Monday, October 29, 2007

Alive For Now

Well, I passed another birthday and nothing horrible happened. A few years ago, while doing a News Google search on myself around this time, I discovered I was dead. A man with my name in England (there are apparently many) was murdered, but nothing makes you more confident growing older than seeing yourself dead. This year, another Derek Hartley in England didn't die, but he was missing! I have been anxious for weeks hoping I would be found safe and alive, not dead in a ravine somewhere. Then, on Monday, he was found alive, starving, and somewhat mentally ill. Thin and crazy? Sure beats dead!

Originally, I had planned to join some of the gang from work at Six Flags today. And as much as I love a rollercoaster (and using my season pass), it just didn't feel like how I wanted to spend my birthday. Roommate works Sundays now and I shoved off any real birthday celebration plans to next Saturday when I wouldn't have to compete with Halloween. Being born three days before the notorious holiday, my mom has often joked that if I had been born three days later she would have named me Jack O'Lantern. Except I don't think she was kidding.

Last night, Roommate and I hauled our old selves down to Manhattan to see The Kingdom, which wasn't nearly as bad as the miserable box office and tepid reviews would have you believe. It was directed by actor turned director Peter Berg, whom I have had something of a slow burn crush on since Linda Fiorentino grudge fucked him in The Last Seduction. He was also quite frequently naked (especially for a ski movie) in his big break movie Aspen Extreme. If he could spend twenty minutes of that movie stark naked in the snow, I think the CW can find a few minutes for those Supernatural boys to shower off.

After the movie, we decided to take the late drunk train and have a quick drink before we left town. We wandered down to Barracuda, which was packed to the rafters with gays. It wasn't so crowded that Terry Goldman didn't find me. He kissed me and his lips tasted like strawberries, like he was wearing lip gloss made for a nine year old girl. But he tasted good, so who am I to complain? But we immediately decamped from the madness of Barracuda and made our way to the relative quiet of XES, somewhat around the corner.

During the summer, I forced Erik Rhodes and his fabulous boyfriend Danny to meet me there for a quick post-show drink. They live not far away and they thought I was joking at first that there was even a bar at that location since apparently their dog has crapped outside it a thousand times without them noticing it. Once inside, Danny still thought I was joking, but the upscale dankness and casual neighborhood vibe I think won him over. Then again, it was the last time we went to a bar together, so maybe he thinks my taste is permanently suspect.

While at XES, I had my usual Sex And The Beach after first checking my look in the mirror. I spent a few minutes staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, reviewing the merchandise and giving a buyer's assessment of the bill of sale. Not bad I thought, for something that has been in the bargain bin for so long. Mike and I parked on stools, transfixed by the horribleness of a shitty horror movie playing on the flat panel TV over the bar. We decided it was probably The Hills Have Eyes since it was terrible, just terrible, and neither of us had seen it before. The sound was muted so we had the distinct pleasure of reading the dialogue as it scrolled across the various dismembered performers. The screenwriter clearly loved movies, as the internal movie references were seemingly endless, and I wondered why, if he loved movies so much, that he had inflicted this particular piece of garbage on the world.

While wrapping up our drinks, a listener, who had recognized me, came over to wish me a happy birthday. This is extremely rare in NYC and, as has been the case in the past, he was originally from Miami but had recently moved to the area. He was very nice and I will be honest that it did make me feel good, almost like a real celebrity, on my birthday. But the drunk train was calling and we beat a hasty retreat.

Once home, I couldn't fall asleep. It was already several hours into my birthday and I considered just not sleeping at all for the entire 24 hours. I spent a fair amount of time wading through the seemingly endless birthday wishes emailed and posted to MySpace, corresponding with the adorable, argyle-loving Jackenroth, stars on his elbows and in his eyes as he awaits the upcoming season of Project Runway and texting at 4am with an ex-boyfriend actively sorting out his emotions after a break-up earlier in the evening. Then, I decided to watch Mrs. Miniver, which I had DVRed from TCM.

