Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Observations on America & Getting Motorboated by a Stripper

I hope you guys are enjoying your holidays!! 

It's been a tradition in our family that after all the presents are opened, that the "kids" roll around in the wrapping paper and giggle profusely. Well, all of the kids in our family are grown up and moved away, so it's just myself and my older cousin who are left. It was very painful because the giant pile of wrapping paper also includes huge boxes, bags, staples, etc. 

How perfect is this picture, considering I'm paranoid about showing
my face until my teaching gig is done? Thank you tissue paper for
positioning yourself there. And thank you, uncle's questionable hand,
for looking like you're copping a feel.
The day after Christmas, Yentl, Yentl's boyfriend, Yentl's boyfriend's brother and I went on a mini-road trip to the closest American city, which is about 4 hours away -- 3 with Yentl's boyfriend's brother driving. We usually visit this city about 3 times a year because: a) They have a Victoria's Secret; b) The Canadian dollar has been almost at par with the American dollar since the recession, which means it's really cheap to shop there; and c) They have strange yet awesome American things like biscuits & gravy. They gave us a hard time going across the border, probably because we're four extremely good-looking and intimidating young people. They kept asking us trick questions like, "Are you visiting anyone?" and we'd reply with "no." Then a minute later, they'd ask, "Who are you visiting again?" Very sneaky.

I love traveling to the States for many reasons. Before I tell you why, you should know that I'm half-American. My Dad's side of the family is from Missouri. They (the only 3 that I've ever met, including my Dad) don't know how to ice-skate. They say things like "melk" instead of "milk." Fantastic. So, please know that I'm making fun of half of myself when I tell you why I love traveling to the States.

1) The Food
Last time we went, we spent $200 of groceries. This is because you can find everything flavoured everything that you can't get where we live. Like chocolate Cheerios. Whatever-you-want flavoured potato chips. Chex mix. Spray-on cheese in a bottle...yuck. My aunt always asks me to bring her back these ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING cracker sandwiches that you can't get at home. They consist of 2 fluorescent orange cheese crackers with fake peanut butter in the middle. I want to gag just looking at them. Also, the food items on the menu are quite interesting. You can get fried chicken sandwiches covered in white gravy for breakfast. Plus, the portions are HUGE. I know one can argue that it depends where you go, and that there are plenty of healthy restaurants across the USA, and that where we go is not representative of the whole country. But, the portion sizes really are HUGE. I always forget that most meals come with 3 or 4 sides, which are large, and that you usually get biscuits/breadsticks/whatever before meals. I love it!

2) The Drugstores, Politics, and Speech
You wouldn't think that there'd be many differences between the city where I live, and one that's only a couple hours away in a different country. But there are! There are Walgreen's (a drugstore that's open 24 hours I believe?) on every corner. Also, politics are a much bigger deal. When I visited this city 2 years ago, right before the Presidential election, there were signs on every front lawn. On street corners, I saw groups of Obama supporters with signs and megaphones, while cars were honking. Even now, 2 years later, when I flip on the news in the hotel room, it's always about politics. Additionally, I've been to lots of different States in my life, and the one thing that I always notice is that people very seldom say "you're welcome" if you say "thank you." Instead, people will often say "mmm hmmm" or "uh huh" or "yup." And don't get mad at me for saying that, because it's true. 

3) The General Cultural Differences
Thanksgiving is apparently a huge deal in the States, according to my Dad. Almost as important as Christmas, if not more so. And it happens in November, with a giant parade in some big city, with Santa at the end. My Dad said that his family would always eat apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese on top for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if that's an American thing, or just a gross family thing. The one important holiday for me, which seems to not be a big deal in the States, is Boxing Day (December 26th). Apparently it doesn't exist in the States. Instead they have "After Christmas Sales." Where I live, people line up as early as 4 AM on Boxing Day at certain stores to get ridiculous deals and free stuff. So, although there were some great "After Christmas Sales" where we went, there was nothing amazing. I kind of wish I would have stayed home for the shopping, actually. But I'm sure in awesome, bigger cities in the States, things are much different.

Speaking of shopping, one sales assistant asked me, "Do you even have a mall where you live?" (keep in mind the fact that my city is double the size of the city we were visiting). Oh, man.

And speaking of epic, ridiculous questions, I shall conclude this blog post with a short tale of our Boxing Day evening adventure. 

