A Christmas Carol

A brief battle with all out alcoholism ended the only way it could, with a 14 day bender followed by a five day cold-turkey detox in Michigan.

The holidays treated me well. I slept in a bed that is normally reserved for the Dominicans, returned all my Christmast gifts the next day to buy better things, and made gingerbread cookies who’re in need of bikini waxes.

After six months of drinks, boys, work, ambition, new friends, new cities and more drinks alongside each of those items… it’s time to start making some steps to make ’09 just as messy and twice as good. Happy Holidays!


Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Minutes spent commuting, daily: 150

I made my landlord cry. It wasn’t intentional, and I really wish I hadn’t. I was running late!

I blame it on BYOB. Setting an alarm on a Saturday is already tragic, but being woken up by a disrespectful roommate, her fat college friend and her VERY tragic divorcee mother on a Saturday is pretty much unforgiveable. On my way into the living room they all paused from their snacks and slack-jawed yockeling to say “Oh, we had no idea you were home!” as if that qualified for an apology, which was obviously never offered. What did I expect from three women eating M&Ms at 8:45 am?

mms1 I made nice with the friend and her mother and warned them that it was very important I leave the apartment by 10:30. They had to exit at the same time and assured me it would be no problem. …at 10:45 they all piled out of the bathroom, again offered no apology, and took off to buy tickets for the Rockettes.

Picking their hair out of the drain during my hot-water-less shower, I quickly decided I needed to get over it. Bad roommates happen, it doesn’t have to ruin my morning, even if they made me a bit late. I can be the bigger person. Not if they keep eating those M&Ms, but I can try.

Fortunately getting ready to head to Hoboken to meet Georgia Ann’s parents (who were spontaneously visiting from Georgia) is a very simple process: I don’t even have to bother with hunting down my coat, because I still don’t have one! Weather Man had sent me a thin spring jacket and the Professor had offered me his coats, but in a foolish attempt to avoid using men to succeed I denied both these offers and vowed to find a self-sufficient way to keep warm. Running everywhere works.

land Running out the door I ran into Landlady, the most extreme stereotype of a neo Jewish Brooklynite I’ve ever encountered. Armed with such golden phrases as “you’s guys gotta close the fuckin’ door”, this woman takes no shit from anyone and loves her “babies” that rent from her. She was also horrified to see one of her babies rushing into the 20 degree afternoon with no jacket. When she questioned me I briefly and politely explained that there had been a shipping snafu with the coat from Michigan and that my family couldn’t afford to ship it again. And then the real questions started, and before I knew it she was asking about my mom’s transplant and my ugly money situation. Landlady can relate, when her husband left her and her young daughter she struggled to make ends meet. She told me about spending the last of her grocery money to buy her daughter a Christmas present, and how she still couldn’t afford to buy the doll her daughter really wanted that year. Her eyes began to well up as she told me I could never understand the sacrifices my mother has made for me. I nodded and said that’s the beauty of unconditional love, and Landlady cracked a smile before breaking into downright sobs. I had said a magic phrase, and she sat on the stairs and told me about what a great boy I was. And how proud my family must be of me. And how late I was to meet Georgia Ann’s family. Fuck!

Having no luck with the bus and being confused by the Chinese vans (I know you can understand me, dammit!), I hoofed it to the subway and called Georgia Ann to warn her of my extreme lateness. She said it was fine, just hurry, and I bounded up the stairs to the subway to discover it completely barren. No Manhattan bound trains this weekend. Walk ten blocks further into Brooklyn, then head north from there. Great.

Two rivers is just too far to travel for sex. That’s why I can’t sleep with people from Jersey, I can only cross one river for play. Unfortunatley friendship knows no such stipulation and crossing two rivers to meet the parents of your best friend in the city is necessary. Even if the parents are “good ol’ boys” who’re now in their 60s, have never been to NYC in their lives, comlain it’s too cold anywhere outside of Georgia, and demand to know why you’re not eating any meat at lunch.

Though all those facts are true, Georgia Ann’s parents were also remarkably sweet people. Her father went out of his way to connect with me after lunch. I made coffee in her apartment and he asked if I was handy at interior decorating, which is fairly subtle for an older Georgian gentleman. Her mother was very interested in my job and what drove me to move to New York, and Georgia Ann just did her best to keep me from swearing. I only said “fuck” once in a three hour time span, I deserve some sort of medal.

