The other day, E.S. and I were watching Antiques Roadshow, a television program in which unsuspecting people bring possessions they think might be valuable to be appraised on national television. I've seen the show only a handful of times, but, as far as I can tell, generally one of two things happens: either somebody brings some random thing her grandmother gave her once to keep her quiet when she was a mewling eight-year-old and it turns out to be worth tens of thousands of dollars, or somebody brings something he bought in an antique store for $250, thinking he was cleverly putting one over on the store owner, and it turns out to be worth $12.
The best part of the episode E.S. and I were watching came when a woman brought in her dead husband's guitar. It was a Martin and turned out to be a very rare model and in pristine condition, so the appraiser suggested she could get as much as $35,000 for it at auction. She smiled and said that was nice to know, but that she wasn't going to sell it, because the memory of her dead husband was too dear to her. She said it in a way that made me believe it, too; she didn't play guitar at all, but it was obvious she was telling the truth.
I turned to E.S. and we had the following conversation:
FAUSTUS: Honey, if I die and it turns out that some worthless-seeming tchotchke I have lying around would get $35,000 at auction, I want you to sell it in an instant.
E.S.: No. I won't care how much it would get at auction. I'll want to keep it forever, so I'll always have something to remember our love by.
FAUSTUS: Okay, what I actually mean is, if you die and it turns out that some worthless-seeming tchotchke you have lying around would get $35,000 at auction, I'm going to sell it in an instant.
However, right now I am flying so high from the Vicodin I "borrowed" from my brother and took last night to quiet the agony in my shoulder enough for me to fall asleep that even thoughts of getting as fat as Matthew Perry and having to check myself into rehab aren't enough to bring me down.
Oh, shit. I just had a thought of my career tanking as much as Matthew Perry's has after the end of Friends.
Okay, so I'm having this reading tomorrow at Barnes & Noble. It's my first public appearance as a haiku author, and while I have some idea of what I'm going to do, or at least how to fake it, I'm still kind of freaking out and nervous and excited and proud and brimming with all sorts of emotions about the whole thing.
And E.S. isn't coming.
He says he's "on overnight call" at the "hospital" and has to stay there to "take care of" his 17 "patients" who are "mentally ill."
This all sounds like hogwash to me. His priorities are obviously drastically misplaced.
So my question to you is: how should I punish him?
On Saturday night E.S. and I went to Margaret Cho's Assassin; it was the first time we'd ever seen her live, and we shrieked with laughter through the entire thing.
Far more deeply satisfying, however, was going to the bathroom before the show started and seeing a man with whom I'd gone on a date over three years ago and who was the subject of my very first blog post ever. I had a great time on the date. He, evidently, did not, as evidenced by his rejection of me in an email in which he did not capitalize the first-person singular pronoun.
And on Saturday, he looked terrible. He hadn't gotten fat, but his face was so lined and haggard and droopy as to suggest years spent wandering in the desert in search of the Promised Land.
Far be it from me to suggest that he had the Promised Land within his grasp and that his present desiccation is merely the natural result of his failure to do anything about it when he had the chance.
I feel kind of lame using this blog as a platform for publicity whoring, so I'm going to do my best to keep it to a minimum.
That being said, this coming Thursday, May 26, at 7:00 p.m., I'll be doing a Gay Haiku reading/Q&A/book signing at Barnes & Noble on 6th Avenue at 22nd Street in Chelsea.
The event should last for about a half hour. Given that if I read for twelve minutes I would go through the entire book, I obviously need to mix it up a little bit. (I can't believe I just wrote "mix it up," but I did. Soon enough I'll be saying things like "bling" and then all will be over.) So I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen. Perhaps I'll have a meltdown in front of everyone and curl up in the fetal position and my psychiatrist boyfriend will have to hospitalize me on the spot.
So if you're interested in seeing that, come to Barnes & Noble at 6th and 22nd on Thursday at 7:00.
Cons of teaching three step aerobics classes and one body sculpting class in a day:
1. By the end of the day your scapular muscles will be so tight as to keep you in constant agony and force you to swallow twelve aspirin between midnight and 8:00 a.m. the next morning.
