This song calms me down. We'll get to that later.
The day before I officially became a 28-year-old lady, I had a meet-up with some fellow writers of L'Etoile Magazine/LOLOMGBlog.com at Club Jager. I sat by a boy who looked just like Cordero, only if Cordero was heterosexual and sober. It was jarring.
The meet-up itself was enjoyable. People discussed fashion and Broadway and the closing of Cause and the Fringe Festival. Jahna, the L'Etoile editor is 31. Maggie, the LOLOMG editor is 25. Straight Cordero is 21. The girl next to me was 21. She went outside for a little bit because she was going through serious things.
"Wait, how old are you?" someone asked me.
"I'm gonna be 28 tomorrow," I said.
"You don't look it," Maggie said. "I thought you were younger than me."
"No, I'm just really immature," I said.
I don't really feel that old, though. I'm not embarrassed that my age will make me unpopular; I am embarrassed that my age points out how unaccomplished I am. I am seriously debating going back to school, because I don't want to be 30 and working retail. I want to be 30, working retail, and paying back expensive student loans (as was discussed at the meet-up). It's the American dream, isn't it?
He called me two days after my birthday only to ask if I was going out (I was closing).
"I'm working nine days in a row because I asked for my birthday weekend off," I said. "Thank you for wishing me happy birthday, though. That was really sweet of you. Oh, wait. You didn't."
He sounded exasperated and I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not. "I was going to," he said. "And then I got distracted and ---"
"It's fine," I lied.
"So, how old are you, now? 34? 35?"
"Fuckkk youuuu," I said.
He laughed at his own joke and even though no one could see me, I tried to fight smiling. I always loved his laugh the most. My favorite laugh in the world is Jared's, but his is probably second. It is scratchy and full of gravel and suggests he has been smoking for more years than he has been alive.
"28 isn't that old. I'm 26."
"But all my friends are younger than me! Erin is my age and she's married, but I hang out with Joey and Jared the most, and they're 23. Everyone I know that's from high school and Stout is married or engaged and has fancy grown-up jobs."
"That's a good point. I'll bet if you hung out with people older than you, you'd feel like the young one of the group."
"True. But I'm not. I'm the old lady. But hell froze over last week and I actually had sex. At least I'm not going to be the 40-year-old virgin." I had absolutely no reason to tell him that.
He said he would be downtown that weekend. I texted him that Saturday. When he didn't respond, I was only surprised that I was surprised.
On we go.
Another day, another MUSCLE GAY POOL PARTY!! The man on the left is Chad Bushman. He was in my Fringe Festival play last year. (I am so nostalgic about the Fringe Festival! I wrote about it for LOLOMGBlog.com. Go look at it) When he read for the part, I immediately thought he was too attractive to do it because I had envisioned his character as more of a frumpy loser. However, he nailed it, and I realized that the fact he was so good-looking would make it even sadder that his character had completely given up on love and going to the bar.
The only other person I knew at the party was Tan Man (minus a brief and random cameo from my friend Jenny!). I mingled with him and his friends, who are all professional dancers. One was gay and one was straight and the gay one introduced his friend as "my straight boyfriend". It is a phrase I have heard a lot this summer, and I find it fascinating. I suppose the closest thing I have to a straight boy-friend is my bro-ish co-worker. To have a straight boyfriend, I think there can be absolutely no sexual tension at all, and he has to be full-on, 100% straight, not 'flirty when I drink a little' straight. I have tried straight-adjacent boyfriends that made me really sad, but that is sooooooo Season 2.
Chad's party was really fun. It was a mix of "circuit gays" and a sense of suburban normalcy. They live in Lakeville, so neighbors with kids were there (Chad and his husband have three teenagers). The moms of the group thought that the straight boyfriend looked like Maxs from Dancing with the Stars. I sat in the hot tub with the impossibly chiseled dancers because I was strangely feeling good about myself. Tan Man and I went to the bathroom together because we are girls, and he spanked me while I was peeing and I got it all over Chad's bathroom. Chad has his own cleaning business, and his home is immaculate. I felt shame, the kind you have when you're walking your dog and she decides to take a crap right in front of the church you attend.
Chad and his husband hired a bartender who had a 12-pack. I enjoyed telling everyone he was my ex-boyfriend.
That night, I came home and Jared's mom stayed with us! We went out to the bar but I got there super late because my stomach was mad at me. Jared got sick at the bar and wouldn't leave the club! It was a stressful disaster. The next day, he was miraculously on time for work while I was an hour late because I was having stress-induced diarrhea.
