[Originally written on this date in 2005]
Since I had dropped off a roll of film for development earlier that afternoon, I requested that Jon take the drive up to my neck of the woods and meet with me to see the finished results. This series included shots of the castle we had discovered in South Jersey, Asbury Park covered in snow, the interior of the old casino there, and a few of this overgrown sign that we passed somewhere along the highway. The weirdness in this state seems to be dwindling these days, so I like to make a point of visiting and documenting as much of it as I possibly can.
Anyway, getting back on track here, I figured that since we were out anyway, it would be fun to head over to the local porn store. This is one of those things we used to do frequently when we first became friends, as New Jersey seems to have a rather wide selection of assorted gentlemen’s clubs and adult novelty retailers. There may be some old stories about going to the strip joints after much drinking and consumption of illicit drugs, then making spectacles out of ourselves by throwing change at the strippers. Not really something I am proud of, but I was a young adult who had been shielded from such evil temptations for many years, so at the time it was hilarious. We also had a reputation of posing as customers when inside the porn stores, pretending we were throwing a bachelor party or buying gifts for relatives and getting into ‘arguments’ over which fake vagina Uncle Billy Joe would like more.
Again, all of that was years ago and this time I made the suggestion because the store was in close proximity to where my film was being developed, so it seemed like the most convenient place to hang out for a while. Of course leave it to yours truly to incite inappropriate behavior while surrounded by videos and DVDs covered with naked people having sex. For some reason I just find it difficult to keep a straight face around pleasure toys that are in the shape of a banana and I made some sort of remark about fruit salad. Jon was definitely encouraging me by putting on the Dumb Southern Boy Act, pointing to various things and inquiring with wide eyes what it was for. An employee actually walked over to us and explained in detail how to use it, and I could see him struggling not to laugh. She was so nice though that he smiled and said thanks, then took my hand and led me back outside where we both exploded with laughter.
The whole experience was all in good fun though, particularly the expressions on the people’s faces that were trying to quietly shop while we were waving rubber dildos around and acting shocked at the prices. We also learned the important lesson to be open-minded, because the last thing you want is to be on your deathbed and say to yourself, “Fuck…I wish I had tried that butt plug”. [Very inside joke.]
Whenever the opportunity arises for us to go out and make a scene, it is obvious that we take it. To be honest it requires no effort at all considering there are not a lot of heavily modified people in South Jersey. Even when they are not fully on display and we are trying to hide behind sunglasses or clothing that has no real discernible style, it is our attitude that exudes forth and causes the rest of society to take notice. Despite what others think or say, this is not intentional nor is the attention always welcomed. However, we are constantly amused by the vast array of reactions that we get from the locals and tend to get more that are positive than negative.
It should go without saying that Jon having tattoos, piercings and scars is not the main or only reason I love him. Though they are prominent and permanent, there are many moments I forget either of us have them, as they are not the sole defining factors of who we are. When people stare or whisper to one another or whatever it is these ignorant wastes of flesh like to do, we often wonder what their damage is. Catching them in the act is pretty funny because they always look embarrassed and then suddenly turn away.
We moved on to visit a few stores as I needed a stool for future sideshow performances, but we could not find one that I liked. Having my fill of driving for the day, Jon followed me back to the house where I dropped off my car and then happily climbed into the Chevy with him. Then it was off to another store for more pricing, though it was now late enough for us to avoid contact with the locals. While it is fun to fuck with people on occasion, there are moments we just want to be another pair of consumers making our way through aisles of merchandise. As frustrating as stupid questions from passing shoppers may be, you never really get tired of having fodder to snicker at when then go on their way.
The expressions on their faces when we tell them just how many tattoos or piercings we have are always priceless. My favorite stupid question at the moment is when asked if my large ear lobes hurt. Yea, I just walk around in excruciating pain all the time but it’s totally worth it, yo. Is that what people think? Seriously, stretching lobes should never hurt, and if it does then you are likely doing it wrong. The pain that comes along with other modifications is temporary and secondary to having an amazing body adornment for the rest of your life, but that’s just the way I feel.
Since our stomachs were craving nutrition we left the land of Babylon and retreated in the neon-lit chrome safety of a quaint little diner. There were maybe half a dozen people spread out between the gleaming stainless steel counter and blue vinyl booths, not one of which looked up when we entered. A friendly waitress greeted us as she grabbed menus and sat us next to a window while rattling off specials of the day. Jon asked for a few glasses of pop and five minutes to browse; he didn’t have to flash the Showman Smile to get her to respond quickly. Compared to all of the gawking we had endured earlier despite being moderately dressed, we were unprepared for the comforting silence around us. The jukebox hummed a somewhat familiar tune and there was plenty of noise from the kitchen as dinners were prepared; there was no annoying commentary pointing out parts of our appearance or having to deal with five people in the span of five minutes asking the same question.
For once we were well-behaved, chatted with the waitress without Jon stealing her money and had an excellent meal of roast beef and potatoes with plenty of fixings. It was like having a home-cooked meal and we really appreciated being treated so nicely that we left a huge tip. We were thanked for stopping by and discussed the encounter on our ride back to his house where comfortable clothes and a warm couch awaited us.
Curled up for the evening and just watched television like an old married couple until we fell asleep.