Thursday, December 12, 2013

Loring Park Episode #34: Tangiers

Previously on "Loring Park": Jakey and Kevin went to a Sadie Hawkins party! A new friend was made at Valleyfair! Triangle communication! Everything old is new again ...

I love the title of this episode. It implies new beginnings, new friendships, and foreign lands.

It's also the name of a super-trendy straight bar in the North Loop that we'll get to later, but still. I like the sound of it. Tangiers.


We were at The Saloon on a Sunday night and Joey was planning to come out to his parents later that week. It made me appreciate my own family and I enjoyed being a fly on the wall listening to Quinn give him advice. I was fine enjoying the moment.

A few days before, Joey and I got in an argument and I cried all day before being a grown-up about it. He slammed the door of Ryan Robertson's car and sent me an angry text message, and I found myself trying to be consoled by Ryan and his friend who was dressed as a seahorse for Halloween (best costume ever).

"Whenever two girls fight, it's always about a boy," I said sadly, and the seahorse nodded. For the last few months, I had thought he was "over" me and not amused by me, and he had thought I had grown distant. I have learned that you actually have to communicate with people when your feelings are hurt, or else feelings just get more hurt. Also, I was in a really bad mood the week before because I lost a $100 bill at The Saloon. Adulthood remains elusive. Nevertheless, our tiff only made our friendship stronger and made me appreciate it more, and I felt bad that for the last six months I had allowed my mind to be wrapped solely around one person. I was getting over it and his unexplained absence would not faze me.

"Where's Wesley been?" someone asked me.
"He's sick," I said before ordering a Ketel One Lemonade.

"Where's your broski?" someone else asked me later.
"He has to work a lot," I said before getting a refill.

Joey came out on a Thursday and I had it marked on my calendar. Jared and I were proud gay parents and had I been more organized we would have thrown a dinner party.


That Friday, Tan Man invited me over to his house for game night and a fashion show. Tan Man has abs and laughs at my jokes and I am waiting to find out he's a serial killer, but until then, I am going to enjoy our time together. He has a house in Uptown and I was intimidated because two other friends were there. The boy was a make-up artist who looked effortlessly amazing and the girl was a fitness trainer. I felt pale and out of shape and awkward, and I didn't want to drink because I was going to drive us to Tangiers (a place I had never heard of, but which was having a fashion show for G-Star Denim! Fun and fancy!).

"Oh, just have one shot of tequila," the girl said.
"Oh, I don't know," I said. "When I have tequila I say things that I don't mean. Well, I mean them, but they're unkind and they shouldn't be said."

             THE SALOON – NIGHT
After months of awkwardness, QUINN is trying to have an adult conversation with JAKEY, who has just had a shot of Jose Cuervo.

I think you’re a very good person and I am happy to know you and I don’t want you to feel awkward around me.
I think you and Wesley should just fuck already.
That was crass, Jakey. I am trying to have an adult conversation with you.
I’m sorry. I had tequila.


----END SCENE---

"OK, fine, just one," I obliged. Tan Man turned on his Pandora Station to '90s music, and we enjoyed the Spice Girls. Then "Always Be My Baby" came on.

"This song is kind of sad," Tan Man said. "I think I'll change it."
"If you change Mariah Carey, I will punch you in the dick," I said. "Oh my god! I can't have tequila."

Another friend of Tan Man's came in and she was tall and had alabaster skin and lived in England and was going on a date with a guy who liked to go hunting.

"Oh, he's like a broski?" Tan Man laughed. "Jakey! How's your broski?"

Tan Man ordered a car, but they could only take four passengers, so I went with Tan Man's friend and he and the girls met us later at Tangiers. It had fun ambiance, and I recognized the receptionist from Jungle Red! Mercifully, she did not ask me how my nether regions were feeling. I would later find out that three of my co-workers were there that night, but I didn't see them! We kept the theme of fanciness by going to Jetset.

I never feel like myself at Jetset, and was hoping to run into Under Armour or Local Celebrity (I never talk to Local Celebrity, but he is dreamy and somehow his presence calms me). I didn't, but I ran into Cooper and Robin, the latter of whom was throwing a Sadie Hawkins party in a few weeks.

Remember when Kevin and I went to the Daisy Duke/Sadie Hawkins party last year? Well, I was invited again, and immediately asked Kevin on Facebook if he wanted to go with me. A Sadie Hawkins dance in high school is when girls ask the boys (I, um, never got asked. Go figure!), so it was my understanding that a gay Sadie Hawkins party is when gay boys ask more masculine boys to be their dates. I was greatly looking forward to it, and I knew that Joey, Quinn and Chuck would be attending as well.

