“HE CAN BE MY JAILER, BURTON TO THIS TAYLOR.” – What Happened When I Dated (Significantly) Older Men

Bonjour bitches,

Ever wonder what it would be like to date a significantly older man? Is it weird? Sexy? Fun? What challenges and perks come from dating older men?

fee2b2b683ab5d0f81be22f4533d2f4a6416fa03_hq.gif
I gots a taste for men who are older

What do people like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Amal Clooney know that we don’t?

Well, lucky for you, I’ve found out. During this past month and a half, I’ve been channeling my inner Lana Del Ray and exclusively been going out on dates with men over the age of 35.

Here’s what happened

1. I was surprised

When I started my experiment, I expected most of these men to have kids and/or be divorced. But that wasn’t always the case! Due to a myriad of reasons (mostly career), a lot of guys had put off the whole kids/marriage thing or decided to not be interested in it at all. In fact, one guy I saw had been so focused on his career that he didn’t even end up losing his virginity until he was 29. And most didn’t mind that I wasn’t ready to settle. They weren’t looking to do that anytime soon either.

2. But I found it really wasn’t super weird.

giphy.gifAnother expectation that I had blown out of the water was the extent to which I actually got along with these guys. When I started, I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything to talk about with these guys. I mean, what do I know about shit like mortgages and taxes and brisket? Do these guys go fly fishing in their time off? To bingo?? I don’t know!!

But it turns out, if you have common interests, you’ll still find stuff to talk about. If anything (Because I am a pretentious piece of shit who does things like read The Financial Times and watch Anthony Bourdain), I found I actually had more to talk about with these guys. They may miss a cultural reference here or there, but not a lot. Most of the time, I actually forgot about how old they were. That was until they said something along the lines of

“Do you remember when President Clinton…”

No. I was two. So do not recall.

3. And that they can be super sensitive about aging.

dab23e7966fcaa1223a61ba178b4eb8f
Which is exactly why I listed each one in my phone as a different “Dinosaur”

Western culture is not super kind to the concept of aging. While men are not subjected to the same idea of an “expiration date” as women are, men still face pressure to keep up in old(er) age. Some of them were sensitive about growing greys, their (relatively much lower) lack of energy, or their (extremely loud) snoring habit.

4. I was blown away in bed.

A++, 12/10, would definitely recommend to a friend.

5. I had some who saw me as just a young and hot piece of ass and not take me seriously as an individual.

6. But I didn’t feel like it was at any higher ratio than the men of Tinder do anyway.

7. If anything, I found them to be more mature, communicative, and careful.

If an older man likes you, you’ll definitely know. They’ll generally have enough confidence and self-awareness to both compliment you and make their intentions clear. They’re over the idea of playing games and texting for seven hundred years before asking you out to a drink. They’ll tell you if they don’t like something or what bothers them. They don’t expect you to be a mind-reader. In short, they knew how to date somebody.

With that maturity, I found, also came a tendency to take things slower. For instance, after going on four dates with a man named Yosef, I asked for a check-in. Did he want to be exclusive? How did he feel? What were we doing? Yosef looked confused and said we had just met each other. He wasn’t seeing other people but it was too soon to commit or know anything, really. *

Maybe I have a tendency to take things way too fast but I think that both of our thought processes make sense in respect to our lives. I’m twenty-two. I started dating when I was about eighteen and the longest relationship I’ve ever had was 5-6 months. So it would make sense for me to think of four dates as a lot. But, to Yosef, whose longest relationship was five years, it probably felt like nothing. Additionally, his experience has likely made him more cautious. Whereas, while I’ve had heartbreak, I’ve never had a breakup turn my life upside down.

8. People judged me a lot.

While none of the men I dated were old enough to (reasonably) be my father,** the age gap was still significant enough to cause people to look twice and assume things about us. I have no doubt that onlookers may have seen me with one of these guys and thought something along the lines of “Wow, that dude has a lot of money.”

tumblr_n02ywzZrXn1r65oxko1_500.gifI could also tell that many people (particularly my parents) were concerned about me getting taken advantage of. Which, again, is a valid concern. Youth is easily fetishized and it’s easy for older men to act more paternalistic towards somebody so much younger. It’s an obvious power grab. And I’m sure even the nicest of guys who I dated in this time didn’t mind waking up to a young blonde girl fawning over them.

Or, of course, people may have been worried that these men were married and I was “the other woman.” My previous track record may have not served me any favors.

________________________________________________________________________________

So if you’re interested in dating older men, then my advice is to totally try it out! It might not be for everybody, but I learned a lot and am glad I did it. Like any relationship, it’s important to be cautious and careful, but also remember to have fun.

Thanks so much for reading! Make sure to hit that subscribe button down below and get more updates about my amazing adventures. I’ll be doing a “farewell” tour around Europe for the next month, so a lot of interesting things are sure to happen!

Bisous

A

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

________________________________________________________________________________

*While I fully recognize that he could also just be taking me for a ride, the point still stands.

**My largest age gap was 17 years.

 

Advertisements

How It Feels To Fall in Love With The Soft Boy

Since Alexandra has decided to pop off to Mexico this week, I, Camilla, will be taking over the blog.

I’d best begin with the simple definition of the soft boy.

Found more freely on Bumble, the soft boy is the fuck boy’s much more pleasant younger brother. They sport the same upbringing, the same goals, but adopt wildly different methods to get between your legs. We know the fuckboy; tall, sporty, showered in aftershave and smiles with teeth evidently bleached.

The soft boy, however, is kind.

The soft boy, doused in humming pale hues, is calming. They want to know you. They search inside of you with prying questions about your family, or your dreams, or your opinions on David Hume and existentialism. They take you to leather booths in wooden pubs, lit only with flickering candlelight. They order the cheapest ale. They smoke dewy rollies on crisp December nights and tell you stories of their drug-hazed travels to Berlin. They send you nudes with carefully placed bookshelves full of political philosophy in full eye view. Even whilst looking at their dick, they want you to know they are just so god damn intellectual.

They fuck to Bon Iver to get over the pain of their girlfriend leaving. They tell you they are finally kicking the drug habit, or that coke once a week is their “recovery”. In the evening, they say you make them vulnerable, that they’ve never felt so deeply connected with someone. They will paint you a universe with their words like this is the first time they’ve ever felt a woman before.  

