Once More, With Feeling

Customer: [in the voice of Alaska Thunderfuck] “Hieeee.”

Me: “Hello.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Ugh.” [wheeling around and yelling at someone in the bar] “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO FOLLOW ME IN HERE SO THAT I DIDN’T LOOK SO STUPID WHEN I SAID HIEEEE.”

I feel bad that the act he’d prepared fell apart so irreparably once under the spotlight, but really, he brought it on himself. This is why we have final dress rehearsals and never work with children or animals, people.

I should also point out that he said, “didn’t look so stupid” versus “didn’t look stupid, period.” Potential inanity is definitely something he’ll want to contemplate prior to the execution of his next guerrilla performance piece.

Because mail service at my apartment complex sucks is why

At the height of the Satanic Panic, a made-for-TV movie called Do You Know The Muffin Man? was released, which, for reasons that now escape me, we had to watch in my high school Health class. “Based on true events,” the plot focuses on an idyllic, suburban daycare center clandestinely run by a depraved, animal-sacrificing (I remember them killing a cat or a hamster or something) devil cult.

Man, I miss the 80s.

Towards the end of the film, the cops burst into the center (or maybe it was the secret cave under the center?) to find the children all guiltily standing around a pentagram. The cops are like, “Egad!” and arrest the daycare worker on duty (who’s wearing a red, hooded robe and waving a knife around), and right before they drag her away, she pops off with, “We’re rehearsing a play.” But the cops totally don’t buy it.

The point here is that I feel exactly like that daycare worker whenever I have a package delivered to my office, and one of my co-workers walks in as I’m opening it. I’m just going to start telling everyone in advance that I handle props for a very experimental community theatre.

True Colors

Customer: “Soooooo, I’m a starter.”

Me: “A… starter?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Are you saying that you’re new to leather?”

Customer: “Uh-huh.”

Me: “And you’re… looking for where to start.”

Customer: “Yeah. I want to be considered dominant.”

Me: “In that case, the best place to begin will be with the Hanky Code.”

Customer: “The what?”

Me: “See all these hankies? Each color represents a specific sexual interest or fetish. If you want to be seen as dominant, you’d wear your hanky — let’s say a gray one for bondage — in your back left pocket.”

Customer: “OMG bondage?!

Me: “Or maybe a black one for S&M.”

Customer: *gay gasp*

Me: “It doesn’t have to be one of those particular colors, though. Orange, for example, means–”

[Without warning, a drunk customer wobbles in from the bar.]

Drunk Customer: “(mumble mumble) leather pants (mumble)?”

Me: “We have those in the main store. It’ll be open tomorrow at noon, if you want to drop by then.”

Drunk Customer: “(mumble) ‘kay, thanks (mumble).”

[He pats me on the shoulder and wobbles out.]

Me: “Anyway, as I was saying…”

Customer: “Um, I’m going to have to come back later. The conversation you just had with that guy was awkward, and it made me uncomfortable.”

And then he ran away.

I’m kinda thinking he’s not quite ready for dominance.

What Becomes of the Bravehearted

Me: “Hello! How are–”

Customers 1 and 2: “WE WANT KILTS.”

Me: “Well, all of our kilts are right over–”

Customers 1 and 2: “WE WANT THE PINK AND BLACK ONES.”

Me: “Oh. Those are actually swing skirts.”

Customer 1: “…”

Customer 2: “…”

Bartender: “Oh, good, you’re open. These guys have been waiting for two hours to buy kilts.”

Customers 1 and 2: “PINK KILTS.”

Me: “But I promise they’re not… Okay. You know what? PINK KILTS FOR EVERYONE.”

Customers 1 and 2: “HOORAY!”

Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

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.

Sea Rovers All Over My Harness

I am overjoyed to announce that Facets of Leather has received its first five-star review, from none other than noted leatherperson Vincent Andrews!

Vince’s take on the show: “Stimulating and comical at just the right moments. I enjoy the balance of laughs and opinions regarding our culture of Leather.”

And his take on me personally: “The little shit is quick on his feet.”

The little shit is your humble servant, Mr. Andrews.

This month’s episode focused on cultural appropriation and Adam Rippon’s Oscar attire (a.k.a. “Harnessgate”), along with another round of IML prep questions and random tangents about patron saints and gay pirates. There was a particular Cazwell song that we wanted to add to our playlist, but we ultimately decided it was too explicit, which of course didn’t stop us from reciting the lyrics on the air.

And then Robert dropped an F-bomb. I’m not really sure why we try.

PS: Since we didn’t play the track in question during the broadcast, I’ve included it below for your consideration. The girl who paints her face like a disco ball is my new favorite superhero.

Throwing Schadenfreude

Customer: [to his friend] “… so I went home with some guy and spent the night at his place, and the next morning I threw up, and then I had to go to Nordstrom to buy a suit. It was the worst birthday ever.”

I wanted to ask if he threw up because he was hungover, or because the guy he woke up next to turned out to be a hideous miscalculation in the daylight, but I didn’t want to come across as meddlesome. I also couldn’t stop thinking, “HE BOUGHT HIMSELF A BIRTHDAY SUIT,” and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to speak without giggling uncontrollably, which wouldn’t have helped much in the “I swear I’m not a douche-fountain” department.

So instead I just pointedly ignored the both of them until they got self-conscious and left. It was really the only Christlike option available.

Dress Code Aberrations

Day Job Supervisor: “I like that shirt!”

Me: “Thanks!”

DJS: “And what kind of shoes are those?”

Me: “They’re actually paratrooper boots.”

DJS: “You know, my son would love everything you’re wearing. The only things he has that you don’t are tattoos.”

Me: “Well, at least none that show.”

DJS: “…”

And then she clocked me for wearing jeans instead of slacks, something she’s failed to notice for the past week and a half. This gives me a pretty good idea of how long I’ll be able to get away with facial piercings.

Advancing Fordward

[An excerpt from a conversation between myself and my friend Mike, who is, among other things, an award-winning author.]

Me: “I’m glad you liked the Eli Roth joke in my last post. I was unreasonably proud of it.”

Mike: “It’s funny, because you can immediately picture the girl. In the first scene, she’d be rummaging through her backpack at the hostel, looking for a scrunchie. An hour later, she’d be using the scrunchie as a tourniquet while her friend slapped her and said, ‘Get a hold of yourself, Madison.’

Shortly thereafter, he decided to write his own slasher film, set at a bear run, in which “every character will be named Tucker.” I feel like it’s safe to preemptively nominate him for Best Original Screenplay.