Saturday, January 1, 2011
How To Be Truly Cool...
It's the beginning of 2011. And I am finding myself, for the first time in nearly 13 years, single.
I know - cry me a river. Lots of people break up every day. But come on...I was with my one and only true love 13 fucking years. People like me are why Barry Manilow records still sell in the millions. And I don't mean to sweet, old Babushka's in Vegas. I'm one part Babushka, so I can write that.
After a break up, the worst advice I can give is listen to "This One's For You" and "I Made It Through The Rain" and "Weekend In New England." Why is it horrific pop songs suddenly take on mythical truths after you break up with someone? It's like the songwriter deeply, deeply understands the mysterious workings of the human heart better than Rilke or Shakespeare.
I've been in love twice in my life. The first time was with a man I met in Seattle. Randy _______. He was a sweet, dumb and ultimately misguided white trash boyfriend. He did have a a rockin' mullet, though.
"He's a fuck around, I'm telling you, Mike." This was my sister, Joy. I was 20 years old. She had strolled into Dunkin Donuts in the Capital Hill section of Seattle where I was the Assistant Manager. I can still smell the sickeningly sweet smell of dough frying in dirty oil. My hair was constantly laced with thin strands of caramelized sugar. Like the donuts weren't fattening enough, we had to cover them with endless reams of ropey fake confection.
She walked in with her boyfriend at the time. Now, I love my sister, but on this instance, she was calling a spade a spade (is that racist?). She was telling me I was dating a male whore when her boyfriend looked like a whore as well! Her swarmy boyfriend looked at me and smirked. Then he glanced over at Randy and his mouth hung open.
Randy was an extremely skinny guy. Whenever he would wear shorts in the summer I would stare at his pencil-thin legs in wonder. They looked like hairy swizzle sticks. Like most men, all he cared about was his upper body. His muscular chest and arms were an odd compliment to his frighteningly thin legs. I was sure one day his legs would buckle under the weight of his body and he'd fall over in the middle of the street.
Randy was very proud of his hair. Most gay men in the Pacific Northwest in the 80's were. The top was extremely high and spiked, like a porcupine forced on it's back, it belly wiggling, the hairs on it's bare stomach waving like grain in Montana.
The sides were severely short and the back was very long and wavy. Whenever we would make love he'd drape his hair over my naked body in long, sweeping strokes and moan as if his male G-spot was being tickled with each sweep of his strawberry and cigarette scented hair. He found it erotic. I was both repulsed and fascinated watching him huff and puff as he whipped his hair over my skin.
At Dunkin that day, Randy was dressed in backless chaps and a leather vest and cowboy boots. And that was it. The leather buckles on his chaps kept getting caught in the sugar grinder, a demonic looking machine with various gears and numerous ominous black buttons you had to push in a complicated sequence to make it work. It was not unusual to be at the front counter ringing up a cherub faced soccer mom and her cute, white-bread children and be subjected to Randy screaming out, "Suck my dick!" or "Bitchcuntwhorefag!" whenever his buckles would get caught in the gears of the ravenous machine.
In 1985 we were 'married' in a faux ceremony in a big white trash house in the town of Ballard in Seattle. It was a lazy fishing town with no real personality or sense of community. I realize now how radical it was to be publicly married as a gay couple. The Seattle Times came to the house and took pictures of us for the paper. Oh, look Birdy! The gays are at it again!
I loved Randy very much. He was my everything. But the day I came home and found him in bed with our postman, Hal (true story; seriously), I knew it was the end of our doomed relationship. I never did get my mail on time after that.
Fast forward 14 years. That's 14 long years of hardly dating, hardly seeing anyone, seeing men but not feeling a flicker in my heart of anything more than passing gas from the bad Perogies I ate the night before. Until I met the man I would spend the next 13 years with.
And a little over 4 weeks ago, we agreed to end it all.
My therapist calls me a 'virgin bride.' Don't get me wrong. I ain't no virgin. I've had lots of sex in my life. Not mind-bending, all-consuming, Oh My God Keep Doing That For Three More Hours But A Little To The Right kinda sex. I was never one of those gay guys who love their DICK and only their DICK and think only of DICK.
