Friday, August 31, 2007

Greasy's the Word

Here's a test to see if you have oily skin: Wash your face with soapy water, then an hour later blot it with a paper towel. If you don't see any traces of oil, you have normal skin. If you see small spots, your skin is oily.

I do this and it looks like I've been draining bacon.

My skin's always been lousy, prompting nothing but lies from my parents. It's a phase, they said. It’ll calm down with time. I guess I should have been suspicious, because they also said "One day you'll be glad you saved your virtue!" and "Everybody loves guys who play the banjo!" Now that I'm nearly middle-aged, though, I've got zits popping up inside of wrinkles. I'd think about getting a face lift but worried what would happen when the doctor pulled. It'd look like thousands of little champagne bottles popping open, like a tiny QE II was pulling out of port.

Needless to say, everybody born with good skin has advice. Some of them tell me to wash more, like that never occurred to me. Like I started rubbing myself with isopropyl alcohol and Clearasil and Chevron with Techron before actually considering soap. Soap didn’t work. It just provided a nice, clean environment where the zits could flourish.

When I tell them soap doesn't help, they accuse me of overwashing. Yeah, that’s a nice change of pace. That’s like what gardeners tell you when your plants die: “What an idiot you are!” they say. “You’re obviously giving them too much or too little water. You need to start watering them either more or less or they're all going to die!”

This makes me want to get involved in these people’s lives. I’d go over to their houses while they’re cooking, and taste the food. “Eww,” I’d choke. “This pot roast is horrible. It needs either more or less salt.” My mouth would drop open when they tried on new clothes. “That makes you look absolutely gorgeous,” I’d gush. "Or like the hooker in an old Fellini film.” I’d lure them into bed, then lay there appalled. “Sorry,” I’d say when they asked what was wrong. “You’re either painfully slow or waaay too fast.”

The problem with overwashing, supposedly, is that it irritates the skin. But, you know, it’s already breaking out. What else is it going to do -- call a lawyer? I tried to be nice. I pampered it. I gently buffed it, lightly bathed it with hypoallergenic lotions. Now I’m far beyond that: I’m sleeping with Stridex pads taped to my face. I’m scrubbing every hour with a paste made from kerosene and ground Swedish furniture, and hoping that eventually the pain will make those little oil factories in my skin scream “OKAY! OKAY! We’ll STOP!”

There’s exactly one piece of advice that’s helped, and that’s to drink more water. For six years I've been guzzling eight glasses a day. I'm getting just as many zits as ever, but since I'm in the bathroom all day long I get to watch them from the minute they’re born.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Warn Me Out

I'm not rich, but I've been around. I've been to hotels where no expense was spared. They've got tennis pros and golf pros and ping-pong pros, and sultry, subservient women in diaphanous robes wandering the lobby offering complimentary newspapers, cigars and mudwrestling. There are gardens and fountains and golf courses, ballrooms and gift shops and trout ponds -- and that's just up in your room. In between all these you'll find fourteen big-screen TVs, six walk-in closets, vases of fresh flowers and truckloads of fresh fruit . . . and a bed the size of a postage stamp.

Is this somebody's idea of a joke? I wonder. They see me stroll into the lobby and get a brilliant idea. "Watch," the desk clerk says to the receptionist, "I'm gonna stick Lurch in the Billy Barty Suite."

To make matters worse, the bed has both a headboard and a footboard. Now, I don't mind headboards. As far as I can tell, it's the decorator's way of saying "Look! HERE'S THE BED!" It's a statement I don't find necessary, as, hey, I GOT EYES! The footboard, though, is where I draw the line. Tall men realize early on that they're going to dangle over one, if not both, ends of their beds, and eventually they get used to it. But the footboard allows no such thing. "The bed positively, definitely ends here!" they declare, like furniture Nazis. "And that's FINAL!"

I call the front desk and the clerk tells me all the beds are the same size. "Is the owner a dwarf?" I ask. "Are springs and ticking rationed by the federal government?"

My sarcasm zips over her head. "Some rooms don't have footboards," she says, "but they're all taken. You should have warned us you're tall."

"Actually," I correct, "you should warn people you've got a maximum height limit."

I know there are larger beds in the world, so I guess they're trying to save money. I'm picturing the hotel owner dropping by the Sealy factory and seeing the Triscuit-sized mattresses they're churning out. "We can't make our customers sleep on those!" he yells. "What if somebody tall shows up?"

The craftsman shrugs his shoulders and bits of fluff waft to the ground. "They'll just have to suffer," he mutters. "I mean, if we made them any bigger we'd need another six ounces of cotton, and three more springs!"

The men quiver like chilly chihuahuas and smelling salts are passed around.

Now, call me crazy, but I'm thinking it might be smarter to cut the Topiary Gardener back to part-time and spend that money on bedding. Because for the rest of eternity every tall guy assigned to this room will head back downstairs to point out the obvious to the desk clerk. "Er," he says, "perhaps you haven't noticed this, but America is a great, broad nation. The states stretch out far and wide, from New York to California, from Maine to Florida. Tumbleweeds spin across the horizon while coyotes dance in the shadows in search of prey, and buzzards circle overhead waiting for that lone pickup truck raising a trail of orange dust to flatten an unwary lizard.

"So why do I have to fold myself into quarters to get into your fucking bed?"

Being a problem-solver, the clerk is ready with a response. "You know," she says stoically, "if you lie across the bed diagonally, you should just about fit."

Now, this isn't helpful. I'm usually with somebody, and he can be tall too. We may even have sex occasionally, but that doesn't mean I want to connected with them at the groin all night.

Finally the clerk agrees to send up extra pillows. Like a construction crew we make ramps that lift our feet up and over the footboard, so they can hang over in peace. It works fine, and maybe it's even good for the complexion, but for three hours tomorrow morning we'll both stagger around like Bambi.

At the Beaconlight Guest House, a gay B&B in Provincetown, they stuck me in a room with preposterously low ceilings. It was slightly smaller than a dollhouse, and even little girls would have complained about all the pink. When I realized I couldn't wash my hair in the shower without moving most of me into the hall, I went to see the manager. Naturally it was all my fault.

"You should have warned us you're tall," he declared.

"Actually," I said, pulling myself up to my full height, "you should warn people you're renting out Hunchback Barbie's old room."

You could tell he was a pro, because he didn't show a glimmer of sympathy. "Most people are perfectly happy with that suite."

"Then tell most people they can have it," I said, "because I'm not spending the night."

The manager stood there with his arms crossed. I was absolutely justified in my complaint, and I wasn't giving in. I mean, the last I heard it was a God-given right to be able to stand in your hotel room. To make matters worse the place looked empty and he could easily have upgraded me to a room where human beings fit.

We stared at each other like it was high noon in Dodge City, and finally my traveling companions broke the silence. They had a room with reasonable ceilings, they said, and they'd be happy to switch.

Even after I'm settled in this new room, though, it's impossible for me to relax. All night I dream about fighting it out with the manager in court, except now I'm bigger than Alice in Wonderland. The jury twitches like lovesick crickets, fearful that I'm going to squash them, and the judge takes one look at me and explodes. "You didn't warn them that you were tall?" he bellows, his powdered wig quivering atop his head. "Ridiculous! Case dismissed!"

And now my friends act like I'm high-maintenance. "Those donuts warm enough for you, Roman?" "Have you caught a chill, Roman?" "Does Bibb lettuce offend your palate, Roman?" And I did absolutely nothing wrong. Really, when I go to a hotel, do I really have to justify my need to stand?