There was a lot of unnecessary bodily fluid in that story.
Kevin called me that day. We were going to have lunch. He said he would call me on Wednesday to confirm and then he never did. And maybe it's okay. You have to set your own boundaries. He is fixing himself and his life piece by piece, and I tend to cause disorganization.
I was excited for the following week because my friend Peter was visiting from Washington, D.C.! We went to Flip Phone, where the theme was appropriately "Thank You For Being a Friend."
There was a shot there called "Blanche's Dream" that was a nightmare. Ugh! I love Flip Phone and I love Honey, but I cannot recommend their specialty shots anymore. Maybe the whole thing was a prank by Sophia.
Also, I have no idea where the shoes I am wearing in that picture are, and that makes me sad.
Later, at The Saloon (this show's version of "Meanwhile, across town..."), one of the cigarettes people asked Peter for a survey and he was livid. They come up to us all the time. Markie asks for our ID's and wins prizes. It's a win-win, especially for Markie, because he won a free trip to Montana courtesy of Marlboro. I wasn't even jealous, because I watched all three episodes of The Real Housewives of New York City when they went to Montana, and you could tell those ladies were all bored.
"This shit just doesn't happen in D.C.," Peter said. "But everything is three times more expensive." He was not feeling The Saloon. He asked the bartender about his Scorpio tattoo and the bartender seemed like he didn't even know what Scorpio meant. Meanwhile, we talked to a cute "straight" guy who was in the Army.
If that wasn't enough, Paul Ryan was there with his boyfriend of the week, who was hot and British. He once told me I was #7 on his sex buddies list, and the British dude must have been #2 or #3. Instead of feeling pouty and insecure, I instead decided I would attempt busting his balls all night. However, Paul Ryan is cavalier and always several steps ahead.
"Jakey," he bellowed. "I got bored today and bought something." Before I could react, he produced a key to a Lexus.
"Kiss me," I demanded. He always texts me on nights I'm closing.
Peter and I went out a few more times during his week in Minneapolis. On the last night, we met a Marine with dimples who laughed at my jokes. I never saw him again and he wouldn't get Peter's information because he had no interest in long-distance romance. It may have all been a dream. I was happy Peter visited. I know how hard it is to not only transfer schools, but to do it cross-country. His hard work and pragmatism inspire me.
I keep running into this boy. By "keep running into" I mean I have met him twice. He is 19 and he is kind of bromo-ish with a slight yet sturdy build and wears a snapback. He told me he was from Kansas and that it's very anti-gay and he seemed very sad about it.
"But I'm from Wichita," he said. "Which is the best city in Kansas."
"It's no Lenexa," I said.
"Jakey, aren't you jealous that I'm so young?" he smiled as he touched his rubber face. "I have so much collagen."
"You're out past curfew," I said. I did not want to make out with him at all.
I felt a strange impulse to photograph these two before we went out one evening. I talk so much game about flirting and drinking and clubbing, but I think I'm really happiest when it's just the three of us chilling out. Maybe that comes with getting older.
It is not always rainbows and butterflies. Some struggles are long over. Some are just beginning. Through it all, we have each other and our laughter.
The funny and talented Isaac Witty put together "The 2nd Annual Be Annoying on Facebook Awareness Day". It was on a Monday night and I worked 9-6, so I headed to The Corner Bar right after work. People who knew how to do screencaps had actual examples of what they found annoying, but I am so computer-illiterate that I didn't even do that. I just stood in front of my douche shirtless selfie and talked about the time my dick pic went viral. My friend Kate is on the right and she missed my set but she enjoyed the rest of the show. We drank at the 19 afterward. My bartender TJ was there with a lady friend and looked good. He invited me to Chino Latino but I didn't feel very great. It was a Monday, after all.
Kate, however, was flabbergasted that I declined the invitation. "Boys with glasses are monsters in bed," she informed me. Sean later joined us, we played trivia, and then Sean and Kate went gallivanting while I went home. Kate lost her passport at the 19 (but retrieved it), and I got another freaking parking ticket. Before they left, we met the SEXIEST MAN EVER. Oh my god. He had shoulder length hair which isn't really my thing, but he had big muscles and made eye contact when he talked to you.
"I'm straight," he told me on the patio. "I mean, I've fucked dudes before, but whatever." I never saw him again.
My luck with comedy continued. Daryl Horner (who has been on a bit of a social media hiatus lately) graciously offered me a hosting gig at The Palace and an opening spot for him at The Pourhouse that following Friday for his DVD taping. I LOVE THE POURHOUSE.
