Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I am Edward Scissorhands

I dressed up as Willy Wonka, today, a la the new Johnny Depp version, for the third Halloween in a row. I have been accused of having a Johnny Depp fetish, which is not entirely untrue. A friend had pointed out, however, that I dropped the ball by never bothering to dress up as Jack Sparrow for Halloween. But I have never even seen any of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

I am horrendously lazy, sometimes, even when it comes to fetishes.

Johnny Depp aside, I felt an immediate connection with the character of "Edward Scissorhands," right when I first viewed the film at a sneak preview in late 1990. I just knew that I had to make this my next Halloween costume. I didn't cut my hair for ten months.

There are favorite movies, and favorite books, music, etc. that become so much a part of your own character. I saw Edward Scissorhands as the perfect representation of my inner child: too freakishly different to fit in with a cookie cutter society; imperfect; and tragic in that he was not able to be together with the one that he truly loved.

I was startled to see, in the film, Winona Ryder create the exact same pained expression of heartache that Kathy had on her face, during an unforgettable moment of break-up discussion in high school (before we embarked on our real Will & Grace relationship).

The film was released shortly after I had become involved in an ex-gay ministry support group. One of the perspectives that this group had of gay men is that we were not "whole" as men. According to them, we gay men were missing something vital that would otherwise complete us and bring us to a heterosexual identity.

So, Edward was the perfect symbol of a man who had been made almost complete by his creator. In the film, Edward's creator dies before that last vital puzzle-piece is put into place--in this case, his hands. What a tear-jerker for anyone with abandonment issues!

My involvement in ex-gay ministry included an attempt at celibacy, an attempt at which I failed, repeatedly. Being alone is different than loneliness, but feeling lonely back then seemed that much sadder because I had deliberately chosen to be alone. Like Edward, I spent a lot of time feeling sad over the fact that I was "incomplete and all alone."

Indulging in my fantasy of being Edward Scissorhands, however, only nursed my perpetual self-pity. Looking back, I would say that dressing up as Edward Scissorhands for Halloween, and being him, however briefly, was therapeutic.

I no longer feel sorry for myself, not with the alarming frequency that I used to, anyway (I have moved on to greener pastures--into toxic anger, mwuah-ha-ha-ha!).
I still cherish my inner child, though. Because of that, I will still stop and watch "Edward Scissorhands" when I happen upon the film while channel flipping.

It is Halloween night, and I am sitting at home, passing out candy, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-many-years. I still love this holiday, I still enjoy dressing up. And I am filled with peace, tonight, in my tender feelings toward Edward Scissorhands, toward my inner child, toward myself.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mirrored-Ball Memories

I was the king of disco, in seventh grade. I had a pair of cream-colored Angel's Flight polyester slacks, a matching vest, and two shiny shirts, one red and one blue, all from Sears. Hush Puppies were my boogie shoes.

I could not wait to dance. My younger sister and I had already been practicing at home, in front of the television, copying the intricate moves of dancing couples on "American Bandstand" and "Dance Fever." We had no idea what the names of the steps were, so we just made up our own: 'jelly-roll kick' and 'drop-catch-kick & bounce.' We practiced the same routine over and over. We were well-rehearsed, and we would show off at wedding receptions.

Until school dances started in junior high, I was mostly a loner. Part of being a seventh grade boy meant having to prove yourself out on the field, in a kickball game during recess. I opted out. Instead, I usually sat by myself at an outdoor lunch table, reading a library book. I was content in my solitary, peaceful shell.

I was anxious, though, at that first seventh grade dance, anxious to get moving to the music! My desire to dance was greater than my shyness or any potential embarrassment from others watching me dance. I went around the cafeteria/multipurpose room and asked every seventh grade girl in attendance to dance with me. Most of them simply said no. Some of them replied, "Not yet. Not until someone else starts dancing."

Mrs. Strozier, one of the school teachers chaperoning the dance, helped me to break the ice. With me as her dance partner, she taught us how to do a "snowball"--a dance that started with one couple dancing together for a few seconds before splitting apart to find new partners. After dancing with Mrs. Strozier for a few seconds, and feeling only slightly awkward, she yelled, "Snowball!"

My second partner was Debbie. I could always count on Debbie to be my first dance partner at every seventh grade dance, after that first one. Debbie was friendly enough, but she was not the kind of girl that boys asked to dance. Her mother was the lunch room monitor, but that was among the least of her social worries. There were several hard-to-articulate reasons why Debbie did not get asked to dance. Sometimes, while dancing, Debbie would drop to the floor, squatting briefly in a frog-like position. I'm not sure if she had seen that move somewhere, or if she just came up with it on her own.

