What You’re Afraid Of

You’re young, confused and you’ve logged on. You browse the pictures and are taken by a particular profile. You get taken in and you’re suddenly falling for the user on the other end of the line.

And then it happens. The user on the other end of the line isn’t who you expect.

You get into a serious tailspin. What does this mean? What does this say about you?

You begin to doubt yourself. You’ve admitted some pretty personal things to this user and now you feel… betrayed. Confused.

This user misrepresented himself, you think.

This user lied about himself, you repeat to yourself.

This user is not what I expected.


What exactly were you expecting? Where exactly do you come by the assumption that online conversations are based on anything than pure unfiltered dialogue between two minds?

But the real fly in the ointment is the fear that you actually might love the person you’ve been corresponding with and you are too ashamed of yourself to admit this.

“What if…?”

What if that person turns out to be an amazing, intelligent and beautiful individual? What if that person is someone you could be with?

What will my friends think of me? My parents? My employer? My wife?

I’m constantly hearing the same message over the endless chatter and back-and-forth messaging between users.

“What if we like each other?”

And my response to them is this:

“What are you really afraid of?”

If you’re afraid of being tagged as something you’re pretending to be, for the sake of your reputation or your business, I understand but it’s going to make you so miserable that you’ll be endlessly split between two lives.

Maybe you’re protecting your kids. Maybe you’re afraid of being fired.

But ask yourself if it’s really worth living in fear, like a rat in a gilded cage of your own making, just to please your superiors and conform to your peers’ expectations.

Is it really better to just follow the rules?

So you may deny yourself the love you seek because of fear. Does it not occur to you that others may feel the same way and are fed up with convention, fed up with the same old rules and traditions, fed up with religion and with the culture of shame and guilt.

But if you keep your head down, child, and squirrel away your nuts for the long cold winter of your lonely little life and never, ever open yourself up to the possibility of love, then, my love, you are doomed. If what others think of you is so important that you are willing to choose that over being with someone who could be your rock and your strength, then you will never find the love you need.

The world has an endless abundance of misery, ignorance and pain. Why add to it?



The Fat Femme Punk in the Pit

It was a hot, sticky, stinky summer night… one of those really, really hot nights where you can’t sleep, even with the fan on. There was no air-con at my parents’ house, which was miles away from the city anyway but still, living by the river only meant a different kind of heat. A crickets and mosquitoes heat. No relief for restless bodies.

In the city, I was mosying on over to yet another Rialto gig. A band called Lizard were playing. My friend Adam, who I very much fancied, had put me on the guest list. Adam was the bassist of this outfit and very much into Ayn Rand and having arguments with me over coffee. I adored the guy. Plus he was hot. Very hot. But as per usual I did fock all about it because I was fat. Too fat to be a punk rock chick. Most punk rock girls were rail-thin. Even at the very edge of fringe culture, I was still not belonging. But I didn’t care. I loved the music so I went to as many gigs as I could.

I got there and I went right up to the front. Big and tall as I was, I always went to the front/ I never understood why some people hung back at a gig. Or sat at the back of a movie. I wanted the full blast of sound. I wanted to feel the drops of sweat from the singer, stare at the fingers plucking and strumming over guitars, watch every expression. But mostly, it was about the press of bodies. I wanted to melt my huge frame away in the frame. I wanted to be anonymous. Another face in the crowd, no one taking notice of me.

Of course, everyone takes notice of you when you’re in the pit. Especially if you’re a woman but there were Rules. If someone fell in front of you, you bent over and helped them up quickly. If someone wanted to crowd-surf, you gave them a leg up and helped the, around. Seeing as 99% of these pits were male, there was a strange, violent but utterly intoxicating solidarity about it. The ebb and flow of bodies was like swimming in the sea. Everyone tacitly respected each other’s limits.

Well, most people.

There’s always one in the crowd. Usually a little guy. Usually so shit-faced he can’t tell his arsehole from breaktime. There’s always the damned bottle covey who pushes you and tries to goad you into pushing him back harder. A real masochist and utter bastard. And I was the target this time, from the little guy. Long, greasy, straggly dark hair, 70s prog rock facial beard, rat-like features and skinny little body. A good 4 inches shorter and looked like he weighed as much as a photograph of himself. As French as poutine-galvaude.

Smash. Slam. Poke. Prod.


Smash. Slam. Poke. Prod. Right in the kidneys this time.

“Estie tabarnac! Arrete!”

