Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hollywood Ending

[Scene: Office of a Big Shot Hollywood Producer. (But not that one.)]

Big Shot Hollywood Producer: Ms. Proulx! C'mon in! Proulx... is that french? Could be a problem. What do you go by? Ann? Okay if I call you Ann?

Ann Proulx: I prefer Annie. It's nice to meet you.

BSHP: Annie! That works! Annie it is! Glad you could stop by to talk about our little project. Good stuff. Bonanza meets In And Out. Love that. Hey... Wonder if Selleck is available. Nah... Probably wouldn't want to do another gay role. Anyway Annie, I guess you know the ending is a problem.

Annie Proulx: The ending? A problem? What do you mean? My entire story builds towards the ending. It's a story about the choices we make, and...

BSHP: Well yeah, but I'm sorry to tell you that the ending doesn't work. People will be tuning out as soon as they have that last scene up at Bearback Lake or whatever it's called.

Annie Proulx: Well, I have to disagree. The story, as conceived...

BSHP: Now... Whatever... Let me tell you how a story works...

Annie Proulx: Well, I have to point out that my fiction has been fairly well received, and this story.

BSHP: Fiction. Right. Ma'am, I hate to tell you, but outside of murder mysteries and romance novels, there are five thousand people in the country who read "fiction," and they all live in Manhattan below 96th Street. Except for a couple hundred who live in Brooklyn. Fiction doesn't make box office, and neither does that fizzle of an ending of yours.

Annie Proulx: Well what are you suggesting...

BSHP: I'm glad you asked. Let me introduce you to the guy that is going to save your story, Annie. This is Harley Kincaid. He's a genius. Absolute genius. Our secret weapon around here. Just graduated from USC Film School...

Harley: Actually I have a semester to go yet...

BSHP: Right! Anyway, since we've got Harley here working on the project, it's in the bag. We'll make a mint.

Harley: Well... Cool!

Annie: ***!***

BSHP: So what have you got for us, Harley?

Harley: Ummm... Okay. I came up with three treatments that I think would work.

BSHP: You hear that? Three! Not just one... Three!

Harley: Yo! What can I say? So anyway, here's the first one...

[Harley shuffles papers and reads.]

Okay. So, we're good up until the scene where Jack and Ennis are at Brokeback Mountain for what they think will be the last time. Okay. Right. So Jack and Ennis have a fight, and they decide to go talk it over so they go to a roadhouse and get some beers. While they're talking,

BSHP: A saloon! Of course! How could we have been so stupid! You can't have a Western without a saloon! Go on, Harley!

Harley: So anyway, at some point, Jack hugs Ennis, or maybe Ennis hugs Jack, and some of the good ol' boys at the bar notice. And they go over and say something like, "We don't want no queers here in this town." And Ennis just snaps, right? He gets up, and he says, "Bring it on!" And so this big fight breaks out! And Jack and Ennis are kicking serious butt! And... y'know... we can have like fiddle music going and all. But then, the good ol' boys get the upper hand, right? And all of a sudden things are looking bad. But then, get this! In comes Ennis' daughter, Alma! Right? And she's like "Hey! Stop this!" And like, smashes a beer bottle to get everybody's attention. And then she's like, pointing to all the guys in the bar, and she's saying like, "Enoch Purvis! When your fence broke last winter and all your cattle were loose, who helped you round them all up?" And the guy is like, "Uh... Ennis." And Gabriel Lackland, when your wife took sick and your truck broke down, who drove her forty miles to the hospital?" And again, the guy is like, "Uh... Ennis." And it goes on and on. And she hits everybody in the bar. And so then they're all like, "Whoa! She's right!" And it ends with a shot of Ennis and Jack on rocking chairs on their front porch, and guys are going by in pickup trucks and they're all like Hey Ennis! Hey Jack! You boys comin' to the church ice cream social this Saturday? And they're like, "Yeah! We'll see you there!"

Annie: That is ridiculous.

BSHP: I kind of like it. Hey! Here's an idea! We could have Johnny Knoxville and the other guy from the Dukes of Hazzard remake in the fight scene with'em! The DVD will be out then and it'll be a great tie in! We could have a shot where the four of'em look at each other and give each other looks like "Yeah! Let's get'em!"... No? Well, like I said, I'm not the genius, that would be Harley. What's your second idea Harley?

Harley: Okay. So after the last-fishing-trip-scene, Ennis drives all the way down to Texas, right? And he busts in on Jack when he's there with his wife at the tractor store or whatever it is, and he's like, Jack, I can't live without you. And I can't live with you in Wyoming. And I can't live with you here. So we're going some place where we can be together. And then there's a shot of them driving away in a truck. And then, get this! it's the present, right, and Ennis, like fifty years old, is telling the story to a young guy! It was all like a flashback, right? And Jack and Ennis own a bar in the Castro called "Brokeback Mountain," like a cowboy gay bar! And after he's done telling the story, Jack comes up to him, and he's like, "Can I have this dance?" And he puts their favorite song on the juke box, and that's how it ends with the two of them dancing.

BSHP: Love that! I love that! Oh that's perfect! Oh that's so great! Isn't that great Annie?

Annie: I can't believe...

BSHP: I know! Don't get me wrong, great characters in your script, Annie, but Harley here has turned this into a killer movie! And you got one more for us, Harley?

