Category: Dating

Expat Dating Diaries: Are You Scared to Be Lonely

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I’m not the girl I used to be. The manic pixie dream girl you fell in love with on a moonlit night en route through sandy streets to 7-11 exists somewhere, but she’s not here. The stressed out, overworked, manic, afraid of failure girl you loved because you had to isn’t here either. I’m back in Canada where there’s no mania whatsoever. Honestly – I feel as though I must be crazy for holding onto this, but my life is so well-balanced and normal that it can’t be. I’ve either become completely boring or am walking the long line of a plateau; on the precipice of something great.

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I wake up and start my day with a light workout. I go to work and count my calories. After work sometimes I’ll go to boxing and sometimes I’ll make plans with a friend. Every two weeks I pay off my credit card and put money into a tax-free savings account. I’m now 31 and this is what you do here even though the notion that I’ll ever produce anything with my measly savings is one hell of a pipe dream. Occasionally I’ll go on a blind date because its next to impossible to meet someone organically. I’ll typically never see the person again and consider it time wasted on the search to find your replacement.

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Have you ever tried to replace a love which has moved you so deeply that it changed the way you approach every element of your life? The kind of love that can shake you to your core with memories of its intensity? I have. I was pretty successful too for a 4-month stint because I found someone who was even more afraid of being on his own than I.

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For most of my life I was a lone wolf. I was more concerned with getting ahead in my career than finding a partner. I dated, sure, but I had never felt like a piece of myself or my heart was missing until my trip to Thailand in 2016. I was free before I met him, and now i’m scared I’ll never feel free or love/ be loved the same way ever again. It was my 29th birthday and I met the puzzle piece I never knew I was missing at a hostel on the beach in Phuket. After a week together I grit my teeth and made my way back to Korea and feeling emotional pain unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my life.

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When he made the leap of faith and moved to Korea to be with me, I didn’t know how to be thankful in a humble way. I didn’t know how to love him without smothering him and unintentionally pushing him away. It was such a foreign concept to me that someone like that could make such a sacrifice for me, that every day was worth celebrating. Colours were brighter. Food tasted better. Parties needed to last all night because why wouldn’t everyone want to rejoice in my newfound discovery?

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It was exhausting for us both, eventually, and when he left I felt a pain even more excruciating than before. It stayed with me for another 4 months through which time I must have dyed my hair 10 times and blacked out even more.

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Then at the beginning of March I met someone. He was still in a long-distance relationship at the time, but I had had no idea. We didn’t have that much in common, but he kept me on a schedule which improved my health and pulled me out of the darkness. He told me his mother always said he was a white knight to maidens in distress. I never imagined that my darkness would take me that low. Eventually I regained my footing and my strength. Of course that was a turn-off for him, and he sought another insecure woman. My replacement had replaced me. You told me you always thought he looked weird.

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Looking back to that time in Thailand when we had just met, I remember something he said then reiterated the day he moved in with me in Korea and about a year after we broke up. He had told me about this theory that some people were built for one another. I laughed it off because he told it to me in far more graphic terms than I’m explaining here (more emphasis on the body than the soul ūüćÜ), but feeling the need to repeat it one last time when we were both in replacement relationships something I still just can’t shake.

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I often wonder: if so many of us are just replacing our missing puzzle pieces, has the other half of my heart just found a band-aid¬†he can’t bear to rip? Are you putting a square peg in a round hole because you’re too scared to be lonely or too stubborn and afraid to admit you made a mistake?

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Scared to Be Lonely

Dua Lipa, Martin Garrix

It was great at the very start

Hands on each other

Couldn’t stand to be far apart

Closer the better

Is it just our bodies? Are we both losing our minds?
Is the only reason you’re holding me tonight
‘Cause we’re scared to be lonely?

Do we need somebody just to feel like we’re alright?
Is the only reason you’re holding me tonight
‘Cause we’re scared to be lonely?

Candidly Cartier – Hit Back: Be Your Own Best Boss

 

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Photographer: Andrew Branch

Kicking My Own Ass Back to Sanity

Buckle your seat belts and take out your chips and salsa, ’cause it’s about to get real cheesy up in hurr.¬† If you follow The Toronto Seoulcialite (my other “less sarcastic” blog), you’ll have read about my issues finding a job, finding a man, and finding my figure through the mess of moving back to Canada.¬† I’ve finally found something which¬† could be the makings of a career, and a date with myself 3 times a week which gives me structure and an outlet.¬† Coming back home is like picking up an old, ear-marked book.¬† The characters are the same and the setting hasn’t changed, but you’re still not exactly sure what will happen to the protagonist next.

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Photographer: Scott Webb

Someone Else’s Story

My biggest fear returning to Toronto was that I would be reliving the same old story.¬† While I was away, several of my friends partnered up, a couple had kids, many got promotions, some went back to school, and my nightmare boss was finally arrested.¬† Beyond that?¬† A lot of the people I’ve left are ear-marked – frozen in time right where I left them doing the same old things and just banging their heads against the wall calling it happiness.¬† I knew I wasn’t happy back in 2014 when I made the decision to begin the arduous application (okay – it was long, but not that tough) to move to Korea.¬† I couldn’t come home and return to old habits.

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Photographer Scott Webb

Die Hard: With a Vengeance

Old habits die hard.  I ended up moving back to Queen St. West and was working in the events industry when, at last, I found work.  Getting into a rhythm took time, and my physical and emotional health took a hit.  I decided to hit back.  I bought myself a 2 week unlimited introductory pass at Big Hit Kickboxing Studios.  At that time, I was living with a disrespectful roommate who was a neglectful pet owner.  I had no autonomy in my own life.  Looking back, I think that I was committed to my 2 week membership, but not so much to myself.

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Be Your Own Boss (Without Working for Yourself)

I once read that you should treat yourself like the CEO of your own life, and that fitness was a meeting you set with your employees.¬† Good bosses don’t reschedule again and again.¬† I wasn’t managing my life properly, nor was I being a good boss to my mental and physical health.¬† At this point I needed to hit back, but not just for 2 weeks.¬† Big Hit Kickboxing Studios in Toronto has given me the schedule I need to succeed.

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Be a Good Boss

Proper preparation prevents poor performance.¬† I’ve set meetings with my very important sanity at least 3 times a week, which is honestly pretty manageable!¬† After work on weekdays I leave the office between 5 PM and 5:30 PM (I know – my job offers work/ life balance <3) and walk for about 35 – 40 minutes from the office to Big Hit Kickboxing Queen West.¬† The walk enables me to just zone out and enjoy constant, steady movement while listening to music.¬† The workout to follow is full of different combinations which challenge my mind and various muscle groups.¬† Over the next 3 months I’ll be sharing my highs, lows, pounds, and measurements.¬† Stay tuned for preparation and progress, not perfection.

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Photographer: Aral Tasher

Naked Back-flips

Since getting back on a regular schedule with Big Hit Kickboxing Studios, I haven’t actually lost any weight, but the rest of my body and my life has changed pretty drastically.¬† My clothes have started to feel different – better.¬† I don’t crave sweets like I did throughout my unsettled period between my old job and old apartment and now.¬† I have been on several dates with not one, not two, but 3 different men who actually want to see me again.