"I'm excited for the party!" I told Robin. "I'm bringing a date. His name is Kevin. He was at the party last year."
"I don't know him," Robin said. "But that's totally cool."

Tan Man met us at Jetset, and I felt fancy like a Target corporate gay.


It was another Sunday night at The Saloon, and Jared and I decided to go early! I felt unnerved, but the great thing about being there before 10 P.M. is that you don't have to pay cover! They just slap a wristband on you! Liam was there and was telling us all about his new quasi-boyfriend. I told him that if he really likes him, to go slow and enjoy it. We flirted with a cute boy who was going to be in the shower contest. It was me, Liam, Joey, Quinn, Jared, and Markie, and I was enjoying that there was no drama.

"See if Dollface is at the 19," Jared said.
"I don't know," I hemmed and hawed.


Okay! Dollface Killer goes to the 19 and I met him because once he was talking about The Undertaker and I piped in by saying that I know a lot about pro wrestling, too! This was back in May and I didn't think about him very much because this was when I was still a bit player on the Emmy-winning TV series The Wesley Show. Anyway, I have seen him more often lately and he is still a super fox. He's 6'2 and 200 pounds and he can sing songs from Wicked and he works at a warehouse! Also, he is friends with Brent, who is Chuck's ex-boyfriend who is like a 32-year-old broski and who is ridiculously attractive and whom I cannot say more than five words in front of. (One time this summer, I stood in between Brent and Wesley while "Beautiful" by Mariah Carey was playing, and I realized it would be the pinnacle of my life)

The day after Joey and I reconciled from our argument, I met with him, Jared and Chuck at the 19 before heading to The Saloon, and I had the balls to talk to Dollface Killer. A guy sitting next to where we were standing started hitting on him, then looked at me.

"Oh, wait, are you his boyfriend?' he asked me.
"No, this is my ex-boyfriend," I said pointedly. "And he knows what he did."
Dollface Killer smirked. "I ... sorry?" he said.
"You should be," I said. "You know what you did." We talked about Triple H some more, and I met with my trio. Outside the bar, a boy asked us if we were going to The Saloon.
"I'm going, too," he said. "I'm taking a bike there. Do any of you want a ride?"
"Jakey, if you get on the bike with him and we have to walk, I will kill you," Jared said.
Well, I will do anything for a laugh.
"I'll do it!" I said, and I sat on the back of the boy's bike and wrapped my arms around his stomach. Here's the thing: I didn't think he was actually gonna do it. All I wanted was for him to bike past Jared, Joey and Chuck, and then I could be on the bike and yell out, "Girl, I got my own ride!" The boys would laugh, I would get off the bike, and we would all walk together. A classic comedy moment!

However, the boy ended up taking a completely different route so I did end up taking the bikeride the whole way there. Not that I was complaining.
"Put your legs out like a good bottom," he explained. "Which I know you are."
Oh, my.
"I've seen you do stand-up before, actually," he said. "You're really funny." My pants have flown off by that point.

We went to The Saloon, reunited with my posse, and at the end of the night, the four of us decided to nightcap at my apartment for a random slumber party.
"You should see if Dollface Killer wants to come over," Jared slurred.
"I doubt he will!" I cried. "It's 3:30 in the morning!" I texted him anyway and asked if he wanted to watch Hocus Pocus with us.
"Sure," he wrote back. WHAT IN THE WHAT.

He showed up in a leather jacket and his tall goodness, Joey passed out on the kitchen floor, Chuck stripped to his underwear, and I sat on Dollface Killer's lap while we drank 612 Brew, which I won as a result of my team getting second place in Punchline Punchout for the 10,000 Laughs Festival. I don't think we watched any of Hocus Pocus because we were all too drunk and I was too busy staring at Dollface.

I walked him to the door like a gentleman, and I tried to kiss him but I was too short and it was kind of awkward, because that is how I interact with men, dammit.

Anygay, I texted Dollface that night. Jared and I went to the 19 at midnight, I awkwardly flirted with Dollface Killer while he played Big Buck Hunter, and we were in bed by 1 A.M. We are old ladies and can't start our nights at 9:30 P.M. like the kids do. I think I was super annoying to Dollface Killer, because I never saw him after that, although he did agree via text message to hook up my DVD player for money. Jared did it for free anyway, and thus I forgive him for occasionally snoring when he sleeps over.


The following Sunday, I was enjoying my new routine of not having any drama. I was still sad that I hadn't heard from You-Know-Who in forever, but I wasn't about to let that affect me.

