On Meeting “The One”

(…Continued)

It’s like the Gods created Tall French, thrust her into my lap and said, “Here, motherfucker. Here’s what you’ve been praying for. We also threw in some breasts and an accent.”

“Meh. No thanks.”

“Aaaauuuugh.”

There would be no conversation about the future. We wouldn’t have to sit each other down and say, “Let’s quit our jobs and live around the world. Fly by the seat of our pants. Start in Asia, then Argentina, then maybe Berlin, then whatever.” We’re both on that path already, and as much as this is what people say is the dream, it’s impossible to get a woman to do this. I know this because I’ve tried three times with three different women:

“Come with me. We’ll move to a coastal town and I’ll design and write in the mornings while you walk to the market with the dog and pick up whichever meats and vegetables are fresh that day.”

Woman 1: “Uh. That’s so not the kind of life I want. At all.”

Woman 2: “Toronto’s my home base. I need a thing like a home base. I know it’s a silly mental construct, but I want it.”

Woman 3: “Probably not.”

They were hypotheticals, anyway. It was me talking shit, seeing what would happen if I pulled this or that string.

The truth is, I don’t want anything that I already have or already know. I don’t want those carrots that are dangling in front of me, that are within grasp, regardless of how perfect they are. I have no good reason for this other than that I am some sort of psychopath that disdains the things that are already in his possession (or believed to be in his possession).

So I don’t want the Good Girl Local Girl, the Blond Yakuza Receptionist, the Plastic Surgery Assistant. I don’t want the Angular-Faced Japanese, the Nammer, the Indie Actress, the Girl With The Perfect Face. I don’t want the Strawberry Blond With The Killer Body or the Filipino Administrator or the Chinese-Thai Noodle Girl. I don’t want Tall French. I don’t want these top-notch women with their legion of obsessed fans and followers who leave a trail of broken hearts behind them.

I want the unknown. The yet unknown.

I want the actress/singer in LA, the diehard Christian with the bright eyes and acute-triangle smile. I want to picnic with her at Huntington Beach, roll around and laugh on a gingham blanket with a pure-white, fluffy shih-poo tied to tree. I want her head in my lap as she reads a stack of scripts out loud as I pretend to ponder but really just stare at her navel.

I want the model-turned-entrepreneur in Singapore, the half German. I want to stand at the side of the stage of the conferences that she speaks at, telling her story from rags to model-riches to entrepreneurial phenomenon. I want to nurse a double gin on the rocks while holding her purse and when she makes eye contact with me mid-speech, I want to mouth, “You’re doing amazing, honey, everyone loves you,” and she’ll wink and know how to wink well because she had to do it in a luggage commercial before.

I want the Bangkok stockbroker who I only know through her Instagram account. I want to be in her life of cross-fit on weeknights and grad school cramming on weekends. I want to go to Dean & Deluca with her and watch her eat cupcakes while I say, “I don’t eat that shit,” and she’ll dip her finger into the icing and then onto my cheek and say something uncharacteristic-to-her-innocent-looks, like, “I’ll fuck you up, big guy, is that what you want?”

I want the gray-haired fashion blogger in Kuala Lumpur. The mother of twins in Scarborough. The porn star, Kayden Kross. The porn star, Asa Akira. That white girl I (finally) met for a few hours, the day before I left Toronto, the one with those fucking goddamn motherfucking fierce tigress eyes and that drab, drawn-out voice dripping with sarcasm.

That’s what my brain wants. That’s what my brain keeps telling me, that one of these women I haven’t met yet will be The One. It has convinced itself that this is fact, that we are kindred, that I am fated to be with any one of them, perhaps even all of them.

Stupid fucking brain. All I’m doing is shuffling women from the This Is My Dream Girl list to the Oops, I Guess She She Wasn’t column.

Why not the tall French girl? Isn’t she exactly what I was looking for?

She’s tall but she’s shorter than me (this is more important to her). When she wears her heels, we’re the same height. She’s athletic with defined shoulders and abdominals and thigh muscles, a side effect from years of wakeboarding, kitesurfing and other water sports. She has these large, heaving breasts that she hides from the world under loose clothing, supported by lacey black bras. She has these sexy hips that move independently from the rest of her body, almost in the opposite direction, that sashay when she walks and gyrate when she dances. They’re the kind of hips that make people think of sex. They’re a reminder of sex. I’ll be sitting in class memorizing Thai vowels and she’ll walk by me and I’ll think, “Oh yeah, there’s that thing called sex and it exists and she is probably an expert at it.”

