Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Loring Park Episode #10: My Hair is Full of Secrets

“Sometimes people compare gay men to teenage girls, and they are correct, I realize. I think the reason is because gay men didn’t get to express their crushes in high school.” -Augusten Burroughs, Dry

“So many activists say that Minneapolis needs a gay high school in order to prevent bullying. I just want everyone to know that there already *is* a gay high school. It’s on Hennepin Avenue, and it’s called The Saloon”. -Jakey Emmert, telling yuk ‘em ups to a crowds of at least a dozen, at your local watering hole or pizza place

My life briefly turned into Mean Girls this week. Valleyfair was having Gay Day on Saturday, and I planned to attend with Chuck and Peter. Liam didn’t have anyone to go with and asked if he could come with us provided he slept over Friday night, and I had a “more the merrier” attitude. Chuck and Peter didn’t quite feel the same way as they had planned it to just be the three of us, and for a strange moment I felt like Cady, in the scene when Gretchen and Karen are asking her what they’re going to do this weekend, and panic and excitement reaches her face as she asks:

- So, what are we doing this weekend?

- Yeah, what are we doing?

-Oh, I have to go to Madison with my parents.


-We have tickets for this thing.

- What? -


Was I the new queen bee?

Thursday night, I did a stand-up gig at Campus Pizza, where I again had to leave my car in a University of Minnesota parking lot because the audience was too attractive and I couldn’t perform in front of them without liquid courage. The organizers allowed me to go last so I could think of myself as a headliner, and I schmoozed with young ladies and even did karaoke before being dropped off at my apartment. It was a wonderful time, and I not only got advice and praise from my fellow comedians, but also reveled in delicious gossip. I have an embarrassing love of drama, provided I am not the center of it.

I should have stayed home. When you are addicted to alcohol, the gay high school that is The Saloon, and the combination of the two, you are very good at finding excuses and reasons to justify your attendance. I already started drinking. I get in free on Thursdays! So-and-so is going! I will just go in for one drink. And so on and so on.

I left my wallet at home and only brought with me some cash, my ID and credit card. I got there and immediately reunited with Jared and Liam. Joey was on the dance floor and while I knew he was in town this weekend for a concert, I didn’t necessarily think I would see him. I felt waves of nostalgia upon seeing him. He looked good. I mean, he always looks good. But he looked … good.

That is some amazing writing right there.

Because I am a klutzy hot mess, Liam found me on the patio and informed me that I had dropped $40 out of my pocket. “I was able to recover $20,” he said. “I think somebody grabbed the other bill.”

“Oh my god,” I sighed. “You’re such a good friend”. Liam may bother certain people for certain reasons, and that’s fine; not everyone is gonna be besties with everyone. But in that moment, I realized what a wonderful and loyal person he has been to me over the past few months since my move to the city.

It was time to dance the night away! The four of us did one song before I pulled Joey to the patio because I had to tell him all about how I drunk Facebooked Kevin and he wrote me back when he did not have to, and that I’m over it, and if those two ever pursue anything together, I would not judge it or be upset by it. After all, I was totally cool about them going to a concert together on Saturday.

“Jakey, I’m serious, we’ve talked about this,” he said sweetly. “Kevin and I have blatantly said to each other, ‘I’m not attracted to you at all’.”

“I know, I’m just saying,” I repeated, “That I’m absolutely fine with it. We’re in a good place now, I got over all of my issues with him because I got an ending, and that’s all I really needed.”

“Good,” Joey smiled. His arms got a little bigger. Wait, what? Joey is a baby. I used to joke that he was my son when he lived here. I don’t have feelings for him that way. Stop it. It was time for another Three Olives lemonade!

I was plowed like a field in Iowa, boys and girls. It was close to 1 A.M. Jared had to leave for the train. Liam and Joey were dancing on the whorebox. No one was hitting on me, but that did not matter. I felt blessed, happy, and in the moment.

Remember in Mean Girls when Cady goes to the Halloween party? She dresses like a zombie bride because she doesn’t know the “slut rule” about Halloween, and Aaron Samuels, the object of her affection, is dressed like a football player (ironically, Star Quarterback was not there that night) and he starts talking to Regina, who is dressed as a slutty bunny? Regina goes to talk to Aaron for Cady, and Cady can’t understand how Janis and Damien don’t like the head of the plastics!

How could Janis hate Regina? She was such a good...
…And then Regina plants a kiss on Aaron.

…And if this was Mean Girls ten years later, Cady wouldn’t even think she liked Aaron, and by the time she realized it, Regina would be making out with him right in front of her …
That is when I went crazy. I walked out of the party and stormed off to Janis and Damien’s. I could feel my heartbeat in my ears. My stomach felt like it was going to fall out of my butt. I had this lump in my throat like after you dry-swallow a big pill!

I texted Liam, who had no reason to think I liked Joey because I didn’t even think I liked Joey, and told him he couldn’t come to Valleyfair with me on Saturday.


A sobbing mess, I called Jared and told them the whole story while Liam kept frantically calling and texting me, having no idea what I was angry about, or what switch had gone off in my brain. I finally answered Liam’s phone call, screamed at him for kissing Joey because I now decided that as a sophomore in high school, I liked Joey and Liam was supposed to be psychic and read my mind, and Chuck and Peter don’t even like him anyway, and I was totally going to win Spring Fling Queen!


I texted Liam the next day. We smoothed things over and I apologized profusely for anything awful that I said, and I re-invited him to Valleyfair. He had to take a cab home, the poor boy. I took the bus to Dinkytown to get my car, then got lost driving to work and ended up on the Minnehaha Parkway. I still made it on time by the skin of my teeth, but I was crabby as all hell and woefully overheated. Every time I go to Dinkytown I wonder if I want to go back to school, and I convince myself that I would go for reasons other than looking at cute boys and vindicating my Mommy Issues. A woman on the bus coughed the entire time and probably gave me malaria, and another man was asking the bus driver where this restaurant on Cedar was, and everybody gave him erroneous directions. I should have said something, but, as I said, I was tired, cranky and overheated.

Friday night at 2 A.M., as I was doing laundry and preparing for his eventual visit, Markie called me and asked if I would pick up Liam from Lawrence’s the next day, because they had gone to a party in East Jesus, Nowhere. I said “yes” because I don’t know how to say “no”, but I was pretty steamed about the whole thing. He had already asked to tag along and now I have to play chauffeur again? His credit card wasn’t working so I bought his ticket online for him because Peter and Chuck would be stewing if we had to wait in an extra line because of him! Being a Plastic was exhausting!

I overslept the next morning, but still decided to shave my chest because I knew we were going to the water park (but I wanted to Nair!). I told Chuck we had to pick up Liam at Lawrence’s, and he declined. Then I couldn’t find my keys and they had to wait an extra 15 minutes for me! Who loses their keys in a 350 square-foot apartment? Me, that’s who. I called the office and wondered if someone turned them in from the laundry room last night. I will never be a grown-up! No wonder I constantly think that life is in high school! I have the organizational skills of a crazy 16-year-old!

I felt awful about the situation, but I also realized it was the right thing. I was giving Liam an inch, and he was taking a mile, and I legitimately couldn’t have driven him to Valleyfair myself because I had no idea where my fucking keys were. I can’t find my keys and Chuck can’t come get you, I wrote. Don’t worry about the $$. I felt this was fair, because Liam did not ask me to buy his ticket -- I had done that out of my own volition and ridiculous need to make everyone happy. When you try to make everyone happy, you make no one happy, least of all yourself.

He called while we were in the car, and I turned off my phone like a grown-up. We put it back on a few minutes later, and he had found a ride with his gal pal, who decided she was going at the last minute. Hooray! Crisis averted! Everyone was happy! But then Chuck took a certain exit, there was construction everywhere, and he and Peter fought for five minutes, and somehow taking a different exit turned into World War III. But five minutes later, they were in love again. My brother and his girlfriend are kind of like this, too. Couples are weird.

We finally got to Valleyfair, and all the hassles were worth it. Beautiful boys were at the waterpark, including one in pink shorts that had all us gays buzzing (and then we found out he was there with special needs children! Why, yes, I will marry you, Pink Shorts). I told Liam that he couldn’t stand next to me because he is twelve more shades of tan than I am and I am sure I looked ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as I would look five minutes later when I flipped upside down on my tube while on the fucking lazy river. Our group almost lapped us because we were too busy gossiping.

“I’m sorry about last night,” Liam said.

“No, I’m sorry!” I cried. “I don’t know what got into me. You know how people only smoke when they drink? I think I only have weird feelings for Joey when I drink. Joey is my Camel Lights.”

The most fun was had later in the day, when our group merged with another one, and it was what a fun summer day at the amusement park should be. I had a different ride partner every time (Liam and I did the Wild Thing and then forgot how much we’re scared of heights). By sheer and total coincidence, I ended up most frequently riding next to a tan and buff man in our group with black spiky hair and beautiful blue eyes.

“How often do you go tanning?” Liam asked him while in line for this horrible ripcord ride that Peter made us go on.

“Five days a week,” he said. “And then I spray tan every other week”.

“I go six days a week,” I declared, “And then Sunday is my day of rest.”

Tan Man laughed heartily. Point Jakey? He laughed at my inability to remember my number for every group ride ("That's not seat 9!" he teased when I was on the Power Tower, and guffawed when I freaked out and fell for it). By the time we rode together on the Renegade, I imagined myself as Mariah Carey in the Fantasy video. When it was time for our new group of eight to disperse, I said good-bye to him last because I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to hug or not. Thankfully, he totally went for it. It was fun having a fake boyfriend at Gay Day.

Joey called me that night, asking if any gay bars in Minneapolis had 18+ nights on Friday night. I erroneously directed him to First Avenue, and told him to call me next month. He seemed put off by that, but that’s when he’s in town next, and we can pretend that this weekend and all this stuff, this weird influx of high school drama, never happened.



I slept over at Chuck’s, and he was in full Cancerian mode the next day, frantically cleaning and making Peter feel guilty for not helping him clean, and I just wanted to go home and find my damn keys. I did not sleep well. I had weird dreams.

That afternoon, I found my keys under my bookcase. Good Lord, I am a mess. I read Guts by Kristen Johnston in one sitting on a bench in the park, and her and I have exchanged enough Tweets over the past 24 hours that I am now convinced we will be best friends should I ever move back to New York. I walked to The Saloon, and an older African-American man on a bike asked if I was “partying”. He asked me for my name and I said I was Jake. Then he said I was beautiful and he would love to take me in his mouth. Ewwwwwwwwwwwww. If you are a twink and you walk through Loring Park at night, run if a man named Maurice on a bike comes up to you. This is a public service announcement.

Nothing eventful happened Sunday night. Piano Man was there and I’m sure I flirted obnoxiously. An 18-year-old who is usually a snob and a half to me was actually nice, and I wonder if he was roofied. Jared and I knew all the words to “Super Bass”. Liam slept over and we went to The Saloon to day drink, each telling ourselves we would have one. Cut to me drunk as a skunk at The Saloon at 3 P.M. on a Monday afternoon. I think I sexted Piano Man. To make things worse, Maurice was there, too!! When I went to pee he followed me to the bathroom and pulled his pants down. “No one can see us in the dark,” he said. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. I mean, I’m at an age where I’m flattered anytime anybody propositions me for anonymous sex, but still, EWWWWWWWWWWWW. Larry Craig I am not.

My friend Diva was in town from California, and we had a wonderful dinner at 11 P.M. at Loring Pasta Bar. It’s a rare person that can have a late-night dinner with you on a Monday night. I thanked her for her genuine friendship. It's a rare thing to have, especially the older you get, and I am lucky to have been divas with her since sixth grade.

As I have said before, I am the happiest and poorest I have ever been. I thought a lot this weekend about the friendships that I have, some deeper than others. I made friends with a girl in the building next door who has air conditioning. It’s a different posse than I’m used to -- five of us played Spin the Bottle but I didn’t want to kiss anybody -- but I enjoy their company nonetheless. They are all night people to a fault, and so am I. I am incredibly lucky and fortunate to have the company that I enjoy.

Nobody owes me anything.

Joey does not owe me attraction, loyalty, or telepathy.

Kevin’s last message to me was terse as hell. He does not owe deep friendship or an allowance into his world. It was kind and unexpected enough of him to write me back the first time. I really am over it, and it is only reactionary that I think every song on the new Fiona Apple CD was written about him. I think I wanted a real relationship so badly just so I could say that I’ve had one, and thus his importance in my life (as my first non-Internet, non-heterosexual emotional affair) was ridiculously magnified.

But sometimes people will surprise you with their kindness and acknowledgement. Gay Oprah did not owe me a response when I had a meltdown (and to be honest, a response truly wasn’t my goal), but he gave me one, and his words were as gracious and classy as I could have imagined. A two-time Emmy-winning actress did not owe me a tweet within 30 seconds of my mentioning which of my three new books to read, nor did she owe me follow-up tweets hoping I enjoyed it, and she definitely did not owe calling me “doll” and “gorgeous”, but she did. Chuck and Peter did not owe me transportation and company to Valleyfair, or being the constant sounding board to my 13-year-old dramatics, but they supply it anyway.

I really am taking a week off, though.

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