Shannon Hunter


Flirting: Turning heads when you’re taken still feels nice

Last night I was at a party with a friend when a cute guy started talking to me, a really cute guy, and before I knew it he was flirting with me — rather drunkenly, but he was definitely flirting.  At most parties and events I’m either with Boyfriend or everyone there knows about him so there’s never any flirting; I’d almost forgotten how great it can feel to have a total stranger find you attractive.

Nothing happened; I laughed, I flirted back a little but I was never concerned about what he thought because I found my person more than a year ago. Flirting when you want to go home with someone or get their number is so much more WORK than when you know you don’t want either of those things. Before I met Boyfriend I used to go out to bars and flirt through hockey games, Irish jigs, and more than a few ill advised shots of tequila. It was always work; I had practiced lines, I had looks and moves and I knew exactly how much cleavage to show.

Last night I showed up in the same dress and tights I’d worn to work, I was more concerned about having a good time with my friend than I was with meeting a new dude and I guess it showed. Maybe there’s a reason that people say as soon as you wear an engagement ring or a wedding band people start hitting on you; maybe it has nothing to do with the ring and everything to do with the fact that you just don’t care anymore.  The less you care about hooking up, the easier it is.

Standing in front of this man there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be faithful to Boyfriend, I love him and I’m not interested in cheating. But I liked the attention I liked knowing that someone else found me pretty. It may sound terribly vain but sometimes I just want someone to look at me and think, “Damn.” Sometimes I don’t care if they think I’m entertaining or funny or wild or weird I just want them to appreciate that I put effort into my appearance. Boyfriend loves me and of course he finds me attractive but he knows me and that taints the opinion; when it comes to appearance the opinion of a stranger will always be more honest than someone who cares about whether or not they are hurting your feelings.

I’m a happy lady and I can’t see a future that doesn’t have Boyfriend in it (or maybe I just don’t want to) and I don’t care about what’s-his-name from last night’s party, I will probably never see him again, but it’s really nice to know that I can still turn a head or two when I want to.

Christmas shopping: Can I find the perfect gift for the perfect guy?

Normally I love shopping for Christmas presents. I like finding the perfect gift for each person and I consider it a personal triumph when I make someone cry; tears are a clear sign of victory. But Boyfriend is impossible to buy for and he’s far better than me at getting presents because everything he gets me is something personal and deeply meaningful; at this point I wish he’d show up with an iPod shuffle and an ugly Christmas sweater in a box that says, “To: Janet.” At least then I wouldn’t feel like such a failure.

For our anniversary Boyfriend made me, literally made, a Zombie Boyfriend Munny doll that he had hand drawn and coloured in. For my birthday he had someone make me a one-of-a-kind Sasquatch stuffed creature wearing a red vest because when he sat next to me in the hospital and I was doped up beyond recognition I told him I had a conversation with a Sasquatch wearing a red vest.

See?! There is literally no competing with him at gift giving.

I wanted to get us a trip to somewhere warm and toasty for New Years Eve, even if it was just a couple days, but then I took a new job and a last minute trip seemed like a pretty terrible idea.  Boyfriend has never been on a vacation, ever, so it would have been the perfect gift for him but unless Flight Centre wants to gift us three days in the Bahamas I don’t think that’s happening this year. I’m back to square one.

After the vacation idea I thought I had found a great gift, a comic book artist who would make a print based on our story; beautiful, simple and so very perfect for my comic book loving manfriend. But I didn’t think far enough ahead so it wouldn’t arrive until after Christmas and that’s just not going to work, maybe I’ll do that for his birthday in April.

Right now I’m out of ideas, I’m 100% sure that he’s ordered something or made something that is brilliant, sweet and something I didn’t even realize I needed in my life. At this point I’ll probably end up getting him something he wants but wouldn’t buy for himself, like a new TV he needs a new TV.  The worst part is that he will probably love whatever I get him, he’ll probably think it’s great but so far there’s nothing I can think of that will even compare to the things he’s already given me.

Is dating always this hard? We did the, “I love you thing.” Shouldn’t I be calmer about what gifts I get him? Shouldn’t holidays be easier now? Maybe it never gets easier, maybe when you love someone you spend the rest of your life trying to make theirs better whether that’s a gift, a favour or a phone call to check in after a bad day.

