Friday, January 29, 2010

The Third.

Once upon a time (like, ten years ago), we briefly had something we'd always wanted (a dog) and something we'd never imagined (a third boyfriend).  This is the story of that (or, that is the story of this). 

(Warning: run-on sentence ahead!)  One night, not long after we'd started eating meat, which led to our bodies beginning to grow, which made us more sexually attractive to members of the same sex, which led us to end over 15 years of total monogamy because, having met as teenagers, we decided we wanted to see what sex with someone other than each other was all about before we got too old to care, we went out to The Spike, an old leather bar at 20th St. and 11th Ave (which later became an art gallery when the building was sold).  For me, it was very exciting to wear a tank top (something that had just never looked right on my formerly shoulder-less body) or dress up like soldiers and go out to a dark, sleazy smoky bar which had a back room.

It was in that crowded, sweaty, packed-like-sardines back room that we met Rafael, a dark, swarthy, sexy Spaniard with an air of quiet dominance.  It didn't take him long to push us both down to our knees and put us to work on "it" (and it was big enough for two).  It also didn't take him long to finish.  With an accent as thick as his pinga, he asked us for our phone number and we gave it to him, but we never expected to see or hear from him again. 

We were mistaken.

Rafael spent the next week calling us frequently, but there was a big difference between the things he was saying to us and what we were hearing from other guys to whom we'd given our number.  Whereas the others were contacting us for sex, he actually seemed to be courting be trying to woo us and win us over and make us fall in love with him.  It was kind of funny, kind of weird and kind of exciting.  It also didn't make sense.  I mean, who pursues a couple, especially a couple who's been together such a long time?  We really wanted no part of it.  We were just looking for some fun and cheap thrills, not a love affair.

But he wore us down and eventually, we both fell for him.  We didn't fall in love, but we came pretty close.  He only lived a block away from us, so in addition to becoming his two boyfriends, we became his Sex Slaves on Demand.  He'd call and one or both of us would obediently run over.  Oh, by the way, up until this point, Duane had been a dominant top, but Rafael turned him into a submissive bottom.  (Now, he's truly versatile and likes it all.) 

Soon, he was talking of buying a house for the three of us, of putting me through law school (a fleeting idea I had at the time) and of us getting a dog.  There never was a house purchased and I'm no lawyer today, but he did go out and get the dog.  We were really annoyed that he'd not only chosen the dog by himself with no input from us, but he got it from a pet store instead of rescuing from a shelter.  However, when we saw this adorable little Chihuahua and he let us name it "Freddy" (after Little Ricky's dog "Fred" from "I Love Lucy"), we melted. 

But things started to sour.  We tried to really let Rafael into our formerly closed little world, but the language barrier made things difficult (he spoke English, but badly, and never understood our humor, even when we explained each joke and comment, which only frustrated him and exhausted us).  We even offered to never again celebrate our anniversary (October 26) and instead only celebrate the day we'd met him in the back room of the Spike (July 10).  But none of it mattered.  He continued to feel like an outsider and resentment began to grow all around.

Finally, Rafael left on a business trip and brought Freddy over to our place so we could babysit.  During that week, we finally did fall completely head over heels in love...with Freddy.

He was so tiny yet fearless, and we'd laugh hysterically as he'd prance around with one of our socks (which were bigger than him) and act like king of the castle.

 What was fascinating to us was that he instinctively reacted differently to each of us.  With Duane, he'd run around wildly and his favorite activities included standing on Duane's neck while licking his whiskers, and chewing on Duane's nipples through his T-shirt.

 With me, however, he'd curl up in my lap and fall into a deep sleep.  I guess that's the vibe we give off: a wild Ape and a cuddly Monkey.           

  Freddy stands on my thigh as he pulls on the camera strap.

That week, while we bonded with the puppy and trained him and bought him lots of toys and treats like doting new parents, we also realized that we wanted to end things with Rafael.  It just wasn't fun anymore; the novelty had worn off.  Freddy never seemed to like him, either, so the three of us weren't really looking forward to his return. 

But when Rafael came home and picked up Freddy, he had some news.  He'd also decided to break up with us.  But even though we'd come to the same decision on our own, it felt like we'd been dumped, and never having been through that before (remember, we were each other's first boyfriend), it was really rough.  We went through a few weeks of crying and depression, like a couple of schoolgirls.  The only thing that made it tolerable was that, just like with everything else, we were going through it together.  Most people who get dumped don't have that, right? 

