Suzanne and I went out to dinner the other night. That’s becoming a tragically repetitive term nowadays. I can’t wait to have access to an actual kitchen once again. It’s cool to do the fine dining thing every now and then but we’re on a record pace for eating out going into our third week up in the boonies. Thank goodness for per diems.
Anyway, as we were deliberating over the events of the day we looked over the menu. There were plenty of selections to choose from – for me at least. Unfortunately the Caribou is out of season so I haven’t been able to try any dishes with that in it as of yet. They were also out of Muskox as well. What remained was a variety of red meat selections like t-bone steaks and New York strip loins. So I ended up settling on a Seafood Fettuccine.
When the waiter eventually brought my dish by I caught something out of the corner of my eye – a dirty glance from a older dude sitting across the way. He was feasting down on his bloody steak but managed to cast a somewhat disappointed glare at me for choosing what I assume to be an “unmanly” dish in his opinion. It’s not the first time I’ve received perplexing looks from people regarding some of my choices in life. Often people think it’s a compromise on my part because of my diabetic, bunny-hugging vegetarian wife but quite the contrary I make my choices because they’re what I like or want to do. So I present to you reasons why I’m not a man (apparently):
- I don’t care about cars nor do I know a thing about them – Yes ladies and gentlemen the son of an A Level mechanic has absolutely no interest in cars. About the only car I like is the Ford Mustang. Don’t ask what model. The one with the cool grill and makes a lot of noise.
- I don’t like beer – Oh yeah. Let the Canadians, Irish and Germans loose on me. I said it and I’m not taking it back. I can’t stand the taste of beer. It’s awful. It’s carbonated piss. I can understand if it were sweet or something but for the most part it’s bitter and disgusting. I do drink beer though (thank you peer pressure). Heck I can even drink a few people under the table. That doesn’t mean I like it. I like fitting in more than how it tastes and considering I’m in the land of the suds, I have to adapt to my surroundings.
- I don’t like beef – Yup. That’s right. Red meat just turns my stomach. I used to eat steak and what not many years ago but not anymore. Give me the choice between a thick, juicy steak and a grilled chicken the bird wins hands down. Chicken, pork, fish… pretty much anything that isn’t beef I’ll devour. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll put down a burger every now and then but you’ll never see me go gah gah over there being a strip loin on a menu.
- I like to cook – Apparently in some Cro-magnon circles it’s still considered effeminate to have skill in the kitchen despite many of the top world chefs being men.
- I listen to my woman – Yes. I actually listen to her. Listening to her doesn’t mean I do what she says like a little lap dog. It means I listen to her and know what’s going on in her mind. That way we don’t have to unnecessarily butt heads on the stupidest little matters.
- I speak nerdy and/or geeky – Seems to be that if you’re not up to speed on all your hip and trendy slang terms and wannabe-gangsta speak you’re not only uncool but some sort of wussy girly man. Oh well I apologize for not being a Twitter victim and not contributing to the dumbing down of society.
- I don’t wear logo littered clothing – Not only are your super duper cool if you wear Aeropostale, American Eagle (or any other top tier designer) clothing with their gawdy logos and branding pasted across their apparel but it puts you at the top of the alpha male hierarchy as well. While I do the bulk of my clothes shopping at Old Navy but you’ll never see me wearing any of their apparel that has their brand scrawled across any portion of it. I had always thought that fancy dressing was something the ladies did, but I guess I was wrong all these years. Looking simple and borderline grungy is apparently not dudely anymore.
- I like orchestral music – Not necessarily just the classics like Bach and Beethoven (although I do dig them very much) but more so movie soundtrack composers. Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Howard Shore, Basil Poledouris, Tyler Bates, James Horner, Michael Giacchino, Marco Beltrami. They’re all amazingly gifted composers and their music help define the movies more than the actors or director. Unfortunately if someone catches you grooving out to something like that you get the “are you gay” stares… not that there’s anything wrong with that. ;p
I tell you. If it wasn’t for the fact that I love women, porn, football, action movies and MMA I’m quite certain I’d see the torches and pitch forks of the angry mob in the distance. In any case, I am what I am and I like what I like. Perhaps if people weren’t so insecure with themselves they wouldn’t be so quick to judge.
C’est la vie.
