Monday, March 31, 2003

I, Sash Queen

I know a guy who is currently titled. In the Leather world, that means that he entered a contest, (like, the Mr. Whippany Falls Leather contest) and won. So, for a year, he gets to wear a sash (well, actually, he can always wear it, as he'll always be Mr. Whippany Falls Leather 2002, joining Mr. Whippany Falls Leather 2001, Mr. Whippany Falls Leather 2000, etc.). And most contests are feeder contests, so the winner gets to go and compete in some larger contest, possibly becoming Mr. Greater Whippany Area and Chamooga Mills Leather.

The people I know tend to fall evenly into two groups: people who compete in these contests and wear their sashes, and people who view contests and sashes with amusement if not disdain.

A few years ago, while driving down to MAL, I called a friend of mine (heterosexual married woman) to chat. She asked where I was headed, and I did my best to describe it. She started laughing and said, "You're going to a beauty pageant!" And it kind of is that. I mean, in lieu of a swimsuit competition, there's a jock strap competition. So, I can see myself smirking with the amusement and disdain camp.

On the other hand, the guys I know who have been sashed are universally good guys, likeable, sincere, well-intentioned, and easy on the eyes. They use their position to forward some cause or other. Michael Marino, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2001, raised over $10,000 for charity. Walt Weis, Mr. Lure 2002, started a phenomenal organization called Teens Prepared for Life. So, y'know, nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'd say there's a lot to admire.

So this titled friend of mine emailed me recently, and said that things were getting busy with him as he was getting ready for this year's iteration of the contest he won last year. And then he added, "You really should consider running."


I should?

Not like I haven't thought about it. Not like I haven't framed a fantasy scenario in my head already and not told anyone about it because they might steal it. And I think about what my buddy Piss Rick once said regarding contests. Rick was the guy that when he was seventeen years old read somewhere that the Mineshaft was going to close. He didn't know what the Mineshaft was, and the article didn't explain, but he just knew that he had to get there before it went away. Anyway, he said that as someone who had been on the scene for all of his adult life, he had yet to see one familiar face in any of the contests he had ever attended.

But fundamentally, I'm not a very charismatic person. I've done my best to overcome my childhood shyness, which was incredibly crippling early on in my life, but it's still with me, and as a result, I think I come off as cold and stand-offish. A lot of people have told me that when they first met me, they didn't like me. Only after they got to know me somewhat did they realize that whatever bad first impression they had of me was mistaken. And I don't know that a liability like that would serve me well when I have all of forty-five seconds to make a good impression on some panel of judges. Too, your year as a title holder takes up a lot of your time, and I'm already complaining often that time is a thing I don't seem to have a lot of to spare. (I have a weakness for the affectation of using 'too' to introduce a sentence.)

My dear friend Baron von Philadelphia would be over-joyed, and would immediately spring to work as my manager. He's a frustrated brand manager, frustrated because he has no brand to manage, and would jump at the chance to make me his brand. I, for one, would love to have handlers. Although I don't know that having a promoter is a common thing for people in leather contests.

Still, something to think about.

Hey, Kids! Let's put on a show in the barn!

At the LURE on Saturday, there was much talk of "Now where are we gonna go?" The consensus was that we'll all probably be showing up at the Eagle. Ho humm. I honestly can't see getting all excited about going to the Eagle on Saturday nights the way I usually am about the LURE. More often than not, I go to the Eagle and just get irritated. At one point, in the circle of men I was talking to, I said, "Y'know, what this town really needs is play space. A good dungeon. Before I'd put effort and energy into opening up a new bar, I'd want to see that happen." There was instant and immediate agreement. We started talking about logistics. A lawyer present said that liability would be the biggest concern. If someone visiting the club got their ear sliced off with a whip, they would sue for damages, and that would be the end of that. And, getting insurance ot cover that would be next to impossible. Release forms, in his opinion, are pretty meaningless, because no one would willingly and knowingly sign there name to a document if they knew that it would result in his ear being cut off.

Good point, but I think that obstacle must be surmountable. I mean, there are dungeon play spaces in every city in the country, and some pretty amazing ones at that. In fact there is one in New York City, but it is predominately hetero.

I'm wondering if it wouldn't work to run it purely as a membership organization, where each of the members has joint and several liability for whatever happens at the club. Therefore, if my ear gets lopped off, I would, in fact, be suing myself as a member. I'd pay $100 a month for the privilege of membership, and if there were 100 other men in this town who would be willing to do that, that's $10,000 a month. I wonder what that would get us in terms of square footage? Possibly we'd need to have someone employed by the membership to run the place, as having 100 people with keys would get unwieldy. There already exist places in NYC to go for sex, and I wouldn't want to be in competition with them. I'm thinking of a place with plenty of room to swing a whip, some floating bondage boards, chain hoists, that kind of thing.

I think it should be painted orange inside.

This is the last night of the fair, and the grease in the hair of the speedway operator is more than a tremulous heart requires

The Lure on Saturday night. I was there for the midnight smoke-out. I'm actually not as alarmed about this nanny-government run amok law as might at first be thought. I've been to San Diego a few times since California did the same thing. All the smokers tend to congregate outside, and as opposed to the stand and look good and don't talk to anybody ethos that prevails inside the bar, outside on the sidewalk with the smokers it's sort of chatty and chummy.

Anyway, the LURE was pretty steamy. A buddy of mine reported, "I've been on my knees five times tonight and had three cocks in my mouth. It's just like the old days." I'm definitely taking off of work next Thursday night so I can party to excess the night before at the final night. I'm hoping for no holds barred bacchanalia.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Alas. I realized that I'll be in Boston for the Leather Leadership Conference the weekend that Sex in the City will be taping at the Lure. Drat.

Something about whips

Today was the second day of the GMSMA Singletails workshop. I pretty much spent the whole time working with my eight foot bullwhip. I can't say that I have much going by way of accuracy, but I can throw passably well. I heard a few appreciative comments concerning my form. But most importantly, it was wonderful to just get deep deep deep into whip headspace in a room full of other guys who were deep deep deep into whip headspace. "More than this, you know there's not much."

I just get teary eyed thinking about it. In the wrap-up, Master of Mirage mentioned (addressing the neophytes in the group) that the Way of the Whip can be misunderstood, even by other folks into BDSM. It's just looked at as being too too much. And I guess in a way that is true. I've had enough conversations on Leather Navigator or wherever wherein bottoms will basically say, "That's one thing I would never do." And I don't quite get that. Although I suppose I do. The scene is so intense, and so primal. It's situated the same way that boxing is among other sports. Many kids grow up wanting to be baseball players, but few--if any--kids grow up wanting to be boxers. You get hurt, and there's the potential to get really hurt. And there's blood involved. And it's very intense.

By way of compensation, though, whipsmen are almost a brotherhood within a brotherhood. I can't claim at this point to be any closer to that august circle than at the very perimeter. Which is fine. Which is wonderful, in fact, since it means that there's so much territory that I have yet to explore, so many places I have yet to go to. But still, I feel the warmth that exists there. "You're letting your arm drop too quickly. See... You're doing this, and you want to do this. Crack!" It feels so wonderful having those moments, one man initiating another into an arcane realm, guiding, nurturing, celebrating. You can't learn whip play from a book or a videotape. It's not a solitary pursuit. It's communal.

And while we're on the subject, because Joe Wheeler was given time during the workshop, there wasn't time for the closing. Last year, one by one, we lined up and felt a few licks of the whip on our backs. I was too self-concious to even be much aware of it last year. Too nervous. This year, I was looking forward to it. And when it didn't happen, I was disappointed.

I think I'm ready to go down again. I know so.

Because I'm shallow

Two developments. First off, I'm sunburned. I went for my second session at the tanning place. I decided to get some color, ostensibly because I'm hoping to get somewhere warm in the next six weeks or so. But also because I don't like myself fishbelly white.

Secondly, I found a place to scream. Readers may remember that a few weeks ago I fought back the impulse to stand at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Thirty Fifth Street, throw my head back, and scream. The other day, I was driving through the Holland Tunnel, and I thought, "Huh. Here I am. In the Tunnel. Windows up. Alone in the car..." And I screamed. Long and loud. All through the Tunnel. At the other side of the Tunnel, I started singing along with the song I was playing, and my voice was gravelly. "Well that's kind of cool. Not only to I get to relieve a little stress with screaming, but I get a nice phone sex voice, too." So since making that connection, I've been screaming a lot when I'm in the car alone. Not so much for the stress relief, but for the phone sex voice.

Yeah. That's me. The tan-in-the-can guy with the phone sex voice.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Yo. Sex in the City is going to be filming an scene at the LURE. They need "men in full leather" as extras. I am a man. I have full leather. If I have plans for April 11th, consider them cancelled. I will stop at nothing. Do you hear me? Nothing!!!

There is a wonderful scene in 'High Fidelity' where Nicolas Cage('s character) talks over love life problems with Bruce Springsteen.

I'm sort of feeling that way tonight. I'd like to hash things through with the Boss.

Snippet from the session with my therapist last Tuesday: "Okay. Okay I'll say it out loud. I want a boyfriend. There. I said it out loud."

Could this have something to do wiith the fact that I've been spending time with Special Guy lately? Uh, yeah.

That was kind of the wrap up of therapy. I was complaining that I didn't have anyone to go to the movies with. And worse, through work I have tickets to a production of Moliere's Don Juan at the Lucille Lortel theater. I had sort of been stressing about this. I had two tickets. I couldn't go solo. Who would I want to go with? Who would appreciate a play that was about the conflict of flesh and spirit as that is often played out in a context informed by Catholic moral theology? My therapist suggested, "How about Special Guy?"

Oh. Right. Perfect.

