“your ability to project charismatic body language” by Julia at A’s island

Saturday July 27, 2019
10:28pm
5 minutes
The Charisma Myth
Olivia Fox Cabane

You leave the house with your blonde hair rippling like ribbons of butter bounce bouncing along

I see your excitement in the red of your cheeks, nervous but ready and oh how you look the part

Wearing my shirt, girl it looks good on you, rocking those pants with the rips in the knees I am so damn pleased

I say cross this leg in front of the other, look down, okay, uncross, looking charming without looking

I’m staying up late so I can hear all about your date and what he whispered in your ear over dinner

Did you split the snacks like you said you would, did you order the Humming Bird with the Montenegro

Did I tell you you’re the best yet or did I spend all my time telling you that you’re enough and you’re alive

On the drive home I see those exclamation points and someone else asked how you were when you left

How you were feeling and I like that I’m the one who got to send back the report: perfetto, bellissima!!

“You would hide your bitten nails under the table” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 12, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
The Intellectual
Benny Anderson

You would hide your bitten nails under the table. That’s what you’d do. You should’ve sprung for a manicure. Can’t remember the last time you did that. One of those places called “Chic Nails” or something, with TVs on the wall and so many tiny bottles to choose from. Flushing forty bucks into the toilet, but whatever. Lots of guys like that. Groomed nails. Whatever. You look at your hands and you see your childhood, your bad haircut and your ill-fitting jeans, cuffs rolled up. You have child hands. Drove your mother crazy, how you bit your nails. She tried everything. Told you she’d give you a dollar for every week you went without biting. “It’s nasty, Viv,” she’d say. You’re nasty, Viv. Why’d you say yes to this date anyway? He probably likes fishing. He probably has a hairy neck. He probably has pepperoni nipples.

“also fun” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday June 6, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

She comes over to sit with me as I attempt to airplane a chicken noodle into her baby’s scowl. She brings cheerios and cottage cheese and sets them next to the breaded chicken, the cup of green peas, the watermelon, and the cheese quesadilla. We alternate forced forkfuls from the grand buffet he cannot appreciate. She looks thankful to be talking to an adult that isn’t her husband, sick from back pain. She tells me they haven’t gone on a date since he was born eighteen months and two weeks ago. She says sometimes they just have a glass of wine in bed after he stops crying.

“I waited twenty minutes, then thirty.” By Sasha at JJ Bean


Monday May 15, 2017
3:25pm at JJ Bean on Cambie
5 minutes
Ghostly Woman on The Rumpus
Zoe Bossiere


I do three shots of tequila before I walk the
seven blocks to the bar where I order a glass of
white wine and wait

and wait


and wait.

Eventually he arrives smelling of rum and sex
and man and rain and sweat

and man.

You’re late
I say
I got caught up
He says
I was about to leave
I say
He looks at me like no woman has ever
called his bluff no woman has ever met
him with a scowl
I’m here now
He says
You’re late
I say.

“Hey hey hey” by Julia on the bus


Tuesday November 15, 2016
8:48pm
5 minutes
A Rufus Wainwright song


I forget if I’ve already told you…that I can’t do this? I have mentioned that to you, right? Well at any rate, I can’t, and I won’t, and if we have to have this discussion again we most certainly will not ever be doing it. Not ever because that will be breaching all of the serious codes and I do not go back on the promises I make to myself. I mean, hey, yeah, I used to. Up till even last week I was still showing up all lie-faced and comfortable. But since I’ve made the positive changes in the direction of my one bright and shiny future, I have been signing a lot more verbal contracts with others and myself and I’m actively avoiding saying yes to things that do not bring me joy or help or heal or offer positive light. So this thing we’re doing, this date, or this donut, is not for me. This is not for me.

