Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Story 12 Edited and reposted

I have been at the bar for quite some time now. I have made it through many hurdles as of yet and lasted much longer than most of my coworker’s expectations. I have now lost about 20 pounds of blubber. I have phantom fat now that only exists in my head. My waist is smaller, the hair is short, the curls chemically relaxed which makes life tough. Now I know why you rarely see black women in pools. Getting your hair relaxed is expensive and means avoiding rain, pools, sweating and any kind of moisture at all costs, just to keep the hair from frizzing up. It’s hard to keep pretty. If it wouldn't look odd i would get a weave just to make this process easier. I’m also not hiding my eyes with glasses anymore, traded them for contact lenses which adds another 15 minutes to my prep time for leaving the house. I also have a subtle sun-kissed glow now. I have traded Southern California and it’s superficial stereotypes for San Francisco because simply, it's better. This city by the bay is supposed to be full of individual thinkers and people ready to behold each other’s iniquities. From hippies to bears, bull dykes to buttoned-up financial district accountants, all types are represented here. They are loved for their unique and eclectic charm and not cast out for not joining the masses. This is at least the way I would like to see San Francisco. In my head I like to keep it as this place, an oasis so to speak even if that isn’t true. While SF has just as many superficial, lame people, it also can be a place for some of us where we can just be ourselves without having to completely conform to society the way we would in any other US city.

The truth is that San Francisco will always have a special place in my heart, extending about 7x7 miles, as it has been home for so long. It has always been one of those places that I have felt most people could live in comfortably if they come here with an open mind. It’s a place to find one’s niche, leave, move back feel at home, and feel comfortable just being. It will never be one of those places I can come back to after moving away. Here, I can feel the need to keep most of my moving boxes, all packed up in the closets and ready for the next city. San Franciscans often though, myself included, seemed to often look at this city as the center of the universe. While they come and go from city, there is this bubble that we often choose to stay in and subscribe to. Going the bridge and tunnel route as far as even Oakland, which on BART (local transit system) is less than 20 minutes away, even that seems thousands miles away. San Franciscans treat Oakland like it’s really on the other side of the continent, like they need air miles to get there.

While the city was often considered diverse for American standards, it’s odd how there are so many areas still very segregated. The gay men often stick to the gayborhood (The Castro), Polk Street, Select South of Market bars and a few bars in the not so Tender Loin. The poor lesbians of the city have an even smaller pool of places to choose from. There is the Lexington, the SF equivalent to “Lesbose,” the bar on Southpark, where even the most feminine woman have bigger balls than Rocky, rhetorically speaking of course, although I may be wrong. Then they have events bi-monthly at various gay-man stomping grounds where ladies can meet and get their clam taken for a ride or at least slapped, or whatever it is that women do. There are very few places for ladies to really go out and be as there are for us gay boys. Maybe that’s why they are pidgin-held to potlucks and staying in more here than in many other “large” cities.

The Castro bubble is so small that it is one of those places where you will see the same face over and over, and over, and over and over. Like a broken record, or more so like day-zha-vu. The weeks start to blend together, the faces much the same, yet different, but only slightly. All of our unique qualities that I originally thought San Francisco allowed us to keep in tact are seemingly becoming one homogeneous blob. We all are clones of each other, although we hate to admit it. We are all more like lemmings, It’s like staring at sea of those crash dummies from those early 90s commercials, where we all look the same but subtly different. It is funny because I too, being the individual that I would like to consider myself, I find that I too am becoming a part of this blob. As my jeans tighten the time I spent at the gym increases. The years of hiding behind baggy shirts have been traded with form fitting deep-v-necks. It’s funny how I am now one of them. Have I lost myself or is this just a part of the growing process?

Today I worked this shift with James. I work most of my shifts with him in the daytime, when it’s slow. James is a newer bartender and tends to work slower shifts. This is also how we really have got to know each other. During the weekday afternoon lulls we listen to each other’s drama and bond over common trials and tribulations. Near the end of this shift, right before the happy hour switches over (where the nighttime staff takes over for us), there is this guy who came up to both of us. He comes up to James, who would be one of those guys I would label as an eternal twink. It’s one of those “kiss, kiss, hug, hug,” faggy sort of moments. He, I guess has been out of town for a near year. He tells James that he looks more handsome than ever. He then asks who I am, like it matters. James fills him in. His response is to try to pull me aside, in front of the now moderately populated bar and ask me my name even though he has already asked James. He then asks me if I remember him. I lie, as one may do in these type of moments, and say yes not to hurt his feelings, although now I wish I just told it the way it is. He then says he remembers how “chubby and awkward” I was when we had first met, but now I “finally look alright.” He smiles while saying this backhanded compliment as though I should be grateful. He goes on to say that with a few more pounds and cutting of the hair more I would look great, once I loose the water weight. It’s hard to understand if and how that could be interpreted as a compliment. Not knowing how to process the situation, I proceed to smile, nod politely, walk away and tell him to fuck off under my breath. By this point, Aaron a.k.a. “Yentle”, one of that night’s bartenders was right behind me stocking alcohol for his shift. He over hears this conversation and then tells me that I should relax and take a cookie out of his locker, cause he like any Jewish mother knows that cookies always sooth the heart. He then tells me that I am much cuter with some “cushion for the pushin.” The question is whether Aaron’s comments where compliments or not.

Aaron is not the only one who doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks. His unique style could only be described as eclectic elegance married to punk rocker edge, with a Hedwig ambiguity. His tattoos all told a story. His androgyny was the most intriguing part about him. Unlike most gay men I know, the magical powers of those with abs of steel, waxed chests and foe-collegiate style do not in the least bit work for Aaron. His kryptonite is full of jelly and covered in a carpet of man fur and musk.

At this moment I realize that I will never be good enough. I will need to learn how to be okay being me, not the image people think I should fill. There must be some fine balance of me, and the persona I will create in order to survive. I needed to learn how to be confident with my looks, my body and if I ended up like the rest of the Castro lemmings, I am okay. As long as I keep true and intact to myself in the process, the rest doesn’t matter.

One of my new favorite sites

I just came across this site, love, love love it. The writers are funny and get it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Story 11, Edited and reposted

As a small child I was very inquisitive. This was during the days before the bar. Before I would become self-conscious about my weight, looks or what people thought of me. This was before I would become a chubby kid who eventually lost the weight in exchange for phantom fat which would create complexes for life every time I would take a nosh. It was before the days of the Kardashians, and the Jersey shore. I was just a boy. My mother would always tell me stories about how I, much like Mc Guyver would always try to figure out things very quickly. In reality I was never really like him, I mean I never had the attention-span to build anything and it would be years before I had a mullet. My mother said that I always would create new ways climb out of my crib as an infant. She thought it was cute. In retrospect, it must have been my early instinct to want to leave home to travel the world, maybe do 20 minute sets in each city and entertain people with new classy dick jokes. I would keep calm while supervised, then during naps I would study the crib for new ways to escape. Often these missions would lead to success. I would find a way to move my soccer-sized head with legs over the edge of the crib or playpen and somehow end up making my way safely to the ground. As a child I looked much like Stewie from Family Guy, all head and a little body, a real characature type kid. The climbing out of the pen, during the age of innocence, was before I learned what fear was, before courage had to be earned. I just did what I felt like. This, partially, is the mentality that has remained with me through my adult life. Just as an adult I learned to drink and curse like a sailor. Point being as a child I worked with this mantra: do what you feel like, find out how things work and that’s it. When I was younger though, that concept was followed by, how can I get things to work and get people’s attention on me?

Once, around 2-years old, my mother awoke to me looking like I had just came out of an alien movie. While I had always looked a bit alien-like with my HUGE head, this time it was a bit worse. This child-like creature, me, who resembled her baby boy was standing near her bed. As she wiped the sleep out of here eyes, she then realized that I was covered in what looked like blood. Her heart sank and she was ready to take charge, call an ambulance, lift a car from off of me if she had to, all within a hearts beat. It would be any mother’s nightmare to see their child covered in blood.

After a second or two I whispered in Russian, the only language I knew at the time, “I am pretty.” By this point I had already learned that the world had a concept of beautiful, pretty and that I wanted to be that. It was at this point that she began to smell fumes like phameldahide. She then realized that the blood-goo was actually globs and of a dark red nail polish in, on and all over my hand. This splatter pained all over the small infant-size body I once possessed. She immediately started a bath while she went for the nail polish remover before the nail polish stopped my skin from breathing. I got a fever as a result of this whole ordeal. All to be “pretty.” This would be just one of many missions during my childhood where I would aspire to be that one which one viewed as pretty or handsome. It’s funny how then the concept was so simple and not complicated by society and what the world around us tells us we are supposed to be like.

