Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Swinger's Community

Here at the Gumboot we're all about discovering and learning about different types of community.

A little while ago I was hanging out at a cocktail party in sunny Tsawwassen. In case you're unfamiliar, the suburb community of Tsawwassen is sleepy and as suburban and white as you get. Hundreds of people have fled the big city, crossed the beautiful South Delta green-belt and made their homes among the bungalows, beach houses and palm trees that make the town stand out in the Lower Mainland.

Anyway, back to my cocktail party. So there I stood, half way through my third rum and coke when a friendly Tsawwassenite sauntered up next to me and started to talk my ear off. One thing led to another and pretty soon he was telling me all about a thriving swingers community he'd just discovered in the suburb.

"Couldn't believe it," he said. "I thought that sort of thing was in the big city, but the fact that people are doing that sort of thing when they have families and kids is something else."

According to my new friend the swingers community was pretty underground - French resistance style. You only found out about it if you were approached by someone who judged you as GGG (good, game n'giving). Apparently it was a pretty thriving club that had frequent get-togethers and encompassed more than just a few couples. Intriguing, I thought. Time to do some investigative gumboot journalism.

Turns out Tsawwassen isn't the only suburb community with a swingers community.

According to a recent National Post article, a swingers community in Alberta is under attack by the conservative family values types. A recent attempt to open the 4play club - a "dance and social club for sexually open-minded couples and single women" got an unfriendly welcome when the local villagers lit torches and raised their pitchforks up high as they marched righteously to City Hall to file a appeal against the new club's development permit.

The Canora Community League said the club proposal was wrong for a district trying to appeal to families.

"It boggles my mind. I can't even understand the concept of why they would want to put something in our community like that," said Eleanor Burke, a member of the league. "Do it downtown or somewhere, but not in a community where there are kids. I don't think it's morally right for the kids to see this."

Now obviously someone (presumably the owners and investors behind the club) have done some research and are convinced that there are enough horny and sexually playful couples in the suburb to make it worthwhile to put the shovel in the dirt.

Of course that's not satiating Eleanor or others who see "swinging" as detrimental to children.

Interesting thinking no doubt about it. But while many of us liberal westerners might chalkthis up to a heady mix of smallville syndrome and Albertan christian conservatism to create a classic cocktail of ignorance, it makes you wonder what would the reaction be if the little swingers community in Tsawwassen came out of its closet and decided to open a full blown club on 56th St. the main drag.

Even my friend at the cocktail party, a fairly liberal thinking fellow, seemed to think an environment where wife-swapping and swinging was going on wasn't the type of model family situation. It's no doubt tough enough when you walk in on your parents for the first time - imagine walking in on Mom in the throws of passion with your friendly neighbor Barry who lives just two houses down the street.

"Dad, Dad, Moms cheating on you", the child might cry.

"No, No. Barry, Mom, and I are all part of a special club," Dad would say after a recovering from a good ol' belly laugh.

Is this a totally ridiculous scenario. What does the Gumboot community think about swinging with kids? Swinging in general? How about about playground swings? I put it out to you...


Anonymous said...

First of all, it has to be noted that compared to the rest of Alberta, Edmonton is quite left leaning... traditionally the island of orange-red in a sea of blue province.

And while I'm not against the idea of swingers, I just don't find the appeal. Maybe as a single person, I still have a very idealistic view of marriage (or even a longterm partnership). I imagine that you get married or enter into a Tim Robbins-Susan Sarandon (LOVE THEM) arrangement because that person is your world and you want to be with just them forever.

Which is funny coming from me, an embittered single lady.


John Horn said...

I now think totally different things about Tswwassen. Perhaps I'll leave a little more time and try to attend a few parties during my next voyage to the ferry terminal.

And, I must say, Loxy makes a fantastic point about life partners needing to be each others' world. Problem is, humans - we, the naked apes - are an animal species that just doesn't seem to have pair-bonding down in the way that others do. Swinging might just be the most recent manifestation of our struggle to sew seeds and nest simultaneously.

Nice job, Kurt.