Dammit. This is New York City. There are almost nine million people in this town. If ten percent of them are gay, that means there are around 850,000 homos. If half are lesbians, then I'm left with 425,000 gay men. Surely, out of that vast number (almost one-third of the population of Fort Lauderdale, mind you), there must be one other one that has that combination of intellect, spirit, and animal sensuality that I found in Special Guy. It it statistically impossible that he's the only one.

Well. Then again. I know of one other. That would be Schlitz. Whatever happened to Schlitz, you might ask? Schlitz has a boyfriend. His boyfriend is very hot looking. But he has that affect that drives me nuts. Ask boyfriend a question, say, "Have you seen the Matthew Barney show at the Guggenheim?" and it's like you asked him to account for his whereabouts on the night of a gruesome murder. Or you've just intruded upon his grief. Or (more correctly), you're calling at an inopportune time and he's doing his best to be courteous until he can hustle you out the door.

Okay okay okay. If he wasn't dating Schlitz, I'd be making a play for him. Possibly. Although he doesn't seem to be much of a serious player, so I'd probably look right through him until given an indication otherwise. And did I mention he works for a perfume company? Would you date someone who worked for a perfume company? I try not to think so much about him falling into a vat of the reeking stuff and going under for the third time whilst I dangle a lifeline slightly out of reach when I run into he and Schlitz.

It could be worse. Schlitz could be dating Special Guy.


Day One of the Singletails workshop. Things kicked off with a fairly fascinating presentation by Joe Wheeler on whips and whipmaking. Mr. Wheeler is something of a madman. And I mean that in the best possible way. What would it be like to delve into an arcane skill and go further or as far as anyone in human history?

I have a deep appreciation for connoisseurship of any stripe, and found it fascinating to hear Joe Wheeler discuss the ins and outs of braiding whips. Did you know, for example, that to make English buggy whips (this was how the craft developed), the optimal material was leather made from the skin of an unborn calf? I mean, Jumpin' Jehosophat!

Then we got to cracking. Master of Mirage demonstrated the overhand, over-the-shoulder, side, and underhand throws. I was using my five foot wheeler whip. Overhand and over-the-shoulder I've never had a problem with. I'll admit to showing off a little. But still, it was good to be able to focus specifically on my form and hear feedback from ARt and Master of Mirage. Throwing from the side has never come easy to me, and I usually avoid the throw in scene play. As I tend to concentrate on backs rather than butts, this isn't much of a deficit. The real eye opener for me came with the underhand throw. I do that throw--as I learned it--with my wrist pointing down. M. o' M. does it with his wrist upward. I could not get it to crack that way. So, in my obsessive little way, I have some homework to do tonight. I'm going to perfect that, dammit.

I wish I had just started with my bullwhip and stuck with that rather than my five-footer. That's what I really am interested in working with. At the conclusion of the session, we would up doing a sort of Master Class kind of thing, lining up in groups of five and doing the various throws. At that point, I picked up my long whip. And because I've only thrown it maybe twenty times in my life, my performance was mediocre to say the least.

Ah well. Tomorrow is another day.

After the workshop, I went for sushi with Past President. He mentioned that he had had a moment of jealousy at one point, along the lines of, "He is talking to him! I responded that I had had several moments of "Yo! He is talking to him!" during the course of the afternoon. Odd... I can only draw one conclusion: bring out the whips and the air is instantly erotically charged. The air was instantly dense with the musk of testosterone feuled animal longings.

Which is another thing I like about whips.

After an amazing sushi dinner, I wanted chocolate, so I stopped into Chocolate Bar on Hudson Street. A wonderful conclusion to that trip into the city.

Oh. One other thing. Straight people are different. They just are. Straight men in particular. And I don't just mean the apparent absense of any fashion sense whatsoever and outright neglect of their corporeal selves. (But c'mon, how do straight women put up with that?) It's just this way different energy that they have. I feel a greater degree of kinship with kinky straight people than I do with non-kinky straight people, but all the same. Straight people are different.

They tend to remind me of kids I knew in high school who kept snakes as pets and went to Star Trek conventions. Something missing from the genome that I can't quite put my finger on.

Don't get me wrong. I like straight people. Why, some of my best friends are straight people...

Friday, March 28, 2003

Met up with Special Guy for our Friday gym date. We worked on back and shoulders. Special Guy had more energy this week than when we worked out two weeks ago, which was great. I got in a good work out, thus completing a full week of good workouts. My legs hurt, my arms hurt, my shoulders hurt, my back hurts. Love that.

This is the weekend of GMSMA's Singletails workshop. At long last. Last year's workshop was a religious experience for me. Literally. A life changer. Everything about SM suddenly came into sharp focus for me. It was like a moment of getting to the top of a mountain and seeing the lush, beautiful valley below, full of wonder and possibility.

My principal objective in going for a second round this year is because I purchased an eight foot bullwhip with a two foot fall. (The whips I own are signal whips. Signal whips are so named because they're used in dog-sledding to signal to the dogs what direction you want them to turn. They are generally three to five feet long and are shot-loaded at the base, but don't have a handle. The cracker--a few threads of nylon at the tip that makes the crack--is woven right into the leather plaits. I also have two snake whips. The snake whip is also flexible and shot loaded at the handle, but there is a 'fall' (a thin length of rawhide) to which the cracker is attached. A bullwhip is distinguished by a rigid handle. My absolute favorite whip, and the one I usually use in scene play, is a hybrid signal whip-bullwhip: it has a rigid handle, but the cracker is braided directly into the body of the whip.) Because my apartment isn't really large enough to practice with the bullwhip, I'm not proficient enough to do scene play, and I want to get a jump start on that. With warmer weather I'll be able to get outside and practice.

That's the principle objective. Here's what else is going on for me. I'm going to commune with the whip. That sounds hokey, huh? ARt and Master of Mirage will be there, as will the chair of GMSMA's program committee chair. Whipsmen all. Men whose eyes light up when they see a muscular back, men whose jaws tighten when they hear a crack. And, there will be men attending the workout for the first time. I'm hoping to witness the imparting of the magic that happened to me last year.

I am expecting this to be a quiet and reflective weekend. I want to absorb. I'm still planning on going to the LURE tomorrow night. I can't imagine giving up one of the last few Saturday nights there.

I feel as though I'm going on retreat. And, in a way, I am.

And now, I have to finish up drawing the torsos on the Barbie-doll-flesh-colored fabric I bought for ARt. I'm hoping there will be a hit. Everyone will get to take away a souvenir of the workshop. My little contribution.

I sketched out the outline of the torso (done in black magic marker) I found a diagram of musculature on the web. But after I had done a few, I sat back, looked at it, and realized that I recognized that back. It's Security.

Thinking of you, Security. Thinking of you.

Lolita has departed from the Leatherpage and has a new home .

...and she's... she's... she's become a blogger!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Sodomy fellatio cunnilingus pederasty... Father why do these words sound so nasty?

Here's a great re-cap of yesterday's oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court concerning the Texas sodomy case. The legal issues are confusing, even to the Court it seems. Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 sodomy law challenge in which the Court found that sodomy laws were not objectionable from a Constitutional standpoint, hung on the issue of whether intimate sexual activity constituted a fundamental right that should be beyond state interference. In Bowers, the court decided it was not a fundamental right, largely on the basis of the fact that there has been no historical tradition of granting that right. Rather, the reverse has usually been the case, not just in same sex intimate relations, but with respect to pro-creation, opposite sex intimate relations, bigamy, bestiality, and a host of other things.

So, folks arguing the case seem to be avoiding that line of argument, as it's unlikely that the Court would directly overturn a decision that is only thirteen years old. The second argument stems from the 'equal protection' clause of the Constitution, under which the state can't deprive a certain class of citizens of a right unless it has a very good reason for doing so.

To me, this seems more likely to succeed. What possible interest could Texas, or any other state have, for preventing same sex couples (or opposite sex couples in a handful of states) from having sexual relations that will not result in procreation? Here, the poor attorney from Texas had a very tough time.

It seems to be no secret how justices Rehnquist and Scalia are going to vote. When it was raised that it is general consensus that most states don't feel they have any business regulating intimate relations between married couples, Scalia responded, "I think they do."


So it all comes down to Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy, the moderately conservative swing voters.

Andrew Sullivan points out that given the fact that 90-95% of married couples engage in oral sex from time to time, legally, we are all sodomites.

I think that argument is clever, but I doubt that many who are sitting on the fence are going to swayed by it.

Why? I have no idea why, but in my experience, heterosexuals are universally freaked out by gay sex. Not lesbian sex, mind you. I know of few straight men who don't think the idea of two women getting it on is not way hot. But something about the insertion of an erect penis into an anus will drive your most gay-friendly, liberal, PFLAG member stright person to distraction.

I can't figure out if it's the penis or the anus that's the problem. I mean, there is the whole thing about viewing your anus as a source of pleasure, as it's also associated with feces, and we're taught since potty training that feces is bad. And possibly the whole Assault on Masculinity thing plays into it, although I can't see straight women being too upset about that.

I think it's a Disgust-reaction. Disgust is genetically hardwired. It's the reaction that minimizes the likelihood that something known to be toxic or suspected to be so will get from the surrounding environment into your body.

In the movie Caddy Shack, there is a scene that demonstrates this universal principle brilliantly. There's a long brown object floating in the swimming pool, causing everybody to clear out. Lot's of eewwwww's from the audience. Then, Bill Murray('s character) scoops it out of the water and takes a bite out of it, proclaiming it to be a candy bar. Not toxic feces, just yummy desireable food.

Another example. If I asked you to swallow the saliva in your mouth (*gulp*), that's not much of a problem. Now, imagine I ask you to fill up a Dixie cup with spit, and then tell you to drink it down. Again: Eeewwwww!

