The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear

The tale of the grapes of wrath

The road to Chateau Pap Smear is fraught with danger and excitement.

This month is the fifth anniversary of when Mr. Pap Smear and I purchased our home, Chateau Pap Smear. When we first decided to start the house searching process, I was all excited at the prospect of getting to tour fabulous houses. I thought, oh, one or two Saturdays and we would find the house of our dreams. Little did I realize that house hunting in Salt Lake is about as difficult as getting spilled glitter out of shag carpet.

We engaged the services of Benjamin, who was extremely handsome, and fortunately, happened to have a realtor license. Ben proceeded to find dozens and dozens of houses in our price range. Of course, we couldn’t settle on just any ole house. My foremost requirement for a new house was that I needed a proper place to display my collection of glass “Relief Society” grapes. Secondly, I needed to have sufficient storage space to accommodate my 19 wigs and 24 sets of breasticles with 78 pair of interchangeable nipples, let alone a space large enough for mooring Queertanic, my 1975 Buick Electra land yacht. Therefore, in reality, we probably should have been looking for warehouse space.

Little did I know, that our price range was more closely suited for the search of decrepit manure-filled sheep sheds – reminiscent of my youth on the Idaho farm – than for human habitation. And, who would have known that there are so many absolutely scary, hardly livable pieces of crap on the market that folks feel no compunction about asking for a fortune? These certainly were hardly suitable for muggles, let alone a palace fit for a queen.

After several weeks of touring and rejecting many various houses for not being large enough to hold even a few wigs or for being so scary that only the Munsters would consider living in them, I began to feel sorry for our realtor. The only bright spot in the whole process was that after several years of watching HGTV I felt fully qualified to cast judgmental aspersions upon the various homeowners for their decorating abilities or lack thereof. Every time I would enter another scary home, I would stand in the doorway and envision myself throwing sequins, rhinestones, and lame’ scarves into the air and giving the abode a “Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar” style makeover. Praise be the late great Vida Boehm.

One Saturday, we toured a very lovely house that met all of my requirements and was even within our price range, so I asked my friend, Bongo-The Urban Jungle Boy, to come to give it a look-see and give me a second opinion. We were excited, looking around this very promising house and I was thinking this just might be the one. I was on the patio speaking with the realtor about putting an offer on the place, when Bongo emerged, ever so dramatically, through the French doors and theatrically announced that the house was haunted. He had detected the presence of someone who had died in the upstairs bedroom, and I should not, could not, would not buy this house. I was totally annoyed. The realtor began to cry.

Weeks later, Ben e-mailed me some photos of several houses to screen before the next day’s house hunting. One photo had a refrigerator mounted 18 inches off the floor in the wall. I was so revolted by the concept that I decided I did not even want to look at that house. The next day, he showed me six or seven totally unacceptable candidates. I was tired and wanted to call it a day. But he persuaded me to look at just one more.

I steered Queertanic to the designated address. Upon first glance, it was a cute brick bungalow grandma house, perfect for an aging queen. I thought, “Oh this charming and full of character. It has potential.” Then Ben arrived. I took one step inside and shrieked with delight. Ben dropped his keys in fear. There, before my eyes, stood an actual fireplace with a real honest-to-God mantle suitable for displaying my grapes. I turned around and squealed in glee.

The passage to the dining area was covered by an arch. I love arches! Immediately, my cleavage became moist. The bathroom had a garden tub with massaging jets. I immediately thought of a place to aim those jets of water. I turned the corner and the master bedroom was indeed large enough for a king-size bed with a wall large enough to properly display my life-size portrait of a Speedo-clad Pietro Boselli. Be still my beating heart. I entered the kitchen and there on the wall, eighteen inches above the floor was the fridge. God damn it! It’s the house with the fridge! Shit! Damn! Hell!

Pouting, I returned to the living room, and laid down on the carpet, staring at the fireplace, envisioning my grapes graciously displayed on the mantle to the envy of any Relief Society president. Like Vida Boehm said, “style over substance”. I bought the house! (And a step stool so I can reach the fridge.)

This story leaves us with several important questions:
1. Did I pass on so many houses so that I could continue to meet with Ben?
2. With 24 sets of breasticles and 78 pair of interchangeable nipples, how many different combinations are possible?
3. Was I annoyed with Bongo because he ruined the house for me, or because he stole my dramatic entrance?
4. Is the color of a hankie for a grape fetish purple?
5. Might the grape fetish be a subconscious desire for Ben Wah Balls?

These and other eternal questions will be answered in future chapters of The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear.

Petunia Pap Smear

Petunia Pap Smear was born a boy in a Mormon family in a small Idaho town in the year of the cock. No, really, look it up. As is LDS tradition, at a month old her father blessed the little Petunia in the ward house on the first Sunday in June. The very next day, they tore the church house down. Probably for good reason. Little did parents Jack and Orthea know that their little boy would grow up to be a full-fledged, rainbow flag-waving, high heel-wearing, sheep-tending “Ida-Homo.” The Perils of Petunia Pap Smear follows her life from the sheep-tending Boy Scout of her youth to the full-figured and brash queen she is today. Her adventures in the many Queer-Tanic trips, the Salt Lake Men's Choir, the Matrons of Mayhem, and Utah Prides and Lagoon Days have been canonized the past 15 years in a monthly column in QSaltLake Magazine, Utah's publication for the LGBTQ+ community. These tales and her words of wisdom were corralled into a 355-page book that will become the Quint to the Mormon Quad. See it at

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