Harley: Oh yeah! I saved the best for last! Okay. So again, we take off from the last-fishing-trip-scene, right. And they're standing there, and all of a sudden this helicopter comes over the hill, flying really low, buzzing them, right? And they're like, Yo! Holy shit! And the helicopter lands real close to them, and they're like looking at it from behind a rock or something, and these guys get out of the helicopter, and they've got this missile! And Jack is like, "Ennis! What is that?" And Ennis goes, "That is a thermonuclear warhead, Jack." And Jack's like, "Who are those guys? What are they doing with that?" And Ennis says, he says: "Those are Arab terrorists. Iranians. This is bad, Jack." And Jack is like, "We've gotta go get the sherif!" And Ennis is like, "No way, Jack! We'd never get back here in time! We've gotta take care of this ourselves!" And they do! Jack and Ennis totally fight the terrorists! And there are like eight of them, and they get them all one by one, right? And like, the supreme bad guy terrorist, he's last right? And he almost kills Jack, but Ennis gets him just in time. And then, they're like at this ceremony in the White House, and President Jimmy Carter is like giving them a medal, and saying what great Americans they are, right? And it's like on television and all. And then Ennis is like, "Mr. President, we didn't do anything that any patriotic American wouldn't do in the same circumstances..." Stuff like that. But then, get this! Then Ennis turns to the camera, and he's like "Ummm... Aw shucks! Listen America! I love this man! And he loves me! And we should not have to hang our head in shame about that!" And Jimmy Carter is like, "Well ain't that sumfin'!" And Jimmy Carter goes, "I declare Gay marriage is okay!" And he marries them right there! And they're like the first gays to get married, and they're national heroes!

Annie and BSHP (Together, but with diifferent inflections): Oh. My. God.

BSHP: That's perfect! That's it! It's got it all! This will be box office gold! That works!

Annie: I can't... There's no way...

BSHP: Not to worry, Annie. All you've got to do is sit back and wait for the checks to come in.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

At The Gym

I went to the gym tonight after work.

Okay. True confession: I haven't been to the gym in about a month. Well, I have been. While in the throes of a Bad Cold, I would convince myself that I really shouldn't be taxing my body beyond the effort of fighting a cold, so I would go and do my kabuki theater stretching routine. And, the day of my job interview, I headed there after work to shower and change into the blue pinstripe knock'em-dead suit. But heaving steel? Not a lot of that.

But MAL is fast approaching, and I bettah work.

The first surprise came when I hopped on the scale. I was bracing myself for a bad experience, of course. Longtime Singletails readers will know that my eternal battle at the gym is putting on weight. Inside me is a guy who weighs 145 pounds soaking wet, and I do my best to keep him buried within. My goal used to be 205, but then I decided I'd settle for 195, and right now, I'd be thrilled to hit 190. When I was going regular to the gym over the summer and autumn, I managed to maintain over 185, but just barely. So tonight I hopped on the scale and it read 187.5. That's an all time high. It's been years since I hit that.

But walking away from the scale, all smug and all, I happened to think... I've noticed that some of my pants seem to be tight. I attributed this to the fact that it's freezing cold in these parts and I've been layering. But could it be that my size 32 waist is becoming a size 33?

Take note: I am not upset at all about this development. I like a man with meat on his bones, and I'd like to be liked by a man who likes men with meat on their bones.

And my workout! I was able to do all the weight that I last did four weeks ago! I lost no ground! Amazing!

So I'm feeling all good about myself as I headed to the showers. And wasn't I all yukkity-yuk with the guys in the lockerroom. (And keep in mind, in a gym populated almost exclusively by dads and high school athletes, I tend to stand out with my ankle to wrist chain tattoo and my cockring that never comes off. But amazingly, they're coool with that.

And I showered, then headed to the steamroom.

And there he was. It was the inconsiderate asshole from several weeks ago! Perched on the bench, with the steam off, reading his goddamn paper. (Who does that?)

Without thinking, I blurted out, "Hey! Mind if I hit the button to turn the steam on?"

And before I could complete that sentence, he said, "No sure, that's fine."

So it was that easy.

Man, did I play it wrong the last time around. All I had to do was ask. And I let him have it with the steam. And he just sat there, drinking his water and reading his paper. No big deal.


So you never know.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Adieu 2005

Here we are at the butt end of a bad year. In the larger world, we had a tsunami in the Indian Ocean, genocide in Darfur, terrorist bombings in the London Underground, Hurricane Katrina and its hateful aftermath, an earthquake in Pakistan where they're still numbering the dead, and, of course, the ongoing tragedy in Iraq.

And then there's my life. I started off the year by... ummm... loving unwisely but too well. And having my heart broken. It was a tough thing, since I pride myself on my ability to give my heart away, and look for opportunities to do that. Love, after all, makes my world go around. And I learned, hard lesson that it is, that the intimacy and connection that go down in a scene do not necessarily translate into the world of jobs and geography and socio-economic strata.

And living here with my dad, I hit the wall. Again and a gain and again. Whammo. Ker-powww. Splat. My illusions about my father we're stripped away. It took me up to and beyond my breaking point. Frustration, rage, and despair. I'm not sure I could say I've managed to come through. Perhaps I'm only keeping those at bay. For the moment.

At one point, out walking Faithful Companion one night, I lifted my eyes to heaven, and with rage and let the Almighty know that I couldn't take it any more. "How long, God? How much longer?" And I got a reply! That still, small voice answered me and said, "Until you learn everything that you need to learn." And that sure made sense. I was like, "Oh. Right. Okay."

And so I'm doing my best to learn.

Sad, lonely, angry, depressed.

But man have I learned. It's amazing what happens when you just keep your eyes open.

All about the moment. And not seeking outside of myself. And trusting. And being grateful for what the people in your life bring you. And, most importantly, always always always always giving it your all. Especially when you're holding someone's heart in your hands. Don't phone it in. Make it count.

And heck, like it's been all bad? Naw. Not a bit.

SM saved my life. Again.

First off, there were those scenes with the guy from LA. Finding out what submission was all about. Just opening up, and wanting so bad to give him whatever he wants to take, because you know that you will emerge intact, only better than before, because you've seen the beauty within yourself. Oh man. I look forward to getting back to that place. That sweet sweet place.

And then, there was the kayak. What a great move that was. Water, sunshine, and the strain of my muscles propelling me along over the water of Lake Galena. So simple. So perfect.

And, of course, there was Inferno Session A. Jiminy crickets. It was pure. I hit it right.

