Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Scary Job

I can't think of any job scarier than a Window Washing Werewolf's. With the possible exception of being the Assistant Regional Account Manager in Suite 430B right about now.

Ironically I was watching this alongside a Spiderman who was safely on the sidewalk next to me.

Happy Halloween

I don't believe in ghosts or spirits. But I do think the memories of departed loved ones can manifest themselves in our thoughts and emotions and influence the thousands of tiny, unconscious decisions we make each day. All of us are haunted by the joys, sorrows, regrets and triumphs of our pasts. But it's often the simplest expressions of affection that linger. The squeeze of a hand, an unexpected kindness, a whispered "I love you". Embrace the herenow because the interactions we have with each other today have the potential to embody a memory that lives hereafter.

I don't believe in demons. But I do believe in human beings and, being human, I'm apprehensive of the future unknown, afraid of the bad intentions of others and spooked by my own capacity for evil. But fear is not a reason to abandon reason. The effort of inventing monsters to explain and externalize the darkest parts of ourselves only denies us the best part about being human: our capacity for great good and our freedom of will to choose light over darkness and love over hate. For when we create devils into which to scapegoat the worst part of ourselves, we must inevitably create angels into which to banish the best, relinquishing responsibility and control of both in the process. We become nothing more than dry leaves drifting to the whims and mercies of invisible forces of our own creation or, worse, the creation of others.

This doesn't mean I'm not afraid of things that go bump in the night. It's just that in my experience, it's me stubbing my toe on the way to the bathroom.

And that is why I sleep with a nightlight.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chin Up

StevieB wrote an excellent post a few weeks back that I've been thinking about ever since. (Inspired Alignment). In it he writes about the excuses people make to avoid staying fit, and what inspires and motivates him to get to the gym. It made me think about my own motivation. And my excuses.

I admit to being one of those who suffers from gym insecurity. I suspect it's left over baggage from middle school P.E. class. To this day I can't hang from a chin-up bar without seeing someone behind me with a clipboard saying, "Done? Okay, we'll round that up to 2. Next!"

I know it's not completely rational, I understand that. I know the last thing on the radar of the other people in the gym is how fit I look or don't look, what kind of socks I'm wearing, the number of plates I'm using, my squat form, the size of my sweat puddle, the lewd noises I make under concentric load, etc., etc.

Or is it? After all, I can't deny I occasionally catch myself observing and, yes, sometimes judging them in one or more of these categories.

I know I'm making assumptions, but part of me thinks it's easy for someone like Stevie to dismiss the power of personal insecurity as a gym demotivator. He's hot and built like a brick Oklahoma storm shelter. I could work hours every day and not have biceps or pecs like that. And those glutes... I can't look at 'em without the urge to play them like bongo drums, Matthew McConaughey style.

But the thing about personal insecurities is that they're, well, personal. (Unless you blog.) I have no idea what goes through the mind of anyone else in the gym, but it's a very self-centered thing to worry about. And even if they are judging me, what they think doesn't put weight on my bar.

I have to remind myself that a small but not insignificant fraction of that StevieB hotness is the result of years of dedication and discipline. Even if that does entitle him today to feel totally secure about himself inside a crowded gym doing concentration curls in front of the mirror wall, I suspect he may not have started out feeling that way.

And he didn't let that stop him.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Fuzz

As of a few hours before the Halloween party last evening I still had no idea what I was going to wear. I was beginning to resign myself to spending the evening in the Disturbing Penguin mask. Then on a whim JB and I stopped at one of those Halloween shops that pop up in abandoned Rite-Aids this time of year. In there I saw this costume and it reminded me of the conversation last Halloween I had with my friend about dressing up as a bachelorette party stripper cop.

If I had more time I would have gotten hold of some tear-away velcro pants and a g-string. Maybe next year.

Not my real chest hair.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Let's Get Physical

I needed to schedule a physical by the end of the year. When I called in September I was told that the first opening my doctor had was February 2014. Seriously?

