Monday, November 15, 2004

A Scottish lad, some shagging and the Yukon

This is an excerpt from a story that appeared in the Vancouver Province last week. It’s about a guy from Scotland who is looking for a Canadian girl to travel with him to the Yukon for a free nine-day trip. He had originally planned to go with his fiancee until he caught her shagging his best friend.

Dumped Scottish lad seeks love in Yukon
The Vancouver Province
Sun 07 Nov 2004

When Steve Morris's bird -- er, girlfriend -- flew the coop, the newly single Scotsman decided to go ahead with plans for his first trip to the Great White North. And now he's looking for a Canadian woman to share his trek to a luxury inn near Whitehorse.

"My ex-fiance and I were going to Whitehorse for a very romantic nine days -- building log fires, snowmobiles, snow fights, you name it," Morris told the Sunday Province from Manchester, England, where he is working. "But -- if you'll pardon the expression -- I caught her shagging the best mate, so now I'm single and looking for a woman to accompany me.

"The shagging thing kind of put a damper on our relationship, I'm afraid."
Figuring he's already paid for the vacation -- in more ways than one -- Morris decided to contact The Province, hoping we could find him a winter-lovin' woman.

"I don't want this to come across as a sob story," he said. "I paid for it, I might as well bloody enjoy it."

Morris is scheduled to fly to Vancouver on Jan. 5 and then jet to the Yukon capital the next day, returning on Jan. 14. He has booked an inn and plans to cover all the trip's costs. Morris said he's planning to emigrate to Canada and figures Vancouver would be the best place for him to settle.

Morris invites any would-be travel pals to e-mail him at

So that’s exactly what I did. I emailed him. Here’s a copy of the message I sent him.

From: Sarah Marchildon
To: Steve Morris
Subject: Whitehorse trip

Hi Steve,

I read about you in the Vancouver Province. Sorry to hear you caught your fiancée shagging your best friend. That sucks. But your story is hilarious. The very idea that you're looking for someone to accompany you on your trip to Whitehorse takes a lot of balls. You seem like a pretty interesting guy. We need more people like you in Vancouver.

Sarah Marchildon

And here's his reply:

From: Steve Morris
To: Sarah Marchildon
Subject: Re: Whitehorse trip

Thanks for that :) Glad to know I'm in demand somewhere. LOL.

That's it. That's all he wrote. So what I want to know is if he's so damn desperate, why didn't he invite me to go on this Whitehorse trip with him? Holy crap. I can't even get a desperate Scottish guy to ask me out.

I suppose it doesn't really matter. If he had asked me to go to Whitehorse with him, I would have turned him down. Going on a "romantic" vacation to the Yukon in the middle of winter with a complete stranger who is probably a little bitter about the whole "caught my girlfriend shagging my best mate" thing doesn't really appeal to me. But he could have at least asked.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Dodge's baaaack!

Adult dodge ball leagues are hot. I know this to be true because two separate articles in the Toronto Star and National Post told me so this week.

This is shocking and disturbing news. I thought dodge ball went the way of the death penalty, deemed to be cruel and unusual punishment.

But, no, it seems adults in Toronto are willingly subjecting themselves to being whipped by hard red balls. For fun.

I couldn't wrap my mind around this so decided to conduct an informal poll around the lunch table at work. Half of the people I talked to were deeply, emotionally scarred by dodge ball. The other half were blasé, some even claimed to have liked dodge ball as a kid.

I'm not sure which camp I fit into. As a kid, I sucked at team sports but did well in individual sports (such as running or swimming). Although gym was one of my favourite "subjects" in high school, dodge ball filled me with a sense of dread.

I figured my sister Hilary would have strong opinions about dodge ball, seeing as how she is a 17-year-old high school student in Toronto. So I gave her a call this afternoon.

Hilary informed me she stopped taking gym after Grade 10 because she wanted to concentrate on more important courses (her words, not mine). But she is one of those strange people who actually like dodge ball.

"It's good for some shits and giggles," she said.