I haven't seen Miniver in 20 years but I had remembered it fondly. I was struck however by what a horrible performance Greer Garson gave in the movie. Her bizarre expression rarely changed and she seemed to be Acting with not just a capital A, but also with lights around it and a brass band. But you have to love MGM at the height of its power. There wasn't a close-up where she didn't look like a million bucks waiting for change. Teresa Wright was terrific and it seems crazy to me now that she could have been in three of the biggest classic movies of all time right in a row (Miniver, Shadow of a Doubt, Pride of the Yankees) and then had very little else to show for her career from then on out. The movie itself was a good story to watch on a birthday and in the midst of a war. An important reminder that life is short and at all turns unexpected, but there is still time in between bombing raids for a flower show or a little romance.

It was well after dawn that I finally threw in the towel and went to sleep. Promptly at 11am, my cell phone started to ring with calls and buzz with text messages. Wisely my mother waiting until 7pm to call. "I didn't wake you, did I?" I barely had the heart to tell her I was just up from a nap. Whatever. It's my birthday.

So what if I puttered around the house, hammering on the keys of the piano trying to learn "I'm Old Fashioned", trying to meet the neighbors by hand-delivering some misdirected mail (they weren't home), and grilling up dinner outside in a parka for likely the last time of the season? No one said you have to celebrate a birthday in only one way. I like being alone. And having the house to myself on a beautiful fall day to wander around in my underwear and eat ice cream was just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bitter Gay Men

My birthday is on Sunday and it is hard to hide my irritation. I tried to talk about it on the air the other day and I just don’t have any words for how I feel about my impending birthday. Why is 38 such a flashpoint for me? Perhaps it is the dangerous proximity to forty. I have been joking that 38 is the new 55, and I really am starting to mean it. Because, in the gay community, you can get old, you just can’t get older.

If you go out to an event or a gay bar and you see an eighty year old guy, it’s sweet. The gays will buy him a drink and hear about the time he saw Judy Garland perform live at the Palladium. But if a 42 year old guy walks into that same gay bar, it’s sad. Doesn’t he know when to quit? It’s not a gay sin to be old, but it is downright criminal to grow older. And where are the gay men in their 40s and 50s supposed to go? They can’t all hide out in Palm Springs until the Social Security checks start to arrive. But when I look around, increasingly I am the oldest person in the room and I start to wonder what will happen when the dot on my palm turns red and I need to run.

Hanging out with Terry Goldman and his new squeeze, ten years his junior, we got to talking about gay men who get older and turn bitter. Earlier I had spoken to Lucas Entertainment exclusive Ben Andrews, with his 22 year old skin and 11 inch cock. He had just returned from the Lance Bass book party and saw Debbie (excuse me, Deborah) Gibson there. “I didn’t even know who she was.” he admitted, “Except, you know, what I saw on VH-1.”

No surprises there, except perhaps the idea of someone so young watching Vh-1. He was still in diapers when she danced on the sand with a denim jacket sliding off her shoulders and a scrunchy in her hair. When Reagan died, Sean, who was born at the end of his first term, told me that he didn’t know until that moment watching CNN that Reagan had been an actor. “They never taught us that in history class.” It’s enough to make anyone over the age of 35 contemplate suicide. Or the survivors turn bitter.

Terry started in on the interns at work, who when he told them that there wasn’t internet when he was a kid, looked as surprised as if he had said he didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing. He tried to explain what a BBS was and they looked at him like he worked his way through college delivering ice from a horse-drawn wagon. “Don’t tell them you didn’t have your first cell phone until you were almost thirty.” I urged him, and then prompted him to ask his new guy if he had ever been to a Fotomat.

Remember the Fotomat? That was one shit hole of a teen job. I still shudder when I think of those kids with nothing but a transistor radio and some comic books to pass the time inside the familiar A-frame structure. Even before digital, the Fotomat was an arcane dinosaur, with the Polaroid camera coming out of the sky like an earthbound comet to wipe them off the face of the planet. Now even the Polaroid seems quaint. And this is where the bitterness comes in.

I have said many times that you know you are old when you start talking about places that don’t exist anymore. I never appreciated the song “Come Up To My Place” from On The Town until I got older and realized I could also rattle off an old guidebook full of destinations as distant to twenty-something gays as the Hippodrome is to me. No wonder you feel like the party is over, the place where they used to hold the party closed years ago and now it’s a condo complex. I would say internet cafĂ©, but even those are fading into the ever rapid distant past.

