Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lives of the Speedo Saints

Though I severed myself from the Catholic Church at age 13 and have grown to thoroughly despise it, I still was discomfited by a window display of a shop here on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea. It's a boutique that caters to the locals, its merchandise is laughably overpriced, and besides, the only waist size available among the trousers is 26 -- I don't think I was that size in the womb.

In the front window are two mannequins, clad only in Speedo-like swim trunks tented by 12-inch mannequin penises. Fine. Goes with the territory. But the two graphic panels lying at the mannequins' feet read, "Lives of the Saints."

What could this possibly mean? I remembered most of the saints drilled into me at Catholic school, and I don't recall any of them wearing bikini briefs. Were these new saints that snuck into the hagiographical corpus while I was off studying Buddhism? Could they have been recent arrivistes hastily canonized by John Paul during his last, senile days (in the same way presidents such as Nixon and Clinton granted last-second pardons to their felonious cronies)?

Saint Muscle Stud? Saint Liza? Saint Hedda Lettuce?

The old saints each had certain special skills on their resumes, which helped them attract their core constituents. St. Jude was the patron saint of lost causes. St. Francis of Assisi protected the animals. There was a saint for every group and every occasion. (The pharmacists alone have six who they can presumably implore for aid in solving the new Medicaid drug plan.) For every disease, there's someone up above standing by to hear from you. Why, there are seventeen saints who can protect you against mental illness, including Job, who went daft himself -- it's the old theological revolving door.

But of what cause could these Speedo saints possibly be patrons? "Yeah, this guy is the patron saint of malfunctioning penis pumps. And this over here, in the canary yellow trunks, if you run out of mascara, say a prayer to him. Also, if you're a twink, and you're unhappy about it."

I can see life-size reproductions of the Speedo saints being carried by a throng of celebrants during a Chelsea-fied version of the San Gennaro Festival, as wailing gay men lit aromatherpay candles and called out their desperate prayers for a miracle: "Please, make Jeff Stryker appear in my bedroom tonight!"

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