Archive for January 2011

If a Creep Falls In The Forrest…

January 29, 2011

One day during the summer I was sitting outside of my preferred coffee/ wine/ practical-advice-for-life joint–my local, when I noticed a somewhat distinctive-looking man walk by. I didn’t really find him handsome, though he didn’t strike me as ugly either. There was definitely something unusual about him though.
In the next hour or so, he walked back and forth passing my table no less than four times. Eventually, he took a seat at the table next to me, and within a few moments, asked me in a very friendly way if I could tell him the WiFi password. I told him that I didn’t know it, but that he could ask someone inside.

When he came back out he continued to make conversation. He asked me what I do, and when I told him that I’m an artist, he told me that he is as well, and made vague references (of a sort not unusual in a conversation with a stranger) to affiliations with this or that gallery, and other artist acquaintances of his.
He asked where he could see my work, and–against my better judgement–I gave him my card. This is, after all, exactly the kind of scenario for which I have *a card*, and although I had a feeling that it wasn’t just my art that had his interest, I pushed those suspicions to the side, in the hopes that he could be a good connection.

A couple of days later, I recieved an sms from him, saying that he was going to a party that night, and asking if I’d like to join him. I didn’t want to, but I also already had plans, so I made my apologies and thanked him for the offer. It struck me as strange that a few hours later, I recieved another text from him, stating that he had looked at the email inviting him to this party again, and discovered that it was, in fact the next day, saying to get in touch if that changed things. Ahem: it didn’t.

Over the next couple of weeks, he frequently took coffee at my local, and while I would never ignore him, I tried to look very engrossed in whatever I was reading/ drawing, etc. A couple of weeks after the first invite, he called to see if I wanted to join him for a coffee, but as it happened, a friend was sitting right across the table from me in my flat, and I told him I was unavailable.

Now, none of this is at all unusual as a variety of social interaction that could take place between two individuals previously unknown to each other, and often to be found alone.

What I found most of interest, though, was the way I reacted to it. During that introductory conversation, during which time I had a chance to register his facial features, I found them to be interesting, if neither handsome nor ugly. His red hair seems a bit unusual in Germany, but more unusual is the lattice work of scars on his cheeks, and his sort of sad green eyes. As he began frequenting my local, though, and making attempts to set up a date (in the most non-restrictive sense of the word) I began to see in his features less of a strange sadness, and more of a menace.
In short, I began to find him creepy.

I fought the instinct for awhile: I remember once when he showed up while I was having coffee, and was standing at my table asking what I was working on, what I had been up to, etc. I was doing my best to look too busy for company when my friend Oliver showed up. I immediately bade him come over, and as the red-head went inside to order I whispered to Oliver that he had saved me from the possibility of having to sit with this man. I immediately felt a twinge of guilt for characterising him as some sort of vague threat, and explained that I just didn’t feel very comfortable around him, though I had no particular reason. I admitted finding the scars on his face somewhat dark-looking, and then chastised myself again, wondering aloud about the various entirely legitimate ways one might acquire a face full of scars, such as a car accident. Despite my half-hearted attempts to acknowledge the overreaction on my part, Oliver’s only response was that he might have also acquired the scars in prison. And I was reminded of why I love Oliver.

Recently a good friend posted something on Facebook about ‘…feeling bad for people who manifest their insecurities as meanness towards you…’ and it’s been sitting in the back of my mind, fermenting.

The question of creepy–unlike the question of meanness–lies so much in the eye of the beholder. If I were attracted to this man, I would never have found his suddenly frequenting my local as at all creepy; rather it would have been encouraging. Likewise, of course with the invites. And to his credit, he did only try twice (discounting the amendment on the first) which is not at all excessive. It occurs to me that the label creepy has the potential to be used by women to effect a devastation not unlike that caused when a man calls a woman a slut.
Nevertheless I find him creepy.

Now when I run into him, which has become rare, he seems only to look at me out of the corner of his eye, as he did yesterday evening when I saw him on the street, instinctively saying ‘hello.’ His reply was quick, curt and he kept on walking as I tried to unlock my bike (incidentally, a few meters down the sidewalk he stopped and then doubled back, which kinda seemed creepy). He seems now to me always to look agitated, or tortured somehow. If you’d like to get a better picture of what he looks like, imagine Prince Harry after 20 years of hard living with a couple of knife fights under his belt and you’d probably be in the neighborhood…

And yet I can’t help but wonder if it’s all me. Have I created this creep? By which I don’t mean ‘does he only look tortured because I’ve rejected his offers and it’s driven him wild with pain?’ but….I guess….do I only think he looks creepy because I feel uncomfortable when I think I’ve made someone else uncomfortable, and the easiest emotional response is to turn him into a monster so that I don’t have to feel bad anymore? Maybe, if it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t be creepy. Look what I’ve gone and done! I’ve made this perfectly nice man (who was probably in a terrible car accident years ago) and turned him into a creep.

Ultimately, the question is: can creep exist in a vaccuum? Does  someone need to recieve the creepy to come into being?
If this is so, I fear I’ve made a lot of creeps over the years…..


The New Sex-Ed/ Or Why You Should Squirrel Away Some Of That Allowance For Your Old Age

January 17, 2011

Now that the internet makes children sexually aware by about, say 4 years old, sex-ed in school is probably outdated.

What they should replace it with, however, is a sort of….‘Breeding Dysphoria’ seminar to prepare youngsters for the weirdness of their late-20s.  Because unless all of their friends are drug-addicts, or unless they have children themselves, it will start to feel a bit weird. No one told me about this when I was in school, and frankly, I could have used a good 13 years or so to prepare.

This course could have topics like ‘Shortly Before You Turn 28, You Will Feel Like Everyone In The World Has Children, But You–What To Do Next!’ or, ‘When Your Friends Become Parents But You Still Feel Like A Child, Does That Mean That They Can Look After You?’ or what about ‘ ‘But I DO Want A Dog:’ Fighting Assumptions That Your Search For A Pet Is A Thinly-Disguised Desire To Have Children’… part II of which could be ‘2 Legs Too Many: How To Tell When It’s Time For A Child And Not A Dog’ and so forth…yes, many options, as you can see.

Instead of that ‘egg-baby’ project that they typically assign where they make you carry around a hard-boiled egg for a week to learn what it’s like to be a teenaged parent, they could make you write a page-long statement each night before you go to bed about what you live for, what your goals are, who you suppose will take care of your in your old age, etc.

Well. I think it beats a video on chlamydia.


January 4, 2011

It’s my last night in Canada and we’re playing the US in the World Junior Hockey championships…


8:30: Is it racist to say that the US look like they’re dressed up like cans of tuna??

8:42: OH YEAH 1-0 CANADA

8:45: Actually, in fairness, both Canada and the US look like their uniforms were designed by gas station stylists….but the red definitely looks better. Like steak!

8:48 Pepsi commercial featuring the song ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ We can’t be friends, Pepsi, because you’re an unpleasant drink made of syrup and water.

8:51: The US doesn’t even want it. At least, the country as a whole doesn’t. They just like the idea of winning one more thing. A spare jewel for their lunchtime crown. Like the way they tried to take over Upper Canada in the War of 1812, about which I happen to be reading. Jefferson said it would be no more than a matter of marching in…I HATE JEFFERSON!!! Yeah, well this time—>CANADA has come to —->BUFFALO to make —>MINCEMEAT, JEFFERSON!



9:04: Canada is playing fast and rough. So hot. Steak’s hot.

9:07: Why doesn’t icing get a penalty? If there’s a penalty for cake, after all….

9:19: Throughout the tournament they’ve been playing this series of commercials about hydration. They show clips of interviews with players talking about the role hydration plays in their game. Now….I don’t want to be a soggy blanket or should I say, an *overly-hydrated comforter* but–for realsweat stops being hottt the minute you ask an inarticulate 19-yr. old boy who’s taken several blows to the head in his short life to discuss it as a component of his hydration-dehydration-rehydration process. It’s like having an attractive woman in a commercial drinking a beer and then pissing her pants on camera. It’s part of the process we’d rather not see. I submit the above for your consideration, Gatorade.

9:33: As Canada heads into a power-play with a 2 man advantage I’m reminded of the comment of one american fan interviewed on camera who said that it was immaterial to the integrity of this tournament that most of the fans were from Canada, seeing as Canada is just the 51st state anyway.
A moment later…now that Canada is leading 3-0 I’m glad to think he won’t be bothered…

9:44: Wow……I actually feel sorry for the american goalie now. And you know how little empathy I have.

9:47: Do the american goalie’s pants have facebook written on the side? What does facebook want with his pants?

9:54: Mark Vizentin is my new patron saint. I’ll pray to him for….well I don’t know but he’s made a lot of saves so maybe he can save my soul, too eh?

9:58: That’d make a great commercial actually, for, like, the NHL or something. A really good goalie and like, a really baaaaad ass criminal and like, the goalie’s all like ‘I can save everything, but I can’t save youuuuu’ or no. wait. that wouldn’t work. and I’m not really sure what this commercial should be advertising anyway. And what’s more professional athletes seem to make really poor actors. oh, I guess I’ll just stick to this non-paying job rather than attempting to add further free services performed with a debatable level of skill to the garden of talents that is my resumé…

10:10: TSN is advertising for ‘game-worn’ items being auctioned off by Hockey Canada by eBay….stocking stuffers for paedophiles?

10:21: Favorite moment of the game so far!! This two canadian players checked an american guy from opposite sides at the same time causing him to fall into the boards in front of Team Canada and then one of the canadian guys stuffed him down the boards to put him at the feet of the canadian players! HA!

10:25: JAAAAAA KASSIAN! 4-0 Canada.

10:31 oh well that’s nice. America scored. Makes the game more interesting…

10:46: 30 seconds to go…

10:48: And Buffalo is made an honorary canadian city for tonight, isn’t that right, Jefferson?