Re-pat Dating Diaries: “LOL – It’s Complicated”

Looking back on my teen through mid-twenties crushes, I thought the juiciest thing in the world was the time at the beginning of a relationship. The heart/ gut-wrenching “does he or doesn’t he like me” feeling was one I looked back on almost fondly. Potential romance was fleeting, but almost as lovely as the romance itself. The excitement, the uncertainty, the torture, and the relief were things I looked back on as feeling like my heart was on fire.

That feeling left me entirely for three years, and for that I’m now so thankful. While I was in Korea, I dated 3 men who, in the beginning, gave me no feelings of uncertainty. I developed feelings not just of confidence, but self-assurance and safety from my partner. It wasn’t precarious – in the beginning I never felt like I was about to fall or my world collapse.

Dating now that I’m back in Toronto is disappointing. I keep meeting these complete and total losers who genuinely make me feel like I should give up and get a cat (or a second job!) Then, it’s like the Universe recognizes my disappointment in humanity; my loneliness.

I’m certainly not the free-spirited, lithe, fun-loving woman I was from 28-31. I’ve gained weight, lost confidence, and have retreated to the lost little girl I was in my teens through mid twenties. A glimmer of hope in romance leaves a world of doubt. Still, the Universe has brought me a forest fire.

I want a partner – someone with whom I can adventure, but also in which I can confide. This man is irreverent, masculine, sexy, and arrogant. He hasn’t quite shown me many of the answers to his brooding mystery, yet. Over the past year I’ve questioned whether I would ever be “cool enough” for a relationship with him. Recently, he has made me feel safe in the most emotionally nourishing intimacy I’ve experienced since I packed the man I still consider to be the love of my life into a taxi to the airport.

You can have sex without intimacy, and I’ve had incredible intimacy without sex. Just having someone hold you and interlock your fingers in theirs is like the emotional Kama Sutra.

Will he or won’t he feel the same way?

Candidly Cartier: It’s Not About You

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this part, and sometimes it’s more of a reminder for myself: this is a blog. This is a place where I throw away all the academic writing I’ve learned for school. Writing guides at my current job have no place here. Toronto Seoulcialite is where I write my informative pieces, not here. This is a stream of consciousness and sarcasm allowing me to communicate with you, lovely readers, but also for me to figure out how to handle what’s going on in my life.

I so desperately wanted comfort from one person in particular Thursday night when this all transpired. Instead, he turned the conversation almost immediately to himself and his “problems” and completely dismissed mine.

I told someone recently, single people in Toronto are like Baskin Robbins. The women are the ice cream. You have 31 sweet, rich, basic, colourful, fun, fat-free, and decadent flavour options available at any given time just ready and waiting to be scooped up. The men are the cones: small, regular, large, plain, waffle, chocolate, or sprinkles (what it do, Church Street?) and they’re almost ALL broken. How I could have expected my Mr. of a year (May 2nd, bro) to actually be there for me was clearly insane.

Not Okay, Grief, Frustration, Candidly Cartier, That Girl Cartier

I’m not okay. The last couple of weeks had left me feeling pretty defeated, already. Thursday night I returned home from an event to find that a tradesperson who had been contracted by my property management company had left my apartment in complete disarray, with filth covering my freshly swiffered floors. What’s more – several luxury skincare items, some costume jewelry, and a pair of my pants were missing.

Physical items can be replaced, and if this person (who I’m certain clears double what I make annually) really needed what I had, then fine – take it. What I can’t replace is the feeling of security in my own home. I know that I have a 3 bolt lock system on my door. I thought the last person was just paranoid, but I’m starting to understand. The bolt locks have me covered while I’m sleeping, but what about when I’m at work? How do I know that this person who was clearly left unsupervised doesn’t have a key to my apartment? What kind of assurance do I have that he or she won’t return to hawk my laptop or sentimental items passed down from my grandmother?