I guess I’ll spend the rest of my days wondering if I’ll ever be able to beat him at gift giving.

Challenge accepted.

Finding your perfect fit

Relationships don’t mean compromising who you are

Before I met Boyfriend I was constantly trying to fit into someone else’s’ vision of the perfect girlfriend; I didn’t get angry, even when I should have, I didn’t fight and I was never controversial. But I also had no idea how lonely I was, I wasn’t single all the time but I was always lonely because I was never with the right person.

When you spend so much time trying to fit into someone else’s idea of perfect you end up broken and twisted. The mold wasn’t made for me and every time I tried to fit into it I had to twist up another piece of myself just to fit; it hurt but I thought that I was compromising, I didn’t know that I was compromising myself.

I’ve been thinking about this idea of loneliness a lot this week; I’ve seen a friend end a relationship because he couldn’t compromise anymore he had tried everything but he couldn’t break or bend any more, it was just too much. I’ve watched another friend end her fascination with her ex because she’s finally found someone who fits with her, really fits. Whether it’s a break-up or a new beginning I love seeing people in that moment when they realize exactly what they need and go for it.

Before Boyfriend I was a shadowy version of myself desperately trying to be what the person I was with at the time needed, but it never worked out because they never knew me, not really. When you find someone who gets you, who accepts and embraces all the quirky strange things about you the shadows fade away and you start to sparkle. I’ve noticed that when I see someone I haven’t seen in a while they always comment about how confident I seem or how happy I look, which is awesome, and I think it’s because the happiness starts way down in my toes and doesn’t stop.

My life isn’t easy, I work in a tumultuous industry, my finances never seem to get settled and my family life is really messy but all of that is easier to deal with when you’re in love. It’s not just the love I get from Boyfriend that makes the difference it’s that he has reminded me of all the things I love about myself and I can’t put a price on how valuable that is.

I may be head over heels in love but the more important thing to me is that I’ve found someone who fits with me, a custom made designer Boyfriend. My life is better not because I found a man but because I found a partner; someone to keep me company in this crazy world. I’m not lonely anymore. I’m not worried that if I say the wrong thing he might leave me, I’m not worried about being anything other than the girl he fell in love with which happens to be, me.

Everyone deserves their perfect fit. So next time you find yourself compromising again and again and again, ask yourself; is it really worth it?

Being single isn’t a death sentence

Being single isn’t a death sentence, it isn’t even a bad thing, it just is. But those of us who are in relationships often act like we know better, we say condescending things, we attempt to set up our poor single friends with people they would never pick for themselves and we act like their lives are on hold because they haven’t settled down yet. It’s a little bit ridiculous when you think about it; actually it’s a lot ridiculous and completely insulting.

A couple of my friends recently found themselves single again and one of them mentioned that his friends have stopped talking about their relationships with him because they’re afraid of upsetting him. Really? Break-ups are terrible — but that doesn’t give us the right to treat our friends like they’re these fragile little creatures that will fall apart at the mere mention of a relationship. Your friends want you to be happy, break-up or not, they don’t need to be handled with kid gloves; your single friends are more than just single people, they are people with lives and jobs, they are far more than their relationship status.

A lot of my single girlfriends are single because they refuse to settle for someone that isn’t right, and instead of trying to fix them — newsflash — single isn’t code for broken. I respect them. It takes a lot of courage to fight for what you want in any aspect of your life, it takes a strong person to stand up for what they want. How about instead of looking at single people like they have some kind of terrible contagious disease we treat them like friends. It’s a novel concept isn’t it? Single people are people too. Crazy.

Being in a relationship doesn’t give me the right to gush constantly about how lucky I am to have found the love of my life it’s tacky and besides that I’ve got a lot of other things going on; a new job, a flourishing writing career and an unhealthy obsession with the Leafs. Boyfriend is not the only important thing in my life and he’s not the only thing my friends want to talk about.

I know we’ve all been guilty of it but starting every conversation with a girlfriend about their dating life or lack there of makes you seem like a boy crazy teenager and makes your friend feel like her life outside of her bedroom is unimportant. There’s enough pressure from society, from parents and from the world to hook up; no one needs to hear it while drinking cocktails and talking about the latest episode of American Horror Story.

