Opening in Circles

Customer: “Could I get a bottle of Double Scorpio, please?”

Me: “Sure. Which scent would you like?”

Customer: “Hmm. What do you recommend?”

Me: “I’d go with either the Amber or the Gold.”

Customer: “Okay, sounds good. I’ll take that one.”

Me: “Which one?”

Customer: “The one you recommend.”

Me: “So… would you like the Amber, or would you like the Gold?”

Customer: “Yes.”

It’s the returning sense of normalcy that I treasure the most.

Merrie Marjories (or, Thumper Redux)

There was this momentary trend on Facebook where everyone was making adorable avatars of themselves, which was nifty or whatever, except my FB account wouldn’t let me create one. Maybe it’s just because my phone is crap, but I still felt left out, like I was the only live-action character in a movie where everyone else got to be a cartoon.

Fortunately for my emotional well-being, I can count both artists and clairvoyants amongst my online tribe. From 1200 miles away in Toledo, OH, my friend Kenji sensed my alienation and swooped in to repair my psyche:

Thumper Avatar 1

And before I could even finish gushing, he was like, “Hold, please,” and took it over the damn rainbow:

Thumper Avatar 2

Avatars that can bend air aren’t as fantabulous as this is, and I made it my FB profile pic first thing this morning, so that people would be confronted with it as soon they woke up. I don’t really have a better way to express my mind-blown gratitude for these portraits, but let me just add how happy I am that the assymetrical glasses remain on-brand.

Dancing Macabre On My Own

Happy World Goth Day! In observance of this, the darkest of holidays, I’d like to share some traditional dances taught to me by my friend Martin (a fellow Forgeling and most elegant goth himself), all of which are fairly self-explanatory:

Making a Spider Web

Picking Strange Fruit

Displaying the Scars on My Wrists While Walking Slowly Backwards

My Hands Are Bound Behind My Back and I Am Okay with That

You can click here for other lessons, or here to experience what it’s like in my head a lot of the time. And once you’re done cutting the rug shroud, you can slip on your sunglasses, glide somberly out into the world, and befriend a crow. Bonus points if you get the crow to dance with you.

Witch Up and Grow a Pair

Back when I amused myself with such triflings, I got into an argument with a crazy person on a listserv who firmly believed that gay men could not and should not practice Wicca, because (if I’m interpreting her mad ramblings accurately) we don’t know how babies are made. I was banned from the list shortly afterward for pointing out an excellent place for her to stick her opinions on homosexuality, which was probably for the best, as I was wasting way too much time caring about what she thought. But every once in awhile, when the wind blows warm or the crickets sing, I’m reminded of that dear, lovely whackjob, especially when I’m discussing Wicca with other gay guys.

Because while Men Who Love Men are inherently liminal beings who are more than suited to practice Witchcraft of any kind, a goodly number of us are scared of lady bits. And that bugs me.

Before we go any further, I should own that between all the skyclad rituals and bondage seminars that cut into my sitting-around time, I am tragically jaded when it comes to nudity. I routinely find myself in situations where I hear things like, “See how I placed the crotch rope next to her labia instead of across her labia?” so I honestly don’t have strong feelings on nekkidness one way or the other. That clarified, I’m extremely put off by the animosity gay men often display towards even the very thought of vaginas, as if their existence is somehow a threat to ours. (“Do you support same-sex marriage?” “No. I am a vagina.”)

I’m sure there are a few guys out there who are genuinely phobic, but for the most part, this phenomenon is firmly couched in misogyny. We are men, after all: Our social conditioning asserts that women serve a singular purpose, and if we do not have a need for that service, women are ultimately useless. And just as straight men will brag about their sexual prowess and/or dominance to prove how manly they are, gay men seem to rate their own manliness on how much revulsion they’re able to exhibit towards the female reproductive system. Homophobia would be wiped out completely if straight dudes and gay dudes compared notes and realized we’re all on the same page when it comes to objectification.

A Pagan buddy with whom I occasionally circle recently came over to hang out, and he saw the Snake Goddess statue I keep enshrined in my living room and was all, “Eww, boobies.” I wasn’t planning on using this particular statue in our work together, since it’s delicate and doesn’t travel well, and I’ve already had to glue one of the snakes back on. But with his reaction in mind, I went ahead and snagged a sturdier alternative, and I really think I made the right decision.


