- PART 1 -
Montreal is world-renowned for three main areas of cultural significance:
1. Fine French cuisine
2. Stunning old-world architecture
3. Total sexual deviance
Three guesses as to why I'm here. (All right, the fine French cuisine was a draw at first, but once you've tasted one pâté poutine you've tasted them all.)
Perverts. Prurience. Penis. So many great words start with P. You can find them all in Montreal, along with plenty of beautiful people to keep you company on our icy winter nights. The men and women of Montreal are said to be the most beautiful in the world, thanks to the diligent efforts of Les Filles du Roi – 17th century prostitutes sent by the king of France to populate, in perpetuity, the provinces of the New World. Or so the story goes.
Montrealers have always had a low tolerance for North American standards of propriety. In short: they certainly aren't prudish.
So many P's, so little time.
When you visit the city, the important thing to remember is that although it is charming and beautiful and oh-so-very French, it is not Paris. Any comparisons you wish to make to the City of Lights are perfectly welcome, so long as you keep them to yourself. And if you're American that goes double, my dear, along with any references to Canadian dollars as “funny money” or starting a sentence with the phrase, “Well, back home in America...”
You ARE in America, darling: North America. Please bear this in mind at all times, as you gaze and graze through the continent's fabulous capital of low rent, cheap eats, and more hipsters per Mile End than church bells. (Though Mark Twain once observed that one couldn't throw a brick without breaking some stained glass in this holy fuck of a town.)
It's true: you are still in America, although you're standing in the only unilingually French-speaking province in Canada (a technically bilingual country), a place where English is considered a second language for 68% of its residents. Employees of the Societé de transport de Montréal (also simply known as "The Metro," our hummy little subway system) are not required, by law, to answer questions furnished in English, and most take this law quite to heart, lashing out in some extreme gutter French when provoked by one too many Bostonian tourists asking, "Yo, this bus go to Crescent Street, bro?"
Speaking French – even the most mangled and abject variation thereof (as evidenced by the local take on it) – is the key to all successful social interactions in this city. Brace yourself for the culture shock. But don't worry: we all secretly speak English. Some of us simply prefer to mock you in our native tongue, much like our Parisian cousins.
As you enter the Sin City of the North, by land or by air, you should surrender to the feeling that everything you think you know is wrong. To orient yourself on this pouting lip of an island you must understand that, here, all compasses will steer you wrong. While our streets technically run North/South and East/West like all cities built on grids, these directions do not hold magnetically true. Perched like a smirk, smack in the center of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, Montreal is forever askew: East is really north, making north actually west. Don't worry if this is unbelievably confusing (because it is); instead, just look to the enormous iron cross atop our mountain to get your bearings. Remember that you are “south” if you are downtown, “north” in Mile End, “east” in the Plateau, and “west” in Westmount.
And yes, that really is a mountain and not just a very large hill. Please do not mock Mount Royal nor the park that runs across its countryside, a twisted twin of New York's mighty Central Park, lest you anger the major deities of the city: Frederick Law Olmsted (park designer) and Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve (city founder). That's MAY-ZAH-NOOV. Say it with me, folks: MAY-ZAH-NOOV. Better. Practice in the mirror, you'll get it.
Further east of the famed mountaintop, which has given our city its name, you'll find our grand boulevard St-Laurent. Shops and restaurants on The Main (as it's called by locals) demand a constant influx of people who live and die by the principal of “see and be seen.” Visitors don't bother with much of anything east of St-Laurent, presumably because this is the French side of town. Americans particularly fear this bit that's off the well-worn metro tracks, far from the hustle and bustle of downtown, and definitely difficult to understand without a proper interpreter.
But enough about Montreal. Let's get naked.
Ah, how rude of me! I haven't even introduced myself. What was I thinking?
My name's Francesca Parker, but everyone calls me Frankie. I'm a tour guide, in case you hadn't guessed. Mostly because I love facts – or perhaps more correctly, I'm addicted to trivia. I like to know exactly how many people live in my city at any given time (currently 3.6 million), because I enjoy picturing them all having sex. I like to know how our male/female demographics break down (48% male, 51% female) so I can accurately picture the possible threesomes (FFM, not MMF, though it depends on the swingers in question). I like knowing there are about 15,000 rainbow flag-waving LGBTQ folks living in The Village; that an average Montrealer's yearly income is around $68,000 (Canadian, bien sûr), that the average price of an evening out is around $125, and the median age of city residents is 39. All of these facts and figures help, in my line of work.
