Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Clinton Factor

I know... I promised I wouldn't post unitl 2008... but its a slow day at my not for profit. Since November I sold out to the man (the man being Google) and have placed a Google ad on top of this blog. Why? Because I need stuff and I live so way beyond my means I'm this close to declaring Chapter 11. Save me... Google Ads will eventually make me some shekels by peddling my sorry social commentary, which I already do, so in WWSD mode - why give away for free what you can earn money off of.

I have a bet going with my friend Katherine re. the Google ads - if I make a hundred bucks by April 1st, I'll be buying us dinner at Le Paradis, if not - dinner is on her. So far - I've made $8.38 in just under two months, so people start clicking those ads: Katherine needs a sandwich.

Anyway - Google Ads work by scanning the verbage on your website and finding an appropriate match. Yesterday the Google ad was advertising a singles website (great, why don't you rub it in Google, who are you? Sima? "So - you aren't seeing anyone?" "No." "Really, no one?" "Nope." "Why not?" "I don't know."), which I would imagine would be connected to my increasingly depressing and public singledom. (Also another friend got engaged on Saturday so like... happy happy joy joy).

Today - however, takes the cake. The ad is for the New York Times special section on the Hilary Clinton Democratic Nomaination Campaign. How cool is that? It's almost like I'm connected to the Clinton's, maybe I'll get invited to the White House for Chrismukkah 2009! Me thinkey...

Anyway - click on the ad - Katherine wants moules... and I want a boyfriend.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hiatus?

Int - Faux Hill Starbucks


A young, twenty-something, female - JENNIFER, enters the Forest Hill Village Starbucks. She is wearing UGGs and a puffy coat. As soon as she enters the shop - her friend, JESSICA turns to greet her.

JENNIFER
Jessica - you're back from Dalhousie.
(beat)
You look amazing!

JESSICA
Thanks. Oh Jenn... My stats exam was awful. I think I failed.

The camera pans across the bustling coffee shop, focusing on:

STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE
Great - now the university kids will be back for Holidays.
(mimicking)
"Brenda - how was your semester?"

* * *

Good times obviously in Starbucks today but - it looks like this blog is on hiatus until 2008. The Rama (Yes - that Rama) is coming in for a visit avec girlfriend, and I'm throwing a Chrismukkah party. Plus let's face it - Faux Hill empties out over the next two weeks and decamps to Puerto Vallarta or Florida. So unless a major gossip outbreak occurs you'll have to wait until 2008 for class tales about twenty something upper middle malaise (and besides - this isn't a WASP blog - so I can't talk about waking up in Rosedale on Christmas eve and getting drunk while opening presents and being disappointed. "You got me an IPOD NANO? I asked for a real one, mother. Way to ruin Christmas and pass the champagne - I'm off to the Toronto Lawn").

2007 was quite the year, though... perhaps I'll do a year in review at some point if I get really bored at work.

Oh and more importantly thanks for reading. And to anyone I've offended - my apologies.

To quote the Rama: Toodles.

Doesn't Everyone Deserve a Little Bit of Cashmere?


Canada's most innovative not for profit - Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children (WSPTOTC) is pleased to announce its newest initiative. This winter will see the launch of "Doesn't Everyone Deserve a Little Bit of Cashmere?" a retail/agricultural social enterprise hybrid that will further our ability to help aimless upper middle class twenty something Canadians find meaning in their lives while also spreading Faux Hill's favourite fabric - cashmere - to those who need it most, migrant Argentinian child labourers.

Doesn't Everyone Deserve a Little Bit of Cashmere? [DEDALBOC] is the world's first social enterprise devoted almost entirely to the cultivation and marketing of cashmere. As a unique enterprise within WSPTOTC, DEDALBOC is at the forefront of the burgeoning social enterprise movement. A social enterprise is a certain type of not for profit that delivers on a triple bottom line: financial profit, social profit and environmental sustainability.

DODALBOC's two-pronged business model, emphasizes our mission statement: Through the cultivation of cashmere, we provide project management and international business experience for the underclass of Canadian youth and through employing local migrant workers we allow people who wouldn't normally be offered the opportunity to share the glory of cashmere.

The integrated manufacturing model works as follows:
1) The cashmere farm - Hacienda Cashmerio Los Potreros - to be developed in Argentinas, famed cattle ranching heartland, only an hour away from the colonial city of Cordoba, will be run by Canadian youths who are affiliated with WSPTOTC. An internship at our cashmere farm will provide the Canadian underclass with practical management and business experience.

The cashmere itself will be harvested and loomed by the children of a nearby village. Their small hands have the perfect mix of agility and nubileness to shorn and subsequently loom cashmere. Because of our reliance on youth labour, costs will also be significantly lower then traditional cashmere farms. The characteristics of Aregentian cashmere will also create a higher quality Cashmere product. Because of our integrated manufacturing model we can offer a higher quality, lower cost product that will be available at our very own retail store: Cashmere 4 You.

2) Come March we will be opening a Cashmere Retail Store - Cashmere 4 You - at Spadina and Lonsdale. The store, will feature our entire cashmere lifestyle line-up of products, including classic v-neck sweaters, cardigans and turtlenecks. Because of our close ties to Argentina we will also be featuring some innovative and unique cashmere products you won't be able to find elsewhere.

Including:
a) Favella blanket - Our favella blanket is modeled after the popular blanket that is used to keep migrant workers warm in their shanty towns. Modified for the Faux hill lifestyle and available in a variety of fashion colours - why not get the Favella Blanket for your loved one? Our favella blanket keeps you extra warm on those cold winter nights!

b) Guacho Cardigan - the gaucho cardigan is modeled after the traditional outfit of an Argentianian cattle rancher. Available in a wide variety of colours the Gaucho look is a post-modern take on the north American cardigan mixed with a traditional South American pauncho.

Furthermore whenever a purchase is made at Cashmere 4 You - you are also buying cashmere for the child workers. A full 10% of revenue is re-invested into the community's cashmere pool. This pool of money allows the community to then purchase cashmere sweaters, at cost, for themselves from the Cashmere Farm. Because of your support and the hard work of Canadian youths, the children of the region will be sleeping warm under cashmere lined blankets!

So come spring, why not buy something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the outside AND warm on fuzzy on the inside. After all, Doesn't Everyone Deserve a Little Bit of Cashmere?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Village Love

I have something a bit meatier to talk about - but that shit has got to wait for me to edit and alas I do have a job that sometimes requires me to work (odd - I know for those people who think I sit in my cubicle and stalk people on Facebook, which I do occassionally - especially if I've slept with you - then I probably obsessively look at your profile, even if we last had sex like two years ago, then I chuckle at potentially how fat you've gotten, or about how you started to dig chicks after we slept together nd then I wonder if I'm like toxic or something...) and so a little something more light-hearted for this aft.

But anyway - back to my mother, whom I love dearly, even if, our relationship is quite the Faux Hill mother/son stereotype.

"Why are you so neurotic?" A WASPY boyfriend, whose mother was so removed and cold I retrospectically liked her more then I liked her son, once asked me. "You've met my mother haven't you?" Was my reply.

In her sidetime, when she isn't working or cleaning out our basement in preparation for her move to Mexico (circa 2012), Sim Sim Sima does a fair bit of neighbourhood Faux Hillary schmoozing. Of our neighbours her favourite family is probably the Ming Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty does something that makes them a lot of money and live in a large house down the street from us. Sim Sim Sima doesn't realize that they are quite famous Toronto celebrity types - she just thinks their house is really nice and she knows they have a lot of money, which impresses her. "They have Frette linen tablecloths!" More importantly, they have a daughter. A younge, pretty, daughter who will inhereit the Ming Dynasty.

"I was over at Becca's house last night." Becca being the daugther. "Such a lovely girl. So well raised. So well mannered."
"Yes mom..."
"She's always asking how you're doing. I think she has a little crush on you."
"Tell her I like penis."
"Still not interested, not a bit? She's really beautiful."
"Nope."
"You wouldn't have to work."
"I wouldn't be happy."
"But you're single now anyway... Why don't you just try?"

And so it continues and I wonder why Sim Sim Sima doesn't spend more time at Upper Canada trying to find me a nice little gaygetz who wants to go to law or medical school? Will fuck for food. I also make a mean spaghetti sauce, and give a pretty solid BJ. All solid selling points. But whatever... I'm digressing.

To wit - my friend Laura wants me to marry our mutual friend whom I'll call Frizzle. Frizzle is a lesbian. She's also Jewish. We're both Gews, gay jews... so its perfect, right?
"She grew up in Cederville, you grew up in Forest Hill. It's perfect. Love across Bathurst."
"But we're both gay."
"You'll please your parents though..."
"What are we going to do - express our vows over a rainbow coloured scruntchie?"
"Please. Hair scruntchie's - what is this 1996?"

So the question is this - to what extent are boys of the Village willing to go to please their mothers? Or perhaps is the question moot; as I told mom how I did on my GMAT's, she voiced: "maybe you should re-write it - you can probably do better." But really... that's how I know she loves me :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Holiday Greeting from the Prime Minister



Dear Village Resident!

Friends, or should I say Chavarim!

Take me to your leader! Oh wait - that's me!

Happy Hanukkah. As part of my party's multi-cultural outreach policy as devised by Secrety of State (Minister of Multi-Culturalism) Jason Kenney (or as his homies call him: Yusaf Abdul Cohen), the MP from the very multi-cultural riding of Calgary South-East, I have targeted your house and your neighbourhood (Faux Hill) as potentially voter rich with "ethnic" swing support. I know what you're thinking - ethnic? me? "But Steve- I'm about as white as you can get." In fact the only ethnic person you probably know is your nanny, but she's of no use to me until you free her from the bonds of indentured servitude (who cares about landed immigrants - not me!). But back to you - because this really is all about you: the residents of Forest Hill. It has been brought to my attention that the Jewish people and their support of the Conservative Part of Canada and our pro-Israeli policy is very important to my political future; and by proxy, subsequently the future of Canada.

