505

If numbers could stalk, I’m convinced that 505 would be my stalker. The anecdotal backup for this suspicion goes back a good – or occasionally good – dozen years.

Back to Rib.

When we started dating and I found out his family was from a reservation in New Mexico (he was born and raised in SoCal, but spent summers on the rez growing up) I honestly didn’t give it too much thought. If anything, it was more a matter of, “Well, that has to be better than either of the Dakotas, right?”

Anyway, my home state’s area code is 503 and I found it interesting that New Mexico’s is 505. That’s all it was, though, a passing point of interest that amused my brain, that our area codes were adjacent.

Ironically, Rib’s also the high water mark in this story. Deservedly, so – don’t get me wrong. Our relationship was good. Fulfilling, even. Eventually it just ran its course and instead of letting it die a slow death, I pulled the plug on it. We’re still friends, too, so like I said…he’s earned his position at the top of the heap in this story.

I moved back to Portland a year or so after Rib and I parted ways. Shortly after that, I started dipping my toe back into the toilet disguised as a pool that is dating in Gay Kulture. It’s my usual rhythm, too: I was usually single about half as long as my prior relationship. In Rib’s case, that penciled out to about two years.

For me, not him. He was single for about three weeks. I never said the transition from dating to friends was smooth.

Literally the first guy I showed an interest in turns out to be a transplant from New Mexico.

…aaaand enter the Broken Poet. My dumb ass thinks it’s a second chance at the 505.

Three chaotic months later, he’s run off back to New Mexico to live with his dad.

Flash strangers forward about six months and I start running into the same guy all around town. Jeo. All around town is overstating it. I rarely leave my quadrant, so more like all around my neighborhood.

Mind you, this is not his neighborhood, so it’s fairly remarkable. But we share coffees, the occasional slice of pizza and even rarer adult beverage. He’s not much of a drinker, but down to watch me drink – not something I’m a fan of.

My favorite moment with him was introducing him to my favorite guilty pleasure – Ground Kontrol. It’s a classic video game arcade in Old Town, just across Broadway from my place. As we walked in, I finally noticed the address of the business immediately nextdoor: 505 NW Couch.

Hilarious. Of course, I pointed it out and mentioned he oughta feel right at home.

Turns out, the reason I ran into him all around my hood is because he works here. I was usually catching him before or after a shift – or in between work shifts. Turns out, both of his jobs were in my hood.

Gotta love gumption.

Anyway, it was fun. I was enjoying getting to know someone without the unspoken agenda of getting them between the sheets and then between their legs.

Growth.

All courtesy of me not being particularly attracted to him – probably not busted up enough for me, knowing my type – and him being emotionally unavailable. Turns out, he shared one day, that someone back home had kind of strung him along and he was still emotionally tethered to him.

I had found out early on that he was also from the 505 – as I was now openly calling it. It would be a couple more months before he told me the guy’s name and I eventually figured out it was the Broken Poet.

This could only happen to me.

Anyway. I wish I had a better lock on my WordPress archives so I could find the Broken Poet posts to link for you. But I don’t, so you give the search a try. Maybe it’ll work for you from the hashtag menu when I post this.

Jeo didn’t get a hashtag. I don’t know is it’s because we never really dated or if it’s because he wasn’t the typical Lost Boy that Gay Kulture tends to barf out at me. I’m leaning toward the latter. I enjoyed our time as friends and hangout buds. He just didn’t have a ton of spare drama overflowing onto my sneakers.

Refreshing. To be sure.

Until he kissed me out of the blue one day.

Caught me off guard, he did. I wasn’t offended, I just wasn’t prepared…and I don’t think he understood the difference between the two responses.

I’m going to jump ahead now. I’ll shorthand the interim with this: there were other guys from the 505 that I came in across and didn’t suffer, I’m less optimistic about the caliber of person that area code can produce than I was back with Rib. Hell, when I was a hiring manager, I had to actively set aside my misgivings about the residents of the 505 to avoid them coloring my decisions and potentially putting my employers at risk. I’m glad I’m either self-aware or professional enough to know to do so, though.

Flashing forward to the fall of 2020, I find myself down a “You busy?” fella. Someone to bang out with – now that I’m openly retired from dating. It’s not so much about efficiency as it is about boundaries around my own self-care. I can’t put it as succinctly as “come, cum, go”, because I do enjoy an intimate connection with my occasional erection. But I’m not investing long term here.

I’m sampling the menu, not buying the restaurant.

Enter BiBoi.

I’ve done a 180 on my attitude toward bisexual men. When I was younger and seeking a relationship, they bothered me. Most likely as ungettable. Now that I’m post-dating and more into relating while mating, they hold a functional and appealing disqualifier. Or, rather, I do: no titties. Or whatever it is that appeals to those fellas who can’t commit to a single gender dating pool.

We’ve been on and then off and now on again since November of 2020. Our first run was populated by interrogatories like “How long was your longest” this situation and “Do you think I’m maybe just mostly gay” type things, which I deftly batted aside like I’m King Kong atop the Empire State Building and they were attacking bi-planes instead of questions from a bi-guy.

The notable break came when he started dating a rack seriously and failed at juggling me to meet his needs that she could not.

“To thine own grumpy old man-ness, be true”, Me

Turns out, I’m not only his “what’s missing in his relationship” but also his adult, because when she dumped him…back, he came. Not for the sex, which he eventually got, but for the perspective, methinks. I don’t tell people what they want to hear. But I do tell them what maybe they need to hear.

