I always wanted to be kidnapped. Not like literally kidnapped, but like, fun kidnapped, you know? Of course as a kid I didn’t understand the severity of a kidnapping (I know now, thank you… sort of). I just saw it as a means of getting my own made-for-TV movie and possibly a book deal.
It would happen at the mall. I’d be at the mall with my mother, in the husky section of Sears (where I spent 13% of my childhood). For a moment I’d slip away to look for a cool pair of Keds when he’d approach me, my future kidnapper. Being the gregarious kid I was, I’d gladly chat it up with him. He could have easily been a scout sent by Steven Spielberg to find the next big kid star, spots me, BOOM, fame. Then, just as he’s got me hooked with “You’re the next Elijah Wood,” he’d pick me up and rush me to his van.
Now, have you spotted how ridiculously impossible this is yet? I mean, come on, I was shopping in the husky section, do you really think he would have been able to pick me up that easily? PLEASE!
We’d get back to his place. Turns out he’s not mean at all. He recognizes I’m more of a reader, so he lets me do that while he writes ransom notes. After a while it becomes clear that I have a way with words and he lets me write my own ransom notes.
Eventually the ransom notes gain popularity because they’re so poetic, generating attention from celebrities. Tom Cruise films a commercial calling for my release, Madonna dedicates an entire album to me.
The pressure is on. So far millions of dollars is committed to information leading to my rescue. I get wind of this because I’ve been following the news closely (how could I not, I’m an international celebrity case now, my face is everywhere). I realize that I could use that money, not some poor schmuck who just happens to notice me one day. So I fool my kidnapper into opening a bank account with me (I can’t do it myself, I’m a kid, remember?). I tell him that we’re going to create a fake identity that will then turn me in. That “person” (us) will get those millions deposited into the joint bank account we’ve set up, I’ll go home to my family, and by the time he’s released from prison I’ll split the money with him.
The thing is, I’d never do that. The moment I turned 18 I’d take the money out and put it in my own account. Once he got out he’d be all like, “Where’s my half?” and I’d just laugh and laugh. Who’s going to believe him, he’s a kidnapper!
Of course my story would get made into an exclusive tell-all book co-written with Kurt Loder, which would lead to a made-for-TV movie starring myself in my debut role, leading to an Emmy win.
I’d then move into the exact same loft Tom Hanks moved into in Big, sleep on a trampoline and eat Pop-Tarts for every meal.
Like I said, I didn’t fully understand the seriousness of a kidnapping. But I fully grasped the fame and wealth it could bring. Especially if it meant I’d never have to shop in the husky section ever again.
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.