Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Real International Relations

How to Hook up With the World: A Small Guide
As one travelling motto goes: "Best way to learn the local culture is by _____ing it". Insert whatever action verb is appropriate for your taste, but I'll go with 'dating.'  I believe with all my travelling soul there is no better way to learn the intricacies and subtleties of a culture quicker than through the gentle exchange of pillow talk, candle lit dinners, cooking crazy foreign food together, etc. If you're a guy, you can't complete your informal survey of the female body without some lovin of all the choices in the food court.  A recent study on the sexual habits of the world may serve you well. (Found in the Guardian)

What the Studies are Saying 
 Surprise surprise, French people have the most sex at about 130 times a year. Whereas Italians are considered the least sexually mature, not having sex until age 20, not very often and finishing very quickly (um, was Berlusconi involved in this survey?). The British are the beasts of Europe lasting the longest and having on average the most sexual partners and also the most likely to cheat.  Finland, Iceland and Denmark are the most sexually advanced, having started when they were 16. No ball buster here, women in developing countries are much harder to sleep with due to strict traditions governing women's sexuality. They don't hit the sheets until after 18-20 and much less likely to have sex outside of marriage. For more details check out the article. I've obviously overgeneralized.

However, stats aside, we can all admit that wherever you are in the world sex is more or less the same, but if you are looking to be actually screwed the real challenge is in the courtship.

What They Don't Tell you- A Country by Country Tour
Already men and women are uber-complicated, now throw in completely different cultures, lifestyle and language and imagine the potential for a horrible prime-time sitcom (How I Met Your Mother on Meth?). I feel the need to divulge some VERY KEY cultural differences I've noted in the fragile, often embarrassing world of dating and hooking up. As a  Canadian girl in France I've definitely had some mega awkward moments, like I've even been dumped because I didn't know we were actually 'together'. So let me give some of my observations so hopefully you guys don't get thrown into the same situations, or be too confused by your french lover's cuddles the morning after. *These are not all my experiences (I'm not that "cultured") but is a compilation from friends and tales of students living and working abroad.
(Picture: Brian Donnelly)

Are Canadian/American girls slutty?

It's hard to overgeneralise this group, but I will do it anyway for the college to young adult age-group. As my one little French friend studying in Canada (Queens U to be exact), "In Canada, zee gurrls come to yuu. Zey call you all zee time, and it is up to the guy to play games. Not so in France!" (Haha sorry Clement, that's me doing your accent). Similarly, an anecdote from my good looking French ami, lets call him Pat, who was visiting America for the first time said, "I sat in the bar by myself, drinking by myself and so many girls came over to talk to me." He had never experienced that before. 'No effort made and girls will pursue you in North America', aka they're easy is the impression of the women. I will not necessarily argue against, but clarify.

Anglo-Saxon culture is an outgoing and direct way of life. The men are louder and the women are confident with talking to guys (maybe our women's movement was the most advanced, heh ). So compared to stuffy Euro (specifically French) girls, just the fact that a girl talks to a guy and god forbid, flirt with him the Europeans think that the North American girl is an easy piece of ace.

On this point, I think every girl is different with her sexual preferences, but I've heard someone remark that " Just because American girls wear very short skirts and show cleavage, doesn't mean they will sleep with you right away. They tease." I think this is true. The social stigma in North America for actually doing the deed is much harsher than in France.. whereas looking like you belong on Jersey Shore is somehow okay.

It's the other way around in France (as it damn well should be). Maybe it's a remainder of a high religious sentiment running through North America that places way too much emphasis on abstinence? I don't know, up to you to find out. Religious or not it is a shitty double standard women deal with and dudes, you probably will too. Accept her wanting to wait and in the meantime have fun outside the bedroom. NA Men seem to think this means a relationship and will go to great lengths to be just the right amount of cold, but get it through your thick skulls that it's just a way to feel less horrible about "giving it up" (see how the French score so easily below). I mean, it's not that girls want sex less, but in these casual hook-ups let's face it, you as a dude will probably not know how to please her sufficiently to even make it an equal exchange. (Is that why Anglo girls opt for relationships? Higher investment leads to higher returns). In sum, we have no problem flirting, talking, dancing or even paying for our own dinner, but do not mistake that for sluttiness because it often takes a lot to get past the chastity belt we have under our g-strings until marriage (kidding, duh).

