Excellent Timing and the Spectacle That Is My Person

Do you know that sometimes my timing is spectacular?  And I say that with all of grace, humility and a firm understanding of some import of time (owing to being a lawyer and living my life in itty bitty units of 6 minutes).  But anyway, back to my timing being so spectacular.

Have you seen this fantastic flow chart created by Shea Strauss and published in Playboy Magazine on August 24, 2014?

should-you-catcall-her

I saw this several days after its publication and I immediately started following Shea on Twitter.  I’m looking forward to favouriting and retweeting everything she has to say.  Almost like a stalker but more like a really, really, really avid fan.

Interestingly, after seeing and loving this, I got a serious catcall when I was walking home from work.  I don’t usually get catcalled so this is why I say to you: that timing of mine – just so good.  As I got whistled at, then yelled at, then whistled at, and then beeped at by an oldish bald dude in some sort of suped up Mustang with the bass turned up hella on his favourite, reminds-him-of-his-youth ballad by the Hip, “Bobcaygeon” while waiting for the light to change, I had to ask myself what is this person getting out of this?

Here is what he was not getting:

A smile, wave, my number, high five, legal advice, dating advice, hair advice, car advice, jovial laughter, confirmation of musical taste, validation that he is actually not that old, validation that his Mustang is actually cool, or even a little head shake and smirk as if to say, aww, that was nice.

So, what then?  What did he get?

I imagine he feels like one of those teenagers who draw little moustaches on billboards that have pictures of smiling people on them.

...Right?

Like these.

Like these.

Pretty funny.

Pretty funny.

…Right?

And so, the catcaller in the car is just sitting there, busting a gut, like a wannabe hoodrat pre-teen who thinks this is the best graffiti moustache in the most comedically placed part of town that anyone has ever seen.  Oh, how they’ll laugh.  Big, great, laughing laughs.

And I assume he did as he drove in that Mustang of his down Kings Bridge Road at 6pm on a Wednesday.  I assume he wasn’t drunk and that the catcall was just a fleeting, quickly forgotten moment of fun.  I mean, I was dressed very provocatively in my black and white high collared, knee-length, H&M flared sheath dress with my Vero Moda knitwear on top of that.  Actually, it was probably my gladiators.  Maybe my myriad of bags.  Whatever it was – I was definitely just asking for those whistles and yelling and beeping – all in good fun, of course.  Maybe he meant it as a compliment.  Maybe this man in the Mustang, who is still mourning either his youth or his hair loss by listening to heart wrenching lost-love jams from the late 90s, was just trying to say hello.

And I then realized, as I stopped smiling and pondered this whole scenario and walked a bit faster even though it was 6 in the day, that it was real and true objectification.  Like I said, I don’t spend a lot of time being catcalled.  St. John’s isn’t the walkathon city of New York or Toronto or even Montreal or Vancouver.  We spend more time in cars.  Maybe it’s the elements, too, as when it’s cold here our many layers of bundling render our gender senseless.  What’s more, you’re usually you’re with other people and it somehow is easier to stomach.  But alone, you realize the person views you as not really a person but instead just a spectacle – because those are the things one would do if they passed a spectacle in the street.  If you happened to see a busker and you liked what you saw, you would whistle and yell and beep.  Because the performer has invited you to objectify their art – their art has become a commodity to whistle at and to cheer at and to applaud.  This is part of the currency in which you may pay the busker.  You encourage them to continue doing what they’re doing, this thing for which they desire approval, their art, their spectacle.  So, too, my catcaller seems to endeavour to encourage me for tomorrow.  To approve of today’s wear and encourage that tomorrow I will once again don my spectacular costume and strut into the world, performing the show that is my being female and, apparently, sufficiently attractive to warrant his applause.

God.  I didn’t realize that flow chart would actually mean so much that day.  And that’s why I say to you: my timing – really and truly spectacular.

The Imagined Relationship: An Addition to the 7 Facts That’ll Make You Delete Your Facebook

I recently had my first trip to Europe.  In particular, I went to Ireland (not the place of my origins, despite contrary belief) with some girlfriends from home.  It was a bit of a joke – but also a bit serious – that we wondered how much Facebook activity we could get while we were away.  We immediately experienced satisfactory self-validation when we received a respectable number of likes on our “WE’RE GOING ON A TRIP NOW” picture taken mere seconds after making it through security without so much as a run in my stockings.

61 likes is all it takes to secure my self-worth

62 likes is all it takes to secure my self-worth

Interestingly, this Ireland-inspired Facebook rampage of ours (not that I’m not usually on a social media rampage) very nearly perfectly coincided with“7 Facts That’ll Make You Delete Your Facebook”,, which I believe was originally shared by my favourite news outlet, The Globe and Mail.  If you have yet to watch the short (less than 2 minutes!) video, I invite you to do so now by clicking on the hyperlink.