She’s independent. Against her friends and family’s wishes, she left Paris to travel Southeast Asia and didn’t go back. She travels alone. She rides her motorcycle alone. When we met up to wakeboard, we said hi to each other, and then split up so we could wakeboard alone. We both like doing things, but we like to do them alone. Or we’re able to do them alone – that’s probably the important part.

Our hobbies align: Motorcycling, diving, walking the earth – and passive income business plans. Where we have opposing philosophies is that I like to drink my face off and she doesn’t eat meat. But we’ve already worked through that: she’s entertained by my drunkenness and I choose restaurants with a vegetarian menu. It’s a cinch; a non-issue.

Financially, she seems solid. I don’t know much about this part of her life except that she owns a flat in Paris and rents it out on AirBNB. This could bankroll her life in Southeast Asia so might be her only income. But something tells me there’s more to it, because she seems smarter, more cunning, more ambitious than someone with only one income stream. Regardless, she’s not poor. We seem to be in the same budget bracket, in that we just spend whatever the hell we want to. We’ve been to bars in Phnom Penh with $15US drinks and neither of us balked. We both have expensive clothing mixed in with the H&M cheapies.

The challenge about dating a traveler is that they’re usually unemployed and living off whatever meager savings they accumulated from working their dead-end job back in the west. It’s important that she’s not one of these people. In fact, I lucked out to even meet someone of her beauty who hops country-to-country and that is also financially solvent – and who likes me in the first place. That’s an incredible stroke of luck and I should catch lightning in a bottle.

We’re the same. We’re the fucking same. And I always wanted to date someone the same. God knows I tried dating the opposite. That shit was irritating as fucking fuck.

So why won’t I? Why do I ignore her messages? Why do I respond as a platonic friend? Why do I shove her from my mind and try to meet other women? Why haven’t I invited her out to meet me on my travels outside of Bangkok, where she sits awaiting my return (well, probably not). Is it because she’s not Asian? No, I’m not the type to care about that. Is it because she lives too freely, too haphazard for my liking? No, because look at my fucking life.

Is it because I’m scared that my search to find the one will end? Because after 36 years I only know how to do one thing really well, and that’s to find a girl and then get her to date me and then let it all fall apart in my hands.

Because maybe my thing is the quest to find the one and not to actually find her.

Because what do I do when that cycle ends, when I find the perfect woman and we get married and have children and live happily ever after? What becomes my life’s work then? What other quest could be greater than this one, to find the other half of your fucking soul? Parenthood? Writing a book? Going to Mars? None of those are as important or fun or exciting.

My entire life has been about starting over. Quitting great jobs, breaking up with amazing women. Whenever things would become comfortable and complacent, I’d throw everything away and start from scratch. What does that mean, that this will never end? I’ll never be happy with a person, only happy with trying to attain them?

Bah. Life could be worse.

“An orgasm from anal can hit fucking 11.”

One of my favourite porn stars just went anal. This is a thing that they do when their careers need a lift. An injection. A penetration in the asshole.

First they start out doing girl-on-girl scenes. At this point they’re new and fresh and hot, and that creates the demand itself. It’s barely porn, it’s just a drunken party that someone videotaped. A baby step into the industry. Then they’re talked into doing boy-girl, and perhaps they start with a boyfriend or lover or somebody comfortable. It might be arty shit, soft-focus lens and slow-motion. Mood porn.

(Though in this day and age, most girls wanting to break into porn break into it themselves, the do-it-yourself method, and just go full fucking with a high-def GoPro under bright fluorescent lighting.)

Then toys, threesomes, gangbangs, creampies, facials. Then they turn 27 years old and headline “MILF” videos.

They’ll rotate these for a few years (months?) until interest for them wanes. I don’t know how they keep track of this because I don’t know how pornstars make money anymore. (Are they like rockers, in that they assume the content will be stolen, so they make the bulk of their fortune on tour? These porn stars are always dancing at this or that strip club across America, by the looks of their Instagram accounts. But do all porn stars know how to strip? I thought it was a myth that they all came from stripping origins. Maybe they evolve in reverse: porn first, then strip clubs?>)

Finally, they’ll do anal. They probably have it marked on their calendar and every day they cross each day out with a big X in red Sharpie ink. It’s an important day because after anal, that’s it, their trajectory goes downwards until they retire (or do something more shocking).

