Monday, November 07, 2005

The Shopping

Third in a series dedicated to proving I am undatable.

Gentle readers, I am completely gay. As gay as the day is long. Gayer than the kick line of chorus boys in 42nd Street. Gayer than listening to Ricky Martin while driving your Miata to Provincetown. Gayer than wearing a Prada unitard to your step-aerobics class at David Barton Gym.

And yet, I hate to shop.

I hate it with the heat of a thousand white-hot suns. I hate it the way I hate when pianos fall off of cranes and land on my head. I hate it the way I hate having a rope looped around one ankle and being dragged down a sharp gravel road and then having my road rash doused with flesh-eating bacteria.

When there is something I need, I have a very revolutionary method of handling that situation. I figure out where that item is likely to be, then I go there and get it. I don't window shop, I don't typically check what other stores have exactly the same item for possibly a dollar less. I walk in, select item, pay, return home. I know it's not entirely cost-effective, in some cases, but it is sanity-effective, for me.

I should probably single out clothes shopping in this post, because gay men probably like clothes shopping more than anything else in the world, outside of watching porn in the nude on the sofas of men they just met on Manhunt. Most of my friends would be hard pressed to describe a more delightful afternoon than one spent traipsing from boutique to discounter to department store, whimsically trying on things that they don't need, while always keeping an eye out for something they didn't know that they wanted.

However, for ME, an afternoon spent in that kind of torture and I'm completely ready to confess any crime. Seriously, the CIA would only have to confine me at the opening morning of the Barney's Warehouse Sale, and I'd give up every one of my Al-Qaeda contacts. I'd sing like a canary. I'd tell you anything you wanted to know, just let me out of this store!

My needs are simple. I don't need to shop for shoes, because I already have 5 pairs. All black. Work shoes, gym shoes, dress shoes, snow boots, combat (disco) boots. When one pair wears out, I replace it with the exact same pair, or the closest thing I can find to it. I don't need to shop for jeans, because I already have a couple of dozen pairs. I only wear Levi's or Lee's, and I don't see why the ones I already have won't last me another 10 years or so, at least. As for shirts, I refuse wear anything with a label mark on it. No Polo's, no alligators, etc. If you can tell who made it, I won't wear it. I like very simple shirts. For example, when Old Navy came out with a new line of ringer-T's this summer, I bought one in every color they offered. Summer clothes shopping? Done!

Another thing gay men love to do is go "art shopping". Which actually means "art looking", because of all the galleries I've been dragged to by dates and boyfriends, I can only think of one time that an item was actually purchased, and that item ended up being left in a foreign city because it wouldn't fit into the suitcase. I'll admit, I have a low tolerance for most art. I find a lot of it pretentious.

Artist (sweeping grandly with his hand): "And this, is of course the central piece of the installation, expressing the futility of hope, the emptiness of existence, the meaninglessness of life itself."

Me (flatly): "It's a used up tube of toothpaste."

Artist (nodding solemnly): "Precisely."

Disclosure: I have never owned an original work of art. But I've also never owned a black-lacquer framed Nagel print, and I bet most of you queens reading this can't say THAT.

Since I have a sort of Zen aesthetic when it comes to my home, it should be no surprise that I hate shopping for tchotchkes more than anything else. So please for the love of Lucy, don't ask me go candle shopping. Or glass figurine shopping. Or flower vase shopping. And please don't ask me to hover nearby while you coo and point into the window of some beat up consignment shop at their "gorgeous assortment of vintage glass pieces." The worst part about this kind of shopping is that it often results in going to the three most hellish places on earth: 1) a flea market, 2) a junk store, 3) a garage sale. Kill me, kill me, kill me. Seriously, if you'd like to see my brain slowly seep out of my ear holes, lock me in an antiques store.

To recap, shopping with me means this: quick, focused, result-oriented trips to a single destination with only very rare detours. No visits to anyplace that sells anything that isn't brand new. No window shopping, no sale-flyer-in-hand shopping, no grand openings, no going out of business sales. See why I'm alone?

(Previously: The Eating)
(Next: The Watching)


Grand Central Glory

This bit of glorious fabulosity is the ramp that leads down into the enormous food court on the lower track level of Grand Central. Unlike mall food courts, the one in Grand Central features mini outposts of some famous local restaurants like Junior's (cheesecake!), Two Boots Pizza, and Little Pie Company. You won't find a Chick-Fil-A down there.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Parking Space

The East Village, 1st Avenue near E.10th Street

A woman is attempting to parallel park her SUV on 1st Avenue. Amused diners seated outside at an Italian restaurant watch as the woman repeatedly rocks her vehicle back and forth into the spot. It's about her 6th or 7th cut as I'm walking by, and I notice that she is conducting this exercise with only one hand on the wheel, as she has a cell phone pressed to her ear with the other hand.

