You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

first, a confession. i used to hate new year’s. it always seemed like a forced-fun event. an arbitrary evening to slug back champagne and watch the eerily youthful dick clark on television. or attend parties full of people you didn’t know. new year’s always felt like a competition, an end in the means, an inevitable drunken debacle. but now, i see it differently. almost hopefully. at best, with cautious optimism. a dreamy rebirth.

that is why i have cautiously entitled this post “new year, new you (?)” because i beg those who try to shed their old, their pounds, their particular “question mark” problem to abstain this year, from abstaining itself. i, too, used to think the new year should beckon in the new and improved jacks. one who swore less, was fitter, a better person, smarter, happier, more well-rounded. but i was under the false impression that to be shiny new jacks, i had to give up, avoid, abstain, decrease. this ultimately left me unhappy. trying to shed rather than trying to gain. trying to close rather than open. i’m good at this. shedding to the bare minimums to perfect those while losing sight of what’s more.

last year, i attempted something radically different. i added instead of taking away. i splurged instead of showing restraint. and now i have something ridiculously good to show for it. and it didn’t take much. didn’t feel like persevering. not like a chore. or a burden. but fun. essentially, i got fun for new year’s.

at the end of 2006, i made a commitment to volunteer. i became a big sister. and now my life has a new dynamic that makes me feel good about myself. not too this or that. not not enough. not a work-in-progress. but a real live giver. doer. contributor.

now i tell you all this because i am cautiously, optimistically, breathlessly constructing new add-on goals. not take-away ones. and i’m all giddy with the possibilities. overwhelmed even with the notion that i can choose anything and, as my track record so far can attest, achieve it. that is really a crazy realization.

that i can do anything.

rather than i’m not enough.


isn’t it weird that you desperately crave downtime and then go stir crazy? i guess xmas downtime isn’t really downtime though. it is kinda a fake break. you still run around like an idiot buying gifts, then doing everything until you can open the gifts, then open the gifts and in between see everything you know, cook and eat countless meals and generally do everything christmas-y imaginable like (deep breath) watch movies, eat chocolate, roast chestnuts, drink eggnog, drink rum and eggnog, drink copious amount of beer and wine, drink hot chocolate (i think i’ve mentioned i like to ingest stuff), spend time with friends and family, travel to see friends and family, shop some more, pay bills, go to fantastic holiday movies, and see lights, trees, and more lights whenever possible. and eat and eat and eat.

so i guess it isn’t surprising that when you get a second to yourself, your head is still spinning. so today, when i should be relaxing, i am thinking about how i will be presenting at the Northern Voice Blogging Conference in february. a year ago this february, i attended the 2007 installment Northern Voice and marks my inauguration into the world of blogging. i had no idea it could/would be this much fun. it also marks a little over a year since the official start to my fieldwork (which is sadly done now. which is why i am supposed to be writing. not procrastinating. by writing a blog. a blog i thought i’d never have. anyhoo). so of course, to come full circle, i am going to talk about online dating at this conference and i gotta tell ya, i’m pretty friggin’ excited about it.

over these fine holidays we visited with our lovely and talented friends L. and D. they are academics, have interesting topics of research, and generally treat life like a challenge. that is, they never run from the difficult. as top athletes and top minds, they will not be swayed from goals. taken off course. dissuaded. we talked about our dissertations (and collectively tried to avoid the always sickening “is it almost finished” question that NO ONE should EVER ask a phd student. EVER). while talking, i’ve realized that my educational journey has taught me one thing. that although it seems that nothing is getting done, that progress is stalled, that there is no end in sight – there is because i am just marinating. stories for me come from a place inside that i do not quite understand. probably will not ever understand. but i have learned to be patient. to wait. because they are coming. in a burst of what i would like to call inspiration, but rather resembles a kind of anxiety-induced near-expiration, it comes out. all flowy-like and rapid.

so knowing this one thing about myself, i have decided to call on my blog readers if, indeed, you are out there and are yourself cautiously awaiting the inspiration to expirate, to tell me your burning questions about online dating. to remind me what is the most compelling part of the oceans of data swimming in my head. what would you like to hear about the how tos, the practices, the processes of online dating of you were, in fact, attending the 2008 Northern Voice Blogging Conference? because this is a “non-academic” conference, i want to tell stories. and with your burning questions, maybe my marinating can turn into cooking. or grilling. or whatever one does with marinated stuff. you know what i mean.

