Oh, Baby, You’re So Queercore

Customer 1: [pointing to a ball-stretcher] “Do you know what this is?”

Customer 2: “A cock ring, I guess?”

Customer 1: “No. It goes on your balls.”

Customer 2: “… Oh. Okay.”

Customer 1: “And do you know what these metal rods are for?”

Customer 2: “No.”

Customer 1: “They’re for sounding. They go in your urethra.”

Customer 2: “I… I don’t think I want to try that.”

Customer 1: “Do you know what these bandanas mean?”

[Ed. Note: We get a customer like this about once a week. Don’t let the J Crew styling and the perfectly coiffed hair and the appletini fool you — they have been around and seen some shit, and they love nothing more than to drag their friends into the Forge and demonstrate their encyclopedic knowledge of kink impedimenta.]

Customer 2: “I really want to try on a harness.”

Customer 1: “You don’t know how to put on a harness.”

Customer 2: “I am perfectly capable of putting on a harness…” [A brief but epic struggle ensues. The harness wins.]

Me: “Hi. May I take a look?”

Customer 1: [glare]

Customer 2: “Sure.”

Me: “Okay… here’s the problem. You’ve got it on backwards.”

Customer 1: [malevolent cackling]

Me: [ignoring said cackles] “Let’s get it off of you and see if we can resize it for a better fit.”

[I peel him out of the harness, lay it on the counter, and start putting it back together, since he undid several buckles while trying to pull it over his head, and it’s now a big jumble of matching belts.]

Customer 2: [watching me trying to determine which belt goes where] “Geez. If a professional can’t figure it out, then I definitely don’t want to buy it.”

Customer 1: “Oh, he is not a professional.”

Me: [whipping around with shade locked and loaded]

[Inner Me: Not yet, my child. Wait for it.]

Customer 2: “What about this harness? It looks kind of cool.”

Customer 1: “Oh, you definitely do not want that harness. Do you know what it’s for?”

[Ed. Note: I swear to the Gods I am not making this up.]

Customer 1: “This harness is used for puppy play. See that metal ring in the back? That’s to hold your tail in place once you’ve inserted it into your ass.”

Me: “Yeah… those are suspenders.”

Customer 1: “…”

Customer 2: “They’re what?”

Me: “Suspenders. They go over your shoulders and clip onto your belt loops.”

[long pause]

Customer 2: “Why am I even friends with you?”

Customer 1: What?! You need me!

Customer 2: “No, I don’t. You’re really mean.”

Customer 1: “I am not mean. I am an honest asshole.”

Well, at least he’s half right. But all the accolades go to Inner Me for accurately predicting the future. I will try to remember to use this power for good.

Trigger Point of Impact

So this went down a couple of weeks ago:

Customer: [pointing at a can of Maximum Impact]: “What is that?”

Nuke: “Are you into fisting?”

Customer: “Um, no.”

Nuke: “Then you don’t need that.”

Nuke related this story to the rest of the Forge staff, and we all commended him on his quick wit, and secretly I was like, “I’ma totally steal this.”

And then this went down last night:

Customer: [pointing at a can of Maximum Impact]: “What is that?”

Me: [confidently] “Are you into fisting?”

Customer: “FISTING?!? EWWWW!!!”

Me: “Whoa, easy there…”

Customer: “WHY WOULD YOU EVEN ASK ME ABOUT FISTING?!?”

Me: “Well… people who are into fisting sometimes buy Max Impact…”

Customer: “PEOPLE ACTUALLY DO THAT?!?”

Me: “Uh… yeah… some people do…”

Customer: “WHY DO PEOPLE DO THAT?!?

Me: “I… um…”

Customer: “EWWWW!!!

Conclusion(s): I will never make fetch happen. It is also time to abandon my dream of becoming a crisis negotiator.

