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

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.]

Bajingo Sisters and Wiener Cousins

At the end my last year of university I was given the task of writing a 40 page paper on the film Menace II Society as a final project for a 4th year Linguistic Anthropology course. I had to transcribe portions of the film, do a linguistic analysis of them and then relate them back to Anthropological theories. I don’t think anyone should have to watch the film Menace II Society more than two or three times, let alone the 40 times I had to watch the movie in order to write this paper.You know what repeated viewing of this film does to a person? It drives them insane.

So, what’s a girl to do when her head is full of images of gunshot wounds and sociopath teenagers killing each other?

Watch back to back episodes of the show SCRUBS.

Spending some time within the sterile walls of Sacred Heart Hospital with its goofy doctors and even goofier janitors, was the perfect escape from my personal hell of academic papers and fictional urban violence. I’m also of the firm belief that the solution to most problems can be found within one of Zach Braff’s voice-over monologues.

About two months ago I was going through this phase where I had a ton of freelance work to finish but, I felt totally lethargic and uninspired. The solution to this problem was clear:

SCRUBS.

I went online and discovered that there was actually 2 seasons that I had never seen before (SAY WHAT!) which was basically like discovering the TV holy grail. I downloaded all of them and prepared myself to be healed. Eight Zach Braff inspirational monologues later, I felt much better.

The episode that inspired this blog post is called “My Cuz“. In this episode J.D and Elliott discover that their respective exes, Kim and Sean are dating each other. Things are super awkward until J.D says to Sean:

“We’ve slept with the same woman, therefore we are Wiener Cousins”

{The Wiener Cousin handshake. “It’s a bond closer than family”}

Later, Elliott decides that this makes her and Kim “Bajingo Sisters

{Bajingo Sisters. It doesn’t have to be awkward. Or, does it?}

Despite having dated quite a few people, I have only ever met two people who have slept with people I have slept with (that I know of). The first one I don’t really count as a true Bajingo Sister since she dated an ex of mine when they were 14 (I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a whole lot of “quality sex” happening at that age). I met my first real Bajingo Sister when I was in third year university.

On the night in question, I was at a club hanging out with an ex-boyfriend that (at the time) I was trying to maintain a friendship with. It should be noted that after we had broken up, I had a super awkward one night stand with one of our mutual friends, a guy that we will call Chandler. At one point during the evening my ex grabbed my arm and pulled me towards a group of people. He then introduced me to a very pretty girl with long dark brown hair.

“Simone this is Natalia”

Natalia was Chandler’s ex – a girl he’d often reminisce about, giving me the impression that she was “the one who got away”. We had never met.

My ex, never one to be known for his tact, added:

“Natalia, this is Simone…SHE’S HAD SEX WITH CHANDLER TOO”

I was a deer caught in headlights. If there was ever a moment where I wanted to be teleported out of my own life, it was this one.

Once the awkward laughter subsided, Natalia and I started talking and we hit it off right away.
We made plans to hang out in the near future.

A few weeks later, we went for dessert & coffee in Little Italy.

Natalia was exactly as Chandler had described her: gorgeous. She had long dark brown hair, olive skin and big brown eyes. She is still one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in person. Natalia was well-spoken, intelligent, thoughtful and all around, quite lovely. Over dessert, we chatted about our lives until eventually we could no longer ignore the elephant in the gelato shop:

her: “So….how was he?”

Me: “Some of the worst sex I’ve ever had. It wasn’t just him. It was also me. It was just awkward. You?”

her: “To be honest, we dated so long ago, I don’t really remember”

We both burst out laughing.

I think Natalia and I hung out a few times that summer before we drifted apart – something that happens when two people have really busy schedules and don’t know each other well enough yet to keep up the momentum of a new friendship.

Our bond may not have been “stronger than family” like Dr. John Dorian suggested it would be but, I like to think my Bajingo Sister was pretty cool.

***
I came to realize that the ex who had introduced me to my Bajingo Sister had a knack for creating awkward situations. A year later I received the following phone call:

Hey Simone, I want you to come for dinner with me, my Gay Lover and my Mom

SCRUBS DID NOT PREPARE ME FOR THIS!

I panicked.

What would I call my ex’s new boyfriend? Would we be WIENER SISTERS? BAZINGO BROS? PENIS COMRADES? SISTERHOOD OF MY EX-BOYFRIEND’S TRAVELLING SEXUALITY?