I got an email from the owner after I returned home. An apology, I thought -- better late than never. Instead it was just spam. He'd bought another B&B a few blocks from the first and wanted his customers to know.

I wrote back and said there's no way I'm staying at one of his places again, but if he found himself in my neighborhood he should stop by and say hello.

I hope he knows to warn me if he's got a problem with dogs, Crisco or chloroform.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Greek to Me

It wasn’t easy convincing my landlord that my air conditioner was really broken. He kept saying that the noise and smoke were nothing out of the ordinary, and he stood in the blast of superheated air oohing and aahing like it was a tropical waterfall. When his face took on the color of a medium-rare porterhouse, though, he gave up pretending, and in exchange for a glass of ice water he called a repairman. The next thing I knew somebody was pounding on my door at 7:30 in the morning.

“Open up!” a gravelly voice growled as I glared at my clock in disbelief. “I’m here to fix your air conditioner!” I threw on a towel and opened the door and if I wasn’t fully awake before I certainly was now: the sight of this guy was as bracing as a double espresso. I don’t mind old or out of shape folks provided they wear something to hide it -- like baggy clothes or the Houston Astrodome -- but he had on less than Britney Spears.

I tried to avert my eyes as he lumbered in but I couldn’t help but notice corduroy short-shorts, scuffed brown boots and a tool belt, with lots of blotchy red nakedness in between. He zigzagged through the place until he found the air conditioner, and after the removal of his tool belt sent his shorts plunging to new depths I fled to the shower. When I returned the air conditioner was still grinding like a cement mixer and he was sitting on my bed reading an old copy of Drummer.

Oops. “I’m a musician,” I lied. “I thought that was an instruction manual.”

“No,” he said thoughtfully, “I don’t think so. Though some of the guys look a little like Ringo.” I hadn’t picked up an accent before so I was surprised when he pronounced it “Reengo.” He was from somewhere weird, I thought, but unless he said “Blimey,” “Ah, so” or “Zeig heil!” I wasn’t in a place to guess.

He smiled and showed a jumble of teeth splayed out like shredded wheat. “Don’t be embarrassed,” he said. “I am Greek. My people have been that way for thousands of years. Women are the mothers of our children, but men are for love and companionship. You see, in Greece young men are the tippy-top of beauty. You see that in our art and in our literature. The older men are expected to marry and raise children but also since they hold the knowledge they must share it, along with friendship and love, with impressionable youths. It is their civic duty.”

He tossed the magazine aside, extracted a screwdriver from his toolbelt and pried the front cover off the air conditioner. “Take the philosopher Aristotle, for instance. He was a very wise man. He invented geometry and logic and the VCR. He meets this kid Socrates and he embraces him like a son. He teaches him philosophy, introduces him to politics, and initiates him into sex. But, you know, it’s not just slam bam thank you ma’am sex. It’s a manly thing, like a big friendly hug. Except they were, you know . . . naked.

I couldn’t think of anything to say. I didn’t know anything about gay sex in the past because I’d been trying to get some in the present. But long ago I’d visited a civilization where men bonded together and paired off and left the women to their own devices. It was called “San Francisco.” And while Castro Street wasn’t the Parthenon and a caftan wasn’t really a toga it was still fun enough.

He pulled the air filter off and a line of dirt sprinkled to the floor. “Me, I’m sad to say I have not found a boy to tutor. Maybe I’m not as smart as Aristotle, but I’ve learned a few things and I want to pass them on.”

Now, to say I wasn’t attracted to this guy was an understatement. Though he was butch as Hoss Cartwright’s left testicle he also had a belly domed like a turtle, and his hair was a shade of black found only on newborn mink and Wayne Newton. He had a thick thatch of chest hair that started halfway between his nipples and his navel, and his legs were lumpy and red. But his story made me nostalgic. I looked at the wrinkles encircling his eyes and started to yearn for a time when sex wasn’t just a temporary bond between strangers, something to kill a couple minutes between laundry cycles. When it meant sharing, and forming a bond so tight it could only be expressed by physical affection.

To make a long story short, he showed me how to adjust my thermostat and then we did it. He undressed me slowly and then yanked his shorts down, and with paint-splattered boots still tied to his feet he had his way with me. “We are like Socrates and Aristotle,” he panted. “I share my years of knowledge and then take you from behind.” He wasn’t particularly instructive, as I’d been in that position once or twice before, but knowing it was a time-honored tradition made it special. Before I even straightened up he was gone.

I woke up in a great mood the next morning, despite the fact this was the second day in a row somebody was pounding on my door at dawn. As I wrapped myself in another towel I realized something had changed. No longer was I a shallow gym rat with no connection to the past: now I was a shallow gym rat tied to history. I flung the door open like I was greeting a fresh new life.

“Hey,” my landlord said, grimacing at my pale pink flesh. “Did the guy fix your air conditioner?”

“He sure did,” I said, blushing. “It’s running great now. That Stavros is a terrific guy.”

He looked at me like a dog would if I asked it to mix me a martini. “Stavros? You mean the husky old guy who needs more clothes? That’s my wife’s uncle Patsy. He ain’t Greek -- he’s half Irish and half Italian. Funny you should say that, though, ‘cause once he told a guy he was Greek, and they actually -- “

By the time he saw my mouth drop open it was too late.

“Oh, jeez. You didn’t fall for that ‘mentor’ crap, did you? The Socrates and Aristotle speech?”

I nodded as blotchy red flesh flashed before my eyes.

“I gotta have a talk with that guy. But you can’t really blame him, I guess. That’s the only way he can get laid.” My mood was as limp as my towel now, and he was looking guilty. “Look, if you really want a mentor, I could give it a try. But I ain’t doing any of that butt-pirate stuff.”

I shook my head, smiling in gratitude despite slowly realizing that a seventy-year-old man had just turned me down for sex. “Thanks, Mr. Carmelo. But it’s really not the same without a Greek.”

“I know what you mean,” he said. “In the forties I sent away to Japan for a mail-order bride. They sent me a German Jew named Schotzi.”

After he left I stood in the dark, listening to the air conditioner’s calm hum and feeling the cold air swirl around me. Sure, he’d tricked me. He’d used me and thrown me away. But was it as bad as all that? Maybe “Stavros” wasn’t going to be my mentor but he’d taught me something important.

If I was going to get anywhere in this world, I’d need to fake an accent.

Monday, August 27, 2007

When They Come For The Music Critics, I'll Be In The Bathroom, Thanks!

Times Critic Enjoys Concert by Singers Who Advocate Killing Gays

The War Against Terrorism

An article in yesterday's New York Times pretty much confirms that anti-terrorism efforts primarily consist of harassing people with "dark hair and olive skin." Compounding the reader's irritation, though, is the description of a recent scare:

[O]ne ferry, the Puyallup, was shut down for an hour at the main Seattle terminal. Officials said an object found in a men's bathroom during a routine security sweep prompted the action. The object turned out not to be dangerous. . . .

The object was cylindrical, made of duct tape and smelled of marijuana, said Bob Calkins, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.

"It was not a bomb or a bong," Calkins said. "We don't know what to call it."

A carburetor. You're welcome.

Ferry Unhurt by Guy Getting Stoned in Bathroom

"Roots," Boots, and Big Galoots: Antony Payne

Everyone loved the Cornish giant Antony Payne, who was seven feet two by the time he turned twenty one. Though he could scare a vampire out of his coffin, he had a gentle nature, and was loved by adults and children alike. His parents had a small house on the estate of Sir Bevil Grenville, but he moved in with Sir Bevil -- presumably as his bodyguard, but possibly just as a conversation piece.

