The Latter Gays

October 8, 2011

“I think I need a mint or something.” -Anna Faris

The morning sun creeps through the blinds of my bedroom, across my sheets. It stops on the pillow next to my head. I stare at the empty side of the bed. It’s one of the loneliest sights I’ve ever seen. I consider my life. I’ve spent the past three nights partying. Each night I’ve gone home and medicated myself to sleep. The past three mornings, I’ve woken up, expecting someone to be warmly lying beside me. Each morning, I’ve been sharply disappointed. You don’t become accustomed to being alone. It’s comforting to think you will, but you don’t. You won’t become used to the cold, empty space. It’s just something that I have to accept and live with.

It’s pushing noon, and the rays of sun are crawling ever closer toward me. I wonder if it’s pathetic that it’s a Wednesday, and I haven’t been able to summon the strength to peel myself off my mattress yet. But considering all that’s just happened on top of the fact that I’m unemployed and less two weeks from being flat broke, I’d say I’m doing just dandy.

Staring up at the ceiling, I think about my last conversation with The Writer. It’s strange that I’ve already forgotten so many of the prickly details when every breath, every movement, every word was so overwhelming in the moment. It’s strange that those details, despite being so bright, have already dissolved away into time. They barely even exist anymore.

I do remember the last thing The Writer said to me: “Call me when you’re ready.” How do I know when I’m ready? It’s been three days. Is that time enough? With the temptation of calling him stomping around my thoughts, I grab my phone and hold it up, over my face. Scrolling through my contacts, I find his name. I press the “delete” button next to his information. There. This isn’t the first time, I’ve banished The Writer’s number from my phone since our talk. I nearly threw my phone down a hill when I left his house. But seeing as how I’m broke, and a phone is kind of a necessity, I settled on giving his number to a friend for safe keeping before deleting all traces of him from my phone. That same night, I decided I needed his number again and re-entered it. Until I realized that I was being crazy. And deleted it. Again. The pattern of deleting and re-entering continued longer than what would probably be considered healthy, but this last time, my friend deleted the number also. I have no way of getting his digits back. It’s like solitary confinement. But healthy?

With a sense of relief, I toss the phone on the floor next to my bed, and it begins vibrating. “Fuck,” I say, thinking I broke it. I pick it up and see that someone is in fact calling. It’s a number not in my contacts. It’s his number. What’s worse is, I don’t just recognize it. It’s emblazoned in my mind. I realize I have it memorized. Fuck indeed.

I stare at the phone, distantly, as it continues to ring. “Call when you’re ready.” When I’m ready. I consider sending the call to voicemail. I should. Instead, I answer. “Hey…” I say in a great attempt to sound neutral. “Hi, how’s it going?” The Writer asks. His words give me the sensation of going upside down in a loop on a roller coaster. After a short pause, I answer: “Fine. I’m fine. How bout you?” “Good. I have a question for you…” Dread is my response. Gulping, I respond, “What is it?” “You know my friend, that producer? I’m applying for a writing job on his show, and I need to write an episode of something.” “OK…which show?” “Well, that’s what I was going to ask you,” he says. I fancy myself a television expert, and no, I don’t mean like the Kardashians. “I need to write a sample script of a big drama,” he continues. I shake my nerves and go into auto-mode. He wants to write Breaking Bad, which I tell him is likely too complicated, so he settles on a science fiction procedural. “How many seasons am I going to have to watch?” He asks. “There’s three, but you can skip about half of the episodes.” “Ugh,” is his response. “You’ll thank me later,” I assure him. “It’ll be an easy script to write.” “Can I just thank you now?” He asks. “Sure,” I answer.

After a short pause, I break the silence: “Is that all you were calling about?” “Yep,” he answers obliviously. Autopilot switches off, and I crash-land back in reality. I find myself nodding as if he could hear it. “Well, uh, let’s get dinner or something later this week,” he says. Some words fall out of my mouth, and the conversation is over.

I sit down on my floor, Indian style. Then, I remember number six of my reasons why: “He’s remarkably selfish.” Got it. But I’m still having difficulty processing the fact that he just called me. Just like that. And then, I remember number seven: “He doesn’t realize it.” But does ignorance exonerate the sin? That’s a question I’m not ready to answer. I do, however, consider his honesty during our conversation. And I can’t help but appreciate how resoundingly responsible he was with me in my most fragile state. It makes me think of those victims of kidnapping, who fall in love with their captors. God, I would have the worst Stockholm Syndrome.

