The Search for Love in Manhattan A gay odyssey of neurosis
Saturday, November 30, 2002
Tonight I received a sign from God.
It was terrifying.
I went to an orgy in an apartment on the Upper West Side. When I got there, there were four or five attractive guys entangled in each other, so I joined in; several attractive guys came in after that, and I more or less appointed myself the unofficial welcoming committee. Everything was going beautifully--the atmosphere was relaxed and full of cameraderie and yet sexually charged; I was discovering where the various people I was doing things to preferred me to do them, and was also enjoying having things done to me. It was lovely.
And then who should walk in but the disfigured man from last week's unmitigated disaster of an orgy?
It was as if I had been at a party at a friend's house having a great time playing charades and suddenly Anna Nicole Smith had walked in.
Horrified, I accomplished what I had come to do, and, rather than sticking around and accomplishing it a few more times, I hightailed it out of there and walked 25 blocks home, hoping (in vain, as it turned out) that the exercise would rid me of some of the despair.
Perhaps this wasn't a sign from God, and I am actually in some sort of pornographic spy movie without realizing it, and he is an enemy agent after the the microfilm someone has planted, without my knowledge, somewhere deep enough in my body that it hasn't yet been dislodged by all the other things that have been planted deep in my body.
Upon reflection, that idea isn't really any more comforting than the sign from God theory.
Trust New York City to have not one but two gay cheerleading squads. I found a second one called Cheer NY that has tryouts in a week and a half. (There's actually a third called New York Twisters, based on Long Island, but a) they don't have a web site and b) I'd have to go to Long Island.)
No power on earth is going to keep me away from the Cheer NY tryouts, especially since they don't have bios of their members on the web site and therefore I can't be certain that they're all dancers and gymnasts and former college cheerleaders who will make me feel like a totally inadequate loser at the tryouts. The problem, of course, is that if there are two gay cheerleading squads in New York, what if one is the cool one and one is the loser one? And what if I end up on the loser one?
And I have no idea how to find out which is which. I can't very well call these squads up and say, "Excuse me, are you the cool gay cheerleading squad or the loser one?" And neither web site has enough information from which to extrapolate. The New York Spirit Project marches in the Gay Pride parades, which makes me think they are the cool one. Cheer NY seems to be affiliated with the Gay Games team, which makes me think they are the cool one.
This morning, before going to Thanksgiving dinner, my brother and his girlfriend and I watched the college cheerleading championships on TV.
It was a revelation.
It was like Bring It On, except real. These people were amazing. They would hurl each other fifty feet in the air and do all kinds of flips while they were high up. I loved them all, even the guys who weren't as cute.
The thing is, I almost went out for the cheerleading squad at my college, but then I decided not to. After seeing this morning's championships, I regretted that decision more than I have ever regretted anything in my entire life, including the time I went to a junior high school dance with my hair sprayed pink, wearing a bow tie and a bicycle chain.
But from the depths of that regret came a voice that said, "Come, now. You're a gay man living in New York City. There must be a cheerleading squad here for you." Trembling, I did a google search and, when I found the New York Spirit Project, I almost didn't believe the world could be so kind to me. Giddier and more alive with joy than I have been since I saw my first opera at age six, I called the number listed on the web site and left a message saying I was interested in joining the squad. Then we all went to Thanksgiving dinner, on the way to which I demonstrated my round off and my front handspring (the only remnants of the gymnastics I did at summer camp when I was seven). I could barely concentrate on the dinner conversation, so wrapped up was I in fantasies of getting thrown high up in the air and doing flips and falling madly in love with a fellow cheerleader and moving in together and being blissfully happy for the rest of my life.
Then I came back and looked at the web site again and saw that every single member of the squad is either a professional dancer or a former college cheerleader and now I am going to go buy ten gallons of Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Truffle ice cream and cry while I eat every single fucking spoonful and get enormously fat so I don't have to go try out and get totally rejected and lose the best dream I ever had.
Two days ago, in an attempt to make up for the fact that I didn't post three days ago, I posted twice, something I had never done before. When I started this blog, I had a few rules for myself, one of which was that I would never blog more than once a day. When I stopped in August and started again, I made another rule, which was that I would never blog less than once a day. A foolish consistency being, however, the hobgoblin of little minds, I figured, what the hell?
And then, after my orgy of posting on Monday, I didn't post yesterday.
So I'm sitting here thinking blithely, oh, okay, well, I'll just post twice today.
Nothing good can come of this.
But if you are a regular reader of mine and read only one post from 11/25 (thinking it was, as usual, my only post for the day), go back and read the second.
That's actually the entire reason I'm writing about this: because the thought of somebody who likes to read my blog missing a post fills me with anguish and despair.
