Friday, July 15, 2016

Loring Park Episode #61: My Pride and Joy

Pride weekend was upon us! But first it was Father's Day, and I have long given up hopes of finding a sugar daddy. I planned going to LUSH and then my grandparents' house, but I was also besotted by a horrific summer cold. My dreamy doctor put me on Prednisone and again expressed concerns about me being on it because it makes people hyper and I am already pretty "squirrely." I hope that's in my file.

Anyway, I still made it to LUSH where I enjoyed brunch with my friends Ria and Micah and friends (relatives? I'm a bad listener) visiting from Kentucky. Steve had to work at 2 but stopped and said hello for a little bit.

This was our server. TAKE ALL MY MONEY. He is a dancer/entertainer and had to work all of Pride weekend, the poor baby.

Things were a little awkward because Liam was there and kept sitting at our table and I was trying to avoid him. I was immature and cryptic before, so I'm going to put it all in the open, because I've been watching a lot of Bethenny Frankel lately and I think it's important to note when you're in the wrong and acting like an asshole.

When most of my friends went to Vegas for Jared's birthday, I was at home begging my mother to help pay my debt consolidation bill because I am broke as a joke as a result of my own poor decisions. I felt like shit about it but understood my current circumstances, and jokingly told my friends that if any of them went to the Mariah Carey concert, our friendship was over (none of them would have paid that much money to go see her, anyway. Britney? Maybe).

Anyway, while the gang was in Vegas and I was eating my feelings on my mother's couch, Liam tagged everyone at Caesar's Palace for the Mariah Carey concert and tagged ME in it with the update of "making Jakey jealous". This was not the first or last thing he had done on social media in a very short span of time to hurt my feelings, but when I look back, it was probably the most egregious. The last one was a week later when he wrote "you look old" on a Valentine's Day picture that I thought I looked good in! Maybe my skin is thicker now that I live with someone who insults my appearance at least once a week, but I was feeling sensitive that winter. So I pushed the block button. So did Joey and so did Steve. I ran into him weeks later at the bar and he cried and I told him I would be cordial to him - I wasn't gonna ice anybody out. That being said, even in February I was worrying about him trying to come to my Pride party. I wasn't going to invite him because we weren't friends anymore. But what would I do if he showed up? Would I pull a Tamra Barney and yell "LEAVE!" like he was Alexis Bellino in Season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County?

Now, here we were four months later, and I still hadn't tried to have a real conversation about what happened. I wanted to stay upset and non-responsive.

"I need to talk to you later," Liam said.

"Okay," I said. And I knew what this was about because he had been texting me for a month about the Pride party and I wasn't responding.

I told Ria and Micah about it and they are friends with both of us and didn't want to take sides, nor should they have. "You could always tell him it's a fire hazard and you can only invite a set number of people," Ria offered half-jokingly.

I tersely texted "You're not invited" after he implored again. At the time I thought it was a good decision, that I had true to myself and my own values and self-esteem, and that everybody would agree with me.

Um, no.

Ria, Micah, and their friends left, and while awaiting my chariot of my mother's SUV, I sauntered over to the table where Quinn and Louis were sitting. I decided to use as my greeting that I had finally told Liam he could not come to the party.

This is a picture of Megan Good and Christina Applegate from the underrated Anchorman 2. There are a surprising amount of articles about the surprising feminism of that movie. Anyway, Christina is Veronica, Ron Burgundy's estranged wife, and Megan is Linda, his sexy producer whom he is having an affair with. When the women FINALLY meet -- which I was waiting the whole movie for -- Ron encourages them to kiss or have a three-way. The women are both disgusted. "Read the room, Ron," Veronica says in my favorite part of the movie. Anyway, I couldn't find a .gif of it, but this was my same mistake. I did not read the room, and Quinn promptly yet politely ripped me an entirely new asshole.

"I am purposely finding something else to do that afternoon because of how you are acting," he said. And I want to re-iterate that it was ... Nice.  He didn't raise his voice, he didn't call me names, but rather he laid out his case in a way that I think was uncomfortable but important for him to do.

