Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loring Park Episode #50: The Milwaukee Show

Here we go, children! This week's episode begins on location, because my friend Charlie and I trekked to beautiful Milwaukee!



Charlie and I are kindred spirits for a few reasons. We are both Cancers. We are both deep thinkers. We can both quote Alanis Morrisette at the top of a hat (him more so than I -- I can admittedly only do so for her first three albums). And while he is six years my junior, we both love that era of WWF/WWE that was the "Attitude" era, especially when the women are concerned. My favorite will always be 7-time WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus, and his will always be Terri "Marlena" Runnels, who had a remarkably long tenure in the business for a woman. While Terri was never a wrestler (although she *did* win the Hardcore Championship once), she worked tirelessly in different roles, as a glamorous silent manager to Goldust, a shrewd businesswoman in "P.M.S.", a horny little she-devil in a rivalry with The Kat, and finally as an interviewer who would occasionally get thrown into the ring to make one of the bad girls look even meaner (see the times Victoria or Molly Holly/Gail Kim beat her up to get the crowd to boo).

"Do you want to go meet Terri in Wisconsin?" Charlie asked me months ago.
"Sure!" I said. I thought nothing of it. I went to school in Menomonie, WI (about 70 miles east of Minneapolis), so Wisconsin wasn't a far away land to me. I didn't ask any follow-up questions. I assumed we would have a lovely day trip in Eau Claire.

"I'm so excited to see Terri!" Charlie said months later. "Did you take the whole weekend off work? It's in Milwaukee."



My trepidation was quelled when I found out Sean would be there that weekend, too! His family is from there and he was going to be in the city at the same time as us. Charlie and I booked a two-night stay at the Hilton. I felt bad for missing Jared's birthday party and suggested that my mother go on his behalf.

"I'll go if he's not so drunk he can't keep his eyes open," she said. "Maybe next year when he outgrows that kind of thing."





Charlie is from South Dakota and is used to driving for hours at a time with no interruptions, but when I wasn't complaining about wanting to sleep, I was complaining about wanting to pee! We stopped in Menomonie, Wisconsin, so I could relive my college days. We stopped at The Acoustic Cafe, where I was impressed by their gender-neutral bathrooms and horrified by coverage of Scott Walker. Scott Walker is the dirt worst. He is so bad that Republicans from Minnesota are writing letters encouraging businesses to open up shops in Minnesota. True story.

In the car, I asked Charlie for chap stick. "I don't share that kind of stuff," he said. "You need to trim your nose hairs, too."
"Oh, no, I didn't bring my nose hair trimmer!" I cried. "Can I use yours?"
"Ew!" Charlie scoffed. "No."
I understand not wanting to share a nose hair trimmer (and I thought I looked like Cousin Itt until I looked in the mirror and realized that it wasn't that bad), but the chap stick thing threw me for a loop. Charlie would later apologize and I told him it wasn't necessary -- I just found it an interesting quirk. I think of myself as someone who shares everything, but I suppose I am in between the extremes of Charlie and my friend Jacey, who will walk up to you if you are eating ice cream and ask for some and when you tell her you don't have a spoon, she'll say "I don't care" and use yours without even asking. I love her, by the way.



We had a few stops before the hotel room. We had to pee so we found a Burger King and both ordered a small fries. We were the only ones there and it took five minutes. I was going to ask for ketchup but one of the girls behind the counter was crying and I decided my ketchup could wait. Then we went to a store that was part liquor store, part grocery store, and part convenience shop where you could pay your light bill and things like that. We were going to stop at a vintage store Charlie had seen on Yelp but it was all boarded up.

"This is ghetto," said Charlie, who is from rural South Dakota.
"Stop saying ghetto," I said.
"Why?"
"It just ... doesn't seem right," I said. Yes, Milwaukee is 85% African-American and most of its income is in the greater suburbs, and therefore the public schools are not very good, and there are some neighborhoods the police don't even patrol anymore, and this was the first time I had been panhandled walking outside of a Walgreens. Still, I do not feel comfortable using the term "ghetto" when describing an impoverished, mostly black neighborhood. It feels icky.



We finally arrived in downtown Milwaukee. Any fatigue I had left when we were greeted by handsome men in full formal military apparel. Our hotel was having a military ball!!! God is real. My favorite things are ladies in pretty dresses, Marines, and a good love ballad.

Sean was visiting with his parents and joined up with us about 10:00, while Charlie and I enjoyed the WWE Network (and being ripped off by the hotel which tried charging both of us for Internet access. Ugggghhhhh).

Charlie started drinking earlier, but I wanted to wait. If I'm going to be out at 2 AM, I don't want to be half in the bag at 11, y'know? We watched more wrestling and listened to sad Alanis and Mariah song, and Sean was our chaperone for the course of the evening.

First we went to a club called .... Liquid? ... They blur together. We saw some drag queens. It was nice. Then we went to La Cage, which had cash only cover. I was bitching about this because just before our trip Wells Fargo had completely decimated my checking account. It was between these two venues that Charlie was getting belligerent.

I played darts with Sean and two of his friends. A shot boy walked around with a tray.

Sigh.

I am the last person to make comments about somebody's body. When I take my shirt off, I look like an albino 16-year-old girl who is growing slight chest hair because her body is eating itself due to anorexia.

That said, I am not a shot boy. In Minneapolis our shot boys are people like my friend Tan Man who works at two different gyms and is 9% body fat, or my friend Robin who is a classically trained dancer and is 9% body fat. In Milwaukee, the shot boy had man boobs, stretch marks, and was wearing grey Hanes. If you would have asked him who Andrew Christian was, he would have probably thought you were drunk and talking about two of your friends.

Charlie somehow finagled a free shot. And then he continued being rude. He wasn't throwing drinks or anything, but he kept talking about how bored he was, and was generally acting like a 15-year-old girl that you bring to your grandma's house on the lake for a weekend. Also, at one point he made fun of someone's hair and apparently that person has had five rounds of chemo. Whoopsie.

In a surprising showing of maturity, Charlie agreed to go back to the hotel. I paid for his Uber and it was less than $5. And then I was able to see what Milwaukee is like on the town!! By which I totally made out with that shot boy. You can't shame the shameless.