I read recently that Harold Pinter said something like "words are what we use to distract people from where we hurt." (Okay, that's not what Harold Pinter said, but that's what I thought when I read whatever it was he said, which was something along those lines.) And the big thing I did at Inferno was not distract myself, or others. I just let it out and let it in. Getting whipped by Roadkill was extraordinary, catching me totally by surprise. But that's the way most things in life that are truly important go down.

And now here I am. There will be change. Change will come. Maybe it's happening already.

This guy. This guy I met. A man who makes me wonder what's possible. Just where it could all go. And my sense is, it could go anywhere. Anywhere at all.

But we'll see.

Trash TV Update

In case you missed tonight's episode of Wife Swap on ABC, we had a glimpse of the power of leather to change lives for the better.

The premise of the show is that two spouses from two families change places for two weeks. Generally, the pairings tend to be red state/blue state. So, y'know, we get to see mom from the Upper East Side adjust to life in the trailer park, and trailer park mom deal with life on Park Avenue. I have to say that usually, the red staters come off better, questioning, for example, why no one spends any time with the kids or whatever.

But anyway, tonight was pretty cool. It involved a swap of husbands, rather than wives. The first family--let's call them the Zen's--lived in an intentional community, recycled everything, watched no television, talked about "living responsibly," and "honoring our mother, the Earth." The second family, we'll call them the Harley's, are pretty much run of the mill folks, although dad rides a Harley, has a nice sleeve tattoo, and seems to enjoy life. Zen Dad didn't make out so well at the Harley residence. He came off as judgmental and preachy (go figure). But he did get the Harley's to clean up their yard and meet all their formerly hostile neighbors. Mr. Harley, on the other hand was a huge hit. He soon had the Zen family sitting down to a steak dinner in front of the television set and took the kids to an amusement park.

But here's the coolest part: he got Mrs. Zen a day job in a biker bar and some leathers to go with it. From the footage we saw, Mrs. Zen had a blast! There she was, doing tequilla shots. At one point, she spoke about how great it felt wearing her leather, how fun it was to be a babe.

When the unswapping took place, Mrs. Zen decided to wear her leathers for the occasion. Come to think of it, every time she was on screen after that, Mrs. Zen was leathered up.


And once reunited with his family, Mr. Zen commented that his wife seems to be "more amorous."

Speaking of which, among the few gifts I gave to myself this Christmas was a pair of leather pants I found on, of all places. For $69.95.

I know, right? Seventy bucks for leather pants!

Okay okay okay. So you get what you pay for, right? But I figure, even if they are a disaster, I'll still be able to wear them for wrestling or nasty pig sex or something like that. So we'll see. When FedEx manages to deliver them to me, I'll let you know how it all works out.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Ennis Del Mar, Jack Twist, And Me

Let us now wax rhapsodic on Brokeback Mountain, the most extraordinary movie I’ve ever seen.

Seriously, it’s amazing. Absolutely beautiful. Without flaw. Every shot, every word of dialog, every plot development. There will be my life before I saw Brokeback Mountain, and my life after Brokeback Mountain.

It’s a love story. And it’s my kind of love story. Not a hokey, gooey hearts and flowers love. Something found in the bargain basement of life. But the kind of love that takes an axe to everything, shatters all assumptions, changes the course of your life.

And the movie honors love, adhering to the Chryssie Hind principle: “When love walks in the room, every body stand up!” Urging all of us to keep careful watch; when love enters your life, don’t turn your back, don’t brush it aside, don’t bury it on your To Do list, don’t take a raincheck. Nothing is more important. It’s the closest thing to redemtion we get in this life. And you don’t know when you’ll get another opportunity. After all, there are no guarantees that you will.

Brokeback Mountain made me think about my job in the woodshop. And that way that men have with each other. Men who work hard, and measure the worth andvalue of another man by how hard he works. That mixture of toughness and tenderness of how men are together that shows itself in action and words can’t capture.

In a way, it’s an anti-capitalist movie. In other words, it’s a movie about two men who fall in love, but it’s not a gay movie. “Gay” has become a market niche, a commodity that you can buy. And, in fact, that you have to buy. If you want to be gay, you better clear our some space on your credit cards. This, of course, has implications for the leatherworld, too. John Ashcroft has done us a huge favor, ensuring that we won’t be assimilated into the sucking vortex anytime soon. For now, we’ll remain a counter-cultural experience. When the day comes that you wonder if you’re doing it “right,” whether your cell phone plan is the “right” cell phone plan for a leatherman (or leatherboy or leatherwoman or leatherwhatever), then you’ll know that dread day has come, and something precious and beautiful is gone forever

I also wonder if the movie will have an effect on our culture, the way movies used to have. People used to model what they saw on the big screen, finding in the depictions of Jimmy Stewart, Peter Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Charles Bronson, and so many others, ways to live their own lives. Gay men really haven’t had a lot of options here. Perhaps--and I realize I’m hoping for the moon and stars here--being gay in this the post-Brokeback world, won’t be seen as a terms of wardrobe, circuit parties, killer abs, and all sorts of fabulousness (which comes at a price always), but simply a matter of two men falling in love.

And it’s a political movie, too, having a similar effect on me as when I read Larry Kramer’s Reports From The Holocaust all those years ago. I will work to make this a world safe for Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist to fall in love.

Anyway. Go see the movie. I’ve buried it in enough verbiage.

Oh! And how cool is this? Just to make it clear, I’m not living in New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Not even Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia or Boston. I saw Brokeback Mountain in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Which is not exactly the Heartland, but believe me, we’re out there.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Most Likely To

At work today, my Bush-votin', Bible-thumpin' partner and I devised a fun little game to make the time pass. We took turns devising a scenario, then asking each other who among our co-workers would be the likliest candidate to take that role.

And I thought I'd pass it on to all of you!

