When Madonna kissed Drake

After Madonna kissed Drake at Coachella a couple weeks ago, there were numerous articles, news stories, and memes circulating about it.  Many were making fun of it because of Drake’s reaction and Madonna’s age.  There were different groups of people with different takes on the event.  Some found it hilarious, some made fun of Madonna for being old, some thought “Who cares?” and some claimed that it was sexual assault.  I would like to think that I fall into the category of “Who cares?” but the fact that I’m writing about it would prove otherwise.

The first thing I noticed about people’s reactions was that so many people were commenting on Madonna’s age.  Even before the kiss, people had been commenting on her age.  When she announced her Rebel Heart tour, I saw posts and comments from people saying that she should retire and that she’s too old to be performing.  One could argue that her performance at Coachella and the fact that she had Drake be a part of that performance was part of her attempt to stay relevant and maintain shock value to an audience who questions her ability to do so.  In response to the kiss, people said things like “50 shades of granny” and called her geriatric and an old lady.  I didn’t think it made sense for people to refer to her as a senior citizen, when she is only 56.  People have pointed out to me that 55 is sometimes regarded as the age where one becomes a senior, but for me I’ve always though that began at 65.  Either way, I would never refer to someone in their 50’s as a senior citizen, and doing so would never really be regarded as a compliment.

I actually kind of want to see Madonna in concert, because I never have, and to me she is an icon, one of those people you just have to see in your lifetime.  I don’t care that she’s “old”.  My favourite concerts that I’ve been to were to see performers who you might consider “old”.  Earlier this year, I saw Bryan Adams, who is 55.  It was an amazing concert.  No one thought he was too old, in fact, he was better than ever.  I also saw Fleetwood Mac, whose members are mostly in their 60’s and it was awesome.  Last year I saw Cher, who is 68, Elton John, who is also 68, and Paul Simon & Sting, who are 73 and 61.  All these concerts were great and I’m glad these artists are still performing.  Next week, I am going to see Neil Diamond, who is 74.  Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a ticket for Madonna’s concert.  I was hoping she would announce a second show in Vancouver like she did in Edmonton, but that didn’t end up happening.

It seems like with older male artists, there isn’t that stigma of age and expected retirement.  No one says they should stop making music just because they’re older now.  I admit, that 80’s Madonna will always be my favourite Madonna and I’m not a huge fan of her current songs.  But that doesn’t mean that she should stop making music just because her best hits might be behind her.  I don’t really like any of today’s music by artists in general, young or old, as you can probably tell by the concerts I’ve attended in the last little while.

People have different viewpoints regarding the aspect of ageism and sexism when it comes to Madonna’s performance at Coachella.  Often times when a situation occurs, we tend to speculate about how things would be different if the genders of the individuals involved were reversed?  Like how I think that a male performer over 50 would not be ridiculed as much as a female.  Some people who claim Madonna kissing Drake was sexual assault, say that it has nothing to do with age or gender, and is fully about consent. I’ve heard arguments about how if an older man were to kiss a younger female in that manner, people wouldn’t be laughing at the situation, and instead would be outraged.  I’ve heard references to John Travolta’s behaviour at the Oscars, where many, including myself, believe that he came across as creepy when interacting with Idina Menzel and Scarlett Johanssen.  I would argue that that wasn’t about his age or his gender, and that his behaviour did just genuinely seem odd.  Even if he touched the face of an older woman, it would have seemed creepy.  And it wasn’t part of a performance.

I think back to the VMA’s a couple years ago with Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s performance.  I feel like while they were both judged for it, Miley was criticized more so for her behaviour, in this instance where it was a performance with a young woman and and older man.  Although, I realize that Miley was performing and twerking, whereas Drake was just sitting in a chair.  When I think about the issue of consent in relation to Madonna kissing Drake, I am reminded of the 2003 Oscars, when Adrien Brody kissed Halle Berry.  I remember it being a key moment in the awards show, but I don’t remember there being any outcry about consent.  I think that Halle Berry expected a kiss from Adrien Brody even less than Drake expected a kiss from Madonna. There is also the iconic photo of a sailor who grabs a nurse and kisses her on V-J Day in Times Square.  I recently found out that the nurse didn’t actually know the man, but the sailor, along with everyone else, was just so swept up in the moment.  The iconic moment is even replicated on a t-shirt at Old Navy.

