BOOTCAMP

A few nights ago, I was reminiscing with a friend who is known simply as “Tits” amongst the street gangs and schoolchildren of Minneapolis, Minnesota. And also to me. She is, admittedly, large and buoyantly-breasted and has blonde hair. Kind of like a foul-mouthed Barbie doll. Anyway, she and I met back when I was still in the military and running my squadron’s fitness program. She claims we met earlier, but I claim she’s a liar. Like me, Tits started as a Chinese linguist and remained locked and bound inside the NSA; I just fled the scene at my first opportunity, hence, fitness program management. Tits was an amazing linguist, but alas, physical fitness was less interesting to her than watching a documentary on the history of dust.

Everyone knows the military requires physical fitness tests and there are consequences if you don’t pass. Even in the Air Force. Which is funny because when I first joined, we simply had to hop on a bike and ride it for 8 minutes. The catch is that we never knew if we were passing or failing until it was over. They made us do push-ups and sit ups for a few years but the assessment monitors reminded us gently, “Don’t worry. They don’t count.” One friend said after, “Know what I did? One of each.” She then crushed her cigarette out under the bottom of her sneaker. Whereas every other branch was outside dying in the heat or freezing to death in the cold running, doing calisthenics, and push ups, Olympic feats, and beating the shit out of each other, we Airmen watched safely from the windows of the comfortable confines of our perfectly air conditioned or heated office sipping coffee and saying to ourselves, “Thank God I joined the Air Force.”

That all changed in 2004 when the Air Force realized it was way behind in the game and revolutionized its fitness program (I know, pause to laugh). Suddenly, WE had to join those we had scoffed at outside doing all manner of physical movements unknown to the average Airman. Because the Air Force is known as the “Think smarter, not harder” branch, the clever ones raced to their doctor to get waivers. Unfortunately, a component of the fitness test was an abdominal circumference measurement, and unless you were knocked up or had recent surgery, it was happening. Even if you had a sprained pinky finger, which actually got someone exempted from the 1-mile walk test once. This abdominal circumference measurement caused a greater war at that squadron than when the chow hall canceled Taco Tuesdays. I never deployed, but I can tell you, I certainly went to war daily with people who were pissed at the world, but especially me because it was my job to enforce the rules. Once, a senior officer said “Fuck you. You’re an asshole.” to me when I told him he *had* to obey military rule. At that point, thankfully, I was a civilian, so I said back, “Oh, go fuck yourself, sir. Lay off the cheeseburgers. I’ve seen you down in the cafeteria at least three times this week at Burger King. See you in a bit after you fail.”

In any case, if someone failed their test, they essentially belonged to me. It was my job to help coach them, build an exercise program for them factoring in all of their “challenges,” and basically, make sure they passed or they’d be forced out. And I truly cared about them. Granted, I wasn’t always sweet or cheerful about it (by 815am I had been drained of any shred of that I had), but I learned quickly to weed out the ones who really wanted to stay in versus the ones who were trying like lab mice to find any loophole available.

So, being creative and like-minded souls, my friend Larisa and my mentor, the resident exercise physiologist and awesome boss of all the fitness squad, Patrice came up with a 60 day program and a PT schedule that would rival any commercial gym. We had over 40 classes a week at one point ranging from military PT, yoga, Pilates, sports training, run clubs, recess (kids games burn adult calories, y’all), kickboxing, and it goes on and on. Our 60 day program, “BOOTCAMP” was required for everyone who had failed their fitness test. 5 days a week, an hour session each day. For the first week, it was all classroom work- teaching them the fundamentals of health, fitness, nutrition, behavior modification, and overall wellness improvement. The subsequent weeks were comprised of 3 days of PT test-focused drill sessions (running, push ups, sit ups) that increased in intensity but still tailored to each person’s needs. The other two days we made them do the “specialty” classes, like yoga, and kickboxing, and spinning.  We taught them how to use cardio equipment efficiently and how to lift weights  properly in the weight room. Every week they would have to check in with either Larisa or me just to see how things were going and we’d help motivate them. Of course, there was pushback from those that didn’t want to do it, and there were tears when people didn’t feel they were progressing fast enough to pass. But here’s the thing, at the end of each cycle, if everyone didn’t pass their PT test (I believe our pass rate was 90%), they had improved their score tremendously. Moreover, because they now had the knowledge and had been exposed to so many different ways to work out, they had found things they enjoyed doing. So they kept doing it and continued to pass their PT tests. While some people hated the process, they realized at the end how important it was and were genuinely thankful. That’s what wellness coaching is all about.

In any case, Tits of course failed her PT test and ended up in BOOTCAMP. If there was anything negative that could happen to someone in the military, this girl was destined for it, if not sprinting toward it. Blessed with gigantic breasts and a beautiful smile, she was cursed with a lack of foresight. A smart girl, just not a wise girl. She speaks fluent Chinese but posted on Facebook, “Oh, my God. I have my pottery class final exam today.” I imagined just what everyone else is imagining, but in my mind, a saggy-titted hippy with a gourd necklace is sitting behind this young lass helping her mold spinning mud. She told me during our late night conversation, “You were a fucking bitch to me during Bootcamp!” I simply said back, “Imagine how I would have treated you if I didn’t like you.”

The truth is, those were truly the best years of my life and I forged some of the best friendships in the world. Almost 8 years later, I’m still in touch with so many people and even if it’s just through Facebook, it feels good to still have that connection. I think what makes it even more beautiful is that many of them only knew me as that “fucking asshole” fitness guy. But they rolled the dice and saw that there’s more to me than just that. Not a whole lot, but enough to keep them amused, at the very least.

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Wear a Wig

Halloween is right around the corner and I’m still at a loss for how to build my costume. Last year I starved myself for a month, bleached the hell out of my hair, donned an ice blue speedo, cape, and gloves, and went as a slutty Queen Elsa. My companion for the night dressed as a mentally-challenged glam rock drag queen. Or at least, that’s what he looked like. I didn’t ask because I didn’t care. This year, I want to dress as April Ludgate from “Parks and Recreation.” For those of you who never watched the show, she’s a character with heart, but it is cruel and cold and sarcastic. Basically, me. She wears a yellow hoodie like a hardcore lesbian wears her chains and she also uses eyeliner. Other than that, she dresses pretty normal. I’ve been whining for weeks to anyone who will pretend to listen about how to bring this costume to life and the consensus is to wear a wig. Just that. “Wear a wig.” I have the most helpful friends in the world. These are people with advanced degrees and worldly knowledge and can recite the alphabet in ancient runes. When pressed for her costume this year, one friend replied, “I’m going as a drunk mom. Like I do every year. My son is going as the dummy from Goosebumps.” She then clarified, “Not an actual dummy. Like the ventriloquist kind of dummy.”

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Last year I couldn’t wait to “Let It Go” in my little Elsakini (and for the love of God, finally eat something once the night was over). And it was a blast. However, things have changed over the last year. Mostly because I’ve met and run around with some of the most evil souls released from Hell and they’ve helped destroy that cheerful and vivacious demeanor most people used to see in me. Granted, I’ve always been an outgoing introvert, I just hid it well.

A friend messaged me on Facebook and said, “You know, you were much more happy when you had blonde hair.” Having a PhD in scolding and selling Avon, she blamed it on bi-polar disorder. If so, it’s the chemicals in the bleach that I had set my head on fire with monthly. If hair color, fake or otherwise, determines temperament, I can only imagine how the natural gingers feel daily.

Nowadays, I’ve cropped my “Circle.” If you’re in it, you know who you are. A year ago, I’d prance through the wastelands of Florida singing, “I hope you had the best day EVER!” to everyone I came across and loving the world. Today, if I text you or (GASP) call you or accept a call from you, it means I do truly love you. If not, it means leave me alone. I love when people without medical degrees try to diagnose me with every form of depression and psychological disorder in the book. Here’s the thing: I enjoy my solitude. It doesn’t mean I hate being around people, but when you’re around them and listening to their needs all day and trying to help them through their problems, it’s draining. To me, a perfect Saturday night is an awesome burger and binge-watching Netflix with a friend. Not a club or a bar or some fancy restaurant with tons of people.

