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Five Things NOT to do on a First Date

August 6, 2010

First dates are stressful, awkward, embarrassing and often induce mild to severe sweating. Never fear, your dating guru is here! Though it has been awhile since I have been out on the field, I still have some very vivid memories of the process and I am here to share with you the benefits of my wisdom.

And as such, I give to you, a list of things you should NEVER do on a first date (or second, or third or fourth for that matter. If you are exceptionally cute and charming, you may be able to get away with some of them by the 5th date but I would do so at your own risk).

1) Do not fall asleep. You may be wondering how you might possibly fall asleep on a date. Well maybe you wouldn’t fall asleep if you did something exciting like go to the theatre or a fancy dinner. But not everybody can afford those types of dates and some people have to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while watching a TV movie. And TV movies are usually not very good so falling asleep is a distinct possibility. And if you fall asleep, any number of awful things could happen. For example, you could wake up to “The Helicopter”  which is probably at least in the top ten worst ways to get woken up.

2) Do not send a text message to your bff half way through the evening, speculating as to whether or not your date has a sex swing. Also do not accidentally send that text message to your date instead of your friend. Much awkwardness will ensue and no amount of lying or playing dumb will get you out of it. Plus the chances of your date actually confirming or denying the accusation are slim, and as such you will find yourself constantly searching for some sort of rigging when you are at their apartment.

3) Do not initiate a “speed round” of questions. The occasional “where did you grow up?” and “do you have any pets?” is perfectly acceptable. A continuous string of questions in rapid-fire mode is not. Here is an example of a speed round of questions that you do NOT want to initiate: “what’s your star sign? How many cats do you think is acceptable for one person to have? What do you think happens to people after they die? Is there a history of diabetes or male pattern baldness in your family history? Where do you see yourself in 6.43 years from now? Is that your natural hair colour? Does it creep you out if people watch you while you sleep?” You may be thinking “but a speed round is a good way to find out everything I want to know about my date really quickly and then they don’t have a chance to think about their answers and lie”. Well that may be true, but lying is just a part of dating. You will have to accept that.

4) Do not eat a white chocolate brownie with whipped cream and ice cream. Actually, let me amend that. Do not eat a white chocolate brownie with whipped cream and ice cream if you are lactose intolerant. You should especially not do this if your date is going to involve hiking up a hill with no bathrooms at the top, to watch the fireworks. In case you can’t guess what would happen, I will tell you. You would get halfway up the hill, start to feel sick, and insist your date take you home immediately. Then you would spend the entire car ride home terrified that you might not make it to the bathroom on time. Then when you finally got home, you would jump out of the car, sprint to your house and never look back or talk to that date again.

5) Do not date a cowboy/cowgirl. You’ve probably had fantasies about what this would be like; you’re intrigued by the sexy outfits, the sunset horseback rides, and that smooth country twang voice. Let me be your reality check. Even if those things are true, it is not worth it. While you may enjoy spending time in his/her “neck of the woods”, your first date in the city will cancel all that goodness out. Your country date will undoubtedly engage in inappropriate behaviors upon entering the city, effectively embarrassing all parties involved. He or she will likely get way too excited about the prospect of getting somewhere in a cab, and demand that the “cabbie” tell you whether he was a doctor or a lawyer in India. He or she will also likely say things like “ah laaaack yeh cuhse yer sweet the me” (loosely translated to mean “I like you because you’re sweet to me”), after which that country twang will seem more annoying than cute. And lastly, they are apt to hitch kick  at random times, for no apparent reason. Nobody wants that in a date.

If you have any specific questions about dating, please feel free to post a comment. I have a wealth of insider information. Please feel free to also share your own tips.

