‘Supermarket Sweep’ went off air but never left our hearts

David_Ruprecht-sweater-001
Why does the appeal of a game show defined by hyper-consumerism endure today? It’s not just the sweaters. | Supermarket Sweep Fans/YouTube

“The next time you’re at a checkout counter and you hear that beep…”

Beep beep!

If you were a kid living in America during the ‘90s, it was almost impossible to avoid the above words, the iconic line that signaled closing time for each episode of Supermarket Sweep, the popular game show that premiered on Lifetime 29 years ago this Tuesday.

The show’s premise was simple: Every episode featured three pairs of shoppers (often couples, but sometimes siblings or friends) who answered questions about common grocery items to earn more time to compete in each episode’s “big sweep.” That sweep entailed their running through a mock grocery store to try and run up as high a grocery bill as possible for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize in the final bonus game.

The straightforward concept was really brought to life with host David Ruprecht’s elaborate sweaters, the contestants’ matching sweep sweatshirts, narrator Johnny Gilbert’s old-timey phrasing and the general corniness of it all. It was a giant wholesome meme before wholesome memes were a thing, and perhaps that’s why it’s still relevant all these decades later.

While the ‘90s version of the show is its best-known and longest-running iteration, the original Sweep actually premiered on ABC in 1965, running for two seasons. The ‘90s edition of the show was so popular it sparked about a dozen international offshoots, including Dale’s Supermarket Sweep, which ran for seven seasons between 1993 and 2001 before being briefly rebooted in 2007. A Ukrainian version of the show called Шоу Шара appears to still be on the air today.

The show has seen a surge of interest in recent years. In 2015, Ruprecht was interviewed in a Great Big Story feature where he disclosed that “all the meat was fake and all the other food had gone bad.” The next year, Melissa McCarthy starred in a cut-for-time Saturday Night Live sketch that riffed on the show and drummed up over 5 million views on YouTube.

Next, a collection of episodes from the Christian channel Pax TV (now Ion TV) version of the show (which aired from 2000-2003) hit Amazon Prime Video. And, in 2017, news broke that the show is heading for yet another reboot, though no further information about a host or premiere date have followed since then.

In the meantime, the show has built a cult audience of thousands of fans of the show watching illegally-uploaded clips of full episodes on YouTube. One channel boasts over 8,000 subscribers and hundreds of episodes uploaded at a rate of about a dozen per month.  

I am one of those subscribers. At the end of a long day, I often find myself devouring one, two or three of the old clips at a time, entranced by the massive meats and the awkward introductions from contestants like or Bea and Stan, who adorably couldn’t locate Nair in the bonus game (“C’mon, Stan, where’s the Nair?”).

Watching the clips brings back vivid, happy memories from my childhood. From a very young age, I’d often accompany my dad on his trips to the grocery store. Sometimes, I’d help him locate and check off items from the regimented shopping list carefully organized by aisle.

Other times, to the dad’s horror, I’d wander off on my own, building “cabins” out of toilet paper rolls, climbing mountains made of soda packs. And almost every time, we’d “sample” bites of candy and nuts from the bulk section when we thought no one was looking. The grocery store felt like a playground to me, and it was one of my favorite places to spend time with my dad.

After watching the show for the first time as a kid, I was instantly hooked. I’d record episodes onto VHS tapes so I could re-watch them at my leisure. I’d even cut out pictures of grocery items from the Sunday circulars, placing them into a “store” of my own outlined with masking tape on carpet in the middle of the living room and forcing my parents to play my own version of the “sweep” with me.

At that time, grocery stores felt like playgrounds to me and grocery shopping was an activity of pleasure. Today, I’ve come to hate grocery shopping — though I love cooking.

As an adult, the grocery store has become a place of stress. As my cart fills up, my anxiety grows over how high the total will be. I begin to feel guilty that the produce I buy will spoil before I go to the effort of preparing it. I feel guilty for buying more convenient foods that are more expensive than the regular stuff. And as an overweight person, it’s hard to ignore the feelings of judgment from conveyor belt jurists over the nutrition level of the items you’re purchasing.

