Monday, March 13, 2006

Fact

Another middle-aged man went to the trouble of following me across two underground malls to talk to me. "You are so feminine," Michel remarked. "And your English, it is very good. You learn back in your country?"

I nodded. "Yeah, Ontario."

He handed me his business card after going on a way-too-long tangent about what he does as a business lawyer ("No criminal. Just commercial"). As I slowly tried to back away, he simultaneously moved forward. "Let me buy you a juice," he offered.

You KNOW you're fully aware of soliciting a (relative) minor when you invite her out for JUICE. Dude! What is wrong with you? He told me to call him so we could discuss my "schooling" (because lawyers just love to talk shop with journalists). I excused myself; meeting a friend, I told him. "Ah, okay," he replied. "So feminine. You have such a feminine walk." Creeeeeeep.

I miss my mommy.

I was wearing a loose-fitting sweater and a purple bandanna. Nothing about me screamed, "Will spend the night for a dime." Yet I am constantly gawked at on the street. My friends, they get checked out; me, men stare. They blatantly scan me up and down like a rotisserie chicken in a Somalian store front. I would be lying if I said I didn't get self-conscious. Women clutch their boyfriends' arms a touch tighter when I pass; I pretend to be searching for lipgloss in my purse. Self-proclaimed thugs cry out, "Let's fuck," when they see me; I bite my tongue and pretend I'm deaf or immigrant. It makes me not want to leave the house sometimes. The grabbing my shoulder, the knocking down my hand, they do it just to "talk to me" like it's their God-given right. This drives me to states of anguish; puberty came at a price. What a curse.

And this is why my girlfriends don't understand why I am always telling them to be cautious when they're at the cusp of a new relationship. Last night, Shotgun Toter was telling me about "Jake" and I suggested she stop playing into his games because he gets to determine how, when, what happens between them and that's just not kosher. She said she wanted to play into his games because she liked him. I told her it was disrespectful for the girlfriend, that if he was a man he would take the risk, dump his woman, then pursue Toter without restraint. (Or if he was a real man, he'd end his current relationship before something new even entered the picture.) But she refused to listen and said she predicted I would be negative. There's nothing good about being single, she continued. If relationships are so bad, why isn't everyone breaking up? That hurt me a lot more than I cared to admit. Who am I tell her to be careful when I couldn't even prevent my own deeper-than-flesh wound? My best friend rejected my advice in favour of the Optimists' Club, where every dumb thing a man does is justified by his situation: He's confused, He's trapped, She's ugly, They're on the verge of ..., He needs time to feel the new girl out. These women just sit around yapping about how to catch them a mans.

Dumping me for a boy. What else is new? Even my best friend has got on the bandwagon. ("The One" isn't one for waiting.) I know I should just be patient - the big picture and all. But realizing my place on the pyre is dependent on whomever is at the top isn't a very comforting thought either. (*UPDATE: This Salon letter illustrates the situation perfectly.)

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