The Search for Love in Manhattan A gay odyssey of neurosis
Monday, June 30, 2003
The amount of cheersex I had yesterday with onlookers while I marched down Fifth Avenue with the cheerleaders in the gay pride parade would have left me completely drained and exhausted if the 457,283 one-handed cartwheels I did—it's the only trick I can do (so to speak) with a cast on my left hand, so I used it to maximum effect—hadn't already done so.
My favorite was the cute guy who beckoned me over and said, "Can I have a kiss for Pride?"
I will now share with you the most embarrassing story from my past, which, as you might imagine, is chock full of embarrassing stories. But this one takes the cake.
In my junior year of high school, I was required, as were all my compatriots, to take Health class. The course was made up of several units: alcohol (which involved stern warnings not to drink alcohol), drugs (which involved stern warnings not to do drugs), sex (which involved stern warnings not to have sex), and self-actualization (which involved stern warnings to self-actualize).
With my little tape recorder (this was before the days of CD burners, or even CDs) I recorded, alternately, songs and readings that seemed to me to support self-actualization, or at least the actualization of my own self. I included, if memory serves, the Indigo Girls' "Closer To Fine," a choral piece called "You Are The New Day" (which really is a gorgeous piece of writing), and passages (read by me in my just-cracked voice) from The Lord Won't Mind and Tales of the City. (I'm sure there was more, but, mercifully, I've blocked further memories.)
When I was done, I made a cover for the tape; it was the faggiest thing ever created by the hand of man. I wrote the name of the project with curlicues in gold and silver writing with decorations done in colored marker. I think I drew a rainbow on it.
I called it—would to God I were making this up—Whispers: Steps Along the Path to an Understanding of the Joy of Life.
(Whispers was the name of the trendiest hair salon in town. Actually, its full name was Whispers Hair in Motion.)
The number of funny things one could say about this is so great as to paralyze me with indecision.
He wanted to meet in a coffee shop first, which meant that I had to sit and talk with him for half an hour before going up to my apartment. Ordinarily I am a witty and facile conversationalist no matter how awkward the situation or how dull my partner, but Vlad's English was quite bad and he mumbled, so I understood about every sixth word he said; this rendered me powerless to make conversation, as if I were the Green Lantern and he were dressed all in yellow.
In the event, we eventually made it back to my apartment, where he lived up to his namesake's name, ha ha ha. Then, as he was leaving, he said, "I'll see you sometime," to which I responded, "I'll see you soon."
He said, "Well, maybe not that soon."
What kind of literal-minded buffoon doesn't realize that, in situations like this, "I'll see you soon" means "I intend never to see you again as long as I live"?
Plus, why wouldn't he want to see me soon? Even if I hadn't been really good in bed, which I was (as usual), I should think the fact that I made absolutely no mention of his body odor would make me an eminently desirable partner for the activity in which we were engaged.
Clearly I am to take one of the following two lessons from this:
1. Require non-native speakers of English to show proof of a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language before I have sex with them; or
2. Don't have sex with smelly people.
In any case, my inability to find my combination lock means that, when I go to the gym, I can't risk putting my street clothes in a locker while I work out or do step class, because someone might steal them; I have to take my gym bag with me, therefore, while I work out or go to step class. This in turn means that I have to take as little as possible with me to the gym, so that the step instructor and the other students don't hate me when my bag takes up too much room.
This has led me to make certain economies in my gym-going routine. I now take only one towel, for example, instead of my usual two. Sometimes I don't bring my Discman with me. On Wednesday, I came up with another good idea. "I'll just go to step class in my regular shorts," I thought, "and wear them afterwards on my date too." Since any sweat generated in the region of my pelvis would be absorbed by my underwear, the shorts would remain unsullied and pristine.
I was half right.
The problem, of course, was that I was wearing a long t-shirt, the bottom of which overlapped the top of my shorts. It was an intense step class, and the air conditioning wasn't working in the room, so I ended up sweating a lot. And although no pelvic sweat found its way to my shorts—which were, remember, the only pair I had with me—a lot of sweat from my t-shirt did.
So I had to go on my date looking exactly like I had peed in my pants.
Luckily, through a combination of distraction and legerdemain, I was able to keep my date from becoming aware of this before the sweat had dried.