My mother picked me up, and I was a horrific Father's Day guest as I took a nap the whole time. This summer cold was kicking my butt. There was no way I could go to the '90s that night for Mystery Porn Theater, but I really didn't want to miss out on the money. It's not an exorbitant amount of money, but it's cash in my hand that I get every week, and that's a nice feeling, especially if I'm going to go home right away and not spend it on tipping drag queens upstairs and going to The Saloon afterward.

"How much do they pay you?" Loretta asked. "You sound TERRIBLE. I'll pay you if you stay home."

I texted Reid at 8 P.M. (the show is at 10) and he graciously agreed to pinch-hit for me, and the staff at the '90s was very accommodating about letting the door person know. It pays to know people. I told my mom about the party, about the plans, about Liam, about Quinn and my asshole.

"Well, you couldn't go because of your own life choices," she said. "Liam isn't the one who racked up a bunch of credit card debt. If you felt like shit about yourself, that's not his fault."
"It wasn't helping," I pouted. "He was kicking me when I was down."
"But does he know that?" she asked.
"He knows I'm pissed," I said.
"But does he know why you're pissed?" she asked, and the music at the end of every Full House episode started playing in my head.

"I told him from the get-go," I said. "I have the texts."
"Here's the thing," she finally offered. "This isn't like it's your birthday party or a dinner party. It's Pride. It should be for everyone." My mother, a 59-year-old heterosexual, was able to understand that, and I wasn't.

Over the next few days, I thought about Liamgate right before I went to bed and right when I woke up. It was consuming too much energy, and I realized the adage that the right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same. When you choose to forgive, it's not so much about what it does for the other person, but what it does for you. Conversely, I have been in that position where all you want is forgiveness and reconciliation. I didn't get it. It's been over 450 days, not that I'm counting. I  texted Liam like a grown-up and invited him to the party.


On Thursday night, Charlie and I went to the Kathy Griffin show! There were so many events going on during Pride, and this was like, the *one* splurge I did. We got free drinks courtesy of Lavender magazine and were uncharacteristically manly by ordering beers (I will always have a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy). The woman continues to be my idol. She performed for TWO AND A HALF HOURS and opened with frank, very political discussion of a post-Orlando world that played well in liberal Minneapolis of Pride weekend but which she admitted would sound very different to the audience in Bloomington, Indiana the following day.

Charlie and I enjoyed The Saloon afterward, but I couldn't focus on much because I was so pre-occupied with the barbecue that was to occur the next day. As we walked around, one of the bar staff approached me.

"Have you seen Detox out here?" he asked.
"No," I answered, and then I didn't think to ask the important follow-up question, which is, is Detox in face or not?

Later, on the patio, Detox was on the patio as a boy. People tried to get pictures. One person tried to get a picture and asked me "to take a picture of [him] and Alaska." Girl, at least get the name right. Steve got to meet Detox and was over the moon, and this made me feel better about the time I kind of ruined his chance to meet Derrick Barry. I shook Detox's hand and acted like I knew her. "Good to see you again," I said. "You too, sweetie," she said. We're on Team Bestie. I swear I only had the one naughty dream about Nebraska Thunderfuck and I woke up before anything nasty happened.


Our BBQ was to be held at 3, and of course no one was prepared. Loretta and I went to Target at 1 P.M. I wrote "This is not a drill" and because the news has been so crazy, my friend Angie thought there was a crisis happening. The only crisis, thankfully, would have been if we tried to get them to accept my maxed-out Target card.

We thought about buying a kiddie pool and then settled on a game of Jumbo UNO. It's like UNO but with jumbo cards!! I am easily amused.

We got back to the house and Steve informed me that the keg and the ice weren't still there and that Markie, who had been champion of the keg in the first place, thought we should get it with my car.

"Does he know I drive a Yaris?" I asked. "What are we gonna do, strap it to the roof? This is too stressful. I need a drink."
"JACOB!" Loretta cried. "It's 2:30 in the afternoon. And you're not going to be a good host if people get here and you're already toasted."

At 3:10 the first guests arrived! OH NO!

