Thursday, September 22, 2016

Loring Park Episode #64: No Sex and the City




I had no idea what to call this episode. I was going to call it Adrift in New York, which is my blog from when I lived in New York NINE YEARS AGO (we'll get to that later). Then I thought something cheesy like New York State of a Crazy Mind, New York Minute (of Agony) or You Can't Go Home Again. Maybe I'll change it before I finish, I don't know.

We were going for Joey's birthday, and I am the poor irresponsible friend and he basically subsidized my entire trip. It was an amazing time and I fell in love with the city all over again! Most displeasure I had was entirely my own fault. I had been a tightly wound ball of anxiety before the trip, about things that were really stupid, and I was worried that the trip would only exacerbate these worries.




As we talked about last week, something snapped in my brain when it turned 30 and it hasn't been put together yet. In Minneapolis, I am disgusting but I am D-list famous if I am at The Saloon and occasionally at The 19 -- depending who is there -- so I don't have to worry about not getting attention. In New York, I was going to be with Joey (who looks like a model), Steve (who is masculine and laid-back, two things I AM VERY MUCH NOT), James and Marco (who are a happy and drama-free couple), and Barney (who is older, handsome and just doesn't give a shit). I had convinced myself that I was a hideous troll and no strangers would want to talk to me the entire time. Nobody told me this, by the way; in fact, Joey and my friend Angie had tried to convince me otherwise. But it was in my head. I am not sexually active. Sex is currency. I am not having sex with anyone and therefore I have no value. Also, I had never hung out with everyone as a group before, and I didn't know what the dynamic was going to be like. Do I leave when the party starts? Should I find a nice older man to bring me to Staten Island?

The first snafu happened the night before the trip! I was going to to hit up the '90s to cheer on Autumn Vixxen in the amateur contest with Woody, who was back in town for just a few days, but Joey was on his way over and Steve had gone to the 19. Joey finally arrived after midnight (it took forever for him to find a parking space that would last him until Monday), and we played darts at the 19, where I reunited with man about town Todd O'Dowd. We got home at bar close and had about two hours of rest before hitting the airport. Joey and I had a flight that left at 8 AM, and Steve and his crew were on a flight that left a little bit later. Also, Joey and I had a layover at O'Hare and the other group was flying direct. The plan was that we would meet at Barney's apartment in Eagan and a car service would bring us all to the airport. This is what I was told.

Again, I spent a better deal of the trip with horrific NYC flashbacks. Nine years ago I transferred to Brooklyn College. I was incredibly depressed and had been suicidal my entire sophomore year, and this transfer came out of nowhere. I was going in completely blind. My mother and I weren't even speaking to each other, yet she was flying with me in August of 2007 to help me move and get settled in (to the expensive apartment that she was paying for, yet I couldn't appreciate anything at that point). This was the Monday after the 35W bridge collapsed. We missed the flight and had to go on stand-by. It was not a good time.

Anyway, I was convinced we were going to miss the flight and that I was cursed. We got to Barney's apartment on time and he didn't answer the door right away. When he let us in, he was going through his beauty routine and we were watching Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race. He graciously made me a Screwdriver to assuage my nerves.

And then the clock ticked. And ticked. And ticked.

And now we have been there for half an hour and nobody feels like moving and our plane is leaving in 90 minutes and my mother has always told me to be at the airport at least two hours early and Barney is still in the bathroom.

"Calm down," Joey had said. "We'll make the flight. Stop worrying."
"Is Barney coming?" I asked Steve.
Steve rolled his eyes. "I don't know," he said. "You ask him."

Children, the combination of anxiety, lack of sleep and the possibility of missing a flight had pushed a button!




I went from 0 to 100.

"Barney, are we leaving yet?" I asked.
"We're leaving in ten minutes," he said.
"YOU SAID THAT TEN MINUTES AGO!!!!" I shrieked. "THIS IS BULLSHIT!!!"
"Fuck you!" Barney yelled. "Don't you come into my house and speak to me like that!"
"We're getting an Uber," I snapped at Joey, and I stormed out of the apartment.

