Body Dysmorphia for Pity and Profit

My regular Sunday shift was crazy slow because of the Super Bowl, so Carlisle and I spent most of it lounging about and instructing Scrappy on the rules of gin rummy. Eventually, though, a pair of customers traipsed in, one of whom muttered, “We have got to stop shopping when we’re drunk.”

Momentarily blinded by Tex Avery dollar signs, I turned towards the approximate direction of their voices and asked how I might be of service.

Customer 1: “I like this shirt. Do you have it in a fat size?”

Me: “Well, I’ve got an extra large–”

Customer 1: “Not that fat.”

Me: “… and a large.”

Customer 1: “Ugh. I’ll never fit in a large.”

Scrappy: “Why not? It’s very slimming.”

[awkward silence]

And here’s where our Scrappy learned an important lesson about interpersonal communication in the gay community. When a gay man calls himself fat, he is not making an objective statement, but rather trolling for flattery. Ergo, the response he expects is vehement denial (“OMG, you are so not fat! You are as svelte as the wily ferret, you 90-pound supermodel, you!”), not cheerful agreement.

A few seconds ticked by, and then Customer 1 begrudgingly decided to try on the large and closed himself in the dressing room.

Customer 1: [yelling from behind the curtains] “IT FITS, BUT IT’S CUPPING MY ROLLS.”

Scrappy: [yelling back] “IT’S SUPPOSED TO CUP YOUR ROLLS.”

Me: “STOP HELPING.”

Meanwhile, Customer 2 had his eye on a particular harness, but, while built like a fireplug, with the chest and shoulders of an MMA fighter, he was adamant that he would only fit into an extra small. So I had him raise his arms and attempted to slide one onto him. I got the harness down to his armpits before it welded to his skin and refused to budge. With his arms squeezed together in the air and his face mashed by a shoulder strap, he looked, for all intents and purposes, like a cat stuck in ductwork.

Me: “Want to maybe try a medium?”

Customer 2: [unable to speak without chewing himself free; opting to nod instead]

Good kitty.

Customer 1 ended up buying the large shirt after all, and he even wore it out into the bar, where it fit him well and cupped nothing untowardly. And Customer 2 came away with the knowledge that leather is sized differently than regular clothing, so even if he has to wear a medium to accommodate his muscle development, he can still identify as petite.

And a few minutes later, I got cocky about my gin rummy skills, at which point Scrappy knocked and kicked my ass. It was a good night for teachable moments all around.

Reinventing the Wheel (of the Year)

How to become the undisputed leader of a polytheistic religion in five easy steps:

1. Pick an obscure, ancient, Near Eastern or Indo-European culture, preferably one with an unknown and/or untranslated language.

2. Read a couple of books on the subject.

3. Double-check to make sure no one else has already established a Reconstructionist tradition based on the religious practices of the same culture. If such a tradition already exists, reach out to the adherents, so that you may learn from each other and enjoy fellowship and symbiotic spiritual growth.

3. Write your own book, the introduction of which must begin with “Never before…” and end with “Forgotten… until now.”

4. Create a Facebook page.

5. Destroy all who oppose you, with self-righteousness and unverifiable personal gnosis as your gleaming sword and shield.

As you may have surmised, there was an incident on the Internet, and I’m having feelings about it. I’m not going to name names or point fingers, because I’m passive-aggressive. I will however, make up a fictional recon trad and use that as the context for an actual online conversation.

Polytheistic Author/Diva/Guru: “Good morning! I’ve uploaded a calendar of the Proto-Lithuanian Unicorn Cult ritual cycle. Of course, we do not know if the Cult had a formalized ritual cycle, since the Proto-Lithuanian language has never been translated, so I’ve reworked their seasonal celebrations to align with the standard Pagan holidays.”

Group Member: “I appreciate you sharing this! I came up with something very similar when I was working on my dissertation in Proto-Lithuanian Studies, and it looks like our calendars are remarkably compatible. I do have one question, though — what led you to match the Festival of the Gelded Serpent Pony with the Fall Equinox? I ask, because back when I was collaborating on the Proto-Lithuanian Unicorn Cult Archeological Almanac, we determined that the annual stallion castrations in pre-Christian Baltic territories took place in early Spring, so I’m wondering if we missed something in our research. Thanks in advance for any clarification you can provide!”

PA/D/G: “Look, I tolerate polite dissent, but personal experience is always more valid than what any ‘academic’ has to say.”

GM: “But I didn’t… I only meant… right, then. I think I’ll just quietly unsubscribe and go play on Twitter.”

And then she left the group, and I snuck out behind her.

Drunken, Wiccan Pit Bull Me would’ve lost his shit over the whole thing and thrown a few uncalled-for punches before flouncing out the door. But I’m older and wiser calmer now, and I understand that snarling at some swollen-headed douche-nozzle isn’t going to change anyone’s mind or make any kind of real difference. Instead, I choose to focus on gratitude over resentment. For example, I am grateful for the members of a different virtual forum, whose conversations go something like this:

New Group Member: “Hello! Can anyone recommend an introductory book on the Proto-Lithuanian Unicorn Cult?”

