Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Loring Park Episode #62: In Which I Am Thirty

I love this movie. I saw it in the theater with my father. Two weeks later I dragged him to Mean Girls. 2004 was a magical spring. That poor man.

Yes, 30 was looming, but first I had some shenanigans as a 29-year-old to endure!

My timeline is going to get messed up because I am now 30 and my memory is fading, but I believe this episode starts at UpDown, the new video arcade in Minneapolis. We had heard about it and thought it sounded fun. I had decided that because I wanted to look and feel best during the biggest show of my career, that I was going to be sober between Pride and the show. It would just be two and a half weeks and I could do it.

I met Steve at UpDown, and Joey and Charlie soon followed. It is really fun! My only recommendation or complaint would be that you should definitely pay cash or close your tab right away, because when they take your card you have to literally be like a private investigator to track down your bartender. We kept confusing this poor girl with another girl who worked there and it was kind of annoying. Other than that, it was a hell of a time. Joey is obsessed with MarioKart but I can't play it to save my life, so I suggested games from my youth like Tetris and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"You guys can name all the ninja turtles, right?" I asked my posse.

They looked at me blankly. Good God. Was this an age thing? I had flashbacks to daycare when we would role play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but there were too many boys to claim the roles of the turtles, Shredder, and Splinter, and we only had one girl who always got to be April O'Neill, so I always had to be April's loser friend Irma.

Me on a Saturday night.

"Oh my God," I sputtered. "I'll give you a hint. They were all named after artists."
"Leonardo DiCaprio," Joey guessed.
"Oh, wait, I know!" Steve cried. "Georgia O'Keefe!"

Then we played a zombie game where you had to go through this big mansion and there were so many zombies. Steve was almost bored playing it but I still gave him all my coins because I wanted to see him beat the big giant scary butterfly monster thing.

After our excursion at the arcade, we decided to have happy hour at moto-I, where I have never been! This was close to Joey's new apartment.

Oh my god, I forgot to tell you. Joey is MOVING. Why is this show even called Loring Park (Adjacent) anymore? Originally he was going to move to St. Louis Park, and I handed him a butcher knife from the kitchen drawer and told him to just finish me already. Uptown isn't necessarily far from Stevens Square, but the era of me walking to his place or crashing at his place after The Saloon would now be over, and I had to mourn it as yet another example that this, the year of 30, was going to bring changes.

"It's not like he's moving back to Wisconsin!" my mother told me when I was freaking out about it.

My friend Jack was also pragmatic. "It is the natural evolution of a gay man in Minneapolis," he said. "First a gay man moves downtown and gets all the clubbing out of his system. Then they move to uptown. Then they move to St. Louis Park. Then they move far away to the suburbs and are never seen again."

I had images of Joey inviting me via snail mail to his birthday barbecue in Plymouth and shuddered at the thought. My poor baby!

Anyway, we were up at moto-I at the rooftop, and I declared that I was not drinking for a week so I would have a tonic water please, while the boys enjoyed adult beverages. The food was delicious. Charlie had to go back to his home in St. Paul (he's close St. Paul, though, like by UST), and the three of us went back to the house to watch the Beyonce visual album Lemonade. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the remote after moving back to the house, so we couldn't fast-forward anything and and to watch it straight through.

"I just don't get this," Joey said about every video.
"I want to get laid," said Steve after every video.
"You boys are stressing me out!" I cried. "I need a drink!" Steve and Joey looked at each other like children when Mommy is off her medicine. And thus ended my flirtation with sobriety. I felt bad about myself for drinking again and then drank more to feel less bad about myself. I had only been holding myself accountable -- I didn't pledge to anybody else that I would do this sober kick, and the only person I was letting down was myself (and maybe my mother) -- but it still felt like an internal failure on my part.


