Weed whacking

Recently, for some reason that wasn’t at all intentional, I stopped paying attention to my pubic hair. I used to think about it a lot when I first locked up, oh so many years ago. The CB6K seemed to be filled with little hair-pulling traps and crannies.

For a long time, I kept things very short down there. Like, non-existent. But that required a lot of upkeep since chastity causes some skin to fold back over on itself and the stubble being in contact with other stubble causes irritation and pain. I think it may have been on a camping trip when I shaved just before I left and then got hot and sweaty while hiking locked-up and dealing with extreme discomfort that I started to let the hair be a bit longer.

But then, like I said, at some point and without really intending anything, I kinda stopped tending to the pubes at all. I can’t recall the last time I trimmed them. I do keep my scrotum as clean of hair as possible and have been shaving it since way before I even knew male chastity was a thing, but the rest of the hair just went kind of ferrel. Then, recently, I noticed how long it was and was more than a little shocked. Honestly, no clue what happened there. Just kind of developed a blind spot around it.

According to Men’s Health, approximately 73% of men trim their pubes and a full 60% are at least willing to shave them off entirely if their partner wanted them to. That’s so much more than I would have guessed. So, since I suddenly found myself with a bushier bush than I’ve had in years and years, I was sort of morbidly curious to see how the other 27% lived and let them go.

This is me, letting them go.
Good god, look at it.

And I guess it was kinda hot? I dunno. It’s probably someone’s cup of tea. But one day after getting out of the shower and toweling off, I experienced a moment of body horror and snapped. All those pubes were not me. They had to go. So away they went.

Poof!

And it got me thinking about hair down there as a concept. I think part of it for me is cosmetic, for sure. But there’s another part that’s not. Call it societal or something, I dunno, but I, personally, don’t think subs should have an unruly bush. Or, really, any bush. I went to twitter and asked people who followed me what they thought and most who expressed an opinion thought the way I do. A few gave what’s probably the correct answer: subs should have as much or as little hair as their Dom/mes want them to have. Belle is, generally speaking, a fan of my body hair, but if she has an opinion about this particular hair, I can’t recall it. If I ever shaved my chest, she’d probably hit me with a stick. (Don’t tell her I do, occasionally, trim my chest hair to a reasonable, can’t-touch-my-face length.)

What I can say is, since shaving it all off, I feel more natural. More normal. For me. A gnarly bush of pubes is what cocks could have around them. Locked chastity devices simply should not. IMO. And it’s still kind of shocking for me to see it this way (it’s also been a long time since I was so hair-free down there), I do really, really like it. Even though it requires almost daily maintenance.

I spent a lot of time trying to fade it so it blends with the hair around it. I have always been a hairier than average fucker which, honestly, has also always bugged me. But it is what it is. At least the immediate yard around the device and its contents has been whacked back. Lord knows nothing else down there is being whacked.

Device déjà vu

A couple Twitter followers took me to task for reviewing the Badass Workroom BA-31P:

IMO, I define a “knock-off” as an exact copy of a product designed to appear to be that product. The male chastity device market is awash in these. Once upon a time, they were fake CB6Ks and then they were fake Holy Trainers (replete with the name “Holy Trainer” stamped on them), and now you see fake Cobras and devices that look like Evotion’s. In fact, you still see all of those. And that’s just plastic.

In my original review of the Rigid Halfshell, I said…

All in all, their products appear to be knock-offs of Mature Metal and Steelworxx designs at perhaps slightly better prices (though it’s hard to tell with currency fluctuations and option costs) which, all by itself, would make them barely worth a mention. But. They have a PA security design I’ve never seen before and it’s really interesting.

And that, to me in today’s market, is where “knock-offs” diverge from “inspired by.” A lot of the stuff on Rigid’s site looked like things other makers were offering. And a lot of stuff on the BAWR site look like things other makers are offering. But in both their cases, they have taken bits of those other devices and put them together in new ways. Hence, the BA-31P. It is, in my experience, unique. As I said, a cross between the Steelheart and the Halfshell. Not either. Both. And by making that leap of design — a leap nobody else has made, AFAIK — they’ve made something unique.