In summary, this brief compilation video points to various signs about why Facebook has had high-end negative impacts on us and has curtailed our emotional health in various ways, from not being able to get over your ex upon seeing them hand in hand with someone else to feeling an increased sense of loneliness and lack of self-esteem when scrolling through your newsfeed and seeing everyone else’s purported happiness/success/general life victories.

This compilation by BuzzFeed is in good company.  Just a few weeks ago, Forbes republished an article from the Daily Muse commenting on the Facebook experiment conducted in 2012 when approximately 650,000 users had their news feeds manipulated to predominately negative or positive articles and advertisements to see how users would react in their own Facebook activity.  The author brings together the conclusions of the study with how business savvy casanovas can use Facebook to increase their own success.  If you can’t beat ’em…

I have opined before, both in blog form and just with friends, about the weird and strange things about Facebook – that I thought Facebook made me feel lonely even if I had spent the entire day with other people and that the passive decision to check Facebook was unnerving.  All of these musings and more are contained in “7 Facts That’ll Make You Delete Your Facebook”, however, I also think one major Fact that could make you want to delete your Facebook was missing: The Imagined Relationship.

The Imagined Relationship does not necessarily connote a fabricated love affair like the kind Morello has on Orange is the New Black.

Crazy in love - and not in the Beyonce-and-Jay-Z way.

Crazy in love – and not in the Beyonce-and-Jay-Z way.

 No, the Imagined Relationship can be any form of emotional connection – romantic, platonic, career based, anything.  The Imagined Relationship is premised upon a real meeting but, through the ebbs and flows of life, is probably not a recurring affair.  Hey, these things happen!  It’s not that you’re not special.  It’s not that there isn’t a connection.  But it is that you’re not actually hanging out in real life.

The characters in the Imagined Relationship come to be pretty dependent on each other, or, sometimes, one is dependent on the other and the other is not quite as invested in the Imagined Relationship as may be assumed or hoped.  The environment is clearly very comfortable.  After all, you have the protective cover of at least two screens, possibly miles, possibly forests and oceans and time zones.  You have the buffer period to concoct perfect responses – are you aiming for witty?  For demure?  For confident, smart, funny? – whatever it is, you can accomplish it by taking an extra moment to think.  The relationship is free from the awkward way you might sneeze or sit or laugh or any little thing that makes people a little uncomfortable when meeting people.  The relationship exists without the fear of other, more beautiful girls walking into the room because you’re not in the same room.  It’s an easy environment.  You can chat freely in that judgment-free zone.  And now, with the advent of the overly smart smart phone, you can do it anywhere!

By “anywhere” I am referring to at a party or a bar.  These locations are, of course, just as suitable for conversation as any other, but one would hope after getting all dressed up to go to a party you’d want to speak to the people at the party, not to the person who never seems to be able to make it to the same physical setting as you.

Ah yes, cell phone time: everyone's favourite part of the annual camping trip.

Ah yes, cell phone time: everyone’s favourite part of the annual camping trip.

This dedication to the other player in the Imagined Relationship isn’t necessarily a bad thing as we all need to both give and receive support and friendship.  When the relationship follows you into the real world though, where there are actual people to meet  with whom you could potentially be in an actual face-to-face conversation, the Imagined Relationship – as safe and warm as it just may be – becomes just one more reason why you might just want to delete your Facebook right now.  All those things you can see when you’re interacting with someone in real life are just unavailable in the Imagined Relationship.

I have to wonder whether the Imagined Relationship – along with some of the other negative side effects of Facebook – has resulted in people forgetting some of the inherent social graces we’ve been learning and improving since setting foot into a kindergarten classroom.  Falling for a person for their quirky mannerisms or loving the sound of a giant (maybe overly giant) laugh – these things just cannot have a place in a relationship lived through perfectly crafted, comedically balanced, thoughtfully sweet typed sentiments and selfies.  As Passenger says, life is for the living or you’re better off dead.  All those people milling about at a party – that’s what The Living looks like.  It might be harder than the security blanket of a iPhone screen, but I’ve heard tell it’s worth it.

****As a side note, please don’t actually delete your Facebook.  How will I get you to read my blog if you’re not there? 

In My Absence: A Series of Things That Have Happened

You know what I find about summer?  There are too many activities.  As per my last post, some of them are dangerous.  Some of them are way too much fun.  Some of them are mandatory.  No matter what, though, summer is just a time of b’ys-on-the-go.  So far, these are the things that have happened:

1.  I went to Twillingate, NL.  So, granted, I am from this little sea side haven, but just have a peek at these photos and I’m sure you must be able to admit that really and truly, this is a beautiful place!

