Monday, November 10, 2014

Loring Park Episode #46: I Left My Liver in Miami

Hello, children! We are in November already! It was a crazy October, and that’s even if I didn’t go on a trip that I couldn’t afford.


I saw Gone Girl. What did you think? They showed a preview of 50 Shades of Grey and I started giggling. It is worth noting that I saw it with two cute boys and purposely sat in the middle. I am 12 years old. The dude on my left yelled “Son of a bitch” at the two hour mark because he had a leg cramp and I almost spilled my orange soda on the boy on my right. I cannot have nice things.
Y’know what was nice? Doing comedy at Nye’s! It unfortunately no longer has the room because show business is the devil. I met up with Dennis that night and we went to the Gay ‘90s, which has a $10 cover on Thursdays. And I wonder how I went bankrupt (it’s because they have dollar drinks, but I am a princess who eschews rail drinks. Dennis bought me something with Ketel in it and I quit pouting). Dennis grew up in Miami, so I spent most of the evening asking him stupid questions about it. The essentials were that a) everyone looks like a body builder so I will fit right in and b) it is expensive as fuck. Oh, good.

We made our way down Hennepin to The Saloon, and I ran into Kevin! Kevin has a new job and a leather jacket and an earring and maybe it’s a total quarter life crisis (boy did just turn 31), but he was rocking a Johnny Depp look and I wasn’t nearly as sloppy drunk as I was the last time I saw him. I ignored him for 15 minutes even though he was right next to me because he had hurt my feelings.
“You told me to go home,” I told him

“You were really sloppy,” he said.

“I guess I was,” I agreed.

“I haven’t heard from you,” he said.

“Well, I didn’t know the boundaries,” I said. Kevin is living a new healthy lifestyle and I don’t know if it appropriate for me to make contact with him considering I am a partyhound booze bag.
“You have a phone,” he said. I told him that once and it really hurt his feelings.

We went to his house together. Jared was livid because he thought I was driving, but hell froze over and Kevin drives now! I am enjoying this new version of him.

There was no sexy time except spooning and that is fine because he is good at it. Some men really hate it (including Jared. He hated sharing a bed with Joey in Florida because “Joey is like a damn cat”). Kevin treats it like a sport. He takes it full on and puts his arms around me like he means it, and I slept like a smiling baby. His cat woke me up at noon while Kevin had been productive all morning, because I am a great guest that way.
When he dropped me off at work, I caressed his chest like a slut. I haven’t seen him since. Timing is everything.


Paul Ryan and I enjoyed dinner at Hard Rock Café while I was on my break at work. I only had 60 minutes, so I practically sprinted to get there, which amused him as he glided in his Hugo Boss ensemble. I applied to St. Thomas, so I grilled him with questions because he is part of that educated, old-money world.
“I wore a suit when I took my tour,” he said.

“I’m not wearing a suit,” I blasted. He told tales of travel and debauchery and his plans for New Year’s Eve. I ordered a non-alcoholic drink with orange juice and Red Bull in it, because I like to gamble with my digestive system. He ordered a sparkling water and we got it comped when he was given flat water instead.

“It’s so nice to see you not drunk,” he said.
“And with clothes on,” I said, trying to be funny and sexy.

“Oh,” he said. “Oh, that’s right. I forgot about that.”

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said.

“It’s fine,” I pouted.

Somehow my ID ended up on the table.

“You’re 27?” he asked.
“You’re bad at math,” I said, and then lowered myself to a whisper. “I’m 28.”

“You’re so cute,” he said. “With your big eyes and the fast way you walk.”

I squinted, because that is how I react to compliments.


I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to University of St. Thomas! I still have no idea if I will get in, in part because it has been three weeks and I still haven’t sent my ACT scores and AP scores and I have to send a letter defending myself because I never officially withdrew from CUNY Brooklyn College and I might be dealing with a whole semester of F’s. Although, I don’t think I technically took anything higher than fourth grade math.
But that’s the strategy of my life lately. Throw things to the wall and see what sticks. My friend Shelly thought this was profound and took a weekend gig playing piano at a theater camp. “Theater people are so expressive,” she told me. “And my shower didn’t work so the choreographers said I could use their bathroom. I think they had every single hygiene product ever made in their shower! They had at least three different shampoos! And we were only there for a weekend!”

My best friend Erin works at UST, so she joined my tour. Since I hadn’t taken a college tour since 2007, I thought it would be a group setting. No! It was just me and an accounting major! She was very sweet and planned to return to Omaha after graduation to work at her parents’ landfill. This was the day of the shooting in Ottawa, and we had a measured and interesting conversation about guns. I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed walking by the gym, because I am only woman.

