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It’s that Season Again

October 20, 2008

Canadian election season has come and gone, after just 37 days. The spectacle was so much dick-waggling; a three-party pissing contest, with competing definitions of “family values” and aimless streams of urine aimed by each candidate at the others’ pantlegs.

It is, of course, election season directly south, too, and watching the Canadian campaigns made me long for tangible things to argue about: abortion, gay rights, race, social safety-nets, war. Of course, I am relieved that those issues are more muted here. But give us something to throw punches over, things with opinions worth earning black eyes defending! Instead, this election brought only noodle-textured issues to the foreground.

I must confess, I did not vote last week. Instead, I washed my suffrage in apathy and hung it to dry. And yes, I appreciate how terrible that is. I suppose since none of the candidates took the election seriously, I, too, found it tough to give a damn.

This is not the first time I’ve failed to take a political race seriously; although, last time, I did cast a ballot. Then, the men and women we had to choose between were politically engaged beyond being qualified to say, “Yeah, so you know my job? I do politics!” Despite taking our votes seriously, for me and the other ladies of Argyle Avenue, the 2003 municipal election became a bottomless source of comedy.

Presented with the opportunity of a great one-year sublet, there was Lisa and there was me…but we were not enough paycheques to cover the rent nor enough bodies to fill the six-bedroom Victorian. And so, our first task was to elect some housemates. In time, we found Ruthie and Kiki, and the household was born. Each tenant had private rooms, and the rest–kitchen, dining room, parlour, yard–was shared.

We were a democratic household. No one labeled their carton of eggs, hid their laundry soap, or drafted a TV sign-up sheet. Knowing the owners would reclaim their home the following July made it easier to ignore the mild idiosyncrasies and outrageous transgressions–maybe someone couldn’t hack a disgusting habit forever, but for twelve months, they could let things lie.

September was a staggered procession of boxes, pets and groceries trundling through the front door. By mid-October we had settled into a friendly routine, and all that remained was getting to know one another. As icebreakers, the election and Halloween came along just in time!

“I stopped by but you were out! Sorry I missed you!” the pamphlet exclaimed, a word-bubble crowning the most baby-faced politician we’d ever seen. Ruthie immediately fell in love, cooing over his policies, his haircut and his friendly brochure that seemed to express sincere regret you were out when he called round to shake your hand. That week, she named her new recipe in his honour–Boyfriend Soup–and we faked necking with his campaign sign staked on the neighbour’s lawn.

But Ruthie’s fickle affections were soon tugged away from the municipal election by a provincial NDP rep who rode his bike all over town and had a hot boyfriend who wasn’t afraid to dance naked in a famous artist’s mildly dirty performance piece. I agreed–that was all pretty sexy–and so our democratic household began mixing its politics with pleasure, objectifying our politicians and distilling them down to alluring qualities. Adam likes public transit, Rui has a vintage bicycle, Jack wears a white swimsuit to do laps at the Y.

That autumn, I was freelancing for a friend, writing copy for his advertising firm and holding weekly brainstorming sessions at my dining room table. Hot Steve, we called him on Argyle Ave, because like our local officials, he was attractive despite a roster of strokes against him. Hot Steve wore curious trousers, the wrong shoes, and boasted a dad-like way of teasing that made everyone feel funny. Our work together wrapped up and a few days before Halloween, he stopped by unannounced to pick up his laptop and deliver my cheque. Poor man. His visit couldn’t have been more ill-timed.

It was a Wednesday, and with just two sleeps remaining till Halloween, we needed to test-drive our costumes. What better way to get to know the housemates than to pool our clothes and liquor cabinets and play Kitchen Fashion Show?

We were not the type of ladies to conflate “Halloween costume” with “opportunity to dress like a slut”. There were no fishnets, cutesy wigs, riding crops or PVC French maid aprons. Instead, we piled the kitchen table with gardening gloves, rubber boots, bald caps, sweatbands, old tennis gear and tubes of gore then started mixing it up. We role-played to test an outfit’s gah-factor, putting the gardening gloves on our feet like flippers and flirting with one another while wearing the Nightmare on Elm Street mask, or playing “chicken”–how long could you handle Kiki lolling her tongue at you and stroking your hair with three tennis balls stuffed down her jeans and a bald cap with tufts jutting out the bottom?

As Hot Steve walked in without knocking, as he did every Wednesday, he was treated to Ruthie slathering fake blood on her eyebrows while I swung a bottle of bordeaux over my head like a club and sported a DD-bra filled with rice tugged over my shirt. I shouted to Lisa through a walkie-talkie, while she crooned, “Come on, honey, you know you want more gardening gloves!” Kiki, meanwhile, sprawled in a chair like a lap-dance customer, begging Lisa to stop petting her with the rubbery side because it was making her feel icky all over. All this while the Macarena played on a tiny transistor radio.

The average straight man probably has a couple lesbian scenes in his mental porn reserves, but I doubt this sort of girl-on-girl action would tantalise even the most deprived (or depraved). Hot Steve froze, taking it all in. In his left hand his car keys tinkled, in his right he gripped a stack of brochures, the ones I’d written the copy for. He offered them in a bundle, showing me how nicely they’d turned out.

Kiki, who had never met Hot Steve, screamed. “Oh my god! We already know who we’re voting for! Leave the campaign literature on the table and please go! This is really weird!”

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Carrie permalink
    October 22, 2008 4:11 pm

    You’re really churning out great writing recently. Are you procrastinating by any chance?

  2. Amanda permalink
    October 22, 2008 6:28 pm

    Smartypants!

  3. Enid's Diner permalink
    October 24, 2008 12:02 pm

    Hilarious!

  4. Enid's Diner permalink
    October 24, 2008 12:06 pm

    Hilarious!

  5. looka permalink
    October 27, 2008 9:59 am

    Is there a secret club comitted to keeping the fact a secret from me by all means, that AMANDA MILLER is a world famous super author (the good kind, not the Dan Brown kind) just to have good mean laughs?

  6. Amanda permalink
    October 27, 2008 10:01 am

    World Famous Super Author! I sooo want a set of business cards with that title written below my name.

    : )

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