Lullaby of Chinatown

Within the perimeters of Canal & Bowery, exists a country within a city. In the shadow of neon signs flashing Cantonese and Mandarin, are many treasured wonders.

Exotic fruit, which have the appearance of quirky, avant-garde art, delights all senses. The sweet scent of miniature pancakes infuses with escaped fish from the sea. Chinese fans, ceramic dragons and Buddha’s, provide a much-needed kitsch.

In the midst of Chinatown’s charm, four New Yorkers embarked on an odyssey. Firstly, I must take the flying DeLorean to last year (hello, Back to the Future reference). Fasten your seat belts, folks. Please be aware of the exit row. Here we go, its lift off time.

It happened last year on the rooftop of a quaint building, in close proximity to Washington Square Park. Yours truly and some of my people waited in anticipation for one magnificent sight. That glorious Kodak moment was in the form of fireworks. Hello, Fourth of July, said I. As the darkness embedded Greenwich Village, the anticipation built.

Boom, boom, boom went the fireworks. With great dramatic momentum, our eyes searched the night sky for those beloved-flashing lights over the nearby Hudson. The sound effects persisted, but the fire works were nowhere to be seen. I looked at my friends in puzzlement. “Where are the fireworks? They’re supposed to be visible from this vantage point, aren’t they? asked I.

We waited a bit longer. Still the imposing apartment buildings of the West Village shielded us from that most Fourth of July tradition. Instead of feeling disappointed, we watched the fireworks on television. It was quite lovely, but not the same sensation (as seeing them in person).

A few weeks later, I strolled the Upper West Side. While walking toward the 72nd Street subway, I heard a familiar, boom sound. I peered into the night sky over Broadway. Fireworks dominated the ornate Upper West Side sky. This was in celebration of Bastille Day (French independence day). The sight was quite magnificent. I declared, “vive la France.” My desire to see fireworks on the Fourth of July only intensified.

Let’s take the DeLorean back to this year. While my gal pals and I didn’t see the candy hued lights over Manhattan, last year, we made it a mission to actually see them this year.

In the depth of an empty Chinatown, we set out on foot to see the glorious show. Even as experienced New York walkers, we were baffled on where to see the show, which was on the East River (this year). We took a side street down and as the Manhattan Bridge appeared, our mission had been accomplished.

At last, we found the perfect vantage once we reached the East River’s Edge. “This is it, we’ll finally see the show,” I declared. Hoping that nobody extraordinarily tall would hover in front of me, I waited in anticipation. Then that familiar boom was heard. The fireworks commenced. They lit up the sky from the near-by Brooklyn Bridge. “Oh, aw, wow,” said the onlookers.

I too was in awe of the sparkly sky. At that moment, I appreciated seeing the show in living flesh. It would become one of my all time favorite New York memories. I was so very impressed with the pomp and pageantry of great American tradition.

Afterwards, we topped off the night, Lower East Side style. As wine was sipped, we thanked our lucky stars for a most memorable Fourth of July.

The Californian

 

“I am not a beach guy,” said I, at age, sixteen. The sand, surf, and blazing California sun, didn’t quite tickle my fancy. One summer, my dad talked me into a road trip to Malibu.

In the midst of a-list celebrities, glitzy trailer parks, and rugged hills, was the piercing blue ocean. The most popular spot was Zuma beach, a grand surfer’s spot with an eclectic beach going crowd.

After recovering from extreme motion sickness, my father and I walked into the piping hot sand. It contrasted a very mellow California sun.

The waves crashed against the sun. It’s ferocious roar sounded like a lion. “Why don’t you get in the water, Anthony?” asked my father. I don’t wanna go into too deep, I forgot how to swim, said I, drenched in sunscreen.

“Oh give me a break, enjoy the water,” said my father, who was basking in the Malibu grandeur. From the corner of my eye, I noticed a gaggle of attractive, shirtless guys dash toward the Pacific Ocean. “Fuck drowning, I am going in,” said I.

The relatively cold Pacific Ocean was refreshing for me. It was a treat for me feet, which were roasting in the sand. I went in a bit deeper. “ Oh this isn’t so bad,” said I.

My Malibu buzz was quickly killed. A flying football narrowly missed my precious face. It also nearly knocked me into the water. “Oh who’s the fucking asshole, who threw that ball?” said I, internally (of course).

