All of the Fun with Dick

See Dick Distance

As the world turns, as the flowers bloom, as the COVID spreads I am trying to stay normal, trying to stay sane and trying not to harass Tales and Kobo too much. Everything I read about how to fortify your mental health during this crisis recommends maintaining your routine as much as possible. Lethargy and complacency will only lead to thoughts spiraling out of control and then you find yourself with a skid of toilet paper and not enough shits to give.

Okay, so routine. This morning Tales and I got up early and took Kobo for a walk. We noticed that walking down the sidewalk is like playing a game of chicken. Who’s going to give in first and cross the street? The chicken, that’s who. The very ethical chicken who appreciates his health and free range. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing, but we noticed that people need to apologize and explain why they are avoiding you or make a joke so they don’t appear rude.

“We’re going to be really good at measuring things,” said the elderly woman as she created space between us.

“Yup, gotta keep six inches between us. I mean feet. Six feet. Have a great day!” I replied.

When Tales and I planned our bathroom renovation, little did we know that we would be social distancing and staying at home. Initially, we were showering at our friends’ house, but as confirmed cases continue to climb we have chosen to be responsible and stay home. As we are staying active daily, thanks to the ongoing programming from Polsky’s Strength and Conditioning, you can imagine how ripe the nooks and crannies of our bodies are beginning to smell. Why does body odour always smell like last night’s pizza? Now I don’t want pizza and that’s sad.

In order to quench the stench before six feet isn’t far enough away, Tales and I filled up a bucket of water, grabbed the soap and stepped out into our backyard. Luckily, it was a balmy six degrees so we didn’t have to practice our Wim Hof breathing.

I can only imagine what our neighbours were thinking:

“Hey Heather, Dick and Tales are half-naked in the backyard.”

“Hey Kurt, Dick and Tales ⸺”
“Let me guess, they’re eating some kind of organic superfood, pumping out air squats and doing it all in their underwear?”

“Hey Rose, Dick and Tales are bathing in the backyard.”
“Gross, they’re sharing one bucket!”

Okay, so we didn’t exactly think that one through. Next time there will be a cleaning bucket and a rinsing bucket so as not to defeat the purpose of a thorough cleansing.

Although most of us may not have all the same luxuries and freedoms we are used to at this time, we should still be grateful for the necessities that we do have. We have access to food, water, shelter, healthcare and various forms of communication to keep us connected with each other. Aroma Cafe is also taking online orders and dropping off coffee beans; they need an Instagram sticker for saving Waterloo Region from  uncaffeinated monsters.

For those of us who are laid off, like myself, now is the time to do those things we always say we never have time to do. Just do the damn things. No more excuses!

And remember, Missy Elliott has never been more relevant than right now.

COVID-19 is shutting down the world:
“Listen up everyone! We have been just informed that there’s an unknown virus that’s attacking all clubs. Symptoms have been said to be heavy breathing, wild dancing, coughing. So when you hear the sound WHO-DI-WHOOOO! Run for cover motherfucker.”
– Pass That Dutch

When you want to go outside, just think:
“Is it worth it? [Should I] work it? I put my thing down, flip it and reverse [my ass back inside].”
– Work It

Just stay home with your boo:
“Ain’t nothing out there for me. This is where I wanna be. I dun already been in the streets. And I ain’t came across nothin’ so sweet.”
– Nothing Out There For Me

See Dick Teach

Some people like children no matter what. Even if the children are blowing mucus bubbles, shitting up their backs and practicing for their next Screamo concert. Some people only like children if they crawl, tentacles and all, from their own uterus and fly around the room – my friend Jane had a very interesting childbirth. Some people experience mild anxiety around children and can’t see the cornfields for the tiny faces. Personally, if I appreciate and respect the parents, I usually don’t mind being in the same room as their children.

One of my favourite things to do is speak. Dialogue with other humans is important to me and thus I find children to be a challenge. Most children these days either communicate too much or not enough. I was in the grocery store the other day, minding my own business, when I exited an aisle and stumbled upon a tantrum.

“Mommy, you’re a bitch!” Yelled a very upset toddler.

“Honey, that’s not very nice,” replied his mother.

“Bitch!” The toddler confirmed and slapped her.

Kudos to this three year old child for expanding his vocabulary, but he is aggressive AF. Perhaps he was mimicking home life interactions in public; some people really shouldn’t procreate. Perhaps he watches Empire when he really should be watching Arthur. Imagine this child in a teaching environment. A teacher these days can’t even give a child a stern word without risk of losing their job – who will discipline this hooligan? If the parents won’t and the teachers can’t, who will teach children how to be proper humans? I guess it’s up to Arthur.