Twillingate through the lens of the Iceberg Man

Twillingate through the lens of the Iceberg Man

In addition to the outstanding weather that has shocked the conscience of good Newfoundland people across the island, the Icebergs have just been something out of a Tourism NL ad (but without the puffery).  The Iceberg Man has been hooking people up with amazing tours all summer long.  I went on two tours while I was out around the Bay and, after seeing whales breach in the distance and tail lop right beside us, I heard one German couple say “this is better than the world cup”.  Query whether a better compliment is available in 2014.

In addition to the Iceberg Man and all of the gifts of Mother Nature, it was time for the friendship reunion tour!  We did some illegal things:

We took illegal photos in the bar in Twillingate

We took illegal photos in the bar in Twillingate

And some legal yet potentially more awesome things:

We laid in hammocks and drank beer in the middle of the day

We laid in hammocks and drank beer in the middle of the day

2. In anticipation of a wedding that approaches Hollywood prepped, cinema-style proportions, I had to find some outfits:

Oh lord, the stress. (Forever 21 + pink Old Navy flip flops on the left, Double Zero + black Franco Sarto pumps on the right)

Oh lord, the stress.
(Forever 21 + pink Old Navy flip flops on the left, Double Zero + black Franco Sarto pumps on the right)

It was exhausting work, but someone had to do it.

The stress was worth it when we did happy hour at the Quidi Vidi Brewery down in the Gut.  Not a terrible view!

ouch, so pretty it hurts my eyes!

ouch, so pretty it hurts my eyes!

3. I drank wine and BBQ’d with my favourite gal and her favourite guy…what can I say, sometimes, These Things Happen.  (Ah, who would I be without dropping my favourite rapper, G-Eazy.)

Discount digs: Casillero del Diable wine with Dynamite stripes and Pseudio navy mini flare skirt.

Vanity at value: Casillero del Diable wine with Dynamite stripes and Pseudio navy mini flare skirt.

Now, having too much wine and fun to write a blog of any import has not been the only thing I’ve been up to.  Here are some of the thoughts and beginnings I’ve been working on:

1. While I was in Twillingate, there were a few acts of serious vandalism.  Interestingly, RCMP officers stationed in Twillingate didn’t respond to the call of one small business owner for fourteen hours.  When they finally arrived, the consensus was “don’t even bother keeping the beer bottle [which had been thrown into and destroyed part of a front display window] because it was raining last night, so there won’t be any finger prints”.  In a confusing recount of reality, it hadn’t been raining that night so one wonders why the claim of ‘there’s simply nothing we can do’ was made.  One finds themselves thinking, did you just not want to deal with it?  Selective implementation of justice is an uncomfortable thought in my books (or blog, as the case may be).

2. On a somewhat related, albeit also quite different note, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the evidence deduced from a “Mr. Big” sting operation was not reliable and Newfoundland’s own Nelson Hart’s conviction for the murder of his two twin daughters was overturned.  My Facebook exploded with comments made by outraged people and highly offended parents boiling by what it says about our society and our purported justice system.  Then, on the other side of the coin, those people who see the value in evidence being deduced and produced via reliable methods as important tenets of same purported justice system.  Further, as evidenced by the facts – that Hart was a chronically uneducated man who had little if any ‘career’ successes and absolutely no money – the Mr. Big operation does strike a chord of deep discomfort for some.  He was flown around the country where promises of grandiose friendship and extreme riches awaited him.  Like Lindsay Lohan getting to sit at the Mean Girls’ table for the first time, Hart would say just about anything to stay included.  If we can’t trust anything Lindsay said in that flick, how are we so willing to rely on Hart’s seemingly forced confession?

Lindsay Lo, still not cool, still saying whatever she needed to say to be included.

Lindsay Lo, still not cool, still saying whatever she needed to say to be included.

3. As I am a creature of “not-gettin’-over-it-sorry” styled behaviour, I still haven’t gotten past Margaret Wente’s radical discussion-cross-put-down of “The myth of crushing student debt”.  Inspired by the turn of phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” (further inspired by the incessant Idiom Game played by one too many of my (edging on former) friends), I can’t get past the combination of our actual, not mythical, student debt and the fear of not achieving greatness, not paying off the debt and being yuppies who “just couldn’t do it”.  This combination has seemingly resulted in a strange inability to move and a worry of not hitting anything out of the park.

So, despite my obvious procrastination, as SOON AS I AM BACK FROM IRELAND I am gonna sit down and bang out these posts.  In the meantime, I better go and pack as, in the word’s of my mother “you will obviously forget something if you don’t do it three days in advance”.  She’s a smart bird.  Off I go.

Many list on cute duckling post-its with breakfast fruit.  Om nom!

Many list on cute duckling post-its with breakfast fruit. Om nom!