He was in a mood to hear it this time around. To his credit.

Oh, and did I fail to mention he’s from a small town just north of the border in an area code known as the 505?

Sorry, that’s just bad storytelling.

Seriously, though…I am left to wonder why this isn’t my second question to someone. First, who are you? Second, from where are you?!?

Out, it always does, though. Surprised by it, less and less am I. Because, of course you are from the 505 if you run into me.

Ironically, that’s not where this story ends – even though BiBoi is texting me now that he’s off work.

Nono. As my neighbor, CrazyTown, has ridden further and further off into the insanity sunset, I’ve become more and more interested in leaving my building before I become associated with a tragic headline.

This has manifested in my joking to the Silver Fox that I was going to just move into his condo across the park. Mostly, that threat was meant to spur him into recamping to Portland from his ex-wife’s country estate. I get that being decamped there provides him with stimulation – not that kind – that he doesn’t get from life in the city: a free range dog, gardening, ok…farming, hot tubbing under the stars, non-tent-dwelling neighbors, no neighbors. Things the city life can’t offer.

Still, he has a two-decade long history with every older person’s most significant of others: doctors. If not for them, I might never have seen him after his pandemic escape. And his condo just sits there. Empty, aside from the every-other month-ness of his doctor appointments or even rarer relatives coming through town and crashing there for a night or two.

His counteroffer to my idea of establishing squatters rights? Use his Fox Network of relationships, both established and newly formed in pursuit of a friend’s in-need-ness, to find me a place in his building that is not…his.

Understandable.

The not-yet-exhausted option he’s sourced?

Yup…unit 50-fucking-5.

Because, of course it should all culminate there for me. If it happens, I don’t see myself getting out of it alive. It’s too neatly wrapped up.

Not that it comes with an executioner, by any means. But, don’t be surprised if it did!

No, I just mean that with the familiarity I have with his neighbors after running into them in elevators and hallways and (unescorted by a building resident) on the rooftop deck and on sidewalks and bars over the past couple decades, it would feel like home.

For as long as I myself, alone (of course) shall live.

There’s a certain fucked up I don’t know what-ness about the potential. We’ll see how the 505 saga ends…

505

Random Gambitches #2

If you’ve followed along on these misadventures for any length of time, you know I’m a fan of that jaywalking life. But I’ve recently begun to notice that it’s not for everyone.

It’s more of a skill than I’d realized.

Definitely not a privilege.

Jaywalking is a scofflaw life.

A crime of opportunity – although, I admit to some off guard moments of necessity where I wanted to be home quite urgently. If you get my drift…

The short of it is, if the coast is clear, you go. That italicized verb was referring to the stride of Sir Jay, not the thinly veiled bathroom reference that preceded it.

Key words: clear and go.

Here’s my bitch, people are fucking up this shockingly simple transgression. They’ll dart out into the street without so much as a cursory glance in the direction of traffic. Better yet, they’ll just stand at the edge of the street or on the traffic side of a row of parked cars and wait.

And people stop and let them cross! Classic Portland. Also, classic Wrong of Way.

If I stop for those idiots, it’s gonna be to tell them that they’re doing it wrong. I’ll suggest their attempt to save a few steps is wasting their time.

Not that they’ll listen.

Seriously, though…what’s the thought process there? They aren’t making it across quicker if they have to wait. If they’d walk to the corner, they inherit a right of way, especially if there’s a traffic control. But all they’re showing me with their technique is laziness or stupidity.

Stupid Americans.

But the folks that really get me going? Two different groups, but similar imagery. Think: Beatles album covers. Here, I’ll make it easy for you:

The first group that raises my ire is the group of people who are clearly together, but can’t get together – no, wait, if I’m gonna cite Beatles references, it’s got to be come together! – to cross the street as a group. There’s the de facto leader, simply by virtue of being the only one focusing on the task at hand. There’s invariably someone struggling with a load of shopping or an over or underaged person that needs extra care to cross and then trailing the toddler or infirm entry in this parade is the person with their phace in their fone.

Abbey Road, they are not.

Even worse than this group is the group of strangers recreating the pic at a 90-degree angle, so there’s just this line of failed jaywalkers lining the side of a street. They may get an F for their misguided misdemeanor efforts, but they pass social distancing with flying colors. Inadvertently, I’m sure.

And as I pass them, I mentally mow them all down. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Except any of them that went to a corner, mind you.

Is there a Nobel non-Peace Prize? Fine, I’ll start my own.

Random Gambitches #2

18 Hours

That’s it. I just need to survive another 18-ish hours and I’ll be satisfied.

Let’s face it, 2023 isn’t off to a great start for 54 year olds or drummers. We lost Fred White of Earth, Wind and Fire on New Year’s Day and Robbie Bachman from BTO on the 12th.

And let’s face it, I’m no drummer – world famous or otherwise.

Which leaves us with Adam Rich and Lisa Marie Presley – both of whom started the year off by stopping.

Forever.

At 54 years of age.

That is a group of which I am a reluctant member…

So I’ve simply got to navigate the next 18 hours without inadvertently stepping in front of a bus or getting struck by lightning and I’ll be happily in the clear.

18 Hours

IYKYK

I was out driving a bit tonight and got a split order – food from two restaurants going to the same address.

How’s that for a solution to the age old relationship struggle of agreeing on what to have for dinner?

