Monday, February 28, 2011

3. Wedge's 21st Birthday

My mom and her best friend Jim have this longstanding practice of evaluating the conversations they have as they have them. It's ten ways to snobbery, but I find it both bourgeois and charming. Basically, they break conversations into those about things (the bottom), those about people (a step up), and those about ideas (the goal). The story I'm about to share you can categorize for yourself.

I spent my first summer in New York City in a haze of sex, drugs, and alcohol, working a crap retail job but reveling in the joy of being seventeen and without any parental or otherwise calming influence. I had befriended this girl Wedge through mutual friends, and when the time came for her twenty first birthday, I told her that we would ring in the date at a local bar where I enjoyed a steep discount.

The night started out innocuously enough, we thought as we drank our overly strong Alabama Slammers. You would think since we were starting at ten, we would keep some idea of pacing in a corner of our brain, but dear reader you have obviously not been a college student. When midnight came along, our friendly bartender poured us tequila shots, although we were already four shots and three drinks in. We asked for lime and salt; the bartender told us, "You're turning 21! You're an adult now. You don't get lime and salt."

(An aside: you might be wondering how I was keeping track of the number of drinks each hour and the exact things the bartender was saying. This is where the archival nature of my Twitter comes into play. I tell this to people when they ask why I have that particular form of social media.)

We did the shots, and then did more shots, and then drank some more. By two in the morning, we were thoroughly inebriated and began to get restless. We called for the check and were charged thirteen dollars for ten drinks and seventeen shots. I blame this discount, characteristic of the summer, for my behavior. We left sixty in cash, and went to a local gay bar. That's when karaoke started.

Wedge walked in and stood on the small platform that doubled as a stage and announced it was her 21st birthday. Miraculously a spotlight turned on, and the rest of the lights in the bar went dark. I still don't know how or why the staff did that, but I will forever salute them for it. The gentle piano of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" began, and the next six minutes I can only remember were sublime. (I'm sure I was the only one who thought this, but I'm okay with that.)

After this, we went to campus. Now, since it was July, and therefore very nice out at night, with the whole warmth sans the humidity of the day, we decided that sitting on the Steps was a good idea. Needless to say we passed out, having been drinking heavily for six hours at this point. At five in the morning, Wedge and I were woken up (we were in a spooning position, which looked like we were fucking maybe?) by a Public Safety officer. The following exchange is one of my favorite moments of my time at this school, as well as a great component of the Senior Wisdom I am already writing.

PSO: You need to leave. Random people can't just come and sleep here.
Me: No, you don't understand. I'm a student.
PSO: You must be a visiting student. Columbia students know the rules.
Me: What? I'm too fun for Columbia? I'm too fun for Columbia? I live in Schapiro, ever heard of it?
PSO: (walks away grumpily) Too fun for Columbia...

Since we've reached the end of the story, I feel that the proper thing to do would be have a moment of reflection. Instead I'm going to categorize the conversation as my mother would. Is it about things, namely alcohol and excess? Is it about people, Wedge, myself, and that poor Public Safety Man? No. It is about an idea: proving yourself too fun for Columbia.

2. Gay Mentorship

(This one is probably going to be revisited, so if you find something horribly lacking in this brief exploration, stay tuned! Although good reader of the Internet, if you are looking for thorough examinations of serious topics, click the back button a couple of times.)

An explanation of the term: having been out for a little over two years now, I've picked up on a bunch of things that I wish someone had told me when I came out. Recently, a friend of mine came out, and I found myself in the position of being a gay mentor. Which is to say, a gay guy who can answer some basic questions but also empathize in a way that hags and the Internet and other question answerers cannot.

So this kid, pseudonym Clementine, came out. He was one of those acquaintance friends where we always got along but never really grew close. This was for two reasons. One, Clementine prides himself on his sassiness, and thus resented when his friends enjoyed talking to me more than him. Two, I resented Clementine for being closer to people that I think I treat better.

This all changed when Clementine came out of the (glass) closet. I was pretty happy for him, in that way that only people who have been the closet can. I offered to take him to the Ritz, a popular gay bar in the area. To my delight, he texted me expressing an interest, and off we went on a big gay night out, much to the chagrin of our mutual friends. Clementine had a great time too, which I was not sure was going to happen. More than the dancing or ogling, the night's success came from being able to talk.

It was cool being able to answer questions about gay things. Is it okay to have a type? How do I hit on someone? Why do I like this techno beat so much? I felt like some sort of Dear Abby but answering questions about penis size and relationships that I didn't realize that I had answers to. It felt like giving back to the community, to the next generation, an idea particularly laughable given that I'm 18.

The thing that's been the best about it is the casting away of the cynicism. As we were walking back to the Subway, Clementine told me that his goal for the next time (he was already planning on going back Wednesday) was to find a boy that he could kiss. In that moment, I realized that C was going to go through all the things that made me feel jaded and wizened. His first relationship, his first one night stand, his first pair of ass flattering jeans, his first break up, all these things that the breeders get to have without the fun of realizing you're gay and then being okay with it and then telling people. And yes, his first kiss. Something so John Hughes movie, and so rite of passage-y. It made me want to have a first kiss. Again.

Which is why being a gay mentor is great. Because you get to see someone experiencing things for the first time, and you get to be there for them. You live vicariously, and learn to recapture that weird euphoria from right after coming out.

Y'all, I could get behind this.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

1. Introduction


Welcome to my blog. Perhaps you stumbled upon this by making a typo in a search engine. Perhaps you are a friend of mine who discovered this either when I left my computer open or maybe I was drunk enough to tell you about this. Perhaps you actually stumbled upon this on StumbleUpon. For whatever reason you are here.

Theoretically (by which I mean "what I would want if I were reading a random blog hidden in the bowels of the internet") this post, as the opening one, would include some concise description of the content that can (will?) be found here. The problem lies in the implication that I know the content that can (/will) be found here. Which is a verbose way of saying I'm making this up as I go along. I expect this is going to be fairly self-evident anyway.

(An aside: writing this section feels weird and self-indulgent, like a personal ad or online dating thing. I'm trying to toe the line between polished enough to be presentable (readable) and unpolished enough to be interesting and realistic. How am I doing?)

All of this is a way of merely excusing myself from responsibility if you are bored, annoyed, irritated, or in some other form unamused by my blog. Because remember, the Internet is full of a lot of things, and no one is making you read any of them.

That's a strong start, right? Is "It's not my fault if you read this blog" is exculpatory enough? Anyway, things less meta and therefore easier to write await.