When I lived in Alexandria and was still dating my Bear, we went to this pretentious little restaurant in Clarendon (the most pretentious of all hamlets in the suburbs of DC) to celebrate something for some gym event. The restaurant was the size of a bedroom and it was packed. There were maybe 30 of us gathered around a single table and the menu had things like “Bone Marrow Malted Whiskey” on it. As more people arrived, I got more and more sweaty and anxious because I was getting claustrophobic. At one point, I turned to Bear and said, “I need to go. I can’t breathe.” And being the good gentleman that he is, he took me away. We stopped at McDonald’s, where there was no “Ox Testicle Infused Gin” on the menu and watched a movie on tv. That’s my kind of night.

Anyway, back to Halloween. I won’t be wearing a wig because it will annoy me. A yellow hoodie, some eyeliner, and normal clothes. To quote my girl April, if someone asks who I’m supposed to be, I’ll reply, “If you have to ask, you don’t get it.” Just as she’d want me to.

The Joy of (Not Having) Sex (J-La’s Manifesto Part I)

It is a balmy summer night in Florida and the past few weeks have been enlightening, to say the least. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, brooding, contemplating why I can’t find the magnificence of Olaf’s Lemon and Strawberry popsicle outside of Disney World, and just pondering life in general. I’ve decided to start a series of blogs about me. Who I am, was, and hope to be. Because nothing is more pretentious than giving someone a medium to express themselves. Commence the eye-rolls!

As Part I of my Manifesto, I’m going to talk about something that I’ve only recently started getting a grasp on. To the point that I actually did some actual research. Granted, it was through Wikipedia, Google, and the gypsy psychic I go to visit across the street whenever I’m feeling bad about myself and want to *really* feel it in the depths of my soul. We have a love-hate relationship. She tells me all these fantastically horrific and depressing lies about my past and future while her pendulous breasts rest on the table. Afterward, I throw my money (usually in coins) at her. She calls me “Beetch” with her gypsy accent (although I believe her to actually hail from the Midwest) and I spit on the floor and waltz out. The next time I go, it’s like we’re old friends again.

Anyway, this post has to do with sexuality. Specifically, mine. Now, for anyone reading this or actually for anyone in this whole wide wicked world who’s encountered me, it’s safe to say that I am a Homo of the Highest Class. My clitter gets all aflitter over glitter, my clothes fit tighter than humanly possible, the hem of my gym shorts barely makes it past my rude bits, I clap and cry and get excited very easily. I’m also sensitive, emotional, infamously needy, and sometimes a mess (more on that in Part II of this blog). I cannot change a tire nor can I fix anything that requires a tool with sharp edges. Actually, I can’t fix anything…period. My apartment is a veritable fortress of Frozen…nay, Elsa memorabilia, superhero action figures, rainbow colors, and posters of kickass chicks on my walls. But there’s one thing missing in the Gay Formula: I do not enjoy sex with men. At all.

I lost the Big V when I was 21 and let me tell you- he was slick about it. I woke up in the middle of the night with my boyfriend at the time and it was basically just happening. Kind of like how Sunday night just happens to roll into the disaster known as Monday morning. I wasn’t disgusted or horrified; I just felt like, “Oh, okay. This is happening. I guess it’s time for this to go down, anyway.” A few years later, I got hammered at a Gay Pride event, met a guy, and ended up back at his hotel where the deed was done again. He was a great guy as well, but come dawn, I just wanted something deep-fried and smothered in cheese. Since then, I have not had intercourse. I was 24 and am now 36, so that gives you an idea. That’s not to say I haven’t dated or fooled around a few times since then, but I can also say that I have never enjoyed any aspect of it. Hell, I don’t even like making out, let alone having to deal with a sea cucumber-like appendage that transforms into something resembling a gazelle horn (or that of a pygmy goat, depending on what your suitor was blessed or cursed with).

What this all comes down to is that I identify myself as Asexual, which basically is the lack of or absent interest in sexual activity. It goes much deeper than that, though. Asexuals align as the rest of commonly accepted sexual orientations, save for one aspect- we do not enjoy nor desire to engage in sexual activity. For example,

– aromantic: lack of romantic attraction towards anyone
– biromantic: as opposed to bisexual
– heteroromantic: as opposed to heterosexual
– homoromantic: as opposed to homosexual

I would identify myself as “homoromantic.” I do find men attractive but do not desire any sexual act with them. I’ve tried to work past that because we’re conditioned to believe that it’s what we’re supposed to do. I’m not a nun or a monk nor am I horribly disfigured, but judging by the nuclear wasteland of a freakshow social dating apps are, people want sex. For gay men, almost instantly. We’re rated by our biometrics (height, weight, face pic, body pic) right off the bat, and if you make it to Round 2, better be ready to show or receive a dick pic or be asked if you can “host” because your solicitor either lives with his parents, has 15 roommates, or is homeless. Thankfully, most gay men will give their dossier in their profile. Whether they’re HIV+, enjoy drugs, are looking for a daddy, or someone to do unspeakable things to them, you get it, asked for or not. Now, who wouldn’t want to walk down the aisle with that! The whole process is hilarious to me, but I always wish them well on their journey of a nighttime.

That’s not to say that I won’t engage in sexual activity; I just liken it to a chore, like doing dishes, folding laundry, or paying bills. I can always sense when someone is trying to be suave and go for it (bless their hearts). I do not revel in looking at or having to deal with the penises of men aside from my own. It’s a dick. I don’t care if it’s a foot long or the size of a pencil eraser. I don’t care if you’re circumcised or have a fruit-rollup of a pecker. I certainly don’t care what you do with it providing I’m not a part of the fallout. Just get out of my bathroom so I can take a shower. But, despite my best intentions, at some point when you’ve been dating a man for two minutes, they want to impress you with it.  Me, I recoil and have a face not dissimilar to this:

Oh, God. Why?

Oh, God. Why?

What I’d much rather do is cuddle. And I cuddle like a Boss Sloth. If I wrap myself around you, it means I feel safe and comfortable with you. And you better be able to sleep like that because I’m not letting go. To me, cuddling is the most intimate and affectionate thing two people can do together. And I don’t stereotype. I’ve cuddled with both men and women. I just tend to be more of a restless sleeper with men because the men I’ve cuddled with are violent sleepers and one can only take so many throat punches in their sleep before they start to wonder if the bastard was really asleep or wanted to get one in because I burned the bruschetta for dinner that night.

I sure would

I sure would

Out of all of this, what has troubled me most is the unfairness of it all. Not to me, but for these guys (save for one complete prick) who really hoped that what was happening between them and I would, or at least, could evolve into something more. And by more, the physical intimacy that comes from being in a relationship. Case in point, in my mid-twenties, I had been seeing someone for about a month before I let him sleep over one night. And I do mean just sleep. In the morning, I woke up, got up to take my morning piss, and when I came out of the bathroom, he was also awake and taking care of himself, so to speak. He coyly asked me if I wanted to join him. I just walked out of the bedroom, made myself a bowl of cereal, and turned on Saturday morning cartoons. I didn’t even look up when he left a few minutes later. When I finally gathered the courage to break up with him a few days later, he cried. In my arms. I’ll never forget what he told me as he left: “You are too young to be so cold. You never even gave this a chance. I’m not saying it would have been great, but now you’ll never know if it could have been.” When I closed my front door after him, I felt horrible. Not for me, but for him. He was a good guy, but even then I knew it could never have happened. Perhaps what made the situation more heart-rending was that a part of me also felt relieved.