The only thing worse than too much bad communication is no communication at all. I find it incredibly annoying when children can’t even open their mouths and talk – not because they are shy, but because they are preconditioned to only communicate with their own generation. This discourse often happens by text and not by tongue. The less these children use their tongues, the less evolution will choose to keep those tongues for the future and then imagine all of the things that we couldn’t do without our tongues. Please, somebody, for the love of all things we do with our tongues, teach these children to speak!

I actually tried to teach some Korean Kindergarten children to speak once. I knew they were all very smart for their ages because stereotypes tell me so. I modified lesson after lesson, educational game after educational game to try and get these kids to open their damn mouths and say something, say anything, but all they wanted to do was scream and throw things. Finally I discovered that they loved playing hangman. So I would make them spell out phrases like We are horrible little brats and We are the bane of our teacher’s existence. I’m sure my teacher friends are shaking their heads in disappointment, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

The other day at work I had a moment of confirmation that I should never teach young children anything. A little boy was picking out his first pair of glasses and was so excited. His sister was upset that she didn’t need glasses.

“Why can’t I have glasses?” She asked me.

“Because your eyes are perfect,” I replied.

“But I don’t want my eyes to be perfect,” she said.

I then suggested that her brother poke her incessantly in the eyes because then she might need glasses. “Ohhhh, that’s how you get glasses!” She said and then begged her brother to poke her in the eyes, which he was oh so willing to do. So maybe not my most educational moment. Their mother will probably spend quite some time undoing the damage that I created in a few seconds.

When she was young, Jane’s daughter Belle asked me one time at the grocery store why I needed so much soap. I could have said It’s on sale or I like to stock up, but I didn’t. I told Belle that soap makes me wholesome again after my body gets really really dirty and, because I’m so extremely dirty, I need all of the soap.

“Ewwwwwwww!” Belle exclaimed.

I think it’s Jane’s fault that Belle understood my innuendo at such a young age. Belle, just so you know, your mother has used way more soap than me in her day.

My frephew (friend-nephew), Sebastian, is just learning how to speak and I am so excited to be around to influence him. His parents are not so excited. He can’t quite pronounce my name yet so instead of calling me Dick, he calls me Don’t. Now I never know if he is greeting me or telling me to stop harassing him.

See Dick's Bird

Sometimes, when we are hunting lovers, we catch a glimpse of that fluffy white tail and chase it down with tunnel vision and a slavering maw. We are so focused that we miss all the other quizzical prey standing around waiting to fill our mouths.

Sometimes we think we have felled the most beautiful and evasive buck, but then he manages to leap away unscathed while we are amazed to discover that we have accidentally shot ourself in the foot.

Sometimes, hunters tear through the forest on a warpath, picking off anything that stands in their way; but others lay waiting for years, only their eyes flickering back and forth trying to spot the perfect beast.

When I was hunting men, there were a lot of shots fired in the dark. I actually hit myself in the eye once and that was embarrassing because I was alone. I did, however, bring down a few candidates; most of them were not necessarily wrong, they were just not the most accurate. Like multiple choice. No matter how much I studied for a test, multiple choice questions left me second guessing myself until I ran out of time.

The Question that confused me the most during my years spent hunting was actually a simple true or false. And, in hindsight, I have come to realize that the universe was using fowl play to warn me that my pursuit was most assuredly false.

Marc was not the man for me. The birds told me so.

Bird 1

After walking around McGill campus in Montreal, pretending that I was a student, I found a quaint little outdoor café and settled in to write for a couple hours. At this point in my life I was heavily infatuated and Marc was the recipient of my poetic musings. How perfectly 19th Century and romantic.

I penned a few lines into my notebook…

It will take a lifetime

to fall from where he placed you in the sky,

hitting every pretty bird

on the way down.

And then, as I was furiously scribbling away, I felt something warm and moist slip in behind the collar of my shirt. Shocked, I realized that a bird with impeccable aim had managed to slip me a dirty one. I could feel the creamy poop running down my back as I made my way to the washroom. This was my first warning.

Bird 2

Marc and I were deeply immersed in conversation as we walked to a spoken word contest at The Drake. Suddenly a flying ball of feathers fell straight out of the sky and crash-landed onto my shoe. Looking closer, I discovered that this plumed comet was actually a dead baby bird. I looked above me and there was no ledge, no tree branch from which this creature fell – only open sky. Marc was killing himself laughing. I was thinking about irony and bad omens. If something dead came careening out of mid-air and landed on you, would you chalk it up to coincidence? This was my second warning.

Bird 3

Marc had invited me over for the weekend and I was doing what I did best: floating and over-analyzing. I was listening to The Killers as I drove to his house, taking their songs and turning them into ridiculous personal anecdotes.

Don’t give the ghost up just clench your fist

You should have known by now you were wrong (on my list)

When your heart is not able

And your prayers they’re not fables

Let me show you (let me show you)

Let me show you (let me show you)

Let me show you how much I care oh

Yes, embarrassingly, I was clenching my fist and belting out the lyrics, creating scenarios where we would discover our mutual desire for each other. Okay, who hasn’t, on occasion, created their own personal fictitious Harlequin daydreams? Don’t lie to me. I can’t be the only one. Right?

SMACK! A bird so large – that the interior of my car darkened momentarily – struck the perfect center of my windshield. After its broken carcass flopped over the roof, I noticed that the bird had left behind an exact open-winged outline of its body. I didn’t sing any more songs for the duration of the trip. This was my third warning.

Bird 4

Years later, I finally came to the realization that Marc was not the man for me. I would like to thank the birds for their better judgment. The other day I was driving again, not singing desperate love songs, but thinking about writing this story, when a gigantic hawk swooped down out of the sky and slaughtered a small rodent on the side of the road. Okay birds, I get it! My infatuation has been picked apart and masticated, digested and released. I do, however, still find birds to be creepy and eerily discerning, the perfect addition to any dramatic performance.

Like Hitchcock says,

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.

See Dick Piss(ed) Part II

Kissing Tales for the first time was a sober experience (not to be confused with a sobering experience); it was unpredictable and left me wanting more. Most of my first kisses were reckless inebriated exchanges of saliva; they were exhilarating at the time, but lifeless the next day. My very first kiss with a boy, however, was sober – and it was bad. At the time, I thought I needed alcohol to make the experience thrilling, but what I actually needed was the right set of lips. The following story is not about the right set of lips or proper conduct or wise decisions. The following story is about being stupid. And, of course, it happened a very long time ago, like all stupid stories. I was invited to a drag performance one night so I called up Nikita to see if she would like to join me. Nikita had never been to a gay bar, let alone a drag show, so she was super excited to check it out. “What do I wear to a gay bar?” Nikita asked over the phone. “Literally, anything you want.” I replied. Nikita arrived wearing tight white jeans, blue stilettos and a teeny tiny vest. I suggested she wear her glasses to add a little bookish intellect to her libertine fashion anthology. We arrived at the bar and it was already filling up quickly – apparently it was a very popular drag queen’s birthday celebration. Nikita and I grabbed some drinks and joined our friends. We made our way over to the stage just in time to see Courtney Cocks jump up in the air and land in the splits. “Ow!” I said pointing, and “Why!?” My balls cringed, holding on to each other and pleading with me that I would never subject them to such reckless behaviour. “Hey Dick,” Nikita broadcasted. “That musclely shirtless man over there is staring at you.” I turned to where she was looking. She was right. He was very musclely. His whole body was perfectly chiseled, complete with deep pelvic lines. “He looks very familiar,” another friend said. “I think maybe he’s Shirley’s girlfriend’s younger sister’s friend’s older brother.” I shrugged and turned around, trying to ignore the eyes that I still felt were watching me. A shirtless man in a bar is suspicious, too eager, as if removing a layer of clothing in advance will get him one step closer to sex or that his beautiful naked torso will deter you from looking at his not-quite-so-beautiful face. We were dancing away, Nikita getting many compliments from everyone, as per usual, when a random dude tapped me on the shoulder, garbling something I couldn’t understand. “What?” I yelled. “My friend thinks you’re hot,” he yelled back. Really, I thought. I hate when people speak for other people because other people can’t speak for themselves. “Then why are you talking to me?” I asked. He left, and seconds later the musclely shirtless man was standing before me, except he had put his shirt back on. “Hi,” he said sheepishly. “Hi,” I responded. For some reason, blame it on the alcohol, I ended up giving this man my number and allowing him to kiss me. He did have a nice body yet, even with his shirt on, I was still suspicious. “I remember how I know him now,” my friend said as we were walking to our cab. “I saw one of his videos once.” “What do you mean video?” I asked, confused. “Dick, he’s a porn star!” “No…” I said slowly because no… “Oh my god Dick,” Nikita exclaimed. “You just kissed a porn star!” “No… “ I said again. “Oh, no! You could have herpes or something.” “Nikita that’s ridiculous,” I said. And then I wiped my lips in a Jane-inspired germaphobic frenzy. The whole ride home I had to listen to “Remember that time Dick kissed a porn star?” Needless to say, the porn star messaged me about 15 times before I had to make it clear that I wasn’t interested. And then I felt guilty for judging him so quickly. But then I got over it. Nikita and I began to reflect on other crazy things that have happened when alcohol was involved. “Remember the time when you peed in a flowerbed?” I asked Nikita. “And you sat down beside me to make everything look casual because people were walking by.” Nikita remembered. “What about that time that you peed in the lake during a thunderstorm? ” “Yeeeah. That was pretty stupid.” I admitted. “If the lightning had actually struck the water I’m pretty sure I would be dickless.” “Well I’m glad you didn’t leave me Dickless,” Nikita said. “I just don’t think life would be quite as much fun without Dick!” Kissing a porn star was never on my list of things to do. But I added it after I kissed him and checked it off anyway. And, for the record, kissing a porn star is very predictable – like every physical exchange is written into a poorly constructed plot. I’m pretty sure sex would be: now we do this, now we do this like this, now we do this upside down. When it comes down to it, I prefer everything to be unscripted.

See Dick Piss(ed) Part I

I used to get pissed. Pissed off. Piss drunk. Pissed off a ski-lift tower once. But over the years, I have come to realize that the company you keep determines, what I like to call, your Buddy Alcohol Content – an important metric for companionship. A while back, Edith shared something with me that stuck. We were laying on our beach blanket at The Pinery, surrounded by obnoxious families with no regard for personal space. Edith turned her head to face me and said, “Remember that one penis I touched?” “Remember that one time at band camp?” I replied. She went on to describe her horrible experience with that penis and then said the important thing that I have not forgotten. “Dick, our best times together happen when we are sober.” At the time, Edith had recently relocated to another city and was surrounded by very intense people who were obsessively concerned about their image and their bodies and their hormone-free, pesticide-free, free-range products. There are two ironies here. One: Have you met us!?

No need to ask, you heard about us Watch your mouth when you’re around us [The Carters, Heard About Us]

Two: The irony of their rigid diets was that these individuals turned around every day after work and pounded back bottles of beer and passed around the coke. But god-forbid a piece of chicken with a chemically encouraged growth spurt and a low exercise regime should touch their lips. Now, that would be toxic. That would be slippin’ under. What people really need are hormone-free, pesticide-free, free-range relationships. My partner Tales grew up sober and to this day does not drink to excess. He has received a lot of flack for this decision, but if you know him, you know he don’t give a fuuuck. I admire his resolve. It is refreshing to get to know someone without the distraction of alcohol. It can be challenging to be witty, charming, intellectual, humorous and sexy with a blood-alcohol level below 0.08%. It can also be challenging to meet new people without a few drinks to make them more interesting. When we first met, Tales managed to be all of these things (and more) without the aid of any liquid courage. Now that he’s met me, and chosen to keep me, he does needs a stiff drink once and awhile. And my closest friends (yes, even Jane) are enjoyable and intriguing even when they are sober. The action of drinking can bring people together. I am not opposed to a night on the town with a few friends in tow and a few drinks in hand, but the bond between everyone shouldn’t be a cork, a pitcher or a skewered olive. The bond should be a quality relationship. I have been raw, I have been marinated and I have been completely saturated. Ultimately, what I have come to appreciate is a relationship that is pure and not merely held together by that gross sticky layer of spilled god-knows-what on the dance-floor. Drunk anecdotes can be humorous, but not if they become the full story. Peeing in a construction zone that one wild night with Nikita may have been a riot, but Nikita is so much more than a bombshell squatting in the dirt. I recommend that everyone choose their friends wisely – not primarily for their nightlife revelry, but for their engaging sobriety. If you need a drink to enjoy someone’s company you should really begin to question the company you keep. If you are running around feeling uncomfortable, feeling like you’re gonna piss yourself you need to realize that when you gotta go, you gotta go.