”I am sorry about the ball,” said the voice with a distinct California accent. Unexpectedly, a handsome young man appeared. He smiled with his big brown eyes illuminating perfect white teeth, which contrasted my mouth full of metal (I had braces, forever).

“You’re not a beach guy, are you?” he asked with a giggle. I smirked, “no, I am from landlocked Riverside. He went back to playing football with his buddies.

“Shit, times like this, I should’ve fake drowning, I would had some mouth to mouth madness,” said I. I admired the Malibu charmer from a distance as the football was tossed from one well tone and muscular guy to the other.

I walked toward the sand, with the following thoughts in my head, “gee, I wish more guys at my age were out of the closet or that I could ask a guy out and not be disappointed that’s he not gay or not into me.” Disappointingly, I left the shores of Zuma, lacking romance.

The old song, “why must I be a teenager in love” played in my head. “Oh well, I thought, at least dad and I will go for ice cream. The world tastes better sprinkled with hot fudge and a cherry on top.

Sing along with Radiohead

“Fake Plastic trees by Radio, isn’t exactly a staple on Christmas Eve. After of campy holiday songs ware off, nothing says happy holidays like mellow 90′s Brit Pop.

This past Christmas Eve, I woke up excitedly. I blasted the quintessential Radiohead jam and did the happy dance. “Yeah, I am on vacation, this is thrilling,” said I. That morning I opened my Facebook. It was a montage of photographs featuring luxurious images of New York airports from JFK’s Delta airlines terminal to planes waiting take off at Newark.

Then I realized, “oh yes, it’s Christmas Eve,” everyone is going home for the holidays. I too was headed out west for Christmas, but didn’t leave till the next day. A part of me, just wanted to be home in California with my father, enjoying the back patio and grilling steaks. Tear, tear, I had to find a way to comfort my poor self, while I waited for time to pass by. Oh and did find the ideal while to brush off that lonely feeling, the New Yorker way.

On my day off, I headed for my happy medium, Brooklyn Bagel in Chelsea. “That’s right nobody is going to be in town, except tourists and they’re in Midtown. No lines for me,” said I. Those were the cliché famous last words, since Brooklyn Bagel was packed. Although, the streets were a bit emptier, everyone had the same idea.

Fortunately, I found a seat and indulged in a most delectable bagel. “I must keep myself occupied and not get homesick, how do I do that?” I took a long walk from Chelsea to the East Village. While fastening my pea coat, I peered into the pavements of gritty yet charming First Avenue. “Wow, it’s oh so quiet, just like the Bjork song,” said I.

“There won’t be a line at the Bean (coffee shop) or at the Strand (bookshop). Wow, fuck loneliness, the East Village feels like my own personal playground and it’s fantastic,” said I. It was marvelous walking around without people traffic (my previous New York years, I was in California for Christmas eve). Then I realized, “oh I still don’t have someone to spend Christmas Eve with.

Like any proper urbanite away from family on Christmas Eve, I had found my alternative and it wasn’t on Grindr.

Rocco was his name. He’s a cold-blooded fellow, thanks to being a turtle (which falls in the reptile family). My friend Krista had me feed him his holiday supper, since she was in Chicago for the holidays. That’s right; turtle sitting wore off the loneliness of being away from family. Watching the turtle munch on vegetable sticks gave me purpose in the midst of jingle bell rocks.

After an adventure in turtle sitting, I took the 3 train home to Harlem. An elderly woman hopped on the train and proclaimed “Merry Christmas to everyone.” Surprisingly, everyone was equally jolly in the tough nosed subway. The holiday cheer actually made my night.

I came home and packed my bags. For my holiday dinner, I ate a chicken pot pie. I traded Radiohead for a Charlie Brown’s Christmas tunes. It was a great end to a day, which could have been lonely, ended up being lovely. With eyelids fully closed, I eagerly awaited the early morning flight to California and quality time with my father.

 

Rainbow Sherbet

When the Empire State Building glistens with the hues of rainbow sherbet, it means only one thing. “Free ice cream for everyone, not.” This delightful occurrence is in celebration of gay pride.

It’s the week where New Yorkers ditch the traditional sleek black attire and embrace their inner rainbow. For this New York gay, Pride week has always meant a bevy of splendid events.

This year’s gay pride week was better than unicorns, rainbows and Barbara Streisand belting out a dazzling number. There was the highbrow magazine party, which was better than a Kylie Minogue meets Madonna concert.

