Monday, May 09, 2005


While the black-flies were thick enough to drive any sane person to twitching, we still really wanted to go outside. Not only was I trapped in a classroom for most of my childhood, that classroom was trapped in a tiny school in the woods away from the ocean breeze. One spring hits, there is no respite from the blood-sucking insects. Even the males, the ones that don't bite, will land in your eyes, and crawl into any uncovered orifice. Still, we wanted to go outside. It was a beautiful day, a spring fair. The sun shone and the local volunteer firemen brought their trucks to the school to show us how they honk their horns and engage their sirens.

As is often the case, however, a minority of students ruined it for the rest of us. They were acting up, and after the third warning, we were banished to the classroom, heads down on the desk for the rest of the fair. I was livid. It is the earliest injustice I can recall.

Last night, with visitors in town and ale in our veins, we made our way to a peeler bar. We were four giggling girls, one tough-looking-only lesbian (who passed as a boy to get us inside) and a boy with long hair, the designated driver.

It wasn't 2 minutes before the first set of men approached my friend and me. Full nudity on stage, and guys are vying for our attention? They wanted to shake my hand. I smiled, and said, "No offense, but look at where we are. I know where your hands have been." My hands remained folded on my lap. One of the men agreed I had a point.

Positive that nothing they could say wouldn't annoy me, I completely ignored them. I chatted instead with my neighbour, who'd never before visited such a seedy establishment. The strange men were drunk, and clearly "American-males-on-vacation (AMOV)" ---a particularly belligerent breed.

I felt a tap on my shoulder.

"You are all whores. And, I hope you die of AIDS," said the AMOV, attempting to punish us for ignoring him. My friend's jaw dropped, and I responded calmly to his friend, "Your friend is the reason women aren't usually allowed to visit these places alone."

The less drunk of the two insisted on over-explaining, apologizing, while the AMOV sneered over his shoulder. Chicago and Boston, respectively. Sure, it was the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me, ever, but people who allow words like that to spew from their face have deeper, darker goings-on. I am sure it is mucky in their heads, full with general contempt for humanity.

People like this punctuate life events, and make me glad I don't harbour resentment. Not even for AMOVs which swarm like blackflies, or whores, which I believe are mythical creatures, like mermaids. People think they've seen them, but really they're just surfacing fish.

The AMOV punctuated his own vacation with prickly harshness, no doubt bringing the sentiment back to his hotel room, where he'd sleep, uncomfortably, on it all night - his lone companion.

Looking back on the night's events, I prefer to remember the story told to me by the club's balding DJ, originally hailing from Cole Harbour, NS, about the lobstermen who'd import pails of crustaceans to the club and and holler: "Who'll dance fer lobstah?" And, I will think about how the dancer beside laughed at that until she snorted. I'll recall that we have mutual friends, and that she also hailed from NS. She, like many women, is kin, not a mythical creature.

I'll go on to think about how my friend allowed a man to ogle her as he left, just to stick her foot out and trip him. I'll think about how the girls and I paused at the exit, looked back, winked and made rude gestures at the already irate jerks inside. I'll think about how the male friend was the coolest guy within a 20 miles radius of the club, and that is why we not only shake his hand, we kiss-kiss him good-bye.

It will eventually occur to me that I was the misbehaving minority.

And, then I will will justify my actions by explaining that we are just trying to reinvent the reason why women aren't usually allowed to visit peeler bars. It is no longer because the men can't behave themselves. It's because girls just aren't very nice.

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