photos by tri vo

Me:  Really?  What’s that like?

Him:  It’s super boring.  A lot of filing permits.  Tons of paperwork.

Me:  That’s not what I imagine.

Him:  I know.  Everyone thinks there’s all this designing and drawing and overseeing a workforce, but it’s 90% paperwork.

Me:  Even so that’s a sexy profession.  Architect.

Him:  Ha…  Thanks.  So what do you do?

Me:  Oh boy.

Him:  What?

Me:  This is where it usually goes horribly wrong.

Him:  What?  Shut up.  What do you do for a living?

Me:  I freelance.

Him:  Doing what, dummy?

Me:  I do comedy gigs, and I teach improv, and I do freelance writing.

Him:  Oh my God, that’s so cool.

Me:  What?

Him:  I love comedy.  I think that’s so cool.

Me:  No you don’t.

Him:  I don’t?

Me:  No.  People usually get defensive and annoyed when I tell them I’m a comic.

Him:  Really? 

Me:  Eh.  I’ve met a lot of jerk-o’s.

Him:  Well, I think it’s cool.

Me:  Well I think you’re cool Mister Architect.

Him:  Thanks… 


Him:  Is the entertainment business difficult?

Me:  Yeah.  I guess it is, kind of.

Him: You have to have all that talent.

Me:  Hahahahahahaha!

Him:  What?

Me:  I dunno.  That struck me as funny.

Him: What did?

Me:  You don’t need talent to succeed in showbiz.

Him:  Hahaha, what are you talking about?  Of course you do!

Me:  Not in my experience.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, talent helps, and it always seems to surprise people when someone has it.  But, I wouldn’t say you need it to be in showbiz.

Him:  You’re joking.

Me:  Not at all.

Him:  Well what do you need?

Me:  Tenacity.  Drive.  Ambition.

Him:  Really?  You don’t need talent?

Me:  Look at Anna Paquin.

Him:  Stop!  I love True Blood.

Me:  Sure, but can you say that she’s talented?

Him:  Stop.  She’s likable.

Me:  Well that’s different than talent.  That helps a lot.  So does being good at politics.  Showing up on time.  Cultivating the image of being a reliable, hard worker.  Not being crazy.  That helps too.

Him:  Interesting.  What’s the most important thing an artist can have?

Me:  Hm….


Me:  Delusions.

Him:  WHAT??

Me:  That’s the most important thing an artist can have.  That and tenacity.

Him: Explain.

Me:  How are you going to be a movie star without having the crazy delusion that you could somehow be a movie star?

Him:  Hm…  that does make sense, actually…

Me:  How are you going to write an opera, without the delusional belief that you could move people with your music?

Him:  But isn’t passion something that wells up inside you?  Isn’t that what great artists do?  Get fired up and inspired and let out all their passions?

Me:  I guess so, but doesn’t it sound delusional that someone else might take notice?  Also, that kind of inspiration happens every once in a while, but otherwise it’s usually just hard work.  Plugging away, day after day.  Tenacity.

Him:  Hm.  

Me:  What?

Him:  We’ve both got the same point of view, then, about our respective professions…

Me:  Which is what?

Him:  That it’s 90% paper work.

Me:  Hahaha!  Yeah I guess we do.

Him:  Can I buy you another drink?


Me:  Yeah.  Yeah, I think you can.


illustrations by lex millena

Hey Pie Guy,

My name is Kevin, and I wanted to write to you for a while now.  I’m having a problem and I wanted some advice – or maybe I just need to tell someone about it. 

I feel ugly all the time.  I’m not sure why this should be – I go to the gym a lot and in the past few years I’ve managed to carve out a pretty decent looking body.  I have nice arms and some semblance of abs, even.  But, I can’t seem to get guys my age to look at me, or hit on me. 

I should say that I’m 24 years old and Chinese American.  That shouldn’t make a difference, but it certainly does – at least where I live in Atlanta.  When I go out to gay bars, the only people that hit on me are creepy guys that are 15-20 years older than me.  I want to sleep with guys my own age, but they don’t look at me when I go out, and if I talk to them at the bar they seem mortified, or annoyed somehow.