Sean and I ended our night at This is It, which was really quaint and reminded me of the 19. And I met Season 7 RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Trixie Mattel!


No, she was actually there. I didn't just talk to a poster. She was out of drag and was super nice and friendly, and I'm sure I mortified her by trying to present myself as a peer ("I'm a performer, tooooo ....)". I'll be rooting her for this season (And Max, of course, because local girls gotta stick together).

Sean and I went to Toppers Pizza and I ate the whole damn thing. I think I gained a good ten pounds in Milwaukee.

                                            ***

The next day, Charlie felt terrible, both in terms of hangover and shame.

"Was I really that mean?!" he kept asking.
"Text Sean about it," I said. It was between the two of them. As embarrassed as I was about Charlie's behavior, he hadn't said anything mean to me, and I'm much more willing to forgive bad behavior if someone is trite about it immediately.
"That's why I don't drink that much," he said.

I do find this fascinating. I drink, um, a bit -- okay, a lot -- and I don't get mean. The worst thing I ever did was slap that kid's ass when he wore the Adrian Peterson family because I thought it would be funny! (Turns out his last name was Peterson and his boyfriend did NOT find this amusing). And there was the time a boy who was a thousand times better looking than me was going to sleep with someone I was in love with and I said "I know the score". Okay. Nobody is perfect, certainly not me. However, I don't get mean! I don't understand the concept of being a mean drunk. You drink to dull your pain, not maximize it. If you're a mean drunk, stay home or drink club soda.



On a lighter note, this is the AMAZING card that Charlie made for Terri.* How creative is he?? We went to Walgreens to buy 99 cent Wet 'n' Wild lipstick, and clearly Charlie is a better kisser than me. Then, on the inside, IT PLAYED TERRI'S THEME MUSIC.




*I suppose I can write here now a note about code names. By using real pictures and even evidence of real names, you might wonder why I am still bothering with the use of code names, at least for this particular "character". I can only suggest that, for this particular person, it is a matter of striving for consistency. There are few people who have never had code names, and they will stay that way. 

In the card, he wrote her a beautiful and heartfelt letter about how he was a gay kid from South Dakota and he found strength by doing the "Terri pose" against his fence (when Terri would enter the ring, she would lean against the ropes and do a kiss-face to the crowd, with her back leg raised up in coquettish fashion -- I would do the same thing climbing my bunk at summer camp). He wrote that he was here with his friend Jakey, who was also gay, also a Cancer, and also a fan of all things Divas.

He then wrote that he would love to take her out to dinner and gave her his phone number.

"Is that too much?" he asked.
"Well ... I wouldn't," I honestly said. Truth. I could be in an elevator with Channing Tatum and act like I didn't know him. "But it's also a now or never thing. When will you have this opportunity again? You are braver than me."

Of course, getting to the arena took forever because I left my debit card in the room, the ATM at the hotel wasn't working (but we did get to walk past the Broadcasters Hall of Fame plaques, and there was a guy whose name was legitimately Dick Record. I loved it!), and it was snowing! We arrived and the line to meet the wrestlers was a good 200+ people long.

The other wrestlers were Matt Hardy, King Kong Bundy, and Kevin Nash, the latter of which I was going to have sign my copy of "Magic Mike" and I forgot it. And I have two of them!! While in line we stood next to a young woman and her niece, and she went on and on about who she met and invited us to indie shows she was working on. While I don't follow wrestling nearly as much as I used to, it reminded me of conventions I would go to in Las Vegas with people on the forums of wrestling observer.com -- and as dorky as it sounds to someone not familiar with it, there is this instant connection of kindred spirit and brotherhood that happens with a fellow wrestling fan. Charlie and I driving six hours to meet a particular woman was ample evidence of this.

To meet the wrestlers you had to buy tickets to the hockey game, so we were at the Bradley Center, where the Milwaukee Admirals were hosting the Rochester Americans. The first period ended while we were in line. While I have never seen a hockey game, I was kind of bummed. Those tickets weren't cheap, and when would I ever see a hockey game again?"

"How long is a period?" I asked Charlie.
"Like ... a woman's?" he asked.
"No!" I cried. "In hockey!"
"Oh, I don't know," he said. "Probably shorter than a woman's, though."
"Well, no shit, Charlie," I said.

A burly man came up to us as we neared the pillar. The signing went from 2-4, and it was about 3:40.

"FOLKS!" he cried. "At this time there are NO PICTURES!! JUST AUTOGRAPHS!"

My heart sank in my chest. I had begun to think this trip had all been a bust. What if I had had cash on me to begin with? What if I hadn't forgotten my debit card? What if Charlie had come back from lunch with his professor friend earlier? Would we just get her autograph, smile, and walk away?

Matt Hardy was up first. He can still get it, girls. King Kong Bundy didn't say anything but smiled. Then. Oh crap. Here we go. Terri Runnels.

"Hi, Terri," I said in lightning fast fashion and handed her the card. "I made this for you." I totally lied! Charlie made it!

"Open it," I cried. "It plays your theme music!"

She was elated. "Oh my god," she cried. "Oh, just get one picture."

WE TOOK THREE BECAUSE CHARLIE IS MUCH MORE CONFRONTATIONAL THAN I AM AND ON THIS OCCASION IT WAS FOR GOOD. THE GUY YELLED AT US THE ENTIRE TIME.



Amidst the yelling, Kevin Nash graciously signed an 8 x 10 for my mother (who loves him!), and Charlie and I hi-fived like Terri and Jacqueline of Pretty Mean Sisters.

Then we were finally ready for the hockey game! Charlie was too much on a high from the Terri moment to focus, but I wanted to relish the moment. I decided that I LOVE HOCKEY. I think I was spoiled because the game itself was really good and went into overtime. But I also loved the aggression of it. 85% of my love for hockey was heterosexual, but there was a 15% equivalent of me hoping that at one point the dudes would take their masks off and start kissing.

Nevertheless, my newfound passion of hockey only led to positive things, BECAUSE THE ADMIRALS WON IN OVERTIME!!!



They actually won 6-5, but that's the picture that came up. Okay, then.

