The Invasion of the Bastard Cannibals
Being asked to ream out your wife’s vagina with salad dressing is not normal. Not even in Canada. You read it here first.
I left The South in 1998 and have stuck out like a platypus ever since.
In a fortunate turn of events I ended up teaching high school math in the Bahamas for four years. Our school was extremely isolated; we would go months without seeing anyone from the outside world and therefore the faculty break-room quickly turned into a perverse Noah’s Ark as the fear of celibacy set in.
In general, this was a good-looking bunch of people. Unfortunately, many of the women had already located their Ark-mate or found me slightly to extremely annoying. I was running out of options fast and decided to snag the next girl straight from the boat before she had a chance to really get to know me. My future wife hadn’t unpacked her bags when I moved in for the kill. By the time she finally walked into the party, I had nervously drowned my small bit of game with a case of island beer. I flopped miserably, we had a huge fight, and, in hindsight, maybe I should have tried it sober and not while on a date with another woman.
Several months later, after the burn had faded, she came crawling back. Whether it was my charm, good looks, or the fact that I was the only single man taller than her within a hundred miles didn’t matter. I soon found myself on the west coast of British Columbia as a married man—that’s Canada, not the small British colony that provides the Brits with most of their blow. Vancouver Island is as far as you can go to the left, both geographically and in your tolerance of B.O. and patchouli.
Before moving to Canada, I had always considered myself a bit of an undercover hippie. I worked to save the world for a few years, owned some Birkenstocks back in the summer of 1996, and even tried fasting for a complete afternoon once. Now, I will admit that I’ve always been a regular bather, so it’s not like I changed my name to Spirit Wolf and sat around a campfire discussing my past lives. (Here’s a deep thought for you reincarnation folks: There are ten times more people on earth today than a few hundred years ago. Therefore, the spirit, chi, being, energy, or whatever you want to call it, that has found its way into your gullible body is only a tenth of the original. It’s pretty watered down—the Miller Light of souls, if you will.) But when I landed in igloo country, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I was a little closer to the Ronald Reagan end of the stick than I had previously thought.
All of my wife’s siblings and their “partners” had gathered in Victoria for the Thanksgiving holidays (oddly, they do not refer to it as Canadian Thanksgiving). In western Canada, the term partner is used instead of the more easily defined husband or wife for good reason. Canadians get married half as much as Americans, and subsequently the vast majority of Canadian kids are bastards. Feel free to look up this little factoid before sending me hate mail, eh?
We Southerners get married fast and early because pre-marital sex is sinful, and a shotgun wedding is a good way to cover up an unplanned pregnancy. I’ve never quite followed the logic of these cloak and daggers. Are they trying to fool God or the grandparents? Having a baby out of wedlock is a country club faux pas, not Biblical scripture. You can’t retroactively mend the broken Word of God; it doesn’t quite work like that. The Bible is not a Mr. Potato Head. You don’t have to be Encyclopedia Brown to figure out this charade. Southern girls have a subscription to Bridal Magazine when their potential husbands are still playing with blocks and eating their own boogers. Therefore, if a southern girl throws together a complete wedding in two weeks with a man who was last seen slurping tequila out of her navel at the Redneck Riviera, everyone knows she’s got a biscuit in the oven. Plus, if you don’t live in Mississippi, your kids will hopefully be able to count to nine one day, so they’re going to uncover your sins no matter how much you disguise them. Plus, today’s parents don’t have the luxury of grainy, blurry, black and white photos to hide a pooch belly or the clenched teeth and flexed jawline of the father of the bride who is paying for a shotgun wedding between his pregnant honor roll daughter and Bobby, the nacho cook.
It appears gays and lesbians originally used the term “partner” when they were forbidden to marry. This law was written to protect wholesome family values by a somewhat heterosexual Christian senator who screwed prostitutes and beat his third wife. So the term went from describing people who could not marry to people who would not marry.
Morally, I don’t give a damn, but I do find it odd and confusing. You can have a business partner, a tennis partner, a dance partner; and somehow, the woman who squeezed your melon-headed son out of her peepee is also a partner. It’s too vague. Maybe we could start using the term unwed wife. It doesn’t roll off the tongue, but neither does fiancé, which is snooty and sounds like you’re ordering dessert at a fancy restaurant. I’m not sure what they’re rebelling against. “It’s just a sheet of paper, man.” Yeah, exactly, so go pick it up and save us all the wordplay.
