Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recovering Commies Podcast!

Check out our "Recovering Commies Presents: Behind the Curtain" Podcast. First we interview Christina Paszitsky, then Chris Garcia and most recently Janine Brito!

Here is a link to our podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/recovering-commies-presents/id463087309?i=96974074

You can also see us live at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco on December 8th.

Here is a link for tickets: http://www.cobbscomedyclub.com/event/1C004751E8346E2C

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who's gay?

Coincidentally, the first gay bar I ever went to was in the Castro. The circumstances were not the norm though. I was seventeen. It was the summer before my senior year, or as I like to call it, the last year to freedom. I lived in San Diego at the time, worked at Starbucks part-time and still thought I was straight. I had a girlfriend who I loved at the time and still do. It was summer time, right about the time assholes start using a certain quote when they hear you’re are visiting San Francisco. “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco."

It was a cousin’s birthday in SF. I went with a few of my cousins to San Francisco for the weekend to visit extended family there. This was when I still thought Rice-A-Roni was the San Francisco treat and years before I would learn that it actually was homeless people pooping on stoops and passive aggressive arguments completely consisting of eye-rolls.

After a lovely Friday evening of stuffing our fat Russian faces with as much Russian food as possible, we got to my cousin’s house in San Francisco and continued to snack on leftovers and regret. This would lead to a Saturday waking up late, hung over and not feeling like doing jack shit. I sat for hours chatting, eating and drinking coffee with three of my cousin’s and one of their husbands. After the fourth course and second pot of coffee my aunt, who’s house we were in came in to her kitchen, which was now covered in food wrappers, crumbs, poppy seed cake, koogle and empty doughnut boxes. She of course yelled at us about the mess and then told us to go out and stop wasting the day away. This was after she yelled at the two girl cousins for eating too much and then offered myself, along with the only other male in the room all of the food that was left on the table. That was of course the Russian way. After another hour of stuffing my face with caviar, bread and guilt (Russian/Jew food staples), while the girls at the table were working on their eating disorders, we decided it was time to do something. We didn’t have a plan, but all decided to get dressed.

It was around 8 or 9 in the evening and we just drove around the city. We went to Twin Peaks, Lombard (the curvy street) and Golden Gate Park, all without getting out of the car because it was food coma time. Eventually the older cousins decided they wanted to get drinks but couldn’t because some of us were under age. This didn’t stop us though. The conversation about drinking came, as we happened to be driving near the Castro District. We parked there and decided to look around. We had heard that this was where the cheapest bars in the city were and being the Jewish family we were raised as, we couldn’t help but check out the bargain.
While walking around we chatted, joked around and my cousin’s husband, who was with us brought up an intriguing idea. He proposed a bet that we all pick a gay bar, all try to go in and then see if we could get someone of the same sex to buy us a drink. The first person to do this would get a $20 from everyone on this outing. There were five of us.

I was so excited about the getting to go to bars part that I didn’t care about anything else. The first bar we approached smelled like rotten beer. As we waked in, no one carded me and I was ecstatic. After 30-seconds of rejoicing about that in my head, I looked around the bar. It was all fat, older, hairy men watching the original Ellen Show. It was such a stereotype it was ridiculous. It was of course the episode where Ellen where she came out. After 40-seconds of being in the bar Ellen had announce that she was gay on all five of the television screens in the bar, maybe this hit too close for home, not sure. We left quickly soon after.

We walked a few minutes and found another nearly empty gay bar. The entrance to the place just had these stairs that took you to the top of the building where the bar was. Another place where I didn’t get carded, I was near shitting myself as a result at this point. Out the windows of the bar we were looking over Castro Street, the HUGE rainbow flag and the years of bad decisions that I would follow this moment with in bars.

We all split up. One of my lady cousins hung out near the pool table of the place. It was a few minutes earlier we realized that the pool table was lesbian territory. After two seconds of being there, a big, fat man-woman person, dressed like Bruce Springsteen approached her and chatted her up. I assume the conversation did no cover makeup or orthodontic work.

Next, that cousin’s husband went to another room and started chatting with some random college dude who in retrospect looked like an older version of the kid from the Terminator movies.

Every cousin had picked a person to talk to. I just sat alone sipping some neon blue drink that had way too many garnishes. After about a half-hour of sitting there I started to daydream about my next meal, hoping we would go to a late night diner and be able to get milkshakes. It was then, this little Dominican fellow walked up to me. He asked me if I was okay.
Unfortunately it came out as “JEEEEW KAY?”

I misunderstood, gave him an “I’m insulted” face and looked away while I finished half of my drink in one gulp.