They listen to a band that you absolutely could never possibly have heard of. Probably Tame Impala or Pink Floyd. They make art. And when I say art, it is normally homemade drum and bass on their Mac, sampled from the infinite other soft boys that exist on SoundCloud. But God, they need music. You will hide your Fuck your ex, but don’t fuck your ex Spotify playlist, populated by Taylor Swift, and talk about your love for Joni Mitchell’s Blue, or that your first pressing Nick Drake’s Pink Moon is your prized possession. This intrigues them, enough.

The soft boy will ask what you do. “I write poetry”. They want to be the subject of your poetry, but will never read it. You lack the intellectual or emotional depth of those Keats poems they’ve only ever read once, after buying the anthology of love for 50p from Oxfam. Probably after the immediate break up of the girlfriend. They will tell you how much they know literature.

They will all have “that” girlfriend. Inevitably, the girlfriends fit into the type just as easily as my soft boys. Girlfriends with angular dark hair and soft eyes, who take 35mm pictures of old people smiling on subways and call it art. They speak French, or are French, or have the air of Parisian superiority that you think might just make them an art student. They have girlfriends with storybook names, smudged black rings around their eyes from their latest trip, and dainty silver rings that populate long fingers. They have girlfriends who tortured them. They will tell you about the girlfriend before you finish your first pint.

They cry.

There is never a morning with the soft boy. You are given nights of passion and indulgence, where the hours roll into one, and love sounds like worn bedsheets and not birdsong. They slip secrets as they kiss the tattoo you got in protest of their own assumptions. Calculated secrets; enough to give honestly a human face, not enough for them to be honest. “I had therapy” is the classic. Then, they perform their cruelest and most rehearsed trick.

They vanish.

Or at least, for some time. The soft boy could never be perceived as egotistical so they will come back, days later, after finding themselves in homemade gin and another woman. They will be kind as they explain that this is not the right time, or that they are far too fucked up for commitment. Of course, they are fucked up; they reap and roll and wallow in pain like it is tattooed onto their very existence. They are designed for pain.

They will tell you that you scared them, that they could never let anyone in that could hurt them. They will shower you with the compliments you never had; they love your intellect, your morals, your bookshelf or just simply “how your pussy felt”. There will be something you are missing. They like you not for the intellect, or the sharp tongue, but for the words that slip out because you are sat beneath illuminated olive trees, and their touch burns the slip of skin between your top and your trousers. You worship them like Cathy worships Heathcliff. But Heathcliff, in your story, wears all black and talks about Ernest Hemingway, and forgets to ask you a single question. Instead, Heathcliff is a narcissist with a desperate need to be mothered.

Then, the soft boy will find another, just like you. One caress of the ego is never enough to satisfy those who monopolise their pain. Their world exists in grey, extending as far as their own stories of their own travels. They won’t remember yours. Fundamentally, the soft boy has a precarious ego. Gentle enough to break, desperate enough to need you, and strong enough to make you doubt every love story that sits on your shelf.

But they need your words for their ego, so inevitably, they respond to your Instagram stories.

So here are our characters. Me, and my soft boys. My incessant desire for affection, and my freedom in giving it way if a boy simply asks who I am.  And my unattached, commitment-fearing, “I’m so fucked up” soft boys.

Already, we have been on quite the adventure.

 

———

Thanks Camilla!

Hit the subscribe button and hear next week about my seemingly never-ending French love story.

Bisous

A

And if I get burnt, at least we were electrified – Tips On Female Orgasm

Bonjour bitches,

Hope you’re having a great new year!

Been a little busy lately, but have recently been thinkin’ a lot about female orgasms (mostly because I’ve been deprived of sex lately; somebody help me pls).  My own struggles aside, however, I recently read that most women have a hard time reaching orgasm. Which…  didn’t surprise me? Unlike male orgasms, achieving female orgasm isn’t really as intuitive. And it can be really tricky for us folks with vaginas to learn how to orgasm.

So, in the interest of making the world a better place, I thought I’d share my top three tips on how to better achieve orgasms. And if you already know how? You can use these tips to have even stronger orgasms.

1. LEARN WHAT YOU LIKE

98% of the articles I come across on female orgasm literally read like a formula on what body parts to touch in order to get turned on. That’s always confused me. While humans share 99.5% of their DNA, there is truly a wild amount of variation. Everybody is different on their likes and dislikes. Hell, even every time you get off may be different.

My advicefb-samantha-vibrator_0.gif? Find out what you like through some self-exploration (AKA masturbation). It’s 100% safe, healthy, and how a majority of women (including myself) learn to get off for the first time. You can start with your fingers, a faucet, or even a vibrator.* You can also check out this nifty guide on the different types of orgasms you can achieve. (While there is actually a lot of debate within the scientific community on how many different types women can get, these are the five “main” ones). Also feel free to check out this crash-course guide on female anatomy. Sex ed, if taught at all in schools, rarely focuses on pleasure! So it’s up to us to learn how!

Whatever you do, just don’t panic if you can’t get it to come right away or can’t make it consistently happen. Sexual self-exploration is a lifelong journey, not a destination. While I can now personally reach orgasm with relative ease, it took me years to learn how to do that. And I still don’t always consistently reach it! I still find out new things about my sexuality all the time.

2. RE-LAX

In order to any person to achieve sexual orgasm, it is important that they start from a relaxed point. The brain is actually the biggest sex organ in the entire body and accounts for 40% of all sexual pleasure.

But sometimes it can be difficult for women, in particular, to be so. I probably don’t have to tell you that women’s sexuality is a host to countless societal taboos, hangups, and contradictions. The entire foundation of women’s studies is practically based on this premise. For example, while we are supposed to be sexual objects, it is generally only for the pleasure of men. Be too sexual and you’re labeled a for slut/whore/bimbo, but if you’re not sexual enough, you’re labeled a “prude.” Not mention, porn stars can create unrealistic expectations for both men and women! As a result, women sometimes can feel the need to police ourselves even when we’re in the middle of getting it on with ourselves/others.

Which is… Not exactly conducive to enjoying yourself.

So next time you’re getting it on, I implore you:

tenor-2.gifTake a deep breath.

Don’t think about how long/little it is taking you.

