RULE 1 FOR SEDUCING A CANADIAN BOOTFITTER: Return to your illegal summer job in Canada, the job where you coach skiing without a visa for an American company on the Blackcomb glacier. It’s a kick-ass gig, and the camp you work for is sponsored by the local bootfitting shop because the owner of the shop has a ski racing daughter who needs to be coached, and Whistler is so much closer to his Utah home than Chile or the French Alps. As a part of your job—your illegal job—you will be sent to the aforementioned store to clarify details regarding the relationship between the company you work for and the bootfitters. Take note of the guy who manages the shop, the guy you’ve sort of known for three years but never bothered to pay any attention to because he seemed geeky. He isn’t geeky anymore. He’s ditched the glasses and he’s grown a patch of fuzz under his lower lip (and you’ve recently figured out what that’s good for).
RULE 2 FOR SEDUCING A CANADIAN BOOTFITTER: Pretend to be flattered by the bootfitter’s sophomoric advances and unabashed forwardness. Leave open-ended messages on his voicemail under the guise of conducting business. When he meets you for the second time, he’ll tell you he wants to do naughty things to you. Play dumb.
But after he buys you a drink whose name you can’t pronounce on the outdoor patio of the Hard Rock Cafe and then takes you back to his bachelor pad that’s decorated like Disney’s Polynesian Resort, let him further elaborate on some of those naughty things.
RULE 3 FOR SEDUCING A CANADIAN BOOTFITTER: Agree to run away to the undeveloped property that the bootfitter owns in a remote location off the coast of the Pacific Ocean for a holiday weekend. Canadians don’t go on vacation; they go on holiday. Adjust your vocabulary accordingly. Ride the ferry. Take your Subaru off-roading, go skinny-dipping, build a fire during drought season and have the lesbian neighbors call you crazy, bound across moss strewn logs in an enchanted forest, and make passionate love for two straight days. When you get back to Whistler, spend an insane amount of money on a bicycle that will be stolen three days later. It will be worth it in the end because the bootfitter will be with you when you discover the cut lock, and the experience will bring you closer together. You will feel his heart beating while you rest your sorrowful head on his chest. He will hold you tight. Try as you might, you will never be able to purge this moment from your memory.
RULE 4 FOR SEDUCING A CANADIAN BOOTFITTER: Leave Canada much later than you were supposed to. Go back to California. Change your entire life. Instead of staying in the city for the year and aspiring to greatness, take a job in the mountains and aspire to make rent each month. Send the bootfitter a postcard, letter, or package every couple of weeks. Burn him Jack Johnson and Donovan Frankenreiter albums. Sign up for unlimited long-distance calls to anywhere in North America. It will be three dollars cheaper if you limit your plan to the continental U.S., but you’ll probably want to call that bootfitter in Canada once in a while.
RULE 5 FOR SEDUCING A CANADIAN BOOTFITTER: Never refer to him as your boyfriend.
RULE 6 FOR SEDUCING A CANADIAN BOOTFITTER: Carve out a long weekend to fly back to Canada. Bring your new bike, the bike you couldn’t afford the first time around but replaced when the original was stolen.
It looks just like the stolen one, but it isn’t exactly the same. The bike is your excuse for travel. After all the phone calls and care packages, it seems like you might need an excuse.
JUST ONE RULE FOR LOSING A CANADIAN BOOTFITTER: Show up to ride your bike after not seeing the bootfitter for almost two months. Expect things to be the same as they were the last time you lay in his bed, when he held you close and tried to comfort you. Lean in to kiss him. He won’t kiss you back. He’ll tell you he’s saving kissing for more romantic encounters, like with a girlfriend. This is his way of saying you will never be his girlfriend. Wonder if you ever wanted to be his girlfriend to begin with. Unable to answer that question for yourself, get out of bed in the middle of the night because you feel cheap, like a prostitute, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she’ll do anything to Richard Gere but kiss him on the lips.
Not the end of the movie when she gets to be the princess. The beginning of the movie, when she’s still a hooker in trashy clothes. You will never be the princess; focus on reality. Sleep on the couch. It will be freezing in the living room and you’ll shiver all night. The following morning, get into a disagreement over the course of your relationship even as friends, feel tears running down your cheeks for the first time since your bike was stolen, and then watch the bootfitter leave for work at 6:45 AM. Agree to call him, to stay in touch, but don’t give your promise a specific timeframe. You’ll need more than just hours to think this all through. Sleep in until 8 AM. Your eyes will be closed but your mind will be racing. Wake up, climb the ladder to his loft, and jump on the computer to figure out how to get to Vancouver in time for your flight. While checking bus schedules, you’ll recognize an envelope you sent him weeks ago, back during Rule 4, tucked into a stack of papers. You know it’s wrong to look through those papers, but you’re moved that he’s kept the envelope and not just the letter. You want to know if he saves all your letters and their corresponding envelopes. He does.
But he also has all the letters from Lisa and Jill and Courtney and Kelly. They are dated one week ago, three weeks ago, last month, last year. Try your hardest not to throw up, then throw up anyway.