I can’t pinpoint exactly where it all changed.
I know the house fire had a lot to do with it. Nothing will Feng Shui your life faster or more thoroughly than an old-fashioned six-hour inferno, and nothing makes you re-think your relationship to material possessions quite like losing them all.
But even that aside, my priorities are all different now.
I haven’t replaced my assless chaps, and I no longer dream of owning an old BSA motorcycle. Instead, I salivate over my neighbours’ refinished hardwood floors and get hard-ons walking through the stainless steel appliance section at the Bay.
A couple of weeks ago I was standing in line at the Home Depot when I realized that I was kind of alarmingly excited about the brand new weed whacker and 5.5 cubic foot deep-freeze I was about to purchase.
And I wasn’t the only one. The 30-something couple behind me caught sight of the shiny black mini-freezer on my cart, and the woman elbowed her mate.
“Look, honey. Maybe if you got rid of some of your boxes from the back porch and organized your golf clubs better, we could make room for one of those.”
He shook his head. “They draw too much power. It would probably constantly kick the breaker.”
I looked up from the manual I held in my sweaty hands. “Actually, this baby only draws about point two amps, continuous service.” I said, surprised at how proud I sounded. “I’ve done all the research already. You don’t even need a dedicated circuit, provided you locate the unit close enough to an outlet, so an extension cord is not required,” I continued, assuming they were just as fascinated as I was.
She was, he wasn’t.
“Voltage drop,” I explained.
She nodded, he didn’t.
The freezer was actually a birthday present for my girlfriend, who is a Cancer, and thus appreciates all things domestic. Not everyone can recognize the inherent romance of having frozen bacon-wrapped scallops on hand anytime, or the sexiness of saving money by buying in bulk, but she does.
My mother was horrified to hear I was getting my sweetheart a deep freeze for her birthday, but my mom doesn’t truly understand how important ice cream is to my girl’s general outlook. Not to mention her love of homemade soup.
I knew that a deep freeze would revolutionize my household’s access to quality late night snacks, and for a Cancer that is romantic. My mom is a Virgo, and therefore is more turned on by cleaning products or a well-designed closet organizer.
Each to their own, I say. One man’s assless chaps are another man’s self-feeding weed whacker with ergonomic handgrips and a built-in lock to keep the extension cord from coming unplugged. I could hardly wait to get home and slip into my matching eye protection.
Like I said, I can’t pinpoint exactly where it all changed, but somewhere in the last couple of years things shifted. Now I would rather plant perennials than party, and thumbing through the Restoration Hardware catalogue has become my new pornography. Egyptian cotton sheets are, well…hot.
Before my house fire, I wasn’t bothered by my mismatched dishes, or the fact that most of my cutlery had the Air Canada logo engraved on the handles. But there is something different about rebuilding the contents of a kitchen in my late 30s instead of my late teens.
For a while there I even worried that I was slowly turning into an insufferable yuppie, that I was more concerned with making sure my tea towels matched the countertops than I was with making the world a better place.
Until my friend reminded me that if I were truly a yuppie then I would have sought out a more lucrative occupation than being a queer Canadian writer, and that investing in quality cookware was actually an environmentally responsible life choice.
He went on to add that landfills all over the continent were full of broken low-quality consumer goods, and that saving up for the copper-bottomed pots and pans didn’t necessarily mean I had become an unrepentant capitalist.
“It’s easier to fight for gay rights and social change if you’re not dying from cancer caused by cooking in a pan treated with a substandard spray-on non-stick coating,” he reassured me. “You’re just thinking of the big picture, here. Besides, you can write more if you treat yourself to the really fluffy bath towels. They’re more absorbent. It’s a time-saver.”
A shallow justification, maybe, but it worked. Our towels now match the shower curtain, and the little scented soaps on the back of the toilet tank, the ones we don’t use, because they are matching. And I refuse to be ashamed that I like it that way.
I am an unapologetic butch who refuses to conform to anyone’s definition of what gender I am, and I write decidedly queer stories about people who dare to be proud of who and what we are, even in a world that still, for the most part, despises us or denies that we exist.
And that means I am still a warrior, even though the blinds in my bedroom window are the exact same shade of brown as the bedspread. It’s more of a cinnamon colour than a chocolate, and it really picks up the secondary tones in the area rug. And I like it that way.
Like I said, one man’s pornography is another man’s brass reading lamp with the articulated adjustable arm and three-way light bulb.
Whatever turns you on.