I was shocked when I realised I hadn’t taken the time to write about this. Flabbergasted, one might say. Absolutely jaw dropped, that I hadn’t yet broached this topic. Because I’ve got some opinions on it. So, let’s discuss.
The first time I remember getting catcalled, I was 11. I was walking with my older sister who was 15 and a truck honked at us. It pulled up slowly and drove away pretty fast. My sister grabbed my hand and she turned really red. I didn’t understand fully what had happened. I had seen movies where guys hollered at girls, but those situations seemed like it was all in good fun. The guys in movies were in high school and wore polos with popped collars and drove convertibles (it was the 2000’s), and they complimented girls who they already knew, girls they were already involved with. But this wasn’t like that. These men weren’t in high school, because my sister was in high school, and they were so much older. And there was no fun music playing or cheerful smiles, it felt like they were sneering at us. Most importantly, it wasn’t all in good fun and we didn’t know them. My sister seemed embarrassed and I was uncomfortable because I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what was going on.
And catcalling has remained that confusing for me ever since.
I often say, “It’s funny until it’s not”. My friends and I trade stories about catcalls and bad pickup lines and that’s fine. We laugh about it because otherwise it feels scary. I often tell people about the guy who followed me for 5 blocks when I was 19, and I tell it with a jokey tone. But that’s because it ended without harm. In reality, I was scared. I called my dad to come meet me because I was only a block from my house. The guy left as my dad approached, but not before repeatedly touching my arm and asking me to come home with him.
It’s funny until it’s not, but otherwise I feel gross. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin, because I don’t understand why I’m attracting that sort of attention. I don’t understand what I did, what signal I made, what clothing item I wore that warranted being followed, being touched, being yelled at. And that’s the worst part, that I sit around asking myself what I could’ve done better. Should I have worn a sweater in the summer over my tank top? Should I have gone running in leggings over shorts? Should I have made eye contact with the ground, as not to attract unwanted attention? I treat it like a learning opportunity for me, when in reality I’ve done nothing wrong.
Don’t get me started on trying to explain to men. I got catcalled this week on a run and I told my mom about it when I was home. The guy stopped me at a red light and said, “Well, you’re a good girl, aren’t you? Mmmmm yes, you’re such a good girl.” It took most of my strength not to dive headlong into traffic.
My mom cringed with me, and my dad asked me, “Why didn’t you say something back? Why didn’t you tell him to fuck off? Why didn’t you kick him in the balls?” and while I understand where my dad’s suggestions were coming from, he didn’t get it. He didn’t get that talking back isn’t always an option. Yes, I’m 6ft tall, but this man easily cleared 6’3”. I’d bet my lucky stars that he was stronger than me, and based on our previous interaction, I don’t suspect he respected women very much. I was outnumbered by this man, even though it was only 1-on-1. I was clearly not in the position of power. And that’s often how it is. Interacting, engaging, calling back doesn’t end in a witty punchline or a victory. It ends in more discomfort, or even retaliation.
I said earlier that catcalling still confuses me. And it does, what do they think the suspected outcome will be? Do you think you’ll holler “Hey baby, you’re looking good?” and I’ll hop in your Hyundai Sonata and we’ll just go at it like animals in the back seat? What caveman part of the brain thinks, “Yell at that woman, I think she’ll find it endearing”? What is the point if not simply to make women uncomfortable? Why do it, because I can’t imagine it actually garners positive attention.
That’s it from me today. Just frustration and fear and a good anecdote, because it’s funny until it’s not. It’s funny until you’re 13 and trying to explain to a 40-year-old man that you’re not interested in going on a date. It’s funny until you’re telling the man on the subway to stop touching your knee as he tries to get your attention. It’s funny until you get off the bus three stops early just so the man will stop bothering you. It’s funny until he keeps asking you for a price because “girls that pretty are always hookers”. Its funny until it’s not.
And let’s be honest, it’s rarely fucking funny.
