Friday, September 05, 2008

Death to Faux Hill...

How do you write an epitaph for a blog? How do you eugogolize something nascent and ephemeral; something which exists only on a server somewhere in middle America? I guess you can't really... nor can you scatter its ashes across Spadina and Lonsdale, which if you asked this blog where it would want to be buried - that's where it would say and, like a good Jewish mother, would guilt you into doing what it asked...

When I started Confessions of a Faux Hiller... I was a young, impressionable twenty-something who lived with his parents. I was also unemployed and worried almost daily about my ability to recreate the lifestyle to which I was accustomed. As a newly graduated Bachelor of Arts, who had lived for four years in the elegantly decaying city of Montreal, the Faux Hill of my return, seemed at the time like a foreign entity. Not only was it an affront to my neuroses, it was a seemingly scary place, where even though people knew my name, it never quite exactly felt like home. Confessions existed in an odd binary. Although it documented my life, I (and this may seem high handed) tried to question the Faux, its values, and its structure, even though a part of me was perhaps secretly, and perhaps not so secretly drawn back to the well groomed trees in the Forest I loved to hate.

In the ensuing couple of years my friends and I have grown up and gotten a couple of real jobs. Most of us even moved out of the Hill, or are currently trying to. I personally became a published writer, was turned into a TV character, made some enemies, and made a lot of value-judgments. I even got a fair bit of hate mail. Some of much G didn't make up...

Recently I thought that the Faux Hill joke was played out. Perhaps there was nothing more to make fun of. Maybe the blog had jumped that proverbial shark. Yet - when I moved [temporarily] back home in August and spent half of my summer getting into parking altercations with mummies I realized - that although there was still much to make fun, it wasn't my life anymore. The Village had stayed the same - it was the blogger who had changed.

There will always be much to laugh at in the Village:
- In the Faux there is a hot dog stand selling Kobe Beef hot dogs at $6.00 a pop. "This is how we do street meat on Spadina," you may say.
- Or one could laugh at the fact that the Faux Hill orthodontist has valet parking...
- Or one could giggle at the girl who budded in front of me at the Starbucks line this morning. She was wearing sweatpants, accessorized with a Burberry purse and Fendi sunglasses. Has no one told the poor thing that Burberry was cool circa 2004?

Even my friend Jennif-Er got in on the act: "Faux Hill is ridic," she declared. "13 year-olds have blackberry's. They messenger each other across the intersection. My Club Monaco blouse is like Value Village to these people." She paused. "Oh and if you're going to talk about me - come up with a better alias."

And although all of the above is funny, perhaps even blog worthy... The reality, is that I'm no longer that 22 year-old who sat worrying about his future and wondering why so many people wear Lululemon. The Village will always be funny - I just don't particularly care anymore. I'm now 25 (within a shade of turning 26), I live in Annex, and I'm becoming some sort of professional. I've even sold out and have begun my MBA. It's hard to make sardonic value judgments about a place that you don't actually live in anymore. The raison d'etre of the blog - no longer exists.

So... goodbye Faux Hill. I hardly knew yee. And while over the past three years we've had a lot WWSD moments and not enough Gaygetzym, in the end, its best to bow out when you're still funny.

"Don't cry for me Faux Hillary - the truth is I'll never leave you;
I'll through my wildest days (ie that time at Mashu Mashu...)
I've kept my promise; don't keep your distance."

And in the interim I've gone rogue: Rogue at Rotman.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gay Dictator

Sorry Kids... I had a bit of acute writer's block... but I'm back!

One night recently while out at Fly (Toronto's venerable gay nightclub) I stood in the centre of the dance floor surrounded by a couple hundred sweaty men wearing extra small Abercrombie t-shirts, all of whom were shaking their fist at the new Madonna song. Things gay men love: Madonna. Things gay men dream about loving: Justin Timberlake. In fact there's a veritable gossip industry of gay men secretly hoping that JT is a fudge packer, "my boyfriend knows someone who knows some dude who sucked JT off in Cincinnati…" Put Madonna and JT together and their "4 Minutes to Save the World" is basically a gay man's four best minutes next to an orgasm.

On the first go-round the rather homogenous scene was a quaint although enjoyable re-enactment of your average episode from Queer as Folk; don't think I didn't sing-a-long and potentially think about the time I saw JT walking down Cumberland, because I did. But by the time the DJ played the SAME song a little over two hours later, and I'd seen enough sweaty pits to question if Secret really was "strong enough for a man…" a part of me looked around at my fellow gays and thought, really? Is this the best we can do? Gyrating in too tight t-shirts, mildly evocative of a homoerotic advertising campaign, to the world's most infamous geriatric fag-hag? A friend told me I was being a Bitter Betty, afterall my A+F 1892 t-shirt was being dry-cleaned. Speaking of: is there a reason I didn't get the memo outlining Fly’s dress code? It's like there is some sort of gay newsletter that I conveniently forgot to sign up for when I came out of the closet.

By the time I had run into an old friend I knew it was time to leave. A couple of people asked me if I knew how to score (that would be drugs, mom, not sink a punk into a net), some man errantly grabbed my ass on the dance floor; listen, I'm more of "high - how are you?" type of guy and less of grab n' go… and I wanted to pick my friends brain on the federal fiscal imbalance, which over the din of Kelly Clarkson's "Since you been gone," apparently sounded like, "fucking in an ambulance." But... I did angrily think of past boyfriends while doing the one armed fist pump which is the only dance move most gay men can muster.

Although I'm merely a fly on the wall at Fly (I've been waiting three paragraphs to whip that line out), the whole event was a little bit too done for me; to use a Karl Lagerfield-ism, isn't Fly a little bit démodé? Gays are here and we're queer and lord knows that we're pretty fabulous - something we spent the nineties proving that with Queer Eye, Nate Berkus, Tyler Brule and current gay god of fabulousness - Tom Ford - but is a room full of gay men in dubious fashion choices the best foot forward our community wants to take?