It’s funny hearing about all the myths and misinterpretations regarding Canadians. Being a former New Yorker I too am guilty of either cracking jokes or being misinformed about at least a couple of them. I have the unique perspective of having lived on both sides of the fence of ignorance and I feel compelled to clear up the fog of confusion regarding the World’s Most Friendly Country:
- It’s always cold in Canada and everyone lives in igloos – The latter is more playful ribbing than anything but one of the most popular misconceptions is that it’s always cold in Canada. The majority of the country is along the same latitude as the United Kingdom yet you never hear any cold jokes about the Brits. Some of the northern regions are of course in the Arctic circle and tend to have rather frigid conditions but for the most part Canadians experience the same weather one would receive in any northern state in the US. In fact I can recall quite a few days just this past summer where highs Toronto beat out those in New York and Boston. Winters may last a little longer but the temperatures are pretty consistent. Here’s the averages in January from various locales across Canada:
(Source: The Weather Network)
- Vancouver, BC: 32 / 43°Fahrenheit (0 / 6°Celsius)
- Edmonton, AB: -2 / 18°F, (-19 / -8°C)
- Yellowknife, NWT: -24 / -9°F, (-31 / -23°C)
- Inukjuak, NU: -17 / -4°F, (-27 / -20°C)
- Winnipeg, MB: -9 / 10°F, (-23 / -12°C)
- Ottawa, ON: 5 / 23°F, (-15 / -5°C)
- Toronto, ON: 14 / 28°F, (-10 / -2°C)
- Montréal, QC: 7 / 23°F, (-14 / -5°C)
- Halifax, NS: 16 / 30°F, (-9 / -1°C)
- St. John’s, NF: 19 / 32°F, (-7 / 0°C)
- Canada has better beer than the States – I’m not going to touch this one for fear of being hung from the gallows by overly-patriotic Americans. Everyone is proud of their nation’s beer. Germany is probably the world’s undisputed King of the Brew but as far as who follows after is dependent on each individual’s personal taste. I for one am not a huge beer drinker (heresy I know) so it doesn’t really matter to me. All I do know is that two of the American big guns, Budweiser and Coors, taste like someone spilled their crappy beer in some club soda. Labatte Blue (known locally as just a Blue) and Molson Canadian are far stronger beers and are way easier to down – that’s just a personal opinion though. While Canada may or may not rank in the top 5 worldwide I seriously doubt they fall below the US in that category. I invite anyone from abroad to come sample the ale before making rash judgments. You’d be quite surprised with the results.
- Canada only has poutine and maple syrup as their only contributions to fine cuisine – Canada has a very diverse range of dishes that spans from coast to coast. Canada, like most large nations, is a melting pot of cultures so you can see a lot of Eastern European, South American, African and Asian influences in the cooking. Some examples of regional foods are:
- From the East Coast – Irish Stew, Fish Chowders, Bangbellies (a pork/rice bun), Toutons (Pork Bread), and Duffs (like a dumpling), Molasses Tarts and Partridge Berry Coffee Cake, chocolate bread pudding, oat bread, Cape Breton scones, Creamed Potato Balls, Baked Stuffed Lobster
- Native – Posole Stew (uses hominy), corn casserole, Frypan Fork Bread, Cornmeal pudding, Maple Fudge, Wojape (a berry pudding)
- Quebec – Crème Caramel, French Onion Soup, Split Yellow Pea Soup, Garlic Pork Pot Roast, Cipate (Chicken, meat and vegetable casserole with biscuit topping), 3 crust blueberry pie, poutine
- Ontario – Pine Nut Stuffed Quail, pickled yellow beans, apple butter, headcheese, smoked ham, creamed potatoes, vanilla pie, ice wine, BBQ’s, hot sauces, doughnuts, perogies
- Prairies (I’m not too familiar with foods from this region of Canada) – Crusted Pork Tenderloin, Wild Mushroom Barley Ragout & Summer Vegetables, Grilled Asparagus, Saskatoon Pie
- B.C. – Goats Cheese Terrine, Raisin scones with clotted cream, sablefish, Nanaimo Bars, Poached Salmon, Maple Glazed Chicken Breasts, Oysters, Flatbreads, Vegan cuisine and anything disgustingly healthy (i.e. tofu, miso soup, etc.)
