Jane the Virgin is Woke AF

 

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Last weekend I was catching up on a couple episodes of Jane the Virgin, the amazingly exaggerated CW telenovela, when I was struck by how much I related to the usually over-dramatic show. ‘Chapter Seventy-Five’ centred around the concept of “re-framing”, a narrative device that uses previously withheld information to reshape the context of the plot.  In Jane’s storyline, the episode focused on re-framing her relationship with old flame Jonathan Chavez, her hot graduate professor that she almost lost her virginity to.  This episode really struck a nerve with me, dredging up emotions I’ve been wrestling with the past few months and rousing me from a 2.5 month blogging stupor. Jane, and her complex relationship with Chavez so articulately encapsulate everything I feel toward Mr. Man. So to borrow a page from Jane’s own playbook, I’ll be using her story to re-frame how I’ve been feeling in mine. Meta…I know.

Scene One:

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Jane needs a job, which leads her to message Chavez asking for an introduction to a professor who is currently hiring. Rightfully so, she feels tentative about reigniting things, re-writing her email to him over and over to ensure she’s portraying the right message of easy, breezy, and unbothered by the shitty end to
their relationship.

Cut-to: Me trying to compose work emails to Mr. Man that are friendly without being flirty, polite yet professional, but not like I’m trying to intentionally be so. Our ending may have been a little different from Jane’s (she cried before a hook up, while we just stopped talking) but nonetheless, the same awkward, unresolved tones hang in the air in both cases. Honestly, I’m sure that I’ve written university papers that are less edited than some of my responses to Mr. Man.

Scene Two: 

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 6.43.56 PMJane manages to overcome her email communication hurdles and reconnects with Chavez, just in time to learn that he’s seeing another student. She stalks him a bit online only to see that this pattern has happened not once, twice, but at least four other times…ouch.

Cut-to: Me finding out from a friend at work (Margaret) that Mr. Man has a rather widespread reputation for hitting up young girls in the office. Nice huh? This new-found information made the whole situation seem incredibly icky and I couldn’t help but feel like it was a reflection of my own optimistic naivety, where I somehow thought that I was *shudders* something special.  Maggie & I agree that it’s possible that I was to some degree based on what he’s shared with me, but it doesn’t matter either way. Finding out about this pattern basically invalidated all of my feelings and made me realize that at best I am just a rainbow chip in a larger chocolate chip cookie…damn, now I’m depressed and hungry.

Scene Three: 

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 1.00.48 AM.pngJane explains the situation to Raf in the quintessential intersection of her storyline and mine, sharing how she (and I) felt in two succinct sentences:

Jane: “I didn’t feel like he took advantage of me, at the time. I had a  huge crush on him and I went after him. But knowing that he slept with all these other grad students, it just reframes everything.”

Raf: ”You should report him.”

Jane: “For what? He’s not Marissa’s advisor. I checked. And there’s no clear university policy.”

Raf: “Well there should be, those are some intense power dynamics.”

Swap out Jane for me and Raf for Maggie and I SWEAR I’ve had almost this exact  conversation. While I don’t think that Mr. Man has ever ventured as far as Chavez, the parallels are still apparent. I didn’t feel like anything was wrong with his attention because I was really into it, I let him know I was open to something and was not innocent prey by any means. But knowing that he may have tried to pull the same thing with others is so disheartening, as is the realization that what I deemed to be ok behaviour really wasn’t, it just seemed that way because I was drunk on hormones.

So, should I report him? I’ve thought about it…but what would I report? Clearly he’s well-practiced in tip-toeing the line, making sure to push his bounds while never doing anything I could overtly point to at the end of the day. Thiss tactical approach only shows me how well-versed he truly is at this game, definitely upping the ick factor.

I feel as if the notion of power dynamics is one that becomes even more exaggerated in a business context. This is because in a literal sense some positions are just more powerful than others, a notion that isn’t groundbreaking by any means. However, on a more nuanced level, men in powerful positions also seem to have an inflated sense of self-importance, as if their role somehow points to having a higher status level overall. I can’t definitively claim that Mr. Man’s role at work made him feel as if he could treat me like a play thing with no feelings. But as the ‘feelingless play thing’ in this particular circumstance, it sure as hell seems that way.

So shout out to Raf for saying it best…those really were some intense power dynamics. Really what else was I to do in that situation…Be rude? I had no reason to think that he was being anything but genuine and only looking back does the game become more clear. From the moment he bought me a drink at the bar I was indebted to him to some degree. He always got our bills, made me feel special (*shudders* there it is again) and even recommended me for another job, making me feel like I should be grateful for his attention and cleverly masquerading whether or not I was being manipulated. He’s mindfucked me to the point that even now I feel absurd writing this blog post when “nothing” has really happened…but “nothing”doesn’t bother you for months after, so it’s time to put to rest the notion that this fabrication was created all on my own.

The last thing I will say is that I am so grateful that Jane the Virgin, which sounds like campy show about sex, tackled an issue as difficult as the power imbalances between men and women. While I never thought I was the only person to experience something like this, it was comforting seeing my own experiences articulated so clearly, and helped me re-frame those 6 months for what they really were: an inflated fantasy of an office romance constructed by trashy rom-coms, my own optimism and most of all, by Mr. Man.

 

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Mr. Love You, Love You Not

Carrie – On the advice of my friends Pam and Sam, I’ve started to watch Jane the Virgin. 15 episodes in one day later (I’ve had a very relaxing holiday season, okay?), young Jane asks her mom “what does love feel like?”

Jane’s question inspired me to try to encapsulate my answers in a blog post. So also on strongly-worded suggestions from Pam and Sam, I’ve decided to finally write this blog that I’ve been putting off: the “I’m finally in a relationship again and I’m not sure if I’m in love” post.

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There are definitely benefits to being in a serious relationship again and more importantly, committing to someone you really care about. I’ve got a cute, beardy, genuinely nice guy from small-town Manitoba (SO not 6ix) who not only texts me back but calls me first; someone who has got his shit together; moreso than me, with a job, car, and no insane amounts of debt (thanks #lawschool). Bonus: he’s got two eyebrows! (see Mr. Unibrow). He is quick-witted; he remembers minute details like when I randomly told him I hated the taste of Dasani water and weeks later, he grabbed me an Aquafina bottle at the gas station; and my brain’s dopamine levels probably go off the charts when I see him calling my phone. It’s for sure the most mature relationship I’ve been in, with someone who is willing to talk about our issues, own up, and apologize (cause he’s the one who’s always wrong).

But sometimes I have nagging single-girl tendencies that come creeping up from the depths of my subconscious.

  • For example, gone are the days of the stints of dry spells; I have a consistent sex-source. (But also my only sex source.)
  • No longer do I have to worry about finding someone who’s down to Netflix with me on a Friday night in the -30 weather when I don’t feel like going out, I’ve got a go-to cuddle buddy. (But sometimes I miss regaling my girlfriends with stories of the latest fuckbois over brunch.)

I’m not sure what I was waiting for. I mean that in two ways. Firstly, I don’t know why I made such a big deal of holding out for my tenth kill. In fact, it was putting myself out there back on the Tinder grind full-throttle led me to Mr. LY/LYN. And now, with the thought of being tied down again, I wonder if I did myself a disservice to not have “lived” a little more while I’m still in my prime (I am convinced I peaked in fourth year).

But secondly, and maybe more curiously, I mean holding off this blog post. Is it my need to have the holistic picture after the end of relationships to be able to write about it? Is it my fear of publicizing my rejection online if/when things inevitably come to an end? Is it my perpetual mode to be cynical?

So here is my attempt to Be Brave and write about the thing that scares me the most: have I fallen in love again?

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“What does love feel like? How do you know for sure you’re in love?”

While Jane’s mother responds, “it sort of feels like your heart is glowing,” I find this very unhelpful in terms of practical assessment. If I were writing on the show, I would say there should be:

Continue reading “Mr. Love You, Love You Not”

King of the Douchelords

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a two-parter for those of you who frankly don’t care enough about my love life to subject yourself to this much reading. For those of you who do stay the course, I thank you and God help me. Part 2 here: The Fling’s the Thing

It all started about a week ago with a guy I’d been talking to on tinder. We agreed to meet up so he came over and we sat on my terrace drinking wine and chatting. When hunger struck we grabbed a bite, which he willingly paid for, before heading back to my place. We had a great connection, sharing a lot in common and I really enjoyed his company. It seemed only natural that he’d stay the night, which he did, but the next morning I couldn’t help feeling underwhelmed, in all departments if you catch my drift.

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As a consultant in town from Boston, he seemed like the perfect candidate for a fun little fling, but if I wasn’t interested in what this fling could offer then what was the point? Despite the okay hookup we kept chatting on and off but I wasn’t sure if I would see him again.

Fast forward to Friday night while out with some people from work. We were having a great time and I was vibing with this guy who I’d always thought was cute. He’d had a girlfriend till about a week prior but was now single so….I’m sure you can see where this is going.

Well, however you think this story ends, you’re probably wrong.

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Cut to the next morning after he’d gone home. I recounted the details of the night to Miranda who’d been out with us only to realize they were pretty friggen horrendous. I remembered feeling insulted and uncomfortable a number of times the night before but became increasingly bothered as I spoke the deets out loud… A highlight reel of my night with king of the douchelords:

  • We hook up and I immediately get a speech all about how I need to be aware that this was just a hook up, he’d just gotten out of a long term relationship and how I wasn’t to try trap him in something. Uhm excuse me sir? Could you be more patronizing??? You cleeearly know nothing about me because if you did you’d understand that I don’t want anything from you either. But ok, whatever, guys give this speech all the time (as I would soon find out) so I let it slide.
  • We continue to hook up and I kiss him – as normal people do – only to be asked why I had done that when we had just clarified that our hookup was strictly physical. This is when I started to say WTF. I am not a prostitute and will absolutely kiss you if you’re in my bed, its part of the package deal. I can separate kissing from emotions and if you can’t then that’s your problem, not mine…Douche.
  • And finally, the piece de resistance: he actually tried snapchatting a post-coital pic of me to his friends! And his response to my protests? “Don’t worry; your boobs don’t have to be in it”. WOW, really? Thanks so much, you’re such a great guy!!!

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If you can believe it he still had the audacity after all that to tell me that we should keep this between the two of us. Yea, cuz snapchat is a very private and intimate realm…Sorry bud, no can do, this is 100% going on my blog.

I couldn’t believe the rudeness of his behaviour, but you must remember that I was drunk too and ended up making a (BIG) mistake. He slept over – I did ask why the F he’d wanted to given his many rules about what “just a hook up” means – and we ended up hooking up again at 6:30 in the morning. He immediately ducked out to get ready for a noon brunch and….I know, I KNOW! Not only does that reasoning REEK of bullshit but I definitely shouldn’t have hooked up with him again. Uch, I never claimed to be innocent in this story.

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Anyway, those are the main points I’m actually willing to share about this experience but let it be known that this isn’t an exhaustive list of his douchebaggey behaviour. Obviously, I was really upset about it the next day, at him but even more so at myself for not having more self-respect. I was used but I had let myself be used and that was a tough pill to swallow.

I ended up moping around for the entire next day, feeling cheap and pretty disappointed in myself until sometime in the afternoon Charlotte mentioned she’d come to a male-related epiphany over a laffa wrap. Well, I couldn’t find any decent middle-eastern food, but I did find some peace after a long walk and a seriously emo playlist, and decided I would just chalk it up to a shitty experience that didn’t have to define me.

I’ll pause here, so if you’re only interested in hearing about one of the worst hook ups of my life then feel free to stop reading. But if you’ve been paying attention and are wondering what happened to Boston Boy I suggest reading on, because my next post is when I stop being a hoe and start getting real. The Real World – Toronto Edition.

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