Charlie and I prepared for a quiet night in, watching the Grammys. My favorite performance was Rihanna w/Jay-Z and Paul McCartney. I loved Sam Smith's speech about thanking the man who broke his heart. It was just like when I wrote a show in the Fringe Festival only not at all. Also, I have realized my celebrity doppelgänger is Beck and I am not sure how I feel about that.



We invited Sean out for Round Two, but he decided to stay in (a decision for which I couldn't entirely blame him). As the Grammys came to a close, Charlie's phone went off from a Florida area code.

"Who is ... oh, crap," he said. "I think it's Terri!"
"Answer it!!" I cried.

Charlie did his best impression of a teenage girl who is finally getting asked out by the star quarterback for spring formal.

"Hello?" he asked, trying to keep his voice from shaking.
"Hi, can I ask who I'm speaking with?" the demure voice on the other end said.
"This is Charlie," he said.
"Oh, good," the woman said. "This is Terri. I just wanted to call and let you guys know that I fell in love with you two from the minute I saw you, and that card was so creative and warmed my heart. I just got back from dinner with Kevin Nash."

We invited her out to the gay bar but she said she was too tired. Maybe next time.

Oh, but this was the best part.

"If you guys ever need anything, let me know," said Terri Runnels. She, who kicked Marc Mero in the nuts and formed the first ever female stable in the World Wrestling Federation. She, who was sprayed by a milk truck by Kurt Angle. She, who had The Fabulous Moolah in her corner at WrestleMania 2000. She, who in the very building we had met her, was tarred and feathered by Stacy Keibler after a lingerie pillow fight and legitimately almost died because one of the feathers got stuck in her throat from the syrup. Okay, they're not all glamorous.

I decided to let Charlie keep her number under lock and key. I don't need to be texting Terri Runnels at 2 in the morning next time I'm sad about a dude.
But I love him, Terri, I will write. Even if he comes and goes like inclement weather.
You need to find a man who will be like Florida, she will write. Always warm and comfortable ;)

A boy can dream.

Oh, also, this:



                     ***




I was so saddened to find out that we had lost Linda Reed to esophageal cancer. I have worked at the Mall of America for six and a half years, and Linda, who was a cashier at Holiday on the first floor, was always a highlight of my day, especially on those in which I was sleep-deprived or hung over or crabby or broken-hearted or all of the above. She genuinely *loved* that job and the people she interacted with every day, and there was not a mall employee who wasn't affected by her genuine joy for her customers and occupation. They had this posted on the counter for about a week. I was most moved by the discovery that she had a family. I had no reason to think she *didn't* have one, but to all of us she was Linda. I had no idea she was a "wife of", a " mother of", a "sister to", or that her father was a reverend. I will think of her every day.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Loring Park Episode #49: The Ballad of Auntie Debby

January was a crazy month, children! A month of good-byes, hellos, public promiscuity, complicated feelings, and new friendships. I am even using an Oxford comma and I usually don't enjoy them. It was that eventful.

                  ***




Our friend Chris, who had a code name on here once but I forget what it was, moved to West Hollywood after leaving his local corporate gig. A festive going-away party was held in Golden Valley. I felt blessed to be around so many people I enjoy, and not just because they had free booze, pizza, and a 24-pack of 5-hour energy drinks. It's like they knew I was coming! I arrived with Joey and Jared. We played flip cup and I was a diva and played with vodka. Among the other guests was Victor, whose boyfriend's sister is marrying my uncle in June (small world!), and Steve. Steve is 21 and flirts with me but he flirts with everybody and I never know how to feel about it. I've decided to stop thinking about it and letting it be.

My good friend Peter visited from Washington D.C. for a week! He treated me to Masu Sushi on my lunch break. We were going to go Dutch but Wells Fargo withdrew money for a loan payment that I thought my mom was making on my behalf and I literally had no dollars to my name. Peter covered the lunch but I felt terrible and ashamed and embarrassed. He is 22! And in college! And works three jobs! Peter always inspires me because he has hustle like no other. I am beginning to wonder if part of the reason I am such a financial/emotional mess is because hustle might be innate. I am a three-time college dropout. I haven't been to the gym since October or an open mike since December. If I ever achieve hustle, it will be because I watched a lot of Oprah on YouTube or got really desperate. I was not born with hustle.

Meanwhile, at The Saloon (of course!), I was at T.J.'s bar pretending that he isn't moving to Taiwan. Perhaps when he does it will finally end the chapter of my bar star career. That is why I cried so much when he told me he was leaving. I couldn't stay Peter Pan forever, and not just because I am getting bald and poochy (fuck you, aging!).

I was talking with Joey and Jared when a tall man built like a former linebacker came up to us. "Uh, sorry," he said. "Are you Jakey Emmert?"
"Who's asking?" I inquired, because I don't know if someone is friends with the broski or if they're friends with Celebrity and want to beat me up.
"Uh ... we're friends on Facebook," he said sheepishly. "I just moved to Minneapolis. I love your blog."




His name was Jonathan. Jared rolled his eyes so hard they almost fell out of his head. I, of course, loved it! Hashtag fauxmas. We had a lovely conversation about his days in North Dakota but then he had to leave because one of his friends was super wasted and it was time for damage control. Been there.

"We don't even have the same taste in men," Jonathan lamented. "But then when he gets drunk he always decides to go forever who I like."
"What does he like? Broskis?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "And I like ..."
"Twinks?" I said with evident disdain because I am an insecure bitch.

He corraled his friends and the drunk one apologized for being drunk but I told him he was fine. I've had to deal with Jared passing out in public, for God's sake.

"I gotta go," Jonathan said. "But .... fuck it."
Then he grabbed me and we made out in front of everyone. Danny saw it from his bar (which is behind the kitchen, behind TJ's bar, and there's a window, if that makes any sense to those not familiar with the Saloon layout).

Then a dude who I hear likes the boys young -- like let's get the Feds involved young (allegedly!) -- made out with me, too! I felt flattered and skeevy because I always think I look super old.

"All I can say is Auntie Debby!" Jared wrote on Facebook. Auntie Debby is my alias when I get too drunk. She is recently divorced, hates her job, and has the false confidence and sexual prowess of a much younger and prettier woman.
"Stop making out with everyone!" Danny wrote on my Facebook.

