Thursday, October 25, 2012

Loring Park Episode #16: Jaymes Vaughn

Previously on Loring Park:

-An emotional affair officially went awry! Roger got drunk and asked Jakey out! Jakey is still closed for business! The CUTEST BOY EVER!

This week's episode begins on a Wednesday night at LUSH, which is the best place to go mid-week (dollar drinks, even though I usually have a Grey Goose Lemonade by the end of the night). I, of course, arrived at midnight because I am inconsiderate that way, but it was lovely to see my usual suspects there: Jared and Joey and Liam and Markie and our friend Esquire, who just passed the bar. South Dakota Version Two, a.k.a., the CUTEST BOY EVER, was on the dance floor and I was blushing just talking about it. I also realized that I remembered nothing of the conversation we had, except that we discussed the weather and the probability of coat check.

"Wait, that's *all* you remember?" Esquire asked. "You don't remember anything about him telling you had a 'positive aura'? He must have mentioned it five diferent times."

No, I remember none of it. And it's not because I was piss-drunk, either. When I later told this story to my brother, he scoffed, "What, were you that lost in his dreamy eyes?" And, yes. Yes, I was.

I didn't talk to him that night, though, because he was dancing with his hot friends. I hate high school. MANUEL~!, the boy who stole my cell phone the week prior and then gave it back to me two seconds later when I said "Excuse me", was starting fistfights on the outside of the club. SOME PEOPLE. Joey and I briefly snuck off to Legends, where I ran into the same St. Anthony girl that I encountered last week! Small moments! Joey is enjoying his new life living with the Muscle Gays, and is allegedly planning a dinner party. Fancy! We will discuss politics and glute exercises.

Back at LUSH, I gave Jared $25 to take a cab home so I could go to A-bar with the boys, and that was only because I knew that Ryan Robertson was going to be coming with us. Ryan Robertson appeared nameless on an earlier episode -- I met him for two seconds at LUSH and he helpfully gave me workout advice -- and while I have never had another actual conversation with him, he has always been as cordial as he is dreamy. Markie, Liam, their friend Blake and I drove together while Ryan drove beside us, and I was a delightful mix of loopy and nervous.

Markie lives with Lawrence and we all trekked down to the basement. Ryan laid on the bed perpendicular to Liam while I sat on the edge of it, and spastic conversation was had. We all went on Grindr as a joke but I have a *horrible* Grindr picture these days, a tragic side effect of always losing your cell phone. Star Quarterback was on Grindr and I refuse to believe that he is 6'2" and 180 pounds.

"He used to be fat," Liam said.
"Still," I said. "That boy is LANKY." And I am not bitter at all.
"I'm 5'11" and 155," Ryan Robertson shared.
"You are *not* 5'11," Markie accused, because Markie is the expert on all things, including height.
"Pssh, I am too," Ryan Robertson said.
"No," Markie yelled. "I don't believe you".
And I, who had said nothing to Ryan Robertson since that fateful night in April in which I learned what ab exercises I should be doing in the morning, decided to pipe up. "Well, stand up," I said. "I'm 5'7".

He stood up in all his lanky sexiness and we stood back-to-back, like you do when you're in grade school and wanting to find out who is the tallest kid in the class. Markie immediately whipped out his measure tape (what, who doesn't have a random measure tape on their nightstand?) and declared that Ryan Robertson was exactly four inches taller than me! And thus ends the closest I will ever be getting to romance with Ryan Robertson.


I had no plans on going out the following Thursday, as I had to get up early on Friday as I was working an early shift in order to attend The Big Gay Comedy Show, a performance fundraiser to benefit Minnesotans United for All Families, the group officially behind the "VOTE NO" on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that is appearing on the ballot next month. However, I was coerced into going into gay karaoke at LUSH, and thought it would be perfectly acceptable. Joey was there with a cute boy he had gone on a date with that afternoon, and I was happy to see Lawrence, Esquire, and Markie.

Roger and Troy soon showed up, and Roger characteristically brought us shots, which I needed before I bravely decided to tackle Missy Elliott's "Work It". I didn't dare try to do a real song at gay karaoke, because half the room at gay karaoke has gone to theater school and can actually, y'know, sing. Esquire was getting upset with me for nursing my cherry bomb.