Men slipped into their spiffiest attire and schmoozed. This was followed by the grand dame of all events, drag bingo, my personal favorite..

When gayness couldn’t get more gay, there was also the gay, jazz cabaret, celebrating the legendary voices of Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole. By the weekend, there was one event I wanted to avoid.

Years prior I had always avoided the gay Pride Parade. My last parade was in 2009. Vividly, I remember standing on the corner of twenty-third and Fifth.

There was loud club music, dancing go-go boys and humidity, which creped into the threads of my polo shirt. I was bored and yawned. Then I thought, “this is the same shit, I’ve seen everywhere. Why aren’t there more political statements?”

On that faithful day, I eventually met up with Tony in the West Village. He took my hand and walked with me through historically significant Christopher Street. “This is the purpose of pride. I can hold your hand through Christopher Street,” he said. I gulped for a moment there and thought to myself, “shit, I can’t take these things for granted.”

(Fast forward) This year, I had my own pride celebration. My theatre loving friend, Jenna and I indulged in soup dumplings. We then frolicked around Chinatown, singing show tunes from the great gay icons. The singing continued into the East Village. In my own words, I proclaimed, ” I don’t need a parade to display own my gay pride. Everyday is gay pride in Anthony land.”

We eventually sat on a park bench in Union Square, the sounds of loud music from the parade, echoed. I took a gander at the scenery, which featured a bevy of folks decked in rainbow pride. Internally, I thought, ” Gee, all this gay, ain’t it grand.”

Cardigans FM (the radio station in my head) played “Don’t rain on my parade” and I drifted into a land of uber campiness. Happy (be-lated) gay pride, everyone.

Grey in the Face

Waking up in London felt especially thrilling at seventeen. I was mesmerized by everything. The underground’s escalators, which practically reached the heavens, palaces, double decker buses, street fashion, parks of greenery and the fragrance of cigarettes filling the ancient sidewalks.

I was truly in love. As a kid from Riverside, California, this was an especially significant treat. Going from vastness of freeways and strip malls to British cultural institutions, would make any sad bloke smile.

On one particular trip to London, with my mom I would wake up and take strolls along Euston Road. It’s a street, which isn’t particularly lovely, just a place to catch the train. Since it was London, I reveled in the ordinary pavement with extraordinary history.

On my first walk in the old capital, I came back to our hotel room and washed my face. Grey poured from my face. “This is quite peculiar. “Why is their grey pouring from my face? “I asked myself. I told my mom. “I’ve been blowing my nose and grey has been coming out, “she said, appearing quite annoyed.

I grinned rather than falling into a state of worrying. The grey happenstance delighted me. It meant I was in London. That fact was truly thrilling. Each day, I washed my face the same occurrence continued.

By the time, I returned home to the States, grey no longer filled my sink. I was very sad. Secretly, I longed to still have my tootsies planted on British soil.

Years later, I returned to London. I was still a visitor, but the love affair was more romantic than Love Actually, Notting Hill & Bridget Jones’ Diary combined.

 

 

 

 

Ant Hill

Zero humidity and blue skies in a New York summer? This isn’t a joke, folks. On a Friday in June, California weather made a cameo appearance.

In the midst of happy people and weather, a dark cloud hovered over a mystical land. This land was known more infamously as Penn Station (AKA, it’s hell, it’s hell, I tell you.). With those two words, I entered a parallel universe where claustrophobia ran rampant like a sickening plague.

While in the mystical land, one warrior had to make a trek into lands unknown. This warrior is yours truly. I was stuck in a land, where wretched architecture, subtle ugliness of urban decay and insane asylum lighting takes hold of the senses, only one component remained a positive.

In the midst of gentrified Manhattan, Penn Station still had the best freak show in town. There were all kinds of characters, which would make Cousin It and Thing (from the Adams Family) look more like a missing link to the Brady Bunch. While I delighted in the circus of odd balls, the undying truth remained. “Fuck, I have to somehow get on a train to South Hampton, get a seat and be happy,” said I.

As expected, everyone and their distant, distant relatives were headed to South Hampton. With anxiety levels escalating and an iPHONE dying a slow death, I had to find my inner zen. In the grand tradition of taking the L.I.R., I didn’t get a seat.