i know it is a lot to ask at christmas. but consider it a gift. yes – ask yourself why you haven’t gotten me a gift already. yeah, that’s right. where’s my friggin’ gift?


i was going to title this post as the next in my sequential ordering of “bad blogger” posts but i’m too full. i think i am on a tryptophantastic high. anyhoo – i’m a bad blogger because i was under the impression that bloggers take christmas holidays. but i was wrong. all the blogs on my blogroll have faithfully and miraculously replenished themselves with the same insightful, witty, and creative stuff of always. so you heard it here first folks: bloggers don’t get a holiday. armed with this knowledge, i too will try, high on turkey and massive quantities of carbohydrates (including my grandmother’s kick ass stuffing which i am proud to say i can adequately approximate), attempt to write something. insightful. creative. witty. jeesh.

holidays make me think of food. which is obvious if you take into account that i stuffed myself like a christmas turkey moments before realizing my requisite duty to my dear, dear blog. also, this past christmas eve, i watched the new version of hairspray (and btw, wasn’t there an old version with ricky lake? did i dream this? is this the turkey talking? help me out here folks). the film is about difference and accepting difference (exemplified in the themes of life-as-a-fat-girl who wants to be famous and a racially segregated baltimore seeking integration through the vehicle of a local television show aptly named the corny colin show or something equally retro-tastic). this intersection of holiday feasting and fat phobia apparent in the film resonated compellingly as i think about what is ahead for many this new year. that’s right folks. exercise. dieting. the quest, as one gym i saw today advertised, for the “new you” this new year.

i, of course, pig out on holidays. take a break from everything. including worrying about how big my thighs are or how flappy the skin under my arms is when i wave (chicken wings i believe they are called). and i guess we all do. it is why we have holidays – to take a break from the always and everything of worry. plowing ahead. getting through the day. and perhaps this is why we panic when the new year hits. not only were we dissatisfied with our bodies in the everyday but then we went ahead and ate. and ate. and ate. (now i am making myself slightly hungry thinking about all the chocolate under the tree. i know. i’m full and still frothing at the mouth for dark chocolate. i never said i was strong. or not disgusting. or well-disciplined). getting back to the everyday means allowing those voices to once again control us. mentally measure our thighs. watch the flaps of skin flail.

what i was most astonished by watching hairspray was not how distracting john travolta was as a woman or the fact that christopher walken can still move like he did in his deer hunter days. nope. it was the fact that a young woman was portrayed who was strong. uninhibited. proud. talented. and fat. this is an image we never see. isn’t available. does not exist in hollywood. but there she was. beautiful and bold. never once wincing at the slights, the insults, the discrimination against her fat that the movie depicted with hilariously horrifying (a expert john waters technique) clarity.

i don’t want to get into a conversation about how the media does this to us. to women. and increasingly to men. because it is not enough. to think we are put upon. agency-less. void. but i do want to encourage thinking about difference as a way of experiencing the world. we can worry about our “new selves” – which are just copies of what is ultimately similar (that is, youthful, thin, fit, active, well-adjusted, happy – the list goes on. and on. and on) – as something beyond the confines of our embodiment and the narrow ways we have to inhabit those bodies. rather our “new selves” can be defined by different categories. and we can perhaps realize, much to our surprise and decreasing worry, that our “old selves” are increasingly habitable. because difference exists. no matter how hard we try to stamp it out with resolutions. to encourage our bodies to be something other. ultimately, and unlikely, similar.

and perhaps a smidge less fabulous.

now where did i put that chocolate…

this past sabbath-day-of-rest, i was pole dancing. with a “learn to lap-dance” chaser. perhaps i can explain. apparently, pole dancing is the number one choice these days for bachelorette parties and it just so happens that my lovely friend A. is getting married, so what better way to prepare her for what’s to come than do things like “pretend your shy” (i’ll let you decide what that is on your own) and “ask for your tip” (something i can see coming in very handy). i found myself conflicted from the beginning. first there was the issue, if you remember from a previous post, that i hate heels and therefore don’t have any. basically, i felt inadequate and unprepared without at least one pair of stilettos or plastic-heeled hooker boots (don’t pretend you don’t know what i’m talking about – just because they never leave the bedroom doesn’t mean you or your loved one don’t have any).

