The Hardest Part About Being A Woman

I generally don’t give a shit about Glamour Magazine.

Not that I’m necessarily saying anything negative about the publication itself. It’s more a general apathy I have towards the glossy pages featuring the latest trends, outfits, hair, makeup, and celebrity news.

I’m sure that if I cared more about Lauren Conrad’s “Go-To” Thanksgiving dress, The 6 Reasons Why David Beckham is “Most Certainly” the Sexiest Man Alive, or 14 Times Ariana Grande Did NOT Wear A Ponytail, I would be more of an avid reader. But it’s just not for me.

However, Glamour did get my attention lately with the controversy surrounding the Glamour Women of the Year 2015″. Among the 25 honourees this year, including Reese Witherspoon, Victoria Beckham (they love their Beckhams!), and ballerina Misty Copeland, Caitlyn Jenner was one of the recipients.

In a Buzzfeed interview following her award Caitlyn was asked the question, “What’s the hardest thing about being a woman?” and this was her answer:

thehardestCue the shit storm.

From people saying that she doesn’t deserve the award because she’s only been a woman for “less than a year”, general transphobic outrage, to the husband of a previous recipient giving back the award given to his deceased wife because,

As a New York City police officer, “my precinct covered a shelter for transgendered [sic] youth…On several occasions I responded there to take reports or give aid to suicidal youths. I listened to their stories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Young people thrown out of their homes or fleeing from unlivable conditions.

They didn’t have the luxury of being part of the Kardashian circus…They weren’t living in a Malibu Barbie beach house surrounded by what passes for family in Hollywood. They were truly brave people fighting hourly for existence.

When Mr. Jenner said the hardest part about being a woman was figuring out what to wear he proved to me that he is not truly a woman. I believe this comment and others he has made trivializes the transgender experience as I have witnessed it.”

Whatever you want to say about Caitlyn Jenner, whether you think her a Republican homophobic uber rich elite asshole, or that she’s a hero blazing the trail for trans people across the globe, it is my personal opinion that if Glamour wants to name her one of the many “Women of the Year” they should do so.

She’s a woman. She might come by identifying as a woman in a different way than some of us, but a woman plain and simple. She’s a celebrity. A pretty big one. These seem to be the two pieces of criteria that she shares will many of the past “Women of the Year” recipients.

And like many other women, Caitlyn has and will continue to experience an unrelenting policing and disproportionate dissection of the ways in which she should dress, speak, look, and behave. This was aptly pointed out by Jon Stewart when she first came out:

This brings me to Rose McGowan. Charmed star and outspoken feminist, she and Jenner were pitted against one another in the media after McGowan wrote a pretty scathing critique of Jenner’s response to the question,

“Caitlyn Jenner you do not understand what being a woman is about at all. You want to be a woman and stand with us — well learn us,” McGowan wrote on Nov. 16.

“We are more than deciding what to wear. We are more than the stereotypes foisted upon us by people like you. You’re a woman now? Well f–king learn that we have had a VERY different experience than your life of male privilege.”

 She continued, “Woman of the year? No, not until you wake up and join the fight. Being a woman comes with a lot of baggage. The weight of unequal history. You’d do well to learn it. You’d do well to wake up. Woman of the year? Not by a long f–king shot.”

McGowan also posted several graphic memes that featured Jenner’s quote. Including photos of a woman getting raped, being followed home late at night, and a woman in the hospital after giving birth, and even O.J. Simpson’s late wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, covered in bruises.

Holy shit.

What is the hardest thing about being a woman?

There’s a multitude of ways to deconstruct and discuss Jenner’s response to this question. For me, what I find interesting is the question itself. What are the expectations for someone like Jenner, who recently transitioned into being a woman? Is there an answer she could possibly provide that would satisfy all?

Is there an answer that collectively, all women, trans or not, would nod their head in agreement with, pausing for a moment before saying, “Yes, yes. THAT is the hardest thing about being a woman. Well said Caitlyn.” Does such an answer exist?

No. It doesn’t. Because there is no one answer.

What it means to be a woman is markedly different for say, a wealthy white queer single twenty-year-old living in Manhattan, and a middle aged heterosexual widowed mother of three in Syria. The multitude of lived experiences, the intersection of race, economic status, gender, sexuality, and even geography all inform our personal experience of how we interact with the world.

As for Jenner’s response, “…what to wear…” I am of two minds. First mind says, this is an answer given after receiving an award from publication that focuses on fashion trends and beauty. She’s answering it in the context of who’s asking and the pulled quote of a simple, “…figuring out what to wear…” can seem frivolous. Yes, compared to the varied experiences of many trans people, Caitlyn Jenner is in a position where she is less likely to experience the violence, poverty, emotional and mental trauma, and discrimination many others face. She was able to afford the costly elements of making her transition, and was allotted a particular visibility because of her fame.

Second mind says, I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone who lived for sixty-six years feeling like the representation of her gender was never fully expressed. Having hide something very important about herself to the world—wouldn’t the freedom to dress as she pleases be a huge part of her daily life?

A very privileged life, I’ll admit.

As a cisgender woman myself, the choice of how to perform my gender was and continues to be lengthy and fraught process.

From being a teenager and experimenting with makeup. How much is too much?


To reconciling my mixed feelings about the ways in which the Western standard of beauty is dictated to me, and then turning around and shaving 90% of my body hair.


All of these decisions to present myself to world have been made through years of trial and error. I actually couldn’t imagine having to cram it all into a short period of time. There’s a dizzying array of options that have just recently opened up for Jenner, and on a very basic level, it’s an anxiety I can identify with.

The fact that she was attacked so harshly by McGowan detracts from the issues at large. Of which there are many, and I can only fit so much into this one blog post (thank you if you are still reading).

McGowan’s tactics of talking about “joining the fight” is less like an olive branch and more like a grenade. It’s okay to be angry. Anger is a tool. Anger can be powerful, but in this situation, I’m just disappointed that instead of frank discussion and dialogue about how gender and sexuality are experienced and expressed, or the ways we talk about trans woman in the larger context of “womanhood” we ended up with this fuckery where—yet again—two women are pitted against one another in a sensational media shit storm.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something a little bit lighter to read here’s a bunch of photos of Blake Lively’s hair.




I’m No Pussy (Catcalls vs. Compliments)

It’s spring here in Toronto. The ice and snow that once berated the streets has long thawed, giving birth to glorious sunshine releasing beleaguered citizens from the subzero temperatures of an emotionally destabilizing winter.

Amidst the chirp of robins, the cheery ditty of the ice cream trucks, and the barking of apartment sized dogs (dogs are, in fact, the new babies)—Another distinct sound presenting in all seasons yet even more prevalent in the warm months is heard—the catcall.

To a woman such as myself, this call, whether it be from a shitty Romeo crooning from a balcony atop a storefront, a yelp or jeer from a mustachioed hipster passing on his skateboard, oh sorry longboard (barf), or aggressive teeth sucking from an elderly man standing outside a butcher shop, the catcall is what, after some deliberation, I have deemed to be Total. Fucking. Bullshit.

But Shouldn’t I LIKE It?

There are times when I leave my place of residence feeling fresh as hell. There’s no doubt in my mind that I do indeed, after some suspicion, have it going on.

And then, with a startling entrance here is this summon. A honk, whistle, jeer, or comment punctuates my stride. It’s not that I don’t agree that, yes, I am “all that”, however, to so obviously objectified, viewed, assessed, strips me of this confidence.

For a fleeting moment, questions flood my mind: Was it I who invited these men to shout these things at me? Is the obviously modest, yet awesome cleavage of mine an open invitation to be publically singled out with a yell of, “Nice tits” from a passing car? I let these thoughts leave me, knowing that I am entitled to wear whatever I please.