I’ve had guys my own age even say ugly, racist things to me.  This cute, fratty looking guy was really drunk one night and when I went up to him to say hi, he sneered and said something to the effect of ‘me no want sucky sucky long time.’  I left immediately.  I’d never had someone call out my Asian identity like that in such a brutal, cruel way.  I left feeling inadequate and ashamed of myself. 

I tried asking out another guy that I thought was cute.  He told me I was very attractive, but he was a bottom only.  I said that’s okay cause I’m versatile and he laughed.  I was confused.  Then he said that he didn’t think he could let an Asian guy top him. 

I just don’t get it.  My penis is above average.  I’m a pretty attractive guy.  I take care of my body and it shows.  Why can’t I get people my own age to look at me as a viable sex partner?  Sometimes when I go out I get horny or drunk enough to go home with a guy who’s 40ish – but then I always go home feeling worse about myself than when I started.

I’m beginning to feel alienated and depressed.  I don’t know what to do. 

Thanks for reading this letter – I feel better just verbalizing these feelings.  You don’t have to answer, but I’d like to hear your thoughts. 



Hey Kevin,

Thanks for writing in.  I’m upset and kind of angry to hear about the insensitive, racist things you’ve had to put up with.  That sucks.  I wish I could say that you’re just having a run of bad luck, and in a way you are – but I was also a bartender for years in a gay bar, and I can honestly say – racism is alive and well in the gay community.

However – I do think that there’s a lot of dialogue right now that counters that point of view.  I know that there’s a growing number of people in the gay community that think the idea of a racial sexual hierarchy is absurd.  I also know there’s a long way to go before Asian homosexuals can feel like the playing field is level in the gay dating world.  All you have to do is look at mainstream gay porn to see that Asians are an invisible minority.

I want you to know that you’re not alone, Kevin.  I want you to know that I feel depressed and alienated too, a lot of the time.  You’re not the only person that gets weirdos who are decades older than you hitting on them.  I wonder if you’d have better luck meeting gay guys on OkCupid or joining some sort of gay sports team, or club?  People are frequently at their worst when they’re hammered, and gays your age tend to drink until they’re wasted.

I do want you to know that there are plenty of people out there that find gay Asians attractive – that think of them as people, and not just asexual, bottom-only playthings.  Thanks for sending me photos of you – I can attest that yes, you are a very attractive guy, and if you lived in NYC I’d certainly hit on you.  The only advice I have is keep at it, Kev.  Try online dating too, and being social in non-alcohol related settings.  That might clear things up, a little.

One more thing.  Try to keep this in mind:  If someone says something racist, or callous to you in public?  That’s just them showing the world they’re an asshole.  Try not to let it get to you.  If you walk home ashamed of yourself or angry, then you let a worthless asshole steal your joy and ruin your night.  Don’t do that.

Be proud of yourself, Kevin.  You’re a very beautiful man.  You’re smart and sexy and wonderful.  Keep your head up.  Be proud.


WednesDATE: Jack of All Trades

photos by tri vo

Him:  Well hello there.

Me:  Hi.  How are you?

Him:  I’m very well.  How are you?

Me:  I’m fine.  Thanks.

Him:  You’re probably wondering what a man clearly 20 years older than you is doing striking up a conversation in a bar…

Me:  Not really.  We’re sitting next to each other.  I’m not going to barbeque you for being social.

Him:  That’s a wonderful choice.  Allow me to present my card.  My name is Jack, and I do everything.  I am therefore a Jack of All Trades.

Me:  So your card says…

Him:  I’m a singer…  I have my own vodka… And I am a concierge to the world.

Me:  Hm…  what does that entail?

Him:  Being a lot of things to a lot of people.

Me:  Okay.  I can respect that.

Him:  You probably don’t know what to think of me.  A very forward man in his mid-fifties dressed so flamboyantly…

Me:  I’m amused.  Where did you find an entirely red suit?

Him:  It was custom made for me by a friend.  I added the many pendants and broaches myself.

