Thursday, January 31, 2008



Holy Shi'ite Muslim!

Dan Savage commented on my prior post wherein I addressed him!

Totally. Blown. Away.

I happened to be on the phone with the Baron when I arrived back home after work at Ho(t)me(n) Depot tonight (you shoulda seen the guy that was looking for someone to thread some pipe for him), checked my email, and there amongst the spam was an email notifying me that Dan Savage had left a comment to my weblog.

No. Way.

The Baron's response was something along the lines of, "Well, duh!"

When I explained to the Baron that Dan Savage was... like... somebody and I'm not, the Baron got a mite ("mite" or "might"?) testy. "And that would make you nobody? You are not nobody."

Well, no.

Not entirely.

Okay. Maybe.

This is due largely to the fact that I think of the readership of SingleTails as being mostly consisting of people that I know, people who stumbled upon it at some point and tune in now and then to keep up, and people who follow the link I cleverly place in my Recon profile. And nobody else.

But Dan Savage is not only someone who I don't know, and not someone who keeps up, and probably not someone who followed the link from my Recon profile.

Dan Savage is someone Out There In The World. And, more importantly, someone whom I've read and enjoyed lo these many years.

In other words, Dan Savage is somebody.

Oh Dan Savage! Why did you have to send me into a tailspin like this?

I can honestly say that when I wrote about Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan in that recent post, I never imagined that either of them would actually be reading it. Surely I'm far below the radar of luminaries of that caliber. As usual, I was just writing yet another personal essay, doing my best to put into words something that gave me pause and what I was thinking about as a result. Just like my literary hero, Joan Didion. (If I ever found out that Joan Didion read anything I wrote I think I'd put all my fingers into a meat grinder to ensure that would never happen again.)

But c'mon! I'm just this guy who lives in the Howling Wilderness of Southeastern Pennsylvania with my dog and my dad and works at Ho(t)me(n) Depot and writes this goofy little weblog and you're Dan Savage! That's not fair!



Deep breath.


At any rate, it seems evident that I owe Dan Savage an apology. To be sure, I can't figure out how I got it into my head that Dan was not just un-kinky but kink averse to some degree, but apparently, that's not at all the case. It possibly had something to do with over-sensitivity on my part. Back when I was reading Savage Love religiously, I was a newly minted member of GMSMA, as in Gay Male SM Activists, and if you can't be a strident, humorless, hair-trigger defender of the cause, what's the fun of being an activist? And I've mellowed and grown up some since then, and I have to say that there are some aspects of SM that hit me as kind of freaky and byzantine (suspension from fish line strung through syringes poked through the flesh of the torso and thighs? really? that works for you?). Too, there's the whole thing that Dan Savage has a kid, and children make me shudder. And this Brave New World that we're entering that has such creatures in it where gay men are getting married and having kids and moving out to the suburbs and voting Republican makes me certain that one dark night there'll come a knock at my door and I'll be carted off to the Re-Education Camp with my fellow neanderthals.

So yeah. I was too quick to judge and apparently my hasty judgment was flat out wrong and I'm sorry.

And I'm also sorry about getting so dramatic here. I don't deal well with interactions with people I admire. When I first was in a room with david stein it took will power I didn't know I had not to bolt for the door. Then a few years later there I was flogging him. If you manage to get a few drinks in me, I'll tell you about how I once had dinner with Derek Jarman when I was in London and how Not Well that went. If perchance Dan Savage ever reads this--and I pray that's not the case--I can only hope he takes it as a compliment and reads my apology as sincere.


Now then. I hope I can get back to writing about my dog and softball and whipping men until they bleed and my quest for the perfect meatloaf and scalloped potatoes and Ho(t)me(n) Depot and such without having to face the trauma of men who blaze across the firmament of my imagination like comets such as Dan Savage sending me into a tizz by posting comments to my weblog again.

So the pipe threader guy?

Amazing. Big blue eyes. Billy-goat beard down to his belly-button. Sleeve tattoos. An ass you could stand three beer mugs on. Images of him chained up in a cellar next to a bucket he uses as a toilet subsisting on the table scraps I feed him in a dog bowl danced in my head as I locked eyes with him and called into my walkie-talkie asking, "Is there a plumbing associate available to assist a customer at the pipe threader?"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"I Do, Sir."

Oh interesting.

A spat of sorts between Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage. You can read Dan Savage's riposte here, which apparently started the whole ball rolling.

My eye is jaundiced on a number of counts. For one thing, I seem to remember a stir several years ago when Mr. Sullivan was discovered to have posted a profile on some M4M website or other seeking bareback sex wearing a Muir cap and a leather vest or some such. And Mr. Savage may have a newly opened mind (he and his other half are off to IML this year), but when I used to read his column fairly religiously, I was often irked by his dismissive attitude towards BDSM. I seem to remember him finding it all too byzantine for his tastes.

So setting aside their difference of opinion on whether or not "leather queens" (ahem) and marital monogomogamy are compatible, I'm struck by the ambivalence in both of them about BDSM. Perhaps I'm presuming too much--and Sullivan in chaps could well have been one of those "I read it on the internet so it must be true" phenomena--but I think that from that time on, I pretty much assumed that Andrew Sullivan was kinky but kept that under wraps because he gets asked to appear on This Week With George Stephanopoulos and such. Since I like the guy (even though he was WRONG WRONG WRONG on going into Iraq and my reliance on his weblog was one of the reasons that I was WRONG WRONG WRONG about going into Iraq) I was no doubt predisposed to to ascribe kinky tendencies to him because I liked him.

So now that Sullivan is all married and all, here he comes casting aspersions at "leather queens" (ahem).

And it's not even funny or clever or amusing. And I often find Sullivan funny, clever, and amusing.

So what the hell?

Not that I'd demand that Andrew Sullivan out himself as kinky as we used to demand that closeted homos do back in the early '90s. But does he have to get all nasty and... uh... queeny about the whole thing?

And then there's Dan Savage. Again, loved the guy. Like I said, read his column religiously. But as SM came to mean more and more to me, the little "Eeeeeeeeew's and whatEVER's he'd offer when some of the folks who wrote him letters would reference fisting or japanese bondage or whatever just started to irk me. Now, Savage was never outright condemning of BDSM as far as I recall. Just taking that snotty looking-down-his-nose, oh-PLEEESE, there-but-for-the-grace-of-God attitude. Y'know, queeny.

And now, Dan Savage and his boyfriend or husband or better half or whatever the hell he is are off to IML this May.

(And that, I think, tells you all you need to know about IML.)

So what gives?

If I wanted to be all snide and cutting and queeny about the whole thing, I would address them each as follows.

So, Andrew. So let's just say that once upon a time, your sexual predilections veered from the currently proscribed ONLY within the context of a committed monogomogomous relationship sealed with the bans of marriage and ONLY in the missionary position and ONLY in total darkness into things a bit more colorful. Or, at least, one color in particular: black. As in, black leather. Or, seeing as you're english, black rubber probably. But now since you're all married and all you have to prove to someone--yourself perhaps--that you're really a true believer you feel the need to drop turds upon that which formerly held some small degree of fascination for you. In psychology, that's called "Reaction Formation." We all do it, but in this case, did you have to go there?

Okay. So, Dan. You were always cool. In that very cool way of not even caring about being cool makes you very, very cool. And that's really cool! And folks from across this great land of ours would write to you there at The Stranger in Seattle and divulge their erotic doings in the hopes that some of that cool would rub off on them, too. And a big part of the authenticity of your cool is the great irony that as a the Dear Abby of Sexual Exploits, you presented yourself as just a wee bit stick-in-the-mud quiet and retiring type. That's cool! So now that there's a Museum of Sex in New York City that has several exhibits devoted to kinkier aspects of sex, and now that we have benighted kids on Bravo's Make Me A Supermodel gettin' all fetish-y in their competition, maybe you came to suspect that kink was becoming cool? Oh, Dan. You're still cool! And you always will be cool! Relax. You don't need to arrange for the grandparents to watch the wee one for a four day weekend whilst you and your boyfriend or partner or husband or spouse or whatever he is to you and head off to Chicago on Memorial Day Weekend so you can maintain your coolness creds. You are and always will be cool, Dan. Your books will sell for as long as people who care about cool patronize Barnes & Noble.

Okay. Now about this whole deal of leathermen and wedding rings.

As it so happens, I would have to say that Mr. and Mr. Dan Savage and Mr. and Mr. Andrew Sullivan are the only monogomogomous married gay male couples that I know of who are happy. Although I don't know know either of them personally. I know and have known personally countless monogomogomous married gay male couples who were plainly miserable. (Just my limited experience! I could be wrong!) But I do know several--I think I would even say "many"--gay leathermen and lesbian leatherwomen who are in longtime relationships filled with joy and laughter and love and friendship and just being crazy for each other absent that monogomogomy thing.