Of course, it's also possible that the thought of me peeing in my pants could have turned him on.
In which case it's probably just as well that he didn't notice.
Okay, I was working on something to post today, but I came across this blog and had to interrupt myself to share it. I don't know how I've lived without it all these years.
I'll post about my date last night with the Bulgarian later today.
And a note to Anonymous #7: I just reread my comment to you and realized, with a dawning sense of horror, that it could be interpreted as mean and sarcastic. Rest assured that it was, in fact, an invitation and that I am, in fact, trying to get into your pants.
Several people have written me (well, all right, three) asking me whether the two items on this post's second list are related—whether, in fact, the Anaerobic Physicist (don't ask me why I've decided to call him that, because I don't know) had finally come to his senses. Alas, the answer to both questions is no. The Anaerobic Physicist is on vacation until the middle of next month, which means that I couldn't play the sympathy card with him even if I wanted to (oh, who am I kidding, of course I want to). Item #2 on the list is a direct result of the fact that I seem to have rejoined men4sexnow.com. The whole not getting any just started to get to me after a point.
I have also concurrently rejoined planet out. Tonight I have a date with someone from Bulgaria. The genius of this move escaped me until moments ago: if English is not his native tongue, then lapses in grammar and spelling don't count!
I was all set to write a post about how I feel like a terrible homosexual because I ended up seeing neither Finding Nemo nor Broadway Bares, but it was swept from my mind by the uncanny resemblence of the x-ray technician at St. Vincent's to Aughra from The Dark Crystal. I was terrified she was going to remove an eye, shove it in my face, and say portentously, "There is much to be learned, and you have no time!" (It's the fifth .wav file down.)
Lucky for me, both of her eyes stayed where they were. Now I have a sexy cast (instead of a splint) and some codeine, which I am about to take.
I'm not quite sure how I've managed to live in New York for six years and never see Broadway Bares, the strip show featuring Broadway actors taking their clothes off to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, but at midnight tonight I am going to rectify the oversight.
Please forgive me for breaking my promise to post twice yesterday. I was unexpectedly called upon to demonstrate anew the validity of #2 in the second list in yesterday's entry. I'll do my best to post twice today, but of course if my honor is called into question my first duty is to defend it. I mean not to defend it. Oh, you know what I mean.
If I'd known about the fringe benefits I would have started breaking bones long before now.
My mother's ancestors came to South Carolina in 1610 from France, where, as Huguenots, they had suffered merciless persecution at the hands of the Catholics. In 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had for 90 years been French Protestants' only protection, flimsy though it was. An ancestor of mine, safely ensconced in Charleston, had this to say:
Ah, my children! The blood-soaked soil of France cries to heaven for vengeance, and vengeance it will have! Just as surely as righteous Abel's blood, crying from the earth to God for vengeance upon his murderer, brought down the curse upon Cain, so will a lasting curse rest upon France. Mark well what I say to you! France, guiltyFrance, will never again be blessed with peace, prosperity, and quiet; but, on the contrary, trouble, violence, and revolution after revolution will vex and rend those who have thus troubled and murdered the people of God. Therefore, my dear children, never do you return to France—keep yourselves clear of it, if you would keep clear of the fearful curse that hangs over it.
I'm not sure whether he was talking about the infrequency of French bathing or Disneyland Paris, but it's nice to know that at least one of my forebears understood the importance of a good curse.
Confidential to David (TEFL Smiler): Dessverre, saa forsto jeg din kommentering. Saa, mens jeg er veldig takknemlig for ditt arbeide, skal jeg fortsette aa proeve.
Faustus has instructed me to begin each entry with a mention that it is I, and not he, who is blogging for the next few days. To avoid reader confusion, you see. So, Faustus is away, he will be back Monday, I think, and until then, you will have to make do with a neurotic lesbian New Yorker, rather than a neurotic gay New Yorker.
I am sure you all have been waiting to hear how my reunion adventures are proceeding. I have to say, it has been extremely exhausting. And it's hard to be pithy or humorous about it, as I am standing at a Mac kiosk, experiencing extreme nostalgia for all the times I stood in this very place and checked my email after a lecture or before running to work at the music library. My old dorm is just the same, even the mural paintings in the tunnels connecting the buildings are pretty much unchanged. So really I am just a big old ball of sappiness right now. No neuroses. I am even recalling studying for finals in a melancholy and longing way.
