Many men have this strange fascination with naming inanimate objects. Ships- aquatic, air or space-faring- are called "She." Penises end up being called "Monster" or "Chuck" or "Batman." Cars end up being called "Kit" or "General Lee" or "The Little Red Bitch." It's strange, I tell you, but I seem to be no different.

My own car is called "Betsy"- so named by my best friend's ex-girlfriend. I like it. The name sticks. I haven't been so cliché as to name parts of my anatomy (yet), thank God, but my computer has a name. My prized pool cues, however, don't have names, but they do have genders: females, both of 'em.

Combined they are worth more than $700 (US), which is more than what Betsy is worth. I love them dearly and do my best to take good care of them. Since I don't have names for them, I give them designations. The one I'm partial to is "my girlfriend." The one that I had before her is "my ex-girlfriend."

On an almost nightly basis I go to Cafe Coco and play pool with toastido and Gihran. Sometimes it's 9-Ball, sometimes it's 8-Ball. Sometimes they win, mostly they lose. Invariably they play with my sticks since the house cues have the feel and finesse of baseball bats. I'd sooner use a club than use a house cue at George's Pool Hall.

Occasionally, we'll have new people stop in on a game or two. People who don't normally play with us will ask to use one of my cues. I'm a fairly relaxed and generous person, but I like to make things clear to these infrequent pool partners by saying, "Sure. But treat her like the lady that she is. Be gentle with her and she'll play nice."

Usually they smile and nod and laugh. Then they play with my girls and suddenly they become aware, somehow, that these things do have a weird sort of sentience about them. One friend has actually fallen in love with my ex-girlfriend. When he plays with us, he will not accept anything but her in his hands. It's funny, but it's true. But who am I to point fingers and laugh? I won't play with anything less than my black beauty, the girl I won in a 9-Ball tournament so long ago.

Toastido has recently informed me that he has bought a new pool cue of his own online, which should be here either today or tomorrow. This is a good, good thing. Why? Well, though I've never told this to him, I'm very protective of my girls and when he gets upset- as he is prone to do when on a horrendously bad losing streak- he makes me nervous when one of my babies is in his hands. If, God forbid, he does lose his shit one day, I'm glad to know that he'll have his own girl in his hands. Break her, but don't break my baby girls.

Treat them like the ladies that they are.

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