I agree that consent is absolutely important.  If someone is sitting in a chair, minding their own business, you obviously shouldn’t just go over and start making out with them.  But in Drake’s case, he wasn’t merely sitting in a chair.  I mean, he was, but on a stage, and for the sake of performance.  There is a difference between everyday life and performance.  On the improv show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” the performers have kissed each other a few times in various scenarios for the sake of humour. Maybe improv isn’t the best example, because with improv anything goes and you leave yourself open to whatever happens since nothing is scripted.  But with performance in general, depending on the type, sometimes not everything is going to be scripted.  And especially in performances that include a sexual component, whether it be stripping, or dancing, or what have you, the people involved are generally more open to things.

Two years ago, I was at a New Kids on the Block concert.  I remember I did joke about how they should call themselves Old Guys on the Block instead, so I admit maybe it’s not just female performers who get critiqued for their age.  Although I find boy bands specifically are criticized more so than other male music artists, which is another issue entirely.  Nevertheless, I went to their concert, and am going again next week.  The guys are all in their 40’s.  At Rogers Arena, there are screens, so even if you’re not right in front of the stage or in whichever area they happen to be performing, you can still see close ups of what’s going on.  At one point, in the middle of a song, all of a sudden you see on screen, Donnie Wahlberg, making out with a random woman in the audience.  At no point did he ask if she wanted him to kiss her and at no point did she say “Yes, Donnie, I want you to kiss me.”  It just happened.  He didn’t even ask her to come on stage first or anything.  All of sudden, they were making out.

Have you ever been to a strip show?  I say strip show as opposed to strip club, as there is no male strip club in Vancouver.  If that’s not sexist, than I don’t know what is.  But there are groups of male strippers that perform shows, mostly at casinos.  If you haven’t been to a male strip show, maybe you’ve seen Magic Mike?  I have seen Thunder From Down under twice, once at the Excalibur in Vegas, and once at the River Rock in Richmond.  I’ve seen Chippendales once at Hard Rock in Coquitlam.  What does this have to do with anything?  Well, during these shows, there are moments when the guys will bring a woman on stage.  And maybe have her sit in a chair.  And then one of them will give her a lap dance, touch her, have her touch him, and yes, sometimes kiss her.  At no point does the male stripper ask her if he can kiss her, because it’s all a part of the performance.  You could say that she consented to go on stage, so she knew what was going to happen.  Similarly, Drake consented to going on stage.  I’m sure he was aware that he wasn’t going to merely sit there the entire time while, Madonna ignored his presence.  No, he was going to be a part of the performance.

This also made me think about Janet Jackson.  I have a friend who is completely obsessed with her, and therefore I’ve been subjected to watching videos of some of her past concerts.  And there is some pretty raunchy stuff.  If you think anything Madonna has done is overly sexual, watch some Janet’s videos.  There are times during her shows when she will bring a man from the audience up on stage.  She doesn’t have him sit in a chair.  She has him tied and strapped down, so he is lying down and she basically dry humps him and does whatever else she wants.  It’s way more intense than Madonna kissing Drake.  And it’s all a part of her performance.  (Side note, I still can’t believe that Janet Jackson is now Muslim.)  Like the guys who volunteered to go on stage with Janet, Drake agreed to go on stage with Madonna.

For those who say her age has nothing to do with the problem, I’d say that if Rihanna or some other young female performer had kissed Drake, there would have been no issue.  If Drake had still given the same grossed out reaction following the kiss, people would maybe question if she’s a bad kisser, but they certainly wouldn’t say that she had violated him in any way.  I wonder if his reaction had been positive instead of negative, would as many people still think of it as sexual assault?  I guess it’s impossible to know what he really thinks, but his response is that it was her lipstick, not the kiss itself that left a bad taste in his mouth.  Why shouldn’t we believe that?  Hell, sometimes my own lipstick gives me a bad taste in my mouth, so I totally get that.

I do understand and acknowledge that consent is extremely important.  And especially so in cases where there may be a sort of power imbalance, in terms status, or what have you.  I recognize, that just because Madonna is Madonna, that doesn’t give her free range to make out with whoever she pleases.  But it’s not as if she’s going around doing that on her own time.  She’s doing that as part of a performance.  Whether it’s Britney, or Christina, or Miley, or Drake, it’s all performance for the public.  But the fact that this has sparked so much conversation about the issue of consent is a good thing.

