Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hi, I'm Forty-Nine and Butch!

They say when a man gets older his testosterone level goes down, while for a woman, testosterone levels go up. That is why Grandpa has titties and Grandma has a beard. If they live long enough, they can shop in the same department. You can’t afford a sex change operation? Wait a decade or two.

This also means that the fems become even more fey with age. Can you imagine? Ironically, all those butch lesbians get even more manly with age. What is scarier is that the bears end up with furry boobs, which brings us back to my Aunt Paula. Or, maybe we should just leave that one alone.

As I approach a certain mid-century milestone, I have noticed certain changes. The biggest change is that I make sure everyone knows how old I am, and I don’t know why.

“How does this shirt look on me? I’m forty-nine years old.” “You can’t touch your toes? I can, and I’m forty-nine years old.” “I’ll take a pound of the Lebanese bologna and a half pound of macaroni salad. I’m forty-nine years old.”

Now, I have always said that if a day went by that someone didn’t mention my height that would be the day I died. I have yet to go for twenty-four hours without hearing anything similar to or actually the following:

“If someone Milton’s size were to attack you, what would you do?”

“Wow, your head just missed the door frame.”

And my favorite every time I get into a car: “That seat goes back further.” My reply is always, “It is back all the way.”

So, it isn’t enough that I am a freak, I have this incredible need to point out that I am also an old freak. As I said, I cannot help but tell everyone my age. I am like Marie Osmond on Dancing with the Stars, a show by the way I hate. Every night, she would tell Tom Bergeron, “I am forty-eight.” Finally, she said, “As a woman my age …” and he interrupted, “You are seventy-three, right?” Even he was sick of it.

Like Tom Bergeron, I am sick of hearing myself mention my age. Sometimes, I feel as if I am on the outside observing myself and wondering who this annoying age-obsessed moron is.

Have you ever found yourself doing something annoying repeatedly, and you don’t know why? Maybe all of us have a little bit of a split personality.

As I grow older, I am also obsessed with my aging body and especially my dropping testosterone levels. I read somewhere that peanut butter is good for maintaining good testosterone, which is why I am constantly standing in front of the cupboard with an open jar of Skippy’s and a soup spoon.

However, there are certain things you cannot stop. For example, my ass is a full three inches lower and much more jiggly than it was twenty years ago. If I go jogging, I think someone is tapping me on the shoulder, and I look as if I am smuggling sofa cushions. I have always had a big ass, and while it has been a curse at times, the blessing is that when I do turn eighty (and believe me, you will know when I turn eighty), my pants will still have a good shelf upon which to rest.

While women complain about falling boobs, men also experience the effects of gravity. Our balls drop. If I walk across a room naked, I get rug burns on my scrotum.

Then, there is the sex drive. That drops, too. The first sign that your sex drive has diminished is when you cannot answer the following question: “When was the last time you jerked off?” If you have to think about your masturbation schedule …

In your teens, the answer was always within an hour. In your twenties, the answer was usually no more than twelve hours. In your thirties, a day, maybe two. In your late forties, you can’t remember.

And although masturbation is good for prostate health, you still don’t have the energy – or the time – to do something for your own well being.

While all the above has happened to me, I am experiencing a strange phenomenon since moving into my mobile home.

I got rid of all my old drag wear, except for one pair of stilettos and Nana’s pearls. In addition, I now do a lot of physical manly things.

Even though I have been a life-long fitness nut, in the past year, I have taken my physical activities to a whole new level. First, there was Krav Maga, which now I am so obsessed with that if I miss a class, I do everything possible to make it up, even driving thirty miles to the sister facility to take a Sunday class. While I had no intention of completing the six-hour belt testing when I first signed up, now I am training to test to the next level in September. If I am partnered with a young guy in class who is out of breath while I am still going strong, I always ask how old he is then tell him how old I am. I never miss an opportunity to say, “I am forty-nine years old, and I can do this.”

I competed in one of those extreme obstacle courses where I sprained and broke my ankle, and now I have signed up for another one. “She’s a cool one; she’s returning to the scene of the crime,” said Ethel Mertz. The best part of these obstacle courses is that I get to compete in the Men 45+ category, which gives me another opportunity to tell everyone my age from the people assigning bibs and chips, to the woman with the walkie-talkie monitoring the race, to whoever is standing next to me at the starting line. None of them give a shit, but that doesn’t stop me.