We moseyed over to Danny's bar. I should now point out that it was a full moon this evening, and it was in Cancer.

"How many people are you going to kiss tonight?" Danny asked.
"I might as well make out with a third person and score the hat trick," I said. At this very moment, Steve walked by. I looked at him with lust and he looked at me like I had known he had an upcoming day off and asked if he could help me move into a new apartment that day.

"Ugh," he said. "Fine."

Then I made out with Steve. Surprisingly, I did not get strep or mono from any of this.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Loring Park Episode #48: Destiny Unbound

My favorite people are the ones that you can't make up. I don't just think that way about my fake boyfriends. Maybe it's the wannabe journalist in me.

Speaking of being a wannabe journalist, I still haven't heard from St. Thomas yet! I was doing an open mike at The Chatterbox (hosted by the lovely and talented Rana May) and I ended up driving down Cretin Avenue toward St. Thomas. Even though I was right by Paul Ryan's house, I wasn't even thinking about him! I mean, kind of. But as "All I Want for Christmas is You" was blaring, I realized that all I wanted was to be a Tommy!

They e-mailed me and said they needed my transcript from MCTC. Then they e-mailed me and said that my MCTC transcript said that I went to Kingsborough Community College (which is in Brooklyn -- maybe CUNY Brooklyn would have deferred me there had I stayed as I technically flunked my second semester?) and that I had 12 credits from a non-U.S. school. That sounds lovely and interesting, but it wasn't my life.

At that point I was going to give up, but people accurately on Facebook told me that I had come too far to just quit. So on Christmas Eve Eve, I went into the offices of MCTC, immediately had PTSD, received my accurate transcript, and dropped it off at St. Thomas. I would return to that neighborhood again that evening, but we'll get there later.

Because first I have to tell you about the time Joey and I hung out with a porn star!



It was soooo weird. We were at The Saloon and this attractive boy told us he was having an after-party. He was very good-looking in a dirty way. Tall, kinda scruffy, piercing blue eyes, lanky but toned body. Since I never go to the club until midnight and I always take a 5-hour energy shot like a moron, I was all for an after-party. Joey paid for the Lyft and we took it to the wrong side of town at first.

I forget if we knew then he did porn or if it wasn't until we got to his house. And I shouldn't be throwing around the phrase "porn star" because I think if you even do one porno, you're certified as a "star". I don't know. All I can say is we got to his house at 3:30 A.M. and holy crap, am I in the wrong business. He had beautiful artwork done for him by a fan in Japan. We discussed how much he paid for rent here as opposed to his life in New York. "I used to live in New York," I had said about eight times. I fantasized about a different life, in which I had a good body and a healthy appetite for sex. I was even realistic in this fantasy because I am 28 and now I'm too old for twink porn and could only maintain my career if I gained 50 pounds of muscle, stopped shaving my body hair and became an otter muscle top, and that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Anygay, there were two other dudes there that were older than us, and Joey went upstairs to watch American Horror Story with them. Here I was, standing in front of a kitchen island, with this beautiful strange man who can't stop making "meow" sounds.

"I like cosplay," he said. "My favorite is Gambit."
"Gambit is Cajun," I said. "Can you do a Cajun accent?"
"No," he said. "But I can show you my costume." Then he changed into his Gambit outfit and slightly lifted up his shirt and oh, boyyyyyyyyyyy.

Somehow we got on the topic of height because I am good at flirting. "I'm not that tall," he said. "I'm 6'2'."
"That's tall," I said. (Height is a fascinating topic to me, really. Joey is 6'2" and often laments that there's not enough tall men at the clubs, and this is Minneapolis. Men were always my height or shorter in NYC). "I'm only 5'7'."
"Really?" Porn Dude smiled. "No you're not. You're way taller."

Then he walked around the island.

"Oh," he said, almost disappointed. "I thought you were sitting down."
"Maybe I want to sit somewhere else," I said as I ripped his Gambit outfit off. Then he picked me up by the armpits, sat me down on the kitchen island and banged me senselessly and the men upstairs in the loft watching American Horror Story had a raucous three-way above us.

OK, that last part didn't really happen. I just thought the story should have had sex in it at some point.




The five of us ended up going to the Nicollet Diner as opposed to the Uptown Diner, a fact I enjoyed because that meant Joey and I could walk home. I played Mariah Carey on the jukebox and the waiter rolled his eyes. I already have a rep there. They have TouchTones! I can even play "One More Try"! As I sat across from the meowing porn star, I realized ...

Holy crap. I've met him before!!!

He has no idea who I am, but I put the memories together and no longer felt insecure about myself. Behold, this episode from December 2012:


Victor had two ridiculously attractive boys with him, one of whom had a T-shirt on advertising a porn site. I didn’t speak to him at LUSH, but he was in our eyesight at The Eagle, where I overpaid the jukebox to play “We Belong Together”.

“We were friends on Facebook,” Liam was telling the porn star.

“You deleted me,” Porn Guy insisted.

“What? I wouldn’t do that,” Liam balked. “Oh, this is Jakey. He thinks you’re really hot.”

“Wait, what?!” I balked, and then I got lost in his lapis eyes. “I don’t -- I mean, I’m not, like ---Hi, how are you? I’m just -- Mariah.”

“Are you, like, really shy around guys or something?” Porn Guy asked. Then I imagined he was really good at kissing.
Those were the days! He showed up on my Facebook 'People You May Know' the next day. I added him back and he added me back three weeks later, but only because he got spammed and his profile was trying to get me to buy Ray-Bans. Such is life. On we go.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Loring Park Episode #47: This is Your Life

                                         THANKSGIVING EVE

This is your life, Jakey Emmert was all I could tell myself to keep from screaming, crying, uproariously laughing or possibly all three. Speaking of "all three", while I understand that it's an impossible feat to keep track of all my bar crushes and half-hearted emotional affairs, there's only been three that made me feel real things and cry in the car. And while I met them intermittently, for the first time in my life, here they were, in the same room, on the busiest night of the social calendar. And I am single.

I am not with the Boy in the Jacket because he has condemned me to the Friend Zone. I told him to check his jacket but he refused. He is attractive enough that he is probably the only person in this bar who could wear an oversized North Face and make it look good.