Bulk stores are even worse. Setting foot in a Costco makes me feel dizzy within minutes. Who can eat this much macaroni and cheese?!

I’m sure these feelings of anxiety and dread are even worse for the 40 million Americans who live in food-insecure households or are relying on SNAP benefits that the current administration is regularly threatening to curtail. I also recognize that my memories of grocery shopping as a child owe a lot to my privilege as an individual raised in a middle-class household in a quiet, boring small town in southeast Wisconsin.

I’d still venture a hypothesis that fond memories of Supermarket Sweep bely class. The idea of running through a grocery aisle and packing your cart with as much as you can fit in it is a pure fantasy. It flashes back to a simpler, joy-filled time when the hope of a $5,000 cash prize was still something worth jumping and screaming about, when today we’d already be mentally calculating how much of that is lost to taxes. A simpler time before you knew how to count calories or clip coupons.

Above all, Supermarket Sweep appeals to the part of ourselves that never really grows up — the part of our brain that never stops daydreaming of soda-can mountains and toilet-paper cabins.

It’s hard to say whether a reboot of the classic show will succeed. Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, which has somehow been running for over five years now, comes close but doesn’t quite scratch the same itch.

There is also something to the rampant ‘90s-style hyper-consumerism of the Sweep that feels dated and even a little off-putting in today’s world of tidying up and “sparking joy.” It’s the same reason it’s almost impossible to imagine a reboot of the Sweep’s sister game show: Shop ’Til You Drop at a time when most shopping malls are shuttering or converting into gyms and apartment buildings at a record pace.

Still, even if a Sweep reboot fails or never materializes altogether, we’ll forever have the memories of those hideous sweaters and mega turkeys.

When artists cry out for help, how do we justify our silence?

I recently watched the Oscar-nominated Amy Winehouse documentary. Having gone through college at the height of both Winehouse’s popularity and notoriety, the film was uncomfortable to watch.

Of course, in retrospect, the late-night monologues that mocked the incredible singer’s substance abuse issues and eating disorders feel incredibly tone-deaf and abusive in their own right. Shouldn’t we have known better? Well, we didn’t. But at that time, Winehouse was everyone’s favorite go-to punchline and mockery — track marks were just as important as the cat eye for any complete Amy Winehouse Halloween costume.

Even after Winehouse died in 2011, we didn’t take responsibility for how we — as a culture happily gobbling up every piece of gossipy tabloid trash tossed into our mouths — all but certainly contributed to this young woman’s demise at the age of just 27. And, in the curious case of Kanye West, we arguably are doing it again.

Look, I’m not going to defend Kanye West’s misogyny. Nor his defense of a certain high-profile alleged rapist. But West’s outbursts have become so extreme and so commonplace so as to clearly suggest there’s more to the story than just some publicity-seeking rich rapper. But instead, we happily share the latest hot take on the latest Kanye incident and shake our heads: “Can you believe this guy? Who the f*** does he think he is?!”

We’re not asking the questions we should be of one of the music industry’s most innovating rappers of all time. Questions like, “Is he OK? Is he getting the help he might need? Is he surrounded by people who will see to it he gets that help, should he need it, before it’s too late?”

As Amy made painfully clear, money doesn’t buy happiness. And it doesn’t buy health. And just because an artist seems to have every tool in their box to overcome whatever challenge they are facing, not everyone is so lucky.

And not everyone is brave or savvy enough to do what they need to do to face their demons. In a interview taped last year for ABC’s Nightline show, Australian pop music genius Sia sat down to explain why she has taken the unusual approach to not exposing her face in interviews, live performances or videos.

In the interview, she explains that, in 2010, she reached a breaking point where she was struggling with her budding status as a celebrity and touring musician, and how she turned to substance abuse to cope. Not exposing her face has made it possible for her to go about her life in a way that works for her.

I couldn’t help but think back to April of that year, when I was lucky enough to interview Sia over the phone for EDGE Media, an LGBT-focused news website, amid what appears will be her final proper concert tour.