The guy walked away and within one minute came back with a drink he handed me with his number on a napkin. He was so gross that I think my penis shrinked up into itself or at least that’s what I felt like… I smiled, guzzled the drink down and told him I had to go. I was headed to the exit. All the cousins saw my accomplishment and one by one came up to me and gave me $20. I glanced back at the guy in the distance who bought me a drink. He looked up hauled. Maybe it was cause all these people were handing me money and it looked like I was a prostitute.

Ironically it would be three year before I realized that I was in fact a gay and five years before I would be good at it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Story 19, LURKERS

In San Francisco, “people watching” becomes sport. It’s far more entertaining with a drink in hand or maybe that’s just a personal preference. SF is the perfect place for anyone on a budget just sit, observe and judge. Actually, the last one is not necessary, but making up stories for the strangers you’re watching is always fun. There are countless different kinds of people who come into gay bars, all for different reasons. Watching one group in particular never ceases to amaze me. I like to call this group the “lurkers.”

We all have seen them, or at times met, or may even be lurkers ourselves, though few will ever admit it. These men and or women can be observed in their natural habitat, the bar. Here is where they live often. They hide in the shadows where they feel comfort. There are two types of lurkers. One is the pure alcoholic type. They can bee seen sitting there for 8-10 hours at a time going unnoticed to the untrained bar-going-eye. I have personally observed one of these guys, a lurker kill at least 10 cocktails on his own without leaving his perch in the dark corner of the bar. When ordering his last round, he doesn’t even stumble, trip or anything. Aside from the bad breath, one would never know he has been drinking. The ways of a lurker baffle the mind.

There is a second type of lurker. This type is the post-rehab type. They are often accompanied by countless redbulls, which they drink interchangeably with mineral waters and plain non-alcoholic beverages. They too can drink enough redbull to give the average person a heart attack, but seem un-phased. They too are astonishing because they can sit for hours and go unnoticed… They somehow blend into the wallpaper. Both types of lurkers have similarities. Some wear clothing that would be better suited for their children, nieces or nephews, the type of shit someone may buy at the gap or Miller’s OutPost or Mervin’s (I don’t think that those stores are even still in business). Others dress in the blan, Wal-Mart-type of solids to help camouflage better in the bar shadow terrain. They sit, sip wait, move fast, swift and quietly once they have found their prey. These wallflowers look for any hint of attention or a warm body to feast upon and presumably suck the youth out of, like the witches in the movie “Hocus Pocus.” Although, I am sure that the entertainment value is lost without Bette Midler and her simantics.

When I first start working at the bar, I too never notice the lurkers who are sitting in the shadows. Some of them are even stationary during my whole shift, just watching my every move and observing my every mannerism. The day comes when I watch this cute little twink get ambushed for the first time. I watch in amazement as I am not really sure what is going on. This kid is the “barely legal type,” who just turned 21 or at least that is what he says and how he presents himself. He has the body of a young boy, and is so thin that I just want to feed him a sandwich to give him the strength to run from this trap. After a few rounds, his friends grow tired of the mid-afternoon ghost town that Monday happy hours often are. Before I know it, this kid is, more F- up than Courtney love at an open bar. It’s too late for this kid now. He has no idea what he is in for. It’s like watching one of those horror flicks where we all know what Is going to happen and want to yell at the bitch running from the killer to just shoot herself in the leg and get it over with… Within seconds, like a vampire, this lurker has swooped in to catch his prey, the poor, soft skinned, rail-thin twink. Within seconds Mr. Lurker, gestures for another energy drink from the bartender. He then smiles at the child/boy. To which, the kid respond with an innocent, “hey.” Again I want to tell him to run, but it’s not my place.

One word with these lurkers and one is stuck. They it becomes hard to walk or even talk away. Then they start to spin their rhetorical web around the guys they meet and make their prey.

Now, Mr. Lurker unbuttons the top of his Abercrombie shirt, to show his freshly wax, tann, liver-spott chest, complimented by a pookah-shelled necklace from Miller’s Outpost. He offers the boy a birthday shot. Within seconds of the shot, Mr. Lurker has the boy gathering his stuff as he offers this child a ride home. Hand in hand, and they are off.
This companionship can start out with a shot, an ear to talk to, or a hand to hold. The reasons for needing this type of companionship very I suppose. Within the time that it takes for a martini to be made, the lurkers can get a hold of their prey. Often their prey for the evening are so drunk or lonesome by this point, they are easy to hypnotize. They are ready to leave the bar with anyone who gives them the slightest bit of attention. Soon, the lurkers are gone with their new pet/flavor/toy/friends of the evening.

