romance

The Bee’s Knees

I’ll never be the Bee’s Knees. My shot at that particular title was taken away at the age of 15 by a scissor happy surgeon, who tried to cut my chronic knee pain away. I hope that the half hour that it took him to perform the operation bought him a really nice vacation. I on the other hand, did not get to go to Hawaii; instead I got years of rehab, bullying and shitty pick up lines.

During the four years following my surgery, I was in and out of various braces. Some guys seemed to think that this would make it easier to get into my pants. I never quite followed the logic–it’s just one more layer to remove.

A while back, I was feeling rather proud of myself. Using the method that my physios had taught me, I made it down the Metro steps to my train relatively smoothly. I mentally chanted, “Down with the bad (leg) and up with the good!” No one had bumped, pushed or yelled at me for being too slow. The train was delayed and a guy approached me asking for the time. I gave it to him but he didn’t leave. We stood in silence, the noise of the station whirling around us.

“I just want to say that I’m really sorry,” he finally announced.

“About?” I prompted, seriously confused.

He pointed to my knee brace, his features arranged in an expression of sorrow.

“It’s fine, just an old injury,” I said.

“Well, I’m really sorry. Can I give you a hug?”

“Nope,” I replied, searching his face for some indication that he was joking. He was dead serious.

“Are you sure? I’m just so sorry,” he repeated, pointing once again at my leg.

“I’m sure,” I answered. The train finally came, He opened his mouth to speak and I braced  myself (haha get it?) ready to reject more offers of hugs.

To my relief all he said was, “Stay Beautiful” before departing.

And then there was work. As I hobbled up the steps, my attention would be divided between various people telling me to take the “damn elevator every once in awhile,” and the security guard pointing at my brace and asking me what had happened. I ignored both categories, telling the security guard, “Sorry but I’m kind of in a rush.”

He was persistent though, a broken record chanting “What happened to your leg?” day after day. I finally answered the damn question just so that I wouldn’t have to hear it again.

“It’s just an old injury,” I informed him.

“But what happened?” he insisted.

“I had a failed knee surgery a couple of years ago,” I explained before turning to leave.

“I’m gonna tell you what you have to do. You just have to keep moving it and don’t worry, you’ll be walking like a normal person in no time!” he beamed as if he had just bestowed upon me some golden nugget of wisdom.

I managed to choke out an “ummm thanks” without laughing, my thoughts still swirling around “normal person”.

“And I’m gonna tell you something else,” he continued, “I know what you’re going through. I understand! I hurt my shoulder a while back and couldn’t go to the gym for 4 months. I’m gonna be honest with you, I cried! So just hang in there.”

I smiled politely thinking how nice it was that I didn’t have to feel sorry for myself when I had a whole line of boys willing to do it for me.

Around the time of my encounter with the security guard, I had been working with a really amazing physio, apparently the 5th round is the charm, and a few months later I got my brace off.  

Once again at work, I was heading down the stairs, this time in a “normal” fashion, albeit garnished with limping and leaning heavily on the rail. At the bottom the security guard held the door open for me.

“Soon,” he began.

“Have a good weekend!” I cut in, not quite ready for another heart to heart.

“Soon” he continued, “Someday soon, I’ll see you using both those legs.”

I smirked, pretty sure that the two of us had very different visions for my legs.

About a year ago my vision for my legs was actually realized. I haven’t had to wear a brace and I’ve been able to do stairs pretty much normally, something that I thought I would never accomplish. And yet some things never really change. When these improvements first fell into place an acquaintance of mine told me, “That’s great, now it’s like an invisible disability.” But the invisible is still there and has a way of making itself known. Like when you’re on a date with a boy and for some reason he’s taking you on a walk through the Gay Village. Why are you on a date in the Gay Village? Is he trying to tell you something? And then he says something stupid, like “Race you to that pole!”

“I can’t run,” you reply.

“What?” he exclaims.

“I have a bad knee so I can’t run,” you clarify.

“Ever?” he gasps.

“Ever!” You confirm cheerfully. The two of you are still walking but he turns his head to stare at you bug eyed and jaw slightly agape. Why did you think he was cute again? The seconds tick by. His feet are moving but his head hasn’t changed position. The pole gets closer and closer. Half of you is afraid that he’ll run into it, but the other half really wishes that he would.

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Swipe Right?

I’m part of that technological generation: internet, computers, and cell phones. Last time I went phone shopping, I wanted one of those sliding flip phones with the keyboards, like I had when I was younger. I wanted to be brought back to my childhood. At the age of 20, technology makes me feel ancient. Unfortunately for me, we don’t have those sliding flip phones with the keyboards anymore; we have smart phones. So that’s what I ended up getting, a smart phone. It was the cheapest one that I could find, and somehow it still has the capacity to store my whole life in its plastic casing. My generation stores everything on their phones.

Our schedule is no longer stored in little notebooks–planners, we used to call them.

Our conversations are no longer spoken. Instead, they’re stored in text messages with little emojis to make up for all the missing inflections.

Our lust is no longer stored in our pants, our love no longer in our hearts. It’s all in our phones–all of it.

Lately, I’ve been looking for romance and l finally conceded that it might be easier to get asked out online. I’m not sexist, but I do think that guys should be the ones to ask women out. My reasoning is as follows: anatomically speaking boys and girls are different, thus we suffer differently. Women have to suffer through childbirth and therefore men should suffer through sticking their necks out a bit to ask someone on a date.

I downloaded my first dating app. I started off small and got Jswipe. However, I soon discovered that it offered very limited choices and I was unimpressed with the intelligence of the male population using it.

“Wow, you’re a twin?” One guy wrote to me, “I always wished that I had a twin, but I feel like we’d compete over everything!”

“We haven’t competed over anything since the womb. In fact we’re completely different people.” I answered.

“Really? That’s interesting because you share the same genetic coding, you know.”

“Yeah really…there’s environmental factors that get switched on too.”

“Cool…what are you up to?”

“Painting”

“What are you painting?

“A skull.”

“Some jolly rogers dancing with booze?”

“It’s for a birthday card actually.”

“Oh that’s nice.”

The next day he messaged me again, “Hey, Artsy Fartsy”

After that I decided to scrap Jswipe and try Bumble, but I hated making the first move. What are you supposed to say to a total stranger besides “Hey”? I was so desperate, I researched it. I didn’t like what I found, which was either shitty pick up lines or questions about how you like your toast, along with warnings not to say “Hey” because it’s for horses. For the most part I just stuck with “Hey”. If a guy seemed interesting, I’d go the extra mile and slap a “what’s up?” onto the end. Most of them still answered, but lost interest upon discovering that I’m not interested in hookups.

Guys can’t make the first move on Bumble but if they really want to talk to you they can extend the match for another 24 hours. If this unfortunate event happens to you, Bumble, the app that claims to empower women, sends out the following message, “Lucky lady! What a compliment! Blah Blah used his one chance to extend a match today on you.” It comes complete with a bee emoji, because men: they are our bees.

Finally, I scrapped Bumble and downloaded Tinder, an app which I had sworn up and down I would never, ever use. I broke that promise, and now I’m just left with a whole bunch of dumb texts from strangers.

It’s exciting at first. A boy sent me a message! He thinks I’m cute. That’s almost as exciting as a boy actually getting the balls to talk to me in person for dating purposes. It’s not something that happens very often nowadays. Along with lust and love, balls are now being stored in our phones, and hence shrinking with every generation. Soon we’ll be procreating online too.

On Tinder, most guys can fall into one of three categories.

First up is “Sleazy/Bossy”. Guys in this category have lame pick up lines and just want to get into your pants. They say things like:

“Sexy name”

“Sooo cute”

Or “Haha good match”. To this I replied, “Is it?” The guy totally unphased, proceeded to ask me more questions. I didn’t answer right away. I was eating dinner. Less than half an hour later he sent another message, “You don’t talk much, huh?” I let silence do the talking for that one. He didn’t seem to get the memo though and messaged me again a few days later.

I asked a different guy what he was looking for on Tinder. I really didn’t know anything about him, except that he’s probably a crappy driver since most of our conversation consisted of him explaining how he accidentally drove into a wall the day before. He answered my question promptly, “I’m going to be honest. I’m looking for an interesting woman. Next step would be to see if there’s a connection. Sometimes I run into girls on Tinder who are just looking for a hookup. I’m okay with that too.”

I like things to be clear so I told him that I’m not one for hookups and I’m looking for a relationship.