Since I had already face-planted off the wagon, I was back at the club on Saturday, where I talked to a nice boy who looks like Sexy Harry Potter. While I was dancing with him (me! dancing! What??? Accio sex appeal of a much younger man), my friends left by themselves and when I tried calling one of them, I was met with a text that says "I'm with people", with is gay code for "LEAVE ME ALONE AND GO HOME BY YOURSELF, GODDDDD." I felt stupid and butt-hurt about it the next day, and Reid went to Union with me for brunch where I used an #ImWithPeople hashtag on our Facebook check-in, as if that would solve anything.

We know Al, one of the servers at Union, so she hooked us up with great service. The first time I met Al she was screaming in my apartment about how much she hated someone. "AND NOW SHE'S PREGNANT AND THINKS SHE'S SO SPECIAL BUT I STILL FUCKING HATE HER!!!!" I was very worried as I thought she was talking about her roommate, but it turns out she was discussing the Academy Award-winning actress Anne Hathaway.

Nevertheless, Reid and I were sitting in the hot sun, and I'm rocking that fair skin, so I could feel myself burning up. Jared joined us shortly thereafter. Sometimes I forget I'm not at the gay club anymore, and when a group of muscle broskis came in, I began applauding. Reid found a drunk straight guy to hang out with for most of the time. He was definitely my type (muscular, dreamy, dumb as a box of rocks), but I kind of prefer my crushes to not have a vacant look in their eyes like they currently have a concussion.

"He's much more of a Jakey type than a Reid type," Reid admitted.
"I know, what gives?" I cried. "Find me the twinkiest twink! I want a little blonde thing with no body hair that I can throw around like a rag doll!" Unfortunately, there was no such thing at Union.

Jared, Reid, a delightful lesbian named Sasha, and I vamoosed to Cowboy Slim's, because that was where Reid's broski was going. Or was it Cowboy Jack's? I don't know. The one that's walkable distance from Union. Reid bought me a shot and we decided to ride the mechanical bull!!!! Who was I???? I was enjoying my last damn week at 29, that's what.

We watched a stranger go first.

"Oh, God," I cried. "I'm gonna get hurt."
"It's all in your thighs," Jared, now the expert of rodeo, recommended.

I got on but was still nervous. I may have gained some weight, but I'm still under 130 and built like a grandma.

"You'll do fine!" Jared cried. "Pretend it's Wesley!"

Without any further comment, I lasted 11 seconds which was longer than anyone else in our group. Never doubt the power of a heartbroken twunk.

Steve messaged me reminding me that I was supposed to clear the driveway for him (we share a parking space and he works late on Sundays). When I told him I forgot and I had already been drinking and wasn't gonna risk the DUI, he clapped back.

Oops. Forgot the world revolved around you. My bad.

Well, I'll always be happy to remind you that it CERTAINLY DOES, is what I wanted to say, but I didn't think of it until six hours later and spent the rest of the afternoon pouting and eschewing alcohol for Red Bull. Don't you hate that, when you get the right comeback hours, if not days, later? It reminded me of the time I was at Lawrence's pride party trying to interject in a conversation at the table. "This is an A-B conversation," an asshole with facial piercings told me. Well, that's fitting, because you're a real C, is what I wanted to say. I don't even think I thought of that until, like, a MONTH later.

Still, it really hurt my feelings, probably much more than it should have. I have a pathological need to be liked at all times and I have yet to appropriately adjust when that script is flipped. Reid, Sasha and Jared kept telling me to get over it and all I could think about was what Beyonce song would fit my sadness. We later went to Mackenzie's and indulged in French fries, and Reid and I flirted with a waiter of indiscriminate foreign origin.

I took a nap and moved the car before walking to Joey's, so hopefully the world went back to revolving around the sun. #heliocentric

Joey and I played Fortune Streets at his apartment and actually finished the game!! That never happens!! Unfortunately, this meant that we had a good eight minutes to sprint from Laurel Village to the Gay '90s so I could host Mystery Porn Theater 3000. We used Joey's past as a track star and my past as being a widely anxious fuck to good use, and made it to the show in time.