“Xanex, I need Xanx,” said a neurotic brain cell. Rather, than die of boredom and bruised tootsies, I made a royal throne all my own. Utilizing the walkway between rows, I tilted my suitcase and made a seat. My right brain went into battle. I listened to music. Through music, I traveled into another parallel universe, where the LIR didn’t touch.

I wrote stories and listened to a soundtrack, which brought me from London in the 80’s to a 90’s Seattle. As you can tell, I like grey and cold places. The music eventually died, but I had to save my Zen self from fading into anxiety land. Once the train reached West Hampton (stop before South Hampton), a seat opened up.

The royal throne morphed back into an ordinary piece of luggage. I had to deal with my musical loss. Rather than shedding a tear, I turned stress into art and wrote even more stories.

With little fanfare, I arrived in South Hampton. It was truly Town & Country magazine sprung to life. Thanks to my dependency on technology, I had to find a place to charge my phone (my friend was picking me up from the train station).

In my technological despair, I ran into the first bar/restaurant, seen by the blind eye. When I walked in, the décor screamed, “welcome to the Hamptons, as seen on TV.” I charged my phone and ordered a glass of wine. “I don’t think I am in Harlem, any more, ” said I. Sipping wine, I celebrated having a charged phone, a seat and booze.

Left Coast

Coffee sops, art galleries, gastro-pubs, old buildings, and a mismatch of political views; this isn’t New York’s East Village. It’s surprisingly, a world away, Riverside, CA.

Riverside may not be one of the world’s great cultural centers, but it’s ideal for a lovely holiday. Nestled in Southern California’s Box Springs Mountains, the city played host to my greatest daydreams. Growing up there in the 90s, the same thought persisted. “Oy, I want to leave this town surrounded by brown mountains and move to New York City,” said I.

I eventually moved to New York in my early twenties. In Manhattan, I have most recently resided in a small fifth floor walk-up. My windows overlook a quintessentially New York landscape. To one side, there are charming brownstones. If you glare up, the imposing redbrick projects, smile back. If you step outside onto my fire escape, the Midtown skyline flashes brightly way down the street.

This is my New York reality. Hence, my father’s home in Riverside has always been a lovely escape. Going out west has always meant delicious food in the fridge, cable TV and chirping crickets, thanks to the serene terrain.

Like any good Californian transplanted into a New Yorker, I’ve made an art form out of not driving a car. Traffic, parallel parking and freeways send my neurosis levels to skyrocketing high levels. Typically, I have my father and/or generous friends drive me around. However, I gave driving another shot.

My dad gave me the keys to his car. Like any proper creature of habit, I decided to re-create my East village routine in the heart of Downtown Riverside. I drove there, one Saturday afternoon.

Firstly, I commenced with a walk. I admired Riverside’s antiquity. It’s flower shops, restaurants gone al fresco, little fountains and street musicians provided a tranquil, but surprisingly lively vibe in the heart of suburban madness.

That afternoon, I enjoyed a latte at the local indie coffee shop and explored the titles at the favorite used bookstores. After a whole lot of strolling, I headed for a sandwich at the gourmet deli, Simple Simon’s.

After a day, which mirrored my routine in New York City, I still longed for that most suburban of moments. Risking loosing my cool urban card, I set off for that delicious slice of American peach pie.

“This top 40 station stinks,” said I. Quickly, I switched to 80′s music. Missing Persons, Culture Club & Depeche Mode were the soundtrack of my road trip. It brought me back to a time, when I romanticized about being an adult.

I parked in a parallel parking spot and stared up into the bright blue California sky. There it is, the Galleria at Tyler, Riverside’s premier shopping destination, where Nordstrom meets Forever 21 meets Cinnabon.

My first stop was Nordstrom’s. Since, we don’t have a Nordy’s (Nordstrom’s nickname), I went wild. I always adored their sneakers department. The sweet smell of men’s cologne dominated my nostrils. As, I secretly wished I had a boyfriend to enjoy this suburban moment.

After Nordstrom’s, I snuck into the actual mall. It was interesting. This was a world I once longed for, but like braces, had been buried in the graveyard of teenage angst. The galleria was secretly an enjoyable experience.

Also, the people watching was intriguing and different from my usual East Village/Upper West Side afternoons. There were soccer moms, different tribes of teenagers from gothic people to preps, families representing virtually every culture and college kids. After my quick run-through, I had my mall fix for a long while.

