Sweden

A giraffe walks into a bar

So what happens when a giraffe walks into a bar with a group of friends adorned in glitter, angel wings, and a wedding dress covered in blood? I guess you just had to be there…

I took a trip back to my previous home, Eskilstuna, for a Halloween party. To my own surprise I had a lot of motivation to actually be in costume and do something. It helps that my friends actually asked me out. As I pondered for days over what I could be, I reflected on my past costumes and how they have always been so innocent and not death-related.

I was a bunny, a clown, an M&M, a dark faerie, a light faerie, North Star, Peter Pan, among other things. So needless to say when I was looking through online costumes the first few things that popped out to me were turtle, giraffe, and hippo. All so cute. I chose to be tall and proud.

Photo Courtesy of Ywon Bar & Grill Instagram

So this photo actually was taken by a friend of mine that works at the Ywon Bar & Grill because, well other than the fact that were were the few people there, it was surreal. A drink in a mans hand while he stands more than 190cm tall thanks to heels and a double head, clothed in a onesie is bound to draw attention. It’s proof that I was social and actually connected to someone (rare as it may be).

And there he stood, for at least 1,5 to 2 hours talking to a stranger that was sitting at the bar. It was my friends that pushed me into this situation so I just went along with it. Drinks were shared, informal and personal topics discussed and the whole time I was thinking, “why did my friend push me onto this guy?” I mean he was a 39-year-old punk loving hipster with non-matching socks. Totally not someone to whom I would normally find myself talking, let alone with whom I would be flirting.

It didn’t actually occur to me that my behaviour or his behaviour would have be considered flirting, and given my clueless history of people hitting on me, in retrospect I wonder. He did offer me a drink and shared his own with me. He did continue the conversation and asked questions. It didn’t even think about flirtation until he made a comment about a ring on my finger and asked if I was married. I remembered stopping, looking at him and formulating an answer. And even after that, I still had my doubts. Everyone that knows me, knows that I would never make a move. It seemed safe, but there is always some obliviousness that prevents me.

We joined the group after a long time and he bought everyone a round. It was very generous and I was definitely feeling warm fuzzies, despite the sinking feeling and my doubts about his intentions or interest. And then a casual comment was dropped, and I thought “AHA I knew it!” and I felt vindicated that I was right. We all departed and he even asked me for a hug and mentioned how genuinely good of a time he had. It made me smile and I drunkenly stumbled out the bar.

Between the double cab rides and walking through town, not much of me being a giraffe was noticed or said until the evening ended. We walked down the bar street and suddenly drunk adults approached us. One harassed me, then started crying because she felt bad. A guy named Andreas felt the need to talk to me about how he can tell if people are gay by the shape of their eyes (I think he was too drunk to notice that I had huge heels on).

My friend departed and I walked down the street, fearing for my life, as my previous lone-walking home experiences in Eskilstuna resulted in being chased, harassed, or otherwise accosted in some way. But instead I was complimented by women and men alike. Even two women approached me for a photo and wanted a hug to say I was so fabulous. Their costumes were lame, like wearing bunny ears and a slutty dress lame.

And so I got back to my hotel, laid down and hoped to sleep and awake to have a delicious breakfast. Even after all that happened I still think back and wonder… What if I had said something, or did something, or did I come off as a frozen cold bitch that I feel I am? The jury is out, but at least I had fun.

In need of protection

Courtesy of Tumblr’s @lionguard

While the title of this post could often be misconstrued by the overly sexualised humans that roam the Earth and peruse the internet, I am not in fact writing about contraceptives such as condoms. I’m talking about the protection of people; let me elaborate.

I was reading some things on reddit, as one does, and a situation that someone presented made me think of something and it led me to a reflection upon the needs of a person. User u/Independent_Year describes how he, as a straight man, seems to be falling in love with a gay friend of his:

I have tried to rationalize my attraction – he’s a delicate looking guy – so I must have been thinking of him as a ”substitute girl” of sorts, and putting myself in the role of ”badass” protector. But rationalizing haven’t lessened my feelings at all. At first I though hey – you feel like a big brother from another mother for him, that’s why your so protective. At least that’s what it might have been at beginning. But seeing other guys in the LGBT club hit on him .. makes me feel angry and quite possessive…. Not quite fraternal .

And it’s these comments that led me to imagining this protection that he wants to provide, and that I would imagine a lot of people in the history of humanity yearn to find. It is something that we want; we want to know that we are safe, we want to know that we have someone or something that can protect us, and we want to know that someone will be on our side when the goings get tough.

It’s a valid thing want, what with the world being in such a whirling wreck and so much hate all around. And even if you can’t empathise with me, at the very least we wall want to feel safe. I know it’s something that I’ve always imagined, always pined for, and it never appearing. I’ve had it in dreams, so many dreams since a young age, where there is a faceless defender and protector being there to support.

Now I will also clarify that this doesn’t fall the damsel in distress archetype, but more of the moral and physical reinforcement. In my dreams, will the face reveal itself an identity? Will this person ever encounter me, or feel the need or want to protect my wellbeing? Or will it just stay a figment of intangible imagination that will forever linger in my mind?

Too ninja for Nigerian catfishing… what?

I’m willing to bet that nearly everyone that’s ever had an email address, ever, has at least at one time received an email from charming Nigerian Prince asking for marriage, money, or some other scam. I had always laughed about it, but never really made any sense to me. Like how do people actually send them money, or don’t they suspect, or what kind of ratchet street smarts do these people not have?

Anyways, how does this connect to me? Well since I lived in China, I’ve been connected on Chinese social media accounts that I check up on here and there. I sometimes get messages from people and I ignore it, but recently I’ve gotten a slew of really attractive guys chatting me up.

