Friday, July 4, 2014

Loring Park Episode #42: But The One Thing I Have Is My Pride

I survived Pride Weekend and it is a goddamned miracle.

I am a JOURNALIST now! I ventured to The Eagle on the Friday the week before Pride Weekend where Log Jamz was presenting the Forest Disco. While I was able to preview it for the "What's What" section of L'Etoile Magazine, I was hoping to write a substantial article about it for LOLOMG.Blog's "LOL/OMG On the Town!" feature. Unfortunately, journalism is all about being on time and they want things to be written 24-48 hours after an event has happened, not, like, three weeks later. This is probably what they teach you in journalism school.

So, I'll just write about it here instead.


I am never quite sure of myself when I go to The Eagle, but I've become kind of tight with DJ Fancy Restaurant in a social way (I even got on the list once!), and I was going with my best friend Erin. There were $4 specialty drinks if you wearing flannel or no shirt at all, but they were all rum-based. I was briefly worried that Erin would take her shirt off for the sake off feminism, but she was driving. She also pulled a Jakey Emmert and left her debit card at the restaurant she was at previously, and this was after we drove around downtown Minneapolis forever to find the drive-up Wells Fargo ATM because she didn't want to get out of the car.

It's probably why we're best friends.

Anyway, the event wasn't very crowded, probably because a lot of people hibernate before Pride, and I couldn't find anyone to interview! Celebrity was there and sat directly across from us, so of course I diverted eye contact like we were in eighth grade.


What would I say, anyway? "Your Twitter was soooo interesting today!" The moment has to be organic. And it has not been organic when I have stood next to him at the bar, or when he has stood behind me or next to me on the dance floor, or when he liked my comment on Facebook under his personal account, or that time we were stuck in an elevator together at the Hyatt. That last one never happened, but it is definitely in the realm of possibility. Also, my goal is not to bang him because if this is She's The Man, he is Channing Tatum and I am Eunice. I just want to get my picture with him and borrow one of his hoodies and never give it back.

I was getting nervous! What if I had no story? Here are my notes from that evening:

Plaid Shirt
Separate space
Girl from Mariah event
Lumberjack shaving with an axe
Picked up at 1130
Few people not wanting to pay
"Flawless" by Beyoncé
Either "Dark Lady" or "Gypsy" by Cher
Shirtless muscle dude
Shirtless chubby dude with bowtie
Cliquey but not so much
Rugby players are dancing in shifts
Big butt song
Empowering gay men to do what they couldn't or felt
Girl team is Valkyries in Chicago

Oh! The one valid thing about this whole story is that I spoke with Joe Thorson, who is the captain of the Minneapolis Mayhem Rugby team. I was trying to bust his balls about how I wasn't being recruited for rugby. In my mind, I was being hilarious, because I have the same height and weight as I did in ninth grade. Joe rightfully took me to school.

"We're not about recruiting people," Joe told me. "We are about empowering gay men -- or all men, really -- to do things that they felt they could never do." He educated me on why so many athletes are closeted, and conversely, why openly gay men feel sports was something they could never do. An acquaintance of mine told me that the rugby team was the first time he had ever felt accepted in his life, and I believed him. We also met a very nice heterosexual ... half-back? Half-kicker. Sidekicker. God dammit. I am a horrible fake journalist.

Erin had to turn in early, so I texted my friend Sean, since we usually go to Jetset together and Jetset is closer to The Eagle than The Saloon. Erin dropped me off at his apartment and we ventured to Jetset.

Several people from my high school got married that weekend -- including one of my dearest friends from that time who I haven't seen or spoken to in years. I'm sad about it, but not in an angry way. . The last time we hung out -- six years ago -- I had just moved back home after completely fucking up my New York college experiment, and I was bitching about how when I was in high school, my mom would hide the PlayStation controllers without telling us why, and I could literally hear her mentally check out at that point. And why wouldn't she? She was a college senior with her shit together and a bright future, and I was a Peter Pan manchild who had squandered my ticket to success and freedom. I am five years older than my closest gay friends, and I don't find that to be coincidental. People grow up at different times. Every now and then she'll heart one of my pictures on Instagram, and even that's more than I have a right to ask for.