Over the phone from the back of her tour bus, Sia described how she’s “scared of people” and becoming “a bit messy, shaky and anxious.” The response struck me as a bit strange and I delved further, but, at the same time, I can’t help but feel guilty that I didn’t feel more concerned for her wellbeing. I felt detached from it, an observer, even as she articulated her feelings of unhappiness:

“When I’m doing jazz hands for these thousands of people I don’t know but for some reason have become important to me, I don’t have any energy left over for my friends or family. I used to be entertaining in my private life, the class clown and the heart of the party. I was silly and would bring everyone costumes to have fun and play board games. But I have no energy for that anymore. I’m exhausted. And that’s not really OK with me. I’ve decided that I really want to give the people I love and am close to more of my energy while working out what’s best for me in the long term.”

Sia was able to figure out a way to go about her career in a way that was healthy for her.

But people like me didn’t help her do that. People like me probably aren’t concerned for ‘Ye either, just like they weren’t for Amy. Maybe we should be.

Manboobs and me

I was asked to read an essay as part of the Marrow reading series’ event at the Pitchfork Book Fort in Union Park on Sunday, July 20. This is what I read that day.

I remember when I noticed my body was very different from most of the boys I knew. When I first came to understand I’d almost certainly never look like the sexy, long-haired guys playing guitar I ogled subconsciously while watching “Wayne’s World” on repeat with my brother. I definitely had a thing for ripped up jeans.

I was in fifth grade and it happened in the locker room of the tiny gym of my small-town grade school. I’d come to loathe that room and dread walking down the gray concrete stairs to that dark, smelly dungeon of a middle-school gym class locker room.

“What’s up with your boobs, man?” a still-prepubescent classmate asked.

I didn’t know what to say but I remember bringing it up to my mom later that day — how it hurt my feelings and how it made me want to never enter that disgusting dungeon again. How it made me feel, for the first time, that my body was wrong. That it needed fixing.

“It’s just baby fat, hon,” my mom told me, with that 100-percent-guaranteed tone only a mom can have. “You’ll grow out of it.”

The fact that I was a little chubber had really failed to register on my radar before then. I grew up in a happy home in my small family in rural Wisconsin. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I felt like I didn’t need them. I loved to read, think and play — building giant theatre complexes out of Legos before writing surprisingly sophisticated scripts for my tiny plastic people to perform. I was happy.

But as I was entering middle school, it was different. I came to realize that the “husky” tag on my Arizona Jean Co. jeans set me apart from my classmates — and it didn’t help that I wasn’t particularly gifted athletically or interested in any sports besides figure skating, gymnastics or beauty pageants.

Whenever I found myself near a swimming pool, I was that kid wearing a shirt in the water, fooling everyone with my one-man wet t-shirt contest. The thought of being ridiculed was too much and I never learned how to swim. Land would have to do.

When I told my dad about being bullied for what I soon learned were my “manboobs,” my dad’s comfort was simple: “Look at me,” he would say, “I was always the biggest kid in my school so you know what I did to the first twerp that made fun of me for it? I dunked his head right into a toilet. Fluuuuush. No one ever teased me again. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of you. Don’t you ever forget that.”

Though I wasn’t about to physically assault someone — I think he was seriously overestimating my upper body strength — I took the rest of his advice and tried my best to ignore the teasing. And as they say, it got better. Sort of. I retreated into a regrettable Korn-with-a-K-listening-to-nu-metal period of what would turn out to be my not-just-a-phase goth phase. I even played tennis for a couple of years. I lost some weight. When my braces came off and I got contacts at the start of high school, I thought my manboob days were behind me.

Of course, they weren’t.

At my first job, running trays of food to servers at a seafood restaurant at the age of 14, the expediter in the kitchen would yell out “Tits! Come and get it, Tits!” when my table’s food was up.

When my chest remained large, I sometimes wondered if there was a woman trapped in my man body. I’d stare at my penis for a half hour at a time and wonder if it was somehow possible that what I was looking at was actually some sort of lady-like part to match what I’d been told was my lady-like chest. (Sex-ed was not my school’s forte, but shoutout to MTV “Undressed” for clearing that all up.)

