Monday, February 28, 2005

Danny And The Fat Girl

I was crossing 23rd Street at 8th Avenue. The heart of Chelsea, the biggest gayborhood in NYC.

The pelting snow caused me to hold my head tilted down, so I'm not sure why I noticed that the approaching car wasn't slowing down for the red light. I stopped in the middle of the street just as its brakes locked, the car sliding forward and fully straddling the crosswalk.

When the car finally stopped, I found myself standing inches away from the driver's window. I stared at her for just a few seconds, didn't make a face, not really, I just let her know that I wasn't happy with her driving. I turned to my left and walked around the front of the vehicle, almost in the path of the 8th Avenue traffic.

And as I crossed the front of the car, I glanced at the overweight driver and her equally large passenger just in time to see the driver curl her lips and say, "Oh, get OVER it, FAGGOT!"

Perhaps the fact that I heard her at all had to do with the dampening effect that snow can have on city sounds, or maybe because it was late at night and there was less traffic noise, or maybe it was because I was looking directly at her and could read her lips. After she said it, she turned to her passenger and high-fived her, and they both giggled.

I seethed.

I was just about to step foot on the far curb when I spun around impulsively, strode over to the car and rapped very loudly on the passenger window.

"You're both FAT and ALONE.....and you ALWAYS WILL BE!!" I shouted.

The passenger shrank from the window and burst into tears, covering her face with her hands.

The driver shot me the bird and spun her wheels when the light changed. I stood there on the corner for a couple of minutes, feeling completely ashamed. What had come over me? Why did I respond so violently? Was it because they pegged me as gay, even in a swirling snowstorm? Maybe my red ski jacket was a bit, you know, much?

I should have felt triumphant, facing down my tormenters like that. Instead, I had a queasy feeling of deja vu. I walked for a few blocks, then it came to me....

Fort Lauderdale, 1985

I was part of a rowdy pack of clubbers who regularly found each other on the dance floors of Ft Lauderdale's hottest spots....Backstreet and The Copa.

In our group was a guy named Danny.

Danny was tall, 25 years old and perfectly average looking. However, he was convinced that he was ugly. He'd stand with us at the bar and gaze longingly at the beautiful go-go dancers or some handsome bartender and moan on and on about his appearance.

"Look at him! Just look at him! No wonder I'm alone, how could I compete with that? I could go to the gym for ten hours a day and I'd still have this face."

We'd all roll our eyes and pooh-pooh his self-assessment and say vague, reassuring things...but basically we'd just wish he'd shut the fuck up about it. He was NOT, as I said...ugly.

One night Danny and I were leaning over the second floor balcony at Backstreet, watching the crowd beneath us roil and swirl. Danny started in on his painfully familiar "nobody likes me" patter.

"All those guys down there, and not one for me."

I didn't say anything. I was completely over his whining.

"I need to find a really ugly place to live, somewhere I can finally stand out."

I looked at him, "Why don't you try a dyke bar? You'll stand out there."

I was only half-joking. Danny looked at me sadly, "You just don't know what it's like."

I said, "Do you see ME with anybody tonight? Everybody feels alone some of the time."

He shook his head, "You just don't get it. This is IT for me, this HERE" he said, indicating the dance floor. "This is the best it will be for me, looking down at the party...but not being part of it at all. It's just so fucking frustrating."

"Well, go on down there and dance by yourself. MAKE yourself part of it." I said.

"Oh, right. That's easy for YOU to say. What are you, like 20 years old?"

I knew that I was actually a few months older than Danny. The night he turned 25 he'd tortured us with self-pitying comments all night. I figured it was time for some payback.

And so I replied, "I'm 35."

Danny put his hand on his chest, "What? You're 35?"

I said, "Oh, yeah. 35. Just turned. Wanna see my ID?" and I made a motion of reaching for my wallet."

Danny's hands fell to his sides, "You are 35? I always thought you were younger than me. Really...35? And you look like THAT? And I'm 25 and I ...."

I shrugged and turned back to the rail. A few minutes later some friends grabbed me and pulled me down to the dance floor. I looked up to see Danny watching me.

A few weeks later I ran into a friend at the gym. He put his weights down when he saw me and rushed over.

"Did you hear about Dan?"

I said, "What? Dan? Dan who?"

"Dan, you know...Danny. He hangs out with us sometimes? Tall guy?"

"Oh, right. What about him?"

"Killed himself. His roommate said he came home from t-dance at Backstreet and swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. I only heard about it last night at the bar. Everybody was talking about it."

I started to get dizzy. Was it possible that my little joke on Danny pushed him over the edge? Was I somehow responsible? Was I...the last straw? I put my street clothes back on and left the gym.


I've thought about Danny from time to time over the years. Sometimes I've been able to convince myself that I had nothing to do with Danny's suicide. Clearly, the guy was severely depressed. But usually, I'd try to force myself not to think about him at all. It's not like we were ever anything more than casual bar acquaintances.

Hell, I never even knew his last name.

But the fat girl in the car...the passenger, I never knew her at all. And yet I saw her explode into instant weeping, after a few cruel well-aimed words from a stranger.

It feels sickenly familiar. I really hope I didn't just pull another Danny.

I suck sometimes, you know?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

And The Winner Is.....Nobody

Hello, my name is Joe and I hate movies.

Whew. That was hard to say. I mean, c'mon on. A gay man admitting that he's not a huge movie fan? That's like a saggy-pants white kid at the mall admitting that he really doesn't, in fact, like rap.

It just isn't done.

I don't even own any movies, save a copy of "Moulin Rouge", which remains unwatched, in the drawer with the other crappy Xmas gifts of that year. And even though I've got at least 50 movie channels at home, I'd prefer to watch several at once, which is maddening to my guests.

And now the High Holy Day of gay fabulousity is upon us, the Oscars. All over the world, queens are flitting to the home stores and shitting themselves with worry that THEIR Oscars party will be outshone by some other catty bitch.

Actually, I enjoy the parties tremendously. The food, the booze, the bitchy banter. I just never have much to offer personally, in the way of opinions or predictions.

This year I have not seen ONE of the nominated films. Not one. Sorry, Don Cheadle. Sorry, Jamie Foxx. Sorry, Catalina Sandino Moreno Oh My.

Aviator? Feh.
Ray? Feh.
Kinsey? Feh.

Why don't they make a movie about someone ALIVE?

I suppose I lost my love for movies somewhere in the middle of my seven-year stint as a general manager for AMC Theatres. It was about the time I was running a seven screen art house in South Miami that I threatened to fly to France and punch Gerard Depardieu in his fat French nose if my film booker slated me with one more of his boring ass movies.

Even if you have 20 screens to run, the sameness of all the movies begins to really grate on your nerves. House 1, House 4, House 14: teen slasher movie. House 3, House 9, House 18: romantic comedy.


After seeing the same movie, over and over and over again, just with different actors and slightly different titles, I began to compile a list of movie genres that I will never see again.

1. Movies featuring mythical creatures or objects.

No elves, dragons, trolls, warlocks, unicorns, talking teapots or magic amulets, PLEASE.

Examples: Lord Of The Rings, Legend, Dragonslayer.

Exceptions: Movies about vampires or Satan (because they're sexy), and movies about aliens (because they might NOT be mythical!)

2. Movies about the Holocaust.

Yes, yes...I get it. Nazis=bad. I'm not about to pay someone $10.25 to make me feel crummy for three hours.

Examples: Schindler's List, Europa Europa, The Grey Zone.

Exceptions: none.

3. Movies featuring American/English actors using foreign accents.

Oh fucking hell, are these painful.

Example: Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It doesn't get much worse.

Exceptions: Peter Sellers movies, cuz he's like, MOCKING those accents.

"Hang on, Joe," I hear you all saying. "What about the brilliant Meryl Streep? What about SOPHIE'S CHOICE???"

And I say, "Hello? Asshat? Didn't you JUST read #2?"

4. Movies featuring body switching.

"Oh my god, I'm YOU!"..."Oh my god! You're ME!"

Examples: Freaky Friday, Vice Versa, The Hot Chick

Exception: The original Freaky Friday, cuz lil Jodie Foster was so darn cute.

5. Movies featuring talking animals and/or animals dressed as humans.

One long bad joke. "Did he just talk? He DID just talk! Wow, a talking pelican!"

Examples: Dr. Doolittle, Hot To Trot, Stuart Little

Exceptions: Movies where the animals ONLY talk to each other: Babe, Milo & Otis.

6.Movies known as "buddy pics".

A young maverick cop who breaks all the rules is partnered with a grizzled, jaded veteran. Together they withstand the verbal bashing of their boot-camp styled superior, and grudgingly earn each other's respect, while saving each other's lives along the way.

Examples: Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop and many many more.

Exceptions: none.

7. Movies directed by child molesters.

Woody Allen has put out the same movie the last 10 times. Beside being bored with that, I'm disgusted with his personal life and have decided to boycott ALL pederast-helmed flicks.

Examples: Tess, Manhattan, Frantic

Exceptions: Rosemary's Baby (see exceptions to #1)

Again, you dissent, "But Joe! What about Roman Polanski's Oscar winning "The Pianist?"

"Hello? Asshat? Didn't I JUST make you read #2 again?"

