He urged me months and months ago to set up an RSS feed, and he seconded the opinion last week. So I'm finally doing what I'm good at, which is obeying the orders of others.
My question is: how the fuck do I do it? I'm using Blogger, so it can't be that difficult, but somehow I'm managing not to understand. Can some generous soul please take pity on me and email me to explain?
You understand that I can no longer offer free sex, which has been my traditional incentive in the past, due to E.S.'s very cute jealous streak. But I can bake you a mean batch of brownies.
One would think that since, as a redhead, I have no melanin, getting even a fake tan would be low on my list of priorities, because one look at me and it would be obvious that either my tan or my hair was fake. One would be wrong. I have long felt incomplete and inadequate as a gay man because of my lack of anything resembling a tan line, and last week, spurred on by the fact that it was Spa Week, I finally decided that damn it, by hook or by crook I was going to get one.
To get my tan I went to a spa in the 70s between Park and Madison. Given the tony address I was expecting a very tony spa; I was shocked, therefore, when I opened the door and was immediately confronted with glittery stars pasted on the walls and a woman behind the counter in a hot pink jumpsuit. Furthermore, the entire place reeked of what I thought at first was second-rate air freshener but turned out in the end to be the tanning spray.
A Russian woman named Svetlana or Tatiana or Masha escorted me to the tanning room and gave me a disposable thong and shower cap to wear during the process. After I put them on--I looked like nothing so much as a porn actor in a scene set in a restaurant, before the action started--she came back in and began to spray me. I did my very best not to inhale the stuff, and after about fifteen minutes I was covered with tan moisture. The most fascinating thing about this was that by the end my chest and underarm hair was shiny, like copper wire.
Svetlana or Tatiana or Masha nodded approvingly and encouraged me to inspect my tan line. I did so, and I have to say I was thrilled. The whole thing looked subtle and healthy and natural--except of course for the no-melanin part--and I felt I should be modeling, if not in Playgirl, then at least in a J. Crew catalogue. I went out to get my jacket and bag from the pink-jumpsuited receptionist. "Don't take a shower until tomorrow," she warned me as she handed me my things. I was reluctant to obey her, as I still felt very sticky, but she assured me the sensation would go away in an hour. It did, and by the time I showed up at E.S.'s place, I was dry and lightly but attractively tanned.
The problem was that I was so attractively tanned that E.S. was compelled to do something about it.
I want to call the spa and suggest they modify their advisory. They really ought to say, "Don't shower until tomorrow and also don't have sex with your boyfriend before your fake tan dries completely because if you do you will end up with tan lines on your chest in the shape of semen stains."
But, given the stars on the walls, I'm not sure they'd be up to it.
Okay, I'm taking the very unusual step--unusual for me, at least--of posting twice today.
Because I just watched last night's American Idol.
Did anybody else notice, when Ryan Seacrest was interviewing Alex Trebek, the huge sign somebody was holding in the background that said "Roger [Hearts] Constantine"?
Even though I don't particularly heart Constantine--all my love goes to the fabulous voted-off Nadia, even though she couldn't really sing, and to Anthony Federov, even though he's obviously a bottom--I still thought it was very sweet.
(For those of you who still have it Tivoed, the moment comes about 28 minutes in. Alex Trebek is looking pretty pasty. But what can you expect from a guy in his 50s who still lives with his mother?)
Every time I think there is no hope for the world, somebody like this comes along. (Those not conversant with the works of H.P. Lovecraft might not fully appreciate its brilliance, but it's worth looking at all the same. Thanks to him for the link.)
If there are any of you out there who have yet to experience the magic that is Wing, New Zealand's singer extraordinaire, you must go at once to her web site and let her transform your life. Particularly transcendent is her rendition of "I Want To Hold Your Hand."
First order of business: I must add him, him, and her to the list of people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for their boundless generosity in suggesting publicity avenues for my upcoming book. I would offer you all free sex, even the girl, but my boyfriend has forbidden me.
Second order of business: everyone must go here to see the 50s movie Are You Popular?, a brilliant coup de cinéma that has forced me to reevaluate my entire approach to socializing. Evidently my parking in cars with the boys at night, which I had previously thought was the key to popularity, has actually been getting in my way the whole time. Thanks to her for the link. I would offer you free sex, but it wouldn't make any sense.
Third order of business: as of yesterday, I am New York Sports Club's newest group fitness instructor. Hardly surprising, given my recent triumph, but pleasing nonetheless. I'll be teaching this Saturday at 23rd and Park at 9:30 (step) and 10:30 (sculpt), if anybody wants to come by. I would offer you free sex, but I can't imagine any of you will be up before noon.
Among our many pastimes, E.S. and I count discussing our theoretical future wedding as one of our favorites. This is because our almost mutually exclusive approaches to the event allow for maximum conflict and arguing. I want to get married in St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, wearing morning coats, the most formal attire known to western man. If E.S. had his way, we would wear shorts and T-shirts and get married on a cliff in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness. I usually believe that the benefits of dating him outweigh the fact that he is obviously a madman, but this makes me not so sure.
Eventually, after a great many frustrating conversations, we have been able to reach a compromise: we will have an outdoor wedding in morning coats. This satisfies both my need for a wedding marked by formality and E.S.'s inexplicable and irritating desire to have a wedding that involves nature.
We realized recently, however, that our problems, far from being solved, have in fact only just begun, because "morning coats" describes a fairly finite set of garments, while "outdoor" can be interpreted in a number of different ways. When we made the compromise I was thinking of something like the New York Botanical Garden, or perhaps Fort Tryon Park near the Cloisters. I proposed both of these alternatives to E.S. the other day and he looked at me as if I had just grown a third arm. "No," he said condescendingly. "We're going to go to a forest upstate and find a clearing and get married there."
