While sitting at a small two-seat table at Kalendar –a charming café on the outer east limit of little Italy—a friend of mine asked me a very interesting question regarding relationships.
‘Mauricio,’ she said after placing her glass of cold Summer enhanced Chardonnay back on the table. ‘Has anyone ever told you are handsome?’ Without hesitation, I said, ‘Why, yes.’ No way I could have hid the glee in my response even if I had tried.
‘No, I meant, as a pick up line.’ I looked down for a moment, ‘Well, you weren’t being specific. In that case, no; at least not by anyone who wasn’t drunk.’ Suddenly I didn’t feel so hot anymore.
‘I see,’ she smiled.
Kalendar is one of those charming jazzy places, a perfect first date location: non committal or threatening but with enough décor, a menu and a sense of cosiness which elevates it a few notches above run-of-the-mill places like Just Desserts or other non-descript cafes littering The Danforth. You just got to love that turn-of-the century Victorian feel that oozes a heft that it is neither uninviting or pretentious.
‘What brought this question forth?’ I wondered. As these are not inquiries I come to expect from platonic friends. ‘Well, this is what happened…’ She took a second long gulp and simply said that she was utterly tired of the dating scene.
She went through the whole ‘been there, done that.’ You see, Kamela my friend was annoyed not so much at the meat markets that have existed since one gender discovered that it could –without a second thought and with much gusto —sexually objectify the other. What bothered her what that after so many dates in her lifetime, the whole dating scene, particularly in its infant stages felt like a string of glorified job interviews: A don’t call us, well call you if you make the cut ideology where Tom, Steve or John were given a set of questions and depending on their (honest; preconceived; or outright Machiavellian) answers would secure at the very least a second date.
With the expectation of some sort of sexual gratification from both parties, of course. But it was now all too routine – even worse— it had the feeling of a job. ‘Isn’t this stuff supposed to be fun with the flirting, and the laughing and the twinkle in the eye?’
‘Called me a romantic,’ I said, ‘but shouldn’t this sort of thing happen more, uh, naturally? I do not think that two people should have to stop conversation flow and open the floor for some generally boring ‘what is your favourite food?’ exposition to occur. That stuff never works, otherwise it starts sounding like a bad Steven Segal movie and look where the guy is now? No one gives a shit.
‘I would suggest doing the proverbial library, art gallery thing thing. You know finding places where by the mere fact that you are both there automatically speaks –without the need of words if I may add— a lot about each other even when no words have been exchanged.’
‘Sure, this is where sometimes friend hook-ups come in, since they may end up doing the main legwork for you. But since I like to take my fate in my own hands I would rather say: Join a social group, a bowling league, an environmental group, anything to get you out other and finding someone which whom you already are bound to have a number of things in common. Like pets? then do some Humane Society volunteering.’
‘Take me for example, I found one of the loves of my life while taking an English course at U of T. Why? Because I am a geek and I love to read. Chances were that at the very least one cute, well-read and above all intelligent woman would have taken the same class as me. Sure it was a long shot, but no different than going to any martini lounge on a Friday night and I got to read a few good books along the way.’
Kamela took another sip from her glass and gave me a ‘You are so full of shit, you are making it sound too perfect to be true.’
‘To be quite honest,’ I said to balance things out, ‘I remember the pickings to be quite putrid but you know what? I did get lucky and I found someone and even though we went through the: What is your favourite food? And; Which is your favourite movie of all time status quo set of question. I can tell you that it all felt so natural that the job interview motif never entered my head, not even once. I was simply just too happy to know more about this person then feeling that I HAD to ask this questions in order to avoid dating a psychopath.’
‘I am not saying that finding a mate is simple, Kamela.’ I said as I finished my wine. I just think we put too much emphasis on loneliness (or maybe we just get too horny, who knows?) But ultimately, if you are happy without a partner, then who am I to tell you are wrong?
‘Suggestions?’ She demanded again. ‘You want the straight to the point variety?’
‘Do something you would do for free. Nothing stupid, just something that has picked your curiosity and join a group. There are tons of groups like that in Toronto. If you like going for dinner because you love tasting different foods abd drink, then there are tons of groups like that out there. Fencing? I am sure there is something out there. Sailing? I have tried that. Skydiving? Hey, you only live once, particularly if the chute doesn’t open.’
It sounds cliche, but it is always our own selves who seem to keep deterring us from being truly happy. Kamela is a very attractive lady. I am sure she will find someone. I know it, I just who it. Maybe if she wasn’t so pragmatic. Good luck Hon.
If you would like to find more info on Kalendar AND their menu click here.