Thursday, December 28, 2017

Loring Park Episode #71: A Christmas Letter

Season's Greetings, everyone! I hope you had a fulfilling holiday season.

I went to so many great shows! Dane and I went to the WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view at the newly renovated Target Center. They had to re-book the entire show on the fly because of real life illnesses, so it turned out be a really exciting show (Kurt Angle's first WWE match in 10 years!). I was really excited to see the WWE debut of Asuka, who was the NXT Women's Champion for 534 days and vacated the championship after injury. Unfortunately, my dumb ass was getting donuts at the time because I didn't think her match would be the first one (or the curtain-jerker, as they say in the business). Siggghhhh.

I had an existential crisis about which toy belt to buy and decided to buy the WWE Women's Championship belt instead of the men's one because it's what I wanted, damn it, and then I paraded it around The Saloon to annoy everybody. Some men took pictures with it and I didn't have the heart to tell them it was the women's belt. I mean, title. Vince McMahon doesn't want it to ever be called "the belt" for some reason.


 Steve and I went to Queens United at First Avenue, which was Phi Phi O'Hara's brainchild and raised over $80,000 for Puerto Rico relief! Like, forty queens from RuPaul's Drag Race were there! I was going to take notes so I could write a big blog about it. I got too drunk halfway through, so here is what I have:

Wendy Ho - Government makes a mess and we clean it up (she was the show opener and I talked to her about luggage at The Saloon- very gracious)
Ginger - Continental plus/harvey fierstein (Ginger Minj won Miss Continental in Minneapolis and it is dear to her heart)
Lady marmalade - Mariah, Pheonix, Jiggly, Phi Phi
Phi Phi Speech
Speaking of dicks and ass, BeBe 

I quit taking notes because tequila, but I did somehow end up way in the front row and got to hand dollars to some of my favorite queens like Trinity K. Bonet, Katya, and Jade Jolie, who did an amazing Taylor Swift. 

Then I don't remember anything after The Saloon, when Madame LaQueer asked two of my companions if they were having sex and I had officially felt THIRD-WHEELED. Then I had a meltdown at home that was so bad, Alaska Thunderfuck herself would have told me that I needed to chill out. I had even gone to therapy that afternoon, and then the bank to get fifty ones, and we stopped at Ria and Micah's Christmas party. The night didn't need to end like that.

Really, it was an amazing show, full of so much talent and love, and I wish I would have remembered a lot more of it. Ginger Minj and Naysha Lopez were amazing hosts, as hilarious as they were competent, having the local queens open the show was AMAZING (they got bigger cheers than anyone!), Phi Phi came out as Christina Aguilera during a "Lady Marmalade" number that slayed me, and I hope she was able to take a deep breath when it was over, take all of that love in, and be very proud of herself for what she accomplished.

Sarah McPeck and I saw Sandra Bernhard at The Cedar. It was marred only by a horrible drunk woman sitting next behind me who wanted to "WHOO!!!" at everything Sandra was saying, as if we were at a Def Leppard concert. I would have said something, but my ticket was free because Sarah had a press pass from, and who was I to complain? At the end of the show, Sandra sang "My Love is Your Love" which is my favorite song in the entire world and I decided it was the Lord's way of telling me something, and what that was I haven't figured out just yet.


We went to a Beyoncé-themed Halloween party, so I wore a marigold hoodie with holes in it and went as a boy version of Beyoncé. Somehow I got to bring my toy bat into the club even though eveyone else's got confiscated. It was only worth it for when "Hold Up" played. I don't even know where I put it.

We were dancing with my friend Sander, who is an excellent dancer of mixed race. I only bring up his race because we were in the basement when "Bodak Yellow" came on. "Ugh," he groaned. "Now watch all these white girls pretend to be black. Yeah, you think it's fun NOW, don't you?" I am from St. Anthony, so I think that means I will have enough white guilt to last for a lifetime.

We stopped at The Saloon after the show, and The Broski™ was standing at the bar by himself. Last time I saw him I cried like a big idiot, and the last time I had seen him before that was when he told me "I'm gonna need a few days" and never spoke to me for two and a half years. I didn't know what to do. I looked around for Steve, but he had already been stopped by his friends, so I decided to channel my inner Beyoncé and be a strong and independent woman, and also hoped that he wouldn't notice that I was wearing eye shadow.

"Nice costume," I smirked. "What are you supposed to be? A suburban father of two?"
"Fuck you," he smiled, and that SMILE. GOD DAMMIT SON OF A BITCH. I maintained my composure by hitting him with my toy bat for the rest of our conversation, because I am an adult.

I felt a strange kind of sad when I got home after that. I told him he could call me with the knowledge that he never will. And I'm fine with that. Two and a half years is a long time, children. Despite the fact that I was a paranoid garbage person dumpster fire for most of 2016 and a binge-drinking manchild for most of 2017, I still think I grew up a little.

And in some ways I really regressed.

This was the hardest year of my adult life.

And yet I wouldn't call it the worst.

2016 was the worst because I wasn't dealing with anything. When I was mad at Jared, I moved out for a month. When I was mad at Steve, I told everyone about it but him. I kept all my paranoia and fears to myself so that they could fester. 2017 was the year in which I tried to fix all the damage I had created. I'm not sure how I well I did.

Jared and I reconciled, but I don't see him nearly as much as I used to. I miss the days when he was the wacky neighbor who would just stroll in on random afternoons. I don't miss that sometimes our yard was his storage locker for a while, but we worked through that.

I had to learn that people are responsible for their choices, but also that they have the right to make them.

"I don't want our friendship to be over because of a dude," I had said to someone very close to me in January. "That's such a cliche." And then that happened anyway! And I was really sad! But it wasn't just because of a dude. I framed it that way because it was easier to deal with than having to realize that I caused a lot of pain to others and admitting what I did. It was easier to deal with than having to realize that I hadn't progressed as a person in years and was still trying to live like a 25-year-old club kid when most 25-year-olds are trying to act like adults anyway. It was easier to deal with than having to realize that sex is currency and I was bankrupt. It was easier to deal with than getting sober. It was easier to deal with than having to actually tell people how I felt about everything.

I even had a boyfriend this year but I didn't know what I was doing, or when he was actually my boyfriend, because we never really figured that part out. "I don't want to put a label on it," he had said a month into it when I was crying and asked him what the hell to call him. That was a fair and valid answer, especially considering he is younger than me (they always are! Hashtag ocelot problems). Then I didn't even know what I wanted anymore, and we both remained bewildered and angry. (And it's a copout, but it is partly why I didn't blog as much this year. I wasn't gonna be writing about ... That. Writing about silly nights at the bar and unrequited romance was the majority of my adult life, and actual relationships? That gets kind of dicey. It's only my side of every story, not his, and to put that all on blast wouldn't be fair. It's not easy being Mr. Jakey Emmert.)

I was so focused on emotionally preparing myself for the ending that I wasn't able to enjoy the beginning and the middle. I don't know how to be a boyfriend. I want him to be with someone who is nice to him and was born in the '90s and has a tight ass and doesn't drink very much and enjoys sex multiple times a day and doesn't yell at him about stuff that happened a long time ago. I can't have nice things.


I was lucky enough to have shows at the Comedy Corner Underground with Rana May and these two very talented comedians from Chicago. Steve graciously drove me to the first show, where Shelly Paul kicked two drunk guys out right away! A girl that was at the show ran into me at Target last week and delightfully reminisced about this. Also at the first show, I again won a gold medal in the Space Cadet Olympics because I left my phone at home and I didn't want Steve to have to drive back because a) it wasn't his fault and b) parking would have been atrocious, so I drove his Hyundai back to the house like Mario Andretti and Rana let me go on last.  Erin came to the second show, and for some reason I was talking about Chyna (from wrestling) and National History Day, and when the show ended, Rana played Chyna's entrance theme music. My career had peaked.

