And to think I woke up with no opinion on this song whatsoever

I was thinking about “The Girl from Ipanema” this morning. It’s basically just an unremarkable dude writing a song about feeling entitled to a gal he was oogling.

Thing is, he must have a bunch of albums. ‘Cause the kind of dude who gets so bent out of shape by a woman ignoring him probably gets ignored by a ton of women.

I expressed the above on Facebook today and one of my friends chimed in. He said, rightfully so, that there’s a lot of problematic stuff in past pop music, but as far as he’s concerned this song gets a pass. Who hasn’t felt the pangs of unrequited infatuation? Of wanting to talk to someone you take a fancy to, but being too afraid to say a word. This is undeniably true.

That said, the song still kinda felt a bit iffy to me and I started to think why. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with checking someone out in public. We all do it and anyone who says otherwise is probably lying. Checking someone out, in my mind, is a cursory glance or two. It’s not quite staring so intently at them you look through them and into the void. It’s not lingering unnecessarily enough that you gauge how similar the rhythm of their walk is to a musical genre. If you’re glowering at them day by day and you never make eye contact, maybe there’s a reason. People have a decent amount of peripheral cataloguing. I have no doubt that this girl- nay, woman- knows that dudes are watching her. It even says in the song that when she passes by, they go “ah!” The fact that they’re making actual exultations does not sit well with me. She knows where she’s sashaying (to the sea) and she’s pointedly staring straight ahead. This further underscores that she understands she’s being watched. She sounds single-mindedly focused, which may imply she’s had bad experiences in the past and just wants to get where she’s going. Then there’s this dude pining in the background studying her every movement thinking “how can I tell her I love her?” Love her? You’ve never met her, let alone loved her. You don’t know a thing about her, but you’re in love with her? You’re not in love with her, you’re attracted to her or infatuated by her. You’re not in love.

To be entirely honest, I have a ton of issues with the way love is represented in a wider sense. In so many movies (and not just romcoms, but especially romcoms), people “fall in love” for the sake of a plot. What they term as “love” I feel is closer to just infatuation. Maybe I have commitment issues, but love means a lot more to me than being attracted to someone pretty. I can like being around someone, be attracted to them and enjoy the chemistry, but that’s not love. Your mileage may vary, but love to me feels earned. Love is something that kind of takes hold when you realise that person is a large part of your life. Love is knowingly embracing the fact that your significant other has shortcomings. It’s not seeing the rosy ideal of how that person fulfils your needs. Love is when you want to go out of your way to take care of someone because them feeling better makes you happy. Love is picking ingrown hairs or shitting with the door open. Love is having the hard conversations without taking shots or one-upping each other. It’s understanding that there’s the option to cut and run, but there’s something larger worth preserving and working on that as a team. That seems like love to me.

Shoehorning romance into a plot or song as a way to make it easily palatable feels lazy and uninspiring. Stop using romance as a seasoning when it’s a veritable meal on its own.

ALSO after doing a bit of research and math, the “girl” in question was 17 at the time. The songwriters were 35 and 49.

Fuck this song. That girl dodged a bullet.

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Back home there was a brand of boysenberry cider called “Boysencider”. I thought that was funny

My girlfriend’s going to Ottawa for two nights this week, so you know what that means… Boys’ Nights!

When I say Boys’ Nights, I more accurately mean Boy’s Nights. For this Boy, there will be two Nights in which I will have the house to myself and a cat. What will I do with this wild and crazy opportunity for madcap misadventures and silly shenanigans? I’ll probably go to the gym, come home for dinner, play some Magic and sleep with the bed to myself. Maybe I’ll even have a friend over to watch a movie. Call my unimaginitive, just don’t call me late to dinner. Because I’ll be making the dinner, so your plans will fail. Perhaps I’ll even put something in the Instant Pot so there are leftovers for future dinners. My girlfriend could even have some when she comes home. We have a freezer, time isn’t superbly limited on this whole leftover thing.

Are you disappointed at my lack of ambition? Honestly, the concept of a celebratory Boys Night Out seems kind of outdated in my life. Firstly, I don’t give a shit about the gender of who I’m hanging out with. If I enjoy their company, that’s good enough for me. Secondly, it’s not like I’m kept on a leash of sorts. My girlfriend and I live together and bed together, but it’s not like we spend all night waiting desperately for the other to get home. We hang out, but we’re also independent enough with both mutual and separate friends. Our schedules don’t always align and even when we’re home, sometimes we want to do different stuff.