After putting her parents in a cab for the airport Georgia Ann and I met up with her roommates, had way too much wine, and discovered that Ben & Jerry’s delivers. That’s right, delivery ice cream, one drunk dial away at all times. And her parents wanted to know why I moved to NYC!

rockettes21 The next day I received a call from my sister in Michigan, who was with our mom on her way to watch a touring version of the Rockettes. THE ROCKETTES. Except for one small problem, an uncovered pick-up truck lost a package which got wedged underneath a small car. In the blink of an eye four cars are piled up on eachother, one has flipped three times and precariously come to a halt, another flipped on it’s side and scraped 300 feet across the highway barrier, and one had been side swiped but never flipped. That was the one my family had been lucky enough to be in.

After my mother’s transplant a slew of medical complications became apparent, including enlarged organs that mean the slightest jarring could cause intense internal bleeding and kill her. My sister pulled a screaming woman from a car in fear that it could explode, called an ambulance, and dialed me knowing that if anything had ruptured internally our mother had ten minutes to live. …Never has a hangover in Hoboken been so overshadowed. A few hours later and I was in Brooklyn, talking with my mother, who was safe in the hospital and undergoing tests to combat some accute kidney failure, but otherwise in good health. Thankfully.

A few days later and Georgia Ann was in a cab herself, headed to Connecticut to visit friends. I had the option of staying in Brooklyn and being painfully alone for four day or heading to upstate New York to hang out with BYOB and her friends. I chose the soul crushing lonliness.

I woke up Thanksgiving morning and braved the massive crowds (apparently the Asians love Thanksgiving, who knew?) after finding out both of my Chinese delivery restaurants were closed for the holiday. Great. An hour later and I was seated alone in an otherwise packed Vietnamese restaurant, literally wedged into the corner table and watching what can only be called “Vietnamese Idol” on the television. I ordered my Thanksgiving bean-curd and poured a cup of tea as the kind restauranter explained that he had to take the extra chairs from my table, there were simply too many families at the restaurant. I’m pretty sure that’s when one of the singers did a cover of “Open Arms”.

Since Landlady thought all of the roommates had left for the long weekend our heat wasn’t working properly, so I made the most of it by baking cupcakes and sitting around a space heater for a few days, reading old magazines and working on crossword puzzles. Somewhere during the third DVR’d movie of the day, I realized I had received a package in the mail the day before and had never opened it! I did have something exciting to be thankful for, unopened mail!

Before slitting the box open I saw that it was from Georgia Ann’s family, which was incredibly surprising. Inside the box was a Christmas card and a handwritten note from her mother, which explained that they were impressed that I had done so much on my own and that they felt I shouldn’t have to struggle to get by simply because my family can’t afford to help me out financially. The note asked that I simply accept the gifts in the box. Underneath the card were two brand new half-zip sweaters, in well chosen white and brown, both very thick and soft. How sweet of them! I was genuinely touched by their unnecessary kindness.

sweater Grateful that the unexpected gifts were modest enough to accept, I shivered next to my space heater and ate another patheta-sad Thanksgiving cupcake. I grabbed one of the new sweaters and pulled it over my head. And that’s when I saw it. Underneath the two sweaters, a brand new black leather Kenneth Cole winter jacket.

And for the first time the facade began to break down. I grabbed my phone and called my home in a hurry. I wanted to hear the familiar voices of my familly, my mother’s voice would be tense because of the stress of making Thanksgiving dinner and my sister would be irritated that the parade on TV had too many commercials and my uncles would be getting high in the carport. I wanted to admit that I wasn’t doing as well as I said I was. That moving on your own to the country’s biggest city is hard. That not having the money to travel to visit loved ones or even afford multiple meals a day is tough. Admit that I, Burkeman the Wunderkind, was struggling. To tell them that New York is everything I hoped it would be but that you have to admit that life isn’t effortless, that roommates suck sometimes and friends have more money than you do. I wanted to talk about the chance that I might fail for the first time in my life and sometimes it’s scary. Sitting on the floor, next to the space heater, wearing a sweater from someone else’s mother, alone, surrounded by cupcakes that I couldn’t afford to frost and left-over bean curd, I called home for the first time in weeks. But of course no one answered. My sister wasn’t worried about the parade, my uncles weren’t high in the carport; my mother was sitting in a hospital bed in Henry Ford, getting tests run on her spleen. I hung up the phone, looked at my new jacket, and admit that my wave of self-pity was already over. These 8 cupcakes aren’t going to reluctantly eat themselves.

[but it’s to no avail and i don’t want the bail, i promise you everything will be just fine]

Nickeled & Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Days without alcohol: 4

The postal service can blow me.