*     *     *

After eating dry Frosted Mini Wheats for dinner, I call Trick Bradley. “I need to go out tonight,” I tell him. “That’s fair. Where are we going?” “You’ll see.” I know Trick Bradley well enough now to know that on the other end of the call, he’s sitting there, blinking with a blank expression on his face. “O.K.” “Great,” I say. “Come by around nine.”

*     *     *

Driving into WeHo, Bradley asks where exactly we’re going. “Take us to the most crowded elderly bar you know of.” “Gross. I am NOT sleeping with some old guy,” he says sticking his tongue out. “Keep it in you pants, skank. No one’s asking you to put out. Listen Bradley, tonight’s agenda is going to be a little unorthodox. I have no money, and I need to feel better about myself…” “Why do you need to feel better about yourself?” I hesitate. “Ask me again after I’ve had two drinks,” I instruct him. “Anyway, tonight is Geezer Night. The way I see it Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 3

August 28, 2011

On The Car Ride Down

“You cry, but you endanger nothing in yourself. It’s like the idea of crying when you do it. Or the idea of love.” -Angels in America

The next morning, I wake up feeling a little Zombie like. I can’t manage to stay out of bed, and at 1:30, I remember I have to go to Sunday Funday. I assume The Writer will be there but have neither the critical nor emotional faculties to even deal with his presence, so I bite another xanax in half and swallow part, slipping the other half in my pocket.

When I pull up to Noah’s house, I realize a couple of problems. First, there are only four cars on the street. The second, none of them belong to Clark. Luckily, my janky ass car isn’t spotted by anyone. So naturally, I drive away. I don’t even pretend to pretend to think I can hold a conversation with a couple of strangers right now. Driving through the hills, however, is wonderfully calming. Except when a car comes speeding around a bend and there’s about two inches between me, it, and certain death.

After my daily dose of near-death, I need a little grace, a little soothing; I call Ann, one my dear friend from New York. We haven’t been keeping up like we should, but she remembers most of the boy details from my visit. “Listen poodle, do what’s good for you. You know what that is. And if he doesn’t want something, you can’t force it on him. These things have to work themselves out…” My phone keeps cutting out. The Hollywood hills have notoriously poor reception. I call her back, but we’re cut off again almost immediately. She didn’t say what I wanted to hear, but she did say the truth. And this talk with The Writer is for me, not him. That’s why I’m the one initiating it. I just hope I don’t do something embarrassing like faint and fall into Noah’s pool or walk into a giant window…again. That would suck.

I sit, parked in front of some random house for five more minutes. Some yard-workers look at me, and I realize how pathetic this is. I put my car in drive and take my foot off the brake. The wheels roll backward as I slide down the hill a bit before slamming on the gas and narrowly dodge a mailbox. I’m pretty sure I hit a garbage can, but it didn’t fall over, so I’m going to say it doesn’t count. Did I mention I’m not the best driver? I plug in my iPod and blast “Who’s That Chick” by David Guetta and Rihanna. “Who’s that chick? Who’s that chick?” I sing shaking my shoulders and dancing. “I’m that chick!” I yell at the top of my lungs, cruising back toward Noah’s.

I park behind the line of expensive cars, and pump myself up. Normally, I’d feel ridiculous, but…really no I wouldn’t. I have no more shame. Who’s gonna stop me? No one. I bounce on my heels and roll my shoulders then launch myself up Noah’s driveway with a hip little strut, which would probably look better if I actually had an ass. I decide to tone it down a tad when I reach the house. Taking off my sunglasses, I spread my arms and yell, “the party has arrived!” Noah and the half dozen guys I don’t recognize look at me blankly. Me…cuz I’m the party. An exceptional start to an awkward Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 2

