Tag Archives: Shame

Mastering the Art of Modern Suffering


It’s Lenty-times, did you know? In case you missed the cue, which was your uber-annoying skinny-ass bikini-selfie Facebook friend, Fallon, posting on Ash Wednesday (yes, that’s still a thing) that she’s “giving up chocolate!” after “devouring” her giant box of Godiva truffles that she got from her “amaaaaaaazing”  Latino boyfriend (now fiancé!), Jorge, on Valentine’s Day along with a giant fucking engagement ring while they were in a five-star! resort in Cancun, “just in time for  Cadbury Easter Creme Eggs to hit the shelves,” she cyber-lols and 8 million “likes”  ensue. By the way, dem eggs were lined up in boxes by the checkout on February 15, proving she has an eating disorder or she would know that. She obviously never eats chocolate anyway, what with that thigh gap the size of a wind tunnel. So much for self-sacrifice. What a fucking bitch. Even the Pope thinks she’s a tool.

I wasn’t raised with the tradition of Lent but I enjoy watching y’all suffer, and this year I’ve given up hooch for the sake of solidarity. I learned about this oddball practise as an adult from one of my roommates who struggled with it earnestly every year: No meat, no cheese, just white carbs like bread and rice, for weeks! Except on Sundays, which were free days, when she would get a Licks burger with cheese and heaps of shit and extra garlic splooge, chili fries, and wash it all down with a diet Coke, and then pass out from more self-loathing than her Catholic guilt could handle.

I admire the symbolism of some religious practises but this one seems paradoxically more self-indulgent than noble.  Like what good does it do for the community if you starve yourself? Self-deprevation for the sake of what? Atonement? Really, does it work? Or does it just perpetuate some kind of cycle of shame to penance to faux-humbleness?  I, without the help of any kind of religion whatsoever, am full of natural self-hatred that stems from the simple embarrassment of being alive. It comes and goes in waves, though. I’m currently riding high on my own foulness, as is everyone else in this deep freeze. Don’t you feel the collective energy of all the lonely people in their stained sweatpants enveloped in the blue haze of Netflix (or Pornhub)? I think it’s a normal part of the human condition unless you are a sociopath, but it would never occur to me to cut out chocolate for 6 weeks, like what good would that do? I should cut out cheese entirely, seriously, I think I am lactose intolerant in my old age. If I was going to be doing any favours for the sake of religion, depriving myself of Toblerone would not be it, I think the sensible thing would be to go out it and help the less fortunate, even though it’s occurred to me that I AM the less fortunate, but it’s all relative. I shall find a cause, and so should you. And as for your stupid Facebook friend Fallon, we should report her for spamming (and her insufferable Instagram too!) and shut down her cyber pie hole once and for all.

It’s been a looooooong winter and a bullshit February. I found myself in a rare state of perpetual boredom. I’m hardly ever bored but I figured out recipe: In a giant bowl made out of helpless inertia, mix in piles upon piles of exasperation, sprinkle with rage, a dash of sadness, and a dusting of despair. I even went and got my hair did and nothing changed. Same shit, different day. I should really dye it, I’m questioning the silvers now but I don’t care enough. Apathy, it’s a silent killer.

I don’t got 99 problems, so I’m not whining *per se*, so you internet trolls can go fap your fingerling floppy drive on Facebook Fallon, but I have 2 and half, or maybe 3 whole annoying fucking issues that I won’t bore you with, and they only partially in my control. I definitely need more therapy and clarity (hence no more booze for moi, Lent or no Lent)  but in the meantime, I kind of got a lot out of this Ted Talks which is about “shame being an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behaviour.” I cried when I watched it, holy shit, I’m breaking down, which is what you’re supposed to do in order to achieve vulnerability, which is a strength, by the way.

But! In the meantime, sometimes you have to take your head out of your bellybutton and live amongst the people who you hate. I don’t really hate anyone in particular, just everyone in general, BUT NOT YOU, don’t worry. So I composed a list of some modern life hacks to help us (I know  you’re in a funk, too) get ourselves a few more feet away from the ledge.

