Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sexy Man Costume...

Hello Friends.

Halloween falls on a Friday night this year, it’s not uncomfortably cold, I don’t have any children, and I’m not deathly ill. For all of those reasons, I really should go out and have fun. I’ve complained in the past about adults celebrating Halloween is juvenile and just a chance to get skanky, but really, who am I to deprive my contemporaries of the privilege? Plus, I am told that Halloween is truly the gay man’s holiday. It’s an event where outlandish behavior and dress is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Actually, considering the ceremony and pageantry associated with Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, I’m fairly certain that any holiday is the gay man’s holiday, but anyway.

This ghoultide season (ha HA!), I’m stymied as to what to dress up as, particularly since the practice is encouraged around the office. My only idea (and therefore the strongest contender) is Business Cat. This costume will involve wearing my normal work clothes, plus maybe some cat ears, and going about my day.

If we do go out on Friday night, I’m not convinced Business Cat will play well at the bar. As much as a truly original costume like Business Cat is appreciated, funny’s no money when it comes winning the prizes offered at the night spot we might visit. There will be some women dressed in sexy lady gear and, because it’s a gay bar, there will also be men dressed in sexy lady gear. Since the only lady I’m comfortable dressing as is Diane Keaton, I need to find a Sexy Man’s Costume.

Dream: Design or discover a Sexy Man Halloween costume.

Goal: Achievable. My feeling is those sad Halloween stores really miss the mark when it comes to costumes for men. One I saw recently was lumberjack. I don’t know any actual lumberjacks, but I think if I met one, I wouldn’t be turned on by virtue of his profession:

ME: What’s your job?
LUMBERJACK: Lumberjack.
ME: Oh! So you… chop down trees?
LUMBERJACK: Basically.
ME: Huh! Don’t they have machines that do that now?
LUMBERJACK: Do they?
ME: I think so.
LUMBERJACK: I’ll be along now. Exuent LUMBERJACK

Plan: Design prototypes for Sexy Man Costumes based on the following ideas:

Sexy Single Dad. This one is for you, ladies. I’m not sure why, but many straight ladies I know turns all jello-kneed at the sight of a handsome single father. This costume is simple, fellas. Dress somewhat conservatively and walk around the party calling out modern names. “Makenna? Zaden?” People will be like, “Awww, those must be his kids!” Although I suppose they would think you were calling for your kids because they were missing at a large party, I don’t know how you dig yourself out of that hole. Okay, wear a t-shirt obviously made by children. So it has paint handprints on it and says “WE LOVE YOU DADDY” in crude font and then something like, “PS OUR MOMMY IS DEAD” so that everyone knows you’re a single parent, down to clown.

Sexy Vet (like veterinarian, not war veteran, let’s not make fun of that). One of the loveliest thing about Dr. Jon is how much he cares for animals. There’s something so appealing about that quality in a fella. So a Sexy Vet could wear a stethoscope, but have scrubs with puppies on them. Or he could carry around a bandaged bunny rabbit. No, that’s weird, that’s weird.

Brendan Fraser. Just dress like Brendan Fraser. Where is that guy? I miss that guy. Or rather, I miss him from 20 years ago. I remember seeing Encino Man when I was 11 or 12, where this dude finds a prehistoric naked and vulnerable Brendan Fraser and thinking to myself, “This shall be my life’s work.”

Sexy Apologizing Bastard. You know how there’s that person in your life, from work, or high school, or college who was/is a bastard? And there’s something about him that could potentially be attractive if he wasn’t a bastard? This costume is that guy, but he spends the whole night apologizing for being a bastard.

Sexy “What About You?” Guy. This one will be an even bigger hit than the Apologizer. This guy’s costume could be a mirror, or a t shirt with a big question mark on it. All he does is ask about your life and seem genuinely interested. Yeah, that would get annoying and suspicious after a while, but it could be sexy over the course of a party.

Sexy “Strong Without Effort” Guy. I don’t mean muscle-y juiceheads, or the guys at the gym lifting insane amounts and screaming with each movement like they’re making Sophie’s choice. I can’t explain it, but to me there’s something incredibly attractive about a man (a woman too, come to think of it), doing something taxing without obvious strain. Again, I don’t know why, but when a guy competently helps to move a couch or does pushups because he’s bored, that’s insanely hot.

Guy in a suit. Gentleman, just buy a basic suit that is TAILORED TO YOUR BODY and wear it around. This is so easy, especially because the resourceful guy can wear many combinations of one suit and a well-made suit lasts forever. Just wear a suit. Just wear a suit!

It says a lot about our culture that a sexy lady costume requires wearing some variation of a skimpy garment and who cares about the context, and a sexy man costume just asks that guys not be dicks for a night. I’m not the one to solve this quandary, but in general, I do think the sexiest thing anyone can be is an open, honest version of themselves. Or a Business Cat.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Do Not Not Disturb


Hello Friends.

