Kiss and Tell: “I hooked up with a stranger at his stepmom’s birthday party, but his relatives kept walking in on us”

Kiss and Tell: “I hooked up with a stranger at his stepmom’s birthday party, but his relatives kept walking in on us”

Ada, a 29-year-old costume designer, crashed a house party hosted by a family she’d never met. The night only got weirder from there

A deflated balloon on a background of blue hearts

Welcome to Kiss and Tell, a series about the steamy, surprising and frequently absurd world of Toronto dating. Send your most memorable stories from the pursuit of love and lust in the city to .

—As told to Juliann Garisto


My friend and I were working as costume designers on this super-low-budget TV show. It was set in the ’70s, so I was looking for things like bell bottoms and sweater vests. At first, thrifting seemed like the most viable option, but there wasn’t even enough money for that. My friend suggested that we look up thrift stores that were seeking volunteers—maybe we could get away with taking some stuff home. Everywhere in Toronto was pretty picked over, so we set our sights on a Value Village in Hamilton.

Related: “I started sleeping with my roommate. Then he fell in love with someone else”

We drove there the following day and told an employee that we wanted to volunteer. She took us to a warehouse at the back of the store and pointed to a guy with a clipboard standing next to a giant bin filled with clothes. After an hour or two, I was able to find enough ’70s-style items to cross off a good chunk of my costume list.

We went back the following day and, after our shift, heard some music coming from the nearby residential area. We thought it was maybe a local concert. After loading the car with our haul, we decided to walk over and check it out. It turned out to be a house party full of boomers with a rock band playing in the backyard.

We were standing in the driveway when an older couple saw us and invited us in. The man pointed to his wife and told us this was her surprise sixtieth birthday party. They presented this information as if we were their long-time neighbours. My friend and I thought, Sure, why not? We didn’t have much else going on that day, so we accepted their invitation.

When we walked into the house, we saw that almost everyone was middle-aged or older. There was just one guy who looked close to our age, so we went to introduce ourselves. He was tall, with dark hair and a baseball cap. His name was Mark, and even though we were total strangers, he seemed relieved that we were there. He told us that he was the stepson of the woman whose birthday it was and that we were at his dad’s house. Naturally, my friend, Mark and I ended up hanging out together.

There was an absurd amount of alcohol floating around the party, so we quickly got drunk. Mark started singing choir songs to us and talking about his family, his relationships, how he’d gone to private schools and how he didn’t really get why everyone seemed to want to live in Toronto. Then he asked if I wanted a tour of the house. I figured his question was code for, Wanna go make out in my bedroom? He was fun to talk to, and there were some faint traces of chemistry between us, so I was down. My friend had wandered off somewhere, but I assumed we’d find each other if we needed to.

Mark took me to the basement. As I followed him down the stairs, I thought, Damn, he’s actually sexy. Maybe it took separating ourselves from the older crowd, but I realized that I really wanted to hook up with this guy. I took off my sweater and tied it around my waist. He took one look at me in my slightly revealing tank top and asked if I wanted to see his room.

Related: “My date got a fish bone stuck in his teeth. He insisted on calling 911”

Things moved pretty fast. Mark took off my shirt and then all of his own clothes. I found that a little strange, though not strange enough to stop kissing him. But then, five minutes in, the door opened. This woman stormed in and started screaming at Mark. Then she realized that I was with him. In a really snappy voice, she was like, “What the hell are you doing?” I quickly gathered that it was his aunt. She clearly hadn’t meant to walk in on us. Mark was just standing there, buck naked, staring at her. After about a minute—during which she’d said a flurry of things including “Where are your clothes?” and “You’re wanted upstairs”—she left in a rage. I thought it was hilarious. Mark mumbled something about it being awkward and then went back to kissing me.

We were starting to go from standing against the wall to lying on his bed when there was another interruption. My friend barged in without knocking. She had come to find me—she was even drunker than I was.

Her reaction to us hooking up was the complete opposite of Mark’s aunt’s. She walked in, kissed me on the forehead, wished me good luck and then slapped Mark’s ass on her way out. I was in hysterics, but the whole encounter had a different effect on Mark. It was as though the slap had shaken him out of his horny drunken stupor. He started freaking out about whether his aunt had told his parents what we were doing in his room.

I tried to calm him down. I told him there was nothing wrong with us hooking up—it was completely natural, and everyone else was so drunk that they probably wouldn’t care. Then we got into bed. We were about to get started again when there was a knock at the door. This time it was his stepsister. Through the door, she said that it was maybe time to come out: his aunt and their other family members were upset.

Mark started crying. He was straight-up terrified. I know it was inappropriate, but I couldn’t stop laughing. The whole situation was too funny—the fact that we were even at that party to begin with was hilarious. Mark rushed to get dressed. “I do actually like you,” he said. “Can I have your number?” I thought that was sweet, so after putting my shirt back on, I gave it to him. Then we went upstairs.

The party was still in full swing, but I knew I had overstayed my welcome. I found my friend in the yard, and we snuck out through the back gate. My friend called her boyfriend and begged him to take a GO train to Hamilton so that he could drive us home in our car—we couldn’t leave the car overnight because we needed the clothes for work the next day. He agreed, so we went to a nearby Harvey’s to eat while we waited.

Mark and I saw each other a few times after that party. He never got in trouble with his family or anything—it had just been his aunt freaking out, apparently. After about six months of hooking up, our situationship fizzled. There were no hard feelings. He didn’t like coming down to Toronto, and I didn’t like seeing him in his parents’ house because it made me feel like a child. I was and always will be a Toronto girl; he was and (probably) always will be a Hamilton boy. Plus, if I’m being honest, he was a tad too emotionally immature for me.