Pros of teaching three step aerobics classes and one body sculpting class in a day:
1. Carolyn McCormack, who plays Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on Law & Order, will come to the body sculpting class. You will be so thrilled that during class you will say things like, "You can do these pushups on your knees or on your nose" instead of "on your toes" and then have to correct yourself. You will rush up to her afterwards and stutter breathlessly that you love her work. She will thank you and tell you it was a great class.
I wonder how many classes in a row I'd have to teach before Chris Meloni came to one of them.
But the agony my muscles would suffer would be worth it, just to see him exercise his glutes.
Not too long ago I started keeping a blog over at a web site called Plenty, the online arm of a magazine about how to live an environmentally friendly life without becoming a total freak.
Those of you who know me will doubtless be incredulous that I am keeping a blog about the environment. You won't be the only ones. I myself am pretty incredulous, as I hate the environment. However, the way I feel about the environment is not too different from how Winston Churchill felt about democracy; that is, that it was the worst form of government except for every other form of government. Not that the environment is the worst form of government except for every other form of government. Oh, you know what I mean.
In any case, Being Green is intended to chronicle my attempts to live at least a mildly sustainable life without ever eating tofu or hugging a tree. Take a gander, and see what you think.
Friday night, on the subway home from E.S.'s apartment, I was subjected once again to the homeless guy who tells Michael Jackson jokes. These are never, ever funny. He asks questions like, "Why does Michael Jackson always arrive late?" and, even though no one evinces any interest in the answer, follows quickly with "Because he likes to come in a little behind." Then he jingles the coins in his cup three times and goes on to another joke, about what Michael Jackson and a Catholic priest have in common, or what Michael Jackson ordered from the Chinese restaurant.
But the thing is, Friday night there were three people sitting together on the subway car eating it up. They laughed harder with each joke he told. I hated them and wanted terrorists to have planted a bomb on the car just so that they would be fatally pierced by the shrapnel.
And then they left the car without giving the guy any money.
I was so offended by the behavior of everyone involved that I got off the subway immediately and inhaled two slices of pizza, thereby ruining my diet.
Of course the even more appalling oversight was my omitting to say that the gorgeous web site was designed by this genius. The astonishing thing is that he managed to do it without an appendix.
My brother and I had a tiff last night as we were discussing the proposal I'm writing for a second book and ways I could parlay it into other writing jobs. Then he went to dinner with his girlfriend, and I thought obsessively about our argument for three hours. They came back, and we had the following conversation:
FAUSTUS: I'm sorry I was a jerk. I realized that I'm scared I won't be able to write this book, and I react to anything that even remotely threatens to take away any of my material with fear and anger.
FAUSTUS'S BROTHER: That's okay. I'm sorry I was a jerk. I realized I'm upset that my move into academia has isolated me from the world of periodicals. When you seemed to dismiss my one remaining strong connection out of hand, I really overreacted.
FAUSTUS: That's okay. I accept your apology.
FAUSTUS'S BROTHER: I accept your apology.
FAUSTUS'S BROTHER'S GIRLFRIEND: This is a conversation between two brothers who have had a lot of therapy.
FAUSTUS: You're just saying that because you're not tortured enough.
FAUSTUS'S BROTHER'S GIRLFRIEND: You subjected me to that excruciating exchange and you can still say that?
First, a belated but very heartfelt thanks to him for some wonderful advice about book publicity. Again, I can offer you the idea of free sex but it's a notion whose potential energy my boyfriend prevents from being released. But know that the thought is there.
Second, thank you to everybody who commented about how cute the picture is on the web site of the man who has never been seen in a room with me at the same time. Due to an appalling oversight on my part, I failed to note that the photos were taken by the astonishingly and effervescently brilliant Chia Messina, whose services I recommend without reservation to anybody in need of a head shot.
Third, now that I'm a published author, why haven't all my problems gone away?
Everyone must go out immediately and buy my book, Gay Haiku, which is available as of today.
If you don't want to pick it up from your local Barnes & Noble--or, better yet, your local independent bookstore--you can order it online from Powell's City of Books, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com. (If you do choose to get it online, I'd be eternally grateful if you used these links to do so. If anybody clicks on them and then buys anything, I get a kickback.)
After yesterday's dramatic announcement of Faustus's coming out, I find that I can't quite bring myself to do it.
But I will say that this man and I have never been seen in the same room together.
