Monday, October 20, 2014

Ten Things You Should Know About Gay Bars From a Castro Bartender

Ten Things You Should Know About Gay Bars From a Castro Bartender

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Back when i was the "Tea Fag"

            Nine years was an interesting time in a young boy’ life. It was the point before we learned to take ourselves too seriously. It was the age of innocence. It was the age of spontaneous erections and awkward discoveries. It was the time when we truly understood the power of a good fart joke. This lightheartedness faded with time for some people. It was also the age where someone could do something that would stick with them for life. Trust me.

For years people would call me the “Tea Faggot.” I wish I would have had a good comeback and self-esteem to corrected them then.  I would have said, “I like coffee too!” I never did though. I was nine. The world was a different place then. The internet was still a big wilderness and a twinkle in most of regular people’s eyes. “Beverly Hills 90210” was on TV. It was the first time around, when Donna was STILL a virgin. Kirstie Alley was known less for her size and more for her incessant whining on “Cheers” then. It was just a different time.

I was in the fourth grade. I had three real friends. I was related to two of them and one of them gave birth to me. The point is that there were slim pickin’s and that was okay with me. My cousin Nicole was one of my best friends not completely by choice but mostly by situation. We were latchkey kids two months apart with mothers who were sisters. We looked like twin boys until puberty completely hit. I was nine so that tide hadn’t hit yet. We were also in the same class Nicole and I. We also had the same friend.

After school Nicole and I would walk to her house. This was where I lived as far as the school district was concerned because it was a better neighborhood than my own. Our mothers both worked long hours because they had to which left us with lots of down time. This was where we learned to be creative. This was also where we realized that we loved television more than some of our relatives.

The second we got home the TV went on and we went on search for a snack. After dealing with the drudgery of being little fat 9 year olds who were teased often, we needed some caloric love. I would go through the cupboards and fridge and create amazing snacks. There were quesadillas, bologna and tortilla sandwiches and sometimes my aunt would leave us quiche. Yes quiche. If that didn’t sound cute enough, I would also have tea every day. What 9 year olds drink tea? Me. With quiche and tea I’m surprised I ever had the need to formally come out to anyone.

It was one fourth grade afternoon that was just like many others before it. Nicole and I were just finishing watching an episode of “Tale Spin” and about to put on our favorite movie, “Hook.” It was at that moment we both were startled by the sound of the teakettle. My other cousin who was 20 at the time was in her room so we weren’t exactly alone. Since the whistle meant it was tea time, I went to pour Nicole and I a Styrofoam cup. I know, who uses Styrofoam? It was a different time. Anyway, there was a commercial that came on the TV as I was pouring the hot water into the little cups that has a loud bell noise in it. I got startled, tapped the table with the cups and spilled the boiling hot water all over my shorts. It took me a second to realize what has happened. I then started to scream. It felt as though my shorts were literally stuck to my skin and burning through it. I wanted to rip the shorts off but I was in front of 2 girl cousins. Not knowing what to do my older cousin makes me hop into a bath running cold water with the shorts still on. I would eventually get the shorts off, pulling some of my skin with it. It was horrible. My normally pale-bordering clear skinned leg was now lobster red. My poor 20 year old cousin looked horrified running cold water on me. She quickly called for an ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived at the house so had my mother. This was odd because in those days my mom was late to everything. We would often tell her to come to events an hour earlier than the actual time for this reason. When my mom arrived I was being transferred from the bath to the weird bed they carry you on when you are being helped by an ambulance. Hot, muscled EMT guys carrying me on a cot. An image wasted on 9 year old me. As the two men carried me to the ambulance my mom followed less than a foot away in tears. My mom went from tears to bustin’ balls inside the ambulance van. I was screaming due to the pain in my leg. This was before I knew the appropriate obscenities. It was just yelling. We are speeding through intersections and the female EMT say, “We don’t allow screaming.” I wanted to tell her we didn’t allow her Millers Outpost look but would make due. I didn’t say that. My mom though made eye contact with the woman and shut her down. She then said, “if he wants to scream, he is in pain. Let him scream.”

