I spent the last three New Year's Eves (such awful grammar) in downtown hotels. Now that I live downtown, it's the last place I wanted to be. Luckily, I was invited to a New Year's Eve party at the same house that hosted the Daisy Dukes Party I randomly attended. I would be less nervous this time because I knew in advance that Liam, Chuck and Peter would be there, and I could have alcohol.
I was still a nervous wreck the entire day of the party. Kevin texted me at 5:30 asking if I wanted to come over earlier to watch a movie, but I decided that I had to Nair my arms and make sure that I was immaculate-looking. I managed to leave my house at 9 (like I had promised). I tried to buy mixers at Walgreens, but they absolutely failed and I could not get good mixers! In my defense, Kevin had asked for Five Alive and I don't even know what that is.
My anxiety is in reverse with him. Were this a normal friendship (I say the word "friendship" because "relationship" sounds far too serious and adult), I would feel more comfort the more we hang out. Instead, it is the opposite. The more I see him, the more I feel nauseous and anxious, and it's because I like him, more than the way I like the bar crushes, but I can't tell him that, because timing is everything, and I certainly couldn't say it on the way to the New Year's Eve party. What if he didn't feel the same way? Talk about an awkward car ride home the next morning.
Lost in my thoughts, I drove past his house on accident and then took forever to turn around because somebody was tailgating me and I panicked. Suburban drivers are mean, you guys. I finally got to his driveway and into his house. He was wearing a blue button-down and that damned pouka shell necklace. THAT DAMNED POUKA SHELL. It is as ridiculous as it is appealing.
"Try this on," he smiled, and he handed me a cream puffer jacket that I thought was a bit big on me. "That looks good. My mom brought it for me for Christmas but my arms are too long for it, so she said I should see if it fits you."
"Okay," I said through gritted teeth. "We should go. We don't want to be late to the party."
"It's good to see you," he said on the way there, tousling my hair, but not even that calmed my anxiety. It made it worse, actually, and then I got lost before we got to the freeway. I was beyond tense. I was obsessed with my butt, and who would be at this party, and then I was angry at myself for being anxious. This had nothing to do with the fact that we had already seen each other naked. There were going to be boys who look like models at this shindig. Boys born in the '90s who had positive, sunny attitudes and weren't constantly on edge.
“Buddy, are you sure you’re okay?” he asked
“Yes,” I said through clenched teeth. “I just hate driving. I’ll be okay when we get there.”
“Are you …. I don’t believe you, but okay,” he said.
Maybe there is when I should have said something. I convince myself that I don't want a relationship, or something monogomous, because I know I am too inexperienced for such a thing and have no clue as to what I am doing. That being said, I clearly have feelings for him, ones that are stronger than a simple crush, but I can't verbalize them. Instead I cope by listening to Lana del Ray and eating EZ-Cheese.
"I get lost all the time," I managed to say. "I hate driving. I am always running late. I'm on edge 24/7. Next year I will be a grown-up."
"Who says it has to be next year?" he smiled. "You've got three and a half hours left of 2012 to be an adult. You can do it."
We mercifully got there and fought over where we should park (and in a rare moment, I WAS ALLOWED TO BE RIGHT!). It was terribly cold, but I somewhat softened when we get into the beautiful house. The house, off the highway, has been featured on the DIY Channel and the homeowner built it himself. It is a perfect party house, with enough space in the yard to feature parking and a basement that has everything a club would need -- pool table, room for dancing, plentiful furniture, a hot tub, fitness equipment, and a bathroom built to resemble a locker room. We set our drinks down, and Chuck and Peter and Joey and Jeremiah and Devin were there. I could still not relax, not even after my first drink that I was chasing with Rockstar Energy.
“That’s really gonna help your anxiety problem,” Kevin laughed, and god dammit, I just wanted to kiss him, but it wasn't midnight yet, and I didn't even know if I was going to be his midnight kiss. Not that it mattered. I was here to mingle.
"Hey, Kevin," Victor said as he walked by to get a drink. How does Kevin know Victor?? Why do I care??
"Hi, Victor," I said. "I haven't seen you since you called me a methhead at The Saloon."
"I did?!" he asked. He seemed genuinely contrite, and we hugged it out. I took one last look at Kevin, and decided it was time for me to work the room.