Not knowing exactly what to do, I called a couple of people who I thought might help me calm down. Two of the three have a ton of personal issues going on right now. Marriage for one, divorce for the other, sleepless nights and therapy for both. These people have so much going on in their personal lives, but they both asked if I needed them to come stay the night so that I could regain some trust and, even if I didn’t feel safe, protected at the very least.

The third person I called is a man who I’ve known for a year now. He has sought solace in my words and my company. I’ve brought him lunch at work and have made him tea at my home. When he returned my call, he told me the same thing as the police on the non-emergency line: do my own thorough investigation as there’s nothing else which could be done. This single man didn’t have hair dye cooking. He certainly wasn’t preparing for a weekend of division of assets. Dude was tired from work, continuing education, and hockey. After telling Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” that I felt in distress, he had the audacity to start complaining about how hard it was to juggle his full-time job, part-time studies, and physical fitness. I’m the last person to pity someone for an attempt at work ethic. Work, studies, fitness, and freelance deliverables are par for the course in my world, and if that hasn’t been apparent to him by now, then he’s clearly not taken an iota of interest in who I am as a person.

My reaching out to you when I’m in a pickle is not an opportunity for you to complain. I called you because you continue to rely on me for psychological and physical support. I thought just this one time you might reciprocate. The physical things which were taken are not the issue. Vulnerability in this instance comes not from thinking I’ll be hurt physically, it’s the mental turmoil associated with a violation of trust. This isn’t about you, but at the same time maybe it is. Maybe this is the wake-up call for which I’ve been waiting. In your world (and too often in mine) it’s always about you.

The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto

Aladdin, Jasmine, Disney

The Worst Guys A Re-Pat Can Date in Toronto

If you’ve been following along with my “Tinder Nightmares” stories on Instagram, this will not be a surprise. In fact, after my series on “The 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date“, this one’s a long time coming. A year in the making, if you will. You would think that I wouldn’t have to specify that this isn’t about particular men, but groups in general. I also didn’t think I’d have to write a caveat of “Not All Men“, but damn some of you get really livid when you notice traits about yourselves in my writing. I write about men because I date men. I don’t write lengthy articles about women because I don’t date women. That said…

Women of Toronto are incredible, educated, intelligent, ambitious, successful, beautiful people who take care of themselves and their communities. The men in Toronto are old, crusty towels with tinder profiles stating their height and “no fatties”. I thought dating while living in another country was tough, but wow is Toronto ever slim pickin’s. Here are just some of the offenders. These are their stories.

Mr. Still in Love with His Ex

Let’s be real – this one should be the most obvious. Not unique to Toronto, there are plenty of men around the world who think the best way to get over one woman is to get under another – or 12. He hasn’t spent time identifying and working on the emotions associated with the end of something meaningful. If enough time and introspection hasn’t been given to mourn the loss, comparisons will be made. I don’t know about you, but the feeling I get when I can’t measure up to someone I don’t even know is torture. Don’t date until you’re ready. Please.

Mr. Still in a Dang Relationship

This lunatic has so much love to give that he’s shopping it all over the city. I can’t even get 1 person to like me long enough to be exclusive. How is this dirtbag carrying on multiple relationships? Sadly, this one is hard to spot. Why do you think women have gotten so good at the social media sweep we’re practically CIA candidates?

Mr. Doesn’t “Believe” in Monogamy

On the flip side of Mr. Ex and Mr. Relationship comes the man who doesn’t believe in monogamy. There’s nothing wrong with being in an ethically non-monogamous relationship even though it’s not what I’m seeking personally. This guy is the flat-earther of the dating scene. He explains ever so tenderly that he just doesn’t believe that homo sapiens should be anything other than hetero erectus. Mr. Monogamy is incredible in bed – and why wouldn’t he be? You keep him as a priority because he does it better than any of these other losers. Unfortunately, you’re making a priority of a dude with a big dong who has you saved on speed dial as “Thursday”. Don’t waste your time (even though it’s really, really tempting).

