Monday, May 30, 2005

Fifteen Minutes

Careening through another one of the nuits de terreur that have have come to define my Manhattan weekends, I find myself in Times Square at 4am, standing outside an adult bookstore. The neon-framed poster in the storefront announces the arrival of the DVD "Ghetto Gangbang #35". I'm uninterested, because after "Ghetto Gangbang #29", the director seems to have lost the narrative thread.

The bars are closing and Times Square is in full rut. The confluence of Saturday night, a holiday weekend, and Fleet Week, have morphed the regular carnival of predators, prey and curious rubes into a coalescing scene which if described as Felliniesque, would only be stating the hideous. Drunken, corpulent tourists waft across Broadway in clouds of floral shirts and moral outrage as grimy lunatics assail them with bizarre vulgarities.

Step slightly away from the focal point of Times Square, where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue, where the Jumbotron orgy of messages from accounting and stock firms instill inadequacy and self-loathing in the people standing in line for half-price theatre tickets, and you slide greasily though a lateral culture portal to a world to where Times Square's more traditional industries - porn, drugs and S-E-X!, roil and boil in a festering stew of availability, opportunism, and anticipation.

Inside the adult bookstore, my friend is purchasing the neccessities to lubricate a hastily agreed upon social engagement, just made outside the bar misfittingly named Therapy. Desperation smells like Wet Platinum, and neither comes out of your sheets.

Small groups of sailors roll past me every couple of minutes. They all look so young, so impossibly young. The unseasonal chilly weather has rosied up their whiskerless cheeks, rendering them even more the high school boys that they were only a few months ago. As they pass me, they are speaking loudly, confidently, with swaggering bravado, releasing obscenities probably just learned, or at least never spoken without parental reprisal. I watch them make their right turns at 42nd Street, towards the Hudson, where their ships (and possibly, their demise) await. I hope that Times Square has at least sent them home with a blow-job, probably the only worthy commodity being sold at this hour.

During the 15 minutes that I wait (15 minutes! To buy LUBE!), I'm offered a wide array of personal services, recently "found" items, and various illegal substances. The sidewalk vendors hiss out their inventories in dramatic stage whispers whenever a customer that seems to fit their product demographic wanders into range, and it's quite apparent that a middle-aged white guy standing by himself is considered a carnal jackpot.

"Hey buddy! We got sexy girls upstairs. Ready for you now. No cops. Hot pussy ready now."

I decline, trying to do so in a cheerfully non-judgmental way. I move down the sidewalk a dozen feet, where a whithered, spotted hand tries to shove a business card into my pocket. The hand's owner purrs at me, "Don't go home alone. Pretty girls to your hotel room in 15 minutes. You want a pretty girl, I get you one in 15 minutes."

I toss his business card to the ground. Somehow I manage to not fire back that I'd rather have a pretty boy in 15 minutes, which is so not like me. The old me would have snarked that leprotic pimp right out of his leopard-spotted felt loafers, jumping on the chance to reveal myself as a faggot, even though I've never had interest in "pretty boys"... even when I was one. Ahem. But the new me, the new OLD me, is so uncomfortable with being seen as another preying troll, however incorrectly, that I won't even let this scumbag consider me as one.

I turn to head back to my position in front of the bookstore, but my elbow is grabbed from behind. Without turning around, I jerk free and lunge forward several feet. I look back to see I'm being tailed by a thuggish black woman wearing a scowl. She is wearing a hugely oversized white jacket, a white ballcap worn askew, and enough bling to shame P. Diddy. On Christopher Street I would probably take in her gender-fuck dyke drag and give her silent props as I pass. But here, on this street, at this hour, I feel an instinctual fear of her. I step into the street as if I'm going to hail a cab, but the woman follows me off the curb.

"Did you just beep Chantelle?"

"No," I say and look up the street for the cab I don't need.

"You sure? You didn't just beep Chantelle?" she persists, looking at me skeptically and moving closer.

"No, I didn't. Leave me alone."

The woman step back a foot, "I think it was you. Yeah, it was you. Why you trippin?"

"Look, I don't know anybody in New York, so I didn't beep anybody," I lie, bafflingly myself with that response.

"OK, OK den, it's cool, it's cool. But since you from outta town, you definitely should hook up with Chantelle. She will suck your dick AND your balls for only twenny-foh dollas an hour!"

For a moment, my mind wanders away from my situation as I ponder the Times Square ho pricing schedule, and I wonder whether the unusual price point of $24/hr is a more a function of the location, the day, the hour... or possibly, the targeted customer. Then, I wonder if this woman might actually BE Chantelle, operating under some misapprehension that offering her services in the third person isn't actually breaking the law.

I put my hand up to Possibly Chantelle, "Sorry, I'm really not interested."

Surprising me, she nods meekly, "You have a good evening."

I watch her retreat and think if that isn't Chantelle, then Chantelle really needs a better agent. With a weak sales pitch like that, she wouldn't last 3 days in the blood sport that is the Bloomie's fragrance floor, and this is Times Square, bitch.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

R U Prince?

Another reason why I keep my AIM turned off.

Bttm4hairy: U TOP SEXY

JoeNYC: What?

Bttm4hairy: U TOP SEXY

JoeNYC: Who is Sexy?

Bttm4hairy: U R

JoeNYC: Who are YOU?

Bttm4hairy: SEXY 2

JoeNYC: Did I top myself?

Bttm4hairy: WHAT

JoeNYC: I don't understand.

Bttm4hairy: WHAT

JoeNYC: Are you asking me something?

Bttm4hairy: YES U TOP

JoeNYC: I'm sorry, call me a traditionalist, but I require all questions to be in a standard format. You know, noun-verb-subject and question mark.

Bttm4hairy: U MUST BE A BOTTOM THEN


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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Christmas Smells Like Crying

This morning on the subway I was standing next to a short Latin man. He was holding on to the overhead rail with one hand and a Spanish newspaper with the other. There was something very familiar about this guy and I couldn't put my finger on it.

At 59st Street, I moved around to his other side to get a closer look at his face. Again, a strong feeling of reminiscence washed over me. I studied his features. He was young, far too young for me to have "known" in any way. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something bizarrely familiar about this guy. I kept flashing back to when I lived in South Florida. He reminded me of friends, he reminded me of going out, he even fucking reminded me of my car. It was driving me nuts and I was frustrated when he got off at 51st Street without me figuring it out.

About 20 minutes after I sat down at my desk, it came to me.

That guy smelled like house music.