I was appalled. "But where will the food be for the reception?" This was the least of my worries, but E.S. is a practical man and it seemed best to deal with this on his level.
"It'll be off to the side, on tables. We'll eat buffet style."
"And where will our guests sit?" I asked, desperation mounting in my voice.
"People will just stand in a circle."
I felt a panic attack coming on. "No one is standing in a circle at my wedding. If we're getting married outdoors we're bringing chairs for the guests."
"Oh, come on. They can sit if you want them to sit but we don't have to bring chairs."
"Really?" I was almost shrieking by now. "Then where will they sit?"
"On the beautiful green earth."
I'm not making this up. He actually said "on the beautiful green earth."
"That's it," I said. "We're getting married in St. Mark's."
Finally we just left well enough alone, recognizing that we weren't going to solve this problem in one conversation. But later that evening, I had a frightening thought.
"You realize," I said, "that we're sending out engraved invitations."
"No, we're not."
"Then how will our friends know about the event?"
"We'll just tell them."
Clearly I need to find a new boyfriend, one who isn't insane, and marry him instead.
On Sunday E.S. and I went to get manicures and pedicures.
I have been after him for months and months to do this with me. He claims always to have been willing but says he "just wasn't feeling it." Since he had dragged me to Brooklyn the day before to go to Target--I must be in love with this man if I'm willing to suffer such indignities for him--I told him he had to get a manicure and pedicure with me the next day, or else.
Since there are three Korean nail salons on every Manhattan block, it wasn't difficult to find one near E.S.'s apartment. The pedicures went exactly as one would expect them to, but then when our nail experts beckoned us over for our manicures, there weren't two seats next to each other, so we ended up being separated by a thirteen-year-old girl. All was well until, while our cuticles were being trimmed, the girl looked up and over to her mother, sitting on the other side of me, with a helpless expression on her face. "Mom . . . I . . . this isn't good . . . I want the other . . ." Finally, she managed to express that she was dissatisfied with the job her manicurist had done.
"You must tell me what you want," said her manicurist in an almost incomprehensible accent. "I ask if you want cut, you say no, I put cut away. If you want cut, you tell me." The girl continued to look helpless; she was finally able to communicate, by means of half-voiced whines, that she thought her manicurist was incompetent, and she wanted a replacement manicurist to finish her up.
JAP bitch, I thought. With your hair and that nose, you have bigger problems to worry about than fingernails.
The replacement manicurist did a good job cutting what the first manicurist had failed to cut, and began to paint the girl's nails, a lovely peach color. As my nails were being buffed, though, the tiny sounds started again. "This is . . . this is wrong . . . I should have . . . I should have stayed with the first one . . . could I . . . ?"
The first manicurist said no, she couldn't. Then she said something in Korean to another manicurist; I didn't understand it, but it seemed to contain the word "psycho."
The girl's face crumpled.
And in an instant my perception of her changed utterly. I felt a rush of pity for her. That's not whining I hear I thought. It's crippling doubt. You're not a JAP bitch. You just have an anxiety disorder.
"Oh . . . this is . . . why . . . why did I do that?"
Her mother answered in a voice dripping with contempt, "Because there's something wrong with you."
Scratch that, I thought. You have an anxiety disorder and a terrible mother. When E.S. and I got up to leave, our nails impeccably cleaned and shaped, the girl had the nail polish in hand, trying with trembling fingers to finish the job none of the manicurists in the shop would touch now.
E.S. and I went to have dinner but the whole time all I wanted to do was run back and save her.
A few weeks ago, I auditioned to teach step aerobics at New York Sports Club. For those of you unfamiliar with the gymography of New York, NYSC is the McDonald's of the bunch: there are classier gyms, but this one can't be beat for convenience, as there are some 50 locations in New York. You can't walk two blocks without bumping into one. Landing a gig at New York Sports Club (which would allow me to teach at any of the locations) would be a clear and unmistakable advance in my fitness career, the high point of which has heretofore been filming an exercise video for smack and coke junkies.
So I went to the audition and was disheartened to see that there were 30 people there, until I found out that 24 of them were auditioning to teach hip-hop classes, which heartened me right back up again. Each auditioner taught ten minutes of a class made up of all the other auditioners. The 24 hip-hop dancers went first--I was surprised and pleased that I managed not to break my neck, as I am not a hip-hop dancer--and then came the steppers. There were three of us, and I have to say that I was by far the best. One of the other two was competent but boring, and the other seemed not to have a musical bone in her body. Perhaps her cochlea was musical, but that didn't help her step to the beat. I was enthusiastic and peppy (two qualities I can fake in abundance when necessary) and taught a combination that was both interesting and clear.
So of course I didn't get the job. "We loved your energy," said the woman I spoke to on the phone a few days later, "but you were too bouncy."
She was referring to a very particular physical element of my technique rather than my personality, but still I think that's got to be the best reason anyone has ever been turned down for a job. "We really liked you," she said, "so we want you to work on that and come back in a month or two."
And I was like, Oh, don't you worry about THAT, missy.
During the next several classes I taught, I focused on being less bouncy; I also met with him to get some pointers. Before long I had eliminated all bounce from my stepping, and I knew that when I auditioned again I would blow her out of the water, along with the 24 hip-hop dancers.
Fast-forward to Tuesday. I went to my local New York Sports Club to take a step class; I finished breakfast late and had to run, but I got there on time--only to find out that the scheduled teacher had been in a car accident. "They've called somebody," said one of the other students, "but they don't know when she's getting here."
I may have many flaws, but failing to recognize an opportunity when it stares me in the face is not among them. I flew upstairs to the general manager's office, introduced myself, and offered to teach the class.
It was fabulous, and I'm meeting with the woman who originally auditioned me in a week and a half.
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.