Thank God I have my priorities in the right place.
I can stop any time I want. Really. I don't have a problem.
But wait, there's more. In the final scene of Dance of the Vampires (the one with the garlic lyric), when vampires have taken over Times Square, there's a huge sign on the backdrop of the set proclaiming that the musical Bats is "now in it's [sic] 39th smash year."
Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a sidecar, they spent millions of dollars on this show and they can't even distinguish between a possessive pronoun and a contraction?
And the horrifying thing is, this wasn't even the worst thing about the show.
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will understand how much I am saying by that.
Tonight I saw two shows of the musical theater variety.
One had songs that were heartbreakingly funny and full of holiness, music that was melodic and fresh, and lyrics like this:
So much has torn,
So much is broken,
So much has fragmented and failed
Since first the "let there be" was spoken.
Is it tragic?
Or a kind of magic
That lets us in
And helps us start the healing
So much life?
The other was full of unfunny jokes, many of them offensively homophobic, and lyrics like this:
It's the secret to staying young.
It's why we're so well hung.
Our songs are strong
And our schlongs are long.
So which one do you think had the multi-million-dollar Broadway production and which one is, for the moment at least, languishing in obscurity?
Not that I needed further proof that there is no justice in the world.
Yesterday, the universe paid me back in spades for the horror it had visited upon me the night before.
On my way to meet a men4sexnow.com guy for sex at the obscenely early hour of 8:30 in the morning, I noticed that the neighborhood looked vaguely familiar. When I got to his building, the sense of déja vu intensified. And when I saw the names next to his buzzer, I realized that the déja vu came from the fact that I had déja vued the place.
This was the very apartment that was the scene of a disastrous date I went on FIVE YEARS AGO. A date that left me sinking in a morass of self-hatred, rage, and anguish.
Of course, most of my dates do that, but that's beside the point.
The last time I was in this apartment it was occupied by 1) my date, who spent the entire evening fooling around with me before revealing that he was a hopeless alcoholic and kicking me out, and 2) his roommate, who happened to be an acquaintance of mine. I knew that the guy I was meeting this time was neither one of these people, so I assumed he'd just moved in recently and the landlord hadn't had a chance to change the names by the buzzer yet.
And he was totally hot, and we had totally hot sex.
I cannot begin to communicate the sense of invincibility I felt. I had conquered the genius of the place. I had returned to the scene of my humiliation and triumphed in a blaze of victorious glory. I realized that my old defeats don't have to be millstones around my neck, that I can leave behind the parts of me that displease me and become, fully, the person I wish to be.
Then when I got home I found I'd gained a pound and a half since the day before, and burst into tears.
Tonight I went to an absolutely dreadful orgy. What made it worse was that I dragged a totally hot guy along with me as my guest, and he will undoubtedly never speak to me again.
When the host opened the door looking fully ten years older than he did in the picture he sent me, I should have turned around right then.
My guest and I sat around and chatted with the host, waiting for a few other people. Within twenty minutes, the following people arrived:
--a man with a bizarre rash or birthmark on his face;
--a totally hot guy; and
--a man who was old and (as I later discovered) smelled funny.
We got started, and I was instantly bored out of my skull. My guest, clearly disgusted with the whole proceedings, left almost immediately; I wanted desperately to leave with him, but I was, shall we say, in no position to do so. The old man left too, but not, alas, before I found out that he smelled funny. Which left me, the deceitful host, the disfigured man, and the hot guy. So I just focused on the hot guy.
Thankfully, the rest of the event was mercifully short. Here is a sampling of the thoughts that were running through my head during that time:
"Maybe I should reread the complete works of Jane Austen, starting with Persuasion."
"Damn--I can't remember whether I'm on row 5 or row 7 of the sweater pattern I'm knitting."
"Maybe I should reread the complete works of Jane Austen, starting with Persuasion."
And now the totally hot guy I dragged along as my guest will never speak to me again. I met him at the one other orgy I've been to, which was as delightful as this one was wretched. But the thing is that he was fat then, and now he is 40 pounds lighter and much more built and sexy and quite possibly my soul mate, except for the never speaking to me again part. So I spent the entire subway ride home trying to figure out how to make it up to him.
I mean, I can think of a few different ways, some of which wouldn't require him to speak to me anyway.
But maybe I should leave well enough alone, because he's the one who left the bite marks on my ass that got me in trouble with E.S., so maybe he's brought enough anxiety into my life.
I was floating around on men4sexnow.com last night and saw somebody whose member name was actually jimjones. Plus, he didn't have a picture, so for all I knew it could actually have BEEN Jim Jones. I was terrified.
Then I realized that it was the 24th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre, and "terrified" didn't even begin to cover it.