And mingle I did! Liam and Joey soon showed up, and Liam whispered that Ryan Robertson was on his way. Oh, great. More anxiety! I later did speak to him, but I remember nothing. This happens every time I run into Ryan Robertson, by the way. We have conversations that last a good five or ten minutes, and I can recall none of the details the next day. It is partly blamed on alcohol, but I choose to also blame his swagger.
"Are you and Kevin dating now?" Joey surreptitiously asked in the corner.
"What?!" I balked. "No!"
"You've come here together twice now," Joey argued.
"That's because he doesn't drive," I said as Kevin mingled at the barset.
"Be careful with him," Chuck later advised, and I sat on Peter's lap to calm my nerves. Out of the corner of my eye, 2009 sipped his drink, and I had to say hello.
I am relatively happy with my life right now (no, really!). I do wish that I could just erase the years of 2008 to 2011. I fucked up my New York dreams, I moved in with my parents, I spent more than I saved, my relationships with my parents continued to worsen (as did my self-esteem), and it was not until I finally moved out that I felt any morsel of self-worth. I think it is why I am so immature about the club scene now. I am 26 but act like I am brand new to the "scene", and in some ways I am. It was not until this year that I could walk into a bar and guarantee that I would know 25% of the room on a crowded nght, and it is a wonderful, secure feeling.
In 2009, I would go to the Gay '90s on Sundays with my friend Sina, and my first Minneapolis emotional crush was a bartender named Frank. He was flirtatious and sent me dirty text messages, but we never fooled around for many reasons (case in point: I lived at home and had no car). One of those reasons was that he was also said to be dating Ricky Stevens.
Ricky Stevens went to my high school, albeit three classes down from me. At the time, he was a dancer at the '90s and had a Facebook profile full of pictures of him posing in his underwear. I WENT CRAZY. To illustrate the point, here is what I had written at the time:
It's fuzzy how it happens, but someone mentions Ricky Stevens. Probably me because I have lost track of how many drinks I have had and I'm mad about the bitch stare from his gang of twinks. Frank asks how I know Ricky and I explain that we went to high school together, and then Frank nonchalantly adds, "Yeah, I was gonna go on a date with him."
Then I win an Oscar by not throwing a chair or breaking my glass. I stay calm, then muster that Ricky's a nice kid, and I go upstairs for a bit before leaving, stopping at Frank's bar one last time only to overhear him brag to the other bartender that he's probably gonna go out with Ricky. I leave in silence, while the following rant begins percolating in my brain:
I AM NOT GOING TO COMPETE WITH RICKY STEVENS. THIS IS BULLSHIT. RICKY STEVENS IS A GROSS CHILD WHO HAS NASTY SLUTTY PICTURES ON HIS FACEBOOK AND EVEN IF I HAD A SIX-PACK LIKE HIS I STILL WOULDN'T DO SUCH A THING BECAUSE I AM A CLASSY PERSON. RICKY'S FACEBOOK IS ALL ABOUT HOW "I AM A YOUNG GAY MAN IN COLLEGE" AND GAY THIS AND GAY THAT AND LIKE THAT'S ALLLLL HE DEFINES HIMSELF AS AND THEN HIS BIO SAYS 'i have been out since i was 12' AND THAT IS SUCH FUCKING BULLSHIT BECAUSE I WAS WORKING AT WALGREENS WHEN HE WAS GOING TO BUY LAUREN FLOWERS AND A CARD AND ASK HER TO BE HIS GIRLFRIEND. FRANK CAN PLAY BOARD GAMES WITH WHOEVER HE WANTS TO BUT IF HE PLAYS BOARD GAMES WITH RICKY HE WILL NOT BE PLAYING BOARD GAMES WITH ME BECAUSE THERE IS SLOPPY SECONDS AND THEN THERE IS JUST ... NASTINESS.
It was bad, people. At 22 and 120 pounds, I had convinced myself that I was old and fat. He represented everything that I wasn't.
Frank vanished after a month, to be replaced by a gorgeous and heterosexual bartender from Louisville. I hardly ever go to the '90s anymore. Still, the Ricky Stevens debacle was my first identity crisis in Gay World. And now, here he was, four years later at this party. He lives in Southern Minnesota now, living quietly with a fiance. We discussed how downtown is the last place we wanted to be. It was a wonderful conversation and a full-circle moment for me. He has no idea that I spent so much immature energy projecting all my insecurities on him back in the day, and I resented myself for it. Seeing Ricky was a wonderful reminder that life is short, the trivialities should remain as such, and that energy is not to be wasted on stupid things.