I had to give up my little office last week to make room for a new guy. Now I work in a more communal area alongside my colleagues. Not really a cube farm, just a corner of a much larger room with three other people and a bit of foot traffic. Higher-ups broke this news to me as gently as possible, as if I might burst into tears, or cling possessively to the inspirational picture mounted to my wall. “No! I need my solitary space! How else will I LIVE?”

The answer is, quite comfortably. Though it was cool, when I got this job, to have my own office, it quickly became weirdly isolating. I found myself wandering over to the common area that now includes my desk to ask innocuous questions about a task, find out if I could help anyone out, or just chat. Turns out, unless I’m deep in the throes of a complicated assignment, I’d rather have some activity around me than none at all. Though I still would consider working from home the gold standard, but only because I imagine it the way Homer does, where Jon brings me a lemonade and a beer and we dance while I wear my fat guy muumuu.

There have been times in my life when I’ve really wanted to be alone. When I was a kid, I wanted my own room and when I finally got one, I guarded it fiercely (although it wasn’t as if anyone was desperate to gain access to the inner sanctum of a disgusting teenaged me). When I moved out on my own, I dismissed the idea of roommates entirely. At the time, my rent was so low I could easily afford a one bedroom apartment while working a crap job (something all but impossible now). Even after I met Jon, we kept separate residences for four years, and then have lived apart for long stretches since due to his work and mine.

The thing that surprised me about getting the solitude I thought that I wanted was that I became the worst version of myself. I’m not a depressive, but I am incredibly neurotic, and left unchecked by the presence of others, I become a literal and figurative mess.

Dream: Live in less privacy.

Goal: Achievable. I know that doesn’t make sense on the face of it. Who wants less privacy? Especially when one considers, beyond the tinfoil hat sort of way, that we lack so much privacy as citizens. Surely our emails are monitored, our money tracked, and suspicious movements subject to surveillance, and we’re not even important people. I wouldn’t mind if that scrutiny was lessened a bit; it creeps me out to think that none of us has any autonomy as a citizen of the world, I’m just saying I want people around.

Plan: Find ways to make myself more accessible and less imprisoned by my impulse to isolate. Such as:

Secrets. I don’t mean that I’m going to spill anyone’s secrets, anything I’ve put in the vault stays in the vault. I mean that I’m going to try to keep less secrets about myself, not that I have many anyway, but you get the picture. Anything I’ve held inside, for whatever reason, eventually festers and feels gross. Whether it’s times I’ve been bad with money, bailed on a commitment, treated somebody like shit, I have to own that stuff.

Relationship criteria. In my case, I’m not talking about criteria for a romantic relationship, as I’ve already got a good one of those; I’m talking about developing more connections and friendships with people. To generalize with wild abandon, I feel like straight women and gay men feel this need to have an inner circle, or maybe one or two confidantes, or one bff, and nobody else gets in. I look at the Facebook walls of my straight women/gay men friends and they’re filled with self-centered platitudes like, “I’m officially done with apologizing to people!” Or, “This is me, deal with it!” Or my personal favourite, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best!” Did you ever notice that people who say that actually have no best and are always the worst?

I’m not saying don’t be who you are, but never apologizing? Really? Isn’t life full of the mistakes we make and how we choose to correct them? Shouldn’t we be pliable as people, willing to accept different points of view, especially if it means changing our own? Isn’t that growth? If you’re going to summarily dismiss the people in your life who occasionally rankle or upset you, be prepared for the loneliest life! Ironically, these are the same people whose social media platforms are filled with Oprah quotes about “Living in the moment” and “Practicing gratitude”, but they can’t seem to do much of either.

Every body (even mine, even yours) is fine. The older I get and the more my body changes, the less I understand our collective insistence on privately (or publicly) tormenting ourselves about how we look. I don’t mean to be all free love and creepy, but they’re just bodies, man. Who gives a shit? It was awful and a huge breach of privacy when some person (or persons) hacked into the phones/computers of a bunch of female celebrities and posted their nude photos. A terrible violation, to be sure. But as I understand it, these aren’t pictures of people engaged in sex acts; they’re just naked selfies. The more we clutch our pearls and ready our fainting couches over nude photos that don’t depict anything sexual, the more we send the message that there’s something inherently wrong with our bodies.

I know taking this view is a little gross, it sounds like I’m defending the people that stole and leaked these photos, of course I’m not, but I read this article about teenagers and sexting recently that gave me a lot to think about. Because teens are perpetually horny and disgusting, and the dangers of sexual activity are hammered into them at every opportunity, a titillating but physically safe option seems to be sending each other naked pictures. I was surprised to learn that, at least among the teenagers surveyed for the article, there is rarely, if ever, a fallout as a result. It is only when parents find out and involve schools who in turn involve law enforcement, that it gets truly awful. Senders and sendees are interviewed, monitored, and in some cases, charged and arrested. The subjects of questionable photos have scarlet A’s permanently affixed to themselves as they walk the halls. Remember that this is not the result of explicit imagery of people engaging in sex with each other (though those do exist among teens and ought to be handled quite differently), these are kids standing there with their clothes off. Granted, if a naked picture of me was circulated among my classmates when I was a teen, I would be horrified and embarrassed. If cops showed up to interview me about it alongside my parents, I’d actually want to die.  