August 20, 2011

I’d Like To Tell You All About It

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.” -Billy Joel

The next night, I’m feeling under the weather. I consider skipping Wolf’s party. My throat is soar, my eyes are scratchy, and I have a slight cough. But how could I miss this? What would it say about me? No one would really even notice, but I would know. Besides, all of the ridiculous drama that I imagine will climax tonight will make for a wonderful story to share over drinks with friends. So I ready myself, and get in my car. I’m pumped. I feel a little adrenaline. A little anxiety. Dread is the exact emotion I’m feeling actually. But whatever. Who doesn’t have a precise fear of the unknown? What’s on my mind, you ask. Well, I’ll be meeting Dalton for the first time, which frankly doesn’t sit well with me no matter which way I angle it. He’s predetermined to hate me. I have no idea how I’m supposed to begin to interact with him. We’re sharing what in some way belongs to the other. I’m nervous about seeing Wolf and meeting his other “boys.” It’s immature, but I’m genuinely curious how I compare. I don’t really care about seeing Turtle or Warren, but I am anxious about what they might say to or about me. I know what I’d say to either of them; something along the lines of “oh, hey.” And while I’m considering all of this, one thought lingers above the rest. It’s like a constant static shock somewhere near the top of my spine. What will I say to The Writer? I promised myself to talk to him the next time I see him. Talk about everything. And that time is tonight. I don’t know where to begin. What I have to say is simple. The situation? Not so much.

I start my car. Before I switch gears into reverse, Clark calls. Relieved, I turn off the engine and remove the keys from the ignition. “Hello?” “Hey buddy, what’s up?” I used to hate it when people called me buddy, but Clark has the kind of authority where it doesn’t bother me. “I was just calling to check in with you,” Clark continues. “Oh, I’m just heading to Wolf’s party,” I tell him. “Cool, me too. I’ll see you there then,” he says conclusively. “Great! Can’t wait.” It’s extremely comforting knowing Clark will be there. He always has my back one way or another, and my back is going to be rather exposed this evening. Especially because I’ve decided not to drink, given my not feeling so hot.

I arrive at Wolf’s about an hour after the party kicked off. But the sun is still glimpsing over the horizon…a sign that I’m here too early. I knock on Wolf’s door, and no one answers. I hear people around back though, so I let myself in. My eyes dart around searching for Turtle first. Turtle has the temperament of a scorned overweight junior high cheerleader, and while he doesn’t pose any real threat to me, I’d prefer to steer clear. Number two on my search-and-avoid list is The Writer and/or his ex. I haven’t met Dalton, but I’ve seen pictures, so I know what he looks like. I feel some kind of weird kinship with him. He’s what came before. Deep down, I pray to whatever someone like me would pray to that Dalton flaked out and The Writer would come solo. It would take a lot of stress of the agenda I have for the evening. And it’s not too much of a stretch, especially considering Wolf and Dalton never really seemed tight. And finally, Warren. At this point, I’ve come to believe he’s insane. Like truly unstable. As luck would have it, not a single one of them is present. By the time I make it through the house and onto the back patio, I know I’m in the clear. That’s when I realize…my anxiety about who would be there was misplaced. What I should have been worrying about was who wouldn’t be there. I don’t recognize anyone except Mr. Wolf, and it’s his party.

Wolf and I haven’t really spoken in a couple weeks, and all of a sudden I feel guilty. Other than a couple of simple misunderstandings, he’d always been very genuine and kind toward me. Not to say that I plan to rekindle our fling, but I displaced frustration I had with myself onto him. My shoulders tense up and my breathing becomes shallow. That’s when Wolf notices me. I do have impeccable timing like that. “Hallo, you!” I give him a weak smile and a strong hug. “Happy Birthday,” I muster up with appropriate sincerity. “I see you’re cooking. Your favorite!” I inch closer. “Well, grilling but yes.” He has to correct me. If I wasn’t so uptight at the moment, I’d find it charming. I even go as far as to grin but imagine my expression looks more like a wince. As more people arrive, Wolf greets them, and I stand, watching for a moment unsure what to do with myself. I lean on one leg and pull out my phone, pretending to text someone like I used to do at high school parties where no one wanted to talk to me. I’m literally making myself crazy. My shoulders are so tense, they’re practically touching my ears, and I think of more things, more reasons why I can’t free myself from the man I care for so deeply:

16. He’s the only person I’ve ever liked sleeping next to.
17. He made me fall in love with cuddling.
18. How weak I’ve become to not give that up.
19. How hard he tries to do right by me.
20. How often he fails.

