The following Saturday, Wesley agreed to meet me at The Saloon. YAY. We are NOT awkward anymore. Allegedly. I wore my windbreaker jacket as I had to bring along my passport as I lost my wallet the night I met Willam. The Saloon's bouncer knows me, but I figured it would be just my luck that he wouldn't be working on the one night I brazenly leave my ID at home.
They didn't have coat check because it was the first gloriously warm day in Minnesota this year, and I felt silly wearing my jacket. Thankfully, Piano Man was there, so I convinced him to wear it for a while. Piano Man is still dreamy.
"Am I pitting out?" he asked as he lifted his arms.
"No, you look fine," I said, and as I touched his arms, I realized that somebody has been working on his biceps. At first I didn't realize I was feeling him up, and then I decided to start enjoying it. "I should probably check your other arm, too," I said. "We must be consistent."
Piano Man and I walked to T.J.'s bar, and I was enjoying the moment when I felt a brick wall behind me. I turned around and it was Wesley, who was wearing a tight blue t-shirt. The best and worst part about being gay is that you are constantly attracted to your friends. When he wears a hoodie, I forget that his body is Mount Everest -- a place I will never go to but whose majesty I can appreciate from afar. Nevertheless, I ordered vodka as I was not stressed out enough for tequila. He and I are in a good place now, as I learned to appreciate things for what they are, and not resent them for what they are not. Also, when my heart was broken, I lost six pounds because I wasn't eating, and I almost have abs right now. Things always happen for a reason.
Wesley and I went to go Froot Loop. I started talking about how I was sad about Kevin, but I could tell he was disinterested. This is fine, because you get different things but of all of your friendships. Wesley is a boy who will laugh at your jokes and tell you you're crazy. He's not a boy who wants to hear about your middle school dramatics, and that is perfectly acceptable.
And as I changed the subject to something more fun, I saw behind him, at the pool table, in a tight T-shirt revealing an improved body, was Kevin himself.
I miss him. I liked being in bed with him. We only had bow chicka bow wow on one occasion, but we had several nights where we laid in bed together. Maybe five? Anyway, THAT is what I miss. Kevin was a GOOD CUDDLER. He would demand mutual shirtlessness and he would wrap his muscular arms around my little torso. In the mornings, I would have to get up for work, and he would be damn near unconscious, but I would still pop a Listerine strip and fall into his body again, and he would allow it. When you are cuddling or having sex, your brain releases a calming chemical called oxytocin. I wrote on my Facebook that I missed oxytocin and a bunch of idiots misread it as saying that I missed oxycontin.
Should I go talk to him? Is his boyfriend here? I can be nice to the boyfriend. I am not going to throw shade. I am mature. We're all grown-ups. I can act my age. But then he vanished, and I didn't know if I would see him again.
Wesley went back to T.J.'s bar and sat at a table. He was constantly texting.
"What time did you want to go?" he asked. "I can give you a ride home, but I'm not staying 'til bar close."
"I don't know," I said. "2? Where are you going?"
"This girl wants me to fuck her," he said.
"Oh," I said, keeping my inflection even. "That's ... um ..."
"It's been a long time," he said. "I might not remember how to do it."
"Well, I can walk if I have to," I said. "I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm not gonna leave early just so you can have bow chicka bow wow."
"I can stay 'til 2," he agreed.
"Okay," I said.
"Don't be pissed," he said. "It would be a lot more awkward if I was gonna go bang a dude. Like, what if I was leaving to go have sex with Quinn?"
"Then I would start crying," I said with no hint of sarcasm. It is the closest we will ever get to discussing the elephant in the room, that he is the varsity football star and I am the fat girl that helps him with his English homework.
"I'm gonna see if I can find Kevin!" I declared, because I had enough liquid courage to say hello, and it would get my mind off of imagining Wesley in bed with a girl. I walked into Danny's bar, and there he was, in the corner, with two guys I didn't know. I was doing this.
And as I took a deep breath and prepared to gain testicular fortitude (to quote the great Mick Foley), I was stopped by a boy in an Under Armour skank tank. For the uninitiated, a skank tank is a shirt with no sleeves or sides, and one must have an athletic body in order to pull it off. We'll just say that this boy fit the bill.
"Hey," he said. "My name's not Kevin or Tyler."
"Wait, what?" I asked, still looking to the side to see if Kevin was still there.
