Sunday, July 30, 2006

Waiting... Waiting...

What a good weekend!

When I got home on Friday night, there was an email for me from one of the folks at the Possible New Job. They were requesting three professional references. Now that couldn't not be a good sign. My references, carefully chosen, are the former director of operations at the woodshop where I work, my number two guy at the needle exchange in NYC I used to run, and none other than Senator Sunshine. With two of the three--the former director of operations is a pussycat and a huge fan of mine--the Possible New Job can count on an unvarnished assessment of the best and the worst of me.

And that's my perspective. I want them to be able to make the best decision possible for the organization. Although I'm hoping, of course, that includes hiring me.

Oh man. I want this job.

On Saturday, it was all about softball. The Ball Breakers have made the playoffs! Hope against hope, we managed to pull it off. The way the playoffs work is double elimination. You keep on playing until you lose two games, and then that's it for you for the season. The first team facing us was the Hellcats. We love the Hellcats! They're a great team, all about having fun like we are, and they work hard. But then, we were going up against Fusion. Fusion is the second best team in the division. Every time we were scheduled to face them, we got rained out. So we had no idea what we were up against. Except that if anyone were betting on the game, the smart money would be on the Fusion. And finally, we were going up against Super G. (Ech.) Our opinion of Super G is colored by the presence on their team of this... this... guy. He's abominable. Now, you want to support your team from the bench. For the Ball Breakers, that means making some noise from the bench, calling out words of encouragement. "All the way May!" "Base hit, Buddy, Base hit!" "You're a hitter!" That kind of thing. But the Super G guy seems to spend the other six days of the week thinking up these rococo cheers for his teammates. One year, there was a woman on his team named 'Luna,' and every time she was up at bat there was this chorus of "Luna! Luna! To the Moon-a!" and there was more. It went on and on. And on. And on.

We managed to pull it out against the Hellcats. And had a great time doing it. At the end of the game, when we lined up and went down the line wishing them all 'good luck,' it was heartfelt. And the obligatory cheer, "Good Game Hellcats!"... We meant that.

Because of construction with the Battery Park Underpass, I was late getting to the fields in Prospect Park. (The guy in charge of the BPU reconstruction must have a meth problem. I've been through it, and it's gorgeous. They're done. But there's this guy, totally tweaking, "No no no! I want you to use these dental picks to clean the grout between the tiles! And look at this gravel in the roadway... Sweep that up! And soembody please make sure that the wattage is identical on all of the! And there can be no bugs in here at all! Do I make myself clear?") So I didn't get to play against the Hellcats.

But I was on the roster for the game against the Fusion. I was EP, so I wasn't in the field, just in the batting order. My first time at bat, I relaxed, got grounded, two balls went by me, I think a strike was called on me, and then the ball just came floating towards me, perfect. This was mine. I swung, I connected, and it was a great hit. I haven't hit the ball so nicely in a game in a very long time. Tragically, the guy at bat after me didn't get such a good hit. But still, I'm fast as hell. But since his ball landed about ten feet from second base... The shortstop threw the ball, but the second baseman bobbled! I slid! (Well, I kinda slid. I dropped to my butt, both legs extended. And I swear, I hit the base (sending it sliding away from me) before the second baseman caught the ball and tagged the base. But, alas, the umpire didn't see it that way. As I got up and headed back to the dugout, I realized that dropping to the ground on your ass hurts. Ow! I'll spend some time in the off season practicing sliding.

My hits after that were good, but not great. But I managed to get on first every time, got a nice rbi, and had the exhilaration of running across home plate.

And... And... We beat the Fusion! We worked like hell for that. It truly was the Ball Breakers finest hour. Even our coach got close to teary eyed--as if he had a human heart or something--when he told us how proud he was of us.

And gosh. There we are. Four months ago, we were pretty much strangers to one another. There were a few guys such as myself from last year, but mostly, it was all new guys. And we had it hard early on, not knowing each other, not being sure that when you threw the ball in from the outfield that your cut off man would be able to catch it. Which might, in part, account for our lousy record in the first half seven eighths of the season.

There's this odd quality to softball. You have these experiences--pulling it out at the last minute, making it through a tough loss, coaching, encouraging--and even though it might be completely novel, it's somehow familiar. Familiar to be sure. They're experiences shared by anyone who's ever competed. I have no doubt that gladiators in ancient Rome could relate.

Last but not least, there was our game with Super G. (We decided the "G" stood for "Gonorrhea," and soon we were calling them "Super Strain." As in, "We must defeat the Super Strain!" And the guy was as annoying as ever.

Okay okay okay. Cutting to the chase. We lost. They beat us. But totally not by much. The score was like 5-1. And the last time they beat us, the score was something like 33 to 4.

And guess what! Since we were playing in Prospect Park, the jewel of the People's Republic of Brooklyn, and easily accessible to Manhattan, UnFortunate came out to cheer on the Ball Breakers and join in the general festivities. Afterwards, he walked me to my car.

Man, lemme tell you. I miss Brooklyn. Even though I lived there it was during my relationship with the Awful Ex, I sure loved Brooklyn. And I have to admit, being there sure felt like a visit to home.

On the drive home--and this is totally why I love roadtrips--I had a really great idea of what I could do if indeed I get the Possible New Job. I mean, it was truly inspired, if I do say so myself.

Had a meet-up with a guy from Worldleathermen that night at the Bike Stop. He had just driven down from Syracuse NY (which he somehow thought was a hop, skip, and a jump from Philadelphia), and I was beat after all that driving and softball, so it was little more than a 'hey how goes it' kind of thing.

Today, I managed to get the kayak loaded onto my jeep. And I'll sure need it with the impending heatwave.