Because the mouth is generally the only oriface that permits things to enter the body, the anus and the idea of anything entering the anus produces disgust.

Or at the very least, takes some getting used to. But you can get used to it.

You can get really used to it.

It took eight months after the allies landed at Normandy to get to Berlin. It's incredible that in six days, US/UK forces have made it to suburban Baghdad. I have been wondering what happens now. Strategically, there seem to be two options. Coaliition forces could move into Baghdad. This would mean street fight, going building by building, and block by block, through a city of five million. Doubtless this would mean casualties among our soldiers, and doubtless civilian casualties among the Iraqis. Or, Coalition forces could lay seige to the city. This would be a nightmare. The people of Baghdad would suffer terribly, and it would be protracted, and support for the war in the UK and here in the U.S. would flag.

But, yesterday at the gym, while I was doing shoulder presses, I was watching CNN. It seems that Republican Guard units are doing sorties out of Baghdad into the desert, and meeting quick defeat at the hands of Coalition forces. If this continues, it could make things much much much easier.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Suddenly, Rudy came flooding back to me.

No, not the former mayor of New York City, with whom I had, in a way, an interesting relationship.

Another Rudy.

There I am. Sixteen years old. In the wake of a pretty amazing dream (which I think I described early on in this blog), I had realized that I was a homosexual. I had no idea what to do with this information, and how to live it out. The best course of action that occured to me was hitchhiking near my home in Pennsylvania. This turned up nada.

On rare occasions, I was able to connect with men for sex. As my hormones were reaching their apogee, this was all too rare for my liking. And so I conjured Rudy.

Rudy was a few years older than me. He wore his blond hair in a military brush cut. He had a tattoo. He drove a motorcycle. He was something of a drifter. He'd travel on his bike from city to city, getting by with hustling, petty thievery, and activities I didn't want to think about.

We met and fell in love. We found an apartment together in Lambertville, New Jersey. The heating was bad and in the winter time, we froze. We were barely able to pay the rent with the money I made cooking in restaurants and the job that Rudy found cleaning a bar. On the back of his bike, we'd head up and down the Delaware River. I showed him all the swimming holes I knew. He taught me the basics of motorcycle mechanics. Once, walking through New Hope late one night, some guys we passed called us fags. Rudy turned around and yelled, "Yeah, and the only thing I think I like better than sucking dick is kicking ass." They vanished. We laughed.

Rudy started to get sullen and distant. I knew it was coming, but I didn't want to admit that. One night, I got home from work, the grease from the restaurant saturating my skin, and he was gone. He left a note. He didn't want to be tied down. If he stayed here one more minute he'd go crazy. A buddy of his told him about a bike run in Arizona he wanted to go to. He said he loved me and told me to take good care of myself.

After that, when I least expected it, Rudy would blow into town and come looking for me. For awhile, things would be great. And just when I was thinking that he was here for good, he'd be gone again.

Rudy was pure fiction. Right outta my head. (Well, the thing about sucking dick and kicking ass actually happened, but it was my friend Kevin, all 230 pounds of him, that delivered that line. I'll have to make a point of doing a blog entry about Kevin.)

Here's an interesting question. Who was Rudy? Was there somewhere a guy on a bike dreaming of a boy with gray eyes living in a Pennsylvania river town? Rudy is so real to me, and he taught me so much, that I can't quite reckon with the idea that he's purely imaginary. There's a lot of real there.

And here is a blogger in Baghdad that's causing quite a stir. His last entry seems to be on Monday of this week. Reading through it is fairly amazing. The guy is an architect and gay, and he lives in Baghdad, which is... you know... a city. A city with a population of a few million. There are avenues and side streets and parks and good neighborhoods and trendy neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods. Around the university there are doubtless lots of student hang outs. People work as accountants and shop keepers and telecommunications specialists and janitors and cooks and waiters and teachers. They buy papers on their way to work and watch tv when they get home at night. The get aggravated with neighbors. They complain about the weather, although in addition to heat and rain, they also have sandstorms to contend with. (Raed mentions at one point, "from the smell of it, we're going to have sand."

The Ba'ath party members seem to be the people with guns. Raed's mother is Shi'ia. The Shi'ia are, I believe, a majority of the population, and are oppressed by Saddam and his Ba'aths.

Another interesting thing: Karbala comes from arabic meaning 'Calamity and Harm.'

"Candles, duct tape, kerosene lanterns, and lavendar."

I had a really thought provoking exchange with Edge last night on Leather Navigator. He asked what I was writing about, and I replied, "S/M and spirituality." So is he. Past President mentioned that in preparation for the GMSMA Special Interest Group on S/M and Spirituality, he was meeting with a guy in DC who is also writing a book about S/M and spirituality. On the one hand, this is sort of affirming to me, as I seem to be tapping into something that people other than myself are asking questions about; but on the other hand, if and when I do manage to get published, will that event be greeted with, "Oh. Another book about S/M and spirituality" and a yawn behind fanned fingers?

So Edge posed the question, is this new emerging or old returning?

Good question, or what? I mean, it's not like S/M is a new phenomenon. And, there are shelves full of books published on the subject. That said, most of the books deal with technique. I think it's natural that now that there is a critical mass of practitioners skilled in technique, we should all set about trying to identify why a good scene is so much more than ths eum of the parts.

[Setting: Classroom at Alvernia College in Reading, Pennsylvania. Beth DeMeo is the professor. The class is the Modern Novel. We're discussing Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Beth: How old is Stephan Daedalus?
Somebody: He's in college so he's about twenty?
Beth: No, it's mentioned explicitly.
Me: He's 33.
Beth: Right. 33. Christ was 33 years old when he was crucified. Hamlet was 33. It was believed during the middle ages that in heaven, everyone would be 33 years old, no matter what age you were at death. Someone once said that 33 is the perfect age to write a novel. The fires of youth are still burning strong, but at the same time, you are old enough to realize with certainty that one day you will die. In fact, given life expectancy until recently, 33 was the mid-point of life, halfway between the cradle and the grave.

I was remembering this exchange this morning. It seemed significant in light of the received wisdom that most people decide to explore S/M when they're in their thirties. There are, of course, many many exceptions in either direction, but overall this is true. For many gay men, it represents a second coming out, so similar to finally admitting to yourself and to others that you're gay. "Maybe this will go away, maybe it's just a phase... What are my friends going to think? What if they find out at work? What if someone I grew up with finds out?" The tumbler clicks, the door opens, you take a deep breath, and step through.

So why is age 30 through 39 the magic decade for making this step? There are many possible answers to that. Because at that point you care less about what others think and have a clearer notion of what's important to you; or, you realize around that age that there are plenty of sane, well-adjusted, good, intelligent people in the world who are into S/M; or, you just can't hold back anymore and you need to act on this or else you'll go crazy; or, (the Marxist analysis ) at that point you've attained some measure of bourgeoise economic self-sufficiency that allows you to insulate yourself from most of the potential negative consequences. Or a combination thereof.

I have an idea, though, that it all goes back to Stephan Daedalus. You start to perceive the skull beneath the skin. You turn inward ("What does it all mean? What's important to me? What am I trying to accomplish anyway? Why am I not happy?") and at the same time direct yourself outward, jumping out of an airplane, taking that trip to Nepal, building your dream house, buying a vintage car. Heidegger held (go easy on me here, it's been a long time since I read Heidegger, and I'm not sure how well I understood him then) that when Dasein (Heidegger's shorthand for that which is conscious of itself, namely... uh... like, a guy) becomes consciousness of the fact that the flip side of Being is Not Being, that is the point when Dasein really comes to consciousness.

I'm dying. I'd better start living. No more foolin' around.

This is easily one of the best blogs I've ever read ever. Anywhere. At any time. And I read a lot of blogs. Flawed and beautiful, a human life. I'm enthralled.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


Vin Diesel has a new movie coming out! He plays a cop who faces a crisis of faith of sorts when the woman he loves is murdered by a drug cartel. But, he finds joy he never imagined when he's collared by a singletail Top in Jersey City, New Jersey!

Ah Vin... Chained at my feet, soaked in my piss.

Mmmmm. Beef Stroganoff is gooood.

Here's a recipe...

  • Beef Stroganoff

  • Preheat oven to 450 F
  • Prepare egg noodles according to instructions
  • Slice beef for stew into bite size chunks
  • In a bowl, combine:

  • 2 T. walnut oil
  • 2 T mustard
  • 5 shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 5 shakes of Tabasco
  • 1 t. flour

  • Add the cubes of beef and stir until covered with the mixture. Place the beef cubes in the bottom of a large caste iron skillet or saute.
  • Place beef cubes uncovered in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Test for doneness: should be browned outside and red and rare inside.
  • In a bowl, combine Fat Free Sour Cream with Frozen Peas
  • Slice mushrooms thin
  • Chop shallots fine

  • When beef cubes are finished cooking, remove the cubes from the pan but leave the drippings in.
  • Add butter to the pan
  • On top of the stove, over medium heat, saute shallots in the butter until they give up their moisture and brown slightly.
  • Add mushrooms and saute until they give up their moisture. Add water to speed the process and keep mushrooms and shallots from sticking to the bottom of the pan as necessary, but not so much water that contents of pan become soupy.
  • When mushrooms and shallots are ready, add Fat Free Sour Cream and frozen pea mixture to the pan. Stir constantly so that the mixture is evenly combined, continue stirring until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Adjust flavor to taste at this point, stirring constantly
  • Add the egg noodles to the pan. Stir so the mixture covers them thoroughly
  • Add cubes of beef to pan. Stir so mixture covers them thoroughly

And there you have it. File this recipe away under "Comfort Food, High Protein."
Interesting. My hit counter report has pretty much achieved stasis. Every day, there are 32 people who check in on Singletails. I know of seven people in the world who are readers. Eight, counting myself, as I suppose my checking to make sure that my html is doing what I want it to do shows up as a hit. So that leaves 24 people. As far as I know, I'm not linked in too many places, but let's say that five people are folks who see a link from Singletails somewhere and click on it. That leaves 15 of you.