Don't treat me like a womannnn
Don't treat me like a mannnn
Don't treat me like you know me
Just treat me for who and what I ammmmmmmmm


I decided to host a pre-Thanskgiving party at my place! I was nervous because I had to work all day and Erin AND Greta AND Diva couldn't attend, so I didn't know how much food to buy, et cetera. Thankfully (ha!), Steve took a half-day and took care of most of it. Carla was the first person to show up, and then Reid, and then Chuck, Marco, and William came, but all we were doing was playing Trouble and I was worried that nobody was having fun. Jared was there for a little bit so me, him, and Reid all walked to Wendy's to get ice.

Then Jack showed up and looked gooood. He was wearing an outfit that is kind of Indiana Jones, but I am reticent to call it that, because last time he was wearing it I told him he looked like a sexy film noir detective.

"Oh my god, thank you," he said. "Everyone else keeps saying I looked like Indiana Jones."
"How lame," I rolled my eyes/swooned.
"Oh my god!" Carla then cried, as she hadn't been listening. "You look like Indiana Jones!"

We still kept running out of ice. Then I was worried that my friend Ron wouldn't show up but I didn't want to be sad about it because we had so many other people there and I wanted to focus on the is and not the isn't. Ron lives far away but was visiting for the holidays, and I am burying the lead, which is that he looks like a 2004 Abercrombie & Fitch bag and thinks I'm funny.

About half an hour before we were to leave, Ron showed up without knocking and with three girls; one of whom I met briefly last summer and the other two were total strangers.

"Excuse me, sir," I said as I stood to greet him while most of the jaws in the room dropped. "I think you have the wrong house."
"No, I don't," he grinned. I stood up to greet him and walked into the kitchen to make cocktails.
"Hey," he smiled again. "I want to lift you up."

Then he lifted me up and spun me around and I thought about turkeys being slaughtered to prevent myself from getting a boner.

Jack valiantly tried to get my Polaroid to work, but it was to no avail, and I enjoyed the fact that he was in my bedroom anyway (my brain was being a slut that night!).

Our group split so Steve, Ron, Carla and I went to honey and Jack, Reid, went to The Saloon. As for the lesbians, I let them stay in the house as long as they promised to lock up. You may call that irresponsible but in my defense: a) Steve was also cool with it, b) I work with the aunt of one of them, and c) NOTHING was stolen or messed with the next day, not even my Adderall. Lesbians are our planet's most noble inhabitants.

We danced the night away at honey, and then got to The Saloon at 11:50. I saw Reid talking to an attractive man and instantly wanted to introduce myself.

"Hi, Reid," I chirped.
"Not now, Jakey," said Reid, clearly swooping in for the kill. "Shut the fuck up." Reid does not do fake and I respect that.

The Broski™ was at The Saloon and I tried to get him to think that Ron was my boyfriend, but Ron was oblivious and I was being immature anyway. Joey, who had a front row seat to this shitshow in 2013 (!), was staring daggers at me from across the room. When Wesley left, I drunkenly ran up to him.

"He's not in my life," I said. "He just showed up."
"He better not be," said Joey.

The next day, Reid, Steve, and I went to The Saloon to watch the Vikings game SKOL VIKES SKOL. Reid was going to Thanksgiving with me in Blaine but changed his mind, which was totally fine, but I didn't tell my grandparents about it so when I got there, they were a little perturbed. I still like watching the games because of all the yelling.


Steve went to Mexico with his mother as a Christmas present. I brought my mother peridot earrings for Christmas that were $30 after my discount. I was supposed to have peridot as my birthstone, but I was early so she had to settle for ruby instead. Settling for Rubies will be the name of my fifth memoir.

Erin and I saw "The Star" featuring the song The Star written by Mariah Carey and if it does not win at the Golden Globes, I will spend more hours crying in the fetal position than usual.

Sean invited us to an ugly Christmas sweater party! Casey and his boo were there, as was my friend Billy, whose phone number I had about five phones ago. Billy is dreamy but was really tanked when we got there and kept trying to lift everybody up and it was soooooo annoyinggg (meaning, yes, I was all for it). Charlie couldn't come until the very end and we listened to sad songs, but I still wanted to go The Saloon. It was 1:45 A.M., my phone was dead, and Steve was wasted. So did we go home like sane people? Of course not! I hailed a cab and we got there right before bar close. Then it turns out that The Broski™ was there, and he was angry at the world, which included us. I went into full Mom Mode and he crashed on our sofa, which would have made 2013 Jakey pleased as punch but just made 2017 Jakey kinda sad and made 2017 Steve irate. At least he paid for his Uber the next day. Then Steve and I met Charlie at the HiLo Diner and I felt just like Adele.

On Christmas Eve Eve, we went to MARIAH CAREY CHRISTMAS DRAG BRUNCH!!!! It was legit the best afternoon of my life and I couldn't believe it all worked out. Loretta, Erin, Steve, Reid, Lane (our fellow lamb!), Carla, and Ron were my table. Ron didn't know my mother was going to be there and wore an ugly Christmas crop top, which I guess is the West Coast version of an ugly Christmas sweater. I wore a red suit from Opposuits that I look rather fetching in, but I didn't think it would be hot at Union, and by the halfway mark I realized I was sitting in a pool of my own butt sweat. Lane wore a fetching blazer and Erin and Carla wore festive sweaters. Kamaree Williams did a "We Belong Together/Don't Forget About Us" medley. I bought presents for everyone. Ron sat at the end so a certain drag queen practically made love to him in lieu of lip-syncing. We all ki-ki'd  at my house after, which was enjoyable, except I had too much tequila and everyone else was too drunk to play Trouble. Also, Steve bought an Alexa and Carla kept requesting songs but then kept changing her mind every fifteen seconds. It reminded me of being in the car with Jared.


I didn't write as much as I wanted to, but I got into performing again. I had to remind myself to fall in love with it.

I never put the New Year's Eve episode back up.

I dunno.

I thought after all that I was going to do the whole "new year, new me" thing. But when I entered the house with that new attitude on January 2nd, what was literally my worst nightmare was right there in front of me, and I didn't know how to deal with it. So I just drank and told myself that alcohol wasn't the problem. I often felt like I was on the sidelines or on the periphery. Any aggrieved parties have since moved on. The hatchets have been buried, the olive branches accepted. I don't know what is still wrong with me or why I am always so angry.

I chose to be alone on this New Year's Eve. It used to be my favorite day of the year but I ruined it for myself. I'm not flying solo to punish anybody or to be a martyr. I just don't want to be around anyone I know. I'm going to a crowded event where I can disappear in the balloons and glitter and heterosexuals. At 3 A.M. I will go home by myself and listen to "New Year's Day" by Taylor Swift and hug a teddy bear. I have already made peace with this.

I got a letter in the mail yesterday saying that my therapist is leaving.

I wasn't as scared as I thought I would be.

There's glitter on the floor after the party
Girls carrying their shoes down in the lobby
Candle wax and Polaroids on the hardwood floor
You and me forevermore

Don't read the last page
But I stay when it's hard, or it's wrong
Or we're making mistakes
I want your midnights
But I'll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year's Day

Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you
Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you
Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you
And I will hold on to you

Please don't ever become a stranger
Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere
Please don't ever become a stranger
Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Loring Park Episode #70: Is This Thing On?

Hello, dear readers! I know this has been my longest hiatus from writing ever. And I don't really have an excuse. I would tell people the following:

*Life got a little messy and I didn't know how much of it was okay to share.

*It's okay for me to talk about my own screw-ups and drama, but to divulge details about others veers into gossip; I didn't want to be a loudmouth but I didn't want to be cryptic either. I was fixated on an idea of the group, and who I was in the group, and once the group dispersed and went in ways that did not fit my comfort zone, I had a really hard time with it.

There is no group. Was there ever? I had to learn to focus on individualized friendships -- what is my relationship with Person A? Person B? Person C? -- instead of obsessing about the group, being popular, being Queen Bee, knowing everything about everyone, being obsessive if Person B was having a relationship with Person C or if Person D was no longer speaking to Person E or if Person F and Person G really didn't like Person H all that much.

*I just got lazy. Depressed? Lazy. Lazy with a spackle of depression. I thought the worst was over and for a while it wasn't.