"Um," Under Armour began to sheepishly smile, "My name isn't Kevin ... or Tyler."
"Oh my god, do you know Kevin?" I asked nervously. "He's right over there."
"No," Under Armour said. "Aren't you Jakey?"
"It's from your act. I saw you at ACME Comedy Club on Monday. I've seen you a bunch of times, actually. I don't want to bother you, I just think you're so funny."
WHAT THE WHAT?!
I've had a joke about Kevin for a year now, about how the warning signs were there that it wouldn't work as a relationship, and one of those signs is that his name was Kevin, which is a red flag. "The only boys more screwed up than Kevins are Tylers," I say, and at ACME that week, when I said that joke, an angry frat boy in the front row took exception. There is always an angry Tyler in the audience.
Under Armour's bitchy gay friend pranced in. "Why are you talking to Casper the ghost?" he smirked.
"I'm gonna go," I said.
"No, wait!" Under Armour cried as he followed me. "I really want to try to do stand-up." He tried some jokes on me. They weren't bad.
"Just do it," I said. "Go to ACME on Monday and put your name down."
Wesley was behind us, trying to get me to leave.
"It's just really great meeting you," Under Armour said. "I'm like, starstruck, right now."
"Awwww!" I cried.
"Jakey, let's go," Wesley said.
"But it's one of my adoring fans!" I cried. I hugged Under Armour good-bye, and walked out of The Saloon on a cloud. I got to ride in Wesley's pick-up truck, I wasn't sad about Kevin anymore, I got to feel up Piano Man, and the only thing that upset me was that I didn't kick Under Armour's rancid friend in the testicles.
I had a rare Sunday off the next morning, so Wesley agreed to meet me at brunch. Hooray! I didn't want to get wasted because I had the second round of a comedy contest at The Pourhouse later that night. I didn't wake up until 10:15, and Wesley was upset because he wanted to get there at ten. I took a quick shower and put on a messy amount of make-up, and arrived by eleven. Wesley and I sat at the bar, and I genuinely appreciated that he took time out of his busy day to have brunch with me.
My role model Dennis walked by, and I said hello! Last time I was at brunch was when I had the meltdown, and my hoodie was inside out, which may or may not have prompted this callout.
"Dennis, look!" I cried. "My T-shirt is on the right way this time."
"It is," Dennis said. "But it's wrinkled. Honey, you need to get an iron." Dammit. I will never be a grown-up. I noticed my T-shirt was wrinkled last night, too, and it made me look chubby in the picture I took with Piano Man. "And what is going on with your make-up?"
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You need to take your make-up off," Dennis said. "I'm not reading you or coming from a mean place. I'm telling you, you can't do day drag. Day drag is for the boys that wear high heels, and you're not that kind of gay."
"You really should take your make-up off," Wesley agreed.
"I don't even think you've even seen me without make-up!" I cried.
"Honey," Dennis said. "Just go to the bathroom. Put on water first, and then soap, and then water again, and bring a bunch of napkins with you."
Oh my god! I felt like I was on my favorite show ever, Starting Over!
I was having a make-up intervention at brunch. I scrubbed my face and felt like I was doing a self-esteem exercise.
"That looks better," Wesley said. "But you should put your sunglasses back on."
"Oh, no!" I cried. "I still have dark circles! I'm old!"
"No, you just still have make-up," he said. "Chill out."
Wesley soon left, and I sat with Liam and an attractive older man with a Southern accent. I went home, took a nap, and tried to prepare myself for the comedy contest. I felt very depleted of energy.
My mom came to the contest, which was nice. I didn't want to tell her that I lost my wallet for the 850th time. There was a Twins game that night, so the bar was nowhere near as crowded as it was for the first round. The rule was that 60% of your material had to be different than what you did the prior week, and I honestly couldn't remember what I talked about last time. We were expected to do five minutes. I was informed I was going first and then I instantly became more nervous.
And, children, I went up there, and I totally biffed it. I did a minute and a half before I realized that this crowd was not feeling me. And it's not to blame it on them: I had no energy. I was talking waaaaayyyyyy too fast, slurring even, as if I were still drunk from day drinking. Despite the fact that I had done three shows the week prior that I felt were good performances, when it counted, I totally blew it. It was by far the worst performance of my "career".
