My dad has been talking about taking a mahjong class at his church (Episcopalians being ambitious when it comes to tabletop entertainments), so for Christmas, I surprised him with a set of his own. He was delighted, and we both got very excited about it. And then we started reading the directions.

Me: “Okay, so the dragons correspond to the suits.”

Dad: “Dragons correspond to suits. Got it.”

Me: “There’s a red dragon, a green dragon, and… soap.”


Dad: “I’m sorry, what was that last one?”

Me: “Soap.”

Dad: “A soap dragon.”

Me: “Yup.”

Dad: “Huh.”

Me: “Oh, and there are flowers and seasons, but they’re, like, interchangeable. I think.”

Dad: [flipping through the rule book] “And at some point, there’s something called a Charleston. Are… are we supposed to Charleston?”

Me: “Apparently. But we should probably figure out what these dice are for first. And all these coins. And this little spinner thing.”

[contemplative silence]

Dad: “Let’s play backgammon.”

Me: “Yes, please.”

He won.

Happy Boxing Day!

Join the Leather ‘Neath the Mistletoe

Customer: “So…”

Me: “Yes?”

Customer: “What do you recommend?”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…?”

Me: “Is there… something in particular that interests you?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay. What is it?”

Customer: [gestures vaguely at everything]

Me: “Of course.”

His crippling inability to clarify aside, wanna know why he can see all the things in the ambiguous direction toward which he’s flapping his hand?

Because the sun came back.

Happy Yule, my loyal Marjorettes. Go ring some bells for me.

Topspin on the Backhand Lob

Customer 1: [eyeing the solvents display] “How does Amsterdam compare to Pig Sweat?”

Me: “They’re similar in strength, although some people feel that the Pig Sweat is a little stronger.”

Customer 2: “Mmm. My bootyhole just went ‘Oooh!'”

Customer 1: “We know. We heard it. Four ping-pong balls just shot out of you.”

It’s a good thing I’ve got all these paddles, I guess. Just need to figure out what the point value would be if I manage to hit one back in.

It could also be the title of a comedy album, but I want to be taken seriously as an artist first.

Customer: “I don’t like these socks.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. What don’t you like about them?”

Customer: “They don’t make socks for guys like me. My calves are too big. It’s like trying to slip a sausage into… um…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Into something smaller than a sausage?”

Customer: “… skinny jeans.”

Me: “Like slipping a sausage into skinny jeans.”

Customer: “Yes. Definitely.”

I am not a musician by any means, but if I’m ever in a situation where I have to produce a hit Gay Country Crossover single, I’m going to call it A Sausage in Skinny Jeans. The Grammy nod will totally be worth the Parental Advisory warning.

I, Too, Forgot Cranberries. Because Leather.

Topics discussed in depth on this month’s Facets of Leather that have everything in the world to do with leather:

… and topics discussed in depth that have not a damn thing to do with leather:

It was an even split. I’m calling it apropos.

Most of this episode’s music came from the Go-Go Boys’ Gay Apparel Xmas Songs, but personally, it’s not the Yuletide until I hear “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses. Not only is it the greatest holiday song to be birthed in the 80s, but it’s also a consolation for those of us who got sent to Whamhalla, because our boss lives around the corner from our place of employment and can control the Ripcord jukebox from the safety and comfort of his living room.

May the buoyant saxophone be a balm to your soul, my fallen warriors.

Nothing but a Pound Dog

Customer: “Do the colors of these pup hoods mean the same things as the colors in the Hanky Code?”

Me: “Not really. I mean, a pup could wear a certain color hood to display interest in a particular kink or fetish, but a lot of people are just partial to one color or another. Whether or not someone’s flagging a hanky is the only sure way to tell what they’re into.”

Customer: “Oh. So a pup wearing a red hood wouldn’t necessarily be into fisting.”

Me: “Correct.”

Customer: “But if a pup were into fisting, would that make him a puppet?”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Get out of my shop.”

