Found this near Shoreditch High Street, London. Because of the binary colours, it took me a while to figure out what it was exactly I was looking at. I recognized the legs. Then I saw the undies. Then the purse on the floor, which at first I mistook for an empty kleenex box (and then I thought, is she masturbating?). Straight ahead, I couldn’t tell that was a door, I thought it might be a television. But then the floor revealed itself to be tiled, and she must be in the loo, I figured.
Yup, that’s what I see.
The unknown artist chose a great spot on the wall for this wheatpaste.
But first, wait in several airport terminals for hours on end with spotty wifi!
Right now I’m at my stopover in Doha. That’s the capital of Qatar, in case you never picked up a National Geographic. It’s also where Al Jazeera English is based. I watch them a lot because their news is really critical of the Western media propaganda machine, and their anchors are from England and look totally out of place.
Can you tell I’m somewhat of a grumpy flyer?
I’m a cranky, moody cow.
Anyhoo, because of my ethnicity, everyone is looking at me and wondering why I’m not in a burqa.
I miss Thailand.
I am told all the time that I am brave for travelling the world on my own. Not by men. By other women. There are many like-minded women such as I, but this post isn’t for them. This post is for all the women who feel like they can’t (or shouldn’t) travel on their own.
Deciding to go
Once the travel bug infects you, there’s no known cure. Case in point, I’ve been backpacking for 7 years and I see no reason to ever stop. So when you decide that there is so much more out there for you than just your hometown, there is very little that will stop you from eventually just booking that ticket, grabbing your passport, and taking the ride.
For me, it never occurred to me to ask my friends or partners if they wanted to come with. I’ve always been somewhat of an independent lass (aka loner …stemming from being a writer, no doubt) and have always booked my travel with just me in mind. However, I know I’m not the majority. For many women, they are only travelling solo because their friends or partners couldn’t join.
But deciding to go it alone is the best choice you can make. If you actually waited around for your friends to have the same schedule/holiday time as you, you’d never go anywhere. Your friends may or may not have the same finances as you, and above all, they may not want to go to the same countries as you. There’s no reason why you should sacrifice your dream-adventure to the jungles of Borneo just because your friends only want to do package deals to resorts in Cancun.
This is the most important factor for women when deciding to travel alone, and rightly so. The UN recently released a study on the status of women and declared that “women make up 70% of the world’s poor, only own 1% of the world’s titled land, and are discriminated against in almost every single country.”
However, none of this should stop you from seeing the world. It’s important to remember that you could equally be the victim of a crime in your own city as you could whilst on the road. You have to remember that people all over the world are pretty much the same– the good will do good, and the evil will do evil. It’s true that when I was in the Middle East and in Italy and in India, the men were relentless with the catcalling and the verbal harassment. But have I also experienced that in my hometown of toronto? Absolutely.
That being said, use the same good sense you would use walking home at night after work. Be aware, keep your purse zipped and in front of you (or use a money belt like I do under your clothes), don’t listen to your iPod because it will mask the sound of anyone getting too close, keep photocopies of all your important documents in a separate compartment from your primary wallet, and if you are the victim of a crime, know that it was absolutely not your fault.
Go to the police, then go to your consulate. Call your insurance, and call your mum cuz she’s probably worried sick.
Good rule of thumb– a heavy keychain can double as a weapon in self-defence. If someone grabs you, you can whip around and either slash them with your keys, poke their eyes, or hit them with the heavy keychain handle itself. When I walk home alone at night, I always grip my keys firmly so that, in any event, I don’t have to fumble through my purse looking for them.
As for catcalling, it’s tempting to tell them to fuck off or give them dirty looks for the obscene things they will say to you (and they will), but the only actual method that works is to keep your head down and ignore them. Let them call, let them get up in your grill, but don’t give them the satisfaction. They do not exist in your world, and don’t deserve to own real estate in your brain. Seriously ladies, just keep your eyes lowered, keep moving, and ignore.
Of course, it’s natural to fear the unknown. But that fear should propel you forward, not hold you back. You’re travelling in the first place because you want to be pushed out of your comfort zone anyway. The challenge is the best part.
Fear is temporary, regret is forever.
If I had listened to everyone who tried to scare me out of going to Kosovo or Bosnia or Peru or Turkey or Lebanon or India, I never would have had those life-altering experiences or met those wonderful people who are now my lifelong friends or witnessed those places and sites normally only read about in books.
People want to tell you that you can’t go somewhere because they’re too scared to go there. Don’t listen to other people’s ideas for your life. Take on board what you think is credible and sensible, but discard what is just projection. You’ll see that most of it is the latter.
Another common concern for “all the single laydeeeeeez” is being lonely for weeks on end if you’re travelling alone.
That is a real possibility, and something you have to prepare for. If you’re not someone who enjoys their own company very much, reevaluate your travel goals, because it is inevitable that at some point, you may not meet anyone or talk to anyone for days.