And tomorrow it's back to work. And somewhere out there in the world, there will be phone conversations about me. And a decision will be made.

Meanwhile, I wait.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Oh Right. I'm So Sure You're Wondering What This Post Is Going To Be About. Big Mystery! What Could It Be? What What What? Hmmmm... Think Really Hard. Let Me Know What You Come Up With.

Those Sadists! They're gonna make me sweat it out through the weekend!

Yeah yeah yeah. Ridiculous to assume that they'd call me the very next day or something. But I kind of had hope.

Instead, I've been obsessing! Filling up my head with dire ideas, replaying the whole thing again and again in my head... I couldn't even be distracted by this sweetfaced Starbucks boy with a great ass who was smoking his first cigar. Right there! In front of me! (Okay, so maybe I got a little distracted thinking about grabbing him, chaining him up, driving him up to NYC, and whoring him out for $5 a lay. $10 for the first time since it would be busting his cherry.) But I was right back to trying to figure out what my chances are.

At least this allowed me to take a break from wondering about the man from the hot tub.

Since I've bent the Baron's ear on this issue way too much, I decided to spread things out and I gave a call to UnFortunate.

And that was great! He let me run on and on about the whole thing, talking about it from every possible angle, and even got me off the subject once or twice.

Like to have this revelation... (I swear I'm not this self-absorbed! I'm not! I guess it's the result of spending so much time in rooms full of people talking about myself.) anyway, y'know how in so many romantic comedies it comes to pass that the guy tries and tries to get the girl of his dreams, and all the time he's plotting and whining to his girl buddy, and at the end of the movie, he realizes that the woman he was after is wrongwrongwrong, but that his girl buddy... well, suddenly he's looking at her in a whole new way!

That totally doesn't make sense to me. I don't fall in love with people I know. Not friends, not co-workers, not friends of friends.

Pretty obvious what that's about, right? Duh! I'm projecting my fantasies and desires on the guy! And that doesn't work if you've already got the skinny on him. Now, that might make me a romantic, but not a hopeless one. Because as I do find out about the guy, as actual facts supplant my projections, it just makes the experience deeper and richer.

So you if you want me, you need to get me while I'm I'm feeling it, when you first catch my eye. Act fast, before it's too late.

Because for me, of course, romance is license to dream. I stand there in the bar, looking at the guy, and in my head I'm forty years in the future, looking through a photo album of our life together. Here's the time we went to Montreal for Christmas! Here's us when we took that trip through the Sonoran Desert! Here's the one I took of him when we were lying in bed on Sunday drinking coffee and reading the Times. Here's him in the bubble bath I drew for him when he had the flu.


Hot tub guy, I swear. I have a hell of a lot to offer. Take a chance and see for yourself.

And you, Philadelphia non-profit! I'm pretty crushed out on you, too! I'm dreaming dreams. Imaginging how good I could be for you, and how good you could be for me, and the places we'd go together, and the things that we could do together.

C'mon Philadelphia non-profit. Take a chance. Let's see where we can go together.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wait For It

Had the interviews today. And things went pretty well. In the morning, I met with the staff. And I think that overall, we had a good time together. We chatted for almost two hours. And I really liked them. They were bright, energetic, and passionate about the work that they were doing.

Such a huge difference from the other Philadelphia non-profit I interviewed with last winter. They were all about whine whine whine. Sour faces all around. I was out of there just before noon, so I headed down to Center City. A frisson of excitement coursed through me when I realized that I. Goldberg's--the world's greatest military surplus store where I've been buying boots since I was in high school--was actually open! And so I went on a $35 shopping spree, emerging with two shirts and three new pairs of pants. No joke. Then I caught lunch at a sushi place with reasonable prices, and--whaddya know--found a Starbucks. The hours rolled by, and I headed back to the hood for the second interview with the full board of directors.

Again, things went well. The folks I had met last Thursday wre warm and welcoming, a guy on the board greeted me with a smile and a handshake, as we'd met at a conference years ago and he knew me by reputation. (Cool, right?) The interview with the board was pretty good, although I have to admit, at this point I was a little low energy. I don't know that it showed though.

And now, they meet and talk and decide. And once they decide, I'll get a phone call. Either way.

With things like this, it's never a sure thing. If you've ever been on jury duty you know that when a group of people get together in a room and make a unanimous decision about something, there's no predicting which way it's going to come out. (Especially if one of the people in the room is a persuasive contrarian given to seeing a different side of any question like me.)

But I think I have a lot of reason to hope. I'm looking forward to getting the phone call.

But for now, I'm just waiting.

Oh! And the guy from the hot tub called me to tell me that he kept his fingers crossed all day for me and my interviews! Wasn't that sweet? Isn't that thoughtful? (I know I know I know. I lap up the tiniest affectionate gestures like a kitten and a bowl of milk. Mostly because with him, I never know if it's the last meal I'll get.")


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cross Fingers. Light Candles. Make Offerings To The Gods.

Second round of interviews is this Thursday. In the a.m., I meet with the staff. In the p.m., I meet with the full board. My deduction is that there's one other person I'm up against, so my chances must be in the neighborhood of 50/50. And those aren't bad odds.

Nervous? A little. But just because it would be so great.

But more confident than nervous. I'd be really good. It would work well.

And that guy... The guy from the hot tub...

He was unavailable all weekend. Which made me a little crazy. For a little while, I had just about convinced myself that I'd been fired. (As the kids say.) But then I get this sweet, wonderful email from him waiting for me when I got home from work on Monday. When he called me 'Daddy,' I just melted.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Up Date

So. The interview. The date. How'd everything go?