I hear a laugh. That’s when I snap out of it. Clark and Noah are sitting at the table right behind me. My chest heaves a heavy sigh. I slap on a smile, which I hope is big enough to blanket my enormously exposed insecurities. “Hey cuz,” Noah says with a wink. I bend over to give him a hug before embracing Clark. He hops over to sit on the cooler, offering me his seat. “You’re the best,” I tell him. “What have you been up to?” He asks me. I tell him about New York and we talk family matters, which calms my nerves. Then Noah interrupts to introduce a friend. “I don’t think you’ve met The Model,” Noah says. I turn to shake his hand and nearly swallow my Adam’s apple. The Model is gorgeous. Perfect teeth. Perfect hair. Perfect skin. Perfect jaw. Everything. The reason I’m really so faint though is his uncanny resemblance to Jake, the first boy I ever fell for. Same facial hairline, beauty mark on the same spot on his cheek, exact hue of his eyes. Noah elbows me, getting the wrong idea. The Model, just like Jake, is way out of my league. And for those of you tuning in, I’m buried under a mountain of someone else’s emotional rubble. “H-hi,” I sputter. “Nice to meet you,” The Model says, making me feel much more comfortable. The four of us carry on some conversation, and I mostly say things that make me feel stupid. I actually feel kind of drunk despite not drinking anything but water.

When I feel I’ve worn out my welcome with the people I know, I do the rounds…only to discover I know no one else. I recognize a couple of lesser-known actors, who I have a lot of respect for but can’t summon up the courage to introduce myself. Everyone’s mingling, so I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. Where is The Writer?

21. He uses wipes instead of toilet paper.
22. He only takes baths.
23. If he was here, I’d probably be just as quiet. But I’d be content just standing beside him.
24. He expects me to wait.
25. But doesn’t care if I don’t Read the rest of this entry »


Klub Kinder

July 2, 2011

“There are two things people want more than sex and money…recognition and praise.-Mary Kay Ash

Likely off eating shrooms in Palm Springs with his friends, I haven’t seen The Writer since before he bailed on my party. But it’s the weekend, and true to my fiery young gay spirit, I’m ready to drink, dance, and get dirty! I call Trick Bradley, who answers with a prolonged “Hey.” First, I tell him that Turtle won’t be messing with us again and that Clark assured me that Turtle would apologize to us in person the next time we crossed paths. “Oh,” he says. “Did I tell you about the text he sent me when I got home Thursday night?” “No!” I exclaim. “He said, ‘I hope you enjoy your tragic fake friends.'” I bust out in laughter. “Is he serious?” But there’s more. Trick Bradley forwards me this message he got from Turtle some time after Clark “talked” to him: “You weren’t the one I was mad at the other night, I was just hurt that you ignored me because I thought we were going to hang out this week. I thought you’d at least text me and instead I run into you with The Writer’s friend? He was the one who really escalated everything by putting himself in the middle of something that was none of his business. And he took you away from me in the middle of our talk. That’s what pushed me over the edge. And I was drunk so…” There are just no words! “Did you respond to him?” I ask. “No. Should I?” “Definitely not. He’s like half ape, half mean girl.” I’m so embarrassed for gaykind that someone this immature even exists that I nearly forget to make plans with Bradley. “Wait! We have to go out tonight!”

Just before ten, I go through my wardrobe. What to wear? I consider a few outfits but ultimately decide I don’t feel like changing. However, I want to make a splash so I throw on a little black cardigan and my pink shades. A few minutes later, Bradley picks me up in his dad’s car. “Where’s your car?” I ask. “It’s in the shop,” he answers. “Oh. What happened?” “It crashed.” “It crashed, or you crashed it?” I inquire. “Technically, it crashed. I wasn’t conscious,” he shares. “Oh my god, what happened!” “I fell asleep and woke up crashing into the car in front of me going 95 miles an hours,” he says. Usually, this would be a rather alarming story, but in Bradley’s case it seems pretty typical. “Were you drinking? Were there cops?” “No the other people like got out and were like it’s fine. They didn’t want to call the cops I guess. But I wasn’t drinking, I was just like super tired,” he says. I shake my head, then facepalm.

Twenty minutes later, we’re in a gay bar that’s pretty low key. We each down a cheap drink, and I’m abruptly bored. Desperately so. So much so that I text Dan. “What are you up to tonight?” He tells me he’s in the bar next door–it has a good dance scene on Saturdays, so I tell him we’ll meet him. Hut when we go outside there’s a swarm of people waiting to get in. “I don’t do lines,” I inform Bradley. (This impatience is left over from my years in New York.) I text Dan and let him know that there’s a line AND cover, which is unacceptable. I grow impatient waiting for a reply, so I check out the bar patio wall. It’s perfectly hoppable, temptingly so. I look at Bradley, but he doesn’t catch on. Then I get a reply from Dan. “Tell the promoter you’re my friend.” Marvelous. I make my way over to the promoter and introduce myself then inform him that I’m a friend of Dan’s. “Nice to meet you,” he says. “I don’t know who Dan is.” Annoyed, I apologize and start texting Dan again when Bradley speaks up, “Oh. I know that guy.” The guy holding the list hears him, and his face lights up. “Hey! How are you?” Bradley does his oblivious act, flirting with the guy for a minute or two. He doesn’t really acknowledge me, which is fine because the guy is so into Bradley that we get to cut the line and get in for free.

I run into Dan the second we walk in, and he’s zealous as ever about our reunion. “Nice cardigan!” He says enthusiastically. “Where’d you get it?” Before I can answer, someone taps him on the shoulder, and I use the distraction to take refuge outside on the patio. Unfortunately, Turtle is also on the patio and as much fun as a public apology might be, I decide it’s best saved for another time. I grab Bradley and lead him to the bar where we take a shot. I leave the bartender a fat tip, and he starts to flirt with me between pouring drinks. Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain he’s straight. On the bright side, he tips me off to the open bar and promises to hook me up with a strong drink. Seven minutes and five dollars later, (see, I am an excellent tipper!) I’m double-fisting two drinks, one of which I pass to Bradley before grabbing a third, and we run upstairs.

Having chugged half of my what is essentially cranberry flavored vodka on the way up the stairs Read the rest of this entry »


Tic-Tac-Tequila

June 23, 2011

“Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer sex raises some pretty good questions.” –Woody Allen

The rest of the week is turbulent at best. There’s no more talk of plans for my birthday, and The Writer and I don’t seem comfortable together. Except when we’re sleeping. Thursday morning, I ask him if he wants to go dancing at Tigerheat, but I don’t get a response until I’m leaving work: “I don’t know.” I’m uncertain how to feel about the weird air that I’ve returned to, but the tension makes my insides feel like twisting scrap metal. Regardless, I won’t let this keep me down. Instead, I call Trick Bradley, who I’ve been getting along with recently. We went out for a drink in WeHo and hung out a few other times. He broke up with his boyfriend, which was a bummer, but he handled it well–better than I would’ve–and he’s actually pretty fun to hang out with. Nice kid, too. “Let’s go dancing tonight,” I say. “Okay. Is The Writer coming?” “No,” I say decidedly, “we’re going by ourselves.”

Bradley suggests we go early, given the line at the club can be utterly ridiculous. Normally this isn’t a problem since I go with LAGs of status, who have connections on the inside or who are on the inexplicable perma-list of V.I.P.s. Despite arriving early, there’s no parking to be found, so Bradley and I go splitsies on a sketchy pay lot a few blocks away and make our way to the venue. It’s 10PM, a little more than an hour earlier than I’ve ever been, and there’s no line. Despite this, the bouncer makes us wait for a couple of minutes before acknowledging our presence. What’s worse is, I have to pay for admission, something I’ve never done before–liberation is a luxury that comes at a cost. And that cost is $10. (But honestly, don’t they know who I am by now?) The steep cover is ridiculous considering when we walk in, it’s a ghost town. It’s like being the first one to show up to a high school dance. So we retreat to the upstairs “bleachers.” Sitting alone and bored to death, Bradley’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from The Writer: “Pick me up on your way.” “What should I say?” Bradley asks, probably embarrassed by how early we’re here. I grab his phone and write back, “We’re at a bar nearby, so I can’t.” I’m annoyed that The Writer ignored me all day and that he’s now trying to piggyback on my plans for the evening. Plus, why did he text Bradley instead of me? He’s acting strangely. But tonight isn’t about The Writer–it’s about fun. And since it’s cinco de mayo, I’m on a tequila kick (warning: danger), so I order a shot and a margarita to chase. And we’re on our way.