“the jeans have not been washed yet” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 20, 2016 at Starbucks
7:16am
5 minutes
Grasshopper Jungle
Andrew Smith


I invited Elliot back to my apartment after drinks because he tied a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue and I wanted to see if he was a one trick pony or if his tongue could tie other things into knots…
When we got back to my place I told him to make himself comfortable while I poured us some scotch. But then I remembered he was wearing dark denim, and I had to rush out to see if he had plopped his Abercrombie & Fitch ass down on my new white couch. He had. I tried to act cool, but I could practically see his jeans forming a navy puddle underneath him. Was he sweating or something? Didn’t he know you have to wash new jeans before you wear them? Didn’t he think, oh I might ruin this sweet Norwegian couch?

“the conscious mind” by Julia on her couch


Friday March 11, 2016
4:19pm
5 minutes
A quote by Janet Burroway

Barshum tells me to meet him at the art supply store near Granville and I have to fight my urge to ask him if it’s a date. I don’t really want to know. I’m trying this new thing that probably isn’t actually new to the world but is to me that I learned when I was living in Naples for a semester abroad. The people there all hang out and enjoy each other’s company and nobody is actively trying to bang anyone. When I asked once if Martina was going to the movie looking for love, she laughed, shook her head, and then laughed again. In her broken English she said, (and I’ve interpreted) we don’t go out for more than just fun. If something else happens, okay, great, that’s a bonus. But if nothing happens, then no one is disappointed because no one was wearing a mask over their ulterior motives.

so…I’m trying not to have a second end in mind. Maybe no end at all would be better.

“World’s Greatest Dad” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Tuesday February 16, 2016
3:05pm
5 minutes
From a picture of Joe’s t-shirt

P. is on a date at a Painting Cafe. You know, those places where kids get all messy during the day and then adults get flirty at night? One of those places. She’s never been to one of them before. Her date suggested it. She wasn’t sure at first, and then thought, “Why not?”

P: I’ve never painted before…
A: Oh, me neither.
P: Not even as a kid?
A: As a kid?
P: Yeah.
A: I guess I did as a kid.
P: Not me!
A: No?
P: My mother is a total neat freak. She wouldn’t let me paint at home or at school. Too messy.
A: Wow.
P: I had to stay inside at recess if it was muddy, snowy or raining. I had a special doctor’s note.
A: Woah.
Silence.
P: Anyway, don’t judge me if my thing looks like a six-year-old did it –
A: I won’t. This is just supposed to be fun…
P. starts painting. Silence.
A: Nice use of purple.
P: I love purple.
A: Purple Polly.
P. laughs but is very engrossed in her painting.
A: So, did you grow up here?
P: …
A: Polly?
P. cocks her head towards A.
P: What?
A: I just –
P: I’m trying to focus.
A: Oh –
P: Sorry, I just –
A: No. No…

“The people Fred wanted me to meet” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, December 20, 2015
7:12pm
5 minutes
from the back of matches

He was excited to have me over, I could tell cause he was wearing a pressed shirt and up until then I had only ever seen him in a hoodie. I was impressed too, his fingernails were clean, his apartment smelled of cinnamon, and there were place settings on the table. Fred told me there was a surprise and I started to get nervous, but he told me there was nothing to be worried about. Then the doorbell rang. I was like, what? What is happening? Fred sprung to the door and I was instantly upset that his efforts weren’t for me alone. Who could I possibly be meeting?
Fred came back from the door with a dark haired woman and her perfect little arm linked through his.
Amy, this is Katya.
It’s so very nice to meet you, Amy. Fred has spoken about you at length.
I laughed quietly shifting my eyes from her succulent mouth to her dainty wrist hanging in Fred’s elbow bend.
How do you two know each other?
Oh, Katya’s my ex-girlfriend!

“to achieve perfect personal silence” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday December 3, 2015
10:42pm
5 minutes
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou


The doorbell rings.

Shit shit shit shit shit.


“One second!”

It won’t be, but that’s what you’re supposed to say, right?

I’m not dressed. I’m not even close to dressed. I don’t even have underwear on. I’m naked.

I run to the kitchen and reach for the bottle of tequila on top of the fridge.

