Saturday, October 20, 2012

Card Again

The doorman waved me into Vlada with a smooth gesture, “Go right in. I know your face.” He was as unknown to me as Jupiter. I know your old face he meant as he didn't bother to ask for my ID. I remember being offended when I would get carded at the door even though a baby could have been born since then who is old enough now to not be carded himself. Things just aren't as they used to be.

This was at Vlada but it was the second time in the evening that I wasn't carded. The first time was at Therapy where I went to meet Brent, who is visiting from San Francisco. Brent has been a long time listener of the show and I first met him when he was a nineteen year old college student seeing New York City. But that was eight years ago and Brent is all grown up now with a real job and boyfriend and everything.

Brent suggested Therapy (the only bar in the city he could remember) and the last time I was there, it was something of a ghost town since Hell’s Kitchen fell under the spell of Industry across the way. But tonight the bar was packed, to the rafters, with many young people and a few bewildered old people like myself who wondered what happened to their quiet old haunt. It turned out not to be a place to have a catch-up conversation but it was a place to run into Philip.

“Where is Terry?” he asked as he greeted me by the door, where I was waiting patiently with my wrinkles and giant backpack for Brent to arrive. Terry is the only person we really know in common and the last time I saw Philip was at Terry’s wedding to Doug where I gave an amazing wedding toast near the end of the evening that killed. Don’t believe me? Here is a reaction shot:

LOL + Face Palm =You know I Killed.
Philip is hilarious and I will assume (by sweeping generalization taken as fact) that he is Korean. Everyone who knows anything knows that the Koreans are the funny Asians. Don’t believe me? Make a list of three Asian comics or comedic actors and a quick Wikipedia check will reveal that at least four of them are Korean. I am sure there are some Japanese or Chinese comedians and I am just as sure their families are very disappointed with their career choice. (Please don't disrupt my racist slumber with your "truth")

Brent is certain that the last time I saw him was in New York, but I am pretty sure it was in Dallas for pride three years ago when Nick hilariously broke my nose under the stairs at S4. At least I got carded there. But then again, my nose hasn't been the same since. And what is the same these days? Getting older means accepting that nothing will ever be the same again, including you. In your head you can imagine when you look down with a shy smile that you are Tom Cruise on the Jerry Maguire movie poster, but in reality that move allows strangers to see your brows slide over the top of your eyelids like a pair of caterpillars rolling off a dry leaf.

Stop Thinking This Is You. It Isn't.
I really should get my nose fixed. It is crooked since Dallas but my grandmother Doris will murder me from beyond the grave if I lose the signature nose I inherited from her. Rand Rusher beseeches me to come in for a touch up every time he is on the show but if I am going to have work done, I can't stop at a little freshening. I will need to go all in and end up in the Third Age.

Third Age is what people who have had a lot of plastic surgery are. It isn't young and it isn't old. It is some kind of incredibly smooth version of thirty-five that is unmistakable, the elective surgical equivalence of Down Syndrome. Joan Rivers and Heidi Montag look like they could have gone to high school together in some Third Age universe where only necks and hands get older. I look forward to enrolling myself someday.

But as I face down another birthday next week, it is still the same old down faced me. The same old me that keeps getting older and hopefully a little wiser. As I gathered myself to leave Vlada, a passel of Brooklynites stumbled into the darkness of the bar. Those that could grow beards, had. Those who couldn't made do with Kennedy era nerd glasses or plaid button downs and through it all sweaters, sweaters, sweaters. Autumn is like the hipster Olympics and everyone wants a Gold Medal.

Gratuitous Photo Of Me With David Boudia
You could say that as I let my roots show I am just showing the world that I have given up. That isn't at all true. But maybe as much as I care, I know when I look at these bright youngsters with their panicked, stricken looks on their faces, that finally I don’t have to care like that. When I walk into a place, I don’t wonder if someone there will love me, for a night or a lifetime, or even a night that feels like a lifetime. And I don’t even need to worry that someone will know me. I always run into someone I know, even if it is just the doorman, who knows all too well exactly who I am


Read more of Derek's adventures in When Nightlife Falls and Colonnade: A Life In Columns. Both are available now on, and in digital form for The KindleThe Nook, and in the iBookstore. 

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