Welcome, campers, to my first official blog post of 2016, and I have to say, I’m absolutely choughed (rhymes with “choughed”) that so many thousands of you have written to me care of 392 Sherbourne, my squalid Toronto basement-in-the-sky, thanking me for my online efforts over the past year and a half.
Actually that’s a blatant lie, no one has written to me on this topic. Or any topic really. And there are exactly 206 of you, so it would take each and every one of you writing to me at least five times to even push the level into four digits. Five times! Don’t faint, dude, but this means you’d have to actually finish something.
OMFG, I am like SO BUSTED?!
Appreciation or no, yours truly has, geewillikers, outstanding contributions to celebrate. For example, my creation of a new online archetype – the literate troll (I trash your opinions and correct your grammar, and instead of Cheetos, think caramel-baked brie stains on my Harry Rosen bowtie); slowest response to Facebook messages (personal best – 4 months); and Olympic-level distractibility (sets out to check email, ends up 8 hours later with a new operating system).
And let’s not forget the top-rater: World’s longest blog posts. I have single-handedly transformed the quick daily update into an infinitely-revised Proustian agony clocking in at 700 words plus. And that, as my great-aunt Georgiana would have said, “takes some doing…”
Just to make sure your heads keep spinning slowly like the restaurant in the CN Tower, I occasionally change tack and go all serious on you. If my suspicions are correct, and they are at least once a decade, this probably happens just at the moment you’ve finally decided never to expect anything from me except sophomoric toilet humor at a level that would make Benny Hill sound like Roland Barthes.
Deal with it, sister.
So what’s on your mind? you sigh. (And please, do continue texting while I explain! That’s awesome!)
Male identity is the name of the game. Since you asked.
Oh, my fur and whiskers… So many situations in my life are, and have been, the result of men and their – our – lizard brains, and I speak only partly anatomically.
Male identity is a very fragile thing – just ask any woman, especially Camille Paglia. There’s a reason why nuclear warheads are shaped the way they are… or, to paraphrase Freud,
“sometimes a W-40 IS just a phallic substitute devised by a group of Pentagon meth-heads who can barely squeeze into existence one sponge-y, fleeting hard-on between them.”
(FYI, when I’m on form I like to say the above bit in Austrian-inflected German. Kills them in Des Moines.)
A man who doubts his masculinity or who has poor self-esteem has to be handled carefully, because he is potentially dangerous. He is threatened to the very core of his soul and he will inevitably try to assert his territory, or destroy “the enemy”, or even himself.
All because he is, or thinks he is, less than a man or weak. A pussy.And most men have zero insight into themselves and their feelings, partly because we’re relentlessly, from the moment we’re born, taught this as an essential strategy, so ain’t that handy. Thanks, society!
As a gay man, I dealt with this issue starting way back, cause I was automatically called “effeminate”, queer, faggot, a big girl’s blouse; and mostly was excluded and shunned by other guys who were my peers.Although I hate like hell to admit any benefit to this, it made me stronger, because I had to make my peace with this isolation — which I accomplished by employing various combinations of sitting by myself in a corner, hysterical crying, and the obsessive reading and re-reading of “Jane Eyre”.
So many times did I crack open the covers of that incomparable pot-boiler, with its plot-by-numbers cautionary tale of lust punished and sanctimony triumphant, that within six months I identified totally with its prim heroine; if my sister hadn’t called me a “sissy” for wanting to sew, I probably would have run up an historically accurate nineteenth-century governess’s uniform, complete with rustling petticoats and crisp, cambric bib, for “Show and Tell”.
So it was, in the end, bizarrely, little Janet herself who took me firmly by the hand and led me into self-confidence and “manhood” –
– in my own mind, which is all that matters, though that pain of being excluded and shunned, the pain that only children can inflict on other children, still lives inside me.
(Think John Hurt in “Alien”, except the hideous creature that bursts forth has been hand-sewn with sequins and edged with piping in a contrasting shade. It’s just, I dunno – what I do.)
So, when the men in your life are acting like assholes, realize for a moment that they are scared little boys and in psychic pain. It may or may not be worthwhile figuring out a way forward – if you’re being abused, verbally, physically or emotionally, do not tolerate this one more second – and you may not give a damn, but if you do need a way forward this might just give you an inkling.
But you know some people. Give them an inkling and they’ll take a mile.
This whole sorry affair of creeping male flaccidity can best be summed up by my dyke friend Dominique, who, in exasperation at some business deal or other, is wont to exclaim:
In mere HOURS I’m off to surely-to-god-it’s-got-to-be-warmer-than-here California for a sojourn in Sacramento.
I say “sojourn” because that’s the word Joan Didion would use, she being after all Sacramento’s most famous export. And when in doubt about what word to use or how generally to proceed, I always check my “What Would Joanie Do? Nurturing Your Neurotic Self” coaching manual.
