Dear Michael –

photos by adam gardiner for the vice magazine salon party

Dear Michael,

I’m writing to invite you to a retreat I’m throwing at my house upstate.  I’ve done this before with various levels of success.  Basically I’m looking for a nice group of good looking men to join me for a fun weekend at my cabin in the Adirondacks.  I will provide all of the food, and liquor.  I also will provide the lodging, rent free.  I’m a great cook and I plan on making a feast every night.  Maybe you can even give me tips on my pies?

The only thing that I ask of my guests is that they spend a small amount of time each day kicking me in the nuts, or otherwise torturing my penis and testicles.  Ever since I was very young I’ve been extremely turned on by being kicked or hit in the nuts.  You can also feel free to step on my penis, or devise some other sort of way to humiliate or torture my junk.

A little about me:  I’m 6ft and weigh about 260lbs.  I’m a scruffy type, moderately hairy with a beard.  I guess I qualify as a ‘Bear’ type, you could say.  Bottom.  I have a leather sling installed in my cabin and a number of ‘toys’ to play with, including butt plugs, dildos, and hand cuffs.  You can feel free to use any of those toys on me, and I’m receptive to a variety of other types of sexual practices too. 

I’m not selfish!  I want to make sure you have a good time too. 

Guests are of course free to sleep with each other as well, provided they spend the requisite time each day kicking me in the nuts.  My cabin is central to lots of activities, including hiking and snow skiing.  So bring your skis if you’re a snow bunny!

Please let me know if you’re interested and/or available to attend.  Right now it’s looking like our next excursion is going to be the last weekend of January.  I know – cold!  But don’t worry, there’s a fireplace to keep us warm.

Happy Holidays!

R

Dear R,

Thanks for writing in, and your generous offer.  I’m unfortunately unavailable for this sort of retreat.  Kicking you in the nuts for an hour a day is simply not my thing.  While I think people getting kicked in the nuts is super funny, I’m not sure I could take it seriously sexually.  The last thing you want at this retreat is me making wise-cracks or outright laughing as people fulfill your sexual desires.

Come to think of it, kicks in the nuts are only funny once in a while.  Watching you get repeatedly assaulted in your junk might actually make me feel emotionally empathetic, or even squeamish.  In any case, I’m relatively confident that I’m unable to sexualize the experience.  Sorry!

Thanks for writing in, and happy holidays!

Jerk.

I Have Dreams

baking photos by kristen yoonsoo kim

Him:  Hey.  Nice to meet you.  I’m Y.

Me:  Nice to meet you too, Y, I’m Michael.

Him:  It’s so funny.  I was just thinking about you, the other day. 

Me:  Oh, is that so?  Why?

Him:  This is so weird.  I’ve just met you, but I feel a sort of connection between us.  Something cosmic, maybe.

Me:  Haha…  please sit down.  Take your coat off.  Would you like a drink?  I think I have some Xmas whiskey around here somewhere…

Him:  Of course.  I’ll have some whiskey.

Me:  What would you like me to mix it with?  I have ice, and ice.

Him:  What?

Me:  It’s a joke.  I don’t have any mixers.

Him:  Ice will be fine.

Me:  So, cosmic connection?

Him:  Well, you said hi to me on Grindr…

Me:  That’s true…

(sometimes i think cylons have invaded my grinder app)

Him:  Which led me to your blog, which I spent the last three days reading.

Me:  You what?

Him:  I read the whole thing.

Me:  Congrats, I haven’t even read the whole thing…

Him:  Is that so? 

Me:  No.  I’ve read it a few times…

(pause)

Me:  What??  I’m self absorbed!  Keep going…

Him:  Anyway I was at a soba restaurant the other day, and I kept hearing them call out a name to someone in the kitchen.  They kept yelling Kazu!

Me:  Aw.  My little brother, Kazu.   I love that kid.

Him:  Exactly.  He looked so familiar, and I thought the coincidence was too strong, and I had to try to meet you.

Me:  Well I hope you’re not too disappointed.

Him:  No, not at all.  When I hugged you hello, I noticed you have a nice smell.

Me:  I…  uh, what?  I mean, thank you.  Thank you.  That’s very sweet of you to say.  You’re a very cute boy yourself.