Don’t think about whether you left the stove on (Because even if you did, it’s an excuse for some really fit firemen to show up at your door).

Don’t think about the weird spot on your thigh/stomach/whatever (I literally promise your partner doesn’t notice/care).

Just focus on the pleasure you’re experiencing and/or how you can help your partner.

If anything starts to feel good, lean into it. Let your partner know what’s up. Focus on it. Let it consume you.

Remember: You take as long as you need to. It’s not a race.

I know these are not easy things to do. In terms of my own personal journey, this was probably the hardest thing to get used to. So don’t be hard on yourself if it takes awhile. You’ll get there.

Namaste bitches.

3. WHEN WITH A PARTNERASK FOR DEMAND IT.**

Sexuality is one of the most integral and natural parts of human life. It can make us feel closer to people, give us a better sense of wellbeing, and even contribute to your health. It’s one of the most powerful drives on the planet and part of the reason that humans have lived for so long. It is seriously so, so amazing and something that every single person deserves to experience if they want.

So I urge you: Communicate to your partner what you like, don’t like, etc – Whether it be through words or body language. And always ask them these type of questions as well! Certain phrases you could try might include:

“Is this okay?”

“Can you go a little further up/down/sideways?”

“Right here/there feels good.”

“It feels really good when you x”

“Do you like this?”

Hell, I’ve even physically guided my partner’s hands to certain spots when they’ve asked.

Sometimes, if they’ve finished before I have (and don’t instinctively offer) I typically say something along the lines of:

“Hey, I’m so glad I was able to make you feel good. Do you think you could help me?”

Maybe they won’t be comfortable doing any/everything you want. That’s ok. Chances are, you’ll find something that works for you both.

But if a partner just isn’t willing to talk and isn’t interested in helping you enjoy yourself?????

tenor.gif

Ditch them. Because this person is canceled, effective immediately and over. Sex is never just about one person getting off. It’s a conversation; a give and take. It’s about two people having a naturally enjoyable experience together.

Maybe you’ll occasionally partake in things for their sake or not feel the need to be helped in return. As long as you’re comfortably consenting, that is fine!!! But don’t ever deny it to yourself because you don’t feel worthy. You deserve it just as much your partner, and just as much as everybody else.

So go out there my lovelies and fill our world with your bright orgasmic smiles.

Make sure to hit that subscribe button down below so you can continue to live vicariously through me and follow me on my new Twitter account.

Up next week: Part three of my epic love story about Pierre. Read parts one and two here!

I’ll see you all next time 🙂

x

A

————————————————–

*Depending on how much money you have to drop on a vibrator, I may recommend starting with your fingers/faucet first. That way, when you buy your vibrator, you’ll know specifically what kind you’ll want to buy (clitoral, vaginal, etc). You can also just buy a cheapo one and then invest in a nicer one later. Your call. 🙂

————————————————–

**I crossed out “ask for” because typically when women are told to ask for something, particularly if it is from a man, we (myself included) end up saying something along the lines of:

“Hi sorry would it be too much trouble if maybe you could just x?”

————————————————–

bena note: When I use the “term” women/woman in this piece, please know that I am referring to those with female-esque anatomy. Not all men have penises, not all women have vaginas, and not all people have either. Simply wanted to simplify the piece. 🙂

I Never Trust a Narcissist, But They Love Me – My Story of Accidental Betrayal

On the eve of moving to Paris,

I spontaneously decided to buy a nice black dress. It was admittedly quite expensive, but I reckon that I have more than made up for its cost in free drinks and interesting stories.

DRINK-CINEMAGRAPH-OHM.gifOne such story happened this summer. My Canadian friend Jennifer was visiting from Vancouver and we decided to meet up for a drink (AKA seven). With her, she brought her colleague Jorge. A tall, dark, Latino from Venezuela, I admittedly didn’t think anything of him right away. I’d heard that he was super popular in their office, really intelligent, etc etc, but honestly didn’t care. As long as he kept buying my Bombay gin and tonics, he would also be my favorite.

I don’t know when, but at some point in the night, the chemistry between Jorge and I became intensely magnetic. We debated everything from the finer points of evolution, the meaning of Descartes, or the importance of tannins in wine. As a thirty-eight-year-old professional with a P.h.D., he was admittedly, very cocky. But also really handsome and kind of charming. And while he was sixteen years my senior, I had no issue calling him out on his more bullshit opinions. I also honestly wanted to beat my friend’s record of sleeping with a thirty-five-year-old.

So I did. In one of the stranger moments of my life, we danced to ABBA’s Does Your Mother Know (completely unaware of the irony) and went together to his hotel. I woke up still drunk, grabbed a croissant from the lobby, and headed off back home.

Per usual with one night stands, I didn’t think much of him after that. That was, until several weeks later when my (later) boyfriend was asking if I knew anybody in the electrical engineering field. Whilst Jennifer was not an engineer herself, I knew she worked for an engineering company. So I sent her a message asking if she knew anybody.

Jennifer (12:04): "Hmmm... No sorry, don't know anybody.. Did you ask
Jorge?"
Me (12:05): "No, I don't have his number."
Jennifer (12:05): "Ok, I'm just gonna give you his personal one.
Not a lot of people have it so don't give it to anybody else."
Me (12:07): "Wait, why do you have it?"
Jennifer (12:10): "Oh, he's my boss"
Me (12:10): "..... what"
Jennifer (12:12): "Yeah why?"
Me (12:12): "........................."*

But this story, my friend, is not just about how I accidentally slept with my friend’s boss.  Because like the good American capitalist I am, I am always ready to network. So I did text him later. Starting heavy on the shmoozing, I wrote

Me (15:02): "Hey Jorge! This is Alexandra from Paris! Was really 
niceto meet you the other week (Sorry for my delay in messaging; 
just got your number). Let me know if you're in Paris some 
other time!"
Jorge (17:13): "Hey! Good to hear from you. Tried to get your number
from Jennifer but I lost it. I just got back to Vancouver so 
I'm dead. How are you?"
Me (17:31): "I'm okay! Just working today. Haha, you must be 
so tired. Do you live alone at least?"
Jorge (18:40): "Nope, I live with my partner. But they were away
for the weekend."

tenor.gif

“PARTNER?” I thought, slightly panicking. Did I just sleep with a married man?? That can’t be. He wasn’t wearing a ring and Jennifer said he was single. “So maybe his English is just bad??? I mean it is his third language??” I thought to myself, knowing perfectly well that he had flawless English.

