Saying Goodbye to 2014…

What better way to see out a great year than by spreading some holiday cheer. Plenty of Fish ended 2014 by getting festive and having lots of fun. From volunteering at Belkin House to hosting hot chocolate bars and cookie decorating for our staff, the holiday spirit was out in abundance. Other fabulous activities included our Ugly Sweater Party, Yankee Grab, Girl’s Night and decorating our office Christmas Tree.

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Thanks to a great company and great staff it was the perfect way to end off the year. We’re so excited for 2015!

POF Whistler Trip

When it comes to Christmas parties, no one does it quite like Plenty of Fish. There was no time for mundane lunches at chain restaurants or dry parties within the actual office, this is the season to celebrate and POF made sure the party was festive.

The annual POF Whistler trip occurs every December. The POF family is treated to an amazing weekend away with luxury hotel suites, teambuilding activities, gourmet dinners and hotel parties – Snoop Lion/Pitbull/Rihanna would write a song about. 2014’s weekend away was one for the books.
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Like all good trips, the bus ride to Whistler started with good spirits, some in bottle form and singing. After some great renditions of Christmas carols, we arrived at the Pan Pacific hotel. Our luxury accommodation consisted of stylish, well-equipped suites and stunning views. After some refueling it was time to get our activity schedule one.
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First on the agenda, a teambuilding Amazing Chase courtesy of Canadian Outback Adventures. Staff were organised into teams and, following a series of clues, set out on a range of challenges throughout the Whistler village. Highlights of the day included teams creating a 30-second tai-chi video, beer tasting, sardine eating and resolutions to do more cardio before next year’s race.
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A celebratory dinner and hotel suite party afterwards rounded off day one. It was time for some much-needed rest and then onto day two.
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POFers started Saturday bright and early. After a great breakfast in our hotel, we set out for a day outdoors. Thanks to Canadian Wilderness Adventures we were lucky enough to partake in ATVing, archery and shooting. The majestic background, great company and fantastic weather made for a great afternoon. After some downtime, it was time to scrub up and put on our fancy pants.
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We celebrated our second night with a gourmet dinner at Il Caminetto di Umberto in the village. The rustic ambiance and great service was only surpassed by the delicious food. As the wine flowed, the laughter increased and the bonds strengthened, and it was time to leave for yet another hotel party. Not before some impromptu singing of course. What a better way to end a weekend then with music, drinks, dancing and the people that make coming into work exciting.
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Whistler 2014 was another great event for Plenty of Fish. We’re already looking forward to 2015!

Why He Should Always Pay For The Dinner Date

“Really, that’s just not fair. I always pay my share the first time I meet a man.”

This is what ‘Janine’ had said after I suggested waiting for the man to pay for dates, and then paying her part only if he indicated he wanted her to.
And not dating him again if indeed, that’s what he wanted.

It’s a tricky topic, and one women have asked me about often in my role as a science-based relationship adviser. Some, like Janine, think it’s unfair to expect the guy to pay; others are confused, wanting to be treated, but thinking that might be wrong; and still others do the fake-pay, pulling out their wallets and feeling shortchanged when he takes her up on what she thought was a symbolic offer.
So what’s the deal?

Blame It On Great-Great-Great-Great Grandma

In a survey conducted on best and worst dates, women’s top reason for not wanting to see a man again was his failure to pay the bill, “in full, without audible complaint. Period.”
Why? Well, just as we inherited Daddy’s height, or Nana’s curls, we’re heirs to our ancestors’ thoughts. Studies in more than 37 cultures and societies globally prove it. Men have a shared psychology with other men, all over the world. And women have a genuine sisterhood, psychologically.  It all comes from what got people’s own genes cast forward. Men of the past didn’t have to worry about who was going to provide for them; they could get their own wildebeest, thankyouverymuch.

But women couldn’t always get enough food when they were pregnant, nursing, and baby-schlepping. Those who happened to value a man who could and would provide, got what they needed to make sure they and their genes (aka kids) survived. Were there women who were devil-may-care when it came to whether a guy brought home the bison? Probably. But those women are part of human history~not human ancestry. Today’s women want what their successful female forbears sought: a good provider and protector. Factually, it’s still relevant to women. And our genes’ survival. Globally, right now, women who have a fully invested husband are healthier, wealthier, longer-lived, and happier than women who don’t. And their kids survive better, too.

