MonDATE

rendered by Alexis Millena

Him:  Why did you txt me?

Me:  We’ve been hanging out lately.  I saw on Facebook that you went out for Pride instead of studying.

Him:  Did you notice how I didn’t call you, even though I went out?

Me:  Yes.  That’s why I txted you.

Him:  Did you ever wonder that there might be a reason I didn’t tell you I was going out?

Me:  Sure.  You wanted to get blackout drunk and have sex with strangers.

Him:  That’s right.  And I didn’t want to see YOU.

Me:  Stop that.  We’ve been getting along very nicely.

Him:  I don’t care.  I want to punch you.  I don’t have to see you all the time if I don’t want to.  I don’t have to let you back into my life just because you decide it’s time for us to reconcile.

Me:  Are you on drugs? You’re the one who came here.

Him:  No.

Me:  How wasted are you?

(pause)

Him:  So here I am, okay?  HERE I AM.  You summoned me.  You txted me and I came right over, just like I ALWAYS do.

Me:  Don’t.  Don’t be like that.  We’ve been getting along.  Remember?  We had a good time at the movies.  You came to my party.  You’ve spent the night.

Him:  I hope you don’t think we’re having sex.  We’re not having sex.

Me:  I don’t care.  I just wanted to see you.  There’s a closeness between us.  A specialness.

Him:  I want to hit you.

Me:  Well I’m putting this knife away then.

(pause)

Him:  What’s different now?  What’s different?

Me:  I’m different.

Him:  Well I’m NOT.  I am the same.

Me:  No, you’re not.  People grow and change.  You’re different now.

Him:  That’s so arrogant of you.  You’re so completely arrogant.

Me:  It’s true.  What I said is true.  Also, I’m arrogant.  You’re right.

Him:  This has – we’ve already done this!  Twice.  I hang around you for a few months and then I put my heart on the line and you rip it out.

Me:  That’s not fair.  You approached me as I was going through a couple of failing relationships.  I was broken at the time.  I couldn’t give anyone anything.

Him:  And that’s different now?

Me:  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I’ve been single now for almost a year.

Him:  What’s wrong with you?

Me:  I don’t know.  I’m broken right now.

Him:  Good.  SO AM I.

Me:  GOOD.  THEN WE ARE THE SAME.

(I hold him.  He struggles.)

Him:  Don’t.  Don’t you do this.  Why can’t you just leave it?  Why did you have to start bothering me again?

Me:  You don’t have another friend like me!  I am the only friend you have like this.  I’m the only one who is going to show up at your house in six months with a can of paint, a mop bucket and a broom.  I will FORCE you into adulthood.  I need you.  You have an incredible mind.  Incredible.  And you waste it away.  And that’s going to change.

Him:  People don’t have very much luck forcing me to do things.

Me:  I know the feeling.

(pause)

Him:  Go on a date with me.

Me:  Be my friend.

Him:  Go on a date with me.

Me:  No.

Him:  WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?

Me:  Intimacy.  Closeness.  Specialness.  If you want to have sex, fine.  If not, that’s okay too.  I feel good when you’re around.  You brighten things up, and you’re very stimulating, intellectually.  Why can’t we enjoy what’s right in front of us, instead of focusing on the one thing we can’t have?

Him:  Do you want to go on a date with me?

Me:  Yes.

Him:  Will you go on a date with me?

Me:  No.

Him:  Why?

Me:  So many reasons.  Because one date will lead to seven dates which will lead to me ripping your heart out.  Because if I let myself fall in love with you I would force you to stop doing drugs and drinking all the damn time.  I’d make you get on a mortgage with me.  I’d make you adopt a kid.  All of those things terrify the shit out of you.  You’re not ready for that, and you know it.

(pause)

Him:  Can we just go to bed and hold each other?

Me:  Yes.  I would like that very much.

Him:  Michael.  I’m not like this.  I don’t let people affect me this way.  I’m the one who goes out and parties and does drugs and fucks three people in one night, and I’m not even ashamed of that.

Me:  I know.  And you’re also brilliant.  And I’m not willing to let that brilliance go.  You don’t believe this but you affect me too.

Him:  How do you know that it won’t self destruct and implode again?

Me:  I’m wiser now.  I don’t have to be right about everything.  I won’t let it happen again.

Him:  I will.  I’ll ruin it.  I’ll fly off the handle and ruin everything.