During a drunken night of poker, one of my close friends was feebly defending his stance on the subject. It started with the standard sheet-of-paper argument, but after the famous B.C. Bud kicked in, he started to open up.
“To be honest, I’m afraid of the commitment, man. I mean, one woman, forever.”
Everyone else was high as well, and just nodded.
“Pete,” I said, pointing out the obvious, “you share a mortgage and two kids with Susan, and you’ve had your nuts snipped. You’re just too stupid to get some free dishes out of the deal.”
When he sobered up, he knew I had a point, and they were soon engaged. Although they are still engaged twelve years later, I feel I did my part to curb the bastard epidemic threatening the great country of Canada.
Southerners are very reserved people. Like icebergs, if you’re at a dinner party in The South, you might only see ten per cent of a Southerner’s true personality. The other more interesting 90 percent is buried under mint juleps in an ongoing effort to see who can blend in the best. Unfortunately, what’s left tends to be the “How’s your golf game?” type conversations that are so boring they make men named Phillip seem interesting. Southerners are great storytellers, but our stories are reserved for hunting camps and country juke joints, not the dinner table. We also do not discuss our sex lives at the dinner table, especially with the in-laws, especially with the wife’s dad.
Back to Canadian Thanksgiving.
“Work is going well and we’re digging the new house,” I commented as the organic, shade grown, fair-trade emaciated turkey hit the table.
“I’m just ready to get this baby out of me,” my very pregnant wife followed.
The conversation continued around the room and stopped at my sister-in-law’s unwed husband.
“We’re trying to get pregnant,” he announced as if he were discussing his lawn.
Nobody flinched, not even his vessel’s dad. Surely I had heard incorrectly. It sounded as if he just announced, at a formal setting, that he was screwing this man’s unwed daughter in hopes of getting her pregnant. Her two older brothers didn’t seem fazed as one asked for the delicious Yorkshire pudding (the more sophisticated version of a gravy and biscuit).
“That’s great news, guys,” the father said. “Congratulations.”
Excuse me? What the hell? Trying to blend in, I sat silent. What do you follow this comment with? “So, what positions ya trying? The wheelbarrow? The rodeo clown? Two dogs chasing one tail?” (Not that you can get pregnant from that.)
I was baffled. When my wife and I were alone I let the questions fly.
“Is it just me, or did Jim just tell us they’re trying to get pregnant?”
“Yeah. I’m excited for them.”
“Okay, let me put this another way. Did Jim just tell everyone they’re fuckin’?”
“You’re so crude.”
“Sorry. Having sex. That’s weird, isn’t it?”
“No. It’s beautiful.”
“You’re messing with me, right?”
“What’s the problem? We’re pregnant.”
“First, we are not pregnant. You are pregnant. Pregnant means you have a fetus in your womb. I looked it up after our last argument. I have no clue what a womb is, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have one. Second, we’re married. Third, there is a difference between saying we are pregnant versus trying to get pregnant.”
“This isn’t Georgia, Nathan.”
“No shit,” I said, wondering what I had gotten myself into.
At this point I began to seriously question my morals and ethics, as well as my personality as a whole. Maybe I was a “conservatron.”
Over the next day I wracked my brain for another meaning to this dinnertime announcement. Maybe there was more involved in trying to get pregnant. Was it just sex? Was a doctor involved? Ribs? A box of wine? Canada is pretty white—maybe they were accidentally mistaking Barry Manilow for Barry White, a guaranteed sperm count killer.
Feeling confused and a bit like Bill O’Reilly in my new surroundings, I called my twin brother Brian back in Greenpond, Alabama, to check in and make sure I wasn’t cracking up.
“No way,” he said. “You must have misunderstood him.”
“Wow. It’s like a foreign country up there.”
We contemplated how it would have played out differently back home; or, more precisely, who would have gotten to him first. We agreed it would have been more of a GoodFellas style beat down with Brian and me holding him while my dad whaled on him with a gravy boat.
The gravy boat domestic between my in-laws never came. I let it go. I had more important issues to deal with: prenatal classes.
“Why am I goin’ to this again?” I asked.
“You’re gonna help me deliver this baby,” my wife explained.
“Don’t you have to go to med school for that?”
“We also have a doula, so don’t sweat it.”