The back of the statue is inscribed with the Greek word kefi, which, roughly translated, means joy, freedom, and loving life. I liked the thought of literally bringing kefi into our rites, but I chose this statue for a few other reasons:

a) It isn’t representative of any specific deity, so one is able to mold individual connections and associations around it.

b) Trothwy has another piece by the same artist, and it is remarkably potent in ritual.

c) Goddesses have lady bits, bro. Scary or not, you’re going to have to deal.

Located in Chicago but Serving the Earth’s Gravitational Pull

This month’s Facets of Leather was mostly comprised of interviews with leatherpeople of cultural import, including Sir John (President of NLA-International and Living In Leather LLC), Tim “ASH!” Hotchkin (International Leather Boy 2015), and Gary Wasdin (Executive Director of the Leather Archives & Museum). And hey, we’ve gotten so much better at staying on topic, that our Superfan‘s latest meme only cites two tangents, which is definitely a new record.

Facets 5.10.20
The Zoom frame is a very nice touch.

Out of all the guests we’ve had on the show, Gary is my new favorite, because before we started recording, he was like, “Is there anything I’m not allowed to say? Because I have a potty mouth.” In response, Robert and I went over the seven words you can’t say on TV, along with FCC guidelines as they apply to late-night radio, and everything went swimmingly — Gary was knowledgable and professional and said insightful, educational things. So at the end of the interview, I was like, “You did a really good job of not cursing! Would you like to let fly with some expletives?”

I expected everyone to laugh and move on, but instead, Gary took a deep breath and bellowed a veritable Pandora’s box of obscenities: Like, I’m pretty sure there are now at least 32 words you can’t say on TV. Since we pre-recorded the segment, our producers were able to excise all the invective, but as far as I’m concerned, anyone who can scorch ears that intensely on cue is an icon in his own right.

This month’s musical selections were all over the place, but we played a song awhile back that continues to reverberate with me, that being Australia’s entry to Eurovision 2019. The note she hits at 2:02 is a mood unto itself. Plus, y’know, who doesn’t want to ride a giant wedding cake topper while an evil shadow witch flails about in the background?

Nobody. That’s who. The defense rests.

Mountains so lofty, treetops so tall. Both of these are euphemisms.

Today is the 100th birthday of Touko Valio Laaksonen, better known to the world as Tom of Finland. You can celebrate the life of this visionary erotic artist however you see fit, but personally, I’m going with emulation:


PS: Have you watched the movie? If not, OH, YE GODS OF NORTHERN EUROPE, WATCH THE DAMN MOVIE ALREADY. Douglas and I saw it in the theatre and gave it two hypermasculine, blatantly phallic thumbs up. Douglas also may or may not have cried like a little leatherbaby. I don’t rightly recall, being too busy weeping myself to pay close attention to his emotional state.

PPS: Click here to turn the title of this post into a complimentary earworm. You’re welcome.

Ripcord Wide Shut

[A gaggle of terribly fabulous preppies breeze in and cast their eyes about the store.]

Preppy 1: “Let’s buy something fun!”

Preppy 2: “Yes! Let’s.” [to me] “Do you have any masques?”

Me: “Sorry, but we don’t carry… masks, other than the pup hoods.”

Preppy 2: “Really? No masques?”

Me: “None at all, I’m afraid.”

Preppy 2: “No glow-in-the-dark masques we could wear?”

Me: “No glow-in-the-dark anything.”

I was kind of hoping he’d keep upping the ante (“Really? No glow-in-the-dark, sequined and feathered masques that bring ancient, undying curses down upon those who dare possess them? Not even a floor model?”), but instead he just wandered away. Although later, a straight couple came in, and the guy immediately went, “Oh. This is one of those bars,” and they turned around and left. I don’t know if he meant a gay bar, or a leather bar, or a gay leather bar or what, but in my mind, he was like, “Damnit. I was specifically told that all the queers would be wearing masques.”

Sorry to disappoint, my good breeder. But here we only hide our identities behind clever nicknames.