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For Better or for Worse, 9/2/04

I grew up in Buffalo, New York, not a stone’s throw from Canada, and for anyone who grew up a stone’s throw from Canada, one of the main things you know about Canada as you’re growing up is that the legal drinking age there is 19. This has interesting social ramifications. For instance, not only can 19-year-olds go into Canadian bars, but they can also go into Canadian strip clubs.

And so, just as there are enormous fireworks warehouses mere yards over the Indiana border, dozens of strip clubs line the streets of the Canadian towns just across the Niagara River from Buffalo. (These clubs were collectively known as “the Canadian ballet,” a euphemism I find terrifically amusing to this day.) One of them, Mints, kept up a constant barrage of advertisements on Buffalo radio stations, each of which ended with the club’s tagline: “Where by law … you see it all!”

Now, because I was a profoundly geeky teenager, this phrase did not fill my mind with images of gyrating, fully nude strippers; rather, I visualized the debate about the law in the Canadian Parliament. Was it part of the Government’s programme, as presented by the Governor-General in the Speech from the Throne? Or was it a Private Member’s Bill? Did some MPs argue that the discreet covering of certain body parts should be permitted in some cases? Or were the Government and Opposition united in backing nothing less than full, state-mandated nudity? However the process went, surely the result strongly argued for benefits of parliamentary democracy.

You can see why I didn’t date much in high school.

Anyway, this is a roundabout way of saying that Ellie is profoundly overreacting here in saying that April looks “like a pole dancer.” Not only is her strangely formal dress not particularly trampy by the standards of the what the kids today are wearing, but, in the northern, quasi-socialist paradise that the Pattersons call home, it would actually be illegal for a pole dancer to be so attired.

On an unrelated note: For Better or for Worse has continuing storylines and characters who age in real time, but also has daily punchlines. Is it a soap opera strip or not? Discuss.