Thursday, June 14, 2012

Loring Park Episode #4: In Which We Meet (and become) Gay Oprah

Previously on "Loring Park": Joey went home with Kevin and was almost declared missing. Jakey threw up.

I had an awful day at work on Saturday (the mall, stressful on a Saturday? Pray tell!) and while I was planning to save my liver and wallet for Joey's farewell party Sunday night, Jared read my mind when we were on break. "I think we need an episode tonight," he suggested, and I was in full agreement. I think if it were a film, critics would describe it as a "lighthearted romp".

We decided to take the elevator, despite the fact that I live a floor above the exit. In a rare occasion, there were other men on the elevator, and then I felt doubly embarrassed.

"How lazy are we?" I asked aloud. Then, the doors opened, and from the You Can't Make This Stuff Up Department, we were all face-to-face (I'm 5'7" so it was more face-to-pec) with a shirtless, sweating Adonis who had just got in from his Saturday night run. He smiled at the other men in the elevator (whom he recognized) has he toweled off. I responded as any proper adult would, which meant that I giggled uncontrollably all the way out of the building.

Jared and I stopped at the 19 on our way to The Saloon, and South Dakota was there buying a pitcher of beer. He recognized us and we greeted him with smiles, and then I felt strange tingly feelings in my groin area. I continued my streak of maturity by spending the entire walk to The Saloon bitching about the Kevin/Joey thing.

"I totally don't care if they slept together," I went on. "I mean, really? Why would I care? I have no reason to care. Bro's before ho's, right? Besides, maybe I don't even like Kevin that much. I mean, I don't even know him. And you know what, I'm not even gonna ask Joey about it, because we are good friends and after spending all of last night thinking he was dead, it's just, like, not important in the grand scheme of things. Although do you think Kevin is good in bed? I mean, not that I care, 'cause I don't, I mean, I don't even like sex, we've been over this ..."

"HAVE A GOOD NIGHT, SEXY!!!" a black queen yelled from his car as we stopped at a LaSalle Avenue stoplight.

"Oh my god, was that for you?" I asked Jared.

"People really like this sweater," Jared grinned, secretly relieved from the interruption.

We finally made it to The Saloon, ready for a low-key Saturday night. We ran into the usual suspects: Anthony was there and I will admit he was looking good in a light pink Abercrombie tee. However, the only encounter worth mentioning was when we stood in the fireplace room and I noticed the quintessential celebrity of Gay World.

Not everyone believes in the concept of "The A-List", and that is perfectly acceptable. To illustrate this point, I turn to comments written on my friend Jack's Facebook, when he dared write about the warehouse party incident:

"A-List" is such an arbitrary categorization made by people who only care about the shallow surface, and basically just means the more "A-List" the more slutty/insecure the person is.

 The people who consider themselves A-List are preening twats ...

Nice to meet you too, fellas. That being said, you cannot deny that within any subculture, there are social echelons, and there will always be people who enter a room and encounter dropped jaws, gasps, and whispers. And there was our finest example, impeccably dressed and ordering food.

"Jared," I said quietly through gritted teeth, as we stood at the table behindd him. "Do not turn around and don't point. That, right there, is Gay Oprah."

"Huh?" Jared asked, doing a very admirable job of looking without making a scene. I ratted off Gay Oprah's credentials and accomplishments and felt nauseous and anxious.

We went to the dance floor, where there was a bald, shirtless hairy man who DIDN'T DANCE, he just stood there like a statue and scared people. He didn't approach our side of the dance floor, and Jared was due for a smoke break.

The smoking patio was lightly scattered, and the only other duo out there was Gay Oprah and his pal. Jared loudly started talking about eyebrows, and I don't know if he had forgotten what I had told him, drank too much, or simply didn't care, but he went right up to Gay Oprah.

"You have great eyebrows," he declared. I nervously smiled and looked at the sky.

"Well, thank you," Gay Oprah said.

"Do you wax?" Jared asked.

"Of course I do," he said. "But I would never date a man who waxes his own. I wouldn't date myself. I only date real men."

They all laughed, Gay Oprah and his friend walked back inside, and I felt strangely relieved. In my most ridiculous delusions, I imagined that, if I placed well in the ACME contest, then as a mildly mildly mildly famous D-list local comedian, I would naturally date Gay Oprah for a few weeks since we were both local celebrities and therefore it would be required for us. Finding out that he is into dudes more masculine than myself (which, trust me, is really narrowing the field) somehow erased any anxiety I shall ever feel when he enters a room. I could be a millionaire and Gay Oprah will never be romantically interested in me, and finding that out strangely took a weight off my socially desperate shoulders.

It was time to go dancing, and the shirtless hairy man was still doing his Statue pose. This time, however, he was becoming predatory. I would dance, turn around, and he would be right behind me. I don't necessarily mind older men being on the dance floor -- we are all God's people -- but he wouldn't even dance. He would stand there, looking blankly, sweating on people. At first, I subtly moved across the dance floor, smiling as I danced it out to Rihanna, only to turn around and he would be behind me again! After three times of this occurrence, I reacted like shrieking my head off like I was Neve Campbell in a Scream movie. I would run across the whorebox, keep dancing, and HE WOULD BE BEHIND ME AGAIN! But he wouldn't even smile or engage, he would do that scary statue pose, and it all was too much! At one point, Jared and I ran past the bathrooms to the patio, but it was after 2:30 A.M. and the doors were closed!

"Jared!" I cried. "This is how people die in horror movies! They always kill the gay guy!"

"And I'm part black!" Jared cried as we tried to get the doors open. I kept screaming for half an hour, and we finally left the bar in one piece. We must have danced too much, because we decided to take a petty cab out of laziness.

Arriving back at the building, Jared was due for another smoke. As we stood outside, a handsome man in his late twenties who looked like a Van Heusen ad approached us.

"Excuse me," he said. "Do you guys know a number of a cab? I need to get uptown."

I gave him Favian's number, and we sat back in the lobby for a bit. He wasn't overtly emotional, but he was pacing and we could tell he was distraught. He shared with us that he was in love with a girl who lived on the eighth floor of my building, but that he was moving to Tampa for a year for a job, and he wanted to let her know that he was in love with her and wanted her to wait for him to return.

"Well," I suggested. "Don't call her now. It's 3:15 in the morning and she'll assume you're drunk."

"Call her in the morning," Jared said. "But don't overwhelm her. Text her first and tell her you need to talk."

"I'm just so embarrassed," he moped. "Her friends are all up there and she kinda kicked me out."

"But you have to tell her," I said. "You don't want to come back in a year and find that she settled for some loser because she didn't think you were serious about being with her when you came back."

"And women like when men are direct," Jared shared. "You can't live with regrets."

Then he did the token "My friend is gay" response, and shared that he had a hirsute friend who was in the military, is 6'4" and 240. Jared demanded to see pictures.

"I'm into bears," Jared explained. "I'm not into twinks like Jakey."

"I've heard of bears," our new friend said. Then we explained to him all of the lingo of bears, otters, cubs, twinks, jocks and ocelots.

His car finally arrived, and we hugged him good-bye. "Bring it in," he said all dudely-like. His taxi took him uptown.

"I should have asked what room his friend was in," I said. "We could have sent an anonymous note."

"I feel like Oprah," Jared said. "More so than the real Oprah. I mean, Gay Oprah."

"Right?" I asked. "I feel we changed lives this evening."

Coming up:

Joey says farewell to Loring Park -- but not before connecting with another gAy-lister and dropping a bombshell! And we find out why we *won't* be seeing Star Quarterback anytime soon ....






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