The Search for Love in Manhattan A gay odyssey of neurosis
Thursday, June 30, 2005
I don't understand my fascination with Tom Cruise and his slow but certain decline into madness.
Those of you who share this inexplicable obsession would do well to take a look at Tom Cruise Kills Oprah. You have to have the sound on to get the full effect. It's safe for work, at least as far as thinking about such disturbing matters is safe for work.
A while ago there was apparently an article in The New Yorker about a new book called Popstrology, which describes itself as "a revolutionary method for gaining self-knowledge by examining the alignment of the pop music charts at the moment of your birth."
My brother told me about this when it came out, and naturally I pooh-poohed it; if I had any more self-knowledge I would explode.
Sometimes I think that getting to live the life of a vagabond artist, making my way by my wits and leaving so much to fate and everything else to luck and also having to pay for my own health insurance, is the most wonderful thing in the world.
First, if you live in New York and you're looking for something to do tonight, tomorrow night, or Saturday, let me highly recommend this show, produced by a friend of mine:
I saw it last night and it was the most enjoyable evening I'd spent in the theater in a long while.
And can that girl dance!
Second, I am so making myself these Rainbow Hotpants and teaching step class in them:
Except my abs are totally better than his.
[Edit: I emailed the author of the pattern asking about resizing, and it turns out that yes, that is a woman's body, though the pattern described the hotpants as "totally gay" so I hope I can be forgiven for assuming that it was just a particularly bottomish guy. It's not really fair to say that my abs are better than hers, as men's and women's bodies are very different when it comes to body fat percentages. Perhaps I'll just post a picture of my bare midriff in those shorts when they're done, and you can all weigh in.]
Actually, let me rephrase that question so that it's a touch less broad and the answer is less obviously "no."
What I mean is: the posts between June 13 and June 20 inexplicably show up as being written by "Faustus," with no "MD" after his name. The horror of having people think that I think it's appropriate to have a moniker that ends in a comma is really too great to bear and I'm considering booking a flight to Florence and throwing myself in the Arno, just like Lauretta threatens to do in Gianni Schicchi if her father disapproves of her relationship with Rinuccio, though between you and me I believe she has mild borderline personality disorder.
But before I take such an extreme step, I figured I'd ask if any reader is computer-savvy enough to make a suggestion. My display name used to be "Faustus," (first) and "MD" (last); I've already gone into my profile and changed the first name to "Faustus, MD" and left the last name blank. So posts from here on out should be fine. But I also republished after that, which should mean that all those posts show up with the new version of the display name, but on my screen they don't. I even started deleting posts and reposting them until I realized that of course the comments would then disappear and I would have no evidence that anybody realized I existed at all over the last two weeks, and my therapist really has enough to deal with already. So if you have any ideas about how to fix this, please email me.
Oh, my God. I used to post about orgies on this blog. Now I'm posting about the minutiae of programming. Maybe I should book that flight to Florence anyway.
While out walking my dog this evening, I passed by a corner box that held Gay City News, a "weekly newspaper serving gay, lesbian, bi & transgendered New York City."
Someone had written the following request on the top of the box: "GOOD PLEASE NO GAYS + LESVIANES." Elsewhere the same person had written, "GOOD LOVES YOU," and elsewhere still, "ONLY MEN & WOMAN."
Really all this did, other than causing my dog to strain at her leash to get away from the poor syntax, was fill me with an intense and burning desire for a lesviane. Does anybody know where I can get one?
("Oh," I hear you say. "That means it must be a weekday.")
But I want to die even more than usual. Because today I consumed no caffeine and no sugar.
I did this because I hoped that taking such a step might allow me to wake up tomorrow at some point later than 6:00 a.m., the hour at which I have been sitting bolt upright in bed every morning for the last month.
We'll see if it works, but even if it does I think I'm going to have to settle for being awake at that hour rather than giving up Diet Coke and M&Ms.
Because this is so horrible as to defy description.
Apparently there is some nonsense called "doctor-patient privilege" that prevents E.S. from telling me the most intimate details of his patients' lives. Nevertheless, as long as he withholds identifying information, he can tell me vague stories every once in a while.
The recent upshot of all this is that, as fucked up as my brain chemistry is, I'd still rather be me than somebody who thinks he's a fish.
When I was ten or eleven, I wandered into a Walden Books and picked up a copy of The Necronomicon, a book ostensibly written by the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, a character from the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. The Necronomicon purported to contain instructions on opening a gateway to other dimensions, other worlds populated by the Elder Gods, Old Ones with names like Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth who, if begged with the proper humility and terror, might deign to show up suddenly and eat us all.
Naturally, I began making the necessary preparations immediately.
Unfortunately, the instructions were somewhat vague, consisting in large part of lines like, "I have smelled the vapors of that Ancient One, Queen of the Outside, whose name is writ in the terrible MAGAN text, the testament of some dead civilization whose priests, seeking power, swing open the dread, evil Gate for an hour past the time, and were consumed." This was very exciting to me--minus the confusing shift in tense, of course--but somewhat lacking in specifics. Was the "cruel gibbering" that needed to "pour forth like vomitous bile from my mouth" supposed to be in English? If not, could I do it in grammatically correct but unidiomatic French, or did it have to be Arabic? Or something else? I was happy to put forth the effort to study any language necessary, but the opportunities, in South Carolina in 1983, were doubtless few and far between.
In the end my efforts were stymied by my inability to gather the appropriate materials. Coal was no problem; neither was a stick of yew wood two cubits long and as big around as my thumb. But when I actually sat down with the newspaper and looked at the price of gold, I realized that buying enough to beat out a thin sheet as big as my palm would take months and months of my allowance, and that was money I simply had to have to buy stickers for my sticker books.