So here's what you do. Call to mind a seemingly random collection of folks you know. People you work with, maybe. Or perhaps people you went to college with. Or everybody you had sex with this year. Any random group of people.

Now figure out which one is most likely to be described by each of the following...

•You'd most want to be stranded on a desert island with
•Robs a bank in broad daylight, gets away with several million dollars, and successfully makes it to South America scott free
•Will be elected to Congress in ten years
•Your cellmate during a ten year prison sentence
•Has a group of monks show up at the door announcing that the person is the next Dalai Lama
•Is with you on a plane that goes down in the Andes, doesn't make it, and to save yourself from starvation you have to... well... you gotta eat something.
•Wins the lottery! Then takes care of some debts, gives some gifts to friends and family, goes on a dream vacation, and gives the lion's share, several million dollars, to charity
•If this person gave you a briefcase and asked you to not look inside it but hold onto it for a few weeks until he or she can come and get it, you'd do it, no questions asked
•You'd go to if you desperately needed $500 and probably wouldn't be able to repay it anytime soon
•Will be the star of a successful and popular television show for children
•You'd use as a body shield if you were being shot at
•You'd drive cross country with
•Appears as a guest on Martha Stewart's show
•Runs into a burning building to save a mother and her two children
•Appears on a reality tv show

If you think up any more, let me know...

I'm A Back Man, Butt...

I like men's backs. Well I remember the Saturday night after I threw a whip for the first time. There I was at the LURE (*sigh*). And it was all about backs. A nice lat spread, well worked traps, and I had to wipe the drool from my chin.

And it's been like that ever since. All about backs.

In fact, when men have asked me to whip their butts, I've declined. Nothing happened for me.

But recently, it's like I've been obsessed. I see a man with a nice meaty bubble butt, and any other thought I have goes out of my head. And then there's my demon lover. This... this... boy. Beefy. Shaved head. Italian or latin features, with full lips, dark eyes, and olive skin. And this beautiful round butt.

Now, I don't know a boy like that (although I'd like to), and in recent memory, I haven't run across a boy like this. I have no idea where he might be coming from, from somewhere deep in my imagination.

But I can see him clearly in my minds eye. Smiling at me, bending over, like over a sawhorse or the back of a sofa or something, and bracing himself. For me to whip his butt. Or take a belt to it. Or just give him a good spanking. Get that meaty boy butt nice and red. And then, get that beautiful rosebud right in the middle all puckered up and hungry. Then plunge right in.

So this is coming from where?

I can't guess.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Triple Super Banned In New Jersey

Oh man.

2005 is going out with a bang. Last night I was due in court in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Lest you forget, I was headed up to NYC a few weeks ago, and I was stopped for going 51 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone.

Whatever, right?

Well, the nice police officer took my license, registration and insurance back to his patrol car to run me, and returned with the news that my driving privileges in New Jersey had been revoked. Apparently, I somehow had failed to pay a parking ticket I received in Jersey City two years ago.


I did something you should never ever ever do. And now that I know better, I'll never do it again. I plead guilty.

I mean, was I going 51 miles per hour? Yessss. Had my driving privileges in New Jersey been yanked? Apparently so. So I was guilty.

Now, apparently if I had plead Not Guilty, it would have given the court leeway to cut me a break. I mean, this is all pretty severe for eleven miles over the speed limit and not feeding the meter, right?

And severe it was. A huge fine. And then the kicker. The judge told me that the laws of the state of New Jersey compelled him, he was sorry to say, to command me to forfeit my license for the next ten days.

God in heaven!

Nightengale, my buddy from work, who had kindly driven me to Frenchtown (I was anticipating the question, "Now, you didn't drive here, right?") gasped behind me. I just about passed out.

This is about a parking ticket!

I... I... I'm not a bad person!

How would I get to work? This would be tantamount to a Martha Stewart-style house arrest, no ankle bracelet needed. Only Martha didn't have her dad in the house with her.

Okay. The nice prosecutor managed to talk me down off the ledge. It seems that because I'm a Pennsylvania-licensed driver, a New Jersey court can't force me to surrender my license.

Be gone! You have no power here!

But, it turns out that that definitely does apply in New Jersey.

So... status quo, right?

Not quite, the nice prosecutor emphasized in the strongest possible terms. If I'm caught driving in New Jersey over the next ten days, I'll be put in handcuffs and taken to jail. It's an arrestable offense.

Not that I'm opposed to wearing handcuffs, and not like it wouldn't be the first time, but it could be extraordinarily inconvenient.

So damn.

On the one hand, that's not so bad. So I don't go to New Jersey for the next ten days. Big deal! What's in New Jersey? Like I'd really want to be nice to them and do Christmas shopping at the Deptford Mall after how shabbily they've treated me? No dice.

But y'see, New Jersey is pretty much between me and New York City. And I was planning on heading up to that fabled city to have my second date with that amazing man.

Amazing man and I talked it over on the phone. He said it wasn't worth it, although I strenuously disagreed. ("Those prison bars can't keep me from my man!") But, whatever.

If anyone out there has any contacts in Jersey City Municipal Court, they are urged to get in touch with me. Please. Please please please. I'm not asking for a fixed parking ticket (although that would be nice) just to find out how much I have to pay to get on good terms with the Garden State again.

Try getting the Jersey City Municipal Court on the phone. Just try that. Go 'head. G'wan. Try.

And you'll see what I'm up against.

Mamas, Don't Let Your Boys Grow Up To Be...

At first, I was cold to Brokeback Mountain. Elvis Costello (whom I don't like much) had a song "Happy Lovin' Couples" that summed up my sentiments. Like I really wanna see a movie about two guys who meet and fall in love. I saw myself coming out of the movie muttering "Why not me?"

But I'm in. Totally in. Looks amazing, Ang Lee could probably claim the honor of my favorite director currently making movies, and the things I've read about it in reviews make it very compelling.

