Sunday, March 18, 2018


There was a time when I had a subscription to The Advocate, a publication that I considered to be the gay version of Time magazine. I wanted to know about what Barney Frank was up to on Capitol Hill, kept up with Larry Kramer’s provocative antics and I read about bigger theatrical productions (think Tony Kushner) and lesser ones while also getting the scoop on mediocre-but-hey-it’s-gay movies like “Jeffrey”.

I am dating myself.

As many print magazines have folded, others have reduced their publication schedule. Alas, for example, GQ is now seasonal instead of monthly, but I liked it better when pretty male models graced the cover instead of celebrities. Again, dating myself. The Advocate, in turn, has gone from bi-weekly to bi-monthly. As with so many once-prospering publications, The Advocate has tried to remain au courant with extra online content.

I check in with about once a week. Sadly, I have a clear sense of which posts are the lesser read pieces—the ones I happen to click to get some LGBT news and commentary. I am increasingly annoyed by other posts, the ones that no doubt get more traffic and drive up advertising revenue. I roll my eyes and remind myself content is pragmatically chosen. So much of the magazine business has to do with advertising dollars, even more so now that physical subscriptions have sharply declined. News about atrocities in Chechnya gets space on the website because thousands of site visitors clicked on shirtless photos of “Bears in Boston”. So real news coexists with lighter fare. So light it gets that lite spelling, as when we refer to cottage cheese. I continue to live in The World of Wishful Thinking where a national publication on LGBT news, opinion and entertainment can be just that, where readers are drawn to the reporting, the challenging perspectives and the writing. Many would say that was never The Advocate, but its 1990s version was far closer to that aspiration than the current incarnation. I mourn a little every time I visit the site.

One day last week—okay, full confession, it was Friday and, yes, I had nothing to do—I did some headline sorting on the website: articles I’d click, articles that make me lose faith, and harmless articles that might appeal to both news geeks and those seeking to be titillated. (Note that I copied the headlines as they appeared on the site, inhaling and exhaling slowly so as not to react to glaring inconsistencies in The Advocate’s standards regarding capitalization rules in titles. Writing geek that I am, I had to say that! Yes, Toni Braxton, now I can “Breathe Again”.)   

For folks like me (who refer to themselves as “folks”):

For the oglers and bored office workers (with very private cubicle spaces):

Getting Slutty in Seattle in 100 PhotosIt’s an easy drive from Vancouver, but this is not inspiring a visit.

26 Things Gay Sex Workers Want You to Know Wasn’t that a cover story for a supermarket tabloid?

101 Photos of Leathermen on a SoCal Rampage Ooh! The drama! Do the editors know the definition of rampage? Not clicking…

Terry Miller in Next to Nothing for Tom of Finland Store (Photos) Who is Terry Miller? Apparently an artist, but a quick Google search identifies him first as “Dan Savage’s husband”. Nice butt but whatever…

Fortunately, there’s some middle ground…posts that may interest a mix of Advocate browsers:

Here’s What Allies Can Learn From ‘Love, Simon’” Yes, this movie has to be for non-gays. Am I the only one who concluded that, from the trailers, it looks like it would have been interesting thirty years ago?

Janeane Garofalo Is Still the Voice of My Generation Yes, she is from my week older than I am. I've loved her ever since "Reality Bites". Anyone else think she’d be perfectly cast as Ellen Page’s mother or aunt?

Yep, I’m HIV-Positive and Happy Sounds like something for “People” or “O” magazine, the kind of article to read in a reception area.

This Discontinued Gay Ken Doll Will Haunt Mattel ForeverFirst there was Chucky, then the Bride of Chucky and now…Gay Ken. Screams and gasps! Mwah, mwah, mwah!

So which, if any, posts did you click? Which ones did you at least think of clicking? What looked boring? What generated your own case of the cringes?

Friday, March 9, 2018


I can’t keep up with today’s labels.

