Previously on Loring Park:
Nothing eventful happened at the foam party, except for almost drowning. I don't think I enjoy them anymore. Maybe I'm officially too old. I didn't even want to go, but Joey is moving back home next month and therefore he is my excuse for going out when I should stay home, saving money and doing crunches.
This means that we of course went out again on Sunday night, this time to The Saloon. I went with Jared, and Joey agreed to meet us there.
We first ran into Liam, whom I mentioned last week as one of the kindest gAy-listers there is. He told me delightful gossip, including the fact that Markie, a gay man in his late thirties who is the reason I have even met so many gAy-listers, is banned from The Saloon until July because he gave his drink to a minor. SCANDAL! I also received chap stick from a nice fag hag/gay guy couple, and the guy even had the good Burt's Bee's stuff.
Of course, Cordero was there, with a devilish grin and halfway in the bag. "When are we going out, Jakey?" he asked, and then I got Christina Aguilera "Infatution" in my head. Camille Collins, the drag queen and host of the shower contest, made her way out to the patio, and I took it as a lovely distraction. "I love you, Camille!" I cried. "I love you, too!" she rasped, and my night was complete.
Jared and I then made our way to the other patio, where Joey and his friend were. Joey's friend was a senior in high school, and while I often joke about being an ocelot (gay cougar), the dangers of 18+ really hit home.
We then ran into Chuck, one of the gays that I have been lucky enough to meet over the past winter (I lost my iPod at his house, and that sucked). Chuck is 30 and doesn't look a day over 23, and one of these days I need to ask him about moisturizers.
Chuck, Jared, Liam and I were schmoozing when I realized that I had abandoned Joey and his friend -- my gay children! "I am the worst gay mother ever!" I cried, and sprinted to the dance floor. Sure enough, Joey, The High Schooler and Jared were all dancing, and all were safe. Jared sweats profusely after booty-dancing, so we all went back to the patio, when the incident happened.
As I was talking to Chuck, I heard a splash to my right, followed by groaning. I thought nothing of it and assumed somebody spilled (and speaking of, I will always be sorry to the boy whom I spilled vodka cranberry all over at NYC Splash many moons ago. If I make it big, I will hire a private detective to find you and personally deliver my apology). Then I looked over, and High Schooler had vomit all over his face. Joey ushered him out, and the rest of us all looked over in panic.
"Did it get on me?! Did it get on you?! Are you okay?! What happened?!" we all shrieked like girls, but were relived to be vomit-free. Despite the guilt that all mothers feel when their children disappoint them, I decided to see who won the shower contest.
There were four finalists, and two of them were twins. Word on the street was that only one of them was gay. The fourth finalist did NOT have a shower-contest body, and therefore I cheered for him the loudest. He and the third candidate were dismissed, and Camille informed us that the final two were the twins, Evan and Ethan. How do you pick a winner? Most of the gays decided they would pick the gay one, but I didn't know which one was who. I decided to brazenly walk up to Ethan.
"Which one is older?" I asked, proudly being 19 minutes older than my twin brother.
"I am," he smiled. This let me know he was the straight one because a gay guy would have said he was younger since we are so youth-obsessed in our subculture. Nevertheless, I loudly cheered for him, to the point that my voice nearly gave out. How would I explain my laryngitis to customers the next day? Well, Sheila, I would rasp, I was at a shower contest, which is where men dance naked in a stall and the audience judges the winner, and at the end of the night the two finalists were TWINS. Now while I personally am disgusted by the concept of "twincest" -- which is a real thing in European porn -- there was something very sexy and scandalous about the whole thing, and I just had to cheer with the crowd! I got lost in the moment!
Anyway, Camille declared that BOTH the twins won the $300 shower contest prize, which was diplomatic and practical, as they probably would have split it amongst themselves anyway. I think that if drag queens were world leaders, there would be no wars. All the conflict would be solved behind closed doors, via lip-synching, gossip, and a well-placed witticism.
Cordero came up to me again, and mentioned that Jim Wilson was across the bar. I went to college with Jim Wilson. He is a few years older than me and looks like a model. I have met him in person once, at a pimps and hos party. Even before officially meeting him, I knew who he was and he knew who I was, because when you're one of a half-dozen prominently social gay guys at a Division-III, small-town school, you're gonna know each other. That being said, he has never acknowledged me, not in the years of seeing him at The Saloon, not in the years of trying on jeans in the fitting room that I used to run. We once stood in line for two minutes together and I got not even a head nod or an affirmative smirk. I used to joke that if I was stranded on an elevator with him, he would not acknowledge me, and I pretended that I wasn't offended by it.
So, why then, did I put up a fight with Cordero, as he drunkenly dragged me by my dainty wrists to have an awkward meeting with this person? "JIM, YOU REMEMBER JAKEY," he grinned.
"Yeshihowareyou," I said, and I slid away in embarrassment before Jim could even say anything. Jim Wilson does not want to talk to me, he wants to sit there looking flawless and I am not worthy of being in his presence.
As I continued working the room and standing next to Jared as he danced so I was booty-popping by association, I started thinking more about Jim Wilson. I had always known who he was, and from the moment I did, I had decided, in my head, that I was not good enough to talk to him. It was nothing he had ever said or done to me. I flashbacked to the only night I did meet him, at the pimps and hoes party (I still remember buying a fedora at work and explaining to a late-thirties, mom of two who was our store admin that it was for a "theme party". "Pimps and hoes?" she asked without missing a beat), and when we had our official introduction, I said my name in lightning speed and then avoided him for the rest of the night. Out of my own insecurity, I never even gave him a chance to be nice, and then always wondered why he never went out of his way to acknowledge me.
I downed my last bit of Goose lemonade and walked up to him. "I'm sorry about earlier," I said. "I just felt so awkward with Cordero dragging me over here."
"It's fine," he smiled, and he gave me a dudely side-hug. I reflected to myself that, while I will never play board games with him as I feel it would somehow excuse the way he treated me a few years ago, Cordero is part of my world for a reason. Without him, there would not have been a secret warehouse party. Without him, I would have never had a reason to walk up to someone who I was intimidated by for years. I didn't have a conversation with Jim Wilson after the side hug, but I was okay with that. All was well in Gay World.
Well, except for Joey's friend. I later found out he was on anti-depressants, and I am sympathetic. When I was 18 I was on anti-depressants and would throw up anytime I drank, but I was also doing my puking in a classmate's basement and not at the patio of The Saloon.
My car ride with a nationally touring comedian!