8. Movies about overcoming physical adversity.

Enter character. Witness his unfortunate problem. See his parents tortured by guilt. See him struggle with self-esteem and self-doubt. See him find peace with himself. Music swells, fade to black.

Examples: My Left Foot, Lorenzo's Oil, Children Of A Lesser God

Exceptions: The Miracle Worker, because you get the Helen Keller jokes.

9. Movies with misspelled titles.

Aren't kids stupid enough already?

Examples: Mo' Money, Mo' Betta Blues, He Hate Me

Exceptions: I don't mind movies with that use common slang, like the words "askin'" or "goin'". The "mo" thing really bugs me. If you don't like that, too bad, you suck anyway.

10. Movies using the "fish out of water" plot device.

Take main character. Place him in an alien social environment and watch hilarity ensue as he embarrases himself, yet wins the grudging respect of those in his new world. The same joke over and over, movie after movie.

Examples: Pretty Woman, Bringing Down The House, Legally Blond.

Exceptions: none.

Still here?

There are lots of other movies that didn't make my Hate Top 10, because they haven't pissed me off lately: musicals, costume dramas, martial arts, slasher pics, concert pics, among others.

And there ARE movies out there that I do like: spy thrillers, westerns, anything set under the sea or in outer space, John Waters films or anything that skewers pop culture, and anything featuring zombies, or the potential of zombies.

Anyway, if you're sitting next to me on Sunday night, don't listen to my opinions about who should win.

And keep the remote away from me.

Monday, February 21, 2005

No, I Don't

After about a hundred consecutive Saturday nights spent holding court at The Powerhouse, Darren was starting to bug me about doing something else.

"We could go out in the Castro..."


"We could go to Universe earlier."

"There won't be anyone there until 3am and you know it."

Darren and I had been partners in crime on the San Francisco scene for a couple of years. We did EVERYTHING together. We worked out together, took trips together, ate out, shopped. We were more than fuckbuddies, less than lovers. Everyone thought we were boyfriends, an opinion we were happy to let ride.

We certainly had plenty of sex together, although we had a lot more sex with others...albeit usually in each other's presence.

"How about we check out The Sling?"

"Is that still going?"

The Sling was a twice-monthly fisting party, held in a South of Market warehouse, run by a local chiropractor. He had cancelled the previously long-running watersports party in that same location, telling the regulars that his landlord had been complaining about damage to the walls and baseboards....but telling ME that he was just too repulsed by the clientele to even want to attend his own event. So, out went the troughs and tubs, and in went a dozen slings.

Personally, I don't have much interest in fisting. Certainly, none at all in BEING fisted, and not much more in doing it. I've always found that the guys who want to be fisted the MOST, are the guys with whom I enjoy it the least.

No challenge. GLOP. Like stepping thru the Stargate, but with less resistance. Reminds me of the tiny old psychic lady from Poltergeist, throwing the rope into the void: "STEVEN, NOT YET!!"

Darren explained that he'd run into Dr. Drake (his first name), on the street, and that he'd 'specifically invited us' to stop by The Sling.

"Oh, well. With a social obligation like THAT, how can we risk our standing in the community by NOT attending his fisting sex club?"

The next Saturday found us shivering in the vestibule of a dimly lit warehouse off of Dore Alley. Only a small flyer, taped to the door, had alerted us to the entrance. No street number, no name. Just a cartoon of a hairy fist and forearm, with sweat and lube droplets flying off. Classy.

After paying $20 each, and signing a frightenly long waiver of liability, we were ushered into a small seating area. The dress code appeared to be: boots. We complied, and Darren led the way back into the dark.

The place had a simple set up: one main long hallway, five or six small rooms on each side. Prowling the hallway and rooms were a couple of dozen men, mostly out of shape, mostly much older than us, all of them unappealing. They were all naked (except for boots, of course) and each carried a small tub of Elbow Grease.

Inside each room: two slings, two stools, two waist-high tables.

Also inside each room: two insanely unattractive old men, swaying slightly in their slings, as they craned their necks to evaluate us, when we peered in.

Darren and I took two complete tours of the premises, then returned to the dressing area where we could speak and compare notes.

I grimaced at Darren, "Well, THAT was worth $40!"

Darren shrugged, "Maybe we caught it on a bad night, I don't think Drake would have invited us, if he didn't think there'd be something here for us."

"Maybe, he certainly should know our taste by now," I said.

Darren pointed out a large red sign over the hallway entrance that we hadn't noticed when we first came in:

Do NOT enter a sling without YOUR top present!
Slings are meant for PLAYING, not PRAYING!
We will NOT tolerate sling lizards!

Clearly, a house rule that was not being enforced.

Just then, I became aware of being stared at from across the room.