Who are you? Do I know you? Did I give you my little orange card at some point? Do you wander into your local Internet Cafe in some farflung city and check in on my doings whilst you sip your latte or bubble tea or Venti Awake tea with two tea bags?

Such an odd enterprise is blogging. In the blogs that I read regularly, I will sometimes be reading an entry and think to myself, "Uh oh. I know where this is going." I'm usually right. So I've come to 'know' these strangers whose blogs I read. Quite possibly, you know more about me than my therapist does. And, even more eerie, you might know more about me than I do myself.

And I have no idea who you are.

I imagine myself sitting on an airplane. I have the window seat. We land, taxi down the runway, come to a stop, and there's much shuffling around as people collect their stuff from under the seats and the overhead compartments. The person who is sitting in the aisle seat--let's say an elderly woman clutching a carry-all bag--turns to me and says, "You know, I get so tired of you complaining about your job when you do absolutely nothing to change the situation there at work. Oh, and I hope you realize that once you open the bottle, hydrogen peroxide only lasts a few weeks before it becomes useless.. Love your blog overall, though!" And with that, she disappears down the aisle and is nowhere in sight when I get to baggage claim.

If this were a movie, and I was a character being played by Sandra Bullock or John Cusack the soundtrack music would be getting sort of creepy as I make this realization.

Bummer. Neversane has called it quits. From the git go, it's been one of my favorite blogs. I'll miss it.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Really good workout at the gym tonight. Did back and shoulders, thinking all the while about GMSMA's Singletail Whips workshop this coming weekend. Four days away. Not only is it going to be conducted by ARt (who whipped me in October) and Master of Mirage, but the famous German whipsman will be on hand also, as will whip maker extraordinaire Joe Wheeler, who made my amazing signal whip-bullwhip hybrid. Last year, of course, was changed my life forever, setting me on a new path, my own path. So what's up with me taking a repeat? Simple. To share in the magic once again, and I'll be bringing along my new eight-foot bullwhip with a two foot fall to practice with. I hope to be scene-proficient with it by the time Inferno rolls around.

After the gym, I headed to Village Natural. I eat there maybe two or three times a year. I really can't afford it right now, but decided to have dinner out rather than fixing another casserole for myself at home. Village Natural always makes me think of Woody Allen's movie, Sleeper, wherein Woody plays a guy who is revived in the future, and in the past ran the Happy Carrot Health Food Restaurant in "some place called Green-Witch Village." After being revived, he is offered tobacco, which he refuses. "Oh, that's right," says one of his revivers, "In his time, people avoided tobacco and alcohol and red meat, all the things we now know are good for you."

How I wish. Although from what I've read, they're right about alcohol (in moderation) and red meat (thank you Dr. Atkins! you deserve the Nobel!).

Some good writing went down tonight, too. I'm almost at 100 pages. It's coming more slowly now, and I've been worried about that. Since Boss Sunshine isn't being such a pill, I've not felt the urgency (fallaciously believing that once I'm published, I'll be able to leave my job there) that I did. Also, inspiration is coming more slowly. But, after the great prose now in the memory banks of my iBook tonight, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

Huh. Y'know, sometime soon I really ought to print out a hard copy. If my hard drive were to crash now, I would surely throw myself off a bridge.

Now, having given myself something else to worry about, I'm off to bed.
Oh now what?

So I'm feeling listless and sad. The feeling that I'd like to change my life altogether. Yeah. That again. Perhaps inspired by the post below about March 21st and my sister. Perhaps it's coming off the roller coaster ride of Black Party Weekend, life's exigencies and urgencies washing over me again like the rising tide overwhelms a sand castle on the beach.

Simplify. Simplify.

Perhaps I need a vacation. A nice week off. Spending some time in San Diego with Does Mean Well, or just relaxing at the construction site in Fort Lauderdale known as my Condo. Somewhere warm, where I could get a tan, sit on a beach, and spend time typing away on my iBook. No parties. No work. No GMSMA. No softball even (although I think I'd miss that the most).

Significantly, it's not a lot about Gotta-Get-Outta-New-York-City. Things are good overall. Overall. That's big when you think about it. Lots of Despites in there. As in, Despite the fact that every time I drive through the Holland Tunnel I have to drive by a gauntlet of sharp-shooters eyeing me suspiciously and have invasive thoughts about a bomb going off in the tunnel when traffic slows to a stop; and Despite the national guardsmen the subway stations; and Despite the fact that of course New York City is on every terrorists hit list; and Despite the growing number of people I know who have lost or are likely to loose their jobs with no prospects for future employment in the near future; Despite the fact that the crappy job market has left me trapped waiting for Boss Sunshine's dammed up rage to come bursting forth once again; and Despite weeks like last week, where there was not a night from Monday to Thursday when I got home before 11:30 p.m. and didn't manage to get to the gym once; and Despite the fact that I didn't watch the Oscars last night because I have seen none of the movies that are nominated--not even the Hours, and I have had a long-running flirtation with Michael Cunningham, the author of the book--because I basically have no one to go to the movies with, which is probably the one thing about being single that irks me; and Despite the on-going war... I'm doing okay for the time being. The weather is nice, I'm really enjoying the time--albeit limited--that I spend with my dog, I continue to get good feedback from the article I wrote that was published in GMSMA's NewsLink, Boss Sunshine has been something of the man I used to know, I've had some really great play with some really great men lately, and I don't have a cold. So, y'know, it's all good.

Oh. The GMSMA Novices Special Interest Group meeting yesterday. We met Hammer and Warrior. Hammer is the Top, Warrior is the bottom. (They come complete with pseudonyms, so I don't have to figure out what I'll call them here on Singletails.) The topic of the meeting yesterday was strapping. Past President mentioned to me at the Black Party that it was really a wonderful meeting, and how much he wanted to have what Hammer and Warrior have. When I arrived, Hammer had nice things to say about my article, and something about our brief interaction really clicked. Hammer found in strapping what I've found in Singletail whips: that indescribable experience of "Aha! So this is why God put me on earth!" And, in Warrior, he found his counterpart. It's wonderful to watch them interact, so much connection there. And, Warrior has a great apartment in a building in the Far West Village with great design in the common spaces. It also seems just about ideal for play (although he has to do this business to sound proof the place before he plays). Yeah. I know what Past President means though. I kinda wanna be Hammer. I certainly would welcome the opportunity to get to know him (and Warrior) better.

I feel like I brought a lot with me away from the session yesterday. Sort of like one of those gift bags you get at fundraiser events, that you sort through on the subway or on the way home. I haven't begun to sort through my gift bag. But here's one thing. Hammer likes to play with a man with a hard body. Warrior has a very hard body. Not a huge steroidy body builder body, but a lean, hard, muscular body. With not a lot of effort, I think I could have a hard body. That would be a more realizable--and thus less frustrating goal--than turning myself into one of the guys in the Academy videos.

Y'know. Here's another thing. At some point, after I have a lean, hard body, I want to make a porn video. I just do. Making porn and writing books. That's how I'd like to pay my rent. Sort of being a Renaissance Leatherman.

Wisely, I opted to take a half of a vacation day today. I'm not due in until 2 p.m. Here at home, reading other people's blogs, I realized that in my Black Party obsessiveness, March 21st blew right by me.

March 21st is a day that leaves me thinking of my sister. Her birthday was at the opposite side of the calendar, September 21st, but for some reason, the day was always poignant for me. When both of us worked at Mother's Restaurant in New Hope, Pennsylvania (don't visit on my account, this was two decades ago, and things have doubtless changed there), we worked with this guy named Steven. Steven was Korean, who had been adopted as a baby by American parents. He came with no birth records, so no one had any idea what his birthday was. His parents allowed him to choose a day on which to celebrate his birthday, and he picked March 21st, the first day of Spring.

My sister was married on March 21st. Let me explain what I mean by 'married.' She had met this man, an Algerian living here illegally. He was much younger. My sister sort of decided that she would marry him. He never said he loved her. I was given the opportunity to meet him before the wedding, and in this I was alone among my family members. We met at the Sixteenth Street Bar and Grill in Philadelphia. It was very weird. I sort of felt that in some ancient Mediterranean culture kind of way I was giving my sister away in marriage, negotiating on the part of my family, as a male representative. Because his English was not very good, we spoke in French. My sister was sitting right there at the table, but her french was limited. I grilled him on his background, beliefs, jobs, him being okay with me being a homo, and on and on. Finally, and I have no idea what prompted this, but I said, "My sister is a very caring person, she has a big heart, she is a very good person. If you do anything to hurt her, I will kill you."

I was barely out of high school at that point. I wonder if he remembers that conversation. He hurt her, but only in the way that two people who are married to each other inevitably hurt each other. It turns out that he was in it for the green card, at one point he jumped out of a car my sister was driving while it was moving shouting, "No! No! Our marriage is a fake!"

But I think that on balance, he came to love her. He certainly did his best to take care of her during the illness at the end of her life. But, there's still ambiguity there. He benefitted handsomely from her will, and although they were in the process of getting divorced, it was not finalized by the time she died.

They were married on March 21st. March 21st is the Vernal Equinox, day and night are of equal length. Nature is in equipoise: Winter behind us; Spring before us, but March 21st is neither. Everything will be new, it's just a matter of time. We have survived another dark, cold winter.

