Saturday, May 19, 2007

Confronting Our Past, Through Yard Sales & MySpace

Today is the city-wide garage sale, where dozens of families decide that it is somehow worthwhile to wake up early to set up tables in their yards and impede traffic for nine hours just to sell gifts from their in-laws for a quarter. My tiny little No-Parking street is full of minivans and El Caminos and fat women in tank tops walking straight down the middle of the road. I realize that when your hips measure 58 inches the roadway becomes, relative to body-width, a sidewalk, but some of us want to actually drive down this stretch of asphalt. On a happier note, or maybe just a strange one, I have found my first boyfriend on Myspace.

Now for years I ignored Myspace and refused to set up an account. I'm not a pedophile so why would I need one anyway? But then through some bizarre Gary Busey angle I found an old friend and the only contact info I could find was through the dreaded "social networking" site, so I had to set up an account. Once I had done that, I started going to other people's pages and clicking "add friends" and the whole stupid Myspace thing snowballed. And I found my ex. Not just an ex, but the ex.

You know the guy. Any girl out there who didn't marry her high school sweetheart knows the guy. He's the one you're referring to when you say "my high school boyfriend", the one who corrupted you and then broke your heart. Sure I dated more than one guy in high school but this is the guy who sticks out. He was my Lord Henry, my Joey Buttafuoco if you will.

Lord Henry really is a good description for him now that I think of it. All the talking of logic and rational thought and atheism and sexual freedom. And get this, less than a year after he dumped me he found Jesus. The same guy who at nineteen taught a fifteen year old to question everything and to face the world with cynicism found Jesus. I resent that. He should not be allowed to walk around with faith after that.

I guess every girl meets a guy like him. Every girl has to learn somehow that boys really do only want one thing, that a broken heart will heal, and that "We can still hang out and stuff" just means they want to continue to have sex while dating other women. But we will still resent them for it, and we should. If we didn't then what would keep us from making those mistakes again?

I suppose I resent him in that "It was a hard lesson to learn" sort of way, but to be honest there are other less personal ways to resent him as well. I resent that he and his Myspace page are a reminder of my youth, when long-gone friends were near or even just still alive. I resent that he hasn't seemed to age at all in the last fifteen years (which is reason enough to bump that resentment up to hatred). And I resent that I know I have been "the ex" before and I feel guilt over it, guilt his conveniently located god absolves him of. But I thank him too. I thank him for lights-out glowstick fights in God's apartment, for exposing me to Henry Rollins' box set, for sewer-gasket bungee jumping in Eagle Point Park, and for showing me the Hall Mall, absolutely the coolest place to buy a vintage Ramones t-shirt ever.

Oh look, fat women in short shorts wandering up my driveway. And I'm not even having a yard sale. Time to go chase them off with a pitchfork. And time to let you go google Lord Henry :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In Response To Criticism

Some old people are cool. They have wisdom and patience gleaned from decades of life experience and we could all stand to learn from them. Others, however, just turn into miserable grouchy old goats that no one wants to be around. My grandmother falls decidedly into the latter category.

Ever watch Roseanne? How about Everybody Loves Raymond? Well, my grandma is Bev from Roseanne (but without the lesbianism of the last season) but she looks like Marie from Raymond. She knows everything, and if she doesn't know or understand it it obviously doesn't matter. To illustrate, here are some topical opinions, from my grandmother:

The circumcision debate: It doesn't hurt them; they just push something somewhere. Oh, they cut it? Well I don't know, I just signed what they told me to sign. And besides, you have to circumcise a baby to show that it's white.

Gay marriage: Well we can't let them get married. If they got married what would show that it's better not to be gay?

On race: Thankfully your grandfather just looked tan, and the family never mentioned it. I wouldn't have married him at all if I'd known he wasn't white! (For the record, my grandfather was one eighth Native American. And also, there was the whole black Barbie episode.)

On childhood obesity: Someone needs to tell that boy not to sit in the good chairs. He'll break them! Do you want some ice cream? Or I have candy bars in the drawer over there.

Now, to illustrate the other end of the old people spectrum, I offer this example:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Your Girlfriend's Creepy Mother

Apparently there are two thirties. There is the Friends thirty where you're still young and sexy and "thirty is the new twenty" and then there is my thirty, where you have gray hairs and stretch marks and can't wear spaghetti strap tank tops anymore because you can't wear spaghetti strap bras anymore and the option of going braless no longer even occurs to you. This thirty is the new forty.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I went out to the greenhouse, where my good friend Jame works weekends, to buy my mother a beautiful hanging basket. She will hate it, but that is inevitable so I buy it anyway. While shopping around for the proper soon-to-be-hated flowers, I am assisted by a strapping young man. And by strapping, I mean he is a gay porn model come to life in front of me. And I, of course, am wearing my grubby weekend housework clothes, not a hint of make-up, and haven't dyed my roots in two months. Nonetheless, since I happen to know this kid, I chat with him while he reaches effortlessly to retrieve for me baskets of flowers which hang above my head. Stretching. Flexing. His t-shirt lifting to reveal. . . and then the watering hose from the plant falls out of the basket and cracks me on the skull. Ouch. What a rude reminder that I am an old married pervert buying a plant for my mother with a car insurance rebate check.