At the '90s, we indulged in free drinks courtesy of our bartender Tim while I narrated Gays of our Lives Part 2 and Boywatch Part 2. Unfortunately, we don't have the originals, so I don't know if anybody understood the plot.

We had a few guests that evening. One was a boy who I am going to call Tall Boy because he is tall and I am creative. He was blonde, blue-eyed and lamented the dress code of the '90s that said he couldn't wear a sleeveless shirt.

"You can wear it in here," Tim smiled. The boy obliged and my eyes got big because he had stealth biceps, by which I mean you would not describe him as muscular when you first saw him, but then the first shirt came off and I wanted to challenge him to an arm-wrestling match.

Then my friend Zidane came in with some of his Brazilian cousins. One of them I have met before at The Saloon, as he was underage and was very politely thrown out when he sipped from a drink before remembering he was in America. His name is Paolo, and he is a muscular college athlete. I don't have a crush on him at all.

After awkwardly flirting with Paolo and Tall Boy, it was time to go!

"Are you ready to go to The Saloon?" I asked Joey.
"Yes," he said, even though he was doing that thing where he couldn't exactly stand up straight. Oh, brother.

We miraculously made it to The Saloon and to the back bar to get food! Joey said hello to Steve while I ignored him because I am mature that way. Steve is a Virgo and does not stay mad. I am a Cancer which means I stay mad but then will swear an oath in front of a jury of my peers that I am not mad at all and everything is fine. Joey wolfed down a burger basket nearby the garbage can while I tried fending off thirsty twinks, as I was worried the garbage can might be coming in handy.

"I swear I know you," a beautiful tall blonde kept saying.
"You're so cute," an older dark-haired gentleman kept saying.
People! I wanted to cry. Now is not the time. Instead I emitted an awkward smile that I hoped gave the same signal.

After carb-loading, it was time to dance!!! Did I mention I hate dancing? But I was still, now perhaps irrationally, worried that Joey was too drunk to leave by himself and it was all my fault considering it was at my show in which he indulged in freebies. I was in full-on Mama Bear mode. I danced with Tim and thanked him for the service at the '90s. Tall Boy was there!

"Do you remember my name?" he asked. I did, and he was impressed, which made me kind of sad. But he was dancing with a girl! OH NO.

I looked behind me and Paolo was there! What? Twinks were all over him. Joey brushed up against him for a little bit. I danced him with awkwardly, by which I mean I just jumped up and down a lot.

"You need to come to my show!" I yelled over the music.
"When is it?!" he yelled.
"Thursday!!" I yelled.
"That's my birthday!!!" he yelled louder. "You better give me a shout-out!!!"

Then Brexit came up to us. Brexit is a super weird code nome for a boy, but it is because, while I met him months ago at The Eagle, I never really bonded with him until Pride weekend when we discussed Brexit for ten minutes because we are both political science nerds. We are both anti-Brexit but I have consistently been having cybersex with a conservative British boy for the past six years, and therefore I felt I had good perspective on both sides of the issue.

Anyway, it was super awkward, because Brexit clearly was not coming over to talk to me, who is small and average, but to Paolo, who is tall and strapping and sexy as fuck. I know, right? How shocking.

They made small talk and then Brexit looked over to identify who Paolo's dance partner for the moment was.

"Oh, um, hi, Jakey," he awkwardly smiled before doing a double-take. The best part of being gay is when you crush comes over to you only because he wants to talk to your other crush.

It was about 1:45 now. OH MY GOD, HOW MUCH LONGER DID I HAVE TO KEEP DANCING??? I even hated it in my youth.

I felt a slight reprieve when "My Love is Your Love" came on, and by slight reprieve I meant a slight pang of feelings.