This porn star in particular, Monqiue Alexander, is stunning. I watched her go from novice to red hair to tattooed to implants to bigger implants and now, anal. It doesn’t make me sad that she’s doing anal, but it makes me sad why she thinks she has to do it.

(Or maybe she loves it, maybe she comes the hardest from it. I’ve met women like this; dated one, even. She said, “An orgasm from the clit is like, an 8 out of 10. That’s the highest it can be. An orgasm from anal can hit fucking 11.”)

But if it’s for the reason that all other porn stars do it – because they think their shine is dulling – man, that’s sad, and I’d love to just hold her for a week straight and watch whatever she wants to watch on Netflix.

And then anal.

Another one of my favourite porn stars, Devon (not Devon Michaels, just Devon, like Cher, in case you’re Googling), recently made a comeback to the porn world. I was watching her when I lived at my parents’ house, early 2000s, possibly late 90’s. She’s now classic porn, I suppose. She was gorgeous with her platinum blond hair and fat lips and big eyes and defined abs and hips and legs. I read an interview she did back then (in the now-defunct Front magazine), and I remember two things she said: she loves big penises, and she’ll never do anal. “Maybe one day, but I’m just not interested in it now.”

She disappeared about 7 years ago. But porn stars aren’t missed by fans, they’re merely replaced. When one blond buxom girl retires, 50 step up to help you forget about her. There are literally 50 new girls for every porn star archetype you can imagine (well, no one’s replaced Daisy Marie who’s currently pregnant according to her Instagram account).

So she came back and I was elated. She came back strong and with great frequency, and it was strange watching her do scenes with the current crop of male porn stars who are famous now, rather than the ones of yore that she used to perform with (a side effect to watching porn is you begin to recognize the guys. It will be embarrassing come that inevitable day when I’m in a Whole Foods in LA and recognize a male porn star and he recognizes me recognizing him and then we just nod to each other.)

She does anal in every scene, now. And I wonder if it’s because she finally became interested in it, or because it was a career move that went hand-in-hand (penis-in-ass) with her comeback.

I just wrote 750 words about porn, and this was just scratching the surface.

“How about I punch you in the face?”

I’m in Manila, Philippines. I was here 5 years ago and hated the fuck out of it. I hated the fuck out of this entire country. It could’ve been me, my mood, my impatience, which is why I’m here again, to give it a second shot.

I despised Vietnam when I was first there, in 2006. It was at the tail-end of a 2 month trip — my first to Southeast Asia — and by the time I landed in Ho Chi Minh city, I had travel fatigue. My brain was overstimulated by Thailand and Laos, and so every day was the same old new experiences, if that makes any sense.

I’ll try to make it make sense: every day there would be a barrage of new smells, new foods, new people to meet. Very exciting stuff — until you do it day after day after day after day. Then you realize that human beings were meant to have routines and habits. They allow us to turn our brains off. Otherwise, it’s just neverending stimuli which is mentally exhausting.

So I hated the fuck out of Vietnam, until years later when I went back and suddenly loved the fuck out of it. And now I have friends who live there — both expats and locals — and favourite restaurants and bottles of vodka left at clubs and phone numbers for motorcycle rentals.

Maybe it’ll be the same with the Philippines?

I first came here while I was dating The Ex-Girlfriend. We had a very rocky start to our relationship because she was cocky, arrogant. She was used to men clamoring for her. She was not used to me. Once, she was whining because she wasn’t getting her way. Something small, a choice of restaurant or a day on which to meet: “Do you know how many guys want to date me?”

“Oh shit, really? You should go date them instead. Give them a chance.”

Man, the look she gave me. This wide-eyed look of confusion and shock, accompanied by silence. She looked at me and then she looked at her shoes. That was the end of that conversation.

She was guarded and uncomfortable with intimacy, and I get that. That’s okay. But the other half was this arrogance where she thought she could do what she wanted, use up my weekends to sit with me at a restaurant and stifle all of my attempts to advance our relationship. No hand holding, no kissing — for weeks and weeks. A barrage of these small condescending remarks, likely to jockey for power. On several occasions I called everything off and told her she just didn’t like me enough for me to continue. She would become a normal human being, apologize, and things would be good for a few days — but then she’d fall back into her old habits.