But there are lots of ways to ensure you stave off loneliness whilst on the road.
stay in hostels- I know many of you don’t like the idea of dorms, or being awoken by the scrunching of plastic bags or late arrivals, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Everyone in a hostel dorm is there to meet people. They are more apt to chat, to wanna explore with you, to eat meals with you, and become your lifelong friend than your average stranger in a hotel. And not just the other travellers, I’ve even made lifelong friends with some hostel staff! Remember that lots of hostellers are solo travellers as well, and therefore are more open to chat and venture out on the town together. Hostels also offer more perks than hotels– free wifi, free breakfast, free bike rentals, free tours, free laundry, free dinners, free parties, guest kitchens, cheap drinks, and waaaay cheaper than hotels. As for being kept awake by dorm noise, invest in ear plugs and an eye mask. They have saved my sleepy ass more than once.
do day tours and trips — day excursions are always populated by like minded travellers who inevitably end up chatting and high fiving during your time together.
smile- it’s amazing what a positive attitude and an approachable manner can do for your social life. Just don’t smile at the catcallers.
take local trains, subways, and buses– great way to meet locals when you stop that handsome local man for directions.
Women particularly are more subject to local customs and societal pressures, especially when travelling. Sometimes we have to cover our head when entering a place of supernatural worship, and sometimes we are not allowed to even enter the country without our father or husband present. It’s always super important to do as much research as possible before venturing to another country, especially the laws and legal system. Lesbian couples married in canada could possibly not have their union recognized by other governments, and may be refused entry. Some cities have different subway cars for women and men. I even once saw a sign in India that said, “to protect the sanctity of this temple, women who are menstruating are not permitted to enter.” Of course, that temple had no problem allowing the wild monkeys of the area to enter.
Remember that you have a choice where you go, and only you know what you’re willing to put up with. If being forced to wear the chador is too much for you, then don’t go to Iran. If being forced to cover your entire body in wrapping before entering the San Marco church is too much for you, then dont go to Venice. Know your limits and travel accordingly. I used to get really upset by all the rules surrounding my body and behaviour, but instead of lashing out at the locals, it’s just much easier to not give them my tourist dollars.
That being said, if you are arrested in another country for violating one of their women-centric laws, sometimes there may be very little your consulate or government can do for you. You are subject to the laws of the country in which you travel, and just proclaiming, “you can’t do this to me, I’m a Canadian!” won’t get you out of trouble, or out of jail time. So if you go, follow their laws.
Good rule of thumb – even when going to tropical countries, bring a scarf, a long sleeved shirt, and a long skirt, just in case. Cleavage and belly-buttons are usually troublesome, no matter how much that rule irks me.
Always check the foreign affairs website for travel advisories, health risks, vaccination requirements, visa requirements, and more that the Canadian government compiles for every single country, and keeps freakishly up to date. They also publish a free handbook for women called Her Own Way – A Woman’s Safe-travel Guide.
Pack like a woman
Lets be honest, even the most seasoned female hardcore backpackers have at least one vanity item. Mascara, a set of heels, a little black dress, a fascinator … Whatever it is, even whilst on the road, sometimes we like to look our best. And that’s perfectly okay. Don’t feel like you can’t treat yourself once in a while because you have to follow some guy-code of the road.
Here’s some of my packing tips:
- lay out everything you want to take with you on your bed, cut it in half, then pack. You only actually need half of what you think you’ll need. Trust me. The lighter your backpack, the better. You dont need a different bra for every day of the week, you just need a couple. You don’t need 7 bikinis, you just need 1. You don’t need that huge 500ml bottle of perfume, just the tiny 40ml bottle. Besides, airports always have free perfume and moisturizer samples at the duty free. Great for freshening up between layovers.
-forgo the wheelie suitcase and invest in an amazing backpack. Despite appearances, backpacks, when worn correctly, don’t hurt your shoulders or neck or back because all of the weight actually sits on your hips. Wheelie suitcases are horrible for going up and down the staircases of subways and airports and train stations that have no ramps or elevators (aka most of the developing world). With a backpack, you are entirely mobile and have your hands free.
-lock up every access point in your checked and carry on bags. Baggage handlers notoriously have sticky fingers, as do the bus operators in Asia who like to sneak down to the luggage compartment whilst you’re asleep and steal your hardware. Keep all your money, documents, passports, iPhones, iPads, camera, jewellery, etc in your carry-on luggage, and never let your carry-on out of your site, even to go to the loo. When out on the street, thieves and pickpockets will try to distract you whilst they unzip your daypack and steal your camera, so keep it locked even on the street. When flying through the States, make sure your locks are TSA approved, otherwise they will break open your locks at your expense. Bastards.
-the local pharmacy or chemist will have anything you need: tampons, canesten, tweezers, vagisil, whatever. So don’t overpack, or freak, if you didnt pack them. Some places, like the UK, offer free condoms and birth control pills, so you can still enjoy your holiday romance if you aren’t prepared. Some over the counter medication you’re used to at home may not be available in another country, but they usually have a comparable substitute. For example, there’s no Tylenol (acetaminophen) in the UK, but there is paracetamol.
-you’re allowed to bring your makeup with you, just as long as your makeup bag doesn’t outsize your carry-on bag.