I don't think we'll ever try the three-way-relationship thing again, but we will definitely get a dog someday.  We'd like a boxer/pit bull mutt and I want to name him "Tushyface."  Duane says there's no way he's gonna allow me to do that, but I always get my way.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Naked doll.

Retro Week on Facebook has me thinking about my childhood.  OK, that's a bald-faced lie (or is it a bold-faced lie?) (the Google just told me that both are acceptable...go figure).  I've always had the stories of my childhood swirling around in my head and pouring out of my mouth directly into the Ape's ears.  So, this is nothing new.

Since I show so much skin in most of my photos, I thought I'd go back to when my exhibitionistic streak first began.  Like, way back.

A few times a week, two older boys would take me to a public yet hidden place at the Brooklyn apartment building in which we all lived –- the alleyway where they would block the view from the street or the roof behind some looming, mysterious metal contraptions –- and I would drop my pants and turn around.  The two of them would lean in and stare for a few minutes as I stood there.  It was all kind of clinical and mechanical, yet we seemed to get a kick out of it because we knew it was "naughty."  I am not sure if I ever even knew their names; if I did, they're long forgotten.   All I know is that I liked showing off; it was a real neat-o game.  Oh, by the way, they were five years old and I was four.  I did say I was going way back, didn't I?

I still like hanging out in alleys.

Three years later, my family did the big shlep to New Jersey.  We now had a house – a one-level ranch, because, as my father had said, “Yaw mutha shouldn’t hafta climb stairs with a vacuum.”   My melancholy (he hadn't wanted to move) older brother and I now had our very own rooms, and we chose the color schemes ourselves.  His was dark, with mahogany wood paneling, burnt-orange shag carpeting, and bamboo shades, while my paneling was baby blue, my shag was ultramarine, and my shades were red-white-and-blue with American eagle pulls.  The carpet was so deep and long that every time my mother went to vacuum – no stairs! –  I’d insist on spending a half hour combing through it by hand first.  I always thought there might be small toys (like my prized Mexican jumping beans) mislaid in there or that had fallen from my shelf, that I’d never know which ones they’d been, and that I’d lose them forever.  I even had dreams that it was me hidden in the shag.  No one could find me, and my fanatically clean mother was aggressively sucking me up into her Hoover.  Dream analysts out there:  I'm not sure I want to know what that one means.

The move to Jersey also brought a new playmate, one whose name I do remember and who didn’t want to see me turn around in an alley.  She was Coleen, my best friend, confidante, and the freckle-faced girl next door.  Or, I should say, the goy next door.  She had long, stringy blond Sissy-Spacek-as-Carrie hair, loved to run around barefoot (which I was not allowed to do), and my mother was constantly trying to split us up.

“You should be friends with a boy!  A Jewish boy!   What’s wrong with Marc Moskowitz?”

“Ummm…for one thing, he’s Jewish and he’s a boy.”

Anyways (I added the ‘s’ to “anyway” on purpose, because that’s the way Coleen used to talk in her Jersey accent), Coleen and I used to secretly play Barbies in the dark in her basement.  That's right, right?  You don't say "play with Barbies," you say "play Barbies," like it's a game? 

Anyway, Coleen and I knew that boys weren't supposed to play with dolls (but I still don't understand why), so we'd hide in a dark corner of her family’s unfinished basement with a flashlight.  I was still doing secret things in a hidden place but now, instead of me, it was a Ken doll who had his pants dropped.

(Me, age 8. I never played baseball but I loved a good photo-op.)

 Then my Aunt Faye – a sweet but mousy woman who was my favorite aunt – gave me Marlo Thomas's album Free To Be…You and Me.  This was a collection of stories and songs that taught kids to break free of the outdated sexist rules of the past:  women competing against men in athletic contests, parents sharing the housework, boys playing with dolls, etc.   Aunt Faye, who had a sad, childlike quality to her, was in an emotionally abusive marriage to my domineering uncle, who wouldn’t even allow her to wear makeup.  I don’t know to this day whether she gave the album to me for me or if it was a silent cry for help.

I was thrilled but also annoyed:  the boy in the song "William’s Doll" was allowed to play with baby dolls so he could learn how to be a good father someday; why couldn’t he play with dolls just for the sake of play?  And why were/are boys not supposed to play with Barbie-type dolls, anyway?  I know it has something to do with deep-seated homophobia in our society, but isn’t it hetero to want to undress and hold a sexy woman?  