Pass On Going Dutch

Upshot? Dating is the modern test to show whether a man will provide; it’s the best information we’ve got, up-front, that he is or isn’t into us. Studies show that where a man invests his money, he’s investing his heart; and where he’s not, he’s not. When men fall in love, they fall harder and faster than women do. One way they know they’re falling is whether they have positive feelings about paying for dinner.

By going Dutch, Janine was casting aside some of the very most valuable information you can get: Does he care? She changed her strategy and found that suddenly, she no longer got played for weeks or months of sex and housekeeping with guys who didn’t truly want her.

So bring on the stayers and eliminate players. Let the guy pay. If he doesn’t, you can easily move on. If he does~that’s a move towards Yes, for love and possibly for life.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D.

LoveScience: Research-based relationship advice for everyone

http://www.lovesciencemedia.com

Duana@lovesciencemedia.com

The 7 Deadliest Profile Mistakes

As someone who sees a lot of profiles on a daily basis; this is my gift to you. Do you feel that you aren’t getting the responses that you’d like? Are you attracting the wrong matches to your page? Peruse this list to make sure you aren’t making one of the 7 deadly profile mistakes.

1. Your photos are all selfies

The selfie obsession is a little weird. Sure, try to encapsulate your best features – but there is no need for the 6, almost-identical selfies taken in your bathroom. Not only are too many selfies boring, but they also make you look narcissistic. If you are leaving out shots of your whole body, you aren’t giving potential mates the full picture. If you know you are a little curvier, by all means have flattering pictures, but don’t try and hide what you look like.

DO have a friend take pictures. Show yourself being active. Be dynamic. Rollerblade. Show yourself playing chess. Hobbies will make you a much more interesting match.

2. Your interests are too ambiguoussideah2

You like sleeping? I like sleeping too. You eat? I eat everyday too!

3. You have too many pet picturessideah1

I love cats. You love cats. We all love cats. We also don’t want to see 5 pictures of Garfield. He’s cute, but your profile isn’t an advertisement for the pound.

4. You seem bitter

Does your profile have any of the following?

“Are there ANY good men out there?”
“I’m JUST looking… not ready to make a commitment unless you’re WORTH MY TIME!!!”
“I’m really down to earth, but if you message me asking about my red dress in the third picture I will block you.”

These are all some very deadly profile sins indeed. Keep your profile light and interesting. There is no need to be negative, and listing your pet peeves is immature and unattractive.

5. Your profile is too longsideah3

Your profile should read like a preview, not the entire book. It’s important to leave some stories to tell in person; you don’t need to give everything away. People will form their own opinions when they meet you, and their opinions will never match how you describe yourself.

6. You talk about your ex

If you’re not over your ex, you should probably take a more time to heal. Talking about your ex is one of the biggest buzz kills, not to mention it looks tacky.
DO talk about your ideal relationship. If you just want to test out the waters, feel free to say so. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, state it. No need to beat around the bush!

7. Your profession leaves a lot to be desiredsideah4

 

 

 

 

If you are putting forth a lot of effort to really connect with someone, please be sure to properly fill out your profile. Setting your profession to “Ask” or “N/A” is just plain worrisome.

Happy Fishing!

The First Date Prep Guide For Men

Guys, we can confidently say that it’s never been easier to prep for a first date, thanks to our friends at The Idle Man. You can thank us later.

A Few Words On Grooming:

1. Hair

Your hair may be one of the first things your date notices when she meets you, so if you’re bearing an uncanny resemblance to Tom Hanks in Castaway, you could quickly go down in her estimations. Unless, of course, she happens to have a thing for vagrants, but since that’s unlikely, make sure you get a haircut a couple of days before the date.

2. Face

Yes, beards have been the ‘in thing’ for a while now, but just because you can grow facial fuzz doesn’t give you an excuse not to look after it. So, if you do decide to boycott razors just make sure your beard is neat and tidy round the edges before you leave the house. Alternatively, for those who shave on a daily basis, and are prone to the dreaded shaving rash, make sure you leave enough time for the rash to die down and always apply an aftershave balm or moisturizer.

3. Nails

Along with hair and shoes, nails are another thing most women will take in more than you’d expect. So make sure they’re trimmed and clean, because looking like you’ve spent the afternoon digging in the garden won’t help you to progress to a second date. On a similar note, if your hands are drier than a Cream Cracker sandwich, apply some moisturizer or she won’t want those flaky mitts anywhere near her.

