International Mister Fancypants 2008 (Sunday)
I woke up to the all too familiar sound of someone knocking at the door. Immediately followed by a gruff German voice doing a very poor imitation of a Mexican señorita’s accent.
“We don’t want any!” I opened my eyes and saw that is was only 9:30 AM. I was immediately thrown into a funk. Apart from being awoken at such an ungodly hour, I was upset because Michael had the sheer audacity to be in a jolly mood. His bed unspoilt for the second? third? day in a row, I, once again, went to bed alone… friendless… alas. Naked, I stumbled to the door – for a brief moment I hated him. Who was he to have fun all night while I stewed in the misery of my own making. However, by the time I opened the door, the anger had abated leaving me merely exhausted. As I headed back to my bed I flatly stated, “You best be debauched.”
“Sweetie, I haven’t even slept yet. The Onyx party only ended at 5:00 AM and I think I lost my room key at the party. I have been in the lobby since then talking with friends. Anyway I didn’t want to wake you so I waited until now to come up. I need to borrow your key so I can get a new one made.”
“Take it.” I sleepily stated as I made myself comfortable in bed as he brushed his teeth.
The few precious minutes of silence was again shattered, “Nope, you are not going to bed.” Michael announced as he changed into his daywear. “Get dressed, c’mon, chop chop! We are going to get some breakfast and you are coming with us.”
“Yes. Do not argue, we will not listen. Come to breakfast. We insist.” Leonhard, always elegant and verbose, stated as Michael tried to rip the covers off me.
“Okay, okay, I get it. Don’t be pushy.” I answered dramatically as I kicked away the heavy comforter. “Head on down to the lobby and I will meet up with you in ten minutes. And don’t forget my key. I will need it back.”
Even after the door closed behind them, I still refused to open my eyes, both of which had agreed sleeping was the better option. However, who am I to listen to reason? My entire weekend had been an direct path towards insanity – one painful step at a time. Reason told me to buy a plane ticket and fly back to Seattle immediately. Yet somehow I felt that I need to be punished; thus I remained.
“If I am going to stay here, then I am going to make sure that I am completely miserable.” I announced to no one while I dressed. “Oh great, the muttering has started.” I also announced to the empty room.
I headed down the hall, toward the elevator to hell.
Breakfast consisted of a cigarette in the cordoned-off smoking section. Here we exchanged scathing yet ultimately banal repartee with a few of the IML regulars – as in those who can count the number of IML’s they have missed on one hand. The type is familiar to any scene. These men have been doing whatever it is that they do since the earth cooled thus their souls are deadened to anything exciting or joyous within said scene.
Now, I am not one to be judgmental, however, while my bitterness comes from years of self-hatred and an overbearing sense of realism toward the absurdity of humanity, these acquaintances’ jaded ennui was almost too common to be sincere. Over innumerable aeons, their expected affectations have become de rigueur whenever one finds himself trapped in a conversation with them. I have to wonder exactly how long ago did they swallow the mythos regarding the importance of being WHAT and, what is more important, WHO they are – or worse, were.
This tragic, but sadly typical attitude is rife in the ‘leather-lifestyle’ clique; a self-cannibalistic community these men will repeatedly denounce with spitting and scathing contempt. Therefore, is it not odd that they attend every major leather event that occurs throughout the year? If the stakes were higher and the expected quality of self-worth was greater, perhaps they would not participate with such constancy. However, because, in this small cesspool they are big fish, one can always find them lurking in the corners snidely commenting on anything that they did not think of first. I call this insidious affliction the, Don’t-you-know-who-I-think-I-am? Syndrome. I am pretty sure we all do this in one facet or another. It just so happens that at present I am surrounded by the leather fashionistas. If this was the culinary world, I would probably be right up their with the rest of the ‘high and mighty’.
Harsh? Perhaps. However, I accidentally won an international title-cum-target and found myself quickly sucked, (or perhaps thrust) into this tawdry and seamy game only a few years ago. (Yes, I am sash trash.)
Some people have a tough skin and can handle themselves in it and avoid or deal with the turbulence, I cannot. Luckily for me, that single grain of self-preservation I never knew I possessed showed itself at the right moment in my life. I owe my sanity to it. Granted with every divorce there is pain, and my divorce from the ‘leather-lifestyle’ community had it’s fair share of unwarranted suffering. My observations are a tad unusual. Even though I was part of a clique and then willingly and absolutely defected from it, I still attend this event for my own reasons – none of which have to do with leather. Kink and fetish is a different story.
Drama Queens; all of them!
As my childhood friend, Robbie Feinstien’s grandfather would say, Feh.
After the cigarettes, Michael, Leonhard, and I found ourselves back at the Café kiosk. Again, I bought another $2.00 banana and another $4.00 cup of mixed, out-of-season fruit. I am just shocked that a hotel coffee stand can get away with this. Why, it is an outrage!
Michael and Leonhard wanted to do a little more shopping on the Magnificent Mile but I wasn’t up for it. After they took off, I found a relatively comfortable chair on the ground floor of the lobby where I worked on one of my written pieces from 1998. I can sense those grey clouds slowly drifting around my head. I have a feeling today will be a shit-storm. While editing progressed I was interrupted by Rich and Robert from the night before. On two separate occasions each one individually stopped by to check on me. At the time I was as fine as I could be: I had my headphones which drowned out the trite conversations occurring around me, I had my German gothic music which fit perfectly with my state of mind, and I was working on something that had absolutely nothing to do with the IML.
After the second of the two left me to my own devices, I sensed a guy sitting next to me, trying to see what I was writing. He might have been trying to gain my notice. I was impressed with myself, as I was able to completely ignore his existence. To this day, I have no idea who the guy was, if he was attractive, or what he wanted. I am sorry, but I cannot tolerate or accept this cracked smile, nod and then walk away bullshit. It’s tedious and beneath me. If you are interested in me you are going to have to be blatant, blunt and in my face to attract my attention.
In short order, Michael and Leonhard returned from shopping. As the elevator was moving slower and the wait was taking longer as the week progressed, I was able to catch up with them. Immediately after dropping off their bags in our room, Michael handed me a new room key and Alex’s pass to the vendor mart. Since I didn’t have to pay the fee, oopsie I mean donation, I decided to join them. I knew I wasn’t going to buy anything so I really had nothing, financially, to worry about. Of course this meant ending up in the Fort Gutter booth where I found a box of really kinda cool black latex gloves that I just needed for work. Using gloves, intended for fisting, with food in a restaurant seems completely subversive and slightly depraved. My visualization of olive oil, cheese, vegetable residue and meaty flecks on black latex gave me the heebie-jeebies. I also hoped this sight would disturb the other employees.
After, what Michael pronounced as, our last trip through the market, Michael and Leonhard asked me to join them for dinner at 4:00 PM.
“As long as it doesn’t involve that beastly coffee stand.” I reiterated this statement, “I have already spent nearly $12.00 on 6 bananas and that is tantamount to audacity.”
We ended up at Hoolihan’s. At best, it’s a mediocre hotel restaurant. I believe it was located on the brass level – just one floor up from the brown level. While I nibbled away at a plate of chips, salsa and guacamole. We discussed children’s fairy tales and Michael said he would check into the possibility of English translations for the gruesome Strewwelpeter fables. These short tales taught deutsche Kinderpersonal responsibility for their own actions; usually with gory results from not listening to their elders. I think my sister will appreciate me reading them to her children.
After Michael and Leonhard headed off to the contest, I wandered down to the smoking section. Moments later Eli showed up, sans Mister Hunde. We had just started a confab regarding why we were not going to the contest when the inevitable event I dreaded all weekend occurred; Eve Harrington strutted out and headed directly to a group of people standing next to us. He had his little entourage of sycophantic slags including Phoebe from Inferno and Michael from Troublemaker huddled around him as he held court; pronouncing fiats and making decrees all the while he chomped on a cigar – another affectation he recently acquired. My fight or flight instinct kicked in and I could feel my bile reach the back of my throat as there was nothing to fight and no danger to run from. I was frozen with apoplexy with a growing desire to retch. I tried to continue the conversation with Eli for a few moments, but even he knew something was very wrong. My legs finally found their strength once Eve’s braying laughter started. Hastily, I excused myself from Eli and quickly walked back to the lobby.
As I calmed down, I was suddenly aware of the puppy play occurring in front of me.
Call me thick, I still don’t get it.
Again, I was subject to a number of random guys smiling, nodding, and then walking away. What are these guys doing? What is up with all this bullshit? Am I being obtuse or is there a code that I need to crack?
While observing the human puppies, I realized that I was standing next to John from Fort Gutter. We stood quietly for a while. I knew I was still uncomfortable from the Eve incident moments before. Not exactly sure what to do, I made small talk. Nothing was going to happen so I didn’t push or pursue it. At least I can still read body language.
While I was busy saying something equivalent to ‘weather we’re having,’ to John, a random guy with yellow bracers and mutton chop sideburns swaggered by. Not only did John have to point him out to me, he also had to point out that he was cruising me. I was oblivious. He was standing on the other side of the circle that had formed around the human puppies and when I looked at him, I was sure he was checking out John. He stepped away from the circle and went on to swagger around the two of us and then returned to his original spot to watch the entertainment. John told me the random guy was definitely checking me out. So I looked at him. Of course there was no eye contact made. I gave him the once over from head to toe. He was wearing too much yellow which made me slightly uncomfortable, therefore, I had to assume he was flagging yellow.
I turned to John and said he was kinda hot but that I am really not into piss. “He’s kinda hot, but I am really not into piss.” I stated as I took a swig of water – my official drink for IML.
John told me that I should talk to him. “You should go talk to him.” He said with his big puppy dog eyes staring at me.
“If I am flagging something, that means it is what I am looking for. Seems to me since he is wearing yellow bracers, a yellow jock and yellow socks he really wants to have a piss scene. You, of all people, young man,” I stated while gently jabbing John in the chest, “should know that not everyone is into the same thing.” I tried playing this off as cute but I think I offended John as he never brought the subject up again.
Pity though. The piss boy was exceedingly sexy.
After more small talk about the weather and having successfully demonstrated to the random guy that I was not interested in what he was offering, I informed John that I was either going to head upstairs and write, head upstairs and watch TV, or go outside and have a cigarette – although I knew if I ventured outside right now, there was a good chance that I would have to deal with Eve. A glutton for punishment, I headed down the escalator. From this vantage point, I could see Eve outside with Michael and Phoebe moving towards the front door. With that, I decided to take the side exit.
Once outside, before I lit my cigarette, I deeply inhaled the fresh, crisp, early evening air then began to sputter as I saw Eve rounding the corner outside and heading towards me and the side entrance. I believe I caught sight of him before he saw me so, like a coward, I turned around quickly headed back inside. I am so lame.
Whilst tragic and dressed in black, I hid behind a potted palm, or maybe it was heavy dark drapes, I espied Eve strutting toward the elevator with his little entourage in tow. With a newfound sense of calm, I emerged, went outside, picked up the cigarette I had tossed to the ground minutes earlier and sated my frayed nerves by finishing it.
The tragic, but in a different sort of way, kid who wanted to use me as a masturbatory tool the night before was outside. He was drunk. Quel surprise! He didn’t remember me. De nouveau, quel surprise! Moments later, an ambulance pulled up to the front doors. Et de nouveau quel surprise! As this was the second ambulance in two days, all I could think of was one word: pace. At least I was comforted with the assurance that Herr Renslow remembered to pay the local media it’s hush money so that none of this information would be leaked to the local populace. Everyone is guilty until proven innocent right now. All of them be damned!
Before coming back to the room, I considered going back to John, but decided against it. I want to be away from people, clear my head and write for a while because I am so totally over this entire weekend, Heather! Tuesday cannot come soon enough. As I am writing this and pondering over renting Heathers when I get back to Seattle, Leonhard popped into the room,
“Oh, excuse me, I will be just a moment!”
– poured some drinks for the boys,
“Are you writing? I will be out of your way momentarily.”
“Leonhard, you aren’t in my way.”
“Okay, I will see you in a while.”
– and then headed back to the contest.
Knowing that the CHC Inferno party was going to be in full swing shortly, I decided to return to the lobby. At least Eve and her tired cast of four sycophantic Phoebes are leaving for the Chicago Hellfire Clubhouse. While there, they can ooze their toxic and unctuous personalities all over a different audience and unwittingly give me one less cause for anxiety.
The lobby was quiet. Many of the men were watching the contest, being filmed in a bareback porn in their rooms or stairwells, still hung over from the previous four days’ worth of debauchery, being taken to the hospital for bad drug combinations, or slowly drinking themselves to an early grave at the bar. The near silence was unsettling, so I decided to wander out front and have a cigarette.
I was surprised to run into Leonhard, Michael, Alex and Chris dontcha’ know… Alex and I had quite a debate regarding Madonna’s raison d’être – he as a fan, I as a dissenter. Once that topic was run into the ground, Chris and I started quoting movie lines and Shirley Q. Liquor. Meanwhile, die deutschen Jungen kept talking about heading back to the contest as the intermission was ending shortly; although it was clear they were over it and had no real interest in returning to the scene of that crime.
We all headed back to the lobby where the boys decided to go to our room and bring down another round of cocktails. I opted to stick around and hold the wall up. Mark, another Seattle-ite, found me and started chatting with me. Although I had avoided it for over a year, he insisted on bringing me up to date about Seattle’s random leather bar drama. I listened, mildly entertained but invariably uninterested which inevitably led to me retaining nothing of the conversation. As it was simply pleasant to see an acquaintance, I continued chatting with him.
“Weather we’re having…”
“Yup, it certainly is weather.”
Die deutschen Jungen and Chris returned just around the time Mark’s and my conversation on the weather devolved to a monosyllabic commentary regarding the obvious. Michael informed me that they decided to just hang out in the lobby. They figured they would hear who won the contest through the grapevine. John from Fort Gutter showed up and hung with us for a while.
Eventually Daniel, the local boy, with whom I had been talking for the past couple days arrived in soccer kit gear. He mentioned to me that it was a pleasure meeting me and that he wished we had hooked up.
“I wish you had informed me of this last night” I stated, vexed as he was heading home since his volunteer job at IML was finished.
“I gave you my room number twice.” He responded in defense.
I whacked him on the head with my empty water bottle. “I’m pretty. Not Smart!” Where that came from I don’t really know but, indeed, I said it.
At this point Chris spit beer out of his mouth as he started to laugh uncontrollably. I guess my suspicion about the invitation on Saturday night was correct.
Eventually Chris, Amber… didja git my smookes!, and I went out front to have a cigarette. I told him a little about what has been going on with me. Well, he did call me on my behavior and how I had been acting extremely shy, which he found unusual compared to the times we had spent together the previous years. Then John, with whom I had an incident at Inferno 3 years ago, decided to suddenly remember my name and talk to me, showed up. (I didn’t know that roughly shoving my tongue down his willing throat while we pawed one another was reason to ignore me. It’s not like I had my tongue up his ass before sticking it in his mouth.) A congenial, light and casual conversation ensued which bored me, so I headed back upstairs.
The Germans were missing.
While aimlessly wandering around, I bumped into Jay and Travis. We talked briefly. Jay looked harried as Travis seemed to insist that they had to go change for the House of Blues Party NOW. I then remembered that the Germans had also discussed going. Chris, who was also looking for the boys, and I found each other and decided to head towards the elevators. Most likely Michael and his crew were either changing, having more cocktails, or both. Before Chris and I even made it inside an elevator Michael and company emerged in new shiny outfits. We said our goodnights and off they sauntered to the bus which would take them to the party. Eventually, I hung out with John from Fort Gutter who, at this point, I feel like I am leading on, but I just don’t have the energy to say, c’mon let’s go, or I really like you a lot but, apparently, I’m just not up for doing anything with anyone.
Ambiguity is frustrating.
I saw the eighties pop star again.
Bless his heart.
The Palm Springs Contestant won. Apart from the immediate feeling of pity, should this mean something to me?
I think I am having a low blood-sugar moment. I think I am going to stay in the room for the rest of the night and watch a movie, even though I promised Chris, Michael and the boys that I would not hide myself in the hotel room, yet here I am. At present, I don’t want to get dressed, deal with people, or take a clonazapam. The hotel is filled with is so much GODDAMNED testosterone that even though I may not want to, I feel like I need to have sex, which is not being offered – maddening.
Sometimes I envy straight men. When they are surrounded by this much testosterone, they end up fighting. At least it is something physical. At least they are getting some form of release. It may not be what I would normally consider healthy, but it certainly can’t be any worse than this.