Oh dear, what can I say about these men? They too are varied. Relative to Europeans, North American men are spoiled. They know girls will chat them up and make an effort, thus they make much less of one for them. By no means am I saying they're all lazy buttholes (...), of course there is still the tradition of the man taking the leading roll in courtship, but what I'm saying is that it is much less pronounced as it is in Europe. Hooking up is also horrible and very different in North America, so pay attention! Essentially it is much less romantic in the New World. In the morning there is the awkward parting where they don't know whether a cheek peck or passionate kiss is in order. Both parties don't know how to act (granted, this could be the university experience). With the rise of the morning sun, the intimacy from the night before vanishes with the stars. When it HASN'T vanished and the guy kisses the girl tenderly on the lips or cuddles with her in the morning/ there is no awkwardness, it means that the guy probably likes her and may want to pursue a relationship. Otherwise, both people go their separate ways, pretend nothing happened and wait until the next drunken university party to do it again.

Sexually, I cannot put my finger on one category but from what I've heard they seem pretty liberal and not against pleasing their lady partners. However, I've also heard from many male friends that they expect oral from a girl long before they sleep with them, which is not necessarily the case in Europe. If you are a foreign girl with a North American guy, forgive him for seeming so stupid.

The French Lover
 My friend who was in the New York bar mentioned above also said this, "If I went to that same bar in France and drank my beer by myself, I would remain in that corner. Alone. All night." A French girl would never come over to talk to a guy or strike up a conversation. She won't even look at you. Apparently they're colder than Stephen Harper cuddling a kitten.

My beautiful French lady friend, Clara

 All the girls I know have been so fun and awesome, but naturally, they put a different face forward in  the dating world. Essentially, you the guy is expected to make the first move, and well, every move afterward. There is reward early on though. I've heard that they will put out much more easily than her North American counterpart, but only once they have finally been enticed.  So in the end, the Getting-Laid Time Scale probably balances out to be about the same between the Yanks and the Frogs, with emphasis on different parts of the game. Perhaps this is why French girls find North American men so tantalizing. They are much more indifferent in dating and that forces French girls to make a bit of an effort. We all know that everything is sexier when you're chasing it. "Fuis moi, je te suis, Suis-moi, je te fuis," Flea me and I'll follow, Follow me and I'll flea, the saying goes in French.

les mens                                                                       
For North American girls it is so much more pleasant, fun and comfortable to date a Frenchmen. Really, a perfect conjoining of all the universal forces coming together. They are romantic, they will spoon you even the morning after, hold your hand in the streets, even take you on dates, call you, kiss you in public, etc, even if it is not serious! This is compared to NA men who will disregard you like an old bone (this is in a university context) !

 Social Club Paris opening with the Amour pre love (note the strategic use of cleavage? Locked.down.)

However there is a dark side to this romance. We North American girls are used to thinking that when a guy acts like that, he is in love and wants to be your boyfriend. Do not make the same mistake with French men! The romance is normal, it's just how they treat women, but it doesn't mean they want to be your boyfriend. One of my first dating experiences in France led me to that very wrong conclusion and it ended oh so awkwardly! Although the romantic side of French men is superficial, honestly, who.the.hell.cares.  It makes being young and a women so much more like Sex and the City rather than  feeling like one of Barney Stintson's broads in  How I Met Your Mother. Also, Parisian men love to please. Ladies, keep your expectations in check and you will be able to avoid the awkward situations that arise from la French kiss.

Indians and the Diaspora aka Brown People
Brown guys tend to be much more territorial and jealous even if they are integrated into a new culture. From more than one source, it's been said that they are one of the most sexually active cultures with crazy libidos. As famous Indian/Canadian comedian Russel Peters pointed out, "Just look at the country with the second largest population in the world".  High libidos go for men and women alike.

Backdoor fun in Germany?

They like the backdoor (?). Sorry, numerous anecdotes from German friends have led to this statement! I have recently heard that German men are known to be beautiful, albeit wimpy and shy. Because women are very powerful and respected there, it is not normal for a German man to flirt or openly hit on a girl in a bar. Apparently they're shy and it's just not cool. Some North American girlfriends of mine were very confused by this mega non-aggressive male stance when visiting. I haven't personally dappled in the wiener schnitzel culture but I found this article quite funny. Maybe someone can comment on its accuracy.

Funny cultural tidbit: If you're a male of affluent background in Germany you have been taught to pee sitting down. If that is not a testament to a dominant female culture, I'm not sure what is.

Very free with their bodies, this group has no problem getting naked, whether it is to have casual naked wrestling matches with their family or trying to carry on a conversation with a complete stranger. One of the most sexually liberated, the men love to please and are very well equipped for the task(s). Plus, they are just beautiful people.

 Photo Credit: Terry Richardson

There is this image of Thai women all being money-grabbing-white-boy loving slews. I agree. The ones you meet on Khao San Road or in the tourist clubs are indeed capable of holding the stereotype true (but not necessarily). But my half Thai half French friend told me something very interesting that I needed to share to all those jock ignorant backpackers. The Thai girls you see do NOT represent normal Thai girls (duh). The normal Thai girls are reserved, shy, and make the guy work hella hard for her. That is all, now try to remember that when a ladyboy reaches for your package.