Two minutes later, I texted Barney apologizing for my actions. I didn't want him to be mad at me the entire trip! I had the right to be anxious and upset, but not to scream and swear at anybody. I tried explaining that I was under a very different impression of how our morning plans were to be conducted. He agreed. With that bullet now dodged, we were on our way to the airport, where we got on our plane ten minutes before boarding ended.

We landed in Chicago and I was still stewing. "I have to let it go," I said. "Don't hold your breath if you're waiting for an apology from Steve Howell. You'll pass out."

Immediately after I said that, my phone beeped and it was Steve saying he was sorry and that they made their flight just fine. Well, then. I wrote and deleted a response about 12 times and decided to leave my anger in Chicago. We had landed and that was all that mattered.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Loring Park Episode #63: The Comedown









This episode begins with me screaming my head off in my bathroom at 2:45 AM on a Sunday / Monday. As one does.





Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still
I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing


July 7, 2016 -- in which something I worked really hard for actually PAID OFF and I felt surrounded by love -- was one of the best nights of my life. Like, top five. Without ranking them, I would also say:

*New Year's Eve 2005 at my friend Laleh's house while we watched Mariah Carey perform in Times Square
*The surprise party for my college roommate Whitey at his parents' lavish house in Chippewa Falls
*The night I won Funniest Person in the Twin Cities
*Miami Beach with Erin, Loretta, Joey and Jared, a night that involved karaoke, gorgeous go-go boys, meeting handsome Canadians, and exotic food and drink



Perhaps the happiness of my birthday show was like a drug, in which the comedown was inevitable. Then it was my birthday (ten days of birthday!), and my life finally went back to normal. I had no gigs on the horizon. Work was busy but not as lucrative as I was anticipating. I could feel my mood starting to shift.

I went crazy for a while. And when I say "crazy", I do not wish to belittle anybody else's mental illness. I am not being treated for anything because I wasn't sure if I was gonna stay in my current job or not and would need new insurance (blah blah blah). I can call myself crazy. I can't call YOU crazy if you have anxiety or depression, because that's not nice or any of my business.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Loring Park Episode #62: In Which I Am Thirty

I love this movie. I saw it in the theater with my father. Two weeks later I dragged him to Mean Girls. 2004 was a magical spring. That poor man.

Yes, 30 was looming, but first I had some shenanigans as a 29-year-old to endure!

My timeline is going to get messed up because I am now 30 and my memory is fading, but I believe this episode starts at UpDown, the new video arcade in Minneapolis. We had heard about it and thought it sounded fun. I had decided that because I wanted to look and feel best during the biggest show of my career, that I was going to be sober between Pride and the show. It would just be two and a half weeks and I could do it.

I met Steve at UpDown, and Joey and Charlie soon followed. It is really fun! My only recommendation or complaint would be that you should definitely pay cash or close your tab right away, because when they take your card you have to literally be like a private investigator to track down your bartender. We kept confusing this poor girl with another girl who worked there and it was kind of annoying. Other than that, it was a hell of a time. Joey is obsessed with MarioKart but I can't play it to save my life, so I suggested games from my youth like Tetris and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"You guys can name all the ninja turtles, right?" I asked my posse.

They looked at me blankly. Good God. Was this an age thing? I had flashbacks to daycare when we would role play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but there were too many boys to claim the roles of the turtles, Shredder, and Splinter, and we only had one girl who always got to be April O'Neill, so I always had to be April's loser friend Irma.

Me on a Saturday night.

"Oh my God," I sputtered. "I'll give you a hint. They were all named after artists."
"Leonardo DiCaprio," Joey guessed.
"Oh, wait, I know!" Steve cried. "Georgia O'Keefe!"