Heather McDonald

I am almost done with this book and have to say this, everyone should read it. She describes her life growing up in LA, more specifically, the valley. She almost makes me wish I went to USC and was in a sorority. Heather talks about how she made it to 27 being a virgin and was the queen of blue balling. She also incorporates little bits of how she got into comedy and her journey. I suggest this book to anyone who is planning on getting into comedy or just wants a laugh.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Maria Bamford! I love you :)

This is my absolutely favorite bit!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Story 10 (part 2)

As a barback I am at times be in charge of backing up 5 bartenders with everything that they need. I must be able to work while at the same time keeping the rest of the club clean. I am expected to do it all. To do this, one always needs to have their self-esteem in check or they can lose themselves. If one bartender gets more attention from you than another one, then it’s your problem. While walking behind a bartender who feels they aren’t getting enough attention during their shifts, they work to you’re your night as a barback who works for them, hell. Some even block my walkway at times just so I focus on them alone. Like most gay men, bartenders here think they are beauty queens and therefore are attention-whores. Others simply tell me that I needed to get a different job if I can’t pick up the pace, like a robot. Some may even hand me a job application for the 7Eleven down the street. Some even joke about taking a portion of my tip-out being cut down to lack of working. Some will also reward me alone and hand me a couple of extra dollars at the end of the night for working hard. It all depends on each individual bartender, the night and their temperament. Did I mention that 20% of what each bartender makes is put into a pot so to speak to be divided by all the barbacks working per shift? I soon learn that as a barback, what is true about most jobs. While working hard is always important, it’s not the most essential ingredient to doing well at any job in any profession. One must always make sure that they also look like they are working hard as well.

My new BFF, Jose is one person that understand the concept that one must look like they are working hard at all time. He is great at looking hot while working and also looking like he is working fast and hard. He hits on daddies left and right, while dancing, sliding around bartenders in a very smooth fashion to stock their glasses. He simply glides around them and makes sure they see him as he does things. He views himself as the example of how our job should be done. Everyone seems to love him because he makes the job look effortless with ease. He has style in the way he dresses, works and makes it look like he is performing every night. He plays up to customer’s expectations of us, and how they want us to look. He always has the most expensive, flashy new jeans and shoes on while working. He even break dances while working, busing glasses on the dance floor, with a full arm of glasses. It’s like he isn’t human.

Now Gina raves about little Jose all the time. She always mentions how he “rocks” at the end of the night. At this point I am working hard at trying not to care nor develop some silly jealousy over this. Like many others working there, I just write her off as a bitch that I will never understand or ever really get to know. She is the only one to really gives me insightful advice there but, it is her delivery though, abrupt, harsh, without a cushion. I guess it’s her way of cutting to the chase and I don’t like it. At the end of that night in particular, she offers to drive Jose home even though he lives really close to the bar. Normally he and I would leave the bar together and I drive him home so we could have a chance do what we love to do after work, which is smoking pot. Jose accepts her invitation and they are off.

Now I have noticed Aaron and Jose are to getting close. They both bonded apparently over their similar style, fashion, tattoos and their love of older men. About a week ago when Jose wasn’t working, I watched Aaron tip Jose a bit extra on the side for doing a good job. Usually we both would get something extra from Aaron. This time I was the odd man out. The nights to follow, Aaron and Jose would chat all the time and leave me out of conversation or talk about things that I couldn’t really chime in on like tattoos since I didn’t have any. I felt so left out and couldn’t figure out why I cared.

It has been 3 months that the bar now been put under the spell of Jose. It’s getting to be this confusing conspiracy. I am the only one who isn’t under his spell. While Jose and I still hang out, our relationship seems to be shifting to one of arch-rival. It’s the frienemy type, the friends where you act friendly but really have a vendetta against and are enemies with. At the beginning he mentions to me that he thinks that he is the next logical pick to bar tend, if a bartender is to quit or get fired that he will fill their shoes. He then asserts, that he got along with everyone that matters anyways. He soon starts to hang out with all the queens at that place and that encompasses the whole scene that we have become a part of. He then starts to take personal conversations from the past, add lies and made them public. He would tell coworkers that I am gossiping to others about who at the bar I assume is HIV positive and negative. Joking about people’s status in a gay crowd is never funny, nor relevant, nor something I would ever do.

While working one night a group of group of our mutual “friends” come by. These girls have become mutual friends with Jose and myself in the past few months come in the bar. These lesbians always come and say hi to me upon their arrival into the club. This time, one of them told me that I am a jerk and that she knows what I told Jose. I don’t even know what I told him. She says that she know I actually hate women, “especially dykes.” It makes no sense. From the beginning of time, the majority of my friends have always been women. In retrospect, I always have a fag hag, fruit fly on hand since the beginning of time.

At work Jose would always keeps up the facade of looking accomplished, like he is doing his job. All his glasses stocked, the bar look clean from a front-end perspective. On a closer inspection, half of the glasses are not completely clean. Instead of stocking beer, he makes each cooler looks like they are stocked well by piling the beer in weird shapes so that no one would notice the large pockets of air between them. He somehow always finishes work with less than a bead of sweat, while I looked like the Swamp-thing, all melted, drenched with sweat at the end of each and every night. If he worked before me, he keeps up the appearance that everything is done and stocked at changeover. Then once Jose leaves I notice that the image is nothing. I can see that all the little things are left undone. He makes it so I will have to spend the rest of the night trying to pick up his slack, stocking what he leaves undone, cleaning up his mess. This in turn made it look like I am not able to keep up according to the whispering bartenders who I hear now and again.

One happy hour, I come in for work ready for the day. There is a note on my time card from the owner of the bar, good old Phil. It says that I need to “shadow another barback and review how to cut fruit,” it also says that I “should be seen working on the floor more.” Essentially, he is telling me that this is a warning and I look like a slacker so they will treat me like a retard. I later find out that Jose has written him a note ripping up my performance as an employee, saying that he thinks he has seen me drinking at a near by bar before work. Our bar has a strict no drinking policy if one was caught under the influence, they can loose their jobs within seconds. He is now trying to get me fired. His games are going too far now. I explain my conspiracy theory to Mike, he nods and acts like there was nothing I could do, a helpless soul. I soon decide this is wrong but that Jose should fall soon on his greased head.

I soon started to watch Jose very closely. Now, I wish I learned how to give someone the evil-eye the way my 97-year old grandmother would whenever a putz would cross her path. Every mistake he makes I am there. Every time he slacks off and sneaks off for a smoke break, I am there. I also act like nothing bothers me. I talk very little while working now, but when people are around treat Jose like he is still a good friend. It’s kind of interesting how this seems to piss him off even more. The harder he tries to get to me during shifts by blocking my way during work, giving me more work to do, the quieter I become. Silence seems to have become the sharp dagger that I need to off him. He trips me while I gather glasses on the dance floor. One time, he literally trips me right in front of a dishwasher as I was setting down a whole arm full of glasses. As the glasses crash on the dishwasher and shards start to rain on to the floor. There he is watching. He is about 5 feet away, on the other side of the bar. He smiles and walks away. I am left clean up the mess. While angry, I stay silent and look unbothered. One of the bartenders watches the whole thing and then asks Jose why the floor is so wet near his dishwashers, enough to be a hazard. Jose doesn’t have an answer. This night it seems to be a battle between good and evil. All his new friends slowly begin to switch teams and turn on him. That bartender starts chatting with the other guys about what he sees. Soon poor Jose is under a microscope, while I keep far away from him still keeping silent.

A week later Jose comes in to work insanely drunk, reeking of his usual blunt aroma. This is a normal daily event which has until now gone unnoticed. But no one was paying attention to him before, the way are on today’s particular happy hour. The bartender he is working with is Mike, the one who is silently watching and putting all the pieces together. Jose has been working for about two hours and then suddenly disappears. While it is slow, Mike decides that it is time for a bathroom run. Needing someone to cover his bar, he begins to wonder what the hold up is with Jose. After 20 minutes of waiting Mike realizes that the other bartender is at least 15 minutes late by this point. Mike leaves the bar worried and walks around the back area looking for Jose so he can call the missing bartender. Needing to pee worse than he ever has, Mike entered one of the many unisex-bathrooms that establishment has. As Mike sets up to use the urinal next to the first stall, to his dismay, he heard a slurping, and this queeny moan. Caught red-handed, literally gagging on the evidence that the missing bartender has placed in Jose’s mouth.

Soon the news spread to “daddy”. The way he finds out was the happy hour’s events is when he asks Mike why he had disappeared off the camera in front of the bar for such a long period of time. Mike, is not known for lying and really has no choice but to tell the truth to cover his own ass. That horny bartender and Jose both are soon whited-out off of the schedule in the back room, within minutes of Mike’s conversation with “daddy.” It's as though they had never worked there.

Story 10 (part 1)

Image taken compliments of unrealitymag.com

What it's like for me there.