My mom has a theory about why it seems that time speeds up as you get older. While waiting for your birthday between the ages of four and five, a quarter of your whole life has to pass to make it to that point. But when you are going from 50 to 51, it’s only 2% of your life. It turns out (in a move that defies the laws of physics) that the more you accumulate over time, the faster you travel. This might explain why so many people retire just so they can sit in one place, not moving, for extended periods of time. The world is just travelling so fast at that point, there is nothing you can do but just hang on. Which leads me finally to the wisdom of Tennessee Williams:

“What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?” Brick asks Maggie, their empty life together at a crossroads, on the eve of Big Daddy’s final birthday.

“Just staying on it, I guess. Long as she can.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lotus Entertain You

Ben Harvey was back on the show tonight for Tabloid Tuesday. I always like having Ben on because he really tries to stay focused. He came prepared with notes about celebrities and print outs from PerezHilton.com. I came with a bag of carrots and celery and no mood to talk. We prattled on about the history of our show and Ben’s recent dust-up with Wade Williams, which I would give about a 1.3 on the Andy Richter scale of celebrity feuds. Ben feels things deeply so he took the Wade thing personally but every time it gets mentioned, five minutes later I can’t even remember it anymore.

Ben and I have been anxious to spend some more quality time together, but every time we meet out at a bar there are too many distractions (D-A-N, Conor, etc.) and never enough quiet corners to process like the lesbians we are. So since Ben was on the show tonight, we endeavored to hit the town afterward. Once the show started he sent me a text message about going to Lotus instead of our usual Halloween haunt Bowery Bar. At this point, Beige is as colorless as its name so I am happy to take any other Tuesday night suggestion offered.

It turns out that our quality time was spent on the subway down to 14th Street because once we got into Lotus, it was the usual slew of distractions and loud music. At first, I didn’t think I had ever been to Lotus, but once inside the drunken memories of the Sirius party celebrating one million members came flooding back. My HR pal Calliope had broken her leg and stationed herself with drink in hand in the banquet near the door, passing out car vouchers to the myriad drunk employees so plastered they couldn’t even hail a cab. Chinese food was served with chopsticks that had Sirius printed on them. I squirreled several away in my coat and I still have them at home in my eBay box. The biggest souvenir of the night was not the chopsticks, but the heretofore hot straight male co-worker that made out with me by the bathroom. He too was given one of the coveted car passes from Calliope, who even in per prone state, had already heard about the antics before his tongue was out of my throat.

There was no such straight man-on-gay action at Lotus tonight. The usual Here TV posse was there, encouraged to stop in by The Lair star Peter Stickles who was filling in for a sick friend. Peter looked so sexy in his crisp black shirt and pants, pulled together so smoothly he seemed to be made entirely of cream cheese. Peter is smart and knows he can get a lot of smiles per gallon with that devilish grin of his and a well-placed wink. Chris and Josh were also there from Here and immediately Ben was sucked into the kind of work conversation I know all too well from hanging out with co-workers at bars. I let them have their office gossip while I chatted with my friend Terry and his new young squeeze. Occasionally Chris would swing through with some titty-twisters from hell, that I was fortunately spared. My nipples are for show only, and any attention, even just looking at them, causes nothing but pain. I was ready to shatter a glass on the edge of the bar to prevent Chris’ hand from coming anywhere near my chest.

At one point I started talking to Hunter, a product placement expert, who strategically placed himself in the dead center of the bar for maximum exposure. He looked so familiar and I was fairly certain I have seen him before on Connexion (although hours later I realize he just looks like Brandon’s ex-boyfriend Cliff). We talked for all of two minutes before someone took the stage and announced the beginning of the burlesque show. That was my cue to leave. I could barely hear Peter over the dance mix of Heat Wave a few minutes earlier, so I knew I didn’t have a chance during a live performance. A topless girl twirled glittery fiddle-covered nipples to “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” as I left for the midnight train to suburbia. At least Ben Harvey and I had a few minutes to talk about our lives before I grabbed my old PlanetOut backpack from coat check and headed for a cab. Maybe next time we’ll just have lunch instead. The lighting is harsher but at least you can get a word in edgewise.

And for the most part, people keep their nipples to themselves.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mall Rats

This weekend, I went to the mall.

I am not really a shopper. I know that some people really enjoy just walking aimlessly through a store, or even a series of stores, in a zombie-like zen state, where "shopping" is a passive experience. This is not me. I don't understand going to a store if you have no intention of buying something or no pressing need. Maybe it was all those years working retail. A store is a place of business to me, filled with busy people, folding sweaters, filling four-way racks and planning floor coverage. It is not a place to linger and leave things in disarray just because you have a few hours to kill.