Then we played a zombie game where you had to go through this big mansion and there were so many zombies. Steve was almost bored playing it but I still gave him all my coins because I wanted to see him beat the big giant scary butterfly monster thing.

After our excursion at the arcade, we decided to have happy hour at moto-I, where I have never been! This was close to Joey's new apartment.

Oh my god, I forgot to tell you. Joey is MOVING. Why is this show even called Loring Park (Adjacent) anymore? Originally he was going to move to St. Louis Park, and I handed him a butcher knife from the kitchen drawer and told him to just finish me already. Uptown isn't necessarily far from Stevens Square, but the era of me walking to his place or crashing at his place after The Saloon would now be over, and I had to mourn it as yet another example that this, the year of 30, was going to bring changes.

"It's not like he's moving back to Wisconsin!" my mother told me when I was freaking out about it.

My friend Jack was also pragmatic. "It is the natural evolution of a gay man in Minneapolis," he said. "First a gay man moves downtown and gets all the clubbing out of his system. Then they move to uptown. Then they move to St. Louis Park. Then they move far away to the suburbs and are never seen again."

I had images of Joey inviting me via snail mail to his birthday barbecue in Plymouth and shuddered at the thought. My poor baby!



Anyway, we were up at moto-I at the rooftop, and I declared that I was not drinking for a week so I would have a tonic water please, while the boys enjoyed adult beverages. The food was delicious. Charlie had to go back to his home in St. Paul (he's close St. Paul, though, like by UST), and the three of us went back to the house to watch the Beyonce visual album Lemonade. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the remote after moving back to the house, so we couldn't fast-forward anything and and to watch it straight through.

"I just don't get this," Joey said about every video.
"I want to get laid," said Steve after every video.
"You boys are stressing me out!" I cried. "I need a drink!" Steve and Joey looked at each other like children when Mommy is off her medicine. And thus ended my flirtation with sobriety. I felt bad about myself for drinking again and then drank more to feel less bad about myself. I had only been holding myself accountable -- I didn't pledge to anybody else that I would do this sober kick, and the only person I was letting down was myself (and maybe my mother) -- but it still felt like an internal failure on my part.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Loring Park Episode #61: My Pride and Joy


Pride weekend was upon us! But first it was Father's Day, and I have long given up hopes of finding a sugar daddy. I planned going to LUSH and then my grandparents' house, but I was also besotted by a horrific summer cold. My dreamy doctor put me on Prednisone and again expressed concerns about me being on it because it makes people hyper and I am already pretty "squirrely." I hope that's in my file.

Anyway, I still made it to LUSH where I enjoyed brunch with my friends Ria and Micah and friends (relatives? I'm a bad listener) visiting from Kentucky. Steve had to work at 2 but stopped and said hello for a little bit.




This was our server. TAKE ALL MY MONEY. He is a dancer/entertainer and had to work all of Pride weekend, the poor baby.

Things were a little awkward because Liam was there and kept sitting at our table and I was trying to avoid him. I was immature and cryptic before, so I'm going to put it all in the open, because I've been watching a lot of Bethenny Frankel lately and I think it's important to note when you're in the wrong and acting like an asshole.

When most of my friends went to Vegas for Jared's birthday, I was at home begging my mother to help pay my debt consolidation bill because I am broke as a joke as a result of my own poor decisions. I felt like shit about it but understood my current circumstances, and jokingly told my friends that if any of them went to the Mariah Carey concert, our friendship was over (none of them would have paid that much money to go see her, anyway. Britney? Maybe).

Anyway, while the gang was in Vegas and I was eating my feelings on my mother's couch, Liam tagged everyone at Caesar's Palace for the Mariah Carey concert and tagged ME in it with the update of "making Jakey jealous". This was not the first or last thing he had done on social media in a very short span of time to hurt my feelings, but when I look back, it was probably the most egregious. The last one was a week later when he wrote "you look old" on a Valentine's Day picture that I thought I looked good in! Maybe my skin is thicker now that I live with someone who insults my appearance at least once a week, but I was feeling sensitive that winter. So I pushed the block button. So did Joey and so did Steve. I ran into him weeks later at the bar and he cried and I told him I would be cordial to him - I wasn't gonna ice anybody out. That being said, even in February I was worrying about him trying to come to my Pride party. I wasn't going to invite him because we weren't friends anymore. But what would I do if he showed up? Would I pull a Tamra Barney and yell "LEAVE!" like he was Alexis Bellino in Season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County?




