the lost girls of Toronto


the lost girls of Toronto
Nokyoung Xayasane

It doesn’t matter what day it is:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday—
the lost girls of Toronto
can be seen everywhere,
on any given day
of the week.

We’re at a King West club—
Citizen, Early Mercy—
surrounded by venture capitalists
and financiers in sombreros.
Just one drink tonight,
I tell my friends
before stumbling home
at five in the morning,
head swimming
from free tequila shots,
body aching
from a romp
with a faceless man
in an overpriced condo.
I’ll run into traffic
to catch the midnight blue bus
and watch as a man
throws up in a corner
of the bus.
I’ll laugh when someone’s
lollipop falls into my hair,
the night air
cool as ointment,
as a dog whistle.

The lost girls of Toronto
can be seen at the Dakota Tavern,
Communist’s Daughter,
The Garrison,
listening to the latest
hipster bluegrass band.
I’ll wear my indie hat
that could be found in any crowd
at any music festival—
Coachella, Burning Man.
I’ll drink those organic craft brews,
and laugh at the True Stories
(Told Live) Toronto
while eyeing the deep-voiced
indie musician who’s only
in the city for that one night
for that one particular night.

The lost girls of Toronto
may be wearing
the highest of heels
and the shortest of skirts.
They may be adorned
in high-waisted pants
and high-collared tops,
oversized eyeglasses
with that signature straight bang.
One moment they’re Kendall Jenner
the next—
Taylor Swift, Zooey Deschanel.
They’re versatile
that way.

The lost girls of Toronto
are a common sight
on Queen Street West.
They’re at a fashion show
with their phones out,
snapping and tweeting.
They’re at the pre-show,
the actual show, the after party.
They’re at a magazine launch party,
an EP release party—
too stylish and too damn cool to care.
I’m trotting along the Mink Mile,
on the cobbled paths of Yorkville.
Did you see the necklace
that I’m wearing?
I found it at a vintage shop
for six dollars. It goes
so well with my $800 shoes.

The lost girls of Toronto
listen to podcasts.
They know what’s up
with city planning, world issues,
and the struggles
of the marginalized.
I’ll go to brunch
on a Sunday with an artist
I met on Tinder.
He’ll pay for my meal—
eggs benedict, of course,
with that Caesar cocktail.
A few days later,
another man, an ad man,
who’ll buy me the same drink
at a different restaurant
in a different neighbourhood.
I think I see the artist
through the window,
but it could’ve been
my imagination.

The lost girls of Toronto
hang out with their squad
after yoga on the waterfront.
The squad members change
depending on the mood
and the season.
Nothing lasts,
nothing is permanent.
They’ll discuss the American election,
And what about the merits of
Britney’s latest video?
Is it classic Britney Spears
or is she turning her back
on 90s Britney?

The lost girls of Toronto
will discuss consent
in an open bar
while engaged in a
heteronormative game
of matchmaking,
(yes, we know
what ‘heteronormative’ means),
and they won’t shy away
from taking a drink
from a stranger—
taking a drink
doesn’t mean
they have to reciprocate
in any way.
They’ll say no to a date
without giving them a reason.
They’ll end things briskly,
no muss, no fuss.
Did I not sit you down
and tell you why it wasn’t working?
We’re not heartless.

On the contrary,
the lost girls of Toronto
have loved and lost.
If you sit them down,
they’ll tell you a sad tale
of love and betrayal,
unrequited love, a love
that went awry, a love cut short
by time and distance and change.

The lost girls of Toronto
will go out for a night of drinking,
hobble home solo or with
that “special” someone
and still make it
to work the next day.
They work out, keep toned.
They’re trying to cut down
on consuming meat and dairy,
maybe drink more smoothies.
They love their pets, fur babies,
and when a friend calls for help,
they’re there with a bottle of wine
or a pizza that tastes
just like delivery,
with a listening ear
that feels
just like therapy.

The next day,
they do it all over again:
the early-morning meetings,
the long nights
in a packed crowd
with bottle service,
champagne flaring
and confetti flying
at 2pm during Sunday brunch,
hip hop blaring
house music blasting
at 8pm on a Monday night.
They’ll laugh
and they’ll cry,
they’ll learn
and they’ll never stop fighting,
they’ll never give up.

So you see,
the lost girls of Toronto,
aren’t really lost.

We’re not lost, not even close.

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