I found myself falling more and more for Tony, who was a stripper at Remington’s in Toronto. I was going there almost every Sunday with my friend Stacy just to see him, but I had yet to make a move even after we started to get to know him personally. I was shy, but I also assumed that he had guys all over him. Maybe a more respectful approach would work? 

One night he came by our table and said that he was leaving early; he asked if we wanted to walk down Yonge Street with him. Of course we said yes.

It was mid-February, and snow, slush and salt had piled up on either side of the sidewalks. Tony was wearing sweatpants and sneakers with an oversized down parka, hood up. I’d never seen him in so many clothes; in his winter attire, he seemed much more like an everyday person. 

While we walked, we talked about music and shared a joint. Our time was cut short when we approached Bloor Street, and Tony said he was going to get on the subway. I lived close by and considered inviting him back to my place for a quick drink, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wimped out and then he was gone.

Stacy finally lost interest in going to Remington’s every week. She said their drinks were too expensive, (which they were) so I went a couple of times alone. I felt like a proper creep. 

Tony came by and said, “Hi” each time but it was awkward so I stopped going for a few weeks, but I hated myself for not just making a move. What was I waiting for? 

I’d convinced a good friend of mine, Dale, to join me one Saturday. We had dated briefly. Every so often, he’d hint that we should get back together but I didn’t have any romantic feelings for him.

Dale was wealthy, and looked the part, even though he wasn’t pretentious. He always wore pressed button-down shirts and had a collection of tweed blazers to go with them. He was a former Upper Canada College kid and grew up in the high-end neighbourhood of Forest Hill, Toronto.

We were sitting against the back wall on the first floor by the stage. Tony came by almost immediately and said hello, and introduced himself to Dale. They were going on about something; I couldn’t quite hear but Tony was laughing. I didn’t think much of it. 

After I grabbed us another round of drinks, Dale went to the bathroom but disappeared for a good 20 minutes. 

“Where’d you go?” I asked when he returned.

“That dancer you like wouldn’t leave me alone,” Dale said. “He dragged me upstairs because he wanted to give me a private dance. He insisted, saying it was free. I get that you like big and beefy but he’s not my type. I told him that but he wouldn't take no for an answer. I had to just run out of there.”

I was crushed. Was it because I’d been so passive or did he just never like me to begin with? In any case, I insisted that we do several shots of tequila. Dale didn’t object. We got drunk, quick.

Later, Tony came by and hassled Dale some more, but Dale kept insisting he wasn’t interested. I just sat there like this wasn’t my life, and tried to watch the young dancer on stage jiving to Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” 

When Dale finally got Tony to leave, he turned to me, somewhat distraught. “He’s trying to get me to go home with him. He won’t leave me alone no matter how much I say no.”

I laughed. “You have no idea how unfair this all is. I may look like I don’t care but that’s only because I’m so drunk,” I said. “Tomorrow will be bad. I think I’m in love with him.”

“Well, you can have him.”

“He doesn’t want me.” I paused. “We should have a threesome,” I then said jokingly. 

But I wasn’t joking. I had wimped out this whole time. Not anymore . . . 

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