Putting the Asses in Criminal Assessment

Straight Girl: [to her friend] “FUCK HIM. I AM A GROWN-ASS FUCKING WOMAN WITH MY OWN FUCKING HOME, AND I DO NOT NEED HIS SORRY FUCKING ASS TELLING ME WHAT THE FUCK TO DO. NOBODY TELLS MY FUCKING ASS WHAT TO DO.” [then, to me] “Hello! Would you like to buy a raffle ticket?”

I thought about explaining that unauthorized raffles are considered gambling under Texas state law and as such are a Class A misdemeanor, but instead I just politely declined. Wouldn’t want her thinking my ass was telling her ass what to do.

The Napkin Rings Are Self-Explanatory

Customer: [holding up a roll of bondage tape] “How well does this work?”

Me: “It works very well — it’s less adhesive than regular duct tape, so it holds, but it’s not painful to remove from skin.”

Customer: [disappointed] “Oh. Okay. So it wouldn’t be good for renovation projects around the house.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Like, I shouldn’t use it to mark off my floor before painting, huh?”

Me: “I… would suggest not.”

Okay, so let me say right now that I am not ashamed of any aspect of my life. I am a proud gay Pagan who wears leather and gets his kicks from spanking people, and if anyone has a problem with any of that, I will scream enlightenment into their face faster than you can say “Evangelical.” But for whatever reason, this customer wanting one of our products for a non-kinky purpose made me feel like the world’s biggest pervert. I don’t know why it hit me that way, but suddenly it was like I worked in a mundane hardware store and was actively soiling the innocent nature of home improvement:

“A hammer? Oh, no, sir. That’s not a hammer. That’s for shoving up your ass.”

I tried to let it go, you guys; I really did. But an hour later, another customer came in and pointed to a giant, metal ball-stretcher and was all, “I keep one of these on my desk as a paperweight!” At which point I fucking gave up.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my apartment, applying silicone lube to squeaky door hinges and turning jock pouches into tea cozies.

We’ve secretly replaced the fine solvents we usually serve with battery acid and patchouli. Let’s see if anyone can tell the difference.

Customer 1: “Which solvent do you personally recommend?”

Me: “Amsterdam.”

Customer 1: “Awesome! I’ll take a bottle of Amsterdam.”

[Later…]

Customer 2: “Which solvent is your favorite?”

Me: “Iron Horse.”

Customer 2: “Cool! I’ll take a bottle of Iron Horse.”

[Later still…]

Customer 3: “Which solvent do you prefer?”

Me: “Jungle Juice.”

Customer 3: “Excellent! I’ll take a bottle of Jungle Juice.”

[Even more later…]

Customer 4: “In your experience, which of these solvents is the most intense?”

Me: “Pig Sweat.”

Customer 4: “Nifty! I’ll take a bottle of Pig Sweat.”

Sooner or later, someone’s going to figure out that I’m just running down the list of brand names alphabetically, but hey, it still beats repeatedly explaining that I don’t actually use them. Plus I get to feel like a sommelier without having to relapse. It’s pretty much wins all the way around.

Can I get a witness? Oh, hey, cool: a witness. Much obliged.

[My friend Jessie came into the store last night to give me a tote bag he’d found that he thought I’d appreciate. He was more than correct, and I was cooing over said notary tote (totary?) when a customer meandered in and randomly started telling us about his new crush.]

Customer: “I met the cutest guy this week.”

Me: “Oh?”

Customer: “Yeah, he’s awkward, like me.”

Me: “Aww, that’s sweet.”

Customer: “He sold me bad drugs.”

Me: “And that’s… wait, what?”

Customer: “He’s a really bad drug dealer. I saw him today, too. He was drunk and had just fallen off his bicycle, so his face was pretty messed up.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “It was very endearing.”

Me: “That’s one way of looking at it…”

Customer: “So do you think I should, like, pursue him? He’s so awkward, like I am.”

Me: “Okay… awkward can be nice, but the parts where he’s a drug dealer and gets so trashed that he falls off of his bike are kinda cons. Y’know?”