This never would have happened with Dr. DILF. Oh how I miss him. He always found time to fit me in. I could email him a photo of a weird looking rash and never had to wait long for a response. Once he replied from a ship off the coast of Antarctica. What he was doing there, he never said. Probably stuffing Lipitor in mackerel and feeding them to penguins with cardiovascular risk factors. Because that's the kind of guy he was.

I explained to the woman on the phone that it was important for insurance reasons that I get the physical done this year. After some time she was able to set me up with my doctor's colleague's physician assistant.

This morning I showed up early for my appointment, filled out the paperwork and was ushered to a wing of the office I've never seen before. I was weighed and measured, given a gown and told to undress. The PA was nice enough. I never had full physical exam by a woman before, but we're all professionals here.

But when it came time for my hernia check and prostate exam, the PA called in a nurse. I guess she didn't want to be alone in the room with me while she violated me. It was kind of surreal.

(Weirder even than the time my insurance changed and I had to switch to a doctor referred to me by my friend, Larry. That guy gave me a surprise prostate exam while I was lying on the examination table. One minute he's palpating my spleen asking "Does this hurt?" and the next he was spreading my cheeks. I called Larry when I got home, my voice still quivering. Seems Larry didn't see anything strange about that. I told Larry he needs to find a new doctor.)
I guess that would explain the
O'Keeffesque decor.
And the gown.

My genital and prostate exam this morning took twenty seconds that felt like twenty minutes. In case you were wondering, my prostate is fine. And my penis always looks like that around women.

Maybe it's just me, but the worst part of a prostate exam comes when they hand you the tissues. And then just stand there talking to you while you're supposed to remove the excess lube from your crack, the whole while expected to hold up your end of the conversation.

So you wipe, but then of course the biohazard trash can is all the way across the room and your underpants are around your ankles. I'm beginning to suspect doctors live to watch that.

Except Larry's doctor. He wipes you.

As I left, a little shaken but with a clean bill of health, I stopped to look at the sign outside the office. My doctor's colleague is a gynecologist?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Modern Conveniences

This morning while packing my lunchbox, I stooped to retrieve my breakfast and lunch from the wine chiller only to find it full of wine. Of all things. I found my missing meals luxuriating inside our spacious new refrigerator. Wow, I thought, life is returning to normal.

Not quite. The new refrigerator is in the foyer next to the bathroom door. It's still wearing its appliance condom as JB refuses to let me peel the clear protective sheath off the stainless steel until the fridge is safely ensconced in its new fridge hole. We still have no idea when that will be.

The new appliances were delivered Friday. To give you some idea how poorly laid out the existing kitchen is, the delivery guys struggled quite a while to remove the old, broken down fridge. I tried my best to help a little by disconnecting the gas stove the night before, since that needed to be moved out of the way before the fridge could be slid out of it's niche. But then we discovered there was no way the fridge would fit through the entrance of the kitchen, even with the fridge doors removed.

We ended up hoisting the fridge over the counter and sliding it across into the living room. When that ugly old thing was finally out of the house, the guy asked if I wanted them to take the stove too. I hadn't considered that because a new stove was not one of the appliances we purchased. But I decided I may as well take advantage of their offer and gave them an extra $20 to haul it away.

So we now have no stove and a fridge that doesn't fit into our empty husk of a kitchen. We're seeing a few more contractors this week, but it's going to be a quite some time before normalcy returns to Casa Midtown.

In the meantime I'm attempting to embrace the process and focus on the positives. For example, a brand new kitchen will be well worth the temporary turmoil. I now have a place to keep my food and my wine. And a guy could really get used to being able to reach the refrigerator from the toilet.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"I'm A Big Ol Bear!"

I'm looking for a costume for a Halloween party next weekend. I'm kind of over the horse head mask. And the unicorn head mask. I do have a penguin head mask I haven't worn yet, but it's way more disturbing than the others. It looks like something Hitchcock would have dreamed up had he included murderous penguins in his aviarsonal. Not only does its beak look like it could accidentally peck somebody's eyeball out, it's menacing expression suggests it has every intention of doing exactly that.