The oddity of Fly is that today's homosexual community is, (and sorry about the cheesy euphemism), a veritable rainbow of people and cultures… Queer West, gay marriage and the like have revolutionized the community's focus away from its circuit party imagery while broadening its scope and make-up. Fuck, even the New York Times Magazine devoted a recent issue to gay marriage… so the time’s - they are a changing. Yet sometimes I get the lingering feeling that some of my fellow 'mo's are still clinging to the past like a forty-year old former twink grappling with botox… Sister's we ain't fooling anyone.

The trend in some homo circles is to disdainfully trumpet the death of Church and Wellesley. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in the Village," can be heard ad nauseum from most line ups at most Queer West venue's. For myself the traditional iconography of the Village has never really resonated with my own life; see previous article about Village Mentalities... for a long-winded rant about why Je Deteste Le Village.

But a part of me wonders if the death of the Gay Village really matters?

To betray an earlier thought, it seems as if a physical Village is still an important place for any community, especially a minority group. A village begets social services (for the gays: the 519, ACT, et al) and more importantly a village stands as a physical beacon, the face of a community. For better or for worse, the Gay Village in Toronto has acted like any other ghetto in North America – it’s given us a sense of permanency to our people; a home when no one else would let us be queer and fabulous.

But having accepted that - we're left with my and others rather disdainful view of the current status of our Queer Village. While the popular argument has become that the gays, and I include myself, don’t need the Village anymore, perhaps we shouldn't throw out the adopted Malawian baby with the bathwater. Without a physical beacon of rainbow coloured flags - do we, as a community, risk losing our place in the sun?

Every fall - there's talk in the States about how gays are becoming less and less visible as characters on scripted American TV shows. GLAAD statistics often become an opportunity for the community to rally around "continued unacceptance" in middle America of the homosexual lifestyle. While this may be the case - what if it's also, in some way tied, to the death of the Village? As the traditional Village motif "dies" and becomes no longer relevant for the majority of the gay community - then what becomes our defining image? How can we sell ourselves if we ourselves don't even believe or practice what we're selling? Unless the gay community can redefine its Village and offer up something that isn't stuck in 1999, and can be seen on reruns on Showcase, we may continue to lose the ever present PR war.

So let's call a spade a spade - gays - as is we're no longer cool. And boys - it's time for a re-brand.

Why not take a page from popular American retailer J.Crew, which successfully re-branded itself as your go-to shop for preppy yet stylish apparel. What about a GayCrew catalogue? Think realms of gay men in nice, tailored, age and size apPREPriate clothes? At the back of the J. Crew catalogue there's usually a wedding spread - why not a gay wedding spread? Gays already own most of Provincetown, what about a nice civil union in khaki’s, tailored blazers and monogrammed polo’s, at Hyannis or Martha's Vineyard?

Why stop there? What about coordinating matching madras shorts and dildos? See – in the twenty first century – gays can still be saucy, sassy and sexual, only now with a little bit more class and coordination.

So how do we go about achieving this much needed re-brand?

Generally a re-brand requires visionary leadership, an authoritarian
figure with enough chutzpah to take a broken vision and realign it with the contemporary mood. Will some manicured nails be broken along the way? Perhaps. Will there be an effigy of Abercrombie apparel at the corner of Church of Wellesley. Most definitely. But, the future, our future, is not built through niceties. Tough times require harsh measures. What the gays need is a gay dictator, who will set us, if not just a little bit more straight, a little bit Gay Crew.

Seig heil

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cry for Us...

Dateline - The Globe and Mail Toronto Section - us Faux Hillary's are angry about new money tearing down old houses and rebuilding crap. Cry for me.

"According to local developer Sasha Josipovicz, there have been 50 new custom-built homes in Forest Hill over the past five years. The reason, he says, is that Forest Hill lacks a pure architectural style, making it open for development. "Everything is neo this and neo that, faux this, faux that, a look I call Swiss chalet - a lot of turrets and gothic windows. Most of it is hideous."

- New post to come... "Race and Ethnicity"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Hundred Thousand Dollars!

When I was fourteen I took swimming classes at the Faux Hill Collegiate. I very vividly remember getting changed in the mens locker room after class one afternoon listening to the two university aged instructors talk about what they wanted to do "when they got older." I'd imagine that on some psychological level, I was also sorta interested in what type of meat lay under the swimming trunks of a 20 year-old university student... but on I'm also pretty certain that, homosexual tendencies aside, I was intrigued enough by talk about their prospective salaries(this is Faux Hill after all, we start talking about money at a young age).

Declared the hotter one: "Low six figures - that's all you need to be happy."

Ah the naivety of a pre-graduate still living off his parents... Reality check? $100k? In today's world 100k buys my muscle jock, Red Cross instructor, a nice sports car... and maybe some hair plugs.

To wit it appears as if in the Faux Hill not only is pink the new black, but low seven figures are the new six figures. A friend of a friend, Chuck, recently declared, "One cannot really live unless you're making 1 million dollars per year." My first reaction: WHAT is this kid talking about? CRAZY talk?

So today's topic: income, which makes sense as it we're bordering on tax time and this Faux Hillary is having his father's accountant file his income taxes (if you think Sim Sim Sima can completely cut the cord I've got another thing coming to her, even if she doth protest that I'm not a real adult yet, please).

First some statistics to wet your appetite.

Warning - the following may shock, and potentially appal you - strong stomach's only:

- In Toronto in 2000 the media family income was: $83,346; that means 50% of families in Toronto make more, 50% earn less
- An annual income of $89,000 was enough to put an individual among the 1.2 million Canadians who made up the top 5% of the country's tax-filer population in 2004
- An income of $181,000 was sufficient to put someone among the 237,000 people in the top 1% of the tax-filer population.
- The richest one-hundredth of a percent (0.01%) of taxfilers, Canadians had to have income of more than $2.8 million

Thank you StatsCanada for ruining my life.

