But I’m buying it anyway, in case I ever decide to get that Satanic courier business off the ground.

[A conversation between myself and my bestie/artistic collaborator Sarah.]

Me: “I need a new domain name.”

Sarah: “Oh?”

Me: “Yeah. I got invited to a networky, business-card-trading thing, but the organizer said that DomTopNotary might be a wee bit too out there for the other professionals. What do you think of RansomNotary.com?”

Sarah: “To be honest, I’m not sure that alluding to criminal offenses will be well-received by the unimaginative. I personally like the name, but I can’t recommend it.”

Me: “Huh.”

Sarah: “With DomTop, I felt like you were just being true to yourself, and therefore willing to accept the repercussions of reduced marketability. So, do you want the new name to be edgy for edgy’s sake? Or reflective of you, but in a way that won’t make conservatives clutch their pearls?”

Me “The second one, I think.”

Sarah: “Doesn’t Mercury rule notaries? ‘Mercury Notary’ doesn’t sound right, but what about a sly association like ‘Quicksilver Notary Services?'”

Me: “Mercury and Saturn both rule notaries. Looking at epithets as we speak… Ooh, what about caducifer? It means ‘He Who Carries the Herald’s Staff.'”

Sarah: “I don’t know. The ones who figure out how to pronounce it are going to think Satan is involved just because it rhymes. And rhyming leads to dancing, so that’s gotta be the devil’s work.”

Me: “Phooey. Maybe diactorus? It means either ‘guide’ or ‘messenger.'”

Sarah: “That will just read as weird. Go less intellectual. ‘Regular’ people distrust smart people. The vast majority of even college-educated people never read a book again after they leave school.”

Me: “And I have dated most of them.”

Sarah: “Hah! Oh, hey, also, unless this is an LGBTQ event, many of the people involved will be conservative or libertarian. Like the crazy lady who owned that health food store. Or worse.”

Me: “Hmm. I could go with fugill.com, after Thomas Fugill. He was the first notary commissioned in the US.”

Sarah: “That sounds innocuous and appropriate. But expect to explain eleventy-billion times that it isn’t your name.”

Me: “Coincidentally why I’m not using St. Mark in the domain.”

Sarah: “Right.”

Me: “Although signaturebymark.com isn’t taken…”

Sarah: “Sounds like a men’s fashion line from the early 1980s.”


Sarah: “And available exclusively at Neiman Marcus.”

Me: “I’m going to buy that domain just to spite you.”

Sarah: “Understandable.”

Me: “What about takenotary.com?”

Sarah: “Implies something other than an equal exchange of cash and services. And if you read a lot of historical novels, it has a sexual connotation. ‘Take me, my beloved notary! Take me right here in this moving carriage! I don’t care if John Coachman hears! I want the entire world to know of our love!‘”

Me: “FINE. Let’s go back to planetary associations.”

Sarah: “Okay.”

Me: Mercotary. Hermotary. Saturnotary.”

Sarah: “Bibbity bobbity boo.”

Me: “…”

Sarah: “I do like Saturn, though.”

Me: “Chronotary?”

Sarah: “I can’t say anything against chronotary, other than some people might expect you to be chronically ill. Although the more I think about it, some allusion to Chronos is good. It implies a good relationship with time — like, you’ll be quick — but also that you might eat all of your young.”

Me: “That is he most entrepreneurial thing you have ever said.”

Sarah: “I KNOW, RIGHT?”

I figure the right name will eventually present itself, or else Sarah will get tired of being the voice of reason and let me run with something ridiculous. In the meantime, I may start another side project and write a series of cozy mysteries featuring Caducifer Fugill, an amiable yet wily notary public. Maybe he and Thumper Forge can join forces and take down a shadowy cabal of shifty librarians or something. I can’t wait to see who gets cast in the PBS adaptation.

UPDATE: Carlisle just won the Internet with SignedStampedDelivered.com. Go home, other domains. You’re drunk.