I am not with the Tall Boy because he finally got tired of chasing me and now he has a boyfriend nine years my junior.

I am not with The Boy with Great Hair because when I was crazy about him he liked my friend instead. Timing is everything and it was never on our side.

 I tried really hard to get over The Boy in the Jacket and when I came closest, he made his way back into my life. It's still platonic and always be. That's okay. Last time I saw him jokes led to truth and he said we won't ever round the bases because it would be weird.

"Oh," I had said. "I thought it was because I was hideous and disgusting."
"What, really?" he asked and his eyes were sadder than usual. His surprise surprised me. I realized that 18 months is a long time to think that way about yourself. Those feelings would be a toddler by now, trying to run away from me. I cried for three days, because I had spent so much time being sad about him and this time I was finally sad for myself. In my defense, Sam Smith was on the radio.

My bartender is cute and friendly but that would be too messy.

And let's not forget about the dude who greeted me with a kiss when I walked in here an hour ago. He is adorable and undramatic -- and born in 1993. I just told my mother not to cash the $75 check I made out to her. I shouldn't even be out.

"You're having a good night, Jakey!" my friend Z cries. Z was Jared in They Shoot 25-Year-Old Gay Men, Don't They?
"Happy Thanksgiving," I cry as the Boy in the Jacket keeps kissing me on the forehead like I'm a five-year-old girl.
"Who's this guy?" asks the Boy in the Jacket.
"He played Jared in the play I wrote," I say. "You didn't see it. Thank God."
The Boy with Great Hair is his usual hyperactive and spastic self. He is bothering the shit out of the Boy in the Jacket and it is as hilarious as it is upsetting.
"How do you know Jakey?" The Boy in the Jacket asks.
"We go way back," The Boy with Great Hair says. "He wrote a play about me."
"Interesting," The Boy in the Jacket says, and then he lies to The Boy with Great Hair about his name.
"How long have you known Jakey?" The Boy with Great Hair asks. I signal for a refill.
"15 years," The Boy in the Jacket says.
"Are you---?"
Boy in the Jacket smiles devilishly. I purposely avoid eye contact with all involved. Boy with Great Hair is confused.
"Um ... how is it?" he asks. Like you care. The Boy in the Jacket graciously lies and says it is amazing.
The Tall One walks by with his boyfriend and taps my nose with his finger.
"Oh, Jakey," he croons. "Are we in love?"
"Just a little bit," I say. Your boyfriend is right there.
The Boy in the Jacket eventually drifts away with his sober cab. The Boy with Great Hair wants to dance and lifts me up by the love handles and it is painful. My heart can beat as fast as it wants to, but none of this will mean anything in the morning.

This is your life, Jakey Emmert.

"Do you need another one, Jakey?" the bartender asks.

I look around at the game show that has been my emotional love life and realize that, despite how intensely I feel about the three of them, I'm going home alone tonight anyway.

I nod.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Two Jakes

This is from a book I wrote and tried to publish a long time ago. Yesterday was December 3rd so I was thinking about it.


                                                 The Two Jakes

 

How to Stop Being a Loser, Step #4: Avoid What Will Make Your Eye Twitch. Namely, Your Computer.

 

            "If you have to question whether or not you were in love with someone, then you never were." Somebody told me that when I was 18. Ironically, he's the same person that I question myself about on a regular basis.

            So at the risk of being dramatic, I was in love once. He was two weeks older than me, spoke in a Southern accent with a slight hint of Cajun, and was perfect in every conceivable way. Not just from a physical standpoint -- although he was blessed in that department, with sandy blond hair, piercing blue eyes, an effortless hard body, and a sun-kissed complexion -- but also emotionally and intellectually. A pre-med at the University of Texas, he could talk smoothly about anything, and when he would talk about me, I could feel myself evaporating into disgusting lovesick goo.

            Our affair lasted one summer, and despite a brief reconnection during our winter breaks of school, we drifted apart. Occasionally, I still smile when thinking of nights when I would bitch to him about mean people shopping at Walgreens, or my brother hogging the computer, and he would chuckle and say "Bay-bee", and I just knew that as long as he was in my life, it wouldn't matter if my own hopes and dreams came true, so long as I was with him, safe and happy.

            Does any of this sound pathetic yet? If not, let's make it so.

            I met him on the Internet and never once encountered him in real life, and somewhere, deep in my jaded soul, I will always love him.

            I'm going to be sick.

           

Monday, November 10, 2014

Loring Park Episode #46: I Left My Liver in Miami


Hello, children! We are in November already! It was a crazy October, and that’s even if I didn’t go on a trip that I couldn’t afford.

               ***
 

I saw Gone Girl. What did you think? They showed a preview of 50 Shades of Grey and I started giggling. It is worth noting that I saw it with two cute boys and purposely sat in the middle. I am 12 years old. The dude on my left yelled “Son of a bitch” at the two hour mark because he had a leg cramp and I almost spilled my orange soda on the boy on my right. I cannot have nice things.
Y’know what was nice? Doing comedy at Nye’s! It unfortunately no longer has the room because show business is the devil. I met up with Dennis that night and we went to the Gay ‘90s, which has a $10 cover on Thursdays. And I wonder how I went bankrupt (it’s because they have dollar drinks, but I am a princess who eschews rail drinks. Dennis bought me something with Ketel in it and I quit pouting). Dennis grew up in Miami, so I spent most of the evening asking him stupid questions about it. The essentials were that a) everyone looks like a body builder so I will fit right in and b) it is expensive as fuck. Oh, good.

We made our way down Hennepin to The Saloon, and I ran into Kevin! Kevin has a new job and a leather jacket and an earring and maybe it’s a total quarter life crisis (boy did just turn 31), but he was rocking a Johnny Depp look and I wasn’t nearly as sloppy drunk as I was the last time I saw him. I ignored him for 15 minutes even though he was right next to me because he had hurt my feelings.
“You told me to go home,” I told him

“You were really sloppy,” he said.

“I guess I was,” I agreed.

“I haven’t heard from you,” he said.

“Well, I didn’t know the boundaries,” I said. Kevin is living a new healthy lifestyle and I don’t know if it appropriate for me to make contact with him considering I am a partyhound booze bag.
“You have a phone,” he said. I told him that once and it really hurt his feelings.

