Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sunburn: The perils of being pale

I've been told on more than one occasion that I'm so white I'm clear. 

I mean honestly it's not my fault.  I'm half German.  Blame my pale mother and her genetics.

For the record this means I have two official colours. 

White.

And Red.

There is no such thing as tan in my vocabulary. 

Being pasty as I am means that the importance of sun protection was drilled into me at a very young age.  I don't think I've ever left the house after April without at least an SPF 30 on. 

Heck, I wear SPF 15 in my facial moisturizer in the middle of January.  IN CANADA.

It's simply ingrained in my psyche. 

Sun - Sun Screen = Wrinkles, Pain and future Skin Cancer.

For us fair skinned people, Skin Cancer is a legitimate concern.  They say that a person's chance of developing skin cancer DOUBLES if they've had 5 or more sunburns in their lifetime. 

That's pretty scary considering most people (including me) average at least 1 sunburn a year.

I'm dealing with that sunburn as we speak.

Despite wearing SPF 60 this weekend, I spent too many hours in the sun without access to the shade.  My shoulders were the worst impacted but wearing clothes at this point pretty much sucks.

You'd think I would know better by now. 

I've always been a little jealous of people who are able to tan.  I grew up around a lot of people of Italian, Greek and Portuguese descent who tan brilliantly. 

I was always the pale one in the group. 

I've tried it all but even self tanners make me look like an Oompa-Loompa. 

Even exposing myself to small amounts of sun regularly over a long period of time does little more than make me pink.

I've never had an actual TAN in my life.

But as I've gotten older, I've realized this is not a bad thing.

I've got dark hair, blue eyes and skin that requires me to buy make-up in shades called "Porcelain" and "Alabaster".

So being pale works for me. 

Insert a little history lesson:

Since Ancient Egypt, aristocratic women have been going to great lengths to lighten their skin.  Being pale indicated that you were affluent enough to not have to labour outdoors so women used everything from buttermilk baths to lead laced cosmetics to give themselves a ghostly hue. 

They essentially went to great lengths to achieve a look that I come by naturally.

The trend towards pale skin came to an end eventually and slowly went in the opposite direction as tanning beds and UV lamps became very popular.

But people went overboard, and skin cancer started cropping up in teenagers as young as 14 and 15 years old. 

But now being pale is popular again!!!  Even for people who aren't Goth ;)

So if you're pale like me EMBRACE it.  Don't be jealous of people with a golden tan.  Just remember that you'll have less wrinkles when your older and Cheers,

Ash

For additional info on Skin Cancer and Sun Protection check out THIS LINK.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dating In Your Late 20s SUCKS - Part 2

So we've already established that meeting new people in your late 20s isn't always the easiest thing in the world.

But low and behold.  You've actually met someone and you're going on the ever-stressful first date.

<Insert Dramatic Music>

Dun-dun-dun!!!

Where are you going, is he picking you up, what are you going to wear, what if he doesn't like you, what if you don't like him?

Then there's the next day questions.

"Sooooooooo how was your date?"

Ug.  Shoot me now.

Honestly I've gone on so many bad first dates that I've stopped telling my friends that I even HAVE a date just do I don't have to deal with deconstructing it with them afterwards.

So for your entertainment purposes I will now summarize some of the funnier moments of my dating history over the last 18 months or so. 

K: Amateur politician.  Asshole.

J:  Smart, worked for a publishing house.  Condescending SNOB.

L:  Cute, mechanic, perv who wasn't looking for a girlfriend but another name to add to the long list of women he'd screwed.

B:  World traveller, worked in media.  Slobbery kisser, just got out of a serious relationship and was not looking for anything other than a casual date.

S: Professional student.  No desire to grow up and get a real job.  Drank WAY too much.

G:  Smart history buff who worked for the Government.  Had never had a "real" girlfriend and lived with his divorced mother and financially supported her.

D:  Artist.  Worked a corporate job he didn't like just to pay the bills.  Pretty much continued to live the frat boy life despite being 31 years old.

J:  Techie.  Asked slightly creepy questions like if I had ever made a guy cry before.

M:  Ex-boyfriend.  Convinced me to have a friendly coffee with him.  He proceeded to tell me that he had just broken up with his current girlfriend and thought we should sleep together because we were already "comfortable" with each other.

G:  Musician and recently graduated student.  Told me that he thought I'd get along really well with his GIRLFRIEND.

Now add this to the list of guys I've had serious relationships with and you'll see why I'm not necessarily chomping at the bit to go out on dates.  I haven't had the greatest success with men.  Hell I was told by an old boss of mine that I was an asshole magnet.  He said I should get a t-shirt that said "Assholes need not apply."  He was serious.  I can't blame him.  I tend to be a magnet for either jerks or incredibly inappropriate men.

So the sad reality is that in my experience, a lot of single men in their late 20s or early 30s have some issues.  Not to say that single women at this age don't but they tend to be different issues.

In the past 2 years I've learned that many (not all) single men at this age fall into one of the following categories.

1) They want to be single.
2) They have baggage or presume that you do.
3) They're living the party life while they cling desperately to their beer drinking youth.
4) They're jerks, dicks, douche bags, pricks or psychos.
5) They've got mom issues, ex-girlfriend issues, ex-wife issues and/or women issues in general.
6) They're workaholics.
7) They're gay.
8) They're already your ex-boyfriend.
9) They're the mythical "nice guy" who you hear exists but you never actually meet because he never attempts to talk to you.

All in all, the whole thing sucks and is kinda depressing.  Especially during a time in your life when many of your friends are pairing up, getting engaged, getting married or having babies.

But hope springs eternal.

Cheers,

Ash

Dating In Your Late 20s SUCKS - Part 1

Going on a first date is always a little awkward.  But dating in your late 20s or early 30s is a whole different animal.

For the record, I'm 27 and single.  I work quite a bit, I'm a book nerd and a music junkie who lives alone in the city with her cat.

Don't judge me.

When you're in High School and College/University dating is fairly simple.  You meet someone in one of your classes, at your part time job or through your ever expanding circle of friends.  There's really no pressure because you're young and even the most serious relationship isn't all that serious when you really think about it.  Your biggest concern is if he thinks your best friend is prettier than you or if you'll appear slutty if you sleep with him too early on.

Dating Post-Grad is a little different.  You're an ADULT now and are more comfortable with yourself, your wants and needs and what you're looking for in a partner.  You're probably figured out what your "type" is by now and are a little bit more conscious of who you date now that you're over the thrill of a cute boy asking you out.

As I mentioned earlier, dating in your late 20s or early 30s is an entirely different animal. 

You've probably had at least one serious or fairly serious relationship by now, which means you've got some baggage.  You've dated enough to know without a doubt what you want and what you refuse to accept in a relationship.  You're probably not looking for something casual and are starting to seriously consider who you're going to spend the rest of your life with.

Dating at this age is a little more political.  You start to think things like "What do I want to get out of this relationship?"  "Do I see myself with this person long-term?"  "Do we want the same things in life?"

What makes things the most difficult about dating at this age is the stereotypes and stigma associated with being single at this age.  Especially for a woman.

If you're almost 30 and single, many people will feel a tinge of pity presuming that if you haven't been able to snag a man by now it's all over for you.  Despite the fact that they may know nothing about you or your life there's that little twinge people get when they hear that you're solo.  And no matter how adamantly you may claim to be comfortable or even happy with that fact, you know deep down inside that they presume you're just kidding yourself and trying to save face.

Cause how could ANYONE be single and be happy about it.

Ok, so I know I'm generalising.  But I'm honestly sick of the look of pity on people's faces when they find out that I'm single.  You know what I mean.  That sad look that says, "Oh you poor dear, can't find a man.  You know you're not getting any younger."  And the sad thing is that many men you meet at this age are going to occasionally jump to the same conclusion.  That you're single for a reason.  And the older you get, the harder it gets. 

I know a few single women in their 30s and many of them have told me that dating at their age means meeting guys that presume they're automatically looking for a husband and God loving those commitment phobic men (kidding) they just run screaming from a bridezilla in the making who's biological clock is ticking.

I remember the first time someone jokingly asked me when I was going to get married.  I was about 22 at the time and currently in a fairly serious relationship.  I was mildly embarrassed but if anything it made me realize that I had no intention of marrying the guy I was dating.  The thing that bothered me so much about it was that I was ONLY 22.  Why were people pressuring me to get married?  I had barely graduated from University.  I was working at my first real job and was still living with my parents.  Does that sound like a person ready to get married?

Now I've had 4 major relationships in my life that each spanned more than a year each.  A few shorter relationships that fell into the less than 1 year category and what seems like a billion first dates.  So it's not like I DON'T date.  I'm just not obsessed with always having a boyfriend.  I'm comfortable with my own company and confident enough about myself and my circumstances to say that I don't NEED a boyfriend.  Not that I'm morally opposed to it or anything.  Not by a long shot.  But I'm not one of those women who defines herself by who she is or in my case isn't dating. 

What I've realized since the end of my last serious relationship is that meeting men at this age isn't as easy as it used to be.  Between work and my friends I don't honestly meet new people all that often.  That goes for men and women.  When I go out, typically I'm with a few friends and that doesn't make for the most approachable situation.  In the corporate world any new people you'd meet are either co-workers or clients and that's generally a big no-no. 

That leaves the grocery store, the gym, online dating and public streets.

I've had a guy pick me up at the grocery store.  He saw me reading a book standing in the cash line and struck up a conversation.  We went on 2 dates.  We had absolutely NOTHING in common and no chemistry at all.

I'm always a little weirded out by people who try to talk to me at the gym.  I guess there's always the theory that you have something in common already if you're both trying to be healthy.  And I guess if he's seen me sweaty, with no make-up on and in my yoga pants and he STILL felt inspired to talk to me that must be a good sign.  But honestly, does this actually happen?  Do people actually meet potential dates at the gym?  Is that why the chick on the elliptical behind me is barely sweating an wearing mascara?

Online dating.  Oh dear God.  Now, I'm not going to completely knock it.  We've all heard the success stories and for busy people it is a logical option.  But I've always found something a little creepy about it.  I tried it once and found it a little awkward and there's always safety/privacy concerns so I'm not inclined to try it again at the moment.

That leaves public streets.  Would you actually go out with a random guy that walked up to you on the street?  Doubtful.

I guess there's always the blind date option but I LOATHE the concept of being a charity case for my happily paired friends.

But if one never meets any new men, how can one possibly find Mr.Right?

Cheers,

Ash