The first person I saw was Howie! I hadn't seen him since Halloween, in which I thought he was somebody else until he asked me how Wesley had been and I turned even whiter than my usual paleness, which I didn't think was possible. (Oh, and then "I Will Always Love You" started playing, and it was not a good moment).

"Hi!" I cried. "How are you?"
"I'm gonna start drama with Quinn," he announced. "I'm upset with him. He's the reason Wesley doesn't talk to me anymore."
I smiled so nervously and tightly that I thought my face was going to crack. Really? I haven't even been here for thirty seconds.

 "I'm going to have a glass of alcohol," I said. "I'll be right back."

I never saw a confrontation between the two of them, Thank Christ. I heard his name come up a few times but I was really trying to avoid it. I saw Howie later in the night and he lamented that nobody at the bar liked him. "That's not true," I said. "I never had a problem with you. And I know you liked Wesley too and I'm sorry about the time I sat on his lap while you were the designated driver. I like you. His friend Jerry is a [c-word]." I am putting c-word in brackets because I never, never use that word. Maybe I had tequila that night.

I was cheering Robin on during the shower contest when I also decided to drunk text Wesley, becaue I was nervous with all these people talking about him. Besides, I didn't even know where he was. What if he had moved to Tokyo? He could have at least told me, as an alleged friend, that he had moved to Tokyo and then I could tell everyone that he moved to Tokyo. He was trying to get information out of me, but looking back the next day I realized I was being ADD and kept telling him about the shower contest when he was really only concerned about what was being said regarding him (as he should have been! It was 1 in the morning!).

My drunk text turned into a drunk dial, and I was stopped by bouncers when I tried to bring my drink out to the patio. "We'll hold it for you," the cute one said. And that poor man, because he held my drink for seventeen minutes. Sadly, I only remember three minutes of my conversation, and the only sentence I can recall from memory is me saying this:

"I miss you and we don't have to go to the gay bar. We can go to Denny's."

DENNY'S. I don't even know where the closest Denny's is or what I would order.


I was excited for the Sadie Hawkins party the following weekend! I touched base with Kevin the day before and he made it sound like he wasn't sure if he wanted to go. I joked all day that he would probably bail, but I was still hoping for the best. Despite the fact that I was having my triannual sinus infection and I was on three hours of sleep, I felt obligated to go to the party. I even messaged Robin on Facebook to remind him I was bringing Kevin. So when Kevin texted me at 8:30 PM saying "I don't feel like going out we can hang out another time", I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I decided to be truthful (stand in my truth, as they said on Starting Over) and wrote back "I was looking forward to seeing you." There. That is vulnerable without being clingy.

But here was the problem: Because of this, I could not enjoy myself at the party. It wasn't nearly as crowded as last year's, but there were still good people: Joey and Quinn were enjoying themselves, Ryan Robertson and his boyfriend Steve, the fashionista Cooper and his boyfriend, and Chuck. Chuck gets very flirty and jokey at parties, and when I'm in a good mood, I'm fine with this. But unfortunately, I was in a bad mood, a very sad, melancholy, sleep-deprived, allergic-to-everything mood, and it was an effort even to smile. I politely excused myself after 90 minutes of mingling, and cried on the way home. I went through a tunnel and didn't even make a wish in it. That's how sad I was. I wasn't even wishing in tunnels anymore. I sadly Tweeted about it before leaving the party, and my crowning achievement of the weekend was being the Top Tweet using the hashtag #dyingalone.

Kevin texted me the next morning and said he was feeling sick and fell asleep again at 8:45 PM. "i would have felt much less stupid and crappy had I known that," I wrote. "I didn't know I was sick..." he wrote in confusion, and then I stewed for the rest of the morning before deciding I would attempt to be an adult about the situation.

My lesson of this event is that I have yet to learn to take things at face value.

WHAT KEVIN WRITES                                                            WHAT KEVIN MEANS

I don't feel well.                                                                        I don't feel well.
I don't want to go out.                                                             I don't want to go out.
Let's hang out another time.                                               Let's hang out another time.

WHAT KEVIN WRITES                                                          HOW JAKEY TRANSLATES

I don't feel well.                                                           I don't feel like hanging out with you.
I don't want to go out.                                                  I don't want to go out with you.
Let's hang out another time ...                               ...Because a 20-year-old twink with a
                                                                                  tight ass  is coming over in thirty.

I'm beginning to think that the problem is me, you guys.

I had two shows the following week, and I couldn't have been more excited! On Wednesday night, I was emceeing the GLBT Comedy Showcase at CAMP Bar. I was thrilled to be offered the spot and to get to see all the comics, especially the talented and hilarious Amber Preston, whom I would literally watch read the phonebook.

