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The Fuckbucket: a container most mysterious

Two girls, one Fuckbucket; me and Trish at NYC Smut Slam (photo © Ed Barnas)

Two girls, one Fuckbucket; me and Trish at NYC Smut Slam (photo © Ed Barnas)

I started doing the Fuckbucket in early 2015 in Montreal. I think I added it to the first-ever Smut Slam cabaret (itself an experiment, a curated show with variety acts, instead of the usual Smut Slam open mic). I remember thinking that I wanted a way for the audience to participate in the show, even though in this variation of the Smut Slam there would be no way for them to go up to the mic. Lo, the Fuckbucket was born.

In other words, the Fuckbucket started as a simple trick to keep the room engaged. It was also a way for me, as a solo emcee, to keep the show flowing without having to tell too many of my own stories. Smut Slam is not about me, after all. It's a common prop in sex-themed shows, and like so many of the things that I do, the Fuckbucket seemed like just a fun little gimmick at the time. But after two years of slamming with the Fuckbucket, I am pleased to report: it’s way bigger than that.

This container of anonymity that changes from show to show—here a champagne bucket, there a shopping bag, over there a 5-gallon pickle bucket thoroughly rinsed and dried—has become a force of collective consciousness, a strange receptacle that lets out more than it takes in, and now I can’t imagine doing a Smut Slam without it.

  • The Fuckbucket allows the Slam to go even deeper. Yes, some people will always be ready to tell everything on the mic. But there are anecdotes that, for most people, are just too taboo to speak out loud. Sometimes these stories might involve actual society-wide taboos like poop or awkward animal intrusions or bizarre family realizations (discovering that you and your mom both sound alike when you orgasm, for example). Other times the Fuckbucket reveals things that aren’t actually taboo in a larger sense, but that feel taboo to the person revealing them, as if saying the thing would make the teller something they are not (doing something silly and spiteful to an ex-lover).
  • The Fuckbucket makes room for people who are shy. Actually, the Fuckbucket makes room for everyone besides the exhibitionists who are the obvious ones running for the mic. I forget how much people dread public speaking, but it’s really, really true: my affinity for the microphone makes me an outlier, and all the audience members whom I coax in vain to get up to the mic at Smut Slams are actually quite normal in their terror.
  • The Fuckbucket conveys chill. It sounds chill. It has the word “fuck” in it, as in, I don’t give a fuck. You don’t have to give a fuck, either. We can all be out of fucks to give, about how we sound when we say our weird shit, because the Fuckbucket has enough fucks for everyone. It sounds a bit silly, too, because of the internal alliteration, almost like something you’d find in a Dr. Seuss book, so it’s okay to be silly and chill with whatever goes in and whatever comes out.
  • The Fuckbucket makes the Smut Slam an actual co-creation of everyone in the room. Almost everyone contributes something to the bucket, because our Fuckbucket sponsor NJOY makes kick-ass toys, who wouldn’t want to win one of those? Even if someone drops in a deliberately inane question—“dwarf porn from Hastings… yea or nay?”—that would-be provocateur is still part of the event. I will read that question and joke around about it, and people will laugh and we will move on. That writer made a moment for the room to bond around, whether they meant to or not. (Answer: if the little people involved are doing it consensually, yea.)

The occasional insincere question is inevitable, but for the most part, audiences take the Fuckbucket seriously. They want to know something that maybe they feel stupid asking or just realized that night, at the slam, that they didn’t know (“what is pegging?”). They want to share something that seems to have no other place (“my lover no longer wants to have sex, and I am afraid we are through”). They want to state something and hear me read it out loud, in a dramatic voice, and then have the room give them a big round of really glowing praise for that thing (“my boyfriend says I give the best rim jobs ever”).

The Fuckbucket holds it all. It is way bigger than it looks on the outside.

*****

You help keep the Fuckbucket flowing and the Smut Slams slamming when you become a sponsor of mine over on Patreon. You really do. Go on, take a look, and join the community that helps make the magic happen.

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