I’m not sure when we all decided that being single was the absolute worst thing to ever happen to a person but we all need to stop it, now. Being in a relationship shouldn’t be a life goal, it won’t make you feel whole and it won’t pay the bills (usually) and it’s so vintage it’s practically hipster.



Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Let’s get away

After two extra weeks of planning Mr. Unexpected and I are finally getting away from the city, which at this point we both desperately need. Desperately.

Tomorrow night after work we’re heading up to Viamede Resort for a little bit of a vacation from life— or in my case, from my phone. We need this; the past month has been a bit much for both of us.

I’ve never had a real relationship, but I didn’t know that until now; I used to brag that the Big Ex and I never fought, not ever. Until we did fight, big time, and that was the night that he broke my heart. But no fighting, no real discussions, all sunshine and rainbows all the damn time isn’t worth bragging about because it just means that you aren’t connected enough to talk about the real things. It took me a while to realize that and even longer to come to terms with the fact that I’d wasted over a year of my life with a man who never even bothered to introduce me to his family.

Mr. Unexpected and I talk about everything, from his desire to adopt a pug and name it Francis to my terrible relationship with my biological father to my desire to sit on a beach and write all day. But the past couple of weeks have been tough on him, and while we still talk I know he’s hurting and he’d rather not talk about it until he has a solution in hand. He’s incredibly talented and he’s worked his way up from the bottom so the idea that something he’s working on might not succeed breaks his heart and it breaks mine to watch it happen.

So we need a trip, we need the massages, the hiking and the in-room whirlpool tub; we need to be happy without thinking about all the work that waits for us when we get back home on Sunday night.

While I don’t have a solution to boyfriend’s problems, other than let’s run away for the weekend, I’m glad that I know about them, I’m glad that he’s including me on the not-so-shiny elements of his life and I’m glad that he trusts me enough to share with me.

I never knew what I was missing out on, I always thought that the Big Ex and I had a perfect relationship worthy of jealousy; I didn’t know that the reason things were so wonderful was because he never trusted me enough to share the bad parts of his life with me.

So for better or for worse I’ll be there for Mr. Unexpected, because for the first time in 25 years I have someone for whom I want to be there who is also willing to let me be there. Things might not always be perfect but perfect is boring anyway. Give me the mess, the fights, the smiles and the tears. I’ll take it all.


RELATIONSHIPS: Baggage claim

Everyone has had their heart broken – whether by family, friends, or boyfriends, we’ve all felt that crushing pain at some point. We’ve all cried and most of us have succumbed to at least one bad habit to make the pain go away. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think I’m better at relationships for having lived through the bad ones. However, problems arise when we drag issues from our past relationships into our current ones.

Starting a new relationship is hard enough without bringing in issues from your past. Making him pay for your insecurities is simply unfair.

My ex had issues with calling me his girlfriend. He didn’t like labels and he didn’t want me to meet his family because (or so he said) our relationship was about us and not about what his family or friends thought. I let that relationship go on for over a year and it didn’t end well. So as I walk into a new relationship should I be afraid that we haven’t put a label on it only a month in? Probably not.

We don’t make a new friend pay for the mistakes of an old one so why don’t we afford the same kindness to the men in our lives?  Why is it that we feel like it is somehow fair to judge new men on the behaviour of past ones? We live in a state of perpetual fear that we confuse for educated guesses.

The problem with treating relationships like a continuous learning process is that people are individual and unique. People aren’t formulaic; memorizing the habits of one man does not mean you understand all men.

That emotional baggage we insist on lugging around puts us at a disadvantage, turning us into needy, tearful, women. Even the best man can’t handle the burden of his own sins in addition to those of the men who came before him. Just imagine if you had to suffer for all the mistakes his past girlfriends made. Not a pretty picture is it?


Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Wedding bells? Not any time soon

Why is there so much pressure to tie the knot?

Maybe it’s the time of year or maybe it’s because over-sharing is a thing these days but it seems like everyone is getting engaged. Every day there’s a new person on Facebook sharing a picture of a big shiny bauble that now sits on their left hand inspiring jealousy and inviting congratulations.

Yesterday Boyfriend and I were being ridiculous on Facebook — we’re not immune to over-sharing or bouts of nausea inducing adorableness; almost immediately after seeing the adorableness a mutual friend of ours sent me a Facebook message that said two words: “Marry him.”