It was his cologne, Obsession, that had set me off on an olfactory memory ride. Back in the late '80s, I used to swim through my bottle of Obsession before I went clubbing. Every Saturday night, I would leave my house in Fort Lauderdale and drive 40 miles south on I-95 to join my friends at Cheers, a legendary early outpost of house music. In the parking lot, I'd create a small mist cloud of Obsession and dive into Cheers where DJ Danny Tenaglia was helping shape a new sound that would come to define dance music for the next decade. South Beach hadn't happened yet, Cheers was the place to be for anybody worth their Boogie Shoes. Cheers was my church and I prayed until 7am every Sunday morning, as Father Danny blessed the coked-out scenesters with Jungle Brothers, Gino Latino, Frankie Knuckles, Inner City. Good life, good life, good life.

And I did it all in an amber cloud of Obsession.

Maybe the subway man's fragrance provided such a vivid jolt to my memory because I stopped wearing cologne after that. But maybe not, because like most people my strongest memory triggers are smells.

For example, when I smell coffee...I think of old people. My parents weren't coffee drinkers, but my grandparents and great-grandparents were. When I was a child, the only time I smelled coffee was at my grandmother's house in Newark or my great-grandfather's apartment in nearby Belleville. For me, coffee smells like weird furniture and wooden floors and narrow stairs. It smells like thinning hair and medicine bottles and my grandmother's screeching Edith Bunker voice. Coffee smells like old people.

It drives my friends crazy when I say this. For them, coffee smells like mornings. It smells like potential, like promise, like something is starting. For me, it smells like something ending.

Similarly, the smell of wine doesn't remind me of food or dinner parties or getting wasted in college. It reminds me of Easter eggs. The faintest whiff of vinegar and I'm right back there at in the kitchen of our trailer in North Carolina, my sister and I kicking each other under the expandable vinyl table as my mother is boiling the eggs. Ask me to examine the bouquet of some fine wine and I'm in Paas country, baby. And all you wine snobs who are heading for my comments button right now to say something snotty about good wine not smelling like vinegar can just shove it up your collective asses.

And Christmas trees? Forget it. Christmas trees smell like fighting. They smell like tense silences and booze bottles and thrown dishes. All the Christmas smells are like that for me. Christmas smells like crying.


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Monday, May 23, 2005

A Lesson From Sam

I moved to San Francisco in June 1995.

By mere coincidence, the weekend I arrived was Gay Pride weekend. My first few days there were a giddy explosion of parties, marches, parades, fireworks and an endless stream of smiling, attractive men who were all hands.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

That Sunday night, I made my first visit to San Francisco's legendary nightclub, Pleasuredome, a place where I would spend many nights over the next six years. Pleasuredome would become my disco home, my emotional oasis, my sweet refuge, where I would dance and hug my friends and laugh all night long.

It was a place populated by men of a certain age, who wouldn't necessarily be welcome on the dance floors of most gay bars. A place where age and race and gender and body type seemed to be far less important to the other patrons, compared to most gay clubs, just so long as you were there to dance.

Because Pleasuredome was a dance club. Oh sure, there was cruising and flirting and hooking up, but the overriding interest of the patrons was the music, and only slightly less importantly, the DJs. The only place I've been to that came close to resembling the transcendent vibe of Pleasuredome was New York's Body & Soul. Sadly, both clubs now only live in the fond memories of the dancers, both venues now victims to rampant gentrification of formerly crappy neighborhoods.

So there I stood that first Sunday night, unaware that this rather unadorned big boxy room would become a true emotional salvation for me in years to come. At the main circular bar in the middle of room, I took position, lavishly attended to by a crinkly eyed bartender who took my hands and held them, when I was paying for my first drink.

"Happy Pride, hon! You here from outta town?"

"Yes. I mean, no. I just moved here. Yesterday!" I said proudly.

"Well, welcome to paradise! I'm Barry. You married, hon?" he smiled.

"No. I -"

Barry cut me off, shouting over the music and looking around, "Fresh meat! We got some fresh meat here boys!"

Nobody heard him over the music, but I was still a little embarrassed. Barry laughed at my squirming and leaned over the bar again, "What's your name?"

"Joe."

"OK, Joey. Hang out with me and I'll introduce you to some boys!"

And I did hang around, occasionally drifting off to watch the dancers or stand in the endless restroom line, but always returning to watch Barry perform. And he was a performer. Familiar customers, and there were plenty, were greeted with a shout and hug. Occasionally, he'd be overcome by a particular moment in the music and would stop to wave his hands in the air. I could tell that he was much beloved by the clientele. Other bartenders were less busy, but lots of the customers would rather wait in line for a moment of Barry's beaming attention.

About an hour after I arrived, I noticed Barry giving his (now familiar to me) hoot-n-hug to a handsome Asian man. I saw them look over, the guy nodded, and they both came over to me.

"Joey, this is Sammy. He's a lot of fun and he's all by himself tonight," Barry said, taking my hand and giving it to Sammy.

Sammy shook my hand and smiled, "Hey Joey!"

Barry moved back to his station and I said, "Actually, it's just Joe."

"And I'm just Sam, Barry's a trip, huh?"

"That he is. The customers seem to love him, though."

"Oh yeah, big time! He's been around forever here in SF."

Sam and I hung out together at Barry's bar for a long time. We talked about jobs, apartments, neighborhoods. We had a great time and were getting very comfortable with each other. He pointed out different local club celebrities that sailed past us and provided a hilarious running commentary on them, including some delicious gossip. That lead us to talking about nightclub culture in the various cities around the country. Sam was very interested in South Beach, where he'd never been.

"So, the guys there are totally hot right? That's what I've always heard," he said.

"Oh, I don't know. There's a lot of really hot guys here too."

"Really? Compared to South Beach? C'mon!" Sam said, unconvinced.

I looked around the room. At that moment we were in the epicenter of a huge swirling group of shirtless guys, hands all over each other, all nodding to the music.

"Yeah, I'd say this place compares. Yeah, definitely, " I said.

"I have a feeling I'd be pretty invisible down there."

"Dude! You're totally ripped, you're good-looking and all that, you'd have to beat 'em off with a stick!" I giggled, hearing my pun a second too late.

Sam laughed too and I went further, "In fact, pardon me for mentioning it, but you probably could totally rule down there because there's hardly any other Oriental guys."

At that moment, if we were in a John Hughes teen movie, the DJ would have ripped the needle across the record and someone would have dropped their drink. The smile on Sam's face froze, then slowly faded. He regarded me for a long moment, then placed his beer bottle on a napkin, carefully centering it before looking back at me. For a second, it seemed like he was going to walk away.