On Boxing Day evening, the four of us went out for a fancy dinner. Yentl and I wore our new dresses that we had just bought that day. Our food was amazing, and we were back at our hotel at 9:30. The boys were content to watch TV and eat chips (after just having eaten steak dinners...geesh!) but Yentl and I wanted to go out. The boys informed us that there would be nowhere to go on a Sunday night after Christmas, but Yentl and I were determined. The boys made us go into a gas station and awkwardly ask  2 older-aged women behind the counter where the closest strip club was (strip clubs are open all the time, right?!?) One of them told us that we'd have to drive to a small town about 15 mins away, in a different state, which is nuts. That's because the "good" strip club in the city where we were staying was closed. Also, it's nuts that you can go to a different State in 15 mins! She warned us though: "Only go to ______, because let me tell ya, the other strip club is filled with skanks!"

So, we drove. This small town turned out to be definitely sketchy. The strip club we went to was ten times more sketchy. Because it was a Sunday, there were only 3 other "gentlemen" in the club besides the 4 of us. The DJ, who was wearing the most epic flood pants I have ever seen, had a giant bucket perched on his podium with the words "DJ Tips" creepily scrawled across it. Who tips a DJ? I've never heard of that. Especially when said DJ plays Backstreet Boys with long periods of silence between song changes.

Okay, so I'm guessing you want to hear about the strippers. Well, there were two of them. The first one seemed quite nasty, and the second one seemed quite young and "new," shall I say? I got the impression that she hadn't been stripping for that long. I felt bad for both of them, because the 4 of us were sitting off to the side, which meant that they were forced to entertain the 3 gross old men that were left. They didn't take their bottoms off (which they do were I live) which I appreciated, because it just makes me uncomfortable. Plus, there's often a lot of glow-in-the-dark things usually happening down there on the strippers, that makes it hard to look away, trying to figure out the logistics of getting pierced in places one wouldn't expect to get pierced.

Anyways, after Yentl and I had a few drinks, we decided that we should at least say hello to the strippers because we had been there for so long and hadn't acknowledged their presence. Yentl's boyfriend & boyfriend's brother pretended to seem uninterested in the strippers the entire night, but encouraged us to go up to the front of the stage. At this point, the young-looking "new" stripper was dancing. Here is the conversation that ensued...

The stripper starts dancing. I hold up $5 because I feel like I should give her something (she must have had a difficult time making $$ that night), and because I didn't want to pay enough for any "services." She's dancing on the pole in front of us and then approaches us. Her face is definitely less pretty closer up.

Me: First of all, I love your shoes. (Stripper laughs). Second of all, what do you do to keep in shape? Besides the pole I mean. Your body is fantastic.

Stripper: (Makes her belly pudgy and slaps it). This? Ha, I'm not in shape. I do nothing!

Yentl: You're quite good on the pole.

Stripper: Oh, I can't actually do anything. I've only been doing it for 3 months.

Suddenly, one of the other men in the club comes over and looks at me, throwing a 20-dollar bill down right in front of her. 

Old Man: She won't do anything unless you give her 20 bucks.

Me: Oh, um, no thanks. I --

Suddenly, the stripper removes my glasses. Why is she doing that? I wonder. And before I know it, she shoves her boobs in my face, with the "motorboat" motion. 

Me: Oh, umm, that was enjoyable. Ummm...not really necessary, though.

Then, she does it to Yentl.

Yentl: Wow, they're so soft!

Me: Best part of the road trip.

Yentl: We're from ______. (The Stripper looks at us cluelessly). Ontario. (The stripper looks at us cluelessly again.) Canada?

Stripper: Oh, you're from Canada!

The old man is still standing next to me, staring at us.

Me: (To old man) This is a girls only zone.

Old Man: But you're in a gentleman's club. (Everyone laughs.)

Stripper: What cities are there in Canada?

Yentl: Montreal? Toronto? Edmonton?

Me: Vancouver? 

Stripper: Oh yeah, I've heard of Vancouver. Aren't you guys like really strict in Canada?

Me: Ummm, no? There's no Prop 8 (she looks at me cluelessly again). We can drink at a younger age...

Stripper: Right, you can drink at 18!

Yentl: Yeah, in some provinces. In most, it's 19.

Stripper: Yessssss! Wait -- I have to go dance again. I'll come back later!

We talked for a bit longer than what I wrote -- shopping, The Mall of America, shoes, etc. And when we came back to the table, the boys were so impressed. You should know that the boys are probably the two most polite, well-mannered men I've ever met. I've probably been to the strip club in town more than them, and they absolutely do not sit by the stage or even look at the strippers in an obvious way. But they were so impressed when we came back. "What did she say?" "Wow, k-money, you looked so relaxed, with your elbows resting on the stage and everything!" "What did she look like up close?" Yentl told them that "her boobs relaxed and weren't pointy anymore." Geesh. I looked at the stripper's face the entire time she was talking. Yentl, you're such a perv.

