Friends With Benefits

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It was a feisty summer evening in 2011. It was around ten and I was with my best friends sipping cheap beer and chilling endlessly at an infamous park in my hometown, where I have spent an inordinate amount of time. As it is often the case in big gatherings, our crowd kept getting larger. A small group of people that I did not know arrived. Of course, as I always spot the cutest person first, he instantly caught my eye. He was black, beautiful, dressed pretty well and he seemed funny for some reason. He was instantly nicknamed the ‘‘blipster’’ (black+ hipster) by my best friend.

I was twenty-two at the time and I was sporting huge glasses that people either loved or hated. He said ‘‘I love your glasses’’, and I responded: ‘’I love you!… well, your outfit’’. We both laughed, but I felt a little awkward. We talked for a bit, and he asked what I would be doing later. He took my digits as we were off to different bars. Like many these days, this is a relationship that started by text messages. He came over to meet me and subsequently, we made out on the dance floor. We left the bar as it was closing, quite drunk and full of juvenile energy.

We were heading back to my apartment on bicycle, and on the way, we tagged a warehouse building in the Mile End. I wrote ”Lili loves you”, my classic and silly tag, with hearts replacing the ”i” dots. A couple of days later, he tried to find the tags we did to no avail. It seems like those tags were the product of a single encounter and that they disappeared into the city landscape pretty quickly, just like the possibility of being a couple.

I was living in Mile End at the time and there was a couch on my front porch. He used to smoke cigarettes in the morning, a trashy hangover gesture. He used to call me from outside ”come on baby, come over here!”. He made me laugh and it was comfortable and fun sitting next to him despite the foul smell.

After a couple dates though, I came to realize that he wasn’t boyfriend material. I felt that we had good conversations, sure, but not the most enlightening ones. Also, the sex wasn’t working, and it was tedious to get his member up and running. He became heavy or annoying at times, and I realized that I did not liked him like that. I especially recollect one afternoon when he tagged along with me and my friend to the Mount Royal and I felt that I had to take care of him. I thus ”broke up” with him shortly after this, and enhanced that we would never be more than just friends.

A couple of weeks later that same summer, I ran into him outside of a bar in the Plateau. He was going elsewhere. ”Do you want to come with me? I was going to this other bar. I’ll buy you a drink if you come!”. I agreed, but in a friendly manner only. I did not realize then but my PMS was taking over so I was moody and highly sensitive that night. I did hold his arm at some point while walking, while simultaneously clearing the fact that we were just friends now. How to send mixed signals, basically. I was also wearing my chic black cape dress and being a little princess-y. When we got to the bar, his friends were gone so we had a beer and talked. We were both feeling quite knackered and he was living around the corner at the time. He told me to come over, but I did not want to for obvious reasons. I ended up staying the night, but I slept in my fabulous cape dress. I woke up drenched in sweat in the summer heatwave. I left his house before collapsing from sweat or being obliged to take my dress off. I stopped by my godfather’s to give food to my cat that he babysat at the time. Evidently, I had my period.

Fast-forward one and a half year, he invited me out for coffee. We might have looked like a couple as I ran into one of my college friends, but I was actually on a break with my then-boyfriend at the time. He invited me to his place to drink wine. I still found him insistent and I did not want to go, especially since I was at a weird place relationship-wise. We left it at that, and we barely talked for a while. He texted me sometimes, but I made it clear that I was in a relationship with somebody else. I heard about him sometimes. For instance, the following summer when I was in Germany, he took a German class with my best friend.

A year and some months later, I was working the cloakroom at the venue I work in. I turned back to the counter and I saw him standing there, a black panther shining in the night with a neon yellow beanie like a signpost. He was with one of his friends, a small nervous girl who I initially mistook for his girlfriend. I asked her if she was, and he came back at the same moment. I guess my question kind of showcased a jealousy and a puzzlement at his romantic situation. He came back to talk to me twice and after last call, he tried to convince me to go to an after-party. Being exhausted and having something the next day, I declined. He took my number again. He asked ”if I text you, will you be answering?”. I nodded in agreement.

The next morning he texted me that he was really happy that he had seen me again, and that he had forgotten how honest and good-natured my smile was. We texted a couple times. He subsequently invited me out for diner on Valentine’s Day. Being single but not desperate, I thought it could be fun to spend time with him to rediscover our relationship under a different perspective. We went to this insanely decorated restaurant, with an incredible array of weird objects. We came back to my place to smoke a joint and he tried to come closer. I felt noxious and I kept pushing him away. ”You know, your’e like an old friend, it’s just weird, I don’t want sexual contact. You can hold me, sure, but that about it for tonight”. He tossed and turned and was sweating so much that he decided to leave. He was not mad, just annoyed I guess,as he wanted to have brunch the following day. That was a good sign, I thought. He did not necessarily want to sleep with me.

We have realized that we are a little more than just friends, but at the same time never to be lovers. He loves touching me, although he respects my boundaries. I can massage his shoulders and give him long hugs. We are very different but there is a kind of fun tranquility when I am in his presence. He expresses himself best through music and images, while I can and write, read and talk endlessly.

‘‘That’s why I love hanging out with you Lili, you’re so fun and alive and you talk constantly, you always tell stories… I’m not that great with words’’.

He told me over beer on Bernard Street one Monday evening: ‘‘your name fits really well with you. When you think about Lili, you think about a sweet, gentle girl, no?’’. That night, we kissed a little bit but could not go beyond that without feeling awkward or uncomfortable. He said: ‘‘we’re really platonic’’. I don’t know if it’s because I aimed to try to prove him wrong, but I aimed to unbuckle his belt, something I have never been skilled at doing (I think it’s the equivalent of boys trying to open girl’s bras). I put my hands in his pants, trying to go further, maybe. It had been so long and I needed some but he stopped me right there and then. I was happy that he stopped it afterwards, because he was right. We are too platonic. I just cozied myself with my head on his shoulder and my hand on his chest. Ifelt asleep in seconds.

I woke up slowly the next morning, and I could already hear him tap slightly on his keyboard.

I opened my eyes, stretched, and looked at him: ‘‘coffee?’’

‘‘Yes! It should be ready by now’’.

He came back with two cups and gave me a vintage one with ‘‘The Toronto Skyline’’ written on it in a dark orange. It was a fitting match since I was about to move to Ontario. He told me that he thought of me when he saw it and that he had chosen it on purpose. We gave each other a big hug that morning. I put my boots on, and we hugged again. I left his place to find a misty and foggy Mile-End under a slight rain.

A week or so later, there was a party for his birthday on a Friday night. It was a hype event with three other roommates and a slew of familiar faces involved. There were many people that I did not know, of which many seemed self-important. I was about to leave but he kept trying to convince me to stay. I agreed after much frustration and argumentation. We went to his bedroom, he closed the door, he poured me a glass of wine and showed me a book he made for school. I critiqued it and we talked about it, and he told me that I was the most important person to come that night. He kissed me, and was being a bit heavy on me. I left while feeling that I had to fight with him to quit his place. It made me sad as I made my way home. That night, I was battling with demons in my dreams. I woke up thrice drenched in sweat.

The next day, he texted me. ‘‘I’m sorry, I was a bit heavy last night’’. He rang me up later that night and it was probably the first time in a relationship that has always evolved around text messages.

I have come to realize that being friends with benefits is not that simple. There is always a push and pull happening and an aura of mystery and deception. But most importantly, this is a friendship I can count on. It’s another kind of love that doesn’t need to be labelled. As I moved, I found his set of keys that he had lost at mine’s a month ago. He wrote to say that he will miss me, and I responded that I will too.

Lili Monette is a multidisciplinary entertainer and writer, and the Montreal editor of Blonde. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre & Development from Concordia University and is currently a student in the Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Western Ontario.

Photo: Lili Monette

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Dear Men, Stop Staring at My Boobs

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Two years ago, my friends and I decided to have a low-key New Year’s Eve. Instead of spending our money on tickets to one of Toronto’s many parties, we decided to go out for a nice meal. But, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to dress up. I wore a little black dress that happened to have a v-neck cut. I was a bit uncomfortable with the amount of cleavage I was showing, so I made attempts to cover myself up with a well-placed safety-pin. I was still showing a lot more cleavage than I am used to, but I figured, ‘Hey, it’s NYE. Why not?’