The British are Coming..
There are two types. The backpacking bogan types: they are wild and will do anything from fart on you to get tattoos of beer bottles on their ass. The other are typically more public but you never know what is behind closed doors. As one English friend said to me, "Wouldn't you prefer a lady in the streets and a whore in the sheets?" He was a quiet, shy guy, so not sure what he was insinuating of his own behavior there.. The point is beware! Even if they seem calm as a farm, prime yourself for another situation when horizontal.

This is the end of the sexual world tour. I don't know it all. This has just been gathered from funny discussions with friends after a crazy night of partying, or of course some personal awkward experiences. My (ex) boyfriend is French/Swedish and he has given me a lot to work with. If you choose to engage in any sort of International Relations hopefully the insight and our embarrassments will help you avoid your own!

If you feel like I've misrepresented anything, feel free to share in the comments! But don't be offended. Take this with a fun grain of salt. Help your fellow travelers out. Like I said before, this is just how I've rocked the world. Until next time,


The Do is a wonderful Franco-Finnish band.
Song For Lovers- The Do.mp3

(Sexy marketing technique!)

Russell Peters. This is not sexy but a comedic comparison of the size of men's glory sticks. One of the funniest comedians around making humorous and astute observations on the races of the world.

See Also..
Does Size Matter? Condoms in Asia vs Europe

3 Ways to Survive a Long Distance Relationship

How to Love Life: Take a Road Trip with Best Friends

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Toronto: Best Local Music Blogs

Toronto Music Web Loggers

Here are a few stellar blogs that depict the Toronto music scene from Electro to underground hip hop. If you want local and legit and want to avoid that whole popular scene, you'll definitely enjoy these sites.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How to Fly Without Money

My Guide to Finding Cheap Flights Around the Globizzle

Having your love(r) live across the Atlantic means that we have some hella expensive booty calls. People ask me constantly how the heck can a Scarborough girl like me, afford to travel so much, and as I wrote in the first post, it just takes a lot of time and energy searching for the cheapest tickets. Also, it's knowing what IS cheap. In the last section I list a couple of the cheapest prices I've had for flights.

(Hidden Beach picnic. Costa Brava Spain)
For example, one month before I head to France I have JUST found tickets round trip from France for $475 CAD! If you don't buy tickets much, let me tell you that this is the cheapest you could hope for one month before flying. Tickets to France on average are 800-1400 CAD. So I'm stoked. I hope this knowledge will inspire all you Spring Breakers!

1. DON'T WAIT. As soon as you find a ridiculously cheap ticket you better buy it! Airlines usually only sell a limited number of seats at the discounted rates so it is bound to sell out quickly. If your date has sold out, don't despair, just put in different days and you will usually get the cheap original price.

2. Avoid flying on weekends: Flying on Tuesday, Wednesday and sometimes Thursday will

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Indie Guide to Toronto: Rad Bars and Music Venues

Cool Bars and Music Venues

Toronto is home to Metric, Feist, Death From Above, Drake, Billy Talent, Tokyo Police Club and other awesome bands. Check out the vibrant bar scene to see where the magic happens.

Ronnie's Local, Kensington: Everyone I know and like with half a brain seems to love this place. It has been accused of being in the running for hipster olympics, and cursed with popularity (too busy a patio in the summer), but nonetheless maintains its status as a prominent watering hole of uni grads/ young twenty types.

Labyrinth, The Annex: Similar ambiance to the Green Room, this place has a killer special on Monday ($3 bar rail drinks) and Martini special on Wednesday nights. Another place to sit down for drinks with friends with a hip enviro. There is one caution: It is next to the diabolical BRUNNY as discussed in the last chapter. Although it may tempt you, do not enter its doors!

Snakes and Lattes: Opened up by a French fellow, this popular place is where student types go to socialize and play board games. Reminds me a bit of the place I wrote the most vicious review about (Watt in Paris), but unlike the suck reeking from there, this place is meant to be killer.

Madison, the Annex: With a 21+ restriction, it's not a bad place to go for a drink. Admittedly not a favourite of mine, apparently it is where you have the highest chance to hook up with someone in a bar (hell, I don't need good odds to ball out). Whether its due to its Frat House turned classy ambiance, this place is apparently where the single, older crowd go. Depends on your scene, I know it’s not mine, but many do find it enjoyable.

Bar Chef, Queen Street West: This is not a cheap venture, but it is cool! Come here a bit dressed up and ready to have the craziest, meal-like martini’s ever!