I’ve struggled with weight issues ever since, see-sawing between periods of disordered eating and obsessive exercising — when I was eating only half a Pop Tart for breakfast and three mozzarella sticks for lunch for almost an entire year of high school, weighing just 150 pounds — and other periods of complete inactivity, eating constantly and ballooning to almost 100 pounds more than that.

At one point, when I was dressed as Little Edie Beale from “Grey Gardens” for Halloween one year, one of my best friends, dressed as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, approached me at a party and grabbed and squeezed my chest flab.

“What are these MADE of?”

“My skin.”

Time can be funny. I remember feeling absolutely monstrous even at my skinniest, unhealthiest point. When I look back at photos from that time, it’s like I can almost see my skeleton showing through my way-too-thin layers of skin. Who knows, I might feel the same way looking at photos of myself today someday.

Speaking of today, I’m better, thankfully. I’m eating better — I’ve even come to like the taste of kale! — and I go to the gym at least three times a week. I don’t instantly associate rejection with my body the way I used to. I’d say, on a happiness scale of 1 to 10, I’m generally around an 8.

But sometimes the darkness creeps back in, as it tends to. Sometimes I still catch a glimpse of myself in the window of a building as I walk by and cringe at what I see. Some nights I dream of cutting away my extra fleshy parts and bleeding only pure, glittering joy at what was left. I still wake up other days and wish I could pull open my body at the waist to reveal a slightly smaller, otherwise identical version inside, like a matryoshka doll.

Of course, sometimes, the prompts are more external.

Last month, I was watching the Pride Parade as it marched and rolled down Halsted Street. Sandwiched between the entries from local politicians, corporations and bars was a float from a suburban liposuction clinic making their Pride debut. Riding the float were young children hoisting rainbow-hued flags reading “We’ll suck your fat!” And emblazoned on the side of the float was a sign exclaiming: “Say no to manboobs! We can get rid of them!”

I ended up writing a story about the float for my job and spoke with the clinic about their message. The story was later picked up by a number of blogs and news stations. She was shocked that anyone would be upset.

What their spokeswoman told me was that their message was one of love — that they are only trying to help people love themselves and help them look how they would like to look — and she reminded me that many companies would refuse to participate in a Pride Parade. She said she wanted “us” to know that they were “here for you guys.” I wanted to tell her to fuck off.

Of course, I’m not surprised that she was surprised anyone would be upset with their fat-shaming messages interrupting a day that is supposed to be about community and love. Some of the worst body-shaming I’ve ever witnessed has actually happened among members of my own so-called community. But this attack, coming from the outside, stung extra hard.

At one point during our conversation, the spokeswoman asked me what I would have suggested they write on their signs instead. I didn’t answer her question then but, after giving it some thought, I finally have an answer for her today.

What about: “Do what makes you happy!” Or “All bodies are beautiful, dammit!” Or maybe: “Listen to your body, do whatever the hell is right for it!”

I’ve come to understand, manboobs or no manboobs, our bodies are all we have. Let’s treat them like it while we still have them. And fuck anyone who says otherwise.

Excitement!

It’s been said that the only constant in life is that it is ever-changing.. And in that vein, comes an exciting announcement from My Writings and Me, Inc.

As of this Friday, I’ll be taking a leave from the fantastical Chicagoist. In the year-ish since I came on board the site, I’ve written 101 posts and enjoyed an incredible opportunity to reach a new audience with my writings on Chicago’s queer communities while dabbling in a bit of witchcraft – er, music coverage – too. (What, you haven’t!?) Dreams came true when I interviewed Mink Stole. I had an outlet for what turned out being a love letter of sorts to Courtney Love and ’90s nostalgia. And, more importantly, I had the opportunity to work closely with a talented bunch of hyper-motivated and hardworking fellow writers who I’m sure will continue to shock and amaze. So, if you haven’t already, please bookmark and follow Chicagoist religiously, as though it were the cult you almost joined in college. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

While you’re bookmarking things, be sure to add the Windy City Times’ home page, where you will shortly find news coverage written by yours truly. As of this week, I’m coming on board the incredible enterprise, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary of publication. I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work with such a legendary paper. As I described in my interview with publisher Tracy Baim for ChicagoPride.com, I think the paper provides not only invaluably attentive coverage of this city’s LGBT community, but also crucial visibility. I very much encourage you to check out last week’s special issue commemorating the paper’s silver anniversary to learn more about the paper’s past, present and future.