“Is that that Indian pig-in-the-blanket thing? I love those.”
“That’s a Samosa, dumbass. A doula is a birth assistant.”
“Why am I goin’ to this again?”
“Shut up and get in the car.”
“Can we at least stop and get some samosas on the way?”
I was extremely embarrassed that my wife’s dad knew she was pregnant (notice I did not say we). We had been married for four years, but to publicly display the fact we had indeed had sex left me uneasy.
When the prenatal instructor walked in wearing a muumuu, I knew I would not make it out alive.
Ten couples walked into the windowless room. I scanned the room for escape routes; the bathroom was inside the room, so the fake diarrhea play was out, and the exit door was directly behind the muumuu-clad Refrigerator Perry. I was trapped.
Day 1: I almost spontaneously combust from boredom as The Fridge told three hour-long anecdotal stories to cover each bullet point. She had two hours of material tops, and stretched it into four days so my wife would pay her $400.
Day 2: I lay down and took a nap. Why not? This lady was explaining that a baby came out of the vagina. Even I knew that—I’d watched Wild Kingdom.
Day 3: Small nap. Escaped straight past The Fridge for a trip to the bookstore and a much-deserved barbecue sandwich. Let a small brisket fart slip and pretended the homely pregnant lady with the cankles next to me did it.
Day 4: It gets freaky.
“There’re many options for the placenta,” The Fridge told the class.
“What’s the placenta?” I whispered to my wife, not wanting to know the answer. After hearing her response, I knew this was going to be the turning point in our marriage.
“How do we store it if we’re going to eat it?” asked the pasty man who still looked like a virgin.
I sat frozen. Was I in a dream? Had I been drugged? I was blindsided. Canadians are cannibals! You’d think we would have covered this tidbit of sustenance in geography class or, at the very least, debated and discussed the oddity every four years during the winter Olympics. Did these people eat their tonsils, appendix, and foreskins? It was like science fiction.
As I fidgeted for my passport, my wife assured me we would not be eating the afterbirth. The cannibals continued to discuss recipes and how microwaves were the tools of the devil and obviously invented by Americans to slowly sterilize all Canadians in hopes of stealing their delicious maple syrup. (I do have to side with my Canadian compatriots on this one—I’ve never fully trusted microwaves. That being said, I find microwaves are kind of like prostitutes: if they happen to already be in the kitchen, you might as well slap a Hot Pocket in there.) As I started to dry heave, the conversation took a turn for the worse. Yes, it could still get worse than eating afterbirth.
“What can we do to prevent tearing?” said the other narrow-shouldered man, in a statement that should never be uttered by a man unless he’s discussing the finer points of keeping a buck’s hide pristine for mounting purposes. He struck me as someone who would easily follow a cult.
My head was throbbing as I continued holding my breath.
“Perineal massage is the best way.”
“Shoot me straight, what’s a perineal?” I whispered to my wife through clinched teeth.
“The taint,” she responded, trying to reestablish our marital bond by engaging me in my own lowbrow vocabulary.
“Your husband should use extra virgin olive oil.”
Skipping over the obvious irony of the chosen lube, it was time I stepped up and led my people.
“Let me get this straight,” I declared in my best Captain Kirk authority voice. “Are we seriously talking about husbands reaming out their wives’ vaginas with salad dressing?”
“Nathan!” my wife yelled as she slapped my leg.
“I would not have put it so crudely, but yes,” said The Fridge.
“Really? Out of everyone here, I’m the only one? Nobody?”
The cult member guy explained that he and his wife find it arousing, which led me to believe he must have been screwing a rhinoceros before he met his wife. I might have understood if they had been using Crisco or lard, but olive oil? I can barely eat Italian food to this day without picturing that shiny-faced couple.
“You guys are messing with me, right?”
“I’m sorry you find this disturbing, Nathan. Try to open your mind.”
“Maybe you should close yours a bit,” I snapped.
There was a painful silence as my wife’s nails dug deep into my leg. As I tried to remember if I had taken the red pill or the blue pill, the man who had not uttered a word for four days stood.
Now, this was a man. He was a Finnish commercial fisherman and carpenter who rolled his own cigarettes with his meat hook hands during our breaks. His body and face appeared to be chiseled from stone with a dull shovel, and his breath-taking hair was a shiny angelic blond. I would have ditched the fishing career and worked that hair if I was him: shampoo model, typecast Viking, or possibly just travel the country fulfilling horny housewives’ Thor fetishes.
