Interview: Brian Tibbetts’s Obsession

Editor Matty Byloos, Interview, May 4th, 2016

"...that it would be like knowing her fully, completely..."

munoz art


NAILED MAGAZINE: Have you ever been obsessed with a part of the body? Was it your own or someone else’s? Where did the obsession begin for you?

BRIAN TIBBETTS: It was a summer day. I must’ve been about twenty-two, single, and incredibly attracted to this butch girl with Buddy Holly glasses and a big nose. She worked in the deli and I worked as a baker at Portland Bagel.

I weighed more than a hundred pounds less than I do now and I was still embarrassed by my (really non-existent) gut, so I would change my shirt in the walk-in freezer just off the kitchen when my shift ended in the mid-afternoon, every day.

This one day while I’m standing there, naked from the waste up in the sub-zero temperature next to the smoked sturgeon fillets and tray after tray of sticky dough, she comes bursting into the freezer. She stops there, door open, her mouth agape, her glorious nose and black-framed glasses, staring at me while I kept changing my shirt.

It was summer so she had a tank top on. It was all green horizontal stripes and what I would find out later are called spaghetti straps. And right there, where the bulge of her biceps met the taper of her pectoralis, she had this thick, wiry thatch of the blackest, most-beautiful armpit hair I’d ever seen, just peeking out. And in that moment, I knew what it would feel like, what it would taste and smell like to press my nose into that thick of hair, that it would be like knowing her fully, completely.

The magic awkward of the moment passed. My shirt was firmly in place, me still standing in her way. She asked me to hand her something that she needed for the deli, with that same look of pity and disdain that she always shifted into whenever we made eye contact. Then she shut the freezer door.

I met a woman later that fall who didn’t shave her pits. We stayed together for thirteen years, until another obsession came between us.

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Header image courtesy of Philip Munoz. To view a gallery of his images on NAILED, go here.

brian tibbettsBrian Tibbetts is a print maker, storyteller, musician and writer, living and working in Portland, Oregon. He is co-author of the e-book Crotch (with Julian Smuggles), the chapbooks The Best Goddamn Book on the Table, Vol. 1, and Shaking Hands with Uncle Dick, and co-author of the chapbook Literary Snobs (with Kevin Sampsell). His work can be found in a variety of print and online publications.


Matty Byloos

Matty Byloos is Co-Publisher and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. He was born 7 days after his older twin brother, Kevin Byloos. He is the author of 2 books, including the novel in stories, ROPE ('14 SDP), and the collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss ('09 Write Bloody Books).