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But I'M NOT BITTER...
The Goddess of battle, strife, and destruction explains it all for you
by

April 12, 2005

 

I ran into my friend Solange last week while I was waiting for a train at St. Clair station. I hadn’t seen in a while - she’d been wrapped up in a new romance with some banker type and had been blissfully ignoring her friends.

 

I did a double take when I saw her: she certainly didn’t look like a woman in love. She was in scruffy jeans, her hair needed a wash and she had a face on her like thunder. Solange is from Montreal, where fashion sense is decanted along with breast milk. Seeing her unkempt was a sign of trouble.

 

I had to go up and tap her on the shoulder - she wasn’t making eye contact with anyone. "Salut, toi. How’s Prince Charming?", I asked - and was rewarded with a poisonous scowl that knocked me back several paces. "What? What did I say??"

 

"Turns out he’s no prince and far from charming" she spat through gritted teeth. "And if I ever get my hands on the filthy bastard, I’ll swing for him."

 

"What happened?" I had to shout over the noise of the oncoming subway.

 

"He was sleeping around" she yelled back.

 

We surged toward the train, propelled by the horde of impatient commuters behind us.

 

"Do you know this for a fact or are you guessing?"

 

"Oh, it’s true all right." She stormed into the car, elbowed an old lady out of the way and slammed her knapsack onto the seat beside us.

 

"How do you know? Did you catch him at it? Did he confess?" I was bewildered. Not a month ago, she was telling me he was The One.

 

"In a manner of speaking" she said, and grimly picked at her fingernails.

 

"How do you know he was cheating on you?"

 

Oops. The conversation was beginning to attract an avid audience.

 

"Pas en anglais," she said, indicating the crowd surrounding us.

 

Oh God. Although all Canadians speak some French (it is compulsory in schools), I haven’t needed mine to do much more than translate cereal boxes for quite some time. Clearly, I was going to have to work for this bit of gossip. I took a deep breath.

 

"D’accord. Qu'a-t-il fait ?"

 

She leaned over and whispered. "Il m'a donné... il m’a donné... " Her eyes filled with tears.

 

"Quoi??" I was starting to get worried. This is not a woman who cries easily.

 

She couldn’t bring herself to say it. "Je suis sûr que vous pouvez deviner... "

 

"Non - je n’ai aucune idée. Dites moi ce qui s'est produit."

 

She gestured towards her crotch in misery. I went cold.

 

"Non, non" she hastened to assure me. "Rien sérieux, mais... ." She mimed an emphatic scratch.

 

"Oh my God! Les, les... " I groped through my limited vocabulary for the word. "Les papillons de l’amour!"

 

She laughed bitterly. "The butterflies of love. That sounds almost pleasant" she said.

 

It does, doesn’t it?

 

Because the provincial curriculum mandated the use of one text and standardized lesson plans, my high school French teacher spent years subjecting us to the tedious lives of Madame and Monsieur Leduc -- who never had sex or got drunk and seemed to spend their time driving aimlessly around Chicoutimi, buying potatoes, asking for directions and discussing the weather.

 

You'd think that educators seeking to foster a real understanding between theTwo Solitudes would teach us useful stuff like how to pick someone up, where to buy weed in Longueuil or which bars in Deschambault would serve you without a valid Age of Majority card. Luckily, nation-wide exchange programs have guaranteed that the youth of Canada can get laid and find killer pot in either official language from Vancouver to St. John's and all points between. Thank God for education, eh?

 

We both had a bit of time, so we adjourned to a nearby Tim Horton’s to talk.

 

It was bad enough that the guy had given her crabs in the first place -- what was worse was that she claimed to have no idea that she was a walking entomological ecosystem. (How can you not notice that your underwear is crawling with lice?)

 

"The girl who was doing my bikini wax found them... I can’t tell you how embarrassing that was. I thought I was itchy because I had dry skin. I’ve been going to her for years. Now I’m going to have to leave town, n’est-ce pas?"

 

Leave town?! Personally, if the woman doing my waxing happened to mention that my crotch was writhing with cooties, I’d have to kill myself on the spot. Solange looked at me with big, brown eyes filling with tears and I struggled to say something that would console her.

 

"Uh, I hope you tipped her."

 

Till next time,

 

M.

 



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