The last time I saw my father was in 1997 when we went to see Titanic. He’s not dead or anything, we just don’t talk anymore.
My father never wasn’t conventional. My parents divorced when I was young and my father got custody of me and my siblings. We lived with him for six years until he sent us to live with our mother (on June 7, 1993, not to be too specific). It was in those six years that the groundwork was set for the man I would eventually become. And yes, I am really a man.
I never had a bedtime. Not because he didn’t want me to have a bedtime, but rather because I insisted on watching “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” It was there that I saw the stand up comics that would become my inspirations for pursuing the same goals.
He encouraged my obsessions with Bette Midler, Madonna, and Oprah, even though they didn’t necessarily fit the mold of what makes a “young man.”
He let me watch any movie I wanted to, no matter its rating. How else was I going to see my first crush, Tom Cruise, in Rain Man?
We don’t speak anymore because of the incredible amount of negative history that is there. As I age, I’m able to separate the things he did from the things I’m grateful for. Nothing is ever perfect, especially in relationships, but what matters most is one’s outlook on the bigger picture. He wasn’t a dad, he was more that distant Uncle who overstays his welcome at Thanksgiving. And that’s okay.
I see him in me, both the good and the bad, but being able to rationalize that is what makes me a man. Well, that, and this…
When I was baptized I knew it was a bad idea. I figured I’d try to stump them, so I asked where all the black people were. They immediately said Gladys Knight was Mormon. I know, I was shocked by that too, I had no idea the midnight train stopped in Salt Lake City.
I’m originally from a small town in Missouri, Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis. Very quaint, simple little town centered around the train station and high school football team. We’re famous for the local pizza guy kidnapping a kid and keeping him in the basement for 4 years. But he made great pizza!
Watching the “It Gets Better” videos has left me feeling like somehow I missed out on something. Where’s my agony? My heartache? I was so painfully well adjusted with liberal parents (sure we’re Mormon, but we were like the affirmative action family for the Mormons, they kept us around because we made them seem populist). Instead of wearing black or a trench-coat or some other hate crime inspiring apparel, I wore khaki’s, sweater vests and pastels. Finding out I was gay was about as shocking as running into Newt Gingrich at a buffet.
Not once was there ever a time when anyone thought I was anything but gay. I’m a gold star gay, I’ve never been with a woman. I just recently learned women don’t pee through that little “man in the boat” situation downstairs. My mother would even say, “When you kids grow up an have children,” and then to look to me and say, “… or adopt.” There was always an alternative for me.
Every gay guy has that one special gal, in my case, I had an entire family. They were the Whites (that’s their last name, not just white people in general, however the Whites are in fact white).
There was Judy, the Mom, whose creativity and unique point of view showed me that I could say anything I wanted if I just owned it. Meredith, the universal baby sister to us all, whose warmth and kindness is masked by a fierce determination to accomplish anything (picture Hillary Clinton talking Osama bin Laden down while wearing pearls). Finally Lori (L-O-R-I, thank you very much), who had this boldness and awesome sense of self (and just a flat out genius). Over the years we spent together, these three women became my second family. Together the three of them made what would be like a super hero gay man.
We had a tendency to dress in themes for dances (I know!). I dressed as Elvis Costello once for Lori. My real last name is Hoeninger, but is often mispronounced as “Ho-Nigger.” Which is just another reason why it was destiny for us to join forces. Together we became a collective White Ho-Nigger.
As a comedian, you take adversity and turn it into comedy. I’d probably be more successful if I were to have, I dunno, a mini-bout with being bipolar, some sort of bullying, maybe a pathetic attempt at suicide involving a broken Madonna cd, I-don’t-know. Instead all I got is that, because of the Whites, my awesome parents, and some strange element of “I-don’t-give-a fuck” attitude, I went to a high school dance dressed as Elton John in a pink boa (you read that right), and be crowned King! To quote my friend Sharon Spell, it never really could get better for me, it’s more like “It plateaued.”
Getting my body beach ready for my upcoming vacation ain’t easy, but it’s moderately funny.
I’m fascinated by Newt Gingrich. Yes, as a history nerd, I love his mind. But that’s not what’s most fascinating to me. With recent news that his candidacy is surging in South Carolina thanks to his strong debate performances, all I can ask myself is, “Why?”