From me, with love, to you,
I feel old, but also very not old. I guess the word would be young. I feel old and young simultaneously. I have an apartment and a job that could lead to a career, but I woke up on Halloween in my childhood bed and the only things in my purse were a bottle of tequila and a bag of candy. It’s a dichotomy my life.
Your 20’s are weird. My Instagram feed is full of engagement rings and my LinkedIn is popping off with people starting careers, but for every engagement ring there is someone binge drinking on a Monday night living unemployed in their parent’s basement. And both are equally likely and equally acceptable. More importantly, it’s so easy to oscillate between these extremes. You can go from the top of the world to rock bottom really quickly, and vice versa. Less than a year ago I was unemployed due to lockdown and living in my parent’s house. It’s a quick turn around.
And when these extremes exist, it also means you can live anywhere along the spectrum in between. There are an infinite number of options in your 20s and that makes it all the more terrifying because figuring out what you’re supposed to be doing is much harder. I still have so many questions. (Okay, that’s a low bar to set because if you’ve spent 10 minutes with me you know I ask a lot of questions, but still). I’m not sure what I’m doing or where I want to go or how to get there and frankly it’s a little overwhelming. With the hopes of getting some stuff out of my head and free up some brain space, let’s ask 23 questions about life so far:
All in all, I’m happy with my 23rd year. I’m happy with my job and my apartment and my roommate who puts up with all my shit and my friends who put up with all my shit and my family who…I think you get the point.
I’m happy that I’m happy. That I’m healthy. That I’m back in the studio. I’m not super excited about turning 23, but you can’t stop time, so I won’t lose too much sleep over that. I guess if I read this back in a couple years, that’s what I would want to know. That I’m happy. Happy Birthday to Me.
From me, with love, to you,
It’s been a minute since I’ve talked about dating. And if I’m being totally honest, there was a different beginning to this piece. There was an opening that talked about dating apps that will likely get recycled and used in a different post. Because, as much as I have my fair share to say about dating apps, as this story unfolded it started being about something entirely different.
I have been single for four years. Almost exactly. And in that time, I’ve met a lot of really cool people. On dating apps, at parties, through friends, at (vomit) fraternities, at bars. There were times I really felt like I was living my best sitcom lifestyle, and times I felt like Taylor Swift in her White Horse music video. For four years, I’ve been the friend with the date stories, the friend with the roster, the friend who makes terrible decisions and maximizes a bad thing to turn them into blog posts or songs.
And I wanted to date, but I didn’t want to be in a relationship. It’s not to say that I was never completely without emotions, but long-term relationships didn’t seem to suit me. Sometimes I would talk about relationships or think that I wanted one, however in my heart of hearts I know I wasn’t quite ready. And I had a handful of reasons to stay single over the years:
“It doesn’t make sense to settle down because I’m actually into ______________” (ifkyk)**
“I don’t want to date a guy while I’m moving back and forth between Toronto and Vancouver”
“I really want to be single when things open up from lockdown”
“I’m coming back and forth from New Brunswick so it would be a big hassle”
And there are parts of being single that I wouldn’t’ want to necessarily give up. I love going on dates and meeting new people. I love that “will they/won’t they” feeling at the end of a date where you’re waiting for a first kiss. I love writing music about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I love trading date stories with my friends until we are all curled over from laughing so hard.
It’s not that a switch has flipped and I hate dating now. I still am an avid user of Bumble and Hinge. I still love a good first date and more importantly, a bad first date story. But something is a bit different now. Because I don’t want a relationship in the sense that I want to find my Forever person. The idea of being 23 and meeting the person I’ll spend the rest of my life with honestly makes me break out into nervous hives. Plus, I already have my Forever people. I have people that hold citizenships in Victoria-ville. They collect frequent flyer miles in my brain, and I should start paying for their phone bills with the number of minutes I rack up with them
I just want a Right Now person. I don’t need to talk about marriage and babies, but I want to feel comfortable talking about next week or God forbid a month from now without someone getting jumpy. I want to feel special and prioritized. I just want someone who makes me happy now and that’s enough.
