“Have you ever been mistaken for a man?” “No. Have you?”

This is who I want to be when I grow up.  I want to wear tight black pants, knee-high boots, a corset and carry around huge fucking guns.  And I want to wreck havoc on all the bad guys of the world.

I’m not exactly sure what it is about hot chicks and firearms that do it for me.  It’s not a sexual thing.  As much as I can appreciate Ms. Jovovich, and I most certainly do, as she both kicks major ass and designs the one and only lipstick I ever wear, I am more so resigned to the fact that if and when the Kinsey scale can be trusted, I’d probably rate somewhere between 0 and -67.  It’s more of a, “I wish I could actually do something tangible to help the world and by Jove, exploding the shit out of the living dead (and those who’ve introduced them upon the world) is pretty much the closest thing you can get to achieving that aim.”  Plus, I really, really do like tight black pants and knee-high boots.  While I may bemoan the fact that my body is in fact ¾ legs to ¼ torso, I do know what looks good on these proportions.

Moreover, with closer examination, I think my attraction to the Resident Evil franchise, may have a deeper meaning that just OHMYGODGREATFASHION!

While the introduction of Alice in the first film may be dripping with gratuitous sexuality (she is found lying nude in a shower), the film quickly begins to explore the thematic conceits of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (watch for reoccurring references to Chess, as well as the overarching idea of madness, and the fact that the Umbrella corporation’s computer is named the “Red Queen.”)

Through her rebirth (by both literally and metaphorically falling down the rabbit hole) Alice learns not only that she is stronger and smarter than both her male counterparts, but also her male adversaries.  The film’s depiction of patriarchal attitudes (embodied by Umbrella’s fierce dedication to the perfection of the T-virus and its never-ending number of faceless, male captains of industry) is unflatteringly relentless.  It is a perfect representation of engrained social patriarchies and the supreme difficultly a lone female has in subverting this status quo.  Alice is a violent, active agent in the fight against this historical institution, this machine.

Yesterday I went to see Resident Evil: Apocalypse with my husband.  I turned to him mid film and asked, “Why do these idiots keep trying to perfect this virus if humanity is all but gone?”  I didn’t understand why it would be so important to control something that no longer existed.

And then I realized that like the T-virus, certain socially proscribed narratives are consciously propagated and sustained every day, whether we think about them or not.  More to the point, they continue to subsist even when we think they have been defeated (or at least convince ourselves that they have.)  Dallas police chiefs, under the strain of skyrocketing rape cases, encourage women to stay together and watch their drinks, instead of just telling men to fuck off and stop raping.  (P.S. Is that message really so hard to endorse?  Parents, reach out to your children!  Tell your boys JUST SAY NO TO RAPE.)  I, unlike Alice, do not consistently fight against engrained sexism, and yet I rail against it whenever I am confronted with ugly and sometimes violent misogyny.

I may not be able to walk around with gigantic shotguns filled with quarters, but I can remember, can believe that I can make a difference as long, as I do remember.  Resident Evil reminds me of this.


After the fire.

Driving, post-sunset, with a wet wind whipping my hair into tangles and snares.  Your fingers resting on the nape of my neck, slow circular motions that leave gooseflesh, not fingerprints.  My dress, hiked above my knees, my heels digging into the carpeted floor, foot on the accelerator.  I am literally shifting gears while we are metaphorically doing the same.

We will arrive home, my shoes clacking against the cobbled pavement, hand in hand, stopping to kiss, only once, and closed mouth, but hard.  The door opens, so we kiss again, and our mouths follow suit, though much softer now.  My gooseflesh returns.

I have been fucking the same man for seven years.  Sometimes I wonder if I am, in fact, any good at this game we silly and simple humans have fashioned for not only ourselves, but one another.  How well do I kiss?  How thoroughly and fantastically do I stimulate?  Can I turn others on?  Do I turn others on? 

Do I turn you on?

Before I die I would like an annotated, yet succinct list of every person who has ever fantasized about me in bed with them.  On many levels I understand that this is but one manifestation of my over-rampant and highly destructive vanity.  But I honestly can’t help being curious.  I have spent so much of my life with the same man (a loving, beautiful, exquisite man) I fall into extended periods of time where I forget that I even exist as a woman to the entirety of the world’s opposite-sex population. 

But on the occasion that I remember, it hits me hard.

And during these times I fuck my husband with an almost maniacal ferocity.  As if I believe I could exorcize my lust-stained demons the more I bite and scratch, and banish all manner of my narcissistic character through missing strands of hair and my aggrieved and red swollen lips.  I want to be ravaged as much I want to ravage.  Lay waste to our bodies, my sexuality and his.  And I imagine every single male I’ve ever found attractive sitting in the room watching me, in my savage, erotic fury.  I want them to digest, but never comprehend, what they are missing, what they could have experienced, in another age, on another planet, had I not met, loved and viciously fucked, a loving, beautiful, exquisite man.

