Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Keeping Things Fresh!

I have a terrible problem with alcohol. If I drink a lot and pass out, I wake up four hours later feeling completely refreshed and ready to go again. This is how casual drinkers turn into raging alcoholics. It is also fun and easy to do when you are 22 and working full-time in a drug clinic, but a decade and a half later, your body and mind may bounce back quickly, but your face tells the story of the long night before. It isn't pretty and neither are you.

Sunday morning, after not sleeping for two days because of the travel to San Francisco, I woke up bright and early at 7:30am. And could not get back to sleep. I watched some TV (thank you Chris Matthews), looked online for an obscure song from a movie and answered some emails, but mostly I just lolled around in the massive bed in my suite at the W Hotel. The night before, I had hosted the GayVN awards along with Romaine and Lady Bunny. Romaine was already on a plane back home to her baby and Bunny I suspected was nothing but a pile of shredded pantyhose and smeared mascara at that hour. I wandered out to the local Starbucks for my usual iced venti chai and a little wedge of banana nut bread to fill my stomach. During my early morning meditation, I pulled together brunch with my ex-boyfriend Curtis and my former intern Bobby (aka Bobby Intern I), both of whom I knew in other cities but who live in SF now.

I tried to nap a little bit before our 12:30pm brunch, but failing at that, I soaked in the tub for a while, and then pulled myself together as best I could. I ran into Bunny in the lobby on my way out. She had some time to kill before her flight and planned to check out some weird museum show that was going on. I only half understood what she was saying because my mind kept wandering to my own childhood visits to the museums of San Francisco, including the legendary exploratorium, during the brief time (known as the 1970s) when you could experience it's tactile dome naked if you so chose. Yes, Virginia, even San Francisco has gotten more conservative over the years.

Initially we were going to meet at Lime On Market for brunch but there was a 150 person waiting list and the blank stare from the hostest when Curtis tried (at my urging) to pull a "don't you know who he thinks he is" told us we should look somewhere else if we wanted to eat that day. I was relieved. The place was a big gay scene, the likes of which I thought San Francisco railed again, and even though I am deaf as a post thanks to a childhood obsession with the SONY Walkman and years working in radio, the place was just too loud for me. The three of us ended up settling at 2223, which was delightful. The bloody mary was the size of Mt. Everest (though much easier to climb) and the cinammon bun we all shared made me sorry Romaine had left so early.

Brunch with Curtis and Bobby was so pleasant. By way of introduction, they both told each other stories about me, which anyone who knows me knows could keep me entertained all afternoon long. In between they talked about gay life in San Francisco, other places to see and be seen, and other topics of no interest to me whatsoever. I did tell Bobby that I had been invited by John Rutherford to join him later that night at a party honoring our friend Jack Mackenroth of Project Runway. Bobby really wanted to meet John and coincidentally he had already planned to be at Fresh, the club where the party was taking place. We endeavored to meet up at the party later.

I walked back to the hotel, stuffed to the gills and hoping the walk would both relieve the bloated feeling and wear me out enough to take a short nap before the party that night. I looked plenty haggard at brunch, which was fine, but going to a nightclub was a whole other matter. I needed to look at least halfway human. Along the way, I bought a giant family-size bottle of Gatorade and some Mega Millions lottery tickets (Hey! You never know!) since water and the $220 million jackpot could go a long way toward looking halfway human. I sent a text message to Erik Rhodes to see if he was alive and wanted to be my plus one at the event later. The night before he had told me he wasn't leaving until Monday either and didn't really have anything to do. So I promised him I would make contact and if he wasn't dead to the world (or just plain dead) maybe we would meet up. He was still feeling the night before quite hard but I told him I would check in with him later to see if he was more ready to face the world. That was the last I heard of him.

Back at the W, I threw myself on the mercy of the bed and passed out for a delightful and restful three hour nap. Just before six pm, I got a text message from John Rutherford asking if I could be ready to go in fifteen minutes. I agreed to Name That Tune, hopped in the shower and pulled myself together. Well, the nap must have done the trick because I woke up looking more like a human being than I had earlier in the day. What a relief.