Call me crazy, but I'm an old-fashioned girl - I like to know 'em before I fuck 'em.
I started this blog writing about food and my journey to TV stardom.
I pitched my cooking show to the Food Network. They listened and nodded and said, "We are all about food, front and center. The human angle? Not really us. You know?"
It's true. Watch their network and it's food, food, food. Which, okay, if you're obese or have a fucked up relationship with food it's clearly gonna be your cup of fatty hot chocolate but after awhile I found myself asking, Is this it?
Where is the emotion? The people? The questions we all ask ourselves late at night - Where am I going? What is my life about? I had an idea of how my life would be - why is it nothing I imagined it would be? And is Paula Deen really a woman or a transvestite?
A long time ago I subtitled this blog "Food, Sex, Love, Life" And that is what this is going to become.
Think of this as a self-help blog which will sing about the meaty subjects in life...all to the tune that is sweet, snarky and funny.
My Mother - God bless her, she's dead and she was a pain in the ass when she was alive, but she did give me a grand sense of humor. It's who I am. I am outrageous, loud, sweet, caring, overly emotional, grand, very gay, cute, charming, insecure, concerned about how I appear, a bit overweight, overbearing and glaringly human.
Just like everyone else on the planet. Okay, I'm larger than life in many ways, but that is my specific charm. Everyone has their specific charm. They simply have to find it first!
Everyone tells me the only thing they want in life is to be happy. On this I'm gaining a deep sense of a undeniable truth:
You already are happy. You just don't know it.
I realize that sounds like what Anthony Robbins might put on a bumper sticker, but the annoying truth is it's the annoying truth.
There was a book years ago that was a huge self-help hit. Some of you may remember; some won't; some of you will groan because you have a copy in your closet:
The book sold in the millions. It took a few years for it to catch on, but by 1974, this book was The Secret of the 70's. It's all about "Transactional Analysis" which is, fundamentally, about searching your past to find out how your needs weren't meant and how you act out like a child now to get them met. I know, crude baseline summary, but this is a blog and not the New York Times Book Review.
My point is the title "I'm Okay; You're Okay" became a joke for every comedian on the planet and every post-modern book, film or TV show in the late 70's/early 80's. It lost it's power.
I think it's high time our incredibly cynical society had a taste of this basic principal.
I'm Okay. You're Okay. It's really not much more deep than that.
I'd rewrite it to "I'm Cool; You're Cool. Cool?"
What is my point?
Right now I'm facing the truth of my life: I'm 46 years old. I'm single for the first time in 13 years. I was single for 14 years before that. My ex (so odd to write 'ex') is a wonderful, sweet, caring man who kept saying for a long time 'We are going out separate ways; we want separate things'. I finally heard him. He was right. Still doesn't take away the tremendous sadness of it all.
Which is why I'm writing this now, right as I'm dealing with the ramifications of my life. Most self-books are written after the author has been through six months of therapy and four book editors and fallen in love again...
My thought has always been, Where is the book that tells me how to get through the shit I'm going through as I'm wading through the tit-deep shit?
So to any of you who are reading to this and coping with a broken heart or a loss you feel is too great for you to handle, I want you to listen to me: You are not alone. You are never alone. You are loved. You are needed and without you this world would be a much darker place.
And yes, sweetie - there is a reason for everything. There are no accidents. None. Nada. Nothing is random, Shirley. Need evidence? You one of those cynics, er, realists? Look at your life. Comb the past and see the results of major, traumatic events in your life. I dare you to tell me you didn't find a deeper truth in terms of your relationship to yourself after the dust or the cocaine settled.
Let's make it through the hard times together, but let's also keep one eye on the prize we already have: We are alive. We have a chance to make our lives anything we want it to be. In order to do that, we must help others make their lives what they want them to be.
More on that later as well.
Happy New Year. Blessings to all of you and for God's sake, go ahead and order Chinese tonight. You deserve one night of bad food.
Now I have to run and go listen to "Read 'Em And Weep" by Barry again. I hope my neighbors don't call the cops again.
In love and light and wearing male Spanx...
Posted by Michael Bryan