The Search for Love in Manhattan A gay odyssey of neurosis
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Is this thing on?
This is David, proprietor of everyone’s favorite Upside-down Hippopotamus. (Read it. Link to it. Or I will Hunt You Down.) I can’t remember if this was the day Faustus asked me to guest-blog for him, so this may be an unpleasant surprise for everyone involved.
OK, so look . . . it’s late, and I have things to do, so today’s installment of the Search For Love will be interactive. I’ll start:
Am I the only man in the world not thrilled by the prospect of receiving oral sex? I mean, it's all right and everything, but I don't dream of it at night.
For Thanksgiving, E.S. and I and my dog A. went to E.S.'s parents' house in New Jersey. They told me they planned to prepare a turkey and stuffing and all that good stuff, but when I asked about cranberry sauce they said they usually just got it from a can.
I muffled my gasp of horror before there was any actual vocalization to it, and suggested that it would be no problem for me to make some cranberry sauce and bring it with me. They graciously accepted my offer, and I allowed as to how, since I would already be cooking, it would be an easy thing for me to take the burden of dessert off their hands and bake a couple pies. Again, they graciously accepted.
Cranberry sauce is, in addition to being the easiest thing in the world to make, really fun, because all the cranberries pop, making this cute exploding noise while you're cooking them. I figured I'd also throw together an apple pie and, for a challenge, a chocolate-orange tart from a recipe I got off epicurious.com.
All the preparations went off without a hitch, and on Wednesday night, E.S. and I, along with my dog, a pie, a tart, and a Tupperware container of cranberry sauce, were safely ensconced in seats on the New Jersey Transit bus. I fell asleep almost instantly, as is my wont on long trips on public transportation, and woke up as we were pulling into the station at Toms River.
Only to find that I had stepped on the apple pie in my sleep.
It was awful. I was faced with two equally unacceptable choices. If I served my hosts a pie with my footprint in it (a possibility, as it had been covered in plastic when I stepped on it), they would think I was a clumsy lout who couldn't even take care of a pastry, much less their son, and they would hate me. If, however, I imposed on them by forcing them to take me to the grocery store and commandeering their kitchen so that I could make a new pie, they would think I was an inconsiderate boor the only explanation for whose utter lack of manners was that I was raised by wolves, and they would hate me.
In the end, E.S., working in concert with his parents, prevailed upon me just to give them the pie, and promised that nobody would hate me.
And I have to say that, despite its having been smushed, it tasted pretty good.
From a conversation I had this evening with my friend H.E., who recently broke up with her boyfriend:
H.E.: I found one of his eyelashes in my shower this morning and it made me so sad. I felt bad washing it down the drain.
Faustus: H., everybody has eyelashes.
H.E.: Yeah, but not everybody has good eyelashes. My last boyfriend's eyelashes were transparent.
Faustus: And he didn't use mascara?
H.E.: Faustus, I date straight men.
Faustus: Oh. (Pause.) Why would you want to do that?
A few months ago, my brother introduced me to the acronym MILF--Mom I'd Like to Fuck. Do not ask me how I could live in America in the 21st century and not have encountered this idea before. Apparently young straight men have been engaged in MILF-spotting for years, panting over women whose hips have more than recovered from the ravages of childbirth. I suppose that, since I don't make a habit of paying attention to the pasttimes of young straight men, I can be forgiven for missing the trend at first, but apparently "MILF" has become part of our national lexicon and I am woefully behind the times.
In any case, in the apartment below me there is a DILF. He can't be more than 37 or 38, and he has gorgeous eyes and a great body. His wife, according to my brother (who is also my roommate), is a MILF, but I really can't be bothered to register her presence when he's around. I mean, I'm sure she's nice and all, but I don't see any way she could appreciate his unique gifts as deeply as I do. And doesn't he deserve that?
He has two children, whom I've never met but who are obviously loathsome simply by virtue of their being children, so of course our liaison couldn't be anything more than a dalliance, something on which we could both look back forever with equal parts satisfaction and regret.
I have blogged before about my regular fantasies of developing supernatural powers. I must admit, however, to having been slightly disingenuous in that post when I said that I divided my time fairly evenly between fantasizing about telekinesis and fantasizing about teleportation.
Because a large part of my time is spent figuring out what form of supernatural power would best allow me to take revenge on my enemies.
It used to be that telekinesis topped the list. That fantasy goes like this: if people wronged me somehow--by, say, cutting rudely in front of me in line at the drugstore--I would lift them off the ground with my mind and float them in the air behind me as I went about my business during the day. At regular and frequent intervals I would lift them up higher in the air and then release them to smash to the ground; then I'd lift them right up again and drop them again. I'd do this several times, and then I'd continue with whatever I was doing, dragging them behind me in the air again only to be dropped again soon enough. I would ignore all pleas to let them go because they had an appointment, no matter how piteous the pleas were, no matter if they were the pope. Depending on the severity of the cutting in line (or whatever the offense), I might suspend them in the air outside my apartment in the freezing freezing cold while I slept at night, only to resume dropping them again the next day.