I don’t want (nor need) a boyfriend, a husband, or God forbid, a partner, like it’s a third grade science project. What I do want is a companion. Someone who I can run through life with, experience new things with, and genuinely care for each other without the whole exchange of bodily fluids getting in the way. Rather than go to clubs or bars, we do things together that we love, that challenge us, and make us feel good about ourselves. We try new things, we explore and have adventures together. We do all of the silly things that are markers of our personalities. We laugh both at each other and at ourselves. And we’re comfortable, wholly, wholeheartedly, and authentically with each other. On a Saturday night, we’d be apt to be found trying out a new restaurant or even better, a new recipe and afterward, watching a movie and either enjoying it or making fun of it together. We’d retire to the bedroom and tell stories about our lives or even make up bedtime stories for each other until we both fell asleep. Wrapped up in each other and just finding comfort, solace, and intimacy of two hearts beating as one. That is the deepest level of love I hope for.

Because of all of this, I’ve been accused of being “retarded,” “bitter,” a “social pariah,” and my personal favorite: “too old anyway.” I’ve also been told that I’m “living in a Disney fantasy world waiting for Prince Charming,” who I’m needlessly reminded doesn’t exist. Ironically enough, most of these sweet and kind descriptions come from gay men, who we all know are the most tolerant and compassionate people in the world (next to the Christians, of course!).The thing is, I am the furthest from bitter. I love to see love happen and it breaks my heart when it doesn’t work out for the people I love. Granted, I hate weddings and baby showers but only because it means I have to wear pants. And a shirt. Quite possibly underwear as well. My first friend who gets married at a nudist resort or downloads a baby into the open arms of a chanting saggy-titted hippie wearing nothing but dried gourds around her neck will get the biggest and most expensive gift ever from me.

I also hate, more than anything, being told that I haven’t “found the right guy yet.” I have. It’s me. I don’t want to be defined by a relationship or be ruled by one. Nor do I want to give false hope to someone who thrives on the D and all of its many splendors. The closest I ever got to a perfect companionship was with my Bear, who I was with for almost three years. He knew pretty soon into our relationship that it was only ever going to be a companionship. Yet he stuck by my side. We still talk every single day, and even though sometimes he gets a little wound up and I get a little fired up, we always come back together. As a matter of fact, every man I’ve ever dated I’m still friends with. My Bear is just my favorite. And not just because he can kick the asses of every other man out there.

On the flip side, I also don’t begrudge anyone who gets it in daily, if not hourly. As long as it’s safe and consenting between both parties involved, sleep with whoever you like as often as you like. I won’t wear my cheerleading outfit and wave my pompoms while screaming hysterically and back-handspringing over the thrill of your conquests because, to be honest, they bore me. Aaaaaand pretty much everyone else. I’ll certainly nod my head and smile and say “Mmm-hmm” every so often, but in my head, I’m already drifting and thinking about what to make for dinner. Now, if you’re having sex in the woods and a mass murderer falls upon you with bloody results or one of you trusts a fart with damnable consequences during the act, that’s when you’ll re-ignite my attention and I’ll want to know more. “What weapon was he carrying?” “Can I see your scar?” “How did you escape?” “Was it a fart or a shart?” “How did you clean it up?” “Do you think you’ll see him/her/it again?”

So, this is me. Well, a part of me. There’s even more fun to come in future posts. I’m really bad at relationships. However, I would soar in a companionship. I love wholeheartedly and live authentically. What you see is what you get. And behind that frosty yet whimsical demeanor, there’s a person who knows what he wants. It’s not to be taken care of financially, to paint the world with sexual acts that would make Madonna blush, or to have a cookie-cutter relationship that binds us rather than lets us run free, side-by-side, with each other’s best interests at heart. Loyal, kind, loving, and silly. I’ll leave you with this. It’s the Asexual flag in the background. It speaks to me, and I believe it to be true.

Asexual

Yellow Flicker Beat

I feel like a wastrel because I’ve been so horrible about posting anything, and for no good reason save for that I’ve been pursuing life.

While I’d like to write about all of the scandalous adventures I’ve had over the past several months, including almost dying due to being clumsy and also finding myself in bed naked with a woman for the first time since high school, what I’d really like to write about is the value of self worth. It’s something that I struggle with because it is a challenge many of us face daily.

Over the past several months, I’ve made several new friends and have also gotten closer to old friends. What I’ve noticed is that many of us are struggling with not only ourselves, but the relationships that we’ve made with partners and friends. The struggle is real, especially when it comes to connections with people we deeply and intimately care about.

Connection is very easy for some of us and also very challenging for others. Whereas some of us delve right in, others are wary of what it involves. There are absolutely no guarantees and no promises and there’s nothing we can do but hopefully be authentic and genuine to ourselves and our own self-worth. The truly courageous and valiant do not become bitter or angry or malicious after a fall, rather they rise back up even stronger than before and continue on, leading with their heart and continuing to love the entire world, despite its imperfections.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t ask, “Why aren’t I good enough for you?”, but rather, “What makes you good enough for me?” Many of us, as strong and resilient as we are, still fall victim to both the beauty and also the harbinger of being human. We love, we care, we hurt, we experience the full spectrum of human emotions and most important: we forge connections with other people who may or may not have our best interests at heart. It’s in our very essence to want to be connected to other people. And when those connections are lost, we sometimes doubt ourselves.

Full disclosure: I recently had a connection that didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. And because we’ve all been there, we know it really fucking sucks. And going back to my first point, I asked myself over and over again, “Why wasn’t I good enough?” And truth be told, none of us should ever have to ask ourselves that. I’m also not saying that the question should always be “Why are you good enough?” What I’m trying to learn is a new lesson: the answer to both of those questions is always “I AM good enough.”

Sex In The Cities

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I’d like to say it’s for a good reason and that I was off bringing peace to the Middle East and curing cancer while rescuing golden retrievers in Arkansas, but really it’s only because I’ve been lazy, rotting, and doing other meaningless things. Because I’m still collecting myself after the madcap escapades involving all manner of scandal, bitch fits, Gay Pride, men I love, and men I want to set ablaze and scatter their ashes like confetti to the crack whores of the world, I thought I’d share some stories from two of my closest and dearest soulmates. These stories aren’t for the weak of heart. But then again, if you’re reading this, neither are you.

A Grindr Tale, by Cakes:

This past Thursday during a particularly boring day at work I decided to throw caution to the wind and hop on everybody’s favorite whore app Grindr. After a few minutes I received a message from a boy who although may not have been a complete 10 was good enough for a go or two. With the intention being very clear of what the evening was to entail, I set off home to freshen up and head over to his room. The boy wasn’t as cute as his pics, but they rarely are and his room looked like something out of Orange Is the New Black. While trying to make conversation to break the ice, I came across three very interesting pieces of information. One was that he was having a guest stay with him the following day (more on that later), the second is that he is an escort. Digging even further, I also discovered he did porn. Now, I’m not one to judge (just kidding, I totally am) but after hearing that someone I intended to rail into next Tuesday is both an escort and a porn star,  I started to proceed with a bit of caution. “Can I see some of your work?” I asked. “Yeah ok,” he said. And as he put one of his masterpieces on his laptop, I witnessed him getting banged out, bareback, by not one, not two but at least seven different guys all excreting their baby batter inside him. After watching for a good ten minutes, legs crossed with a look of pure terror on my face, I quickly got up and said “I think I’m gonna take off” and jetted towards the door faster than a speeding bullet!
The following day a friend of mine from upstate NY visited me at the store saying he was here to stay with a friend of his. I later saw him and the boy from Grindr walking side by side down the boardwalk. He was the guest Grindr mentioned the previous evening. It truly is a small world…
But let’s not pity our dearest whore friend. Who amongst us hasn’t once considered selling our body for cash? And according to him, one client paid $12,000 which is a price I would easily give up my booty for.