 

Me (20:38): “Partner? Like your wife? 🙃"
Jorge (0:18): "For all practical purposes, yes..."
Me (15:19): "What do you mean practical purposes??"
Me (15:19): "Hahah"
Me (15:19): "Can I just say tho"
Me (15:19):" That if you are married"
Me (15:20): "Or whatever"
Me (15:20): "That you are amazing in bed."
Me (15:20): "I mean you were prior to me gaining this knowledge but 
now it has a different context."
Jorge (16:O0): "Hi Alex. I'm sorry I wasn't more forthcoming.
I am indeed in a long term stable relationship with a woman whom 
I love very much. So yes, I am married."

So yes, my friends, that was the story of how I accidentally slept with my friends boss who was married.

Please excuse me while I go drink a whole bottle of wine to forget about this experience.

giphy-1.gif

 

*Jennifer would only find out about me and Jorge’s antics about a week later in a Parisian restaurant. Seemingly unable to cope with the news, we downed a bottle of red wine together and she drunkenly told our waitress about the story.

Flew Me To Places I’d Never Been – Letting Go of Love P. 2

Read part one here

“Fuck it, we’re going to Wahaca” *


is literally the worst sentence in the English language.

But it’s what one of my best friends Camilla, said to me immediately after Pierre ditched me and blocked my number. She’d been there since the start and she was going to see it to the end. More specifically, she was going to see me get blackout drunk on tequila, somehow manage to get into a club, and yell at couples that one of them was gonna die first (Because I’m not technically wrong).

But it didn’t do any good. I cried for weeks after Pierre ditched me. It wasn’t my first heartbreak, but it was probably the one that took me the longest time to move on from. That is, if it happened at all. I dated other people, forgot to think about him for long periods of time, and found joy in many other things. But he was really always there. I’d sporadically see him in my dreams, watch him upload pictures on Facebook, or hear about something that he was involved in. Each time was painful, of course, but always less painful and frequent than the time before it.

I was mad at him. Make no mistake about that. But mostly I was hurt and I was confused. I didn’t understand what had happened.

Pierre was the guy who pursued me and had been visibly shaking from nerves during our first date. Who proudly wore my lipstick stain on his cheek and looked at me like I was a princess. Who sent me reassuring texts that I was still important to him. And who, by his own admission, if he ever has a daughter, will be the dad who volunteers for his her spa day and keeps the shitty neon-colored nail polish on.

So had my entire perception of reality been wrong? Did he play me? I had frankly always seen him as completely out of my league, so it made sense that he didn’t mean a word he tenor.gifsaid. But then again, we’d never slept together of his own accord, so there was no obvious incentive for him to do it. I was sure he had been with other girls (I mean, how could a beautiful man of his age not be?). But how could anybody, even the greasiest of players do what he had? Faked the stolen glances? The mid-sentence kisses?

I didn’t want to believe or understand how that I had been played, but the alternative didn’t make sense to me either. How does a person who cares about another reject them in the cruelest way possible? Maybe they’re upset, sure. I know he had been going through one of the most difficult periods in his life. But if he had felt genuinely towards me, why would he have done that?

Believing Pierre had genuinely been into me had another double-edged sword: It would have meant that there still would have been potential, had he not lost his company. That maybe he wanted to work as much as I did and couldn’t bear to say goodbye as a result. It would have meant that this incredible person who had everything that I was looking for had been stolen away from me. That it was real. Maybe he wasn’t actually perfect, but how would I know? I had never had time to see otherwise.

Yes, standing me up was a terrible thing to do. I’ll never excuse it. The pain that I experienced as a result of his thoughtlessness is something I hope to never relive. For days, I questioned my own self-worth and whether I’d ever be loved again.

But I also knew that Pierre had probably been facing problems beyond a cute blonde he met online. I’ll spare his more specific accomplishments out of a respect for his privacy, but just know that it wasn’t unprecedented for him to own a startup at the age of 24. He had probably been in the middle of the only major failure in his life. And  he probably didn’t have the emotional toolbox to deal with it or me. So he wasn’t not into me. He was emotionally unavailable and chickened out.

Life did ultimately move onto very positive directions for me.

Between May and December, I dated other people, got a better sense of what I deserved, and regained some confidence. I also graduated from college, visited over ten countries, and actually decided to move to Paris myself to become an au pair. I’d been April of that year and absolutely adored it. Plus, I needed a break from school/work/life responsibilities. I’d found a host family who was willing to make it possible and decided to go along with it.

In early February of 2018, I did what every 22-year-old upper-middle-class white American female dreams of : I packed up what I owned, hopped on a plane, and moved into my 15 sq meter flat in the heart of Paris. I met Emmanuel, a charming Frenchman who to this day, remains one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. Tall and muscular with curly blonde hair, he was a dream. We had matched on Tinder in mid-January andoriginal.gif became practically inseparable ever since. If we weren’t talking over text messages, we were together. Our first date consisted of us drinking wine, kissing under the Eiffel tower, and running through a rainy Paris night. Emmanuel could also literally not have been more helpful in me getting adjusted to French culture and Paris in general.  If I had a question, he was always available. He’d make phone calls, search the web, or do whatever he needed to do in order to help.

So when things fell out with my first host family and I decided to leave them, Emmanuel was still right there. He came over at midnight to just to give me a hug. He had to get up at 4:30 AM the next day and I lived way out of his way, but it didn’t matter to him. He was gonna be there for me. And I was so happy. I felt as if I’d finally found somebody who loved and appreciated me. Who didn’t make me question my reality, self-worth, or sense of being. We hugged and I fell asleep in his arms.  

I woke up as usual. I got my coffee, ate my oatmeal, and glazed The NYTimes. I briefly wondered why I had dreamt of Pierre that night but didn’t think much of it. I don’t subscribe to the notion that dreams are anything but random neurons firing off in your brain. So whatever.  

I sipped my espresso softly while I opened up Facebook Messenger, only to almost spit it out.

I had a message request from Pierre.

“Oh hey,” he wrote, “I had no idea you lived here.”