Let’s be real, the dude is the definition of the word “icky.” From his appearance to the way he conducts himself. Even his smile reminds me of the creepy fat dude who, once in the privacy of his own home, you know is wanking to some truly sick porn.
Yes, I know, this shouldn’t matter, it’s the person above the appearance, but let’s be real, this isn’t 1909! That was when an unfortunately looking man was elected President, William Howard Taft. There have been questionable ones since then (I’m looking at you FDR and Nixon), but none truly warranting the word “ugly.”
Presidents aren’t just politicians, they are the definition of whatever we define as power at that moment (and, unfortunately, it’s always been in the male form, even when Hillary Clinton cracked the ceiling). They are a definition of the time:
- Woodrow Wilson: Though not particularly attractive, he had the bookish thing in his corner, sending the electorates libidos into an intellectual orgasm.
- Lyndon Johnson: Okay, he looked a little too similar to a houndog, but the dude had “MAN” written all over him! He’d put back a few with you, go skinny dipping, and then shoot something. And he loved Fresca (my personal favorite sophisticated beverage).
- Ronald Reagan: We needed a Grandpa to feed us jelly beans.
- Bill Clinton: The cigar says it all.
- George W. Bush: He had the dumb girl at the bar you could easily take home for a night of tickle tickle without any extra work required appeal.
So where does this leave Newt Gingrich? Are we as a country in a place where we’re willing to elect another fugly? I don’t think so. If you take Barack Obama and put him next to Gingrich on national television, you’re going to see a smart, tall, dashing black man next to a man who hasn’t seen his penis since 1996. Yes, the debate will be stuff of television magic, but at the ballot box, people will go for the greater endowments of Obama over the rotundness of a dude named Newt.
It’s a once you go black sorta thing, ya know?
I am 29 years old, young enough to eat pretty much whatever I want, but too old to officially fuck up (like get arrested for Coke possession or wear white after Labor Day). I don’t feel particularly old nor young, I feel like I’m 29 years old.
Last week I had my first encounter with the realities of my age. I had a voicemail from my father, “I’m with your mother, she’s about to go into surgery, talk to you later.” Okay now, let’s address a couple things. This surgery was not expected, so you can imagine my shock of not only the news, but also the delivery of the news. Notice there was no real explanation of what the surgery was for, what her current state is like, or any real sign of a good or bad outcome, just a direct sentence delivered in a dry voice. And then the, “…talk to you later,” as if perhaps we’ll meet up for milkshakes. Now I understand women’s complaints about men, because only a straight man would leave a voicemail like that. The dramatic homosexual in me required details and emotion, perhaps peppered with a light use of sentimental humor.
After what seemed like forever, I finally got a hold of one of my siblings to get an explanation. She was doing alright, but it looked like a long hospital stay and a longer recovery. I made arrangements to get home as soon as possible.
There’s nothing like news of a parent falling ill to force you to consider the day that they will no longer be here. I’m only afraid of three things: 1) dying in an airplane; 2) a world without Fresca; and 3) losing my mother. I know it’s going to happen someday, but that doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it. I feel the same way about the new Facebook.
I don’t want to play the, “My Mom is more special than yours” game, but she is. A gay boys relationship with his mother is one of the most sacred things in the homo’s life, followed by name brand lubrication and alcohol. For most us, at some point, we’re the “sissy” or the outcast in someway. But not to our mother’s. To them we were their “special little boy,” acknowledging that yes, we were different, but that difference only made us better.
It was that acknowledgement that gave me the confidence to later be comfortable with myself and my sexual orientation. She would say things like, “When you boys grow up and have children, or,” looking at me, “adopt.” It was this acceptance that made me aware of my difference, but not in derogatory way. I was going to do something greater then the conventional, and this inspired me to take a chance and do what I love: comedy.
There’s a joke I heard once, for mother’s, there’s nothing greater than having a gay son once the mom gets old, because we’ll ensure they are properly lit and look presentable. It speaks to a stereotype I loathe, but after last week with my mother, I realize it’s true. My mother tried to describe to my father what a pashmina is, but the closest he got was thinking she wanted to wear an animal. I was able to do the things the straight men in my family were uncomfortable doing, domestic things. And even though normally this separation of domestic roles would bother me, somehow I found comfort in being the homo Nurse with the mostess. And I knew it made my mother happy too.
