What Do I Have to Do to Get Sexually Harrassed in this Town?!

Hi. What is your secret talent? I repel men.

A few days before New Years I was walking through Chapters, browsing books when the song “Seasons of Love” (from the musical Rent) come on the store’s stereo system. I started humming along to the song’s chorus:

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes…”

It’s a beautiful song and while listening to it I should have been having a misty-eyed moment about love and loss and everything that has happened this year but instead what popped into my head was: “That’s how long it feels like since someone has tried to hit on me.”

In truth it hasn’t been a year, it’s really only been about two months. Since arriving in my hometown for my extended visit from Toronto I haven’t been the recipient of a single cheesy pick-up line, cat-call or creepy side glance…at least none that I have noticed. Lately, it’s like I’m the Invisible Woman and it’s starting to freak me out. Without encounters with guys like Lunch Dude or Pervy Single Dad, where am I supposed to get inspiration for snarky blog posts?

This has only made me realize what a hot bed of sexual harassment and unwanted male attention the city of Toronto is. Not to toot my own horn or anything but I find it’s almost impossible to go anywhere in Toronto without getting hit on by someone.

Take my old neighborhood for example. Everyday when I’d walk by the Greek cafes where the old men would sit out front smoking and drinking espresso, some old fart would always holler some kind of  incomprehensible but surely disgusting cat call (which always made me grateful I can only understand a few words of Greek). My neighborhood also had no shortage of low rider cars with drivers who would lean out the window and yell “Yo mamacita…how you doing?” over the pounding chugga chugga chugga bass of the reggaeton song blasting out of their car stereo.

Then, there was the Dufferin Mall where you could show up wearing no make-up and a giant parka and still be guaranteed to get hit on by a teen thug, someone’s baby daddy or an old Portuguese grandpa who will grab your arm while you’re lined up in the food court just to tell you in broken English that you remind him of his dead wife.

Last spring I even got chatted up in the waiting room of H&R Block which is just slightly more sexy than being hit on in the waiting room of the gynecologists office – something that hasn’t happened to me…yet. It’s a hot mess out there and Torontonians have no shame in their game.

I’m convinced that none of these scenarios would happen in my hometown. I’m not even sure if the opposite sex speaks to each other (unless you’ve known eachother since kindergarten and even then…)

My best friend and I have come up with a few theories on why male/female relations are so stand offish in Victoria:

1) People are either too married or too old. The myth about Victoria is that it’s the land of “the newly wed and nearly dead.” We have the highest percentage of retirees of all cities in Canada with approximately 6.4 percent of the population over the age of 80. Decent single guys who still have all their teeth get snatched up pretty fast.

2) People are too laid back. Between all the kayaking, biking, hiking, canoeing, boogie boarding, vision quests, endless coffee shop visits and crystal healing seminars who has time to hit on people? Rejection might like, totally harsh your chill vibe.

3) People are too stoned to care. Given BC’s reputation for it’s excellent marijuana and what goes down at my parent’s friend’s dinner parties, this is actually a very real possibility.

4) People are too politically correct. This is a government town. Lots of people work for the provincial public service which means they have to attend mandatory anti-sexual harassment awareness seminars. People are afraid. To say or do anything.

5) The problem is me. Have I let myself go and become fugly? Because seriously, I feel like I am sporting an invisible uni-brow wherever I go.

[My best-friend interjected here and said it’s not that I look any different, it’s just that post-break up I’m putting out a clear “don’t fucking touch me” vibe.]

Hi. What is your secret talent? I repel men.

Well, it’s something because up until a few days ago this is the only thing I’ve experienced that comes anywhere close to “flirtation”.

It’s OK, my own life gives me nightmares too.

On New Years Eve, I got chatted up by one guy who revealed within seconds of the conversation he was from…yes, Toronto. This explains why he was talking to me however, it doesn’t explain why he was wearing suspenders and a gold tie clip. Was his outfit meant to be ironic? I never found out. I snapped his suspenders (probably giving him nipple chafing in the process) and told him:

“Nice outfit. It’s very 1980’s investment banker. Kind of like you’re channeling Patrick Bateman‘s wardrobe”

He wasn’t sure what to say. We chatted for a few more minutes before he asked “What’s your name again?” and politely excused himself. I’m starting to think #5 is true. Maybe I’m just a giant asshole.

I was still mulling this over in my head when I headed to McDonald’s the next day for my annual New Years Day Filet o’ Fish meal. All my questions from the past two months were answered when I went up to the counter to ask for extra napkins and the guy serving me said:

“Here you go…SIR”

Now I get it!

Everyone thinks I’m a dude.

