When Your Life Becomes an Alanis Morissette Song

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(photo credit)

A few months ago, I was wandering around Value Village, late on a Tuesday night looking for records (as one does when you’re single and childless at 35.) I was digging through the crates of dusty LPs in hope that maybe, just, maybe I might find a copy of Prince’s Purple Rain. I had a copy with my childhood record collection but it’s since gone MIA – which has been distressing me to no end.

He saw me first.

He was digging through a crate a few feet away.

“I’ve looked through everything, so if there’s something you’re looking for I can probably tell you if it’s there” he said.

I told him about my Purple Rain record conundrum and we bonded over the fact that our town is basically sold out of all things Prince – except for commemorative magazines (one glance at my local newsstand and it’s clear that those are multiplying like gremlins.) This fed into a conversation about how it’s hard to find good soul music in Victoria. Our thrift shop adventures. Hip hop. Record shopping in LA. The best places to eat in Harlem. Music, music and more music.

I told him I’d gone to see the Miles Davis movie while was playing at the local repertory theatre.

“What was the crowd like?” he asked.

“What you’d expect. A theatre full of white haired senior citizens, one elderly black man and a hippie guy eating lentil stew out of a tupperware container.”

He then told me that he’d found an unopened copy of Guns and Roses’ Appetite for Destruction on vinyl for a $2 at a thrift store recently.

“I have so many questions for the previous owner of this record, starting with WHAT IS YOUR LIFE?” I replied.

That’s around the time that I noticed that he was kind of cute. White guy. Horn-rimmed glasses. Small nose stud. Denim vest. Black baseball cap. It was clear that he was trying to cultivate a 1980’s Beastie Boys vibe and I wasn’t hating it.

I was in awe. It’s so rare that I meet anyone in this town, let alone someone with common interests that I can immediately jump into a conversation with without it feeling weird. This guy seemed cool – or at the very least, extremely musically literate.

I’m sure my face looked like the emoji with the heart eyes.

He confessed, “it’s kind of embarrassing, but I like to collect new age CD’s. There’s so many of them here and some of them are really cool if you actually listen to them. Weird, but good.”

“Hey, no judgement” I replied. “If it makes you feel any better, I collect  ken dolls of 90’s celebrities. I have an MC Hammer doll that sits on my desk.”

“No way. I have that exact doll – STILL IN IT’S ORIGINAL PACKAGING!”

Clearly, this man was my soulmate. 

That’s when my phone buzzed and I saw that my Mom was looking for me in the store. (She’s my #1 thrift shopping sidekick.)

I floated over to the other side of the store, found my mom, and floated back towards the cash register where he was getting ready to pay for a stack of new age CDs.

“Enjoy your CDs!” I said.

“Thanks! Hey, you won’t believe what I found!”

I looked down to see a copy of a Little Sambo book (if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can read up on the history here.) On the cover was an illustration of a small white child, leading a small black child on what appeared to be a leash.

“OH DEAR LORD” I gasped.

At first I assumed he was going to turn the book in to the staff so they could take it off the shelves. That’s what I would have done. But, then he spoke.

“Isn’t it awesome?! I collect all of this shit. I have a whole room of black face stuff at home. I love it!” he said.

My face turned from heart eyes to whatever emoticon signifies “OH HELL NO.”

“Nice meeting you!” he said as he strolled out the door and into the night.

People always ask me what it’s like to be 35 and single.

I think Alanis Morissette said it best when she sang, “It’s like meeting the man of your dreams, then meeting his collection of super racist artifacts.”

 

Sex, Lust and Ruskie Business

Since writing this post several of you have reached out and requested more dating, sex and relationship stories. I often don’t write in real time, so here’s one from my personal vault – circa a few years ago. 

RUSKIE BUSINESS

Recently, a friend and I were discussing the topic of hooking up with people in other countries.A few minutes into the discussion I realized that my foreign boot-knocking experience is actually surprisingly limited. I never did the whole backpacking through Europe thing (everyone who did, seems to have some story about hooking up with a hot Spanish dude in a hostel), I’ve never been to an all inclusive resort and I was too broke in university to spend a semester abroad. All of my international travelling has been done with family, my ex, or through my old job. In other words, I’ve just never had a romance abroad – at least not the kind that would inspire a 1980’s Taster’s Choice commercial.