This gendered ahoy has been cast out to me when I feel as though there is nothing about my physical presentation that would be asking to be commented on. Walking with bags loaded with groceries hair in a bun thinking about what to make for dinner, but suddenly the one thing I’m trying to digest is the man riding his bicycle and softly purrs, “Hot mouth” as he passes. Or on my way to a meeting coffee in hand a, “Hey, where are you going?” comes from a lurking figure. Or a “You’re hot” from a man who waits until he has almost, but not quite, passed me on the street. He doesn’t say this in a way where it playful or fun, but almost accusatory and very slimy.

Arguments have raged on about this particular issue in the media as of late, and a central argument is that what these (almost always men) are trying to achieve is to say something nice. That I should be flattered. That I should take comments as affirmations—but then, why does it make me feel so uncomfortable?

But I DON’T Like It

Like the seldom discussed yet all-too-real sex fart, catcalls are unwanted, come out of nowhere, are ultimately something I wish never happened, and that I wish would stop.

Unlike a untimely queef disrupting a passionate moment, catcalls are an issue coming from a misogynist culture wherein a woman’s body is perceived as public property, and is therefore subject to a particular treatment based solely on her sex.

Catcalling, wolf whistling, hollering—it goes by many names— is by it’s definition when to “make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by.”

I haven’t uncovered any clues of what exactly it has to do with the feline species, but I have a theory that it has something to do with a nickname for my nether regions. This shall not do. My pussy has agency, privacy, and deserves respect. I, and it, will not be treated as though it can be something that is just to be hollered at.

Further research reveals the etymology of the term first emerged in the 1700’s where the hoards of theatregoers would contain “catcallers”, those who were found  expressing a negative or hateful message to the actors onstage. It slowly entered our lexicon of phrases to mean a sexually explicit message targeted specifically at a woman. This jump in meaning goes unexplained, but it’s not at all surprising that the history of this phrase comes from an way of being shitty to someone who has no choice but to just take it and keep on with what they’re doing (“The Show Must Go On” so to speak). Being catcalled usually puts me under the spotlight for a long as I am in my catcaller’s sights. The stage is set as I become an unwilling player in the drama that is, Man Yells ‘Nice Ass’ From A Distance.

There is an important distinction that I would like to make here: Catcalls are not compliments.

I know this because I like compliments. No, correct that—I fucking love compliments, and I’ll generally take them from anyone. Some of those individuals include men. Strange men, even. I love a good flirt. Smiling, checking out someone checking you out, even the occasional eye fuck. Like. Like. Super Like. Yes!

I like compliments so much that I am able to determine the difference between one and a harassing misogynist comment. I have the wherewithal to distinguish the fact that compliments are given to you, and catcalls are done to you.

Compliments are not generally yelled in someone’s direction. Or communicated through a whistle. Like it would be weird of me to scream across the park to someone, “NICE DAWWGGGG!” and then high-five my friends.

(On that note: Why are catcallers usually in a group? It’s part of the very thing that makes me so uncomfortable, that I’m receiving judgment while being outnumbered. If this is some kind of masculinity confirming activity—of course it is—but why must I be there for it? I mean, couldn’t you just wait until I was out of earshot? Why involve me in this?)

Compliments come with context provided by the relationship you have with said person you are trying to compliment. For example: if you are a complete stranger and I know nothing about you I am less likely to be inclined to feel as though it is appropriate for you to tell me you want to see me naked.

Compliments do not come with extreme caveats. Sure, sometimes you say something nice to a person you want to fuck. I get that. But it should not be expected that they will fuck you once you have extended said “compliment”. For example I had one man say to me, “It’s a beautiful day, can I see you smile?” and I do because it is a beautiful day and smiling is nice, only then to have him follow up by asking, “So where are you going? Can I get our number?” I respond that I’m on my way, and no thank you, “What’s wrong with you? Why won’t you talk to me? Come on let me have your number? Why NOT?” I try to be nice and courteous, but then end up being called a “bitch.”

Compliments are many things: sweet, enthusiastic, playful, fun, earnest, silly, serious.

Compliments are not aggressive, harassing, or abusive.

What Can I Do?

A few years ago there was a passing car and a man’s voice shouts out of the window, “I want to fuck your pussy!”

The vehicle moves along, I can see that it’s full of men. It’s almost like having the wind knocked out of you. A microsecond of realizing that this comment has been hurled at you from a moving vehicle, isolated from the street, a sense of vulnerability.

This culminates in a moment of anger, resentment, knowing this is not how anyone speaks to me, and I give the car the finger to express my unease.

I continue on my walk and moments later a beer bottle is hurled in my direction, smashing at my feet. The same car containing the men who were trying to let me know how fuckable my pussy is, speeds away.

Am I supposed to walk around all day telling people who catcall me to fuck off under threat of retaliation? I’m almost always alone when this happens to me, and if there are other strangers on the street they usually give about zero fucks.

My tactic thus far is to affect muteness, perhaps give a dirty glance, or simply feign that I didn’t hear or see anything at all.

It’s a strategy of self-preservation that ultimately backfires in more ways than one. Because I do nothing, nothing is done. The behaviour goes unchecked, so perhaps there is a sense of entitlement that I am there to be commented on, and because I don’t speak up the caller is ignorant it’s something I find degrading.

It also creates an attitude on my part, a conditioned outlook that for some who might not fall into the category of caller, but rather one who is attempting to honestly start a conversation with me. However, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m so fucking sick of this shit if one more person says something in appropriate to me I think I could—as my mother used to say—just spit.

This is obviously a very complex issue with different cultural and social intricacies. My only recourse is to reaffirm positive interactions when I can.

In a perfect world, which there will never be but it is very important to aspire to, one can only hope that with the coming years and many more springs to come, there is a shift where there is no longer a time where I am caught unaware with a piercing shout, but rather a pleasant surprise of a real human connection, a heartfelt, engaged, mutually respectful time, where the twitterpation of the first warm breeze, is a fun and fancy free time where we all get to compliment the shit out of each other, in a way that everyone likes.


A Quick THOT


There was a hot minute in grade five where I got to sit next to the cutest boy in our class. His name was Damien. With his long blonde locks, tear away Addidas pants, and too cool for school attitude, he was deemed the most desirable candidate by all the girls, most of whom he dated. To be clear, by “date” I mean hold hands at recess. Maybe over the shirt stuff at parties.

I can vividly recall one day sitting next to Damien and his crystal blue eyes, one of which was lazy, and he confided in me that he had a crush on someone. “Who?” I ask, my heart fluttering. He motioned over to Laura, a very sweet, pretty girl at the other side of the classroom.

“I don’t know if I want to date her” he said coolly tossing his hair away from his eyes. “Too tight.”

“Too tight?” I asked, unfamiliar with this term. He opened his notebook and drew two brackets in the corner of the page.

“Like her pussy” he whispered, “I wouldn’t be able to get in there.” I stared at the parentheses that represented Laura’s vagina. Tight. Too tight. Not loose.

I can’t recall the first time I heard the word slut, whore, tramp, or the plethora of other terms used in a way to demean someone, specifically a woman, for their actions in the boudoir. But at this point I had an inherent knowledge that to be sexually promiscuous, or even to be perceived as such was a bad thing. But now, privy to the information communicated by this lazy eyed twelve-year-old that there was such a thing as being too virginal. Too unavailable.

Prude, cock tease, hard to get, goody goody, or blue-baller, all came next into my lexicon of names directed specifically at the woman who is unwilling to give it up. In conjunction with the aforementioned terms for a libidinous woman, it presented me with the task of the all to familiar balancing act: to be desirable, but don’t possess too much desire.