This totally explains why the first thing New Years Guy blurted out as soon as he met me was:

“I’M NOT A HOMOSEXUAL”

[Disclaimer: I know that sexual harassment is a serious issue. Making unwanted sexual advances on anyone is totally not cool. However, when your life already seems a bit out of sorts, you cling to anything that feels “normal”  – even if “normal” for you means a pantless homeless guy jumping out from behind a bush to greet you on a busy street.]
  • Hey there good lookin’ 😉

    • Anonymous

      Hey 😉

      Thanks. I missed that! haha

  • Hahaha, welcome back to Victoria. Reason #1 why I am so happy I haven’t been single since I was 15. It’s hard here. I have watched countless friends go off the deep end trying to meet someone in Victoria. May I suggest becoming a barista at a local coffee shop? When I worked at one in Oak Bay in my early 20’s (another possible reason), I was hit on like clockwork, every.single.day for four years…mostly by married men, who liked to tell me I gave off a real Marsha Brady vibe. GROSS.
    May I suggest going to a nightclub and letting boys sweat on you? That always seems to be good for an ego boost.

    Also, you don’t look like a dude. I too have been called sir. It’s almost worse than being called ma’am.

  • Anonymous

    Ok you are stunning… Just had to say that. That picture is awesome. Victoria’s motto is pretty funny! Here’s hoping 2012 brings you lots of awkward male-female interactions to blog about. 😉
    Oh, and RENT is amazing. Word.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Mikael!

      Rent IS amazing. We need to organize a #BiSC sing along this year!

  • Simone,

    And it isn’t just women getting Sexually Harrassed in Toronto.  Next time I see you IRL, make sure I tell you the story of the drunk Traffic Prosecutor who recently told me at a Christmas Party “We’re Switching Shirts”.  You will love the story and of course it happened here in Toronto.

    Raymond AKA The Funky Barrister

    • Anonymous

      Hey Raymond, 

      Yes, you must tell me the story of the Prosecutor who wanted to switch shirts. This sounds like exactly the kind of disgusting tale I need to know about (if anything for blog fodder!). Of course it happened in Toronto! We’re a city without shame 😉

      Happy New Year! 

      S.

      • Simone,

        Wishing you all the best for 2012!

        Check your FB messages. I’ve sent you the story there.

        Raymond.

  • First of all, you are gorgeous my dear! I think that your friend might be right. I know that I’ve been told that I don’t get hit on often (or really at all) because I don’t have the “vibe” of wanting to be hit on or approached by men. I think it is only natural for you to have this state of mind right now. I think when the time is right, you will have men lined up to chat with you! xoxo

  • Ha! Respect??? What’s that?? Consider yourself lucky! I have a whole wardrobe of “hobo wear” just for going out to bars. well, but i live in Kansas so, yeah.
    Thanks for the laughs darling! xo

    • Anonymous

      OMG, “hobo wear” I love it.

      Yeah, I should probably relish the peace and quiet while I can.

      Glad I made you laugh 🙂

  • ShoeTease Cristina

    One of your most hilarious posts! You look mighty fantastic, however, so don’t you forget that!!

    xo Cristina

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Cristina!!! xox

  • Christina

    this article pretty much sums up dating life in van :p http://www.vanmag.com/News_and_Features/Do_Vancouver_Men_Suck

    Its not you…its this dam province lol

  • Peter

    I love your blog! I just wish I had discovered it 2 weeks ago, when you were in Victoria. I would have totally taken the ferry over to see you. But now, at least I have a worthwhile reason to make a trip to the “center of the universe.”

  • It’s not you. It’s where you are. Toronto is young professional central. Plus, I think that you vibe sends a message that subtle or overt harassment will not be tolerated. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I decided to move on from BB and five guys have asked me out within the past two weeks. I’ve known one of them since March and another since September and neither knew I was with BB. They sense my vibe!

    • Anonymous

      That’s a good point – I definitely think it had to do with the vibe I was putting out (& my location to a certain extent) Now that I’ve made the decision to move on, I’ve noticed people around me are slightly friendlier. I think it’s also because I’m smiling more 😉

      That’s awesome about the dates!!! Go City Girl!!

  • I wish I had read this post earlier so I could have explained to you how it is in Victoria these days. Basically there are way more single women than men in this town. The men, even the biggest losers, have SO many women to choose from, and most of them know it so they sit back and let the women come to them. I have several single friends who have been looking for a guy in this town for years and it’s always the same story: The good ones were snapped-up and married by 25, the left overs are on Plenty of Fish and LavaLife having the time of their lives dating and not committing or they are either damaged, unemployed or in the military. Victoria is not the town to live in for a hot dating life. Lesson here: It wasn’t you!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Kim – this is good information to know! I kind of figured this might be the situation. Thanks for the insights 😉

  • Anonymous

    Oh Man.  Maybe it’s something in the air.  I feel the same as of late (though I’m in Vancouver not Victoria but it’s mostly the same issues).  I don’t normally link in a comment but since it’s basically my take on this occurrence in “our area”…here goes…no pressure.

    http://www.somethingshedated.com/2012/01/he-sucks-she-sucks-we-all-suck.html