Saturday, April 24, 2010

Callous In Wonderland

There are always hot guys around. This is the world I live in. Well, it is the world I work in, which sometimes feels like real life, even when it isn’t. I exist on a plane with blurry players dancing on the blurry lines between fantasy and reality. Who can say what is real and what isn’t?

The whole show tonight was the subject at hand. We spent an hour talking to the two finalists and the winner of the current season of Project Runway. But I was less interested in talking to Seth Aaron about his leggings than I was confronting him about my lack of an invitation to Laura Bennett’s finale viewing party. After all, I thought Laura and I made a connection when she joined us in studio recently to plug her delightfully breezy parenting guide “Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?” In my head, I imagined I would be her new gay boyfriend and even though I know less than nothing about fashion, we would pal around over spiked coffee and she would try to marry me off to her gay manny. But I emailed her more than a week ago to no reply and then I see pictures from her party posted by the gay bloggers she did invite. Suddenly the reality is that I am Stella Dallas, outside looking in.

We rounded out the show with our usual Friday Night Dance Party, our excuse to not talk much in the last hour of the show while a famous DJ plays their favorite tunes. Tracy Young the sexy lady who spins at all the hot gay boy events was in studio for this round, looking as adorable as ever. Her first song was her mix of “Tardy For The Party,” the freshman musical effort of one Kim Zolciak, who puts the real in The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Kim called into the show and was exhaustingly vague about their relationship, while Tracy just sat there politely minding her own business. Now I know why reality TV requires so much editing. Some stories demand scissors and tape to make sense of.

Moments before Tracy bounced into our lives, adorable singer and actor Chris Salvatore popped into the studio. Ever since his film Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat hit the home video market, the gay community has memorized every detail of his naked body in freely distributed screen caps. Yes, we got him to reluctantly take his shirt off in the studio. It was very Coco from Fame without the creepy campiness. But he really wanted to discuss his music, especially his appropriately titled single “Dirty Love.” While he was leaving, he asked for my phone number so he and his manager (my friend Ryan) could meet up with me after the show.

I admit it. I thought he was attractive. After my silly flirtation with Drew Cutler a few weeks ago, I should have thought better of another in-studio showmance, but flirting is fun and it’s even more fun when the flirt comes back to you. So I met up with Chris and Ryan after the show at the apartment of some friend of theirs that is apparently so popular (aka whorish) that it appears on as a destination. (Normally a line like that would be me trying to be clever, but in this case it is in fact true.) My plan was to just spend a few flirty minutes with him before heading off to Brooklyn for a special Friday night edition of Ben Harvey’s GUMBO.

There were about eight gay men in the apartment and each one was more attractive than the last. They kept exploding out of nooks and corners, arms bulging from tight t-shirts, winning smiles shimmering in the night. I have to assume they all share a very popular house on Fire Island in the summertime, although I honestly didn’t want to know more. No sooner had I tried to remember some (any) of their names than a titsy blond woman wandered into the scene demanding acknowledgement that she wasn’t a fag hag because fag hags have no hope of ever getting laid and then blurted out, “You know what I hate about the gay community?”

“Everything?” was one response. “Gay men?” was the one with universal agreement among the men.

These of course were our reasons for hating the gay community. She hated it because when she went out to a gay club, she had the least chance of getting laid. She said this of course while a gay man was running his hand over her left breast and I pointed out to her that she already had gotten more action at the party than any of the gay men standing there. Let’s just say between her ridiculous stance against the gays (if all you want is to get laid, hang out with straight men you idiot) and her monologues delivered at full screech (“I just don’t understand lesbians. The whole thing doesn’t make sense. I am hungry for cock in my stomach!”), my dinner was ready to leave before I was, and I was beyond ready to go.

After Chris was prodded into singing a bit of one of his tunes a cappella in the bedroom, the three of us decamped to The Ritz. I had planned to ditch them at the door on my way to a quick turnaround in Brooklyn, but then Chris had nuzzled up to me while we were walking over after he found out I was single. As I tried to leave, he grabbed me a bit on the arm, “You aren’t leaving now, are you? You’ll come in for one drink, right?” Cut to me standing there with Ryan watching Chris do a shot out of an ice sculpture shaped like a man’s ass. “I thought it was a vagina!” he yelled with a smile, wiping his chin with the back of his hand. A bit later, I was leaving to try to make the 1am train when I ran into Rob on his way in with his notorious roommate Erik Bottcher, who I had never really met (or have I?) and who is connected to me on Facebook through about 120 of the hottest men you have ever seen.

Tardy Erik, for whom the party was just getting started, grinned at me and it was wicked, “Oh you aren’t leaving right now, are you? You can join us for a minute right?” I can’t say no to a handsome man and back into the breach I went. It was nice to see Rob again since we used to work together and he keeps trying to get together with me and I never make it happen. We swirled around a bit downstairs, perplexed by the bartender who was half wearing a shirt. I watched Erik and Rob do shots out of test tubes served by a weary drag queen. A not-so attractive man followed Rob out of the bathroom and tried to make something happen between them but the reality was that was never, ever going to happen.

Naturally, Rob and Erik wanted to go upstairs and moments later I was back where I had started. Erik knew all of Chris and Ryan’s hot friends from that tiny apartment located on the corner of Manhunt and used condoms. Of course they did. Hot men are like migrating birds. Their way in life is easier when they all group together and head in the same direction. Suddenly it was Chris and Rob side by side doing shots, Chris out of an ice penis and Rob’s lips pressed against that frozen ass from before. It was time for me to go, again. For real this time.

The first time I said good bye to Chris, I dirty danced with him for a few minutes before walking out the door, but this time, I gave him just a quick hug and a kiss good night. The slow dance had felt hot and passionate, like the real thing. But what is the real thing anyway? Earlier on the show, he said people liked his performance in Eating Out but he was essentially just playing himself. He is an actor and creating a moment and making it seem true is what he does for a living. Besides, didn’t I think I had the real thing before only to have it explode into a horrible ball of hatred that left only mutually assured destruction? Perhaps showmance is real enough for now. After all, it always feels good and there is never any bitter after taste.

Kim was so maddeningly vague but when you are a real person in a Real world, there is probably a lot to sort out. I know the feeling. What do any of us know for certain about anything? My mother used to say that my grandmother Laura “never believed in anything she couldn’t put her fist through” and maybe that is the right idea. So much of life is show and unlike a movie where they turn up the lights or a play where the actors bow, the show of life doesn’t have the kind of definitive delineation that makes separating truth from illusion easy. Without the comfort of a proscenium arch, none of it is particularly real and reality is just what we make of it. If pressing up against Chris and running my hand through his hair and down his chest felt real then I guess it was real. Or at least, real enough for tonight.


scott o. said...

Derek, watching Chris live on USTREAM. You can do better.

Kate said...

I read this over on FB, and didn't comment then because I figured my comment wouldn't be short and FB really doesn't lend itself to thoughtful interaction. Then I heard you try to talk about this on the show yesterday, and no one was biting, but I was driving in crazy-people traffic, and by the time I was safe to call you had moved on to whether or not you will be a dad, (which, omg don't get me started about some callers because I was totally yelling at my radio).

Anyway, when I read this, I thought you sounded melancholy, and I just wanted to give you a hug. I think all of us struggle with what's real. Honestly, there's so much focus on the artificial in our world, most people believe the artificial IS real. I imagine it's even worse being in the entertainment industry where people are not-real for a living. I mean, seriously, even you, on your show where you and Romaine sit and talk with each other apparently very real (to the point that people think they actually know you) you still play a character at least part of the time, or you play a caricature of yourself. Both of you do. And that's ok. It's your job to keep people calling and listening and entertained.

So yeah, the blending of the two is confusing and sometimes you just want to know that there is "real" out there. I mean, I work for a major corporation, and we have our own version of bullshit=truth, which, of course, it doesn't.

But unless we find a time machine and move to Mayberry, all we can do is hang on to the glimpses we get, and do our best to surround ourselves with people who get a fair amount of glimpses of their own.

So rambles Kate from Louisiana. I keep meaning to write you about why I love your show, and I'll do that too, but if I don't drag myself from this computer right this minute I will be soverylate to work.