Haunted Hearts

hauntedhearts

Ghosts and hauntings are something that have been alive in legend for centuries. The tales of being followed by an unwanted presence is enough to run a shiver down anyone’s spine, especially when you’re haunted by the thought of “Where did I go wrong?” after a date, a relationship, or hell, even just a hook-up.

I have avoided stores, bars, cafes, even entire intersections. For a while I would not go to the Annex at all. Simply, because my favourite part of the city has been peppered with disappointing reminders of the fact that guy I really wanted did not want me. This situation with the Annex changed when my beautiful friend Taylor said to me: “You avoid College and Bathurst? How do you go to Sneaky Dees?” Well my first date with a guy was across the street. What if I ran into him? Pretty unlikely. It took 23 years to meet him in the first place. Chances of seeing him again were slight. I realized she was right. No man should separate me from the Kings Crown. (If you don’t know what that is think of a fries supreme on an extreme level.)

Regardless of whether or not my fry cravings were satisfied, I have spent months reliving each conversation. Was it something I said? Was it my outfit? Did I slurp my martini back in an unsexy manner? Maybe it was because I didn’t really eat the sangria fruit, but I just don’t like mangoes! Is that why? Is it because I don’t like mangoes? The worst thought… Am I a bad kisser? Exasperated and torn you just want to know why. No matter how long or short lived a romance these thoughts can and will haunt you if you really liked the person. These thoughts stalk you quietly and strike like Jason Voorhees. Instead of a machete that brutally kills you, it’s cringe-worthy thoughts.

Also, you feel crazy. Like in any ghost story when people talk about seeing ghosts, what happens? That person is crazy. Not just crazy, the town nut. Always. I don’t care what anyone says, but after a bad heartbreak I swear to the god of above that I just “saw” him from the back, nope… not him. When did every guy start wearing glasses and plaid shirts? I work as a Barista. Do you know how many people in the world has his name? Worse, do you know how many times I have had to write that name daily? This is like trying to un-study for a high school geometry test. My brain mass is still filled with math formulas I will never use.

Try not to think about it you say? How? Let’s think about horror movies. What is the source of Freddy Kruger’s power? The fear of the children. However, you can’t be afraid of something you don’t believe in. Since this last serious haunting I have dated others, taken more chances, done more writing and spent more time with my friends. I know I won’t feel this way forever and I that is the key to helping any ghost pass on. Deal with the unfinished business and exercise that new mini skirt and stop limiting yourself. March into your favourite haunted café, restaurant or bar and if you see the ghost… Well I don’t know. Say hi? Remember, like any haunting there was a connection there in the beginning. And like anything that upsets us, it can only upset us if we care.

I wish I had the answers and I wish I was above this whole haunting thing. The fact is we all have our ghosts and sometimes we have to face them whether they are a Casper, a Poltergeist, The Headless Horsemen or Patrick Swayze. Light your ghosts a candle and remember just like everything else in the world all things come to an end. Still try to keep your coffee shop. A good café is rare to come by. Also if it didn’t work out, there is probably a good reason. I admit thoughts of what those reasons are still baffle me in some cases. The fact is that the coolest people in history have been dumped and rejected. Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, the Goblin King and Dr. Frank N Furter.

Ultimately, when I’m writing a piece I try to leave you with advice, or something to think about. This time I have nothing. I mean this is a subject just as mysterious as the paranormal. Part of me wants to tell you not to read any relationship advice books or take any relationship advice from anyone because every relationship, date and person is different. But that would be a generalization. Like Mark Twain once said. “All generalizations are false, including this one.” If after reading this you find yourself saying “Well, that wasn’t helpful.” I apologize, but I want you to know just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’re alone. There are more of the haunted out there and there will definitely be more ghosts haunting your future. I just hope they are friendly.

Andrea Holz is a Toronto-based award winning writer, actress, comedian and coffee master. 

J’ai peur

1st Halloween

I love Halloween. I dress up every year. I haven’t always gone all out in the costume department–and it was my parents who took care of it for my first few years–but, as sure as Chucky is a creepy doll, I mark the occasion with a masquerade.