Supposedly one cold winter night a servant sent a boy and his donkey into the forest to gather firewood. Hours passed but the pair didn't return, so Antony ventured out after them. He found them huddled together, frozen nearly solid, so he hoisted the boy, the donkey and the firewood onto his back and carried them all home.

The king eventually heard of Antony, and decided that he wanted to get a look. He sent for the giant and eventually commissioned an artist to paint his portrait. This was what folks did before there were Instamatics.

Antony died in his bed at the age of eighty-one. His family took comfort in the fact that he outlived most giants by fifty years. They were a trifle peeved, though, when the family home had to be cut to kindling to get his body outside.

His grave is in the north aisle of Stratton Church in North Cornwall. The Grenville Manor House is now a hotel known as the Tree Inn. His portrait is still on display in the Royal Institute of Cornwall in the town of Truro.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Siren Song

Every day I walk to a nearby bakery, and every day I see the same thing: five or ten cars in front of neighboring homes doing that "shave and a haircut, two bits" honk. I don't know if it's just a New York thing, but nobody's walking to doors any more.

I remember back when this was rude. Back when "Here's Lucy" was on TV. Times have changed: nowadays, if you want to meet that guy your daughter's dating, you better wait out by the curb.

Walking home from Ralphy's Ice Cream today -- I live in an Italian neighborhood; what, like I should live on pickles and fish? -- I heard a siren. It seemed odd since there were no cars approaching, and I realized it came from a black Ford that was double-parked at the side of the road.

I couldn't see who was inside since the windows were a shiny black, but they were obviously waiting for somebody. "WHEE--ooo WHEE-ooo WHEE-ooo." Where is that asshole? "WHEE--ooo WHEE-ooo WHEE-ooo."

More New York problem-solving. What do you do when your friends or family don't respond to honking fast enough?

To those folks who say New York is circling the drain, I say you're crazy. Our rudeness is still going strong. In fact, I think we ought to declare it on our license plates:

"So what if I wake your ass up? I'm not getting out of air conditioning for shit."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The New York Times Has Its Fingers on the Pulse of America

The New York Times. The "Gray Lady," the "Paper of Record." It's what the intelligentsia reads, the paper the world's movers and shakers depend on to gather information, formulate opinions, and indeed shape world policy. When you want to feel the pulse of America's most renowned philosophers and pundits, you check their list of the day's most popular articles and see what thought-provoking exposés are sparking them today:

E-Mailed Blogged Searched

1. A Good Appetite: So Many Tomatoes to Stuff in a Week

Auto Eroticism

The four of us are on a road trip to Provincetown. We've been driving something like six hours, so the batteries on our cellphones are dead, we're coated with dust from peanut butter pretzels, and we've stopped at forty rest stops. Rudy says it's because he had a Big Gulp, but I say that's what he's looking for.

We're somewhere in Rhode Island when a car pulls up on the driver's side. I always glance over: Alec Baldwin is somewhere in the universe, so sooner or later I'm bound to get lucky. The other guys look over too, but we see two gorgeous blondes staring back at us. We turn away disappointed. Better luck next time, I think.

A few seconds later there's frantic honking, and we look over again. I'm thinking they want to tell us we've got a flat tire, or our car has burst into flame, but nobody's yelling or pointing. Where the passenger was sitting, though, there's something big and pink and fleshy plastered up against the glass.

The four of us stare, our eyes wide as raccoons. "Jesus Christ," Bill exclaims.

"What the hell is that?" Ted asks.

"A muskrat sitting on a pepperoni pizza," I suggest.

"Okay," he replies. "I'll go with that."

We turn and stare straight ahead. For a while we drive in silence, trying to ignore the car shadowing ours. Eventually we hear high-pitched laughter coming from that direction and then the women floor it, vanishing even quicker than they appeared.

"Right," Bill declares, solemnly flipping his cellphone open. "I'm calling the police." He hits a couple of buttons but the thing's too dead to beep.

"That was absolutely disgusting," Rudy snips. "How do straight men get near those things? It looked like a walrus swallowing Alex Trebek."

"It's something you need to see at least once in your life," I lecture. "Otherwise how can you be sure you're gay?" I glance over at Rudy's skintight short-shorts, teal tanktop, bleached-blonde highlights and wonder why I even speak at all.

"That confirmed it for me," Rudy says. "I'm just glad it was behind glass."

For a few minutes we discuss how horrifying it was. Rudy holds the car's armrests wondering if shock is going to set in. Occasionally we shake our heads, trying to erase the memory like an Etch-a-Sketch. Finally Ted pops up with the last thing I'd expect. "You know what we should do? We should try to catch up."

There have been stupider ideas. In Santa Monica there's a falafel stand shaped like a giant foot. "Great idea," I say. "I can't get enough of that pussy."

Ted hits the gas pedal, though, and that's when Rudy and I get scared. "You can't be serious," Rudy pleads. "At least give me a minute to poke out my eyes."

"For once in my life I agree with them," Bill adds. "Private citizens shouldn't take the law into their own hands."

"Think about it," Ted says. "How would you like it if you exposed yourself to somebody and they just walked away?"

"I don't think I'd have a problem," I say.

"I expect applause," Rudy admits.

I know I've been hanging around with them too long when I decide Ted makes sense. The Mustang took off like a shot after the floor show, but since then it's been slowly creeping back. They want us to catch them. They want our confirmation that they've been naughty, or worse, that we liked what we saw. Is that such a crime? To hope strangers find you attractive?

Rudy and I abandon our objections. Rudy, in fact, leaps ahead to the acceptance part of the plot. "It wouldn't have been so bad if they'd warned us," he says. "It was just the shock of seeing it off-guard."

We're half a block away and closing fast. "We'll just pull up alongside," Ted says, "and act excited, okay?"

"I love seeing that funky stuff!" Rudy squeals.

"It's female genitalia," I say, "not Kool and the Gang." Still, I'm up for it. I put on the face I use when I open pressents from Grandma. I'm excited. I'm straight. I'm a guy who got to see beaver.

Bill is the only wet blanket. "Absolutely not," he declares. "That would just encourage them."

Ted doesn't listen. We pull over on their left and the girls look over hopefully. "High five me," Ted says through a particularly dopey grin, and I oblige. We punch the air as well. We might look a little bit geeky.

Rudy rolls his window down. "They're gay!" he hollers to the women. They just laugh.

I roll my window down. "He is too!" I yell.

"We don't care!" one yells. "Show us your dicks!"

"Not a chance!" Bill hollers belligerently as Rudy and I exchange a look. "We're responsible young men from good families. We're way too big for that."

Pressed up against the glass, I like to think we were.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bush vs. Putin: Who's the Man?

Holy Jesus, a political figure takes off his shirt and suddenly the whole world goes crazy.

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, recently went on vacation to Siberia, and he went fishing with Prince Albert of Monaco. Maybe he got wet, or maybe he was just enjoying the sunshine, but for whatever reason he decided to doff his shirt.

And the entire world went nuts.

All of Russia is now in a tumult, a hundred forty-one million people in a state of shock. Women and girls are literally tearing their hair out after witnessing the brawny muscularity of the man in charge. Pravda, the country's leading newspaper, is printing photos Playgirl would reject as dicey, and fans of beefcake are stampeding news racks for glimpses of more exposed Putin flesh.