I started looking online for a kinder, cuddlier costume when I came across a cute fuzzy bear costume. I love it, but I'm not sure I want to spend that much for a Halloween costume. Although I suppose I could maximize my investment by attending Furry parties and conventions. Heck, a bear costume might even come in handy on the Big Gay Cruise. (Relax Stevie, I'm joking.)

The reason I like this costume so much is because it reminds me of the kid in The Onion video: "Finding Masculine Halloween Costumes for your Effeminate Son":

I browsed online for a while looking at different options. Slutty cop. Slutty pirate. Slutty alter boy. I began to realize Amazon's recommendation algorithms have my sense of humor computed to a high degree of accuracy when they suggested this unlikely combination of items...

I would totally spend $38.66 to go to a party dressed as Daffy Christ. "Judath... you're dithpicable!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Man With Something Extra

I started replying to comments on yesterday's post, but decided this deserved a post of its own.

Blobby: "As it stands, even if successful, 1 out of 3 Gregs are not the best odds. Better to cut your losses and run from anyone with that name. : )"

Talk about odds, TWO of the Gregs had three nipples! Now I never judge someone by physical characteristics he has no control over. But...

Jeez man! Unless tweaking that thing gave me a full-body orgasm, I would have made an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon before it grew its first hair.

Have you been with a guy with an extra nipple? It's awkward. It's not like I expect anyone to bring it up in casual pre-coital conversation. ("You enjoy nipple play? Well then, have I got a treat for you!") So unless the A/C is blasting, it's almost always going to be a surprise.

And when things get intimate, you're never sure if you're supposed to ignore the thing or give it equal time. No matter which choice you make, you're going to start second-guessing yourself. Usually when you're suckling his abs. (Some guys have treasure trails, other's have milk lines.)

My advice, should you ever find yourself with a polytheliac: Pause a moment to discuss the elephant in the room. Try to put yourself in his shoes. Express genuine interest and curiosity. Excitement even, if you can. Ask if he gets stimulation from playing with it. If he does, go for it! And if he doesn't, ask why on earth it's still there.

According to Wikipedia, one in eighteen men has an "accessory nipple". (I adore that term! Accessory nipple. Actually makes it sound like something you'd see a surgeon to have added rather than removed. I picture Rob Lowe's character on Behind the Candelabra throwing in a free accessory nipple with every chin implant.)

Wait... One in eighteen???

So why am I giving advice to you sluts? You should be telling me. And to the one of my readers who has a 33% chance of rocking an accessory nipple: I love you man, stand proud and don't ever change!

BosGuy: "I love this post, and by the way, WTF you doing w my buddy Damian anyway?"

Damian was my dermatologist's assistant calling with my lab results. That suspicious mole... accessory nipple.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The L-Bomb

BosGuy has an interesting post about the "L" word. No, not that L-word. It was about being hesitant to be the first one in a relationship to say "I love you". Although I suppose it could apply to lesbians too. But where I imagine it's part of their initial mating ritual, gay men seem very timid about prematurely dropping the L-bomb... or having it dropped on them.

BosGuy's perspective is that he doesn't understand this hesitancy. Granted, he's in a long-term relationship. As am I. At this point in my relationship, "I love you" seems hardly more than just another way of ending a telephone conversation, interchangeable with "Catch ya on the flip side" or "Tootles!"

And it's the perfect text message for those times when you want your life partner to know you're thinking of them but you have no other information of significance to convey. Such as, "Don't forget to make an appointment to get that suspicious mole checked" or "Someone named Damian called for you. Who the fuck is Damian?"

In which case "I love you" is the reply.

But I remember being single and in the dating pool, and I can recall very well that feeling of trepidation and apprehension. Once I went out with this guy, Greg. (The third Greg. Not the first Greg with the third nipple, the second one. I mean, the second Greg with a third... 'Kay, not important.) We'd been dating for about three months and spending every night together.

Smart, handsome, funny and professionally successful, Greg 3 was exactly the kind of guy I always dreamed would fall in love with me back in the thirteen-year-old-girl dreams I had in my early twenties. Okay, he was a little shorter than I dreamed. And if I did dream about nipples I'm pretty sure there were exactly two. But otherwise Greg 3 fit the fantasy.

