Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Who?

It's not that I'm going all bah-humbug on the holiday, just that someone had to work it, that someone being me, and so I'm in Christmas-oblivion until the 27th, which is when my celebrations officially begin.

I celebrated Christmas Eve with all the somber reverence due to the birth of baby Jesus, in a greasy spoon called Zak's Diner, home of excellent home fries and uncomfortable seating. Andrew took me there when I got off work at 7am and it's as close to Christmas dinner as I've come. And no, that's not a complaint. Although I did raise my eyebrow ever so slightly when the waitress asked how he wanted his eggs, and he said "Scrambled."

"What's wrong with scrambled?", he asked.

"Nothing," I said, "if you're 12."

Frankly, he deserved a good ribbing after I had inspected his driveway earlier and declared that reindeer had definitely been afoot (ahoof?).

"No," he said, "we just have rabbits."

Now, granted, I had just got off a night shift and I was exhausted and bleary, but that's still no excuse for him to think it possible that I might confuse reindeer and rabbits. I'm not that blonde.

"Well if you're not referring to the tracks in the snow, then what do you mean?" he asked.

"I smell them" I said.

"You smell reindeer?"

"I smell magic!"

So then we kissed goodbye and he sped off toward his hometown, an 8-hour drive he managed in just 11, which sounds ass-backwards, but this is December in Canada and all things considered, he made good time. I have it on good authority that he is currently drinking generous portions of scotch while making awkward conversation with his Nana and trying to tune out Anne Murray's screechy Christmas album.

Meanwhile, I went to work on Christmas Eve in my fuzzy Christmas jammies, ready for all manners of office antics with just a pinch of party, but instead I spent the night alone in the dark while my coworker stretched out on the yoga mat and intermittently snored and ignored the annoying ringtone\alarm on his phone. For 7 fucking hours.

Merry Christmas to me!

Christmas day meant little more to me than the rest I'd need before heading back into work, but after approximately 47 minutes of sleep I discovered that any more would be impossible. Awesome. Nothing says Christmas like a nice glass of Redbull, I've always said. Maybe I could crush up some candy cane and give that a snort for some extra energy and a brief but minty ride on the festive train.

My youngest sister, bless her little heart, has spread Christmas cheer via text. She has sent blurry images that I assume are Christmas-related along with enigmatic updates such as "Now we're playing spoons!"

When I wrote back that I hoped that meant that our grandfather was attempting something by Beyonce, she (to my disappointment) clarified that spoons were not being played musically as I had imagined, but rather, it's an ill-named card game. Or a well-named card game, for all I know. But still.

If you think I sound grinchy, then you clearly don't know me very well.
This is how I always sound.
I'm an inspired complainer year-round.
It's part of my charm. Trust me.

Actually, I don't so much mind working through Christmas. I'm a contractor, which means I work for myself, so I could have had it off, but then someone else would have had to sacrifice their plans.

Andrew and I celebrated the night before he left by feasting on thai food and watching half a movie before he stoked my fire with his yule log.

And my mother has generously offered to host "Christmas: The Sequel" upon my belated arrival.

So I might not be roasting chestnuts on an open fire tonight, but I'm making pancakes and watching Hamlet 2, and you know what?

That ain't bad.

Happy holidays to all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Puppy Love

When Andrew picked me up last night he said "Wow, you look really great", which is more or less what he always says when he picks me up. He'd said an approximation of that very same thing the night before, but I was more willing to accept it then, being decked out in a little black dress and heels. Later that night, sitting on the leather sofas at Social, martini (deliciously named Anika Sky) in hand, he told me that my breasts looked "particularly fetching". And yes, he really said fetching.

But that was Saturday night; last night, Sunday night, I was wearing cords, and let's face it - no one looks sexy in corduroy. It's a functional fabric favoured by us citizens of colder climates. It is not h-a-w-t.

Obviously the response to "You look good" is "Thanks" but I tend to go with something like "I know!" instead. And I do know. Someone as gorgeous as I am, as smart as I am, as funny as I am, with such impeccable taste, unimpeachable opinions and superior skill at almost anything worth being skilled at (from the proper pouring of a stout to the impressively flawless removal of red wine stains from suede) will obviously become accustomed to receiving compliments. But that hasn't made me very comfortable or particularly gracious at accepting them. (Incidentally, my mother once wondered aloud how someone so conceited came from her womb, which made me wonder if someone this beautiful can really be said to be "conceited". Conceit implies that the self-flattery is excessive or worse yet, imaginary. Conceit, therefore, belongs to the uglies. Us good looking people who know we're good looking are simply self-aware. And that's a good thing, right?)

Anyway, after Andrew and I finished arguing about whether I looked dishy, we drove to his friends' place because their dog just had puppies - twins! - and we were eager to bask in their cuteness. At just 3 days old, the little tan ball of adorable sat in my palm with room to spare. It snuggled up to my chest and sighed contentedly. Andrew's puppy, however, mewed a little and squirmed against him. Perfectly understandable, of course, since they're newborn, still blind, and unused to being away from Mummy's nipples. Mine was the anomaly of course, but I've yet to come across a male who wasn't happy to nuzzle at my breast.

I didn't volunteer this perfectly reasonable explanation of my puppy success though, because I was meeting Andrew's friends for the first time and I was on my best behaviour. In fact, sometime before we pulled up (and possibly partly prompted by my repeated use of the word CUNT in the previous post), he'd warned me not to use the word pussy. So, after dating for a couple of months now, Andrew has pegged me as:

a) the kind of girl who can really rock a pair of cords; and

b) the kind of girl who would randomly insert inappropriate vagina-substitutes into conversation with complete strangers.

And he's not really wrong, on either count.

Earlier I had fucked with his hair a bit because he looked like he was about to sit for his school portrait. It's hard for anyone to compete with my new haircut ("the most punk-ass in the 613" according to my stylist) but when he asked me if he looked dangerous I had to admit that maybe "responsible" was a bit more accurate.

"Coming from you," he said, "I know that's not a compliment." It's difficult for most people to think of responsible as being an insult, but again he's hit the spot. This kid, he's starting to know me. And this fact, slightly startling on its own, was compounded by having occasion to talk to my ex this week. My laptop was stolen last weekend and I needed the serial number from him for the police report. On a manic high last summer, he'd promised to finally return my things, box up what was most important to me, and get it to me right away with a side of divorce papers. Six months later, I haven't seen any of these things materialize, but after watching my life be torn apart by his bipolarism, I guess I'm just a bit beyond disappointment these days. We've since had months of silence in the interim, which is not something I really regret. His curiosity got the better of him though, and he initiated our first conversation since August. I was surprised to find that the 8 years we'd spent together had somehow...dimmed. The feelings I once had for him, both the loving ones and the angry ones, have evaporated. I was struck by how strange I seemed to him. He doesn't know me anymore.

He doesn't know me anymore!
Even more shocking to me: someone else knows me now (and I don't just mean biblically). I mean that I can tease him in that way that I have and not worry that he'll fall apart. He gets my scathing sense of humour. He knows where I like to be rubbed, and why I can't just put a lid on a cocoa and pretend it's a white hot chocolate. He already knows that I'm never wrong, and that if there's any sort of competition between us, I will win.

Especially if it involves puppies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ode to Vulva

I remember very clearly one of my earliest classes in the psychology of sexuality because it consisted mainly of a 3-hour slide show of penises.

Penises, penises, penises. I'd certainly seen my share (perhaps even several shares) live and in person by that time, but to see them disembodied, out of context, in all their glorious shapes and sizes, in various states of arousal or flacidity, some straight and skinny like a fleshy misplaced bolo tie, others gently curving like a piece of mushy unappetizing fruit, it was simply too much.

Too much!

The next week I was bravely back in the lecture hall, pen in hand, optimistically thinking that I might actually be taught this time (although it's possible that the only note I took that entire semester was "Clitoris rhymes with Doris"), and that I probably wouldn't miss sausage all that much, now that I could no longer bring it to my lips when lo and behold, the unending penis slide show was followed by an equally lengthy one on vulvas!

This time, after bearing witness to literally hundreds of vulvas, I felt rather enlightened. Up until that time, the only vulva I'd spent any quality time with was my own, and I left with a heightened appreciation for just how goddamned cute mine was. Still, I went home to a hand mirror, a camcorder and some well-placed throw pillows that night just so I could admire her some more.

Mimi and I (that's her name) have had some very, very good times.

Very, very.

Well, I suppose that makes it sound like the good times happened just between me and Mimi, and that's not what I meant.

Though it is equally and absolutely true.

If I'm supposed to feel some measure of shame in admitting that, I don't.

Mimi is so pretty that you can't help but be drawn to her - such a luscious shade of pink that I'd gladly wear it on my lips if only Revlon could get their shit together and weren't so adverse to printing "Jay's Cunt" on the sides of their tubes. Personally, I think it has a nice ring to it.