I think my sister chose that night for her wedding because that's how she saw her life: it had been a winter. The men she had had relationships with had been boys in men's bodies. She took care of them, scolded them, picked up after them. Now, she would be married. There would just be The One Man who was hers. Everything would be new.

It was a beautiful Spring day in Bucks County. The earth made sucking sounds as the melting snow was absorbed. Crocuses were blooming, and a few daffodils. She had been living with a guy named Gary, a shame-ridden gay alcoholic pilot, still morning the death by AIDS of the love of his life, Glenn. Kathy slept in Glenn's room. She was forbidden to remove any of Glenn's belongings, including his collection of porn magazines under the bed and his flannel shirts hung in the closet. Gary's house was a 1740 federal house, which he had renovated extensively and onto which he had built a vast addition. They were married by the mayor of New Hope. Kathy did all the work for the wedding, from making all the food and the invitations to arranging the flowers to cleaning the house. The wedding and reception took place there, at Gary's house. They bled into each other. One queen at the wedding commented, "I can't remember ever being at a wedding where you could hear the clinking of ice in cocktail glasses while the vows were exchanged."

My parents met their son-in-law on the day of the wedding. He subsequently glommed onto them, calling them 'Mommie' and 'Daddie.' He's still in the picture, although less so. They met as I was headed upstairs with him to help him get dressed. He would be wearing a borrowed suit, and didn't know how to tie a necktie. He was gorgeous naked. There I was, oogling the man (only a few years older than I, and younger than my sister by about the same span of time) that was soon to become my brother-in-law.

And my sister's life after that was new, totally transformed, although it was not all Springtime and roses. She sank deeper and deeper into alcoholism and bad health. She and her husband had terrific problems. Then, the final illness, and her death.

April is the cruellest month, breeding  
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing  
Memory and desire, stirring  
Dull roots with spring rain.  
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding  
A little life with dried tubers.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

So. How was the Black Party?

Black Party Myths Exploded!!!

  • You see unbelievable sex acts If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to believe that blowjobs happen, that would be true. This reporter saw nothing more shocking than anal intercourse.
  • It's one of the biggest S/M-Leather events of the year Uh uh. There were very few men there who were anything like luminaries in the world of BDSM. Past President and I spotted exactly one Chicago Hellfire Club patch. It was a circuit party.
  • The men are so hot!Bulked up steroidy guys were pretty well represented. (This reporter can confirm steroid use on several of the bulked up men that he saw as they were wearing jockstraps and it looked like they had something like a ping-pong ball in the pouch. This, of course, is the reason I don't use steroids.) Most of the men there were pretty average looking guys.

So. Are you disappointed?

No. No, I'm not disappointed. The music was amazing. I danced for three-and-a-half hours straight. And we're talking dancing, not some listless swaying on the floor. I danced like a runaway train, fists flying and boots stamping. And it was great great great spending time with Past President, and my friend the Un-Fortunate One, who seems to be having luck on the boyfriend front if not on the job front. I had a really good time. And, my dick is raw from the workout it got in the back room.

So it was good. It probably isn't a Must on my annual list of places to go and things to do the way Inferno and Mid-Atlantic Leather certainly are, but I had fun and I definitely wouldn't mind doing it again.

Every muscle in my body hurts. That good kind of sore.

And here's an interesting thing. At one point, Past President and I were sitting on the bankette, scoping the men who filed past. I saw this amazing guy, he looked at me, I looked at him, he looked at me. Later, he made his way back. He said we had met at the LURE at one point, and he kept an eye out for me since then but hasn't seen me. (So far, so good, right?) Then he said that he had called me, but I never called him back. No way. No way is that possible. That is just not possible. The only way that could happen would be if I had given my number to two or more different men on the same night, and in a bout of pessimism, assumed that the guy calling me was the guy to whom I had given my number to get rid of him.

He's big. And hairy. And has a very hot look. Great tattoo work. I wonder if he can keep me engaged in conversation?

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Typical Top: Pack Everything

It's not easy being a Top. Bottoms have no idea what we go through. Doing a really good scene is essentially like putting on a one act play, and you're the actor, director, stage manager, choreographer, sound man, conductor, stage hand, producer, and promoter. You need to think of everything. Do I have a water bottle with a squirt lid so I'll be able to give him a drink while he's all tied up? What CD do I want to play and at what point should I start the music? What if he insists on having his ass played with? Do I have everything I'll need for aftercare? It's one thing to do a scene in the comfort and convenience of your own dungeon, but when you play away from home, you need to pack up the toybag and think things through carefully in a advance, so nothing is left at home, and nothing is left to chance.

Bottoms, by and large, have no idea. Some men go to runs like Delta and Inferno with little more than a change of socks. Those would be the bottoms. Tops go to runs with their cars packed to capacity, like students returning to college dorms in September. Probably the first indication that little me would grow up to be a Top was my predilection for packing everything when I went away. When I was twelve or thirteen, I had minor surgery performed in a same-day trip to the hospital. I packed an overnight bag that included pictures of my family for the bedside table and a vase for flowers, should any of my family decide to be thoughtful in this way.

So now I'm awake after my nap, and getting ready to go to the Black Party.

"Gosh! What are you gonna wear?"

Here's what it's looking like. My Dehner boots (comfortable and offering lots of support), my Mephisto leather lace-up-the-sides leather pants (look good on me and have pockets), either the harness I got in Fort Lauderdale or my zip-up the front leather vest (I'll see which looks better, and decide how much ready access I want to give to my tits as my left piercing seems to have some minor infection), and my black leather belt with the grommets from the Leatherman.

Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. On the belt will be the following: a basic flogger, handcuffs in a case, a key-holder, a pouch wallet. I'm worried that with alll this dangling around my waist, I might get chafed on my hips, as happened once before. So, I'm going to bring a leather duffel bag containing a half-zip biking warm-up shirt that I can leave with coat check. If at any time I decide that it's too encumbering, I can retrieve the bag from coat check and drop stuff in there. All this sort of indicates wearing the harness rather than the vest, as I may be more comfortable wearing the pants low (because it will be more comfortable and because Ass-crack is the new Cleavage, just like Orange is the new Beige). (Note to self: make sure you bring plenty of ones to tip the coat check guy.)

Here's what I want to project: I'm serious about S/M. I'm here on business, not for fun. That could be problematic. I may decide at some point that I want to get my kitten punched, and I wouldn't want to scare away a potential kitten puncher by sending the wrong message. But, if that's getting int he way, I can just drop stuff off with the coat check.

Clearly, the coat check guys and I could be embarking on a long friendship as we'll be getting to know one another pretty well by the end of the night.

Earlier, I made plans with Past President. We're meeting up at the Lure and heading up from there. As I'll be in the neighborhood, I may be stopping in and visiting a party that Staffella is having as she is departing for Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband on Monday. Stuff will be going in the bag and left in the car if I decide to drop in on that vanilla and predominately hetero fete. No need to frighten the horses.

The things that I'm not packing, but I wish I was packing, are sixteen inch biceps, well developed pecs, thighs like trans-Atlantic cables, and a back that looks like a bag of pythons. I meant to go to the gym last night, albeit without Special Guy, but I decided that at this point, it was too late to be trying to get a body for the Black Party, and my interests would be better served by going home and getting a good night's sleep.

Okay. I'm off.

(Note to self: remember to bring El Mirage membership card if I feel the need for one last bit of nookie before I call it a night.)

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Today was the first day of softball practice. It was wonderful. There were ten of us (most of the team). We met at noon in front of the Dug Out and drove up to Randall's Island. I didn't have a chance to eat before I left home, so I grabbed a protein drink. Whilst I was getting the drink, I found an 'energy' drink. "Perfect," I thought. After a few sips, I felt my blood pressure drop like the NASDAC and my heart was pounding. I read the label. Caffeine, Taurine, and Ephedrine. I was speeeeeeding. I can see why it's banned in professional sports. I did great during our practice. I am so looking forward to being back in the swing of things with softball.

After practice, we stopped into Ty's for a few beers, then I met up with the guy who convinced me to go to the Black Party tonight. As was my plan, I was off to get a turkey sandwich. Being tired from the practice (and coming down from the Ephedrine), along with the L-Triptophan in the turkey, and I was pretty sure I would be ready for a nap.

I am so ready for a nap.

So off I go, into the land of Nod. First, I'll give Past President a call and firm up plans for this evening. Here's hoping I can keep my eyes open that long.

I'll let you know how it all comes out.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Staffano just made a really interesting comment. Staffano (by way of back story) is about 23 years old. He's bright, articulate, went to an Ivy League school. He has a boyfriend, but if he didn't, I could picture him hanging out at XL or g or someplace like that. So when he first moved to the city, Staffano worked as a bar back at The Works, this neighborhood place on the Upper West Side. Staffano told me that I reminded him of a guy who was the bouncer at the Works, a Russian opera singer. Bouncer and I, according to Staffano, are pretty much off his radar. He would probably not be approaching either one of us if he saw us in a bar. "But," he said, "he's such a nice guy!" (referring to the Bouncer, and, by implication, me). He went on to say that guys his own age can often be shallow and self-involved and he really doesn't want to be around them much.

I get what he's saying. He didn't come right out and say "Leathermen" or whatever, but that, I think, was the general drift. And I guess I can see where I would come off as Mr. Throw You Over the Pool Table Plow You Into Next Week And Leave While You're Cleaning Up In The Bathroom. But, in fact, I am a pretty nice guy. I'm much more likely to ask you to go have coffee with me than I am to do the pool table thing. Most Leathermen I know are hard core romantics, with an incredible capacity to fall in love. And that's what it's all about.

Black Party Weekend begins in one hour and forty minutes.