Still, I was very excited by the concept of this album.  I couldn't wait to grow up and live in the new world Marlo and friends sang about.  It makes me sad to see that today, very little has actually changed.  Little girls are still in pink dresses, toy stores still have pink "girl" departments with baby dolls, jewelry kits, and princess costumes, and blue "boy" sections with guns, tanks, and monsters.   

I feel so let down by Marlo Thomas. Thirty years later, are there still little ashamed boys hiding with their Coleens in dark basements? 

As for me, I'm still dropping my pants and showing off...and still playing with dolls.

I've come a long way, baby.

Pizza pot.

Last night, I stopped for a slice of pizza at one of our usual spots.  This is the place where you get a slice or two, but not a whole pie.  For some reason, the whole pie idea doesn't work there.  But let me explain the unwritten rules of this place.  You need to get a slice that has recently been baked and hasn't cooled down to the point of requiring a reheat.  That's when the slices are best.  So, it would make sense that if one got a whole pie from this place, it would be great, right?  But not true, because the first 2 slices from a whole fresh baked pie are terrific ("terrific", my new favorite word that doesn't seem to fit me but I like it and our friend Mandy uses it...not that Mandy has any control over the words I use; I'm just writing that as filler information) and after those first 2 slices, the rest of the pie is not so terrific (the thing with Mandy is that I don't know if Mandy uses terrific as I have been using it: to mean swell or great...or does she use it in the Charlie Brown sense to ironically express defeat or disappointment?)  

Anyway, at this point, Arturo's Pizza on W. Houston is our favorite in NYC.  Pizza baked in a coal oven makes a difference.  Don't ask me what the difference is.  Maybe it's just the idea of being baked in a coal oven but whatever it is, we like it.  

Me and a large onion pie at Regina Pizzeria.   

Our all time favorite is Regina Pizzeria in Boston's North End on Thatcher St. It has to be the Thatcher Street location because that's the one that has been there since 1926.  And those are old ovens, too.  Maybe we just like pizza made in old ovens.

 But back to my slice at the pizza shop.  It's a typical store front shop with the counter at the front and about 6 tables in the back.  The place was full and while I was eating, I got a strong whiff of skunk.  Then I realized that it was grass.  So, I looked to my left to see a guy cleaning out his pipe with his bag of goods sitting right out in plain view on the table.  Just like he is sitting at home in his own kitchen.  He finished cleaning out his pipe and organized his weed and put it all back in his backpack.  Then his buddy showed up all glassy red-eyed.  They were so high.  At first I was thinking that maybe people are not as uptight about grass these days and this guy feels really comfortable about doing his thing right out in the open.  But then when I saw the 2 of them together, I realized that he was so wasted that he didn't even know what he was doing.  

The whole event made me remember a time when I was a kid and we were staying on Long Beach Island for the summer.  There was a family on the beach and every so often the father would cover his head with a towel and do something.  As if he were blocking the wind to light a cigarette.  But there was no cigarette.  The adults who were with us at that time were all convinced that he was snorting something under there.  They had all come to that conclusion and were feeling pity for the children of that family.  "How could he do that right in front of his kids?"  Not me...I just wanted to go back into the ocean and perfect my body surfing.  And last night, I just wanted to eat my pizza before it got cold.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Follow us.

Blogger has a new "following" function, which is similar to following someone on Twitter, only instead of Twitter, it's Blogger.

We follow people all the time, btw.  Usually, it's some guy on the street with a really big, round muscular butt that the Ape says "speaks to him" and that's when I have to hold him back on a tight leash.

One time in the 90's, we followed Rod Stewart in Greenwich Village for 10 blocks and he knew it so he started to walk quickly and finally broke out into a jog.  We're not huge Rod Stewart fans but we had to follow because he was wearing really tight pants and...well, let's just say that "it" didn't speak to the Ape.  But we were still fascinated!

Anyway, look to the right and you'll see the "Follow" button.  If you haven't already, please click it...and who knows, maybe crazy and exciting things will happen.

Thanks. xo

p.s. I'll have a new "real" post tomorrow.  This one doesn't count, right?

Hair story.