4. Scent

Less is definitely more when it comes to scent, and smelling like you’ve bathed in the stuff is guaranteed to have her coughing and sneezing throughout the date. A spritz of something classic either side of the neck, one under your shirt and maybe one in your hair will be more than enough to have her longing to get closer to you.

What To Wear:

1. Up Top

Slogan T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts and sports team jerseys are all an absolute no-no when it comes to dating attire. You want to look like you’ve made an effort but without going overboard. Chose something classic like an Oxford Shirt in a muted tone, which will work for both smart and casual occasions. If you’re not blessed with good weather on the day and you need an additional layer then opt for a Harrington jacket in either beige or navy, which you can also put round her shoulders if she gets cold. A lightweight round neck cable knit, once again in a muted tone, is another reliable and timeless option.

2. On Bottom

For a lot of guys it can all go wrong when it comes to trousers – they’re either too long, too short, too baggy or too skinny. If you’ve gone with our Oxford shirt suggestion you’ll want to team it with a pair of dark denim jeans. This isn’t an area of your wardrobe where you should skimp on quality, and since you’re likely to get plenty of wear out of them it’s worth paying the extra. Go for a slim fit that’s tapered around the ankle with a length that should break on the shoe. If you want to roll them up a few inches to reveal a flashy pair of socks then do so, just make sure they’re not the Homer Simpson ones your Nan bought you for Christmas.

3. Shoes

As we said before, there are certain things ladies will home in on long before you’ve managed to drop that perfectly rehearsed chat-up line. Shoes are one of those things – and they can seriously make it or break it for some, so make sure you get them right. Once again, something classic and understated like a brown leather Derby or a suede desert boot is your best bet if you’re unsure. Although a lot of people would say sneakers have no place in a date scenario, they can actually look just as smart as leather lace-ups if they’re clean and simple. If you fancy going down the sneaker street then chose a lightweight canvas shoe in a similar colour tone to your shirt.

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The Sexiest Quality You Can Offer A Partner

Drained. Empty. Broken.

That’s how I would feel at the end of all my past relationships. I was stuck in a cycle of bad relationships and I didn’t even see it. Instead, I would just complain about the quality of the men in the city and how there were no good guys left. I would rant about how shitty these guys were over and over again like a broken record.

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. I like to call it the “woe is me” syndrome. For some odd reason, we love to play the victim role… Well I’m here to tell you that playing the victim will get you nowhere. If anything, it will keep you stuck in your cycle of horrible relationships. What you need to focus on is the real underlying cause for your relationship troubles: Self-Love. This was the key to ending my cycle… and I know it will definitely help you end yours. Its time to switch your “woe is me” attitude to “I am love” – doesn’t that sound sexier?

How can we expect ourselves to love another person when we don’t yet love ourselves? It’s like trying to pour a glass of water with an empty pitcher – you can’t. You’ve got to get that pitcher filled first! Self-love is about loving yourself for who you are, who you were, and all that you will be. By loving yourself, you gain self-confidence and a strong sense of worth. You’ll no longer seek that love from others and you’ll no longer need validation from others. How often have you experienced moments of low self-worth in your relationships, or a lack of self-confidence? Feeling as though you aren’t attractive enough, or good enough for your partner plays a huge part in the health of your relationship. Simply put, healthy relationships start with healthy individuals.

If you want to attain a loving relationship you’ve got to start by having a loving relationship with yourself first. Be brave enough to face your faults and own them so you can begin to work on them. Put effort into becoming the best version of you possible so you can attract better quality partners. Shove aside your fears of not being good enough and replace them with a loving confidence. I’m positive we can all agree that confidence is way sexier than insecurity. You attract what you are – it’s just that simple. So if you want confidence, be confident. Find the love within you, and you’ll gain the confidence you once lacked.

The reason we feel empty inside after a breakup is because we gave that person all we had – leaving us with nothing. This is what happens when we lack self-love. Our containers are low, we’re running on empty, and yet we still try to give in our relationships. What do we end up giving? Pieces of ourselves… this is what leaves us feeling empty and drained when the relationships ends. Now imagine entering a relationship feeling whole and filled with love. What makes this so different is that we have a surplus of love to give, so we’re not giving our partners pieces of ourselves; we’re giving our partners real, authentic love.