When you start physical activity with dedication, dedication spreads throughout your life in different ways.¬† My posture exudes confidence rather than that fear of failure with which I started.¬† I’m back to caring about a connection rather than having a fear that I won’t be liked (word to the wise – fear of someone not liking you crushes a connection right off the start).¬† I don’t really have time for people who aren’t adding to my life in a positive way, so when I make time to see my friends we’re connecting on a much deeper and more enjoyable level.¬† I also always seem to come back to that old adage: “You can do naked back-flips across his lawn, but if you’re not the one he wants, honey, you’re just not the one he wants”.

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Photographer: Matheus Ferrero

 

Strength, determination, and hope fill the pages of my novel.¬† I know what comes next in that old, worn out, dog-eared story because I’m writing it now.

Dating in Toronto: Are Local Men Commitment-Phobes?

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Dating in Toronto: Are Women Too Intimidating?

Now that I’m back in Toronto I’m trying to assess the dating pool from the outside looking in.¬† While I’m more focused on finding a job than a date (current job ‚úď, new job August 20th ‚úď), my gal pals are on the prowl.¬† I’ve returned from Korea to find I only have a handful of single male friends.¬† It seems like I have more single female friends in my age-group than ever, and they are all experiencing the same problem.¬† Is it that Toronto men are scared of commitment or scared of a confident, successful woman?¬† Let’s take a look at some examples of my single pals and other gals dating in Toronto.

 

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Lisa Fotios

 

Dating in Toronto: Lisa

Lisa and I have known one another for over 10 years.¬† She’s got a pretty dominant personality at first, but is pretty chilled out and easygoing when it comes to making plans.¬† She finished her MBA a few years ago and has taken on a senior role at a start up.¬† She’s passionate about her work, her dog, and her family.¬† I haven’t seen my friend Lisa in 4 months.¬† Why?¬† Well, she’s been pretty heavily into the Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid scenes.¬† For her, Dating in Toronto is a full-time job, too.¬† She’s met a pretty attractive man who seems to take up a lot of her time, yet another commitment-phobe, plus she’s juggling a gazillion first dates.¬† Seems like she’s collecting a variety of styles, throwing them at the wall, and just seeing what sticks.¬† So far she hasn’t really gotten anywhere, and I haven’t really seen my friend!

 

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Dating in Toronto: Abby

Abby is 25.¬† She goes out every Friday to the exact same bar hoping to find a husband.¬† I shit you not, this girl honestly thinks that the first guy who doesn’t back away when she smashes her face into his is going to make for a great provider for her 2.5 children, dog, and white picket fence in Thornhill.¬† Abby joined ultimate frisbee because she thought it would be a great way for her to meet guys.¬† She does it all for the ‘gram.¬† She captions with the likes of “your vibe attracts your tribe” on a picture of a group of people who don’t actually know one another.¬† With someone like Abby, you can’t share your interest in a particular member of the opposite sex.¬† She will undermine any sort of connection you had by trotting over, tits out, making the game real easy for ya man over there.¬† Why work an hour for $100 when someone’s dangling a $20 note in your face, right?¬† She gets off on creating competition with her remaining female friends.¬† She’s a juvenile, insecure, little girl who needs the validation of strange men more than the loyalty and support of gal pals.¬† Don’t be an Abby, don’t take home an Abby, don’t befriend an Abby.

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Eneida Nieves

Dating in Toronto: Jessica

Jessica has a revolving door of men.¬† She keeps 2 or 3 in play and has a whole bunch of guys on the bench.¬† She climbed the corporate ladder quickly at the same company for the last 8 years.¬† Recently, she bought a condo and furnished it exactly the way she wanted having lived in a shitty, run-down old building for most of her time in Toronto.¬† Dating in Toronto changed a lot for Jessica when she made the move.¬† All of a sudden the dudes who were freelancing and bartending on the side felt the need to get their shit together and move on up in the world.¬† Jessica was finally showing the wealth she had accumulated, and these guys were not into it.¬† The two men she’s currently dating have told her those three little words over and over again (“I love you”, for those of us who are jaded).¬† Neither of them want to date exclusively.¬† It’s sad, but when you’re dating in Toronto everyone is always on the look-out for something better.¬† They could have their perfect man or woman doing naked back-flips in their front yard, but unless they put down the phone they’ll remain completely oblivious.

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Jennifer Decan

Dating in Toronto – Candidly Cartier

So what’s the secret to actually meeting someone in Canada’s largest city?¬† I thought it would be easier than my experiences in Korea seeing as there are more native English speakers here and many of us grew up with similar cultural backgrounds.¬† In reality, it’s far more difficult.¬† Why is dating in Toronto so obnoxious?¬† When I met Adonis, it was an instant connection.¬† Our wifi signal was weak and I can honestly say, for me, it was love at first sight.¬† I don’t think that feeling will ever go away, and even thousands of miles apart I still feel like we’re connected.¬† With ex-Co-Pilot it was easy, too.¬† I begrudgingly met him after a series of crappy first dates and it was a “right place, right time” situation.¬† He was absolutely incapable of being alone, and I needed a band-aid.¬† Now I’m in a situation where I have a great apartment, great job, and some great friends.¬† I’m no longer working as a conventionally “female” gender role (as a teacher), and the intimidation factor is out of control when you’re dating in Toronto.

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Caitlyn Wilson

Dating in Toronto is Exhausting

I’m too tired to get dolled up and go out on Friday nights.¬† I’d muuuuuch rather Netflix and Chill.¬† Going out clothes sold here are either hoochie-mama bralets and booty shorts or totally binding triacetate-polyester blend urban professional attire.¬† There is no in between, anymore.¬† My feet hurt.¬† Doing my hair and makeup, stuffing myself into spanx, then trying to get that dang zipper up by myself is exhausting – and for what?¬† All you see at these meet markets are people trying to get the bartender’s attention or simply sitting in a corner and swiping all night.

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Swipe for Your Life

Speaking of swiping, I’ve been out on my fair share of first and second dates having met through a dating app.¬† My aforementioned friends and I get the same message each and every time we opt to keep our legs together for more then a couple of dates.¬† “I think you’re looking to take things a little slower than me.¬† I’m looking for something more casual.”¬† Sir, I’ve met you twice.¬† It’s entirely unfair to imagine that you know what I want.¬† It’s cocky to think that you’re such a stud that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with you after seeing you in two different outfits.¬† Also, it’s pretty pathetic that apparently I’m only good enough to be your booty-call.¬† I was prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt after your horrendous first kiss because we had good banter.¬† I’m starting to think that these morons just want their tinder date to turn up and bend over before agreeing to ever meet again.

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Martin Jernberg

A Girl’s Gotta Eat

These guys seem to think that I want the ring, the house, and the 2.5 kids immediately.¬† It’s not that I want something serious, I just want something consistent.¬† I’m starting a new job and have a pretty full schedule, but a girl’s gotta eat, right?¬† Realistically, I’d like to have a companion with whom to do absolutely nothing on Friday nights, and maybe to go hiking with on Saturday mornings.¬† I like breakfast in bed, too.¬† Yeah – I’ll make it.¬† Don’t get up.¬†¬†There’s still so much of the world to see, and I’m plenty happy as a solo traveler.¬† If you’re along for the ride, great.¬† Please don’t assume to know what I want.¬† Don’t dismiss me simply because you’re intimidated or a Toronto man scared of the first inkling of commitment.