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 The Visitor

I often match with guys on dating apps who are in town for the weekend and it’s just such a disappointment. You can’t determine whether you want to build something with someone after just one date. Well, you can – but it’s incredibly rare. The logistics of doing long distance dating can get really complicated, and that’s just when he’s honest. Who knows what’s going on in a different city or even country? Co-P cheated even though we only lived 45 minutes from one another, imagine someone on the other side of the world? The Green Card Monster comes to mind, too…

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The Monster who “Won’t Go Downtown”

Feelings are all this guy will eat, but he fully expects you suck that silly, selfish sausage. It’s gunna be a “no” from me, dawg.

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Mr. Lives With His Parents

This one isn’t always the worst case. If he’s lived away from home and knows the basics like how to boil an egg and how to do his own laundry it helps. I know some people who have moved back home so that they can save for a downpayment in this horrendous housing market, and to them I tip my hat. It’s not easy returning to “my house, my rules”. That said, if he’s just comfortable letting mommy cook and clean up after him he has no place in my home, nor my heart.

Mr. Unemployed

Mr. Unemployed could be Mr. Parents’ twin, or the same person altogether. I would never have dated when I lost my job back in 2014 because I knew I was watching every penny and couldn’t afford the luxury. I didn’t want anyone else bankrolling me either. I’m plenty happy to go for a walk and get to know someone, but it can get really frustrating when he either expects you to bankroll him or complains that he can’t participate over and over again. Also, how is it that this guy has no responsibilities, but still manages to cancel plans at the last minute over and over again?

Prince Charming

This one you really, really have to watch out for. He’s trouble you can spot a mile away, but the speed at which your hit makes you completely unable to move out of the way. Prince Charming has a great relationship with his family, a stable job, his own place. He’s probably endearing and attractive. He says all the right things because he’s the perfect manipulator. Prince Charming knows a little bit about a lot of things so he’s able to tackle any of your hobbies and interests, creating a fantasy if just for one night. Prince Charming is like personality photoshop. Don’t fall victim to the imaginary.

Me

My best friends are living with their boyfriends, engaged, or married. I am the last Single Sally. Sometimes it’s really fun going out with these awesome women ready to dive down the rabbit hole. There’s no competition when we’re out and about, because they’re off the market. That said, it can be really rough when I’m sick and taking care of myself. UberEats is the closest thing you someone ensuring I’m on the mend (but there’s no playing doctor with the delivery person). Events like Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, my Birthday, or say – my best friend’s wedding can really get you down. Jordan Quinn, author of Korkscrewed (buy it), calls them the “Alcoholidays” because you’ve gotta knock a few back to get through them solo. A lot of guys who read my blog say it comes across as me being “A Woman Scorned”. I like to make light of these pathetic situations through my writing. I’m not angry; I’m perpetually alone.

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Mr. King West

‘Nuff said.

Expat Dating Diaries in Korea: The Lifer

Boryeong Mud Festival, Korea, Boryeong
Photo by Paige Stewart | Paste Magazine
This is not directed at any one person, it’s simply part of a lengthy and sarcastic series on The 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date!

The Term: The Lifer

The Lifer is someone who came to Korea (or any ESL abroad job, really) directly after University and found things were so good he never went home. Going beyond your comfort zone can be scary, and this guy is plenty content to not budge an inch. Why would he? He’s just like Matthew McConaughey in “Dazed and Confused”. He keeps getting older, and the revolving door of Koreans and Expat Women alike stay the same age!

Like the Eternal Expat, The Lifer doesn’t want to return home for fear he’ll just never have it as good. He’s perhaps a 6 at home, but a 10 abroad. Out every night of the week, he’s got a local girlfriend, but still crushes Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid on the regular.  With expat dates across the city during the week, he’s got a locally-sourced meal every Sunday night.