Woah, hold the phone right there friend. I’m not ready to get hitched I’m not even sure I want to get married, ever.

It’s funny that as soon as you’re in a stable relationship for a period of time your friends start assuming that there are wedding bells and churches in your future; I expect these kinds of questions from my mum and my stepdad but when my friends put the pressure on it’s a little ridiculous. I’d like to think that insisting Boyfriend and I tie the knot is just their way of saying that they like him, that they think we work well together or maybe they just really need a big party with free booze and plenty of dancing.

I wish my friends would chill for half a second and remember that Boyfriend and I aren’t exactly traditional people, we’re not dying to walk down the aisle and when people ask if I want babies I say, “Yes! I want all the fur babies.” Because I want many puppies and no kids, kids have sticky jam hands, and 9 months without a glass of red wine sounds like some kind of draconian punishment. I love my friends kids, I’ve even planned a cookie baking day with my friend’s twins because baking with small people is fun, but I really only want to hang out with the tiny humans if I can return them to their people at the end of the day.

When I look into my future Boyfriend is there but I don’t see him at the end of the aisle I see a house in the city with two dogs and a cat, I see vacations to far off places and dinner parties where my friends drink just a little too much; my perfect future is within my grasp but there’s no white dress there and that should be OK.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see a big diamond on my left hand I’m no less committed to Boyfriend, I’m no less in love and we’re still very much planning our totally dorky ridiculous future together.  So my darling friends, the next time you ask me something to do with marriage I’m just going to make up something insane; I’ll tell you that we’ve decided to move to a commune where we will give up all of our material possessions and become vegans. Never mind, no one would ever believe that we’d give up steak and new episodes of Doctor Who.


Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

RELATIONSHIPS: To move or not to move?

I’m not sure that I believe in love at first sight, I believe in interest at first sight, I knew the minute that I met Boyfriend that I was interested; but I didn’t love him when we met standing in line for a movie on a cold September night. I loved him when he showed up at my house with a smile cookie for no reason, I loved him when he held my hand through my mum’s illness and I loved him when he gave me a zombie version of himself for our anniversary. As romantic as the idea of love at first sight is love doesn’t happen in a second it happens over time.

Now after over a year together and still going strong I find myself thinking about the future — because it’s not my future any more, it’s our future, and I’m ready to take the next step.  After a year or so of dating at 26 the next step feels to me like it should be moving in together but Boyfriend thinks of moving in together as a huge step, to him it’s practice for a life together and not a decision to be made lightly. So now I’m wondering when it will happen.

Will we be ready to move in together this summer? Will we be ready in another year? Will it be two more years?

I don’t want to fall into the big city trap of moving in too soon because it’s cheaper than paying rent on your own I’ve seen couples move in far too soon and fall apart because of it; if you’re not ready to live with your partner moving in too early can spell relationship doom but what if one of you feels ready and the other doesn’t?

It’s not that Boyfriend doesn’t ever see us moving in together, we talk about what it will be like when we live together, we talk about where we’d want to live and the dogs he wants to get someday. But it’s all talk for now and the planner who lives in my head wants times, dates and locations; I know it will happen one day but I hate the idea of leaving my life up to maybes.

Sometimes I feel like we’re moving too slowly for my taste. Maybe it’s because I see friends who’ve been together for less time or maybe it’s because I see girls younger than me are getting engaged and starting their lives. Boyfriend says that if we’re going to end up together there’s no need to rush and while a part of me believes that another part thinks that if we’re going to be together there’s no reason to wait.

I’m probably over-thinking things; I’m letting my friends set the pace for my own life which is beyond a little ridiculous. Boyfriend is right: if we’re going to be together there isn’t a reason to rush anything. Instead of always freaking out that I’m not moving in the right direction I should probably settle down and just enjoy the life I have now.


Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

HUNTER: In a relationship bling shouldn’t mean a thing

Bling, Bling, Cash Monies

Money, money, money you can never have too much but it never feels like you have enough; I had a discussion with a friend last week about how important money is in a relationship.

He went as far as to say that if Boyfriend didn’t have money I probably wouldn’t be with him — but here’s the kicker Boyfriend doesn’t have money.