I don’t usually take orders that involve more than 10 miles of travel or fall too far beneath my $10/order earnings expectation, but I’ve been in a bit of a Yes Game mood lately and couldn’t help myself. I don’t know what it is about the start of a new year that makes me want to affirm and confirm. So, there I was, picking up food and hauling ass across town for $14.

I pick up the first order and drive a block or two to the next place – pizza. I notice that I’m not particularly affected by my usual feelings about this place, either. They usually piss me off, so I don’t go there anymore – it’s good for my grumpy old man heart to stay away – but this is their food, not mine and I don’t really care.

“Yeah, that’s got about 10-15 minutes left in the oven.”

“Seriously, how long does it take to cook a fuc” – nope, never mind. Not my food.

I shoot the customer a message to let them know and get a “No worries” reply, then sit down to play my Words With Friends while I wait. Once it’s done, approximately one millennia later, I hop back in the car and anon my ass up to NoPo.

The order had booze with it – a six-pack of beer and a bottle of bubbles, someone knows how to Sunday a holiday weekend! – so the customer had to sign for it when I arrived.

I knock.

A small face appears behind the sheer blinds on the door a little less than 2 feet up from the floor and disappears. Moments later, a second face appears a little higher up and then pulls the same vanishing act.

I debate knocking again when a dog pokes its head through, stares at me a moment and runs away. That’s really not good for one’s self esteem, getting dissed by dogs.

Finally, a full sized human appears at the door, opens it and announces, “Epic fail!”

“Yeah, that pizza joint is always a bit of a shit show”, I catch myself just before my adjectification of the pizza place and drop my voice to a whisper to avoid accidentally teaching the diminutive humans any blue language.

The customer explains that he wasn’t worried about the food, announces that he should get me some extra cash for my wait time while walking away from the door and then careens back to his point. He has been trying to teach his kids about stranger dangers and had heard from the big one that the little one had been trying to unlock and open the door when he found him.

“Well, I hadn’t noticed”, I tell him as I trade my phone for a few unnecessary folded bills.

He signs my screen with his finger and shakes my hand after he hands my phone back.

I had noticed the denomination of the top bill when he’d handed it to me and laid it out while waiting for my salad to arrive at dinner for a lil pic for you, my abhorring public.

Like the title says – if you know, you know.

If you’re not a native of or current resident in the city with the highest number of strip clubs per capita in America, let me spell it out for you.

Stripper money.

With one exception, every strip club I’ve been to in Portland gives cash customers an inordinate number of $2 bills as change. The intent is to drive up tip income for the performers, which I’m all for. One particularly raucous (in a good way) club even has the emcee occasionally seed the crowd vis-a-vis a toy gun that shoots $2 bills into the crowd.

It’s kind of fun to watch, but I’m not much for the strip bars these days. Occasionally I’ll stop off at the lesser of the two gay strip clubs since it’s on my way home from another one of my local watering holes and open two hours later.

Shit beer, though, so I’ve got to be in a mood in order to drop in when I leave the other place.

Anyway, I have always thought that spending these $2 bills outside a strip club was indicative of one of two flexes:

A) it’s a particularly empowered performer making a declaration; or

B) it’s a client who is throwing those $2s around like au unhumble brag.

I like both options.

What I’m not as crazy about are the bills that have clearly been in circulation a while. You’ll notice my handful was fairly crisp. The alternative is – what’s an alternative to a “handful” of “fairly crisp” bills? – a crotchful of nearly dry bills?

Oh, and best part?

The customer’s wife must’ve edited the tip while he was talking to me. The order from the first restaurant was only base rate + peak pay, which came to $5 – believe me when I say that the money you make in this work comes from the tips! – so this $14 deliver ended up being $30.64 from the app and another $10 in cash.

I love when the Yes Game rewards my efforts to bust out of my grumpapotamus shell.

IYKYK

A Bag of Ds

It’s short for “a bag of dicks” and it’s usually preceded by the words “go eat”. It’s applications are nearly as versatile as the word “fuck”, but that’s not what prompts this post.

I’ve become increasingly amused by the appropriation of the “D”.

The other day, I walked into one of my locals and was asked the usual question-with-an-obvious-answer upon finding a place to squat at the bar. Instead of giving the <ahem> straight answer, I deployed a little bit of my usual Xtopher fuckery.

“Just thought I’d come in to try and get a little D”.

Bartender: <glances around uncertainly> You know we’re not that kind of bar, right?

Me: You’re a hotel bar. You’re exactly that kind of bar.

At this point, the bartender gives me a look that strongly suggests one of us has been misinterpreting what they’ve observed in the environment over the years. I can tell he’s also slightly uncertain as to whether I have previously unshared first-hand knowledge on the topic (I do) to which he thinks I’m alluding. I know he’s told me that he’s been room-keyed be patrons before…but that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

Me: Well, if you’re going all in with dry January here, I can go somewhere else for a little drink.

The mixture of relief and I-can’t-believe-I-fell-for-it was pretty enjoyable for me. Assuming he enjoyed it, too, I stiffed him on the tip.

Kidding.

But he had to have known there was another shoe just waiting to drop. This is the bar where the other bartender spent weeks asking everyone if they’d seen the Hot D, referring to HBOMax’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon.

The very next day, I shit you not, I witnessed the same phenomenon occurring in the wild.

The wilds of my coffee shop.

