Friday, April 30, 2004

"I won't! I won't I won't I won't I won't!! And you can't make me!"
"Now Herman..."

Someone calling himself MunsterDom perused my profile on WorldLeathermen.

My heart skipped a beat.

Munster...? As in Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Eddie, and poor plain Marilyn? Fred Gwynne in Leather? Was there a dungeon under the stairs that Spot was guarding?

I clicked on his profile, and it turns out he's Munster as in Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Connaught, the four ancient kingdoms of Ireland. And he doesn't have a pic, either.

It's 6:05 already, which means I'll have to jump in the shower and get to work. And 'tis a pity, as I'm inspired to compose a list of Ways That The Life Of The Average Leatherman Resembles The Fortunes Of The Munsters... There you are, going about your business, leading what you consider to be your sane, happy, quiet, normal life, and you come butting up against vanilla society, again and again and again.

*sigh* It's not like it was in the Old Country.

I've had celebrity sightings Fred Gwynne eating a hamburger on Fifth Avenue and Al Lewis--before he ran for Governor of the State of New York--in the restaurant he ran in the West Village. That's a higher percentage of celebrity sightings per movie or tv show than any other I can think of.

Something's cooking here... I'll think about it some more whilst sanding at work today.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The Current Never-To-Be-Realized Idea

So, I had a thought.

There's this local weekly paper, covering news and politics in Central and Upper Bucks County. They do a pretty nice job. Especially when it comes to local politics. Meetings of township boards of supervisors and the like. And back around Christmas, they had a great story (ongoing coverage) or a giant plastic snowman that was stolen from a local real estate office. The office later received a ransom note that included a picture of the snowman with a bright scarf tied around his eyes and a hair dryer being held up to its head and a note saying, "Pay up or your frigid friend gets it."

So maybe I'll approach them and ask to write a column. A column on architectural and design criticism. In the column, I could point out the blight and ugliness of so many of the McMansions that spring up, but also laud what we have here in Bucks County: trim little ranches with field stone facades, simple and austere eightteenth century federal houses with two front doors (one used only for funerals), beautiful barns, the extravaganza that is the Mercer Museum.

I could call the column 'The Whipping Post,' and when I find some bit of design objectionable, I would so indicate by writing, 'To the whipping post with the architects of Riche and Suave, who brought us that eyesore at the corner of Bradshaw Road and Point Pleasant Pike.' I could invite readers to send in pictures for publication of the eyesore of the week and the gem of the week.

Going against me is the fact that I'm a total layman. I don't even know the language to use to criticize architecture. (I mean, I don't know many of the names of architectural details.) Thus, my column could be easily dismissed.

On the other hand, even the most casual reader of SingleTails will observe that I do have some strong feelings about this stuff. And surely they sell books (glossaries and such) that would help. It might require me taking time I don't have to drive thither and yon on the highways and by-ways of Bucks County in search of stuff to write about. And wouldn't there be the potential for litigation? I mean, couldn't someone argue that I brought down their property values by panning their property just as it went on the market?

But gosh. What if I have an impact? What if it becomes a Must Read among local architects?



Nice to think about.

In The Dawn's Early Light


That garden I planted looks gooood.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

And Lest We Forget...

Big is among the elite, the with it, the coolest of the cool, erudite, the plugged in, the informed, the thoughtful, the thrill seekers...

...he reads SingleTails.

So I need not worry about that drama.




Deep breath now.


This weekend. This weekend coming up. This guy will be in town from San Francisco. Let's call him Big. (I like the Sex in the City parallel.) We've been typing back and forth for years. Like, five of 'em. One night, he saw me in Ty's. This was a while ago, too.


Big will be in NYC this weekend. On business. I'm planning on heading up Friday, getting into the city around 9pm or so. I'll give Almost Bruiser a call, he offered me his sofa and if he's in town this weekend, I'll take him up on that offer. (Big is staying with a friend of his, and he's not sure that he'll be able to press the hospitality extended with an overnight guest.)

Big is hot. I've had a hardon for this man for a long, long, long, long time. And he likes the looks of me, too. In all of our communications, there have been exactly no red flags. Not one. (A few months ago I had a date with a guy who said, by way of making conversation, that he had a tendency to lose his temper easily, and also mentioned at another point that he gets obsessive at times. I smiled and nodded and responded. And that was the last he heard from me. My radar is operational.)

So I'm pretty much shaking in my Wescos.

'Cause Big could be big. This could be the start of something. Or not. As Lolita once told me, "The internet don't mean shit. You gotta smell'em." And that absolutely holds true. I have two softball games on Saturday. And there's gardening I need to do on Sunday, so I'll have to be back here for that.

But, things could take off in a brand new direction here at SingleTails.

So stay tuned.

No Cockel Shells. No Silver Bells.

But a damn nice garden nonetheless!

Finally I got those plants I bought a few weeks ago in the ground. Bleeding hearts, phlox, day lilies, nightshade, and a few other part-sun, deer-resistant annuals. But that's not all! Y'see, I had some misgivings. It was the plan to put them in a garden I dug in the middle of the lawn, in front of the screened in porch. But it had no focal point. I wanted something to plant around. I thought about a tree or shrub, but it's already shaded enough.

So on my way home from work today, I was inspired. I stopped at this humongous garden center, and found what I was looking for: a few sandstone pavers and a bird bath. I made... not quite a path, but rather the suggestion of a path with the pavers. Then, with the two nicest, I built a dolmen. And planted the birdbath there amongst them. It looks really great. When I called my father out to take a look, he got a little bit choked up.

That made it worth the hour of toil in the mud.

Now I just have to cover it with some peat moss, and maybe some mulch, and when the annuals are out, I'll fill in with coleus, impatiens, and whatever else catches my eye.

I'm so pleased.


Oh, cool.

I remembered the url. It's Waterview, not Riverside. And it's awful.

So opulent! So luxurious! So regal! So cultivated! Why... it's amazing what you can do with foam sprayed onto chicken wire.

Point your browser t-h-u-s-l-y and feast your eyes.

Here's the difference between bad design and good design. Good design says, "I care deeply about the way that things look, the way they hit the eye. I see beauty in the everyday. The natural world sustains me. I take delight in the quirky. I like to have my expectations challenged. Good workmanship and artisanship is the very crux of good design, down to the simplest detail."

Bad design, on the other hand, says, "Look how much fucking money I have! There's a fucking fountain in my driveway for Chrissake! You know how much that cost for a fountain???!!! I have an elevator in my condo! Do you have an elevator in your condo?"

If I'm wrong about my cosmology, and there is, in fact, a Hell, then it had better be filled with people who get three and a half million dollars for a condo made from chickenwire, foam, plastic, and particle board.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Further Adventures of Delivery Guy!

Delivery Guy was back in action today! First off, we headed down to Philadelphia for a delivery on Spruce Street, down by the Delaware. Waiting to meet us was the Decorator Designer, snooty homo in Bass Weejuns (how very 1989!). It was pretty easy. None of the cabinets was too busy, and it was a straight shot with no stairs.

It was what we call a white job. As in, white cabinets. As in our custom made, hand crafted cabinets, painted white. White like you can buy at Home Depot. Buy at Home Depot for a fraction of the cost. What's up with that? I mean, we're making these cabinets out of solid maple. It's beautiful wood. And then we could painstakingly stain them, glaze them. Make them beautiful. Works of art. Or... y'know... we can paint them white.

Respect the work of a certain snooty homo Decorator Designer?


Then, back to home base for lunch, and then we were off on another deliver. This time, we were off to Waterside, a hoidy-toidy development down in New Hope. Condos going for one to three million dollars. Right there on the banks of the Delaware River.

I was excited to go on this trip. I took note of Waterside driving by it a few months ago. It's about five stories high, brick and glass, austere, beautiful. Sort of a Bucks County version of Richard Meier's Perry Street Towers on West Street. And we were doing the cabinets for the whole place.

So we piled into the truck, and headed down to New Hope. There was that great building. We turned in the driveway, and then headed towards this... this... grotesque monstrosity. Sort of a McMansion (coining, big windows, rococo garbage all over it) that had seemingly grown like a fistula. Soooo awful. The really cool building was an office building next door.

Uh huh.

As we pulled the truck up, I was briefing my young associate from the sanding table on the basics of architectural criticism. Our installer wandered up and asked what we were discussing. "Architecture," I replied.

"Heh," he snorted, "there's not a lot of that here."

So I wasn't alone in my opinions.

It gets worse.

We took a brief tour of one of the completed units. Our cabinets were gorgeous. Just breathtaking. But the rest of the place... Oh. My. God. The lighting fixtures alone ought to earn somebody a place in hell for conceiving of them. Execrable. And young associate and I got a lot of yucks by knocking on the exterior stucco-look walls of this ersatz Versailles: chicken wire and foam.

And the cabinets we were dropping off? Made from MDF. Fiberboard. Cheapo crap. And they were painted. Natch. Some of them were black, and some of them were white. I mean, what is up with that? That's just wrong.

On the sign out front, they had a url: If there's a website attached to that, then the server is down. Or maybe they've come to their senses. Maybe everyone involved is just too ashamed of themselves.

I hate it when we have tasteless clients. Some people need to be told off.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Ink Update

Oh yeah.

Met with Joe Rose tonight to talk about the tattoo project. He's great. He totally gets what I'm after and likes it. He told me that he'd have to do some sketches, because it would not work if the links in the chain wrapping around my calf were a different size than the links crossing my shoulder. Or whatever.

Good point, I say!