-any clothes you pack will probably get dirty and smelly, and possibly ripped or ruined, so don’t bring any expensive threads or things you can’t live without. Good rule of thumb- pack onesies. They take up less space than separate tops and bottoms, and look fricken cute.
-theft is a real problem in hostels, and you don’t know who has a key to your dorm, so if you have space in your backpack, carry a pac-safe backpack protector. When I first bought this, I thought it would just collect dust in the bottom of my pack. Seven years later, I can’t travel without it. I’ve used it in almost every single hostel I’ve ever stayed in, and I’ve never had anything stolen.
-if you’re carrying more than 15 kilos in total, you’re doing it wrong.
While you’re on the road
I always say that travellers who expect every country they visit to resemble their own had better stay home. Sure, the buses don’t run on time, and the nightclubs close earlier, but just remember where you are! And how jealous all your friends back home at work are! You are the luckiest woman in the world. And you gotta get in the spirit of things!
Remain positive, go with the flow, and don’t let anyone ruin your fun. You are not beholden to or obligated to anyone you meet, so if they shove their rain cloud of doom in your face, leave them behind in your dust. Kill them with awesome. Your trip, your way!
And remember the wise words of Mae West, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
i just have to tell this anecdote, because everyone is talking about Tosh’s rape joke (which i found to be the best example of bullying, of inflicting pain, and of trying to control people’s responses to his stupid-ass, lame jokes… but i’ll let curtis luciani explain why Tosh’s joke was seriously fucked up, he does it better than i).
when i was living in London, England, i was at a shop, and in line to pay at the counter. there were two blokes in line ahead of me.
one of the guys yawned.
the other guy, who did not know him, STUCK HIS FINGER IN THE FIRST GUY’S MOUTH and yelled,
picture that for a moment.
now seeing as how they didn’t know each other, i thought the first guy might get a bit upset.
but no. instead, the first guy smirked and said, “it’s a good job i didn’t fart, innit?”
and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the ONLY RAPE JOKE THAT IS FUNNY.
next time you’re with one of your mates and they yawn, try doing the yawn rape. it’s a fun game anyone can play, and heaven only knows what kinda mayhem it will cause.
PROJECT MAYHEM YAWN RAPE.
on Grattan street in Bushwick.
i love gilf. i am photographing more and more of her work and i cannot express how talented she is. i have an almost atavistic response to her work.
this is what happens when you give men the right to vote.
shut up and get back to the garage where you belong.
“most official bitches.”
rivington street in the LES
So something happened last weekend that I wasn’t sure if I should blog about, but a few days have passed and I have reflected on it a bit so I guess it’s kosher to talk about now.
Click here to enlarge the photo.
So this happened. The link might not work anymore by the time you read this because Craigslist ads are notoriously short-lived. But yeah…. this is definitely about me.
Apart from the fact that his punctuation is atrocious (dude, put a period in there somewhere!), this is, I guess, kinda nice and flattering?
I’m having a hard time with it because although he’s paying me a compliment, it also kind of angers me. I remember this exchange (although i’m drawing a blank when it comes to remembering his face) and it was all very benign. We were just talking about my shitty old camera and about a lot of the graffiti one might find in the area. So why his post has a romantic vibe to it makes me feel like less of a human being and more of an object.
I’m probably reading too much into his few short sentences. I guess I’m at an age (read: breaking point) where I don’t like being ogled when I’m out in public. Leave that for the teenagers. I want to be treated like a member of the community, as a human being, and as a distinct soul. Not as a possible date.
Am I being mean?
I’m being mean, aren’t I?
I didn’t respond to his post … wouldn’t want him to discover I’m actually a moody cow.
Anyway, fanks to the bajillion people who flooded my email inbox, facebook, and text messages, giving me a head’s up about this and sending me the link! Nice to know my readers have got my back.
i’m walking under the fort york bridge looking for another piece of street art when i found this stencil by someone named PROOF with a backwards R.
normally, i’d be all over a piece like this, loving the shit outta it, because it does have artistic merit and it is very well done and conceived. i just don’t like what it represents and how it depicts women.
what do i mean?
she has no head.
she has no face, no body, no say, no voice, no expression. nothing. all she is, is a pair of breasts which have been completely removed from the rest of the body.
this really bothers me, actually. many people will look at this and think i’m over-reacting, but this is how women are depicted in media and advertising all the time – we are dehumanized. this woman depicted here isn’t a human, she’s a pair of fuckable breasts. she has no voice and because she is highly sexualized in this image, she is CLEARLY depicted as gagging for it, hypersexual, and willing to fuck anyone. THAT’S HOW WOMEN ARE DEPICTED and who is going to defend women to impressionable young boys who don’t know any better? whether they actually ARE sluts or not isn’t the issue, because there’s nothing wrong with being a slut. but there’s something very wrong with having slutdom thrust upon you, being depicted as just a sexual object for men’s consumption when you actually are so much more than that.
this girl has her tshirt over her face, and it is very possible that seconds after this occurred, that shirt was wrapped around her throat in a violent assault.
i don’t think this is too much to say. this is what women have to deal with every fucking day.
yeah, this is very nice artistically.
but what it represents and the message it puts out there is DISGUSTING.
hey PROOF, this is pretty much interchangeable with commercial for beer or date-rape drug rohypnol.
unoriginal, boring, derivative. sell-out!
an example of bad street art.