Now, here we were four months later, and I still hadn't tried to have a real conversation about what happened. I wanted to stay upset and non-responsive.

"I need to talk to you later," Liam said.

"Okay," I said. And I knew what this was about because he had been texting me for a month about the Pride party and I wasn't responding.

I told Ria and Micah about it and they are friends with both of us and didn't want to take sides, nor should they have. "You could always tell him it's a fire hazard and you can only invite a set number of people," Ria offered half-jokingly.

I tersely texted "You're not invited" after he implored again. At the time I thought it was a good decision, that I had true to myself and my own values and self-esteem, and that everybody would agree with me.

Um, no.

Ria, Micah, and their friends left, and while awaiting my chariot of my mother's SUV, I sauntered over to the table where Quinn and Louis were sitting. I decided to use as my greeting that I had finally told Liam he could not come to the party.



This is a picture of Megan Good and Christina Applegate from the underrated Anchorman 2. There are a surprising amount of articles about the surprising feminism of that movie. Anyway, Christina is Veronica, Ron Burgundy's estranged wife, and Megan is Linda, his sexy producer whom he is having an affair with. When the women FINALLY meet -- which I was waiting the whole movie for -- Ron encourages them to kiss or have a three-way. The women are both disgusted. "Read the room, Ron," Veronica says in my favorite part of the movie. Anyway, I couldn't find a .gif of it, but this was my same mistake. I did not read the room, and Quinn promptly yet politely ripped me an entirely new asshole.

"I am purposely finding something else to do that afternoon because of how you are acting," he said. And I want to re-iterate that it was ... Nice.  He didn't raise his voice, he didn't call me names, but rather he laid out his case in a way that I think was uncomfortable but important for him to do.

My mother picked me up, and I was a horrific Father's Day guest as I took a nap the whole time. This summer cold was kicking my butt. There was no way I could go to the '90s that night for Mystery Porn Theater, but I really didn't want to miss out on the money. It's not an exorbitant amount of money, but it's cash in my hand that I get every week, and that's a nice feeling, especially if I'm going to go home right away and not spend it on tipping drag queens upstairs and going to The Saloon afterward.

"How much do they pay you?" Loretta asked. "You sound TERRIBLE. I'll pay you if you stay home."

I texted Reid at 8 P.M. (the show is at 10) and he graciously agreed to pinch-hit for me, and the staff at the '90s was very accommodating about letting the door person know. It pays to know people. I told my mom about the party, about the plans, about Liam, about Quinn and my asshole.

"Well, you couldn't go because of your own life choices," she said. "Liam isn't the one who racked up a bunch of credit card debt. If you felt like shit about yourself, that's not his fault."
"It wasn't helping," I pouted. "He was kicking me when I was down."
"But does he know that?" she asked.
"He knows I'm pissed," I said.
"But does he know why you're pissed?" she asked, and the music at the end of every Full House episode started playing in my head.


"I told him from the get-go," I said. "I have the texts."
"Here's the thing," she finally offered. "This isn't like it's your birthday party or a dinner party. It's Pride. It should be for everyone." My mother, a 59-year-old heterosexual, was able to understand that, and I wasn't.

Over the next few days, I thought about Liamgate right before I went to bed and right when I woke up. It was consuming too much energy, and I realized the adage that the right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same. When you choose to forgive, it's not so much about what it does for the other person, but what it does for you. Conversely, I have been in that position where all you want is forgiveness and reconciliation. I didn't get it. It's been over 450 days, not that I'm counting. I  texted Liam like a grown-up and invited him to the party.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Loring Park Episode #60: May I Leave The Stage Now?



This episode begins at The Depot hotel, where my friend Julie, her boyfriend, and others and I went to IGNITE, a semi-annual event in which speakers get five minutes to talk about a topic close to their hearts. I learned about living on houseboats, endangered tigers, grief, the need for more women in STEM-related businesses, and the difference between racism and bias. I felt so smart! It was sponsored by SURLY beer, and I picked the lightest one. They also had food trucks and I had a delicious taco courtesy of Stanley's.

***

We have so much to talk about! So I'm going through this identity crisis, right? In which I realize that I was never all that good-looking to begin with, but any good looks I did have are, like ... gone. And that's okay. It's what aging is.

"You're not fat," Reid said to me. Reid told me that 35 is the happiest he has ever been because he stopped giving a shit. "You're filling out. You're looking, like, y'know, a thirty-year-old should look like."

Should a 30-year-old still be at the bar? People look at you much differently, and by that I mean they don't really look at you. There is one older man who hates me for some reason. I have no idea why. He walked by me once and brusquely said "Go eat something", and I was feeling fat so I took it as a compliment.

I haven't even entertained the thought of dating since that moment when everything shattered all at once, and that was well over a year ago. For a while I had a crush on Sven, the 20-year-old go-go boy, because it was safe and harmless. Or so I thought.

We have all been going to bingo on Wednesdays lately because at the '90s, it has been at the 60 number threshold FOREVER (bingo queens will know what I'm talking about). I like going because now I have my own postcards for the Sunday night show.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Loring Park Episode #59: An Enema and an Eggbake



This episode begins with me crying in the middle of The Saloon, like a goddamned lady.

I had been in my fourth week of limbo, in which I was living with my parents (by choice) but still wanting to go out and agreeing to stay with friends. Considering I had moved out by my own choice while still paying for all the utilities and my rent, I felt it would be beyond hypocritical for me to use my bedroom as a crash pad while still being mad at everyone.

A few nights before this, I was going to go home with Reid but there was a snafu and so I crashed at Jack's apartment. Jack's apartment is fabulously decorated, and not just because his boyfriend Barrett came over and they both have bodies like dancers (probably because they are dancers). On this evening, I was going to go home with Joey, but there was miscommunication and I thought he had left, and then I realized that I was stranded at the bar and this wasn't my faulttttttt (but it was).

Four years ago -- when life was bliss in hindsight -- I had a friend who lived in the suburbs who would frequently go to the bar, get drunk, and expect to crash at my place by the time it was bar close because he had made no plans to crash anywhere else and assumed I would just let him do it. And I did, about five times, and then I got really annoyed by it. I realized I was now being that person. I just wanted to go home. But what was home? Why hadn't I tried to work things out with Jared? It felt like a death or a divorce.

Sven, the pixie go-go boy, saw that I was crying and offered me a ride home to Esquire's house in South Minneapolis, where Steve was staying one last night before moving in with me. This is 29, getting a ride home from a beautiful and effervescent 20-year-old while the tears ruin your shitty make-up job.

The next morning I broke the faucet in Esquire's shower. I cannot have nice things.

Steve started his dramatic move, and I went to LUSH instead because I am a good friend. It was Robin's birthday and I can't turn down birthday cake! The drag legend Dee Richards joined us. I had more fun talking to Robin's mom and sister than anyone else. I love moms. I can't help it. As for my own mother, I currently owe her enough money to buy a house in Chanhassen.

***

Monday, April 25, 2016

Loring Park Episode #58: Disenchanted April

Previously on Loring Park Loring Park Adjacent St. Anthony Blues ...



I have never seen Enchanted April. All I know is that it's a British film and Joan Plowright was Oscar-nominated for it in the year Marisa Tomei won the Oscar. My friend StinkyLuLu wrote about it for his Supporting Actress Smackdown once upon a time.



