Creepy Canadian Come On
canada faceBG Note: This is a looong story published on XO Jane by a writer who had a bad date with a guy she describes as a “C-list Canadian celebrity”.
[XO Jane] I met a man I’ll call Keith at an outdoor concert in Toronto last year. I was sitting with a group of people, Jake Gyllenhaal among them (sorry for the name drop, but he factors into the story later), and Keith walked up to introduce himself to us.
I knew of Keith because he has a successful radio show in Canada. A lot of Canadians love him for his views, interviews, and radio voice.
As Keith schmoozed with the people around me, I enjoyed the concert and also tried to make Jake fall for me using telepathic love vibes. Just kidding. There were no love vibes, and the only feeling Jake had was annoyance after Keith arrived. He kept trying to talk to Jake, who wasn’t feeling his “I really want to get you on my show and maybe into your pants” vibe, so Keith soon turned his attention to me.
“Sorry, how do you pronounce your name again?” he said.
“Um, Carla,” I replied.
“Oh, I thought it was more complicated, like Carafalooota,” he said. I laughed.
A few minutes later, the concert was over, and my party and I left.
The next day, I sent Keith a public Twitter message saying it was nice to meet him. It was. I, like many Canadians, was a fan of his show.
Actually, truth be told, I’ve never listened to his show, but still, I appreciated him as a talented radio personality.
Keith wrote me a private message soon after saying he read some of my work online and really liked my writing. He also asked me if I’d like to join him to see Metric play the next night at the Opera House.
I’d always wanted to see Metric live, and I thought I might be able to make Keith my best gay friend in Toronto. I was still a newbie and needed friends. I also figured that the friendship might lead to exciting Toronto career opportunities down the line. He did say he liked my writing.
The next night, I met him at a wine bar for a quick drink before the show. When I walked in, I was greeted by both the overwhelming stench of his cologne and the sinking feeling that Keith was not, as I had assumed, gay. This wasn’t a friend date; it was a date, date –- at least to him.
He looked at me the way a creepy older man looks at a young, silly girl he’s going to buy a drink he’s planning to slip a roofie into. I didn’t know what to do. He was 15 years older than me, but what’s more, I found him totally unattractive and didn’t want to be on a date with him.
But I couldn’t just leave.
“So, you’re friends with Jake Gyllenhaal?” he asked.
“No. I met him yesterday and we talked about baseball for five minutes,” I said.
“Oh. He seems like a jerk, eh?” he said.
“I thought he was nice,” I said.
Nervous and trying to avoid eye contact with him, I proceeded to talk about nothing in particular for the next 20 minutes with such speed, he might have thought I had just done an eight ball in the bathroom.
He checked his phone approximately 35 times and mentioned the memoir he was writing about 10 times. Apparently, he was in a band when he was younger, or something. I wasn’t really paying attention.
Before my drink was finished, Keith rushed me out of the bar to get to the concert down the street.
In front of the small venue, he introduced me to a bunch of people he thought I would know.
“You’re meeting the who’s who of Canadian indie rock!” he whispered into my ear enthusiastically. I had no idea who they were, but most of them had cool beards. The way he introduced me, however, was disconcerting. I was being “presented,” in the same way Tom Cruise used to present Katie Holmes on red carpets. I did not like it.
I wanted to let him know I wasn’t into him, but he seemed like a harmless dork, and I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his bearded friends.
As I talked to one of them, I’d look up every now and then to catch a glimpse of Keith staring at me intently with a strange smile on his face. He was giving me the heebie jeebies and, again, I wanted to leave.
But Metric. It’ll be fine once we’re inside, I thought, we’re just watching a concert.
There was no assigned seating, and we were standing on the balcony. As soon as the lights went down, and the first notes started playing, I felt a sweaty hand travel across the back of my dress and grab my ass.
That hand was Keith’s.
Shocked, I looked up at him like “WHAT?!” He looked back at me with sex eyes and smiled. Disgusted, I asked him to stop, and stepped away from him and his hand.
