How to Have a Fake Affair with a Real Celebrity (NOW AVAILABLE FOR DIGITAL DOWNLOAD)

How to Have a Fake Affair with a Real Celebrity is a non-fiction short story written by Victoria Young. The story was recently published in the Spring & Summer issue of Cream City Review (41.1).

The story is a comical and tragic rumination of what it’s like when powerful men shine their spotlight in your direction and the ethics of fidelity in the internet age. At times hysterically self-deprecating, at others poignant and painfully relatable, this work of non-fiction is both a joke and a broken heart. The point is not to avoid the hurt, but instead to understand why we keep going back for more. And to find a salve in the laughter.

 

Writer. Dater. Masturbator. Victoria Young’s work has appeared in PRISM magazine (after winning second runner-up in the 2015 creative non-fiction contest). She currently holds two BAs, an MA, and whole lot of grudges. Her first collection of short stories Love Poems for Butchers may get published one day, who the fuck knows, amirite. Her work was shortlisted for the 2016 Constance Rooke creative non-fiction prize.

Feminism: It’s Not All About You




I just want you to think about the place that you’re coming from when you shirk the idea that you could be a feminist.  Think about the privilege of your life.

Where you were born.  Who you were born to.  The time in which you lived.  The freedoms that you have.

Someone fought for those.  Someone stood up and said WE…WE WILL TAKE NO MORE OF THIS!  Someone stood up for you.  And now here you sit…just sitting.  Because you don’t want to claim the notion that women should be treated equally to all others.  Because you’re afraid of the backlash.  Because you don’t want to be labelled, or pigeon-holed, or put in a box.  Sitting.

If during my childhood there had come a point where my education was not on par with others, say for example I couldn’t read, I would’ve stood up and said, “someone must teach me!” because I always knew that everyone deserves to be educated.  Imagine living in a world where you didn’t know this?  How do you ask for a thing you don’t know you should have?

(now admittedly, I didn’t learn fractions in grade six or whenever you were supposed to and I didn’t mention it, really, until high school, mostly because I was still able to coast on by with what knowledge I already had.  Nonetheless, I eventually learned because I eventually knew that I was missing out, I was being given a less than education by skating by.  And so I told my father and he taught me math.  At night, after he’d get home from work, my Dad and I would sit around the kitchen table and he would teach me the math I hadn’t learned.  My father taught me math because he couldn’t imagine a world where he wouldn’t want his daughter to have every opportunity and advantage and chance at success and happiness.  My father couldn’t imagine a world where I wasn’t capable and deserving of anything and everything.)

So, what if you had been born with shitty parents, or parents’ whose religion or customs or even just their view of the world said that you were less than, that you should be docile and subservient?  What if you had been born in a country where they refused to educate you?  Or what if your parents wanted the very best for you but lacked the economic stability to open doors and possibilities?  What if you were a woman of colour, a woman outside of heteronormativity, a woman on the edge?  What if your parents were too absent, or too poor, or too judgmental, or too busy just trying to keep you and them alive?  What if your parents just honestly didn’t know better?

Who would stand up for you?

Take a step back from the luxury and freedom of your life (even on the days when it doesn’t feel that way at all) and think about all the people who risked everything for you and how little you’re currently willing to risk for others.  If you want to call yourself a humanist, fine…great.  But at the very least consider what that really means and who exactly, are these said humans, you want to help.

And honestly, that fear, that knee jerk reaction not to claim feminism, not to say that you would do everything in your power to help other struggling women is the very reason we need feminism in the first place.

[I admit my ignorance here where I’m not entirely sure how and when to say *Trigger Warning* but I have a feeling this might be the moment…so…this is me saying it…and if I’m using it wrong send me a message and let me know, please]

And if I still haven’t convinced you that you should stand up for women around the world, women who came before and those who will come after you, please know this – in North America, that’s right, in our oh so civilized and privileged little section of the globe – there is such a thing as a viral rape video.  A video of a girl(s, and this really does have to be pluralized now) being raped by, often soon to be, if not already, college educated privileged young men* is not only a thing that can happen but a thing that can go viral (*this is a statistical thing but education is obviously not a requirement…though it is terrifyingly not an across the board deterrent either).

Take just a tiny moment to think of all the steps that make that possible.

1.  A girl is raped.

2.  More than one person is present for the rape (unless the rapist is filming it himself which seems rare)

3.  One or more of those people then uploads the video to the internet or sends it via their phone or email to someone else.  Think about the thought process that this entails.  Not only does this mean two disgusting horrible humans exist that would rape someone but they are the kind of garbage that believe others will take pleasure in seeing this terrible act.