(footnote: read my Manifesto on Sex for more on this topic)
A bosnian man begs for his life.
a serbian soldier kicks three civilians he has just shot dead.
a young croat boy cries at the funeral of his parents who were killed in the war, orphaning him.
croats are forced out of vukovar by the serbs who took control of the city.
this photograph of a family was found in their former house. serbian soldiers who occupied the house scratched their faces out with keys. the family was never found.
It has been twenty years since the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo, which would last from 1992 to 1996, and was the largest civilian genocide in Europe since the Holocaust. War broke out all throughout the former Yugoslavia when, after the fall of communism, states started to break away. Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia… but when Bosnia-Herzegovina decided to break away from Yugoslavia, Serbia lost its shit and decided to invade.
The Serbian army, under the rule of General Ratko Mladic, President Radovan Karadzic, and President Slobodan Milosevic, marched across the former Yugoslavia, sacking places like Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Mostar and then surrounding the city of Sarajevo (which sits in a valley between several mountains), laying siege to innocent civilians in an effort to get the Muslims out, so that the Orthodox Serbs could take control of the land. Because the Serbs controlled the mountains which surrounded the city, there was literally no way out for the Bosnians. The mountains were a strategic advantage to the Serbs because their snipers could pick people off, one by one, as they walked down the street. The main street which lead out of Sarajevo provided no shield at all and was completely open in the line of fire, and thus, it became known as “Sniper Alley.” The UN and the West proved to be completely impotent and ineffective when they turned a blind eye to the genocide, claiming that both sides were in the wrong even though they knew it was a one-sided fight.
(this mortar killed 9 civilians)
(sarajevans fill in the remaining mortar craters with red resin to mark the spot where sarajevans died. they call these spots Sarajevo Roses)
The West claimed that they couldn’t evacuate the people because that was exactly what the Serbs wanted – to rid Sarajevo of its citizens so they could take over. Thus, evacuation was seen as collusion with the Serbs. In fact, all the UN peacekeepers could do was send in a few tanks to shield people from the snipers on their way to work each day. The Sarajevans had to dig a tunnel under Serbian-occupied ground just to get to the airport … and even if they made it to the airport, it was controlled by the UN which had the authority to turn them away.
(the underground Tunnel which Sarajevans used to escape the city)
The worst of the four-year siege occurred in 1995 in the village of Srebrenica, when approximately 8,000 unarmed civilian Muslim men and young boys were slaughtered in the woods by the Serbs, and were buried in mass graves. Sound like tactics used by Nazi Germany? That’s because they are. And in addition to that, the Serbs shoved the Bosnian Muslims they captured alive into concentration camps, just like during the Holocaust, where people died of starvation and population-density-related diseases. This event quickly became known as the Srebrenica Massacre.
(Muslim prisoners in a serbian concentration camp)
(Sarajevo hosted the Olympics in 1984. Serbian shelling destroyed the bobsled track, which now lies in ruins in the mountains)
The West, including Western Europe, Britain, and the United States, weren’t interested in ending the conflict in 1992, but when they finally decided to give a shit in 1995 after the Srebrenica Massacre, they swiftly ended the siege by joining with the Bosnians and Croats. The Dayton agreement, spearheaded by President Bill Clinton in Dayton, Ohio, brought an end to the bloody war in late 1995.
(if you look closely at the façade of this building, you will see a million little grey dots. those are sniper bullet holes which have been spackled over since the war. although much of Sarajevo has since been rebuilt, there are still entire sections that still lie in ruin)
Slobodan Milosevic was captured but died in captivity before he could be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Hague. Over a decade later, only when Serbia decided it wanted to become part of the European Union, did it take its thumb out of its ass and arrest Radovan Karadzic who had been living just outside of Belgrade the entire time. Then a couple years later, they caught Ratko Mladic as well. Both are at the Hague currently being tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Between 100,000-110,000 people were killed during the siege, and over 2 million people were displaced. It is the most devastating conflict to occur on European soil since World War II.
(the owner of this cafe crossed out the “or not” during the war to present a more hopeful message to the citizens)
So why the history lesson?
In 2008, mere months before Karadzic was arrested, I backpacked all over the Balkans. I hit up the cities of Skopje (Macedonia), Pristina & Prizen (Kosovo), Bar (Montenegro), Belgrade (Serbia), Zagreb & Dubrovnik (Croatia), and of course, Sarajevo and Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina). For numerous reasons, I was deeply affected by my time in the Balkans and I feel a deep connection with the area and the people.
During my stay in Sarajevo, I blogged the entire experience and I would encourage you to read that post. My biggest epiphany whilst there was how Sarajevans do not see themselves as victims, are not looking for hand-outs, are an extremely positive and forward-thinking people, and how resilient they are.