Needless to say this is bullshit.

The virgin/whore dichotomy is fraught with these labels meant to bully, insult, and degrade women based in a system where their bodies—and what they do with them—are seen a public property. I’ve written before that I’m okie dokie with calling myself a slut, because I have the freedom and privilege to take a word and construe its meaning to meet my own personal preferences.

Picture 9

But sadly, this is not the case for many and on both sides of the good girl/bad girl spectrum it seems that all too often you just can’t win.

Paying attention to the memeification of linguistics, new terms for all kinds of things comes up in my daily life. Like when I was on the train and overheard a group of young women using the term “ratchet” and I thought they were saying rat shit, but I eventually caught on. Or when someone texted me that they were too “turnt” and I had to Google it. There’s all kinds of new monikers and usages that are part of the English language’s evolution.

However, there is a new word that I’ve recently encountered through the interwebs that I’m just not happy about. It’s not as fun and fancy free as describing my eyebrows as on “fleek”, or describing things as “hype” the new term THOT.

Picture 10

What fresh hell is this?


THOT is an acronym for “Thirsty hoe(s) over there” or “That hoe over there”. A synonym for slut. Easily punned, a flurry of memes arise when you Google the term describing these women as untrustworthy, trashy, dirty, etc.

Oh great, another word that refers derogatorily to a sexually promiscuous woman. FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC.

Originally credited to rapper Chief Keif, it first came to my attention when news broke Chris Brown was warning Karruche Tran not to be one after she posted a pick of herself in a bikini.

Picture 3

Given that fact that Chris Brown is a highly regarded feminist and respecter/non-beater of women, perhaps this is a momentary lapse in judgement? Oh wait…

There too much proof that this is a negatively applied term.


Picture 5

Have some respect for women. #dummy.


Picture 4

Literally has nothing to do with you. #misogyny


Picture 6

Why must we pit women against women in the pursuit of a man. #raiseeachotherup


It seems to be everywhere, and it’s casual usage is something that’s being too casually used like when this interviewer decided to quiz Will Farrell about it, and Kevin Hart thinks it’s so fucking hilarious to have him repeat it over and over.

Something that bothers me about this acronym (besides its inherent misogyny, etc…etc…) That Hoe Over There functions in such a way that said Hoe is assessed from the outsider. The way it operates suggests that she is outed, seen, marked by those who have deemed her to be available for shame and degradation. There leaves little room for her to connect with any kind of agency with the term, as the language suggests it is something to be inflicted upon her because she is over there, and not right here.

The moniker THOT follows in a long tradition of a double standard with no parallel for a way to describe a man. And I’m not saying that there should be. I try not to practice misandry.

I’m not suggesting that we should say, call a man who enjoys going out on the town having a few drinks and bringing someone home a “Sloppy Joe.”

I would never ask for the general public to start addressing sexually active men “Dick Tricks.”

There’s nothing that would give me joy about insulting a guy at a club looking for some action a “Hungry Man.”

All I’m asking is that maybe, just maybe instead of inventing more ways to shame someone for their sexual desire we can, maybe NOT?

Just a thot though. (sorry I had to)

ROOMIES Rent Party!


As some of you many know, Season One of Unladylike short shorts ROOMIES premiered earlier this year and we are excited to announce our plans to bring you another season of sex, lies, and hamburgers.

If you haven’t had a chance to see Season One, check it out here:

But we need your help! In order to bring you more hilarity we invite you to very unlady booze filled fun-raiser featuring special announcements, unladylike guests, musical performance by Midnight Vista, and a chance to dance off your pants on the dance floor with tunes provided by DJRay Ruby! Your support all goes to helping us pay out “rent” for the second season.

Join us at #Hashtag Gallery 801 Dundas St. West
Friday April 17th 8pm – 1am

Stay tuned for more info!

The Invisible Waitress

If you could choose any super power, what would it be?

Flight? Super strength? X-ray vision? Witnessing your parents murdered in front of your very eyes as a young child and channel you PTSD and billions of dollars into a barrage of various gadgets that enable you to fight crime under the cover of darkness?


Would you choose the power of invisibility?

As an emerging, aspiring, starving, struggling, artist, in order to supplement my income, I work in the service industry.

Unlike so many talented, ambitious, knowledgeable servers, bartenders, chefs, and entrepreneurs in this city, this position is not my passion. Therefore, I find myself in the category of service industry folks I will deem, “Take the Money and Run-ers”.

I wouldn’t classify myself as a great server. I’ve met them. They love what they do. They carry their own tea bags with special blends that they suggest to discerning customers, they have their own special Negroni recipes, own comfortable black shoes, call booze “spirits”, and like, do it without writing any orders down or missing a beat.

Seriously, they’re superstars.


I am not one of these people.

However, I like to think I have a pretty good sense of what it means to deliver you good service. I bring drinks and food and make small talk. Sometimes I crack jokes. I try to be affable, friendly, and attentive. I’ll suggest what to eat if you ask, or accommodate that special request (No Cheese, No Butter, No Oil, No Gluten, NO FUN).

I’ll look out for you, even asking if you’re driving after you slam six Alexander Keiths during a three-hour lunch meeting. Just making sure you get home safe—no judgment, I’m actually slightly in awe that a couple of middle-aged women have decided to get turnt before two on a Monday.

I polish and uncork and pepper and cheese and refill your water and point you to the direction of the washrooms. I do all of this in the name of investing in myself, paying rent, eating food, and occasionally going out. It’s easy enough to bring you a plate of calamari and GTFO.

Some days it gets to me.

Unravel me, moment by moment, like when you point out that crème brule is supposed to be warm or, “at least room temperature” when I set it in front of you and you decide to lecture me on the preferred warmth of a custard dessert and I go back to the kitchen to relay this news to the cooks who look at me with what can only be described as: WTF Face. I try not to get too stressed out about it. But you kind of ruined my day a little. Maybe you weren’t trying to. But you did.

I don’t mean to complain about this work. Like I said, it supplements my desires: to write, to create, to travel, maybe occasionally eat fancy fried chicken. I choose not work in an office or a 9-to-5 wearing panty hose and circulating to cat memes. I don’t have the kind of steady employment that provides health benefits and vacation days. At this point as a twenty-something with no kids, mortgage, spouse, or any other weighty responsibilities, it works for me.

With the shorter hours and cash tips it grants me the opportunity to spend the rest of my time typing away madly and trying to make my shit work. But this work has yet to pay in the dollar kind of currency that supports my lifestyle.

Let’s be clear: I don’t think I’m better than my job. I don’t think I’m better than a hard days work.

However, being a server (or waiter, or waitress, or “Excuse Me”, or “Honey”, or “Hi”, or whatever you’ve decided to call me today) there is something about this position that you the customer (or patron, or table, or “Hi There”, or whatever I’m going to call you today) endow me with a very specific kind of super power: INVISIBILITY.

I notice this power when I approach your table, strategically trying to find a moment where there is a natural pause in the conversation so that I can ask you if the food is okay, knowing there is a time limit before I can remedy any kind of mishap. You’re all fucking chatty Kathys and there is no aforementioned break so I slide myself over, refilling your glasses of ice water and politely inquire whether everything is copasetic.

Then it’s happened. Unknowingly draped with a cloak of invisibility.

It is nothing like this.

Your conversation goes on, surprisingly without you remarking on the fact that your water glasses seem to be refilling themselves.

I ask again. “Is everything alright?” This time struggling to not let me my frustration come through in my tone of voice. Like the Who trying to speak to Horton I try to permeate the orb of perceived silence.

