Monthly Archives: December 2005

An ‘Enlightened Heart,’ for men.

In one of my many adventures as an organizer of a social group I found myself at Insomnia, a trendy lounge in downtown Toronto a few weeks ago next to someone who was wearing a shirt that read: “Remember my name, because you will be screaming it later.”
Never having even heard that comment before, I could not restrain myself from commenting on it: “Very funny,” I said with a hint of friendly sarcasm in my voice. Then asked if it ever worked. “It worked while I was in Vancouver” he responded.
He was funny and he didn’t strike me as the shy type. Actually he seemed like the type who would benefit from a little shyness.

We quickly got into conversation. The usual thing you would talk to a stranger at a bar. He had just moved to Toronto from aforementioned Vancouver –hated the weather, by the way—and he had just gotten a new job at a computer firm. My job as a computer analyst gave us more than a few things in common but being a Friday, we non-verbally agreed not to speak about our jobs. ‘So what else do you do?’
Ah…here is where things got interesting.
“A have a side business…” he said before continuing.
“I am just starting it.”
I could tell he was hesitating. It was understandable, I was a complete stranger and we had talked for less than five minutes. He reached in his jeans and pulled a business card and handed over to me. The main caption read ‘Enlightened Heart.’ Printed in calligraphy not much different than what you would find on a turn of the 1800’s cover of a Harlequin novel.
His name was below this. Wha?
‘I teach shy people how to get women.’
‘Really?’ I said without disguising the doubt in my voice.
‘What are your credentials?’
‘My life.’

Then I read the back of the card, it read ‘Personal life and relationship mentor,’ and an uplifting quote regarding being able to get what you want out of life. I asked if he was any good with the ladies. No answer, just a sheepish smile.

‘If so, why come out to my social group?’ I asked.
‘Field research.’
Bruck. At least he was honest.

‘You know,’ I said, ‘ I give a lot of free advise. Doing it for over a decade now. Heck, you could say that I am giving away the business for free.’
‘The world is not short of misguided people.’ He said.
God, did I know that to be right. He made me think: What if I have gotten five dollars for every time I helped someone hook up with their crush? Ten for every time I set someone up? And, what if I charged by the hour for the long nights spent over the phone telling a friend who had just been dumped that he\she would be fine until four o’clock in the morning? Holy mother lode! Perhaps this guy was onto something.

From then on we jumped head first into many theories regarding dating and the mating dance. I have to admit, he had some good points regarding how to approach a woman: the avoiding of pickup lines at all costs, the importance of attitude over looks and other general things. Even though we came from different sides of the fence, which is understandable since points of views a based on experience. It was still interesting to see the similarities and not so similar takes on the opposite sex. Either way, “the scene” is biased towards the shy and the timid.

By the way, did I mention that there was a lady sitting practically between ‘Dale’ and me? Listening to everything we had said and I have to admit she did not seem very impressed with either of us. Not that we were being lewd, but I think she did not appreciate two guys trying to suck the romanticism out of romanticism by making it sound like some sort of hard science. By the way, Dale, if you ever read this, I am giving you free advertising, so don’t come complaining.

On a related note, haven’t seen it yet, but ‘Hitch,’ a recent summer movie starting Will Smith touches on the same subject. Men helping other men meet women, for a price… Generally, when Hollywood zeroes in on a subject, it is already at least six months too late to be on the edge of anything controversial. However, it is fascinating how ‘the scene’ has changed in the last decade. As roles and expectations evolve due to economics, social standards and with feminism inching forward, men may find themselves at a loss. Let’s not forget to add services and venues such as the internet and speeding dating just to mention a few which push the mainstream envelope on how people meet people, its is no surprise a few of us may turn to some sort of guidance to navigate the urban jungle.

A few hours later, Dale said he had another party to attend to but that he was glad that the dropped by. I knew he was in fact networking for his business but told him he was welcome to drop by anytime. After all I am the organizer of a social group.

’So is this what he really does?’ A girl in my group asked me at the end of the night after studying his business card.
‘So it seems,” I said.
‘Strange, he seemed kinda quiet.’

Jazz at The Pilot

Busy a Sunday it has been. For the most part pleasurable. Went out with the social group again. I have to, in order to organize it into a lean, mean social machine. Still a few people short from all those who RSVP’ed – read my entry on Insomnia to get what I am talking about.

This time, for some live Jazz at The Pilot which in case you may not know, it’s located in Yorkville, but sans the posturing and attitude. As a hole in the wall, is classified as a tavern, you would think it to have a lot of everybody-knows-your-name regulars. Which in fact it does, some going back at least 20 years. Although I don’t think the regulars go around advertising it, as it lacks the glamour of other life achieving benchmarks.

Either way the music hit the spot. Sure there were a few holiday songs which I know I’ll get sick of hearing throughout the season. However if this is going to happen either way, then we might as well start off with a welcoming Jazz arrangement of them, as if to wash our auditory palate clean –a musical wasabi if you will— before the regular renditions hit full force.

The main singer, Laila Biali is very talented and the place was very intimate in size. We got lucky getting a table near the band, the acoustics were all right like most places in Toronto but it was free –aside food and drink— which would have been asking too much.

