Sunday, November 20, 2005


I've done it almost as long as I can remember. It helps me focus. It helps me relax. Sometimes I do it without realizing I've started. It's become easier with practice. The results are more reliable, I'm easily able to add certain flourishes and flairs. It's one of my very favourite things.

I love to whistle.

That's right - whistle.

You see, I've almost always got a song stuck in my head, and I've learned the hard way that singing or humming in public is more likely to get you strange looks and an entire subway bench to yourself rather than applause.

Some people really seem to like a little whistling. Strangers smile at me on the sidewalk or in the grocery store. Older gentlemen especially seem to think it's charming - a couple of years ago one even stopped me to say it had been ages since he'd heard something so cheerful.

Not that whistling doesn't have drawbacks. You get the occasional dirty look. And boy, do the babushka-clad biddies in my neighbourhood hate it. I have been told on two separate occasions that whistling is not 'ladylike' (though apparently my sweatpants and baseball cap fit the 'ladylike' bill without a problem).

I try not to be obtrusive with my whistling. I stop if I notice someone glaring. And I'm not some tuneless blow-hard who drives you crazy. I think my whistling is rather tuneful and pleasant. Yes, yes, bias recognized.

ANYWAY, I'm off topic. I have noticed a certain fascinating whistling phenomenon. Is anyone else out there a whistler, too? Perhaps you can corroborate my startling findings.

Whistling is contagious.

That's right - contagious. Something about hearing a whistle creates an incredible NEED in some people to whistle a tune of their own. Especially if they're standing right beside you on the subway platform. Especially if THEIR whistling completely ruins YOUR whistling. In fact, the ruining might even be the fun part for these...these bad people. I posit that these whistle-ruiners are the same people who grow up to monopolize conversation at dinner parties and who park just far enough over the line as to make the next spot impossible to park in. This is happening with an alarming frequency lately, and I'm really starting to be concerned. Is it just me? Does no one else find it rude to interrupt someone's whistle?

All of these different responses to whistling (approvers, disapprovers, ruiners) made me curious, and I thought I would do some online searching as to the etiquette of. Sadly I didn't find anything particularly helpful for my cause, but I did come up with something I must share:

Did you know that, according to Esquire Magazine, it is acceptable for a gentleman to whistle while standing at the urinal or the washbasin, but not in the cubicle?

I can see whistling whilst washing your hands, even possibly while standing at a urinal (though that's something I've yet to try - boys??), but have you ever whistled while you shat? Have you ever been inclined to, even in the privacy of your own home? Can't say I have. Might give it a try, though...just to see what it's like...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hey, you!

Yeah, I mean you!

You there, the blonde francophone standing in front of us with your (boy?)friend at the Horseshoe last night, with the sling bag and unintentional curly hair dreads.

I understand that you were at the concert because you enjoy the band. I understand that as someone who enjoys the band you may well know every single word to every single song. I even understand that being at this concert may well be the most exciting event to EVER happen to you in your ENTIRE life.

But why, oh god WHY do you have to shout the lyrics to every song? We were only standing 10 feet away from the stage left stacks, so the fact that I could hear you at ALL indicates that a ludicrous amount of sound was emerging from your throat. It wasn't even singing - it was shouting. Were you trying to audition? Perhaps hoping they would pick you out of the audience and say "You - yes you. With the sling bag and the unintentional curly hair dreads standing beside the boy who may possibly be your boyfriend and who looks to be slightly embarrassed at (afraid of?) his proximity to your vocal cords. Where have you been all of our lives? Please - come up here on stage and never leave us again. We can't make it without you and your incredible breath support."

And as if the shout/singing wasn't enough, where on earth did you pick up that dance? Was it even a dance? Were you simply spasming in ecstasy at finally hearing your heroes perform live? I've never seen anything like it. Upon consultation with fellow aghast concert attendees, we were able to discern a few favourite moves - a sort of uppercut boxing move, frequently followed by the classic rock sky punch, and a textbook headbang that necessitated the removal of your butterfly hairclip. But what about the...for lack of a better word, waddle? That extreme wiggle where you clench your arms to your torso and rapidly move from left to right as though you were a metronome set to 250? Can your eyes even focus at that speed? Didn't you give yourself a headache? It can't be good for you, this dance of yours. Not to mention distracting for the majority of the club standing behind you. A complete stranger even asked me if I'd ever "seen anything like that."

No, I certainly hadn't. Maybe you can open for them for the rest of their tour? You were certainly more entertaining than the ironically named opening act.

PS Spellcheck wanted me to replace 'francophone' with 'frangipani'. Heh.