But I've got a beef. It's being referred to as "the gay cowboy movie," and everybody's going on and on about gay cowboys, including Concerned Women For America, who decry the assault on these paragons of American virtue.

But... No. From what I understand, they're not, in fact, cowboys. There are no cows in the movie. They're shepherds. They meet when they're looking after sheep.

A picayune point?

Maybe for most, but not for me.

A little story.

Back when I was in high school, the Administration decided that no one should graduate without declaring a Career Goal. Now, that sent me into a tailspin. It was absurd! I'm seventeen years old and I have to know with certainty what I want to do for the rest of my life? Uh uh.

I became a problem for my guidance counselor, long-suffering guy that he was. Everyone else assigned to him had complied. There was one blank box among all the boxes with check marks, and that was mine. He dragged me down to his office and said, "C'mon. Just pick something. Anything. Don't take this too seriously! If you could be anything at all, what would you be?"

"Okay. Anything, right? If I could be absolutely anything, I'd be a shepherd."

Well, that pretty much floored him.

I explained, "I think it would be great to be a shepherd! In the Spring, I'd pack up some books, and take my sheep up into the mountains, with my faithhful dog for company. I'd spend the summer reading, and looking after my sheep. Then, in the Fall, I'd gather up my flock, and head back down to town, spending the cold months among people. it would be the perfect life."

I remember his face being all circles: wide open eyes, gaping mouth.

He suggested another approach. There was a career aptitude test he wanted me to take. And so I did. I sat down, answering all the questions. Do you like to work indoors or outdoors? Do you like helping people? Do you enjoy learning new things? Do you want to work for animals? Do you like taking on individual responsibility?

He sent away the test for tabulation. It came back. My answers pointed to one clear career option: shepherd.

He found me a school where I could major in shepherding. It was in Montana. I think there are several in New Zealand.

So get it right. It's not the Gay Cowboy movie, it's the Gay Shepherd movie.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"One Chicken... Two Chickens... Three Chickens... Four... Five... Six... Seven Chickens! Great! Okay, So They're Just Eggs Right Now, But They Will Be Chickens!"

It's true!

Unbelievable as it might be, Starbucks is starting to irk me. None of the regulars from the summer are hanging there any more. And there's this new crew behind the counter. These... these... kids. It seems like there's a different crew every day. The manager went on maternity leave, and the two guys she left more or less in charge are idiots. I think they dip into the product too much. Leading to inane conversations at deafening decibles.

But heck... If I get thes job... If I start commuting into Philadelphia every day... Where am I gonna hang?

No doubt you're thinking "Duh! Like there are no Starbucks in Philadelphia?"

Of course there are. But none I've been in really has that cruise factor thing happening, y'know?

There was a place called Millenium Coffee, right in the middle of the so-called Gay-borhood, that I loved. But a month or so, it closed down. And I just have no idea where I'm gonna go for my latte, to read my NY Times, to see and be seen.

Ananotherthing with this possible new job... Clothes. I'm guessing that it will be no more Carhartts. i do have a selection of suits available to me, but what a pain in the ass. Most places are doing "business casual" these days. And hopefully this place will be no exception.

Now, back in NYC, this wouldn't be a problem. There were cool places to buy clothes. Funky clothes. Masculine but playful. And because the whole damn town is stylin' and profilin', wearing them wasn't a problem either. But in Philadelphia, I'm just worried that I'm going to end up in those damn striped shirts. I hate those striped shirts.

And the gym situation. Should I bid a fond farewell to Cornerstone Fitness in Furlong, Pennsylvania? Pick out a gym in Center City? The obvious option would be the 12th Street Gym. From what I understand, that's the Gay Gym. Sounds hateful, right? All kinds of crowded with idiots who camp out forever on a piece of equipment and don't re-rack their weights. But i'll give it a shot. See if I can get a day pass to check it out.

See, this kind of stuff makes me nuts. I'm a a creature of routine. And right now, I have my routine down. And to have to have to disrupt that totally... It makes me tired just thinking about it.

And where the heck will I have lunch every day?

Meanwhile, when I'm not dithering about gym and such, I've been doing some research on this organization. They look great! Really great! People I'd really enjoy working with.

Anyway, time to pick out stuff to wear on Monday.

Psychologists refer to all of this as 'binding anxiety.'

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Quote Unquote

"I want a life vital, compelling, and dangerous, to the point that it makes all else meaningless."

-Mountain Climber David Roberts, on climbing.

...I know what you mean, David. Vital, compelling, and dangerous turns my crank, too.

Promise Of The New Year

I love New Years. It's one of my favorite holidays. Not being one for drunken revelry, I like it because it's a celebration of the passage of time, of marking change and transition, looking back over the journey you've taken around the sun during the last 365 days, and thinking about the one to come.

I'm still got a peaceful, easy feeling about the date I had this past Saturday with a great, great guy. And there's a new development. I've been sending out my resumé, and I got a bite. A non-profit in Philadelphia is looking for someone to do fundraising and what amounts to marketing and public relations. I head down to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection on Monday.

So the past few days at work have been bittersweet. I didn't embark on this job search on a whim. It was pretty well thought out. A few recent developments have soured me some on Wuperior Soodcraft. Mostly on the nutty duo that run the place. But all those things seem distant and abstract. At the fore of my thoughts is the fact that I love the guys I work with, and I enjoy the work I do from 7 am to 3:30 pm. No matter what mood I'm in when I arrive, I leave smiling.

But, there is the money issue. It is just not easy making it on $10 an hour. My wee little paychecks just won't cover it, and I can't make them stretch. And it just doesn't allow me much in the way of possibilities. Not, to be sure, for Things. (I don't need more things. I've got plenty.) But heading out into the world. To MAL, to CLAW, to Inferno, to Florida, to Southern California, to Europe. Heck, a trip down to Philadelphia (parking: $14; coatcheck: $6; water and Red Bull: $12; gas: $15) seems out of range many weekends.