One of the best weekends of my life was April of last year. That Friday night, I performed at T-Buckets, a dive bar in Somerset, Wisconsin, and was to perform at a fancy charity event the next day at a golf course in Cottage Grove. On the drive back from Friday night, I was with my good comedy friend Emily Johnson and this song came on. We were both secret fans of it. I discussed how I was in love, and how I had been that way for a long time, and I thought that maybe this time things would actually work out.

The following evening I met up with him after the golf course show. I was still rocking my too-tight tan suit from the kids' department and he was wearing jeans with holes in them. For a while everything was perfect, and I also had a lingering fear -- if not knowledge -- that it was all going to end soon.

He drove away from me two weeks later, never to be heard from ever again. He added me back on Facebook due to a glitch in the system. When I drunk messaged him to ask him about it, I made Jared read the response (it was allegedly "not terrible", I think his words were). When I drunk texted him after my best friend was two blocks away from the terrorist attack in Paris, I realized I had sent it to the wrong area code.

I was lost in these thoughts when a well-meaning boy asked me if this was Whitney Houston.

"Yes," I said, as I was back in present time. "From the album of the same name, My Love is Your Love."

Tall Boy asked for my phone number but I never heard from him. Paolo left with his sexy, sexy posse. Joey got home safely. The world continued turning around something.


I was lucky to be off the next day, on the 4th of July!

I have never, ever had a sexy Fourth of July.

But it was still fun! My friend Julie lives in Apple Valley and I drove to her house, where I was at the Apple Valley 4th of July Parade. It was just like the Pride Parade in downtown Minneapolis except not at all. Our high school friend Hallie was there with her kids as was another young couple with kids, as they were well-trained in getting candy. I was busy eye-fucking a young DILF across the street until I saw how happy and excited he was when Jason Lewis, a conservative former radio host running for John Kline's vacant House seat against openly gay Angie Craig. Nevertheless, I still smiled and thanked the attractive woman who handed me a flyer and encouraged me to vote. Responding with "I live in Minneapolis and I LOVE OBAMA" would not have solved anything (and made Julie, a Republican, rather uncomfortable). I am an election judge and am passionate about people getting out to vote, period, end of sentence.

We went back to the house for BBQ where Hallie chastised her oldest daughter for putting her finger in the dipping sauce.

"Luna Ruth," Hallie cried. "Don't look away from me when I am shaming you in public."
"It's really fine," Julie said.
"I'm not done," Hallie continued.

It's so weird to think of her as a mom because in my head I'm still in seventh grade, but she's a hilarious mom, especially because her family is going through tough times that belie their youth. You need your humor to survive.

Isaac, a firefighter, is very sweet and hilarious and struggling with an unknown disease akin to muscular dystrophy, and y'all can donate here.


While I was in the 'burbs, I swung on over to Prada Diamond's house for her annual 4th of July pool party! It made me realize how lucky I am to have such an eclectic life, going from a BBQ with young families to a BBQ with drag queens and where "mother" and "children" mean some different things!

Now they tell me.

Prada and her partner, Violet Femm, have a lovely home in Burnsville with a hot tub attached to the kitchen. I went out to the pool and delighted in being able to recognize so many drag queens out of face. It was a delightfully diverse party in terms of color and body type, and I was happy to be there. Julia Starr's eyebrows stayed on the entire time and I think she has secret powers.

"I'm so excited for our show on Thursday!" Christina Jackson cried.
I shushed her because we were right in front of Bad Karma, a drag queen whom I lurve, and Karma's benefit show was the same day at LUSH.
"I am too," I whispered.

I was about to leave but THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD. Get you someone who can paint their face and make a three-course meal. I waited to throw my food away because the house boy was changing the bags.

"Which one is recycle and which is trash?" I asked.
"Um, the one that says trash," he said.
"Well, I don't want to screw it up!" I cried. "You were working so hard."


Holy shit.

And then, we came to only the biggest night of my career. Okay.