So he's going to come up with some sketches, and we're meeting again on May 13th to look them over. Also on that fateful day, I'll go under the needle. Y'see, the tattoo I have (the head of a wolf over a banner reading 'Stand Alone' on my right deltoid) is turning into a blue blob. It's over ten years old (Bay-beee... I had a tattoo before tattoos were cool) and at this point it needs a touch up. I'm looking forward to seeing what Joe 'He Of The Bold Lines' Rose will do to it.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Jumping On Board With Santorum

The junior senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is widely reviled. Especially for his comments that legalizing sex between consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes when said consenting adults have the same genital configuration would naturally lead to bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery, all things that said junior senator considers to be abhorent.

Now then.

Columnist Dan Savage asked his readers to come up with a sex-related thingy that would be well served to have a name, and ideally, that thingy would be something that the junior senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would find to be abhorrent. The prize went to a reader who decided that 'santorum' will be defined as the "frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex." Here's the history.

And I kinda like that.

So Singletails is hereby on the bandwagon for promoting this definition of santorum.

Summer of Ink

Tomorrow, Monday, at 7 pm, I'm meeting up with the man who will do my tattoo work. Can't wait to get started. I think it's gonna be cool.

What I envision are chains. Chains of love. Snaking up my leg, around my butt and torso, and down my arm. I have in mind Ebenezer Scrooge's partner, Jacob Marley, who wears in death the chains he forged in life, the chains of his miserliness.

When I was very very young, I remember being keenly aware that love brings with it obligation. Love is the opposite of freedom. Love means giving up a part of yourself. My adolescent self decided that I would harden my heart. When I read Tillie Olsen's piece, "I Stand Here Ironing," when I read the words, "She decided that she would never give up her solitude, never again move to the rhythms of others," I said 'Yes yes YES!' outloud.

But it doesn't work out that way. I have loved. And I will love again. I am burdened with chains of love. So ensnared in those chains will be symbols of the things and the people that I have loved.

I'm wondering how long it will take? Hours and hours, no doubt.

Joe, my tattoo artist, works in heavy blacks and reds. His stuff reminds me of things that girlfag has said about brushstrokes, speaking to her, as they do, of passion, conviction, and that drivenness.

I've talked about it to the guys around the sanding table at work. They get wide-eyed with awe hearing about it. Which is affirming.

Of course, it's gonna hurt. Especially the less muscley parts where he works over bone. And there's all that business with the neosporin or whatever, keeping it slick. It'll be an ordeal. A scene. A long, long scene.

I'll see about getting my digital camera up and running so I can post pics showing the progress.

Hodge Podge

A miscellaney.


Uh... We sucked. This was the second weekend of round-robin (robbin?) play for the Big Apple Softball League. We played three abbreviated games (games were seven innings or one hour, whichever came first, and when you got up at bat you already had a count of one ball and one strike). The headline is we lost two games and tied in the third.

Softball Excuses: It was really windy! That made it tricky at bat. Blue (the ump) was a hardass where we were concerned but lenient with the other teams. Our pitcher was out of commission this weekend, so one of our new guys pitched, and did pretty well, although he was inconsistent.

And I sucked. One big error in the field, and I only had one good hit at bat. Mostly I struck out or flied out. Hate that.

Our first game was against the Diabolitos. Last year, they were not very competitive. We played them in one of our first games, and they had to forfeit because not enough of their players showed up, but we played them anyway. We loved the Diabolitos. Like we Ball Breakers, they were out there to have a good time.

Well. This year, the Diabolitos very much had their act together. Their pitcher was very much the strike out king. And they were doing great batting. Hits hits hits.

But, they are still very much about having a good time, so we still loved the Diabolitos. Even though they beat us 10-8.

Next up was our arch enemies, the Wings. Nothing against the players, but their manager is a dick. Sort of the opposite of the Diabolitos, he takes things way to seriously, and all the wrong things. Contesting every call. That kind of thing. We were not gonna go down to the Wings. But they ended up getting a few hits in their final at-bat to tie the game. This never happens in regular play, but it does in these round robins. So we tied with the Wings.

Finally, there was the Noreasters. Always a competitive team, they got the hits and we didn't. I think the final score was 8-0. We couldn't hit it out of the infield.

And the Big Moment came in our game with the Noreasters. Finally, one of our guys got a good hit, and there were two men on base, both of whom went tearing across home plate. But the ump called Time and cancelled out the play. It seems that the ball had sailed way out to left field, landing near a group of picknickers. And a little kid had run up, grasped the ball in his wee little fumbling hands, and tossed it to the Noreaster's player. And that counted as interference. So our guys had to go back to their bases, and we got no points. Our guy who had made the hit screamed over in the direction of the picknickers, "If we lose this game, I'm gonna kill your kid!"

We did, but he didn't.

On The Town

So... like... softball games are on Saturdays. And to get there on time, I'll have to leave early Saturday morning. And after a day of playing softball, I'm kinda spent. I can't really spend the night in NYC, since I have to get home to walk Faithful Companion. And it doesn't work to go out on Sunday nights as I get up for work at 5:15 a.m. on Monday morning.

So what this boils down to is that I can't go out on Fridays, and I won't be hitting the Bike Stop on Saturdays, and it's a quiet evening at home on Sundays. So... like... I'm not gonna get laid until August when the season is over.

Unless I manage to connect with somebody at the Raven in New Hope on Saturday night.


The Raven. When it comes to vodka-besotted, blond-tipped, clean shaven, cigar-averse retail queens, it's kinda the Hive.

But I have managed to pick up some tourists there. Bear guys who are spending a weekend in New Hope and venture out to check out the local action. It's always this 'I'm here so we can leave now' experience when I walk in the door.

Last night, I got there late, almost 1 am when I arrived. I ran into PipeBear, whom I had met before, and a buddy of his, this big goateed cigar smoking guy. And in short order, we were joined by a budding blond Top I know. The four of us sat on the porch, lamenting mostly. PipeBear was the first to throw in the towel. Then Cigar Smoking Guy and I decided to head out. I walked him out to the parking lot, and there, he gave me a nice kiss goodnight. He's a really good kisser.

Why didn't anything happen between me and Cigar Smoking Guy? Two reasons. First off, he lived somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey, making a spontaneous night together unlikely. And second... he was wearing docksiders, khakis, and a white oxford shirt. He even joked about his bad wardrobe choice. "What was I thinking?" kinda thing. If Cigar Smoking Guy and I run into each other and he's wearing jeans and boots, it's a pretty sure thing.

Now, that's pretty shallow, huh? Paying that much attention to superficialities. Yeah. I'll own that. But I'm sorry. I agree with M. Jean Paul Sartre: "Appearances are evil, but they're everything." It shouldn't matter, but it does.

Busy Busy Busy

And today, Sunday, I have my work cut out for me. I've got to get all the plants I bought last weekend into the ground. And to do that, I've got to till in manure, topsoil, and sand, and cover the area with peatmoss. And, I'll be doing all of that in a dreary drizzle. And I've gotta burn the trash, continue the campaign of cleaning up the yard, and do laundry for me and my father.

And, hopefully, get to the gym before I come home to make dinner.


Best get to it.

Friday, April 23, 2004


The Philadelphia Phillies have a new stadium. And there's a media blitz underway to get people out to games. Y'know... to pay for it.

I'm really liking the commercials. In one, to emphasize the fact that the new venue has real grass and not astroturf, Phillies are shown gamboling in a grassye field. Two are tickling each other's chins with black-eyed susans at one point.

Love that!

But then there's a new one I just saw tonight. The premise is 'We've moved!' It shows the unpacking at the new place, bats, balls, and such. And, pitcher Billy Wagner who is shown wrapped up in shrink wrap, in uniform, with a handwritten sign stuck on his chest.

I would enjoy spending an evening with Billy Wagner wrapped up in shrink wrap.

Make It Work

I'm stumped.

How can I do this?

I need leather. Leathersex, leathermen, leathercammeraderie. And I ain't gettin' none. And it's making me nuts.

Here's what I've tried so far.

Think Globally. Fuck Locally. Uh uh. If there is a thriving leather community in the Delaware Valley, they're all doing a really good job of keeping themselves well hidden. It's pretty lame out here. If I hadn't moved to NYC from Philadelphia in 1990, I think I probably would never have come out into leather. What would be the point of that?

Find a Steady Eddie The chances of that happening seem to be slim to none. I mean, it's not like I haven't looked. I've been to the Raven. I've been to the Bike Stop. He ain't there. And, according to the Baron, he ain't anywhere. In an episode of Sex In The City, the question is posed, 'How many loves of your life do you get?' Carrie worries that because she's had two (Mr. Big and Aidan), she's pretty much exhausted the possibilities for this lifetime. The Baron would tend to agree. I've had it with Special Guy. Men of his calliber don't happen along every day. In fact, the Baron, being of a medieval mindset (i.e., much tea leaf reading), feels that Special Guy was, in fact, Special. He and I were Meant To Be.

Whatever. All I know is that there sure isn't a lot going on in that quarter.

I Love New York! Except I don't. Going back there is weird. There are now a Dunkin' Donuts and a Subway on Christopher Street. I drive around forever trying to find parking. Sitting for an hour waiting to get through the Holland Tunnel leaves my mental health and stability so taxed that I can't make a fist afterwards for several hours. But overall, I just have the feeling that I don't belong there. And, NYC guys are not interested in some rube from the sticks. Why would they be? Why block out an hour on a Saturday two weeks from now when there's a hot boy in the West 30s who's up for it now? There's just not the attention span required. So that doesn't work.

