Toronto is a hell of a busy city. No, it’s not New York, but most weekends have me ruing my lack of a time turner. There’s always an overabundance of activities that brings with it a special kind of anxiety. One event that surprisingly hasn’t driven my anxiety meter straight up is possibly my favourite: Tell Me Something Good.
The concept is simple: once a month strangers stand at the front of a crowded bar and regale the crowd with tales of sexual escapades. Whether victories or gaffes, moments of discovery, pride or embarrassment, they’re all thrown to the mercy of the peanut gallery. Mercy is the operative word, because I’ve never been in such a warm, receptive room. The prevailing mentality of “don’t be a dick” stands tall and envelops the bar in a warm embrace. Cultivating such a safe space engenders a special kind of honesty in participants.
It’s telling that even first time storytellers (wait, ESPECIALLY first time storytellers) feel comfortable enough to throw out some outrageously left field experiences. Seriously, a woman meekly took the stage to describe a first date with an internet hook up, in which she wanted to spice things up. Things veered sharply when she mentioned plunging her index finger into her pussy and coating her lips in her juices. Or the time that shy girl told the tale of her post coital subway ride home where she met up with a coworker who kept giving her funny looks. She got home only to realise she’d never wiped her partner’s cumshot off her face. It’s an event that elicits howls of laugher, audible sympathy and even visible tears. Showcasing an array of humanity in the quest for warmth, passion or simple fun never fails to entertain.
I say this, because last night Tell Me Something Good hosted its second anniversary celebration. There’s a special place in my heart reserved for this event, because it’s become a cornerstone of my life here in Toronto. I happened to be the first guest at their first event and I’ve made a habit of coming back regularly. I haven’t been every month. Even on the months I’ve attended, I haven’t necessarily always told a story. Over time though, I have noticed changes in myself. Each time I take the stage I’ve become more confident. A better performer. Now, I was a theatre kid in high school, I’m no stranger to public performance. Having a receptive crowd though has done wonders for my comfort. The more comfortable I’ve been, the better I perform. It feels like I’m flexing a muscle that’s been long dormant and I’m noticing the changes in other areas. The more I can commiserate or celebrate with others, the better I feel about how situations played out or how to handle similar circumstances in the future. I feel like Tell Me Something Good has helped me grow. It’s introduced me to a huge amount of new people, ideas and ways to approach intimacy in all facets of my life.
So sincerely and with love I just want to say Happy Birthday to Tell Me Something Good. If you’re in town, come on down.