He was about my age, short military haircut, handsome and extremely muscular. I guessed him to be German, judging from his cruel, tiny, angular eyewear. The moment I met his gaze, he strode purposefully up to me, pierced cock tapping the top of his boots.

"I zee you look at me and I zee you like the bodies", he boomed.

Um, what?

"You like the bodies and you like the better bodies, yezzz?," he continued.

Darren and I decided on the spot that we would find the poor English of this horse-hung, handsome bodybuilder utterly charming.

Darren said, "We like your body, sure."

I moved in, "Do you like this place?"

See, I'm already angling for us to snatch this prize right out of the joint, out of the Elbow Grease'd claws of the patrons, who were now hungrily gathering, and a little too closely at that.

The German directly his attention strictly on me: "You like me, yezz? I zink maybe for me you have the hot shit?"

Do I think this living Tom of Finland sketch is hot shit?

Me: "Oh, yeah look amazing!"

Him (clearly frustrated and shouting, a bit): "VELL? DO YOU???"

Me: "Do I what?"


Darren sprang to his feet: "Ooooooooo Kaaaaaaay. Joe, are you ready to head back over to Powerhouse?"

"Yes, Darren...we REALLY should get OUT of here!"

Darren zipped over to the coat check with our claim tickets.

The German never said another word. He just stood there watching us struggle to get our boots off, pants on, boots back on.

It seemed to take forever.

Originally posted May 11th, 2004

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Five Letter Word (starts with a 'K')

"Joe, it's Ed. Listen, we're just about to go into the theatre so my cell phone is gonna be off for the next few hours. Why don't you just plan on meeting us at Barracuda at 11? Michael says you know where it is. We'll meet you there, and we can figure out what to do next. OK sweetie, see you there. Bye."

Barracuda? Damn.

Of course I knew where Barracuda was. Back before Michael and Ed were together, Michael and I got totally shitfaced there, over several hours of Cosmos. Micheal spent most of that time flirting with the sexy bartender, who plied us with free drinks. I, however, spent most of that time trying to avoid the disdainful eyes of the very young patrons.

Located in the heart of the gayborhood, Barracuda is perhaps the MOST Chelsea of the Chelsea bars. Populated entirely by young hot things, wearing the timelessly gay combination of current fashion and raging attitude, Barracuda is not the most comfy place for a middle-aged guy like me.

So while Michael got on famously with said sexy bartender (whom he ending up spending the rest of the weekend fucking), I sat one barstool away, so that it was clear to the bartender that we weren't a package deal. And while I sat there, I watched patron after patron check me out as they sailed by.

And it almost always went like this:

First glance: "Oh, he's new!"
Second glance: "Ugh, he's old!"

And if there was a third glance: "Oh, God! He's not looking at ME, is he?"

I didn't begrudge them from recoiling from appearance. In fact, it made ME feel guilty, for two reasons.

First of all, I felt guilty for invading their happy party space. Anybody NOT reflecting the general peppy vibe and energy in a room is pulling that vibe down. But mostly, I felt guilty because I identified with them so strongly. Especially the ones who gave me the most withering visual dismissals.

Because, you see, I used to be Just.Like.That.

Orlando, 1977-1983 or so. The Parliament House.

I'd be standing at the bar with all my friends when some hideous, scaley, decrepit OLD pervert (who was probably the age I am RIGHT NOW), would walk by us.

I'd grab my friends by the arm and say, "Gross! Did you see that old thing look at us? Please, PLEASE you guys...if I'm STILL going to GAY BARS when I'm all old and used up like that guy, please just fucking KILL ME!"

And my friends would all nod and agree and we'd make some sort of group suicide pact in case we were still going to gay bars when we were 40 years old.

Of course, what I was really saying was, "Please God, let me have my shit together and be happy and settled down and not be relentlessly trolling around gay bars every night and bothering young hot things like me for sex at an age when I actually AM, in fact, a troll."

Sometimes, I'm not proud to say, I'd actually shout over the music, fighting to be heard over Donna Summer or Sylvester.

"Get out! Pervert! You're ruining our good time!"

These guys probably never heard me, of course. And they were probably never interested in ME, anyway, of course. It's just an aspect of living in a small town (as Orlando used to be) that gay people don't have the option of self-segregating into bars that cater to their ages or interests.

Back to present day.

I went to Barracuda to meet Michael and Ed that night, arriving about thirty minutes early, because I wanted to head them off before they ordered a drink, so that we could get out of there the minute they arrived.

I ordered a beer from that same sexy bartender, took a seat on a barstool and kept an eye on the door. Even at that relatively early hour, the place was crowded. Mobbed, in fact. Pretty young boys were pouring in the door in an endless stream of Diesel jeans and skin-tight Abercrombie t-shirts, their hair spiked high with shiny gel.