So let's recap what the hell happened in the last five months, shall we? And a lot of this is gonna sound terse and like I'm blowing it off. I'm not, but we have to fast-forward so I can get back to updating biweekly/monthly and not doing it in this style. I'll try to do everything in order:

  • Our friends Ria and Micah had a housewarming party for their new house after a tragic fire last year. It was a reminder that love and friendship is what is truly valuable. We drove with the hilarious Sunny Kiriyama, so I was living.
  • My sexually ambiguous crush came to town and when he came over to pre-game, I thought he was going to bring a lady friend but he was just by himself, in his 6'2" bronzed movie star glory, and when I found my wallet after I thought I lost it, we broski-hugged. He went home with a supermodel that night. The next day at The Eagle, he made kissie faces at me in the bathroom and tried to push my head under the dryer. Nothing happened unless you count putting my arm around him in the Uber. "I'm obsessed with you," he smiled before leaving, and he kissed me on the forehead. I am 30 going on 16.

  • Dane and I saw Everclear do their "So Much for the Afterglow" show at Treasure Island Casino. It is one of my favorite non-Mariah Carey albums ever, and was very formative of my youth. The songs were frank about fractured relationship, drug use, and mental illness. It made a lot more sense to me as an adult.
  • Erin and I got our tarot cards read and Cassandra immediately saw mental illness. I tried to explain without explaining the events of last year. "You allowed yourself to believe very negative things about yourself that are not true," she said. 

  • My uncle graciously bought tickets to the Twins game and it was the longest game in Target Field history!! I had to leave early because I had a mental health fundraiser at LUSH that night. I performed in my bathrobe and framed it as a "fireside chat".
  • Steve gave me an ultimatum before going to Denver about drinking and I wasn't mature about it. Because he had not ruined all his interpersonal relationships via alcohol abuse, he still got to drink and go on dates and I didn't think it was fair. Erin, her husband, Jared, his boyfriend, Loretta and I all went to the Mariah vs. Ariana drag brunch at Union and it was heavenly even with my Shirley Temples! Sometimes I wonder why people don't live in Minneapolis. Later we went to bingo and nobody won. I felt like a very ashamed homosexual, as if my people had let my family down.

  • We went to Denver Pride and saw Chad Michaels, Aja, Alexis Michelle, and Peppermint. They have some great local talent in that city, too! Taylor Dayne sang too hard and she couldn't hit the high notes when she finally got to "Tell it to My Heart". I would later find out from our local bartenders that she was rude when she was here.
  • We went to the marijuana dispensary to see what it was like but I didn't inhale.
  • At the mall, I ran into a woman who complimented my rainbow Converse shoes (exclusively from Nordstrom!) and she knew the name of the owner of the gay bar we went to every night, but now I forget it. I thought of an alternate reality in which we moved to Denver and made it our own.  
  • A Facebook crush of mine whom I have never met was at the same club we were at, and I texted my friend Angie to make sure it was him. She verified he was there and encouraged me to say something, but I always feel some kind of way when I am on vacation. 
  • We almost missed our flight on the way back so I signed up for CLEAR and headlined LUSH that night. It felt very "show must go on".
  • A week later, was OUR Pride! We had the party on Thursday instead. I am always amazed by how many people we invite over and how many of them bring food and how lucky we are.

  • I only let myself be sad about who wasn't at the party for just a little bit.
  • The weather sucked this year.
It might be my age, but I realized that while I was happy to have gone to Denver Pride, doing two Pride weekends back-to-back is exhausting.

  • I had two shows at Sisyphus Brewing with Matteo Lane who was hilarious and DREAMY! I got to chat with Grace Thomas before she moved to Chicago. Jason Schommer and Matteo shared stories about celebrities they knew and I was in heaven!
  • After the show, I realized that I had been living off nothing but Red Bull for the past two days and my colon exploded. I still went to The Saloon at 1:30 A.M. because I had already paid for the weekend pass. What's a little explosive diarrhea?
  • I went to my cousin's grad party that Saturday and there was a torrential downpour and my aunt Jen was heroic in saving the furniture and decorations.
  • We went to bingo because it was at 60 numbers but the cover-all still didn't go and I won, like, $25. 
  • I was in the parade and completely over-exerted myself. I couldn't walk or talk for three days.
  • I lost my ID. Because it's always something. 
  • I wanted to do a pre-gaming house party for my birthday and was encouraged by many to not do a birthday. I still went to the library and made bingo sheets and Erin and Jared went to the thrift store with me to buy tacky prizes. No one had responded to the Facebook event and I realized I was probably being greedy because we had just had a house party for Pride, but it's not my fault that my birthday is in the middle of July and Pride is at the end of June!
  • I was getting a Brazilian wax at Waxing the City on Friday the 14th, and when I was going to come home from it, Steve and I were going to a fancy art show. He kept keeping tabs on when I was coming home and his Virgo-ness was getting really annoying. Then Jared called right before I got home and I figured he probably needed to borrow my car again (he had turned our house into his own storage locker that summer, but now he is renting a garage and is rather lucratively refurbishing household items and furniture -- I admire his entrepreneurial spirit).
  • I pulled into the driveway and Jared was outside. "Steve's waiting for you," Jared said. "Tell Steve to calm down," I said. "Traffic was bad." We walked into my room from the backyard. Our apartment has a weird set-up where the entry to the backyard is connected to my bedroom (which is why I usually have the driveway), and then my room is connected to the kitchen and living area. I say this only to set up the scene that while I was stressing out about running late even though I was trying to be on time and I just wanted to take a shower, when I opened my bedroom door to the kitchen, I was greeted with a loud "SURPRISE!" and two little boys I had never met spraying me with Silly String, and there were so many people I couldn't even see them all at first (and I turned around and took a few seconds before going in because I didn't want anyone to see my face), but I had seen Steve (who had masterminded the whole thing), and Erin (who went to the store with me! Traitor!), Reid, Charlie (who made the cake), and my father ...

Nick Lachey could getttttttt itttttttt

  • About 30 people were there when all was said and done. I knew Steve did PR for his internship but I still don't know how he pulled it off. My parents knew about it. My aunt and uncle showed up! I was truly surprised. Lee did a video later on Facebook of everyone with the Mariah cake saying "I don't know her" about me and I still watch it when I need a pick-me-up. And I loved the people there, how diverse they were in their walks of life (not just in race and age, but that, too), and it made me realize that maybe I had done something right in these 31 years of life.
We went to Betty Danger's and bingo on my actual birthday. Lee was the only one who came to the "real" party, which was okay.

  • The next day was Charlie's birthday and I was exhausted but I went anyway and had an anxiety attack at his dinner. It's the weirdest thing because once I got to The Saloon, I felt relaxed! I hadn't felt well that whole day, but Charlie's birthday is literally the day after mine, and it would take a real narcissistic asshole to be like, Um, thanks for coming to my surprise party on Friday night and my Bingo brunch on Saturday afternoon, but I'm too tired to do YOUR birthday now. And it was all in my head, because the dinner was delicious and his friends are perfectly friendly.  I am still an asshole, though, because I lost his favorite Alanis Morrisette shirt and didn't try to replace it until he finally called me to the carpet eight months afterward.
  • Reid got a new job. Steve got a promotion. I almost got fired.

  • I performed at my friend Anne's birthday party and my brother sat next to a broski gay I've had a crush on forever! I think he did it just to fuck with me. I wanted to present a cougar theme, so I came out to Sable's music. In a weird way, it felt like I was both doing stand-up and cutting a heel WWE promo.
  • Some drunk man came up to my brother and me and was convinced we weren't twins. At one point I wanted to tell him he was right, and how grateful I was that he was in the hospital that night to verify the truth.
  • My crush gave my brother a wet-willy. I wanted to die!
  • I finally patched things up with the worst heartbreak of my adult life, which is a credit to his maturity and not mine. While I hate the saying "It is what it is" because it's creatively and intellectually lazy .... it is what it is.