A funny thing. Over the past few months, on a few of the blogs that I've read, people have been embarking on relationships. I was shocked at the level of my cynicism. Truly. I'd be reading about these budding blossoming relationships and I'd be smirking to myself, and often saying out loud, "Fools! You're gonna regret that!" In once case, that prediction came true. I've sort of come to see most relationships as happenstance couplings permitted by self-delusion and a lack of critical thinking about the other person. I know! Can you believe me? Here I am. Mr. Single Guy. I got no strings to hold me down.

So today I read dogpoet's blog. Therein, he reflects on the bar where he used to work, and ends up thinking that what he'd really like is a steady eddie. As I read, I started to get peevish at his descriptions of the ol' empty life of sexually active gay man,' but then when he wrapped it all up with, "I want to date somebody," I was right there with him.

Yeah. Me, too.

Special Guy called. He had to cancel our gym date tonight. I'm kind of disappointed by that. I mean, I know it's ovah between me and Special Guy. If he wanted me back, I wouldn't go back. But still, dating Special Guy was a taste of honey, and as we all know, that's worse than none at all.

Bear with me whilst I ennumberate his better qualities...

  • Special Guy was hot. Damn not. Taller than me. Hairy all over. Big beautiful nips the way Tom of Finland men have nips. He was big and butch.
  • Special Guy never ever got angry with me. He never even got pissy with me.
  • Special Guy knew theology, philosophy, art history, music, psychology, and a host of other things and could talk about them with me at length. Oh. And kinky sex. Special Guy knew kinky sex.
  • Special Guy had a generally sunny disposition. He wasn't moody or depressive. He let things roll off his back.
  • Special Guy was up for anything in bed.
  • Special Guy made me feel special. That night on Christopher Street in the pouring rain, when he handed me a rose, kissed me deeply, and said, "I wanna be boyfriends with you," that was one of the peak moments of my life. It was totally Molly Bloom's soliloquy. Special Guy liked me, he thought I was hot, and he let me know that. Because here's a secret, folks: I am not always convinced that I'm likeable or hot.
  • Special Guy set my imagination on fire. I just felt that there was so much that I could be and do with him that I couldn't be and do on my own.
  • When Special Guy had a problem, he would talk to me about it, and listen to my thoughts, and I would help him. It's great to be able to do that for someone. And, Special Guy would always say just what I needed to hear.
  • I could have an argument with Special Guy--I mean, we could totally disagree about something--and it would be fine.
  • Special Guy was in touch with his feelings in ways that I am not. But when I was with him, I felt. He made me happy.
  • I never felt that I had to watch myself when I was with Special Guy. I could just relax.


I could go on. And on. And on. But I'll stop here.

Here's the deal though. In this, the post-Special Guy period of my life, the bar is raised pretty high. Before Special Guy, I tended to settle. I dated men because they wanted to date me, and I never thought too much about compatibility, because I assumed that someone with my deficits had to take what he could get. But Special Guy really showed me that in fact there is at least one man out there in the world woh would be a good, solid match for me.I'd have to check back in my blog archives to verify this, but my recollection is that while I was with Special Guy, I really had no complaints. To be sure, there were things that I wished were different about him, but overall, I don't know that I ever called up Baron von Philadelphia or anyone else and began a conversation with "He is driving me crazy!"

So yeah, I want to meet a guy and have a steady eddie. But it would have to be a guy as good as or better than Special Guy.

Maybe I'll meet him at the Black Party. You laugh? Stranger things have happened. I met Special Guy at the Dug Out during Sunday Beer Blast.

Speaking of the Black Party, I dearly hope that I'm not getting into a 'mood.' I hope I'm not going to be standing there in the Roseland Ballroom trying to have a conversation with some guy that is intent only on getting into my pants. That is soooo totally not the right headspace.

I like this.

By Dennis Miller

"All the rhetoric on whether or not we should go to war against Iraq has got my insane little brain spinning like a roulette wheel. I enjoy reading opinions from both sides, but I have detected a hint of confusion from some of you.

As I was reading the paper recently, I was reminded of the best advice someone ever gave me. He told me about the KISS method ("Keep it Simple, Stupid"). So, with this as a theme, I'd like to apply this theory for those who don't quite get it. My hope is that we can simplify things a bit and recognize a few important facts.

Here are 10 things to consider when voicing an opinion on this important issue:
1) President Bush and Saddam Hussein.....Hussein is the bad guy.
2) If you have faith in the United Nations to do the right thing, keep this in mind. They have Libya heading the Committee on Human Rights and Iraq heading the Global Disarmament Committee. Do your own math here.
3) If you use Google Search and type in "French Military Victories,"your reply will be "Did you mean French Military Defeats?"
4) If your only antiwar slogan is "No war for oil," sue your school district for allowing you to slip through the cracks and robbing you of the education you deserve.
5) Saddam and Bin Laden will not seek United Nations approval before they try to kill us.
6) Despite what some seem to believe, Martin Sheen is NOT the President. He plays one on TV.
7) Even if you are antiwar, you are still an "Infidel" and Bin Laden wants you dead, too.
8) If you believe in a "vast right-wing conspiracy," but not in the danger that Hussein poses, quit hanging out with the Dell computer dude.
9) We are not trying to liberate them.
10) Whether you are for military action, or against it, our young men and women overseas are fighting for us to defend our right to speak out. We all need to support them without reservation.

I hope this helps."

Thursday, March 20, 2003


So it has begun.

I'm reminded of a car accident I once had. It was while I was in college. I drove an orange '76 Vega (until it died). One day, with my friend Teach in the car, I was headed down Route 10 by the ...nope, can't remember. It's whatever the name of the electric company was in Reading. Anyway, it was summer, and it had rained recently after not raining for a while. So the roads were slick, as all the greasy exhaust that builds up was suddenly hydrated. I was coming around a curve when I went into a skid. I was only going about 40 miles an hour. The car, once in motion, seemed to stay in motion forever, like an enormous, orange figure skater. During the skid, I looked at Teach, she looked at me, we both sort of positioned ourselves in anticipation of the impact. The skid seemed to go on and on and on. Then, finally, impact, catching a parked car. That metallic crunch.

During the past several months, it's been possible to talk about the slo-mo skid into war, to forget about the slo-mo skid into war, to debate and argue the slo-mo skid into war, to wonder if somehow we would all emerge unscathed. Not a chance. It was all inevitable. Once set in motion, it was like my skidding orange Vega. And now, finally, the impact.

In a re-play of the last Gulf War, it's SCUD missiles versus Patriot missiles. We all sort of know the content of this experience, like watching again a movie you haven't seen for a long time. At the outset, you have only the vaguest recollection, but as each scene unfolds, you think, "Oh, right. Now they set the oil wells on fire."

I think I recall Donald Rumsfeld (he totally looks like a kid-toucher, doesn't he? something so creepy about him) saying "In by March, out by June." I hope that's true.

The subway stations are being manned by National Guardsmen. Last night, I heard the droning thuk-thuk-thuk-thuk of helicopters patrolling the skies. Things are subdued.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Lolita is a Burmese Mountain Dog, and I'm a Scots Terrier.

And you would be...?

Kinda likin' this.

Speaking of Vin Diesel... Wanna buy an Everlasting Gob Stopper, Vin? Cheap.


The weekend takes shape. The Black Party, and... Softball practice this Saturday!

This morning at work, Staffano received a present from his step-mother. Apparently his mother and his step-mother had offered to get him the same thing, and he declined both times. But, his step-mother tood the initiative and got it for him anyway.

It's a gasmask.

It's a really nice one. Heavy-duty rubber straps. Solid construction. Black.

I was envious. In a flash, gasmask showed up on my shopping list.

Staffanon joked that should he go to the Black Party, he'll be all set. I responded by saying, "Yeah, I was going to ask if I could borrow it this weekend." I remarked that in the days just after September 11th, I found it interesting that instead of wearing signs indicating "I'm a total drama queen!," total drama queens opted to identify themselves by wearing surgical masks and, on a few occasions, gasmasks.

But the lightness died pretty quickly. Because it's chilling. All of it. His parents' well-founded fear and concern. And the justification for it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I now have a ticket to the Black Party. Or rather, Visa has a ticket to the Black Party that they'll let me use and I'll pay them for it about the time that I sign up for AARP benefits.

Of course, having wrestled with the issue of whether or not to go, I'm now in the throes of the second issue: What will I wear? Hmmm. Something flattering, something not run-of-the-mill, something with pockets, something that I can dance for sixteen hours straight while wearing, something... er... black.

Monday, March 17, 2003

And today was St. Patrick's Day. I celebrated by making a point of listening to the Cranberries.

Nothing like St. Patrick's Day in New York City to make me feel like an anthropologist trying to understand some inscrutable farflung tribe. I can't understand it at all. Years ago, I worked at 47th and Madison, which is pretty much deep in the thick of the festivities. Well I remember wandering out for lunch unsuspecting the first March 17th I was working there. Outside the serene lobby, bedlam reigned. Drunken hordes filled the streets. And the sidewalks were slick with spilled green beer and vomit. It was horrifying.

I'm glad I'm not anything. My people are from the anthracite coal mines of Pennsylvania. My heritage--moving from East to West--is Russian, Polish, German, Dutch, French, English and Welsh. Basically everyone who was down in the mines in the middle of the Nineteenth Century has ended up making a contribution. So the story goes, my Polish great grandfather, who came to this country as a young boy, was standing on the docks in Bayonne, New Jersey. A man came up to him and asked, "Polska?" "Da! Ya Polska!" replied my great grandfather. The man asked him if he had a job. My great grandfather said that he didn't, but was anxious to find one. Before the sun set, he was down in the mines.

Nothing tends to predominate in me. I can see 'national traits' of everything and nothing. Sort of like reading descriptions of horoscopes not your own. "Yeah, that pretty much describes me." French sang-froid, Welsh pig-headedness, English stiff upper lip, Dutch loopiness, German coldness, Polish joie de vivre, Russian moodiness. It's in there.