Yes, I said cunt. Sometimes I think it's the only word really worthy of it: powerful, arresting. Cunt.

She's so affectionate it breaks my heart, always striving to be the best that she can be.

My vulva, myself.

I love her.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things I Recently Dropped in the Toilet: A Poem

The shampoo
Luster and shine guaranteed
Now with green tea extract;

The toothpaste
No longer so minty fresh
Still recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists;

Nail polish, extreme blackcurrent
Sank straight to the bottom
And looked like sunken treasure;

A whole roll of toilet paper
Quickly took on water and went glug glug glug
Fished out a soggy, pulpy mess;

A happy rubber duckie
Who looked so homey in his new pristine pond
That I left him there until I had to pee;

A candle shaped like a shoe
Extinguished with a mighty splash
Never to be lit again;

The ring right off my finger
Seemed to be committing suicide
But I rescued it and closed the lid, thus saving others as well.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm not mental, I'm mentally hilarious.

I work as a crisis counsellor. Basically, people call me and I talk them out of killing themselves. Or at least, I hope I do.

I'm not really trying to make light of it. It's just that after months of hearing horrific disclosures involving all manners of abuse, sex crimes, broken hearts, abandoned children and lost souls, you're just not the same person and you do what you can to survive it. There are days when I come home and cry. There are days I come home and run myself a hot bath to cry in. There are other days I pour myself a glass of shiraz, run myself a bath, and sob as I gulp wine greedily. But despite these challenges (and maybe a tiny bit because of them), I love the work I do.

I even love the fact that I get to do it at night. People become desperate creatures at night and every time the phone rings, I know I have the potential to save a life. What I love a little less though is the toll that working nights takes on your social life. My schedule goes like this: I work 7 nights in a row, get 3 days off, work another 7 in a row, get 4 off. By the fifth night, you feel a little undead. It's been forever since you last saw the sun, you have no idea what the idea of "suppertime" is anymore, and you have a personal vendetta against all banking institutions which are open only in the narrow window during which it is imperative that you sleep. Mercifully though, I am right now enjoying my 4 days off, Sat-Tues, or as I refer to them, Saturday!, Sunday!, Monday!, Tuesday!

The Saturday and Sunday I reserve for what we counsellors have taken to calling "filling up the reservoir" after a particularly cheesy workshop, but really consists of making sure we don't burn out or wind up in need of crisis counselling ourselves (both happen with frightening frequency).

Saturday was a lovely day. I sacrificed sleep in order to be among the people, and I hit up an indie craft fair where I spent my money on such silk-screened gems as a pair of panties that say "Eat Local" and a tie that has a TV set admonishing the masses "Read a book you dipshit." These are the things you risk missing out on if you do the "healthy", "logical" thing and sleep when you're exhausted. Saturday night I went to Gatineau to visit a friend, play some poker, and eventually, when I was drunk enough, embarrass myself at Guitar Hero.

Driving home, we were already a fair piece down the highway when my girlfriend rang my cell and said Jay, you forgot your wallet on the stereo. Andrew was kind enough to turn the car around and allow me to retrieve it without laying on the guilt. Did I mention that having a fucked up sleep schedule really messes with your memory? It does.

Sunday morning I made my way home before the sun had even risen after spending the night not sleeping in Andrew's bed. I went home and crashed for less than two hours before springing back up in order to enjoy Another! Day! Off! Andrew and I spent a blissfully quiet day on my living room floor drinking wine and laughing.

On Monday I should have swung into high gear in order to get around to all those errands that are particularly hard for those of us who work the night shift: grocery stores, passport offices, postal outlets, banks, even the laundry room in my building, they're all open hours that are only convenient to the majority but sadly not the totality of the people.

But....I didn't. I had finally allowed myself a few consecutive hours of sleep before waking up and realizing that I needed to be getting ready to get to my friend's house if I had any hope of being in the vicinity of "on time".

And I was, barely, but still. And I had a great night. I am blessed with friends who hardly complain at all about my schedule. I knew that the next day would be crazy for me, now having to pack 2 busy days worth of errands into just the one, but I managed to put that stress out of my mind and just enjoy myself. I work hard, and I deserve some quality down time. I got back home quite pleased with myself, started steaming milk to make some white hot chocolate, ran a bath and realized....I had once again left my wallet behind.

I never do that, but I've now done it twice in three days and for all I know Sunday was safe only because I never left the house. I sat in the bath panicking. No cash, no debit card, no credit card, no gym membership, not even my lousy laundry card to my name! The Christmas shopping that so desperately needs to get done? Forget it. The stamps that need to be bought? ID that needs to be renewed? Arms that need toning? In fact, the whole damn list of things begging to be checked off? Nope, none of it.

It sucks.

And yet, I have accidentally given myself a gift.

I have nowhere I can go and no means to do anything. I will be forced to spend the day at home, alone. For the first time in a long time, I will truly relax. I will sit, and read, and eat cookies, maybe watch movies, maybe nap, probably open some wine and turn the Christmas tree lights on. I might even call my mother! It will be the complete opposite of the day that my to-do-list requires, but it will be the exact day that my tired soul has been longing for. Sadly, I all too often leave myself off the list (while scolding clients who do the same) but my unconscious has apparently identified the need and has worked hard to ensure that I treat myself to a real day off.

Thank you, dear wallet, for saving me. This act of deliberate sabotage is the most selfless thing an inanimate object has ever done for me.

Today I will shower in the dark with expensive body wash.
Today I will touch flame to virgin wicks.
Today I will go panty-less in order to preserve what clean laundry I have left.
Today I will savour every last minute.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The glory days of a bi-hockey couple.

He's handsome and thoughtful and has great taste in music, but he's deeply, deeply flawed.
Andrew cheers for the wrong hockey team.

No, I take that back.
The Ottawa Senators are not just the wrong team, but the worst team.
The rivalry between Toronto and Ottawa is legendary. Politely referred to as "the battle of Ontario", fans use much more colourful language in the stands.

But with a twinkle in his eye, he invited me to the game, and despite the fact that I felt fairly confident that it could spell an end to our relationship, I accepted.

He picked me up wearing a StinkySens Volchenkov jersey and hardly batted an eye at my skirt and white leather motorcycle boots (if you doubted for a second that I was the kind of girl who'd wear a skirt to a hockey game, then get the hell out). But when I ditched my coat in the car to reveal my own jersey, he lifted an eyebrow. My blue and white should normally repel his red and black, but instead they brushed together as his hand in the small of my back led me up the steps towards the monstrosity that feels entitled to sell beer at $12 a glass.

The ticket-taker was the first of many skeptics.

Are you two sitting together? she asked.

Apparently, I replied, rolling my eyes.

But otherwise I bit my tongue, which is not normally one of the many things I like to do with my tongue, but in a sea of Sens fans on their home turf, I know when to pick my battles. Plus, I didn't feel like getting jumped.

I wasn't the only Toronto fan in the building, but I was sitting in a section saturated with Senators sweaters (Andrew has season tickets, natch). I expected some ribbing, and I got some. I also got lots of high-fives from the Leafs fans pouring down periodically from the nose-bleeds in pursuit of more beer. One Leafs fan in particular was very vocal in his approval of my jersey. He went so far as to berate Andrew.

Dude, he says, if you're going to sit beside this lovely lady, you should have worn the blue and white.

I smirked.

Andrew grunted.

Or at least, he did the first time.

The second time he got razzed by this guy, he was a little less amused. The first period of the game had been intense, the Sens scoring within the first 4 minutes and the Leafs tying it up just a couple of minutes after that. The boys behind us shouted their anti-Leafs sentiments in their smug french accents while Andrew and I engaged in friendly one-upmanship. If he was on his feet clapping, then I'd be jumping up and down doing my damndest to drown him out. And then we'd make out and ignore the ice completely. It was good.

It was good up until the persistent Leafs fan showered me so strongly with compliments that he talked himself into proposing marriage, down on one knee on the concrete steps of the Scotia Bank place in a foam cowboy hat and face paint. Hawt. He took my hand and looked into my eyes and, refusing to be rejected, he assured me that though Andrew may have splurged for better seats, the real fans were further up in the stands, and that he'd have a seat saved and warmed for me when (not should) I choose to join him.

Equilibrium was not restored until a Sens fan threatened to throw me down the stairs. The entire section, witnesses all of them to the awkward scene that failed to end in an engagement, erupted in laughter, enjoying having put the Leafs fan back in her place and their energy carried them through a battle into overtime and finally a (surprising) Ottawa victory in a shoot-out.

We spilled out into the crazy-packed parking lot after the game in a sea of jubilation. Andrew grabbed my hand in the crush and we strolled happily towards where we estimated the car to be parked, having already mostly forgotten which team lost and which team won, when yet another random person stopped us in our tracks.

This one though congratulated us.
If a Leafs girl and a Sens boy can still be holding hands, I have hope for this world yet. Anyone can get along together if you guys can.