It was Robin and Charlie, and they were very sweet about not everything being ready right away. Robin was performing with Enticing Apartment all weekend, so he was spray-tanned to the gods. Reid arrived soon after, and we decided to play UNO outside. Before I knew it, the grill was there, the keg was there, the crockpot was there, more friends were there, and the longest game of UNO took so long that I had to sub out so that I can begin socializing. All of my panic was for nothing, which is kind of the motto of my life.

Ria and Micah brought amazing potato salad and dip, the latter of which had beef in it and I felt bad because Quinn is a vegetarian and didn't know that until after he had a bite. Jenny bought amazing taco dip AND gummy bears soaked in vodka. Liam was there and in good spirits, and we both survived. Funny how that works.

I am so glad this party happened before Pokemon Go came out.

We ended up with about 30 people at the house at one point. I even got to warn everyone that I was going to be in the bathroom for 20 minutes and if anybody needed it, go NOW. (Stomach problems are fun, aren't they?) Everyone had food and everyone drank and everyone signed the guestbook. I felt good about myself for having such an eclectic group there.  A friend at my party didn't know anybody else there and told me that a lot of times when you go to a gay party everyone can seem very cliquey and this was the first time he had been to a party where there was such a variety of people from different "scenes" or walks of life, and that made me think maybe I've been living my life right after all.

I was especially thankful for Loretta. We don't get to choose our moms. Some of my friends have moms who don't (or wouldn't) accept them, at least not right away. Some moms live far away. Some moms have personal issues beyond themselves. Some moms are in heaven. As for my mother, she said she was going to stay for ten minutes but stayed for four hours and wasn't compelled to leave until I did a keg stand.

Just another Friday afternoon with the boys.

Lawrence figured out how to use my iPod shuffle so we could all hear out, and a Mariah Carey gospel ballad came on. How could I not find the strength to do a keg stand??

Things only got stressful when it was time to choose teams for Flip Cup! Steve and I, as homeowners, were captains. My team got killed because I didn't pick very well. I had to pick Joey first because he would never speak to me ever again, and then I chose a cute U of M student because I wanted to hold hands with him (which never happened), and then I chose Micah because he was begging not to be picked last, and then I picked Reid, which meant poor Chuck got picked last. No matter, because we got our butts kicked, even if Reid won an entire round ALL BY HIMSELF and may have blown chunks later behind the house (I don't think he did, but I would have totally understood). I played with vodka because I am a classy, classy lady. Steve's team consisted of Markie, Chuck, J.C. who was in a skank tank and whose nipples I licked three times because I *told* you I was classy, and the boy who gave us the grill to use, which was very nice. Pride is all about this party and that party and what to wear, but I look back at the past two years and my barbecue has been what it's all about for me.

Gradually, the party cleared out. My friend Woody came back to the house and helped me clean up the kitchen. Woody is also a professional athlete so I made sure he tried on four different shirts of mine to see which one would work best. I make my own fun. Jared, Markie, and a few others were still outside and it was already 11:30! I told them they could stay as long as they could, but to bring the chairs inside when they were done. Markie said he would lock the house and find me at The Saloon to deliver my keys.

Whilst en route to The Saloon, I realized that as sad I was to not attend the Enticing Entertainment event (by far the biggest event being offered this weekend, and that was saying a lot), I couldn't have gone even if I had afforded it! I wasn't even getting to The Saloon until midnight, and the Enticing event would have required me to wear something cute.

A block away, I realized I forgot my Saloon pass for the weekend at home! Ugh!

"Should we go back?" Woody asked with concern.
"I can turn around," said the Uber driver.
"We'll risk it," I said. Worst case scenario, I could drop Woody off and then go back by myself to get the pass. It wouldn't be fair to delay his night.

We arrived and I explained the situation to the bouncer, where he led me to a larger bouncer who saw my ID and crossed me off a list. Crisis averted! We're so quick to go on social media when business upset us, so I was sure to give them a shout-out the next day.

We were too late to see any of the performances (The Saloon had a stacked deck that evening), but Erika Jayne came out to wave at us from the DJ booth, and that was good enough for me! (Her and Lisa Rinna faved my tweet to them this week. Did you know their birthdays are two days apart? I didn't, but finding out they're both Cancer babies explains so much to me. My two greatest passions in life are astrology and Real Housewives shows).