Kenney (who isn't gay, FYI so, let's stop the rumours - he's from Calgary - there aren't any gay people in Calgary) has let me know that today is Hanukkah, or Chanukkah. And boy do you guys confuse me with your multiple word spellings... I wasn't quite sure what Hanukkah was so I decided to watch a couple of episodes of the OC with Laureen and the kids (what a precipitous decline after Season 1, eh?). That scrawny yid tried to explain this festival as something about a miracle involving some Macabees and oil... not sure what the miracle is about oil - guess the Macabees had never heard about all that oil due East of Jerusalem? I do, however, understand the plight of the Macabees - too much oil increased commodity exports from Temple Mount which then raised the value of the Shekel on the international market, crippling Tel Aviv's burgeoning manufacturing economy. History, shall we say, continues to repeat itself. Matitiyahu - I empathize...

But let me tell you about the real meaning of Hanukkah... which, as I explained to Heather Reisman last night as we lit the first candle and then played dreidel on the floor of her "Dreidel Spinning Room" as Gerry sang along to Peter Paul and Mary's 'Light one Candle' (he is quite the barritone, I'll have you know, but also don't bet against Heather, lost me many a shekel last night) - the real miracle of Hanukkah is that my government - Canada's New Government (we're still New until the decree comes from my office to change that) - has lasted as long as it has. Be it ineffective opposition leadership from Celine, economically dubious tax cuts and inefficient policies from yours truly - seems like nobody can hold us down. Certainly not Antiochus and certainly not that asshole and my former mentor, the Chin who Shall not be Named (cough cough Brian Mulroney cough cough - Laureen! I think I'm choking on a piece of Hanukkah gelt).

But I am digressing from the point of this letter, and I know, I know, you're all busy eating potato pancakes, or latke's (see how down a white kid from Etobicoke is? I'm so down with the current residents of Etobicoke that they call me Harp-izzle), so let's get to the kosher meat of the matter. As we head into the New Year some of you may once again be thinking of voting Liberal in the on again, off again Spring election. With certain threats of corruption and mismanagement being leveled at my government, all of my hard work at convincing you. I'd like to leave you with one final thought on why you should continue to support me and by proxy the Conservative Party of Canada.

Vote for Steve! He understands your needs!

Oh and I'm just saying, perhaps, we shouldn't listen to Karl Schreiber - threatened with extradition back to the Reich - yes, that would be Germany... Hope my point is as clear as the water in the Dead Sea...

With that - I wish you a very Happy Hanukkah. Looks like Laureen is making me latke's for dinner, yummers!

Heil Harper

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Fit Gone Bad

A boyfriend once, after we broke up, had the pleasure of telling me: "listen - its not like I cheated on you." I suppose one has to commend someone for their brutal honesty in the situation, ie, if we stayed together - I WOULD have cheated on you...

I spent Monday night at the Avenue Bar at the Four Seasons with a couple of friends and a wealthy financier... again I work for a not for profit and to quote the pretty, but less intelligent man who sometimes shares my bed: if you work for a not for profit - how do they pay you? [sigh... ]

But back to the Four Seasons, where really... every Faux Hillary likes to play, or at least have their Bat Mitzvah. And so as I sat on a couch eating free cashews and cheese doodles, wondering if my visa was going to be declined upon paying for a Tanqueray Ten martini, I ended up thinking about Fit.

Remember Fit? How your average Faux Hillary likes to find a mentsh or maidel who "fits" the bill. I looked at Fit as an inherent positive... part of the building block that creates a strong relationship. Fit = values, shared friends, background and when planning a life together - Fit makes sense.

So the negative aspect of Fit? Proceed with caution - the following are tales of Fit gone bad.

As I pranced through the Avenue bar the other day - telling Forest Whitaker that I thought his portrayal in the Last King of Scotland was tear worthy - I ended up passing by a table wherein sat an old Friend of Bold (FOB). This Friend of Bold, recently engaged to her high-falutin husband, was sitting, or to quote the gossip rags, canoodling with a very attractive thing in a darkened corner of the bar. I stopped for pleasantries, natch, and introductions. Faux Hillary meet Steven. Steven meet Faux. As the Friend of Bold turned to order another round for her and the dude I innocently struck up a conversation prodding for a bit of information.
"Where'd you meet FOB?"
"Oh around." [That'a lie, everyone knows where they meet people].
"Interesting, do you know her fiance?"
"Of course. We play golf together."
"That's nice. And you work in?"
"Real estate equity. I actually live out in Oakville with my wife and two kids, but often work late, so I have a condo right at Bay and Bloor."
"I love real estate equity!" FOB had ordered by now and after catching up quickly with her on the wedding plans [purple brides maid dresses?! Love it!] I left to relieve myself in the bathroom. Where you may ask is FOB's fiance? Mr. FOB is a globe-trotting executive and Faux Hill success story who is very often in New York City or Washington, leaving FOB to decorate the uptown mansion and play with her burgeoning career in event planning. All things being said though - Fob and Mr. FOB work quite well together - friends from university, they have many mutual friends and in fact they grew up two blocks apart. FOB's mother in law knew FOB's mother from high school. With the exception of FOB spending an evening at Real Estate Equity's condo - not to jump to conclusions, but come on! - it appears as if they Fit the bill. I guess, a question, for FOB - if you were really happy with your fiance -would you spend an average Monday evening canoodling at the Avenue Bar?

Which leads us to cautionary Faux Hill tale of Fit numero duo. Meet Jessica and David. David is the son of a very very well known Faux Hill family. David is one of the loveliest people I know. Literally. David has been groomed to take over his father's business and is dating his beloved high school girlfriend Jessica. David, you might argue is living the Faux Hill dream.

Yet.. everyone hates Jessica. Why? Funny you should ask... its probably because, while in law school at Western, Jessica was known to fuck every and anything that moved. So why keep the boyfriend and spread your legs for everyone this side of Richmond Ave? It appears as if for Jessica the status of dating the finest dauphin in the Faux is too much to give up, and for David, albeit lovely, likes the idealized image of his relationship.

It all boils down to Fit darling... only this time - Fit's gone bad.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tales from Papa Len

My favourite part about the Village - is its sense of entitlement. People actually walk the place like they own the world. They don't. They own a slice of land that's over-valued and ripe for the current real-estate bubble to burst. Sadly with that bubble goes my inheritance. So to my dearest readers in Dubai - please continue to buy condo's in Toronto and drive up real estate prices thus ensuring that the Faux Hillary's paper worth continues to rise exponentially, merci...

Over at wespawnedboldsharon.blogspot.com Papa Len has recently argued the same thesis. Papa Len, who I'll have you all know, does most of the shopping at Two-Fer found himself over the weekend at our local Loblaws - or as its officially called, "The Village Market". In times of strife Villagers like to support their own [we're like the mob] and currently Faux Hillary's are rallying around Galen Weston Jr. (or G2) who is having quite the time turning around his families storied Loblaws Supermarket chain, which is facing severe competition from Wal Mart (tasteless nouveu riche southerners). While some may argue that the job is not quite fair for young G2 (best known for starting Toronto's snobbish Spoke Club). In comparison his sister Alannah got given a cushy job at Selfridges (in London) while G2 got stuck shilling organic apples. Wonder what G2 did to piss of Hils?

But back to Papa Len - and his weekend foray down to the Village market. As he deftly manouvered his way around the various beauties of the Village and their bugaboo stroller's, he couldn't help but notice the Village's sense of entitlement in action. Hark! In the distance - your typical Faux Hill Mummy and her child. Mother looks a tad frantic - as she thinks to herself: "I can't believe the nanny quit - I am so out of my league. We are NOT at the Yoga studio anymore..." Mother continues to look ashen as contemplates which groceries to buy, while her daugther begins to cry. Apparently the kid is hungry.

So what does your typical Village mummy do? Ever resourceful our Faux Hillary grabs a clementine from a box, peels it and gives it to her daugther. Problem solved... too bad she didn't buy the rest of the box. Why pay for something when you get it for free?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Village Faygeleh's

Faygelleh - Yiddish for bird. Also Yiddish for homo's.

~

I was at a party recently when someone asked me, "So why'd you wait so long to come out?"

Publically I didn't come out until my fourth year of university... I decided, after I spent the summer fooling around with the stock boy at the Gap, that I was indeed a proud member of the population that is 10% more fabulous then the rest of you. Truthfully I had probably known I was gay a couple of years earlier when I discovered the internet and gay porn... meh. I'm sure this came as no shock to anyone who knew me, so the whole ordeal was the big snoozer of the 2004 gossip circuit. Miriam Abromowitz's new bangs got more coverage at David's by Day then my Coming Out party did, swear.

Sometimes I think I have no clue why I waited "for so long" to come to terms my faggotry; especially when I probably could have come out in high school and found myself a nice Uptown WASP [I went to a whitey public high school] to take to the formal instead of my then girlfriend, who was christened with the awful nickname, Fuckily Screwberg. Fuckily subsequently went a bit crazy after high school and decamped to Vancouver (not that I think her crazyness had ANYTHING to do with me. No seriously).

And on top of my progressive high school education Sim Sim Sima and Papa Len are loving, amazing and supportive parents. Papa Len - like the good father that he is - drove me to the airport the morning after I spilled tears on the granite kitchen island telling my folks I was a big homo, handed me my school bag, gave me a hug and said, "Nothings changed son, nothings changed." Then he asked if I needed any money and slipped me $40.00 bucks while my mother was pre-occupied sending emails on her Blackberry (WWSD, always)...

So with supportive parents, a supportive, albeit BOLD sister (you're playing safe, right?), and the best friends money could never buy, why'd I wait? The answer - I'd argue has nothing to do sexuality and has everything to do with the inadvertent pressures my generation and class have placed on ourselves to become idealized version of successful citizenry.

Like many kids of the Village, both gay and straight, I had imbued myself with an incredible vision of what I needed to accomplish in order to be successful. And truthfully being gay didn't fit into the equation - the same way that being a teacher doesn't fit into this pre-conceived nature of success either. My next door neighbour once pulled me aside at a dinner party and as we discussed my future life path [nothing like a fifty your old swilling red wine in the corner of your living room telling you that you should fuck everything you can], where she admitted, "ya know what? You don't have to live like this..." (And by like this she meant centre-hall mansion, mortgage and European car in the driveway.) True - but what if I did want to live like that?