Now, some might say this reflects badly on our own president, who refuses to show any skin. Maybe he's shy; maybe he's got an "I Love Jeff Gannon" tattoo he doesn't want to bare to the world. Either way, I say to hell with them! Anybody can bench press. Anybody can do some dumbbell curls. But I hereby throw down a challenge to the Russians:

How does their man look in a dress?

Russia Goes Nuts Over Shirtless Putin

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Far From Sunset

The first time I saw Erik I was watching TV. My apartment overlooked the parking lot of his apartment building, and there he was, washing a Ford Explorer. He was big and butch as Hoss Cartwright's left testicle, his rock-hard bulk making the truck look petite. I grabbed a book so I could pretend I was reading and raced out to the balcony. I watched while he scrubbed and dried and waxed, with every muscle of his body getting a vigorous workout. When he finished we were both sweaty and spent.

We repeated the scene the next Saturday and I started to wonder why he didn't notice me. Trucks aren't all that fascinating, plus I'm reasonably hot, so it's not like there wasn't a reason to look. The next week I decided to give him something to look at: I went to May Company and bought myself a pair of little red shorts.

Unfortunately, by the time I came home he was nearly finished. I threw on the shorts, raced out onto the balcony, and casually flexed. That did the trick. He looked up at me and squinted as he surreptitiously checked out my package. "Don't know why I bother washing it," he declared, tilting his head toward his truck. "I give it such a workout it's hard to keep it clean."

It seems like that's a game that attractive people play: making perfectly innocent lines sound erotic.

"I hear ya," I said as I casually draped across the railing. "Sometimes I wish mine was black so I wouldn't see how filthy it gets."

I've never been good at games.

He tossed his sponge into the bucket and waved goodbye, dimples appearing that could have sheltered a Shih Tzu. As he walked away I sighed in appreciation: the man was a perfect V-shape, with huge shoulders, big chest, medium waist, small hips. The masochistic side of my brain took a mental picture so I'd have something to compare myself to. It's like saving the photo when you clip a recipe from Bon Appetit.

I didn't have to wait long before I saw him again. I was at work, tending bar at a dive on Ventura Boulevard, when he strolled in. The crowd went silent, hands flew up to mouths, hundreds of cellphones came out.

Evidently he wasn't just the boy next door.

"What's up?" I whispered to a regular. "I know he's gorgeous, but this is crazy."

"Riiiight," he replied. "Like you don't know. That's Erik Daniels, the porn star. But you don't watch dirty movies."

Actually, I didn't. A producer asked me to be in a film once, but it turned out to be a secondary role. Instead of being the star, or even doing the star, I'd be watching from the sidelines. I'd be some random voyeur standing there masturbating while muttering inane things like, "Man, that's so freakin' hot!"

Naturally I was insulted. I was young, fit, attractive. There was no reason I couldn't have been front and center. It was like asking Angelina Jolie to be Mrs. Caveman in a Geico commercial. I said "No, thanks" with all the sarcasm I could muster, and ever since I've had a vineyard full of sour grapes.

Erik sidled up to the bar and ordered a Bud, and we exchanged smoldering glances. Then somebody asked me for a drink, somebody asked him for an autograph, and that was it. We never reconnected. An hour or so later he disappeared and so did most of the crowd.

The bar emptied out completely around midnight, so I closed up and went home. Deep inside a dream I heard knocking that quickly turned into a pound. It continued after I woke up, and I realized somebody was at my front door. I threw on a robe, stumbled over to it and opened it just a crack.

There, right in front of me, was every gay man's fantasy: a half-naked porn star wearing a come-hither look. He had on a vest over his bare chest, leather cuffs on both arms, chaps over levis, and motorcycle boots. "Hey," he said, exhaling liquored breath that could have caught fire, "are you busy?"

Busy? BUSY? I was doing what everybody does at that time of the morning: dreaming a chicken burrito was chasing me in a big foil car. Now, maybe I'm weird, but I'm not horny when I'm asleep. I'm totally, perfectly content. Chicken burritos don't give me raging hardons, so when I wake up I'm not exactly lusting after men.

"Yeah," I replied. "I am. It's not a very good time."

"Oh," he said, his face falling. Then "Oh! You already got somebody in there?"

"Yup," I said, grabbing at the excuse. He gave me a half-hearted thumb's up, then retreated down the hall.

Now, as I lay there trying to get back to sleep, it suddenly hit me how egotistical he was. Sure, he was a porn star, but even they got turned down by lines other than "Of course I'd do you, but I've already got a dick on hand, thanks!" Then my eyes flew open. Wait, I thought -- it's two-fifteen. The bars close at two and they're fifteen minutes away -- meaning he struck out and then thought, "Hey, I can always have sex with that guy next door."

It wasn't just annoying: it was insulting. I was stuck at second fiddle again. I lay awake for hours, fuming, and when the sun came up I had a plan. I'd see how he liked the shoe on the other foot.

The next night I didn't have to work so I got totally stinking drunk, then I stumbled to his door at two-fifteen. I'd rumpled my shirt and dribbled beer on my pants, so it looked like I'd been to all the bars. I pounded on his door, barely able to stand upright, and when it swung open there he was. Shirtless and pantsless, clad only in a jockstrap.

"Hey, are you busy?" I slurred, suffusing the line with condescension.

Erik missed it, his expression morphing from piqued to prurient. "No, not at all," he said, ushering me inside. I followed him to the bedroom and he introduced me to Stan, a naked, tattooed guy who was tied to the bed.

"Hi," I said. "Hi," Stan said. "Do you want to fuck him?" Erik asked.

Though I was a bit taken aback, I thought it was a really nice offer. It almost made me forget how angry I was: I mean, I'd dropped by people's houses before and rarely even got offered a beer. Could I? I wondered. I shook my head sadly. I could barely handle the pressure when I was alone. "Well, I'm kind of drunk, but maybe later."

Stan's face fell, and Erik looked disappointed.

I swayed. I staggered. I yanked down my pants.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Roots," Boots, and Big Galoots: William Joyce

William Joyce was over seven feet tall and renowned for his startling strength. In 1699 King William of England invited him to Kensington Palace for a live demonstration. William told the king he could lift a ton, so the king had weights made to test him. He nearly yanked his arms out of their sockets, but he lifted the weight cleanly off the ground.

The pair went for a walk so William could catch his breath, and the king pointed to tree that must have been five yards around. William boasted that he could pull it completely out of the ground, roots and all, and the king called his bluff. It sapped every last bit of his strength, but he succeeded.

While waiting for his carriage to return home, William bragged that wild horses couldn't move him. Naturally this gave the king another idea. He tied a stableful of horses to William, and though he whipped and whipped them, and they nearly tore William in two, they couldn't get the poor man to budge. He died soon after.

The lesson for tall people here is, if you ever get to meet royalty, it's best to just shut up and smile.

Parts of Kensington Palace are open to the public, but there's no mention of William anywhere. Kensington Palace Information Line +44 (0) 870 751 5170

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Roots," Boots and Big Galoots: Charles Byrne

Charles Byrne was eight foot two, and all the rage in London. "[N]either the tongue of the most florid orator, or pen of the most ingenious writer," one newspaper declared in the purple prose of our grandparents' time, "can sufficiently describe the elegance, symmetry, and proportion of this wonderful phenomenon in nature, and that all description must fall infinitely short of giving that satisfaction which may be obtained on a judicious inspection."

Why this guy didn't end up naked in a glass case I'll never know.