A Kinky Nightmare, by Dark Horse:

A few years ago I dated a man who exhausted me with his sexual exploits. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a side of kink, but when you’re holed up in my basement for days building yourself a penis cage out of wood while trolling for men on Craigslist, something is amiss. Regardless, I entertained this clown and his insistent requests for humiliation until I wanted to set him on fire and let one of those Craigslist boys haul away his burnt up ashes. This is the tale of the time I handcuffed his pansy ass.
My shithead of a father is also a police officer. Over 20 years ago, I did what any good cop’s daughter does and decided to steal his police-issue handcuffs “just in case” I ever needed a pair. You know, for safety reasons. Well, this guy (we’ll call him Dildo Baggins due to the fact that he owned more dildos than every sorority house in the Midwest combined) had begged me to cuff him for a few months, and since he lived in LA and I’m in Baltimore, it was hard to find the time. However, on his last (and final) trip to visit me I decided to give him what he wanted. Mainly so he’d shut the fuck up about it.
We went out for a few drinks and then back to my place where this shit storm story truly begins. He gets fully nude and I cuff his hands above his head… securing them to the headboard of my wrought iron bed. Lesbihonest, I got bored pretty quickly. I mean, here I am having to do all of the work while he just lies there talking about how he wants to be defiled by a black guy (to each their own, but if I’m the one there at the time, at least make a girl feel special). After about an hour, I was totally over it. And kind of hungry for a snack. I told him I was going to uncuff him and went to get the keys, which were normally in my bedside table drawer. However, upon first inspection the keys were nowhere to be found. I had just recently moved and began to think that maybe I’d put them in another location for “safe keeping”. Well, dude flips out. He begins whining and literally crying about how he trusted me to know where the key was, etc. etc. etcOMGSTFU. Here’s a thing about me: Start in with some bullshit like that and I will shut down and not be able to find the damn key even if it was dangling from my left nip. I looked around a bit and still could not find the key. By this point he is enraged. A 45 year old naked, sobbing, angry guy is cuffed to my bed.
I had to simultaneously wear my Martha Stewart and MacGyver hats and think of a plan. I had a saw… that should work, right? I straddled this moron for a solid 30 minutes while sawing through my precious, beautiful, still-not-fully-paid-for headboard so he could at least get the feeling back in his arms. Sparks were flying (quite literally), he was bitching, and my new bed was now ruined. He was still fully cuffed, but free from the bed and he then proceeded to demand that I saw the cuffs off of him. Safe, right? I tried and the saw broke. In retrospect, he’s lucky I didn’t just saw his stupid hands off. It’s now after midnight and I have to work the next day. I’m tired from the sawing. He’s driving me crazy. I tell him to shut up and go to sleep and I’d deal with it in the morning. He said, “You mean I have to sleep with these cuffs on?” I replied, “Yep, unless you’re Houdini and can figure out a magical escape method all by yourself because I’m done for the night.”
I slept. I don’t know if he did… but I did. I woke up at 6 am and helped him put pants on… a shirt was not happening because it’s hard to get your arms through those arm holes when they’re cuffed together, ya know. I drove to the nearest Home Depot and told him to wait in the car. I went in, found a poor, unsuspecting Home Depot worker and promptly informed him that I had a man in handcuffs in my car out in the parking lot (“It’s a sex thing,” I added) and needed a saw that could break through them. I said, “It needs to be some heavy duty shit because I have to be at work in an hour and a half.” His face turned red as he was trying to figure out whether or not I was serious. Once he realized that this was no joke he attentively helped me pick out the best saw for my “home improvement needs”.
I drove home with my new saw and the giant shirtless tool in my front seat. I sawed him free in less than 3 minutes, rolled my eyes at him and went to work. I’m sure it won’t surprise any of you to learn that we broke up about a week later. While going through my room to collect his belongings to mail back to him in the hell-hole known as LA, I found the handcuff keys in my bedside table where they’d been all along.

 

 

Phoenix Rising

“Darling, this is why I don’t bother with mortals. And neither should you,” said my friend Charles as he gently cupped my chin and topped up my cocktail, “They’ll either abuse your power or try to steal it.” This was in Baltimore many years ago. At the time, I was pissing and moaning about something horrible someone had done to me. Charles, who actually preferred to be called Clementine, was finally over it and told me what I needed to hear.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few weeks, which is rare for me. A lot about the person I used to be, the person I am, and the person I want to be – but mostly, how I can come fully into my own.

One of my soulmates and kindred heart, Brooke, gave me an amazing book called “Attachment.” Full disclosure: the closest I’ve ever gotten to a self-help book was a brochure for the Betty Ford Center my dad had sent to me a few years ago, but this book is tremendous. It talks about the three types of “Attachment Styles” people have: Secure: people who feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving; Avoidant: people who equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness; and Anxious: people who are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about being loved back. SPOILER ALERT: I’m an Anxious Attachment Style. Full-throttle, balls-to-the-wall Anxious Attachment. It drives me nuts, but just as my body will eternally sparkle with shimmer and something vulgar will come out of my mouth at least once an hour, so shall I have an Anxious Attachment Style. That doesn’t mean that I’m a mess when it comes to relationships; on the contrary, you’ll never find someone more caring, loyal, and protective. It also means that I feel and love very deeply (and am sometimes needy), but I seek to revel in that because those are all beautiful things meant to be used as tools to build and heal, not weapons with the intent to harm. The book is amazing and really opened my eyes more to the world and the relationships I have with those in it.

I also believe that the theory described above also plays into my own theory about people. A quick refresher:

Head-Thinkers: those ruled by practicality, sensibility, and reality. These are individuals who can solve a problem of any kind, despite its complexity. Their minds are quick and also ponderous, depending on the situation they’re currently considering. However, their basic need to see a finite resolution with a direct path from start to finish without detours may leave them with accomplishment, but not the experience of the journey. Their other downfall is that because they dwell so deeply in their minds, they can misconstrue what’s happening before their own eyes.

Heart Feelers: those ruled by emotion, passion, and possibility. We’re also very intuitive and perceptive, almost clairvoyant at times because we sense things others can’t. We feel everything so very deeply that at times, it can hurt. We are the healers, the compassionate ones, and lovers of all. Our hearts guide us, and even when they’re wrong, to us, they’re still right. Because we feel everything so deeply, we are also quick to engage in both peace and war. Head-thinkers may be our leaders, but the heart-feelers are the ones who pick them up as they fall and carry them and love them until they can rise again. Our downfall is that as we are completely dominated by our hearts, they’re open for the world to see and for individuals to potentially try to manipulate at their will. Head-Thinkers know our minds, but we can see right into their hearts.

Divergents: Both Head-Feelers and Heart-Thinkers. These are perhaps the most balanced of all of us because they have wisdom, not just intelligence or passion. Head-Feelers are practical because they think first, and then let their heart intuit the best course of action. Heart Thinkers are passionate about what they do but do so with stability and sensibility.

(PS: if any of you bitches try to steal this theory and write a book before I do, I will hunt you down)

Also, in terms of how any of us feel, I believe that we can love freely, we can love not at all, or we can love carefully. Loving freely is wonderfully blissful until poisonous things come to bring ruin, such as betrayal, rejection, or cruelty. Loving not at all may protect our hearts and feelings, but it also leads to a very lonely life. Loving carefully is the balance between the two. For every person who receives your love wholeheartedly, there will be someone else vying to twist something pure and of light with malice. If we can have open hearts that are still held with gentle and protective hands, we can and will thrive.

I spent most of my 20s trying not to love wholeheartedly because I had been hurt and was, quite frankly, cold. That’s not to say that I didn’t care for the world; I just couldn’t let anybody into my own for fear of the damage they could potentially cause. I also had the tendency to freeze the people who had hurt me out of my life completely.

My last boyfriend, Bear, a true champion of the world, put up with me for two and half years. He was, and still is, someone that I allowed to see all of me. The good, the bad, and the awful. And he loved me wholeheartedly. That feeling in and of itself is the most perfect gift anyone can give someone else. To this day, we still talk daily and he has become one of my best friends in the world and in my heart.

When I moved back to Florida, I felt lost to the wind because it was such a tremendous life change for me. I had left behind an incredible job, an amazing boyfriend, and friends I love as part of my soul. The transition was something I had wanted in my heart for years, but that alone didn’t make it any easier. As I settled, I became more tempered and balanced, and then a shift happened. I went from one extreme to the other: I had tried for so long to not love wholeheartedly and suddenly grew to love everything and everyone, which, while I realize is in my true nature, ultimately proved too much for me all at once. Because I allowed myself to become too vulnerable too quickly, I was susceptible to every emotion and action that came to me, both good and bad, kind and wicked. Being vulnerable in and of itself is the furthest from a negative thing, but rather, the opposite. As my new Muse Brené Brown says: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t quite as ready as I thought I was to be completely open and vulnerable. But it was a lesson I needed to learn in order to evolve.