Me: "Shits and giggles?"

Hilary: "Yeah. Shits and giggles."

Me: "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Hilary: " know. It's fun."

I don't know anything about shits and giggles. But I have my own theories about the dodge ball resurgence. Perhaps the adults who are now playing dodge ball are over-compensating for a childhood spent cowering in fear of the mighty red ball.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Vancouver men

Last night, I invited my friends Tamara and Jenny over for dinner, wine and gossip. Tamara whipped up a hearty chicken stew, Jenny brought a tasty Greek salad and I made hot apple crisp.

We sat around the table and tucked into the delicious feast spread before us. As the evening wore on, the German wine loosened our tongues and turned the conversation away from work towards, well, more x-rated material.

But our most heated discussion centered on one topic – Vancouver men.

"The men here aren’t men, they’re boys," moaned Tamara.

Vancouver men are generally a passive, asexual, wimpy and unstylish lot. The only good men in this city are either gay or have already been snapped up by some lucky girl. This is Vancouver’s dirty little secret. They don’t tell you this when you move here.

Oh sure, from a distance it seems like the land of milk and honey. When the David Suzuki Foundation flew me out from New Brunswick for a job interview in 2000, I was dizzy from the sight of all the healthy, attractive, young guys jogging around the seawall, reading books at Chapters and parading up and down Robson Street dressed in Prada.

Almost five years later, not one of those guys has asked me out. Although many guys in Vancouver have asked me out, not one of them was actually from Vancouver. There was Octavian from Romania, Phil from Denver, Steve from Toronto, Andrew from Ontario and James from England. Not one single Vancouver boy in the group.

I can say with absolute certainty that it’s not me, it’s them. The fact that I swim on a gay swim team and live in the West End has nothing to do with my abysmal track record. I have lived in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Saint John and Fredericton. If they think you’re remotely attractive or interesting, guys in those cities will crawl over broken glass to approach you.

Every year, I go back to Toronto for two weeks at Christmas. And every year, I get hit on more times in those two weeks than I have all year in Vancouver. It’s depressing.

I am not alone. My friend Jenny moved back to Vancouver in June after two years working in Bosnia and Macedonia for the UN. This is a girl who attended the University of Victoria in the politically correct 1990s. For four years, she was surrounded by fleece-wearing, grunge-listening, beer-drinking, guitar-playing, pajama-bottom-wearing men.

So when she arrived in Bosnia, she was shocked at how "male" the men were. They opened doors for her, protected her as she crossed the street, and respected their wives and daughters.

"It’s chivalry to the extreme," she said. "The men were burly, hairy and angry. They drank a lot and smoked a lot."

Upon her return to Vancouver, the first thing she noticed was how badly the guys here were dressed and how disinterested they seemed in the opposite sex.

I’m not saying I want a man to drag me around by the hair but I do want someone with a strong personality, a backbone, confidence, ambition and a sense of humour. Maybe on a subconscious level, I’m looking for someone like my father. Someone who is decisive, takes control, is dependable through and through, and makes his wife and his children the center of his universe. Even better, he never takes himself seriously. My mom always says she married my dad for his sense of humor. But she met him in Toronto, not Vancouver.

Tamara has found her Vancouver man. Konrad is a transplant from Poland. He’s everything that Vancouver men are not. He’s goofy and silly with a quiet confidence. He’s a rugged outdoors guy who has climbed hundreds of mountains, but unlike Vancouver guys, doesn’t feel he has to brag about it. He has a great job and lots of ambition.

"European men are just more manly," said Tamara, who has also dated a Norwegian lumberjack and a German fighter pilot.

I’m not saying all Vancouver guys are wimps. In fact, I’d like nothing better than to be proven wrong. Make eye contact with us. Talk to us at the grocery store, Starbucks or a bar. Be assertive. Hold the door open once and a while. Ditch the fleece and stop wearing socks with sandals. Compliment us. Ask us out. And to all the Vancouver women out there, you’re welcome.