"I have to work early tomorrow!" I cried.
"HOW ARE YOU, JAKEY?!" Roger yelled after we got our drinks from Kris.
"Good!" I cried.
"Oh my god," Liam said. "You asked him out on a date." Then Liam did his trademark pose of cupping his hand over his lips when he knows he has said something offensive or out of turn (see also: "You dress really masculine for such a big bottom", or when he confessed having a crush on one of our acquaintances).

Then I got drunk enough to attempt "Heartbreaker" by Mariah Carey, and I screwed up the Jay-Z rap, but mercifully, nobody noticed. Troy sang a song from "Wicked" and none of the gays knew it. Peter texted me saying he was going to be at The Saloon, and I didn't necessarily want to go, but it was on the way home and I didn't want to stay until 2 A.M. anyway, so I gallivanted downtown.

By the time I got there, Peter was gone. I spied Star Quarterback, and a tall guy I met at Lawrence's post-Pride party who I think is dreamy! The only people that talked to me was someone who recognized me from Liam's Facebook, Davis' friend Doug, and a man who always wears a suit. It was 1:45, the drinks were flowing, and despite my casual conversations, I felt stupid and lonely. My T-shirt was too tight because I shrunk it (and when Liam posted a Facebook video of karaoke, it was Muffin Top City). Why was I always here? What did I think I would gain? Why wasn't I doing more stand-up?


Friday was the comedy show!  I was so excited to finally meet Jenn Schaal, whom I feel has been my Twitter bestie forever. Unfortunately, I always get a sinus infection when fall comes around, and by 1:30 P.M., my head was throbbing and my nose was full of snot. I had to turn away from one of my customers because I knew my nose was running! Ewwwwwwwwwww.

I went home sick after lunch, the only time in 2012 that I have gone home sick (and the only time in 2011 was when I had the stomach flu. It was awful, but my stomach had never looked flatter). Like any adult, I went to my mother's house to receive a neti-pot, and went upstairs to sleep. I was so sick that I didn't even know if I'd be able to make it to the comedy show, after anticipating it for a month!
I woke up at 6 P.M., early enough to still make it to the Parkway Theater. I sat in the back in case I still had sniffles, and felt woefully out of shape when I was scarifng down popcorn while seated next to  Esera Tuaolo, Super Bowl champion-turned-gay activist (he sang a song that night. And owns a restaurant. What *can't* he do?).

The show was absolutely hilarious, especially from Jenn Schaal, Jason Schoemmer and Amber Preston. I finally got to meet Jenn in person after the show, which was lovely, and DFL activist Jacob Frey was there, too. I swear I'm not stalking that man, I just randomly end up at the same events he does. He's so cute, though, I am just saying what I am just saying. And I totally get that he is heterosexual and happily married, so I don't even have any sexual fantasies about him. I think I have the same dream about him as I do about MSNBC analyst Steve Kornacki, in which we wake up in the same hotel room and discuss voter suppression and why men of America need to become more vocal about the attack on reproductive rights. I mean, everyone is shirtless in this scenario, because I'm prudish but not dead.

It was a wonderful event, and it reinvigorated me in ways both professionally (in order to be a real stand-up, you have to actually perform stand-up more than twice a month, major contest victory under your belt be damned) and politically (if Minnesota passes antigay legislation, I won't *really* move to Iowa, but I will certainly fantasize about it. What's up, Cedar Rapids??).


I closed at work on Monday night, and after unwinding I decided to stroll to the 19 at 1:30. One of my neighbors and fellow regulars was there, and I was glued to the TV, which showed a Halloween episode of "Family Guy" (you can't ever hear the TV, but they have the closed captioning on). I'm usually not a fan of "Family Guy", but it was actually an enjoyable episode in which bullies stole Stevie's Halloween candy and Lois KICKED ASS and went to the bully's house and made him not only hand over Stevie's candy, but all of *his* candy as well! It was awesome.

"It's not so much fun when you're reading it, is it?" a guy next to me said. He was wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt, because at the 19 you can wear stuff like that. His name was Del and it turns out that he lives a block away from me! He was maybe in his forties, but seemed to have a good build under his hoodie. I'm not an ageist myself. If an older guy comes up to me and says "Are you into older guys?", then I'm not into hm, but I'm all for good conversation with neighbors. Besides, it's the 19. You're there to schmooze with your fellow drinkers, but not to find a date or to get laid.

I told him that I had a show the next day at The Eagle, and he let me practice my Eagle jokes with him. He walked me home and chastely kissed me on the lips.

Why was I telling jokes at The Eagle? I was in the final round of a talent contest called Entertainer of the Queer. It was correlated with a gay film festival and the audience votes on the winner, who would receive $250. I got my butt kicked, for several reasons. First of all, I really didn't prepare at all. Second of all, the winner had ten people in the audience there to see him. I had .... zero (Del showed up toward the end. I think he voted for the other guy). Nevertheless, it was still a fun time, I learn every time I do stand-up, drag queens dressed as The Wicked Witch and Glinda were hilarious,
and Del bought me a salad and some drinks. We vamoosed to The Saloon, but not before I made him stop at a gas station so I could buy energy drinks.

The Saloon on a Tuesday is Latino/Karaoke night. Why did I not know this?? It is a combo of my favorite things in the world. I sang "Work It" while a heterosexual Latino couple grinded on me, but I couldn't enjoy it because I hit my tooth on the microphone during the first verse and spent the entire time concerned that I was bleeding (I wasn't).

I ran into a co-worker of mine who was also doing karaoke. She introduced herself to Del."Are you ---" she began. "We're friends," I said a bit too loudly, and I didn't say it to hurt Del's feelings. It's just that I had just met him 24 hours ago!

Del and I, sitting at a table across from the bar, discussed the bars we liked, and I talked about how I have ridiculous crushes and how I pretend that life is a fake soap opera. At that very moment, Star Quarterback walked in. I was so overcome with sexual tension and anxiety that I slapped Del across the face.

"What was that for?!" Del asked.
"I can't help it!" I cried. "I have the dumbest crush on that guy."
"But he--?!" Del cried.
"I didn't know that when I liked him," I whimpered, even though that wasn't entirely true.

We finished our night at the 19, where we engaged in deep conversation/life story time. Del worked on the dairy farm for 20 years. He had a lover who got a job offer in a different city. "I told him that he needed to fly, and not to stay on my account," he said without a trace of regret. "I would be fine. He had to live his dreams."
"That is so selfless," I said. I didn't have anything to compare, but I had enough vodka in me to talk about Kevin.

"I'm over him, really," I said. "It's just that I spent my entire adult life crushing on either straight dudes or guys from the Internet, and so now here I am in my mid-twenties, and he's like my first ....." My voice trailed off, because I never knew how to finish that sentence.
"...Possible," Del finished for me, and that is when I had my Oprah light bulb moment!

Every time I crushed on somebody, there was a distinct *reason* we couldn't be together, and those reasons were always a) I did not have a vagina or b) he was from the Internet and may as well have been imaginary. So now here was someone who was totally my type and it still didn't end the way I wanted it to, but the reason was c) life is complicated.

I finished my last drink of the evening. "Let's get out of here," I said. "My apartment is a messy studio, just so you know."

OH, PEOPLE. I am still closed for business, and this isn't that kind of blog. I will only say that working on a dairy farm is a good way to work your biceps, and that there was mutual window shopping.


Wednesday, I did not have a show. I had the day off. I think I played bingo. Other than that, I was a vegetable. And yet Wednesday, in my mind, was the most eventful evening. I know, I know, even counting the fact that I actually got some.

I was sick as a dog earlier in the week, and I had written on Twitter that I was on so much cold medicine, but that hopefully I would have that dream about Jaymes from "The Amazing Race" again.

Jaymes is on the Chippendales team. He is like if God made a checklist of all the things Jakey Emmert finds attractive and molded them into a person (even though he is older than me):

*Good smile
*Outgoing personality
*Southern accent
*Body of a sex god

Anyway, I didn't even know Jaymes was on Twitter. I didn't tag him with the @ symbol. I had just written what I did. And there I am, sitting on my computer eating Wheat Thins at 10 P.M., when this comes on my screen:

I JUST ABOUT DIED. (Special thanks to the fabulous Craig Allen for the screen-grab). Who cared that my boarded-up store had finally seen some customers the night before? THIS WAS SO MUCH MORE EXCITING.

