A Grumpy Cat and Two Flamingos Walk Into a Bar

“We lost the kitten to a heterosexual drag queen.”

So said a text between two of my friends.

Halloween. It was like every other mediocre Friday night at National, except there were costumes. The best part of the night was in my condo. Girls, “punch”, and Taylor Swifts new album on repeat.

Shortly after we arrived my friends found a large group of Waldo’s.

I don’t have anything against Waldo, but I was not into being chatted up by these guys. Maybe I was just getting into character. I was Grumpy Cat. And the grumpy part set in as soon as I was surrounded by men dressed in red and white stripes.

I was contemplating leaving when my friend and I noticed a large woman in a revealing tight pink dress with cupcakes all over it. She was wearing a curly hot pink wig and looked kind of sad.

She waved; we waved back and went to sit with her.

Okay so, not a woman.

“Hey gorgeous how are you?” he said to my friend. My girlfriend would go on to say that she loved gay guys; she instantly felt incredibly comfortable with the guy in the pink wig and thick falsies.

Eventually my friend went back to her Waldo of choice and I got into conversation with the drag queen.

“Why do you look so grumpy babe?”

Because I’m Grumpy Cat, obviously.

He didn’t fall for that answer. You know when you don’t feel like talking about your problems with a stranger dressed as a drag queen but for some reason they feel compelled to give you a bunch of life advice anyways?

Eventually he stopped and said, “Take my arm darling, I’m not going to buy you a drink because there’s another girl here that I’m into, but I’m going to show you a good time.”

Wait, what? Apparently not gay either.

I decided to take his arm and do one lap. I’d have one more drink, go get a slice of pepperoni, and call it a night.

Unfortunately for my drag queen who had coined himself my fairy godmother, we ran into the mystery girl that he was into. But she didn’t see that he was just my fairy godmother, holding my hand in friendly companionship.

“What the fuck Dustin.”

I immediately snatched my hand away as he tried to reason with her. Was I going to get into a cat fight dressed as Grumpy Cat? That would be kind of funny.

She stormed off; he looked defeated.

“She wasn’t even dressed up. Look at you, Dustin. You deserve someone who will put as much effort into a costume as you did tonight. I seriously thought you were a woman.”

It was my turn to cheer him up. We spent the rest of the night standing at the bar. He started slurring and complimenting me way too much in between more life advice.

“Look at you. You’re so pretty. Except is your nose always that pink?”

No Dustin. It’s part of the kitty costume.

My phone buzzed. “Where are you Grumpy Cat!?” My friends noticed I was missing.

“Still with the drag queen. Pizza time?”

We all got given a phone number that night. 2 Waldo’s and 1 heterosexual drag queen.

Will I be calling my fairy godmother? Probably not. There’s something about thinking a guy is a woman, and then gay, and then realizing he’s as straight as can be that kind of kills any potential attraction.

But I made sure he knew how much I appreciated his kindness. He could have spent his night trying to pick up (and probably confusing) any of the witches, animals, nurses, slutty ____’s in the place, but he chose to try and cheer up a grumpy cat.

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An Attempt To Understand the Universe

The last time I tried to go camping I decided to drive out alone late on a Saturday evening to where my brother and our mutual friends were.

Except Google maps took me to a dead end on a dirt road with no cell service. By the time I hit the dead end it was pitch dark out.

‘THIS is how horror movies start’, was all I could think. And later, ‘fuck you Google.’

Luckily no axe murderer appeared in the truck behind me and I didn’t let myself cry until I had cell service and could see signs of civilization. So no camping for me that summer.

The next chance I had to go camping was a few months ago. I said yes to this opportunity for a few reasons. I really liked the douche bag that invited me and surely I wouldn’t get lost this time because I wouldn’t be driving, he would. I felt better knowing there wasn’t a chance of reliving my dead end nightmare because he had taken me up to the camping spot for the day the weekend before; no dead ends. I was excited.

Except he never came to pick me up.