For my first experience of the door-to-door ritual North America calls “trick-or-treating,” I was dressed as an angel. I was two years old. My friend Katie, who was my next door neighbour, was dressed as a clown. That was 32 years ago. Thirty-two. Years. As a little girl, before puberty and after most of my baby teeth had been replaced with the permanent choppers, I had a real obsession with dressing up as a gyspy. Who knew little me was so clairvoyant. When applying for my latest apartment, I was forced to look back at my residential history. It appears I’ve moved a lot. I’ve been restless, I suppose. Or perhaps I seem more transient because of the people to whom I compare myself.

Katie is a single mother to a son and works as a law clerk. Joanne has a son too; and a daughter, a husband, a dog, a cat, a nice teaching job, and a mortgage. Joanna isn’t married and doesn’t have any kids; however she works with children, as an instructor therapist. She’s getting her masters and she does yoga. Sarah is a high school teacher with an accountant husband, two children, and has a third one incubating. It’s not often we ladies “hang out” anymore, but we come together for the big stuff; the important stuff; the happy stuff; and absolutely the sad stuff. We catch up on what’s new. Laugh about that time when that happened and, she said this, and we wore that.

We were together a few weeks ago and for a moment, it was like we were teenagers again: full of hope and ideas and laughter. But then the conversation shifted. The topics were not on my life resume. Conversation obstacles galore! Child birth: nope, haven’t done that or actually witnessed a live birth. Not pregnant. Nothing relevant to say there. Next: curriculums. I’m not a teacher and it’s been 12 years since I took a course of any kind. Dietary concerns: not so much. I have dietary preferences. I can eat as much cheese as I want to. And then the conversation shifted to the reason we were all together: losing our parents. We were at a funeral. Joanne lost her mother to the dirty bastard that is cancer.

Only two of us have both parents. One of us has had the misfortune of losing a father and then a step father. We’re not getting any younger; which means our parents are getting even older. And those of us who aren’t parents yet? Maybe we won’t become parents at all.

When did I get old? Or, rather, when did I get stuck in this weird zone where my 20’s seem like a distant, fuzzy dream? When did the idea of dealing with a hangover become more unbearable than child birth without drugs? When did I become the person who worries about taking care of my parents–and why does it scare the shit out of me?

I’m terrified that I won’t have a family of my own–and I just decided I want one! The proverbial Everyone tells 20-somethings You that You have LOTS of time to decide on something like becoming a parent. But you don’t. You really don’t. You get to your 30’s and all of the sudden–tick. It’s the–tick, tick–biological clock that is tick tick TICKING (yes, that’s a My Cousin Vinnie reference, thank you Marisa Tomei). What about my health; sure I can take care of myself, but… Joanne’s mom was only 57. I say only 57, but then I turn around and say 34 is old. It’s a perplexing time. I’m afraid to die and I’m weighed down by life. I don’t have the career I always thought I’d have (let alone the income). I haven’t traveled as much as youngster me had planned to. My bucket list has a load of empty checkboxes, including the “get married to someone who is in love with me completely and whom I’m in love with fully and completely as well.”

I have a friend Angela who has been married for 10 years. I was the maid of honour at her wedding. We talk a fair bit and I know she has some of the same fears and concerns about her own life as I do about mine. However, I totally have a “grass is always greener” envy going on when I look at her. She and her husband Mike are like fictional characters Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. They’re amazing together. To me, while, sure, she could do lots of things starting now and becoming future Angela, to me she has something to be so proud of: that relationship she has with her husband. And, just like Ted from that damn TV show, I want that. I want what I think they have. And I’m petrified I’ll screw it up.

I’m dating someone right now, you see. He’s wonderful. I want to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him. I’ve never been so sure of anything. And what comes with this clarity? Fear. BIG FAT FEAR.

I love Halloween. It’s this day where you can dress up and be someone else. Be someone fictional and legendary. Be someone ghoulish and creepy. Be someone magical. Halloween is magical. When I’m someone else, the next day, when I go back to being just me, I’m not diappointed, as my ramblings might suggest I would be. I’m relieved. I look in the mirror and there is familiarity the day after Halloween. It’s me. And I’m alive. And I’m not so bad (I have some pretty darn good friends who I would not have if I were such a fuckup). And I have a whole bag of tiny chocolate bars.

