Wonder Viv Sketches

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Thank You Vivian

So any regular reader of the Diary knows Vivian and I have a complicated relationship. She brings so much happiness to Jeff and I love Jeff with all my heart so by default I love Vivian. However Vivian the character is a completely different story. She is something that at times can bring me great joy and at other times tons of aggravation.
Now to be fair this aggravation doesn’t stem 100% from Vivian’s spending and time commitment, some of it is tied to world of drag and all of the ins and outs on how to maneuver one’s journey through that world. I can not tell you how many times Vivian and I have had the conversation if we would have known almost 5 years ago what we know now that there was a chance Vivian would have never been created.
This exact conversation came up between Vivian and friend she was having dinner with the other night. If you follow Vivian on Facebook (which you should) you know she posted the following status about that conversation:

“….. I eventually found myself making a comment that I’ve made many times….”Had I known 5 years ago, what I know now regarding the expense of drag as well as the messed up politics, I’d have never started”. Well, I need to retract that statement. Drag has afforded me so many incredible opportunities to meet people that I otherwise never would have. I’ve been able to give back to my community via fundraisers and charitable work….so NO, I would still choose this path. I wouldn’t change a thing about it, the good and the bad, have all shaped who I am as an entertainer and even more so as a person. I’ve made some incredible friendships….how could I ever think for a minute that I could have passed those up? So, nope, I’m quite happy with where I’m at right now. I’ll continue to do this until it’s not fun any longer……”

Now before I continue some of you may want to sit down. Okay I hope you are all sitting down. I have to agree 100%. Does Vivian and all the baggage, which comes with her and drag, get to me from time to time? HELL Yes it does, as stated in the past, that is part of the reason I started the diary. However at the end of the day Vivian has allowed us to meet some amazing people and get involved with some very important causes.

Over the course of the last 5 years, Vivian along with other entertainers has helped raised tens of thousands of dollars for not only local Columbus Ohio causes but national ones as well. This aspect of the art of drag has become quite important to both of us. Any time the Von Bs have the chance to help raise money, awareness or both for an issue that is important to us, you will find us there lending our time and energy.

This year is the perfect example of this. Earlier this year Vivian and I read the story of Michael Morones and it touched both of us deeply because we have both been bullied in the past. So once we learned of our friend, Paul Richmond’s, Art for Michael sponsored by the You Will Rise Project we knew we had to get involved. This spawned the Art + Drag for Michael Show in which we had the honor of having Michael’s mother, Tiffany Morones-Suttle attend and raise over $4000 for Michael’s medical expenses and the Michael Morones Foundation, started in his honor. After this collaboration the Von Bs were asked to join the You Will Rise Project organization which we were both honored to do so and very excited to see what else we can do the raise awareness of bullying.

Vivian also had the tremendous opportunity to host shows at a home bar this year. This has not only allowed Vivian to hone her art form but for the Von Bs to have a platform to raise money each and every month for causes that don’t always receive the attention they should. This is something I am extremely grateful for. I never really understood the attraction to philanthropy until Vivian. I have to say it’s addictive and something I’m very glad I have had to opportunity to become involved with.

Vivian and I both feel there is more to drag than just the entertainment part. Yes that is important but in our humble opinions it should be about giving and having fun first everything else is after that. When we can no longer give back or have fun the Von Bs will gracefully bow out, but until then we will continue to fight to make not only the GLBTQ community better but the world.

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Drag Bus

So this past weekend Vivian was not crazy busy, that is this coming weekend, but I have to say by the end of the weekend I felt like I was hit by a drag bus and to be honest I’m not sure why, I’m just glad I survived it.

It started Friday with our monthly Von B vacation to Kentucky. If you aren’t familiar with what these are let me quickly explain. Due to Vivian’s passion for costumes we don’t get to take real vacations to fun and exciting places. No we take one day vacations to Vivian’s costume designers, Patrick & Troy in Kentucky, so she can have new costumes. This one was extremely special for Vivian because se was coming off a 2 month dry spell of no costumes. Now this wasn’t Vivian’s choice and I wish I could say I had something to do it with but I didn’t. It was due to Patrick & Troy being so busy with pageant packages that were not able to do anything new for Vivian. By the end of these 2 months she was going through withdrawal and the funny thing is in that period she did receive 2 new costumes, one by Troy and one by Samantha Rollins. However, if you listen to Vivian it was like she hadn’t received anything new.
So this trip consisted of 3 new pieces and in usual fashion they were fantastic, so Vivian was pleased and as an extra bonus they came in under budget so yours truly was extremely pleased.