Playground Failure

July 27, 2010

In my 25 years of life, I can certainly say I’ve seen some odd things. Actually most of them have been in the past 11 months, since I moved to Toronto. Who knew there were so many different types of crazy people?? But I digress… In all my years I have never seen anything quite so odd and confusing as a Czechoslovakian playground. Now I know what you are thinking. What could be that odd and confusing about a playground? Let me tell you…lots. Take a look:

Exhibits A, B, and C

*may induce vomiting

EXHIBIT A: My social constructs of what a slide should be tell me that this part of the playground semi-fits in to that schema. I say semi-fits in because it lacks some minor (but in my opinion, important) slide characteristics. Specifically, this “slide” lacks any sort of siding or safety rails. Not only does this seem odd, but also extremely dangerous. Aren’t slides for children?? What kind of parent would willingly put their child on one of these? Not only does it seem to be missing sides, it also veers alarmingly quickly from side to side. This effectively reduces any chances of staying on the slide to zero. This slide/death trap seems to be carefully designed to introduce kids of all ages to failure. Good job slide designers, good job.

Dear user, you will fail. Sincerely, The Slide.

EXHIBIT B: These random slanted triangle platforms were intriguing. I figured out fairly quickly that there must be specific required footwear other than flip flops. Unless you happen to have cramp-ons in your kid’s diaper bag, I wouldn’t reccomend maneuvering on these things. Maybe this playground wasn’t even designed for humans. Maybe it’s for mastodons, or military trained mutant armadillos. I’m not sure. I did look around for some sort of playground monitor that might be able to explain to me the intended function of these platforms, but the only people around were the regular locals who come to marvel at the stupid tourists.

EXHIBIT C: This part of the playground was perhaps the most recognizable as normal playground equipment. I feel like it was thrown in there to say “hey you. I know you’re scared, but I really am part of a playground. Come climb on me and we’ll dance and play and think about rainbows and puppies together.” And then it quietly whispers “and you will never live to tell the tale…” Its recognizable ladder-like structure beckons new comers to the playground only to trap them at the top by twisting sideways and causing the climber to enter into a un-winnable battle with gravity.

EXHIBIT D: While the tiny triangle foot platform and zig-zaggy pole structure are pleasing to the post-modernist eye, they are not in the least bit functional. This particular piece of playground equipment is clearly meant to be some sort of twirling spinny ride. Unfortunately it averages a speed of about zero kilometers an hour unless you happen to have a burly man-servant to push you around. And even if you do, the chances of your own arm strength being powerful enough to keep your grip steady are pretty slim.

Dear user: No, you will not have fun. Sincerely, The Twirly Spinner Thinger

After spending a significant amount of time trying to figure the playground out, I came up with a couple different theories.

1) This playground was designed for elite Czech mensa-babies. Perhaps it is a training facility to develop their physical and mental capabilities. Oh my god. What if they are trying to turn Spy Kids into a reality!??

2) The Czech’s have a sense of humour and have hidden cameras arranged around the playground to capture baffled tourists attempting to figure out how to use it.

I’ll let you come to your own conclusions…

Top Ten Most Annoying Things in Existence

July 16, 2010

There are lots of things out there that annoy me. I am going to whittle that list down to the top ten most annoying things.

10. When people around you have the same alert sounds for emails or text messages, and you excitedly check your email or phone, only to find that you are uncool and unpopular and nobody wants to message you.

9. Car air fresheners that smell like new car. First of all the smell of “new car” smells like burnt cat hair and tar. Second, why would you want an old car to smell like a new car? It’s not a magical air freshener. It doesn’t remove rust and renew your engine. New car smell is the most ridiculous invention ever. I would pay to UN-scent my new car, if I had one.

8. Dirty Mustaches reminiscent of a pre-pubescent boy. Disgusting.

7. Things designed so that stupid people (like me) hit their heads on them. Examples: low ceilings on staircases, hanging light fixtures over top of tables, railings in front of balcony seats at the theatre…etc. It is hard to top the annoyance of hitting your head because of your own stupidity and lack of general spatial awareness.

