Author Archives: joyce

Peer Review #2 – Sam Vines

Looking at Samantha Zenarosa’s blog Sam likes to Vine, it’s clear she has a solid image in mind of what her blog should look like.

‘Sam likes to Vine’ is injected full of Samantha’s personality, filled with quirky vines and artistic drawing and writing posts. Sam appears to be a very cute, witty and friendly person through her blog. This is a snapshot of what her homepage looks like when first opened.

At first glance, there is a very cute picture of Sam featured in the header!! However, there are quite a few issues with her theme – specifically the overall readability and navigability.

The picture she uses in her header image is very cute and shows her personality well and it really fits the vibe she has going on in her art and writing posts, but the header doesn’t stretch the picture out well. It is not the ideal size, and the theme crops the picture awkwardly due to the header shape. I would suggest if Sam wants that picture to be on every page of the blog when an audience is going through the blog to maybe put it as a sidebar image (around where the search bar is) instead of as the stretched out header. If Sam really wants a theme with a stretched out header at the top, I think it would be better to place a different image – something that is higher quality, or just an image that fits the shape of the intended header a little better.

Another thing that is difficult for readability is the way the posts are formatted into the theme itself.

As you can see, the first letter of the post is a drop cap and extremely disjointed from the rest of the string of words. This can be very off-putting especially to someone who might be quickly scrolling and doesn’t have the patience to try to connect the letters. Drop caps are typically intended for paragraphs and larger strings of texts where they will be nested with a lot of text, like in the picture to the left, so if Sam wants to use a theme with drop caps it would be better to make posts with a lot of text that can nest the drop cap. Because many of her posts only have one line of text I would suggest turning that option off, or finding a simpler theme.

Another problem I have with this theme is the way it displays pictures. Because most of Sam’s content are pictures (whether they are her drawings or her writings), the theme should display pictures better. When a post with pictures is clicked, it takes the user to an entirely new tab, the one that shows up when one wants the url of a picture. However, it’s not very convenient for a blog. It would look better if the blog displayed the images full sized already, especially as the image seems to be the more important part of the post. With the visual hierarchy of the blog posts and the way the images are formatted to be small and blurry when compressed, it gives off an impression the images are a less important part of the post or even an afterthought – when that is definitely not the case.

The captions seem to be the same point font and the same boldness as the title, and because of that, they seem more important than anything else so the pictures don’t pull enough visual weight and this may be off-putting.

Another thing this theme does is that it seems to allow for a sub-heading in a post when the post is open in a separate tab, but on the home screen it puts everything on one line.

This is what the post looks like when scrolling down the home page. It looks like an odd run-on sentence.

When you actually click on the post however, you can see that there is a sub-heading underneath the post and it isn’t an awkward run-on sentence.

A solution for this would be adding punctuation to the sub-headlines (eg. adding a period to the end of that sentence). That way the sub-heading wouldn’t blend in with the blog post.

One more thing to point out about the layout/typography formatting is that when Sam writes very lengthy posts (such as in her about and her first post) she spaces them out somewhat which is good for readability! However, it would be a little better to space them out a bit more to add more visual breathing room to the paragraphs because it can end up looking like a large block of text.

Sam links her socially media very well – in the top right-hand corner is all the necessary social media she wants to show the audience. Her Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and VSCO are all present and easily accessible – this is very good considering her blog is about vines which probably means she wants to target a teenager/young adult audience.

Overall, Sam’s blog has very cute content and is filled to the brim with her unique personality. Her blog is fun to read and with a few changes to the formatting, could be even better!

Process Post #4

To be honest, when making this blog and executing design decisions, I wasn’t really making it with an audience in mind. I was making it based around the things that I liked, and how I was feeling. When phrased that way, I suppose the audience I have been imagining thus far would be people similar me, older teens and young adults who want to have a casual read of various topics.