The Queen of the Camellias

Customer: [bursting dramatically into the store] “MY LOVE. I need that shirt.”

Me: “Okay. Which shirt are you interested in?”

Customer: [points at the back wall, where seven or eight different T-shirts are on display]

Me: “Which one?”

Customer: [clutches chest and continues pointing emphatically]

Me: “Which one, please?”

Customer: [sighing desolately and/or death-rattling] “THAT ONE. The one that says ‘Chubby and Hard to Kidnap.'”

Me: “Ah, gotcha. What size?”

Customer: “I’m a FAT BITCH, my love.”

Me: [blank stare]

Customer: [dropping character] “Extra large.”

Me: “That’ll be $27.06.”

Customer: “My love… thank you.” [deep bow]

At least he wasn’t overcome with the vapors or anything. The slings we just ordered won’t be here until next week, and I’ve got nothing else in stock that would work as a fainting couch.

Get in, loser. We’re going mopping.

I’m house-sitting for my sponsor right now, and he just called to ask if I could keep an eye out for any packages left on his neighbor’s doorstep.

“She’s traveling in Europe,” he explained. “And her Tony Award is supposed to arrive today.”

While I’m certainly not ashamed of my own humble achievements, I have got to figure out how to get on these people’s level. Although you know what would be funny? If, when the package appeared, I removed the Tony and replaced it with the following note:

Dear Esteemed Colleague,

We were robbed, and now, so were you.


-the entire cast of Mean Girls

I’d ask my sponsor to talk me out of this, but he’s at a conference and conveniently hard to reach at the moment. As such, I can only assume that the Universe has a master plan and totally wants me to sweep an award the old-fashioned way.

UPDATE: I am currently experiencing feelings of anxiety and regret. Shit. Does anyone happen to know if stealing a Tony is considered a felony? Asking for Victor Garber.

Slap Happy

I showed up at Ripcord this past Saturday for Misfits bartending, and I was heading over to the pool table where a few of the guys had gathered, when I passed by the St. Andrew’s Cross next to the men’s room and noticed a gaggle of straight girls striking poses on it.

This occurs a few times a week. Preppy visitors to the bar see the cross and think it’s a stage prop, so they climb up on it and demand that their friends take pictures. And it’s always the same picture — they put their hands through the restraints and then look back over their shoulder, eyes and mouth widened in mock terror, like they’re trapped in a medieval torture chamber.

Comedy pioneers, the lot of them.

I am not a fan of “anything worse than” comparisons (Them: “Ugh. Is there anything worse than a latte made without almond milk?” Me: “Rape culture?”), but very few things enrage me as much as leatherfolk having to wait in line to engage in kink, because Briffanie and Co. are pretending to be contestants on a Halloween episode of America’s Next Top Model. Veering away from the Misfits, I sidled up to a girl who’d already taken her turn and was now wielding the camera, and I whispered, “The cross is not here for photo opportunities. It’s here for the people who actually use it.”

The tour group had the decency to scuttle away at my prompting, although the Misfits themselves were unamused, since I was once again interrupting someone’s fun by belligerently checking their privilege. “So, this is how you’re going to be tonight, huh?” my brother Geno asked. And I was all, “Yes, Geno. Yes, it is. And the night is young.”

The rest of the evening was a blur of debauchery and impact play (the usual), and I got home around 3 a.m., glancing at my phone one last time as I plodded to bed. And immediately I was like, “The hell? When did I take a picture of boobs?”

Even Lady Gaga is confused.

At first I thought one of the straight girls had somehow gotten hold of my phone and was attempting to fuck with me, so I was like, “Nice try, lady, but I don’t act like breasts scare or disgust me like some gay guys do. Same with vaginas. You could show me your vagina all day, and I’d be like, ‘Yup, that sure is a vagina.’ I would neither gag in fake revulsion, nor make shady, misogynistic remarks. So you know what? Bring it. Bring all the vagina, and watch in chagrin as I respond to your lady garden with polite yet aloof deference, whore.” But then I opened the album and was like, “Right, then. This makes much more sense.”