Nope. New York City is good for softball, but not for romance.

Now then. Where does that leave me? What are my options?

Leather Tourism This would basically mean going to MAL, followed by SmokeOut, followed by American Brotherhood Weekend, followed by IML, followed by Folsom Street East, followed by Dore Alley, followed by Inferno, followed by Delta (or vice versa in alternating years), followed by Santa Saturday, and then it's back to MAL.

Well no. Not this blue collar guy. Y'see, this year, I get no vacation days. Next year, I'll get five vacation days. And five the year after that, and the year after that. In year four, I'll get ten. And then there's the expense involved. I doubt that I could make that work. In a way to be meaningful, at least.

Bi-Coastal Or, in the alternative, Bi-National. Or Bi-Metropolitan. There are some amazing men out there, it's just that none of them are within driving distance. I'm meeting up with one in the weeks to come. Now, what if it 'works?' What if the magic happens? What then? Then he flies back to... y'know... that city he lives in. I'd say that optimally, we could see each other once a month.

Could I live with that? Could I make that work? Do I need more? Would interstitial phone calls and emails do it for me?

That is a tough call.

Forgo There's a great John Updike short story, The Country Husband, about a suburban dwelling family man who starts obsessing about the nubile baby sitter. He goes to counseling. The story ends with him in his woodshop, building birdhouses, on the advice of his psychiatrist. The babysitter is forgotten. It's what we used to call in English courses 'an ambiguous ending.' In other words, is this man gonna be happy and fulfilled building bird houses in his garage? Or do we all make our little bargains with the devil to get through life? Isn't that part of being an adult? Learning to compromise?

Couldn't I just take delight in my job, softball, gardening, lattes at Starbucks, and all this Nay-cha (as they call it in Canarsie) that we got around here?

That would be tough.

Y'see, sex--and by that I mean, sex with men, and all the intimacy and connection attendant thereto--is pretty much what psychologists call the Organizing Principle of my life. So if I were to give that up, there would go the gym, and my self-esteem, and my sense of well-being. And so much else. Now, those sex-drive dampening anti-depressant medications that Guy Baldwin mentions would probably help a lot. But hell, I'd be such a different person that I think I'd be unrecognizable to myself. And I think I'd end up having some sort of 'A Death In Venice' moment: I'd be arrested for trying to stick my tongue down the throat of some straight guy at Starbucks, or get up on the sanding table at work and disrobe in front of Nightingale while singing I Wanna Be Love By You and they'd cart me away and I'd be all over the local papers and my father wouldn't be able to show his face at the monthly senior citizen lunches.

There Is A Light Which Never Goes Out Keep at it. Whine. Bitch. Complain. Go off like some knight errant, making that hour-and-a-half drive to wherever and come home chewing the bittter cud of disappointment, but keep plugging away at it.

Keep. Plugging. Away. At. It.

Find a way... actually many different ways, probably one a week keep hope alive. To keep thinking that maybe This Time when I drive down to the Bike Stop, I'll meet a guy. A really great guy. A kinky guy. A big, bearded, cigar-smoking kinky guy. A guy who runs an autobody shop. Or who works as a physical therapist. Who drives a black Dodge Ram 4x4. Who has done a lot of work himself on his house. And who takes one look at me and just about falls over with desire. Who wants me bad. Who keeps calling me. And gets my father, with whom he talks, and says things like, "That son of yours seems like a really great guy." Who makes a plan to 'get me': I get home from work, and there he is in the driveway. He worked it all out with my father. He takes me out to dinner. We take a walk along the river, talking. Then he drives me back to his place. We sit in his hot tub, smoking cigars. He fixes coffee and dessert. We start kissing, touching. He looks deep in my eyes and whispers in my ear, "I could really get used to having a man like you around." Then he takes me upstairs and we wreck his bedroom having a no-holds-barred, mindblowing, work-up-a-sweat, earth-rocking, fuckfest that leaves us both almost weeping with joy.

Hey. It could happen!

Required Reading


This is amazing. Some of the most profound and thought provoking writing I've read in years. Thanks to Guy Baldwin for writing it. And thanks to Diabolique for sending it.

It sure puts the emotional rollercoaster ride that defined my interactions with Marlboro Sir this past winter. And, it is surprisingly close too a talk I delivered at the Harm Reduction Conference in Seattle in December of 2003.

In fact, I think I'll publish my talk here on SingleTails. I thought about doing that a year and a half ago, when I wrote the thing. But I didn't. Y'see, I had just left (professionally speaking) Mondo Harm Reduction, and had a somewhat high profile political job, and that required a bit of discretion. it wouldn't do for my then-boss' conservative colleage to learn that his chief-of-staff was having sex Nushawn Williams style, would it?

But, the chances of this getting back to the guys at the sanding table are vanishingly small. So here goes. Hope you like.

I’m here to talk about barebacking. Specifically, penetrative anal sex—often called fucking—without a condom. Barebacking is a phenomenon among gay men—self-identified, sexually active gay men—and that’s the group that I feel qualified to talk about, since I am one. There’s lots of hype in the press about barebacking. It’s madness, suicide, insanity. Much despairing and wringing of hands among the punditocracy. And it’s rampant. There are websites devoted to gay men seeking bareback sex. From its advent in the public mind about five years ago, it spread like wild fire. It’s been blamed for the sudden spike of new infections—particularly among younger gay men—in several urban areas.

And it’s a real thing. My ‘exhaustive research’ indicates that nobody is using condoms any more. But, other than all the gnashing of teeth, I don’t hear a lot of discussion about it. Any discussion beyond, “If it ain’t spit, it ain’t love.” And that’s why I wanted to do this presentation here, before an audience steeped in the theories and practice of harm reduction, where I think I might have a better than average chance of sparking some intelligent conversation around the issue.

How did this all start? Let’s begin at the beginning.

Imagine (or remember). It’s 1986. Ronald Reagan is half way through his second term. AIDS activism and self-help in the gay community are doing amazing things. And you’re terrified. Every other week or so, you go through your address book crossing out the names of people who are dead. When you don’t hear from someone for a few weeks, you assume the worst. Is that nagging cough a respiratory infection, or the onset of PCP? Where did that bruise on your thigh come from? Maybe it’s KS. AIDS—the plague—saturates your existence. The books and magazines you read, the conversations you have, the art that you take in—it’s all about AIDS. So you’re worried. Or maybe terrified is a better way of putting it.

But here’s the thread out of the labyrinth: Use a Condom Every Time. If you didn’t live through it, there’s really no way to describe how the advent of ‘Safe Sex’ affected gay men. After years of pleasure being equated with death, all of a sudden, you could have sex again, if you followed the rules. And sex during this time was pretty great. Love was made manifest: “I’m using a condom because I care about you.” Even from strangers.

It’s important to note that Use a Condom Every Time came from gay men themselves. And, at the time, it worked incredibly well. For the first time in the history of epidemiology, there seemed to be a way to prevent the further expansion of an epidemic. Stemming the spread of infection through behavioral change was actually something that had never been done before. The textbook approach was quarantine, although even this was never been shown to be effective. In general, one would let the epidemic run its course and do your best to care for the afflicted. But, widespread behavioral change was successfully bringing down the rates of new infections among gay men. And this was astonishing.

So marked was the success that much self-satisfaction ensued. We’d done it. We’d beaten it. This success and self-satisfaction obscured the fact that this was not the only approach available, and there was no talk about a ‘Plan B.’ Unfortunately.

I remember back in 1989, when I was living in Philadelphia, I attended a sort of speak out hosted by the then-nascent ACT UP/Philadelphia. Jane Shull, a local activist, and one of the smartest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, spoke about HIV prevention. Her remarks had an almost surreal quality. I don’t think any of us knew quite what she was talking about. She took us through a brief primer on psychological motivation. She explained how all of us are usually motivated by self-interest: warmth, food, shelter, ego gratification. It’s ongoing and lifelong, and we can pursue long-term goals with these motivations. Fear, she said, was a strong motivator, but it was short-lived. You’re afraid of the bear while you’re walking alone in the Canadian woods. Once you’re on the plane home, you’re not fearing the bear any more. Jane worried aloud that HIV prevention was playing on fear motivations. I don’t think anyone came away from there thinking that a serious re-evaluation of HIV prevention interventions was called from. It was 1989, and the bear was always right behind us.

But now the bear has become part of the furniture in our lives, and most of us also have an assortment of lions and tigers that we have to contend with. Fear doesn’t do it any more.

Furthermore, Use a Condom Every Time contained the seeds of its own destruction. Then, and subsequently, no one was abiding by this 100% of the time. Because if you think about it, how would that be possible? Use a Condom Every Time. Think about that. Let that sink in. From now until you’re pushing up daisies, every time you engage in physical intimacy with anyone, you’re going to have a latex barrier between you and your beloved. And at the time when it was promulgated, to do it ‘right’, don’t wait until you’re actually sticking it in, As soon as you’re hard, put the condom on.

This is a really important point I want to make: the big issue here is pleasure. It’s all about pleasure, and claiming your pleasure. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You can’t come between someone and their pleasure. And, the pleasures of sexual intimacy are some of the most important in life.

Absolutely there is risk-taking involved. But, consider the context. We’re talking about love and fucking. When is there ever not risk involved in these pursuits, to whatever degree? It cannot be eliminated entirely. When you fall in love, you know you’re taking a risk. A really, really big risk. You’re putting your life on the line, every time. But that, of course, is one of the things that makes it so wonderful. You can’t separate risk-taking from love and sex. We all know that. And we’re used to doing it.