With my wife labor-breathing in the background and one hour left in the class, all eyes fell to the striking man standing in the middle of the circle.
“The way I see it,” he said in his deep gravely voice as he strolled past The Fridge, “we should just be out back chopping wood.”
His wife burst into tears, and I followed after my first Canadian friend.
By the time my wife found us at the pub drinking a beer, she was steaming. Deep down, though, she knew I was right. But she was still unwilling to admit that maybe, just maybe, cannibalism and post-hole digging were not part of a successful healthy marriage.
The Emperor’s Banana Hammock
My dad, although retired for almost a decade, is still a football coach. I’ve yet to hear anyone refer to him as Mr. Weathington. He is Coach Weathington, or simply Coach. His ability to convince un-athletic white kids they could actually win football games is legendary. Along with his players, who thought him a god, he began lifting weights before people really had a name for it. With the seniors’ discount at the gym, he is still able to bench 300 pounds and hike for three hours a day. The man is a beast.
No Atkins, no South Beach, no meditation, no excessive stretching, no raw food nonsense, and definitely no slow kung fu in the park.
I inherited my fitness sensibility from my parents—my dad in the weight room and my mom at the dinner table. Growing up in the Deep South, I was lucky to have the only health-conscious mom in the county. Don’t get me wrong; she can slap together some fried chicken that’ll make you question your sexuality, but only on special occasions.
Philosophically, I would say the idea of paying to go to a room, lift a chunk of steel, and then set it down seems strange, especially to my depression-era grandfather who single-handedly farmed 500 acres. Weight lifting may seem strange, but walking around in a sweaty, see-through, bright yellow banana hammock is something different entirely.
In British Columbia, people have a different idea of fitness. For the most part, everyone is white, which tells you right off the bat they will not be seen on the podium during the summer Olympics anytime soon. Canadians excel at hockey, bobsled, and all other sports that are too cold for people below the 49th parallel. All the medalists at the last winter Olympics looked like sailing regatta on their way to a Jimmy Buffett concert. Ski hills attract rich white people the way a mud bog attracts frayed denim. For the record, I am also white, and contrary to Hollywood and Larry the dumbass Cable Guy, not all southern males are racist, homophobic, sexist, or ignorant. Larry the dumbass is from Nebraska, by the way. He is not even Southern, or funny for that matter.
This paleness has given Canadians a heightened sense of sporting prowess. I’ll spot you Steve Nash, but most Vancouver Island residents confuse being in good shape with being a good athlete—lots of triathlons, 5Ks, and bike racing, if you know what I mean. I’m no Bo Jackson, but I at least know the difference (although I would challenge David Sedaris to a calf off).
The term “world-class athlete” is thrown around loosely here. Just to set the record straight, if you are white and running any distance between 40 and 400 meters, you do not have world-class speed. At best, you have world-class white guy speed. The concept of world-class white guy speed was clearly defined in the Adolf Hitler vs. Jesse Owens case of 1936. White people are good at plenty of things; running fast is just not one of them. Affirmative action does require that there be one white dude in the 100-meter dash in each Olympics, and if he ever makes the frame of the photo finish, I will reconsider my stance on the subject. And I am NOT implying that black people are only good at being fast; I just mean that if zombies are attacking, odds are white people will be bait and black people will be running the planet.
Stretching is a big deal here in western Canada, so much so that it’s apparently considered exercise in itself. In a moment of weakness, I was once convinced to join a father-son yoga class, which ended in what my wife calls “the yoga incident.”
I have since sworn off yoga. The yoga instructors don’t get that some guys, ironically the ones who need it the most, can’t even get into the poses, much less work them for five breaths. These instructors are the same yoga enthusiasts who routinely post scantily clad pictures of themselves in yoga poses on Facebook. Nothing says namaste like sharing a photo of your half-naked body as you suggestively spread your legs for a few billion of your closest friends.
I also love it when they double down on the nana-nana-boo-boo pose by taking the photo at the beach. We are living in a bit of a perfect storm for people who hide all their insecurities in their hot bods—and yoga is cashing in. Our western ideals of competition, mass consumption, and over-sexualizing have pushed this ancient exercise to the pinnacle of its popularity. We also have these giant narcissistic machines that we can use to show our friends, our friend’s friends, and our friend’s friend’s friends how cool we’d like our day-to-day lives to be. Put all this together and you pretty much have the perfect excuse to finally show everyone your perfect apple-shaped ass.
