Monday, April 27, 2009

When I Knew

Last Thursday, the Survivor boys came around to my place for some yummies and mindless reality television. Is there any other kind? The usual hostess gift is spirits of some description but Kitkat broke with tradition and brought a book. And I am glad he did.

“When I Knew” is a collection of short stories, memories and anecdotes about people recollecting “that” moment and knew they were gay. Our Survivor guest that night was CJ and she giggled with delight as she turned the pages.

“I knew I was gay when the most exciting part of my Bar Mitzvah was meeting with the party planner” and “On my twelfth birthday my parents took me to Manhattan. We went to Macy’s. They gave me five dollars and told me I could buy any toy I wanted. I took the money, went to housewares, and bought a Fornasetti dinner plate” are two of the shorter ones that made me giggle.

There is also a very touchy story about a man coming out to his grandmother. Something I always wish I had done. At first she didn’t understand, accept or approve of “it”. In the end, after her grandson gave her some books, answered her questions and stayed the course, she found it disgusting ~ that some parents don’t love their children anymore.

Of course this got me thinking about my definitive moment. Like many in the book, I had no reference for what gay was when I was growing up. I had no uncle who had a “special friend” (although I do now) and grew up on a street where it was husbands and wives and happy families. So when did it happen?

There was the time mom took us all to get t-shirts made at one of those iron-on stores. My brother got Farah Fawcett, IronGirl got a kitty and I walked “out” proudly wearing Shaun Cassidy. That however could be linked to my love of the macabre, murder and mayhem ~ he was a Hardy Boy you know.

Then there was the time we were at dinner and my brother was telling us about getting ready for his first job interview. “Oh, make sure you get a manicure, your hands say a lot about you” I said. He called me a fag.

My adoration for fur should have been a warning sign of things to come. When I found that fur coat in Ms. Rae’s closet (my dad was the executor of her estate) I thought I died and went to heaven. When he suggested we give it to the Fergus museum, I thought I’d die. Tears really do help you get what you want.

Momo’s mother was planning a birthday party for my best friend and I told her to make sure to change all the light bulbs in the house and put out a fresh roll of toilet paper in each bathroom. You wouldn’t want to be embarrassed by having to change a bulb mid-party or worse, have someone have to use the powder room in darkness. Tsk tsk.

Even at school it seems to have come naturally. In junior high, I won home economics awards for sewing my name in pillows and for making a stuffed harp seal. Not in the taxidermy sense, rather the faux animal kind. I also insisted on having tails and white gloves when I graduated from high school. That was one place everyone seemed to have figured it out. I got called “queer”, “fag”, “homo” etc. in the halls enough. They were jealous I am sure, of my Nick Rhodes highlights and pirate boots.

Clearly, I knew before I ‘knew’. Or cared to admit it anyway.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bye Bye Flannel!

What a glorious day! We had a spring tease a couple weeks ago and I resisted oiling my winter gloves, pilling my scarves and sweaters as well as polishing my winter boots before putting them away for I knew, we would have one last blast of winter. And we did.

But looking ahead, it seems that spring is now here to stay and summer is not too far off either. What better way to toast this auspicious occasion, than by crawling into spring fresh sheets tonight!

Upon rising this morning, the winter sheets were yanked off the bed ~ the last time this season! While they were being laundered, the spring sheets were put on the line to catch the cool morning breeze. The pillows had a quick fluff tumble in the dryer and then went outside as well.

I should have been wearier of all the birds chirping about the nice weather, but could not resist the lure of the sun! One pillowcase needed to be re-washed thanks to a well place shot from a winged bomber but other than that, my bedding escaped unmarked. And besides, I acquired a taste for stuffed pigeon while living in the Middle East, so now I have dinner all planned and I don’t even need to go to the grocery store.
People find it hard to believe that I iron my sheets and truth be told, it does take a little while to get them nice and crisp. But tonight when I lay my head on my pillow, I KNOW it will be worth the effort

Thursday, April 09, 2009

That Wasn't So Bad......