(I don’t think I ever got over this, the origin of our relationship. I think it haunted me for the entire duration and even contributed to the end. I need a good start, you know? I need a smooth, fated, this-is-destiny beginning. I would tell her this sometimes, “You were just so awful to me…” with a sigh and she probably didn’t get the significance of it.)

So in the first few months, she would frustrate me by showing me how little our dating meant to her, and I would parry back in the same way, except for one difference: I knew how to turn off that little switch in my head. I could shut it all down and move on. (Well, only in the beginning; this proved difficult — impossible — as time went by, as we fell deeper into love).

One day she said something, I don’t know, “I can’t see you this weekend, I have a date.” I replied, “Okay, I’m gonna go to the Philippines for a month.” She was just bewildered. I don’t think she was used to encountering this sort of resistance. Resistance with free time and spare money and a big ass backpack.

(This is also why I won’t compete with people on any level. I hate competition. I hate it so fucking much I try to end it quickly by bringing a bazooka to a knife fight so I can go back to relaxing. I’m not alpha in this way at all.)

So I came to the Philippines, hated the cold food, the scammy cab drivers, the dirty streets, the general filth that was everywhere. I flew to the cleanest city I could think of, Singapore, and from there to Phuket, Ko Samui, Bangkok and then back to Toronto.

I emailed her and asked,  “When you pick me up at the airport, can you bring a sign with my name on it?” and she replied, “How about I punch you in the face?” She missed me and it was cute.

That’s what it took for her to finally open up and drop the act, me taking off to the fucking Philippines for a month.

She did this, she did that.

She was a nurse. This came in handy because I’m always injured. From the gym, because of drinking or just general misfortune. I also have a curiousity and willingness to take medication, OTC and prescription, so I would ask her first — even long after we broke up — just random questions: “Can I take three ephedrine all at once instead of throughout the day?” “If I crush and snort Ibuprofen, will my hangover go away faster?” I think once she answered with, “You know the answer is no. I’m not going to validate you.” She was also adamant that I do things like get all of my vaccinations and such. Flu vaccine every year, and whatnot. She would email me a list of public places where they were providing the service for free. I never went. I never voted, either, which also irritated her.

She was a real estate agent. I think she was good. Well, she was good at marketing herself and making friends. So being a real estate agent was perfect: you do the same work as any other salesperson, but you make a shitload more commission. Before we dated, I would get her yearly magnetic calendar with her face on it and put it on my fridge. Everyone has 300 real estate agent friends all clamoring for our business, and so she was mine when we were friends and when we were involved, maybe a five year period.

She was a make-up artist. That was her passion. But her day job was doing this and that, trying things here and there. Hedge funds, executive assistant. They were all these normal, banal jobs that people take just to have a job, but I found her day-to-day fascinating. Because she was hot and I was in love with her and got to look at her mouth move as she told me about her day.

She was a TV producer. I thought it was a fun, exciting job, but she was awake at 3am on some weekends, walking to work in the center of Toronto as the clubs were letting out. She would walk in the dark to work, and I was worried that drunken clubgoers would harass her. Her weekends were Monday and Tuesday, which would’ve matched my schedule a decade ago when I was art directing a celebrity gossip magazine, right around the corner from her office. She didn’t want to talk too much about her job.

She was a singer. Well, I forgot what she did to make money. An executive assistant for a Christian Science guy? Something like that. She wasn’t a Christian Scientist, but she was a die-hard Christian of the garden-variety. (Christian Scientists, among other things, are the ones that don’t believe in modern medicine, and would let people die rather than to get a simple blood transfusion). But she was a singer, and the entire reason this topic is on my head today is because as I was motorcycling from Tai Chung to Taipei, her song came on my iPhone. An R&B number. She started in a group in Hawai’i, then she went solo. Then she was supposed to record and release an album (hence the professional recording on my iPhone) but then we broke up and to get over her I had to pretend she was fucking dead. It worked.

She was a boxer. She was an Eastern European boxer. No, wait, she had her own … marketing company? I met her through work contacts, anyway. She was my friend’s client. He had built her website for her. Then I swooped in and kissed her. We had sex in her apartment where she wouldn’t let me go down on her. “Uh, you can’t do that on our first night together.” Didn’t make sense, but whatever. So she was a boxer and her back and thighs were firm and muscular. It was like making love to a sack of boulders. I loved it.