Next year, I will be like Sally O’Malley on SNL – “I’m fifty! I can kick and stretch and kick again. I’m fifty!”

This past week, I was asked to participate in an experimental boot camp at my gym. Six people were asked, and they signed up, but only three of us showed up for the class. Two women in their thirties and I. You guessed it. I made sure they all knew how old I was. “Hi, I’m Milton. I’m forty-nine.”

Well, the class began with two trainers and three students. We did all this kettle ball stuff, and plank push-ups, and climbing stairs, and barbell push-ups with clean and jerks and other things I never saw before. I was enjoying being pushed to my limits and on the verge of cardiac arrest, but I whined more than a grounded teenager. After thirty minutes, they declared the class over. I said, “That’s all you got?”

Me and my big mouth. The trainer, who couldn't get over how I could whine for thirty minutes then ask for more, pushed me and pushed me. Straight guys may love me, but they like to try to break me, too!

I finally said, “I’m doing the best I can; I’m almost fifty. I’m just an old drag queen trying to maintain his figure.”

He said, “Who cares! Fifteen more!”

I did fifteen more. I was sweating so much he called me a puddle. He also congratulated me.

Afterward, I asked when the next class would be. He thought I was nuts but glad I wanted to come back.

I went home, took a shower in Irish Spring, put on some Old Spice, and drank a Pabst Blue Ribbon while sitting on my porch with my hound dog, Esmeralda.

The question though is when did I become so damn butch?

Is this mobile home emitting testosterone from the steel frame? Is my AMC Eagle not just a lesbian magnet but a lesbian maker? And, when did I buy a pack of wife beaters?

I think I need to go dress shopping. Any takers?

If you like what you just read, follow me, or better yet, BUY MY BOOK by clicking here! The Gay Jew in the Trailer Park on Amazon Kindle now; hard copies available in September 2012.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lickity Split Down the Main Street of Town

Recently, I declared my disdain for some New Yorkers, and I was subjected to an earful of comments, which were surprisingly positive! This means either my fan base is mostly southern, or New Yorkers can’t read.

Well, this all got me to thinking … a dangerous thing at times. Have you ever noticed how there are some people who think anything that comes from New York City is automatically the best? My mother was guilty of this especially when it came to food. “Try these bagels, they’re from New York.” “Aren’t these knishes to die for? They’re from New York.” “It couldn’t have been the lox that gave me diarrhea; it was from New York.”

Frankly, I could never tell the difference between a New York bagel and a Newport News bagel. They both tasted like shit to me. I am probably the only Jew who doesn’t like bagels. I like bialys or Bialystoks, as some people call them. I once wrote an article for a magazine about Internet shopping (right after Al Gore invented the Internet) about bialys, their history and the fact that you could order them online from a company in … you guessed it, New York. Ok, New Yorkers, the best bialys come from New York; even I will admit that (of course, you can’t find them outside New York).

The one thing about New Yorkers that I find interesting is that they never vacation anywhere else. Sure, they go to the Hamptons, but aren’t those in New York? Do you have friends who live in New York City? I do. How many times have you invited them to come visit you? Do they? No. However, they always insist you visit them.

“Come on up for the weekend, you can stay at my place.” Oh sure, I can’t wait to spend a weekend with you in your $4,500-a-month, ten-by-twelve, studio apartment in Hell’s Kitchen with a bed on a six-foot high platform that serves as your closet and dining room.

You can always tell the amateur pornographers who are from New York. In the background are a bed, a stove, a mini-refrigerator, a garment rack, a sink, and a cat who keeps walking in front of the camera. The place is usually a mess, too.

Come visit us in the South, and you can have your own bedroom, and we will serve you breakfast on the veranda. Our cats live outside along with our hound dogs, chickens, and cows.

Another reason I don’t want to visit New York is that just about every crime show on television seems to take place there. Law & Order SVU, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Law & Order Who Stole My Bagel, Castle, CSI New York, and True Blue Jew, just to name a few. And, the crimes are so heinous. You don’t just get murdered; they chop off your body parts and leave them all over the city. Someone doesn’t just steal your purse; he takes your whole arm with it.