There is another lurker, who I on occasion have the privledge of watching work on many occasions. Once in a while, he will pirch himself at the very end corner of the bar. He is a rather large, depressingly unattractive fellow. To paint the picture a bit better, looks like a male version of Nell Carter as a man, with a mustache. He somehow always finds ways to sit there for hours going unseen. He also, will always come alone and then find a way to leave with enough boys to make Tonka jealous.

This lurker in particular will drink cavasiers or a “beautifuls” (Carvoisier with a touch of Grand Marnier) seemingly by the gallon. Often this type of drink is ordered by they type of fellow who idolizes Puff Daddy and others who may be found on a yacht pouring champagne on bitches. This man is not a one of cheap taste, in that regard, but cheap clothing. This one will catch dudes from all walks, young jocks, twinks, average handsome joes, right before the drink to blackout. He always tries to hold my hand when I am whipping the counter near him, as I move away, he then tells me that he can buy me a bar… I respond and say, I will buy my own. He then smiles and responds “precious,” you’re just too smart and beautiful for me.”
After numerous drinks, he will take out a few $100 dollar bills, set it on the bar He then proceeds to offer the guy and or his friends a round of top-shelf shots. I watch this gravy-train unfold each and every time into a plain old shit-show. These poor saps will soon be off with Mr. Lurker. Like the Hamburgler with a sack of burgers, Mr. Lurker’ too will leave with a car full of blacked out, hot, dumb, young faggy boys, fill with enough alcohol, that they could probably start a fire with as little as a burp.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Story 6

Being there is like living inside the eye of a traveling tornado. That is a tornado covered in glitter, that loves to dance. There are always new people flying in and out of that place. I'm constantly waiting, to one day glance out the window of the bar and see the drag queen/witch on the bike. It’s San Francisco and here that’s very likely. Often it seems like more people go through that place than a toilet at a chili cook off. 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 where they are at the bar every waking moment. We just end up being a part of the foundation that holds the place together, the glue, so to speak. 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 and make the money you can’t. 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 here 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. Be jealous!

I am usually lucky enough to get at least a shift a week where I worked with Michael who quickly 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. Mikey, 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.

For Michael, if I point out an attractive guy in the room, he would shout out “what? You like who? Cover his face and you’re good.”

Mike would say things 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 shows 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 for Christ’s sakes. 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, anacononda-esk, elephant trunk, noodlesk, wine corkish, and microscopic, we see them all. There is no racial divide here, equal opportunity all the way.

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.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

jokes and premises...

Trying to write... nothing comes to mind that's particularly funny.... here is what's on my mind.

As a bartender, when someone orders a long island they are essentially asking u to put your finger down their throat.


Leave it to gays to pick a depressing song and turn it into a dance mix. The words may make you want to slit your wrists but we will dance the fuck out of the song.


If you go to a bar and ask for the cherries without a drink more than once in a night it's possible that you either have never had sex with another person.


Guys who tell a bartender "I'll get you next time" instead of tipping every time, chances are they are horrible in the sack.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

STOP using the word PARTNER!

I am not sure if I have already written about this issue or not. Something that I really don't understand is the word "Partner." Maybe it's just my personal issue but I hate the word. I hate when people use it. I hate even more when people in heterosexual relationships use the term partner when they very well have the option to get married. Lay off that pachuli! Maybe it's gay culture's fault. We convince out heteronormative society that we also need a term to call our mates in place of the fact that we can't really marry and even in states where we can, it's not federally recognized anyways. Either way I hate when people use it. I don't get the term.

When I as a gay, meet someone new they either one assume I am single cause all gays must be single, cause they apparently can't keep it in their pants. This is partially true. Or we must be at that place... The one were we use the term. The new whoever will ask, how is your PARTNER? We aren't in business together. We aren't a writing team, mostly because we are one of those couples that doesn't have to do everything together and like having separate lives and well, we sleep together.

When straight people use the term PARTNER, I get it. They get confused. They are just trying to be respectful. When gay people use the term it annoys me even more. Call the person what they are, husband or wife, with or without the paper. That's what they are. Does your partner make you take the garbage out? No. Does your partner complain that you don't want to cuddle after sex? Does your partner hold your hand when walking down a street unless the two of you are walking in a conservative/Republican neighborhood? Does your Partner get in arguments with you as to how you hog the bed, or need to open up with your feelings cause you push those close to you away cause you have trust issues? No, cause that wouldn't be appropriate for business. The point is that we as gays do NOT have to use politically correct terminology because it does not convey our actual relationships. If more gay people used the terms, boyfriend, spouse, husband, or wife it will sound less frightening to people. Even without the right to marry using these terms will help those against "they gay lifestyle" understand how little difference there really is between us and them.

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