"Joe, I'm gonna give you a break because I know you just moved here. "

I felt my face flush, I knew I'd fucked up by mentioning Sam's ethnicity, but how? "OK...," I said, apprehensively.

Sam put his hand on my shoulder and pulled me close, speaking in my ear, "Joe...Oriental is a style of design, like furniture. But people, Joe.....PEOPLE are Asian."

Sam laughed at my obvious discomfort. Before I started to stammer out an apology, he pulled me in for a hug and said, "It's all good bro, everyone gets a free one. That was yours. Don't forget it."

And I haven't.



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Thursday, May 19, 2005

How Does That Make You Feel?

Gentle readers, I have something to confess to you. Something you'd never expect. Something that probably sets me apart from every other middle-aged gay New Yorker.

I have never had therapy.

Nope. Not one hour on the couch. Ever.

"Oh, but JOE!" You might be saying. "You really could benefit from some therapy."

And I hear you, gentle readers. My friend David, who is a therapist himself, always says "Everybody can use some therapy, including therapists." And I agree with David, really.

But.

Why should I shell out $100/hr when I have you, gentle readers? Wait....let me lie down on this comfy blog.

That's better.

It all started when I was six years old, when I first started having those dreams about my naked father chasing me with a giant loaf of French bread. I know, I know. Everybody has that dream. Right? RIGHT?

Wait. That's not what I wanted to talk about.

I want to talk about the act of blogging as a potentially potent and valid psychological therapy. I mean, all we're really doing here is talking things out, right? Telling our stories to a hopefully receptive and engaged audience? An audience that listens to what we're saying and reflects back some of our emotions, while occasionally offering supportive criticisms? Isn't that really what is at the heart of most pyschotherapy?

Is blogging cutting the income of shrinks nationwide? I haven't seen any articles saying that, but I'd believe it if I saw it. When friends of mine have had a crisis recently, I've encouraged them to write about it, even if they don't publish it on a blog. When I've written about some of my many friends that I've lost to AIDS, I've wept when reading over my own words, but I always come out at the end feeling stronger. And isn't that really what is at the heart of most psychotherapy?

This topic of The Blog as a healing pulpit, a thinly screened confessional booth, has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks, ever since I wrote the "Chances" story. (The story tells about a friend of mine whose boyfriend cheated on him and contracted HIV). When Phil told me his story, I had several reactions. First of all, I wondered if telling his story through me would help him process his mountain of strongly conflicted emotions. Secondly, I thought that his story might serve as a valuable urban parable for some my readers. But thirdly, and I fear, most strongly, I felt I needed to write the story to process my own feelings about several close friends who have also seroconverted in the last year.

Was that selfish of me? I think it was, to a degree. Some of Phil's friends have angrily charged that Phil couldn't have possibly been in the state of mind to properly decide whether he should have his story told here. That I was using or hijacking his situation to satisfy my own need to talk about relationships and betrayal and disease. And that troubles me greatly, because I think there's some truth there.

Phil has told me that he has benefited from telling his story and from reading the comments. And that he'd like to come back here sometime soon and offer you folks an epilogue of sorts, an update of his situation. But he also understands his friends' anger with me.

Maybe I need to find a non-virtual couch.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Extremely Gay Gayness! With Extra Gay!



Here's an early reminder about the June WYSIWYG show. This is the big Pride show, and it will surely sell out. And since I don't want any of my peeps to be turned away, like almost happened the last time I performed, y'all might wanna g'head and get your tickets now.

Now, what am I ever going to write about? Surely, something "extremely gay" has happened to me at some point?

Peas

When she was five years old, my sister ran away from home because we were having peas. My mother put the plate down in front of her and Janet slammed her fists on the table.

"That's it! I have had it!" she muttered.

She stomped over to the door, pulled on her boots and left. My mother and I watched her from the living room window of our trailer as she set out across the freshly plowed field that lay between our trailer park and the elementary school playground, her presumed destination.

It had been raining for several days. Janet got about 100 feet away before her boots broke through the cold soil and she sank to her knees in the muck. She picked up the bottom of her dress to keep it dry and tried to pull out of the sucking mud, but only succeeded in removing one of her feet from its boot. She stood there for a moment, holding her dress up, teetering on one leg, aimlessly flailing her pink-socked foot in mid-air.

My mother and I were in hysterics, and Janet must have sensed us watching because she looked over her shoulder at us. That caused her to lose her balance and she slammed her bootless foot down into the mud. Then she pulled her other foot out of its boot and repeated the previous teetering, dangling, flailing motions.

My mother looked at me, "We shouldn't be laugh....oooh ha ha ha ha ha."

I couldn't answer because I was rolling on the floor in the joy that only an older brother could experience in this moment. When I got up and looked again, Janet was knee-deep with both legs, still holding her dress up. And she started to cry. And then it started to rain. Hard.

My mother grabbed an umbrella and sloshed out to get her. I could hear Janet's wailing get louder as Mom carried her back to the house, the way an ambulance siren gets louder as it comes down the street towards you. Of course, I took every opportunity to mock her and make it worse.

The next day, my father took her into the field with a shovel and made her dig up her boots. Then he made sure my mother served us peas again.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Fan Mail From Some Flounder



Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC - Sunday/Noon-ish

So, I'm sitting there having gay brunch cocktails in the gay restaurant in the gay neighborhood with my gay friends, flipping through the gay bar rags while waiting for my gay food to arrive, when a not-gay waiter brings me a Budweiser, placing it on a napkin that says "We heart you, Joe My God."

"It's from a friend," he says.

I look around the room, seeing no one I know. "Who sent this?"

"It's from....somebody," he smiles, looking a bit uneasy.

Wow. OK, cool. Fan mail from some flounder, as Bullwinkle used to say. But who? My friends and I sneak looks around the room, using mirrors and cutlery to look behind us. My unknown beer patron is clearly playing it very cool, because we don't detect a single sneaked glance. We decide to let the mystery beer gifter remain anonymous, since they wished to be so.

But still, I can't help my eyes wandering around the room. Was it the elderly man smiling at me with his crinkly eyes? Was it one of the giggling boys at the corner table? Or maybe it was that sexy Daddy couple with the beards?

My friend Ken snaps the above picture with his cell phone and I enjoy the beer with my French toast. While we're waiting for our check, I notice a girl with curly hair give me a timid wave as she descends the stairs to the street. Curses! I should have been looking for a girl! I'd say the purple ink should have given me a clue, but we are in Chelsea. Eddie encourages me to run after her, but I decide not to out her and her friends.

Today, I changed my mind.

Heh.


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Monday, May 16, 2005

Search Terms Of Endearment

I am a complete Google whore. Aside from being a devoted fan of their search engine, I use their blogging software and I use their email service. Sitemeter, while not a Google service, provides me with almost endless amusement at the various Google search terms that you, my gentle readers, have used to find Joe.My.God. Here's a quick breakdown of some recent examples.

"i want to f*** my mother"

Seriously people. Stop that. Right now.

"i want to f*** my aunt"

What, Mom isn't good enough for you?

"sex party with young boys first time"

Oh sure, you tell one measly pre-adolescent sex story, and suddenly you're NAMBLA material.

"oh my god i can't feel my legs"

OK, I really want to know how this turned out.

"those draq queens stole my car"

Great, now the Bloods and the Crips have competition from the Stillettos.

"hello my name is child molester"

Hello, my name is "I'm calling the POLICE."

"glory holes in my city"

And what city would that be, dipshit?

"i was fisting a french boy and he cried"

That figures. Those cheese eating surrender monkeys.

"picture of a baby being helped"

I'd really like to know what this means.

"is joe god?"

Too easy.


Let's have some fun with this. Hmmm, OK....um, yesterday Lindsey Lohan was being fisted by a sexy porn MILF, when who should walk in but Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, straight from their bukkake video shoot. Their barely legal nubile virgin bodies were ready for their deflowering and luckily a naked Brad Pitt was there with a topless Angelina Jolie to help him. Catholic school girls and some Boy Scouts were watching on their high-definition flat screen but the upskirt video was totally amateur. Pam Anderson and Paris Hilton were standing nearby waiting to get into Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith. At Walt Disney World, Britney Spears was watching American Idol on her Sidekick while wearing an NBA jersey and a NASCAR hat. Over in Las Vegas, Hilary Duff was seated in her Escalade reading Harry Potter while listening to Eminem and 50 Cent on her iPod. Hey, which is better, Pokemon or Dragonball? Playstation Portable or Xbox? Is online gambling better than real casinos? Does Jennifer Lopez have breast implants? Is Viagra better than Cialis?

Update: Curse words removed from search terms to stop those weirdos from finding JMG.

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I Know People, People



Please go here immediately and purchase Joel Derfner's hilarious new book Gay Haiku.

Derfner groupies take notice: Joel will be at the Chelsea Barnes & Noble next Thursday, May 26th, to sign copies and sell kisses.


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Friday, May 13, 2005

WYSIWYG: Tuesday, May 17th!



New Yorkers and interested tourists: Don't forget this month's WYSIWYG is THIS Tuesday, May 17th. As you can see by the artwork, this month's theme regards brushes with The Man. Come see talented writers like Atlanta's lovely PJ Gallagher! Who I totally know! In real life! Sorta!

The last few WYSIWYG shows have been standing room only, advance tix are here.

Related blind item: Which Manhattan blogger, whose head is expanding only slightly slower than his waistline, will be performing at next month's WYSIWYG show?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Last Word

Midtown Manhattan

I'm heading towards a lunch meeting near Times Square, walking north on 6th Avenue, when I fall into step with a woman, cellphone to her ear.

Everything about her screams "Fuck the glass ceiling!", from her bridge line Donna Karan power suit to the Blackberry clipped to her Burberry. She is striding purposefully, confidently, her business-bobbed hair bouncing pertly as she takes steps that seem a bit longer than her legs should allow.

I'm listening to her ream out someone on her cellphone, some underling, I assume, at first.

"No. No. No, no, no, no, no, NO. Are you listening to me? I said NO! Absolutely not."

We stop on the corner of 50th Street and she continues her tirade, sucking in a few tourists and businessmen.

"Why are we arguing about this? Are you listening to me? No. No. You never listen to me. You never listen."

The people on the street are listening. The light changes and we all move into 6th Avenue.

Halfway across, she speaks again, "Fine. FINE. Do whatever you have to do. But let me tell you this: If you EVER thought that I loved you, you have been kidding yourself for a long time!"

And she snaps the phone shut, with an upward motion. The guy next to me shoots me a look and purses his lips, blowing out air. I nod my head in agreement. When we reach the far side, the woman steps over to a reflective store front, where she reassesses herself.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Budweiser Effect

No, this is isn't a story about drinking. Well, maybe it is...a little. But mostly, it's a story about chaos and the way we delude ourselves into thinking that we have control over our lives, that we have routine, that we create order, that we run things.

The Butterfly Effect, apart from being the title of an appallingly bad movie starring Ashton Kutcher, is the name given to a part of chaos theory that stipulates that no matter how complex or ordered a system may be, the ultimate outcome of events are the result of "sensitive dependence on initial conditions". More than 40 years ago, a meteorologist named Edward Lorenz was trying to create computer models that predicted weather patterns. He noticed that the tiniest alteration in the initial data he fed into the computer would result in a dramatically different result, far more than one would think from such a small data change. Ten years later he gave a speech titled "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?" You might recall actor Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park gave an effective demonstration of chaos theory using drops of water on the back of Laura Dern's hand.

We all can cite examples of chaos theory in our personal lives. But we call these examples chance or luck. I can guarantee that you would not be sitting at your desk reading my words right now, if it were not for Budweiser.

Budweiser has always been my drug of choice. If I'm out socializing, I'm drinking Budweiser. Rarely anything else. Sometimes, with a grimace, I'll accept a Rolling Rock or maybe a Miller Lite, but usually not. I'll stop drinking, or I'll go somewhere else. I prefer beer, and I like it cold and lightly flavored. All you beer snobs heading for my comments button right now can just shove it up your collective asses.

On a Saturday night in November 1994, I was in a nightclub called Salvation. It was White Party Week in South Beach and Salvation was mobbed. I was standing at my usual position, with my usual friends, near our usual bartender. I waved to get the bartender's attention and lifted a single finger to indicate that I only needed one Budweiser. He knew that my friends and I all drank Bud and we'd flag our order to him by merely showing the appropriate number of fingers.

This time, the bartender shook his head at me and held his hands out.

"What??" I shouted, cupping my hand over my ear.

The bartender came over and pulled me closer to shout back, "I haven't got any more Bud! The barback went to get some but I guess he's having a hard time getting through the crowd! Do you want something else?"

I shook my head, "No, thanks. I'll try the upstairs bar."

And at that upstairs bar, also waiting for a Budweiser, was a handsome man I'd never seen before. He nodded pleasantly at me, I smiled back, and we started chatting. Eight months later I was living with him in San Francisco.