Such research was spawned after a couple of dinners, brunches and gala's (things I quite like: a gala!) where the subject of income came up repeatedly like an awkward albatross around everyone's neck. So... with my Philip Marlowe hat on I figured it was time to do some private dicking [Ed: get your mind out of the gutter. I don't always make inappropriate jokes, although I was tempted to write: "you should see me work a glue gun" to someone in an email, bested by attempt at poor Passover humour: "I'm really just looking for someone to part MY red sea..."]

Let's take a look at Sabrina (we're going with Gossip Girl names cause its almost April 21) who was recently in from the States and over the course of several martini's (why have just one?) she told me how much she was going to make as a summer law student at a big American firm: $3,100 a week (quick math: that works out to almost 150k a year). While over brunch a couple of medical school students debated $200k salaries (paediatrics) versus $400k pay days (specializations...).

The difficulty is not of course in hearing such conversations - because everyone likes money. Everyone likes cashmere. Everyone likes Holt Renfrew... the difficulty of course is that such conversations live in a completely detached bubble. Such conversations exist in a realm where $200k salaries are a given, not something to strive to.

A bit of reality occured in the past weekend when I sat with a friend, Blair, in from NYC who'll probably devote most of her life hammering out injustices. We got to talking about her becoming a professor, when someone said [I think it was me too who said this] professors only make about $100k a year. "$100k a year!" Blair said - "that's a lot of money!"

And in a way, Blair is right. Check out this dose of reality, aka, "What Real Ontarians Make":
That would be Ontario's public sector salary disclosure statistics. Note that not a lot of people actually make more then $100k.

Yet for some reason, amongst the Faux Hillary set, $200k doesn't seem like a lot of money. And why should $200k seem like a lot of money when the sadomasochistic in me and Maglet finds the both of us looking at houses on on a given Friday night. Think $1.1 million for a semi-detached "fixer-upper" in the city's better neighbourhoods. How can a Faux Hillary only make $100k and return to his or her roots?

Maybe Chuck has it right? Maybe you do need $1 million a year to keep us all in the Pink of a Holt Renfrew bag? Le sigh... it makes my middling and recent bonus at work seem a bit laughable.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Barding Up the Wrong Tree

B-Dawg made a comment about Toronto upon visiting here from less fashionable CowTown... what's with all of the rain boots? Looks like the Ugg and the flip-flops, herewith the natural footwear of family Faux Hill has a new contender for popularity. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT. My shekels are on the Uggs for supremacy, not that I'm a betting man.

Barding Up the Wrong Tree

Your Faux Hillary
Now has three seasons: flip-flops,
Uggs and now rain boots


In other news: I feel like sometimes I'm a bit Misundastood (much like Pink); don't think I don't see the humour in my own position. This Faux Hillary may throw stones at glass houses, but I am quite knowledgeable about my own glass house [I may have just bought rain boots today... for example, how classic is that?]. And hey - at least I know that the Glass House was designed by Phillip Johnson, architect, right?

Toodles until next week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


A couple of weeks ago I went out to Scarborough to visit a youth shelter for work. I texted my co-workers to let them know I had arrived safely in the east end of town (EEEEEEEEEAST SIIIIIDE) as I don't think I'd ever gone much east of Kitty's house on Binscarth Ave, RosedAle.

After spending an hour getting to know the resident yout's and taking in the cultural sights of Kennedy Rd. (ie a Giant Tiger) I was ready to head back to the safe confines of Yonge and Bloor, where there are ten Starbucks within spitting distance from my office (nary a Coffee Time in sight) and where the pink Holt Renfrew flag salutes me with pride (both gay and retail-like).

The following two weeks were a blur on the early spring time party circuit; as such I ended up running into old and new friends alike most of whom are citizens of Toronto's vast midtown blocks of upper middle class gentry (Loser Park, RosedAle, Faux Hill etc...) - and all admitted, after we exchanged the requisite pleasantries of our generation:

"How's work/ your master's program/ law school?" &
"How's your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ the pretty dumb guy you were fucking?"

"Fine" & "Oh" ... that they were flat broke.

"We should go out." I'd ask.
"Dinner?" They suggested.
"Yes! But where?"
"Somewhere cheap. Last month's credit card bill...."

Their admittance was part of an alarming trend I had been noticing with both acquaintances and close friends alike.

"I'm poor." The Village's Favourite Oyster admitted to me over cake balls last weekend (think cake, icing and melted chocolate. Cakeballs are a party in your mouth - and sidenote: wouldn't you want to date a girl that makes you cakeballs?)
"Me too," I agreed.
"But how can we be poor? We're from Forest Hill?" She asked.

Such a question begs for an answer... And so - like my therapist suggests: its time to assign blame (not on myself, as I am perfect), but on someone or something else. So who should we assign blame on this late night? Why are my friends and also me so… pov nation? The answer perhaps lies in society; as, my mother, Sim Sim Sima said upon reflection: "You're generation - has all of these toys. Laptops, blackberry's, those music things you all have (she's talking about IPods). All of these toys are all very expensive. Expensive and disposable." [Sim Sim Sima is reading this and probably crossing her heart because for the first time in ages I haven't blamed her for anything. This is a big day for her ladies and gentlemen, send her some love.] The WWSD hypothesis would argue that my ilk is cash-poor because of our consumption habits [some may say consumption obsession]. Like most of Sim Sim Sima's arguments I'm always a bit wary at first, so I felt like it was time for further examination.

What are the consumption habits of your average Faux Hillary? Well... let's take a look see on the recent purchases from peple in my social circle: one friend borrowed her mother's credit card to pay for her March-break vacation, she was worried about maxing out her own; while another admitted over dinner that he had spent $800 at the dentist and asked his parents to foot the bill. Beloved Brynnah, down in NYC, told me that she didn't even have enough money to mail me the glasses I left in her apartment as it had been a tight month. But hey - we had shared steak and a bottle of wine at a fancy restaurant a couple of weeks earlier. And of course she does have two pairs of Coach shoes. Another friend, whom I ran into at a birthday brunch (at the Four Seasons, natch), had come to the realization that he was a poor law student, albeit - when I commented on his fetching sweater - he was a poor law student in a newly purchased merino wool v-neck from Club Monaco. To quote Rihanna - Please Don't Stop the Music/ or in this case, Please Don't Stop the Spending.