And not for the reasons you might think.
Showing people around town is relatively easy. Montreal's a beautiful city, full of cobblestones, spiral staircases, and quaint 19th century French architecture. There are gables and flying buttresses and gothic gargoyles posing as downspouts, tin roofs, Our Lady of the Harbour (and yes, with a U in Canada, because of the Brits), and monstrosities-slash-tourist attractions like The Big O (our Olympic stadium from 1976, just paid off this year!) and the boxy Habitat 67, “futuristic” relics of the Montreal World's Fair, now turned into ritzy apartments. It's modern and old fashioned at the same time. It has the je ne sais quoi that the tourists love. But it's not what they come to me for.
They come to have a good time. Good food, strong drinks, a little dancing – and a little more, if you know what I mean. Not the average tourist stuff, the Bateau Mouche on the river, dinner on Mount Royal. They can get that from any guide in the city. They come to me for l'amour.
L'amour passionné. L'amour dangereux. L'amour toujours.
So let's not beat around this bush any longer, darling. We both know why we're here. You enjoy the company of a beautiful, charming, sophisticated woman. I enjoy the money that men like you can supply. I'll show you the charming old-world sights in my Paris of America, and then I'll show you exactly why Montreal is known as the Sin City of the North.
We have a million and one reasons. Have you time enough to experience them all? Perhaps you should extend your stay. Double your pleasure. I'll call a few friends. Maybe you'd like a little ménage à trois? A little more plotte in your plot?
“Top you up, sir?” the waitress intrudes.
“He's not thirsty,” I say, waving her off. She's waiting on an order. So am I.
Now, where were we? Ah, yes. Two hundred an hour, minimum three hours, plus extra for every kink you'd like to indulge. I'll have someone spend the night with you for a thousand, but I'm sorry, it will not be me. Not unless you are terribly charming, attractive, and lucky. I'm just The Fixer, mon ami. You understand?
Whatever you need, or merely want, I can get. Whether that's a strawberry daiquiri or a strawberry blonde, I'm the girl who can find what you're looking for, when it comes to all things sexy, dirty, or downright strange. That's what you pay me for, after all.
I'm not your average, ordinary tour guide in a button-down blouse and no-nonsense pumps. Maybe it's the stiletto heels that help you to this realization, or perhaps the leather pants? Maybe it's just my French accent (which I generally fake, being a dirty Anglophone), or the way you've been wondering what might happen if I let my hair down from its careful coif? There are plenty of subtle clues. Some are even less subtle, like my business card, which reads “Sexy Tourism for Canada's Fetish Capital,” and features a splendidly exposed posterior, tightly bound by black fishnet stockings. People always assume the buttocks are mine, but in actuality they belongs to a friend – an infamous stripper by the name of Velma Candyass. Perhaps you've heard of her?
Yes, you can meet her if you like. No, she won't sleep with you, but she can make you feel like a million bucks in a variety of other ways, if you're interested.
So now that you've discovered my true calling, here's the menu, complete with rates for every imaginable perversion – a check box for all of your favorite kinks. It's just like sushi. Funny how the Japanese have everything all figured out when it comes to business.
Here are some of the options from my Menu du Jour that won't land me in jail:
• Sin City Tour (available during daylight hours only, in three-hour slots)
• Karaoke, Chez Mado (be forewarned: Mado is a fabulous drag queen)
• Naughty Secretary's Club (ladies-only vibrator shopping @ Joy Toys; does not include purchases at the boutique)
• Boudoir/Fetish Photography with Ms. Andrea Hausmann (be forewarned: Ms. Hausmann does not suffer fools and will not be posing with you, so bring a friend)
• Sushi served fresh off a gorgeous nude of your choice (please specify desired hair/eye color and/or race in advance - 24-hour notice required)
Just a taste, you understand. A girl can't give all her trade secrets away.
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