Once at the hospital it took at least 2 hours for a doctor to help me. Bureaucracy at it’s best. They didn’t even give me a pain reliever. My mom spent the whole time pacing and losing sanity. After a long wait and waiting again they gave me a pain reliever and proceeded to remove some of the layers of shin that were burned off. Then my leg was wrapped with all sorts of bandages. From the waist up I was a pudgy little boy. From the waist down, I was all mummy.  I had second and third degree burns all over my left thigh. On the upside, I missed 4 days of school, which to me was bliss. This was 4 days of watching “I Love Lucy,” “Sally Jesse,” and some other crap. I was in heaven.  This was until I returned back to school. It was there I learned my new name “Tea Faggot.” It would be years until that name went away, then they would call me simply “faggot.” I would become a better person for all this.

Friday, October 10, 2014

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Injuries. My little feet.

            They say to write about what you know. Something you’re an authority on. I suppose writing about how to roll the perfect joint doesn’t make for a best seller. I do know how to drink responsibly and not be the guy who ever gets kicked out of a bar for any reason. That’s not a topic. Just called being an adult. I am though the biggest klutz who’s survived more odd injuries/impediments than Lindsay Lohan’s career. This is a topic that I am an authority on: surviving the lemons life throws at you and coming out a better person with lemonade and a funny story. At the end of the day that’s all we have. Our stories.

            I could start by telling you about one of the three black-eyes I have survived in my life. None of which resulted from a fist. I could tell you about how during my 10 years bartending I accidentally cut my hands on glass more times than an old person cuts the cheese. I could tell you about my 19th birthday. When I broke my foot walking New York City. Yes. Walking. I could tell you about how I was hit by a car while crossing the street and not only survived but changed the world around me. I can tell you how I ended up with a few screws in my femur, a surgery that made me into the real life bionic man and left me with the uncanny ability to forecast the weather. We will circle back to that one later.

I suppose it’s best to start at the beginning. I was born with two left feet. That’s not a euphemism. I was the cutest pigeon-toed, flat-footed, big-headed, shockingly pale-white little boy you ever did see.  You would have to be blind not to see me. I was so white!  Because I my feet I was forced to sleep with these braces on my feet. This is what the podiatrist assured my parents would help fix my feet. A pair of shoes with a metal bar connecting them and keeping the toes pointed as far out as possible. This was understood as the only way to help me have a normal life meaning able to walk like other people. It was also before I knew that I would never be like anyone else and that was okay.

Every night I would go to bed with those heavy braces on my little meatloaf looking feet. As a toddler I thought there wasn’t anything heavier than that bar holding my feet in place. As a adult I realize that bar couldn’t have been more than 3-5 pounds.  At bedtime my mom would tuck me into bed, which was a playpen because I was known for climbing out of the crib. After she hummed lullabies, setting me down in the pen and shut the light off, I was vehemently at work on an escape mission. I had lots of living to do.

I have never liked the word can’t or limitations others may put on one another. I also have never liked the word can’t. Many other kids in my situation would have thought, “I am in bed with heavy weight on my feet, maybe I should go to sleep.” Or feel bad about themselves for not being like everyone else. Not this guy. I took my legs, lied on my back rocking them back and forth in the middle of the night with my feet dangling over the side of the playpen.  After like 20 tries the momentum of the weight of the braces allowed my little body to fly across the room, and limp with the bar holding my feet together, pointed out the livingroom. Once there my mother would scream out of fear saying “you could have killed yourself.” I would try to protest my bedtime and every time my father would carry me back to bed telling me to stay put. This would continue for another few years. Luckily I never stopped exploring and we eventually realized that the silly feet-braces didn’t work.

Growing up poor and working on TV

            Growing up, we were pretty poor.  I didn’t have to turn tricks to get the lunch money and later hand over to bullies or anything like that, but we were poor.  My mother and I were poor enough that I was able to get California’s finest pubic school lunches for free.  Where the corn dogs were occasionally green for no apparent reason and fruit was covered in enough corn syrup to piss off Paula Dean and the food was good enough to clog an artery with one bite.

We were poor enough that in high school I didn’t have to work because I wanted to or was forced to.  I worked because it was something I needed to do to get where I wanted to go.  It was in about seventh grade that I realized that I would need to get a job and that every grade past 6th was a joke.  I hated school in the way other kids hated Brussels sprouts.  This was when I decided that I wanted to be an actor.   This wasn’t a new revelation, but it was a new action.  It was then that I figured it was my duty to become a famous child actor like the Olsen twins or the chick from “Small Wonder” that no one remembers. 