It’s not a 100% straightforward issue, to be sure. Patent and trademark lawyers make good money arguing about prior art all day long. All I can do is apply how I see it. In the case of the BA-31P, we find a new and unique combination of past designs. Good enough for me to think of that as a new, legitimate thing.

A case that I don’t think is difficult to call is that of the metal “Holy Trainer” I reviewed back in 2017. This was a product that was marketed as a device from the Holy Trainer maker, but in metal. It was the same design, after all, so…plausible? However, Holy Trainer only works in resin. They don’t make metal devices. And this specific device was awful. It literally injured me. Clearly, this is the worst kind of knock-off, even though one could argue making the design in metal was a new innovation. Perhaps. But they tried to pass it off as being something it was not (made by the Holy Trainer people) and, on top of that, it was total shit. It could hurt whoever would buy it and that would, by extension, hurt Holy Trainer’s brand.

But then I think of the brass barrel lock used by Steelworxx in many of their devices. When I bought my first Steelheart in 2009, I was unaware of any other maker using them. Steelworxx could have been the first (or maybe they weren’t, I dunno). Certainly, it was a very uncommon feature at the time. Now, you find it everywhere. Rigid uses them, the Holy Trainer has it, the Cobra and Evotion devices use them. It’s, like, the default way to lock a male chastity device. As is should be. It’s better than a small padlock in lots of ways. Are every one the devices I mentioned (and the perhaps hundreds of others I didn’t) all “knock-offs” of the Steelworxx design? Of course not.

In one alternate timeline, Steelworxx could have patented the approach. Perhaps, I’m not a lawyer. And that could have kept everyone else from copying their innovation. But that didn’t happen and, I’d say, the community of male chastity device wearers are better off for it.

Another example is the proprietary screw mentioned in the first tweet above. Lori’s devices had them ages ago. So did Mature Metal. And so does Steelwerks. And so does BAWR. And so does the men’s room stall I use at the office. Custom screw heads to make entry harder is not an own-able idea. The specific design of them could be. If BAWR was making S-screws like Steelwerks, that would be a clear knock-off. But they aren’t making those. They’re implementing a feature used by many other makers.

The last thing I’ll say about all this is the aspect of BAWR’s offering I mentioned in the first paragraph of my review. I was able to order a fully custom metal device and receive it within one calendar month. I have heard from dozens of guys who have ordered from Steelworxx and Rigid, specifically, who have waited 10 times as long (or longer) to receive their devices. This has been going on for years. I assume this is because both of them are overwhelmed by demand. In either case, they’re reported to be very poor at communication, so it’s hard to know. So, in a world where the two makers who have been apparently damaged by BAWR’s “copying” can’t even make devices in anything like a marginally reasonable timeframe for the customers they have, it’s literally the free market’s job to allow someone else to take advantage of the unmet demand. And BAWR has done that. They make a quality, custom product that many people want and cannot get. Capitalism doing its thing.

I don’t pretend this is all black and white. There’s a lot of fuzziness each person can interpret their own way. I have long been an advocate of not buying the cheapest devices available and supporting innovative makers. I long advocated for Steelworxx and Rigid and even Mature Metal. I also am a big fan of the Holy Trainer and Evotion devices and the Cobra. These are all makers who have innovated in their own ways. I do not think people should buy $20 versions of their devices. But people will and do and they have their reasons. I am saying I would not.

I also acknowledge that BAWR does have devices that could be called copies of others’ designs. But, like Rigid, they also have their own innovations they’ve added to the mix. And they can deliver which I know for a fact their all-metal custom peers struggle with.

Steelworxx, Rigid, Mature Metal, Badass Workroom…a lot of makers have devices that look like one another’s designs. They all get inspiration from one another. It’s all familiar. It’s up to you what you do with that. It’s up to you who you support with your money. I have no issue supporting BAWR because they offer the one combination of features I have wanted for years. Nobody else does, to this day. I don’t care what language they speak or what continent they’re making them on. They put exactly what I wanted out there at a fair price and in good quality.

What else could anyone ask for?

