The ‘Izma. I Got It.

I have a serious case of the ‘Izma.

The ‘Izma isn’t a rare tropical disease, nor is it the latest STD you’ve never heard of  (even if it was, having it would require having some of the “S” which sadly hasn’t happened in a while.) Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ve had the ‘Izma since birth. Luckily, I don’t have to suffer alone.

It’s no secret that I have a knack for attracting weirdos. However, if you think it’s an isolated talent/curse – think again. After careful observation I’ve come to the conclusion that the ‘Izma is completely hereditary. So, what exactly is the ‘Izma? It’s a term my Mom and I coined to describe her side of the family’s innate ability to attract people – good, bad or otherwise.  Like it’s close cousin, “Charisma”, the ‘Izma draws people in to your circle – however, in this case it operates with the same level discrimination as a commercial tuna fishing boat, casting it’s net so wide it ends up killing 8 dolphins and taking down a small submarine in the process.

It’s likely because of the Izma that I’ve been flashed way more times than I’d like to admit.

If you’ve ever been the recipient of a creepy mix-tape, acquired a stalker, been subject to multiple exposed strange penises, been hit on by one of the original cast members of Degrassi High, had a sexually explicit conversation with your Barista or been involved in a scenario that resembles this, this or this – it’s likely you also suffer from a case of the ‘Izma.

The 'Izma - Like a Beacon of shining light to weirdos everywhere.

 According to my Mom, both my Grandma and Grandpa possessed the ‘Izma. In her heyday, my Grandma was often the recipient of inappropriate crushes from my Grandpa’s friends and business associates. Even when she was in her 60’s, there was a man who would repeatedly call the house professing his love for my grandma and begging her to leave my grandpa. My Mom remembers the time my Grandma finally told him off, in her typically firm but polite manner.

“Doug you need to get in touch with reality. You’re not in love with me. Please stop calling here.”

My Mom has also been the recipient of numerous flashings, bizarre romantic overtures and frequent encounters with weirdos. A few years ago, a local busker developed an aggressive infatuation with her.

(“Gurl, why you nah call me?”)

Although the situation eventually resolved itself – as Mr. Busker faded into the distance, you can still see my Mom tense up whenever she hears the sound of steel drums.

However, the ‘Izma is not restricted to interactions with the opposite sex. Before the concept of a “Bro-Mance” was even a thing, my Mom said that men from the neighbourhood would often knock on their door inquiring about my Grandpa’s whereabouts.

“Uh, is your Dad home?”

“I think so, why?”

“Um, no reason. I just wanted to see if he was home and what he was doing…like, if maybe he was working on something in the garage  that I could help with.”

During one fateful summer, our family business received just as many requests to build swimming pools, as it did anonymous nude photos.


When left to fester, the 'Izma can easily get out of control.

I’m not sure why these things happen to us. Although I like to think my family is a good looking group, we’re not exactly the Brady Bunch. We have dark hair, blue eyes, lanky bodies and distinctly Slavic features – all signs of our Polish-German-Russian stock. It’s something else – possibly an innate welcoming friendliness that seems to shine like a Beacon to weirdos everywhere. (“Come talk to us. We’ll accept you…or at the very least, we won’t yell at you right away!”)

Well, you guys, with the arrival of my Birthday Month it seems as though my “Weirdo Beacon” is shining especially bright. Here are a few of the things that have happened during the past week:

1) I’ve been hit on by not one, but two different men over the age of 60. One encounter occurred while I was at one of my favourite shopping spots trying on a very reasonably priced vintage Ralph Lauren dress. I stepped out of the change-room to inspect the dress in the three way mirror when a white haired man (who was shopping with his 30-something daughter) said, “Damn. Maybe it’s just you…but you seriously need to buy that dress.” (UH, SERIOUSLY?)

2) While out running errands the other day, a frail man in his 80’s walked by me and said in a deep, throaty voice, “NICE. STUFF” (SHUDDER)

3) I was walking home from the gym when I heard a voice call from behind me.


I turned around to see a 19 or 20 year old guy with a very prominent neck tattoo, dressed in baggy jeans and a baseball cap.


“Uh, Ok?”

I turned around and kept walking. A few seconds later,


“Buddy, just spit it out.”


“I’m too old. I don’t have time for this.”