The cute DJ had the room jumping to some great high energy tunes, and glamourous drag queens worked the crowd, pausing to accept compliments and air kisses. Beyonce, whom I suppose could be considered the Donna Summer of this generation, was breathily covering "Love To Love You, Baby", and I watched with great amusement while the sweet young things recreated moves that I assume they learned from the video. The bartenders would occasionally look at each other and sing whatever song what playing and act completely, unselfconsciously silly.

And as I sat there, taking in all this true, collective joy...I began to relax and enjoy myself. I stopped avoiding people's eyes and began to smile. And I started to think to myself, "You know, this place isn't so bad. If I were 25, I'd probably come here ALL the time! Yeah, this would probably be MY hangout!"

But then.

Two handsome guys, both in their mid-20s, collided in front me.

First Guy: "David, thank GOD you are here!!"

David: "Why, what's the matter?"

First Guy: "Honey, you've got to save me, some HIDEOUS old troll is hitting on me!"

David: "Oh no! We'll put a stop to that. Where is she?"

For a moment here, I feared that First Guy was gonna turn and point at ME, even thought I'd never laid eyes on him before. So I was relieved when his accusing finger pointed past me, over to the other side of the room, where a guy...a totally normal looking, not scary guy...was minding his own business playing pinball.

First Guy: "That's him over there."

David: "You've got to be kidding. HE hit on YOU?"

First Guy: "I know! Can you imagine the nerve? I nearly threw up running away!"

David: "I'm nearly throwing up just looking at him from HERE!"

First Guy: "And what's he doing in here anyway? Look at him! He must be a MILLION years old!"

David: "No shit, he's at LEAST 40!"

It does, indeed, come around.

(edit: folks, the comment field is loading VERY slowly today, thanks for hanging on until they do! -joe)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Digital Player

Harlem. 125th Street. The 6 train platform.

I'm standing next to a young man, watching as he furtively checks out an attractive young woman leaning against a nearby pillar, nodding her head to her iPod. The young man is wearing over-sized Ecko jeans that exclaim "World Famous" on the back pocket. His denim jacket is a similarly too big, a Tommy Hilfiger. The young woman is wearing canvas tennis shoes with the Coach logo imprinted on them, and a low-slung Juicy Couture jogging suit.

The train arrives and I follow the two of them onto the car. Despite it being crowded, I find myself a seat next to the door. The young man has managed to position himself facing the young woman, they're both holding onto the same pole, their hands only inches apart.

The young man smiles at the young woman and nods towards the iPod in her free hand.

"What you rockin?"

She pulls one earphone out and says, "Excuse me?"

"What you rockin' there?"

"Alicia Keys," she replies and turns the screen for him so see.

"Naw, I mean what you playing it on?"

She looks confused. "This?" She holds it up again. "It's an iPod?" She ends that statement with an upwards inflection, implying that she considers the question a bit silly.

"Oh, I hearda dat. Who make it?"

"Apple?" Again with the upward inflection, delivered this time with an incredulous look.

"Cool," he nods.

She starts to put the earpiece back in, but he stops her.

"What you pay for it?"

"Oh, this was a gift."

"Your boyfriend buy that for you?"

A knowing look flits across her face. "No. I got it from my parents for Christmas. I think they paid about $300 for it."

"How many songs you got on there?"

"Um, about 300 I guess, but it holds a thousand...I just haven't..."

He looks impressed. "A thousand? That's a lot of jams! How long do the battery last?"

She looks at her iPod and frowns, "I think about eight hours, but I recharge it everyday."

"Oh, so it got rechargeable batteries?"

"Yeah. There's this plug thing, you know, like a cell phone."

"OK, I get it. Maybe I should get me one, you could show me how to work it," he says with a expansive grin.

She smiles back, "I'm sure you could figure it out all by yourself."

"Naw, baby. I'm no good with that computer stuff. I'm old school, ya know what I mean. Maybe I just ain't smart enough," he says, tapping his temple with his index finger.

She laughs, "Well, that's a first, a man telling me he isn't smart."

"That's why I gotta find me a smart female to help me out, ya know what I'm sayin?"

The next stop is announced, Hunter's College, 68th Street. The young woman puts her iPod into her jacket pocket.

"This is my stop."

The young man looks worried. "So, I can get your number, baby? You can show me all how to work that thang you got."

They both laugh.

She says, "Why don't you give me YOUR number, and I'll call you sometime."

"I don't got no cell phone, gimme your number, I'll call you from my crib."

She looks skeptical. "A player like YOU doesn't have a cell phone?"

The train was starting to put on the brakes. His time running out, the young man blurts out, "Baby, I ain't no player. I'm just trying to get by and take care of business for me and my moms."

"You take care of your mother? That's so sweet!"

