Beer Freedom

It’s that time of the year in Canada when we trade in our winter boots and down-filled jackets for shorts and ball caps. We walk out of our air-tight apartments blinking into the sun, stumbling in search of outdoor space. As soon as the thermometer hits 10C we’re on patios, sometimes still in toques, covered in blankets, and tucked underneath space heaters, but we’re on a patio dammit!

We live so much of our lives avoiding the cold that as soon as that sun starts to warm our cold hearts we’re ready to swig as much golden ale and booze-filled slush as possible on a packed picnic bench, tucked behind a fence. We love our patios, beer gardens, and other equally restrictive outdoor pens to consume alcohol.

Because we love it so much if means that we’re often hunting for elusive patio space, turning up disappointed. I don’t want to disparage the wonderful world of patios, there is little better than spending an entire afternoon with friends and beers, but, I’m no high roller and that gets expensive. Then think about festivals, being tucked into an area that often doesn’t allow you to enjoy the music, has a long line, and overpriced beer. This is not ideal.

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How, not what.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a writer. It’s one of those jobs that people perk up about when I claim it as my profession. I think a lot of that is because its one of those jobs that people seem to believe you can’t get.

As any liberal arts major will tell you, we were all led to believe (at one time or another) that we were wasting our time in programs that wouldn’t amount to much. Luckily for me, I get to spend my days doing something I like and people seem to think I’m good at. I talk to people, listen closely, then spend hours putting what I’ve heard down on paper in the clearest way I know how.

Really, as much as my job is writing, it really is about discerning what is important and removing everything else. (Then hopefully I can also do something creative with it to grab a reader’s attention.)

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Perfect Timing

I have a passion for what some might call “bad photos.” You know the ones, where the camera snaps before your eyes were open or before you lifted your head or your hand isn’t perfectly on your hip yet or your mouth is making an awkward upside-down duck bill. These, by far, are a few of my favourite things. If my friends allowed me, I would make shirts with all their stupid grins, drunken smirks, distance glances, and awkward stances; and I would wear them with pride.

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Of course there are just ‘bad photos,’ and its tough to put my finger on what it is that differentiates the special ones from the ones we ought to chuck in the waste basket. But, for me at least, I think it comes down to a few simple things.

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And it was perfect

You took my hand in yours
too tipsy to sit
you walked with me.

You took my hand in yours
up a that never ending hill
I giggled and you smiled.

You took my hand in yours
telling tales
and mysteries.

You took my hand in yours
amidst the madness of the crowd
we sat side-by-side.

You took my hand in yours
sharing wine from that bottle
you hid from the rest.

You took my hand in yours
music blaring
lights sparkling.

You took my hand in yours
kissed my wine stained lips.

You took my hand in yours
I couldn’t’ve asked for more.

Let’s Talk About Strippers

I went to the strippers a few weekends ago.

Before making our way from the pub near my house to the club downtown there had been a lot of ‘we’re not actually going to the strippers, are we?’ and ‘if we don’t go now we’ll never make it happen,’ and ‘yaaaa, boobs!’ (ok, no one anyone literally said ‘ya boobs,’ but it was implied), followed by more, ‘is this actually happening?’

Before long I found myself with my arms over my head proclaiming ‘there’s so much wrong with the strippers!’ This isn’t a great argument, but when I started talking about why I saw problems with going to the strippers I found I lack anything concrete. I couldn’t really validate if it was a good or bad thing to do. Would I be adding to an already broken system of objectification, or was going and being respectful helping to empower anyone? I didn’t know.

My uncertainty on the world of exotic dance didn’t stop me from going, but it did make me want to get some clarity on where I stood and why.

I had a lot of questions left unanswered; are the women treated fairly? are we being sexual objectifiers? does their willingness to participate outweigh any threats? what are the risks? is it demeaning or can it actually be empowering? and how do they feel about their jobs? who really has the power?

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