I only like to shop when I have something I need to buy. I want to walk right into the store, find exactly what I am looking for ON SALE, make a purchase and go home. No chit chat with the sales clerk. No rummaging around to see what else they have. If I am going to waste an afternoon, I would rather do it in front of the TV or lounging on an adirondack chair in the yard than under bland florescent lights with chirpy 70s cover tunes droning on in the background.

I was headed out to New Jersey to attend Romaine's post-Baptism party. I tried to convince my roommate Mike to spend his single free weekend day out there with me, but he wasn't having it. He had a list of things to buy and it had a big red Target circle on the top of the list. So I decided it was easier to drop him at the mall along the way, attend Romaine's party for a bit, and then meet up with Mike in the food court next to the Panda Express for some Orange Chicken. It was a perfect plan.

Romaine lives about as far away from me as humanly possible for two people who work so closely together. I suppose I could have bought a house in Connecticut, but why be so unruly? Still, it is a solid hour and a half between us, especially when you factor in a drop off at the Palisades Park mall along the way. When I arrived in the lesbian wilderness, the party was in full, loud swing. The Patterson clan was there, cackling up a storm on the wrap-around porch. Romaine was inside, a serene Buddhist calm about her, spurred by the beer in her hand and the sleeping baby upstairs. And the louder the Pattersons get, the quieter Romaine gets. She is more like her mother than I think she would like to believe.

In the kitchen, Romaine's gregarious sister Sabina was weilding a large knife, scrapping the charded remains off the outside of a large hunk of meat. Apparently, the roast wrapped in bacon sounded delicious, although the barbeque had other plans, igniting the bacon-fat into a beef inferno that could not be put out. Sabina rescued the meat and the meal was sensational nonetheless. Just, like the Pattersons themselves, unnecessarily dramatic.

I made my quick escape from the party and sped back to the mall where an unfed Mike was anxiously awaiting Panda. Parking at the mall was insane. It was like Christmastime, as I drove around in circles for fifteen minutes waiting for a space to open up. Inside, controlled chaos reigned as droves of straight people clustered outside the Lane Bryant, FYE, and other notable retail chains. In a way, the mad melee was exciting, and it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and mob mentality a good mall can deliver. Plus, what is not to love about a mall that has everything you could possibly imagine?

Even though I was stuffed from Romaine's party, I still managed to put away both servings of orange chicken. Egged on by the frenzy of the crowd and the sugar high from my large Dr. Pepper, I even bought a mountable shower caddy and a towel rack for my bathroom. They had been on my own list for quite sometime, and I found them quickly in the lavishly oversized Linens 'N Things. The caddy was even ON SALE! Mall life is definitely not for me, but the occasional visit certainly can have its charms. I just have to remember to not go back before January.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mark Your Calendar

It was a perfect day in New York City.

I love this time of year. The temperature is a cool 70 degrees, day and night. The trees have started to turn but there is still a flourish of green on the branches. It is so lovely now, but it will quickly come to an end. Soon the holiday crush will overwhelm the city. My office building on Sixth Avenue will join the festivities with their usual display of outlandishly oversized Christmas ornaments, a corporate staple of the Avenue of the Americas near Rockefeller Center, spurred on by the larger than life toy soldiers that adorn Radio City Music Hall across the street. With fifteen foot candy canes strewn about casually and three foot red glass balls stacked four high in pyramids, the street has the look of a late December living room floor in mid construction. Just half a block away, the massive Rockefeller Center Christmas tree awaits its missing ornaments.

But now the streets are just littered with people. During the day, the homeless are largely invisible, driven into the subways and their entrances to panhandle. On the street, business people scurry past the numerous tourists in a frenzied pace, like the squirrels at my house who madly dash about this time of year for nuts to store for the winter. The intense walking in the city is something that those of us who live there take for granted, but it is often too much for those who are just visiting. The tourists collapse along the sidewalks, unable to keep up with the breadth and width of our great city. Standpipes are for sitting, lamp posts are for leaning. True New Yorkers roll their eyes and brush brusquely past them on their way to Starbucks or other important meeting place.