Her hair is flipping around her face as she whirls her head back and forth checking her mirrors, chatting on her cell animatedly, while her driving hand darts back and forth between the steering wheel and the gearshift. Finally satisfied with being almost mostly in the space, she turns the vehicle off. But when she takes her foot off the brake, her vehicle burps forward and delivers a resounding thump to the car in front, triggering that car's alarm.

The bumped car's apparent owner happens to be seated outside the Italian restaurant. He stands up and silences the alarm with a sharp, annoyed gesture. He remains standing, expectant. We all wait for the woman to exit her SUV, presumably embarrassed, presumably contrite, but instead she flounces down from the cab, checks her hair in her side mirror for a second, and without a glance towards her audience, moves briskly down the sidewalk towards St. Mark's Place.

Not three seconds pass before the bumped man shouts after her, "Hey, you dumb broad! You're ALREADY driving while FEMALE, you shouldn't make things WORSE by talking on the phone too!"

The woman doesn't turn around, but we can all hear her. "Sit down and eat yer fuckin' meatballs!"

Sometimes, I love New York City.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Eating

Second in a series dedicated to proving that I am undatable.

I will eat just about anything.

Anything cooked, that is. Sushi aside, I enjoy every cuisine. Hunan, Tuscan, Martian, whatever. Put it in front of me and I'll eat it. But the period before it gets put in front of me is a problem, you see. I hate to wait for food. It drives me unreasonably mad. When told of a 30 minute wait at a so-so restaurant, I'd rather go next door to McDonald's and eat right away. And I certainly have no snobbish issues about eating at an Olive Garden or an Applebees, both of which I rather like.

When told of an hour wait at a 'good' restaurant, which more often than not is a manufactured or built-in period meant to steer customers to their expensive bar, I'd still rather get fast food right away. I don't mind the period between ordering the food and the food arriving, within reason. After all, I'm comfortably seated, I have a drink, I have my company. But waiting in the cow herd at the bar or worse, at the front door, that I cannot do.

Another thing I cannot do is cook. Never learned. I have successfully made spaghetti in the past, but friends have advised me that softening egg noodles and soaking them with Ragu does not qualify as "cooking". Therefore I have "made" spaghetti much like I have "made" bowls of cereal.

Cooking angries up my blood, seriously. Even the afore-mentioned spaghetti making enraged me quite irrationally, as during boiling the water all I could think of was how there were hundreds of things to eat, right downstairs, right on my block, and THEY were ready, right fucking now! I used to say that my cooking skills consisted of three words: "Vent With Fork", but even those days of happy microwaving are now behind me as my beloved Marie Callendar, whom I used to refer to as 'my personal chef', has gone all complicated on me. Remove sauce packet, set aside. Remove chicken bre---ARRGH! It's too much!

So there will be NO delicious, lovingly prepared home meals at my place. In my last apartment, the oven was filled with books, just as the oven in my new place will be, as soon as I can get the super to come up and shut off the gas. For the record, I do have plates and glasses, because sometimes you need to re-plate the take-out food. Don't ask me where my silverware is, I know I have some somewhere, but if the restaurant did its job, there's a spork in the bag! My fridge usually contains three items: Budweiser, soda, and condiments.

Now, to the delicate topic of "foodies". You know who you are. You, who wax eloquent over the rapture of "pan-seared salmon in a lightly buttered taragon reduction sau"ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ---sorry, were you SAYING something? Two of my dearest friends are self-admitted foodies, and I've been accused of "tyrannical" behavior because I wouldn't devote an extra two hours on a meal that I wasn't interested in having. Really, all that fuss. It's all just meat and vegetables.

Five days a week, I have breakfast and lunch at my office desk. I used to go out into the wilds of Manhattan to scavenge for my lunch, but I grew weary of the bedlam of the typical midtown restaurants, which are only open for lunch, and therefore must crank out umpteen thousands of meals in 2 hours or so, just to turn a profit. There is lots of waiting in lines and lots of shouting and once I realized that most of the time I was just trucking the meal back to my office to eat in peace anyway, I may as well have it delivered. And thanks to the internets, I can order most of my meals with a single click, without have to scream my order over the phone to someone who just arrived from former Soviet Republic of Frikzakistan. Once, I couldn't understand why the order taker kept asking me about my "kitty cat." Kitty cat? KITTY CAT?? Oh. Credit card.

To recap, eating with me mean this: lots of fast food, only take-out or delivery at home, nothing fresh in the fridge, and never ever anything that I've made myself. See why I'm alone?

(Previously: The Sleeping)
(Next: The Shopping)


A Met Life Morning

I already showed you folks the view from the eastern side of my office. This is the view facing north. It's a glorious fall morning in New York City.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Sleeping

First in a series dedicated to proving I am undatable.

I can sleep anywhere.

