Saturday, January 29, 2011

working out newer material.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Great ad from Israel

Story 12, Edited and reposted

I have been at the bar for quite some time now. Sometimes it seems too long at this point. 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 still have phantom fat in place of that blubber. That's the fat 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.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dear Roseanne,

I started reading your book last night. I expected a light read, like a comedic "Twilight" if you will. After the first chapter I was hooked. It was as though you sprinkled the pages with crack. I initially started reading because I, like many people watching grew up thinking that they were Darline, with a penis. I grew up wishing that I was a part of you're TV family. As a child, when my pediatrician was the same one in Hollywood that you took your kids to, at least that is what my mother told me. I felt a connection from there on. Truthfully I hoped that we would bump into you at the Dr's and you would demand that I appear on your show, but that's another story. As a standup comic, I watch Youtubes of your comedy on repeat to make me laugh, when I'm having a bad day and already have eaten my weight in love.

About the book, it's really an interesting read. You talk about how you never fit in as a kid. You stood out from day one. You were also teased and bullied. It's way better though than any "it get's better" video, cause you are actually keeping it real. Unlike the "it get's better" campaign, you open a clear forum for dialogue where you are honest about who you are, and how badly you felt being teased. You put all the cards on the table and don't apologize. Every other line in the book is funny although this may drift right over the heads of those not educated in sarcasm or Jewish guilt. You talk about growing up Jewish in Salt Lake City which shocked me because I had no idea they had Jews there at all. You talk about your Jewish grandmothers, one old world, the other, a meld of Europe and modern woman. I felt that if you added heavy Russian accents and various pickled cabbage recipes, you could be talking about my own grandmothers. My point is that your story is one that anyone could relate to.

When I started reading your book, while at one of my lame jobs as a doorman at a local bar (doing what I can that lets me do stand up and tell my jokes and use that soap box to show the world why I AM special). Point is, that while I was reading the book at the door, everyone that walked by to glance at my kindle, giggled as I mentioned your book. They laughed like you couldn't be taken seriously, but each walked away with sentences along the lines of, "she disappeared, I loved that show though."

As a kid, I saw your character Roseanne who had dreamed of becoming a writer. This truly inspired me to write, a lot. Half the time it's gibberish, run-on sentences. Sometimes I do think that this writing and expressing my point of view is what will make my mark on the world. If I had never seen you, an "every man," doing the same thing, I would have thought that I had no chance.

You found a way as an artist and person to change the world's viewpoint. Your standup and show's messages changed us all and for this reason I think your book and soapbox is ever more relevant to the modern day. While the "domestic goddess" is gone, her rich, successful future self gives me hope as a comedian, a uniquely Jewie-faced, Jew-fro of a human. On a daily basis I get told that I don't look or act like anyone else. Is it my fault that I look like what would have resulted if Charlie Brown had fucked Barbara Streisand? While I am nothing like you, a generation younger, and of course a fagalla-yiddishy-punim, I am just like you. I have always felt like an outsider of the world, and only as an adult can understand that is a blessing in disguise.

My larger point is this, thank you.

Yuri Kagan

Monday, January 17, 2011

My dad and my standup...

Not too long ago, I was lucky enough to perform at the world famous Comedy Store in Hollywood. This was the first time that I performed in Hollywood and the first time my father would see me do standup. Most comics, I assume, are afraid of how their parents would handle react to their material because presumably it is within the nature of a good comic to push the envelope as much as possible. For me, this was more of a secondary issue, really. I have never been one for self-censorship around anyone, especially my parents. I would rather put all the cards on the table. My worry was more in the fact that my dad has always had a way of embarrassing me. This is why, before the show I reminded him to behave. This was done in the same way that a mother would ask a five-year old child to be on their best behavior. I even offered him a happy meal and a pack of cigarettes. While my dad is a man in his 50s, and one might assume that he would be filled with wisdom and life experience, he recently was spotted wearing MC Hammer pants. For this reason, his judgment must be questioned at all times.

My father has always been a peculiar man. As a young child, I often hoped my life would turn out like many late-80’s after-school specials. I hoped I would eventually find out that I was adopted. I, at the least hoped that my mother had a secret affair with some celebrity but was given hush money as to not ruin his career. Ideally, I for some reason hoped that my father was someone cool like Bob Saget, or J.R. Ewing's hot son, the one that was later on Step By Step. I loved Dallas as a child, which alone was proof that no one chooses to be gay. Unfortunately, I never saw signs of money anywhere in our house. My mother wasn’t secretly looking into adding a train that would go through our entire house like the one on Silver Spoons. Looking back it became apparent just how poor we were. As a small child, my favorite toy was a cardboard box which I used to pretend was a space ship to take me to the planet Evie was, from on the sitcom Out of this World. I would quietly pass my mother little drawings at the dinner table asking for a paternity test. Unfortunately, she would always just smile and pretend she understood, even though she clearly didn't understand my 6-year old doodle-cartoon. It was of us on Sally Jesse Raphael-- finding out the truth. Mom just told me that the ghost-buster looked very nice, as she would plopped some more food on my plate. I would shake my head quietly and gobble down the rest of my hot dogs, ketchup and mashed potatoes, because my family was Russian, and my mother was a horrible cook, so we called it a day. To put it mildly my mother’s cooking was on the same level as Lucy’s in that episode where she was trying to make bread. The ingredients were all there, and the fire was always blamed on the oven or the recipe. As I got older, I realized that I kind of looked like my father in question, though I had a full head of hair. I eventually developed a love-hate soft spot for him.

A little background, my father, like most Russian men and Wayne Brady, he has always thought he was black. He has always seen himself as a body builder/boxer. Like any Russian, he always saw himself as a health-fitness-enthusiast. In this fashion, he would start every workout with a pack of Benson Ultra-Lights, which he would finish off with a whey shake and some stuffed cabbage. Since the mid-80’s, he has worked out at a boxing gym in the middle of Compton, because, that apparently was the calling for a 5'7 and 3/4 inch tall Jewish man. He was the only white, Jew in the middle of the L.A. riots-- for no apparent reason. He claimed it was because he needed cigarettes. When I was 7, he shaved marks on his buzzed-balding-head, similar to the way some rappers shaved money signs into their hair. He did this to look like his idol, Mike Tyson. When I was in the 6th grade he bought the sound track to "Gangster’s Paradise" because he claimed that Coolio was the "shizot." Just imagine that word being said with a moderate Russian accent. In the modern day, if he still had hair, he would have a flattop circa 1988. Does that paint a picture of the man who has claimed to be my father all of these years?

In 2010 he was the only man still quoting Coolio and leaving me messages, "Yuri, call me, Gotta get up get down."

Even Coolio stopped quoting himself by the year 2010.

Growing up with a Russian/Wigger father has proved interesting. As a child, when I came home upset because kids were making fun of me for having a head too large for my body, I looked like a bobble-head, my dad would try and console me and make me feel better. He would try to use American expressions, but then mix them up. He would take this one step further though and then gangsta' it up.

As I was crying, he would say (with his Russian accent) , "Yuri... (insert exhaling) hand me my Benson Ultra- Lights…”
He would then light his cigarette and continue, “ they aren't laughing with you, (insert cough here) they are laughing at you." (Insert choking cough)

I would be confused at this point and crying harder as I started to drowned my sorrows in a large bowl of ice cream. This was because food was and always will be love, whoever said otherwise wasn't raised by Jews.

My dad would then add this statement, "And don't worry you young blood, we can have them rubbed out." He also thought he was in the mafia.

So, at my recent show, as my dad sat down in his Run DMC shirt, and In Living Color white pants with neon squiggles on them, he seemed calm and behaved. The host of the show was a racist black comedian that was a marginally funny. He essentially kept every stereotype alive, and offered one of the white guys in the front row some “cracker-aid.” Everyone knows racism is hilarious, that is unless you’re Mel Gibson, and then it’s just a nail in the coffin. Three minutes into this guy's set, my dad started to whisper, "this guy is no Eddie Murphy." The thing was that my dad couldn’t whisper to save his life. He is one of those people at the movie theater that talks the whole time, while taking food that he brought from home out of a plastic bag that that would make that plastic crunching noise. He said the Eddie Murphy noise so that everyone could hear him, including the comedian. Really? Eddie Murphy? What the hell did that mean? Was he saying that the comedian had lost his funny, now sold out and was doing crappy movies? My dad did this every 5 minutes for the next hour until I got to the stage.

While I was performing he remained behaved. I was amazed and proud. As I closed my set, the host came up and shook my hand, then my dad got up. He was the only person standing.

Dad then yelled, "my brotha stand there and let me take a photo of you two."

The audience was really confused by the whole situation. They all let out a polite giggle and then were silent. Now, that they maintained a deathly silence of confusion. My dad snapped the photo and then, he started to howl like a dog with his arms flapping in the air. He for some reason thought he was on Arsenio Hall. As I walked off the stage I came up to him and gave him a hug to get him quiet. This was in the fashion that one would hand a baby a pacifier. People clapped because they were confused by the whole situation, as was I.

My dad then leaned into my ear and whispered, "I'm very proud of you. But the guy on stage is no Sinbad." It was odd.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More on Marriage...

As a standup comic we are always striving for new material that really intrigues our interest. Right now, ideally, my current goal is to create a "solid 10" on marriage. This is something that sounds simple, but for comedians can take weeks, months and sometimes up to a year depending on the topic. The following is a rant relative to the topics I'm working on.

I don't get marriage. I don't get what straight dudes say about it. "Let gays get married, so they could be just as unhappy as everyone else."

It's not about marriage, it's about rights!