4.  They are right.  Take a moment with that one.  No, seriously.  This scum of the fucking earth believes that others want to view the torture they inflict…and they are right. 

5.  Because after all, without number 4…there can be no viral nature to this horror.

6.  Whoever they send the video to, or whoever gains access to it, feels the same as the rapists and the sharing continues and continues from person to person to person until the video can be deemed to have gone viral.

7.  Beyond the absolute human garbage that is the rapists and their propagators, it’s worth noting that all this sharing goes on without any real fear of repercussions.  The rapists are not afraid to be caught (or they wouldn’t share, and presumably wouldn’t rape).  The people who view and share the video are not afraid to be witnessing said crime and doing nothing.  There is no fear present at all (except of course for the victim whose life has not only been traumatized) and presumably every woman everywhere (since the likelihood that something similar will happen in her lifetime is DEVASTATINGLY HIGH!).

8.  If the rapist(s) and his/their filmography companions are ever caught, the punishment is often surprisingly small.  And more often than not it only follows after a hard fought battle which usually involves a ton of victim blaming, excuse making, and all out insanity.

Now, ask yourself again if you can really bear to stay seated when there is a world of women who need you?

The next time you are certain that women have equality, maybe just consider for a moment that we live in a country(ies) where a video of a girl being raped can become so popular that it goes viral.

It matters that you stand up.  And if you’re not strong enough to stand up on your own, come stand by me, and I will help to brace you.

Fat Like Me

Cotton Candy



Fat, I say.  In public.  Online.  Can you even believe the fucking audacity of giving myself an accurate description??

What follows is always so predictable.  A flood of misguided compliments, and you aggressively imposing yourself onto me.

Stop it,” you say.  ”You’re beautiful.”

Hush now,” you say.  ”You’re amazing and wonderful.”

No more of this,” you say, trying to sew my lips closed.  ”We love you.”

And I can’t help but think:  Yeah…no shit…I’m adorable as fuck!  I never said I wasn’t.  I never said anything about beauty or likeability or whatever else it is that you think you’re saving me from.

All I said was that I was fat (the definition, if I’m not mistaken, means that I’m full of fat, that I’m with the fatness, that this body or its parts contain fat, likely a larger volume than average).

When I say that my hair is brown, nobody freaks the fuck out like I just discovered I was a horrible human being.  So when I note my bulging belly, my fat frame, why do you feel the need to shush and stop me?

Does my voice scare you as much as my thighs?  Which btw ARE fat.  Fatty fatty fat fat.  But, and here’s the point I think that you’re missing, fat doesn’t mean ugly.  That’s all in your head (and in the media, etc.).

And look, I’m sorry that you see things that way; I’m sorry that you’re probably terrified of it; I’m sorry that you fear a body that could disgust you.  But that’s not me, and it’d be real swell if you could stop imposing your shit on me every time I give an accurate description of myself.

Because when you respond to “I’m fat” like I just said I was worthless, you are essentially saying that because I’m fat, you think I’m worthless.

The truth is I just want to live in a world of honesty.  And the honest truth is that I am fat.  I’m beautiful.  I’m talented.  I’m hardworking and well loved.  I’m kind and funny and highly educated (this sentence structure style to the contrary).  Sometimes, I’m also an asshole.  I can be a real dick.  I pout and I cry and I’m a hypochondriac (though I recently diagnosed myself correctly on WebMD so assuming I don’t die immediately I’ll start seeing patients next week).  I’m a human being: good, bad, and everything in between.  And I just want to be able to talk about myself, exactly as I am, without you trying toquiet down my experience, my reality, because of the issues that you have with the words I use.

I’m tired of having to tone myself down for you.

I’m tired of having to refer to myself as a “curvy” girl.  (I do that.  Throw in words like curvy because that’s what they call it.  That’s how they like to describe it but it’s not my word.  I would say fat.  Big and fat.  But they don’t like that).

I’m tired of changing for you.

My fatness isn’t yours to control.  My words aren’t yours to soften.  My frame isn’t yours to contain.

Say FRIENDZONED Again. I Dare You.

Heart

Say FRIENDZONED again.  I dare you.

Say it like it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you, that I might open my heart and not my legs.

Say it like I owe you something, like this world took too much from you and I am a part of the repayment plan.

Put a value on my smile.

Assign my hips a scale.

Hug me, but only if you’re hiding a boner.

Say FRIENDZONED like a campaign slogan, hold the antagonism high above your head, an evil you’re working against.

Make sure you’re feeling elitist though, as if the impetus that tells you I’m worthless unless we’re fucking isn’t the same impetus of rapists.