  • Speaking of heartbreak, I ran into all three of my fake ex-boyfriends in different intervals. I ran into Kevin and it was lovely until I tried talking to him about a controversial shooting and verdict, which maybe wasn't the best topic when I was tipsy and fired up (then again, what is?) Paul Ryan and I went to a Fringe Festival show and an after party, but I was embarrassed for crying in front of him about something else, and I was terribly under-dressed when we went to The W. I ran into Wesley and for years had my speech prepared, but then when I first saw him I was surprisingly calm and told myself I wouldn't instigate anything. I did my usual froot loop and he grabbed me by the shirt and said "Hey" in that gravely voice behind those sad and glassy blue eyes, and I felt all the things I always did, and it was an absolute disaster. He is never going to change, and I am worried that I won't, either. Quinn was there, too, and the whole thing felt like I was back in 2013 all over again. I texted Jared the next day. "I knew it," he said. "I could feel it in the wind as I was walking by." The next week Quinn saw me and said, "I saw him that night, too, and I get it," and I said "Thank you," and maybe it was four years overdue, but we finally acknowledged that we were both good people who got hurt and that our pain was valid. It was easier to be mad at each other than be mad at the dude who had played us. We would be lousy women. It's like Tyra Banks's talk show never even happened.
  • Steve and I went to the State Fair and only stayed for three hours. Maybe I'm not a fair person? I felt bad because it's such a hassle to get there and everything. Maybe I'm not doing it right. My friend Katelyn goes, literally, every day of the Fair and is never bored. Did you know I met the real Sweet Martha at my work? She is, like, the nicest lady. Were I not a better man, I would even describe her as sweet.
  •  We went to Chicago for Steve's birthday. My favorite things were the ferris wheel, the Writer's Museum, running into Celebrity for the 500th time (and he still doesn't know he's in love with me yet), meeting friendly locals, and the Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue. I want to live there. I am always grateful for the lapse of time when Steve is eight years younger than me instead of seven, because it just sounds so gross. But then I am reminded of his youth when he admits certain things, like how he has never seen Chicago!

I saw Coco Peru by myself. I was nervous about going alone, especially for meet and greet, and I even said so on Twitter. "You won't be by yourself!" she wrote. "I'll be there!" And her show was all about living your own dream, and not being afraid, not having regrets, all of that. The meet and greet was onstage in front of your fellow VIPs, so I felt really self-conscious. One of the best tricks that anxiety plays on you is convincing you that everyone is looking at you/making fun of you/thinking the worst of you. The reality is that people don't care about you -- not in a callous way, but they're paying attention to their own thoughts and surroundings. They see you but that's it. So I was nervous, and getting in line to go on stage was like that awkward situation when your plane has landed and you're not sure when to make a break for it to get in the hallway.

I babbled and told her about the tweets. "Oh, that was you!" she smiled. She was warm, genuine, and lovely.

My father turned 60! This is me taking a candid. It took the waitress 10 times to take a picture that was to my mother's liking. My brother complained the entire time. It's like he has never met my mother and grandmother before. This happens every time they are together, that the night ends in a prolonged photo session. In the immortal words of Shea Coulee, "Why are you acting brand new? Who's after Peppermint?"

Speaking of that season, I spoke with Alexis Michelle on the patio of The Saloon about the meet-and-greet in Denver. I felt so professional!

I hope to write a lot during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and get back to performing again and, I don't know, showing up to my life. I look back and I really do have something there, y'know? I guess I am trying to say that I am grateful for and love each and every one of you.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Loring Park Episode #69: A Boy's Best Friend is His Mother

Previously on Loring Park: A five-year friendship took a break. "Moonlight" won Best Picture. Ariana Grande sang "Moonlight". Jakey didn't drink for six days.

I am happy to inform you that I survived April. It's a recurring theme of my life that things go sour in April (remember last year, the height of my passive-aggressively running away from conflict?). I had spent so much of my life identifying with what "group" I was in, or who my best friends were, and while I'm always grateful to have abundant friendships in my life, it was important for me to learn I could hang out by myself and still have a good time.

Steve went to San Francisco for five days. It was a present he bought for his mother. Do you know what I got my mother for Christmas? Lotion. On a credit card that she helps pay for. I instead got an Armistead Maupin book from the library to have my own San Francisco experience. I happened to have that Saturday and Sunday off, so I was ready to be a single girl about town.

I went to The Saloon to watch RuPaul's Drag Race. I sat by Liam and Tofu at their table (Tofu isn't his real name, but he goes by it). Everyone at their table was gracious, but I couldn't enjoy myself. I kept seeing _____ and his posse and one of them even got their raffle ticket drawn and got to play Plinko! I booked immediately at 8:01 P.M. My friend Billy asked where I was, but I told him I had already gone home to get pretty and that I might head back out later.

Carla wanted to go the '90s with a friend, and I thought it would be a great idea! Her friend had a crush on the ridiculously muscular bouncer. Well, who doesn't? The girls came over at about 10 and we pre-gamed until a little after 11. I didn't realize that Carla's friend was driving. I then forgot how horrendous driving downtown is on a Friday night, especially when a concert is just ending at the Target Center. It took forever! We finally parked somewhere on 1st Street, in front of signs that said "NO EVENT PARKING". Carla and I thought this was fine because the event was over, and the car would be fine.

The '90s had a long line, but if you paid cash you could go in the side door. About ten minutes in, I realized that Carla's friend was drunk and shouldn't be driving home. I asked Carla if she wanted to call a dry drivers service or just come back at 8 in the morning. She said she would take care of it. I then decided to stop worrying! I hadn't been to the '90s in forever, and I loved seeing the bartenders and queens that I knew during my nine month stint of being the Sunday night hostess (I miss the gig and I miss the money, but I also don't miss having to always carve out those two hours a week, especially if I had other plans. I get Sundays off a lot now, whereas before I didn't, and it was easier to go home from work, get ready and then do the '90s, and not be tempted to get too drunk or tired at brunch). The muscular bouncer, Muscle Chris, was his usual friendly self and at one point I was massaging his back without realizing it.

I told Carla I was gonna head to the Saloon -- it was 1:30, so I could have a drink there and then stay a bit later (they close at 3). The minute I got there my phone rang, and I spent my entire night standing outside on the patio. I heard yelling in the background. It turns out Carla's friend's car did did towed, it was apparently all Carla's fault, and that Carla had her keys in that car so she needed to stay at my house that night.

I am never going to get laid.

The cab stopped at The Saloon to pick me up on the way my house. So much for my Friday night. Carla's friend was still bitching and swearing at her and insisted that the cabbie drive her all the way home to Anoka. Carla was trying her best to calm her friend down, but it wasn't happening. I told her to go to the door, and I told the driver to call me when he got to Anoka.

"You're saying things you're really going to regret in the morning," he kept telling Carla's friend. She wouldn't have it.

I have been the person who has acted poorly under the influence of alcohol and said horrible things to people who were my close friends. I wanted to believe the best in people, and that she would feel bad enough in the morning. I also didn't want her in my house! What if they fought and argued all night? Carla put on some of my pajamas and we attempted sleep, but we were both too rattled to relax. Oh, and Carla's phone was dead and she has an iPhone and I have an Android, get at me, motherfuckers.

We woke up at 9 and kept calling until 11, when her friend finally answered the phone. After a morning full of coconut water and Red Bull, we were recovered enough to head to Anoka. (Also, Carla watched lame women's wrestling matches with me, so I forgave her for anything). My mom graduated from Anoka High School! Go Tornadoes!

We got to her friend's house. She said she was on the way down. Then she came outside ten minutes later. Then she enjoyed a cigarette for ten more minutes. On the way to the impound lot she apologized a few times but was also throwing Carla under the bus. I completely checked out at that point and dropped them off at the impound lot.