…Only not, because the place is still empty 30 minutes later. Even as it starts to fill in, I don’t see anyone who I recognize from our birds eye view. Probably because everyone I know is smart enough to know not to go out dancing before ten. “Give me your phone,” I demand of Bradley. You know how scientists design some substance that can withstand like a million degrees of heat, but they only use it for some dumb experiment then it sits in a lab for a decade until someone from the military is like, “oh yeah, we definitely could’ve used that,” so they buy the patent and spray said substance on everything they can find? Well I’m pretty sure grindr was created under similar circumstances prior to its proliferation as cruising gaydar. Yes, grindr might finally do me some good, so I launch the app to see who’s nearby. It looks like The Writer is a little less than a mile away. I can’t help but read through his profile…which says he’s “24” (not even close, although I thought he was 26 when I first met him) and “straight-acting” — his words. I hate this term. So what? You’re into vag? Great, then go fuck a girl, asshole. There’s nothing that isn’t condescending about the phrase, which in every way connotes that there is something inferior and behaviorally wrong with being gay. I look at his picture one more time, then go back to searching for another recognizable face. And I see one: Turtle. “Fuck,” Bradley says. “That guy keeps texting me.” “He’s such a creep,” I say. Turtle’s kid friend has since returned to wherever he came from, so Turtle has moved on to searching out any new potential too-young-to-drink boys to victimize. I was wrong. Nothing good ever comes of grindr.

“Let’s go downstairs,” I suggest, and we do. And it’s our lucky day! A random tequila-sampling booth is set up in the lobby, so I New York my way through the crowd of sleeveless pretty boys and shrieking queens up to the table and down what I can get my hands on. “I’m feeling better now,” I tell Bradley. He looks at me like “whatever,” and I lead him to the VIP lounge. “How are we going to get in?” He asks. “I pulled your ass over a bar patio wall last week, this is easy apple pie,” I tell him, not particularly sure what it is I’m saying. It takes less than twenty seconds for the bouncer to be so engrossed in some mundane distraction that we walk right past him.

Near the VIP bar, William is waving at me. William is a Tigerheat regular, friend of The Writer, and politically angry. And usually not in the good way. The Writer also informed me (on the night that he told me he just wanted to be friends before trying to get me to have a threesome with him) that he gave William his permission to sleep with me. Which through the lens of sexual politics I find completely appalling, but in the moment works well for me because William is looking fine tonight. “Want a drink?” He asks wrapping his arm around my neck, his big bicep bulging out of his shirt and against Read the rest of this entry »


I’ve Had A Little Bit Too Much

June 18, 2011

“You know what they say: You can’t teach a gay dog straight tricks.” -South Park

“I want to go out tonight,” The Writer says. “Oh my god, me too. I’ll be right over.” I’m in bed naked and most all my clothes are dirty, but I manage to scrounge up an outfit: uncomfortable underwear that are reserved expressly for planned slutty nights, mismatched socks, a deep purple v-neck from American Apparel, and hygienically questionable black jeans. Oh, and a big black coat because it’s randomly freezing tonight. Not cool L.A. I grab my stuff and rush out the door, blasting the radio in my car. I make it to The Writer’s in record time (I’m serious about this wanting to go out tonight thing,) and scamper up his front step. My face is glowing–not my typical expression upon arrival at his house. That is until I see who answers the door. It’s Trick Bradley, that vapid kid with the fake ID. “Hey…” I say, trying my best to pull the drooping grimace on my face up into a inauthentic smile. The Writer is right behind him and smiles at me. “Is that a ballerina shirt?” He asks me. I look down in the second it takes me to realize that he’s talking about the shirt I’m wearing. My head shoots up: “No! You are such an asshole.” “It’s not a bad thing,” he says defensively. “Bradley, do you think this looks like a ballerina shirt?” He looks away and shrugs. Whatever. L.A. people have no sense of fashion.

On our drive to the bar, The Writer and I discuss writing stuff, further muting Trick Bradley. Fortunately. Unfortunately, Trick Bradley can’t get into the bar. “This isn’t real,” the scruffy bouncer says. My initial reaction is shock that a guy that looks this dumb is able to identify such a forgery. My secondary reaction is insufferable annoyance that we’ve come all the way here only to be turned away. I don’t make eye contact with Trick Bradley because if I do, my facial reaction will be unpleasant to say the least. The Writer and I scoot in anyway, pretending not to know him, as to avoid any awkwardness with the bouncer.

Inside, we are greeted by a man I will refer to as Turtle. Turtle is probably in his early 40s and is “good” friends with Wolf. He also has a ridiculous reputation in that literally everyone in WeHo knows his (creepy) game. He’s incredibly insecure and super jealous. Also, he’s not particularly attractive. By which I mean I literally cannot think of single individual that I know who would hook up with him. Remarkably, a young cute-ish twink stands at his side loyally. He’s clearly from out of town. The pretext of why they might be together is beyond me. Until he goes on stage.