I wondered how these could people could ever look at their scars again without hating us?
In 1993, in the middle of the horrific war, they started the Miss Besieged Sarajevo Beauty Pageant to lift people’s spirits. The 17 year old winner unfurled a banner which read “don’t let them kill us,” and became a symbol of national resistance. She also inspired Bono to write that classic U2 song, “Miss Sarajevo.”
In 1995, still during the siege, they started the Sarajevo Film Festival. People would literally come flying through the cinema doors after running through the streets, dodging sniper bullets, just to see a few movies on VHS tape. The festival still runs to this day. Last year, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were just some of stars participating in the fest.
Today, they have made jewellery and ornamental keepsakes out of discarded mortar shells and bullet casings still found in and around Sarajevo. And even though ethnic and religious tensions exacerbated the war, Bosnia-Herzegovina (and also, Kosovo) remain ethnically diverse to this day, and have no religious components whatsoever to their constitutions, allowing for religious freedoms. Muslims and Orthodox, ethnic Albanians, Turks, Croats, Bosniaks, Serbs, and all the rest, live side by side.
A lot of beautiful artistic projects have been inspired by the war. Canadian novelist Steven Galloway wrote “The Cellist of Sarajevo,” which is one of my all-time favourite novels. It is based upon the true story of a cellist who, during the siege, would play an aria in the spot where Sarajevans had died the day before, risking sniper fire and his life. I would encourage everyone to read it, it made me cry while I was on the subway. ON THE SUBWAY, PEOPLE!
Only a year and a half after the war ended, the film Welcome to Sarajevo was released, starring Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei and then-unknown Goran Visnjic (who had actually fought with the Croat army during the war before returning to acting). It employs actual footage from the war, and re-imagines actual events from the siege. One scene shows the bombing of a children’s orphanage and hospital. It is extremely moving and potent. Again, this is definitely worth watching. Here’s the trailer:
More recently, the film As If I Am Not There takes the viewer inside one of the serbian concentration camps, where bosnian women are raped and tortured. I have blogged about As If I Am Not There before (I also reviewed it for one of the magazines I write for when it premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, read that review here), but i will continue to go on and on about this film because it is so haunting and so powerful, that it is impossible to forget. Watch the trailer here:
The siege of Sarajevo is a horrific genocide of all-too-recent history, and is a reminder that we actually never learn from our mistakes. We said after the Holocaust “never again,” but genocides keep happening …. in Bosnia…. in Rwanda …. in Sierra Leone …..in Kosovo…. and now in Darfur.
No one ever pays attention to a genocide until afterwards.
If you have never been to the Balkans, now is the time to go. It is absolutely breathtaking, inspiring, and exquisite.
Read about my time in Sarajevo here.
International Women’s Day (which is tomorrow, March 8th) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. This past weekend, there was a protest march in toronto to draw attention to the issues in this city and country that affect women.
i love these events because they show just how informed, organized, and tightly regimented our communities are when it comes to issues that affect not just women, but everyone. Notice how it’s not just women in this march.
they shut down yonge street, and were protected by The Filth (aka the cops), who prevented cars and traffic from getting anywhere near them. while i am grateful that i do live in a city and a country where the right to assemble and to protest is protected, i am still DISGUSTED by how that same right was denied us during the G20 in 2010. That stain will never be removed from the core of Torontonian’s hearts. We will never forget how peaceful protestors were beaten, detained, kettled, and illegally arrested.
“break the cycles, stop the silence, women in jail is state violence!”
“capitalism can’t be fixed – expropriate the banks!”
toronto women’s city alliance.
“free maricon montajes! free all political prisoners in the philippines!”
as we were observing this protest, someone said to me “international women’s day? when is international men’s day?”
and i replied, “EVERYDAY IS INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY!”
march 8th and december 6th (national day of remembrance and action on violence against women) must be kept holier than the sabbath.
…. because we celebrate strong, courageous women.
And because Reg has claimed the Farrah Fawcett role (dammit).
Alright fine, Ash can be Jaclyn Smith, and I’ll be Lucy Liu.
Wait, I think I have things mixed up.
Exhibit A! This FUBAR email I just received (name has been redacted to protect their privacy):
I’m really nobody who means anything to you or for that matter of fact not much to anyone unless they want something from me and as luck would have it I have what everyone wants so I guess I’m somebody, right ? Anywho I read your blog listened to you, and took you in as I became very aware you are me, OK maybe not me exactly but in other ways we are the same. I was born a long time ago with normal parents I think and a normal upbringing, well sorta. What I found out about myself I saw in you, yes in you, you see I am an artist who unlike many who are like me and those who wish they were, another words I am an artist that gets paid to be me. So am I me or a product of my environment ? I tend to think of myself as a plant at times and what does a plant need ? Water for one, some light here and there but most importantly I need love. Now at the moment I am not loved save for those who have what I have what I want but it always seems to have a price tag on it. So I do like myself because I am kind and patient, with a lot of emotions to spill here and there, what I am saying is I would like very much to have a friend like you. I am not asking for anything from you but to be a pal and a pair we would make. But who am I your are asking yourself……hm-mm well I am German of Persian decent (Oh I am not really a ******** I changed my name because so many hate Germans however everyone thinks I am Persian anyways) so like you we are Middle Eastern and I of olive complexion. Look Christine I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences as I am a Shia so I believe I needed to write you. Now this is what could happen from here, 1.) You can except my invitation to become friends or acquaintances or 2.) You can spam my email and wonder as you will was that guy a man I should have known, yet you’ll only know if you write me back and see where this going. Remember I ask of you for nothing that is unless you want to give me some light. Well anywho I bet your busy so I’ll say I have to go to save you the trouble of saying goodbye for now. Peace & Hugs – ******
PS: I found your blog when I was looking for images of Polynesian flowers for a client and there you were, I also want to add that your the prettiest Polynesian flower I found.”