I wanted my blog to be reader-friendly to virtually any audience in case there were people who happened to stumble upon my blog by accident, but since I write about my interests and opinions that I happen to have, I suppose a lot of my jokes and references would be better understood by people more similar to me.

Because I wanted my blog to be reader-friendly to everyone, I made sure all my grammar and proper English were present in my posts. Normally when I talk to my friends through text or on the internet,

i kinda talk like this with like zero punctuation a nd a ton of typos i dont bother fixing,,, also i abbreviate a ton of words like u and ur and i use a ton of exclamation marks and keysmashes laskdjfklasjdfkljadsklf

But I know that doesn’t look good to everyone – and in some cases, some people can’t understand that sort of texting slang (it’s very Generation Z of me) and I wanted any reader, (not just teens my age who spend a lot of time on the internet) who would happen to open my blog be able to read my posts and understand them. There’s a lot of contextual things in the way younger people who communicate digitally type, and they can be hard to grasp – even someone my age who doesn’t spend as much time communicating digitally might not get these clues. (For example, the ‘:)’ emoji can be very passive aggressive depending on the context and keysmashing ‘ASLKDFJKALSDF’ shows amusement.) Although it feels weird for me to try to communicate digitally in ‘my own voice’ with proper grammar, it’s for the overall good and readability of my blog!

Although my blog is readable by everyone, the topics I do talk about might not interest all. Using this logic, I think my intended audience is probably other teens my age.

For my design decisions, I just wanted this blog to be aesthetically pleasing to my eye. I admit, my decisions were totally self-fueled – I just wanted my blog to be readable and I wanted it to look nice (I guess I should start basing my design decisions around an imagined audience). I like to think I have a good eye for design, so I just moved things around on my blog theme the way I liked it. I made headers to add more colour and life to my blog. As well, I took out any unnecessary sidebars or header text I felt didn’t fit and made my blog too cluttered. My intended audience had zero impact on how I designed my blog, I assumed if I thought it looked nice it would be an ok theme.

I don’t quite like how my headers look though so I may change them all in the future.


Process Post #3

This week we talked about the design of websites. Being a SIAT student already studying design, a lot of the talk we went over was already quite familiar to me.

Something I noticed about my blog was the lack of pictures. Overall, I felt my theme was pretty balanced, being very simplistic and plain – maybe a bit too plain, however. It was boring to look at though because the text wasn’t extremely dynamic either, and there were not a lot of customization options I could tweak without having to buy the professional version of this theme. I didn’t want to change my theme either because I really like this theme! As well, the black lines in the sidebar were too weighty and pulled too much attention to the side and not enough to the posts. I wanted my posts to have more weight.

So began my journey to clean up my blog space, starting with post header. Although I intended to include headers on all my posts in the beginning, I wasn’t sure how to use WordPress so most of my posts came out without any headers, but my friend taught me the other day that you have to use the ‘Set featured image’ option to place a picture as a header for your posts on your theme!

One of my posts now with an added caption – a lot more eye-catching!

I changed that so now a lot of my posts have headers, which pull a lot more visual weight and change up the hierarchy of the web page to pull the eye to the actual posts instead of the sidebar. I am still in the process of adding and making more headers for new posts.

As well as pulling more visual weight, it looks a lot more pleasing to in general.

Something else I changed was my about page. Previously, I had no idea what to put there so I had a reference this vine because something about it really resonated with me. However, I knew it wasn’t a good look for my blog. It didn’t look nicely formatted, neither did it fit the theme of my blog and it really didn’t give any relevant information about me that any readers would like to know either. I completely rewrote it and formatted it differently to suit my blog theme a little better. As well, I added a picture of me so the about section with all the writing doesn’t look so boring!

That was it for my blog makeover so far, but I still (and always) am in the process of tweaking things and trying to improve my website!

A website I frequent a lot would be YouTube for sure. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with how YouTube designs their things. Mostly a hate relationship. It’s functional, for sure, but I think everything is so ugly. But I still love YouTube because it’s so easy to navigate.

As you can see from this screenshot, the video you are watching takes precedence over everything else. That is how it should be, as the video you should be paying attention to should be the main focus. However, something I feel like is distracting is how big the thumbnails on the side are. They pull so much attention away from the video it can be (and is) extremely distracting when you’re trying to focus on a video. I know that this is probably intentional to the design though since YouTube wants you to keep on watching videos so they can get more ad revenue (that’s one of the biggest reasons for putting up the autoplay function as well). That doesn’t make me hate it any less or help me get any less distracted.

User friendliness is YouTube’s biggest selling point because it is designed for people of all ages, children and maybe not so technologically apt older people. The search bar is at the top, description and title of the video right below, if you scroll down you can see the comments, to the right are related videos – that’s all you really need for a video sharing platform really.

Men Get Praised Too Much For Existing

Something I’ve noticed a lot when a lot of my friends talk about guys is how to the floor their standards are. “I want a guy who will treat me nicely!” “Any guy who isn’t a total asshole.” When a guy shows a common shred of decency to them they’ll gush about how sweet and well-mannered he is.

I actually read an opinion article on this on The Peak News a few weeks ago that I agree with wholeheartedly. It’s really not that a majority of my friends are super desperate and want a boyfriend that badly. A lot of girls (if not most) think similar thoughts. I do as well sometimes. Guys who are decent human beings seem amazing. It has to do a lot with how our society is traditionally driven and run by men, for men. In many cases, men are glorified for just existing. Society lowers standards so much for men that a guy who is nice, loyal and treats you – uh – not terribly is considered a rare GEM among all men when that’s just – how your partner should treat you?

Like The Peak article mentioned, I see this trend a lot on social media – girls posting about how their boyfriend bought them McDonald’s after work and thousands of people gushing in response about how they wish they had a boyfriend like that, how that girl is so lucky – because her boyfriend bought her fast food? After a long day of work? I’d do that for a lot of my friends and family, and I’m sure a lot of other people out there would as well. Isn’t the bar set a little too low?

Don’t get me wrong, I think gestures like that are totally sweet and should be appreciated – props to that guy for being a sweet boyfriend – but to that extent? If I do the dishes without being told does that make me the best daughter in the world? Are thousands of mothers across the world going to hashtag me #DaughterGoals and wish their daughters are like me? No, because that’s absolutely ridiculous, and you know it.

Tweets like these are kind of sad and showcase what I’m talking about.

How is it that the standards in these tweets for men are so low, yet so many of them fail to even meet these standards?

Since when was wanting to be loved by your significant other considered needy?

I’m putting this post in my ‘lifestyle’ tag because I feel like this is an important thing for a lot of girls to live their life knowing – men really aren’t all that. A lot of my friends would date guys who would treat them badly, show them up all the time ‘but it was ok cause he’s nice to me!’

It makes me sad seeing as so many girls undervalue themselves all for a boy who (excuse my language) doesn’t do shit, and you can see how that culture of thought is perpetuated through social media.

Go ahead and do yourself a favour: date a guy who doesn’t expect to be praised for doing the bare minimum.

Snowy Village – Who? What?

Today I want to talk about one of my favourite places to eat at, Snowy Village! I’m sure most of you have heard of Snowy Village, even if you have no idea what it is. Snowy Village is a popular chain of dessert places here in the lower mainland area with three locations – one in Richmond, one in Robson and one in Coquitlam – they serve bingsoo, taiyaki and an assortment of drinks. The portions are huge so make sure you bring a friend or two if you want to try anything out!

So what is bingsoo? According to the website:

“BINGSOO is also called “Patbingsu” or “bingsu” and is a Korean shaved ice dessert. Unlike traditional style shaved ice which uses water as its main ingredients. Snowy Village Canada uses 100% Canadian milk which gets frozen and shaved to make the bingsoo look like snow.”