I probably said this last year, too, that April is never a good month for me. Things always seem to go sour. I have spent Aprils in emergency rooms, hospitals, crying in the bathroom about a boy while reading The Glass Castle, living with my parents for a month because the apartment I wanted wasn't available until May, finding myself on a flight to New York because I got accepted to college at the last minute and I was nowhere near emotionally and spiritually ready for such a thing because I had been secretly been suicidal and depressed for the prior seven months.

It doesn't go well, is what I'm saying.

This year I decided I was going to anticipate it. And maybe that is why my April, again, did not go well. I had put it in the air that life always goes to shit in April. So first we will go to a night in March, in which I was at Jetset with Joey and a gal pal of mine who I won't name.

My gal pal came over first and we pre-gamed with delicious vodka lemonade drinks and read old LiveJournals of ours. Remember those? We went to Jetset without incident, and then within two minutes, she could barely stand up. I realized it was my responsibility to go home with her in an Uber. She almost biffed it on the way to the car.

Our Uber driver, bless his heart, thought that we were a couple. My gal pal came to life as I asked her if she remembered our honeymoon in Mexico, and how I had sun poisoning.

"I told you to bring sunscreen," she giggled. Improv! All was well!

And then, like a light switch, her brain went into a different mode. "Why are you stopping?!" she cried at the driver with terror in her voice.
"The light is red," I tried to explain. "We always stop at red lights."

We got to her apartment, an old brownstone with no elevators, and she insisted that she didn't live there. I showed her where her name was on the entrance and we began to walk up the three flights up stairs. While we were between first and second floors, a young man who kind of looked like Eminem opened his door and gave me a death glare.

I paid it no attention and we made it to the second floor. OK. One more floor. Here we go. And we're walking, and we're walking ....

...And then Eminem comes sprinting up the stairs running at me. I freak out. My friend stumbles and lands on her face.

"Is everything okay?!" he yelled. "Are you trying to do something to this woman?"
"No," I said, speaking rapidly. "We were at Jetset and she got too drunk so I'm bringing her home."
"I thought you might be trying something with her," he said.
"I am gay as hell," I cried.
"Yeah, I get that now, " said Eminem. "Um, have a good night."



I cleaned up my friend and went back to Jetset. Before I had left, I had seen Under Armour was there and so was my friend Ian (who is loud and hilarious), so I messaged them to see if they were still there. They wrote back, and I planned to act like nothing had happened. But then Joey was talking to Miles and it was a deep conversation, and I felt that maybe I should go to The Saloon. But now it was 2 A.M.! The Saloon stays open until 3, so I took a Lyft from a lovely Ethiopian woman who had no idea where she was going. Hennepin Avenue was blocked off. It was a mess. I thanked her for her time anyway and walked to The Saloon at 2:20, where they told me they weren't letting anybody else in.

"Oh," I pouted. "Thank you."

Sven, the dancer and coat check boy who looks like Link from Zelda, was on his way out. "Do you need a ride home, Jakey?" he asked. His smile was the brightest thing on the street.


Sven is like a Manic Pixie Dream Twink, so I was kind of surprised when it turns out he drives a pick-up truck.

"I only live, like six blocks away from here," I said.
"Okay," he said. That smile. I can't.

He pulled over on Lasalle.

And before your mind goes there, I am going to say that we held hands for an hour and a half. I KNOW. I remember back in WWF days, and Jerry Lawler would tell Jim Ross, "If Lady Godiva rode in here, you'd notice the horse." Still, it was a lovely moment. I hadn't held hands with a boy in a pick-up truck in over a year, and that boy was not a manic pixie go-go dancer who was good with animals, but the polar opposite in every conceivable way -- although maybe he was good with animals. I'm pretty sure he had a dog. Anyway, nothing romantically is going to happen between me and Sven. He is nine and a half years younger than me! On paper, it's ten years, but if I say nine and a half it isn't as gross.