Me:  So be it.  I’ll let another year go by and approach you again.

Him:  I hate you, a little.  I’m angry at you.

Me:  No.  You’re angry at yourself. (pause)  And me, clearly.  But the drinking and drugs?  That’s you being angry at YOU.

Him:  Do you know what I did tonight?

Me:  Jerked off twice, got restless, went out, got wasted, fucked a twink?

Him:  That is accurate.  Yes.

Me: Why don’t you hold me for a second, till we get tired?

Him:  Fine.

Jerk.

FriDATE: Sup?

photo by Adam Gardiner

Him:  Sup?

Me:  Ha.  I ate earlier.  I don’t usually eat this late.

Him:  What?

Me:  Nothing.

Him:  You ate earlier?

Me:  Yeah.  You said ‘Sup.’

Him:  Yeah.  Like ‘Sup, bro?’

Me:  Right.  Like in a locker room.  Ha.  Sup bro?

Him:  Not much Bro, just chillin’.

Me:  Okay.  Me too.  Chillin’ up in Mc Carren park with a man I met on Grindr at midnight on a Thursday.

Him:  Heh.  Yeah, you like to Grindr it up?

Me:  I do.  I like social media.

Him:  Feel like grinding down on something?

(pause)

Me:  My name is Michael.

(pause)

Me:  And your name is…

Him:  Paul.

Me:  Hello Paul.  How was your night?

Him:  Pretty chill bro.  This weather’s got me antsy though.

Me:  Heh.  Yeah.  Hot and muggy doesn’t do it for me either.

Him:  Been horned up all day.

Me:  Okay.  I get that. I hear that.

(pause)

You’re a good looking guy…

Him:  Yeah?

Me:  Yeah.  What do you do for a living?

Him:  Subway.

Me:  You work for the MTA?

Him:  Subway sandwich shop.

Me:  Your Grindr profile says you’re 32.

Him:  That’s right.

Me:  Are you a manager…  Or?

Him:  Nope.

Me:  Any hobbies?

Him:  X box.  Is weed a hobby?

Me:  I think it qualifies, why not?

Him:  You bottom?

Me:  What?  Seriously?

Him:  Is that wrong to ask?

Me:  No.  I’m fine with the question.  It’s just.  This conversation.  It’s jumping around.  Do you like working at Subway?  I love the chipoltle mayo.

Him:  (Pause.  He rests his hands on his thighs.  He glances from my eyes to his crotch and back to my eyes.) 

Me:  (snort laughter)

Him: What??

Me:  Nothing.  You’re really pouring it on.

Him:  Come on bro, I asked you too meet me in the park, late at night.  You think I want to talk about sandwiches?

Me:  No.  I’m awkward.  It’s my fault.  Sorry.

Him:  You bottom?

Me:  Yeah.  Sure.  I’m versatile.  I top and bottom.  Do you?

Him:  Top only.

Me:  Ugh.  I hate that.

Him:  Why?  You like to bottom.

Me:  I know, but the way you said it.  ‘Top only.’

Him:  I only top. 

Me:  I know, but that’s annoying.  Do you suck dick, at least?

Him:  I don’t like it.

Me:  Ugh.  Yeah.  That bothers me.

Him:  Even for a midnight hook up in the park?

Me:  I dunno.  This could have been a date.   I’m not Victorian.  I can have a hook up.  NOT in the park, but presumably we both live near here.

Him:  I live with my cousin.

Me:  Sure you do.  Well I live alone, near here.

Him:  Let’s go. 

Me:  I dunno.  You’re really hot and all, but I don’t like this whole ‘top only’ idea.

Him:  Why?  What does it matter?

Me:  I don’t know.  Gets under my skin, how you said it.  There was an underlying sense of pride, superiority even.

Him: (shrug)

Me:  Plus, it’s pretty obvious you don’t want to make polite conversation for like 15 minutes before we make out and see if there’s chemistry or whatever.

Him:  I’m on Grindr because I like to fuck.  Don’t be a pussy.

Me:  Yeah.  We’re not on the same wavelength, I don’t think.  I get it.  I used to be like that too.  Just wanted to hook up or whatever, but as I get older it’s more about connection of some sort.  Even if I was on vacation in Europe or something.  I’d still want some sort of connection.  Thanks for meeting up with me.

Oh my god.  Put your dick away, Paul.

(pause)

Put.  It. Away. Moron.

I’m serious.

Him:  Do you like it?  It’s big.

Me:  It’s pretty sizable, I’ll give you that.

Him:  Do you want to touch it?

Me:  Yes, but I’m leaving.

Him:  Why?  Why not stay?

Me:  Because.  Somebody has got to stop rewarding your terrible behavior/attitude.  Besides, WE ARE OUTDOORS.  Put that thing away.

(He puts it away)

Jesus.  What an idiot. You could have gotten a ticket.  There are people over there.

Him:  Part of you thought it was hot.

Me:  It was shocking and a little hot, and terrifying.  But I’m not going to give you head and let you bone me and not get anything out of it.

Him:  What do you want?

Me:  Reciprocation.

Him:  Nah.  I don’t do that.  Not into it.

Me:  A sandwich?

Him:  I don’t have keys to the store.

Me:  Then I gotta bounce.  Thanks for the date.

Jerk.

Drawing by Dan Paul Roberts

Vice Salon Party

Photos by Adam Gardiner

VICE approached me about doing a PIEFOLK piece online.

I said, sure.

A reporter named Kristin Yoonsoo Kim came over.  She hung out with me and a few friends while we baked and talked about religion, atheism, oppression and internet stalkers.

We made meat pies.  Pulled pork braised with Kim chi, nectarines, and broccoli.

There was a salon party after.  People showed up and ate pie, drank whiskey, and sang songs.  There were comedy pieces. Poems were read.  It was a lively evening.

Adam Gardiner was nice enough to take these photos.  They are stunning.

Ben Lerman sang ukulele songs.

Marcos Sanchez played a few Thin Skin Jonny songs with me.

Will Choy read a comedy piece.

Robbie Fowler sang a Lady Gaga song, mashed up with Guns and Roses.

Kevin Michael Murphy sang from a musical comedy he wrote.

Jon Flor Sisante broke everyone’s hearts with this song:

Everyone had a blast, and there was singing and spontaneous ruckus raising afterward.

There was a good vibe in the air.  People seemed generous and warm all night.

I was happy I’d invited the people I did.

Paolo Raymundo designed me a couture apron.  I was so sheepish about it.  It was flattering.

I’m grateful to Adam for these gorgeous photos.  Thanks for making it an amazing party.

You guys were great.

Adam Gardiner


Vice Magazine came over to cover one of my salon parties.  Adam Gardiner was nice enough to take some publicity photos for me.  I’ll write a longer post about it later tonight (I have a rehearsal and a show today) but I wanted to thank him for his work.  You’re a kind, handsome fellow, Adam.  Thanks.

More later, Jerks.

Letters

Dear Michael,
I am a 62-year-old gay man who really enjoys your blog.   It must be extremely hard work keeping up with your busy life as a musician/comedian/baker/advice columnist/etc.  Being the age I am, I enjoy your comments and responses to letters as it reminds me of some of my own feelings and experiences in my youth.
However, also, being the age I am, I also find myself sometimes more interested in what you are baking, than who you are baking with.  Have you ever considered publishing the recipes in the blog for the things you are shown baking?
Recently, I think I saw a banana cream pie go flying by in one of your pictures.   My aunt used to bake them and I haven’t had a taste of a good homemade one since she passed away.  How about it?   Come on, share your recipes.
Sincerely,
Rick W.
Rick,
I share my recipes from time to time, here on the blog.  I made a video showing how to make a Crisco/butter crust.  It’s on YouTube.  You can look for it.
As for banana cream, just use a vanilla custard recipe and then chop come bananas into it.   Chill it for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.  Plop it inside a baked pie shell.  Cover with whipped cream.  You’re done.
It’s super easy.
Thanks for writing in.
Hey,
Very unique site! It makes you even more interesting. The plea to Obama video really cracked me up. Interesting conversation with the gay Asian who tries to isolate himself from the straight world; I like the way you gently try to get him to see past his defenses.

But you know, screeds of politics in binary straight/gay language make me wary. In my experience, the excoriations of the straight world don’t go on for long before the venom is turned on me, and I’m hearing one of the old familiar variations of “you’ll have to make up your mind some day”/”you know your gay side will win out”/”you don’t know what oppression is, because you have hetero privilege”/”you’re lucky, you can have twice as many dates”/”well if you’re not gay, get out of this club/bar/community center/dating site.”