See Dick Choke

When my friend asked me to be in her wedding party, I said, “Ahhhhh, uhhhhh, hmmmmm…” Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to celebrate with her, but I wasn’t sure how her husband-to-be would respond. Randy was his name and we didn’t exactly click. I was water. He was an oil spill that needed remediation. Randy and I were not always estranged. When I moved to South Korea for a teaching position, Randy was the first person to greet me when I arrived. He invited me out to meet the other teachers and we had a few beers. When I think of Randy, a few qualifiers came to mind. Feral. Erratic. Jovial. Hmm, handle this one with care, I thought. Later that week, when I met Randy’s girlfriend, Jade, she asked me what everyone else was thinking. “I like boys,” I responded. Randy bought us both a glass of wine and Jade and I danced the night away. My friendship with Jade grew tight. She wasn’t just a Seoul friend; she was a soul friend. Soon my emotional connection to Jade became a stitch in her relationship with Randy. Not a suture that holds things together. More of a cramp in your side from running on a full stomach. I was a slow build-up of acid for Randy. One day, Jade and I got kicked out of the country. All of a sudden, Jade and I were back in Canada. Randy was still in Korea. Randy was still in Korea letting Sherri give him a blowjob. When Jade found out, she was furious. Randy was a groveling mess and Jade was sippin’ lemonade thinkin’ I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’ma fuck me up a bitch; but also, True love never has to hide. I’ll trade your broken wings for mine [Beyonce]. I told Jade: “If you never want to talk to Randy again, I will support you. If you want to try and work things out with Randy, I will support you.” Jade chose to try and work things out with Randy. From that moment on, Randy would not look me in the eye. He knew I knew he fucked up. One day when a group of us were swimming and tossing a beach ball around, Randy accused me of looking at him the wrong way. In his mind, the only right way would have been for me to be blindfolded. Sometimes Randy would cry to Jade when I wasn’t around, fearful that I was covertly planning the destruction of their relationship. He even accused me of wanting to sleep with Jade. Jade did have the nicest breasts I’d ever seen (at the time), but to me they were dormant-milk-secreting-glandular-organs (a mouthful, to be sure) and Randy was an idiot. Now, I have to explain to you that this teary-eyed-man was not a meek individual. He was actually a volatile mixed-martial arts fighter with absolutely no fear for his own life. Arguments between Randy and Jade were becoming too common. I decided to have an adult conversation with Randy. Unfortunately it was a lot of childish with no gambino. Did you know Donald Glover entered his name into the Wu-Tang Name Generator and the result was Childish Gambino? Randy’s name is, ironically, Respected Contender. Mine is Insane Madman. What’s your name? Anyway, I think Wu-Tang got our names mixed up. “Randy.” Randy kicked his ball against the garage door. “Randy.” Randy kicked his ball against the garage door. “Randy.” Randy kicked his ball harder against the garage door. I could see this was going to be difficult. I pushed on, trying to explain that I was not secretly conspiring to annihilate him. “Liar!” he yelled. “You’re a liar and nobody can see through your disguise, but me. You can fool everybody else, but I know you are evil!” I have always wanted to be a vigilante with a disguise, but the facade he saw in his mind was outrageous. I walked away as Randy continued to smash his ball harder and harder against the garage door. Now that you understand my hesitation to join Jade’s wedding party, I will continue on with the festivities. I said yes – for Jade. I was a bridesman. I stood on Jade’s side. Even my pocket square was teal to match the Maid of Honour’s dress. It was my intention to blend in. I didn’t want to draw any undue attention to myself in case Randy lost his shit. I didn’t even give a speech. Enter the photographer. The photographer told Randy to take pointers from me for the photo shoot. Crap. And then his mother and sisters began dancing with me. Crap. And then Jade’s mother said, with tears in her eyes, that Jade was so lucky to have a friend like me. CRAP! I decided to keep my distance from Randy and Jade just to be on the safe side. I even found a cute boy to dance with. But then I found out he was seventeen and curious. Crap. After the wedding, we returned to Randy and Jade’s house. Soon I heard screaming coming from the washroom. The Maid of Honour immediately grabbed me and pulled me into the guestroom. We sat down on the bed and began to discuss how the timing for this argument was rather inappropriate. Suddenly the door flew open and Randy threw himself at me. We bounced off the bed and my face smashed into the wall. He began ripping at my shirt as I was collecting my senses, blood streaming down my face. Somebody managed to pull him off me. It was probably time for me to leave. I was walking down the street to where my friend had parked her car. Out of nowhere, Randy slammed into me from behind, knocking me to my knees; I heard them crack as they hit the asphalt. His hands were around my neck, his fingers pressing into my throat. I tried to shake him off, but his favourite pastime was practicing choke-holds and his hands were like vice grips. It took two other men to separate his hands from my neck. If he had a gun, he would have shot me. The next day, Jade pleaded for my silence. I was disgusted. I reported the incident to the police, disregarding her wishes. Everyone went to the post-wedding party the next day and pretended that I did not exist. Jade cried in the washroom, pretending that she was hung-over. I learned a valuable lesson. I vowed never to get that close to another woman again. Relationships are a pie chart of physical, emotional, friend and soul connections. Nobody’s slices are perfectly even; we all have different needs. Also, giving away too much of your pie to someone else can be bad for the health of your relationship. Jade offered me a large slice of her emotions and left her partner ravenous. It takes years and years to understand what proportions keep us the most satiated. We need to communicate and find moderation, not letting each other become too hungry or too full.