Charles liked to drink, and one night while he was on a bender a pickpocket stole his wallet. He got depressed and died at the age of twenty-two.

Every doctor in the country fought to get his body, bidding with the undertaker like he was Elvis' pink Cadillac. Charles, though, had made his plans perfectly clear: he wanted to be buried at sea. He nearly got his wish, but when his coffin was dumped into the water there were more than a few anxious folks watching from nearby boats. And some just happened to be outfitted with scuba gear.

These people didn't recover the body, but only because somebody else had beaten them to it. One of the doctors had been successful with his bribe, and the body had been swapped with paving stones before it went out to sea. Charles' new owner cut him up and boiled him in a big pot until the bones were clean -- if he'd been a chicken, they'd have been halfway toward soup -- then put his skeleton on display. He was eventually donated to a London University, where he's available for viewing five days a week.

Royal College of Surgeons, Hunterian Museum, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, England. Open Monday to Friday 10-5. Admission free.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ram Tough

We know exactly two things about all those oversized American trucks: one, they burn through enormous amounts of gasoline. Two, they're driven by men with small dicks. Or is there some other explanation for why the truck names are indistinguishable from the brand names of penis pumps? Here's a list of a few of each: see if you can tell them apart.

a. Grand Stallion
b. Nitro
c. Ramrod
d. Sport Trac Adrenalin
e. Red Studmaster
f. Explorer
g. Magnum
h. Gladiator
i. Ranger
j. Commando
k. Power Man 6000
l. F-250 Super Duty

Answers: b, d, f, i and l are American trucks. a, c, e, g, j and k are penis pumps. h is both. Here's more information on them for all the small-dicked dudes out there.

a. The Grand Stallion has a tapered latex sleeve and easy-to-use gliding action

b. The Dodge Nitro is powered by a 4.0 L SOHC V6 engine rather than AA batteries.

c. The Ramrod has a battery pack conveniently attached for single-handed operation.

d. The Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin has a blown 4.6 engine making 390 pound-feet of torque.

e. The Red Studmaster has a studded adjustable cock ring.

f. The Ford Explorer is available in an Eddie Bauer edition.

g. The Magnum is equipped with a new safety vacuum gauge.

h. With a three-foot clearance, the Jeep Gladiator could easily clear anybody's penis. The silicone Gladiator is red and has internal nubs.

i. The Ford Ranger has a towing capacity of 4,200 penis pumps.

j. The Commando is penis-shaped, with a multi-speed vibrating bullet. We told our boyfriend we don't know even what that means.

k. You can use the Power Man 6000 with or without the pleasure ring attachment. Storage bag included.

l. The Ford F-250 Super Duty is twenty feet long. We bet its owners claim it's twenty-five.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Queen Latifah Loves Her Fans

"I wouldn't be here without my fans," Queen Latifah says on her MySpace page.

"And I also won't perform for less than seventy-five bucks per person, with an additional ten-dollar minimum at the tables."

(She's coming to the Highline Ballroom.)

"Roots," Boots and Big Galoots: Edouard Beaupré

Ever since he was a kid Edouard Beaupré wanted to be a cowboy. He loved horses, and all he wanted to do was ride them every day of his life. Unfortunately ole Bullet couldn't pick up much speed with Ed's feet dragging on the ground, so his dream went up in smoke. He was 8' 2" and weighed four hundred pounds at the age of twenty-one.

With no other prospects Edouard joined a freak show and went on tour. Now instead of riding horses across vast green pastures he lifted them over his head in tents. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 23.

Since he was a celebrity of sorts, he had an agent, and those guys don't let death spoil their plans. The agent had him mummified and the tour continued. At some point he took a detour, though, and he vanished off the face of the earth until 1907, when some kids found him rotting in a warehouse.

People jumped out of the woodworks to claim him, like he was a treasure chest full of gold, but the University of Montreal won. They said they wanted him for research, but that meant preserving him like a ham and displaying him in a glass case, naked.

You should probably think twice about donating your body to these people.

The University finally let relatives take the body in 1989. He'd been so heavily treated, though, that doctors said he'd never decay, and his relatives were afraid he'd be dug up and put back on tour. They had him cremated, some eighty-five years after his death.

See the ashes near his statue in front of the Willow Bunch Museum, Saskatchewan, Canada. They're average-sized, so they won't touring soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Google Your Way to Me

You might not know this, but there are tools that let me see how you found my page. Some of you found their way through Gawker, others from blog links or email from friends, but a healthy share were pointed here by Google. I was a bit startled to discover that maybe a fifth of my readers got here by Googling one of these phrases:

spanking the monkey

suck my toes

big feet big meat

rachael ray fan

bathroom spanking

ass come gay eat shrimping

i want my boyfriend to cross his legs

have sex with rich gay men

studded leather jockstrap

throbbing crotch

Honestly, this list gives me the creeps. Imagine, working for hours and hours on my writing, editing and polishing it until it sparkles like a diamond, and then discovering it's being read by Rachael Ray fans.

"Roots," Boots, and Big Galoots

No matter how bad it gets for the tall guy, things certainly could be worse. Maybe we provoke curious stares on the subway and startled screams in dark alleys, but there's one thing that we can count on for reassurance: it'll cool down considerably once we're dead.

This was far from the case in the past.

Just a few short years ago, a tall man's calendar wasn't cleared by something as trivial as dying. Those Tall Man Fans who stared openmouthed as we blithely wandered Main Street were more than happy to fork over their hard-earned cash to see our corpses. Death, in fact, made the crowds larger. Now that we were preserved, we couldn't escape. We couldn't protest. We couldn't bitch-slap some sense into their peabrained heads.

While the modern-day giant can look forward to an eternity of peace under a luxuriant carpet of grass, his predecessors were busier than Liza Minnelli. They were mummified whole or their skeletons were boiled clean, and they were strapped to the cabooses of circus trains or stapled to the wall of libraries. Maybe lying motionless at Gentle Breezes Family Cemetery doesn't strike you as a great way to spend a Saturday, but it beats the hell out of being pinned spreadeagle next to the skeleton of a two-headed chipmunk, and an endless line of tourists muttering, "Whoa! That dude was freakin' tall!"

Inspired by "Roots," "The Immigrants," and "Gangs of New York," I decided to go in search of my own heritage: those brave men who in their own time were also flamingos in a world of sparrows. While the average person researching their family history will trek to their country of origin and explore ancient homes and graveyards, our quest leads to freak shows and the dusty backrooms of obscure museums. Over the next few days I'll write a bit about some giants I discovered, and where you can pay your respects.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saturday in New York

Saturday was passive-aggressive day here in New York.

I was blithely wandering around enjoying the unseasonal coolness when I ran into a street fair. It was sponsored by a soup kitchen, judging by the signs asking for donations, and one booth had a big tureen presumably to toss money in. Having an income lower than my IQ, I steered clear -- in fact, I started to wonder if maybe they had a little leftover soup or crust of bread to help a brother out.

I got about halfway through the fair when a fiftyish woman approached me. "Would you like to know more about the soup kitchen?" she asked, waving a brochure at me. Obviously she'd end with a plea for money, so I said no thanks.

She shook her head. "So tall. And such a closed mind. How did you get to be like that?"

I'm thinking by the end of the day she refined her approach to something like, "Gimme cash for the poor, buttwipe!"

I'm always annoyed by folks who criticize something but refuse to name the miscreant, so here are the gory details:

Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

The theme continued at dinner. All my friends know how much I love fish tacos, so one gave me a gift certificate to Agave, an upscale Mexican restaurant on Seventh Avenue South, for my birthday. "Upscale" anything irritates me -- I prefer "authentic" or "unpretentious" -- but it's the thought that counts. Still, I knew something was wrong when I heard waiters assure two terrified people that no beans would appear on their plates.

I invited an old friend I hadn't seen in a while, thinking it'd be fun to catch up. I said I was going to order the tofu enchiladas and he was horrified. "She gave you that gift certificate to get fish tacos! You HAVE to get the fish tacos!" So I did, and they were awful.

I told him and he laughed. "Well, what did you expect?" he said. "You can't get good fish tacos in New York."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Steaming Pile of "Stardust"

"Stardust," the new film starring Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer, is an intelligence test. If at any point during the film you find yourself laughing, enjoying yourself, or feeling anything stronger than a mild diversion, you aren't quite ready for the seventh grade.

"Stardust" isn't the work of a writer: it's a string of hackneyed cliches concocted by a profoundly uncreative, "Harry Potter"-cribbing dentist in between shaping porcelain crowns. It should be viewed only by children, the elderly, or those unfortunate souls whose favorite books include passages like "and then the unicorn burst through the door and scared all the pirates away."

I went to a screening last night, where the movie's massive stupidity was foreshadowed by (I presume) a Paramount rep. Before introducing the film, she announced a contest. "I have a gift certificate for $100 at the Cornelia Cafe," she declared, "for the first person to name four famous people in the film. Raise your hands!"

One by one the hands shot up. The first person called upon was tentative: "Um, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, and. . . . " Paramount Rep counted to ten, then called her for time.

The second contestant didn't fare any better. "Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, and Farfel Garfney," he said, attempting that "forgot the name" mumble one sees on UPN sitcoms. He too was counted wrong.

The third contestant was confident. "Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, and Peter O'Toole," she declared excitedly, sure the gift certificate was hers.

"No!" Paramount Rep answered. "Anybody else?"

Third Contestant was confused. "But Peter O'Toole is in the film, right? Isn't he in the film?" Paramount Rep had moved on, though, so the question went unanswered and Third Contestant confined her mutterering to herself.

"I know!" the fourth contestant said happily. "Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, and Sienna Miller," she said.

"That's right!" Paramount Rep declared, handing over the gift certificate. "Sienna Miller."

Third Contestant leapt to her feet. "Peter O'Toole is in the movie, right?" she snapped. "Why didn't I win with Peter O'Toole?"

Paramount Rep smiled smugly. "I said 'famous,' remember?"

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Russians to Teach Morality in School

A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman recently declared that the country's schools need to teach religion and morality.

Father Vsevolod Chaplin said that the state needs to demonize the dissolute life to keep Russia's youth from being influenced by "the cult of glamour and debauchery." ''We have to show them an unhappy homosexual in his 40s and an aging prostitute,'' he said.

So, tomorrow night, he said, everybody under 21 has to watch "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

For Saturday he's rented "Pretty Woman."

Russians to Teach Morality in School

Mitt Romney's Sons Fight For Him, Not So Much For Us.

Mitt Romney has five sons ranging in age from 25 to 36. They vehemently support the war in Iraq, yet oddly none of them has enlisted.

Judging from their blog, they also seem to hang around a lot of white people.

Naturally I added my thoughts. "Wow!" my comment read. "What a lot of white people. By the way, why aren't any of you guys in the service? Is it just the folks on the short end of the economic stick who are forced to die defending our country?"

Hasn't made it through moderation yet, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Most of the world's white people.

Bothered and Bewildered

Every member of every minority group has a specific life goal to fulfill. Jews have to visit Israel, Muslims have to go to Mecca, and gays have to persuade a straight guy to have drunken sex with them.

Scott lived a few doors down in my college dorm, and I fell head over heels for him. He was a farmboy straight out of Nebraska, with the stocky, broad-shouldered body that came from hard work, fresh air and twenty years of eating nothing but beef. It wasn't just physical attraction that drew me to Scott: his personality drew me in too. He was quiet and confident and an all-American boy, Jimmy Stewart with eighteen-inch arms. He was butch as Hoss Cartright, straight as a rail, and owned a Harley Davidson, which was two virtues more than I needed to pledge my undying troth.

To my eternal surprise, Scott wasn't totally horrified by me. He was either curious or envious of the fact that I was relatively hip. That had taken no work whatsoever on my part: my roommate was one of the dorm's major drug dealers so I got some of that cachet, plus being gay in San Francisco earned me bonus points. Every Friday night I'd head to Castro Street and paint the town red, sometimes not returning home until just before classes on Monday. The first time I did this the Resident Advisor called the police to report me missing. He started to give them my description and the officer cut him off. "Oh, that guy," the officer said. "We've been looking for him for years."

Needless to say, by the time I returned, word had gotten around. The police wanted me. Just by being a cheap tramp I became the Lindsay Lohan of my dorm.

Scott didn't protest, then, when I followed him around like a puppy, content to bask in his presence and occasionally try to peek up his little red shorts. I hung out in the TV room when he was there, joined his table at the cafeteria, dropped by every party where he was. I knew from Day One that nothing would ever happen between us, because he was completely and totally straight. Even if he was curious, I was hardly the type who could talk fence-sitters to jump over to our side. Besides, I liked Scott. I respected Scott. I wouldn't have fallen for him in the first place if he listened to what I said.

The first time he mentioned his motorcycle I gushed with admiration. "I'll take you for a ride sometime," he offered, fueling my sexual fantasies for a year. I pictured him commandeering a massive hog, muscles bulging beneath his denim shirt, and me wedged like a biker bitch behind him. I'd hang on tight, my groin to his ass, and grind against him as all of San Francisco gaily zipped by. He could drive us straight to hell and with my hands wrapped around him I'd have paid all the tolls.

One night I saw him in the TV room, so naturally I went in. He was reclining in one club chair, with his legs propped up by another, his muscles making both look understuffed. As usual he wore his little red shorts, and the vast expanse of his hairy legs was covered with homework assignments. "Hey," he announced suddenly, "I promised you a motorcycle ride. You wanna go drive around?"

I was so startled I could hardly believe my ears. I'd long since given up hope. I'd decided the odds of this happening were just short of Jesus dropping by and asking if I wanted to go meet Dad. "That would be . . . absolutely . . . fantastic," I gushed, almost too excited to speak. Five minutes later he had his hands on the handlebars, and I had my hands on him.

We bounced and zipped and swerved all over San Francisco, for the better part of the night. We stopped by Coit Tower, varoomed past Fisherman's Wharf, and circled the Cannery, him looking cool and confident and me with an shiteating grin on my face. I was the picture of discretion, keeping my hands where safety required rather than pushing my luck. I was happy making any kind of contact at all, and he seemed oddly comfortable too.

After we'd been down every street in the South Bay, the neighborhood turned familiar, and my heart sank when I spotted the college parking lot. "Hey," I said, after took our helmets off, "you wanna come up and smoke some dope?"

We lit up joint after joint while perched on the edge of my bed. Clearly this was a new bond of intimacy between us. I was content to bask in the afterglow, but some small part of me wondered how far it would go. No matter how stoned I got, my hands still trembled with excitement. I snuck a fresh glimpse of him whenever I got the chance, picturing us intertwined in an erotic embrace while ignoring the fact that very few attractive people have longings for stick-thin, bearded teens. I absent-mindedly chatted about how great the ride was, and how great motorcycles were, and how much I liked San Francisco, and when the conversation dried up we just sat there. Passing the joint I let my eyes linger on him a minute, and this time he looked back. Then he flipped on the TV -- nervously, it seemed -- and spun the channel until it landed on "Bewitched."

