I’ve never been to a conference with such strong undertones of camaraderie as Out on Bay Street’s 10th annual celebration this past weekend. While we were all there to network as professionals, there was an aire of understanding that we were all held together by one common marginalized element – our queerness. During conversations about careers in finance, there was an underlying comfort in knowing it was a safe space – whether this was true was another thing – I can only describe the honesty and authenticity of everyone there as palpable.
On the first night there, I’d attended a women’s speaker event on gender equality. Strangely enough, I’d had a dream last week and in the murkiness of it all, I could only remember a brunette, who I wrote off as a side character – an extra – in my dream. It wasn’t until she took the podium at this conference that I realized that it was a member of OOBS. I’d spoken to her briefly at a women’s speaker event in August and hadn’t thought twice about anything. I should’ve talked to her at the conference but I procrastinated until it was too late.
Life happens without you when you hesitate.
Anywho, at the same event that she had led, I’d unknowingly chatted with the President of OOBS. He came by after giving a grand closing speech to let my friends and I know that the OOBS lesbians were going to Crews and that we should join them – an extremely kind gesture. After much hesitation, we decided to go.
Funnily enough, I ended up bumping into the French illustrator while in line for Crews. I dragged her by her (gay) jean overalls and we decided to meet up at Crews (as she went to grab her bag from a friend’s place).
She has a knack for showing up in my life after 1am when I’m unknowingly emotionally constipated and direly in need of a rant. She’s my Fairy Gay Mother. We vented and ranted and I told her the story of Maryia. Oh, right:
Maryia’s an incredibly cute blonde chick who I danced with a few weeks ago at Cream – a queer lady dance party. We left without getting each others’ numbers, but my friend ended up matching with her on Her, a lesbian dating app. Learning about this, I broke my (non)vow and re-downloaded the app.
I spent three two hours trying to find this girl.
But I did, and I messaged her, chatting back and forth and leaving her my number.
She ended up asking me out to dance at Yes Yes Y’all and I reluctantly did, after the conference’s first night. After getting preoccupied with chatting with my friend at my place as we pre-drank, she called me on my phone as I’d stopped responding to her texts. I froze… but it was a guy on the other end. It was her friend. He was calling me from her phone, which I found this incredibly endearing because it indicated she was shy.
The whole thing quickly went to shit when got there and found out one of her friends was her ex, and that she was actually emotionally unavailable. She was so distant and depressed that she couldn’t even dance.
It was maddening. It was saddening. I felt sad that she felt sad. How fucking ridiculous is that? How do you turn this empathy off. My empathy is broken. She’s practically a stranger, I should’ve detached completely when I had the chance.
Anyhow, against the advice of my friend, I texted her asking if she was ok. We cleared up the air, and I’m glad we did because there was a chance we’d see each other again, given how small the queer women circle is in Toronto.
Anyways, that’s my update – very fruitful in terms of my career, but absolutely devastating in my personal life. C’est la vie. C’est ma vie.