These guys are amazing because they know the best of everything. The best places to find the jobs where you get paid the highest and work the fewest hours. Traditionally these are University jobs, but sometimes you score with a hagwon pulling a fast one. The Lifer knows all about sketchy hagwons and sketchy behaviour. The Lifer knows “the best” BBQ spots in the city, and calls the servers Hyung (Brother) and Emo (Auntie). He knows every single person at the bar, plays it off like he’s too cool to chat anyone up, and secretly swipes in the bathroom because social interactions which aren’t completely under his control are far too nerve wracking.

He’ll leave you eventually, but he’d never dare leave the Land of Morning Calm.

Flings, Stings, Constant Cravings: Am I Summoning a Demon on Earth?

Secret Whisper Couple Brunette Toronto Dating

Exes & Oh No’s: Part 2

It’s always amazing how when you’re happy with someone new, your old beaus come back to haunt you. The night before Adonis moved to Korea, an old fling who had hurt me quite a bit came back to explain his actions and beg for forgiveness. When I started dating Co-P, Adonis took responsibility for each and every thing which had driven me bonkers during our relationship. The way I handled all of those things was certainly the reason for our relationship’s demise, and the fact that he knew he had done a plethora of stress/ rage inducing things throughout our tenure (but was too stubborn to change) created a flood of emotions which were confusing, especially when I was starting to date someone new.

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Flings and Stings

We all have a bizarre sense of when the winds change, but what about people who haven’t made that much of an impact, yet? I work near this guy I met almost a year ago. Things got very intense really quickly, and he ran for the hills. I thought he has ghosted me entirely. He has come back time after time with the caveat that he doesn’t believe in monogamy. (*LOL ROLLS EYES INTO BACK OF HEAD FOREVER!*) I think that just means that he’s scared – scared to miss the opportunity of another notch. He’s scared to actually feel something and potentially get hurt. He’s scared to put in a little effort.
Romance Love Couple Winter Snow Dating Toronto

Constant Cravings

I rarely run into him, but when I do it’s always when I’m starting something new with someone else. I’ve been on a few dates with someone who seems to have everything I’d like in a partner on paper, but he’s starting to pull back and I just don’t have the time or energy for that.  Enter guy who works nearby – let’s call him ‘Sensory Overload’. He always manages to bump into me when I’m questioning my self-worth. he’s a total f*ckboi and I hate that I actually have a crush on the dude, but when you’re with him you feel like the only person on the planet. He will literally stop traffic to give me a hug. He’ll hang up the phone (he’s always on the phone, of course he is) to ask what’s going on in my world. He sends cute messages once we part ways. When I need him casually, he’s always around.
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Why can’t we ever get what we want at the right time? This is why we turn into gremlins when one from the fold has found “a good one”. Tinder is like Pokémon-Go – we search the city swiping for monsters. We’re desperate for structure and consistency. Why am I summoning this demon each time something good starts to go a little sour?

Candidly Cartier: Deleting 4 Dating – Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and OkCupid

Single Sally Stops Swiping

When it comes to Bumble Fails or Tinder Nightmares, the stories write themselves. My writing has become boring in Toronto, however. Life in Korea was interesting because it was foreign and everything was a challenge and new and exciting. The guys I dated were damaged. One was having massive internal crises about love. I wish I could have helped him, but he will have to learn to help himself. Others were with me because they wanted to be on the blog. Ex-co-p I’m looking at you and your wife who still creep my social media – literally LinkedIn today. Writing is a way for me to work through the weirdness I experience while navigating these relationships. I haven’t watched Bird Box yet, but if following the memes gives me any idea, deleting all apps and trying to navigate the Toronto dating scene blind seems to be the only way to avoid the monsters.

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Deleting all Apps

Ladies and gentlemen, I went into 2019 sans swipe. My instagram storied lacked some serious mansplaining and offers of pantsless Netflix and chill. I only lasted about 16 days over-eating, working out, and over-sleeping without window-shopping for men. This is hardly the recipe to meet a mate, and I’m starting to realize why people get cats. Instead of a cat, however, I bought a ticket. Normally my travel talk would be limited to The Toronto Seoulcialite. I haven’t yet posted about Bali because how do you write the top 10 ways to eat, drink, and bang your way through Gili Trawangan?