I didn’t feel like I totally belonged until I met my transfer advisor, who teared up when she told me how much she loved the university and when I told her about being named Funniest Person in the Twin Cities and writing a Fringe Festival show about unrequited love, her eyes widened.
“You’re not very old, are you?” she asked.

“I’m 28,” I said.

“Well, you look ten years younger,” she said. “And you’ve accomplished so much in your young life.”

That might have been worth more than the damn degree.


The next day was MIAMI!!!!!!


My best friend Erin was originally obsessed with Oprah but that obsession carried over to Iyanla Vanzant and later to Elizabeth Gilbert. Oprah put together a Live Your Best Life Tour that was in about 12 cities, and Miami seemed like the best destination. The original plan was that we would find a hotel closest to American Airlines Arena, and my mom and Erin would be all empowered and in touch with their womankind, and I would just get drunk and sit by the pool all day.
“You’re going to Miami? I want to go,” Jared said one day.

“If Jared’s going to Miami, I’m going to Miami,” said Joey.

Somehow it turned into a boys’ trip. I really wanted to keep it a secret from Erin until we got to the airport, and Jared would run up to us at the gate and yell “HEYYYY QUEEENNNNNNNN”, but Erin has anxiety issues so I only kept it from her for a week.
And it all worked out, truly.

My mom is a really bad flier, especially since her and I missed a flight when I was flying out to move in Brooklyn (this was a week after the bridge collapsed. Also, we hated each other at the time anyway, and being stuck in an airport with somebody whom you already have a crumbling relationship with does not help matters). By “bad flier”, I don’t mean the plane, but rather the getting to and from the airport.

Our flight was at 10:15 A.M. and she was concerned when she found that I was planning to arrive with the boys instead (I worked until 11 the previous night, so it only made sense for me to go to the airport with my roommate and neighbor – had I not had that shift, though, I would have stayed at her house the night before instead).

“You should be there five hours early,” she said. Joey, Jared and I didn’t leave until shortly after eight when our friend who works at Best Buy Corporate picked us up. We are fancy and got to ride in the carpool lane.

We ate at Axel’s and had atrocious service, which kind of put a damper on the morning. We tried to shake it off as we headed to our gate, and THEN I SAW CELEBRITY. He had his iPod earphones in, which is a famous person’s way of saying that they don’t want to be approached.


“Oh my god, you guys,” I said when we were at our gate. “Celebrity is here!”
No one cared.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we saw Jason Matheson, though?” my mother asked.

“I wonder where he’s going,” Erin said, who at least was trying to feign interest for my amusement.
“Sometimes I wonder if he knows who I am and if he thinks I’m stalking him,” I said. “I’m not.” Then I checked his Twitter profile to see if it said where he was flying.

It was our time to board (Joey and Jared booked their flight later and were further in the back). We were at that awkward moment in boarding when there’s always someone who can’t close their overhead bin, so you’re just standing there in the narrow aisle trying your best not to hit somebody in the head with your backpack …

…And as I looked down, in Seat 17C staring at his iPod …

…Was Celebrity.


What in the what??? I spent the entire flight thinking of reasons why he would be in Miami. I speculated that he had a grandmother in Coral Gables, and then I wondered if he had a secret career in a seedy South Beach underworld and that he wasn’t even using his real name in Minnesota. Part of this is because my cousin wrote a book about secret crime investigators, but the post office temporarily stopped sending me stuff (long boring story!), so my plans of reading it on the plane were totally ruined.

We landed in Miami and Joey and Jared immediately went to their Grindr and Scruff pages. I am pale and skinny, and that is not Miami’s definition of sexy. I douched every night anyway.

We stayed at the lovely Downtown Hilton and weren’t sure where to go that first night. Erin had on a lovely red dress, and Joey and Jared had shorts and flip-flops. The bellboy, who looked like he was in high school but whom I still decided to have a crush on, very politely told us that most places in downtown Miami have a dress code. We debated going upstairs to change or just going someplace divey.
“But then you would need to change,” I told Erin.

“This is the most casual thing I brought with me,” she said, and the sad part is that I knew she wasn’t kidding.

We changed clothes, got a cab (before I found out Miami has Uber), and Erin brightened our driver’s day – if not year – when she asked if he spoke French and they had a fluent conversation.