This is Metric playing the Opera House. Emily Haines, can you hear my heart beating like a hammer? HELP ME!
I figured he’d get the point since I moved, but instead, he followed me. I watched the concert intently, but he soon grabbed my hand to hold it.
His friends were right behind us, and they all smiled when I looked back. Despite my extreme discomfort, I felt I couldn’t tell Keith off, so I discreetly pulled my hand away, crossed my arms over my stomach and stared straight ahead.
When he started rubbing my back, I again told him to stop, and when he put his hand over my shoulders, I said I was hot and lifted it off.
“Oh yeah, you’re hot,” he replied.
Dying inside, I felt sad that not only had I lost interest in watching Metric, but they were also starting to sound like tainted torture music.
I was planning my exit strategy when Keith grabbed the strap my large purse and took it off my shoulder.
“What are you doing?” I said.
“Shhh,” he replied, placing my purse on the ground and slipping his arm around my waist to pull me closer.
“What the fuck?!” I said. “You don’t put a woman’s purse on the dirty ground.” Apparently, I have more respect for a leather purse from my mom than for my own body. Not really — but this was my breaking point.
“But it’s in the way,” he said. He seemed intrigued, and challenged, by my passionate reaction.
“I’ll be back.” I couldn’t take it anymore. Keith had gone from harmless dork to repulsive sexual predator.
I ran down the stairs and called my sister from the bathroom. “What do I do?” I was concerned that he would somehow ruin my fledgling career in Canadian media forever if I bailed on him, as stupid as that sounds.
“Get outta there,” my sister said. I wanted to. Desperately. Running down the stairs had given me a taste of the freedom that could so easily be mine if I just ran outside and never looked back. But I didn’t want to be rude, and I thought it best to leave on good terms.
(This is the part where I really want to go back in time and shake myself.)
I did what any good, failed Catholic girl plagued by a crippling sense of guilt would do: I lied.
“I have to go, I have a terrible headache — a migraine. I also have to work very early. Sorry,” I said, looking towards the EXIT sign with a renewed hopefulness that I hadn’t felt in hours.
“Oh no. I’ll drive you,” he said.
“NO! I mean, no. I don’t want to ruin the show for you. I’ll get a cab.”
“I can’t let you take a cab if you have a migraine,” he said, leading me down the stairs with a “concerned” creepy hand on the small of my back.
I insisted on taking a cab until I realized that he was walking me to his car, which was right outside.
All but defeated, I got into his car, pissed off that I was doing so, and stared out the window listlessly.
Even though I had a terrible fake migraine, he insisted on talking to me.
“Do you recognize the colors of my car?” he said.
“They are black and red. Like Spider-Man?” I said.
“Ha! No. That’s silly. They’re the colors of my show,” he laughed.
“But your show is on the radio, and I don’t listen to it,” I confessed. I was DONE.
“Did I tell you I’m writing a book?” he asked.
“Multiple times,” I said. “You can stop here.”
We were a block from my apartment and there was no way he was going to know my address.
“I’ll walk you to the door,” he said, unbuckling his seatbelt.
“No, you won’t,” I said. “Thank you for the concert and the ride. Have a good night.”
He leaned in and I avoided his lips by giving him a half-hearted hug, but he still managed to peck the side of my pursed mouth as I was turning to get out of the car. I urgently yanked on the door handle until the door sprang open, and scurried out.
Once I reached my front door, I started crying in shame. A thick layer of self-loathing had settled over my once-optimistic heart. Why had I handled the night that way? Why didn’t I tell him he was acting like as asshole and I only agreed to meet him because I, like the rest of Canada, thought he was gay? Why am I so passive in awkward situations? WHY? WHY? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?
I had a hot shower to remove his gross cologne stench, which had stuck to me like an airborne virus.
The next morning, I awoke to a text from him.
