Oh Canada baby, ripple my maple leaves!

Today is Canada Day, Canada’s national day, celebrated in many ways, perhaps most remarkably in this display of national pride — “hot shirtless muscle jocks in Canadian themed pants”, according to one of the many Pinterest sites on which it’s reproduced — which came to me from Tim Evanson, who thought that they might be a Canadian sports team of some kind (they certainly are fit):

(#1) The Canadian Thunder team: Bobby Ryan, Carlo Spina, Michael Scratch, Daniel Bennato, Vince Johansson and Malcolm Foster

Yes, a team, and yes, certified Canadians (I’d feared they’d turn out to be American male models hired for the photo, but, gratifyingly, not), and the men are no doubt accomplished athletes, but they aren’t a sports team.

They are, or were, Canada’s national team of male strippers, from the 2003-04 season of the reality tv series Strip Search.

So, to the figure of the RCMP Mountie, we can add the Canadian Thunder as human symbols of the Empire of the Maple Leaf, along with two sports (ice hockey and lacrosse), various animals (the beaver, the Canada goose, the loon), some articles of clothing (the parka, the tuque, mittens, and ear muffs), and a variety of food and drink (nanaimo bars, poutine, maple syrup, and Canadian beer).

Here’s the team in motion:

(#2) Up the Leaf!

About the show, from Wikipedia:

(#3) The Strip Search logo, alluding to the national anthem, “Oh, Canada!” and probably also to “Oh, Calcutta!”; from Wikipedia:

Oh! Calcutta! is an avant-garde theatrical revue, created by British drama critic Kenneth Tynan. The show, consisting of sketches on sex-related topics, debuted Off-Broadway in 1969 and then in the West End in 1970. … The show sparked considerable controversy at the time, because it featured extended scenes of total nudity, both male and female. The title is taken from a painting by Clovis Trouille, itself a pun on “O quel cul t’as!” French for “What an arse you have!”.

Strip Search is a reality television series, first broadcast in 2001.

The series follows the search for a new troupe of male strippers from audition to the final live show. First broadcast in New Zealand in 2001, versions have been made in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and the United States.

The format is virtually identical in each series: men are invited to audition for the show, and during a number of tasks, including a boot camp, the numbers are whittled down until the final troupe perform for a live audience.

The original New Zealand troupe was called “Kiwi Fire”. In the same vein, the Australian troupe was called “Aussie Storm”, the UK troupe was named “UK Storm”, the Canadian group was dubbed “Canadian Thunder” and the American troupe was named “American Storm”. The series was masterminded by Billy Cross, an Australian entrepreneur who had success on the Las Vegas Strip with an Australian troupe entitled “Manpower”.

And about the Canadian season of the Strip Search show, from the Suddenly SeeMore Productions site:

STRIP SEARCH transformed a group of ordinary young men into an extraordinary professional male revue. Hosts Bruce Turner and Misty Lowrey went on a cross-Canada search for anyone who had the secret — or not so secret — dream, to dance and well…strip.

From 20 semi-finalists at boot camp to 12 finalists in training and eventually a troupe of six men who became Canadian Thunder, STRIP SEARCH documents what it takes to turn average Canadian guys into a male revue troupe — from choreography to costume fittings, workouts, waxing and calendar shoots.

The series finale performance in front of a live audience is just the warm-up act for their tour across Canada.

STRIP SEARCH is about fun, warmth, and decent Canadian guys taking it [almost] all off — physically and emotionally — for a chance at a new life and a career that includes fun, travel and glamour.

The site has steamy shots (most of them cock-teases) of each of the men. Here’s Michael Scratch using the Canadian flag as a stipper prop:


Male revues.The more refined term of art for the performances of male strippers, referring to male striptease shows — for audiences of women or of gay men. The performances range from no-contact shows emphasizing professional choreography and playfulness — as in the Chippendales’ shtick for women — down to raunchy foreplay to actual sex, as in what was available for gay men until last December at the Nob Hill Theatre in San Francisco (posting to come on this blog).

Some notes on the more elevated end of this range.

— From Wikipedia:


Magic Mike is a 2012 American comedy-drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, and Matthew McConaughey. The plot revolves around Adam, a 19-year-old who enters the world of male stripping, guided by Mike Lane, who has been in the business for six years.

— in my 7/2/15 posting “Pecs, abs, and dancing”, on the movie Magic Mike XXL, sequel to the 2012 male stripper movie Magic Mike

— in my 7/26/15 posting “Shirtless shark-fighting teens”, a section on the touring dance troupe Chippendales

— in my 12/14/15 posting “Professional muscle hunks”:

The economy of professional body-workers. Professional body-workers are those who exploit their bodies to earn a living. The category covers the professional muscle hunks I’ve been talking about, men who use their bodies to earn model fees for work for photographers, but it includes much more: male models in general, especially underwear models; male strip-tease performers, like the Chippendales dancers and Channing Tatum and other actors in the Magic Mike movies, all of whom do “male erotic dance shows”, and men performing solo at parties; other men paid to dance for audiences (doing pole-dancing for tips, for example); men who do solo porn; and men who are straightforwardly sexworkers of one sort or another — doing hard-core porn, doing live sex shows, and men working as rentboys, escorts providing sex, and sexual masseurs.

2 Responses to “Oh Canada baby, ripple my maple leaves!”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Chris Ambidge (an actual Canadian) in the lgbt precinct of Facebook:

    Speaking of Canadian Underwear — this from the files of the Kitsch Bitsch page — many a young gayling got surreptitious thrills from the men’s undies pages in (in our case) Eatons, or Sears Catalogues… Made by Stanfields, a well-known Nova Scotia underwear company. Also in honour of Canada Day:


  2. maxvasilatos Says:

    Coinkidinkally, last night I couldn’t sleep and ended up watching Magic Mike XXL. Oh my.

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