My work will also continue to be featured on ChicagoPride.com and Edge Media Network. Follow me on Twitter to stay on top of my latest pieces, and also be sure to visit my blog, which will continue to feature various run-off — most recently my response to former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee who, for some reason, is really obsessed with some article I wrote earlier this year.

Thank you all for your support through clicks, retweets, e-mails, “likes,” Facebook postings, comments, etc. etc., etc. As a good friend of mine, Brittany Julious pointed out in a recent interview with ch!cktionary, these are challenging times for freelance writers and every nugget of encouragement is fuel for our passions. Both that and news like this. And songs like this.

Dear Mike Huckabee…

I must say, it was a puzzling honor to realize my article – “The ’Ick’ Factor: How Gay Sex Plays in the Equality Debate” – hit your radar following the backlash ignited by your comments in your Ariel Levy-penned New Yorker profile. In fact, my sense of flattery left me feeling like you deserved the benefit of the doubt. Maybe all us sinful gay folk were being a tad harsh on you with their “icky” accusation.

I read the New Yorker article, your statement and all the news stories I could get my grubby mitts on with the hopes of better understanding your position toward LGBT equality and why the “ick factor” had manifested itself, but I’m afraid that I can’t quite wrap my queer head around it.

Yes, you’re partially correct: The “ick factor” is a not new term, and it is not yours. But to say that the term has been co-opted and accepted as an “established notion” to the gays is a complete misrepresentation on your part, having nothing to do with the actions of so-called “same-sex marriage advocates and militants.”

In my piece, the “ick factor” became a sort of catch-all phrase under which I spoke with some community leaders and academics, including Dr. Martha Nussbaum, on their perspectives on the concept. For many of the people I spoke with, the “ick factor” was an idea they had never before heard and many well-established LGBT leaders declined to comment. It is not a commonly uttered phrase among gays and lesbians – just a quick perusal of Google search results will find references to shows like Friends and Sex and the City, diet aids and ice-dancing siblings, colon cancer home-screening and bad ’60s pop songs. No other articles from LGBT media, previous to your PR flap, mention the phrase.

That aside, I cannot understand how the fact that the phrase is not new renders your comment justifiable in the first place, particularly when all the words surrounding it spew injustice.

But this is more important than a discussion about etymology or ethics. Or completing the research you feigned doing yourself. This isn’t about attacking you or raising funds – although you, yourself, have attempted to capitalize on the matter by asking for campaign donations at your statement’s end. And this isn’t even really about the New Yorker statement itself – you yourself have said far worse things previously.

This is about the livelihood of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans – including those you banned from adopting children in Arkansas – and the damage you willfully inflict on our lives with practically every damning word you utter through your bigoted laughter.

This is about your deliberate arrogance to deny full equality for an entire class of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. Though we might “ick” you out, Mr. Huckabee, we are here to stay. To consistently condemn us while at the same time calling yourself a Christian is, in my mind, deplorable,  indefensible and hypocritical for a self-described man of faith.

If you’re going to pretend to know our community and the phrases we use, at least do your homework first, Mike.

–Joe Erbentraut

Table scraps.. A trip to the zoo with Kevin Chamberlin

Though I am relatively new to the world of writing about musical theater, there are a few patterns I’ve noticed during the past year of previewing and reviewing shows whilst referencing names like Sondheim and Fosse with ever-increasing ease:

First and foremost, when I get in touch with a show’s PR team, they usually hook me up with one of the show’s lead names. And when interviewing actors of such prominence, a certain degree of prudishness can be expected. When I previewed Legally Blonde, I interviewed Elle Woods, played by Becky Gulsvig, a very wholesome Minnesotan-at-heart who giggled anxiously when I noted the show probably attracted a lot of gay fans — “Yes, it’s awesome,” she replied cautiously. When Spring Awakening came into town, I spoke with Melchior Gabor himself, Jake Epstein (of Degrassi fame), who spoke nervously of his few seconds of partial nudity on stage. Such PG-rated responses really aren’t the stuff exciting interviews are made from, but I don’t necessarily expect actors to speak too open about sexuality in the first place.