So, beacons of hope that we were, we drove home together to rip the offending shirts off our backs and do the things that make us forget that we have any differences at all, except the anatomical ones that we tend to quite enjoy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where the men are, sort of.

There were better bars, more worthy bars, deeper into the bowels of the market, but I was wearing spike heels and a dress so short it barely (maybe not even) covered my girly bits, and there was wetness bordering on snowness starting to fall, and our bellies were full of sushi and sake so we just wanted a dark corner to sit in and drink in and wait until it was late enough to go home and fuck.

These are all perfectly good reasons for accidentally watching UFC, I swear.

The cover charge at the door of a pub should have given it away, I guess, but I was distracted by the the 42:1 ratio of men to women and Andrew couldn't wait to get in somewhere (anywhere!) warm enough to remove my coat and get another look at my Grecian dress ("Grecian" meaning very low cut in the front and very very low cut in the back), or rather, the things falling out of my Grecian dress.

The UFC, if you have the good fortune not to know, is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which in theory involves a couple of scantily-clad mixed martial artists going at it until one of them just can't go anymore. If this sounds homoerotic to you: ding ding ding. However, the UFC seems to have some unspoken rule about not engaging anyone who is even remotely good looking, so if you're looking for the male equivalent of mud wrestling, keep looking. In fact, I would wager that mud wrestling involves more grace and more athleticism and possibly more testosterone than the UFC on any night. But maybe that's just me.

Supposedly, back in the glory days of the UFC, the only rules were no biting, and no eye-gouging, which led to brutal, bloody fights that John McCain likened to "human cock fighting", which apparently was a bad thing. Now there are more fouls than you can shake a stick at, which includes not shaking your stick and also: no head butting, no hair pulling, no groin attacks, no fish hooking, no spitting.

And they call that a fight? Come on! My six year old sister and I got dirtier than that on the concrete floor of our basement when we couldn't agree on who would be Barbie and who would be Ken.

The fighters enter the arena to the tune of their favourite CCR song, high-fiving the eager pre-pubescent crowd. Then while scowling menacingly (but not convincingly - if you want convincing, I refer you once again to my Mom's basement when someone has just eaten the last poptart) the fighter is undressed. The official rulebook states that a fighter's gloves must allow fingers to grab and grapple, but somehow they are unable to remove their own shirts. Someone in the entourage actually has the job description of Official Shirt Taker-Offer of the UFC. Shirtless (disappointingly), they climb into the ring, which isn't a ring, but an octagon-shaped enclosure called (brilliantly) The Octagon.

The fight starts and the bar is packed tight all around us, violating all fire safety codes and also the warning that keeps crawling across the bottom of the big screen TVs that says pay-per-view is for individuals only and it is expressly forbidden for public viewing, such as that in bars. Wings and nachos are being consumed in vast quantities and I appear to be the 1 in 400 not drinking beer. The two fighters in silk shorts dance around each other for much of the "fight", and action is so scarce that just lunging at an opponent is enough for the beery crowd to erupt in cheers and jeers. Andrew fails to find anything amusing in watching former high school bullies wail on each other, but I encourage him to take a closer look.

These are not the bullies, these are the outcasts. The official and exclusive beer of the UFC is Bud Light for a reason. These are the dudes that were picked on and swirlied and stuffed into lockers in high school. These nerds are getting revenge, and using the UFC to show that their tap-dance\karate lessons were not in vain. Through the miracle of steroids and spending every Friday and Saturday night in an otherwise empty gym, the dweebs have got their day.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I kicked a girl, and I liked it.

During the emergency evacuation, our chicken balls, which were left behind, had gone cold, the lo mein had congealed, and the wontons were now floating unappetizingly in room-temperature soup. While others may see the aborted scene as a sad case of night-gone-wrong, we couldn't help interpreting the events somewhat more favourably.

Rewind 2-3 hours: the night starts innocently enough...

knock, knock

"Come in, come in."

kiss, kiss

"Have a seat, grab a drink, try not to mind the fact that I'm still not wearing a bra."

It may seem like casual entertaining to say the least, but Rory is the kind of friend who, when I accidentally stepped out of an Urban Behaviour fitting room topless, informed the crowd that it wasn't "anything she hadn't seen before."

So, while she unburdened her soul of all the troubles a girl can accumulate in 48 hours, I finished dressing under her steady gaze, and between smoke breaks on the balcony, did my hair and my makeup too. And when she'd confessed herself into exhaustion, we topped up the drinks and headed into more light hearted territory, otherwise known as my life, the soap opera.

Rory, like lots of my friends, lives vicariously through the sordid stories of my random rendez-vous-ing but is suspicious as to how I actually manage to accidentally meet so many strange characters. The best I can ever manage by way of explanation is "I don't know! It's not like I have a lesson plan for spontaneity. It just happens." Luckily, statements like that do not diminish statements like "...and after we chased the chipmunk back up the tree, we introduced ourselves and then made out." It sounds a little crazy in the retelling, but I like that my life is a mix of fantastical and unpredictable.

So as I was wrapping up a story we've since dubbed "The disarmingly hot guy who wears UFC jammies to bed and whose number is now deprogrammed from my cell", the only thing louder than our giggles was the grumblies in our tumblies.

Being the domestic goddess that I am, we ordered some chinese.

And then we went down to the lobby of my building to make sure no one abducted our dinner, remarking on "that buzzing noise that kind of sounds like someone's smoke alarm" as we left.

When we got back (10? 15 minutes later?), paper bag of hot delicious MSG-soaked goodness in hand, the noise hadn't abated. In fact, as we were sitting down, maybe half an egg roll in, the noise seemed to get louder. Still largely unconcerned, I decided that the least I could do was poke my head out the door, and that's what I did, and was rewarded with the sight of one neighbour pounding on the noisy apartment's door. When it was finally answered, smoke billowed out.


That chicken fried rice is looking mighty good....

But then the lady who answered starts yelling "Call the fire department! Save the animals!" as she neglects to keep her tattered bathrobe closed while lugging large crates containing (I hope) pets out into the hallway and then into the elevator. A man's voice, coming from within the offending apartment bellows "There's no fire, don't get so worked up" and reassures the growing crowd with "She just passed out with something on the stove."

And she has somehow "slept" through 20 minutes of smoke alarm. Riiiiiiiiiight.

Anyway, the woman, now that she's conscious, is now "agitated" enough to pull the building's alarm, which means the fire department's on its way and 187 people are about to be very grumpy.

* Note: When I say "slept", and "agitated", you can pretty much assume I mean "stoned out of her fucking mind."

So we leave our dinner but take our drinks and evacuate calmly. Not a drop was spilled despite the urgency of the alarm and the people rushing past us in the grimy stairwell.

As soon as we hit the cool night air, I say to Rory "If this turns out to be a real fire, I'm going to very upset, because I just left my baby up there!"

* Note: When I, a single, selfish, independent woman say "baby", you can pretty much assume I mean "laptop."

And then a man comes out the front doors with precious cargo under each arm, and declares that "Just in case, I brought my babies."

* Note: gay man babies = laptop + cat

So we're all standing around, watching the firemen take an elevator up to the maybe-fire (which I thought was a fire-safety sin, but what do I know?), some of us in post-work-pajamas, some of us in states of anger and disbelief, and some of us sipping from swirly straws feeling kind of amused about the whole thing.

And I start playing "meet the neighbours" with a guy who's standing off by himself in a hoodie and a puffy vest, looking like he maybe had better plans than watching his building go down in flames tonight.

Actually, he admits, he'd been home sick from work all day. The fire thing is kind of a pain in the ass, as he'd had to peel himself off the couch and actually mobilize. Rory and I volunteer brilliant information about ourselves, such as how I first came to meet the building's superintendent on my very first day as a tenant because I'd turned on the taps in my shower and then couldn't turn them back off, and how Rory had had a similar near-fire incident when she'd accidentally let a pot of carrots boil all the way down, scorching the pot, which she then for some unnamable reason placed on a carpet, thus burning a hole right through it.

Brilliant way to introduce ourselves, no?

Eventually the fire fighters exit the building unheroically, no women strewn over any shoulders, not even a scared kitty reunited with joyful owners, and even more disappointingly, none drop trou or so much as remove a shirt to reveal achingly chiseled pecs and a waxed-smooth toned torso as those calendars would have you believe.

So, Rory and I race up the stairs although at this point the chinese food can't get any colder. The night has derailed nicely and as we pass the chicken balls and red sauce between us, we debate who should tell which parts when we inevitably drunk-dial some lucky friend to tell them of our night's events.

But then we get stuck on one salient point: the guy. The guy named _______. Who lived on the ______ floor. Who told us his job was _________ and originally came from _______ and had moved to the building last ________.

And then I pointed out to Rory that she'd actually been with me on one of my patented randomly-meeting-people adventures, and look how badly we'd done! He should have been eating gross egg rolls with us right that very moment, but we had failed.

Well, not quite failed, not yet.

I got out the construction paper and the markers, and we went to town.