This same sense of hyper competitiveness is what brought about a teary phone call from my Jess last week. Jess is a smart, pretty and successful 26 year-old (if anyone is looking for a nice Jewish girl... I can hook it up); girl has a MBA for example, so certainly she's not going to be living in a van down by the river, ya know? However Jess called me wondering why she felt like such a loser. Because at 26 - she wasn't married, like her mom was at 23, nor did she own a house. Sure these may seem unreasonable goals to most, but in the social circle of Village kids, Jess' version of her life, while an unreasonable goal to many - was a holy grail to her. In fact she'd made herself sick over being a 26 year-old single girl with a MBA.

Only in the Village is this life a disaster... and yet I totally understood her plight. So I ask you if this apparent inferiority complex is the plight of your average Faux Hillary - what happens to one who happens to like penis when he shouldn't?

Someone once called me a class traitor - and today - that line perhaps holds true - as I trade out both a member of my own class and sexual orientation, with a full scale blind item. But I mean what's a gossip column without a blind item?

I happened to run into one of the Village's finest, Ben, over the weekend. Ben comes from a lovely old-school Village family. Father does something that makes a lot of money (doctor, lawyer, or maybe an accountant) and the mother is well known for selling fake Louis Vuitton's out of her basement. Sure she doesn't make much - but now that the kids are grown up and the nanny's paying off her RRSP contributions with continued employment - girl has to do something, right?

But back to Ben. Oh Ben... Ben is a very attractive metrosexual with a loving girlfriend who he's been dating throughout his tenure at university. I hadn't seen him for years until I ran into him last year when we were both on winter vacation with our parents. As we stood in a Mexican bar, awkwardly, Ben just looked at me and said, "I wonder what my girlfriend is doing now?" It was he was making a Tom Cruise esque point - Ben is a virile heterosexual man with a girlfriend he cares about.

The problem with this lovely portrait (and I know people are already picturing a nice, tatsteful wedding at Beth Tzedic, Mazel Tov to the parents etc...) - Ben used to fuck my good friend. Oh and did I mentioned that the friend Ben fucked was a guy? And I'm pretty sure it wasn't one of those, "I'm just experimenting" phases. It was prolonged... and continued, to the point that every school break Ben and my friend could be caught necking in a parked Mercedes at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre parking lot (can you get any more wrong then that?).

So why the blind item, I mean who I am to judge Ben?

That's a tenuous one isn't it... on one hand I can completely commiserate with hating the concept of being gay. Lord knows it took me years to come to terms with own sexuality and I still see myself struggle on certain days with accepting aspects of my 'other' culture. And it still forms a large part of my relationships with potential mates - being gay is always an odd elephant in the room. Admitting your sexuality even with supportive parents and friends is a bitch at best. Admitting your sexuality when you've grown up in a heteronormative culture where you've pressured YOURSELF to become a successful and virile contributor to the Zionist cause is that much harder.

But back to dear Jess - who called me back feeling a lot better. I felt that it was time to bring up the Gatsby clause of life.
"The Gatsby clause?" she asked.
"Don't waste your life chasing the American dream," I said, "as I fished out my dog-eared copy of the Great Gatsby, to quote: 'Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further . . . And one fine morning- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.'"

But the real truth for people like Ben, myself and Jess (straight, gay or bisexual)? The truth that you have to remind yourself before you go crazy - Success, be it in the Village or elsewhere, gay or straight - is yours to define. So define it well and define it so it makes you happy - don't chase the green light. Gatsby got shot remember and Ben's probably engaged to be married...

Perhaps its time to organize a Faux Hill Village Pride Parade? Sim Sim Sima would make a great Grand Marshall don't ya think? I'm just not sure if she can find a rainbow coloured sweater set at Talbots. Shucks!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Retail Queens

Dateline - Yorkville

After a lovely lunch on Saturday with a suitably caustic friend of mine - we found ourselves walking around my Third Village (the Faux and Gay being the two more predominant ones). As we sauntered round the Hugo Boss store - we couldn't help but laugh at the "street team" which had been hired to breakdance in front of The Boss's Yorkville boutique. I mean nothing says: "come on in and buy a suit" like a team of breakdancers right?

"You realize," my friend observed, "the dancers have upped the racial diversity of Yorkville by like 400%."
"Ah yes - Yorkville - where the only black people are employees."
"Maybe these are the 'exotic' kids who will be accepted to Upper Canada on scholarship?"
"One can only hope."

After much amusement we went on to the Cashmere Shop, where I contemplated whether or not I needed a new hat. The answer: undoubtedly yes, but WWSD? What Would Sima Do - she wouldn't buy herself a cashmere hat, in fact at our last garage sale she admonished a family friend who selling cashmere scarves for $1.00...

As I was about to leave the shopkeeper stopped me: "You look familiar."
"McGill?" I asked.
"Yes - you were in my class."
"I was your teacher." No - I wasn't, but I do like to re-use jokes from those infamous late eighties Oil of Olay commercials whenever I can. All of us had a good chuckle at Bugsy Brown's expense.

"So what are you up to now?" I asked in a very Faux Hill manner. In Toronto, or at least in certain parts of this city, asking a distant acquaintance what they're doing is the default question, judgmental undertones be damned.

Why is this? Well... in certain circles in Toronto [white, upper middle class] you are what you do.

"I actually own this place."
"Oh." Secretly I had been hoping that my newfound nemesis with her McGill Sociology degree would be working retail while figuring "herself out". Was not expecting this curveball. SHE OWNS A STORE?!! I don't even own a house and my Seven for all Mankind Jeans are looking worse for wear and on top of that I'm pretty sure that people don't even wear Seven's anymore...
"My father opened it a couple of years ago and I took it over when I came back from Montreal. He spends most of the year traveling in India sourcing the best cashmere. You?"
"Uhm... I work for a not for profit."
"Neat."

The good or bad news depending on your vantage is that the Cashmere Shop is NOT an isolated incident. In fact for your average uptown graduate of Havergal or Branksome Hall minding shop is the new black. While our grandparents may have worked their asses off to ensure that their progeny would never have to work the schmatta trade down on Spadina subsequently pushing a generation of pre-Faux Hillary's into professional degrees (thereby allowing them move to the Faux and BECOME the Faux Hillary's they are today) the latest trend round the Village is to help your daughter establish her own jewelry business, retail establishment, or online boutique. This is for some reason a gender specific trend.

Witness a friend of a friend called Buffy. Buffy "the Holts Now or Never Saler" (see what I did there?) recently started up her own jewelery line. Buffy Wear is an "affordable yet stylish collection of costume jewelery designed by Buffy." Buffy believes that jewlery should be FUN! and AFFORDABLE! and STYLISH! I found myself on Buffy's website the other day at work, mouth aghast at what this former singer, actor, dancer was up to. The tagline: "its all about who you're wearing" - speaks to establishment glee and while the jewelery designs are nothing special - my friends grandmother makes nicer beaded necklaces from the Hazelton Lanes Retirement House arts and crafts department - Buffy appears to be making a go of it.

Meh - who am I to judge - at least Buffy gave up her nascent singer, songwriter career.

Mind the store folks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Challah-back Girls

I'm sure some of you are wondering what is happening with Village Nights - the musical I'm writing about the Village. Well... with the musical revival train a chugging and with Andrew Lloyd Webber not getting any younger - I'm still working on my opus. David Mirvish - call me? We'll do lunch!?

When we last left our hero and heroine [Joshua Goldenstein & Jessica Sternberg] - they were singing love songs from their respective perches at the corner of Spadina and Lonsdale. But all is not well round the Faux: right before intermission we learn that our hero's ex girlfriend - the evil shiksa Taylor McMaster - has returned from Neuchetel Boarding School in Switzerland only to discover that Joshua has his eyes on a girl from the "poor" side of the tracks. Taylor is hell-bent on getting back her mentsch and she'll stop at nothing to prove her love for Josh's kosher sausage. (Too far?)

In the following scene - Taylor warns Jessica to stay away from her man and that unlike her she isn't a "Challah back" girl. Taylor assumes that Joshua is attracted to her because of Shiksappeal. Snap. You could say that Jessica's messy bus is about to get even messier.

Challah-back Girl

Uh huh, this is my Gucc
All the JAPS stomp your feet like this

A few times I've been around the Faux
So it's not like you're the only Village pro.
But I ain't no Challah-back girl
I ain't no Challah-back girl[x2]

Ooooh ooh, this my Gucc, this my Gucc[x4]

I heard that you were talking Yiddish
And you didn't think that I would understand it
People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fahklempt
So I'm ready to attack, gonna lead the pack
Gonna get a Frapuchino, gonna spill it on you you
That's right, put your lattes downs, getting everybody fired up

A few times I've been around that Faux
So it's not like you're the only Village pro.
But I ain't no Challah-back girl
I ain't no Challah-back girl[x2]

Ooooh ooh, this my Gucc, this my Gucc[x4]

So that's right bitch, meet me at the Starbucks
No yoga mummy's, or philipino nannies
Both of us want to be with that mentsch, but there can only be one
So I'm gonna fight, gonna give it my all
Gonna take your uggs, gonna sock them to you
That's right I'll be the one under that chuppah, another yid bites the dust

A few times I've been around the Faux
So it's not like you're the only Village pro.
But I ain't no challah-back girl
I ain't no challah-back girl[x2]

Ooooh ooh, this my Gucc, this my Gucc[x4]

Let me hear you say: don't go east of Spadina
S-P-A-D-I-N-A
(Don't go east of Spadina)
(S-P-A-D-I-N-A)

Again
Don't go east of Spadina
S-P-A-D-I-N-A
(Don't go east of Spadina)
(S-P-A-D-I-N-A)

A few times I've been around the Faux
So it's not like you're the only Village pro.
Because I ain't no challah-back girl
I ain't no challah-back girl[x2]

Ooooh ooh, this my Gucc, this my Gucc[x4]

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Power of Coach

Coach, the American luxury retailer is opening a new store on Bloor Street. Thanks G-d. This will be their third store in Toronto after opening in Yorkdale and the Eaton Centre.