One of my favorite things about E.S. is that, since he is a psychiatrist, he can and does diagnose people at the drop of a hat. Other people on the subway, people we pass on the street, my friends. But the best is when he diagnoses characters on TV shows. He does this not only with Law & Order, since crazy people are a regular feature on that program, but also with fantasy shows like Wonderfalls, whose heroine (according to E.S.) was experiencing first-break schizophrenia, and even with cartoons. He claims that Stewie on The Family Guy has an anxiety-spectrum disorder.
But E.S.'s ability to diagnose people even when they are pixillated and three inches tall is what allows me to tell you that Tom Cruise, who recently exposed himself on Oprah and Access Hollywood, is bipolar and has gone off his medications. It's true; my psychiatrist boyfriend says so.
Because of the dreadful weather, when I showed up to teach my step-and-sculpt class, there was no one there. Delighted that I might have the hour free, I decided nevertheless to wait fifteen minutes before going home. I was about to turn the lights off and leave when a woman came in to do the class. She had a foreign accent and turned out to be from Paris. She was very considerate; she said there was no point in doing the class with one student, as it would be just as easy for her to go and lift on the machines outside. But, full of bitterness, I told her that if she'd come for the class we should do the class.
And it was a total blast. First, because it was great to be able to focus my teaching on one person's specific needs, and second, because I did the class in French.
Actually, that's not completely accurate, as my French wasn't quite up to translating sentences like "give me some hip!" and "I know you've got more attitude in you than that!" idiomatically on the fly as I danced around a plastic platform.
But when it came to shouting "répétez trois fois!" and "magnifique, vraiment magnifique!" I was smoother than Maurice Chevalier.
The worst part of the training I wrote about yesterday was that, even though nobody wanted to be there, some of the other people in attendance took the attitude that they ought to make lemonade out of the lemons they had been handed.
This was fine on principle, except it meant that they shared.
"Who can tell me what they think an optimal experience is?", asked the leader of the session.
Silence for a brief while. Then, from somewhere in the room: "The BEST!"
"Good, good," said the leader. "Anybody else?"
Silence for a briefer while. "An experience unencumbered with frivolous baggage!"
The trainer was taken aback for a moment, but then recovered himself. "Excellent! That's definitely a very specific definition. An optimal experience is . . ." and kept on talking.
It got worse; people started raising their hands unprompted and contributing anecdotes from their own personal experience. "The other day, I had an awakening," they would begin, and then they would describe the tedious awakening.
And I was like, excuse me, don't you realize that the more we talk, the later we're going to go home?
But by the afternoon, I was so beaten down and demoralized by the whole experience that I actually started to buy into the rhetoric. I saw what the trainer was doing and yet, despite all my efforts to resist, I felt motivated. "Gee," I thought to myself, "that does sound good. If I do a really great job [which my mind refused to translate consciously to 'if I sell more of our product'], the clients can feel understood and be happier and I can be happier too." I was revolted to find myself thinking such thoughts, but I was powerless to stop myself.
Thank God I was locked out at the beginning of day two. Maybe I should quit the gig while I'm ahead and count myself lucky to have escaped relatively unscathed.
Over the weekend I was forced to attend a group training session for a company for which I do some freelance work.
On the first day (of three) I walked into the room ten minutes late, only to find that all the people there--sixty or more--were introducing themselves to the rest of the group.
Oh, dear God, I thought.
Then I looked up at the board in front of the room and saw this written there:
"Expectancy determines outcome." --Deepak Chopra
Oh, dear God, I thought.
Once the excruciating process of introductions was finished, the session leader--who was actually pretty cute--got up and said, "Okay, so I have this thing written on the board, 'Expectancy determines outcome.' Who can guess what it means?"
God, I begged, please strike me down now. Better locusts should consume me from within than I endure this.
God did not comply with my request. Eight hours later, the first day finished, I stumbled out into the street, a broken man.
The next morning I was eighteen minutes late and when I got there they had locked the door and wouldn't let me in. This means I have to go back the next time they offer the training and take the second two days.
Unless they make me take the first day over again, in which case I'll quit or perhaps go on a killing spree.
The other day, after wrestling for an afternoon with a thorny passage in something I'm writing, I finally came up with the perfect way to solve the difficulties it presented. Full of pride at my own cleverness, I told E.S. about it. Then we had the following conversation:
E.S.: That's great, honey. FAUSTUS: Aren't I really smart? Aren't I a terrific writer? E.S.: You are a wonderful writer. Pause. FAUSTUS (dangerously): And? E.S.: Oh. And you're really smart. FAUSTUS: That's better. Pause. FAUSTUS: Don't you love dating me? E.S.: Um . . . yes?
Tomorrow night at 8:15 EST, I am going to be interviewed about Gay Haiku on Derek and Romaine, a show on Sirius OutQ internet radio, channel 149. I don't quite understand how internet radio stations work, but if you're interested in listening and you're not a Sirius member, you can go to the Sirius web site and sign up for a three-day trial (and they won't automatically bill you after the three days are over).
Keep in mind that I will have just come from teaching aerobics, possibly without having had time to take a shower, and so I will either look sweaty and sexy or smell really bad. Not that either of these aspects will translate over the medium of internet radio, but still, you can hold whichever picture you like in your mind's eye, or switch back and forth between them depending on how you're feeling about me at any given point during the interview.
This is the second online quiz result I have ever posted. The first was almost two years ago, about what my medieval name would be, and I posted it mostly because it said I was "only violet when provoked."
But today I came across a quiz I couldn't resist, and so now I can tell you which antipsychotic drug I am:
You are GEODON! Your snazzy new wave antics have landed you a solid place in the mainstream. The problem is that you make all the cuties (QTs) long for you. You are an effective, special person who likes to help.
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.