I am happy to report that as time goes, more and more familiar faces are starting to show.
An excellent sign that people are starting to get connect, which as the organizer, I am starting to feel like I am making a positive difference.

Update: Martini’s at Insomnia (I am back)

It was fun. But getting right to the point, how many showed up? Physically about 12.
But the funny thing is that our reservation got moved, so there is chance people might have showed up, gone right to the back of the place (where our location was supposed to be but was not), and then left. For example there were these two girl that came and sat on the bar, chilled for about two hours and finally approached us and ask: Are you part of the social group?
Well, yes. so they joined us. The fact is that I am still wondering how many people might have showed up. Mmm, the mind wonders.

Well, I guess I will find out soon enough whe people start emailing me. But as I said before, I surprised the manager since twenty people did not show. Ah, being an organizer can be such a variable.


The night Gentleman-hood might have lost a Believer.

‘She tried to make you feel guilty?’ I asked my friend Alex.
He nodded. ‘Wow, how do you feel about it?’ I could tell it was bothering him.
‘I assume that you’re not talking anymore?’
He nodded again.
It was peculiar –I had to admit it— but funny. In a horrible sort of way funny.

Okay, so here is what happened:

My friend goes to a birthday party of an old female friend at this place on Queen St. West called…well, let’s keep the actual name out, as you never know who might one day be reading this.

The birthday party was going well as pints, martinis, cigarettes and pictures were getting drunk, smoked and taken. Everyone was smiling and communal. It sounded like a pretty good party to me. Soon, after a few drinks everyone was everyone’s good old friend and it is normally then when some men, after having just a bit of ‘liquid-courage’ will approach the one girl in the party that might have caught their eye.

‘So, how do you know Suzanne?’ was his opening question to the cute blonde who was smiling with a welcoming smile reserved for only close friends or those who we instinctually find sexually appealing. There was obviously some attraction happening there. ‘And then what happened?’

They talked, laughed and flirted themselves from the rest of the pack and into a quiet corner of the lounge. He found out about her job, aspirations and even about her pet dog Mildred. It sounded promising.

Alex although not shy with women in the least, barely ever shares any info about his private life, even to me and I have known the guy forever. This girl, let’s call her Lisa, had really made an impression on him.

So it was no surprise when the party finally died down and everybody was outside wondering what to do with the rest of the night. They both agreed to take their leave together.

‘I was going east and so was she, so I thought me and Lisa could walk until we went our separate ways.’ That’s nice, walk with her and get to know her better I thought. We have all been there, you meet someone you get along so well you find yourself wishing for the night not to end. ‘It felt really good. At one point she said her hands were cold and put her right hand in my coat pocket along with mine. We were holding hands and hoping it no one would notice our connection. We said good-bye to the few smokers who were still deciding where to go and started walking.’

This was getting more interesting by the minute. ‘Aha, go on…and then?’

After walking for about twenty minutes, she decided that it was time to let me know she was married and her husband was waiting at home.

‘Just like that?!’
‘Just like that…’
‘Like that?’
‘Oh. That sucks. What did you do?
‘Aside feeling foolish and weird, well, nothing…I wasn’t sure what to do.’
‘So what did you do?’
‘We kept on walking.’
‘Ah. Not much talking then, eh?’
‘Unless you are into that sort of thing…’
‘Shut up.’

So kept on walking they did until the proverbial fork on the road came. Knowing Alex, I am sure he was happy when that happened –I mean— who wouldn’t? But the night wasn’t quite over yet. Lisa then asked since it was so late if he could be kind enough to walk her home, eight blocks away.

Which leads us back to what was bothering Alex. He felt bad for leaving a woman in the middle of the city at 3:00am even if she was married. I mean, technically that didn’t change the fact that he was leaving her in a deserted street. But what would happen if he walked her with her husband at home? Can you imagine it?

What did he do? You ask?
He refused. He declined and told her that he would only walk her if she needed to, but that she could now easily take a taxi. She wasn’t to far from home and it would avoid the possible serious consequences of the mixture of two men and a very flirtatious wife.
She in turn was said a cold ‘Fine!” and walked in separate directions.

But that wasn’t the end of it. A few days later…Alex told he had spoken with Suzanne and confirmed that Lisa was in fact married. He also told me he spoken with Lisa, as it turns out she had given him her business card too. In their short conversation she called him as being less than a gentleman and a looser for leaving her. I begged Alex to tell me if he reminded Lisa she had kept the fact that she was married until the very end. That would have been what I would call a counter-check, but no, our boy failed to do so. She also said that she was going to tell all her friends –Suzanne included— of his ‘fake’ behaviour towards women and then hanged up. Ah, the drama of today’s battle of the sexes.

Do I believe this whole story? Hey, why not? It sounds too good to be made up. All the facts came from the horse’s mouth, but of course for the sake off all involved I did change the names as in the end it takes nothing from it all. Also I did ask for permission to post this, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t ask first?

In the end, what could I do but to tell my Alex that everything will work out? Will this change his ways? Well, I sure hope he doesn’t again to him or anyone for that matter. Since to all who reads this will know the underlying themes that were going on the minds of these two at least for some of the time. Do I agree with their actions? I have my opinions, but hey, I am just the messenger. Don’ shoot me.