Kiss and Tell: “We found love in Toronto’s most hopeless club”
Tony, a 30-year-old engineer, and Vicky, a 26-year-old producer, both thought that Rebel nightclub was loud, sticky and trashy—until they met each other
Welcome to Kiss and Tell, a new 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 [email protected].
—As told to Tara DeBoer
Tony: I met Vicky in September of last year. I wasn’t trying to date at the time. I came to Canada about two years ago from Turkey—I’m an engineer, and was looking for more opportunities. I thought I’d be single for the next five years. Finding a girlfriend was not on my radar because I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone in this unfamiliar place.
Vicky: I’d only been single for about five months. I had just returned from backpacking around Europe. I’d gone on dates here and there but was more focused on having a girls’ summer.
Tony: On September 24, I was celebrating my friend’s birthday. The plan was to go to Rebel, a notoriously trashy nightclub on the waterfront. I didn’t want to go—I don’t like those kinds of places—but my friends convinced me. I got so drunk beforehand that it was like I opened my eyes and suddenly I was there.
Vicky: That same night, I was having a “girls and gays” night out with some friends. I hadn’t been to Rebel since I was a teenager. We told ourselves, It can’t be that bad. We were wrong—Rebel is truly a hopeless place. The guy-to-girl ratio is way off, the floor is sticky and the air is murky. We all vowed not to talk to any men while we were there.
Tony: It was really noisy. My friend insisted that I enjoy his birthday, so I got a bottle of white wine and walked around offering it to strangers on the dance floor. Everyone was happy to get a free drink.
Vicky: I clocked Tony immediately. I thought he was cute. He had this big smile and looked like he was having the best time. But I assumed that all the guys there would be kind of slimy, so I just moved on to the dance floor with my friends.
Tony: That’s when I noticed Vicky. She was tall and beautiful, like crazy beautiful. Later, my friend asked if I was interested in any girls at the club. I told him about Vicky but said that I didn’t want to approach her in this environment—it’s not my style. He said, “Leave it to me” and grabbed my hand, dragging me over to her. I begged him not to.
Vicky: I have a very low tolerance for alcohol, so I didn’t drink a lot that night. I was the “mom” of the group, making sure everyone was okay. So, when I felt someone touch my butt, I quickly turned around. I saw this guy, Tony’s friend, and Tony standing behind him. I pointed my finger at the friend in front and shouted, “No! Go away.”
Tony: She was clearly mad, but I had no clue what was going on. It was so crowded. I tried talking to her, but she wouldn’t have it. As it turns out, some other guy in the club had groped Vicky just as we were approaching. It was a wrong-place-wrong-time situation.
Vicky: It was a huge misunderstanding, but we wouldn’t realize that till much later. At that moment, alarm bells were going off in my head. I asked Tony and his friend to go away, and they did. After a while, Tony wandered back over, alone this time. He wasn’t threatening at all. He was respectful and kind of silly because he was drunk.
Tony: At this point, I still didn’t know what had made Vicky angry, but I knew I needed to fix it. So I asked her to dance, but she turned me down. I changed tactics. “Do you like pizza?” I asked. “Can we get pizza one day?” I’m sort of a Toronto pizza connoisseur, so I thought I could offer her good food. I just wanted to get to know her.
Vicky: He doesn’t remember this, but I kept saying, “It’s not okay to touch people without their permission! It’s so disrespectful and you guys should know better.” Just me being me—an apology isn’t enough, I really need to get to the bottom of things.
Tony: At that point, it was clear my attempts at small talk weren’t working. So I asked for her contact information.
Vicky: I don’t think I’ve ever given out my number in a club. I didn’t trust him completely yet, but for some reason, I gave him my Instagram.
Tony: I left the club so happy that night—I had this beautiful girl’s Instagram handle. I messaged her the next day.
Vicky: I kept telling myself, Remember, this guy is from Rebel. I responded to his attempts to make plans with short, non-committal answers, like “haha.” He wasn’t being pushy or anything, he was just testing the waters. But, when he offered to drive me to work the next day, I thought, Well, I could use the ride. Especially because it was supposed to rain.
Tony: I just needed fifteen minutes to talk to her. A ride would totally be enough. The next day, I woke up early and brought her a coffee and a croissant.
Vicky: After we drove to my work, he pulled out a bouquet of roses from the back seat. It was a first for me. Chivalry is not dead!
Tony: In my culture, flowers are normal—we give them to friends and family all the time. But Vicky was so happy when she saw the them. Even then, I had this feeling of certainty about her. I doesn’t take me a lot of time to know if I like someone.
Vicky: On the car ride, we resolved the misunderstanding. I finally explained all of what went down at Rebel, and he was genuinely shocked. He took the matter really seriously, and I felt so much better after ironing that out. I didn’t want to feel like I was taking advantage of him for the ride, so I suggested that we go on a date.
Tony: We went to an Italian restaurant and got to know each other better. I kissed her afterward, and for me, that’s when we officially started seeing each other.
Vicky: By our fifth date, I knew I wanted to have a relationship with him. We’re very different, but it works for us. I’m plan-oriented, and he’s more “go with the flow.”
Tony: I think it’s important to have two opposites together. If we were the same, we’d never try anything new.
Vicky: For example, he rides a motorcycle, which I used to think was so dangerous. Now, I ride with him. He brings so much joy and energy into my life.
Tony: It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing—if she’s with me, I’m happy.
Vicky: If someone had told me a year ago that I’d meet my boyfriend at Rebel, I’d never have believed them.
Tony: Same. Especially because hook-up culture is so dominant in that environment. It was such a wild coincidence.
Vicky: Love really is completely out of your control. It’s crazy to think that, if not for this meet-cute, we would have never crossed paths. I’m so grateful that we did.