My dad: "Let me just check on my straight flag."
My face: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa---"
My dad, looking at The American Flag he has hung on his front porch: "Yeup. No wind today. It's hanging dead straight."
Dude: "What did you do for Pride?"
Me: "I worked."
Dude: "On Pride?"
Me: "I just got back from vacation. Also, I'm not hugely into Pride."
Dude: "I can't believe you worked on Pride! It's like a cultural holiday for us."
Me: "Well, to be fair, I did work in a very gay way."
Dude: "What? LOL. How?"
Me: "I blew a guy between each transaction."
Dude: "TOO FAR."
Me: "I mean, it was the same guy. Mostly."
Dude: "TOO FAR."
I was asked to translate my conversations with Selina Ribcage so that people understand why I am so hostile to my Virtue Signaling, Fake Ass Ally Of A Cat, so here you go:
Selina: Are you doing anything for Pride?
Me: I'm busy doing some editing now, Selina. I need you to be quiet.
Selina: Is that a "no" about Pride? I thought part of being queer was supporting other queer members of your community.
Me: Selina, I don't have time to talk to you right now. I'm busy.
Selina: If the only queer thing you do is sleep with people of your own gender, you might be part of the problem.
Me: What problem? What are you talking about, you miserable cat?
Selina: You write a lot about being queer but I never see you at any events or fundraisers.
Me: How would you have seen me at any events or fundraisers? You are an indoor cat. You have not left this house since 2011.
Selina: So HAVE You gone to any events?
Me: Selina, I don't have time to talk about this right now. Especially not to a cat who lives rent free in my house and has been known to puke in the general vicinity of my shoes.
Selina: I wouldn't say anything but I recently read an article about how sexually active closeted gay men are part of the patriarchal hegemony that's responsible for Trump's rise to power.
Me: I'm not closeted. What are you talking about?
Selina: It's all here in this arti--
Me: That link is from The Onion, Selina. It's satire. Also, it's about car maintenance, not sexuality or politics.
Selina: I can't read. I'm a cat. But also, there's this article ab--
Me Infowars is not a valid source, Selina.
Selina: DON'T SILENCE ME. I AM A HUMAN BEING!!!
Me: No, you're a cat. A very loud, extremely obnoxious cat.
Selina: I HOPE YOU GET AIDS!!!
Me: That is homophobic, and awful. Get out of my room.
Selina: BEING MARGINALIZED DOESN'T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO BE A BULLY!!!!
Me: Get. out. of. my. room. you. stupid. cat.
Selina: I WILL PEE IN A PLACE YOU CAN NOT FIND!!!!
Me: Shut up.
Selina: JUST WHEN YOU ARE ABOUT TO FALL ASLEEP, I WILL POUNCE ON YOUR STOMACH AND FLICK MY TAIL IN YOUR FACE.
Me: Shut. up.
Selina: THE REVOLUTION IS COMING, AND FAKE ASS QUEERS LIKE YOU WILL --- HEY!!! PUT ME DOWN!!! I WILL NOT BE CARRIED OUT OF THE ROOM AND DISPOSED OF LIKE ONE OF YOUR CAT HATING EX-BOYFRIENDS. I HAVE RIGHTS!!!!
I close the door, and go back to editing.
Selina: TYPICAL LEFTIST BULLYING BEHAVIOR!!!! THIS ISN'T FACEBOOK, ASSHOLE!!! YOU CAN'T BLOCK ME!!! I WILL SCREAM UNTIL --- IS THAT A GLASS OF WATER? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! MEEEEEEEEEEEEOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY????
Me: Shut. the fuck. up.
After a few minutes of silence, there is the sound of scratching at the door.
Selina: LET ME IN SO I CAN TELL YOU WHY ALL OF YOUR WRITING IS GARBAGE.
Me: SHUT UP.
Selina: DON'T RAISE YOUR VOICE, I'M TRYING TO HELP YOU BE A BETTER PERSON.
When Chic-fil-a decided to be more Openly Bigoted a few years ago, one of my very close friends, a woman who had stayed at my house when she was fighting with her idiot boyfriend, and who had invited me to her wedding before she and her idiot fiance broke up, a woman who introduced me to her best friends: a lesbian couple who lived in the South End, wrote a long post about how she was devoting her free time to protest in favor of Chic-fil-a's freedom to be homophobic.
Because she was my friend, and someone I'd always viewed as an ally, I refrained from being sarcastic, and asked her how she could reconcile the way that company was treating at least four people she cared about (the fourth being the guy I dated through most of our friendship), and she sent this long disconnected Jesus tirade about how Christians were being persecuted for blah blah blah, false dichotomy, metaphorical bible quote taken literally, etc. So I defriended her, and sent her a very brief e-mail telling her that I was disappointed that she valued a fictional version of a two thousand year old dead guy more than her living friends. I didn't hear from her again until the Boston Marathon bombing, where I sent her a reply of "I am unaffected." and presumed, correctly, that I wouldn't hear from her again.