She was a dental hygienist. The first one I dated out of three dental hygienists. She moved to Toronto with her perfect teeth and perfect breasts — wait, this sounds awfully close to the other two dental hygienists, let’s set them apart: she was a druggie. She smoked the most pot I have ever witnessed anyone ever smoke. She dropped ecstasy to lie on her floor on a Wednesday night to stare at the ceiling. She did it all, and then one day her brain snapped and I spent a week visiting her at the mental hospital. She is who I will write a book about.

HoneyPig and Strawberry Blondes.

Taipei: I landed at 5pm, took a cab to my AirBNB pad. Skipped the bachelor party dinner and ate McDonald’s, solely because I hadn’t had a Quarter Pounder since last July in Penang when I was there to get my Education Visa at the Thai Embassy. Has it really been that long? Has it really been almost a year since I moved out of Toronto and had my last Quarter Pounder? They don’t have them in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, which is where I spent all of last year.

After dinner, I met up with everyone at LMNT. I was ecstatic that drinks were just less than $10US per person – after Singapore’s bullshit prices, Taipei was a steal! We drank long island ice teas because it was going to be that kind of night.

We moved to Elektro, a club on the 6th floor of a building in the trendy Xinyi District, where we had two tables. The rest of the bachelor party rolled in as did my blackout. I have holes in my memory of the night. At some point, three of us left the club and ran around looking for a McDonald’s. I swear there was one on the corner in that plaza. I ate there a handful of times in the past few years, every single time I’ve been to Taipei.

It wasn’t there so we went back upstairs. The line to get into the building was now enormous, snaking around the corner. Chinese friend said something and the bouncer said something back. “We have to line up again,” he said, as he took a step towards the end of the line.

“No no no no no!” my Korean friend said.

“No no no no no!” I said.

The two of us approached the bouncer and said, “We were just up there, look, here are our stamps, we have a table.” We showed him the entry stamps on our inner forearm.

“Okay, go.”

We got out of the elevator on our floor and there was another lineup, this time to get into the actual club. Chinese friend said something and the bouncer said something back. “We have to line up again,” he said, as took a step towards the end of the line.

“No no no no no!” my Korean friend said.

“No no no no no!” I said.

What’s with this fucking guy? Why’s he so fucking obedient?

We told the bouncer we had tables inside and the bouncer stepped aside. Shit!

I don’t remember when she came into the club, but suddenly there was a group of girls with us and I was talking really close with one of them. She had strawberry blond hair, and I’m sure that’s what caught my drunken eye. I’m sure we kissed, and I’m sure I did it in an abrupt way that was startling and uncomfortable to her.

But I’m sure that I kissed her to make a moment of the night. I used to do things like that out of boredom, something to do; but now I do it when I’m happy, when the night’s all good vibes and I want to make things gooder. So I kissed her, but then blacked it out anyway, and just have a feeling that that happened.

I left everyone – or everyone left me – and I walked out alone, trying to GPS my way back to my apartment. I knew I was close enough to walk. I saw two girls dressed very plain, t-shirts and light blue jeans or something, and asked them if they knew what GoogleMaps was trying to show me. They didn’t, but they said they were going for Korean BBQ. I asked if I could tag along and they said yes so we piled into a cab for Honey Pig, a super popular joint with 3 hour lineups that was empty then, at 4am.

We met up with their friends, another couple, and ate the shit out of that Korean goodness. The girl next to me – the cutest one, but not so cute – ordered a bottle of Jinro soju and intermittently filled up her shot glass and took them down. The rest of them drank Pepsi and I had water. I said thank you, goodbye, and left the table. I secretly paid the bill to show my appreciation and was shocked it was $150. Oh well, you pay for experiences.

Day 119

The girl I left back at home.

That day we went to Exhibition Place to watch Janeane Garofalo bomb. Across the street at another hall were throngs of teenagers wearing fluorescent accessories, waiting to go inside. We asked a group of girls who was performing and I think they responded with a DJ name. Someone we didn’t recognize, someone who spins at all ages parties that require fluorescent accessories to get in.

Anyway, we walked away and they yelled to her, nervously, “You’re so pretty!” Never experienced that before, these teenaged white girls being all shy while cat-calling a Vietnamese woman a decade older, maybe twice their age.

A few hours later we were finishing dinner at a Japanese restaurant a short distance away in Liberty Village. We were on the patio and I think we were more dressed up than usual. An Asian couple — two girls? — was leaving the restaurant and we were seated next to the door. She looked over at her and asked something: “Are you friends with…?” or “Where’d you get that bracelet?” or something. Anyhow, the conversation ended with smiles and courtesy laughs and Thank You’s and finally the girl said to mine, “You are so stunning. You are so beautiful.”

She doesn’t’ know how to take these compliments. It’s apparent that she doesn’t even believe them. I don’t know who she sees when she looks into the mirror, someone not physically perfect? She probably thinks of herself as adequate, good enough. She doesn’t have low self-esteem. But I think she’s threatened by people who are realistically harmless to her. She’s too goddamn nice to people she shouldn’t be nice to. She bends too easily to these shitty people, myself included.

Anyway. I asked her — however, without any conviction, so I don’t really know how authentic any of the following is — that she come out here, live with me, live like me.

“No, I need security and stability and …” …and other syllables.

I get it. Of course I get it. Mine’s a life of … well, it’s not normal. And that’s the point, because I don’t care to be normal. I don’t avoid normalcy, I just don’t aim for it. I mean, Matchbox 20 is in my top fucking 5. My favourite restaurants have red walls and “kiddie meals.”

So I get it, I understand the serenity of having a routine and a stable of friends and family. I get it and sometimes need it myself. I just like my routine to involve 35C weather and $6 massages. I want my routine to have low taxes and no stress. I want my routine to not involve the stupid, bored little shits of Toronto who run around trying to bring everyone down with them (another story).

So that’s it, then. We both want routine, security and stability, but we both find these in different things. That’s it, then.

I tried to explain, what sort of stability is in Toronto? Where people have one job, have a cheque coming from one employer? Put their money into mutual funds and don’t know where they fund is investing?

In contrast, I have several clients and if one goes down, the others will keep paying the bills. I put my money into individual stocks so I know exactly where every penny is and how it’s turning over on a daily basis. There is no danger of my investments losing 50% of their value, because I watch that shit like a hawk, multiple times a day.

Alright, this is boring.

 

Day 118

I met with an ex-girlfriend. During our time together, we never labeled it as anything: dating, seeing, etc. But I think of her an ex-girlfriend anyway – and unbeknownst to her – because that was the intensity of our relationship, regardless of how short-lived it was.

We traveled for two weeks throughout Southeast Asia, and at this age two weeks is a damn long time to see someone every day. At this age, life is too short and you don’t have the patience to stick around and try. You either like each other authentically or you don’t, and we did enough to keep extending our time together before I flew back to Toronto.

I like her, I really like her. She’s a damn cool chick. I’m not even talking romantically, or because at one point in history she let me repeatedly put my penis inside of her. Aside from all of that, if I just met her, I would like her all the same. Her little witticisms and the way she incorporates sound effects into her sentences (“We went zip zip zooming on a scooter,” and, “I pay my assistant to tippy tap on her computer…”). I think it’s because although English is her first language, she thinks in Chinese. She uses all of her senses when describing the mundane, so that typing becomes tippy tapping and becomes exciting.

She’ll be talking about something miniscule, like eating an apple, but then somehow wrap Asian mysticism and astrology and Feng Shui into it. She just has a magical way of talking, and maybe that’s why I tend to listen to her.

She’s very pretty. These big, smiling, bright eyes, sharp chin and perfectly symmetrical smile. Always something going on with her hair. Her face is very tidy. Her body is very tidy. Everything is just perfectly in its place in the perfect proportions, not too far or too close to each other. No extraneous this, no shortage of that, just a very organized female human.

This also reflects how she lives. Normally, I’m with some Americanized woman, loud and brash with a messy room who stores shoes in the trunk of her car. You wouldn’t know it by looking at them as they’re always well put-together and presentable when they leave their chaotic bathrooms with foundation smeared on the mirror and the toothpaste tube missing its lid.

But she’s neat and tidy and never has a hair out of place or food stuck in her teeth or a chipped fingernail or a stain on whatever fashionable t-shirt she would be wearing. Her condo is modern and trendy and shiny and gleaming. Everything has its place, even the inside of her fridge, the location of the coconut and bottled waters. Her spices, her cookery, her home office, her bathroom, all of it like a boutique hotel.

She’s not stuck-up about it, in fact she isn’t anal at all. It all comes effortlessly to her to be this good, this clean, and I have a very high appreciation for how she does it all without thinking or breaking a sweat. Obviously decades of habit.

As we traveled, she would make the hotel bed every morning.

“There are maids for that, why are you doing it?”

