True Enough For You

Check your thighs in the mirror, ma. I'm done.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Of Human Bonding

This weekend was the bachelor party of my future brother-in-law. My brother and I hopped in his big, red truck and headed off to Dirty Jerz to a condo chock full of my brother-in-law and his closest high school, college and gym friends. My sophomore year of high school, I was inducted into the National Honors Society where I took a vow, while holding a candle, to always continue my pursuit of knowledge and search for truth. This weekend was no different, so here are some take-home lessons from bachelor party weekend.

1. If your brother offers to pick you up and drive your ass across state lines gratis, then you best not doze off while navigating. Otherwise, hypothetically, you may end up closer to Delaware than the Jersey Shore.

2. No matter how heroically you dash everyone’s low expectations of you, you’re just not going to beat a guy named Cleetus at beer pong.

3. If you pretend that you are only playing poker for the 3rd time and you come in 3rd out of 20 players in a tournament, a drunk guy or 3 or 4 are going to get in your face and call you a “fucking hustler” in the style of Wesley Snipes in White Man Can’t Jump.

4. When married men escape their wives and kids for the weekends, they really, really want to make it count. When Sunday morning rolls around, you will be able to tell by the looks on guys’ faces who will be returning to a warden.

5. Inevitably, someone will find out that your work may or may not vaguely involve drugs, and he will present to you, in graphic detail, that among the many side effects of his mood elevator, one of them is delayed orgasm. He will wink and tell you that maybe it’s a good thing, but he won’t mean it. He will ask for advice, and in the middle of your shocked silence, while you contemplate how many more beers you should have consumed, he will run down the street after what appears to be an underage girl.

6. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear how the man who is about to marry your sister lost his virginity. Possibly, it will entail 3-5 quick thrusts and an explanation to his prom date that she was no longer the big V.

7. Men will use the word “gay” as a pejorative; yet, these will be the same men who hug and kiss each other, tell each other how much they love the other and will flash naked body parts at one another.

8. Dave Matthews Band will be played with alarming frequency. Men will muse at his genius and marvel how they are probably the only group of men on the Earth to really, you know, connect, with him and his music.

9. It may not go over as well as planned, when in talking shit during beer pong, you tell your future brother-in-law that your sister’s ex-boyfriend was a much better beer-ponger than he is. In fact, the silence that follows may be jarring.

10. You may be happy to realize that you genuinely like the guy your sister is about to marry, especially as you realize he’s scared to do anything stupid in front of you. And then he does it anyway.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Meme, A Name I Call Myself

You know the drill. The meme asks a question, and my iPod Nano answers the questions in shuffle mode. It might not be pretty, accurate or intellectually stimulating. But neither is this blog.

How does the world see you?
“Beware of the Boys,” Panjabi MC featuring Jay-Z

Will I have a happy life?
“Hole Hearted,” Extreme

What do my friends really think of me?
"S.O.S.,” Rhianna

Do people secretly lust after me?
"Time After Time,” Cyndi Lauper

How can I make myself happy?
"Since I Left You,” The Avalanches

What should I do with my life?
"At Your Funeral,” Saves the Day

Will I ever have children?
"Something Good,” Caetano Veloso

What is some good advice for me?
"I Believe When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever,” Stevie Wonder

How will I be remembered?
"The House that Zach, I mean Jack, Built,” Aretha Franklin

What is my signature dancing song?
"Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” The Smiths

What do I think my current theme song is?
"There’s No Other Way,” Blur

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
"Justified and Ancient,” KLF feat. Tammy Wynette

What song will play at my funeral?
"Buffalo Stance,” Neneh Cherry

What type of women do you like?
"Vanishing,” Mariah Carey (hilarious)

What is my day going to be like?
"La Tortura” Shakira & Alejandro Sanz (also perfect)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sometimes I Just Hate Myself...No Wait, Not Me. You.

Maybe it’s the pressure of society, the constant jokes regarding sexuality and masculinity or just a general plague of insecurity, but I believe for gay man, in particular, there exists a sad malaise of self-loathing. I am just as guilty as the next Mo when I see someone another male acting in too feminine a manner. Really, it shouldn’t matter how anyone acts. But there are times when I observe others and think, “Damn, that is so gay. How embarrassing. That’s why people hate us.” Etc. Ad nauseum. Ad infinitum. Amen.

It doesn’t take Freud to tell you that the discomfort I feel that is caused by observing those I label are much “gayer” than I am is born out of insecurity and having to confront my own behavior. Subconsciously, (or not so sub-…), I wonder if others see me this way. Does my natural behavior make others angry? Am I making others uncomfortable just by being myself?

At work, someone was recently moved into our section and replaced one of my friends. He was moved into our section because he was a “personality conflict” elsewhere. He’s out at work, and quite flamboyant about it. He has paraphernalia surround his computer monitor announcing his gayness to the world when his movement and voice already do a more than adequate job telegraphing this to anyone with functioning eyes and ears. Actually, Stevie Wonder could see that this dude is gay as a clutch purse on Tony night.