Today, in the midst of all the rainbow memes, and wedding pictures, I scanned through my friends' posts and was pleasantly surprised to not find a single argument. Like, REALLY surprised. So it was with much disappointment that I found a solitary post, made by the woman I almost married twenty years ago talking about how "love won when Jesus died on the cross" which is...ASTOUNDING. You'd think that if you were going to be Jesus-y, you'd go with "love won when Jesus rose again" or "love won when...." actually there's not a lot of love in the New Testament, once the whole "let's kill the protagonist" angle starts up.
She went on to talk about how difficult it was going to be to teach her children about checks and balances when "there aren't in any in the new America". And how this wasn't about marriage equality rights, this was about states' rights.
Huh, where have I heard that recently?
As I've been doing more and more often recently, I wrote a long, calm, point about why I disagreed with her status, and then, instead of posting it, I erased it and defriended her.
I know there is a sentiment among many of my friends that you shouldn't be silent, and that you should fight through your feelings and argue with people about their ignorance and/or bigotry, but that's not for me. I've long grown tired of trying to use logical thinking when talking to a bunch of metaphor-comprehensionally impaired bigots who belong to really judgmental book club, which is #notallChristians but #yesallliteralists. How can I hope to compete logically with someone who, if he existed, has been dead for so long that he wouldn't even know that calendaric time has started flowing in the opposite order.
Also, when I get frustrated with people laying down irrelevant platitudes that they didn't even come up with themselves, but overheard on their news show of choice, I tend to say very specifically hurtful things that I can't take back like "I feel really bad for your children, what with them being homeschooled by a prejudiced idiot." or "I don't think someone who majored in violin at a glorified musical academy is really qualified to be discussing constitutional law." or "As the person who helped finance the abortion you got when you cheated on me, I think you are woefully unqualified to be talking about morality and so-called-family values." but that's not going to solve anything.
I'm fairly meticulous with who I am Facebook friends with. I don't expect everyone I talk to agree with me on what kind of poets I respect, or whether the last episode of Lost proved that the show was super racist, but if I see that you've made a post about Barack Obama where you use any pejorative term that dehumanizes him (I'll disagree with you about "stupid", but I won't be mad about it. I understand "disappointing", and any synonym for "liar" is acceptable what with him being a politician and all) or if you want to defend the use of racist imagery or using the law to impose your religion on people, or tell me how woman aren't qualified to (insert anything here...actually anything), then I don't give a shit that we used to go to Middle School together, or that we both really like X-Men comics, I'm done communicating with you.
------I don't want anything from this post. It's not here as a dramatic "if you do X, you better defriend me now!!!111!1!1!" statement. I'm happy to do the work of defriending myself if I see repeated ignorant bullshit. It's mainly that I'm sad that someone I used to be really close to, someone who, granted, has always been from a really weird family, a family who, after they moved west somehow found Jesus in every corner of their house, and at the grocery store, and on their toast, has finally pushed me to the point where I just can't communicate with her anymore
--------for those of you who've been around since The Insafemode Journal days, Yes, this is the same woman who called me at work to let me know that she had a half-brother who turned up. She was letting me know because her mother had given him up for adoption and "My mother would never have agreed to meet him, if he hadn't mentioned that he wanted to share with her the gospel of Christ. So maybe if you accept Jesus, you can get in touch with your birth parents." She was unimpressed when I let her know that if I wanted to get in touch with my birth parents, I just had to fill out paperwork with the agency that oversaw the adoption, as I was a ward of the state of Connecticut, not Jesus. And when I informed her that, in fact, my family abandoned Christianity specifically because my former-altar-boy father was told by The Catholic Diocese that he wasn't fit to be a parent, she started to talk about my family's shortcomings. I hung up on her, not just because I thought she was being an insensitive, unChristian ass, but because I was also in the middle of a nine hour shift waiting tables.
--------we now return you to your regularly scheduled series of posts about how annoying people are in retail environments
A guy in a black fedora with a blue feather walks in with his family. A preteen daughter and a son around 15 or 16. He spends the first two minutes in the store fidgeting and blinking. He can’t seem to look at anything for more than five seconds at a time, so I’m imagining he has some sort of speed problem. And, unfortunately, the problem isn’t that he can’t get his hands on speed.
His daughter picks up an exceptionally well written middle school graphic novel called “Drama”.
Daughter: “Hey, Dad, I found this book about…”
Father, without a trace of humor: “Again with the books?” He rubs his nose.
"Why do you have to read so many books. Watch TV like a normal kid. You want people to think you’re a lesbian?"
My Gay Roommate: “I was surprised. Every place in Provincetown carried Moxie.”
Me: “How are you surprised that a town full of people who voluntarily put their tongues in men’s buttholes think Moxie tastes good?”
While on my way to work, a young woman working for one of those environmental/social change companies that gives young people aprons and clipboards and asks them to harass people on the street for signatures waved her hands in my face and said “Prove you like women. Talk to me for thirty seconds.”
Me: “Sorry, I’m on my way to work.”
Canvasser: “What’s the matter, you don’t like women?”