Don’t rest your chair so high.  The pants you wear are a common size.

Say it to my face so I hear it.  So I get to see who you really are.

Say I already have enough friends only minutes after cooing compliments in my ear.

Say I really want you.  I think you’re amazing.  A real cool chick.  I want to put my face in your lap for hours.

Say But it’s whatever you want, I’m cool if we’re just friends.  We can just write jokes together and hang out.  No pressure.  I want you, but it’s cool if we’re just friends.

And then I say the words.  I think we should just be friends, for now.  I don’t have to add the for now, you don’t own my heart and my desire and my future.  But I say it anyway because in this one scenario, this one time, there is possibility.  You came back into my life after being away for too long and I just need a fucking minute to acclimate.  So I say the words you offer, as a pause point, a breather I need to take.

No sooner are the words off my lips then you’re chugging back your beer and holding out a twenty thinking it chivalrous to shuffle me home in a cab.  I have enough friends you spit like an accusation.  You are not a gentleman, you are a monster.

Call the next day to apologize.  Call everyday for a week.  Never leave a message.  Text to ask if I’ll only just listen to your apology, hear the pain in your voice.  It doesn’t much matter now, I have seen who you are.

So go ahead and say it.  FRIENDZONED.  (as I slide all your options off the table)

An Open Letter to All the Mr. [something big and important, probably married]s, Regarding Your Emails

Open Letter

Thanks for the email, but you don’t have to be embarassed by my sexuality.  I know you feel the need to save your praises for private because you’re a big shot/celebrity/lawyer/news anchor/executive something/father, or whatever other identifier raises your importance above mine, but there’s really no need to worry.

I am not a predator, try not to think yourself so persecuted.

I know I wrote a piece about sexuality and inequality and my broken disappointed heart and used words like pussy and dick (and maybe next time I won’t stop short of using anal), but those are not things to be ashamed of.  I am sorry you feel the need to read my words with the lights out.

Maybe you want to hide in the privacy because single girls have been known to wander (this is a warning from your mother) but I am not here to scandalize you.

You don’t have to be ashamed to spread my words (which are not my legs), or to be seen talking to me.  After all, your intentions are entirely innocent, no?

So while I appreciate the email, about how much you enjoyed my writing, you should have just ended it there.  It’s flattering to know that my appearance pleases you and how you think I’m going to find a great guy some day, but you should know that I have already found one.  Several actually.  And that my having of them probably won’t fit with your idea of how my life should be.  But that’s not my problem (and I’m not even entirely clear on why it’s yours).

I don’t want to get married.

I don’t want to find the one.

I want the many.

I want to hear a hundred stories.  I want to lay down with men who change the composition of my surroundings.  I want to know the world.  I am greedy but not selfish.  I want more than my hands can hold, and so I stand facing it all with open fingers.  I want to kiss and laugh and love and fuck and be my true self and rip my heart open and spill it on the floor for all to see.

I don’t want a gated community, a picket fence, a sofa to sink into.  It is already hard enough to stand up tall everyday, I don’t need more things hemming me in.

So, thanks for the email, but it’s not necessary.

You see, I don’t need you to save me.  And I know for sure that I cannot save you.

I know I posted that thing about the boy who reacted poorly to my large frame and the things about men who try to woo me with discussions of my body.  I know I got angry and frustrated and lost faith in humanity for a second but I’m only human.  I am an elastic woman and likely to bounce back.

So, I know you got to see the flaws and the heartache and the sadness, and maybe that stirred something in you but none of these things mean I need you to save me.  They are not about you.  You already chose your life and this private weirdness that you’re creating with your power and your secrecy is affecting my balance (so you should stop).

I’m standing up here, spine only partially made of jelly.  Mostly strong enough and not nearly as alone as you might think (and frankly, my friends and family all feel a little jilted that you’ve minimized their roles so emphatically in my life as to think that one singular man could replace them entirely).

So thanks for the email, but your secrecy has splinters.

Words that should be innocent enough off the tongue, show up dressed in your issues and your shame and your inadequacies.  Your email is a time bomb and frankly, sir, I don’t need your bullshit.

So unless you’re ready to stand up tall and stop acting like my sexuality is an affront to your marriage, your personhood, and your fucking existence…unless you’re ready to stop pretending that my comfort and expression is a threat to your way of being…unless you’re ready to stop imposing your danger onto me…

I would just as soon prefer that you kept your praises in your pockets and your heavy words out of my box.

Heart Like an IKEA Futon

IKEA Futon

 

 

 

If all the stories I write (at least the good ones, in so much as I am even willing to consider any of them good)…

If all the stories I write are really just my stories…

If all the stories that I write are based on what’s happening but absolutely nothing is happening…

How can I justify staying in this city and prolonging this summer?

If I’m not creating any stories (except for one about the kind of sobbing that should be reserved for death but is instead being appropriated for worthlessness and the lonely)…

If you can’t forgive yourself, how can you ever expect your student loan to forgive you?

If all the stories are mine…

If I’m the owner of nothing…

If I have more degrees than men who have ever loved me…

If I have the same amount of tears as number of men who want to fuck me but maybe not openly, not in public, not like I’m worth something, not like a human being, a piece of this earth, a part of our whole, not like I could make them laugh or think or be anything other than something not worth mentioning.

If I was ever more than just a whore on the internet…

This devolution, the spiral like a drill bit, these ants crawling around in my lungs and inside my calves.

How do you not let the disappointment crush you like a bread truck, or a freight train, or the compounding interest on your student loan?

This heart like an IKEA futon. 

If all the stories I write are really just my stories then leaving Montreal a month early won’t change that.  Whether I’m running away or being a financially responsible adult, the result will be the same.  Time will pass.  And somewhere in this lull I will find a way to pull it all back together (I have to find a way to pull it all back together).

The stories after all, if they’re mine, will come with me. (She whispers, “you have to come with me”).

 

I’m Taking The Microwave

 

Originally written for Thought Catalog:  I’m Taking the Microwave

You drove out of town in a silver car that looked like all the others, on a Sunday like all the rest and I went to sleep that night and then got on with my life. You took the stereo and the blender and that bottle of champagne we’d been saving for the day I sold my first book. You left the dishes and the bills and all the reasons I didn’t love you to begin with. We had had a fight that didn’t make sense because of the way you rolled your eyes when I spoke and the way it didn’t even bother me. You broke a lamp while you stormed around gathering up shit like a vindictive teenager caught in a hurricane sized meltdown until I blew you over with one breath, just go. The lamp was my grandmother’s and the dust upon its shade meant more to me than you ever did. A statement I now wish I hadn’t said because I watched the way it moved across your face, a glow inside your veins, a dying light underneath your flesh, until it reached your chest and broke your heart in two, which was nine fewer pieces than my lamp. I counted, later, after you were gone.

“I met someone else” I said, to the wall before you got home. I was practicing for the dance we do where we pretend like the other person matters to us and we haven’t just been filling up this space in each other’s lives.

He smells like dim lighting and candles. The scent of 80s movies and something John Candy might star in. He makes me want to play mini golf or fuck on a bear skin rug. I want to record him on my VCR. I want to drive my box-cornered Volvo over to his house. I want to be a lifetime before any of this ever happened. I want to be the chapter in a book of mistakes, the one time it all worked out.

But that’s not what I say. I plan excuses like escape routes and give reasons like reinforcements.

You don’t really care about me.
We’re just wasting time with each other
When was the last time my touch even mattered?
Can you just get the fuck out already?

I sat on the couch waiting for hours long past when you should’ve been home. Long past the point when a phonecall to say baby I’m going to be latewould’ve made a difference. I ate Doritos for dinner and watched reruns ofGilligan’s Island. I wondered what it would be like to be stranded. I wondered what it would be like to be deserted. I thought about what it would be like to be stranded on a deserted island with you. I immediately started packing up your things. When you still weren’t home at midnight I piled the boxes by the door and left a note on top.

It’s over. You know this. 

Sometime around 3 a.m. or when I was dreaming about winning the lottery and wearing dresses made of cake, you burst in and woke me up. Stumbled around the bed, stubbed your toe on the corner, came over to my side, shoved the note in my face and slurred whatthefuckisthis? You smelled like bad decisions and weakness. You looked pathetic. But then you ripped off the covers and all my sympathy was swallowed hard.

I jumped up, chest puffed out, ready for things to get blurry. Is it wrong that my first thought was I could take you if I have to?

But there was no fight to be had. You sat down on the bed, in the warm empty spot my body had just left behind. You sighed a few times, like you were trying to get a grip. You wanted to know why? Face in your hands, rubbing your eyes and you wanted to know why I was calling it quits.

Because I hate you.
Because I’m aging at warp speed in your presence.
Because you make my face hurt.
Because I want to matter more than a placemat: a space to put your food, your heart, your dick.
Because I want love.
Because I want someone else.

“Because I don’t love you,” I say, “anymore.”

You interrupt, “or ever?”

You ask it like a question wearing a safety vest, full of trepidation, afraid of the answer because though you’re just guessing, you have a pretty good sense that you’re right and you already regret asking.

“Or ever,” I sigh in admission.

“You bitch,” you spit and get up from the bed; I turn to go into the other room. You grab my hand, my arm, my waist. Jerk me close against your body, look down at my face.

“I hate you”

“I know,” I say, “you’ll get over it.”

“Probably”

Your face expands into a smirk, and then just as quickly deflates, your warm breath upon my cheeks. Your hand eases up around my arm, runs its fingers up my back, and finds a home in my hair. Your palm presses against my scalp, fingers wildly searching for anchors in my curls. Forearm, bicep, your entire body tenses. You pull my face up to yours, hard, and kiss me. Search my mouth with your tongue for our future, come up empty. I let you have this one moment. You make a noise that sounds a bit like a hiccup, blink frantically and push me away.

“Fuck you,” you say, “I’m taking the microwave.”

Learning to Live with Uncertainty in Dating

Uncertainty in Dating

 

could go without underwear.

I don’t like to, but I could.

The same goes for a bra, but then I take no responsiblity if while walking down the street you get knocked through the glass window of a store because my over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder was taking a day off and the goons were out on a stroll.  My nips, however, never apologize, for anything.

I could get by without pajamas, and the super rich moisturizer I like to put on my feet in the winter.

I could survive without meat, and milk, and cheese (though the cheese would be the toughest).

I could eat fries without ketchup, I could stiff upper lip having to sit in the middle seat on an airplane.  I can carry on without air conditioning and cable and a landline, even a cell phone.

I could manage with candles instead of electricity, assuming I could get my hands on a type writer.

I could endure 2 weeks in the woods.

I can weather the storm.  I can take the beating and keep on trucking.  But what I struggle with most, what tears at my soul, itches my very being, knaws at my sanity…is a lack of answers. (which probably helps to explain my obsession with science regardless of my career centred in words)

This is particularly problematic given that dating is the soul-sucking-never-ending-black-abyss of never-knowing-anything-with-certainy.  When it comes to dating, you have to accept you might never know.  Dating is swaddled in uncertainty and you’re likely to be left in the cold without a blanket.  And you just have to accept that.

I say you but what I really mean is me.  Because dammit I have to learn.

But the answers?!?  All the answers.  I want them.  Need them.  I have to find a way to live without them even though every cell in my body is screaming for the truth, a reason, some logic, a glimpse into someone else’s reality…all I really want is an answer, all the answers, forever answers, most answers, because answers, give me the fucking answers!!!

But the truth is, they’re not coming.

And before anyone says something stupid like but the answer IS the lack of answers…go fuck yourself.  A lack of answer is not actually an answer.  (and it’s that kind of bullshit logic that is at the centre of almost everything that is wrong with our world, so knock it the fuck off and be smarter).  Sure, we might be able to draw a conclusion, hint a suggestion, hypothesize and infer but these are not concrete.  When I say answers I mean an ACTUAL FUCKING ANSWER.

Nonetheless, there are no answers coming for Come Back Charlie.

Why didn’t he call?  Maybe I was a lousy lay.

Why didn’t he text?  Maybe he just thought I was tedious or not pretty enough, maybe he didn’t like the sound of my laugh, or my smile.

Why didn’t he seem to want to hang out anymore?  Maybe his laughter was bullshit, the sweetness all fake and he was just a dude looking for a quick bang (but not interested in a second).

What had changed?  Maybe he didn’t like that I wasn’t magically in love with him or maybe he got busy with work and school.

Why didn’t he like me?  Maybe he had a girlfriend or maybe another girl came along that he simply liked better.  Or maybe even just a TV show.  Truth is, I’ll never know.

Regardless of the fact that he was the one all excited to hang out again after our second date, actually asking so when do I get to see you again?, the lines of communication fell flat.  I texted once or twice.  He texted once or twice.  He never asked me to hang out again.  He never made plans.  I asked once and when nothing came of it, didn’t ask again.  And that was that.  Come Back Charlie would be no more.

Am I sad?  Not really.

Am I hurt?  Maybe a little but still, in all honesty, not really.

Then what is this feeling, this irritation, why do I even give a shit?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Because there go the fantasties of hot (given that he could improve) stress free sex with a goddamn giant for the last few weeks before I leave for Montreal.  Because there goes the built in booty call to come home to at Christmas.  Because dammit, I don’t like when things don’t go my way.  I’m a fucking child like that.  Disappointment is a bitch.  But hey, that’s dating.  Right?

Feel the sting, absorb the punch, stand up tall, and keep walking.  No More Come Back Charlie.  Deuces.

 

Vancouver Dating Blog:  Dating Vancouver a Better Place, One “Something” at a Time