She’s getting better, slowly, and for this I’m grateful. Now that I am a little bit older, I realize that the thing that she implied made me special as a kid, actually turns out to have made me possess one of the most conventional of all traits: nurturing caretaker.
I’ve arrived in sunny California! Well, it’s not totally sunny at the moment, a bit overcast, but saying “I’ve arrived in overcast California” just doesn’t have a good ring to it.
One of the first events that happened when I got out here was Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service. What a sight that was! Black people know how to throw a funeral. As my firend Lori said, it’s just one big jam session. Nobody does a funeral better than black people. Except, Lori noted, the Irish. But they are kind of the blacks of Europe, no?
Did you see John Mayer at MJ’s funeral? I was so confused with his presence. I think he thought he was going to play, “Your Body is a Wonderland” in honor of Neverland Ranch, but then realized it might be taken the wrong way. Tacky John, totes tacky!
It’s good to be back in the land of silicone. I joined Crunch fitness, which was like a huge step for me. Not because I need inspiration to work out, I’m pretty physical, but because I don’t like shelling out that kind of money every month for something that should be way cheaper (and thus more accessible to everybody). The perk to having a membership at a high priced gym: they give you a small towel and a large towel, various soap options in the private showers, and skinny trainers you know are judging everything you do (because they think they know better, which is like beyond annoying, I’m not the one having to work at a gym just to get a free gym membership – ZING!).
Here’s to setting goals and achieving them!
Have you seen this ad before? Like, totes ridick!
First off, look at his before and after, that’s a drastic difference! Besides that, I can tell you from having lost 100 lbs, getting a six pack like that while dealing with excess skin is almost impossible without the assistance of surgery.
So if getting rich and having skin removal surgery is apart of the workout plan, this d-bag is full of shit!
My mother will whisper things she doesn’t think are appropriate to say out loud. I remember once, when talking about female wrestlers, she said in a regular volume, “You know most of them,” and then whispered, “lesbians.”
I don’t know if this is a uniquely American thing. When I studied in Germany I wanted a bagel, but there never were any to be had. Lots of other pastries, but no bagels. I asked why, but they never gave a reason other than, “we do not eat them.” But let’s be honest, Jews are famous for their bagels, but they’re famous in Germany for other reasons. So there they just avoid rather than whisper.
What’s amazing is that usually when people whisper things they think might offend others, it’s almost always in the company of like minded people. For example, my mom will say, “So I went to my hairdresser,” and then whisper, “she’s black,” standing around 4 upper-middle class white women in their 50′s. I have a feeling they probably have said/heard worse.
Perhaps Obamas ascendancy to the Presidency will squelch the use of the unnecessary whisper. It would sound a little silly to say, “Obama is the first,” and then whisper, “black President.” But maybe part of the Obama strategy was to fool all of those middle aged Midwesterners into thinking he’s just very tan, I mean, they did play up the fact that he’s from Hawaii. It’s conceivable they had no idea he’s… well, you know… black, shhhh.
I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m-so-scared!
Below is the story of the love affair between Sally and Ted, two easy going Seahorses.
Ted: Hi, I’m Ted.
Sally: Hi, I’m Sally. You’re cute.
Ted: You’re not too bad looking yourself.
Sally: Would you like to dance?
Ted: You’re very bold.
Sally: I get what I want.
Ted: Well then, maybe later. (Ted swims off)
Sally is confused. She has never been turned down like this before. A couple days later…
Sally: Hey, Ted!
Ted: Hi, um, Susie, right?
Sally: No, Sally. What happened, was it something I said?
Ted: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Sally: A couple days ago, I asked you to dance but you said no and left. I didn’t know if maybe I upset you.
Ted: Oh, I’m sorry. Would you like to dance?
Sally: No. See you later.
Sally is no spring oyster, she’s played this game before and is bringing her A game. The next day…
Ted: Okay, Sally, let’s be mature Seahorses about this. You like me, I like you.