As of that morning, we had sold six tickets online. And I was not only to pay myself but all of the incredible talent and the sound guy AND raise money for the Minnesota AIDS Project, which led to incredibly generous donations for our raffle. My anxiety was only quelled by the fact that we got a great write-up in City Pages that came out the day before.

Some people celebrate turning 30 years old with a party that is unapologetically self-glorifying. For others, leaving their twenties behind is a reason to mourn the loss of youth, and embrace the cold darkness of being an old person.
For local comedian Jakey Emmert, it’s an excuse to bring together the best LGBTQ comedians from all over Minneapolis for an incredible showcase of queer comedy talent.
“Turning 30 absolutely terrifies me,” he says about the milestone birthday. “I thought that if I could make a show about it, I would dread it less.”

Oh, children, I was still mourning the loss of youth and embracing the cold darkness, I was just also doing a show.

The day began with me trekking to Cottage Grove, where my friend Melissa Abdouch, who had already managed to get $250 of fake eyelashes donated to the raffle, had commissioned a friend of hers to make a set of beanbag boards. Miraculously, my GPS worked so I did not get lost on the way (actually it is very close to the casino), and in another miracle, they fit in my Toyota Yaris!

I quickly printed things at the library, dropped things off at my mother's house and got pretty at my home before vamoosing to The Saloon. I gave myself an enema so even if I would have vomited, nothing would have come out.

I got there at 5:30 and my parents were there, as was Greta, who was helping be in charge of the raffle as a representative of MAP. Jared, Reid, and Steve arrived shortly thereafter. Team Jakey was in full activation mode! Joey was at his high school girlfriend's wedding.

I was running around with a chicken with his head cut off. "I feel I like still have to do 1000 things," I told B. Louise, who was my host for the evening.
"Welcome to producing," she said. She was a wonderful ally to do the event with, as she has producing experience up the wazoo. I knew how to stand behind a microphone, but I had no idea how to book people, negotiate pay, and promote accurately.

The doors were about to open and I wanted to go upstairs, because I didn't want anyone to see me once the show started. And it's not like I'm Cher or anything, but it's kind of like a wedding. If you see me right away and I come out two hours later looking the exact same, it isn't as special, y'know?

I was right about to head upstairs when my Auntie Kathy, who messaged me earlier saying she wasn't going, showed up!!

She came all the way from Princeton, Minnesota, with one of her good friends. I was blown away by the gesture.

"How are ticket sales going?" I asked Team Jakey.

"Are you monitoring sales or playing Pokemon Go?!" I cried. "You are all fired."
"Wait, what?" Reid asked.
"Oh my god, SQUIRTLE!" Jared cried.

Steve was assigned to do the manual labor of the chairs and Reid was assigned doing tickets with my father.
"Reid, are you comfortable checking ID's so we can 'X' anyone between 18 and 21?" I asked.
"You don't have to tell me twice," he cried. Daddy.

I ran upstairs, able to enjoy the show as much as I could. I was also assigned a walkie which I kept neglecting. My heart went out to Everett, the event coordinator and unofficial show producer.

B. Louise went first, then Justin Horowitz (a young gay), then Sarah McPeck sang a hilarious song to Jakey as Jared, then Harrie Bradshaw (who had to leave early to see Garbage), then Zidane, then intermission, then John, then Christina Jackson, and then ...

...As nervous as I was, I was also ready, y'know, in a mode of "Let's just do this" ...

"Please welcome, the world's oldest living twink, JAKEY EMMERT!!!!"

The only video I have of the show -- which I since accidentally deleted because I cannot have things -- is my entrance, which my friend Diva recorded. Mitchel has it on his phone but neither one of us can figure out how to upload it.

The crowd went apeshit. I'm not saying I deserve it or that they should have gone apeshit, but I was certainly not expecting to walk out to a thunderous standing ovation. I hugged Jared, who was in the front row, and then made fun of my family and closest friends for ten to fifteen minutes (I already tried to do a lip-sync and it wasn't that funny, but it is important to try new things, and I didn't want the show to be a carbon copy of my set at Pride two weeks before).