Poke. Poke. Prod. The little asshole was grinning. I’d had enough. I whipped around and grabbed him bodily and threw him clear across the pit. Hair flying. The bouncers were cheering. Poutine-galvaude was known to them for the same airplane-seat-kicker tactic. The band finished their set. PG comes up to me after the gig.

“Hey… ah… what’s your name? Wanna go out some time?” Big huge grin.

“Get the fock away from me!”

A week later, I’m walking down Ste-Catherine. Gumby, my fuck buddy/fellow stoner sees me on the street and laughs.

“There she is!”

“What the fock?”

“I’m just back from seeing the Lizard video! I saw you throw that guy across the pit. You are so focking sexy when you’re mad!”

“I was FILMED?”

“Yeah! So hot!”

Thank fock there was no Instagram then!




Phone Cranks

I can remember the first time I received a creepy phone call.

I was at my desk when the call arrived. Back then, the phone line was shared by me and the program director. I was busy putting together music reviews and scheduling interviews.

Ring ring!
<heavy breathing>
“Hello? Who’s there?”
“I want you to talk dirty to me.”

It was an internal call. Somebody from the university or someone who knew the university telephone directory well was calling. It was a male voice. Nasal. Pitch was tenor. He sounded exactly like you think he does. Horny, bored male nerdling. And vaguely familiar.

“I want you to talk dirty to me.”

I paused and thought about this.

“How do I do that?”
“Goad me.”
“Excuse me?”
“I want you to goad me.”
“Goad you into what?”
“Into.. into… doing something dirty.”

I thought again. I knew what he was saying but there was simply nothing sexy or even remotely attractive about this individual.

“I’m busy. I have work to do. Stop wasting my focking time you focking loser!”

Over the course of the next few hours, the phone rings again and when the male staff pick it up, the caller hangs up. But when the female staff pick up, The Phone Sex Pervert goes into his routine. Same script. Almost call-centre like. Each time my female co-workers get annoyed and eventually hang up. Our offices are all on the sixth floor down a particular corridor. The same offices where the women work get the same call. None of the offices staffed by guys get the call. Mr. Phone Pervert knows this area well.

Word spreads quickly. Give it to me, I say. I’ll fix his little red wagon.

“You again? How’s it going? You sound like a total loser!”

I have a way with words, see. I’m a people person too.

The Cat-and-Mouse game continued. It was definitely the Ham Radio guys. It certainly wasn’t going to be the radical lesbian feminists running the student’s association down the other end of the hall. Those girls can talk dirty to us to our faces (and they did, bless their black combat boots).

A few days later I’m next door with my news editor. We’re on deadline. The phone rings. Editor picks up and speaks.

“Hello? …… Sorry?…. You want me to do what?…. You … want me to goad you. … I don’t understand –”

I vaulted over from my desk, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. He’s definitely a university employee. How exactly does he know to call both the radio station and the student newspaper? He knows there are a lot of female students working at the office. He knows when we’re about. I’m thinking it’s the furtive little ferrets in the Ham Radio Club across the hall. Horny little fockers!

“Jen! Let me talk to him.”
Wordlessly she hands me the receiver, confused.

“Helloooo! Why it’s my old friend the phone pervert!! ” I sing into the line.

He never called again. What a shame. I was beginning to enjoy these calls. My burgeoning inner sadist loved ruining his hard-on.

Two years later, Mr. Phone Pervert gets his first internet account on the school network. Guess what’s the first thing he’ll do.

He’s probably a FetLife mod by now. And I’m still ruining other guys’ orgasms.

Some things were just always meant to be.

The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged

We’ve come full circle since the invention of language. We started by looking at the world around us and naming things to make life more simple and liveable. Wheel. Smile. Love. Baby. War. Gun. Sex. Pride. God. Sky.

We started counting things. Then we thought about how some Things belong to some people and some things don’t. We developed values, morals, ethics based on having and not having. Theft. Property. Generosity. Charity. Greed. Famine. Lust. Power. Money.

We’ve thought about what’s important to us and what’s not important. Art. Science. Engineering. Jokes. Stories. Food. Since we fell from those trees some 2 million years ago (give or take a few hundred thousand either way), we’ve learned that stories, colour, music, art, and devices are there to distract, entertain, entrance and inspire.

So here we are now, on the furthest edge of humanity. We talk, we dance, we speak, we tweet, reblog and sing, spank, solve and resolve. We’re countless and indefinite in our eternally different ways of thinking, of exploring, of connecting. Welcome to The New Clear Age. Pull up a chair and have a thought on us.