Though it would be nice to get a little lip service, I don’t mean it in a sexual way. I moved to New York in June with the intention of building a cohesive life in the nation’s biggest city- I’ve failed at building anything cohesive, but I might additionally fail at sustaining my own life if I cannot find a way to get along with the post office. After a lengthy conversation with my mother I convinced her to spend the whopping 25-dollars necessary to ship my winter coat from Michigan to Sunset Park,  Brooklyn. A few days later a small waiver appeared on my stoop, and I gladly signed it and gave the postman permission to leave the package on my covered porch even if no one was home.

A few days later, nothing. Weeks passed. Eventually I confronted my government mail carriers, who informed me that because the package was insured the USPS gets last say in whether a package can be left on a porch, and they deemed my neighborhood unsafe. So without notice they shipped the package back to Michigan and promised to refund nothing. The first $25 my mom barely pulled together in the first place, a second 25 to resend is not even worth asking for. No coat, no slippers, no winter blankets, no luck.

A stylish coat isn’t the most important thing in the world, but on one particular day in November the temperature dipped into the low 30s as I walked my friend/coworker Tilly to the Duane Reade. We attempted to cross the busy roads in Turtle Bay while both wrapped in her thick coat, which was rather inefficient. Still, I wasn’t about to let my new favorite co-worker buy RU486 alone. So we both put on her coat and the cutest hats we had at the office and walked to the pharmacy to buy the morning-after pill like the penniless kids we are. One assistant can’t afford a winter coat, the second assistant definitely cannot afford a winter coat for a baby.

While she nervously talked to the pharmacist I occupied myself with a Snickers bar at the front of the store, hanging back like the deadbeat boyfriend the pharmacist assumed I was. After the purchase we sat around our desks and ate chocolates until she perked up enough to go back to work. Though I may be cold whenever I step outside, I’m definitely not a cold-hearted coworker. Unfortunately my splurge on pre-abortion chocolate bars left me with only $22 in my pocket. With full intentions of taking Georgia Ann out for birthday drinks that evening, I was going to have to play everything just right. Man Vs Manhattan has very quickly turned into Brooklyn Boy Vs Budget.

Half a king-size Snickers sufficed for lunch and fortunately Bahama Mama sufficed for birthday drinks- Georgia Ann was more than happy to meet me in her home-sweet-Hoboken and stop at a bar that offers $1 drafts. Her birthday was spent exactly the way it should be- perched in front of a beer tap. 20 dollars later we were both very drunk (and eating french fries. dammit!) and happy. We stumbled to her place and immediately dove into wine and Sex & the City, I talked about my waivering stance on the Professor and she reminded me how she refused to discuss relationships until she gets laid (it’s been a while) and at some point we were both too drunk to remember what time we went to bed.

A full day of shopping in the fashion district left us both exhausted and drained. As a friendly birthday gift to Georgia Ann I bought a sexy new tie for her to look at when I wear it, that’s how good of a friend A few hours later we’re dressed swanky and joined by Jersey Girl, who has slipped into a little black dress that makes her look like a feisty young Audrey Hepburn and left me looking like I collect trash. Fortunately it must be really fancy trash, considering we had just begun sipping $25 cocktails at Buddha Bar, perhaps the most “Carrie-Bradshaw New York” of all the bars I’ve dared to enter. Sure, the champagne-infused something-tini was more than double the amount of the cash I had in my wallet, but when I’m not picking up the tab who cares! Had I been stuck with the bill I would’ve just told everyone I left my wallet in my coat… Happy Birthday Georgia Ann!

After over-indulging we met up with the rest of The Mess, who had wisely selected a budget appropriate margarita joint. All too aware of the last time I had margaritas (ruffies, yay), I was a bit reluctant to purchase a cup full of frozen and salt-rimmed regret. Somehow my feet dragging paid off and a drink appeared in front of me without me ever removing my wallet from my pocket, which meant I HAD to drink it (regret or not).

The next thing I know I’m back on a dance floor at Flannerys, taking pictures of The Mess standing in front of a passed out man who had been left behind by the bridal party he once helped comprise. Georgia Ann rocked out to 80s tunes, Fabu-gloss and her girlfriend bought pitchers for the gang, Times Square sprung for donuts, Hard Coors drank what was put in front of her, and I nearly died when I looked over at the dance floor and saw Straight Boyfriend dancing to Britney Spears. That’s when you know everyone has had way too much to drink. That’s also when you start to see the small sparks between Straight Boyfriend and Georgia Ann. Ok, maybe they’re not sparks, but you can hope they are. I mean- Georgia Ann needs some cock, Straight Boyfriend needs to dump his long-distance girlfriend because it’s inconvenient for me… yeah, pretty much I win all over the place. So I order more drinks and request more Britney and squeeze a little more out of the night.

