Saturday, March 15, 2008

Matt and Ben

This blog is primarily dedicated to my adventures out on the town, which might lead some people to believe I am a raging alcoholic. Everyone that is except my grandmother who insists that I don't drink enough. While it is true that many of my nights out happen in dank bars, over the last couple of years I have severely cut back on my drinking. Yes, I still go out, but instead of eight to ten drinks, I am down to one or two. More recently, I went a solid six weeks or so without a single cocktail. That ended last night when I didn't so much fall off the wagon as throw myself onto the Oregon Trail and allow an entire wagon train to roll over me.

Much of this new found sobriety has been necessitated by my move to the suburbs. Invariably I need to drive home at the end of the evening, leaving me at a serious drunken disadvantage to other New Yorkers. More of it has to do with getting older. To paraphrase Catherine Deneuve, at a certain point you have to choose between saving face and saving your ass. To continue drinking heavily means choosing your ass over your face and that is something I have just never been willing to do. Mornings are unpretty enough with your face memorizing every pillow crease from the night before without the telling boozy puffiness lending it a helping hand.

But last night was Ben Harvey's party celebrating his much-heralded TV show debut on HERE TV. I absolutely had to go to support him. And since it has been a while since I had a few cocktails and I knew I didn't need to drive home later, it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy a rare liquor-fueled night on the town. When I arrived, Ben offered to make me a cocktail and while waiting I threw myself on the mercy of his tastefully modern sofa with Cyd and Dan, sitting close together like a comedy team. It was nice spending time with them since I don't ever get enough time to see them. Dan listens to the show on his commute home quite regularly so he usually knows what is going on in my life, but the one-sidedness of it leaves me a little wanting.

Matt Kelleher finally arrived a few minutes later with his adorable blond charge. Gary is a Notre Dame (Matt's alma mater) senior in town looking for jobs and fun before his May graduation. If Roommate had been at the party he would have known immediately that Gary was just my type: tall, blond, sweet with a naturally perfect body and just a hint of chest hair. Matt was busy instructing him in the ways of New York and helping to prepare him for life in the outside world, by way of parties filled with gorgeous gay men and enough liquor to explode ten livers.

Ben arrived in our circle with drinks for the two of them and I held out my hand expectantly. At first Ben was confused but then he realized that he completely forgot to bring me my drink. "What were you waiting for?" he cried. "That was half an hour ago!" It was the very same conversation I had with Jonathan two days earlier. I suppose I am a fool for expecting people to keep their word even in intensely trivial matters, but if seven years in New York City has taught me anything, it is that reliability is essential to keep life running smoothly (as everyone who stands on subway platforms knows all too well). Or maybe I am just spoiled by the military-instilled precision of my parents, later reinforced by the even greater efficiency of Roommate.

Ben finally made good on his promise but unfortunately, my body had completely forgotten what alcohol was and two drinks later, I was flying like Sally Field in a perfectly symmetrical habit. Chris Van Cleef was there and my last blog entry was the talk of the party and the halls of HERE TV. One of his friends even quoted it in his Facebook Wall, citing my blog as "honest and trustworthy." I felt so famous! But Chris was tickled by the blog entry and insisted that he was stone sober when I saw him, which means I guess we can chalk up his willing sexual personality to nothing more complex than a willing sexual personality.

The party was fun, but Matty had another party to go to and I had one eye on the clock for the drunk trains home and the other eye on his blond companion. On our way out, outside the bathroom Sara of the Josh and Sara podcast made the feisty demand "You better not put me in your blog!" which naturally guaranteed she would make it in. (As a side note while I am on the subject of the bathroom, I fell madly in love with the art over Ben's toilet which as I dimly recall was a series of faux mid-century comic panels that started with one of the characters saying in effect: It rains here two out of three days, and during the rainy season, it snows like a bitch! That caused me to laugh so hard, I actually doubled over. So yes I was quite drunk at that point.) Ben's cousin Christian arrived late, almost simultaneously with us leaving so I barely got to say hi. And the presence of Dave Rubin's boyfriend made dry humping his leg even more embarrassing and inappropriate, though I did it anyway.

Matt, Gary and I decamped from Ben's fabulous party to another fabulous party, back in Union Square at David Coleman's place. I tried to tell a very drunk Gary about the remarkable view of Grand Central Station and why the Chrysler Building is my favorite in all of New York but he was instantly obsessed with playing Britney Spears on David's iPod-driven music system. He even went so far as to replace the iPod with his own iPhone and proceeded to turn himself into impromptu DJ. Moments later, egged on by Ryan Newman, he engaged in and narrowly lost a dance off. I felt like I was in a scene out of a gay rip-off of She's All That.