The problem was that my tween-age dreams were always of the handsome prince falling in love with me and taking me away to live happily ever after. When they really should have been about us falling in love with each other.

One night over a romantic candlelit dinner, I began to suspect Greg 3 was about to drop the L-bomb and immediately my stomach went into knots. And when he said those words, I freaked. Internally. On the outside I was cool as a cucumber. Only when a cucumber has cold sweats, it's called "condensation". I forget my exact response but it was probably something like, "Oh... that's so sweet! Like that dessert tray. I don't know about you but that tiramisu is calling my name."

A banana split would have been more symbolic. Within a week Greg 3 and I were history.

For the life of me I can't recall when JB and I first said "I love you". Or even who said it first to whom. All I can surmise is that it must have been the exact right thing to say and the exact right thing to hear at the exact right moment in time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rocking With The Fishes

Pride weekend was a blast. The weather was perfect and it really seemed like a good time was had by all. And the Friday night kick-off party at the Georgia Aquarium is always a good time.

I wound up with a couple of extra tickets but was easily able to find some takers waiting outside to get in. The guy was so grateful to be able to join his friends inside, he wanted to pay me for the tickets. I said I was just happy they were going to get used, so he offered to buy me a drink inside. I was surprised when he followed through on his promise, not once but several times that evening.

One of my favorite moments from the party was giving my buddy Gilbert a hard time. The guy has no poker face and I can always tell the instant he sees something he likes or smells something he doesn't. At one point I noticed him squirming and asked him what his problem was. He insisted we relocate to a different section of the aquarium. Turns out he was dodging an ex.

As he attempted to keep a low profile in the crowded, festive ballroom, I noticed a slideshow being projected onto every wall in the facility. I then read a sign explaining that the photos being displayed were a live stream of random Instagram pics tagged with #AtlantaPride.

It only took another minute before Gilbert's face was on all the big screens. It took him all of ten seconds to incriminate me in the dastardly plot to out him to four thousand of Atlanta's gays, a healthy percentage of whom might be happy to throw a drink in his face.

I was guilty as hell, of course.

Love to see Coca-Cola getting in on the festivities.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


What a beautiful weekend for Pride in Atlanta, and this morning feels the most perfect of all. Getting ready for the parade today, I was reminded of a moment from last year. After the long, stretched-out parade ends, the spectators fill in behind the last float and follow it down the parade route to Piedmont Park. This is when the truly massive scale of Atlanta's Pride attendance becomes evident.

Pride brings in people from hundreds of miles of the surrounding South. I forget what an incredible island of tolerance I live in and how different gay life is once you drive just a few miles outside of Atlanta.

I watched the parade next a couple of young women from North Georgia. I'm guessing they were about 18 or 19 years old and they told us how much they were really enjoying their visit to Atlanta for Pride. When the parade ended, we watched the throng of spectators walk past and waited for an opening to join in. There were hundreds of thousands of happy people walking down Tenth Street.

One of our new friends turned to me and said something I can't forget: "This many people can't all be wrong."

"What?" I asked. I noticed there were suddenly tears in her eyes as she added, "I mean, God wouldn't send this many people to hell, would he?"

I flashed back to a time long ago when those exact kind of questions weighed heavily on my mind. In that moment my empathy kicked into high gear. I knew exactly what she was feeling and which pieces of her life-long baggage she was beginning to consider tossing overboard. And all I could do was hug her.

"No He wouldn't," I whispered in her ear. "There's no way."

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Frigidaire Gap

From the minute we moved into our condo, we knew the kitchen would need work. The layout was awkward with lots of wasted space. The refrigerator was tucked between a laundry closet and the counter, making the far corner of the countertop and the cabinets beneath totally unusable. If that weren't enough, the refrigerator would shift and its door would slam into the oven door handle, eventually knocking it completely off.