Because they use milk ice to make the ice, it’s ten times more delicious than traditional shaved ice would be. As well, the taiyaki (baked fish cake) is really yummy if you want something warm, or just want to try something else. They use croissant bread as the outer filling which makes it very crispy and chewy, giving it a nice crunch! I really recommend the injeolmi taiyaki!

No time to eat in? Want to take your order somewhere? Snowy Village does take out which is very convenient, and they offer the takeout in these reusable temperature-conserving bags. They zip up, so they’re super convenient and reusable and eco-friendly!!!

Anyways, enough about the takeout bags (can you tell I adore them?). Not sure what to get? Here are my top five flavours to try if you ever want to go!

#5: Strawberry


Strawberry Bingsoo is very standard, exactly what you would expect it to taste like. The sweet tanginess of the strawberry goes really well with the muted flavour of the milky ice. Strawberry bingsoo is a very safe choice if you’re not into trying anything new or unique because it tastes exactly as you would expect fresh strawberries with shaved milk ice and whipped cream to taste like. (Really really good!)

#4: Cheesecake


If I had to date a piece of dessert, Snowy Village’s Cheesecake Bingsoo would be my girlfriend. The cheesecake they use in this particular dessert is a sort of very light and airy cake which is not too sweet or dense. It has a nut topping and whipped cream, as well as hints of condensed milk all over the shaved ice which makes the whole thing super wonderful to eat! If you have a sweet tooth like me and like super sweet things I would recommend this one.

#3. Mango


Mango Bingsoo is the ultimate classic. It gets sold out very easily because it’s so popular, I mean, who doesn’t like mango? Mango is a god tier fruit that everyone loves, which is why I had to give it at least #3 on this list. Because of my extreme sweet tooth I only placed this at number three, but objectively I’m sure many people would think that this is the best flavour because mango is that powerful. It’s a very refreshing, light sweetness which tastes really good with the snow ice – not overly sweet because of all the fresh fruit.

#2. Oreo


This is totally my sweet tooth talking but Oreo Bingsoo is my second girlfriend. If you dislike extremely sweet things I would recommend staying away from this flavour, however, this is perfect for a sweetaholic like me. There are crushed oreo crumbs all over this dessert, which is perfect when mixed with the snow ice because it adds the perfect amount of sweetness. The shaved ice by itself does have a subtle sweet flavour, but it’s not sweet enough to me alone. (I’m sure a lot of older people or people with more refined tastes would think it’s fine though.) The oreos ensure the whole thing is perfectly sweet, the whole way through.

#1. Injeolmi


Injeolmi is Korean rice cake made out of glutinous rice flour, very similar (actually the same!) in texture and consistency to mochi or any Chinese sticky rice cake. Injeolmi Bingsoo has an assortment of red beans, rice cake, and Injeolmi powder as a topping and it is so good. The powder can be dry and get stuck to the roof of your mouth and according to my friend, injeolmi powder is a choking hazard so just be careful about that! Of course, if you’re not adventurous or just not in the mood to try something new, I would suggest just getting mango or a fruity flavour, but Injeolmi Bingsoo is amazing and definitely my favourite flavour! She is my queen and every other flavour is my princess. I love the chewiness of the rice cake so much. If I said Oreo and Cheesecake Bingsoo were my girlfriends, Injeolmi Bingsoo is my lawfully wedded wife.

Honestly, pretty much every flavour at Snowy Village you can’t go wrong with but if you want anything else you can check out the menu on their website! If you do go and try these flavours let me know which ones you liked best. Thank you for reading!


The Injustice That Is Carly Rae Jepsen’s E•MO•TION


carly rae jepsen, call me maybe

This week in class, we were going through a quote by Peter Thiel.

“Tell me something that’s true that no one agrees with you on?”