I’d just finished my set order at the counter, having ordered drinks for me and my perpetually tardy friend. At first I’d declared her as being on her own for coffee. Having a split second to rethink it, I opted to get her a two-shot version of my quad order, riffing as I did, “So I guess I’m removing her coffee agency since she was late!” This amused the woman taking orders, so I stiffed her on the tip.

More kidding. But could you imagine?

Not to be outdone by some old man, the young buck barista asked if I wanted her drink to be “half D”, meaning two regular shots and two decaf shots. I told him no, not seeing the point.

“Yeah, that’s the thing, it’s really whole D or nothing, if you ask me!”, says he with a puckish cock of an eyebrow.

I decided responding “Don’t you gay-bait me, son. You play with this old bull, you get the horn!” Instead, I did the dramatic laugh and point, adding, “This one, with the jokes!”

Does anyone else do/witness this type of prurient wordplay? Letterplay? Whatever.

I’m tempted to think this is the type of thing that would only happen to me or because of me, but who knows, maybe people are just feeling playful in general these days. After all, this is the town that I am fairly certain came up with the business that allows you to anonymously mail someone a literal bag of dicks.

A Bag of Ds

Tire(d)

The Silver Fox says I have the worst luck with tires of anyone he’s ever known. Despite his proclivity for hyperbole and my natural resistance to it when I hear it…I’m inclined to take that statement at face value.

To wit: last Sunday night, I was driving up Sandy Blvd on the east side of the river and was getting excited that my nav was turning me onto NE 57th, as that 5-point intersection was this epic entity during my childhood in that neighborhood. I was considering whether my nav would take me off 57th onto Fremont and right past my childhood home on the corner of NE Fremont and 60th.

That’s when I heard was the airbrakes of a semi or bus misfiring nearby.

Nope.

Instead of getting louder or fading away as the vehicle approached or receded, I was noticing more of a cyclical sound. I shut off my radio.

Then I opened my window. It was like a pressure release valve.

Then my dash gave my clueless ass the answer.

Low Tire Pressure.

“Rear drivers side? That’s different.” I’m not even surprised by that alarm from Angela anymore. No, it’s the location that surpass me.

And it was surprising. Of the three sets of tires I’d had since buying Angela three years ago – ooh, foreshadowing! – the majority of leaks I’ve had have been on the rear passenger side tire.

Hooray for noticing patterns.

It was dark. It had briefly stopped raining, and I had a leak in my tire that I could hear over traffic.

Gamely, I got my compressor out and tried refilling my tire. I could hear sir hissing out of the tire over the high pitched rumble of the compressor.

Because of my track record with leaks, I carry a can or two of fix-a-flat with me. I put it into the tire and pulled forward a hundred yards to spread it around and hopefully coat the hole. Reattaching the compressor, I tried filling the tire again to no avail.

I called a Lyft. I hadn’t opened either the driver or the rider apps since they boondoggled me off their driver platform last February, but it had been on my mind lately, since I become eligible to drive for rideshares in Portland again at the end of this month. I was conflicted for the duration of the ride, listening to the driver’s stories of mixed successes. Casually, I attributed her moderate enthusiasm to her own situation, mostly not driving when demand is highest because of her kid. The right decision – for her.

The next two days were absolute hell at work. Year end in a Payroll department of one…what can I say?

I was supposed to go into the office on Wednesday, but my car was still sitting on the roadside in northeast Portland about 70 blocks from me. Reluctantly, I asked my boss to use one of my banked holidays from working Christmas (observed) and Winter holiday (it was a payroll week) so I could get this taken care of. Unfortunately for me, it was another payroll week and I had to be available Wednesday morning to make any last minute corrections before she submitted the batch, but I could take a half day.

After my recent luck with tires, I’d taken the advice of the Silver Fox as well as a fellow blogger and stayed away from the Continental tire brand, which also meant staying away from the conveniently located Les Schwab tires, since that was the only brand they carried for my vehicle – and special ordering tires there was crazy expensive. This is how I ended up with my third set of tires – Bridgestones – coming from the Costco, courtesy of The Fox’s membership…in the next town over.

At least they had been on sale! I think the whole ordeal had come in several hundred dollars below the cost of the special order at Les Schwab, and under a grand. Oh, the winning!

Not so convinced now so much as I had been that Continentals were to blame as I was beginning to come around to the Silver Fox’s thinking that I had a tire jinx – not to mention the two courtesy patches I’d gotten from my neighborhood tire shop recently free of charge – I called Les Schwab to ask about my options. The thing is, I’d heard the one-tire tragedy often enough during my time waiting at Les Schwab for prior patches to know: one does not simply replace a single tire.

I ended up speaking to the manager of the shop. He told me that 30k miles into an 80k warranty put me in an iffy place. If I was at 70% tread depth, I could just replace the one – which surprised me. Then he hit me with the story I was more familiar with: with an all wheel drive car like mine, the recommendation was always to replace the set.

I’d convinced myself that part of the schtick was always to leverage their in-house financing. That’s the part that always made me feel creepiest to witness.

Then he said two things that surprised me.

First, that I should stop by their shop over on 29th & Sandy and pick up a tread depth gauge since it was close to where my car was stranded. If I was over 70%, I should take it back to Costco for a warranty replacement. Second, if it was under 70%, bring it to them because the warranty wouldn’t matter and there was no point in paying extra to have my car towed further to Costco.

So I did.

I’d forgotten how much I liked riding the bus in Portland. Reluctantly, I got off at 29th instead of riding the bus all the way up Sandy to where I hoped Angela was still in one piece.

When I asked for a tread depth gauge, the person I was talking to immediately started walking toward the door, all assurances that he could help me. Knowing my car wasn’t in their lot, I followed him, since my choice was talk to his back or talk to no one. Once he realized I wanted to borrow or buy one, he started talking to me like he wasn’t sure he was looking at the more dominant of my two heads.

Great. I’d gotten off my bus 30 blocks early for nothing. I checked my phone app and walked toward the next stop along my route. When I arrived, I saw the bus was still five minutes away and decided to walk to the next stop.

Then I remembered what I didn’t love about riding transit as the bus passed me a block from the next stop three minutes before it was supposed to be at the previous stop. Fine. It’s only 20 more blocks, I’ll just walk it.

It started raining.

I really don’t know how I don’t win a lottery. You’d think my cumulative bad luck would circle back to good luck at some point.

Knowing how long it had taken to get a tow when my alternator/battery had crapped out on me at the beginning of 2022, I decided to use my spare time setting up a tow. The guy told me 30 minutes, just as I was closing the last block or two to where I’d left Angela’s fate to the whims of Portland’s mercurial population.

Surprisingly, she was intact. Well, mostly.

Since it was now daylight – and I had 24 minutes yet to kill – I started looking for the source of the leak strong enough for me to hear and feel.

Of course, I had to pull forward…

I had some time to kill before RedKing towing showed up, so I texted my roadside savior from last year – Diezel – to tell him that inflation was fake news. It was only costing me $20 more this year to have my car towed. He then told me that it was exactly one year ago to the day that he’d helped me off the side of the road. Well, him and another tow truck.

Does that strike anyone else as weird timing?

Anyway. Two more surprises: first, the guy at RedKing towing with the Russian accent didn’t name his company RedKing as a nod to his heritage, his last name is Redkin. Second, he was on fucking time! And took less than 10 minutes to get my car on his flatbed – versus the 35 it took last time.

Once I got to the Costco, I learned they didn’t have my tire in stock, but could have it there the next day, Thursday. They were oddly optimistic they could patch my tire, but ordered a full set anyway. A move I was certain was done just to drive me into a conspiracy spiral. They told me I would be ready the next day and they’d call me.

Unfortunately, they called at 4:40 and I had plans to drink my dinner with a friend at 6, so I put them off til Friday after work.

Oh, and they had to replace the tire, but the road hazard warranty covered most of the cost of the tire do it was only $168 for that tire.

But they had to replace the other rear tire, too, at a minimum since the tread was at 50%. For whatever reason, the road hazard clause only covers one tire, despite the pressure to replace the set. My total for the two tires was going to be $447. I was strangely relieved, even though I was having trouble figuring out how the second tire cost $279 and the warranty covering $111 of the first tire was most of the cost.

I came to to the question of whether I wanted them to go ahead and replace the front tires since they had an extra day…and had ordered the full set of tires. Oh, and the recommendation for all-wheel…yeah, yeah.

That would be $1018…somehow costing even more per tire.

“No, but I imagine I’ll be back for them soon enough, given my luck.” I was not down for a fourth full set of tires in 35 months.

My tech told me that to that end, they were putting the patched passenger side tire in my trunk so I’d have a spare if one of the front tires went south. I kind of appreciated that. They didn’t have to do that.

At the same time, I don’t want to encourage my bad tire carma, so I’m not sure I really want it. I have it, though.

More specifically, the Silver Fox’s parking spot will have it as soon as I unload it. Hahahaha.

What? If he could blame Les Schwab for selling me bad tires before, he talked me into Costco tires. Ergo, he’s clearly complicit and can store the tire!

No? Fine, agree to disagree.

Tire(d)

Di*stir*bed

Have you seen the ads for this app?

It’s a dating app for single parents. Touting benefits like scheduling your free time so you can coordinate with other single parents.

Sounds great, right? It’s got done thought behind it, which maybe sets it apart from other dating apps.

And then…it immediately reverts to the usual dating app dumb-fuckery.

Your kids go to bed at 8, but you don’t have to.

What the…?!?

Am I supposed to infer layers of planning and responsibility here? Because what I’m getting is, “Your kids are asleep, why don’t you head out for a little slap and tickle? You know, the hush, the bad? Go on, you’ve been a parent most of the day, minus the 8+ hours you worked, but let your hair down and get yours, now!”

Of course, the next ad set featured an ad for Upward, a Christian dating site. Oddly, I respected it more than this Stir ad. It literally said nothing offensive – just put itself out there as a resource for finding like-minded people with a built in foundation of common values.

What was Stir’s version of that? Instead of “Are you a person of faith?” it has “Are you a neglectful parent?”

Not for nothing, but I’m thinking of joining Upward and making my profile headline some sort of riff on questioning when exactly God was going to start blessing America, as the song commands – because we seem to pretty much be embracing the fucked-up-ness of our situation anymore.

Hoorah…at least people won’t be lonely or undersexed as the careen toward eternal damnation. Whatever that looks like for them.

For me, I think I’m there – and my Hell is mass market advertising geared toward separating as-hard-as-they-have-to-work-to-justify-being-overcompensated stupid Americans from their hard not-earned cash.

And do you know what? We have that coming.

Di*stir*bed

Irresolved

Welp, it’s 8:38 on Sunday morning. I’ve been up since 5. 4:30, really – I got up to pee and optimistically tried to sleep more before I had to get up at 6:30 to take the Silver Fox to the airport so he could anon to Tahiti.