We went to his house together. Jared was livid because he thought I was driving, but hell froze over and Kevin drives now! I am enjoying this new version of him.

There was no sexy time except spooning and that is fine because he is good at it. Some men really hate it (including Jared. He hated sharing a bed with Joey in Florida because “Joey is like a damn cat”). Kevin treats it like a sport. He takes it full on and puts his arms around me like he means it, and I slept like a smiling baby. His cat woke me up at noon while Kevin had been productive all morning, because I am a great guest that way.
When he dropped me off at work, I caressed his chest like a slut. I haven’t seen him since. Timing is everything.

                   ***

Paul Ryan and I enjoyed dinner at Hard Rock Café while I was on my break at work. I only had 60 minutes, so I practically sprinted to get there, which amused him as he glided in his Hugo Boss ensemble. I applied to St. Thomas, so I grilled him with questions because he is part of that educated, old-money world.
“I wore a suit when I took my tour,” he said.

“I’m not wearing a suit,” I blasted. He told tales of travel and debauchery and his plans for New Year’s Eve. I ordered a non-alcoholic drink with orange juice and Red Bull in it, because I like to gamble with my digestive system. He ordered a sparkling water and we got it comped when he was given flat water instead.

“It’s so nice to see you not drunk,” he said.
“And with clothes on,” I said, trying to be funny and sexy.

“Oh,” he said. “Oh, that’s right. I forgot about that.”


 
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said.

“It’s fine,” I pouted.

Somehow my ID ended up on the table.

“You’re 27?” he asked.
“You’re bad at math,” I said, and then lowered myself to a whisper. “I’m 28.”

“You’re so cute,” he said. “With your big eyes and the fast way you walk.”

I squinted, because that is how I react to compliments.

                          ***

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to University of St. Thomas! I still have no idea if I will get in, in part because it has been three weeks and I still haven’t sent my ACT scores and AP scores and I have to send a letter defending myself because I never officially withdrew from CUNY Brooklyn College and I might be dealing with a whole semester of F’s. Although, I don’t think I technically took anything higher than fourth grade math.
But that’s the strategy of my life lately. Throw things to the wall and see what sticks. My friend Shelly thought this was profound and took a weekend gig playing piano at a theater camp. “Theater people are so expressive,” she told me. “And my shower didn’t work so the choreographers said I could use their bathroom. I think they had every single hygiene product ever made in their shower! They had at least three different shampoos! And we were only there for a weekend!”

My best friend Erin works at UST, so she joined my tour. Since I hadn’t taken a college tour since 2007, I thought it would be a group setting. No! It was just me and an accounting major! She was very sweet and planned to return to Omaha after graduation to work at her parents’ landfill. This was the day of the shooting in Ottawa, and we had a measured and interesting conversation about guns. I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed walking by the gym, because I am only woman.

I didn’t feel like I totally belonged until I met my transfer advisor, who teared up when she told me how much she loved the university and when I told her about being named Funniest Person in the Twin Cities and writing a Fringe Festival show about unrequited love, her eyes widened.
“You’re not very old, are you?” she asked.

“I’m 28,” I said.

“Well, you look ten years younger,” she said. “And you’ve accomplished so much in your young life.”

That might have been worth more than the damn degree.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Loring Park Episode #45: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself (Too Late?)

I applied to college.

I have no idea if I get in, if I will go, or what I will think of myself if I get in or if I do not get in.

Work is ... promising. Like, I might even be perceived as an adult there. I just had my six-year anniversary. Now, if only I could get my ass out of bed and on time. You'd think I would have this down by 28.

               ***

It was the day before Labor Day when Paul Ryan asked if I wanted to go to his house and cavort with his frat bro friends. While that sounded lovely, I already decided I was going to head to The Slutoon (shocking!). Jared decided he wasn't going out, and Joey reluctantly agreed to ride in the Uber with me provided he got shotgun, and we would Uber to pick up Paul Ryan -- who lives near the University of St. Thomas -- and then head to The Saloon.

Um, y'know how Uber has "peak rates"? I have never paid more than $10 for an Uber, although I have admittedly only taken it as far as Northeast Minneapolis from Loring Park. Apparently, everyone and their dog wanted an Uber to celebrate Labor Day, because it would have cost $100 round trip to pick up Paul Ryan in one and have us be delivered to The Saloon. And let's not get started on the ridiculousness of the fact that I would be paying for the Uber despite the fact that Paul Ryan had just told me how much he made last month and it is more than I make in a year. Stay in school, kids.

Since I hadn't started drinking yet, I decided I would pick up Paul Ryan myself and then the three of us would walk to The Saloon together.

"I can't believe you're doing this," Joey kept saying as I was getting dressed.
"I know," I said. "But think of it as me being Mommy and I am trying to find a good stepdad for you."

It was raining, and I was already wet when I walked up Lasalle Avenue in my usual parking spot (right next to an always-empty commercial parking lot -- so Mona, my tina Toyota Yaris, usually scoots in. I used to park across from there but I got a $35 parking ticket once). I put music on and ventured to St. Paul, where I am sure I made a fool of myself trying to park and nearly causing a three-vehicle crash (seriously, there were at least three different frat boys standing in their yards amidst the commotion).

I walked into Paul's house and lamented that I didn't have an umbrella. "I have one," he said.
"Good," I said. "Now put on your pants. We are leaving."
"Jakey," he grinned. "Don't you want a cocktail first?"
"No," I said. "I am driving. And I'm all wet. Do you have a hoodie I can steal?" I used to do this when I went to Kevin's house all the time. Kleptomania is part of my charm.
"You can have my Cambridge one," Paul Ryan offered.
"Oh, that looks too expensive," I said. Even Kleptomaniacs have morals. "I'll just take this one." I chose a waterproof blue reversible Billabong zip-up hoodie. Paul Ryan chose a Polo button-up, shorts, and Boss suede shoes.

"Suede?" I asked. "It's raining."
"They're already ruined anyway," he laughed. "I don't care. Why aren't you parked in front of the house?"
"Because I got disoriented and I can't parallel park to save my life," I said. "Now walk fast."
"We're walking by my car," Paul Ryan shared. "I have a Toyota Escalade."
"I have a Toyota Yaris," I said. "Her name is Mona."
"Aww," he said. "We both have Toyotas. We have so much in common, Jakey."
Interestingly enough, a Toyota Yaris is compact and frisky while a Toyota Escalade is large and ostentatious. Sometimes, we are what we drive.