Five minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Was it Jaymes Vaughn to propose marriage?? No, but it was a very cute boy with that dangerous black hair/blue eye combination.

"Hey," he said. "My name's Chris, I live next door. I just moved here and I was wondering what you do for Internet?"

Good lord, did I stumble. I mentioned Comcast (even though they're Satan), and then tried to make genial conversation. "So you're in 14, right?"
"Um, no, I'm in 12," he smiled. "I think you're in 14."
I never saw him again, but the combo of a cute neighbor just moments after a Tweet that gave me a heart attack led me to believe that things were looking up for Jakey Emmert!

Liam called me while I was pooping. He was distraught. "Oh my god," he said. "I'm at LUSH. I wish you were here. This guy came up to me and said, 'Hey Tweedle-Dum. Where's Tweedle-Dee?"
"What?!" I asked. "That is so rude." And Alice is Wonderland references? Really?
"He meant you," Liam pouted. "Apparently I am Tweedle-Dum and you are Tweedle-Dee. That is so rude. Why do I have to be Tweedle-Dum?"
"Oh my god," I balked. "Do we really go out together that much?" Then I realized that, yes, we do. I have a lot of friends for social outings, but Liam is the one that I meet at a bar the most. I think it is because we are both single and nosy.

That Thursday was a WONDERFUL night! I did stand-up at Campus Pizza in front of a college crowd! Markie and Esquire came to support me, and I got to meet Tom Steffen and Wendy Maybury, two legit comedians who I have long admired (Tom went right after me so that audience got TWO gay dudes in a row. How lucky they were!). Campus Pizza was having karaoke, so I performed "Super Bass" with six gorgeous back-up dancers, and then the three of us went to LUSH to do *more* karaoke! I had a wonderful conversation with Esquire about big high schools versus small high schools (they both suck to grow up gay in them, I learned). I was drunk enough to do a real song, but I chickened out and made Lawrence go on stage with me to perform "Don't Forget About Us". Piano Man walked in while I was performing. You can't make this stuff up. I didn't say hello because he was with his friends, and I still felt awkward and hurt about The Incident. It is best that we stay strictly platonic, and I am sure there is a Billy Joel lyric about that somewhere.

Lawrence graciously drove us to The Saloon, and I just felt in my element that evening! Del was there, and the great thing is that I didn't feel jealous or weird when he was talking to another dude. It's casual and emotionless between the two of us, and that's such the opposite of what I'm used to. I even talked to the tall guy. He is from Wisconsin and is in a relationship so serious he uses the word "partner". But that's okay, as I at least got a side-hug from him. SUCH MEMORIES. Markie invited me to crash at the house, but I was on Amoxicillin for my sinus infection and it was making my stomach hurt. On my way home, I stopped at Domino's Pizza, because my boyfriend was a Tuscan Chicken Pizza. They claimed they screwed it up, so I got it for free. I wasn't even mad when I woke up with a pizza box next to me.

Friday night was game night at Lawrence's! I unfortunately couldn't stay late as I was doing comedy in the Seward neighborhood. It was one of those shows that I did earlier in my "career". They are important to do because they humble you, but it would have been much more fun to have stayed at game night than to have performed in front of five Somalis who did not want to hear any of my gay jokes.

As for game night, it was glorious! It turns out Lawrence is friends with someone who was a therapist at my summer camp! We played P & A's and people assumed Liam and I were cheating, because we kept whispering during the game, but I was catching up on gossip!

"You're gonna hate me," Liam whispered. "But on Wednesday I got a ride home from Ryan Robertson, Philip, and J.C."
"WHAT?!!!!" I yelled, and everyone looked up. "I hate you! That is my sex car fantasy!"

When I was younger, I scoffed at the idea that gay people can only be friends with other gay people. I still scoff at that, but I do marvel that, in just five months, I do feel part of a community. The state of Minnesota may be voting to make us second-class citizens next week. If it passes, it will totally suck, but I have solace knowing that we'll still have each other.

Also, I have *got* to start saving money.

Next week: Gay Halloween!

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