BG Note: This is a looong story published on XO Jane by a writer who had a bad date with a guy she describes as a “C-list Canadian celebrity”.
[XO Jane] I met a man I’ll call Keith at an outdoor concert in Toronto last year. I was sitting with a group of people, Jake Gyllenhaal among them (sorry for the name drop, but he factors into the story later), and Keith walked up to introduce himself to us.
I knew of Keith because he has a successful radio show in Canada. A lot of Canadians love him for his views, interviews, and radio voice.
As Keith schmoozed with the people around me, I enjoyed the concert and also tried to make Jake fall for me using telepathic love vibes. Just kidding. There were no love vibes, and the only feeling Jake had was annoyance after Keith arrived. He kept trying to talk to Jake, who wasn’t feeling his “I really want to get you on my show and maybe into your pants” vibe, so Keith soon turned his attention to me.
“Sorry, how do you pronounce your name again?” he said.
“Um, Carla,” I replied.
“Oh, I thought it was more complicated, like Carafalooota,” he said. I laughed.
A few minutes later, the concert was over, and my party and I left.
The next day, I sent Keith a public Twitter message saying it was nice to meet him. It was. I, like many Canadians, was a fan of his show.
Actually, truth be told, I’ve never listened to his show, but still, I appreciated him as a talented radio personality.
Keith wrote me a private message soon after saying he read some of my work online and really liked my writing. He also asked me if I’d like to join him to see Metric play the next night at the Opera House.
I’d always wanted to see Metric live, and I thought I might be able to make Keith my best gay friend in Toronto. I was still a newbie and needed friends. I also figured that the friendship might lead to exciting Toronto career opportunities down the line. He did say he liked my writing.
The next night, I met him at a wine bar for a quick drink before the show. When I walked in, I was greeted by both the overwhelming stench of his cologne and the sinking feeling that Keith was not, as I had assumed, gay. This wasn’t a friend date; it was a date, date –- at least to him.
He looked at me the way a creepy older man looks at a young, silly girl he’s going to buy a drink he’s planning to slip a roofie into. I didn’t know what to do. He was 15 years older than me, but what’s more, I found him totally unattractive and didn’t want to be on a date with him.
But I couldn’t just leave.
“So, you’re friends with Jake Gyllenhaal?” he asked.
“No. I met him yesterday and we talked about baseball for five minutes,” I said.
“Oh. He seems like a jerk, eh?” he said.
“I thought he was nice,” I said.
Nervous and trying to avoid eye contact with him, I proceeded to talk about nothing in particular for the next 20 minutes with such speed, he might have thought I had just done an eight ball in the bathroom.
He checked his phone approximately 35 times and mentioned the memoir he was writing about 10 times. Apparently, he was in a band when he was younger, or something. I wasn’t really paying attention.
Before my drink was finished, Keith rushed me out of the bar to get to the concert down the street.
In front of the small venue, he introduced me to a bunch of people he thought I would know.
“You’re meeting the who’s who of Canadian indie rock!” he whispered into my ear enthusiastically. I had no idea who they were, but most of them had cool beards. The way he introduced me, however, was disconcerting. I was being “presented,” in the same way Tom Cruise used to present Katie Holmes on red carpets. I did not like it.
I wanted to let him know I wasn’t into him, but he seemed like a harmless dork, and I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his bearded friends.
As I talked to one of them, I’d look up every now and then to catch a glimpse of Keith staring at me intently with a strange smile on his face. He was giving me the heebie jeebies and, again, I wanted to leave.
But Metric. It’ll be fine once we’re inside, I thought, we’re just watching a concert.
There was no assigned seating, and we were standing on the balcony. As soon as the lights went down, and the first notes started playing, I felt a sweaty hand travel across the back of my dress and grab my ass.
That hand was Keith’s.
Shocked, I looked up at him like “WHAT?!” He looked back at me with sex eyes and smiled. Disgusted, I asked him to stop, and stepped away from him and his hand.
This is Metric playing the Opera House. Emily Haines, can you hear my heart beating like a hammer? HELP ME!
I figured he’d get the point since I moved, but instead, he followed me. I watched the concert intently, but he soon grabbed my hand to hold it.
His friends were right behind us, and they all smiled when I looked back. Despite my extreme discomfort, I felt I couldn’t tell Keith off, so I discreetly pulled my hand away, crossed my arms over my stomach and stared straight ahead.
When he started rubbing my back, I again told him to stop, and when he put his hand over my shoulders, I said I was hot and lifted it off.
“Oh yeah, you’re hot,” he replied.
Dying inside, I felt sad that not only had I lost interest in watching Metric, but they were also starting to sound like tainted torture music.