Me:  Good call.

Him:  Thank you.  May I skip right to the point?

Me:  Uh…  Sure…  I guess…

Him:  I noticed you have very big hands.

Me:  Ha.  I guess I do.

Him:  And in my experience -men with big hands are frequently big in other areas.  Do you follow my meaning?

Me:  My feet?

Him:  Amongst other appendages that stick out, yes.

Me:  Okay… I-

Him:  And, well…  I am an appreciator – nay, a connoisseur of the well endowed.

Me:  Heh.  You’re something else.

Him:  You have no idea…

Me:  I…

Him:  Have you ever seen a snake disengage its jaw to swallow a large egg?

Me:  On television.  Not in person.

Him:  It’s similar to that.

Me: I think I get where you’re going.

Him:  Do you?  I’m saying that I have no gag reflex.

Me:  I know.  I get it.

Him:  I’m saying – It doesn’t matter how endowed you are.  I can swallow you whole.

Me:  That’s really clear.   You’ve made that clear.  I get it.  So did you watch the Grammy awards?

Him:  I’m looking for men with big hands that can appreciate a man of my talents.

Me:  Okay.  That’s very funny.  You’re forward, and I appreciate your energy, but I’m probably just here to hang out and relax, buddy.

Him:  You know what’s really relaxing?

Me:  Oh Jesus…

Him:  Having a mature friend who understands how to fully satisfy you without wasting a drop of your precious essence.

Me:  What?  This is by far the most bizarre proposition I’ve had in at least a week.

Him:  Do you understand what I mean when I say ‘essence?’

Me:  Yeah.  I’m not an idiot.

Him:  Sperm.  I’m talking about sperm.

Me:  I GET IT!  I understand what you’re saying.  Just…  Let’s change the subject, okay?

Him:  There’s no need to get hostile.

Me:  I’m not trying to be hostile, but we’re in a public place, and I’m just trying to relax.  I want to be friendly and not rude, but I also don’t necessarily want to have an audible conversation about how you can disengage your jaw like a boa constrictor, although – sidebar:  that’s very impressive…

Him:  Thank you.  From one impressive man to another, I accept your compliment.


Him:  Did you watch the Grammy awards?

Me:  No.  I was just changing the subject.

Him:  How big is your penis?

Me:  Okay.  We’re done.  We’re not talking anymore.

Him:  I was just changing the subject.

Me:  Have a good night.  Jerk.

SunDATE: Can’t You Do Better?

Imagephotos by tri vo

Me:  Hi.

Him:  Hi.


Him:  Is that all?  Just hi?

Me:  I’m sorry.  My focus wandered.

Him:  Surely you have more to say than just hi?Image

Me:  Well, to be fair, the only thing you said was hi.

Him:  Yes, but I didn’t start the conversation, you did.

Me:  Hm.  Yes.  That’s a logical argument.


Him:  So?

Me:  Oh.  Right.  Um.  I was going to ask how your evening was going, but I got distracted.

Him:  By what?

Me:  You smiled over my shoulder, at your friend, and you looked really cute when you did that.  It took me back for a second.

Him:  Oh brother.

Me:  I know, right?  Compliments.  What an asshole.


Him:  You were going to ask how my evening was going? 

Me:  I was.

Him:  That sounds like such a canned question.  Contrived.  Can’t you do better?

Me:  Apparently on this particular evening it’s all I can muster.  What should I have said?

Him:  I don’t know – I’m not the one going up to a stranger in a bar and saying hi.

Me:  You act like I cut a huge fart while meeting the Queen of England or something.

Him:  Ha.  I like that image.  Do you watch Downton Abbey?

Me:  Yes.  Isn’t it required for urban gays?

Him:  Yes.  Finally, something I like about you.


Me:  Do you get laid often?

Him:  Finally, an interesting question.  No.  To be honest, I don’t go on a lot of dates.

Me:  Shocker.

Him:  Is it?  Shocking?

Me:  Given your behavior tonight?  Totally.

Him:  Aw.  I’m not easy.  I’m known as being pretty difficult amongst my friends.

Me:  Well…  Nothing worth while is easy.

Him:  Profound.  What do you do for a living?

Me:  I do freelance writing and I teach improv at night.

Him:  Oh, brother.

Me:  Tell me about it.


Him:  Improv, like with funny costumes and crazy wigs??

Me:  No

Him: ‘Cause I saw an improv show in Boston and that’s what it was.

Me:  They don’t let me teach the class on crazy wigs.

Him:  Good thing.


Him:  Hey, I’m going home.  Do you want to walk me to the corner and kiss me good night?

Me:  Hm…

Him:  Hm?


Me:  Well, I want to, but given your behavior I really shouldn’t.


Me:  Okay fine.

Him:  Fine?

Me:  Yeah, I’ll walk you to the subway.


Me:  Jerk.




Imagedrawing by dale cooper

Hi there!  

I found your blog a couple of months ago and fell in love.  Brooklyn, pie, ukuleles…what’s not to love?  So, I’m feeling a little weird writing to you for advice as you’re a complete stranger.  As I’m writing this, though, I’m thinking that maybe that’s what I need…an unbiased opinion.  
Here’s the story:
My boyfriend and I broke up a couple months ago.  We’d been together for 3.5 years.  I love him. Always will.  We didn’t have the best relationship towards the end. 
Two weeks after we broke up, we tried getting back together.  We both really believed in us.  We decided to take things slowly so that we could both have a chance to grow more and not be so dependent on the other person.  Another two weeks later, he invites me to his work holiday party.  First, he blows off our plan of meeting up and going to the party together.  Fine.  I meet him there where he is already a few drinks in.  He basically ignores me the whole night and flirts with the cute host (a friend of his from his school days) the entire evening.  Like touching and obnoxiously laughing.  With me sitting right beside him.  So, I feel extremely awkward and tell him that maybe it would be best if I leave and we can talk about it the next day.  He tells me to stay, and then I call him out on his behavior which he just laughs off and calls me ridiculous.  I press the point.  He pauses and tells me that he doesn’t think he can love me anymore.  I leave.  
I finally call him after a few days ignoring his many calls and texts.  He apologizes for how he acted and tells me that we both need our space so we can both grow.  (I know…that’s what I thought we were doing.)  I’m rather angry and end up saying something I completely regret.  “I feel like a fool for falling for you.”  He didn’t take that so well.  And, I know I said it out of anger and basically that I was upset with the re-ending of our relationship.  I let myself fall for him all over again just to be let down.  So, it’s over.
That was last month.  I’m not as sad anymore, but I’m still confused.  How do I move on? 
I know you get tons of e-mails.  And, it would be great if you responded.  But, just knowing that you read this makes me feel a little better. 
p.s. The picture was the beginning preparations for my key lime ginger pie.  It’s real good.
Hey Akira,
Thanks for writing in. 
Wow.  It sounds like you and your boyfriend must have loved each other very much.  You guys were both so fond of one another that you couldn’t accept the end of your relationship.  That means you had a strong bond.  Neither of you wanted to let go of it.  Still…
He acted like a jerk.   But maybe he had reason.
Maybe your ex wanted to try to salvage things, but then soon realized that the differences were too great – maybe he realized that he’d grown too far away to get the closeness back.  It sounds like he really wanted to try to make it work with you two, but lost his resolve somewhere along the line. Certainly he could have communicated better, but his life is being shattered too, right?  He’s going to behave strangely.
But none of this conjecture matters.  You’re in real pain.
Your question is:  How do i move on?
I don’t know.  I’m not good at letting go either.  I still talk to the ghost of my ex, who moved out more than two years ago. 
But here’s a few things you could consider…
Be good to yourself.  There’s so much beating ourselves up in life.  But just this once, acknowledge that you’re a great person, and you deserve love. 
Make out with everyone.  At least for a month or two.  Why not?  Feel attractive.
(use condoms)
Throw yourself into your work.  They say the best revenge is living well.  Live well.  Work your way up to something impressive.
Listen to yourself.  Don’t try to go out and party if you’re feeling solitary.  Let your body do what it wants to.
Cry.  Let yourself cry about it.  Acknowledging that there is sadness just underlines the point that relationships are worth embarking on.
Exercise.  Go to the gym.  Run.  Swim.  Get it out of your system.  I know it feels mental, but some of it is in your body.  Also, you’re on the market now, so get in shape.
Akira, seriously – do anything you need to do, but create a separate self, outside the identity of this man.  You sound like a lovely, handsome young man who deserves happiness.  Write your own story.  And write yourself a happy ending.  Give yourself time to grieve.  But after a while, wake up and look at what’s true.  You’re a handsome, young, talented man. 
You have a world of options.