I re-arranged my work schedule for the Palace gig and then it got cancelled. However, one of my high school friends was in town, so I was happy having the time off and was excited to hang out with her, even if it meant sacrificing the miracle that was parallel parking right in front of my building. It never happens.
She cancelled our plans while I was in her driveway.
This is why I hang out with gay men in their early twenties all the time. They don't do that shit.
The Pourhouse night was amazing. I bought a new suit from the kids' department at Nordstrom. C2 by Calibrate is my favorite!
It was that rare night when I felt like a "real" comedian, y'know? I mean, even though I was just the host (ess), I had never been to a venue where I was treated so well (part of this, I'm sure, was a testament to Daryl). I got five comped drink tickets and they let me order top-shelf with them. One of my co-workers and her husband came, as well as Sean and Jared, the latter of which I was thrilled about because his laugh is identifiable and infectious.
Needless to say, when Daryl's raucous hour was over, I was plowed. It's a miracle I was able to close the show without slurring or tripping.
We then went back to Sean's majestic apartment, where I drank even more. Sean is like The Pourhouse in that he also treats me like royalty when I visit. We stood on his balcony and listened to Mariah Carey and talked to his neighbors. Then he put on the Dolly Parton version of "I Will Always Love You."
While I was laughing and smiling, I was also crying. Maybe it's because I was mixing 5-hour energy drinks with copious amounts of alcohol.
"I loved him so much," I told Sean as he embraced me.
"I know," said Sean, even though I'm not even sure if he knew who I was talking about.
It was truly one of the best nights of my life, so it's only fitting that the following week proved amazingly difficult.
Anyone who has met me for more than ten seconds will not be surprised to know that I have issues with anxiety.
It's a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's what makes me Jakey, y'know? Especially in comedy. I am described as "high-energy." One of the comedians from the Facebook show even shared this on his own Facebook (which was super nice):
Was asked "is that just a bit or is he always like that" by a guy pointing at Jakey Emmert. I said "bit? No...not a bit. Do what so many boys before you have done...just hang on and enjoy the ride".
But I could be calmer. At work and in stand-up, I get told I talk too fast. My manager has suggested using my high energy for the better, and I found that to be constructive. I am used to being hyper and always being on Level Nine when the rest of the world is at Level Five.
But that Saturday was a different kind of anxiety. It was waking up with my heart rapidly beating on very little sleep. They closed the freeway. Jared and I were super late for work. I was such a nervous wreck that I made Jared drive. Maybe it was because Friday was such a great night that any day after that would seem like a letdown. I was drinking too much and having too much caffeine and not sleeping enough and I just needed to calm down. Tomorrow would be a new day.
The next day I felt the exact same way.
Monday came around and I just -- I could not. I woke up at 8 and work was at noon and I was going to jump out of my own skin and my mind was going a thousand miles a minute and I hated Jared and I hated everyone who was texting me and I hated myself and I hated everyone at the Mall of America and I JUST COULD NOT DO IT.
I called work and was my usual frantic self. "I'm sick!!" I cried. "I mean, I am, but I'm not!! I'm not peeing or puking but I just -- I can't!! I don't need the whole day off!! I just ... AAAGGGHHHH!"
"We'll be fine," my very calm co-worker told me. "We'll plan on seeing you at four."
Chuck took me to Dairy Queen. He is a nurse so we discussed anxiety. I went to work at five like a dedicated employee, and then Jared, my mom and I went to see a production in the Fringe Festival that my friend Robin was in. And things got a little better. I am trying to have less caffeine and I am trying to exercise more and be more aware of my emotions and control over them.
I made a CD mix with the Rainbow Interlude at the end. I listened to it over and over.
I know there is a rainbow
For me to follow
To get beyond my sorrow
Thunder precedes the sunlight
So I'll be all right
If I can find that
I will be all right
If I can find that
Am I really going back to school? What if I don't get in? What if it's too hard? What if they make me take a math class? What if the 18-year-old boys are mean to me and think I'm creepy? What am I even doing? Should I just try to write a book? But what kind of book would it be? What if I lose my job? What if I stay at my job forever while my friends all get promoted and move to California? What if I lose all my hair? Will I be in debt my entire life? What is going to happen when my parents get old? Like, old old? Where will I be when I'm 30? How did my life become like this? Why did I live on the computer from ages 21 to 25 when I should have been out there living? Why can't I ever be on time for anything?
I will be all right
If I can find that
There are bugs in my room.
Next week: We say good-bye to summer! What will fall bring?