Our friend Chris, who had a code name on here once but I forget what it was, moved to West Hollywood after leaving his local corporate gig. A festive going-away party was held in Golden Valley. I felt blessed to be around so many people I enjoy, and not just because they had free booze, pizza, and a 24-pack of 5-hour energy drinks. It's like they knew I was coming! I arrived with Joey and Jared. We played flip cup and I was a diva and played with vodka. Among the other guests was Victor, whose boyfriend's sister is marrying my uncle in June (small world!), and Steve. Steve is 21 and flirts with me but he flirts with everybody and I never know how to feel about it. I've decided to stop thinking about it and letting it be.
My good friend Peter visited from Washington D.C. for a week! He treated me to Masu Sushi on my lunch break. We were going to go Dutch but Wells Fargo withdrew money for a loan payment that I thought my mom was making on my behalf and I literally had no dollars to my name. Peter covered the lunch but I felt terrible and ashamed and embarrassed. He is 22! And in college! And works three jobs! Peter always inspires me because he has hustle like no other. I am beginning to wonder if part of the reason I am such a financial/emotional mess is because hustle might be innate. I am a three-time college dropout. I haven't been to the gym since October or an open mike since December. If I ever achieve hustle, it will be because I watched a lot of Oprah on YouTube or got really desperate. I was not born with hustle.
Meanwhile, at The Saloon (of course!), I was at T.J.'s bar pretending that he isn't moving to Taiwan. Perhaps when he does it will finally end the chapter of my bar star career. That is why I cried so much when he told me he was leaving. I couldn't stay Peter Pan forever, and not just because I am getting bald and poochy (fuck you, aging!).
I was talking with Joey and Jared when a tall man built like a former linebacker came up to us. "Uh, sorry," he said. "Are you Jakey Emmert?"
"Who's asking?" I inquired, because I don't know if someone is friends with the broski or if they're friends with Celebrity and want to beat me up.
"Uh ... we're friends on Facebook," he said sheepishly. "I just moved to Minneapolis. I love your blog."
His name was Jonathan. Jared rolled his eyes so hard they almost fell out of his head. I, of course, loved it! Hashtag fauxmas. We had a lovely conversation about his days in North Dakota but then he had to leave because one of his friends was super wasted and it was time for damage control. Been there.
"We don't even have the same taste in men," Jonathan lamented. "But then when he gets drunk he always decides to go forever who I like."
"What does he like? Broskis?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "And I like ..."
"Twinks?" I said with evident disdain because I am an insecure bitch.
He corraled his friends and the drunk one apologized for being drunk but I told him he was fine. I've had to deal with Jared passing out in public, for God's sake.
"I gotta go," Jonathan said. "But .... fuck it."
Then he grabbed me and we made out in front of everyone. Danny saw it from his bar (which is behind the kitchen, behind TJ's bar, and there's a window, if that makes any sense to those not familiar with the Saloon layout).
Then a dude who I hear likes the boys young -- like let's get the Feds involved young (allegedly!) -- made out with me, too! I felt flattered and skeevy because I always think I look super old.
"All I can say is Auntie Debby!" Jared wrote on Facebook. Auntie Debby is my alias when I get too drunk. She is recently divorced, hates her job, and has the false confidence and sexual prowess of a much younger and prettier woman.
"Stop making out with everyone!" Danny wrote on my Facebook.
We moseyed over to Danny's bar. I should now point out that it was a full moon this evening, and it was in Cancer.
"How many people are you going to kiss tonight?" Danny asked.
"I might as well make out with a third person and score the hat trick," I said. At this very moment, Steve walked by. I looked at him with lust and he looked at me like I had known he had an upcoming day off and asked if he could help me move into a new apartment that day.
"Ugh," he said. "Fine."
Then I made out with Steve. Surprisingly, I did not get strep or mono from any of this.
