Monday, November 26, 2012

The Oy in Ohio

As you know from my prior posts, I am not your typical Gay man who makes a big deal out of every birthday like a five year old. You know the ones. They invite all their friends out for their big birthday celebration or make a big dramatic event out of their thirty-seventh birthday, so they can get free drinks and lots of gifts – and attention!

However …

This year, I turned fifty on Thanksgiving, and after spending a year telling everyone I was forty-nine (and I wrote about that, too), I really didn’t want to spend another birthday standing over my sink eating a bucket of fried chicken and throwing the bones down the disposal. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is only dramatic if you have a witness … or a reality show – two things I need!

I made up my mind last year after spending Thanksgiving alone, along with Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, the Fast of Gedalia, Martin Luther King Day, Tu Bishvat, Valentine’s Day, Shavuot, and St. Patrick’s Day, that I would go away for my birthday. I mulled over a few destinations, being this would be my first non-working, non-volunteering vacation in five years, and Devon suggested we go to Cleveland.

So, to Cleveland we went.

Cleveland, as it turns out, has a lot to offer. For example, they have the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, which I hear is great. I say “I hear” because after booking the trip, I found out it was closed for renovations. They also have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which I can tell you is the biggest rip-off in the country (I really wanted to go to Dollywood!). It costs $21 a person to go in plus $11 for parking, and after ten minutes, you realize you are in the most poorly organized and ridiculous tourist trap in the Midwest. We should have known better when we arrived fifteen minutes after they opened and people were already leaving. Even the employees were bored; they also never left their kiosks, so I think they were chained to their posts.

But, those are the lowlights. Oh wait, there is one other. Our motel. While researching luxury lodging on Priceline, we stumbled upon the motel with the highest rating, even higher than the Stouffer Tower Plaza and the Wyndham – the Motel 6 in Willoughby. It wasn’t just the highest; it was the highest by two points. We booked it.

We knew the minute we pulled up that the reviews and ratings were the result of the owner’s inbred cousins. For starters, the Wifi turned out to be “pay-by-day-by-device.” They cut out slips of paper and scotch taped them to a card with the passwords to get on the Interweb and go on Facial Book. The Internet connection was slower than dial-up, and Devon declared the place the “Motel Sucks.” Even better was maid service. The maid exchanged your towels (I am not sure the new ones were clean), emptied one basket and left. She did not clean the bathroom, vacuum, or make the bed. Did I tell you they did not have Kleenex or even generic tissues? None! I asked, and they said, “We don’t provide those.” By the third day, I procured my own linens and towels and proceeded to do the maid’s job. Get a queen on caffeine, and she is either cleaning or cooking. When they went around with the leaf blower, the leaves blew under the door into the room. I mentioned this to the front desk urchin, and she said, “Oh yeah, that happens in all the rooms.”

The best part was we had a view of the Courtyard Marriot whose room rates were three times ours. Too bad they were booked. The second morning, someone had thrown a pizza crust out of their room and hit my truck with it, splattering pizza sauce on the paint. From that point forward, I would look out the peep hole to see what other leftover Italian food was being tossed at my vehicle. Of course, by the end of the trip, the story of the pizza crust had evolved into someone dumping a seven-course, Italian meal on my truck.

Thanks to great company and a sense of humor (on both our parts), we made the best of the motel, and let’s face it, a vacation is about the sites and adventures and not the motel. I will keep telling myself that. The optimist in me takes this view: Had the motel been perfect, I would have had nothing to complain – or write – about, and if I didn’t kvetch, I wouldn’t know what to do with my free time!

Cleveland does have some great attractions. We visited President James Garfield’s Memorial at Lake View Cemetery. Considering he was shot less than a year into his first term and died, his memorial is … how shall I put this … a bit much? It is fucking huge! I imagine if he served a full term, there would be an entire section of the city devoted to his memory. From the top, and yes, you can climb to the top, you can see the Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie or touch the hand of God. The cemetery itself, which still has some lovely property for sale, is amazing. One monument out gaudys the next. I loved it. Then again, I love obituaries and cemeteries and the gaudier the better.

There is also the Cleveland Museum of Art. If you have never been there, you have to go. It is the most amazing art museum I have ever visited. We spent five hours there, and we still missed an exhibit. We returned on the Black Friday to see the feature exhibit on the Wari people, and it was packed. As it turns out, that is their busiest day of the year. How nice to see people taking in culture rather than pepper spraying each other over a pair of Nikes.

The people of Cleveland are very nice and very helpful. When you walk into a CVS, they greet you. Everywhere you go, they are friendly and helpful. It is a shame most will be lucky if they live to see their fortieth birthdays. I discovered the official dish of Cleveland is macaroni and cheese, and apparently, they eat a lot of it with one exception – middle to old age women at Bally’s Health and Fitness.

God forbid a Gay man should go a day without working out, so we worked out while on vacation (you have to do something to work off the mac and cheese). Gym choices are limited, and I don’t have to tell you that the Motel 4.8 did not have a fitness facility, and if they did, it was probably a rusted out Soloflex with a cat skeleton on it.

