Monday, August 31, 2015

Loring Park Episode #54: The Pride of Stevens Square

Today wasn't fun.

I'm trying hard to get excited for Pride. Maybe it's because I think I'm getting old or have a gut or don't feel like I can afford to go anywhere (not that such a thought will stop me. Did I mention I'm in debt consolidation? And that I am not in debt because of hardship but because of serious impulse control problems?) I must remind myself that this weekend is not about looking good in swim trunks but about freedom of expression, self-acceptance, and being lucky enough to spend time with supportive family and friends.

While driving to South Dakota last weekend, I put in a mix CD called "Songs About Leaving", that I made when I knew I was leaving UW-Stout (ultimately one of the saddest chapters of my life, but that's for an entirely different novel). I had no idea what songs would be on there, only that I knew none of them would be older than 2007 (I am OLD, my children). Track #9 was "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts. I remember my mother loved that song and encouraged me to put it on CD mixes for all the young people in her life. And even though our relationship was absolutely terrible at that time, I had appreciated her for thinking that, and resented myself that I was too blinded by anger to see her the way my friends did.
And then I bawled my eyes out until the song was over because even though I didn't graduate from either of the colleges I went to and I'm *still* being helped by my parents on the edge of 30, I was driving four and a half hours by myself to a venue in which I was going to get paid because people believed I was actually talented and good at something and worth the amount I requested.

I never saw the contract until after the trip and I was supposed to do a lot more work than I actually did. Lesson #300: Always check your e-mail if you're going to be a professional, and being worried about a Christian radio host replying to a novel you sent her at 3:11 in the morning is not an excuse to avoid your e-mail. In a tangent, she wrote me back and it was absolutely breathtaking. Her name is Susie Larson and her show is called "Live the Promise" and today the topic was about avoiding WORRY. I am sending her a Christmas card, but because this is me, she probably won't get it until February.

I have been missing somebody to the point of insomnia, chest pain and gastric distress. I am learning it's okay. From the first time we met I had been convinced that this person greatly needed ME, but now I have realized how self-centered such a notion is. This is a person who needs God and a good therapist, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Our last conversation ended with "I'm gonna need a few days" before the car door shut and sped away in the darkness. That was 57 days ago. Not that I am counting.

A month later I would have a nervous breakdown in the parking lot of a hospital and a nurse in a yellow sweater found me and walked me to my appointment. If you are going to have a nervous breakdown, do it at a hospital. Everyone acts like it's totally normal. Yellow is a calming color. Rosie O'Donnell has written essays about yellow, how it is the color of everything that is real and how she felt fame took it away from her. I tweeted her about my meltdown and that the nurse wore yellow. "Nurses r the best," she wrote back. My mother is a nurse. This is not a coincidence.

I have no idea where I was going with this.  -Facebook rant, June 24th 

I was in a strange mood as Pride loomed. It wasn't just about my body. I mean, yes, I should work out, and I was never fat, nor was I ever ripped in years previous, but this is my last summer of my twenties (kind of) and maybe I was projecting.

The first omen that things would turn around happened when my boss said I could be off on Friday! I was leery of asking for Thursday and Friday off since I had asked for every other weekend off in June due to the Sioux Falls gig and my uncle's wedding. Jared wanted to host a big Pre-Pride party on Friday and I had planned on working until six o'clock and coming home to bitch at everyone.

I used this same .gif during last year's Pride episode! Thursday night I met Jared and Joey at Honey for Flip Phone, which is one of the first unofficial events of Pride. Just like last year, I totally forgot how long the line was going to be! I was late because I was Nairing at my mother's house. "Jacob!" she cried. "That smell is going to burn down the house!"

 Joey and Jared let me do cutsies and I immediately felt the rage of those who were behind us and pretending to be our friends. It still took us 45 minutes to get in because the club was at capacity.

"This line is longer than my last relationship," I lamented.
"If this was your last relationship there wouldn't even be a line!" cried Jared.

It should be noted that my Grindr profile says I just got out of a really bad non-relationship and I still think that way.

It took us about 45 minutes to get into Honey, but once we did, it was its usual blast. I did the "Heartbreaker" rap while dancing with Under Armour and he was impressed because he hasn't seen me do it 50 times like everybody else has.

Little did all of us know how our lives would be changed forever the next day.

Of course, none of us got married (or engaged), but the Supreme Court saying that we could -- in any state of our union -- certainly gave Pride a deeper meaning and perspective. I called my grandma. Our Pre-Pride party was now being held for a much grander reason. I invited the entire world on my Facebook.

Everyone is welcome to the estate of myself and my nonsexual life partner this afternoon for a little cookout. BYOB and maybe your own food. We are allegedly starting at noon but the boys are still at Target. I thought I was working today which is my excuse for being so ill-prepared.
If struggling for reasons to celebrate, let us celebrate Pride, and let us celebrate that if two people meet at my party and say "Oh my god, I think I love you, let's go to the courthouse and get married", THEY CAN ACTUALLY DO THAT NOW EVEN IF THEY ARE BOTH BOYS OR BOTH GIRLS. But I think the courthouse closes at five so if this happens after that, they need the weekend to think about it. Which is probably a good thing because marriage is actually the most important decision you can make. I learned that from Christian radio, which I should probably avoid for the next few weeks because they will probably not be as excited about the Supreme Court decision as I am. (Except for Susie's show because she doesn't really talk about it very much. Susie and I are on first name basis. I haven't written her back yet because she made me speechless, which isn't the easiest thing to do)
I don't have abs, my hair is thinning, I still have my wristband on from last night, I don't have any booked gigs after July, and I've got about $10 in my checking account (and I have to pay that parking ticket today!! Don't let me forget!!). And yet I am pretty flipping happy. If you're reading this, I love you. Please don't be a stranger if you see me this weekend. Especially you. Yeah, you. You don't have to make a big deal out of it. We don't have to hug. I won't cry if you won't cry. Just do the head-nod ... what's up .... thing ... that dudes do. That'll be enough.

And almost the entire world did come to our party! I was beyond overwhelmed. Some were old friends and some were cute boys that I had never met before. One of them was even on the U of M gymnastics team! We played drinking games and my friend Brian was wearing a fur coat over underwear. He held me up for a kegstand. Jared gave me cash that he owed me, and Liam and I drove to Affinity to deposit it into my checking account. I wore my "I'M NOT YOUR BRO" Under Armour tee-shirt (not to be confused with the friend of the same name) and had Liam drive around downtown while I was in the bank why we didn't have to park.

"BRO!!!" yelled a cute broski from his car.
"Oh, you," I said with a flip of the wrist. "Stop."

I ran into my comedian friend Sidney Oxborough and shouted at my friend Hector when he took too long to sissy his walk on the crosswalk. Then I got engaged to a blonde construction worker on 6th & Hennepin. Minneapolis, I love you.

I went back to my party and it was already beginning to rage! My friend Robin brought over his best accessory, by which I mean his torso under his skank tank:

Yeah, try eating in front of THAT. Oh, speaking of food: Nobody ate anything and we spent almost $80 on groceries. I have realized it was because this was Pre-Pride. Robin (and later Tan Man and Sexy Jesus) were exempt because they are professional dancers and they had to perform in their underwear all weekend. Everyone else was pissing me off! You can lead a gay man to carbohydrates, but you can't make him ingest them.

I had about 30 gays of various levels of drunk in my house when I got a text from my mother. She was coming!!

"Everyone!" I cried. "Loretta is going to be here in 15 in ten minutes!"
My friend Jenny turned white. "The Loretta?" she asked, and downed her beer.
"Pull yourselves together!" Jared cried. "She'll read us all to filth!"

We all started cleaning up and my house resembled the scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Miranda Priestly is early to the office.

We all behaved ourselves, except Brian, who was three fur coats to the wind. I had only had one drink but I was still slurring out of nerves.

I invited my brother but he didn't want to drive downtown because of traffic.

"Dane," I said. "This is the day in which your brother can get gay married in any state he wants and you are staying home because of traffic."
"It's really bad right now," he whined.

The party went off without a hitch, and Tan Man and Sexy Jesus made brief cameos! Even my mother got a little speechless at Sexy Jesus. I still barely recognize him with clothes on. (That's because he's a go-go dancer, not because we've been intimate). We even had friends from Los Angeles. They brought their dog.

Later that night, the upstairs neighbor came downstairs to enjoy cocktails with myself, Esquire and Robin before we were to galavant to Jetset for an event called HELLO, SAILOR.

They did sailor themes all weekend. This was the Saturday poster.