Five minutes before showtime, we sat in the video bar and someone approached me.

"So?" he asked. "How's your boyfriend?"
"Which one?" I asked, very coyly.
"You know," he laughed. "The sexy one I met when I was at The Saloon. He grabbed you by the collar and looked jealous every time someone started talking to you."
I turned to the video bar for solace. Unfortunately, we were at a goddamned gay bar, and for the second time in 30 days, someone had asked me about him when this song came on:

"He's fine," I said. "I need a vodka Red Bull."

I had one, and I talked way too fast, but the show still went well (Chris Klavetter randomly had a 5-hour energy drink in his pocket! Perfection!), even if St. Paul did not enjoy that I spent the first minute of my set ragging on St. Paul ("I'm so excited to be here in St. Paul! I live in Minneapolis, because I have a social life.")

The following evening I did The Big Gay Comedy Show at Bryant Lake Bowl! This was a full-circle moment for me because last year, The Big Gay Comedy Show was a fundraiser for marriage equality. A year later, and not only did Minnesota vote down an antigay constitutional amendment, but gay marriage itself was equalized ... and not that it's anywhere near the two in terms of historical importance, but now I was a performer instead of an audience member!

Turnout wasn't great because it was the very first snow of the year, and Minnesotans tend to freak out and hibernate, but I still had a good time and was honored to be in the company I was in (Jason Schommer? Maggie Faris? And my little dog-and-pony act? Okay, then). Tan Man met up with me after the show, and we went to Sushi Tango, where I learned that I am as good at eating with chopsticks as I am at algebra. We did decide that eating with chopsticks would be a great new diet plan, as half the food I attempted consuming ended up on the floor. His friend gave me a ride home, and I was so tired/sick that I didn't even go to The Saloon that night! My war with sinus infections has changed me.


Kevin informed me he was planning to throw a party the following Saturday. I told him that would be  enjoyable, but that I couldn't help him plan for it, because that week I was working Black Friday gigs and doing shows at the House of Comedy at night. Then I asked if I could use his bathroom to get pretty on Saturday in between my work shift and the two shows, because I would have enough time and he lives much closer to the mall than I do.

"You have a key bud," he wrote, and then my nipples got hard.
"Yes, but I don't want to waltz in your living room and monopolize your bathroom," I wrote back, thankful that you can't tell via text message when someone is blushing.


Wednesday was the only day of House of Comedy week in that I wouldn't have to go to work beforehand, so I decided to get dolled up. I was so excited about the week, as difficult as it would be, because Justin Colucci and Jenn Schaal (my spirit animal!) were the features and Steve Gillespie was the headliner. I slathered on a pound of Nars tinted moisturizer and wore my Topman outfit, then made Jared approve of it before I went onstage.

"Are you wearing a wife beater underneath?' he asked. "You slut."
"What if it's see-through onstage?" I whined. "I don't want to scare the audience."

Oh, but I scared them anyway. Because even though my jokes the prior evening had done okay, I just biffed it on Wednesday. Completely, utterly biffed it. I can't blame the crowd, because they came around to the other performers. Mommy bombed. It's all we can say. Do you want to know how bad I bombed? In between my acts I took my shirt off just to make that audience feel something.

I knew I was going to go out that night, because it was Thanksgiving Eve, but I felt exhausted, melancholy and depressed. I went to my mother's house to take a bath. While in the bath, I thought about what to be thankful for. I was thankful for friendships, and for the play, and my supportive family, and that Mariah Carey came out with a song called "The Art of Letting Go" just as I was finally beginning to learn the art of letting go.

My phone made a noise as the song was playing. I figured it was a Facebook notification or Chuck writing "Happy Wednesday" (he texts me a lot becuase we are both night owls), so I didn't rush to check it right away.

It was neither of the two.

He wished me a Happy Thanksgiving with a smiley face and said he would call me in a few days to explain what was going on.

I decided that was okay.

I went to Vegas Lounge to reunite with Jenn (and old high school classmates!), LUSH, then ended at The Saloon, where I shamelessly flirted with Brent  and Brent's friend, who once thought my sad drunken Tweets were about Local Celebrity (as if I could). Danny the bartender was off for a cruise, so I suggested a tropical-themed drink.

"If you have a ... friend ... you want to bring to Thanksgiving, just let me know," Grandma Shirley had said last week.
"No, Grandma," I said. "I don't have any ... friends .... right now."

I do have a lot of pals, though.

Next week: IT'S THE SEASON 2 FINALE!! Kevin throws a party! Jakey has a nervous breakdown! Find out if these two events are related!

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