‘Twas Ladies Night

If you were wondering what other exciting activities occurred during my trip to see Josh in North Carolina, there are plenty of tales for me to share. Not all of them are 18+ rated of course, but this one is.

Suffice it to say I ended up getting smacked in the crotch, but that’s for later.

I know I’ve mentioned my almost-in-laws before, but Josh’s sister-in-law Sami is pretty awesome. She’s itty bitty and packs a punch, and was all over a girls night out during my stay. So what do two bad ass ladies do on a bad ass evening? Go to the strip club, naturally.

To be honest though, I can’t really say “naturally” because as rad as we are, this was a rather new experience for both of us. Sami had never been to such an establishment. I’ve been several times, but only ever sat in the VIP room with a group of suave shady characters more interested in beverages and business than the ladies, poking fun at the B-list and waiting for the lights to go on to see who won an assortment of age related bets. (I kept some interesting company in my early twenties.) Either way, the idea of sitting right up front with no experienced posse was a new one. So maybe we were just the slightest bit nervous. But hello, what are vacations for? So off we went.

Firstly, before we set out for the night there was the task of selecting our venue. There is no Yonge Street to go between the Brass Rail and Zanzibar, or waiting cabs for a trip somewhere else. And with booze *obviously* on the menu, we wouldn’t be hopping about. We needed to find one place for our adventure, and we needed to find the right place. A place that was nice (but not too nice), and down with unaccompanied ladies. Apparently there are places where women are not allowed without male company. Also crucial was finding one that wouldn’t leave our respective men worrying about their unaccompanied ladies and what sort of attention they might receive from rather rough crowds.

This was not a job for the new girl and the new in town girl, and so we assigned our men the work of calling up their buddies for consult. I don’t know how much ‘work’ it was, really – picking out a strip club for your girl must be at least somewhat hot. And so it didn’t take long for them to come up with Pure Gold, in the next town over.

For this we needed Irwin, a somewhat stunted GPS with a bad habit of announcing turns after they’d been past. But we got there and managed to figure out the parking lot. It was wedged sort of under and next to a few other establishments of the more daytime variety, all with their own parking. The only spaces available to us was the valet parking, five bucks. Except since the spaces were literally right next to the door, all you really had to do was give the guy in the vest a fiver for the privelege of not letting him touch your vehicle.

However, as an amusing interlude, he did announce that it was his duty to inquire as to whether we were there as guests or applicants. Between surprised snorts, we managed to tell him that no, we were not there for jobs. But thanks. We parked and went in, paid the cover, found a seat and sat down.

Did I mention it was a Thursday at about 7pm?

It was very quiet, obviously without the regulars who would filter in as the evening went on, and for about half an hour we sat awkwardly sipping our mimosas. We had our fistfulls of bills ready to go, but it seemed the dancers were less interested in dancing and more interested in morosely leaning against things. We decided it was the first night out for many of these ladies and so sat back in our chairs to wait for someone a little more interesting.

I don’t know how many of you ladies out there frequent these establishments, but if you do I’m sure you know that we for the most part aren’t there for the same reason as a male attendee (except for maybe the squat lesbian in the corner who liked the chubby ones). You see, I’m not impressed by big jiggly boobies – I have them too. I can walk in heels and lean on railings and wiggle about in a skirt. What I can’t do is support my own weight around a pole or kick higher than my head. That’s impressive.

A few more drinks later and everything was far more entertaining. The A-squad started showing up in twos, with one girl in front and another featured in the background. That’s when Blue came out, a fantastically built lady with dark skin, big tattoos, and even bigger hair. She totally ruled, and before I could blink was not just up the pole but hanging from the scaffolding in the ceiling.

I don’t know if the standard reaction to a stripper is “Wow! Come here! Can I give you money?” but she was amused and let me give her a cute smack on the bottom along with my dollaz. She was an instant favourite, and the rest of the night was spent comparing everyone else. When I got back to my seat after giving some attention to the other ladies, Blue was there again to thank us for the tips. We fawned over her hair and skills, and she promised to come out again later.

At this point my drink was distressingly low. Naturally, the lady walking around giving out body shots had perfect timing. We decided body shots were fun – a quick dance with a drink at the end! Getting a test tube out from bra strapped cleavage is a fun endeavour and always a surprise as to what fun girly flavour your drink is going to be. Yes, it would be a fun night after all, and from then on we freely tucked bills into gstrings and waitress trays alike.

We didn’t want to spend too much on the alcohol given that Sami had to drive us back and also because more booze meant less thong-dollaz. So after a few more dancers we decided to get one last body shot. The last dancer had been a buxom asian girl with cute bobbed hair and lashes for days, and she had spent a fair amount of time in our general vicinity. When she came over after her dance to thank us, I asked her if she did body shots, but she didn’t. She did, however, do lapdances.

Apparently some ladies are more rowdy than others, and this is how I ended up getting smacked in the crotch by an overplayful stripper who couldn’t possibly have known that I’d left the Nair on just a liiiiiittle too long that afternoon. It’s also how I ended up with boob on my face while Sami had a good laugh at what I’m sure was my hilariously mortified expression. 

Well then.

Carrying on, we got to see Blue work her aerobic feats again while I ordered one last drink to lessen the sting. I thought it might be a good idea to take out a little more cash for a few more minutes, but the eight dollar service charge at the ATM quickly discouraged me. That and we didn’t want to stay out too late, it being a week night and all. Plus Sami agreed to wake up early the next morning to drive Josh and I to the radio show, so a relatively early night suited us just fine.

We made our exit a while later, right about the time the girls stopped dancing and just stood all together in a crowd on the stage. We weren’t sure what the purpose was, if were just supposed to buy one of them or something, so we made a quick trip to the ladies room before making our giggly exit.

Sami was fine to drive but I wasn’t much more help than the befuddled GPS on the way home. We got turned around a few times in a town that neither of us knew before getting back on the right highway. The men were still up waiting for us when we got back in, and we stayed up a bit longer drinking beer and exchanging tales of our evenings.

Eventually, tired after an eventful night, we all wandered off to our beds. Of course I had to explain to Josh why I was a little on the fragile side…

50's House Wife Wig - photo

You see honey, it started with this one stripper...

Little Signs That You’re Doing It Right

Josh and I, having met from afar over the internet, have grown used to commenting on each others blog. We still do, even though we could say what we think (and often do) right to each other’s faces. Via video, of course.

Josh’s most recent opinion, found on my rage against mayo below, just so happens to be the 800th comment on this blog, which began as a way to document our progress across just that many miles.

Cute? Yes.

Creepy? A little…

Inappropriate Uses for Mayonnaise

So this may come as a complete and utter surprise to anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of being graced with my presence during a micro-conniption, but sometimes things get under my skin a little more than perhaps they ought to.

Today’s culprit is mayonnaise.

At first I was pissed at Hellmann’s mayo, with it’s innocuous claims of support for the ‘real food movement’ and it’s warm-toned commercials featuring healthy looking, natural hair coloured people lavishing their appreciation for such a fine, locally grown product with more sincerity and emotion than anyone should feel towards a condiment.  I couldn’t find the Canadian version on youtube, but the UK version isn’t much better.

Imagine our version as less preppie and more organic-cotton-hip, undeniably aimed at the urban, young adult, go-green culture. I watch it and go ‘woooooaaaah Toronto’ (or maybe Vancouver, they seem pretty hip and earthy too.) I don’t mind this culture – I’ve got a solid food planted in it. I just hate being pandered to, and this is how Hellmann’s pissed me right the hell off.

Hey social and/or environmental activists, we're your brand!

In fact, when a saw a second commercial regarding mayo that pissed me off a little bit extra, I was confounded for hours trying to find it on youtube before I realized it wasn’t even Hellmann’s. I’d been blinded with disdain for them because I consider ‘buy local, eat real food’ to consist of shopping at farmers markets when available, not choosing one massive corporation over another. I am all about growing your own food or supporting Canadian farming – but not paying six levels of middle-men advert execs in the process. Anyways, with all this fist-shaking, I hadn’t even noticed an even more irritating culprit.

Miracle Whip.

Have you seen this ad?


Yeah. For reals, yo.

To get the full effect, you can watch the whole commercial here. I know, I know, it’s a pain sometimes to click links and follow them. But this one wasn’t on youtube either, and I can’t embed it in wordpress. I’m just glad I found it, so just click on it, por favor. It’s a thirty second commercial, and you’ll probably get the gyst of it about halfway through.

So! Continuing on then.

Dear Various Mayonnaise Producers:

You make a condiment. It goes nicely on my sandwich, in potato salad or in devilled eggs.  And these are all lovely, appropriate and often delicious uses for your product. However, that’s pretty much the extent of it.

Mayonnaise, the average person would agree, should not be used as a thick, fattening conduit for the voice of a generation. And on that note, what exact voice do you think we have? That we’re so principled about “keeping it real” that we’re going to get up in arms if you have the nerve to suggest we change the ingredients of whatever we’re bringing to a picnik? “Don’t eat the egg salad Janine brought, she buys her food from THE MAN!”

I don’t care how organic or special or real or hardcore you think your shit is. It’s MAYO!!! Nobody dips their fist in it and then walks around with their sticky digits held high up in the air crying “Death to Capitalism!” It just doesn’t happen.

Hellmann’s – I’m not a total hippie, seeing as I too have my fair share of over processed crap sitting on the shelves. But in my ongoing efforts to avoid being a hypocrite, I’ve gone through your website in an attempt to find out where you do in fact get your ingredients. Your eggs are ‘free range’, a term thrown around all too casually and often paired up with lush imagery of green grass, clear skies and sunlight.

We're totally on your side

By the way, this is considered 'free range'

Oh, and I’ll be damn sure to ask my local farmers the next time I’m out buying berries if they happen to have any calcium disodium EDTA. Yeah, that’s nice and local.

Also Hellmann’s, you’re owned by Unilever. Just like Dove, Axe, Knorr, and every other major brand trying to sell itself as something special in their ongoing effort to make a buck. Look, if you’re out to make money, just say so. If you’re of the opinion that birds are put on this earth to be cooped up and fed to us, then fine. Just don’t lie to my face about it.

And you, Miracle Whip. It seems you’re trying evoke the mental words of ‘punk’ or ‘rebel’ or dare you say ‘anarchy’. You with your smarmy faux attitude and slightly rakish young lady – can’t be hardcore with long hair, can you? Are you trying to be hip? Are your lined up little jars going to start sporting skinny jeans if this latest campaign to thwart your do-good competitors falls short? I say again to you – MAYONNAISE!!! You want to be Gen-Y? Here’s Gen-Y: we’ve grown up with the internet and enough information to understand how marketing is driven – well enough to see through your crafted appeal to our embittered habit of spending money on things that say we’re too cool to spend money on things. You’re the salad dressing version of buying an anarchist t-shirt at the mall.

So I’m eschewing mayo. Too much damn aggravation. Do you want to know how you can tell if something is real? If you can’t stack it on the shelf for an eerily long amount of time. And how to tell if something is unique, special, and ‘not toned down’? Make it your damn self, that’s how.

Oil and eggs, people. Throw in some mustard and get a blender!

Celebrate Good Times!

Ok, I know you’ve all been just dying for some vacation details, so at long last, here we go! This will be one of many installments of our adventures.

It makes sense to start at the beginning, which in fact was way back in April – when we picked the general timeframe for my visit and I started the months long scrambling to get all the details sorted out. I had the paperwork to get my passport already printed off and ready for fine-comb scrutiny. It probably took about three attempts at filling in all the little boxes and squares and ‘this only applies to you if you were born at this spot before this date’ spaces before I was certain it could be brought in for government inspection without meeting instant rejection for having a signature go outside the lines. When it came time to choose which government line to brave for a morning, I chose a location far from the centre of the city. Less popular, less people, less lining up, less chance of me snapping at someone who controls where I’m allowed to travel.

It went off without a hitch, and within another few weeks I had my passport. My SUPER regimented, no glasses, no smiling, no frowning, no expression whatsoever passport. I look like a disaffected yuppie and it cost me $8. And that was just for the pictures, nevermind the little blue folded book itself.

Next came picking the dates for flights and hotels, trying to maximize our alloted vacation time between weekends and matters-of-convenience for getting myself to the necessary airports. As soon as the dates were picked, the tickets purchased and the hotel reserved, it was just a matter of waiting. Shopping, and waiting.

FINALLY June rolled around. The last two weeks crawled and dragged by until one morning I strolled into work with a bright smile on my face. I made no bones about announcing my state of mind to the world at large: “People, I am not here today. Technically I am not here tomorrow, as I will be on a plane to visit my boyfriend in warm climates for the first time in one year. But rest assured, I am not here today either. Is the coffee machine broken? My good sir, I do not care.”

The next morning my mother picked me up for the drive to Buffalo, as it was $100 cheaper to cross the border in a car instead of flying directly out of Toronto. The navigation was a bit rough. Next time I’ll get the directions myself instead of leaving it up to her to leave up to her boyfriend to leave to the last minute resulting in no more than a poorly printed map and handwritten, somewhat incorrect instructions. However, we got there. And after connecting issue-free in Detroit, I got there.

There is here

Josh’s brother Nate drove him to the airport to pick me up, and dropped us off at the hotel where Josh had checked in earlier. In we rolled with our luggage, up the elevator, down the hall, and, well I’ll leave it at that for at least a few hours 😉
We hadn’t stopped to eat dinner, so later that evening I was starving. I figured we could go to a bar or restaurant, but anything nearby was closed by ten. Even with the scooter Josh had already brought to the hotel, the closest source of food was the SuperWalmart. We decided on a late night junk food/grocery shopping spree. I’m not usually a big fan of Walmart or its inhabitants, but I figure when in Rome…(or the South…)
It's ok, Talea was at the gym...

It's ok, Talea was at the gym...

The next morning, or maybe the following morning (I may have lost track of time…), I asked Josh to take me to Ihop for breakfast. He agreed, but was disappointed to learn that it’s somewhat of a misnomer. The “international” house of pancakes is at most a “national” house unless they have them in Mexico – we sure don’t have them in Canada, or at least not that I’ve seen. I in fact did not have pancakes, which I have not been able to stomach since a rather disastrous event with plane food many moons ago. Nor did I get waffles, which I’m told would have been an acceptable substitute. I got a strawberry crepe, which was damn good. I also had a lovely eyeful of Ihop patronage, and the new knowledge that some folk do in fact eat fried chicken for breakfast and encourage their kids to do the same.


Our breakfast was followed by much in the way of napping (sort of), to fill the hour or so one is supposed to wait before post-eating aquatic adventures. Yes, the hotel had a pool. But between the hot sun and the small family taking up most of the water, we opted to stay indoors. The pool was small, and it wasn’t so much about there being a crowd as there being just one family – we weren’t really in the mood for inevitable tourist small talk. Luckily, there were recreational activities to be found inside as well. 

This photo took approximately 37 takes.

Word, they had a jacuzzi!

We also went out to dinner at the Outback (which I think we do have in Canada, but I haven’t been in a while), and clothes shopping at Target. It may seem mundane to spend a vacation going to Walmart and Target, but we never get to do these little every day things together. Getting to spend an hour trying on shorts and lamenting the lack of non-thong sandals for men is a rare opportunity!

Alas, the weekend could not last forever, and we only stayed at the hotel for a few days. So after 60 some odd hours of our shagedelic fest of sugar, saunas and shopping, we packed up our bags and waited for our ride to Nate and Sami’s house to stay with them for the rest of our vacation. The first thing we did all together was head on over to their parents house for a family dinner with what I like to refer to as my ‘almost in-laws’. They love to take pictures at any and all opportunity, flattering or not…

Thought bubble says "Hey what are you - "

Thought bubble says "Hey what are you - "

Photobombed, and still adorable

Photobombed, and still adorable

And of course, we took plenty of pictures ourselves.

Totally worth the wait!

Totally worth the wait!

That’s all for this first installment, the adventures continue soon! Coming up next, we’ve got killer dogs, date night, strippers, licking (not to be confused with stripper licking), and other fun.

Stay tuned!

Happy (Belated) Canada Day

Okay, I know I’m eons late by now. But did you really want me to half ass a post about Canada? I didn’t think so.

And yes, pictures of the vacation are on the way. Josh is moving around right now, so he hasn’t had time to send them to me. Don’t forget, we’ve got celebrities, strippers, and inappropriate licking. So stay tuned!

Now, onto Canada Day.

