Risk Management, Blanton Style

My Dad: “When do you leave for Chicago?”

Me: “I fly out on the 23rd.”

My Mom: “Please be careful while you’re there. Chicago is a very dangerous city.”

Me: “I will, I promise. But I’m going to be so busy with the contest that I won’t have much time to even leave the hotel.”

My Mom: “Please be careful at the hotel. And wedge a chair under the doorknob of your room.”

Me: “Um, okay…”

My Dad: “No, really. A friend of mine stayed at a hotel in Chicago once, and he put his wallet on the nightstand before he went to sleep, and when he woke up, it was gone. Someone came into his room and robbed him while he slept.”

Me: “Jesus. If it’s that bad there, I’m just going to push a dresser in front of the door every night before I go to bed.”

My Mom: “Well, I mean there’s no need to overreact.”

Me: “…”

My Mom: “But you’re probably going to get mugged.”

And yet they wonder why I’m on medication for anxiety.

I Have Confidence and a Competitive Bodybuilder

[A conversation between myself and Rusty, my terribly attractive nutritionist/personal trainer.]

Rusty: “I googled that contest you’re going to.”

Me: “Oh, you did?”

Rusty: “Yeah.”

Me: “So… what do you think?”

Rusty: “It’s a beauty pageant.”

Me: “… Yes. Yes, it is.”


Rusty: [leaning in close for emphasis] “We’ve. Got. This.”

To sum up, a beautiful man thinks I’m going to do well at IML, which is a win by itself as far as I’m concerned. So now I’m just trying to figure out how to incorporate this into my application — maybe I’ll attach a picture of him all pumped up and sweaty and caption it something like, “This dude says I’m the prettiest.”

Marjorie Struthers-McLachlan

I’ve mentioned IML several times over the past few months, but for the uninitiated, International Mr. Leather is an annual competition that takes place in Chicago during Memorial Day weekend. There are around 60 contestants every year, and at IML 40, I will be one of them.

I qualified for the contest about a year and a half ago (when I won the title of Mr. Firedancer Dallas, which is worth a story of its own one of these days), and at the time, I was like, “Nifty! I’ma go to IML at some unspecified point in the distant future. That’ll be a hoot.” However, now that the event is 10 weeks away, I’m like, “OMG OMG WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!” But hey, at least I don’t suffer from any kind of acute mental illness to make the situation even more terrifying, amirite?

[insert visual flashback effect and whimsical chimes here]

Psychiatrist: “So, what brings you in today?”

Me: “I just get a little anxious sometimes.”

Psychiatrist: “Okay, let’s talk about that.”

[flash forward 15 minutes]

Me: “…anyway, it turned out I was hyperventilating, not actually dying. Oh, and I’m afraid of elevators. And my cell phone. And the unstoppable impulsion of time.”

Psychiatrist: “Uh… yeah, your ‘anxiety’ is actually a full-blown panic disorder. But on the bright side, we caught it before agoraphobia kicked in and crippled you.”

Me: “Huzzah?”

[more chimes, aaaand we’re back to the present]

Right. Mental illness. Check.

My Misfit brothers, sensing the mounting tension, are doing their best to contain my inevitable histrionics. “It’ll be fine,” they keep telling me. “Just relax and be yourself.” And I’m like, “I can only do one or the other, so which is it?!” And since I’m aces at stress-related multi-tasking, I’m also freaking out over how I’m going to afford this trip in the first place.

The title I hold does not come with travel reserves, so I’m currently working on raising enough money to cover expenses. And this is where you, my loyal Marjorettes, come in: If you’re able and willing to help, you can donate directly to my travel fund through PayPal, or you can chip in through Ko-fi. Unfortunately, donations won’t be going towards purchase of the IML title itself, but they will be of huge assistance when it comes to flights and not living out of a cardboard box next to the host hotel.

And even if you can’t donate money, emotional support is just as appreciated and infinitely more valuable. So thank you guys in advance for that — I’ll bring you back as many souvenirs as I can fit in my carry-on.