“They crank the heat in the room and all the moves are fast,” my wife said. “You’ll like it.”
“Are you sure?”
This was the last time I ever trusted my wife.
For the second and last yoga class of my life, it was easy to find my exercise clothes: t-shirt, stretchy loose mesh shorts, white crew cut socks, running shoes. I showed up early to make sure I got a place at the back of the class, just in case I had to pull the “I’m a volunteer fireman” exit.
The joint filled up fast. Everyone knew each other and the room was giddy just like before an orgy (or so I’ve heard). There is a huge spandex craze going on up here, like the ’80s but much more expensive. This is the best thing that has happened to asses since the Thigh Master. All these gorgeous women were showing up to class in casual sport lingerie. At this point I started checking out my male competition. Clearly I should have shaved and plucked a little more. The men were uncomfortably better looking than me. They were hot in that “I’m fun to take to an art gallery, but not to drywall your basement” kind of way.
Class began. Things heated up. Fast. First, the women started taking off a layer from their already barely-there outfits. The room was now scattered with sweaty middle-aged beautiful women in their bras and panties. I say middle-aged as a compliment, by the way. Everyone looks good at twenty, but if you are rocking a hot bod in your thirties and forties, then you’re doing something. Yoga had officially been bumped above line dancing on my list of enjoyable recreational activities. Wishing I’d worn tighter underwear, I was glaringly ready to join this flexibility cult, and curious why my wife had sent me to sex camp.
Then the Calvin Klein male models disrobed, and the fantasy fell as flaccid as a Rosie O’Donnell reach around. Underneath, the dudes were wearing Speedos, and not the tight thick swimming ones either. They were wearing the thin chamois-like ones—loincloths, basically. Where do you even buy those? I’ve never seen them in my L.L. Bean catalog—I know that. How far does society have to crumble before grown men think it is acceptable to go to the gym in loincloths? Maybe if Armageddon were upon us, but in that case these men would surely be made into hushpuppies.
In my defense, I did last almost thirty minutes. Sweat was dripping from my nose as I unsuccessfully tried to reach my toes. As instructed, I then rocked back into a cobra-like pose, as did my cohorts. I had not chosen my mat location wisely. The man in front of me was clad in a bright yellow loincloth, which now, due to his excessive testicle sweat, looked like two tins of raw spam wrapped in saran wrap.
The man was well endowed, but not in the traditional way; I judged him to be somewhat average in the pepper grinder department. The beast that was staring at me was about as easy to ignore as a nail gun in my belly button. The Pangaea that was this man’s scrotum was clearly losing its battle with continental drift. It looked like Jabba the Hutt’s ball sack in a hot tub, and seemed painful, especially as he went into a lunge. On the next cobra stretch, I was staring directly between his continental plates, his third eye winking at me like a perverted pirate.
Check, please! Wet t-shirt show be damned, a heterosexual man can only look at so many balls and sphincters on a Tuesday afternoon.
“My wife’s in labor,” I lied to the skinny running the front desk.
“I didn’t know she was pregnant,” the man excitedly commented as the door closed on him mid-sentence.
After driving well above the speed limit, I flew in the front door and straight to the shower like a rape victim.
“It was cool, wasn’t it?” my wife asked as I toweled off.
“I think our definitions of ‘cool’ are a bit different,” I responded coldly.
“What do you mean?” she asked innocently. Innocence and gullibility are two of her best traits, although the gullibility has faded after ten years of marriage.
“I saw a man’s asshole …” I said through gritted teeth, letting her know this conversation was going to be short and never repeated to another living soul.
“How’d you guess?”
“I was going to mention that to you; it’s a bit odd.”
I then went for a two-hour run, desperately trying to get my testosterone levels back within their normal operating range. Even more disturbing than my eyes unwillingly losing their virginity is the fact that the entire town considered this normal, and also refused to make fun of these circus freaks. After two or three failed ball-sack jokes, I was quickly labeled the conservative American who just doesn’t “get it.” Apparently you cannot make fun of a man doing anything that is perceived as holistic, even if he does have a two-foot long scrotum.