Okay! Time for a couple of Sweeping Generalizations On Scant Evidence!

Vanilla + Monogonogomy = Unhappy

Leather + Love - Monogonogomy = Happy

Or maybe that's just because leathermen are way smarter. Truth!

Polly Ticks

Is it too soon to write the political epitaph for Rudolph W. Giuliani? As if it wasn't bad enough that the man made his wife Donna Hanover a laughing stock by schtupping his press secretary Christine Lategagno, he tells her that he's leaving her by announcing it in a press conference without giving her any advance notice. Wouldn't that have made for an interesting bit of presidential trivia? "Which American President let his second wife know that their marriage was over by having her hear it from a reporter from the New York Post?" Hmmm... James K. Polk? Warren Harding? Oh right! President Giuliani!

And amazingly, John McCain seems to be the nominee apparent on the Republican side.

I gave McCain money in 2000, and somewhere I still have the campaign buttons he sent me. A buddy of mine, perhaps more astute than I am, opined that John McCain was very dangerous man because he was one of those political figures who people naturally like and they assume that such a reasonable-seeming nice guy would see the world much the way they do, obscuring the fact that he's actually very politically conservative. Far more conservative, for example, than was Ronald Reagan. That said, would you really be as panic-stricken at the thought of a McCain presidency as you were when you heard that Ohio was going for Bush rather than Kerry four years ago?

And John Edwards bows out! Love love love his politics, but something about John Edwards just rubs me the wrong way. I would like to believe that John Edwards really is doing all this on behalf of hard-working Americans who are having a hard time making ends meet (like me!), but I am visited, perhaps in dreams, by a spectral John Edwards appraising some Joe Lunchbox like myself and saying, "Yeah, you'll do" and mounting his chariot by stepping on the small of my back like Xerxes in 300. (Xerxes was the Persian bad guy in 300, right? Fact checking! Look into that, will you please?)

So it's down to Clinton and Obama in the Big Brawl. Lord help us all. And note to Senator Obama: stay out of hotel kitchens in Los Angeles, 'kay? It's so difficult to step outside myself on this, being a guy who is a sucker for the slightest nuance of electoral politics. The majority of people who will be voting to decide who will be our next president in November are only vaguely aware that there's an election going on. And round about September, they'll be stopping to watch that segment of the news when they usually turn the channel to watch American Idol and say, "Whoa. There's a Black guy running for President? And his name is Obama?" Versus, of course, "Whoa. Bill Clinton's wife is running for President? Huh. How about that."

Ohhhh... I don't know, I don't know.

It's too hard!

For me, I have to admit it all comes down to a matter Who Will Win In November. If I were to be convinced that Barak Obama could squeak through enough electoral votes ('member those? that quaint and antiquated way we have of selecting our executives?) than I would totally be for him. And totally relax.

But at the same time, I just remember how sweet life was back during the 1990s when the economy was chugging right along and that other Clinton was out-foxing the Republicans in Congress on a weekly basis. One of the most memorable Onion headlines I remember was President Bush announcing, "Our long national nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is finally over!"

So we'll see.

Anyway. I've gotta get ready for my date with Way Hot Man today.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Blogging Bush's Last State Of The Union Address!

Nancy Pelosi has totally had work done, right?

Remember how every year, Clinton would toss a bone to the Gays? I miss that.

Like the rest of the country, Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama sure gives me pause. (Fun SingleTails Trivia: I've met John Kennedy Junior, Caroline Kennedy, Rory Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy, Jr., with whom I went toe-to-toe debating New York City watershed issues for about an hour. This was tough to do--even for me--with the closest thing we have to royalty in our country.)

The Republicans are sure getting a work out. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Their quads are gonna be sore tomorrow!

(There's the oven timer! I'm baking brownies! And not just brownies, Ultimate Brownies! More Fun SingleTails Trivia: Katherine Hepburn once commented, "There are few graver mistakes you can make in this life than putting too much flour in your brownies. Don't put too much flour in your brownies.")

*sigh* 358 days.

It's Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski! Lesbian! Love her!

Huh. My blogging career has roughly run parallel to George W. Bush's presidency. As it's going now, I'll outlast him.

Oh good! No clones! I've been worried about human clones!

Love what Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is wearing. White is her color.

I work with this guy who's an former Marine. Great guy, and the only person I work with who had the gaz' to ask me right out, "So are you gay?" and went out of his way to tell me that that was totally cool with him, just so I understood that he's not. And he's also the only other guy at work who shaves his head. (Coincidence??? I think not.) Anyway, he told me about this pretty brilliant shaving strategy: one day, you shave your face, the next day you shave your head, then your face, then your head. That way, it cuts your shaving time in half. Been doing that since he suggested it and it works great.

So Bucky and I did not meet up for pho last night. He never called me back. But as far as I know, I'm still on for coffee with Way Hot Man on Wednesday afternoon.

I used to get creeped out by Bill Clinton's hands. He has these weirdly long fingers. And I think his ring fingers are longer than his middle finger.

Why do they all feel the need to read along? Have they always had printed versions to refer to? Are the acoustics in the House chamber really that bad?

It looks like Michael Chertof is having problems getting an adequate supply of the blood of virgins that he needs for sustenance. He looks awful.

If the Democrats hadn't taken control of Congress in the Mid-Term elections, I think we'd be at war in Iran right now.

There's David Souter! Love David Souter! My favorite Supreme Court Justice! He was once mistaken for his fellow Justice Stephen Breyer, and when asked what was the best thing about serving on the Supreme Court, without missing a beat he replied, "Why it would have to be serving along side that brilliant jurist David Souter." And he also seriously considered resigning in the wake of Bush v. Gore, but didn't because he realized that would mean that the new President would be able to name his replacement.

(Waiting for the brownies to cool is totally the Hard Part.)

It's Donna Shalala! Lesbian! She became the president of the University of Miami. Why, that puts her in the same city as former Attorney General Janet Reno. They became Very Close Friends while serving in Clinton's cabinet. (I met Donna Shalala, too. When I did, I mentioned that she wrote a blurb on the back of the copy of Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle that I have. She smiled and said, "Yes I did.")

Whoa. First Lady... What the hell's her name again? Ginny? Bunny? Anna? Laura! That's it: Laura. First Lady Laura Bush clearly looks like she tossed back a few apple-tinis earlier in the evening, huh? I think back in the White House there are a few martini glasses with the crimson red imprints of her lipstick on the rims.

Huh. I wonder if Bush will even be speaking at the Republican National Convention this Summer in Minneapolis? Awkward!

Who is he kidding? The White House cleared out over the Summer. For all intents and purposes, his administration is over already. He'll be able to accomplish nothing in the next 358 days. But that said, I think I agree with whichever commentator it was on CBS: we won't be able to make any determination about his legacy until we see what happens in Iraq. If in ten years there's a stable, democratically elected government in Iraq, then I think I'll be forced to give the guy some credit. Although, worth the loss of American lives and resources? Not by my math.

(Those brownies have got to be cool enough to cut by now.)

Whoa! Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, although not quite ready for prime time, is totally giving Barak's "One Nation United" stump speech!

That Frank Lloyd Wright-ish built in bookcase in the Governor's Mansion in Topeka is pretty cool, huh?

Governor Sebelius seems to be warming to her material now. Maybe someone behind the camera is doing a "be peppier! turn up the energy!" pantomine.

The brownies totally rawk.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

This Morning In The Bathroom

My on-the-job erotic reveries are largely, though not entirely, focused on customers. But among the ranks of my fellow Wearers Of The Orange Apron, there are a few who stand out. There's this guy in Hardware, y'see. He's this big beefy man with this sweet disposition. A combination like that gives me ideas. You should see his big muscular ass. Just amazing.

Oh yeah.

Tie him up so he's like hugging a whipping post and go at that big, beautiful, beefy ass of his with a belt till he's screaming.


So this morning, I opened at 6 a.m. Greeting me was a kind of off-kilter task: I was asked to replace a broken toilet paper dispenser in the women's bathroom.

I'm on it!

I ran into difficulties right away though. There were these weird screws holding the old one onto the wall. I decided to call for reinforcements. Like, maybe one of the guys from the Hardware Department...

Soon enough, Hardware Guy and I were working together on that toilet paper dispenser situation, there in the women's room. Those baffling screws, it turned out, were called "one-way-screws." And they're aptly named. So we busted the old, broken dispenser off and that gave us enough room to get a grip on the heads of the screws and get them off. But the new dispenser was of different manufacture, so the holes weren't lining up. Hardware Guy and I decided to put the new one on with machine screws. At one point, we were in adjoining stalls, working from either side of the partition. Hardware Guy was on his knees, placing the new dispenser. I was standing on the other side of the partition, waiting to put the nuts on the bolts. I couldn't resist. Without moving my feet, I leaned into the partition, pressing my hips against it. Just like in tearoom sex!

The bolts in, the new dispenser securely mounted, Hardware Guy and I cleaned up and returned the tools.

"Good working with you!" he offered.

During the day, we'd run into each other. Aisle 31, the Rope and Chain Aisle, is in Hadware, and it's the path I usually take to get out of the store on my breaks, and more often than not I'd run into him there. He'd smile and nod hello. Having no idea of the pantomine that we played earlier.

Ah well. Thanks for the memories anyway Hardware Guy. Good working with you.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I [Heart] Trash TV

And there's a lot of trash tv to watch on Thursday nights!

So on Celebrity Apprentice, I got to watch Tino Martinez and the Steven Baldwin look all fly in suits. And then there was Jenny Finch! Love Jenny Finch! Unfortunately, the most amazing softball pitcher ever got fired. But in a good way! And I have to admit I have a wak spot for Omorosa, that walking, talking Movie Of The Week.

So then I decided to tune into "Make Me A Supermodel" on Bravo. I haven't seen any episodes since the casting call, but that sweet corrections officer from Nashville, Tennessee, Ben, caught my eye way back then so I decided to tune in.

So like omigod.

In this episode we learn about all this Sek-Shul Ten-Shun between sweet little Ben and openly gay Ronnie! And then they paired up and did these sex-sells kindsa photo shoots. Two straight boys getting it on? Yeah. I saw it on Bravo last night. Same with two girls. All four of whom totally did their best to bring it. And hot little Ben looked great, too.

How the mighty have fallen.

My favorite show when I was in eleventh grade? "The Paper Chase." I got all my friends in high school hooked on "Brideshead Revisited" when all the other kids were following Luke and Laura on General Hospital. I totally liked "Hill Street Blues" before you did.

And I've also gone for years at a stretch without watching any television whatsoever. Granted, with the likes of "Mad Men" and "The Wire" and such, television is arguably the best it ever has been. But I... uh... haven't seen "The Wire." (Loved "Mad Men" though!)

In part, that's because I have evenings free. And perhaps that will change.

I called Bucky and proposed that we get together for vietnamese food on Sunday night. Just left a message, so I'm on tenterhooks there. And I called Way Hot Man from MAL and we're meeting at Starbucks on Wednesday. No tenterhooks there. It's on.

Somebody please save me from ever knowing if Ben and Ronnie get it on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

MAL: C'est Bon!

Man. I needed that.

I'm back from Mid-Atlantic Leather. It was a weekend of pure indulgence. Doing just what I felt like doing. No more, no less. Looking only to my own needs, wants, and desires. Such a rare thing in my life. Not infrequently, I do this schtick with Faithful Companion. When he wants a treat or a walk or his dinner or a walk or a treat or his walk, I'll look at him and say, "Oh sure! It's always all about you. What about me? What about my needs?" (And then I take Faithful Companion out for a walk or give him a treat or fix him his dinner.)

Not that I'm complaining! I like my life. I want for nothing. I am a happy man.

But every once in a while, it's not a bad thing if I shut the door behind me on those... uhhh... beings whom I love but who depend on me and just spend some time enjoying myself.

It was tricky to extricate myself from the Baron and my father on Friday, but I finally managed to do it and get on the road. The drive down went pretty well, although I ran into rush hour traffic when I hit the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Parking in DC took about as long as the drive down, but I lucked out and found a space just a wee little block away from the Washington Plaza Hotel. My room key was waiting for me at the front desk, and soon enough, there I was enjoying a cigar in the cigar tent, greeting men--tearfully in a few cases--who I just don't see often enough. Regrettably, getting up at four thirty in the morning three days before my trip down had taken its toll: at about a quarter past twelve, my eyelids were getting pretty heavy. It was time for bed.

I slept soundly, as always, but surprisingly I woke up at 6 a.m. Not very helpful. I stuck it out in bed until seven, then decided to succumb and get up and get my day started. First order of business was to have a Good Morning Smoke. No easy thing with the new DC smoking laws. Not just a trip down to the lobby but out the door to the cigar tent.

The lobby was deserted. The hotel staff was gathered at the front desk, talking and laughing. When they saw me heading through, their smiles faded and they couldn't quite suppress expressions of "Good Grief. It starts again already." Back in the room, I took a nice long bath, then headed across Thomas Circle and down Vermont Avenue to Starbucks.

For Christmas, my brother and his wife gave me a Starbucks card. I locked it away in anticipation of MAL: that would be my meal ticket. For breakfast anyway. When I finally made my way back to the Wash Plaza, things had come alive. And so, for me, it was back to the cigar tent.


Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but that cigar tent was damn chilly this year! Those guys who braved the cold in there wearing latex or nothing have my admiration. I sure didn't get that gene. One good thing about the cold though: on Friday night, we were subjected to the musical stylings of DJ Turn That Shit Down, but I'm guessing that he found it way too cold to work in there because there was no sight of him or his turntables thereafter. Sure hope that the heating budget didn't go to pay for him.

I also hit the leather market. Not to buy, mind you, since my budget couldn't have encompassed one of those little rubber cockrings this year. But I got to talk to Bearman and Horowitz and Bruiser and some other folks I knew I could find there. Disappointed not to see two of my favorite vendors this year: MP Uniform and Supply of Allentown and Station House Leathers from Enfield CT. But if I did have some bucks to spare, I sure could have dropped some regardless of those notable absences. After UnShopping, I headed back to the icy arctic tent for another cigar.

And whom to my wondering eyes should appear but Man of Discipline! He looked great, and was quite a sight for sore eyes. He mentioned that his club was hosting a play party at the Crucible that night and should I be able to make it down there, he and his remarkable back would be available to me and my tantalizing whips.


I try not to make plans during MAL weekend, keeping my options open. But in this case, I decided that nothing could keep me away from the Crucible that night. Seeing as my sleep schedule was off, I decided that it would probably be best if I had a nice afternoon nap. Not inappropriate for a man of advanced years such as myself. It would be really really bad if I got all sleepy around midnight, especially if I was going to be whipping Man of Discipline about then. It is Not Okay to whip a man when you don't have your wits about you.

And so I did.

I woke up courtesy of my roommate at six o'clock.


What to do for dinner?

I bundled up and headed out into the bitter cold, heading up Fourteenth Street, thinking of Thai Tanic or some similar place. Thai Tanic looked packed, and it was packed with men in leather. Now normally, I don't have a big problem eating alone, but that sort of gave me pause. What if a Person Of Interest would see me sitting there pathetically scribbling in my journal like Winona Ryder's character in Heathers on the Saturday night of MAL? Pathetic, right? I headed on. I made a left onto P Street, and before I knew it, there I was at Dupont Circle. At that point, the choice was obvious. I was going to my favorite restaurant in DC, Afterward Café at Kramerbooks. No leathermen in sight! I perused the books while I waited for a table to open up. There's this book on the Reformation new from Penguin publishing that looks pretty cool. If'n I had some money to spend, I might be investing in that.

Although I was tempted by the filet mignon, I decided to go with my old stand-by, Fettuccine New Orleans. I first had the FNO back in 1991 or so, when I was down in DC for work. And I've had it so many times since then. Given the turnover in kitchen help in restaurants, I wondered how many people had fixed my FNO over the years. And where they might be now. Some of them did an exceptional job, a couple of them... not so much. The latest in a long line of people who work the line in in Afterwards Café did a damn fine job! I had to forego dessert because time was a'wastin', as they used to say in Li'l Abner. I had to go to the MAUL party! So it was back into the wintry night (cue sound effects: shrieking wind and howling wolves). I was coming up on Thomas Circle when who did I run across? My Friend and (Former) Landlord! He invited me along with him to dinner, but I had to beg off cause I had just eaten (duh!), but we agreed that I'd give him a call the next night.

Time for MAUL. ("MAUL," of course, would be the excellent Mid-Atlantic Uniform League.) Since I wanted to get to the Crucible, it would have to be just me stopping by, but after the great time I had with Men of MAUL at CLAW last year, I wanted to put in an appearance at the very least. But a funny thing happened on my way to the MAUL party: I got waylaid. Or laid anyway. A guy in the elevator was making eyes at me, got off at my floor, and together we headed off to his room.

It's MAL for pete's sake!