It burns! It burns!


“Emily?!”

“JUST A SECOND, I SAID!”

I run into the bedroom and grab jeans, bra, a T-shirt.

“are you from here?” By Julia at R&D Restaurant


Saturday, June 6, 2015 at R&D
5:25pm
5 minutes
Overheard at R&D

I didn’t know what to say, she was this beautiful blonde with tits as big as my head. Dressed in a sweet long dress that I imagined was covering her perfect panty-less ass. I believe this woman doesn’t wear underwear. Just let me have that, okay?
She asked me if I was from here and I think I died. Classic line. She was engaging with me and I wanted to play. But, call me crazy, maybe it was the boyfriend sitting right beside her, but I didn’t feel right saying anything at all. As if she was testing him and he was testing me. But her perfect blonde tits and her perfect free and liberated ass….they haunt me still. As if I was almost on my way to actually getting to know them.

“are you from here?” By Sasha in her bathroom


Saturday, June 6, 2015
10:51pm
5 minutes
Overheard at R&D

You thought I was someone I wasn’t, that’s for sure. How could you have thought that I was just me and that that was enough? I was wearing a red short, tight in the right place, loose in the others, aka “just right”. I’d ordered vodka sodas from you all night, smiling, eye contact, touching your fingers a little bit longer, aka “just right”. Before I left you called me over to the bar and said, “I want to see you again…” It was gentle, slow, it was corn roasted on the barbecue, perfectly blackened. I wrote my number on the inside of your wrist, where lots of women have etched in black forever ink “DESTINY” or “breathe”. You liked the placement, you had an accent but I wasn’t sure from where.

We met at a bar a few blocks from my apartment. I noticed blue nail-polish on your pinky. “What’s that?” I asked, a sip of cider fresh on my lips like a coy “Hello”. “My daughter,” you said, and I leaned back, swallowing.

“new hipster beer” by Sasha at Higher Grounds


Monday May 25, 2015 at Higher Grounds
4:03pm
5 minutes
A beer tasting

L. orders me a drink, a new hipster beer, a tallboy can, and I don’t have the heart to tell him I don’t like beer. I drink it fast, for that reason, to taste it less. “Let’s get nachos,” I say, figuring if I already drank beer, cheese won’t hurt. “Cool…” It’s his favourite word. “Cool.”

I regret sleeping with him the second he’s on top of me. “Uh, I need to go to the bathroom.” He rolls off. “Cool.” I put on a hockey jersey that’s over the back of his desk chair, hoping to endear him. I don’t know why. Why do I want to endear him? I can’t help it.

The tiles are cool under my feet. I look for something to wash myself with and find shaving cream and toothpaste. Shaving cream it is.

I don’t go back to his room. I leave my clothes – my new bra, my ripped black undies, by cutoffs and my maroon tank top – I leave it all. Who cares. Thank god my purse is with my shoes. Thank god. In a hockey jersey and flip-flops, I hail a taxi.

“Traditionally served with rice” by Sasha in the bath


Tuesday March 31, 2015
10:13pm
5 minutes
Bulk Basics

He looks at the menu and isn’t sure what to make of anything – the symbols are jumbled, there are red peppers dancing in the corners, the numbers are the words is the address are the burrito toppings!
“Please excuse me, I’m just going to go to the bathroom.” He stands before she can say, “Of course,” and he’s through the door with a moustache and a sombrero before she can have another sip of her margarita. He gazes into his own eyes, something he doesn’t recommend usually, but this evening is different. He rubs at his forehead – trying to scratch off the five letters scrawled across it. He sees a flash of Polly, hair short, eyes glinting. “You need to get lost right now, honey! I’m on a date!” W-I-D-O-W. He washes his face. He goes into the stall and sits on the closed toilet. The tears come faster than he’s ever felt and before he can blow his nose, the sombrero door is open. “Oliver? Are you alright?” He sits straight up. “This is the, uh, men’s room! I think you chose the wrong door!” “It’s me, it’s Jillian…” He stands, takes a deep breath and opens the door.

“Truth is what works” by Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library


Tuesday February 17, 2015 at the Bloor/Gladstone Public Library
3:35pm
5 minutes
Man Seeks God
Eric Weiner


I’ve always thought so. I’ve ALWAYS said that haven’t I, Aims? I live for that shit. When someone just tells you like it is. How is it, one might ask? LIKE THIS. BAM. Like a roundhouse kick to the face! I have always appreciated roundhouse kick honesty. I value that shit over my entire LIFE, dude. So when I was sitting there at that stuffy, pretentious, God-forsaken shit hole of a restaurant on Bay, I was internally like, WHERE ARE ALL THE FUCKING STEAK KNIVES BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO STAB THE ENTIRE WORLD. Externally I was sitting there quietly wishing I could just be honest. Then he goes, You know what? This place is not exactly what I was expecting. Kind of not my style. And I BREATHE again for the mother-fucking first time, Amy! I was like, I mean, externally I was like, YES. I KNOW, BRO! I’m so glad you said something cause I was thinking that I need to either set this place or myself on fire and I’m totally not prepared to ruin this outfit. And he laughed, dude. It was so fucking refreshing.

“I can’t leave people unattended inside with the doors closed” by Sasha in the bath


Saturday February 14, 2015
10:36pm
5 minutes
An explanation from the 506 TTC driver

Toby walks in the door and no one looks but he thinks they do. That kind of everyday simple delusion. That kind of heartbeat. He sits near the front of the place, where he can keep an eye on comings and goings. He looks sideways, out the corner of his right eye, where the colours start to fade from real to imaginary. He sees Charles before he’s come in. He’s pulling his scarf tighter around his neck. He’s putting his hands in his pockets.

“Hi Charles.”
“Hi Toby.”
“I like your scarf. That’s a nice shade of red.”
“Thank you.”
“Would you like a beer?”
“I’m not drinking this month. I’ll have a cranberry juice, though?”
“I’ll get it for you – ”
“I don’t mind – ”
“Please, I’d love to. It would be my pleasure.”
“Okay…”

Charles’ sister had set them up. “He’s intelligent! He’s quirky! He’s got square glasses!” She’d sold Toby well, like a lollypop from a remote island or a new kind of fighting fish in the pet store. Charles was reluctant, only because he’d had his heart broken seven years ago.

“bless his heart” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday January 4, 2015
9:45pm
5 minutes
http://www.mynewroots.com

He wore his bow tie, bless his heart. And it even looks like he shined his shoes! I didn’t even know people do that anymore! I didn’t know that was a thing. He probably wants to have sex with me, what with the ironed shirt and all. Cufflinks – holy eff! He’s wearing little dolphin cufflinks.

We are making sushi, or, rather, rolling it. He has the ingredients laid out and neither of us has done it before so it’s a sticky situation. I keep licking my fingers and he keeps dipping his into the tiny bowls of warm water he’s provided for both of us. He’s all about the carrot and I’m all about the avocado. Says a lot about someone – what they choose to put in their home made hand rolls. He doesn’t have any crab because his roommate is deathly allergic. A-okay. I’m not that into it anyway. We are listening to an array of music – Cheryl Crow to Robin Thicke. He seems much more into the former. I look over at his fish, Kinky Boots, and I see that he’s belly up. Oh oh! “Um… I’m afraid that Kinky Boots has, uh…” He finishes rolling and looks at me seductively.

“a crowd pleaser” by Sasha at Kits beach


Monday August 25, 2014
4:28pm
5 minutes
WE Vancouver

You’re quoting Drake which bodes well. “Started from the bottom” and shit. You’re eating yam fries like it’s your job, asking for more chipotle mayo. My kinda guy…
“So, you ever been to Mexico?”
“Nope…”
“Aw man, I go down every winter. Gotta catch those rays, right?”
“For sure.”
“We don’t like to do too much explaining
Story stay the same through the money and the fame
Cause we started from the bottom…”
“Yup…”
“You got real nice lips, you know that?”
“Um – ”
“Real nice kissable lips…”
“Ha ha…”
“Can I kiss you?”
“Not yet…”
“Little later?”
“Maybe a little later…”
“Aw sheeet man, you a fuckin’ tease…”
“I’m just – …”
“You’re a tease is what you are.”

“BAM” by Julia at her kitchen table


Wednesday July 30, 2014
7:32pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Trinity Bellwoods park

My mother used to work for Pasquale. Did you know that? I could have sworn I mentioned that around the first or second date. You know, the way things about your family comes up? That was my thing. That was my party trick! You were talking about béchamel sauce which I internally corrected you as “Beshamella” because if it’s not pronounced in Italian I don’t even want to pretend to care. But she wrote out his cookbooks. He spoke to her in Italian, she transcribed them, and BAM! I am now the sole owner of Pasquale’s perfect lasagna recipe which when I make, is an absolute show stopper. I mean, I could have sworn I mentioned it when we went to eat at Neve Sole and you ordered the bruschetta but you pronounced it “brushetta” and I almost lost my mind about it because how many lame Italian cliche jokes do you need to hear before you actually just NEVER pronounce it in a mangia-cake way?

“can be eaten off of paper plates” by Sasha at the CSI Annex Coffee Pub


Wednesday March 19, 2014
11:47am
5 minutes
Kinfolk Issue Eleven

He orders a pizza and I’m like, “Cool. Ok. Casual…” And then it arrives and there’s pineapple and I’m like, “Who even eats Hawaiian anymore? Who even does that?” And it’s weird that he doesn’t have a couch… or a coffee table… or… Any furniture but a blow up mattress that’s, like, leaking air, so it perpetually sounds like someone is farting. But then! Then, he gets paper plates from a drawer and I’m like, “What?!” What the eff, you know? So, I pick off the pineapple and he’s like, “Sorry, I shoulda asked…” And I’m like, “No worries! It’s cool!” And then, after dinner, he starts, like, bunny-humping me, cuz’ we’re sitting on the farting bed, right, like there’s no other place to friggen sit! And I’m like, “Slow down,” and he’s like, “Yeah? You like it slow?” And I’m like, “Yeah?” And he’s like, jack-hammering me with his bony hips and he’s all, “You like that? You like that?” And I’m like, “Not really!?”

“Atlantic Ave.” by Sasha on her bed


Wednesday January 15, 2014
1:19am
5 minutes
the 504 stop announcement

In our house on Atlantic Ave., my mother had a walk-in closet. I didn’t think we were rich enough for that kind of thing. It was organized like a person might who was really into fashion, which my mother was not. Sashes on hooks according to colour, long skirts in the blue and purple palate, necklaces both long and short on tiny brass hands sitting on top of the chest of drawers that held her bras and underwear. My mother would put on her amber perfume before going out on a date with my father. She would put the silver barrettes in her hair and draw on eyeliner with her brown stick from The Body Shop.

“ready for the winter season” by Julia on her couch


Monday, August 12, 2013
11:04pm
5 minutes
from http://www.bernhelmets.ca

Heidi was drying her toenails with a blow-dryer because she wanted to be ready for when Donald picked her up. She was debating whether or not she should even go out with Donald…because his name was just so goddamn lame. Was he a car salesman? Donald. Was he an accountant? Donald. Was he a mama’s boy? Donald. Ugh. She couldn’t get over it. If he hadn’t made her laugh so hard that fettuccine alfredo shot out of her nose the first time they met, she wouldn’t even have considered him. Donald. Ugh. Was sweet. And he had a nice head of hair. And he probably wouldn’t be opposed to being called Don, Heidi had just never asked about it yet. He suggested the board-game cafe, and she also only agreed to that because it was effing freezing out, and she swore to herself that she wouldn’t waste a patio-season night being indoors. She always felt those kind of places were winter-friendly only. And if they weren’t, it would just be a bunch of lame-os. Heidi was hoping Donald was not as lame as his name.