Badass Workroom BA-31P review

Badass Workroom (BAWR) is, as far as I can tell, a relatively new entrant in the male chastity device market. I first found out about them in the fall of 2021 and I ordered the device I’m reviewing today, the BA-31P, on December 1, 2021. Notably, it was a totally custom steel device that was ordered, manufactured, shipped and received all inside of a month. I am unaware of any maker in the space that can deliver that quickly.

I’m sticking the rest of this after a jump due to NSFW images…

Continue reading “Badass Workroom BA-31P review”

Be ready

Belle let me come last weekend. She gave me the key Saturday night meaning I was to go though my routine the next morning while she slept so that I’d be ready when she woke up. I call it “my routine” but that post I just linked to might be the last time I did it so I’m not sure one can use the word “routine” for something that happens so infrequently.

I don’t think the date of that post is the last time she let me out to fuck/orgasm, but I don’t know for a fact that it wasn’t. I know I don’t have a distinct recollection of it happening after that event and know it hasn’t happened at all this year. So, perhaps, it was five months ago. Minimally more than three months ago.

I also don’t know if Belle has any specific idea about how long she makes me wait. I presume it’s dependent on when she wants to feel me inside her, but I also think she knows that can’t be too often while also keeping me in the headspace she likes me in. Since I don’t keep track (anymore) of when I get to come, I also can’t know if there’s a pattern, but my guess is she’s on pace for 3-6 times a year based on my faulty memory and limited evidence. I think about how I used to come that much in a week just before we started using chastity…

Anyway, thanks to the Viagra and Promescent (and my phone), I was laying there with a mostly numb, incredibly hard erection when she was ready to commence activities. It took a lot of effort on my part not to rush things while trying to get her to orgasm first, but she was also apparently impatient and told me to go inside her before I got her all the way off.

When I’m in the situation of the chemicals making me as hard and sensitive as a rock, all I can really feel well is the tightness and heat of her pussy. It leaves me feeling overconfident and, even while trying to distract myself with even breathing and thoughts of baseball, it isn’t long before I realize the end is nigh. I do last longer with the spray, but it probably still wasn’t more than a couple minutes.

It felt like orgasm wouldn’t end. Even after I had shot my load, I felt involuntary contractions trying to milk as much juice as possible. My whole body arched around the erection. My abs actually kinda cramped from the effort.

When will it happen again? Will it be five months? Five weeks? Five days? Tomorrow!? No idea. I don’t even bring it up. I’m not allowed to either 1) ask for an orgasm, or 2) advocate against one so I tend to just not talk about it at all with her for fear of it being misconstrued as one or the other. Of course, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to do it and I certainly don’t need to know if and when she wants it to happen again.

In a way, that total lack of control creates its own kind of peace. All I have to do is be ready for whatever she wants.

Meditations for the chastity submissive

Being a man kept in chastity isn’t something you just do. I mean, sure, you can just do it. Order a device on the interwebs and lock it on yourself the very moment it arrives. Then…wait. In fact, that’s exactly what I did. But being locked up and being what I like to call kept* are different things. Some people only want to be locked up for a play session or a weekend or whatever, that’s cool. But some of us, when we feel the tightness build inside the devices locked on their bodies, want — need — more than that. We realize we’re different. That the act of locking us up somehow sets us free. Libéré en étant enfermé, etc.

But it’s still hard! It’s a struggle of wills between millions and billions of years of evolutionary programming and our higher brain’s infinite ability to think and overthink and twist the commands written into our DNA into so many figurative pervertable objects found in the hardware store of our imagination. And since I’m looking back at more than 13 years of being kept in chastity (yeesh), I have been pondering some useful ponders that penis-having people earlier in their journey might find helpful.

I guess I’d call them meditations on chastity and denial. Hey, there’s this post’s title. These are mental practices I’ve learned over the years that have helped me transform from what I was — dick-thinking, orgasm-chasing, under-appreciative of my partner, ultimately dissatisfied with myself — into what I am: a chastity submissive. Centered, appreciative, and feeling more myself and right than I ever have.

Maybe they’ll be useful for you or someone in your life, too.

Note: This is written from the point of view of someone who has another person in their life holding their key and with whom they have sex. Self-locked guys can still get something from it, but it's not my experience so it's not a perspective I can write from.