An hour later, we were making asses out of ourselves, papering the building with our posters: the mail room, the elevators, the stairwell, the front lobby. We were thorough. We put up whatever random facts we could agree on, and offered some of ours in return (Gushing shower girl and burnt carrot girl want to see you again!). We hoped that he possessed a sense of humour, or at least felt kindly disposed towards stalkers.

"Only people in the movies do this kind of thing" we agreed, but did it anyway, not quite capable of the stealthiness we strove for. It didn't matter if it didn't work, the fun was just in doing it, and enjoying it, and seizing the little joys that life puts in your path.

We hugged as we parted, as we always do.

"When are we doing this again?" she asked.

I'm pretty sure we'll never have an exact repeat of the night, and that's okay. I'm also pretty sure that life still has plenty of surprises left for both of us, and that those surprises tend to multiply in magnitude when we come across them together. And I'm delighted that our twosome seems destined to become a trio since the guy was very quick to respond to the posters and doesn't want to wait until the next fire to do it again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Til Whoredom Come

You've politely sipped two martinis and said no, demurely, to a third. You ordered the angel hair pasta and left at least a third of it on your plate. You sat like a lady, with your legs crossed, you smiled at his jokes but resisted the urge to giggle, you let him open the doors even though your arms are perfectly capable of pushing and\or pulling. In short, you have spent the entire evening pretending to be exactly the kind of girl that you aren't.

But when his car pulls into your driveway, the jig is up. Three kisses and a hand under your shirt, and instead of pulling away, you're inviting him in.

So now you're sitting on the couch, each with a glass of wine from a stash of bottles you keep for exactly this purpose, both pretending to watch a movie that neither of you could identify if pressed, while his hand creeps up your thigh, the one you rubbed with lotion hours earlier thinking of exactly this moment.

I take his hand and put it right where we both want it anyway. He'll look a little shocked at first - I've just broken with the dating protocol - but then slowly, it will dawn on him that I've just saved us both 45 minutes of his hand's ascent, quarter-inch by quarter-inch. Now that the cards are on the table, the panties can hit the floor.

But wait.

Panties are last. Everyone knows that panties are last!
Shirts are first.

If you're a dirty girl, you've selected your date outfit not just for its level of hotness, but also its ease of removal. Your shirt should not be of the crazy-amounts-of-buttons variety (or god forbid the ornamental buttons - kiss that shirt goodbye if you were that stupid), and for heaven's sake stay away from the tricky hidden zipper on the side shirts (I mean, to be fair, those shirts are even hard on me!). If you like the guy you're about to have sex with, cut him some slack and go with a top that pulls off easily (and if you don't like the guy, reconsider the sex). No matter what, a dude will absolutely forget to be careful of your hair when he takes your top off, so don't be too attached to the style it took you 55 minutes to achieve. Be prepared to just shake it out, bat your lashes, and not think about it again until you're trying to comb out the sex tangles after he goes home.

Boy shirts aren't too difficult. There are basically only two varieties: the kind you pull over his head (if he's tall, remember to do this while you're still sitting on the couch) or the kind you unbutton. If he's wearing a button down, let him take your shirt off first. Then, reach up and sweetly work on his first couple of buttons. Look up at him from under your lashes, let him get a good look at the cups of your bra doing their good work, and he'll hurry the process up, either working on the buttons from below, or sacrificing the buttons entirely and forcing the shirt off one way or the other. Make sure that you let the shirt fall where you are, still outside the bedroom. The trail of clothing is of the utmost importance: more on this later.

He'll be pretty anxious to get your bra off at this point, but don't let him. The next part can be tricky, and girls, you definitely want the upper hand.

Boy belts can be hell, and I've found it's one of many tasks best performed on one's knees. There are many reasons for this, the least of which is the view he'll get, which will make him excited and get him thinking of other things you might be doing while you're down there. But you're also giving yourself the best angle to work at, and a good overview of the obstacle. Now, as the girl, you realize it's your job to be slow and teasing and his job to be crazed and efficient (without much emphasis on the efficient). A finger in the waist band of his jeans is a good way to start. If you discover something in there you don't like (say, panties that are prettier than yours) you can hit the brakes and kick him out only half naked. This is all the encouragement he really needs. He'll be unbuckling that belt faster than if his pants were on fire. Actually, as far as he's concerned, his pants pretty much are on fire. Stop him there, though. Leave the button and the fly for yourself. Say hello. Acquaint yourself, but only briefly, before standing back up, but don't be afraid to leave a little lipstick behind.

Now that you have access through the front of his pants, he now has plenty of motivation to make your bra melt right off you. Let him get the zipper of your skirt or the button of your pants, which will be done in a fumbly fashion if you're doing your job right and being a good host to the friend you made when you were on your knees. Stop before you enter the bedroom, and each shed your own bottoms. This is important because you'll want to take the opportunity to also take off your socks, because lord knows there is no graceful or sexy way for someone else to do this for you. Socks can be a real turn-off. The only exception to this rule is if you're wearing thigh-highs. Those you can leave on.

You should both still be wearing underwear when you get to the bed, but his should come off before getting in. If he's a little shy though, you can take them off for him once he's in, just be sure to throw them onto the floor, out of reach. Yours should always be left for last, because taking them off will leave him in a very opportunistic position for how you'll want things to go from there. A little upward tilt of the hips is a helpful way to let him know what's on the menu.

And the genius of it is, when it's all over, he'll have to get out of the bed to get his boxers. If he's not making the move quickly enough, just start hogging the sheets, he'll catch a draft and be inspired to find his underpants soon enough. And cleverly, retrieving the rest of his clothes leads him pretty much right up to the front door, where you first threw his shirt. At this point, it's easy to hand him his shoes as you open the door. While he's doing the hopping-on-one-leg-tying-his-laces thing, pat his bum, kiss his cheek and give him a rousing "Thanks, that was fun!"

Close and lock the door.
Flush condom.
Have a scoop of Ben & Jerry's.

And that's how a good girl has bad girl sex.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Warm September Rain

We're sitting in a booth and our thighs are nearly touching. I'm very, very aware of the nearlyness.

It's early days for us, but what I know of him, I like: the penchant for argyle, the passion for his work, the way his eyes linger over me...

But then it hits: a huge wave of insecurity washes over the already tipsy vessel we call the U.S.S Second Date. He thinks he's being polite, making casual conversation. He has no idea he's just entered my danger zone. I'm doing my best impression of a blandly smiling mannequin but on the inside the red lights are flashing, the captain is screaming Jump ship! and I'm frantically casting about for a lifeboat, an inflatable vest, a bloated corpse, anything.

He's just asked me about my gym habits. The stupid fucking gym. Possibly I walked right into this line of questioning having just been making fun of the yuppie zombie lululame-os in my yoga class, but no matter who's to blame (and I'm still favouring him for this one), there's no squirming my way out of the subject matter.

And why do I not want to talk about the gym?

It's not the particular shade of tomato that I turn upon exertion. It's not the mickey's worth of gin that I sweat out my pores. It's not the way spandex makes my ass look like it should be zoned for its own area code.

It's that I'm slow.

Now, I am prepared to let this be the one thing he's better at than I am. But I'm not just slower than him, slower than men. I'm also slower than all women, most toddlers, obese senior citizens, three-legged turtles, and 7 year old Heinz ketchup. I'm extraordinarily unimpressive.

And right now he's looking at me like I'm the bee's knees, like he can't believe how brilliant my non sequiturs are, like he can't get over how lucky he is to be paying for my chicken parmigiano.

Of course it's an illusion. I don't normally reapply my lipgloss 17 times an hour, and he doesn't normally reshave before dinner, and neither of us usually exist on diets consisting solely of breath mints, and yet here we are. I know it, he knows it, but we're both enjoying it nonetheless. The thing about dating is: if you like the illusion well enough, then you might take the time to peak behind the scenes and get a glimpse of the creepy little wizard who's been running the whole show.

And right now, with the candles flickering between us, and his thumb rubbing my palm, it's not time to pop the bubble. I don't need him to know the boobs-squashed-in-a-sports-bra side of me, the struggling-to-bench-press-25lbs-if-I'm-lucky side of me, the couldn't-run-faster-if-a-bear-was-chasing-me side of me.

So I distract him the only way I know how (while keeping my top on): I put my hand on his chest, and I lean in real close and I whisper You know what? You haven't kissed me yet today and though it's not true in the slightest, I know damn well he won't call me on it.

Pretty soon we're in the alleyway behind the restaurant with my back pressed against the gritty brick wall. It's raining out, but it's a surprisingly warm September rain, and the luscious drops that fall on my bare shoulders just make for a slicker sensation when he runs his hands up and down my arms. He tastes like wine and looks handsome in the moonlight.

Screw the gym: distraction is my new favourite sport.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I'm not a girl, not yet a wino.