Unfortunately, it mostly falls open at page 27, which starts with the action plan: “Sit paralyzed on the edge of the bed, half dressed, thinking about that telephone call you have to make to the District Attorney’s office”. If you’ve wondered why I haven’t been in touch.
Anyway, a seasoned traveler always does research and yours truly, more seasoned than a double helping of Phad Thai, has come up with the following:
“Sacramento” is a Mexican expression via the Catholic church that is roughly equivalent to, “You gotta be kidding, dude!” It was popularized by Ronald Reagan in the 1960’s, when he and Nancy turned their little Caucasian noses up at the traditional Governor’s Mansion and instead built a rambling monstrosity with a wet bar and swimming pool (q.v. Joan Didion).
Nancy and Ron, staring up the front staircase of the charming original Governor’s mansion: (with a low whistle): Sacramento !
During Ronnie’s tenure, the term became part of the California “vibe”.
Welfare recipient: Do you think you could, I dunno, take some of those tax cuts for the rich and give poor dudes more to live on? Ronnie (hand on heart, with a dismissive chortle):Sacramento!! Welfare recipient: Just a thought. I dunno. Like, sorry.
Gradually, this ejaculatory – yes, I know – expression became quite idiomatic, popping up, like Ronnie, at the most unexpected moments.
Ronnie, to Nancy: Hey sweetie pie, how’s about you and me smoke a spliff and bump uglies? Nancy (clutching pearls, with a giggle): SACRAMENTO!!!
Check out more examples by making up your own, dude. I mean, seriously. I’ve got packing.
A quick whiz around the Innernet (practising my Mercan pronoun-see-ashun) – reveals, who knew, that Sacramento’s main attractions are:
1. The river 2. The bridge that goes over the river
3. The other side of the river
4. The Capitol building, where you can see Ronald Reagan’s foot and hand prints in the cement (he got confused)
5. The State Flag, which is a re-purposing of one of Nancy’s red Adolfo numbers, and
6. San Francisco
Sources: By the Innernet, I mean of course Wikipedia and Amazon.com.
Additional travel advice: Sacramento means West, and – Allah be praised! – West means Westerns, which means – Cowboys!
“Hey, pardner, how’s about you and me hop in the saddle for a little of that ol’ Yippee-i-ay?”
So it’s going to be, like, an awesome?! trip?!
Memo to self: Bring the chaps.
GREAT BIG FLYING PUSSY
I HATE HATE HATE flying and I have to take TWO planes tomorrow: one from Buffalo to Chicago and then Chicago to Sacramento. I’d like to be cryogenically frozen for the duration of the two flights, does anyone know of a service like this? Just message me here.
I’m fairly trim so I’d probably fit in the fridge located in the service area where all the space waitresses congregate, but they’d have to be on the ball because I don’t want to end up in cubes chilling someone’s 50-year-old malt whiskey or something. Talk about irony!
OK. I’ll await your responses. I mean, I’ve got Valium.
Or I could just strap myself in my seat, take lots of Valium and prepare to be face-planted into the Sierra Madre. How’s that for an exit!
I’d like to be listening to Mahler when that happens. The “Lieder Eines Schlumpfenden Geschwitz”, one of those. They all sound the same anyway.
Thanks again for looking into this. What do you mean, “nervous”?
Enjoying my new diet: Neo-Paleolithic high-fat in the morning, low-carb/vegan in the afternoon. I figure combining them will have an exponential effect on my weight loss (I need to lose the adipose tissue around my upper lip before I look good in that jersey number).
For lunch I enjoy hearty Italian sausage on fried bread with pan drippings. Blood pressure rises to 290/180.
The Resident at St Mike’s Emerg is helpful and fast-tracks me after I promise to share the recipe. He assures me I’ll be fine after I’m off life-support.
In the ICU, I grasp his hand and ask if I’ll be able to compete in the New York Marathon this year. He says yes. Which is odd because I’ve never run before.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR VISITORS: No flowers. Please. Just maybe a couple maple-glazed crullers and a Diet Coke.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: I give you Exhibit A. And I know what you’re thinking:
With finely-draped plaid shorts like these, those ketchup-stained, armpit-hiked old-age trousers from Gap are all but inevitable;
There is incipient male camel-toe, that little-mentioned yet classic mark of future whoredom, apparent in the saggy yet suggestively prominent v-marked crotch;
And my contr’apposto, that flirty, toe-twirling-in-the-dirt stance native to coquettish pretty boys from Donatello’s “David” onward, needs polish.
But here’s what I’m most bitter about, and mark me well : This is apparently the one, brief, snapshot-length moment in the sum total of my wretched life when I had 1. no glasses, 2. total self-assurance, albeit pathetically unwarranted, and 3. interesting hair.
Interesting blond hair.
Oh my fur and whiskers. Youth is wasted on the pre-pubescent.