So sorry Men of MAUL. I have needs, y'see. I learned later that the MAUL party was Busted! Not by the cops. That would have been interesting. Imagine all these cops in uniform busting into a hotel room to break up a party and finding... a bunch of guys in cop uniforms! The MAUL guys told me that the Cleveland cops they ran into at CLAW thought that the MAUL uniform was way cooler than what the Cleveland Police Department provided to them. If the writers for Reno: 911 haven't thought about the idea of the Reno Sheriff's Department busting a party of a group of police uniform fetishists, then maybe they should. But as it happens, it was just the hotel folks that shut the party down. But props to MAUL, huh? They threw a party that Got Out Of Hand! Kudos!

A little later than planned, I headed down to wait for the shuttle to take me off to the Crucible.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Much to my torment, the shuttles to the Recon party at Apex and to the Eagle came by every fifteen minutes or so. But no shuttle to the Crucible.

Finally, two other guys who were also Crucible-bound joined me in the vigil. For about four minutes. Then we decided to say nuts to the shuttle and split cab fare. Good thing, too, because when we got to the Crucible we learned that the brakes had failed on the shuttle. The men of Men of Discipline were doing their best to provided taxi service. And despite this, the turnout was great. The joint was jumpin'. There didn't seem to be a single piece of equipment in that particularly well equipped dungeon space up for grabs.

While I was wandering around hunting for Man of Discipline, I ran into Master of Mirage. And ARt. And Roman Cool.


Just so we're clear, that means I'd be whipping Man of Discipline in front of the two men who taught me how to throw a whip, and Roman Cool who is generally esteemed to be among the best in the world.

Feelin' the pressure?


And there was another obstacle. Man of Discipline told me that he thought he might have to take a raincheck. Since he had his car, he felt he had to provide taxi service to get the restless, sweated crowd back to the hotel. Luckily, he said this within earshot of one of his club members who insisted that Man of Discipline hand over the keys so that he could get whipped good and proper.

I couldn't help but to point out that the ability to delegate is critical to effective leadership.

So the fix was in.

And Master of Mirage, ARt, and Roman Cool bid me goodnight and good luck and caught a ride back to the hotel leaving me as the Whipsman in Residence.

So we were good to go.

Given that the first time I whipped Man of Discipline was so damn great, how can it be that it gets better and better every time? What an amazing man. I can just lose myself completely when I'm whipping him. AND he's smokin hot. AND he's sweet and easy-going and kind and possessed of a dry wit. And did I mention that whipping him till he bleeds is sublime?

A cross opened up, I set up shop, got Man of Discipline blindfolded (blindfolds are critical with him), and got to work.

Y'know, having so few opportunities to use my whips--since it's winter, I can't even practice on shrubbery in the back yard--I get worried that I'll be off my mark. But like magic, it just comes right back to me, like I do it every day. As with chain bondage, I think I have a gift there.

It went beautifully. Just beautiful. I was so in the zone. I won't say that every throw hit home. I couldn't help but to go for Man of Discipline's luscious butt tucked into his black Levi's. Unfortunately, going for that low angle threw my aim off I guess, and I put a couple laterally across Man of Discipline's lower back. (That had to hurt, huh?) But overall, a nice spread, and of course my senses came alive when I saw those first red rubies: Man of Discipline was giving up his blood for me.

When I asked if he was ready for the final ten, Man of Discipline once again showed me why he's just the best, and asked if we could make it a final twenty.

We sure could!

I caught a ride back to the hotel after we got all cleaned up. Hung out in the lobby some. Floating on a big fluffy pink cloud of bliss. After the good night's sleep I had the night before and my nap that afternoon, I wasn't much in the way of tired, but I went to bed anyway thinking that there was nothing more the day could offer me.

I slept late the next morning. It was nearly Noon when I woke up. First order of business: I wanted a nice smoke. That meant another trip down to the lobby. I yawned, stretched, grabbed my Camels, a lighter, and my room key, and caught an elevator.

Today, the lobby wasn't deserted. It was fairly busy. Men in full leather were, I assume, getting ready to go over to the contest. And there I was, in my pajamas, frittering away whatever social capital I possessed. Yeah. Well. Whatever. I wanted a morning cigaret. Thus ready to start my day, another nice hot bath and off to Starbucks to take in the Sunday Times. All that put me in a very good frame of mine. I headed back to the cigar tent, found a chair, and fired up a nice maduro.

And who should happen by but Man of Discipline! "I thought I might find you here." He thanked me again for the night before, and I thanked him. He reported that he had a memorable shower that morning. (Love that.)

Life, indeed, is good.

My reveries were almost broken again by the publisher of a certain magazine. A magazine that makes me angry every time I see it. The writing is awful and the lighting in the photographs is always off. I just think that's irresponsible. That certain publisher had lost the back of one of his earrings down the rubber underwear he was wearing and a long search ensued.

Dude! Don't harsh my mellow!

And he didn't. I outlasted him.

About then, I noticed the Way Hot Man. He sat talking animatedly across the room. I enjoyed sitting there, just sort of drinking him in, the heft of him, the playful glint in his eyes, his unselfconsciousness, his nape cleavage. Nice. All nice.

Soon enough, I felt myself getting hungry. I gave my Friend and (Former) Landlord a call, and as I was dialing, he gave me a call. We agreed to meet at his hotel room at 6:30, giving me just over an hour. I headed up to my room. To kill some time, I turned on the television. There was an old movie on about a twelve year old kid who was a pitching prodigy and made it into the major leagues, playing for the Chicago Cubs. Because it involved baseball, it made me cry some.

Out into the bitter freezing cold and over to Friend and Former Landlord's hotel, the Westin. His room was pretty sensational. He had gotten some kind of an upgrade. And, true to form, he had this woofy boy in a sleep sack when I arrived. Friend and Former Landlord debated leaving the woofy boy there, bound and hooded, but decided to take him to dinner with us. But before we headed out, he wanted to point out a special though probably unintended feature of the place.

"Look out the window," he said.

I couldn't really. There was this white scrim kind of thing rolled down.

"Uh huh," Friend and Former Landlord replied when I pointed this out, "Come out on the balcony."

I braced myself for the cold, but needlessly so. The place was built around an interior atrium. But I quickly saw what had gotten Friend and Former Landlord so exercised: in the rooms where the scrim was pulled down, you could see everything going on inside, but the folks inside seemed blissfully unaware of this.

"In that room there they were fucking last night. Over in that room... that guy is so hot." Currently, there seemed to be a party going on. We were hoping it would turn into an orgy, but it turned out just to be drinks before they headed out to get something to eat. And in another room, this kid with a great body seemed to be trying on everything he bought at the leather mart that day. I liked the bright green motorcycle leathers, but Friend and Former Landlord and the woofy boy didn't so much.

It was hard to tear myself away. From the balcony, it was like watching six different home movies. I've never been much of a voyeur, but I sure could see enjoying giving it a try.

For dinner, Friend and Former Landlord and woofy boy were amenable to Afterwords. I wanted to try the filet mignon, which was excellent. It turned out that woofy boy had been trained as a pastry chef, and I shared with him my recent exploits in making the perfect dessert. We had walked over to Dupont Circle, and poor woofy boy nearly froze as he was way underdressed. We caught a cab for the trip back.

The lobby was packed. I grabbed a cranberry juice and was on my way to the cigar tent. And there was the Way Hot Man holding up a wall outside. I caught his eye as I passed and said, "You are Way Hot."

And he offered the perfect reply to that: "What?"

"You're hot!" I repeated.

"What was that?" he asked again.

So of course, I approached and came right up to him, "I said, 'you're way hot.'"

"Oh," he answered, "I couldn't tell."

This guy is good.

We headed together into the cigar tent, talking and smoking. It turned out that he was Bucks County, although from the far southern end of the County. He had lived in Europe for several years, then come back to look after his mother. (I couldn't make this stuff up.)

So Way Hot Man invited me back to his hotel room. It was six blocks away.

"Are you worth a six block walk through the cold?" I asked.

"Baby," he said, "I'm worth eight blocks at least."

This guy is very good.

But truth be told, I wasn't exactly in the mood for sex. The weekend had been so full already, it would almost be gilding the lily. De Trop, as the french say. But after a year of sexual abstemiousness, I didn't say that I could refuse and not regret it, so off we went, through the bitter freezing cold for six long blocks.

Back at his hotel room--I immediately asked him to turn the heat way up--Way Hot Man and I undressed and got into bed. Somehow, he intuitively sensed that I had an itch in the middle of my back that I couldn't scratch. (In fact, when I had been whipping Man of Discipline the night before, I kept aiming for that very patch of his perfect back, as if trying to reach on him what I couldn't reach on me. It really had been itching me all weekend.) And Way Hot Man scratched my itch.

This guy is very very good.

After that, he continued, gently rubbing and touching my body. We both were rock hard, but neither of us really acted on that other than in a pretty non-committal way. We just wanted to enjoy each other's bodies. On and on it went, and at some point, I fell asleep, and spent the night sleeping soundly next to Way Hot Man. So much have I longed to have a man beside me in bed that at some point in the middle of the night, he woke me up and asked me to move over; I had him at the very edge of the bed. I relented.

After that it was getting up, meeting his visiting german roommate, he walked me downstairs, I headed back to the Washington Plaza, packed, stopped at Starbucks, loaded up my car, and headed north towards home.

So there you have it. My trip to Mid-Atlantic Leather 2008.

Do you sometimes feel that if you stay very still and quiet and watch carefully that you become aware you're not out there alone in this insane scramble that is your life? That on rare occasions you get a slight intuition that Someone is looking out for you, making sure that you get the sustenance you need, giving you a few drops of water that you'll need to press on with the journey ahead?

I know I do.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fashion Backward

Tomorrow night, I'll be hanging in the cigar tent at MAL, but tonight, I'm watching Project Runway. Last week, I was devastated when Kevin was eliminated. (What??? Really???) That said, I totally got what Heidi, Michael, and Nina were saying about Kevin's dress: it did look like something the girl's mother would wear. Damn you, Kevin! You made a bad dress and now I don't get to cran my eyes looking for shots of you without your shirt brushing your teeth in the morning! And damn! Did you see Kevin in his prom picture? Want. That. Bad.

So last week, I took on the unenviable task of cleaning out my father's old clothes from my closet. About of third of the closet in my bedroom is occupied by stuff from my dad. And a lot of my dress shirts get squished and I have to climb over luggage to get to my flight suits and such.

Going into it, I thought that I'd just bag it all up and take it to one of those Good Will drop-off dumpsters, although that would be for the stuff I didn't end up throwing away. My father is famous for wearing clothes well after they should be used to dust furniture and bind wounds. I routinely toss out my father's boxers when I'm doing his laundry when I see that I could read a newspaper through them in dim light.

But oh my gosh. Right away I hit upon... I have no idea what the hell they would even be called. Not quite sports jackets. Could it be a leisure suit? Maybe that's it. The lapels were about five inches wide and they had slit pockets in the seams sort of like a bomber jacket. One was a dark burnt orange, but the other one was--Get this!--this peach and white gingham.

Yes, you read that correctly. My dad used to wear peach and white gingham leisure suits. I don't know if even I could pull that off.

Suffice it to say, the leisure suit jackets went neither in the Good Will bag or in the trash. I'm gonna hold on to them. Maybe next summer I'll do my own personal Starsky & Hutch film festival and get inspired to appear in public in a leisure suit. The burnt orange one would look kinda cool with leather jeans, but what the hell would I pair the peach and white one with? Don't think they'd work with my Carhartts.

And then came the shirts. No cottons were killed in the manufacture of those shirts! Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Polly Esther!

In my head, as I went through them, I was hearing Michael, Heidi, and Nina. "I don't know, for me it is too matchy-matchy." "That piping just makes it transcend everything." "Can we see the back?" "I want one of those in every color."

So I totally have some new shirts.

But here's the thing. I totally remember my father wearing those shirts. Sitting out in the yard, smoking his cigar and reading the paper. Back when he was my dad. That man I loved and feared. My first relationship with a man. It's so difficult to see that man now in the feeble, selfish old guy I cook dinner for. Is this the "real" him? Was that my idealized version? Or is it the other way around? No separating them out.

My father feels the cold terribly. But maybe, some hot day over the summer, I can coax him into wearing one of his old summer shirts, one that I remember him wearing to the Bucks County Democratic Clam Bake held every July. My father. My Daddy. Smelling of cigars and Aqua Velva after-shave and Vitalis. I love that man. Love him still. Even the pale shadow of him that I'm left with.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Friday I had a day off from work. My only day off before Thursday, when I'll be down in DC for MAL. I got up early and did some chores here around the house, checked email, went into Doylestown and bought some cigars, had coffee with Bucky, came home, made dinner for my father, watched some television, and went to bed.

What's that?

Coffee with Bucky?

Oh. Yeah.

Yeah Bucky and I did have coffee.

We met up at Starbucks in Chalfont. Talked for a few hours, and then I drove him home. Once again, there was a lingering handshake, and I also reached over and put my hand on his back. He reciprocated with a hand on my back.

Then he suggested we get together for dinner sometime and got out of my Jeep and headed into his house.

I was pretty elated all the way home.

I am definitely liking that Bucky guy. Whether he's gay or straight or neither or both, I'm cool. I like the boy. In ways other than That Way it turns out.

I went to sleep last night thinking of Bucky, and when Faithful Companion woke me up in the middle of the night because he needed a walk, I had trouble getting back to sleep. Thinking about Bucky.

As is often the case, I have an odd clarity in the middle of the night, between sleep and sleep. And I realized just what was up with Bucky.

I am a Top. From time to time, the Universe entrusts to me for safekeeping certain boys. I offer them growth, healing, and holding. It's not about me and what I want. Granted, the Universe has bestowed upon me certain gifts. But with gifts come responsibilities. From those to whom much has been given, much will be expected. (That's the Parable Of The Talents.)

When I first saw Bucky, I wanted to throw him in a sling, restrain him, and plow him for all eternity or until I was spent completely. (And odds favor the former over the latter. Dang but that boy has an effect on me.)

But that's not the way of things. I don't get what I want. It's my portion to give of myself.

With Bucky, I have my work cut out for me.

And when the job is done, like all boys, they head out into the world on their own, flying away like birds in autumn or wolf cubs leaving the den.

And it's my lot in life and it's not going to be otherwise and I'm sure not complaining. There are, of course, other possibilities for relationships. In addition to being a Top, I could also be a Master, and have a slave of my own. (Think: backrubs on demand whenever I want!) And, despite the estimation of the august and esteemed Roadkill, perhaps something along the lines of an egalitarian relationship. Or all three. Or two out of three. After all, you can own a horse, a car, and a lawnmower and that works out okay.)

Ah, Bucky.

I didn't see it at first. Blinded by my desire to wreck his hole, bury his face in my asscrack, stuff my cock down his throat and fill up his belly with my piss, chain him down and beat his ass till he's sobbing uncontrollably, keep him hooded and confined in my cage for so long that he's a dumb drooling animal... (Here you were thinking I was all high-minded and such and forgot that I'm a big ol' Evil Sadist!)

So I'm there for Bucky. He needs to talk, I'll listen. He has questions, I'll help him find some answers. And you better believe that if he needs someone to hold him tight, I'm the guy to do it. It's what I do. Kinda like Batman. Only no Bat Signal. Sometimes I could sure use a Bat Signal.

So when I get back from MAL, Bucky and I, as we talked about, will get together for dinner. I have in mind a vietnamese restaurant I found over by Montgomery County Community College. I'll introduce Bucky to pho. The boy is having a tough time. He's looking for a job and the economy is really bad right now. And it's made more difficult given that he has a DUI that has him not driving until November. I'll find a way to let him know that it's tough right now, but whatever the situation, he needs find his way through. And that I'm in his corner.

Making History

The Baron called me (at four in the morning, basically lunch time for the Baron) to let me know some important news. I was in bed, and didn't pick up the message until my lunch hour at work today.

So the Baron was watching television. There was this thing on the Discovery Channel (I think), part of their Modern Marvels series. This episode was on "High Tech Sex." The Baron was awfully excited because apparently right there on his television screen, he saw me.


How fitting!

They covered everything from Victorian sex toys to hooking up on the internet. Neither of those featured me. I was featured in a segment about the sexual revolution, specifically how it extended to The Gays. And they happened to use some stock footage of an ACT UP demonstration, and there I was. Or at least, a version of me from fifteen years ago or so.

I was on Cable Television! How exciting!

This is the only confirmation of this I've had though. Several years ago, when I was on E! talking about Liz Taylor (long story), I got home from work and the calls started coming in, time zone after time zone as the segment aired. So far, no similar deal with "High Tech Sex." But if you do see it, let me know.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


So there we were. Three gay men in our forties, having a nice sedate dinner party. Lasagna. Real good wine. Talk about "kids today," the election, real estate. Blah blah blah. In the course of the evening, we started talking about our younger, wilder days. All yesterday's parties. All those drugs we did. How disappointing cocaine was in retrospect. What was the big deal there? We shook our heads with disdain. Wasn't pot awful? Omigod yes. We agreed that one of the best things about getting older is that we'll never have to smoke pot again. Or any other pharmaceutical.

Oh, one of us said, except X.

Three heads looked up, Three pairs of eyes looked left, then right, checking each other out.

Yeah. X.

Love Ecstasy. What a great drug.

It shouldn't be illegal. It's not fair that it's illegal.

The whole problem was letting kids get a hold of it. Those damn kids just went way overboard. Them and their raves. Damn kids.

Two of us didn't do Ecstasy until we were this side of forty, coming to it late in life.

"If only I could find a good Ecstasy connection," I said, "That would be so cool." I paused. "But on the other hand, it's a good thing that I can't find a good Ecstasy connection."

Agreement all around.

So there you have it! What special little gift do you get for a 40-something year old gay man for his birthday? No, he doesn't need that. He's got one already. But a little jewel case such as a signet ring might come in holding a Sweet-Tart with a smiley face on it? He'll really like that.

Where to shop for something like that?

Oh damned if I know. Go ask some twenty-two year old.

Eight Days

So Hillz pulled it out in New Hampshire! I got out of work at 10 p.m. last night, tuned into NPR, and got the news that Mrs. Clinton was up by three points over Obama, who was projected to win by double digits from the polls. I'll admit I was saddened to hear that Obama wasn't winnig. (Egads! I'm an Undecided Voter! That's never happened to me before!) And to be sure, there was a message on my cellie from the Baron. The Baron has been avoiding anything resembling news on television, sitting there biting his nails watching Antiques Roadshow and the like. He was white knuckled with terror. So I bit the bullet and called him to let him know that His Lady was up with fifty percent of the precincts reporting. That, of course, unleashed torrents of delight from the Baron, as well as torrents of abuse upon the Senator from Illinois and upon the heads of the media and sundry pundits who had turned the Iowa caucuses into a coronation.

My trenchant analysis: a lot of older women and others up there in New Hampshire took a look at the race and thought, "Hmm. A seasoned, competent, intelligent woman passed over for a largely untried younger man with a lot of flash. Hmmm."

I wonder if at some point last night Laura Bennet looked up from her sewing machine, saw those same results, and smiled.

So today, The Morning After, I'm not working. Anywhere. It's 1 p.m. and I'm still in my pajamas.

But that is soon to change. I have a lot to do today. I've got to get ready for MAL. Eight days away.

This means writing up a Policy And Procedures Manual for the Baron who will be staying here and keeping the home fires burning, thus allowing me to leave for four days. Writing it all out is a little daunting, like explaining to someone how to tie a bootlace without using your hands.

Also, I need to clean out my car. Which isn't too bad. Mostly a matter of me tossing something I'm Done With in the back seat and forgetting it there. Until now. And taking the kayak rack off the roof. Even though it makes it easier to find in a parking lot, the winter weather will take it's toll.

And I need to pack. What? A week ahead of time? Oh yeah. For one thing, I'm working every blessed day between now and then, including 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Thursday I leave. And I have to go through my leathers and see what I can still wear and what I might need to send the way of the Leather Pride Night Auction. So for a while, my bedroom will look a little bit like an episode of What Not To Wear or whatever. As far as gear I'm taking, that's pretty easy: whips, floggers, padlocks, chain, shackles, knives. Gone are the days when I would be prepared to serve up just what was on whatever bottom's mind. Nuts to that. It happens or it doesn't happen. And if it does happen, it's on my terms. If I meet up with a man I'd like to chain up, either he's up for that or he isn't. Either way, I'm good. And of course, if past MALs are prologue to this one, there won't me much of anything in the way of play down there. It's not about that for me. It's just about being there. Everything else is gravy.

Oh. And I gotta clean up the yard. There are still all these branches down from the windstorms we had a few weeks ago. The Old Homestead looks like it's an abandoned property worthy of investigation by Fred, Daphne, Thelma, Shaggy and Scooby ("Something strange is going on up at the Old Kramer Place, and we're going to find out what it is!" "Zoiks!")

Mid-Atlantic Leather. Looming so large in my imagination. This is so not like me! My lifelong strategy has been to keep expectations in check, hold back, be reserved. I read Marcus Aurelius' instructive Meditations in which he laid out his ideas about a stoic outlook on life at a young and impressionable age. Am I setting myself up for a fall?


But perhaps not.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hillary And Laura

Did'ja see the debates last night?

Really interesting. Kudoes to Charlie Gibson for doing a great job as moderator, and to that ferret-y New Hampshire guy.

I couldn't help but feel for Hillary Clinton. And I found myself thinking about Laura Bennet.

Laura, you might remember, was a contestant on last season's Project Runway. I loved Laura. Even though I was kinda happy when Jeffrey Sibelia won the big prize at Bryant Park, that was bittersweet because it meant that Laura lost.

Laura, you see, was the grown-up in the room.

Her prior experience had only been making clothes for herself. Everything she sent down the runway was impeccably tailored and inspired. No puckers in her seams. Heidi Klum said on several occasions, "Oh Jah! I'd vear effery dress of hers," and "I vont von off dose in effery color." Right before they passed her over to give the award to Michael ("I think women will want to wear my crotchless hot pants. I sure want women to wear my crotchless hot pants"), Uli (...and don't get me wrong! If I were a girl I'd be wearing stuff that looked a lot like Uli's), or Jeffrey (hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid).

I bet Laura Bennet and Hillary Clinton would have a lot to talk about.

Now I know something about politics. Any politician elected to higher office is completely pathological. They have things they want really really bad. Now we all have things we want really really bad, but if you aren't willing to cut out your grandmother's heart, throw it on the floor, stomp on it, and then use that nice scarf she knitted you to wipe the blood from your shoes in order to get what you want, you're not going to be very successful in politics. And then there's the press. Political reporting is like a class full of fifth graders. The teacher gets up and does her level best present a science lesson and the response is "Ah-HAH! You have a sweat ball hanging off your nose!" followed immediately by, "You still like me even though I said that, right?"

When Hillary refers to her "experience," I think she's talking about the first two years of her husband's presidency. Bill Clinton, the Arkansas Traveller, came into the White House, all about "Ah have a vision for Amurica!" He had promised a bunch of nutty AIDS activists in New York--oh wait! I was one of those nutty AIDS activists!--that first thing he did he would rescind the executive order that banned HIV positive people from immigrating to the U.S.. And he did. And in Less Than One Week a bill sailed through Congress that made it Federal Law! He told the joint chiefs of staff that the ban on gay men and lesbians serving in the military had to go. And those men, each of whom loved the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps respectively more than they loved their wives, children, god, and country basically said, "We'll see, Draft Dodger." And of course we all know how health care reform went down.

To be sure, I get excited hearing Obama's ideas. And Edwards', too. But at the back of my mind, I can't help thinking, "What the hell are those kids going to be able to accomplish?" I haven't heard any of Hillary's policies that I would oppose, and she is someone who would be able to get things done. No matter how many dead grandmothers she'd have to leave in her wake.

A woman I used to know in NYC is a major healthcare policy guru. Maybe you've heard of the Ryan White CAER Act? Well she sort of invented that. And got it passed through Congress and signed by Bush 41. She's one of the smartest people I've ever known. During the '93 healthcare debate, she was invited to go down to DC and spend some time discussing healthcare with Hillary. All of us wanted to know how it went. "She's incredible," was the report, "There was no topic I brought up that she not only had heard about, but she had thought deeply about and considered all sides of the question. We ended up talking for about three or four hours. No breaks. No intermission."

One of the best things I've heard from Hillary Clinton--and I can't remember the forum-- was when she was asked about the whole immigration issue that's roiling the Republican race. In a brief, offhand way, she answered that it was only an issue because the economy was swirling the drain. If there were plenty of good jobs to go around, there wouldn't be all this anxiety among american workers about furriners coming up here from Mexico and stealing our jobs. And omigosh, that's pretty much my recollection of the 'Nineties. The economy was booming, I had a swell job and could take nice vacations and buy two houses, so who really gave a rat's ass about politics? When some issue would make ripples on the placid shores of Peace And Prosperity, Bill Clinton would lull us back to sleep with one of those doofy little "plans" of his.

Ultimately, what I really want from the Next President Of The United States Of America is to be left alone and not have to worry about anything. And a job that pays an income plus or minus three integers from my age. And oh yeah. Don't torture anybody.

There's no doubt in my mind: Hillary Clinton would make a great President.

But still, I think of the kids at Starbucks. Those emissaries from the Land of Facebook and YouTube and Bands I've Never Heard Of. As them about Iraq and they respond, "I support the troops," and don't have much to say beyond that. But then there's their views on homosexuality that leave me astonished again and again: what's the big deal? Unless you're a dork about it.

What's the big deal? Twenty years ago, my government was content to let me and my kind die. Because they hated us.

How did that happen? Will & Grace?

Despite all those Massive Throbbing Protests and civil disobedience arrests and agitative propaganda I was involved in, I don't see much in the way of a cause and effect relationship.

Is it really a new world out there? Are my perspectives and experiences as relevant as spiking your hair with mousse and shoulder pads and spandex pants? Were Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia and Michael Korrs right in that Laura Bennet did great work, but the future belongs to Rock Star Jeffrey Sibelia?

And is Barak Obama the President of the United States of America in that new world I can't quite get used to?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Don't Tell The Baron

Last night, as I drove home through the silent streets of Newtown, Pennsylvania, I was squealing with glee: Obama came in first in New Hampshire. What a momentous night in american political history! An African-American man wins lily-white Iowa. How would a nineteen year old pro-jihadist in Syria greet the news that a man named Barak Obama has become the President of the United States of America? An Obama presidency would truly be healing we need. (Heh. The built-in spell check here on Blogger doesn't recognize the words "Barak" or "Obama," although "Hillary" comes up without the red underscore.) Every time I've heard the man speak, I'm nodding along in agreement. The man has a depth and an authenticity I've long since stopped looking for in politicians, even those I admire.

All but lost in my reveries and about half way home, my cellie explodes. It's the Baron.

Uh oh.

I couldn't deal.

I let it go to voice mail.

I couldn't make the transition to dispassionate listener quickly enough.

I listened to the message. Sure enough, the Baron was broiling with rage about the outcome of the Iowa caucuses. The Baron, you see, is way Way WAY for Hillary.

And not without good reason.

Like all of us, the Baron has suffered terribly through the past seven years of having George W. Bush in the White House. The Baron will reel off the names for you: George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, John Kerry. The predilection the Democrats have for choosing nincompoops who just scream out Will Never Be President as their nominees. Please God, pleads the Baron, not this year. Please not this year. The country won't survive four more years under Republican rule.

Hillary, the Baron feels, strongly, is the only horse in the game who can meet and overcome the vicious attacks from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy to come. Because she's just as vicious as they are. Oh. And there's the fact that she just happens to be married to one of the greatest political minds of the past generation.

So for the Baron, it's Hillary or Oblivion.

When I point out that Hillary has a national 42% negative rating across the board--that is to say, that 42% of the country, Republicans and Democrats and Independents, won't vote for Hillary under any circumstances because they hate her guts--and ask from which of the states of the Old Confederacy or the West necessary to put her over the top in the electoral college can she reasonably hope to win, the Baron is dismissive.

The Baron was outraged at the whole Oprah endorsement. "How stupid can those commentators be? Those people came out to see Oprah cuz they watch her on television sitting on their decrepit sofas eating their Hostess Sno-Balls or Ring-Dings or whatever! They don't vote!"

Thus far, I've been able to hide behind the overall strength of the Democrat line-up. "Any of them would be a great candidate and a great president, but on the Republican side, they're all a bunch of non-starters." And, of course, pointing to my early endorsement of Bill Richardson. (Who would make a great President.) "Yeah," replies the Baron, "Richardson would make a good Secretary of State or Vice President to President Hillary Clinton."

But it's only January. And there's a long way to go until November.

O! The suspense!

Will the Baron uncover my sentiments? Will he ever forgive me? Will he talk to me again?

If it goes down the way the Baron predicts and Someone-Other-Than-Hillary wins the Democratic nomination and goes on to defeat in November, I will definitely feel like it's All My Fault and have to do some serious penance.


There are Serious Issues at stake in this here election.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Ever Wonder How Writers Of SM Porn Come By Their Ideas? SingleTails Brings You Some Insights Into That!

For real!

I spent six hours tonight sweeping and mopping, working for a nice couple who are trying to put together an income from cleaning up at construction sites. They're good people, but the work is beyond tedious. For the past several weeks, they've been doing their clean-up deal at these new doctors' offices being built down in Newtown. I wince whenever I get a phone call that they have work for me, but I need the money.

Doing manual labor, your mind tends to wander. One of the things I like about it. Robert Frost used to write his poems while working on his farm, my thoughts go more along the lines of stories I read in Drummer at a far too tender age all those years ago.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of sweeping and mopping down in Newtown. We come in as the contractors are heading out, so the place is eerily quiet. Like opening sequence of an episode of The Night Stalker quiet. (Yeah, so my pop cultural references are thirty five years out of date, so what?) The only sound is the slosh of the water in the big yellow bucket.

I have to admit, it's work that I consider beneath me. No opportunities to shine really. Although I do a good job of mopping. I learned to mop in one of my first jobs, as a dishwasher at Mother's Restaurant in New Hope. The guy who taught me--starting out with him saying, "You're doing that all wrong!"--was a Navy man, and he explained to me that the United States Navy had taught him how to mop, and he was going to teach me. First, you soak the head of your mop, which he called your "swab," and get it holding a lot of water. Then you get as much water as you can on the floor. "Let the water do the work." Water is the Universal Solvent. It soaks the grime off the floor and it becomes suspended in the water. Then, you wring out your mop and pick up the water and the grime, which ends up in your mop bucket.

"This is slave work," I thought one night. And that was the genesis of my reveries.

I thought about one of those Shadowy Underground Organizations that turn men into slaves to be sold on the auction block that was the staple of so much of the fiction in Drummer. (I, of course, hold out hope that such entities are not entirely fictitious, but from what I've seen, I'm losing a lot of hope there.) Of course, the big problem with induction into slavery would be the maintenance and upkeep of the slaves. Especially if the slave was unwillingly enslaved, and that's the best kind, right? You've always got to keep your slave under lock and key, or he'll be trotting off to tell the authorities all about what you've got going on and you'd end up doing time in prison and that would suck. So there you are, providing three square a day, emptying the bedpan (!)... And then there's the whole problem of healthcare and visits to the dentist.

I know a little bit about neuro-psychology, and as we know, a little knowledge can be dangerous.

So here's how I solved the Unwilling Slave problem.

First off, pump the slavery candidate full of some psycho-tropic drug that will significantly increase the number of dopamine receptors in his brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and learning. When you're experiencing that intense feeling of pleasure, your brain is being flooded with dopamine. Smoking and the use of certain drugs such as stimulants like meth and cocaine provide a sudden burst of dopamine, and it's thought that this is part of the reason that they're so addictive. Dopamine is also released in your brain during sex, when you've just eaten a filling meal, and when someone gently strokes you. So increasing your slavery candidates dependency on dopamine will start him on the road to slavery by making him a slave to pleasure.

So far, so good. But there's still his awareness that he's locked up in your cage rather than out doing whatever it was he was doing before you abducted him into slavery, right? If only it were possible to induce some form of amnesia...

But wait! It is! With electroshock therapy! The way the electrodes are positioned these days, memory loss is usually short-lived. But back in the '40s when it was first used, amnesia was a big problem. So using those electrode arrangements of yesteryear, the slavery candidates memories would be a dreamy blur. And coupled with his dopamine receptivity, he'd be fairly easily controlled.

Now we're getting somewhere!

And here's the thing. All those things that you know how to do without thinking about them--like sweeping and mopping and sucking dick and walking and such--are memories unaffected by electroshock. So you'd have the perfect slave!

So with all that as background, the most recent iteration of the Shadowy Underground Organization took shape. Powerful men would be abducted and put through the treatment and then sold as slaves. But during a training period of sorts, the Shadowy Underground Organization would make some money off them by running an office cleaning service. Their cleaning crews would come in after business hours and uncomplainingly vacuum and mop and clean toilets and empty trashcans under the watchful eye of their trainers. Back at the compound, they'd also be trained in sexual service and such.

The plot developed...

The managing editor of a muckraking weekly newspaper hires a cleaning crew to take care of the paper's new offices. Since he does most of the copy editing, often he's working late when they arrive. He finds the cleaners a wee bit bizarre, all these big, built men with shaved heads wearing identical uniforms and with these faraway blissed-out expressions on their faces. With some regularity, the cleaners change, but they all seem to be big, built guys, and always with the shaved heads (for the electrodes). He questions the "supervisor," but gets unsatisfactory answers. He becomes really suspicious when he recognizes a guy he used to play rugby with, but the guy doesn't respond when he calls him by his name, just keeps mopping away with a dreamy smile on his lips. He decides to follow the cleaners van and see if he can learn more.

At a warehouse facility on the outskirts of the city, the TRUE AND TERRIBLE NATURE OF THE CLEANING SERVICE IS DISCOVERED!! But wait! HIS SPYING IS DISCOVERED! The chase! The capture! Bound, he's taken before the majordomo of the Shadowy Underground Organization, who describes in detail all of that background stuff about dopamine and electroshock therapy. And then, with a sinister gleam in his eye, announces that our protagonist will soon join the ranks of the cleaning crew. And our story ends with him cleaning a toilets, being loaded back into the van, and taken back to the warehouse on the outskirts of the city, stowed away in a cage for the night, awaiting--unbeknownst to him--the day when his training will be complete and he'll be sold on the auction block to the highest bidder.

Running through the details of that story in my mind whilst I mop and vacuum and such is enough to keep me semi-tumescent the whole night. And lately at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, when I spot a smokin' hot man, I'll think Perfect Slavery Candidate! And I amuse myself while mopping by clearing my mind of all thought, just focusing on the swoosh of the mop as I put down the water and mop it up again, with a faraway blissed-out smile on my face.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Low Resolution

There I am, watching Project Runway. Catching my breath during a commercial.

And there's Faithful Companion, sitting on the comfy chair he prefers, looking at me in a way that could only be called "thoughtful."

Hey, I said, I've decided on my New Year's Resolution! Remember how 2007 was Year of the Dog, and so I decided to make it Year Of My Dog? Well it's over. Now it's the Year of the Something Else. The Snake, I think. During 2008, I'm going to ignore you totally! No more walks, no more kibble, no more scooching. Nope. No more. I'm kinda bored with having a dog. So I'm just gonna forget that I do.

Maybe I'll sell you for medical experiments.

Maybe I'll stick you with forks for fun.

Faithful Companion's big brown eyes don't even blink.

"Okay okay okay!" I say, "Kidding!"

Faithful Companion turns his head to study something on the coffee table that only he can see.

"Wanna go for a walk?" I ask.

He's off the chair, at my feet, wagging his tail right away.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Blast From The Past

So Christmas dwindles. The Christmas section at Ho(t)me(n) Depot gets smaller and smaller. First it was 30% off, then 50% off, and now a whopping 70% off. Although it's a little disconcerting. Because you see, these discounts are announced by a series of banner signs reading "70%" "OFF" "CHRIST" "MAS." So looking down the Plumbing Repair Aisle (23) as I often have the occasion to do, what I see is a big sign suspended above a little grove of metalic trees with twinklelights reading "CHRIST."

You see what I mean.

No more soft rock and soft jazz Christmas music. We're back to the usual fare.

So life seems to be returning to something I'd like to call "Normal."


And then, the other night, I stopped into Starbucks in Chalfont to pick up a latté. There was a passel of young folks there, one of whom was the former girlfriend of a guy I used to work with at Wuperior Soodcraft. And another was a young woman who used to work at Starbucks in Doylestown wherein I used to hang out a lot. We all caught up a bit. It was revealed to me that the nickname assigned to me by the staff at Starbucks in Doylestown was "Snakes." And they used to pass the time by creating a backstory for me.

"Snakes." I love that.

So this guy came up behind us, and during a lull in the conversation, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, "You're Drew. I remember you."

I turned around, there was a sudden intake of breath from me. It was Bucky.

Only longtime readers of SingleTails will remember Bucky. It was four years ago, when I was freshly relocated to the Howling Wilderness of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. An Ex of mine, the Man Who Ages Backwards, took the train down from NYC to pay me a visit. We had lunch, went to the Mercer Museum (which he didn't get a lot out of), and then stopped at Starbucks in Doylestown to have some coffee and talk before I had to take him to the train. At one point, as we sat talking, I happened to look up, and there pulling the espressos was one of the most handsome young men I've ever seen in my life. So handsome that my jaw dropped and my mind went blank mid-sentence.

That, it turned out, was Bucky. For a while, he was Starbucks boy. But then, y'see, I got to know him, and he became Bucky.

Much drama ensued. Bucky was all of eighteen years old. He was solicitous of my time and attention. I might even say he was flirtatious. But in this way way WAY ambiguous way. It was like, he'd take a step closer, I'd take a step closer, and he'd take three steps back.

Which, of course, drove me crazy. Making me want him so bad. Just check back on some of my posts from November and December of 2003. I was obsessed! Finally, Bucky announced that he was heading to Wisconsin to be with his brand new girlfriend. Coulda knocked me over with a feather.


Well I'll be damned. Here comes your ghost again.

There, in the flesh--the steamin' hot flesh, looking better than ever--was Bucky.

We sat. We talked. Just like we used to do.

Bucky is stunningly handsome.

To me anyway.

He's got great hair. That's weird for me to say, right? You probably don't think of me and hair in the same sentence. But Bucky has this great, wild, wavy hair. More young outlaw biker than surfer boy. Beautiful face. Beautiful eyes. And the way his beard frames his face. Amazing. And that mouth. Those full, sensuous lips.

So Bucky and I were talking.

Mostly when we talked way back when, we'd talk about writing. And what we were each reading. Bucky wants to be a writer, I like writing. So Bucky tells me that he wants to write a screenplay. And he launches into this prolonged (prolonged!) blow-by-blow of the whole deal. It was kinda sci-fi. In the future, women rule the world. Men are reduced to servitude. The men rebel. I think there's some kind of war. And it comes down to the last two men on the planet. They're being sought after by the women, because they need the men's sperm to reproduce. So there are the two men, out there on the run.

At this point, Bucky's voice starts to crack from nervousness.


You see, Bucky explains, the two men are gay. But here's the thing. Women have been in control for so long, and men have been subjugated for so long (Bucky didn't use the word "subjugated"), that they don't know how to be sexual with each other.

Bucky looked right at me. "But then, they figure it out."

Gosh, I said, that's really great.

(Implausible, but great.)

We talked for a little longer. It turns out that the girlfriend Bucky went to live with in Wisconsin he had never met. And he found out she was about fourteen years old. And so that didn't work out.

Now many many years ago, when I was about the age that Bucky is now, the Baron and I had a term we'd toss around: pre-fag sprout. Spouts were ostensibly straight guys who would probably turn out to be gay. For example, one of the signs of a sprout was dating outside your race, playing around with the idea of being romantically transgressive. (To be sure, not every young man who dates outside his race is a pre-fag sprout, but many pre-fag sprouts date outside their race.) And of course, that hyper-romantic A-Girl-I-Never-Met-Likes-Me-So-I'll-Move-Half-Way-Across-The-Country thing? Totally pre-fag sprout.

So it was time for me to go. And I asked Bucky if he wanted a ride home.

Was it my imagination, or did his face light up?

He lived about a half a mile away. He mentioned that his roommate was probably asleep. Sitting in my jeep outside Bucky's house, I thought about putting my hand on his thigh. About leaning in and kissing his wonderful lips. About gently massaging the nape of his neck. Instead, we shook hands. But then continued to hold each other's hand firmly while we continued our conversation. He said goodnight and I watched him disappear inside his house.


That night, my fevered imagination had Bucky trussed, belted, soaked, caged, restrained, afraid, insensate, beaten, subdued, wrecked, and begging for more. Bucky Bucky Bucky.

Bucky and I had swapped numbers, and so the next day, when I got off work, I gave Bucky a call. "Hey it's me, Drew. Just got off work. Heading to your local Starbucks. Be great to hang out with you again today. If you can, stop by. Either way, give me a call."

And he didn't.

There's no explaining Bucky. Is he or isn't he? And if he doesn't know, why the hell not? We live in a time where kids come out in junior high school. Same sex prom dates don't even make the papers anymore.

The Baron, of course, was happy to throw a bucket of ice water on my reverie. "Older men, if they're smart, get in relationships with younger men taking on a paternal role. If they try to be a peer, it's just kind of pathetic. But what the younger man wants is a peer. So you see, there's a conflict there, right?"


But I don't necessarily want to be Bucky's boyfriend. I just want to jump his bones.

Or whatever.

I mean... Christ!

Still no phone call from Bucky. And I'm pretty relieved by that. Like I really need to devote my time and attention to a sexually ambiguous 22 year old? Surely not. Especially when there just happen to be some adult men in the world who offer so much more. And without the ambiguity.

Or without that fundamental ambiguity.

After all, all of our intimate relationships are ultimately ambiguous. We never really know. For sure. Living with that ambiguity is what's key. Pretending it's not there... well, that way lies destruction.

So, if the opportunity arose, I'd definitely tap Bucky's ass. But the same, of course, goes for Vin Diesel. (Now there's another study in sexual ambiguity, huh?) But if neither happens, I'm cool.