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When I heard the prompt this week was “me time,” I did what I assume every other Prompt writer did: Thought about writing an article about my masturbation habits and laughed to myself. But then I considered that, outside of eating, is there any act that I’ve performed more? Anything I’m more an expert on? My knowledge of lubes is vast. My wisdom regarding grip techniques is manifold.

Couldn’t I actually bring a singular knowledge to the subject of masturbation?

Eventually, though, cooler heads prevailed, and I realized I can’t just give that kind of expertise away for free. There is, however, a link to my PayPal (no Venmo, I’m old) at the bottom of the article. Only $5 stands between you and a .pdf copy of “Tuggin’ It With Papa: ‘Bate Your Best ‘Bate.”

Thankfully, for the purposes of your continued ability to experience sexual arousal, there are countless pants-on rituals I engage in. Perhaps the most restorative one that I care to share for this article is a monthly trip to my favorite restaurant, a Japanese eatery by the name of Blue Ocean.

A gem of a dining establishment, nestled next to a Chuck E. Cheese (which I always remain at least 100 yards away from, fuck you very much, Fairfax County Police), the venue was introduced to me by my former college roommate and dear friend, Tony. Tony had spent the better part of our time together at Virginia Tech ordering titanic shipping containers filled with dozens of anime VHS tapes off eBay, then watching them—start to finish—for days on end. Nowadays, we would just refer to this as “binge watching” and laugh it off, but at the time, it was a behavior that both disgusted me and commanded my begrudging respect.

One random day in the early aughts, I mentioned in passing my growing affinity for sushi.

Tony stated he knew of a Japanese restaurant that I’d love and, given the obscene amount of anime I had witnessed him view, I assumed the man knew a good Japanese fantasy when he saw one. I told him to lead the way, and off we went on my first trip to the ‘Oshe (a nickname for Blue Ocean I made up while writing this sentence).

As we drove to the restaurant, Tony made me vow one thing to him: That I would never go on a date to Blue Ocean. “Blue Ocean is a happy place,” he explained. “This way, you’ll never associate the place with a woman that’s dumped you.” It seemed an odd request, but Tony was a wise man. He had just managed to skip a semester of class by “borrowing” a doctor’s stationery to fake a grievous illness, then aced every single final for a 4.0 GPA. While his methods were unorthodox, the man got results. With this in mind, I agreed to Tony’s demand. My life has been forever better for it.

In the 15-ish years since that fateful trip, I’ve eaten at Blue Ocean hundreds of times.

I have a regular waitress (Masako, whose Japanese accent makes the entire experience more “authentic”), a regular order (Lunch Box B, grilled salmon with sushi), and even a regular seat (as in a location: they don’t have a special, reinforced chair to handle my ample rump).

On top of that, Masako has even bestowed upon me a nickname: “Mr. Pokemon,” pronounced “Mr. Poko-mon.” This is due to my Pikachu-themed phone case, which I have because I’m this years old (holds up six fingers). One time, another server greeted me with an enthusiastic “Pika Pika!,” but an angered Masako immediately put a stop to that. “I have told her not to never do that again,” Masako later informed me in a contrite tone. “You are Mr. Poko-mon.” This was followed by a solemn nod and green tea ice cream on the house, which was a relief, because it’s important to me that Masako understands the gravitas that a man in his late-30s with a phone case depicting a fictional lightning mouse demands.

Over my dozens of meals, I’ve managed to memorized every inch of the decor. There’s a signed picture of Tommy Lee Jones circa The Fugitive, which I’ve yet to ask about because there are coma patients more inquisitive than I. Are they huge fans of his who couldn’t resist purchasing it on eBay? Did he come in the restaurant with a gigantic picture ready to sign in lieu of payment? I’ll never know, because that would involve opening my mouth in that restaurant for something other than eating.

Blue Ocean also showcases countless pieces of Hanshin Tigers gear (a Nippon League baseball team that, according to legend, has been cursed since 1985, when its fans threw a life-sized statue of Colonel Sanders into the Dōtonbori River). Again, since I possess the curiosity of a tree stump, I just pretend that the restaurant was founded by a retired Hanshin Tigers player who decided to atone for the sins committed by his fans against Kentucky Fried Chicken by moving to American and preparing delicious sushi for its citizens.

If you’re ever in Fairfax, Virginia, you can certainly do worse than a bite at Blue Ocean. Just remember: No dates. Dems the rules.

John Papageorgiou

John hosts a long running comedy radio show titled Papa's Basement. He also performs standup and improv and drummed once for a Unitarian church.

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