What began as a seemingly simple fascination with handsome pipes, thick glasses, and meticulously styled mustaches ended in an explosive realization of  self identity.

It was a warm and bustling boutique restaurant in Montreal, the air thick with laughter and the clinking of dinnerware. We sat, my best friend and I, in silence, observing with amusement the snowy bearded old man and his navy suit, accented with a light blue checked button-down and matching handkerchief tucked neatly into his breast pocket. In his hand was a tall, structured leather satchel of some sort, outfitted in cognac leather, that swung in and out of view as he made his way towards the exit with his wife. As he neared us, we saw that it was a leather wine carrier (a fine one at that).

Thoroughly taken with the dapper style and demeanor of this old gentleman, the words danced out of my mouth with nary a thought towards my gender:

“When I’m an old man, that’s exactly what I will look like.”

And so all the Why’s in my life thus far had been answered: why I insist on hoarding junk, why I craft odd knick-knacks and paddy-whacks out of the aforementioned junk, why I look at youth and grunt with a heavy shake of my head, why I cling onto things that contain the tiniest shred of memories, and why I begin most of my sentences with, “remember back in the day…”.

Because I’m an old man. In the physical realm I am a (female) freelance fashion editor and illustrator, but always an old man at heart.