Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Does it hurt to smile or did I sleep with you last night?

Once I worked in an office where if I didn't say "Good Morning" when I walked in, the sassy Cuban secretary would scold me by saying in Spanish: "I didn't sleep with you last night, so say good morning."

One of the great mysteries about living in this absolutely stunning city is the indifference that people have for each other.  I want to go as far as saying "unfriendly" but I find in general if I ask for help, directions, or consideration I usually get the assistance I Spanish.  Which is fine with me, but I would imagine a non-Spanish speaker might find it demoralizing. This morning I walked through Peacock Park and greeted 5 people, not one said good morning in return. Only one half smiled and even acknowledged they had been spoken to.

So why is it so hard for Miamians to crack a smile and say good morning to a stranger?  What is it in our local character that when a smiling, happy, morning person like myself makes people want to turn away?  Is it an excessive case of "stranger danger" permeating the metropolis? Could Miamians be so self-obsessed that anyone requires a "proper introduction" before deigning acknowledgement? Or are we just a bunch of assholes? I asked several Miami "experts" about the I Can't Smile Or Say Good Morning phenomenon.

Expert #1. Jon A., Born in Miami in 1936. Resident off and on for 75 years. My Dad. Fidel Castro Theory

My Dad's theory is that because  Fidel is still alive hundreds of thousands of Miamians cannot fully reconcile themselves to living here.  Many believed and raised their children to believe that someday they would return to a paradise idealized in memory and song.  A paradise long since lost.  From his perch in Cuba, he taunts Miamians with alternating threats of Armageddon and inundation with another Mariel. The unresolved status of "exile" or "immigrant" makes people depressed and generally pissy. (similar to the Hugo Chavez syndrome in Venezuelans)

Expert #2. Alfredo . Miami resident for 15years.  I Can't Speak English Theory. My Spouse.
Alfredo's theory is based on the idea that people arrive here not being able to speak English, therefore there is a bit of shame when approached by someone who apparently does.  This embarrassment goes away, but the avoidance becomes habit forming for the rest of their lives, they're conditioned to avoid "good morning" type of people.

Expert #3. Me. Third Generation Miami  Native. Miamians Are Extremely Self-Absorbed Theory.

I feel that the people of Miami are extremely attractive and suffer from the delusion that everybody wants to sleep with them.  I feel that years of social conditioning and competition requires each person to occupy a vast amount of personal space.  People should only enter that space after extended eye contact from ten feet away. Eye contact requires a stare, a glare and a complete scan of that person's outfit, labels and all status symbols.  If, by chance, that person is worthy of acknowledgement a brief smile and a painfully mumbled "good morning" can be extracted.   Should that "good morning" be returned, you are obligated to have sex with that person. Then you never have to say Good Morning to them again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

10 Pieces of Advice to a Young Gay Man

As I venture deeper into my 40's, surprisingly I'm finding myself befriending people of all ages, both young and old. Yet in my soul there are things that I want to say to my friends who are under 29 who are really just starting out on life's wonderful journey.  I find that at this point of life they ask me for sage advice, but more often than not I am just willing to blurt it out.  Whether it's fashion tips, life lessons or just  a quick reality check I want to impart some of the things that have helped me along the way. 

1. The best piece of advice my Mother ever gave me:  buy (and pay a little extra) for classic looks.   Penny loafers, khakis, white dress shirts, a blue blazer, and a pair of Levis will go a lot farther, and get you into more interesting places than any of the latest fashions.  Remember to wear undershirts too!

2. Stop dating the person who you want to be.  If all of your boyfriends are of a similar "type", ask yourself why.  Is it because you find those qualities attractive, or because you find them lacking in yourself? 

3. Create your "real" family. Whether it's your parents, siblings, or friends(old or new) now is the time to redefine those relationships as an adult. These are the people who you will probably be sharing the rest of your life with. Tell them how you feel and set the rules on how you want to be treated. 

4. Don't forget the you're only young once, remind yourself that you will never be handsomer, healthier and more carefree than you are right now.

5. Sleep around, have fun and practice safe sex.

6. Remember there are no "official" rules for gay relationships....yet.  Feel free to test the boundaries of your relationships with love and lot's of communication.  Two men together doesn't have to look the same as a man and a woman together. 

7. As a gay man all options are open to you now, you can be a father, a stay at home parent, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or all three.  There's no need to feel limited anymore, you can have it all......but probably not all at the same time.

8. Learn about the gay struggle.  Learn that we were once prosecuted, imprisoned, hospitalized, murdered, blackmailed, and marginalized for who we are. In many places we still are. 

9. Live in a gay ghetto for at least six months or your life, it can be very affirming, then not so much. 

10. Try to nurture friendships with non-gay people. It can be hard. When gay people meet each other, there's so much that just doesn't need to be explained, an instant comfort.  It's not always the same with people unlike ourselves, give them a chance, they will surprise you. 

Oh yeah, to the young man who asked for advice that got me thinking about all of this: relax and use a lot of lube.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Judgement Day 2011: Jesus Will See You Now.

