By Ashley Lodato
So, there I was, in my hand a copy of The Week, and I was reading “The Last Word” piece at the end, and it was about a new age wilderness guide service taking clients up Mount Baker to “reclaim their masculinity through adventure.”
Suddenly in the midst of all the metaphysical spirituality I became sneakily suspicious that “Larry and Matt, the professional mountain men” referred to in the story were North Cascades Mountain Guides Larry Goldie and Matt Walker, despite there being no reference to NCMG. I had no immediate means of verifying the guides’ identities short of calling Larry or Matt and asking them directly, but that runs counter to my gossip column ethics (those being to disseminate juicy tidbits first, substantiate claims only when necessary). Plus, they were both out in the field being professional mountain men.
A conversation with Larry’s spouse, Blue Bradley, further confirmed my suspicions but it was only when I looked up the full article online that my hunch was corroborated by unmistakable evidence; chiefly, the accompanying video that showed Larry and Matt on the climb, although after the author mentioned Matt’s “rare ability to look cool while wearing a visor” I was feeling pretty convinced that I had the identities nailed.
In the article, Larry promises a naked drumming circle to help the clients let down their manly emotional guards, but either the video doesn’t show that event or they ran out of time. Or Larry forgot to schlep the drums up.
The exciting part of this whole story is not that Larry and Matt climbed Mount Baker — that’s their job. It’s that they are featured as paragons of masculine sensitivity (or maybe sensitive masculinity?) in a magazine with a circulation of more than half a million. You go, guys.
Sometimes the gossip column ethic backfires, however, as it did in the case of last week’s column when I neglected to emphasize what a supremely awesome group effort the “Swan Like” ballet was at the Room One event for women. The brainchild of Susan Snover, Rita Anderson and Robin Gleiser, Swan Like came together only after an eight-woman tutu work party, a choreographed and rehearsed dance, ballet footwear Methow-style consisting of boots and Yak-Trax, and a resoundingly positive response to the question implicit in the whole endeavor, “Who wouldn’t want to wear a tutu and snowshoes on her back like wings and pretend to be a swan while supporting Room One?” Well, when you put it like that, who wouldn’t indeed?