My friend Chuck is mad at me. Because of a simple misunderstanding, he's decided that my intentions toward him are amorous, and I can't convince

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The plush life

My friend Chuck is mad at me. Because of a simple misunderstanding, he's decided that my intentions toward him are amorous, and I can't convince him otherwise. Chuck and I have shared the same bed on countless occasions over the years, and while I've been physically demonstrative, I've never considered having sex with him. That's just too weird to imagine. But now I've inadvertently planted the seed in Chuck's brain, and every time I talk to him, I can see the thought hovering behind his shining eyes: "Does he want to boink me?"

It may shock some people to discover that I can be discriminating about the guys I'm attracted to. But the truth is, there's a very specific reason why I'd never make the beast with two backs with Chuck, even if we were trapped together in an elevator with a case of Budweiser, a tube of K-Y jelly, and a box of Trojans.

That's because Chuck is a stuffed animal. A bulldog, to be precise.

It all started last week, when a friend just happened to be frolicking around a Ballard bar dressed in a furry monkey costume. At one point, he hugged me. "You like that, don't you," he whispered in my ear, stroking my head. Now, many men have muttered those words to me, in a variety of compromising positions, and I've been turned on. But not this time.

"Oh, c'mon," teased Mr. Monkey, feeling me tense up. "I know you're a closet plushie."

"What's a plushie?" I asked. My pal feigned astonishment that a fetish had escaped my erotic repertoire. As he told it, these folks dig getting it on with partners dressed as woodland creatures. I laughed loudly in his simian face. There's not enough whiskey in Washington to make me swallow such a lie.

But now my curiosity—and nothing else—was aroused. So I fired up the search engine. To my astonishment, the string "sex + fetish + plush animals" yielded a handful of Web sites. Plushies are real.

With the help of the extensive plushie lexicon I found, I'd like to clarify a few points about this subculture. First, my friend's assessment of the term was incorrect. A plushie can be either a plush stuffed animal or the short form of "plushophile"; the latter word refers to an adult with a strong attachment to such toys. What my monkey buddy was actually speaking of is a "living plushie," a costumed ("fursuited") person who engages in cuddling or "boinking" (lovemaking) with another plushophile.

While I found the photos of seductively posed bears and bunnies I downloaded deeply disturbing, who am I to damn practitioners of "plush love"? Lots of plushies don't engage in relations with their stuffed charges, and the ones who do aren't hurting anybody. Heck, I once let a guy have his way with me just so I could tape his copy of the Seekers' 1966 no. 2 hit "Georgy Girl." I have nude photos of Bobby ("Mack the Knife") Darin in my office. Live and let live, say I.

Chuck, however, isn't buying that argument.

So until we've normalized diplomatic relations, the only thing plush I'm showering with my attention is The Very Best of the Velvelettes (Motown). This girl group's biggest hits, "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" and "Needle in a Haystack," were both covered by successful '80s acts: Bananarama and the Belle Stars, respectively. The stomp and shimmy of "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You" made it a cult favorite on the British Northern soul circuit. The Velvelettes never achieved fame on the order of the Supremes or Martha & the Vandellas, but they rocked just as hard, as these 15 cuts (previously only available as singles) attest. Share this CD with somebody—or something—you love.

 
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