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Meeting strangers in Vegas

<—–Previous Vegas Post

Bloggers in Sin City, Day 1

Upon my arrival at The Flamingo, I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day meeting more people and drinking.  Because those two things go hand in hand, do they not?  This was probably the first time I have ever hung out with a large group of people, none of whom I knew previously, and actually felt comfortable.  We talked as if we were old friends.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t awkward, because it’s safe to say that I probably definitely was.  But I’m always awkward so that’s nothing new.  I was already friends with a lot of them on Facebook, and some of them recognized me from updating my status all the time everyday.  But since they’re all social media fanatics as well, no one was judging me for it.  A couple people also recognized me as the girl who loved shoes.  Apparently when I posted about Army & Navy, some of them thought I was actually buying army boots at some sort of military store.  I had to clarify and explain what Army & Navy really was.

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Carlo & Charlie’s

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Mango margaritas

It was happy hour at Carlos and Charlie’s when I arrived, so perfect timing.  New friendships were made and margaritas were drank.  Larissa pretended it was Tom‘s birthday so that the waitress with the big boobs would come over and pour shots in his mouth.  And she did.  And it was awesome.

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New friends

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Happy hour

When it was time to check in, I met Megan, who I would be rooming with for the first and last day of our stay.  Being the awesome person that I am, I used my Total Rewards card in order to get ahead in line.  We went back down to Carlos & Charlie’s and had some awesome quesadillas.

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Quesadilla Charlie’s

At one point, we all seemed very depleted and worn out and we weren’t sure why.  We were also all very on edge and upset about the fact that our phones were all dying.  It would appear that when you’re a social media buff and your phone battery is drained, your energy level may also become drained.  The solution?  A phone charging party, naturally.  And so a bunch of us got together in the hotel room to charge our phones, and as we did, we too slowly regained our energy.

My original plan was to go see strippers that night.  Because why would I not go see strippers that night?  But I wasn’t feeling it.  Shocking, I know.  There were only a few people who had originally wanted to go and the strippers we wanted to see were all the way on the opposite side of the strip.  I mean maybe if I had more energy at the time I would have been all for it, but I decided my first night would be better spent wandering around our side of the strip and meeting more awesome new people.  Besides, I had already seen Thunder From Down Under last year in Vegas and again this year in Vancouver.  I’m thinking once a year should be what I aim for.

Instead, a few of us wandered around the strip and walked down to The Venetian where we contemplated taking a gondola ride but decided against it.  We walked past Madame Tusseauds wax museum, where we took pictures with The Rock and Justin Timberlake.  Next time I’m in Vegas, I want to actually go inside and take pictures with all the celebrities.

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The Venetian

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The Rock

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Group shot with JT

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Obviously I needed a solo shot too

We later met up with others at Centre Cut Steakhouse in the Flamingo for martinis and bacon.  Because who doesn’t love martinis and bacon?  Especially when there’s three different kinds of bacon.

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Pomegranate lemon martini

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Trio Bacon Satay

More people showed up as the hours went by.  The group from DC took a limo from the airport, which somehow may have ended up being cheaper than the shuttle I took.  I was jealous.  Eventually I met Kitty and another Megan, who were my other roommates for the night.  I think I ended my night watching TV and eagerly anticipating what the rest of the trip had in store for me.

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I saw male strippers with my grandma

Yeah, so the title of this post is self explanatory.  But I’m guessing you want details?  Like how and why?  More like how awesome was it and why did it take this long for me to write about it?

Thunder From Down Under

Obviously this appealed to me

While in Vegas, I went to see seven shows.  Thunder From Down Under was one of my favourites.  We were looking through the different shows that we could potentially go to and trying to organize our time, figuring out which days we would do what.  I was staying at the Luxor, which has a connection to the Excalibur.  They had a deal at these hotels where you can attend two of their shows for $75.  So naturally, I went for this deal.

I wore my best looking shoes to the show

I wore my best looking shoes to the show

I commented on how I wanted to see it, and to my surprise, my grandma said she would go with me.  I had to make sure she was serious.  She was.  I wanted my cousin to come too, but she was only 18 at the time.  But lucky for us, 18 year olds are allowed to go as long as they are accompanied by an adult over the age of 21.  Done and done.