What I did not anticipate was what happened at dinner. My friends and I were seated next to a family of three — mom, dad and teenage son. The mom and dad seemed to be at odds, perhaps they were even divorced. How could I possibly know that? Well, the man was obviously distracted and clearly not paying much attention to the conversation at his table. He spent the better part of his dinner staring at my chest. Staring is perhaps too light a word. He was ogling. All night. Through his and my entire dinner.

But that’s not even the punch line. He proceeded to take out his smartphone and while pretending to take photos of the restaurant’s decor, he started taking pictures of me. He wasn’t very good at his spy tactics since his phone was so obviously pointing at my chest and I definitely took notice. I turned away from him, which made conversation with my friends a tad bit difficult. They too had noticed the attempted picture-taking and were just as baffled as I was. Eventually, I switched places with one of my friends to avoid the harassment.

And this brings me to my burning questions. Why can’t females show a bit of skin without so much unwanted attention? And when did the possession of mobile technology grant us the right to take photographs of random strangers? (I’m not even going to touch upon the fact that the man was not serving as the best role model for what I assume was his son.)

This wasn’t the first time someone has stared at my chest, nor was it the last. But could this man have been so unaware of his actions that he didn’t notice how uncomfortable he was making me? Or, did he just not care? He certainly managed to have me question my choice of attire and made me wish I was drowning in a very large coat.

I am a curvy female who, on occasion, will wear cleavage-baring dresses. Sometimes I might even show some leg. I am confident enough that I don’t feel I have to hide behind baggy shirts, and no one should expect me to. Yes, my breasts are on the larger side, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to wear a cute top or dress without having some guy stare at my bits all night. And for those of you who will inevitably ask, no I don’t dress to gain attention from men or women. I’m a lover of fashion and art and dress only to please myself.

To the guy from NYE, thanks for making my night so uncomfortable. I hope you’ve seen the error of your ways and will teach your son how to treat females with more respect. To the gentlemen of the world, thank you for treating me with dignity and making me feel comfortable enough to show a little skin now and then.

Rosemina is a writer from Toronto, Ontario. She is a lover of music, bad TV shows and all things pop culture. You can read more of her musings by following her on Twitter @RoseminaN

No More Notches in His Bedpost

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­I told myself I wouldn’t go back to see him. But it took me less than 18 hours from landing to end up back in his bed. I can blame it on being part of our whole routine. I can blame it on habit. Or I can be honest with myself and blame it on the comfort of being with someone who still liked me despite knowing me when I was 17.

I arrived at his door. He answered it looking just as tall and gangly and skater-boyish as he did when he was 19. I guess I still found those same things hot. He showed me around his house. This must have been the fifth or sixth house of his I visited. Then, as always, we ended up in his bedroom. I congratulated him on the fact that he finally had a real bed, and not just a mattress on the floor as he used to have. Because of this, and him, I probably didn’t have sex on a real bed until I was in my twenties.

I sat down on his new bed and he started to kiss me.

This had been going on for six years.

Over the years I have come to know many different relationships with boys. There have been boyfriends, one-night stands, and fuck buddies – but my relationship with this boy never fit into any category. We were friends who would hang out, run errands together, go for walks, but most of all, sleep with each other regularly.

From the beginning I was attracted to him. But never enough to want to be in a relationship with him. When I was still a teenager, I might have fantasized a time or two about our sleepovers and hang-outs to be something more official and consistent. But as more time passed, and the more times we continued sleeping together, more and more I knew I never wanted to date him. So I began pushing him away and started being more persistent about getting me over. Not that it ever took that much effort on his part.

He never knew that he took my virginity. I never bothered to tell him. That first time, like most first times, was awkward. But we were both drunk. And I wanted to do it. Most of my friends’ v-card stories involve a boyfriend, or a tragic night with a crush or stranger who never called them again. But no person has ever been able to offer me insight on how to navigate this particular type of relationship.

Because to them, it was strange. It was strange to me too.

Ours was my longest relationship. I have never been monogamous with any other guy for longer than a month. I always thought it was because I am emotionally retarded. Now I’m thinking is because I have always had the comfort of having him in the background that I have never had to make myself vulnerable to another guy.

Other than having sex, everything else we did was kind of relationship-y, or at the very least friend-y. We would confide to each other personal struggles– whether it was our weird family situations, jobs, living, or other stuff. We would go hang out together – in non- sexual ways. I would go find him at the skate park when he lost his phone and he would attempt to trek to my house in the freezing cold when I wasn`t answering mine.

And in our five+ years, I cannot say that he was ever dishonest with me. Other than an occasion or two when he told me to come over and I did – but he forgot to be home. It ended up being these types of slip-ups – the ones that showed he had no respect for me – that made me eventually end it. But it still felt like 80% of the time he treated me exceptionally. And for a friends-with-benefits situation, I feel like that was adequate.

My friends would often ask me why he and I never dated. And to be honest, I could never come up with a good answer. Maybe it was because I was always either focused on my studies, or work, or other boys that I actually wanted to date. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t attracted to him. After all we did have great chemistry and nasty – fun sex. But despite of the deep conversations and sexual chemistry – there was never anything more. I always let that fantasy go, because I knew that he would have to get his life together. And year after year, he didn’t change.

Finally after over six years, I think I have let him go. After all there is only so much a girl can go through. When I didn’t hear from him in over a month I decided I was over it. Literally five minutes later I received a text message from him with the inevitable invitation. Then I received another call from him. This time, I decided to give in. I missed him, or sex with him, even though it had only been a month since I last saw him. But as I began walking to his house with no sign of him texting me back I grew furious. Since he had done this to me a couple times before, I couldn’t trust him. But unlike those times I no longer had the patience or forgiveness for it. I finally decided I am worth more.

As always, he managed to appear in the precise moment I chose to end it – as though he could sense when I was at my weakest. But for the first time, I stuck with my decision to end things. So I told him it was over. Actually, I think I said, “You know what? I am done. Don’t call me ever again,” but in a slightly more drunken drama queen kind of way.

For about ten minutes he called and texted about a dozen times. Thankfully for my dignity I was already on the subway home, or else I might have answered one of his desperate pleas.

The next morning I woke up with those giggles and nervous laughs you get when you did something stupid the night before. But instead of feeling shame or regret, I just felt freedom with a side of uncertainty.

I finally accepted that I had grown out of our relationship. That I had changed too much. That I wanted something more. Him – the only thing that had changed was his new bedframe.

Written by May Hailer.

Why I Wish I Was Still A Virgin

jill and me at 15 I wish I were still a virgin. The more I date, the more I think this. When I was younger I was a naïve fool who wanted to wait until I fell madly in love with a man to give it all away. Though I did date men, none of them were my loves and by age 22, my hormones couldn’t take it any longer and I lost my one and only v-card to a guy who didn’t even know how inexperienced I was. We were barley dating and whenever we saw it each other it was only behind closed doors. I liked him, he liked my bed, and when I finally threw up my arms and sighed, “Fine, let’s get this over with,” he delivered the most awkward five minutes of my life. Thankfully all my sexual conquests since him have been much much better and he and I no longer talk. Even though I have seen the light, I know how great it can be and I have had some fantastic moments between the sheets, I do still wish it never happened. I’ve never been in love and I’ve never been in a relationship. Being in my mid twenties, I can’t help but feel like a complete freak and as if I’m missing out on something. The past three years I have been on a downward spiral, my bitter bone has been gaining strength and I’m starting to see how living a full life, as a spinster might not be the worse thing ever. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind trying out this love business and see if it’s as great as everyone says it is, and if all those romantic comedies aren’t totally full of shit.  With this in mind, I have, once again, opened myself to the great world of dating, though not completely. Actually, if I’m being honest, I have barley opened the door to even whisper “Hello world of men, it’s Shelby!” I have been taking baby steps, each more terrifying than the last and with each step I lose more and more hope that everything and everyone isn’t awful. The main reason for this is that I can’t help that most men just expect sex, immediately. I know we all get horny every now and then, but a bit of respect and courting will never go out of style. Also, it’s terrifying to sleep with someone new. Part of the reason why I stopped dating was because I wanted to stop hating myself. Getting turned down just because I wouldn’t have sex on the first date or sleeping with a man only to get the cold shoulder afterwards and eventually never hear from him again. A person can only take so many beatings before they cave in, have enough and curl into a ball, cutting off the world. This is why, lately I can’t help but think if I never had that awful first time with some guy who wasn’t even worth my time to begin with, then how much bullshit would I have saved myself from? If today I were still a virgin, still waiting to be in love, then I wouldn’t be hurt by the guys who never called after we were “together,” I might not even have been hurt by the guys who turned me down when I turned down sex. If I said I were a virgin they might have just left without getting mad. Then again so many people tell me that the pain is part of the process and we’ve all been there. All I know if this lady is getting worn down by the process and sick of the expectations. Though no virgin today will believe me when I say this, but the world was a lot less complicated before I gave it all a way. Shelby Monita is a freelance writer living in Toronto. Her writing mainly focuses on music, more specifically underground and punk rock. She welcomes the travel bug with open arms and loves to share her stories. You can read more of her work on her site casamonita.com.

