Posts Tagged ‘beer


the un-date date

I am in Montreal for a couple of days, and being here has me wondering why it was that I moved to Halifax. There are hot men everywhere. Beautiful men that make eye-contact, smile at you and touch you gently on the arm with a ‘pardon’ if they bump in to you. I swear I haven’t stopped swooning since I arrived. Of course it helps that they all have sexy accents too. I am here for a job, I’m writing a story on ‘hippy Montreal’ for a women’s magazine, and I’m traveling with my daughter and a lovely friend, who is offering babysitting back-up, which allowed me to go for an evening out with a very handsome man.

I met this man, lets call him Francois, on a press-trip a few years back when I was six-months pregnant and thought him the most charming man that I had ever met. When I walked in to a room he would stand, he opened doors for me, and was incredibly chivalrous. I was totally enamored with his behavior, and loved his flirtiness. Francois and I stayed in touch thanks to Facebook, and when I knew I was coming to Montreal, his hometown, I asked to meet for drinks because I knew he would show me a side of Montreal I couldn’t discover alone.

We had a really lovely time together. He was just a charming as I remembered, told me half-way in to out first beer that he had never found pregnant women attractive and then met me, “You were there with a big-belly, chubby, and very sexy” he said. I think the word “chubby” was meant as a compliment and took it as a lost in translation kind of thing, because obviously its not an entirely flattering word! Anyway, we drank more, he was fantastic company and I had the best night out that I’d had in ages. Here comes the catch.

Francois has a girlfriend. A beautiful, young girlfriend who he is madly in love with. So, our evening together was not a date, even though it felt a lot like one, especially at 1am with three beers and a couple of rum and cokes in my belly.

A picture Francois took on our un-date. Yes, I am flirting through the camera lens.

A picture Francois took on our un-date. Yes, I am flirting through the camera lens.

We both laughed at how much fun it was to be on such a date like un-date and I cursed the fact that I don’t meet men like Francois who are single. Francois is quite a catch, I think that his girlfriend must be a very lucky woman (and have the patience of a saint considering what a flirt he is!) Being the victim of infidelity made it easy to draw very clear boundaries and know precisely what this was, and the fact that we were able to completely frank about so many things made the evening feel very mature and responsible, and I never felt like it veered in to anything inappropriate despite the fact that under different circumstances, I would for sure be falling for this charming man.

It was a fun and perfect evening. All the best qualities of a really perfect first date, with none of the expectations. I was reminded of how fun it is just to flirt, and realize that I should try to do so more often, which probably means that I need to drag my lazy ass off my sofa and go out in Halifax more often. Perhaps in the future I’ll just target French-Canadian men though, fortunately there are a fair few here in Nova Scotia so it shouldn’t be that hard to find some.


Running in to Mr Superlover

The sun is shining in Halifax at last, people are out in their gardens and it seems that spring is actually here. So, I knew it was just a matter of time before I ran in to a mistake I made: the neighbor I was in lust with last summer, Nick. What we shared wasn’t even a fling, he was supposed to be a friend with benefits but the friendship never really happened and the benefits were of questionable quality.

Nick is beyond hot. Tall, muscular, smart and employed (doesn’t live with his mum either, bonus!), the first time I saw him up on scaffolding and bare-chested as he fixed up his house I swooned. He really is an absolutely beautiful specimen of mankind. We’d actually been fixed up by a mutual friend on Facebook when I first moved to Halifax last June, he’d pissed me off with some comment and I’d decided not to pursue him, but then I ran in to him two blocks away from my house, where he lived. Because he was so incredibly gorgeous, I invited him over for a beer.

We hooked up, it was nothing special but I put it down to the fact that it was our first time and thought it might get better. Nick came round and helped me fix some stuff in my house, he was a sweetheart, I looked after his dog one day and he asked if he could come round later. He did, we did, but the second time was pretty bad.  Then I had a date with the guy who called his mother a bitchwhore and I was feeling so crappy I invited Nick round to make it feel better. The hook-up was okay, still not that special but I felt a connection. (There I go again being a girl, of course I’d started to like him, especially compared to the rest of the losers I was meeting.) We got on really well and were talking about doing other stuff together, no way was there any relationship talk but I thought the friendship side was going to happen.