El Mocambo: A bit trashy and sketchy looking on the outside, this venue has housed the best show I’ve ever seen : Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s. Its small, dinginess is what makes it awesome, putting you face to face with your favourite band (ie chilling on stage in a giant hippie circle with Alexander from Edward Sharp, holding his hand!!)

The Silver Dollar Room: Don’t let its location next to a skeezy by-the-hour hotel scare you (or tempt you away) from one of the oldest venues in Toronto. This is where you’ll be the first to discover the up and coming talent in Canada. Heavenly sounding voices of Decide Toi Clement! Knock Knock Ginger has played there!

Sneaky D’s, College and Bathurst
: Great Nachos is the first thing people (or late night drunkies) will say about this place. Cool, albeit a bit on the grungier side, this bar/resto/venue is a staple in the Toronto scene. Good thing is that it is super cheap. Dan Deacon played here a couple months ago for $12 CAD!

The Duke and The Bedford Academy, The Annex:
These two bars are U of T, especially Trinity, fav hang outs. Old Victorian houses turned bar gives the place an antique ambiance but the roar of drunken political discussions will quickly remind you where you are. Great place to go with a gi-normous group of friends or for too many pints. Recently I've been told that Tuesday nights at the duke is Trivia night with $5 double shots and lots of fun fun fun questions!

Local Talent

Knock Knock Ginger puts the voice of singing angels to shame. These guys and gals have the makings of a sound that is truly fun, upbeat and original.
Virginia Black- Knock Knock Ginger.mp3

Ohbijou is just precious. If I were to make a bet I'd say that these guys are going to be world famous. They were told that they sound 'too asian', that's just silly.
Black Ice- Ohbijou.mp3

Bocce is a sweet electronica band from Waterloo. Think M83, but better.
4 Again Again Again- Bocce.mp3

Claire Jenkins has an amazing voice and a funky folk band!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Indie Guide: Toronto Clubbing

Electro and Indie Clubs

Since I was born 'n' raised in the T Dizzle, it's only appropriate that my first Indie Guide be about it.


Part one of the Guide is on Clubbing. If you want the popular Jersey Shore Guido clubs then just walk around the Entertainment District (John and Richmond) or check out your typical travel guide. It's sort of like the Champs Elysee area of clubbing ie you'd rather hang yourself than pay $20 cover to hang out with morons. (photo credit for Tape Deck Bros Top Right: AKFaoro )

WrongBar, Queen Street West : One of the great electro clubs of Toronto, where DJ's from the XX, Brodinksy (on Jan 31st!), Friendly Fires etc have all spun. This joint is hip and popular yet not too large, helping it retain its rad ambiance. Great for a Saturday night with cover ranging from $5-15 depending on who's playing. Top local acts like the Nasty Nav, Rynecologist, and Tapedeck Bros spin there often. If you're going to check it out, contact me for guestlist to get in for cheaper!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

La Fesse Seen Round The World

Pour La Liberte de la Fesse meaning For the Freedom of Asses, is one of the most beautiful and shocking websites I've seen. These French students on their third year abroad really took the world from behind (hehe) and produced this stellar website. Bravo.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Mission: To Create the 'Indie Guides to the World' and to Travel with Student Debt

While traveling and researching my next adventures I realized there was a real deficiency in (free/online) travel guides appealing to what a poor intellectual student like myself was looking for. Finding cheap suggestions were easy, but it never told you where the best electro parties were, where to drink sangria for cheap on a monday night, what were the most romantic and hidden waterfalls to make love under while also being the biggest to do insane cliff jumping off of, where to hang out with locals and not just expats, or how you know your magic shakes are legit. In short they never told you how to get off the beaten track WHILE partying your bonbon off in indie scenes, and where to find sexy romantic places that will keep your international lovin ridiculously hot.

The Narcissism of Bloggers and My New Year's Resolution

I've finally done it. I've created my first blog! I know you must think I'm some 13 year old 'newb' on the web here to post pictures of my emo haircuts and boyfriends, or a numb, divorcee trying to keep it hip as my crow's feet take away my youth. The truth is I'm just a university student who took 4 years to jump on this web logging wagon. I just had so many misconceptions about them, I was constantly deterred...

First, I found (find?) the whole idea a bit narcissistic, don't you think? I'm writing to you (whoever you are) and I expect you to read about a complete stranger's insight. Besides music and fashion blogs, or the blog by Nicholas Kristof of the New York times, I find it hard to see the appeal.. Believe you me, this is the year I expand my web horizons.

Second, I've held a bias towards blogs. I've always assumed that they are just an extension of a bunch of attention deprived emo kids' journals where they pore their hearts into this empty abyss that is the internet. Or just something that backpackers or exchange students HAVE to do. I admit on my own exchange in Paris, I was tempted to record my every party, thought, or cultural insight, but the