The interview went great. At least, I did nothing wrong, and I think I did a lot right. I didn't see their eyes glazing over or the drumming of their fingertips on the table. And I really liked them. And I liked the place, too. Just the feel of it. They seem like a good organization, and I think I'd enjoy working there.

And then the date.

Oh man. Of course I had a good time. I found my way to his apartment, he got changed, we drove down to Chinatown to have Chinese food. We talked and talked the whole time. About real stuff. Life, values, change. We talk as though we've known each other for years.

And that, of course, is the problem.

The friend of a friend once observed, "Ever notice how the person in a relationship who gives the least has the most power?"

And I hate that this is making me think of those damnig words, but... well...

I like the guy so much. I almost wish he would do something wrong. Like make me spend an evening watching his Britney Spears video collection or something. So I could manage to back off. But instead, he just keeps doing things right.

It's been a long, long time since I met a man who I connected with like this. I'm really stuck on the guy.

I call him. He calls me back.

I know I know I know! Whatever, right? It's like I get an all expenses paid trip to Paris and I complain because I don't get to see the Cubs play Atlanta. But I have to admit, it's getting me a little crazy. Because I swear, the last time I noticed this was during the Mr. Bigshot Hollywood Producer episode. And I swear, I can't go through that again. I just can't.

But it puts me in such a tough position. It's like, "Oh! I know! I'll hold off and let him make the next move!" Ri-i-i-ight. That would involve me torturing myself, checking my cellphone and email every eleven minutes or so, and then finally breaking down and giving him a call and being like, "Oh. Hi. How goes it."

Okay. Enough. Grow up, dammit!

Here's the deal.

First off, he has a lot of stuff going on in his life. He needs somebody to talk to. He needs to know that sombeody out there is thinking about him. And especially in these matters, it's better to give than to receive.

But most importantly, during those long long drought periods, I promised myself how many times that if I ever got the opportunity again, I would give it my all.

So I can do this.

I'll be there. I'll be strong.

And if it turns out that he just doesn't feel it, that I just don't make it work for him, that will be okay, too.

But if he wants what I have to offer, then he'll be a verrry lucky man.

So we'll see.

And who knows? Maybe the phone will ring and it will be him, just calling to talk. Maybe I'll get an email where the subject line doesn't start with "RE:" saying to cancel my plans for Friday night or whatever. Maybe, the next time we're together, he'll turn to me and say, "Y'know, you're a really great guy. I like you a lot." Something like that.

Damn that would be sweet.

And, of course, scary. So that would be a whole new chapter.


Instigator is just not working for me. Noticed it with the last issue, but definitely with the latest issue.

First on my gripe list... the writing is just so not good. I have a hard time getting through a paragraph. It might as well be legal papers in a contract dispute. I keep having to look back at the title of the piece to remember what I'm reading. And then, of course, there's the Personal Pronoun Issue. Count down the words in each article from the first until you get to "I." I swear that I sure don't remember that being a situation I ran into very often in Drummer. (If you wanna write in the first person, you should do a weblog, Boss!)

And the magazine's editorial point of view so often reminds me of drunk guys I try to avoid in bars: all about tearing down, but not a lot of building up. They're Down Down Down on the Leather establishment (or whatever you'd want to call it) and all about "Hard Tribe," which other than some vague text and some (exceptionally wonderful) artwork by Axel, doesn't really offer a lot of information. I guess it's everybody on the guest list of their last party. And for chrissake, guys! Of course I realize that you pay the bills by advertising, but do you really have to expend so much space on trying to sell me clothes? (Duh! Ever'buddy knows if you don't try it on before buying it you're wasting your hard earned scratch.) Some of us out here are verrrry concerned about the commodification of something pure and beautiful and real, that we call BDSM.

But here's what really cheeses me off: In the most recent issue, I run across the banner headline, "The Death of "Safe Sex"!!!" Well that sure piques my interest. But my blood sure starts to boil as I geet the drift of things: plastering a new name on an old idea.

Oh yeah right. I'm sure all the guys at Instigator use a condom every time. There in the backroom of wherever, going down on that hot boy, they conscientiously put the condom over the boy's throbbing tool before they put their lips around it. And for quiet evenings at home with their longterm boyfriends? Why of course they make sure they've got a good supply of rubbers on hand. And you can be sure that they always fist with latex gloves. Why, there's not a milisecond of masculine intimacy that doesn't have a latex barrier between the two, three, or fourteen of them. And guess what? It's always been that way! Every single time since 1986. And it always will be that way. In every single sexual experience for the rest of their lives. "Use a condom every time!" Yeah! Love that!

And it's so much more palatable now that the guys at Instigator have decide that instead of Safe Sex, we should now call this "Smart Sex."

Why... That's brilliant! I totally wanna do that always!

Oh! Oh! And they also give david stein the credit with authorship of the concept of Safe Sex. P'raps someone was a wee bit tipsy during that conversation and unable to grasp some details, but david stein came up with "Safe Sane and Consensual" as a way of distinguishing between SM, which should be fun, and abuse, which can mean a trip to the ER. "Safe Sex," on the other hand, was created by Michael Callen in his 1986 essay "How To Have Sex During An Epidemic," that affirmed the joy and wonder of sex, but figured out a way to get your rocks off and not have six months left to live.

And that was great! And saved countless lives! Take it from me, a guy who was just exploring having sex with men back in those days, it was a beautiful thing.

But times change, and more than the name of the concept needs to be updated. HIV prevention among gay men is not so simple. And there was no one in the world who would down with always and without exception having a rubber between me and thee. What, in fact, all of us do is find a level of risk we can live with. And take responsibility for the choices we make and the chances we take. Of course, it would be a great thing if we had better information to go on. But tragically, the guys doing HIV prevention work haven't done much thinking beyond "Use A Condom Every Time." And thus, we've got that barebacking thing going on. (Thank the Lord!) I mean, Gosh! Remember when what we now called "barebacking" was what we called "having sex"?

Oh, Instigator. C'mon guys.

You're absolutely at your best when you're getting all obsessive about what gets your dicks hard, seeing the world in a new way and putting it into words so the rest of us can share your perspective. And y'know why writing hot porn is really hard? Because there's only so many ways to describe the insertion of a penus in the anal sphincter. It was solving that riddle again and again and again and again (and again!) that enabled Drummer to launch the careers of a million pervy men. I bet you could trace the Big Overarching Fantasy of most of us back to an article in Drummer all those years ago.

I'm rooting for you, Instigator, really I am.

Just Wondering...

Although I'm a sucker for reality television in general--the third season of Project Runway being the current favorite--I've never gotten into American Idol. It just doesn't work for me.

Seeing the latest winner--whatever his name is--on the Ford commercial sure makes me wonder: is he deranged? Somehow mentally impaired? What's with that?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ch... Ch... Changes

Job interview next week. Not counting the chickens before they're hatched or anything. Not getting my hopes up. I know how these things go. (Despite the fact that I did this job for five years, it's so much more a matter of fit. Of vision. A certain je ne sais quois.

But still.

Right now, I work in Doylestown, seven miles away from home, and pretty much divide my time between there and home.

But what if things work out well with the guy from the hot tub? And what if I get this job down in Philadelphia?

See what I'm saying?

I don't think the implications have sunk in for my father yet.

But I'm sure they will.

Oh No. Not Again.

At the supermarket. Picking up some stuff to make fish chowder for dinner tonight. As I'm walking from my car, I see this cute little blond girl, about three or four years old, watching my approach through the plate glass windows. I smiled at her, and, the little minx, she stuck out her tongue at me.

So of course, I stuck out my tongue back. She laughed and stuck out her tongue again. I gave her my tongue again, and threw in some googley eyes and head movement for good measure.

And I looked up to see the cashier, same one from the Clifford The Big Red Dog incident, staring at me. This time, her mouth was hanging open in disbelief.

Luckily, there was another cashier working when it came time to pay.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

No He Di'nt!

Yeah he did!

So the hot tub guy and I talked on the phone last night. (Okay. So we have had a few phone calls. And some emails. And even a couple of text messages. Yeah. It's going on.)

A-a-a-a-a-a-anyway, last night we were doing the blah-blah-blah thing, me sitting out on the screened in porch, listening to the night sounds, watching fireflies, and seeing the golden glow of the rising moon caught in the big oak tree across the street, and he said It.

Forget what we were talking about exactly, but out he comes with "I'd love to learn to weld."


He really said that.

It's a good thing I was sitting down, because I would have had to pick myself off the floor otherwise.

But I recovered quickly, coming back with "I'll teach you how to weld, Buddy"

And I think he wasn't expecting that. And was maybe a little floored himself.

I... I... I... Let's just say there's a reason I haven't picked out a nom de blog for this guy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Do I Need A New Supermarket?

So tonight, stopping off for groceries at SuperFresh StoopidFresh, there at the checkout counter, I was asked if I had my bonus card.

"Of course!" I answered, "I never leave home without my bonus card!"

Y'know, just me being palsy. Everybody's buddy. Making friends wherever I go.

As I searched my wallet, it registered at some level that I wasn't hearing any kind of response from the young woman ringing me up. I glanced up at her. And recognized her. She was the one who was working the register during the infamous Clifford The Big Red Dog incident.

And she had this look on her face, approximately saying, "You've just confirmed everything I suspected about you. That's all I need to know."

Okay. Whaddyawant from me. I'm a nutjob. I'll own it.

Monday, July 10, 2006


My Bush-votin', Bible-thumpin' buddy from work just returned from a missions trip with his church to Grenada (Remember? That place we invaded back in the '80s.) And, good guy that he is, he brought me back a present: a jar of hot pepper jelly. For the unitiated, there is absolutely nothing better with a hot pork sandwich. It's sublime.

I guess you could say I like my pork sandwiches the way I like my men: hot and sweet.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Howl At The Moon

Yesterday, playing softball at the fields on Randall's Island, one of my teammates got all excited: "It's the parrots! It's the parrots!" he hollered, pointing overhead. Two birds, an almost irridescent green, swooped low in flight over the field then up into the trees.

He explained that they were feral green parrots, escaped from cages. Somehow these two, male and female, had found each other, and made a home on Randall's island.

Now, think about that. You're a parrot, right? You just got out of your cage, you're flying around in New York City. Your natural habitat, and all the other members of your species, are six thousand miles south of you. And yet, you manage to find a mate.

(The Ball Breakers, my team, won both games we played, and I did pretty well on the field, too.)

I was late getting up to NYC for softball, because the night before, I had a date with the guy from the hot tub at DogTopper and Zapper's First Saturday In July Dungeon Soirée. He made me dinner, a rare enough occurence. He lit candles all over his amazing apartment (an old elevator factory, overlooking the Ben Franklin Bridge and a stretch of I-95. I brought him some flowers--day lilies and lavender--that I cut from my garden.

And I came to learn that all this had been orchestrated.

He's been good friends with DogTopper and Zapper for several years. He's dated a long string of The Wrong Guys. Wrong Wrong Wrong. So apparently, he was complaining to DogTopper and Zapper, along the lines of, "Why can't I just meet a nice guy? Why is that so hard?"

And why is that so hard? Remember those feral parrots.

And DogTopper and Zapper thought of me.

And I, of course, have had my own problems meeting a nice guy, right? 2006 had been the Year Of Dating Furiously, and talking to the Baron von Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I joked that I could put together a video montage of so many Dates Gone Wrong, capturing the moment in each one when I would rather be anywhere else.

DogTopper and Zapper thought of me.

And they told him that they were having a party in a couple of weeks, and that I would be there, and that he should come.

That chance meeting in the hot tub last Saturday night? Apparently there wasn't much in the way of chance about it. It was preceeded by someone saying, "C'mon! Now's our chance!" when they saw me doffing my clothes and sliding into the water. And while hot tub guy and I sat and soaked, someone was apparently off in the nighttime shadows, shooing away interlopers.

So I'm sort of astonished at my incredible good fortune. And, I definitely owe Zapper and DogTopper a good bottle of wine.

I almost feel as though I've received absolutely difinitive proof of the existence of my Guardian Angel. One of the hardest things I've had to cope with out here in the Howling Wilderness has been the feeling of being alone. I mean, I'm not alone. I've got my dad, I've got my buddies from the porch of Starbucks, but more the feeling that nobody out there has a moment during the day when they're thinking of me fondly. That I'm forgotten out here. In my more morbid frames of mind, imagining my own funeral after some slight whiff of mortality, I wonder if there'd be anyone there. How would my friends in NYC hear about my untimely demise?

But... Well... Wrong wrong wrong. DogTopper and Zapper were thinking of me. Thinking that I was a Nice Guy. And just might be the One Good Man that their friend needed in his life.

After those particular beans were spilled--this guy is nothing if not upfront and guileless--the whole business of this being a 'first date' seemed almost perfunctory. What do I mean by that? I am pretty taken by him, and he seems pretty taken by me. He's open and receptive and affectionate, and I'm open and receptive and affectionate.

And he's such a great guy. Such a great guy. He's so handsome it's just ridiculous. And although the evening ended early, I'm given every reason to believe that in bed, he's a no-holds barred, up for anything, ferocious pig. (!) And he likes me. And I think he thinks I'm hot. And I can't help wondering if he's thinking the mirror image of what I'm thinking: what have I done to deserve this incredible good fortune?

Feral green parrots, swooping low over the ballfields on Randall's Island...

And here's another really cool thing.

Get this!

One of the games I like to play with myself, and inside joke where I'm the only one on the inside, is posing the question, "Who's cooler? Vampires or werewolves?"

And everybody--and I mean everybody--is always like, "Vampires! Totally!"

No. No no no no no no no no NO! Vampires... pales and wan, drifting around in the dark like titled nobility or untenured college Semiotics professors. Vampires indeed.

Capes? You think capes are cool? You're like, "Oh wow! Look at me! I'm wearing a cape? Aren't I cool?"


Werewolves are way cooler than vampires. There you are, going about the business of your life, but every 28 days, it's time. You take yourself away from people, off into the mountains somewhere, and get yourself ready. Before the moon even rises, you feel the bloodlust rising in you: You Want To Hunt. You Will Hunt.

The full moon rises.

Your clothes feel unbearably constricting, you shed them quickly, you transform. It's painful, your skin feels like it's on fire, your muscles ache and swell, your eyes burn, your throat feels raw as though you've been drinking lye. And the desire fills you, sweet innocent ol' you. The Beast that dwells deep in your heart--that you spend so much time and energy keeping confined and out of the way down there, looking appealingly up at the waiter and saying, "My steak is a little bit overdone, I like it rare, but I think it will be okay,"--well, it's time for The Beast to come out. He's in control now. He reigns. And He wants to Hunt.

And there you are, charging at top speed through some empty, desolate place, at top speed. Hunting. Searching for prey. Your senses are alive. You see every blade of grass, every leaf on every tree, even in the dim milky moonlight. You smell, and the taste of everything you smell is in your mouth. Rabbits, deer, possum... You consider them and hope for something better. And then you pick up that great scent: man. Your back arches, your lungs, like bellows, force from your chest a wild howl that rings out in the night, striking terror in all who hear it. You have prey.

Some lonely park ranger. Some drifter. Some camper who decided to spend a few days off on his own, trying to make sense of the mess he's made of his life. From his scent, you can tell so much, his age, his life, his habits, his emotions, how sweet his meat is going to be. As you follow his scent, it grows stronger and stronger, giving you more information. It's intoxicating, his sweat, his spit, his piss... Stronger and stronger and stronger... Till the scents are fresh! Almost overpowering to your senses, and you learn a new piece of information, now, he's afraid. Fear escapes every pore of his body. He knows you're out there in the dark, hunting him, he knows now that he's prey.

Your pursuit becomes stealthy, you slow, your ears attune to the slightest sound... and sure enough, you can hear him, his labored breathing, as he whispers a prayer of desparation. Every movement of yours now is like ballet, slow, silent...

And then you see him, sitting against the trunk of a massive pine tree, his chest heaving, his eyes searching the darkness, his face a mask of terror.

He's yours.

You get nearer and nearer, closing in on him. Slowly, taking your time, you emerge from the underbrush... He sees you instantly, he screams, but it's too late. You spring, flying through the air, his throat is in your jaws, your teeth tear his flesh, and his scream is stifle. The taste of his blood fills your mouth, sweet, hot, quenching and satisfying. You feast on this man, your prey, pulling the muscles that served him so well in his life from his bones. His strength feeds you, because of his sacrifice, you grow stronger, and will live to hunt another night.

Not quite sated--stay lean, stay hungry--you are finished. You leave this carcase that was a man, licking his drying, sticky blood from your paws and your jaws. There, floating over the trees, is the full moon. Almost laughing, so happy, you raise your head, and sound forth with a howl of triumph. The night is yours.

And then, to your surprise, off in the distance, your howl is answered by another, low pitched, almost tentative, but rising, rising.

You answer. You get a reply. You mark the direction, and head towards it, stopping now and then to pierce the night with another howl of yours, and the other, the other one like you, is moving in your direction, the two of you get closer and closer...

Yeah. Werewolves. So much cooler than those effete vampires.

So this guy, he loves werewolves. At the gay campground where he has a cabin, for Hallowe'en a couple of years ago, he got himself a werewolf mask. He planned to run naked through the woods, on the periphery of the party, wearing the mask, watching, now and then giving a howl. But it was freezing cold that night. But he still has the mask.

I am astonished at my good fortune.

Tomorrow night, July 10th, is a full moon. Stay home. Lock your doors.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Someone's Making Dinner For Me. For A Change.

So it's set. He called. "He" being hot tub guy. He's making me dinner tomorrow night.

And I'm really excited about this.

Why? Because, while talking to him on the phone, I got the impression that he's pretty excited about me.

And that's so intoxicating. That just makes me want to dance.

I'm coming to his house for dinner, and that makes him all happy.

He's risking. He's putting himself out there. He's taking a chance on me, because he thinks I'm worth it.

I wonder if tonight, as he's going to bed, drifting off to sleep, his head will be filled with imaginings of where we might go together, what might happen if our dinner date goes really really really well. I wonder.

Because that's what I'll be doing.

Take Good Care

So why exactly do I spend so much damn time hanging out on the porch of Starbucks? Because every once in a while, an experience like this afternoon's goes down.

There we all were, and my buddy the Real Estate Mogul brought up a line of inquiry. R.E.M. is interested in setting up an intentional community (as am I), and he asked all of us what would be some good first principles. Two young people--a boy and girl, aged 18 and 17 respectively--had some really great things to offer. As did I. Great great great conversation.

But here's what just had my mind riding roller coasters...

We were talking about relationships in the community. I pointed out that in monasteries, 'particular friendships' were deemed to be bad, not because they're considered immoral or unhealthy, but because your primary relationship should be with everyone, and a particular relationship with one person in particular detracts from that. So how would it work? Would it be a rule that everyone be sexually available to everyone else? Obviously not. The young woman had some particularly wise-beyond-her-tender-years things to say about relationships. And we came up with this really exciting idea.

Y'see, one of the things we'd try to overcome in the community is possession and ownership. Things that you have that are yours exclusively would be kept to the barest minimum. What was important, we had said earlier in the conversation, was the idea of Stewardship: that you take good care of those things that you enjoy, recognizing that you won't always have them around, and that you should try to leave them better off when you no longer have them around then when you found them.

"That's what relationships should be like," said Ms. Wise-Beyond-Her-Tender-Years, "stewardship. You should enjoy it when you have it, but realize that the person isn't going to be in your life for ever, but do your best to make sure the person is better for having been with you."

There was this moment as it sunk in for all of us. And a couple of gasps were heard. And then everybody started talking at once.


Not about possession or ownership. Not about "this belongs to me" or "this is mine and not yours."


Rather, the Universe has entrusted this person to your safekeeping for a time. And your duty is not just to make sure the person is as good as you found him or her, but better. Better for the next person.

More sure of himself, because you have bolstered him and let him know just how great he is. Better able to trust, because you have been trustworthy. More compassionate, because you have shown him your fears and weaknesses. Kinder, because you have appreciated his kindness. And with more joy in his life, because you have brought him joy, and let him be your joy.


Or maybe it was just the caffeine talking.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Am The Rolling Stones

Have you heard the Stones' last album? Whaddya expect from a bunch of guys who can get the senior citizens discount at Denny's. I mean, c'mon! They've been making music for over forty years. At this point, they're the Rolling Stones. If they have a concert, then they'll pack the stadium.

Well, the album kicks serious ass. It's brilliant and heartfelt.

So why? Surely, they didn't have to expend the effort, right? I mean, they're the Rolling Stones.

This past weekend, at Zapper and DogTopper's First Saturday In July Dungeon Soirée, I felt that wonderful Zen equanimity. Balance. Being content. I express it as, "I'm here, with nothing to prove to anyone, myself included." I know what I can do, and I know what I like.

But because I know what I like, and I know my strengths, I can just pull it out.

So yeah.

I am the Rolling Stones.

Monday, July 03, 2006

No Way! Way!

Another one!

What is going on with the younger generation?

I think the Religious Right was... uh... right. Will & Grace brings homos into American living rooms and it turns kids gay!



Compared to last summer, the crew hanging out on the porch of Starbucks in Doylestown leaves much to be desired. They just lack... charm. Most of my interactions are 'Hey how goes it' and I go back to my Times.

The one who heretofore grated on my nerves the most is an apparent human car wreck whom I've been referring to as Impulse Control Disorder Boy. He does things like break a placid afternoon by bellowing "Yo! Dude!" at the top of his lungs and go running out into traffic to accost somebody who apparently knows him slightly given the somewhat befuddled reaction. And then there's his wardrobe choices. Earlier in the Spring, he took to wearing about sixty bandanas tied around his shins. For days. And I was not alone in wondering if he took them off at night and put them all back on in the morning, or was just wearing the same pants for a week.

And he's there with his antics all the time, because somehow he's cobbled his act together enough to rent an apartment right over Starbucks.

Then there was the day that he sat down at my table, drunk on beer, and blah-blah-blahed for an hour straight without stopping. No respite. No hints taken.

So. I'm totally reconsidering all this now because guess what! Impulse Control Disorder Boy is queer!

I swear! He was in a surprisingly mellow mood today, and plopped himself down at my table, shared with about six other people. First, he showed us his yoga moves. And he's like... really good. And while boasting about his uncanny flexibility, he mentioned in an off hand way, "Yeah, the guys I bed are always amazed."

Say what?

"Yeah," he elaborated. "I do guys. None of my straight friends can believe it. Until I get them drunk and get down to business with them."

So am I now seeing--let's rechristen him, 'kay?--Nature Boy in a whole new light. Taught, lean little body, huge beautiful eyes, and a face that looks like he was sculpted from wood. Very Modigliani.

And... and... he's reeeeally flexible!

And, he lives Right Upstairs From Starbucks!

And he's not in high school.

Game on!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

First Of July


As Henry James said, "The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'Summer Afternoon.'

Today, the weather is flawless. Upper eighties, the humid air buzzing with insect life. Green green green green. So lush from all the rain. I'll be spending the next couple or hours sitting out on the porch, smoking cigars, and reading the Times. Stuff to do this afternoon--putting my cage together, mounting the kayak on top of the jeep--but first this respite of sweet delight.

But first, wanted to report on the party last night.

First off, I am King of Tarts.

My Tarts rocked. They snapped them up like seals going after grunion. A bunch of tart hungry little perverts.

Here's what I did.

I made a 'basic tart shell' that I found on the internet, and when they were cool, I filled them with a "quick cream pie filling" that my stepmother used to make. Basically it's cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk whipped up into concupiscent curds.

And then I made lemon curd, that classic staple of English pastry making.

Lemon curd takes lots of whipping. It's basically eggs, sugar, and lemon juice, and you whip it in a bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove. And whip it and whip it and whip it. If you stop and the termperature goes to high, you'll get sweet, lemony scrambled eggs. And that would be bad.

I assembled the tarts, licking the spoon constantly. (So it was sort of like I frenched kissed every guy at the party. Although I kind of did that anyway. But even those I missed, I hit.)

Unfortunately, tarts are quite the project. ("wrap the ball of tart dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for two hours"(!)). And after a long week of work in the woodshop, I practically fell asleep standing up Friday night, passing out cold (nice thought, right? Me out cold... helpless... at your mercy?) around 9:30 pm. Saturday morning, my father had to go to the bank, so there was that kerfuffle. So it wasn't until about noon that I started in. And 4:00 when I had creamed the last of the tart shells. And almost six pm when I got to the First Saturday In July Dungeon Soirée at the well-appointed Pottstown digs of Zapper and DogTopper. But that was fine. Just in time for dinner!

You never quite know who is going to show up for this thing. And there are always a few pleasant surprises. This year, the most pleasant surprise, was flipping meat around on the grill wearing only a jockstrap and boots when I drove up. He's a journalist from Chicago and one of the full members (oooooooh!) of the Chicago Hellfire Club who sponsored me to be an associate member. And, on the only IML weekend I've managed to spend in Chicago, I had the honor and pleasure of whipping him. And thus did he enter the grove of immortal fame, as he has been described to me ever since as 'this guy with a hide like a rhino."

When the uninitiated ask if my whipping them will leave marks, I respond by saying I have no idea. Because it depends not so much on me but on them. Different people's skin is different. I once drew blood with a fairly moderate flogging (yesssssss), and then there was The Guy With A Hide Like A Rhino whom I whipped for a good hour, giving it all I got, and there wasn't a mark on him twenty minutes later. And there he was, manning the barbeque.


And there was Diabolique, with his mister whom I hadn't met yet, and Horowitz, and the wonderful man from Philadelphia whose sleeve tattoos depict the "vast interstellar spaces" (that's a phrase from one of the eucharistic prayers in the BCP that's rarely used, and is cattily called the "Star Trek mass" because of that phrase), and a sweet pup I met up with for Starbucks and sushi when I first moved here and who will be making his first Inferno in September, and a heavenly host of Sadists, masochists, and switches whom I know and love.

And I was there, too.

It truly nourishes and sustains me just spending time with these men. Just to sit and talk as summer day turns to summer night, eating barbequed ribs with our hands (verrry Flintstoney). More than I need to live.

And great conversation to be had, too.

studpup was a big topic of conversation. An indescribably handsome young man from England who disappeared back in April after flying to Boston for a play date. His handle on worldleathermen was studpup, and for weeks his profile bore a plea for help from his family and friends back in the UK for any information about him.

When I first read this, I couldn't help wondering if it was a scene gone wrong, or a scene gone right.

Lemme explain.

'Member the guy I whipped courtesy of BusDriver last summer? This amazing man from Mexico, who craved the whip like few men I've ever met. And I've met some real whip cravers, believe you me. But more than that, he wanted to be a slave. And not the MAsT kind of slave either. The spending-the-rest-of-his-days-chained-up-in-a-basement-next-to-a-bucket kind of slave. Total property.

I am invited to a conclave of whipsmen hosted by none other than ARt in a couple of weeks. Trying to avoid going to a gathering of most of the greatest whipsmen in the world (all of whom will have lines six deep of men eagerly offering their backs, and nobody much interested in li'l ol' me), I asked ARt if I could bring a guest, thinking of el guerrero, my Aztec warrior. I sent email. It bounced back. I looked for his profile on worldleathermen, it wasn't there. I called Bus Driver, who said that el guerrero was desesperado. Gone. Vanished off the face of the earth.

See what I mean?

Scene gone wrong, or scene gone right?

Has el guerrero met an unhappy end, spending what he thought was going to be a weekend of service with an incompetent man who hurt him terribly, and perhaps mortally? Or has el guerrero met a very happy end. In the basement. Chained next to a bucket. For the rest of his days. Waking up every morning and thanking God that he has another wonderful day of abject slavery, and that he hasn't shuffled off this mortal coil before his lifelong dream was realized.