Him:  I’m 32.

Me:  I know, but you know what I mean.  Can I  sniff you?

Him:  Sniff?

Me:  You know, now that we’re keeping tabs.

Him:   Okay.

(pause – I smell him.)

Me:  You smell nice too.

Him:  Thank you.

Me:  Well I’m glad that’s out of the way.  So you were talking about connections?

Him:  Yeah.  I do this thing.  I have dreams sometimes.  Sometimes they come true.  Well, no, not exactly, but it’s something similar.  Do you have time?  Can I tell a story?

Me:  Sure.

Him:  A while back I had a dream.  I dreamed about my 4th grade teacher.  I hadn’t thought about him in a long time, but he was one of my better teachers and he was well liked by the class…   Anyway, that’s pretty weird to just dream about your old teacher like that. 

(grindr, that’s not what umbrellas are for…)

Anyway, in my dream he was dead.  Everyone was sad that he was dead. Lots of students had gathered to celebrate him and commemorate his death.  Well, I didn’t think much about the dream until a few months later when my grandfather in Tokyo had a stroke.  I was supposed to go back and see him, but I had this feeling that everything with my grandfather would be all right.  In any case,  I wound up taking a flight back to Tokyo.

Me:  Bye, bye – 1500 dollars.

Him:  Right?  And here’s the weird thing:  my grandfather wound up being fine.  BUT.  While we were visiting him in the hospital, I found, just by chance that my 4th grade teacher was there, dying of cancer.

Me:  Are you serious??

Him:  Yes.  I happened to walk by his room and notice his name on the door.

Me:  That’s amazing.

Him:  Yes, and I contacted a number of our classmates that I could find on Facebook, and we all went to visit him, and thank him for teaching us, and affecting our lives.  And then he died, shortly after.

Me:  Is that true?

Him:  Absolutely.

Me:  That’s a beautiful story.  Hey…

Him:  What?

Me:  Thank you for telling me that.  I’m glad you felt a connection with me.  I’m glad that you’re here.  And, know what?

Him:  What?

Me:  I think it was a very kind thing you did, organizing your classmates together to visit your teacher.  I think that’s impressive.

Him:  Oh…  I just wanted him to see how much further down the line he had affected the world.  I wanted him to know that he taught us well, and that we went out in the world and did well.  It was important to me.

Me:  Well thank you for telling me about that.  I think that’s inspiring, somehow.

Him:  Thank you.

(long pause)

Him:  Can I smell you again?

(long pause)

Me:  Yes, of course you can.

Advice

Hi Michael,

I’m from Sydney, Australia where we all walk on our hands and ride to work in kangaroo pouches. And have gay sex. Lots of gay sex.

I’ve never asked for advice before from a baker/actor/singer (you are a unique triple threat) but, you seem to go on plenty of dates, so here goes. I’m not very good at that moment when we’ve met once or twice and the other person is into meeting again but I’m not. I have this kind of people pleasing mentality where I don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings by rejecting them. I seriously had a relationship for seven years with someone who I wasn’t totally into for this reason.

Basically these are good people, don’t get me wrong but there’s something about them that might be just slightly off. Like they turn up on a date with an umbrella with a handle shaped like a samurai sword and tell stories that are biographically inconsistent. Or you go to their place and they have industrial quantities of Jack Daniels and three years worth of unemptied ashtrays. Or maybe there’s just a bit of a creepy vibe for some reason you can’t put your finger on.

I get the sense that people get a bit damaged by life and I don’t want to contribute to that. But equally I don’t want to end up gay married to some person I’m not into just because I can’t say no to people.

Anyway, I’d be interested in your advice. How do you deal with this situation? Do you just tell it like it is and let the other person deal or do you have some strategy for softening the rejection?

Cheers,

Carl.

Carl,

Thanks for writing in.

It’s funny, I found your letter increasingly disturbing, the longer I mulled it over in my head.  At first it just seemed like, aw, this guy is too nice for his own good – maybe he needs me to tell him to man up and say ‘no’ more often.  But the more I thought about your problem, them more alarmed I got.

Carl, don’t you think it’s alarming, what you’ve said?  On the surface it might just seem like you’re a nice guy, staying with someone because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. But, what does it say about your own sense of self worth?  To me it says that you don’t value your own happiness enough to put your needs first.

