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.

Nothing Compares UU

[A conversation between myself and my dad over dinner.]

Me: “So I’ve started looking into graduate schools…”

My Dad: “Really? Are you going to pursue a degree in psychology?”

[Ed. Note: My dad recently decided that I should become a psychologist, based on nothing but my ability to talk him down from the ceiling during anxiety attacks.]

Me: “Well… kind of. I did some research, and I found out that I could get a Masters with an emphasis in counseling while studying other subjects that interest me if I go to a Unitarian-Universalist seminary.”

My Dad: “…”

Me: “So I would still basically be a therapist. But you know how friends are always asking me to officiate their weddings? I would get to keep doing that, too.”

My Dad: “So… you’d be a Unitarian minister.”

Me: “Yeah. I would.”

My Dad: “This is very exciting!

Okay, not quite what I was expecting, since his standard reaction to any career goal I put into words is, “I mean, if it’ll make you happy…” or occasionally, “Have you given any more thought to law school?” But I’m taking his unexpected enthusiasm as a favorable omen, and I spent a big chunk of last night figuring out how to make this happen.

There’s a cool UU church not too far from me that Trothwy and her husband joined after their ultra-conservative neighbors started getting suspicious about their religious proviclities, so I’m going to attend an online service there this Sunday and spend the next several months ingratiating myself. This particular church does not have a Covenant of Unitarian-Universalist Pagans chapter, so once I’m in good with the parish, I’ll petition to establish one. Meanwhile, I’m going to get started on the Sacred Well Congregation ordination process to back up the ministerial credentials I already have, so that my grad school application will be nicely fleshed out with life experience and relevent extracurriculars.

There are currently two Unitarian seminaries in the US: one in Chicago, and one in Berkeley, CA. Of the two, I’m leaning towards the Berkeley campus. I’d be able to do a lot of the coursework online, but I would eventually have to move to the Bay Area to finish up and matriculate, which would be pricey AF but also epic, because I could go through the Lucky Mojo apprenticeship program during my summer break, thus making Doctor Demidaddy an official thing.

I thought about running with Reverend Demidaddy instead of Doctor Demidaddy, but Ben says that Reverend Demidaddy sounds a little too rockabilly to be taken seriously. He may have a point.

Regardless, what happens next is this: I’ll return to Houston, and the Unitarians will be like, “Welcome back! Hey, that CUUPS group you founded really took off and needs its own space.” So I’ll be like, “Well, is that cute little decommissioned church over near the Heights still for sale?” And the Unitarians will be all, “It is! Here’s $800,000. Go crazy.” So we’ll get that organization off the ground, and we’ll convert part of the sanctuary into a lady chapel, where we’ll hold spiritualist candle services and Crystal Silence League meditations. And then one day, around 30 years from now, I’ll be like, “Welp, my work here is done,” and I’ll retire and run the church bookstore.

Oh, and we’ll host leather events in the Fellowship Hall.

This is the best plan ever.

PS: The title of this post is a visual pun of the first order, and if you didn’t laugh when you read it, then I just do not know what to do with you.

ETA: DEACON DEMIDADDY. We have a winner.

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.

kefi-2

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.

The Doctor is in. Or at least nearby. Definitely on his way. Lemme have him call you when he gets here.

So my friend Christopher and I were idly brainstorming what it would look like if I had an online presence as a spiritual worker, and things got a wee bit out of control, and we ended up with this:

5D

We were originally going to call it “Doctor Demidaddy’s Four-D Witchcraft,” but then we realized that Doctor Demidaddy actually has five d’s, and we didn’t know if the Fifth Dimension would be touchy about misappropriation of name and likeness. Plus I’m more than a little chagrined about our inability to count single digits. Our credibility would be shot if we ever decided to branch out into numerology.

ETA: Sarah says that Doctor Demidaddy is my best brand name to date, but I think she’s mainly just relieved that I’ve stopped retitling my notary business. I do kind of regret not running with ThumperStamper, though. Nobody steal that domain until I work through the last of my buyer’s remorse.

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.