As I move forward, I will continue to love the entire world. But I have realized that I need to be careful with the hearts of others, and more importantly, to be gentle yet protective with my own as well. I’ve always felt that I am authentic and true to myself; what you see is what you get. I’ve also found that there is no middle ground with me – people either love me or hate me. And I’m okay with that. It’s not easy being a badass bitch with a heart forged of gold and rainbows. I have made mistakes, and at times horrible ones. But I’m human and also imperfect. I can’t change other people, but I can learn from my mistakes and grow. There will be thunderous storms that will be whipped up and rage into my life with the potential to overwhelm me because of how I feel and who I am, but because I choose to rise above them and keep my eyes toward the sun, I’m able to seek solace and renewal in my belief that I am genuine and the feelings I hold in my heart and express are kind, noble, and true.

What my friend Clementine said is true for me, and for all of us. Every single person in this world has power and unique gifts that we can harness and either hoard for ourselves like those damn dwarves in ‘The Hobbit’ (and look what happened to them) or cultivate and share with the world. On our journey, as we interact with those who cross our paths, we can do our very best for everyone by sharing our gifts with wisdom, care, and love. There are absolutely people we will encounter who are double-minded, unstable in all that they do, and will covet and attempt to manipulate or steal our light. But at the same time, there are far more individuals who will seek us out for what we can offer, that very spark that radiates to the skies as a beacon and draws those who need us to a place where they can experience, renew, and restore. And at the same time, we will also be drawn to them for the very same reason. It is a selfless, merciful, and beautiful connection that fills our hearts with love and our minds with genuine fulfillment.

And that’s that. Next week I’m getting back into the fun stuff because I have SO many incredible and ridiculous stories to tell. And, lesbi honest – that’s where I shine brightest. But for now, I’ll leave you with this, which pretty much sums up my entire being.

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A Trip Down Rainbow Road Part I

Last Saturday I went out in Ybor City to celebrate my last weekend of sloth before I started a new Big Boy job. For the past several months, I’ve been teaching fitness classes, sunbathing by the pool (and once was discovered passed out naked by the gardner), napping, making bad decisions, and generally being good for absolutely nothing. Fueled by the notion of encroaching forced servitude, I snatched up Awesome, the young liberal Muslim who has finally earned a nickname, and together this dynamic duo headed out into the nightlife. It was my first time clubbing in Ybor (or, anywhere for that matter) in years. We began at a place called CZAR, a Soviet-era themed club that looks exactly how it sounds. Awesome was excited because there was going to be a live band or a live sex show, I forget which. What interested me was the patronage. You had of course your college douchebags, hopeful young girls wearing barely-there dresses with asses milky as moonlight hanging out, the young gays, and even a gentleman wearing a skintight vinyl catsuit and moonjump boots. I knew he was onto something when we ran into another man dressed as M Bison from Street Fighter II. Also in vinyl. I want that wedding invitation.

After a dangerously strong drink that I probably could have used to fuel my car, I corralled young Awesome and we headed to a rainbow club called The Honey Pot. I was crestfallen to discover that it was ladies night, but brightened when we were directed to G Spot, which was catering to men that night.  A club packed full of sweaty dancing men wearing only speedos or leather harnesses is always fun. I ordered Awesome a Tokyo Tea (the most lethal drink known to man) to help calm his nerves about the situation and we settled down to people watch. As the night wore on, rather than dancing like the assholes that we are because we think we’re good enough to tour with P!nk, we instead found ourselves in the lounge having a great conversation. About what, I can’t remember, but in my opinion, if you can sit still in a dance club with pounding beats and still stand talking to each other, it must have been incredible.

We ended the night at the beacon of starving drunken hope that is IHOP and detoxed on onion rings and burgers. When I got home after 4am, I backflipped (stumbled and landed on my back spread eagle) into bed. The next day, I woke up, still slightly drunk and somehow managed to sit through ‘The Lego Movie,’ a fun romp that I’m sure I appreciated more due to my delicate condition. The weekend was a smash, and it also gave Awesome his moniker. He’s still known as “fucking bitch” when he pisses me off, but even then it comes from love.

The whole adventure had me thinking about some of my favorite things: clubs, cocktails, and cute boys. No stranger to any element of this beloved trio, I felt a little nostalgic for days gone by…even the ones that I lost. Thankfully I have friends who never tire of reminding me of my shenanigans when I am at my messiest.

I was pretty wild in my younger days. Then again, turning 21 an hour away from San Francisco might have been a motivator. This was back when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was still the status quo for the military, but that didn’t bother me one bit. So little in fact that I irreverently defied military law and dated a naval officer for a few months while I was just a junior-enlisted rascal. I like to refer to our time together as “An Officer and a Princess.” The weekend after we met and he tried to (succeeded in) seducing me, I remember coming home from language class and a friend was already hanging out of her dorm window waiting for me. She nuclear-sirened, “JASON DEEM! Get up here RIGHT NOW!” It turns out my new officer boyfriend had found my dorm (probably because he had woken up in it a few days before) and brought me a gift. I wasn’t there so he had given it to her to give to me. As she turned over my bounty, she whispered, “Oh, my GOD, he was SO HOT!!!” It was a box that he had wrapped in his old maps and charts that he had used to navigate while at sea. Inside were all of the necessities I’d need if ever I wanted to be rescued from dorm life and seek refuge at his apartment. I actually had to pause writing this because it was one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever been given. I fell in love for the first time of my life that day. I still have that box and the card…all of his cards, actually.

I spent my last weekend in California at my friend Kiki’s house in San Francisco. Kiki was just as wild as I was, so together we were complete messes. That weekend Kiki, his boyfriend, and I all ended up at some club with a dance floor the size of a football field that was a sea of dancing and sex. At first intrigued, I descended to mild amusement and then horror as I watched a man built like a horse (and hung like one) whip out his cockadoodle and let an equally Adonis-like man bring him to climax. On the dancefloor. I fled to the bar for a cocktail to chase that with and was almost immediately picked up by an Arab who reminded me of Aladdin. I am nothing if not a sucker for Disney princes and swarthy men. Since we couldn’t really chat, we danced. At some point we left together to go to Carl Jrs, another fine post-lushen establishment, where I realized that it had somehow become 9am on a Sunday morning. Wanting to be responsible, I decided I should probably sleep. I brought him back to Kiki’s house (how I remembered the address is beyond me) and as soon as we hit the bed, he tried to get feisty. Coherent enough to know that we had no condoms and that I was simply too young to deal with the drama of a “Not Without My Daughter” baby, I begged off and we cuddled instead. I woke up wrapped around him like a spider monkey and a note from Kiki that said, “Girl, we left for Hawaii. Hope you had a good night!”

A few years later, my new stomping ground in Baltimore was a bit more tame. One Halloween I dressed up as Jessica Biel (minus the hair) from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” I wish I had a picture of that outfit because it was incredible and at the time I had an incredible body to match it. But you get the idea.

Jessica-Biel-in-Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre

The club was packed with people dressed as superheroes and probably other things, but being a huge gay geek, I had no eyes for anyone other than the Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Wolverine who all let me run myself all over them. As I traipsed to the bar for a top-up, I ran into someone dressed as Leatherface. Without even knowing each other’s names we entered the costume contest together. As we took to the dancefloor to be judged, he grabbed me by the scruff of my tank top and whipped me around until I hit the floor. I absolutely loved it, but then again, I love that kind of thing even on Christmas. We didn’t win, and we didn’t go home together, although to this day I still think about what that would’ve been like. Especially if he had kept the mask on.

