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October 30, 2014
Vice and Rogers are partnering to bring a Vice TV network to Canada
John Tory gets a parody Twitter account
The Irony-Free Bachelorette
In which our correspondent goes to Niagara Falls in strappy shoes for her cousin's stagette and maybe learns a thing or two about the suburbs she came from.

My cousin had a beautiful wedding. But first, she had a bachelorette. Determined not to be that one bitch from the city, I put on an appropriately sluttish dress, bought a bottle of pink champagne and took one, then two of my boyfriend’s sciatica-strength painkillers. Then I took the GO Train ($38) to Niagara Falls. You’ve been, no? Niagara Falls, capital of normalcy gone wild. Where nature at its fiercest meets artificiality at its most relentless. Where there appears to be no store that is not part of a larger chain. Where residents (there are residents) have sincere tattoos of cartoon characters. Where there are ninety-nine restaurants and a brunch spot ain’t one. My cousin is a beautiful, smart, entirely good human; I had never seen her drunk. Thus, it was my feeling that we were having a Niagara Falls bachelorette to be funny. As in, we’d stay at a motel with a heart-shaped hot tub and do a million shots and go on sickitating carnival rides and eat at the Rainforest Cafe and take pictures with plushie mascots and gamble with Russians and end up at the male strippers and generally be intrepid tourists, armed with irony lest our credibility be mugged, and then we’d go back, relieved, to real life. Right? Right. So my second mistake was, I went to the wrong Marriott hotel. When I got to the room, five girls looked at me as though I might be a stripper they’d forgotten they ordered. Then they gave me “polar bear” shots. After expressing my disbelief that these liquid Junior Mints contained alcohol, I did a significant number of them. My third mistake. We went downstairs for a nice dinner at Milestone’s, and halfway through spinach dip I’d told my cousin we might as well get crazy because this was, like, the last day of her life. To her infinite credit, she laughed. Upstairs, more shots. Out came hot rollers, eyeliner, candy. I remembered that I had brought Turkish sweets; what I couldn’t remember was why I’d thought that was a cute idea. The maid-of-honour said she didn’t know what those were, but she had brought Sour Patch Kids. On went strappy shoes. On went music. I tried my hand at iTunes and was soon told that a Siouxsie and the Banshees song was too depressing. Everyone agreed on Beyonce, though. Thank Beyonce for Beyonce. Years ago, soon after I’d moved to Toronto, I went to Niagara Falls with my high school best friends. We stayed in a hotel like this, but not this. We went to the club. I remember hating it; I was in that terrible, brief phase of pretending not to like pop music. I thought, I’m older now, I have less to prove. Look how everyone loves Bey. Look how we all bleach our hair. Let’s just go to the club. There are, apparently, only two places you can really go out to in Niagara Falls. One of them is called Rumors and has, my cousin said, no cover and metal detectors at the door. I wanted to go to that one. My cousin laughed again. We went to Dragonfly, where there are no metal detectors, only 10-12 bouncers and four cops who might also be strippers, and you pay $20 and that’s with guest list. Seriously, I said to me, don’t be a bitch. It’s not that bad. It’s just like Big Primpin’ but with Benny Benassi remixes and no gays. And nobody knows each other. It’s more genuine, maybe. They’re here to dance and drink and meet people, not to get party-snapped or recognized. And though it is difficult to find one’s soon-to-wed cousin when there are (not joking) twelve other white girls with highlighted ponytails wearing pink sashes and tiaras, it’s not any harder than, say, finding one’s long-haired, plaid-shirted brother at a Kurt Vile show. As you get a little older, as you travel and sometimes tire of cities, you realize that the more people try to be different the more predictable they become. You get so used to what you used to think was cool, or weird, that you wonder if normal isn’t the new weird, suburban the new cool. You start to sort of hate city people who hate the suburbs. It’s even more obvious than “the suburbs” themselves. What I do mean is, why are we–the bike-riding, book-borrowing, graffiti-digging, champagne-swilling, soft shell crab-eating downtown elites–so sure we’re right? There has to be a better reason than that we went to good schools and moved to cool neighbourhoods and have New York Times subscriptions and made choices, and tried not to be our parents. Or maybe there isn’t. Made choices, tried. That’s it. I grew up in the suburbs, in middle-class, conservative whitedom. Now that I live in upwardly mobile, liberal, uh, whitedom, I feel like I’ve earned the right to scorn what I’m from. All the girls at this bachelorette thing, we were all raised more or less the same; only I changed. I’m the only one who’s lived in a city. I feel myself right in the way I live/believe/vote now because I’ve actively rejected something prior; whether this makes any sense or not, I’m sure(r) in my choices because that’s what they are. Then, like the slowest girl in the world, I realized what was so not funny about the bachelorette. There was no irony; it was exactly what was expected; my cousin’s bridesmaids had ostensibly decided what to do, but they had not made a single choice. I danced. Did shots. Danced. Did more shots. Went to the bathroom too many times, went for countless cigarettes, danced again. Happily, even. The girls were funny and drunk, and they weren’t looking around at other girls, which I liked. The guys were awful, mostly. But some of them bought us shots just for the sake of it, high-fived us, and then left us completely alone, which is something I could never imagine happening on King West or The (former) Social or, I don’t know, where else do guys buy girls shots? Then some buzzed-head, white-shirted, more boyish-type male asked if I wanted a drink. I didn’t. He said I looked familiar. I said I’m sure I do. Turns out I was being a bitch after all, cause he was from downtown Toronto, which, being a region famous for its one, max two degrees of separation, meant we have a mutual friend. “I knew it,” he said. “You look like such a trendy Queen West girl.” Which revolted me, mostly because it’s true. He and I traded real names and went for another cigarette. We talked about politics and amalgamation and nu-conservative stuff. He said he didn’t know anybody who didn’t vote for the NDP. I didn’t say anything. One of the bridesmaids had joined us. This Toronto guy, a lawyer maybe, I forget, who lived in the Annex, he asked where she was from. She said Brantford. He made fun of Brantford. He said, actually said out loud, “I bet she voted Conservative.” I knew he was right, almost as surely as I knew how manifestly unfair of him it was to say so, but I couldn’t get out the words, and anyway, she didn’t care. “Hell yeah I did,” she said, with an arrogance I felt perversely proud of her for having, in the clean-shaven intelligent smug face of him. But then: “What else would I do?”

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