Tag Archives: i need a drink

Shrevolution! Or, I Hate Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there: I’m not exactly the world’s biggest fan of Valentine’s Day.

I mean, it’s fine when you’re a little kid. You make sure to wear something red or pink, tell your parents how much you love them, and draw hearts all over every-fucking-thing. Everyone in your class gives you a card, your gorge yourself on chocolate, then spend the afternoon in a sugar-fuelled frenzy and throw up all over your babysitter’s carpet. End of story.

Then you hit puberty, and Valentine’s Day becomes this huge, looming thing. Like, it’s the only day where you can truly prove just how much you love (or, at least, want to fuck) another person. You can be in a happy committed relationship for every other day of the year, but if you happen to be single on Valentine’s Day, then you, my friend, are the most pathetic person in the world. Or at least you’re made to feel like you are.

My dislike for Valentine’s Day has slowly evolved over the years. In grade school I thought it was fine, maybe even sort of fun, and in high school I endured it, handing out ironic valentines to friends and crushes alike (go ahead, ask me how well that worked in the dating department). By university, though, I was ready to declare open season on V-Day.

I decided that the modern-day, grown-up version of Valentine’s Day was nothing less than a capitalist nightmare, chock-full of obligations to spend money: on flowers, on dinner, on chocolates, on jewellery, on sexy lingerie. There were other, insinuated obligations, too. For example, women were expected to pay for all the attention and money lavished on them by putting out, whether they wanted to or not. I even once had a male friend say to me, “If I buy my girlfriend flowers for Valentine’s Day, she basically has to have sex with me, right?”

Uh, no, dude. She doesn’t.

And, I mean, seriously, out of all the thinly-Christianized pagan celebrations to take hold this side of the Atlantic, how did crappy old Valentine’s Day manage to make it onto that list? Why can’t we celebrate May Day and dance around may poles? How come we don’t do anything for St. John’s Eve, a.k.a. Midsummer? I would way rather build some bad-ass bonfires in June than hand out ugly, mass-produced cards in February.

All of this was part of the reason why my roommates and I decided to throw an Anti-Valentine’s-Day party during second year. My mother had put a package of pink, heart-shaped Post-It notes in my stocking that Christmas, so we used those to decorate our apartment, scrawling things like, “LOVE IS AN ILLUSION” and “FUCK YOU” on them. You know, the usual romantic stuff.

Aside from the fact that a girl that no one liked and no one would admit to inviting ended up vomiting red wine all over our bathroom, the party was a resounding success.

The next year, my friends and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a little differently. Our plans started innocently enough: we were going to go eat greasy, delicious, non-romantic food and then go somewhere for drinks. There were four of us, two of whom had boyfriends, and all we really wanted was a quiet, Galentine’s night out.

Once we got to the pub, things went downhill fast.

A few drinks into the evening, the ranting began. And, naturally, the more we drank, the more belligerent we became.

“Fuck Valentine’s Day!” said one of my friends, “People think it’s all about women, but really it’s all about dicks getting some action.”

“Yeah, fuck dicks,” said another. “I mean, don’t actually fuck them, but also, fuck them.”

“Valentine’s Day should be for clits, not dicks! Dudes should be obligated to prove that they can perform proper oral sex before taking a woman out for V-Day,” said someone else. “Clit not dick! Clit not dick!”

Clit Not Dick ended up becoming our mantra for the evening. We repeated it frequently and loudly. We decided that we were going to start a revolution based on our new slogan, one that would free women everywhere from the oppressive shackles of Valentine’s Day. We began approaching romantic-looking couples at other tables to ask if they’d hear the good news about Clit Not Dick. We harassed the band with demands for songs by Veruca Salt, Hole, and, strangely, Counting Crows (they actually did end up playing Mr. Jones, probably just to make us go away).

This was back in the days when you could still smoke in bars, so we started chain-smoking to go along with our drinking. Soon our ashtray was overflowing, and our table was surrounded by a blue haze. We decided that we should pact that night, the four of us, to continue spreading word of the revolution. We touched the glowing tips of our cigarettes together and called it a cigarette pact because, we said, cigarettes don’t lie.

