Monday, August 31, 2015

Loring Park Episode #54: The Pride of Stevens Square

Today wasn't fun.

I'm trying hard to get excited for Pride. Maybe it's because I think I'm getting old or have a gut or don't feel like I can afford to go anywhere (not that such a thought will stop me. Did I mention I'm in debt consolidation? And that I am not in debt because of hardship but because of serious impulse control problems?) I must remind myself that this weekend is not about looking good in swim trunks but about freedom of expression, self-acceptance, and being lucky enough to spend time with supportive family and friends.

While driving to South Dakota last weekend, I put in a mix CD called "Songs About Leaving", that I made when I knew I was leaving UW-Stout (ultimately one of the saddest chapters of my life, but that's for an entirely different novel). I had no idea what songs would be on there, only that I knew none of them would be older than 2007 (I am OLD, my children). Track #9 was "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts. I remember my mother loved that song and encouraged me to put it on CD mixes for all the young people in her life. And even though our relationship was absolutely terrible at that time, I had appreciated her for thinking that, and resented myself that I was too blinded by anger to see her the way my friends did.
And then I bawled my eyes out until the song was over because even though I didn't graduate from either of the colleges I went to and I'm *still* being helped by my parents on the edge of 30, I was driving four and a half hours by myself to a venue in which I was going to get paid because people believed I was actually talented and good at something and worth the amount I requested.

I never saw the contract until after the trip and I was supposed to do a lot more work than I actually did. Lesson #300: Always check your e-mail if you're going to be a professional, and being worried about a Christian radio host replying to a novel you sent her at 3:11 in the morning is not an excuse to avoid your e-mail. In a tangent, she wrote me back and it was absolutely breathtaking. Her name is Susie Larson and her show is called "Live the Promise" and today the topic was about avoiding WORRY. I am sending her a Christmas card, but because this is me, she probably won't get it until February.

I have been missing somebody to the point of insomnia, chest pain and gastric distress. I am learning it's okay. From the first time we met I had been convinced that this person greatly needed ME, but now I have realized how self-centered such a notion is. This is a person who needs God and a good therapist, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Our last conversation ended with "I'm gonna need a few days" before the car door shut and sped away in the darkness. That was 57 days ago. Not that I am counting.

A month later I would have a nervous breakdown in the parking lot of a hospital and a nurse in a yellow sweater found me and walked me to my appointment. If you are going to have a nervous breakdown, do it at a hospital. Everyone acts like it's totally normal. Yellow is a calming color. Rosie O'Donnell has written essays about yellow, how it is the color of everything that is real and how she felt fame took it away from her. I tweeted her about my meltdown and that the nurse wore yellow. "Nurses r the best," she wrote back. My mother is a nurse. This is not a coincidence.

I have no idea where I was going with this.  -Facebook rant, June 24th 

I was in a strange mood as Pride loomed. It wasn't just about my body. I mean, yes, I should work out, and I was never fat, nor was I ever ripped in years previous, but this is my last summer of my twenties (kind of) and maybe I was projecting.

The first omen that things would turn around happened when my boss said I could be off on Friday! I was leery of asking for Thursday and Friday off since I had asked for every other weekend off in June due to the Sioux Falls gig and my uncle's wedding. Jared wanted to host a big Pre-Pride party on Friday and I had planned on working until six o'clock and coming home to bitch at everyone.

I used this same .gif during last year's Pride episode! Thursday night I met Jared and Joey at Honey for Flip Phone, which is one of the first unofficial events of Pride. Just like last year, I totally forgot how long the line was going to be! I was late because I was Nairing at my mother's house. "Jacob!" she cried. "That smell is going to burn down the house!"

 Joey and Jared let me do cutsies and I immediately felt the rage of those who were behind us and pretending to be our friends. It still took us 45 minutes to get in because the club was at capacity.

"This line is longer than my last relationship," I lamented.
"If this was your last relationship there wouldn't even be a line!" cried Jared.

It should be noted that my Grindr profile says I just got out of a really bad non-relationship and I still think that way.

It took us about 45 minutes to get into Honey, but once we did, it was its usual blast. I did the "Heartbreaker" rap while dancing with Under Armour and he was impressed because he hasn't seen me do it 50 times like everybody else has.

Little did all of us know how our lives would be changed forever the next day.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Loring Park Episode #53: So Sioux Me

Previously on Loring Park (Adjacent) ...

Jakey and Jared moved to their new home across town.

June was such a busy month! Summer is meant to be that way, I suppose. We are enjoying our new house and new adventures. I ended up bonding with the upstairs neighbor, but she moved. I am hoping for frat boys.


I had a nervous breakdown.

Before you all get nervous and worried, I should specify that I did it in the parking lot of a hospital, where I was going to have my butt looked at. I had stayed at my mom's house the night before, and she didn't wake me up. She had no reason to wake me up because the appointment was at 2 P.M. and I am 28.

I called to get my appointment delayed by half an hour. When I showed up there I was bordering on being late. Also, I wasn't wearing any underwear because I was staying at my mom's house, and I was worried about being sweaty. This was a big deal because they were going to be pulling my pants down.

I walked into the medical center in Maple Grove, realized I didn't know where to go, walked back to the parking lot, called my mother to yell at her (as if that would somehow solve everything), then sat on a bench and kept bawling.

A nurse in a yellow sweater walked by and asked if I was okay. Since this place also had an oncology center, she assumed I had received "bad news". There was no bad news. I just had to have my asshole looked at and I didn't know where to go in this big building, and I overslept, and my phone never works and that's why I can never make an appointment with a therapist and Lord knows I should be on Xanax by now ...

...She very calmly walked me to my appointment, up two floors to an elevator and dropped me off at the station. I realized I didn't have my wallet but they let me sign in anyway. After the appointment was done, my wallet was on the outside of my car but nobody had stolen it. God is real, children.

Yellow is the color of calm and all that is real. Rosie O'Donnell has written essays about yellow, how it was all of those things that fame took away from her. I tweeted her about the nurse. "Nurses r the best," she wrote back. My mother is a nurse. This is perhaps not a coincidence.


The next Friday was pay day, and I reunited with my friend Julie! She was on her way back from a business trip in San Francisco and she and her boyfriend Adam came to my house for Thai food. "Did you know you live just 3.7 miles from the best Thai restaurant ever?!" she exclaimed. They were delayed, which was unfortunate, since my parents were at The Saloon to help my friend Greta in her fundraiser for an AIDS bike ride.

After a few glasses of wine, we headed to The Saloon where I just missed my parents! This is the life. Adam was generously buying me a few drinks, and next thing I knew I felt the need to change shirts with everyone.

 It was all fun and games until I lost my keys. Even though I wear them on a lanyard and I get made fun of for that all the time. I cannot have nice things. I didn't notice they were gone until I was in the cab with Julie, Adam, and a boy with a bun. Then we had to bang on the door and wake up Jared, who was not a happy camper. I wasn't a happy camper, either, but then me and the boy with the bun went, erm, camping. We, um, pitched a tent or two.

"How old are you?" I said while we were making out.
"24," he smiled. "How old are you?"
"Like I'm gonna tell you," I said, and then I took his pants off.

The next morning when you're naked in front of someone is rather liberating. Julie and Adam left in his car, and Julie let me drive her car to work. (And we had to drop off my trick. Who lives above a coffeehouse. My very first hipster. I should cross it off a list. He would cut off the bun a week later. I felt like Delilah. The one from the bible, not the lady I like on the radio who would not approve of a story so salacious.) After my shift was over, I picked up Julie in her car and she drove Jared and I to Big Louie's to play bingo. Julie lives in Apple Valley. I am nominating her for canonization.

Not only did we fail at bingo (which was a 60-number coverall), but Loretta, irate about my lost keys, read me for pure unadulterated filth.

"I don't go out in public and get drunk and take my shirt off and trade clothes with people!" she cried. "If I did that everyone would think I was a big idiot!"
"No, they wouldn't," I said. "You'd be the life of the party. Like, 'oh, that Loretta. She is so wacky.'"
Loretta was not having it. I had as much luck swaying her opinion as I did winning at bingo. I haven't won in forever. My gambling addiction has been about as fruitful as my alcoholism.

I was lucky enough to attend The Reapies, which is like the Emmys for local comedy. It was my fourth consecutive year of not being nominated for anything. I still had a good time. This is Rana May, who told me that I am a stupid little baby. I enjoy her immensely. A comic who is almost 7 feet tall named William Spottedbear suggested I jumped on his shoulders. I did, and then I totally strained that spot where my pectoral muscles are supposed to be. Comedy is all about pain.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Loring Park Episode #52: And the Rest is Drag (SEASON FOUR PREMIERE!)

Previously on the series finale* of Loring Park ...

Jakey had an illuminating card reading! The boys found a new apartment! Jakey lost his wallet AND locked his keys in the car.

We said good-bye to Loring Park.

We live by Stevens Square Park now. It doesn't sound as sexy. I just call it Loring Park Adjacent. It's not necessarily a new show. We still have the same friends, work at the same job, and take the same exit off the freeway.

And we have a million shows on our TV which means I should stop going out all the damn time. I should buy a yoga mat to tell myself I will do crunches, but in reality I'll probably just end up eating nachos. I'm going to the Lake Calhoun pool party over Pride weekend and even though Chad Kampe (DJ Fancy Restaurant) told me they do "no body-shaming", I'm still worried I am going to be mistaken for a buoy.


"I trusted you," he said, and even next to me he sounded distant.
"I know," I said. "I'm sorry."

Sorry is about as effective as epsom salts for a headache. Despite any benevolence in my intentions, I had lied. And then I lied about lying. As Judge Judy says, you have to tell the truth because you eventually won't be able to keep your story straight.

He dropped me off at my parents' house at 3 AM where I promptly peed about a gallon on their front lawn.

"Text me when you get home," I said.
"No," he said. "I can't talk to you right now. It will be a few days."

It has been a month now. I am okay.

By "okay" I mean that my heart physically hurts and I have spent the last month walking around feeling like I have an open wound and I haven't been sleeping and even when I was in the same room as one of my personal heroes (we'll get to that later), I couldn't stop thinking about it. Out of anxiety, I have bitten my lips to the point that I resemble Angelina Jolie if she had canker sores.

I am sad. So damn sad. But integrity has to trump your own emotions and preferences. He might not ever speak to me again, and that would be entirely his prerogative. I coped by listening to Christian radio and eating a lot of gummy bears. The hole in my heart transferred to a hole in my stomach lining.

I also listened to "Infinity" over and over, because I will always have Mariah.

And if I forget about this whole thing, May was a pretty damn good month.


For one thing, we moved! My grandparents helped out and it wasn't nearly as arduous as I thought it would be, but moving is still never fun. I'm convinced that our rent will go way up next year, but if it doesn't, Jared and I are staying here until we are 40 (unless he gets married or I decide to move back to New York). Also, you will be shocked, just SHOCKED, to learn that in the moment we were to turn in our keys was also the moment that I locked my keys in the car. Again.

The stress of moving was so great that I went back to the closet. #muffintop

We live in the bottom half of a basement in Stevens Square. It has been a month and I still haven't made any dumb jokes about us being bottoms. The lady upstairs is also the caretaker of the house. Jared has met her and says she's really nice. I have never met her but I didn't know that our driveway was shared and on the very first day, I was greeted with a note that read:

Please park all the way to the right so I don't have to park all the way in the trees. Seriously. Who does that????

My very first passive-aggressive note! Never change, Minnesota.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Loring Park Episode #51: Roll with the Punches (SERIES FINALE!!!!*)

Previously on "Loring Park": TJ the bartender moved across the world! A friendship went off the rails! Terri Runnels!

Lessons in Comedy

March began with me doing three shows in a week! I loved how busy it all felt. On Tuesday, I was invited to do a showcase at the VFW, on Thursday I performed at Bryant Lake Bowl for the LOL/OMG show, and Friday I had an awesome time slot in the Die Laughing marathon, where I got to do a half-hour set (that's the fundraiser for which I did "Brunch with Jakey" last year).

Show business, it seems, is kind of the devil. Yet you are always learning when you are in the trenches, and that is what I love.

First of all, the VFW show is really fun because they have a DJ by the stage and you can kind of riff with him and it's like having your own Paul Schaeffer. Bryant Lake Bowl was fun because I got to work with my friend Chris again, and Jason Schommer always puts together an eclectic and fun group. And Die Laughing was fun because of what I made out of it.

Other than my mom coming to the Bryant Lake Bowl show (which I really appreciated), nobody else I knew came to any of these gigs. Which is fine because no one owes you anything. I always believe that! But when people on Facebook insinuate they're going, and say they're gonna bring four of their friends, and then they don't, it becomes kind of a letdown. It especially felt his way at the Die Laughing Marathon, because I was led to believe that several folks from my high school were coming. I even brought my old yearbook! Also, the room was held in a HUGE banquet hall, so the audience of less than 20 looked even smaller.

But right before I got onstage, I realized the lesson. It does not matter how big your audience is, or who necessarily is in your audience. I mean, work certain angles if it makes the show better, but don't obsess over it being all women or all dudes or young/old whatever. It matters that you do your best to better yourself as a performer but more so for the people that are there. I let go of my disappointment that none of my friends showed up and had a damn good time on that stage. I was happy to learn that Fearless Comedy Productions achieved their fundraising goal over the weekend. Without them there would have been no Fringe Festival show for me, and I will always be grateful.

I walked to my car and made the drive back downtown. I realized it was a Friday night at 9 and were this just a week ago, I would have called Sean. We would have pre gamed at his apartment and maybe done Jetset or Saloon. Later in the month, Entertainment Weekly would do a full-length article on Delilah, the sappy radio DJ we both admired. It was an abrupt loss that, while certainly not romantic, was nonetheless difficult to process.

I had a paid gig that was cancelled a week later when I was the one who noticed the venue was advertising a completely different show for that evening. The booker felt bad and I didn't take it personally. Still. Show business is the devil.

I did the Tuesday Night Showcase the following week. I didn't do as well as the previous week because I was arriving right from work and was all frazzled and didn't have a clear routine. The crowd was still really cool. After the show, Gabe Noah, Isaac Witty and I went to The Saloon and drank Fireball and watched Latina drag queens and judged everybody doing karaoke. Life does not always have to suck.

My friend Sarah McPeck was the first ever female celebrity guest on Drag Queen Game Night! I was so proud of her. My friend Markie noticed my gut on this evening and later in the month an acquaintance grabbed a fat roll and on Easter Markie (again) would tell me to "suck it in". As stressed out as I have been lately, I am hoping some of it will lead to accidental weight loss.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loring Park Episode #50: The Milwaukee Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, but this was the best part.

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

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

A boy can dream.

Oh, also, this:


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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Loring Park Episode #49: The Ballad of Auntie Debby

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Ugh," he said. "Fine."

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

Loring Park Episode #48: Destiny Unbound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then he walked around the island.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You deleted me,” Porn Guy insisted.

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

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

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