Reading Between Blurred Lines

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Like everyone else on the internet, I was privy to the twerked-out orgy performed by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. It was impossible to ignore Hannah Montana grinding her nude vinyl panties up against the offspring of the dad from Growing Pains. I’m generally not familiar with Top 40 music, but Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s date-rape anthem “Blurred Lines” has gotten my attention, and not because of its catchy beat.

As someone who has been caught between the blurred lines of consent, I found the entire PR stunt to be disrespectful towards sex in general. Miley Cyrus’ lolling tongue made a mockery of what adolescents are taught about sexuality, as they lay immersed in the world of pop culture. There was nothing blurry about what Cyrus was inviting onto that stage, as evidenced by the media’s claims that “she’s grown up,” and that “she’s coming into her sexuality.” To me, there was a disconnect between Thicke’s song and Miley’s dance moves.

The message behind Thicke’s latest hit struck a chord with me. I was taken advantage of (or “date-raped,” in therapeutic terms) one night, several years ago, by someone who thought he was showing me a good time. For some reason, he was under the impression that I wanted him – bad. I’ve since played the night over and over again in my head, trying to identify signs and signals of being attracted to him that I may have given off without realization. I am friendly and polite by nature, hence why I probably spoke to this friend-of-a-friend at my hometown’s local bar as if he were an actual human being. The bottle of wine and pitcher of beer didn’t hurt my sociability either. From my perspective, the offending guy must have thought he was playing it cool, giving little to no indication that he wanted to have sex with me. I refused his offers to buy me drinks, and I shamelessly kissed an old classmate in front of him as a (possibly misunderstood) message that I wasn’t available. This is why it was a shock to me. This is why I didn’t see it coming and why it affected me so strongly.

I thought I had made it clear.

Apparently, not clear enough.

My own blurred lines of judgment came at the end of the night, when we ended up alone. I could have run inside, slamming the door in his face, but my alcohol-soaked brain didn’t present that to me as an option at the time. Honestly though, just because I shared a cigarette with him at the end of the night did not mean that I wanted him to touch me, let alone stick his penis inside me. In what world does a borrowed cigarette translate to “please fuck me roughly in a local public park”? From my perspective, I was drunk and brushing him off. He, however, was reading in between the blurred lines, and assuming that I was playing hard to get–an outdated game if there ever was one. When I confronted him later about it, I made sure that he knew that this was not what a positive sexual experience meant to me, and likely to any other young woman put into that situation. His perspective and Robin Thicke’s are not at all different.