Recently, however, my fantasies have started to take a disturbingly subtle and less sanguinary turn. I fantasize about having the power to give people splitting, agonizing migraines. Depending on my mood, these migraines a) are permanent; b) will go away if the people involved apologize to me, a fact that I share with them; c) will go away if the people involved apologize to me, but I don't tell them that--they have to apologize to me of their own accord; or d) will go away and be replaced by feelings of intense joy so long as the people involved are nice to everyone they meet, but will return with renewed vigor the instant they're mean to anybody.
It's true that the first fantasy is less convenient to me than the second, given that there are any number of circumstances in which a vanquished enemy's presence in the air next to me would be problematic. It might be distracting during sex, for instance, or at the theater. But I'm really quite worried about how bloodless the second fantasy is. Dropping somebody to the ground and watching him bleed satisfies a visceral demand for vengeance that a headache simply can't approach. Furthermore, what is this crap about people actually getting to feel good if they're nice to everybody?
FAUSTUS: I don't understand how people with anxiety disorders survived before Law & Order was syndicated and there was Tivo.
FRIEND: Watching Tivoed episodes of Law & Order calms you down?
FAUSTUS: No, but it gives me something to do that takes less energy than sticking my head in the oven.
Yesterday morning I had breakfast with my father, who was in town for the weekend. I told him about the fantasy I had in August that a giant sinkhole would open up under Madison Square Garden during the Republican National Convention and swallow the entire party whole.
My father replied, "See, Faustus, that's your problem. You refuse to believe that it actually happened."
"I refuse to believe that the Republicans won?"
"No, you refuse to believe that the sinkhole did open up and swallow them all whole. There are no Republicans anymore."
"But what about the election?"
Even in childhood I was a fairly good practitioner of denial. But my father--he is a true artist.
Today, while spending the afternoon with a childhood friend who was in town doing research, I got a manicure.
This is only the third time in my life this has happened; the second time was in Beverly Hills, while everybody in Manhattan was dealing with the blackout. I cannot for the life of me remember the first time (a statement I wish I could make about any number of activities in which I habitually engage).
The problem with today's manicure is that my friend and I were so wrapped up in discussing the porn scandal that rocked my high school last year that I accidentally told the manicurist to put clear nail polish on my nails.
Now I have nails with which I could land an airplane.
Governor James McGreevey of New Jersey retired yesterday (you may remember the brouhaha over his coming out back in August).
In the speech he gave before stepping down, he said (according to the New York Times), "I am not apologizing for being a gay American, but rather, for having let personal feelings impact my decision-making and for not having had the courage to be open about whom I was."
Whom I was?
I have no problem with his being a gay American. I just can't accept his grotesque hypercorrective use of the direct object personal pronoun.
At least, I couldn't until I spoke with my friend L.N., who said, "Well, it's obvious the Times just left out 'fucking' at the end."
Here is a conversation E.S. and I had while we were in the mountains (before he made me touch moss).
E.S.: So when we have kids, should we adopt from China or Guatemala?
Faustus: You mean in the alternate reality in which I don't hate and fear children?
E.S.: We won't get them too little. We'll just go to the adoption agency and tell them we wanted some hot teen or pre-teen boys.
Faustus: No. Absolutely not.
E.S.: Why not?
Faustus: Because by that time their minds will have been ruined by TV and video games. We're getting them at birth and starting them immediately on Dostoevsky and Austen.
E.S.: I thought you said we weren't getting them at all.
Faustus: We're not. I was just enabling your delusion.
So here is the question that has been plaguing me all day: in the concentration camps to which all of us who aren't white, rich, straight, and male will be carted off in the next four years to suffer the consequences of our president's having bankrupted our country both financially and morally, will there be low-carb dining options?
E.S. and I got back to Manhattan yesterday just in time for me to run to the drugstore to buy candy for all the trick-or-treaters who would be coming to my door.
Then, once I got back to my apartment with a grocery bag full of candy, I remembered that I'd forgotten to put my apartment down on the building list of people who wanted to be visited. This meant I was stuck with bags and bags of chocolate and no trick-or-treaters.
I put a pathetic "Trick-or-Treaters WELCOME!!!!!" sign on my door but apparently no one was convinced. And the chocolate called more and more loudly as the evening passed. I tried pretending it was moss but to no avail.
It's a good thing the step class I'm teaching at Columbia starts next Monday rather than today. Because it's difficult for an aerobics instructor to maintain credibility when he is A SPHERE.
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.