8:38 on Sunday morning and I’ve been up since 5.

I’ve read the news.

Exercised.

Showered.

Completed said airport run.

Filled Angela’s tank.

…and called myself a dumb bitch three times. I’m averaging once an hour today. I suspect it’s having nothing to do for the foreseeable hours remaining in the day.

So I thought I’d do something productive to snap myself out of that self-effacing doldrum.

Can you have a single doldrum? Maybe that’s a torpor.

Neverthemess…I debated asking my parents to breakfast, but I don’t want to drive in this halfhearted rain, so I’m not going to make them do it.

That kind of leaves writing. Am I going to finish my Christmas week post? Finally? No. No, I am not.

I’m jumping into ‘23!

I’m not one for resolutions – or proper English simply for the sake of proper English, hence the nonsense title of this post – but at the same time, I realized in the shower today that I was presently living out a fairly common resolution.

Call it wasting less or doing something for the environment, but that’s what I’ve found myself in the middle of. (There’s some more bad English for ya.)

As I was heading out to pick up The Fox, I had the thought that I should take my redeemable recycling with me to drop off after. I had to stop at Freddy’s anyway to get Myrtle more cat food on my way back from the airport – her breakfast sounded like only two or three kibbles when the feeder went off at 5. Then I surprised myself when I realized I was short of my two bag usual for a trip to recycling and decided to leave it. Besides, who knew whether the Silver Fox would have bags that needed to go in Angela’s cargo area? Best not to risk it.

This is when I realized I’d left my fob to The Fox’s building in my car last night, so I’d have to have him meet me at the door to get in. That was dumb bitch #1.

Then as we were driving to the airport in the dark, drizzly wee hours, I was struggling to see clearly and remembered that I’d intended to bring my glasses so I could see better, but didn’t have them: dumb bitch #2.

On my way home, I took backroads to avoid the blurry freeway. This also took me right by the home of the bi-guy I’ve been banging out with lately. That was kind of a fun realization – but now I’m horny. Sadly, I’m withholding with him because last time I saw him he left a mark like we’re fucking high schoolers.

Do I seem amused?

I stopped off for gas before hitting the grocery store. I’d been at 31 miles to empty when I left for the airport and was at 11 when I made it back to my ‘hood.

Then I forgot to stop at the store for cat food: dumb bitch #3.

Crap! I just realized I’d miscounted my dumb bitches, so that’s dumb bitch #5!

#4 was walking to the RiteAid up the street for cat food and not realizing they don’t open until 9 on Sundays. Staffing issues.

So, yeah…I need some positivity this morning. That required reflection, so I reviewed my day.

I had a shower victory this morning. Two, really, if you count showering so early in the day as a victory (I do). But I finally figured out the “right” number of swipes my shampoo bar requires for a good lather. It’s two.

Two.

I’d picked it up at Trader Joe’s last time I was there – purely on a lark. I’d been looking for a candle and struck out. But right next to where candles should have been was their personal care section and for $3.49, I figured why not give a shampoo bar a try? I knew I was getting close to empty on my current shampoo bottle at home., so this was also an opportunity to be proactive versus finding myself shampoo-less in the near future.

The first time I used it, I gave myself three swipes on each side of my head.

Waaay too much. I looked like a shampoo commercial on crack.

Plus side: this bar produces an insanely rich lather. I noticed this as it covered my shoulders and oozed toward my navel.

For the next week or so I regrouped at two swipes per side. Still too much, but I wasn’t mad since it smells so good! It also does an amazing job of pulling the prior day’s product off my hair, so why under-do it?

But this morning I was in a hurry – I know, up at 5 and end up rushing my shower to be on time, can you believe that didn’t earn me a dumb bitch? – and shaved a second or two off my shower by giving each side of my head one swipe.

Realizing that two swipes total was plenty left me looking at the bar in amazement. It looks barely touched after a week+ of daily use. At this rate, if it only lasts me six months, I’d be surprised. But in that half year, it’ll keep three plastic bottles out of my (non-redeemable) recycling.

Looking back on that made me feel pretty good. I felt even better when the reason behind me not having enough redeemable recycling to merit taking it with me when I left the house hit me.

I bought myself a soda stream late last year. I’m actually rather enjoying it. At first I was conflicted about it for political and environmental reasons.

It’s a company based in Israel, which is ire-some to some.

Plus, I don’t like bubbly water just for the sake of bubbles. Hence, the flavoring syrups in front of it. The Bubbly brand concentrates come in glass bottles and make around 12 liters. The larger containers say they make up to 9 liters, but I’ve only been using 3/4 the recommended dose, so they’ll each get me around 12 liters, too. So for the environmental price of two plastic bottles, I’m keeping about two dozen plastic bottles out of the system. Add another dozen for the glass bottle of flavorings and you’ve got quite an impact.

I’m ok with the return on that trade off.

I realized that over the course of a year, that will be hundreds less plastic containers coming out of my home. That made me feel pretty good.

And it all happened without setting out on a resolution spree.

Not bad for a dumb, ol’ bitch, eh?

Irresolved

K-GAY TV Goes to the Movies

This could all be an exercise in how emotionally broken and busted up I am.

Or bitter.

Or self-loathing.

Or what have you.

But I watched some movie and now I want to talk about it.

Merry Christmas Eve, by the way!