The first chinks in the armor, the first cracks in the edifice of Use a Condom Every Time—to my mind—occurred in the early nineties. Suddenly, there was great debate about blow jobs. Did you need to insist that he be wearing a condom when you went down on him? Good question. Was there risk of infection there? Gay men who were HIV positive and who had never taken it up the butt came forward to say that indeed there was. I remember going to a forum at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in New York where attempts were made to inculcate in we forum attendees how giving and receiving blowjobs with a condom could be ‘hot’ and ‘fun.’ None of us, I don’t think, were convinced. It’s like eating a banana through a plastic bag. It’s a miserable experience. And here’s a crucial thing: I’m willing to bet that all of us, attending that forum, were not using condoms for blowjobs. So there was disconnect. The prevention message was: use a condom every time. But we weren’t doing that. And, some of us who were breaking the rules were persisting in testing negative. That raised the question, at whatever level of consciousness: could I have my cake and take it out of the box, too? “My Community” was telling me ‘no,’ and I was going to say ‘sure.’ Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of room to talk about this. We towed the party line, did something completely different, and didn’t talk about it afterwards.

About this time, there was a sort of ‘Second Wave’ of prevention messages to which gay men were subjected, that seemed intended to eliminate any and all loopholes we might have been exploiting. What about if you’re in a monogamous relationship? Well, unless you were with your beloved every moment of the day, you couldn’t be sure if he was being monogamous or not. So, best to just Use a Condom Every Time. And, we were asked to look at instances of ‘unsafe sex’ as though they were highway collisions: what were you doing at the time? Were alcohol or other drugs involved? How can you prevent this in the future?

And then, barebacking broke out into the open. Gay men were having anal, penetrative sex without condoms. This was cataclysmic.

Or was it.

What if I’m negative, and I’m the one on Top? Is there a risk if my partner, the bottom, is positive, that I could be exposed?

What if I’m negative, and I’m the one getting it, and my partner is a longtime fuckbuddy of mine who I know well, and I know that he’s negative?

What if I’m positive, and I’m on the receiving end. The jury seems to be out as far as the re-infection with a strain of HIV that might be immune to the drug regimen I’m on.

What if lots of lube is used, and the penis is pulled out before the load is shot?

Or what if my boyfriend is positive, but his treatment regimen is working really well for him, and his viral load is undetectable?

I don’t know if a lot of gay men are asking themselves these questions, and what answers they might be coming up with, but I do know one thing: using condoms now is the exception, rather than the rule. Or when condoms are used, it’s as a last ditch effort, such as: my boyfriend is positive, and I’m negative, and he’s not on any meds, so he has a detectable viral load, so when he fucks me, we use condoms.

In answering these questions, and weighing these relative risks, there is basically nowhere to go for information. You won’t find it anywhere. Believe me, I’ve looked.

This presentation started to take shape in my mind several months ago when I went to take the HIV antibody test. Of course, there was the requisite pre- and post-test counseling session. When I hit the sidewalk, after finding out that I tested negative, I was really pissed off. I had asked some of the questions that were roiling around in my head. I didn’t get answers. I got a referral to the Harm Reduction Counseling Group run by the organization. I got an intervention.

All that gay men who are grapping with these decisions have as resources are common sense and their own experience. In other words, empirical evidence. And, this is not to be discounted. How do we know HIV can’t be transmitted by the female anafoles mosquito? We know that it can’t because in areas where there is a statistically significant portion of the population that is HIV positive and lots of mosquitoes, you don’t have universal HIV infection. As with bumblebees, which according to the laws of physics should be incapable of flight, science really has no idea why mosquitoes can’t be vectors of HIV transmission, but they do know, because of empirical data, that they aren’t.

What does this mean for we, who labor in the fields of HIV prevention? So has the moment passed? What can we do now? What hope is there for effective HIV prevention education for gay men?

The moment has passed. There’s nothing we can do. There’s no hope for a new message?


There is no longer motivation for the target audience to listen. Not only has HIV become a common place, but the rarity is people dying. Of the four funerals I’ve been asked to attend over the past two years, two of the fatalities were from heart attack, one was from cancer, and one from diabetes. I do not mean to minimize at all the challenges facing someone who is living with HIV, from the rigors of adherence, the agonies that are euphemized as ‘side effects,’ to the numerous miscellany of ailments that plague people whose immune systems are seriously out of kilter. But, HIV is no longer perceived as the death sentence it once was. HIV prevention has used fear as the motivator for behavioral control, and we’re not afraid anymore.

And, the HIV prevention ‘industry’ no longer has standing or credibility among self-identified, sexually active gay men. “Use a Condom Every Time” has done damage. No one is going to listen to that message, or whatever clever, innovative spins we could put on that message now.

So all hope is lost? Not a bit. When I was working at the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, I was fond of correcting folks who would say, “Needle exchange is preventing the spread of HIV.” This is wrong. Check your messianic motivations at the door. Our participants are preventing the spread of HIV. All we do is provide the tools. Our role is passive, theirs is active. Individuals weigh benefits and risks and make choices as to what they presume to be are their own best interests, assessing conflicting and overlapping priorities.

So, too, with gay men.

Forgoing condoms is an affirmation. It’s like burning your bra. (I know that in Second Wave Feminism, there was actually very little, if any, bra-burning that went on, and that it was largely media hype, but I still like the analogy.)

Leaving behind condoms does not mean that we’re spreading HIV willy-nilly. It’s not madness. Are rates going to increase? Yes. Yes they will. Opiate overdose is statistically higher among heroin users than among people who do not use heroin. It’s not risk free, but then again, neither are most of the best things in life.

And there are responsibilities involved. Bidding a fond farewell to latex barriers means that you need to get information from your partners (“I’m negative. How about you?”), make choices, and take responsibility for those choices. Just like life.

Not using condoms means that you’re a grown up. That no one is going to tell you how to live your life and love your man. You’re making those decisions for yourself. And you’ll stand up and take your punches.

And what about the increase in infections? Well, we’re still new at this. There’s a learning curve. But, I’m confident we’ll get there. And as long as the simple majority of gay male sexual couplings do not involve HIV transmission—either because of critical assessment of the risks involved or by dumb luck—then the overall sero-conversion rates will continue to decline over time.

So what’s the lesson I want to impart for folks working with people whose primary risk is needle sharing?

Simply this. Listen to yourself? What are you saying to your participants?

“Always use a clean set.” Oh, really? I’m splitting drugs with my boyfriend, we’ve both been testing negative forever for HIV, and we’re both Hep C positive so it’s not like we’ll be breaking new ground there. Yeah, we could go through the trouble of backloading, but why bother? Especially when we’re both feeling dope sick.

It is never a good strategy to tell people what to do, even when you have their best interests at heart. It’s about pleasure, and when you ask people to forego pleasure, then you’re offering them a new opportunity for pleasure: the sublime joy of being bad, of breaking the rules and getting away with it. Here’s a better idea: Give them their works, answer any questions they have, make sure they have the opportunity to become experts at getting off, and shut up. Trust that they’ll be making good decisions, just like we all do.

Thanks so much.

So that's my presentation. It is titled, "Barebacking???!! The Failure of an Abstinence-Based HIV Prevention Intervention." It was reeeally well received. The room was packed. Tragically, it was on the last day of the conference, and it was folded into a panel discussion. I went first, followed by two women who worked with youth around sexuality issues. My fellow panelists launched into their presentation immediately after I finished speaking. When they broke people up into groups and passed out big sheets of paper and magic markers for brainstorming, there was protest that nobody wanted to do brainstorming, everybody wanted to talk about my presentation. Although I was secretly gratified by this, I did my best to be a civil panelist and said something about our presentations being fundamentally linked, and that I thought what they had to say was important.

If any discussion ensued, it was on the plane on the way home. Alas.

Burn Through

So today at work, Nightingale was working with us doing sanding. Years ago, N. ran the sanding table, and he's probably the best in the shop at it, knows all the tricks, even though he now spends his days in the finishing room doing staining and glazing.

Nightingale is going through Changes. He's losing all that weight (but still looks great), and he started shaving his head. And grew a soul-patch kind of thing. This past weekend, he was doing yardwork and got a bad sunburn, although the color is coming up pretty nicely, despite his Irish epidermis.

Nightingale looks great.

I was sanding a cabinet. I sanded through some putty and found that those nutty cabinet makers had covered up a burn-through. A burn through is when the veneer of the plywood is sanded away, revealing the glue, which tends to be bright orange or blue-green. If it was a stain job, the cabinet would have needed to be rebuilt. But it was a paint job.

I called over to Nightingale for a consultation. I love doing this. He's a natural teacher, and, like most of the guys in the shop, love the opportunity to show off what they know and what they can do. And there's a tender and intimate quality to these interactions. It's this mentoring aspect that makes the job so wonderful.

Nightingale was on the spot. He demonstrated What To Do. Applying putty in thin layers, giving it lots of time to dry, and then gently sanding it off so it's level. The paint will cover the putty which in turn covers the burn through.

So I was looking over Nightingale's shoulder and steadying the cabinet while he gently sanded away the putty. I was so close I could feel his body heat. And I was looking at the folds of skin--I love those on a man, Special Guy had them, too--at the nape of his neck. His head was freshly shaved, and he had that gloss on his scalp. I could see all his pores. I could see all his thick, coarse hairs.