I returned back to my dad’s house, feeling slightly accomplished. That afternoon, I stepped out into the back patio and sniffed around, “oh it really smells like the suburbs,” said I. The suburbs smell like grass, but I most prefer the exotic smells of New York, when it’s not on the subway in summer.

 

Texas

3:30 AM in New York City, the neon lights of Times Square awaken the evening sky. Hold on, I don’t live near Times Square. Why are there flashing lights uptown? Shit, it’s a thunderstorm, said I. While still half asleep, I couldn’t go back to bed with the pitter-patter of raindrops.

On that dreary Thursday morning, I was off to that most grey of places, sunny Palm Springs, CA (insert laughter). As I wrestled with the notion of going back to bed, I had a 4 am car picking me up. As I almost shed a tear to accompany the sad sky outside, I prepared my outfit for the great expedition out west.

I was all packed up for the trip. Feeling like Mr. Cary Grant, I sashayed down my walk-up, schlepping a very heavy carry-on. The thunder persisted, which caused me to make a less than glamorous dash into the car.

As my car drove slowly through the rain soaked Tri-Borough Bridge, the Manhattan skyline was fogged in. From a distance the Chrysler building is was adorned with white lights.

Hello Queens, I arrived at La Guardia. The road from New York to Palm Springs, would take a detour into Dallas-Fort Worth. By 5 AM, I was already cranky and exhausted. However, grand images of Palm Springs play like great actors on the Broadway stage; the grand mountains with windmills, desert sands, kitschy 50s architecture, pool parties with tons of gays and most inspiring of all, seeing my father, who lives in California.

I successfully reached the gate and get ready to board my flight. “The layover in Dallas was a quick one. I must get my power-walking New Yorker skills into play,” said I, while flipping through the duty free guide. The rain falls into hibernation. I gleefully stare out the window. “Sorry folks, we’re having electrical issues, we will be delayed for few minutes,” said the pilot.

It was like an intense needle scratch on a precious Beatles tune for my ears. “What I can’t be delayed, I have a flight to Palm Springs to catch. I really want to have a burrito at Las Casuelas with my dad. I listened to my most calming golden oldies, while the plane remained stuck at LaGuardia.

By 6:30 AM, the problem had been fixed; the plane took off like a bird headed south for line dancing.  Good-bye New York, see you in four days, said I. Then I closed the window shade on the Northeast. I watched a campy gay film on my laptop. I drank airplane coffee, which has always been a frightening concept.

I re-opened the shade, while flying somewhere over Texas. The land was flat and green. I imagined, Texas to be less green. Slowly the airplane approached the Dallas. The houses were wide and came accompanied with crystal blue-watered pools.

As the plane continued its path, quintessential Texas images emerged. Football fields, water towers, expansive freeways and more large houses. The Dallas skyline in the far distance was in a sea of haze as the expanse

9:05 AM, Finally, the plane made its final descent into Dallas-Fort Worth airport. It landed. I called my dad, to let him know I was halfway to California. Dashing from the plane, I stepped into DFW, which like Texas was sprawling. You could fit several generations of Smurfs and still have plenty of room for more. It was also clean and modern, as opposed to other airports (cough, cough LGA & JFK)

I dashed through the terminal, passing many chain restaurants and weary travelers. “I may have a short window, but I’ll make this flight, I told myself. “It’s right across the terminal, since every airline is housed in one marvelous terminal,” said I. Swiftly, I looked up at the very high escalator with signs directing passengers to distant fairy tale lands. These lands were DFW’s other terminals.

Reaching the top of the escalators, I entered the air train. For once, I too felt like a lost puppy dog. With great confusion, I asked a friendly Texan, “Excuse me, is this the right way to gate D14? She smiled and said, “Yes, this is the right train. It goes in a circular loop around DFW.

Fortunately for me, my terminal was at the end of the loop (not). I listened to melancholy 90′s music. The train looped around every terminal. Round orange lights shined brightly every time; the train arrived at another riveting terminal. My New York neurosis levels rose to extreme highs. This was a true fete, which could only be accomplished outside the five boroughs.

“Goodbye burritos from Las Casuelas,” said I. ” Guess, it’s Applebee’s at DFW for me. Oy, airport food,” said I. “

Texas BBQ, sausage, pulled pork, sausage with a beer,” said my brain while speaking gently to my taste buds. “That’s right, if I get stuck in Dallas, I could call my friend, Nicky and head out of the airport for real Texan style BBQ, a foodie’s dream, naturally.

After many commercial breaks, I arrived at my terminal. Secretly, I wanted to get stuck in Dallas, as an excuse to eat really well. So, I walked just a bit slower. My flight just happened to be at the very end of the terminal. When I finally arrived at the gate, my anxiety levels and reality kicked. Shit, I have a hotel in Palm Springs, I must check-in, said I.

As I proceeded to obtain my boarding pass, the agent gave me a stern look. “Did you give away my seat?” I asked. She shook her head, yes. With one nervous gulp, I said to myself “At least, I’ll have a good food coma, if I have to take the nighttime flight.” Miraculously, the travel fairies sprinkled their dust on my head. A seat happened to pop up.

I boarded the flight to Palm Springs. “Sorry Dallas, I didn’t get to explore your delightful culinary scene, but there’s always a sequel to DFW somewhere in my future. “In the meantime, it was hello Palm Springs, ” said I.

The plane took off. I met a wonderful new friend and had an amazing land locked flight. After three hours, I landed and experienced the crown jewel of California summers, dry heat. I was lovingly reunited with my father. As predicted we had a very large burrito from Las Casuelas.

Then in a scene out of a Woody Allen movie, the weather became slightly neurotic, especially for old Palm Springs. Boom, there was rain with a hint of humidity, followed by rain. “Oy, you can take the boy out of New York for four days, but the shit weather will follow is the moral of this story.

Across The East River

Across the East River from glamorous Manhattan, lies the borough’s hip and stylish counterpart, Brooklyn. Within Carroll Gardens, one of Brooklyn’s most charming neighborhoods lived a lawyer. He was gay, single, late thirties, and lived in a most charming Brownstone. One icy Sunday night, he logged into okcupid and connected with a creative type across the East River.

In the upper, upper Upper West Side of Manhattan (Harlem), lived a thirty-something, gay, singleton (yours truly). He resided in a modest walk-up.

In a shocking state of events, he had also logged into okcupid on that icy Sunday night. Through messages about a common love of Japan, high neurosis level and coffee, Brooklyn decided to embark on a journey to meet Manhattan.

While waiting in the midst of the East Village’s St. Patrick’s Day mayhem, Manhattan locked eyes with Brooklyn. “Wow, he’s has that cute, intellectual, nerdy, yet easy-going vibe about him, thought Manhattan to himself.

After enjoying wine, and an authentic Thai dinner, Brooklyn needed to head to a jazz concert in Midtown. However, Manhattan couldn’t resist Brooklyn’s charms and insisted on going to a passé gay bar in Chelsea instead. Brooklyn caved in.

In a classic gay bar with videos of drag queens, a dancing Donald Duck, and David Bowie playing in the background, Brooklyn interlocked with Manhattan through a kiss.

A week later, Manhattan made the trek to Carroll Gardens. It was an easy ride, since he had been visiting old friends in (semi) nearby, Greenpoint.

At the corner of Union & Smith, the irresistible eye contact persisted. Margaritas were drunk, childhood stories exchanged and a kiss over guacamole, commenced.

While strolling along Carroll Garden’s immaculate brownstone blocks, Manhattan had to return home. With one faithful swipe at the Carroll Street station, Manhattan waived “so long to Brooklyn” at the other end of the turnstile.

Like something out of Nora Eprhon flick (When Harry Met Sally), Brooklyn swiped his unlimited metro card, dashed to Manhattan and gave him another very long, passionate kiss.

The G train arrived. With the wind from the train blowing across the station, Manhattan could barely walk from the highs of romance. He managed to step into the allusive subway train, which doesn’t actually go into the city.

After transferring to the A, then to an Uptown 3, Manhattan came to an inevitable realization. “Shit, Brooklyn is far from Harlem,” said our lovebird, who had just been struck by (ok) cupid’s arrow. Regardless, of distance, the romantic prospects were simply thrilling.

As time flew in a New York minute, Brooklyn and Manhattan texted each other. There were novel worthy texts, naturally. However, the distance factor persisted.

Brooklyn stepped foot in the city for work, only. While, Manhattan adored Brooklyn and his very lovely Carroll Gardens flat, but it was a long trek. Strangely, our gay superheroes were in a long distance relationship within New York City.