I have not been in a Bally’s since it was European Health Spa, and judging from the age of the equipment, this one started out as one, and they never upgraded. But, I am an optimist – who also loves to complain – so I was determined to make the best of it. Funny how that works. I ended up having the best workouts there, and so did the women. The women who ranged in age from forty-five to seventy-five were hard core and in phenomenal shape. They weren’t wasting their time on cardio equipment; they were squatting, benching, pressing, etc. Our favorite was Sylvia Goldfarb (not her real name). She was Moses’s prom date. There she was in full make-up, big hair, sports bra, spandex pants, and a gold belt. She had the face of a seventy-year-old drag queen and the body of a twenty-year-old cheerleader. She became my new hero. The men their loved her, and they should. She was working out harder than Arnold Schwarzenegger at a Beverly Hills Housekeepers’ Convention. I want to be her when I grow up; some say I already am.

The men were another story. All they did was walk around in shorts that were too short for Bill Clinton in 1992 and gossip with each other. I never saw one lift a dumbbell or use a machine. Worse were the two personal trainers. Each would have to lose forty pounds to be qualified as obese, and they were hit hard with the ugly stick. There was one exception. We nicknamed him Daddy. This hot fifty-five-year-old did more for tank-tops than Mario Lopez. He seemed happy to see two other men actually working out – very happy. I haven’t been cruised like that since Nancy Reagan was standing behind Ronnie telling him what to say.

The aerobics instructor was another site to behold. After he borrowed an outfit from Richard Simmons, he slapped on his wig (not a toupee, a wig), and made everyone sweat to the oldies, including a suspicious number of songs from the Supremes, Abba, and Liza. Yes, Virginia, there are old queens in Ohio, and they teach Jazzercise.

Again, everyone was very nice.

We had a fantastic time, and we enjoyed everywhere we went with one exception. OK, two, if you include the forty minutes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I needed some Lactaid milk and my newest treat, Lactaid cottage cheese. I know; I have a Jewish stomach, and I live a full life. This is why we ended up at the Giant Eagle – the grocery store of the Zombie Apocalypse.

It was a sea of huge asses, motorized scooters, and extras from Deliverance. This is where the not so nice Clevelanders go to shop. They bang into you, cuss at you, block aisles, and if you are not careful, eat your brains. Apparently, they have already eaten everything else. I usually don’t like crowds anyway, but this was the scariest place on earth. I kept telling Devon, “I need to get out of here; I need to leave; they are going to eat us.”

What we also noticed was that Cleveland is very segregated. Rarely did we see Blacks and Whites in the same building or restaurants and specifically the same neighborhood. I also did not recall seeing any Asian people. With the exception of Daddy and the restaurant manager at the Cleveland Museum of Art, we didn’t see any Gays either. Devon said that one of the night managers at the Motel 3.7 was a lesbian, but I never saw her.

However, our Gays would soon be found. After our second trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art, we began our journey home to Jessup and stopped at the Double Tree in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, halfway there. The desk clerk assumed we wanted a king bed, and we knew we had arrived in a special place. So, other than Felton, Pennsylvania, the town where all the male Log Cabin Republicans live, Monroeville is Pennsylvania’s official gay couples’ capital. At dinner, we noticed the sparsely populated restaurant had only two-tops and all were same-sex couples. Even our server was a lipstick lesbian.  

In spite of the Motel 2.3, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the grocery shopping expedition to the Giant Eagle, whose organic aisle had a four-inch layer of dust, this was the best vacation and best birthday I have ever had, which had a lot to do with the company as well as the destination.

I wonder whom Daddy at Bally’s is cruising today? What color spandex is Sylvia wearing?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sex and the Single iPhone App

It always amazes me that a group of people who can get laid more easily than a bonobo monkey have more avenues for finding sex than any other species on the planet. I am, of course, talking about Gay men.

Do you know the real reason many straight men cannot stand us? We can get laid anytime, anywhere, anyhow. For them to get laid requires a lot of planning, a bit of swagger and plenty of liquor, unless of course, one wants to nail a skank, which only requires a Marlboro Red and a Chevy.  
Now that I have my iPhone, friends of mine are telling me I need to download this app and that app for finding tricks. But, it all didn’t start with the iPhone or the Droid or even the Palm Pilot. I am not sure where it started, but I think it began with AOL.

People think AOL was invented so friends could stay in touch and email each other on a regular basis. AOL was invented by a Gay man who wanted to lie about his stats and get laid with other Gay men who lie about their stats.

I still find it hard to believe AOL has really been around for more than twenty years? That twenty years will be significant further down.