See Dick Bamboozled

It was a dark and ominous Wednesday evening and there was a distinct rumbling… coming from my stomach. I was craving cookies. The problem, I soon realized, was that a perfect cookie is nearly impossible to find. There are three expectations that I have for a cookie. One: the texture of the cookie must be firm on the outside and soft on the inside; I am looking for a satisfying crunch with as few crumbs as possible. Two: the flavour of the cookie must be subtle; I am looking for layers, not to be overwhelmed by something sweet. Three: the substance of the cookie must include quality ingredients; I am looking for a wholesome treat with minimal refinement. After a bit of searching, I finally found a café that was open late. Sliding into a corner couch, I happened to catch the eye of a passing waiter; he looked directly into my soul and flashed an incredible smile. Holy god damn, I thought. He was gorgeous. I will not go into detail, boring you with a physical description of his chiseled jawline, piercing blue eyes, broad shoulders stretching against his shirt, muscled forearms, his ass in those pants… Just insert your fantasy man into this scenario and you’ll get the picture. “How are you this evening?” Chimed a pleasant feminine voice. The waitress had to wait a few seconds for me to pull out of my revery and adjust to the dim lighting. Everything is darker after shooting stars. “Um… I’m good,” I responded with little enthusiasm and a lot of distraction. I slowly pulled my eyes away from the creature who was making my stomach flip. “Can I get you something?” The waitress asked, looking at the Greek-god-of-a-waiter and back to me. “A really big cookie,” I replied. After the waitress left, I decided to use the washroom. Not so much because I had to pee, but because I wanted to walk by the hot waiter. As I walked toward the washroom, I noticed the hot waiter at one of his tables. He was standing, facing away from me, but as I passed him by, I felt some kind of energy tingling down the back of my neck. In the washroom, I stood in front of the urinal and pretended to pee. After what I thought was an acceptable duration of time, I still washed my hands, took a deep breath and re-entered the café. As I walked back toward my table, I couldn’t help my eyes from flicking violently around the room. They were like hummingbirds on ecstasy. Where is he? Where is he? Where is he? “Hi.” I jumped, turned around and there was the hot waiter standing right in front of me, smiling that dangerous smile. He shot the hummingbirds right out of my eyes and I stood there, motionless. “Um… hi.” I finally responded. My lack of eloquence was frightful. “My name’s Marc,” he pressed on. “Do you come here often?” “Sometimes. I love cookies. I mean, I really wanted a cookie tonight.” I love cookies? I should not be allowed to speak. Someone cool and collected should revise my dialogue before I open my mouth. Regardless, Marc seemed to be eating up my words. “So how is your weekend going?” All I could think was is this really happening? After a few more pleasantries, Marc had to get back to work and I returned to my seat, returned to my unimpressed girl-waiter. Why didn’t I sit in his section? His section was probably perfect. The rest of the evening was spent working up the nerve to ask Marc out for a drink. All the signs pointed to him saying yes, but there is always that nagging hesitation that tries to hold you back. Inaction is protection from rejection. Fuck it, I thought, a yes would be fantastic, a no would be closure. Anything in between is torture. As I was heading toward the exit, I spotted Marc clearing a table. “Hey Marc, can I ask you something?” “Of course,” Marc said smiling. God, that smile. “Are you gay?” I asked bluntly. “No, actually,” Marc said sheepishly, “but I do really want to hang out with you sometime. Can I give you my number?” Bamboozled. That is the best word to describe how I felt. Possibly tricked and very perplexed. One very small part of me believed him. The greater part of me decided fantasy is so much more exhilarating than reality and maybe he is merely confused. I boldly requested a yes or no, but I got an in between regardless. Damn him. This man went out of his way to initiate a conversation with me. I should be thrilled that he doesn’t give a shit about normative behaviour. Could I really be that interesting from a distance without any sexual attraction? Is he in the closet or is he the antithesis of the heterosexual stereotype? I always aim for the destruction of stereotypes, but this time, I didn’t want progress. I wanted him to be the perfect cookie.