6. Slow walkers. Okay, let me be clear here. I understand every person has the right to walk at their own speed. I fully support that right. But if you are a slow walker, you need to a) walk in a straight line. If you meander I will likely mow you down accidentally as I try to maneuver around you, b) stay on the side of the path or sidewalk. This is almost like the rules on a highway. Slow moving people, keep right! c) not be in a group of other slow walkers. Groups of slow walkers are nearly impossible to get around and it gets harder to contain my annoyance levels the longer I have to try to get around you.

5. Menstruation. I won’t go in to details as we all know my thoughts on that subject.

4. Mosquito bites in-between the toes. Why why WHY do they always have to go for between the toes!? There is no way possible to avoid irritating the bite and causing it to itch dramatically more. Except maybe cutting off the toe. And believe me, I have been close. This one is part of a larger annoyance about mosquitos in general but I understand they are important to the eco-system or whatever. But in-between the toes is just pushing the boundaries of my acceptance of nature.

3. A cookie that looks soft and delicious but after you buy it, turns out to be hard and dry.

2. Little white fluffy dogs with underbites and faces that are dirty and brown and make it look like they have been eating poo. The worst thing about these dogs is how much their owners love them, and want to shove them in your face. Gross.

And finally, the number one thing that annoys me:

1. People who love to sing along. If I’m in the car, and you’re singing along to the radio, you’re annoying me. If you are at work, listening to your ipod, and singing along, you’re annoying me. If I am at a musical, and you are sitting behind me, and have seen it seven times and know all the words and as such feel the need to sing along… definitely annoying me. It also annoys me when people hum or whistle for no apparent reason. Just because you have a jolly tune stuck in your head doesn’t mean I want it stuck in mine too. The worst part about this number one grievance is that I want to be able to do all of those things; I want to sing along. But nobody else can. I’m sorry, that’s just the way I feel.

Growing up Female

July 7, 2010

Growing up in a household that contained: 1 mom, 4 daughters, 1 female cat, various female hamsters at various times, 2 different female dogs annnnnd…my Dad, was pretty great most of the time. But there were definitely some drawbacks to the estrogen house.

Drawbacks included:

  • The kinds of fights that include hair pulling, bitch slapping, wedgie giving, name calling and emotional bullying. Oh, and rock-throwing-at-face (but that was one time and I was having a rage problem).
  • Clothing went missing on a regular basis due to “borrowing”. I am guilty of this too. We all were. Except maybe the cat. That would be weird. The dogs did go for the underwear though, so I can’t exclude them from the list of clothing thieves.
  • Hormones. Enough said.
  • Jealousy. Enough said.
  • And lastly: not knowing very much about boys/males/men.

Not having any brothers meant that my sources for general information about boys/males/men came from three places.

  1. My Dad
  2. The playground
  3. Eventually, the internet.

Unfortunately, none of these sources were very reliable. My Dad turned out to be not the best source as apparently he does almost everything differently from the typical male. The playground was full of rumours and speculations. And the internet (while shocking and undoubtedly fascinating) was full of exaggerations. Side note: I can remember being 10 or 11 years old, and seeing a penis for the first time with my sister, while we were surfing this new cool thing called the internet. Looking back on the experience, there was definitely some major photo-shopping involved in this picture. It prompted my sister and I to create a song called “does your penis hang low”… We were pretty proud of it.

Alas we come to my point, and the topic of this blog: due to being surrounded by females (and my Dad), for a long time I thought a lot of very unusual things about the elusive male gender. Here is a list of them.