It’s time to end your cycle of bad relationships. It’s time you stop attracting the wrong type of partners. How? By entering a relationship with yourself. Learn to love yourself first so you can gain confidence and self-worth. Trust me, the “woe is me” attitude is NOT sexy however, the “I am love” attitude is.

The Most Common Online Dating Misconceptions: From A Dating Site Employee

I’ve worked in customer service at PlentyOfFish for the last 4 years, offering me endless opportunities to see what it is that we do best – bring people together and create lasting relationships. That said, my long stint on the inside of the online dating world means I’ve pretty much seen and heard it all when it comes to our users and where they need help.

Here are the most common online dating misconceptions: From a dating site employee.

“I’m Looking For The “Perfect” Person”

There is no “perfect” man or woman. If there was, would they be single? Maybe, but it’s time to accept that everyone has a history! Don’t put someone in the WILL NOT DATE pile because they don’t match what you think you’re after. Be prepared to make exceptions to certain rules. Whatever your “type” is, obviously hasn’t worked out for you yet. Don’t write someone off simply because they don’t meet your partner blueprint. Rather, take a chance and get to know them. Feel them out even in a few message exchanges and really decide if you’re compatible or not. Everyone has flaws, but the thousands of happy couples who write to us every year are a testament that you absolutely can the person who is perfect for you! It’s time to broaden your horizons.

“If They’re Not My Type I Don’t Want To Date Them”

I often hear users say, “I specified my criteria and you keep sending me people I would NEVER date.” If you systematically dismiss everyone who doesn’t match your criteria, you may be missing out on a promising relationship. People are entitled to deal breakers, but it is important to distinguish the difference between what you need and want in a partner. Wants are a wishlist, such as physical attributes like hair, eye color, height and weight, or money and education. Focusing on this stuff may be preventing you from seeing the bigger picture.  A partner who meets your needs is what you should be prioritizing. Pay attention to life goals, family values and ambitions. Perhaps you need to loosen your “wants” horizons and give people who might not be your “first choice” a chance. Branch out and challenge yourself to enter a conversation with some selected matches who you would never pick based on a knee-jerk reaction. You’d be surprised how many success stories I see where a person says, “Upon first glance I wasn’t into (him/her) and then we got to talking and the rest is history!” Stray out of your comfort zone, and amazing things will happen. The more you search and utilize an online dating site, the more specialized matches you’ll receive based on your user behavior. A dating sites is a platform to meet new people, not a restaurant where you can specify your exact order (no anchovies, please).

“I Want To Know All The Online Dating Secrets”

The secret is that there are no secrets. The key factor in online dating success is often effort, not luck.  If you go into the experience with negativity, you will attract bad energy. Aim for quality over quantity and  avoid spamming out the same message to get one hit back. You’d be wasting valuable time and energy because someone who may actually be interested will be disenchanted by that first spammy message and may never reply. Go at your own pace, you will find that special someone when the time is right.

“All Men/Women Are The Same”

A crippling misconception, not only in online dating but in the real world as well. Women tend to be bombarded with sexual messages while online dating, and it can often repel our female users. but ladies have to remember that not all men are going to approach them this way. And men have to accept that  not all women are gold diggers or looking for a free lunch. Sometimes our negative experiences leave us with a bad taste in our mouths, but remember, there are hundreds of thousands of people looking for love! There may be some bad apples in the bunch, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great ones in there too. Take a moment to think about your needs and reconsider your mind-set. Millions of men and women all over the world use the internet to find love! They can’t all be wrong.

“Why Isn’t This Happening Overnight? It Doesn’t Work”

NOPE. Finding the right person takes a while. Like I have always been told, “you have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince.” There will be some bad dates, there will be some really good dates, and there will be some dates where you leave scratching your head. Just because you didn’t hit a home run the first time, doesn’t mean that you’re forever alone. When you do meet someone incredible, don’t rush into things. Closing down your profile after one or two dates isn’t the greatest idea. Give it some time, really get to know the person you have met and start with a friendship at first. This doesn’t mean you’re logging into your profile every night on the sly, but try hiding your profile, or make your images private while you’re giving this new connection some time to grow. After a reasonable amount of time, make the decision to close down your profiles together. Anything worth having is worked for and isn’t created overnight, that includes your relationship.