I bring this random nostalgia up because one of the other St. Anthony weddings was there, and it was a random high school reunion! At Jetset! Who knew? I ran into Under Armour, who is good with names. Sean bought me a few drinks. It is an unspoken social contract we have. He is a bit older than me and has a job that reflects that. I am a social butterfly and my disposition reflects that. Therefore, he buys the drinks, and I help him mingle. It's not like I'm hot shit or an expert at sex or dating (I still have cobwebs back there if we're talking about that). I'm just helpful with being outgoing. Sean was in a long-term relationship for, like, eternity. It didn't work out. When that happens, you have to reset everything. You have to learn how to flirt and date all over again, and the older you get, the more difficult it is. For example, tonight's lesson happened when Sean was trying to put an after-bar together ("after-bar" is when you have a nightcap in someone's apartment).

"Do you want to come over after?" implies sex, so I was trying to get him to say, "I'm having an a-bar/after-bar if you're interested", which implies things are platonic and in a group setting. I also cringed when he told his neighbor that he recognized him from Grindr. Yes, Sean lives in a building that is practically entirely populated by young gay professionals, but you can't just say that. "I know you from Grindr" is the new "Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white."

Anyway, I had about three drinks at The Eagle, and then two at Jetset, and Miles was there and I was trying to resemble a grown-up and talk to him about his new business venture because this was Jetset, and then Celebrity was there but I'm pretty sure he changed clothes in between, and I was on my fourth drink when I made it back to the patio to talk to a kid from high school who has recently come out. And good for him! We discussed the clubs. And otters. And how he never came out because he played football, which reminded me of the conversation I had with the rugby team captain, in earlier moments of sobriety. And how the groom's mom saved my cell phone after the high school graduation party and I wrote her a card in gratitude. And how I had one hook-up in high school and people still talk about it, because this is fucking St. Anthony.

"You never hooked up with anybody else?" he asked.
"No," I said. "I liked a lot of people."
He said a name that I forget. He said a second name. Then I slapped him, because feelings are dumb.

We're going to talk about The Real Housewives of New York City for a little bit, and I promise this will all make sense.

First of all, I am the only one watching this season and that makes me sad, because Carole Radziwill is my life. She is everything that I would want to be if I was on a reality show: Self-aware, open, understanding of the genre that she is in, and blogging the hell out of it the day after it airs. But I cannot be Carole. Because, since I am delusional, financially destitute, and lacking a strong moral compass, I am Sonja Morgan.

Let me explain.


In this episode, Kristen goes to Sonja's dilapidated townhouse to get a facial on the balcony (is there anything more lovely than a facial on a balcony? I love summer). Sonja wasn't even there because she was at a dude's house the night before, so Kristen starts without her. The facialist says a bunch of gossip about people that may or may not be true. Sonja gets there, and the facialist says that she heard that someone ran into Sonja in Los Angeles and she was at a bar flirting with Carole's ex (but then-current) boyfriend, Russ.

Kristen is all "OMG! He slept with you?!" and Sonja is coy. She smiles. She doesn't say yes, but she doesn't say no. She likes the attention. It makes her feel desired. It makes her feel it helps her socially. She has no regard for the feelings of Carole or Russ. A rumor is a rumor. People talk. Whatever.

We will get back to this when I go over the recovery party at Lawrence's, but it applies here, too, and yes, I am being obtuse and cryptic on purpose.

When you don't squash a rumor -- or even an assumption -- down on purpose, because you are enjoying the high that it gives you, without regard to the other people who are being talked about, you are being the Sonja Morgan. You are not being the Carole Radziwill (who has a Peabody, and an Emmy, and has been on Oprah). You might not think this will matter, because surely it won't get back to the person being talked about, and definitely not back to you.

But it will. Because you can take the boy out of St. Anthony, but not the St. Anthony out of the boy. Or something like that.