The next day I was paranoid because I thought I lost my keys!!! AGGGGGHHH!!! I scrambled for half an hour and found them on the floor. I knew that Markie had given them back to me, even if he tried giving me a heart attack when he first feigned that he forgot them.

It was hotter than Hades that Saturday, and I was scheduled to perform in the park at 3:30.

A bunch of talented people and then this asshole.

Loretta was supposed to be at the North Memorial booth, but there was miscommunication so I ended up frantically trying to find her in the middle of a super-crowded Loring Park at 2 in the afternoon. I damn near started sobbing when I found her. I love Pride weekend, I love people, but I don't love the combination of massive crowds and a rising heat index (and apparently Pride had a turnout of 50,000 less this year than last).

I made it to the stage by 3, chugged a water, and realized I hadn't prepared AT ALL about what I was going to talk about. And I had told everyone I was performing! Don't fuck it up, Emmert.

I went onstage at 3:40 and apologized to the interpreter for the hearing impaired, who was probably going to have to massage her arms after I was done (I tend to talk just a little fast). I forgot where I was going a few times, but the crowd was great, and I was happy to see so many of my friends there. While I was in the middle of telling a delightful story about sticking a toothbrush up your rectum, a 5-year-old boy began walking toward the stage. You can't make this stuff up.

After my set, I was happy to meet up with my fake cousins, the Emmerts!

They are my fake cousins because while she share a surname, they have six-pack abs and no one on my tree has that going on. Trust.

Sarah McPeck gave me the opportunity. Don't we just look DEWY, as Amber Preston would say?

I was so happy to see my spicy Sina Burger, who was there before there was even a Loring Park (the fake show, not the neighborhood). She would see me do comedy in the back rooms of dank restaurants. I would go to her fashion shows that would be delayed by three hours and they would say her name wrong. There is something to be said about those people who you meet when you're both on the way up. She is living her dream in Los Angeles now.

After walking around in the park and the hot hot sun, I just wanted to take a nap! Unfortunately, I was too wired on adrenaline and caffeine. Instead I just laid down like a lazy-ass while Steve, Woody, and Jacey all cleaned the apartment. It's a miracle I have any friends. I think maybe I helped locate the dust pan at one point.

Woody and Steve were headed to The Saloon, but Jacey and I wanted to go to Flip Phone XXL at First Ave! I love the First Ave shows because the venue is so big. It gives me that New York kind of a feel.

If you are planning to attend a First Ave Flip Phone XXL show -- and they're having another one in August -- by your tickets online. My God, I can't stress that enough. Jacey and I were in line for 45 minutes and were debating leaving. While in line, we witnessed at least one fight in the street, another one that was escalated, two people told by First Ave security to go somewhere else, one girl immediately told that she was too drunk to be let in, and one guy come up to the people in front of us and perform a magic trick. My anxiety was only quelled by the fact that hot guys were in front of us, and behind us was Flip Phone Boy!!

So Flip Phone Boy is one of the cutest boys who has ever lived and I ONLY SEE HIM AT FLIP PHONE EVENTS. He is ridiculously quiet and I have even talked to him once (and I forget his name). He had Pikachu on his shirt and I kept saying "Pika pika" but he wasn't getting it. Sigh.

Anyway, Jacey and I finally got in, and "Formation" was playing and we ran to the dance floor and knew all the words. It was a highlight. I ran into my friend Chad from my Fringe play, and got a video taken of me while a couple made out like rabbits behind me.

Jacey and I went to the front of the dance floor, where we were right in front of the speakers. A man chastised Jacey for being too loud. AT A NIGHTCLUB ON THE DANCE FLOOR IN FRONT OF THE SPEAKERS. I just can't with some people.

Jacey was getting more male attention than I was, so I talked to my friend from Ohio for a bit and then we were off to see the kids at The Saloon!

I reunited with Jared's friends who had seen me perform in the park, and then I grabbed Joey and Jared by the hand like a mom on a school field trip.