*For my non-English friends: Wahaca is a Mexican restaurant that masquerades as serving “Mexican market-style food” but is actually worse than Taco Bell.

 

 

Safe and Sound – 7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Babysitter

If being a full-time nanny has taught me one thing, it’s that people love their kids. And the decision to hire a babysitter can be a scary one for parents. You are, after all, leaving your children alone with a complete stranger. How do you do it? Luckily, there are some questions you can ask both your babysitter and yourself so you can feel more comfortable. Here is a list of the 7 most important questions to ask before hiring a babysitter.

1. Do they seem genuinely interested in childcare?

One of the most important questions you should ask a babysitter is why they are interested in childcare. You can ask questions like “What do you like about watching kids?” or “Why do you want to be a babysitter?” Pay attention to your candidate’s body language, their tone of voice, and general demeanor. 

It is important to keep these answers in mind but remember that most of us really do like kids! In my several years working as a nanny, I have never once met a person who was in the business for any other reason.

2. What are their goals?

ezgif.com-resize-3-copy-21.gifWith that being said, I have also met very few nannies who feel that babysitting is their one calling in life. We love our work, but it is not our end goal. Chances are, your nanny will be the same way. Maybe it is their year off from school or they are planning on going into full-time childcare afterward. Whatever their story is, make sure to ask questions about it. You can inquire about their schooling, interests, or goals. Make sure it is a person that you would be happy with children looking up to.

3. Are they a good role model?

Science has continually shown us the importance of role models in children’s lives. Depending on the amount of time they spend together, your babysitter will teach your child how to behave and begin to set an example of young adulthood. Ask yourself: “Would I be happy if my child grew up to be like this person?

Not sure? Ask your babysitter who their role model is. That way, you can get an idea of the person they themselves try to be and the things they value.

4. How do they handle disciplinary situations? Do they have the same values?

This question is good to ask a babysitter since it allows you to see whether their values align with your own. People run their families in many different ways and your nannygiphy-1.gif may have different ideas than you. A simple question to ask them might be: “How would you handle a situation in which child wasn’t obeying you?”

But don’t write an otherwise qualified candidate off for a small difference in style. Simply explain how you do (or do not do) things in your family and see if they would be OK adjusting accordingly.

5. Do they have a clean online profile?

giphy.gifAny nanny who is serious about finding employment is going to make sure that their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are squeaky clean. Anybody who hasn’t taken the time to clean up party photos, crude language, or other unsavory posts is probably not serious about being a babysitter.

6. Do you get along with them?

Is the nanny somebody who you respect? While you obviously do not need to be best friends with the person watching your kid, you will probably spend a lot of time with them. In fact, the best situations I have been in are when I have been my employer’s second or third “daughter.” So it sounds harsh, but if you do not click well with the person, then it is probably not the right match for either of you. 

7. Do you have a good gut feeling about them?

In the documentary After Tiller, Dr. Shelley Sella remarks that she does her work because “The woman’s body is smarter than a doctor.” Whilst the quote refers to reproductive rights, I think it has a much larger meaning as well. Our bodies and our intuitions tend to know things that our brains do not. If you are still hesitant about leaving your child alone with the prospective nanny, then there is probably a reason for it. Trust your intuition.

x

A

PS: Sorry for the delay in posting. I’ve been going through some difficult situations lately that I will likely update you all on in the future!

SCREAMING COLORS – Letting Go Of Love (P. 1)

Friday, March 18th, 2017 is a night I will never forget.

It was my mom’s 53rd birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and my first of three dates in London with a Frenchman named Pierre.

It was absolutely magical.

Pierre and I had absolutely everything in common, from life goals to interests. He was charming, sophisticated, and oh-so-intelligent. He had (two!!) masters degrees in quantum physics, an endearing lack of social skills, and the most stereotypically-Parisian appearance I’d ever seen. His dark hair shocked his hazel eyes that grew large with excitement whenever he saw me. His soft, alabaster-toned skin glowed in the moonlight and melted perfectly into mine. He dressed impeccably well and occasionally even complimented me on my own sense of style. He was sweet and sensitive to an extent that may have turned other women off – But not me. I loved it. I loved that, I loved his “clearly-a-physicist” persona,* and I loved his consistent, kind, and caring demeanor.

During our dates, Pierre would bring me flowers, kiss my hand goodbye, and lean me back for long, loving kisses. giphy.gifWhen I had once remarked about how I had been unsure of his feelings for me, he grabbed my face and kissed me more passionately than I ever thought possible. Then he looked at me, point blank and asked: “Does that answer your question?” And on another occasion when I joked about how France had been the first American “friend,” he replied with a: “Are you sure they were just friends?”

I was absolutely smitten. Pierre was absolutely everything that I’d ever wanted. And I felt as if he thought the same about me. I was 20 years old and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. I don’t know if it was love, but it was certainly an overwhelming passion beyond anything I’d experienced by that point.

On the day of our fourth date, I messaged him. I figured he was at work (Pierre had his own tech startup) but I hadn’t heard from him in a few days and wanted to make sure he was alright.

“Oh shoot” he replied.

“I’m so sorry… We just got a letter of intent to sue and we’re completely submerged..I’m so sorry… I’ll make it up to you, I promise.” He continued.

I was shocked. Not that he’d canceled the date, of course, but that something like that had happened. I said that I had understood and he could take his time in getting back to me.

He definitely did.

The next six weeks are difficult for me to describe. Simply put, Pierre dragged me out and only responded to me about an average of every ten days. While he wrote just frequently and caringly enough to keep me in the loop, it was infrequently enough to make me question myself and my own reality. As far as I was concerned, he and I were practically an item prior to the incident.  Maybe we hadn’t said anything to that extent, but his actions implied that he was just as crazy tenor.gifabout me. Right?? Was I kidding myself in thinking that somebody so wonderful would be into me? No? So why was he being so inconsistent? I knew that he was facing a crisis but I also knew that it took thirty seconds to tell somebody what’s up and to reassure them that they’re still important to you. Ten days is a lot of fucking time in situations like these – Especially when you’re a student who has not much else going on. So was he not into me anymore? Then why would he act so into me on all of our dates? And so nice in all of his messages? We had never slept together by his own accord, so sex was clearly not a motive. And frankly, as much as I adored him, he had neither the demeanor nor the skillset required to be a player. Do I say “fuck it” and move on? What if he’s just dealing with this shit and we actually could have a good relationship after he sorts it? Am I overreacting? Do I risk losing the man of my dreams? What if that never happens? Is this just who he is?

