It's been a month, children! I apologize for taking so long between episodes. We are headed into the steamy summertime in Minneapolis, and you know that I love summer. I was born in the summer, and it is when I feel the most alive.
I also feel almost sexual, but that's because I put out for air conditioning. Here we go.
Of course, the nights blur together. One of the weekends was Wesley's birthday, and I bought him a present because I am a big stupid saphead. He was running late, and I began to panic when I was at The Saloon. My anxiety has become much worse lately, and "Wesley is running late" soon became "Oh god, what if Wesley crashed into a tree?!" My friend Cordero (from episode one!) was there, and calmed me down by introducing me to a shot called a Blonde Headed Slut. It has Jagermeister in it, and I usually stay away from dark liquor, but it did manage to calm my nerves.
Besides, so many other people were there to focus on! THE ORIGINAL SOUTH DAKOTA was there! He even bought me a drink! I should have asked him to pick me up for old times' sake, but I was feeling fat I walked by the impossible sexiness that is Football Guy. He doesn't remember my name, so he said, "Hey, comedian." "Hey, football player," I smiled, and I'm sure I was as red as the paint in what some call The Red Room (I just call it T.J.'s bar). Piano Man was there for his birthday! We discussed my anxiety issues and we practiced breathing exercises on the patio.
Wesley finally showed up and we sat by the fireplace. I gave him his present and then tried to hug him like a broski. I don't know if I did it right. We sat down and then Running Back came over to yell at Wesley for playing "hard to get". I felt awkward because I like Running Back (he's my unofficial dance coach!), so I just pretended to be too drunk to notice what was going on.
I was out at The Saloon the next night (quelle surprise!), and was reunited with Sprite and Abercrombie! Abercrombie is the boy who I sat next to in the hot tub at the New Year's Eve party and he has abs that could be insured for millions of dollars. I re-introduced myself, and then Liam and Roger came in. They had been Sunday Funday-ing and drinking since noon, and could not contain themselves. I bought Sprite and Abercrombie Blonde Headed Sluts from Danny, but then Roger basically started humping Abercrombie, and I was mortified!! We are judged by the company we keep, and now I worry that I will forever be seen by them as an old drunk pervert. There was another very cute boy who was going to the U of M and tried to stop an older man from hitting on me, and I should have asked for his hand in marriage. Or at least remembered his damn name.
I decided to associate myself with better-behaved company, so I was happy to run into South Dakota Version Two! One of the many reasons I want to be South Dakota Version Two when I grow up is because he has a banging body and yet has no shame in eating French Fries at The Saloon. I, on the other hand, don't even want people at The Saloon to know I eat solid foods or have a digestive tract.
We discussed mutual acquaintances, and then the conversation turned to Wesley's birthday. SDV2 asked if it would be awkward if he messaged him. That's when I realized they didn't know each other as well as I thought they did. Still, I found nothing odd about it, and SDV2 wrote to him on Facebook. No harm, no foul.
I was reunited with Markie and his pals, and he graciously agreed to drive me home, but at first I wasn't listening because I was drunkenly flirting with Ryan Robertson. Ryan was pretty drunk, too, and we discussed the cultural zeitgeist at large and the conflict in Syria.
I somehow got shotgun, and Ryan and Markie's roommate Stephen sat in the back. I live far too close to The Saloon, but it's always nice to have a ride home. Markie pulled into my parking lot, and as he put on the brakes, Ryan shifted his body from the back seat and kissed me on the lips.
He probably won't remember doing it, and I won't ever bring it up (to his face!). That being said, I don't mean to worship the man, but his lips are like velvet pillows.
I go out way too much. I wasn't going to go out on Wednesday. Wesley wanted to go to LUSH. I wasn't going to go out on Wednesday. I justified it by agreeing to be sober cab. I had gone to bingo first with Erin and my father, and I realized I had no outfits at my parents' house. I scrambled to find something put together (a blazer over a T-shirt). My stylish friend Dennis wrote on my Facebook that he expected to see me tonight ("I expect hilarity and 'Sweet Nothing'"), he posted. That song always reminds me of Wesley, but I refused to believe it as a sign!