Does anyone else smell Velveeta Barfaroni?
This is embarrassing for us both …. mostly him.
(PS since when did “no worries” become an accepted greeting? Did i miss an internet meme?)
corner of mentana and mont royal, montreal.
i need to rant about something so please indulge me.
yesterday i’m having a long-overdue catch-up and cuppa with a girlfriend of mine that i haven’t seen since before new years, and i’m describing to her in the most animated language (because, of course, i’m naturally animated. ya’ll know me) about a recent clusterfuck that i endured with some losers. we were in a crowded coffee shop with a screaming espresso machine (or is that the cappuccino maker? i have no clue what it is in the cafes that makes that squelching noise) that was drowned out only by the blaring music pumping over the speakers and the noise of other patrons. so i didn’t think anyone was actually listening to me.
truth be told, i wasn’t even aware of other people around me, because i was invested in talking to a friend.
suddenly this hag who looked like she was way past her expiry date turns around and sneers, “can you watch your language, there are children here!”
shocked, i looked at my friend, and we exchanged a nervous giggle because we didn’t expect that.
suddenly the mother with 3 screaming children sitting behind me starts to grunt and roar like a sea monster, “it’s actually not funny….”
i didn’t hear the rest because i continued to talk to my friend, ignoring the unnecessary scene that they were trying to cause in the cafe. i don’t have time to indulge in other peoples leotarded crusades. but through my conversation, i can hear the ornery old battleaxe behind me grabbing her kids and saying something like “let’s switch seats so they can’t hear her” or something like that. i dunno, i really didn’t pay attention.
i always find it FUCKING HILARIOUS when people get offended by things that happen in public places.
first of all, you tired goat, if you don’t want your kids to hear profanity, then next time either reserve the whole cafe for yourself, or DON’T BRING THEM TO PLACES WHERE ADULTS CONGLOMERATE. you’re in a public place, fuckface (hey, that rhymes!).
secondly, all you had to do was politely come up to me and ask me courteously to keep it to a minimum. snapping at people while sporting a face that looks like a collapsed scrotum isn’t constructive and will get you no where. clearly, you don’t give a shit if you’re kids learn manners. i actually didn’t realize other people could hear me above the noise! i was honestly oblivious! and i wasn’t swearing directly at anybody or trying to be malicious. instead of addressing me like i’m a fucking convict, maybe try to treat other people the way you want your kids to be treated, hmm?
furthermore, it is not my responsibility to raise your kids! i’m in a public place, i’m talking to my friend, i’ll swear all i damn well please. when i was a little girl, you know where i learned swear words? not from adults. ON THE FUCKING PLAYGROUND AT SCHOOL. your kids probably already know all the profanities in the world, don’t take your disdain for that fact o’life out on me.
if you don’t want your kids to hear swear words, i would suggest pulling them from school, banishing the internet, television, radio, movies, all books, the street, the playground, buses, subways, all stores and shops, magazines, libraries, public pools, beaches, parks, theatres, rec centres, and of course, cafes and restos.
i swear (pun intended), parents can be the most obnoxious members of society. puritanical, elitist, and hyped up on some kind of moral authority. just because you have a stroller doesn’t mean you can monopolize the sidewalk or the elevator or the bus! keep to the side, and fold that shit up! don’t bring your kids to public places where adults hang! tell them to shut the fuck up in cinemas and to put their goddamn feet down.
and for the love of all things sacred, DON’T BRING THEM ON AIRPLANES AND SEAT THEM RIGHT BEHIND ME.
next time i see a child, i’m going to punch them right in the schnozz to save time.
as you can tell, i may be 30 years old, but i’m not jonesing for motherhood or rugrats any time soon. i’m pretty sure my biological clock is being drowned out by the sound of YOUR SCREAMING KIDS.
last year, my friend casie stewart blogged about a similar disdain she had for other people’s kids, and the internet (and some former muchmusic VJs, of all people) gave her shit for it. i, on the other hand, applauded her for saying something us childless members of society have been feeling for a long time but feel pressured to keep to ourselves because *gasp* how could we?!
omg there’s a woman who has an opinion on children? and it’s NOT “they are the future?“
EVERYBODY SHIT THEMSELVES.
this may anger a few of my readers, but quite frankly, my dear….
that is how Copyranter says it.
this is how i say it.
compare and contrast.
brooklyn artists, love thy woman.