Even my mother, New York fan extraordinaire, would say, “Don’t wear good jewelry in Central Park; they’ll cut your hand off to get a bracelet.” Maybe this is why she only wore gaudy costume jewelry. I always said she could walk through Central Park at 3:00 am, and no one would bother her.

When was the last time you saw CSI Bent Fork or Law & Order Bootleggers and Brothels?

I’ll tell you why, and the New Yorkers will love this. In the South, we do things a little bit more slowly, so it takes a while for us to catch our criminals. A case has to be open at least fourteen years before they will declare it a cold case. In addition, our criminals are also a bit slow.

In New York, they drive either white vans or black mid-size sedans. In the South, they drive a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice or some other car you could pick out in a parking lot full of charcoal gray Honda Accords. That is what the snipers were driving, and it took them a month to find them.

When I lived in Newport News in the 1980s, a neighbor was murdered, and the felons took off in his turquoise 1965 Chevrolet Impala. They were finally caught two weeks later in Nevada. Why did it take so long? They took a southern route.

Just listen in on a police call.

“Hey, Marge, we need to put out an APB … oh she’s fine, just getting over a cold, but we’re getting plenty of milk out of her now … oh, you weren’t talking about her … my wife, oh the same, she switched to filter-less, and now she doesn’t cough as much … Marge, two guys just held up Tyrone's gas station … yep, they were last seen going lickity split down the main street of town … oh I don’t know … a witness says they were going about twenty maybe even twenty-five miles per hour … we got that; they were driving a yellow AMC Gremlin … uh huh with a white hockey-stick stripe … yep, I had one, too, fine car … he says it had the big bumpers, so it must be a 1974 or 75, maybe even a 1976 … nope, he said it was going too fast to get a license plate number … ok, when you come back from lunch, you put out that APB. Ok?”

If you think I’m kidding, several years ago, a couple of guys were shooting at cars in southwest Virginia, and they were driving a yellow AMC Gremlin.

It took them three weeks to catch them.

If you like things slow and bagels from Newport News, follow me, or just buy my damn book on Kindle here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thank God, I’m a Southerner

John Denver sang, “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy,” written by John Martin Sommers. Whenever I encounter a typical New Yorker, I am reminded of that song, but with my own lyrical twist, “Thank God, I’m a Southerner.”

What follows will probably offend just about anyone from New York City, especially Jews. It will also offend a lot of other people.

Too bad.

As you know, I was born in Newport News, Virginia. Some claim that does not make me a true Southerner, and I always argue that Newport News is an hour’s drive south of the capital of the Confederacy. My mother was born in Baltimore and raised in Washington, DC. Her mother, Nana, was born in Russia, and when she was two years old, her family settled in Newport News – the year was 1905. In the 1920s, she moved to Baltimore to go to secretarial school where she met Milton Summers. Being blond and blue-eyed, Nana had to read The Forward backward to his neighbors to prove she was Jewish.

My father was born and raised in Brooklyn. His mother was born in Brooklyn, and his father in Budapest, Hungary.  

I enjoyed eating in restaurants with my mother. When eating in a restaurant with my father, I always feared the chef was putting Visine in our food. For years, I thought his rudeness and how he treated waiters was just a part of his personality.

There was a time when I really didn’t like being a Southerner. After watching the Godfather, I really wished I had been born a New York Italian or is the correct term, an Italian from New York? There just seemed to be something alluring about being raised in a culture so rich with ethnicity. I found my Southern upbringing to be a bit bland.

They even murdered people with class. Think about it. Which is better, choking someone with a piano wire or blowing his head off with a sawed-off shotgun? One is quick and quiet, the other, loud and sloppy.

Some say I have a bit of a Southern twist to how I talk. I don’t hear it, y’all. One day in synagogue I was chanting a prayer, and the rabbi said, “You speak Hebrew with a Southern accent.” I do say, y’all a lot. My great-grandmother apparently would say, “Vas machst y’all?”

I had a few encounters with New Yorkers while involved with United Synagogue Youth (USY). Many of them found Jews from the South to be a curiosity, but I’ll never forget Aunt Flossie’s encounter with them. Aunt Flossie was born in New York, but her father moved their family to Newport News at the beginning of World War II. He was a barber, and he found work at Fort Eustis cutting soldiers’ hair. She was thirteen at the time.