The next thing I know I’m sharing my bed with a georgian girl who is no closer to getting any. And still I have no coat. And I have eight dollars to last me for 7 days until payday. Still, this hangover was virtually free and I have hate mail to write to my post office (its always nice to have something to look forward to). And there’s always some solace in the fact that I’m the only one on the bed who’s had sex in the 2009. Ha!

[but dancing with your eyes closed- every single time you’re gonna spill your wine]

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Days Until Halloween: 342

I throw up when extremely angry.

This action is not often coterminous with this emotion, but they happened to coincide on an eventful week.

After making nice with Weather Man I was extremely excited for his visit over Halloween weekend. We had a good fight, which meant the only piece of the puzzle left to fill in was the make-up sex, which I’m pretty sure is the best part about getting in fights. 90% of the time I apologize is just for sex. You do the same thing. However, I had a few days left before Halloween on Friday. I still hadn’t put together my costume, as my friend’s veto-ed my idea to go as Tiger Woods for the millionth year in a row. And my suggestion of dressing as Seal and Heidi Klum was a no go, considering none of my accompanying friends were blondes and I didn’t feel like putting my face into an inferno. Plus I can’t sing.

My lovely work friend Tilly decided we should brainstorm a few costume ideas for the both of us as we downed a few beers with the rest of the work assistants. However, once we left worked and arrived at Publichouse we found a bar dressed up as a personality-less pit stop and waitresses already in costume as Stoli Girls. I don’t really like girls, but I’m a huge fan of stoli, so a few friendly jokes into the conversation and I found myself getting free shots from women wearing fur caps. Tilly was downing the wine and next thing I know I’m revealing terrible pieces of my past to coworkers who can barely stand up straight. In fact, the only people not teetering were the Stoli Girls, who got us all into this mess! Tricksy russian vodka women and their sneaky free liquor ways… While explaining to a coworkers exactly what amount of mushrooms constitutes “trafficking” I took a moment to turn around and check on Tilly, who was attacking our co-worker with her lips. Poor Brendan has been harboring a crush on Tilly for some time now, and he did his best to resist.

Brendan: Ummm, I’ve got to tell you that I’m not comfortable with this. I’ve only had two drinks and I’m pretty sure you won’t remember this.
Tilly: (Surly) Ummm, I’m pretty sure you’re cute.
Insecure Brendan: Um. Thanks, you’re cute, too.
Tilly: That means you’re comfortable with it, I won’t tell.

And that’s the last thing I really remember. The next morning I woke up wearing my shirt and tie on top of my recently purchased bedsheets and surrounded by McDonald’s bags (Oh, Burkeman, I know better…). That morning at work wasn’t as dreadful as expected, and I received my official invitation to join the Tuesday sales meetings, which means the management sees me as becoming a full on salesman within the next year! I was enthused, though groggy, along with the entire assistant task-force who was reeling from the night before, most of us not entirely sure if we embarassed ourselves or not. Accept for poor Tilly, who was completely unaware of her behavior. Lucky bitch. My McDonalds shame was unavoidable.

Burkeman: Do you remember making out with Brendan at the bar?
Tilly: …My eyes hurt.

That night I ransacked every second-hand store I could find in the city to find tiny women’s shorts and a white polo shirt (along with some sweat bands). After surviving another day at work I threw on my costume and met up with Weather Man, who had made his way to NYC for Halloween!

With my tennis raquet in hand the conversion was complete, I had officially become Arthur Ashe. Only with shorter shorts and sass. Arthur Ass, maybe. Whatever. Weather Man didn’t feel like putting together a cohesive costume, so when people asked why he was wearing a cape he would explain that he was Dracula. The next person who asked he would explain that he was a Cardinal. Then a Count. And so on. By the end of the night he was drunkenly telling people in Splash that he was versatile. The costume took a life of it’s own.

Weather Man and I went to watch the parade, which was the wonderfully debaucharous spectacle that I hoped it would be. People dressed as Batman and Robin were classic, Joker and Sarah Palin were unoriginal, robots were retro fun, and anything home-made was awesome. Although I’ll admit, the vampire with the upside down blow-up doll caught even me off guard. And the over-sized hairy ass (complete with hole, for viewing purposes) was in such poor taste that it was delicious. The crowds were epic, the night was reasonably warm, and the booze weren’t hard to find. Only once did a complete stranger touch me inappropriately. Victory.