The day I cut off my thick, halfway-down-my-back, envy-of-all-the-ladies, curly brown hair, suddenly everybody was nice to me.  It was September 8, 1997.  That day, the nasty cashier in the A&P actually said “Thank you."  Her name was “Meelissa” – we were never sure if her name tag was misspelled or if her parents had thought it sounded French – and just a few days before, we’d had this conversation:

Me: Oh, no, that’s mine. (I was next in line and she’d accidentally rung up my orange juice with the current customer’s stuff)

Meelissa: Next time, use the damn divider!

Me: You don’t have to be a bitch.

Meelissa: A bitch? Yo’ mama’s a bitch!

I didn’t have a response because, while I didn’t think my mama was a bitch, I did think that was a pretty good line, and I couldn’t wait to go home and tell Duane (since this was pre-texting).

Where was I?  Oh yeah, my new life ATH ("after the hair").  Wait, let me back up.  We’d lived in Chelsea for about 5 years at that time.  We chose it the same way we’d chosen all of our previous neighborhoods (East Village, Lower East Side, Jersey City): the rent was cheap.  This was a slightly depressed area: many storefronts were closed and gated or completely boarded up; it hadn’t yet become the trendy art gallery/restaurant/club mecca of today, and we loved the quiet, desolate atmosphere.  Our favorite time was 7 AM on Sunday mornings, when we’d head to the flea market (pre-eBay) at the vacant lot on 26th & 6th (the same one Andy Warhol had famously frequented to collect ceramic cookie jars, and which sadly has now become the site of yet another hi-rise condo) to get deals on collectibles and modern furniture. 

Chelsea was also a so-called gay ghetto, and that was fun.  Well, not exactly “fun,” because we didn’t take advantage of all the fun there was to take advantage of…fun like guys getting head right on the sidewalk of our block (we’d walk past and nod “Hello”) or S&M daddies walking home from the now-closed leather bars of 12th Ave, looking for someone to flog or piss on, or pumped-up muscle guys shirtlessly flaunting their shaved flesh in bulge-boasting shorts, cruising each other hungrily on their rollerblades (or as we called them, “Meals on Wheels”).

Actually, Duane did take advantage of that last one.  With his perfectly-proportioned physique (albeit much smaller than it is now) and cropped hair, he not only fit right in, but he got lots of looks…and took home lots of phone numbers (we were 100% monogamous, so he never did dial any of them).  I, however, still looked like I did when we lived in the East Village, with the body of a vegan in frumpy 70’s thrift-shop clothes and the hair of a straight rocker (or, as I used to say in my stand-up act, I looked like Kenny G’s lesbian sister).  I was truly invisible on the 8th Ave. runway.

But then, with the advice of a fellow comic who suggested that my long hair was distracting from my material, I decided to chop it off.  I didn't totally agree with his reasoning, but I felt like I needed a change and that was a good excuse.  I used to change my look frequently, but this long hair had been around more than long enough...ten long years.

With my palms sweating (this was like losing my identity), I went to a nearby barbershop and a 60’s-ish Cuban man named Willie with cheap whiskey breath hacked it all off and handed it to me in clumps.  It was a weird, exhilarating experience.  I finally felt free of all the shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, gels, and scrungees.  But more importantly, I noticed an immediate change in everyone else.  On the way home, I was checked out by three cute guys…and when I’d passed and looked back, they were looking back at me.  For once, I collected a couple of phone numbers.  And, stopping to get some O.J. at the A&P, Meelissa said “Thank you” instead of the usually unspoken but understood “Fuck off.”

At first, I was annoyed.  I thought, “I’m the same person inside, but suddenly everyone likes me?  WTF?”  But soon, I learned to enjoy my newfound power and made further changes to accelerate it.  I worked out like a fiend and began wearing tighter, sexier clothes, and we eventually opened up our relationship for 3-ways, courtesy of our new computer and America Online chat rooms.  We’d finally stopped fighting it and joined that other part of gay life in Chelsea – the part that was having a good time. 

But almost as quickly as we’d thrown in the towel, it turned right around and whipped us in the ass, just like in a college locker room.