See Dick Interview

Quite often in our professional lives we have to answer the question, What are we good for? Even though, on occasion, we may feel like the answer is Absolutely nothing, we need to reach deep down into our reservoir of accomplishments and stop, elaborate and make the people listen. In my life, I have been both interviewee and interviewer. Somewhat akin to an exhibitionist, an interviewee has to confidently display their assets to a stranger. As much as I love prancing around in my underwear in front of our large dining room window, telling strangers how great I am is a little nerve wracking. Of course, telling my friends all the time how great I am comes naturally. For your next interview, check out Amy Cuddy’s power posing tips from her TED Talk: Your body language may shape who you are. In my early 20s, I applied to be a door-to-door organic meat salesman and was brought in for an interview and pigeon-holed as a specific breed of Sales Dog. It was a ruff time in my life. “This book is our bible,” the owner explained as he handed me a copy of You Don’t Have to Be an Attack Dog to Explode Your Income. “See Sam over there,” he pointed across the room. “Sam is a pitbull. And Julie, over by the window, she is a Basset Hound.” “And what kind of dog are you?” I asked. It was like a beam of heavenly light shone down upon his thinning hair, lighting up the scalp beneath. “I…” he grinned like I just threw him the most delicious bone, “am a Golden Retriever!” “Ah, of course,” I nodded along wondering when this interview would be over. “And you,” he said, “you are a Chihuahua.” “I don’t think I’m a Chihuahua…” “You’re definitely a Chihuahua.” “Can I be an Aussie?” “That’s not a thing. You’re a Chihuahua.” I actually took this job for two weeks, but selling my meat to strangers left me feeling exhausted and unloved so I quit. Out of curiosity, I took the Sales Dog Quiz now and learned that I am actually a Poodle – highly intelligent and highly conscious of [my] appearance. *Flicks dust off shoulder* Take the Sales Dogs Quiz here! Not only have I been the interviewee in the past, I have also been the interviewer. Much akin to a voyeur, I am always watching… Watching for people who I want to be a part of my life either professionally or personally. I’m not creepy at all, I promise. I had the pleasure of watching Angelina three times in an interview setting. I was trying to find out what she was all about – as a person, not just a potential employee. When I ask candidates what they do outside of work for fun, not related to their professional careers, they tend to look at me with a mix of confusion and trepidation. “What do you mean?” Angelina asked me. “Well, some of our staff are artists, some have their own side-companies. What do you do when you’re not working?” I replied. “Um…” Angelina pondered my question with not a little bit of fire in her eyes, “I don’t own my own company. But I do like to drink at my cottage.” Ha, I like this girl, I thought. Angelina turned out to be absolutely amazing and never let’s me live down her three-part interview and the fact that she doesn’t own her own company. As she moved away, we no longer work together and I miss her greatly. Two years ago, I bumped into a girl named Mathilda at her place of employment. “Hey, do you want to be in a photo shoot?” I asked. That’s a creepy question. Why is this guy wearing sunglasses inside? I can’t see his eyes. He’s so bougie. I don’t want to do a photo shoot. But the dollars bills… “Maybe…” Mathilda replied. “Would you be interested in a new job?” I asked. “Why is this guy interested in me? What’s his mo? Am I safe? This is a public place. I guess I’m okay. Is he for real? A new job could be good… “Maybe…” Mathilda replied. I invited Mathilda to a local coffee shop to have an informal interview with my partner. She thought business partner. She was very confused when my partner was also my partner. She was exhausted by the end of her two-hour interview, yet despite all the hoops of fire, she said yes to dress-up, yes to the job and yes to becoming one of our closest friends. We are all good for something. Whether we are hawking our wares or trying to find a priceless antique at the marketplace, we need to rub ourselves until we shine and encourage others to do the same. Sometimes it takes a little convincing, a little amplification of our prowess, but we need to face the world and, like Nicki and B, say, “I’m feelin’ myself, I’m feelin’ myself.”

See Dick Date

On a quiet evening at Jane’s house, I find myself with a glass of red wine. Jane finds herself four bottles of beer. Jane is feeling motivational again. I have been talking about online dating and Jane is intrigued. She dated the old fashioned way: hot pants, haughty eyes on the dance floor, hips and rock n’ roll. I take out my laptop and show her my profile, my pictures, my prospective candidates. The search is tedious and most of the men are incoherent, inflated, incredulous. Tonight all of them are inadequate. I return to my own profile and wonder why everyone is silent. Jane says it is because I use words like ilk and effervescent. She takes the laptop from me and continues searching. “Here’s a man for you,” she says. Then she hiccups. I am afraid that her perspective might be blurry. “He’s a psychologist and he’s really cute.” She is getting excited. “I don’t know,” I say, “his picture is fuzzy.” I hate when I can’t see the details. Before I know what she is doing, Jane sends the psychologist a message. He responds immediately and I take over so Jane can open another beer. I am not captivated, but Jane continues to speak highly of this stranger and gives me reproving looks with every negative insight I offer. She tells me that I hardly ever go on dates and that I need to put myself out there. Out there: this mysterious place of hype and opportunity. I agree to meet this man, this psychologist, to pacify Jane. I think she is enthralled because she has always wanted to be a psychologist herself. Oh well, what’s the worst that can happen? I am about to pee my pants. I do not make it a habit to enter someone’s house before the date has even begun, but my bladder is swelling. The psychologist ushers me into his apartment and I greet him briefly before rushing off to the bathroom. As I am peeing I begin to think of exit strategies. This man definitely does not look anything like his pictures. I think he photoshopped his flaws away. I think we all do that, but he is hardly recognizable. He is soft and pale, a little bit rotund with a high voice; he reminds me of a white helium-filled balloon. If only my edges could puncture him and he would fly away. I come out of the washroom and stop, turning quite pale myself. Pilled from floor to ceiling are empty pizza boxes – columns of them. Beer bottles are lined across countertops, grouped together in clusters and overflowing in bins. Wow, I think, this alcoholism even puts Jane to shame. The disturbing phenomenon is that the psychologist is proud of his collection of debris. As a man who is obsessively organized and maybe a little bit too healthy, I begin to feel… itchy. Now I am being offered a tour. I shudder to think about what other atrocities are in store for me. I take a deep breath and follow this strange man down the hallway. The psychologist shows me his bedroom and I mumble something pleasant about the wall colour. Then he opens the door to his office and I apprehensively peer inside. Action figures. So many action figures. Hundreds of them with their brightly coloured costumes and their tiny weapons. All of them are organized on shelves. The shelves run the entire length of his office. Wall to wall. Floor to ceiling. By now I am taking many deep breaths. “Most of them are Heman and Shera,” he says. “You know, Masters of the Universe.” “Oh, yes. I remember,” I reply. Oh god. Jane is in so much trouble. “I’m really hungry. Let’s go grab something to eat.” I say, hoping I didn’t change topics too quickly. Who knows, maybe he is a nice guy. Maybe he has interesting things to say. We get in my car and drive to the restaurant as I continue to think of other rational sentiments to ease my rising paranoia. I look at the menu, scanning for something substantial to eat because I am starving, but something that I am able to quickly consume because I am losing my mind. The psychologist has already started to analyze me. Well, he is making an attempt to do so. I don’t think he has enough experience to understand me. He probably never will. I wonder what it would be like to meet a man who understands me. A man who I want to know me. Like Sarah Slean says, someone whose empathy roars, a dignified man on a bicycle with a book in each chamber of his heart. Hmm, I wonder if Sarah Slean has met a man of this caliber? I feel that she hasn’t because desire creates the perfect verse. Do tortured souls really have deeper things to share or can happy people create something profound too? Oh wait, the psycho-psychologist said something, something about… intimacy? “I’m sorry, what?” I ask. He begins a blitz of questions about my history of lovers. I explain that I have never really loved before. This begins a whole new line of questioning. Damn it. Sometimes I am way too honest for my own good. I need to practice being more vague. “Hypothetically, what would you do if I held your hand right now?” “What?” I ask again. “I don’t understand. That will not happen.” “Just go with it,” he urges. “What would you do if, hypothetically, I leaned over and kissed you right now?” What the hell kind of question is this? “Um… hypothetically… and in the real world, I would push you away.” Not only am I creeped out, I am now getting pissed off. “I don’t believe that,” he says. “Try me,” I respond. I drop off the psychologist at his apartment, so happy that this date is coming to an end. “Do you find me attractive?” He asks, out of nowhere. I pause for a second and then decide to be honest because I think he needs a dose of reality. “No.” “Are you going to call me, or just say that you’re going to call me?” This guy, I swear. “No. I am not going to call you.” Insert awkward goodbye here. I have Jane on the phone as soon as I am back in my car. “Jane,” I say, scowling, “you are so fired.”