I wore an adorable sailor suit that I bought on Amazon. I had imagined Jetset would be like a fun Fleet Week fantasy. Instead, I was literally the only person there wearing a sailor suit. I felt like Bridget Jones when she's the only one dressed as a slutty bunny at the fancy party her mother throws, and there was no Mark Darcy this evening. However, someone did ask if Robin and I are twins. While I am a twin, he is not Robin, and Robin is six years younger and six percent body fat. Esquire pulled a Jakey Emmert and lost his wallet. He cancelled all his cards and Jetset ended up having it. Life is hard even for grown-ups

Saturday was highlighted by the revelation that they have bingo during Pride!! I am turning into such a bingo queen, especially now that my friend Dennis, the biggest bingo queen I know (male division), is leaving for Texas. He sat on the other side of the gate from me as he was in the beer tent, and I don't drink beer and at first scoffed at the idea of paying a cover (but I wanted to mingle and later caved due to peer pressure). I ended up winning $4 because I won a pot that split several different ways. I sat next to Jason, my leather friend from The Tank! While everyone in the kink community has been nothing but welcoming to me, the only kinky thing I have done lately is use a dobber on O-69. I sat across from a kind older man in a Twins jersey. For some people Pride is about walking around in your underwear and trying to hook up with as many partners as possible, but for me it is about bingo.

After bingo, I made my way to the beer tent where I flirted shamelessly. The DJ played "Heartbreaker" and changed it right before the Jay-Z rap, and I was despondent. I had a wonderful conversation with Dennis about dating in Minneapolis. Dennis is a week older than me but the similarities end there. I am a bar star comedian who has had the same retail job for seven years, and Dennis has numerous college degrees and is relocating to Dallas of his own volition with his current company. We discussed the perils of gay dating in Minneapolis while black, and the concept that while Minneapolis is booming economically, it still has one of the greatest achievement gaps in income and education between white and black people.

"Why aren't you dating?" Dennis asked.
"I just want to FLIRT," I said. "I really loved that one dude but he doesn't talk to me anymore."
"Which one?"
"The one you used to see me with back in the day."
"OH, the one who looked like you found him at a Fleet Farm in Chaska?"

Later that night, I was to meet Joey at Flip Phone's "Taylor vs. Robyn" event at REV Lounge! Getting ready was an epic disaster. I ordered an Uber and then frantically couldn't find my wallet. Had I dropped it on the sidewalk walking back from the park? I have a horrible habit of always having it in my hand instead of just putting it in my pocket. After the driver had been waiting for three minutes outside, I called him and cancelled, saying I couldn't find my wallet. Then I found it in my dresser drawer. THEN Uber had gone up to peak pricing! And it was raining! And I was already running late and Joey was telling me to hurry!

I waited twenty minutes before pricing went down. When I finally got in the Uber, traffic was horrendous! You would have thought it was the Saturday of Pride Weekend or something. I got dropped off a block away and made it to Union (REV is in the basement). Then I had to wait outside because they were at capacity! The Lord did not want me to celebrate a faux feud between Taylor Swift and Robyn. The Lord wanted me to stay home and eat Triscuits.

I finally made it to the door where I was in front of two young straight people who were bitching about everything. They were friends with the girl doing tickets.

"How did you get this job?" they asked.
"I don't know," she said. "I fucking hate it. I want to go home."
"I'm on the list," I said like an asshole.
"Can you get us on the list?" asked her straight friends. She sadly shook her head.

I made it downstairs to the super packed dance floor and then waited thirty minutes to buy a drink. I even missed Bad Karma's interpretation of "Show Me Love", which may have been for the best because I always get strangely emotional during the bridge.


After the bartender served everybody but me, I realized it was because I was wearing a camo tee-shirt. The poor man probably just couldn't see me!

I finally reunited with Joey and his friends, including his new friend Luke who is from Louisiana and is gregarious and fun. We danced with boys and we danced with girls and I tipped Bad Karma.

"You know, it doesn't always suck being Jakey Emmert," I told Joey on the way home. "Don't get me wrong. Some days it totally sucks and I'm like, 'uggghhhh, whyyyyy?' But today did not suck." Then I gave $4 to some guy on the street who said his car was stalled and his baby was in the back seat and he can't get gas yada yada yada and he tried to convince us he was a KMOJ on-air personality and I let my fear, boredom and white guilt get the best of me. Another day, another dollar.

The next day it was time for the parade!!! Jared's siblings were all going to meet us on Hennepin, as was our co-worker, Annette. Annette is in her fifties and always wears pink and absolutely loves her job. She calls drinking "adult beverages". She doesn't drive so we encouraged her to take the light rail from her home in Bloomington.