Bendix, our local diner which had been a favorite gay hangout, closed down and reopened as a Bloomie Nails salon.  I remember thinking, “But there are hardly any women here; who’s gonna get their nails done?”  My answer came in the form of all the newly arrived Sex and the City chicks and mommies pushing baby strollers past the steroidal studs, who were very steadily disappearing, and have, by now, mostly dispersed.
Then came Ricky's beauty supply and American Apparel and even the archetypal symbol of suburbia, Home Depot.  They tore down the A&P (poor jobless Meelissa) and in its place, there is a dorm for the New School (who knew the New School even had dorms?).  So, the rollerblading Meals on Wheels have been replaced by Ugg-booting students with meal plans.  Suddenly, it’s brightly lit everywhere and the gay ghetto has morphed into just another neighborhood.  Yes, this is progress, but couldn’t I have had just a few more years of that Gay Disneyland before I’m old enough to get a discounted senior ticket?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting off the train.

My posts are all going to be sort of random, because that's how my brain functions.  (I think I mentioned that already, didn't I?  Oh great, I'm repeating myself.)  I can very easily go off on a tangent, but I think it all winds its way back and makes sense in the end.  At least, that's what the Ape tells me, but he could just be appeasing me, couldn't he?  Like, maybe he never really follows what I'm talking about but just nods his head as his eyes glaze over.  No, I know that's not true because I give him pop quizzes every now and then to test for retention and he always passes.

But about the glazed-over eyes...I used to observe him doing that when we would visit my grandmother ("Nanny"), who was the subject of our show "My Grandmother, My Self" years ago at Don't Tell Mama.  Nanny was a former fashion model who loved to tell and re-tell the stories of her life...most of them involving others' misery and/or death.  Or rotten things that had been done to her by her two-faced friends and neighbors.  It was all very entertaining but not linear at all, so you really had to pay attention to follow along.  And her Brooklyn apartment was always very warm, no matter the weather outside.  Duane and I would sit back on her blue velvet sofa as she sat in her blue corduroy La-Z-Boy, and between the heat and the non-stop stories which had started even as we were climbing the stairs from the lobby...well, let's just say I spent as much time listening and nodding my head as I did nudging the Ape to stop snoring.

He does sometimes snore when I'm reading aloud to him, which I do all the time because he hates to read and loves the way I speak.  But he swears he's not sleeping...he's just really "comfortable and relaxed" so he starts to breathe that way.  LOL

Coming next blog:  How we came to stop and then resume our comedy career.  Or maybe the story of our 3rd boyfriend, who wanted us to be his bottom sex slaves. Or how what began as a joke became an obsession: my celebrity doll collection.

Just make sure your room isn't too warm or your chair too comfortable.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We're sleepy after a long day. 

Time for a hot bath and bed.

We'll be blogging tomorrow. 


Richie & Duane

Monday, January 11, 2010

Porno and the Battery

We just finished watching Tiff, Kris and Kelly save a "hillbilly girl" from the evils of "porno."  The reputation of the porn industry has come a long way since the days of Charlie's Angels.  The girls were so disgusted by it.  It was seedy and murderous. The episode even showed part of the feature "porno" film.  Funny, there was no sex happening, yet the Angel's looked like they wanted to vomit.

But this isn't an entry about porn; it's about buying a battery for the rig.  (By the way, we recently watched an Angels episode where Tiff and Kris became truck drivers.  Kris' CB handle was Angel Eyes and she got advice from Mother Trucker.)  But what I got today was Richie working side by side with me, tools in hand, out in the cold.  It was the first time I've ever worked on the Jeep with a helper.  And not just any helper.  He was resourceful and curious.  I couldn't have asked for anything more.  And this wasn't just changing out the battery.  It was an upgrade to a heavy duty one with different proportions and the job required some rewiring.  All done at night in 25 degree weather in the parking lot of an Auto Zone in NJ.

I can't wait until temperatures warm up.  We will both be under the rig and Richie will be learning how to change the fluids in the transmission, engine and differentials.  Now that I have a partner, we might even change out the gearing.  I know how happy this will make Richie.  We've just entered a new frontier and will seek out new adventures together!

It's great to be writing again.

Throughout my childhood and teen years, I put pen to paper prolifically (plays, poems, stories, etc.) and expected I'd be a professional writer and actor someday.  As a matter of fact, I just reached over into my pre-computer writings drawer and pulled out my journal from 6th grade, in which I stated, "I will be a writer and an actor someday.  I will perform the words I write for myself."  It's what I enjoyed immensely and what I felt was my destiny. But then, when I got to college, something happened.

