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: rugged fox meets mama bear

    After landing at the Nashville airport, I proceeded directly to the washroom to remedy the fact that I looked clinically-dead. When you only see your parents once or twice a year, it is paramount that you present them with the image of healthy and successful son, who is truly making it in the big city.

    Splashing hot water in my face as to return colour to my cheeks, I applied a liberal amount of cover-up to inject light in to the dark circles under my eyes. Once my visage was taken care of, I unstrapped Hunter and opened the bottle of Burberry London I purchased from the duty-free store. With two quick sprays I exchanged the smell of Coors Lite and menthol for bergamot, lavender and warm cinnamon.

    After my transformation was complete, I proceeded to the baggage terminal to find my mother. As it turned out, she was the only person waiting at the bottom of the staircase when I arrived. Descending the steps, I was confused as to why the look on her face spelled panic and anger, when I expected a warm smile punctuated with excitement.

    “WHERE WERE YOU?” she yelled at me in her quiet voice and grabbed on to the side of my arm. I didn’t remember this book as a child, but Mama Bear was clearly upset at Brother Bear while Sister Bear was on a flight from Japan and Papa Bear circled the airport in a rental car.

    “Everyone else got off the plane an hour ago!” she continued, her grip tightening around my arm. “I was beginning to think you didn’t make it.”

    I did not want to admit to her that I was in the powder room the entire time and so I had to come up with a story and quick. Fortunately, growing up as a gay man I had plenty of practice lying to my mother.

    “I cannot apologize enough for your distress on this matter. The truth is, I have been off gluten and dairy for a couple of months now and caved at the sight of a multigrain bagel with Philadelphia cream cheese at the airport in Denver. My stomach has been a all kinds of upset since we crossed the Kansas state line. I swear I have gained like six pounds in the last two hours.”

    I was unsure whether she bought it or not because her attention had shifted elsewhere.

    “Are you wearing make-up?” she asked, sounding even more concerned then before, when she thought I was dead.

    “No!” I blurted out. Forcing laughter from my diaphragm, I tried not to over-react when I accidentally began choking. The gig was officially up when she licked her thumb, and with ninja-like speed, swiped it underneath my right eye.

    “Mom!” I screamed, girlishly. I felt like it was the first day of Junior High and she had just kissed me on the cheek.

    She looked down at her thumb, and then back at me. I couldn’t tell whether she was horrified, disappointed or just plain confused.

    I could think of nothing to say at the time to fix the situation. So I went directly in to reciting the entrance speech I practiced on the plane.

    “I am great mom! I have been eating lots of kale, sleeping eight hours a night, and after all the hard work I have put in at the restaurant, things are really starting to look up for me. I am truly making it in Vancouver.”

    She placed her hand on the small of my back and guided me silently to my lonesome suitcase on the baggage carousel.

    “If you are going to wear make-up Rugged,” she said, “at least let me teach you how to apply it properly.”

    She reached in purse and passed me a tissue. “Now get that shit off of your face before a redneck sees you, we are in Tennessee for gods sakes. How I am supposed to protect you when it looks like you broke in to your sister's bathroom drawer.”

    “Yes mom," I replied, taking the kleenex.


    a time to thrill: crash and burn, rugged barely takes off

    Drinking only becomes a problem when you miss your flight the next day. For those of us who ere on the messier side of life, this is a painful lesson to learn. The only thing more excruciating than carrying a hangover 36,000 feet up in the air, is losing $60 worth of French skin products at security because you slept in and arrived at the airport to find the baggage check had just closed. After watching my beloved moisturizer fall carelessly in to the garbage, I vowed never to fly hungover again.

    Fast-forward to me at the end of a seventy-hour work week the night before my flight to Tennessee. The time is 1:46am and I just finish work at the restaurant. My flight for Nashville leaves at 2:35pm the same day which gives me more than enough time to return home, pack my suitcase, sleep for a luxurious eight hours, breakfast wrap at Café Artigiano, pick up my Calvin Klein tuxedo, and hop on the sky train to the airport.

    At 1:47am, I accept a last-minute invite to grab a pint at the Judge before last call. “No harm done,” I tell myself, permitting me twenty ounces of crisp Moosehead to celebrate the fact I am finally on vacay.

    Pubs are an endangered species in Vancouver, and the Winking Judge is one of the few still standing. On the unlikely corner of Burrard and Smithe, the downtown pub features a breath-taking view of the Scotiabank theatre, Scarlett Johansson-hot waitresses, impressionable straight boys, and the best drink specials in a one-bridge radius.

    I am half-way done my pint when our server Samantha makes her final rounds to tell us those two words an alcoholic never wants to hear, “last call.” Paired together, these two syllables pierce like a tooth-brushed carved shank in the right side of a jailhouse rat. At there very mention, all thoughts of responsibility and early alarm clocks fly out the window and before you know it, you are left with three empty shot glasses on the table in front of you and a bill six times the size you intended.

    I look at my two friends and feel like Renton taking a seat on the carpet at Mother Superior’s in Trainspotting.  “We’ll take another round of pints and six shots of your finest well tequila.” When the cab driver drops me off outside my apartment it is three in the morning and I still haven’t packed my suitcase, washed the pile of dishes in the sink, or taken out the garbage. Fearing it is going to be a long night, I crack open a bottle of red wine, turn on Netflix and get right down to work.

    At quarter after five I collapse in to my bed and at noon I wake up to the unfortunate realization that I am twenty-eight years old and still going on sixteen. Scrambling, I look down at my suitcase and remember that I didn’t finish packing it. At some point during the night, I got distracted by Miley Cyrus videos on Youtube and forgot to check off this important task on my list. Raiding my closet, I throw in as many clothes as I can, zip up my shaving kit, and bounce out the front door.

    Booting it to the Tuxedo shop, my throat is so dry I have stop twice to cough up tumbleweeds. The bell rings as I stumble through the glass door and the kind lady behind the counter asks me if I want to try on the tuxedo before I go. “No time!” I gasp to her smacking my Credit Card down on the counter. Folding the black suit bag in three, I zip back up my suitcase, call another cab and one SuperSlim later I am racing down Granville Street to the airport.

    I take a deep breath and look at the steady stream of green outside my passenger side window. I start replying to work emails and realize that my hand is shaking. I am half-way there when a single thought shoots across my troubled brain: I did not check the stove. The trigger snaps and the smoke rises with my blood pressure as a war breaks out inside my head. “I am going to burn my apartment down.” “You are not going to burn your apartment down.” “The stove is on and my apartment is going to burn down.”

    At Granville and 61st I kindly ask the cab driver to back track 49 blocks. I kick myself the entire way.

    At 2:35pm, I pass the flight attendant my passport. I am the spitting image of the photo inside: dark circles, tired eyes, faded smile. At 2:57pm the plane lifts off the ground and I am en route to Nashville.