In this case, “So…how was he?” was a question I wasn’t ready to hear the answer to. Oh & HIS MOM WAS GOING TO BE THERE.

As much as I wanted to be supportive with this new direction his life was taking, even I have limits for how much awkwardness I can endure.

I decided that this was one dinner invitation that I would have to politely decline.

Meeting your Wiener Cousin or Bajingo Sister doesn’t have to be awkward, but it inevitably is to a certain degree.

What do you guys think?

The Unhappy Meal

In the bottom drawer of my right hand nightstand, I have this thick black notebook that’s full of all kinds of journal entries and poems that I wrote between the ages of 18-21. Sometimes, I like to go through it just for kicks. Reading stuff I wrote when I was going through my “I’m so deep and emo poetry phase” is often a cringe worthy/hilarious experience. The other day I was leafing through the black notebook, trying to find some inspiration for a blog post when I found THIS poem which I’ve bravely decided to share with you guys*

Let’s all cringe together!

*Please be kind. Sharing bad teenage poetry is infinitely more embarrassing for me than talking about weird sex stuff.

(Also, please keep in mind that this poem was written by a angst ridden, emo 19-year old girl. I’m pretty sure when I wrote this I dreamed of one day reading it in front of a packed coffee house while the beret & black turtleneck clad audience snapped their fingers and some guy played the bongos in the background. Thank god that never happened)

When I re-read this poem the other day, the funny thing was I couldn’t even remember who it was about. This poem could have been about at least 3 to 4 different guys that I dated during that time period. Eventually, I remembered the subject of the poem- this dude who’d come over, sleep with me, eat my roommates food and say stuff like “I really love you but, I’m just not into labels” before flying out the door the next day. His visits would also usually include him un-apologetically breaking something in my apartment (“I just broke the doorknob off your bathroom door. I don’t think anyone can get in there now. You might want to fix that. Gotta go“), using a house plant as an ashtray or doing something totally uncalled for like that time he accidentally got my straight-edge room-mate stoned after using her fancy cookware to make homemade “mushroom tea”. Whenever he left in the morning, I’d be left with some kind of mess to clean up, feeling like shit and thinking; “I can’t believe I let this happen AGAIN”. The most embarrassing part about this whole story is that after I wrote this poem, I’m pretty sure we kept dating for at least another 6 months….WHICH MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.

Thinking about this made me realize that I used to let a lot of people make me feel bad. Years ago my Mom said to me: “You keep on dating guys who are Disappointers. They build you up, you seem happy for about a minute and then they do something really terrible to bring you down. Like that time ____ bought you a Valentine’s gift and then threw up in your friend’s car…. But, you keep dating themThe big question was: WHY? Clearly, I was aware of how these people were making me feel (like a bad case of the McGross burps) but, it was like I couldn’t act on it. Instead of breaking up with this dude, I was at home writing a poem comparing him to a hamburger. Go figure.

One of my favorite things about being in my late-twenties/early 30’s is that my tolerance for bullshit has gone way down. If anyone makes me feel like I’m eating a “Unhappy Meal” even for a few minutes, I don’t want to be around them. I used to give everyone the benefit of the doubt that under their bad first impression there might be a good person but, now I don’t. I think this all goes back to the concept of Being Thirty and Saying No. I already know how things will end so, the minute I start to get bad vibes from someone, I cross them off as someone I want to hang out with. Life is too short and there are too many good people & opportunities out there. I don’t want to waste my time hanging out with people who are jerks.

So, to follow up with last week’s Sunday Love Bite, I’ll tell you what I wish someone had told me 11 years ago: if your Friend(s)/Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Secret Lover inspires you to write bad poetry where you compare them to questionable fast-food, or you feel like someone is making you eat an Unhappy Meal: LEAVE THEM.

No one worth having in your life should make you feel this way.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s been through this?

Sunday Love Bites #2: The Toothbrush Test

Sunday Love bites are short, random musings on sex & romance usually written while I’m still in my pajamas (or, in today’s case: leggings and a fat shirt)

Love Bite #2: The Toothbrush.

Today’s “Bite” I discovered via Caroline, one of my favorite bloggers. Caroline is a total sweetheart, a terrific writer and one of my favorite people I’ve met through this crazy blogging journey. I adore her to bits and I kind of like to think of her as my little blog sister because a lot of the struggles she writes about remind me so much of things I went through when I was 23. This is a quote she posted in her blog the other day. I wish I had read this 7 or 8 years ago.