I enjoyed the Blue Martini! I had a blueberry puree drink and they let me keep the canister that it came I so everyone there could know I was ordering off the “Skinny” menu. We went to a bar next door where we invited to a party that was at a bar but you could only get in if you had a key, and that you had to be willing to be tied up and something about liking “babies” and “grandmas”? It was like a Stefon commentary but real. I kind of wanted to go because it would have been great for my act, but we decided to do other things on Friday night.
On Friday, Erin and Loretta were preparing for their evening with Oprah – the entire time Erin would give us their schedule as if Oprah were friends with them. “We’re with Oprah from 7 to 9,” she would say – so the boys and I went on a shopping excursion. The cab cost as much as our plane ticket!

After shopping, we took a trolley back to our hotel. The trolleys are free and they’re slow, so they’re not made for someone who needs to take them to get to work. We sat in the back and the driver played an easy listening radio station (like what WLTE used to be years ago! I miss Delilah! Whenever I go to Sean’s apartment, we listen to her on satellite). I imagined what a life for myself would be in Miami. I would ride the trolley all day, fall in love with beautiful strangers who came and went, and be sad about boys as Richard Marx played.

Even in my fantasies I am sad and pathetic. Good Lord.
The boys and I went to South Beach that night. We would go to Twist all three of our remaining nights there. My bartender was named Octavio and was mixed with possibly every race. Without hyperbole, he was the most beautiful man I have ever seen. (Okay, maybe second, but that is a mushy and biased opinion)
I loved the Miami clubs because in South Beach they are open until 5 AM, and there was one downtown that was open 11 AM to 11 PM. “Miami runs on Jakey time,” Joey observed. And it was true!

On Saturday, Jared slept in at an embarrassingly late hour, and Erin and Loretta were “with Oprah” all day. Joey and I decided to take advantage of the pool.


I am a porcelain goddess. Haters gonna hate. I would put this as my Grindr pic but then not even my friends and neighbors would talk to me.
An older Hispanic woman was in the pool and asked if I wanted to use the chair she was using. “I have a son that looks like you,” she said. “And he cannot be in the sun, either.”

While we waited for Jared, Joey and I salivated over a DILF helping his two daughters swim and a broski in white Billabong shorts. The broski flirted with the girl at the cabana bar a lot, to the point that I wondered if he worked there. He had six-pack abs and a massive scar on his shoulder that looked like a tattoo had been removed.
Jared finally showed up, Joey and I swam, and I decided to head to the bar to get a drink, because I found out you could comp it to the room! Unfortunately, the bartender/waitress was nowhere to be seen, and I was oddly standing between two older gentleman and Billabong Broski, and they were talking about sports! Then I realized that one of the older guys and the broski had super strong Philly accents. I commented on that, and then we all became best friends.

“What does your name start with?” I asked Billabong Broski. “I’m gonna guess it.”

“It’s pretty easy,” he said. “R.”

“Don’t be so confident, Riley,” I said. I knew it wouldn’t really be Riley. One of the older guys said his late partner was from Faribault, and the one guy talked about his wife, but then he seemed really interested in the South Beach gay bars, and really interested in RuPaul’s Drag Race when I told him that the person on my tank top (Willam Belli) was from South Philly.
The broski was telling me all about his job and I was kind of getting bored. “That sounds nice, Raymond,” I said.

“It’s Ryan,” he laughed.
“You were supposed to let me guess!” I cried.

I don’t think he was gay but he never talked about a girlfriend and he had long eyelashes and beautiful blue eyes. He was the second most beautiful man I had ever seen. Third if I am being mushy.

At an authentic Cuban restaurant and then I had a meltdown because my Uber didn't come and it was, like, the ONLY thing I could actually pay for.

On Saturday night, we didn’t even leave the hotel room until 2. Joey had the great idea of playing a Truth or Dare app on his phone. It was wildly inconsistent because some questions seemed very adult (“What is your most surprising sexual fantasy?”) and some were made for a group of adolescents (“Pick someone in this room that you think would be great on a date!”)

Joey and Jared would get the fun questions and then I would get the deep, grown-up ones!
“Jakey,” Joey said. “Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love you back?”

“Don’t ask him that!” Jared cried. “We have to leave in four minutes!”

“Boys have loved me,” I said. “They just did in different ways. We should go.” Then I drank all the vodka.
We went to Twist. Octavio was there. Oh, and so was Celebrity. I almost talked to him but then Jared said he had to pee. Later in the night he walked by me again and I literally waved at him. It didn’t register.

I found a nice boy with glasses who went to FIU and he drove us back home and stayed in our room for a little bit. Joey was flabbergasted when he found out that I met him that night.
“I thought you knew him from before,” he said. “You seemed to be hitting it off so well.”

“Maybe some people find me charming!” I cried defensively. He was a sweet person who told me all about how guys in Florida are full of machismo, so you have to either be that or like suuuuppper duuuuppper twinky fem, and if you’re somewhere in the middle, dating is hard. I was glad that neither Octavio nor myself dealt with such silly labels, and that we had found love in honesty.