In fact, I never heard from him again.

I went through various stages of anger as the days went on with no sign of him. I went from making excuses for him, to disbelief, to thinking ‘maybe he’s dead,’ to hoping he was dead, to planning on killing him myself.

But this story isn’t about him. It’s actually about a neck injury I endured the week after scheming about killing him. And about my theory that the Universe just doesn’t want me to go camping.

It’s the best conclusion I could come to. One other possible theory: Perhaps I’m meant to stay single for another Calgary stampede. I do love a rowdy July.

So about my neck injury. I wish I could tell you something serious had happened to me, or that I was in a really difficult & impressive yoga pose, or at the very least had fallen down the stairs. But no-I hurt my neck so badly that I had to take time off of work because apparently shaving your armpit in the shower is actually quite dangerous.

The worst part is that I was unnecessarily shaving my armpit. But my thought process went like this:

‘They’re still perfectly smooth’

‘But I probably won’t shower tomorrow and then they won’t be in condition for going out tomorrow night’

‘If I see that idiot tomorrow night I’m going to give him a piece of my mind and look really pretty doing it’

‘Better shave them now.’

Crack.

Then I almost threw up.

Somehow I managed to put a shirt on and arrive at work without shoulder checking. Sitting hurt, walking made me cry, talking was frequently interrupted by flashes of pain. My coworkers insisted I go home, rest, and think of a better story as to how I hurt myself.

My friends are wonderful; I was very well taken care of. I even received homemade chocolate chip cookies with a note that said, Rx: take 3 cookies daily until neck pain subsides which obviously I overdosed on that afternoon.

But the best diagnosis I got came from my energy healer friend. She fixed me up with magnesium, some energy healing magic, a bean bag, and the root of my problem:

“Honey, has anyone been a real pain in your neck lately?”

That ASSHOLE, I immediately thought.

I have heard many, many times that stress causes illness. But never have I actually recognized it working that way in my life. I’m a generally stress free person. Until I start dating cowardly camping ditchers.

It does seem fishy that I hurt my neck that badly by turning my head slightly to the left to perform a task that most females do every other morning. I run, I work my butt off in spin classes, I take power yoga classes, and I party like a rockstar.

So how I cracked my neck shaving my armpit is beyond me. So I’ll take her assessment of the situation as correct. “This guy was nothing but a pain in your neck, literally”.

When the neck pain finally subsided and I still hadn’t heard from him I got a little too drunk with my roommate and impulsively got an eharmony account. I swore off Tinder.

This was a bad decision. Don’t let those well-crafted commercials convince you. I went on the worst dates of all time. I would have rather relived my first date with that French guy who wouldn’t stop calling me baby. That says something.

This series of bad dates ended with a bang when I got stood up for the first time. I was at my hairdressers house; we were hanging out on the front porch. This guy was meant to pick me up from her place at 7:00. 7:30 rolls around and he’s not responding to my text so I call a cab.

My hairdresser tries to make me feel better. “Maybe he died too.”

On the way home I decided three things.

1. eHarmony had already paid for itself; I had been taken out for enough dinners and drinks and coffees to make it worth it.

2. The All Mighty Universe doesn’t want me to go camping.

3. And it wants me to stay single.

I paid my cab driver and felt kind of sad that only my hairdresser and him got to see my cute date outfit. But I also felt at peace with my conclusions. After a string of bad dates and a neck injury, I was ready to pack it in for the summer and dust off my cowboy boots.

But as I approached my building a handsome man was running across 11th Avenue towards me.

“Hey! Is Sunterra closed? I’m starving and there’s nothing in my fridge.”

“I hope so; I’m hungry too.”

It was closed.

Two starving strangers stood at the doors of Sunterra. I blurted out to him why I was so hungry-he was the first person I told about being stood up for the first time.

“Oh no, it wasn’t Tinder was it?”

Then he asked me if I wanted to get a coffee. What the fuck Universe. We literally just decided no more dates. That included coffee dates.

…stay tuned.

Shania Twain & The Australian Invasion

My last blog post ended with that handsome neighbor offering to buy me a coffee outside of Sunterra after I had been stood up.

What happened next was he took me for coffee and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

Just kidding.

What actually happened next was that I said “No, it’s okay” which I immediately regretted as soon as I stepped into my elevator. I guess I had had a shitty enough day and wasn’t interested in a pity coffee. I just wanted to curl up on the couch and watch The Mindy Project.

My energy healer friend told me, “You need to learn how to be a better receiver”.

My roommate called me an idiot. “He lives in the LOFTS!? Those are expensive!!”

Coworkers shook their heads in disappointment.

I know!! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was being stubborn with the pact I had only moments ago made with the universe to stop dating for the rest of summer. But it’s okay because the next weekend the British Army was in town. And I was practicing being a better receiver.

Enter Stew. I actually don’t really like the British accent except for a select few people. My roommate, Bridget Jones, and my roommate’s handsome friend that she FaceTimes on a weekly basis. They are charming and intelligent. Most often I find the accent quite arrogant and snobby sounding.

So Stew’s accent wasn’t doing him any favors. But the drinks I had were working and I was trying to be a good receiver of his affection. I thought he was quite handsome but my coworker kept telling me, “He is NOT handsome Katie”.

I concluded that we must just have different types.

So my three friends, Stew, and the rest of the British Army ended up at Cowboys. I should grow up, I know. But it’s the only place I really like to dance. Or maybe I should just move to the South. I should also note that Stew and all of his friends were wearing literally the same thing. Blue jeans and baby blue checkered button ups. You couldn’t tell who was who.

Stew got real sloppy so I wandered off. There was a handsome guy in a striped sweater that caught my eye. I went up and said hello. Also British. Also sloppy drunk.

Then my roommate and I spotted a tall guy from across the room. She bet me ten dollars that he was also British. Even though this bar seemed to be bursting with the UK I was still skeptical. How could she possibly tell? He wasn’t wearing a checkered blue shirt.

But sure enough when I went up to speak to him I was greeted with the same accent. This one’s name was Robert. My roommate and Robert got talking as I wandered the crowd of British men in checkered shirts. Turns out Robert lived in the lofts across the street from our building.

Roommate: “Katie got asked out by a guy that lives in your building after she got stood up one night, but she was rude and said no.”

Robert: “No way! I’ve heard that story before. I know the guy!”

Robert may or may not have been pulling our leg. His friend who we all thought may have been the same guy who asked me out was supposedly from Australia but I’m pretty sure I would have remembered an Australian accent.

Remember, I wasn’t drunk at the time. I was hungry, pissed off, and dead sober.

I learned a few things about British men that night. They are very convincing; whether it’s to let them buy you a drink, kiss you, or convince you they know the guy you regret shutting down.

That night will forever be known as the British Invasion because of the three of us, we were at the very least kissed by one (or two) and there may or may not have been a few British men in my apartment that night.

So that was the British Invasion, but we’re not finished with Australia yet.

On Sunday, July 13th, a little after midnight, my phone kept buzzing. It was the last night of Stampede. Snoop-dog was playing in the Cowboys tent across the street and all I could hear were sirens-most of them headed towards the tent. I watched the fireworks from my balcony. Despite a bad case of FOMO I had convinced myself to stay in and drink a detox tea because Stampede 2014 took a serious toll on my body. I had enough stories and I had lost my voice; I couldn’t handle one more night.

Usually I watch the last set of thundering fireworks and feel like crying knowing that I have to wait three hundred and fifty five more days to do it all over again. But on this summer night I felt content and complete, besides the hoarse smoker cough. It had been a fun, eventful year full of questionable decisions and new memories.

So my phone was buzzing nonstop.

“Hey it’s the Bear from Cowboys” Of all the pretend cowboys this year by far my favorite was the man wearing a stuffed animal bear head. I spotted him on the dance floor and wanted nothing more than to two step with this adorable fuzzy bear with great biceps. I don’t know what his name is. He knows mine because I’m in his phone as “Katie She Likes Bears”

Then there was small town Ontario guy. In our drunken stupor he had said to me, “I haven’t had a kiss like that in a decade”. I wonder how many people think they’ve found love in that tent. We definitely thought we had. I smile at the blurry memory of it. It was like being eighteen and in love on the Cowboys dance floor all over again.

And then there’s Tom. It was the night of Shania Twain’s first show. A Wednesday. The plan was to have a few drinks at my condo, go see the concert, and be home at a respectable hour. I should know better. Those nights never, ever, turn out as such.

I almost want to skip to the part, seven hours later, where there’s three Australian men on my balcony.

We drank a few spiked Twisted Tea’s before heading over to Shania. Obviously, she was UNREAL. To the annoyance of the old people behind us we belted out her entire concert and even got to touch her hand.

“SHE LOOKED AT ME!!” was what I texted nearly my entire contact list.

The Twisted Tea’s had worn off but the buzz we had got from Shania wasn’t going anywhere so obviously we thought it was a good idea to head to one of the tents. “The night is young!” we screeched. My voice was already starting to go.

I saw him in the lineup. He had the jawline of a model, dark brown hair, and piercing come at me eyes. That’s the best way I can describe them. Way too good looking, so I looked away. My wimpy signature move.

Inside I was standing at a bar waiting for a drink when he turned around and grabbed at my nose. An odd yet slightly charming gesture. Up close I saw that he had a lip ring. Not sure how I felt about that, but then he spoke.

“You’re gorgeous.”

Shit, Australian.

“I saw you in line…” he continued.

He was thrilled to meet a born-and-raised Calgarian girl and his friends were just as excited to meet my friends. Before long we were in the middle of the dance floor singing the Canadian anthem with a bunch of good looking Aussies.

I would like to mention that I have never had a one night stand.

I never really felt the need to. Take the night of Stew and the British Invasion for example. I was satisfied with a few hours of flirting and kissing. To his frustration I insisted on walking home without him. I’ve done this many, many times.

Until Australia.

Usually in order for me to be attracted enough to someone to take them home I have to be somewhat emotionally invested. I’ll give it four or five dates. I have to find you intriguing and intelligent.

Unless we’re on the Cowboys dance floor and you have an Australian accent and a lip ring that seems to serve the purpose of a “peacock effect.”

Yes I’ve read the book The Game. It’s genius.

It was nearing the end of the night and Tom kept tugging at my cut offs. I glanced at my friend Amanda and telecommunicated “Should I do this?” with my eyes. She nodded a definite yes.

Ten minutes later Tom, one of his friends, Amanda and I were drinking on my balcony watching the lights from the rides and the drunks stumble across Macleod Trail. It wasn’t long until my roommate walked through the door with a man behind her. I don’t remember his name, but he was also from Australia, yet not from the same Australian posse as Tom and the redhead on my balcony.

How she happened to find another Australian in that gigantic tent beats me. Obviously this night will be forever known as the Australian Invasion and yes we’ve already half-jokingly pondered what country will be next.

I’m not really sure if there’s a lesson in any of this. Perhaps this: If one is feeling frustrated with the lack of men in her life she should simply make a pact with the universe to stop dating and then prepare to be showered with a variety of men with accents.

Or maybe I was right in thinking that I was meant to stay single for another Calgary Stampede because of all the summers and tents I’ve romped around in, this has been the most memorable, and not just because Shania locked eyes with me.

I’ll be forever grateful to Dean Brody’s incredible kick off on Canada Day (I wish I could remember him singing Canadian Girls; I was really excited for that), my roommate who is the only friend I’ve ever had that can keep up with me, and to Cowboy’s serving chicken fingers & fries. And to Tom of course.

Alternative Shania Twain song titles for this blog:

Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?

Rock This Country

I’m Not in the Mood (To Say No)