(author's note, I suggest to start from the first story post and to work your way up to this one if this particular story doesn't make complete sense)

Now I am beginning to understand what they had meant in “Showgirls” when saying to “watch out for marbles.” I am now a part of that world. I am not a stripper, nor do I really have the dead eyes down. I am living the bartender lifestyle, my mother will be so proud. I don’t have to strip for my diner, but the competition here is just as bad, its the type where everyone is always someone out to steal your thunder. By steal, I say rip your thunder is more like it. Here, there is always someone ready to take your place. I am wearing newish jeans to work. They are slightly tighter then the pairs of jeans past. They also have the smallest waist of any jeans I have ever owned, so I am very happy for now, but am feeling the pressure to slim down. Within the first five minutes of work, one of the “regulars” has the nerve to mention to me that it looks as though I have gained a few pounds in the past few months, but they love my haircut. What the fuck does that mean? Essentially, they are saying that I look like a pig, but no one will notice cause my hair is great. Are the backhanded compliments also a part of the gay turf? I want to turn back to the fat fucker and ask him if, or actually when he has to pay people to have sex with him, cause he is the type that has to pay for sex. When they do actually bite the bullet, do they have issues finding his penis amongst all his fat? The truth is that I stay silent. I have only been working at the bar for a few months and really have little recollection of this customer who looks a lot like that fat molester looking guy who put together the backstreet boys. For some reason the fact that they have the nerve to come up to me and say something like that just makes me even more upset. In my mind this is may the moment I switch from innocent gay boy to someone who cuts a bitch. I already have issues with my weight, but to have a stranger come up to me and tell me this crap is ridiculous.

Everyone seems to be so damned tough in that bar and the public just adds to that impression. I just don’t get why. On top of everyone’s cut-throat attitude there, I have to deal with stranger’s/customers crap. They give me their unsolicited opinions on me personally, my body, my brain, cause I’m either too smart or too dumb, my eye color, my mannerisms being too gay or not being gay enough, who I date and everything in between. I get told a lot that at this point I am a “straight acting” guy. Why is it that gay men find the concept of this so enticing? I get the description and why they find a straight as more attractive and passing in gay culture, but who the fuck wants to date a straight man? I want a gay man that knows what they want and is confident in who they are. Besides, I want a man that has been around the blog and knows what they are doing in the sack as well.

They talk about me with both compliments and down right insults within an ears reach. It’s like I am not human and just the help and am not supposed to have feelings. Even though I try not to listen, it’s hard to be thick-skinned all the time. I also wonder how much of the shit they say is true, exaggerated or false. It’s hard to deal with and something I never really bargained for. Everyone at that bar seems to walk on eggshells out of fear of Phil. While working, and when out in public, these guys always act tougher than rocks, like gay rebels without causes. The interesting thing is that while working at a bar they may give off the appearance of being there party animals, the life of the party, but the truth is that most of it is a show. The “part” is a distraction from who my co-workers really are and the how normal they really are, if normal exists. Many of them have created this show to avoid their own problems, families, and their current life-shortcomings. I will admit that these people work just as hard as they play. Everyone takes their jobs very seriously, as a profession and not just a job the way much of the public may assume.

I have come in to this industry as a blind man in a city of lights, unsure of what this place has to offer me and what it will take from me, rhetorically speaking. What it will this probably take away from me next? I assume my youth and my soul, just an assumption… In-turn I am not sure what I will take away from my time here. I fear though ending up a life-long bartender, although I am in school and that’s not the goal, it never seems to be. The other issue is this, what’s wrong with being a lifetime bartender? It’s not like I’m committing to a life working drive-throughs. It’s nice to be the life of the party, but all the time? Do I always have to appear happy? If I have learned anything from the “star magazine,” I have learned that no one can be happy at all times, we all have bad days, just ask Lindsey Lohan. Regardless of the questions I have, it is a good profession for the right people. Some people seems to portray the bartender roll to me like that of a model, everyone has an expiration date “make your money while you can, you wont be the it boy forever.” Isn’t that true in all fields and pretty much everything we do in life though? Work it before the sand runs out?

Since working here, I do not like to admit the changes coming over me. I am transitioning into a person who I do not know, although I am familiar with him. I am now peppering my sentences with words that I swore I would never use, the other day I said that something was “fierce” and wanted to punch myself out. I am getting awkwardly more comfortable with being the “big-headed fag boy” bullies always knew I was. I am more comfortable with the world of the gay, the rainbow and all that is connected to this. I am learning how to flirt with men and play the song and dance with them. It’s hard because we are all raised to date and flirt with the opposite sex, but for homosexuality, kids my age have no real gay relationship role models. This is an important social aspect of growing into an adult gay man, and not in a dirty way.

There are “gay” phrases that I will not use. It's not that i can't use them. I don’t use female words for men, unless I want to piss them off. For example, if some burly guy comes into the bar and asks me for a drink, but is a doosh-bag while ordering, I’ll call him Sally to get a rise out of him and piss him off. I do not have a lisp, but am getting more comfortable with my feminine side, although I don’t plan on entering the world of drag any time soon. I will not yet admit out loud my closeted love of old Mariah songs. Yes, I said Mariah Carey, she may at times look like a Rhino in heels, not saying she looks fat, but more so that she needs to stop wearing the same thing she’s worn since she was 19… Regardless, the woman can sing like no other and I’ll leave it at that.

I am getting used to the hassle and bustle of busing a club that is packed from night to night. I am one of the little lemmings who keep it clean and carry heavy boxes of beer through crowds of hundreds of people on a daily basis. I am oddly used to getting groped, ass-grabbed and having coworkers at times treat me like a simple machine. The messy drunks are like moving wallpaper there. There is a furry ignited in each and every one of them once the pop music plays, their inner 12-year old girl is let out and the man they are is forgotten while the music goes. For the entertainment value of this alone, I am more comfortable with the fact that I traded in the smell of coffee grounds-soaked work cloths for ones soaked in beer, cheap booze and man musk.

I now know that in a bar there is no such thing as an appropriate topic of conversation. There are no doors left closed. Most customers have no limits. Every queen seemed to feel it their personal duty to work your self-esteem down to a nub, to the best of their power just because they can. It’s like they are working hard to watch you crumble. If you break, these bitches win. If you don’t react to these cunts, then really you win. If you loose a few pounds, they would tell you. If they thought you looked attractive, they will sure as hell let you know. If you have a bad day and come off as a dick, they will tell you and make sure to cause a scene at your expense. If you are a barback accidentally take their melted, nearly empty, well cocktail, the storm will begin. Word to the wise, never get between a gay and their drinks, the consequences could create a monsoon.
The other thing I am now used to is the sort of initiation that one goes through when barbacking. It was almost like hazing but not in a weird frat sort of way that is illegal and homoerotic, one could only dream about that one. The homoerotic undertones are just an accepted part of the scenery and frankly, welcomed by most employees to a degree. If you do a good job as a barback, coworkers will much like the customers, do little holding back. If they think you suck, they would make sure you understand such. If they simply do not like you, you then are simply not a member of their exclusive club. It’s like trying to get a seat at the popular kid’s table in high school, you have to earn your respect and place. A thick skin is absolutely necessary to make it in that place. Otherwise, an unsuspecting new hire may as well quit before getting hired. Nothing is to be taken too personally or literally. While this sounds easy, it’s the hardest part of the game, but most crucial.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Story 9 part 2.

It’s morning now. I just woke up with the taste of last night in my cotton mouthed-face, on the couch of a living room that I can’t recall, alone in yesterday’s cloths. My shirt is on the ground for some reason and covered in the smell of puke. I think I’m in the apartment from the night before. There is that powdered sugar plate which is now empty on the coffee table in front of me, next to a bullet looking thing that kind of looks like one of those magnifying glasses used to look at jewels. I am hugging my favorite black hoodie like it’s a lover and have some strange cat, who has set up shop on my thigh. I have no recollection of how I came to be here shirtless, alone and on some strange couch. I left shirtless in my hoody with the taste of vomit and moth-balls in my mouth. On my way to the bus, being in San Francisco’s wonderful Lower Haight, I stop by Walgreens to get the usual hangover treatment of pepto, gatoraid and mints. While eclectic, I hear this isn’t always the best part of town. This particular part of the Lower Haight area happens to currently be peppered with cracked out homeless people and recovering hippies that took one too many doses. These people are the hippies who haven’t sold out, end up in corporate America or as Whole Foods junkies.

Once inside, the maze of aisles again, I am reminded of the night’s events with one burp. That burps makes me realize that I am, a still astonishingly drunk chemistry lab, ready to explode everywhere. Once I have the Wallgreens version of Gatorade, in hand, peptobizmuf, mints and random crap that I find near the register, I am ready to get going. As I get to the register the clerk looks me straight in the eyes. It’s as though she is looking into my soul. It’s freaking me out. She looked like she has seen a ghost. She mutters, the amount I owe and then says in a stern tone “Ya’ll best be safe out there. Take care of yourself.” I don’t get what she was talking about, pop open the drink in hand and ran to approaching bus right outside.
Once I walk into my apartment, my mother calls that instant. Being a good boy, I answer because I am like many gay men, a self-admitted momma’s boy. She asks me about the upcoming holiday plans and I then confirmed that I am coming. By the third step into the apartment I can feel a grumbling in my gut. I burp and tell my mom I have to go, hang up on her and run straight to the bathroom. I puke all over the bathtub because that is the first thing I see when entering the bathroom. I turn around the sink and begin to wash my face, brush the sins off and put a clean taste in my mouth. As I looked in the mirror, I realized how fucked up I look. My eyes are met with purplish-bags and my cheeks are pale and flushed at the same time. My skin has this off grayish hew. Within seconds of seeing this horrid vision that I am trying to wash away, I feel the grumble again and end up hugging the toilet bowl as though it’s a long lover and puking.

