Pop Goes the Polish Remover

A friend of mine recently asked if I’d like to work a few hours a week at his fetishwear shop. I’ve still got my property management job and pick up the occasional mobile notary gig, but to be honest, I’ve always missed working in retail. Evil customers and low wages aside, I like being behind a counter, especially in mom-and-pop (or in this case, daddy) establishments. It makes me feel like I’m in a sit-com.

The shop itself has two locations: The first is a freestanding building next to Ripcord, Ye Olde Townne Leather & Levis Bar, and the other takes up a large corner inside the bar itself. I’ve been patronizing Ripcord since I was a wee little baby gay, and when I got sober, I mourned all the misadventures I’d had there. However, a little over a year into my recovery, I agreed to meet a date there and found myself surprisingly comfortable in the environment. I was neither triggered nor overcome with the urge to drink, which threw me off a little, until I realized that for as raging an alcoholic as I was, I never actually drank very much at Ripcord — I just showed up there drunk.

That epiphany, coupled with Ripcord being the Misfits‘ home bar, resulted in me spending an inordinate amount of time there, much to the withering judgment concern of a number of sober acquaintances. “If you hang out at the barbershop, you’re going to get a shave,” they chanted while placing bets on how long it would take me to slink into a meeting and collect a new desire chip. But despite their hopes the odds, I’ve done remarkably well at the Rip. Everyone from the owner to the barback knows I’m sober, and it’s become an unexpected safe space for me, where I can sip club soda and get merrily groped by strangers without incident.

With all that in mind, I agreed to come aboard as a sales clerk, although I changed my work status on Facebook to read, “Notary Public at the Montrose Forge,” because I think I’m hilarious. And of course, within 30 minutes of me clocking in for my first shift, one of the Misfits texted me all, “Where are you?! I need something notarized yesterday,” so I took that as a favorable career omen and added a notary rate chart and that repellent sign to the shop’s décor, which amused the owner to no end. Especially after I told him he could charge $30 to have me schlep in from across town and notarize shit for walk-in clients.

The Forge
Best. Office. Ever.

Caught up as I was in the joy of getting back into retail and becoming the official notary for drunk leatherdudes everywhere, I managed to overlook one little glitch in the system: The store sells what are commonly referred to as “solvents,” or “polish removers,” or, back in the heyday of adult arcades, “video head cleaners.” And I say “commonly referred to,” because it is illegal in the great state of Texas to sell amyl nitrate or any of its derivatives for recreational purposes.

In other words, we don’t carry poppers. Poppers are bad. We would never promote nor encourage the purchase or use of poppers.

Which is good, because Drunk Me was a right proper fool for poppers.

For my 2.5 straight readers, poppers are an inhalant, which cause a brief but intense sense of euphoria. Along with the enjoyable head rush, poppers also lower blood pressure and relax muscles, which means they allow you to fit pretty much anything in your butt, hence their popularity in the gay community. I personally have not used poppers for any reason since before I quit drinking, but their acrid odor brings back fond semi-memories of drunken shenanigans, and in early sobriety, I found myself craving them more than cheap whiskey. I held firm and eventually lost all attraction to them, but I’ve also just put myself in a situation where I spend 12 hours a week with a display case of NOT POPPERS/POLISH REMOVERS a foot from my face. And that doesn’t strike me as 100% brilliant.

The original purpose of this blog was to document my recovery from alcoholism, but as I went from hiding in the rooms of 12-step meetings to functioning successfully in the Real World, writing about recovery seemed less and less relevant. Now, though, I’m starting to see The Second Coming of Bacchus as a tool for accountability. As I once told a roomful of recovering alcoholics who were not at all thrilled with my life choices (see barbershop above), I don’t care what anyone thinks about what I’m doing, so long as they know I’m doing it. It’s when I start keeping secrets that I get myself into trouble.

So. No secrets. I’m coming up on five years sober, and I’m working in a bar, selling video head cleaner to horny men who have never owned VCRs. And I am okay.

Thank you guys in advance for helping me stay that way.

Sticking to the Script: The Sequel

The Misfits’ annual GLUE Weekend has come and gone, and once again, I eavesdropped the house down and took copious notes. And thusly do I present, for your continued amusement and/or bafflement…


“I suddenly have a burning desire to go to Pier 1.”

“All I’ve had are crackers, coffee and half a Viagra.”

“It’s for your balls, Steve.”

“Show it to some white girls. They’ll buy it.”

“My inner thighs are sweatier in a kilt.”

“I got a picture with Spider-man before he disrobed.”

“I don’t care about your BMW… I don’t care about your education… I don’t care about your statistician…”

“If there’s a dead hooker under this mattress, I swear…”

“All I need is Adderall and the Serenity Prayer.”

“Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. Fuck all of you.”

“You don’t post CBT classes on Facebook.”

“I made ankle restraints as well. I wanted a matching set.”

“I was back in my room by 1:30… and in a different room by 2.”

“Did he really feed us experimental meat?”

“I picked the butchest color of toenail polish available.”

“You’re holding a 12-step meeting in the hospitality suite, where all the alcohol is. Brilliant.”

“I have to take my ‘top’ pill, or else shit happens. Wait. That came out wrong.”

“Do NOT quote me, Thomas.”

“My swimsuit… I rolled it up in my towel and put it in the bin…”

“I’m undetected, and we really need to fight the stigmata.”

“I’m a pup. I don’t have thumbs.”

“It’s Endora, bitch.”

“Film me jiggling my boobs.”

“So Google has a White Trash translator?”

“Hey, handsomes. Wanna have sex? No? That’s cool.”

“I just got back from Barnaby’s, and I got a piece of carrot cake I need to shove in your hole.”

“Last night was so bad, I fell into a wall.”

“I did not actually expect you to bend over the pool table. That was intended as a joke.”

“He drank all my alcohol and was like, ‘Yay, I love alcohol.’”

“Some of us are Jenny Craig challenged.”

“You have a penis. You should know how to do this.”

“Wanna fuck an old showgirl?”

“‘Throatcunt,’ like ‘love,’ is a verb.”

“Was that a squeaky sperm?”

“If you’re going to do burpees, you might as well do them plastered.”

“You… blow-dried… his… back hair. I can’t even talk right now.”

“Is that blowjob blue or buttsex blue?”

“There is somebody very, very gay in this bar.”

“I need to borrow your shirt. There’s butt sweat on my glasses, and I can’t see.”

“I got bad ass. I got ass poisoning.”

“That was awesome. Hail Satan.”

Permanent Ink In Your Eye

“You have to look at the card for a few seconds before you see that the animals that pull the chariot have neither reigns nor bridles. It’s the Captain James T. Kirk card, the card of leaping before looking, of burned bridges and uncovered asses. The card of thinking you know what’s going on when you don’t. As a message for the reader, it was ambiguous.”

–Rosemary Edghill

If almost anyone in my social network sent me a text that said, “I just hit myself in the face!” I’d respond with something like, “Oh no! Are you okay? How did that happen?” However, when I receive the same message from my buddy Angelo, I’m usually like, “Good job, but you really don’t have to tell me every time you masturbate.”

To steal a turn of phrase from Co-Witch A., Angelo approaches the carnal arts like the rest of us eat dessert: Voraciously, and with gusto. And please know that if his vibrant enthusiasm for sex was causing unmanagability in other areas, I’d be the first to pack his ass off to convent school. Thing is, he has the same level enthusiasm for pretty much everything. Whereas most people experience a variety of preferential emotions, from aversion to apathy to appreciation to adoration, Angelo has two speeds: asleep, and “OH HOLY GOD, THIS CHICKEN SALAD IS LIFE-CHANGING.”

Most recently, Angelo launched himself on a mission to come up with a concept for his next tattoo, and it was with no little happy pride that he emailed me to show off the design he’d decided to have etched on his bicep:

Totes innocuous, yo.

“Isn’t it amazing?!” he wrote. “It’s simple, clean and meaningful. PERFECT.”

His glee is always infectious, but something about the rune he’d picked was niggling at me. The runes themselves are decidedly not my forte, as I tend to shy away from anything occult I can’t pronounce, but seeing as how I have the entire Internet at my disposal, I poked around and quickly found a name and description.

Thurisaz. “Thorn.” Conflict, destruction, violent aggression, raping and pillaging, generalized stabbiness and male sexuality. Or, as Angelo saw it, conflict, destruction, violent aggression, raping and pillaging, generalized stabbiness and MALE SEXUALITY (-ALITY -Ality -ality…).

In an attempt to distract him with metaphysics until I could figure out a nice way to throw rocks at his joy, I was all, “Hey, that reminds me of the geomantic figure Rubeus.” To which Angelo responded,”Dude! You should get that as a tattoo when I get mine!” While I appreciated his determination to include me in his escapades, I’m about as likely to get a tattoo of Rubeus as I am to have the word “republican” branded on my forehead. What I am likely to do is have a controlled meltdown over his identification with Thurisaz, but only because I fundamentally disagree with his interpretation, and I’m never, ever wrong about anything.

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But My Friends Call Me Pumpkinhead Moontime

[A conversation between myself and my Misfits brother Space Cowboy (which is the honest-to-Gods name on his club vest; I am not making that up).]

SC: “The father of one of the girls in my kid’s class just sent out an email to let everyone know that his daughter won’t be attending school for a few days, because she got her first period.”

Me: “Huh. She certainly won’t spend the rest of her academic career trying unsuccessfully to live that one down.”

SC: “Well, luckily, he only sent it to the teacher and the other parents.”

Me: “So as long as none of the parents tell their children, she’s in the clear.”

SC: “Yup.”

Me: “Otherwise, she’ll be Bloody Mary until she goes to college out of state.”

SC: “…”

Me: “Or burns down the prom with her telekinetic powers.”

SC: “That’s awful, dude.”

Me: “Yeah. I’m a little ashamed at how quickly I came up with ‘Bloody Mary.'”

SC: “Bully.”

Me: “I’m only a bully because of my own insecurities. I started my period in the 4th grade, too.”

SC: “Wow.”

Me: “Too soon?”

SC: “I’m going to call you ‘Red Tide’ from here on out.”

Me: “I prefer ‘Rags’.”

SC: “Red Tide Rags!

Me: “Uh-oh. You just got way too excited.”

SC: “That’s your Misfits nickname.”

Me: “Um… that sounds like a vengeful ghost from Appalachian folklore.”

SC: “Even better!

And that’s how Misfit Red Tide Rags officially made his debut. I do have to say I’m not 100% thrilled about going down in Houston Leather History as the guy named after uterine discharge, but considering that other Misfit nicknames include “Twinkle Bear” and “Honey Biscuit Dancing Queen,” I probably got off easy.

Sticking to the Script

Every year, the Misfits put on a fundraiser called GLUE Weekend: three differently-sane days of parties and competitions and general debauchery in the name of community spirit. I spent most of GLUE 2015 running around behind the scenes, and while doing so caught a number of conversational snippets that are, at the very least, eyebrow-raising when taken out of context.

As such, I am very proud to present the world premiere of…



“He woofed at me, and I didn’t woof back, and he got pissed.”

“This is my Friendship Maker.”

“Does it go over the left shoulder or the right shoulder? Wait, which arm did he lose?”

“Yeah, he’s kind of creepy. I’ll call you after I hook up with him.”

“I’m getting you another cocktail to use as antiseptic.”

“You’re a pledge, and I just got paid. So put them on.”

“There’s a refugee camp on the back patio made up of club members who are over it.”

“I think he’s cupping my ass… yep, he’s definitely cupping my ass.”

“I mean, I get the whole phallic cigar thing, but still…”

“He gives really good raffle-ticketjobs.”

“And then she asked if she could lick my boots, and I was like, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever been turned on by a woman.'”

“I don’t have any bondage rope. I only brought cock rings. And a smile.”

“You had ONE JOB, and it was DON’T KILL MAMA.”

“I’ve got a lot of dicks in my phone right now.”

“Can’t you just borrow more spirit gum from that drag queen?”

“I’m cutting you off until you can speak a complete sentence.”

“It’s not like it hasn’t been in your mouth, dude.”

“When the delivery guy gets here, you should chug your drink and go, ‘I need you to be my friend right now, not my sponsor.'”

“Eating pizza rolls with Samuel Colt. What’re you doing?”

“Look. At this point, GLUE Weekend is happening, and nothing we do will destroy it.”

“I… totally just destroyed GLUE Weekend.”