We entered the car, and Paul Ryan, as the tallest person to ever ride shotgun with me, looked absolutely cramped.
"I'm sorry," I said. "It's not really a tall-person car."
"You drive like a white person," Paul Ryan said.
"I still haven't finished my college application," I said.
"Finish it, bro," he said. "That place needs people like you. Everyone there is so ... sheltered. You would have a unique perspective."

We drove up to Lasalle Avenue and my spot was taken! Curses! To Clifton it was.

"Paul, I am very bad at parking," I explained. "You have to do what Jared does and look back and tell me if I have room."
"Remember when I fucked you?" he asked.
"Paul!" I cried as I almost hit a construction cone. "Now is not the time."
"Jakey," he laughed. "Your leg is brushing up against mine. You're getting me hard right now."
"Paul Ryan!" I cried as Mona brushed up against the curb. "Focus!"
"I was pretty intoxicated when we had sex," he said.
"Yes, well," I said as I felt my face get hot. "You clearly knew what you were doing."
"Really?" Paul Ryan asked. "Cool." Boys are soooooooo stupid.

We got out of the car and stood across of a house for sale. "Why would you want a house downtown?" he asked. "Especially Minneapolis. I would never want to live here."
"I want that house," I said.
"Of course it's a Corbett Realty property," Paul scoffed.
"I would like a house for my thirtieth birthday," I said as we walked arm-in-arm, prom-style.
"Really? Not like a trip or something?""
"I just think it would be nice to have a house," I said. "That isn't my parents'."

We arrived back at my apartment and pre-gamed. Paul Ryan was incredulous that Jared was not going and cajoled him to join us. By cajole, I mean he told Jared he would pay for his cover, and Jared got dressed in 45 seconds. Paul Ryan passed the time by trying to show me and Joey his nudie pics, but I would have none of it.

On the walk there, Paul Ryan and I shared an umbrella. I always fake date boys who are rather masculine. This makes me feel guilty for a variety of reasons. As a result, every now and then I have an intense need to demonstrate that I can be "the boy" when needed. Therefore, I insisted on holding the umbrella. However, this did not really work because Paul Ryan is seven or eight inches taller than me.

"Jakey," he scoffed. "I'm getting wet."
"Then you hold the umbrella," I said. "God damn."

We arrived and Paul Ryan took back his offer on paying Jared's cover. Jared started walking home in the rain. I got him to come back.

"I want to go shake my thing," Paul Ryan said. He and Jared did so while I mingled and gossiped. Paul went home with a twink and Joey was outraged the next morning.

"What an asshole!" Joey cried. "I can't believe he would do that."
"I wasn't even mad about it," I said.
"Why not?!" Joey cried.
"Because we never made plans for after," I said. "And I have his hoodie."

I still do, by the way. It is comfortable as all hell and I am not giving it back.

***

I went to the State Fair! I would post pictures but I have temporarily de-activated my Facebook. I will explain this later.

It was lovely to spend time with my extended family, even though the bus ride was horrendous. The driver begged me to wait for the next bus, but I said "I'm little" and stood between a group of mean seventh-graders. I hung on for dear life.

***





I had the opportunity to meet Detox at The Saloon a few Thursdays ago. I further recapped it here. She didn't get on stage until 11:40 (doors opened at 10) ,but she was beyond gracious and genuine during her Meet and Greet, and I felt The Saloon had things organized much better than when DWV appeared last April. I gushed about how when she performed with Battle of the Seasons at the Varsity Theater in December, she was the only queen who gave a genuine, heartfelt speech about being there for the fans. I knew at least two people who went to her after party, so she is a friend in my head. Special thank you to Liam for taking the picture of us, because I am an excellent photojournalist and therefore my phone was dead by the time I got to go up in the line.

Also, Christ, I am getting old and fat.

And when I am older and fatter, I will look at that picture and think of myself as gorgeous, because life is like that.

***

I had the most "Jakey"-ish night on a Thursday, when I did stand-up comedy at Nye's Polonaise Lounge! It is a great room that they run on Thursdays, where you are in the basement and it feels like an old-timey club. A really cute boy that I used to work with was there. I went up first, which is always difficult, and the way the light is run there, you can't see for shit when you're onstage, an aspect I have yet to get used to. This was the day after the news of Adrian Peterson allegedly beating his 2-year-old was released.

"I'm going first and there's, like, 17 of us tonight," I told the audience. "And we're all gonna want to be cutting-edge and ahead of everything when it comes to current events. So, I thought of a game. Just drink every time someone makes an Adrian Peterson joke. And hopefully you have a sober cab, because you are going to be flat on your ass. Much like you would be if you were dating an NFL player. That counts. Drink!" I had fun.

I stayed until the show ended, as is the polite thing to do (and it's not like I was in a hurry! Afterward I was going to Honey, which was just across the street). As I mingled, a comedian who I had never seen before came up to me.

"You're awesome," she said.
"I did okay," I said. I need to read Lean In.
"No, I'm serious," she said. "If you work hard, you're going to be a star. Even your voice is funny. And your material is smart."

Well, shmuck.

But isn't that a novel concept? That you will be a success ... if you work hard. I lost that somewhere. I dropped out of school at 21, was still furious with my mother for ruining my life and was still furious with myself for thinking she had ruined it, and I just kinda gave up, but I also thought that I would somehow still become rich and famous.

Huh.

The evening was marred because Joey and Jared were feuding, but I fixed it when we got home. Joey saves his emotions for when he can no longer accept them, and Jared is constantly on a stealth audition for The Bad Girls Club. I suppose this is the best dramatic re-enactment of it all:



The three of us, along with my best friend Erin McCloskey and my reading-to-filth mother, will be going to Miami together at the end of the month. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

                                      ***

There is a new boy in our group named Steve who just turned 21 and is smooth-skinned and babyfaced and therefore everyone is in love with him. I haven't decided yet, so I just hug him more than is appropriate. I don't think he has it figured out.