Group Owner: “Sure! There are a lot of good resources out there, but I suggest starting with either The Proto-Lithuanian Unicorn Cult Definitely Had a Formalized Ritual Cycle and This Is It, or The Proto-Lithuanian Language Is Really Easy to Translate, on Account of It’s Basically Just Prussian with Three Extra Vowels. I hope this helps!”

It does help, Mr. Welcoming and Accessible Proto-Lithuanian Unicorn Cult Reconstruction Guy. Mightily does it help indeed.

Say It With Corsets

Straight Girl: “Oh my God, this place smells so good.”

Gay Best Friend: [to me] “It’s her first time in a leather bar.”

Straight Girl: “I LOVE THAT MERRY WIDOW. Birthday. October.” [She marches out of the store.]

Gay Best Friend: “…”

[Ed. Note: Although he said nothing verbally, the look on his face read, “I have no idea which garment she was pointing at, I am not entirely sure I know what a merry widow actually is, and even if I did, I could’ve sworn her birthday was in December.”]

Me: “We also sell gift cards.”

Gay Best Friend: “Oh, thank you.”

Another common law marriage saved. I should really start billing for partnership counseling.

That Was the Theme of My Heroin

The best part about eating out with sober friends is that we’re rowdy and raucous and remorselessly unfiltered (the result of too many searching/fearless moral inventories), which causes other restaurant patrons to assume we’re drunk. That is, until they glance over judgmentally and realize we’re all drinking water. And then they get very confused. And that brings me joy.

Such was the case when a group of us descended upon a local café to feast upon unspeakably good pizza and make the other diners uncomfortable. My buddy B. and I had just finished loudly debating which one of us has the most Machiavellian mother (he won), when F. launched into a detailed description of the colorful patients she encounters at the rehab where she facilitates weekly support meetings.

“The heroin addicts are kind of a challenge,” she admitted. “It’s almost as if they’re daring everyone else to be more addicted to something than they are. It’s like, ‘My drug of choice was… heroin.’” She glared defiantly for effect. “Like that.”

The way she said “… heroin” got stuck in my head like a bad pop song, and now I want to throw it into casual conversations (even more so than I already do), similar to the classic “that’s what she said,” or how my friend K. likes to respond to random observations with, “That was the theme of my prom.” For example:

“The weatherman said to expect freezing rain.”

“That was the theme of my prom.”

“I was so sad when The Vampire Diaries got cancelled.”

“That was the theme of my prom.”

“What do you think? Bangs or no bangs?”

“That was the theme of my prom.”

So yeah, I basically want to do the same thing, except with “… heroin.” Granted, I never went chasing the dragon myself, but I’m a big fan of bewilderment in any form, and I’d really like to see this turn into a cultural meme:

“I think my antihistamines are wearing off.”

“Really? Because I think my… heroin is wearing off.”

“I couldn’t find my car keys this morning.”

That’s weird, because I couldn’t find my… heroin this morning.

“Would you like to sample an appetizer?”

“No, thank you. Would you like to sample… heroin?”

I ran the concept by a co-worker, who smiled sadly and left the room, so I’m starting to suspect this is one of those times where nobody thinks I’m funny but me. But you know what? I’m completely okay with that. If no one laughs when I say “… heroin,” I’ll just do what I always do in awkward social situations and scream, “I’M IN RECOVERY” until people give up and pity me. As professional alcoholic W. C. Fields once quipped, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshitheroin.” And that, Marjorettes, was the theme of my prom.

Verily in the Name of the Most Peaceful Siddhārtha Gautama Do I Smite Your Ass

Maybe it’s because I grew up watching cartoons like Transformers and M.A.S.K., but I’ve always been fascinated by everyday things that morph organically or mechanically into other things. So imagine my delight when I was doodling around on Amazon and came across the following:

Buddha Beads

To be clear, this is a mala — a set of prayer beads traditionally used for Buddhist or Hindu meditation — which can be quickly repurposed to pound an assailant into grits. And while that alone was more than enough to make me slam the Buy Now button, the product description went above and beyond to seal the deal:

Buddha Beads Deets

Capable of demolishing a zip-top can and blessed by eminent monks?! It’s like two Diwalis this year!

While I certainly hope I never find myself in a situation where I’d have to use it to defend myself, it is otherwise the perfect accessory to wear to the Texas All-State Spanking Party in June, which, by the by, I’m totally forcing Rok to attend with me. I’m going to feel like a James Bond and/or Quentin Tarantino character when, during a demo, I mindfully unwind the beads from my wrist and run them slowly through my fingers in a moment of quiet contemplation, then haul back and go medieval on my play partner’s cakes before delivering the coup de grâce with my trusty Notarizer.

This is going to be the best kinkster conference ever. I’ll post pictures after I get a standing ovation. Or after Rok has to set something on fire to create a diversion while I flee the building. Whichevs.

ETA: Nuke is now coming with us. This road trip just went from “let’s have an adventure” to “let’s ask the producers if we can play ourselves in the movie.”