 

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Repatriation Dating Diaries: Cartier’s Hot for Teacher

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Photographer: Josh Willink

Up in the Air – Not Exactly Dating on Cloud 9

Settling back into life in Toronto hasn’t gone exactly as planned.¬† My career didn’t quite get off the ground the way I expected.¬† I just settled into a condo downtown and now have to move.¬† Everything’s just a little bit up in the air right now.¬† Dating is no exception.¬† Everyone at the bar is swiping left or right while in a perfectly lovely meet market.¬† Tinder is for hook-ups.¬† Bumble is allegedly for “serious dating” (sure).¬† Meeting people through buttoned up/ tied-down friends is nearly impossible.¬† I’ve now been on dates with a commitment-phobe real estate developer, a self-obsessed rocker, an UBER driver (yes – he drove me home and then we went out), a blogger who recently carbon-copied my latest post on The Toronto Seoulcialite, and a Tinder I had been out with 4 years ago.¬† The conversation barely changed and he definitely didn’t clue in.¬† Dating is depressing.¬† Oh – and I went out with my old calculus teacher.

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Hot for Teacher – Dating isn’t Calculus, it’s Chemistry

When you were in high school, did you ever have a crush on a teacher?¬† How about that hottie who wasn’t much older, but just enough that the difference in age/ power balance would have been inappropriate?¬† Imagine my surprise when the Facebook algorithm encouraged me to reconnect with my old calculus teacher 14 years my senior.¬† I can’t imagine he’ll mind my writing about this.¬† The probability of us meeting as we did was low, and the probability we’ll ever meet again is practically non-existent.¬† He was my teacher for all of 3 weeks (and change) and we bumped into one another locally and in Kingston for all of 3 minutes each time.¬† This round, after a lovely date, a hesitant goodnight kiss, and a few text exchanges promising to see one another again, it only took him about 3 days to ghost.¬† Dating isn’t algorithms or equations, it all comes down to chemistry and the space-time continuum.

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Photographer: Angello Lopez

Dating Derivatives

While it would be lovely to meet someone who had the raw, passionate, primal masculinity of Adonis, or the “jamais seul” nature of ex-Co-P, it’s summer.¬† Dating in Toronto doesn’t really ever seem to be clear or direct – just derivative of our parents’ and grand-parents’ generations.¬† In the summer it’s the least likely time for any of that to change.¬† Our diluted and deluded perspectives of responsibility to one another make me believe that I’ll always be house-hurt from carrying the weight of rent completely alone.¬† Owning at all is a pipe-dream.¬† White picket fences are a thing of the past.¬† There’s plenty I’m tempted to try.¬† Did I learn anything from scratching off this bucket-list item?¬† Not really.¬† Just that I think I’ll keep my interests outside of the classroom.

Repatriation Diaries – Hiring Managers: The New FCKbois?

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The New Fckbois = Job Gatekeepers

How do you get a job in your old city/ industry when you’ve been out of both for over 3 years?¬† It took me 7 weeks from the time I arrived back in Toronto after Bali to my first day of work.¬† My method was to cast a wide, wide net and see what came out of making a full time job of finding full time work.¬† The first couple of weeks were frustrating as I’d see hiring manager after hiring manager check out my LinkedIn profile, but no communication beyond that.¬† I updated my resume a gazillion times so it would be more appealing to the digital media and advertising industries.¬† I was using my jet lag and night owl status to adjust and apply (and boy, did I ever apply for everything), but it felt like I was getting absolutely nowhere.

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Master of None

My recruiter told me that my career background read as unfocused even though it highlighted a lot of desirable skills.¬† Having been away from my home and my industry for 3 years I couldn’t exactly walk back into a director-level role, and my level of seniority was too high for most of the jobs for which I was actually eager.¬† I would have been happy to take on something that would have looked like a step backwards, as long as I was learning rapidly and equipping myself to move forward with a company.¬† The goal was to become an expert in my role, rather than a Jill of all trades.

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Living out of the City

For the first month and a half I felt like a hobo.¬† My parents moved to a small town when I was in my 2nd year of University.¬† When I finally started coming in for interviews I felt like I was on the “inconveniencing my friends” tour.¬† I couldn’t commit to hanging out because just to get into Toronto I had to bother my parents for a 45 minute ride to the Go Train station, then spend $10 to get unto Union Station, then get the subway with all my junk.¬† That’s if I had booked an AirBnB or had a friend’s couch on which to crash.¬† I was trying to survive just on wifi (cause you can, for the most part, in Korea).¬† After 2 weeks I realized that my savings from Korea unfortunately didn’t amount to much and I’d have to start spending.

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Waiting by the Phone

From my online applications, I had plenty of “no response” responses, a whole lotta “more appropriate backgrounds needed”, and some straight up weird replies from hiring managers who didn’t know the job from Adam and were just trying to get the placement $.¬† I was asked to complete several phone interviews and a pile of “assignments” (aka FREE WORK).¬† By applying online I got a bunch of garbage, but also a couple of interviews.¬† Pair that with the few interviews I got through personal references, and I was starting to feel hopeful again.¬† How can you sound positive once you finally get the interview when you’ve been dealing with rejection after rejection after rejection?¬†Image result for gif master of none

Dealing with Job Rejection

When I left Toronto I had my finger on the pulse.¬† My hire-ability was off the charts, but I couldn’t get a guy to take me out for coffee to save my life.¬† My, how the tables had turned.¬† In my most successful interview, I was told that I would hear back within a few days about next steps and meetings with the CEO.¬† Some of the recruiters/ hiring managers even promised offer letters within the next week.¬† I started looking for an apartment.¬† My friends started taking the idea of me sticking around pretty seriously.¬† Then, each and every one of those fckers ghosted me.¬† I even saw one of them from a pretty pathetic excuse for a communications company at a PR event.¬† I’ve never seen the “run fast ’cause I never called that broad back” face on a woman before, especially one with whom I had had a job interview!

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I did it! – Well…kinda

Like Dev, I did it…with plenty of help!¬† I actually got really, really lucky.¬† When I use the word “luck” I tend to mean a combination of timing + preparation. There’s a little element of magic that comes along with it, too.¬† I was walking out of one of these horrible cattle call job interview situations.¬† Picture pizza, a poorly-rehearsed speech from the child CEO, and sorority large-recruitment style “interviews”.¬† Then, I got a call from someone within my network.¬† I had sent her my resume weeks earlier.¬† Her friend had posted on Facebook about an immediate need.¬† Within 10 minutes I was on the phone with the gentlemen who would become my boss less than 24 hours later.¬† Sure – it’s only a contract for now, but it’s my foot in the door to work for an amazing organization doing some pretty creative things.

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Avoid the fckbois to Find a Job

Just like in dating, I met with a lot of fckbois.¬† In the end, I completely bypassed the fckbois (the recruiters) and found a diamond in the rough (the job).¬† Reach out to everyone in your network.¬† Don’t be afraid to annoy someone by asking to send along your resume.¬† Chances are they were once exactly where you were.¬† You can’t avoid the recruiters and HR managers hiring for positions they know nothing about.¬† You can¬† cast a wide net and let several of them work for you at once.

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May the odds be ever in your favour, Repats.

 

Re-pat Dating Diaries: Younger Men? Yes, please!

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The Newest in Dating Diaries: Repatriation

When writing about something as sensitive as dating, it’s kind of tough to write something positive without hurting someone’s feelings.¬† You might be thinking “huh? What’s she talking about?¬† Why would writing something good hurt someone?”, but hear me out.¬† When you write something – anything at all – and it strikes a chord in a man (even one you may have never met!) the comments section can get a little heated.¬† I’m ready and waiting with popcorn (Smartfood, I’ve missed you) for all of the man-hating, extreme feminist names they have stored in their back pockets.¬† When you write something about men in general, and someone else he thinks he’s the man in your life, feelings can get hurt.¬† I am single.¬† I am all over the map literally and figuratively.¬† In the (almost) 3 weeks I’ve been back in North America, I’ve met some truly wonderful people, and surprisingly young and accomplished men.

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Dating After Korea

Since leaving Korea, I’ve been through Bali, back to Korea, to Canada, the United States, and back to Canada all within 40 days.¬† If any of you think dating in Korea is wonderful, welcome to the rest of the world.¬† It’s your damn oyster!¬† If you’re having trouble and want to explore the dating world more extensively, maybe the contract life in the land of the morning calm isn’t for you.¬† I know I’ve always been the queen of bad timing, and Korea pressure didn’t help.¬† I’ve recently had a freedom and flexibility which seems to have been pretty attractive to men.¬† Well, pretty attractive to the average ODB and younger man, alike.¬† It feels nice to have most people believe I’m somewhere between 21 and 25.¬† Guess my multi-step K-Beauty routine has been working!¬† I’m always honest and upfront about being 30.¬† Ain’t no shame in that game.¬† My Tinder is set to meet men 25 – 37, which I feel is fairly age-appropriate.¬† Meeting younger guys (organically) has actually taught me a lot about how to relax into the dating world again.¬† In honour of The Real Housewives of New York City returning to Bravo, let’s let my favourite cradle-robber, Carole Radziwill,¬† tell you all about why repatriation is best with a younger man by your side.

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Confidence

At 30 (and after living in Korea), it’s really easy to get anyone’s number.¬† I’ve just been living in fantasy land (as far as any recruiters are concerned) for the past 3 years.¬† If you can’t walk up to a random hottie and pretend you’re just two SIMS characters after that, what HAS Korea taught you?¬† Seriously – after 30 we just don’t care.¬† There are dating opportunities everywhere.

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You Can’t Hurry Love

You might think that dating is the same everywhere.¬† That notion would be entirely incorrect.¬† Living in Korea has completely shaped the way I interact with men.¬† Expats don’t typically buy into the Korean way of dating, but we definitely don’t do it like we would back home.¬† We’ve all got that added pressure of our contract’s time limit looming over our heads, so more often than not we rush.¬† I remember by our 3rd date (in as many days) Co-P asked me to be his girlfriend (and subsequently married the next woman he only met a handful of times.¬† Bullet = dodged).¬† Adonis went from traveling SEA to living with me in the course of a month.

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You’ve been out of the game for X many years

Things happen so quickly when you’re living abroad or traveling.¬† I had a whirlwind romance turned roller-coaster ride in Bali over 10 days.¬† It’s insane how quickly things develop.¬† Because of my experiences, I have the emotional ADHD of a much younger human.¬† I need to learn how to slow down and actually meet people again the Western way.¬† In order to do so, dating a guy on my level has a number of benefits:

He’s Not Necessarily Established

Coming back to live in Canada I’ve stayed with my parents, gone on a blogger trip, and am currently house-sitting.¬† Until I sort out my job and living situation in Toronto, I’m 30 and living in my parents’ basement.¬† Good news!¬† He’s¬†probably still living with Mommy and Daddy, too, or he may have just moved out on his own.¬† You’re ready to re-enter the social scene and he’s eager to experience the city.¬† Nobody’s there to make you feel bad about starting over since he’s starting up as well.

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He’s Protective

The younger guys I’ve met thus far have been far more earnestly doting, caring, and chivalrous than guys my age.¬† Maybe there’s been a renaissance in upbringing or maybe they feel like they have more to prove with the change in typical gender dynamics.¬† Whatever it is, I’m appreciative.¬† All my life I’ve been so worried about losing someone precious.¬† Suddenly I feel like I’m the important one they don’t want stolen away.

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He’s Got the Energy

‘Nuff said.

He’ll teach you about the latest trends

I feel like such a geriatric creature bringing this one up, but there are pieces of generational technology I haven’t had time to peruse.¬† He’ll help you assess the latest gadgets and give you the specs before even heading in to buy the hardware.¬† When I’m still fighting with Olleh/ Korea Telecom (KT) to get my last account closed, it’s great to have a wealth of knowledge helping me along.

 

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Dating Younger: He Looks Good

Have you ever noticed how 30 year old men look these days?¬† Being stressed and overworked not only has an effect on the ol’ beer belly, but their skin loses glow, too.¬† Cameron Diaz’s character in “The Holiday” talks about how men age gracefully and women become haggard.¬† “I’m gonna call bullshit on that.”¬† That couldn’t be farther from the truth for me.¬† 5 years ago, a friend who had just turned 30 told me she was the happiest and in the best shape of her entire life.¬† I scoffed, but dammit if those words aren’t ringing like the Bell of Good Luck in my 30, flirty, and thriving ears.

In my mid-twenties I was fat and miserable.¬† I worked out plenty, but stress and poor eating habits got the best of me.¬† Coming back from Korea, I have a phenomenal beauty routine thanks to my friends at Leegeeham, G2Cell, CosRX (they just sent me a package I can’t WAIT to review for you), and Seoul Cosmetic Surgery.¬† Botox is no longer taboo.¬† Wouldn’t you want to stop the aging process dead in its tracks?¬† I don’t want to look like I’m dating a child, but I’m not ready to look like I’m dating my dad, either.

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Dating Expectations

When I was in my early to mid twenties, I went out with guys who I considered to be out of my league.¬† I dated a lot of douche-canoes; a lot of big Richards, if you will.¬† Ladies: you are worth it.¬† Don’t ever let a guy string you along without commitment simply because you think he’s too hot or too accomplished.¬† Spoiler alert: there’s no such thing!¬† If he’s interested in spending time with you in or out of the bedroom, then you need to be clear about your expectations.¬† When you’re happy with what you’re getting then that’s perfect.¬† If you’re not, make it clear!

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Dating Doubts

I’ve learned to care a lot less about what other people think.¬† If he fucks it up?¬† Well… I don’t care, really.¬† I mean it’s lovely for now, but he’s got a lot of living to do before settling down.¬† I’m looking to plant those roots in Toronto, but until then why waste good company?

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Warning: Dating Younger may have Drama Closer than it Appears

When dating a younger man, there’s always the chance there will be some pathetic fly on the wall desperate to make a meal out of a snack.¬† One day she’ll learn.¬† For now, ignore…ignore…ignore.