- Canadians always say “eh” and “aboot” – I can honestly say that I have never heard a Canadian utter the words “aboot” in the 10+ years I’ve been here. Course I’ve only been in the Ontario region for the most part so who knows what goes on in the rest of the country. I don’t know where it came from originally but I found it funny as hell when South Park would make fun of it (even if it was confounded). “Eh” on the other hand is something you hear quite frequently though. I’ve even mastered the dialect well enough to use it like a true Canadian as well. Oddly enough it’s not used any more frequently than New Yorkers use “yo” or “aye”. Basically all I had to do to fit in was replace my yo’s with eh’s and say cah-fee instead of cawfee when referring to coffee and all is well.
- Canada has no military – I’ve always made fun of the Canadian Armed Forces having to fight with sporks but the Canadian military is no joke indeed. This one institution consists of three main branches: Maritime Command (MARCOM), Land Force Command (LFC), and Air Command (AIRCOM), which are together overseen by the Armed Forces Council, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff. Their annual funding comes to approximately $21.8 billion (ranked 13th), and are presently ranked 74th in size compared to the world’s other armed forces by number of total personnel, and 58th in terms of active personnel, standing at a strength of roughly 67,000, plus 26,000 reservists, 33 warships spread out amongst 2 fleets, 391 aircraft (which is the third largest in the Americas) and over 3600 currently deployed in the Middle East. The statistics are truly humbling and I tip my hat to all those men and women across the world who are serving for their respective countries. It’s a thankless task but your efforts are truly appreciated by many.
- Canadians are always nice – True to an extent. Every country has their fare share of assholes, douches and idiots. You tend to find them once you’ve lived there for a while. Canada just does a good job of not letting them be the face of the country.
- Canada has no contributions to science – Blasphemy. In fact Canada has burned a trail in many fields and is a world leader in regards to contributions to scientific advancement. From Canola Oil to the Blackberry Canada has had it’s hands in the development of many of the technologies and medical breakthroughs we take for granted. I could probably ramble on for days about all of the innovations but if you’re really interested have a peek here and see for yourself.
- Canada has no film industry – It’s hard to find a movie or TV show that isn’t shot in Vancouver or Toronto nowadays. Chances are if it’s shot in Canada, it has some Canadian actors in it as well. They’ve assimilated into Hollywood so well that many of you don’t even realize some of the best stars are in fact Canadian. From Playboy’s Pam Anderson to Star Trek’s William Shatner Canadians have infiltrated all facets of media. Okay so Keanu isn’t the greatest star ever, but you all ate the Matrix up with a fork and spoon so he did his job.The actual Canadian film industry is a budding one. It makes me laugh whenever I hear Canadians say “Yup, that’s definitely a Canadian film” having only seen a few minutes of whatever is on. It’s not from lack of effort. Despite many film and television projects being funded by the government, it nowhere near the same league as Hollywood in regards to financial backing. The Toronto International Film Festival, founded in 1976, l is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world now. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that “the Festival is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” If you think Canadians haven’t got their fingers on the pulse of the movie industry, you’re sorely mistaken.
- Everyone speaks French in Canada – While that may be true to a degree in Quebec, the majority of the country does in fact speak English – well. In fact most Canadians are bi-lingual.
- Canada’s national sport is hockey – True. In 1994, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-212 that officially made hockey Canada’s National Winter sport and Lacrosse Canada’s National Summer sport. Canadians are definitely passionate about their hockey but don’t believe for an instant that is the only sport accepted up here. Baseball, Football (American and Soccer), Golf, Curling, Boxing and MMA as well as pretty much any winter sport you can imagine from skiing to snowboarding.
- Canadians have no guns or crime – Oh there’s crime here, believe me. And guns. Domestic violence and Robbery/burglary crimes seem to be the most prevalent. There are probably more guns in Canada than in the States based on the fact that this is a hunting nation with the vast majority of the country being wilderness. The big difference is that Canadians aren’t shooting one another. Their preferred methods tend to be fists and knives. It still strikes me as odd to read about small businesses being robbed at knife-point. You don’t hear about that much in New York.
- All Canadian cops are mounties – That’s probably as ignorant as it gets. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body. The RCMP provides federal policing service to all of Canada and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (the RCMP does not serve as provincial or municipal police in Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports. They’re like the Feds in the States. Every province has their own police service such as the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) which are the equivalent of state government agencies such as the NYPD or LAPD. The RCMP have jurisdiction over them all. Cool, eh?
- Toronto is the nation’s capitol – With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America. I think the popular misconception is that Toronto is in fact the capitol of Ontario. Ottawa, the second largest city in Ontario, is the nation’s capitol.
My name is Ian and I am proud to call myself an AmeriCan. 😀