For six weeks, I drove myself into a tizzy with questions like these. It sounds crazy in hindsight, but nothing has made me question my own reality, self-worth, and general outlook on love more than this situation had. I’d gone past the point of an unhealthy relationship and it frankly was tearing me apart. I wanted to let go. But I was too addicted to the highs of his sporadic attention to do it. I was twenty and I was insecure. Prior to Pierre, no man had given me the time of day. So I thought to myself that he was the best I’d get anyway. And if his scraps off the table were all I was going to get, then so be it.

Finally, in a moment I’ll never forget, I received a message from him:

“Hey! Thanks for all your messages! Actually, I need to tell you everything, I’m leaving London in ten days…Moving back to Paris… And I don’t know what to do… I’d love to see you but know it can’t last… If you still want to see me, would be with pleasure!”

I froze. I put my phone down. I walked into my shower.

And I cried harder than I ever had before in my life. I cried because my reality was not in my head – He really did care. He wouldn’t have written something like that if he hadn’t. But that fairytale romance that I had wanted so much with him, that I was holding out for, was never going to happen. London and Paris aren’t far, but too far to justify anything – Especially when I was leaving for The United States in several months. I was absolutely and utterly crushed.

But we arranged to meet two days later at Hampstead Heath. We’d open a bottle of wine, watch the sun go down, and say our goodbyes. It would be hard. Yet I knew I needed the closure from our stolen romance. I got dressed, put my makeup on, and took the tube to the park.

He never showed up.

I wouldn’t see him again for almost another year.

*

Continue reading “SCREAMING COLORS – Letting Go Of Love (P. 1)”

Everything Will Be Alright If You Keep Me Next To You – Why I Am So Proud To Be a Woman (And Why We Must Keep Fighting)

“I asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world. A beautiful little fool.” – Daisy in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Last week, a man accused of sexual assault by three different women (one of whom gave extremely compelling testimony), was confirmed to sit on The United States Supreme Court. Last week, his aforementioned key witness, a research professor at Stanford University was accused of lying or being a democratic operative. Last week, multiple newscasters claimed that sexual assault was just “a part of life,” “a big hoax,” and something to “just move on from.”  And last weekend, I spent most of my time crying next to a bottle of gin.  

I am sad about what happened. I really thought we had gotten past the point where Fitzgerald’s quote may ring true: A world where women were granted their autonomy, voice, and dignity. 

But as so often happens, reality set us back. Reality set us back, but honestly: I have never been more motivated to continue this fight.

I am so proud to be a woman. Today and every day. We are the world’s greatest under-utilized resource and I will never stop fighting until we reach our full potential.

Here are just a few reasons why:

1. We’re strong as hell.

I know women have the reputation of being weak but that honestly makes no sense at all. Why? Women give birth. I know that’s a super obvious statement, but really just giphy-1.gifthink about it: human being grows inside of a woman, crushes all of her other organs, and then comes out a small hole in her body. And then she’s just?? fine?? Like she just needs some bed rest and maybe some medicine???? Yes, a woman’s body is forever altered by a pregnancy, but the point of the matter is that we can do that and survive. Like, sometimes I feel like my boyfriend will get a cold and then act like he’s dying. Oh, and fuck any guy who says that they “killed that pussy.”  THAT THING IS LITERALLY CAPABLE OF DELIVERING A PERSON AND THEN WILL  STILL BE ABLE TO FUNCTION PROPERLY. YOU ARE NOT THAT GOOD.

2. Female bonds.

giphy-2.gif
Rare footage of when I tell my friends I’m gonna text that fuckboy back

Women are not always supportive. That is true. It is actually impossible to be 100% nice, 100% of the time. But I mean, have you ever been in a woman’s bathroom – Especially at a nightclub? How many times did you tell random strangers there how gorgeous they were? How many times did somebody say that to you? Give you a pad/tampon? Hold your hair while you vomited?  Research psychologists have noticed this trend in female friendships as well. Women, interestingly, are very apt to see close friends as “sisters” or “friendship soul mates.” They’re therefore more likely to talk about the intimate details of their lives, aggressively support one another, and often go out of their way to help their friend in need. Many scholars have actually reckoned that these bonds make women more emotionally resilient to hard things like breakups; Something I myself have noticed on this blog. And frankly, it makes sense. When was the last time you hung out with your group of girlfriends? How much time did you spend validating the shit out of each other? Maybe helping one of the girls through her Tinder messages? Helping her take the perfect Insta photo? These are magical experiences that I personally love and cherish. They help us grow, laugh, and enjoy life on a monumental level. I would not trade any of it for anything else. 

3. We deal with so much shit (And still get the job done)!

Every day my life, like so many others, is a jungle of sexism.

Women are consistently taken less seriously, paid less, and even abused at a higher rate. We are consistently outnumbered in the workforce and discouraged from pursuing higher career achievements.*

But remarkably, we get on with it. We get on with it and yet, still kill it so many ways. Just think of the women in your life. When you were a little kid, how many times did your mom arrange a kickass birthday party while cooking an amazing meal and breastfeeding your sibling? Maybe your auntie had a crazy job but was still somehow able to truck your cousin around to all their appointments and recitals. Women have also killed it in “more professional”** and male-dominated fields as well. It was a team of women who found Bin Laden. It was women who changed democracy in France and The Middle EastAnd it is still women who make up a majority of high school valedictorians and college grads

Despite the systematic sexism, despite the harassment, and despite the everyday annoyances, we have somehow still managed to do an amazing job. There is truly no woman on this planet, none, who is not killing it at something. We have refused to let the eclipse of the patriarchy dim our shine. We cannot let anything start to.

____________________________________________________________________________

So fuck Fox News, fuck the patriarchy, and fuck Brett Kavanaugh. I have never felt so motivated to fight for equality. Because if we can be everything I’ve mentioned in a world designed specifically for men like Justice Kavanaugh, then it’s just a matter of time before we dismantle that system. And once we are equal, Lord only knows what we will be capable of.

