Thank you, please come again!

Saskatchewan – well done! Your birth rate in 2012 was the highest it’s been in 22 years! There were 15,035 births in 2012, up over 14,577 in 2011, breaking the 15,000 mark for the first time in nearly a generation.

The news was sent out by the provincial government last week, along with a list of the most popular baby names. And while reading between the lines of a press release is usually a very boring and futile endeavour, this one was different. You see, for every action, there is a reaction and what goes up, must eventually come down. In other words, there’s a reason why there are more babies being born.

Our more vanilla readers might believe that wetland conservation has increased the number of stork visits to the province. But our more worldly readers might choose instead to believe the most seductive answer – Saskatchewan is having more sex. Of course, in a province with landmarks and towns with names such as Big Beaver, Old Man on His Back, and Climax, it’s really not that surprising.

This explains so many things, to begin with, why people smile and wave in Saskatchewan when they pass one another on rural roads. In Alberta, no one waves. And if they do wave, it’s usually with just one finger. I used to be somewhat hurt, and a little offended. The first year I lived here, I waved enthusiastically to everyone I passed on any secondary highway or gravel road. Eventually, I just sort of gave up, and started to ignore everyone in return. But now that I know what the wave actually means, I’m going to start using BOTH of my hands!

Manitoba’s licence plates say: ‘Friendly Manitoba,’ and there’s no doubt, Manitoba is friendly and friendly is good. But you know what’s even better? Two-handed happy. I think Saskatchewan needs to own this… embrace it. It could be exactly what we need to give our smaller communities a leg up in the battle against dwindling populations.

We have to start with the licence plates. We’ll let Manitoba keep the word ‘friendly’. We’re going to use a different F-word on ours: ‘Fertile Saskatchewan’ and the image on the plate will be of massive mammatus clouds.
The Catholics will love it, and the innocent (or repressed) among us will believe it’s an agricultural reference. The rest of us will know precisely what it means, and tourism will increase 10 per cent in the first year. Sure, most people aren’t going to choose to come to Saskatchewan for their honeymoon, but I’m willing to bet many will come for their SECOND honeymoons.

While our libidos may be impressive, it could mean the cleanliness of our homes is underwhelming. A controversial study released last week revealed that in homes where the husband performs more of the housework, couples tend to have less sex. In homes where the gender roles were more traditional, more sex was reported.

Now, before all you men throw in the dishtowel, hang on to your aprons and listen to the critique of the study. First, the data was from the early 1990s and according to my children, that’s forever ago. Secondly, the correlation between sex and housework division by gender is so random and difficult to account for without taking countless other factors into consideration, that it’s effectively useless. Really, it was a silly study released only to garner headlines, and that it accomplished. So boys, please get back in those chaps and start dusting again – you know you want to.

Gender bias aside, I found some of the coverage of the study somewhat patriarchal. From MSN, there was this: “Past studies have found the opposite – that men who assist with household chores are more likely to be rewarded sexually by their wives.”
Rewarded? Really? Where do we live? In Bedrock, where Mr. and Mrs. Flintstone shared a bedroom, but endured separate, cold-as-rock beds?

I guess MSN wasn’t paying attention, but there was this little societal shift a few decades back called the sexual revolution. That’s about the time men were allowed to start washing dishes, and women were allowed to start changing their own oil. (And yes, that was a euphemism.)

Men aren’t rewarded with sex any more than females are, and that statement infers that women cognizantly use sex as a tool to achieve a specific outcome. That’s insulting. Women have sex because they like having sex, and that’s exactly the way it should be. Perhaps the case could be made that women like it less often than men, but that’s definitely not the case we’re going to make in Saskatchewan for our new billboard campaign:  “Fertile Saskatchewan – Bred Basket of Canada.”

Of course, no one says it better than Climax on the signs they’ve erected as you leave town…

“Thank you. Come again!”
Published in the Gull Lake Advance, February 4, 2013

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