I'm sure by now everybody has seen PostSecret, the "ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard," but on the off chance that you haven't, go there immediately.
This is my latest favorite:
What must it be like to be freed of all the bonds that have held you your whole life?
What must it be like to have all the ties that have supported you severed?
What must it be like to owe this to a terrorist attack on the country?
What could motivate you not to tell anyone you were still alive?
I had the "I'm not Pope Benedict XVI, but my boyfriend is" T-shirt made, and it looks fabulous, mostly because of the very generous design help of this man. I wore it yesterday, and, though not many people caught it, those who did were full of awe and admiration.
Now you can get one too, along with a mug, if you go here.
It drives me crazy when people say things like, "I got all OCD about filling out that form" when what they mean is, "I was more thorough/punctilious/neat than necessary when filling out that form." Obsessive-compulsive disorder is something quite different. When you have OCD, your mind is filled with intrusive, irrational thoughts often so forceful and terrifying as to render you incapable of concentrating on anything else, and you end up performing rituals with the intent of warding off whatever those thoughts make you afraid of. One of the most common obsessions, for example, is a fear that everything around you is contaminated. This is often paired with a compulsion to wash your hands. People in whom this compulsion is particularly strong can wash their hands until they bleed, and keep on washing. Often people with OCD have more than one obsession and/or compulsion; why just wash your hands when you can wash your hands and have to tap your doorknob with each finger of each hand when leaving or entering your apartment?
I speak, of course, from personal experience; my OCD, while not crippling, has shaped my life in any number of ways, some seriously problematic, others simply annoying. One of my more benign compulsions is displayed to most amusing effect at the water fountain at the gym, where I have to take sips in sets of four or go mad with discomfort. The ideal grouping is four sets of nine sips of water, but usually there are others waiting to drink whom I do not wish to anger, so it doesn't often work out that way. Most of the time I end up taking four sets of five sips, which is satisfying enough to quiet the urge and yet quick enough not to draw the ire of those behind me in line. If there's an urgent need for brevity I can take sets of three sips, but if I went down to two I'd have to take four sets of four sets of two sips, and that would be ridiculous.
I was telling E.S. about all this the other day as we waited for the subway. He was fascinated, unsurprising given that he is a psychiatrist-in-training.
"So you usually take 20 sips of water, right?" he asked.
"Yes, exactly." I said.
"Four sets of five sips?"
"Right," I said.
He paused. "Well, couldn't it be five sets of four sips?"
It was the meanest thing he'd ever said to me and I almost pushed him in front of the oncoming train.
So I finally watched last week's Tivoed episode of America's Next Top Model, and one question above all is burning in my mind:
Why isn't everyone in America talking about Janice Dickinson's smoldering lip-lock with Tyra Banks?
For my part, I'm still trying to figure out if it thrills me or horrifies me.
But then of course I've been watching this show for two years and I still can't figure out if Janice Dickinson herself thrills me or horrifies me. My cousin in Los Angeles says she sees Janice Dickinson every once in a while in her Mommy and Me group. To my mind, this tips the balance somewhat towards "thrills" and away from "horrifies."
Though of course in this particular case the two are really inextricably intertwined.
Friday night, at the behest of my friend A., I went bowling for the first time since high school.
A. emailed me a week and a half ago saying she was getting a group of people together to go bowling, and wanting to know if I'd like to come. I felt a great deal of reluctance, but I couldn't figure out why, so in the end I agreed to join them.
Now I know why I was so reluctant.
It was because bowling is the most heterosexual activity in the world.
I live in Manhattan, which is a gay island. I spend all my time either writing musicals by my gay self, talking to other gay people who write musicals, or having sex with my gay boyfriend. I am about to publish a book of gay haiku. I have successfully, if unintentionally, insulated myself completely from the heterosexual world.
But Friday night, throwing bowling balls at fluorescent-colored bowling pins and eating pretzels dipped in cheap fondue, I felt more alienated from the rest of America than I have since Jennifer Hudson got voted off American Idol last year.
In a case on the wall there was a bowling pin autographed by the Fab Five, but its salutary effect was counteracted by the bowling pin autographed by David Hasselhoff, so in the end I was left with nothing but the bad shoes, the sadness, and the pretzel fondue.
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.