I would have never met that man if my regular bartender had stocked ONE more Budweiser in his case. I'd have never met him if the DJ had happened to play a song that I liked at that moment, because I would have been dancing. I would have never met him if I'd stopped to use the restroom on the way upstairs. I would have never met him if I'd waited ONE more minute at the downstairs bar, because my friends told me later that the barback arrived with a case of Budweiser as soon as I walked away.

All because of that one Budweiser, events were set in motion that turned my life upside down. I met a man that I was so captivated by that I quit my job. I left all my friends in the world. I said goodbye to my family and my dog and my cat. I packed up my personal possessions and gave away my furniture and moved to California.

I lasted a year with the guy in San Francisco, but ended up staying there for another five. In late 2000, I was at a dance party called Aftershock. This was an after hours party, we hadn't even arrived until almost 6am. Obviously, most of the crowd was on drugs. At some point in the morning, the club opened a small alcohol bar in a tiny, ignored, recessed area of the sprawling club. I rushed over to get a Budweiser. Where I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in years. Who told me about his job in New York. And how I'd love to work there.

And here I am.

All our lives, we plan. We plan our educations, but rarely end up doing what we trained for. We plan our families, but rarely end up with whom we'd imagined. We plan vacations and retirements and relationships and nothing ever turns out like we planned, and yet we keep planning.

Last night I was on the subway heading home, with my iPod on "shuffle". Somewhere around 68th Street, Rufus Wainwright's "Oh What A World" came on. I closed my eyes and was transported away by Wainwright's gorgeous voice. In my reverie, I missed my stop. No big disaster, it was a lovely night, I'd just walk home from the 77th Street stop, I thought.

Standing on the corner of Lexington and 77th, in a group of about 20 or 30 people, a little girl broke away from her mother and darted towards the street. As she pushed through the crowd, I saw her mother mouth some admonishment and reach out. I couldn't hear the woman with my headphones on, but I instinctively reached down and grabbed the little girl's backpack and held her back for a second until her mother reached her. The mother gave me a smile and bent over to chastise the child, as much for the benefit of the crowd as for the child.

On the way home, a thought struck me. What if my iPod hadn't shuffled to Rufus Wainwright? What if, instead of something so beautiful that it caused me to close my eyes and miss my stop, the random bits of digital hooey had landed on something else? And I hadn't missed my stop? Would there have been someone on that corner to stop that little girl from running into traffic?

Maybe, because there were lots of people on that corner. Or maybe my not being on that corner would have reordered the way that people were standing, so that the mother held onto her daughter more tightly. Or maybe a different adult would have been the one to grab her backpack.

But still...I wonder. So much of my own life can be traced back to a single, seemingly trivial, certainly random, triggering event. Was this another example of the butterfly effect? Was my iPod this little girl's Budweiser? I wonder.


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Monday, May 09, 2005

The French Boy

West Village, New York City, November 2003

After a long Sunday afternoon barhopping around the East Village, I staggered up the stairs to my apartment, where I found a tall slender boy just about to knock on my door. Probably a friend of my roommate, I thought.

I smiled at him and produced my keys. "Here, let me open the door for you."

The boy shrank back from me in horror. "You? You do not look like zee picture of Gabrielle!" he sputtered in a thick French accent.

"Gabrielle? I hope NOT! You must be on the wrong floor, " I said.

"You are forty? Yes?"

"I beg your pardon? OH....yes, I'm apartment 4-D, yes."

French Boy showed me a slip of paper: "Gabriel, Apt. 4-D."

Only then did I remember that my dizzy roommate used "Gabriel" as his fake internet hook-up name.

"Oh, you're here to see my roommate, Gabriel."

French Boy looked very relieved, but I was too tired to take offense. "Gabriel" came to the door just as I was opening it and whisked French Boy into the living room. I went into my room, shut the door, collapsed on the bed and fell asleep instantly.

About an hour later, I was awakened by French Boy's voice, coming from the living room.

"Suck zee head. Suck it. Suck zee head. Ooh baby, suck zee head . Suck zee head."

This went on for about an hour, no lie. I could hear porn playing softly too, but mostly what came drifting under the closed door was French Boy's droning voice. He'd stop occasionally, for a minute or two, and then just when I thought I'd be able to fall back asleep, he'd start again.

"Suck zee head. Yes! Suck zee head. Suck zee head. Suck zee head!"

Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and pulled my bedroom door open and bellowed down the hall.

"God DAMN it, Gabriel! Would you please suck zee fucking head!"

French Boy responded cheerfully, "Merci!"

Stupid roommate.


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Sunday, May 08, 2005

GB:NY2, Ow My Head

It's Sunday morning and my head still hurts.

The gay blogger party at Barrage on Friday night was an unqualified success that started quite respectfully but quickly devolved into drunken, sordid, seamy spectacle.

Sure, at the beginning it was all "Hi, I'm ...." and "Oh, you must be...." and "Isn't that....?".

But within a couple of hours there was groping, there were some cockring comparisons, there were some restroom misbehaviors. There was hot blogger-on-blogger action and some hooking up.

Oh, and Barrage? You may wish to reconsider littering a dimly-lit room with knee-high ottomans. People are drinking and the walls have sharp things on them.

There's no way I can list (or remember) all the people that attended, but if you did, I took about 50 pictures (that are usable). Write me and I'll send you the link.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Chances, Part 3

Chances - Part 1, Part 2

Phil looked at the floor and waited.

"It's negative. You're OK."

Phil lifted his head and exhaled, only then realizing he'd been holding his breath.

"I am? You're sure?"

The nurse offerered him the lab result. "Yes, it's negative. Of course, this result has a reverse window of about 3 months, so if you've done something unsafe very recently, there's still a chance you could have a problem, but usually it does show up in just a couple of weeks."

Phil had been steeling himself for the bad news. In the preceeding few seconds he'd imagined himself as positive, as saying it to people, to friends, to his family. Now....he just felt confused. How should he feel? He was safe, he was OK.....but Donald wasn't. There was definitely no sense of relief about himself, oddly enough.

And what about Donald? Had he been infected since before they met? Or did this happen when Donald had cheated?

That night he and Donald held each other and cried. Donald swore he hadn't cheated, this must have happened before they'd met, after his last HIV test. He'd had safe sex with the guy he'd cheated with. And Phil decided to believe him. There was no consideration about leaving Donald, not over this. Phil had a couple of friends who were HIV positive, he could handle this. This sucked, this turned their world upside down, but he could handle this. What was important was being there for Donald.