The time worn “ball and chain” mentality has always fucked me off. I’m an independent guy, I don’t know that I’d last long with someone who wanted to exclusively hang out with me and not have their own interests. If I didn’t have a partner who made their own plans, I’d find it pretty tedious. We’d have nothing to talk about when we came back together (or after we “came together”, if you catch my drift). I don’t always even want to hang out with myself, let alone the same person. I need alone time and I need an assortment of friends to soak up on the regular. The only social constant I want is new and refreshing perspectives. It’s hard to get that when you’re perenially hanging out with the same folks.

If someone was enough of a drag to feel like they’d imprisoned you, why the fuck would you have married them in the first place? With a few harrowing exceptions, I’m going off the assumption that if you’re engaged, you’re probably an adult. Why “saddle” yourself with someone you create excuses to escape? That’s fucked up, right? DON’T MARRY THEM. You’re wasting their time and emotional energy until death/divorce does you part. That kind of makes you a piece of shit. Don’t be a piece of shit, don’t marry someone if you’re unsure. Personal preferences aside, it’s arguable whether marriage actually matters in this day and age beyond a symbolic gesture. I’m not knocking that gesture. Hell, I want to get married someday. I also don’t see a point in embarking along that path with a partner until it makes sense to do so? Weddings cost a lot of money and take time to plan. They’re fraught situations where many many strangers have many many opinions. Why get into that beleaguring morass with someone who you compare to a colonial incarceration tool? That seems like more than a mild oversight (if I’m being incredibly charitable) of sorts.

So yeah, big party for me. I might even put on some washing while she’s gone.

Drake has a kid in Ontario, right? I hope he’s upset too

Recent changes to the Ontario sex ed curriculum are upsetting.

I don’t mean the 2015 update, rather the fact that the new conservative government has decided to roll back to the previous curriculum. Apparently the revised 2015 curriculum was upsetting to some of Doug Ford’s voter base and one of his party promises was to repeal it. The plan at the moment is to revert to the 1998 sex ed curriculum. I could be snarky as hell on this, but I don’t know that it serves much of a point. The world has changed a lot in the 20 years since this past curriculum was implemented. Here’s what the world looked like back then:

  • Bill Cosby was a venerated family friendly icon.
  • We thought the world banking system was going to collapse over a calendar issue.
  • The human population of the world was under six billion
  • The world had never seen a black president.
  • It was illegal for LGBT people to be married in Canada.
  • Apple created the iMac. iPhones were still years away.
  • Netflix was a physical operation.
  • The Global Financial Crisis was still ten years away.

Time changes, right? The world is a lot bigger now (roughly 7.6 billion people) and we’re wildly interconnected through the internet. Obama came and went. Turns out Bill Cosby wasn’t such a nice guy. A lot of people don’t even have TVs. Y2K would almost be old enough to drink by now. Because of smart phones, we can all ignore each other on public transit. The future is now.

Socially, it’s a whole new playing field. LGBT relationships have been accepted so widely that corporations cynically try to cash in on their sexuality every year in Pride. The concepts of gender have strayed beyond their binary trappings and we’re questioning the validity of old patterns. Like, why do single stall bathrooms need to be gendered? We have hashtags now, and #metoo has brought awareness to a ton of people about the necessity of consent. Same sex couples have kids enrolled in public school. While discrimination certainly still exists, the concept of treating someone differently because of their sexual orientation is a relic from ages long past.

The 2015 curriculum sought to address a bunch of these changes and prepare children for the world they live in. Concepts like the importance of consent and respect for people different to oneself were all part of it. Body positivity and self-confidence, challenging stereotypes and understanding one’s own body all found their place into it. The curriculum talked about cyber-bullying and creating healthy boundaries. Makes sense.

Apparently this was a bit too far for some parents. On one hand, I can realise that change is scary. The idea of kids growing up too fast fills some parents with dread. Thing is, whether kids call it their wee wee or penis, it’s not gonna change its form or function. Even if you’re against expanded gender and sexual orientation expressions, pretending they don’t exist isn’t gonna make them go away. Being aware of the existence of sex isn’t gonna make kids suddenly want to do it. Netflix is available at any time now and it’s great. I’m sure most kids would rather watch cartoons than porn.

1998 was a wholly different world. Let’s please not go back to there.

More like Ca-bummer

After 30.5 years on this earth, I feel like I’ve found my place in it. Cabana Pool Bar is not that place.