Oh! The freeway exit was closed! So my normally five-minute drive home from the impound lot turned to 25. I was already over this day! When I was about to leave, Carla told me that her friend didn't have any money and they had no way to pay to get the car out. I knew if I would have paid it, it would have been on my credit card, meaning Loretta would have been paying it! I finally was able to say "no" to something, and I went to LUSH to play bingo with Markie (Carla told me they later worked it out; I encouraged her to hang out with people who treated her better). I didn't win, but there were cute boys and cute dogs there. Lee was having one of his bi-weekly house parties, and I texted him saying that I wouldn't go because I drank too much at bingo. I had only had two, but I didn't want to drive to Plymouth, especially at night.

After attempting to take a nap, I looked up how much an Uber would be to Lee's house and it wouldn't be as bad as I thought. Plus, after a night of dealing with squabbling girls and their drama, I needed boys! At least when gays have drama, I can look at them.

I was still a little nervous. Lee is always a gracious host, but I didn't know who would be there, other than that I was going to be the oldest person there, and would I Uber home right away if it got awkward or would somebody drive me home ...

It was, of course, pitch black when I got there, and a boy who I have seen on Grindr for years (don't judge! My mom lives somewhat close to the U!) got to the house at the same time I did.

"Can I walk in with you?" I asked.
"Sure," he smiled.
"What's your name?" I asked.
He responded with a super broski name and I was already feeling nervous.

There were about 15 boys there, ranging in ages from 21 to ... 24? Oh, God. Brexit was in the kitchen and I have a schoolboy crush on him so of course I talked to everybody else but him because I am a lady.

The broski quickly changed into a wrestling singlet and Lee pulled me into his room.

"Debby," he said. Lee is Ruth and I am Debby.
"Debby isn't here yet," I said.
"Okay, fine," Lee said. "Jakey. Who do you have a crush on that's here?"
"What? No one," I said while trying to be coy.
"I like the wrestler," said Lee.
"I like Brexit," I said.
"He has a boyfriend," said Lee.
"Aww," I pouted.
"It's okay," Lee said. "You're still cute."

We went to the living room and Brexit's boyfriend was doing yoga poses that involved putting his head behind his leg, and I began to understand their entire relationship.

I supervised beer pong downstairs with the children. Speaking of children, Bruce showed up! Bruce stayed with us last Halloween weekend and I feel like his mother, even if he is 6'2" and ripped.

Debby eventually emerged. At 3 AM everyone took their shirts off, including Brexit, who has pectoral muscles I could live in. No one asked me to take mine off but I did anyway. (Also, I ended up talking to Brexit and he's nice and smart and more than just a sex object in my head. Good grief.)

"Ew, you're scrawny," said one of the children. I passed out on a couch. When I woke up there was a gorgeous nerd-cute boy wearing glasses asleep on the neighboring sofa. I did not get his name or penis.

I am never going to get laid.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Loring Park Episode #68: After Winter Must Come Spring

Hello, children! I know. It's been a while. We'll talk about why in a little bit.

There is no Previously on Loring Park for Episode #68. I took Episode #67 down for a while. I'll put it back up eventually -- it's an important part of our story -- but that chapter, when shit really hit the fan and got dark, doesn't need to be out there at this moment. I also understand that there's no takesies-backsies in real life, but at this point it is important for me to be present and look forward instead of the other way.

Now we're gonna listen to Lauryn Hill and see if I even remember anything from the last two and a half months.

February started with stand-up! I did two shows at Ric McCloud's Comedy Cabaret, which is in the basement of a tavern in Arden Hills. I house-sat for my parents' that weekend, although the gag is that I stay there all the time anyway and I wasn't even attempting any kind of responsibility. This meant I had to miss Jared's birthday party, but I had to open the day after it anyway and nobody could have switched to me. Of course I had fomo*, but I had to get my coins! The crowds were a lot of fun and I had great conversation with the real Ric McCloud after the show was over.

Speaking of comedians, my mom and I went to Andy Erickson's birthday party at Sky Deck! How fitting that I look horrendous in a picture with a star of Scream Queens. We sat by a family who she met through her work educating the world about Marfan Syndrome, and they were incredibly kind. The mom's name was Ruth and that killed me because when I go out, I am Debby and my friend Lee is Ruth. After twenty minutes of discussing Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, she begged the table  to stop discussing politics. I was fine with this because I had spent a week fielding calls from angry Trump supporters at work (no guessing my day job, y'all). I also made an ass of myself when I introduced someone to my mom as "______'s wife, _______." "You can just say I'm ______," she said. "You don't need to introduce me as _____'s wife." It was a good lesson. Sometimes I think because I'm a gay man that means that I am automatically going to be woke as hell about everything, and I'm really kind of a social dunce.

On the way back to the car, my mom and I ran into Paul Ryan, who has some kind of a corporate job at the mall right now.

"Hello, Jakey," he grinned.
"Hi," I said. "We were just at Smash."
"This is Smash," he said.
"I meant Sky Deck," I said. I was all flustered!
"He's such a charmer," my mother said when we walked away.
"That he is," I said, and pretended to flip my hair even though I don't have any. Damn you, Paul Ryan and for how good you look in a Hugo Boss suit!

I wasn't stressed out about being single on Valentine's Day because I had a big gig that weekend.

The show at Running Aces was sold out, and I was nervous as hell. The contract said I had to do a "clean-ish set." What did that mean? The crowd was predominantly Caucasian heterosexual couples in their forties. Not exactly my demo, but what can you do? Also, when you're the emcee you're the first person up, so it's up to you to figure out what kind of crowd they're going to be. I debated if I was going to do a joke I've done for years that's kinda dirty. Would it take away from being "clean-ish?" Will they like it? What if they hate me? I debated for twenty minutes and was full of anxiety.

I did the joke**. It took them a while to get. Most of them laughed and one guy yelled "Gross." My job was done. Sherlonda Sharp was the feature and John Bush was the headliner and they were great. John was super nice and asked for my contact info and I left before giving it to him because I am a dumb shit. It was an incredibly professional atmosphere and I loved it.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Loring Park Episode #66: The Holiday Show

Children, I can't believe 2016 is almost over! I have never enjoyed this time of year, probably because I have worked retail my entire adult life. That's why this episode is gonna be choppier than usual. It's been so long since I've written to you that we have to go all the way back to Halloween!

With my friend Ria at Lush

My friend Angie made this for me!

I decided to attempt creativity by being a shark/lifeguard, even though a lifeguard can't really save you from a shark. I wore my old "Baewatch" tee and a onesie from the kids' department that I purchased from Reid. Jared was Dorothy Gale, Joey was Adam Levine, and Steve, who had spent months discussing grandiose group outfit ideas (ranging from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Fifth Harmony), ended up borrowing a pair of camo pants and was an army man. I remember enjoying Halloween this year! We had a boy staying over that weekend and I was in drunk mommy mode. Diva came out with us and next year she is going to do special effects make-up on all of us.

The day after real Halloween, we had an 8 AM meeting at work and I had to work until 6! Cue horror music. Then, Sarah McPeck and I were off to CAMP bar for a live podcast of "Not So Kosher". I felt bad because when I got there I was really ornery and was worried that I wouldn't be any pleasant, but the hosts were really great and once we started recording I think I felt like myself again. It's hard to feel "on" all the time, especially when you're coming off of a bender and on three hours of sleep. I was glad Sarah was there; she's a pro and our paths often intersect. Two months later, we would reunite again doing a corporate gig at Regis, where we were told we couldn't swear to talk about sex. Sarah was like a star student and wrote a poem about getting her hair done. I talked about sex anyway.

Despite how tired I was, the boys and I went to go see The Girl on the Train at 10 PM that night anyway. It is about an alcoholic mess of woman who cares far too much about the lives of other people instead of her own and she isn't quite sure what the truth is and is an incredibly unreliable narrator. If you take away all the parts about infidelity and murder, I found it oddly relatable and that worried me. Also, there was too much sex in it for me to enjoy myself in mixed company and the next time we all went to the movies it was to see the much more palatable Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I thought was going to be a documentary about Grindr.