A week later, Phil accompanied Donald to his doctor's office. He wanted to be fully informed, he wanted to show Donald how he was going to be there for him, how they were going to fight this together. The doctor invited them into his personal office and they sat across from his desk. Phil thought how it felt like they were applying for a mortgage.

The doctor pulled a file out of a stack on his desk and looked over his glasses at Donald and Phil.

"Well, your liver enzymes look good. You're not anemic, your pancreatic functions are within acceptable ranges," he said.

Donald shot Phil a hopeful look.

"But your viral load and your CD4 counts aren't great."

Donald shot Phil a sinking look.

"How bad is it?" Phil asked, putting his hand on Donald's knee.

"Well, judging from the history I've gotten from Donald, and considering that his converstion illness happened about 5 months ago, the viral load is higher than I'd like it to be."

"Conversion illness?" Phil asked.

"Yes, that 'bad flu' that Donald experienced back in November was very likely when he was infected. Most people do see a huge viral load immediately after they are infected, but usually it drops down pretty quickly afterwards and they feel better in a few days. But as you know, Donald hasn't felt well for months. "

The doctor went on to explain that for most people with HIV, aside from their initial conversion sickness, seem to have no ill effects for years and years after their infection. Many don't have to begin treatment with medication for ten years or longer. But in a few cases, treatment is called for right away. Donald's viral load was over 250,000 more than five months after infection . That, coupled with his clearly dwindling CD4 count (his t-cells), called for a decision. Did they dare wait and hope that he rebounded, albeit later than most people do? Or did they want to go ahead and begin treatment, with all the side effects, and costs, and psychological baggage that came with it?

The doctor looked at Phil and Donald expectantly, waiting for them to confer.

Phil took his hand off Donald's leg and stared at him. "So you were infected in November?"

Donald looked away, "I guess. Maybe."

The doctor continued for a few minutes, talking about various medications, dosing regimens, and potential outcomes. Phil hardly heard a word.

In the parking lot, it started.

"You fucking liar!"

"Honey, I- " Donald started.

"You fucking whore! How could you do this to me? You fucking piece of shit!"

In the car, Donald confessed everything. He'd been cheating on Phil all the time. He'd met guys online and he'd had anonymous sex in the park. He apologized, he begged forgiveness, he said he had "poor impulse control". Phil just sat there, feeling used, feeling like an idiot, feeling like a played chump for never noticing. How could he be so stupid?

And now what? Did he leave Donald when Donald needed him the most? Or did he stick around and continue to be a fucking idiot? Was this still the guy he wanted to spend his life with? Was it ever?

The next day, Phil started telling his friends. Everything. Including how stupid he felt. His friends were universally sympathetic and supportive, but their opinions varied about what to do next. The emails poured in.

Friend 1: "God Phil, what an asshole he was to you. Begin detatching now."

Friend 2: "You have every right to be angry and furious, but at the same time, he is the one who is sick, so it is hard to come down on him. I think Donald still and always has loved you, and doesn't take you for a fool at all. He probably feels guilty about his own appetite for sex. You're a wonderful man, don't blame yourself for anything."

Friend 3: "You're gonna break up with him, right? I mean, not that it's any of my business, but you gotta break up with him. Like, yesterday."

Friend 4: "You shouldn't have to feel any guilt if you break up with him. He brought this on himself and abandoned the relationship first. "

Friend 5: "You should be able to "divorce" Donald, but not totally cut off your (mental) support to him, as a former boyfriend who is sick. Going postal OR being completely loving and forgiving, aren't the only answers. "

Friend 6: "You're not a fool for trusting him, and the chaos you're feeling is completely natural. And while I'll be totally supportive if you decide to try and work it out with him, but if you decide to go in another direction, I'm there for you also."

Friend 7: "Saying he's sorry is kind of inadequate under the circumstances. It's too bad there's no word that means 'I'm extra specially sorry, like I've never before been sorry in all my life, I've ruined my own life and risked yours, and now I'm terrified that I've lost you'."

After a week of anguish, a week of making decisions, then un-making them, Phil decided to break up with Donald. The betrayal trumped everything.

He also made another appointment for an HIV test, in 3 months.

Because, there was still that chance....

---

(Gentle readers: Some of you have asked whether this is a true story. It is. Some have asked if it's happening right now. It is. For the last few days, "Phil" has collaborated with me on this story, providing dialogue and events, but allowing me to fictionalize he and "Donald's" story just enough to protect their privacy. He hopes that somebody out there will read his story and benefit from its lessons.)


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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Chances, Part 2

Chances, Part 1

Things were quite tense over the next couple of months. Phil found himself suspicious of everything Donald did or said. He called Donald all the time, always in a chipper tone of voice, but always with the aim of finding out where he was. And Donald certainly knew what Phil was doing, but dared not complain.

Slowly, and painlessly really, things returned to normal. They had their little tiffs now and then, just like any couple does. It drove Donald crazy that Phil liked to fall asleep with the television on, just as it drove Phil crazy that Donald would only use a towel once, then would leave it on the bathroom floor. Strangely, Phil almost enjoyed these arguments, because when they were fighting about such things, he felt more coupled with Donald than ever.

They continued to maintain their separate apartments. Sure, they were coming up on their fifth anniversary now, and sure, that looked weird to their friends, maybe even to their families. But Phil and Donald had begun to understand that the necessary apartness created by their respective heavy workloads, and the distance between their jobs and their homes had, overall, been healthy for their relationship. Too much time together and they became sullen and snippy, like old married couples tend to do. But weekends and the odd weekday evening together were a treat, something to look forward to. It worked.

Two weeks ago, Phil began working on the final details of his 5th anniversary gift to Donald. The idea had come to him while lying in bed on Sunday night and he nearly leapt to his feet when it occured to him. Getting read for work in the morning, he had to suppress a sly smile every time he looked at Donald.

On the way to work, Phil worried about Donald's doctor appointment that day. A few months earlier, Donald had suffered through a long flu. Ever since then he'd continued to be fatigued and got persistent severe headaches. The doctor had voiced concerns about blood pressure, kidney disorders, other things. Even the "C" word, as Donald called it, had been brought up. Early in the afternoon, Donald called from the doctor's office.

"Hey, I'm still here. More tests." A pause. "Oh, and they're also going to give me an HIV test. Shouldn't be much longer-"

Phil interupted, "HIV test? Why? Have you cheated on me AGAIN?!"