But at least our freezer had an ice-maker. Until one day in 2008 when the delicate mechanism built itself a solid ice cocoon and slipped into cryogenic hibernation. I kept waiting for it to emerge as a beautiful crushed ice dispenser. It never did. Since then I've been manually filling ice cube trays with tap water and transferring them across the kitchen, trying my best not to spill the entire way. Like a caveman.

And two weeks ago when the rest of our fridge's internal workings joined the ice-maker in frosty heaven (I hope), we knew it would be kind of silly to just stick a new fridge in the same awkward place. Even if we were so inclined, the dainty size of our fridge-hole drastically limits our replacement options. Refrigerators, like the Americans who feed from them, have gotten nothing but wider since our basic almond freezer-on-top Frigidaire left the assembly line in the 80's.

Fortunately we weren't without back-up refrigeration. I removed the bottles from our wine chiller and turned it down to 40°. This has been where we've been keeping our pre-packaged Good Measure meals. Last week during a gym workout I complained to Gilbert about the eroding standard of living at Casa Midtown:
"Our refrigerator is dead and I can't even get it out of the kitchen without first disconnecting the gas range and pulling that out of the way. The only fridge I can find that would fit is from some kid's dorm on Craig's List. I have no way to make ice cubes and no freezer to keep them. And there are wine bottles all over my house."
"Wine bottles all over? How's that different than any other day?" he quipped.
"These are full."
For the past two weekends JB and I have been shopping for refrigerators. My only requirement is an ice-maker. It doesn't need to crush the ice or expel it through a door orifice into my waiting glass. I just need consistently formed cubes which don't stick together when I reach for a handful. It's been two weeks since I've heard the soothing sound of ice clinking in a manhattan glass. Do you know what that does to a guy? Two weeks!

For his part, JB seemed completely ambivalent. He shot down my first suggestion: the high-end touchscreen model preloaded with helpful kitchen apps. As I fully expected him to. I learned long ago to always lead with the Papa Bear option and let Goldilocks believe that rejecting the Baby Bear choice was her idea.

But then, in the second Home Depot, he pulled the handle on a gleaming, stainless steel Samsung side-by-side. The interior LED lighting ramped from 0 to 100% illumination, casting sparkling ripples in the pools forming in his gorgeous brown puppy-dog eyes. I could almost hear the choir of angels harmonizing in his ears. He stood there for five minutes closing and opening the refrigerator door.

That's it, Goldie, take the bait. Oh yeah, that feels just right, doesn't it.

They're delivering our Samsung on Thursday. And it's going directly into storage until we settle on a contractor we can entrust with tearing us a new fridge-hole.

Friday, October 4, 2013

133 Days BGC

My first batch of motivational gay cruise swimwear arrived this week.

Me: "What d'ya think? Think I'll be able to pull these off?"

JB: "Honey, I'm not even sure you'll be able to pull these on."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Change Of Pace

My gym is closed this week for "renovation", so I spent my gym time last weekend scoping out other LA Fitness locations in the area. Judging by how nice some of these other facilities are, I doubt a week will be enough to make a dent in that dump.

I got on the treadmill at the Georgia Tech gym and was momentarily stymied by the instrumentation panel. Fortunately it sensed my presence, recognized my befuddlement and began offering helpful on-screen guidance. Turns out what I thought were "speed and incline" buttons were actually changing the volume and channel of the TV.

I wonder, are we getting new treadmills at my gym? The one I'm used to using there is pretty basic. No integrated television, no iPhone dock, no personal cooling system and no high-resolution touch screen display. Just an oval ring of red lights to represent my position on a virtual quarter-mile track. How am I supposed to visualize my imaginary progress using 1980's technology? I'm still sweating to Pong while people going to other gyms have A.I. trainers and a menu of the worlds most scenic running trails beaming into their Oculus Rifts.

My gym definitely needs an upgrade. As other gyms have obviously been modernizing, I think this one has been skating by simply due to the clientele. While every gym has some amount of gayness, this one is full-on gay. My buddy, Gilbert, will deny that's exactly the reason he goes there. And he'd be lying. It's a "see and be seen" kind of gym. You can go on a Saturday afternoon and be confident you'll see the same crowd later that evening in the clubs.

I miss those boys already.