Bloor Street, the Mink Mile and surrounding Yorkville is the Faux Hillary's favourite place to shop (unless you're a recent mummy - then you park your SUV in the specially designated spots for new mothers at Yorkdale and parade your bugaboo around like no one's business). Walk into Over the Rainbow on any given Saturday and you'll wonder if you're actually at a Camp Walden reunion or in a retail establishment. (A bit of both actually). Over at TNT Blu the question is not which Ron Herman Love.Nature.Life hoodie you need, but if you need the matching pants (if you have to ask, the answer is most definately yes).

But beyond your True Religion Jeans and c+c cotton t-shirt what I'm here to talk about today is accessories. The defacto luxury brand of choice for the Faux Hillary is Coach. You really aren't anybody at the corner of Spadina and Lonsdale sans Coach acoutremont. What did Bold, par example, get for her birthday? A Coach wallet. And as we all know Bold DOES NOT FUCK AROUND.

So why the pervasive affinity for this Americana luxury brand? Price-point? Quality of crafstmanship? Or... is that the Hebrew word for power is Co-ach? Coincidance or conspiracy.

Well - I'm off to read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Nothing like a little right reading on Friday.

Friday, October 19, 2007

In-Bred and In Bed...

They say the downfall of empire is often in-breeding.

Thankfully Prince Harry is a big homo and we're getting married, subsequently injecting some adopted Malawian blood into the stagnant Windsor bloodline. If Liz thought her annus horribilis was the year when Chuck and Di got divorced, bitch ain't seen nothing yet.

But back to more important things... like Sim Sim Sima. As you are all probably well aware, mom is deep into the stage of life I like to call: the Baby Boomer Dispersal. Boomers, who have spent their entire lives consuming everything from LP's to Video Casettes to antique tea cups, are now in complete luddite mode, downsizing their lives from centre hall mansions to pied a tierre's in Yorkville - and in the process ditching all of the crap consumed over the years that have filled various dens, finished basements and mud rooms. Sima is no exception. In fact I'd say her life is currently consumed with an obsession about getting rid of her "stuff". We once had a garage sale where I found her selling dollar store candy trays (thankfully they were on sale for a buck... although I aruged that they were only a dollar because of current price parity with mom's home currency - the greenback). Come over the two-fer, you'll probably leave with a candy dish and cake stand.

This is good news for Bold and myself. We each now own silver serving platters; one less thing to tick off my list of things to consume (IPOD - $229, jeans - $300, cashmere sweater - $250, silver crockery - low low cost of free). Family heilooms have been split relatively evenly between Bold and myself. Anything we both want is usualy split over your typical Friday night dinner:

Bold: I'll trade you the grandfather clock for the Chaggal print?
Me: No way sister. That painting is key to me finding a husband...
Bold: How so?
Me: It's my dowery. How do you think I attract gay men?
Bold: Sex?
Me: No. Art.
Bold: Maybe that's why you're single. [I may be paraphrasing Bold here... but she's so Bold that she would say something like that, in fact, she once told me, "you've dated three gay men from McGill history - none of them have worked, maybe its time to move on? And besides - how many more gay man are there who are graduates of the History deparment?" Girl has a point. If anyone knows a University of Toronto history graduate - please send them my way.]

Papa Len finds the whole thing a bit distasteful and instead spends most of the time making faces at his grandson who is too innocent to realize what is truly going on while planning his getaway lifestyle in AJewJew Mexico.

As for one of the bigger prizes of mom's stuff - fine china - Bold got the good set, leaving me to placate my wounds with a particularly nice cake tray. This is fine by me because most of the boys who have dumped me have generally used the following terminology: "you're ready to register for china, I'm not." Well... wouldn't you know - the joke, the joke is on them as this weekend mom offered a consolation prize: apparently - she has incomplete set of china that she'd like her fag son to have. Huzzah!

So dearest M-Bomb, the Rama, O-Fag, the water polo player, the investment banker and other various men I've collected along the way: I'm not ready to register for a china pattern - I come with one! (gold platted too, so suck on that).

Where I am going with this? Oh right... in breeding. When you grow up in the Faux and you realize you want to stay there - you wind up looking for someone who's going to bring china to the table. Get it? This is a particularly awful realization to come to terms with (Am I that materialistic... the answer probably is yes?), when you're an ardent romantic like myself. But to quote a good friend in describing her current boyfriend, "you want someone who fits." And people who fit often have things like cottages in Muskoka and or raised minten Royal Crown Derby serving dishes. Fit is a nice word for saying, "I won't feel awkward about talking about my possessions, private school education, trust fund and or lululemon pants." Love round the village isn't just about your heart, its also about your pocket book.

This desire to find a mate who "fits" makes total sense and this is why - when I look around my circle of Faux Hill friends - I realize that everyone has a) fucked each other b) is fucking each other c) will fuck each other d) will fuck each other over and e) will fuck each other over until they'll decide to get married (most people fall into category e) on the multiple choice that is your LSAT test of your life).

I was recently at a big birthday party for a couple of private schooled girlfriends: the Blackout Party. Everyone wore black and there were masks floating about; it was pretty darn fabulous. For most of the night I sat with my ex boyfriend on a banquet seat, wondering when we let things get so awkward... Didn't we used to really like hanging out with each other? After making a complete fool of myself ("please come home with me... I just want to lie in bed with you and cuddle..." and here's a tip for other gay men reading this blog - don't say things like that - gay men aren't sensitive, no matter how many cliches have sprouted from Sex and the City and Will and Grace). With tail tucked between legs I promptly left (before more harm was done, like dropping the L word, in a drunken last ditch manoeuver); however, before I could extricate myself from the party a distant acquaintance - Krista - stopped me at the door.

"You and M aren't still together?" she asked.
"No."
"But you still like him? I can tell."
"Yes. He just doesn't want to be in a relationship." [codeword for: I'm just not that into you...]
"Well... I just want to let you know that I waited five years for Ted (her current boyfriend) to be ready. I know it sucks because you watch them hook up with other people and its really hurtful, but in the end it all worked out - and our relationship is amazing now. Don't give up. Wait. I know everyone will tell you to move on; don't." While riding back to my apartment alone in a cab, I contemplated her AWFUL advice and the later as I sat in my bathroom crying... (I'm a sensitive lad) I thought... if I was indeed over the ex, I wouldn't be sitting on the ikea rug in tears, now would I?

So why did Krista wait for Ted? Because - they were part of an extended Faux Hill social circle. The long term prognosis for they're relationship, at least on paper made perfect sense... too bad it took five years and a lot of tears for it to actually happen.

I called up Kelly the other day to let her know that Holt was coming with me to the Blackout party.
"You invited him?"
"Yes."
"Why?"
"Because..."
"Well he can't come."
"Why?"
"Because Ashleigh is going to be there."
"So what's the problem?"
"Holt has been sleeping with her for the past year and its getting awkward. Her mom hates him."
"He's sleeping with Ashleigh? But wasn't he dating that girl - what's her face? The one from Sudbury or something?"
"Yes. Jessica. But in between all of his other girlfriends, he calls up Ashleigh and professes his undying love for her."
"How the fuck was I supposed to know this? I can barely keep track of who I'm sleeping with let alone who Holt is sleeping with - is there a blog maybe? PeopleHoltHasFucked.blogspot.com?"

Mark my words - two years from now - I'll be trolling gay.com/ Jdate looking for a boyfriend to take with me to the Holt/Ashleigh nuptuals at the Rosedale Golf and Country Club. They may not be perfect - but they fit.

And that's Love in the village for you. For your average Village resident, who is too busy working and or partying - who has time to integrate someone into your group of friends? And on top of it - life is so precarious for your average Faux Hillary (will I be able to move back into the Village?) that inevitably there is safety in numbers. Remember - its frightening to be 25 and trying to cobble together a pseudo establishment life for yourself. When you're busy re-arranging chairs on the titanic (as the great white establishment elite clings to whatever sense of power it has left in this city) - you ain't dating outside the tribe.

Remember the wise words of Sim Sim Sima: "Your father dated that shiksa nurse. And then he married me. He knew what he wanted and he wanted what he knew." The shitty rotten truth that no one admits: love (and I'm a victim of this myself) isn't just about looks or sexual chemistry - but love in the Vilage - is about the fact that you have 35 mutual friends on Facebook. In breeding is so hot right now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Quotable Quotes

New season, new series... this year I'm starting a new Quotable Quotes section... get fucking excited. I'll recount various tales of Faux Hillarty through conversation snippets. This way... if you're ever in the Village and are worried about things to talk about as you eat a spa salad at David's you can simply use the following conversation starters and pretend like you're an insider. Don't thank me now - thank me later.

Village Hair Care:
"I think my hair is turning gray."
"Apparently my step-mom's colourist is amazing."

Next Generation
"Have you met his so and so's [mega-millionaire] son?"
"Yes. He's doing a victory lap at university."
"So you're saying he's not the tallest tree in the forest."

Clothing
"I'm looking for a new apartment. I'm thinking I need a two-bedroom."
"But you're only one person?"
"25 years of living in Forest Hill. I need a bedroom for my clothes."

Friday, October 12, 2007

When a Faux Hillary Votes...

It's Britney Bitch.

No it isn't! It's the Faux Hillary.

Anyway... there was a pretty boring provincial election recently. You probably didn't notice because really... we all have better things to do with our time; like contemplate kitchen renovations [crown moulding?], book winter vacations, listen to Once More With Feeling (the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical) or stalk ex boyfriends on Facebook. Know what I'm saying?

And really what more is to say about Dalton McGuinty that hasn't already been said? The Connies once called him a Kitten Killer, I ask how can the Faux Hillary come up with a zinger, zingier then that? Honestly, I can't. While the election itself was inherently dull there was one hot spot. Upper Canada Old Boy (see previous post) John Tory, head of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (not to be confused with the federal Conservative party, boo hiss, Stephen Harper), promised that, if elected, he would offer public funding to private religious schools. This set off a maelstorm of discussion and created a perfect storm for the McGuinty Liberals, which intelligently rode the "John Tory is going to destroy public education, create a class based society, and ruin our only one true national motif - mutliculturalism" without having to lift a finger. To be a provincial Liberal right now... is to laugh. Laugh your cares away.