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My cousin and I, awaiting the show

We had some time before the show started, so my cousin and I went back to our respective hotels to get ready while my grandma did some more gambling.  Before we met up to go in, my grandma asked someone where the Thunder From Down Under Showroom was.  Apparently they replied with, “YOU’RE going to Thunder From Down Under?”  To which she replied, “Yes, I’m going with my granddaughters,” in a way that suggested that it was a perfectly normal thing for her to be doing.

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They’re so good, they have their own Showroom

My cousin and I were so excited for the show.  The novelty of it wasn’t so much the fact that we were going to see strippers.  It was the fact that we were going to see strippers with our grandma.  Who does that?  Who else can say that they’ve done that?  I’m probably the only person who can say she saw male strippers with her 18 year old cousin and her 79 year old grandma.  And more importantly, that I enjoyed seeing male strippers with my 18 year old cousin and my 79 year old grandma.

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My grandma bought me a thunder cocktail

My grandma’s awesomeness does not stop with the fact that she agreed to come with us.  She also bought me a drink.  And not just any drink.  A giant fishbowl drink.  I was still trying to finish it at the end of the show.

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My giant fishbowl drink

This was my first time at a male strip show.  Because sadly, there are no male strip clubs in Vancouver.  At least none that I am aware of.  Are there?  In Nevada, apparently there’s a law where they’re not allowed to remove everything.  So no full frontal.  But my grandma mentioned to us that back in her day, they took everything off.

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Me and my fishbowl

Before the show started, there were videos on the screen with various clips of the men from Thunder From Down Under.  In one of them, it showed them all hanging out in their dressing rooms, and one guy was playing guitar, and one of them was straightening the other guy’s hair.  I was like is that what they do when they hang out?  Sit around straightening each other’s hair and serenading each other on the guitar?

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Our seats weren’t half bad

Like any good male strip show, there was a fake orgasm contest, where the host brings three ladies onstage to do their best fake orgasm to win prizes.  I’m kind of glad I didn’t get picked for that.  It would probably be horrifying to have to do that in front of my cousin and my grandma.  And I’m even more grateful that neither of them went up.  I can’t even imagine.

It was thrilling walking through those doors

It was thrilling walking through those doors

I loved their dance numbers.  And their bodies.  It’s actually quite intimidating how insanely in shape they keep themselves.  There were a bunch of times when they would invite a girl on stage to get some private one on one time with one of the guys.  Sadly, I was not chosen.  It’s usually girls who are there for bachelorette parties and birthdays that get to go up.  Or whichever girl screams the loudest.

It was all so exciting

It was all so exciting

They don’t stay onstage for the entire time.  Sometimes they come around out into the audience.  Which was great for us because we had a couple of them pass by our table a few times.  One guy came around and he gave my grandma a hug and he gave my cousin a hug.  But he completely ignored me.  I was feeling rather neglected.  But the later, another guy came by and sat on my lap.  So it was all good in the end.

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The Showroom

After the show, you get the chance to get your picture taken with the guys onstage.  No, sadly my grandma did not get one taken.  But she gave my cousin and I $20 each to get them for ourselves.  Would your grandma give you money to go sit on a stripper’s lap?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

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Next time, I’m buying some merchandise

They showed us different poses that they could do with us.  For one of them, they said it was for your ex-boyfriends, and they were all giving the finger.  My cousin, being the classy girl that she is, decided to choose that one.  So she, along with the guys, are all giving the finger to the camera.  She said it was a message to all the guys who have hurt her, that the Thunder From Down Under guys support her.  I thought that was pretty awesome.

Girl's night outback. How clever.

Girl’s night outback. How clever.

I went for something a little less harsh, and just positioned myself across their laps.  Still keeping it classy as always.  Clint, the guy with the pink hair greeted me on the stage and said he liked my outfit.  He was my favourite.  He had dyed his hair pink to show support for breast cancer awareness.  I also liked Matthew, the guy who hosted it.  At the end, he does some stripping himself, which is awesome.  And then I sat on the young guy’s lap and we talked about how they had done a show at the River Rock the previous year and how I’m from Richmond.  I was still talking to him and didn’t even realize my time was up.  I totally could have sat there longer…

My classy as hell photo

My classy as hell photo

Because we’re awesome, we checked our coupon books for coupons for a free poster from the merchandise shop.  But in all our excitement, we forgot to claim them.  Luckily our hotels were right near the Excalibur, so we went back to get what was rightfully ours.