However, I still hypocritically tensed up when the Pretty Girl Mafia arrived.
"All the pretty girls are here," I muttered to Kevin in a moment of lapsed judgment. "Drink up."
"Wait, you have self-image isssues?" Kevin asked.
"We've had this conversation before," I said, and was sure to not say out loud before you invited that boy over that looks like a model, remember? "Are you being sarcastic right now?" I worked the room, and after a few minutes I was sure to ask J.C. what time it was, with my reasons being a) I think J.C. is sexy and the nicest of all the Pretty Girl Mafia, and b) I wanted to be by Kevin at midnight without things being awkward. It was 11:20, for the record.
The homeowner gave us a tour of the bathroom, and I noted that I liked that it looks like we're at the club. Sprite walked in with a boy that I will call Abercrombie.
"JAKEY!!" he cried. "Lovely to see you!"
I hugged him and introduced myself to the Abercrombie model. The Abercrombie model is not attractive. He is past that. He is hot. He is sex. He is blond and jock-y and pouty and knows he is good-looking, and of course I was intimidated. He is also kind of a prick about it, but in a funny way. To illustrate, this was how he was introducing himself to everyone:
"Hi, I'm Abercrombie. We're both gay, but I'm sure that's the only thing we have in common." I saw him say this three times, and most people didn't seem to get it. I tried to keep up.
“I'm sure we can find something else!" I attempted, and I was sure not to try to guess age or body fat percentage. “Are you a Cancer?”
“No,” he said. “Sagittarius.”
“Do you have any Mariah Carey on your iPod?” I asked.
He had to think about it, but then remembered one. Probably All I Want for Christmas is You. “Yes,” he smiled.
“There you go,” I said, and I shimmied out of the room.
Midnight rolled around and we were all in the workout room, where I was keeping my cell phone so that it could charge. I was next to Kevin at 11:58, close enough to show that I wanted to kiss him but far away enough so that it wouldn’t be awkward. At midnight, Markie grabbed me and slobbered over my ear. I turned away, grabbed Kevin, and kissed him the hardest I ever have. (I don't know who Liam kissed. I later found out J.C. kissed Joey, and Peter and Chuck kissed by the fireplace with all the real couples. Awwwwwwww).
Like any good New Year's party, I don't remember anything between midnight and two. I just remember that at one point the hot tub was open. OH, NO. Yes, I was wearing my sexy Diesels, but the Pretty Girl Mafia started disrobing, and Abercrombie has abs that should be in a museum. I decided to opt out, but then Joey and Liam got in, and the next thing I knew, Kevin was sitting in the corner with the water up to his pouka shell necklace, and then I felt strange tingly feelings in my genital areas.
2012 was a year of positive self-esteem, so I decided to screw it the way I wanted to screw Kevin!
I took my clothes off and not only did I get in that hot tub, I sat right next to Abercrombie. "It's soo hard being hot," I said. "It is exhausting." And lo and behold, the Pretty Girl Mafia was actually nice to me! Apparently, the trick to being in the Pretty Girl Mafia is to convince yourself you're pretty. Then Liam started passing out and drowning, and the hot tub was soon cleared.
There was no sexy time. Kevin passed out at 5 A.M. and snored the entire time. New Year's Eve and I didn't even get spooned. He was like PASSED THE FUCK OUT. Sprawled all over the bed. I was a disappointed housewife. I have already joked that he and I skipped dating -- I went over all the emotions that went with that earlier this summer when he disappeared from The Saloon (and therefore my life) -- and now it’s like we’ve been married for 20 years.
The next day, I was honored to be invited to the Annual New Year's Day Comedian Brunch!
I wanted to bring Kevin with me, but he was still snoring. Nevertheless, I sat between Elisabeth Ess and that dreamboat Mark Nusbaum (name-dropping!), but opted not to have the buffet as I wasn't hungry enough to necessitate the cost. I had a side salad and a screwdriver, and Liam and Joey later showed up.