Until yesterday I’m not sure I’d ever been somewhere that made me feel so vestigial. It was like stepping into another dimension where all common sense inverted. Everything had a price and that wasn’t merely financial. Seriously, everything cost. All the shaded tables were reservation only. The deck was littered with unpopulated but inaccessible tables. If we sat down, security was quick to let us know that we needed to move. The area around the pool had a $20 paywall for men. Once you were in there, however, you couldn’t sit at any of the cabanas without paying. Minimum spend to rent a cabana was $1000. We luckily had a tangential friend who had other tangential friends who’d rented a cabana. It was fucking sardined with people. After the guys in our group paid $20 each to get in, we crammed in on the edge. We stood on the precipice of an unused cabana; An unused cabana in which we were not allowed to sit or stand.

Frankly, the experience was baffling. We found the type of people for whom Cabana Pool Bar was their place in the world. They were instagram model types, dudebros with rippling abs and older men with a lot of money. A friend remarked that she probably had more body hair than all the regulars combined. Status and hierarchy oozed out of every interaction like low level rot. Us average, everyday dudes, we were twos on a scale of ten. I’ve never before set foot in a place where security’s first recourse was to physically shove me out of the way instead of using their words. I felt like an oil spill in the sun. A weird, colourful blight in a foreign environment. I’m sure you all have an image of what this place looked like by this point. Now imagine me – an overly smiley dude in a floppy yellow wide brimmed hat, a Where’s Waldo Chameleon shirt, and a rainbow coloured arm cast – where would I fit in?

Simply put, it felt like a total erasure of my existence. I talk to strangers in public fairly regularly. Their usual responses are one of three: 1) we’ll start chatting, 2) they might give a polite laugh or nod, end of interaction, 3) they’ll be a little weirded out, but give some kind of acknowledgement and maybe turn their head. I was in the pool and had some dumb observation, I turned to two women standing beside me. Almost as soon as I started talking, they looked at me, quirked an eyebrow, laughed and turned to each other to chat. The look was entirely where does this guy get off thinking he can talk to us? I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so dismissed as a human being.

It was surreal to think that if you had vast sums of money, this is how you’d choose to spend it. From top to bottom, the experience seemed a total commodification of women. Men were sold the idea of tanned, toned young women who’d give them attention. Women were sold the allure of being a glamorous object of attention, to be admired and treated. Everything was designed to be a spectacle and had its cost. Bottle service was commonplace. In the lowest tier, two bikini clad servers would march over to the cabana and present bottles. The next tier up, a team of bikini clad servers would march up, holding letters to spell out some kind of message. Wanted more? How about an extra bunch of dollars to get a fucking marching band to parade around for you? I think there was someone on stilts. I commented on the bizarre class politics at play to a friend. Was this what the upper class wanted? “Upper middle class” she replied. “If they were upper class, they’d have their own private boat. They’d tour the Caymans or something. This is what happens when the upper middle class wants the illusion of punching above their weight.”

The thing is, I don’t feel envy. I’m not even disdainful. Sure, I’d love to be a sun soaked Adonis, showered in attention. I’d love to not have financial qualms or concerns. I’d love the kind of abandon that throws caution to the wind. Really though, it’s not the life I want. You know what? These people had all the money and status they’d need, but they weren’t happy. The number of people I saw crammed into cabanas with dour expressions, so committed to being fucking grumps. It was unreal. Like they had a need that would never be filled. It wasn’t enough. Nothing was. Once they had what they thought they wanted, they needed the next thing. I lead an abundant life filled with people I adore. I’m part of a community where everyone supports one another because they want to foster joy. We all have struggles and we’re there for each other. It’s based on compassion, not competition. It was one thing to be a tourist in another culture, but holy hell I’m thankful for the lovely fucking bubble I’ve found myself in.

So fuck it. Today I’m going to Hanlans for a nude picnic with My People. That’s my place.

Am I the only one who remembers “Honey to the B” era Billie Piper?

I quit Bumble.

Not only that, I deleted the app and closed my account. I think I might be done with online dating.