Winter faded to spring, though the romance blossomed slowly. Then the text messages grew tiresome, Manhattan just wanted to go to brunch with his friends and partake in bottomless mimosas. He did just that. In great spontaneity, Brooklyn crossed the mighty East River and met Manhattan for a sandwich.

On fourteenth and Seventh Ave, two familiar lips locked once again. This time, Manhattan headed uptown without an encore, kissing performance on the subway platform.

Once, he arrived at his modest walk-up apartment, he had some Pringles and called it a night. Who needs romance when potato chips await? Said Manhattan.

Brooklyn and Manhattan continued to live a world away from each other. However, with the magic of bridges, the two could find each other again, with a side of guacamole, of course.

 

Ma, Where Do Teletubbies live?

When a gay boy leaps out of the closet, the doors open into a modern day Oz. There’s a yellow brick road, which leads into a most majestic land. Purple teletubbies parachute from the turquoise sky.

“Welcome to gay-landia,” sing the four loveable teletubbies. Dorothy, the tin man, lion and scarecrow skip down the yellow-brick road, passing out skittles to the newly out gay. Prince Charming rides into the hilly green terrain on unicorn.

“Hello, I am a gay prince. Marry Me,” says Prince Charming. So, he sweeps the gay off his feet. They ride toward a castle and live happily ever after.

This is the ideal painting for every gay who’s come out of the darkened closet. However, if this were actually true to life, we wouldn’t have so many sad love ballads.

As a gay boy, who loved Rent (the musical) too much, I wondered who would be the Burt to my Ernie (insert Sesame Street reference)? In non-Sesame Street language, it’s called a boyfriend.

“I see you dating a guy with an English accent. For some reason, I can see you two getting dressed up, while cooking omelets in the morning, said my high school friend, Grace. “

While she spoke, I delved into imagination land. More specifically, I saw myself in a kitchen covered in French country style wallpaper with an English chap. We laughed as we cracked eggs; fired up the stove and made gourmet omelets.

“That’s it,” I proclaimed. As I journeyed back to my high school reality, I uttered the following words, “I must meet a boy, who I can make omelets with.

It took a while to meet a boy. Growing up in a conservative town and high school, didn’t exactly equate an enormous pool of eligible bachelors. However, there were cool spots for gay boys, especially arty ones to meet.

One particular night, I went to the local indie coffee shop, Back 2 the Grind. It hosted bands, art and was a meeting place for the town’s alternative and gay crowd. While, sipping on a cappuccino, I spotted my friends.

Unexpectedly, I took a trip down the yellow brick road. He stood there, looking most ideal. Rather, than riding on a unicorn, he walked out from bustling sidewalk.

I found out we grew up close to each other, but had never met. My brown eyes met his blue eyes. My already rosy cheeks were on fire. I could explain the sensation, which followed.

“Wow, these feel like hot flashes. I remember my mom telling me about this. Wait, am I getting menopause? I naively thought to myself. “No, no men can’t menopause, (still debating this one)” I later assured myself.

There wasn’t a Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin-Man, lion or teletubbies, who could save me. “What was going on?” I thought to myself. The electricity ran through the wires keeping my brain intact. I could hear the song, “kiss me” by Six Pence none the richer playing in my head. The sensation went from scary to enchanting.

“Wow, this is better than Oz,” I thought to myself. I cleared the sweat from my brow as I continued talking to the fellow. My friend whispered, “he’s pretty cute right?” Shaking my head “yes,” I bravely continued the conversation.

My face turned from pepto bismol pink to a cherry tomato red. The fellow did not seem too talkative and the conversation turned into blur from my nerves. Like the mighty Lion (in the Wizard of Oz), I gained some courage.

“Can, I get your number?” I asked. “Shit, I really did it,” was my initial thought. He gave me his number. I stared at it a bit before calling. Finally, I just pressed the damn number.

We talked, but he didn’t seem interested. However, we made plans, but he canceled. Eventually, I was rejected.  I am sure he couldn’t make a good omelet. I do have a special intuition about these things.

It was my first foray into the world of rejection. It was more evil than the wicked witch of the west. As time, went on I couldn’t just tap my ruby red slippers and wish it away.

Instead, I developed a thick skin. After all, I’ll always have my own private Oz. It’s that mystical land where teletubbies sing, the rain consists of brightly colored skittles and all the men can make an extraordinary omelet.

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