And that person whose feelings you put aside for your own five seconds of an ego boost will call you every name in the book. That person will call you out on the fact that you, with the low self-esteem and insecurity complex, you got a high and a power trip off of a fire that came from a match that you didn't necessarily light yourself, but when the flames got high you sure as hell fanned them instead of pouring water on them. That person might even say you're a psycho and a sociopath, and your feelings are hurt not because that's a mean thing to say but because Holy shit, that's not exactly wrong.

 Live life like you're on a reality show. Don't let them give you a bad edit.

On we go.

Oh, I could talk about the fact that Sean and I ended up bringing a boy and a girl home and the girl passed out on the kitchen floor while me and the dude made out on the couch and his tongue was pierced, but to say that after I was just proselytizing and trying to redeem myself for bad behavior would feel dirty, and not in the fun way. So let's not.

I will say that Sean randomly gave me five of his size medium Abercrombie & Fitch shirts, tea tree oil, and cab money. Going to Sean's apartment is like Christmas.


Now we get to talk about actual PRIDE WEEKEND!!! Gird your loins.

Coco Peru, how do I love thee? You know, EVERY time I mention her on Twitter, she favorites it? She makes me want to move to West Hollywood, not to take a stab at my far-gone show business dreams, but just so I can run into her at the gay Target.

I again got to preview a lot of great events for L'Etoile Magazine. Pride weekend is overwhelming! There are so many great events and you really can't do them all. Let's find out who what Jakey did!


I really do like the Beyoncé album. Yes, it almost ended my friendship with Jared when he put it in the CD player of my car when I wasn't looking because this summer I am listening to Me. I am Mariah: The Elusive Chanteuse and NOTHING ELSE, but I resent the notion that just because you have one favorite female singer, you have to hate everybody else. I knew Flip Phone's Beyoncé-themed event would be a hoot.

What I did not know, however, would that it would be insanely crowded! I didn't even see Jared, who arrived there at 10. I worked until 9:30 and got there at 11:15, and for me that was really good! The line took foreverrrr because Honey was at capacity and was ushering people in like we were at an amusement park, and I ended up being sandwiched between a quintet of sorority girls and a duo of friendly African-American gentlemen who may have been the only heterosexuals in attendance.

I finally got there, and surprisingly, the bar itself wasn't very crowded! I scored a vodka rocks and ran into Under Armour, and then begged for a picture. My friend Zidane (who was in my play last year) was there with his posse, and they tried to teach me how to twerk, but I am a lost cause. I just stick to the Mariah Carey school of dance, where you surround yourself by people that are dancing and thus provide the illusion that you are dancing as well.

Chuck was there and graciously drove me to The Saloon at 1:45. Earlier that week, Chuck, Jared and I all got mani/pedis together, which is even gayer than three gay dudes accidentally getting into their underwear and falling into bed. When we arrived, Esquire was there and so was GAY OPRAH!
"Hello, Jakey," he smiled. "Happy Pride."
Were I a classy adult like Gay Oprah, I would have shook his hand and bid him the same. Instead, I jumped in his arms like I was a toddler. Not only is Gay Oprah a hell of a writer, he works out. Holy hell. He looks like he has a slight build, but he can lift 120 pounds like it's oxygen. Maybe he types with hand weights.


Friday was my first day with no work, but there were things to do! Jared and I had to clean "The Crows Nest", which is what we call our apartment, as we are two old crows. Cleaning was stressful because I kept yelling at Jared my rule of "NO SHOWTUNES WHEN CLEANING!" Then he skipped "Not a Bad Thing" by Justin Timberlake when it came on Pandora and I declared our friendship over.

We ran into two gays we know while at Target. This is why I sometimes don't want to move back to NYC or Los Angeles. That wouldn't happen there.

Jared was planning to hit The Saloon, and my friends were planning to dance at The Skyway Lounge.

Tan Man, who is a dancer in Enticing Entertainment, was devastated when he found out I wasn't going.
"The event is called hot and horny!" I cried. "I am neither of those things!"
"It's just the name, boo," he said. "Why aren't you coming?"

I explained that I bought tickets months prior to go see Willam at First Ave. With respect to Gay Oprah, Willam Belli is my Oprah Oprah. He has taught me big words, self-acceptance, the importance of discovering your sexuality, "complaining is draining", "no one will work harder for you than you", and I could clearly go on all day. I saw him twice last year. The second time was at Battle of the Seasons at the Varsity Theater. I bought my ticket on the day of, missed Meet and Greet, and didn't get my picture with him even though he was graciously posing after the show. I was feeling very inadequate about myself that day. I bought his tank top and his CD and walked out the door. (I was next in line for a pic, but the bouncers were yelling and I was behind a group of drunk people. I was adopted by Bitch Flowers, who let me sit at her table, and that moment of kindness will never go forgotten)

I rocked my Willam tank and chose to serve fake twink realness! My friends Peter and Bethany (whom I had seen Kathy Griffin with) were sitting upstairs, and I split my time between talking to them and on the dance floor. The show was called "Grown & Sexy" and opened with a red-hot burlesque number at 10 PM. In between, there were several different acts, some which I loved. My favorite was a Seattle-based performer who dressed up as Prince and did a re-enactment of "Darling Nikki", which was perfect for being at First Avenue (for you young 'us, they filmed Purple Rain in that very venue). And after a cavalcade of impossibly sculpted dancers, it was refreshing to see a woman who was on the more, well, real-looking spectrum and having absolutely no fear or shame. She was dancing with her poochy belly, almost defiantly so, and it was amazing. Some of the other numbers were a bit much for me. I appreciated it for its art form, but I'm also a prude. I don't need to see your ass when I'm in the front row. The DJ, world-renowned Shannon Blowtorch, was AMAZING, and I credited her for the surprising eclectic nature of the crowd. Young, old, gay, lesbian, racially diverse -- this wasn't a typical Pride event where it's "be a twink or a circuit muscle gay or go home". A sweet androgynous boy asked me where I got my shirt. I explained I got it at the last event but there would probably be merch after the show.

Because, seriously, y'all. I was just there for Willam.

He came out at 11, did a song and a half, then ... backstage. He came back out to clap when someone had birthday cake. At 12:30, he came out to close the show with "Boy is a Bottom". Peter wrote on Facebook that he felt Willam phoned it in. I'm far too much of a fangirl to even entertain that, but I'm being as objective as I can by saying that the show itself booked him so strangely. He was clearly the headliner, and they barely used him. My best guess is that his first ever solo show since the DWV split (as it's being billed) is at the Beechman Theater in New York City this October (and for a price that is double what the First Ave show cost, if you count the drink minimum), and he's got to save the goods for that gig. Also, he was in Cincinatti on Wednesday and Lexington on Thursday! Lexington to Minneapolis is not exactly a hop and a skip. (And he was going to be in Kansas City the next night but Hamburger Mary's went and signed Morgan McMichael instead. I told you I was an obsessive fanboy)

After his performance, they announced a meet and greet, which was on the right side of the venue. I was very far deep in stage left. Fuuccckkk. I used my fake twink realness to squirm like a sidewinder, because I did not want a repeat performance of the Varsity Theater night. I would not be a chicken shit! I ran into Peter and Bethany, who knew the right place to stand, and I ended up next to Todd O'Dowd, who is one of my editors for L'Etoile Magazine.

"I heard a rumor," Todd said, "that he was mean to Bianca del Rio. They were at a Drag Race event and he said, "Why are you here?!"
"That's not a rumor," I said, with my fangirl showing, "Because he admitted it on Tumblr. He said it was him and Sharon Needles that said it but that he never said the 'why are you here?' thing because he was next to Vicky, and she's never been on the show, either. They get along just fine now."
Todd said something else that I can't remember but I do remember rolling my eyes in jest. "Todd!" I cried. "You're so negative!"
"I'm not negative," Todd said. "I am a realist. It's why I'm an editor."

I am learning a lot about journalism.

Anyway, I was next in line. Oh my god oh my god oh my god. The line wasn't very organized, so maybe I wasn't next? Maybe I would do a group pic with Todd. I was not going to cry to throw up.

Willam walked right up to me. "I like your shirt," he said.

 "thanksigotitlasttimeyouwerehere," I whispered. We took the pic. I wrote on Facebook and Instagram that I would have asked him what his favorite Prince song was, but for once in my life, I was speechless.