i settled on a new pair of no-heeled turquoise boots because they are cute. and who doesn’t feel sexy in some slouch turquoise ankle boots? turns out, i don’t. i’m not sure what i could have worn to feel like a sex pole dancer but it would have had to be a lot less. a lot. then there was the fact that every move was broken down into parts, so things that you might customarily do that you, at the very least, think are sexy, somehow became very unsexy-fied. sexy-less. sex-less.

and i couldn’t help but feel conflicted. once, a lone time ago, i watched a pole dancing party on t.v. (an attempt to inform about the popularity of the phenomenon i suppose). i was incensed by the end. granted, i get incensed about the way women’s sexuality is regularly portrayed on television and i get particularly incensed about the way in which it gets packaged and presented to us at so-called ‘sex’ parties. as if we are there to get an education about what our partners (if they are male) know, want, and like. pole dancing was eerily similar.

don’t get me wrong. it was fun and it was an experience. the teacher was an athlete in the art of the pole dance and my jaw literally dropped when she did a little routine at our request. but it is based on the presumption that we can feel sexy, be sexy, as women primarily when we conform to men’s desires. when we act naughty. shy. aggressive. there is something strange – beyond the notion that we would pay and not be paid for such work – about a group of women getting together and grinding over invisible partners in a big multiply poled room together, no?

i don’t want to sound like a prude, or an anti-sex feminist, but i wonder why we as women can’t get together and define the ways we would like to be sexy. and i don’t mean by talking about our vaginas. or or maybe i do. i think the sense of displaced anxiety and general discomfort with ourselves (or perhaps, just myself) is about a refracted desire. a desire we have seen before but does not constitute our own. i don’t mean this post to be biologically essentialist – as though desire is something men and women have and is not, itself, constructed by allowable acts and gendered arrangements. that is not my intent. my only point is that in the hierarchy of desires, women’s is somehow other. undefined. easily usurped by the lure of the male-desire driven strip club.

as final thoughts, i would like to reiterate: that i’m glad i did it, i would like to come up with alternative desiring practices for the future of bachelorette parties, and i would like to wish all ya’ll happy holidays. because every pre-christmas post should be about pole dancing (you’ll be happy to know that i want to say something about “north pole dancing” but i won’t because that would be lame. see how i protect you from myself dear blog reader?;).

i’m a bad blogger, or simply an annoying person, because i think that since i have begun blogging – everyone must. i’m like one of those people that finds a new restaurant and the EVERYONE has to go, reads a new book and EVERYONE has to read it, turns a certain age and then EVERYONE has to be that age. well, perhaps the last one is a bit of a stretch, but you are smelling what i’m cooking. suddenly, i can’t help thinking about the fact that everyone i know is interesting, have compelling pursuits, and are talented in the arts of the mind (is that immodest to say? everyone i know is fabulous ergo, i’m fabulous? (fyi, i just accidentally put a “t” on the end of ergo, because i thought it was silent, and found out that ergot is actually the name of a species of parasitic vagina among certain grasses and grains – no joke, look here. don’t say i never taught you anything, especially about the interspecies cornucopia of vaginas).

anyhoo. i am going to continue to be a bad blogger by attempting to make my fabulous friends torn among the doubtless fabulous blogs my other fabulous friends are wont to make now that i have incessantly insisted that everyone must blog their respective and collective fabulousness. whew. that is a lot of immodest fabulousness.

in closing, i am going to leave you with a collection of words i am not super fond of. of course i had to name my blog “i hate my blog” thereby compelling me to think of things i actually do hate and thereby perpetuating hate on “i hate my blog” blog. a disclaimer: i love love. swears. just look at previous posts.

gross words:

* panties – however, panties has significantly grown on me. when i was 11, saying panties to me could have resulted in copious amounts of vomiting.

* mustache – it is gross to say and gross on people’s faces. for real.

* skakum – a country road near where i grew up.

