Sex, drugs, and the Canadian way.

I grew up very near the U.S./Canadian border (on an island in the Detroit River, in fact). I'm sure that contributed to my lifelong interest in "foreign cultures", and I'd like to think it gives me some insight into Canadian culture that most Americans lack. I something about Canada (specifically Ontario) that most Americans don't know: It's got no morals. None at all. The country's full of hedonists. Hell, Windsor is Sodom-and-Gomorrah on the Border.

Seriously though, it's not quite that bad, but there really is stuff going in the Great White North that would make the average Midwesterner's eyes bulge open in shock. (I've tested this.) Sure, everyone in America grows up thinking Candians are politle pushovers, but they haven't heard the whole story. They haven't even heard half the story.

Let's start with the simple stuff. Everyone's drunk or stoned in Canada. The legal drinking age in Canada is only 19, and every Canadian bar I've been to has been lax about carding Americans. If your head hurts from all the drinking, you can buy codeine-laced aspirin over the counter. (I noticed a funny thing the last time I did that -- the pill bottle didn't have the warning against mixing codeine and alcohol that an American medication would have. No wonder Canada never became a superpower -- they're too wasted from washing down their codeine pills with Molson all these years.)

And then, of course, there's the pot. The Ontario Superior Court voided the provincial marijuana possession laws. Even weirder (to Americans, anyway) is the fact that the Canadian Senate is close to agreeing with the judges. (Besides the utterly un-American notion of a Senate agreeing with the judiciary, there's the whole confusing concept of "Canadian Senate". Most Americans think Canada is still ruled by Queen Victoria.)

If that doesn't get more Americans to visit, there's the fact all the women in Ontario are topless. OK, not really, but they could be they wanted. Ontario women don't have to wear shirts Too cold for women to be wandering around topless? No problem, Windsor strip clubs, unlike Michigan's, are allowed to have fully naked dancers. (A surprising number of Detroit businessmen "get lunch" in Windor, if you know what I mean.) The nudie bars are full of hot college girls, because the clubs offer a tuition plan.

Everybody gets laid in Canada because paying for sex is legal, and the age of consent is 14. (Paying someone who's 14 to have sex with you is still against the rules. I said Canadians were hedonists, not barbarians.)

If wine, women, and ganja don't get you going, there's always the gambling. I think the casino in Windsor may be bigger than the university.

If you by chance meet a Canadian who isn't a beer-swilling, dope-smoking, whore-chasing gambler, he's probably just a nice feller looking to get married to another nice feller. Yep, gay marriage is legal in Canada. Canadians are down with a lot things, but apparently they still think everyone should settle down eventually.

The nice gay fellers probably stay home on the weekend and watch Canadian televison, which has long allowed more adult language than American TV. You can barely get through an episode of Davinci's Inquest without hearing "bullshit" a couple of times, even the comedies like The Industry will let the s-word fly once in a while, and the news programs won't even bleep out "fuck" if late's enough at night.

And yet, despite all the lawlessness and immorality, Canada has yet to descend into chaos. They don't have mobs of drunken gamblers stumbling about looking for child prositutes and strip clubs. There's no alliances between homosexuals and drug dealers to corrupt childern. People still get married, despite the hookers and homosexuals, the kids still graduate from school despite the underage sex, nobody's burned the country down, and nobody's had to build a wall around them, either, because they're such good neighbors that they don't show off, or demand that we do things the way they do. (They also have smaller percentage of their population in prison than the U.S. does.) Canada's doing such a good job of behaving while legalizing misbehaving that it makes you wonder what the Conservatives running America are doing wrong. If President Bush actually read newspapers, he would probably bomb Canada just to cover up the evidence, assuming he could find it on a map.

Why am I thinking about Canada this weekend? Because the map of Ohio I ordered showed up in the mail yesterday, so now it's time to order another map. I'm getting the map of Ontario from (I did't even have to look up the address -- The government of Ontario ran their tourism commercials on Michigan television stations so often last year that they burned the URL into my brain.) If I'm going to live a hour from Hedonism Central, you can be damn sure I want a map for it.

Posted at 11:53:31 PM EST on 31 January 2004 from Trenton, MI