I am a twenty-something prairie boy who lives on the west coast. i love red wine, live jazz and spaghetti bolognese. i work full-time at an itailan restaurant and am in a part-time relationship with netflix. if you love to laugh and treat yourself to multiple night-caps this is the site for you.



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    a time to thrill: i'm all shook up


    There are several positions that can make a gay man very uncomfortable; however, standing across from your mother in the front lobby of Graceland answering questions as to why you are still single has got to be the worst.  

    Now typically, big family events like weddings or reunions are a total breeze for me. All my aunts, uncles and small town cousins are much too nervous to ask me any questions about who I am sleeping with or what I am doing with my future. Unlike my heterosexual cousins, no one cares if I get married or work outside retail. Not to mention, the thought of me having children is just as far-fetched as me buying a house in Vancouver. So long as I have not contracted a virus or become addicted to methamphetamines, in the eyes of my extended family, I am doing just fine.

    Unfortunately, the only family figure I am not immune from on this subject is my mother, who has made it her personal mission to find me a husband.

    “Rugged, I just don’t understand how you haven’t met anyone in Vancouver yet,” Mama Fox said to me, “the city is practically swarming with attractive gay men."

    The two of us stood in the front entrance to Graceland waiting for my father to buy us tickets to get on the tour. Elvis played overhead on the speakers while videos of his gyrating pelvis flashed all over the t.v. screens.

    “Ugh!” I gasped, rolling my eyes and brushing the invisible hair back from my forehead. The last time I engaged with my mother on this subject the conversation got completely out of hand. Before I knew it, she was forcing me to Google pictures of Elton John’s and Neil Patrick Harris’ kids just to see what was possible.

    “You ain’t nothing but a hound-dog, cryin’ all the time.”

    “I told you mother, I am not blessed with the luxury of time right now to answer the texts of any gentlemen callers. I am married to my job. The restaurant cooks me lunch and dinner and slams me every Friday and Saturday night – what else could I ask for?”

    “I just don’t think you are putting yourself out there,” she said.

    It was clear that she and I were on completely different pages of the same People magazine.

    “What happened to the last boy you were seeing?” she carried on. "You know the one who worked at the flower shop... what was his name again?”

    Every time we discussed the tragedy called my love life, my mother insisted we look back at the last relationship I had in order to to figure out what I did wrong.

    “Mom! What are you trying do to me? If I wanted to drive all the way to Memphis to check in at the Heartbreak Hotel, I would have walked across the street by now.”

    I’m all shook up. Mmmm ooh yeah."

    I looked for my father who was still in line waiting to buy tickets. I willed for him to jump to the front so that he could come back and save me from this maternal sabotage. There was never any talk about sex or relationships when my dad was around. He didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell.

    “Sweetheart, it is clear to me this boy is obviously the reason why you have drowned yourself in work at the restaurant in a desperate attempt to mask your feelings of loneliness and prevent yourself from ever feeling rejection again. You are almost thirty years-old and it’s important that we talk about these things now so you can get your life back on track. Remind me, what was his name again? I swear, it’s on the tip of my tongue."

    I was trapped. There was no white flag I could raise and the only exit out was through the gift shop.

    “Derek,” I muttered reluctantly under my breath.

    “Derek…Yes, yes, of course, now remind me again what happened to him?”

    “He dumped me on the first day that it rained last year because he thought I drank too much.”

    Are you lonesome tonight?

    “Well call me crazy but maybe if you spent less time drinking and more time dating than you would have met a nice boy by now you could hold on to longer than six months.”

    By the grace of Meryl Streep, my father returned at that moment with our tickets, a souvenir guide book and three diet cokes . I was safe for at least the duration of the tour.

    “Dad?” I asked, twisting the bottle cap open.

    “Yes, Rugged,” he replied.