This morning, being is more brutal than any I have seen since the 9th grade. It’s like I’m fourteen years old all over again. I am more hungover than I was the first time I got drunk enough to puke all over the Denny’s bathroom. Like that faithful New Years eve, last night I drank every alcoholic type of beverage within site to show I could roll. Unlike that New Year’s I did not professing my love to my best friend who would later be my girlfriend and then become my best fag hag and smoke 10 cigarettes in 1 sitting because I could. So much has changed, yet so little. Like then, I am just a small fish in a big pond, learning to be me in just another coming of age story.

Story 9 edited and reposted (part 1)

It’s about 6 months now that I have been working there, about 5 months since I have enjoyed the peace of a weekend and the world of the living. My life is now all about "school" (at least that is what I tell myself), going out and the bar. Actually, it’s less about school and more about everything else. My waist is about 2 inches smaller now. I have contact lenses now and am rarely seen in those clunky glasses buddy holly glasses that are windows into my boring, snoozer of a past life. Life seems to be getting more confusing, while are the same time, it’s starting to make more sense. I now wear a size medium tee shirt at work, which I have cut the sleeves off of. For many this may be no big deal. For me this is a major step for me. I am the same guy who has always avoided showing off my body because I have never been at that comfort level. My hair now is also 4-inches shorter and well groomed. I fear that I will soon start looking like one of the guys from that lame “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy” show.

It’s three weeks before Thanksgiving and I want to go visit my mother who has just moved to the lovely state of Texas, a place I really know nothing about. I am from San Diego, which seems to be a very different place. All I do know is that Texas is a red state. Why would I go to a red state? For this reason alone, I have no interest in the place and I imagine my family to be of the only Jews who are calling that state home.

I write down my request in letter-form to the boss, which I am told to set in his mailbox because there really isn’t anyone to talk to about this. The odd thing is that I have been there 6 months already and have yet to really meet or see the owner Phil since I got this job. He is like Charlie from “Charlie’s Angels,” only to be known via telephone conversation, through other coworkers or through notes he mysteriously leaves on our time cards. In the note I nicely ask for Thanksgiving off and tell him that I will though be available for other holidays. Then, as I am writing my time off request, there is Aaron a few feet behind me staring at himself through a mirror we have perched above the time clock. He is putting on his usual Spackle routine of eye cream, powder and a sheer gloss. Aaron’s routine of getting ready for work is much like that of a show girl’s in the old movies, powder and a mirror with a lot of lights. He then glances over my shoulder to see what I am writing. I hate when people glance over my shoulder it makes me as uneasy as when you’re driving and notice a cop behind you, and even though your doing nothing wrong, you feel like you’re going to get busted for something. Aaron proceeds to fill me in and explains that“daddy” may not like me taking off on a major holiday. Aaron then explains how I could easily get fired for the request alone because I am inconveniencing him. Another possible outcome apparently is that he could simply make it hard for me later, with bad shifts or no shifts. The way he warns me, it comes off so unreal, as though my life is now destined to be under the thumb and of Phil who will guide my future’s fate. The way people describe Phil is almost as though he is the god father. The amount that my coworkers fear Phil’s wrath is immeasurable and hard to put into words. He has this power over many of us that I just can’t figure out.

A week later, on a Sunday night I had finish working happy hour and decide to then stay out for one drink. One thing about working in a bar is the second you are off the clock, everyone wants to get u loaded. Keeping this in mind, one drink soon turns to shot, after shot, random drink, after random drink. I was about an hour and a half into my night, I am happily trashed when I bumped into a group of my coworkers who are seemingly equally obliterated. Since they find me at our bar, we all decide that it’s Jagger Bomb time. Whoever thought up the idea of Jagger bombs, should be shot. It’s a almost as evil a concoction as a Long Island Iced Tea. It’s at this point when I know I’m going to be sick from this, but decide to keep going because I’m young and stupid. Soon we are off. This is where my night normally ends. Tonight this is where my night just begins. We hop from bar to bar. They all start to blend together and really after a while all the drinks taste the same. The one thing I can remember is that it’s like going out with celebrities. These guys get us the best drinks, set our group in the best locations and always tip like money was toilet paper. I have never seen money used so frivolously. I am someone raised by immigrants who actually came to the U.S. as refugees, spending money so casually like it’s nothing astonishes me.
By the end of the night/the beginning of the morning, our group has thinned out. We end up at someone’s house, I’m not exactly sure who’s, maybe Johnny’s. Whoever’s home it is, he has and entire bar set up in their kitchen. In my drunken stooper I can’t tell how and when we had left the bar and how we are now at someone’s at-home bar. This is the first time I have ever been smashed with these guys. It’s odd to be this fucked up with co-workers around. Is this standard? By this point I am so drunk that I can’t exactly remember how long I have been in this person’s apartment.

I find myself staring at this beautiful, blue tequila bottle and listening to some random dude chatting into my ear who’s name escapes me cause he is obviously so memorable. Is I am staring at the bottle, I can see my horrid reflection in it. It’s at the point in the night when your own reflection begins to look scary. It’s like I am in a trance, “snap out of it girl, I got some frosted flakes!” He passes me this plate that looks like it’s covered with powdered sugar. I am not known for passing up stuff with powdered sugar. I am not really sure what’s going on so I take my finger to the plate of powder then wipe it on my tongue and gums. This isn’t the kind of sugar I am used to. I pass the plate on. Aaron then says, “look boys touch of the gums, like a pro.” My entire mouth is numb, the sensation is uncomfortable while euphoric at the same time. I feel like a mess inside, yet I for some reason can’t stop smiling. I watch as they pass around this magical hors d'oeuvres. They keep passing around a bowl, while James played bartender and puts on some pop music selections off of his ipod. I can’t tell how long I have been there, although I feel really chipper now. James keeps topping off my glass while calling me stud. As James fills my glass for the millionth time, Paulo in his Latino gay accent says, “I heard that princesss is taking Thankssssgiving off, ha, nice working with you babe.” He then gives me a hug and a playful peck on the cheek.

(to be continued)

Friday, August 13, 2010

This video is SOOOOO CUTE!

Story 8 edited

Now I’m about 10 pounds lighter. My jeans have lost 1-inch on the waist. I still keep the sleeves on my work shirts. Keeping the sleeves on your shirts here is like being the guy who goes swimming with a t-shirt on with a bathing suit. It just looks out of place. I was at one point in my life that chubby kid that did this just because I thought that would keep people from focusing on my chub boy-bitch-tits or what my cousin Nicole calledmy “pleasantly plump” exterior. Many of my hotter, less inhibited, limber, more fit coworkers cut off the sleeves of their shirts to make themselves feel like they are sexier. When they stick to the appropriate size shirt, the action of cutting the sleeves does actually make them look better, but when they don’t…. It looks like sausages squeezing out of a tiny trash bag. I actually also just bought my first pair of Diesel jeans today, also known as gay man jeans. Actually, they are from a local thrift shop where I found them for just $10 because they have a pen stain on the crotch area, but I don’t mind the staring... It's the boost of confidence every young man needs to start their day with.

For the past couple weeks I keep getting scheduled shifts with this guy Jose. He is becoming a good friend. He is also my only real ally at work. This guy is fascinating to say the least. This boy is about 2 inches taller than me, making him somewhere around 5’10. He is one of those gay boys with perfectly plucked-eye brows, the kind that simply add to the botox look on his haggered 23-year old face. He is Latina eye-browes that have a bit of a drag queen meets cholo/greaser look that they bring to his face blank, glazed-over face. He is perfectly androgynous, spews overt sexuality, which adds to his mystique. He never allows his emotions to be seen, so it seems. This guy is always ready to give anyone a show. He has a whole bunch of tattoos that tell his story. His story is tough, shitty upbringing, the type of guy who has nothing good to say or at least the story he wants to people to believe.

Jose and I are about a month into being “friends.” Hanging out with him is like watching that lame Anna Nicole Smith reality show was. You want to not like the show, but after a while, you realize you have been watching for hours and don’t realize how much time you spend together. Like any friendship it’s still new and I am still trying to figure out if it’s just a part of some larger game connected to the bar. Is he really my friend, an ally or just someone with a good game face? Ricky, the little Chinese guy pulls me aside the yesterday and day to tells me that I should watch out for Jose. According to Ricky, he feels “that Buddah have evil plans for Jose.” I write off what he is telling me such utter nonsense, so I ignore this whole concept. Jose and I get oddly close by the virtue of the fact that we both like similar things. We both like to go out, have fun and are stuck living on the schedule of the bar. This job puts us both on the vampire schedule, which is fine because I too ignite in the sun. When one finishes work at 4am what is there to do? I am in school still. Any time I am free, not working and probably should be doing homework, everyone else is sleeping or it’s the middle of the day and they are working. They are on the schedule “of the living” so we call it.