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Dating Deterrents

In my last year in Korea I dealt with the most vile, psychotic woman I’ve ever met because she thought she was dating my boyfriend.¬† She met him twice – before I had ever met him.¬† The vendetta lasted a year, and I’m sure the wine, fat-shaming, and name-calling parties continue even now that I’m gone.¬† There’s plenty more to the story, but that’s too juicy for today.

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Just one for the young ladies considering the paragraph above.¬† We’re older.¬† We’re wiser.¬† Take heed.

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Korea –> Canada: Dating through Repatriation

Living in Korea was great for my health, horrible for my heath, and taught me a lot.¬† It was great because in my first year I was able to create that work/ life balance I so craved.¬† I had the opportunity to cook properly, my favourite snack foods were disgusting in Korea (BBQ Cheetos – ew!), and I had split shifts meaning I could work out 2 hours a day.¬† I took my weekends off, and that’s where I’d let myself go off the rails a little bit.

Number 1 rule?¬† No gym on weekends.¬† Number 2 rule?¬† It’s okay to eat an entire pie from Pizza School (corn and all) on Sunday.¬† Was I hungover?¬† Absolutely.¬† Had I cleaned my entire apartment Friday night rather than go out?¬† Hell yes.¬† Did that have something to do with the “focus candy” prescribed liberally?¬† OH YEAH.¬† Korea helped me lose my stress weight and taught me about balance.¬† When you feel good you look good and that goodness radiates.¬† I have a whole new outlook on dating in Canada right now.

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My #1 Key to Dating Anywhere

What did I learn?¬† Well, this series is about dating, so we’ll keep it to that.¬† Communication is the absolute most important part.¬† Even if you’re dating someone from another English-speaking country, there are bound to be cultural differences.¬† Knowing what you want and what you can bring to the table is also important.¬† As someone returning to the dating game in my home country, I don’t feel comfortable dating someone who has just been blindly happy with the status quo the entire time I’ve been away.¬† Maybe it’s the Korean Skincare Routine, maybe I’m just not willing to settle for someone who has settled.¬† Regardless, I’m attracting younger guys – and I’m starting to be okay with that.

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In conclusion, nobody needs to know you’re dating younger.¬†

You’re only as old as the man that you feel, right?

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Have you experienced something interesting and unexpected coming back to the dating pool in your home country?  Let Cartier know in the comments section below!

Exes & Oh No’s: An Expat‚Äôs Guide to Ladies’ Sick Sense

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Photographer: Matthew Henry

Creepy Communication

We all do it.¬† Social Media makes it easier than ever to look up how our loved ones past and present are doing.¬† Are they living their best lives?¬† How happy are they?¬†¬†It seems when I’ve finally met someone new, the ghosts of lost loves past have their interests piqued.¬† When I started dating my most recent ex, it breathed life into a few poltergeists.¬† The man I’ll probably always consider to be the first¬†great love of my life reached out.¬† He said everything that I had needed and so desperately craved hearing, albeit all a little too late.¬† I was honest about our communication with my new partner, and he was honest (well…to a point) about his.¬† When I was living with the Adonis, he would call his ex while I was at work.¬† What did I care if they spoke?¬† They dated for 7 years – she was a huge part of his life and he was important to her.¬† She was also roughly 9,000 km away.¬† How much harm could she really do from that great a distance?¬† I think I’d be more worried if he wasn’t interested in her well-being and didn’t want to maintain mutual respect.

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Photographer: Ant Rozetsky

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

In a new relationship, it’s tempting to look back on your partner’s old ones.¬† Are you part of a trend or are you different, special – an outlier?¬† Are you far enough outside the particular set of previous patterns and failures to stand the test of time?¬† A jealous,¬†pissed off, or threatened woman¬†does better research than the¬†FBI, CIA and Secret Service combined.¬† When in a budding relationship I was contacted by my (then new) boyfriend’s ex stating that he had cheated on the previous two.¬† She told me I was becoming a symptom of a much bigger problem.¬† I, of course, dismissed it at the time.¬† He told me just enough to make it seem like we had an open and honest relationship.¬† I was completely transparent.¬† When his pattern reemerged several months later, you had better bet I quickly learned about RSS feeds, source, input, and the ease of info gathering online.¬† I did it because I sensed a problem.¬† I had an underlying insecurity about the state of our relationship.¬† I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and unfortunately got more than I bargained for.

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Photographer: Allef Vinicius

Poking Holes in More Than Just the Story

What about the longstanding current girlfriend, fiance, or even wife, though?¬† I mean, she’s already won.¬† What use is it to look back on something which ended so very long ago?¬† On one hand, I can see that she means no harm.¬† She’s just curious about our history together.¬† How far down the line is it normal or healthy to creep?¬† Why does my ex boyfriend’s current love want to know about my daily activities now when he and I ceased all contact 7 months ago?¬† I’m sure there’s a small part where the “winner” can take perverse pleasure in popping up and rubbing it in your face that she’s enjoying your old memories.¬† Is there trouble in paradise or does she just want to lord her “success” over me without ever having to exchange words?

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When you’ve finally met someone new and are enjoying learning all about him, she’s there to drudge up the past.¬† At least when a man’s 6th sense kicks in, you might get closure.¬† When woman’s sick sense starts tingling, everyone just ends up shaken.¬† It’s better on both sides to leave well enough alone.¬†

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Photographer: Matthew Henry

Personal Space

To my exes’ new girlfriends and wives: ladies, if you’re really that curious about me, reach out!¬† I’d rather be cool with your creeping than completely unnerved.¬† If that’s not your jam, please have the decency to¬†use a fake account.¬† You don’t need him to block me.¬† You don’t need to control with whom he communicates.¬† The women before me prepared him to love you.¬† If your relationship is strong, it’s due in part to the fact that I made him ready to love you and that you’re a better fit together than we ever could have been.¬† The hell he and I went through together doesn’t negate the joy you have now.¬† It’s not in spite of it, it’s because of it.¬† We worked through issues together that have made him a more considerate boyfriend or husband for you.¬† They will hopefully have helped make me a better partner in my next relationship, too.

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Photographer: Kaci Baum

Gratitude

To my readers: If your man is communicative, caring, and observant, chances are there’s a mother, sister, or ex-girlfriend who helped him along the way.¬† There’s not a single ex-boyfriend of mine with whom I’d want to get back together, but I have a genuine interest in their well-being.¬†¬†Don’t try to police your significant other’s communication.¬† If he’s friendly with his ex and a better man with you than he was with her, you might even want to buy her a bottle of wine.

Expat Dating Diaries: My Best First Date in Seoul

Best First Date in Seoul JimJilBang Korea First Date ThatGirlCartier Dragon Hill Spa

My Best First Date in Seoul

Over a year ago I wrote an article about the best summer date spots in Seoul.  My most enjoyable first date in Seoul, however, was pretty unconventional.  Our romance was short-lived and never got very serious.  It was before I ever fell in love.  It was before I ever truly had my heart broken, too.  There were disappointments down the line, of course, but he and I actually still talk to this day.  Maybe it has something to do with my best (and longest) first date in Seoul!