I know well your Asian friend’s experience of being doubly hated (hell, even in the bi community there’s anti-polygamy prejudice; how would you like to belong to a despised minority within a despised minority within a despised minority?) In my personal experience, if someone is personally giving me shit for my sexuality, odds are overwhelming that he’s a gay man. Heteros tend to keep their prejudice to themselves.

Anyway, I just hope you’re not like that.

Atiq
If you are Bi, then I see you as fully Gay.  You just also happen to be fully Straight.  You are my brother and I will not turn my back on you.  You are always welcome in my community.

I know what you mean about internalized homophobia, but consider that some of the more obvious homosexuals in our flock get terms like ‘faggot’ flung at them from passing cars.  That’s not Gays doing that.  Perhaps you blend in better.

I am sorry that you feel despised.  I can assure you, we don’t all feel that way.

You’re a beautiful man.

I know you must suffer your own brand of oppression and isolation and I won’t pretend to know what that is, but I think we can both agree that you’re Queer.  LGBT means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered.  You belong to my community.  I love you.

TuesDATE

Him:  So this is Brooklyn.

Me:  That’s right.  Oldest borough. You look cute.

Him:  Thanks.  Oldest borough?  You mean Manhattan, right? 

Me: I’m pretty sure Brooklyn is older than Manhattan.

Him:  That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: Um…   (short pause)  You have really nice hair.

Him:  I ought to.  I spent like 120 dollars at Kiehl’s the other day.  I hate when I do that.  That store is so easy to go crazy in there.  I went in there for eye cream and 120 dollars later, right?

Me:  Right.  I feel that way about my deli.  I go in there for Kim chi, and I wind up buying Kim chi and watermelon like a Rockefeller.

Him:  What do you use for eye cream?  Who’s a Rockefeller?

Me:  They’re like Donald Trump.  Pretend I said Donald Trump.

Him:  What about the eye cream?

Me:  Lotion.

Him:  What??

Me:  I use hand lotion.  Cetaphil, to be exact. They make a face lotion but I just use the hand and body lotion on my face too.  Why not?

Him:  Ew.  Doesn’t that clog your pores and dry out your skin?

Me: Nope.

Him:  I don’t believe you.

Me:  You shouldn’t.  I lie to people just for the sheer pleasure of it.  I like to see the moment of shocked betrayal when they find out I’ve been playing them for a fool.

Him:  Oh my god, do you?

Me:  No. That was a joke.

Him:  I don’t get it. 

Me:  It wasn’t a good joke, is why.

Him:  Why did you tell it? 

Me:  I had to try it out, to see.

Him:  Is that what your life is like?  Failure?

Me:  Um.  What?

Him:  I don’t mean it like that.  Wow.  That sounded bad – don’t blog about that.

Me:  I will, don’t worry.  That color looks good on you.  Really brings out your eyes.

Him: This is a one-of-a-kind garment.  The designer only made three of these.

Me:  So, it’s more like a one-of-three-kinds garment.

Him:  Um.  What?

Me:  You said the designer made three of them, so by logic, it can’t be one-of-a-kind.

(pause)

Him:  Um. It’s unique.

Me:  I’m sure you’re right.  The other two were probably lost in  a house fire, or the Holocaust, or got sucked into a temporal worm hole.

Him:  This shirt was 400 dollars, on sale.

Me:  Jesus.  That’s how much my guitar cost!

Him:  Really?

Me:  No, my guitar was a hundred bucks.  BUT.  That’s how much four of my guitars cost.  But you’d never be able to buy more than one of my guitar because it’s one-of-a-kind.

Him:  Is it?

Me:  Yes.  The manufacturer only made thousands.

Him:  Oh.  I get it.  You’re being a dick.

Me:  I’m being a dick.  You move really gracefully.

Him:  Really?  Thanks.

Me:  You’re welcome.

Him:  All these hipster types around here.  Ugh.  Makes me nervous.

Me:  Does it?  Why, I wonder?  It’s just a sub-culture, like hip hop, or redneck, or ivy league.  It’s just a small subset of a larger culture.

Him:  First of all – why do they want to stick out?  I just want to blend in and be accepted.  Second of all, if you look at them, they all have the same style which doesn’t make them unique at all.  There’s a conformity to the non-conformity.  It all looks the same to me.  I don’t get it.

(These cuddle bugs were all over each other on the C train.)