And who uses metal hoses to water hanging baskets anyway?

But anyway, back to our story. Adonis, as I'll call him, appeared to be flirting with me in that "Thank you for pulling me away from the register the old lady with the tomato plants was driving me crazy" kind of way that seemed to whisper just a little bit of "Just in case you're wondering I'd do you and by the way I have nothing going on all next week since I dropped out of junior college with two credits left because I heard The Dead were going back on tour." So I flirted back, in a "I'm married and you are way too young and you stink of patchouli and pot but damn you're still sexy, you phish-quoting hippy" sort of way. I'm not an idiot. I know when someone's coming on to me, even when it's watered down. He was making it clear that the next move was mine, and welcome. I was starting to feel like maybe I wasn't that old. I guess I'm still decent looking, and to someone who's never had the misfortune of seeing me naked, I could look okay. I have a decent smile, and good hair. And if Adonis is hitting on me, I must still have it.

Well, I bought the plant for my ungrateful mother and, sadly, left. But let me tell you, nothing cheers you up quite as much as getting hit on by a twenty three year old with two percent body fat. And nothing brings you down again like being told by our best friend hours later that after you left, they guy called you Mrs Robinson. Yeah, I'm old.

Mrs Robinson. Not Stifler's mom. Not Stacey's mom. Not a milf, no. I don't get compared to any modern day examples of older but still sexy women. Nope. Stoner-Adonis has to reach through the smog of his memory to pull out a forty year old reference to a chain smoking pre-Botox seductress in order to describe me. I get to be Anne Bancroft. Yeah, that's great. I wouldn't want to be anyone sexy or desirable. I'd much rather be your girlfriend's creepy mother. See this way I have nowhere to go but up, unless any mimbos out there would like to accuse me of being manly? I suppose there's still room for someone to call me Chandler's dad.

Define "Special" Again For Me

Special has become a rather hard to define word lately. I looked it up online and found many different wordings of definitions that would be hard to understand if you didn't just know what "special" means. It means somehow different, not the norm, not the same as everything else. A special day, a special friend, a special price, a 'special-needs child'. Special is a way to say that something stands out from the rest.

So why do the far right always seem to say that gays want special rights and privileges? To be able to meet, date, fall in love, and then marry is not special. It is a privilege already granted to (statistically) 90% of Americans. If it is already the norm, already accepted and practiced by the majority then how does it stand out as different? Marriage is nothing new in this country so it can't be that wanting to legally bind possessions and earnings through means of a government recognized contract is some new idea that the homosexuals cooked up amongst themselves. And since secular marriages not blessed by any church and performed by approved government employees (judges, justices of the peace, etc) have been recognized for years then it can't be that the ability to enter into a marriage opposed by churches is the new-fangled gay concept. So what is so "special" about wanting equal marriage rights?

Maybe it's not the marriage thing. Maybe it's the more restrictive bills that keep popping up. So let's take a look at them.
1: Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories of discrimination already banned by anti-discrimination laws. Well, since anti-discrimination laws already exist it can't be the idea of telling people why or why not to fire their employees or evict their tenants or refuse their services to that's special. And since churches and church-run businesses are already exempt from most such laws it can't even be that refusing to allow gay- or tranny-bashing infringes on their expression of religion. And let's face it, if someone wants to fire you or evict you or refuse you service, they can. They can always come up with one night you played your music too loud or one day you were two minutes late from lunch and hang it on that. The only thing these laws would deprive employers and landlords and anyone else of is the bigoted joy of telling someone why they're being fired / evicted / turned away. After all, how much fun can it be to cite late rent or poor attendance when what you really want to do is call them a flaming fag or rug-muncher and tell them how gross they are?
2: Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of minority statuses recognized by hate-crime laws. Like with the discrimination laws, the fact that we're discussing adding anything already proves that such laws are an accepted norm. I suppose that since hate-crimes carry with them harsher punishments than regular non-discriminatory crimes there is a bit of "specialness" inherent in them. But is it special just for gays and TGs? Hate-crime legislation already applies to race and religion among other things so no, it's not really a just-for-the-homos kind of thing. There are those who claim that giving gays and TGs status as protected species, so to speak, will only serve to harshen punishments where there is no hate. In other words, I kill you because you cut me off on the freeway and then find out you're gay and now I'm screwed, or I beat you up for being a bitch but because you're a bitch with a penis I get a longer sentence. See how it would make all of the glbt untouchable? After all, there's no burden of proof in a courtroom. It's not like anyone would have to actually present evidence showing beyond, say, a reasonable doubt that the motive for the crime were generalized hatred based on the victims sexuality or gender identity. In fact, the law may be used willy-nilly by liberal prosecutors. I mean, the victim was wearing a pink shirt when he broke into that house so obviously the killing was a hate crime, not self-defense! Get real! The burden of proof to prosecute someone for violating a hate crime is already higher than to just prosecute them for the physical offense. Murder one is easier to punish than race-motivated murder one, because not only do you have to prove guilt but also motive. Proving that the person actually stabbed, cut up, burned, and then buried the victim may be easy compared to proving why they did it. So the theory that the gay and transgendered communities are trying to make themselves unaccountable, to remove the consequences to their own actions and remove the risk from life, is ridiculous. You can kill them, just not for being queer. Nope, the only thing this law deprives people of is the unbridled joy in harassing, threatening, beating, raping, or killing people for BLATANTLY homophobic reasons. It also kills the ultra-preposterous "gay-panic" defense. On a more emotional note, click these links.

Maybe it's the adoption laws? Maybe it's that in states that don't allow unmarried heterosexuals to adopt there should be no reason to allow unmarried homosexuals to adopt. And why are the homosexuals unmarried? Okay, I'll leave that one alone for now. But still it comes down to this: would it be a special law for gays? Again, as long as it would apply to straight people it can't be. And there is no bill proposed anywhere that I know of that says single people can only adopt children if they're gay. No one is suggesting that in order for a man to become a single parent he should suck anyone's dick. No one wants the day to come where a single woman must go down on a pregnant lady to receive custody of her baby. No, these laws would apply to heterosexuals too. And there are instances where they would benefit straight people. If, for instance, a woman wants to adopt her dead sister's orphaned children, she would not have to be married to do so. If a foster parent were suddenly widowed, it would not cost him the possibility of adopting the foster child. So see, a law enabling unmarried people to marry is NOT special for gays. But what about the bills which specifically seek to allow homosexuals and/or transgendered people to adopt children? Those are geared toward gays and trannies only so they must be special. Well, adoption is already legal, already a privilege enjoyed by many people, so raising another person's baby as their own, not really a just-for-gays thing. The bills and laws allowing gays specifically to adopt are just responses to laws denying the ability to adopt specifically to gays. It's more of an amendment rather than a free-standing law. Rather than re-write an existing law to remove the existing restrictions, sometimes it's just easier to pass a whole new law over-riding it. Special wording, but not special rights. As for how damaging it may be for kids to be raised by gay parents, I don't see it. From Kate & Allie to My Two Dads and Full House America has, with the help of Nielson boxes, celebrated children being raised by adults of the same gender. Why is it different now? Oh, because with gay parents the parents actually have sex? Yes well, you will find it very hard to convince me that any household where the children are made aware of what precisely happens between the parents in the bedroom is less than damaging. I know I walked in on my parents once and I don't feel that I was any less damaged by the situation because they were straight. And I can tell you that, within the confines of my own heterosexual marriage, my child would probably have to go straight in the loony bin if she knew just half of what her dad and I do. Kink is not reserved for the queers. That's a special right we all can share.

I am left to draw only one conclusion. I am forced to believe that the far-right, fundies, high ranking current government officials, feel that they must be special. All of these rights reserved for only straight people born with the right parts, actually are special rights. And if we extended them to every drag queen and leather-daddy who walked in off the street they would lose their "special" status. If everyone, regardless of who they loved or how, were capable of living without fear of personal attack, loss of employment or housing, or of never being allowed the joy of changing diapers, then what would make the far-right special? How would the gay-basher stand out from the crowd if not for his inherent superiority granted by the courts?

All of these laws are special. They are not the norm, and they are not the same for everyone. Gays do not demand rights special to them; they demand to share the special rights granted only to the rest of the country. And that's just a little too uppity for some. Too bad the only thing that makes some marriages, some careers, some parenting special is that someone else isn't allowed to do it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Chanitx Update Two

This is hard, yet easy. I realize that makes no sense but follow along. It's like looking at a newborn baby. The baby is so unbelievably small, until you think about where it came from; at that point it's Godzilla. Quitting smoking is difficult and requires the infinite patience of all those around you, as well as 150 Tootsie pops. (Anyone want 25 orange Tootsie Pops?) But the usual symptoms of nicotine withdrawal aren't here. The tightness in my chest, the willingness to face imprisonment by killing someone for a cigarette, the tears and begging usually associated with horror movie victims aware of their fate. It's not here.

What is here is a subconscious, almost casual, habit of reaching. I wake up and my hand slaps the nightstand, reaching for the cigarettes. I'm at the computer and my hand smacks the desk, reaching again. I leave the house and I just know I'm forgetting something. Keys, phone, wallet . . . oh yeah. Until the reaching started, I wasn't even aware that I always set my cigarettes on the same spot on the desk before, or that I ritually lit a smoke before heading in to take a shower. Reaching isn't that bad, not even really all that irritating.

Reaching does have it's drawbacks though. When you're talking to someone and you suddenly grab your own tit, they never look quite like they believe you were going for the cigarettes that aren't in your shirt pocket. And as for the Tootsie Pops, I have come to firmly believe that I have passed the age where suckers look sexy and am now in the age where I just look stupid. Walking down the street sucking on a lollipop and randomly fondling myself. Thank gods for Chantix.