I never really liked the program, but it totally killed my buzz here. Scott, on the other hand, became visibly excited, the red slits he had for eyes opening saucer-wide. Slowly he slid back onto the bed, and you could almost watch his crotch expand. His eyes stayed fixed on the TV as his hands sat poised astride his groin, like a gunslinger getting ready to draw.

"That Samantha is completely, totally hot," he announced before taking a hit off the roach.

"Yeah," I said, almost honestly. "But I'm not all that fixated on appearance. Personality is more important to me: it's what really makes people attractive. Whether they're fat or skinny or young or old, it doesn't matter. You touch, you hold, you connect. Sex is a physical manifestation of affection that shouldn't be weighed down by looks."

"So you'd do an ugly chick?" he asked from deep inside a cloud of dope smoke.

"I don't select my partners based on looks," I corrected. I gestured toward the television: "So that's who you're holding out for?"

"Well, not necessarily," he said cryptically. "I can fantasize. I can pretend. Besides, everybody looks the same in the dark."

He looked at me and I looked at him, and then it happened. I could actually seen the green light flash in his eyes. He went for the lamp and I went for his pants, and in a nanosecond both were off. Rather than meeting in a mutual embrace, though, it was more like a wrestling hold. Two enormous, cornfed arms pulled me to my feet and bent me over the coffee table. Without so much as a hug or a kiss he plugged right in and started banging away. "Ohmigod," came a groan from somewhere in the dark, "this is so freakin' hot."

Me, I wasn't so sure. It had all happened way too fast. Was this it? I wondered as he slammed me back and forth like a ragdoll. My head cleared the table like a battering ram, clanging my knickknacks together like windchimes. Was I actually having sex with my soulmate and it was nothing but a pain in the ass?

"IS THIS IT FOR POSITIONS?" I yelled as I head-butted the lamp to the ground.

Scott kept pounding away, oblivious. "Oh, Samantha," he groaned, fraught with passion. "Oh Sam, oh Sam, oh Sam!"

His speed increased, and realizing I was in a distant second place, I took matters into my own hands. Futilely I tried to coax my genitals into something approaching interest, but before they could respond Scott made a sprint for the finish. "OH SAM!" he yelped. "OH SAM! OH SAM!"


The thrusts came to an abrupt halt, and his iron grasp loosened on my hips. "I'm DARREN," he declared testily, "not LARRY."

"I know," I croaked, mentally shredding my unwritten love letters. "But if you're that lousy in the sack, I'm pretty sure she's thinking about somebody else."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lionel Richie on "Great Performances" tonight

Lionel Richie is on PBS' "Great Performances" tonight.

I'd have guessed he'd make "Mystery" first.

A Gay Guy Wastes Your Time

Cult comedian Bob Odenkirk recently sold two television pilots: "Do You Want to Know What's in My Pocket?" and the home-decorating show "A Gay Guy Wastes Your Time."

As far as the first idea, I find it startlingly close to my own "What's In Your Cargo Shorts?" And as for the second, well, I've been doing that for years.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Firemen Frightened by Gay Pride Parade

It's called "outreach."

They're called "idiots."

They should be fired, because if a Gay Pride Parade frightens them, burning buildings must make them pee their pants.

Firemen Frightened by Gay Pride Parade.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Gay English

I flunked English in high school, but it's not my fault. First, the books we were assigned were just plain weird. A raven that communicates telepathically? A man obsessed with a white whale? If I was into crazy I'd read celebrity autobiographies.

And then we got quizzed with incomprehensible questions. "Why did Poe decide to use a raven?" Um, because chickens aren't scary? "Why did Herman Melville write this book?" Because he couldn't make any money masturbating? How the hell was I supposed to know?

Now if they'd tested us on stuff I could relate to, I'd be Truman Capote today. I came up with some examples: see if you're better at answering these vocabulary questions than the ones they gave you in school.

1. "Forget about Tim," Mike says. "Aside from being self-centered, he's in lousy shape. He hasn't even got a six-pack!" What does Mike mean?

a. Tim has very little beer.
b. You can't see Tim's abdominal muscles.
c. You know, if we're voting I'd take a Big Gulp over a six-pack any day.

2. Fred meets the hottest guy at this new club, and they're all set to leave together when the guy announces that he's into shrimping. What should Fred do?

a. Go for it! I'm an die-hard clammer myself.
b. Get a pedicure.
c. He needs to stay away from that crap or he's going to end up with one "Red Lobster."

3. "Wayne and I had a great time," Simon tells his friend Raoul. "But when I woke up this morning I had a splitting headache and a mouthful of head cheese." What do you think this means?

a. Wayne is hygienically-challenged downstairs.
b. This is why friends don't send friends Hickory Farms.
c. There's someone in the world I want to kiss less than my grandma.

4. "George Clooney, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford," Wayne ticks off on his fingers. "Every handsome man in Hollywood has had a hummer." What is Wayne telling us?

a. That many desirable men own flashy all-terrain vehicles originally designed for military use.
b. That lots of famous people have kept tiny, hyperactive birds as pets.
c. That maybe the night I spent with the three of them wasn't just a wonderful dream.

5. You meet someone new and just as things are heating up he tells you he's Greek active. How do you react?

a. I don't care as long as he doesn't smash my plates.
b. I'd head for the hills. Last time I met one of them I ended up with a platter of baklava.
c. Did you know that Greece is home to a long line of seamen?

6. "That was close," Barry gasps, dodging a speeding baseball. "That thing was headed straight for the family jewels." What is Barry trying to say?

a. The baseball nearly hit him in the gonads.
b. The ball's trajectory intersected with a small, velvet-lined box containing Barry's rings, bracelets and brooches.
c. Hang on: I'm trying to picture Ivana Trump with some of these dangling around her neck.

7. After class, my sociology professor took me aside. "Hey, Bob," he said, "did you get wind of my giant endowment?" What's professor talking about?

a. Someone's made a generous donation to the school.
b. Bob finally found a good "Hoss" for his Bonanza fantasy.
c. See, this is why I never sit in the front of the class.

8. Halfway through their first date Pete is surprised to catch Harvey in his bathroom spanking the monkey. What‘s Harvey doing?

a. I have no idea, but I've already called PETA.
b. What every guy does when he's alone, after checking to see if wrestling is on TV.
c. I've found a timeout works perfectly well to get Mr. Muggs in line.

9. "That dike is cracked," Olaf says. "She's dangerous, and if she breaks she'll destroy everything in her path." What could Olaf be referring to?

a. A crumbling dam that holds back a mighty river
b. part of a car's engine
c. Sandra Bernhard

10. "Captain Cork," says the able-bodied First Officer Mr. Cock, "while the trajectory looks clear to the naked eye, sensors show Klingons around Uranus." What do we learn from this?

a. That a hostile life form is lurking near one of earth's outer planets.
b. That Vulcans are clueless about double-entendres.
c. To avoid movies called "Star Trick -- the Next Penetration."

11. James is answering a personal ad. "I'm easy on the eyes," he writes, "and I've got low hangers." What does James mean?

a. He's reasonably attractive and he owns several dimunitive buildings where you can park aircraft.
b. He shouldn't cross his legs when he's wearing shorts.
c. If you introduce him to your mom you'd better stick with "nice."