Now if only I could experience such contentment IN the moment, rather than looking back at it!
Last night, my friend HK and I were searching for a bar on the Upper West Side. This seems like an easy task, but for some reason, I haven't found just the place to hang and get a cocktail, nor the place to get a pint of beer. I do know one decent pub, but they don't have a lot of room to sit, and they no longer have my favorite beer (Newcastle) on tap.
So HK and I poke our heads into a few places and reject them, and then wade through the crowd of smokers outside The Racoon Lodge and walk two steps into the bar, at which point the bartender shouts out from waaaaay across the room: "I need to see some IDs, ladies!".
Of course, everyone in the bar turns to look at us, and we have already determined the place is WAY too much of a dive for our mood, but its too late--we can no longer leave without appearing to be guilty under-age Columbia students.
You see where this is heading, right? HK and I are about to be susceptible to negative inferences about our age from this obnoxious, drunk bartender. See, if she had said, "Welcome, come have a drink!" we would have turned and exited immediately. But be rude, obnoxious and totally wasted and suggest we don't have a right to be there? We'll prove it, damnit! We'll drink two rounds, in fact! Who cares that we've wound up in a bar far worse than the other ones we have rejected, paying $5 each for a bottle of Heineken (this, of course, is the problem with going to a dive bar on the UWS--its not even cheap!).
Even better, when we go up for our second round, she IDs us again (once obviously not being enough to convince her we are 27, not 20). I'm suprised we didn't stay for a third round, just to prove ourselves one last time.
So if anyone has any UWS bar reccomendations, I am obviously wide open to suggestions.
This weekend I am attending my five year college reunion. From this event, so many psychological issues arise (not to mention the financial ones--no college party, open bar or not, is worth $85--I will be dead due to alcohol poisoning if I actually drink my fair share), and in the midst of this plethora of potential neuroses, for some reason I am focusing on a scheduling conflict.
See, they have these "mini-reunions", so you can get together with people with whom you actually share a common interest or experience (other than a diploma, that is). I have two potential mini-reunions, both of which are (of course) at the exact same time. I guess the lesson to be learned from this is that one should have only one social affiliation.
The particular decision I must make, therefore, is whether I am a theatre person or a lesbian. I am leaning towards the theatre person reunion. It's closer to where I am staying, and I was actually friends with other theatre people in college. On the other hand, I think I have some secret fantasy that some really hot straight woman I knew in college will have since come out of the closet, and will show up at the gay and lesbian mini-reunion. In reality, a more likely scenario will be that no women, formerly-closeted or out-and-proud, will show up, and I will be surrounded by gay men taking pity on me and chatting me up so that the lesbian feels welcome.
Although the more I think about it, I am not sure the decision even matters, since whichever mini-reunion I choose, I will be the only lesbian among musical theatre queens.
Starting tomorrow, we here at the Search for Love in Manhattan (by which I mean I here at the Search for Love, etc.) will be trying an experiment. I go into rehearsal tomorrow for a reading on Monday of the Holocaust musical I've been writing for the last nine months. Since to attempt to do the rewrites that will become necessary the instant we start rehearsal while also keeping up with my blog would cause my head to explode, I'm going to have a guest blogger, as I have at various points in the past when I've been unable to keep up.
Here's the catch: the guest blogger is a lesbian.
But don't worry. She's just as neurotic as I am. You'll be in good hands.
N.B.: Yesterday, I posted three times. Today I'm back to my regular one.
In my junior year of high school, I threw a birthday party and invited my whole class. Unfortunately for me, Matthew Gibson—one of the few decent people in the class—happened accidentally to be throwing a party the same night, so everybody went to his party and three people came to mine. All four of us sat around and pretended nothing was wrong.
When I walked into homeroom at school the next day, Mary Beth Crawford turned around, saw me, and said, "Hey, Faustus, I heard you had a really bitchin' party last night!"
This was thirteen years ago and I still have dreams about rending her flesh into a thousand tiny pieces.
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.