But Then How Will We Know We’ve Arrived?

In general, I think the comings and goings boards in airports and train stations invite reverie, be it wistful (“Ah, Paris…”), wishful (“Someday, Bombay…”), or wondering (“Where the hell is Show Low?”). But I gotta hand it to whoever programs the Departures monitors at the Miami International Airport for this bit of handiwork.

Unknown FliFO

Who boards a flight when the airline doesn’t know where it’s going? What does that person pack? How into their long and engrossing book do they let themselves get? Should we be concerned that a flight to “Unknown” is departing from an airport whose three-letter IATA code is M.I.A.?

Who works such a flight? Does the crew know where they’re going? Surely the pilot, at least? If they don’t know where they’re going, how do they pace their service?

Who walks up to the Departures monitor looking for this flight? ” I just want to see if Auntie McGee got off on time.” “Where was she going?” “I don’t know.” “OK, let’s look under ‘Unknown’… There it is!”

And still it managed to depart late. You don’t know where you’re going, but you know you’re late leaving to get there? Who are you, Eeyore? You probably  also assume it’s going to be raining when you arrive and all the good-looking men will be married or straight. You might wanna read up on Positive Mental Attitude before you plan your next mystery vacation.

We were looking for our own departure gate when my flying partner brought this to my attention, and my imagination instantly bounced out in a thousand directions at once. The incompetence! The hilarity! The What the Hell?! So much of the magic has been sucked out of travel for me these days. For most of History, the Journey has been as big an adventure as the Destination itself. And flying certainly used to be, but now it’s a blaring, billboard-saturated, TSA-monitored hassle. Most days. Every once in a while — and it helps if you’re in an airport with good cuban coffee — I’m reminded that the main reason I was drawn to travel was to explore. This day I eventually winged off to Houston, or Chicago, or another who-remembers-where that I’ve been to a million times, but my wheels had been set a-turn. Yeah, I’ve ben to hundred of cities in dozens of countries, but it’s still true: an immeasurable majority of the world’s art, food, architecture, waterfalls, smells, and smiles — not to mention the entirety of Show Low, Arizona — are yet Unknown. If you’re gonna bother to put put your camera, your notebook, and a clean pair of underwear in a bag and set out, what better place to go?

New Release: Love Has Reasons

Love_Has_Reasons_400x600Santa Fe attorney Danny Hanrahan loves life in his adopted hometown.  He’s got a great job, a gorgeous home, he’s tall, he’s handsome, and he drives a nice car.  The only thing he’s missing is someone with whom to share it all, but when his trusty assistant Monica sets him up with her sexy son Ashok, Danny quickly considers the “boyfriend” box checked, too.

Ashok Rai has lived in Santa Fe all his life.  He lives in his parents’ basement and has a secure, routine government job.  Finding little excitement elsewhere, he follows his best friend Erik into the glittery world of drag, and his alter-ego Raima Reason quickly becomes one of Santa Fe’s most celebrated queens.

Ashok is fit, charming, and dynamite in the sack; falling in love with him is a piece of cake.  Embracing Raima, though, proves to be more of a challenge.  Danny divorced his wife for a reason, and it wasn’t so he could go out and find someone who takes even longer than she did to put on makeup. When Raima’s career looks set to take off, Danny has to decide if he’s along for the ride, or if a boyfriend who’s sometimes a girl is more than he can handle.

When my own husband started doing drag almost two years ago (more on that here), I was faced with some unexpected (and, frankly, unwelcome) challenges to feelings about my sexuality, about gender identity expectations, and about What Will People Think? that I had long considered resolved. While this story isn’t “about” us, it was inspired by pieces of the adventure his drag career has taken us on — the good, the bad, and the Whoa That Dress is Ugly.

Like a lot of my stuff, it’s about Love. Which is partly about Sex. It’s about Family, both the one we’re born into and the one we make for ourselves. It’s about crazy-driving grandmas and loudmouth best friends and drag pageants and Frito pie and it’s about the way, as Blaise Pascal said (although not about my book, you understand), “Love Has Reasons that reason cannot understand.”

Get your hands on your very own electronic copy of my latest love story from JMS Books today!

Thanks, JMS Books!

Thanks, JMS Books!

 

Tattooed with a Nude

OnlyJudyCanJudgeMeSo I’m on the airplane yesterday, the last leg of one of the more irritating months of my flying career. This family’s in the last row, bottle-blonde mom, kid in a car seat, chunky, hunky husband in a t-shirt and shorts. He gets up out of his seat to get who-knows-what out of the overhead bin and I clock the naked-lady tattoo on his calf with an inward eye-roll. How classy, I groan, if only to myself. She must be very proud. What kind of woman, after all, runs around with the kind of jackass that parades around town with porn on his body? He was pretty cute, mind you, and they’d both been above-average friendly, but my knee-jerk impulse was not just to judge them, but harshly. They were airplane passengers, after all — they must have been doing something wrong.