The Village, bucolic and peaceful, is part of St Paul's riding. St Paul's contains the Faux as well as a couple of high-rise blocks around Yonge and Eglinton and a bit of the multi-ethnic St Clair and Bathurst. Although the riding is statistically diverse, the riding is overwhelmed by Village interests. The riding is traditionally known as a bell-weather riding. Bell-weather ridings are sorta like the town whore; they support whomever is in charge. No surprise really... the well healed like to back a winning team.

For most of my life the Faux has gravitated towards the Liberal Party. In part this is because for a large chunk of my life the country has been a federal Liberal bastion (And save for the Common Sense revolution - Liberal provincially as well). Idealistically however the Faux is also a Liberal bullwark. Liberals, considered friends of Israel (not to be confused with me - I'm a friend of Dorothy), with their middle of their road politics, have long-since represented Canadian Jewish ideals, probably since the Yids decamped from Kensington Market and made their way up Bathurst St to the land of Forests and Hills.

To quote Dylan - the times they are a changing.

When walking up to synagogue to vote the other day (irony is not lost on me that the electoral proceedings took place at a synagogue...) I happened to notice an overwhelming number of blue, John Tory's conservative (remember the distinct branding, Boo Hiss Stephen Harper) signs. Now any political hack will tell you that the sign war means very little, yet I found the proliferation of Conservative signs was very very telling... there is a sort of public rumbling within some circles that the Jewish vote, long-since Liberally inclined, is migrating to other pastures. Certainly in the current provincial election there was feeling that with Tory's pledge to fund religious schools the Jewish vote would move en masse to the Liberals. In fact one of the key movers behind the push for private school funding is the Jewish community and Jewish oganizations. The Faux is something like 50% yid...

At the Rosh Hashana dinner table a couple of weeks ago my aunt, long-time Liberal, admitted that it was hard to not want to vote conservative, when she has long been an advocate for religious school funding. Papa Len (who cried more tears when I came-out as a Liberal, then when I announced my faggotry) laughed and said, "looks like you'll be joining me on the blue team."

Federally, the Jewish vote is even more precarious. The Liberals are no longer seen quite as friendly to Israel, what with Stephen "I'm a Mentsh" Harper professing his love for all things Israeli, [Harpers continued condemnation of Hamas scores big points]; while the Liberals are seen as 'soft' in their support in Israel. The Conservative's unflinching support of Israel's war against Lebanon last summer, which was domestically panned, scored big points amongst Jewish voters, while Michael Ignatief's Qana flip flop on war crimes during the Liberal Leadership campaign further alienated long-time Liberals, including power-couple Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz as well as the wife of Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice, also publically switched her allegiences.

I'm not going to bother getting into my thoughts on the private school funding issue, or how I feel about Israeli politics (as viewed from the murky lens of the diaspora)... that isn't the point. What I find interesting, when I see the continued proliferation of Tory signs come election time, is actually a bit more worrisome. But are Canadian Jews so finicky that their political support rests entirely on Jewish causes? From a purely objective standpoint I gotta say it makes it look like the Jewish vote is solely defined by religion. I find that problematic, non?

Bet you didn't see this one coming?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

In the Village Charity Begins... at Upper Canada


I apologize, its Thanksgiving weekend and I’m feeling just about the opposite of light-hearted. Giving thanks for all of my Lululemon pants and Gucci purses sure is tiring! Next week I’ll regale with tales from a high society party, but this weekend all you’ve got is caustic social commentary. Sorry kids...

It was in the late Victorian Age that the modern concept of charity first arose in England. After the reformation of the Poor Law in the mid 1840’s hundreds of Victorian charity assications were established with the intent of providing temporary relief to those who were down on their luck. Charity was according to Beatrice Webb, an early British philanthropist, "distinctly advantageous to us to go amongst poor... contact with them develops on the whole our finer qualities, disgusting us with our false and worldly application of men and things and educating in us a thoughtful benevolence." [Pay attention to that quote, k?]

The concept of charity was further refied In America’s Gilded Age as middle class progressive reformers lead the charge for social justice and general equality. Upton Sinclair's The Jungle took Webb's mantra [of going amongst the poor] a step further, by exposing the disgusting conditions of Chicago's meat packing distric with muckraking gusto. Along with other progressive reformers Sinclair and Roosevelt were instrumental in the passage of America's Pure Food and Drug Act.

In post-Millenial Toronto whom do we have leading the charge of charity? Who is promoting populism? Who is seeking out social justice? & who is demanding democratic education – why the city’s one true bastion of elitism – Upper Canada College.

Happy happy joy joy.

A neophyte is I’m sure asking, what is Upper Canada College?

In a nutshell, Upper Canada is the epi-centre of Canada's Old Boy white protestant network. Neoptism they name is… UCC. According to my lazy Wikipedia research the school has produced five Lieutenant Governors, three Premiers and one chief justice, while twenty-four graduates have been named Rhodes Scholars. No less than thirty nine have received the Order of Canada.

Let’s just say that Upper Canada doesn’t fuck around. UCC which sits on the easternly edge of the Village has a long history of providing a proper education to the Village’s youthful men. The school has been synonymous with the Faux ever since it decamped from the inner city to a verdant plot at the top of Avenue Road in the 1890's. Funnily enough if you stood at the front entrance of the school and looked directly south - you'd draw a straight line to Queen's Park, the provincial seat of government and power. Coincidance? Don't think so...

So what does Upper Canada have to do with the concept of charity? Well… it appears as if the school, a long-time bastion of old Toronto money, has decided to open its gates to "tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." The powers that be have decided that instead of educating over-priveledged white kids from Toronto's better neighbourhoods (RosedAle, Faux Hill, Loser Park, & the Brittle Path) 25% of its student body will be made up of scholarship kids from the city's poorer neighbourhoods. This is a quote from the Post article on UCC's recent decision, paraphrasing UCC Dean Dr. James Power, "the more exotic members of the UCC student body will in future come from such faraway places as Scarborough, Markham or the Jane-Finch corridor."

Apparently Dr. Power hasn't seen the first season of the OC, when the kid from the wrong side of the tracks gets pummelled by the Water Polo team. I can just see the UCC Lacrosse Team: "Welcome to Upper Canada, bitch; this is how it's done in the UC." [sidenote: if anyone from the Lacrosse team wants to pummel me - I'm waiting].

While the plan is certainly a benevolent one to this local resident it is a recipe for disaster. Underpriviledged kids exposed, on a daily basis, to the vast display of wealth in the Village and wondering why they live in a two bedroom apartment at Jane-Finch when 75% of their friends live in houses valued in the $2million range, is not the best way to promote equality, at least in my opinion. Last year for example, one Upper Canada family that I know of, took their kid and a bunch of his friends on a road-trip to Disneyworld, via the private jet, for their sons birthday. When you're a single parent in Regent Park, what exactly do you get that kid for a birthday present? Home-made lemon squares?

This isn't even examining the pocket racism that exists in Toronto. I can just imagine the odd morning conversations every time the Star runs a headline "Gun Violence Out of Control in Jane Finch." "Holden, your friend Jamal lives in Jane and Finch right? You don't think he's involved in this whole Blood versus Crypt business is he?"

On the flip side integration provides a lovely bit of banter for mummies at the Starbucks morning latte run:

Mummy 1: "Why Max has the cutest new friend. He lives in Regent Park."
Mummy 2: "Regent Park, London?"
Mummy 1: "No... like downtown."
Mummy 2: "Ohh... edgy, is he black?"
Mummy 1: "No. Latino."
Mummy 2: "maybe he can score us some reefer for our Muskoka weekend with the McAlister's?"

I have no idea if Powers plan and if his grand scheme to integrate kids from the wrong side of the tracks with Canada's elitist power structure will work. American models seem to suggest that it will. However, I'd still argue that instead of helping one member of the family attend private school for 20k a year, we could help the entire family with a mortage for the same amount of money. According to Habitat for Humanity statistics, for example, if a below-income family is provided with a new house, all children go onto post-secondary education; however, in the Upper Canada scheme only one child (and a boy at that) receives help. It doesn't seem particularly practical, in this Faux Hillary's opinion. However, perhaps Powers' scheme isn't solely about charity, rather acknowledging exactly what Webb argued: charity is "thoughtful benevolence". Those who practice it have as much to glean as those who benefit from it. I'm so glad Power is looking out for your typical Upper Canada Old Boy.

I wish Upper Canaada the best... I'm just not holding my breath.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why I love the Village... Chapter 68

Why I love the Village? Let me count the ways...

Because while studying at Starbucks you run into Theo - the girl who was your friend from your Bronze Cross class at Zodiac Swim School, which you attended when you were 12/13. And both of you look at each other and think, "I know this person. But I'm not going to say because that would be incredibly awkward. The last time I saw him/her I was pretending to do mouth-to-mouth at our qualifying exam. My how things have changed... a) she now has tits or b) he has facial hair."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Endangered Species

I feel like the blog has gotten a bit heavy of late, what with me comparing myself to F. Scott, making fun of everyone who is in law school, mild self-loathe and anti-semitism coupled with a mass "cry for me" as I lamented the lifestyle of the Not Quite Rich. You'd think the world was ending, or at least Starbucks was going bankrupt... so today, a more light-hearted approach to living.

Every winter zoologists are drawn to the Village in order to track the re-ermegence from hibernation of the one of the Village's native species: Uggus Normalicis Ubiqutous (popular name: Ugg).

Scientists are prone to examining if the Ugg population will return in full-force or if summer has taken a particularly hard toll on its reproductive rates.

The strength of this years flock is unknown; will the Uggs be placed on the Village's endagered species list (along with highlights, french pedicures and second cup?) or will Uggs once again remain supreme in Village fashion. Only time will tell my friends. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Rich Are Different Then You and I... tales from the Not Quite Rich

F. Scott (as in Fitzegerald, natch), who I like to model myself after (caustic observations of the wealthy, check; gay love affair with raiffish Hemingway-esque character [i'm still working on Andrew Coyne]; writer of great American novel, writer of great Village blog) wrote the above line in his 1926 short story, the Rich Boy. In actuality the original quotation is slightly different, but the infamous and wildly used quote, is as per the above.

I had a reason to contemplate Scott's intentions of late while flaneuring my way through the Village lifestyle.