With a sexy Spartan, a thong clad Gladiator, a glittery GI Joe, a versatile “dracula”, and one very realistic naughty school girl (who happened to be off the boat from Japan), I paraded my Arthur ass all the way through Manhattan as the tail end of the parade, sliding under the barrier to join my friends who had been marching for hours already. The waving crowds from the barrier cheered for costumes they enjoyed and the lights and sights all blurred together until I found myself inside an overrated dance club with a devil who’s pitch fork was a little too close. Fortunately I escaped my dance hell without a problem and the next thing I know it’s November first, I’m safe in my bed in Brooklyn, and I’ve shaken a hangover off with some hard earned make-up lovin’. I love Halloween!

That morning I sat in the living room, still wearing my sweatbands, chatting with Straight Boyfriend (who hadn’t shaken off his hangover after spending the evening as a Zombie Hunter a la Shaun of the Dead) and BYOB along with her Boy Du Jour, who had been watching movies all night. Our chats turned into long conversations and the next thing I know it’s late at night, we’ve watched Rosemary’s Baby and just started Shortbus. Early in the movie (when Jamie cums on his own face in the opening montage) my roommate’s started to realize this movie wasn’t the standard popcorn flick. And perhaps they realized that Weather Man, who bought me the movie, wasn’t the standard visiting boy. It’s strange how unimportant moments (like movie cum shots) help illuminate something deeper (like the depth of the relationship your roommate has with another human). I think that’s the point of art, to express things in unexpected ways. Sometime during Shortbus the graphic sex acted as a Jackson Pollock, and that evening BYOB actually went out of her way for the first time ever to admit that my life wasn’t as two dimensional as she had thought. I might not be a real person to her yet, but at least she sees me with 3-D goggles these days. She had even skipped a friend’s b-day party to watch movies with us.

The rest of the weekend was spent with Weather Man and Georgia Ann, touring Manhattan and eating brunch and buying scarves from roadside stands and whatnot. We saw the Christmas sights in Manhattan; the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, the site for the soon to arrive 3 story Christmass tree, the Radio City Music Hall (home of the Rockettes!), constructed our own adorable Build-A-Bears, and even tried on clothes at Saks 5th Avenue (the jacket I wanted was only 800 dollars… right). Saks was a bizarre experience, as I have spent enough time avoiding wealth in Brooklyn that the sight of $500 hats in Manhattan threw me off my game entirely. I cannot earn my sense of superiority until I own that jacket!

Monday night I was just getting used to be without Georgia Ann, Weather Man, and wealth when Straight Boyfriend and I got a strange phone call from BYOB. Or at least from her phone, apparently BYOB had gotten incredibly drunk and some complete stranger pulled her off the subway and walked her partway home. We rushed out of the apartment to collect the pieces (and stray chunks) of BYOB from the stranger, thanking her for being kind enough to bring our roommate back and for being extra nice by ensuring that a more rape-friendly stranger hadn’t plucked her off the subway.

In what shall now be known only as Vomicon ’08, BYOB barely made it into the apartment before spewing all over the bathroom: the sink, the tub, the floor, pretty much everyone except for the toilet. Hours later I was trying to clean up chunks of Wendy’s fries and pulling a nearly unconscious roommate out of the bathtub and dressing her for bed. The next morning she hadn’t cleaned up a thing (or regained consciousness) and I began to get increasingly irritated. What was this girls problem? She discounted my relationships as trivial and sexually based, talked exclusively about herself, ditched friends in exchange for passing relationships, and got so wasted on a Monday that she couldn’t get herself home (without giving second thought to how easily her safety could’ve been compromised). But now, not even an apology. My anger began to stir and as I turned on the shower water I started to brew.

Unfortunately so did the stew-like chunks of vomit that were collecting around my feet, and as the steam rose it brought the smell of hot re-heated up-chuck with it. I was so angry I had it up to my eyes, or at least up to my throat, as the smell of puke triggered my own gag reflex and sent me straight to the toilet to mimic BYOB’s early antics.

At least I made it into the toilet.

By the time I made it into work I was calm and collected, almost glad to be at work. I had somehow even beat all of my bosses into the office, which never happens! But I quickly realized I hadn’t beaten them into the office, they had beaten me into the board room- I missed my first ever sales meeting because I was busy heaving last nights dinner! FUCK!

A cup of coffee did nothing to calm my nerves and anger, so I grabbed an emergency cigarette (hidden in plain sight on my desk) and headed outside to watch my stress go up in smoke the way my morning had. Until I stepped out of the building with a Marlboro light in my mouth and see my manager, Hundo, outside as well. That’s when it becomes acheing clear that my secret smoking habit isn’t so secret in Manhattan. Vom.