You ever so slightly, slowly, shift your head up and down in a somewhat approving manner.

Perhaps you are worried that you’re the only one who can see me? Maybe you’re worried that because your companions have not responded then I might be some kind of apparition? “Just be cool” you might be telling yourself as you bob your head faintly.

I attempt to make eye contact simply to discern some semblance of a response to my question from this minuscule action. I am ultimately successful when your companions finally notice me, staring as though I have waltzed into a private living room and taken a huge shit on your carpet that was a gift from your aunt Mildred or something and your one friend finally says, “Yep.”

I think this might be why the standard costume, er, uniform for servers is black because of this fact: a preparedness to be both be seen and unseen. So this kind of acknowledgment/non acknowledgment is something I’m used to.

For example:

Restaurant. Lunch. Winter. A chime sounds as you enter. You feel the warmth on your reddened cheeks. I approach you, menu in hand and gesture towards a table. You remove you coat and jacket and pull up a chair. Music plays in the background. Most likely, “The Girl from Ipanema”


ME:             How are you today?

YOU:             A cranberry soda.
I leave you huddled over your Smart Phone to pour your drink. I’m just going to assume that you’re “Good.”


This power of invisibility is not one that I can control and is something that can be quickly and abruptly removed.

Like at the end of your meal when I lean ever so slightly to remove the empty dish that once held a fairly large amount of risotto and you stare at me in disgust, “That was really under seasoned, it wasn’t really very good at all.”

Oh, now you want to talk to me. NOW I am worthy of more that a monosyllabic interaction?

Bitch, you ate the WHOLE THING.

Did you consume this under duress? Is there some force I am unable to perceive that has commanded you to eat the entire fucking half-pound of rice and butter sauce? How could I possibly help you with this problem now? My heart and soul may not be dedicated to supplementing your every whim and quelling each and every one of your deepest culinary dissatisfactions, but I could have helped you.

Perhaps there was some kind of confusion because when I asked you way back, “Is everything okay?” I was talking about the FOOD.

Although my position as one who ferries dishes back and forth from the kitchen to your table is not one of great social standing, I have the power—limited as it might be—to right the culinary wrongs you find so appalling as it slides down your gullet.

Then you proceed to drink a bunch of wine and talk about how you and Greg are just “Caj” and like, you’re just trying to “Figur yourself aoght” but it’s like, “Rilly fun.” And once again you do that weird non-nod to my question, “More Pinot?”

I don’t exactly hate you. You are a stranger, after all, and this is just one glimpse of who you are as an individual. But know that I do not like you.

This hatred is solidified when you tip 6% (just to reinforce that you are completely disappointed with your service and how fucking dare I do this to you).

At this moment I am invisible once more as I stare, nonplussed, handing you your copy of your debit receipt and again you look everywhere but me. Maybe you, specifically, are an asshole, but there is something to be said about the customer who seems oblivious to the person who is there. I can’t help but hope that Greg dumps you. On your birthday. When you thought he was going to propose. While someone films the whole thing… My mind wanders in a state of rage.

Despite this, I just smile. I say thank you. I acknowledge your departure.

This invisibility doesn’t only apply to the consumer who is obviously just not nice, but also to those who while still seeming to need your assistance with procuring food and beverages, yet still has a hard time conceding the reality of your presence. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not asking for lengthy conversation, we needn’t swap life stories, I don’t want you to gaze into my eyes and lovingly relish each and every moment of our interaction. I don’t desire fanfare for bringing the bread quickly. But I would ask for some manners. Some consideration.

For example:

It’s the first week of summer. You’re wearing your new Prada sunglasses and they look FAB-U-LOUS. You haven’t seen Gladys in… too long. Once you embrace outside the restaurant you decide on the table closest to the window. After Gladys remarks on how it must be, “so great to look natural all the time”, you remember what a bitch she is. Why did you even ask her out for lunch?

ME:                         Can I get you something to drink to start?

YOU:                         What’s the soup of the day?

GLADYS:             It’s too warm for soup.

YOU:                         I had the chowder last time, it was so good.

GLADYS:             That sounds so heavy, though.

YOU:                         I think we’ll get some wine.

GLADYS:             Did you want wine? This early?

YOU:                         Did you not want to drink?

GLADYS:             Oh, I will if you will. It’s two o’clock… sure. Just not red.

YOU:                         I thought you liked red.

GLADYS:             (nods head) Tannins.

ME:                         We’re actually out of chowder.

YOU:                         OH. Oh. Oh. Um. (looks at wine list) Oh no.

GLADYS:            You know when Larry got his gallbladder removed. We just both decided to  go clean you know. Just clear things. You know?

ME:                         I’ll come back.

YOU:                         When did Larry have his gallbladder out?!

I leave. Feeling ignored, but also I didn’t know you could live without your gallbladder. What does your gallbladder even do?


This invisibility thing has some perks: I get to be the pervy voyeur all my closest friends know me to be. It allows me to obsessively check Twitter while you talk amongst yourselves. Sometimes I sneak out for a smoke, unbeknownst to all.

On the other hand, it does leave me feeling as though there might be something about my psyche that may be affected when, on almost a daily basis, I have an interaction where I’m in a state of semi-seeness.

It hits me most on the days where my spirits are as low as my bank account. Trying to reconcile my dreams and goals with bringing you extra sauce. So just a friendly reminder from your local mediocre waitress: Act like a normal person who is able to interaction with a direct question and answer interaction. I am not a piece of furniture. I am a human. Treat me thusly.



I will say there are many folks that are great. You are courteous, direct, answer my queries, and politely get my attention. Even, as I have found, those who will say “thank-you” each and every time I come to the table. With you, I know I am there when I’m there, and my invisibility is my own which I only I only ever use for good leaving you to your meal in peace. To you, I would like to extend my appreciation.


What’s Not To Love About Valentine’s Day

Throughout my childhood, Valentine’s Day used to mean gleefully depositing the valentines I had my mother purchase onto the desk each and every individual in my class. A mandated reciprocity that required little prompting of us all, after receiving the class list with the names of each person, we would arrive to school prepared to shower one another with campy cards filled with messages of affection often communicated through a series of puns.


Not to mention, a bounty of chocolate and candy accompanying said cards gave birth to a ceremony that often carried the promise of watching a movie, utilizing class time that was usually intended for the practicing of our long division of multiplication tables. I delighted in this day. What’s not to love? It solidified in me a trifecta of pleasures that to this day I still value immensely: Candy, Puns, and Not Doing Math.

However, this did not last for long. The practice in school seemed to dissipate just in time for the emergence of pubic hair. There was no longer a mandatory suggestion the each and everyone was to receive a valentine, but instead school dances were introduced where the gymnasium lights would be at fifty percent with a sad disco ball spinning with psychotic consistency in the corner while someone’s parent volunteered to hand out cans of soda purchased in bulk from Costco.

The disappearance of the communal Valentine’s Day seemed to vanish overnight. Gone were the days where February 14th represented a time where all reveled in delight of a mutual exchange of harmonious affection, now that I had emerged from my cocoon of naïveté about what it really means to ask someone to actually, “be yours”. Romantic love, the kind that was explicitly to be shared between two and two alone, became the new norm. Being deemed a tall, awkward, and uniformly undesirable candidate for this monogamous display, this presented a problem. Standing alone as K-CI & JoJo’s “Crazy” crackled out of the gym’s sound system, sipping my off-brand cola and watching as those couples slow dance in tiny circles, I could not help at as a cynical teen to promptly call bullshit on the entire affair.


I can’t think, think about this crazy day-EH-EH.