Oh. Hey, Gary.

Clearly a good time was had by all, although I really need to work on my issues regarding contempt prior to investigation. And even if my aim with a paddle is spot-fucking-on, I guess it couldn’t hurt to have my eyes checked.

When We’re Living Our Dream

Some days, I spend my shift helping new customers try on leather for the first time, and I get a special thrill when they look in the mirror and go, “Holy shit. I look good in this.” And whatever insecurities they were wrestling with when they came in start to recede, and I feel like I’ve done something to be of service to my fellow gay men, and that feels awesome.

And other days, I have to get in a customer’s face and literally pull merchandise out of his hands, and make sure the friends he was gleefully trying to bludgeon are unharmed, all while shouting, “THESE ARE ARMBANDS. WE DO NOT HIT PEOPLE WITH ARMBANDS.”

And truth be told, that feels pretty awesome too.

Australian Possums Are Cuter Than American Possums, and Other Hard-Hitting Headlines of Relevance to the Leather Community

As has become tradition, Facets of Leather superfan Orin Slade created a meme abstraction of last night’s episode, and this one is without a damn doubt my new favorite:

The pin on the possum’s Muir cap says “Team Hades.” The number of religious-themed gifts in my Zazzle shop is about to quadruple.

Robert and I also spent an inordinate amount of time comparing and contrasting the regional differences in Episcopalian Eucharist ettiquette, because I don’t know why we did, either. Hopefully, at least one of our listeners has a High Protestant fetish. You’re welcome, That Guy.

This month’s forgotten track was not actually on our playlist, since the artist hasn’t released it for sale (we played this one instead). However, I am a fool for electronic breakup anthems turned into acoustic, sexually-ambiguous breakup anthems, so I’m sharing it here anyway. Robert says the song would be easier to listen to if McKillen took his clothes off. While I’m inclined to agree, I’d rather focus my energies on talking him into covering “I Touch Myself” next.

Second Bar to the Right and Straight on ’til Morning

Customer: “Could you help me find something?”

Me: “Sure. What are you looking for?”

Customer: “I really want an Eagle Houston T-shirt.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Nothing embellished or anything. Just a plain, solid color T-shirt that says ‘Eagle.’ Do you have something like that?”

Me: “No. We don’t.”

Customer: “Really? Why don’t you have those?”

Me: “Because you’re in Ripcord.”

[long pause]

Customer: “Oh. Right.”

Guys, you know I don’t judge, and in fact this one time, back when I still drank, I got lost in a Dillard’s and couldn’t find my way out – like, I had to call a (very concerned) friend to help me navigate to the exit. But at least I knew I was in Dillard’s, y’know? I wasn’t stumbling around looking for Nordstrom memorabilia.

Be aware of your surroundings, people. And learn your leather bars when you’re sober. This is my life-saving advice to you.

Tonight, on a very special episode of Long Lost Family…

The CPA who found my briefcase called back this past Tuesday to report that one of the cleaning ladies in his building came across a bag “with some notary things in it.” I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I went ahead and rushed on over to inspect the discovery.

I was not to be disappointed.

Thumper & Notarizer

My aluminum paddle, my leather ping-pong paddle, and the Ox-Ox were missing, but the Notarizer was happily waiting for me. Plus Rok, Tank and Carlisle all gave me replacement paddles before the original collection resurfaced, so I’m even more thwacky than I was before the burglary.

On the downside, that CPA will never hire me. (The “Let Me Show You How the Guards Used to Do It” button on the side of the bag kind of dinged my professional credibility.) But hey, at least now he knows where to go if he’s ever a bad little boy who needs to be punished. Diversifying into niche markets always pays off in the end.