I mean, it only took about five seconds — which can seem like a long time when you’re right in the middle of it — but the other shoe did eventually drop. My husband has a tattoo of a naked guy. A big one. Oh wait — have a tattoo of a naked guy. On my calf. And it drives me crazy when people react to it like it’s porn. “You have a penis on your leg!” No I don’t; it’s Michelangelo’s David, for Heaven’s sake. It’s not a penis, it’s Art! Heed the Bible verse referenced by another of my tattoos: Don’t judge me! (“Luke 6:37,” as my left ankle will tell you.) Oy, the irony…

Naturally, as someone who has one, I don’t really have a problem with naked tattoos. I was even moved to write Jared’s (color and shading to come) a little backstory. And because it’s in my favorite little 100-word format, I’m sharing it here. I’m sure this guy’s topless Waikiki wahine has her own story, too. I didn’t ask to hear it, but if its moral is “Give people a break,” she should consider her message received.

J's PHX Tat2Rising from the ashes is one thing, but exploding in flames hurt, dammit, and this had been a tough recovery.  His strength trickled back so slowly when he mourned a mortal lover, and he languished being earthbound.  His wings took forever to regenerate, and waiting, he was a prisoner of his muscle-heavy body, clumsier every day as gravity mocked his lavishly furled tail feathers.  Finally today, the anxious rustling of impatient wings had woken him.  He stayed for an extra minute to savor the lust for freedom — suddenly delicious, its quenching imminent — and then took to the sky.

 

In the Church of the Boys and Mind

Church has never really been my scene. At least not “Church” of the Tuck In Your Shirt, Be Quiet, Now Kneel Now Stand Now Sit Now Kneel variety. Not that I’m against sharing wine and bread as a way to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon, you understand, but I’m gonna want a lot more than one sip, and probably some cheese.

Dane Thorn Birds AlsoIt’s not like I didn’t give it a chance. I rode my bike to church like six Sundays straight when I was in college. Mostly because I had the major hots for Father Greg. He’s handsome and there’s donuts?  Try and stop me. Like every other gay boy who ever saw The Thorn Birds, I even toyed with the idea of becoming a priest. Of living in Rome and talking in Latin; of sharing an ivy-shaded stone dormitory with other mild-mannered, bespectacled youths. Well, you know, mild-mannered until lights out, when they would naturally drop their black robes to the floor in a puddle and let the moonlight trickle down the ridges and pool in the curves of their milk-fed, muscled bodies. Farm-raised bodies from across the world, in every hue of brown, of gold, of pert-bottomed pink… It was Passion that drew me to the priesthood alright, but not one for going to church.

I certainly believe in the Wonders of the Universe, and have seen too many blossoming cherry trees, spewing volcanoes, and giggling babies not to believe that a Creative Force is hard at work in the world. I’ve just never been convinced that the best way to glorify this Force and to celebrate these Wonders was to gather inside a boring old building once a week and struggle to stay awake through Reverend Lovejoy’s lecture on Constancy, sweet constancy.

Not that all churches are boring, of course. Gaudí’s unfinished Sagrada Familia, while not the most interesting of his Barcelona buildings, is certainly eye-catching, and La Sainte-Chapelle is widely renowned as one of the jewels of Paris (if one of her fakes, seeing as how it’s mostly glass…). And then, of course, there’s Powell’s City of Books. Continue reading

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

HAHAT 2014The Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia has ended. Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to commenter H.B., who won a copy of my new book, Love Has Reasons. The hop is over, but homo- and transphobia persist, so I’ll leave my rant against them below for you to enjoy: 

Chocolate LickFull disclosure: I think homophobia is scaredy-cat control-freak bullshit. You don’t know me. What the fuck business is it of yours what me and my husband get up to on the mornings when he just can’t let me sleep past four? (He loved when I was flying international; somehow me being cross-eyed exhausted is a huge turn-on for him.) (I said it was none of your business, I didn’t say I wasn’t gonna tell you all about it anyway.) There’s a tweet (apparently falsely) attributed to Morgan Freeman that used to get passed around with some enthusiasm: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared; you are an asshole.”  While I can get behind this quip in spirit (cuz if you actively promote discrimination or bullying or general shit-headishness because Being Gay is Wrong!, you are an asshole, no offense), I take issue with its content.  I think homophobia and transphobia are absolutely driven by fear.  It’s just not me of whom active homophobes are afraid.  If you’re not scared to death of the rainbow-glitter-loving queer pounding on your own closet door and howling for release (ahem), the notion that me going about my gay business is somehow a threat to you or “the children” or “society” should be wholly foreign, if not downright laughable.  I hate to break it to you, but any moth drawn to this flame(r) is a little bit gay already. Everybody loves a chocolate fountain, but you’re not dipping your pound cake in one if you’re not already at the Golden Corral, iyou know what I mean… Continue reading