When I looked behind me, Junior Neck Tattoo had disappeared.

4) On Saturday night Courtney Love was playing an outdoor concert for Rifflandia. I didn’t have a ticket but decided to wander down to the venue to see if I could catch some of the concert. Not only could hear everything from just outside the venue (It was pretty amazing), I also learned that outdoor concerts and the ‘Izma are a dangerous mix. I was standing by the fence listening to Courtney sing all of my teenage favourites when a very drunk man with an annoying laugh (HA! HUH HUH! GO COURTNEY. FUCKING A! HUH HUH HERRR HUHHHH!)  approached me.

“You’re beautiful. HUH HAHA! HHAHA HUH HUH HUH. Are you married?”

“Uh yes. Definitely yes.”


As I started to inch away from him, he asked –

“Do you work out?”

“Um, yes?”

“You can tell just by looking at your jawline”


Yes, friends – the men in this city are officially out of hiding – for better, but more likely for worse.

Apparently Venus is in Virgo this month, which means Virgo chicks like me are romantically supercharged. My friend told me that in order to find love I need to put out the vibe that I am open to new possibilities. I have been trying to tap into this however, it’s working a little too well this month. With the exception of a cute, ginger haired guy who wished me a “beautiful day” last week, all of my interactions with the opposite sex recently have been, well, kind of creepy.

Although possessing the ‘Izma makes for some great stories, I wish I could fine tune it to attract only the people I want to attract. I know I already got spoiled for my Birthday however, if I’m allowed one more Birthday wish this year – Universe, please send me someone who is kind, attractive and most importantly, age appropriate that I can flirt with. If they don’t wear aqua socks or have any neck tattoos, even better. Thanks in advance, signed, me.

  • Oh, dear! I think I had the ‘Izma (love the term you’ve coined) when I was younger, but luckily it’s not so bad these days. I used to mostly attract the mentally ill or lonely – while I’m a very compassionate person, it gets a little weird when you think they’re going to abduct or stalk you. I had a phone stalker (or two) at some point too. One guy called me because another girl had given him what she thought was a fake number (now I see why) and despite the fact that I lived across the country and was spoken for, called me non stop until I got a new number. Another guy didn’t even care that he was calling my parents’ landline asking for me all the time. My parents should have been all super protective but they thought it was hilarious and would hand the phone over to me when he called. Thanks a lot, stupid parents!
    I think I’ve got my ‘Izma under control now, although I do get hit on by sleazy older gentlemen who think that because I’m Asian, I’m clearly up for hooking up with ANYONE (how insulting and gross)! I think at the very least, the ‘Izma makes for some great stories!!
    The one upside of the ‘Izma in my case is that it makes me approachable and people trust me.

    • skinny_dip

      Oh dear, sounds like you definitely have some of the ‘Izma yourself. *SHUDDER* at the creepy older dudes and the Asian stereotypes. Why do people have to be so ignorant and disgusting?! I’m really sorry that you have to deal with that.

      I agree – it’s great for the stories! I’ve also been told that I’m an open & approachable person, so I guess there’s that too!

  • JimmerJammer

    Yikes mate, yikes!

    Might I suggest you carry some bear mace around. Since you do have bears in your neck of the woods and cougars I hear too or do they prefer being called mountain lions? That is if cougars / mountain lions understood the english language and liked being classified of course.

    Eek the cat! Regarding 80 year old man.

    Make sure to cross the street if you ever think some stalker is following you. That way it doesn’t give them a heads up and you have about 3 glances you can make and know for sure.

    At my pointless job people hit on me sometimes, but, I just don’t even talk to people anymore, so it is all good.

    • skinny_dip

      We do have cougars here (not so many bears) and they have been known to wander into the city from time to time (scary.)

      Thanks for the wise advice!!

  • Nearly spat out my water at the jawline comment. They grow em odd out there.

    • skinny_dip

      Indeed they do.

  • Your stories are the best stories. And I love your jawline, gurl.

    Also, shit. I might have the ‘Izma, too. Perhaps a variation of the kind your family seems to excel in, but… yeah, I definitely have SOMEthing.

    • skinny_dip

      Ha! Thanks.

      Oh, you definitely have your own brand of the ‘Izma. No doubt about it!