This cynicism continued throughout my high school days where candy grams were sold and given out in homeroom. Undoubtedly a barometer for popularity, those classmates who were deemed the object of affection were awarded the sweet treats as the rest of us devoid of romantic engagement stared down at our agendas ready to face the day without the sugar rush of young love. I lamented for the days that my friends and I could exchange candy without them thinking that a foil wrapped chocolate heart meaning I wanted to get busy with them. I gleefully decided to cheat the system, purchasing myself a chocolate bar from the vending machine—a whole fifty cents cheaper than the coveted gram.

As I entered university and my early twenties, all I can to see the ugly side of Valentine’s Day. To me it was (and still is) a Hallmark holiday constructed by big business to sell products to the masses at a time right after the holidays where retail sales are notoriously low.

“I hate Valentine’s Day” is my typical attitude, even when I had a full time in-it-for-the-real-thing bf, which I did for seven years. My romantic life has never tainted by the practicing of any rituals around the martyred St. Valentine, and my reasons were soundly based in the idea that picking just one day to be all like, “I love you let’s go eat expensive tapas.” This invented holiday causes so much pressure for those scrambling to get dinner reservations or the perfect present, and alternatively isolation for those who find themselves single. Not mention the heteronormative gendered messages that dictate that because I’m a woman I like, really want a diamond, and the message to men if you don’t get her a present she’s gonna super pissed. Why is it okay to portray women as some sort of mythical goblin creatures whose thirst for gold must be appeased lest you incur their wrath? Or, you know, that if the offering of shiny gifts and smelly soaps ensures unlimited access to my tasty bits.


I think this might be proving my point somehow?

Traditionally speaking, it’s a day where I mount my soapbox, foaming at the mouth: “It’s all a scam! Don’t you people see what’s going on here? Laura Secord just wants your money! This day is STOOOOPID.” But I will admit I buy the candy when it goes on sale.


But there is something bothering me this year, more than any other. Something like an itch, an urge, a prick like a cupid’s bow stuck in my ass. There’s a tickle on my lips as I scan my social media looking at the faces of my family, friends, and acquaintances. The email my mother sent me this morning from her iPad reading, “Happy Valentines Day” produces a slightly uneasy feeling in my gut. It’s something on this day I have tended to repress or even ignore.

This feeling comes from an unabashed and sincere realization: I am in love.

I have been in love for years, decades, as long as I can remember.

It’s something that’s a part of me.

I am in love with my family.

My parents who gave me life (thanks!) but also loved me creatively, distinctly, and fiercely. My sisters who are unique and brave and connected to me in a way I can’t put into words. I am in love with my brother, the sweetest and most caring person I’ve ever encountered in my life. He has Down Syndrome and is non-verbal, but for someone without the use of words, I have never felt someone tell me that they love me so intensely and so honestly. I am in love with my extended family, living far away but constantly send words of encouragement over FaceBook and email. I am love with my family members who have passed away, forever leaving me with their wisdom, humour, and memories of affection.

I am love with my friends.

Without them I would die. Or be a weird shut-in lady who eats her own toenails and documents the dramatic goings on of the roughly twenty cats living in her bachelor apartment. My friends are beautiful, smart, sexy, funny, silly, brave, and dynamic, among other things. They let me be weird. They listen to me when I’m PMSing so hard that I start to cry about my childhood dog that passed away eight years ago (RIP Max), or when I’m excited about something. They don’t scold of judge me when I make mistakes. They make me brunch. They encourage me when I accomplish something. They celebrate when I am strong. They are there when I am fragile. They give me nourishment.

I am in love with perfect strangers.

Sometimes for only a few seconds. The woman I pass on the street and we exchange a smile. The man who tells me that I’ve dropped my TTC pass. The woman who let me stay at her home when I was visiting New York. The artists I see get up on stage and risk it all. I fall in love with their mystery and kindness. It happens all the time. I fall in love and simply put it out there, where the world can have it.

I suppose this is the day to reflect on that love, to put a magnifying glass on the ways that I love and how I am in love DESPITE what a dictatorship this holiday has about how we express out affection. Perhaps I’m drinking the pink coloured Kool Aid that is the aggressive marketing campaigns of multi-million dollar companies. I suppose I am too tired to rant against something that’s obviously not going to go away.

I’m an atheist and every December I give gifts to my loved ones and wish a, “Merry Christmas” without the slightest interest or belief in Jesus Christ. I have a problem with the institutions of religions, a discussion I’m happy to have with my peers. But every Decemeber 25th instead of going to church and thanking the lord, I sit with my family and drink wine and eat stuff and enjoy their company.

In the same vein, I’ve decided this year that I won’t put any stock into the idea that this day is just for the coupled, just for romance, just to get your money. Instead, in the most secular and inclusive way possible, reminiscent of the days of my childhood, I want to wish all a very Happy Valentine’s Day, because even though there’s a lot to hate about it, what’s not to love about love?



Susan xo

Like A Boy

Last week I watched SuperBowl for what was probably the third time in my life. No judgment—I’m just not a football fan. However, if there’s alcohol, pulled pork sandwiches, chips, and/or chicken wings I. AM. THERE.

For the sake of the sport, I decided to go all out and root for the SeaHawks, mostly just because that’s the team Dan Savage roots for. It really did look like they were going to take it.

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Sorry bae.


Like any other entertainment hungry consumer-slut, I was excited to see the commercials. Lindsay Lohan? I forget what she was selling, but I wonder what she’s doing right now… Liam Niesson is a BAWS. I’m totally going to watch Taken again.  Always’ “Like A Girl” commercial aired.

This ad is not new. It’s been making its rounds on the Internet for sometime now and in terms of airing during this prime time slot, it seemed a perfect fit. It essentially looks at how the term “like a girl” is negatively applied to both boys and girls, and simply taking a second look at how it actually functions to undermine the abilities of girls (they can throw and walk like normal human beings, OMG).

In terms of the ever present media this is most definitely better than say an ad that utilizes the body of a woman solely as an object, muted, the gaze upon her body in order to sell perfume or a luxury watch.

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You smell like this. She’ll gaze upon you thusly.

Considering that the media has a huge effect on the way we see ourselves and those around us, this “Like A Girl” ad seems really positive, not aiming to hurt or undermine anyone, just simply trying to sell feminine hygiene without making you feel like total shit about yourself, right? Right? WRONG.

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For like… pads?


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Then throw the ball, not a fucking tantrum.

What’s with the outrage? It’s been pointed out by folks before me, and seems obvious that you can’t really compare the “like a girl” label to “like a boy” because if someone said to a cis gendered man or boy that they were going something, “like a boy” this would not be an insult… So you can’t have it. Because you are already empowered. We could try to re-power you with positive stereotypes, but can you just let this one fucking thing go?

Stumbling down the rabbit hole of social media outrage against small women just trying to be themselves, I was delivered to the  “Men Rights Activists” or the “meninist” movement/t-shirt franchise. It’s something I’ve been aware of, but haven’t given too much clout because I remember what it’s like to be ten years old and not be allowed into certain discussions or clubs because, you know, NO GIRLS ALLOWED.

The fact that an advertisement by a huge cooperation looking to sell sterilized cotton intended to soak up menstrual blood has brought about a flurry of anti-feminist sentiments and brought my attention to a group of people that stand for the this kind of shit seems ridiculous, but I guess this is the world I live in.

I think that whoever you are, you have the right to your opinion, but when there is a group of people providing a platform for hateful, disrespectful, ugly messages like this:

Picture 24Picture 25

Something has to be said.

Instead of giving it a name like a “movement” it more just seems like a collection of trolling heteronormative idiots who are angry with women in general, and what the Wild West that is the Internet has done is give them a platform where they can post shitty comments without the fear of any kind of consequence.