I was planning my exit strategy when Keith grabbed the strap my large purse and took it off my shoulder.
“What are you doing?” I said.
“Shhh,” he replied, placing my purse on the ground and slipping his arm around my waist to pull me closer.
“What the fuck?!” I said. “You don’t put a woman’s purse on the dirty ground.” Apparently, I have more respect for a leather purse from my mom than for my own body. Not really — but this was my breaking point.
“But it’s in the way,” he said. He seemed intrigued, and challenged, by my passionate reaction.
“I’ll be back.” I couldn’t take it anymore. Keith had gone from harmless dork to repulsive sexual predator.
I ran down the stairs and called my sister from the bathroom. “What do I do?” I was concerned that he would somehow ruin my fledgling career in Canadian media forever if I bailed on him, as stupid as that sounds.
“Get outta there,” my sister said. I wanted to. Desperately. Running down the stairs had given me a taste of the freedom that could so easily be mine if I just ran outside and never looked back. But I didn’t want to be rude, and I thought it best to leave on good terms.
(This is the part where I really want to go back in time and shake myself.)
I did what any good, failed Catholic girl plagued by a crippling sense of guilt would do: I lied.
“I have to go, I have a terrible headache — a migraine. I also have to work very early. Sorry,” I said, looking towards the EXIT sign with a renewed hopefulness that I hadn’t felt in hours.
“Oh no. I’ll drive you,” he said.
“NO! I mean, no. I don’t want to ruin the show for you. I’ll get a cab.”
“I can’t let you take a cab if you have a migraine,” he said, leading me down the stairs with a “concerned” creepy hand on the small of my back.
I insisted on taking a cab until I realized that he was walking me to his car, which was right outside.
All but defeated, I got into his car, pissed off that I was doing so, and stared out the window listlessly.
Even though I had a terrible fake migraine, he insisted on talking to me.
“Do you recognize the colors of my car?” he said.
“They are black and red. Like Spider-Man?” I said.
“Ha! No. That’s silly. They’re the colors of my show,” he laughed.
“But your show is on the radio, and I don’t listen to it,” I confessed. I was DONE.
“Did I tell you I’m writing a book?” he asked.
“Multiple times,” I said. “You can stop here.”
We were a block from my apartment and there was no way he was going to know my address.
“I’ll walk you to the door,” he said, unbuckling his seatbelt.
“No, you won’t,” I said. “Thank you for the concert and the ride. Have a good night.”
He leaned in and I avoided his lips by giving him a half-hearted hug, but he still managed to peck the side of my pursed mouth as I was turning to get out of the car. I urgently yanked on the door handle until the door sprang open, and scurried out.
Once I reached my front door, I started crying in shame. A thick layer of self-loathing had settled over my once-optimistic heart. Why had I handled the night that way? Why didn’t I tell him he was acting like as asshole and I only agreed to meet him because I, like the rest of Canada, thought he was gay? Why am I so passive in awkward situations? WHY? WHY? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?
I had a hot shower to remove his gross cologne stench, which had stuck to me like an airborne virus.
The next morning, I awoke to a text from him.
“If you’re late for work, blame it on me ;)”
I didn’t reply to Keith’s text, thinking that he would take the hint; but based on past experience I should have known Keith does not a hint take.
As his messages became more and more pathetic, (e.g., “Did we break up already?”), I eventually confessed the truth and told him that I was sorry but I thought it was a friend date, not a real date, and I wasn’t interested.
To this, he replied: “Eeep! Totes diff. vibe from yest.” (He actually texted those words. Like that. To a girl he was interested in.)
Over the next two weeks, his texts begged me to give him another chance. He even went so far as to promise that he looks better with TV makeup on, like that would make a difference.
I felt sorry for him. Clearly being a C-list Canadian celebrity hadn’t afforded him any “game.”
He finally stopped texting, but every time his name came up in conversation, or I saw his face in an ad, I cringed.
In talking to my friends Crystal and Melissa, I found out that Keith has tried his same creepy-ass moves out on many other girls. He once lured a friend of theirs into a hotel room to “watch a movie,” and tried to sleep with her once she sat on the bed. She, too, had thought him harmless and gay beforehand.
This is me now. Hardened. Suspicious. More Lucille 1 than Lucille 2. I’ll stop making Arrested Development references now.
Two months later, I was walking down the street and passed a man who was wearing an offensive amount of Keith’s pungent cologne. Overcome by scent-memory nausea, I vomited into a nearby trashcan. A concerned older lady came up to me. “Are you pregnant, dear?” she asked.
“Only with disgust, thank God,” I said, smiling. She smiled back, perplexed.
And that was how I expelled the gross feelings left over from the worst “date” I’ve ever gone on.
Keith: Jian Ghomeshi
This story absolutely exploded in Canada over the weekend!
Jian Ghomeshi, who is the popular host of the CBC morning show Q – which is syndicated to 180 markets in the United States and Canada – was fired from his job. Five minutes later, an article in The Toronto Star revealed that Ghomeshi has a systematic pattern of beating up women. Then, in a really bizarre social media blitz, Jian excused his behavior as part of a series of consensual BDSM courtships. He plans to sue CBC for $50 million.
You can read the entire article at The Toronto Star. Here is a brief, edited version:
CBC fires Jian Ghomeshi over sex allegationsCBC star Jian Ghomeshi has been fired over “information” the public broadcaster recently received that it says “precludes” it from continuing to employ the 47-year-old host of the popular Q radio show.Over the past few months the Star has approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three young women, all about 20 years his junior, who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the lead-up to sexual encounters. Ghomeshi, through his lawyer, has said he “does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory.”In his Facebook posting Sunday evening, Ghomeshi wrote in an emotional statement that he has “done nothing wrong.” He said it is not unusual for him to engage in “adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission.” However, he said it has always been consensual.The three women interviewed by the Star allege that Ghomeshi physically attacked them on dates without consent. They allege he struck them with a closed fist or open hand; bit them; choked them until they almost passed out; covered their nose and mouth so that they had difficulty breathing; and that they were verbally abused during and after sex.A fourth woman, who worked at CBC, said Ghomeshi told her at work: “I want to hate f— you.”“I have always been interested in a variety of activities in the bedroom but I only participate in sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners,” Ghomeshi said in his posting.“Let me be the first to say that my tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks. They may be strange, enticing, weird, normal, or outright offensive to others. … But that is my private life. … And no one, and certainly no employer, should have dominion over what people do consensually in their private life.Ghomeshi is the co-creator of Q, one of the most successful shows in CBC history. It is the corporation’s flagship radio show in Canada and is syndicated to 180 radio stations in the U.S.Ghomeshi said in his Facebook posting that his CBC bosses gave him a choice to “walk away quietly” or to be fired. He chose not to walk away and “publicly suggest that this was my decision.” And so, Ghomeshi said, he was “stripped from my show, barred from the building and separated from my colleagues.”Two hours later, his lawyers announced that Monday morning, when courts open, Ghomeshi would be filing a $50-million lawsuit against the CBC, a corporation he later said on Facebook he has “doggedly defended” for years.The women now accusing Jian Ghomeshi of violence began as his fans. Two had very similar early experiences with him. After Ghomeshi met them at public events, which he had promoted on CBC Radio, he contacted them through Facebook and asked them on dates. They eagerly accepted.Each woman said she remembers Ghomeshi being initially sweet and flattering, then later suggesting or hinting at violent sex acts. When they failed to respond or expressed displeasure, they recalled Ghomeshi dismissing his remarks as “just fantasies,” reassuring them he wouldn’t ask them to do anything they weren’t comfortable with.The women deny that “safe words” were employed in the relationship.In one woman’s case, she visited Ghomeshi at his Toronto home and alleges as soon as she walked into his house he suddenly struck her hard with his open hand, then continued to hit her and choked her. The woman alleges Ghomeshi repeatedly beat her about the head and choked her.The Star’s interviews of the women were lengthy. The women, all educated and employed, said Ghomeshi’s actions shocked them.Another woman, who described a similar alleged attack, said that in the lead-up to their date Ghomeshi “warned me he would be aggressive.”“I thought this meant he would want to pull my hair and have rough sex. He reassured me that I wouldn’t be forced. (Later) he attacked me. Choked me. Hit me like I didn’t know men hit women. I submitted.”None of the women has contacted police. When asked why by the Star, the women cited several reasons including fears that a police report would expose their names and worries that their consent or acceptance of fantasy role-play discussions in text or other messages with Ghomeshi would be used against them as evidence of consent to actual violence.Only one of the alleged victims worked at the CBC. She never dated Ghomeshi. She alleges he approached her from behind and cupped her rear end in the Q studio, and that he quietly told her at a story meeting that he wanted to “hate f—” her.Each of the women accusing Ghomeshi cite the case of Carla Ciccone as a reason why they desire anonymity. Last year Ciccone wrote an article for the website XOJane about a “bad date” with an unidentified, very popular Canadian radio host whom readers speculated to be Ghomeshi.In the days that followed, Ciccone received hundreds of abusive messages and threats. An online video calling her a “scumbag of the Internet” has been viewed over 397,000 times. Ciccone’s claims about the behaviour during her “bad date” were far less severe than the allegations of abuse from the women now accusing Ghomeshi, who fear the online backlash could be significantly worse for them if their names were made public.