Although I think Peter Thiel is a disgusting person (to put it nicely), it is a very interesting question nonetheless. And though I suppose there’s supposed to be a serious, well thought out relevant answer to politics or some commentary on today’s society to that question, the first thing that came to mind was Carly Rae Jepsen – specifically, her music.

We all know her, the resident one-hit wonder of Mission, B.C. Her song, Call Me Maybe blew up and she was never heard of again. Most people would agree that she was just a one-hit pop wonder and with that assumption – also agree that her music probably isn’t very good.

That’s where everyone is wrong.

Carly Rae Jepsen is an extremely talented musician who produces well thought out, well-produced music. Call Me Maybe, although having an infamous reputation for simply being played so much, is a clear example of that – a quality pop song with good production, a catchy beat, clever lyrics. Her debut album “Kiss” which included Call Me Maybe is full of quality songs. But that’s not what I want to discuss today. Today I want to talk about her third studio album, “Emotion” (stylized as E•MO•TION).

carly rae jepsen, emotion, album cover

(Here is a link to the album on Spotify.)

Emotion was released in 2015 with the lead single “I Really Like You” (which you may have heard on the radio), followed by “Run Away with Me” and “Your Type” (which you most likely have not heard on the radio), with songs written on themes of heartbreak and love, and a vibe reminiscent of 80’s pop/synth.

Although extremely well received by critics and reviewers, Emotion did not do well commercially, something which is a shame because I wholeheartedly believe this was the best pop album of 2015 (sorry-not-sorry Taylor Swift).

Every single song on this album is an amazing song. Like, if you close your eyes and spin a wheel with every different section of the wheel being a different song on Emotion, it’s going to be a good song. Although the content Jepsen delves into isn’t particularly diverse – all of the songs deal with the subject of love or heartbreak – it just means it’s an even better album to listen to when you want to wallow in your own feelings.

I would honestly say every single song on this album is a favourite but here are some songs I would recommend to any listener!


2. Your Type

3. Making the Most Of The Night

4. Warm Blood

5. LA Hallucinations

Thank you for reading!

Process Post #2

Day 693958. I am sitting staring at my laptop screen. PUB101 Spring 2018 finished five years ago. I did not pass the class. I am still not sure what my blog should look like.

Just kidding! In all honesty, I am still not sure what my blog should look like, but if I wait until I am sure of what content I want on my blog I know I will never post anything. I am still setting things up and I have quite a few posts in my drafts that I will post soon. I don’t want to post them quite yet because really, I’m still hesitant as if to that is the content I want on my blog and if that is how I want to display myself to the public eye. I mapped out what it would look like in a mind map – with all the PUB content separate from the blog.

In class this week we discussed dissociative anonymity and I realized that is an important part of how I display myself on the internet. When I was younger, I had an extreme form of social anxiety and that would limit me from talking to people. Although I have grown a lot and learned to be able to talk to people with a lot more ease, anxiety isn’t something you can really cure and a lot of it nonetheless carries through in me to this day. I still don’t like discussing things in front of classes, talking to people I don’t know well and doing presentations – although it is doable now (when I was younger I wouldn’t even leave the house out of fear of running into people – I’ve definitely grown a lot), it still carries through in how I present myself on social media. I dislike posting publically on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram – platforms directly linked to my name and face – because of that anxiety. This blog is also another space on the internet that is linked to my name (though not my face – not yet), which is why I am so hesitant to post things.

I would post things about my interests in places that weren’t linked to my name and face – places where dissociative anonymity and invisibility were present for me (although it wasn’t a harmful sort). On platforms like twitter and tumblr I discussed my (closet) interests the same way I would talk about them to a close friend or someone I was comfortable with. I would never say anything harmful or rude, but because I seemed invisible and it wasn’t linked to my full name or face, I wasn’t uncomfortable or anxious about what I would say. It felt very free and uninhibiting because in some sort of sense, I didn’t have to take full responsibility for anything I said.

