I’m listening to “Prince Charles” by Sally Bedell Smith. Unbelievably thorough. Surprisingly heartfelt.
I’m listening to “Prince Charles” by Sally Bedell Smith. Unbelievably thorough. Surprisingly heartfelt.
Learning nothing from speaking
Learning everything through creeping
This world is surreal
Is anything real?
A coffee costs a fortune
But even if it was free
You wouldn’t buy it for me.
You’d rather steal.
For giving me the worst days of my life
All at once
God counts the tears of women
For I am the collateral of a curse.
Because it’s not your fault
I broke my own heart
And joyless sons
Tied together in unholy union
Where we’re meant to be.
Dear Museum Tavern,
I am writing to describe my experience on the afternoon of Friday May 25, 2018 at 3:45 p.m. at your establishment.
All day I had planned for it. I was going to leave work early and go to happy hour. I was going to walk. The weather was the kind you wish for every young brides wedding. It was glorious, I took pictures. I practically cried with the beauty of it all.
I was even going to save my daily online poker game for Museum Tavern, the way I had in the past used their WiFi to stream Steven Colbert segments on YouTube. I had it all. Planned. Out.
Then, at quarter to happy hour, I pranced into the bar area, skin glowing from a walk in the summer sun, choose a seat from the ones that were still available (all of them, the joint was empty) and made myself comfortable. Pulling out my credit card, I was here for it!
Then he enters the story. He was a man working as a bartender at hip spot in Toronto. At first glance, he had a ready smile and startled eyes. Because I am a legal transcription typist, I will provide a transcript of our conversation as I remember it.
Me, sighing with joy at the splendor of it all/ being alive: Hiiiiiiiii
Me: It’s so beautiful out, have you been out?
Him: Do I look like I’ve been out?
Me: Well, it’s early yet.
Him: That’s true
Him: I’m stuck in here
Me, with joy: It’s cool in here!
Him: Not if you are here 40 hours a week
Me: …I like it here…?
Him: You would say that about your job?
Me, getting bored: …yes, but I was always talk to speak positively and not complain. Always talk “up”.
Him, trying: but yeah, the weather is nice. If it was like this all the time I would be happy.
Me: But then you wouldn’t appreciate it. It’s like living at the ocean-
Him: I’M FROM NOVA SCOTIA AND I SPENT FOUR YEARS IN AUSTRALIA SO THAT NEGATES EVERYTHING YOU WERE ABOUT TO SAY.
Me, loving a good debate: So, you went to the ocean everyday?
Him, pauses, caught: I did in Australia.
Me: And in Nova Scotia?
Him, stunned: …I…I lived…I lived 1 block…from the…from the…
Me, gracefully giving him the out: Well, it’s an island. Ocean on all sides, right?(Laughs)
Me: It’s like Niagara Falls for people in Ontario-
Him: I FUCKING HATE ONTARIO. IT’S A SHITHOLE.
Him: THIS IS THE WORST PROVINCE NEXT TO NEW BRUNSWICK. YOU CAN’T BREATHE THE AIR!
ME, stunned, looking around: …
Him: …are you here for happy hour?
Me, relieved he stopped shouting: I sure am!
Him: Well, it starts at 4.
Me, still relieved: Okay!
Me: What about quarter to 4 drinks at happy hour prices?
Him: No, it’s computerized.
Me: (reading menu)
Him, sneering: You think you are the first to think of that, girl?
It was the cool, practiced and intended-to-insult introduction of the word “girl” that tripped my conscious brain and red flagged this silly little jabroni. I will turn 40 this year. I have tits and ass and lips and eyes. It’s ma’am and Ms. for me all day long. While I remain everything, I am certainly no longer a girl.
Him: SO WHAT? YOU LIKE ONTARIO WITH ITS SUPERFICIAL BULLSHIT AND ALL THE ISSUES WITH THE LCBO? I CANT EVEN ORDER A BOTTLE.
ME, unsure what he’s talking about: …you could move?
Him: BUT THE MONEY IS HERE, ISN’T IT?
Me: Oh I see, Ontario has all the money…
A male server arrived to place his drink orders. He was nice, obviously uncomfortable with the bartender’s behavior.
HIM: This girl likes Ontario and I told her it’s a SHITHOLE!!!
Male Server: …you could move?