Then nothing. I’d run in to him outside his place, which I have to walk past to go ANYWHERE, including to take my kid to daycare, and we’d make small talk but I’d been given the brush off. I invited him over and felt like an idiot when he wasn’t interested. Then he contacted a friend on lavalife with some cheesy message about how big and strong he was and I wanted to gag. I got fed up of notices coming up on my Facebook feed from girls to him about how much they were looking forward to seeing him and so I unfriended him (not because I was jealous so much as I was starting to feel like the least liked member of his Facebook hareem). Nick loved himself, but had every right to I guess, he had so much going for him and obviously no problems attracting girls.

However, like I said, I have to walk past his house at least twice a day and I don’t want awkwardness so I asked for a ride to Home Depot one day (we are both renovating houses, one of the things we had in common) to clear the air and let him know we were cool. We went it was fine, but awkward. That was in September. I was genuinely sad that we couldn’t be friends. On Christmas Eve I emailed to say that I was hoping we could go for a beer sometime, he emailed back the next day to say sure, but he was in Mexico so he would call me when he got back. Of course he didn’t.

So, today as I dragged my daughter to the store in her wagon, wearing track pants and with no make-up on, there he was in his yard. I tried to walk by but he called me over and started making small-talk, I was polite but when he said he hadn’t seen me around I just had to leave. At least the first awkward encounter is over. And, I totally don’t find him as hot as my mind had built him up to be over the past five months. Maybe I’ll just have to cross the street before I get to his place from now on, and remember not to play so close to home next time.

Oh, and for light relief you might want to check out this video, cheesy but too true One of my girlfriends sent it to me because she thought it rang true of some of my experiences!


He looked good on the dancefloor, but….

I ventured out on Saturday night to go to a club here in Halifax for the first time, the Paragon (which used to be the Marquee) where Skratch Bastid was playing. It was a fun night, Skratch Bastid played an incredible set and I danced for hours. There were lots of hot boys, and one in particular kept dancing near me and eventually we locked lips and made out. Thrilling! He was super cute, but it turned out he was only 26. He thought it was no big deal, and we kept hanging out together. I had an overwhelming urge to drop the ‘I have a kid’ bomb to save wasting my time, or his, and when I did he responded with interested questions. I liked him.

So, he and his roomie were having a little party after the club closed and my posse of six decided we’d go. More beer? For sure! I fully took advantage of the fact that my neighbor who was babysitting said to stay out a late as I wanted, although I was feeling a little guilty every time I saw a clock. I held hands with the boy in the cab on the way home and everything was going well, until we got to his place.

We walked in to his sparsely furnished bachelor pit and I realized that his lifestyle was so far from mine that nothing was ever going to happen between us. We’re talking a framed picture of dogs playing poker (I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be ironic, but maybe not) above a thrift-store sofa, and very little else in the room. The floor was bare tiles. There were four garbage bags full of empty beer-cans on the balcony. It was like student digs, but he wasn’t a student. It wasn’t just his place that was shocking; once in the cold harsh light of his apartment, the appeal of him had worn off.

I sat there for half an hour, but I just wanted to get home to bed. Suddenly I felt too wasted to even pretend to be interested in the drunken conversations going on, and I was feeling REALLY guilty about my neighbor there waiting for me to get home (who I assumed was asleep, but it was 3am now, what if she wasn’t?)

I made for the door. The boy got up and asked if we could exchange numbers. I said with as much sincerity as I could muster, “Sure, give me your number and I’ll call you,” and he asked if we could go out next Saturday. I said yes, then I felt really guilty, but there was no way I could cope with seeing him again (but being in Halifax I believe the likelihood of this happening is pretty much 90% going to happen). I wrote his number on my hand and went downstairs to wait for a cab in the lobby. Horror of horrors, I was waiting an hour for a cab, and didn’t make it home until 4.30 am. It was the latest I’ve been up in years and years.

Once home, I had a bath and sat there scrubbing his number off the back of my hand. In my drunken state I started thinking that I missed my ex-husband. But then I remembered seeing him recently and that ridiculous “Dumb and Dumber” haircut he has now, and it made me smile, and I realized that no matter how lonely I feel, or how much I want a man in my life, I don’t want my ex-husband any more than I want the interior design challenged 26 year-old. Better off alone than in another crummy relationship.


I’m baaack (in Jamaica mon)

And like *poof*, I  disappeared.

And like that, I am back. Not just on the blog, but also in Jamaica. And it is nice to be here, I must say. I’ve missed the good times that we’ve all shared: me, you, the 80 year old rasta pepaw with the missing teeth and the parrot on his shoulder…oh wait, I took that picture down didn’t I?  Never mind, I can take another tomorrow. I’m going to Negril and I just know that  the man, or at least several snaggletoothed replicas of him, will be there.