“Don’t know.” She wasn’t even listening, didn’t bother to ponder my question. Her brain was just saying, it’s morning, we’re awake – time to make the bed! And I get it, and I agree. There’s power in morning rituals, in starting your day off right. There’s a science to completing a few easy tasks the moment you wake up – no matter how small – in order to get that momentum flowing for the rest of the day. I do the same with meditation and the gym, every morning, without fail.

And now I make the bed every morning, whether at home or at a hotel.

But she’s Chinese, and although she has perfectly manicured nails and complicated ear jewelry, she prefers the organ meat of animals and craves for blood soup and bird brains. She fears no food, except for what I frequently eat, heavily deep-fried with a good dose of High Fructose Corn Syrup served in restaurants that have shit like mascots.

But you see how this makes her even more cool and interesting and hot? This clean and tidy and delicate Chinese woman who slurps up intestines and frogs in sweltering hawker centers with her tightly crossed legs peeking out from a white dress with red polka dots and a matching headband? Yeah, you see.

 

Day 117

(Continued)

Our second date was something normal, a movie. We made plans to meet at Scotiabank Theatre at Richmond and John St., in the magazine section of the Chapters bookstore on the ground floor.

Our first date ended with such passionate making out that I knew this date would end up at her place, a walk away from the theater. I was so absolutely sure about this that I didn’t even question whether or not I was an insufferable douchebag for even thinking that this would happen.

Though what may have been insufferable was that on the way to meeting her I went to H&M before to buy pajama pants. I meant to replace mine anyway, these gray David Beckham Body Collection pants that were comfortable to sleep in yet looked like regular gray dress pants so I could wear them out paired with dress shirts. The timing just happened to be right as I would need pajama pants that night after all of the sex we would be having. I also bought floss for the same reason.

I put on my good underwear and shaved everything. Everywhere.

It might’ve been early November. It felt like it was nearing Christmas and the store was already decorated in a festive manner. But it couldn’t have been later than the third week of November since that’s when I would fly off to Southeast Asia until the next year.

We had to text message each other to triangulate our positions in the bookstore. Not that the bookstore was enormous, but I think we just barely remembered what the other looked like and didn’t want to be the one to approach strangers and get it wrong. I don’t know, it wasn’t a big deal, we saw each other and hugged and she was smiling that big smile where you know she has butterflies in her stomach.

We chose something randomly, based on the schedule. A terrible Schwarzenegger/Stallone movie about escaping from prison. We both liked spectacle and wanted to like it, but Jesus Christ, it was awful. This was the first movie Arnold chose to do after leaving Government?

Afterwards, we walked around, holding hands, nipping at each other. We made a plan to drink wine at her place so went to a Shopper’s Drug Mart on Queen Street for snacks. I bought a 4-pack of Pizza Pops, those round microwavable soft buns filled with oozing cheese, tomato sauce and pepperoni bits. They’re almost the perfect snack, the way they fit snugly into the palm of your hand and take exactly 4 bites to finish.

She lived in a run-down apartment complex behind an Art School. No air conditioner, and she had an antennae sticking out out of her window, facing the CN Tower, with the cord of the antennae just hanging from the windowsill to her TV on the other side of the room. Just a very messy setup, nothing was thought out. I might’ve been turned off by all of this, the thoughtlessness of her living situation, but I was more impressed that she was living on her own. No, not “impressed” but grateful that she had at least made that step in a city where people don’t move from their parents’ homes until they’re well into their 30’s.

We ate pizza pops, had a little wine, and then disposed of all that preamble and began to kiss on her couch. We moved to the bedroom and stripped each other of our clothes. I like this part, it’s like the big reveal at the end of a home makeover show. She had an unbelievable body. This small Indian girl who wore loose clothing was hiding these large breasts and an impossible small-waist-big-hips ratio. A few lines of definition on her stomach. I like these girls, the ones that don’t show off, or – better yet – the ones that have no idea what they have.

The best way to get an incredible blow job is to say, “I’ve never come from a blow job before.” The girl will crack her knuckles, spit into her palms, put her game face on and dive in, loudly, sloppily, with great conviction. Every girl always wants to be the first and always thinks it’ll be a cinch. After three decades of orgasm-less blowjobs, she really did think she would be the one to flip my world all upside-down. She gave it a good shot.

She was loud at sex. She shut her eyes and melted into her own reality where we weren’t fucking in a rundown apartment with thin walls and curious immigrant neighbours.