Trellawny works in advertising, loves cooking, and is in a long-distance (but totally awesome) relationship. Names of her friends have been changed in this post due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. 

Faugasms: Tsk Tsk Ladies

BlondeMag

It might have been around the time Meg Ryan panted and moaned her way into romantic comedy history that men realized their own personal nightmare of faked orgasms was an honest to god real thing.

It was the 80s. Couldn’t we have cut them a break? Women were already wearing shoulder pads that were broader than even the most muscular of male shoulders. Then Nora Ephron delivered the ultimate blow to their ego. And not just their regular ego…their sexual ego. Who can say for sure if they’ve recovered completely yet?

Let’s make sure we understand something right off the bat: if you’re here for tips on how to better fake an orgasm…you’ve come to the entirely wrong place.

I don’t support the faking of orgasms. Of course I’ve done it, but at this point in my life I’ve decided to make the conscious effort not to. Don’t get me wrong, to each her own and all that jazz, but I have to ask the big question: just who does it actually benefit?

The short answer is no one.

Every time you fake an orgasm, who are you doing it for? Yourself? Your partner? Let’s break down why neither of these are the right answer.

If you’re faking an orgasm for yourself (it’s late, you’re tired, you’re going numb and it’s not going to happen) you’re just putting more pressure on yourself. The more you think about what you’re ‘expected’ to do, the smaller the chance it’ll actually happen. Once you get to thinking about your lack of orgasm (“How is it not happening? What’s wrong with me?”) that’s all that will be on your mind.

Let’s say you fake an orgasm and it’s an Oscar-worthy performance. You might be setting yourself up to be psyched out the next time when you actually come and it’s not as loud and ceiling-shaking as the fake one was. So you end up telling yourself “I better blow it out of proportion or else he’ll think something’s up!” At some point after doing this repeatedly, you might get to a point where even YOU don’t know what’s real and what’s not.

If you’re faking an orgasm for the person you’re with, you should take a long, hard look at why.

I can understand if it’s a one night stand, a fuck buddy or anyone else you have no intention of seeing seriously or ever again. In those cases, who cares? Fake it, don’t fake it…it really makes no difference.

However, if you’re having sex with a significant other and whatever they’re doing just isn’t working for you, don’t fake it because you feel obligated to. As lame as it sounds, these are the teaching moments. It’s times like these that you’ll get to see the raw, true side of your person. They shouldn’t be offended to hear that you need to switch it up if you’re going to have a chance to come. (Provided you don’t say it with major malice.) There’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting someone know what else they can do to satisfy you. Asking for something different to help you get off is a right and not a privilege, I’m pretty sure.

If you’re with someone who cares about you, they’re going to want to know how they can make you come for real, no matter what they have to do or how long it takes. Saying that, you both also need to know that not having an orgasm during sex isn’t the worst thing in the world. It in no way diminishes him as a man/her as a woman or you as a sexual being. The entire act isn’t torture, sometimes it’s great just being there!

The other reason that faking an orgasm is beneficial for exactly no one is: if you’re doing it with a guy, you’ll know that they’re creatures of habit. If they think something has worked well (especially if you dub it with Jenna Jameson-esque noises) they’re likely to do it again and again until you finally work up the nerve to say you need something else. And chances are, if you guys break up (sorry to hear that!) he’ll use those same techniques on the next girl and then have those big puppy dog ‘who me?’ eyes if she tells him that that’s not going to cut it.

What it all comes down to is that you’re both grown-ups (hopefully). You should be able to tell each other what you want and need in bed in order to both have a good, complete time. When you really look at it, faking an orgasm doesn’t really have any upsides.

Oh, and just a word to the wise…it’s really hard to fake the pulsating that our vaginas do when we come. And if he’s not wearing a condom or she has her fingers in you…they’ll know that something is missing. No one ever wants to be faced with the questions “Um, did you just fake an orgasm?”

Bianca Teixeira is a freelance writer and radio personality. She writes on post-its, napkins, her hand and scrap pieces of paper. Occasionally, those scribbles make it online.You can follow her random musings at @BeeLauraTee.