Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Slipcovering the soul.

The contents of a website rattled me so severely yesterday, I took to my bed. Images so horrific, my spirit melted, and I succumbed to the mid-winter blues.

I am of course, talking about the Sears ready-made slipcover website. A conglomeration of the ugliest fucking, soul-sucking textures, colours, and fabrics known to humankind – all with a common thread of Addams Family-esque elasticized pleating – the likes of which one only experiences prior to the undertaker lowering the lid on Aunt Barb's box.

I was so depressed that something as insignificant as a slipcover display would depress me, I turned to my pillows, and Oprah – the kiss of death for productivity in a home office environment.

Oprah, as it happened, was interviewing nuns. The slipcovered women of a polygamous God.

The common thread among nuns – evident after watching the show – was happiness. Happiness, and really unruly eyebrows. For these women – heartache, money worries, and looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places, took a back seat to chastity, poverty, and obedience. (I would be a shoe-in for nundom if not for the obedience bit.) Happiness, it seems, is rampant among the dwindling number of nuns in captivity today.

So desperate are nuns to beef up their flock, a few have resorted to the most godless career calling since the Republican party: advertising. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie have hired marketing guru Terry O'Reilly, of radio's Age of Persuasion fame, to bump up recruiting. The campaign, with a reported budget of $24,000, rolled out last week, featuring radio spots, and ads on the Sistine Chapel of public transit: buses. Smart cookie that Terry is, advertisements are posted on bus ceilings, with the headline: "If you're looking for answers, you're looking in the right direction."

I sat next to a happy nun once, on a crowded bus in Rome. I recall asking her many of the same questions Oprah asked. Stupid questions, like: Sex... Overrated, or better with God? And the really big question: Why?

I also recall – while engaged in conversation with my nun – a young, Italian man began grinding his crotch on my knee. I repositioned myself discreetly, before realizing that his salami on my exposed knee was no accident – and the wife of God sitting to my immediate left had no bearing on his advances, whatsoever. Nothing, it seems, is sacred to an Italian dog with a boner. Had I been looking for answers on that particular bus ride, I likely would have looked up, simply to avoid making eye contact with Romeo's instrument of passion.

Oprah and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist saved me from my veil of depression, and my thoughts quickly turned to my own nasty habits and the amourous young man on the Roman bus. Would my rheumy knee, fleshy and scarred, attract his devotions some twenty years later?

Maybe I'll find out.

Maritime Travel have a Italian adventure designed for those with a "taste for life". The Taste of Tuscany escorted tour pulls out of Havenot for arrival in Florence on May 7th – just before winter sets in again, freezing the pussy off dreary Canadian willows. For 8 days and 8 nights, you'll wake up hungover, with purple teeth, in a beautiful Tuscan villa in the heart of wine country. You'll endure FIVE cooking classes with local chefs, countless official and unofficial wine tastings, plus local market visits, and side trips to Florence and Siena – where, with any luck, some swarthy Latin lover will find your dimpled knee worthy of his affections.

This food and wine-lover’s adventure is graciously hosted by chef and bon vivant, Jeff Ferguson – also known as “Giopetto” after a few swigs of Brunello di Montalcino. Having gone it alone, and also with the little bastard several times, traveling with a male escort in Italy would be a refreshing change. After a few Campari's, Italian men are like pit pulls on a geriatric poodle.

Thank God.

For details on the Taste of Tuscany Tour call Maritime Travel at 1.800.593.3334, or click on the ad to the right.

To join the nunnery, go to: