Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Loring Park Episode #11: My Summer of Love

It is my third month in the city.

It is my summer of love.

I don’t put out, but it’s still my summer of love.

Love can mean different things, for example. I met a neighbor girl a month ago at the 19 Bar. She has air conditioning and an adorable kitten. She stays up until 5 in the morning like I do. She moved here from Green Bay, didn’t realize she was in the gayborhood, but we all have adopted her. Her posse is a bit different than mine, but one of her friends, Eric, is a hilarious fedora-sporting African-American gentleman who lives a block away and occasionally bumps into me at The Saloon. We share a love for old-school Mariah Carey and singing about a hot guy, “He can gettttt ittttttttt!”

A lot of them could get it this weekend. But we’ll get to that later.

I stopped at my parents’ house after work on Friday night to drop off some mail and get my Entertainment Weeklys (they still deliver them there! Soooo frustrating). Kevin texted me to let me know that he just bought chocolate cake flavored vodka. How sinful is that? But I was going to be an adult about Kevin this time. I wasn’t going to drop everything and drive to the suburbs. I said I would call him when I got home, because we are friends and nothing more and that is what friends do. Italics.

“My apartment is a sweat hut,” I explained at 10:15 P.M. The fan in the living room read 98 degrees. “Wait, that’s not right, is it?”
“Sweat hut?” he asked.
“Y’know, like they have on those resorts,” I explained.
“A sweat lodge!” he exclaimed.
“Yes!” I said. “Anyway, I’m living in my sweat lodge. It’s like doing bikram yoga only I don’t need to do anything.”
“Hmm,” he said, and then he slipped into that damn fake Southern accent. “That sounds tempting. Well, I just bought a new bottle of chocolate cake vodka.”
Awkward silence.
“This is when you invite me over, Kevin,” I directed. This was 50% because I still like him but the other 50% was really because I wanted to sleep in air conditioning.
He did, and I told him I would be there in half an hour. Because this is me, it took me 45 minutes just to shower, throw together an overnight bag, and leave my apartment. On my way to his estate, it started STORMING, almost torrentially, and that is when I realized I left my apartment windows open. The route there directed me to eight different exits, and I panicked more as the storm got stronger. When I drove into his town, sirens were blaring, and I wasn’t sure if I should have been terrified or turned on.

I arrived at his building and a birthday party/quincenera was going on and a man let me in. “You’re in my building?” Kevin said when he called me. “Only an hour. Not bad. You’re just walking around randomly? That’s smart.”
He was right in front of me then, on the second floor of this suburban palace, and it was the first time I had actually seen him in a month and a half. We’re good now, we’re normal and platonic and drama-free, but I would be lying if I still didn’t feel a little nauseous. His tight tee-shirt effortlessly showed off his swimmer’s build, the well-developed biceps and the slim waist, and I calmed myself down with Absolut Citron.

We played video games. That’s not a metaphor like board games. It was actually a very enjoyable, Monopoly-meets-Mario Party type of game, and I learned a lot about things like stock prices and equity and other grown-up things that Kevin is obsessed with. At 28, his mother is financially dependent on him, and that is when I understood why he is always talking about things like 401(k)s and retirement savings. The conversation made me want to call my mother and tell her that I had two interviews for grown-up jobs and I promise to stop being a screw-up by the time I am 28 so that she can live in my basement.

I did the tutorial for the video game while he read boring work things. He chastised me for not using a coaster, and when I responded with something snarky, he responded with “Aww, you’re trying to be cute, aren’t you?” I was sitting almost off the couch because I need glasses but I am in denial, and he forcefully grabbed my thigh and shoved me so I would lean back, and I felt strange tingly feelings in my urrrrea.

He told me that Joey thinks I cried last week because I had a bad show. Awkward. Also, How dare you? I fucking killed it at Campus Pizza last week. He explained he was self-conscious about his teeth because he was in an accident last fall and the flipper finally came off, and I won the Hypocrite of the Year Award when I told him that he shouldn’t surround himself with superficial people.

We went to his closet to get a board game, but he only has ridiculously nerdy RPG-type ones, or Risk, and I really hate Risk. As I was rambling about something ridiculous, he grabbed me by the waist and made out with me. I tried to push him into his room and onto the bed, but he countered me with his superior upper body strength. Then he continued the conversation as if nothing had happened.

Boys are so dumb.

We finally went to bed at 5 A.M., and he demanded mutual shirtlessness. Thank goodness I remembered to shave my chest. I did not pursue sexy time because I hadn’t Naired my legs. We took melatonin, and that morning I had three different dreams about being in bed with him. In the second one we wrestled. I should be so lucky.

I justified going out on Saturday night because we have a major event at work next weekend and therefore I won’t be at The Saloon until the next paycheck! Oh, horrors!

It’s Gay High School. I know I always say it, but it’s true. Most (but not all) gay men did not do high school the "normal" way -- we didn't openly date, we didn't gossip about who we liked, we didn't unabashedly flirt -- and thus we live it out in our twenties. Let's just say I have an embarrassing amount of school spirit, and I just want everyone to sign my damn yearbook.

Nights blur together. Jared met me there, but he didn’t get there until 1:15, so before his arrival, I mingled. I ran into Eric and he allowed me to hang out with his posse. South Dakota was there and didn’t try to make out with me, and I wasn’t sure if I should have been offended or not. Star Quarterback was brooding. Gay Oprah was there oozing fabulousness. I have Drunk Facebooked half this bar!

Just like in Episode One, I left with South Dakota to go to the secret warehouse after-party. It was different this time because I actually knew where it was, and I was able to convince myself that I belonged. I’m not an A-lister, but I’m certainly up to a C-minus. We were in a group of five, and everyone else was a music major because they kept saying their names while clapping the syllables. Ta tah tee tee tah. JA-KEY.

We arrived, my name wasn’t on the list (they have a list now?! Someone has upped the ante at The Place) and I might have overpaid, but it was all worth it once I got to ride the freight elevator with a man covered in balloons. He explained that tonight’s theme was aquatic. What?? Theme?? In line for the bathroom, I was next to a woman dressed like Kate Winslet from Titanic, and she explained that her house turned 100 years old so she wanted to dress like it was 1912. Clever! I love uptown people.

It was an “Under the Sea” theme, and people covered themselves in body paint. A lovely young woman was giving impromptu pole dancing lessons. Jim Wilson was in his underwear. If I had a body like Jim Wilson, I would go grocery shopping in swim trunks. All the local bartenders were there, and I ran into someone who I met at my very first job from the movie theater when I was 16! I was proud of myself for knowing the only heterosexual male in the venue.

Eric was there, too, and his friend got body painted. After an hour of mingling, I totally forgot there was a roof! Last time I was here it was raining, but tonight it was beautiful. I walked up by myself and absorbed the skyline and took in the moment. This lasted all of two seconds, because then I saw Philip.

Philip is an A-lister that I do not speak to. You could say Philip is good-looking, but that is an understatement. Philip won the genetic lottery, boys and girls. Philip is so good-looking that I, to quote Mariah, get kind of hectic inside. Jet black hair! Cobalt blue eyes! Ridiculously white teeth! Naturally olive skin! A birthdate in the 1990’s! Liam once went on a date with him a few years ago, and they went to a roller rink and held hands! I was so jealous when he told me that I almost kicked him out of my apartment.

Anygay (my new favorite segue), Philip was there with two male friends and a beautiful girl, and they asked me to take their picture. It took me three times and none of them turned out well. Deeeeee-lissssssttttttt. The boys were all nice though, and one of them had a crazy athletic build. In a world of twinks, he was strapping muscles and granite, and, to steal a phrase from Liz Lemon, I wanted to go to there.

At 5:30 AM, it was finally time to go, and South Dakota and I took a cab home. South Dakota! The first boy I ever made out with post-moving! Awwwwwww. I still hadn’t Naired my legs. Was I supposed to put out?

“Just so you know,” South Dakota said, “When we get there I’m gonna immediately pass out.”
“That’s okay,” I smiled. What a relief! We stripped down to our underwear and he wore neon green Andrew Christians.

Jared called the next morning at 8:30. “I lost my phone!” he cried. “I’m outside of your apartment! Let me in!” I buzzed him in, and he entered my apartment looking like he had just got back from the club. He was awake, polished, and energetic.

“JAKEY!” he cried. “I lost my phone! Loring Park is having an art festival and I slept in a tent with these artists! They were so weird! But they were so nice to me! I could have been killed! Where did you go last night?” He kept rambling until he noticed that South Dakota was nearly naked and in the bed with me. “Oh!” Jared cried. “Oh! Ohhhhhh!!!!!!!! JAKEY!”

“Jared, don’t be ridiculous!” I cried with mock embarrassment. I am half naked in bed with a cute boy, how humiliating! The Rhoda Morgenstern to my Mary Richards sashayed out of my apartment (yes, I have decided that I get to be the Mary in our friendship and that never happens), and then I overslept. Oh no!!! I drove South Dakota home as is proper faux one-night stand etiquette, but then I took the wrong freeway! Must you be so confusing, uptown?!

I went to work with that post fake-sex glow. I had slept with Kevin and South Dakota two nights in a row! Granted, we didn’t do anything, but still! How exciting! My summer of love! A man from the Internet wanted to come over and play board games, but I still hadn’t Naired my legs. Then I ordered Jimmy John’s and subsequently locked myself out of my apartment building when I went to retrieve it. That would so not happen to Mary Richards.

I was exhausted! Did I even want to go out? Was this what it is to be old? Should I stay in? But I couldn’t go out next weekend! I had to! It was my duty!

I waltzed into The Saloon and turned the world on with my smile. I immediately ran into Davis, who I went to Stout with! He was there with Jim Wilson and I felt awkward and out of place. Then I realized that as he and Jim were sitting at the corner of the bar, and I was now next to Davis’s friend Taylor, who is tall and of ambiguous descent. Taylor had a million-dollar smile and an American Eagle polo. He was very attractive, but I wasn’t intimidated at all, because I was able to charm him with my wit and grace.

I am so full of shit, y’all. Our initial five minutes were like this:

Davis: “This is my best friend, Taylor. Taylor, this is Jakey.”
Taylor (very nice! Very sweet!): “Hi. Good to meet you!”
Jakey: “……………….” (stands awkwardly next to the cute boy for five minutes until I down my first Three Olives lemonade. YAYYY FOR TWO FOR ONES)

Then I summoned the courage to ask Taylor what he was drinking. His poison was tequila sunrise, and he let me taste it.
“What straw should I use?” I asked.
“I don’t care,” he smiled. Then I asked for his hand in marriage.

I went back to the porch and Eric and his fedora were there again! Yayy!!! We discussed the “Daydream” album and how he is often drawn to skinny white boys as his sidekicks. “We’re a hoot,” I explained.

I walked back inside and Davis and Taylor were talking to a girl who was gorgeous. She had long black hair, popping lip gloss and a glittered piercing under her lip. “You are beautiful,” I said. “And when a gay man tells you that, it’s the truth. We have no reason to lie about it.” She oozed sex. I wanted to make out with her.

“I want to make out with you,” Davis told her.
“Me too,” I said. But then Davis actually did make out with her! For like two minutes! It was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen, but I was kind of disappointed because then that meant that I couldn’t make out with her. Davis is classy and handsome, but sloppy seconds is still sloppy seconds. Plus, I’m probably a horrible kisser compared to him. I know my strengths, people.

One of those strengths is schmoozing when I’ve had enough liquid courage! This doesn’t mean that I talked to Philip or Star Quarterback (though the latter and I had the most awkward staredown in front of the bathroom!). I did, however, walk to the back patio and schmooze with Philip’s friend, he of the football player build from the prior evening. He was filling out a blue Abercrombie & Fitch polo and he could gettttt ittttt.

He has family in Manhattan, lives in Madison, is 22, is 230 pounds of solid muscle, and had that magic black hair/blue eye combo that makes the girls melt. I kept trying to lift him up, but he wouldn’t have any of it. The bartender suggested I buy him a drink, but I made him flex his biceps first. I’m only human. I told him my real age. Life is short. I told him he is a gay unicorn and someone like him, an incredibly muscular ‘jock’ with beautiful eyes and dimples, is a very rare breed. I may have even used the term “conventionally attractive”. Life is still short.

We heard rumors of an after-party, but nothing happened, so Football Guy (what a great code name!), his friend and I went to my apartment because I knew Neighbor Girl would be up. She had her man friend over and gave us wine. While in the bathroom she told me she has a lump in her breast. Football Guy and his friend walked me home, and I sobbed hysterically. I called everyone I have ever met before one of my co-workers called me back at 4:30 in the goddamned morning. Boy, do I owe someone a fruit basket.

How does a 24-year-old woman have prospective breast cancer? Is it because I read What Remains by Carole Radziwell and thus I had cancer on the brain? Did I not hear her right? Was this lovely young woman so lonely that she had to create pathological lies for attention? Did she tell me because she had no one else to hear it for her? I thought of the young woman I met at Lush who also told me of her “lady cancer”. Bad things happen to good people. When they do, you question your faith, your God, your belief in concepts like grace, karma and fortune.

I texted Football Guy. He did not write back. Will I ever see him again? Was it all a dream? Thank goodness for Instagram. Neighbor Girl said she would call me today, but maybe the time is too ripe. I will see her at the 19, which does not count as going out.

I was supposed to go to a movie audition today but I totally forgot about it. Dammmmmitttttttttt. So much for my fake show business career. I am going to work at a Walgreen’s until I die. I went to dinner with Chuck and Devin at Psycho Suzi’s, and then I had to tell them about my summer of love. They made gentle fun of me for being such a Prudence McPrude. Chuck is older and wiser, and I told him about the Kevin drive-by kiss at his apartment. “It’s a control thing,” he surmised, and that is why you should always be friends with 31-year-olds who have seen silly boys come and go, when they had their own summers of love and ill-fated emotional affairs.


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