My non-sexual life partner Jared is here. I'm not saying I'm dramatic, I'm saying that he used my last enema and I moved out for a month. It was a shitty situation.

Joey is not here. He is at his high school girlfriend's wedding in Green Bay. I think he should have sent a postcard with all of us that said "Dodged a Bullet". 

He was going to move to St. Louis Park and I handed him the knife and said, JUST DO IT. He said, "If you want me to do it fast, use a gun." I'm like, "A gun? You are such a Republican." This year, the worst thing you can call a gay man is a Republican. We're like, "Faggot? Eh. Republican? HOW DARE YOU."

My friend Steve is here. I'm not saying he's a stoner, I'm just saying he doesn't like to talk with his eyes open.

My brother is NOT here. (gives middle finger) ... He had a terrible girlfriend. Thing is, there is only room for one bitch in the family and Loretta and I are still fighting over it. It's not gonna be you.

My auntie Kathy came all the way from Princeton, Minnesota! I think she thought "queer" meant "strange". She's gonna go home and her friends are gonna be like "What did they talk about, Kathy?" and she'll be like, "Y'know ... Stuff."

All of my friends are so much younger than me! Except Reid, but he has banged so many 20-year-olds that he is 20 by osmosis.

The ten minutes flew by, and then we brought out the talent onstage to do our raffle. We raised almost $500 for charity, and half of it was donated by Markie, who won almost all of the prizes. He even tried bidding for the eyelashes. I later found out that my friend Martha and her daughter Lucia nominated themselves as raffle bullies and wouldn't let people sit down until they bought something. Also, I lost the Twin Cities Leather & Latte prize and later found it with my laundry, so if you are reading this, Geoff, please let me know when I can bring it to you.

Me with my friend Heather (who snagged a major MOA donation!), and Loretta

After the show, people wanted to hug and greet me (understandably!), but I had to make sure everybody got paid! My mother found out Harrie Bradshaw's real name is Oliver and still think that's the cutest thing. I look drunk in this picture but really it's because I felt like I got shot out of a cannon. I worked my ass off this show, stressed out about it, and then ... I did it. Huh. That happened. Okay.

Tan Man was there and we took a photo in the back. I love him so.

People kept wanting to buy me shots but I had to work the next day (at 3 PM, but still), so I turned a few people down and was later told that I was rude and dismissive about it. It was never my intention and I reached out to at least one person I knew who felt that way.

It wasn't just a celebration of myself, but a celebration of the generosity within our community -- I couldn't believe how many prizes got donated -- and a celebration of the gay talent around us. I had long dreaded turning 30, and as early as February, I had told myself that if I did a show to celebrate it, then I would have something to look forward to instead of being afraid of.

For a month I had shared a wall with talent like Harrie Bradshaw, Strongjaws, and Bob the Drag Queen, and I had to recognize that such a feat -- for someone who is not a drag queen, a ridiculously sculpted model/dancer, or famous outside the walls of The Saloon -- was kind of amazing.

However, this show was technically the week before my birthday, because I was being obnoxious and doing TEN DAYS OF BIRTHDAY!

The following week, Joey and I went to the casino. The water park was closed so we listened to the next-door neighbors having sex for entertainment.

My actual birthday was Friday the 15th and I had to open that day because it was a big day at my real job. That Thursday before, I went to Drag Queen Game Night but convinced myself that I would leave right after the show.

Well, you know where THIS is going.

I let it slip that my actual birthday would be at midnight.

"I'll buy you a shot at midnight," said Brett, my dreamy and lanky bartender.
"I'm sorry I missed your show," said PAOLO~!. "I will buy you a shot at midnight."
"Oh, twist my arm," I said. I stayed for the show (Lila Veda did a death drop and I saw my life flash before my eyes), and mingled while sipping a Red Bull.