Afterwards I brushed and flossed, then put on my new H&M pajama pants. We slept with the window open so our bodies were hot where they were touching, but cold where they were expose to the air.

The next morning I walked to work holding an H&M bag containing slightly-used pajama pants and floss. It was getting cold.

Day 116

My first date with the Match.com girl was spectacular, but not because of me and not because of her. Because of The Iron Sheik, the 1983 World Wrestling Federation champion. For some reason, he was in town to be roasted at a local joint on College Street, and for some reason I had two tickets and no one to take.

(I often bought a pair of tickets to random events that I wanted to attend and would find someone to go last minute. I don’t know if it’s in my head or if it’s reality, but I seem to remember that in Toronto, no one was ever up for anything. That’s one of the reasons I preferred to have a girlfriend, I’d have someone to bring to these fucking things on a whim, and also someone to go to buffet restaurants with, buffet restaurants being the only type of restaurant I wouldn’t dare dine at alone.)

Anyway, I asked her through email, “This is weird and random and wonderful, but you wanna go see The Roast Of Iron Sheik with me?” Of course she did, because she is a normal human being with a healthy level of curiosity. But what was weird was that she had a story about The Iron Sheik, about meeting him while she was in journalism school a few years prior and making him hold up a piece of paper that said, Hi Marc!!!! in a photo for her friend that was a hardcore wrestling fan.

That was weird, and awesome, and I saw all sorts of stars and felt all sorts of feelings. I whipped out something as random as Iron Sheik tickets, and she whipped out a story about him. Jesus.

I think it was October or November. It was getting cold, anyway. The chilly wind turned even the wide avenues into wind tunnels. The event was taking place on a Thursday night at The Royal, an old revue theater in Little Italy on College Street.

We met at a bar next to The Royal, some joint with a tiki bar theme. It’s tacky, but that’s what I liked about it. I sat at a dark table — bench side, like a mobster who always has to face the door — and was already at the bottom of a caipirinha when she showed up. I think the attraction was immediate — because it still holds now — and I think the conversation flowed easily. It always does, I’m good at asking questions of strangers, because I’m authentically interested in their answers.

God, I love first dates. I love seeing them a little nervous, and I love making these small, awkward moments to make them sweat a bit more. I don’t know why. I’ll do things like ask, “Can I hold your hand?” I don’t just make the move, I make them tell me. I think women assume I’m this smooth-talking advanced-dater, comfortable and experienced around women (well…) so I like to act the opposite, let some clunky words drop out of my mouth and thud onto the table rather than some boring poetry like, “You smell divine; what is that, mango?”

The Roast was weird. A has-been being insulted by a whole bunch of never-were’s. It was all just so insulting and disrespectful and sad. The reason why Comedy Central’s Roasts work so well is because there really is camaraderie between all involved. They’re comedians showing off for the other comedians, trying to top each other. The problem with this amateur roast that took place in a shitty venue on a cold night in Toronto was that these roasters were trying to be shocking to us, the audience. They just reeked of pandering. They wanted it too much. And the 72-year old Iron Sheik just sat there — senile? asleep? — unsure of what was going on, and once in awhile he would stand up and spout these verbose wrestling idioms: “I will crush you capitalist pigs! I am The Iron Sheik! I am strong and you are weak!”

We had no idea what he was promoting, but we were sure there was something.

She sat on my right. I leaned my head back and towards her’s, motioned her to come closer, then whispered something. You have to have a setup. Then once more I leaned my head back and towards her’s, motioned her to come closer, but instead of a whisper, I kissed her on the cheek. Her eyes widened and her cheeks flushed.

“That was cute, huh? Wasn’t that cute?”

“Yeah, okay fine, that was cute. Nice move.”

God, I love first dates.

After the roast we went next door to No One Writes To The Colonel, (“Can we hold hands on the walk there?”) a bar closer towards Bathurst Street. After a night of beer at the theater, I switched to my usual double gin on the rocks. She exclaimed, “Whoa, usually Koreans can’t drink.” It didn’t turn me off, but that was probably the most incorrect statement I’d ever heard spoken in my adult life.

Before the alcohol retarded my motor skills, I offered to drive her home in my rent-by-the-hour SmartCar. We zig-zagged to her apartment on a small street behind an Art College right behind Chinatown. We kissed in that tiny car while the wind shook the shit out of it, rattling the windows and whistling out from the cracks.