Beach Cebu Philippines That Girl Cartier Tinder Toronto Dating

Va-Kate-tion

Of course, I’m kidding. My Gili T romance was full of passion and drama, but there was only one apple of my eye. I am clearly unable to distinguish the b*tches from the beaches, but I do know when a deal is too good to pass up! Toronto, Canada to Cebu, Philippines for $575 round trip and tax-in was a great buy. I’m going at the beginning of April. The weather is supposed to be insanely good and without much rain. In March it will be a year since I left Korea. While there are some cute guys online/ on dating apps, in person they tend to look like moldy coleslaw. I find Hotness monsters on the beach, and I just signed myself up for 7 days of babe-watching.

Willpower Weakness

In the 2 and a half weeks without any dating apps I did find I approached more men in the hopes of initiating an organic connection. It really worked the first time, however someone who I thought was a friend ended up f*cking him in the men’s bathroom of a popular downtown bar (and breaking the baby change table in the process). I met another since we had exchanged numbers before both deleting our dating apps. He indicated he was interested in seeing me again, but ultimately ghosted (because of course he did). Now? I re-installed tinder, but no other dating apps. I don’t open it very frequently. My dating life is actually improving, believe it or not. Tinder managed to bring me one special guy who is hitting all the points of communication I so desperately crave, and another who I’m not quite sure about, but who is ambitious as all get out. I think there’s something to be said for simplifying, and I’m not going to say no to putting a few more chucklehead tinder nightmares on blast in the process.

Repat Dating Diaries: Oh no – I’ve been on this date before!

Cold, Quiet, Dry Winter Months

It’s been seven months since my return from the land of morning calm (Korea, dweebs). In that time I’ve tried to date as much as possible, if only to provide you lovely Seouls with fresh content so you can feel better about your lives as we go into the cold, winter months. I thought Itaewon was bad for guys and girls alike furiously swiping left and right while at a bar full of decent-looking, age appropriate humans with at least the common expat connection.  No, no – Toronto is far worse for tinder tendinitis.

Double-Dipping for Dating

I got pretty lucky meeting the hot, young, Italian 3-minute Stallion. I met a guy who flew all the way to Jamaica for some fatherly advice after we got “too intimate too quickly” (read: we went on 3 dates that week and he met my roommate’s dog). There was a carpenter, but if you’ve been reading for a while then you know there’s only one carpenter in my heart (and no, it’s not JC). Beyond that, I’ve yet to really date the same dude twice – except I did.

Repetitive Repercussions

Keep in mind that I had been living on the other side of the planet for 3 years when I tell you this story. I thought the pictures were kind of familiar, but I just didn’t put two and two together. It was like a bad episode of “How I Met Your Mother”. There I was sitting in a booth at The Drake Hotel (a popular West Queen West spot) and my date walked in. He wasn’t anything to write home about, but I probably wouldn’t have kicked him out of bed either. Then, he opened his mouth and it all came flooding back. After 3 years, he still told me the same stories about his 1 trip to Poland (tldr: he got drunk the whole time and saw no historical attractions). My date was still bragging about buying his condo with 0% down.

I’ve Learned Nothing

Was this a trap? Did he know that I knew who he was? Was he pretending we had never met before, too? This was the first time I had doubled-down on a dreadful date. Are there really so few single men in this city? Have I completed the circle and come back to the start?

Who knows…

I’ll probably make this mistake again.

 

Repatriation Dating Diaries: Cartier’s Hot for Teacher

Hot for Teacher Repatriation Dating Diaries That Girl Cartier couple rowing boat woman girl man boy rowing boat oars water river lake romantic love valentine's day
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.