We are not victims of the patriarchy. We never have been.

We are warriors.

And soon, we will become its champions.

We can do this.

giphy 1.35.49 AM.gif

 

ea4a0ed0-1845-0133-f52c-0e18518aac2f.gif

*And if a person experiences any other marginalized identities, then they probably get shit from that as well. 

**I put “more professional” in quotes because if being an au pair has taught me anything, it is how much work being a parent is. I invite anybody who demeans childcare and/or stay-at-home moms to try and push around a stroller with a screaming two-year-old in it.

Nota bene: I use the term “woman/women” here to refer to any/everybody who self-identifies. I should also note that I recognize how the patriarchy hurts men as well as women. I believe, however, that is more suitable for an individual blog post. 

 

 

Little Taste of Heaven – The French Love of Cheese

Coming from Wisconsin, I didn’t think I could meet a group of people who were any more obsessed with cheese.

And shit, was I completely wrong.

After nine months of living in France, I am still blown away by French people’s love and devotion to this dairy product. Seriously. It’s insane. Even working class French people have given me 20-minute lectures on the art of camembert. Sometimes I like to think I’m mildly sophisticated but I honestly can’t even tell most of them apart.

6178297330_33882f4c23_b
An actual picture of the actual cheese aisle in my actual grocery store.

Luckily, I have a wonderful experience this year which I believe can demonstrate a sliver of that obsession.

Two weeks into moving here, I had started to date a French guy named Emmanuel (he has since become my boyfriend) and things were going really well. One night when he was over, he was rummaging through my fridge when found a €1 bag of shredded Emmental. He paused.

“What… Is this?” He asked in a disgusted voice.

“Uhmm… Cheese?” I replied, clearly unaware of my deadly sin.

“Why do you have it?” He asked like he’d just found a dead body in my fridge.

“I don’t know. To eat?” I said.

Needless to say, Emmanuel then lost it at me. Not in an actual way where he got angry and yelled at me. More of a passive-aggressive “I’m disappointed but willing to give this barbaric American another try because she doesn’t know any better” type of way.  He was definitely upset, but he was kind of kidding. Just not really.

This incident alone would have been funny enough. However, several weeks later, my French ex-lover named Pierre had re-emerged with a plan to win my love over again.* I already had my heart decided on Emmanuel, but Pierre had been offering a platonic meetup and free wine. So I begrudgingly agreed. For context, it is important to know a bit about Pierre. He inevitably will be mentioned in many of my stories, but for this one, you just need to know one thing. More specifically, that he is and remains the most stereotypically French man I have ever met. On our first date alone in London, he gave me a 20-minute lecture on red wine and bemoaned the city’s lack of good bread. At the end of the date, he kissed my hand goodbye and leaned me back for a long and passionate kiss.

I’ve yet to confirm that he is a real person.

On this particular night when he was unsuccessfully flirting with me, I tried to find a way to ~casually~ bring up my new man. So I told the story of how Emmanuel my new boo, criticized me for having Emmental in my fridge.

Blowing a mini-raspberry, Pierre looks one way and snarls:

“Well… It was nice of him to even call it cheese.”

And that, my dear friends, is the ultimate example of how much the French love their cheese. Because my ex-man was making fun of my new one, not for his car, not for his job, or even his looks.

Pierre was making fun of Emmanuel for a comment he made about cheese.

 

*I dare you to a write a sentence more cliche than this one.

Boys only want love if it’s torture. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya – What I learned from a year of serial dating so you don’t have to.

So about last October, something weird happened. One night, I got bored. I got bored and I downloaded an online dating account. It started off slow and I would only occasionally meet people. But it was fun and addictive so I went on more.. and more…and more.. And before I knew it, my schedule was full of dates. I had too many guys’ numbers on my phone to count, free drinks every other day, and a constant fear of falling for somebody. In short, I had become my own worst nightmare and the last person who I would have wanted to encounter: A serial dater.

This is what I learned so you don’t have to.

1. If you online date, meet as soon as you feel comfortable.

I honestly think that online “dating” services should rebranded as online “introducing” services. Maybe I’m particularly unperceptive (this is very likely possible), but I personally haven’t found a strong correlation between my initial impressions of guy’s persona via the internet and what they were actually like. The single best date I went on was with a guy whose profile I hated. I only replied to his message because of how persistent he seemed to be (There weren’t any red flags, I just thought he seemed annoying) (Plot twist: I ended up becoming the annoying one). Likewise, I once spent too much time talking to somebody before meeting up, became attached to a preconceived notion of who they were, and ultimately became disappointed when it didn’t match up. Of course, I still believe, I still think that you should wait just for safety reasons and in case they’re a serial killer. But don’t build it up too much.

2. Filter by important things.

Yes, we all want a 6’5” Greek God with blonde hair and blue eyes. I get it. I mean, I really don’t because I have always preferred button-cute, socially awkward, and nerdy-looking physics/math majors but I think this is just me. But is that what really makes a relationship work? No. It’s your similar values, personality dynamics, and compatible Netflix tastes. Knowing what you want/need in a partner requires a lot of self-awareness and a keen understanding of what you work well with. Of course, finding out what you work well with is really the whole point of dating in your twenties and everybody is going to figure it out differently. BUT to save some time, (or give you a jumping off point) I have two suggestions
1.Look at your friend group. 

What do these people all have in common? Are they free-spirited, imaginative, and earthy? Or are they calm? Rational? Intellectual? How, in the past, have your qualities worked with each of them?  Are there friends whom you fight more with? Is that because of your personalities? Which friendships most closely resemble your ideal romantic relationship and how can you apply these traits? In my case, for instance, I would roughly divide my friend group into the highly-sociable empaths and then the more introverted rationalists. And whilst I love both groups equally, I know the types of relationships I have with the rationalists most closely resemble what I would want from a romantic partner. I am definitely academic but am ultimately an emotional soul. I need somebody rational to balance me out. Additionally, I think I can really offer to balance an overly rationalist person out. So, if anybody had noticed, that was why every single person who I went on a date with had a background in math and/or science and why I think physicists are so damn sexy. CALL ME, BOYS.

2. Take this quiz.

I’m normally a proponent of the idea that personality is a myth and that personality tests are just intellectual horoscopes, but I’ve found this quiz to be quite precise. The empathic/rationalist dynamic that I discussed above is given a lot more detail here.