He commented on the Instagram pic that the answer is "Little Red Corvette".

And all was well.

I stopped back at The Saloon to brag to everyone about my picture. The Saloon was decked out in a carnival theme with a ferris wheel, but it was too late to find anyone to go with me! I would hope for better luck tomorrow.

We ran into a drag queen who is not Willam Belli. I will call her Thelma.

I must clarify that I really do not know her very well and my only interactions with her have been on the Facebook or very briefly in person.

As a performer, I find her dynamic, entertaining, witty and unique.

As a boy, well ....

She's just not that nice to me. I think it's what I call Ricky Syndrome. Ricky is the boy who called me out on going bald at the bar. Usually I use code names, but he does not deserve one. Anyway, Ricky Syndrome is when you think that "reading" is being mean, and the meaner you are, and in an unsolicited fashion, you are being fun, when really, you are just being mean and rude without the wit. Reading is fundamental.

Unless, y'know, this is a completely witty bon mot that is just sailing over my head:

"You're OLD," Thelma yelled. "Don't you wish you were young like Joey?"

Heavy sigh. I wish I was young like Joey if I were Joey at that age, but I wasn't. Joey is 22 with a nice apartment, a good job, a rocking body, and his shit together. When I was 22, I lived with my parents, didn't have a car, was not paying rent yet had no money because I kept going on trips I couldn't afford, and my love life consisted of being Catfished on I think I am doing just fine with 27 right now, thanks.

If you're going to be a mean drunk, stay home or drink club soda. My goal all weekend was to be "fun aunt at the Christmas party" drunk, even though my aunts barely drink and they are all fun and kind except for the one on my dad's side who called us all worthless one year, and we don't talk to her anymore. There is only room for one bitch in my family, thank you.

Back inside with happier folk, I reunited with Sexy Jesus. He is a dancer with Tan Man and Robin. Some call him Tarzan, but I get more of a Sexy Jesus vibe from him. A rachet young man came up to him and blatantly hit on him. "Oh my god," he drooled. "Those abs are not real."
"They are," Sexy Jesus smiled.
I rolled my eyes and the boy felt bad. "Are you guys together?" he asked.
"We were," I said, and then I convinced this poor boy that Sexy Jesus and I broke up in Orlando after I caught him in bed with Aladdin.

I make my own fun.


This is what my Saturday looked like.

Don't ask me how, but Chuck somehow got me invited to what I deemed the Muscle Gay Pool Party. I showed this to my dad's bingo friend Marcie and she described it as looking like a "fucking Hollywood movie set".

If only I put the same effort into Pride weekend as I do in regular work! I was ready to go, showered and organized, by 12:30! Chuck didn't come get me until 2, and we didn't get to the pool party until 3. Immediately it started torrentially downpouring. We scrambled to the basement, as I still didn't know anybody else at this party besides Chuck. We stood in the corner of a small basement kitchen, and I immediately started drinking from the bottle to calm my nerves. Groups of men with ridiculously sculpted bodies started running inside.

"Is it raining?" I asked.
"Yeah," said a drenched young man who took off his shirt.
"Just a little bit," smiled a young man who got my sarcasm.

Chuck recognized a person he knew and I found out he did sketch comedy! He also had pectoral muscles the size of my goddamned head. I'm not even joking.

A gay who looked like a World Cup soccer player was having trouble opening his lunch bag. "The zipper is frozen," he cried.
"You can't say frozen at a gay party," I whispered. "Everyone will start singing 'Let it Go'."
His abs moved when he laughed. I was enjoying my newfound status as Greeter/Towel Boy/Class Clown/Ab-Counter. I think I got up to 2,046.

The rain was off and on, and I occasionally found myself in the gazebo (next to a nice event planner from Los Angeles!). Surprisingly, my only awkward moment came when I accidentally found myself playing water volleyball. I love gays, and I love jocks, but I am convinced that the combination of gay and athlete leads men to be extra competitive. Maybe the rugby captain from Friday was onto something. I was clearly the least athletic person at the party, to the point that when it was time to switch sides, my "team" didn't even tell me and tried to ditch me. The nerve!