I’ll admit it. I used to be a label queen. Started during high school with Calvin Klein jeans and preppy IZOD alligator shirts in every imaginable pastel hue. A few Ralph Lauren Polo shirts too with that little guy riding a horse near my left nipple. They cost more, which normally draws me in (Sucker!), but they also suggested a person was too preppy. In all my adolescent confusion, I still knew I didn’t want to be called Biff behind my back. As the ‘80s came, I sought out Paul Smith, Marithé + François Girbaud, Guess and WilliWear to enhance my wardrobe along with a colourful collection of Swatch watches and boat shoes under the Zodiac brand. I couldn’t bear to walk through Target and quickly retreated if I happened to find myself in the Haggar or Dockers section of a department store. Some labels good, some labels—or the lack of all labels—bad.

Fashion evolves and I aged out of some brands. (Take a Guess...) I welcomed Hugo Boss, Claiborne, Ted Baker and, most recently, Eton to my closet. One of the big differences between then and now is I don’t have any real sense of whether a brand like Eton is truly fashionable. I like what I like and I’m still gullible enough to think a pricey tag means something. As tempting as it may be to go all Minnie Pearl and leave a price tag dangling on a did-I-just-a-drop-car-payment-on-that-shirt acquisition, I let my clothing choices present themselves. No alligators or mini Hilfiger logos anymore. No red carpet commentary as if someone wants to know. I no longer need to lead with the label.

To some extent, that goes with my sexual identity, too. I identify as gay and I assume people can ask (they never do) or figure it out (easy peasy, I’m betting). But I’m getting the sense that my chosen label has faded and, along with my age, made me passé. When I was coming out—and, ooh, doesn’t that clause make me sound even more passé— Lesbian (L) and Gay (G) were the options—one for girls, one for boys,…enough to muck up all that sugar and spice and snips and snails. Some advocated for the inclusion of Bisexual (B) while others derisively considered the big B as for semi-closet cases, persons in transition. (We’ve let that go, haven’t we?) And then came another group in transition, those identifying as Transgender (T). Add to that some slang, often slurs taken back and embraced by the LGBT “community”. Fags and faggots. Queers. Dykes. More recent slang, which I’ve blogged about being completely unnecessary: gay AF or gay as fuck and bromos. Just typing the last two gets me riled up again. For a young person to scream that he’s gay AF may feel like a proud or even challenging stance, but I find it insulting to the generations that did all the earlier work. I’d say the people at Stonewall and those who pushed for non-discrimination and AIDS progress in the ’80s would be more deserving of the “gay AF” title if the expression itself weren’t so silly. Gay is gay. Let’s step away from our mirrors and stop asking who is the gayest of them all.

But, more seriously, somewhere along the line, non-heterosexual people felt boxed in by a string of letters, even as it grew to LGBTQI. (Maybe the problem was that the alphabet cluster didn’t form a catchy acronym. Hey, Pat Sajak, I’d like to buy another vowel.) Gender and sexual identity have become more fluid and, yes, more complicated. Last night I went attended the first in a series of workshops for men about body image. The invite stated the following:

This group is open to self-identified men (trans men, cis men,

and other men), non-binary and gender-queer folks who also

identify as two-spirit, asexual, gay, bi, queer, and/or

as guys who are into guys.

It’s a different world. More to learn and more landmines, not just for people who see themselves as straight or heterosexual, but for folks like me who only had a small cluster of letters to choose from. None of the above terms are new to me, but I still have to do a quick Google on a few to figure out how each is distinct. And when I look at the invitation, I (timidly) wonder why intersex and pansexual didn’t make the cut. I know I’ve seen other terms as well, often in the comment sections online when one “gay” person is putting down another “gay” person. A label can be something one embraces to feel better about who he/she/they is/are but it can also be used as bait. Misuse it and they/he/she will pounce all over you.

For me, I’m sticking with gay. Not that I'm knocking any other term in any way. I’ve always liked the fact homosexuals stole a word meaning “happy” even if it’s often hard to align the term and the feeling. (And when we sing “Deck the Halls” and get to the line, “Don we now our gay apparel,” I find amusement in thinking of all the brands in my closet. Works every time—even if it shouldn’t—to make me smile. Voilà, instant gay!)

I spent years struggling with my identity, at first barely whispering the G-word. It’s taken decades for it to come out of my mouth in a casual manner when I’m with a group of strangers. “Gay” is what I've grown into. It's what makes me comfortable. It is the label that works for me.