The trip was rough though, traffic was terrible and it almost rained no stop roundtrip. Driving at night in the rain when one is tired is not fun. For the first time in 3 years of traveling to Kentucky we were late getting there but that was actually a good thing because every thing was ready to be fitted. I believe we were in and out in an hour and half if not quicker. All I know it was the quickest fitting we ever had. We arrived home around 1:30 am.

Saturday morning and afternoon were not crazy they were kind of laid back. Around 4 pm we headed over to Wonder Viv Studio so Vivian could paint a friend for a turn about show and I ran some errands. While I was at Wonder Viv I found our Viv cash and I decided to bring some to Cavan with me so people could tip Hellin’, more on that later. Once this was done we went home so Vivian could paint for that evening’s show with Hellin’ Bedd and Samantha Rollins.

Now by this point I was still feeling the previous day’s vacation so I took a nap so I have no idea why it seemed Vivian painted extremely slowly in my opinion but none the less she finished and we arrived at Cavan where I passed out the Viv Cash.

So the show starts and everyone in the bar goes up to Hellin’ and tips her with the fake Viv Cash. Once she realized what was happening she stopped her number and told the crowd she was starting again and to please not tip her with money that would more than likely burn her skin. It was priceless I have to say.

The show proceeded with the usual banter between the Trio of Trouble. Vivian even was surprised by a visit from a Facebook friend she had never met in person who was in town and wanted to see her perform.

After the show we headed to get some food and got home around 3 am. On Sunday we vegged until my softball game at 4 pm where I tripped and slammed the back of my head on the infield. Luckily the only thing that was bruised was my ego.

So that was the weekend where I was hit by the Drag Bus.

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WONDER VIV EPISODE 22

It’s been a few weeks since Jeff learned about Tom’s “condition”. He couldn’t say he was pleased about how it was discovered but he was relieved to not have to worry about his husband getting hurt any longer. The creature Tom turned into seemed to be almost indestructible from what Jeff has seen. There was factor of this revelation that Jeff was not looking forward to and that was hearing Tom the entire way down to see Mr. H about the Wonder Tank and that day was today.

“Okay let’s agree on one thing Thomas there will be no BITCHING about the Wonder Tank on this trip” Jeff stated as he got into the car.

Tom could not believe what he just heard. “Are you kidding me? Not only did you order something we did not need. What you ordered caused us to have to rent a flat bed truck to pick it up. So do you really think I wouldn’t have some thing to say about this? Now are you ready to go get our flat bed truck?”

“Well mister I would have never ordered the tank if you would have told me what was going on with you. I was concerned for yours and the boys’ safety. If I would have known my husband was a living, breathing tank I would not have felt I needed a steel tank. So really if you stop and think about it, this is your fault; like most things.” Jeff knew that last comment was going to hit a nerve but he couldn’t resist it. He loved seeing Tom’s reaction when ever he spun thinks around back onto him. Granted it most cases it’s not true and this case is one of those, but he loves teasing his husband like this.

Did they need the Wonder Tank? Not really and Jeff knew that but he honestly was worried about Tom and his safety if he was ever caught out with Wonder Viv. It wasn’t until he mentioned his concern to Mr. H that the topic of a tank even came up. It was said it jest but then the more he thought about it the more he like the idea, so he ordered it. He knew he should have ran this by Tom but as always Jeff’s line of thought was: easy to ask for forgiveness than permission.

“I can’t believe you even said that with a straight face” just as Tom said that Jeff busted into laughter and leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, “You are lucky I love you.” Jeff smiled and responded “I Know. Now let’s get this show on the road.”

It took Tom a few days to find a flat bed truck they could rent that would carry a tank. It didn’t help that he couldn’t be 100 % truthful about what he needed to transport but after several phone calls. Tom found a company that rented them and didn’t ask too many questions.