Mazed and Confused

[A customer wanders into the store, picks up a bundle of bondage rope, drifts over to me and places the rope on the counter.]

Me: “Are you… wanting to purchase this?”

Customer: “No. I just want to be here.”

[He turns and wanders back into the bar.]

Short story shorter, if any minotaurs are reading this, I think I may have found the dude you’re looking for.

I always kind of expect Greek heroes to be taller, though.

Olympic Tangents

Me: “… So then Hera was like, ‘Yeah, this one’s a might too unfortunate-looking,’ and threw the newborn Hephaistos off of Mount Olympus into the sea, where he was found by the nymph Thetis, who raised him as her own and introduced him to blacksmithing, and he started making her all kinds of amazing jewelry, which she wore when she visited Olympus, and Hera was all, ‘Damn, hon! Where did you get all this awesome shit?’ And Thetis was like, ‘Funny story. This random baby fell from the sky and turned out to be talented AF, so now he bangs out accessories for me.’ So Hera was all, ‘Oops! He’s actually mine. I’d like him back, please, now that I know he’s useful.’ But of course, the whole myth is really just an allegory for plunging heated iron into cold water to temper it.”

John: “…”

The rest of the Misfits: “…”

Everyone else in the leather bar: “…”

Me: “Anyway, to answer your question, yes. I definitely think you should get a new tattoo.”

It’s moments like this when I can tell how my brothers neither regret electing me president nor ever having met me. Makes a guy feel powerful and wise, that does.

Glass Beholders (or, Must Be Friday)

[Carlisle and I are playing a word game on my phone when a customer strides in and surveys the store. They are wearing pink camouflage sweatpants, a ribbed, skintight, see-through shirt, and a shoulder-length wig the color of cotton candy, if cotton candy were radioactive.]

Me: “Hi! Let me know if I can help you find anything.”

Customer: “Ew. This is the place with all that freaky shit.”

And I was like, “THE ONLY FREAKY THING IN HERE IS THAT WIG, YOU DAMN FRAGGLE.” But, y’know, quietly. To myself. Days later.

I have really got to work on both the timeliness of my snappy comebacks and the wherewithal to defend my modest freakdom against the freak judgement of freaks who think my freakiness is freakier than their freakiness.

I might also need a thesaurus. Maybe I’ll start with that.

We probably should’ve sung it backwards, just to fully confirm that we’re going to hell.

During a moment of downtime on the last day of GLUE, I found myself in the host hotel’s hospitality suite, lounging about with Ben, Dirk Caber (who’d agreed to be our emcee this year), and Taliesin Wolf (who’d come down to judge the Mr. Third Coast Leather contest). I’m not sure exactly how we got on the subject, but as we were chatting, somebody mentioned Anglicanism, and after comparing notes, we discovered that Dirk, Talie and I had all been raised in the Episcopal Church.

Thing is, when cradle Episcopalians get together, no matter what their current religious convictions or career paths happen to be, they immediately start debating the merits of the Rite 1 vs. Rite 2 Eucharists. We were embroiled in the traditional discourse before we knew it, with Dirk pointing out that in addition to its old-timey language, Rite 1 includes more music. To exemplify, he began singing: Specifically, he began singing the Lord’s Prayer.

Dirk: [in a lovely baritone] “OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME…”

Me: [suddenly remembering the melody] “THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE…”

Dirk and I stopped for a second and looked at Taliesin.

Talie: [a tenor] “ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.”


Ben: “…”


Ben: “





Me, Dirk and Talie: “AMENNNN.”

Ben: “I… I don’t understand why this is happening to me…”

And that’s the story of how a couple of adult entertainers and I broke my Jewish boyfriend with Gregorian plainchant. Der Suf.

PS: We went to a karaoke bar later that evening, where Ben obliterated the rest of us with his choreographed renditions of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “I’m Still Here.”

One two kick turn, heel toe kick turn.

He is a keeper. And one of the Chosen. Win/win.