Me: “No, I just don’t like you.”
Any date scheduled to start at a place called Pinkberry, is liable to end up in a very specific way.
I want my excuse to be that I was still in my single digit years, and therefore more vulnerable to the Disney like nature of musical theater. But I distinctly remember living in the Lakeview house, and we didn't move there until I was eleven. One of those friends of the family that my parents had me call Uncle was on the outs with his wife. While I was shipped off to summer camp, he stayed in my room. He brought with him clothes, a stack of magazines ranging from The Weekly World News to Newsweek, and a small beige briefcase full of cassettes.
My parents listened to oldies, classic radio shows, and country music. When I was six, I told my grandmother that I didn't like any music made after 1967. That Christmas, my parents gave me a copy of Michael Jackson's Thriller, and an incredibly premature Best Of The 1980s collection. Tony Basil and Donna Summer became my favorite contemporary artists, and my favorite song on the Elks Club jukebox was Kool & The Gang's Celebration. So maybe the whole musical thing shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise. Still, I'm thirty-four now, and much more comfortable talking about that hilarious time I ejaculated into a man's anus, then I am talking about the first time I listened to Cats.
Of course it was Cats. The green eyes on the black background, the catchy poems that Andrew Lloyd Webber set to saccharine music, the obligatory tacked on diva belted ballad. If you're going to leave a copy of Cats in an eleven year old's boombox the same week he gets the lead part in a play about fairy tales, you should go the extra centimeter and paper his bedroom's wall with pictures of greased up men with little or no clothing.
It's never been discussed why Uncle Mo spent two weeks living in my room while I slept in leaky cabins, and on the beach, but I suspect it had something to do with marital problems stemming from his pronounced lisp, gravity defying hands, and bright floral print blousy shirts. Or possibly he just needed a break from his own pre-teen boys who, the next year, would introduce me to ACDC, A Clockwork Orange, and the curious site of a twelve year old boy shoving a harmonica up his ten year old brother's ass. Whenever I start to think my own childhood was perversely gay, I think back on Cousin Bruce and Darren's oddly incestual Truth Or Dare games, and a wave of heteronormalcy washes over me. It feels like the opposite of a facial.
Once I'd memorized the lyrics to Cats, I moved on to Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, and Hello Dolly. Later that fall, I grew tired of the weirdly homosexual overtones of Boy Scouts, and quit the troop to be in a production of Bye Bye Birdie.
When you grow up knowing all the lyrics to An English Teacher and Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend, you have two choices: be a debonair straight boy who spends his teens and early twenties training to be a professional cunnilinguist, or be a fat homo with body issues and a fake girlfriend. All my exes describe me as "charming".
Even at eleven, I knew that liking musicals was, like waking up hard with your arms wrapped around your tentmate in Webelo camp, something you kept to yourself as long as possible. His future boyfriends would call him "charming" too. His ex-wife has other adjectives. Very few thesauruses connect her descriptions to "charming".
When Queen Sarah The Formerly Popular had her parents turn their loft into her Phantom Of The Opera style bedroom, I was the only one who described it as "cool". A week later, we sang a thirty second variation of All I Ask Of You on my answering machine, recording over my auspicious hip-hop debut. "You have reached 428-1383, we're not home right now, as you can see. Leave your name and your number right after the tone cause right now we can't be reached by telephone right now right now right now." I was born a decade too late to be a Beastie Boy.
Our recording caught the attention of precisely no one except for my parents who erased it because it was "too long".
The first musical I was in was You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. I played Linus. I had a crush on Schroeder, and rat tailed Lucy with my blanket on opening night because she decided to improv and kiss him on the lips. That the actor playing Schroeder was hopelessly straight, or that the actress playing Lucy was his sister didn't cross my mind until I was in my twenties. That there was a disturbing amount of vaguely incestual sibling activity on Cape Cod didn't occur to me until I started writing this paragraph.
I'd like to thank my parents for making me an only child.
The closest I had to a brother, growing up, was Kevin Harris, a professional wrestling fan who used to Weird Al Yankovic lyrics to pop songs, and expose himself to passing traffic. But if we were brothers, then our relationship was aggressively incestual.
Cats led me to try out for musicals. Phantom Of The Opera influenced my outgoing message recordings. Les Miserables enticed me to read the unabridged Victor Hugo novel when I was twelve. It wasn't for another decade, when I was playing Eddie and Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show, that I started connecting the dots between my affinity for musicals and long showers after gym class.
Last week, I found myself at a party with Wiz, Emily, and an assorted mix of poetry friends and strangers, when a girl pulled a eukalale out of her backpack, and began playing songs from The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Evita with honest to tone deaf sincerity. A group of lispers and belters joined in. I knew all the words but had no desire to sing them. This is what I call Gay Pride. Unfuck parades, drag shows, quilts, and rainbow glow sticks. I am proud every time someone shouts "One!" and I don't reply with "Singular sensation!" That's what I call progress.
I’ve decided to write a book about lesbian jerks. I’m going to call it Sappholes.