Anytime. Any way. I have slept soundly on the floor of a nightclub waiting for a friend's punk band to finish their set. I have slept soundly, flat on my back in the marble hallway of a busy airport terminal. I have slept on a transcontinental flight from before leaving the gate right until touchdown on the other side of the country. I can catnap in cars, on trains, or on the sofa in my office. I've even fallen asleep on a slow-moving ride at Disney World.

But I can't sleep with somebody else in the bed.

Which certainly means this: No Cuddling. Now, I'm as affectionate as the next person when I'm on my feet. But try and throw an arm around me while lying in bed, and the rest of the night will be spent with my huge unblinking eyes staring into the darkness. I simply cannot sleep soundly with somebody touching me. Or with the potential of somebody touching me.

Oh, I doze off, but not for long. Nights spent with somebody else in my bed are an uncomical series of briefs naps, punctuated by brusque awakenings. I sleep with lots of pillows, usually an oversized one between my knees (for my sore back), and I flop around and move these pillows continuously all night. By morning, I'm usually teetering with half of my body hanging over the edge of the bed, as I've slowly squeezed myself away from the other person. I've had entire relationships collapse because of this. My inability to sleep with another body on top of me (and this includes cats and dogs too, for the record) is usually turned into psychobabble about fear of intimacy or self-loathing and whatever dude, but just get the fuck off of me!

Adding to my sleep issues is my preference of falling asleep with the television on. About half the time I do switch it off just as I start to nod off, but often I don't kill the tube until I wake up for one of my two trips to take a piss during the night. Not surprisingly perhaps, this too has been a sore point with others in the past, as has been my ability to sleep with the lights on, which doesn't bother me in the slightest. I've had boyfriends who were such fiendish light-phobes that they would put electrical tape over the blinding ready-light on my VCR, or they would stuff towels under the crack of my bedroom door to stifle that torturous beam of hallway light.

And finally, somehow in the last 10 years, I have become a morning person. I no longer own an alarm clock, because no matter what time (or in what condition) I fall asleep, I wake up around 6:30am. Some mornings, I'll just lie there and mull the upcoming day until it's time to get ready for work, but most days I'll turn the TV on and watch the morning news. Apparently, watching the 7:00am news or clacking loudly on my computer keyboard or making a bowl of cereal before the sun comes up, is very annoying to most people. But what can you do when you live in a Manhattan-sized studio apartment? It's not like I can go into the other fucking room. I've actually been told that the polite thing to do would be to sit quietly in the dark for the several hours it takes for the other person to wake up.

To recap, sleeping with me means this: no cuddling, lots of moving around, bright lights, television sound, and waking with the sun. See why I'm alone?

(Next: The Eating)


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Taste Test With Mike And Joe

MIKE: Did you see what Diane got at her bridal shower yesterday? Bubble-gum flavored lube.

JOE: Bubble-gum? Yuck. I've never understood the flavored lube phenomenon. Who the fuck is buying this stuff?

MIKE: Freaks, that's who. I know I don't want my junk tasting like non-fat decaf cappucino or blueberry cheesecake!

JOE: Or raspberry vinaigrette. That lube is so Olive Garden.

MIKE: Totally the house lube for tossing salad. What would be the worst lube flavor ever?

JOE: Sushi, no question.

MIKE: I don't know, a little California Roll on my cucumber might be nice.

JOE: How about with wasabi?

MIKE: Ha, yowtch!

JOE: (suddently thoughtful) Hmm, come to think of it, maybe a little BBQ sauce flavor might be nice.

MIKE: For a really big date, maybe.

JOE: Oh no, for a really big date, I'd start with black truffle mousseline, then a palate-cleansing raspberry sorbet before I'd segue into a fig chutney and finish up with something sweet, maybe a nice dab of carmel-cream.

MIKE: I'm so hungry.


The Reasons I'm Wrong For You

"If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people."

- Virginia Woolf

The above quote was provided to me on October 6th, one day after I posted a list called The Ones That Were Wrong For Me. The person who sent me that quote was one of the three "wrong for me" guys on that list who have contacted me since I made that post. Whoops. Who knew those guys even remembered me, much less had found this blog and then found themselves talked about on it? Seriously, I haven't seen any of them in almost 10 years.

In any case, I was thrice mortified.

All three of my correspondents suggested that while they did have the issues that I mentioned in my post, that I certainly was no issue-free, neurosis-free, quirk-free garden of roses. Accordingly, and at the vehement request of one of my victims, I will begin a series of posts wherein I will recount all the reasons I was wrong for them, and most probably wrong for just about anybody. I have been single for many years, and likely always will be, a prospect which I neither relish nor abhor, it just is what it is.

I have broken these issues down into broad lifestyle categories, and will post one per day, for about ten days, or until I run out of reasons that I'm wrong for everybody. The first one will go up later today.