Sally: Alright, you’re right, would you still like to dance?
Ted: I can’t today, I’ve got an algae date with an old friend. Not date date, you know, just meeting up.
Sally: When will you be free for 8 hours?
Ted: Let me check. (Ted pulls out his IPearl) I could meet up tomorrow at 6pm. Does that work for you?
Sally: See you then!
Sally spends hours getting ready. Ted is late.
Ted: Hey, oh man am I sorry for being late!
Sally: Whatever, you obviously aren’t into me.
Ted: Oh, my little starfish, I think you’re beautiful.
Sally: You’re just saying that cause you want to rub my snout.
Ted: No, I mean it, you’re the prettiest Seahorse this side of the mangrove.
Sally: Really? You mean, you want to take my ovipositor?
Ted: It’d be an honor.
Sally: Shall we do the true-courtship dance?
Ted: I thought you’d never ask.
For the next 8 hours, Sally and Ted do the true-courtship dance, spinning together, Ted pumps water through his egg pouch, showing Sally that it’s empty, which is a turn on for Sally.
Sally: I like your egg pouch.
Ted: I thought you would.
Sally continues to talk dirty to Ted. At which point they spin upward and Sally inserts her ovipositor into Ted’s brood pouch, depositing her eggs.
The next day…
Ted: It’s official, I’m pregnant.
Sally: Oh Ted, I’m so happy.
Ted: Me too. My tail is swollen.
During the course of the next 15 days, Sally visits Ted every morning. They promenade, holding each other’s tails. On the 15th day Ted gives birth to 1000 baby seahorses.
Sally: Look at what we created.
Ted: It’s amazing. You’re going to be a good Mama Seahorse.
Sally: Excuse me? I’m done. We’re done. Their born, we’ve done our job, swim, be free!
Ted: But Sally, how can we just abandon them? How can you abandon me?
Sally: Um, cause like, there’s a million other fish in the sea, so to speak…
Ted is sad. He fell in love with Sally. Because he loves her, he does as she wishes and abandons the baby Seahorses and her.
Weeks go by. Sally has slept with countless other Seahorses (and one particularly awkward encounter with a pipe fish). But something is off, she’s lost her mojo. What’s wrong with her, she wonders.
Sally: I love Ted!
She swims back to his mangrove. Upon her arrival she sees Ted tending to his algae.
Sally: Ted, hi, it’s Sally.
Ted: (barely looking up from his algae) Oh, hi.
Sally: Listen Ted, I know you’re upset. I just…
Ted: Upset, me, no, I’m fine, I’ve got my algae!
Sally: Ted, just hear me out. You see, I’m just a Seahorse, floating in front of another seahorse, asking him to show me his egg pouch. Ted, can I touch your empty egg pouch?
Ted: I’m sorry Sally, I can’t.
Sally leaves. As she swims away she hears a song. She can’t make it out, but it sounds like percussion’s. She turns around to see Ted standing in front of 1000′s of seashorses.
Ted: Sally, (singing) darling, it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me. Let’s promenade!
And they lived happily ever after!
What a fun show!
Have you seen the video of Nancy Reagan and Barack Obama together? Hilarious! I love the look on Obama’s face when she observes, “You’re a lefty,” as if it were some subtle political blow (which it probably was). Nonetheless hilarious!
Alright, so I’ve been a shitty blogger lately. Life exploded for a bit. To the 12 people who will read this, I am sorry.
What have I been up to?
- There was AIDS Walk New York (5.6 million, shoop shoop). That was amazing.
- Then comedy, which is going well.
- Philadelphia with Lori White (and Ben Franklin).
- Preparing to leave for LA! Beginning of July I’ll be leaving on a jet plane. Eeeek, I’m nervous!
- The Brooklyn Half Marathon tomorrow!! Third year in a row!
So yeah, I’ve been busy!
I also signed back up for Match.com. Figured it would be a good way to meet men in LA. I don’t tan, rarely drink, and hate the gym, so my ability to meet gay men in the normal fashion is limited out there. What’s fun about Match is that you can type in keywords to search for men. I typed in Shirley MacLaine. Various men who look like my father turned up. It was like looking into a mirror of my future. This cannot happen to me!
I am spent. More to come.