And gosh... returning to the world of non-profit management? Didn't I swear off that? Didn't I post here endlessly about never being chained to a desk again?

Well... yeah.

But here's the deal. I was burned out. It was harsh. I just couldn't approach things with any gusto. Two years in the blue collar world, working side-by-side with blue collar men, has taught me a lot. About focus. About always always always doing your best. About what it means to stand behind your work. About being part of a team. About looking always for opportuninties to shine. About the conviction and going with your gut, even when you're not sure of yourself.

And I've got a lot of skills. There are a lot of things that I'm really really good at, and many of them are valuable in the non-profit world. It's time to put them to work.

A conversation I had with the Baron von Philadelphia was a turning point, too. He observed that I am in what amounts to my prime earning years. I'm seasoned. I'm a known quantity. I've mastered many aspects that young'uns--despite their boundless energy--haven't yet. I've got to take advantage of that now, because it won't always be the place. Sometime in the future, when things aren't so rosy, then will be the time to stand aside and let some young buck have his or her shot, and I can go off and work with my hands.

And that makes sense.



New man in my life. New job. Significantly enhanced income. It could be a good year.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

And Then Bang!

So, y'know... let's say you're in a dry spell. Like, it's been a long, long time since anything worthwhile has come your way. And, not like you've given up hope, but you just sorta are putting your attention in other areas. And doing your best to rationalize it all away.

But then, maybe you're trawling around on the internet, and this guy flags you down, right?

And let's say you pull up his profile, and right away... the pic he has posted... it's like, Woof! What a looker! And for a change, he's not in Antwerp or Ypsilanti or Guerneville or Brisbane, but up in NYC. Which is, like, doable, right?

And then, you read his profile. And he's submissive. But not in a goofy way. Just in a on-the-level, no-bones-about-it way. Know what I mean? And you're like, 'Cool.'

And so you start the whole deal of typing back and forth at each other. The mutual admiration thing gets going. And right away, you guys decide that you oughtta meet, right?

Okay. So then comes the part where you talk on the phone for the first time. Make or break, right? I mean, hot pic and all, but what if he has the same vocal inflections as your Aunt Helen? That would be a disaster, right? Total deal breaker. Like totally.

So you call him, or maybe he calls you, and his voice is like... Well, it's a great voice. A little bit of a cowboy twang to it even. But well spoken. Chooses his words well.

And so you're like blah-blah-blah, yakkity-yak-yak, and he's like blah-blah-blah, yakity-yak-yak, and then he says this great thing. He goes, "Well, let's not wordsmith this into oblivion. We'll talk more when we meet."

And so you're like, "Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Cool. Till then."

So let's say it's like The Week Of, y'know? And you're getting your hopes up. And you hate that! Cuz like Buddhists say, "Expectations bring misery." And you know all about disappointment at this stage of the game, right?

I mean, it's all about connection. And the connection is there or it's not. And so often, it's like, on the internet, you're just typing up a frenzy, but then you meet the guy and it's like, "Hey. What's up. Cool. Yeah. Good to meet you, too." Right? Right??? And of course, when for him it's all about "Yes! He has a pulse! He's perfect!" then it gets all weird and complicated. But anyway, you're counting down the days. You're trying for balance. To be really chill about the whole thing.

But all the time, you can't help thinking... Y'know?

And so like, y'know how a lot of times you'll get into that weird frame of mind where you're almost psyching yourself out before the fact? Running through in your mind a list of all the reasons why he'll meet you and think, "Eh... Next!"? Well get this: let's say that this time, there's just none of that. You just... Well... You're just not in that headspace this time around...

Okay. So like, the day of. Big Day is here! Let's say that because he has a prior engagement that night, you plan to get there early and leave around six p.m., so it's really a day you're spending together, right?

And you're just feeling Good about the whole thing. But still, you're pulling up his profile again and again (Whoa! He posted some more pics! And they're really good... Damn... Is that neck cleavage? Does he have neck cleavage...?) And you're like looking for something you missed, right?

Oh. And say you're getting these reports from him. Cuz you gave him this list of things to do. Stuff like:

•Make sure his apartment is around 80 degrees when you arrive; (Did you know that 81°F. is the perfect temperature for being naked/ Truth! If it's below that or above that, your body has to work to maintain a temperature of 98.6°, although if you're wearing clothes, you'll want it cooler.
•Get a nice sharp haircut;
•Be prepared to work on a pair of oil-tanned boots;
•Have some cigars waiting for you.


And imagine if all week long he's giving you updates on all of those. ("Haircut appointment for 9 a.m. Friday morning." And, like, "Got your cigars today at JR's.")

So of course you'd be like, "Whoa... This guy's good, right?"

Okay, but then, let's say that just as you're about to head out the door and go to meet the guy, there's some unaccountable delay. Like, your father decides that this is the day to write Chrismas cards. And you hope he forgets it, but he doesn't, so just when you're heading out the door, here comes your dad with the address book, right?

But finally, you manage to get on the road. And you fight traffic the whole way (on a Saturday morning? Yes. On a Saturday morning.) And all the meters in his neighborhood, let's say, have a one hour limit. So you're like "Damn!" and you stick your jeep in a garage.

And let's say you find his building easy, and you take the elevator up, and then you see him for the first time. And you're like...


Let's say it works for you.

Like, a lot.

And so let's say you spend the day together.

And it goes great.

Like, really great.

Like, you guys talk, and it's like you've know each other for years. And let's say he's really bright, a guy you could learn a lot from. And, like, let's say you're so comfortable with him. And you do a scene. Tie him up. Some stuff like that. Nothing too heavy duty on the first date, right? And it just goes perfect. And let's say you don't waste any piss the whole day.

And, like, imagine if how like, when your body is touching his body, it's like so right. It just feels really good. And you realize how long it's been since you've felt that perfect perfect feeling. Like, a really long time. Like, way too long. But now, there it is. Perfect.

And then, like, it's time for him to get to his thing, and you've gotta hit the road, and you hold him, and you say, "I've been waiting for you a long time."

And right away, you're like, "Whoa! What did I just say?"

But say he's totally cool with that. And he's like, "Yeah. I've been waiting for you."

And you just know.

And you're not sure what it is you know, but you just know.


And so, like, you drive all the way home. And you're not all bent out of shape. You're not wired. (Okay, maybe you are a little bit, but that's because you stopped at Starbucks and got a quad venti latté, okay?) But you're not going apeshit or anything. You're just... like... Like, yeah. Yeah.

And it's perfect.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

So Not Hot

Yesterday after work, and after Starbucks, I headed to the gym. I've been going way easy lately, since I'm battling a cold. And I... uh... read somewhere that men with my body type--I am an ectomorph!--have to worry about overtraining more than anything else. It's about short, focused workouts with heavy weights. Or something. Not like I'm any closer to breaking 190 or anything.

Anyway, the plan was stretching, chest, steamroom, and shaving. Stretching was great. But stretching is always great. And did a good chest workout; great pump and all. So then it was time for the the steamroom. I headed for the lockerroom and right off the bat, I hit the button and got the steam going. (I like a mature steam.)

Doffed my clothes, stashed them in my locker, and took a nice shower. As I was coming out of the shower, I noticed this guy, carrying a newspaper, heading towards the steamroom.

Uh oh.

I hate sharing the steamroom.

O that it were only that.

In the steamroom, I found a guy sitting on the bench, with the steam off, reading the paper.

I repeat: With the steam off.

I went into a tailspin. And quicky.

I plopped down next to him, trying to figure out how to play this. Like, "'Scuse me, mind if I turn the steam on for a bit, warm it up in here?"

Of course he'd mind, I reasoned, you can't have a newspaper in the steamroom.

Okay. Surely he'd realize that the temperature was dropping. The steamroom is generally blazing hot. Already, it was sort of like getting into a car parked in the sun on a July afternoon. And the temperature was dropping.

Time passed. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes.

He finished up the sports section (of USAToday, of course) and headed into the business pages.

Now, that's just plain rude!

With my finger, next to me on the bench, I inscribed R-U-D-E. Then I-N-C-O-N-S-I-D-E-R-A-T-E. Then A-S-S-H-O-L-E.

Twenty minutes. Twenty-five minutes.

By now, the steamroom wasn't much more than balmy.

At this point, I was boiling. Saying something was off the table. I didn't trust myself. "Excuse me, Buddy! I hope you don't mind if I put the steam on just for a minute... By gosh, it's not much warmer in here than it is out in the lockerroom! So, would that be okay, you stupid worthless sack of vomitus? You plague upon humanity! You mindless inconsiderate perfect storm of idiocy!!"

But I had to get going. My father must have his dinner! I threw in the towel, so to speak, and headed out to shave. I was just about to lather up when my steamroom buddy emerged.

I couldn't help noticing that he didn't have his paper with him.

A ha! Got him. I visualized retrieving his soggy paper from the steamroom and presenting it to him in the lockerroom, saying something saccharine like, "Oh excuse me, you left your paper in the steamroom!"

But no sooner had I formulated the plan than he peed and headed back in for round two.

He'll pay for this. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day. He's going to pay for this.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Worth A Thousand Words

A while ago, I posted on the phenomenon of guys illustrating their online profiles with pictures of themselves flipping a bird at the camera. (I click close right then and there. Nuts to you, too, Buddy.) And a long long time ago, I wrote about the odd frequency that profile pics in the buff are taken in the bathroom. (I figured that mystery out! They want to see how they look in the mirror, and that's where the mirror is.)

Here's a new one I've noticed. There's this... uh... thing going on. These pictures of guys, either naked or scantilly clad, like chaps or whatever, outside in the snow.

What's up with that? Hot to be cold? I fail to understand.

Hottie Alert

Oh man. The star of Kitchen Confidential on Fox, Bradley Cooper, is totally smokin'! I would definitely be up for cooking up something with him.

Bless You!

A thought I had on my drive home from work/Starbucks tonight, as the first flakes of snow were falling.

I'm not alone in my belief that in SM, we are approaching something sacred and holy. It's transformative, we feel ourselves to be a part of something greater to ourselves, and we touch something beyond words.

With me so far?


Now theologically, an action like this is referred to as a "sacrement." A sacred act. In some traditions, sacrements are specifically listed, and their forms are prescribed. Think Baptism, Marriage, Last Rites, the Lord's Supper.

Here's the insight: with the prescribed forms of any sacrement, there are a couple of common elements: one is that the person receiving the sacrement is charged with a mission. And the other is that it comes with a benediction, or blessing.


I think that's pretty cool.

So if we really really wanted to get technical about it, the sacred scenes we do are--most of'em--incomplete. The charge and the blessing are either merely implied or missing altogether.

So what if we change that? What if, the next time you whip some lucky bottom, or bind him or her with your ropes, or nourish him or her with your piss, or send him or her to seventh heaven with needles piercing the skin, you prepare yourself, when all is said and done, when you're both sitting their sweated, stars in your eyes, grinning like fools at each other, to impart a blessing? Like, "From now on, you're heart will never break again," or "I will always be in your corner," or, "I will hold you in my heart forever," or, "No more will you be troubled by self-doubt."

And the mission. It might be good for the bottom to think up what the mission might be. What he or she will take into the world, and offer as a gift henceforth. C'mon, you've just received a great gift, and with every gift comes a task. Read your mythology! "When you (I) leave this Holy Place and go out into the world, I will try to ease the pain of the first suffering person whom God places in my path." "I will show kindness and compassion to the next person who treats me with malice and spite." "I will spend time with someone who is lonely."

And hey, who says the bottom can't turn around and offer a blessing to the sublime sadist who gave of himself (or herself)? And if the Top wants the scene to really mean something, think hard about what task you might take on.

As with sacrements as they are understood in the religious sense, that extends the scene well beyond the sconce- and eye-bolt festooned walls of the dungeon. And out into a cold, cold world. And deeply into your life.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Banned In New Jersey!

As in, me.

Yesterday, I was making a trip into NYC. An overnighter, so I dropped off Faithful Companion at doggie lock-up, then got on the road. The route that I usually take is head up River Road and cross the river into Frenchtown, New Jersey, head up Route 513, and twelve miles into New Jersey, I pick up I-78, and it's a straight shot to the Holland Tunnel.

So there I was, coming out of Frenchtown. As you come up the hill, it's a nice straight road. And a speed trap. As I found out. The cop pulled me over for doing 51 in a 40 mile an hour zone. I said, "Forty? Are you sure? I thought it was forty-five back there?"

"Well," he said, "that still puts you at six miles an hour over the speed limit."


So he takes my license, insurance card, and registration, and goes back to his car to write me up.

And then he comes back. "Are you aware," he asks, "that your driving privileges have been revoked in the State of New Jersey?"

Say what?

I was informed that because I had failed to pay a parking ticket in Jersey City, New Jersey, the State of New Jersey is empowered to forbid me to drive on their highways and byways.

I'm banned in New Jersey.

The police officer asked if there was someone I could call to pick me up, since he couldn't let me drive. Because I was in New Jersey.

Say what?

Of course there's nobody I could call. My dad doesn't drive at this point, and even if he did, the idea of directing him to Frenchtown, New Jersey... Heaven help us all.

At this point, I started to get verrrrry worried, picturing myself walking back to Pennsylvania. So I started to get all beggy and pleady. And, yeah, mentioned... umm... the fact that I'm taking care of my eighty-year-old-home-bound father. It just slipped out.

So Officer Hupka (that was really his name) was feeling generous. He told me that he would follow me to the bridge and I wasn't allowed back in New Jersey until I get those Jersey City parking tickets resolved. So that's what we did. I drove, slowly, with the squad car following behind me, down to the bridge. He sat there and watched me drive onto the bridge and out of New Jersey.


I'll miss New Jersey. It will now take me about seven hours to get to New York. No more Jersey Shore in the summer time. And I had such a blast at the Mr. New Jersey Leather contest in Asbury Park.

Okay. So I'll give money I don't have to resolve the parking ticket problem, and I'll be able to go to New Jersey again. Like, to my trial on the charges of speeding on December 20th.

But what is going on with me? This stuff never used to happen to me. What is going on with this string of bad luck? I mean, c'mon! Is there a message here? Something I'm doing wrong? It's gotta break though. Something's gotta give.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Special Day!

...And you missed it! Probably.

Y'see, Wednesday, November 30th, was the Feast of Saint Andrew.

And you're thinking, "Soooo... Like... I'm not scots."

Yeah yeah yeah. He's the patron saint of Scotland (his relics supposedly ended up there), and of Russia (he supposedly made a pilgrimage there). The New Testament tells us he was a fisherman (he's patron of anglers, too), and was the brother of fellow Apostle Simon Peter, and was a follower of John the Baptist before he was one of Jesus' disciples.

Okay. That's where it starts to get good. A follower of John the Baptist. When I was thinking of becoming a Benedictine Monk (long story), one of the things that alarmed and enthralled me was that I would be asked to take a new name in religious life. No longer would I be Drew, but I'd become... some saint's name. I toyed with the idea of the gender-bending Boniface (hid out in a convent disguising himself as a nun for decades), and I sort of liked Drogo, who was a Belgian shepherd, but thought that sounded a wee bit like some martian assasin that Ming the Merciless would send after Flash Gorden). And so I settled on John the Baptist. (I was a francophile then, so even though they were English Benedictines, I'd opt for Jean-Baptiste.)

Why John the Baptist?

Duh! How cool was John the Baptist? He was totally Out There! Running around in the desert (!) wearing goat skin (kinda like the biblical equivalent of chaps if you ask me), eating locusts and wild honey, and calling the elite of his day vipers. And doing that thing, dunking people in the Jordan River. Probably naked, right? Long time readers of Singletails will remember the poem I wrote for Special Guy way back when in the early months of this blog, a homoerotic meditation on John baptizing Christ. (Damn I wish I could meet a man who would inspire me to write poetry again.)

So anyway, Andrew was probably something of a wildman disciple. Maybe taking out the old goatskin and putting it on now and then.

But here's the kicker. Obviously. He was martyred by pagans who lashed him to a saltire, an X-shaped cross. He preached, from the cross, for a few days before he died.

See? The Saint Andrew's Cross!

What looks as good as a man lashed to a Saint Andrew's Cross? For how many of us did installing that cross mark a major transition in our lives? Remember the first time you stretched out your arms, your mouth dry, breathing hard, anticipating your first whipping or flogging or whatever?

So here's my recommendation. I think we should add a little something to the list of things that Andrew is patron of. Namely, SM. SM needs a patron saint! If he can watch out for those fishermen, he can look after all of this, too.

Oh, another bit of Andrew lore involves marriage. If a woman sleeps naked on Saint Andrew's day, she will dream of the man she'll marry (say some germans). And an unmarried woman should note where she hears a barking dog on St. Andrew's night, because her future husband will come from that direction (say some scots). And english children have some nutty thing they do with floating tea cups. Same deal though.

So Andrew is already all about looking for that big connection. He wants to see it happen. And Connection is what we're all about, right folks?

Here's our little Prayer To Saint Andrew...

Saint Andrew, fisherman who became a fisher of men,
guide us on the path we follow, as we seek intensity, intimacy,
excellence, and exhilaration; may your cross always mark for us
a transition to a new life; send us dreams always of the one who
will come and change our lives, giving us a future unimaginable.

Blessed Saint Andrew: Pray For Us.