Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Tis the Season for First Kisses

If you've just started dating someone and you're looking for a memorable spot to share your first kiss, here are few seasonal suggestions:
5. Granville Island
It's noisy, there's always live music playing somewhere, there are crowds - Granville Island is the perfect spot for an unsuspected first kiss. Make it natural and quick, as if the spirit of the season took hold of you both for a split second and magically pulled you together. If your date responds favourably, there will be more time for longer, repeat versions. If your date seems shocked, you can always blame the oysters.
4. Lost Lagoon
The swans at Lost Lagoon are an instant aphrodisiac; just don't get to close. Their white graceful bodies exude innocence, while their long necks are highly sexual. The lagoon itself is a close stand-in for Central Park, one of the most romantic spots in North America. Pick a bench, wait for a pause in the conversation when you are both looking out at the lagoon, then turn and lean. Voila! Thank the swans…
3. Seasons in the Park
Not as cheap as the market or the park, but combine the food, the wine and the view and you have yourself a virtual kiss guarantee. Go easy on the garlic.
2. Spanish Banks
My parents used to call it: 'heading down to watch the submarine races.' Spanish Banks at night is one of the most romantic spots in Vancouver. Why? Because it's secluded, you have a beautiful view of both the harbour and the city and there are no streetlights. Sometimes you have to sneak a kiss.
1. #VanKiss
If you haven't heard about this holiday hashtag, let me enlighten you. A secret society of elves has set up close to a dozen mistletoe stations around the West End. Attached mostly to light poles, these kissing invitations are causing quite the stir this holiday season. Suggest a walk down Davie, checkout the rainbow intersection, giggle in front of the adult shops and then innocently point out one of the two dangling boughs at Thurlow. Tis the season...

Grab Your Umbrella

With this year's cinematic release of "Saving Mr. Banks" and the 50th Anniversary of Disney's original "Mary Poppins," the Arts Club decided to fly in the world's most famous nanny for a holiday run at the Stanley Theatre.

It had been awhile since I had seen a live production in Vancouver, but when I saw "Mary Poppins" on the Eventsand Adventures calendar, I threw in my umbrella and prayed for wind. Lucky for me, there were still tickets.

We met outside the theatre before the show and were given our tickets on a first come, first serve basis. I was given a ticket to the front row and I immediately wished I hadn't stopped for gas on the way to the theatre. But, as it turns out, the front row was fine for sight lines and superb for sound.
In my row their was myself and another guy and at least ten women. Excellent. We chatted before the show in the lobby and I got to know two new members I had never met. As luck would have it, one of them would share my armrest.
We ordered drinks for intermission and entered the theatre a full ten minutes before the curtain rose. This gave us a chance to continue our socializing and marvel at the stage decoration. We all exchanged stories about our childhood affiliation with Ms. Poppins. The only one who had never been served 'a spoon full of sugar' was the other male in my row. I told him he was in for some fun. He was worried he wouldn't be able to follow the story. I assured him this wouldn't be a problem.
The show proved to be a wonderful adaptation of the film, which the songs and narrative were taken from. I thought both Mary and Bert were strong leads. Sara-Jeanne Hosie, brought her own gifts to the role, painting a slightly stricter Mary Poppins. But Scott Walters, while full of energy and charm as Bert, pulled heavily from Dick Van Dyke's sooty bag of mannerisms. The only character that I found to be less than inspired was the character of Mr. Banks. I think Warren Kimmel missed the mark unfortunately. On the flip-side, I thought that Mrs. Banks, played by Caitriona Murphy, was a standout in her limited role.

The rooftop chimney sweep scene is still my favourite. I love the "Step in Line" number. Maybe because my mom is a tap dancer and I know just how hard those moves are to pull off, especially upside down (whoops…spoiler).

The show ended with Mary magically sailing above the crowd, thrilling the younger members of the audience. Till next time Mary Poppins.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

10 Things To Never Do On a First Date

For this week's second entry, I thought we could look at ten of the worst things you could do on a first date. Even if you've been out with someone before in a casual setting, the first time it's one-on-one, you really need to watch what you say and do in order to make a good impression. To guarantee a second date, avoid these ten 'dealbreaker' taboos:

10. Do Not Arrive Late - It should be pretty simple. Give yourself lots of time, plan ahead and arrive on time. Public transit is pretty decent in Vancouver. Use the Translink website to figure out your route. If you are going to be late, apologize and tell your date as soon as you know. If you already have a zillion things to do before the date, choose another day. 

9. Do Not Show Too Much Skin - Ladies, you may want to dress sexy, but too much skin is a distraction. Cleavage is a wonderful thing and should be celebrated, but when it's the main attraction, your other attributes may be missed. And guys, lose the wife beaters. Yes, you've been working on your arms, but she doesn't need front row tickets (…to the gun show).

8. Do Not Ramble On - Choose your stories wisely. Pick about five that compliment your character. Avoid work stories, especially if they involve jargon or other references that your date may not know. And discard any story that involves a kegstand or a bachelor party exploit.

7. Do Not Get Drunk - Speaking of kegstands… Alcohol helps us all deal with the awkwardness, but overdoing it can lead to disaster. Have a two drink maximum.