My second mother (my father was widowed twice) was Scots. She had been in this country for about a year when she met and subsequently married my father. This was during the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. On St. Patrick's Day, I went off to elementary school in an orange sweater. I remember once my step mother, my father and I were in the car driving through Philadelphia. We were stopped at a light and there was a policeman directing traffic. He was probably Irish-American. There had recently been an I.R.A. bombing. My mother rolls down the window and screams at the cop, "Bloody Irish Bastard! Murderer! Coward! Killing innocent women and children! Murderer!"

I came to associate 'being' Scots with hating the Irish. And the English. And probably the Welsh, although they didn't come up much in conversation. 'Being' something meant that there was someone you hated. I was glad that 'being' nothing in particular, I didn't have to hate.

When I was in college, I took a course in Irish Poetry and Prose. The first four weeks of the course were devoted to Irish history and culture. Wow. It was amazing. And the stuff I read in that class was some of the best and most memorable from all of my college career. When I visited Ireland on vacation, I was enchanted and awed. I felt that having grown up under the influence of my Scots mother (who was a wonderful person in many respects), I had narrowly escaped a terrible fate.

Why is it that on St. Patrick's Day the Irish don't gather and read Yeats or Galway Kinnell or James Joyce? Or tell the story of brave school teacher Padraic Pearse in the Post Office on Easter, 1916? Or screen Michael Collins? I mean, green beer? If that's not an English plot to defame Irish heritage, what else could it be? It's as if Jews gathered on Israel Day to read aloud from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and went running through the streets with sharpened knives looking for Christian babies. Or the French on Bastille Day wearing berets, carrying baguettes, and surrendering to any people of German descent they might run into.

Well. Or Gay men celebrating pride day by cavorting to disco, scantily clad, on Fifth Avenue, and flipping a bird to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Hmmmm. I guess all of us deserve to invite our demons out to dance once in a while. So I'll take it all back. Read Cuchulain another time. Raise a pint of green Guiness and sing Galway Bay till the cows come home.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I made up my mind. I'm going to the black party. I owe it to myself to go once to see what it's like. If it turns out to be a wash, well, I've spent more than $100 and been disappointed before. And after the week I'm having, I really will need some Bacchanalian excess.

I'm just getting home from work at 10:30 p.m. Although I let the office out at two o'clock today, I had to attend a meeting of the Eastside Coalition for Something or Other. Then, I'm testifying tomorrow morning in front of the Landmarks Preservation Committee concerning the fate of the Gansevoort Meat Market, and I left my testimony at the office. So I had to collect that. Tomorrow night after work, I'll have therapy. Wednesday will the the GMSMA Board of Directors meeting (with a packed agenda). Thursday there are actually two meetings I need to attend: Folsome Street East planning committee and the Leather Pride Night Planning Committee. I can't attend both. I'm not sure which way I'll go. No gym. Probably no work on the book. Oh, and we're going to war this week.

Speaking of which, there was a great article in the New Yorker's Talk of the Town section. It basically described how there is a group of hard left I-hate-America groups that are rock-solid against any military intervention in Iraq no matter what the weapons inspectors or anyone else turns up. And on the other side, there's... well... there's George Bush, John Poindexter, Donald Rumsfeld, and Tony Blair. Who are rock-solid in their belief that Saddam Hussein must be deposed at all costs, no matter what the opposition says. And then there are the rest of us. Some of us are pro-intervention, some of us are anti-intervention, but I know of no one--and most polls indicate that just about everyone--is of two minds on the issue.

I think it would be a very good thing if Saddam Hussein were ushered off the world stage. Sooner rather than later. He's defied UN resolutions calling on him to disarm for the past eleven years. He has or is intent on developing weapons of mass destruction and is willing to use them. He is a murderous despot. Establishing a fledgling democracy in the Middle East would be a great thing.

But. The U.S. and the U.K. are operating unilaterally. There is no coalition of the willing. Even though I believe that given the fact that Germany, France, and Russia have all supplied Iraq with much of the technology and materiel he needed to build those weapons of mass destruction, and thus their mewlings don't carry much weight with me, the Entire World is basically not on board with what we're doing. The demonstrations on February 15th were the largest worldwide mass demonstrations in history. And what if the right-wing government in Israel counter attacks as they diidn't do in the last Gulf War? And what if this spells the end of the Blair government in Britain, replaced with a government that's chilly, if not downright hostile, to American interests? And what if the U.S. economy goes right down the toilet as a result of the expenses of the war, causing a worldwide recession? And what if Kim Il Jong in Korea busts a move because no one is looking or is prepared to do anything about it? And isn't an unprovoked first strike by the U.S. fundamentally de-stabilizing to geo-politics? And couldn't this lead to a dramatic increase in terrorism, both domestic and against Americans and American-identified targets abroad?

In other words, am I sure about myself? No. I'm not. And I think Bush's reckless policies and ham-fisted diplomacy have moved us to the point where we're damned if we do and we're damned if we don't. And on balance, I think it will be worse if we do. At this point, if we backed down, and let Saddam go his merry way, we might as well replace the Great Seal of the United States of America with a bull's eye. Radical Islamacists would hate us even more, and would perceive us as being weak and vulnerable.

Oh it's such a nightmare.

My dream ticket in 2004? Either Howard Dean and John McCain or John McCain and Howard Dean. Either way I'm fine. I wanted to like George Bush. I liked his father. From all reports I read, he is a warm, genuine man, who criticized Al Gore to aides saying, "He dyes his hair. He doesn't know who he is." And that's something I would say. He has values and convictions. But how can he be so blind as to think he could go bounding around the world stage with a blunderbuss?

Oh, criminy.

They like me. They really like me...

Of course they do. Today, I got to announce to staff that we're closing the office at 2 p.m. today because it's too too nice a day out. And, everybody got raises, to the tune of 25%. Which may sound like a lot, but given the abyssmally low base salaries, it isn't. Still, they're certainly well deserved.

Oh. And Boss Sunshine, when I called and asked him some questions, started off our conversation with, "So how are you liking the new, nice me? Everybody has their bad periods."

Okay. I'm going after the football. I'm going to regret this when I'm lying flat on my back in the not too distant future.

Among the many things I like about spending time with Security is his sharp mind. He's something of a skeptic, but not in a cynical way. He just has a healthy distrust of appearances. My glass is always half full. Especially when the glass in question is S/M. I tend to see S/M as the balm for every ill ("If George Bush would just let Jacques Chirac flog him I'm sure they could work this all out. Would somebody please give Saddam Hussein the fisting scene that he needs?") Security is right there with, "There are a lot of guys out there who have no idea what they're doing and do a lot more harm than good for the men they play with," and "There's plenty of petty gossip and back-biting that goes on among men into BDSM," or "You can look at it that way, but I think most people just want to get their rocks off." Who's right? I think probably both of us are right. And in a way, neither of us are right. It's the five blind men and the elephant. We both have our perspectives, and it's good to hear from someone with a different perspective.

You will miss the LURE

Such was the title of an email I received from Lolita.

Oh man. Will I ever miss the LURE. For the past nine years, the LURE has been my hunting ground, my Forest of Arden, my Dante-esque Inferno, my secret hiding place, and my Roman forum. The Spiegel (the Eagle) is a bar. But the LURE is a Leather Bar.

Before there was the LURE, there were other bars I went to where I could find men into S/M. I always preferred the Spike to the Eagle (although my trips to West 20th Street would usually involve perambulations between the two. And of course, there was the Altar. If I ran a leather bar, it would look a lot like the Altar.

When the LURE opened, I was already in the throes of what would be a seven year long vanilla relationship. Although I never lied to my Ex about my involvement in S/M, I wasn't exactly very forthcoming. (Although I remember early on in our relationship when he said something about fisting, and sat bolt upright in bed and turned on the light when I began a sentence, "Well, it can be a really great experience...") Anyway, I was embarking on a new way of life back then. It was all about Domestic Bliss. A partnership of equals. Stability, peace, and friendship.

First chance I got, when my Ex was out of town for the weekend, I headed to that new bar I had heard about. Not with the intention of scoring, mind you. Just to look. Just to fill my head with images of hot men in leather that would sustain me until the next occasion when he went out of town.

During these infrequent trips, going to the LURE was like when some Greek hero would go to Hades. There I would see, meet, and converse with ghosts. All the interactions I had there, and all the things that I saw, are so vivid in my imagination. Since my Ex went out of town infrequently, I would have to distill a years worth of experience into a single evening.

I remember meeting Sol. It was on one of my earliest ventures to the Lure. He was in town from LA. Things were getting hot and heavy with Solly. I was starting to panic. I didn't want to want what I wanted. My relationship with my Ex was monogamous. At one point, Sol broke away from paying attention to me, to talk to some boy. When he again fexed me with his laser beam eyes, he explained that he wanted to check in with the boy. Sol had met him here at the LURE last night, and the boy told him that he wanted Sol to beat the shit out of him and fuck him. Sol had done his best to comply. And he wanted to check in with the boy to make sure that it was good for him, too. I went weak in the knees. Then, Sol told me that he was HIV positive. I responded by telling him that I was negative, but that I didn't have a problem fucking with men who were poz as long as it was safe. Sol replied, "I do. I only go home with guys that are poz. There's so much less to worry about. Sorry." I was crushed. I was elated.

I could go on and on and on doing a critical analysis of that conversation. There's so much that was going on for me. It could be a short story written by some kinky John Cheever. And it took place at the LURE, which was the stage for the working out of what was going on for me in my deepest subconscious.