Erin texted me saying she was on her way. I told her that I already went and that I bombed. "Your heart wasn't in it," my mother said. And why wasn 't it? I wasn't sad about Wesley or Kevin anymore, but I was sad about losing my wallet, again, and while Dennis wasn't trying to hurt my feelings and I was actually glad he said what he did, I felt stupid about always having wrinkled T-shirts and crappy make-up, and I wondered if everyone thought I was a loser and laughing stock, and I realized that I can't be Peter Pan forever, and one of these days I am going to have to learn how to be a grown-up, and time is not on my side. It bummed me out. I didn't even go out that night. Wesley texted me saying he had a really bad day. I never found out why.
That Friday, I went to get my new ID. I could have gone to Columbia Heights but I procrastinated, so I went downtown. On the way home from the government center, I got lost, made a turn from the center lane, and got in a car accident. No one was hurt, but insurance didn't cover the cost of a rental car. I had that Nordstrom Visa paid off once. Twice, even.
I never got my Discover card back, either.
In the past two months I:
*lost my phone
*lost my wallet
*crashed my car
*took out a line of credit AGAIN because I had a subzero checking account
*got my heart broken
*had rent go up $70 for an apartment that still smells like cat pee from its previous owner
*broke my butt
*did NOT work on my script for a show that is due to go up in less than three months
*made a fool of myself in front of all the good professional Minneapolis comedians
I am never going to get it together.
I wasn't going to go out Saturday, but my friend Max texted me saying he needed a wingman! Max is 22 and is quite introverted and shy, and I jumped at the chance. I texted Wesley I was going to LUSH that night.
Max picked me up at around 11, and when we got into LUSH I saw Wesley at a table, talking heatedly with Quinn. (We would later have a difference of opinion if this happened. Wesley told me Quinn wasn't even there. I sadly admit that I was so paranoid that I may have hallucinated the whole thing and gas-lighted myself. It had been a rough week)
I decided it would be a tequila evening. Wesley showed up and the three of us vamoosed to The Saloon. I felt bad, because I was supposed to be a fun wingman for Max, and instead I was immersing him into the fake soap opera that is my teenage crisis life.
Thankfully, this evening would be delightfully free of drama.
HERE WE GO.
"I'm seeing someone," Wesley said at the bar. Which is fine. I am fine. Max was standing next to me in case I fainted.
"Good!" I smiled.
"I wasn't honest with you last week," he said. "I went to a boy's house. Not a girl's."
"That's okay," I said. And it is okay. Just as with Kevin, I am not going to resent that
he is in a relationship or is happy with somebody that is not me. And unlike Kevin, Wesley and I are actually friends, and once I got over the puke-in-the-apartment-broken-butt-crying-on-the-toilet episode, it really didn't hurt as much. I had a crush on Joey once, remember? These things come in waves. We are mature adults.
"The sex is great," he said.
"Tequila!" I cried to T.J.
Then he went into details. Then I started shrieking like a banshee.
"Stop screaming!" Wesley yelled. Max grimaced wordlessly.
"I can't help it!" I cried as I downed my tequila sunrise and moved onto my vodka pomegranate lemonade with cherries (I love T.J. always and forever).
"We met at the gym," he said. "He's really masculine."
"Jakey, you need to stop screaming," T.J. said. "I have a migraine."
"I can't help it!" I cried. "But I want to meet him! It'll be so fun!" I love meeting new people! It would be emotionally masochistic, but as long as it was casual and organic. I wouldn't want it to be some formal dinner where I'm some Don of Minneapolis and the new gay must win my bidding.
"You can if you're not weird," Wesley said. "Don't be drunk. And don't wear make-up."
"I don't know about either of those," I said.
"I've told him about you," Wesley said.
"Whatever," I said as I rolled my eyes. "Did you tell him I'm crazy?
"No," Wesley said. "I told him that you're my friend and that you've been my mentor."
"Oh, that's actually nice," I said. "You don't have to tell him I'm the Funniest Person in the Twin Cities or anything."
"I told him that, too," Wesley said.
"Really?!" I asked, and then I smiled like a pretty princess.
|I fucking love this .gif. IT GETS A REPEAT.|
I met Joey and Quinn at The Saloon the next Sunday. I felt bad because they had been there since 9:30, and my diva ass did not make it until 11:15. Quinn had to leave right away because he had to work in the morning. Joey and I held hands, mingled, and danced like it was last summer. I will forever be nostalgic for that time in my life. Things felt possible. I was new to living downtown, new to the club scene, really (going at least once a week as opposed to once a month), I was in the ACME contest but I was not fighting expectations, I was doing somewhat okay with my money, every day
I was making new and exciting friends ... I will always love that time in my life.
