Monday, August 25, 2008

Never Look Back, Never Look Away


Well, firstly, sorry it's been a month since I've been here, and secondly, I met my Bronzino man. He's at the Met, so I must have seen him a half a dozen times, but I didn't know until last year I wanted to meet meet him... Oh, and thirdly, I saw What We Do Is Secret: not bad.

A story from 1984:
Charles always kind of scared me. He was the very definition of extrovert, from his over-sized smile anchoring his over-sized forehead, to his ever expanding arms. He wanted to scoop up as much of everything as he could with those arms; he was aways in outward motion. He lived out loud; he never down played for one second his big queeny ways. But what attracted me to him was his intelligence; the mind of a PHD lurked under all that fake tan and hyper stylish clothing.
I met him while I was in beauty school, and he was the manager of a chain salon in my hometown, in charge of a staff of twenty. We rarely talked shop, for I told him I was leaving Appleton when I finished school, and he believed me, and left it at that.
Charles liked to have fun. He liked to go out. He liked to drink. I know he liked me in that way, but never forced the issue. Everything flowed around us when we were together: the liquor, the laughter, the good times, he had a way of making you feel special and important and wanted. He encouraged outlandishness in everyone around him- it was the Eighties after all, and because of him my hair got bigger and purpler and more mohican. (Grant also had a lot to do with my style, but I'm saving that story for my book...)
I had recently found a great, deep blue 60's blazer, that went perfectly with my shade of purple hair, which was so expertly structured and fit me so well, no amount of brooches or rosaries or even a Mohican could distract from it's perfection. I wore that thing for years. I can't believe I ever got rid of it.
Charles encouraged outlandishness, but his enthusiasm for your style tended to turn into battles. Who could be the wildest? He always won: his clothes were the craziest and his hair was checker boarded six ways to Sunday in a new rainbow of colors every week.
But he was fiftysomething, and I was eighteen, so he decided after a few months of our little 'contest', to settle down in styleland somewhere between weird and freaky. To the untrained eye, he probably just looked 'gay'.

One night, early on in our friendship, he took me to the bar in a restaurant I had won a gift certificate for, to show me I had nothing to be afraid of.
I was afraid to eat there, because it was Appleton's nicest restaurant at the time, and I was afraid I didn't know what to do or how to act. Even though I was in the room before it was finished, on an early tour while they were constructing the hotel, it was still intimidating to me.
I first saw the huge boxes of books, and then the floor to ceiling book shelves that would be their home. Our buyer found these books all over England, my guide said, to create in the restaurant the feeling of and old English manor library. "Old English manor library restaurant"? What does that even mean?! I thought to myself.
I used to see the maitre d at our small town gay bar, always in his black dinner jacket and bow tie, standing off to the side, getting drunk, and looking like someone who was 'in attendance' to our (local gay soap) opera. He was from Green Bay.
I talked to the maitre d a few times, and he assured me I would enjoy myself, and said he looked forward to seeing me there.
So I was finally going to the bar at Christie's, with Charles. I of course wore my blue vintage blazer, and made my hair as big as I could, because I was going to the bar in Christie's, and that I knew how to do. Charles was waiting there for me, excited, because he wanted to show me something!, he said on the phone.
After a few sips, he unbuttoned his shirt to reveal to me and the entire place his new gold nipple rings, connected by a gold necklace. Oh Charles, button your shirt. I said. I never did use that gift certificate.


In 1989, while I was living with Scot, I was a slut. I can count on more than one hand (I think) the guys I slept with while living on Sheridan and Broadway, and to me, that's pretty slutty.
The first on this list was Brian (Scottish last name). I saw him last year sitting in a car with his mother right in front of my salon. I pretended to be engrossed with something on my desk, and occasionally stole peeks at him while he sat in his car pretending not to see me. I seriously thought about talking to him, but didn't. He still looked good, almost twenty years later, and I did enjoy our time we had together, but you know...
Back then, he lived on that street that runs parallel and south of Belmont, between Sheffield and Clark. I work near there now, and often walk down his old street, and what I remember most about him was his smell. It was great and unlike anything I've experienced since. I had a weird dream in his place, and turned it into a short movie when my friend Chad asked me to write a short for him for one of his classes, a year later. You may get to see it some day on Youtube, if Greg ever puts it up. I lost my copy of it years ago. It's especially special, because it was filmed entirely in the old Medusa's.
I made Brian dinner for his birthday that year, even though I was sick as a dog, and got mad at him for wanting to 'do it' later that night. No! I'm sick! I said. He left before morning, and I never saw him again.
Then there's this kid. (Don't ask me what's going on with my face. I don't know.) I can't for the life of me remember his name, but he lived with that queen who did the perfect, and do I mean perfect impersonation of crazy Faye from Mommy... in the scene where she goes nuts in the bathroom, for Berlin's old Sunday Night Drag Race. He didn't have his own room, and slept on the couch, so that's where we did it.
Who did I wake up to find passed out on my living room floor some ten years later but the Drag Race queen- he picked up a house guest of mine, who had the nerve to trick with him back at my place. The bitch stole from me, too. Shit turned up missin.
Then there's Steven. A cute guy with cute underwear who said would call but didn't. Steven was also, unbeknownst to me, a guy my friend Bea wanted me to meet. She kept talking about 'this guy', and I just had a feeling it was him. Sure enough, who walks in the door on the night I meet Bea's friend but Steven, who pretends he is meeting me for the first time. I just smiled and said hello, and told Bea the whole story later.
Oh then, there's the DJ, who I liked most of all. A gorgeous red head who picked me up one night in Vortex. (Ha ha. Vortex. That's funny.) It was one of those rare nights for me when more than one guy was after me. Kevin. He was charming and nice and great in bed, and actually called me the next day and we went to a movie, Home Alone, at the Water Tower, but that's as far as it went. I got the distinct impression I 'talked too much'.
The one that takes the prize is my New Year's fling, 1989. There was a party held at an old bank on the west side, and before I knew it, lips were locked and zippers descended in a stall in the men's room. I was wearing one of those chrome belt buckles you can customize the letters for, and mine said 'lipstick'. It clunked to the floor, and before I could pick it up, some skank snatched it away, like they were sitting there looking a their watch waiting for it. Well, I was too other-wise involved to hunt the bitch down, and chalked it up to the perils of toilet sex.
Now that I think of it, that is my last memory of the Eighties.
My first memory of the eighties was very nice: in the living room of our house in Connecticut on chilly December night, my younger brothers dozing on the couch, when I was fourteen, watching the ball in Times Square drop, on TV.
So I ended the eighties losing a valued accessory, and started the nineties with anonymous sex, and ended the nineties with....well, you'll have to read all about that later....


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