I met up with Jared's siblings on the very crowded Hennepin Avenue sidewalk while he went to retrieve Annette.

Then I pretended that they were all my children. I always joke about being "Mommy" but I felt very Mommy-like over Pride Weekend. Maybe it's my Cancer sun. And yes, I know I can't really be Mommy because I can't cook, clean, or open the front door when it's locked, but I still have a good maternal instinct amongst my friends. Then again, it might just be that I'm older than most everybody by a good four-five years. That is what happens when you are an emotionally stunted partier who didn't start going out regularly until you are 25.

Jared is the oldest of six, and the next eldest has been in a Demi Lovato video! I loved "Cool for the Summer" even though I had yet to have a sexy summer fling.

Anyway, I was in Mommy mode because his sister, bless her heart, was able to corral all her siblings from the light rail and she didn't bring any sunscreen.

"Don't worry," she said. "They tan."
"I want candy," said one of them. They all have J names and I can't keep them straight. Jarrett? What's the weirdest Duggar name? Jinger?

I went into a nearby convenience store and bought the kids Skittles, because while the parade is three hours long, they don't really hand out candy. But the kids loved every free pamphlet, sticker, necklace, bracelet, and God knows what else they were handing out.

My friend Ian gave me a glittered blue cape that I walked around wearing for a while. When I woke up the next day, my legs were stained blue from the fabric. It looked like a Smurf died.

Annette joined us and her and Jared promptly had lemon drops, by which I mean the drink and not the candy (but both are delicious!). Jared's sister led her siblings home after about an hour and a half, and as the parade was ending, we saw B. Louise on The Saloon float! All we wanted was for her to notice us! We chased the float for a good two blocks.

"B!" Jared and I kept yelling. "B LOUISE! IT'S US! JAKEY AND JARED!"
At around 12th Street, B. Louise finally looked down. "Oh, hi, Jakey," she said in the microphone. "I see you."
"Hooray!" I yelled. Then I turned around and ran right into a police officer. "And now Jakey just ran into a cop," B. Louise told all of Hennepin Avenue.

Annette, Jared and I vamoosed to the Body Beautiful tent. They have their own wop, which we indulged. Very large men had their shirts off. One of the few women in the group sized up Annette.

"What's your name?" she asked.
"Annette," Annette smiled.
"I'm Anna," she said. "It's almost the same." She was eating Annette for lunch and I was dying.

Jared stayed at the tent and Annette and I walked around the park for half an hour while I was trying to find the bingo tent. We finally made it! We didn't win but it was a gleeful combination of my favorite things: Friends, gay people, and bingo. Annette made her Facebook profile pic rainbow-themed and I was proud. On the way to drop her off at the bus, we stopped at the Port-a-Potty, and the two of us using a Port-a-Potty is a bigger sign of the apocalypse than gay marriage being legal.

I dropped off Annette toward the bus and went home, where it rained for several hours. I even debated going back out! I mean, I knew I would, but I was 28 and exhausted.

The Saloon Block Party is always the highlight of my weekend. Last year they had a ferris wheel but this year they had a Power Tower. I had told Football Guy on Facebook that we should go on it, but he informed he moved to California. I can't have nice things. He literally moved to a town called Yolo. I was despondent.

Nevertheless, I ran into friends from high school! Including a boy who is even more feminine than me. When I was in high school I resented any comparisons between the two of us greatly because I viewed femininity as something to hide and be shameful of, and I deeply regret it. I wouldn't be who I am if I were some masc4masc jock, y'know? I'd probably have a much better sex life but I certainly wouldn't be a weird comedian, and I don't think I would trade that for anything. Anyway, the boy in question is a nurse with his own house. He's doing very well for himself. I ran into Ivan and Brandon from South Dakota and gave Ivan his belt back. Brandon is still tall and quiet and swoon-worthy. Oh, Brandon. We'll always have our meal at the casino.

I made my friend go on the Power Tower ride with me. So scary! I was trying to find Steve to give him his Marc Jacobs sunglasses back, but he was busy kissing a twink he had met earlier in the week. Bravo personality Scott Nevins (The People's Couch) was a brilliant comedic performer and did an impromptu runway and was right by us. His body is amazing and everyone was drooling over it. In the movie in my mind, I do a show with him. "I'm so excited to be opening for Scott Nevins," I will say to the crowd, "But first I must do some comedy."