After the show tonight, I too dodged tourists on the outskirts of Times Square as I dashed over to Therapy where Chris French and company were engulfed in Avalanche, the first mixer of the year for Ski Bums, the local gay ski club. We interviewed Chris on the show four years ago and he is still talking about it. I have been dying to do some ski activities with them, but my work schedule makes weekend trips to Whistler and elsewhere virtually impossible. Even the cocktail events from 7-10pm are largely out of the question. But I figured the alcohol and the boys would still be flowing when I dashed over there tonight and with winter coming, I am making a concerted effort to join in their fun this year.

The first person I ran into is my delightfully handsome friend Mark from Los Angeles. Back in the fall of 1995, I went to work at Sony Pictures in Culver City. The studio was on the old MGM backlot and also included David O. Selznick’s old studio, fronted by the famous “Mansion” so recognizable from the opening of all of his pictures, just down the road. I worked in the non-descript Tri-Star Building, on the far side of the lot that had once been home to Lorimar, the producers of Dallas and other television programs. Mark worked on the other side of the lot, first in the prestigious Thalberg Building, and then later in the old MGM school house where Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor once attended classes between scenes.

Mark was the only person who was ever really genuinely nice to me at that studio. Granted we became friends because I worked in Special Events, so I was the go-to guy from tickets to movie premieres and occasionally good swag, but even after I left the studio, he remained just as nice as always. Once I was having lunch with some other publicity people just outside the commissary. They asked me, if I could work anywhere at the studio, where would I want to work.

“At the Mansion!” I exclaimed, forever in awe of the tremendous Hollywood history under our own feet.

The other motion picture publicists were horrified. “You don’t want to work there. They do television there.”

The sin of the Hollywood hierarchy. No matter what you do in Motion Picture, it is infinitely better than anything in Television. It is almost as if the more profitable an industry in Hollywood, the more it is looked down upon. Movie people look down on TV people who look down on Music who look down on Home Video and so on. I never felt that same disdain from Mark, and later when he left motion picture for television and then online, it was only confirmed for me. Whatever. When I heard that Sony paved over what was left of the yellow brick road when they bought the studio, I knew it wasn’t the place for me anymore.

But now Mark is living in New York City and it is my chance to return the favor of kindness he showed me so many years ago on the Sony lot. I can introduce him to some of my friends that I think he will like, and probably a potential boyfriend or two. So it was a fortuitous jaunt I took to Therapy, spurred on by last night’s fleeting good weather. Today it is raining, and soon the candy canes will come out of hiding and the snow will fall, delicately covering the stained sidewalks in an all-too-brief splendor. And like the squirrels, I will be burrowed away somewhere for the winter, uninspired to leave my warm nook until the first signs of spring. But for one day, it was a perfect day in New York City.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Litttle Girl Lost

A weekend at Disneyland. Rough job right?

Attended Gay Days Anaheim, the coy unofficial name for three days of fun in the Magic Kingdom, with winking approval from Mickey. I like Disneyland. The artifice doesn’t bother me. If anything, I find it comforting, which I suppose is the key to their success. The magic’s in the clean, careful consistency, the sheer repetitiveness of the images. Alice isn’t just a girl who fell down a hole, Disney insists, she is a ride, and a spinning tea cup and a parade float, graphic t-shirt, film on DVD and an opportunity to sing-a-long for generations to come. Sara Lee, Aunt Jemima and Betty Crocker combined can’t match the magnificent force of commerce that embodies a Disney Princess ™. The consequence is a total immersion in Wonderland itself, a magical place where wallets open like blooming flowers as busy Disney bees eagerly pollinate.

There were a smattering of listeners who recognized me throughout my adventure, and I stood by warmly, posing for pictures, feeling a bit like a face character (a young Orange County teen drafted to physically recreate a mermaid, a fag prince, or a young woman undone by a cursed spindle). It continues to be the height of silliness that anyone would want my picture, autograph or the chance to sit next to me on a rollercoaster, but it beats stuffing envelopes or working in a sewer. At least Disneyland feels like an appropriate venue to act out my childhood fantasies of fame, however misguided or narcissistic they may be.

I say all the time that some people never get over being a twelve year old girl and some people (gay men) never get over not being one. It is such a little girl notion to want people to think you are pretty and stand next to you. Guilty as charged I guess. For a day or two at least. Then I can go back to the four walls of my house where neighbors only care that I remember to mow the lawn every once in a while and lay awake at night wondering how much longer I will be driving that loud car down their previously silent street.

