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There’s a pretty common refrain around here about how cursed D.C. sports fandom is. Plenty of dreary stats to draw on, spirit-annihilating anecdotes to recount, grimly amusing plays to gif. All of them ignore the teams that have actually experienced recent success, including the Kastles (six championships in the tennis team’s 10-year history), D.C. United (two U.S. Open Cup soccer championships in the last decade), and the D.C. Divas (the women’s football team is about to start defending its second consecutive championship season). And, of course, there’s the woman known as Queef Pantry, a local and winner of the 2016 Air Sex National Championships.
Almost as rare as articles about D.C.’s sports successes are lists counting the District among the top of sexiest anythings, given this town’s reputation as a humid cesspool of tragically unstylish type-A government wonks. So during Valentine’s week especially, it would be unsatisfying to ignore Queef Pantry’s sporting success.
For those who don’t know, Air Sex is a travelling roadshow that bills itself as “the world’s first SPART—a combination of sports and art.” If you’re picturing lithe athletes competitively fornicating while suspended from trapeze rigs, you’ve misjudged the title’s meaning of “air.” Think less air sports and more air guitar, and you’ll be closer to the mark. Each show features local talent demonstrating their sexual prowess alone, on stage, and fully clothed before a panel of judges.
Queef Pantry (not her given name, of course) started in this world in 2012 at the urging of a friend, performing to Dido’s “White Flag” and winning the D.C. title in her rookie outing. “It’s a very male-dominated thing,” she says. “So a lot of the male performers were taking it from the standpoint, like, ‘Oh, I’m a sex machine. I’m going to powerhouse this routine and just be a jackrabbit and that whole thing.” So she decided to take another route.
“I took it from the perspective of, sex is cool, but there are a lot of really gross aspects once you remove the lust and the emotion,” she says. “You get into the … the juices or dry heaving or some of the more uncomfortable aspects of sex, and I think that element of truth really won over the audience.”
For her championship run last year, she was unavailable for the D.C. show but was able to catch up with the tour at its first-ever stop in Baltimore. The routine she unveiled, and would repeat in a refined rendition to win at nationals, was set to Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.” It involved, well, “BDSM reindeer clown play, which, to my knowledge, had never been explored before,” she says. The routine, while certainly athletic, leans more toward performance art. It begins with Queef Pantry prepping for a date. When her (invisible) partner isn’t down for straight BDSM, she tries out reindeer gear and party tricks. “At one point,” she explains, “I’m giving a blow job and I pull a pube out of my mouth, but it’s a really long one—you know, like one of those things where a clown pulls a never ending piece of cloth out of their mouth, but it’s a pube. And when I put the condom on, first I blow it up and make a balloon animal out of it.”
And so on. But there are definite, undeniable elements of sport even beyond the physical exertion. Competition, for one. Judging and scoring, for another. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, even if it comes after a round of pantomime sex instead of something totally non-sexual like two greased-up dudes scrapping in a cage.
The win even brought Queef Pantry a small taste of fame. The week after the regional win in Baltimore, someone approached her in a D.C. bar and asked if she was the regional air sex champ. “I was totally flabbergasted that someone remembered me as Queef Pantry,” she says. “We just chatted and talked a bit about what each other does with our regular lives.”
But is it a sport? Queef Pantry says she does play sports, specifically citing tennis, running, basketball, soccer, and Frisbee golf. The latter seems like a reasonable bar to set as a comparison to air sex, but Queef Pantry demonstrates her D.C. bonafides by diplomatically demurring on this so as not to disparage either Frisbee golfers or airsexers.
Pressed on the is-air-sex-a-sport question by a columnist with a one-track mind, she says, “it incorporates a lot of art elements, but there is a lot of athleticism involved. My acts go mostly to the comedic arts side, but there are other amazing competitors out there who do backflips and splits and amazing tricks, which do take a lot of athleticism.” Good enough for me. Queef Pantry must be mentioned alongside the other 21st century D.C. sports champions that no one ever bothers to acknowledge. Until next year’s finals, we reign supreme among all cities in the U.S. in pantomimed sex, especially of the reindeer clown BDSM variety.