If It Ain’t Broke

There are few things I love as much as I love The Golden Girls, which is why I love these Valentines!  I can’t take credit for whipping them up (you know I would if I could), but I’m happy to post them here for the third year in a row for you to Snip and Send (or, well, hand deliver — today is the 14th.).

Yeah, it’s a Hallmark holiday, but what the hell?  I figure any excuse to celebrate love — be it for your partner, your smoldering secret crush, or priceless television comedy — is something you might as well seize.

GoldenValentines

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You Go, Grandma

wheres the beefI had two pretty boring grandmas.  As far as I know, anyway; it’s not like I ever made much of an effort to get to know them as anything other than a great fan of the bargain basement and the Lawrence Welk Show (my dad’s mom) and the chain-smokingest, best meatball maker ever to come out of Potter, Nebraska (my mom’s). They both lived through the Depression and watched their husbands march off to war and raised reasonably well-adjusted families (we’ll say, for the sake of keeping this post moving…); my dad has four brothers and four sisters — maybe that was quite enough excitement for my Grandma Mil.

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But, try as we might, we never unearthed much in the way of a secret past for either one of them.  Mil wasn’t a riveter or a welder or a test pilot during World War II; Edie didn’t spy on Hitler or seduce Picasso or play professional baseball.  They were housewives in sensible shoes (Edie did sport the occasional spectator pump in her day, but Mil was Keds all the way) who cracked the very occasional joke and day-to-day did the best they could, and who wants to watch a movie about that? Continue reading

And Yet None of My Bullies Were Fat…

diet coke guyThere’s a Golden Girls episode where Blanche meets a guy at the library, agrees to go out on a date with him, balks when she realizes he’s in a wheelchair, and hilarity (naturally) ensues.  At one point, the girls find themselves sitting around the kitchen table hashing out the pros and cons of Blanche’s latest romantic entanglement — you remember that episode, right? — and Sophia weighs in:  “Just because a man’s in a wheelchair,” she says, “doesn’t mean he can’t satisfy a woman.”  Invited to elaborate, she unspools one of her famous Sicily stories.  “Picture it,” she says (and I paraphrase here), “Sicily: 1918.  A man in a wheelchair satisfies a woman.  It’s a short story but I think it proves my point.”  In this spirit, the following post:

When I was in the eighth grade (nearly thirty years ago, I am aghast to calculate), our school was one block from the nearest 7-11, and, with unfettered access to the Big Gulp soda fountain, I became what might charitably be described as a fan of Diet Coke.  I had only recently grown tall enough that my body stretched my weight up and down rather than from side to side, and I wanted to stay that way, and it had the word “diet” in it — if one Diet Coke could make you skinny, imagine the miracles that 200 fluid ounces a day could make manifest.  On the very first day (literally Day One) of high school, therefore, I didn’t even hesitate — why would I? — to plunk in my two nickels or whatever vending machines cost in those days and order up my Diet Coke come lunch time.  I wish I was exaggerating, but the hostile, shitty, faggot-bashing, limp-wristed lisping “Diet Coke” heckling started up before the actual can even clunked out of the machine, and it carried on for two years, until I transferred schools.  You read that right: I was intimidated and verbally hassled by the same eight or ten dickheads every single day (they did take weekends off), for two years, because I drank a fucking Diet Coke with my lunch.  A few of my so-called friends bailed on me, one or two of the gayer ones actively participating in the bashing bullshit to deflect attention from the faggoty gold bracelets with which they dripped, but my friends who had the balls and the strength of character to stick around were heckled by association, some to an extent of which I have only been made aware in recent years.  All because of a can of pop.  (Well, that, and a crippling fear of Self, with which I truly hope those guys grew up to come to terms, not that it’s my job to wish them well.)DIET COKE