So, when I’d been assigned to preview The Addams Family‘s pre-Broadway romp at the Oriental Theatre, I decided to aim high and get a spicy interview subject, asking for 20 minutes to chat with the very-gay Nathan Lane, who stars as Gomez.

Kevin Chamberlin, the Broadway bear.“He isn’t doing press right now” – my dismissive reply.

OK, how about Jackie Hoffman, an almost equally very-gay actress playing the role of the grandmother?

“She’s very busy promoting her one-woman show … But what about Kevin Chamberlin? He’s great.”

Now, another lesson: Usually if a publicist needs to say how great someone is, they likely are not. But, running out of options and still hoping for a shot at comp tickets to the show, I set up a time to speak with Chamberlin.

And then began the research, which revealed the 46-year-old actor’s Tony nomination and noteworthy appearances in gay cinematic classics including Trick, In & Out and the farcical’s 2007 Broadway run. But, perhaps even more interesting than those undeniably important achievements was the finding that Chamberlin is Broadway’s bear community poster boy. He is a co-founder of MetroBears NYC and appears regularly at bear events including International Bear Ren and Chicago’s Bear Pride. How could I resist bringing these key facts up?

Chamberlin, far right, photographed with AF cast for Vanity Fair.And I did. Only three questions into our half hour-long interview, the conversation turned from the macabre singing-dancing family to the politics of being a bear. A good two-thirds of our conversation had absolutely nothing to do with theater. And while I couldn’t help but include some of the conversation that ensued, the bulk did not make it to the story’s final draft, featured on EDGE earlier this month.

Chamberlin: I’ve found it interesting to watch the bear community evolve – it’s like a social experiment watching the groups that have formed because of a reaction to another group. That’s why the bear community occurred, as a reaction to the muscle boy, hairless, self-waxing gay male stereotype. And it was a reaction to the AIDS crisis, people not wanting to look thin and quiffed. We wanted to look real and blend more [into society], to be embraced with the more masculine, real man look …

But it’s interesting, because now some schisms have been created. There’s the muscle bears, the chubs, the chasers. We’ve been splintering into more and more specific groups, whether it’s based on a fetish or outside activity like the gay softball or rugby teams forming … As more people come out of the closet, they find places to go and meet people who are like-minded. That wasn’t really the case when I was growing up and that’s what drew me in in the first place.

Me: Do you feel that the schisms are harming the community’s original intent?

Chamberlin: It’s an important community to me in how it’s very welcoming. And I’m hoping it will stay that way. As some gay groups have come up, they’ve become more exclusive, but it needs to stay accepting. And there’s new terms coming all the time. Redheads are orangutans, older guys can be silver-backed gorillas…

Me: And you have otters included in that, too.

Chamberlin: Oh, of course, otters! Who knows, the monkey movement might be on the way next.

Though I’m still not sure what a monkey is – a former-gymnast-turned-otter-chaser-or-both? Whatever the case may be, the moral of this story: Never turn down the opportunity to discuss bear identity politics. Even if it doesn’t get you free tickets to a Broadway production.

Now enjoy, this bear-related jam, from one of my favorite newly-discovered bands of this past year..

Download: The Antlers – Bear (mp3)

Previous Scraps: Dragonette and the conundrum of cool

A Halloween tale, via Missed Connections

SBL0607 2 MILLS

It is no secret that I love, love, love reading Craigslist’s treasure trove of awkwardness, the Missed Connections section. So, of course, as we all continue from a weekend filled with makeup, witches’ brew and masked make-out sessions, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to round-up some of my favorite Chicago MC’s to tell a little tale of Halloween lure (in addition to sharing some tunes).