Speaking of horror, after Halloween was Election Day! I worked as an election judge in my local precinct. These were my biggest surprises of election judging this year:

1. A surprising number of people do not realize that you can't just go in and vote anywhere you want. You have to vote, y'know, where you live. As part of my pledge of helping people vote in any way I can, I looked up where certain people needed to go. Two men were pleasant when told they had to go to St. Paul and Columbia Heights, respectively; one guy said "Fuck this" and went home.

2. An older man came in with a "service dog" that jumped on everyone. Mmm-hmm. It turned out he had already voted absentee.

3. Jared and his boyfriend live in my precinct and arrived with half an hour to spare! Woo hop!

Despite how horrifying I look in this picture, this was eight days after Halloween.

4. I really liked seeing first-time voters, especially a group of young women from a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

After closing up shop, I went to the neighbor's house across the street to watch the results. Goldschlager was involved. Of course, we all know what happened.

I could have stayed in the fetal position forever, but we have work to do -- and donations to make to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. It's gonna be a rough four years, y'all. Still, I was happy to see that Minnesota had super high voter turnout, and I still have a kum-ba-ya world view in that I have more respect for those who vote period than those who agree with me but stay home on Election Day for reasons of varying bogusness.


I'm a month away from being 30 and a half now, and I'm still not used to it. I somehow became even more of a man child this year. I legitimately don't know how to do anything. It's a miracle I can wipe my own butt some days. While in the car one night, I had a conversation with Steve -- who is 23 but, like, a grown-up -- and I said that I spent a lot of my twenties obsessed with complicated men and trying to figure them out, and this year I have to figure out who the hell I am at 30. Also, I don't want to date boys who are freshmen in college (you at least have to be born before the Butterfly album came out), but I don't relate to men my actual age, who have degrees and grown-up jobs and mortgages. But 24-year-old men want to date either other 24-year-old men or 40-year-old daddies, and I'm this weird twink-adjacent goofball.

So I had this in the back of my head when Dane and I went to a very fancy fundraiser at Coup d'etat in Uptown, and I hadn't been there since my friend Jenny's birthday party years ago. The food and the people were lovely, and we were there to support a great charity, and yet I couldn't help but feel inadequate. Dane is in management now, and he and a young woman of 28 were discussing the complexities that go with that. He was trying to include me in conversation and I just wanted to become more invisible.

"Jakey has a show in St. Paul," he said to be encouraging.
"Well, God love you for thinking I would ever go to St. Paul," a young woman laughed, and I just wanted to go.

Dane won the biggest raffle prize. Of course he did.


My friend Chad Kampe of Flip Phone fame graciously gave me a free ticket to Christmas Queens! It was a show that consisted of most of the girls from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6, with Roxxy Andrews and Tatianna. I sat next to a drag queen who left at intermission. The highlight of the show for me was Chi Chi Devayne's rendition of Mariah Carey's "O Holy Night", as she took us to church! Bob the Drag Queen was the host and was worth the price of admission. Okay, my ticket was free, but you know what I mean. She kept the show moving, even if they kept on flickering the lights on during the Q & A and this did not deter certain queens from telling long and meandering stories that don't go anywhere. And now I know what I am like at parties.

This is from a different show; at our show, Chi Chi was wearing a long red gown. It was sickening. I gagged.


The show in St. Paul was a lot of fun! Christina Jackson let me be the co-host, and it worked out great because I go to to stand-up first, BEFORE the crowd gets too drunk, and then help her introduce the drag acts throughout the evening. For a Friday night at the Townhouse, our crowd was fun and respectful. I was really shy when I first got there -- stand-offish even -- and I feel bad about that. But it's weird when you're the only non drag queen in the cast! I felt like a PA on RuPaul's Drag Race. I didn't want to be in the room with them while they changed and tucked and everything, so I just sat on my phone randomly texting people. One of the queens lip-synced to old school Mariah "Vision of Love" and "Vanishing". TAKE ALL MY MONEY. After the show, while waiting downstairs for my Uber as the queens were now to untuck in the Interior Illusions Lounge, one of the performers was blatantly hitting on me and I literally didn't know what to do. Maybe it's because I haven't been hit on since 2009. Don't get me wrong, I was flattered, but I was also really uncomfortable and just wanted to go The Saloon where I could be ignored all night. That's my "normal". (Also, I ran into Under Armour and then shamelessly flirted with him while he looked for the nearest visible exits, so at least I am consistent in my hypocrisy)

I got hit on the next afternoon, at LUSH, by someone who is super sexy. I still didn't do anything. I don't know what I want. And it's not like my self-imposed celibacy is because I am still hung up on somebody who I am never going to see again and that ship fully sailed away a year and a half ago, although I did see his name blow up the cell phone of a twink sitting next to me while at a hotel party. It was a master class in restraint, as I did not start bawling my eyes out in jealousy that I'm not getting the "What's up?" text messages at 2:45 in the morning. Maybe I'm overthinking it and he wanted to discuss philosophy. I shouldn't have gone to that stupid party anyway.

Is anyone else watching Mariah's World?


Okay, fine. Well, *I* am, and I convinced Chad to let me guest-host a Mariah's World viewing party at LUSH for its season premiere. Sunny Kimaraya was the featured queen, and I enjoy her. I think she's hilarious and bawdy and gorgeous. Anyway, the show was a bigger disaster than Glitter. Nobody but me cared about it, and at one point a twink demanded that we play Ariana Grande. Also, I was booed when I did trivia questions that had a trick answer. Mariah does not have a middle name, although Wikipedia says it's Angela for some reason.

I reunited with my friend Sina!! She came back from L.A. for a weekend and didn't even tell me! And she got me a Red Bull! The same day that I did the aforementioned Regis gig, we ate at Alma with our mutual friend Jack. Everything there is so healthy! Like, everything is kale. I had a salad and a spritzer. Sina said I lost weight and asked if I was okay and I made ridiculously transparent small talk about California. #deflection

I only accidentally killed Jack and myself three times while driving us around Minneapolis. We stopped at Twin Cities Leather & Latte, where a man decided to read Lavender magazine out loud and let the entire establishment know his disdain for everything that was offered in the magazine. I was annoyed by his negativity.

Being around the open sexuality of a sex-themed coffee shop awakened me. "I'm going to have a slut phase in 2017," I declared when we got back in the car.
"Why not start now?" Jack smiled, and I hugged him for a little bit longer than I should have. The woman next to us in the parking lot smiled. Baby steps.


I lost my wallet for the 8,150th time and this was a week after I thought I had lost it when it was really on the stove and Joey told me to at least put all my duplicate ID's somewhere safe. It was stolen at The 19 on a Tuesday. I am most alarmed about why I went to The 19, because it was 1 AM and my friend Chris was over and he doesn't even drink and there was plenty of booze in the house. I have become so much more impulsive lately.

We were still able to have our Christmas party, and it was a highlight of my year. It was just me, Loretta, Greta (rhyming!), Jared, Joey, Reid, and Steve ... and it was all I needed. Every other present was alcohol-related. Jared gave us all peach candles so we can find the joy of re-gifting.

Friends of mine had unbearable tragedy. Steve, Loretta and I went to the fundraiser at LUSH. Our community takes care of our own, gosh darn it.

It put things in perspective because I really have nothing to complain about, and yet I think this was the most difficult year of my adult life (not counting the year I was 20 and majorly suicidal and then transferred to a college out East at the last second. Is "majorly" a word?). I can't blame anybody else for it, either. There comes a time when you realize that the common denominator in all your interpersonal conflicts might be ... (gasp) ... You.

I don't want to make excuses -- if I was an on-looker, I would wonder what the hell was wrong with this person who is amongst the oldest of his group but is somehow the least mature, who starts screaming in the street at 2:45 A.M., who camps at his mother's for a month in lieu of solving conflict, who is being sued for a third of his income and spends all his money on Ketel One, who couldn't appreciate anything and spent too much time and energy worried about the stupid shit.

I don't ask anyone to understand. I just hope people know how fucking exhausting it was.

New Year's Eve is coming up. It's my third favorite day of the year if you count Pride weekend as one big long day (which it kind of is, no?). 2016 was my year of going nuts, and maybe 2017 will be the year of standing back up.

Then again, I'll be 31 ....

