So this is something I should blog, right? How often do I get to be a contestant at International Mr. Leather?
I am fried. Travel yesterday from beautiful, sunny Southern California here to rainy, cold, dreary Chicago was fifteen-and-a-half hours door-to-door. There were canceled flights! There was misdirected luggage! There was checking-into-the-hotel drama! There was the part where I only got four hours sleep before I had to get up and get ready for orientation!
But I made it in one piece.
It's been a lot of fun meeting the other members of my class, men who have flown in literally from all over the world. (Mostly places where it gets really, really cold!) I'm finding that aspect really fascinating. We all have our stories, where we come from, how we got here. Mr. DC Eagle and I share a last name, and, it turns out, possibly more than that. His family also hails from the coal mining regions of Pennsylvania. We've been joking on facebook about how we're family, and it turns out that may be true. (If you were to say, "Small world!" in response to that, I would rejoin, "No, it's not the world that's small. It's our lives that are large.")
After we signed zee papers, they gave us a smoke break. Reason Number 412 Why I Would Hate To Have To Give Up Smoking: Whenever faced with a large group of new people, you can always count on bonding with a select group of them whilst enjoying tobacco together.
Then, introductions of our handlers were made, and after, we drew our contestant numbers. We are fifty-three, all told. Same number as the playing cards in a deck, including the Joker. Mr. Oregon State Leather is Number One, and Mr. Los Angeles Leather is Number Fifty-Three. I was hoping for Twenty-Six, which I think of as my lucky number, but it was not to be. I'm happy with Thirty, a nice round number, easy to remember, even for my addled, sleep-deprived brain.
After we got our numbers, we were warned that we should be careful not to wear our ribbons in public areas. Apparently there are those out there who make sport of collecting the number ribbons from IML contestants. (Mental Note: If I do go out in public wearing my number ribbon, I'll make sure I've got a whip with me so I can fend them off like Lash LaRue.) Then, we were marshaled into four groups and assigned times for our interviews. I'll need to report at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. Which means a 6 AM wake-up, which means that I have roughly forty-eight hours to reset my internal clock so it won't feel like the alarm is going off at 4 AM.
Before we were dismissed, we lined up and were issued bottles of lube. That was my favorite part of the morning's proceedings. Like in old war movies when all the new recruits are given their boots and fatigues and guns. Actually, we were issued other things in addition to bottles of lube--badges, event tickets, schedules and the like--but it was the lube that stood out.
And now, it's nap time. I took advantage of the robust internet connection and downloaded the Season Finale of Glee, so I'll get under the covers, order up another wake-up call, and drift off to sleep while watching it.
Some miscellaneous notes...
• Cards! Dang it! I totally forgot about cards! And in my one interaction so far with one of the judges, he was like, "Give me your card. That's how we judges keep track of all of you." And I was like, "Duhhhrrr... Ummmm..." So I should just go home now, right? Once before in my life did I make up cards for myself, not counting business cards. I gave exactly none of them away. Trick cards always struck me as being a little lothario-esque, suavely sauntering up to some boy I have designs on and saying, "So, here's how to get in touch with me. Which I hope you'll do." I did not get the suave gene. So even though it was advised that I get cards printed up before I got here, I didn't. So I should just leave.
• It is so fricken' cold here! I'm freezing all the time! Not just when I step outside the hotel to smoke! In the hotel, in the drafty lobby, in my room... Weather like this is 90% of the reason that I drove my Jeep Liberty 2,700 miles across the country when I moved to Palm Springs.
• So it seems that the Chicago Hyatt Regency Hotel is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by International Style office towers. The nearest Starbucks is several blocks' walk through the cold rain and driving wind. And me without a parka.
• My Handsome Cowboy couldn't make the trip, so I'm here solo. I'm running into people I know, but so far no one that I know well. So there's a little bit of that junior-high-school-cafeteria vibe. As in, "Hi! I'm in your second period social studies class. Could I sit at your table while I eat my lunch? I promise I won't say anything and I'll leave as soon as I'm done." But hopefully that will change.
• The window in my hotel room does not open. Which means that I have to go down twenty-eight floors in the elevator to smoke. It's getting harder and harder to convince myself that the $250 Cleaning Fee I would incur for smoking in the room wouldn't be a worthy investment.