  • Boys pee sitting down. I pee sitting down. My mom pees sitting down. My sisters pee sitting down. The cat pees in a litter box, but I had enough sense to assume that was because she was a cat, not because she was a girl. And lastly, my DAD pees sitting down. Apparently this is more of an old man thing than a boy thing. Actually I think my grandmother thought it was more gentleman-like to pee sitting down, so she trained her boys that way. Maybe it IS more gentleman-like. How would I know? In either case, the fact of the matter is that everyone I knew peed sitting down. The possibility that there were people out there who peed standing up didn’t even occur to me. Until I saw my first urinal. I’m pretty sure I tried to figure out how to pee in it. It didn’t go well. I think I asked somebody (possibly my teacher) about it and found out the truth about stand up pee-ers. I was shocked to my very core. And jealous. Yep, Freud was right. I had major penis envy. I spent the next couple of weeks trying to devise a way that I could pee standing up too. It wasn’t pretty.
  • Similar to the first bullet, I was also fully under the impression that boys used toilet paper (when they peed). Once again, it was my own father who led me astray here. So why wouldn’t I assume that everybody used toiled paper after a tinkle?? The worst part about this one was the age at which I discovered the truth. I was 17. I had my first boyfriend, and while he was at my house, he went to go use the bathroom. I realized we were out of toilet paper so I raced to catch him before he shut the door, and handed him a roll. He laughed and said “I’m not taking a dump!” I was majorly confused. “I know, but there’s no toilet paper in there, so you’ll need this”, I responded. When he eventually realized what was going on, he burst out laughing and said “guys don’t use toilet paper after the pee!” I was horrified. “What do you do then!?!?” He explained to me that guys just “shake it off”. If I’m being honest, this STILL baffles me. Shaking it in NO way gets all the pee off. Gross.
  • Circumcision means cutting off the whole penis. This notion was part of a larger confusion surrounding circumcision in general.  Circumcision was one of those things that was always talked about as if everybody knew what it was, and it was never actually explained to me by anybody, not even in health class. I can remember knowing that circumcision = cutting + penis. So my natural conclusion was that a circumcised boy had had his penis cut off.  I felt pretty bad about this, and tried to think of a reason why this would happen to so many people. The explanation I came up with was something akin to getting coal in your stocking at Christmas.
  • A wet dream is where a boy pees the bed. I wasn’t really too sure what it was called when a girl peed the bed, but I knew this term only applied to boys who peed the bed. What else wet could happen in a bed? And why didn’t they just wear pull-ups? I knew that there was some stigma about boys secretly changing their own sheets in the night because they were embarrassed. I could understand being embarrassed about peeing the bed but I really thought a lot of this secret night laundry could be solved by pull-ups.

This list could probably go on for a lot longer, but I figure I have subjected myself to enough embarrassment for one day.

Now it is time for an honourable mention from a (male) friend who only had brothers, and no sisters, growing up:

  • Since the blue liquid that they pour into diapers in diaper commercials appears the same as the blue liquid they pour into pads/tampons in tampon commercials, pads must be used for the same reasons as diapers. Therefore, when girls get to puberty, they start peeing themselves for no apparent reason, and need girly type diapers to protect them.

Cookie Mania

June 29, 2010

Due to a lack of creativity, I suggested to a friend that she give me a random topic to blog about, and I would do it. Much to my delight, she offered up cookies as a potential blog premise. I’m not sure whether she knows about my deep, and probably slightly sociopathic relationship with cookies, but now the whole world will know (and by whole world I mean the handful of people that read this blog because I mislead them on facebook or twitter by making it seem like it’s going to be about something interesting).

COOKIES!

I love cookies. They are my favourite baked good. In fact, I have often thought of pursuing a career as a baker solely because of my love for cookies. I really empathize with the cookie monster. Actually I am a bit miffed at the cookie monster. Apparently he has changed his personal anthem from “C is for Cookie” to “A Cookie is a Sometime Food”. WTF!? This angers me. Cookies are not sometimes food. Cookies are always food. I guess he has also been cutting back on his cookie consumption and is even seen eating fruit sometimes. Really?? What is the world coming to? My ONE ally on the cookies-all-day-everyday front has now abandoned ship and sometimes eats fruit! I feel like I am fighting the good fight all by myself now. Maybe I should start a protest! I would really love an excuse to be violent and destructive for no reason… *cough *

There are a lot of different cookies out there and I love ALL of them. Here is why:

The Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie: Soft and warm or cold and crunchy, you can’t deny that the classic chocolate chip cookie is delicious any time of the day.