I have changed my mind…. I want to turn 40 every single day!

Waking up to a stack of presents (that I was not allowed to open all at once), having a great breakfast made while I read the paper, coming home to find a gift from the Dollhouse Girls, lunch with my parents, mucho messages and well wishes from friends and relatives, a massage and a great dinner after all that. It was better than Christmas because in true Aries fashion, it was all about me!

I ask you, who doesn’t want a day like that? What boy doesn’t want a Maxwell & Williams berry bowl as part of their birthday celebration? IronMan also supplied me with a complete chef’s uniform including a jacket that says “Robert, Master Chef”. Look at me, I’m Gordon Ramsey. Just kidding I'm not. Too much of a potty mouth. Just kidding. Jamie Oliver? Too young. Just kidding. Nigella maybe? I even got one of those big tall hats. They make most people look goofy, but I manage to pull it off. Even at 40!

We met my parents at my place where I was loaded down with enough tea supplies to reenact the Boston Tea Party. After a quick stop at IKEA, we went to Phil’s smoked meat house for lunch; you get a lot of beef brisket for $14! I apologize again to IronMan as my two sides where coleslaw and baked beans.

I was then taken away to a secret location (which turned out to be the Still Water Spa) for an hour long Swedish massage. When I first saw Chorine, I thought I wouldn’t feel a thing she was so small. But that girl used her forearms, elbows and hands to tenderize me like I was a piece of brisket myself. On the drive back to IronMan’s, I even managed to maintain a sense of peace and tranquility, despite Toronto afternoon traffic. Ahhhhhh…

My day was capped off with a very decadent meal that included fois gras crème brulle for an appetizer and seared scallops for a main. Yum! And then I got my final gift ~ a new belt just like the one IronMan has. He probably feared I would “borrow” it one day and he would never see it again. Best to head me off at the pass I guess.

I ask you again, who doesn’t want a day like that? If you are about to turn 40 (and I know lots of you out there are) don’t run from it, run towards it! Welcome it with open arms. Believe you me, it is just a number!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Okay 40, I'm Ready....

In 5 hours and 36 minutes the bell will toll for the last time on the period in my life I like to call my 30s. My sister left me a message today asking me how it felt to be 39 years, 364 days and some hours and minutes old. She thought herself rather funny. Luckily I was tucked away in a theatre with CJ jumping at various scenes from a “Haunting In Connecticut”. Being scared always makes me feel better.

I took the week off work as my delicate constitution simply could not handle finding a “Lordy Lordy look who is 40” sign on my desk. Rather a large ego I have to assume that would happen in the first place, but I am fairly confident something would have happened.

THE day will be kept simple. As far as I know. IronMan has something planned in the afternoon but I don’t know what. Mom and Dad will be down for lunch at Phil’s BBQ and IronGirl will come as well if she can get the time off work.

“40 is the new 30”, “life begins at 40”, “you’re as young as you feel” and “it’s only a number” are a few of the positive messages that have been thrown my way; mostly by those not yet 40.

I am happy to say my mid-life crisis has not yet bloomed. Or at least I don’t think it has. There are no plans for a Mazda Miata, dating my secretary (not that I have one) or taking up extreme sports. Oh I have prepared myself physically as much as I can. Extra yoga classes, three 15 minute Total Turnaround facials, 3 moisture surge masks, no alarm clock, a new hair cut, neck waxing, COMPLETE manscaping and sleeping with eye pads on have all been crammed into the last two weeks.

Mentally I am ready to roll. Doing a quick check-up I am pleased as punch with my life. I have pants and have not been photographed while picking my nose (see earlier posting for details).

A career change would be nice, but into what, who can say? I would like to be one of those people who loves their job. I remember in grade school (uh-oh, it’s starting..”when I was your age….”) we used to sit down at the end of each year and fill out a scrap with mom. Every grade had a place for a picture and pocket that you put school report cards and good assignments in. Mind you, most of my home-economics projects wouldn’t fit in the book. Who won an award for sewing their name in pillows? No, not on, in. That’s right, I sewed a pillow in the shape of each letter of my name.