12. "I just saw the weirdest thing," Steve exclaims to Paul. "I swear there was something nibbling on my nut sack." What is Steve trying to say?

a. He spotted something moving inside his Calvins.
b. There's a reason those pistachios are at Dollar World.
c. Beats me, but I'm not stopping by his place for "snacks."

13. Carl and his lover are sitting at the kitchen table in their boxer shorts when the mailman comes by. He leers at the men and says, "You know, I'll bet the three of us could make a real hot sandwich." What should Carl think?

a. He should be thrilled. My mailman usually just pesters me for sex.
b. He should consider having a three-way with the guy.
c. Ohhhh. So that was mayo on my copy of "Pistol Packin' Playaz."

14. Steve goes to visit his friend in the hospital. "He's already been released," the receptionist says. "He's downstairs, waiting in discharge." What does this mean?

a. He's sitting in the area of the hospital reserved for exiting patients.
b. He's got the same HMO I've got.
c. Somebody's going to need new shoes.

15. Last night Keith took Tom to a fancy French restaurant. Keith went to the bank beforehand, but paying the waiter he completely blew his wad. What exactly did Keith do?

a. He spent most of his money.
b. He ruined Tom's chances for an enjoyable nightcap.
c. If that was on top of a fifteen percent tip, my name's Roman and I'll be your waiter tonight.

HOW TO SCORE: Think positive, but pad your pants. Thank anyone who says your ass is smokin', but run when they offer to put it out.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Nicole Richie is Pregnant

Nicole Richie is pregnant, a spokesman recently announced. "She is so excited about it," he said, "she's started eating for one."

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Game's A Foot

The first time I went to a bar in New York I had somebody talking to me before I even had the chance to get a drink. I had no idea what the guy looked like, since he stared straight down the whole time. "Nice boots," he announced.

It's not the kind of line that'll dazzle you with personality, but it's the thought that counts. "Thanks," I said. I'm not exactly Regis Philbin.

"What size are they?"

"Thirteen." It was a lie but it made me feel better. I was the hundred-year-old woman telling folks she's ninety-eight.

"Wow. That's big."

Right around here I started to think, okay, it's time to segue into something else. Let's talk about the weather, or politics, or the skankiness of various American Idols. Let's slide the conversation somewhere interesting.

"What are they made of?" he asked.

I was getting irritated now, and more than a little suspicious. What were the choices here? Car parts? Bacon ends? Lint collected from the navels of Belgian nuns? "Leather, I guess."

"Oh," he said. He still didn't look up. "The stitching looks really, really strong."

I hung on just a few minutes longer before deciding it was time to bolt. My friend Steve was watching and snickering just a few feet away, so I told the guy he was my boyfriend and scurried away.

Steve was hardly a safe harbor. I appreciated his insight into books and movies and human behavior, but balked when he noticed things in my life that I'd missed. "He sure was interested in your feet, wasn't he?" he said, a smirk permanently affixed to his face.

I shrugged my shoulders. "So he likes shoes," I said. "Everybody likes something."

"Okay," he said, rolling his eyes. "Sure. But didn't you think it was strange that he had to taste the leather?"

It had kind of raised a red flag. "He says really good leather tastes slightly nutty."

"How about the soles? What does high-quality rubber taste like?"

My stupidity poked its head up like a gopher on a golf course. "Chicken."

"Oh, okay. Now it's making perfect sense. Why did you have to take them off?"

"He thought they were cramping my instep."

"And they were, of course," he said, as I nodded dumbly. "But it wasn't anything that couldn't be fixed with his tongue?"

Clammy toes started to twitch inside my shoes. It all sounded so plausible when the guy had said it, and yet so preposterous now. For the rest of the evening I could barely wipe the shame from my face. I'd been the unwitting patsy in some perverted sex ritual, the clueless foot for a manipulative fetishist. Sure, I'd been used before, and as long as Rohypnol or KFC existed I'd be used again. But being taken advantage of in a crowded bar, while drunken men guffawed at me behind their beer, totally crossed the line.

The next time I met a Foot Fan, then, I swore I'd get revenge. I'd drive him wild with desire. I'd taunt him with my peerless peds until, unable to bear his frustrated passion, he'd fling himself in front of the nearest cab. Then I'd laugh, laugh, and laugh some more. Sure, I passed out cold when my cat gave birth, but I wasn't thinking properly at this point.

I had to wait more than eight months, but I finally got my chance. I recognized the downward stare and the stupid questions, and I knew the stage was set. Take your seats, boys and girls, I all but bellowed to the oblivious fool. It's time for Foot Fetish Theater!

"These are very rare pair of boots," I said, lifting one up so this poor sap could get a closer look. "They come from a small, ancient atelier in Italy where they still do things the old-fashioned way. They need to duplicate how your feet sweat when they're cramped up all day, so they strip you down to a jockstrap and lay you on a couch while they moisten your toes with their probing tongues. They suck on each one individually, lovingly, digging into all the little nooks and crannies, gently nipping at the warm pink flesh, cleaning the tops and sides like a determined cat."

At the very least I got him to look up. "Don't play games with me," he scolded. "If you aren't interested, just say so. Personally, though, I can't understand why somebody would turn down a foot massage. I employ ancient healing techniques combined with reflexology to create a total foot experience. Hot stones melt the tension from the lower legs, dissolving stress while improving circulation, and biometric toe manipulation opens clogged energy pathways."

Believe it or not, this started to sound tempting. Even with me mentally inserting the phrase "with my tongue" into every line.

"Then," he continued, "a deep exfoliation of salts smoothes and moisturizes the skin. I drizzle your feet with exotic oils known for purification -- mint from the deepest Sahara, sandalwood from Bolivian rainforests, patchouli gathered from virgin crocus --- and wrap them in the softest silk to plump every pore with hydration. A light massage of body cream seals your skin like a warm blanket, and you'll find yourself in a new plane of existence, where improved mental acuity mingles with a renewed sense of spiritual well-being."

This wasn't anything like what I'd imagined. "You don't just want to jerk off on my toes?"

He shook his head solemnly. "Au contraire. What I offer you is a journey of total relaxation, in an aura of peace and tranquility."

I decided to postpone my revenge. Guys always try to tell you what you want to hear, but this one in particular hit it on the nose. I always thought sex would be better if it were more like a spa treatment: I'd lay there, my needs would be met, and afterward somebody would bring me tea. Maybe this isn't enough to tempt you into forbidden fields, but for a guy as selfish as me it was like an engraved invitation from the Queen.

And so I followed him home, his gaze never leaving my instep. Though I'd pictured a lair as exotic and mysterious as the Casbah, his place was packed with all-American crap. The air reeked of Glade Plug-Ins, the carpet was as long as my hair, and Mantovani blared from the Radio Shack stereo. But my feet felt a bliss they'd never known.

To make a long story short, I didn't leave that apartment for nearly five months. Nathan's devotion won me over, totally and completely, and we began talking of love and children and white picket fences. Sure, I got a little tired of watching "My Left Foot," "Kinky Boots" and "On Your Toes" every Friday night, but his ministrations to me more than made up.

I hadn't stood for nearly a week when I made that fateful decision to vacuum, and I found that Odor Eater somebody had lost beneath the couch.

Size seventeen. Not mine, and clearly not his.

He pleaded and cajoled and begged for forgiveness, but I threw all my stuff into a suitcase and left. It was a long, hard walk to the car, and not just because my feet squished in my shoes.