I’m Not a Heterosexual, but I Play One on Logo

Customer: “You’re really cool.”

Me: “Aww, thank you.”

Customer: “Seriously. I mean it.”

Me: “That’s very kind of you to say.”

Customer: “You’re awesome. And gorgeous!”

[Inner Me: Drink up, lushy.]

Me: “Well, thank you again.”

Customer: “I wish you were gay.”

Me: “Um… what?”

Customer: “You’re so cool. I wish you were gay.”

Me: “I am gay.”

Customer: “Wait… you are?”

Me: [glancing about, confirming surroundings] “I am indeed.”

Customer: “YOU’RE GAY?!”

Me: “Extremely so.”

Customer: “YOU’RE GAY!!! THAT’S AWESOME!!!”

Me: “I agree!”

I’ve never been comfortable with the internalized homophobia exhibited by gay men who describe themselves as “straight-acting,” but if I ever have a valid reason to get back on the dating/hookup apps, I am going to add “mistaken for heterosexual by overly-enthusiastic, besotted twentysomethings” to my profile. I can only assume that will get me some of those “woofs” the kids are so crazy about these days.

PS: I told my friend Robert about this interaction, and he was like, “So… I guess he didn’t hear you talk?” Robert just got a woof deducted from his total. I don’t make the rules, Robert.

Or Hardly Working. Whichever.

Customer: “Hi. Um… do you carry… uh… cock rings?”

Me: “We do! I’ve got metal and leather rings on this endcap, and there are silicone rings above the display on the back wall.”

Customer: “Oh. Thanks. Um… how do I… how do I tell which ones will fit?”

Me: “Well…” [insert incredibly explicit yet somehow still professional explanation of how cock rings work here] “… and then just divide by pi, and you’ll have the correct diameter.”

Customer: “Wow. Okay, then. So… am I allowed to… um… I mean, is it okay if… if I try some on?”

Me: “Sure. The dressing room is right behind these curtains.”

Customer: [struggles with curtains]

Me: “Here, let me help with–”

Customer: “AAAHHH!!!”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Oh. You meant… help with the curtains.”

Me: “Yes. Yes, I did.”

He eventually picked out a ring that (I assume) fit well, and after he paid, he tipped me a couple of bucks for “working so hard.” I think it was really for “working so hard not to judge me,” but I have way too much retail experience to let customers know when I’m openly judging them.

Regardless, it was a very nice gesture on his part. Plus it was the first time a customer left me something that wasn’t an empty beer bottle or a growing sense of disillusionment with the human race.

Much obliged, my twitchy new friend.

Around the World in 80 Seconds of Violent Mood Swings

Me: “Hello, how’re you?”

Customer: “DRUNK AND SLUTTY. Is that a thing?”

Me: “It is. It is.”

Customer: [to his boyfriend] “ASIAN MEN NEED KINK TOO, MOTHERFUCKER.” [then, to me] “You have a lovely bodega.”

What’s a word that means entertained but also terror-stricken? Is it bemused? I am possibly very bemused at this time.

Pay No Attention to the Battle of Wills Behind the Curtain

Customer: [holding various accessories] “May I try these on?”

Me: “Sure. The dressing room is right behind these curtains.”

Customer: [unbuttoning pants] “Oh, you can leave those open…”

And I smiled brightly and whipped them shut like a Disney villain’s cape.

He didn’t find anything wearable he liked, but he did buy a travel-size container of leather-scented personal lubricant. I asked him if he needed a bag, and he was like, “Nah, I’m going to try it out right now,” and then he came back into the store 10 minutes later and gave me a thumbs up.

I feel like we broke even in the thwarting each other department.

A Residential District by Any Other Name

Customer: “So… you’re the Montrose Forge.”

Me: “Yep!”

Customer: “Are you the Montrose Forge because this is the Montrose area, or…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Oh.”

Did you know there was a hard rock band in the early 70s called Montrose? Well, I do now, because I spent the evening googling what the fuck else we could be named after.

Possibilities include a county seat in Colorado and a harbor in Chicago.

My money’s on the harbor.

Sometimes it’s just a cigar, dude.

Customer: “Now what do you call this piece of equipment?”

Me: “That’s a duster.”

Customer: “A what?”

Me: “A duster. Like an overcoat.”

Customer: “I see. And how would I tie this ‘duster’ into my sexual fantasies?”

Me: “Well… you could wear it if you had a cowboy fantasy…”

Customer: “Okay…”

Me: “… or if it was cold outside, and you needed a jacket…”

Customer: “Or if I was a flasher!”

Me: “… or that.”

The Anti-Spartacus

Customer: “You’re very handsome.”

Me: “Well, thank you.”

Customer: “Want to have sex sometime?”

Me: “I’m actually seeing someone.”

Customer: “Ah. No worries, then. You’re still very handsome. How much is this T-shirt?”

And then he browsed for awhile and left, but guys, I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on so respectfully before. I totally want him and Carlisle to hold an in-store workshop on interpersonal communication, and then I want to take them out for ice cream and see if they hit it off. I would pay for the wedding myself.

Lending an Upper Hand

Customer: “FUCKWATER?! What the FUCK is FUCKWATER?! HA!”

Me: “It’s a brand of lube.”

Customer: “Well, does it WORK?! HA HA!”

[Inner Me: No. It’s made out of sandpaper and paste.]

Me: “Yes, it works very well.”

Customer: “So WHY would I buy FUCKWATER when I could just buy CRISCO INSTEAD?! HA HA HA!”

Me: [brightly] “Oh, you’re into fisting!”

Customer: “Wait, what?! NO!”

Me: [pantomiming] “Crisco is used for fisting.”

Customer: “OH, GOD NO!”

Me: “So… you’re not into fisting?”

Customer: “I… I didn’t even know Crisco could be used for… for…”

Me: “Fisting.”

Customer: “I apologize.”

Later, I gave a different shopper the condensed history of the Sam Browne belt and then demonstrated how arm restraints work. It’s when I’m educating the masses that I feel like I’m doing the most good.