“If you’re late for work, blame it on me ;) ”
I didn’t reply to Keith’s text, thinking that he would take the hint; but based on past experience I should have known Keith does not a hint take.
As his messages became more and more pathetic, (e.g., “Did we break up already?”), I eventually confessed the truth and told him that I was sorry but I thought it was a friend date, not a real date, and I wasn’t interested.
To this, he replied: “Eeep! Totes diff. vibe from yest.” (He actually texted those words. Like that. To a girl he was interested in.)
Over the next two weeks, his texts begged me to give him another chance. He even went so far as to promise that he looks better with TV makeup on, like that would make a difference.
I felt sorry for him. Clearly being a C-list Canadian celebrity hadn’t afforded him any “game.”
He finally stopped texting, but every time his name came up in conversation, or I saw his face in an ad, I cringed.
In talking to my friends Crystal and Melissa, I found out that Keith has tried his same creepy-ass moves out on many other girls. He once lured a friend of theirs into a hotel room to “watch a movie,” and tried to sleep with her once she sat on the bed. She, too, had thought him harmless and gay beforehand.
This is me now. Hardened. Suspicious. More Lucille 1 than Lucille 2. I’ll stop making Arrested Development references now.
Two months later, I was walking down the street and passed a man who was wearing an offensive amount of Keith’s pungent cologne. Overcome by scent-memory nausea, I vomited into a nearby trashcan. A concerned older lady came up to me. “Are you pregnant, dear?” she asked.
“Only with disgust, thank God,” I said, smiling. She smiled back, perplexed.
And that was how I expelled the gross feelings left over from the worst “date” I’ve ever gone on.
Keith: is obviously Jian Ghomeshi radio host of CBC Q radio show
Clue 1: Ghomeshi radio show set is red and black.
Clue 2: Ghomeshi was once the lead singer of an indie rock group.
Clue 3: Ghomeshi is 46 years old he was born in 1967.
Clue 4: Ghomeshi has a gay persona, he isn’t gay but he gives off the vibe he’s a homosexual.
Clue 5: Ghomeshi wrote a book last year called 1982 about his youth.
Listen to Arsalan Iftikhar on Michel Martin’s NPR radio program “Tell Me More” every Friday during the “barbershop” segment. Arsalan is also a political commentator and he’s often on CNN, FOX News, and various other networks. The barbershop segment is really great because it is a segment for men to talk about politics and pop culture.
Isn’t Arsalan gorgeous? I love Arsalan’s voice he is so sexy! Arsalan is the legal director for CAIR, he is also a contributing editor to Islamica Magazine. Arsalan is a Pakistani American and he is also a lawyer. Arsalan is a breath of fresh air he’s so witty, cute, intelligent, and he’s a big supporter of Senator Barack Obama!! Too bad Arsalan is straight though lol!
Last year I started listening to BBC Radio London 94.9 FM because I simply was thirsty. I started listening to a black British woman of African heritage Jumoke Fashola and she is amazing. Jumoke’s radio program is on daily on BBC Radio London in the morning. I was thirsty to learn about the African Diaspora.
The contributions of black Canadians are only briefly mentioned during black history month. The only other times black Canadians are discussed in the Canadian media is when something negative occurs. I know there is more to the black experience then negativity and Jumoke Fashola’s show demonstrates the richness of the black race.
Canadian radio and television is basically a white out. In Canada the only news program that targets the eighteen to thirty four demographic is “The Hour” hosted by Greek Canadian George Stroumboulopoulos. Although Stroumboulopoulos is thirty five years old, is that still young? Stroumboulopoulos is considered “ethnic” by Canadian standards because he’s not Anglo Saxon but he’s still a white heterosexual male. Stroumboulopoulos he is still the mythical norm. CBC television, other Canadian networks such as Global, CTV, City TV, and Much Music are similar they are all geared towards white heterosexual audiences.