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Loring Park Episode #65: Garbage Person Dumpster Fire

It took 65 episodes, but I officially became the Vicki Gunvalson of Loring Park. I am not the star of this fake show anymore. I am the maligned villain who thinks she's all that and a bag of Fritos.

In the past, I have written about other people, whether they wanted me to or not, and when they treated me wrongly I called them out. So it is only fair, dear reader, to divulge that in the past month I turned into a full-on garbage person. I cannot present myself as a perfect bastion of innocence who everyone is trampling on for no reason at all. The truth is far from that, children! I turned 30 and evolved into an anxiety-ridden, possessed demon.

I told my friend Tanya about it and she said not to worry because she puts her dumpster fire status on full display. Then I combined the two and decided I was a Garbage Person Dumpster Fire.

In no particular order, here are the horrible things I have done in the past month and a half:

  • Made comments in a group setting that I thought were hilarious but instead were hurtful
  • On the way to The Saloon for the RuPaul's Drag Race viewing party, I pet a stray dog and realized I somehow stepped in his shit and had dog shit all over my hand. I wanted to run home to wash my hands, but my companion insisted we just stop at Target instead. This would be an apt metaphor, because when our large group got back to the house, I really stepped in shit. I had an impromptu private conversation with somebody in my bathroom. Unfortunately, I have no inside voice despite the sink and the fan running, and everyone and their dog heard it (and whether or not the conversation even needed to happen is up for internal debate). You're an asshole, said a third party in a broken voice, and we did not speak for ten days, ten days of constipation in which I saw their birthday and alma mater everywhere and even watched an HBO show where a character had the same obscure last name. It was not a good stretch of time.
  • Made passive-aggressive Facebook posts whose subjects were open to interpretation
  • Told a woman my brother was interested in all about our tumultuous teenage years
  • Locked my keys in the car twice and then lost them again for the 87th time

Now, let's put our thinking caps together. What could possibly be the common thread in all of these events?

Well, okay, but if we're gonna be a little less self-victimizing, the other answer is ...

Vodka! Sweet and glorious vodka!

And I love vodka.  I love vodka on the rocks. I love vodka with lemonade. I love vodka with Sprite. I love vodka in shots full of sugar and calories. But it was becoming excessive. I searched what little of my soul there was left and decided that I needed to put a moratorium on booze. It was time for Ocsober.

It was October 4th and I could go until Halloween weekend without a drop. It would be hard, but I could do it! When I hosted at the '90s, Tim could make delicious Shirley Temples or anything else that you put Sprite and grenadine with. I could still have sugar! My skin would clear up, my waist would get smaller, and I would stop destroying all of my interpersonal relationships.

I read articles about how to stop drinking for a limited time. They said to tell a lot of people because then you are held more accountable, and that the first week will be the hardest and the last week will be the easiest.

I lasted three days.

Wait, wait. I have a half-assed explanation.

We were all at The Saloon for the RuPaul's Drag Race viewing party. I told people I wasn't drinking. "But you're horrible sober," someone said. "How will we understand you when you're not slurring everything?" At the end of the show, we were all standing in a group: Me, the usual suspects, and our friends including Carter, who is born in the mid-to-late '90s and is blonde with dimples and a really good body. Did I mention I was feeling anxious about situations that I may or may not have created in my own head? Okay.

This older man -- good-looking, though! Short but like a stacked body -- was drunk and was trying to mingle with all of us. Which is fine. I don't think we're a cliquey or snotty group. Just don't be obnoxious about it, y'know? Anyway, Joey, Reid and Steve were annoyed with him so he moved on over to me.

"You're like me," he said. "You're the eccentric one."

Well, I ... guess that's a fair snap judgment? Yes, I have the worst body in this group and I am wearing a hoodie and I am in a weird mood in which I don't want attention (I told y'all it was a weird month. I still went up on stage anyway throwing a plastic bag at a cute boy performing -- it makes sense if you were there. He was lip-syncing to "Firework" by Katy Perry and I happened to have a plastic bag with me because Joey and I went right to The Saloon from Nordstrom Rack. Or maybe that happened a week later. I can't remember.) But, still? I was uneasy. Was this me now? Next year? In five years. I wanted to go home and drink.

"And YOU," the guy said to Carter. "You must just be the pretty one that people only hang out with because you're gorgeous."
Carter smiled nervously through a smile that was tighter than his butt.
"Now, that's not fair, " I said. I don't even know Carter that well, but he's always been kind to me and it was a nasty comment to make. "Carter is not just eye candy. He is also a painter and a sculptor."
"Wait, what?" Carter asked. "No, I'm not."
"Shhhh," I said. "Just go with it."
"Wait, really?" said the creepy guy. "I own an art museum."
Oh, shit. Of all the fake careers and facts I could have made up about Carter, I chose one that actually applied. This was worse than when Erin and I went to Jetset and tried to pretend we were from Seattle and the one hot guy we talked to was from there and our cover was blown.

It was torrential rain outside, and Markie drove Steve, Joey and me to the house. Joey took my car to go to the liquor store. I left my phone in Markie's car and he dropped it back off. I took a shower and shaved my face because we were going to go back to The Saloon. Jared and Mitchel came over. It kept raining. We played Uno. And I got hammered.


Not all was awful in the past few weeks. The hilarious Maggie Faris took me on the road with her to Eau Claire to perform at The Plus! I got to be off that Saturday, so first I went to LUSH to play bingo with my friend John from the '90s. I didn't win.

I was sure to be ready on time, because lesbians are punctual! They also drive like demons, because we were in and out of Eau Claire in record time. The crowd was older than I anticipated because it was homecoming weekend, but the show went great and I was able to mingle with friends from Stout who I hadn't seen in nearly ten years!

Maggie and I drove back and I brought her to The Saloon, where she was more popular than I was. She did lament the lack of females there, but, like ... fuck. It's The Saloon.


Year in review

A week later, Reid and I went to karaoke on a Tuesday, where I serenaded the crowd with "What A Man" by Salt 'n' Pepa. It was a good time and laughter and deep conversations were had.

And the next morning, we were at Stage Four Nuclear Meltdown all over again. I don't even fucking know. It was 7 A.M. I left the house to drive in my car and scream, and then I came back and tried falling back asleep, but I couldn't, and my heart was going to fall out of my chest. I debated going to a free counselor at a walk-in clinic, but I had to work at 2 and the earliest I would be seen was 1 and I am still new in my job and I didn't really want to tell my new manager, Hi, I'm gonna be late because I'm going crazy but I'll see you at 2:45!, so I sucked it up and even went to work early. In my half hour of down time, I got a call from a study I am participating in saying that I had an STI, even though no one has been back there since the Stone Age.

I clocked into work and didn't need to be around anybody for two hours, which was a nice bonus. I could do this! I clued in Reid that I was not feeling awesome. At 4 PM I reported to my work station, where I am to smile and greet customers and take care of things. I couldn't stop pacing.

"Are you okay?" asked a co-worker.
"No," I heard myself say.
"Do you want to come to the back with me?" asked another co-worker who has turned into my Work Mom.
"Uh-huh," I said in the distance.

She told me to go get water from the espresso bar. I started stirring my straw furiously. The loss prevention agent asked if I was okay. I was silently tearful at this point. I said no but I told him it had nothing to do with work (customers are, like, nice to me in this job). He politely encouraged me to go upstairs to the Human Resources office. It was like school. I walked the escalator up three floors and walked by Reid, who saw the whole thing but was with a customer.

The HR lady sat me in a private office. Oh my god. We officially have a crying room.

"It's not work," I kept saying. "I'm fine. I'm fine."
"Shhhh," she kept saying. "Breathe. Anxiety is physical. You have to ride this out."
I looked around nervously. "This has been going on for a while," I said.
"Should we call your mom?" she asked.
"My mom is on vacation," I sobbed. "And she deserves it! I've drained her out of so much money."
"Do you live with your mom?" she asked.
"No," I said. I don't think the HR lady knows I'm 30!
"I'm gonna leave and shut the blinds," she said. "And I don't want you to do any thinking."