"Ryan Robertson's car got stuck in the snow and we had to get it out," Liam explained. "He was like, 'do you have a jack? Can you jack me?'"
"You should tell that on stage," I told Liam. "It would kill!"
Joey shared his romantic New Year's memories and then almost fell asleep in our booth. I felt bad because I wanted to mingle and network, and then the whole thing turned into another gay brunch. Still, I was glad to be there and I felt like a real comedian. Everyone was talking about the gigs they had on New Year's Eve, and I felt silly for going on and on about the gay hot tub party I was at. Next year, I hope to have a gig downtown and then take a limo to the party house, and I will arrive after midnight, and everyone will be like, "Jakey! How did your show go?!" and I will say "I am exhausted, boys!" and someone will hand me a glass of Grey Goose and I will be escorted to the hot tub. A boy can dream.
Joey had to go to work, and Liam convinced me to go to a brunch party in South Minneapolis where we didn't know anybody. I had lost my socks after hot tubbing and felt bad about walking around bare foot, so the owner of the apartment let me wear his toe socks. Such hospitality! His gal pal was very nice and hugged us, and everybody asked Liam and me if we were dating. It was enjoyable until Liam thought it would be a fun game if people guessed how old we were.
"22!" Someone guessed for Liam.
"How old do you think Jakey is?" he asked.
"Let's leave," I said. "I don't feel well and I don't think I like this game."
"You've got to be 35," someone said from a couch. "Look at that hairline."
When someone at a party guesses you to be ten years older than your age, it is time to depart. I thanked the man for the socks, and then we went to our friend Abe's house, where he was watching movies with Lawrence. Nobody could decide on a movie they liked, so I watched the end of The Green Lantern, the middle of Shark Tale, and the beginning of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I'm not sure if it was the hangover or what, but I was starting to get really depressed, mostly about Kevin. At one point I even convinced myself he looked like James Franco.
Liam and I went home to take a nap, and then we chose to end our day at the 19. Liam wanted to meet new people, and we met up with a pair of gentleman sitting by the pool table. It will shock you that the topic du jour between four gay men at 9 P.M. was sex, but I was relieved, because it turns out I have a lot of questions!
At the risk of being awkward, here are my New Year's Resolutions, in no particular order:
- Financial Independence (no credit card debt, no getting help from Mommy)
- Being calm and patient with incompetent colleagues so that I do not get hemorrhoids
- Lucrative stand-up gigs
- Sexual discovery
I am practically celibate, and therefore I know nothing. I'm not saying that my goal is to be promiscuous, but I feel that my looks have a good window left before they fade completely. If I am to be adventurous in that department, this is the year to do it. I feel like Sex is this club that everyone else is going to, and I never go for some silly reason, like always having to work on Thursday nights, or losing my wallet, et cetera. It's not that I have to have sex with Kevin -- I honestly don't know if I want to, because if I learned anything from movies it is that when two teenagers have sex, it is always the girl that feels bad -- but if I decline, I don't want it to be for reasons that are purely physical. I want to be physically prepared to accept sex while being emotionally equipped to refuse it. I also want to be mature about it. For example, the next time a boy asks me if I am a top or a bottom, I want to be able to answer without giggling.
This very nice 29-year-old (we knew he was 29 because Liam wanted to play the awful Guess My Age game again) answered all of my questions, no matter how awkward they were. Of course, I drank too much and forgot all of them, and Liam didn't write them down. They told me what to buy and what not to buy, and I'm sure I'm gonna end up buying the thing they specifically didn't recommend. Also, they said I should go to Smitten Kitten because the ladies that work there are very kind and educated.
"They have men there, too," Sex Angel said. "Gay and straight."
"Oh no, like hot guys?" I asked.
"No," Sex Angel said.
"Oh, thank God," I said. "The last person I want sex advice from is someone who looks like an Abercrombie model. I would turn red and I would have to go home."
Speaking of Abercrombie models, the next day, the Abercrombie boy from the New Year's party showed up half-naked on my Facebook news feed, and I damn near had an aneurysm. We aren't even Facebook friends! Why was this happening? It gave me an unnecessary amount of anxiety. Perhaps my other goal for the year is to CALM DOWN AND STOP LOSING MY KEYS AND WALLET ALL THE TIME.
Next week: Drama happens when Kevin actually heads downtown! Not like that.