Ok, so supposedly tomorrow the chosen will ascend into heaven and the rest of us will be left behind with the scraps that the pious ones have left behind.  Since, counter to popular opinion, Church goers tend to be wealthier, better educated and better situated than their non-church going brethren, I am sure there will nice swag left behind.   Jesus will come to each one of them at 6:00PM local time, tap them on the shoulder and say: "it's time to go to a better place."  He might even offer a cup of Kool-Aid to hurry along the process.  I mean you probably don't want to get Raptured on an empty stomach.

I've talked to my Atheist friends and they've agreed to take care of the dog should I be chosen for Rapture.  She'll have the key to the place, I've asked her to just leave everything unlocked, the bank can repossess the car and the house.  Sorry folks, the place is underwater and the new BMW convertible is a lease. (see previous blog) I just had the Saab's paid for. 

So I'm ready for the Rapture now.  Today I had my teeth cleaned....(clean mouth, clean soul) and I cut my hair yesterday....shorter is more aerodynamic for flying.  I was told I would have to leave all my "baggage" behind, not sure if that was metaphorical or not, but a carry-on roller bag would be nice.

Last Day Plans:  going to swim, Costco(cooking for last supper) and a party.  Come on Rapture!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nice Things

"Why can't I ever have anything nice!?!" was my Mother's favorite rant.  Either we had broken something she had or we(I) had gone through her make-up.  Whatever we had done you could feel her sense of frustration in trying to maintain a sense of self, style and status.  Invariably whatever was broken was something of personal value. 

Recently I purchased an expensive car, not my first mind you but I think the it's the first thing in my life that I bought that although I could afford it, it is completely impractical and a luxury in every sense of the word. It's a small German, red convertible.  Since I work at home it is rarely driven except for short runs to the public pool and on balmy weekend afternoons. It's the first thing I've ever bought that generates pride, shame, guilt, pleasure and panic all at the same time. 

Don't get me wrong, I love this "thing".  As an American man, it represents decades of longing and working for a vehicle that shows off years of work and education.  As a Miamian I have entered the large shallow pool of status symbols where brand names soothe the city's large population of exiles and refugees of past deprivations and indignities. As a man of a "certain age" it makes me feel virile. As a gay man it just screams "fabulous".

However, there is a downside. Unlike other vehicles I've recently owned (a string of luxury station wagons), this one seems so much more precious. Mostly because it was purchased for ego and not utility. It is like that pair of Prada loafers that you won't wear because they're "too nice."  When I see the homeless guy at the red light asking for money, I feel nothing but shame. (As a good liberal elite should) When I'm told that the brand is nothing but a status symbol, all I can think of is "yes, but the red leather interior is not available in Korean". Even worse is the disdain I feel for all the jerks who drive the same brand I do. 

I can't relax when I drive it. I clench my teeth and grip the wheel and pray I make it home without a scratch or dent.  I never worried about these things when I was loading up my European wagons full of teenagers and animals. It's like those little china tea cups my mother had locked in the china cabinet. I'm sure she shuddered at the thought of anyone actually drinking out of them.  So as I drive my topless "mid life crisis around I am worried.  Then last night the car alarm went off and all I could think was  "why can't I ever have anything nice.? Sigh.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Who Are the Iranians and What Do They Want With Me?

OK, according to my blog stats there were 13 Iranians, 64 Russians and 1 Tanzanian reading my blog.  There were 12 Chinese as well as 15 Japanese.  I just want to say to all of you: don't be shy.  I know that the life of a middle aged kook living in a glamorous city such as Miami must be fascinating.  Reading this you can learn about feral chickens, aging, taxation, and assorted ruminations by a man who spent the better part of his 30's on anti-depressants.  I am glad I can give you a small insight into why Poodles are dogs for real men and proper etiquette in dealing with middle aged gays. 

However, is it really fair that I don't know anything about you?  I've always found it weird, whether here or on Facebook that there are people who read pages and postings and never comment or leave any trace that they are interested in you at all.  Then one day you run into them at a party, airport, restraining order hearing, and they know all about your postings, the picture of you passed out on the back of a parade float and anything else you put up online.  Come on Mr. Tanzania, or the 24 Dutch people (soccer team perhaps?) tell me a little about yourselves!

Alfredo, my husband, says you are all hackers. Really?  In my heart I am hoping that there is a small group of gay middle-aged Russians, working out issues in the cold heart of Siberia, reading my blog with laughter and hope that they too will join a gay swim team someday.  I am hoping that Mr. Tanzania might have a dead cousin who needs me to put $52 million dollars in my bank account for safekeeping while the legalities are sorted out.  I'm wondering if there's a Gay-Straight alliance in Hokkaido, Japan reading my blog and belly laughing and bowing at my jokes in the way only the Japanese can do. 

I'm thinking there might be 13 Persian drag queens hiding behind hijabs thinking: "wow, I thought the chickens in Tehran were loud, I'm sure glad I don't live in West Dade."  Who are these mysterious strangers, trolling the massive internet and reading my blog?

Even if you are hackers, Chinese government bureaucrats, Iranian Jihadists, closeted gay Russians, feel free to leave a comment, a hello.  I'm here for you.....really.