"I don't want to be sappy," I said, "But I realized that this is now our fourth Pride together, and I know that a lot has changed in our lives, but you two are my best friends and I can't imagine doing this for four years with anybody else."
"Don't cry or I'll cry," Jared said.
"I'm not crying," I said. "I'm allergic to everything."
Jared cried and I cried and Joey didn't cry but he is Irish and he was also wearing big glasses.

Toward the end of the night, Adore Delano (as a boy) walked by. I shook her hand and kissed her on the cheek even though he didn't ask for it and technically that is sexual assault, but he was very nice about it. Thank God. He later subtweeted club promoters who treat him like shit until they realize who he is, and I would give my left moob to find out which club he meant.


Sunday morning, I had to get up bright and early to march in the parade! And by "had" I mean "chose to". Since I work at The Gay '90s for two hours a week, I have considered myself to be an employee, and thus I begged to march in the parade with them and The Ladies of La Femme.

That means I had to hang out with these three all morning. Such rough work, I know.

I got to the '90s at 10:15 and had a vodka red bull. God bless Pride weekend. Nevertheless, we had to work! See those big wings Tim (in the middle) has on? Those were part of Prada Diamond's ornate costume, so we had to walk those very carefully down three blocks of crowded people to get to the parking lot.

The Minneapolis gay pride parade is one of the largest in the nation -- it clocks in at a little over two hours long. Every float has a number, obviously in order as to when they march. The '90s was Float #129. That's a lot of waiting, in the heat, in the blazing sun, in a parking lot until your time is ready.

Leslie, the owner of The Brass Rail, was getting irritated because not all of the queens were ready and they needed to take a group picture. There's something I can't explain about women who run bars that I just love. I think you have to be a special kind of brassy to be a woman who does that job.

Who's the weirdo in the pink checkered shirt? Oh, right. I didn't even think I should be in the picture and Prada made sure I was represented. Lila Vera had me rip the skin off her hand at one point. The queen two above me, diagonally, I don't know her name but we lip-synced together. Brandonna and Christina are EVERYTHING.

Anygay, it was hotter than a sweat lodge owner's armpit out there, but no one was complaining, not any of the men who were there on behalf of the '90s, and certainly none of the queens who were cinched to the gods and in full face, so who the hell was I to complain? The Saloon was the float ahead of us and they misted us with sunscreen, as did a woman from the Summit float. There was a sense of community.

I fit right in, don't I?

Remember last year at Jetset when they did a "Hello Sailor" theme during Pride and I was the only one who dressed up? This year I got my picture taken with a cute boy in a sailor hat.

Also on The Saloon float was their official weekend host, porn star Boomer Banks! Jared is obsessed with him, to the point that he wouldn't go to The Tank when Boomer was there because he would get too embarrassed. Jared, who is one of the most gregarious, outgoing people EVER. Anyway, Boomer was just sitting there with an assistant, and I needed something to get my mind off of how stinking hot I was.

"Hi, sorry, I was just wondering if I could get a picture?" I asked with my voice barely raising above five decibels.

He raised an eyebrow at his handler and then turned to me. "Sure," he said, and then grabbed me with sexy sexy force. "Get in here."

My friendship with Jared shall never be doubted again. This was my profile pic on Facebook for a while and I got so many friend requests for a while, and I can't imagine the disappointment once people found out they were adding the weirdo in the emoji hat and not Booker Banks, Sex God.

Anyway, the parade FINALLY started and I can't begin to describe what an adrenaline rush it is. People cheer and whoop, they want all your free crap (if I would have given away a Frisbee to everyone who asked, I would have been empty by 5th avenue -- them's the breaks). As full of heatstroke as I may have been after, I wouldn't give any of it away.

I should have stayed on the float with the queens back to the '90s, but I chose to walk instead. Sven found me and I realized I could barely even see straight. He took my hand to The Saloon for a cup of water, and then I stopped at Fantasy Gifts to buy porn for the '90s show. At Fantasy Gifts I realized my debit card was missing, so I charged it. Business expense!

Then at the '90s I realized my keys were missing.