While I am new to the scene, Jose is one of those people who acts like he knows everyone and everything. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know. I assume that he has been around the block a few times in his day at the ripe-old age of 23 by the way he acts and holds himself. I assume that he has been around because of all the different types of men who approach him when where are out and about. He is the type of guy that can go to a club and for some reason get everyone to fall in love with him. He has already worked at bars for a while. Maybe this is how they know him? Not from sleeping around, but more so from working in the neighborhood or most likely a bit of both. This guy is always ready to be the life of the party, and if that isn’t the case he will bring the party to wherever he is. He is also one of those guys always ready to fight anyone who gets in the way of his party life. By ready, I mean he essentially is Marty McFly waiting for someone to call him chicken so he can tear some shit up. He is a bi-polar mix of a down to earth, relaxed guy and absolute outraged hostility. It’s okay though. In my case it seems to work well. It’s like having a styled, male, Chola, personal bodyguard wherever I go. Within seconds he can go from chill to breaking bear bottles on any bully’s head. I love the security I feel in that regard.

Being the responsible guy I have always been, its odd to spend time with someone who doesn’t think about the next step. Jose lives in the moment, something I know nothing about, everything I do is as planned and thought through as a TV guide. I admire how he can just let go and have this unexplainable freedom of not thinking about tomorrow. The truth is that this is because his tomorrow is never certain. He is on the run from his baggage of problems that will eventually catch up with him. He is all about the now and in the moment. While I can see the problems associated with this train of thought, I can also feel the refreshing breeze of this concept. It’s a life of freedom from the stressful world I currently live in. It’s an escape from our problems and inadequacies. He seems to live life without responsibilities of any kind. I can’t understand it. He seems to have never learned the concept that with every move there is a reaction and vice verse. With him there are just moves, the reactions are not his problem or at least that is how he carries on. We are grown men in our early who are from “broken,” single-parent households. We are the guys they make specials about on Dateline. His story will feature one about him in prison for something stupid, like starting a fight at Sephora. Mine will be for starting from nothing and now having it all. We both have currently though, take care of ourselves as we have our whole lives. Maybe that is why we have a soft spot for each other? We both seem to understand the other’s struggle. While they are different, they are very much the same. He will never let anyone know this though. He is a very thick skinned-poker face type of guy.

Jose is a guy who always has the money and time to party. Always ready with a little bit of weed and cash on him. Always dressed in expensive jeans and designer crap that he buys the same day in cash, he is always ready to impress. In retrospect, I don't think he could be a hooker, but wouldn't be surprised. He never seems to think about tomorrow, just about now. It’s amazing how he can just shut out the fears of tomorrow’s failures.
Our first time I out, is also my first Gay Pride. This was a few weeks into being at the Labyrinth. That Saturday, also infamously known as “Pink Saturday.” It’s like Marti gras in New Orleans. Jose somehow has the day off. Me being new to this game, I don’t really get the big deal of this gay pride crap. At 9 o’clock, I am off. As I punch my time card out, all of a sudden Jose is there, out of nowhere. It is as though he had just materialized from thin air. He pulls me by the arm and says, “I got a blizie in one pocket and another full of cash, we are gonna have some fun tonight.”

Within seconds, we are pounding shots at the first bar tending station of the bar. Shot after shot, they all are blurring together. Before the liquor sets in, Jose pulls me out into the street which now was filled with men, women, glitter, bowas, drag queens, trannies, clothing is now optional. At least that is how the crowd looks. There are DJ-vans set up everywhere and the streets are now blocked off. As Jose is pulling on my arm with one hand, the other is grabbing every ass of every hot guy he sees. It is the same way elderly people use railing to help themselves down stairs. He uses the asses to lead his way into the crowd. Out of nowhere he hands me a little blunt. We are right in the center of it all and smoking pot. I am amazed at how nonchalant he is. The carefree spirit is something I don’t really know how to embrace. I don’t know how to be as free as Jose looks. I turn to hand Jose back his blunt and he is making out with 3 random dudes at the same time. They are for some reason, dressed as angels and covered in glitter. I turn to my other side and there are naked lesbian on stilts who are tapping heads that they pass by to gain balance. They are wandering muffs out, tits bouncing. Now I was am so stoned that I don’t realize I am full on watching the Jose show as though it’s late night HBO and I’m 13 years old.

Eventually Jose and I end up drinking some booze with some shirtless lesbians we have just met minutes prior. While I am gay, i can't help but stare at a great pear of tits, I mean, they are called fun-bags for a reason. Luckily, none of these lesbians have nice tits. Their boobs look more like runny eggs from years of telling the "man" to fuck off and not wearing bras.
It’s interesting to watch how Jose can work people. He knows what he is doing most of the time and if he doesn’t, he looks like it. He appears to be very good at manipulating things to go his way. Jose plays the whole gay boy card where he starts complimenting one of the girls on her makeup and the other on how perky her tits are. Such simple, stupid compliments and they work. These girls eat it up like cheesecake. He then asks if he could buy a beer from them. He ends up taking their whole box of MGDs, hands me 2 and then handing them $40.

We end up with the lesbians at some house party a few blocks from the “Pink Saturday” aftermath. This party is much like a San Diego State Frat party, but instead of bro-men, it’s full of lesbians of all walks. Then again I turned around and Jose is making out with some old daddy-man with a big beard who looks like he could crush skinny little Jose. I then realize that man is an ex-woman, a Female to Male. I notice this when Jose peels himself of the dude. Jose then takes out of his magical pocket yet another blunt. That pocket is like Mary Poppin’s bag, it keeps magically giving us more blunts. His pocket must be filled with them. Jose then looks right past the man/woman as though they have never met and takes an un-opened MGD he finds on a near by coffee table.

Jose comes up to find me engaged in a conversation with one of ladies. She has the most beautiful dreads that I have ever seen. I am so drunk that I am staring at it like it is the meaning of life. Her hair is blonde with natural copper highlights. We are talking about how we both had realize that we both loved PBR and living in San Francisco. We both had decide that we must become best friends right then and there. She starts talking about the Middle East, Gaza, politics, and of course peace. I hate when SF hippies start yapping about politics if they have no idea what the hell they are rambling about. Then Jose jumps into the conversation. He literally stands right between myself, the lovely girl who I am now best friends with for the moment. He then starts talking about how pretty the girl is. He tells her that her hair was so pretty, but looks a bit damaged. I thought think to myself how odd to say something like that in a backhanded compliment the way he is saying it. He then says,“this place is tired, I’m out.” Within seconds he was gone. Just as he so quickly materialized earlier in the night, he is now out of site all of a sudden. Before I know it, I wake up safe and sound in my bed some time hours later. I am still clothed, covered in the smell of smoke, pot and booze all rolled into one. I am just confused and unsure of the night’s events. I am sure though that this is a night I will remember.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Story 7, part 2, edited

The Broadway gym is the one and only place were my father seems to feel at ease, something that will take me years to understand. He is always worried about life’s daily struggles, money, his relationships, possible mistakes of the present and past, the list goes on. This is the only place where he has real control of his life. As an adult I can still clearly remember him making me go with him so that I could “watch him workout”. This is similar to the episode of the “Simpsons” where Homer makes Bart look at the Virginia Slims ad for hours to make him feel more machesmo-ish. The gym is his way of showing me how men are supposed to be. Even though my dad always tries to be close to me, we never really connect in the way he hopes. The gym though is his time to show me his concept masculinity and tries to extend it as a role model. While I couldn’t grasp this concept as a child, now I understand the point of watching him box with other beefy men, beating eachother’s brains out. Mostly, it just made me want a beefy, sweaty man of my own to play with, but that is not really the point. Boxing proved to be just another one of life’s million games where men work on proving who has the bigger balls. Boxing though, seems more interesting and more skillful than other games of this nature. It’s definitely more interesting than watching a guy show off their ridiculous sports car. At least with boxing, you can the only person the boxer can blame for getting beat up is himself.

I will always remember my father in this specific way. Him rolling up to the Broadway gym while blairing his hip-hop or hard gangsta’ rap, loud enough for people to hear he was coming. As he would get out of the car, he of course then takes out a Bensin Ultra-Light, his cigarette of choice. Maybe swig a sip of water, which in his case was always a coke or seven-up and then ask me to grab. I am always about 2 feet behind him like a golf-cattie carrying his bag. An ironic side-note about Russian immigrants, incase one has never had the delight of being raised by them as I have. All the families like us that I know, they always refer to sodas of any kind as water. Generally, drinking pure, crystal-clear water is considered unusual. Even plain water would have alca-seltzerish bubbles simply because that’s what they are us to from the motherland that treat them like prisoners, but we digress.