Cue to alarm bells ringing, red flags waving, and self doubts flying around like vultures in heat. While in China, I would get tons of people contacting me for no other reason that they want a foreign or white friend. Smooth. But never in my entire life have I been outwardly contacted or pursued by someone attractive.

Cause I, Cause do it better 😛

A post shared by Edson Santos (@edsonnsantos) on

So naturally, as you can probably imagine, receiving a photo like this is both surprising and raises suspicions right from the get go; like look at him, right?! Anyways, he’s chatting me up and I’m keeping it pretty vague and whatever, and then he’s like “Hey let’s move to Google Hangouts” and my immediate reaction is like, I haven’t used that in years but sure yeah whatever.

Then the ratchet mess starts asking me for photos, and I think. Hell to the no, I’m not born yesterday. I already suspected I was being catfished, so naturally I used my internet street smarts to say: I ain’t sending any photos until we video chat and I can see who you are. Seconds later, Video Call incoming. I tilted my phone upwards, and the video came in, pixelated and dark. I saw some faint lights in the background but then they disappeared.

“Where are you, where is your face?” blah blah blah. And then this person says “Oh sorry my webcam doesn’t work” and my immediate reaction was like who the hell uses a webcam anymore? Don’t we all just use our phones? Red flag again. I knew for a fact that the video worked because I saw light movements and if it didn’t work then it would have been all black or the profile picture shows. Luckily for me I didn’t display myself on video.

So flash forward 4 more call attempts and me keeping to deny it; I’m playing hard ball. So few days later this person is still hitting me up and whatever, and I’m out for some drinks with some friends. I tell them that I’m being chatted up by this person, show them a picture, and they are like wow. I say, I ain’t fooling I’m being catfished. So we drunkenly devise a plan to catch this catfisher. I reluctantly give my phone to a friend Alex and she proceeds to start a conversation, initiate some video calls. She’s talking to this guy, he’s not saying anything, and then the call drops. Here’s how the conversation proceeded:

We are laughing at this point, and as the 22:31 call starts, sure enough we find a Nigerian Prince on the screen and the jig is up. The girls tease a little bit, and I’m a bit irritated that I was correct. A sliver of hope existed that maybe this is real and there was some really hot guy into me, but alas it was not to be.

We wrapped up that mess for awhile, and then I went home. I felt invigorated to press this guy on why he’s catfishing and what the fuck basically. I’m able to find the original Instagram account of the guy he’s taken photos of, and then I screenshot some photos and DM the original guy to let him know his photos are being used. He laughs and thanks me, and I go back on my way doing a good thing.

But I’m getting this sap story from a guy in Lagos about how he poses to be hot gay guys in order to get money so he can get educated. I lecture him about if he’s got an internet connection he can educate himself instead of pretending to be other people. And he feels guilty; in other words I’m scamming a scammer.

According to what he’s saying, he feels really bad about what he’s done, discloses all the social media counts of his actual identity (pretty dumb eh?) and then tells me that he lives in a house of 5 other guys that are all scammers. They manage to get $5’000 from some people and this is what they use to support their families. It’s hilarious, but then I realise it’s really sad. Sad that these people have to go to such desperate lengths to scam people. Sure their living conditions are pretty bad, but from what Is saw, they were doing pretty well for themselves.

Thinking back, of course I got the scammer that revealed himself to me, the true empath inside gave me the power to set his spirit free. What’s the message of this storytime? Don’t get catfished and don’t send your photos online to strangers; you never know who could be behind that picture!

2017 Year in Review

 

Greetings friends, family, strangers, or the curious. I haven’t done a year in review since 2013 and I figured maybe it’s a good idea for anyone who has no idea what I’ve been up to.

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When you give your voice

This Christmas season I have decided to do something a bit different and out of the ordinary. I haven’t really had many Christmas plans over the last few years. I’ve been living abroad for the better part of the last 6 years, and that can often times be a very lonely feeling.

I haven’t been so successful with my social life since moving to Sweden, and as the days counted down closer to the Christmas holiday, I was left wondering what I should do. Faced with the options of being home alone, I decided that it wasn’t a good idea for me. And so I decided to give.

The only thing, apart from my usual donations during the holiday season, that I could think to donate is my time and my voice. Thus I committed to volunteering to sing for my choir’s Christmas events. This involved an afternoon mass, a midnight mass, and then Christmas Day mass. It was a lot of a singing, and a lot of time. I even had to stay in a hotel from the 24th to the 25th since trains didn’t run with enough time for me to go back and forth to home.

I guess it’s good to provide to others and help others enjoy or celebrate an important event, but I couldn’t help feeling very selfish and lonely during the time. I basically didn’t interact with anyone, did my singing, and then went back to my hotel after a bit of a long walk.

I felt like it was important for me to give, because otherwise I would be doing nothing. But I was faced with a strange situation: first of all I’m not really all that religious and the amount of times I sing in a choir in the last year greatly outweighs the amounts of times that I’ve actually been to a church in my entire life. But what is so striking is when the head priest at the cathedral where I sing, said to me “Weren’t you here all day yesterday too?” and my response was “Yes” she looked at me with a bit of a perplexed look on her face, as if to suggest that I should be somewhere else.

I’m not sure if it was thanks, confusion, or pity but it was certainly something and it made me think. In any event, I’m happy that I did something and being a stranger among strangers is a very strange experience. But thank you to Västerås Domkyrka for allowing me to be apart of its community and to donate my time towards a greater cause.

In summary, it certainly is a theme to my life of late; but the question remains “Where should I be?”