“You never did tell me how you found this place? Renting a flat bed truck to transport a tank couldn’t have been easy.”

Tom shook his head “Trust me it wasn’t and it took some time and all my talents to forge fake documents to create a business that would have a legitimate need for a flat bed truck. Oh and let’s not forget the expense, but as usual what Vivian wants Vivian gets.”

Tom and Jeff pulled up to Penske truck rental. “Really how hard could it have been?” Jeff sarcastically asked.

“Tell you what Jeff next time you order a 20 ton tank you can find a place that rents heavy duty transports. It’s not as easy as you may think. It’s really not an every day request for an average business. So yes it’s a large company but that size worked to our advantage. As long as I had the right paperwork and the money that’s all that was needed. So shut it and let’s go get your tank.”

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A New Job

So from time to time I have update my Drag Husband resume. Being a Drag Husband basically means being a jack of all things drag. However some times a very specific job comes up that I have either learned or realized I have been doing for Vivian. The new job that now falls under my responsibility is Show Poster Designer and to be honest I am having a blast.

Up until recently there has been no reason for Vivian to have ads designed. All shows that she would perform in have been other queen’s shows. Now that Vivian is hosting 5 shows a month and performing in a sixth one, the need for show posters developed.

So yours truly did what any good Drag Husband would do. I purchased Photoshop and started designing show posters. Now we all know that even though I may be designing the posters Vivian has final say on how they look and what should be used…..lol. I can’t tell you how many times she demanded, no let’s go with requested a change in the font that I used. I have a tendency to use fonts that connect to poster even if that font is not the easiest to read. Yea Yea I know readable should be a consideration, but there are so many fun fonts out there. So once I get the fun font out of my system Vivian will come along and say “You need to change the font it’s not going to be easy to read.” When she makes the request I never tell her she is right but we both know that she is.

I will admit lately I have been taking that into consideration when choosing the font I want to use. I figure I’m not going to change her opinion so I may as well join her. It is Vivian’s world after all and I’m just along for the ride!

To date I have done at least 12 show posters for Vivian. Some of them have been the same poster just with a change in the show date and performers, but I do try to create original ones as much as possible. Out of all the posters I have done there has only been one Vivian has said after the fact she didn’t like. My response was “Well you approved it.” LOL It wasn’t so much Vivian didn’t like the ad it was more the colors. It was a bright ad and she prefers more of a vintage look.

Out of my job responsibilities for Viv Inc Show Poster Designer is my favorite.

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Another Dragnado Survived

So my Vivettes, I survived the latest Dragnado that hit the Von Bs this past weekend.

It started Thursday night when Vivian kicked off her newest show: The Friday Eve Show at Circus. This was subtitled The Siamese Twin Edition because her “twin” Hellin’ Bedd joined her in the fun. Being that Thursday was also Red White & Boom, Columbus’s firework display, the ladies had a lot of people to play with as they walked by the bar on their way home. One of the best things about Circus is that the front is all windows and it’s located on North High Street. For part of the Show Vivian and Hellin’ were out front talking and joking with individuals. I have to say for some reason both of the ladies were out of control Thursday night, not in a bad way, but in a funny entertaining way. Well I thought they were, who knows what others thought, especially the passersby…..lol. The exciting thing about this show is you can enter for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas. So you want a free trip to Vegas you should check Vivian out this coming Thursday, July 10th at 10:30 pm at Circus in the Short North.
Friday night Vivian helped Samantha Rollins celebrate her birthday at Southbend Tavern along with Orion Hyde and Miley Justice. Southbend is not a venue Vivian gets to perform at very frequently but the crowd really enjoyed her and the staff was fantastic to her. Vivian really impressed me with this show because she did something she normally does not do. She chose and learned the songs she performed earlier that afternoon. This is some thing very unusual for Vivian normally she works on songs for a few days, so I have to say I was very happy to see Vivian do this especially after seeing her performance.

Thank you to Samantha and Southbend for having Vivian, hopefully we can do it again in the future.

Saturday there was no drag but we went to friend’s karaoke party and even out of drag people want to see Vivian perform so her and a friend performed two songs. Yours truly does not perform and especially not karaoke. Of course the one thing Vivian kept hearing all night was next time you need to come in drag….lol. The funny thing about that is she did she wouldn’t be able to sing because of being corseted so tight.