I used Bumble for under a week. I was excited by the prospect of a woman making the first move. During those six days I swiped through literally thousands of women. On average, I’d guess that I swiped right once every 20-30 women. If you don’t speak Bumble, right-swipers are people you’re interested in chatting with. Alternatively, far-right swipers are far less desirable. Why did so few women meet my criteria? Why am I such a prize that I can be so selective? Let’s get some stuff out of the way first. I went through this when I first installed the app, but just in case, here’s a shortlist:

  • Most profiles only have photos. If you can’t write a bio, then I know nothing about you.
  • Your Instagram and Spotify say some stuff about you, sure. However, if you still can’t put the effort into writing anything about yourself, how could I see you as someone who’d put effort into a relationship?
  • If people did write profiles, they were often homogeneous. A yogi looking for a partner in life who loves to laugh/is funny, enjoys tacos, the Leafs, travel, craft beer, has a dog, is tall, wants something meaningful and doesn’t play games. Or they’d use an obviously copy/pasted quote. Or endless emojis. If this app is anything to go by, women on the whole are honestly, Basic. I’m sure dudes are too.
  • Of course attraction comes into play. If someone met my criteria but I didn’t find them cute, they’d get the swipe left too. I don’t think that differs from real life.

So, thousands of women. Let’s say 2000 as a ballpark figure. It’s probably not far off. If I’m matching one out of every 20-30, let’s round it up to about 100 right swipes. Keep in mind, those are right swipes that (in my very selective criteria) have been screened for resonant personalities and/or interests. Not only people that I liked, but people who I thought may have reflexively been interested in me. So of 100 right swipes, how many matches did I get?

Zero. Not one. No interest in me whatsoever.

I thought about it. I was constantly updating my profile. As I flicked through more profiles, I learned more about common structure. I changed certain aspects to be tighter, wittier. I added or dropped aspects that seemed unnecessary or unappealing. I caved and mentioned that I was from New Zealand (something I know people enjoy, but doesn’t feel like success on my own merits), just to see if it would attract more attention. The big caveat that I refused to budge on was announcing right at the top of my profile that I was poly. Available, but partnered. If that was gonna be a dealbreaker for someone, I wanted them to know right away so I wouldn’t waste a minute of their time. No part of my excursion into dating apps was with the intention of misleading a single soul. I knew this would be an issue for a bunch of people. Maybe that was why I wasn’t getting much interaction. I’d scared people off by being poly?

I suspected there was more to it.

As an aside, it was both neat and weird seeing people on there that I knew in real life. If it was a friend, that was cute. It was interesting seeing how they presented themselves in a dating format. In virtually every single case of finding a friend’s profile, my brain said they’re funnier, smarter and prettier than that offline. I guess I’m not the only one who sucks at summarising themselves into a digestible soundbite. It’s hard to be 3D in Flatland. Occasionally I’d see people from my workplace and that felt invasive. I didn’t like it one iota. These women had a right to privacy and I felt like I’d unintentionally broken that. I know I hadn’t done anything wrong, but it didn’t feel that way. I can’t imagine what it’d be like using a location-tracking app like Happn in a large corporation. I’d rather not think about it.

Anyway, this morning I found myself looking at a familiar profile. It was someone I briefly dated before realising we had better chemistry as pals. I knew for a fact that she’d been with her beau for some time now. I was also pretty sure she’d left most of her dating apps. I messaged her:

Me: “Hey hey. You just came up on my Bumble. So now I’m wondering, just how many dead profiles have I been swiping on?”
Her: ELL OH ELL.
Her: My past lives on in the Matrix!

I thought back to all my friends and co-workers I’d seen. One of my old physiotherapists, even. None of the pictures were fresh. The profiles seemed a tad stale. Had I been upturning a tomb of dead profiles? Users who’d deleted the app, but not their profile? A lot of people had complained about bots on the service, fake profiles. Were they just remnants of those who’d been and gone? Was I merely causing a ruckus in an echo chamber? What was the point?

I chatted with my friend and the more we talked, the more I realised that the service really wasn’t suited to me. There was no matching algorithm to ensure that those who you swiped through suited you in some fashion. Bumble was just throwing everyone in their Rolodex at you so you’d be overwhelmed by the illusion of options. I thought back to my days using OkCupid seriously. It’d be pretty rare for me to look at profiles below a 92% match. I was pretty picky in that top 8% too. Why waste your time with an unsuitable match? Why settle and go through the motions with someone who was just “fine”? Dating someone wasn’t important enough to me that I wanted it to be a chore. Things would happen organically, right?

Today I thought back to my years using online dating. At a guess, I’ve maybe sent out something in the realms of 800+ messages. Every single message I sent out was unique. The thought of delivering a canned line felt abhorrent and a terrible way to start a connection. I probably got about 40 back, most of those being thanks but no thanks (which I always appreciated. At least I could move on instead of wondering what if). I had one or two relationships. I met a couple of long-lasting friends. The bulk of my time, however, was sending effort, intention and emotions out into the aether and getting nothing back.

Like all my friends I saw on Bumble, I don’t come across well online. I’m either too goofy and childish or pretentious and cold. Thing is, I’m all of those things in different contexts. As everyone is, I’m well-rounded and nuanced. I’m three dimensional. In person I’m charismatic and self-confident. I can read social cues and shape the conversation around them. I understand the implication of tone and the weight of words. I can be charming face to face because that’s the world I understand. I’m a social guy and I don’t take a lack of interest personally. If getting more familiar with someone is the worst that can happen, that’s a pretty high floor.

So I think that’s where I am. For the time being, my online persona can take a knee. I miss the energy and excitement of dating, but frankly I’m pretty fucking chuffed with my girlfriend. I’m in no rush or hurry to meet others. If it happens organically (or good friends wanna try their hand at some old fashioned knitting circle matchmaking…), that’d slot into my life a lot more cleanly. If it doesn’t, I’m very far from being unhappy.

And in a week, maybe my thumbs will be strong enough again for a quality thumbs up.

Here I was thinking Women’s Day was a New Zealand publication.

Happy International Women’s Day. I’m in a sorta grouchy mood, but that’s not IWD’s fault.

Let’s get some stuff straight. I think International Women’s Day is important. I want nothing more than people around the world signal boosting that there are so many issues where it’s vital we stand behind women. The zeitgeist is finally catching up to the fact that the subjugation of women in a patriarchal society is no way to move forward. It’s essential that we all work together to clamp down on institutionalised sexism and actually treat women as equals. It’s amazing to see the momentum behind a number of recent global movements. Time’s Up, Me Too, etc. It’s wonderful that these have captured the public eye and prompted serious examination of what we’ve for so long treated as acceptable. It warms my heart that us men have been put under the microscope and taken to task for the awful systematic shit we’ve perpetrated throughout our lives. I truly believe that a seismic societal shift needs to happen in order for us to advance. I’m not sure if it’ll happen in my lifetime, but I’m hopeful that the necessary fire has been lit (after years of agitators doing great work to get it started) that’ll usher in meaningful change.

I also want to say that regardless of stuff that I’ll inevitably say, where I no doubt put my foot in my mouth or just otherwise make a dildo out of myself, the baseline is at a better place than it was ten years ago. Baby steps are better than zero progress. There’s also the caveat that I’m a dude. This is all coming from listening to friends and their qualms, reading articles they post and generally soaking up their wisdom, but also interpreting it through my own lens. I’m not gonna get everything right, but I’m all too happy to be wrong. How else will I get better.

With that said, holy shit has there ever been a flying fuckload of tokenism being thrown around today? If there’s one thing I’ll never get tired of shitting on, it’s capitalist entities co-opting political movements to try and shift more of their stock. So Kim Kardashian released a line of feminist Kimojis, right? What a great way for fans to show their support of this burgeoning societal conversation than by rolling out stylised commodification of catchy slogans for $2.99 a pack. If your politics come with a fiscal barrier to entry, they’re pretty fucking hollow. It’s one thing to support an artist doing vital work. This is not that. You’re just stamping the Kim K brand over a movement she’s directly profited from. Worse, people are literally and metaphorically buying them.

Or what about this bloody (wow, I actually didn’t intend that pun at all) women’s fitness ad I keep seeing on TV at work? It starts off with these two women furiously dance battling. They come face to face with staunch looks and bold blue writing appears onscreen:

ONE OF THESE WOMEN IS ON HER PERIOD.
WHO IS IT?

Then half a second for dramatic effect.

IT DOESN’T MATTER

They start laughing and hug each other. Cue company slogan. Yaaaas Queen! Boom Goes The Dynamite! Gotcha! Shame on you, sexist! What a monster for buying into these dynamics. Thing is, that was the last thing anyone was thinking. There’s zero causal link between a woman dance battling and her menstrual cycle. You were the one who brought that idea up, then tried to roast us for it. Do you realise that by introducing this as a concept, you’re actively reinforcing the outdated stereotypes you’re high-fiving yourself for calling out? You’re a fitness joint. Maybe instead of bringing blood and the moon into it, reinforce the notion that an active lifestyle doesn’t discriminate between body types. Or that people should feel safe and respected irrespective of ethnicity, socio-economic status or gender. It’s a fucking construct and maybe if you had interest in being progressive, you’d applaud people for having the motivation to put themselves out there regardless of discrimination instead of using feminism to sell your product. Nah man, let’s just get a good zing in. Fuck you.