The line to the bathroom was too long, so Chuck and I walked to a nearby port-a-potty. A gay's gotta do what a gay's gotta do. I went to the bathroom with another cute boy later and we walked out pretending to be scandalous, and now I totally forget who it was or if I even knew him. Oh, Pride.

Later that night, my pokey ass finally ventured to The Saloon! The first awkward crush I saw was Football Guy. A young girl came up to him with a disposable camera (which was totally my thing from last year! But my computer is a piece of shit and the CD-ROM thing won't open anymore) and asked him to flex his bicep. He seemed kind of annoyed but he obliged, anyway, because Football Guy is a Midwesterner and they don't know how to be mean.

"Why didn't she ask me to flex?" I asked.
"Because you need to hit the gym," Football Guy said in a tone that wasn't snotty but wasn't gentle, either. He's clearly smart, and yet I can never tell if he gets it or not, or if he's just completely annoyed by me. It could very well be the latter. I am rather loud.

I found myself in Thelma's path shortly thereafter. "I'm sorry, Jakey," he said. "I was a dick."
"Let's ride the Ferris wheel together," I said. For all I knew, we'd find ourselves becoming best friends or at least solving our differences like Heather and Tamara on that episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and I tweeted about it and THEY BOTH RETWEETED ME and I was far too excited about it.

But the line got confusing, so somehow, Thelma and I got on the Ferris wheel with Football Guy and his friend, whom I know tangentially because we both went to Stout, but his friend actually graduated and got himself a successful grown-up job in the Cities, and I have worked at a discount retailer for five years. Live the dream.

Anyway, Thelma kept trying to find out if they were a couple or not. I felt awkward so anytime brought up any subject I latched onto it. At one point, Thelma and I agreed to star in a television show in which we are a drag queen and hacky stand-up comedian who solve mysteries together. That concept is gold, y'all. Football Guy kept saying he was afraid of heights. Maybe he didn't know we were going on a real Ferris wheel.

Brent lifted me up like a barbell. This has nothing to do with anything.


Sunday was THE PARADE! I overslept just a bit, but reunited with my friend Sina, who is visiting from Los Angeles! Sina was a major part of my life in my time before Loring Park, especially when I finally got my own apartment in St. Anthony. She exemplifies the American dream and spirit to me. She also cracks me up because I never know what is going to come out of her mouth.

"Take off your shirt," she demanded while we were at CVS buying sunscreen. "Show off your twink pink!"

I actually enjoyed watching the parade this year! I met up with Joey first and met up with Quinn, Gal Pal, and my former co-worker Jacey Jo. Quinn and Gal Pal graciously listened to my Ferris Wheel Story.

I didn't see much of Jared on Sunday, because he flew to Vegas with his family. I have no idea how his liver is going to survive. I dropped Sina off at Loring Pasta Kitchen and met up with Joey again. We went through the park even though most of the festivities were over. At the basketball court, we found two cute straight boys, one of whom recognized me from work.

His friend had this whole kind of thug/John Cena/Channing Tatum-in-Step Up thing going on. I was even paying attention when him and Joey were talking about things like tennis and machinery! I asked Joey to get a picture of me with him. Joey did the joke that he always does, where he takes the picture, then says "Wow! That's really cute!", and shows you the phone and it turns out he has taken a selfie.  95% of the time this would be hilarious, but this time I was petrified because I was worried the dude-bros were going to leave! They graciously took another pic, and I put it on Facebook with the caption I FOUND STRAIGHT DUDEBROS AT PRIDE. Within ten minutes, the picture had more than 20 likes and a girl who was two grades older than me in high school identified them. They are more famous than I will ever hope to be.

Joey and I stopped at Rainbow Road in an attempt to find shirts to wear for the evening. It was my second time that week at Rainbow Road (a gay sex shop nearby, for those from faraway lands). Jared goes there all the time. "They probably think I'm a twink whore," he told me after our visit. "Last time I was here with Joey."