One day I’m going to want that Ed-Sheeran-love-song kind of love. I’m going to want the love that grows old in a rocking chair. The love you fight for and work at, but I don’t want that right now. I want easy. I want someone to look at me and think, “Despite the sprinkles of crazy, I could spend time with her right now and that’s enough”. I’m enough for me. But sometimes I want to be enough for someone else as well. You know?
It’s a narrow distinction. It’s a fine line, so razor thin that if you don’t focus hard, you can’t see it. And you may think I’m wrong, but I bet you’ve had Right Now people in your life. They relationship that got you over a bad breakup and was exactly what you needed at the time. The friend you had in residence but drifted apart from after. The colleague who was your right hand at work, but you lost touch with when you left. It doesn’t mean that ending those relationships doesn’t hurt, but those were the people you needed.
This also doesn’t mean that I’m dissatisfied with my life. I have a new job that I love, I’m back in the studio, I have my Forever people, my anxiety is manageable, and – if you’ve somehow forgotten – I’m a goddamn treat. I just want someone to validate me. Someone to stick around for a while. Someone who wants to see me. Someone who doesn’t feel the need to keep shopping the market. Someone who doesn’t make me feel like a sociopath if I catch feelings, because fuck we need to take the pressure of catching feelings – but that’s an entirely different rant for a different post.
So here I am, yelling at the internet the things that I want. It’s a little funny, I always say you can’t look for things when you’re dating. When you look for a relationship, you’ll find garbage men and mediocre hook ups. When you look for casual, you’ll find love. But here I am, looking for Right Now, because Forever seems like too much to put on my plate at the moment. So fingers crossed that I’m wrong and I’ll actually stumble into the thing that I’m looking for.
I doubt it though.
From me, with love, to you,
**I cannot describe the hysterical laughter that ensues from thinking about all of the boys who saw this line and thought, “She’s definitely talking about me.” TRUST ME. I’m not.
In May of 2017 I came back to Toronto for the summer. For the previous two years I had held summer jobs and frankly, I hated them both. That summer, I was 18 and I wanted a job downtown. I wanted something new, something I wouldn’t hate. So, I took a handful of resumes to Toronto Eaton Centre and handed them out to every retail establishment I could.
As I plastered the mall with opportunities, I found myself at American Eagle. I had never been a frequent shopper – or even a shopper there at all. I was a religious wearer of BDG jeans at the time and my only real interaction with the company was my collection of Aerie underwear. However, my cousin had worked at American Eagle in the past and didn’t hate it. Plus, I needed a job. I walked into the store with no familiarity of the product, no understanding of the company values and a handful of resumes filled with irrelevant job experience. I left the store with one less resume and an interview scheduled for later that afternoon.
Four and a half years later, I find myself leaving my “summer job”. If you asked me-of-2017, I would viciously deny that the store in the basement of the Eaton Centre would become as integral to my life as it has. That job funded my first album. It allowed me to live in Vancouver. It kept me employed during the pandemic. It provided me with the experience I needed to get a new job I am more than excited to start.
However, that doesn’t mean that I am more than excited to leave. I understand I initiated the launch, I was the one who sought out and found a new job, but there are thing I’m leaving behind that I’m going to miss. I’m going to miss meeting so many people. I helped young girls get ready for their first day of high school. I shopped with children who were taking a day off from chemotherapy at Sick Kids. I shopped with trans individuals who were buying their first items of clothing that represented who they truly were. I helped stylists for movies, people find clothes for their first job, and tourists on vacation. I got to speak German and French and American Sign Language. Additionally, I met a handful of Karens who provided me stories for Tik Toks.
I’m going to miss learning the hard life lessons. Growing up my dad said everyone should work in either service or retail. It makes you a better person, he said. It will teach you life skills, he said. And after a near half decade in retail, I can thoroughly agree. You learn to be kind to others, particularly those working in service and retail. You have a greater appreciation for our friends working minimum wage jobs and expected to perform at 100% all the time. You learn to appreciate hard work, because nothing says hard work like a Boxing Day shift at the Eaton Centre. You learn to appreciate money. When you work hourly, you look at all your transactions thinking about how worth it something is. “Is this sweater worth 5 hours of work?” or “Is this Starbucks worth 30mins?”.