All too often, we’re blinded by our own pursuits of finding someone who meets an expectation that is unrealistic. We may be missing out on meeting someone amazing because we are creatures of habit and familiarity. Think of your expectations of a mate as a security blanket, staying in your comfort zone provides you with a sense of security but you must be willing and ready to step outside that box. The more flexible you are with your search criteria the more you open yourself to endless possibilities. Remember, there are plenty of fish in the sea!

Happy Fishing!

Is The City Making You Single?

I’m just going to come out and say it: its easier to find a date in a small town.

That’s right. I’m willing to admit, I’m lousy at big city dating. I’m a self-identified small town enthusiast; a big city girl with provincial leanings. Having lived in both a small town, (population 2000), and also a city literally 10 thousand times bigger, (population 2.5 million), I have experienced single life first hand in both of these very different dating environments.

So lets do a little amateur qualitative analysis to compare:

Over the two and a half years that I lived in a small town, I had 2 boyfriends. One I dated for about a year and half, the other for about 6 months. I was in a relationship for approximately 80% of my time there. Both times I met the boyfriend within a month of moving to town.

Since living in the city for almost as long, I’ve had a boyfriend for roughly 10% of the time, (I think I’m stretching it to even call him a “boyfriend…”), and I met him after living in the city for almost a year. I’ve dated, but nothing has really stuck.

So what’s the deal?

At first glance, living in a big city might seem like the best option if you’re looking for love. There are lots of great things about urban life: there’s tons to do, tons of people to meet, and tons of late night take-out options. You can mix up your social circle and have a varied friend group with lots of chances to meet new people. There are so many options! It’s possible to meet someone cool in your summer softball league, when you’re taking advantage of that stand up paddle boarding Groupon, or at any one of the many outdoor music venues, right?

Wrong.

Time and time again, urban singles bemoan how hard it is to meet someone “real,” how they feel lonelier, and how they are missing a feeling of connection to those around them. Cities operate in the paradoxical way of bringing together a large amount of people in a relatively concentrated way, but also increasing feelings of distance between individuals on a personal level. It can be very hard to connect with others, let alone find your perfect match.

After some thorough pencil chewing and head scratching, I believe that my interesting conundrum of only being able to successfully form relationships in a small town comes down to a few characteristics that make all the difference. Here are the applicable differences between big cities and small towns:

1) There is less choice

This seems counter intuitive  but bear with me. Studies have shown that subjects who are given less choice in a variety of situations tend to perform better and are more satisfied with their selection than those who are offered greater choice overall. While this seems like it should be worse when it comes to dating, what it means is that sometimes having a huge pool of singles to choose from can actually lead to us feeling overwhelmed by all the options or constantly second guessing ourselves. Small towns with fewer available singles means less choice overall but could mean more successful relationships in the long run, (as my anecdotal evidence suggests.)

2) Everyone knows everyone

What’s the easiest way to break the ice ? Talk about something you have in common. Having common ground to chat about when you first meet someone is a great low-pressure way to start a conversation and see if there’s any chemistry. If you live in a small town, you probably know where the other person works, have mutual friends, or have seen them out playing pick up hockey on their unicycle, whatever. Perfect conversation starter.

The only downside of this? Everyone knows everything about everyone. That guy you’re chatting up has probably dated your friend’s sister, or got fired last year from the restaurant you just started working at. Its hard to keep things private when news travels fast and gossip is the local currency. No real way to get around it.

3) People smile at each other

How often do you smile at a complete stranger? Probably pretty infrequently. Cities have a bad reputation when it comes to strangers interacting with each other. This is not the case in small towns. When you pass someone on the street, you look them in the eye, smile, and nod, almost without fail. This might seem like common courtesy to some, but one that’s not so common in our urban every day.

Smiling has all kinds of positive effects on your body and brain. Keeping a smile on your face makes you feel good and makes others more attracted to you. Smiling at someone else encourages them to reciprocate and gives you both feelings of connection and happiness.

 So what’s a girl to do?

I encourage you all to join me in embracing your inner small town girl. Say hi to new people, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by choice, and keep your head up! I’ll be the nut job smiling at you when we pass on the street 😉

Is How You Talk Turning Him Off?