Acceptance
You need to accept and understand that you want to be kept in chastity. You (almost certainly) asked for it. And when you did that, you gave someone else control over…all kinds of things. When and how you have sex. When and how you achieve orgasm (if ever). And you know that’s how you want it to be. You know it’s how you’re supposed to be.

I have found it immensely helpful when I get to a point where I find the denial more than I can bear to meditate on that last part in particular. I am supposed to be this way. I can’t change it. I can’t help it. And fighting it is senseless and counterproductive. So I will, in those moments of quiet, solitary struggle, repeat to myself until I find calmness: This is who and what I am. This is my normal, natural state. I cannot change it. And, honestly, I don’t want to.

The other aspect of acceptance is the realization that whatever hot chastity porn ideas you brought into your dynamic with your keyholder are not reality. Once that whole other real person is involved — the person you’ve asked to be responsible for your key and the denier of your orgasms — what they want and how they want to do it suddenly becomes more important than your solo (probably masturbatory) fantasies.

Patience
It’s all too easy to get carried away on a wave of sexual frustration and try to climb into the driver’s seat sexually. I recall being super frustrated and that leading me to be very pushy when it came to initiating sex. It’s easy for a chastity submissive to forget that their partner/Dom(me)/keyholder is, in fact, pretty sexually satisfied and not thinking about sex all the time. The impatience of denial is corrosive to the dynamic of chastity submission.

It’s important to b-r-e-a-t-h-e when the waves of frustration are breaking over you. To not let that frustration manifest as aggressive behavior towards your keyholder. That’s a sure-fire way to turn off the one person you’re most invested in turning on.

Eventually, your urges have to learn they’re in the back seat. By design. And that when you do get to engage sexually, you benefit from being patient and slow and savoring the time you get pleasuring them. In whatever form that takes.

Attentiveness
I think the most important thing a chastity sub can do is to learn their partner/Dom(me)/keyholder’s pleasure preferences as well as they know their own. To learn exactly how their orgasm develops, their stages of pleasure as they build toward that moment, where they can be drawn out to maximize that pleasure, the tactics to employ if they seem to be drifting out of the zone, and when to pull back when you’re going too hard or fast. Pay attention to them.

It’s not that I think sex should not be enjoyable for a chastity sub. Of course it should. But it’s critical to learn how to make their pleasure your pleasure. The act of pleasuring them becomes the main point of the exercise. Learning that ensures that a chastity sub will always get some level of satisfaction when having sex, regardless of whether the key shows up.

Mindfulness
I don’t think one can be attentive without also being patient. One cannot be patient without learning acceptance. These concepts build on one another. And it’s the act of being mindful of how these concepts interlock and thinking about how that redefines a chastity sub as a sexual being where it all comes together. I spend a lot of time thinking about these things. Interrogating my motivations and critiquing my behavior.

It’s how I came to peace with my status as a chastity sub. To accept my place in sexual relationships. Like I said up above, my body and how it reacts to the chemicals it produces as a result of being denied conspire to make persistent mindfulness a necessary part of my submission.

Gratitude
It’s probably the case that you, the one who wants to be locked up and denied, brought the idea into your relationship. It’s also probably the case that your relationship pre-dated your admission to wanting these things. Which means the person acting as your partner/Dom(me)/keyholder probably didn’t ever think they’d being in a relationship like the one you want.

Note: I say all this knowing that the increasing visibility of chastity in porn and even popular culture means more and more people will not be in the same boat as a lot of guys who got into it before it became "popular." But I think it’s still the case, especially in male-female couples, that the majority of them are as I described above. Regardless, I think the following applies. 

By definition, locking a guy up and taking his penis off the menu means their partner/Dom(me)/keyholder will be giving up the device contents, too. At least some of the time. And even if that’s somehow not the case, they are acting as keyholder. Which is not without responsibility. In either event (or both), they’re investing time and energy keeping you in your state and dealing with the consequences. Plus, they may need to reprioritize how they get off. Learn new ways or be open to different types of activities or techniques that perhaps they never even considered previously.