What a man. What a beautiful man. What a beautiful man. What a good, strong, thick, smart man. What a beautiful man.

I could make you feel good, Nightingale. I could make you feel so good. I could massage and carress and suck and tickle in all the right places, in all the right ways. I could make you feel so good in your body. Show you how good it can be with a man. A man with a body just like yours, who knows all the ways to make that body feel good. A hairy, muscley body, just like yours. Holding you close. A face with razor stubble and beard just like yours, kissing you.

It can be good with a man, Nightingale. Sharing a quiet moment, cigars, a sunset on a summer night. Working together around the house... one-two-three Lift! you got it? yeah I got it, okay on your end? alright let's go. Bobbing in some body of water, the Atlantic, the ol' swimming hole, hands reaching out and touching. Watching baseball on tv, curled up with each other on the sofa.

It can be good with a man, Nightingale. It could be pretty good with this man, Nightingale.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Quiet On This End


I haven't been posting a lot lately. What's up with that?

Well, for one thing, I've been busy. Early Saturday morning, I head up to NYC to play softball. And I've been going and going and going trying to get a garden in. And on Tuesday and Thursday nights after work, I have cabinet making school. And I get to the gym whenever I can. And then there's the various and sundry Taking Care of Dad responsibilities.

But that's only half of it.

Tonight was a blog reading at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in NYC. Diabolique represented SingleTails. To participate, I've been reading back over past entries.

Man. How things have changed.

It used to be all about S/M. Now, it's mostly about softball, work, gardening, and frustration. And how much of that do you all want to read.

Where have I ended up?

I hate Philadelphia. It's a dour and cheerless town. And the men in the bars seem to have this rabbitty and furtive look, as though they're ashamed of something.

And New Hope? It's like a Paul Lynd film festival that never ends.

And I'm tortured by all the great straight guys I run meet and work with.

It's not fair.

Last time I saw Diabolique, he asked me 'How long are you going to stay there?'

Good question.

I am here. Here I am. I've plighted my troth.

And life offers many compensations! It's just that romance with men closer than 1,000 miles isn't one of them.

I've gotta find some way to make this work.

In the meantime, if you're interested in softball, gardening, and cabinet making, then this is the blog for you.

'Night for now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Catch You Up

As you might have guessed, I've been busy here. Busy with softball, busy with gardening, busy with work.

The Big Apple Softball League is having a pre-season round robin. How we do will determine what division we play in. The divisions range from highly competitive to recreational. We've been a recreational team up to now, but since we keep winning those championships, it's possible that they may bump us up.

And we were in good form this past Saturday. We played three games, winning two of them. We probably could have won all three, but in the second game, we tried out a few of the new guys on the pitcher's mound. Y'see, the Ball Breakers could use some depth in the bullpen this year.

The new guys... well... they need practice. It was walk-walk-walk-walk-walk-walk. Luckily, the season is young. The team we lost to had a really good pitcher. One of the best I've seen. The guy was eighty-five years old. Eighty-Five! Y'see, another reason to love softball. I've got forty-five years of softball left. If I live that long.

And how'd I do? Pretty good. I was so In The Zone in the batter's box. Didn't strike out once. Although I flied out twice. But mostly, I got on base. Love that.

And gardening. On Sunday, I headed north to Hairy Mary's. Two homo buddies of my sister started this garden place in Kintnersville years ago. Hairy Mary's has been the mainstay of the garden I've planted for my parents the past few years. But alas, when I got there, they had a few flats of pansies to choose from. And, the woman who was minding the store didn't even say hello to me. And, they had added Antiques and Fresh Cut Flowers to their sign. Uh oh. I think somebody is getting bored with running a nursery.

So I took my business elsewhere. Namely, down the river to Delaware Valley Farm and Nursery, at the foot of the bridge across the Delaware to Frenchtown. There, I was warmly greeted by the incredibly helpful proprietor, Deb. Deb claims that her partner is the one who really knows the plants, but I did great with Deb. She set me up with bunches of perennials. And 'deer resistant' perennials at that. Delaware Valley Farm and Nursery will be seeing a lot of me this season.

I headed home with a jeep full of deer resistant perennials and got to work on planting. But as soon as I stuck the shovel in the ground, I realized I had a big problem. Y'see, I planned on planting in the plot in the center of the yard. Last year I tried a vegetable garden here (at my step-mother's request). I didn't get a single tomato. It just doesn't get enough sun. So this year, I'm going with a shade garden. But nothing would thrive in this Bucks County clay. Onto the porch went the plants, and yesterday after work, I bought manure, topsoil, sand, and peat moss. This weekend, I'll spread the stuff around, and then cultivate it in. The yard full of blooms should be worth a special trip.

And work.

Wow. Tonight was the first night of the Cabinet Making Academy in earnest. Last week, we had to sit through the broken down old rummy who keeps himself in Wild Turkey by pretending to be our Safety Consultant. But tonight, we were introduced to the guy who's going to be teaching us the bulk of the material, starting with math and tools.

He's great. He knows a lot about math (engineering background) and even more about tools, which he collects. Tonight, we were tested so he could determine our baseline.

There I sat, struggling to remember how to solve for X, what happens when you multiply a negative integer and a positive integer... Man. I have forgotten so much. The recent high school graduates in our class truly wrecked the bell curve for the rest of us. All this stuff is fresh for them. The test on tools was even worse. There were exactly two questions on sanding. And I got a few others because I knew what a kerf is and what an escutcheon is.

But, come June, I'll know it all.


It feels great to be learning again.

So like I said, busy busy busy. Boys and Sirs are gonna have to take a backseat for a while. I've got math to remember, perennials to plant, and softball games to play.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Bunny Rabbit Heaven


I hate that.

Tonight, on my way to the supermarket, I ran over a bunny rabbit. I was only going about thirty-five. He ran right under my tires. I couldn't do anything. That sickening thump under my rear right tire. Poor bunny. I hope it wasn't a female, with a litter of kits (I think they're called kits) in a burrow somewhere.

And rabbits are making a return to these parts. A few winters back, we had lots of snow, and it killed off all of the rabbits. There used to be a rabbit in our back yard with a split right ear. Over the years, he got friendly with us. Instead of darting into the bushes when someone came out the door, he would sit tight. My father, of course, would talk to him, and claimed he was able to get within a few feet of him. After that hard winter, we never saw the bunny with the split ear again.

And now there's one less rabbit in the world. I hope it was quick. I said a brief prayer, sending off his spirit, saying I was sorry for taking his life.

I wish it had been a deer. Sure, there would be damage to my jeep, but deer are such vermin. I'd slaughter them all with my bare hands if I could. But not bunnies.

On the way back from the supermarket, I slowed down to make sure that there was in fact a dead rabbit on the road, and there was. And about a half a mile down the road, another rabbit darted out in front of me. I slowed and swerved to avoid him, and he did a 180. Twice. It was if he was intent on ending it all. But, he made it to the other side of the road unharmed. I wish that one a long and happy life.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Good Morning, Finishing Artisans!

Well smell me!

Today, two of our five man crew around the sanding table will be off on a delivery. Leaving three of us behind to manage all of the work. So lots of ass-busting will be callled for.

It's kind of the Era of Good Feelings lately at the sanding table. We have a good crew, and we're all getting along pretty well.

So I'm bringing in donuts. Last night, I stopped at the supermarcato and bought some Krispy Creme.

Hope they like 'em.

Thursday, April 15, 2004


Lilacs are my favorite flower.


Well, years and years ago, fifteen of them to be exact, I met this crazy guy at the Westbury in Philadelphia. His name was Richard. He was crazy and verrry sexy. Sex with him was wonderful. In fact, given my tender age, it was some of the best sex with one of the hottest men that I'd known.

And there was his life, too. He had this amazing loft. Down in Old City. All dark wood and ochre walls. It reminded me of a viennese coffee house. We saw each other a few time before... well, I guess before he decided that twenty-something me was a little more than forty-something him wanted.

On one of the final times we were together, his loft was filled with lilacs. I mean filled. Lots and lots of lilacs. In bed, my nostrils were filled with the aroma of his sweat and the scent of lilacs.

"What's with the lilacs?" I asked.

He smiled.

"I like lilacs," he said. "I thought if I bought them they'd make me happy all the time," he added with quiet irony.

At least once every Spring, I treat myself to lilacs. When I buy them, usually as many as I can afford, and I think to myself, "Now I'll be happy all the time."

I think of lilacs as the flower of wisdom. The wisdom that comes with age and experience. The wisdom that knows that Happy All The time is a chimera. It ain't gonna happen. But at the same time, it's the wisdom that tells you that if you aren't always at every moment open to Happy All The Time, then you'll never see it.

What Hath Mel Wrought?

Actors Whip Easter Bunny at Church Show

The Associated Press
Thursday, April 8, 2004; 11:07 AM

GLASSPORT, Pa. - A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of
Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny
and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.

People who attended Saturday's performance at Glassport's memorial
stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and
described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.

Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program
was inappropriate for young children. "He was crying and asking me why
the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said.

Patty Bickerton, the youth minister at Glassport Assembly of God, said
the performance wasn't meant to be offensive. Bickerton portrayed the
Easter rabbit and said she tried to act with a tone of irreverence.

"The program was for all ages, not just the kids. We wanted to convey
that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny, it is about Jesus
Christ," Bickerton said.

Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a
drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke,
another parent who saw the show in Glassport, a community about 10
miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

"It was very disturbing," Norelli-Burke said. "I could not believe what
I saw. It wasn't anything I was expecting."

Stakes and Silver Bullets are No Help!

I've never read Anton LeVay's Satanic Bible. But my college roommate did. And he went through a... y'know... phase after he read it. Along the lines of, "Well, in the Satanic Bible, Anton LeVay says..." That kind of thing.

He went to Catholic school. So you get the picture.

Anyway, most of what was relayed to me that 'Anton LeVay Said' I never heard in the first place. But there's one idea that has stuck by me all these years. Probably because it's so apt.

That idea would be the concept of the Psychic Vampire. The world is full of 'em. And they come out in the daytime, too. A psychic vampire is a person who seemingly subsists by draining the psychic energies of others. They take and they Take and they TAKE.

"I am having such a hard time right now," is a typical conversation opener for the vamp. A polite, "Hi! How are you?" is all the encouragement they need. You listen to their problems. Their gripes. Their frustrations. You affirm them. You do your best to be sympathetic.

They're grateful. And you come away feeling good about yourself. For about a minute. The next time your cell phone is ringing and it's them, you groan.

Because they give nothing back in return. You get nuttin'.

I think there's a subset of this ilk within Mondo BDSM. That would be the Eternal Novice. "I'm exploring. I'm really nervous. I'm scared of these desires of mine." Now, we all want to be good, nurturing responsible Tops. Those of us who are Tops anyway. And so we launch into I'm-good-with-newbies! mode. Even though the guy might not be someone to whom we feel physically attracted, i.e., nothing doing in the Schwinng!!! department. We plunge in. We do a scene.

But afterwards, there's nothin. Cuz Mr. Psychic Vampire Newbie has retreated into his fear, ambivalence, and narciscism. And sure enough. After a time, here he comes sidling up to us at the bar. Or there's the email in the Inbox. Or the groan inducing cell phone call. Mr. Psychic Vampire Newbie is back for seconds.

The giveaway is that Mr. PVN treats you the way he'd treat, say, a massage therapist who gave him a freebie. He's full of complements and gratitude. But he never reaches for his Psychic Checkbook, so to speak.

As a public service here at SingleTails, we offer some Guidelines for the Second Play Date.

First off, the initial playdate is all about 'let's taste and see.' The focus is the play. But that is absolutely positively not true of the second time the two of you get together. The second time is all about hanging out together. As in, "I have tickets to the Mahler Festival. If you're available, maybe you'd like to join me."

Y'see, most of us in Mondo BDSM are always on the lookout for play opportunities, and when one comes along, we're there in the dungeon, dusting off the shackles. But you only get one free ride. After that, the general rules of courtship apply. Take me out. Treat me well. Remind me that I'm more than a life support system for a flogger. Put the Quid in the Quid Pro Quo. Be sparkling, witty, and vivacious.

And here's the key factor: seemingly be looking for nothing in return, and don't make it about saying 'Thank You' for Scene Number One. Pretend that you're really and truly interested in this person. (Hard, I know. Cuz you are your principal obsession.) And after that, call from time to time to say hello. And now, you two will have something to talk about other than, "I still think that flogging you gave me was so great and I'd love to do it again sometime." Now, it will be more along the lines of, "Have you ever seen Educating Rita? You gotta rent it! There's this whole Mahler thing going on there! It's a rip!"

The first date is about Taste and See. The second date is about two good friends, getting together and having some fun together. Deepening their budding friendship in that glorious arena that is SM.

Or, y'know, it's not at all.

Okay. Those are the rules. You know what you have to do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Baching It

So ya see, the classes my job is running are held on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. These are the openers, and they're really dry. Devoted to safety. Taught by an old rummy with a liver the size of a Christmas goose who somehow manages to keep Old Grandad in his larder by being out workplace safety consultant. Tonight, he ran out of material. And so we got off early. I was expected home at 8:30, and here I was walking in the door at 6:04 pm. My father had gotten dinner for himself, and preparing to settle in and watch Gone With The Wind on cable. So my Get Dinner On The Table responsibilities for the night were fulfilled.

This gave me a night to myself. I fixed dinner for myself, putting a nice steak in the broiler. And had a quiet evening at home.

It was really sweet. It reminded me of those nights in my apartment in Jersey City. Or my nights in my apartment on First Avenue, many years ago. A night alone. To unfold as I see fit.

I'm good at nights like that. I've never had much problem being alone. In fact, I once considered writing a book about that. A book to which I gave the working title of 'Baching It.' Added to the heap of ideas I've had that could have made me rich Rich RICH (as it was long before 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' was even in pre-production), is 'Baching It.' The book was a sort of How To guide for single men. How to take care of yourself, and have a rich, full life, even though you're not in a relationship. Maybe, even, because you're not in a relationship.

Look at the little blurb at the top of this web page. 'My commitment to bachelorhood.' See those words? I used to believe in that. That used to be my goal. "I will lead a rich, full life as a single man."

That being the case, how did I get into this sorry state? Sitting here pining away after farflung suitors? Wishing I was anywhere else but here? This... this... fuck I'll admit it... this loneliness.

Well, there wasn't any pining going on tonight. Just me, a nice steak, some leftover sweet potatoes, a cigar, a book, and a glass of wine. Quiet contentment. The good life. What it's all about.

Perhaps, in part, it's my father. Taking care of him, being here with him, can suck up my energies. And I guess there's the Pee Wee Herman effect, too. (Remember when Paul Rueben, who created Pee Wee, had his career derailed by getting caught in a dirty movie theater? Because he was visiting his parents. Contact with one's parents when you're square in adulthood is a potent aphrodisiac. It makes you crazy. That's the Pee Wee Herman effect.)


I gotta remind myself: I do fine on my own. I do great, in fact.

And I guess I just needed a night like this to remind myself of that fact.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Howling Wilderness

Oh man.

Not again.

Yup. Again.

He hits me up. On Leather Navigator. On World Leathermen. Wherever. I give his profile a brief perusal. Woof! A very hot man. We message back and forth. We talk on the phone. My wheels start to spin. He's hot. He's got his act together. We have a lot in common. Even pretty obscure things. I really like this man.

And, of course, he's far far far away.


Why's it gotta be that way?

I'm getting tired of the local scene. I'm sensing I need more than semi-regular flirtations at the Bike Stop on Saturday nights, bracketed as it is by an hour-and-a-half drive down and back.

Ah well. At least there's softball.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Adieu, Earthlink!

Well I've had it.

What happened to Earthlink Tech Support? They used to be great. Unbelievable.

I was having trouble configuring Apple's Mail application to work with my earthlink email account. I could receive email with Mail, but I couldn't send email with Mail. So last week I gave Earthlink a call to get some help with configuring Mail.

Alas, the tech support jockey I got was absolutely clueless. Just really really bad. I knew more about this stuff than he did. (For instance, I'm pretty clear on the difference between 'Incoming Email' and 'Outgoing Email,' but I had to explain this to him.

After about forty five minutes on the phone with him, he turfed me, telling me that I had to contact Apple since the problem was with their software. Like, I'm so sure.

But then things really got weird. I would open up Mail to check my email, and I wasn't getting any. I mean, not even ENLARGE YOU%$R PENIS SATISFIE HER 2NITE email.


So, I went to the web-based email site. I typed in my email address and password, and... why... what's this? "Invalid. Please try again."

So I tried again.

Same deal.

Perhaps some problem with my account? I jumped over to the My Account page. I tried to sign in, and this time they got nasty and called me Unauthorized.

Uh oh. Time to call Tech Support.

But first, let's try their Tech Support Chat feature. I've had great luck with this in the past. It's brilliant. A little chat window.

I opened up a chat window. In moments, I got:
"Charles P. writes: Hello. This is Charles P. How can I help you today?"

I typed in a description of my problem to Charles P. and hit [Send]. By way of a reply I got, "You are no longer in a chat session." I went back to go and started over several times, and each time got the same result. As soon as I would speak up, I got "You are no longer in a chat session."

So I dialed the phone.

Oh man.

On Friday night and tonight, I spent a total of Four and a Half Hours listening to hold music. No one picked up. It was obscene. Tonight, I decided to hit the numbers for buying Earthlink products and services instead of for Tech Support. Folks tend to be quicker to pick up if you're ready to give them money.

Twenty minutes later, I was still on hold.

So no more Earthlink for me.

Thus, I have a new email address. You can now reach me at krrrush-at-Mac-dot-com. Note that there are three r's in krrrush.

Please make a note of that. Better still, send me email. That way, I can email you back, and then you'll be in my address book.



And if anyone out there knows what the hell is up with my former friends at Earthlink, please enlighten me.

Are You Available?

Remember Availability?

Cast your mind back about ten years or so.

"And I just get the feeling that he's not available to be in a relationship right now."

"And I really needed him to support me when I was dealing with all that stress at work, but he just wasn't available."

'Member that?

It was quite the buzzword.

Just like 'Inappropriate.' Man, did I hate Inappropriate. "That's just not appropriate." Luckily, when 'Thinking Outside The Box' came along, Inappropriate slipped out the back door.

Inappropriate sounds like you're talking about what to wear to a formal dinner. And Unavailable sounds like you've already got something on your schedule for that night.

But what happened to Available? Where'd it go? Did we all get with it and make bloody well sure that we were always Available to our friends and lovers?

Doubtful, huh?

Or maybe, after finding that all the important poeple in our lives were Unavailable in one way or another, we decided to learn to rely on ourselves. And maybe, we decided that all those things that were competing with our own sweet selves for the time and attention of our nearest and dearest were, in fact, what made our nearest and dearest dear.