Upon flying back from New York City a couple of weekends ago and receiving a Visa bill that was way out of my league an angry El Huerd looked at me and said, "How can you complain? Who flits in and out of New York City; what are you rich?" He was right of course - and it's the same expression I used on the other Caitlin, often my partner in crimes against Visa, who recounted to me how she spent a lovely Sunday morning making her boyfriend a champagne breakfast, Veuve and freshly squeezed oj from Pusaterri's. "What are you rich?" I asked her incredulously.

And as I write this in my apartment, with the smell of tulips wafting over my desk, a part of me wonders, did I really have to spend $6.99 on flowers? Especially considering I pulled a Sheryl Crow in the morning and scraped the mould off of my bread to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich; as I call the poverty diet. Please. I know hardship.

So are my friends, in our cashmere blend coats, really that broke? Well - compared to the lovely yout's I met in Scarborough, who are given a cost of living allowance of about $2.10 a day, I'd say not quite. But poverty is a relative term isn't it?

Sim Sim Sima in her infinite wisdom is quite once again right - our generation not only loves its toys - but we expect them. Ipod's come and go, merino wool v-necks get stretched out, and lines of credit get extended with a quick stop over in Holt Renfrew's Now or Never Sale. When my father's financial adviser came over to my apartment to sell me some RRSP's he asked if I had any savings, I almost chocked on my proverbial latte. Savings? Does J. Crew cashmere count?

So what's the answer for all of us who are on the precipice of debt? I have no answers, but mom is always available at, but since she's too cheap for wireless - she doesn't know how to use GChat. In the interim, of course, it's become blatantly obvious that for those of us who are in our twenties, freshly starting our careers, our burgeoning salaries have not kept up with our spending habits and expectations. File this mystery as another one of my generations: Great Expectations.

FYI - Lululemon stock went up 20% yesterday on the TSX. Coincidence? Or not?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Hand Out or a Leg Up?

Dateline - my office. Late.

Dear Faux Hillary's. It's late at night. Feel for me - I'm working to make your city a better place. Why? Because I don't have an intern and am swamped with worky.

Pretell why don't I have an intern? Is it because my intern was sent off to Paris, a la LC? Or did I scare away a hot male intern after an off coloured cigar joke [So Rama - sorry I don't have a pen holder for that highlighter - wanna know someplace else you can stick that cylinder? (ed. too far?)]?

Neither, dearest readers... Sadly I don't have an intern; the intern I was promised ended up working for a rival nonprofit. (Prompting me to declare that I was going to get so drunk at the other non profits AGM in order to projectile vomit on the ED in retaliation - if you thought the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands was crazy wait until you see the Nonprofit Wars of 2008).

But back to internships... an internship is a right of passage for your average Faux Hiller... and as we move into the summer silly season (college kids will soon be back from university, and decide they're too old for camp so they'll ask their parents to help them get a job), internships are all the rage. The latest topic of conversation at Starbucks is NOT a dissertation on the spring OPI colours, rather on the ins and outs of getting Jessica, Aaron and or Michelle a summer internship at Manulife, TD Bank and or Scotiabank, "Shelley - call Morty Greenbaum, he's a Senior VP at Rogers - he'll help you find your Benji a job for the summer."

Take my good friend Tamara who was recently handed an intern to mentor at work. The intern a young, pretty thing, prompted her latest lamentation, "I work to pay my mortgage and SHE works for fun." The intern, you see, was the daughter of Tamara's boss, a Senior VP at the very large multi-national. For many a Faux Hillary, this situation isn't too far off the course - work, isn't really about making money, so much so as it is about giving you something to do. As distant cousin Paulette told me at a recent family funeral, "I mean, I'm rich - but I still work. I married a wealthy doctor and I can buy whatever I want, but I still go in and teach high school kids every day." Thanks Paulette don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

The internship is generally a creation of nepotism - that great inbred self-aggrandizing cycle which ensures that I probably won't end up in a van down by the river. Nepotism, to many, rails against the very basis of our happy liberal society where parents who send their kids to Upper Canada like to talk about our excellent public school system and public health care system; choosing to argue that in Canada we abide by the grand principles of a Hobbesian/Lockian equality of opportunity feel good mantra. But to quote a very pragmatic G-Sauce - "there are Alpha people, Beta People, Gama People - and not everyone is going to be Alpha." No matter the "public" bullshit you'll hear at Rosh Hashanah dinner - there is no such thing as equality of opportunity - isms like nepotism chip away at principled liberalism. Once everyone is else is doing it (getting their kids interns at Rogers from Morty Greenbaum) the snowball effect of nepotism ensures that the N-Word becomes your average Villagers best friend - NOT the family's Wheaton Terrier (FYI - Jews don't do the Golden Retriever business for some reason; Lab's are way to Goy, what do you think this is Martha's Vineyard?).

But is nepotism truly that awful? Yes... if you're a liberal philosophe, and on a purely emotional level nepotism does potentially erode the great American rags to riches motif that Horatio Alger taught us so well. But! Huzzah - on a purely pragmatic approach there is a catch-all which ensures nepotism doesn't create a world of Interns Gone Wild*.

The escape clause? I point to yet another philosophical holdover from 18th century England. An escape clause so invisible that it actually controls our society much more so then the musings of Locke and Hobbes and the social contractistas.

At a recent brunch at the Four Seasons - My Other Mom [MOM] contemplated making a call to help her daughter get an interview for a job she was applying to. MOM was worried about using the nepotism card, even though we both admitted that almost everyone we know used the nepotism angle. MOM was worried about making things a slice to easy for her daughter. However, I opined that the nepotism internship was really just a leg-up and NOT a hand out. Using a leg-up acknowledges that we don't particularly live in the perfect universe where equality of opportunity levels all playing fields - rather, a leg-up does acknowledge, that at the end of the day a leg-up only gets you in the door (or over the fence as the motif so hints at). Any intern is going to have to sink or swim on their own merits. Truth be told, a Faux Hillary can only ride the nepotism wave so far. The pragmatic escape clause recognizes that Adam Smiths's great invisible hand of capitalism ensures that nepotism can only take us so far.

And for that - I say thanks G-D.

* The only exception to the nepotism safety clause is Ben Mulroney - who for some reason with little talent has managed to succeed in life. It is almost as if he is not bound to the laws of capitalism.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gossip Guy

Hey Faux Hillary's,
Gossip Guy here. Looks like Faux Hillary is on a much needed vacay down in New York City. But maybe our intrepid Village rat is a little bit out of his league? Spotted outside of the Frick - K. and FH slogging through the slush.

Perhaps FH doesn't yet understand the rules of the UES. How can you spot a Park Ave. neophyte? Its all about footwear. Word to the wise FH - on The Upper East Side - even the dogs wear Uggs.

You know you love me,


Gossip Guy

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bardly There

A Faux Hill Conversation - in Haiku Form:

"Some bitch stole my uggs."
"How do you know?" She asked me.
"They all look the same."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Confessions of an Applicant

"There comes a time in everyone's life - when you truly have to ask yourself: do you want to go to law/business/med school?"
- Thanks Nada Surf, for allowing me to rip off your mid nineties ironic hit, Popular.

January and February are grad school application months. Your average Faux Hillary is busy tracking down their favourite university professor to ask for a letter of recommendation for their application to the London School of Economics, or busy booking their interview circuit at various medical schools. To quote El Huerd - re. medical school interviews at U of T, where they give you only two weeks notice, "the entire interview system is biased to help your classic fourth year psych major at Western, its not like she has a job that she has to miss to come into Toronto for her interview! Besides - she probably comes home to Toronto every weekend anyway."

In times like these my collective class is lying awake at night thinking of potential answers to the "tough questions" they're going to have to answer on their application or in the interview.

Although the words change per application the basic query is as follows: "Why do you want to be a lawyer/ doctor/ ruthless business person?" And just as the question is basically the same for every application, so are the answers. Only in these situations, we all spend our days fluffing up our answers with feel good stories. Take Bold Sharon who is currently reading application essays herself (as part of her ability to be both a mom and successful career woman). Do you know how many stories she's read along the following lines: "meeting "johnny" who was dying of cancer, precipitated my life-long love of pediatrics, and its why I'm applying to medical school today - so I can make a difference in kids like johnny's life." 50% of medical school applicants contain a variant of that story.

So instead of fluffing up our reasons for further education, why not simple and brutal honesty?

Take for example, my NYU application, which asks the following:

Think about the decisions you have made in your life. Answer the following (750 word maximum):
(a) What choices have you made that led you to your current position?
(b) Why pursue an MBA at this point in your life?
(c) What is your career goal upon graduation from NYU Stern? What is your long term goal?

Don't think I didn't slap something together about public service and working in a not for profit and becoming a leader in the community, because I did.

But what if I actually wrote what was really on my mind, something along the lines of this:

"Dear NYU Stern School of Business:
Having dated my way through most gays in the Faux Hill and RosedAle - I feel like it is high time that i move to New York City so I can meet a proper Upper East Sider with a trust fund. And if all else fails completing an MBA will allow me to maintain the lifestyle I'm currently accustomed to.


p.s. do I get points for being under the word limit?"

What is it? The truth will set us free?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Finally Faux!

I sauntered down Yonge Street yesterday in a bid to get a present for someone - (my boss wanted a faux Louis wallet, long story, just go with it) - and seeing as I can charm the pants off retail employees, Terroni waiters and straight women, my purchase of said tacky wallet, the store clerk threw in a change purse for the low low price of free. WWSD my friends. WWSD.

And so - I am now the proud owner of a faux Louis Vuitton change purse - next time you see someone (ie me) buying a latte at Starbucks and counting their pennies out of what appears to be real Louis - look closely - that shit is Faux.

Living my faux life in Luon (the Lululemon fabric) I found myself with Maglet at the Opera last night. I fancy myself a future patron of the Ahhhhhhhhhhhhts... I told Maglet not to "salt my game". Standing in Jack Diamond's "City Room" I couldn't help but look at the assembelled crowd of whitey's thinking - surely I must know someone. And not to sound racist, but I mean, doesn't every white person sorta look the same? Especially mid-to-late twenty wannabe yuppies:

She: Blond Hair. Check. Skinny Jeans. Check. Oversized Bag. Check.
He: Awkward expensive denim bought for by girlfriend. Check. Banana Republic Black Wool/Cashmere Blend Coat. Check.

But I'm digressing from the Opera, wherein I ran into a cornucopia of people from my past, perhaps exemplified by my run in with the Whiterocks Great Aunt Peggy. You may remember the Whiterock family from previous dinner parties (Mrs. Whiterock told me that the St Clair streetcar shouldn't run through Faux Hill, as your average Faux Hillary wouldn't be caught dead on the TTC). Aunt Peggy - properly British, is well known for her exacting table manners.

For example Christmas Dinner, Whiterock Household, circa 2002. Desert was served, Sim Sim Sima was caught nibbling on some grapes, to which Aunt Peggy replied:

Sima, my dear, why don't you use the grape shears? Picking grapes off the vine is like picking flesh from the bone.

And that really is, at the end of the day, class distinction at work. Similarly - don't think I wasn't sitting in the cheap seats at the Opera clutching that faux Louis Vouis change purse for all it was worth.