Where Do I Begin?

A friend and I had planned on going to the Doosan Bears game at Jamsil Stadium.¬† She had come up from Dongtan and had no intention of joining me on a first date in Seoul.¬† This military man and I had been chatting on and off on tinder for a few weeks.¬† This was before having written about the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.¬† I was avoiding seriously dating at the time.¬† Since boys were already on their way to the game, so we figured we could all hang out.¬† While sitting in the stands some overly aggressive foreigners started waving at us and one of them even shouted out, “Kate!”¬† We still can’t figure out who they were, but they didn’t end up being the guys from Tinder.¬† Because of that encounter, we almost bailed on the meet up.¬† I’m so glad we didn’t!

First Date in Seoul Key # 1: Common Interests

I love going to watch live sports, so meeting up at a baseball game was perfect for me.¬† At a baseball game you’ve got the hoopla of the game, the crowds, and the walk up songs.¬† At a baseball game first date in Seoul you’ve got the bonus of cheerleaders, and announcer, and BYOB.¬† If conversation gets boring, get well into the game.¬† If the conversation is riveting, it’s just the Korean league.¬† The field is smaller, the players are slower, and unless watching pop-fly after pop-fly being caught is your thing – it’s pretty repetitive.¬† Not a ball fan?¬† Find something else with an element of distraction or an easy out.¬† If you’re meeting someone for the first time you don’t want to get sucked into a massive time commitment (read: waste of time).¬† If you’re having a good time, however, laissez les bon temps rouler!

First Date in Seoul Key # 2: Perfect Sunset

Could the sunset pictured above be any more perfect for your first date in Seoul?¬† I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite as extraordinary since!¬† We got to canoodle for a bit as the game wrapped up and the sun went to sleep.¬† Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, right?¬† Well our weather the next day was pretty darn perfect as we strolled hand in hand along the stream, but that comes later…

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First Date in Seoul Key # 3: Multiple Dates in One

Did you think my perfect first date in Seoul would lead you to a bathhouse crossed with Korean Dave & Buster’s?¬† Well, we’re here!¬† We had been out in Itaewon for dinner and needed somewhere to go before curfew hit.¬† My date was actually with his boss who was totally down to check out Dragon Hill Spa.¬† If you’ve never been to a Korean bath house/ sauna/ jimjilbang, read up on the most luxurious one in Busan!¬†(Privilege check: this probably is best suited to cisgender straight couples.¬† Being on a first date in the actual baths together could prove risky!¬† I’ll let you use your imagination…)¬†¬†Here are my reasons why a jimjilbang is an awesome first date in Seoul.

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First Date in Seoul Key # 4: Clean up Your Act!

With 9 different baths in the female sauna area, you’ll be super fresh, clean, and relaxed for the rest of your date.¬† We separated for about 30 minutes and reacquainted fresh-faced, squeaky clean, and in pajamas!¬† If a guy can’t handle me without makeup then I know it’s not going to last, but PJ’s is a whole ‘nother…ballgame!

First Date in Seoul Key # 5: Plenty to Explore

After a quick scrub and some relaxing in the tub, we all met up in the lobby.¬† I used to live in Jamsil (south of the Han River in Seoul), so sometimes we’d crash at Dragon Hill if it was tough getting a taxi home.¬† Since it’s open 24 hours, it’s also the perfect hideout if you want to socialize past curfew.¬† Since the boys were new to Korea, we explored the many different saunas in the huge building.¬† Are you a hot or cold sauna kind of person?

First Date in Seoul

There is a restaurant and a snack bar.¬† Grab a snack of some ramyeon (cup noodles), bingsu – a Korean dessert which is like flavoured “snow” (shaved ice), or a beer to keep you going!

I love getting a little competitive on first dates.¬† Playing plenty of arcade games was a great way to get to know how my date handled victory and defeat!¬† We shared a sneaky little first kiss in the singing room where he sang me his absolute favorite song (and where we screamed Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know”).

First Date in Seoul

Ready to catch some Zzz’s?¬† Head into the indoor (or outdoor if you’re keen on being mosquito breakfast) cinema or any of the sleeping rooms around the jimjilbang.¬† Sleeping together on the first date in Seoul means something a little different here!¬† The best part?¬† In the morning, we got to soak one more time before heading to breakfast in Itaewon.

Dongdaemun!

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You know you’re on a good date when you don’t stop to check your phone or take pictures along the way.¬† Back in the winter of 2016 I took this snap of Chonggyecheon – a stream in Seoul.¬† It was nice ticking this one off my Seoul bucket list.¬† You can walk from Dongdaemun through Namdaemun and up to the palace by following the stream.¬† Who knew just a few months later we’d be walking and talking hand in hand under a noticeably warmer, blue summer sky?

Have you ever been on a truly unconventional first date in Seoul or anywhere else? 

Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Love Bombs: Cuffing Season is Year-Round

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man smoke bomb orange building outside
Photographer: Ezra Jeffrey

Cuffing Season is Year-Round for Love Bombs

The notions of “ghosting” (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or “bread-crumbing” (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats. ¬†In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend. ¬†“8 signs you’re being “love bombed” – it might be the most toxic dating trend yet“.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people couple holding hands watch
Photographer: Ryan Franco

The concept of love bombs is one I’ve seen particularly frequently in Korea. ¬†The gist is that you meet a partner and it’s an explosion of feelings, but also commitments one or both parties have no intention of keeping. ¬†You have what you think are open and honest conversations about your emotions, about your goals, about the future. ¬†You travel together, meet your partner’s family, buy one another lavish gifts. ¬†In the blink of an eye, it’s over and done. ¬†Love Bombs. ¬†And what’s cuffing season?¬†‚ÄúCuffing season is that period of time between fall and the dead of winter when people start looking for someone they can spend those long, frigid months with,‚ÄĚ -Sameera Sullivan.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man woman couple dating walking smile happy love sweater ripped jeans
Photographer: Brodie Vissers

Expat Love Bombs

I can’t speak for expats in other countries, but I would venture to guess our issues of loneliness are all pretty similar. ¬†We leave our families and (for most of us) our friends and support systems back home. ¬†While social groups in Korea form quickly, they’re often made up of people with whom we’d probably never be friends back home. ¬†Romantic relationships are different. ¬†Expats often have “light-hearted” trysts, but once a connection is made, exclusive relationships are locked down very quickly. ¬†Everything is intensified when you feel instantly loved and cared for. ¬†I think most of us crave that adrenaline rush of passion. ¬†Unfortunately you can’t call a house a home without a little work, time, and attention. ¬†Most of us are only contributing one of the three in a new relationship while living abroad.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man woman fashion beauty swimsuit bikini beach ocean sea travel couple adventure vacation rocks love
Photographer: Christopher Campbell

My Last Love Bombs

My last two serious (albeit short-lived) relationships were definitely love bombs. ¬†I knew right from the start that these should be enjoyable little flings and that I shouldn’t invest my time or emotions too much. ¬†In Thailand, H dropped everything, flew with me from Phuket to Chiang Mai, and started making comments about ring shopping and spending the remainder of our vacation pretending we were engaged.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man woman couple happy love date amusement park ride ferris wheel street alley store shop summer
Photographer: Tim Gouw