Selena was a cool, confident girl. She was the one that I immediately made a beeline toward as soon as I heard the opening notes of Chic's "Le Freak," or Foxy's "Get Off." She could dance to those hot hits of the late seventies.

But I saved the slow dances for Erin. Erin had been interested in Japan and its culture before our family moved back to California from the Tokyo area, so I practically had an instant 'in' with her. She and I both enjoyed drawing, and we both loved reading. Erin had won the school district story writing contest two years in a row. She was a girl that I admired and respected enough to want to slow dance with.

We were comfortable slow dancing with each other, arms almost fully extended, with about two feet of air between us. We would sway to the relaxed tempo of "Lady" by the Little River Band, or Rex Smith's "You Take My Breath Away."

A year later, in eighth grade, Erin became my first girlfriend. We 'went around' as a couple for a full sixteen weeks before breaking up. I never kissed her once. I knew, even at that early age, that I wanted to kiss boys. For the rest of my life, though, I will always enjoy dancing closely, even romantically, with women.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cool Rider

I wanted to be the green ranger, over thirty years ago, when I was a kid. Before the Power Rangers became a permanent kid-pop fixture in the US, my brother and I tuned in faithfully to the original Go Rangers television series, during the time that our family lived in Japan.

We had already established sibling colors while living in California. I was green, and my brother was blue, which meant that I got the green Tupperware cup, the green toothbrush, etc. while all things blue were the property of Number Two Son. Anything red or pink were sister's possessions, and the baby brother's, yellow.

So, it was a natural progression to identify with the ranger of the corresponding and unofficially assigned color. My brother hero-worshipped the blue ranger, while the green ranger was my automatic role model.

The green ranger had a number five on the forehead of his mask, firmly establishing his bottom rung status in the Go Rangers hierarchy. This was okay. The green ranger was the strong, silent type, brooding, and even moody. This was an appropriate image of masculinity to me.

The Go Rangers rode motorcycles. I coveted the green ranger's motorcycle helmet that was being sold in Japan's toy stores, right before we moved back to the states. It wasn't the face-hiding mask helmet, but the helmet worn when he was still in his citizen/mere mortal state. I never did get the toy helmet, which I still regret to this day. Having and wearing the helmet would've helped me be like the cool, brooding, silent man that I had watched on T.V.

These days, when I am riding around on my scooter, I alternate between being Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield in "Grease 2." Sometimes, I trade back and forth between Prince and Apollonia in "Purple Rain."

And yes, sometimes, I am the green ranger, a loner, silent, isolated, moody, aloof, and yet, oh so cool.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dumbledore is a 'Daddy'



Dumbledore is gay! J.K. Rowling outed him, here!

Wow! Randomly discovering this juicy tidbit online is rather worth having another boring night in with nothing better to do!

Think of the new series that Rowling could possibly write on the life and times of Albus Dumbledore, alone, and how that could benefit the queer youth of the world!

Personally, I have always found Professor Snape to be rather sexy, in the film adaptations, which disgusts Domestic Partner to no end.

Hmmm, who else might be slipping under the gaydar, in favorite and popular literature?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Zany Zappers

For my fourteenth birthday, I had received a pair of Zany Zappers--toy sunglasses with a small flashing red light attached to each lens. The lights had to be flashed manually by pushing the button of the small hand-held device connected to the sunglasses by a thin wire ("batteries not included"). I had unwrapped them with great delight and expectation, inside Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour.

Zany Zappers were a good toy to use for scaring the crap out of yourself, as Prince, my most-recent-favorite-playwright-to-stalk (although I still haven't seen or even read any of his plays, yet), had reminded me in his own post, today.

Remember "The Amityville Horror," the original film? And remember those creepy, glowing red eyes that belonged to Jodie the pig, and when those eyes entered the doll's head? That's the image I would scare myself with, while wearing my Zany Zappers.

I would shut myself in the family bathroom at night with my Zany Zappers in place. Standing in front of the mirror and in complete darkness, I would keep my thumb pressed on the button and stare back at the pair of ghostly red eyes gazing at me from inside the mirror's reflection. I could practically fool myself into imagining that Jody the pig was right in front of me, and it freaked me out.

It was my version of "Bloody Mary! Bloody Mary!"

Happy Halloween season!