It’s karaoke night and the kid selects a cheesy Kelly Clarkson ballad to sing. The performance is propped up by his above average voice. This pisses me off. No one wants to hear/watch someone with relative talent get up on stage and sing some boring ass song about how you’re in love for the first time. Shoot me. Or at least buy me a drink. No, if we wanted to see that we’d watch American Idol. Karaoke is the sacred Japanese tradition of embracing the characteristics of an alcoholic for a night, shamelessly screeching out an epic tune to the point of butchery, and falling off stage when you go to take your bow. Everyone knows that. The Writer informs me that Turtle is a “music industry executive.” Turtle is definitely not a music industry executive. He’s a bottom feeder who lives in one-person apartment. But it would appear that this kid doesn’t know that. (The music executive part. It seem like he knows all about the apartment. More on that later.) As the song reaches it’s climax, The Writer gets a text from Bradley, and we regroup outside, deciding to make our way down the block to Stripper Circus.

Stripper Circus is kind of what it sounds like although Stripper Carnival would probably be a more apt name; strippers do their thing on platforms like in most of the other bars in WeHo, only at “Circus” there’s a gimmicky row of ridiculous carnival games, hosted by…well, guess! If you guessed strippers, you’re wrong. The answer we were looking for is drag queens! So I guess a truly accurate title for this “party” would be Carnival Game Queens or something like that. Regardless, Stripper Circus works like is this: you buy a drink, get a ticket, play the games, win shitty cheap booze, get drunker, lose the games because you can’t see straight, buy another drink so that you can play again. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Bradley manages to get in, but Stripper Circus is packed. Partially because there’s a spontaneous, limited open bar meaning I’m double-fisting whiskey cokes while some guy’s bulge dangles above my head like mistletoe. The Writer breaks through the pack, pulling me with him through the sea of gays. Bradley gets left behind. “I think we lost Trick Bradley,” I inform him once we’re in the clear. “Haha! You still call him that?” “You have like 3,000 facebook friends. If I don’t use your mnemonic devices, I’ll never remember anyone you introduce me to.” “Trick Bradley is a smart kid…” he starts, and I interrupt him with a chuckle. “…I’m sure he’ll figure it out.” We continue away from the chaos, when The Writer sees a big group of guys he knows, sitting at a table with a bottle of Grey Goose. He introduces me to a few of them–I immediately forget the names that I can actually hear. Then he sits down to chat. I’m left standing, holding my two drinks. Which very quickly become one drink. Another guy walks over and sits down next to the boy on the end. The new guy whispers something to the other, who turns to me. “What’s your name again?” He half yells. I remind him. “This is my boyfriend, Sam,” he tells me before turning back to Sam. I manage to make out what he says next. “He’s The Writer’s boyfriend.” I don’t correct him. Read the rest of this entry »


Deep Dark Core

June 8, 2011

“I’m not young enough to know everything.” –Oscar Wilde

Mickey Manley, the writer I met at the gay marriage benefit, invites me over to watch I Love You Phillip Morris. I arrive a little late and ring the doorbell.

Me: Holy shit, this house is incredible.
He: Do you want the tour?
Me: Sure.
He: Let’s go downstairs first, and I’ll show you around after the movie.
Me: Your house is seriously gorgeous.
He: Thank you. It was only half of this when I bought it. Everything took eight years.
Me: Seriously? What took so long?
He: Contractor and Designer got in a fight, it went to court, yadda yadda yadda. Half the rooms had one wall made of a plastic sheet.
Me: Were you still living here?
He: On and off. What would you like to drink? I’ve got white wine and vodka.
Me: I told you, I don’t drink hard liquor on school nights.
He: You were drinking at the benefit.
Me: One glass of white wine.
He: You were drinking something else when we met.
Me: Touché. Although in my defense, I had just walked into a window in front of hundreds of people.
He: Fair enough. How do you like the wine?
Me: I’m not a huge fan of white, but this is good.
He: I’m glad you like.
Me: So are we going to watch the movie? What’s it called again?
He: I Love You Phillip Morris. There’s no rush. Let’s talk for a bit.
Me: And what would you like to talk about, Mickey Manley?
He: Tell me about you.
Me: Why do you want to talk about me? I’m really rather dull.
He: I don’t believe that for a second.
Me: Alright, then ask me something.
He: Where did you go to school?
Me: New York.
He: Me too!
Me: What did you study?
He: Acting.
Me: Fascinating.
He: Are you mocking me?
Me: I wouldn’t dream of it.
He: Well, as you know, I’m a writer now. And director. And DJ.
Me: Now that is something interesting. How did you go from acting to writing to DJing?
He: Well, I have all of these records–thousands. So one day I just decided to go buy some equipment and experiment. And now I collect all of these random records. Which reminds me…
Me: What’s that?
He: This is my rotating art instillation. Every time I have guests over, I have them recreate it.

