Standing in the middle of aisle five and debating between the regular and “Heal-Fast” ointments at the Shoppers across from Mod Club, I realized that I had finally found love.
It started with a first date — the first date I’d ever had. I donned a pair of navy blue Steve Maddens for the special occasion, feeling stylish as I paired it with my green cable knit sweater that made me feel like Lola Kirke in Mistress America. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out too well.
Staring into my grande chai tea latte, now half-empty and looking frothy and unappetizing, I didn’t know how I could get through more awkward silences, tense laughter, and overall anxiety.
I didn’t expect to find love on my first date, but I was hoping there would have at least been a spark, or as Carrie Bradshaw would say, that zsa zsa zsu which would at least indicate the possibility of love.
It can be difficult to find that zsa zsa zsu, especially in a city like Toronto where the options are so limitless that we feel constrained. I wanted to connect with a person who gave me butterflies. In a period of my life where I felt increasingly apathetic and lonely, I was looking for someone who I would want to be with all the time. If he was cute, that would be a bonus.
Instead, I ended up walking down Queen Street, going to the Eaton Centre alone after the date. He had just told me that he didn’t want to lead me on, and that he just wanted to be friends. I didn’t want to admit it, but I felt the same way. I didn’t find love in Toronto that night.
Later, hanging out at a friend’s place, I pulled out my phone and noticed that a stranger had texted me, offering to sell me their ticket to see Tokyo Police Club at the Mod Club. A few weeks before, I had posted on the Facebook event page looking for a ticket. I resolved to not being able to go when no one responded.
Now it was 9:30 pm. Their set was starting in half an hour, and I had the opportunity to see them. A meticulous planner, I don’t consider myself impulsive. Any other night, it would have been ridiculous to go to a concert when I didn’t plan to. It was even more ridiculous to trust a complete stranger and send them an e-transfer.
But that night, I felt spontaneous. Five minutes later, I found myself in an Uber to the Mod Club, arriving just in time to purchase a drink and secure myself a spot on the balcony. As the band walked on stage and played the first chords of “Not My Girl,” I felt that zsa zsa zsu. I didn’t need to find love in Toronto – I needed to fall in love with Toronto.Depression and generalized anxiety prevented me from falling in love with Toronto sooner in the one and a half years I’ve lived here. The transition to university, one that I romanticized in my high school years, had been marred by loneliness and, most of all, disappointment. I thought my narrative as a gay teenager unable to fit in at the suburbs would be rectified while living in the city.
Instead, like many students, I found the transition to university difficult. In the midst of essays, tests, and assignments, I never felt like I was truly part of the city.
Living in Toronto gave me the opportunity to be spontaneous. Best of all, it gave me the opportunity to turn a weird day into a wonderful evening alone. The biggest mistake I’ve made is staying in the mindset that being alone is inherently a bad thing.
It’s fun not always having to worry about someone else. It’s nice not having to deal with awkward silences, tense laughter, and overall anxiety. Instead, I could spend a Friday night sipping on a rum-and-coke and belt out the lyrics to “Favourite Colour” with a group of strangers who loved Tokyo Police Club as much as I did.