As a child, I have no clue that the Broadway Gym is in the city of Compton and known for being a bad area. This is my dad’s version of a country club, so I never really think about it. While he looks like the odd man out there to most onlookers, it is here that he feels he belongs. As he puts out his cigarette on his shoe, my dad’s voice drops 3 octives lower and he then begins to swagger, much like JJ on “Good Times” or LLCool J. He then grabs my hand and is greet by this big bald black man who goes by the name B-bell. He is about 35 years older than, and balding like my young father. The few hairs on his head, are grey and slicked down so much that the wind can’t make a dent. This man always treats me like I was his own grandchild. As a child he always has handed me a jump rope and treated me like I was training for the Olympics or a big Vegas fight. B, is an ex-famous boxer, friends with the greats during the time of Ali and the “rumble in the jungle.” His place here is to be the mentor for up and coming boxers and those who need fatherly guidance. He is like the trainer from “Rocky.” He even has a slightly east coasterly way of talking. He is a father to the fatherless of Compton’s Broadway gym.

In this gym they have these rows of seats, much like the benches one may see in church, which was perfect since this was my dad’s church. I will always remember sitting there, watching my dad going back and forth, between punching 2 different bags, one the size of a human, and the other, a little one above his head, he seems happier than I have ever seen him. This is his time to show off and be proud. He always waits for me to look over and applaud. Every now and again he will stop and chat with someone about old fighting-scars from knife fights and so-on, but that again is his way of showing me what he thinks men do. Fights, exaggerated talk about sex and making fun of those who can’t get it. In between these conversations, he then looks up to see that I am still happily watching him. He then tells whoever he was talking to, that I am there to watch and soon will start to spar myself. At which point, I am be half-asleep, dreaming about things that most boys seem not to, with a ribbon of drool soaking my shirt, then I would wake up, wave and go back to it.

My dad, generally is not a very outgoing person as the way most people know him. The ring is the only time he will step up and let is hair down, so-to-speak since he lost most of it at 26 when his father died. In the ring is when I learn the most valuable lesson he has ever taught me, how to strive and defend myself. This is the only time that I don’t fall asleep is when he is in the ring ready to fight another human being and does just that. Watching, I don’t realize how much of this brutal, savage and somewhat complex sport I am absorbing. My dad is very observant, always practicing his opponent’s next move before they made it and then combating by doing the opposite or hitting them first. Maybe this is what has and always will get me out of major fights?

I use my intuitive senses to spar out a conversations, this in turn to make a bully tired. This way they don’t have the energy to fight like my father does with his fists. He plays the game as he talk the other person down, like any good fighter does.
Once I start at the bar, I don’t realize that I will have to at times be the security of the bar. I would have to play the battle of the bigger balls via my speech and way of holding myself. Me, at a statuesque 5’8, 5’7 and ¾ in actuality, responsible for kicking out guys the size of houses and drunks ready to beat up anyone within a square foot of them. The second time I have to ask a guy to leave the bar, he tells little old me that I was am a kid and he knows when he’s had enough to drink. Then I inform him that I am sorry, but he is done drinking for the night and should leave. He then tries to swing a punch at me, I duck as my father does in these situations in the ring and the guy hits the brick-wall behind me. This fist is now scraped and bloodied. I then tell him that we can take it outside but now that he had tried to hit me, I have every right to defend myself, not only physically, but also make sure that he is taken to a drunk tank. The mix of poor reflexes and lack of words make him slowly walk out. This was just one of over 2,000 similar stories. Every time I have to kick someone out, my voice for some reason travels down around 3 octives and the adrenaline takes over. It’s as though I channel my father every time someone picks a fight with me.

Every time I need an extra shift, I end up being the bar’s door man on and off for about 3 years. The ironic thing is that I am one of the few to make it without a single scratch. I use the tools and ghetto-know how that my father has provided me with. If not for my father, I couln’t defend myself the way I do. I make it through these times without fear because of him. My father is the only light-complexioned man I know who during the famous LA riots is stuck buying a pack of cigarettes right in the middle of it all. The same man that since grade school tells me that, “if anyone fucks with you, hit them back 2 times harder.” Even though he is absent from many of my childhood memories, his tools for defense are ones that will always help me become a stronger man in the long-run and in turn even stronger knowing I won’t need use these skills. I can keep them safely stowed in my back pocket for emergencies. It was like that condom in the wallet that many guys keep there just incase but never use because they aren’t sure how long it’s been there, but feel empowered knowing they have it just in case. It’s things we don’t necessarily know if and when we’d need them, but feel good knowing we are prepaired.

Story 7, Edited and reposted, Part 1

Learning hot to fight?

a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://www.dyers.org/images/200805/mr-t-gold-chains-sparkling.gif">
The first time I have to kick somebody out of the bar scares me shitless. Gina is doing what she does best, yapping and making a round of drinks. Right as she pours the drinks, this drunken guy walks by and knocks over all the drinks she is making so that they spill all over her. Word to the wise, do not under any circumstances piss off a lesbian, it never ends well. The guy has a body shape similar to what I assume an industrial size Jello bowl would have. He is I guess more of a summo-wrestler type. You can see the cheese beneath his boulder thigh, he is wearing a dog chain around his neck and has a striking resemblance to a one aging Mr. T. Little does he know, that one should never piss off a lesbian, especially Gina. They will make sure you pay and get what’s coming to you. She is so angered she snaps for me to kick the drunken mess out. Being her servant, barback for the evening, I stop and think of how I will get this guy out of the bar. I also start to wonder how such a large person could fit into the doors of the bar and if when he goes on airplanes, does he need to purchase 2 seats?

Gina’s selective butchness kicks into high-gear once a shift, where she usually ends up kicking drunken messes out when we need her to. This time, she tells me that it’s my turn to be the man of the group.
While Gina’s logic is true, I have never really had to confront another man in that way and tell them to leave an establishment. I have been in little quirels before, but nothing like this. I am the kid that has always been picked on for no reason other than my general awkwardness.

While I have never really been hit or injured from a fight, I have been threatened to be beaten up many a time in my young life. I have never really been in any major physical confrontations though. In my dreams I have imagined that in the right situation I will reach into what I learned from years of playing "Mortal Combat." The truth is that in reality, I would need a controller to do the things I could do in that game. I wont have a game controller in real life. Often these threats, in real life are harmless and once some kid threw their yogurt at me while I was leaving school. After being mortified, when I got home, I washed the strawberry yogurt out of my hair and then ate a gallon of strawberry ice cream to heal the pain.

I ask the guy nicely if he will walk out with me to the exit since he has had too much to drink and maybe needs some fresh air. His response is of course less nice. My slutty co-workers, in this situation will ask these guys to come out side "I'll show you my dick outside." Then, once outside they leave the drunks high and dry. If only I was that smart.

Doushy Mc Dousy informs me on how I am “a little faggot mouse” who has not right tell him what to do. Calls me a fag in a gay bar? WHAT?! I am infuriated. I am so angry that I'm steaming inside, but outside I can't talk. Not knowing what to do, I just freeze not sure of what my next move should be or what to say. Then Gina comes right up from behind the guy, puts her arms around him in what looked like an old fashioned bear-hug, while restraining his arms down. She then walks in a waddling fashion (similar to the way one walks when conscealing a fart) with him to the door while keeping his arms tight to him. She leaves him outside of the door with the doorman and then tells me that next time she won’t be there to help me.

The concept of even possibly getting into a fight makes me think about how my father always makes me spar with him even as an adult. It’s been this way ever since I was a small child. Sparring is another term for practicing boxing, punching a given hand, item or punching bag. This is a great self-esteem strengthening exercise for an awkward kid like me. Little do I realize how this practice will come in handy when I will be dealing with drunken assholes for a living. This will lay the bricks for many things later on in my life. It is like an informal training on how to “handle it” as my good friend Tracy would say. My dad always explains it like this, “one day you’ll be walking down the street with a hot girl and some guy picks a fight with you. What will you do? Chat it out? Compramise? No, you’ll hit him harder than he can hit you and look good in front of your girl.” Such simple cut and dry logic.

My dad always fancies himself to be this amazing boxer much in the way that others dream of being a rockstar. He has an unusual obsession with boxers, their world and life they live. He idolizes boxing legends like Mike Tyson (before the ear bite), Lenix Louis, Mohamad Ali. According to him, some of these guys are on par or equivalent to modern day gods. He replays Tyson’s fights any time he needs inspiration or something to do. I have consequently seen every Mike Tyson fight at least 3 bazillion times. Where I fall asleep to “Golden Girls” and “Roseanne,” he falls asleep to the fights.
Living in the city of Angels, my muscular father is like most Southern California men. He is obsessed with going to the gym and making sure that people know he does such. The difference is his preference of gym. My 5’7, fair-skinned, four-eyed, bald-head father travels to Compton and workout at this place call the Broadway Gym. Dad says that he can’t go to another gym because real men don’t workout there. Apparently he needs a Rocky Balboa type to workout there or a man with tears tattoo on his face working out at a gym to feel like he fits in.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Story 6, Edited and reposted

Often people have asked me, questions about working in the Castro. “I bet you meet hot guys all of the time right?” This is always a leading question, often followed by a smile and a silence that can cut-glass. I assume that people who don’t know what this job entails and seem to think it’s full of meeting people of all walks. They often glamorize the job in their descriptions. There is always this intrigue with the idea of being at the center of attention. As one is shaking people’s drinks, they are also the main attraction and the reason people come into that bar, the “hot” bartender. Every night this person gets ready knowing that there will be men lined up and ready from all around, waiting to be serviced. Meeting hot, available men all them time with a pick of a different hot guy to go home with at all times of the night sounds interesting. While serving them shots, you get to watch hot guys get drunk and raunchy as they show off for you. The fantasy seems to make this image seem like the setting for a porn scene. I wish. At least then, I would be getting laid more. As cool as that idea is, it unfortunately is far from reality. There isn’t a “money shot” in this reality.