Along with Hugo Boss.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


For someone who prides himself on punctuality, I’ve always been late to the party. Fundamental problem is that I don’t even recognize the fact that there is a party.

I came out at 21. Sort of. When you come out and don’t actually do anything about it, it’s sort of like that tree falling in the forest that no one sees or hears. It happened—or did it?—so what? Back then I had no gaydar and I continued to spend my time fixated on pretty straight boys. (Yes, there is such a thing.)

I would imagine that my cluelessness remains unmatched to this day. When Tim, a waiter at a Fort Worth restaurant where I worked, invited me into his apartment after a group of us had gone for drinks, I did not see the point. I was too polite. We’d just had a drink. He should save his booze. Besides, I was too practical. Why would I want my bladder awakening me in the middle of the night? Seriously, it only dawned on me a few years later that he may have been interested. Yes, years. (To be fair that’s when I ran into one of the waitresses and she told me, to my complete surprise, that he was gay. “How could you not have known?” she said incredulously. Way back then you couldn’t buy gaydar on eBay. There wasn’t even “Will & Grace” to help me out.)

After my stint as a waiter, I supplemented my meager private school teaching income by working part-time in the men’s department of a department store in Dallas. On occasion, the guys would get together after the Friday night shift. I was happy to tag along, but I was confused whenever we wound up at a gay bar. I figured it was just that the music was better. After all, that’s what we all said. (In my defense, it was Texas. In the ’80s. Okay, there was Steven Carrington on TV’s “Dynasty” but any insight about being gay was diluted by the fact the character was played by two different actors. Confusing!) I think I felt so alone and vilified for being—gasp—a homosexual that I assumed I was the only one in the Lone Star State.

So flash forward three decades and I still find myself bewildered from time to time. I have an old version of gaydar (Version 2.0 instead of 5.0) but no Grindr enhancement. It’s a work phone. No way I’m downloading that thing. I am even more technologically unaware and I assume the IT guys will get pinged if I have such content. Hence, I remain a naïve, moderately clueless gay man. This helps explain why I only realized yesterday that a guy at the gym may have been hitting on me six weeks ago.

On a Friday night in January, I arrived at the gym uncharacteristically late. Don’t recall why. Perhaps I was just trying to avoid the crowds from everyone resolving to lose weight, gain muscle and don an epic six-pack. (Such is the delusional thinking that comes when the sugar coma of December’s cookie season is finally broken. What-do-you-mean-there’s-no-more-chocolate-dipped-shortbread?!) To my delight, there was a smattering of people, but I could almost hear an echo as the odd clod dropped his barbells to the mat. (Novice!)

I was taking a short rest on a quad machine—not peeking at a YouTube cat vid on my iPhone—when a guy hiding under a bulky hooded sweatshirt and shorts over a pair of Lululemon leggings asked me to spot him on the hamstring leg curl machine. No doubt, I frowned and looked around. Isn’t there anyone else? Here’s where I missed the crowd. But I was perplexed, too. In all my years going to gyms, I’ve seen spotters on bench press and occasionally on bicep curls but never on any of the leg machines.

Let me say that I hate spotting. I suddenly transform into that cartoon image of a ninety-eight pound weakling. It’s never a guy needing an assist with thirty pounds of anything. It’s always a weight I wouldn’t dream of trying for fear of ripping a limb right out of its socket. And then there’s the part where I don’t really know when to help and how much to help. My personal feeling is: DUDE, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST PICK A WEIGHT YOU CAN HANDLE ON YOUR OWN?! (There. It felt good to get that out. Let me take ten deep breaths before getting back to this.)

Having never seen someone spot a person on leg curls, I asked what he wanted me to do. Oh, my. He gave me a five-step instruction, with lots of qualifiers. I responded with a look of Huh? and he repeated his vision. No clearer, but I consoled myself in the fact I must have shed a dozen calories in nervous sweat. I will fail him. Why didn’t I get here at primetime? Crowds aren’t so bad.