I’m more established in my career, he choose a profession that requires incredible dedication and sacrifice and doesn’t pay much until it does and when it does he’ll probably make a lot more than I ever will. But money has never been an issue we’ve made sure of that.

I don’t believe in one sided relationships, I don’t expect Boyfriend to pay for every dinner, every night out or every trip we’re a team and we try to split things evenly. More importantly I’ve never been concerned about how much Boyfriend makes. He’s following his dreams and I’m following mine and the plastic in our wallets has nothing to do with how much we love each other.

I’ve seen relationships that were too one sided fail over and over again, someone is constantly paying more than their partner and in the end there is always resentment. Boyfriend and I are in our twenties we don’t have our finances entirely figured out and that’s okay, I’d rather watch Netflix and order take-out than go for a fancy dinner any night of the week. Money may be more of an issue when we’re older but for now I couldn’t care less.

I’ve heard women gush about the newest shiny thing their boyfriend got them, or the trip they were surprised with but for me a surprise is when Boyfriend walks in the door with a coffee and a smile cookie, it really is the thought that counts.

I blame the rom-coms for teaching women that love can be measured in presents and shiny baubles; I’ve had all that and it just makes me feel like he’s paying for my time and while my time in the office is costly I like to think of my bedroom as a money free zone.

Maybe I’m the exception rather than the rule but I’ve worked hard to get where I am in life and I’m proud that I did most of it on my own, I don’t want a man to pay for my way in life and any relationship built on that will never really be equal.

So when my friend said that I wouldn’t date a man who didn’t make any money, I laughed and told him that wasn’t the case; I am currently dating someone who makes less than I do but that doesn’t make him less sexy because it’s his ambition, his drive and his fire that turns me on. Money will never be sexy, unless you’re into paper and plastic, if all your relationship is about is finances than maybe you need to rethink what you’re doing. After all, love don’t cost a thing… or something like that.


Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


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Shannon Hunter: The love of my life

Three little words

The perfect time to say ‘I love you’

Shannon Hunter: The love of my life

“Whether you’re single or taken you should never be afraid of great love, big love, the kind we read about in the storybooks.”

Yesterday I watched a video that brought me to tears at my desk; my friend Christine Estima posted a YouTube video of herself speaking at a pub in London in which my incredibly brave and strong girl told a crowd of strangers her story, it was heartbreaking.

Christine was in a relationship with a man she lovingly called Lugs and after a whirlwind of romance it ended, the last line she spoke to the suddenly quiet cloud were her last words to Lugs, “You are the love of my life.” It was powerful, beautiful and it made my heart ache but then it made me think, maybe we don’t only have one love that intense maybe our lives are filled with many loves.

Before Boyfriend I thought the Big Ex was the love of my life and before that I thought my seventeen year old love affair in Thunder Bay was the biggest love I would ever feel; in truth I still love those men but not because I want to be with them, I love the memories they left me with, I love that I stood on a bridge at midnight listening to a man tell me he’d never loved anyone as much as he loved me. The time the Big Ex told me that I was the best accessory he could ever have, that moment is precious still.

Today I feel like Boyfriend is the love of my life, I feel as though I will love him forever but if it does end I’ll remember that he had a toy sasquatch made for me, I’ll remember that he believed in me when I didn’t remember how and I’ll remember that first time he showed up at my house with a smile cookie and an ice cappuccino because he thought that would make me happy.

We can’t know the future; Christine didn’t know that she would love someone enough to leave them when things stopped working and I don’t know that I’ll always be with Boyfriend but if we stop believing that this one could be a lifelong love then what’s the point? Everyone should be brave enough to fly to a new land for love, because even if he isn’t the one you end up with you’ll have a story and a memory that reminds you that love is everywhere and it can happen at any time.

Christine is an inspiration to all of us, she believed in the fairy tale; she knew that love was worth a chance and in a world filled with apathy that is something we should all strive for. Today Boyfriend is the love of my life but I’ve had many loves in this life and while he may be the most important one it was the loves before that brought me to him.

Whether you’re single or taken you should never be afraid of great love, big love, the kind we read about in the storybooks; no one ever wrote a sonnet about that kind of OK night with that dude that one time.



Follow Shannon Hunter on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.