While traveling across the pond (birthright summer Vacay in Europe) - I found myself walking through Harrods when I randomly ran into an old friend, Oscar. Oscar, a private schooled Old Boy, is working in private wealth management for a large European bank. This should be no surprise for anyone who knows anything about London - the entire city is filled with investment bankers and hedge fund workers; its sorta like trying to find a lawyer in Faux Hill. Chances are you either are one, you’re schtupping one, or your dating someone in law school.

"Hows your job?" I asked as we snacked on chocolate samples from the food hall.

"I hate it." He answered. This came as a complete surprise. Oscar, throughout our friendship, had always dreamed about being a banker. And really is there more fitting of an ending for a WASP old boy?

I realized Oscar's problem though - on one hand he managed hundreds of millions of dollars for oil-rich sheiks from the UAE, yet at the end of the day, he was about as well regarded as their cleaning lady. Your personal wealth manager may wear a Hugo Boss suit and have a Prada wallet, but at the end of the day he’s still paid to count someone else’s money.

Such a story leads, like all roads, back to the Village where I sat with a friend at the Burger Shack - the defacto greasy spoon for the Faux Hillary set - even if the Shack is the antithesis of the actual Village - there ain't no Spa Salad here.

Topic turned to a father of a mutual friend, who was recently deposed from his position as VP of some private equity company. No malice was intended when he was let go; in today’s terminology “Bruce” wasn’t really fired. He was paid to leave. Bruce had reached that stage in his career when the company board had decided it was easiest to offer up stock options and a buy out to thank his years of servitude.

The Faux Hill gossip train was, however, very much concerned as to how much money said father had received as per the buy-out and more importantly how much money the family needed to sustain the all important lifestyle. When we started bandying about figures - we realized, as wealthy as the family was - this was not the start of a Weston-esque family dynasty. The buy-out was "here and now" money to cap a very successful career. What was going to be left for the children? Well... I'll leave you with a riddle: pray the housing market doesn't cut out...

A similar situation has befallen the Whiterock household. The parents, flush from selling their successful company, had gone on an art-buying spree, even as their only son was scrambling to put together a down payment on his first house. To quote their son Ben, "the way my parents spend money - there will be none left for me." Pish posh talk at the Rosh Hashana dinner table, right? How can we cry for someone who is set to inherit a centre-hall Georgian on a sought after street in the lower village? However, Ben's right - there won't be anything left over for him or for most of us. And that's the thing about most of my contemporaries - we are children of The Not Quite Rich. Who are the Not Quite Rich? The Not Quite Rich are baby boomers who have worked their way up the corporate ladder, successfully, pulling in six figures and are statistically in the top ten percent of Canadian families in terms of wealth. [A statistical background, the average household income in the Faux is over $180,000.00, while the Canadian average household income is just over $60,000.00. According to Statistics Canada the top 5% of Canadian wage earners make $89,000+ while only 1% of Canadians earn an income of $181,000+ ; so I’m not exactly talking about a poverty stricken postal code]. But the Not Quite Rich, for all of our money and affordable luxury purchases are poseurs. We’re just like Oscar – we’re the working wealthy, which is, as ever an important distinction. And more importantly – the working wealthy, are only as good as their last pay-cheque, hence the fear of future generations, who can be heard crying about their lack of inheritence…

This of course brings me to lunch with my dear friend LV. Those are her actual initials, and although a child of the Village – she shockingly owns nothing with her own monogram on it, “it is sorta weird,” she once admitted, “I guess I just prefer Gucci.” LV and I had a lovely catch-up lunch at Holt’s CafĂ© the other day and as she described her wedding preparations, (vintage cut 2 carat diamond, FYI), she told me that while her wedding, to be held at one of the nicest church’s with the reception at one of the city’s best hotels, was going to be lovely, it would pale in comparison to her best friends wedding. Her best friends bi-national wedding (vows in France, reception in Toronto for 440 people) was a whole other kettle of fish. (As for who I’m talking about, I’ll give you a veiled hint, he’s the scion of a retail dynasty and she’s the progeny of a shoe empire… do a Google) Bottom line: when you’re Not Quite Rich, you can’t really compete when you’re your father is ONLY a Senior VP at Bell Canada Enterprises but your best friend’s father is the majority shareholder of Rogers. Know what I mean?

The plight, if you will, of the Not Quite Rich, is really at the heart of the Village. One of Canada’s wealthiest zip codes, yet in actuality divided by an aspirational class of high-income baby boomers (upper level management) and their children and a landed gentry whose wealth is so astronomically larger that it makes the rest of us look downright dowdy in comparison. Welcome the generation of the Not Quite Rich, don’t cry for us, though we still make more money then 95% of the Canadian population… Ok… ok… single tear.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Getting my Master's on...

I owe Sim Sim Sima about 500 bucks. This is from the money she sent my way to London town, via Western Union, after I lost my wallet in a drunken stupor at club G-A-Y. (Faux Hill upside: bought myself a fancy new Paul Smith wallet!) Papa Len finds Western Union simply amazing, "I walked into a convenience store - and the next day - you had money! Amazing."

Although I owe Sim Sim Sima said big bucks - anytime she mentions payment - I talk about getting my MBA. No three words have as much power over the old girl as the three non-sensical words as a master's in business administration. Sim Sim Sima simply loves the MBA. Why? Its unclear, because I'm not sure what one does with an MBA. Administer some biz-nass? And besides who wants an MBA for a son when you can have a doctah or a lawyah?

Truthfully (and I'd like to keep this on the Down Low; as DL as the LL Cool J gay thing, k?) this Faux Hillary is actually in the process of selling himself out - by applying to do his MBA. Fingers cross I don't fail my GMAT's. I know it’s a shocker and I could spend an entire lifetime over-analyzing this most recent cop-out - however, I'm pretty sure my neuroses are what prompted the last BF to dump yours truly - and the over analytical thought process of a 24 year-old gay man would digress too far from the point of this original blog. Suffice to say that after living like a complete artiste for two years in Montreal, I graduated McGill wrote a screenplay and realized that I happen to like cashmere and buying things that come in pink paper bags a bit too much to sit on a street corner peddling narcissistic poetry for the rest of my life. There - I said what everyone is thinking: why be a starving artist - when you can make money? And with that I guess I'm just like the rest of my spoiled brethren [we'll call this blog the facade remover].

So what does a MBA have anything to do with the Faux, gentle reader is undoubtedly asking? Well I'm reaching a bit today... or at least making a statement so bold that it would put Bold to shame - who is very well, thanks for asking.

As part of my high and mighty approach to living, I've been pretty proud of not applying to Default School, rebelling against my God-given right to get into Osgoode and generally protesting most of what the Faux has taught me (Do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men! [men who didn't get into law school]). Realistically, however, I'm just as conformist as the best of them, only with a slightly more fabulous side (the side the sucks the penis), and so... as I near my mid-twenties and contemplate buying that semi-detached Victorian in the Annex I've always wanted - I've had that zen-like moment: so this is why everyone is in law school. Throw in an adopted child from Africa and I'm living the gay version of my parents, with an Angelina Jolie footnote.

Once I had settled on a future life-route, a career and a couple of additional letters to add to my name [MBA - what!] I thought, very proudly, ha ha!, what Faux Hillary does a MBA? Way to ditch the Village populists on this one. It may come as a surprise really, but the Faux Hillary and MBA mix don’t really match (or so I thought). Why, I’m not really sure – although I’m guessing it has something to do with the guilt factor. Now in the schematic overview of Jewish guilt a child with an MBA will provoke less maternal guilt then let's say a child with an engineering degree; but you can bet your last shekle an MBA provides less naches then dentistry and will definitely provide your folks less of a reason to kvell at synagogue then your acceptance into Med or Law School (the platinum defense against Jew guilt - let's not even talk about the JD/Doctorate Combo).

I'm pretty sure most people look at me and think I totally generalizing Faux Hill culture. It can't be that stereotypical all the time? Is everyone really in law school? And sometimes may critics may in fact be right - on a dry month - when the Faux Hill gossip train eases up like the smooth ride of a Porsche SUV illegally parking in front of the Village Market, I think that perhaps its time to start my new blog: nogaysexinthecity.blogspot.com (coming soon! promise). Yet then... it happens: full-circle moment. The Faux is as psychotic as I've always imagined.
Full-circle moment of this week: realizing that the MBA is climbing up the hierarchy of anti-guilt defense mechanisms. We can now see the MBA as part of the ultimate troika in Jew guilt protection (Doctor, Lawyer, MBA). Who knew?

Case in point: while applying to the Rotman School of Business I email the student association to try and talk to some current students. I get an email back from Jordana Silverstein (fake name, but the real one was just as Jewy). She says she remembers me from high school - I realize she's confused me with my cousin, hilarity ensues and in the course of our convo she decides I should talk to one of her colleagues (Jessica Cohen, again fake name, but the real one is just as Jewy). Sure this is a random sample - but I mean - this is Canada - surely someone whom I can't easily connect myself via Six Degrees of the Polish Shtetle could potentially answer my question? I mean doesn't some kid from Brampton want an MBA too? When I told El Huerd (of the Thornhill El Huerds) my new Rotman friends, he replied: Jordana lives on my street. Fancy that.

So essentially I realize attending the Rotman School of Business wis actually like attending Faux Hill Collegiate, only perhaps, with a bit more backstabbing. Instead of fighting for ranking in JAP cliques (please we all remember the year when the ruling clique excommunicated their bestie, right?) people are now jockeying for prime placements at investment banks. God what have I gotten myself into?

Enter Kitty Kat. A chance encounter at the Montreal Bread Company in Yorkville, pre film-festival madness. We grab latte's in order to discuss a partnership with my current job. Eventually we discuss our backgrounds… We both grew up in Toronto, undergraduate degrees from good schools etc... (Its the same conversation you can have with most people who grew up here: you went to Snowhawks?!! I went to snowhawks!! You had a nanny??!! From the Philippines?!! Wow... its like we lived the same life.)

Then Kitty Kat dropped the wild card, "And then I did my MBA at Columbia."
"Get out." I responded. If we were standing I would have pushed her, Elaine styles.

"How come you didn't stay in Toronto?"