Ex-Co-P was quick to start calling me his “Seoulmate”. ¬†He would call my apartment “Our City House” and his room on base “Our Country Home”. ¬†He shared what was his eagerly by bringing me goodie bags of things he thought I wouldn’t be able to buy (off post) in Korea. ¬†I was still getting over my last love bomb where the ye-olde-Adonis, H, actually gave up Bali to move into my shitty little studio apartment in Sincheon. ¬†I could see through Ex-Co-P’s bullshit immediately, but I chose to ignore it because he did all the things that H stubbornly refused to do.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries black and white people couple happy smile bokeh ring hairstyle love sweet outdoor man woman girl lady
Photographer: William Stitt

Blind Beyond the Art of Seduction

On our 3rd date (coincidentally the 3rd day after we finally met in person), he snapped a selfie of us to post on Facebook calling me his KECH (a play on my initials). ¬†He asked me to be exclusive about an hour later. ¬†FINALLY! ¬†Finally I had someone who wasn’t afraid to show off to the world that he liked me. ¬†I didn’t need any of the expensive gifts he had brought me on our first few dates. ¬†All I needed was someone who wanted to be close to me. ¬†That was my version of having a guy jump up and down on a couch on Oprah. ¬†Finally someone wasn’t ashamed¬†was proud to be with me. ¬†Everything seemed different. ¬†He even put together an outfit to accompany me to Seoul Fashion Week. ¬†He invited his family and friends into our life together. ¬†Sparks flew.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people woman man couple blur sparkling light sparkler party celebration
Photographer: Priscilla Westra

Within weeks he was asking me my plans for the future (immediately by piggy-backing onto my Taipei and Tokyo trips), telling me his goals and dreams, and asking how we could fit into one another’s lives moving forward. ¬†He used to joke about me moving in with him on the base, but there was an underlying truth and neediness to it all. ¬†He made me actually want to have an easy life in the boonies running track on Sunday mornings, meal-prepping for the week in the afternoon, and cozying up with a movie Sunday nights. ¬†It seemed so simple. ¬†I couldn’t hear the tick-tock of the bomb because it had already detonated. ¬†Our simple, little, careless, time-sensitive relationship had immediately broken its contract and gone off the rails the moment I said “yes” to being his girlfriend.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people hands distance reach out away sad love black and white monochrome
Photographer: Mitchell Hollander

Man-ipulation & Subconscious Un-Coupling

I can’t pinpoint the moment it all changed. ¬†In hindsight I think he continued to slowly chip away at my confidence by maintaining past drama. ¬†Ex-Co-P loved to drudge up his past relationships. ¬†He continuously brought up the issues he created for me in the workplace. ¬†He would perpetuate drama by inserting himself in issues I had had to rectify on his behalf that were having an effect on my life. ¬†I felt inadequate at work and at home.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries love locks hearts romance romantic
Photographer: Snufkin

After our one, and only, major argument, I coughed all night. ¬†The next day he demanded we run 6 km (round-trip) up and down Namsan Tower. ¬†He knew full well that I was a sprinter working on endurance and had a bad cough. ¬†He was testing me and patronizing me. ¬†It was clear that he was looking for a fight. ¬†When we got to the base of Namsan Tower, he asked me was if I wanted to go find his “Pont-des-Arts”-style love lock from two girlfriends ago. ¬†This was the girlfriend who was still friends with some of my friends. She even lived in the area of town I desperately missed. ¬†Had I not been dating this loser, we’d probably be friends.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries snow winter white cold weather ice nature people hand heart love scarf
Photographer: Tohm Brigitte

“Cuffing Season” is Bullshit

I wrote the 7 Worst Guys an Expat can Date nearly a year ago. ¬†Hundreds of comments came pouring in. ¬†Many said I sounded like a jaded woman scorned. ¬†I think most of those qualities identified in the article still hold true. ¬†Elements of each character can be found in both men and women. ¬†As a cisgendered, straight woman, I write about my own personal experiences. ¬†The list is not comprehensive. ¬†Let’s say I wrote about the “7 Treasures Every Expat Woman Should Seek Out”. ¬†You better bet your bottom dollar there would be no more use for this site at all. ¬†You see, if I was any good at taking my own advice, ThatGirlCartier would cease to exist. ¬†My Grandmother was RAF and my Grandfather was RCAF. ¬†It’s like I walk around with a giant AF magnet on my heart and “US AIR FORCE” tattooed across my forehead. ¬†Am I supposed to avoid every Military Man I meet? ¬†Who knows – you already know I can’t follow my own advice!

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people couple man woman love romance piggyback ride

Right now I’m talking to several men. ¬†I’m actually just dating and getting to know them on a personal, platonic level. ¬†No more intense situations right off the bat. ¬†No more instances of watching him pull the pin, drop the grenade and run away. ¬†Certainly no more “fuckboys in sheep’s clothing” (as so aptly a fellow Seoul Blogger described Ex-Co-P). ¬†I met H in August and Ex-Co-P at the beginning of March. ¬†Cuffing season is clearly not limited to the dark, cold, lonely, winter months…especially when it comes to sociopaths¬†“love-bombs”. ¬†When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them the first time. ¬†Don’t let love bombs’ smoke get in your eyes.

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Photo by Fredrick Kearney Jr on Unsplash

Saturn Return-ing 30 in Korea

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Saturn Return

This week, I prepare to bid farewell to my roaries twenties and celebrate entry into the dirty thirty club. ¬†This year in particular (29) has been pretty magnificent, but it hasn’t been without heartache and disappointment. ¬†People keep bringing up this idea of Saturn Return . ¬†“The longer, more elaborate version: This is the astrological period of our life when the planet¬†Saturn¬†completes its orbit around the Sun, coinciding with the time of our birth. It happens every 29.5 years, so if you have skated by in your late 20s, this period could get you in your late 50s.” ¬†Is this where the No Doubt album name originated? ¬†Gwen Stefani was 30 or 31 when it was released. ¬†I was obsessed with these tracks.¬† I was 13 when Return of Saturn was released, but the lyrics seem more relevant now than ever!

I don’t hold steadfast and true to astrology, but one can find poetry and life lessons in just about anything. ¬†The idea that I should learn something from the craziness of my twenties is certainly not lost on me. ¬†While I’ve been a teacher in Korea, life in Seoul in Busan has thrown me some curveballs. ¬†I’d like to share what teaching and living in Korea has taught me in an elementary kind of way. ¬†Here are a few Dr. Seuss memes to, pardon the pun, bring it all full circle.

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I’ve Learned to Love My Body

Being naked isn’t a crime.¬† Ajummas (the old gals) at jimjilbangs (bath houses/ spas) strut around, full bush and fupas out with pride. ¬†They don’t give a rat’s ass about my curvy stomach and hips or my prickly legs. ¬†I’ve worked hard to drop the weight I gained after joining the workforce and quitting my varsity days. ¬†Now I’m in the maintenance stage which means I really have to dedicate quite a bit of time and energy to not balloon again. ¬†I have to nourish my body even if that means being a hunter for protein and veggies at my own grocery store. ¬†Now that I’m mere days away from 30, I know I’m never going to be perfect. ¬†Getting a luxurious facial or massage is allowed and should damn well be in the budget. ¬†If I want to get botox or lip injections then that’s my own personal choice. ¬†Through fitness, nutrition, a Korean skin care regime, and time to treat myself I¬†aim to strike a balance. ¬†I strive to be a better me than yesterday.