My first exposure to AOL was when we had a computer installed at the restaurant I managed in the Jewish gateway to Heaven, Delray Beach, which is one stoplight from Boca, which is the actual location of the Jewish afterlife. We just haven’t had the heart to tell all the blue hairs in diapers and their senile husbands, who don’t know where to hang their sport coats, that they are actually already dead. This should answer the eternal question (no pun intended): Is there an early bird special in Heaven? Yes, and it includes soup or salad, dessert, and coffee or tea.

Anyway, the owner’s “business partner,” showed me this new thing called AOL and the AOL chat room, where he met men. This my friends is where AOL inches were born. I found it odd that every man in an AOL chat room was five-ten and 165 pounds. In addition, all of them had eight-inch penises. I never joined AOL because I thought I didn’t meet the requirements. I exceeded them. I am six-four. What did you think I meant?

Before, during and for a time after AOLs birth, phone chat rooms, where “men are waiting to meet you in your area right now” were the way to find tail in the comfort of your own bedroom. Those were scary because you had to rely on your future trick’s honest self-assessment to get laid. I met my third lover that way. Ironically, he was, and still is, five-ten and 165 pounds.

I soon grew tired of this gay non-contact “speed dating” approach, so I abstained for a few years until M4M and later Manhunt came along, or was it the other way around? A friend insisted I try one or the other, I forget which. I tried each with little luck.

I missed the days of pursuing a guy in a bar, taking him home, having your way with him, making him breakfast, and sending him home with a fake phone number. Ahhh, the good ole days.

And this is where Gay world’s youth obsession reared its ugly head. With AOL, you had to post a picture of yourself. Since it was new, so were the pictures. But, something happened along the way. While all Gay men aged naturally – and some not so naturally – their profile pictures never did. I am not kidding. Just for shits and giggles, I went on Manhunt for an hour while I still lived in that armpit of Maryland – Rockville. I saw the same guys with the same profile pictures and the same stats that I had seen two decades prior. What do these guys do when they actually do hook up? The lights can only be turned down so much. Do they hope they will hook up with another dishonest, elderly queen, who last had a six-pack when Lady Bird Johnson was planting daisies on Route 175?

Sadder still are the ones who don’t realize they have aged and continue to wear club kid clothes into their sixties! These are my favorites. They always say, “I still wear the same size jeans I wore in high school.”

Honey, you may still wear the same size, but that doesn’t mean they fit!

I have an acquaintance, and his partner – a couple of pretentious queens who think their vintage cars are the cat’s meow.

And no, Mikie Barchi, this is not about you! I will use your last name if I refer to you, so you will know when I am talking about you!

Where was I? Oh yes. I have an acquaintance, and his partner who has no personality. When I met him, and his cardboard cut-out of a partner, fifteen years ago, he was hot, and so was the animatron he was dating. He is still an attractive man, as is his comatose bedmate, but he and his used to be equally as hot partner, aren’t built the same as when I met them. Who is? But, don’t tell them that. They still wear tight little shirts and jeans. The problem is things are drooping and falling all over the place, so they look like Gumbys after too much time in the desert heat – one with an annoying personality, and one with no visible signs of life. What they don’t realize is if they were to wear clothes that actually fit in a style more befitting their maturity, they would still look hot, one of them very boring, but both hot.

Please note that when a non-fashionista like the writer of this blog points out your need to update your wardrobe, you are in trouble.

Which brings us to Mikie Barchi. This is about you, but not really! Mikie surprised me with a visit on Halloween, when all spooks come out to play, and he lit into me about how I called him a drunk and a complainer in my blog. I have never mentioned Mikie in my blog, but he thinks all I write about is him. Well, my dear, I hate to inform you that I don’t.

Mikie was on his way to New Jersey from Norfolk. His aunt’s home was devastated in Hurricane Sandy, so he was going to help her. Mikie is nice like that.

Sidebar. One of our sister car clubs sent out an email blast making sure everyone was OK after the hurricane. Most responded that things could have been worse and they were thankful they were alive and well. Except one. One self-absorbed queen lamented the loss of her 2004 VW and how she loved that car and would never park in “that” garage ever again.” My friend Mikie’s home town of Ships Bottom, New Jersey, was practically washed away, and this tire old … I almost said the “f” word … was crying over a car! Not even a nice car. It took everything in me not to respond.

Where was I? This adult ADD is hell.

Mikie wanted to grab a bite, so we went to that five-star Jessup establishment, Frank’s Diner. At dinner, Mikie showed me a couple of apps on his Droid for finding men in your area. There is one for twinks, one for bears, one for daddy’s, one for … I am running out of categories here, but you get the idea. The best part is they tell you how far away they are. Someone could be sitting at the next booth. He handed me his phone, and I decided to scroll through the pictures.

Guess what I found within three miles of my home? A bunch of horny Gay men, all of them five-ten and 165 pounds with eight-inch penises, and the best part: none of them had aged a minute in the last twenty years!

I think I would have better luck picking up a trick in the dairy aisle at Weiss Supermarket on desperate singles Sunday afternoons.

If you haven’t changed your wardrobe or headshot since 1989, follow me, join me, tell your friends, or buy my book.