Instead of just complaining I started researching because I don’t got time to be ignored. The Canadian media isn’t going to change and since the internet is a revolutionary tool I can find radio programs that focus on issues I care about. I love listening to black people discuss the richness of black culture and the issues important to the black race. Thank goodness for the internet! I started listening to the United States National Public Radio also known as NPR. NPR has an excellent program by African American Michel Martin called”Tell Me More”. Michel’s show focuses on the black race about our achievements and black issues.
Jumoke Fashola’s show is similar to Michel Martin’s radio show except she is based in London England. Jumoke talks about the topics that relate to the black race her program is so exciting, interesting, and fascinating. I love listening to black British people talk about the issues affecting their lives. I actually have more in common with the black British them then African Americans. Most of the black British people are either African or Caribbean immigrants.
Recently in London there has been a wave of violence and young black youth are dying. It is so sad but Jumoke’s show peels beneath the surface. Jumoke’s also isn’t afraid to discuss serious issues such as homophobia, sexism, employment discrimination on her show. Jumoke also discusses other lighter topics like improving your life, being a good person, volunteering in the community. Check out Jumoke’ Fashola’s program on BBC Radio London 94.9 FM on the internet.
Last year I discovered NPR Radio one day while surfing the internet. I am impressed. NPR has a better in depth analysis of the news then the mainstream USA media outlets. One show that I listen a lot is called “Tell Me More” hosted by Michel Martin.Michel Martin’s show is broadcast from Monday to Friday on NPR Radio. Michel discusses a lot of issues important to the black community but she also focuses on many issues like self help, health, politics, and entertainment.
Let me just be honest in Canada the radio stations generally ignores black Canadians. There is one black radio station in Toronto but it is total garbage. There is no talk show format on that particular radio station and they focus on a very young demographic. There are some university radio stations in Canada that are kind of interesting.
The only time Canadian radio discusses black people is when something negative occurs. What about regular black people that are making a difference in this world? I like “Tell Me More” because the program does focus on regular black people that are working hard to achieve. “Tell Me More” is wonderful program because Michel discusses black achievement. So often in the media the focus on black people is often from a very myopic and racist perspective. Thank goodness for the internet! I am so happy that I found “Tell Me More” because I want to listen about black issues that are important to me.
One of today’s topics on “Tell Me More” was about Oprah and Bob Johnson the former owner of BET. Ms. Martin and her guest Dr. Juliet Walker discuss Senator Barack Obama and the Oprah connection. Dr. Walker talks about the hypocrisy of some female Oprah fans that don’t want Oprah to support Barack Obama. Ms. Walker makes an excellent point nobody makes a big deal about Barbara Streisand supporting Senator Hillary Clinton.
The second guest Alvin Hall talks about money management. The third guest sociologist Bertrice Berry talks about New Years resolutions. The fourth guest Alice Smith is a promising young African American singer. Alice Smith discusses her debut album “For Lovers Dreamers & Me” was released on a major label Epic records. Smith has a kind of folk rock sound she reminds me of a mixture of Janis Joplin, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Tracy Chapman. Smith is definitely not R&B and this is so refreshing. Smith loves rock and roll and country music. Ms. Smith is breaking boundaries about what people think is “black music”.
The question is will the music industry allow Smith to breakthrough the colour barrier? I find it interesting that white singers such as Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, and Robin Thicke are praised for singing R&B music. I have listened to Winehouse, Stone, and Thicke and they are good singers. There seems to be a fascination in society with white people that can sing so called “black music”. However, when black singers such as Alice Smith and Rissi Palmer are crossing music genres and do not sing “R&B” they don’t receive the same kind of media attention. Why is there a double standard? So whites can appropriate black culture and profit off it but when black artists attempt to do the same thing they are scorned? I don’t get it. Also, will the black media give Alice Smith the support she deserves? I thank Michel for giving Alice Smith an opportunity to showcase her music.
I really like “Tell Me More” because the topics are so diverse and Michel just has a very charismatic, engaging personality she just draws listeners in. If you would like to listen to any of the NPR programs just go to NPR website http://www.npr.org