All of the Creative Writing

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.

See Dick Dance

Only a few people are outside the bar. It looks rather seedy and discreet. I remember an article I once read about women and smoking, the cigarette becoming a symbol for sexual emancipation. There is no Monroe here, no Hepburn. “There’s never a rough puff in a Lucky,” a 50s Hollywood actress once said, “A good cigarette is like a good movie – always enjoyable. That’s why it’s Luckies for me!” But tonight I see no dainty fingers, no cherry lips whorling out white clouds of smoke. I can only see bad luck. Edith wants to dance. She wants to dance where the men will leave her alone. She suggested a gay bar, but I think that she will probably receive more attention there than at any straight bar – because she is beautiful. And different than the cookie-cutter girls that one sees so often at nightclubs. Straight men would be intimidated, but gay men are drawn to a beautiful woman like flies to electricity. At six feet in her stilettos, Edith can easily see over the heads of the people standing in front of us. The line is short, but inside the bar there is a respectable number of people milling about. We decide to stay. Edith is wearing a sleeved, very short black-lace dress that accentuates her long legs and she has draped many long silver chains around her neck. Her hair is a dark asymmetrical bob and her new faux-lashes really make her eyes flash. I don’t look too bad myself: faded skinny jeans and a vintage-looking grey t-shirt with black stitching, outlining various wild creatures. Always a little casual – I hate dressing up to dance. I hate dressing up – period. I once knew a witch that thought periods made her powerful, but that’s another story. After listening to obscure bands on the way over, Edith and I are a little disappointed with the DJ, but we numb our highly-evolved musical pallets with shots of whiskey and try to enjoy, Everybody’s gettin’ drunk, drunk. Boys wanna touch my junk, junk. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a familiar face. Edith knows him as well, back from her high school days with the occasional meet-and-greet thereafter. His name is Doug and he used to date a former friend of mine. Aware that Doug doesn’t really care for me, I remain pleasant, but distant. I speculate that Doug dislikes me because, one time when we were out, his boyfriend kept buying me drinks. For the record, I did point out that Doug looked a little bit thirsty. While Edith and Doug are chatting back and forth, I let my attention drift around the dance floor. Everybody looks the same. Different shapes, different colours, but generally cut from the same block. And then I see the jogging pants. Light grey with the letter ‘A’ stitched in red on the thigh. The man with the jogging pants is dancing and smiling like he doesn’t know he is wearing jogging pants. I am intrigued. I am impressed that this man chose to wear jogging pants to a club when everyone is trying so hard to impress. I am impressed that this man looks pretty good in jogging pants. I am also a little bit jealous because, right now, I want to be wearing jogging pants. Jogging Pants introduces himself as Sam and mentions that he would be hitting on me if he didn’t have a boyfriend. I am aware of this game. I figure, why not? Let’s see where this goes. Suddenly, one of Doug’s women taps me on the shoulder. Judy. Her hair is a lot shorter than the last time I saw her, but she still has the same vacant look in her eyes. “Why are you talking to Jogging Pants?” She demands. Sam smiles. He is composed. He looks at Judy and says, “You know I can hear you, right?” Judy ruffles her short feathers and stomps away. I apologize to Sam, explaining that Edith is my only friend at the club and the others are merely people who are passing by in life. Sam is still smiling like he doesn’t have a care in the world. I am suspicious of his happiness. He is reaffirming his attraction and his intentions when we are interrupted yet again – this time by a stranger. A girl with long dark hair swoops in between us. She slips me a devious smile and then turns around, pulling Sam away, pushing her male friend in front of me. I glance at this man who was thrust before me. He is not unattractive, but I am irritated nonetheless. I walk away. Why is it that women are used as bridges to bring two men together? Why are there oceans between us when we should have so much in common? A beautiful woman with audacity, selling her wares, her fair boys, does not a check on Dick’s list make. Edith catches up with me on the other side of the dance floor. She comes bearing an invitation to Doug’s housewarming party and some gossip. Doug was explaining to her that he and his friends think that I am a snob. Edith relays their sentiments: “Dick, they say you are hot, but you are a snob because you will not hang out with them.” She starts laughing at this point and then continues, saying that Doug has made a self-proclamation that he is a part of the A-list gay community and he doesn’t understand why I am unlisted. I decide that my snobbery is well-suited for keeping preposterous men at bay and that I will choose jogging pants over an A-list any day. Sitting in the cab, driving home with Edith, I realize how amused I am with our little adventure. I muse over the ramifications of jogging pants on the dance floor and so many people trying to protect me from the jogging pants. How dangerous are jogging pants, really? They don’t hide things very well, that’s for sure. It is the designer jeans of which you should be wary; they act too much like disgruntled celebrities. I keep my jeans independent and try to bend the limelight. Good friends like Edith keep me grounded. At the end of the night, after all is said and done, I would have to say, the best option for pants… is no pants at all.