I have quickly realized that the glamour factor of working in a bar is everything but. Not to say that it doesn’t have it’s advantages, because trust, it does. Busing glasses for every Tom, Dick and lesbian who ever walk into the Labarynth. Being a fan of the social sciences, this gives me a chance to study the inner-workings of the Castro. It was much the same way that I would read case studies in college.

I learn am learning many things within the first few months. I learn drink terminology, gay lingo, how to meet guys and who to steer clear of. I soon learn that learn that gays truly run on alcohol and criticising others. I assume that is why the post Oscar fashion shows still exist?

There I am I am constantly meeting people, all of different walks, colors, sizes, likes and studying them. From bear to twink, sugar daddy to muscle stud. Name it and I have know them often from the bar. I then notice that these “hot” guys getting less and less attractive after meeting them 5x a week and having to re-introduce yourself to them every time because of their goldfish memories. It's like a glitchy cd or record that repeats over and over. Alcohol does do that. In the bar this was more likely, especially when many people are walking pharmacies. That in itself, is a whole separate topic. I watch hot guys every night, go from Stallion to sloppy mess within shots. These sloppy messes often resemble a blend of Groucho Marx and the Hulk in one. We all have met these guys.

One happy hour in particular, there is a relatively handsome man who I watch succumb to the process mention earlier. He looks like a seemingly normal business guy, in for an after work cocktail, maybe to find someone he could chat with. Within a few rounds this guy who resembling an older Alex P. Keaton ends up retreating further away from the bar. The first round he is drinking at the front of the bar. This is still when small remnants of daylight still slightly peak into the bar. He is sitting chatting it up with those of us behind the bar. I am working with James who is explaining to this guy just why he thinks that Cher was so amazing live. Yeah, I said it, Cher, Chaz Bono's mother. While Cher is a great performer and has a face that looks like it was made by playskool, I would never get in the middle of this conversation. She is one of those guilty pleasures one doesn't admit like watching the "jersey shor." I can't even put that on my DVR without fear that someone will see I have watched it. Back to Cher though. This convo. of course is right when the “Believe” video flashes onto the screens of the bar. At this point the music makes me want to start shattering glasses… Instead, I just smile and work diligently. The conversation seems to turn Mr. Keaton off from chatting with us. So, the next round brings him to a table about 10 feet away from the bar. As the hours pass and happy hour reaches near a close, I go on yet another round to pick up glasses. I figure that this guy must be deep in the bar by this point or maybe he has left. By now I assume he is messier than Courtney Love around any substance. On this round, I check every bathroom for glasses just like I do several times daily when working.

I reach one stall and hear this groaning. At first I think someone was taking the shit of a lifetime. Then, I hear hard breathing. It was kind of like that breathing that one often hears in high school while running the mile. In my case, I was often with the last parts of the class, the fat, or smoker kids of the crowd. In response to the breathing, I assume that someone has snorted a line too fast. Then comes a grunt noise. This is the noise that made me wonder if there was a lost cockerspanial in the stall. I imagine it’s being abused by the sounds of it. Then a slurp noise and my mind drifts straight to the gutter. Another moan…Slurp… Moan …Grunt. Curious as any healthy, homosexual, young man is, I peer in. I accidentally lean on the stall door. In turn, pushing it in.

Inside of this stall to my freakish horror is that older guy, who now looks like a different person. He is the opposite of the clean-cut man he came off as hours earlier. Now the tie is hanging out of his pocket and a mouth full of gross. He is rimming the bum who asks me for change everyday freaking day on the corner of 18th and Castro. This bum, I will never forget his gnarl, scrawny body perch on the toilet. When I say rimming, I mean there that this drunken man is rimming a bums ass. The bum is just propped up dingle-berried ass hanging out, and the whole nine-yards. This drunken man has made a transformation that I could only describe as a cross-bread of a Groucho/Hulk creature. This man is also so drunk that he can’t put words together. Caught is literally caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I want to break the glasses in my hands which I just bussed this round, and shove shards in my eyes to sooth the pain.

The life of a Castro barkeep, is a desensitized one. In Castro bubble, image is been one thing. The reality is often another. When people ask about the “hot guys” I meet working where I do, they often are met with a brief. Sometimes the image that people have in their head is better than the reality.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Story 5 part 2, edited and reposted

For Michael, if I would point out an attractive guy in the room, Mike would shout out “what? You like who? Cover his face and you’re good.” He would say it just loud enough so that others could hear. The best part is that he simple doesn’t care about others accepting him. He is a treckie who isn’t ashamed of being vocal about his love for conventions, Vulcan ale and all sorts of nerd crap that I would never admit to liking. He doesn’t give a shit what others think of him. I aspire to get to this point.
While Michael is an example of one of the hardest working individuals there, he also has showed me how to have fun and really make the most out of this place. He often finds a way to be playful with the people we meet while working. He casually asks hot guys that we meet to show off their “man hood”. Whenever I hear him say that I wonder what the fuck he is talking about. Sometimes I’m like a small child and need some time to connect the dots. Then I get it. He’s talking about their dicks. He gets these guys to whip out their dicks. Color, size, width, cut, uncut, he gets anyone to do it. Usually this is done strictly for entertainment value alone because really we aren’t aloud to drink while working at the bar, so we got to get our shits and giggles somehow. Now, it becomes game of sorts. It’s way more fun than Blackjack and less costly. Whenever there would be a hot guy asking Michael or myself for a free drink, Mike would ask how they wanted to earn it.

He would then go on to tell them “sweetheart, nothing is for free, we all gotta work to get what we want.”
He would then turn to me and say, “Just cause I am married, doesn’t mean I don’t have eyes and a pulse. I can look damnet. It’s like being on a diet, you can still look at food!”

While Mike plays good cop, I take on the persona of the bad cop. I casually respond to Mike’s comments with a “he is shy” or “he doesn’t have anything to show.” The fact that it’s so easy to play these men is both funny and really sad. What’s funny about some men when their drunk, the second you make a comment about their dick size being sub-standard, they get so defensive and over-protective. While stupid, the game often will entertain us and our coworkers while these boys step up to the plate for a free drink in the name of honor. It isn’t about the final result of seeing the little or big piece of flesh hidden inside of a man’s trousers, although that alone is worth it. It’s more about getting there.

During fleet week we have a slew of marines come in the bar. Michael is like a kid in a candy store. He always uses single me as bait. After one shot, these boys don’t even need to be challenged. They will do it willingly. It’s like one of those “girl’s gone wild” videos, but with hot and some not so hot men. Well actually, mostly hot men. The less attractive and short the guy/marine is, the more likely they are to step up to the plate. Maybe it’s due to their little man syndrome? They are those guys who probably drive little red sports cars to make up for their lack their of… Be it gay, straight, cut, uncut, black, white, red, blue, ginormous and microscopic, we see them all.

Besides the games, since Michael isn’t single there is that whole element of competition that are taken out of the mix. He is very sure of who he is and isn’t. Unlike many single gay men, he is sure of where he could has love and doesn’t need to go looking for it. This energy from him on that level is very empowering to me.

After finishing work at 3 or 4 in the am we often then head to his house. We get milkshakes or burgers and hang with our friend Mary. She helps us relax. We spend many a night watching TV and talking about everything from politics to bar gossip. Michael has become my backbone in some ways. He is also the first friend I have from this new bar lifestyle where I feel like I could just be myself without putting on a show or entertaining. There is no game face needed with him. I am not worried that he will stab me in the back. For some reason I have a soft spot for him. He is like the perverted big brother I never had.

Story 5 Edited and reposted... (Part 1)

a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://www.outvideo.com.au/images/000/guywildpoolparty.jpg">
Being there is like living inside the eye of a traveling tornado. There are always new people flying in and out of that place. Often it seems like more people have gone through that place than Starbucks. Besides the drifters, there are the core people who have been there for years, they seemingly keep that place together like the cheap bricks hiding inside the walls of that place. These people, though they would never admit it, are what I call the lifers. We don’t get to this place intentionally; we just end up being a part of the foundation that holds the place together. This is until we reach our expiration date. Like modeling, bartending at this bar means that eventually you will be replaced or phased out by someone who is younger, maybe prettier (but not necessarily), naive boys and girls who will be the jaded bartenders of tomorrow. It's like being a 75-year-old's 19-year-old wife, you know that if they don't die on you in 5 years, there will be someone younger and hotter to replace you. Often lifers are the ones who help keep this bubble we work/live in intact. This is until they themselves are fired. Almost nobody quits this place. The ones that do are few and far between. It’s a good gig, why leave while the getting is still good? After they quit, they often come crawling back begging for their jobs because as reality has it, the real world sucks far more than living in this suds-reality of the Labyrinth and the Castro bubble.