After more close observation there seems to be a deeply misguided logic that somehow blames feminism for the problems faced by men based on the idea that feminism and feminists are a) only women and b) those women specifically want to ensure that men are forever enslaved as a less superior sex and forced to bow down to their undeniable power, and like, they want you to buy us shit.

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I agree… except for the “picked up” thing… do you mean like picked up like a girl hitting on you, or like picked up in a car, or picked up like a baby?


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Let me take a second to clear that up: Feminism specially looks at the issues of inequality when it comes to the sexes and works to investigates the injustices that stem from treating women as thought they are less. Personally, this extends beyond the binary of “men and women” but also takes into consideration: class, race, queerness, and ability. Working to challenge the patriarchy in all it’s shortcomings. It’s intended to ensure that there is equality and justice for all. MEN: aligning yourself with this identity is a good thing.

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Now, I don’t have a penis.

Because I do not have a penis I will never know what it’s like to walk around with one, effortlessly pee standing up, or what it’s like to have a sensitive sexual organ dangling outside of my body.

I also have no experience of what it means to reconcile the appearance and functions of my body with a standardized and prescriptive notion of what it means to be “a man.” I will also never know what it must feel like to not be born with a body that includes the physical attributes that are socially constructed to mean “maleness” and have a journey where my gender and sexuality is constantly questioned, regulated, and challenged in that way. However, I am conscious and sympathetic to what implications and pressures someone might face under these notions about gender and sexuality.

For straight men, I see the societal pressures they face: to provide for women, bottle their emotions, be physically strong, be a lone wolf,  have masculine hair—but not too much, depending on the culture there are a very many number of things that a “real man” should and should not be…

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Like, that y’all should have to look like this in your underthings

I get it.  It must be difficult to “conform to the norm”, as the kids are saying (okay they’re not saying that, but it’s hip to question the squareness of the boxes we put our identities in, kay?)

But to suggest that there is no inherent privileged given to men is simply not true. Case-in-point: the fact that this tampon ad got so much attention and objection. If men and women were really equal there would be no stigma of what it means to be “like a girl” to dispel in the first place, and we would just be watching how much of the blue liquid one pad can take and how flexible the wings are.

As a lover, fan, and supporter of men, I want to be able to talk about what the pitfalls, pressures, and injustices are faced by men  but not in a way that blames women. In the same way that I want to be free to talk about how I feel that at times my identity as a woman can bring a whole bag of shit upon my house.  That’s because I AM A FEMINIST.

Can we just have a conversation about this without blaming each other?

Is this really so hard to ask? Or maybe, ONCE AGAIN, I’m just being such a girl about this whole thing?


What Friends’ Ross and Rachel Taught Me About Love (Nothing)


Have you ever had those moments when you’re watching a film or television show you grew up loving and you take a pause— with your life experience, feminist sensibilities, and refined critical thinking skills—and you’re like, “Well this is kind of a bullshit message.”

Just me?

For example, a few years ago I sat with my three-year-old niece watching Disney’s Snow White. A previously whimsical tale in my mind, I now watched in indignation the story of a young woman who is the target of a hit by her jealous stepmother who’s like, “Stupid talking mirror, nobody’s prettier than me!”

After Snow White’s murderer-to-be can’t do the deed and let’s her know of these plans, she runs off into woods screaming with her hands in the air. She stumbles upon a small cottage where she comes upon seven little, weird, dirty men. Instead of maybe taking a second to be like, “Wait a minute, I’m the rightful heir to the throne who can talk to animals, for crying out loud! I need to figure out what my next move here is.” She’s like, “Welp, I’ll just cook and clean and take care of these dudes because, that’s what women do.”

And don’t even get me started on the fact that her main goal in life is to have her prince come and…. fulfill her destiny of being in love, or something.

Bitch, you just escaped death.

Her ability to eat and apple and be paralyzed to the point where she is mistaken for a corpse and the Prince’s (arguably necrophilia-ish) impulse to kiss her, ultimately breaking the spell, leads to her desired fate of getting on the back of his horse and live happily ever after or… whatever.


It’s also pretty lucky those tiny men didn’t bury her in the ground, considering they’ve got all the mining and digging equipment so readily available.

These kinds of love stories and fairy tales are so plump with tropes of the helpless woman who is ready to be swept off her feet, if only that jealous older woman would just back off, are pretty common and as a little girl is something I ingested without a second thought, until, you know: LIFE HAPPENED.

Being a child of the 90’s, Friends was one of my favourite shows. Like millions of others, I tuned in every week, laughing and guffawing at Chandler’s sarcastic wit, Phoebe’s unabashed quirkiness, Monica’s persnickety nature, Joey’s stupidity and rakish posturing, Rachel’s progression from spoiled princess to self actualized career woman, and the ever persistent geeky nature of the slick haired, dinosaur loving Ross.

I owned whole seasons on DVD. Rachel was my hair idol. I once knew all the words to Phoebe’s “Smelly Cat”. I watched it over and over again, able to quote punch lines. Like so many others, some the show’s idioms are still in my lexicon: I’m sure every time I’ve moved or help someone move I still quote Ross’ manic “PIVOT” instruction, or when talking with buddies about things in the boudoir, Monica’s “SEVEN! SEVEN! SEVEN!” when it comes to the erogenous zones of a woman’s body. Like, could I BE anymore of a Friends fan? Probably not.


Now that the series has been recently released on Netflix and I’ve been tuning into some episodes.

Let me just say: Friends is a funny show. It was funny when it first came out, and it still stands up today. However, besides the jarring laugh track that has been mostly phased out of comedies along with the “movie guy” narration for movie trailers, there are a few issues I can see with the show now that I didn’t really think about when I was a thirteen-year-old super fan.

Most notably: The glaring lack of diversity (all straight white people), rampant fatphobia, the heteronormative and prescriptive gender roles on which much of the comedy relies upon (“men are like this” haha, “women are like this” HAHAHAHAHA).

Also the fact that there is no way that these people could possibly afford to live in their fucking huge apartments in New York City when four of them work part-time gigs.

Although I could go on about any of these issues in the show, there’s something that has grabbed my attention and was mentioned by a very good friend of mine: Ross Gellar is kind of a misogynist asshole.

I mean, all the characters are kind of dicks to one another. The premise where one friend has lied to, or tries to manipulate the other, is found in many episodes. They tease one another relentlessly, and it’s that kind of sardonic banter that I like about the show.

But Ross, Ross is different in the way that he perceives, treats, and approaches women. Specifically when it comes to the “Ross and Rachel” saga which is pretty much the tale of a stubborn, unapologetic, disingenuous, man who “finally” ends up with a woman who’s put up with her fair share of his shit and I can’t believe we’re supposed to just accept this as the conclusion to a great love story.

The series begins with Ross’ total devastation due to the end of his marriage to Carol who has come to the realization she’s a lesbian. In comes Rachel, just having left Barry at the altar ready to emerge from the cocoon of a sheltered life where she would have been financially provided for by a wealthy, yet douchey, husband. Instead she chooses to move to the city and start anew. We quickly find out that Ross LOVES Rachel and has since high school, but was always too nervous to ask her out.

This doesn’t change throughout the first two seasons and we see him silently struggle with his perceived unrequited love that produces some comedic moments. Then Rachel finds out, and she digs him too, but then he’s with Julie, and then he finds out and can’t decide between the two and…


After compiling a list of pros and cons when deciding between Rachel and Julie (because he’s just so desirable) “Just a waitress” is a con for Rachel. Ross judges Rachel on her occupation of being a server as a reason not to be with her. Despite the fact that she’s taken a huge step away from a privileged life and is trying to make her own way in the world, Ross thinks he’s better than her because he’s a dinosaur doctor.