Short. Sweet. WORDS TO LIVE BY.

Happy Sunday xox

Sunday Love Bites #1: Well, That Was Awkward

On Sundays, laziness usually overtakes me. I’m trying to write more frequently so, I thought I would try something new: Sunday Love bites: short, random musings on sex & romance usually written while I’m still in my pajamas. I’m hoping I can keep this up on a weekly basis, it will force me to keep things short & give me the opportunity tell stories that maybe don’t warrant a full length post.

{Today’s post is a little on the long side but, I thought I’d kick things off with a “bang” – pun intended}

Love Bite #1. “Well, that was awkward

I few weeks ago I went to Hemingway’s (a local bar) to meet up with Vanessa for an after work drink. Hemingway’s is the kind of bar that you really only go to for the following reasons:

1) You work in Yorkville (like I used to) & you want to get shit-faced after work but you don’t want to run into all your co-workers at the Pilot.

2) You’re using their conveniently located ATM machine that charges ridiculous service charges before moving on to somewhere cooler in Yorkville (because you’re too tipsy/lazy to use the real bank machines on Bloor St.)

3) You can’t really think of anywhere else to go. It’s close by. People know the place and you can always say “hey, at least we’re not hanging out at Remy‘s” (which, when it comes to cheesy Yorkville watering holes, is pretty much as bad as it gets. Unless of course you’re looking to hook up with over-tanned 40 year old guys who love Ed Hardy & wear pointy-toed shoes then, its a great place)

I was meeting Vanessa there for reason #3 – it was the first time we were hanging out and the bar is halfway between both of our offices. Because Hemingway’s prides itself on being one of the only bars in the area that doesn’t accept debit cards, after Vanessa and I had a nice visit I was forced to use their sketchy highway-robbery-omg-this-service-charge-is-totally-funding-organized-crime bank machine. While I was getting my cash, I thought of another time I used that bank machine.

Flashback tiiiiiiiiime!

It was the spring of 2004.

My friend and I had stopped at Hemingway’s to use the ATM machine before heading over to Babaluu’s to go dancing.

A few months prior, this friend and I had slept together ONCE. Then TWICE. This was the first time we were hanging out as “fully clothed friends” since getting it on.

The sexual tension in the air was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. I think we were both trying to play it off like nothing had happened and everything was cool. I know I was repeating the following mantra in my head:

fully clothed. just friends. fully clothed. just friends. FULLY CLOTHED.

That night I was wearing a really nice pair of black stiletto pumps. As I used the ATM machine, he waited behind me, a few feet away. Once I received my money and prepared to walk away, I realized that I couldn’t move. The heel of my shoe was stuck in the metal grate of a heating vent on the floor below the ATM machine.

Friend: Um, are you coming?

Me: I’m stuck.

Friend: What do you mean you’re stuck?

Me: I can’t move. My shoe is caught.

I kept on trying to move forward but I couldn’t. I took one more forceful lunge and BAMMO! Instead of freeing of shoe from the metal grate, I managed to free the metal grate from the floor. During the next few seconds that passed it felt like time temporarily stopped. I was standing there, just staring at my friend with a metal grate dangling from the heel of my shoe. I was looking at him, he was looking at me. I totally lost sight of my mantra. All I could think of was:

Oh my god. I know what his penis looks like.

A few months ago we were buck naked on the hood of a car.

I liked how his skin felt.

Penis! Penis! Penis!

He smells good. I wonder what cologne that is?

OH MY GOD I HAVE A FUCKING HEATING VENT STUCK TO MY FOOT.

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

Me: Um.

Friend: Err, let me help you with that.

We both bent down. I took off my shoe & we managed to dislodge my heel from the vent. We looked up at each other.

Friend: Wanna get out of here?

Me: Yes please.

What transpired after we left the bar- well, I’ll get to that later.

***

Back to a few weeks ago – after I got my cash from the ATM and I remembered this story, I looked down at my feet and smiled. In the spot where the heating vent was, someone had bolted down a sheet of corrugated metal. I guess the management finally took it upon themselves to prevent future awkward moments/law suits.

The moral of this story:

Sleeping with your friends can get awkward.

Stilettos and metal grates don’t mix.

Hemingway’s sucks (but, not as bad as Remy’s).

The end.

Happy Sunday!

(Anyone else have any “friends turned friends with benefits” awkward stories to share?)

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