Isn’t your  life important enough for you to insist on being with someone who fulfills you?

You have to get better at saying no.  You have to.  Statistically speaking most of the dates you go on will not lead to a relationship, so you have got to get more picky, my friend.  You don’t want to wind up the husband of someone who buys samurai sword umbrellas and doesn’t empty ash trays.

Listen, Carl.   You get one life.  One.  Live it for yourself.  Make yourself happy.  In order to do that, you have to learn how to say no when you’re not into someone.   Don’t settle for less than the life you deserve.  If the guy you’re on a date with doesn’t inspire you, or make you feel weak in the knees, or have an awesome comic book collection, then you have to kick him to the curb.  This can be done bluntly, or more gently, but you have to get the job done, kiddo.

You’re worth it.  You are.

Thanks for writing in.

Jerk.

TuesDATE: Pumpkin

Him:  Wheeeee…   Helloooooo.  I just chugged two glasses of wine.

Me:  Why would you….

Him:  It’s okay.  I only txted three people my butt pics!!  You can have them too!  I’ll txt them to you.

(pause)

Me: Yes, please.  Here’s my number.

Him:  Hm.  Okay.  I’d jump your bones, so yeah, I’ll send you my butt pic.

Me:  Why not?  You’re super cute and I’d love to see, even though I’m much too old for you.

(pause.  he txts me photos of his ass.)

Me:  Wow.  You have a beautiful body.

Him:  Um.  I’m not perfect.  I mean, I’m not proportional.   The right side of my face is larger than the left, for instance…

And I have an overbite.  So…

Me:  Unpardonable.   Even so, you’re a real looker.

Him:  Eh, my ass is no good either.  Not square enough.  They should be square or round but mine’s triangular.  That’s not-

Me:  And don’t say that about your face.  Your face is the best part.  Adorable.  You’re a pumpkin.

Him:  What’s pumpkin?  Is that good?

Me:  Pumpkin is great.  It’s the best.  You can’t be better than a pumpkin.

Him:  Okay I guess.  What’s a pumpkin?

Me:  Just someone really cute.

Him:  I read your blog and I think you’re weird, and cute, and I like you a little.

Me:  Shit.  Thank you.

Him: What constitutes a ‘pumpkin,’ though?

Me:  It’s just someone that is cute, and maybe awkward in public, that looks like they would smell good.  Like gingersnaps, maybeLike someone who smells like gingersnaps all the time.  See?  You’re right, I am weird.  I just told you you look like you smell like gingersnaps.

Him:  I happen to smell myself all the time.  When I’m super dirty I smell like chocolate…

Me:  You whatlikewhat?

Him:  Chocolate.   I like pulling my shirt up to my nose and holding it there.

Me:  I’ve done that.  I had smelly hands this morning.

Him:  What happened?

Me:  I was at my local coffee house with someone I’ve been… seeing, and I realized my hands smelled.

Him:  Like what?

Me:  Like yesterday.

Him: Oh.

Me: Or last night.

Him:  Got it.  Sometimes the smell lingers on me afterward.  No matter how much I wash… hahahahahahah……

Me:  All right.  Moving on…

Him: Hahaha…

(one of my readers was inspired to make some cookies)

Me:  So are you really flirting with me?  I think you’re very cute.

Him:  Yeah, but I’m a virgin.  I’ve never been poked before.

Me:  Oh my.

Him:  Okay here’s why:  I’ve made out with a bunch of people but none of them got to stick it in, because I wasn’t dating them.  It wouldn’t have meant much.  I feel like if you actually get to fuck me then you get all of me, and since there was no romance involved I didn’t want to give it that much.

Me:  I see what you’re saying.  There have been times in my life where I assigned more and less significance to what sex means.  I respect that.  Sounds like I should stop hitting on you though, since you might be in a more ‘boyfriend-y’ head space than I’m looking for.

Him:  Well it’s too bad that none of you guys who hit on me want to date.  I’d be a terrific bottom.  I am a martial artist and I can do perfect splits.  And my hips are very flexible.

Me:  Look, you’re making it really difficult not to hit on you.  I’ll make you a deal, I’ll knock off the flirting if you don’t mention the splits again, and stop being SUCH A PUMPKIN.