“That was my first personal encounter” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, May 18, 2013
8:31pm
5 minutes
Some Freaks
David Mamet


He and I, remember Andy? Didn’t like to be called Andrew, God knows why. I tried, Sal, I did. I used to say, Andrew my love, to disguise it and he would see right through me like a piece of plastic wrap on a bowl of cold noodles. Anyway, Andy and I, we met that day on the bridge because my car stalled and he was the only nice son of a bitch to stop and help me. I was losing my mind about it and he kept me real calm. So then he asked what I was on my way to and if maybe I wanted to grab a coffee with him. I was sort of amused that he thought I was just driving on the bridge and had all this free time in the world to grab coffee with a complete and utter stranger! Anyway I told him, remember what I said? I told him, You can call me tomorrow afternoon and ask me out for a proper date! That’s what I said, Sal! It’s true, don’t act like I made that up; you can’t write that shit, you know you can’t! Then he did call me. Remember? The next day, at the strike of noon like he was waiting there all morning for it to be “afternoon” so he could call. And that night we ate at, uh, what’s that place? Well good thing I don’t remember because we didn’t last thirty seconds before we snuck off to the bathroom and he fucked me against a urinal! I’m sure those snobby bastards won’t want to see me again anyway!

“In all times and all countries,” by Sasha at King’s Cafe


Monday, April 8, 2013 at King’s Cafe
4:12pm
5 minutes
The Three Muskateers
Alexandre Dumas


Henry wished that he’d remembered to wash the lettuce. When he saw how pretty Deb looked he felt bad that he’d rushed, that he hadn’t changed his shirt, that he’d bought a pre-made Chicken Pot Pie and claimed it as his own. “Wow,” said Deb, after her first bite, “you really know how to cook!” She looked so excited, so filled with genuine admiration for the trouble that he’d gone to. He almost confessed, but then thought about how he’d have to explain why he’d lied in the first place. “Thanks,” he muttered, “it’s just simple.” He hadn’t washed the lettuce because he hated having to put it through the spinner. He remembered her saying how she loved caesar dressing, but not the creamy kind, the vinaigrette. It was one of their first conversations on the phone, and they were talking about some of their favorite things. Deb: sleeping in; the smell of basements; caesar vinaigrette; rhubarb pie; sharp pencils. Henry: motorcycles; a new toothbrush; well groomed feet; sweet potato pie; the sound of traffic. She’d laughed, her Tinker-bell laugh, that’s what Henry called it. She looked less like a fairy and more like a queen. But she laughed like Tinker-bell. It made Henry miss Alice, his first wife, with her hearty, full, laugh. He had a pang, but sent it away with a bit of the pie.

“He was a rich asshole.” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, December 16, 2012
11:07pm
5 minutes
Hands Off
An essay by Miranda July


I’m not going on any more dates with any more rich assholes. If I want to be treated to dinner and a couple glasses of Prosecco, I’ll start crashing holiday parties and pig out near the buffet with my open bar, thank you very much. I dated Tim for too long before I realized I was killing my soul every time I saw him. He was nice, but not nice to the waitress, which to me is a clear indication that he was not nice. He snapped at her so much I could have sworn he was a secret percussionist. I almost snuck out the bathroom window the last time we went to a restaurant together. The only reason why I didn’t get out was because there was an attendant trying to spritz me and sell me condoms and gum. The spritz I took, the gum I did not. I didn’t have money to tip this bitch trying to invade my bathroom experience. He was the one with the money, but I couldn’t very well ask him to come with me to the lady’s room just because I had gotten so used to him paying for every single thing that I stopped bringing my wallet. I didn’t realize the attendant would be so cruel. She cornered me into a stall and told me it was okay and that she could wait till I found the money. That wasn’t my finest moment.