When the relationship ended, that first Friday night I went to the LURE. I was back on the scene. That night, I happened to meet up with the reigning Mr. LURE. He took me to El Mirage. So soon back in the scene and already I'm deeply into the mix. (After I got involved in GMSMA, I would get to know the then Reigning Mr. LURE better, as he is and was a member of the Board.) At El Mirage, I was shocked to see walking in the door behind me two guys I knew from church. I've subsequently gotten to know them pretty well, too.

The LURE made everything so easy. There it all was. There was the leather community of the Greater New York Metropolitan Area. It's probably an error to totally equate the two--there are certainly plenty of serious BDSM players I know who rarely, if ever, darken the door of the LURE--but I don't think I'm off by much in saying that.

Now, the LURE is much more of the Roman forum than it is Dante's Inferno. It's where I go to see and be seen. There are a whole host of men that I know, and who hold a very special place in my heart, just from going to the LURE. What will happen to those connections? How many people will I see years from now at MAL or someplace, embrace warmly, and say, "Oh my God! How have you been? I haven't seen you since the LURE closed!" How many people will I never see again?

Thinking about the Eagle, I get bitter. I feel like doing an Open Letter to the management, perhaps inviting sign-ons. Hence forth, they're the only game in town. The time is now for them to step up to the plate. Why doesn't anyone take the Eagle seriously? Because they don't take themselves seriously. The upstairs bar should be reserved--not on Thursdays, not on weekends, but every night of the week--exclusively for men who are wearing something leather besides a Kenneth Cole belt. Or something. Bar dress codes can be problematic. "No sneakers or athletic shoes": What about somebody wearing a singlet looking to get into a hot wrestling scene. "One article of leather clothing besides boots": And listen to rubber enthusiasts howl. Basically what it takes is to plant somebody at the door as gatekeeper who will be able to look someone up and down, decide if they've got it going on or not, and not be afraid to say 'no.' This person will become the most important person in the leather community in New York City. Loved, hated, and feared. But it's gotta be done. At a leather bar in Chicago (I forget which one), I was once turned away from the Leathermen Only part of the bar because I was wearing jump boots, a gray tank top, and... chinos. (I was in town on business, and somehow I had neglected to throw so much as a pair of jeans into my suitcase.) I begged. I explained. I made promises of sexual favors. I offered to take off my chinos and just wear my boxers. ...and I sat in the part of the bar open to the general public. Am I resentful? Do I bear a grudge? Not a bit. I have nothing but admiration and respect for that man and that bar.

I will miss the LURE. I may even go so far as to shed a tear when I'm there for what I know will be the last time. If my life were to be made into a one act play, I can't think of any better setting than the LURE. That's where it's all happened. The important parts anyway. The parts that count.

I feel we all owe a debt of gratitude to the people that made the LURE happen. Clearly, nobody got rich here. Quite the reverse, I'm sure. These past nine years have been a great service performed for the Leather Community. And you've done something great. When you're welcomed into Valhalla, you've all earned a place at the head of the table.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Just so we're all on the same page...

Ham casserole is good.

Re-heated ham casserole is great.

Re-heated re-heated ham casserole is the closest we can come to transcendance in this life. I'm convinced.

Security just left. I'm buzzing. Our meeting was all I had hoped it would be and more.

This feeling, after a wonderful scene, is something I just want to go on and on and on. It's like being under a spell I don't want to break. I remember the conversation I had on the last night of Mid-Atlantic Leather with Toledo. He said something along the lines of, "Well, tomorrow it's back to reality." I replied, and only realized this as the words came out of my mouth: "No, this is reality. That's sleepwalking."

A really interesting thing happened. In the scene, I saw Security as an eagle. It was like--as in some Native American traditions--he has an eagle-spirit, and I saw that spirit, it was made manifest during the scene.

At the same time, now, I feel my wolf spirit rising like a river.

So now I don't quite know what to do with myself. I have a hankering to go into the City and have dinner. At the same time, I want to be alone. In short, I don't know quite what I want.

Ah. That's what I want. I want to take my wolf out for a run. I want to go to some deserted nighttime place. The moon is full. The air is cool but not cold. I want to run my wolf in the night. Close to the ground. Alive. Aware. Smelling, seeing, feeling, hearing. That's what I want.

Cross in the front, cross in the back, and up from under two

So yesterday I went to GMSMA's workshop on Suspension, conducted by one of those amazing and Internationally Famous Tops (such as I humbly aspire to be ). So at the outset, the I.F.T. announces that he'll need a 'crash test dummy,' someone to use as a bottom. For a few moments, no one blinked an eye. So I raised my hand.

I figured that he would need a number of different bottoms over the course of the day, and I was feeling sort of rammy, so I was fine with starting off. It turned out that I was Mr. Bottom for the entire workshop.

On the downside, this made it pretty difficult to pay attention to what was going on, and I couldn't participate in the 'try it yourselves' portion of the workshop as I was trussed up like a pork loin. I think I have the basics down, and hopefully the rest I can figure out myself. And, without any kind of a suspension frame (although I have designs on that), it's pretty academic at this point.

And on the upside? Once before, maybe in 1991, during a visit to the New York Bondage Club, I was bagged in a sleepsack and suspended from the ceiling. After the Top had me in there (an experience marred by his snagging my dick in the zipper, Me: "MMMMMMmmmph!!! MMM Ihh Ihh Uhh! MMMMMMMmmmmph!"), he recruited some other guys to pick me up while he got sleep-sacked me into place hanging from a beam in the ceiling. When I was being lifted, it felt as though I was levitating independent of the efforts of the men who were doing the lifting. Like I was floating, the laws of gravity temporarily revoked. Also, it seemed like I was going up and up and up, twenty feet or more in the air. When the Top jerked me off before it was time to get me out of there, I shot a load that drew several appreciative Wows and Ooohs and Aaahs from onlookers.

And yesterday was pretty great, too. I wasn't blindfolded, so I knew my position. But as I.F.T. mentioned, you go numb at the points where the rope is pressing against your skin, so it feels like you're floating of your own accord. And, as your body is deprived of the feeling of hitting up against something (for example, right now, my butt feels the cloth of the chair, the sole of my left foot feels the carpeted floor, the side of my right foot feels the top of my left foot, my elbows feel the desk), your body goes into high alert, trying to locate the physical world you seem to have lost contact with. Ergo, your skin becomes hyper-sensitive. So when I.F.T. would gently touch my tits, it pretty much had my central nervous system going bananas.

Cool experience. And I send out a prayer of thanks to I.F.T.

Dipsy Doodles

Yes. Horrible but true. I left the opera tickets sitting on the coffee table. Uncanny. This necessitated leaving the workshop twenty minutes before it was over, dashing home (to the extent that heavy Holland Tunnel traffic allowed anything resembling 'dashing'), grabbing the tickets, and heading to the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. I found parking without too much trouble, but when I was coming through the doors into the lobby, the doors into the theater were closing. Ergo, I had to watch the first act (an hour and a half, this is Les Troyens we're talking about) from a little tv room.

I finally joined up with Aeneas and the Trojans when they hit Carthage. It was great. The only other production I've seen featured Jessye Norman singing Cassandra and Dido. So the blond soprano singing Dido seemed strange to me. Not regal in the way that La Norman is when she brushes her teeth. I imagined this woman as being sort of Queen Noor of Jordan.

Interestingly, this production used heavy ropes to symbolize the Trojans' ships (docked and setting sail and such). So there were all these ropes hanging down from the rafters. When the Trojans left, this was indicated by all the ropes dropping into huge coils on the stage. And, there was an aria where one of the Trojans asks the gods of the sea to 'Rock this son of Troy to sleep,' which was sung while he was suspended (!) thirty feet above the stage in ropes and burlap. I guess it was to resemble him sitting in the crows nest, but as I had been sublimely rocked to sleep suspended by ropes earlier that day... Well, you get the picture.

An interesting thing. Sited at the opera were one ex-boyfriend (who is alarmingly aging in reverse thanks, I imagine, to Rogaine, hair dye (chestnut), and the Atkins Diet), one AIDS treatment activist I knew from ACT UP, a guy I have had a long on-going flirtation with from GMSMA, and a few others. New York is a small town in the midwest sometimes.

After the opera, I grabbed my only real meal of the day at Manatus, and then hit the LURE. When I got there, around 2:15 a.m., it was a hot crowd, that quickly dissipated. When I left at 3:15, the place was just about empty.

I will truly miss the LURE.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Just got back from my gym date with Special Guy. Mostly, it involved me trying to pick my way through my workout in the totally crowded McGym (New York Sports Club) at 8th and 23rd while Special Guy sat nearby. He is not the most enthusiastic of gym goers. But, he did spot me when I was doing my bench presses. That was cool. And, as always, hanging with him makes for a nice time. We agreed to meet up next week. McGym at 8th and 23rd is by far the homo-est McGym I've ever been to. And some of the men there were way fly. I think I'll be back.

Lots of steamy cruisy action on the commute home tonight. First, a boy I drove nuts by staring at his crotch. Then, another guy whose attention I caught while walking up Newark Avenue. So that was all pretty nice.

One more thing. My inner Charlie Brown is taking a running kick at the proverbial football. Boss Sunshine has made it through Week IV of being reasonable, warm, friendly, appreciative, and sane. And, today we even had to break the news to him about a petty political betrayal in the West Village. His response: "So this means it's over." And then it was on to the next topic. And, he promised to try and get me more money. I was really glad to hear that.

And now, a quiet night at home. I'm pretty much in the mood for some comfort sex. Perhaps I should have followed through on one of the Men of PATH. But I didn't, as it might get complicated. And comfort sex is not complicated. Comfort sex is all about a warm body next to yours on a cold night.

But, as I plunge into what should prove to be a great weekend, all is well.