In order to understand the full impact of my ongoing learning curve described in this blog, a few details about me must be shared:

  • I am a white girl. So white, I am almost translucent. Almost every item here applies to me.
  • I am an accountant and exhibit most traits associated with accountants (except for attention to detail, oddly enough. That has proven to be a bit of a hurdle, in my career).
  • The term “vanilla” has been used to describe me, by trusted sources. I disagree with this assessment, but deep down, I know it isn’t that untrue.

Introducing THE boxing gym

Two years ago, I joined a boxing gym, located in downtown Montreal, in an area that is slightly rough (future posts will elaborate on this). I love this gym. It is fabulously gangsta. It is located in a dank basement, and upon entering the staircase that leads to it, the only sounds that can be heard are the sound of the timer’s bell, the punching bags being hit, and hip-hop music that is so authentic, I don’t recognize any of it because it doesn’t play on mainstream radio.

I am a visible minority at this gym. There are only 3 other white people in my class (of about 20-25), and of this sub-group, I am the only one without a tattoo. (See? vanilla!!) The diversity of this gym is what appeals so much to me: every ethnicity is present, as are every possible career and lifestyle – a true Montreal mix!

A few of my teammates took pity on me, after I confessed that I had only discovered Jay-Z & Eminem’s song “Renegade” (released in 2001) at the gym, in 2013. One teammate in particular, Nene, has taken me under his wing, and is attempting to teach me how to be more gangsta.

Lesson 1: ratchet

One day this summer, Nene told me to add “ratchet” to my vocabulary.

I found this in Webster's English Dictionary.

I found this in Webster’s English Dictionary.

I dutifully memorized this word. And yet, for weeks, I was unable to find a suitable occasion to use it. One day, over drinks with some of my accountant friends, I confided to them my struggles over the term “ratchet”.

I did not foresee the consequences of my actions.

Since then, at the office, everything from certain spreadsheets to the coffee machine is ratchet. These accountants are applying this adjective with indiscriminate gusto. In fact, this very morning, one of them texted me to let me know that throughout his latest half-marathon yesterday, the refrain in his head was: “Sti que c’est ratchet mon affaire!”

Nene must be proud of his legacy. I am a quick study.



  1. Ratchet is a sexist term. It is not used against males, as a rule. It seems we don’t have enough terms of insult for women–we must keep inventing new ones. I would, perhaps, take no issue if we did the same for men.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Naw, I admit it’s used that way here, too. But it was used more to describe young women. Vine had a whole mess o’ vines about ’em. Funny? Some. But still wholly, sexistly obnoxious.

        Liked by 1 person

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