[i gotta get my shit together, cuz i can’t live like this forever. i’ve come to far and i don’t want to fail. i’ve got a new computer and a bright future in sales]

A Tale of Two Cities

Days Since Leaving New York: 92

Pussy is a total turn off.

I think that’s been a fact in my life for years now, but never moreso than lately- when my roommate, BYOB, brought home a new cat to celebrate her new relationship with an old friend. I doubt the relationship will last, but the cat- that cunt will still be in my apartment for months. She’s super tiny and super cute, which makes it all the harder to hate her. When she was born there were a few berthing problems and as a result she has some scratches on her cornea which limit her vision…. we named her Leela.

leela-futurama So while the adorably near sighted mini-beast careens through my apartment and antogonizes the cat that we already had (Suki, an unassuming but shed-tastic cat), BYOB chooses to slather it with love whenever her boyfriend du jour is unavailable. The newest quagmire BYOB has waded into is with a friend of 5 years, and now that the relationship has gotten physical they’re both under the belief that it is likely a perfect emotional match as well. They’ve yet to date but they’re picking wedding dates. Not really, but they’re moving so fast before even discussing what they’re doing that even going on a date would feel cataclysmic. Not that it’s currently a problem, this new boy would first have to dump his current girlfriend to start dating BYOB. So they’re in limbo, too far into a relationship that has yet to start and stuck in a relationship that’s too inconvenient to end. Meanwhile, my greatest concern is that the cat still hasn’t mastered the litter box concept.

I ought to change her name to BYO-Boy Problems, because that is currently the only thing she is capable of discussing. If we’re not talking about her new pussy then we’re talking about who’s in her old one. Ugh. Fortunately I have a burgeoning work relationship to keep me afloat, a newly formed love affair with Tilly. Working with Tilly is exactly like working with a Chucky doll from Child’s Play- though she looks adorable, you can rest assured that 100% of the time she will do the completely inappropriate thing. I’m in love.

tilly Along with Tilly, I still have Weather Man and Georgia Ann to calm my nerves as I settle into the new home, which after these last few months is beginning to feel like a real home instead of a temporary hostel. I’ve finally purchased sheets, a light for my room, found a place to put my clothes, and  even reassembled my broken doorknob (kind of). After nearly six months in New York I have a home. Now all I need is a few boys to help wreck it.

And that’s exactly what happened. Only a few days before his anticipated arrival in New York I phoned Weather Man. Instead of a happy reconnection with someone how has become one of my best friends, I found myself hours into a drawn out argument with someone who has become one of my only ex’s. Not quite sure how that happened or when it happened, but as the conversation about emotions and betrayal and abandonment (and ultimately symantics) escalated, it was clear that this was not too friend’s merely feeling combatitive. After a year of watching Weather Man put himself together following a terrible break up I was fearful of watching him get his heart broken agian. To prevent his heart break at my own hands, I shut him out of mine completely. Try pulling at that thread in one conversation.

One cell phone battery and a large bowl of macaroni ‘n cheese later, we were better off for having gotten into the emotional slugfest. Strange how fights have to break out before I allow myself to say the most loving things. Being loving can mean doing harsh things, and sometimes harsh conversations actually provoke the most loving responses. It makes sense, boiling water yields soft macaroni, right? Maybe I’m just hungry for more of that mac n cheese…

Meanwhile, Georgia Ann and I celebrated the existence of my new sheets by fleeing them and heading into Manhattan to catch a Mirah concert. The Highline Ballroom looked sparce when we first arrived and listened to No Kids (a surprisingly fun batch of nerdy kids with electronic instruments and a River’s Cuomo fashion sense). By the time Mirah took the stage the place was packed with a strangely diverse group of hardcore lezzies and softcore indie kids, young and old, who just wanted to listen to her soft voice and a guitar. It was the best 15 dollars I’ve spent in the city to date.

dc After saying goodbye to Georgia Ann I got a call from a dear college friend who enthusiastically informed me that she had moved to DC, to the exact niehgborhood I had spent months living in. During the hour long ride home I thought about my conversation with Weather Man, about my goals for this city, and about whether or not my time in NYC is becoming a failure. In only three months in DC I had met a fantastic group of friends that I still care about, reluctantly gotten into the most serious relationship I’ve encountered in years, been offered an incredible first job, found a city that felt like home, and scored a posh apartment (albeit with a pedophile, but still, sliding glass doors).

