Three hundred and five

I’m still working on the random good deeds for strangers, but I wanted to share a story from my friend Sarah, for those of you who don’t read comments on the blog:

“I was on my way to work on the Subway in Toronto and there was some electrical problem and all the subway cars had to stop until it was resolved. I’m pregnant and look it. I was standing with my laptop bag and bagged lunched. As we waited I started to overheat as pregnant women tend to do. So, I took off my coat and scarf…so there was no debating I was pregnant not just wearing a bulking coat. We were waiting 20 minutes and not one person got up to give me their seat. Now, I just moved back to TO from Shanghai. Their subway system is a lot more busy then ours and as soon as I walked on the subway someone would get up and give their seat, without hesitation, within seconds. In their society it’s expected to give seats to mothers with small children, elderly, handicapped and pregnant women. I don’t think it’s even considered a good deed, just expected. I was fine and didn’t really care, but seeing the contrast was an interesting observation for me. I shared my experience with my husband and he told me that he gave his seat to a man with crutches on the street car and the man thanked him and then told him he was the first person that had done that since he got crutches.
The measure of civilization/society is how they treat their weakest members.
– H.E. Javier Perez de Cuellar.
I wonder how Torontonians would measure up?”

That is absolutely horrible!  I can’t even believe this.  For all you as_holes out there not giving up your seat for pregnant women and injured people, I am absolutely disgusted.  I really am.  I’m surprised too.  I knew Torontonians were selfish at times as a whole, but that is just too much.  Who are these people?!

If you need a little hope that some people are kind and generous after reading this, check out this website: TheGoodDeedsOrganisation.org.  It’s a place where people can share their good deeds with the world and you can read about good deeds of other people.  Their vision is “to initiate and encourage an ongoing snowball effect of good deeds.”  If you need a pick me up and renewed faith in humanity, spend a few minutes on this site.  And it might inspire you to do more good deeds yourself!

One hundred and eighty

Wicked – a trip to a hedonistic club

I’ve always been intrigued by what goes on behind the closed doors of Wicked on Queen Street West.  Wicked is a hedonistic club, similar to a swingers club, allowing in couples, single girls and a very select few single men.  The blurb from their website: “The club provides a safe, erotic environment where you can live out your sexual fantasies no matter how wild or how mild! Cutting edge music, provocative performances and weekly special events will ensure an erotic experience to remember. Members are attractive, friendly, young and uninhibited.”

Do people have sex everywhere?  Will I be approached?  What kind of people go there?  Who works there?  What happens when you go from the main floor (a club) to the top two floors (Shlomo’s Penthouse for kinkier experiences)?  I had so many questions that I was genuinely interested in knowing.  I’ve always been curious as to what goes on in that lifestyle.

I asked a single girlfriend to accompany me.  We started with champagne, Cosmos and pizza at her house, trying to get some liquid courage to enter this completely different world that is right in the middle of our neighbourhood and up until last night were completely oblivious to.  We were both a little nervous and not sure what to expect.

The experience itself was completely different than I imagined.  We enter past the bouncer and buy a $5 membership which lasts one year (everyone needs to be a member to enter the club).  The doorman points us to one of the ladies dancing in lingerie on the poles in the middle of the room.  “Talk to one of our hostesses and they can arrange a tour of upstairs for you.”  The women working there are beautiful and so friendly.  They let us know there are quite a few new people there that evening, so to have a drink at the bar and they will come get us when it’s our turn for the tour.

We both order Cosmopolitans (drinks are not cheap) and look around.  It’s about 10:30pm and there are approximately eight couples in the whole club.  The room is beautiful, lots of red curtains, with a stage at the far side, a bunch of white leather sofas scattered around, a group of poles in a circle in the middle of the room and a bar along the one side.  There are headless mannequins on the walls – one in a leather one-piece, one naked with her hand between her thighs.  The music is great.  Good club music – good beat, but not cheesy.  The couples are all older than us and not very attractive to me.  One woman in her 40s is dancing with her partner, her leopard-print dress hiked up to her waist so her red lace panties are showing.  Everyone else is just hanging out having a drink.  We make friends with the bartender, a university student who this is her third shift.  She is wearing a bikini.  She says that Saturdays are their big night – they are theme nights and a younger crowd attends.  All the staff are really friendly and all the couples are sort of keeping to themselves.

We don’t get a tour until close to midnight (they don’t open the upstairs until all the tours are done, so I guess they open it really late?).  Our tour guide is a lovely girl who is also a university student, has a shy boyfriend and has worked there for three and a half years.  She tells us the difference between a hedonistic club and a swingers club is that here you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to.  When going upstairs, you sign in and they give you a full-length towel.  You are only allowed to wear lingerie or be naked – to even the playing field for everyone.

There are different sections to the second floor, starting with a bed in the middle and two private rooms with one-way mirrors on either side to watch the people in the middle bed.  There’s a room of mirrors everywhere, a jacuzzi, a giant bed for group play, sauna and shower.  On the third floor there is a sex swing and bondage cross, other beds, a private room to rent out, a patio, and a bed with bars around it you can hang off of. (note: I could have gotten what is on each floor slightly wrong, as by the time we got the tour I’d had plenty of liquid courage in me…)  There was just us when we had the tour.

We went back down to the main floor and they kept doing tours for other couples.  It was a little busier, but still not that many people.  A woman in her 50s in a gold one-piece halter jumpsuit with no bra is dancing in the middle of the room.  A man in his 60s dances behind her for a minute, then returns to his wife – a conservatively-dressed woman with white hair.  This is the only “swinging” I noticed.  A group of couples seemed to be regulars and were chatting.  One couple was dancing together and were oblivious to everyone around them.

At 12:45am they still hadn’t opened Shlomo’s Penthouse to the public, and frankly I didn’t really want to see any of these couples having sex anyways, so we left to go to another bar.  So I didn’t even see anyone using any of the rooms we got the tour of.  I’m partially glad.  I was surprised by how unattractive the couples were and how unsexy I felt.  My friend and I agreed we felt sexier in a regular club.  I think it would be better if we had come with a couple and on a Saturday night.

Sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality.  It was fascinating, and maybe for fun I’d go back to the club bit on a Saturday and see the difference (I did have to buy a year-long membership), but for me it wasn’t that erotic or sexy.  Besides, of course, the staff, who were hot.  The couples there looked like they were enjoying themselves, though, so it is erotic for some people.  It’s somewhere to try out once in your life if you are curious, but bring a partner with you and expect to make your own fun.

One hundred and seventy-one

Dress like a total bum while having shopping and having lunch in Yorkville

  

Last Wednesday I spent the afternoon in Yorkville (exclusive shopping district in Toronto known for its posh stores, restaurants and conservative people) “dressed like a total hussy”.  I observed how other people reacted to me and how they treated me based on what I was wearing, and how I felt dressed in a see-through lace tank, black bra, high heels and shiny black leggings.  It was an amusing and scary experience.  And I had tons of stories to tell.

This week I decided to repeat the experiment, dressed as a total bum.  I didn’t shower or even wash my face.  I wore no make-up, except what was left under my eyes from the night before.  I wore an over-sized t-shirt covered in dirt (which I got from the plants on my balcony – my neighbours must think I’m crazy, as I stood on the balcony rubbing soil into my clothing!), cut-off jean shorts and my old running shoes.  I used an old plastic bag as my purse.

I expected to have a lot of reactions, perhaps opposite to what I felt last week.  The actual experience was not what I imagined it would be.  I felt gross, dirty, and unattractive.  I wanted to hide.  I was embarrassed.  I felt horrible.  And other people treated me as such.  They ignored me.  They didn’t want to see me.  A quick glance and they averted their eyes.  I was invisible.  I wasn’t asked to leave anywhere.  I was smiled at in a pitying kind of way.  I expected people to react, but instead they tried hard not to.  No one wants to see the people who are falling apart.  And the more people treated me this way, the worse I felt.  The more I wanted to go home and shower and clean up and put on make-up and wear clean clothes.

But what if I didn’t have anywhere to go to clean up?  What if I didn’t have clean clothes to wear or a hair brush?  How much is it a spiraling cycle where what you look like dictates how you feel?  And how other people react to you changes the way you feel about yourself?  How much does our outward affect our inner?

When I went to try on clothing at one of the nicer stores I got a few weird looks, but no one told me I couldn’t – they just kept an eye on me.  The same lady who told me my outfit was “in” last week hardly glanced at me.  People stayed away.  I was sad and dirty and needed to go home.  As I was on my way to leave, a lady looked at me disgusted.  I finally got the reaction I was looking for, but I was so bummed out by that point I didn’t really care.  If my confidence fell that much in a few hours, I can’t imagine what it would be like after years of living on the streets and being either ignored or sneered at.