I dunno. I’m trying to learn to be better over time. If you’re looking to learn, listen to women. Treat non-binary folks, people of colour, sex workers, queer, disabled and everyone I’ve failed to mention (I did say I’m still learning) as human beings. Don’t treat women as gatekeepers. They’re people. They’re don’t exist solely to nurture you, to be your emotional support, for your physical pleasure or gratification to your ego. Seek out women as friends because you enjoy their company, you think they’re brilliant and funny, because you respect them. When they talk about stuff that bothers them, hear them out instead of trying to poke holes in some kind of devil’s advocate bullshit.

We can all be better. Let’s do that.

Am I too contrite to make an Aziz An-sorry pun? Looks like I’m just trite.

I want to talk about the Aziz allegations, because I think it’s worth putting thoughts out there. I’d like to emphasise that I’m not aiming to grandstand, to throw out some pointed think piece to put people in their place. My experiences aren’t relevant enough for that, there are better voices to listen to. Still, some conversation (is that what it’s called when I put words out into an echo chamber?) is better than none.

With all the allegations flying around right now, I’m sure everyone has a list. Some desert island top five of celebrities who you’re only wanting to hear squeaky clean things from. That may not even be the best way of putting it, ’cause frankly we all want to continue to believe that our faves are beyond issue. However, this ever-relevant piece by Ijeoma Oluo stands true. Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of dudes that I really, really don’t want to hear shit about. Aziz was on my list, as I’m sure he was for most. He’s made some great television, written a well-received book on dating, had compelling stand up bits and half-staked his career on the notion that he’s one of the good guys. It’s to the credit of his work that a bunch of people likely responded to his allegations with oh, is that it?

Pieces like this from the New York Times: Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader. Seeking to find fault in the victim’s behaviour, her lack of verbal rejection or conviction in getting the fuck out of an uncomfortable situation. Making it her problem that she wasn’t more direct in avoiding an unpleasant interaction. I get it. I want to keep on enjoying his material guilt free. The most prevalent reaction I’ve seen online has been that’s not assault. It’s just bad sex. I get it. I understand this reaction 100%. Why? Because I’ve been Aziz before.

I can recall a number of times in my early sexual experiences where I entirely ignored clues of disinterest. Whether this was out of ignorance or wilful desire, there’s no question that I was placing my wants over the comfort of others. Taking a soft “no” as a “not right now”. Slipping my hand between a partner’s legs and being rebuffed, only to try again ten minutes later. Pushing for sex when I got the sense she wasn’t interested, but I was. I don’t think I ever pressured a partner enough that she relented and gave in to get it over with. I did, however, fail to create a sexual environment where enthusiastic consent was imperative. I’m certain that I’m not the only guy who could admit as much. In fact, I’m quite sure that similar stories are likely more of the norm than we’d care to admit. I’m sure many guys wouldn’t even see fault with my behaviour. That’s why there’s fault in how Aziz acted. That’s why the culture of sexual consent in our society needs a major restructuring.

My initial response to the Aziz allegations was resigned frustration. As I said above, I’ve been there before. I’d hoped that someone like Aziz would be better than that, which clearly was hoping for too much. I was embarrassed that Aziz, who was 33 at the time, was behaving like a 21 year old. I was embarrassed that this behaviour in my mind was classified as that of a typical 21 year old. Unlike most of the allegations that’ve come out, this one has resonated with me the most. Why? Because these aren’t the shocking actions of a serial abuser like Harvey Weinstein. According to many of the female voices I’ve heard, they’re pretty run of the mill. That’s why it’s important men listen to what’s being said and swim in how it makes them feel.

If they’re not embarrassed or frustrated, maybe they should look at why that is. This movement marks a departure from what we all considered normal and a necessity to explore past experiences for egregious activity. We need to look at what we’ve done in order to learn how to be better. It’s important to sit with guilt, to use it to recalibrate both expectations and behaviour. The system is broken and fixing it is gonna take wilful intention and education.

Do I think Aziz is a monster who deserves to be stripped of his career? Honestly, despite what I’ve said today, I don’t. I think his story deserves to be out there as a cultural learning moment. I think he needs to have a long look at his past experiences and create meaningful change from here on out. I think if his heart is really where he’s made it out to be, that he should use his platform to admit fault and be a role model for the great many men who think he did nothing wrong.

As for me, I’ve spent years trying to unlearn what I took for granted. I’m not done yet. The movement may be called Time’s Up, but for a bunch of us it’s just begun.