I told Wesley I would pick him up at 10:30, but this is me, so I got there at 11. He, of course, texted me five times wondering where the hell I was. Boys are soooooo impatient.
Within two seconds, he asked if I would drop him off at his boyfriend's house when the night was over.
I agreed. I couldn't think of a good reason to say 'no'. I also decided that this night was about me being sober cab! Wesley has driven me all over town during the course of our friendship, and playing chauffeur was the least I could do. Still, I was really hoping Dennis would be there, as he is my role model and keeps me sane, even if he calls me The Hot Mess Express.
Not only was Dennis there, but he bought me a shot called a Katy Perry. It was more enjoyable than any of Katy Perry's songs (although I've never really cared that much for her stuff. I love me the hell out of the "T.G.I.F. (Last Friday Night)" video, though).
As I moseyed to get a Diet Coke, I was in line next to Under Armour! Ugh! He's so damn cute! We smiled at each other. Trying to make conversation, I bobbed my head toward Wesley. "I'm here with my broski," I said.
"I know," Under Armour said, and with a tinge of sadness, added: "You're always with him." What? Not like that!"
"A broski is the hot new accessory for the summer," I said.
"Maybe I should get two," Under Armour smiled. "But maybe I don't need one. I already am a broski. Maybe I just need a gayski." Then I wanted to put my mouth on his mouth.
Wesley and I went to go dance to "No Scrubs" with Dennis and his friend. Dennis and Tall Man (whose fiance is black) both tried teaching me to dance, but I am absolutely hopeless. When I saw Jimmy Fallon and Michelle Obama do that tribute to mom dancing, I was, like, learning moves from that. I think that's why I enjoy going out with Jared so much, because then I just stand next to him and it looks like I'm dancing.
Wesley excused himself to go to the bathroom. "I hate to watch him go," I told the boys. "But I love to watch him leave." They all cracked up, because they did not watch wrestling as a kid, and had no idea that I totally stole that line from WWF color commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler (I can't find a clip, but he most memorably used it when Ivory lost an Evening Gown Match to Tori. I know, the things I remember).
I showed Dennis a picture of the poster for my Fringe show. "JAKEY!" he yelled. "That picture is EMBARRASSING!"
"But it's supposed to be!" I cried. I'm a comedian, not America's Next Top Model. I am supposed to look desperate and muffin-topping in the picture. Well, I'm not so sure about the muffin top, but I borrowed Joey's H & M shirt and that's just how it looked, but I will tell everyone the muffin top was on purpose.
"Your friends are really ... effeminate," Wesley said on the way home.
"Yes, I suppose," I said.
"I mean, you are, too," he said. "I don't really know what I'm trying to say."
"I think you are trying to give me a compliment," I said, "So I will take it that way." I put on the Butterfly album and he said I had the worst taste in music in the whole world. I still drove him to his boyfriend's house, so either I have a heart of gold, or I really do love the boy.
The following Thursday, I was crazy psyched for Boy Band Mania! Boy Band Mania was hosted by DJ Flip Phone, who hosts a monthly event at Honey. Erin, who expressed on Facebook that her heart was broken when Howie Dorough got married (despite the fact that she herself is engaged), was the perfect person to attend this with! As for my favorite boy band, I will say that Trevor from Soul Decision was one of the first teen heartthrobs to make me feel certain feelings in certain places.
I invited Wesley, but he was staying in because his softball game ran late. That is such a boy excuse. Whatever. I don't care. Chuck met us there, and we danced the night away! I surprised myself by realizing that I still know all the words to "MMMBop" by Hanson, but the biggest reaction of the night came when "Summer Girls" came on.
"Rich Cronin is dead!" I cried. "Now I'm sad."
"Kylie killed Rich Cronin," Erin said of her cousin and future maid of honor. "It's true. She went to go study abroad and he died the same day."
"I like boys that wear Abercrombie &; Fitch," I said. "You'd think I'd be over it." I am far too old to be jonesing for an A&F or a Hollister boy, but it's in my DNA.
Erin couldn't stay too late, but I reunited with Running Back! He asked Chuck if he would drive us to The Saloon, and Chuck graciously agreed.
"I hate your friend Wesley," Running Back said from the back seat. "I wish he would just admit to being a rice queen."
"Oh, boy," I said. "Um ... he, um ..... he's complicated." That is my go-to answer when acquaintances from the bar bring him up. It does not imply that we have a relationship, it does imply that I have feelings for him, and it does not imply that I advocate his behaviors toward certain people. It's complicated. It is concise and perfect, no?
I was kind of nervous going into The Saloon, because the One Direction T-shirt I bought for the event was ridiculously tight. I am skinny, but I'm not necessarily toned, and I'm sure I looked ridiculous -- which was fine for the DJ Flip Phone event (DJ Flip Phone only plays songs from the "Flip Phone Era", 1996-2006), as one is encouraged to dress for the theme and everything is kind of meant to be ironic and kitschy -- but who was I going to run into? Besides, I was with Chuck, who has seen me in and out of much more embarrassing apparel.
We Froot Looped for a bit, and then sat at a table in the video bar. Chuck is fond of deep conversation, and I enjoy that about him. He also enjoys sarcasm and the art of "getting your goat".
"Uh-oh," he smirked. "Kevin."
"Really?" I smiled. "You're so mature."
Then I looked up, and there, in a blue Hollister shirt, and as dreamy and bratty as I ever remembered, was the soundtrack of my summer.
"Hi," he smiled as he moved frenetically.
"HI," I said rather pointedly. "I'm wearing this ridiculous shirt because we were at a boy band event."
"I wasn't gonna say anything," he said. "Not everyone is gonna judge you. You realize that, right?"
FEELINGS. BUTTERFLIES. CRAP. GET IT TOGETHER, EMMERT.
"Uh-oh," Chuck said. I turned around, and there was Peter!! What was going on with the world?!
I vamoosed to Peter to calm myself down, and also to see if he was okay. It's apples and oranges to compare Peter/Chuck to myself and Kevin (they had an established relationship that ended poorly, and Kevin was a boy I had a hopeless crush on all summer, and then he inadvertently broke my heart in January), but I couldn't believe the similarity of our situations.
Peter was fine, and I went back to Chuck and Kevin. "Let's walk around," Kevin said, and he took my hand. Oh! It was just like last summer! Dammit!
Kevin said he had a room at the Hilton all weekend, so Chuck and I walked with him. He grabbed my hand when we were on Nicollet Mall, and I felt all the things I had felt last summer -- in the good way, before I let my feelings get deep. I would keep it at a crush stage this time. I would not fall hard.
We arrived at the hotel room, and Kevin was livid that he didn't have a freezer. He called the front desk and bitched them out before realizing that they had installed one while he was away. We went to get soda from the vending machines, and when we got back we realized we were locked out of the room, so the three of us went to the front desk at three in the morning on a Thursday. Totally normal.
While there, a boy around my age was also locked out of his room. He had scruffy facial hair and was wearing a suit. He was decent-looking. Kevin invited him upstairs to the room. Oh, brother.
The boy went to Harvard, but had dropped out for a year, and Kevin grilled him about it, because Kevin enjoys asking people about their poor life decisions and why they have made them (it's why I don't like to tell him anything anymore). Chuck was in charge of the remote control and failed miserably, as we couldn't find anything other than infomercials. After about an hour, Chuck said he wanted to go, and I agreed. Because I am a passive-aggressive teenager, I left without saying bye to Kevin. He could go fuck the Harvard boy! Whatever!
Chuck drove me home and let me bitch about my feelings, and then I drunk Facebooked Kevin that it was good to see him.
Kevin messaged me the next morning and told me that he didn't mess around with that guy. "I don't care if you did," I said. Which was true. It was none of my business, and I am sexually frigid. We decided to get lunch together, and I took a cab to the Hilton after showering (I could have walked, but I was already running late, and Kevin Thomsen is not a patient man).
We walked around downtown for a bit, in hopes of finding the best Happy Hour. "All these people," Kevin bitched.
"Do you not like crowds?" I asked. "I used to live in New York. Maybe that's why they don't phase me."
"I didn't know that," Kevin said. "That makes sense, actually."
We turned down a few restaurants (I don't like spicy food so it nixed the Mexican restaurant), before Kevin had the bright idea that he wanted to go to Fogo de Chao, which is a super fancy Brazilian steakhouse. Because I wanted to pretend that I am also a young professional who makes six figures a year, I agreed.
I'm really not a carnivore (go ahead and make a meat joke), but Fogo de Chao is still a worthy lunch. The salad bar is excellent! Also, you get little coasters and if it's green side up, they just keep bringing you meat. I wanted to eat as much as I could because somehow I felt that if I didn't, I would be disappointing Kevin (even though we were going Dutch). The drink I had was the best part. I'm not saying that because I'm an alcoholic, I'm saying that because it was a really good drink.
"That boy last night was weird," Kevin said. "He tried kissing me and I told him he was too scratchy, so then he went to the bathroom and shaved. And then I still wouldn't kiss him."
"How have you been?" Kevin asked.
"I'm putting on a show in August," I said.
He stared at me with penetrating brown eyes, knowing something else was on my mind.
"I got my heart broken," I said into my drink.
"Puppy," he growled.
"I don't want to talk about it," I said. "It's fine."
Kevin did not mention a boyfriend. But doesn't he have a boyfriend? I thought he had a boyfriend. Why can't I just ask if he has a boyfriend?
We went to the liquor store, where he balked at paying $1.99 for a bottle of 7Up, and stopped at his hotel room for a bit, where somehow we ended up wrestling. I agreed to meet him at The Saloon later that night.
He wore Hollister again. GAAAAHHHHH. He had a friend at the bar, and the two of them chatted. Joey and Quinn were there, and it's always lovely when Joey is at The Saloon. His presence calms me down. Quinn and Kevin didn't interact. I was proud of myself for getting to The Saloon so early at 10:30. I talked to Kevin's friend about my show (y'know, the one that should have had a script done months ago), and he fretted because he is 29. But, like, Kevin, he looks much younger. I enjoyed our conversation.
Kevin and I went to the dance floor, and I spotted a group of young ladies. I always want to ask young ladies what they are doing at The Saloon, so I stood in the middle of them. It turns out they were all sisters and were there to celebrate a graduation! Kevin grabbed their mother and took her out to the floor to dance with her, and that is when I felt myself falling in love with him all over again. Shit.
I decided to use humor to deflect the moment. "Aww," I told one of the sisters. "I think I'll keep him."
We Froot Looped one last time. "What makes you happy?" he asked. I paused, because I could not think of a time in which a boy had asked me that. "It shouldn't take you that long to answer." Oh! How summer repeats itself!
We left to his hotel room at around 12:30. We drank more and watched The Fly. We didn't do anything. I do not know what I am so afraid of.
Saturday night he wanted to go to the '90s. I took a cab to the '90s, only for him to text me that he was meeting someone at The Saloon. After that waste of $8, I walked to The Saloon, and saw he was with a younger and tanner and sexier version of myself. We sat in the bar while "Same Love" came on. "I don't like hip-hop, but I like this song," Kevin said. It should have been a beautiful moment, but I realized that if you ever want to feel like shit about yourself, sit next to a boy who you once, in the way back of your mind, thought that you could be married to in maybe five years if you got your shit together, and then realize that he is sitting next to the version of yourself that you should be. Equality is when gay men can feel like shit about themselves in the exact same way that young women do.