I am bothered by the fact that establishing these murky boundaries has become common practice. Why the games? There should not be a blurred line between you and your sexual partner in sight. Both (or all) parties involved should have clear ideas about what’s going to happen between the sheets (or on the floor, table, rooftop, etc). Clarification is key. I don’t see Thicke’s song and dance to be an issue of disrespecting women, but one of understanding one’s sexuality. It’s about getting the balls to tell someone how you want it–or don’t want it. If a girl grabs you, it’s entirely possible that she’s doing so in order to steady herself after drinking too much. Don’t assume that she wants to “get nasty,” be a man and clarify what she wants. There’s no shame in asking questions; I actually find it very sexy to discuss what you want and need from a potential sexual partner. Clarification shows a degree of respect, which is an integral part of one’s sexual experience. I don’t know when it became un-sexy to be upfront.

There should be no blurred lines surrounding a sexual encounter, because between them can lie confusion and potential danger. Although those blurred lines got me “date raped,” they have also helped me come to terms with forgiving my attacker. I still found that VMAs performance offensive, however, and have been left disappointed that this is the message being sent to younger generations. I hope everyone can see what this performance for what it was–a PR ploy. And it worked. And for that, we as a society should hang our heads a little.

Ellen Fielding is a Toronto-based writer, artist, and live music enthusiast. She has a deep love for architectural history and often reflects this in her work.

The Balcony-Loving Stranger

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You went back to your family’s house while they were away since it was closer to the bar you were at. You were drunk. It’s a random night (Monday) after a friend’s concert and a mismanaged man situation (classic).

You would not allow yourself to fail since current popular culture values performance over well-being. When you were dismissed, refused and ignored, you became vulnerable to your core and you had shivers of unworthiness and self-disgust running through your spine. Sometimes, this anxiety turned into infernal insomnia, which slowly killed your rest time and your usual cheerfulness.

The morning after, you woke up and decided to take care of yourself, which was the sensible thing to do and the only way forward. You were clearly conscious that the wild years of oblivious drinking were over and that your friends were busy individuals working weekdays. You stayed home alone and drank green tea and coconut water in the hopes of getting some sort of glow.

When there was a happening, you dressed up and you hung out with your buddies in large groups. You possessed a deep dissatisfaction about your current situation, which translated into the dangerous moments where you sashayed through the mostly familiar crowd, looking for a handsome stranger for love at first glance.

It happened quickly. Your common sense was now useless: your ideas about taking it slow since you wanted a long-term relationship were frozen like your flirtatious smile. Your worries about whether or not the novelty boy would turn out to be an asshole fell out of the window. The midnight magic and cocktail-filled evening took an unexpected toll.

You saw him casually sitting there looking sharp and regal in a crisp denim shirt. He said, ‘’Hi, I’m Paul’’ and you went on chatting about your individually exciting lives.

You took a liking to him instantly. He possessed the perfect balance of warmth (he talked about going for an aquatic date), charm, looks (tattooed to the bone, hair slicked back, dapper shirt) and intelligence. Within an hour, you both started to feel exhausted by your talking and your working hard during days. You suddenly remembered the night, Thursday, which meant that you had to work early the next day.

You told him that you wanted to leave with him so that you could smoke a spliff on his balcony before heading home. Of course, you knew that this offer was a terrible white lie and a very old-school party trick. You knew full well that “one thing leads to another”. You got to know each other intellectually a little deeper on the balcony and then literally deeper physically as you climbed into his bed. You took off your strapless evening dress and slid under the sheets. You smiled as he entered you, and you were feeling euphoric after the act, when his body was slowly recovering. You were happy, you were excited, it had been a while since you experienced a satisfying sexual flow.

You left quickly the next day. You went home to shower and you rubbed yourself clean. You felt him under your skin after washing and you knew right then and there that you were hooked.

You wrote him an online message two days later asking him out. You were walking the fine line between hope and despair but you decided to try your luck on the former.You subsequently saw him twice on his balcony where you talked your heart out. Your thoughts were slowly sliding into the ‘’falling in love’’ category. He was career-driven like you and you loved his reckless ambition. He seemed ready to conquer the world and you hoped that he would be ready to conquer you too.