"God DAMN it, you know I haven't! Jesus Christ, as worried as I am about things, I don't need you bringing that old shit up again!" Donald said, as loudly as he dared, sitting in his doctor's waiting room.

"Alright, alright...I'm sorry. Sweetie, I didn't mean to upset you. I know how worried you are already. I'm not trying to make things worse. I just..." Phil stopped there.

After Donald hung up, Phil sat back in his chair. Why would they give Donald an HIV test? Just as routine because he's a gay man? Just as routine to rule it out? Because they really didn't know what was wrong with him? Or maybe, because they thought they really did?

Phil got online and found a nearby clinic that offered HIV testing. He wrote the number down and put it in his drawer. For the rest of the day he thought about calling for an appointment.

Calling meant he didn't trust Donald.

Calling meant he was being realistic.

Calling meant he didn't think Donald really loved him.

Calling meant he wasn't stupid.

Calling meant...he was.

Because over the last year he and Donald had begun to slip up again. Sometimes it was just too much work to go out in the snow to get condoms. Sometimes the heat of the moment really did overtake them, like those times in the shower.

They'd taken chances. Again.

He called.

The clinic gave him an appointment time on Friday afternoon. All week long he tried not to think about it. Maybe he wouldn't go after all. Maybe he was just being silly. Maybe he should learn to trust Donald.

Friday afternoon, Phil was on the phone with an important client when Donald called his cell. Putting the client on hold, Phil snapped his cell open.

"Hey babe, can't talk right-"

"I'm positive. The test is back. I'm HIV positive. Oh my god, what-" Donald's words began to buzz into white noise in Phil's ear.

"I can't talk right now, I'm on the other line with a client," Phil said, shutting his phone.

Phil finished his call with the client, somehow. He pulled the clinic address out of his drawer, left the office, and was sitting in their office just a few minutes later. On the form, he opted for the 20-minute rapid test.

The nurse called him into an examing room, asking "So, what's the big rush on your results?"

"I've been with someone who just found out. That he's positive, I mean," Phil replied, thinking how fucking weird it was to say that out loud.

"Did you practice safer sex with this person?"

Phil shook his head. "Not, um, all the time."

The nurse pursed her lips and said "That doesn't sound very encouraging," then took Phil's sample and disappeared down the hall.

Phil sat there in that cold, metallic room and felt strangely calm. Why was it that he felt more anxiety watching the results on American Idol? Or Trading Spaces? Surely this was more important than any "reveal" on some make-over show?

The nurse walked in, her face unreadable. She pulled a small piece of paper out of her pocket and sat on the desk facing Phil.



Continue To Conclusion....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Chances

Five years ago, at the age of 26, Phil decided to take a chance.

Bored with the bars, tired of one night stands, uninterested in the easy carnality of urban gay life, he sat down and wrote a simple, yet heartfelt description of himself and posted it in the gay section of Yahoo Personals.

Almost immediately, he got a response from a man named Donald.

Donald was just a year younger, lived nearby and miracle of miracles, was cute, smart, funny and employed. He and Phil exchanged a series of sweetly escalating emails, then agreed to meet for coffee. At the coffeeshop, Phil and Donald chatted easily, comfortably, with a decided lack of tension. The next night, after a lovely dinner, they slept together.

The sex was as natural as their first conversation had been. It flowly easily, wordlessly, without negotiation. There was none of the "I am this, so you must be that" sort of dynamic that gay men so often endure. In the morning, before Phil rushed home to prepare for work, they had sex again, and it was even better.

At the office, Phil was especially buoyant, which did not escape his coworkers' attention. He thought about calling Donald several times during the day, but resisted. Finally, before he left for the day, he sent Donald this one word email: "More?". When he got home, the reply waiting for him was: "Yes!".

And so they began dating. There were movies at first, followed by parties, followed by short trips. Then, they met each other's families. Phil's family was cool at first to Donald, gradually loosening up over subsequent visits. Donald's family was initially friendly, but wary. Donald's mother had lost her brother to AIDS in the mid-80s, and now her own son had brought home the physical proof that he too was having gay sex. Phil and Donald assured her that they had both tested negative for HIV before they began dating, and were only having safe sex with each other.

That's when Phil realized they were boyfriends. Even saying the word felt a bit middle-school to him, but oh, how it felt good to say things like "OK, great, see you there, I'll bring my boyfriend."

Maintaining their separate apartments, the relationship continued, deepened, flourished. Friends presumed to assume that non-cohabitation meant non-monagamy, but Phil set them straight. "He's my man. I'm his. And that's ALL there is."

The only real sticking point between them was Donald's persistent feeling that he "wasn't good enough" for Phil. Phil was an Ivy League educated professional in a high-profile job. Donald had graduated from a small local college and was toiling away unnoticed in a sprawling corporate environment. Phil did what he could to assuage Donald's feelings of social inadequacy, but occasionally it rose to the surface.

About three years ago, Phil caught Donald in a lie. A little lie, it seemed, at first anyway. On a whim, Phil had gone by Donald's house late at night expecting him to be home, where he'd said he'd be, only to find the apartment dark and cold. He called Donald's cell, concerned, but got his voice mail. A few minutes later, Donald rushed in.

"You said you'd be home tonight," Phil said flatly.

"I know, I was just...," Donald said.

"Are you seeing someone else?" Phil cut right to it.

"No! Of course not! How can you say that?" Donald said unconvincingly.

Phil went home. The next morning Donald called him at his office and asked to meet him after work at their favorite restaurant. They'd hardly glanced at their menus when Donald started speaking, not meeting Phil's eyes.

"Hey listen. About last night."

"What about it?"

"I haven't been seeing anybody, I just want you to know that," Donald said.

"But...." Phil waited.

"But, I did have sex with someone. It's the only time I've done it and I'm so sorry, I don't know why I did it and I swear I won't do it again and ...," Donald's apology continued to spill out.

Phil threw his menu down and walked outside. His heart pounded, he wanted to cry and he wanted to put his fist through a wall. A dozen scenarios raced through his mind but his mind kept drifting back to one thing. Feeling safe in his "monogamous" relationship, he and Donald had begun to slip up every now and then when it came to using condoms. Mostly, yeah...they were safe with other. But sometimes, they had taken chances, done things they'd never have done with a new person. Stupid things, yeah...but they were monogamous boyfriends, you see, so it was OK.

At home that night, Donald begged forgiveness and once Phil was convinced that the incident had only been a mindless fuck, a simple hook-up, with no emotional entanglements, he decided to let it go. Other than this admittedly major trangression, the relationship had been rock solid, Donald was the best thing that ever happened to Phil, and they decided to "work around it."