My brother texted me that he was at Sneaky Pete's! I left my Discover card with T.J. and decided that it would be better for my self-esteem to be ignored by gorgeous heterosexual men for a change. I wasn't upset with Kevin -- I had his company for two nights and he was probably sexually frustrated. No one owes you anything. I could have walked, but I was lazy and decided to take a bike cab, which are always driven by cute frat boys. I think it's a rule.
My driver was named Eli. He wore a green shirt and green hat to match his green eyes. Maybe he could tell I was sad.
"Hey," he said as he turned around. "You do comedy, right? I've seen you at ACME."
I met my brother at Sneaky Pete's. His date this week was named Portia and she had tattoos on her boobs. My brother only dates women of color. He is basically Kevin Gnapoor in Mean Girls, without being Sri Lankan or being a Mathlete. Or knowing how to rap. OK, maybe that's the only thing in common he has with Kevin Gnapoor, but you know I can't resist a good Mean Girls reference.
We were barely at Sneaky Pete's when Portia and her crew wanted to head out. She was with a group who were in baggy jeans and sneakers. Dane wanted to go to Seven, but we knew her friends wouldn't be let in, as Seven has a dress code. Portia and her friends wanted to go to Barfly. Barfly smells like weed, so my diva ass declined. Dane told Portia he would meet her at Barfly in a few minutes, but that he and I would stop at Seven for a bit.
I enjoyed Seven. It was fancccyyy. We each had a drink and went up to the rooftop. Isn't it funny how the first episode of "Loring Park" had a rooftop, too? I just felt like life kept coming full circle, with rooftops, and attractive strangers, and the same boy who drove me crazy last summer.
On the second floor, my brother introduced me to a Korean man who he knows from poker, and that is when I felt like I was in a Hangover film. He was dressed in a suit and had a youthful, porcelain face, and was drunk as a skunk.
"You are Jake?! I have heard so much about you!" he yelled. "I am not gay. My roommate is. My roommate want my ass! I tell him, I am so sorry! I am not gay! I just -- I looovvvvveee the pussy. I fucking lovvveeeee it. And the pussy loves me too. The ladies love my tongue. I cannot helpppppppp it. I am so sorry! I do not mean to offend you!"
I wanted to be a mooch and stay for bottle service, but Dane thought that was too trashy of a move, so we hightailed it out of there, and I went back to The Saloon.
Kevin wasn't there anymore. That was fine. He was probably shtupping the Calvin Klein model. It's fine.
Wesley was there surrounded by people that I know aren't very fond of me, and the feeling is mutual. I yelled his name. Nothing. I yelled our inside joke. Nothing.
He had seen me. I knew it. And he never owed me anything, right? It is unhealthy and selfish to view friendship as a scorecard. But, shit. The boy did not owe me romance or sexual attraction, but he does owe me new carpeting and at least a "hello". AFTER EVERYTHING I HAD DONE. Oh, the speech I had prepared! OH, THE SHADE OF IT ALL!! Shady shade.....
The double whammy of him ignoring me and Kevin going off with the model that night was too much to handle. I wasn't even sad. I was whatever comes past that. I took another bike cab, and another cute boy was driving, and he could tell I was crying but didn't want to say anything.
"Um, there's a blanket if you're cold," he said, and I wrapped myself in it and pretended I was going home with him.
The next day, Kevin asked if I had fun I told him the broski broke my heart but I would be fine and that I wanted to come over soon. "I'm sorry you got hurt," he wrote. "Don't be such a stranger."
On the way to work, I reflected on my feelings. And that is when I realized that I could not do a one-man show.
Oh, the show is still happening. It just turned into an ensemble comedy with characters and a plot and a beginning and an end, and one of those characters might be Kevin and one of those characters might be Wesley, but y'know, it's fiction, and it's art, and it's my art and I can do what I want with it.
Don't piss off an "artist", no matter how hacky and underachieving they are.
Next week: I know the score! And mine is subzero.