Adieu, Available. You won't be missed by those of us here at Singletails.

Straight Guy Love Crush

It happens!

Straight guys get crushes on each other all the time!

I know, because I see it a lot with the straight guys with work. And I totally get what it's all about. It's not about 'I wanna pound that fucker right into the mattress.' It's more along the lines of, 'he is so cool I wanna hang with him.'

Y'know. A sort of sublimated pounding into the mattress. Often involving watching sports. Or going fishing. Or whatever.

Now sure, it could be argued that what these guys really want to do is the mattress pounding. But maybe not. Maybe it really is all about the intimacy and the bonding, the closeness and the connection. Deeper than just getting your rocks off.

And, I think that Nightingale has a Straight Guy Love Crush on yours truly. He's keeping me posted on his weight loss efforts, even though I continue to tease him about how he's wasting away to nothing. He's hit a plateau, and he started doing some weight lifting at home. I offered to take him to my gym some time after work, show him what I know about stretching and lifting.

(My heart flutters like a wee little bird thinking about enjoying a sauna after a workout with Nightingale.)

Spurred on by that offer, which was well received, Nightingale confided in me. Things are rough for him at home lately. His wife is saying 'okay, I've raised my kids, now I want to have some fun.' And unfortunately, her idea of 'fun' seems to be racking up DWI arrests. Two, to be exact. And the second one came before she could even go to court over the first one. She's angry, depressed, and seems to be forgetting that at thirteen, their son is not quite 'raised.'

So Nightingale is saying things like, 'I just about walked out,' and 'if she doesn't stop being so stupid I'm outta there.'

Did my creative imagination fly to a post-divorce Nightingale and I setting up house together? Is the Pope homophobic?

Because I have my own sweet crush on Nightingale, as even the most casual peruser of these pages will know.

And yeah, there's definitely some mattress pounding mixed in with that crush. But not just that. I also think he's cool and wanna hang with him.

He's such a cool guy. He knows a hell of a lot about cabinet making. He works hard. He's a smart man. He gets things done. He likes good wine and good cigars. He takes special delight in his relationship with his son. He's a cancer survivor. He's looked death in the face.

Yup. There's a lot to like about Nightingale.

He mentioned today that he ran across his high school yearbook. And that he looked up my picture.

Did I look familiar? Remember that tall skinny kid looking at you with longing and hunger as you made your way to Trigonometry? He thought you were pretty hot stuff then.

And he still does.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Finding My Footing

Yesterday, Saturday, the Ball Breakers had a scrimmage against the Dragons. The weather was perfect, and the field was not under water. We were a few men short, so the Dragons lent us a few of theirs. It was a great game.

I struck out my first at-bat. Alas. A poor way to start the season, but I didn't let it get to me. In subsequent showings at the plate, I managed to get on base. My speed is still there. Even though I'm turning forty this year. I fly down the baselines. Like the wind.

But the highlight of the game for me came when a pop-up came sailing out to where I was in Right field. I ran for it, stretched out my arm, and shagged it. My fellow Ball Breakers were frozen like statues. Probably in disbelief. My fielding skilz are... uh... not the best. Sensing an opportunity for 'A Moment,' I looked in my glove, did a double-take, and called out in mock disbelief, "Omigod! How the hell did that get there???!!" It was a Ball Breakers moment.

After the game (we won!), we headed to Manatus to get something to eat, and commune.

Interesting. Since last season, one Ball Breaker has seroconverted. One Ball Breaker who was already HIV positive has had some serious health problems. One Ball Breaker has fallen off the wagon, and is again in rehab for his crystal meth addiction. One Ball Breaker has moved to Florida to join his lover who is retiring down there. One Ball Breaker lost his job, and has just started a new one. I, of course, have had my whole life turned upside down and I'm now in the howling wilderness of Pennsyltucky.

Quite the microcosm, no?

Last summer, I proposed a column in a local gay paper. It was about how gay men make a home for themselves in Gotham. The debut column would have been devoted to the Ball Breakers. I don't know about the other men on the team, but this endeavor of ours, from April through August, is where I've put down my roots. It's where I call home.

Then came the other purpose for my trip to NYC. I went to Venus, the piercing parlor on East Third Street.

Was I really scared heading in there? Yeah. I was reeeeally scared going in there. What if they bundled me into a cab and took me up to Beth Israel Medical Center, telling me that time was of the essence as I had only hours to live before the toxins crossed the blood-brain barrier? Or what if they said, 'Not a problem! We'll fix you up!' as a scalpel was selected to be used for slicing into my tender nipple to retrieve the barbell... "...this is going to hurt. A lot. So brace yourself. And do you want to take your nipple back home with you? We could put it in some formaldehyde for you."

I explained my situation, and my name went on the list.

"Do I have enough time to run out and grab an iced coffee?" I asked.

Yeah. I did.

Off I went into the East Village. I swear, the median age in that neighborhood is like twelve. I did play eye hockey with a sweetfaced punk rock boy.

When I came back into Venus with my iced coffee, I had an idea. I wanted someone there with me. Who did I know who would be able to dash over to Third Street? Diabolique? Gave him a call, but got his machine. UnFortunate? Same deal. I was dialing again when I was told that they were ready for me.

Joe was my piercer. He got me up on the table, and then (Thank the Lord!) numbed me up with something called Hurricaine, used, he explained, for oral surgery. I guess I had been thinking that pain was what they doled out here in big heaping teaspoons, that it was part of the piercing mystique. And although that might be true for piercing, it seems they give you a break when they're dealing with infections.


So Joe probed some, and concluded that the barbell was not, in fact, lodged within the flesh of my nipple. He called in another guy for a second opinion. The other guy turned out to be the manager of the store. "This is gonna hurt some," he said.

I whimpered.

And then, manager guy tenderly laid a hand on my chest, looked me in the eye, smiled, and said, "Hey... you're okay."

Oh. I get it. This wasn't a medical procedure. This was a scene. I went right into scene space. Trusting. Breathing. Relaxing. Giving it up.

Thanks, Manager Guy.

So manager guy was in agreement that my barbell had come out. And, he told me my infection was not as bad as I thought. It was just an infection. Go at it with saltwater soaks. Get it to drain. They did some draining for me.

Out with the bad. Get rid of the poison. I am down with that.

They fitted me with a new, longer post, and some bigger beads. It looks really cool. Fucking love it. Stands out a lot more. It says, 'Yo! I'm pierced!', as opposed to the posts and bead I had, which were more like, 'Um... excuse me... you might have noticed that I'm pierced.'

Fuckin love that.

I emptied my wallet into Joe's tip jar, settled at the desk, and was on my way.

I gave another call to Diabolique, this time to his cell phone instead of his landline. He picked up. We talked for a bit, catching up. He's had a few recent losses that he's contending with. Good friends of his who are no longer with us. I suggested we meet up, and Diabolique was amenable. He got himself together and hit the subway, and I took the creaky ol' M8 crosstown to give him some time, and we met at Cafe Rafaela.

D. has been paying a lot of attention to his workouts at the gym. And he proudly showed off the impressive results he was achieving. I told him about the best advice a trainer had ever given me (Eat! Five meals a day! A serving of protein at every meal! Or you might as well be hitting yourself in the face with a throw pillow instead of pumping iron!).

So Diabolique headed off to the gym, and I finished up my tea.

And I had a thought.

For the past few weeks, what with the cold and the infection, I've had more or less an adversarial relationship with my body. I haven't been to the gym once this month.

Even though it's largely a matter of self perception, my sense of myself is that I'm thin as a rail. Spindly arms and legs, like overcooked vermicelli.

Time to change that. Big time. Time to live again in my body.

As soon as the infection is healed, I'm gonna get with the program. From then until I head out for my vacation in Palm Springs, muscle is gonna be the organizing principle of my life. I'm gonna work it. And shove proteinaceous chow down my gullet until I never want to eat another thing again. My body, myself.

So that's my Easterday message. My body is what it's all about. Muscle, sinew, bone, strength, flexibility. The sensuousness. The sheer physical heft of it. The arena of all pleasure. The terra firma of all experience.

My body. To be massaged. To be tested. To be given up in submission. To bring longing and desire to the hearts of men I meet. The body. My body.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Happy Easter! Have A Marshmallow Peep!

Sorry, Jesus. It's going to be a Secular Easter this year. Ashes on the forehead to start things off. No lenten observances. No 'All Glory, Laud, and Honor' on Palm Sunday. No Holy Thursday stripping of the Altar. No Easter Vigil services. (And the Easter Vigil is my favorite. It's like, church as Graduate School Seminar. It's the longest service in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. The endless scripture readings! The church in darkness slowly filling with light! The confirmations! The music! ...a feast for the senses!)

What's up with this church-going guy? You may well ask.

Y'know, blame Mel Gibson. And his movie.

Christ's Passion--the story in the gospels, not the movie--has actually loomed large for me my whole life. It's all there. Life as absurd, meaningless struggle, in which weakness (and meekness) is overcome by the crushing machinations of inhuman fate, ending in death. And Easter is God saying, 'No. That's not the way it has to be. Love matters. Love is stronger than death. Love is the reason to live.'

But this year, it all seems to have been... well, I was gonna say 'tainted,' but that doesn't quite cut it. More like, dyed blood-red by one man's obsessional attempt to spiritualize his sado-masochistic fantasies.

Now, I find a lot that's spiritual in sado-masochism. And I certainly view it in the Christian context as well. But I think the difference is that I acknowledge and embrace my sado-masochism. I know that's the 'me' part that I lift up to God to be made Holy. I think Mel sees his sado-masochism as being God in and of itself.