The train doors open. The young man opens both hands towards the young woman and she starts to put her iPod back on. "So I don't get no number? C'mon baby!"

She stops and says "You're not gonna remember it anyway and I don't have time to write it down."

"I'll remember it! For real!"

She laughs, shaking her head doubtfully. "OK,'s 917-XXX-XXXX."

The doors shut between them as the young man shouts, "Cool! I got it! I'll call you!"

I turn to watch the young woman through the window. She puts her earphones back in, and doesn't glance up from her iPod as the train moves away.

When she is out of sight, the young man jams his hand into his front pocket, pulls out a cell phone and deftly taps at the keyboard. He returns it to his pants pocket with a satisfied smile. From his jacket pocket, he pulls out an iPod and puts the earphones on. He slumps back against the pole, his index finger moving expertly over the controls as he picks out a tune.

I wonder if it's Alicia Keys.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


For queers living in San Francisco, weekend getaways to the Russian River are the things that define the summer. Just a 90 minute drive north over the Golden Gate Bridge, is a serene wonderland of cascading mountain streams, rippling vineyards, heart-stopping mountain vistas, and redwood trees that tower impossibly high over quaint log cabins.

And every summer weekend, the gays take that pristine scene and turn it into a two day bachannalia of disco, drugs, and fucking in the woods. It's what we do. The Russian River is San Francisco's Fire Island. Its Rehoboth Beach. Its Provincetown. Only without the elitist cachet of "shares." And with the non-elitist cachet of "rednecks".

One glorious summer Saturday morning, my friends and I packed up my Honda Civic with the necessary supplies to survive two days in the wilderness: water, beer and disco CDs.

Next to me in the front seat was my fuckbuddy Darrin. In the back, our good friend Larry and his new boyfriend Ron. Larry was a pilot for America West, we'd only met Ron a couple of weeks earlier. Darrin and I were worried that it might be a little weird to have Ron along on this trip, Larry tended to be the catalyst of our little group, and we were pretty sure than having a boyfriend along would tone down Larry's behavior, which we did not want to happen.

Traffic was pretty bad before we even got near the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, as half of the city began the Weekend Flee. We inched our way up the crawling on-ramp and rolled the windows down to enjoy the brisk ocean breeze. Larry launched into a hilarious account of a near disaster on one of his recent flights. Only Larry could make the almost-crash of a 747, including the words "violent explosive cabin decompression" into a funny story.

He was just finishing up the story, when Darrin snapped his cell-phone shut and shushed us.

"Get out of this lane, we have to turn around," he said.

I hadn't even noticed him answer his phone. "Why? What's happened?"

"That was Mike, he wants to go now," Darrin replied.

Mike had been looking after his ex-lover, Dennis, during his final stages of AIDS. For the last few months his life had been turned upside down while he shuttled Dennis between home and hospitals, and finally into a hospice. Dennis' final weeks had been particularly gruesome, and while none of us had known him, we were quietly relieved for Mike when Dennis mercifully passed away.

And although we didn't really think that Mike would be up for a weekend at the River so soon, we invited him just so he knew we were thinking of him. And as expected, Mike had declined.

"Mike changed his mind? Fantastic!," I exclaimed, as I started squeezing the car over to turn us around.

"Who's Mike?" Ron said. He sounded a bit petulant.

Larry started to give Ron a quick rundown of Mike and his recent situation.

Ron interrupted, "So we're gonna turn around NOW? We've already been on the road for 20 minutes!"

Darrin and I exchanged looks in the front seat.

Larry said, "Well, we did invite him. It's not that big a deal to go back and get him."

Ron slumped back dramatically, "Well, I just HOPE that we get up there in time for me to get some sun!"

Darrin rolled his eyes at me. I tried to get a happy banter going in the car on the way to Mike's, but there was definitely ice forming between Larry and his new beau.

Mike was standing on the sidewalk in front of his building on Market Street. I pulled into the bus lane, Mike tossed his backpack into the trunk and took the front seat when Darrin hopped in the back with Larry and Ron. I repointed Jane north, and we were off again. (Yes, I named my car "Jane". Get it? It was a Honda? JANE HONDA? Oh, forget it.)

Traffic was moving quickly until we got onto the bridge, where it came to a near-dead stop. Some idiot dressed as Superman was standing on the city side of the bridge waving at cars and holding up a sign advertising some website. Ah, the heady days of the dot-boom!

As we crawled past Superman we could see that his tights were insanely, well, tight.

"Jesus, you can totally see his cock!," Larry said.

Darrin laughed, "No kidding. Superman looks very SUPER this morning!"

Ron chimed in, "SuperCock! Able to leap tall drag queens in a single bound! More powerful than a line of crystal!"