By Kylie McConville for YourTango.com

There aren’t many guys roaming the earth who’d honestly define their type as the superficial and super-naïve Cher Horowitz from Clueless. The valley-girl persona has always been associated with a narrow world view and, well, talking like you’ve hiked up the Kardashian hill has always made you look a little ditzy. But apparently, all that’s about to change. According to new research published in The Journal of Language and Social Psychology, people who use “filler speech” are actually more conscientious than we’ve ever given them credit for.

One possible explanation why people who fill their sentences with “like,” “uh,” “um” and “you know” are miles ahead of the rest of us in terms of thoughtfulness? Researchers write that “conscientious people are generally more thoughtful and aware of themselves and their surroundings. When having conversations with listeners, conscientious people use discourse markers, such as ‘I mean’ and ‘you know,’ to imply their desire to share or rephrase opinions to recipients. Thus it is expected that the use of discourse markers may be used to measure the degree to which people have thoughts to express.”

But has your valley-girl-turned-thoughtful way of expressing yourself been working against you when it comes to date invitations? We asked guys to dish on what he really thinks of the way you talk.

“I’m listening to what you say and how you say it.”

Adam, who’s 26, says that there’s nothing worse than a girl who’s unsure of herself — and who lets you know it in the way that she talks. “Guys listen,” he says, “whether girls believe that or not. And we’re not just listening to what you say, but the way you’re saying it. For instance, I dated a girl once who would ALWAYS use ‘you know?’ as a filler. When she was nervous, she’d use it more. So when she first met my parents, my best friends, my coworkers, everything was ‘Hi, I’m Nicole, you know?’ and ‘Adam’s a really great guy, you know?’ It was a broken record you just couldn’t get to stop — and I was really embarrassed.”

David, 29, agrees. “I’m not saying that I don’t use fillers either, because I definitely do and it’s something that I’m becoming more and more aware of, but when you use them nonstop, it just makes you sound stupid. You could be the smartest person in the world but when you fill your conversations with ‘like, um’ every five seconds it makes it really hard to take you seriously.”

“Some girls think that guys want to date someone that’s really ditzy and isn’t very sure of herself,” says Cole, 33.

“They think that they need a ‘protector’ and someone to ‘safely show’ them to the world – and it’s not true. Personally, I don’t like it when girls try to sound like they’re not as educated or not as smart as they really are. You are smart. You are educated. Own it.It makes you sexy.”

“How you talk doesn’t really bother me.”

“I’m from Georgia,” says Jackson, 26, with a sweet Southern twang  “so I’ve been around a lot of girls with really think accents. And in the South, we talk really slowly and we sorta savor the words. It’s something that’s absolutely different in the North, where everyone talks faster than lightning. That said, I’ve never really picked up on girls who use fillers a lot or who say ‘um’ more than they should. If they can keep up with my drawl, then I don’t really care about the way they talk.”

“I’ll be the first to come clean and admit it,” says Raphael, 27, “I’m one of those guys who says ‘like’ a lot. I blame my generation – it’s just what we do! So when a girls says it, it doesn’t ever really bother me. If I called her out on it, she’d probably do the same for me. That said, though, my girlfriend hates how much I lean on the phrase. She’s always like, ‘retell that story and stop using fillers!’ I can see where she gets frustrated ’cause sometimes it detracts from what I’m saying, but it hasn’t ever really bothered me.”

Guess it’s not all in the lips, huh?

This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: What Guys Really Think Of…The Way You Talk

More From YourTango:

Don’t Order The Oysters: 7 Shocking Libido Killers

6 Things You Never Knew About ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Do Men And Women Really Speak Different Languages?

 

My 94-Year-Old-Grandmother Gave Me The Best Sex Tips

 

Note: This beautiful love letter is written by Andrea Zimmerman to her late grandmother, and first ran on angiecat.com

Dear sweet, sweet, beautiful grandmother Bette,

By this point, I’m sure you’ve joyously reunited with Grandad, Aunt Dot, and Uncle John and you’re filling them in on the last few years over a few draft beers. ‘Atta girl. Have one for me and tell everyone I’m healthy and happy and started a blog, okay? (You can call it a journal if they’re confused, I won’t tell.)

As I was looking through photos of you – and my goodness, Grandad was a lucky guy, Grams! – I stumbled across a 20-minute video I had taken of you a few years back. You’re sitting in Grandad’s old baby blue La-Z-Boy, talking, oddly enough, about the value of your car (“Only 49,000 miles, mint-condition, and if one of you grandkids wants it, you’re going to have to pay me face value!”). You didn’t realize I had pressed record.