And, of course, most importantly, the person holding your key has accepted you as you are. Your non-standard, not-taught-in-any-Disney-movie needs and desires. And being accepted is perhaps the greatest gift you can get.

* Yes, I will keep trying to make this a thing FOREVER.

Reflections on the care and feeding of a locked penis-having person

A few days ago, Locked Doc wrote a post called “How to Own a Permanently Locked Sub.” And it’s great and while I was reading it, I was thinking, Damn, why haven’t I ever written something like this? Well, turns out, I did. Something like it, anyway.

My post is/was called Keyholding 101 and dropped in August of 2015 and explains why I didn’t remember it because, Jesus, have you seen how many posts on here? So I re-read it as if I’d never seen it before (because I honestly have no recollection of it) and, I’m happy and relieved to report, I still agree with what I said (and how I said it).

My post was written very much with female keyholders in mind. Doc’s is written from an all-male perspective but, also, for someone who doesn’t necessarily hold the key since, you know, open relationships are thing. So they’re both really interesting and complimentary posts, though I think anyone of any gender in a relationship with chastity as a core dynamic can get something from what each of us wrote.

I was struck with how similarly we hit certain points. Doc wrote…

First off, I do agree that there is no ONE RIGHT way to do chastity. What works between two consenting adults is all you need to worry about, so you’re going to have to talk about it.

And I wrote…

I’ll say right up front I’m not about to lay out the One True Way. Every person in every relationship, not only sexual ones or kinky ones or ones involving hardware on penises, needs to find how they’re made satisfied and happy by it.

Doc also wrote…

We think about our cages ALL THE TIME. We know you don’t, but it is a huge part of our identity, and we need you to acknowledge and appreciate it. Even if its just a comment here and there about our locked status, we need to know you acknowledge the commitment we have made. An occasional grab or a remark will be very appreciated and will make us feel as though you “get us”. The more you acknowledge our locked status, the more turned on we get, just FYI. Most of us want to hear that, we really crave it, in fact. If you want to own locked property, you are going to have to pay attention to it, even if its to tell us that you don’t think about it (ironic, but it’s true). Just don’t ignore it.

And I said…

The only things he really needs from you is an understanding that you haven’t forgotten he’s locked up, you appreciate this predicament, and you take the key very seriously. There are countless stories on the web about those who get talked into holding a guy’s key even though they’re not really into the idea and they “set it and forget it.” This is the worst from the locked man’s perspective. As a keyholder, you’re really only reminded of the chastity dynamic when you can see his locked penis or he says something to you about it or you want to have sex. For him, it’s something he’s aware of all of the time. If you lose sight of that fact, chastity can feel very lonely and even pointless for him.

Doc said…

If you hold the key, recognize it for what it is. It’s a gift from us and we see it as a sacred responsibility. 

And I said…

He needs to know you cherish the “gift” of male chastity and know it can be hard (even if that knowledge won’t get him out of the device any sooner).

I’m not going to quote his whole post. You should check it out if you have not already. I think that Doc guy is a pretty reasonable fellow which explains why he and I are hosting occasional Twitter Spaces on the topic of chastity. Our first one was last Saturday. Check that out, too, if you have not. You can even join us next time!

Chastity rash

I have a new device I’ve been wearing for most of January that, I promise, I’ll be posting a review of relatively soon. It’s called the BA-31P (a sexy name, to be sure) made by a Chinese outfit called, and I’m not kidding, Badass Workroom.

This is not that review.

The BA-31P is what you’d get is the Stealheart and Halfshell reproduced. As such, the tube is enclosed and, like the Steelheart, it will retain urine more readily than a device like the Halfshell or the Jail Bird. Occasionally, for obscure reasons — I assume — based on my diet (the dots of which I’ve never been able to connect), my urine can occasionally become more acidic than usual. And when that happens and I’m wearing a device with an enclosed tube (read: most of the time), that urine can lead to irritation. It’s like diaper rash, but in a chastity device.

I was thinking today that I wanted a name for this affliction. And, yeah, it is like diaper rash (same causes, even) but only on the contents of the chastity device. So…chastity rash. That’s what I have and that’s what I’m calling it.