Me:  Well…  I don’t get hip hop culture.  But it’s a counterculture to the mainstream, right?  To me, it’s not appealing – the narrative that seems to arise from hip hop culture.  I think it relies heavily on misogyny. But on the other hand, it doesn’t bother me that other people participate in it.  I just don’t get it.

Him:  Shhh.  Don’t say that. 

Me:  What??

Him: You shouldn’t say that you don’t ‘get’ hip hop culture in public.

Me:  Why?

Him:  That’s racist!

Me:  Are you being ironic?

Him:  What’s irony?

(pause)

Me:  Me saying that I don’t keep up with hip hop, or respond to the narrative isn’t racist, darling.  It’s the same as someone saying that they don’t like bluegrass music or the culture surrounding it.  I will admit to being ignorant about hip hop, though.  I don’t follow a lot of it.

Him:  See.  You shouldn’t be ignorant.

Me:  That’s a reductive statement.  Everyone is ignorant about a whole shit ton of stuff.  Most people are ignorant of the nuances of expert level Scrabble play, for instance.  But, you don’t see Scrabble players getting offended by that ignorance.

Him:  What?  Scrabble?  Do you like my shoes?

Me:  Yes.

Him:  They’re vintage Kenneth Cole.  They cost a lot of money.

Me:  Mine too.

Him:  Who are your shoes?

Me:  Who?  Oh.  You mean who designed them?

Him:  Yes. 

Me:  They are from K-Mart.  I got them for free.  They were a costume in a play.

Him: Ew.  You’re an actor?

Me:  Yes.  I mention on the blog that I act and do comedy.

Him:  I only watch the videos.  I don’t like reading.  I like the pictures.  This might not work.  I don’t know about dating an actor.

Me:  Tell me about it.  I dated one. What do you do?

Him:  I work in the accounting section of a popular women’s fashion magazine.

Me:  Which one?

Him:  I prefer not to say. 

Me:  Is it a fashion magazine for lady CIA agents?

Him:  No.  I just prefer not to say.

Me:  Okay.

Him:  I know it’s okay.  It’s my prerogative whether I tell you exactly where I work or not.

Me:  Know what?  It’s getting late.  I have to be up early.  Let me walk you to the train.

(long pause)

Him:  No.  I’ll take a car.

Me:  What?  It’s six blocks.

Him:  I’ll take a car. 

Me:  I’ll call you one.  Jerk.

Him:  What did you say? 

Me:  I said you’re one-of-a-kind.

(Jerk.)

Revolution

(drawing by Dan Paul Roberts)

“The first thing they had to realize was that all of them were brothers; oppression made them brothers; exploitation made them brothers; degradation made them brothers; discrimination made them brothers; segregation made them brothers; humiliation made them brothers.”

– Malcolm X.

A few years ago the (then) members of Thin Skin Jonny made a video.   I make them say ‘Join the Revolution’ at the end.   It used to be the tagline for my blog.

What an idiot.

“Join the Revolution.”  Like I’m Stalin or something.   Ha.

Even so…

It feels weird to revisit. So Sophomoric, even.  Like some advertizing slogan they come up with to sell a product they don’t believe in…

“Nike – Just Do It.”   (What?  Just. Do.  What?  What do you mean?)

“Coke is IT.”  (Of course it is.  It’s one of two options.  Of course Coke Is It.  It’s the only choice half the time.)

“Join the Revolution.” (Really??  Should we?? Should we join a Revolt about Pie and Gayness, and Respect?)

Even so.  There is a revolution brewing.  I feel it.

We’re not going to stay in our Gay ghettos anymore.

Chelsea.  San Fransisco.  Miami.  They are out of date.

They have no more meaning to us.  We are you.  And you are us. Get used to us.  We are your Gay brothers, children, teachers, community leaders….

We’re coming out into the world.  And we’re going to infect you with our Gayness.

Sorry, straights.  I know you’re stressed out and important, and you have all those kids to worry about.  Sorry.

(I’m not at all sorry)

Digest this:  We (the Gays) are Brothers and Sisters and we are strong.  You will reckon with us. You will stop giving us your shame and judgement.  You will. You will stop. We won’t accept it anymore.

You.

Will.

Stop.

Thank you, Straights.

You guys are awesome.

We hate you and think you’re inferior.

Just kidding, we love you.

Jerks.