It was shocking, at first, to hear your voice streaming from my computer, knowing I’d never ever be able to hear you tell me that the ‘country is going to hell in a handbasket,’ when you asked me to explain things like Justin Bieber or sexting or the thong that sometimes crept up over my jeans. But as you continued talking, only pausing to ask me what that horrible smell was (it was my perfume, you hated it, typical blunt Bette) it suddenly seemed normal. Like I was just sitting across from you as you called out crossword clues (PSA: A crossword a day is the key to longevity, screw apples) and offered me Big Red chewing gum and expired Aldi’s brand diet soda. (Confession: I could never bear to tell you it was expired, so I always politely took a few sips, then hid the rest of the cans in my car to throw out on the way home. Forgive me.)

In the last conversation I had with you before you passed, I promised you I would keep your memory alive. Your voice was so weak – you had just woken up – but you responded, ‘I know you will, Andrea.’ So in that spirit, I hope you don’t mind that I’m sharing a few gems from our conversation. (Knowing how willing you were to dish out advice – solicited or not – I figured I’d have your blessing.) You truly were a woman ahead of your time.

ON NOT TALKING ABOUT “IT”:

Your grandfather shielded me from some things. I think he thought he was protecting me. When I would go with him to these cosmetic conferences – he worked in the cosmetic business – I can remember driving home and saying, ‘Hey Paul, you know that couple sitting at the bar? Do you know that they were gone for a good hour, hour and a half together?’ And Paul said, ‘Bette, just don’t pay attention to that.’ I said, ‘Well, how can you help but miss it?’ And he said: ‘I know, but we don’t talk about it.’ And I said: ‘We don’t? By God, something’s going on between those two!’ And he said, ‘Alright, Bette, I think there is too, and everybody else thinks there is, but we don’t talk about it.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I’m not even supposed to talk about it with you?’ And he said: ‘Well, of course, but I didn’t think you had noticed!’ And after that, I think he gave me more credit when it came to, you know, matters like that. I’m certainly not the dumbest woman to ever walk down the pike!

ON CHALLENGING GENDER STEREOTYPES:

One afternoon, Paul opened the door for his father with a dish towel in his hand and his father said, ‘Paul, that is not a man’s work. Put that dish towel down.’ And I stood there and I didn’t say mum, but when we came home, I said, ‘What did your dad tell you? That it’s not a man’s job to dry dishes?’’And Paul nodded. And then I said: ‘Well, well, well Mr. Zimmerman, here’s a rude awakening for you because I am not drying your dishes.’ But you have to realize, Andrea, it was a different time. Your grandfather was raised that work was a man’s job and anything having to do with the house was female. Well, not in my house.

When we went on our honeymoon in 1946 and got to our hotel in New York, Paul put his suitcase down and I said, ‘Aren’t you going to unpack?’ And he said, ‘My mother always did that for me.’ And I looked at him, in shock, and said: ‘Not anymore, Paul. You unpack your suitcase and I’ll unpack my suitcase.’ And when he opened his suitcase, would you believe, everything had tissue paper between it! I said, ‘Paul, did you pack that suitcase?’ And he said, ‘No, my mother packed it for me.’ And I said, ‘Remember when I told you I wouldn’t unpack your suitcase? Well, I’m certainly not going to pack your suitcase either! You know what clothes you want to wear and YOU pack them.’ And, Andrea, by golly, he did from that day on.

ON 50 SHADES OF GRAY:

When I see your grandfather in heaven, I’m going to talk to him because we never had that kind of sex! I think if Paul read that book, he’d think, Oh my gosh! I’m sure that men in that day didn’t spend 30 minutes wondering if we were pleased. In our day, it was strictly vanilla, wham-bam-thank you ma’am. The man had any right whenever he felt like it, whether she felt like it or not, and she would never deny him. Today, it’s much more equal and Andrea, let me tell you, that’s the way it should be. You make sure that husband of yours understands that.

ON THE KEY TO HAPPINESS:

Andrea, that’s one thing about me. I’ve always chosen to have a positive outlook. I didn’t have that many bad things happen to me but even if I did, I never chose to reflect on the bad things. I chose to remember the good things, and because of that, I’ve had a very good life.

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