I made my mom drag me to auditions in LA.  We lived in San Diego at the time.  I pushed to get headshots and go the whole nine-yards.  This was also my excuse to get out of school, which was brilliant.  I imagined that some tutor, would educate me eventually, like the kids I had heard about on TV.  I would buy a $50,000 car cause I could.  I would go to some amazing Ivey league college like Brooke Shields.  I would fit a B-rated film, maybe a “Poison Ivy” sequel, “Poison Oak” during that hard freshman year of college.  There would be many awkward scenes in this movie that I would later regret according to People Magazine, as I would try to break away from that teen persona.  I would also end up on the cover of Rolling stone wearing a leather jacket and burning one of those little American flags on that was the toothpick on my sandwich for controversy. 

Back to seventh grade I worked to make these daydreams happen.  I got an agent who sent me to a few big auditions including playing Jason Alexander’s fat blob son on a show that didn’t make it past it’s pilot (I was too thin so my mom said) and one for a JCPenny Commercial.  The commercial auditions were my favorite because I would pretend that I was the guy from the infomercials that always sounded surprised and smiled for no reason.  It was great.  At the JCPenny auditions I auditioned as the nerd prom date for some hot girl and her father was played by the dude who was in a whole bunch of 80s movies including “the Boy Who Could Fly.”  It’s okay; no one else remembers his name either.  It was odd that he was playing a father figure when he was only 10-12 years older than me at the time.

By sixteen or seventeen I filled some of my time with extra-work and a part-time job at the amazing Carl’s junior.  I was practicing my on air voice while working drive-through.  People there hated me cause I would pretend the drive-through was my radio show and ask customers inappropriate questions, like “when did you’re love of food take over your life?”  I oddly was never fired from there.

I took many drama classes and on-camera acting classes taught by jaded actors, along with has-been casting directors.  I met parents who had no life and lived vicariously through their children.  I knew kids who thought fame and popularity equaled happiness.  They had all the personality in the world while the camera was on, and were like talking to paint when the camera was off.  This would be my experience later in life with guys who did porn (they called themselves porn stars, but you’re not a star if no one knows who the fuck you are), but that’s another story.  I was an extra on every Disney show that people are embarrassed to admit they watched, and a few Aaron Spelling Shows, which were quickly cancelled.  The highlights of my short-lived television career included over 10-episodes of “Lizzy McGuire,” an Aimee Mann Video and a reenactment scene of “America’s Most Wanted.”  I played the Jewish kid the neo-Nazis were chasing around campus.

During the acting days I met Yasmine Bleeth a few weeks before an alleged coke bender, which landed her on the news.  I met Hillary Duff before anyone knew who she was or that she was and Miley presumably stole her thunder.

It was at 18 when I did my last Hilary Duff Music video (if you watch really slowly, you can see my back), when I realized that I was getting too old to be the next DJ Tanner and didn’t know if I had it in me to become the next Balkey from “Perfect Strangers.”  It was then that I decided it was time to go for plan B.  I went to college.  I decided that LA wasn’t ready for me and I would become a writer or maybe go into advertising and if that didn’t work out, revisit the concept of turning tricks.

I was 19 and working as a shift manager at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, attending a local Junior college when I decided that I would really let go of the “dream.”  I realized that I wanted to write, live, travel.  It was then I decided that I would transfer to a college in San Francisco and become a writer.  I of course wouldn’t major in creative writing because well what is that useful for?  So I majored in something equally useless and general, Speech Communications (Public Speaking).  It was this choice that set the stage for everything I have done since.  I would spend the next few years living, writing, drinking and working on creating the shit-storm that is my life and my stand up.  You’re welcome.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"You don't know. You're not a parent!"

   I am tired of hearing people say stupid things. "You don't know. You're not a parent." Why because I have free time and disposable income?  Or is it because when I get drunk, instead of forgetting what a condom is I compulsively eat?  Really? Just because I don't have kids doesn't mean I don't know what it's like.  We were ALL kids once. Just because I am not a parent doesn't mean I can't judge you for not potty training your 4-year old or talking to them like they are gift with purchase.  Sorry, I get my accessories like most people, from some overly eager Israeli in the mall and not a vagina.  Call me crazy. I can judge all I want. The same way you may judge if you catch me picking my nose while at a red light.  Big whoop! So what if the only reason for me to have kids is to start a sweatshop?