I should have the same rights as anyone else to force 4 of my best friends to wear, 4 of the ugliest bride's-maid's dresses ever made.

I as a gay man, I should be able to not only make the center-pieces, but take them home from MY own god damned wedding.

It's about rights!

I should have the right to be the next Anna Nicole Smith, may she rest in peace, minus the pills.

We all know an affair isn't fun if you're unmarried!

I should have the same right as anyone else to be a complete and utter disappointment to my Jewish mother because I am on my way to thirty, and unmarried.

Oh, yeah. You know how difficult it is to have a Jewish mother? A Jewish mother is like acne, or in MY case since my mother is Russian, it's like acne in leopard print heals. They tell you that shit will go away, but it just lingers on.... and on... You can use all the ProActive Jessica Simpson can sell and she won't stop nagging.

People talk about marriage like it's something the rest of us haven't figured out. Like having a kid. Anyone could have sex without a condom and get pregnant... I guess not all of us... I guess that's a bad joke... That's how some of us get AIDS... Too soon?

People say that everything is ruining marriage! In American fashion, lets blame everyone else for our problems. It's the gays, it's the government, it's double sided-sticky-tape.

How the fuck are gays ruining marriage? If it wasn't for us, no one would ever believe you're wife could pull off white. And really the only time white looks good, is on implants.

Marriage is an important commitment like adopting a cute doggie. It's what, a 3-5 years of your life? The only difference is that you can't have your husband put to sleep for humping your neighbor.

Essentially what I'm saying is that I have no desire to get married. It do though want the right to leave someone at the alter.

I think that getting married is like planning a car-accident that you've invited all your friends to, that takes 5-years to go down.

The second people find out that I'm a Mary who doesn't want to marry, they start pushing it on me. Marriage is something that should sell itself. I don't get why these marriage pushers always sound like used car salesmen trying to unload a lemon.
Sounds like:
"Step right up, she's a beaut! She will take you from point A to point B and after a while for some reason she won't need much servicing but she will need a SHIT_LOAD more gas, cause that's the only way she will be able to fuck you. she is great, but no test-driving or looking under the hood. The fine print? It just says that you can't test drive any other cars. Its doesn't matter if they feel better to sit in, hug the turns and still have their shinny hubcaps. And it's for LIFE. Sign here?"

My mother says you can't talk ill of the institution of marriage. This coming from a woman that had no problem getting chair-lifted by a group of drunk Jews at her weddings. Who thought that custom up anyway? Take the weakest people and have them doing something that dangerous. Another reason I used to wish I was black. This way, people would look at me and say "oh, him? he could be athletic."

What is is it about marriage that instantly turns people into assholes? They make you watch their wedding slide show cause apparently my friends are from 1978. Wedding sideshows and picture albums are only used to keep score, see who died, went to rehab or made a fool of themselves. What if I forced you to watch slides of me in Cancun on at a gay resort? “This is me with my friend, I think his name was rico, this is me eating enchiladas and shrimp, here’s me getting sick.”

I think we should make it simple. I don't think anyone should ever get married. If you do, don't complain to your wedding planner or power-lesbian boss. Doing so is like being that guy who complained about getting laid in high school while the rest of us just lied about it.

If it doesn't make it past 3-years, i want my money back for that $100 pillow-case I had to buy you. After the wedding you get thank you card that say "oh, how did you know what I wanted?" It was on that stupid registry. Where is my registry for going to college, having goals, aspirations and living in sin? There should be cops on every block forcing people considering leaving their wives before the 3-year mark that force them back home to make love to their wives. Oh yeah, get the government more involved to protect marriage.

Last point is this. Marriage is ridiculous. The rhymes we are told to keep us from having sex before marriage are even more stupid. "Why would you buy the cow, if you could get the milk for free?" Why the fuck would you ever buy a cow? What happens if you save it until marriage just to find out your milk is all curdled up? Or that you're partner is lactose and tolerant? Even worse, they spit like a $2 whore.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Story 11, reposted and edited again

As a small child I was very inquisitive. I was the kid that would silently search my mother's bag when she wasn't looking in hopes of finding a toy or a slip of paper which would say that I was adopted. I was lucky if I found a hard candy half the time. 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. Someone once said that I look like what would have resulted if Charlie Brown had sex with Barbara Streisand. Could I paint the picture clearer? I was climbing out of the play 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. Children always had it easier, farting where you want and making noises now and again just would make adults think you were even cuter. This, partially, was the mentality that 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? If I didn't have two-left, flat-feet, I would have tap danced for attention.

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.

funny times

Monday, January 3, 2011

Story 10, part 2 (edited and reposted again)

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 (edited and reposted again)

Image taken compliments of

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 they said to “watch out for marbles.” I am now a part of THAT world. Don't get it twisted though, I am not a stripper, nor do I really have the dead eyes part 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 and ridicule. 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)

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