1. Get a white board and write a list of goals. Okay, I really don’t know what I’m talking about here but yesterday my friend called me all excited that she had bought a white board (?) and wrote a list of goals on them. I don’t think I will actually do this out of sheer fear but I was very happy for her. Topics include: Health, Finance (UGH NOOOOOOO), I can’t remember the others, that’s when my brain bailed but! she did say after writing everything down, she felt a) things were not as bad as she thought and b) she is more in control now and c) she’s going to be checking things off week after week while another friend of hers makes sure she’s not slacking off. A white board. I don’t know where you get those but I’m guessing Staples. I’m not doing this but you do it and report back.

2. Yoga.  Yes, shut up and just do it. I don’t care what kind, even that sweaty bullshit Bikram-style will work, I might even psyche myself up to go back. I haven’t gone to a regular class in a while because I can’t bear to be stuck in my bloated thoughts without the disco distractions of tv screens and whatnot. But yesterday I did a class with my beloved David, who should be the Pope of the entire universe and for at least an hour, all was right in the world. I’m definitely going back next week. I don’t know why I have been avoiding it AND! he said something very profound that made me almost cry but I forgot what it was, oh well.


3. Bake some cookies. This is something Martha Stewart would do because she doesn’t get all depressed and cry over a Ted Talks, I bet. Too much shit to organize and clean and iron and fold and fuck. I wish I had the busy gene like Martha and get satisfaction out of sorting socks. I only suggest baking cookies because you can eat them if you’re not doing a Lent cleanse, or whatever you’re calling it. You know, I used to do this all the time, bake a double batch of chocolate chip, and give them to boys I had crushes on. And I was not so lonely then. Huh.

4. Read a book out of your comfort zone.  I’m used to reading all the hand-me-downs from friends who toss a book at me and say “read this, it has your name on it” and it’s “Gone Girl,” or “The Goldfinch,”  I don’t know what that means but usually this kind of literature is ladies’ book club type fodder. If it’s a pristine hardcover, I will read it out of guilt, propped up in bed and finish the whole thing. If it’s all dog-eared and soft covered, I’ll toss it around with greasy fingers and read it casually in the tub and maybe dump it midway. I’m such a princess. The other day I ordered a book off Amazon on my own freewill “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari because hello, if that doesn’t have my name on it, I don’t know what does. It’s soft covered though, so we’ll see how it works out.

5. Smile at a stranger.  The zombie apocalypse (ugh, I can’t believe I even typed that) is here and we are living it. Everyone walks around in public with a puss on all dead inside, never making eye contact, then get in their cars and yell obscenities at each each other behind closed windows. It’s sad really.  Every so often I become acutely aware of this and I randomly make eye contact with a stranger and smile…and they always smile back! It’s so cute! It’s like a zoo trick. Of course if you’re a woman and you do this to a man, he will automatically think you love him, want to marry him, and bear his crotch spawn. But that’s okay to feed a dragon’s massive ego once in awhile, he needs perk now and again too. If he smiles back and holds your gaze for 1-banana, 2-bana-, get his number AND BAKE HIM SOME COOKIES and maybe you’ll have a friend for life.

So that should keep you busy til Spring rolls around and the only thing I can say is every thing is in constant change, and this, too, shall pass. And! if it makes you feel any better, Facebook Fallon and her amazing Latino boyfriend-now-fiancé, Jorge, probably won’t last, he still has his profile up and active (with dick pics!) on Adult Friend Finder and she can’t even bake those cookies from a tube, it’s all downhill for her.






The Penis Diaries

First of all, let me preface this potential mess of a post by saying how much I love my dentist.  I’ve been going to him for 20 years and he may very well be the love of my life.  He is so gentle that I have had fillings done without freezing. If I do need numbing, he does this vibrating massage thing to my cheeks so when he sticks the needle in my mouth, I am so distracted, I don’t feel the jabbing prick. As he digs away, he always tells me how awesome I am in his cute South African accent. I never dread going there and in fact, I sometimes go early because he has the best magazines in town.  He subscribes to In-Style, People, and Men’s Health. I have learned some things from Men’s Health I may have never known from my own field work.  And when I say “field work,” these days it’s restricted to watching “Californication” which I know is worse than a fairy tale and Hank Moody is the fictitious Holy Grail of sexual prowess who would never exist in the real world.  A girl can dream.