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Growing Up, BLEAH

I have had probably one of the most extended adolescences ever, longer than most people, anyway. And it has been hard to let go of, especially since I've started working at my first proper, full time job, last year. That has really gotten in the way of my Real Life.

Prominent signs of my new, official grownup-ness continue to taunt me and gloat, even, like the annoying bug-a-boos that they are:

1.) I have been invited by two different people to go to Knott's Scary Farm, this year, the annual theme park Halloween haunt here in southern California. In high school, "in the eighties," it was the coolest event to attend as a SoCal teen (and it still may be, for all I know). It was a place to see people, and a place to be seen. But now? Grownup Me (bleah!) is not too eager to waste about $50.00 and spend most of the evening just standing in line, only to experience a few brief minutes of chills and thrills.

The point in going would be to enjoy the exceptional company of those who had invited me, either of them. But at this point in middle-aged life, I think I'd rather spend the same amount of time--and perhaps less money--sitting in a diner all night, constantly eating and gabbing with the same friends.

2.) My "first real job" includes signing outgoing letters on a daily basis. It's sobering to see that I have joined the ranks of those that have developed "doctor's signatures," my rushed autograph mostly legible, seemingly apathetic in its I-don't-care-enough-to-slow-down-for-this flourish.

3.) This is the first Halloween in a long time that I haven't put any thought or effort into a costume. I told BFF Kathy that this first full time job has just sucked up all of the hours that I would normally put into planning and designing a costume. Kathy was rather sad about it, in a bittersweet way. At least she has two young children, now, for both of us to focus on, for costumes and other holiday fun. Her little 41-year-old is finally growing up . . .

I assured Kathy, however, that one of these years, I will fulfill my Halloween goal of dressing up as the Child Catcher from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

"Come here, kiddie-winkies!"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Random Tees

(Feb. 5, 2011 - I decided to delete the graphic that was originally here, the one that said 'I heart vadge-eye-nuh,' since it kept bringing so much uselss traffic to my blog stats.)

I love the stuff that's not made up. It's usually more interesting.

The charming graphic above is an actual tee shirt, available at, perfect for that one special guy who is so hard to shop for, during the holidays. Don't you think?

No, I would not wear it myself. Two weeks ago, I wore Domestic Partner's souvenir tee shirt from Thailand, with 'Phuket' emblazoned on the front. I have never been to Thailand, and half a dozen people asked me about my trip there, in the course of an afternoon.

So, just imagine, if you will, the bombardment of questions that I would have to endure if I were to parade around in that billboard tee.

Last weekend, Domestic Partner and I were walking through yet another mall on a food court lunch quest. We both saw her at the same time, a middle-aged Asian woman wearing a tee shirt that read "I love(heart) Europeans."

Shortly after that, we saw a younger Asian woman in a black tee shirt, which was encrusted with the proud rhinestone message of "Cheap and Chic."


As Asian Americans ourselves, we realize that we shouldn't be so quick to judge, but it's too easy for Domestic Partner and I to assume that these type of women are FOB (fresh of the boat) Asians, because really, why would any American wear these kind of message tee shirts?

My favorite message tee, to this day, was seen during a visit to Sea World, years ago, in San Diego. A blonde overweight woman was wearing a pretty pink tee shirt bearing a single word: 'pasta.'

Friday, October 12, 2007

Great Balls of Blue Fire!

Everyone has a fart story. One of these days, I will get off of my procrastinatin' butt and go around asking for people's fart stories so that I can get it published as a compilation (one of my "better" get-rich-quick schemes, I'm sorry to say).

I used to think that lighting your passed gas on fire was just a myth, one of those urban legends or something. Chris G. proved that it was true, in the boys' dressing room of the theme park gig we were working, in Japan.

He offered to demonstrate for us, which in itself was funny to the other male dancers, so we were already laughing. He may have thought our laughter meant that we weren't taking him seriously. He changed into his spandex swimsuit briefs, "because, you know, you can accidentally burn skin and/or hair while setting your flatulence a-flame," as Chris had previously learned, the hard way.

Chris grabbed a book of matches from our bathroom and sat himself down on the floor, trying to balance himself in an awkward sitting position with his legs in the air, and with his hands free to strike a match. Our dressing room had no windows, so with the door shut and the lights turned out, it was pitch black. We waited in the dark, anticipating the assault to both ears and nostrils.

Unexpectedly, blue flames flared up in the pitch black, near the floor. The flames were freakin' blue. We all lost it, completely, tears streaming from our eyes and stomachs cramping up from laughing too hard. So, this is what was meant by "LMAO ROTF" (I had to have that explained to me, this year).

If you ever need an honest-to-goodness gut-wrenching laugh, especially to help cure the blues, get a willing friend to light her or his flatulence ablaze--bathing suit, optional.

Everyone has a fart story. What's your fart story?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't Throw Me Away

We are such a disposable society. There are even disposable cell phones, now. But I worry that we treat people as disposable, too, especially those closest to us.

Certainly, most of us know what it's like to feel dispensable at our jobs. We are too easily replaced, and there is always a new crop of younger people waiting in the wings, willing to take over our sometimes crappy jobs for us, for the same crappy pay--or less.

I have felt dispensable as a restaurant server, for far too many years. And in between restaurant jobs, I have felt not completely indispensable as a dancer. When working on cruise ships, it was easy to understand the point of view that we were rather dime-a-dozen, as live entertainment.

Break-ups and divorce seem to be the most difficult situations in which people are disposed of, thrown away. I have never been married, but being dumped from a relationship can sure feel like being tossed out as so much crumpled-up used tissue. That's when feeling disposable, replaceable, can hurt the most.

I think about my father divorcing my mother, and my brother divorcing his wife. Neither of the women had wanted the divorce. Both had wanted to stay in their respective marriages, to keep trying . . . It felt to me as if they had both been thrown away by the men in my family, especially when both my father and brother each married for a second time.

I am just as guilty as the next person, though, when it comes to disposing of former friendships from my life, justifying the feeling that too much negativity was not worth any further effort. I felt it was necessary to throw away the emotional damage.

Is the problem overpopulation? If there were fewer people on the planet, would we value the individuals around us more? It reminds me of how shocked I felt when I first heard that perhaps war was a necessary evil for population control.

I like my life, love it, actually, most of the time, but without gettin' all "It's a Wonderful Life" sappy (which I have never seen, but that's a crime for another post), I doubt that the world would be very different without me living in it. Everything that I've done, so far, could have been taken care of by another person, in my life time. Personal friendships, however, that's a category more difficult to be so cavalier about.

As long as I am occupying space on this planet, though, I feel obligated to make the effort to value the people around me, and to respect them enough to see them as not so disposable. I'm not saying that I always manage to do so, but I try to remind myself of that, now and then.

Besides, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Family Affair Hair

Is it me, or is Billy Ray Cyrus' new do looking more and more like that of his daughter's television character, Hannah Montana?

Maybe they both get their hair done by the same stylist. I guess anything was better than that Achy-breaky mullet.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Kathy's Hair, Part 2

Kathy had had her hair cut short in high school, partly because of me. Or maybe it was all because of me. It happened during the summer after my junior year in high school. I was seventeen, then, Kathy was sixteen.

I was visiting her house one afternoon, to celebrate the start of summer vacation. At the end of my visit, that day, we had had our first kiss in her garage. I had felt as if she cornered me.
She probably had just gotten tired of waiting for me to make the first move, ever since we had met at the beginning of the school year, nine months earlier. She had claimed, later, that she hadn't wanted the neighbor kids, across the street, to see us kissing.

I don't think I called her after that, I'm not sure.

What I do remember is going to a school's-out party, that weekend, and seeing Michelle there, with an eye-catching new haircut. Yeah, I definitely didn't call Kathy. I started calling Michelle, after that night's party.

Michelle was polite, and she allowed me to pursue her a bit, but it didn't last.

I hadn't seen Kathy all summer, until right before school started again. I was out walking the dog when she drove by. She stopped her car and I saw that she had gotten a very cute, pixie-short haircut. We were able to resume our friendship before the beginning of my senior year.

Six years after that summer, at the age of 23, when I had already survived the throes of coming out, Kathy and I were cuddling on my apartment couch. I was looking at her dark hair, which had been grown long, again, for a while, by then, when a question suddenly occurred to me.

"Hey. Did you cut your hair that summer because I had gone all gaga over Michelle when she cut hers?"

"Man!" Kathy exclaimed. "It took you long enough!"

Straight or gay, it doesn't matter--men are just inevitably dense around women, sometimes, I guess.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Kathy's Hair, Part 1

It's funny what the cutting off of hair can symbolize, especially for women.

BFF and soul mate, Kathy, had felt abandoned when I had gone back out on another cruise ship job, years ago, shortly after when I had just come home from a previous
gig. Her now-husband was attending graduate school, out of state, at that time.

Kathy was romanced briefly by Dude Man, that year, when both her now-husband and I were gone. Dude Man even trimmed her hair, turning her long tresses into a cute, playful bob. It was impressive work for a heterosexual man with no formal cosmetology training. I even met Dude Man, and he did not set my gaydar beeping off the slightest bit.

Shortly after being given a new do by Dude Man, however, Kathy moved out of state to be with her now-husband while he finished graduate school. In the winter, I received photos of her with an even shorter haircut. She had gotten a very boyish style, much like Demi Moore's in the movie "Ghost."

After that winter, when I saw Kathy in person, she explained that she had felt she had to cut her again, as a way of "cutting Dude Man off," and out of her life, in order to leave him behind for good.

Kathy's hair has not ever been that short, again, since that time, more than a dozen years ago.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

And . . . I'm Off!

It's been a "literary week," to borrow some phrasing from friend and novelist, Noel Alumit.

This past Sunday:
I helped out at the West Hollywood Book Fair, as a volunteer. I got to listen to Noel speak on two different panels.

I love books. I love being around where they are sold, the way some people love being in shoe stores. I cannot enter a bookstore I happen to be passing by, major chain or independent, and not find something that I just have to have, whether it be frivolous or classic, or something in between.

I bought Mickel Angelo Paris's novel, "The West Hollywood Story," mostly because he's half Asian/half caucasian, like me, and I'm narcissistic enough to fork out some cash for that reason alone.

Last night:
I attended the first class meeting for an Introduction to Fiction Writing workshop, taught by--yes!--Noel Alumit (I tend to stalk those that I admire). I was a-swirl with joy and expectation. The first meeting alone was everything I had hoped it would be. It's going to be a busy and great ten weeks, this course. Mr. Alumit must have given us a good first work out--I was starving after class.

Tomorrow night:
I'll attend a book signing and meet Alex Sanchez, one of my newest favorite authors.
His latest novel is titled, "The God Box," and deals with the identity conflict of homosexuality and a Christian upbringing. This is my book. Thank you, Mr. Sanchez.

BFF Kathy thinks that I'm going to try to seduce Alex Sanchez, when I meet him in person.

You don't know me.

Okay, so, she's the person who knows me best in this world. As long as I end up with an autographed copy of his new book in hand, that will be sufficient . . . for the time being.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Shocking Discovery

I accidentally peed in an electrical outlet, when I was seven, and bolts of electricity shot out of it (out of the outlet, that is).

Here's how it happened:

Mom was in the hospital with number four, the last of us siblings. As the oldest, it had become routine, by then, for me to spend the night with various babysitters whenever Mom was in the hospital and having a baby. Dad would keep working, during the day, and be with Mom in the evenings.

One night we had to stay at Mrs. Herschel's. I liked visiting the Herschel family. They had lived in Spain and had a boy, Georgie, who was about my brother's age. Georgie had different and interesting toys and books.

They also had a single bathroom that you would get locked into if you shut the door completely, all the way. It only took one time of getting locked in there for me to vow that I would never, ever use their bathroom again.

Of course, in the middle of the night, I needed to use the toilet. Too risky, though, to enter the inevitable trap that was their bathroom. And no way was I peeing with a bathroom door open. Even at seven, privacy was not optional. I decided to innocently pee in a dark corner of the bedroom that I and my younger siblings were sleeping in. I was sure no one would ever notice.

I crawled back into bed, relieved, and relieved that the dilemma had been so easily solved.

I was rudely jolted out of bed by a terrifying noise. It was like the sound of an angry, syncopated car horn, but ominously metallic, and yet kind of bouncey-rubbery at the same time. Bolts of bright orange-yellow electricity were shooting out of the wall and over my two year old sister sleeping on a floor mattress. I panicked at the thought that she might catch on fire.

"Mrs. Herschel! Mrs. Herschel! The house is catching on fire!" I ran, screaming to her bedroom, to wake her up.

Another bolt of electricity shot out in front of her as she tried to enter the bedroom. After a few minutes, the outlet fizzled and sputtered before becoming completely silent.

When I got back to Mrs. Herschel's house after school, that day, she told me that "the men" had come to check the outlet and that they had fixed it. There was a black, smokey burn staining the corner of the wooden cabinet closest to the outlet.

"They said that something wet had gotten there," she informed me.

"Well, how did that happen?" I asked, trying to put the most guilt-free tone in my voice.

I have known, ever since then, to never get anything wet near anything electrical.