   Another thing, stop with the stupid baby talk. What? I get it. Your kid looks like a gremlin. Really? Just cause your kid has a uni brow doesn't mean you don't have to treat them like a human being from day one!

   Please stop asking what I think of your kids. "Isn't he adorable?" What? You don't know? Why are you asking my opinion of your kid? I laugh at funerals. I am not the one to ask!

  Slutty moms! Stop dressing your little girls like whores. Enough with the matchy matchy shit too! If you dress your little girls in daisy dukes and Uggs, better include a diaphragm with it! Yes! I said it!

  Unlike most of the world I can't just accidentally have children. As a gay person I have to use my head, not the one in my pants, but actually think like an adult. I know it's hard to comprehend. Next time someone tells me, "Yuri, you don't know. You're not a parent." I will simply say admit that they are right and roll my eyes the way anyone in my position would. Oh yeah, I will also start pushing photos of my pet on them just to show that I too have pictures of a dog in my wallet.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Stop tryin' to fix us up!

In my experience, when you’re gay people often seem to assume that you are single.  They don’t even ask usually.  Just assume.  And I’m not. Okay? I’m not single.  I’m not partnered, because I hate the word.   It also suggests a level of commitment that scares me.  This isn’t because I am gay but because I am a man like many men who fears various levels of commitment.  To be clear, my boyfriend is not my partner.  I’m not in business with anyone, but I’m not single. 

But if I WAS single, I wouldn’t be interested in whatever mess you’ve decided must be right for me.

In my experience it’s usually some straight girl trying to be helpful even though the best way for her to be helpful is to mind her own business.  She means well.  The effort has an element of love in it, which is cute.  It’s still annoying.  Stop trying to fix us up!

Usually the story unfolds as such.  You will be out with your girl space friend at a local eatery or most likely a bar.  Mid conversation her random gay friend will just show up.  What a coincidence?  At that moment I usually realize what’s going on only before it’s too late much like having to run the mile in PE. I then constantly look for excuses to sneak away to the bathroom and head home.

It’s usually like, “Yuri I would like you to meet Zardoc from a galaxy far away.” She then whispers just to me, “He’s single and gay.”

On first glance Zardoc usually is a notch above repulsive and has one of those voices that just grades on the ear.  Imagine a male Fran Drescher without the looks and lots of moles.  His face is literally green.  I’m not even sure we are the same species, let alone compatible.  All I can do is roll my eyes in the direction of my girl friend to show my lack for approval.  After looking at this creature sipping a dirty martini across from me, my next thought is, “This girl must really think badly of me.  What must she think I look like? Bitch must think I’m a dog!”

Zardoc won’t shut up about his lame job as an Account Executive but for some reason, he lives with his mother.  He’s like every man I ever met in Italy.  He’s also wearing a crop-top.  That should be reason enough to run. He also has a chain-wallet. I am just disgusted.  There is no accounting for taste.  I used to highlight my curly hair and fro it out to look like Justin Timberlake during the *N-Sync days.  I guess I am not one to talk.  This dude is just not for me.

In these fix up situations generally all that matters to the matchmaker is that he’s gay! Who cares if we have nothing in common? Sorry people! That’s not enough! I would never fix up my straight friends using the same train of thought.  I wouldn’t match up two random straight people just on the basis of being heterosexual and assume it’s a match made in heaven. 

That would be like, “Hey Mike, this is Esther, she is 82 and visiting from the home, you also have corresponding genitalia.”   That would never workout.  Now, lesbians, yes.  If I knew 2 lesbians with a U-Haul who had similar taste in music and hardware I would consider fixing them up.

The next suggestion I have to our straight girl friends is when you do meet out men, boyfriends, partners, twinks, boy-toys, husbands or whatever you want to call them please listen to the following.  DO NOT ask “are you sure he’s gay?”  I know you don’t realize the insinuation but you are indirectly saying that he’s too good for my kind.  And YES he IS gay.  I have taken the car for a test drive and your powers don’t work here.  Get over it.  I would never go up to you and say, “girl, your man is nice. You sure he straight?”  I would never say that to your face.  I may think it, but I wouldn’t be so rude.

Next time, lets not embarrass Zardoc. Lets just stick with people watching, drinking and talking about life!

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