Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dinner At Eight

Last night I was riding in the car with a slutty lesbian with a southern accent and I called her the "Paula Deen of pussy!" Everyone in the car laughed and in that moment I thought, "Oh I can't wait to post that in my blog." When I woke up this morning, it was still on my mind and when I started to post about last night I realized that the whole encounter was part of a dream I had, Romaine was not suddenly a blond from Alabama and it in fact never happened. I think it says less about how I amuse myself even when sleeping than it does about the sudden pressure I feel to write a good blog entry.

My last posting involved a very long night hanging out with Matt Kelleher. My retelling of Friday's events passed through his social network faster than Syphilis and by early Saturday night on our way to dinner for round two, the pressure was on! Matt is someone who has always been in my life in waves. When I lived in LA and he as always was in NY, we would see each other once or twice a year for intense weekends of type A gay behavior on such a grand scale that a routine schedule of that level of activity would cause the heart of an American Gladiator to explode. Perhaps it is for the best that we always have months in between to recover.

This weekend has been typical for us. We are like two planets in the same solar system with erratic orbits who have near fatal encounters every few cycles. Eventually we will either slam directly into each other and go supernova or our orbits will just naturally send us spinning further and further apart. This weekend, the planets aligned in their own way and we had two very intense days together. And then we won't see each other again for months, as Matt's orbit takes him very close to Uranus, and mine takes me back to the outer reaches beyond the gay galaxy (aka Westchester County).

After Friday night, I only had four hours of sleep and I was hurting by the time I got home at 1pm. It took all the strength and brainpower I had to pull together my blog posting, shower and change and get back to the city for dinner. I had noticed earlier this week that Chip Arndt and Matt Kelleher were carrying on a private discussion of their dinner plans Wall-to-Wall on Facebook (tacky, but in this case, helpful) and I endeavored to shoehorn my way into their social calendar. I never see either of them, so the ability to see both of them at the same time relieves a lot of my guilt about being a good friend. This set our weekend in motion and Ben Harvey's party ended up being the appetizer for a very long 36 hour meal.

Originally, Chip had wanted to go to a restaurant called "Employee's Only" which being me, I had never heard of. But since Chip really wanted Andy Towle, the Nora Ephron of gay society*, to come, it really needed to be a place very close to his apartment. (*Far Too Obscure Reference Alert: In a press junket interview for the film "You've Got Mail," Tom Hanks revealed that increasingly Nora likes to stay very close to home, down to filming scenes for their latest work together inside her own apartment building. He joked that her next film would be set entirely inside her apartment so she could just direct it from her bedroom.) Matt always the arbiter of where the gay sheep are headed insisted ELMO was the practical solution. Quickly the guest list snowballed and Chip made a reservation for twenty, which I feared (especially after his open invitation on my radio show on Friday) would be insufficient.

I met Matt at his apartment where Gary, who had not intended to crash there, was in need of a fresh shirt. "He's about your size. Bring him something cute!" Matt insisted, forgetting of course that I am the least fashionable person he knows and asking me to bring something cute from my closet is like asking a lesbian to tip better than 15%. It could happen, but not without a lot of anxiety and effort. Gary is blond and fair so I brought him a brown retro vintage Buffalo humor printed ringer t-shirt (origin unknown) and I wore a green Otter Fashion shirt from their collection that they thoughtfully sent me, knowing either one would work for him. The brown shirt was a little big on him, so we switched and he filled out the Otter top perfectly. And, in my personal fashion-blind opinion, the hue of the olive green really worked for him.

Dan also met us at Matt's place since he lives close by, a gay football widow free for dinner while Cyd had a game to play, and Matt's friend Brian and his statistically-handsome date Dallas met us around the corner for the short walk to ELMO. I met Brian forever ago at (I think) SHAG, Matt's favorite hangout and have always found him very sexy, but never more so then when he gushed about what a great writer I am. He has the eyes of a winning poker player and a smile that says "I'm going to eat you." an expression which is open to wild interpretation, although I mean it in the sense that he will in fact devour you if you aren't careful. On our walk to ELMO, we swapped our favorite 30 Rock lines (he is obsessed) and he expressed an interest in the wider use of the words "chortle" and "guffaw" and I promised to work them into the blog.

At ELMO, Chip and Rob were there, as were my friend Kevin, the sexy homo from Chicago and the original Jonathan with his friend Mike. We congregated in the bar for a few minutes as the ultra fit and flitty staff put the finishing touches on our two tables. We moved en masse to the back of the restaurant and then were forced to chose which tables to sit at. I immediately took the middle seat in the smaller table for eight. At San Simeon, Hearst had one of the longest tables I have ever seen, set inside a chapel he had imported stone by stone to make a dining hall. In Citizen Kane, Kane and his wife always sat at long ends where they couldn't hear each other but in reality, Hearst and Davies sat in the dead center facing each other with house guests emanating out from them newest to oldest. Once you got to the end of the table as Louise Brooks reported, the implication was that it was time to pack up and go home. In dining out in big settings, egomaniacs like me always want the center most seat so the conversation radiates out from you as if you are hosting the dinner party.

In the end it didn't matter much where anyone was sitting because it was a non-stop game of musical chairs (set once again to Britney's album playing in its entirety in the background -- did Gary tip someone twenty bucks?). At one point, Mike and Dallas were sitting next to each other and their arguing got so passionate I thought they were going use my bleu cheese dressing as lube and start fucking right on the table. Jason Bellini came in without Will Wikle, who was at home nursing a sore throat (insert your own cocksucking joke here). And Andy Towle finally arrived with his hot boyfriend. Andy's arms were massive and the talk of two tables. Plus, they allowed me to sandbag him with Bette Midler's famous hello to Bruce Springsteen at We Are The World: "You look fabulous! What happened?" which she followed up with "I remember when his arms were as skimpy as his chord changes." All the seat hopping was a little much for our appropriately hot waiter whom I dubbed "Supergirl" because of his famous S logo belt buckle. He dealt with our physical instability by just calling everyone "tranny," "fierce" and "hot mess" every fifteen seconds until I was almost sorry Project Runway and SNL existed.

From there, we of course had to go to a club. Matt offered up his tried and true SHAG but no one was having it. Finally we settled quite reluctantly on SPLASH because it was close by and we knew we could, with a little wrangling, all get in free. I was relieved because the DJ Tracy Young had been on the show on Friday and I told her I would stop by (which is usually a lie). At the door, the doorman our group knew (Derek) wasn't there yet and there was much strum und drang (and minimal guffaw and chortle) about getting ten of us in for free. Dallas was put in charge of this effort as we all bantered on the curb. The whole thing chaffed like a dry rubber leading me to grouse "We have two TV personalities and a radio person who just interviewed their DJ yesterday to promote the night and everyone is hot. What more do they want?"

I think John Blair is a lovely person but the state of NY nightlife is in such disrepair that SPLASH is one of the only options in town if you are in the mood for an old fashioned Saturday night muscle fest set to a bone-rattling beat. Yes, going there is like going back in time to the early 90s and they might as well require high-waisted acid-wash jeans at the door, but what else are we supposed to do? Andy's new arms are nice but they aren't the only game in town. Eventually Derek arrived and we were all ushered into the fixer-upper sanctum. I chatted with Tracy, who gave me some drink tickets which when he saw them caused Matty to do his trademarked clap excitedly and guffaw thing. His friends should know he didn't laugh like that until he started hanging out with my incendiary laugh, and for this reason, I apologize.

At one point, the dancers climbed on top of the bar over us and we all did our level best to ignore their gaze, lest they try to shove their giant crotches in our faces in the hopes of getting spare change. All of them had completely outsized packed-to-the-brim thongs which because of my height kept ending up in my hair (is it possible to get MRSA in a hair follicle? I hope not). It also caused me to suggest they were "holding Nana's purse for her" but it was either too loud or too late for the joke. When the bowl of fresh fruit appeared on the bar, I knew it was time to disembark from the Love Boat and started quickly looking for the exit and bottle of hand sanitizer.

I made my good byes and dashed out into the still of the night. My stomach was still aching from the night before and the beats and cheek implants made me dizzy. It was a sweet weekend with Matt but the shirtless John Blair muscle crowd had a nostalgic feel to it, like watching RENT on Broadway. Even though it is still the current production, the whole thing felt like a creaky revival. At one point for old time sake, Matt stuck his tongue in my mouth like we were back in Terminal Six at LAX in 1997 or back at SPLASH in that same year when I got really drunk and shoved my hands down his shorts, but the whole experience just ended up reminding me that we are too old for this kind of thing and so was everyone else there.

1 comment:

Bart said...

So this is "The Great Gatsby" of the Twenty-First Century. Engaging and superbly written. When will the novel (from which these posts are mere excerpts) be banned in Boston?