    “Do you think they serve alcohol on this tour?”  


    a time to thrill: redneck disneyland

    I kid you not, but the majority of my childhood was spent in the back seat of a Navy Blue Dodge Station Wagon. My dad was a Pilot in the Canadian Air Force, so at a very young age I grew accustomed to moving boxes and tape guns. By the time I was seven, I had lived in Ottawa, Los Angeles, Toronto and Winnipeg. For the longest time I believed a house was not a home unless it had a swimming pool and ice machine.

    Fast-forward twenty years later and here I was again, in the back seat of my father’s rental Nissan. The air conditioning was blasting as we pulled on to the I-40 and left Nashville en route to Memphis. In days gone by, I would have been singing show tunes and throwing stuffed animals over the front seat, except I was tired and still hungover from the last four years of my life.

    As we meandered in to the backwoods of Tennessee, I was intrigued by the adventure that was coming upon us. Imagining myself to be deep within the pages of a John Grisham novel, I dreamed of all the dead bodies and salacious secrets that were buried in the steady stream of green outside my window. Daydreaming bestsellers and box-office hits, I closed my eyes and drifted in to sleep.

    Before I knew it, I opened my eyes to find us cruising down Elvis Presley Boulevard and coming to a complete stop at Graceland. Stepping outside the car, I almost fainted when I got my first taste of real Southern Heat. Without a fedora or parasol to shield myself, I reached in to my bag Hunter and began slathering myself with SPF 45. I had not experienced such warmth since my summers on the prairies.

    My lips were dry, my mouth was parched and my eyes were spotted in black. Feigning heat stroke, I knew a cold pint was my only salvation. I look around for a “COLD BEER” sign but all I could see was a hotel named Heartbreak and a jet plane called Lisa Marie. Finally, my eyes rested upon my best bet within walking distance, the Rock N Roll Café.

    “Dearest father and most gracious mother,” I beckoned to my parents. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I carried on, “I think it best that we indulge ourselves in a quick bevy before carrying forth in to Mr. Presley’s mansion.”

    Fortunately, we were all on the same page and proceeded to make a b-line for the entrance. Placing one suede shoe inside, I felt as if I had just stepped in to a Kid Rock video. The restaurant was furnished by a yard sale and featured a plastic rainforest and make-shift stage with a cardboard cut-out of Elvis. A sign next to him read, “LIVE MUSIC 7 NIGHTS A WEEK.”

    Scanning the faces in the room, it occurred to me the men had more ponytails than the women. I led my folks to the most inconspicuous table I could find and tried to downplay the fact I was dressed as a vonTrapp child.

    “I knew I should have worn my ripped jeans and Salvation Army shirt” I whispered to my dad.

    “Just push down those bloody socks and no one will know the difference,” he said.

    We sat for what seemed like hours before the waiter finally arrived at our table. I debated writing a poor review on TripAdvisor but was muzzled by the fact there was no complimentary Wifi. When the server finally came over, however, I realized it was well worth the wait.

    With platinum blonde hair, brown roots, and no less than three piercings in each ear, Billy was a breed of homosexual I had not run in to since ordering room service in Vegas. Dressed in a tight black shirt, ripped acid-washed jeans and faded sneakers, he was the pauper to Carson Kressley’s prince. Like him, his wit was also sharper than a Samurai’s sword.

    “What?” he asked me, as if he could not be bothered to finish the rest of the question. I loved him already.

    “Beer,” I replied. He and I both knew that we spoke the same language so there was no confusion on the matter. I knew our pints would come light, chilled and with just the right amount of head.

    I have the deepest respect for Southern gays. They are not spoiled like us Northerners who drink non-fat lattes for breakfast, get divorces and bring their kids to the Gay Pride Parade. These are some of the strongest bitches on the planet earth.  

    I watched Billy intently for the next three pints we drank at the Café. I watched him walk up to a table with six kids and two adults and ask them if they were a family or daycare centre. I watched him walk right passed any guest who rolled their eyes at him until they realized he was the only person standing between themselves and a drink.

    One day I hope to create a character as brilliant as Billy. For now, I will have to log his existence here.

    To be continued at a different coffee shop with a different outfit.