My phone quickly pinged with his reply, “Let’s not negotiate it like it’s a contract. We can grab coffee this week.” I once again let my silence speak for me.

The second category is what my brother calls “Sad Sacks”. These guys are insecure and feel sorry for themselves, often coming across as manipulative.

I spent quite a while texting this one guy. He seemed nice and was also looking for a relationship. I was beginning to wonder why he didn’t just ask me out for coffee already when he once again messaged me to see how my day went.

“It was great,” I wrote, “I had an interview for a photography gig.”

“Model?” He asked.

“No photographer. I don’t really like having my picture taken.”

“If you had said model I would have believed you. You’re really pretty”

“Thanks” I answered.

“Probably too pretty to go out on a date with me”

I decided to wait to answer. My first reaction was, “why, what a manipulative bastard.” I did swipe right after all, so obviously I didn’t find him completely repulsive. I was annoyed but unsure. Was I overreacting? My answer came when he messaged me again less than an hour later, “Guess I was right, haha” he said. I didn’t answer. I decided that we were no longer on speaking terms, but a few days later he sent me yet another message, “Hey, are you still around?” I didn’t bother with a reply. “Silence speaks louder than words,” is becoming my Tinder moto.

The third category is called “I Just Want a Hot Pen Pal”. These guys just want to talk to strangers with no desire to actually meet anyone. Some of them even live far, far away.

Despite having my account on local settings, I somehow matched with a guy who lives in New York.

“So what’s the reason for Tinder he asked me after we finished with pleasantries.

“I’m looking for a relationship” I said. I feel stupider every time I write that line–I’m looking for a relationship. “What about you?” I asked.

“Just want to get to know people. And in that case I have to say that I live in New York City.”

After further inquiry, I found out that he was in fact at that very moment in New York. “So basically you just want to talk to strangers?” I tried to clarify.

“Yeah” He answered.

I tried to wrap my head around this. I hate texting strangers, and I don’t know why anyone would want to do it without the end goal of actually meeting the person. Also, in that case why just girls? What are you doing on the other end of the line?

Sometimes I try to be nice though, so I just typed back a quick “cool” and left it at that.

Yet another guy seemed pretty nice. We joked around a bit and talked about how photography gigs don’t pay enough. Eventually, I asked him what he was looking for on Tinder.

“I just wanted to see what all the hype was about” he answered, “You?”

Once again feeling stupid, I said that I was looking for a relationship.

“It’s even harder to find a good one of those than it is good photography gigs” He told me, “have you had any luck so far?”

I said no, only comedic insights.

“Care to share?” he asked.

“Mostly just bad pickup lines, like ‘ You write? Wow I’m sensing some 50 shades of grey style stuff here!’”

“I hope you gave him some props for that,” he joked, “or is BDSM not your style ;)?”

“Not my style, I’m thinking of joining a convent and our good Lord does not approve of violence.”

“By giving yourself to the lord you shall be set free,” he agreed. After that the conversation soon died down.

And our bonus category is “OMG, I know you!” I’ve had tinder for almost two weeks now and I’ve only run into one person that I know, but apparently it’s a thing.

After matching with this friend of mine, I sent him a message, “Jee, don’t you look familiar.”

“Lol, small world eh?”  he answered.

I agreed and complimented the funny quote that he had written on his profile.

“Haha, thanks yours too. Oh wait…” He replied making fun of my lack of any information what so ever on my profile.

“Silence Speaks louder than words,” I texted back.

“How’s that working out for you?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Guys need to go to school for how to woo a girl.”

“Haha”

“How are you liking tinderland?” I asked unable to quell my curiosity.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Girls need to go to school for how to woo a guy”

“You can always bond over makeup,” I joked because he’s involved in theatre and occasionally has to wear makeup.

“Oof, taking away my masculinity. That’s no way to my heart” He retorted, and I’m reminded of why I’m single–I have a very charming way with words.

“Sorry, I’ll make it better!!! Even when you wear makeup you look like man,” I amended.

“I’m swooning. Good save”

“Why, thank you”

Our conversation was the most fun that I’ve had on Tinder. After my adventures in Tinderland, I’ve come to the conclusion  that certain things, like lust, love and balls can’t be squished into a smart phone.