Him:  I don’t know…  Maybe I should just do it with you, to get it over with?  And then if my heart gets wound up in it and I become a crazy stalker, deal with it then?

Me:  No!  That sounds disastrous!  Let’s be friends for a long time and respect one another.  We’ll help each other through the bad times and celebrate each other when we succeed.  Deal?  Also, I can chew on your butt cheeks for half an hour, no biggie…

Him:  Hahaha!

Me:  That was not my fault.  You were still being a pumpkin!

(another reader sent a failed attempt at a gingerbread house)

Him:  Also, your talking voice annoys me.  So, I feel pretty confident that I wouldn’t fall for you for real.

(pause)

Me:  Good job.  Now you’re not being a pumpkin at all.

Him:  Meow.

Me:  Know what?   I gotta run and do a comedy show, kiddo.  Believe it or not there’s an arena where my annoying voice is an asset.

Him:  Also, you call me kiddo, which helps in the ‘not falling for you’ department.

Me:  Thanks so much for chatting.  Jerk.

Him:  Aw.  I was gonna say that.

My Korean Mother

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Hey Jerks.

Hope you’re having a good weekend.

Here’s some footage of Thin Skin Jonny performing at the Stripped Stories show in the New York Comedy Festival at UCB Theater.

Daniel sings a sweet funny song about how he loves his mother, even though she’s pretty intolerant of his sexuality.  I make wisecracks about AIDS.

Enjoy.

Hate Mail: Part Two

photos by eryc perez de tagle 

This is a continued post from a hate letter I got a while back.  Enjoy, Jerks.

Him:  Well, what you consider funny, without all the context, comes off as kind of dickish. I get it, you’re trying to be a seinfeldesque sarcastic New Yorker. Thing is, that’s not how we really are. You’re just acting as a caricature of what you think a New Yorker is, it makes us all look bad, and I don’t like it.

Me:  Well, then, you better look away buddy, because I’m not going anywhere.  I’m just writing about things I find interesting.  Granted, most of the time those things are heart-wrenching private moments, or awkward dates I go on.  I don’t think that it much resembles Seinfeld, but thanks for the compliment.

I’m just using my blog to process weird things that happen to me.

If I make all New Yorkers look bad in the process, bonus.

Him:  The couple of encounters I read about did strike a chord with me, and yes, negatively. I get the impression that you’re painting a picture of a snide gay man, and that’s another thing I don’t like. I know so many people who are gay, but are so turned off towards participating in the gay community because they feel they are constantly getting scrutinized and judged by everyone around them.

Me:  I don’t think I’m being all that snide.  I’m respectful and friendly to my dates.  I give them a lot of leeway.  I just happen to call it out if they act particularly self-absorbed or insensitive.  And hey, if they’re funny or charming about it – I make out with them anyway.  I don’t reveal who they are, so I’m not sure what the crime is, exactly, in talking about them.

So you think the Gay community scrutinizes and judges?  Sort of like, what you’re doing, right now – writing to a total stranger, and telling him why you don’t like him?

I can see how there could stand to be less of that in the Gay community.  Good point.

Him:  I’ve had some unusual encounters too, but when it reaches the point where I’m not comfortable anymore, I say “well, I’m going to go now, goodbye,” and I walk away. I don’t sit there and ridicule the person I have no interest in for my own personal entertainment.

Me:  I don’t sit there and ridicule the person either.  I take notes on their terrible behavior, so I can report it back to the snide, judgmental Gay internet.  Jeez.  You have a lot to learn if you’re going to start a Seinfeldian Gay pie blog, mister.

Him:  What I’m implying is either take it or leave it when it comes to living here. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I love it. There’s never a dull moment here, and so many people are here just for the sake of being here, that they forget just how awesome this city is. Yes, there are people from all walks of life here, you’re going to have to deal with that. Someone has to make the subway sandwiches for you, right?

Me:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….  what?  Is it my turn to respond?  I fell asleep…  Sorry.  Something was really boring the shit out of me, but i swear it wasn’t your banal platitudes.  It was something else.  I promise.

Are you really bringing up the Subway sandwich guy?  He pulled his dick out in the park and talked a bunch of ‘sup bro’ shit at me.  Sorry, kiddo, but I’m going to make fun of that.

Yes I am.

Him:  I think what it all comes down to is that I’ve run out of patience with the whole hipster thing. I assume by the thick rimmed glasses, you’re part of that sub-culture too. I think what it all comes down to is that previous generations said “I’m going to do whatever I can to not be like my parents.” Whereas this generation is trying to be EXACTLY like their parents. I mean, WTF? Why bother living if you aren’t going to even try to blaze your own path. How many other “20 – 35 somethings” in Williamsburg are comedians, or actors, or making a blog about their horribly average lives but giving it a slant to make it more appealing, or sell artisan food products out of their apartment, do you get what I’m saying? I don’t care much for being ostracized by people because I choose not to bake for a living. This subculture should have lasted for about a week, but it’s become this utterly annoying thing that’s got way too big to manage, and now they’re sitting in a park in Manhattan, telling me how I’m supposed to feel about the government. No thanks.

Me:  Ouch.  That part really hit home.  I guess when you think about it, I AM trying to be just like my parents.  They both have pie blogs where they talk about awkward Gay dates.  I’m so derivative.

Hey.  I’m sorry for ostracizing you because you don’t bake.  I’ve been doing that for years.  Since elementary school – bullying kids who don’t have perfectly flaky crusts.  Oh man, the football players in my rural high school that cried when I criticized their croissants – but I had to!!  I had to sit on top of this baking heirarchy that excludes salt of the earth people like you.

Now look what you’ve done:  I’m crying in the lap of my rather handsome young baking helper.  I hope you’re satisifed.  You really held up a mirror and showed me who I really am.

I mean, you could have just walked away, and never gone to my site again, but you didn’t.  You did everyone a favor and lobbed a bunch of super weak criticisms at me.

You’ll never believe this, but I had a good time answering this letter.  You really made my day.  Thanks for writing in.

Jerk.

Would You Let Me Stay?

watercolors by lex millena

Him:  Sorry, I’m going to have to leave a few of my things…

Me:  That’s okay.  After 8 years, you can think of me as a sort of storage unit.

Him:  Believe me, I do.

Me:  Wow.  Thanks.

(pause)

Me:  Hey.

Him:  What?

Me:  Are we doing the right thing here?  Should we be turning our backs on 8 years of a relationship?  Shouldn’t we be fighting harder to preserve this?

Him:  Michael.  We’ve been fighting.  We fought.  And then we stopped fighting.  And we were still together.  And we were unhappy for a long time.

 

Me:  But – what about all those hugs?  There were lots of hugs.  And, now there won’t be any.  And I’ll be all alone here.

Him:  You’ll be fine.

Me:  I wont!  I’ll just be here.  Alone.  With your lazy ghost rattling around the place.  It was hard enough to get you to clean up before you were just a memory.

Him:  Stop it.  You’re making it harder.  We decided-

Me:  GOOD.  It should be hard.  It should be hard to walk away from someone who you made a life with – a LIFE.  That’s what we have here.  We have a life together, and you want to walk away from it.

Him:  This isn’t fair.  You’re the one who broke up with me…  I’m just doing what you asked me to do. 

Me:  But is this the best idea?

Him:  It’s the best idea.  Yes.  We reached a point where we weren’t good for each other.

Me: But I lied.

Him:  What?

Me:  I lied.  You asked me to tell you point blank, that I didn’t love you anymore, and I lied and said ‘I don’t love you anymore.’  I lied.  I do.  I don’t know how to stop.

Him:  What?  Why would you…?

Me:  I felt like I was drowning and I felt like that for a long, long time.  And I felt like the only way to throw myself a life preserver was to do this.

Him:  This is unfair – and I’m getting impatient.  Why should…  We’re doing what’s best for both of us, and you’re not making it easy.

Me:  It. Shouldn’t. Be. Easy.

(pause)

Me:  Will you listen to a song I wrote for you?

(long pause)

Him: (exasperated) Fine…

Him:  That’s really beautiful, but I don’t think it changes anything.

Me:  It’s okay.  I’m probably going to add a bridge in the middle about felching.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Make it funny…

Him:  Is everything a joke?

Me:  It is now.

(long pause)

 Me:  Jerk.