Oh - and to answer the all important question as posed by N (who was spotted outside of the JCC, where she could found doing a little less schmoozing and a little more schvitzing): Dickensian is a word. I don't make stuff up.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Great Expectations - The Bird Lady

Like any great Dickensian novel this blog is semi-autobiographical (comparison to great literary figure in first sentence is a new record for my own self narcisism). Veiled allusions to real people and real events ensure that I still have friends when I walk down the Forested streets of the Village... the big gossip remains deep in my soul and I'm not spilling the good stuff, unless someone offers me a book deal, then I'll whore myself out like a cheap Amsterdam street worker.

I got yelled at last weekend by a good friend for placing too many expectations on people; bit if a best friend can't give you Dr Phil tough love then who can, right? So, in an effort to understand why I have such Great Expectations I found myself curled up on my couch late Friday night reading the Sparks Notes of Great Expectations (like I have time to read a Dickensian novel on a Friday night) and by reading, I mean Googling the Sparks Notes.

Miss Havisham, Chuck Dickens', great literary trope holds a heart to many a Friend of Dorothy (FOD). Why? She just may be the ultimate fag hag. Mascara - check. Scorned by a man - check. A little bit of the crazy - check. Don't you just wanna hang out at Satis House, eat chocolate, drink red wine and talk about how much men suck? I know I do. "And then this one time... that bastard Compeyson totally stood me up..." Tell it like it is Shammy. Sing it sister...

Today's query then: is this literary archetype - Wealthy Girls Gone Wild (holla holla to my boy Joe Francis) - a commonality round the Faux Hill? Well - in my limited experience it does ring true... more money, more problems.

While perusing the Real Estate section of the Globe on Friday, which I like to do for sadomasochistic reasons; its more effective then cutting my arm and less messy... I noticed that $1.8 million now buys you a three bedroom house at Lawrence and Avenue (the poor cousin of the Faux). How the fuck am I ever going to afford that? As friend KKK (not her real initials, but amusing nonetheless) once told me over coffee, "Why do think I'm applying to Law School? I may as well just be brutally honest with UofT admissions board: 'Dear UofT Law admissions - having been reaised in an upper middle class neighbourhood I'm pretty sure that if I don't become a Bay Street corporate lawyer I may not be able to ever afford to move back there.'" Thankfully we edited the truth to a more palatable "law school is an avenue to complete my career growth and continue to work for the betterment of Canadian society..." Who wants the truth anyway; falsities are so much more pleasant?

However, my weekly read of the Real Estate section let me know about a lovely RosedAle woman who had inherited her parents house and maintained her residence there until her death, save for a brief respite to Faux Hill. The house was built in 1912 and is basically in its original condition (on offer for the low low price of $6 million). Such a story couldn't help but make me think of the Faux... where we have our own Miss Havisham in the likes of the Bird Lady. The Bird Lady, an esoterically eccentric woman, lives down the street from the Two-Fer in a house that was originally owned by her parents.

Now instead of time having stopped at twenty of nine (the time Havisham learns of her fiance's deceit) the Bird Lady's house is stuck in a time capsule to the year her parents died. Think nineteen fifties Eisenhower chic. The Bird Lady's childhood bedroom has never been remodelled; its still decorated with pink wallpaper and filled with original Nancy Drew novels (which I used to borrow and read during grade school, prompting some kid to look at me and say: "only girls read Nancy Drew novels." Girls and fags read Nancy Drew... Why do you think Ned Nickerson never got near Nancy's pants - Ned was a closet 'Mo).

The Bird Lady HAS however maintained the family house in conjunction with her parents input long after their death. How? Well when deciding to repaint a couple of years ago - the Bird Lady hosted a seance where she asked the rents what shade of grey would work best with the exterior stucco. Good to know that you get the Benjamin Moore Colour Wheel in heaven eh? I hope there's internet porn up there too.

So why is the Bird Lady called the Bird Lady? Well... the Bird Lady has turned an entire room of her house into an aviary. Approximately twenty budgies have free reign of the front room because - the Bird Lady doesn't believe in cages [to quote Bold: Isn't the room just a giant cage anyway? Sing is sister. Update from Bold: she's in Mexico, Feliz Something]. I once had the opportunity to care for the Bird Lady's animals. Instructions were scrawled on a piece of paper: "Miss Josephina Pussy Willow Cohen [the cat] - likes her food strewn about the house. Don't use a dish - just throw a handful of food wherever you want. She'll find it." Crazy thine name is...

There is something quite charming in these eccentricities. The Bird Lady is a complete and utter rebellion from the manicured lifestyle of your typical Villager. There ain't no Uggs to be found in her front hall, par example and in fact her front lawn is so overgrown that Canada Post threatened to stop delivering her mail. During the great blackout of 2004 the Bird Lady was the only house on the block that actually had power (thanks to her solar powered roof). Who was laughing then?

Not sure of the moral for today's story, expectations lead to hurt, while living without expectations lead to being a crazy bird lady? I'm sure the answer is some shade of grey (preferably picked out by your dead parents) but in the meantime - perhaps this will be a choose your own ending _________________________________.

Happy February.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Pact with God

Finding a partner is a relatively hard thing to do. Finding a mate in the Village is even harder, considering the average Faux Hillary probably gave hand jobs to a couple of potential partners at sleep away camp or copped a feel in the park outside Forest Hill Village Elementary during high school to a few others. No one wants to go back marked territory, ya know?

So HOW does one find a mate these days? Damned if I know, I'm gay - and it's a totally different world (for reasons I don't really comprehend)... but for the straights there are three primary options:

1) The Set-Up
- a friend says: "hey have you ever met my friend Benji - he's a lawyer at McMillan Binch, went to Associated Hebrew Day School, he's two years older then you, just bought a condo, parents belong to Beth Shalom... I think you'd really get along."

2) A Jew-Do
- picture 500 people who vaguely know each other from camp packed into a bar at Yonge and Eglinton. Can you cut the sexual tension with a Challah knife or is it just me?

3) J-Date
- internet dating, you post your profile and as in the Beach Boy tome Surf City - there are two girls for every boy (if I was straight - man oh man - I'd be married right now, sexually unfulfilled but...), you meet and realize you have 35 common friends on Facebook. The internet has expidated the process... Mazel tov all around!

So what to do if you still can't find a life-partner? You turn to God.

Take my friend - the Village's Favourite Oyster -and her best friend Naomi. Naomi realized that at 23 she'd never had a proper boyfriend and decided it was high time for something beyond a casual relationship. So... eschewing the ever popular J-Date Naomi turned to religion. And by religion I don't mean ditching designer denim for long skirts and the latest edition of Vogue for a Siddur... I mean she lay in her bed, closed her eyes and went directly to the source - God.

"Dear God - if you send me a nice Jewish boy... I promise to keep kosher and I'll join the Sisterhood at Beth Shalom synagogue." [The Sisterhood is the female volunteer chapter... they organize stuff...]

Not a week later did Naomi run into a suitable mentsch and four dates into their courtship things are going so well that the Sisterhood at Beth Shalom is infused with a new volunteer spirit, a volunteer who is still, thankfully, rocking her Rock and Republics.

Let me know if it works out in the long run Naomi, because hey - I'll join the Brotherhood at Beth Shalom if Hashem sends someone my way. On second thought - maybe I should join the Brotherhood regardless?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Post

Look... someone actually paid me for this shit.

My Two Villages = Village Mentalities...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Confessions of a Montrealer

It's a bit hard to mock your neighbourhood and faux friends when you're staying in a three star hotel overlooking the worlds ugliest depressed highway, the Decarie Expressway, in a distant corner of Montreal. So my apologies for the lack of Faux Hill lifestyle updates of the rich and famous (oh my god that Faux Hillary's shameles...). Besides - with Gossip Girl now taking over the TV, perhaps, my raison d'etre is sorta... no more. "Spotted outside of David's by Day..."

The Two-Fer has faced a challenging week, as our patriarch and my grandfather passed away last Tuesday, and with the exception of a couple of emails I sent to friends telling them that my Pops has died (and by Pops I meant my grandfather NOT Papa Len) this really has been no laughing matter.

When you eulogize someone who you know for 25 years but whom you didn't really know (ie... you never once called them crying about the state of your life) an odd dichotomy emerges. On one hand my grandfather was someone who had consistently been there for his grandchildren (to quote Bold: "you couldn't have asked for a better grandfather") but on the other hand friends and boyfriends whom I've known for only a year or two probably know more about me then Pops. Especially boyfriends... once you've fingered someone's ass I'd say your bound to them for life.

On the plane back from Montreal, realizing that I had run into an ex about two hours before take-off, I realized that relationships subsequently seem to come and go, oscillate through time, forever impermanent; while the ties of family are forever binding in a world where permanency is hard to purchase.

So what else is pretty permanent? Moishe's. Moishe's is the grand damn of Jewish Montreal steakhouses, a restaurant that has matured over the years in conjunction with its Jewish Montreal clientelle so much so that a filet mignon is now in the fifty dollar range. Moishe's opened in 1938 on the Main (St Laurent Blvd) at a time when Montreal's Jewish Community was struggling to define itself as a minority group in Canada's then pre-eminent city. Read a Mordechai Richler book if you want to truly understand what life in Jewish "village" around St Urban Street, in Montreal, was like in the thirties and forties.

As did the Jewish population grow in numbers and prominence so did Moishe's. Just as Duddy Kravitz moved further and further up the Westmount Hill... so did the prices of a Moishe's shrimp cocktail. As Papa Len said jockingly - when we were growing up in Montreal, we always wanted to meet a Westmount girl. Papa Len grew up, of course, on Park Ave, deep in the heart of Richler's St Urbain street melieue and yet - today - Montreal's Jewish community are only too happy to call Hampstead and Westmount home... Westmount FYI has out Fauxed the Village with its own Ugg store.

Last Friday night found the Faux Hillary family around a table at Moishe's eating steak and telling stories about our beloved patriarch. There was something quite telling about the whole situation almost as if our ability to spend hundreds of dollars on a meal was in thanks to my grandfather's struggle. Pops, like many Jewish immigrants, worked in a Montreal garment factory, putting in enough hours so his son could become the first in the family to go to university and law school.

It was that sacrifice which made Pop's death so hard for the family, as you realize, upon burial, just how important one person can be to your morals, values and sense of self. And as the family left Moishe's I decided that we are, however, Peter's greatest legacy and as we move on - we cannot help but carry a little bit of him with us, not to forget our past, nor live in it - but to carry it forward.

Funnier news to follow.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

This is How It's Done in Faux Hill...

I am a fairly obnoxious person. I have no student debt, I lived with my parents for two years after McGill and should I ever truly run out of money I could hop on the subway for one stop and borrow some cash money bling from my parents. Fuck... sometimes I still borrow wine from my dads wine cellar. I'm pretty sure the only thing that gets me by in life are my eyelashes which someone once referred to as "disarming"; certainly its not my looks as a lovely man at a gay bar pointed out to me the other week - "you're not going to be pretty forever, I can already see fat on your face" (don't worry - I purged as soon as I got home).

For the Canadian norm I am a spoiled brat in a pair of $200 jeans and a cashmere v-neck. Fair enough right?

But... in my own defense and much to Sim Sim Sima's surpise at 25 I'm pretty much self sufficient, save for the Tropicana Orange Juice I sometimes steal from the two-fer. And certainly while I finally do pay for my entire lifestyle cutbacks have certainly been made. For example - over Christmas break, as most of my brethren spent a week down Mexico way - I spent a week on an air mattress entertaining houseguests. The only tan this JAP has is from self-tanning (not that I do self-tan, but if I did have a tan you can bet your last sheckle it would be fake as I spend too much money at the Rebel House, Le Paradis and the Bloor Street Diner to afford vacation...) So while life at my above average Canadian wage is doable I have had to cut out some of the perks of a Faux Hill lifestyle.

Not so for some of your favourite Village rat's, because why cut your expenses - when your parents are still willing to foot your bills?

Meet Daniella (or Dr. Daniella as the case may be). The good doctor is a first year resident and making a first year residents salary. She has no medical school debt, because her top of the line lawyer father paid for medical school and her housing costs are minimal at best because her parents bought her the condo she shares with her lawyer husband. Unfortunately Daniella is used to the Pusateri's side of life and as a first year resident she doesn't yet make enough to keep her in the lifestyle to which she's been accustomed. I know what most of you are yelling at your computer: STOP SHOPPING AT PUSI'S DANIELLA, or DO YOU NEED ANOTHER COACH PURSE, DANIELLA? But... just as you yelled at Drew Barrymore in Scream - DO NOT GO OUTSIDE, such insight has more to do with objectivity then anything else... and clearly you nor I have not been spending enough time in the Village (where friends like S. have noticed that long-time Village stalwart Davids by Day has closed up shop, don't worry - I'm sure whatever opens in its place will offer a mesculin mix salad).

So what does a good Doctor of the Village do who is living beyond her means? She asks for an allowance, of course. Silly reader, self sufficiency is for chumps.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bard of the Village - I'm not a Bard, not yet a Laureate

For awhile the poetry went out of my life, then a celebrity stylist tried to hump me on a dance floor at Alibi as Rhianna sang, Please Don't Stop the Music, and I thought... maybe its time to bring back some music? And maybe if I found music - I'd rediscover poetry. So in 2008 Haiku Friday's return!

What Makes Bubbie Kvell with Naches?

Did you hear about
my grandson the doctah? His
girlfriend, the Lawyah?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Village People

Shana Tova.

I am sick. I know dearest readers - especially the 15 year-old girl from Branksome whom I have angered - (although part of me thinks she is perhaps a ruse that a friend is playing on me to ensure that my self-aggrandization is complete) - are quite worried about this latest turn. Don't worry - I think I'll be ok. Actually according to Bold, I'm totally fine.

I have received some hate-mail in recent weeks and for a time I was worried that the JAP population of the Lower Village had declared Fatwah on me, and that one day I'd be found dead, hung by a Gucci purse at Starbucks. KB gets my cashmere collection.

But on to a 2007 year-in review.

Postings: 49
Hate Mail: 3 (can anyone send me some Hot Male instead?)
Outings: 1.5
Heart Broken: 1
Restraining Orders: 0

So far more successful then my fourth year of university.

And now to 2008 - where we run into a visitor from Beantown: Mona, which coincidentally rhymes with Simona - the lyric from that awful James Blunt song I had on repeat for most of the summer as I sat in my apartment drinking red wine wondering my no one loved me. Then I moved on to Hilary Duff instead, since boyfriends are really... "So Yesterday".

I once argued with my friend Kitty Kat as we pranced through RosedAle, [before she left me for that awful place people call - Calgary] that not everyone if given the choice would reside in the lovely hood we like to call Faux Hill. And I wasn't talking explicitly about my future husband's family who clearly has set-up roots on Douglas Drive in the Ale.

"Nonsense," she argued. Who wouldn't want to live in the Village? Kitty Kat insinuated that EVERYONE, if financially able too would choose to buy a mock Tudor on one of Faux Hill's many Wooded named streets (Elderwood, Silverwood, Robinwood)...

I vehemently disagree. I know people who have loads of money but who wouldn't be caught dead at the corner of Spadina and Lonsdale. Or people who probably make as much as my parents do, yet choose to live in the West End or in the Beaches, most likely because they don't really see themselves as Village People. And what are Village People?

Village People run the gamut of being exceptionally wealthy to those who are simply scrapping by; scrapping by of course in designer clothes. Village People subscribe to a lifestyle. A lifestyle of granite counter-tops in the kitchen, and a late-model German sportscar in the driveway. Because of course even the most over-extended shprintzah can afford the above, the Faux often is Faux.

So on to Mona. Mona lives in a Boston equivalent of the Faux. Her neighborhoud is a 1920's garden suburb filled with Mock Tudors, Georgian Revival's, big Oak Trees, and this being America - there's a Whole Foods down the block (and flags, flags as far as the eye can see). God bless America.

Mona came to visit Sim Sim Sima and My Other Mom (Mom) for a couple of days over the Christmas Break. She arrived in quite the spirits, as she had been at a bridge game the night before. Mona plays bridge with a group of neighbourhood ladies, whom I have nicknamed the Brigade. The Brigade is a group of exceptionally, stupidly wealthy socialites who are Mona's neighbours. The Brigade plays a weekly bridge game that depending on the week, Mona may or may not be invited to. See Mona is a stand-in for the group. Whenever one of the ladies calls in sick, or has to attend some sort of event - she gets bumped up from the minor leagues to play with the big girls. Mona, although a neighbourhood gal, is clearly of a different social class then her over the top friends and so spends most of her time biting her nails hearing all about the lavish trips and parties her friends are planning. The Brigade has never had to work, while Mona secretly supplements her husbands income with teaching. her friends consider her a noble soldier, as she instill Yidishe values in the next generation of wealth, but hey - a paycheck's a paycheck. And so Mona arrived to be with her friends who were just like her and yet the whole time she seemed impressed with what her other friends were doing with their lives. "The Brigade is planning this trip in the summer..." Mona lamented her tenuous inclusion with the group desperately wanting inclusion. The problem of course is that she's not really one the Brigade. She's their poorer cousin, suitable for temporary fun, but never to be considered one of the girls.

And really - therein lies the problem, or one of the problems, of life in the Village. There's always someone who has more money then you and in the Village chances are there are a lot of people who have a lot more money then you do. Sure you can fake it, but you know you're still Faux; and sadly if you live your life like Mona, always at the edges of the inner circle, you'll go crazy. Trust.

So my news years resolution for those who care - Be Happy With What I Got. (And as I write this - Sublime popped onto my itunes - Love is What I got). Fate! Huzzah!

Coming up this season:
- I introduce readers to: The Bird Lady
- Haiku Friday's Return

~Faux Hillary