Donald promised Phil he'd never cheat again, and Phil believed him. But to himself, Phil resolved one thing. There'd be no more slip-ups, no more taking chances.



Continue to Part 2......

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Fisting Watch

"Maybe you should take your watch off before you start."

That was my sage advice, delivered from the other side of the sling, as I watched the slender handsome man lube up his hand.

He barely looked up at me, "Thanks, but it's OK."

The guy in the sling looked at me, then said, "Um...yeah, he's right, you should take off the watch."

Watch Guy stopped for a moment and looked around, "Well, it's not like I have a pocket I can put it in."

He was right, of course. We looked around the room for a moment, sizing up a good place to put his watch. The sex party was in full swing, a couple of dozen men moving around the dimly lit room. Our clothes were all downstairs, neatly stored by the front door in clear plastic bags, with our names Sharpie'd across the side.

"Here, give it to me, I'll wear it for you," I offered.

Watch Guy sized me up, trying to determine if this shadowy stranger was a trustworthy watch holder. After a moment, he nodded, then made a clumsy move with his other hand, stopping before touching the watchband.

"Can you take it off for me? I've got lube on both hands."

"Sure." I came around to his end of the sling and bent over, squinting to see the clasp. I pulled it off his wrist and put it on my own right wrist, thinking that the odd sensation of a watch on my right arm would remind me that it wasn't my own, and not to leave the party without returning it.

I moved back to my original position at the head of the sling, and they began. Now, as I've said before, fisting isn't my favorite thing in the world. After a few minutes of observing these guys, as hot as they both were, I became bored. Fisting is a two-player sport, max.

I walked back around to the now-watchless Watch Guy and leaned over to whisper in his ear, "Listen, I'm gonna go have some fun. Don't worry about your watch, I won't leave until you get it back."

Watch Guy nodded and I patted him on the shoulder. I nodded at Sling Guy, but since his eyes were rolled back in his head, he didn't respond, and I walked away. About an hour later I was having a break in the kitchen when Watch Guy walked in.

"Hey there, can you grab me a beer?" he asked. I noticed his deep, velvety voice for the first time.

"Sure," I smiled. "But have you washed your hands, young man?"

He laughed, with a low, restrained voice. Well seasoned in sex parties, this one, to realize that laughter from nearby rooms can sometimes erode a sexy vibe. I handed him the beer and we moved downstairs to not-for-playing area to have a chat. Sitting naked on a cool leather sofa, watching men dress and undress, we got to know each other.

He mentioned being a musician and that set us off on a long conversation about pop music, which segued into pop culture, which segued into Culture Club, which segued into club music, which....well, you get the picture. We Hit.It.Off.

I was just getting around to making some sort of obscene suggestion about us moving back upstairs when he noticed that it was getting light outside, thanks to the downstairs area not being as completely light-blocked as the play area was.

"Hey, Joe. Listen, I've got to go. I have to work."

"Stop that lying, you lying liar! It's Sunday morning," I said.

"Yes."

"And you have to go to work now. At 6am?"

"Yes."

I wasn't buying it. "Right. Where do you work? CHURCH?"

He gazed at me for a long instant. Then, "Yes."

"Fuck. You're not a priest, are you?"

He laughed, "No, but I've known a few...."

(So have I.)

"Oh, wait. You said you were a musician before. Do you have to sing in the choir somewhere?"

"No, but I do have to perform. I play the organ."

About a dozen jokes, all ending with a rimshot, ran through my mind.

"The organ, where?" I ran a mental checklist of all the major churches in San Francisco.

Watch Guy then named a very prominent and large church.

"Jesus Christ!"

Watch Guy laughed, "Yeah, I call him my hood ornament."

I was impressed, "So, you're gonna leave this sex party, at the crack of dawn on the Lord's day, after having your hand up some guy's ass, and go play Jesus' organ for all the good Christians?"

"Yup, wanna come?"

And man, OH man, did I want to go. Just to sit there and hear this guy play the entrance processional. Knowing where those doubly-talented hands had just been.

"So what you open with? Do you have a set list? Do you take requests?"

Watch Guy laughed as he reached for his bag of clothes, "I usually open with "Holy, Holy, Holy", but that depends on what the Bishop or Cardinal has chosen. So, you coming? We can get breakfast after mass."

"I'll come, but on one condition."

"What?"

"I want to you to play Funkytown."

"Funkytown?"

"Not the whole thing, that would be asking too much. Just enough to recognize the melody. Two bars maybe," I said.

"Two bars? That would be 'buh-bum, buh-bum bum, buh-bum-bum, buh-bum'."

"Right!"

"That's too much, people would recognize it."

"Then forget it, that's the whole point. I want "Funkytown", or I'm not coming."

The guy getting dressed next to Watch Guy overheard that, and raised his eyebrows, "You guys are some kinky fuckers!"

I slipped Watch Guy my card and he promised to call or email me later. He gave me a hug and disappeared up the stairs into the cold morning fog.

He never did contact me, of course.

And I still have his watch, of course.

And if by chance you read this, Watch Guy, and you want your watch back, email me at the address on that old card.

In the subject line, put "Funkytown."


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GB:NYC2

What's gayer than a roomful of gay bloggers?

How about a roomful of gay bloggers in an off-Broadway bar?

Like a swarm of digital locusts, gay bloggers from around the country, far too many to list or link here, are descending on Manhattan this weekend.

With Blackberrys, cell phones and iBooks in hand, the weekend kicks off Friday night at Barrage, the Hell's Kitchen saloon a couple of blocks from Times Square.

Organized by Dallas blogger Mark, of Zeitzeuge, this weekend cavalcade of photoblogging, vlogging, moblogging, and ho-blogging even enjoys a commemorative t-shirt, available here.

If you want to meet, greet or beat some of your most favorite or most hated bloggers, show up at Barrage around 8pm. I'll be cowering in the corner, with a diet beer.

Monday, May 02, 2005

From The Mouths

My niece, almost 4, about whom I've spoken before, had this conversation with my sister last weekend.

Alicia: When Uncle Joe comes, is he bringing his girlfriend?

Mama: No honey, remember I told you Uncle Joe is gay? He likes boys.

Alicia (brightly): Oh! Is he bringing his boyfriend then?

Mama: No sweetie. Uncle Joe doesn't have a boyfriend.

Alicia: Why not?

Mama: I don't know honey. You'll have to ask Uncle Joe.

Alicia (sadly): Is it...is it because he's fat?



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