I'm going to stick to nice guys like latinotongue or ahot14ya.
I spent the entire evening tonight flirting with a fellow guest in D.R.'s vacation home while knowing the whole time that, even if he wanted to have sex (which I wasn't sure of), we couldn't because there are simply too many of us here to manage it discreetly.
I am now in the Middle of Nowhere, Maryland with my friends D.R. and B.N. I am in the country. There is a lake here, as well as a lot of leaves on the ground.
I don't ever want to leave.
I suppose at some point the religious wacko white supremacist snake handlers will discover that we're here and come and burn crosses on the lawn until we're forced to flee the state.
But until then, I'm just going to sit here by the fireplace fire, watch my dog play with D.R.'s dog, eat carbohydrates like there's no tomorrow, and be blissfully relaxed and unconcerned about my responsibilities back in New York.
This is terrible. I don't even feel neurotic here.
Tonight, as I was walking my dog A., I passed two women walking together and overheard one saying very loudly and earnestly to the other, "I need to trust my higher power, y'know? I just need to trust my journey."
I'm all in favor of people self-actualizating through whatever means work for them. I just don't want to be subjected to it when I'm walking my dog.
If I have a higher power, I don't trust it further than I can throw it.
Yesterday I got my hair cut by Jazz at Dramatics, NYC. I have had my hair cut at Dramatics, NYC four times, by a different person each time: Sunshine, Eagle, Justice, and Jazz. I think it's the worst thing ever that they don't even let these people have their own names.
But the reason I go to Dramatics, NYC--a serviceable but by no means excellent salon--is because I am terrified to go back to the place I used to get my hair cut.
When I lived on the Upper East Side, I went to Eve's Hair and Nails, on 92nd and 1st. Eve was an East German post-operative male to female transsexual. She was the only one who cut hair there and she took forever. A simple cut took at least two hours--she would cut a little bit, talk on the phone, cut a little bit more, do some crystal meth, cut a little bit more. My friend N.C. and I went there together once--he to get his hair highlighted and I to get mine relaxed--and it took her four hours. I don't know how she kept the place open; I assume it was a front for a lucrative drug-dealing business.
After I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a show about another East German post-operative male to female transsexual, I went to get my hair cut and asked her what she had thought of it. "Ach, I hated zat show," she sneered. "It vass not an accurate representation off my life."
She gave me the best hair cuts I've ever gotten. But she was so glamorous and cool that whenever I went, I would felt my own inadequacy as a gay man so keenly it was almost unbearable. Next to her, I felt about as interesting and compelling as a Necco Wafer or a plastic-covered living room couch. This feeling would persist for hours, sometimes days, after a haircut.
It was a cruel dilemma I faced yesterday: have fabulous hair and lose my already tentative grasp on my sense of self-worth, or maintain some shred of self-esteem but have boring hair?
Ever since I moved into my building four months ago, I have lived in fear of my hostile doorman. No matter what I do--smile, thank him, salute, try to strike up a conversation--the most I can hope for from him is a resentful grunt. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out how to make him like me, all to no avail.
This morning my dog A. won his heart.
As A. and I left the building, A. straining at her leash because she knew there were too many things to sniff and too little time, the doorman looked down at her and smiled. He then barked at her, and she barked back. They repeated this exchange a few times and then A. ran off, dragging me after her, in search of new experiences.
Upon our return to the building, the hostile doorman actually struck up a conversation with me about how many dogs lived on the second floor. It turns out that A. is the only one. I suggested that I could get five or six more dogs. The hostile doorman asked why. I said, "to keep her company." For some reason the hostile doorman thought this was the funniest thing anyone had ever said and laughed a big, unhostile guffaw.
I am in shock. I dare not hope that this is the beginning of a thaw.
My contractor has ripped my kitchen out. Now, where there used to be a kitchen, there is an empty, gaping void.
I'm worried that my soul is next.
I'm also worried that I'll have to give up forever my fantasy of being ravished on the kitchen counter by the UPS guy. Because when I have a kitchen counter again, it will be marble, which seems like a terrible surface on which to be ravished.
Because of a glitch in my increasingly complicated AV system, I was unable to watch or Tivo tonight's remake on NBC of Stephen King's Carrie. This would fill me with despair and bitterness except for the fact that my friend D.R. has Tivoed it for me.
I fantasize pretty much every day about having supernatural powers. Before I moved to New York, it was pretty much always telekinesis, though back then I wasn't full enough of rage to add in the pyrokinetic destruction of my enemies. Or, rather, I was full enough of rage, but I had no easy access to it because I had repressed it all. Now I split my fantasy time pretty evenly between the pyrokinetic destruction of my enemies and teleportation, which would mean I would never have to take the subway again.
I hope to see the remake of Carrie very soon. In the meantime, though, I found a not particularly favorable but hysterically funny review of it by a man named Rob Salem. Apparently, at the end of the remake, instead of dying, Carrie lives and drives off with Sue Snell. This is what Mr. Salem has to say:
"This isn't just a lame TV-movie remake. This is in fact a lame 'back-door pilot.' Stay tuned, I'm very afraid, for Carrie: The Series. Now, I've actually given this some thought, and I've come up with several plot suggestions for the series' first season. Consider them a gift. Or a warning.
"Episode #1: 'Dressed For Success'--Carrie and Sue pull into a mid-western town where they both get jobs at The Gap. Tempers flare when Carrie is accused of hoarding sale items for herself. Sue then discovers the clothes in question stashed in an empty change room, but it is already too late, because Carrie has already killed everyone in the store and set the mall on fire.
"Episode #2: 'Do You Want Fries With That?'--The girls are working the late shift at an all-night diner when a couple of small-time hoods try to hold the place up. Carrie telekinetically suspends one of them upside down in mid-air, dunking him head-first into a tub of boiling fat. The other escapes, running right into the arms of the awaiting cops, who arrive just in time to see an enraged Carrie kill everyone in the place and then set it on fire.
"Episode #3: 'Homeless Is Where The Heart Is'--A very special episode of Carrie: The Series, with Sue signing both of them up as volunteers to serve Christmas dinner at a shelter. Everything goes fine until Carrie accidentally undercooks the turkey. The starving homeless people turn on them, advancing slowly, forks and knives in hand. Carrie has no choice but to kill them all and burn the shelter to the ground.
"Episode #4: 'The Sincerest Form Of Flattery'--Carrie and Sue narrowly escape a police roadblock just outside Florida, and end up laying low in a motel. The police eventually track them down by following the trail of blackened, smoking corpses. Surrounding the motel, they call in two experts, a has-been film director (a cameo by Brian De Palma) and a recently retired horror novelist (Stephen King), who try to talk the girls into surrendering themselves. Carrie is clearly moved by their entreaties. And then she kills them both and sets the motel on fire."
I would become addicted to this series in a heartbeat.
Tonight, I was scheduled to sing in a concert of the songs of my friend Y.E. When I showed up for the sound check and took my glasses off in preparation for putting my contacts in, I realized that I had brought two right-eye lenses. My left eye takes a much stronger prescription than my right eye, so I spent the entire concert in a bizarre state of half-blurry half-clear vision. Luckily I knew all the music very well, so reading it wasn't an issue.
But it made me think: when I meet a new person I want to fall in love with, maybe I should wear two right-eye lenses. That way I'll be able to see clearly enough to interact like a normal human being, but he will appear blurry enough to seem handsome, whether he is or not. Then I can get to know him as a person instead of deciding instantaneously that he's not physically attractive enough.
On second thought, however, this would require that I get to know him as a person, which is, if experience is any guide, a big mistake.
Today I had another undate. Really, this is getting to be ridiculous.
I answered the planet out ad of a guy who seemed to possess both a sense of humor and a social conscience, as well as the ability to spell and a cute photo. He wrote back and said he liked my ad, too, but added, "in the interest of full disclosure, though, I'm also more of a catcher." (For those of you unfamiliar with gayspeak, this means he too is a bottom.) But he suggested that we could always get together for a friendly cup of coffee.
So I said, sure, why not, and we arranged to meet.
Please don't ask me why I felt like I was going on a date even though we'd expressly said it wasn't a date. Maybe it was that "more of a catcher" left at least some room for him to be a pitcher, or maybe the capacity of the human mind for denial--or at least the capacity of my human mind for denial--is even greater than I realized. In any event, I arrived for our meeting dressed in something form-fitting, and far more nervous than a friendly cup of coffee warranted.
So he showed up and had terrible teeth.
It seems to me that, if one has a job that comes with health and dental insurance (which he did), then having terrible teeth is a clear sign of misplaced priorities.
Plus he knew far too much about the differences between the Star Wars special edition and the original version.
Again, the fact that there is NO WAY HE AND I COULD BE A COUPLE because we are SEXUALLY INCOMPATIBLE should have made me not care in the slightest.
But instead, I spent all afternoon resenting him and his teeth.
When I was six, I picketed my house, hoping to be allowed to eat breakfast before getting dressed rather than after.
I marched back and forth in front of our front door, carrying a sign that said "BREKFAST FIRST DRESSED LATER."
My parents, being civil rights workers, didn't cross picket lines, and that was the only way into or out of our house,
so they were trapped there until they acceded to my demand.