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What the Fuck is this Shit?

Sometimes you’re just not going to have a damn clue what’s on your plate, written on a kid’s test, or walking down a runway. ¬†Just learn to roll with it. ¬†There’s no point in getting up in arms over something you don’t understand. ¬†Culturally – take some time to do some research if you’re even feigning an interest. ¬†If you’re living in or even just visiting another country, their customs will likely be foreign to you. ¬†Try to figure ’em out. ¬†If it’s just some other expat prick leaving you scratching your head – dealbreaker. ¬†Move the fuck along.

 

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Tough Memories

Is dating shitty guys all part of Saturn Return? ¬†Looking back on Taipei and Tokyo suuuuuucks. ¬†I remember the amazing moments we shared and the distances we traveled together. ¬†I try to see the silver lining in it all, but it’s not easy especially when I’m pinpointing the exact moments in Tokyo when he was texting his…less than reputable woman. ¬†The best I can do is reflect on the good times and, instead of looking for negatives, think of learning opportunities for the future. ¬†I got to feel the bliss of romance in Taiwan and Japan. ¬†That’s pretty rad.

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Ghosting

A decent person will respond when txted, messaged, or called. ¬†Don’t give out your phone number if you have no intention of ever seeing the person again. ¬†If you’ve had interactions you don’t want to continue, find a nice way to tell the person. ¬†It’s one thing to have a friendship or dating situation fizzle out, but hiding behind technology is so cowardly.

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No Fucks Left

Guys, I’m 30. ¬†I’m exhausted. ¬†This isn’t my first rodeo. ¬†If you’re a flakey friend or a douchey date I’m over it. ¬†I have zero fucks (red, blue or otherwise) left to give. ¬†Sorry if that offends you, but I’m just outta chances to hand out.

  • If he’s not giving me what I need, I should just move on.
  • I’m not going to change him. ¬†If he wants to become a better version of himself he will. ¬†If I can help…great!
  • Change yourself for yourself. ¬†Never change for him.

 

 

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On the Subject of Impact

Sometimes it’s hard to be a lifestyle blogger with a major focus on dating. ¬†The impact of constantly trying to put myself out there has definitely taken a toll. ¬†Of course I believe in love and want to find the right companion…for me. ¬†The whole idea that I have to work on myself by myself is a little ridiculous, in my opinion. ¬†My gal pals keep telling me to stay single and work on myself. ¬†I think that’s a load of hooey. ¬†I’m definitely a more organized and productive person when in a relationship. ¬†I’m a busy person and I really have to carve out time to spend it with the people I like. ¬†“Love yourself first” is an over-used phrase. ¬†I love myself just fine, thank-you very much. ¬†Why is it that the last three men who have tossed those three little words my way suddenly run in the opposite direction when I finally return their affection and say them back? ¬†I say “I love you” to my friends constantly. ¬†There are plenty of poetic ways to speak and show your affection. ¬†By the time I return home I’ll have no partner and no job. ¬†Will I have prospects? ¬†Who knows…but it’s terrifying to look into the unknown. ¬†Hopefully “terrifying” will be spun as “exhilirating” sometime soon.

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Most People Are Cunts

This, ladies and gentlemen, is truer than true. ¬†While there are some great, salt of the Earth human beings out there, most people are only looking out for #1. ¬†I’ve seen countless men and women be treated like absolute shit because they’re just an option and not a priority. ¬†So much time is wasted because people are shitty to people. ¬†We like to hurt one-another. ¬†Plus, let’s talk bloggers. ¬†I’ve encountered some amazing, supportive women in Korea. ¬†Most people think that expat/ travel/ beauty/ foodie bloggers are all in competition. ¬†That’s not true at all. ¬†If you look through any of my posts here or on The Toronto Seoulcialite you’ll find I try to take any opportunity to link to the supporters in the community. ¬†That said, there are some real assholes around. ¬†I don’t know how I’ve been unable to identify the patterns. ¬†I want to give everyone a fair chance, but it’s exhausting when people want a piece of you for a free hotel stay or meal. ¬†Boys and girls, there’s no such thing as a free meal. ¬†If I’m working in contra with a brand there’s a multi-faceted marketing plan to go along with a post. ¬†You don’t just get to share 1 sly pic on instagram and live a life of luxury. ¬†There’s plenty of work to share around. ¬†Stop being cunts and just support one-another, dammit.

 

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The Internet

Can people on the internet just stop and realise that bloggers are people too? ¬†The number of degrading comments and threats I’ve received for discussing fluffed up dating scenarios is insane. ¬†You can’t take anything some angry troll with a firewall security blanket says seriously. ¬†This one is still something with which I struggle, as these people know exactly who I am (and often where to find me), but they’re safely behind fake profiles with stolen profile pictures (or none at all). ¬†I love to get helpful suggestions from readers. ¬†They’re few and far between, so if you’ve got something then please go ahead and e-mail me or leave it in the comments. ¬†Recently a faceless Korean instagrammer told me to start YouTube as my lengthy posts aren’t always the easiest to understand. ¬†That was a great suggestion! ¬†Telling me to go back to Canada because I’m clearly someone who couldn’t get a job back home? ¬†Not so helpful. ¬†Ps. I was the Director of Sales and Marketing for a group of companies back in Toronto. ¬†I took a major pay cut to come to Korea and don’t regret it for a second.

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Stand Out

In the Apgujeong area of Seoul, Korea, there are so many versions of the same face it’s scary. ¬†I don’t want to look like anyone else. ¬†I want to feel authentic. ¬†I don’t, however, need to have my natural hair colour or bags under my eyes to feel authentic. ¬†If someone is telling me I look tired and should ‘take a rest’, maybe I am tired and should slow down. ¬†Having blonde hair in Korea constantly means I stand out. ¬†Will I keep it back in Canada? ¬†Who knows! ¬†I definitely feel more like myself as a blonde (having gone back to the dark side earlier this year). ¬†I enjoy the liberties Koreans take with style. ¬†Some of the conventions are a little weird (the shortest skirts, most conservative tops, and most heinous shoes). ¬†I hope I can feel free enough to stand out with my own personal style when I go back to Toronto.

 

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Those Who Matter Don’t Mind

I don’t think in 30 years I’ve had a birthday as amazing as this one. ¬†The most important people showed up and completely showered me with love (and food – the true way to my heart and Seoul). ¬†Having all of those people in one room was overwhelming, hysterical, and incredibly fun. ¬†I’m amazed and humbled that I can be the brassy, unapologetically honest, wild, and sensitive person I am with the people I have met in Korea. ¬†We’re never gunna survive unless we get a little crazy, but I know mine can be a lot to handle. ¬†Thank you for showing me all kinds of crazy love. ¬†My Saturn Return feels like a positive renaissance. ¬†Here’s to the next 30. ¬†Peace out, Saturn.