Caro and I were enjoying another one of our "failed" shopping trips (the kind where we stop in at Sephora, bemoan the fact that they still haven't restocked the Apricot Souffle, and then proceed to buy substitute purchases (at other stores, mind you, ones that deserve our business) that we don't particularly need but seem to take home anyway) when we decided to give ourselves a break from toting around our monstrous shopping bags and sit down for a little lunch and nice big drink.

It goes without saying that mine was a martini ("touch of pink", it was called, and it danced on my tongue and was sweet enough to mask the staggering amounts of alcohol mixed into such a pretty little drink) and as we sipped and ate, I amused her with stories of my sisters and I sharing a bathroom growing up, and even now, when we all happen to be visiting at the same time.

Confession: I am a bad, bad girl.

Oh, not the good kind of bad. Not the naughty kind. Well, yeah, that too, but that's not what I'm referring to this time.

I mean the bad kind of bad: inept, dysfunctional, graceless, impaired.

While my sisters (of which I have 3) vie for mirror time to primp and preen, my routine consists more of things like eating cheerios, flossing, and changing my top 18 times. But as for hair? Makeup? Forget it. I suck.

And it pains me to admit this, because my mother was a hairdresser, went to beauty school and everything. When we were little, she'd line us up in the kitchen and she'd pass from one set of bangs to another with her curling iron, making us all look like brunette Farah Fawcett nesting dolls. My sisters have clearly inherited her talents, and developed them, while I have been left in the dust.

So this winter I set myself a goal: make my hair look less retarded. And I've tried, I really have. I can now do things with a curling iron other than give myself scathing ear blisters, which is a marked improvement. And the straightening iron is no longer my sworn enemy (now it's the friend I love to hate), although it still makes me cry when I spend 20 minutes coaxing it to perform miracles only to have my efforts derailed by stupid humidity (and even as I type this, I find myself hoping that humidity really does fuck with hair, and it's not just something my Mom told me in order to make me feel like less of a schmuck).

So Caro, good friend that she is, laughs at me only a little bit when I point to my face with the wrong end of a fork to highlight the fact that I am not wearing makeup, as if she hadn't already noticed.

I don't wear makeup because I can't wear makeup. I mean, ostensibly the stuff can be applied to my face, I just have no idea how to get it there. And not for lack of trying: every so often I'll feel inspired, and I'll buy some of those little pots with the pretty colours in them and I'll take them home and do my best but I'm just never happy with the Tammy Faye lookalike staring back at me when I'm done.

Time has come today.

Caro informs me that this is the day that I finally become a woman (I quickly gulp 2 more martinis in sheer panic).

Becoming a woman, it seems, involves donating a paycheque to a little boutique called MAC cosmetics. I brace myself before we walk in.

I am a blank canvas. The only things I've ever been able to master (well, more like muster) is mascara and lipgloss. The rest of my face is virgin territory (oh stop your snickering, I can refer to myself as a virgin with any spontaneous combustion...I'm pretty sure).

I let Caro and the girl at the store (whom I will call Miss MAC because if she wore a nametag, my heart palpitations were too severe to notice it) work their magic. I merely sat there in the unforgiving lighting, shedding tears for each and every pore, and looked up when they told me to, puckered when I must, and tried not to look completely flummoxed when they showed me the results in the Little Hand Mirror of Death.

The crash course in girliciousness was a bit overwhelming, and I neglected to take notes. I retained, however, that only morons think that one eye shadow is sufficient. Your eyelid, apparently, is a tiny palette on which you are to shove as many colours (complementary ones, whatever the fuck that means) as possible and then blend them like mad (and using 78 different brushes) until you either look sexy or you poke an eye out. The first one they both agreed on was called Naked Lunch.

"You must have Naked Lunch; everyone has Naked Lunch" they told me, and I grinned like the idiot that I am, because I do not have Naked Lunch, unless you count the book, of which I do have a copy, or the clothes-less midday meal which I may have partaken in a time or two. But Naked Lunch is just what goes on underneath the colour you actually intend to use. Naked Lunch is just a base coat which requires a primer underneath it and lots of accent colours on top. It's exhausting, and since I would never devote that much attention to a wall, what hope in hell does my face have?

Mascara comes after the colour and I finally felt confident enough to proclaim that "I had mascara under control."

"Then why aren't you wearing any?" Miss MAC asked.

"Um. I am" I said, because I was. Or I thought I was.

"Clear?" she asked, unable or unwilling to hide her disgust.

"No" I admitted, blowing her mind.

The thing about mascara is this: it's glop that short-lashed ladies use to make their lashes appear longer, and fuller. As Miss MAC pointed out, my lashes are stupid-long, but this does not get me off the hook. Even when you already naturally have what mascara hopes to achieve, you must always strive to be longer and thicker (whoa does that sound dirty) and thus the vicious cycle never ends. So Miss MAC is laying a few coats on me and Caro is exclaiming over her interesting barrel-roll method (which I, being the girl who obviously needs the tutorial, could not see because my eyes were closed because SOMEONE WAS POKING AT THEM WITH A WAND COVERED IN GOOP).

So yes. Eventually I had a small mountain of magic pots containing things like concealers and powders and shadows and blushes and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! And Caro stands beside me at the cash whispering "You know you're about to spend a small fortune, right?" and it's fine because I'm getting my girl on, but still, you'd think a fortune would require a bag bigger than a Nutrigrain bar, right?

Anyhow, when we finally exited I must have been looking pretty punch-drunk, because Caro used our escalator time to quickly go over the steps, and their proper order. She even showed me which finger to use (there's a right finger? there's a wrong finger?) in order to be kindest to the skin underneath my eyes.

Oh holy lord, all these years I've been scrubbing and poking at that skin just as whole-heartedly as all the rest and it has taken me all these years to learn that I have been committing the ugliest of all womanly sins.

At home, later that night, getting ready to go out and do some damage, I line up all my purchases and go a little weak in the knees. I can stand in front of a near-stranger of the opposite sex in nothing but knee-high white leather motorcycle boots and not miss a beat, but put me in front of a vanity mirror and suddenly my palms could water the community garden.

But you know what? I think I did okay. I patted gently and used feathery strokes and even remembered the little wrist tap that gives you beauty instead of bozo. But then, I've always looked in the mirror without fearing that my face may cause violent traffic accidents so maybe I'm not the greatest judge. Maybe I need Paula Abdul to sit in my bathroom and break it to me gently. The real proof is in the pudding, and lacking pudding, a club full of cute boys will do nicely. Right?

Not so much. It turns out, boys aren't really checking out my eye makeup. They are, however, responding to SOMETHING, and I've made my peace with that, with some extra Naked Lunch winks for good measure.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Members Only

Before my hair appointment, I stop to buy three things: a diet pepsi, a pack of gum, and a trashy magazine.

There's no rule stating that you couldn't read, say, The New Yorker, or a well-worn copy of the works of Arthur Miller. It's just that a head full of foils and Cosmo go together like 5-inch heels and crotchless panties. Plus, I don't think it's coincidence that an issue of Cosmo can be read in about 3 hours, which is the average time it takes to cut, colour, highlight, and style a medium length of hair. The world works in mysterious ways.

So I'm sitting there under the big hair dryer wondering if it reads my thoughts as it warms my scalp and I'm trying not to blush over the token "guy with no shirt" and I come across a shocking how-to article: how to surreptitiously measure his package.


Because you'd hate to waste a 5-minute conversation on a guy who wasn't packing at least 6 inches. And now, through the magic of Cosmo, you don't have to!

Imagine talking to a guy, finding out that he's a great person, really smart, funny, kind, then accepting a date from him, letting him pay, basking in his compliments, walking through doors he holds open, dancing in is arms, realizing you have loads in common and that he's practically perfect....except for his average penis.

What a waste!

Now you can bypass all that nonsense, save yourself from getting to know those "great" catches, and skip right to what's important: how big he is in the pants.

Cosmo offers not one but TWO fail-proof methods of sizing up a potential mate:

1. The good old stare-straight-at-his-crotch method. Now, good girls that we are, we wouldn't want to actually get caught checking out his little buddy, so Cosmo coaches us in really great undercover tactics, such as gazing in the general direction of his groin as if you're thinking deeply about something, and tapping your forehead to make it look extra realistic, or using a prop, like a book, and holding it just under the line of sight to his goods so that it looks like you're an intellectual when actually you're a perv.

But wait. It gets better.

2. The tried and tested actually-reach-out-and-touch-it method. It seems to be unsaid but understood that in a perfect world, boys would just line up, perhaps behind a table, and whip them out for close inspection, but since they're a little less forthright than this, we have to help ourselves. Now, to just outright feel someone up is called "molestation" or something like that, but helpfully picking lint off his fly? Well, that's just good citizenry! There's about to be an epidemic of invisible dick-lint, so boys, beware: guard your junk!

This is the crap with which I filled my head that day, and normally I forget about it the minute my hair is looking like it's ready for its Vidal Sassoon moment, but this time I wasn't so lucky.