Alaska Thunderfuck was an exuberant performer and was sooo nice to the sound guy who kept playing the wrong tracks. I had only seen her at Battle of the Seasons before, and she's immensely talented (her vocal range is phenomenal). Adore Delano was next and she does a very grunge look these days: no cinching, and she wears a Black Sabbath T-shirt under a flannel. She gave a very impassioned speech about how is there no "perfect" drag or "right" drag and how RuPaul wasn't "right" when he wore a jockstrap and a wig in the '80s and was doing genderfuck. A Facebook acquaintance who promotes shows at the '90s (where they served up Alyssa Edwards and all her pageant realness) posted how he saw pictures of Adore and thought she looked busted, and I told him that he clearly wasn't there since her speech was about the idiocy of the point he was making in the first place.

Then something almost horrifying happened as Adore CROWD-SURFED. And even though we were a good eight, nine rows in, SHE STILL ENDED UP ABOVE US. Joey, Luke, and my power tower friend who I haven't given a code name yet all held her up. I was convinced we would drop her. Can you imagine if Minneapolis broke Adore's neck? We would never be forgiven.

After the performances, Paul Ryan texted me and said he was at Marin, the restaurant across the street. I got my hand stamped and met him over there. His friend, an adorable 21-year-old flight attendant from Houston, joined us. I liked his accent and the silver glitter all over his beard. We discussed Minneapolis and the economy and I parroted everything Dennis had told me the day before. I sounded so smart!

Paul's friend declined our invitation to The Saloon, so Paul and I went in together. He's not one for big crowds.

"This just gets old to me," he said. "I just want to date someone and go to lunch with another couple and call it a day."
"It's Pride, Paul," I said.
"Oh, I read your blog," he said. This is getting meta.

"Why am I Paul Ryan?" he asked. "That guy is such a douche."
"He was the first Republican I could think of," I said. "And he's good-looking. I wasn't about to call you Ronald Reagan."

At one point we held hands. And at one point someone looked at us and openly asked his friend "What is he doing with that guy?" What a thing to say about Paul Ryan!

No, I'm totally kidding. The guy was talking about me. It sucked. I wasn't even mad when Paul went home with somebody else, mainly because by that point I was on the whorebox and I got to see my friend totally hooking up with his ex on the dance floor. I felt like a spy. A sexy spy who can't dance to save his life.

I don't know. I'm not necessarily a hopeless romantic, but Paul has said that he wants a lawyer to do the wedding vows instead of a pastor and he wants the pre-nuptial agreement to be read out loud. And then he said he wanted to "make love", and that made me feel even weirder. I'm usually not jealous when I hear about his sexcapades because I am practically asexual and he always dates twinks. But if he ever starts bagging a 30-year-old actor or comedian, then I'll be really pissed.

I ended up walking home with Joey, Jared and Chuck. On the way home we ran into a man in a baseball jersey and he was BEAUTIFUL. We found out he used to live on our street.

"Oh, I could have seen you doing yard work," I lamented. "We're having an after party tomorrow."
"You should have a party now," he smiled. He had dark hair and an athletic body and looked like a hot dad (like stroller meat. Like mid-30's).
"Flex your biceps," I said. He complied.
"I have to go home now," I said. "I have a boner."

I never saw him again. I CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

The next day we decided to have an after party! Some of our friends are pool party gays and went to those and they posted pictures of everyone and their six-packs and I had an identity crisis in which I realized that I will never be a pool party gay and that is okay.

Our after party was meant to be a small affair and got .... bigger. Markie wanted us to buy a last-minute keg at 9 P.M. Beer pong and flip cup were played. I would falsely accuse Brian of stealing Steve's sunglasses for a month. A drag queen not in drag was trying to read and come for everyone all damn day. Finally, Steve, who has one of the calmest demeanors I know, punched him in the throat. No one even protested. I ended up escaping to the 19 with Jack, because Jack has a calm presence that soothes my anxiety when he is not making comments about my hairline or weight and I really like his laugh.

I announced that we would not be hosting the after-after party. Mommy was tired.

Oh, and at some point my friend Angie paid me $20 for the hat I was wearing. I didn't think she was serious but she forked over the cash so fast I couldn't help but agree. I only paid $12.97 and that was before my employee discount. Apparently Pride was lucrative for me.

Next week: The birthday episode!

Flip Phone


Power Tower/Adore

Paul Ryan

Most Beautiful Man Ever

After Party

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post! I felt like I was right there with you the whole time!