all the king’s ladies and all the kings’ men

I really should be getting to bed, but I’m not the least bit tired. I went to a fetish night on Friday and wound up staying out with friends until the sun rose, and then had a really lovely date on Saturday night that kept me up (having a good conversation) until past 4 a.m. So I suppose it’s no surprise that at 3 a.m. I’m feeling like it’s barely midnight.

Anyway, I’m offering you another rather shameless plug, but with a few treats this time. Tune into CKUT 90.3 FM tomorrow night (Monday the 28) from 7 to 8 p.m. for Dykes on Mikes, which I’ll be hosting for the second time this month. Our guests this time will be a couple of gals from the Montreal roller derby league (article here), specifically from the team Les filles du roi (my sources tell me it’s the most lesbo-heavy of Montreal’s three teams), and three gentlemyn from King Size, Montreal’s rising stars of drag – specifically, Billy King, Rod Screwheart and Little Big Horn.

The cool thing about this particular show is… well, there’s a lot of cool things, not the least of which is that all the guests are fabulous. But the part that tickles me the most is the neato historical reference of the roller derby team’s name, and the resulting pun in this particular combination of guests. 

I’ve got to explain the last thing before the first one will make sense. The website civilization.ca gives a short description of the original Filles du roi:

“In addition to female children accompanying their families, two types of unmarried women, including a very small number of widows, settled in New France after the founding of Québec, in 1608, and of Montréal, in 1642. History has grouped them under a general heading: girls for marrying. Although they were girls for marrying, les Filles du roi are distinct from that group and the expression used to designate them applies exclusively to the women and girls who emigrated to New France between 1663 and 1673. These young women of marriageable age and capable of bearing children are so called because their transportation and settlement expenses, as well as the dowry for some of them, were assumed by the royal treasury.”

That’s the first part. But there’s a reason why our proud local roller derby team has chosen to subtitle their name “sluts and criminals.”

Sluts:

“If it is true that out of some 800 Filles du roi not all were models of virtue, it should be said that the majority never created any problems at all. In spite of that, from the start of the 17th century, the morality of those unmarried women who emigrated in the hope of finding a husband in New France was often questioned. Some of their contemporaries have claimed that they were prostitutes, forced aboard ships leaving for the new world. In subsequent centuries, others endorsed this view which was widely broadcast. Those who suffer most from this are the descendants of these pioneer women who, for generations refused to mention the special status of their courageous ancestors…”

Criminals:

“The fact that the majority of the few women for marrying found in New France had been recruited by families and religious communities does not dispel the rumour that, in 1654, gave the idea that New France would be a penal colony for the worthless.”

There you have it, folks. The Filles du roi, 2007 version, have done a very unique job of reappropriating a piece of Montreal’s history. I bet the ladies in 1663 would never have imagined that over 350 years later, their descendants would be proudly claiming their name in order to sling themselves all over a roller-skating rink wearing thigh-baring purple-and-yellow uniforms.

But of course, “roi” meaning “king,” i.e. “the King’s girls,” you can see why I think it’s funny that the other guests on the show are drag kings. It remains to be seen whether the Filles du roi will end up actually being the kings’ girls by the end of the show, but both sets of guests seem awfully keen on meeting each other. I’m not sure if they’re going to want to make out or arm-wrestle; if it’s the latter, my money’s on the derby girls. But hey, I’m just the radio host. As long as the pink bits and packers stay in their pants while I’m trying to interview their owners, I’ve got nothin’ to complain about. 


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