* taste – i don’t actually hate the word taste but i hate when waiters and waitresses ask you how something “tastes.” i find that a deeply personal question that should not be asked flippantly. 😛

* speaking of vaginas – the t word. i can cosy up to the c word in a subversive kinda way, but the t word? please. it’s horrible.

what are some of your unfavouritest words? what words give you the creeps? induce vomiting? tell me – i need to add to my repertoire…

instead of being accountable to my fitness regimen, and my cardiovascular health and the like, i have instead opted to sit on my couch and write on my blog (please refer to post image for my current philosophy on life). instead of being a conscientious body technologist, i am thinking about going to cincinnati in march to a fat studies conference. as i previously mentioned, i am thinking a lot these days about fat, its meanings, narratives, and morality tales. in a recent discussion with friends about the conference resulted in a conversation about the meaning of “fat” and if it can truly be subverted with the rearticulation of “fat” as a subversive term. using fat in common parlance seemed to cause unease, dis-ease, with any notion of empowerment bandied about at the table.

i balked at the idea that we cannot get out from inside the hate that breeds hurtful slurs, pejorative parlance, unhappy embodiment. but it provoked thought about the power of words, the making and unmaking of our collective realities. the connection i make here to my own state of laziness has nothing to do with any equation between laziness, the gym, and fat but rather about the morality tales we tell ourselves about our own relationship to proper embodiment, desirability, and the amount of “like”ness we can have in relationship to our corporeal forms.

everyone has the voice that encourages them against or toward their desired bodily forms. don’t eat that. eat that quickly so it doesn’t have time to stick to your hips. thighs. ass. going for a walk/gym/run feels good. getting up off the couch is for losers. etc. the same voice that tells us were not worthy. too simple. not sufficiently complicated to keep the interest, get the job, make it work…

i guess i want to relate to fat through my own body. position myself up against its problematic, pregnantly possible, potentially persistent edges and embrace it. as it affects my thoughts. dreams. will to exercise. everyone has a tale to tell. an “i beat fat” or “fat beat me” story of failure or adventure. of daring to dream something other. or live in a state of heavy flesh. i think fat provides us a window onto our tiny voice. our unarticulated anxieties. our unpronounced denouncement of our fleshy cages. fat signifies a freedom of will. and a failure of control for those who subscribe to a moral discourse. but can fat be other? why can’t fat be more? can fat be more?

i think those at the conference in march will teach me so.

i am currently reading a fabulous poetic book called how the blessed live by this fellow vancouverite writer/blogger here. the main character has this lovely habit of writing deliciously rich lists that are chalk-full of meaningful life lessons, reflections and paradoxical states-of-mind. i have decided to make my own list of pet peeves which will be reflective of nothing mentioned above but will please me on a listless friday afternoon when, of course, i should be working…

i) when stores are obviously closed and they leave their blinking open signs on. i always think, “oh, they’re open late” and then am crushed when i cannot, in fact, get my keys cut in an hour at midnight.

ii) amateur porn. really? must you? stop it.

iii) cat fur tumbleweeds in my apartment that even a swiffer can’t wrangle.

iv) being sweaty and cold at the same time (this happens less since moving to the westcoast but it happened in o-town all the time. it’s the second coldest capital after moscow, don’t-cha-know?).

v) that you can’t eat poutine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without adverse health affects.

vi) sickness of any kind. after two flus, one pukey and one not last winter, i am officially a germaphobe.

vii) roman numerals.

viii) boring research.

viiii) people that don’t like christmas. this, my friends, is virtually unimaginable.

x) not having a cellphone for the two times a year i need it.

xi) wearing tights. it’s a faulty crotch thing. i seriously believe it can’t be helped. or they would fix it, no?

xii) high heels. wanna love ’em and wear ’em. can’t. or won’t. you choose.

xiii) anything with eggplant. the word moussaka makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

xiv) any movie with nicole kidman (save for moulin rouge but that is ONLY because ewan macgregor saves the day).

xv) roman numerals – really, what is up with these?

xvi) plane travel. i always get stuck in the middle seat.

xvii) how i can never go to the theatre and smell popcorn and not eat it.

xviii) being late. which i’m gonna be if i don’t stop blogging!

thanks for indulging me. i feel better now.

despite my blog title alluding to hatred, i actually love lots o’ stuff. i love cats, beer (and how i wish i didn’t!), teaching, learning, reading, walking, EATING, christmas (holidays in general), my family, my friends, my love, and love itself. yup. i love love. lots. it explains why i tangentially study love – dating is meant to lead to love, no? – and why i while away countless hours talking to my friends and loved ones about love. i have come to wonder about how love exists in degrees as well as in ways i don’t fully understand. there is love that is really fear of loss. love that is jealous. love that is new. fresh. shiny. there is lasting love, love that is fleeting, and love that is so sweet it makes your teeths hurt.

