See Dick Date

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

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.