Shit Girls Say About Money

Imagewatercolors by lex millena

I shot a parody commercial last week.  It makes fun of the Shit Girls Say videos.

My friend Kirk Damato is in it with me. Here’s the link.  I dunno why I can’t embed it today.

Enjoy, jerks.





The Ramble

ImageHim:  Hey.  ‘Sup.

Me:  Oh Jesus…

Him: What?

Me:  Nothing.  I just…  Hi.

Him:  Hi.

(a long pause)


Him:  So, what’s up?

Me:  I’m just on a walk.

Him:  Cold day for a walk.

Me:  Well, I like walking in the cold.

Him: Is that so?

Me:  That is so.

(a long pause)


Me:  No.  It isn’t so.

Him:  Ha.

Me:  It’s not what you think.

Him:  What do I think?

Me:  I think you think that I’m here to…  hang around in the park.

Him:  Hang around?

Me:  Stop.  You know.

(he glances at his crotch)

Him:  Maybe I do.


Me:  Don’t do that.  I’m here to write about this.

Him:  Are you serious?  What do you mean?

Me:  I’m covering The Ramble for a lifestyle piece I’m working on.

Him:  Really??

Me:  Yeah.  Really.

Him:  Awman.  I gotta leave.

Me:  No, wait.  I’d like to ask you some questions, if you don’t mind.

Him:  I don’t know. 

Me:  Come on.

(long pause.  i glance at his crotch.)


Him:  Okay.  But you can’t identify me.

Me:  You haven’t introduced yourself.

Him:  Good point.

Me:  What’s your name?  Just kidding.  What do you do for work?

Him:  I’m a prep cook at a restaurant.

Me:  What type of restaurant?

Him:  A hotel.

Me:  Faggy.

Him:  Shut up, I’m not…  Only a few of my friends even know I’m gay.

Me: Is that important to you?  That you pass for straight?

Him:  I guess so…  I guess.  I don’t like it when people think I look like a sissy.

Me:  Hm.


Him:  I’m not ashamed of being gay.  But I don’t want everyone to know about it.  I don’t want to have to shout about it.

Me:  Okay.  How often do you come here for sex?

Him:  What? 

(long pause)

Him:  I don’t know.  Once a week.  Sometimes twice?

Me:  So the majority of your sex life happens out here, in the wild?

Him: Well, in the summer time, sure.  In the winter…  sometimes I go home with somebody.

Me:  Okay. 

Him: Is that weird?  I think it’s thrilling.  Like hunting…

Me:  Do you think it’s weird?

Him:  No, but I can tell you do.

Me:  No.  I don’t.  I don’t think it’s weird at all.  But I do think there might be a connection between your self-consciousness about people knowing you’re gay, and you conducting your sex life anonymously.  I mean… Don’t you think?


Him:  No.  I don’t think about it that much.  It’s such a small part of who I am.

Me:  Really? 

Him:  Yeah.  Really.

Me:  Well… Sounds like you’re really good at compartmentalizing.

Him:  So?

(long pause)


Me: So…  more power to you, I guess.

Him:  Hey.  You’re a decent guy. 

Me:  Thanks.

Him:  Wanna go behind those trees and blow each other?

Me:  I do not.  Thanks for chatting though.  I have to leave.

Him:  Don’t identify me.

Me: I don’t know who you are.  You never said.

Him:  Fair enough.  Jerk.