Yay for free posters

Yay for free posters

There was a 9:00pm show and an 11:00pm show.  We went to the early one.  Grandma likes to party, but she still needs to be in bed at a reasonable hour.  You have the opportunity to get your photos and posters signed at the end of the show, but for some reason we didn’t.  But I was determined not to miss out.

Woo hoo

Woo hoo

After leaving my grandma and my cousin and going back to my hotel, I went back to the Thunder From Down Under Showroom to wait.  I dropped stuff off in my room first and my dad asked me where I was going since it was quite late by that time.  I informed him I was going to go get my stuff signed by strippers and went on my way.

Waiting to get my merchandise signed

Waiting to get my merchandise signed

I had to wait a while.  A lot of girls from the second show were getting their photos taken, and taking their time doing so.  But it was well worth the wait.  What’s better than a Thunder From Down Under photo and poster?  A signed Thunder From Down Under photo and poster.  Plus further interaction with the guys, however minimal it may have been.  I made sure I was visible enough in the crowd to push through and get each one of their signatures.

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Is it worth more because it’s been signed?

This experience was probably the most memorable of the trip.  And one of my most memorable experiences in general.  For some, Vegas may be all about getting wasted in some high end nightclub.  But for me, it was all about strippers with my grandma.

What happens in Vegas ends up in a blog post

vegashollywoodLast summer, I went to Vegas.  With family.  When I tell this to most people, they are initially intrigued by the fact that I went to Vegas.  And then soon disinterested when they find out I went with family.  Almost as though they feel sorry for me.  As if it’s so disappointing and such a waste of a trip.  For most people, a trip to Vegas with your family isn’t as fun or glamorous as a normal Vegas trip would be.  But for me, it was.

nynyme

My grandma turned 80 years old last year.  And she had never been to Vegas before.  So we thought it would be fun to take her there.  She loves gambling, so I was shocked it was her first time there.  Even I had been before, and I hate gambling.  Mostly because I’m so terrible at it.  But my grandma is more of a risk taker and has more luck than I do, so Vegas was perfect for her.  I’m more interested in the shopping and the shows.  And the food.  And the drinking.  You know, there’s always something for everyone.

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Apparently my grandma is afraid of flying in an airplane.  This fear manifested a few years ago, when some idiot made some remarks about how flying was unsafe an whatnot.  I think that was the last time she was in a plane because whatever the guy said on that flight must have freaked her out.  So my aunt and uncle had to drive down to Vegas with her.  I can’t even imagine that long and painful drive.  I’m just so glad I went by plane.

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So what’s there to do in Vegas with your family?  So many things!  Despite what many might think, Vegas isn’t just all about the pool parties and the night clubs.  I mean I wouldn’t bring kids there.  Although some people do.  Which is ridiculous.  Walking down the strip at like 11pm, you see families with kids.  And wonder why are you out, shouldn’t you be in bed?  Why are you here?  But anyway.  When you’re with family members who are old enough to appreciate it, Vegas is awesome.

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The shows are amazing.  I really wish we had more shows here in Vancouver because I miss it.  I went to a total of seven shows while I was there and they were all spectacular.  I saw Terry Fator, Mac King, Nathan Burton Comedy Magic, Frank Marino’s Divas, Tournament of Kings, The Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil, and Thunder From Down Under.  Did I mention that I saw Thunder From Down Under with my grandma?  They’re Australian strippers.  Yeah, that happened.

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I also went to two buffets.  And I went crazy both times.  You know I love food.  And I tend to have no self control when that food is essentially limitless.  So you can imagine what my plates looked like.  I definitely ate too much, but I have no regrets about that.  I also loved being able to drink in public during the day.  I’m pretty sure if I lived in Vegas, I would be a morbidly obese alcoholic with a lot of debt.

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I also hung out by the pool and did a lot of walking along the strip.  And shopping.  I did my fare share of shopping at Ross and at the outlet mall.  I did gamble a little as well.  But as I said, it’s really not my thing.  I lost a bit and then gave up.  I just don’t have my grandma’s luck or perseverance.

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Stay tuned for future blog posts about the shows, food, drinks, and fun I had in Vegas…