During the set, he called for a spot with me having to push his feet so they hit his butt. Weird. But done. I went back to my quad spot and he proceeded to watch and correct my form, saying he was a personal trainer. It should come as no surprise that I hate unsolicited technique advice perhaps even more than spotting. But he kept on talking. I shrugged and tried to be as dismissive as possible so he’d leave me alone. “Leg work is just filler between chest or arms work,” I said. “I don’t expect results.” (Truth: I’m resigned to chicken legs unless there’s a magic pill that buffs up, well, everything. A little drooling as a side effect wouldn’t be so bad.)

The guy hit me up for another spot and this time he grunted loudly during the set. More nervous sweating from me. More post-spotting conferencing about how I could do it better. I made a beeline to the far end of the gym. Why bother finishing quads anyway? Chicken legs, no magic pill, blah, blah, blah.

Later he approached me again, but this time showing off his barrel chest. No shirt in sight. To be clear, in the two and a half years I’ve gone to this gym NO ONE has walked around without a shirt. He was chatty and said, “Look at us here on a Friday night. I really need to get laid.” Eww. An overshare from the underdressed. I dodged and again readjusted my workout. A good excuse to try something new.

Hadn’t seen the guy again until last night. There he was, a new haircut and a beaming smile, looking right at me. I quickly stared at my shoelaces and he moved on. A couple of minutes later, he passed by again, same grin. And then,…slowly…slowly…wait…for…it:

Light bulb.

Had he been coming on to me? Was he actually gay?

No matter. Same reaction. Eww.

God only knows if there have been other gay men I’ve brushed off, guys I might have found interesting. Maybe I ignored them, simply from failing to connect the bright pink dots. I’m not sure if that serves as any real consolation when I consider my miserable track record with gay men. All this time I’ve been certain I’ve been consciously overlooked. Maybe the overlooking was all partly mine.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


When I picked it up, it was amongst shelves and shelves of plain brown paper bags, the top folded over. Looked like Mother Hubbard’s lunch pantry instead of a specially controlled pharmacy at a hospital. I wanted to joke with the pharmacist—“Gee, thanks for the lunch. I hope it’s PBJ.”—but, with her horn-rimmed glasses, stern face and monotone voice, I worried she’d withdraw the prescription. You strike me as overmedicated as it is.
So no lunch chat. Just an amusement in my mind to make light of an embarrassing situation. You see, I don’t like going to pharmacists. They know too much. That foot fungus from last summer. The pesky hemorrhoids. But worst of all, the ever-changing cocktail of mood stabilizers and antidepressants my psychiatrist is convinced might eventually make a difference in my quality of life.
This was, however, a different pharmacist and the issue involved a different circumstance regarding a better life. During my physical last month, I’d asked my family doctor if I could go on PrEP, otherwise known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or Truvada. We’d talked about the drug on a couple of other occasions, but it was not a drug covered by our generally strong Canadian healthcare system. The result was that it would cost close to a thousand dollars a month if I wanted to go on it, a silly expenditure for a man who isn’t sexually active.
But, as of January 1st, the provincial government began covering the entire cost of the medication for persons deemed at higher risk. (I contend it should be available to anyone. By the government’s logic, someone with who is considered as having only a moderate risk of becoming HIV+ gets no PrEP and then, if the risk becomes a reality, he remains a further cost to the system while also suffering emotional strain. I don’t see people storming pharmacists for—Woo-hoo!—free PrEP like it’s the world’s tastiest candy.)
Anyway, my doctor went through a series of questions with me. The system’s questions. I needed a certain number of points but I scored zero. We went through them again and made the black and white a whole lot grayer to get me past the threshold.
What got my doctor on board was how I’d introduced my thoughts on sex in general. I came out in the mid- to late-’80s (same as him) when, at least as far as I saw things, sex meant a significantly higher possibility of death before thirty. I’ve carried a high level of inhibition with me ever since. “I never went through a period where sex was fun,” I admitted. “I’ve always been too scared.”
In truth, I don’t know that I will ever overcome my early fears. (Doesn’t help that I grew up in a repressed, conservative family and that my first attempts to step out of the closet were in the Bible Belt.) I’ve listened to other gay men and all their stories, all their men. I’ve read many a novel and memoir where the gay sexploits might as well be science fiction.
If I could let go of decades of fear, I can imagine some pleasure, maybe even surface-level validation. He waited almost five minutes before asking for the lights to be turned off! And hey, kudos, things went past five minutes! I just need to eliminate whatever roadblocks I have to achieving sexual intimacy, whether with a guy whose name immediately escapes me or with a man who could become a longish-term boyfriend. (Husband? Life partner? I’m not so bold to let my mind go there these days.)
I’m well aware there are still STDs out there. Apparently, they’re on the rise among gay men now that fewer are using condoms due to PrEP. An STD would come with embarrassment and yet another piece of too-personal information for the pharmacist. But we’ve come so far from the peak of the AIDS crisis. Sex might come to be a healthy part of living, something I might even enjoy. Along with my own PBJ lunches.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