A few years later, at a Gay Pride block party, also in Charm City, I brought two good married straight friends with me. Not more than an hour into the decadence, I met a guy. The facts from this point on are flimsy. My friends like to claim the last they saw of me was when I had my hands down his pants. I think they’re embellishing a bit, but I don’t have enough evidence to sustain the prosecution. I do know that we ended up back at his hotel room and it was one of the most amazing nights of my life. The next morning, I woke up and heard the phrase known only by whores and other proud denizens of the GutterWorld: “Hey there. Do you even remember my name?” I didn’t. The silver lining was that he remembered mine and was a perfect gentleman. He drove me back to my house and we made plans for me to trek up to his place in Pennsylvania the following weekend. When I arrived and saw his house, I immediately knew I was in way over my head. This place was a mansion. I felt like a trashier Maria (minus the nunnery, mountain climbing, and children) seeing Captain VonTrapp’s house for the first time. We went out for dinner and then came back to his place to watch a movie whilst cuddling in his museum-like trophy room. The next day he had to go to work for a bit and I was thankful. The thing is, when I was younger, I was incredibly nervous to take a dump in the same zipcode that a person I was interested in lived. So after a heavy Italian dinner the night before plus a few cocktails, when he said he’d be gone for a few hours, I would have jumped for joy had I not been afraid of shitting my panties. I watched stealthily from the veranda as his car left the premises and then immediately flew to the furthest bathroom in the mansion. When I finished, relieved and at peace with my life and the world, I got up and flushed, only to discover that it wasn’t a working bathroom. At this point, panicked and sweating even more now than I was before, I tore through the house with my hands on my head, trying to decide whether to flee forever, set fire to the bathroom, or call in a favor to Satan to destroy the evidence. I finally discovered his aquarium, so large that I think even Ariel used to stay there on vacation and knew the fishnet would be big enough for the task at hand. I fished my shame from the toilet and dumped it into a working one. I then poured myself a drink at 830am to calm my nerves and clear my head as I bleached the net. After that weekend, I never saw him again, and to this day I wonder if he had security cameras in his house and saw what went down. And I still cringe.

I’m sure this all makes me sound terribly slutty and awful, but the truth is, I’m glad for all of it. I normally hate it when someone says, “Oh, I got that out of my system,” because it’s usually coming from some condescending scold of a woman who thinks she’s the first person in the world to get engaged to some slob everyone else hates (including her) and is chiding me for not growing up and settling down. I guess it still applies, though, because I have friends who have gotten married and burdened with children only to turn around and declare that they’re gay. I also have a few that I’m anxiously waiting for it to happen to so I can sell tickets and popcorn to the gala.

I also don’t feel like any of these experiences are mistakes. They were my life and I own them proudly. And what I wouldn’t give to relive any of them again and not change a single thing. I didn’t get knocked up, gifted a disease, or killed. My younger years were amazing and I lived without abandon, just as I think they should be spent. They also gave me the experiences I needed to become a (somewhat) mature and responsible adult. Alright, that last one is bullshit, I know. But all of these adventures made me who I am today – still ridiculous and uncouth, but a little bit wiser and more settled. This last weekend, the most amazing one I’ve had in months, was with my best friend, someone I always look forward to spending time with. It was just as much (if not even more) fun than any of the nights I mentioned above. I didn’t have my hands down anyone’s pants and didn’t wake up next to someone whose name I couldn’t remember. I instead woke up a little winded from the night before in my own bed snuggled with my own stuffed animal I know by name as Brightheart Raccoon, excited for what was to come that day. I was perfectly happy with that, and no fish nets needed bleaching that day.

Birds of a Feather

As I grow older, I’m becoming more forgetful about things. Some people, including my parents, like to tell me it’s because I’m just too selfish and self-obsessed to be bothered with the goings-on of other people, which is a fair point. Ask anyone who’s tried to have a conversation with me. Everything that anyone has to tell me needs to be edited to less than 30 seconds because after that, I tune right out. I may nod every so often if you’re lucky, but rest assured, I’m already thinking about something else. Even if you cured cancer right before the zombie apocalypse struck and rescued a team of Special Olympians from a shark attack as you sought refuge,  you’d better hit those points – and quickly. And don’t even get me started on e-mails or voice messages. As you can see, I just don’t check them:

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As with any rule, there are exceptions. And like verbs, I prefer the irregular ones. I’m talking about those individuals, outside of the norm, with whom you share the barest parts of your soul. Some might call them friends, others may call them enemies, and still others may even refer to them as “That Drunken One Night Stand In Vegas.”

One of my best friends to this day remains the love of my life after meeting her more than a decade ago. Upon our first encounter, I immediately disliked her, which is always a beautiful way to start a friendship. She was (and is) blunt, to the point, and brutally honest whether you want the blow of truth softened or not. I thought to myself, “Alright, lady, I’ve got your ticket.” I know now I only resented her because I wanted to be just like her. We had to work together as we both developed and then managed our squadron’s fitness program (and to this day, the best fitness program I’ve ever been a part of). Over the course of several years and the many adventures we had (including a sly lie claiming I was her OB/GYN so we could get excused early from a yoga training that somehow strained the fabric of time by going on for what felt like 143 hours in a single day), we became beautifully close. When I left DC for the second time to move to Florida, she came to my going away party. As she left, we hugged and she started to cry and said, “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me again.” Months later, I’m starting to wonder why I did, too. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about how much I love her. But thankfully, she’s already promised me that if and when I decide to spawn, she’ll gladly provide the baby chamber.

Another set of good friends, nicknamed Hotness and Bobos, I befriended after months of thinking they hated me. Hotness preferred scotch, Bobos was an expert at making homemade sangria, and I never met a vodka cocktail I didn’t like. It all made perfect sense. I think I spent every weekend for almost a year at their house, often times being discovered like this on a Sunday morning:

Sleeping Princess

Sleeping Princess

The beauty of our friendship was and continues to be defined by the ease of it. Once, in the middle of a winter’s night so cold even Hell had to turn the thermostat up, we decided we absolutely needed to go to Best Buy to search for only God knows what. Upon leaving the store, the wind slapped me hard across my face and I said, “Oh, my God. My lips are so chapped I feel like I just gave 10,000 blowjobs.” Without missing a beat, Bobos whipped out her chapstick and said, “Here, use this. Then it’ll only be like 5,000.”

Another friend, whom I’ve known since childhood, was in a catfight the likes of which one only sees played out on Animal Planet or in the Bronx. This cataclysmic war stomped and raged across e-mail until it culminated in a message she forwarded to me from her nemesis. The greeting blared, “CUNT!!!” in a font so bold and tremendous it filled up the entire screen. Rather than being offended, my friend was curious. “How’d she get it so big?” she asked. You can guess what her nickname became.

Moon Flower, whom I met through my parents, is the most free-spirited and liberated person I know. Born in western New York at the height (or decline, depending on your view) of the sexual revolution, she moved to northern California after high school and settled into a commune in Sonoma county. There she met the father of her two sons. After expelling her first son from her body, she decided the whole domestic thing wasn’t for her. She met another man and fled with him to live in the woods. There was no lodge or cabin – they literally lived in the woods for a year. Finally fed up with living as a woodland creature, she returned to the commune and took up residence in what she calls the “Moon Hut” with the father of her first son. The Moon Hut was really just a chicken coop, but then again, coming from Washington, DC, where people call rat cellars condos and pay 3k a month to share a cage with four other people they can’t stand, it’s all relative. Anyway, she proudly admits that her second son was conceived in said Hut, and I’d imagine also under a starlit sky blessed by the Goddess of Harvest and Moons and Women Herself. When her time came in the dead of summer, she took off all of her clothes, as did the rest of the women in the commune. They all sat together as she labored, singing and sweating. Her midwife, a mountain woman with a snowy white braid down to her ass, was present to assist and rub olive oil on her nether bits to prevent rippage. She finally settled down for battle on an italian leather sofa owned by two lesbians (probably also nude). While she pushed, she was regaled with live music and fanned by the rest of the coven until her second son finally slipped out. Now living in Florida, she’s just as free and still doesn’t shave her legs or armpits. Once, when I surprised her with a visit, I found her vacuuming and wearing nothing but an ill-fitting apron and panties. She looked up and said, “Come in, lovie! The wine’s on the counter!”