After six months in New York I barely have bed sheets. I rent an apartment wedged between unfriendly ultra-convservatives and ESL Chinese families, a job in a cubicle next to a woman who believes Sarah Palin is a god, a close friend who cannot be trusted if a bottle of wine is within arms reach, a roommate who cannot stop talking about the ridiculous boy problems she creates, a fledgling casual dating relationship with a man who teaches special ed, and a city that still feels closed off in many ways. I thought I was saving Weather Man from hurt when I closed my emotions off to him, but perhaps when I turned my back on Washington DC I left a large part of my resiliency and charm behind me.

Of course the fifteen minute walk from the subway to the apartment was made in the rain late at night. Of course BYOB wanted to talk about her latest web-chatting catastrophe with the boy when I arrived home. And of course I found myself sitting in my room wondering if I was worse at finding my own way than the blind kitten curled up next to me. That bitch.

[i abdicated, now i’m just a prince without a land. my subjects all adored me but for this i had them banned]

The Beautiful and Damned

Consecutive days spent in Brooklyn: 2

Jews are the absolute worst neighbors in the world. ..Not actually, they’re pretty great, but in my new neighborhood they are definitely the least friendly ethnic group. It’s strange, these are not the “I was raised Jewish but still eat chicken nachos without guilt and go to synagogue every six months” jews that I was used to… these are “I wear a bonnet on my head at all times and will not shake hands with a woman because she isn’t my wife and that’s the only woman I can ever touch” jews. Kind, honest, modern, modest and respectful jews, who also go out of their way to pretend you don’t exist.

These jews are only the worst neighbors by comparison, as all the rest of my neighbors are pretty much kick-ass. The jews tried to hit me with their mini-vans. Not cool. The Chinese have delicious food and super cheap wash-and-fold laundry services. The Polish have *amazing* delis and tasty beer (at even tastier prices!) along with the cutest cashier-girls ever (seriously, any straight males need to start hitting the Polish deli on 8th ave for a date- so cute). They also make wonderful desserts for a ridiculously low price.

Yes, I have fallen in love with my neighborhood, aside from the jews who refuse to acknowledge my existence on the street. The neighborhood feel, the young families running around, the little asian children who always say “herro” to me every morning on their way to school, the man at the corner store we speaks to me in Arabic and every week I have to remind him that I’m not Morocan, I’m Michiganian. This last weekend I spent an entire day eating Polish desserts and drinking the world’s cheapest good beer ever in between bingeing on delivery Chinese food… so unhealthy, so cultural.

All of this has been done to in attempts to stay in Brooklyn and not make a whore-phase run to Staten Island, where the getting is good and the hot tub is better. Most friends here assert that at our age there is no shame in good sex, but my Lutheran upbringing keeps me from fully embracing the idea. Or maybe it’s less about the Lutheran upbringing and more about Professor B.

After a few weeks of casual dating with Professor B each night begins to become more emotionally revealing and gratifying. A stroll through the jewish side of my neighborhood brought us through an adorable park, over crunchy autumn leaves, past a brightly lit hockey rink, and into the truth about his terminally ill mother and my past of dealing with dying family members. We walked alongside coffee shops and he buttoned my jacket a little higher to keep me warm and revealed the story about first coming out at the age of 30 after years of dating a woman. We strolled into a local pizzaria and I filled him in about the LA-X and gave warnings about a few of the walls I’ve been known to put up. By the time it was dark and cold outside we were already in my dim room and warm in bed, where he spoke about taking it slow and admit that he was stunned at how nonchallant and friendly my roommates treated him.

We’ve spent a month slowly peeling the layers of eachother and liking what we see as each layer is shed, and all the while we’ve yet to actually sleep together. When I look at it with a little perspective, I see the whore-phase can’t be as gratifying as I would hope right now. Emotional intercourse is much more stimulating when you let yourself have it.

Oh man, that’s gay. Even for me.

So in the span of a month I’ve fallen in love with a neighborhood instead of falling for a teacher, but I’m warming to the idea of dating someone for the first time in a long time. And I’m genuinely looking forward to the weekend he wants to plan for us.

But then it occured to me that this upcoming weekend is Halloween. And Halloween is a holiday invented strictly for those in the whore-phase. It’s hard to pass that one up.

Even more difficult to pass up, Weather Man will be coming to New York and staying in my apartment for the weekend. Debauchary, a close friend and old-flame, an unofficially non-monogamous relationship… and I just bought new sheets. I’ll wash them Sunday.

