As the Butthole Clenches

The concept of “Relaxing the Butthole” was first introduced to me in the spring of 2007 on a visit to New York, during which I first began thinking of uprooting my stagnant existence in Chicago and settling down in Brooklyn.  Late one night, I found myself waiting on the Smith and 9th F Train platform with my former college a cappella group co-member (and current roommate), Mr. Matt Pearson. As I fidgeted about impatiently, voicing my frustration at the inefficiency of the train’s late night service, Matt stared coolly into the night, seemingly immune to the laborious delay.  “Just relax the butthole, baby,” he told me, lighting a cigarette.  “Society’s big dick is going to slide up in there whether you like it or not, so the more your butthole is relaxed, the easier it’ll be.”

I was transfixed.  Matt’s attitude was captivating.  At the time, I was waiting tables at a decrepit make-your-own-stir-fry restaurant in a northern suburb of the Windy City, while trying to maintain both a failing band and a failing relationship.  Tensions ran high, and a good deal of my nights were spent drinking through half my tip money, carousing about in dives and hipster bars in an effort to convince myself that I was having a good time.  My butthole was decidedly not relaxed, and this constant state of ass-tension was beginning to manifest itself in every aspect of my existence.

My trip to New York changed things.  Matt’s austere, bohemian existence was romantic and refreshing to me, and I envied the way he could be an out-of-work actor, completely unsure of the course of his future, but still be able to appreciate the simple joys of making his own hummus, dancing to his iPod, and drinking copious amounts of Barefoot Merlot from little juice glasses (which he said made him feel “European”).  I wanted a part of that, and immediately upon returning to Chicago I resolved that New York was the place for me, and started plotting my exodus.

Relax the Butthole became a life-changing mantra for me.  I would literally repeat the phrase to myself whenever I started getting worked up or panicked about the uncertain course my life had taken.  I had a Relax the Butthole playlist on my iPod, and would drive around Chicago in my Toyota RAV-4, listening to it at full volume and singing along with track after butthole-relaxing track.  I even think Matt’s words of wisdom made it into my collection of favorite quotes on my Facebook profile.  I was a true butthole-convert and, over time, I began to notice a palpable improvement in my overall quality of life.

If you’re saying to yourself that I sound like some sort of crazed butthole-zealot, you’re probably right.  If you’re thinking, wow, this dude was really at the end of his pitiful rope, I say the following: exactly.  The completeness with which I adopted relaxing the butthole into my everyday life was indeed a symptom of the exasperation I felt at that particular period, but that by no means renders the relaxed butthole philosophy any less pertinent.  What began as a simple trick to alleviate stress over trivial matters became a way to confidently march into the uncertain void in which my future would eventually materialize, and for that I am eternally grateful.

A friend recently asked me if it’s possible for a butthole to become too relaxed, and of course it is.  A butthole that relaxes too much loses its sense of urgency, its drive.  Without delving too much into the crude imagery that I could spew forth here (pun intended), a butthole will serve you best if it retains just a bit of its original tension, to keep things in perspective.  An ideal butthole is relaxed, but taut.  And it’s not easy, but that’s how I try to roll.

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One Response to As the Butthole Clenches

  1. […] Burning Man just days before moving to New York, so I was naturally going through a period of significant transition), and the complete disconnect from society that one experiences while on the Playa forces me to […]

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