Joey couldn't find anything, but we shared a fitting room, a privilege that I thought was rather odd. The fitting room was immaculate, but I couldn't help but think that we were going to step in spooge at some point.

I found a shirt that said "SUBMISSION" after Joey decided it would not be appropriate to get a shirt that said "The Bottom Whisperer".

Holy muffin top, Batman. This was my punishment for missing Tan Man's show. I liked the group on Facebook, so I received a dildo-shaped glow-stick. First I pretended to use it as a microphone and interview people, and then when I went to Danny's bar, I used it as a microphone and pretended to be a hack stand-up comedian.

"Is anyone here from Wisconsin?" I asked my imaginary audience. "No? Okay. What is the deal with power bottoms? Am I right, ladies?"
"Wow," said an annoyed twink next to me. "You should never do stand-up."
"You're right," I said. "You'd think I'm, like, the funniest person in the Twin Cities or something."

Moving on to titles that matter, Danny has won Best Bartender in the Twin Cities two years running. He loves Mickey Mouse, so I tipped him with this shirt. He looks adorable!

Speaking of shirts, I ran into Todd O'Dowd again on the patio and someone took their shirt off next to us. "Ugh," he said. "Taking your shirt off is a privilege. Not a right."
I felt a strange wave of body positivity come over me. This may also be called the effects of drinking for three days in a row.
"Todd!" I cried. "Pride is about accepting EVERYBODY! God dammit!"

Then I took my shirt off and was too lazy to put it back in, but I did apologize profusely anytime I ran into someone I knew. No one was more appalled than my bartender, TJ, who also witnessed me get a free drink when a man asked if he could lick my nipple (I'm on a budget, people).

"Jakey!" he cried. "You have hair!"
"Don't look right at it," I said.

Joey, Eddie and I discussed zodiac signs.
"I'm a Cancer," I said.
"You have Cancer?!" Eddie asked.
"It's why I'm so pale and thin," I said.
"And why your hair isn't coming in," Eddie said.
"Eddie!" I gasped.
"Oh my god," Eddie said, fully contrite. "I thought we were kidding."

I stood next to the corn dog stand and felt only a brief wave of sadness. About people I had seen last year. People who I knew I would not see this year. People have to live their own lives, and do what is best for them. The reasons for their absence are their own truths. Situations that are not about me. Bigger than me. Still, it took Joey's joking to snap me out of my clandestine misery.

Joey and I continued to vamoose, and I ran into that douchebag Paul Ryan! "Happy Pride, Jakey," he said in his baritone laconic voice.
"Oh, you," I said.
"Let's leave," said Joey at 2:10.
"Okay," I said.

Somehow I ended up in Paul Ryan's group. We went to Domino's and he drove me to his house in St. Paul. We didn't do anything because I am closed for business and he has a boyfriend, and I think that's okay.
"Will you do Insanity in the morning?" he asked.
"Of course," I said.

I woke up shortly after 11 and he walked in his room with his UST skank tank. "You were supposed to do Insanity with me, Jakey," he said.
"You didn't wake me up!" I cried.
"I made a lot of noise," he said.

He turned the shower on and I hoped he kept the UST skank tank on when he came back. When he removed it in favor of an oxford button-down, I booed.
"Jakey, I have to work," he said. "Sorry, brah."

We sat in his living room and the only thing he had to drink was grape Purple Chill. Ewww! C'est degoutant!

"Jakey," he said. "Would you like a chalice?"
"Why do you have this?" I asked. "This stuff, is like, 35 cents in the vending machine at Cub."
"I was throwing a barbecue and I told my friend Zack to purposely buy the cheapest soda he could find," Paul Ryan says. Rich people are so weird in their frugality. He discussed business trips and sexual exploits and I spent the whole time wondering why the hell I wasn't sitting on his lap.

He drove me home and we stopped at the dry cleaners' on the way because he had a wine stain. "They must think I'm such an alcoholic," he said. The dry cleaners is next to a restaurant called Trotter's.

"Is a trotter a mix between a twink and an otter?" I asked. "I never thought I was a twink until I realized I was too old to be one. And once I stopped giving a shit, people reacted to me. I'm not saying I shouldn't work out or that I'm Channing Tatum, but I got more attention once I was myself."
"There's definitely something about you," Paul Ryan smiled.