Scene gone right, or scene gone wrong?

Now keep in mind, that there are many of our fellow human beings, and even many kinksters, who would point out that not only is slavery illegal, but highly objectionable and morally wrong. And even though it might have begun with consent (or 'fiat,' might be a better term... yeah... I like fiat), after that initial 'Yes, Sir,' there was no way out.

What about that?

Alas, we failed to arrive at The Truth before some of the party had to bundle into cars and head home, but that wasn't the point. Such sweet delight, talking about these issues I've been mulling with men who understand.

And then it was night, and things got busy in the dungeon.

And that meant, surely, that a certain journalist from Chicago was going to get whipped.

But no! Just as I entered the dungeon, ReddyWhip put my sushi date boy up on the cross and was wailing the hell out of the boy.



And then I noticed a t-bar at the end of a heavy gauge length of chain hanging from the ceiling.

And whaddyaknow? I just happened to have my proverbial two hundred pounds of chain with me, and this--standing, cocooned in chain--would be a new position.

So I went to town chaining up the Guy With A Hide Like A Rhino.

And he looked beautiful! Spectacular!

And after he was 'in,' I did my best to work the few exposed parts of him available with my floggers. I used the stingy thin-stranded kangaroo skin flogger, and then switched to the really heavy, really thuddy elk skin flogger. That was pretty cool, really knocked him good.

After a while, Guy With Hide Like A Rhino reported that his hands were getting numb ("And you'll need those for typing for your job so you can't afford to lose them, right?" I responded), so he had to come down.

Post scene, I observed the goings on for a while, and Spotted A Trend.

Trend Alert! Trend Alert! Trend Alert!

Zapper and DogTopper have this scene that they do. It's not for everybody. They restrain their bottom, and then force feed him. All manner of edibles. Jello. Spaghetti-Os. Baked beans. And when the bottom reports that he can't swallow another bite, then they put a finger down his throat, and bring it all up.

I know, right?

Like, eeeeeeeeewww!

Okay, be verrrrry relieved. That's not the trend. But here's the trend.

As sort of a variation on that them--in the neighborhood, but a different street address--DogTopper and Zapper seem to be having a lot of fun subjecting hot men to what you might call "Power Blow Jobs." Not just your garden variety blow job, but a lip bruising, "all the way down, boy!" kind of blow job. And of course, with all that tonsil punishment, it's only a matter of time before the blow job donor yukes (as we used to say in college). And at that point, report DogTopper and Zapper, with all that slickness from the stomach contents, the blowjob gets really really really good.

At least, the very hot guy in the latex catsuit who was receiving a power blow job from a boy being egged on by DogTopper would probably report that. His string of "omigods..." and "holy shits..." and that beatific look he had on his face, expressing disbelief at his good fortune to experience the rapturous joys of paradise here on earth would certainly signal that.

So. Power Blow Jobs. Look for them to come to a dungeon near you! Not a new thing, but safe to say that the Summer of 2006 will fondly be remembered in years to come as the Era Of The Power Blow Job.

So there was this guy I had my eye on. Lean and taught muscles, and a beard like a billy goat. I looked for him, but found him not.

And I decided it was time to take advantage of Zapper and DogTopper's hot tub.

As you know, there are few things I love more than a soak in a hot tub.

So off I headed, stripped, and eased in to the hot water, watching the stars overhead.

And shortly, I was joined by Zapper and this unbelievably handsome man. Strong, chiseled face, military bearing, beautiful hairy body... They had just come from doing--can you guess? A Power Blow Job scene!--and eased in to join me.

Nice. Three men in a tub.

We talked quietly. We watched the stars.

Presently, Zapper decided it was time to nurse his broken arm (for which he had fashioned a pretty fetching sling from a sam brown belt, an o-ring, and a leather chin strap thing-y), and left me and hottub guy to talk together and watch the stars alone.

What a sweet man. What a good guy.

Alas, Hot Tub Guy was pretty worn out from the night's escapades, and was heading home to Philadelphia. So I headed in search of Billy Goat Boy.

Who wasn't hard to find.

There he was, in a little circle around DogTopper. I be lookin at him, and he be lookin at me, and just when I thought he was going to bust a move and leave the circle so the two of us could get busy, DogTopper grabs him, backs him up against the wall, and proceeds to get a PBJ from him.

Cockblocked! By DogTopper!


As I looked on in stunned disbelief, things progressed with them, and they climbed the ladder--with Billy Goat Boy still shooting me Looks--up into the loft and proceeded to fuck.

Welll... Harrumph, right?

I decided I was way too tired to drive home, so I found my way up into the attic of DogTopper and Zapper's house, which they have laid out with mattresses on the floor for guests (how clever is that?), and drifted off into fitful sleep, hoping that up the attic stairs would come Billy Goat Boy, so that at the very least I could sleep that night enfolding him in my arms.

Uh... That didn't happen.

But I did get a good night's sleep.

This morning, we sat around and talked for a bit, the faithful remnant. There was coffee, and Zapper made us some sugary baked goods for breakfast. The time came, so I bid everyone farewell (and "See you in September!")--this all took about forty five minutes, of course--loaded the 200 pounds of chain into my Trusty Jeep Liberty, and hit the road.

Oh. While we were saying our goodbyes, and when I was playfully chiding DogTopper about cockblocking me the night before, he informed me that Hot Tub Guy had asked for my contact information.

After my heart skipped a beat--okay, more like fourteen beats--I said that I would welcome the prospect of Hot Tub Guy getting my contact information.

Y'know, Hot Tub Guy bears more than a passing resemblance to Special Guy.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.