What the fuck is wrong with some guys? Seriously, all I did was say hello and happy new years and suddenly I have to fend off some stalkerazzi asshole’s inappropriate advances? Do I have a sign on my back that says “harrass me!”
At the New Years Eve party I attended (which was otherwise lovely, fanks to Guy Gal and Adil Dhalla for throwing a monster righteous evening!), I was introduced to a random fellow (his name and personal details have been redacted in order to protect his privacy) who is the roommate of a buddy of mine. I said hello and happy new years, as you do, and he said that we had met before.
I have never met this guy before in my life, of that I’m sure, but for the sake of being polite, I apologized for not remembering. He said that he is a fan of mine and follows me on Twitter.
Again, for the sake of being polite, I said that I would follow him back on Twitter, so I whip out my Blackberry and search for his profile. When it comes up, lo and behold, it turns out he, in fact, does NOT follow me on Twitter.
“Oh yeah, I unfollowed you because you tweet a lot,” he slurs.
Wow. Class-act, buddy. First lie about following me, and then insult me in the process.
So whatever, I barely blinked. This conversation was four minutes out of my night, and I didn’t even recall this conversation as an important one mere moments after it ended.
In fact, this guy in question had met MY DATE, saw us exercising our legs on the dancefloor, and relieving our basorexia at midnight. Ipso facto, he KNEW I was with someone, so why he thought sending me this DM on Twitter the following morning would IN ANY WAY peak my interest is beyond me.
It took me a few minutes to realize who this was, I barely even remembered this guy. Where am I? Come by for some champagne? Oh yes, please, allow me to drop everything and ditch my date WHOM I WAS STILL WITH and seek you out, oh high and mighty lord of the charming princes.
Before I could even respond, he sends:
LET’S PLAY????? Ewwwwwwwwwwww.
First of all, who the fuck do you think you are talking to a woman you just met like that?
Second of all, never did I, at any point, give you the impression that I was remotely interested in you, so you are suffering from some serious delusion to believe I’d be up for that.
Again, before I can even respond, he sends another:
Oh yay! Now that I have your address, I can roll over, thank my lucky stars, and run to you with my arms outstretched!!!
I don’t know what “I habe cava” means (it’s clearly not English), nor do I know what ” pros, and champs” is , so I’m not sure I can share in his excitement for that fact. But I assure you it’s probably not something I would have enjoyed anyway.
By this point, I was disgusted (and showing my date all of these messages, which garnered a few chuckles), so I politely but firmly wrote back:
There. Brutally honest but polite. Nipped it in the bud. I didn’t go out of my way to insult him, but neither did I girlishly laugh off his fuckery. Let him know in less than 140 characters that I wasn’t interested.
For any normal person, they would have gotten the hint and left well enough alone.
Unfortunately, this fucktard ain’t normal.
First he replies:
OH OF COURSE! Naturally, “let’s play” means “a drink and a chat!” OBVIOUSLY! I don’t know HOW I could have read into that and gotten it all wrong! MY BAD.
Seriously, how stupid do you think I am?
I was satisfied, however, that he said “its understood” so I was hoping that would be the end of it.
Without me replying to his message, he sends again:
First of all, don’t call me “love.” I am not your “love.” I am no man’s “love.” MY NAME IS CHRISTINE.
Secondly, it’s not that we “didn’t have enough time to chat,” it’s that I had absolutely no inclination whatsoever to speak to you beyond our initial introduction. You make it sound like the cosmos were conspiring against us, preventing us from being together. Fuck off with that ludicrous delusion that’s not based in any kind of reality.
Furthermore, “another life, we’ll be cool?” OH YES, YOU AND I WILL MEET UP AGAIN IN ANOTHER LIFE because we are ill-fated lovers in this world and destiny has played a card against us.
WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON?
Finally, “i’m not religious. swear.” Maybe not, but you’re definitely a coked-out whackjob. I don’t know what your religious affiliations has to do with anything, I’m assuming that’s in reference to your ‘another life” crap, but now your messages sound like the ramblings of an insane hobo.
Again, I didn’t respond, so he harasses me with ANOTHER STUPID DM:
At this point, buddy, that is neither here nor there.
Enough is enough. I told him no, and he keeps bothering me, so I unfollowed him from Twitter so he couldn’t DM me any further.
Did that stop him?
You already know the answer to that question. He then decides to publicly tweet me:
OH YES, THAT’S WHAT I’M GOING TO DO. I’m going to put myself in a situation where you can “make it up to me.” In your brain, that probably involves snorting lines of coke off my toenails or watching pitbulls rape each other, or some other fucked up shit. Yes, please, I want to be in your presence again! WHAT PART OF I’M NOT INTERESTED DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND??????
I’d rather jump off the CN Tower and catch my eyelid on a nail than let you make anything up to me. In fact, we are nothing to each other, so you have nothing to make up to me. You made a pass at me, I rejected you, end of story. Take it like a man, have some self-respect, and move on.