The very next day, riding the train home after work, I was seated while others were still crowding around, putting a random man's penis right in my eyeline. I tried to look away, I really did. I tried to be interested in the only other scenery available to me at the time: a woman was (ironically, I assume) wearing a track suit stretched precariously over her considerable behind that offered a very obvious VPL (visible panty line) of epic proportions. But I just couldn't help myself. This man actually had lint on his crotch!

Fate was tempting me and it was only a testament to my iron will that I did not succumb...and to the fact that in my experience, men who start out a bit on the smaller side often grow to be bigger than average once erect, which is what's important, after all. So the results of Cosmo's groping tactics were a bit dubious to me.

Plus, call me old-fashioned, but I'm the kind of girl who still thinks that finding out a guy's girth is more of a second-date activity.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Our lives are better left to chance.

I mentioned that I had recently moved (again), this time to the lovely city of Ottawa. My bags are unpacked, the boxes have been broken down and recycled, and I have a bump on my head where I used it to break the fall of a bathroom cabinet that I was attempting to screw into the wall.

So, I'm here.

This is not the first time I call Ottawa my home. I lived here many moons ago while I pursued my degree (ie, went to a lot of bars, ate cold cereal like it was a food group, and then showed up one day to collect a piece of paper that said I was a grown-up now, and good luck with that). But it's been five years since I've been anywhere near Ottawa and though I'm no stranger to being alone in a new city, it's still a little intimidating.

The first week I tackled my aloneness with this ingenious strategy: I went to the market, wandered around until I found the busiest, most packed-with-warm-bodies patio that existed, then sat down at the table with the highest ratio of cute boys and said 'Mind if I sit here?'

No one ever said no.

Mind you, when I was talking to my friend K about my system, he told me that only a person with breasts could get away with it. Breasts and balls.

The second week, however, was even better. I was touched when old friends, people I hadn't physically seen in years, began calling me up for drinks and dinners and general going-outness. They probably have no idea (well, other than the fact that I'm posting this on the internet) how much that meant to me, to feel like I have friends here. One friend, a brand-spanking newlywed, has even made herself available to me despite the fact that she's still technically honeymooning.

Another friend and I fell right back into the same easy relationship we'd always shared when I sat down at lunch and ordered the white peach sized. After playing catch-up for a bit and giggling over some of our more embarrassing common history, I interrupted:

I'm too distracted to eat lunch! Your luscious lips are mahhhhvelous. What gloss are you using?

And do you know what? Apparently Ottawa has vastly improved since I've been away, because Ottawa (brace yourselves) has a Sephora now. Youpee!

So the very next night I am at the Rideau Centre, stalker-like, hunting apricot souffle and a piece of chocolate cake (apricot souffle being the not very imaginative name ascribed to the gloss, and a piece of chocolate cake being the one thing my sweet tooth had really been craving). It took me some time to even locate the store, since it's hidden in a corner of the third floor amid stores selling dresses only old ladies could love and hideous shoes only old ladies could afford. But find it I did.

Sephora, if you don't know, is a mecca of makeup. It's thousands of pots and tubes and tiny jars all bearing big price tags containing things to paint faces. So finding one particular shade of lip gloss is like finding a needle in a haystack (and I move that we get rid of that antiquated phrase and replace it henceforth with "like finding a tube of apricot souffle in Sephora"). Anyway. Long story short: I didn't find it.

But against all odds, I did manage to find the hole labelled Apricot Souffle that would normally house the tubes of lipstick if they hadn't already run out of them.

So that was a bust. But all was not lost; there was still the matter of the chocolate cake.

Except clearly this shopping trip was doomed. The market still had wraps. It still had sushi. It still had fruit\yogurt parfaits. But chocolate cake? Get real.

So I was nearly dejected as I made my way from one end of the mall to the other, passing by all the other possibilities because when you're in the mood for chocolate cake, onion rings and ice caps just don't cut it.

But then I stumbled upon something far better than chocolate cake and the perfect shade of lip gloss combined (hard to believe, I know).

What I found was Jamie, my very dear friend (yes, of the same name), who lives in Medicine Hat. The very same Medicine Hat that is normally found in Alberta (which is 3637km away from here, fyi). Just like that!

Now, to tell the truth, my eyes had not been peeled just in case old Albertan friends who happen to go by the same name that I go by. She, not yet aware that I was living in this city, was similarly not exactly looking out for me, or for anyone, since it's safe to say that you don't know many people in a city you don't come from or live anywhere near. But somehow, in one of life's amazing serendipitous moments, we found each other, and were soon hugging and crying and embarrassing ourselves in the lower level food court.

And I realized then that had I found the apricot souffle, I would have stayed to track down the perfect complimentary blush. And on that shopping high, I would have chased down the bronze stilettos that I've been hungering for, and having located them, I imagine eschewing the cake in favour of a post-shop drink or two away from the mall, and away from Jamie.

Had I got what I wanted, it's unlikely that two friends crossing in the night would have ever connected.

You never really know what's out there, what you're about to miss, what you might have experienced had you chosen x over y. Sometimes it's even as trivial as a tube of lip gloss, but life is full of surprises, and minor disappointments can become tearfully joyous reunions in mere moments.

Life is beautiful, and random, and wonderful.
And the next day, a new shipment of apricot souffle arrived.
What more could a girl want?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If it makes you happy.

Last Friday night, I had an incredible first date.

We shared a meal, we talked for hours, we played, we cuddled up to watch a movie, we talked some more (like, 8 hours more). We asked questions like Why? and Why not? and really listened to the answers, discovered our commonalities with excitement, animatedly offered differing opinions, treasured each new tidbit of information.

And then the shift ended and we went home.

Yeah, so it wasn't a date, exactly, but meeting this coworker for the first time was an enriching experience during which a theme cropped up that we apparently share: the pursuit of happiness.

You've heard me harp about happy before. It's important to me to choose happiness on a daily basis, and then spend my days seeking it in whatever mysterious corners it may lurk.

The last time I sat down to try to put it into words, I wrote about happiness par deux and while I still enjoy the certain delights that come by coupling, I find that lately, I not only embrace but crave the joy that comes to me alone.

Today as I was getting ready for work, I found a sweater I hadn't seen in a week, and do you know where it was hiding? On a hook behind the bathroom door. I hadn't closed my bathroom door in a week. I pee with the door wide open! I shower with it open! I let the steam billow out and then rub myself with a great big pink towel in front of windows that haven't any curtains. I sit on my balcony wearing only whatever lotion hasn't soaked in yet, and whatever drops of daiquiri I've sloshed and not licked up. I enjoy the cool breeze on my skin and I just feel luxurious.

I threw out all of my old underwear and bras, and even the socks, and especially the pyjamas. Now I only wear lingerie, and I have a whole bunch that I keep for my eyes only. I make myself feel special the moment I walk in the door.

I put a 63-song playlist on my mp3 player a few weeks ago, and chose myself a happy song. Now whenever The Blood Arm starts asking Do I have your attention? I answer my dancing my pants off, wherever I am, no exceptions. Being a chronic music-listener, I am almost always plugged in when I'm out of the house, so I've thus far danced on a bench along Wellington; at the grocery store in front of the hummus, where I was deciding between garlic, and roasted garlic; while waiting in line at Bridgehead for someone else's coffee; and just today, on the overpass above the 417 at Pinecrest, where I briefly worried about getting some sort of citation for public disturbance. It's the kind of song that causes me to flail my limbs about in abandonment, and after I get over my initial embarrassment, I forget about all the people and just give in to the moment and by the end of the song, my heart is beating with joy. Joy, joy, joy.

I stopped buying meat. Instead, I go down to the farmer's market where they don't look at you strangely for fondling the beautiful fruit and where I can fill my bag with veggies that I feel a connection to. Then I go home and bliss out - zen, for me, is not a tiny sandbox with an even tinier rake, or even motorcycle maintenance; zen, for me, is chopping vegetables. Bell peppers are best, of course, but anything will do. Cantaloupe lets you be creative and zucchini is so satisfying.

When I come home from a run or a workout, I strip. And I don't mean I remove my clothing, because I don't do just that. I turn on the music and literally strip, removing one piece at a time and flinging it because I can and if it's still there the next day then so be it. I am the king of my castle.

And every day I find happiness in these small things, the really absurdly overpriced napkins that make me smile, and the oddly shaped vase I bought because it looks a little like budha, and the perfect shade of purple on my toes, and the yellow shoes that I adore because they match nothing and yet everything, and even the annoying ringtone of my phone because I know it's ringing just for me.