A group of teenagers from the New York chapters of USY stayed at the Newport News Jewish Community Center for the weekend, and according to Aunt Flossie, who was in charge of the logistics, they just about destroyed the place.

Whenever we visited their chapters, we left things exactly as we found them. To do otherwise would be positively un-Southern.

However, my first real encounter with New Yorkers came about when I moved to Florida in 1992. Florida is a strange place. Although it is as south as one can get, everyone speaks with a New York accent, even the native Floridians.

On the day I arrived, the real estate agent, who arranged my rental of the cottage attached to the brothel (a little nuance of the property she neglected to relay), drove me around Lake Worth to show me everything. Surprisingly, she was also a Southern Jew. While telling me about my new landlord, “a typical New York Jew if I ever met one” – as she put it, she said the most shocking thing I have ever heard, which I refuse to write here. All I can say is it was about Holocaust.

Seriously, I am almost fifty, and it was the most shocking thing I ever heard. I said that already, didn’t I?

I finally met my landlord when my plumbing completely stopped working and backed up, and I could not shower for work. She sent a plumber, who had to get a back hoe to dig up the driveway because the main water and sewer lines to the house had both burst.

I complained that this was unacceptable and I needed the use of a bathroom and to shower for work and they should provide me with a hotel room. This was Florida, where the heat and humidity are so high that plastic plants grow. I worked as a waiter at the Rod and Gun at the time, and the last thing my customers needed was a smelly server who hadn’t wiped his ass.

Her response was, “Put on some deodorant and shit in the woods.”

I almost had the vapors! Who says such things?

Needless to say, I missed work that night, which in restaurant terms means a night’s pay.

When her husband came by to replace the window air conditioning unit, he tracked grease all over the carpet. I had the carpets steam cleaned, but whatever he tracked in would not come out. After I moved from the cottage, she refused to refund my security deposit because of the grease on the carpet and because I had hung pictures on the walls. I had never before, nor since, been refused my security deposit.

That may have been my first experience, but as I mentioned, I worked at the Rod and Gun – the same restaurant where Endora was told the salmon was dry.

And that is where I soon became proud to be a Southerner. I also finally realized my father was not unique.

First off, they eat dinner at 4:30 pm in what I soon learned was something called an Early Bird. I honestly did not understand the concept until my third night working there. Soup or salad, coffee or tea and dessert for $14.95, but you eat before the sun goes down.

At 4:15 pm every night, the doors were opened, and they all arrived in groups of four, six or eight – never two!

For those who have never experienced the Early Bird crowd, let me give you some typical scenarios:

“I want my salmon broiled dry.” I deliver the salmon, and the lady says, “The salmon is very dry.” My response, “That is how you ordered it.”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “on the side,” I wouldn’t be living in a singlewide.

“I’ll have the thousand island dressing on the side.”

“I want hot tea, tea bag on the side.” I will never forget that one because her husband said, “Tea bag on the side? You sound like a fucking idiot.”

At least ten times an evening: “I’ll have the prime rib. I want an end cut.” One night, I finally said, “How many feshtungina prime ribs do you think we have back there?”

My all time favorite was when a group said, “We are all diabetic, so we need to be served quickly.” After dinner, I brought them sugar free Jello for dessert without asking. “What is this? We want cheesecake.” To which I replied, “I’m sorry, you are all diabetic, so you can only have sugar free Jello. Here is your check. Have a nice evening.”

And, more times than not, I heard, “This is ridiculous! I want to speak with the manager! I want compensation!” or “I am not as happy as I thought I would be.”

But my all time favorite was, “I was in the restaurant business.” Really, how many delicatessens are there in New York, since every goddamn one of you owned one? I thought it; I never said it.

I became the manager of the restaurant (big surprise since I am a number eleven), which was when the real fun began.

We never took 5:45 pm reservations because the Early Bird ended at 6:00 pm, and the rule was one had to be seated by 6:00 pm. So, 5:30 pm was the last time one could make a reservation for the Early Bird.

I don’t know how many times I heard after saying to someone over the phone, “We do not take 5:45 pm reservations and one needs to be seated before 6:00 pm,” “Well, we are going to arrive at 5:45, and we expect to be seated for the Early Bird.” I always felt as if I were talking to a wall.