So I took a redeye into Montego Bay and arrived at 7:45AM Monday to discover my reservation was lost. It took a full  two hours to find it and get to my hotel, and by the time I finally was allowed in my room I was just exhausted. Which really does not explain how I got into a drinking contest 45 minutes later.

I swear, I do not seek these things out. They find me.  Or maybe we are drawn together like magnets to iron maidens or something. I was walking back from a quick  lunch, nose in a trashy detective novel, when I heard a loudspeakered emcee enthusiastically cajoling/encouraging/ordering the holiday-makers to come to the front of some bar and join in a competitive beer-drinking event. I looked around to see where the voice was coming from, but couldn’t–it was omnipresent. Carefully, I sidled past a cluster of about six people, into what I thought was a courtyard…and instead found  a lineup of 12 sunburned people, looking at me challengingly. Then I glanced back. Beach bar. Shite. Beer drinkers. Right in front of me. Oh, and my stupid ass. Right in the middle of the competition floor. Nicely done, Lena!

“I’m sorry, very sorry,” I said, backing away and smiling, shaking my head no no no with great emphasis.

 “OH LOOK, WE’VE GOT A SHY ONE!” bellowed the emcee. 

I decided to try the “Ignore him; he’ll go away” tactic. It’s often effective. Pretending I couldn’t hear him, I backed up a small flight of stairs and  hid in a corner.


Nooo, I mouthed, hands up in the universal sign for “I give up, can’t help you; please leave me alone.”


Oh jeez. This wasn’t going to end. People were beginning to stare. I shuffled up to the bossy mic-wielding madman at the podium.

“Come and have a drink with us,” he said, suddenly  no longer a tormenter but merely an exuberant host. One who happened to have a microphone and an avid audience….but I mean on the bright side I was much bigger thah him. I felt sure I could overpower him if I could get his damn mic off for a minute.

“I really can’t,” I told him. “I mean, I can’t.”

“You in Jamaica now mon, you haf’ to.”

“Ya mon. You in Jamaica,” echoed back several of the bar patrons, as though they were in some sort of weird call-and-response church service.

Oh dear. Chris didn’t have an audience, he had acolytes. And they seemed in a mood to resent anyone who might  prefer sleeping over boozing, or prefer anything over boozing, or even admit to having slept at all in the past week. I know this mindset; it is common in the vacationer nearing the end of their holiday, who knows deep in their heart that that good times will soon be over and bad-weather suckiness will begin. I have been that person. Thus, I understood that  I didn’t want to fight them.

I took a seat next to my fellow beer-drinkers. Now that I was safely roped in, the audience became swiftly bored of me and began to catcall at a Jet Li lookalike in tight black biker short/swim trunk/underwear thingies. His friend got up and launched into a Kriss-Kross Humpty squaredance routine. People cheered. It was all incredibly stupid. But, okay I admit it, I was starting to have fun. There’s something heartwarming about seeing a man make a fool of himself on the dance floor and know it. (Mostly they think they’re hella sexy.)

Anyway. The beer was proffered. It was a small cup, really. This was fortunate, because–and here’s the thing I haven’t yet shared with you–I had already had two at lunch time. No, three. Something like that?  You can’t drink anything with jerk chicken except Red Stripe; it goes without saying. So I had ’em, thinking I was going to go straight to the room and to sleep…and instead here I was looking like a sweaty pale mess in last nite’s clothes, staring into a foaming cup of Red Stripe that according to CRAZY CHRIS’ latest instructions I would need to either drink or pour over my own head. The good news is, I would be doing this with nine other chicks. The bad: I would have to do it center-stage, standing up, while being photographed.  (If you read my Cabo blog, you know why I might have reason to worry about foreign drinking contests featuring insane emcees and video cameras.)

But the really good news followed a moment later: For the first round I would only have to drink one beer, not 3 or 10 as I had feared, and if I lost, I wouldn’t progress to the next round. And could go back to room, sweet room. Yay!

(At this point, a fiercely and perversely competitive voice began to speak up in my head, telling me ‘You can win this…and dammit you must.‘)

Shut up, I said to the voice.

Do it for California. Do it for yourself, the voice continued.

This is how I ended up taking my damn bikini top off in Cabo. GO AWAY, I said to myself.

And thankfully this time I listened. I came in third. My top stayed on. I did not progress to the finals, did not do disgusting watermelon shots out of the Squeezee bottle that was on offer, and went off to my room to take a nap.

I am sorry to let you down–and I know I did–but I had to. Better things were to come, like that nite, when a man named Sexy Bubba cooked my dinner, tossed my salad and flipped my eggs (I know how that sounds but…it was actually completely culinary). And the next nite when my dear old friend Donahue arrived in a chariot to take me to some cool bar furnished entirely with found objects and shoes. And today when my new BFF Marcia led me to a giant chessboard by the sea,  where I fully plan to play human chess as soon as I can rope 24 people in…and learn that damn game b/c I’ve never figured it out. And also tonite, when my van driver turned out to be a deejay who will return bearing a CD of up-and-coming dancehall artists, just for me. And tomorrow when…I go to Negril. Yay, hooray! I shall be back to tell you all about it. But for now…good night mon, and stay irie.


Winnipeg dispatch #2: Old friends

It was good seeing Dennis the other night. It’s been years since the last time our paths crossed, but he was looking no different–still boyish, still the same smark-alecky grin. Back in my prowling days, well my early prowling days, we would haunt the highways and byways of the city, actually just one byway , a nightclub called Broadway’s, where the peanuts were free and the Prairie new wave bands played. We were too-frequent regulars there, as well as at Carlos & Murphy’s, a Mexican-ish drinking joint not far from where we lived. It was Dennis’s idea to reconvene at C&M’s for a beer for old time’s sake. Everything had changed except the bathrooms–the menus were laminate, the staff surlier, the wider-assed.

He’s back in the city he swore he’d never return to, at least to live–but that’s what maturity, and ill relatives, will do to you. He’s still happily married, to Sandra, his wife of many years–15? 16? how long ago was it I gave that drunken speech at their wedding?–and they still don’t have kids. That hasn’t changed–they’re still deadset against it, something I found refreshing to hear. “Did you know there are twice as many people on the planet now than when we were born?” he said. “I don’t want to add to that problem.” He has a point.

That was Monday night; yesterday I went for lunch with mom. I should know better, because each time we do something like this I hear more terrible family secrets that I wish I hadn’t. This one is so big, weird and TV movie-of-the-week-ish I’m not even able to divulge it. Suffice it to say it doesn’t involve anyone in my immediate family, thank Odin.

Speaking of my mom, she gets ideas into her head. I suppose it was my mistake in the first place for mentioning I’d been hacking around on the drums with the band I’m in. Ever since she heard that she’s had it in mind that I should take a drum lesson with my 11-year-old nephew’s instructor. I’ve found it’s just easier to agree to these kinds of things than fight them, and so there I was yesterday afternoon getting a drum lesson. “I can see we’re not going to work any miracles here, on the evidence,” says Greg, the drum teacher. He’s thin, shaven-headed, manic, and very loud–a hazard of the job, I guess.

Later today: lunch with my crazy friend Shannon, who never fails to say something offensive, and dinner at my sister’s. Big laughs ahead.


An eye for the swag

Sunday June 15, Toronto, Holiday Inn. Last night was the last night of North by Northeast, and this time I was determined not to stress about seeing certain bands. So naturally I stressed about seeing certain bands. However, the good news is that I saw most of what I wanted to see, although I missed Tel Aviv band Monotonics. More on that later, if I remember to get to it. 

Anyway, we started the afternoon at the Drake Hotel on the outdoor patio. For some reason Wingy things every party is a barbecue so he assured myself and Kim H. that there would be food at this party, which was being held by Vice Magazine. As you would expect from a party held by that hipster rag, the patio was populated with tattooed, bearded dudes and stylish ladies. We were there under the aegis of Carling A., who as much as I begged never did get me a beer. It wasn’t a barbecue and there was very little food, but Wingy and I circulated like the pros we are–talking to three Swedish sisters, the dude who heads up the Polaris Music Prize (a big deal in Canuckland music circles), and a few old pals from Vancouver. Despite Carling’s reluctance, we managed to keep scoring enough drink tickets to keep us buzzed. 

Fortunately, Rancho Relaxo was serving up some vittles upstairs, where we saw Tiger and Me, an Australian man-woman duo who performed pretty cool torch lounge pop ballads. Then Wingy’s eye was attracted to a bright blue Whole Foods bag everyone outside the El Mocambo seemed to be clutching so we went in to investigate and were immediately handed a bag o’ swag. This convinced us to stay for the band, a seven-piece Norwegian outfit whose name I can’t pronounce or quite remember, but which I will add later (yeah, right). They were jumpy, energetic and fun as hell, and reminded me a little of Little Creatures-era Talking Heads. Rebekah Higgs from Halifax rocked out at the Horseshoe, and 6 Day Riot, a folk pop group from the U.K., was excellent at the Cameron House. At the Bovine Sex Club we caught the tail-end of the set by Koogaphone, another U.K. group but with a harder, hard-rock/punk edge and fronted by Julie, the girl we shared a cab ride with the previous night. We hightailed it over to Sneaky Dee’s for one of the reputed highlights of the festival, the Monotonics, but it got so crowded and claustrophobic our party bailed one by one–first Wingy left to get pizza, then Kim went home, and finally I went outside. Wingy, a friend from Vancouver now living here and I made it to the Red Kross show at Lee’s Palace, though I’d said I wouldn’t return to that sweatbox. But I did! Then I got mad at Wingy for some reason but now we’re friends again, at least until he pays the hotel bill. 


Double dose of Vegas — Part II

So where was I? Oh yes. The Palazzo opening was nice if you like that sort of thing, but in terms of color and noise and surprises and yummy-looking people drinking in the daytime, I found a far superior scene in the most unlikely of places. And that would be the Mandalay Convention Center.

 Every other time I’ve been there (more than I care to admit), it’s been full of people in suits, shiny shoes and attitude–the sort that goes “yes, my company pays me to come to Vegas, so this must mean I am important in some way, but gosh I sure don’t feel it after lugging my laptop case 10 kilometers down this random fluorescent-lit hallway.”

And there was some of that this time. There was a furniture convention going on (I heard they were very cheap tippers), and a TV conference (which sounds like it would have been fun but actually was not). Then, on the bottom floor of the convention center, there was a straight-up carnival.


Okay, no it wasn’t. It was the annual snow sports convention, which as far as I could tell was primarily comprised of snowboarders, skiiers and the people who love them. There may have been a few lonely snowman-builders lost in the mix somewhere, but I couldn’t find them in between all the kegs and half-pipes and grommety-looking boys running around causing havoc.

Alls I really have to say after crashing discovering this convention is that I probably should go live on a mountain somewhere b/c I’ve clearly been in the wrong business all these years. Poker? Nightclubs? Tropical islands? Pshaw! It’s all a big yawn compared to what I saw in the convention center at 3PM on a Tuesday afternoon.


 There must have been 15 separate DJ turntables set up, playing hip-hop and rock and broken-beat electronica. At least four parties going, including one that was Mexican-themed and one in this strange indoor yurt made out of recycled blocks. Then there was the Guitar Hero booth–probably my favorite, thanks to the beanbags and flat-screen TVs.


The thing I really noticed, though, was the crowd. What an unexpected mix! In the atrium booths and the organizer area, they were older people–all natural and healthy looking in the way that only comes from not eating meat for at least two decades. The ski equipment and mountaineering booths were full of rugged-looking dudes who look like they probably almost (or did) make the Olympic team in their youth, and now hang permanently in places like Park City being “private instructors” to a parade of willing older women.

Snowboard territory was like a pick-a-mix of the finest and the scariest-looking folks I’d seen in weeks–and honestly you just did not know what you were going to get. You’d turn a corner, and there would be a bunch of boys and girls who looked like they stepped out of a sunglass ad. Then right across from them would be a pack of disgustingly filthy hairy teenagers comparing butt-cracks. Random. But entertaining.


The Volcom booth. Bunny rabbits, fuschia lizards, fake dreads. Irresistible, in a sick way. Or sick in an irresistible way. (Take your pick.)

Probably my favorite was the Oakley crew. I was lost, spaced out and staring, and I just backed right into one of them. He very nicely asked if I needed help, and I answered the first thing that came to mind: ‘Yes, in an existential sense.’ (That’s always the truth at the tail end of a Vegas trip.)

Then I sat and chatted with them for a few minutes, and then I realized that they were all very cute, and that one of them was indeed rather fine in a tattooed Chris Cornell-reminiscent way that your parents would not approve of. So naturally I asked to take their picture. At which point they all got shy and tried to run away. I rallied them (like herding cats) and then tried to get my phone-cam skills going, even though was sheerly caffeine-powered by then and therefore very shaky.

In the middle of it the first one asked, “What’s this for?” and I, like the compulsive storyteller I am, said, “For a porn site.”

Oops. Away they went again.

I’m KIDDING!” I said. Jeez. You Oakley kids are camera-shy. But charming! I would have liked to stay and have a few beers. But I motivated onward.

And here I am, back home again for 2.2 seconds. Catching a plane to NYC this afternoon. Sleep? Never heard of it. Sleep is for sissies.

August 2020

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