing work I think you can get a lot of value out of (Full Disclosure – Firepole Marketing is my day job).

And of course – I would be remiss if I gave you this tip of the iceberg without offering more.

If you’re looking at this process and saying to yourself “it will never work for me!” Get in touch! Leave a comment, send me an email – reach out and let’s talk about it!

It’s not a matter of IF you can make a living doing what you love – it’s just a matter of when and how.

(If you like this, and would like to see more about starting businesses, side projects and making money from artsy-skills – please leave a comment to that effect!)

Megan Dougherty  (@Megan_Rae_D)is serious about wanting to talk about your ideas – she really is interested!