Sunday it was the Red White and Boom Three Ring Drag Brunch. This week Vivian welcomed Hellin’ Bedd and Samantha Rollins and as usual these three together are HILARIOUS. The banter back and forth keeps the audience laughing the entire time. If you have not seen a show with these 3 I really recommend you do. If you have not been to a drag brunch you have another chance this Sunday July 13 at 11 am.

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Dragnado Strikes Again

My apologies my Vivettes for the delay in this entry but the Dragnado, which hit the Von Bs of the past weekend was a strong one and completely kicked my butt yesterday. I didn’t have the energy to compose a diary entry.

So over the past weekend not only was Vivian in drag all 3 days but Mr. Von B played 2 softball games and we attended a show.

Let’s start with Friday Night, the monthly Big Top Friday show at Circus. This month Hellin was away getting some backwood plastic surgery so Samantha Rollins and Vivian welcomed Miss Cassandra Terrace and Vee Love to perform with them. The bar had a great crowd. The majority in attendance have never been to a drag show before so that is always an interesting dynamic and Friday night was no exception. At first you could tell the audience did not know what to expect and were a little timid, but after a few more drinks and one set they knew they were in for a good time and they loosened up and just allowed themselves to enjoy the show. Vivian and Samantha on the mic together is always fun.

Then on Saturday Vivian filled in as hostess at Cavan Irish Pub as Hellin was getting her new nose. Now I will say I was a little nervous about this show because Mrs. Bedd’s audience is quit loyal and even they they know Vivian I wasn’t sure if they would like her style of hosting which is different from Hellin’s. Well as usual I had nothing to worry about. Vivian did a great job and had a blast filling in. Thank you Samantha and Nikole Trader for joining Vivian on her first hosting gig at Cavan Irish Pub.

Sunday was the worse of the Dragnado. We started off with Leggs & Eggs, a Burlesque Brunch at Circus Vivian was asked to host. Now I have to say being a gay man who does not like boobs in the least I did not know what to expect from this or if I would even enjoy it. Surprising I did, I won’t say it would be first choice for entertainment but all the performers were very good and knew how to work the stage.

After brunch I played 2 softball games and Vivian attended the Columbus  Gay Men’s Chorus Big Gay Sing concert hosted by Nina West. My team one now and lost one and Vivian enjoyed the concert and said it was a very good show.

After the concert the Von Bs stop by a friend’s open house of their new photography studio and they we were off to Wall Street Night Club for our friend Deva Station’s show Blockbusters. This was a dance show which Deva choreographed and let me tell you those dancers were AMAZING and I highly recommend you attend the next one.

So there you have we were hit by a Dragnado once again and another one is forecast to hit this coming weekend as well. Stay tune to see if we survive that one.

 

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#draghusbandpuzzles

So last night was laundry day for the Von Bs. Yes I know that isn’t too exciting and I would have to agree. It’s a chore I’m sure most people do not enjoy, yours truly being one of them. I will say that one piece that still, even after almost 5 years that strikes me as funny, odd, strange, whatever adjective you feel is appropriate, is the fact that I have female undergarments in my laundry and hanging around my house.

As I’m sure you all can tell from Vivian’s posts via Facebook she is a tad obsessed about BO and Drag Queens so she washes her drag every week if not more often if she is performing a lot. Which means every time we do laundry those female undergarments are washed. Now since we don’t have a washer/dryer in our house (long story don’t ask) it means we have to go to a laundromat to do our laundry. I have to admit every time we are there I wonder what the others think when they see these two bears doing folding ladies undergarments. Especially when every thing else is male clothes. To date no one has said anything but I’m sure we get odd looks. I haven’t noticed any to date but come on I know I would if I saw this scenario.

That isn’t even the worst part, that part is when we get home and Vivian hangs these garments out to dry around the bedrooms and bathrooms. It’s like a scene out of a female comedy where a guy goes to use the bathroom and there are panty hoses hanging form the shower curtain. Well for me it’s not only the panty hoses there’s the slimmer, the corset, and tights. To date I have never gotten tangled in them thankfully.