Thus, my point is to not filter by meaningless things like height or hair color. Find what you know works with you and filter by those standards.

3. Timing is everything.

This lesson, personally, was the hardest one for me to learn. You can want something to work with somebody so badly, and maybe they want it too, but ultimately, the cards have to be in place. Maybe they’re dealing with a personal crisis, neither of you is at similar/the same points in your life, or you get job offer in another city that you cannot refuse. In addition to more pragmatic factors, we are all constantly evolving and changing. Somebody who was good for you in 2015 may be completely wrong for you in 2017. You have to meet somebody at the right time for it to work. And I think it was the hardest lesson for me to learn because it’s not fair but it’s also not anybody’s fault. You can’t throw your hands up and tell yourself that the other person was bad, but you can’t change the situation either. It’s really, really hard. Make peace with whatever God you believe in to accept it.

4. Skip the niceties.

I don’t understand why the first few dates are full of the superficial things. I’m sorry but I honestly do not care what your sister’s boyfriend’s job is. Not yet.

Tell me about your interests. What makes you get out of bed in the morning? Are you a feminist? Who is your best friend? That dress was really blue and black, right? (I once brought this up to a date. Turns out he used to do neuroscience and I heard all about it….So actually maybe don’t bring that one up.) What would you do if you had a year to live? Have you ever been to another country by yourself? How do you feel about Taylor Swift? I think people are hesitant to bring up hot button/deeper issues like this because they can be deal breakers for both people. But I think they’re deal breakers for a reason. Do you really want to date a UKIP/Trump supporter? Don’t make out with me and then casually drop the fact that you “hate Muslims.” Waste of my lipstick, time, and spit tbh.

5. Don’t get attached too fast

Because anybody who knows me knows that I absolutely do. And I have nothing but tears to show for it. People are fickle. People can and will change their minds. More importantly, I think that if you get attached too fast then you could be blinding yourself to any negative qualities that would otherwise be deal breakers. I have totally rationalized bad behavior by dates in the past simply because I was already attached to the idea of dating them. Luckily, none of them worked out, but if they had then I could have been in for an even bigger heartbreak.

6. But if you do (IE: If you’re like me and your emotions hit you like an uncontrollable freight train) know it.

Realize when you’re jumping into something too quickly and keep an extra eye out for the aforementioned “bad behavior.” Of course, try and stop getting attached too fast, but remember that ultimately it is a strength of sort. Running into love (or like), opening yourself up, and becoming vulnerable is honestly terrifying. So consider it a beautiful thing that you can be so trusting, kind, and open to others in your life.

7. Stay busy.

 

taylor-swift-blank-space-video.jpg
What I would look like if the gym didn’t exist.

Dating can be is maddening. People can be bad at communicating, forget to text you, and even straight up ghost you (These all actually happened to me in one guy… Thanks Tom). It’s so easy, especially when you like somebody and have nothing else to do, to obsessively over-analyze their messages, plan your every move, and hop on the next bus to fantasy-land where you’re naming your kids. If you’re thinking of jumping into dating, make sure you have another hobby/activity/TV show to add to your life.  Personally, I’ve found running/scream shouting Taylor Swift songs on the treadmill to be very helpful but, like many things in this article, I think this is just me.

8. Remember that you owe nothing to anybody.

9. And that nobody owes you anything.

10. But it’s important to be straightforward, honest, and kind.

I think too many people live their dating lives by the idea that “all is fair in love and war.”  It’s not. It’s not okay to ghost people. It’s not okay to break your word to somebody who likes you (Obviously, these both have limits. If somebody’s being abusive, aggressive, or giving you an icky feeling then you straight up have every right to cancel a date). But remember that people have feelings. Opening yourself up to love, in my opinion, is one of the most vulnerable positions a person can be in. Play to get what you need. But play nicely.

11. “Your girlfriends will always be there for you.”

Back in 2015, I was texting my mom about my recent breakup and how I didn’t know how to deal with it. Her advice? Simple. Go hang out with my friends. My girlfriends, she noted, would always be there for me. It was true at the time, but this year has made that statement gain more weight than I ever thought possible. And looking back on this past year, nothing stands out more than my friends’ love. In October, when I went on my first disaster date, Theresa and Adiba, you two were right there for me and we laughed all night. Jess, in February you threw that amazing party and helped me forget about the guy whom I still am confused by. And Aleks, in May when I was finally stood up by somebody that you never even liked, you invited me over to your place for lasagne anyway. None of you were judgmental. None of you ever complained or said “I told you so.”  You just listened. And so many other people listened to me over Facebook, the coffee shop, or the SU. I truly cannot believe how lucky I am to have all of you in my life. And I cannot believe how blind I was to this fact at the time. To be friends with just one of you would be enough. The fact that I have an entire group of people who are willing to drop everything in order to talk with and support me is remarkable. The love you showed me and continue to do so, is so incredible. And no matter what happens, even if I marry Harry Styles, nobody will ever replace any of you. If I have learned anything this year, it is that you all will still be the greatest love of my life.


Overall, whilst my experience was at times, emotionally draining, I’m glad I did it. I only fell for two people and didn’t end up in a relationship with either. I learned so much , however, about myself, the world, and love as a whole. Everybody who I met was genuinely interesting, cool, and special in their own regard. After two years of being surrounded by a bunch of hyper-masculine frat guys, it was incredible to finally meet and spend time with some gentlemen (And I’m not just saying that because I know some of them will read this article to check if they were mentioned). It really renewed my faith in guys. I’m really grateful.

But this is definitely the end of this chapter of my dating life. The lessons that I’ve shared here have a lot of good memories attached to them, but they also have a lot of bad ones. For every first kiss also came a teary walk to Waitrose to buy chocolate. For every guy who made me feel like the only girl in the world, came another who would stand me up. It was fun but it was exhausting. And for right now, I have decided that I am enough. I want to take the time I have left in this magical city and continue to develop my friendships. So, I’ve deleted all my online dating accounts, cut my hair, and bought a new handbag. Some things, after all, are just cliche for a reason.

** Or at least, I like to think I was. I like to think that nobody besides me and the guys I’ve dated are aware of just how romantically awkward I am.