She finds out, and her feelings are hurt (understandably) but, blah, blah, they still get together even though there’s an overlap when he’s still technically with Julie. ButIguessweforgivehimbecausehelovesRachelSOmuch

After he deigns to go out with said waitress and the two start a relationship, because I guess he’s cool if she serves him.

Shortly after, she gets a dream job offer at Bloomingdale’s. But WAIT—a man (Mark) offered her the position and it must be because of his desire to stick it inside of her. Even Chandler and Joey agree and, I would argue, are complicit in Ross’ obsession with the possibility that another man might find his super hot, talented, funny, and ambitious girlfriend desirable (heaven forbid!). Therefore, he should be inserting himself into every aspect of her waking life so that everybody knows that she belongs to him.

For a show the was regarded as “progressive” for its time, Ross’ possessive attitude towards her borders on something from the 1920’s and instead of moving past this he’s all, “Guys and broads can’t work together, see. He just wants to jump ya, that’s all.”


Instead of listening to her assertions that she is not interested in Mark, Ross smothers Rachel with his unrelenting affection rooted in possessive jealousy that manifests itself in flowers, gifts, and even a barbershop quartet.

This is psychotic behaviour.

This attitude of ownership over women in his life also extends to his sister Monica when he realizes (and witnesses) the secret relationship between her and Chandler, “MY SISTER?!” And later on when he’s dating a young student and joins her on summer break after realizing that she’ll be wearing a bikini—the notorious garb of the unfaithful woman.

We’re supposed to take the idea that Ross’ ex-wife is to blame for his mistrust of Rachel because he encouraged Carol’s friendship with her lover Susan. I guess I can believe this for a second or two until his jealousy ultimately ends his relationship with Rachel, and the whole “We were on a break” when he sleeps with someone else TRIES TO COVER IT UP and then, instead of apologizing and showing legitimate remorse he fights tooth and nail over what it meant to be on “a break” instead of consoling his wounded soon-to-be-ex-partner.

He spent fucking months being insanely jealous of the fact that she sat across from a man at her job, and acts like that fact that he fucked a hot girl the night before is like, no biggie.


Ross and Rachel’s relationship waxes and wanes over the rest of the series, he proceeds to marry again, and divorce. Yet we never see any kind of emotional growth from Mr. Gellar. When they reunite at the beach house (where he, again, is involved with another woman) he neglects to read Rachel’s lengthy letter about her feelings about them getting back together. When he realizes Rachel is asking him to admit to his mistake and “infidelity” that broke them up, he freaks out and refuses to take any agency.

When Rachel and Ross get wasted and marry in Vegas, he tells her that they are divorced. But doesn’t because he just doesn’t want to be a guy who’s had three divorces.

Good question, Ross. Good question.

That gets settled, and you think it’s finally over and they can just both move on with their lives, but Rachel becomes pregnant with their child after a one-night stand. He not only has a delinquent first reaction (going on about the effectiveness of condoms) when she first tells him, but when they live together (to like, simulate a family unit or something) she takes a night off and he babysits. A prospective suitor calls for her and he neglects to tell her even though they aren’t romantically involved. When she finds out this I think fourth or fifth HUGE lie Ross has told her, instead of apologizing he complains that she shouldn’t be going out with her friends because she has a baby to take care of and shouldn’t be having a life of her own…

Excuse me?

Now, I understand that the writers and producers of the show intentionally draw out this story to keep fans waiting with bated breath to see if they end up together, but honestly, after watching the series again with fresh eyes, I have to ask: What it is about Ross that Rachel is supposed to find so attractive? What it about the “Ross and Rachel” thing that we are rooting for?

Rachel has put herself out there so many times for this cockface: from offering to fulfill his sexual fantasies (Princess Leia in a gold bikini), supporting his career, clearly articulating her thoughts and feelings, and even offering to raise his child without his help, and she’s only been met with next level emotional manipulation, flagrant displays of disrespect, and inability to approach her with earnestness.

So when the series ends (SPOILER ALERT… but like, it’s been twenty years, get over it) Rachel decides to move to Paris, another evolution in her growth as an individual, Ross crashes the party at the last minute, stopping her at the airport to profess his undying love for her. Instead of saying, “Gee Ross that’s really sweet but we’ve tried this a few times and even though I do love you and have a child with you, a fact that means we will forever be linked, I think maybe we’re better as friends.” Rachel decides to “get off the plane” to be with Ross. She shows up at his place imbuing him with “I love yous” and “Let’s do this.”

Teenage me reacted with a, “Finally, they’re together!” but current day me was all like, “Rachel, he’s an asshole. GO TO PARIS.”

This love story is supposed to give us some sort of catharsis, a reinforced belief that true love conquers all, and Ross states, “We’re done being stupid.” Um, I’m sorry WE? WE are done? I’m left thinking that the story that’s being told isn’t actually about mutual love and support, but rather that grand gestures are the be-all and end-all of love, instead of the hard work and emotional intelligence it takes to foster a successful relationship (which, I mean, I’m not perfect at or anything).

Looking back on the examples of love that I watched as a child and then young adult, I can’t help but think that maybe there has to be something better than waiting to be kissed alive, or putting up with a decade’s worth of assholery to end up in a “Happily Ever After” sort of situation.

Maybe one day.

If you want to read more about what most likely happens after the series concludes, you should most definitely check out The Belle Jar’s brillant article:

Seriously, it’s perfect.

Like A Virgin


The holidays happened and I apologize to you readers (if you’re still out there) that I haven’t posted in a while (thank you for reading!). I hope your New Year and holiday season was full of love and fun.

Now, I’m an atheist. A non-believer in the sense that I don’t hold stock in any kind of higher power, god, force in the universe…what have you. I was raised Catholic, but don’t practice any religion. I’m fine with people that do have a faith they find important to their lives, as long as they aren’t using it as a way to attempt to hurt or shame others (which happens way too frequently I think). Despite my non-beliefs, I still really dig Christmas and it kind of makes me a hypocrite when I wish my loved ones a, “Merry Christmas” but the parties, the drinking, the food, visiting family and friends is the just too good to pass up.

Being a dutiful daughter this year, I agreed to attend the Christmas Eve service at the United Church my mother is a part of. For probably the millionth time in my life, I listened to the story of the Virgin Mary and Joseph looking for room at the inn, the baby Jesus in the manger, the Three Kings… blah blah blah… which was punctuated by my four year old niece whispering, “Two more songs and then we can go open presents!” I was with her on that.

My mind drifted away during the reading, I started to think about how fantastical this story really is and how shitty it must have been for Mary. Think about it: a fourteen-year-old girl who has never had sex awaiting her pending marriage is visited by an angel in the middle of the night who’s like, “You’ve been chosen to have the son of god.” Then bam, she’s pregnant. Then she has to explain to her fiancé, who at first is all like, “Imma dismiss her quietly” (instead of stoning her for being a hussy, I guess?) He doesn’t believe her and how lonely and sad she must have felt. He doesn’t get on board until an angel talks to him and is all like, “Nah, don’t do that. She’s got god inside of her.” So then he decides to stick with her. Then, they have to travel for a really long time and she’s riding a donkey at nine months pregnant, then there’s no room at the inn and has to have her baby in a stable full of animals, and everyone is like, “Look how magnificent this baby is.” I would be thinking, “Look how fucking resilient this teenage girl is.”