It’s the same thing week after week for me when we do laundry I think to myself this makes no sense we are two gay men yet there are female undergarments in our laundry. Who would of thought? Not me for sure.

I guess this could be filed under #draghusbandpuzzles……lol

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Pride 2014

So Columbus Pride has come to an end and I wanted to give you my Vivettes a recap of the weekend.

For a Drag Queen Pride can be crazy luckily for the Von Bs that was not the case this year. Vivian only performed Friday night for an Allies in Face benefit at our home bar, Circus, to raise money for Stone Wall Columbus. Now before any one feels sorry for Vivian don’t this was a conscience choice on her part.

The last few years Pride has been crazy for the Von Bs and this year Vivian decided to just relax and enjoy Pride out of Drag, plus Vivian doesn’t like Drag in 90 degree weather.  However when she was asked to host Stone Wall Benefit she couldn’t say know because for both us Drag is about charity and fun first.

So the benefit on Friday night, what can I say? The show consisted of 6 gentlemen (4 straight, 2 gay) who have not done drag before but really gave it their all and they raised over $400 for Stone Wall. Thank you to everyone who performed and everyone who attended.

Saturday was the Pride parade so after getting up late the Von Bs went to parade. This the parade was HUGE almost 3 hours long and the Grand Marshall was no other than George Takei from Star Trek. If you have never been to Pride in Columbus I highly recommend you plan to attend in the future.

After the Parade we walked around the festival at Goodale park for a bit and had lunch. We spend to rest of the evening relaxing at a friends house.

Sunday was Bat n Rogue which for the Von Bs is the highlight of Pride weekend. If you are not familiar with what Bat n Rogue is let me explain it’s Drag Softball along with a giant party. Each year it gets larger and larger and raises more and more money for local charities.

This year’s pride may have been laid back but it was still a good time non the less.

 

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Vivianisms 37 – 50

Vivianism #37 Rarely do any entertainers have the time to be pressing or ironing costumes only to put them back in a garment bag, or suitcase to take to the venue (pageants are a totally different story) only to arrive at the bar all wrinkled again. Do yourself a favor and puchase some Downy wrinkle release….when you arrive hang up your costume and spray the heck out of both sides with it, allow to dry and you’ll look MUCH more professional when you take the stage! After all who wants to see a queen in a wrinkled costume?

Vivianism #38 I was just messaged and asked what my advice was for learning to walk in heels. I’ve been told that you should wear them to vaccum the carpets in your house. It strengthens the muscles in your ankles and calves alike…and if you’re a dude and haven’t walked in heels put this on your to do list. Also, start out with a lower heel. I foolishly donned a pair of 4 inch stilettos and traipsed around Highball in the Short North one year…only lasted half the night, walked about 8 blocks in my stocking feet and ended up tearing a ligament AND a tendon that required surgery a year later….learn from my mistakes!

Vivianism #39 Keep your costumes in good repair. It’s to be expected that you’ll get seams that come apart, tears in hem or legs of a costume where a heel catches, maybe a nail or some trim on a stage, etc. I’m more than a little OCD, or anal retentive about my costumes, just ask M.r. Von B. They have to be hung certain way, sleeves NOT tucked over a hanger to minimize wrinkling, etc. So I give my pieces the once over and trim loose strings, check for holes in the underarms (very common place and very visible on stage) and then start a little mending “pile” of sorts. One of my sewing machines at the studio has white thread and if the repair won’t be visible on the outside, I sit down and do them all at one time.

Vivianism #40 Baby wipes, a queens best friend with a couple of uses. You may have seen an entertainer use them to wipe off makeup, but you can also use them to remove makeup from costumes as well. Certainly helps in a pinch until you can spot-hand-wash a neckline or shoulder when you get home.

Vivianism # 41 The only power words have over you is the power you give them.

Vivianism #42 Sometimes I am forced to just laugh at the hypocritical behavior of some of the posts that make their way into my facebook news feed. Don’t claim to be the prude about the gay community on your public side and then be a sex starved pervert in private. Eventually the those two worlds will collide and who will look the fool then? I’m all what you see is what you get. I make no bones about who I am and what I do & don’t do…no shade here…just be who you are and embrace….if you aren’t comfortable with who you are, then shut the hell up. I’ve found those that persecute the most are the ones WITH the same exact issues as those they go after…

Vivianism #43 How do you store a full length ball gown petticoat? A reinforced Christmas tree bag from The Container Store….that’s how!

Vivianism #44 Generosity, a perfect example of this was at the benefit Friday night, and while I don’t mean to embarrass this individual, she had the winning ticket for the 50/50 drawing…and her share was $242…not too shabby, right? Well, she whispered in my ear that she would donate the winnings back to the Michael Morones Foundation in exchange for one simple thing….to have her photo taken with the drag queens and You Will Rise Guys & Gals…..of course we did it, and not for the $….what a sweet, caring and special person she is. THANK you Teresa Hartman Flemings….you touched the hearts of everyone there Friday night!

Vivianism #45 Plan ahead! with the impending Columbus Arts Festival this weekend all but surrounding 400 W Rich St, and the parking nightmares that come with it, the Mr. and I pulled my costumes, wigs, etc. for the June edition of the Three Ring Drag Brunch at Circus. As it was we each made two trips to get it all to the car. Overpack you say? NEVER!

Vivianism #46 Just because someone has “keyboard diarrhea” and splatters it all over facebook doesn’t mean it’s true.

Vivianism #47 Be carefull where you look and what your eyes see….cuz once it’s seen, your eyes can’t UNSEE it. (as I sit here trying to claw my eyes out..)

Vivianism #48 While it’s true that the camera may just LOVE (Bob Taylor…wink), others it may smile kindly at from time to time…and there are some it hates. While I’ve experienced all three types, I do try to keep in mind the overall look when I’m painting, selecting hair, jewels, costumes, and the fit off said hair and costumes….seriously give yourself a critical once over before you venture out….especially if you KNOW you’re going out in face specifically to be photographed….afterall it’s YOUR brand that you’re representing. Sure, candid shots can be frightening…they typically make me laugh, I’m really talking about purposeful, photos that you pose for….you owe it to yourself to look your best…and the rest of us that have to loook at that new profile/cover photo on the facebook, right?

Vivianism #49 I read a post from someone starting out in drag and they were posting asking for tips (suggestions) which is GREAT! Learn from those who came before you…that’s the best way to avoid mistakes and frustrate yourself. The other part of the post was them asking for donations. That’s like wanting to start riding a motorcycle and asking someone to donate one to you cuz you want to ride. Get a grip, we all have things we’d like to do….but can’t afford them. So we don’t do them OR we save our pennies until such time we can. Pay your way. That’s life.

Vivianism #50 Here’s a lesson I’ve learned, we’ve all wanted to go off on facebook, read some ignorant bitch who wronged you by saying something to/about you, looked at you crooked, or disrespected one of your friends. Or even worse, it was told/texted/facebook’d to you that they did one of the above. Wrongly or rightly, it usually just makes the poster of said read look the fool…let’s change that, ALWAYS makes the poster look the fool. I’d suggest you select one of several courses of action…. 1) privately text/call/message the alleged offender and flat out ask them about it (probably the most appropriate and quickest way to resolution) Oh wait, did I say several? I meant select THAT one…it’s really the only way to go. If indeed they fess up to the offense, instead of blasting them on fb – yes, even if they were in the wrong, don’t. Stop and think about it. All you will end up doing is starting/continuing with the drama. No one else really cares what others think….and you shouldn’t care either, when it comes down to it. I have found that penning a response spouting off everything you want say to them is actually quite therapeutic. Just don’t send the email/message/text. I usually do it in a WORD document format. It’s quite cleansing.
Lastly, make sure you have all the facts before you shoot off your mouths….rarely is what was relayed to you actually what was said. Think about how many times you yourself have been misquoted…..cuz ladyboy’s, if you’re doing drag, it’s happened. If you think it hasn’t, you’re not attached to reality.
Bottom line, everyone has dirty laundry…don’t air it on facebook. You’ll look the fool. Sure, it’s your page, your thoughts, you can post whatever you want. Remember, anyone who reads it can come to a conclusion about you based on your page, your thoughts. It is, afterall, YOUR Reputation.

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