My generation, if I have one Carrie Fisher, is trapped in perpetual childhood. The gays live forever like extras in Saved By The Bell, if the new class had never arrived to relieve them of their teen duties. Marriage? No thank you! I just need a date to the prom. Toy collecting instead of child-rearing. I fear the Me Generation has birthed the Me Me Me Generation. Who am I to swim against the tide? Besides, being a kid, for the most part, is a lot of fun. The downside is how easily your feelings can be hurt when things don't always go your way. Hence the fierce partisanship of the country, frivolous lawsuits (this spilled coffee is everyone's fault but mine!), and truly outlandish public behavior by petulant man-children who, like Disney's Peter Pan, never grew up, but did learn to multitask on planks extended over crocodile-infested revenue streams.

After Disneyland, I visited real live children at my Mom's house, spending a few hours with my nieces and nephew before flying home. In between I planned to attend Dennis Hensley's delightful bowling birthday party. Somehow my intensely emotional three year old niece got the idea in her head that she was going to a birthday party too. When no such party materialized, she collapsed in utter devastation by the front door, sobbing inconsolably. My sister rushed to the kitchen to find something that could approximate birthday cake while I tried to explain to her that she really didn't want to come to the party with me.

"It's for old people." I insisted, but she was unbowed.

Through tears she declared, "I want to go to the old lady birthday house!"

How do you explain to a three year old that the party in the bowling alley with cupcakes, a coloring book project, and all the licorice you can eat is strictly a middle-aged affair? In a way, you can't. A Popsicle in her mouth and SpongeBob on the tv and moments later she forgot that I had ever been there, let alone the despair surrounding the never to be seen old lady birthday house.

From the happy confines of Dennis' birthday party, I sped away to the airport for one last thrill ride. Flying still fills me with the childlike wonder that only a barely passing grade in Physics can give you. No matter how many times it is explained to me, I will never understand how that big heavy plane full of people lifts off the ground and travels thousands of miles in a matter of hours. To me it is as magical as the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland. Perhaps we don't get over being a kid because the unknowing wonder of it all is so much better than the crushing miseries of adulthood. The safety bar can barely keep you in your seat, let alone contain your excitement as you whirl over Victorian London, so much better than regulation coach seats and lopsided exchange rates. You spin past Big Ben as the clock strikes "past your bedtime" as you journey past the second star on the right and on until Morning. If only a Popsicle was enough to calm our adult tears and life's disappointments, but for a $91 park hopper pass and a little imagination, you can get by.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

24 Hour Party People

I love to throw parties. I really do.

I have two speeds: utter solitude and massive party. There is no in-between for me. Those are the only two modes I am comfortable in. Fortunately, this weekend, it was all party, all the time.

On Saturday, I threw a much delayed housewarming party. Well, Romaine has been in her house since December 2006 without a party but to be fair, she did have a baby in the interim. Even still, I moved in the weekend before Memorial Day so waiting so long to have a party is somewhat bad form.

The house I bought is a lovely classic 1950s Cape Cod on a quiet suburban street in the middle of nowhere, U.S.A. It has four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a full walk-out basement, covering approximately 3300 square feet. It's a lot of room for two homos to ramble around in and most of the time, I am alone here. Roommate and I are on different floors in the house, which makes it seem more than ever like I live alone. We occasionally run into each other by the refrigerator, where four lanes of traffic painfully converge into one lane. That narrow strip of misery is just the tip of the poorly planned kitchen, but otherwise the house is, for me, a dream. True it is drenched in heterosexual trappings of the most feminine and tacky kind, which it will take years to excise from the premises, but it is still a quiet wooden suburban oasis to love.

I had an insanely good turnout for the party on Saturday, much better than I would have expected given how far away the house is from all known civilization. But I suspect people wanted to get a good look, cross it off their list, and probably never return. Frank DeCaro accused me of discouraging him from coming and he was very annoyed to discover what a glaring omission he was. Honestly, I didn't think they would all come! And Frank was missed. But he also missed every other party I have thrown for the last four years, so when he didn't make an appearance on Saturday, I was neither surprised nor annoyed.