This poor girl who’s never had a chance to even know her body by the way of sex or intimacy goes through literally one of the most painful experiences she’s ever had, and she didn’t even get the chance to have the fun that goes along with conceiving a child? Shit, that is one huge undertaking. Her virginity is so important to the story that it’s now permanently part of her name, the Virgin Mary. Not the Strong Mary, or Resourceful Mary, or Dedicated Mary, the virgin part is what defines her. I couldn’t help thinking with my pervy brain, did she just never have sex with her husband after the baby was born? What is it about virginity that bears such importance?


I’ve mentioned this before, I attended Catholic School, and since I could remember this idea of virginity as pure and righteous and sex as a means to procreation was the party line. In high school we were inundated with the message that you only had sex once you were married and if you didn’t wait, you were sinning. The virgin/whore dichotomy was pretty set in stone.

But what sex meant in a heteronormative Christian context was a very clear cut P in V action, and for many this is the marker for losing one’s V card. Needless to say, this doesn’t cover homosexual sex and as Dan Savage points out in his commenting on the phenomenon of Christian teens engaging in unprotected anal sex in order to preserve their virginities, then his husband would be a ‘virgin’ too.

I can understand why these folks look for these kind of loopholes (no pun intended—but you should watch this hilarious video full of glorious puns on the subject).

I was an awkward teenager and completely nervous about boys and even though I actually never had sex during this time, I developed a pretty strong attitude that all this fuss about staying a virgin was out of the question for me, and I really didn’t understand why god would care so much about what I did with my vagina.

Then I went away to university and frosh week was basically someone handing you a condom every four minutes. I was still pretty nervous about dating and just didn’t do it. Then the next year rolled around and all my friends seemed to be having sex. Then I, ironically enough, started working at The Condom Shack, a sex boutique.

Yes, I was a virgin working at a sex store. I felt almost like I’d skipped a step somewhere, selling dildos, lubes, condoms, oils, having never really used them myself. The women I worked with were tenacious and knowledgeable and I really did get an education. I was given a sense of empowerment about how to protect my body from pregnancy, able to explain the inner working of products that could (and would) give me pleasure, and a voyeuristic glimpse into the sex lives of many, many people.

But this started a panic in me. Shouldn’t I have sex? It looks like everyone else is having it. It was the complete opposite pressure that I had felt in school. It was a confusing time, and again, the P in V was the ultimate thing. It was like I was living a lie, and in my panic and conflicting ideas I just kind of, got it over with. I was dating someone for a while and it just… happened. He wasn’t a bad guy, but after I felt like it was supposed to have more decorum, more of a feeling like a milestone had passed. I’d felt so much pressure from either side about it and now that it was over I wasn’t even sure if I felt different.

I didn’t have the tools to really negotiate what it is I wanted from sex. It took some experience and growing up to really figure out what it was about being a “virgin” that really bothered me, that I am many things and that this is not the be all an end all of my existence. Now I can honestly say that sex is not something I “get out of the way” and that I have a lot of love and respect for myself and have a healthy sex positive attitude. I even proudly call myself a slut for crying out loud.

I can only hope that Mary, if only the way that I finish this grand tale in my mind, was able to move past this label of being a virginal woman in her own mind, and that she could be a mother, wife, woman, and sexual being. Maybe even after Jesus’ went off to “spread the word” her and Joseph were able to find a room at an inn all to themselves.

Yep…I’m a slut.

As a six-year-old, my favourite past time during recess in the schoolyard wasn’t double dutch, hide-and-go-seek, or kickball. I mean I did do those things, but there was something above all these that I preferred most to engage in. With great pleasure and delight my favourite game to play was: kiss the boys.

Or more specifically, chase and kiss the boys because they regarded girls as “gross” and my mushroom-cut-jumper-wearing self would run around like a maniac doling out deplorable pecks once I’d corner my selected boy of interest. It wasn’t because I liked these boys, it was because they hated it so much that made it fun. I most relished taunting one red haired boy named Shawn who would scream in terror and disgust as I aimed to plant a fat one on him.

Picture 3

Who wouldn’t want THIS?


It was something that became a bit of a problem and I still have a report card from that year that reads, “Susie is a good student, but she needs to stop kissing all the boys.”

This statement from my educational institution worried my mother and she sat me down, and in retrospect, she did a great job in gently explaining why this wasn’t appropriate behaviour. Thinking back to this report card now I chuckle at how I was, “slut shamed” as a first grader (my teacher totally had a point, I mean, forcing someone to kiss you against their will is… not great).

You’ll be happy to know, I did grow out of this phase and now I get a more positive reactions from the people I try to French (THANK GAWD). However, with this freedom of partaking in consensual smooches real slut shaming is something that has become a reality.

This past summer I was having a conversation with a friend she talked about her dating life and stated, “I think I’m a bit of a slut” she said in a tone that wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing. I could relate. In a slut shaming culture I’ve had my fill of moments like in high school (when I was a VIRGIN) because I was open about the idea of sex before marriage (Catholic School) people had a certain “ideas” about me, and in day to day things like how much make up I wear or if my skirt is too short. “Well I mean you don’t need to use the word slut if it has bad connotations, how about ‘intercourse enthusiast?’” I joked.

I’m of two minds about the term “slut”. On the one hand, it’s an absolutely heinous epithet used to degrade, devalue, insult, and undermine women. It’s part of a culture where specifically women who exercise their right to be sexual beings, or are just rumoured to get down in the bedroom, are punished for these acts or perception of these acts. Whereas, speaking in a heterosexual context here, men who have the same amount of sexual experience are called a stud or a player or something that is not nearly as damning or demeaning. Within this binary where sexual promiscuous women or girls are labeled as immoral or dissolute, men are regarded as virile and masculine (the sentiment boys will be boys comes to mind) the balance of power and agency is uneven.

On the other hand, as events like Slutwalk, and even some celebrities and organizations have moved to reclaim the word slut as a positive term, allowing for a reworking and reframing of the notion to enable women to take pride in their sexual agency. Re-shifting the power of the word as opposed to keeping it in the negative realm where it’s used to reiterate and replicate misogynist ideas that are harmful to our society as a whole is a truly paramount and I think admirable task.

There was a point where I decided that calling myself a slut was just fine with me. A few months about I was chatting with a male friend and was relaying a story about a hook up I’d had. I talked about how my date and I spent a few hours before hand just asking one another questions about our sexual histories, flirty questions like, “When did you lose your virginity?”, “Where’s the craziest place you’ve had sex?” etc, etc until we ended back at his place…



…I had a really great time and it was just understood that we weren’t dating and unless we ran into one another at the grocery store we weren’t going to see one another again.

My friend looked at me. “I think you were tricked.”

“What?” I responded.

“I think he tricked you into sleeping with him.”

“Oh you mean the super hot guy who I wanted to get weird with tricked me into it? Was I BAMBOOZLED into intercourse? The whole thing was just his magical powers taking effect so that I had no choice in the matter?”

My friend’s logic relied on the concept that all men want from women is sex and that women are somehow “giving it away” if they succumb to this. He didn’t consider my desire in this situation, and in the back my mind all I could think was “I’M A SLUT DEAL WITH IT.”

It felt really empowering. The more I thought of myself this way and took the meaning of the word to be positive it was something I just… dug.

So yeah, I do think that calling myself a slut in the right context is something I would like at my disposal. I refer to a, “really slutty weekend” with friends in a completely affectionate and joking way. I wouldn’t use it in a derogatory way towards another or myself and that’s how it works for me.

However, I can understand why others wouldn’t want to. Words, labels, epithets, and monikers carry a lot of weight in the way that we identify ourselves. For other individuals out there, to be called forward to “reclaim their inner slut”, or embrace this term maybe marred with too much violence, nuance, and consequence and they simply decide it’s not for them. I think that’s just fine too.

I may be a slut, but I do try to not be an ignorant slut.