The following Friday, I woke up with an anxiety attack. I was on two hours of sleep and I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I can't remember if anything specific brought this on (money? Dudes?). I debated calling in sick but I wasn't sick sick, and I needed money and didn't want to take PTO. I debated calling in and asking if I could work a half-day (I did this when I had an anxiety attack in August because Jared sharted in the shower and Chuck cleaned it up, bless his nurse heart).
Sean saw my Facebook and asked if I needed anything. Without needing explanation, he told me he would drive me to work. When I get bad anxiety, I can't drive. I'm a horrible driver anyway and then I am convinced I will get in a car accident.
I should say at this point that I am not currently being treated for depression or anxiety. I probably should. It is not fair for me to use it as a crutch if I am not being pro-active about it. As horrible as this will sound, I think I don't do it because I know they will ask me how much I drink. I will tell them the truth and then they will tell me I need to stop drinking if I want to go on anti-anxiety medication. The concept of stone-cold sobriety is appealing but also scary. Would I still be myself? Would I lose my "bar star/life of the party" identity? I don't consider myself an alcoholic because I am just as addicted to the social aspect of the club as I am the boozing, if not more so. Without going into details, my brother excuses his girlfriend's poor behavior on mental illness that she is not being treated for. "She can fuck off with that," I had told him. I realize now I am being a hypocrite. I can't not go to work because of anxiety and then refuse to deal with it.
Anyway, at work, my anxiety began to manifest itself physically, if you know what I mean.
(Oh, fine. I couldn't stop pooping. I also blamed this on the fact that I had purchased a juice drink called 'fruit medley' from Lunds and citrus fruits flare up my IBS like no other, especially oranges! You are so lucky you are reading this). I was also anxious because I was going to have to take the train home, and Sean wanted me to meet his friend Casey, who I was friends with on Facebook but had yet to meet in real life (we were both at Tan Man's birthday party but didn't interact).
Here's the thing about Casey. He's really, really, really attractive. And I know that sounds one-dimensional and he is a lot more than that, which we will get to later. I had been discussing him with Sean in the car ride to work that day because he wanted to hang out and I said "maybe" and he said "I don't like maybes" and I thought that was sexy.
"You have to understand that my crush on Casey is a schoolboy thing," I explained myself to Sean. "It's not like I want to bang him. I just want to swoon and put his picture on my locker at school."
"He's said the same thing about you," Sean said. "The schoolboy thing, anyway."
"What?!!!!!!!!" I said. "He can't have a crush on me. I am a 6 on a good day and he, is like, a 17." Casey has dark hair, a tight body, and THE WHITEST TEETH I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Anyway, Sean and Casey were doing Happy Hour at The Saloon and wanted me and Jared to join, but I refused because I could not stop pooping.
"You have to go!" Jared cried. "He's so hot! And he wants to meet you!"
"No," I said. "I am sick and my body is eating itself. I weighed 112 pounds this morning. That is GROSS." (My driver's license weight is 117 and anytime the deferential is five pounds, either minus or plus, I get nervous).
Casey told me via Facebook that I needed to get over it and that he really wanted to meet me. I finally reneged, drank a gallon of water, took Colace and Pepto-Bismol, and got to The Saloon at a decent time. I had cut myself shaving but decided not to cover it with make-up.
"Ugh," I told Jared. "I don't really care. It's gonna be dark there anyway."
"Oh my god," Jared said "This is a moment! You not obsessing over your looks? You *are* growing up."
We arrived at The Saloon and it was busy! We hardly ever go on Fridays because of our retail lives, and it was a fun, more grown-up crowd. When we walked in, Casey was talking to a guy so I ignored him because I was shy and nervous. He looks just as good in person! I am disgusting! Yuccckkkkkkk. I want to go home.
"When are you gonna talk to him?" Jared asked. "We all need to see it happen. I'm so excited to watch you fail!"
"Jared!" I cried. "Be supportive."
Casey eventually came up to me and I started babbling super fast. We sat at Danny's bar and I ordered another drink. Casey asked why I work at the mall and I got defensive and tried to explain that I applied to St. Thomas and I might get a degree and be a grown-up and sometimes I get paid for teling hacky sex jokes.