Anyway, although I love my dentist, I hate his receptionist.  She is an uptight Leaside mom-type who obsesses over her preschool-age son, named Adam.  She wears a headset and always on the phone talking to her nanny about Adam who is a hellion.  When the kid gets on the phone, she threatens to “punish” him when she gets home for being “a naughty boy.” I’ve been privy to this conversation more than once, and I only go there twice a year. You just know where this kid is going in 20 years, I can picture his ad on Craigslist under “M4W” with a cryptic picture of a wooden spoon, captioned;  “Spank me.” She is a control freak.  Last year, when I was waiting, the tv was on and Dr. Oz was talking about how to enhance the female orgasm.  She grabbed the remote and changed the channel to the monotonous reel of petty crimes and weather reports that is CP24 and muttered about how the topic on Dr. Oz was “inappropriate.” And I was like, “Bitch, please, I don’t have that nailed yet, I’d like to hear what he has to say!”

Just other day, while Freddy was getting some fillings, I was in the waiting room alone blithely pouring over “The Best Sex Tips of 2011” in Men’s Health, when a woman and her 3 children plunked themselves down. Now I don’t care about children, I can easily tune them out.  Their inane blathering is often repetitive  and rhythmic so I can translate it into white noise.  It’s parents I hate.  Sure enough, this woman was one of those cows who talk loudly and refer to themselves in the third person: “Mummy wants you to do your homework while you wait, Mummy is tired, blah blah..”  I pegged her for one of those older mothers who miraculously spawned these 3 snotgobblers from her rotting egg farm so she needed to advertise how fabulous her parenting skills were.  At one point her son, age 11, picked up one of those pop-up picture books meant for pre-schoolers.  This one was about “The Creation” as depicted by Adam and Eve. I know, right? Why is this in a dentist’s office?  The receptionist is a religious freak and she probably brought it in from her Bible Study group.  The kid opens the book and up pops a cartoon drawing of Adam and Eve and an apple tree.  Eve has her back to us and Adam is facing her.  Her cartoon bum and his cartoon peen are obscured by a cartoon bush. The boy holds it up, “Look mummy!”  The mother shrieks: “Ryan! Put that away! That is so inappropriate! You’re embarrassing me!”

Now I am the only one within earshot and I am sitting with a magazine spread on my lap of a woman with her real legs up in the air with a man’s real head popping through, obscuring her real bush, and I am thinking that between this lady and the receptionist, exactly what goes on in North Toronto behind closed doors?  How do they raise their sons?  Do they make them shower with their clothes on?  Shame is their weapon, the wooden spoon that keeps their behaviour “appropriate.”

Speaking of which, last week, my daughter and I went to see the film, “Shame” with Michael Fassbender and his penis. And yes, this was our main purpose AND we liked him in Jane Eyre.  We consider ourselves to be “British Celebrity Penis Connoisseurs.”  6 years ago, when she was not much older than that Mummy-whipped boy in the dentist’s office, we took a trip to London to see Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, go full monty in “Equus.” Neither of us particularly enjoy live theatre but we got to see Harry Potter’s Arab-strapped penis boner and that is worth the price of admission. And no, it did not scar my 12 year old daughter, it empowered her. My first viewing of a non-relative’s penis was not so spectacular, it was semi-traumatizing.  When I was 10, my friend and I would crash sugaring off parties at the sugar shack on the bottom of my street.  We’d steal syrup taffy from the trough and if we got caught, we’d run into the woods.  Once we saw a drunken French Canadian man with his pants completely down, wang out, taking a slash in a bucket attached to one of the maple trees.  You know, the ones that collect the sap that makes the syrup.  Yes, he was urinating. No, I never eat pancakes.

In “Shame,” Michael Fassbender’s penis is the protagonist of the film. His character, Brandon, doesn’t say much, but his peen keeps the plot going.  It’s not like it gets closeups or anything but it has more screen time than most Actra members.  Usually in a non-porn cinematic experience, you might see a flash of pube and a blur of tubular flesh from afar and the actor is in a fast action mode like diving into a pool in the dark.  In “Shame”, there is a decent sequence of frames that pans it as it sways from the shower to the kitchen, in the brightness of the morning, like an elephant trunk sniffing for peanuts. The film made me sad for the penis, “penis empathy’ if you will, Freud. It’s a bleak and realistic depiction of sexual addiction, and childhood shame is the cornerstone.  This is why you can’t be an asshole as a parent. Respect the penis, it’s got a fragile ego.

On that note, here is the trailer for “Shame,” go see it, take your mom: