Seattle doesn't get as cold as Spokane or Chicago during the winter months—temperatures around here rarely drop below freezing. But on a day when it's 20 degrees in Spokane and snow is falling, people can leave the house and remain pretty dry. On the same day it may be 40 degrees in Seattle but odds are good that it's pouring rain. We can't leave the house without getting soaking wet, and Seattle's soaking-wet asses feel colder than Spokane's dry asses. If you're freezing your ass off—and we know you are—here are some ideas about heating your ass up. —Eds.

Get Your Ass Sunburned
by Cienna Madrid

As I was filling out the preliminary paperwork at the tanning salon, I noticed that under the category "What brings you here?" seasonal depression was listed.

"Do many people come here to treat seasonal depression?" I asked my friendly tanning clerk. Her face reminded me of bacon.

"Yes!" she answered. "Quite a few doctors recommend weekly tanning to fight the winter blues! For people who suffer from seasonal depression, it feels like a mini vacation in the sun! And it only takes 12 minutes or less!"

"That's X-treme performance even the sun can't compete with!"

We smiled at each other. I was Getting It, and she was pleased.

"How long would you like to tan for?" asked Jamie.

"What do you recommend?"

"Well, 3 to 6 minutes your first time, to build up your base tan. After that, our maximum is 12 minutes."

"Give me 12."

She smiled. I was a tanning prodigy.

Jamie showed me to a soothingly lit room, where a tanning bed waited for me like an open solar casket. She explained the various features of the machine, how to turn the fans on and off, and how to work the radio, intercom, and panic button.

When Jamie left, I stripped down to a long-sleeve t-shirt and a pair of jeans with the pockets cut out of the ass. I wasn't here to get tan, you see, just to burn my ass cheeks and see if that helped me get over my case of seasonal affective disorder.

I was ready to depart on my mini-vacation in the sun—destination: Mexico. I popped some Chiclets and tuned in to Spanish radio before closing the lid.

The warmth was immediate and encompassing—I felt utterly relaxed for the first time in months. There was nothing to do but sit still, savor the warmth, and let my mind wander.

When the timer finally shut down my Mexican vacation, my face was on fire. One look in the mirror showed that it was neither burnt nor tan, but it still hurt like hell. Down south, my exposed cheeks had flushed a rosy color and they remained warm and sensitive for two days. It made me feel like even though my trip to Mexico had been short-lived, my ass was still vacationing in a tropical paradise.

Get Your Ass Bengayed
by Bradley Steinbacher

In the long, sordid history of idiotic assignments this paper has foisted upon me, coating my ass in Bengay in the name of "research" ranks at the top. It was not, to put it lightly, a pleasant experience. Hell, it wasn't even a useful experience. Humiliating? Yes. Painful? As the Frogs say, oui. But worthy of scientific note? Please.

As mortifying as the act was, however, the parameters of the experiment were far worse. The Bengay was not to be applied by my own hand—no, that would have been too easy. Instead, my girlfriend was pressed into service. The reasons for this were dubious, to say the least, and as I lay on the bed, face down with boxers drawn, I came to the conclusion that my editor is, to put it bluntly, a colossal asshole.

"What am I supposed to do?" my girlfriend asked.

"Just smear it all around."

"Why are we doing this?"

Here's why: To find out if coating my ass in Bengay could combat seasonal affective disorder.

Here's an answer: Having grown up here, I've always been skeptical of people complaining about depression during the bleaker months, so the idea that simply shellacking my ass in a warming cream would eradicate doldrums, real or imagined, seemed completely ludicrous—a feeling only confirmed when the initial application hit my cheeks at a sub-zero temperature.

"Holy shit! It's fucking freezing!" I hollered.

"You have to let it warm up."

"It stinks! I thought this was odorless!"

A rude noise announced more cream leaving the tube. She set in on the second coat.

According to the blurbage on the box, Bengay is "What's Hot In Pain Relief.™" And my ass, once thoroughly coated, did indeed warm up. And up. And...


"How long do you have to keep it on?"

It was a good question, one not touched on when the assignment was given.

"I mean, you have to let it soak in, right?" I asked.

"Don't ask me. This is your stupid thing," my girlfriend replied.

I decided to stick it out for 10 minutes.

Suddenly I felt my girlfriend's finger wandering into a no-fly zone.

"Whoa! What are you doing?"

"I have to keep it from pooling up in your crack," my girlfriend sighed.

Humiliation complete.

The cream continued to heat up. I smelled minty fresh, but the feeling was close to unbearable—so much so that not six minutes in I was forced to head for the shower.

And it was there, under the soothing spray from the showerhead, that I drew my final conclusion: Coating your ass in Bengay is not, I repeat not, a proper weapon in combating seasonal affective disorder. Not even close.

Get Your Ass Spanked
by Brendan Kiley

I had not been spanked since I was a child. I had never even considered erotic spanking as anything other than a curious pastime, like knitting.

But there I was, the office prude, kneeling on a leather contraption while our own Mistress Matisse, in skimpy black leather, walloped my bare ass with a riding crop. I realized I must have some unexplored masochistic tendencies. Why else would I have agreed to this? I suppose it's my job to do these things, just like it's her job. Come to think of it, this was an odd instance of mutual—what? Not prostitution; there was no sex involved. But we were two adults engaging in what some would consider an erotic act, both of us out of professional obligation.

Outside was all cold rain, but it was warm in Matisse's "dungeon" and getting warmer with each smack. When I was a kid, parents and grandparents occasionally threatened to "warm my backside"—I had forgotten how accurate the euphemism was.

"The goal is to stress the body enough to release endorphins," Matisse explained before the session. "But not so much that it freaks out." And, as gravy, some people get an erotic charge out of the experience. I nodded and smiled.

There was enough intimidating equipment in her dungeon to make me blush. (What was that double urinal for? Was that a mock prison cell around the corner? Jesus, that's a big barrel of canes.) In fact, even the word "dungeon" makes me blush.

Matisse was gentle but authoritative, introducing me to each instrument before whacking me with it (softly at first, then not so softly), explaining that her rubbing and massaging was preparing my body for "intense sensation," and whispering softly that "there are no complicated rules here—just don't do anything I don't tell you to do."

As we matured, my siblings and I graduated from bare hands to fly swatters to yardsticks, favored by our mother. And, in my premiere S&M session, I graduated from bare hands to a fuzzy paddle to a not-even-remotely-fuzzy paddle to a leather strap to a riding crop to a bona fide flogger—I was a little proud of myself for making it that far. They were all painful, but bracingly so, like jumping into a cold mountain stream. After the session, I felt pleasantly relaxed. I believe I even had a little endorphin buzz.

I drove back to my ex-girlfriend's house (you should've seen her face when I explained why I'd borrowed her car), then rode my bike home through a bone-chilling winter drizzle. But I'm sitting on a pillow as of this writing and my ass is still warm and tingly. In a good way.