He has a poster of a play that he went to see hanging up which represents one man slipping a wedding ring onto another man’s hand. When asked if he liked the play, he said no, that it was awful. So why hang it up? Just to let others know that you are gay? He audibly whined how it just wasn’t fair that the Senate was discussing the gay marriage ban amendment on the floor without any legal basis to his argument. We know it’s not fair, but throw in an Equal Protection argument, if you’re complaining at a law firm. Ok?

What’s not fair is that I let every little thing he does bother me. And I know I do it because of the aforementioned reasons. I see some of his qualities in myself. And I don’t like it at all. My usual confidence disappears when he acts up or when he asks me what I did for the weekend. I am out at work, but I try to keep my gayness as one of the least interesting things about me. (God knows, it is, after all.) He celebrates his gayness to the point of almost being identified solely for it. Do I hate that or am I jealous that I am not courageous to own my sexuality with the same degree of confidence?

I decided that I was going to give him a break and stop being so critical. I was going to be a bigger person. I was going to learn a lesson from him. I wasn’t going to be afraid to be myself in any situation.

And then I saw him writing an email about me while I was spying over his shoulder.

He wrote an email about me to one of his bitchy friends who works upstairs saying that I was a “bitch, too girly, that I think my shit doesn't stink and that I think I am SO clever.”

Yes, he's right, but there's no need to memorialize it in writing. He actually also wrote that I was ugly, but then quickly deleted it. THEN there would have been a solid argument.

Yes, in another email he called me a “cunt” because I didn’t say hello to him this morning.

Yes, he has a picture of a cupcake on his desk, and he was calling me girly.

Yes, I was spying on what he was writing. .Everyone needs a break from work. Oh, and don’t write emails about me while I am sitting feet away from you.

So, after careful consideration, it turns out that it’s not so much self-loathing.

I can loathe others, regardless of their overt sexuality, and not feel guilty about it. I can like myself the way I am and still be annoyed that someone is just too in your face about his chubby, annoying brand of gayness.

And most importantly, I have realized that I can totally criticize someone for being catty, scrupulous and unreasonably involved in my life without feeling at all like a hypocrite.

And that’s the best lesson of all to learn about oneself, effectively rationalizing one's rampant hypocricy.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blame It On The Satellite That Brings Me Home

Ok. I don’t gush often. Or ever. In fact, more often than not, I am in a steady state of “underwhelmed.” Like right now? I am barely sentient. But Friday night I went to see Radiohead, and I can’t even describe how good they were.

I had seen Radiohead once before at the Tweeter Center in Camden where I was seated 3 football fields away and watched large video screens of people who may or may not have been Radiohead. Seriously, they could have been marionettes for all I know. Between that and the contact high I was surfing, the concert was a bit of a blur. To top it all off, I was in the murder capital of America. Still, it was rather special seeing what is usually my favorite band.

But this time my friends and I were the beneficiaries of some sort of secret sale of tickets for Radiohead fans that occurred at 5:00 AM a while ago. I really don’t know much about it, so I will spare you making up the details. I just know I got to work, and my friend told me he got me a ticket. The catch? We had no idea where our seat would be. It turned out we were in the 5th row center at the Tower Theater in upper Darby (where there was this strange haze all over the building—we still have no clue what it was). You could practically feel the sweat dripping off the lads. If you’re into that. Which I am not. Nevertheless, we squeed with joy when the hunchback usher showed us to our seats.

Some observations:

* I thought that I might feel old at the concert, but my friends and I figured we were the ideal Radiohead fan age. That is, there were plenty of older people there. The exceptions were a set of brothers who couldn’t have been older than 10 in matching Radiohead shirts singing along to every song. It was cute as hell, if you could get over the fact that these tots had 3rd row seats. They weren’t even old enough to masturbate over this fact. Another: some guy had a Class of 2009 college shirt on. I don’t do math, and frankly I don’t care to find out what year in college that makes him.

*The man standing behind me, who looked exactly like Otto from The Simpsons in the flesh, was recording the entire concert illegally, as it seemed he did at every concert he attended. He was actually directing people around us to please be quiet for the sake of the recording. He even asked the dumb girl ahead of me to stop waving her hands so erratically. One odd moment when his bong wasn’t near his mouth, he flipped out at some little androgynous runt who was screaming too loudly. The crazier part was that these people willingly complied with Otto’s requests. My intimidating frame no doubt kept him from confronting me about my dancing.

*Someone, without a shred of irony, actually screamed, “Rock the House!”

*Thom Yorke is sexy. He’s not at all good looking, but the man is sexy. I can’t explain it.

*The song selection was amazing. They actually played Black Star, which they never play. It’s one of my two favorite songs by them, so I totally geeked out. The highlights for me were that, Let Down, Idioteque, Everything in its Right Place and The Bends. If they also played Just, I don't know what I would have done.