Conor was there, his collie eyes obscured by eyeglasses, reminding me once again of my preference for Clark Kent over Superman. Ben was there too, making a rare public appearance without Bradford. I also ran into Barton who was sexy and lovely as always, and who sat by with a bland expression while I dirty danced with Gary to Radar. In my state, I tried to convince him (unsuccessfully) that I am not the kind of person who does this sort of thing, but he just looked back with an expression lacking both moral judgment and belief. Moments later, the party broke up with most of us headed over to the Chelsea Hotel. And then things got interesting.

It was a night of firsts for me, though none I would recommend. The first first came on the dance floor in the basement bar of the Chelsea when Gary took his shirt off and then insisted I take mine off. I have never been shirtless in a gay club in my life and the only other time I was shirtless in a gay social setting was August of 2001 and we all remember how that ended! Later another clubgoer tapped my bare shoulder and sniffed, "Have you noticed you are the only two people in here with your shirts off? This isn't that kind of place you know." In that moment, I just hoped that he thought we were both too young to know better as opposed to one of us being too young and the other one being definitely old enough to know better. My shirtlessness also got an askance glance from Barton on his way out, again with his trademarked judgment-free judgment which to me is as unrealistic and suspicious as sugar-free, fat-free Cool Whip.

Gary ran into Matt's friend Ian, whom he had met when he met Matt down in South Florida last week. Ian and other friends at the Chelsea who were not at the party pulled the three of us out of the Chelsea and off to another house party. Ian's driver Joe pulled his Bentley up to the curb, graciously took my tacky backpack and ten dollar coat from the Barney's Warehouse Sale and laid them in the trunk with the kind of care usually reserved for fragile antique crystal. I squeezed myself into the backseat with Ian, Gary and to my right, Itay Hod from LOGO News who is just as sexy in person if not more so, while Matt rode in the front seat. Joe drove us to the elegant apartment of Tim who thoughtfully hosted a passel of gay men well into the wee hours of the morning.

Tim worked overtime as a host, entreating smokers not to toss their butts over the side of his balcony onto the neighboring balcony below, filling drinks and otherwise making sure everyone had a good time. Gary settled in on the floor next to the music system, and once again, replaced Tim's music with his own iPhone and set about on another three hour musical journey dedicated almost entirely to the Britney canon with a reverential devotion usually reserved for patron saints and Madonna. By this time, I was just too drunk to keep up the pace and switched to water to keep me from shriveling up like a prune before morning. Gary once again took his shirt off and convinced me to do the same, which lead to first number two: being photographed in public with my shirt off. I had always said I would never, NEVER do that, and yet, here I was, shirtless and grinning like an idiot for the camera.

An hour later, I experienced my third and final first. Gary and I were canoodling on a lovely leather armchair and suddenly, drunk and shirtless in a strange apartment, dawn nearly breaking through the window like a runaway freight train, I felt lost. But how could I be so terribly unhappy? Here I was, in the arms of an adorable guy at a fun party and yet not having J.G. in my life made me feel as lost as a rudderless ship at sea. If I still had his number in my phone, I would have sent him an ill-advised "I am lost without you in my life" text message at six a.m. I was coloring outside the lines and it just wasn't for me. And yet being so fiercely self-reliant as I am, needing someone like this has never been me either. There I was, left between the devil and the deep blue sea, not knowing where to go next or what to do. But true to form for me in moments like this, I mustered my strength and emanated fun without actually having fun until the feeling passed.

A while later, Matt was ready to go and we all put on our shoes and coats and headed out into the soft, lush opening notes of dawn, quickly hailing a cab and heading to Matt's apartment. I thought about just going directly to Grand Central to head home, but realized that a couple of hours sleep would probably be better than just heading home cold. "We'll sleep until ten and then all go to brunch!" Matt offered brightly, still in full cruise director mode, and then seconds later he was fast asleep. I woke up at 11:30am and Gary and Matt were still dead to the world. I put a mirror under each of their noses to make sure they were alive, patted Parker pug on the head and stumbled out the door. It was a great night, to be sure, and probably one of the last all-nighters I will ever have. Hanging out with Matt is always a reliable treat, and there is so much comfort and trust in spending time with someone you have known for more than a decade. In the end, it turns out there are some things, I know I can rely on: old friends, pillow face and always myself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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