"It's okay, sugar," he said. He smiled the entire time. At one point I realized I was staring at him and I was speechless.
"What are you thinking?" he said. WITH HIS SMILE.
"Nothing," I lied, because I was thinking that he is really cute. AND he has a well-paying job and owns his house and is educated and is only five months older than me.
"I don't believe you, sugar," he said. "I think you have a lot of potential. I'm sorry if I was too blunt about it."
"It's fine," I lied. He also told me my jokes about Celebrity were "desperate". I have decided that if you are dreamy you get at least three free passes at hurting my feelings before I get upset about it.
I met Jonathan at LUSH the following Friday. I wouldn't say it was a "date". I would say that it was me meeting a guy who thought I was cute and vice versa and we made plans beforehand. Okay, fine.
We discussed his move to Minneapolis, his previous life in Fargo, his dog, my adventures in comedy and downtown living ...
...and then Sean and Casey showed up to chaperone. I was honestly fine with this until the waitress came up to inform us that if we owned a certain make and model of a vehicle, it was parked on the curb and was about to get towed.
The vehicle belonged to Casey, and Sean, who is perturbed by Casey's perceived perfection, found this to be hilarious. Casey moved his car and came back in. Then Jonathan made a snarky comment about it. Then Casey got pissy about it. Then it all seemed awkward and we made plans to salvage the evening by going to the 19.
I drove Jonathan to my apartment but told him that we would have to bring the laundry into the house first. The poor man carried my laundry. That my mother had folded. You can't shame the shameless. I jumped in his arms and we made out.
We were going to play darts at the 19 but Casey didn't want to play and he was already in a bad mood because he got in an argument with someone at the jukebox. He is on the cusp and maybe his chart was in a bad place that night.
Before he left, Casey touched my knee and we talked about relationships and lack thereof when it wasn't my turn during darts.
"Would you date you?" he said through a Crest Whitestrips smile.
"No," I said, for various reasons. This week it's because of my finances. Some weeks it's because of my body. Some weeks it's because of my age. Some weeks it's because it's because I'm not over a certain person. Some weeks it's because I'm tired. Some weeks it's all of them.
"Well, sugar, until that answer is "yes", you can't date anybody," Casey said before sashaying away.
The remaining three survivors went to The Saloon as I was lost in my thoughts. As if I wasn't feeling awkward enough, I ran into Football Guy! We met a drag queen named Sable and I went on and on about Sable from WWF. "You should use her theme music!" I said about fifty times.
Then I realized a certain boy was calling me but he wouldn't text me back and I was getting way too worked up about everything. Tomorrow was another day.
I got home and realized my phone, which tends to die all the time, was not only dead but it was missing. Fuuuuccccckkkkkk. 2015 had just started. It was to be my year of adulthood, financial responsibility, and positive relationships with the fellas.
I desperately wanted to go into T-Mobile the next day (not a hassle for me because I work at the mall), but Jared assured me to wait for a day and see if I had heard from any vendors. On Facebook chat that night, I got a message from my mother, who was on her way to Vegas.
"Don't get a new a phone," she wrote. "Your phone is at the freaking Dakota Jazz Club."
The Dakota Jazz Club??? I have never even been there!
I had five cents to my name but I wanted to go to Siberia because I had written about it for L'Etoile magazine that week and I knew my friend Tan Man was going to be working it. He was even on the poster!
The weather was nice in January, which means it wasn't ridiculously subzero. I walked to the Dakota Jazz Club and the staff could not have been any friendlier. I still intend to write them a note. Charged cell phone in hand, I began my journey to The Saloon. Of course, when I arrived, my phone immediately started ringing. I made my way to the patio.
"Hey." The voice on the other end was distant and sad. "Where are you?"
*chuckle* "You slutttttt."
"This event is to help GLBT-related causes in Russia! It's very important! And my friends are the dancers."