Anyway. I’ve fallen into this avoidance trap. I don’t know why, but I’m doing anything in front of the TV to avoid watching Christmas movies. Maybe it’s because I watched Bad Moms Christmas last year and it put me off the whole genre? Nonetheless, this has manifested by me creating my own themes to binge.

One of these was gay themed movies. The two I want to discuss today both put me off watching them for one reason or another – fine, they both annoyed me – if that tells you how hard I was resisting Christmas themed movies.

How can a movie annoy me before I’ve even seen it, you ask?

Not surprisingly, it was the usual trigger for me: idiots.

When Bros came out and the first weekend earnings were reported, they lacked a certain luster. It made less than $5 million in its opening weekend. The writer and star blamed straight people for not seeing his rom-com because the main characters were gay.

Like…what?

Ballpark cocktail napkin math, there’s 20 million gay men in the US. Countless others who identify as queer, questioning, gender-fluid or trans. And then a handful of lesbians who sympathetically tolerate gay men.

Y’know what, that’s too complicated. The old rule of thumb (and by “old” I mean outdated) is that 10% of the population is gay. In America, that translates to around 35 million people. If just ten percent of that 10% <ahem> came out for opening weekend, that’s a $35 million opening weekend.

Bitch, your own people didn’t show up for you. Trust me, having written a couple of gay themed books, I understand the phenomenon. Don’t blame the straights, it’s your community.

So, yeah…that kinda put me off.

Conversely, the other gay themed movie is been awaiting was My Policeman. After the media hullaballoo surrounding star Harry Styles’ other movie release this year (Don’t Worry Darling) I was looking forward to something I could enjoy without experiencing a shitshow of humanity-baiting press beforehand. But the idiots came through and pissed me off again.

Several of the reviews went out of their way to mention Styles’ English accent sounded contrived and unbelievable.

Harry is from the United Kingdom.

What the hell is wrong with people?

After overcoming those frustrations – at least to the point that the idea of watching them bothered me less than the idea of viewing Christmas content – I made a weekend of it.

Are you ready for this? Gird your loins. No, on second thought, you little peeves put your loins out of your minds altogether. I’m sorry I mentioned it.

Bros

Months and months ago, I heard about this gay movie that was coming out this year called Bros. It was written by and starred Billy Eichner, who I am not a fan of – he’s just not my cup of personality tea. Conversely, it was directed by Nicholas Stoller who brought us okay titles like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. It was also being produced by Judd Apatow.

So there was plenty of recognizable name power behind it. You gotta assume that if anyone could succeed at being a gay-centric rom-com into the mainstream, it was a crew like this.

I spent the time mentally playing Russian roulette. This wasn’t a movie, it seemed as it was a sentence.

Don’t get me wrong, I was only mentally playing Russian roulette, not literally, so it wasn’t that bad. But even weeks after watching it I’m still trying to figure out if I’m bending over backward to not hate it.

Here are me takeaways:

1) There’s some (singular) guy candy. The whole premise of the trailer is that nerdy gay Billy can’t grapple with the reality that hot co-star Luke MacFarlane could be into him. Ok, I feel that particular struggle. Anymore what used to be surprise at learning someone was attracted to me has turned into outright suspicion. Like when a good looking guy pays attention to me my response isn’t to be flattered, it “What do you want?”

2) Sadly, Luke’s character – as easy as he is to look at – has almost the entire patchwork of gay fucked up-ness in his quilt: your basic gym bunny of a commitment-phobe, hyper-sexualized, Homo. Even when the story opens him up a little by giving him a totally out of character secret dream to make him look vulnerable, it’s immediately thrown in the dirt and stomped on by throwing his gay-shame in our faces when his family visits the Big Apple for Christmas.

3) Stunt casting is alive! But maybe not well? Several out actors played roles in this film. That was nice to see – even if the community didn’t come out for the show, it supported the community of out entertainers in its casting. The winner for me was Amanda Bearse playing Luke’s character’s mother. The conservative mindset of the character explains some of Luke’s dis-ease with Billy meeting them, but it was her eventual understanding of how her narrow worldview impacted others that did it for me. It was nice to see Guillermo Diaz play a het dad instead of an unhinged killer. Jai Rodriquez playing Luke’s uber-masc brother pretty much made me realize casting members of the community was more important than casting people who could sell the characters they were playing. Debra Messing is a moderately bright spot in the film playing herself as an out of date star that basically has a meltdown during her scene over being famous for being a fruit fly.

4) The Gays can’t seem to evolve professionally. In the 70s and 80s, we were all basically hair burners and retail queens. Now we’re all drag queens or caricatures of people with no real depth or involved in something that serves our ungrateful and entitled community. Case in point, Billy’s character is a podcaster who is named to lead the blah-blah-blah LGBTQ center. But first he had to build it, which is a central theme in the movie. The closest we come to an actual profession is Luke’s character who is an attorney who does estate planning. To further the programming of The Gays and reinforce that we should not aspire to such respectable professions, he hates it.

5) For as much as we call ourselves a community, there’s truly no unity here. Again, The Gays didn’t go to the movie, but if they had, all they would have seen is the usual selfish infighting amongst the alphabetical factions.