Seeing that all this has impacted me in a certain way, I would like to grow out of that anxiety that comes to posting things that are attached to me as a physical, tangible person and I guess this blog space is the perfect place to start. Of course, I won’t feel comfortable posting things at first, but as time goes by, I’m sure I will become more and more comfortable with everything. Linking a social media account would be a first step, and I feel Instagram would be the easiest social media to link to my blog so I am thinking about linking a brand new Instagram account because I am slightly uncomfortable with unprivateing my personal Instagram, since I am already so selective with who follows me (as if I even post anything).

Peer Review #1 – Modest Modern Beauty

Julia Spitale’s blog Modern Modest Beauty is still in its beginning stages, however, it seems promising and fresh. The title, ‘Modern Modest Beauty‘ is very catchy and hints the reader as to what will go on her blog (makeup, skincare and beauty tips!)

Her about page is very appropriate and cute, giving the viewer enough information about herself to be interested and invested in the blog. She says her blog is “going to consist of different makeup looks, cheap beauty products and skin care” so any viewer would know what the blog is about. As well, she gives a little information about herself and includes a (pretty!!) picture of herself – something I think is important for someone running a beauty blog, as the audience for a beauty blog generally would like to know what the beauty blogger themselves look like.

There is not that much content to go by currently, but the theme and her about page are very fitting for a beauty blog. The theme is a touch minimalistic with lots of empty space and a headline that says ‘by Julia Spitale’ (which is good for branding a beauty blog – it indicates the blogger is going to create original content), but there are just enough pictures spread around the page to be engaging and draw the reader in.

Although there are no current posts, her process post states that there will weekly beauty posts which I look forward to reading!

I noticed, however, that the WordPress default ‘Hello World!’ post is still up, as well as a lot of the default theme images. I think it would be better to delete it or edit it to become a different post and replace the theme images with her own as leaving up the default settings do not look the best. I’m sure though that since this blog is still being set up, these will be changed shortly.

Another thing I think that could be fixed is the formatting of the process post. There is not a lot of spacing between the sentences, and a lot of the ‘i’s are not capitalized. The grammar is not quite there, but this is something I’m sure Julia can fix with a quick edit.

Right now there’s a lot of room to grow, and I’m sure it will in the following weeks. I look forward to seeing the progress of Modern Modest Beauty. Good luck Julia!

Update: 1/29/2018

Julia has updated her theme and posts!

Her theme now looks like this:

It’s super cute and fresh looking and the glowy purple aesthetic she seems to have going on reminds me of those minimalistic beauty companies like Glossier. I could stare at her page for a long time because the side image is so relaxing to look at.

As well, she seems to have added categories in her menu bar which include “makeup looks”, and “skin care”. She has edited her Process Post #1 to get rid of the minor grammar errors and her blog looks well on its way! She has her first post up which shows her skincare routine – something a lot of beauty bloggers and YouTubers show. It’s a good concept. Something I would suggest for Julia, however, is to break the post into different paragraphs for easy readability instead of having it all in one block of text. It’s something that can be fixed super quickly if she wants because it is a little difficult reading the post due to it all being in one big text block.

As well, I noticed some very minor spelling errors in the post (‘pours’ instead of ‘pores’) so I would suggest if it’s difficult to catch these mistakes to get someone to proofread the posts before publishing, just to make sure there are no small mistakes like that (I have a grammar checker extension installed because I know I make a lot of mistakes like that too). Besides that, Julia’s blog looks well on its way!

Good job Julia!

Process Post #1

Installation and setup process work +  thoughts.

This week I started the installation and setup process work for my blog. I’m not quite sure where I want my blog to go, but my vision board has a lot of lifestyle things like comfortable fashion, food, music, stationery, and the like. It had a clean, minimalistic, crisp sort of feeling to it so that’s what I want my blog to look like as well.