So, that was probably the highlight of my holiday: getting boobs smashed into my face. God bless America. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Survived! And tales of Orlando Bloom.

I finished teaching gig #1! Although I had several things thrown at me -- computer keyboards, snowballs, insults, etc. -- I came out with minimal scars. As much as I wanted to blog & Christmas shop & make cookies, I spent this past week doing far more interesting things.

For the past 5 days, I have:

1) Sat on the couch
2) Knitted 5 scarves
3) Watched all of the Lord of the Rings extended editions + bonus material
4) Showered once

Have you ever listened to a song from your childhood/teenhood that you had forgotten about and suddenly remembered all the words? I felt the same way with LOTR. I was in love with them in the early 00s, and caught myself blurting out the lines along with the characters. Even the hobbit drinking songs. 

The one thing I think that I should mention, that played a huge part of my embarrassing life as a teenager, is Orlando Bloom. Legolas from Lord of the Rings. My obsession with him used to be almost as great as my obsession with David Bowie. You don't understand. My locker/binders/bathroom/Christmas cards were covered with his face. I had a birthday party for him when I was in grade 11. I made heart-shaped cookies with our initials in the center. I even made a giant Orlando man cookie, in the hope that people would fight over eating his crotch (nobody did, except me.) I even wrote Orlando love poems for the occasion and recited them to my hippie friends in the yearbook room. People came for the free cookies, but thought I was totally nuts. 

When I saw Orlando on the screen, things came flooding back to me. Facts about him. For example, I suddenly remembered that he lost his virginity at 14; that his favourite ice-cream flavour is mint chocolate chip; and that he broke his back while climbing a drain-pipe and falling. Just like the lyrics to a forgotten song, I found myself remembering facts and thinking, How do you remember these insignificant details? Even if you don't particularly like Orlando, you can't deny that Legolas is one of the best characters of LOTR. He utters ridiculous and intuitive lines like, "This forest is old. Very old. Full of memory" and "I feel a shadow and a threat growing on my mind." Ohhhhhhhh. Very deep. 

"I don't think I heard you properly. You made a cookie of me just so you could eat my cookie crotch?"
Here's to you, Orlando. I still have your autographed pictures in a box somewhere. Although I used to practice my signature with a "Bloom" at the end, I think it's great that you married someone, even if I think you could have done better than a Victoria's Secret model. Although you haven't done anything substantial since Pirates of the Caribbean, it's great that you've taken some time off the do theatre, or whatever. 

Now that this past week is over, I have lots to do. I have to catch up on all your blogs! I have to buy and wrap presents. I also have to make Christmas cookies. Maybe I'll make an Orlando one for old times sake...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I've Learned This (Half) Week # 3

I can't wait until this whole teacher gig is done....then I can actually post pictures and NOT cut them off at eye level (or cover my face with a picture/facemask/someone's ass), as you've probably noticed is what I do. I've always been a paranoid person -- not in a schizophrenic sense, where I think the government is out to get me -- but in a sense that I will be busted for something I say. I'm TERRIFIED that someone will somehow, miraculously, find this blog by chance (although the odds are obviously 1 in a million) and this person will end up being a colleague. And BAAAM, I don't graduate and BAAAM I'm accused of "professional misconduct" for having a blog that contains swears and/or transvestites and/or details of how I provided evil students with poo-infested pencil crayons. And because I'm paranoid, I'm the worst gossiper. Sure, I can gossip anyone's ear off, but it has to be done:

a) in an enclosed space, like a car or jail cell
b) via text message (after I triple check that I've sent it to the right person, of course)
c) secretly -- i.e. I refer to the person I am gossiping about in code, and refuse to make eye contact with him/her if he/she is nearby

What I really mean to say is: gossiping is bad. Don't do it, kiddies.

Now that that's out of the way, here's some things I have learned this (half) week:

1) Twisted Sister's Christmas Album is THE BEST Holiday Music
Remember Twisted Sister, the terrifying & wonderful 2-hit wonder of the 80s? I got hooked on their Christmas album, A Twisted Christmas, last year. I have now given it the title of "Best Christmas Album Ever Besides A Few Other Good Ones." This is why:

Doesn't this song sound uncannily like their smash hit, "We're Not Gonna Take It"? They also have an amazing version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," so aptly re-titled "Heavy Metal Christmas." Instead of "a partridge in a pear tree," it's "a tattoo of Ozzy." Instead of "five golden rings," it's "five skull earrings." And most importantly, instead of "nine ladies dancing," it's "nine tattered t-shirts." By eliminating the spectacle of ladies dancing, this song is clearly feminist. Revolutionary. Ground-breaking. Pure genius.

2) Bringing Jack Daniels-Filled Chocolates to Class Will Not Make You Cool
The grade nines think they can get drunk on these. It reminds me of the time I had some friends over and I made alcohol-free punch. We were 16, I think, and they begged me to put alcohol in it. I told them I did (I didn't!) The fake drunken shenanigans were great. Placebo effect, anyone? They emptied the punch bowl, and when I refilled it, I actually added booze. But nobody touched it because "it tastes gross." These things don't really have anything to do with one another besides the fact that young teenagers are dumb when it comes to drunkenness. But that's old news.

3) I Have Horrible/Cool Pants That Could Rival The Hammer Pants
That's right, I said. I found this baby tucked away at the back of my dresser. In Grade 12, I paid to have a seamstress sew all these ridiculous patches on my pants (in a careless, splattered way to look like I didn't care, of course). I wore them for a day -- and got so many confused glances -- that I shoved them away and never looked at them again. Until recently. Not only am I shocked at the things I once found cool (Blink 182, Care Bears, and patches for swimming achievement) but I am shocked at how tiny these jeans are. It would be a freakin' miracle if I could fit one leg into these pants now.

They do go longer, but there's a patch that reveals where I live. And then, for sure for sure, potential colleagues could read this and KNOW where I live and then bust me for professional misconduct. So, sorry!
That's right, these pants will be vintage someday. Although I am planning on having cats, not kids, I'm sure teenagers of the future will be dying to get their hands on these. I scold my mom for getting rid of her bellbottoms & platforms of the 70s, so I've learned that clothing from the past can become cool again someday (platforms + Spicegirls anyone? Very cool.) But the only way that I see myself having children in the future is if these men mix their sperm in a turkey baster for me...
The Canadian Tenors -- the Canadian version of Il Divo. Go ahead, laugh. But I saw them in concert and they made my soul melt. In a good way.

If I could travel back in time and Tim Curry could let me "see what's on the slab."

Never mind, I don't have a shot.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Apologize For Quoting Beyonce

Let me start this post with a snippet of a Beyonce song: "If I were a boooooyyyy..."

Julie Andrews, pretending to be a male drag queen in
Victor/Victoria. When I was younger, I used to pray that she'd adopt me
and whisk me away to Austria and sing me goatherd lullabies.
Don't roll your eyes at me, thinking, "Geez, she's gonna talk about how she wishes she were a boy because menstrual cramps suck." Yes, that's obvious, and I'm not going to talk about it. I'm also not going to talk about how men are called "studs" and women are called "sluts." Everyone knows that. I will tell you that sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I were a boy because I'm not as amazing as Julie Andrews. She can pull off pretending to be a guy pretending to be a girl, but I'm not quite as talented.

As you've undoubtedly noticed throughout my posts, I have a thing for drag queens. Let me rephrase: I have a thing for good drag queens. I only like drag queens that actually look like women. And before you go all "whoa, I don't want to hear about your sexual fantasies!" let me clarify. I am fascinated with drag queens. I don't necessarily want to rip their thongs off with my teeth (unless it's Tim Curry's circa 1975). I just want to go backstage with them, allow them to do my makeup, and join them onstage for a Whitney number. Oh, and I want biceps and a bulge in my crotch, just for fun.

I have quite the dilemma you see: I am a girl. I guess I could dress as a drag king -- but where's the fun in that? Sure, wearing a suit and slapping on a fake stache is liberating, but not nearly as fun as super-huge eyelashes, 5-inch heels, and fake boobs (I'm sure many guys would argue that the penis tuck is not fun, however). And lord knows that I could use some eyelashes, a pair of heels, and some boobs, because I am definitely lacking in all three.

No, I wouldn't call this a gender identity crisis. I don't actually want to be a boy. Boys are gross. All of the ones I've encountered in real life are douchebags/sleep in pizza boxes/cannot spell. (FYI: I know this is very stereotypical/false/unreasonable but very truthful/accurate/real for all the men I've dated. So, don't get your patriarchal panties in a knot, people). Plus, boy parts are gross. 

"If I were a booooyyy...I would have boy parts that I'd have to look at every time I take a pee and I would be grossed out..... whoa oooohh whoa."
Okay, maybe that was a bit offensive. If a guy said, "eewww, girl parts are gross!" I'd be offended. 

Anyways, I guess I'll never be able to have my wish of becoming a drag queen fulfilled. Also, the drag shows in my small city SUCK. I guess I'll just live vicariously through my favourite ones. Sigh. A girl can dream, right? Or rather, a girl who wants to be a guy so he/she can dress up like a girl can dream, right?

I will now leave you with RuPaul, who in my opinion, is the best of the best. And yes, the juxtaposition of the image to the above right & the one of Beyonce was completely intentional.