He came over for a bit, as it was a rare occasion in which my apartment was clean. "You haven't been yourself for a month," he said.
"A lot has been going on," I sighed. Ain't that the fucking truth.
The next Thursday, an awful man wanted to dance with me at The Saloon. I gave him one dance, and then he called me a bitch when I went to go talk to Victor. He stole $30 from my pocket while insisting that I was beautiful. Men are awful. I am going lesbian. My friend Ben bought me a drink called a Kim Kardashian, and then I ran into Peter and his cute friend! I photo-bombed them.
Peter is 19 but smarter than me in every way, and I decided to ask for advice. I can't compare my 12-year-old girl bullshit with what he went through (a yearlong relationship abruptly dissolving), but I asked if he ever woke up crying.
"You just have to look at that person and think, You're welcome," he said. He is my '90s-born Oprah, that one. Then I took a picture with J.C. I have decided he is the secretary of the Pretty Girl Mafia because he is the most sociable. "I don't know you," said one of them, and maybe he is the Vice President. My hair looked awful and I felt fat. I did not even want to be in the Pretty Girl Mafia anyway. I will start my own mafia.
The next Monday was my best friend Erin's birthday, so we had a spa day! I got a facial, a haircut, and my armpits waxed, so screw you, Under Armour's friend who called me Robin Williams. I was then invited to a barbecue to celebrate Minnesota's legalization of gay marriage. WHOO HOO!! I invited Chuck to go with me, because the only people that I knew at the barbecue were Ben and South Dakota Version Two, and I know them casually from the bar. I did not want to be awkward.
Thankfully, everyone there was incredibly kind and gracious, and while I don't want to be an elitist, there is no barbecue like a gay barbecue. Brats and wieners! Three different kinds of salad! Thirteen different kinds of vodka!
"How do you know each other?" Ben asked of me and South Dakota Version Two.
"We met on the patio at LUSH," I said, which is true. He told me I had a positive aura, but I do not remember that because I got lost in his dreamy blue eyes and my friend Esquire had to remind me of it the next day.
"We also walked together when you were with Wesley," SDV2 smiled, which is true, as that was during the magical time when things didn't get complicated, and it *is* when we became Facebook friends, but I never put the two together. Also, I cannot make a poker face to save my life.
"Wesley who?!" I asked, hoping he would say a different one because I did not want to have feelings today. Snipes, maybe?
"Wesley Stemper," SDV2 smiled. "How is he doing?"
"He's good," I said.
SDV2 is not psychic, but he is very intuitive. "Are you okay?" he asked. "Have you been depressed lately?"
"I'm always up at 4 A.M. and I'll see your Facebook updates. You seem like you've been really sad. Is everything okay?"
I was embarrassed. "Yes, yes, I'm fine," I said, because this should be a special day. "Also, I will say, in generalities, that the epitome of love is to be selfless, but you cannot lose yourself at the same time. That is what I learned."
We later went into the hot tub. Every day you should do something that scares you, so I sat in the hot tub in my Diesel underwear next to SDV2, who is tan and ripped. I looked just like a hot model. I told him he should have his own show called Hot Tub Therapist. We discussed proper ways to smile (use your muscles from your forehead, not from your mouth, as this will prevent laugh lines later in life), homemade eye cream (Vitamin K and some kind of oil and something else -- dammit, I should have been taking notes), and getting older, which is good because that's what my Fringe show is about!!
"Life is gonna get so much better when we're in our thirties," SDV2 said. "We'll be secure. We'll know who we are. We'll have money." Chuck nodded because he is 31 and has a real job as a nurse. Another boy nodded because he is in med school, and another one nodded because he is moving to France to live with his husband who is a lawyer. I nodded because I am scared shitless.
At 26, I don't have a back-up plan if this comedy/acting thing doesn't work.
I did a photo shoot for the Fringe poster a few days later. I have a lot of people behind me, wanting this show to be a success. It is up to me to do the hard work now.
Eventually it stops being about boys.
It is my second year in Loring Park now. Maybe I really am where I am supposed to be. Ask me in five years, if my liver hasn't exploded yet.
Next week: Jakey works on his Fringe Festival show and NOTHING ELSE.