He leaned out of the window and shouted, "Heeeeeeey Superman! I sure could use a Man Of Steel around MY house!"

Superman lowered his sign and waved at us uncertainly, his smile fading.

We all cracked up. Except Mike. He'd been almost totally silent since we'd picked him up. I wanted to ask him how he was doing with the Dennis thing, but decided to wait until we were alone up at the River.

Darrin leaned forward and tapped me, "Hey Joe! If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?"

I thought about it a second, "I don't know, flying? Invisibility?"


That was Ron. I turned around part-way and said, "OK, smartass. What would YOUR gay-ass superpower be?"

Ron smiled, "My GAY superpower? Now that IS a good question! If we were gay superheroes, what would our GAY superpowers be?"

Darrin said, "I'm with Joe, flying. Definitely flying."

Larry jumped in, "What so gay about flying? Everybody would want to fly. What would your GAY superpower be? Pick something uniquely gay."

Ron got excited. "I know! I know! I want to be able to go to one of those week-long circuit parties, you know, like Winter Party? And go to every event and to the beach everyday and do tons of drugs and stay up fucking and dancing the entire time....and STILL LOOK FABULOUS!"

Everyone agreed that that was a very gay superpower.

Darrin said, "I'd like to be able to get hard instantly, ya know...and fuck as long and as often as I wanted to."

"Not gay," scolded Ron. "Every man in the world wants that."

"OK," countered Darrin. "How about if I have to power to make OTHER MEN hard when they see ME?"

"Excuse me, I happen to already have THAT power," Ron purred.

"Oh, puh-leeze Mary. You wish!," snapped Larry.

In the rear-view mirror, I saw Ron give Larry an astonished look.

"Good for you, Larry," I thought. Ron had been a whiny bitch all morning, and I knew that after this trip, Larry would be cutting him loose.

Ever the peace-maker, Darrin shifted the attention to me. "Joe, what's yours? Let me guess, you want to be able to make the DJs at clubs always play the song you are thinking of?"

I laughed, "Actually, that would be a GREAT one for me! I'll take it. What's yours, Larry?"

Larry frowned. "Well, the uniquely gay requirement makes this harder, but I was thinking that maybe it'd be fun to be able to hurt people with my words. You know, see somebody dressed all wrong and say 'Oh, honey! What were you thinking with that shirt?' And then they'd get a little electric shock."

"That's horrible!" said Darrin.

"Maybe, honey...but I'd have this town dressing right in no time at all!"

Mike had been silent throughout all of this, looking out his window. I'd never seen him so withdrawn.

Ron jiggled Mike's seat from behind, "Well, how about you Mr. Front Seat Man? What's your gay superpower?"

Mike didn't answer.

Ron shook his seat again, "Come on....we know you have one. I'm sure it's something freaky, you strong silent types always are! Tell us, tell us, TELL US!"

With each 'Tell us', Ron's voice had risen an octave until he was screeching. His final 'TELL US!' reverberated around the car. Mike clenched his jaw, his face reddening. I was starting to tell Mike to ignore Ron, when he spun around.

"You fucking wanna know MY superpower, you asshole? Let's see, you pathetic faggots have already taken fucking, dancing, drugs and bitching. What the fuck else is left in our world, anyway??" Mike screamed, his face twisted with anger.

Ron sat back, "Well excuse me for trying to bring you into the conversation."

Larry put a finger up to Ron's face, "Drop it, Ron."

"But I just-..."

"I said DROP IT!"

It was quiet for a minute. Mike's face was mask-like, but his eyes were full of tears. I reached over to put my hand on his leg, and he turned back around to face the backseat again.

"Actually, there is a gay superpower I wish I had."


"I wish I had a healing touch."

He turned back around and rolled his window down. Traffic cleared and we sped up onto the open road.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

Dylan's Dilemma

There once was a boy from Hell's Kitchen
Whose booty was terribly itchin'
Which man should he pick?
THAT one's got a big dick!
But damn, HE likes catchin', not pitchin'

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Dig, Pt.2

Faithful Readers: In the first episode of this story, "Dig, Pt.1", I named the main character after a blogger friend of mine, as a little joke. Oh, and I gave that character the same profession. Hilarious, right? Well, the joke's on me, because said blogger friend promptly fired back his OWN episode of "Dig", giving the second installment a twist I had NOT planned on. Here's real life archeologist Dr. Homer Theel as Joe.My.God.'s first guest blogger!

The ancient debris slid away from the polished aluminum surface.

"So dusty!" thought the professor, the dirt momentarily clouding his vision. He blinked away the crud and looked down into the tanning bed. To his amazement, there lay a perfectly preserved human form.

"Oh great Zena!" he whispered.