Walking down the street the other day my roommate approached a young Arabic mother and her elementary school aged sun as they carried their umbrellas home. Straight Boyfriend smiled as he walked past them, but suddently stopped as both the mom and son pointed their umbrellas like guns and exclaimed “pow pow pew pew bang!” and began laughing hysterically. The least PC joke for these Brooklynites to ever make, but hilarious. I believe my love life (with the impending weekend) is much like my neighborhood: diverse, tasty, surprising, and absolutely hilarious in the worst way possible.

[so just lick your lips, these are the goods times that you’ll miss]

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Days without alcohol: 0

It’s nearly impossible to have good sex on Staten Island.

Nearly, but if you try a few times that totally changes. It’s some sort of law of averages that can only be computed by those within the whore phase. The whore phase is a wonderful time period in which an adult stops crawling, skips a few stages of development, and learns to outright strut in a sexual sphere. Carrie Bradshaw was perpetually in the whore phase. Evita assumed the presidency with her whore phase. Napolean conquered half the world during his whore phase. Mine got me a ride in a cop car.

It was no accident that I waited until New York to reach my whore phase, I’ve spent the last four years in a small and unattractive village, so after carefully considering the risks of sex in both an emotional (why doesn’t he like me??!?!?) and physical (you can die) sense- I quickly decided I had earned a whore phase. I have the least sexual partnes of anyone I know (except for Dr Mario) so don’t judge.

When I first hung out with TopCop it wasn’t clear that we would sleep together. Nor was it clear that he was a cop. What was clear was that he had invited me out to dinner and once he picked me up from the ferry we immediately drove off to a restaurant. Or I thought it would be a restaurant, instead it was TGIFridays… Not that this low brow chain isn’t an adequate place to eat… but in New York that’s like telling someone you’re going to sleep with them and literally falling asleep beside them. I had the culinary equivalent of blue balls!

Fortunately the meal was quick, the conversation was pleasant, and the long island ice teas were plentiful. Though a bit put off by the fact that I couldn’t use his breathalyzer for the fun of it, the evening entirely rebounded when inside TopCop’s lovely town house I discovered he had the one thing a young gay man from Michigan cares about- a hot tub.

Normally I would’ve just watched a movie and cuddled a bit before accepting a ride home. But I wanted in that hot tub, dammit. That’s why the whore phase comes with whore logic, which means you can rationalize less than chaste decisions for otherwise unacceptable reasons. In my case, sleeping with a cop who just bought me dinner was perfectly acceptable considering there was a hot tub to be enjoyed.

And continuing to sleep with someone you’re ambivalent towards is perfectly ok as long as you’re not ambivalent towards their hot tub.

On the way home I nearly missed the ferry, which meant jumping into a cop car and turning on the lights to enable my driver to pass through red lights and surprisingly respectful traffic. If there’s an ambulance with sirens blaring, no one even considers getting out of the way. When a one night stand needs to get to a ferry so that he can do the boat-ride-of-shame, the crowds part in understanding of the dire scene. New York.

Not that the entire event was a one night stand. Definitely not. It’s just getting colder out, that hot tub is more useful now than ever. And I’m learning that TopCop is actually a lot of fun… we have the same enjoyment of alcohol and cartoons. Especially alcohol and cartoons while in heated aroma-therapy massage jet comfort.

None of this would be a problem were it not for Professor Bronx. He’s a teacher. A public school teacher. In the Bronx. He teaches special education students. He teaches special ed students at a public school in the Bronx. I’m sure he’s angling for saint-hood. That’s new for me, going for the total boyscout. What’s not new- he’s too old, relationship oriented, finds me effortlessly attractive, and is way too nice for me… It doesn’t take whore logic to see that this is the exact trend that Weather Man followed, and I’m in no emotional condition to weather another storm like that one.

Strangely though, I find myself taking it very slow with Professor Bronx. We’ll shag a total stranger but keep any real prospect at arm’s length… Each time we’re together we’re sure to take things slowly, focus on something other than ending up in bed, and it’s turning into a romantic site seeing tour with a charming man who knows everything about the city. The first date on the sea port, the make out in Battery Park, the walk past the ferry for Staten Island….

Oh. Staten Island. Fuck! Why am I still taking clandestine trips out to Staten Island? Is a hot tub worth pulling myself away from someone who is actually emotionally engaging? Or is it smart to continue seeking out a relaxing hot tub instead of submerging myself into what looks like to be a repeat of Weather Man? Whore logic or human logic? Is he Professor B or just plan B?

The whore phase does not demand an answer right now. It does demand a make out buddy, asap. To the bar!

[watch your heart when we’re together, boys like you love me forever. boys boys boys!]