We like Owen, too. He works at The Saloon and is kind of a dork trapped in a hot model's body. Some people are just cursed that way.

Cordero brought me too many drinks at The 19 but then Dollface showed up so I spent all night flirting with him like an asshole. And then I didn't even go home with him! I don't know what I am doing.

I did get a parking spot now, so there's that. I pay $75 to a former Marine named Lowell who is approximately 100 years old and as many pounds. He has a tiny flip phone. I love him.

                        ***

Speaking of not knowing what I'm doing, I went from being an MTV alcoholic to an A&E alcoholic. It was time to dial it back, as the kids say.

The kids don't really say that, Jakey.

Shut up! I am hip!

On a Friday, I was supposed to meet everyone at LUSH, but Jared left without me, so I pouted at The 19, and then I took an Uber to Sean's, and I pre-gamed at his place and then met the kids at The Saloon. Paul Ryan was there and could barely stand up. He travels with an entourage, so they walked him out in one piece.

Then Kevin was there.

"Jakey, we need to go home," said Jared. "We work early."
"Go away!" I cried. "It's Kevin!"

In my head I was all



But instead I was probably all





I had not seen him in four months and did not know what I was expecting.

"You should go home," he told me.



"My family doesn't ask about you anymore," he added. "And I lost weight, which I know you cared so much about."

He did look very much like the 'old Kevin' (well, young Kevin, if you know what I mean). I wasn't going to go home with him anyway, but it would have been nice to be asked. And I get why he said what he did, because it is human nature to want to win. I've done the same thing with other people.

But why was he so standoffish with me? I wasn't that drunk and sloppy.

My Facebook at 3:30 AM said I AM SO SAD.

Okay. Maybe I was.

Sunday was an even bigger shitshow!


I met up with Jared and Joey at The Eagle and we received applause by re-enacting the lift during "(I Have Had) The Time Of My Life". My Uber driver was new to the job and did not listen to directions. When I got there, Joey and Jared were talking to Ricky! The nerve! I acted like a wife who had walked into her husband banging the secretary on the desk.

"It wasn't like that," they promised. "He just came up to us."
"Whatever!" I cried. "This is a betrayal!"

I went to order my drink and was even more horrified when the bartender called me Ricky!



"Um, what?" I asked.
"Do you know Ricky?" the bartender said.
"Yes, but I'm not him," I said.
"He spilled his drink," the bartender said.

I get that The Eagle staff is not fond of the twinks and the twink-adjacent, and I was an odd mix of offended and flattered. Ricky and I are both blond, but he is tan and buff and can have his shirt off in public without people averting their eyes. I wasn't sure what to think.

We tried running to The Saloon but we got there at 9:59 and the bouncers claimed it was ten and made us pay cover. The nerve!

Oh, it went from bad to worse, children. Because Sunday is 2-4-1's night. And Sunday is football day. And boys were wearing Vikings jerseys. And one boy was wearing an Adrian Peterson jersey.

I immediately went to Facebook and typed that there was a hot guy in an AP jersey and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Then I drank some more. Then I went on the patio and told everyone.

"Oh my god!" cried my friend Doug. My friend Doug is, like a biochemist or something that requires 130% of your brain power, so when he parties, he parties hard. "You should spank him!" he cried.
"THAT SOUNDS HILARIOUS!" I cried. In my vodka-soaked stupor, this would be my finest hour. I'd spank him on the ass, he'd be all "What was that for?', I'd be like "You're wearing an AP jersey!" and we would all laugh and be merry.

Let's go to Wikipedia, which never lies:

Short-term effects of alcohol include the risk of injuries, violence and fetal damage.[11] Alcohol has also been linked with lowered inhibitions, though it is unclear to what degree this is chemical versus psychological as studies with placebos can often duplicate the social effects of alcohol at low to moderate doses. Some studies have suggested that intoxicated people have much greater control over their behavior than is generally recognized, though they have a reduced ability to evaluate the consequences of their behavior.

Now imagine you are a young and attractive gay man -- for some of you this may be a stretch -- and you are at The Saloon with a group of your peers. You are there to have a good time. You are not there to get spanked on the ass by an old, intoxicated skinny dude who thinks his assaulting you is hilarious.

Of course, one understands this the next day. When they're sober.

So I spanked the kid. And he did the best and worst thing he could have done, which was not respond to it at all. I walked back to the patio with my proverbial tail between my legs. My joke completely bombed.

A boy who looked like he could be on Teen Wolf came up to me moments later. "Hey," he said calmly. "I just want you to know, next time you feel like spanking my boyfriend again, you're gonna have to go through me first. Fuck off."

It was really the perfect thing a boyfriend could have done. He wasn't all machismo about it -- he never raised his voice or his hand -- but he let the point be clear. Even though I told Facebook that I spanked the kid and he was trying to get me out (and it had 13 likes! In one hour!), I deleted the whole thing when I got home. By protesting what I thought was a perceived acceptance of violence with violence, I had solved nothing, I had likely ruined someone's night, and I had made a complete ass of myself in the process.

The next day I realized that I still had not finished my college application, I still had not launched JakeyEmmert.com despite going to a former high school classmate's house for a gracious offering of Weebly 101, and in general, I was just becoming super obnoxious.

I de-activated my Facebook.

Which is super stupid to do for my "comedy" "career", but that's going about as well as spanking strangers at the bar.

It will be back up when the website is up.

It's strangely freeing not being on Facebook. Now every time my phone dings, I think it's something important. Then I find out that it's spam from Twitter or my friend Chuck telling me he has gas, but still! It's better than compulsively checking Facebook, right? I would post, like, eight things a day. And then You-Know-Who would be "online", with a green dot next to his name, and I would just sit and stare at it but never think of talking to him because I had nothing to say, and then the green dot would disappear, and I would just get sad about the whole thing. STILL.

I should apologize to the dude I hit, but I don't know his name. Maybe it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. Maybe he's not really that mad about it. Maybe he'll throw a drink on me the next time I go to The Saloon. Maybe his boyfriend will bash my skull in. Maybe I'll send them both matching Bridgewater jerseys.

Next week: Will Jakey really get his website done? Will he really stay in during all of October because he wants to look like a human when he goes to Miami?