Personally, Halloween has never been a holiday I associate with wild hook-ups, but maybe that’s because my costumes are usually not of the “Sexy (Fill-in-the-Blank)” variety. I’m usually in drag, covered in grotesque makeup with stubble poking through, and this year was no exception as I took on the role of Little Edie Beale from Grey Gardens. The below characters seem to have had some good luck knocking boots, even if they had a lot of explaining to do for their mother upon their return home. Here’s hoping the fates bring these lovers back together.

Missed my chance with Mr. Franzia – m4m (Belmont/Monroe)
Date: 2009-11-01, 11:33PM CST

“I had black paint smeared on my face. I admired the intricacy of your costume: Franzia boxed wine. We made some contact on the train before both getting off at Monroe. There we kissed at a street corner, where a passing driver yelled “FAGS!” at us (just in case you didn’t notice) … Sorry for not following, but, in all honesty, I was staying with my mom (who was visiting) in a hotel. That being said, I’d love to hear from you and maybe engage in some out-of-the-box conversation.”

ms wonderland left wondering? – w4m – 20 (in tinley)
Date: 2009-11-02, 2:40AM CST

“ok so i went 2 a halloween party with a gf and i was the sexy ms. wonderland girl. i was soooooooooooo wasted n u were so much fun and we ended up being naughty but i don’t remember most of it lol. u had on a dark costume not sure what it was though dah? well i have a bf so i guess it had 2 b a one time thing, just wanted 2 say if u ever read this i was the small blond who u helped have a really fun halloween!”

The outlaw Josey Wales – m4m (near loop)
Date: 2009-11-01, 6:47PM CST

“To the outlaw Josey Wales: it was so hot to watch you polishing your gun. A nice long gun, with a big thick barrel and a nice head to it. I can still taste that ammunition dripping into my mouth.”

Of course, since these are Missed Connections, after all, not all of these rendezvous were as successful. Lesson be learned: Be sure to carefully stow your beloved university-provided metro card when going home with handsome men in “dark costumes.”

Halloween Party then Your Apt – w4m (lincoln park area)
Date: 2009-11-02, 10:28AM CST

“Friday I was beligerent, I apologize. I dont remember practically anything when we got to your apt, let alone how we did till my friend filled me in. Uhh yah I lost my Upass at your place did you find it??? That would bloow if I have to find another one. Ps. “my buldge” seeing I was spider man is in your room too, white/pink soccer socks? Yeah, well I’m sorry for being a slob, im sure i was a huge one. But on the bright side I do think your adorable!”

Georgia at Halloween Church Party – m4w
Date: 2009-11-02, 5:15PM CST

“I was the Chaplin with whom you danced. I got swept up into an evening of events that now seem unreal. If you find this, please shoot me an email. I’d love to see you again and take you dancing.
Take Care

A Somewhat Silent Man”

oh, pinnochio – m4w (subterranean)
Date: 2009-11-01, 11:24AM CST

“that little boy look didn’t fool me, you were smoking hot. i never made it to the hideout, but i did spend a more than a few minutes thinking about what it would be like giving it to a puppet that wants to be a real boy, but is actually the hottest little girl in the room.”

But, I think the most important lesson from all of this is to watch out for each other. Halloween is a time for all of us to come together and bask in the ridiculousness of it all. And protect each other from violent religious leaders. Especially if you’re dressed as a pop diva.

Kid that got hit by the pope at Evil Olive – w4m – 21 (Evil Olive)
Date: 2009-11-01, 9:19AM CST

“Lady GaGa wants to make sure you’re ok.”

VAGUELY AUTUMNAL AUDIO MIX:

Download: Ramona Falls ‘I Say Fever’ (mp3) (+++)
Download: Florence and the Machine ‘Drumming’ (mp3)
(+++)
Download: Crystal Waters ‘Gypsy Woman’ (Sharps Remix) (mp3)
Download: Squirrel Nut Zippers ‘Hell’ (mp3)
Download: Silversun Pickups ‘Booksmart Devil’ (mp3)
Download: Kate Bush ‘Get Out of My House’ (mp3)
Download: My Gold Mask ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ (mp3)
Download: Cold Cave ‘Youth and Lust’ (mp3)
(+++)

(+++) denotes high levels of recommendation.