Ah Switzerland, land of mountains and lakes, sour cream and driver’s licences, you are shaping up rather nicely as a country I must say. But still. There will always be a longing for the things that make Canada great, specifically Shopper’s Drug Mart. I’d say once a week (at least) for the past 2 years, I’ve endured the wistful desire to roam the aisles of my favourite place to shop.

Being a giraffe allows mega drugstores to win out over fashionable boutiques. A lifetime of frustration over 32-inch inseams means I detest the average clothing store, but aside from the scary diaper/pacifier/baby food section, I’ve never met a SDM shelf that I didn’t like. When I left they were adding cosmetic sections to rival any department store. Who knows what the hell they’ve done since I’ve been gone. Maybe now they offer massages while you wait for your prescription. It’s too sad to think about.

Not that French pharmacies aren’t wonderful. They have their own merits, but a one-stop-super-shop they are not. Plus, I have a somewhat celebrated history when it comes to la pharmacie. If you’re new here, you may not know what happened to me at the pharmacy in Semur. To summarize: there was a lady problem and a language barrier, vaginale was called out top lung all over the store and the earth, much to my dismay, did not swallow me whole (book, book, it’s all in the book). Of course the worst part was having to repeatedly engage with the vaginale hollerer on a regular basis. I don’t miss her at all.

So this week, when I had to stock up on a few pharmaceutical odds and ends, I stood under the flashing green cross in our neighbourhood and I decided, one, I had to accept that this store was never going to live up to my SDM standards, and two, I would not leave red-faced. No white coat whippersnapper was going to bring me down, no matter how much attention she paid to my privates.

I walked in and the place was humming with customers. There was a bevy of young girls at the counter, every one of them a potentially loaded bigmouth ready to start shouting about my nether regions. I didn’t need any womanly products, but my paranoia was such that I assumed that somehow asking for Tums would lead one of them to bellow to the back, “This one’s asking for antacid but you bloody well know she wants something for that vagina of hers.”

Fortune favours the brave I always say, so I faced la jeune fille and I began with my usual schtick, “Pardonnez-moi, je ne parle pas bien français…” She smiled and said, “Well, perhaps we can continue in English.” Since wrapping her in my arms and kissing her full on the lips was likely inappropriate, English it was. This was followed by a lovely chat with the world’s most gracious pharmacist who, having been raised in Africa and India and schooled in Switzerland, spoke better English than I (or is it me?).

I should have known things were going to be A-OK at this pharmacie given the poster that hung in the window…

I took it as a positive sign: All Canadian Vagina Owners Welcome! Naturally, my “charming” (and normally clean-mouthed) husband had a different yet no less Canadian take on it: “Oh look, a maple flavoured one.” I can’t take him anywhere.

ps To those offended by today’s post: first, you’re all reading Fifty Shades so please, give me a break and second, direct all complaints to Neil.