There are three shelves on the wall. Below it sit a stack of tiny flower paintings and a stack of records.

Me: What do I do?
He: Just arrange the records and paintings as you envision.
Me: Where did you get these?
He: The records are a strange spoken word genre that was popular among women of color in the 1970s.

The album covers range from psychedelic to nature to bare faces.

Me: Is it set to a beat? Like is it rhythmic?
He: It’s spoken word on top of music, but it’s just stories, so it’s not like rapping. But it’s incredible. They wail about everything from rape and social oppression to struggling to put together dinner before their husbands get home and disciplining their children. It’s a whole original medium. Like a lost art.
Me: I wish the world still had context for that kind of expression.
He: These paintings I bought for $3 at an antique store. Can you believe that?
Me: Really? There must be 50 of them. Isn’t it strange how someone can put so much time and effort into something and in the end it counts for so little?

Pause. I examine each and every album and painting individually.

He: They’re a little kitschy, but the juxtaposition with the albums is dynamite.
Me: There’s something sentimental about each.

There’s a longer pause. I start to make piles.

He: How are you sorting those?
Me: You’ll see.
He: I’ve never seen someone take such inventory. Usually, my guests just pick the first thing they like and throw it up on the wall.
Me: Should I hurry along?
He: No. By all means, I want to see where this is going.

Another longer pause. It’s been about ten minutes now, and I’ve seen every image at least twice. I grit my teeth and squint, looking at some.

He: I’m trying to figure out what you’re doing.

He sits and ponders, eyes scanning the rows.

He: I suppose I’ll just have to wait until you’ve finished.
Me: Yes, you will.

I put up the middle row first. It’s an African American woman. The picture is sepia except for a red apple, which she holds in front of her. I set two pictures on each side of the album.

He: Huh…

Next, I set another album, the cover of which has an old African American woman, on the top shelf, all the way to the right. I set two flower paintings next to it.

He: I honestly have no idea what you’re thinking.

Finally, I agonize over a final painting, but make my selection. I place a third album, this one with a young African American girl on the cover, all the way to the left and place three flower paintings next to it.

Me: What do you think?

He examines.

He: I like it.
Me: Just like it?
He: It’s the best I’ve ever seen!
Me: Do you get it?
He: I guess so…
Me: No, you don’t. Let me explain. Starting in the middle: this woman offers up an apple like Eve offering Adam the fruit of knowledge. Life is full of knowledge and temptation. Surrounding her, I selected paintings with four different colored backgrounds—life is diversity and a series of seasons.
He: Wow, you really did think this through.
Me: Yes. I did.

I return to my “installation.”

Me: The top row: This woman is tired, but with her exhaustion comes a sense of accomplishment. She has lived. I selected flowers with red backgrounds for this row because we burn through our beauty.
He: So what’s the meaning of the final row? I would guess, but I don’t think I can keep up.
Me:  The women are placed diagonally. Life moves in all directions. This young girl, eyes so wide, ready for the world. Raw. Beneath the rest, this is who she is. So full of potential and pure. I chose all paintings with blue backgrounds and white flowers to represent this. But deep inside of her, deep inside of them all, there is something else. Each of these flowers has a black pigmentation. In the center of their beautiful petals is a deep dark core. All of us has a deep dark core.
He: Is that so?
Me: Indeed it is.
He: Well, then. This is certainly the most profound version of the installation to date.
Me: I think you should keep it up forever.
He: Hopefully, the cleaning lady won’t change it around. She’s always moving stuff.
Me: Then she needs to go.
He: What? But she’s so good!
Me: It’s the way it is. Her or me.
He: I might have to go with her.
Me: I’m hurt.
He: But you can’t clean like she does.
Me: Says who?
He: Alright, but you’ll have to wear the uniform.
Me: I know of people in New York who are naked Read the rest of this entry »


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