Oreos: Somebody once told me that drinking lots of milk helps you to lose weight. I said “That is false. I drink milk all the time and I never lose weight!” She then proceeded to ask me how I drink my milk. My response was “I drink milk normally! …with Oreos…” Enough said.

Oatmeal Raisin: An often undervalued cookie, oatmeal raisins are frequently cast aside as the boring, healthy cookie. This is exactly what makes them so great. If you feel like you have been indulging in too many treats and cookies, then you can take a health break with an oatmeal raisin cookie, and feel really good about being so health conscious.

Subway Cookies: Never buy a sub without getting 2 cookies as well. That’s sacrilegious. It goes against my religion, Cookie-ology. We believe that aliens came to earth and gave the people cookies. And it was good.

Peanut Butter Cookie: Society’s sensitivity to allergies (I call them weaknesses found only in the losers of this world. Pffff. Anaphylactic shock.  Yeah right.) has really taken a toll on the public face of the peanut butter cookie. But alas this cookie will always be my favourite. They beckon me with their criss-crossy patterns made from forks, and their simplistic, but nutty goodness.

Gingerbread Man: This cookie, while not the most delicious, is a fun and interactive cookie. If you live in Duloc, your cookie might even protest while you eat it, which could be exciting.  (“Noooo! Not my gumdrop buttons!!!!”)

Now let’s talk about all the good that cookies do in this world:

  • They bring people together. For things like cookie exchanges. And…umm… cookie themed bar mitzvahs.
  • They feed Santa.
  • They trick people into thinking that a web cookie is something delicious. I’m not sure how this is good, but I think it should be included somewhere in this blog.
  • They provide amusement and a past-time to elves.
  • They could be sent to starving countries to raise both nutrition levels AND moral.
  • They are f-ing delicious and as such induce copious amounts of joy in their consumers, all over the world.

Cookies will never let you down. Unless you are my father and think it is a good idea to a) make gingerbread men from scratch and b) make gingerbread women as well, to be politically correct.

I love cookies.

The end.

An Open Letter to God or Mother Nature or Whoever is in Charge of Menstruation

June 22, 2010

DISCLAIMER: If you are an overly squeamish male who has never had a girlfriend for longer than three weeks, or didn’t grow up with sisters then do NOT proceed with reading this. I suggest you start with taking a biology class or two, and when you’ve accepted that girls fart too, you *might* be ready for this blog. If you choose to proceed, please do so at your own risk. I take no responsibility for uncontrollable freaked-out panic-spirals caused by the harsh truths expressed in this blog. You want the truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! (Sorry, that was uncalled for, I just really wanted to say it).

Dear Mother Nature or God or Whoever is in charge of menstruation;

What the fuck? Why the hell did you deem menstruation a necessary part of female existence?  I suggest you bleed from your genitals for a week, get repeatedly punched in the abdomen from the inside for awhile, suddenly cry for no apparent reason, and then repeat this once a month. Then we’ll see how you feel.

Let me give you a little context. By the grace of a miracle known simply as “the pill”, I had forgotten what real menstruation was like. Unfortunately health hazards deemed it necessary for me to abandon my salvation and embrace my natural womanly cycle. I use the term embrace lightly because the truth is that I abhorred it. But I am trying to be polite in this letter. The memory loss caused by years of pill-induced bliss was reversed almost immediately upon first blood-shed…

I woke up around 7am on Saturday morning, curious as to why my hangover was causing severe abdominal pain and thoughts of impending death. After a quick trip to the bathroom I realized that my hangover was being overshadowed by my monthly visit from the lady in red. WONDERFUL. After taking care of a few things I laid back down in bed, planning on going back to sleep. But menstruation had other plans for me. Suddenly an epic battle was being waged upon me by my ovaries. They fought viciously and relentlessly. I was defenseless. I’d heard of a defense called “midol” but my ovaries had struck quickly, rendering the limbs required for fetching said medications useless. I lay in bed, knowing this was the end, and searching for meaning in my short-lived life. I mentally went over my bucket list:

  • Fall in love – check
  • Have a family – no check, and after today pretty sure it is out of the question as my ovaries and uterus clearly hate me and I would need their cooperation for labour.
  • Win the lottery – no check. Dammit why couldn’t death have waited a few more days?? The lotto max draw is on Friday! I will my ticket on the fridge to Neal. Please use the winnings wisely. I would like to be buried in a diamond casket. Thanks.
  • Become a wizard – definitely no check. A wand and magical powers would be really handy right now. At least then I could entertain myself by making the furniture dance around and sing like on Beauty and the Beast, while I die my slow death.