Monday meant it was time for the recovery party! Joey and I had to stop at Target to buy a jumper cable for his car. First I asked my dad if he had any and where we could buy them.
"Are you going to work?" he asked.
"No," I said. "We are going to the recovery party. Where you drink more than you do during Pride, but you're in recovery."
"Four straight days of drinking," my father said. "Jesus God."

He called me back 30 seconds after hanging up. "Make sure you match up the colors together," he said. "Red with red. Blue with blue. Otherwise you'll blow up your goddamn car."

Joey and I made it through Target in less than 20 minutes! I felt like we were on Supermarket Sweep. I invited my friend Under Armour to the party, so we went to pick him up. He lives less than two blocks from me, but it took us 15 minutes to get there because Joey and I got ridiculously lost. We live in a Loring Park bubble, and Uptown is a vast and daunting land.

Here's the deal with Under Armour. He is sweet, humble, happily monogamous, good-hearted, no-drama, go-with-the-flow, openly gay, broski unicorn. I get he's attractive. I didn't get that everyone at this party -- on the Monday of Pride weekend -- was going to act like they had never seen an attractive man before.

Holy God. Markie asked him if he was Mr. June or Mr. August in the fireman calendar, and that was one of the classy comments.

People I didn't know thought he was my boyfriend, and I don't know whatever gave them that idea (okay, I did put my keys in his pocket so I wouldn't lose them, and I did sit on his lap, and I kept looking at him while I was playing flip cup). At first I was fine with it. But then people were asking me directly. And I realized that if I had learned anything from my Jetset mishap, I was not to be Sonja Morgan again.

"He has a boyfriend," I told a thirsty older man. "That is not me." When a boy who claimed to be a licensed massage therapist gave him a massage on the couch, I couldn't help but embrace the humor in the whole thing. I was only pissed toward the end when Big Joe asked Under Armour if he was a top or a bottom. You just don't ask people that on a Monday afternoon! The thirst was real, children.
I was officially over it.

"Thank you for bringing the hottest guy to the party," Big Joe told me.
"Fuck you," I said. "I'm the hottest guy at this party. Good day."

Also, I am apparently good at Flip Cup because I went to Stout on a scholarship.

Other than seeing a less fun side of humanity, the Pride party was as fun as ever. Lawrence is always beyond gracious, it's very rare for a mean person to show up, I had so much fun with Zidane planning an imaginary sequel to They Shoot 25-Year-Old Gay Men, Don't They?, and it was enjoyable to spend a fun afternoon with Quinn, Joey, Gal Pal, Liam and the like. I used "fun" four times in that sentence because I am an amazing writer. Also, someone tied my shoes for me because I am a clumsy princess.

On the way home, my Mariah album blasted "One More Try", a cover of a George Michael song. It is a schmaltzy ballad and I live for it.

"This is pretty good," Under Armour said.
"You don't have to say that," I said. It reminded me of when I was in love with a boy who insisted "Butterfly" was the worst album he had ever heard. What was I thinking?
"No, it is," he said. He even Shazam'd it. We held hands during the last chorus and he pretended I had a sunroof.

And teacher
There are things I still have to learn
But the one thing I have is my pride
So I don't want to learn to hold you
Think that you're mine
Because there ain't no joy
For an uptown boy who just isn't willing to try
I'm so cold inside
Maybe just one more try


The next night I told jokes at the Palace in Northeast Minneapolis.

The dudebros from the basketball court showed up. God is real.

A bunch of kids from St. Anthony were there, including a boy who I hadn't seen in literally 12 years. He got cute! Naturally, I told a story about how his mother and his grandmother accused me of being homophobic when I was at his house (the irony, you can't invent), and I cried and his dad had to drive me home in his pick-up truck and I told his dad that I was "part gay" and it was even more awkward because his dad was "a major DILF."

And all was well.

Next week: Sparks fly like the Fourth of July! And the money situation goes from worse to ... past worse.

No comments:

Post a Comment