"I grew up here. Felt like it was time to leave." And where did dearest Kitty Kat grow up? Round the corner from the Two-Fer. "Toronto just started to feel incredibly small."

"Maybe it was just your slice of Toronto?" I offered. “Well,” she said, "all of my friends were in law school."

"So things don't really change then," I laughed.

"Listen - everyone you know is shitting their pants about the future. Law school, MBA, you still have to define yourself at some point outside of academia."

And with that we start a new year – a new year of new definitions and with a modicum of less guilt… how intriguing!

~ ~ ~

Happy New Year Bitches. let's bring on 5768 and party like it's fifty seven sixty eight.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So What Are You Doing This Summer? Part Two...

A child of the village spends his or her summer in Europe, as already stated in an earlier post, and so like the rest of my spoiled brethern, August has found me typing away from an internet cafe in London. Spent my plane ride with a bunch of Canada's future Jewish lawyers. Anyway - not much to report - although I'm not sure how the Faux Hillary jet set handle European Starbucks, a much more plebian experience. Made an ass of myself in one today, when after ordering my classic grande non fat one raw sugar latte, the Barista responded succinctly, "we don't put in the sugar. You do. It's over there."

If he thought my order was a bit over the top, I'd have loved to have seen how he would have responded to his face at some of the more complicated orders down Spadina and Lonsdale way; there's more comma's down there then you shake your gucci at.

Latah suckers this Faux Hillary has a pile of bags from Selfridges at my feet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children

When you're an Upper Canada Old Boy with a decent pedigree (ie someone in your family was a member of the Family Compact); you drive a hand-me down late model German sedan, you have no student debt and you still remember the family password to your account at Summerhill Market (ie your street address, them RosedAliens are smart, eh?) what exactly do you do with your life besides fuck your waife, blond and blase girlfriend?

You start a not for profit! Trust me. This is done all the time.

Seeing as I have a decent pedigree, but no late model German sedan and definately no waiffish girlfriend [although I would like a boyfriend if someone can find me one], I thought - I'd also start my own not for profit. And so I present the world: Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children.

Backgrounder: Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children (WSPTOTC) is a Canadian registered charity that was founded on the basis of helping the underclass of twenty-somethings in Canada. Too often we pay attention to hot topics, such as "Global Warming" and the "HIV Pandemic" yet in our own backyard there are children and young adults who have needs too. WSPTOTC was established in order to help this hidden and growing underclass. We provide both financial support through direct capacity building grants and also emotional support, by organizing social functions to provide much needed emotional counselling for Canadian youth who feel that they are not reaching their potential. One example of our capacity to create moral support for needy children is our wildly succesful "Fun and Firkin" evening. Our Firkin evenings bring together groups of Canada's newest underclass at various Firkin pubs, across Canada, allowing for peer support and mutual misery. Thanks to the bottlers at Alexander Keith for their strong corporate support over the years.

Capcity grants are directed through our networks of needy children that need YOUR help. Consider the following:

1) David McMulkin - David has dreamed of going to U of T law school since he shadowed his father Patrick McMulkin, a senior partner at Tory's, during career day at Upper Canada. After writing the LSAT's four times he has yet to crack the 70th percentile. With no hope of getting into a Canadian law school David is situationally depressed and continues to spend his summers getting drunk at the Key to Bala in Muskoka.

For:
$20.00 you can buy him a hamburger and pint of stella at the Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club
$100.00 you can sponsor him a new lacoste polo
$100,000 you can sponsor his entrance fee, via legacy commitments, into an ivy
league law school in the States

2) Joshua Borenstein - Joshua has wanted to be a doctor ever since his mother sat him down at his Bar Mitzvah and let him know that he had two options in life: doctor or lawyer. After seeing how happy his father, Dr. Borenstein, made his mother Joshua knew he would follow in the "family business" and become a doctor. After failing the MCAT's and causing a complete shunda for his family, Joshua has finally been accepted into medical school in Australia.

For
$30,000 you can cover rent for his Sydney apartment
$15,000 you can sponsor Joshua to come home for Rosh hashannah alleviating him from his mother's Jewish guilt. To quote Mrs. Borenstein: "What? You're not going to come home and visit your mother? I made your favourite honey cake."

WSPTOTC Mission Statement: Screw the kids dying in Africa. Won't somebody please think of the children?

Quote: "While Angelina Jolie are busy adopting children from Africa - I've been able to fulfill the dreams of children living right here in Canada. Because of my work through WSPTOTC - Miriam Birnbaum got to finish her master's in psychology at the University of New South Wales. Miriam was unable to do her Master's here in Canada because her humanistic studies BA from McGill wasn't deemed appropriate for
acceptance to the University of Toronto." - Mildly Famous Canadian Television Celebrity

Monday, July 30, 2007

In the Ghetto

Sometimes when I walk home from work I call my friend El Huerd. He usually picks up the phone around the time that I've made it to the corner of Bay and Bloor where there is usually a Scottish bag piper playing the bagpipes.

"Where the fuck are you calling me from?" He asks.
"Scotland. I flew over on the concorde." I usually answer and then we laugh before acknowledging how lovely it is to live in Toronto, the city that is THE most multi-cultural city known to man, sans hyperbole. Toronto - a world within a city; Toronto - a city of neighbourhoods; are some cliched Torontoisms that the tourist board likes to sprout.

Most people will lambast Toronto for being a concrete monstrosity. Montrealers decry its lack of soul. Vancouverites decry its lack of natural beauty and Europeans simply laugh at the city's many faults - like our two subway lines. For years I have vehemently warded off such Toronto hatred. Every leafy tree in the Annex, every stone cut mansion in Rosedale has for me - been part of my Toronto love affair. How can you not love its odd built form, quirky markets and navel gazing neuroses. I've made an unsuccesful side-venture of taking friends on walking tours of the city's boho west end, pointing out some of the city's best features, vainly trying to convince prospective residents just how amazing Toronto is.

Now - i'll also admit its a lot easier to love Toronto when you've grown up in the Faux. My Toronto is clean, safe, verdant and the people are generally well put together. Ande even if the people are not quite right, at least you gripe about their Tiffany jewelery.

I have been Toronto's number one fan up until recently - then I looked around and thought: maybe Toronto isn't really New York run by the Swiss, as Peter Ustinov once infamously declared.

My current Torontonian lamaise has sadly nothing to do with being caught in a too-tight pair of Lululemon pants, swishing a frapuchino at the patio - rather - I've spent the past two weeks on an odd cross-city extravaganza. The past two weeks has seen Faux Hillary so far out of his league, I feel like I've been on one of those international contiki tours - fourteen countries in six days.

Last Friday evening Kitty invited me to a white and champagne party in RosedAle. "It's a white party because you're supposed to wear white," she said before adding, "Not white because of the people." I interjected.. "So who there is not going to be white? We're talking RosedAle private schoolies?" As I got drunk off of bottles of Veuve that the underemployed future of this great city stole from their parents (because we all still live at home and get paid around $35-40k a year, a salary which while isn't below the povery line doesn't allow for the disposable income to buy bottles of veuve now does it?) I looked around and thought - perfect - everyone here is white, might as well have shown up naked.

Saturday was an even greater, "Toto we're not in Kansas anymore" moment. Found myself at MP Nav Bains bbq on Saturday - 1500 Liberals from Brampton's Indo canadian community stood in a giant field getting excited by Liberal leader Stephane Dion (at least someone is excited about him) and party saviour, Justin Trudeau. Brampton and parts of Missisaugua make up the burgeoning centure of the city's large Indo-Canadian community. It is a completely different world of strip-malls with Indo-Canadian groceries, Hindu temples and other ethnic establishments.

Just north of Brampton begins the rolling hinterlands of Caledon. Caledon is for white people who raise ponies. I'm serious. Oddly enough there is such a strong demarcation between Bramtpon and Caledeon that as you drive north its almost as if Rutherford Road is the city's Mason Dixon line. The strip malls and Hindu temples end and the Olde Towne's begin. Having been at the Indo-CDN bbq figured, my friend Caitling, we may as well rejoin "our people" so we spent the late afternoon - sunning and swimming myself in a property formerly owned by the Eatons. Yes those Eatons.

Between the swim in Caledon and the white party, I was on wasp overload - so Sunday I ended up deep in the city's north west end attending the viewing of a friends father. It was my first Italian viewing - and uptown, with six of the city's finest politico fags, we schlepped up in a veritable two car pride parade. Roman Catholic church here we come! The drive - through neighbourhoods undoubtedly listed as part of the United Way's "priority neighbourhood" list, were a shock to the downtown elite. "never seen so many Coffee Time's," someone admitted. Welcome to Toronto I thought as I regailed them with my bizarre knowledge of the Village of Weston, Mount Denis and the Jane corridor. I admitted that as a youth I used to drive out to the inner suburbs in an attempt to understand the vast unyielding suburban landscape of Tarawna. Prufrock would, however, have be proud at our excursion.

Colour me Mr. Toronto right? Faux Hillary spreads his wings, learns how to fly, and realizes there's a big big world west of Bathurst. Sigh. Not really. I spent Monday at lunch sitting on a patio with my friend Sante in yorkville. The news of the day was sad: an 11 year-old child had been gunned down in Jane Shepperd, one of the city's poorest neighbourhoods. And there in white upper class Yorkville we sat amidst a sea of Gucci lamenting increasing violence in the city. Lamenting violence as if it actually effected us. Gun violence and most recent shooting has received major coverage, for obvious reasons. Politico's have been clicking their tongues about the need for gun control, your parents and my parents have shook their heads wandering what is going in their city [wasn't like this when we grew up here], Bill Blair can talk about more police officers on the city streets, but psychologically Jane and Shepperd may as well be Khandahar.

See In Toronto - shootings at Jane and Finch don't really feel like the city's problem. They feel like Jane and Finch's problem. We all care. We really really do. But Torontonian's also care about Israel, France, Russia and India. And sure Faux Hillary can attend the largest indo-Canadian bbq on the weekend, but come Monday - where could I be found? Sitting on a patio in Yorkville (essentially downtown Faux Hill) talking about a problem, not as if it was my own - but as if it was someone else's. I emphatize truly I do. And so as Sante and I sat having lunch amidst the afternoon suits in my very narrow view of Toronto thinking that sadly, the city of Toronto, as a populist macro image actually doesn't exist. Faux Hillary first, Torontonian second.