Forget the fact that all those pictures are of me with hot guys. I'm going to remember them as me with my keys. Also, I was driving everyone nuts at the '90s because the door to the main bar was locked (staff only), and I kept trying to go back and forth trying to see if anybody had seen my damn keys. The struggle bus was so real, and I was the driver and passenger.

Steve was hoping to find me in the park, and I explained to him the situation. He didn't seem to be that upset, which was good. Still! I hadn't lost my keys in, like, months, and I had JUST lost my debit card that Thursday, got it replaced on Friday, and then found the new (now moot one) Saturday night. UGGGGGHHHHHHH.

After an arduous hour and a half, I finally made it to the park. I ran into Charlie first, who was with other friends, and I didn't want to rush Charlie, but Steve and Jacey and had been waiting for an hour now, and where the fuck was the stupid Target thing????? I am going to have a meltdown!!!

We finally made it to the park where Target was offering these blankets you can lay on -- lie on? The one grammatical mystery to me -- and I tried to just calm myself down. People would mention anything and I could talk about was my keys.

"You look sunburned."
"I lost my keys!"
"I love Pride."
"I lost my keys!"
"I think that girl is passed out."
"I lost my keys!"

Steve, Jacey, Charlie, Woody, and I all laid on blankets and centered ourselves.

"I know you're kind of a mess," Steve said, "But ... it's okay. I got you."

Sometimes that's all you need to hear.

The Lord further blessed me that afternoon because when I looked up, Flip Phone Boy was hula hooping! With his shirt off!

"We should go soon," Jacey kept saying.
"In a minute," I kept saying.

Flip Phone Boy's hula hoop and landed on us! Finally! Our meet cute moment!

"Sorry," he said with an embarrassed smile and quickly ran off, like a pixie.

"Why don't you practice more?" Steve asked in annoyance.

"STEVEN!" I cried, already planning the seating chart at our wedding.

"He can't hear me," Steve said. "Calm down."

We finally walked back to the house, where Jacey and I discussed how the heat is making everyone crazy (I suggested The Bronx is Burning as summer reading, as it's really only a sports book in disguise). Soon after, it was time for the Saloon block party!!

At this point, I should note that my voice was NOW TOTALLY SHOT. I sounded like Miley Cyrus' speaking voice without the hint of bad-assery or sex.

We made it to The Saloon, but I knew I would have to leave at 9:30 because I wanted to go do Mystery Porn 3000 at The Gay '90s, as I know felt closer to them than ever. So I didn't get to see all of Jordin Sparks, but I did get to see Wendy Ho, my former lover Boomer Banks, and Jordin Sparks play her early hits, which I was obsessed with in my youth!!! I had a moment when "Tattoo" came on. Nobody cared but me and I stayed in 2007.

I vamoosed to The '90s, where the security guy didn't even think I was really doing a show, and I had a different bartender than usual (which was fine because he was in his underwear the whole time). I insisted on talking to everybody the whole time, and it didn't get weird until 11:30 when people thought I was a bartender. Also, I met a super hot guy who was a webcam model and I forgot his screen name even though he told me 11 times. Still, I only do cam4 and I think he's on a more expensive site.

I went back to The Saloon, and things just got kinda weird. First of all, I Lady and the Tramped a chicken strip with Ryan Robertson, and if you would have told Season One Jakey that, he would have peed everywhere.

I was getting to be increasingly tired. My age had caught up with me. Someone told me that I looked dead and I wasn't even offended. I just wanted to leave but Steve had the keys and I felt terrible about the whole thing, so I ended up going to a hotel party with Joey, co-workers, and a random woman who was under the influence of SOMETHING. The next day I went back to the house to get my keys to copy, and after some random errands, I realized there was no absolute way I could have done a post-Pride party! Even if I had technically only worked about four hours over the weekend, Auntie Debby was a sore and sunburned mess, but I still think it was totally worth it. I had a box of Dots and a bottle of kamboucha and was happy to feel exhausted. If this was to be the last Pride of my twenties, I couldn't have asked for a better one.

Next week: the biggest show of Jakey's career! Make or break.

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