Him, quickly changing the subject to stay in control: Can you imagine what would happen if I bent the rules for you? What kind stampede it would cause?
Me, gesturing to the completely empty bar: No.
Male Server: (laughs)
Him: Yes, because they know to COME AT 4pm!
Male Server: (exits)
Him: [something about Ontario too boring to remember]
Me, gently, seriously: Is there another bartender?
Him: Here he comes!
A different male pivots quickly through the bar looking for something.
Him: SHE’S MAD BECAUSE I TOLD HER ONTARIO IS AN ABSOLUTE SHITHOLE!!!
2nd male, over his shoulder: ONTARIO IS A SHITHOLE AND I’VE BEEN HERE FOR 12 YEARS!!!
Him and the 2nd male proceed to laugh directly at me for more than 10 seconds in a way that was intended to humiliate me. It wasn’t really that funny but it was intended to humiliate me.
And it worked!
Me, to myself inside my head: I don’t want to spend any of my enormous amounts of money here.
No sooner had the thought moved through my pretty little head than he shouted (to no one? to everyone? to the empty void where his soul should be?) to the 2nd male who was now in the middle of the dining room:
“LOOK! SHE WANTS TO LEAVE NOW BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE ONTARIO” (Extremely loud laughter)
You see, that is how a hunter hunts his prey. He stays laser focused on their every nuance so as to never ever lose control. At this point, I realize I am in danger and need to leave. My heart sinks, my perfect afternoon utterly ruined. My rage rises to meet my throat.
Realizing he has overplayed his hand, he rushes over. Looking into his glassy eyes, I realize the startled look is actually mania: This man is clearly insane.
Him: Okay, let’s talk about why you like Ontario so much…
What a total goddamn insult to my intelligence. If nothing else, this must confirm that he thinks women are functionally retarded. Leaving aside how ludicrous it is that I would want to exchange any information with an ugly little pissant like him on the subject of, of all things, the province of Ontario, do you see what he is really doing? He wants to maintain control of the conversation while appearing to give a shit. Countless women must (do) fall for it.
Me, grabbing my purse: Your vibe is hitting me like a ton of bricks and I have to go.
And then quieter, to myself, “I was really looking forward to this…”
Him, seemingly happy: Yeah! Okay! (laughs) sure yeah…
Not: I’m sorry
Not: You are right, I am going through some stuff and need professional help.
Not: You deserve to patronize this bar in peace, let me quit right now and then go kill myself.
All would have been acceptable responses in my current mood.
Then I went to a different bar, got drunk with the hot, hilarious bartender there and left a huge tip. Simple.
Museum Tavern, I am sorry to be the bearer of terrible news but you are the hatchery of a certain type of toxic masculinity known as malignant narcissism, and it will ultimately destroy your business. Because it always does. Because of course it does. It is important to know that I am not special, Museum Tavern. He would have – and does – do this with every female he meets. This is a fact. He finds his prey and attacks and attacks and attacks until he has eaten her alive. You can not train this out of a man with effective leadership. He needs a plain old psychiatrist. It’s always that simple and always that impossible.
While I’m a little bit angry, I am most worried. On his current track, this man will eventually kill a woman. I’m not being dramatic, you know I’m right. The reason I can be so confident is because my uncle was a malignant narcissist and he eventually stabbed his wife to death on the front lawn. That’s how it happens; first verbal attacks then physical then rape (marital or otherwise) then murder. It’s a spectrum. No one just “snaps”. Ask around: are women often crying in his presence? I was. He made we want to cry in under 5 minutes. Is his girlfriend bruised? I’m emotionally bruised, does that count?
Goodbye, Museum Tavern. I will miss you. But I will take better aim next time.
Readers Note: All of the events happened as I have stated in the order as I remember them. Responses received may be posted to the internet for my friends to laugh at.
Remember that guy who sold you your fridge? You liked him, right? He had excellent people skills.
Or that guy who supplied beer to your local bar? The one who smoked tailor-mades, told tall tales about before he met his wife and played in a KISS tribute band on the weekend. He seemed to know a lot about sales, didn’t he?
Or that old electrician who rewired your cottage 3 summers ago. He was patient and kind with a thoughtful approach to construction. He also knew a buttload of retirees, isn’t that right?
You know what they are all doing now?