On Sunday, we finally had BEACH DAY!!! We took a white Uber van to the beach and I felt like we were either trying to unsavorily talk to children or solve mysteries.


When you’re on the beach, you have to swim! I went further out in the ocean than everybody else. I could tell that my mother was frantic, but when am I ever going to see the ocean again?

“Tell him to get back here,” I heard her say.
“He surprises me every day,” I heard Joey say. That was nice.

I thought about what it would be like to float away.


After shopping, it was our final night out! The girls went to South Beach with us and we enjoyed Brazilian dining before stopping at Sing Sing Karaoke. It was the best karaoke bar ever! Erin, Jared and I are an R&B trio called Faith’s Mistress. (This started in Minnesota, but became worse down there. We even asked strangers if they had heard of Faith’s Mistress. Jared convinced Erin he was going to ask the concierge if we could get tickets to see them, and she damn near wet herself). We sang several songs, but my favorite was “Problem”, because I initially wanted Jared and I to be Iggy and Ariana for Halloween.


Back to Twist it was. It was a quieter night. Octavio wasn’t there (sob!), so I had to settle for a muscular blonde from Georgia named Aaron. We met nice men from Toronto. I realized that people in Miami get laid because they meet other tourists and then they don’t have to worry about the machismo crap.
The boys had an earlier flight, and I spent the day with Erin and Loretta. We took an Uber to the airport and our driver was a muscle god. My mother let me sit in the front, so I am happy to report that we are still speaking to each other.

I got in a fight with my brother on the way to the airport.
“I’m not taking life advice from you,” he said.

“Hey!” I cried. I illustrated an example as to why I was right, and our driver couldn’t contain his laughter. “And Daniel agrees with me!”

Earlier in our hotel room, I was on Facebook when Dennis had posted a blog about his five “non-negotiables” in a relationship, which is different than preferences or thing that would be nice to have. I decided that mine would be, in no particular order:

*Has to Laugh at My Jokes

*Has to Think I’m Funny! (This is Surprisingly Different Than The First One)

*Has to care about the world and vote, regardless of whether I agree

*Does teenage crap like lets me wear his hoodies and gives me piggyback rides

*Will not upset my mother

“That meant more to me than a million dollars,” she said at one point. Which is good, because after Miami I am more bankrupt than ever, and Nordstrom wouldn’t up my credit limit.

It is always hard to adjust to life after vacation. Joey and I made a cameo at our neighbor Norman’s Halloween party. Right before we left I cut my finger on the door jamb and couldn’t find a Band-aid. Joey told me to hurry up or he would just stay home, so I was convinced someone at the party would have a Band-Aid. NOBODY HAD A BAND-AID!!! I just kept stealing napkins whenever I found them. They hired one of my favorite go-go boys as a bartender, and Joey was impressed and surprised when he came up to me. He didn’t have a Band-Aid, though.
I reunited with a DJ friend I know, and he was talking to this hot blond wrestler guy, but the DJ kept making sexual comments, and the wrestler guy was straight and I thought the whole thing was awkward, so I shut down all the sex jokes and the wrestler guy left.

“I was trying to hook you up,” he said.
“Wasn’t he straight?” I asked.

“We asked him and he said he was straight-ish,” he explained. “That always means something.”

“Oh, I need to stay away from all that for a while,” I said.
Finally, a cute chimney sweep found a Band-Aid for me, and all was well.


I had a Sunday Funday after all that! I wasn’t very fun, though. I stayed at my parents’ house the Saturday before to relax, and I drove to LUSH to have a cocktail. I got spilled on twice and was in a rancid mood. Luckily, I met Dennis and his friends at Union, where I was happy to be judged about all of the things I did wrong in Miami (such as only going to one gay bar the entire time). We walked to The Eagle where he told me my make-up looked terrible, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. His gorgeous friend said I could have the rest of his French Fries and it was better than sex.
But then my phone started dying!! And Paul Ryan sent me a text that was almost like asking me out but not, and I was getting all confused about it!! I took an Uber home and played Yahtzee with Joey and Jared before we went to The Saloon to play darts and flirt.

If I am ever going to get my money right, I have to stop going out. And I am addicted. And it isn’t the booze – I mean, part of it is – but it’s the social aspect, the walking into a room and everyone saying hello, and the characters you meet that are so varied and interesting that you couldn’t create them as fictional if you tried. Maybe I should join a book club or host game night.

Next week:

Adventures in cougardom! And reasons to listen to Robyn!

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