Now, to get back to my normal personality: It was probably the best concert I have ever been to, and I am a bit sad knowing that I will likely never have it that good at a concert again.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Am Going to Hell, Part 498

I have been told many times that I am going to hell. That should come as no surprise. It rarely happens to me in a professional environment, but my wanton blasphemy cannot be contained to social situations. Apparently.

One of my esteemed coworkers (Let’s call her G.) is by most people’s standards a sweetheart. She may or may not be partially deaf in both ears. She wears hearing aids in both, but even when they are removed, she seems to have just enough good hearing to gather all of the office gossip you don’t want her to head. However, whether it’s part of her elaborate ruse or not, she screams when she talks. She listens to her headphones at a decibel level that allows all of her neighbors to enjoy her almost daily freak out to “Glamorous Life” by Sheila E. It’s loud, y’all. I thought that she was about 60 years old until another coworker told me that she was about 40. The matching concept for her attire would be best explained away by color-blindness, but I am afraid she is just what nice people would call eclectic.

She’s basically harmless, save for her penchant for chewing with her mouth open; that kills me.

I can’t put it any more delicately than to say she is a Jesus Freak. I know this because I am privy to her end of every cell phone conversation she shouts. She talks about how Christ does everything for her but make her dinner. She cavorts for hours on the phone about church picnics, what scriptures she heard on television the night before and most importantly about the sovereign enemy of all that is Christian, The DaVinci Code.

As an aside, I have read and hated the Code. I thought it was crappy writing about an interesting, if contrived, set of events. In many ways it was clever. (The Holy Grail’s a chick! Why didn’t Monty Python think of that?!) It even made for some clever tv shows on the Discovery Channel. And yes, his research/plagiarism is impeccable. But overall? It’s hack fodder that panders to the least common denominator. I don’t care if you think me a snob or a communist for not liking it. A friend of mine summed my feelings up about it perfectly: Can you believe Dan Brown made that much money using the word ‘suddenly’ in every paragraph? I did that shit in 5th Grade, and my teacher totally called me on it.

Example: Suddenly, when faced with the option to buy a croissant, Robert Langdon remembered that in Cryptography school he had taken a class that taught him that no matter what Catholics were trying to hide, monetary units could be exchanged for goods and services. This information would come in handy when Langdon wanted to buy his precocious, over-educated, French damsel in distress a Mona Lisa t-shirt from the Louvre gift shop. Or….would it?

At no point did I have problems with fictional representation of Jesus as a family man who got it on with a red-headed whore. However, my coworker did.

A few weeks ago she walked past my desk one day, and apparently there was something DaVinci-related on my monitor screen. She asked me, “You gonna see that?!” The sheer volume of the question nearly knocked me out of my chair. “See what?” I relpied.

“That DaVinci thing? I can’t believe they are even showing that in the movies.”

Me: “Oh. Um, no.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I read the book and it was shitty.”

“You know you are damn right! I didn’t read it, but I hated it. Can you believe they were saying Jesus was married and had kids?”

“Oh, I don’t care about that. I think that’s awesome. I just thought he was a bad writer.”


At this point, many people turned to look at me. Were they wondering, did Z just tell a deaf woman he thought Jesus was a fornicator? Maybe. I don’t know. What I did know is that I had just accidentally started a debate that I didn’t care about. I would debate, though, because I do care about debating. It’s delicate, my life with cognitive dissonance. Really.

(whispering-Just assume I am always whispering.) “G, please. No. No. Whatever. I am just saying the book had some interesting theories.” I was defending Dan Brown and hating myself like I was eating the last piece of pizza in the box. In one sitting.

(shouting- Just assume she is always shouting.) “Oh, Jesus! You don’t even know! You don’t know he had sex with no one. He didn’t have kids!”

“Listen, I am just not bothered by the theories. The book is fictional. That means it’s not real. A good way to remember that is fictional and fake both begin with F. My mom is a librarian.”

“He didn’t! He didn’t! The Bible says so.” I was not even going to get into a debate on strict, scriptural interpretation. I only have so much energy and emotional stability. And I didn’t want to clean up the mess after I blew her mind.

“Look, G. Neither of us was there, so it looks like we’ll never know.” Ha! That was true. No one will ever know. I win! But then she just started to glare at me. Like I had just eaten the last slice of pizza in the box. And it was hers.

“I am going to know someday. Do you know why?” I nodded no. “Because Jesus is going to tell me when *I* am in heaven.”

Ouch. G just told me I was going to hell. It was just her way of saying “Go to hell” and predicting an almost certain future at the same time.

So, I did what any hellbound helot would do. I told her that she was going to have to wait in a long line to see Jesus. Good one! Sigh. So, I followed it up with a “People tell me I am going to hell every day, G. You’re like the 23rd person today.”

Epilogue: The next day and each day after she treated me as if nothing had ever happened. Those uber-Christians are rowdy but ultimately forgiving, after all. The DaVinci Code movie opened to middling to bad reviews. I still think the book sucks, and wish that America would fall in love with reading something good.