Skipping ahead: Picture it: The airplane the other day, from LAX to Denver.  A big gay flight attendant serves a Diet Coke to an honest-to-God (according to his leather jacket, leather hat, t-shirt, and tattoos) Hell’s Angel.  And this burly, bearded, busted-up-lookin’ biker dude, when offered the can, demurs, satisfied with a little 6-oz. plastic cup of it.  Which is fine; I’m way past the point of judging people by what they order to drink on the airplane (although not above judging them by how they order it.  “Would you like something to drink?”  “No, thank you.  Just a black coffee and a tomato juice.”  OK, if those aren’t “to drink,” I’m gonna need to know just what the hell you are planning to do with them before I serve them to you…).  You want a Diet Coke, I’m happy to serve it to you, and you wanna split the can with your tough-as-nails wife, frankly, I think there’s a certain romance in there somewhere.  But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t strike me; would those Regis dipshits have had the nerve to laugh at this guy?  To belittle or berate him over a beverage choice?  And pay for it — if you’ll allow me to rhetorically ascribe imaginary and stereotypical violent tendencies to a man who was perfectly friendly to me — by spitting their teeth into a puddle of their own blood in the parking lot?   I doubt it.  And not least because by now I bet they all drink the shit on airplanes, too.  A big reason that being bullied is so frustrating is that it can be so frickin’ arbitrary.  I was an easy target, and self-loathing has to go somewhere, although a better place to put it would be Away.  I’m out now.  I’ll never be skinny again, and I don’t drink more than a 6-pack of pop in a year.  I serve a million Diet Cokes a year, to every kind of person, without even thinking about it.  It struck me funny the other day, is all — this dude as butch as they come, and all the shit I had to put up with?  Like I said, it’s a short story.  But surely it proves some kind of point…

My Boyfriend’s a Girl


fishnet lips
Trust me, I’m as surprised as you are.

OK, it’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds; he’s not an actual girl.  He didn’t secretly begin life as one, nor is he in the process of transitioning into one.  But he has started dressing up as one for fun and profit, and it’s taken some getting used to.  We spend a lot more of our disposable income on makeup than we used to, for one thing, and there are feathers everywhere.

Our Favorite Queens from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3

Our Favorite Queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3

Last summer — our eighth together, mind you, with nary a whisper of “I want to be a drag queen” in the interim — we were glued to Season Three of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix.  Jared has seen every season, but I have not.  I have only seen Season Three.  Over and over again, because RPDR is produced in such a way that I am riveted to every episode, even if I’ve seen it several times before.  Knowing the outcome before we even sit down to watch a given episode, I’m still on the edge of my seat by the second commercial break, yelling my commentary and critique at Jared, at the television, and all up and down Facebook each time, because my ideas and opinions stay fresh like that.  (Don’t roll your eyes at me.)  Raja totally deserved to win, but I still root for Alexis Mateo each time around, just in case RuPaul does Drag Race like the movie Clue and there might be a surprise ending.  But really, as long as they keep sending Carmen Carrera home, I’m happy. Continue reading

Homophobia Hits Home

(Avoid alliteration always!)

Pinky and MeI will stipulate that we might not be a strictly “conventional” couple, what with both of us being men, and one of us being a pink-coiffed drag queen who’s about six-foot-eight in heels, but for the most part my husband and I just sort of go about our gay business. We neither seek input nor require guidance from our families, any church, or the government on how best to conduct our Big Gay Relationship.  We don’t spend a lot of time, at least not intentionally, tearing at the Very Fabric of Society, although we do watch a lot of Golden Girls and order in kind of a lot of Indian food.  We do each have a tattoo of a naked man — I guess if society really is going to crumble, you wanna get a few good chips in, kinda the way people eventually flung themselves at the Berlin Wall once it became clear that puppy was comin’ down.  I say all this to say: I don’t give a shit what you think about me, just stand aside and think it over there so I can get at the garlic naan.

And you know what?  No exaggeration, that’s 99.9% true.  I don’t care what other people think of me.  At least not enough to let it be a factor in my decision-making.  It doesn’t affect what I write or how I write it, how I choose my friends or how I relate to them, what color I paint my toenails.  Nobody who cares about you judges you, and nobody judging you on criteria like your sexuality has a stake in your success or your happiness.

Which is why the way my husband’s grandfather reacts to me at family functions like the wedding we went to over the weekend pisses me off.  I don’t care what he thinks of me, and I for sure don’t care that he uses his “religion” as an excuse for his own rigidity, but I do care that he hides behind a set of values that he chooses to let external forces impose on him when he disrespects Jared. Continue reading