The most hilarious was “We drove all the way from Boca to have your cheesecake.” The restaurant was in Delray Beach, one stoplight from Boca. I replied, “I drove all the way from Lake Worth to tell you we are out of cheesecake.” Lake Worth was five miles away.

My all time favorite was Mrs. Posner, a little one-hundred-forty-five-year-old pain in the ass who once dated Moses. I was at the host stand, and she came barreling through the door at 5:45 with her party of six yelling as her foot crossed the threshold, “I have a 5:45 reservation for six for Posner, and we expect to be seated immediately for the Early Bird.” All before she made it to the host stand, which means she was rehearsing her speech in her Crown Victoria with the left turn signal on the whole drive to the restaurant.

I looked right at her, and I said, “Really? We don’t take 5:45 reservations.”

“Well, I called today and made one.”

“Whom did you speak to?”

“The manager.”

“A man or a woman?”

“A woman.”

“Mrs. Posner, I am the manager, and you are lying. I am the only one who answers the phone here or it goes to voice mail. You did not make a 5:45 reservation. We don’t take 5:45 reservations. I will seat you when a table opens up.”

She was actually speechless. I did seat her at 5:55, and when her waiter took sick, I actually took over her table and served her and her guests with the utmost efficiency. Needless to say, no one in her party gave me any shit that night. They didn’t even tell me the salmon was dry.

But, I have to say something in their defense. New York Jews ALWAYS tip! I will never forget the waiters complaining about only getting fifteen percent tips. Obviously, they had never waited on Southern Baptists from North Carolina visiting Williamsburg, Virginia, as I did for more years than I care to admit. They leave one dollar for every check on the table. Whenever I approached a table of Southern Baptists from North Carolina, even a family, I would ask, “Separate checks?”

I finally left Florida and my cousins from the North, hoping never to wait on them again. But in our world today, which brings people from all over closer together, I was bound to have another New Yorker encounter – this time a Gentile.

And, you Goyim thought you were off the hook this time. Ha!

I am president of the Straight Eights Gay Car Club, and this year we are hosting the Lambda Car Club International (LCCI) Grand Invitational. That means we won’t just get a sprinkling of members from all over the country, we expect more than three hundred people from all over.

We had an Early Bird registration period that ended recently, and as always whenever one approaches any kind of deadline with an inviational, the nasty people come out. One of my fellow chapter presidents, a New York Gentile, complained about the price of the invitational and made the following statement: “Just want to mention that a number of my members find the price of $180 per person a bit high during these hard times. I hope the food and activities justify the cost!”

My first inclination was to reply “fuck you.”

Just so you know, our invitational covers four days and six meals and two snacks along with every other expense that goes into planning such an event. In addition, his chapter has a reputation for being the snottiest in all of LCCI. They do not let anyone who doesn’t own an antique luxury car participate in their events. Not only that, they have NEVER held an invitational (we hold a regional every year), let alone hosted a Grand Invitational. And one more thing, this is a car club filled with people who will spend thousands and thousands of dollars on “classics” some would consider used cars, yet they are the first to complain about a $5 increase in a fee. I am not kidding.

So, I found his complaint about the price to be a bit nasty. Using my Southern charms, I responded to him about what is involved and how we calculated the registration price based on expenses divided by the maximum number of attendees, and we still offered the discounted Early Bird price to help people out. I did not display any offense or anger; I just laid out the facts. I ended by telling him that I found his statement, especially from a fellow president, to be a bit nasty.

He responded that I should not get offended and angry and then proceeded to insult our hotel, Rehoboth Beach and the last two Grand Invitationals which were hosted by chapters in Detroit and Arizona. His response was ten paragraphs about how we were doing this wrong and that wrong. Did I mention, they have never hosted an event!?! He ended with this: “I am a tough Native New Yorker and I am right to the point. It works!! Trust me!” (copied directly with no change in punctuation).

My response was just the following: “I was not offended or angry. I am from the South, and we are not condescending and nasty. Trust me. It works.”

Thank God, I’m a Southerner!

If you are offended by what I just wrote, buy my book, The Gay Jew in the Trailer Park; it is available on Amazon Kindle by clicking here. Hard copy release in September.