Customer: “Yeah, I guess. But I really like how awkward he is.”

And then he started licking the side of his beer bottle and drifted out of the store, and Jessie was like, “Wow. That… legitimately just happened.” And I was all, “SEE?! I DO NOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP.”

A few minutes later, a different customer asked which solvents I prefer. I told him that I don’t use them personally, and he got all weirded out and was like, “… Oh. Awkward.”

Bitch, you don’t know from awkward.

Poetry in the Brushed Metal Round

Customer: [drunkenly attempting to explain his sex life] “You know what? I’m a man in the streets, and a… uh… fuck me… in… the sheets.”

Well said, Wordsworth.

Meanwhile, across the store, I heard another customer say to his friends, “Well, let’s ask the cock ring expert,” which I assumed meant me. But no, he was referring to the straight girl who’d come in with them, and who was now holding court and issuing proclamations.

These are not cock rings,” she announced, gesturing dismissively at a display of cock rings. “Real cock rings are made out of metal. C’mon, we’ll find them somewhere else.”

I wanted to point out that there was a veritable motherload of metal cock rings right behind her, but I also didn’t want her thinking I was trying to usurp her throne or anything. I mean, I already have a tiara, and the title “cock ring expert” really wouldn’t read well on a résumé.

So, y’know, she can keep it. Happy valid cock ring hunting, hon.

A Fabrication by Any Other Name

Customer: “So a friend of mine just won IML.”

Me: “Really?”

Customer: “Yep!”

Me: “Very cool! I love James.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “He’s an amazing guy.”

Customer: “…”

Me: [gesturing to the IML medal around my neck] “I competed with him.”

Customer: “… Oh. Yes! He’s great. I knew him when he lived in San Antonio.”

Me: “Awesome! I’ll send him your regards.”

Customer: “Neat!”

And then he changed the subject.

Later that night, I messaged James and was like, “Hey, [name] says hello,” and he wrote back all, “Cool! Um… who?” So I was like, “The important thing here is that you got name-dropped,” and he was all, “Oh, hey, I did! Hell yeah!

Additional points of info:

1. James really is amazing, and it’s very freaking inspiring to have him representing our class this year.

2. This whole situation was so much more entertaining than the humdrum “I know the owner” allegations I usually get stuck debunking.

Prompt Service

Customer: “Could I get a bottle of video head cleaner, please?”

Me: “Sure, coming right up.”

Customer: “Gotta keep those video heads clean, right?”

Me. “Ha! Indeed.”

Customer: “Because you don’t want the video to… get stuck…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “So… you need the head cleaner to… to… uh…”

Me: “You’ve got this.”

Customer: “… to make sure… um… the video… can…”

Me: “Keep going.”

Customer: “… to make sure the video can… uh… be… inserted…”

Me: “I’m right here with you.”

Customer: “… to make sure the video can be inserted and removed repeatedly without damaging the VCR.

Me: “Bam. Good job! That’ll be $17.31.”

Customer: [beams with pride]

When I was younger, my parents desperately wanted me to become a teacher. I was always resistant to the idea, but at least now I know that if worse came to worse and I had to switch careers, I could definitely shepherd a kindergartner or two through their first school play.

The Side Hustle to My Side Hustle’s Side Hustle

Ripcord Patron: [approaching while I’m bartending with the Misfits] “Where do I know you from?”

Me: “I work in the leather shop a few nights a week.”

Ripcord Patron: “Oh. Okay.”

[He turns to walk away, then spins around.]

Ripcord Patron: “OH! And you also work in the Forge!”

The Misfits: “…”

Me: Yep, you figured it out.”

He wandered back into the crowd, and the Misfits looked at me for clarification, so I stuck out my thumb and pinky and made the international sign for he drinks. They nodded and let it go, but I suspect they were really just relieved that I hadn’t snapped and taken on a fourth job.