Toronto
3 min

Ikea couples

The safest place for a home wrecker is in your own house

HAPPY. While we're spending money. Credit: Mia Hansen

I’ve dated artists, writers, actors, truck drivers, doctors, coffee clerks, wage slave losers and portfolioed go-getters, the tall and stupid and the short and wise. What has all this swinging on the dating monkey bars got me? Zip. I’ve never had a successful relationship.



I’ve eaten more free meals than an Olympic committee member, and made more moronic chit chat than a CFRB host. I like to think I’m building my negotiation skills, in case I’m ever taken hostage.



But it’s not my fault. I blame the housing shortage.



***



Last year, after 10 years of living in Toronto, I did something quintessentially Torontoesque that I’ve never done before. I got up early on a Saturday morning and went shopping at Ikea.



It was a revelation. I now know what happily married gay men do on the weekends: they buy armfuls of small, brightly coloured table lamps.



As I wandered through the evil Danish maze, much like a stunned cow waiting for the brain hammer, I got lost four or five times, and had to ask a half dozen gay couples how to get back to the linen section.



And, because I’m a slut, I kept bumping into men I’d slept with. Or, more likely, groped on some sweaty weeknight at the Toolbox.



There I was, lightheaded in the bedrooms display, surrounded by former tricks and one night stands, watching each one blithely wander around with his doting, often drooling “life partner,” who remained blissfully unaware that there was a skilled and dedicated home wrecker just three aisles over, testing the pillows.



Why didn’t the flagrant philandering husbands bolt at the sight of me, run and duck guiltily behind the shelving units, cut me socially with a high decibel hiss, or at least grab a giant, red letter A from the baby blocks and slap it on my forehead?



Because each man and his hapless lover bunny were too engaged in a sacred, holy ritual, a gay mating dance as old as the rocks on the Scarborough Bluffs, and about as interesting. They were shopping, together.



Shopping for cheap tchotchkes designed by severe Swedes: end tables and CD racks and halogen sconces they take home and assemble, together, on their living room floors, their loving fingers intertwined like choking, noxious vines. Tchotchkes they will proudly display, together, in their overpriced homes (designed by severe Canadians). Homes they pay for, together, with their blended, double income (no kids).



What I had discovered was nothing less than the magic glue that binds even the most adulterous, dishonest, and openly slutty gay couplings – home decorating.



It makes sense to me: if you have a house to keep, you’ll put up with almost anything. Shelter is a primal human need, one that men have shed blood for, that entire nations have fought devastating battles over. So what’s a little adultery in the grand scheme of things? Faking monogamy or sleeping in your parent’s basement until you’re 40. It’s an easy choice.



In every gay couple I know, at least one of the partners sleeps around. However, only about one third of these couples are honest about it. Surprise! There is a direct correlation between the amount of money spent on “making a home” and the amount of bald-faced fibbing. The couples who stay together, sponge paint together.



Furthermore, I now know why I can’t keep a boyfriend. My apartment is too small. I don’t have enough space to co-decorate. I have no home owner’s equity, no five year mortgage, no RRSPs, nothing worth insuring, and certainly no furniture worth spending quality time re-upholstering.



And how do you sneak an anonymous trick into a bachelor apartment? There’s only one door. I feel like a barren woman in the Middle Ages: unable to provide heirs (or, in this case, heirlooms) and thus doomed to eternal spinsterhood.



My solution is simple: I’m looking for a gay couple with a lot of spare rooms to adopt me.



In exchange for a tastefully decorated bedroom, office and semi private bath, I will sleep with one or both of the partners, and lie about it to the other one.



It’s a great deal: I get a nice place to live, and the couple gets to maintain the illusion of respectable monogamy while enjoying cheap noogy right in the comfort of our clean home. Heck, I even like to garden, and if it’s not too hot I’ll sometimes mow the lawn. I’ll be, literally, the Love Child.



I know a wonderful Georgian three floor that’s just come onto the market that would be perfect. It’s got a very quiet, discreet staircase in the back of the house.