Another dear friend (yet to be nicknamed because he’s still under observation), who is a self-proclaimed millenial (which is brave because the rest of the thinking world knows that this tedious group is just trying to identify as something other than The iToddlers) likes to use words like “clutch” and “ratch.” He reminds me of poor Gretchen Weiner from “Mean Girls,” desperately trying to make things ‘happen.’ He also never misses an episode of “The Real Housewives.” I think he also secretly watches “The Bachelor” but will never admit to it. These are all things that I abhor with every ounce of my soul that hasn’t disintegrated or been claimed by demons, but I still love him because despite all of that, we’re like-minded individuals. One day, after teaching a particularly difficult and hellborne fitness class, he texted me and said, “OMG, I almost shit my pants teaching today! I was SO lucky!” That touched my heart. As I was typing, this gem came through from him. How can you not love someone like this?

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Alas, one time our periods (yes, men, and in his case, children, get them, too) synced and it was the worst five days of my life. Sullen, broody, and bitchy are never adorable attributes, but let them settle into a burly and vulgar Ice Queen and a young liberal Muslim and you have the perfect storm. The barrage of whipcrack barbs and quietly malicious comments were enough to destroy worlds…or at the very least, Candy Land. But at the end of it all, we picked ourselves up. Both of us battered, beaten, and in my case, less glittery, we made up as good friends do when you realize your life is shit without the other. I feel like we both learned a little bit more about each other. I’d also like to think that he learned not to fuck with me, but I’m okay knowing that the next time we’ll both be better prepared for each other.

Friendships are terribly hard to come by and can’t be forced (believe me, I’ve tried and almost been arrested for it several times). I’ve come to learn that some people simply come into your life and more than likely when it’s the most unexpected thing to happen. The unexpected becomes something wonderful because you realize just how comfortable and empowered this other person makes you feel. I pride myself on the Dali palette of traits, quirks, and wonder of everyone I mentioned above (and a few others who threatened me with a lawsuit or murder if I wrote about them) because they are all so unique. Yet, they all share one thing in common – me. Because none of them are eagerly plotting my demise (as far as I know), this also means that they have a tremendous heart – and one that is not only willing, but also invested in putting up with all of my shit, ranging from stone-cold sober to stone-cold bitch. That takes some courage and kindness – and a hell of a lot of patience. They transcend the territory of “friend” to what I liken to the brave new world of “soulmate.” Merriam-Webster may disagree, but to me, a soulmate doesn’t have to be a husband, a wife or, God forbid, a cat. Simply put, it’s a person that you can’t do without. It also doesn’t have to be the first person that you call or text immediately because you just got engaged or dumped. For me, it’s the person that you call or text because you’re about to engage in something mundane with high potential for crazy and know they’ll want be a part of it, or you just heard someone take the most godawful dump in the bathroom at the gym (bonus points if it’s the ladies’ locker room).

It’s not the big things that make so much of a difference to me. Of course I want to know if you’re going to get wifed up or got knocked up, if only because it means I have to go to CVS to buy you condoms as a wedding/baby gift. But when you have that intimate comfort of being with someone with whom you want to share all of that as well as the things you know no one else cares about, that’s what counts. It’s also what makes me want to hang onto every word that you say.

Speaking of a mundane thing that went wild, a friend once asked asked me to go with her to get her clitoris pierced the night before her wedding, knowing even before she finished the question that I’d say yes. It turns out her maid of honor, an insufferable harpy if ever there was one, had told her ‘No’ and called her trashy. “Hang on, let me finish this drink,” I said. “Want me to bring the camera?”

The Art Of Possibility

Today, a saucy friend of mine introduced me to the world of Tumblr. I still can’t quite figure out Instagram, so Tumblr was really out of my league. But, perusing my friend’s page (if that’s what it’s called), I realized his wasn’t for the faint of heart. It also got me thinking about social media and apps that purport to help bring people together. Particularly, an app called ‘Scruff.’

Scruff is an amazing app for many people, whether you identify as single, partnered, married, or whore (and if so, you’re in luck!). It lets you shop a veritable and limitless stable of men in your local area, any city, pretty much anywhere in the world, even Siberia – I just checked. You can “Woof” at any member of said stable, which is a subtle way of indicating to your target anything from “Hi!” to “You’re hot” to “The boyfriend/husband/wife’s away, let’s fuck.” As with texting, tone and meaning are sometimes best left to your reasoning skills and imagination. You can also privately message your future husband-for-a-night if you want to take it to second cyberbase. You can send pictures, too. I’m discovering that men are really, really, REALLY proud of their dicks – so proud in fact, that you’re more likely to receive unprovoked a filtered picture of them climaxing all over themselves before you’ll even see their face – a feat that I still find both horrifying and talented. I mean, how do they hold the camera and get it so focused in that moment? My eyes go right to the back of my head, limbs flailing, and joyful expletives roaring from my mouth like an angel with Tourrettes when I’m in the throes, so I’m obviously behind the curve with these experts. Anyway, it’s all very romantic and endearing. The kind of thing every girl dreams of from a boy she hasn’t even met.

Full disclosure: I had a rendez-vous a few weeks back with someone I met through Scruff. After the initial “Woof,” things escalated to messaging, then texting, before culminating with an actual in-person meeting. I call it that because the word “date” is almost as dangerous as the “L” word these days – if you use it and the other person doesn’t reciprocate – it’s over, and you want to fling yourself off a cliff in shame. Or, at the very least, this:

The blow to your ego can be devastating. Personally, I miss the days when someone just passed you a note that said “Do you like me? Yes or No? Check One.” If I wasn’t the idiot bravely (stupidly) passing the note to some jock, I was the one replying “No” because it was sent from a girl on the soccer team who ended up realizing she was a lesbian anyway (and they say we’re not contagious).

Anyway, the whole lead-up was terribly exciting as the texting back and forth reached fever pitch until we met up. He came to one of my fitness classes and afterward we went out for dinner. He proved as sweet and charming as he did online, and I thought it went really well – definitely enough to heighten my interest even more. Then, The End. A cold front moved in and settled down for the long haul. The texts became less frequent and, as a highly-trained Ice Queen myself, I could sense that the interest was no longer there. I’ll admit that I still pursued for a bit before I remembered that I am (allegedly) a mature, responsible adult, so I cut my losses and gave up. It stung, but I got over it.

I’m not trying to piss and moan about a wonderful evening that never promised anything more than just that. I’d like to think I’m not old or bitter enough to be “That Old Queen” that we all throw shade and side-eyes at in a club because they’re just so insufferably miserable. I’m also not judging an app that has helped people find their one true love (I did my best to type that with a straight face). At the end of it all, it felt good to just flirt with someone, however short-lived the feeling was, coupled with the fact that I had a really good time.

This all takes me to a memory I have from several years back. I was driving downtown one late summer afternoon and saw a man obviously walking home from work. He had lumber over his shoulder and a bouquet of roses tucked under one arm. The white tank top, ripped blue jeans, and work boots only added to my enchantment. I thought to myself, “This is a man who is going home after a workday to the person he loves.” Now, I don’t know for sure what his story was, and I really don’t care. To me, it was the very idea of  it all: a man, who, after a hard day at work and probably wanting to go home, crack open a beer, and relax still made time to stop and do something beautiful and unexpected for the person he was going home to. I admit, I wanted to pull up next to him and sing a siren song to seduce him but was ultimately deterred for fear of appearing sluttish…or being killed.

Another memory: a few years ago, at my very first Gay Pride event in Florida, I stumbled out of a club and immediately tripped over a man who was slumped on the curb. I went sprawling on the street and landed in Downward Facing Dog’s disowned trashy cousin, Bitch In Heat – which, by the way, wasn’t a good look for me. This was also back when I thought wearing low-rise jeans with a neon pink thong was cute. He helped pick me up and sat me down next to him. We started chatting/slurring and I began to weep against his shoulder because I was drunk and had also managed to negotiate a night of Pride without “meeting someone.” For those who are unfamiliar – Gay Pride is a free-for-all and you’re pretty much guaranteed a partner at the end of the night, if even just for the night or as a door prize. Case in point: as I sat there, I watched sullenly and raised my middle finger at an elderly grizzly bear wearing only a diaper and leather harness leaving with a whippersnapper sporting a Union Jack speedo and rippling muscles. We must have talked for almost an hour. Well, I did, at least because when I finally looked over, his chin was in his crotch. I feared him dead and my first instinct was to flee the scene, but then I remembered that karma’s favorite hobby is to snatch my ass up and toss me around like a glittery rag doll. So, I shook him a little until he opened his eyes. I hailed a cab and as I put him into it, he belched lovingly into my face, “You wanna come with me?” I used every ounce of Southern charm to politely decline. He smacked my ass (something I never tire of, and frankly, encourage) and said to me, “You’re a good boy. Don’t be sad about tonight. You’re better off single, even for a night, than wishing that you were.” That isn’t the kind of scene that wins Oscars, but it stuck with me.

More recently, a friend of mine ate some bad eggs for breakfast the morning of the Super Bowl. A wind, gentle but worrying at first, blossomed in his stomach and then grew to a raging hurricane by the time he went with his significant other to a party that night. Judging by his Facebook posts, he obliterated the host’s bathroom with spoilage, explosions, and sounds not described since Dante wrote ‘The Inferno’. I think he eventually had to replace the toilet because it had melted through the floor and descended right back to Hell. He wasn’t the least bit embarrassed and neither was she (as far as I can tell). I thought it was all very romantic, actually. “Married With The Shits” could be an entirely new post on its own, but I believe that when you’re comfortable enough with someone to announce that you are about to lay Godzilla-vs-Tokyo destruction to a bathroom, that’s a sign of both trust and love. The day a man says to me, “Hey, babe – I gotta take a dump. You okay finishing your ‘My Little Pony’ puzzle on your own?”, he’d have me hook, line, and sinker.

My point is this: I still believe in chivalry, kindness, and most of all: that breathtaking feeling that heralds true, bare, and honest human connection. Call me old-fashioned, but I want to actually see the first smile I manage to bring to someone’s face before having their dick thrust at me. I want that top-of-the-rollercoaster rush of warmth that lifts you up from your very soul when you accidentally-on-purpose brush hands but let them linger together. In that moment, you think that anything is possible.

It’s always hope that helps sustain it. Despite a crushing defeat, it’s the one element whose sustenance we have control over. It isn’t a picture of a naked ass from a so-called man who calls himself “ThirstyBottom.” It’s a lovely dinner and conversation with a perfect gentleman that reminds you about the art of possibility. It may not have led to what I had hoped for, but it did make me realize that even putting yourself out there, while terrifying, is also brave and exhilarating. Perhaps most important, it means to me that I haven’t given up. And that’s a wonderful thing.

I wish that sweet guy the very best in life. I mean it. I would even do it all over again, although I might make him pay for dinner this time. Who says that chivalry is dead?

The White Witch Cometh

The other day I did myself a fantastic favor and went and saw the movie “Frozen.” There’s something sublimely relaxing and peaceful about seeing a movie by yourself – something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing in my younger days when you were judged daily by a jury of your peers by how high your crease went on your tight-rolled jeans. You could be knocked up at 16 (15 or less and there could be talk of whoredom unless it was courtesy of the captain of the football team) but if that crease reached your knee, you were solid. Sitting in a theater full of parents and their children (a coupling I normally try to avoid like invitations to baby showers or funerals), I was spellbound for an hour and a half and even actually laughed out loud at some of the innocently adorable comments from the peanut patch sitting around me. My favorite, from a boy sitting directly in front of me: “Oh, he’s so handsome. I’d pick him as the prince!” His father, most likely suddenly starting to wonder just what the hell is going on at recess in school these days, asked, “What about the princess? Isn’t she pretty?” The whippersnapper replied tartly, “She is. But I’m prettier.” After stifling my braying laughter (not easy), I wanted to lean forward and ask him if he was on Facebook so we could be friends. He’d probably deny my request anyway – he was that saucy.

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about two sisters, the elder of which basically has the power to wield winter. The awesome one, Elsa, is locked away as a child after accidentally hurting the younger one, Anna, with her powers. The two grow up and Elsa feels more and more isolated from her family as her powers grow. Things get even juicier when Elsa is crowned Queen and her sister, suddenly hellbent on making the same snort-worthy mistake every cast member ever of “Teen Mom” dives hilariously into, not only meets, but also manages to fall in love with AND get ENGAGED to (!) a handsome and strapping man over the course of a single song. Side note – “Milkshake” was my theme for a hot minute a few years back. I used to sing it loud and proud like a lustful and sultry siren on the streets of Baltimore in a desperate attempt to attract a mate. According to Sugar Cookie, a sweet drag queen friend of mine, once, while drunk after clubbing (and probably exposing my bottom like a harlot to a man I was sharing a one-sided flirtation with), I even lurched into the convenience store across the street to buy a gallon of milk – which I promptly poured all over myself as I tripped down the road. Let me tell you – I didn’t get threatened with a ring…only arrest…again. Anyway, Elsa gets pissed because her sister is a fool and, unable to control her power, she casts their entire town into endless winter and flees. The film ends with a breathtaking show-stopper, “Let It Go” sung by Elsa as she builds her frosty fortress of solitude and casts away feelings, emotions, and, most important, the outside world.

Okay, the movie doesn’t really end there, but it could have for all I cared because I was entranced. The thing is, I always root for the villains – Miranda Priestly, Susie Greene, Fiona Goode…hell, I was on the edge of my seat HOPING Charlize Theron’s Evil Queen ripped out Bella Swan’s heart and ravaged it the way I do a Fisherman’s Platter from Long John Silver’s. The colder and bitchier, the better. I felt a connection with Elsa, even though in real life I’m probably more like the White Witch from ‘The Lion, The Bitch, and The Wardrobe.”

My last boyfriend, and truthfully, the most amazing man in the world for putting up with my shit for years, always knew. He savors recalling a fateful day when we went to Bath & BodyWorks and I (allegedly) snatched a salesgirl’s day, smile, and soul in one fell swoop, smashed them to the ground, and trampled them with my devil’s hooves. Her crime against the Queen? She asked me to sample a shimmer lotion that I had gone there for the sole reason of replacing because it was garbage. He said I was horrible and evil – charges I’m still trying to plea down to obnoxious.

Another ex-boyfriend from many moons ago said to me once, “You are the coldest and most cruel person I’ve ever met. And yet, also the kindest and most loving. How did I end up with this?” My reply to that was to simply finish my cocktail from the night before and get ready for work.

I guess I’m writing about this because I’ve been thinking a lot about ice queens, frigidness, and flat-out bitchy behavior. I’m certainly not crowing proudly about any of this. As a matter of fact, my last blizzard was a little less than a week ago and with one of my best friends and most favorite people in the world. And it was a Code Red, government shutdown, sell-your-youngest-child-for-a-bottle-of-vodka doozy of an ice storm. While brazen at first, I felt worse and worse about it as the days went on. But, a frozen heart can be thawed, and of its own accord. I finally realized that on Sunday, and it took a damn Disney movie with a singing snowman to make me see it. I don’t know…actually, who am I kidding – I DO know that I’ll never be a beatific saint descending from the heavens to bestow warmth and kindness on the world (and frankly, I couldn’t be bothered to do so anyway. Mostly because I’m lazy). I guess I’ll work on it. I’ve known for a long time that it can hurt to feel too much. What I’m starting to learn, however, is that it can hurt even more to feel too little.

By the way, that last blizzard I mentioned – it all worked out. I bailed him out of jail, paid off his pimp, and I’m taking him to see “Frozen” on Sunday. And the forecast looks warm.