I should note for those guys who are really weirded out about hygiene that this doesn’t happen very often. That last time was when I was camping and was possibly exacerbated by the lack of showers one typically finds in the woods. I would guess it’s an issue maybe four times a year. As it is right now.

I swapped the BA-P31 for the Evotion 8 since it’s more open and I thought it would be enough to help the affected area recover. But no, it wasn’t open enough. So I was faced with the prospect of being…shudder…OUT to heal. Then I remembered the venerable Jail Bird. It’s very open as it’s a literal cage rather than a tube. But I had no idea where it was.

So I dug around for a while. Found all kinds of things I forgot about (kinky and otherwise) before, Yes!, I found it. But its key was not to be found. Bummer. Good news, though, is its “lock” is a special screw and I found it possible to screw it in sufficiently by hand to keep the thing together.

I really, really don’t want to be unlocked. Ever. I am fully invested in being kept in chastity by Belle so was kind of desperate to find a solution that involved some kind of security of the contents. I’m glad the Jail Bird is an option for me because, based on visual inspection, the parts impacted by the chastity rash already look better.

Hopefully, the contents will back to all hidden away in a day or so.

Transubstantiation

Last night I was opining on the Twitter about how I perceive my body. I had been out for a few hours that morning so I could get though the airport security gauntlet (with the family or I probably would have hazarded one of the plastic devices through pre-check) and it left me contemplating how that made me feel.

Bottom line, I resent being forced out of it. I resent being made to be that way because…well, it’s not me. That was the point of the Twitter missive. I ended the thread with…

As I was drifting to sleep (finally — damn, I was horny), a word likewise drifted though my mind. Transubstantiation. Which our Catholic friends know to describe how some believe the bread and wine of communion become the body and blood of Christ. I mean, it doesn’t. Of course it doesn’t. But the faithful say they believe it. And probably some of them do.

And it’s kind of like that with chastity after you do it long enough. The chastity and the denial and how they build on and reinforce one another. Eventually you start to feel like the device is part of you. Then you stop feeling that way and actually believe it.

Like (most of) the Catholics who take communion, I know my form of transubstantiation is an article of faith. If not faith, then some kind of wishful thinking, perhaps. I do not want to think of the contents as anything more than I said in that tweet. The insides of the chastity device. That’s what they are. To me. But then sometimes I have to confront the fact that they’re something else, too.

When Belle lets me out so she can enjoy the contents, that’s one thing. It is her prerogative. But when the world enforces its inability or refusal to accommodate my faith, it’s infuriating. And unsettling.

As an aside, someone asked me (again) on Twitter today if chastity makes penises smaller. I can’t stress enough that it does not. If it did, I’d know. But I did think as I said that to him that even if it were true…so what? When you’re so mentally and emotionally attached and invested in being locked in chastity that you stop wanting what’s inside to be seen as anything like a real man’s cock — to stop being a separate thing from its vessel — then I’d say you’re also well past the point of freaking out about it getting a little smaller from the transformation.

Of course, not all men in chastity feel like I do. Maybe they would someday if they stayed at it long enough. Or maybe they never will. But it does seem to be a distinct path some of us go down. The this is not what I do, this is what I am branch. Where you don’t spend any time thinking how great it will be when you’re out of your device and allowed to come. Because that’s not you anymore. That’s not what you do. It’s quite literally not for you.

Luckily, I was able to hit a stall in an MSP bathroom (perhaps the very one Larry Craig used) and put the Steelheart back on. I felt how each of my testicles popped though the base ring that’s not quite as big around as the left one. The PA ring slide into my urethra though the piercing and then the PA fixing though the ring. The coolness of the steel envelop the small appendage and encase it once more. Bringing them all together again. As they should and were meant to be.

I felt the transubstantiation. The little pink thing became hard and shiny. Heavy. Perfect. One.

So, so tired

I remember first hearing about Covid-19 about two years ago. Which makes sense since, you know, “19.” For me, it’s closely associated with the holidays because we were on a family Christmas vacation to our favorite place in the world and talking innocently about it as if it wasn’t about to flip the whole world upside down and shake it like it was trying to dislodge lunch money.