John and I found Doris Day parking just down the street from Fresh only to discover that I was not on the guest list and he didn't have a plus one. Despite having a national radio show and having been one of the earliest employees at PlanetOut, the parent company of the folks throwing the party that night, door queen had no interest in letting me in. Finally I squeezed in as Jack Mackenroth's plus one. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who got shade at the door. When Jack arrived, door queen asked him to spell his last name to see if he was on the list and he said, "Honey, it's the one on the invitation." Things picked up almost immediately for me when the bouncer asked to see my I.D. "You are just the sweetest man alive." I said as I pulled my card out of my wallet. "Ah" he said as he handed me my I.D. back, "I can see now why you said that. Have a good night." That must have been some kind of a nap I took.

Inside, the party was just getting started. I ran into Cassandra, the Gay.com publicist for the event and it turns out I had met her many times before when she was helping promote adorable Eric Himan. John Rutherford and I hung out in the VIP area (you can see his alternate take on the evening in his blog) until Jack finally arrived and then we wandered off with him to the autograph table set up for him. Jack was wedged quite unhappily by the men's room and spent most of his time there blocked by the long time of shirtless hunks waiting to do coke in the stalls. John commented on the bad placement and I reminded him of my famous adage that fame is nothing more than a series of humiliations and how famous you become depends entirely on your willingness to be humiliated at every turn. Jack didn't seem to mind as long as the money and the booze was flowing his direction.

While there John Rutherford noticed an adorable guy checking me out while waiting in line for the bathroom. I didn't believe him at first but then after considerable staring, I did notice him staring and smiling back. I waited for him to come out of the bathroom, but by the time he did Cassandra from PlanetOut was all up in my grill and he was beseiged by fag hags and then disappeared into the crowd. Once that happened, I knew it would be virtually impossible to find him again. In the meantime, another hot guy showed up in line wearing a terrible white tank top with semaphores on it. The outfit was awful but his pouty lips were Angelina Jolie worthy. I tried to get John to "discover" him for Buckshot but he didn't even have a business card on him. I offered to give him mine, but when I reached in my wallet, I realized the last of those were gone too. A couple of terrible businessmen we are!

Soon enough, John had grown weary of the party atmosphere, and I offered to walk him out since I fully intended to go to the Jack In The Box across the street when he left. He agreed that nothing sounded better than that so we both headed in that direction. Once on the sidewalk we ran into Bobby Intern arriving. Since he was starving too, the three of us decamped from the glamorous shirtless hunk party and sat down in as sketchy a fast food joint as I have ever seen for a witty conversation and a greasy stack of fries. For me, this was the perfect evening. My favorite local fast food, a bit of an alcohol buzz on and good friends. After we dispatched our meal, Bobby and I said good bye to John and then headed back to the club for more drunken adventures.

Once inside, we connected with Jack back in the VIP room and Bobby and I continued the evening that John and I had started together. While hanging out in there, suddenly the cute boy who had been checking me out earlier wandered into the VIP room. He was now sweaty from dancing and his shirt was firmly in his back pocket, but he was all smiles for me. He had spotted me from the dance floor and thought I might be able to help him get backstage so he could dance in the special area with the professional dancers. I unfortunately didn't have that power, but he settled for a kiss instead. The next thing I knew, I had him up against the wall and we were making out and grinding up on each other like it was the end of civilization. I would have been embarrassed for myself but I was just having too much fun.

Knowing that was the high water mark of the evening, and seeing how well Bobby and Jack were getting along, I figured I could head back to the hotel at a reasonable hour and try to get at least a couple of hours of sleep before my 5am trip to the airport and another 7am flight. I left Bobby and Jack and some of Jack's friends as they headed off to the next party, while I turned and walked down the hill back toward the hotel. Overall, it was a perfect night. I got carded at the door. I got to make out with a cute guy. I even danced a little with Bobby. It is true that at a certain age, some pleasures don't have the same easy delight to them that they used to have. But every once in a while, if you can pull yourself together, for a few hours in a dimly lit nightclub you can feel a little Fresh once again.

1 comment:

CW said...

Derek can you please post an update on your video Podcast show and also your plans for the firehouse gay bar. You are one of the few truly fascinating gay people with both a scintillating mind and a hot body. And the ultimate sexual turn-on is that you don't take yourself too seriously.