Later, we spilled out onto the street and, arm in arm, began marching down Spring Garden Road singing We Shall Overcome. Whenever we saw a girl getting into a car with a guy, we would run over and try to convince her that she didn’t need him, she only needed herself! We proselytized about the revolution to everybody, shouting CLIT NOT DICK at random intervals.

We found a phone booth and somehow managed to cram all four of us into it. We dialled the tips line for the local newspaper and left them a long, rambling message about capitalism, the revolution, and how Valentine’s Day oppressed women, and, naturally, clit not dick. We finished up by saying that we expected to see something about this in the next day’s paper.

“GET ON IT,” my friend yelled into the phone before hanging up.

One of my friends was so drunk when she got home that she was slurring her words. She tried to tell her boyfriend It’s the revolution! but apparently it came out sounding like Shrevolution! 

Naturally, once the rest of us heard that word, we adopted it as the new name for our movement.

The next year we held another Shrevolution, but the year after that I met Matt, and everything changed.

I learned to love Valentine’s Day and everything that went with it.

PSYCH. I still hate Valentine’s Day. Matt, who is kind of into it, has had to accept that I’m just not a very romantic person. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’ve tried to celebrate it, if only because it seemed to mean something to Matt. But I think he realized pretty early on that it wasn’t my thing – the fact that for our first Valentine’s Day together he gave me a red silk pillow with I Love You embroidered on it and I gave him a swiss army knife may have helped tip him off – and now we’re pretty low-key about it.

But tonight, the Shrevolution will ride again. A bunch of my old Halifax friends are now living in Toronto, and three of us are going out to the Drake tonight to eat fancy, romantic food and get trashed on overpriced cocktails. Because as much as I might laugh at my younger self for some of my ridiculous Shrevolution antics, I can’t say that I entirely disagree with her thoughts on V-Day: that it’s too commercial, too capitalist, and there’s too much obligation to spend money that you might not have. Also the fact that you should celebrate your love for someone every day, not just spend one day a year in the back corner of a third-rate restaurant because that was the only place you could get a reservation, exchanging cheesy Hallmark cards and crappy gifts. Because you know what? Love fucking deserves better than that.

So while you are sitting there trying to whisper sweet nothings in your lover’s ear over the din of everyone else trying to do the same, I will be laughing raucously, swearing like a sailor, and yelling rude things.

Happy Shrevolution, you guys!


I’ll Never Have That Recipe Again (or, um, I suck)

5 Sep

NaBloPoMo Prompt #2

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
When you are speaking with someone, do you prefer to look them in the eye or talk over the phone?

A few years ago, I worked for an Australian company. Most of the junior positions at my office were filled by Canadians, but they brought in actual, for-real Australians to fill the senior positions. This worked out all right, as the Australians seemed to like Canada just fine (although they found us a bit too politically correct for their liking, and they hated the cold so much that they counted their time here in winters, rather than years).

After I’d been working for a few months, a new head honcho came over from Australia. He was, like, my boss’ boss’ boss, but for some reason he and I got a kick out of each other and he would often come hang around my desk. One day he came by and announced that his birthday was coming up.

I’ll bake you a cake – what’s your favourite? asked one of my co-workers.

Oh, you wouldn’t know it, said my boss, mock-pouting. No one in Canada’s ever heard of it.

Tell us, tell us, we begged him, desperate to prove him wrong.

A pavlova, he said, smirking.

The girl who had volunteered to bake for him quickly rescinded her offer.

I know what a pavlova is, I said, rolling my eyes in what I assumed was a very blasé way. I’ll make it. I’ve made one before.

First of all, let’s be perfectly clear: yes, I did know what a pavlova was. I’d even eaten one. But I’d never made one before. And I am pretty terrible in the kitchen. It’s just that when people assume I don’t know something, not only do I have to prove them wrong, I have to go one step beyond that and, like, extra, extra prove them wrong. Plus, I maybe wanted to suck up to my boss just a little.

I didn’t expect him to actually take me up on my offer.

Not only did he take me up on my offer, but he recruited another girl in the office to bake him a carrot cake and announced to everyone that we were going to have a bake-off for his birthday.

What the hell had I gotten myself into?

The night before my boss’ birthday I set out all the ingredients for the pavlova on my kitchen table. I tried to pretend that I was in a cooking show. If I was in a cooking show, everything would turn out just fine, right?

I separated the ingredients into cute, colourful bowls just like they do on tv. I put on a kooky apron. I practiced my charming smile for the camera.

First, I said to my audience of cats,  first beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until foamy.

Both cats bolted at the sound of the mixer.


The next direction said to beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time. Now, I’m not going to go into detail here, but let’s just say that I fucked it up. And there was sticky, foamy egg white everywhere.

It was nearly midnight. I sat down and cried.

What was I going to do?

I thought about just flat-out telling everyone that I’d failed.

I though about calling in sick to work.

Then, like the adult I am, I stopped crying, got up and made another pavlova.

This one was perfect. Thank you Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

I tried to sleep afterwards, but I was too nervous. I was afraid that the pavlova would crumble over night. I ended up sleeping on the couch and getting up every hour to check on it. Finally, morning came, and the pavlova was still fine. I wrapped it up and took a cab to the office.

I’d been too nervous to eat that morning, and I was exhausted from not sleeping, so my solution was to down cup after cup of coffee. After about the millionth cup I had to take the what was maybe the worst call in the history of calls.

It was a Russian truck driver, and he didn’t understand why we’d sent him a notice of intent to cancel his insurance. I tried, patiently, to explain to him that he had missed a payment. He swore up and down that he’d replaced the payment last month. I tried, still patiently, to explain that he had to make a payment every month. That was just too much for him. He totally lost it on me.

He screamed at me, called me stupid, wondered aloud what was wrong with me, threatened to have me fired, and told me repeatedly that I was ugly and no one liked me. I mean, you know, the usual. His pièce de résistance, however, came at the end of the call:

Do you know what I do with your notice of intent to cancel, he hissed in his thickly-accented English, I shit on it. I put it in the toilet and I shit on it.

Let’s be perfectly clear here: I am a person who is absolutely terrified of being yelled at. It just flips a switch in my brain that sends me right from “totally normal” to “gibbering mess”. But still, even after that phone call, even in spite of my lack of sleep and my concern for my pavlova, I managed to hold it together.

Right after that was the bake-off. To calm my nerves, I had a glass of champagne. On an empty stomach. And then I had another one.

At first everything seemed to go well – people praised how pretty my pavlova was, all covered in whipped cream and berries. The girl who had made the carrot cake hadn’t even bothered to take it out of the pan.

Amateur, I thought to myself.

But then came the taste test. The judges each had slips of paper on which they wrote comments, and then my boss read all the comments out loud at the end.

” … not as good as an Aussie pavlova…”

” … needs passionfruit, just not right without it … ”

” … pavlova is nice to look at but tastes too one-dimensional … ”

Oh no, I thought, feeling the sting of tears in my eyes, oh, please no, not now.

I tried to discreetly wipe my eyes before anyone noticed, but it was too late.

Are you crying? my boss asked, kindly but incredulously. Are you crying over losing a bake-off?

I tried to explain about how I’d ruined the first cake, and then couldn’t sleep, and hadn’t eaten all day, and then the Russian man had yelled at me, and how I’d worked so hard on that God-damn pavlova and it was just mean to say that it was one-dimensional. In my heart of hearts, though, I knew it was no use.

I would now forever be known as the girl who cried because she lost a bake-off.

And you know what? That would never have happened if I’d been talking to the Russian man face to face rather than over the phone. Because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my years of customer service, it’s that people go bonkers when they’re on the phone. It’s like they forget that they’re talking to a real, actual person and think that you’re some kind of robot on which they can unleash all of their fear and anger.

So, yeah, I’ll take face to face over talking on the phone anytime.

Please note, this is not my pavlova (as I’m sure you can tell from the watermark on the photo)