6) The Gays are as self-unaware as ever. Bowen Yang (more stunt casting!) plays a billionaire media mogul who briefly comes into the orbit of this storyline. The scene ends with him dismissing the main characters by telling them he has to go to a Pride pool party and they are too “old” to go in the pool, so they have to leave. Now, I’m all for cleverly bitchy wit. I’m also one for accountability, too, and watching this scene play out made me cringe. Excluding people based on things that are out of their control like age or genes is just not ok. Yang is no underwear model, so I can’t imagine how he felt delivery such an ageist line. If he’s the typical ‘22 model of The Gays, I’m sure the point was entirely lost on him.

Honestly, this is pretty much how I felt about the whole movie. I couldn’t figure out if it was just basic or if it was trying to lampoon was passes for Gay Kulture these days but just wasn’t smart enough to pull it off.

That’s my main takeaway – confusion.

Honestly, props to those involved for taking a big swing on this. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a big miss for me. If you want to see a gay movie about a nerd and a stud falling in love with an out of date TV star having a meltdown…see 1999’s Trick. Tori Spelling was an amazing bit of stunt casting in this indy flick whose meltdown is truly a memorable moment. Plus, Coco Peru’s cameo alone is worth the ticket – rental, now – price, because…it does burn, Coco!

My Policeman

After bracing myself for Harry’s inability to pull of a convincing English accent, I settled into this little slice of life time capsule. Then again, after watching Bros, it was pretty easy to settle in with the expectations bar set pretty low.

This movie takes place in two different times in the three main characters’ lives, separated by 40-some odd years and splices the events of the two points together as the story unfolds.

I’m not going to try and do that here. Suffice to say, it ends up unfolding as a three-way tragedy.

The movie starts with an infirm old Patrick being delivered by medical transport to the home of childless couple Tom and Marion. He’s just recovered from a stroke and is here to convalesce. Marion is glad to have their old pal from decades earlier back in their lives, not to mention someone to take care of to give her days some purpose. Tom is not so happy about the arrival, spending his screen time walking the couple’s dog on the beach.

As the story hood between the past and present, we learn that Tom is a retired policeman who early in his career was a lone singleton in his precinct who was told that single officers don’t get promoted. Enter Marion who is a school teacher that is instantly smitten with the handsome young Tom – let’s face it, regardless of which side your bread is buttered on, Harry Styles is pretty easy to look at, weak-assed English accent be damned.

Tom introduces Marion to a young Patrick, who he claims to have met after an accident.

The three become friends. And it’s a friendship independent of the marriage. Marion and Patrick enjoy cultural outings together without Tom. Tom, for his part, enjoys his alone time with Patrick in…other ways.

Marion does what wives in the 50s-ish era did, ignored the signs about the true nature of Tom and Patrick’s relationship. On that note, maybe we understand a little more of Marion’s motivation behind inviting Patrick to their home to heal. Certainly, it’s easier to understand Tom’s absence in the house.

But it was nostalgic viewing for me. Even though my early relationships with men occurred in the late 80s and early 90s versus the 40s or 50s, the closet was still the room I spent the most time in. Beards – as the women in relationships of convenience were called – were still commonplace. A friend of mine who was a bank VP in the early 90s was told the same thing Tom was. Being a VP versus a beat cop, his response was more “Who the fuck cares?” versus pairing up, but it still happened.

Maybe nostalgia is the wrong word. Because the end result was that I was mad at the memory. The secret life gays were forced to live. The way women were treated as results. The emotional costs on both sides of the transaction.

Regardless, it was a far better depiction of this type of gay-straight love triangle than Threesome. But that probably went without saying – even if you never knew that movie existed…

What upset me most, though, about My Policeman was knowing that the current – or recent – generations of The Gays are oblivious to the trauma of the reality so many generations of their predecessors existed in. Their own culture. But it’s not their problem and certainly nowhere near as traumatic as their realities. Y’know, the one where no one gets their pronouns right and they don’t make enough on their OnlyFans to support their undeserved caviar tastes, leaving them no choice but to self-diagnose with anxiety and/or depression as a result. That’s tragedy.

So while I quite enjoyed watching the story of My Policeman unfold – as well as Harry’s too-infrequent naked ass – the movie left me angrier for what our culture has lost than anything else. That loss is history. Such an important piece of any culture and one of the reasons I spell the word with a K when I pair it with the word gay.

Still, as a counterbalance to my reaction to Bros, I feel like my emotional Geiger counter might not be as broken as I alluded to in my intro. I was still a bit intrigued by the fact that neither of these stories really had the emotional impact upon me their creators would have imagined.

Until

I rewatched Top Gun: Maverick.

Sixteen minutes in and I am shedding tears the way I wish I could shed belly fat: fast and voluminously.

“What the fuck?!?” I asked Myrtle, who opened one eye at the question to let me know it was my problem and not worth rousing her from her nap.

If it would have just been that one instance of nostalgic tears, I could have written it off. But sixteen minutes later, there’s I was again, wiping my face – not my eyes, my face – with both hands.

Then fourteen minutes later.

Then ten.

And it really didn’t let up for the two-plus hours of the movie.

Top fucking Gun fucking Maverick. That’s the movie that provoked an emotional response from me?

Maybe I am more emotionally busted up than I want to let on.

On the other hand, maybe before I decide I should survey a bunch of naval aviators to see what their response was to TG:M. If they didn’t have a strong emotional reaction to the movie, maybe that’s my out: if you’re in the community, there’s a normalizing factor that familiarity breeds where you’re more witnessing the story versus becoming emotionally invested in it.

Oof. I should have stretched before that reach.

K-GAY TV Goes to the Movies