They are managing your wealth.
Do they have any education? Nope.
Or only the barest minimum licensing and sometimes- depending on various loopholes – they might not have that.
Do they have any experience? Nope.
Or rather, they’ve been able to convince the big 5 banks that they have “proven sales experience”. Which could mean anything, really.
Do they have your your best interest at heart? Not a fucking chance.
They are there for the enormous fees they charge you to literally LITERALLY do nothing. Most rarely come into the office. They “work from home”. They get their extremely experienced and well educated female – always female – assistant to do the actual work of watching the market, taking calls and making trades. You will speak to her more than you speak to your advisor. Their only job is to bring in more assets, which is why they will court you like crazy then never be available for you ever again until you threaten to transfer out.
How are they chosen for these amazing jobs?
Basically the branch manager assesses whether these men look good in a suit. Yeah, that’s it. The manager asks himself, Would people trust this man with their nest egg? If the answer is yes, he plucks this man from obscurity, even “feeding him” (which is an actual term of art in the business) plum accounts, perhaps from the managers own book of business. If the man is keen, the manager will appoint the man assistant branch manager giving him a second stream of income to enjoy. If the man is white, this process with operate at an accelerated pace. An unemployed uneducated inexperienced male can move to assistant branch manager making 400k a year if he plays his cards right.
Here’s the funny part; the client has not benefited in any way. As a client, you would be better off investing yourself. Or just buying GICs. Better you take a small rate of interest than enrich a young man you do not know and a corrupt banking practice you do not understand.
So ask your investment advisor,
What did you used to do?
And how many of your accounts were gifted to you, salvaged from the abandoned books of young men who did not gather enough assets to make the grade?
First, apply online in the fall when do their hiring blitz. French/English fluency is the bare minimum and will only guarantee you least glamorous routes forever, so apply to Rouge instead. It will end up being the same thing. They need Mandarin, German and Arabic the most because anyone who speaks those languages gets hired by Cathay Pacific, of course.
Second, ignore the video interview and wait for the phone call which will test language proficiency. Ace this!
Third, you will get an email to schedule the F2F. This is the most important part so bring your A game. Dress the part (hair in a bun, red lipstick, neckerchief, blue blouse, fitted blazer) and make sure you are ironed, pressed and dewy fresh. I’m dead, dead serious. Every frumpy girl was eliminated almost immediately.
That day consists of FOUR main rooms.
Room A: Arrive an hour early. Give them all your quals, exactly as they asked. Do not giggle, laugh or speak to strangers unnecessarily. Remain poised and focused like a Buddha. Say good morning constantly. Don’t suck up because it’s a waste of time at this point.
Room B: F2F interview with a recruiter – basic questions where she takes notes. Be calm but watch your body language because no matter what you say, they are trained to agree with you. So if you say …” and then I murdered my boss with a letter opener” she will respond with “Sometimes it’s necessary!” Watch your mouth, keep your tone melodic and grammar perfect. When in doubt, stop speaking.
Room C: The group interview. You will be given a scenario and asked to collaborate for a solution while three important people write notes. One of whom looks and sounds exactly like Ursula The Sea Witch (whom I adore, but only with a rhumba back beat). You will have less then a minute to prove you are a team player who is actively engaged. My personal belief is that the girl who made it was coached to say what she did. It was too on point and sounded like acting to me. The lone male in the room contributed absolutely nothing and he also made it, so draw your own conclusions.
Room D: This room is intended to schedule medical appointments. The dead giveaway is the high-tech laptop and a woman smiling way too hard.
If you fail – as I did – you will be brought to this final room with the other losers (look around, do they have their hair in buns?) and they will re-ask you a nonsense question, while being slightly rude.
As the (different) wrinkled old crone did this, she flipped over each of our dossiers so that we could clearly read the negative comments from our group interview written on the back. Mine read: “not a team player” and the girl next to me read “not a team player, not interested“. These must be code words because what are the fucking odds that two people without the cooperation ability of feral wolves would be sitting side by side? Do not agonize over the loss. Truth be told, they are looking for Stepford Wives who will never question authority and happily serve alcohol in the air forever. They are never going to promote you to pilot. So become a pilot instead.
Their final request was that we keep the interview process confidential. I guess they were correct about that team player stuff, eh? 😉