Besides the lifers, the rest of the staff hasn’t been there long enough for me to remember their names. As a result of this, I just call them lemmings. Like the game or reference to "Never Been Kissed," they just walk around aimlessly, a part of our homogeneous group. It’s been nearly a year that I have been at the Labyrinth and I still don’t know everyone here. If I don’t know a person’s name, I usually call them Michael or Chris because it’s generally a good guess. There is always one of those two in a crowd and it sure beats calling the guys “hey you.” It’s like when you’re taking a multiple choice text and you know if you pick C, you will be less likely to pick the wrong answer. On my SATs, I did this. I also got bored on the math section and ended up just drawing pictures of Garfield eating Pizza on the written Math section. As a result of my art work, I ended up getting probably the lowest score in my high school.

I am usually lucky enough to get at least a shift a week where I worked with Michael who soon since has become one of my best friends. Michael is an interesting guy to say the least. He isn’t the type that you would expect to be a bartender. I guess the longer that I work here, the more that image in my head of a bartender changes. He isn’t cocky and is definitely not a beef-cake jock. He is normal, slender and genuine. He is a video game playing, trekie-loving, introvert that on first glance seems to be best suited for a different line of work. Once he goes behind the bar, it is like another person awakens inside of him. This person is outgoing, loud-mouthed and without any internal censors much like myself. This is what we all love and respected about him besides the being completely devoted to and in love with the man he says he will marry once it’s legal. They are of the few gay male couples I know who are not in “open relationships.” They are absolutely devoted to each other. Mikie is known for being that person that will talk about others behind their back, but in front of their face. It’s much in the same fashion that old Jewish women talk about each other. At least that’s how they work in my family so that they can eventually gang up on you and make you sure you feel inadequate. They will with make sure that someone is chatting about your problems and keep your insecurities not only alive but you will leave with more insecurities than you came with. It's quite the Jewie phenomenon.
(To be Continued)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Story 4, Part 2 (Edited Repost Continued)

I am getting to the point where I am working, but mentally 2,000 miles away. In my mind, beneath the little afro of hair on my head, I am on a far away island watching the tide and getting fed grapes by bronzed cabana men (why settle for boys in fantasies when you can have chiseled men?). While my physical being is there, while my metaphysical self is working through that daydream. Then Gina quickly snaps me out of it… She comes up from her station to yell at me. At this point I am already in a bad mood and want to tell the bitch to relax and that I’ll get there when I get there, but actually say nothing. She points out that she is in dire need of cold pint glasses right away. She then adds in her Gina way, “you need to wake up and start paying attention for god sakes.”

In my head, at that moment I am thinking, “bitch, get your own fucking pint glass and stop being rude.” In my head I am also imagining Julio and Avi arguing over who gets to wash my cloths. The world knows that Israeli men are utterly gorgeous so I always have at least one on hand in my dreams.

Gina likes being the resident belabusta , which is Yiddish for bossy person who thinks they’re in charge, even when they aren’t. That person who always has to be the leader of the group or whatever they take part in, because that’s just how they roll. What I probably am not considering or caring about is that she really is trying to get her job done so she could make both of us money. She is simply calling me out for not focusing on my job, which today is true. But because she gives me honest constructive, criticism, I should for the moment, like my co-workers, write her off as being the bitch I want to be.
I also find out later, that Gina herself she is working, stepping on eggshells because she had just been reprimanded for apparently over pouring a drink a day or two earlier by one second. Our bar’s shot pour standard is 4 seconds then. The cameras apparently caught her and now somebody is out to get her. She probably just wants to keep her job because it does allow her a good standard of living. The over pouring slip/moment in question is of course caught on the surveillance camera of our elusive bar owner who is always watching us.

I rush over to Gina’s station to stock her precious pint glasses. As I reach into the drop down of her station, Nick the MD to be/bartender is performing for some customer, being the show off that he is and bouncing his big ass around. He’s one of those black guys, much like Wayne Brady. He acts stereotypically black only when he needs to, but generally acts like a white guy raised in the burbs. When he works though, he often is not aware of his surroundings. He is usually too busy looking for "hot," Jewish Doctors and Lawyers in the bar. The rest of us have developed a third eye on the back of our heads that help us maneuver our way around the Labyrinth bar.

Nick has no idea about this third-eye business, nor does he care about those around him when he is working. Being the self-elected Jew of the bar (even though he was raised Baptist), he always focuses his attention on the person with the money in their hands that is within his hand’s reach. He is almost at good at guilt trips as my mother. He can guilt anyone to investing in anything he does, from cocktails to a date. The Goy has the skills of an old Jewish woman and the money sense of a Donald Triumph.

As Nick is hitting on some customer and putting a bottle back in it’s place which belong behind him, near his register. He did this without looking. In this course he also accidentally pushes me into the pint glasses I am putting away. This causes a domino effect of problems. This is when the nightmare begins. This action, in turn makes one of the pint glasses shatter into a beautiful glittery rain that looks like an explosion around my hand of glass dismemberment, which drizzles everywhere. Then a huge shard of glass is then push into the skin about three inches above my inner left wrist. I am so in shock that, I almost don’t believe that this happening. As I pull my arm out of the drop down cooler, I could see a piece of my flesh just dangling. I can’t see how deep the cut is, but all I can see is blood. I drop everything and run into the back room. Nick is still chatting with the customer oblivious to what just happened.

On the way to the back room, there are little trails of blood to show where I have been. In a fluster furry, I open the first aid kit that the bar has. Like a cruel joke, it’s of course empty, full of just a pile of napkins and 3 tiny band-aids, and a tampon. I have a double take moment. Being that this is a men’s gay bar, a tampon is highly unusual in our first aid kits. I would more likely expect to find lube or even glitter before a fucking tampon.

I start laughing hysterically, while still unsure as to why I am laughing at a horrible moment like this. I am a person who tends to laugh at the wrong moments. I am the guy who laughs at funerals, any religious ceremony, any of life’s generally awkward moments, when I look at any full-length mirror and during romantic moments in movies when most people cry. I laugh at the sight of bad news, and most people find it revolting.

I pick up the napkins I find to soak up the blood. James walks by and ask if I am okay, while he stares at my arm from a distance. His face look horrified. James ask me if I will be able to work the rest of my shift, and whether I have insurance. I am getting even more upset by this point. I am starting to simmer by this question and the evening’s predicaments. The fact that he has the gaul to ask me such a bazaar question as I have a piece of my own flesh dangling from my arm is ridiculous.
I go from laughing like a crazy person to complete silence, give James an evil stare and tell, “yeah, I’ll work. We can turn this place into a fucking making bloody mary bar tonight.”

As I stare at my mangled arm I begin to feel a subtle sharp, throbbing. It is getting worse with every second that I stare at the blood-infused napkin covering up the glass battle wound.

I am almost in a trance staring at my arm as Gina storms in to the back room, which seem to just be adding to my angst. My heart starts beating faster and there now is a vein on my forehead popping up that I have never seen before. Gina asks me if I am okay. She then picks up the injured arm and looks at the dangling piece of flesh and inspects it. It’s like she instantly turned into the professor from Gilligan’s Island. Maybe she will turn my arm into a radio. Gina then goes to tells James who is freaking out to get us more napkins and to “chill the fuck out.” She looks into my horrified eyes, which are now more upset and worried about loosing my job, than the actual injury. She reads me very quickly even though I try to conceal my emotions from her. She tells me that I will be employed next week and have nothing to worry about. She says that I need to relax, then show me a scar in the same spot on her right wrist. I start to think great, she is trying to fucking bond right now and turn this into an episode of Oprah, get pissed and all of a sudden calm. Apparently she has too cut her self similarly five-years prior. She speaks calmly, petting my shoulder in a way that only a woman could and tells me that I will be fine because I like her am “tough as nails.” I don’t know how true that is, but for the moment she made me feel like a tough lesbian, which is way better than I had felt before this conversation and tougher than any man I know. She hands me $20 dollars and tells me to go take a cab to the hospital for stitches and to call her later and let me know how it all turns out. She makes it seem like it was just another normal day. She has this way about her that makes me calm down. From that moment on, the pain is gone and I have adrenaline that is getting me through this.

I am waiting for four hours alone in the emergency room to get seven stitches. It’s now 5a.m. and I arrived to this mothball smelling hospital ER an 11:30 pm the day before. I find a Vicoden that I guess someone slipped into my pocket before I evacuated the bar. I don’t know who the magical fairy is that left this treat was. I don’t event take a moment to consider where it came from. I of course take it instantly and start to choke in the emergency room. Needless to say, I got to cut the line right away.

The odd thing is that, if it wasn’t for Gina I could see myself freaking out in that cold sterile place that is the ER. Because of her, I don’t feel alone in the waiting room and know that all will prevail. I’m like a little kid, excited to see what kind of scar this adventure will leave me.


No Deposit Casino