Toronto - a city of 'ghettoized' neighbourhoods?
Toronto - the world most multi-cultural city and also the most segregated.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Village Nights

I've decided the Village is missing something. A soul. No I kid. The Village is missing perhaps the greatest cultural barometer of the twenty first century; a cultural barometer so huge it signals that indeed a place has arrived in the mass consciousness of society. What is this barometer you may ask? A Laguna Beach reality TV show. However, seeing as that apparently isn't going to happen for a bevy of reasons - I've decided the Village needs its own rock opera and who better then the bard of the Village to pen said rock opera?

I'm figuring the story will be about a girl from East of Spadina macking a boy from West of Spadina. What will the neighbours say? Shunda indeed.

I've been busy at work and have already written the first song. It's to the tune of Summer Loving, from Grease.

[Benji]
Village loving had me a blast

[Jessica]
Village loving happened so fast

[Benji]
I met a JAP mishugenah for me

[Jessica]
Met a boy cute as can be

[Both]
Village days drifting away, to oh oh the Village nights

[YIDS]
Well-a well-a well-a huh
Tell me more, tell me more
Did you get very far?

[JAPS]
Tell me more, tell me more
Like does he have a starbucks card?

[Benji]
She cruised by me, sipping her latte

[Jessica]
He ran by me, wearing some Louis

[Benji]
I saved her Gucci, it nearly broke

[Jessica]
He showed off, smokin some dope

[Both]
Village sun, something's begun, but oh oh the Village nights

[JAPS]
Well-a well-a well-a huh
Tell me more, tell me more
Was it love at her curls?

[YIDS]
Tell me more, tell me more
Like can she bring her girls?

[Benji]
Took her out to the Village Freeze

[Jessica]
We went strolling, life seemed a breeze

[Jessica]
We made out at Davids by Day

[Benji]
We stayed up at the Hope Street Cafe

[Both]
Village fling, don't mean a thing, but oh oh the Village nights

[YIDS]
Well-a well-a well-a huh
Tell me more, tell me more
But you don't gotta brag

[JAPS]
Tell me more, tell me more
Cause he sounds like a drag

[Jessica]
He got friendly, bought me a frap

[Benji]
She got friendly with her hand in my lap

[Jessica]
He was sweet just graduated from CHAT

[Benji]
Well she was good, not your typical JAP

[Both]
Villave heat, boy and girl meet, but oh oh the Village nights

[JAPS]
Tell me more, tell me more
How much Gucci did he own?

[YIDS]
Tell me more, tell me more
Was her hair in a messy bun?

[Jessica]
It turned colder - she went to Camp Gesher

[Benji]
So I told her we'd still be Beshert

[Jessica]
Then we made our true love vow

[Benji]
Wonder what she's doing now

[Both]
Village dreams ripped at the seams, but oh those Village nights

[All]
Tell me more, tell me more

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Feminism Star

There's nothing like a gay effete to pronounce feminism dead, but, months ago I declared that 2007 was the year of living dangerously [so dangerous that I spent an afternoon at the Finch Subway Station park and ride on Friday...] so straight from the horses mouth: is feminism still alive? Does anyone still care?

I spent a fair bit of time thinking about feminism over the weekend as I sat entrapped on a "boys-only" bonding trip with my dad and his high school buddies. Let me tell you - my concept of boys only and bonding includes less flatulence, less bleching and more gay sex.

But back onto feminism... for those who have been reading the Globe and Mail, the paper is practically tripping over itself to report on the grusome death of a family from Medicine Hat, purportedly murdered by their 12 year-old daughter and her twenty-something year-old boyfriend. The defense, as is their want, have chosen to portray J.R. (the daughter protected by the young offenders act) as the victim of the persuasive power of her much older boyfriend. No matter that witnesses have stated that J.R. was overheard as saying that she murdered her family for her boyfriend. Shades of Karla Homolka have obviously been drawn. Yet the overarching theme of the defense is quite clear: the woman in question is portrayed as a defenceless victim ruined by her unscrupulous older boyfriend.

Now that, one may argue, is a Medicine Hat murder trial, where an intelligent lawyer is simply trying to get his client, a poor defenceless victim herself, off. And certainly a poor and innocent female is better representation then the press portraying her as evil Eve to a hapless Adam. But wait... can't we be equal opportunists when it comes to serial killer's too?

But back to the Faux, where the bra burning ancestors of yesteryear reside in their "what me worry?" state.

Recently the Globe and Mail featured an unintentionally hilarious story about a missing 16 year-old. The teen supposedly a distant daughter of the city's beloved robber barron Eaton family. There are hundreds of missing people a year in Canada [ I actually looked at the stats can statistics before I almost got fired for not doing work at work...], over 40 missing females were killed by a serial killer in Vancouver, however, they were prostitutes so who the fuck cares, right? But the case of a missing teen and a distant relative of Canadian retail royalty gets a full page story in the Globe and Mail. Hilarious!

Even better were the accompanying quotes. The missing teen's father was quoted as saying about her apparent hideout at Bathurst and Steeles, "That's a long, long way from Forest Hill in more ways than one." He said he and his wife, Mary, were worried that someone might prey on his daughter because of her family's wealth. "Fifteen-year-old girls from this part of town are vulnerable." Once again: poor, innocent defenceless female, bad bad men.

So if teenage girls around the Faux are vulnerable because of their wealth and sex, then what are their mothers like? Well - if the mummies I see lingering round the ravine every morning are any indication - vulnerability isn't a word I'd use to describe them, and I'm not sure Gloria Steinham would be a huge fan either.

To call a spade a spade - woman (and heck a lot of men in the Faux) don't work. This is fine. The old adage being that parenthood is the most important job of your life and blah blah blah. Feminism of course taught us all that women could be just as powerful and important as men in whatever their chosen field.

But what if their chosen field is sitting at Starbucks? Isn't that indicative that Faux Hill Feminism is DOA?

Once I overheard a group of mothers sit on the patio describing their disastisfaction with the lunch served at their children's private school. "You should see the crap they're serving at lunch."

Hmm... here's a thought, actually two suggestions:
1) You make the lunch yourself
2) Your child makes their own lunch

This was the same group that offered this nugget of wisdom: "Judith, hire your nanny before you give birth. It's easier to train them when you're still pregnant. Once the baby comes you won't have to do anything."

Am I being jaded or has privilege killed the Femisinism Star, we can't rewind we've gone to far.

(please direct hate mail to my manager Sarah Gold)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Living Beyond Ones Means

There was a great article in Toronto Life about a year ago entitled "Faking It". Faking It described the scads of RosedAliens and Faux Hillary's whom had big homes, big salaries and great big scads of debt. The accompanying article interviewed desparate housewives crying about having to cut down on fresh flower delivery, moving into "smaller" centre hall houses in their attempting to downsize, running up enormous tabs at Pusateri's, while cutting out a family trip to their favourite five star resort in Jamaica. Cue violins.

Now the residents of the Village aren't exaclty scraping by like the lovely woman who makes latte's in the morning at Starbucks (I've heard her complain about her poor wages during smoke breaks, so I'm not making a snap judgement about how people who work at Starbucks may be financially marginalized - this is a fact, reserve your judgements for when I'm actually being a hypocritical judgemental asshole, k?), but in the minds of the article subjects - they were indeed just scraping by. And really, Faking It, may as well be the license plate inscription, were the Faux to become its own province or state.

The Village of Forest Hill
Motto: Living Life in Luon
Creed: Faking It!

Faking it, is in many ways a class disease. My boss at work, who grew up in a nice suburban housing tract of North York and her husband (from somewhere OOT (outside of Toronto) both probably make as much as my parents do, difference being - she's a WalMart shopper, Sima as you may or may not have guessed has never been to WalMart. Boss's motto - why pay more if you can get it for cheap at Wal Mart? Same distinction found Sima spending the GDP of Lesotho on a hand made leather sofa from a store on King East, when Boss found something similar at Ikea. Now Sima may never have been to Wal Mart, but she has, of course, been to a Target. In fact she loves Target. They do have cashmere at Target if that's a barometer of anything. And really... that's what the Faux is all about. The supposedly 'finer' things in life. I bought really nice beef ribs for my ex at Pusateri's for a BBQ, prompting my boss to ask, "who buys meat at pusateri's?" I do... and so do my neighbours? In Toronto it seems that your postal code determines your shopping habbits.

Family friends the Silverstein's (not their real name) have a huge house a couple of blocks away. They drive two late model Mercedes Benz's, she has a Cartier watch encrusted with diamonds... yet their house, according to one contractor, is "one snowstorm short of falling apart." It's completely empty inside, devoid of furniture - see as long as the flower planter is the biggest on the street no one realizes you can't afford to furnish the place. And certainly - the Silverstein's aren't poor, nor are they close to filing for bankruptcy - in fact should they sell the house, move into a smaller place they'd be laughing all the way to the proverbial bank. But - remember people, life in the Village is all about showing and not telling.

But faking it is not just about class, it's also genetic. Luckily enough though my peers have learned such valuable lessons of show and tell from our rents.

Take Pat who decided to move out of the family house near Summerhill. Fair enough right? Eventually every Alien must leave the nest of roses, but must every Alien run up a monthly tab at Summerhill Market? Claiming poor to their father at the end of the month? No spouse not.

And on to myself... like father, like son indeed. I've recently found myself an apartment to live in (yes I know... I'm moving, another post my friends, another post). The apartment, an overpriced shoe box, happens to reside on a pretty tree-lined street in the city's faux hippie enclave of the Annex. Renovated turn of the century houses, stained glass windows and crown mouldings... where else would a son of the Village find himself? Cityplace? The Bloor West Village? Cabbagetown. Please. Why would I find a cheaper apartment a little bit further away from downtown? Why would my parents buy a house a little bit further north, cutting down on their mortgage? Because that is who, for better or worse, we all are.

Point being? My carpets may be threadbare and I may only be buying myself tulips once every month but my apartment will be located on the right street in the right neighbourhood and I will be overpaying beyond my means for that right, and that my friends, is how its done in the Village (or in the Annex), bitch.