Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Post-Memorial Day Weekend Quiz

It's memorial day weekend in Chicago and Margo is itching to get out of the house. Where does she go?

1. To a cat show

2. To a leather market.

3. All of the above

Answer: 3

Yes, it's true. After a winter of lethargy and passive television watching, I finally dragged myself out of the house and welcomed in the summer in a big, structured, go-getter way, attending not only the annual leather mart at the International Man of Leather competition and show (it wouldn't be Memorial Day in Chicago without it), but, as well, the Cat Fancier Association's midwest regional championships.

I didn't really want to go to the leather mart. It sounded like a lot of naked butts, paunchy stomachs rolling over leather kilts, police uniforms, and hairy, hairy chests. And I had seen all those the night before, as I sat in a restaurant/bar watching busload after busload of out-of-state leather daddies and boys stream into the leather bar next door. And it would be hard to go downtown, and park, and what if I was hungry and there was no food, or what if my feet got tired.

But I was wrong. It was festive and fun and playful and I ran into way more people I knew than I would have imagined. The consumer-impulse runs strong, and my gf and I hadn't been there long before we, too, wanted to get in on the buying action. And while we don't really need a glass-topped dining room table with a cage underneath it, and we have just about all the rubber hoods we need, we started to want to buy something, anything. At one point gf actually tried to convince me that a metal chain necklace/breastplate would be kind of cool to have. I settled on a leather wristband. She got a wristband, too, and a "bar" vest, meaning it doesn't have buttons and isn't a functional vest (i.e. don't wear it out on the Harley), but is just for wearing out to bars, hence the name.

And while some of the guys were paunchy, and/or hairy, and while there were a lot of butts hanging out (which isn't the right word at all, because these butts did NOT hang--they were very fit and firm), the whole atmosphere was so body-positive and upbeat that it didn't matter. My friends went in their best chaps and vests and looked like younger, cuter versions of this:

Ironically, the CFA show, which I couldn't wait to go to, sucked. I went last year, before we got our second siamese, and loved it--I loved seeing all the different kinds of freaky, expensive cats I had been reading about, and I loved talking to the breeders, whose enthusiasm and knowledge about their breeds was completely engrossing. And I don't even care if I sound like a huge nerd for saying it. I was even looking forward to getting out of Chicago and driving up to Milwaukee. Kind of like a mini-road trip, with a guaranteed trip to A&W for bacon cheeseburgers and fried cheese curds and maybe, maybe, a trip to Mars Cheese Castle for smoked string cheese.

The road trip part was great, and the day did indeed include fried cheese curds. But the cat show smelled bad and was filled with weird, anti-social people. And I don't call them weird because they drove thousands of miles to sit in a stuffy, smelly, flourescent-light lit show hall at the Milwaukee Airport, patiently waiting by their cats' cages for eight hours at a time, eating hot dogs with sauerkraut and stale popcorn and whatever else they could find within the radius of the show hall. They were weird because they wouldn't engage with me, no matter how hard I tried to get their attention, asking polite, thoughtful questions about their breeding programs, or the habits of their particular breeds, hinting that I might like to buy one of their cats one day.

If it was me, and if I was trying to sell a $1500 cat that looked like this

I wouldn't be so sullen and crabby. (That's actually a bad example because this is an exquisite cat--if I could, I'd pay anything they asked for it.) Maybe they were tired, or had indigestion. Maybe they were homophobic.

One really nice man let us pet this cat:

The owner pulled him out of the cage and was holding him to his chest when the cat turned, and like a child, reached for my girlfriend, crawled into her arms, looked into her eyes, put a paw on each side of her face, and gently stroked her cheek. After a few moments he turned back towards his owner and held his arms out to be gathered back into his arms. He was an extraordinarly tender, baby-like cat, and the experience both moved us and kind of weirded us out. So we walked around the hall a little bit more, bought some new toys for our cats, and beat a path out of there, steadfastly avoiding looking at the scary persians dressed in bows and lace collars.


Anonymous Diva said...

Margo, this is great! I laughed out loud. I esp. like the picture of cat in leather....and maybe I could learn to love one of those hairless cats. If they didn't make me allergic.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing says good times like a glass-topped dining room table with a cage underneath it! CD

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:42 AM  

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