"How come you don't call me anymore?"
"I ... texted you two weeks ago and never heard anything."
"I never got it. I swear."
Jared and Quinn came up to me
"JACOB!!" Jared yelled. He only yells my birth name when he is desperate for my attention. "Who is it? Is it Loretta!?"
"It's not Loretta," I said. "I gotta go," I abruptly said into the phone. "I'll call you later."
I felt a strange mix of pride and sadness and poured myself into the event, including two ridiculous Russian-themed shots. The things we do for international rights of our gay brothers and sisters. Quinn would later produce a Snapchat story of all of us taking shots and it was hilariously reminiscent of the second episode of Cougar Town.
To donate to the Russia Freedom Fund, go here.
I ran into Kevin. He still looks and smells good.
Paul Ryan is moving to Switzerland. We were going to go over my budget but then he said "bring your portfolios" and the only portfolio I have would be a random modeling one I made of Channing Tatum. He is used to people with six figures in their incomes. I'll call him when I hit the big time. And then try to hit the big time again, because hey-oh.
I have a new friend named Jack who we met last month. I really enjoy him! His birthday was on a Thursday and we went to the Nicollet Diner before the 19. I like the Nicollet Diner because it's super chill and you can charge your phone there, which I obviously did. He had three friends there, and one was a teacher whom I had seen in a Speedo in a Fringe Festival play last summer. I was already beginning to feel insecure.
We vamoosed to the 19 and I had planned to go to The Saloon only because it was Thursday. Jack had more friends, each more sweet than the next. One of them asked if I was dating Thomsen. By Thomsen he meant Kevin. I smiled and said he was doing fine. In another life, maybe. I enjoyed this group of new people who were deep thinkers and who could carry a conversation and didn't give a shit about what you looked like with your shirt off or how much money you made.
And I still left.
Was it because it was a Thursday and TJ is leaving soon and I felt time was fleeting? Was it because I had a tenth of a hope that a certain person would be there? Who knows? I left and The Saloon was dead. It was an important, expensive lesson to stay in the damn moment once in a while.
After reuniting at the 19, we returned to the Nicollet Diner for sandwiches. I had my phone charged in the corner and did my usual routine of talking two thousand words a minute to anyone was listening. The Roseanne theme started blaring which meant my phone was ringing. Who would be calling me at 2:30 in the morning on a Thursday?
"Is it Rhoda?" I asked. Rhoda is Jared in my phone. When I had to get my phone replaced it didn't save any numbers I had synced with Facebook (which was nearly all of them), so the only numbers I kept were those that had specific names attached to them.
"It says Broski," said Jack.
"Ugghhhhhhh," I loudly exclaimed. I took the phonecall in the bathroom. When I returned two minutes later I shamelessly flirted with someone who has his exact same name. I might have tried to take his shirt off at the diner. What? Debby gets like that after a grilled cheese sandwich and feelings.
Jared's birthday was on a Tuesday night so Joey, Steve and I played Naughty Trivia at The Saloon. Sean and Geoff joined us even though I was really bitchy and said they couldn't help because then anyone would think we had a team of six instead of a team of four.
We won, thanks to our knowledge of awkward current events, penis size from state to state, and my ability to identify porn star Matthew Rush. This meant we would all get free tickets to Drag Queen Game Night the following week! We did karaoke but Jared allegedly got kicked out before I could bring the house down with my grand rendition of "Crybaby" by Mariah Carey.
"I can't believe Jared left," Steve said.
"I know," I said. "I would try calling him but my phone died."
"Figures," said Steve. He has a nice smile and a calm demeanor.
"I like you," I said. "Don't fuck it up."
And with that, Auntie Debby confidently walked out of The Saloon, her dignity and morals intact. The next day she would be charged $70 in overdraft fees by Wells Fargo for the gym membership she never uses and the $5 Uber she took to get to The Saloon on the eve of pay day.
Next week: Milwaukee! *FINALLY* a major financial decision! And a tearful goodbye ...