See Dick Topless

Without a lot of foreplay, summer is upon us; it sauntered around the corner and said Hey there, I’m hot and I’m going to make you sweat. I decided to take Kobe for a run around the neighbourhood. Running for Kobe is more of a trot, tongue hanging out of his mouth sideways as he looks up at me with dark eyes that say Why, why are you doing this to me? He prefers to have a reason to run – perhaps the reason being something fluffy with a tail, something that screams when he catches it so he knows he’s a winner. Not long into my run, a 7 year-old boy on a bicycle points a disapproving finger at me and yells, “You’re a bad man!” Who is this young Puritan that is itching to burn me at the stake, I wonder. Because I think adults should have open conversations with children, I ask the holy child, “Why am I a bad man?” “Because you have no shirt,” he replies. “I have no shirt because it’s hot and I’m running on the sidewalk. That’s not bad.” “It’s against the law!” “No it’s not.” “Yes it is.” “No it’s not.” “Yes it is.” Well, this conversation isn’t going anywhere so I say, “Listen kid, check your facts. Google it.” This is not the first or last time that someone has commented on my naked chest while running; I have received many a catcall in my day. Hearing the word faggot screamed out the window of a passing vehicle is sadly not uncommon. Once a vehicle even swerved to pretend and hit me and then swerved back like Just kidding! I always run with my shirt off when it’s hot; it’s about time North America got fucking used to it. On the way back home from my run a little girl points a curious finger at me and asks her mom, “Why is that man not wearing a shirt?” “Because it’s really hot and he’s running,” her mom responds. Yay, I think, not everyone thinks I’m a heathen! “Then why do I have to wear a shirt?” Ah, childhood innocence. As I kept running, I didn’t have the opportunity to find out if the mother discussed Topfreedom with her daughter. Topfreedom has been allowed in Ontario since 1991, the case of Gwen Jacob setting a precedent. Why is it that our society associates a little bit of flesh with moral corruption? Many European families lounge nude on the beach and it isn’t sexualized. Our North American children are raised to believe that certain behaviours are scandalous or disreputable. Whether it’s smoking pot, drinking alcohol or even – god forbid – running shirtless through one’s neighbourhood, we build up these actions to be grand misdemeanors. Taking individual maturity into consideration, wouldn’t teaching our children about responsibility and consequence be better than telling them yes or no? This world isn’t black and white; we should help our children navigate the grey. Although, maybe not the 50 Shades of it; that can come later.