I’m going to miss working with clothes. Growing up, clothes were always an important part of my life. Most of the people in my family respect and talk about fashion and style. We watched TV shows and read magazines and curated closets that represented how we wanted the world to see us. It only makes sense that I thrived in an environment where a passion for style is necessary. I’m going to miss helping customers style pieces. Getting people out of their comfort zones. God’s honest opinion, I’m going to miss my associate discount.
And of course, I’m going to miss the people I worked with. Retail environments have a high turnover of people, so I worked with an infinite number of people over the last 5 ish years. I worked with people who have become close friends of mine, people who got me through the days where I swore I was going to slam my head in a fitting room door. People who became a sounding bored for real life problems and listened to me talk about my sisters over and over again. But I also met people who made me grow. People who I butted heads with and had arguments with and frankly, I’m not going to miss that much but I appreciate them all the same.
So, all in all, I’m excited for my new chapter. I greatly appreciate the opportunities I’ve had over the last year and the lessons I learned working at that store. I greatly appreciate all the free clothes I’ve gotten in the last year and I will shed a tear for that loss. Although, I know I’ll be back. One day soon I’ll need a pair of black skinny jeans because the world will get over their bizarre aversion to tight jeans. And I’ll have to walk down to the basement of the Eaton Centre, and some bright-eyed new associate will come up to me and ask me that question that every American Eagle associate has burned into their brain: How do you like your jeans to fit?
…or maybe I’ll just order online…
From me, with love, to you,
A little over a month ago, my sister and I were coming back from my aunt’s cottage. My younger sister and I have an agreement that driving on the highway must involve a fast-food pit stop, and for this particular adventure we had settled on A&W because – in my sister’s opinion – they have the best chicken fingers. So, my sister and I sat in me mom’s car (vroom vroom) and we ate our respective chicken fingers.
Of course, when eating chicken fingers, you have to talk about how amazing chicken fingers are. And in discussing the food, I said, “Wouldn’t it be disappointing to date someone who doesn’t like chicken fingers?” Which would be disappointing. There is something oddly wonderful about eating fast-food in the front seat of a car.
I think a lot about red flags and deal breakers when it comes to boys. More because it’s a fun topic of conversation than anything else. But also, I think it tells you a lot about a person. For example, my cousin loves old movies and old music (not that old, but old-ish), so she finds it a bit off putting when someone doesn’t listen to old music. She says that in the long run, they likely wouldn’t work out.
Which brings me back to chicken fingers. I think it might be a red flag if someone doesn’t like chicken fingers. More importantly, if someone thinks they’re too good for chicken fingers. It’s not even that chicken fingers are my favourite fast-food. I would probably pick poutine 9 times out of 10. But I would never kick chicken fingers out of bed. I want someone who can sit at a dirty old pub or a roadside McDonald’s and bond over a box of McNuggets.
ver have, whether or not I ever eat them again. I want to eat Indian food so spicy that I reconsider every life decision up until that point. And whilst on these food adventures, I don’t want to drag around a significant other that tries to order chicken fingers at every turn.
And thus, the chicken finger rule was born. A window in which there is the correct appreciation for chicken fingers. You want to date someone who will eat drunk nuggets with you, but also not try to order tenders while out for Korean food. The chicken finger rule.
It might seem trivial, to place so much importance on chicken fingers, a food which I rank behind poutine, burgers, and nachos. However, the chicken fingers represent a bit more than chicken fingers. It’s more about the person’s attitude towards life. You want someone who can be messy and silly and enjoy simple Big Mac, but also feels comfortable eating squid ink and reading a wine list. I guess it’s all about being flexible. It’s all about going with the flow and being able to take life as it comes, with all weird and wonderful adventures. It’s all about finding someone to eat chicken fingers with at a roadside A&W.
From me, with love, to you,
P.S. This is my second dating theory that is based around fast food. If you want to read about “getting Big Mac’ed” that’s below 😊.