The back bar was more crowded than usual for a Thursday night, and the clock was ticking. "Are you ready, Jakey?" Paolo asked.
"Of course I'm ready," I said.
"For your drink?" he clarified.
"Oh, maybe," I said.

B. Louise's table was next to mine and a group of twins whom I see at the bar often were standing on the other side of me. Time felt like it was standing still.

"It's your birthday?!" cried one twink who has jet black hair, blue eyes, and absolutely no body fat.
I nodded. "At midnight."
"Oh my god, happy birthday!" the twinks cried. I didn't have the heart to tell them that at midnight, one of them would be sacrificed to an altar made of Andrew Christian underwear and Fireball bottles and druids would chant as I would soon enter the abyss that was ...

"It's midnight! Happy birthday!" Brett cried.

I chugged my shot and immediately went down to the ground, with my hands over my face.

"Oh my god, what's wrong?" cried a twink. "You should be happy it's your birthday!"

I knew that when I stood back up, my world would now be completely different.

Paolo helped me up and I removed my hands from my face.

"I'M THIRTY!!!!!!!!!" I cried.

The twinks stood back and gasped.

"We thought you were, like, 24," one of them said.

"Oh, children," I cried. "Not at all."

B. Louise's table sang Happy Birthday in raucous fashion. I was on time for work the next day. All was well.


My brother is my twin, so I decided on our actual birthday, my friends and I would crash his party at Ray J's and go to LUSH thereafter. I walked home to presents. Steve got me a new DVD player (so we can skip on the Beyonce album!) and an air purifier for my room, since I had a horrible asthma flare-up that never went away. Joey said he would purchase tickets for an upcoming vacation. The real present was when he agreed to change the bedding, but flourished too much during the act and blew a fuse in the house! We learned it takes three gays to change the light bulb (or at least find the fuse box).

We were fashionably late to Ray J's, so we just missed my aunt and uncle, who gave me money and Dots for my birthday (all I will ever want). Woody showed up thereafter. I had too much Fireball and turned really red and at one point drunkenly ran to Lunds to buy Pepcid, but they were closed. Ugghhh. I chugged a bunch of water and looked decent enough for us to head to LUSH.

I also realized I smile the exact same way my Grandma Shirley smiles in pictures.

Oh my gosh! Go back real quick.

Before the party, we had dinner at the house with our grandparents and Dane and I made Grandma Shirley Bingo. Every selection is something she inevitably brings up.

LUSH was a hoot and I even attempted dancing.

Some of the first official photographic evidence of my third decade. Jesus.


The festivities continued one more day when it was my birthday brunch at UNION! I had to drive to get Charlie, because he injured himself at work and is on crutches, the poor thing. He got offended when I told him he was gangly.

"I meant lanky," I tried clearing up.

Steve had to work in the afternoon but still showed up (a very sweet gesture), as did my brother, Loretta, Jared and Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan gave me a gift card for the Melting Pot and Charlie and Jared both gave very thoughtful, homemade presents that currently reside atop my dresser.

I had Reid guest host the '90s show for me since I had to open the next day and the 10 days of birthday HAD ME EXHAUSTED. I still stayed up drinking 'til 2 anyway, because Steve, Joey, and two twinks from down the street were playing Uno, where we indulged in delicious gossip and Rumpelmintz.

"Let's make a rule where every time someone plays a Skip, you say something shady about the person to your right," Steve said.
"No!" I cried. "I am at your right."
Steve played a Skip. "You're balding," he said.
"That's not even shade," I pouted. Then I looked in the mirror and realized I was getting hives from the Rumpelmintz. My beauty, like my youth, was officially gone.

You look around and you see all the love around you and you just have to let yourself feel it ... Or at least save it and remind yourself that it's there in a future time of need.

I wrote that the night of the show and am trying to keep myself remembering it. I go absolutely crazy in next week's episode.

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