The Ficus is Dead – Part Two

(a very long pause. we stare across the bar and survey the crowd. we don’t make eye contact)

Me: The ficus died.

Him: What? Why didn’t you tell me? What’s wrong with you?

Me: I didn’t think you deserved to know.

Him: What the. You’re so passive aggressive. Of course I wanted to know about that, Michael. I gave you that tree on our first anniversary. I always thought of it as a metaphor for our relationship.

Me: That’s exactly why I didn’t tell you when it died. I didn’t think you deserved to know.

Him: Explain.

Me: It died last winter, dumbass. It was horrible and I was unemployed and the landlord wouldn’t turn on the heat so it was freezing.

Him: Did you forget to water it?

Me: No, I water the plants once a week and the apartment is always clean now. It was a bad time, though, you know how I get in the winter, very sad.

Him: Yeah.

Me: It went completely bald in the space of three days. I freaked out but I couldn’t save it, Carson. I tried. It wouldn’t take water anymore and even after it was dead I kept watering it hoping that it would come back.

Him: That’s not how things work. You taught me that.

Me: There’s that narrator’s contempt I mentioned.

Him: Did you throw it out?

Me: I kept it, dead and brittle. For like 3 more months. I was angry about it dying and I was angry at you and eventually I snapped it in half and set it out on the curb.

Him: I’m sorry, but I’m getting a little pissed off. Why didn’t you tell me about this?

Me: Do you remember our last conversation?

Him: No? When was it? I always mean to check on you but I get busy sweetie.

Me: It was a year ago, Carson. A whole damn year went by and you didn’t even so much as txt me on my birthday.

Him: You know I’m forgetful.

Me: Well I’m not. The last significant correspondence we had was a year ago, when you invited me to Thanksgiving, and then took it back, because you were so fucking worried that it would make Jason feel weird. It didn’t matter to you that it was Thanksgiving and I had nowhere to go, just that your squirrely boyfriend wouldn’t have to feel slightly jealous once or twice in the evening.

Him: I’m sorry…  I was just trying to have a nice Thanksgiving.

Me: Yeah. And the definition of a nice Thanksgiving is one where I don’t show up and ruin things. So yeah, I didn’t speak to you after that, because you proved to me that you don’t care about me anymore. I decided right then that I wasn’t going to reach out to you again, until you reached out first. Ha. I guess you called my bluff! Cause a year has gone by and you didn’t even know I was hurting over it. But it doesn’t matter anymore because the ficus is dead. It’s dead and it’s not ever, ever coming back and you don’t get to know about that.

Colby Keller Interview: Part One

photos by adam gardiner

Me: Do you see yourself as a role model?

Him: A role model? I don’t see myself as a role model, no.

Me: Really? Why not? You came out when you were 15. You have the guts to have sex with boys for a living while everyone watches… I think that does a lot more for gay rights than some sort of Victorian…

Him: I’m not going to pretend like it was something that it wasn’t. I came out because my parents discovered a big stash of porn that I had. I may have wanted them to find it but I wasn’t about to be mister responsible at 15 and say ‘Mom and Dad…’

Me: Right, but that’s the thing about life – it’s not about what happens, or circumstances, it’s how we deal with it. And you dealt with it in a very interesting way. I’ve done some research and I’ve seen the way you present yourself in the media, and I think you could consider yourself a role model. The idea of a porn star even-handedly guiding someone through a threesome is an important thing, because to ignore –

Him: Right. I think everyone has that responsibility to do that. To teach other people to make ourselves better human beings. People have that responsibility.

Me: No. We don’t. A lot of us don’t try. A lot of us are so selfish – you see that, right?

Him: A lot of us fail at that – I don’t think it should be considered special. It should be considered the norm.

Me: I like that. There’s a Victorian tenseness in the gay community about painting ourselves just like straight people. Can you speak to that? I think we’re different and better than straight people.

Him: It’s been a good strategy to make us more palatable to society at large. I don’t think we’re better [than straight people] because I think we should be more radical and we’re not. I don’t think [that gay marriage] is what our political struggle should be about. I think it’s about re-framing it in terms of queerness. I think it’s a ‘queer’ identity which anyone can have. You can be straight and be queer. The idea of conformity – the gays that say ‘I won’t be happy until I’m treated like every other straight person, and that includes marriage…’ not that that’s not something that doesn’t have value, or isn’t a good thing…

Me: It’s a civil rights issue.

Him: Right. But I don’t think that’s what our political struggle should be about. It’s about re-framing it in terms of queerness rather than something specific to our sexuality. Because there are a lot of really horrible gay men – let’s face it.

Me: Why are there so many horrible gay men, do you think?

Him: People want to be accepted. They struggle to give value to their lives. They’re afraid of being different and what that means, so they desperately struggle for conformity. That process (which isn’t unique to gay people by any means) – but I think that it’s something that’s very common. Because first of all, you are different. You’re not having sex like most people on the planet have sex – and instead of embracing that, and seeing where there’s value in that in a radical kind of way, they think of ways to make themselves normal again.

Me: And then they project that onto each other.

His boyfriend: That’s the big thing. The reinforcement and also control over everyone around you. You take your shame and you project it onto people who don’t want it.

Me: They don’t want your fucking shame! You don’t want your shame. Your shame was given to you by your family, and your church, and…

His boyfriend: Keep your shame. Keep it to yourself. Don’t force the rest of us to deal with it…

Me: Or find a good outlet? Like S&M. That’s a good outlet – because then we’ll all have an orgasm in then we’ll all go home and get our work done. I bar tended for a long time in the gay community and I can’t tell you how many times I heard phrases like ‘Ew, you went home with him? You know he’s a drag queen?!’ That’s so much shame… Self hatred.

Him: I think we’re taught to hate ourselves, but we’re also taught to like a certain thing. That’s what the market wants us to do. We need to be attracted to a certain type of body, you know?

His Boyfriend: Look at Ryan Murphy and all the mega-media shit that he’s putting out there right now. Where all gay men are supposed to live in Los Angeles, live in Mc Mansions, and be adopting Asian babies.

Me: Wait a minute. I want an Asian baby.

His Boyfriend: Okay, you can have an Asian baby, but where’s our media that’s cross class, like Roseanne?

Him: I think the thing that’s interesting to me is polygamy – most cultures in the world – that is the ideal relationship.

His Boyfriend: Look at Bill Clinton. When he had that affair, the world laughed at us. We almost shut our government down because he had sex with a younger woman. All the other cultures in the world were like, he should be fucking everything that moves.

Me: Because he needs to do that in order to maintain the ego it takes to run a fucking country!

His Boyfriend: Exactly!

To Be Continued – full audio podcast available soon!

More Colby Keller Here

The Ficus is Dead

drawings by lex millena

Him: Oh hey.

Me: What? Shit. Hey! Happy Thanksgiving.

Him: Happy Thanksgiving sweetie. Are you here alone?

Me: Yeah. I went to a few friends. Now I’m here. I don’t know why. Where’s Jason?

Him: He went to get cigarettes, he’ll be back in 20 minutes or so.

Me: Ugh. You guys are still smoking? I thought you almost kicked that when we were together…

Him: I never really stopped. I just only had 2 or 3 a week.

Me: I know. I smelled it on you, from time to time. I didn’t always mention it.

Him: I knew you knew.

Me: I knew you knew I knew.

Him: I knew that too.

Me: We were very passive aggressive towards each other.

Him: We were. You are.

Me: Okay, okay. Thanks for saying hi!

(pause)

Me: I understand you and Jason bought a car and a house together.

Him: I guess word travels fast.

Me: I hear things. We’re both in comedy. People talk.

Him: It’s funny, I’d never think to say that. “I’m in comedy.”

Me: You are. The bulk of your money comes from comedy.

Him: I think of myself more as a writer.

Me: Yes. You’ve gotten very good.

Him: Oh, have you read?

Me: Yes. I follow you online, here and there, when I can stomach it.

Him: Ouch.

Me: Oh stop. I’m sure you don’t read my blog.

Him: That’s correct – I don’t.

Me: Okay so, fine. Well I read your stuff sometimes. You’ve gotten quite good.

Him: I’m glad you think so.

Me: I mean, I’m not nuts about reading about myself, but it’s very good writing, so that’s flattering, I guess.

Him: I don’t write about you. I write fiction.

Me: But some things are based on me.

Him: Some elements of some of my characters share parts of your behavior patterns or point of view. But I wouldn’t say I’m writing about you.

Me: No, of course you wouldn’t. But even so, it’s funny that as soon as I start recognizing myself in your writing, the very next thing I notice is an attitude of contempt from the narrator toward the ‘me’ character. It’s not my favorite thing in the world.

Him: You’ll never believe this, but I don’t write about you.

Me: I don’t write about you often, either. It’s good writing, Carson. Congrats on getting published. That’s huge. And I heard about the grant too.

Him: It’s political. I’m good at politics.

Me: You’re a good writer.

Him: Well thank you.

Me: You’re welcome. And you’re right. I’ll never believe that you’re not writing about me. We lived together for 8 years. I worked you through grad school.

Him: Let’s not start down this path again.

Me: Of course not. It’s a holiday, and in any case I have no regrets.

Him: I’m glad to hear that. Neither do I.

Me: How big of us.

(a very long pause. we stare across the bar and survey the crowd. we don’t make eye contact)

To Be Continued…

Thanksgiving

 

Her: Can I have some more wine? I burned my finger and I want to take my mind off it.

Her friend: Know what’s good for a burn? Raw honey. It has antimicrobials that help the burn.

Her: Know what else helps the burn? Wine. Will you pour me some more wine?

Me: Know what else helps the burn?

(long pause)

Me: An unhappy childhood.

(pause)

Me: Because the burn doesn’t hurt compared to the childhood. You barely notice it!!!

Her: Ladies and Gentlemen, Michael Martin!!!

Me: Thank you. I’m here all week. Please tell your friends.

People Send Me Things

 

This set of photos comes from a lovely young man in London named Michael To. Pretty brave of you, Michael!

If you’re reading this and you’re feeling inspired to send me some photos, please do!

Look at that tattoo! I did some research – it’s the Chinese symbol for ‘Oh, I had no idea my ass was hanging out!’

Keep in mind – if you send me photos, it’s likely I might run them on my site.

Flexing. Flexing….

Michael made an Old English Custard pie.

Great lighting in Michael’s kitchen, right?

Michael is a handsome, brave guy. I’m sure he has other assets too.

Thanks for sending me things, Michael.

You can feel free to send me things too, Jerks.

Nobody cares at 2am

 

Him: We should have shots! Have you ever had a Bitchy Drag Queen?

Me: No. I mean, yes, but no.

Him: What? You’re weird.

Me: I know. So tell me more about you. What’s your dating life been like, so far?

Him: Oh. I like older guys. Older. Like, you’re probably too young for me. Like older guys.

Me: I get it.

Him: Old. Like much older.

Me: Okay.

Him: Like the last guy I had really good sex with was 50.

Me: Okay. Yes. I get it.

Him: But he was ripped,  you know? And hot. Older guys are hotter.

Me: If you say so. I’ll buy it, I guess.

Him: There’s something else about older guys too…

Me: What’s that?

Him: They don’t seem to care. 

Me: About what?

Him: I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like they’ve been there already, and they’re not worried about impressing you, and they’re not hypersensitive about your opinion.

Me: Yeah. Young people can be like that.

Him: I hate it. I have had sex with younger guys and it’s always a shit show.

Me: Why?

Him: Take your pick. They’re not good at sex. They get their feelings hurt at the drop of a hat. They don’t care about your feelings at all though.

Me: Ha. I knew a poet like that once.

Him: Really?

Me: Yeah, he would go on and on about how shy and fragile and sensitive he was, but he was only sensitive to his own feelings, not yours. He didn’t care at all if he’d hurt or disappointed you. Actors can be like that too, to an extent.

Him: Comics too, I bet.

Me: Comics are different.

Him: Why?

Me: Because they’re real people. If anything, their flaw is that they care too much, and cover up by being clownish, or sarcastic.

Him: I don’t think that’s true.

Me: I’m probably wrong. I frequently am.

Him: Stop it. You’re so crazy. I like older guys. Nothing can phase them. They’re like rocks.

Me: Well yeah. They were your age, and they were pretty, sensitive, talented, relevant.

Him: They still are.

Me: Maybe, but then 15 – 35 years of awful, coarse, wonderful, terrifying, giddy, disappointing, enlightening  things happened to them. And now they’re different. And also tired. I’m tired a lot more often than I used to get.
But I also work more than I ever did, so I guess I earned my tiredness.

Him: See?

Me: See what?

Him: See, that’s something that a young person would never say. ‘I earned my tiredness.’ That’s what I like about older guys. They’re real. Not like young guys, who are petty, and awkward, and selfish. They’ll spend the night dancing with you, and then buy you a drink at the end of the night, and if you get drunk enough they’ll make out with you. But they don’t really want to get to know you. They don’t care about you. They’re only ‘having an experience’ for the night. And they’ll pretend to care. But nobody does. Nobody cares at 2am when you’ve had too many Midori sours and you just need a friend.  But an older guy will…

Me: Midori sours? Why would anyone…

Him: I’ve tried to reach out to them. They suck, okay?! I’ve tried to open my heart to younger people but they don’t know how to take that gift and make something of it. They just eat it and shit it out and wonder if there’s more. Or worse, they hope there isn’t more. I’m so tired of having a significantly affectionate date with a younger guy, only to have sex with him and then have him desperately try to distance himself from me the next day. Where are those shots? We need shots!

Me: We don’t need shots. I’d say we’ve had plenty.

Him: Then take me home.

Me: How about I get you a cab? I like you but you’re a little wasted.

Him: When will I stop being young? I hate it.

Me: Believe me, it’s a curable affliction.

Him: Take me h-ohmygod you just flagged a cab down! What a jerk.

Me: You’re wasted and I have to work in the morning.

Him: Jerk.

Me: I know.

Him: You’re a jerk.

Me: I know.

Him: You’re also old.

(pause – two short blasts from a car horn)

Me: I know. Now go home.

Him: See? Nobody cares at 2am.

Me: Nobody does.

Vote for Mitt Romney

 

It’s Election Day.

You should really vote.

I don’t care for who, but if you don’t vote for the robot black man who married a drag queen then I won’t give you any pie.

But, if you disagree, you’re not alone.

Here’s a song from my friends Ryan Dunkin and Lorraine Cink, who think you should definitely vote for Mitt Romney: