SOUTH LOOP — Local gay guy Elliott Spalding, 34, left the Shedd Aquarium empty-handed and brokenhearted this past Saturday after realizing his afternoon spent with an adorable, semiaquatic mammal was not exactly the otter encounter he expected.
Spalding had just finished stuffing a mixture of crayfish, mussels, and sea urchin meat into a rubber ball, only to learn from Shedd employees that the enrichment item would be given to Cooper the otter and not a hairy, slim homosexual. The bartender from Rogers Park remains a supporter of the Chicago aquarium, but wishes staff had better communicated the discrepancy.
“Listen, Cooper’s a great little guy. We both have a passion for waterslides, playing with small stones, and using crude tools to break open shellfish on our stomachs,” said Spalding. “But Cooper was rescued from the California shoreline, and I’m more an East coast guy.”
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Spalding also cited habitat differences, the problematic age gap, and his own ethical and personal convictions as reasons the relationship would never work. Aquarium employees moderating the encounter tried their best to resolve the interspecies misunderstanding.
“This was definitely a learning experience for everyone involved,” said on-site otter expert Sal Wetson, 27. “Our PR team has already agreed to rebrand the encounter with a more transparent label: ‘The Pup Play Encounter, sponsored by Astroglide.’”
With PrideFest right around the corner, Shedd officials assure the LGBT community that the aquarium is dedicated to aquatic learning, diversity, and inclusivity. In an effort to raise awareness, the Shedd gift shop is unveiling new T-Shirts featuring the phrases “I did the otter encounter—and it wasn’t sexual!”and “Gay people are just fine!” with Cooper the sea otter giving a thumbs up.
“We never want to play into that age-old homophobic accusation” said on-site gay guy expert Hal Wetson, 72. “The stereotype that gay people hate sea otters and actively work towards their extinction.”
As an extra precaution, the Shedd will have at least one man of slightly smaller build and generous body hair ready to fuck any visitors dissatisfied with their otter encounter. Members who upgrade their experience from platonic animal to sexual human will receive Shedd brand condoms, Slidin’ Penguin themed lube, and a little container of pudding with Oreo bits and gummy worms, or “dirt cup.”
Fortunately, Spalding is on the rebound. Genius Herald reporters last spotted the Rogers Park resident enthusiastically purchasing tickets for a meet-and-greet with the Chicago Bears.