He'd heard of this phenomenon before. The depleted ozone and the high hydrocarbon particulates of the end of the Late Bush Dynasty had had a tendency to preserve rather than decay. Instead of a container of old, cracked bones, instead there was a man's body.

And what a body it was! Muscular, furry chest, slightly balding. Nude except for a small white towel lying across his groin.

Eric, standing beside the eminent archaeologist, blurted out, "Oh, professor! What a huge find!"

Mark, on the other side of the doctor, giggled, "You can say that again!"

He pointed to the white towel, "I think the correct terminology for the time period was 'well-hung'."

Theel frowned. Personally he thought Mark was rather a show-off, always pointing out all of the arcane details and slang he knew about ancient times. Pretty soon he would be jockeying for his teaching position. Time to bitch slap that boy!

"Now Mark, appearances can be deceiving." Theel reached down and lifted the towel up. The 21st century man was certainly.... well developed.

Eric gasped, "Well Doc, Mark's hypothesis has been proved correct!"

Mark beamed and the other students murmured as Theel's face turned bright red.

From behind the trio one of the android students intoned, "Dr. Theel, my biocensors are picking up hybernatic life signs from the individual."

Another android student scanned its databases, "Professor, with the correct medical procedures it will be possible to revive the 21st century hominid."

Regina squealed with excitement, jumping up and down and clapping her hands. Her thesis was on the lifeways of Manhattanites of this time period. Now she might have the opportunity to test her theories on a living person!

Unfortunately, while she jiggled and made high-pitched noises, she had forgotten that the dig was being broadcast live on Fox-CNN34 and several million viewers across the planet and on the lunar colony saw her in a most unflattering state. She was promptly voted off the field school and went on to a less than satisfying job as a waitress at the MicroApple McHooters Themepark.

"Call the biomedics!" Theel ordered and the androids complied.

In a jiffy a shuttlebulance arrived and a pair of well muscled men jumped out, carrying all sorts of interesting equipment. IVs were inserted and fluids administered. Eric was instructed to massage the heart area while Mark gave CPR. Monitors at first showed no response and Theel grew morose, thinking that the subject was too far gone. But suddenly the figure's leg quivered.

Eric and Mark drew back from the body.

The long-sleeping form coughed, spitting out some lint and dust. His eyes slowly opened and his hand reached up to wipe away six centuries of goop. Dr. Theel gazed down into the pale green eyes.

The professor spoke clearly and slowly in Archaic Americanglish, "Hello, can you understand me? I am Dr. Homero Theel of the archaeology department of el Universidad de Arizona y Nueva Mexico."

The man coughed again.

'Really,' thought Mark, 'for someone of that antiquity his breath wasn't that bad! I wonder if I could learn some Late Bush Dynasty mating rituals from him...' His revery was interrupted by the professor.

"Do you understand me?" asked Dr. Theel again. The man blinked and everyone grew tense as he seemed to be gathering strength.

Finally the man's mouth opened and he said loudly "Yeah, I hear you. I'm Joe. What the fuck is going on?"

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Tossed And Found

I was surprised to find a seat on the 6 train this morning. Sometimes I have to wait for several trains to pass by my station before I can even squeeze aboard, much less find seating.

I crossed the car, turned around and unslung my backpack from my shoulders, clumsily smacking it against the seat in front of me. As I sat down, I heard the unmistakable tinkling of glass.

Uh oh.

My first thought was that my glasses had fallen out of the netted pouch on the side of my backpack, and that I had SAT on them. Then I thought about my iPod.

Double uh oh.

Trying not to panic, I slid my left hand behind me and felt around.


I moved my hand further over towards the man next to me and felt under his coat. He looked over from his Financial Times and raised his eyebrows. I smiled weakly and removed my hand.

I shifted the backpack from my lap to the floor in front of me, and when I leaned forward, I heard the tinkling noise again. I sat up straight and this time reached around behind me with my right hand. The young girl next to me scooted over a bit, as I pawed around on her side. But again, I found nothing.

I leaned forward and pulled my iPod out of the side pocket as the train paused at 51st Street. As the train lurched out of the station, something clattered loudly across the floor and came to rest against my backpack, just as I was leaning forward. I snatched at it and sat back up to examine it.

It was a long, slightly blackened CRACK PIPE.

I looked around the car and realized that as far as the other passengers were concerned, that crack pipe had just fallen out of my shirt packet while I leaned over my backpack. Financial Times Man was looking disdainfully over his glasses at me. The girl next to me stared, wide-eyed. The other riders sent me looks ranging from pity to disgust.

So naturally, I held that crack pipe up in front of my face making the "Oh, THERE you are!" face. I tucked it into my top pocket and leaned back, smiling.

The other passengers shook their heads at each other and we rolled on.

music: "White Lines"- Grandmaster Flash