A Toronto Transformation


Mystery (Method) Man

As I waited, bedraggled, sunburnt and sandy-haired for the streetcar on my way home from the beach this weekend, I was approached by a young man on a bicycle.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I just saw you standing here and thought I’d have to kick my own ass if I didn’t come over and try to talk to you.”

I looked up, startled, and eloquently replied, “Haha..Oh?” unwittingly opening the door to the most bewildering conversation I’ve had in quite some time.

Looking back, it felt for the most part, more like an interview than a conversation.

He asked my name and where I was coming from and if I lived in the area. I answered vaguely and when he rolled his eyes and made motion for me to elaborate, I shrugged and pointed out that I wasn’t about to give him my address.

He told me he liked my purse, that it reminded him of a ninja turtle. He asked how old I was. I told him and asked him how old he was. He oh-so-charmingly asked me to guess, apparently having mistaken me for an old-timey county fair employee. He was quite baby-faced despite his beard, so I guessed 24, I think he said he was 23.

“Have you seen the movie The Grinch?” he asked.

“…who stole Christmas? Yes, I’m familiar with it. Why?” I asked, eyes sliding past him to search for the streetcar, which was naturally nowhere to be seen.

“You remind me of Cindy Lou.”

“The Who?” I laughed, despite myself, and possibly because slight heatstroke and the sinus medication I was taking were making the whole encounter feel quite surreal. “Because of my adorably perky nose?”

“Nah, you’ve just got it,” he helpfully explained. “So what do you do?”

“I’m a writer.” I practised. “I write a blog and I have an extra gig writing for an online travel guide”

“What about you?” I asked before he could quiz me about my blog.

He said he was a writer too. A poet.

“Of course you are” I thought, as he ran a hand (with red lacquered nails) through his hair.

“Are you a bit of a daddy’s girl? I get the feeling you probably are.”

I stared at him.

“I’m not really sure what you mean by that. It kind of seems like an insult.” I told him. “I get along really well with both my parents.” (how much do I wish I’d said, “I’m nobody’s girl, thanks. I’m my own damn woman.”? Ah well, next time) “Do you get along well with your parents?”

He said some nonsense about being “polarized” with them. He may have been taking some poetic licence there.

He asked where I was from and then said he hated my hometown before admitting he actually had never been there and didn’t know anything about it. He told me my high-waisted, patterned pants were a bold choice.

I started to wonder if I was hallucinating him and the whole bizarre situation.

Then he told me I seemed adventurous and that I should go on an adventure with him. He said we should have sangria and watch Beauty and the Beast.

I thought that was actually a great idea. Minus, you know, him.

“I want to do a personality test on you,” he proclaimed, holding out his hands for mine. I reluctantly put my hands in his as he asked, “Do you trust me?”


“OK, well you have to close your eyes.”

“Oh I’m definitely not doing that,” I said, reclaiming my hands.

He laughed and told me I was the worst. Then he asked me for my phone number.

I squirmed uncomfortably and told him I wasn’t really sure I wanted to give him my number, that I was, in fact trying to take a hiatus from giving guys my number.

He persisted, refusing to take no for an answer, until finally, getting a little anxious for him to leave, I gave it to him.

I know.

I know. I really am the worst. Not only did I give my number to someone I have no desire or intention to see again, out of stupid politeness, but I totally reinforced the idea for this guy that wearing women down is an effective way to get their phone numbers. Why did I put this strange young man’s comfort before my own? I should know better, but it’s not the first time I’ve done this. I need to be quicker on my feet at thinking up fake phone numbers. Or, hey, grow a spine.


At least it did wrap up the baffling interaction leaving me to wait for the ttc in peace, though not before he opened his arms for a hug, my flat refusal of which he took as a signal to ask for a kiss on the cheek instead.

Yeah, no.

“We’ll go on an adventure!” he said, as he hopped back on his bike.

“Maybe…if I feel like it.” I replied.

“We will!” his misguided confidence exclaimed.

It was only as I boarded the streetcar a couple of minutes later that I realized what had just happened.

The backhanded pseudo-compliments, the unnatural un-flow of the conversation, the personality test, his painted fingernails? I’d been a target of the goddamned Mystery Method.

This guy was a walking, talking Pick Up Artist forum. I honestly thought these guys only existed on the internet, but here he was, in the flesh, using the same creepy cheat sheet he’ll undoubtedly apply to countless other women, because of course we can all be manipulated in the same ways, because we’re just a bunch of clones walking around just waiting for an opportunity to sleep with any guy who is vaguely weird and rude to us.

What really disturbs me about the whole thing is that it’s not much of a stretch to think that guys who feel like wearing down a woman who is clearly uncomfortable after she’s said she doesn’t want to give you her phone number is ok, are going to be the kind of guys who think it’s ok to try to wear her down when she says she doesn’t want to have sex.

Dude texted me today.

I won’t be texting him back.

I probably will drink that sangria and watch Beauty and the Beast though. Maybe with some girlfriends.

Have you guys ever encountered this kind of thing? How do you handle politely extricating yourself from situations where you know you have no intention of ever seeing someone who wants to take you out again? 

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