When I watched the most recent episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls, my first reaction was “finally, Charlie has smartened up, manned up and told that duplicitous Marnie where to go.” But then I thought, wait a minute, Charlie didn’t exactly smarten up — he only realized that Marnie was stringing him along because his gross friend Ray (what’s worse, that Ray sniffed Marnie’s vibrator or that Charlie described it as “a shared tool”?) showed him a passage from Hannah’s diary. True, the passage made him instantly wise, but he should have known before hand that Marnie didn’t love him. For example, in episode 1, when Charlie asks Marnie “what would turn you on the most?” And she responds with “what if you were just a totally different person — you didn’t act like you?” She might as well have said “it would turn me on if you wore a mask and a strap on.”
When I’m looking for a piece of fantasy real estate, I usually don’t go for detached, suburban (albeit in a very Dwell magazine sort of way) homes that sit north of the 401 (which, for people who don’t live in Toronto, is a bit like living on the moon). But when I saw 20A Senlac Rd. on Torontolife.com today, I made that soft, sad whimpering noise that I make when I’m thinking “damn, I’m poor and I wish I weren’t.” With an asking price of $1.7 million, it would take me over 40 years to save up a 10 per cent down payment, and then the rest of eternity to pay back the mortgage. If I had kids, I would especially long to live here. True, me having little ones is as much of a stretch as ever being able to afford this house, but whatever paternal feelings I have were stirred by the ravine setting and the perfectly decked out little nursery. Sigh, here’s how I’ll never decorate the house for the kids I’ll never have.
On Sunday, my boyfriend and I are hosting a fundraiser brunch at our apartment for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and their Friends for Life Bike Rally. We’ve done this brunch twice before and we always serve a full Caribbean meal — jerk chicken, ox tail stew, patties, ackee and saltfish, rum punch (!), plantain, rice and peas and so on. My mother is from Jamaica, so this food is near and dear to me. It’s like my mac-and-cheese or meatloaf — a deeply comforting reminder of childhood.
This week, The Grid — a free, weekly magazine in Toronto — ran a cover story about the debt habits of twenty and thirty somethings. Written by a former colleague of mine, Carely Fortune, the piece suggests that easy access to credit and financial illiteracy has lead my generation to spend all of our hard earned cash, as well as a great deal of borrowed money, on all of life’s inessentials — trips to Cuba, new iPads, expensive jeans. We’d rather have instant gratification — lattes and cupcakes — than long term financial stability, retirement at 60 (let along ever) and living debt free. In short, we’re screwed.
The story opens at Woodlot, with Carley’s mom looking around the artfully under-decorated Little Italy restaurant, wondering how such a young clientele can afford the near $30 entrees. I know the scene all too well.
Thanks to a combination of factors — a deep-rooted fear of debt, my poor choice of career paths and an over-inflated real estate market — It’s a foregone conclusion that I’ll never be able to afford a house in Toronto. And if I did buy, it would likely be a bachelor condo the size of a hamster cage on the fringes of civilization (heaven forbid, somewhere north of the 401). I’m picturing a life where I’m too poor to hang curtains or buy any furniture, yet too stressed by my massive mortgage payments and claustrophobic digs to even care. So while I can’t buy a house, I’ve decided to
torture myself with indulge in fantasy real estate — basically, from time to time, I’m going to be picking the places that I’d like to buy, and blogging about how I would decorate them to make them my own.
The Place: 15 Crocker Ave., a two-bedroom, $519,000 Victorian townhouse near Trinity Bellwoods. It’s around the corner from Nadège Patisserie, which means I would get happily fat eating too many butter croissants and gin-and-tonic marshmallows. Overall, I like the neighbourhood and think this would be a fun fixer project.
In a sense, I grew up listening to Bob Marley’s music. My mother was born and raised in Mandeville, Jamaica, and although I wouldn’t say she was necessarily a big fan — we probably listened to The Very Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber more than Legend — I definitely wore a One Love t-shirt in grade school and could probably sing along to No Woman, No Cry, even if I didn’t understand the lyrics. My grandmother was the main source of exposure, though. She managed a hotel in the Cayman Islands where my brother and I would spend part of every summer. To satisfy rum-drunk Brits and Americans, the hotel played Stir It Up, Is This Love and Jamming on a seemingly endless loop. It’s because of this over-exposure that I developed a cynicism about Bob Marley in my teens. I didn’t really pick up on the poetry of his lyrics — the songs just felt like touristy kitsch to me.
I’m not entirely sure if anything significant happened on the most recent episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls, titled All Adventurous Women Do. Hannah ate a cupcake in the bathroom. Marnie had sex with herself at a party. Shoshanna didn’t have sex with anyone. The biggest plot development was Adam Sackler possibly giving Hannah HPV, but considering his head-to-toe grossness, is that really so shocking? Hannah and company did say a whole bunch of random stuff, though. And I guess that’s significant. Or at least funny. Here’s a collection of the highlights, and to make the dialogue slightly less random, a translation.
Marnie to Charlie: “You look scary to me, like Mickey Mouse without the ears.”
Translation: Before you shaved your head, you used to look like a too-cute children’s cartoon that I didn’t want to have sex with. Now that you’ve shaven your head, you look like a deformed children’s cartoon that I don’t want to have sex with.