This is what happiness is, to me. It's not a big movie moment, with swelling music and memorable lines and perfect kisses. It's really savouring everyday moments, and feeling connected to the world, and being really present, and getting really excited, and knowing that you made that moment count. Really count.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Watching Him Sleep

Okay, bud, it's been 7 minutes.
Show some sign of life.
I mean, the sex was good, great actually, but if you leave me lying here much longer I'm going to start to wonder whether the scent on your sheets is from a sheet of Bounce in the dryer, or merely a spritz of Febreze before I came over.
Oh, please god let these be new sheets.
All right. Maybe if I clear my throat and sit up, he'll take the hint.
Shit. Nope.
Is he snoring?
Ohgodohgodohgod, please don't let this be a sleepover.
If I call a cab and leave, he'll be mad. Also, I think that's my blouse under his ass.
Yeah, I'm going to have to make a dry-cleaner run this week. I wonder if they're still having that $3.99 special...
Christ on crutches! Great, now I'm trapped. How do I always end up with the cuddlers? Why can't I meet a nice aloof guy for once?
There's no way I'm sleeping here tonight. He doesn't even own curtains for crying out loud. Maybe if I just give him a quick jab in the ribs...
Crap. Apparently that's an invitation to grab my tit.
Jeez I wish my ass wasn't pressed up against the wall. It's cold! But if I scooch over, I'll be in the wet spot, and I don't like to brag, but that's a big fucking wet spot. Maybe I can just curl my knees around it...
Nope. That sure didn't work.
Don't panic.
Maybe I can at least roll him into it, and his body will act as a bridge which I can cross and at least go pee, and - yes! yes, it's working! - now I can just get to the bathroom, have a quick pee, maybe find an old t-shirt I can borrow to get home in, and then....wait.
What am I hearing?
Oh gawd.
I thought he wasn't supposed to be here tonight!
I can't very well run across the hallway naked.
Well, I suppose I could...maybe the roommate is cute. And maybe the roommate drives girls home after sex.
Oh stop it. You're not really that mean, are you?
Don't answer that.
Oh man, I need to get out of here like NOW.
Maybe you write a note, borrow a t-shirt and call a cab once you've made it outside.
If he's mad in the morning, you can tell him that he was saying his ex-girlfriend's name in his sleep again. That'll shut him up.
Now I just have to extricate myself without waking him up...
Okay, he's on my hair.
Not cool.
Then, if I can just wiggle south....
Abort! Abort!
The giant stirs!

"Hey, where do you think you're going?"
"You can't go home."
"I can't?"
"But you were sleeping!"
"Well fuck, you take a lot out of a guy, you know. But now that I'm rested up a bit, I wasn't quite done with you. Think you can stay for a bit?"


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I don't like restaurants that have taken to referring to burgers as "sandwiches".

I don't like nearly slipping in large puddles of technicolour vomit at the bus station.

I don't like straightening my hair only to find out that the humidex has other ideas.

I don't like prematurely resurrecting winter sweaters because work is glacially over-air-conditioned.

I don't like sidewalk hogs.

I don't like that I've never seen a black woman featured in a shampoo ad.

I don't like when people call my flavoured water "juice".

I don't like those aggressive giver-outers of independent newspapers at various street corners in the early morning hours.

I don't like my silk wrap dress catching in the wind, granting the lucky Byward Market pedestrians, an Aquabus full of tourists, and roughly 200 wedding guests in front of the Notre Dame cathedral on Sussex a generous glimpse of my undies (which, thank god, I was actually wearing).

I don't like not having anything to complain about (after all, it is part of my charm, no?). Lately, however, I find myself listing only superficial complaints, and I'm awfully smiley despite it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Question: If a girl looks smokin hot and there's nobody around to take her picture, does it still count?


Monday, July 21, 2008

The Comeback

The irony is not lost on me: In the month following a post in which I heartily told everyone that I would be back to my bloggy self, things around here have been conspicuously quiet.

Well, technically speaking, the above is not irony at all, at least not from the point of view of its correct definition (but when do I ever let things like "truth" and "reality" stand in my way?), more like a disappointing coincidence that probably surprises no one.

But I do have excuses!

1. Summer, in Canada, is a limited-time engagement, and one I've been enjoying while it lasts by lounging about in hammocks (which contort the body and leave strange tan lines, by the way) sipping daiquiris and diving into the pool when it gets too bloody hot to bear.

2. Then there was the matter of my turning another year better, and partying like a cowgirl to prove it.

3. And let's face it - this is an exciting time to be literate! The books I've been reading lately have been through the roof (although truthfully, I've done the majority of my reading afloat on a raft with convenient arm rests, wearing comically oversized sunglasses so I can make out the print on the page, where there is no roof to speak of).

4. The humidity causes me to re-straighten my hair like a million times a day, because life has taught me that if I don't, someone will be nearby to snap my frizzy-headed picture.

5. And somewhere in there, there's something about me going through a complete life makeover, moving cities, changing jobs, signing the lease on a new home.....

Come to think of it, that last one is probably what's kept me busiest. Signing contracts, frantically apartment-hunting, hounding Jason about divorce papers, commuting, packing, saying goodbyes, and of course, finding time to sandal shop and sip fruity drinks on patios despite the hecticness, it's all been sucking up my time. In a good way. But man I'm exhausted.

And excited. It's rare in life that you get to wipe the slate completely clean, but I'm taking nothing of my past life into this new one, not a thing. Everything is new and fresh and seems thrilling just because it's mine and mine alone. I feel like I'm setting off on a new adventure, one that is unlikely to have an internet connection for the first few weeks at least, which means I'm begging for just a little more time before this place sees the effects of the overhaul as well.

Miss me while I'm gone,

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Falling in love is hard on the knees.

Well, it is.
Hard on the knees, I mean.
At my high school graduation, for example, I smiled for photos wearing that ridiculously unflattering mortar board with the tassel on the side that said "Holy fuck! I finally slept through enough classes to merit a diploma!" and beneath my red mini skirt, my knees were noticeably scabby.
Scabby due to love.
(Or, due to the reverse cowgirl position executed on cheap carpeting, which I often confuse with love. You say potato, I say french fries drenched in vinegar. That's just how I roll).

This post isn't actually about that kind of love, or even about sex, for that matter.
Shocking, I know.
This post isn't about a boy.
It's not even about a girl, although there's nothing like an impending divorce to bring out your inner lesbian.

This post is about a goat.

Now, I know what you're thinking, and yes, Canada is quite progressive, but we're not there yet.

If you kissed a goat you and you liked it, you'd still better keep it in the closet.

For quite a long time, I had an intense love affair with the goat (and I hope by now you realize I am referring to this very blog, Kill the Goat).
Starting a blog made me look at my world differently.
I noticed things. I reacted to things. I thought about things.
And then I went home and wrote about those things. I found out which of my friends were "quotable", which events in my life were "blog-worthy", and which of my incendiary opinions garnered the most outraged comments. I loved seeing bits of myself reflected through the Goat. Every once in a while, I'd get it right: I'd write something that not only lit a spark of my own, but earned insightful comments from you as well, and soon that post was inspiring stories and articles that went on to become published, or gave birth to new chapters, or put the itch in my fingers to write for 17 hours straight.

Lately, however, I spank the Goat a little less often.
It isn't because I have nothing to say. In fact, now more than ever my life is bursting at the seems with juiciness that I've been keeping to myself (and by "keeping to myself", I obviously mean "drunk-dialling Robbie at 2am and yelling disjointed details to him despite the fact I've left the bar and the loud music I'm hearing is only in my head".) The point is, I haven't been telling my secrets to the Goat.

This makes Jamie sad.
(Oh god, she's referring to herself in the third person.)

But the separation has felt necessary because when I ventured a post about the wealth of adventure and excitement I've been privy to, I felt a bit inundated with mostly well-meaning people who chastised me for my forwardness, or worried about my safety, or turned me into a cautionary tale. I started to feel less like a newly liberated grown woman and more like a teenaged Goat with 53 overbearing parents. Somebody felt it important to (anonymously) tell me that my "naughty nymph blather" was boring him.


So instead of asking everyone's permission to go about my life and enjoy myself, I just stopped writing. And that is a shame. Because once upon a time, this was one of my favourite hang-outs. This was the place where everybody knew my name, where the gossip was good and the martinis well-shook (and fucking dirty, just the way I like em, with 3 olives, not 2, 3).

Fair warning, Goat readers: I am reclaiming my space.
If you don't like it, you can get the hell out.
If you don't like it, you can blame Petite Anglaise.
You probably don't know her. I don't know her, either. But I read her book, after having read her blog (thoughts on this will be coming shortly to a book review site near you!). The net result is that she's made me fall in love with blogging again. Actually, she reminded me of why I loved it in the first place.
I like sharing. I like entertaining. I like documenting little snippets of life, and then re-reading them 2 years later with fresh, delighted eyes. I like meeting someone for the first time like we're old friends because they remember better than I do the day Janie was born. I like visiting other blogs to see what everyone else is up to. I like getting emails out of the blue that say "I get you." I like having hunky french men fall in love with me via my blog and then feeling the air around us sizzle when we finally meet face to face.

(Okay, that last one happened to Petite Anglaise, and not to me, but a girl can dream, right? Right? Several eligible bachelors have secretly been lurking for months just waiting to breathe some romance into my life, right?)