Then I remember coming back to the real world and having talks at work about it and what we’d do when “community spread” inevitably started in our state. Most of the folks in the company thought the few of us saying things like “quarantine” and “shut-down” were being alarmist. We closed our office and had people working from home earlier than most, but things started to move very quickly in February and March of 2020. I thought maybe that’d last about a month. Six weeks, tops. We were the United States, for god’s sake. We knew how to handle shit like this. Lesson in hubris learned. Lesson in how selfish some of us are learned.

As plugged into Covid as I thought I was, I distinctly remember the creeping horror movie moment of being at Target and seeing empty grocery shelves and people shopping like they thought the world was coming to an end. As plugged into Covid as I thought I was, I was not prepared for what it actually meant to live though a global pandemic. I remember worrying desperately for my mom, my employees, and my family. We were not prepared — none of us, though we knew this thing was going to happen some day.

I was an early advocate for universal mask usage and recall thinking the CDC was making a grave error when they pretended they weren’t necessary to wear (moral: always tell the truth as best you know it). I am also a fervent advocate for vaccination. I have been doing my best to let science be my guide throughout Covid, understanding that science isn’t an always forward-moving thing and needs time to solidify.

I say all that because even though it’s the holidays again and we’re scheduled to make our holiday trip to our favorite place next week (and require negative Covid tests to do so) and there’s an aggressively contagious new variant rushing around the world and more than a 1,000 Americans a day are dropping dead, things aren’t the same as they were two years ago. I’m not the same. I went to see Spider-Man last night. In a pretty full theater. With crowds of people in the lobby. I mean, I was masked, but 2/3 of those around me weren’t (which means my mask wasn’t doing much good to protect me).

Thing is, I am just so fucking tired of Covid. Everyone is. And there are vanishingly few things I love more than seeing new Marvel movies with my kids. So that’s what I did. With a bunch of other people who feel the same way, apparently.

In Minnesota, 71% of people have at least one vaccine shot. In my county, that number’s 81%. Ninety-nine percent of my fellow Hennepin Countians who are the most at-risk for serious illness and death are vaccinated. And there’s a ton of early data that suggest Omicron is, yes, much more infections but also instigates noticeably less severe illness. I’m triple vaxxed as is my entire family. As could be everyone I see around me (except those who have some pre-existing medical issue that complicates their vaccination). We are flooded with vaccine in the United States.

At one point last night, I looked around at all those happy-looking, festive, spider person fans smiling and talking and laughing and breathing all over one another and wondered if I was still in my own little corner of the multiverse. Had I slipped into a reality without Omicron? What were these people thinking? Then it occurred to me that I was also there. And I was there because we’re not in a pandemic anymore.

Covid is endemic now.

We can no longer avoid getting it while living a normal-looking life. And the people most at risk at this point are the ones too stupid to do the most obviously right thing: get fucking vaccinated. The vast overwhelming majority of those in the hospital for Covid are the unvaxxed. The vast overwhelming majority of the dead are unvaxxed (more than 160,000 since June in the U.S.). It’s probably the case that most of the spread we’re seeing is, you guessed it, from the unvaxxed. So me and, statistically, 8 out of 10 of the people at the movie with me last night had little to realistically fear from Covid. And nearly all the victims of it now are people who have made a conscious decision to remain vulnerable. And, honestly, the rest of us can’t be bothered to do anything anymore for their benefit.

I’m gonna get Covid. At some point, if I haven’t already had it. It’s a certainty. And when I do, it will almost certainly be a moderate to mild illness. And I’ll get over it. Because too many of us have refused to do the right thing for themselves and everyone else in our society, the “post-Covid” ship sailed a long time ago. It’s never going away. Thankfully, for those with the reasoning to appreciate it, we have modern medical science to make it a nuisance.

There are indications Omicron is exactly what we needed. A variant that creates less severe illness, especially in those of us who are protected, and spreads quickly. Our best hope is to use the vaccine to help build our immune defenses so we can easily survive infection. If you refuse that simple miracle of human achievement for whatever reason, Dr. Darwin will explain it to you in the afterlife.

In the mean time…Jesus, I’m just so fucking tired. Of all this.