6. Do Not Flirt With Other People - Keep your focus. When you are on a date, it is the two of you. Forget about all the other attractive people in your peripheral vision and focus on the person in front of you. Flirting with others will not make you more appealing to the person you arrived with.

5. Do Not Mention Your Cat - This applies to both sexes. Cats are wonderful companions for those of us living the single life, but they do carry an unwanted spinstress association.

4. Do Not Forget Your Manners - This is incredibly important. Do not burp, fart, spit or eat with your mouth open. Excuse yourself when you need to leave the table, open doors and guys, always let the lady order first.

3. Do Not Talk About Your Ex - Bringing up your ex on a first date is a cardinal sin. It might seem strange, but the illusion you are trying to create is that you have never been with anyone before. Bizarre, I know. But bringing up exes immediately starts unnecessary comparisons. They're in your past for a reason. Keep them there.

2. Do Not Insult the Wait Staff - Sometimes we want to impress our dates by making fun of others. Don’t. Mocking another human being is never attractive. As well, it’s never a good idea to make fun of the people serving your food. Ever!

1. Do Not Check Your Phone – There are only two scenarios where you can check your phone: If your date needs to know the time, or if you or your date has gone to the washroom. The rest of the time it needs to be on silent and stowed in your pocket. We have moved past the days of phones being a sign of social status. We all have one now – keep it hidden.

Christmas Flair

I take back everything I said about holiday sweater parties - Bowling was wicked fun on Saturday. Awkwardness avoided.

So after my sweater tirade last week, I reluctantly signed up for E&A's Ugly Christmas Sweater Bowling Party. Why not?

When Saturday came, I still hadn't procured a hideous holiday pullover and I opted to make my own.

After a visit to my local dollar store, a big shoutout to Amy's Loonie Toonie Town, I went back to my apartment armed with a bag of hideous ornaments and two small boxes of safety pins. I found an old tartan sweater and started with my largest piece of Christmas flair, a foot-long stocking adorned with a Santa face. Using eight of the safety pins, I attached the stocking to the front of my sweater at a diagonal angle across my chest. Then I set to work pinning a number of the other little pieces of Christmas junk to my front.

The crowning touch to my holiday Frankenstein was a wire line of Christmassy tinsel stars that I wrapped around my left arm, from my palm to my neck. Why my left arm? Because my right arm was for bowling! Gotta keep your eye on the prize over the holidays.

The event was held at Rev's, just off Lougheed Highway in Burnaby. The alley is adjacent to the rec centre where we played Wally Ball the other week.

When I arrived, I was relieved to see that everyone from our club had stuck to the dress code. I seemed to be in the majority, with most of the sweaters being of the homemade variety. I have to say, there was a lot of creativity on display. From a skin tight neon green undershirt with a sweater vest pullover, to a Colorado ski club zip-up with added tinsel to boost the ugliness, we were the stars over Bethlehem.

I was matched with two ladies and two gents on the far lane. One of my partners entered my name in the bowling computer, but I guess he misheard me, so for the rest of the night I was known as 'Derby.' Awesome! If only I could have engraved it on my woollen masterpiece.

As far as natural bowling talent, we were all working with the same skill set. We alternated from double gutters, to the odd spare, to the very occasional, but much celebrated, strike.

A mix of 90s and modern hip hop played over the speaker system. This provided a needed soundtrack for our victory dances.

Unlike the Commodore lanes in downtown Vancouver, Rev's allows you to bring your drinks to the playing area - a nice touch. We were also given a free pizza for salty performance enhancement.

I talked with a few of the other members in the lane beside us, but I didn't get a chance to chat with one ridiculously cute girl. Fingers crossed she comes out to the next event.

So far the highlight of my holiday activities.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Single Over the Holidays

Ok, Valentines Day is the worst. Being single on V Day is like being lactose intolerant at the Häagen Dazs factory. But, the month leading up to Christmas is without a doubt, the second worst time to be single.

Let's start with the holiday parties. Showing up at an 'ugly sweater party' without a date is as awkward as it gets. Especially, if you only know the host. If you go all out and create your own holiday sweater, people think you're a freak. They know your significant other didn't make it… If you go out and buy a store sweater, you still smell of desperation. Don't wear one and you like Debbie Downer. It's a lose, lose, lose scenario.

Then there are the family functions, where every relative in the room pulls you aside to grill you about why you are still single. "Have you tried online dating," your grandmother asks. "I hear there are nice young women on there who are dying to find a man."

"I bet Grams, but have you ever tried to write an online profile."

Even the office social can be an awkward affair, especially when your boss notices you came alone.

Being single is like the death mark over the holidays.

But there is a silver lining: one less person to shop for. As your friends madly look for that one gift that will remove them from their wives’/girlfriends’ naughty list, you can relax and enjoy another cold beverage. Your pocketbook remains unfazed and your holiday stress level is even flat line. Hakuna matata. First and last Lion King reference; I promise.

And, if you're a member of Events and Adventures, the month of December is full of fun single's activities to make you appreciate your precious freedom. From night tubing, to swing dancing, to the legendary New Year's Bash, Events and Adventures promise 31 days of awkward-free socializing.

Skip the couples’ functions and come join the fun.

And if Grandma grills you again, just tell her you found someone. She couldn’t make the party because she’s volunteering at the Vancouver Food Bank. Tis the season for little ‘white’ lies.