Half an hour later, she snuck me a bag of animal crackers. Having a nervous breakdown at work is a lot like having a nervous breakdown at daycare.

The situation would repeat itself the next night at The Saloon. The Saloon! My safest, happiest, place. I can't go anywhere anymore! I was talking down a friend from the proverbial ledge and maybe I took on his feelings after our conversation ended, because after I was done wiping his tears away and sent him to the dance floor, I saw another friend was holding hands with one of my eight million crushes, and my brain went snap-crackle-pop. Why was this the catalyst?? It makes absolutely no sense. It's not like they were making out or banging each other on the table, and even if they were, it would have been their right! (Well, maybe not the banging on the table thing because of laws about that stuff, but they could have gone home to bang) The bouncers were very sweet and gave me Sprite and even asked if I wanted to sit in the office. Tim let me stay at his place. I lost my keys and my left shoe. Also, Tim has a gorgeous apartment and I should have gone into bar tending.

My shoe was retrieved, but my keys never were, so I had to walk of shame it to my leasing office, which was thankfully in the North Loop (Tim is in the adjacent Warehouse District). There is nothing to re-iterate your newfound trash box status like walk of shaming it in the North Loop, past all of the salons and expensive brunch places and condos you will never be able to afford. I debated telling the leasing company a whopper of a lie (I got mugged! But only my keys!), but decided to just be honest to the beautiful young woman behind the counter.

"I had an ... episode last night and lost my keys," I said.
She found out who my agent was and told me to wait. "Would you like some coffee or water?" she pleasantly asked.
Go big or go home. "Coffee with a LOT of sugar, please," I said. They had a black lab in the office that made everything better. If I ever get my money right and my own, bigger place, I am getting a labrador.

The leasing agent came in shortly after with my keys (and news of a $50 deposit). "Everything going okay?" he asked.
"Oh, well ..." I began.
"...With the house?" he was sure to clarify.
"Oh, just great," I said.

I then stopped at The Saloon for a cocktail. My phone was going to die and my charger was in my car so I bought one of those boost charger things, although St. Loretta made plans to come over to get me a new car key. I felt bad because Johnny was the bartender and he was one of the first people that I told I was doing Oscober (and we know how that went). Nina DiAngelo, out of drag, was putting up Halloween decorations. A handsome 40-year-old from Orlando was there and Johnny and I told him where to go every night as far as the club scene. An athletic man of the same age sat by me but only ordered a water with cherries and said he was kicked out of an earlier restaurant. He later told me his husband was cheating on him and wanted an open relationship. I told him monogamy is not for everyone but both partners need to be on the same page or it's a deal-breaker. An elderly gay couple told me I was cute. You find your people when you're day drinking.

I took an Uber to the government office (I lost my ID on a different night, for the 87th time) and got in touch with St. Loretta, who was beyond annoyed but made plans to deliver a car key to my house. I cried all the way on the walk home and made awkward eye contact with handsome young lawyers. None of them asked what was wrong and for my hand in marriage, but a boy could dream.

Maybe you should get sober

You will make a better atmosphere for everyone

I am trying to help you help me

Sobriety = Rehab

Rehab = Going far away

Going far away = Never coming back

Never coming back = I would miss everyone

It was a lot to think about.

I made plans to go to her house later and then went to my appointment at Planned Parenthood. They were busy! 7 PM on a Friday night at "the clinic" is apparently the place to be. They asked if Joey was still my emergency contact and he had been upsetting me all week, so I let out a big "Awwwwwwwwwwwww. Yessssssssssssssssss." and the lady behind the counter nervously smiled.

I decided to get tested for everything. Considering I probably got an STI from a sex dream, one could never be too careful.

"A lot of girls would kill to be your weight," said the nurse.
"I almost did," I replied. She politely laughed and then I drank the antibiotic-in-a-cup that tastes like sidewalk chalk.

Things got back to normal in the next few days. I was lucky enough to participate in the 10,000 Laughs Festival. My show was at the new Royal Comedy Theater in Hopkins. Even my brother came! It has the fanciest green room I have ever seen in my life. Basically, it's like a kitchenette with a stocked fridge and food and it felt like I was in the Big Brother house. I was especially excited to see Tiffany Norton (a.k.a. Bangs from KS95) again, because she's one of the first people I met doing comedy and I always gravitated toward the ladies.

After the show, we met with people from the city who were thrilled that Hopkins has a comedy club. "We've wanted to do this forever," a lady said.
"I love this downtown," Tiffany said. "It's like Edina."
"Don't say that!" the lady cried. "We'll never be Edina!"
"No, I just mean the architecture," Tiffany clarified. "I used to work for a construction company."
The Hopkins natives invited us for drinks, but we had to go previous social obligations. I kind of felt snobby about it.

Dane and I drove to Plymouth to my friend Lee's house, where he was having a neon-themed party! I didn't own anything neon, so we all just threw neon headbands at each other. It was fun until we played "I Have Never" because I have the sex life of a nun and always feel inadequate about myself playing that game (I spent my prime years living with my parents having emotional affairs on the Internet), and someone divulged that they had sex on someone's blanket, and the owner of the blanket STARTED SHOUTING IN VERY HIGH DECIBELS and if I had the money I would have just ordered him a new blanket from Amazon right then and there. Dane was a very good sport during all the gay sex talk, though. I think he was less fazed than I was!

I still had a good time as Lee is always a gracious host. I left my 10,000 Laughs t-shirt there. Of course I did. They even spelled my name right.

The next day, Steve and I went to Spring Street Tavern where all the comics were having brunch! We got there late (which was my fault -- shocking, I know), so we just sat at the bar and had bloody Marys because I was driving and needed something to sip. Tiffany hung out with us and later she met us at LUSH along with David Harris. Then we went to the mall so Steve could find last minute outfits for his upcoming trip to Hawaii, and my quest for dress pants was fruitless. I literally only bought Chap Stick. It was a sad day in the world of retail.

That night, I did my '90s hosting gig (where I beat Steve at darts in a miracle of miracles) and we were back at The Saloon. Joey reneged on coming to the '90s but made it to The Saloon and he explained that extenuating circumstances were making him act differently than usual, and I understood it. Then Sexy Jesus bought me a shot. Hallelujah.


Steve was gone for a week and I didn't know what to do with myself! It's not like we hang out all the time -- I'm kind of like a whiny mosquito -- but who would listen to me repeat the same 50 stories over and over? Thankfully, my work schedule didn't leave much room for partying, and I stayed at my parents' at least one of those nights. That Friday night, Joey and I went to Mansion!

He only want me when I'm not there
He better call Joey with the good hair

We were nervous because we read so much about the dress code and I've read about people being turned away at the door, but I think if you wear black shoes, you're fine (also, Joey graciously let me borrow a sport coat). Also, be sure to go in the regular line and not the bottle service line. I still had my yellow papers from my lost ID but the bouncer was cool. "I don't need that shit, Jacob," he said good-naturedly.

Y'all, Mansion is fancy! We met a friend of Joey's who later lamented that she was turned down by Ricky Rubio. "I even spoke Spanish," she pouted.
"You already have a boyfriend," I said. "You were just talking about how hot he is."
"But it's Ricky Rubiooooo," she whined.

We walked to The Saloon where Joey talked to his hot and ripped neighbor, and across the bar I saw the boy who broke the heart of the boy who broke my heart, and I kind of got it.

(Sometimes you just need some Stevie)

Work at my regular job is steady. Wish I had more gigs but I have to get myself out there more often and no one is gonna do that for me.

I'm working on a book.

I think my Rogaine is working and I am currently less than my drivers' license weight.

I'm trying to have adult conversations about things.

Not everything is about me.

Talk is cheap, though. It's your actions that people will truly remember you by. I can only hope that I would be remembered as a good person instead of a garbage person dumpster fire, but I have no control over that shit. As long as they spell my name right in the yearbook, I'm good. It's Emmert, not Emmret.

Next week: Our Halloween episode! Scarier than me without make-up!