You did not fancy spending much of your precious time worrying, but you did it anyway since you were dealing with a raw human need for contact as well as an emotion overload. Your story became an itch you could not seem to scratch off and you asked yourself needy questions as to why he did not get back to you yet. You checked his Facebook status, blinking, as if it would have changed since a couple of days ago, when he wrote that his phone was broken. You peeled your eyes, making sure that his relationship status was still intact and his authenticity for real. The truth that you didn’t want to hear was simple: he was not into you because he could not make time for you in his workaholic lifestyle. You were barely a distraction interfering with his goals.

‘’Women walk around thinking ‘we.’ And their vision of ‘we’ is me… and my dick!,” you remembered Samantha Jones saying with verve and anger in Sex and the City. You agreed, you thought too much about both of you together as some dreamy ideal. You cared so much, but all he seemed to care about was chatting, cumming and sleeping when he was in your presence.

You were such a people-pleaser. You were trying too hard to be eloquent, charming, sexually satisfying, and you knew full well that you worried too much about what people think, although you always denied it.

You gradually reached your limit. You could not be using so much headspace on a man who did not care. You knew that you needed to let go, even if holding on seemed much more convincing.

You were learning to be happy again. You decided to accept the harsh reality: you knew that he could not commit. Your heart was wounded again, but you knew how to get back on track. You told yourself that you would keep living and chill the fuck out (badass advice to your insecure self).

At last, you were filled with an inner peace that you forgot about a little while ago, when you became obsessed with finding a cure for loneliness: you mistook self-love with a balcony-loving stranger.

* Sex in the City, Season II, Episode 12. Written by Candace Bushnell, created by Darren Star, produced by HBO.

Photo: Christy Turlington by Steven Meisel. Vogue Italia, 1991.

Lili Monette is a born-and-raised Montrealer and an artist by DNA and by choice. She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theatre and Development from Concordia University and can be found around the world entertaining people and gathering stories.

How to Love Me

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Love me without judgment, for I am only human and I am prone to make mistakes. Love me fearlessly and endlessly, while knowing that I love you and that it is you I think about, dream about, can’t live without.

Love me like I’m the only girl on earth. Love me without reason or refrain. Know that loving me is complicated and I know that too. Know that I will do everything I can to love you back, to make you feel as loved as you make me feel.

Love me even when I screw it all up, when I miss the mark, cross the line. When I drink too much and think too much. Love me when my meds run out and I am a ball of sadness on the floor. Hold me and run your fingers through my hair. Tell me that you love me once, twice, again, and again.

Take me out for wine at a crowded bar on Dundas because you know I like it. Make me homemade dinners on occasion with my favourite ingredients and I won’t mind if you make it spicier or saucier because I know you like.

Take me home when it gets heated between us on the rooftop patio because you know I need it. Hold me and caress me. Be gentle and sweet. Make love to me. Fuck me. But only when I beg you to. I beg you to. Fuck me. Fuck me please.

Kiss me like you mean it, like you really mean. Kiss me like you kissed me on the night that we first met. Kiss me like you kissed me the first time we made love. Kiss me like I’m the last girl on earth. Kiss me like you breathe passion instead of air.

Love me like this because you know I love you and you love me. Because you are the person I want to be with forever and ever, because it is you I crave and you who saves me, but it is also you who sets me free. Love me like this because we are young and we have today and right now and nothing else matters. Love me like you’ve always loved me. Love me like you’ll always love me. Love me like you’ll never leave me.

Love me like I never woke up bruised on the bathroom floor the time I drank too much and fell down the stairs and made us leave the birthday party early. Love me like I never threw up all the homemade food you made me because I’m still not better even though you want me to be, so badly. Love me like I never hurt you, like I never said all those things I didn’t mean, because I didn’t mean them and I love you and only you.

Love me like you did the summer we spent aimlessly walking the streets as if the city was ours. Love me like you did the time you surprised me and took me to a romantic hotel in rural Quebec and kissed me amid the candlelight, when the power went out and we were reserved to darkness. Love me like you did that night when we took off all our clothes and discovered new things about each other. New places to love. New ways to love.

Love me without judgment, for I am only human and I am prone to make mistakes. Love me fearlessly and endlessly, while knowing that I love you and that it is you I think about, dream about, can’t live without.

Love me always.

Alice Morrow is a writer, sometimes. She mostly just takes pictures and wastes time in Toronto.