In summary: The goat is being rejuvenated. If I had the html skills, I'd send my site to the goat spa and get a total goat makeover, but since the only thing I can do is write, then writing is what will have to do.

I just hope these old goat knees can handle it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Goat Hits Milestone, Celebrates with Tin Can.

Today I drank 500ml of water about 12 different times.

I sat in the sun and brought out at least 500 new freckles.

I sent about 500 thank-you texts to a boy who drove 500km to bring me presents last night.

I cranked the music up and purred with contentment a good 500 times.

I checked my crazy, impractical bathing suit at least 500 times to see if I was "boobing out", and thanks to the halter gods, I almost always was.

And right now, right this very minute, I am writing my 500th post here at Kill the Goat.

Amazing, isn't it, how the time flies?

500. Kill the Goat is an old geezer now. It should be collecting a pension and complaining to its kids that they never call anymore and watching Wheel of Fortune with the volume turned up absurdly loud.

It's amazing to me that I've stuck with it this long. It's outlasted 6 apartments, 1 husband, a dozen boyfriends and dozens more who never got that designation, thousands of bottles of whiskey, at least 9 hair colours (and that bald phase), an imaginary dog named Toby, several new year's resolutions, and what I thought was the limit of my blogging endurance.

And if I've managed to surpass my own expectations, it's only because of you guys - the people who come, who click, who read, and especially those who leave comments. I've met some incredible people, been offered some wonderful opportunities, and Kill the Goat has even played matchmaker a couple of times (with success, I might add).

I've been a bad blogger lately. I've been too busy, too sunburnt, too tired, too sore, too sticky, too full of convenient and\or unlikely excuses, but the truth is, I still get a little thrill everytime I hit PUBLISH, and an even bigger thrill each and every time someone hits the goat with a hickory stick.

This is the one place that's always home to me, no matter where I'm living, or how I'm earning money, or who I'm kissing. It's the one place that's always mine, just mine. I've told it some secrets, I've been vulnerable, I've shared elation and history and victories and heartbreak.

It's been a pleasure.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ford Tough

Rory was my new bff about 7 seconds after I met her: we locked eyes, I smiled, she noticed my shoes. It doesn't take much.

A few months later and there's not much left to explore on the friend frontier; we've exchanged gifts and exchanged spit, we have a theme song, we have a "place" where everybody knows our name and the bartender mixes our martinis before our bums hit the stools - Mango Magic for her, Clear Skies for me (doesn't blue curacao make everything better?).

Rory and I are probably more than enough trouble just the two of us, but it's almost never just the two of us. We're a threesome.

Lucille is everything that I am not - big and black and fast, fast, fast. Lucille is Rory's truck.

Lucille is not just a vehicle, though. She gets us where we want to go - has taken us to the corner store for energy drinks, and to Jack's house for post-work debriefing, and last weekend on a 5-hour road trip. But she's also where we sit and have our chats, and where we hide our purses while we're dancing at the bar (clever, no?), and where we make our costume changes and store brownies and discover new parts of town and lose lots and lots of small change.

Lucille is where we eat chicken fingers when we suddenly realize we've just had too many martinis on empty bellies.

Lucille is where we throw our groceries when we suddenly get a craving for nachos, which we then forget about when we decide to follow a fire truck instead.

Lucille is where I sit quite comfortably in the back of the cab when Jack is riding with us, and where Luke sits rather uncomfortably (knees to chin) because whereas I am built for backseats, he is not.

Lucille is where we tell our secrets when it is raining outside.

Lucille where we've taken naughty pictures and practically overdosed on cough drops and compared ex-husbands. We've dug her out of snowbanks and gasped at how much it costs to fill her and taken her down "secret passageways" while being followed by less worthy cars.

When Lucille accidentally parked in front of a No Parking sign, I had her back. I karate-chopped that thing to the ground and stashed the evidence in my basement.

And now Lucille is putting some junk in her trunk. Her bed is piling up with boxes labelled 'kitchen' and 'linens' and 'pictures of Jamie'. Lucille is about to drive away to new and exciting horizons, and I find myself amazed at just how attached I've become and how sad I'll be to say goodbye. We've had some good times, the three of us. Lucille is some truck.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Have my cake and eat it too?

This story is about a boy.

All stories are eventually about boys, aren't they? No matter how many hand-over-heart pledges I make to stay boy-free, the flesh is weak and I never seem to last more than a few days, except for a brief girl-fling phase that I had a couple of months ago, which was nice, but not nice enough. You know what I missed? Hint: it wasn't the football.

But like I said, this is about a boy, one boy in particular, and funnily, not one of the dozens with whom I've amused\satisfied myself with these last few months. I feel like I've been doing hardcore scientific research in the name of humanity -

Hypothesis: E.S.P. would greatly improve our success in dating.

Data collected: Hours of mattress-time with consensual lab partners.

Conclusion: Thank god in heaven we cannot read each others' minds!

(I think any good scientific research should give god his props).

As if I don't already get myself into enough trouble as it is, comments like:
"Jesus, that's a lot of hair!", and
"Lord that feels good, I just hope it lasts for a l- -....oh, never mind.", and
"I'm glad he's enjoying himself but if he doesn't quiet down a bit, China is going to lodge a noise complaint.", and
"Maybe if I roll over and spread em, he'll take the hint."

wouldn't really help. Oddly (or fittingly), it's comments of a very different nature that cause me trouble - comments like "I'm just here for the sex" and "Please try your hardest not to fall in love with me." Okay, I've never really said either of those things to dates, but you get the gist.

There's a myth out there that boys like sex. Not that I've ever heard any complaints, but you'd think that they'd be not only grateful but maybe a little enthused to have sex with no strings offered to them on a plate (I've tried offering myself on a bed, which is more traditional and far more practical, but there's something about a parsley garnish that really gets motors running).


It's not really working out that way.

I don't want a boyfriend. I don't want a relationship. I think it's fair of me to be upfront about that, and the boys invariably nod eagerly with that "Woohoo! Free sex!" glint in their eyes, but before you know it they're leaving "Baby I miss you\Why don't you return my calls?\Why won't you meet my mom?" messages on my cell. And if these half-relationships (their half, obviously) were the worst of it, I'd consider myself a lucky girl. Unfortunately, I've been treated to begging (ew!), bar fights (if you spill my appletini, a blowjob is automatically out of the question), and a bizarre situation in which Grant, who is on the small side, took on the naked man in my bed and lost (which was kind of hot, and kind of not). My weekends are bipolar: Fridays are fun and fancy-free, Saturdays are hot & heavy, Sundays are for messy breakups over waffles. Now why do I have to keep ruining my holy brunch time breaking up with people I never went out with in the first place? It's a mystery. A mystery that usually leads to Monday-morning vows of sexual retirement.

Boys these days. They'll put out, but they've all got commitment on the brain. Whatever happened to good old fashioned fucking?

Which brings me to Mike. Mike is THE BOY. Mike, so far, lives up to The Standards. He's tall, and broad, and insanely handsome. He waits until I've swallowed my wine before making me laugh. He appears to spend a good portion of disposable income on footwear. He's read Proust, and Dilbert. He buys me drinks two at a time. Clearly, he is the perfect man.

So, shockingly, I'm thinking I might like him to stick around. That being said, stick around in a non-committed, non-relationship, non-boyfriend, totally casual and unserious kind of way.

How do I tell him I'd like to ravage him on a semi-regular basis, with possibly a couple of movies or dinners thrown in when he has to rehydrate, but without the cuddling, hand-holding, playing pool with his buddies, borrowing his oversized sweatshirt, renting a cottage for the summer, getting a dog together, signing up for a joint checking account or looking at rings in the shiny glass case?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Notorious SDC

You take your tongue and you start from the bottom and run it slowly to the top in one long motion. Take the tip between your lips, give a soft suck, tease it gently until you get a taste.

Grasp the base firmly with one hand and swirl your tongue around the rest with short but assertive strokes. Make it yours. When there are drips (there are always drips), lap them up with the very tip of your tongue, and try not to moan too loudly in delight as you swallow it down.

If your fingers get sticky, know you're doing something right. Messy is sexy. Do yourself a favour and make it last. Use your hot mouth to make it melt. Run your lips softly up the side, leaving a trail with your tongue, and if your lips come away a little creamy you've hit the spot, so lick them clean and keep it up.

A little nibble never hurt, just don't get greedy. Let your tongue do most of the work. If you get breathless, take smaller bites, and take the time to really enjoy the feel of it hitting your throat. At some point, you just let your instinct take over and you get lost in the pleasure: your jaw opens wider to accomodate more, your hand starts to slide up and down in eagerness, you know the end is near and you'd like to slow it down to enjoy it longer but instead your tongue just goes faster and faster and you can't help but work that oral fixation for all it's worth.

That's right bitches: ice cream season is back, and Little Miss Small Dipped Cone just got majorly creamed. Eat up.