In case you didn’t notice somewhere along the way, or are joining us here for the first time, I’m the Canadian half of this couple. Josh, on the other hand, is from the Deep South of America. It makes for some fun times, but it also leads to very involved, sometimes heated conversations about our different ways of life, politics, and principals. I have to admit it can sometimes be difficult for me to not bash my head into the wall at a lot of what I see coming out of America…


But on the plus side, there are advantages to being in a relationship with someone who’s way of life has been totally different than mine, and who will debate me on things that matter. He can play up the southern redneck side when he wants, but at the end of the day Josh is sharp, and politically motivated. You can’t bullshit him. So when he doesn’t understand or agree with why we do what we do, I have to be on my toes.

I realize that as far as some are concerned (it’s okay Talea, I still lub you) being from Toronto may somewhat negate my Canadian status. After all, it’s a pretty massive piece of land and civilization – I’ve only seen the French and Maritime parts of it, and my day to day life is mired in urban culture as opposed to prairies, mountains, and small town issues. But a year of dating an American, I have discovered, makes you want to be the best damn Canadian you can be.

This isn’t to imply that Josh is arrogant or anything – quite the opposite in fact. I’m continually impressed at his wanting to know and understand everything about the country he’s moving to, to pick at issues until he’s sure he has the facts. But to give him those facts, I have to make sure I know what I’m talking about.

For example, we do have an army

I’m not going to go into a long involved schpiel about our differing policies, beliefs and political structures. Frankly, politics are only so exciting, even during that coalition brouhaha we had. I’m even going to try and avoid grandstanding (as much as I’d love to run around with a flag yelling CA-NA-DAAAA! FUCK YEAH!!!) Because when you get right down to the nitty gritty of comparing rights, freedoms, taxes, benefits, social institutions and etc., well… it can be disappointing. Josh is still very true to his southern heritage, but I think he’s more than a little frustrated at the state of his nation lately. Sometimes I feel a little bad about it.

However, I will say that despite some decline, Canada’s economy has fared relatively well. There’s no doubt we’ve been affected, but I believe that our economic and political foundations are strong enough to weather bad times – relatively speaking, we’ve got it together.  I will say that we have health care. There are problems, I know. It may take months to get an ultrasound, there may not be enough general practitioners, but when your kid is sick at 3 in the morning and you can’t figure out what’s wrong, you don’t have to think about whether or not you can afford to go to the hospital. I will also say that when I told Josh that I’d want to consider placing our eventual kids in the seperate  school system rather than the public system, I was dumbfounded when he asked me how much that would cost – it never occured to me that others don’t have free access to more than one school system. And I will say that I’ve grown to appreciate the multicultural mecca of  Toronto more and more every day – do you have any idea how many kinds of food I get to feed Josh? 

So moreso than anything else this past year, I have learned not to take these things for granted. While we’re not the biggest or loudest player, Canada is a well respected member of the international community. And we didn’t get here by having the biggest army, by being the most outspoken, by having a standardized Canadian flag hanging above every porch or so help you the neighbours will talk. We got here by quietly building up a solid foundation of domestic and international diplomacy, by beginning our country with less war and more politics, and by encouraging flags from around the world to be flown next to our own. We’re more than maple syrup, mounties, and whatever party is in charge this quarter. It’s how those parties interact, how the entire system is set up. I like to think of it as a hockey team that doesn’t always get along, but scores when it counts, parties calling each other out for the greater goal of winning at the internationals. It’s how we work with each other, and with the rest of the world.

Yes indeed, it is a damn fine year to be Canadian.

I can’t wait until Josh is here to see everything that Canada, and especially Toronto, is all about. The Gerrard Indian Bazaar, Greektown, Corsa Italia, Chinatown, Litte Portugal and others. The Pride Parade, the music festivals, the film festivals, the Agricultural Winter Fair, Winterlicious and Summerlicious, the theatre, the symphony, the media, and the constant barrage of invitations to info sessions on everything from meditation to Darfur.

More than anything I’m really looking forward to just having him here living with me. But I’m also hoping that while keeping his own brand of southern flavour, he also gets to understand that certain je nais se quoi of what it is to be Canadian.

Did you see what I did there? With the French? Pretty clever, huh?