Okay, so Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker aren’t as chummy as Samantha and Carrie. (Here's the link to an article on the subject, in case you've had better things to do.) I can see Jack McFarland flipping out on “Will & Grace” but the rest of us should take a long, slow sip from Karen Walker’s martini glass and get over it.

I loved “Sex and the City”. Like many gays, I inserted myself into the show, engaging in frequent banter on whether I was Carrie or Miranda or Samantha or Charlotte. Maybe I have a conflict of interest here as I always went back and forth from Miranda to Charlotte. No one would ever take me for Samantha and Carrie always seemed to be overshadowed by each of them. Who wants to identify with that?!

The entertainment business works hard to create a make-believe world, not only regarding the storylines of characters on TV shows but also as to the happenings on set. Doesn’t every actor say, “I know it’s going to sound cliché, but we really are like a family”? We’re supposed to believe that on these sets and locations, strong, warm bonds form all the time.

I’m glad social media wasn’t around way back when I connected with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and grew to love the characters and, in turn, the actors. I want to forever believe that that group hug at the end of the series represented pure love between characters and among the cast (even if Rhoda/Valerie and Phyllis/Cloris had already left the nest). Same with “The Bob Newhart Show”. Bob and Emily forever, along with Howard, Jerry and Carol popping up for regular smiles and yuk-yuks.

Let “Friends” always be friends. May “The Golden Girls” always commune and console over cheesecake. And I can go on imagining that those “Designing Women” of seasons one and two continue to enjoy their southern charm while tuning out any of the on-set drama involving Delta Burke. Again, we mercifully only got reports of that through weekly tabloids.

On Twitter, I’m seeing #TeamKim and #TeamSJP emerge. Mostly, it seems people are looking for excuses to tweet the latest sassy GIFs.

I didn’t read of any tensions between Cattrall and Parker until the fall of 2017 when Kim Cattrall’s disinterest in a third “Sex and the City” movie put the kibosh on it going forward. Whatever the reason, I was glad. I saw the first and found it entirely disappointing. Couldn’t stomach the second, which might further tarnish the shine of such an outstanding series. The only unfortunate part of reading that there wouldn’t be another movie was the public muck that came out.

It’s with that in such recent memory that this newest uproar arises. Kim’s brother was missing and she’d taken to social media, desperate to find him. That got attention. When it turned out he’d died, the sad news got even more internet and new media attention. Celebrities are now scrutinized for their responses or their “failure” to respond. Given what public spat in the fall, what was Sarah Jessica Parker to do? The norm now is to tweet love and condolences, often with generic wording. Enough to make a public acknowledgment. It’s the same as the sympathy cards that get passed around in our own lunchrooms. The standard sentiment is a “Thinking of you” and a signature. For celebs, silence—or perceived silence, even if condolences are sent privately—would be new fuel because, even in this #MeToo era, everyone loves a good cat fight. Let women be empowered but let the sideshows continue to satisfy the gawkers.

I’m not on either team. (Perhaps stirring up wounds from childhood when I was last to be picked, let me be #TeamNoTeam.) But why would a TV environment be any more collegial and more familial than any other workplace? The reason “The Office” was such a success is that it was relatable. A work setting brings together people who are, well, not so relatable to one another. People get on each other’s nerves. There are falling-outs. Some quit but don’t we all know of people who stick with a job because of the pay or out of fear of what else is/isn’t out there? Don’t we know people who can ruin a Friday night happy hour with an unrelenting diatribe on all their co-workers? Whether Sarah Jessica should have tweeted and whether Kim should have responded, can we just move on?

In my mind, Carrie and Samantha will always be friends. And if all that was just good acting, then so be it.

Friday, February 9, 2018


The West Coast has San Francisco, the East Coast has Fire Island. And Broadway. I have to admit I’m kind of afraid of Fire Island—all those stories and all that sand getting in unwanted places. So, yeah, just Broadway. So many musicals and plays with gay storylines or with a diva to bring out the gays.
La Cage aux Folles.
Torch Song Trilogy.
The Boys in the Band.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Angels in America.
Hello, Dolly.
But not Cats. Please, no. (Except for that one lovely song. I prefer the Betty Buckley version to Barbra’s. Is that scandalous?)
Amidst all the flashy colossal signs, the throngs of tourists, the honking taxis and opportunistic Elmos, there’s a veritable gay Mecca. And for me to say I flew from Vancouver to New York City for the sole purpose of seeing a Broadway show, well, that’s gotta make up for the Barbra slight. Perhaps the particular Broadway show, however, may be a head scratcher. I didn’t go to see the revival of Angels in America. I’d seen a production of it in Vancouver long ago and, well, I’m not sure I have the attention span to sit through it again. A one-time experience. Neither did I go to see the revival of Hello, Dolly. (Bette Midler’s finished her stint and now it’s Bernadette Peters whom I’ve always found annoyingly nasal. Sacrilege?) I didn’t even go for Dear Evan Hansen. Would have loved to have seen it but, frankly, I’m too cheap to opt for a show that doesn’t have discounted prices through TKTS. Blame it, in part, on a lousy exchange rate for my Canadian dollars.
This trip was about the musical “Waitress”. I’d seen the movie with Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion and Andy Griffith years ago. (Side note: Whenever I’m in New York, I make a pit stop at a Dean & DeLuca because that’s where Keri Russell’s character on “Felicity” worked while attending NYU.) That movie, a quiet charmer, wouldn’t have been enough to make me see it as a musical.
Over the last three years, I’ve grown into becoming a huge Sara Bareilles fan. I was already familiar with “Love Song” and “King of Anything” but Sara’s songs took on more meaning when I bought her “The Blessed Heart” CD because of the song “Brave” and then became wowed by every song on it. “I Choose You” is a joyful celebration of love I wish someone would play for me someday, “Manhattan” is a lyrically melancholy masterpiece and I could go on. Search for these songs online if you’re not familiar with them (or just click the links).
A couple her other songs took on greater poignancy after I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. “Gravity” could be a song linking someone to the wrong partner or referring to a struggle with addiction, but for me it’s all about the hold depression can have over me. Somehow I can bawl my eyes out as the song plays and it’s therapeutic. Instead of unsuccessfully trying to banish depression, the song offers a means of acknowledging it and that, in turn, makes it bearable. Then came “She Used to Be Mine”, a song Sara wrote for the musical “Waitress”, and the links deepened. Like that guy in Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly”, Sara flipped the gender but the words seemed to be mine:
It's not simple to say
That most days I don't recognize me
That these shoes and this apron
That place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave them.
It's not easy to know
I'm not anything like I used be, although it's true
I was never attention's sweet center
I still remember that girl.

She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine.

It's not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through a back door
And carves out a person and makes you believe it's all true
And now I've got you.
And you're not what I asked for
If I'm honest, I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew

Who'll be reckless, just enough
Who'll get hurt, but who learns how to toughen up
When she's bruised and gets used by a man who can't love
And then she'll get stuck
And be scared of the life that's inside her
Growing stronger each day 'til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little, to bring back the fire in her eyes
That's been gone, but used to be mine.

Sara Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics for all of the songs in “Waitress” and that’s what made the show such a draw. I knew when “Waitress” was to debut on Broadway: April 24, 2016. I couldn’t make it then due to work. I waited until August of last year to finally go. And I loved it. I couldn’t have been happier.
Until mid-November, that is, when I read that Jason Mraz was going to play Dr. Pomatter for seven weeks or so, beginning in early December. (I’m a big fan of his music and, incidentally, his vegan principles.) I wanted to go again but held off. It was too soon since I’d last been to New York and I chose to go to Sweden instead. (Depression finds me always needing to be on the run.)
And then around Christmas I Googled Sara because I was wondering when she’d have a new album out. What I discovered instead was that she was going to play the lead role, Jenna, in “Waitress” for six weeks, two of which overlapped with Jason Mraz.