There was also a place to record what you wanted to be when you grew up. A quick review shows I aspired to be an actor, a cowboy, a firefighter…. I am sure if I had thought of it, sailor would have been there too. I can state unequivocally however, that insurance in any way, shape or form was never mentioned.

Kitkat recently noted on his blog that Auntie Mame was the genesis for one of my favourite expressions ~ “life is a banquent and most poor suckers are starving”. I think 40 will see me pulling my chair back up to the table. As long as it’s not a buffet, I hate buffets.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I Have A Feeling I Am Not In Kansas

Last night we were out for Carin’s birthday. I met her through IronMan and she was my running mate for the ½ marathon I did last year. Until the 17 km mark where I pooped out and she kept on going like the Energizer Bunny. I wish I could say her youth was the advantage that I lacked, but as we were celebrating her 42nd birthday yesterday, I can’t.

She found a sitter for her daughter and wanted to hit the town with friends and chose the Devil’s Martini as the place for said celebration. I had never been before and have to admit that when I first arrived, dreadfully early at 10:00, I loved the place; deserted as it was. It hit me that I had not been to a straight bar for over 10 years and that, by night’s end, was THE thing I was most thankful for.

Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friend’s are straight. And I don’t love them any less for that. But not everyone loves the gays apparently. It couldn’t have been my tight t-shirt or jeans. No, many a straight counterpart had equally, if not tighter, clothes than I. Perhaps it was that I made note of that and stared a little too long. Perhaps.

Maybe it was my oversized Marilyn Monroe belt buckle. If it was, what I want to know is why these self proclaimed heterosexuals were doing looking in the general vicinity of another man’s unit anyway. Hmmmmmmmmmmm?

I also made comment to Paula that I knew I was in a straight bar as none of the men (and few of the women) had their hands above shoulder height when they danced. Apparently moving your hips, singing along to the music and waving your hands in the air are sure signs that you have a gay in your midst. I'm sorry, but when Beyonce tells you to put your "hands up... oh oh oh oh oh....." ummmmm, you kinda have too.

And then there was the pole dancing. Just in front of the DJ there is a raised platform with two poles. I am quite convinced that these are for the herds of bachelorette and/or stagette parties. No joke, I counted 7 groups of girls out for one last night of freedom. Maybe those Afghans are onto something. I mean really, who would let their wife-to-be out of the house with penis horns strapped to their head?

Back to the poles; yes, many of the would-be brides posed with one leg wrapped around the pole while her friends snapped photos. I am sure those will be a hit at the wedding. And one young man hoisted himself to the top in a display of machismo, nice arms I’ll admit, shame about the butt though. So once I spied the door open for boys, well, my pole-dancing dreams came true. After a couple jagermeister and Red Bulls, I heard my song calling…….

Can I share something with all you fella’s? If you ever want to feel like the odd man out, pole dance at the Devil’s Martini, to Britney Spear’s Circus while your friends stuff $5 bills in your pants. Fun. WOW, and I thought people were staring at my belt. Oh, and just to let you know, you’ll be needing that money, 3 shots of vodka were $23.75! I know right? I don’t know what breeders get paid, but it’s more than us. I think our carbon credit should go towards a bar tab.

Just when I thought I had had enough, the coat was on, farewell kisses distributed and we were heading for the door, the Disco set started. Well I am a Proud Mary so when I heard Ike and Tine start, IronMan became my coat rack for 15 minutes. After I was finished “rollin’ down the river”, I did a little stayin’ alive and got wet when it rained men.

End on a high note I always say. Disco over, I wrapped my coat around my shoulders and hurried out into the night. I know Papi would be disappointed, but it was 1:30 when we left. There was still a line of people waiting to get it. All I wanted was a shower (the place was awash in toonie cologne from the bathroom), a cosmo and time with my man. Oh, and Burger King.