“That’s my BMW there….the one with the Honda logo…”

Opinion | October 18, 2007

Does anybody ever get bored of me ragging on pretentious, ostentatious people or phonies?

I sure don’t.

Hey, I may work in the most image-ridden, flashy industry out there, but I still LOATHE people who live for what other people think about them…

Here’s a story…


So my “friend” would kill me if I wrote his/her name on this site, since some of his/her friends & family read my blog, but I’m going to tell a story about a miserable woman obsessed with image.

Last year, I went to a party in my friend’s honor, and met some of her extended family.  She comes from a very down-to-earth family, community, and neighborhood, and she and her family are all great people.

But in every carton of eggs, there’s usually one with a small spot on it that you refuse to crack into your pot, and in my friend’s family, this happened to be her aunt: Vanya.

She told me about Vanya in advance, saying that I would NOT get along with her, as most of her family can’t stand Aunt Vanya.

I spotted Vanya the second I walked in.  She was wearing a shawl, like most pretentious women do, and had a fake-plastic smile on her face that couldn’t fade even if you told her that her entire family joined a cult and moved to the moon.

Vanya could only talk to an individual for ten seconds at the most before turning to a passer-byer and saying “Ohhh Roger, helloooo!”

Vanya wants to be noticed.

And I noticed how annoying she was, before I even met her.

I finally got the introduction from my friend, and Vanya and I began to converse.  Our conversation was brief, much to the beaming delight of my friend, who tells me to this day that nobody has ever put Vanya in her place like I did.

“So what do you do for a living, prey tell, Mr. Fleming?” asked Vanya insinuating that whatever I did for a living, she was still better.

“Actually, I’m in real estate working out of Toronto.”

“Really?  Well we live in one of the hottest areas of Toronto, perhaps you’ve heard of it: Leaside.”

“No kidding,” I replied.  “I live in Leaside as well!  Born and raised, schooled at Leaside High, and we’ve moved from Airdrie to Parkhurst to Bessborough Drive where we are right now.”

“I see,” said Vanya with an ever-so-slight hint of discomfort.

“What street are you on,” I asked.

“Oh we’ve got a lovely home on Chilton Road,” she said with all the confidence and poise of Tony Robbins himself.

My face scrunched up like George Bush trying to perform a simple math equation.

“But…..Chilton is in EAST YORK.”

That smile—the one that I said couldn’t be removed from her face by a crack team of plastic surgeons—-well, it was wiped off like a granny wiping “shmutz” off your cheeks.

“Uhhhh….It’s South Leaside,” said Vanya, now trying to save whatever dignity she had left.  Clearly, her phoniness had been exposed, as you don’t try to BS a real estate agent about real estate in his own backyard.

“Actually Vanya, South Leaside is bordered by Bayview, Southvale, Laird, and Eglinton.  Chilton Road is in East York, more specifically The Golden Triangle.

Her jaw dropped, and she began to stutter, but no actual words just came out.  I could feel my friend holding in her excitement, as somebody had finally been able to bring Vanya down a notch.  Vanya looked at me, looked at my friend, turned and walked away.  Yeah, that’s a totally normal exit…

What made me want to post about this woman, is yet another story I was told about her last week.

There was a dinner function over Thanksgiving during which Vanya constantly referred to her cottage and how they were going to head up there for the last time before the snow comes.

Cottage this, cottage that.  Cottage, Cottage, Cottage…

After dinner, my friend’s dinner guest leaned over and said, “I didn’t know Vanya’s family had a cottage!”

“They don’t,” she replied.  “They just bought a trailer up North that they retreat to on weekends.”

East York = Leaside

Trailer = Cottage

If only the entire real estate industry could be run in this manner!  My current 1-bedroom condo listing is really a 3-bedroom penthouse!  Imagine paying for a drink at a bar with a ten-dollar-bill and telling the bartender it’s a twenty!

Perhaps if the entire world worked this way, every man would be able to give his fiancee a cubic zirconia….

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