Romaine came with mother, baby and girlfriend Iris in tow. Iris spent the entire party with the baby strapped to her chest in a baby carrier, rocking back and forth to a classic American Bandstand episode no one else could hear. Cyd and Dan were there in matching grey hoodies, which prompted me to ask them how long into their relationship they starting wearing matching clothes, and explaining to Romaine's mother that the only real reason to be gay is the ability to double your wardrobe instantly.

Fredrick Ford and my old friend Tony were the first to arrive, ironic since they are the newest and oldest friends I have in the city. Tony and I worked together at AOL back in 1947 when it was still called International Business Machines and Fredrick and I met mere weeks ago when he did my radio show for the first time. They were so early that they got to join me on an adventure getting a full propane tank. Who knew that Home Depot sold the tanks empty? No wonder I couldn't get the BBQ to light the first time out.

DJ Ben Harvey was there with Conor of course, along with their cute friend and their other cute friends. Their quartet of cuteness was short-lived and Roommate's now-defunct Friday night geek squad was collectively sad to see them go. They did thoughtfully bring a set of casual matching coffee mugs and a 2008 Chippendale's calendar. I will get some use out of the mugs and Romaine will enjoy the calendar since she has worn out the 2007 calendar we got from model Charles Dera the last time he was on the show. Unfortunately, I didn't get to catch up with Ben Harvey as I would have liked. Nor was I able to get a second to show him my double-sided Ciccone (Six Degrees of Separation From Madonna, as it were), the only thing that could even remotely be considered ART in my house.

As usual, people got stinking drunk. Someone (me), passing through the kitchen, blurted out the recipe for a Sex On The Beach and a few gallons of liquor later, the drunkest part of the party (the last to leave well past the scheduled end time) decided to decamp to Manhattan for more mayhem. The party started promptly at 2pm with the arrival of Fredrick and Tony on the two o'clock train and officially ended at a little after nine when the last drunk piled out the door and headed for the bright lights, big city.

Roommate was exhausted by two weeks of non-stop painting, wallpaper stripping and cleaning before the party even began, so by 9pm he was all sharp elbows and clearing throats despite a drunk gay's inability to sense of subtle hint when they are slammed in the face with it. Finally by 9:30pm, the house was clean again and we were ready to head for the cool expanse of the basement to cocoon in front of the new fall shows on my wide screen TV. And then the doorbell rang.

Misreading the 2:00pm to 8:00pm party time as an 8:00pm start time, burgeoning hip hop duo Goddes and She appeared fashionably late at 9:30pm. Not wanting to throw them out after they drove an hour to be there, I got all Pamela Harriman on their ass, cranked up the BBQ and served up more food and polite company for another two hours. It wasn't until Midnight that we finally collapsed in front of the TV for some much deserved mindless entertainment.

Sunday I journeyed into the city to welcome Chip Arndt back from his latest AIDS Ride. A minimum of fanfare and I was the only one there to welcome him back. I ran into Cory walking by, he and his friend drawn in by curiosity like moths at night to the gay dance music blasting out of the Center. I can't believe it's already been more than a year since we last saw each other just out and about, when he ran over to me plastered out of my mind at Therapy and reminded me that we had met just a few weeks earlier at Another Gay Movie. I honestly hadn't remembered meeting him at the movie, I was so self-involved and also distracted by Michael Lucas, who had encircled me in his cone of gossip on our way out onto the street. Cory with his Master's Degree in Public Policy from Harvard and straight eyebrows on granite overhang shrouding his soulful eyes. Happy birthday. It will probably be another year before I see him again.

Chip's friend Greg was also there, having joined Chip on the ride. Greg, comfortably slim in his tight bike shorts and matching shirt was full of platitudes about my piercing blue eyes, it was the kind of embarrassment I never tire of. Chip and I had a long thoughtful conversation about life and death and in the car ride home I thought how my weekend would have been complete if I had had the same amount of time to just sit with Ben Harvey too. Unfortunately, there is a finite amount of time in a day and in one's lifetime. I always seem to be short of time these days. The never ending story of my laziness versus my grand schemes for life continues. Hopefully, I will finish turning my house gay and have that long talk with Ben Harvey that I have been meaning to have. And maybe I will even see Cory before his next birthday rolls around. Or maybe I will just lay around the house thinking how nice throwing another party would be, but still revelling in the joy of just being alone.