love is often perceived as a mystery. an elusive and wispy creature that strikes at a moments notice. when you least expect it. when it rears its head and emerges surprisingly, “at first sight.” love is constructed as fragile, easily lost, hard to capture. what function does this notion of love have? is it a moral tale: those that are nice, kind, willing, able deserve love? to get love, you must give love? to be unloved is to be nothing. to be lonely. to be somehow undeserving. or is it a tale that neatly sets us up in institutions of marriage. of bondage. of cycles of unproductive reproductivity? or is it a fairy tale? a non-existent make believe that invades our imaginations and limits our own creativity. narrows our view of possibilities. perverts our gaze. none of the above i say! because i am a love loving unromantic. non-romantic. anti-mantic.

i think love causes us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise. makes us feel compelled to emote. and emote lots. i am a believer in listening to what love tells you to do without succumbing to fantasies of utter fulfillment. perfection. or mistake the fleeting love of the beginning for what must always be.

i am often asked if i believe in soulmates. soulmates are another pervasive theme in my research as many of my research participants are motivated to online date in order to facilitate a faster, more efficient, route to their soulmate. and the honest answer, is yes. i believe in soulmates. but i don’t believe you find your soulmate all packaged and clean off the shelf and ready-to-go. i think you find your soulmate like you find your favourite sweater. the perfect pet. your favourite spot on earth. or maybe it/they/he/she finds you. maybe love is a fiction. a fantasy. a pre-fab house. fake. unstable in hurricanes. not so fire-retardant. but i don’t think so. what is lost by believing in love? what is gained by resisting it?

if i put my feminist hat on, i could say many things about what is gained by resisting love. total independence. lots of time not spent on emotional labour. lots of money saved on fluffy wedding dresses and expensive catered meals. but i think, even as feminists, we can imagine a love that doesn’t confine us. belittle us. congest our lives with cleaning and rearing. we can love and be free.

but perhaps only if we critically imagine love as a constructed mystery.

and not a for-real sherlock holmesian one.

i’ve been thinking a lot about fat lately. not in the “i want to lose five pounds” kinda way but more in the “fat phobia is a pervasive theme in my research that i eventually have to turn into a dissertation” kinda way. i have never thought so much about fat. other people’s, my own, my cats’. i had an msn conversation yesterday with my friend A. who lives in far off korea at the moment and we discussed, well, what else? fat. we discussed how fat is that last bastion of overt oppression. where one can say discriminatory things about another’s weight in a group and not be reprimanded because that person just happens to be fat. as though it is a moral weakness. an all too obvious display of livin’ the good life.

fat phobia seems to represent a number of different things. it is reviled as a blatant example of being being off the mark of some kind of ideal, some kind of normative standard. yet the phobia produced and displayed is much more visceral than simply the result of some kind of non-conformity or failure to fit into an ideal (which A. and I also problematized for being too simplistic – is there but one ideal? how can we all live within our awkwardness, our large feet and noses, our stretch marks and pocked faces if we are all striving toward one, someone’s, version of what’s id/r/eal). no. fat phobia is about fear. it is born from within and spit out like venom in hopes it will shield us. protect us. from that which is other. out there. in its largesse.

i have become enchanted by this blog here called the 101 Reasons I Hate Being Fat. it is an introspective and honest account of living with fat in a culture of fear and loathing around fat. similarly, i watched an episode of oprah who paraded individuals who had lost massive amount of fat about for her ew-ing and ah-ing audience. such an achievement that we even had to see a man pull the skin that formerly stretched over his large stomach from inside the very large pants he used to wear. interesting.

i don’t have any answers as yet (not with regard to my own work anyway) but one notion keeps occurring to me. fat phobia, like other phobias, or fears based around difference from sameness, is just that: about difference. it seems to me that in a society that greets/treats difference as subversion, fat fits the bill. because overweight people (according to medicalized discourses of proper BMIs, that is) are targeted as “different,” they must pay the price. become marginalized. stigmatized. fat is less about health in these instances than about rightness. moral turpitude. fiber.

fat simply isn’t (th)in.