I strip the sex off of me, out of me.  So that I will forget, for some period of time, what I think I may be truly afraid to acknowledge, afraid to know.

Obama played golf and all I got was this oil-soaked bird.

I was four years old when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach California, struck the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound and spilled an estimated 10.8 million gallons (although some sources claim it was much closer to 30 million) of crude oil into the Alaskan waters.

I don’t remember reading newspaper stories articling the tragedy.  I don’t remember looking at photos of sea otters, seals and sea birds chocking on oil and drowning in the slick, black quagmire.  I don’t remember watching puffed up, preening TV pundits debate over the best clean up strategies or argue over who was to blame, (CORPORATIONS! or POLITICIANS!) for the boondoggling of the clean-up.

What I do remember is my outrage.  The frustration and impotence that I felt every time I passed an Esso station.  I forced my parents to promise me that they would never purchase gas from the company ever again.  They tried to tell me that Esso was simply the Canadian subsidiary, but I wouldn’t listen.  Exxon (and therefore) Esso had done something truly terrible, and as such they should be punished.  One less customer probably wouldn’t do much on the grand scale of things, but it was something.

To this day I never buy gas from either company.

Fast forward twenty-one years.  Our world is living through one of the worst ecological disaster of all time.  (The worst ever probably occurred during the first Gulf war, but no one talks about that because of that Saddam guy, or the ongoing strife in Nigeria, because that’s Africa and Africa doesn’t really count, right?)  And I am looking for newspaper articles that should be screaming this horror show to every single person the world over.  But I find nothing.  I seek out heart breaking photos of pelicans, sea turtles, and other marine life, destroyed, along with their habitat, floating, bloated, forgotten, cooked alive from the oil that seeps through their feathers and onto their skin.  I post them on my facebook hoping that someone will see them and be moved.  But I find nothing except disgusting, tawdry jokes, because it’s never too early to either not care, or poke fun.

A co-worker told me he thinks Obama has done a brilliant job distancing himself from the events of the gulf.  I wanted to shove my fist into his face.  Break his nose and split his lips.  I wanted to yell that that is exactly why Obama has failed himself, his constituents and his countrymen.  He has failed because of that distance.  The Deepwater Horizon sunk along with his presidency.  “Remember when we were all enamoured with him?”  I want to shout.  Remember when he would fix everything and then Canadians wouldn’t care whether people thought they were Americans when they travelled abroad?  WELL WAKE UP MOTHERFUCKERS!  HE HAS FAILED!  HE HAS FAILED BECAUSE HE’S THE SAME AS EVERY OTHER GODDAMN POLITICIAN!  And for that I suppose I shouldn’t fault him.  Because I’ve finally learned that it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter if they’re black, female, gay, mobility-challenged, old, white, young, good-looking or fugged-out.  We live in a time and a world where no one has to be accountable for anything.  Don’t want to grow up?  You don’t have to.  Your parents will pay for you/it/them.  Don’t want to acknowledge the mass killing and irreversible ecological devastation that you had a hand in causing?  You don’t have to!  Congratulations, everyone!  Welcome to 2010!  The year of the privileged, accountability-intolerant, first-world citizen!

In this vein, the Globe and Mail is cautioning parents not to traumatize their children with photos of dead birds, or those struggling to remain alive.  Images of such brutality may be too much for their young, malleable minds.  They will cause nightmares and lead to harder, more difficult questions for which you don’t have answers.

Remembering my four year old self, and the indignation I felt over second hand news from my father, devoid of any pictorial evidence or internet slideshows, is why I believe we MUST show them the photos.  Put them in their lunch boxes!  Stuff them under their pillows!  Discuss these events over dinner and sit up watching the news (only pray that they actually cover the spill, and not Helena Guergis’ pregnancy and her contemptible, cocaine-loving husband.)  Traumatize the living daylights out of them!  Destroy their faith in human kind, and enrage them over the rape of Mother Nature and her offspring.  Because to riff off of the much maligned, tired, old cliché –  these children actually are our future: they are our leaders, t.v. pundits and corporate CEO’s.  And if they go one or two more steps further than simply boycotting Esso, we may have won some kind of battle.  But not a war – as personal accountability is something I don’t know how to instil through graphic and disturbing cinematic evidence.

And until such a time, I slink into the shower and I weep.  I fold myself into the bottom of my bathtub and let the tepid water fall onto me, fall over me, fall into me.  My body, wracked by uncontrollable sobs, shudders, and I think of those birds.  The birds.