Because I wanted a lifestyle blog, I looked up tutorials and resources on how to start a lifestyle blog. Tutorials such as this one helped me set up and figure out where to go with my blog. A lot of steps in that tutorial we already went through in pub just by setting up a domain and hosting it through WordPress.

Another article about starting a lifestyle blog here, states that:

One thing you can do prior to setting up your own blog is to check other lifestyle websites. Reading stories from bloggers is also a good motivation. Take the interview of Charlie Hughes from as an example. Learning from other bloggers will help you manage your expectations and figure out what will make yours stand out.

I checked many other lifestyle websites because of that. They all gave me a good idea as to what to do. However, something I don’t have in common with a lot of lifestyle bloggers is that I feel like I am a little bit younger than most lifestyle bloggers who pop up on the first page of Google. I have difficulties with the way I want to present myself. I don’t want to present myself like a white middle-aged housewife who has to drive her kids to school and does yoga on the weekends – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s just not who I am, and I still am not sure how I want to be shown in this online space.

As well, I am still learning how to navigate WordPress. I’m figuring things out as we go along – such as how to optimize things in my theme. I’m still figuring out how to use certain plugins, how to customize pages and add media, but hopefully, soon I’ll know how everything works!

Stranger Danger – Interacting With Strangers

Talking to strangers can be a challenging task. In a lot of cases, there’s a clear red flag when a stranger comes up to you because who in their right mind goes up to a random stranger and just starts a conversation?

People who can ignore social cues and context to spark intimate conversations with strangers often have some ulterior motive. It’s strange, it’s jarring and uncalled for, and most people with good intuition will sense something is off. Of course, I’m not saying talking to strangers is a bad thing, it’s really sweet and wholesome – as a concept. In practice? If someone you’ve never seen before came up to you and just started a conversation? Asking you about your family life or stuff you like to do on your personal time? That’s really fishy. A lot of people often complain about modern day society being unable to interact with strangers properly – being too cold or reluctant to talk to others but it’s for a good reason. Why do you think so many people in the 70’s got murdered opening their door for random strangers and getting into people’s cars?

Take the example of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus and Peter were complete strangers when they first met. Jesus just walked up to a random guy and said “I’ll make you a fisher of men” and Peter (who was that random guy) was like “Yup, sounds cool bud. Let’s go.”

(click for context of above picture)

That was over 2000 years ago. If you really think about it though, how would that sound in a modern day context? Some random guy comes up to you, says “Hey, drop all your belongings for me let’s go fish for a man”. You’re going to:

A. pepper spray him

B. call the police

C. the most logical option: laugh awkwardly and walk away – pray to god he doesn’t talk to you again.

Of course, this is all contextual and these are very extreme examples. Not every stranger you meet is going to murder you and if a stranger comes up to you in a classroom setting and starts a conversation, it’s not odd at all. But if you are a young girl (like me) and an older man approaches you on the skytrain asking questions about yourself, you are going to feel threatened. It’s not prejudice, or having a negative bias – it’s common sense and self-preservation. Often times when an older man is approaching you asking for your name and age, it is not good news. I’m not saying there aren’t instances where grown men approach you with a completely innocent intent – because there are, there definitely are, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Because of this wariness I have with strangers, I am extremely reserved when it comes to interacting with people. So the task of talking to a stranger seemed pretty challenging to me, so I went with a very safe option – starting a conversation with a bus driver. Because the bus is a safe controlled environment that feels safe, it wasn’t super risky for me to start talking to a bus driver.

Unfortunately, I am not the best conversationalist. Our conversation went something like “Hi, how are you?” “I’m good, and you?” “I’m good thank you.” before it died, followed by a “Thank you!” “Have a good night!” twenty minutes later when I got off the bus.

The bus driver was a stranger to me, but because I knew one thing (their profession) I felt comfortable and safe around them. Truthfully I would constitute a stranger as someone who I know absolutely nothing about – the bus driver didn’t feel like such a stranger to me because I knew their occupation, and I knew they wouldn’t hurt me.