Stop bothering me!
You make my skin crawl.
Some of you may think I’m over-reacting and being a bitch. It’s true, I do get called a Bitch quite often. What I do NOT get called is pushover, stupid, sweetheart, dear or doormat.
Works for me.
(next posts will go back to our regularly-scheduled NYC graffiti & street art finds, swearsies!)
I do get called a bitch quite often. What I do NOT get called is pushover, stupid, sweetheart, dear, or doormat. Works for me.
Since when has being cheap counted as “empowerment?”
Hey, I’m all for getting in touch with your “inner goddess” by pole dancing your way to the “new you,” but you can’t get lobster thermidor out of a can of tuna.
I’d rather be despised for my character, than liked for my lack of it.
You really need to learn how to open your mouth for more than just giving head.
media gives us blatant sexual messages, but there’s no emphasis on relationships or intimacy. We have to fight to get proper sex education into schools. The problem isn’t sex, it’s our culture’s pornographic attitude toward sex. It’s the trivialization of sex. And nowhere is sex more trivialized than in advertising, where by definition it is used to sell everything.
one could argue that sex has always been used to sell everything, and to a great extent, that’s true. but it is far more extreme, graphic, and pornographic today than ever before.
The truth is that sex is both more important AND less important than our culture makes it out to be. It’s more important because at its best is has meaning, mystery, and emotional powers. And it’s less important because it by no means is the most important aspect of life or love.
But a visitor to our planet would have to come to only two conclusions: the first is that sex is the only thing that matters. And the second is that sex & sexuality belong only to the young and beautiful. If you’re not young and perfect looking, you have no sexuality.
And i think the ultimate impact of that is profoundly anti-erotic.
As much as I like to posture about sex from time to time, I have never made myself sexually available to someone while expecting little or nothing in return. I am not going to be one of those women who is sold on popular cultures view that WOMEN ARE OBJECTS and then reframe it so i begin to view myself as one. So many women are sold the idea that sexualizing yourself is some form of empowerment. We are encouraged to see this as our own choice, when really, the decision was made and applauded by dominant culture years ago.
presenting oneself in the most cliched and stereotypical way is not some kind of liberation.
when our culture offers women only one way to be sexy, it can hardly be considered a choice to choose it. you never had a choice. Wearing a thong (which is essentially a stripper’s g-string), removing your pubic hair, acting passive, infantilizing yourself, sending naked photos of yourself to a boy via your cell phone, dancing on stripper poles, and starving yourself to be thin are just some of the methods forced upon women to stay within the strict, rigid category of SEXY, and any deviation from this is mocked, ridiculed, and seen even by other women as vastly unsexy.
somehow, the women’s movement, which was a force for radical change, has been co-opted by dominant culture to make it about the very values we were fighting against. we have been co-opted and trivialized. Our value of feminine self expression has now become a battle cry used to sell us botox, breast implants, and hair bleach.
a note about breast implants: most women will report that after having breast implants, they lose sensation in their breasts. So their body has now become the object of someone else’s pleasure, rather than their own. breast implants are the perfect way to turn oneself into an object rather than the subject, and the cost is extreme surgical pain, financial ruin, and no guarantee that it will bring you happiness.
there is nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive or sexy. Just about everybody wants this. The problem here is that this desire is held at the utmost importance, at the exclusion of other qualities and aspects. Being HOT has become the most important measure of success. Being cooperative, compassionate, decent, and giving are no longer the yardsticks for being a good person.
in fact, a woman is seen as a “good girl” if she is promiscuous and emotionally detached.
i’m writing about this because this social disease has infected too many people that i love. I don’t even recognize some of my closest friends anymore. While some of my friends encourage the trivialization of sex and have made themselves into sex objects without demanding respect or support from their partners, others are so obsessed with the “gotta-find-a-man-gotta-please-a-man-gotta-keep-a-man” mentality that they don’t even care how he treats her or even if he’s a good person.
please, do not confuse sex with intimacy. one is a disposable pleasure. the other is a meaningful pursuit.
indeed, women now see themselves as disposable pleasures.
i, on the other hand, am a meaningful pursuit.
i took these photos at the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul in 2008. Our history records that Byzantine emperor Constantine originally constructed the subterranean water source in the 4th century, and then Emperor Justinian rebuilt it in the 6th century. it was then lost in the spectre of time for almost a thousand years, until it was rediscovered in the 16th century.
i’ve been to the middle east a few times now, and the love-hate that i have for it confuses me. i am a stubborn western feminist who struggles with cultural restrictions based on gender. at the same time, i love being pushed out of my comfort zone, and physically touching the ancient places that i used to dream about as a little girl reading the National Geographics in the school library.
sometimes i am Medusa, beheaded, and toppled to her side.
this was episode 7. a lot more sinister and dark than episode 6 which everyone loved.
i look like a slob throughout most of it.
no, the psychiatrist is right. she does die.
i have sex the way every other woman on the planet has sex:
on my back, heels pointed to jesus, and thinking of handbags.