Saturday, January 4, 2014


Generally, I have ample protection. I have never wandered into a bridal shop. I don’t flip through wedding magazines—even when it’s between that and The Economist at the dentist’s office. I avoid the Valentine’s section at the grocery store. (It will be set up within the week, no doubt. I’ve stocked up on Band-aids and Kleenex already so I have no reason to stroll down that aisle I refer to as the Red Sea.

But then I went and booked a quick trip to Victoria. As it bears no relevance to me, I completely forgot how romantic the charming little city can be.

Interlocked elbows while meandering and gazing at beautiful old buildings.

Sharing tea and scones at the Empress Hotel.

And how about getting cozy on a horse-drawn carriage ride?

I tried to tune out the romance. I don’t need a companion to admire the architecture. And I am more of a coffee guy anyway. Still, I conjured up a dreadful image of me paying for a carriage ride for one. I imagined the sad looks, the hushed whispers and the likelihood of becoming a YouTube sensation—2014’s version of Grumpy Cat. Definitely had to steer clear of horses. The risks were too great.

It didn’t help that I traveled to Victoria with two dates lined up. Two chances to click. There was a chance for that carriage ride or maybe even a midnight harbor walk, keeping warm against Date #1 (or Date #2) while oohing and aahing at all the structures tastefully silhouetted in glowing lights. And I saw potential in BOTH dates. Trouble is neither of them did.

Cue Gershwin.

And so that made being alone in that darned charming little city a tad harder. As I ventured about, there seemed to be fewer families taking up all the sidewalk space. Perhaps that is more of a summertime phenomenon. This made the glut of couples even more obvious. To be fair, despite walking many miles during my stay, I saw no lesbian couples and only one gay pairing. Perhaps Victoria is too Victorian.

Luckily, I’ve also come to know Victoria as a recreational city and a place to sate my shopping desires. I didn’t need a mate to enjoy a scenic jog along the water or to load up on shirts and shoes. And I didn’t hesitate to go out to eat with an empty chair across from me—I got used to that long ago. (I had plenty to read.) I decided to satisfy any hankering for horses when I got home, figuring I could pet a couple of alpacas through a fence on the way into town. Close enough.

So I managed to dodge Cupid’s arrow. (Damn.) Must have been a trick arrow because I certainly tried to get hit. I’ll make it back to Victoria, hopefully sooner rather than later. Romantic or not, it is a lovely setting.


canoetoo said...

I was in the middle of moving house during your Victoria visit or would have invited you for a stress free/non-date coffee. Next time perhaps. I used to live in the James Bay area of Victoria and got very familiar with the horse drawn carriages carrying people around the neighbourhood. I have never seen one carrying a sole person - male OR female.

Rural Gay said...

I really like the James Bay area. I've enjoyed staying at the Oswego a couple of times as James Bay has more of a neighborhood feel. This time I stayed at the Magnolia and was thick in the tourist/shopping realm. Fun, but I think I'll opt for James Bay again when I return.

And assuming I go solo on my next trip, I'll prepare myself to skip the carriage ride yet again!