the key to enhanced canadian competitiveness in the 21st century: tons of swingers clubs

I am only now getting word of the movement down Toronto way to get rid of the swingers clubs that have opened in the west end of the city. In the wake of the landmark 2005 Supreme Court decision to legalize such clubs, this move raises several important legal questions, foremost among them: Where exactly are these clubs located? Do you need some sort of password? And does my codpiece clash with my ascot?

Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for swingers clubs to make headlines. For people who aspire to do it with plenty of people in places where plenty of people have done it before with plenty of the people who’ve done doing it before, the Court ruling appeared to turn Canada into Fantasy Island – but without all the bell ringing and midgetness.

This seemed like our big chance to occupy a niche in the global economic marketplace. I expected the immediate establishment of national swingers-club franchises – McSwingers! Billions serviced! I expected the lucrative facial hair removal industry to be gripped by panic as millions of Canadian males grew unkempt, orgy-calibre moustaches. And I certainly expected a tasteful international ad campaign from the Canadian Tourism Commission, touting Canada as your go-to destination for making it with someone else’s chubby husband.

A bit of background: The court’s seven-to-two ruling – I think it’s safe to guess which two judges didn’t stick around in chambers for the post-ruling “after-party,” if you catch my drift – was released just days before Christmas 2005, lifting the threat of legal sanction from the annual Feschuk Festive Orgy and Bakeoff, which was nice and really helped with my performance. Wait, that sounds dirty. I’m talking about my rum balls here. Wait, that sounds dirty.

Religious groups assailed the ruling as offensive to our national sense of decency. Civil rights advocates hailed the loosening of restrictions on what people choose to do in private. And the editors of Penthouse Forum put on an extra shift to handle the expected influx of correspondence.

In announcing their decision, the judges were all business. Consenting adults who choose to engage in amorous-type activities with multiple partners in view of like-minded people are not committing indecent acts, they decided – although the judges would go on to unanimously agree that these consenting adults were quite likely to wind up being “sore.”

But now Toronto council, instead of embracing the economic opportunities inherent in giving ugly bald men hope, is trying to find a way to crack down on swingers.

Before I go off and file my expenses for this blog entry (question: does menage a trois take an accent?), a final word: Toronto city councilors must not forget the Supreme Court concluded that community standards aren’t really the issue here. For an act to be deemed illegal, there must be demonstrable harm done to “the proper functioning of Canadian society.”

Group “encounters” behind locked doors don’t meet this standard, the judges said. That remains bad news for opponents of swingers clubs – but heartening encouragement for those of us keen to bring Nickelback to justice for their last three records.

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.