Again, I’m speaking only for myself here. And I think perhaps I’m confusing privacy with secrecy, or being alone with loneliness. There are private parts of my life that I keep close to the vest, and I wouldn’t want that to be violated, but I also know that I want people around that really know me, warts and all. I like how nobody has to awkwardly knock on an open door to get my attention at work now. Nobody needs to be invited into my space; you’re already here.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Katy Perry's Superbowl of Love


Hello Friends.

For an event I’ve never watched all the way through in my life, I have some pretty distinct Superbowl memories, and all of them involve performers. The Superbowl was where Whitney Houston sang that iconic version of The Star Spangled Banner. By the way, isn’t it sort of weird that the American national anthem is called The Star Spangled Banner? A star spangled banner sounds like a festooned sash at a children’s beauty pageant or the d├ęcor at a homosexual-hosted house party. The Superbowl is where Justin Timberlake grabbed the breastplate off Janet Jackson’s breast, momentarily exposing it to a pearl-clutching nation. I’ll never stop being mad about the fallout, by the way. He ripped her top off. Regardless of whether this was pre-planned, it’s an act of sexual violence to rip someone’s top off, why didn’t we get mad at him? A wall of shit really fell on Janet from which I’m not sure her career ever recovered, but Timberlake got off scot-free. Micheal Jackson did a half time show one year where everyone in the audience had to hold up placards to form a shitty picture of children holding hands, which is arguably the greater crime against humanity. The Superbowl was where Madonna and Beyonce led the half-time shows of 2013 and 2014, respectively, in a blatant attempt to bring women and gays to the tv for ten minutes and it worked.  

This year, it has just been announced, will feature a half time performance by Katy Perry. Madonna was good, Beyonce was fine, but Katy Perry? It’s like okay, universe, I get it: this is the most important Superbowl of all time in history, and I want to be a part of it.

Dream: Katy Perry performs a song about me in The Superbowl.

Goal: Achievable. Listen, stranger things have happened. Nobodies have star making turns all the time. Have you seen that “Apparently” kid? He hosts Ellen now. With viral memes, videos, and blog posts (right??) dictating popularity, it’s only a matter of time before something I produced gets beamed around the world into millions of homes, and I think Katy Perry is the perfect conduit.

Plan: Write to Katy so she has adequate time to rehearse James Is My Friend, Look At Him Go.

Dear Katy,

Hi! I’m such a fan of some of your music. I think you can craft a hit like no one else. Teenage Dream? Roar? Birthday? Forget it. Those will be pleasantly stuck in my head until the end of time. I even have an hour long workout mix of your tunes that I listen to while I sit around eating.

I’m not sure why you’re not given the credit of a Lady Gaga or Beyonce. To me, your songs are more instantly memorable, and you’re far better looking. I bought the issue of Vogue with you on it because look at you! You’re a goddamn painting! Wow!

Anyway, I know everyone is looking forward to a medley of your hits (but leave off Dark Horse, that one never really burrowed into my brain like the others), but what I’d like to do is really shake up your forthcoming performance with a brand new hit called James is My Friend, Look At Him Go. I’m not super good with music, but it should be upbeat and poppy. Lyrics below.

James Is My Friend, Look At Him Go

Who is the boy who has all the moves?
Who is the friend that’s closest to you?
Who is the man you want right by your side?

He is the guy who’s healthy and strong
He works in the day and sleeps all night long
He can’t drive a car so I’m taking him for a ride *Katy, good place for a sexy move here*

CHORUS:

James is my friend, look at him go
He is a friend I think you should know
Patient and kind
He’s not your friend he’s mine
Go Big City James Go!

There comes a time when you’re all alone
No Likes on your status no texts on your phone
There’s only one boy who can make you feel alright

So give him a call and there he will be
He’s not just your friend, he’s friends with me
I’m Katy Perry and our friendship lasts all night

CHORUS

BRIDGE

James is his name, and that’s all I know, Go Big City James Go (Go go GO!)

CHORUS x2

And that’s basically it. Easy, right? I don’t have any suggestions for dance moves, but maybe point in random directions in the audience like you’re pointing at specific people, in a “You! You! You!” sort of way.

Alright Katy, realtalk, that time you sang with that girl at an autism benefit makes me cry buckets when I watch it. If you want to do something as poignant and meaningful in your half time show in lieu of singing to me, I can’t stop you (though I have some musically inclined friends who just might decide to record this track if you take a pass). I’m just a fan and a nice person and it’s been such a long time since someone publicly performed in my honour, so…. Come on.

Love your friend,

James