When I went to Toronto, I was under the impression that the moment I stepped off the plane, Canadian men would begin to fall at my feet and worship me as an exotic queen come to them from a far away land.
Instead, a drunken man who repeatedly bragged that he was retired and had breath that stunk of stale cigarettes violently rubbed my back and hair before vomiting into his beer glass on my second night in town.
A few days later, I played dress up in an H&M. My local store had closed, so I was feeling nostalgic. On my way out of the dressing room, my arms full of clothes, what appeared to be a young adult male gazed at me longingly; his ear gauges stretching his lobes to just the right level of droop; his hair swooped and spiked. He smiled at me, the hoop in his bottom lip gleaming under the fluorescent lights. “Beautiful choices you’ve got there” he cooed. I smiled and thanked him, totally confused as to whether he was trying to pick me up or get me to let him try on the stuff I wasn’t buying.
There was the African cab driver who put his car in reverse to yell something in a foreign tongue and angrily gesture that I get into his vehicle immediately after I got out of a car at a Tim Horton’s. Oh, and the group of 13-year-old boys that whistled and shouted “Excuse me, Miss!” as I walked to the CN Tower.
I was almost and finally recognized as the majestic beauty that I am by a handful of altogether inappropriate and eclectic male suitors and all I had to do was apply and pay for a passport, take a week off work, book a flight, pay for round trip tickets, and arrange for transportation to and from the airport to do it.