After my bucket-list review I came to the conclusion that I am a failure at life. Just when I was congratulating my ovaries on their efficient battle strategies, and preparing to surrender to death, the blinding pain subsided. I was lulled into a deep slumber, while my internal organs recuperated from the war.

Later that night…

After watching a movie in bed, and spooning with Neal, I felt extremely blissed out and happy. Life seemed good. Nemo found his dad and the world seemed good again. I prepared myself yet again, for sleep. I felt like I was drifting off when out of nowhere I felt very strongly like everything was going wrong in the world, and my life was terrible. My chest heaved violently and I began to sob. What the hell was going on?? I sniffled and turned over, trying to conceal my emotional outburst from Neal, for fear of sympathy making it worse. Luckily he was convinced I was getting sick and was content to stay on his side of the bed. I cried for no apparent reason for a good ten minutes before convincing myself that nothing had changed in the world and I must be experiencing one of those hormonal overloads I had heard of, that are associated with female genital hemorrhaging. Confidant with my assessment, and exhausted after my emotional overload, I flipped my tear soaked pillow over and fell asleep.

Cut to four more days of the above and you arrive at me. A very angry Hayleigh. So I am writing to you to lodge a formal complaint. I will reiterate it, in case you forgot. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Why is it necessary for all women (of baby-making age) to bleed from the vagina, endure abdomen punching, and become emotionally unstable every freaking month! I am pretty sure if we put our heads together we can come up with a suitable alternative. In fact, how about making this G20 thinger useful and raising the topic there? Here are some suggestions for alternate monthly occurrences to replace menstruation:

  • A unicorn visits each woman and makes a rainbow
  • All men shave their mustaches off
  • A random spider dies
  • I eat cheesecake

I hope you will take my complaints and suggestions into consideration.

Sincerely,

Hayleigh A. Bird

Accidentally Drunk on a Tuesday

June 8, 2010

You know how sometimes you have a really long day at work where it seems like everything is coming at you at once? And then you know how you get home around 5:30 and decide to have a burger for dinner? And then you know how you think to yourself “what goes well with a burger? A caesar!” Maybe for you it’s a beer. Or a tequila shot. Or 5. I don’t judge. But for me, a caesar goes well with a burger. Actually a caesar goes well with pretty much anything for me – including bacon (but that’s probably because bacon goes with everything too). Anyways then you know how you sometimes sit down with your burger and caesar and watch TV online because that show Parks and Recreation is really funny but you only just recently heard about it, so you have to watch it online? And then after you finish your caesar you make another one but you don’t measure the vodka because it seems like you should be able to judge the correct amount? And then you know how you can look at the clock and see that it is 6:54 pm and you realize that you are accidentally drunk on a Tuesday? Do you not know what I am talking about? Well then I suggest you get accidentally drunk on a Tuesday. Since I am so fond of list making, here is a list of reasons why being accidentally drunk on a Tuesday is awesome:

  1. You end up smiling way more than you normally would on a regular Tuesday at 6:54 pm
  2. Your second burger tastes extra delicious
  3. You get to wonder whether you are exhibiting signs of alcoholism
  4. You might end up having a dance party by yourself. And the neighbors on floor 6 in the apartment across the street might wonder why you are dancing that “Everybody” dance that the Backstreet boys did centuries ago.
  5. You can take your daily vitamin with booze instead of Coke Zero.

There you have it folks. I’m probably going to go make another caesar and then see if I can recreate the Call On Me video. Ciao!