The Con Scandal That Won’t Die (Bitches Get Stitches and Bad Boys Get Unlimited Chances)

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This whole sordid con scandal should have died an inglorious death months ago.  Receipts were checked and compiled.  But the thing is, it gets tricky when narrative gets involved.  JM feels he deserves a redemption, so even though it means going to court and ripping off one of my friends since high school, he’s a (geeky) dudebro so obviously we all need to just give him what he feels entitled to.

Let’s just say for second that JM fell in with an Amy Dunne, okay?  Like sociopathic, crazy, well organized bitch who is out to destroy him.  We’re feminists here, so we can allow that perhaps with enough time and motive, a lady-type may be inclined to destroy a dude because she’s batshit psycho.  But when you are trying to tell me that you have over a dozen Amy Dunnes going public because they are all bent on destroying you . . .well.  You know who you sound like.  You can only be so misunderstood.

If JM had stayed dead like he were supposed to and gone into car sales perhaps or a motivational/rehab/apology tour like god intended for him, I wouldn’t have anything more to say.  There would be no point.

But he refuses to stay dead.

You are familiar with My Tale of Ruin.  Her husband left her!  It was a complete surprise to her!  She had no winter coat!  She was on the verge of financial ruin!  She had been brought so low!  

You are familiar with My Tale of Redemption.  But now she has a small house to call her own!  A husband you are all very fond of!  Benefits from a grown up job!  A successful business of her own for over a decade!  A book that has been published by Llewellyn and is in three different languages!  

I gloss in places.  At least now I do.  There’s no need to drag around this whole ridiculous tale that happened over a decade ago.

At least, not most days.

But there’s something about turning forty.  I don’t know what it is.  I’ve gone from careful, so very careful, always so very careful to lighting whole books of matches since I seem to have mostly run out of fucks.  I don’t really want to be lighting fires today, I’d rather be KonMari ing my house like every other civilized chick in my age bracket.  But even that requires us to light up some matches because there is no peace for us as Sister Queens.

There is no peace for me as long as I am silent about this.  Because when we are complacent, that’s when these muthafucking vampires think it’s okay to work on their redemption stories in our backyards.  In my backyard.  When our hearts are in our throats and our vomit is on our tongues and our palms are sweating while we answer the phones and take care of our children and try to go through our workdays while these dudebros are given second (and third and fourth . . .) chances to fix their situations and we’re supposed to keep our pretty mouths shut and let them.

I’m done with that.

So I am telling (a small) part of my story.  This never ending redemption is bad for everyone.  For me in particular, every time this sad, gross tale gets another layer and I’m told about it, it brings me right back to that place – that place ten years ago of being a powerless, penniless girl without a winter coat.  And I start to feel cold fear in me again, right now.  Ten years later.  Just.  Over.  And.  Over.  And.  Over.

It’s dangerous af to create a culture where as long as you are a dudebro who is super sorry and super misunderstood you keep getting infinite chances.  And let me tell you, Sister Queen.  We would not be given all of these “do-overs”.

But no matter how far forward I come, no matter how awesome and amazing my life is, no matter what wonders I accomplish, I’m still sitting here over a decade later with my heart in my throat, panicking that they will keep rising up from the goddamn dead in my goddamn back yard, no matter how carefully I work to stay away from it.  Because that’s been the cycle for the last decade – whether I was playing The Game or trying to avoid it all together.  It didn’t matter.  There were always more chances.

Once, years ago, I was running what I didn’t know was my last SalonCon.  I was much younger and I didn’t really have any other women as fellow con-heads to go to for support or mentorship or whatever.  I was forging my own path with zero role models that I trusted.  I thought having my Wasband as part of the board along with other people who were part of my trusted inner circle would keep me safe and that together we would all keep working to figure it out somehow.  This was true until our third and final year.

I should have known something was up when my Wasband was suddenly involved in many email correspondences with JM.  Someone who my Wasband had previously discussed loathing in great detail with myself and our inner circle.  But, suddenly MTV and NYT was calling and I was still figuring out how to finance SalonCon along with the million other tiny details that running a con requires so I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have.  I really didn’t pay as much attention as I should have when suddenly my Wasband became really interested in showing JM our vendors and to take him on tour of our con.  To keep JM busy of course.  

Retrospectively, it seems pretty clear that they were planning on working on a future event together (which they did – the beginning of Steampunk World’s Fair).  They built SPWF on my back.  The timing was good for JM as Wicked wasn’t pulling in what it once did and this was a relatively new market that I had broken open.

I was too financially broken by my divorce to proceed forward with SalonCon, conveniently now opening up a big gap in the Steampunk convention world, especially in New Jersey.  I didn’t have the resources to go forward, but they did together – my knowledge base that my Wasband had learned from working on the board of my con and JM’s resources.  They let me quietly announce that the rest of the board was disbanding SalonCon and they stepped forward into Steampunk World’s Fair.

JM had his chance.  He took my chance.  And now it’s time for him to move on and do something that doesn’t involve the local convention scene and a long laundry list of sins that we have brought forward from his less than stellar business practices to sexual misconduct accusations.

Stop giving him money.  Stop giving him the local con scene.  Stop giving him chances.

Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  

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2 Responses

  1. He needs to fucking learn that trust and respect are EARNED. Not demanded. He doesn’t get to just wipe his slate clean with the number of people he’s hurt and dicked over. It doesn’t work that way.

  2. Sister witch, do I need to pull on my cursin’ boots and kick some ass? Just say the word.

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