If'n I were to go and plop down $8 to see the Passion, I think I'd watch it for the sado-masochistic content. In fact, I know I would. Even if Vin Diesel wasn't cast in the lead role. But it's not about Jesus. It's not about spectacle. It's not like watching 'Braveheart,' where you come away thinking, 'Gosh! That guy was really brave! I really hate those English guys!' The Christian experience calls on you to walk the Via Dolorosa along with Jesus. To become him, as you carry your cross, rejected, condemned, and alone, all the way up the hill to Calvary, there to die with Christ. If we want to rise with Christ, we need to die with Christ. And that--that dying and rising--is beyond the scope of any human concept or construct, including S/M and certainly including a movie for chrissakes, to encompass.

It's like turning the Passover Seder into a show on the Food Network. Yes, it's a meal. But that's not the point.

Nope. This year, I'm gonna surprise my Dad with an easter basket (I'll be up late tonight dying the eggs) and then I'll fix us a nice dinner.

But hope y'all have a Happy Easter.

Tried To Email You...

Yeah yeah yeah. I know. And it bounces back.

What I don't know is why. Something is wrong. When I try to log in to get my email, I'm getting an error message telling me that I'm 'unauthorized.' T'uther night, I was on the phone with Earthlink's tech support folks trying to get connected to Apple's Mail program. As it was, I could receive, but not send email through Mail. Tragically, the tech support guy I got was a lemon. I think I knew more about stuff than he did. And, I was on hold for about a half an hour to get him. In the wake of that, I became Unauthorized, so I think that the bumbler might have accidentally pulled the plug on me.

I tried last night to call Earthlink and find out what the problem was. I was literally on hold for over an hour (two and a half episodes of the Fifth Season of Sex In The City) and no one picked up. Until I was cut off at 10 p.m. when their Tech Support people go to bed.

This is verrrrry discouraging. Earthlink's Tech Support used to be really first rate. They even had this great online chat tech support. They still do, but the folks come on long enough to introduce themselves, but when you ask your question they disappear and you get a 'You are no longer in a chat session' message. I mean, that comes off as rude?

Anybody know if Earthlink was recently bought out by someone? Or are they going under? I hope I don't have to get another email address.

Anyway. If you reeeeally need to reach me in the interim, you can email me at (Oh, the ignonomy of an aol email address! How embarrassing!)


Friday, April 09, 2004

The Continuing Saga

On the issue of the infected piercing...

The good news includes the fact that I felt much better today, as though I'd turned the corner. And, I checked my temperature, and I don't have an elevated one. No fever here!

But here's what does concern me. You might remember that my post was sucked into the nipple. I guess you could say that I'm internalizing. So to speak. Well today, the piercing seems to have closed. Which is, y'know, why you're not supposed to remove a piercing when you have an infection. Because the opening will close and then the infection won't be able to drain.

So let's review. The opening has closed, and now the infection won't be able to drain. And it's closed over the stainless steel post. I guess you could say that I've assimliated.

Huh. This all makes me think of Special Guy. My getting pierced was sort of a dramatic moment in a relationship filled with dramatic moments. There was the deep passionate kiss he gave me while presenting me with a single red rose when we were caught under an awning in a summer downpour. There was the tearful eucharist in the Fire Island Pines. There was our first date, where we had all the guys at the musclebear sex party getting hard looking at us go at it. And the piercing itself--my defensive witty repartee, Special Guy being right there by my side, the Hammer Studios Dracula Movie trickle of blood that descended from my fresh piercing just as I took a look at the new me in the mirror.

And in the wake of our deciding to part as friends, I had this external sign. Those stainless steel posts, which would always be there as a reminder of Special Guy in just about every sexual interaction I had with whatever man that followed him.

And now, that's inside me.

"I've got you... ...under my skin."

There forever.

Well, unless the folks at the piercing parlor tomorrow tell me that this is a huge problem. The piercing has become an implant.

This might raise some eyebrows going through airport security from here on in, huh?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

WARNING: This Posting is NOT For The Squeamish

Cuz it's all about an infected piercing.

Oh man.

Like I never imagined. Like, maybe I should go shopping for a sports bra designed for a mastectomy patient.

It's been infected for the past few weeks. The usual. Sort of sensitive. I've been doing hot saltwater soaks and swabbing it with Hibaclense. It would go away. Then it would come back. (Those boys at the Bike Stop just can't seem to keep their hands off my tits.)

And then it came back. And it strarted to hurt. As in, toothache hurt. Throbbing along with my heartbeat when I exerted myself in the slightest. And then, it started to swell. On Monday of this week, I couldn't squeeze back the skin from the beads at either end of the post to get at it with the Hibaclense. To bring the swelling down, I started alternating the hot compresses with cold compresses.

Yesterday, I was asked to work a different shift at work. Instead of doing 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., I did 3:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. So, I stayed up later on Tuesday night, and sauntered into work on Wednesday. Working last night was torment. It really really really hurt.

And the thing that I found a wee bit disturbing was that there was no oozing pus. It was all just building up in there. If only I could drain it, I thought, then that would bring some relief.

Today at work, I felt like hell. I think I was running a slight fever. I sort of had the chills at a couple of points.

This is Good! thought I. This is your body fighting off the infection! Go Body! Fight! Fight!! FIGHT!!!

Tonight, I had a dinner date with an AOL guy. I drove up to Quakertown, my right hand cupping my left breast--swollen to the size of a navel orange--most of the way. On the one hand, I have the pectoral development I've always longed for. On the other hand, it's lopsided to say the least.

What a guy I am! Even under such adverse conditions, I was a perky and charming dinner date! What pluck! Way to keep that stiff upper lip!

Then, on the way home, I smelled... ...this.... this... smell. Like Chinese fish sauce. (I won't need a reminder to avoid fish sauce in the future. My tshirt was damp.

I was draining! At last!

At home--alarmingly, Faithful Companion loved this interesting smell coming off his master--I examined the situation in the bathroom. I was indeed draining. Hallelujah! But on the downside, the stainless steel post has now disappeared completely under my skin.

What's up with that? Will it re-emerge as the swelling goes down? Will it forever be inside me? Like a combat veteran still carrying around shrapnel after all these years?

On Saturday, my softball team is having a scrimmage. I'm going up. Not to play. (Unless I meet with staggering luck and actually do find a sports bra for mastectomy patients tomorrow.) But just to cheer on the team from the bleechers. Albeit in a reclining position.

But I have an ulterior motive as well. I'm gonna pay a visit to the piercing parlor on East Third Street where the deed was done. (Ah, that memorable day. Special Guy was there offering support and encouragement. I screamed bloody murder and cleared the place.) I remember them saying that infections were to be anticipated, and nothing to freak out about. I even recall them trying to describe the weird smell of the ooze. ("It's like you go on a two week vacation and return to remember that you forgot to have someone take care of your goldfish." "I think it's more like a dead mouse under the refrigerator.")

It is to be hoped that they'll be reassuring. Tell me to cowboy up.

I mean, the fact that I have a putrid abscess about four inches away from my beating heart isn't cause for concern, right?

Have I thought about taking it out?

Oh yeah.

I sure have.

As a matter of fact, I made up my mind to do just that when I discovered that it had swollen up around it so bad that I couldn't even get at it with Hibaclense.

But I don't want to do that.

Because of all those Special Guy reasons.

And that, in part, is the reason that I haven't gone to my doctor. (I once again have health insurance! Yessss!) I'm pretty sure that would be his first course of action.

So here I am. Suffering for love. But not in that fun way.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Hoisted On My Own Petard


Remember last February when I was reporting her in Singletails on my intriguing about Sarge?

Well, Sarge does.

Yup. It seems Sarge is a reader. And was then.

The other night, I ran into him on WLM. He's relocated to somewhere in flyover territory. As he's safely out of stalking distance, I told him that I had at one time harbored a crush on him. His response was along the lines of 'Yeah I know I read it in your blog.'

Now that was a moment.

So I hope you people appreciate the sacrifices I make for all of you!

Just kidding.

But sort of serious.

Maybe a new policy is called for. But I can't imagine what that would be. Keep my romantic endeavors outta here? I think that would make this weirdly abstract and cerebral. And dull.

And there have been more than a few men in my life who have been taken aback to read about themselves here.

Ah well.

I've also gotten more than a few 'Gosh, thanks!' responses, too.

I guess there's no bright line. One rule that I have is if I hook up with you, and it just doesn't work out, you don't need to worry about reading a bad review here. That is definitely not appropriate.

But heck. You want honesty? Well here's honesty. How upfront were the last five guys you dated? Hmmmm?

And if things really take off with us, I won't be spilling all the intimate details here.

Man With A Stache

The woman at Starbucks said the nicest thing to me. She greeted me by name, said she had missed me (Like, I wasn't in yesterday because I was sleeping at home, or Friday because I had to high-tail it to Philly to meet up with the Baron, but I'm there every week day otherwise). Then she said, "I thought of you because a friend of mine just grew a moustache. It looks really good on him, but it's not as awesome as yours."


Pause for reflection. Moustaches are like dogs, huh? You don't find the dog; the dog finds you. Similarly, when I grew this, it was like it had been waiting patiently for me to unleash it all my life. Although I guess technically it wouldn't have been possible until my late twenties.

But I grew it, and looked in the mirror, and I thought, "Oh. Right. This is what I look like."

I am the man with the stache.