And that’s how I ended up feeling the pull back to Broadway. Two full days of travel—one each way—but it was entirely worth it. There’s a term for “Rent” fanatics: Rentheads. Is there one for “Waitress” groupies? Am I a budding Piehole? I could go once a month. There’s something about knowing the songs better and appreciating the jokes more. Even after seeing it twice, I enjoyed comparing actors in some of the other roles that had changed since August. More than anything, to see the musical with Sara and Jason together had me downright giddy, a remarkable reaction considering how profoundly I’ve struggled over the last few months. Gay again, in the Broadway way and the old-fashioned happy way.

Thursday, February 1, 2018


I don’t relate to my hair stylist. She’s twenty-four and it can be painful trying to carry on a conversation. When I first started going to her a year ago, I was firm about scissors only. No razors. (I’d had a traumatic experience not once but twice with a surfer/hair cutter twenty-five years ago. He took a razor to the whole back of my head when I’d gone in for a trim.) I’m starting to think a razor might be good. It would speed up the encounter. The problem is, whenever she says something, I’m at a loss for how to respond. “Uh-huh” is all that comes to mind.

Oh, my God! I so hate honey. My mom will try to slip it in a shake or something and I just know. I’ll say, “You put honey in this” and she knows she’s busted. Honey is just really so disgusting.


I don’t even have an entry point with her topics—Hipsters (they’re like honey), broken artificial fake nails (somehow they’re very painful), televisions in kitchens (Certain channels are okay, but I didn’t follow with the explanation.).

She goes to Cabo San Lucas every year and she knows all the really nice hotels, but she doesn’t stay there because the party hotel is way better. It’s where things happen.

Uh-huh. I could have said more. I could have said, “All I want is a decent night’s sleep.”


And that’s my problem. Okay, it’s not a problem, but it makes me feel different from not only my hair stylist but from most gay men. Not gay men my age—although quite a few of them, still—but gay men at some point in their lives. Younger. Nearer to the time they came out. I’ve heard the stories. The twink in Sydney. The threeway in New Orleans. The hors d’oeuvre, the main course and the late night snack in London.

When away from home, have at it. Hook up. Let a local show you his bedroom (or dark alley) hospitality. Bring someone back for hotel sex.

I don’t have a problem with it. Do what you want. My only qualifier is, if you’re in a relationship, you honor it and whatever agreements you and your partner have made before the trip. Have a good time. I want to be clear that I’m not a prude. (Maybe a little.) I entertain the fantasy of hotel sex or something else (probably not the alley though). Wouldn’t it be freeing?! No strings! Or maybe a same-time-next-year kind of arrangement.

When I’m single, I think about this possibility before every trip. And on my trip last week to New York City, I felt open to it. But the same thing happened that always happens. I arrive and I am absolutely certain that’s not what I want. I don’t even Google gay places anymore—clubs, baths, piano bars. I know I’m not going.

I’ve thought back on all my trips and I realize I haven’t had a What Happens in Vegas/Stockholm/Dublin/Peoria experience…ever. Where’s the possibility of a relationship? I get the sense that makes me an anomaly. Again, not a prude. (Can you detect the defensiveness?) The idea is exciting but I know myself too well. The experience would be empty. Good in the moment but then…nothing. I’d rather try for that decent night’s sleep so I can pack more things in during the next day, taking in art, green space, coffee culture and observing the similarities and differences in how people interact and get around in the place I’m visiting. Nowadays it’s easy enough to have a hookup at home. The ensuing emptiness seems more fitting to deal with there than messing with my mind and time on vacation.

Without any defensiveness whatsoever, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to The Big Apple. What happened in New York may bore the hell out of some gossip-hungry gays at a Vancouver gay bar but, no surprise, I’m not going there either. So, yes, I can entertain the thought of something random here on home turf, but, as you might imagine, I think I still would prefer trying for more sleep time.