(Anyone who grew up in the 80’s remembers Jean-Luc)

I explained to her, “I’ve never slept with a foreigner. Kissed, flirted with – yes. Sex, no. Well, unless you count The Russian.”

“I feel like there’s a good story here, Simone.”

I then proceeded to tell her exactly what I’m about to tell you.

I met the Russian on my first trip back to Toronto after I left in 2011. The Russian wasn’t actually Russian per se. He was from another former Soviet country, close to where my ancestors are from and had been living in Canada for several years, working as an exec for a successful Canadian company.

I was out for drinks with one of my best friends in Toronto at a bustling restaurant-bar in the Financial District. We hadn’t seen each other since I had left for the West Coast, however it only took a  few minutes and a vodka martini (or three) before we were chatting up a storm like not a day had passed. Although the friend I was with that night very much a savvy, whip-smart, self-made woman, she has a tendency to attract, date and socialize with wealthy, high-roller types. She’s also one of the most fearless and confident people I know. So, I wasn’t surprised when an older, moneyed guy and his younger, noticeably attractive friend stopped by our table to say hi.

“Simone, this is ____ (older guy), he’s the CEO of _________ (insert well known Canadian company) and he dated ________(our friend)”

Then, she introduced The Russian.

“Simone, this is ______ (typical Russian name). He’s originally from ________ (insert former-Soviet country.) Typical Russian Name, Simone’s relatives are originally from your country. You guys should talk” she said with a wink.

She didn’t miss a beat before suggesting that the guys buy us a couple of rounds of drinks.

There was no doubt that The Russian was very handsome. He looked like a younger, better looking Mikhail Baryshnikov (my very first celebrity crush): sandy blonde hair, square jaw and blue almond shaped eyes that radiated just the right amount of mischief and sex appeal. Like many of the men on my Mom’s side of the family, he was built like a reverse triangle: broad shoulders, lean and muscular.

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Later, when I showed a photo of The Russian to my best-friend, she commented, “He looks like the kind of guy you’d meet on an Olympic podium, not in real life.” She wasn’t far off.

So, when the guys asked us if we’d like to accompany them to their next location, it was a no brainer. A few minutes later we were all hanging out at a very swanky hotel bar known for being a popular hangout for investment banker types, celebrities and high-end escorts alike.

While my friend chatted with CEO guy, The Russian and I were huddled close together at the bar, our legs touching. Although my friend has dated quite a few Russian and Ukrainian guys over the years, I explained that I had never really dated anyone who shared this part of my cultural background.

“Why not?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I guess I don’t know that many Russian, Ukrainian or Polish people outside of my own family. The guys that I have met, always tell me I look like I could be their sister.”

(This is true. My friend’s Ukrainian ex and I look like we could easily be related.)

“You’re beautiful. Not anything like sister to me.” he replied with a wink.

A few hours and quite a few vodkas later, The Russian suggested we all head back to his condo and continue the party there. Back at his place – a sparsely furnished, slick condo on the waterfront; my friend and CEO Guy talked business while The Russian and I vigorously made out in the kitchen. It had been months upon months since I’d had any physical contact from the opposite sex and let’s face it – he was hot. Although the free-flowing vodka definitely didn’t hurt, it wasn’t just the alcohol that was making me feel intoxicated, it was the Russian – the way he smelled (like freshly washed laundry), the feeling of my hands running through his hair, his lilting accent as he whispered in my ear that he thought I was sexy. We had chemistry. This much was clear.

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“I’ve never seen you like this!” my friend told me, once I’d been able to pry myself from The Russian’s lips long enough to come up for air.

“You mean single?”

“Well, yeah…and like, clearly ready to mingle!” she replied with a raised eye-brow.

It’s true, this is one of the first times we’d hung out since my big break-up a few months before and the first time she’d ever seen me with my arms wrapped around anyone other than my ex.

When things in the kitchen started to get particularly heated, the Russian and I moved our make-out session into his bedroom where we quickly became a tangle of naked limbs atop of his bed. He tore off my panties and proceeded to go down on me with such precision and vigour that it wasn’t long before I lost my breath as my back was arched in pleasure.

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