This is what happened:

Now, I'm not blaming the Ape for my suddenly decreased desire to compose future classics.  But, you see, I was not just deeply in love at first sight (I said, "I love you" on our first date, when he took me to a Burger King drive-thru in his father's ancient Chrysler New Yorker...but I'll tell that story of poor sexually frustrated Duane dealing with shy, virginal me another time); I was also deeply in awe of this amazing, cute but freaky-looking towhead who had deservedly earned the nickname "Little Andy Warhol" from others, and the nickname "The Clown" from me (before we'd officially met).

Everyone on campus knew of him.  The wiry, athletic boyish body (5'7" and 120 lbs.) with a shock of white hair on top...the quirkily ill-fitting 50's thrift shop clothes...the white tennis shoes he'd dyed bright pink with Ritt dye from Woolworth's...and, of course, his bright yellow plastic Fiorucci briefcase.  I was in love with his style; to me, it  showed fearlessness, which was a huge turn-on.  And I wanted not just to be with him; I wanted to be him.

So, when we began to cohabit a few months later (in the apartment we dubbed the Honeymoon Cottage), I got to wear his clothes, which were even more ill-fitting on me, since I was a few inches taller and 20 pounds bigger.  Then we started to shop for clothes together, got matching barbershop haircuts and looked like twins, which didn't exactly thrill the independent-minded Duane, but made me the happiest boy in the whole U.S.A.  This was exactly how I felt:

But what does all of this have to do with my stopping writing?  Well, Duane was not a writer.  (He was barely a speaker; I did most of the talking and he loved to listen, or so he said.)   So, I stopped writing.  But he was very talented at visual arts and our apartment walls were filled floor-to-ceiling with his drawings.  Here I am admiring his work at the time:

Duane had a double major of Economics (to satisfy his mother) and Art History (to satisfy himself).  As you've probably guessed, I soon switched from English to a double major of Economics and Art History, neither of which particularly interested me, but I wanted to be in all of his classes and I wanted to be him.

Eventually, I developed my own sense of style and identity (once Duane graduated and I moved back into the dorms) but I didn't return to my childhood passion of writing until years later, when I began to do stand-up comedy and wrote a solid hour of strong material for myself.  And now, I write the routines for Dick and Duane, with a lot of input from the Ape himself.

I love that Duane the former non-writer is doing this blog with me.  Maybe after all these years, he's become a little more like me, too. 

However, we definitely have different eating habits.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The story of our meat and other stuff.

We just took a walk past Food Bar on 8th Ave.  (Actually, we didn't just take that walk; I started writing this earlier and then we fell aleep on the couch like 2 puppies in a pet store window.)  Oops, did I say "Food Bar"?  I meant to say "Chipotle."  Another neighborhood gay establishment gone, replaced with a chain restaurant.  And a few doors down, what used to be the other gay mainstay, Eighteenth & Eighth, situated in the storefront of a late 19th Century brick apartment building, is now a Valley National Bank in one of those glass & steel condo buildings that are taking over Manhattan, because what NYC needs are less independent small businesses and more fast food chains & ATM's, right?  Blech.

We didn't even eat at Food Bar very often, but it was nice to know it was there, you know?  Just like it was nice to know most of the people on the street or in the grocery store.  Just like they sang on Sesame Street.  And it was nice to know the guys who would drop their pants and have sleazy sex right on our street after an evening at the old leather bars, which are also gone (I think they became art galleries or maybe ATM's and Chipotles; why go down there to check and get depressed?).

We've lived in Chelsea for about 15 years and keep wondering where everyone and everyplace have gone while we're still here.  I keep hearing this sad, haunting Barbra Streisand song in my head lately because I wonder if it's true about the Ape and me.  Have we stayed too long at the fair?  Are we supposed to move to Palm Springs now?  

We also walked past Joe Jr's today (at 12th St. and 6th Ave.) and were saddened to see it was gone...another victim of the new New York.  It was a simple little family-owned traditional diner, at that location since the mid-1960's.  We were especially saddened to see Joe Jr's gone, not because we'd eaten there often, but because the one and only time we did eat there (around 1998) still holds great sentimental significance for us.  As a matter of fact, if you prefer the way the Ape and I look now, well, Joe Jr's had a hand in it.

Here's a photo I just got from Google Maps of Joe Jr's, probably from a year or two ago:

And here's the photo the Ape took with his cell phone today:

So, (btw, I need to clarify from yesterday's post: I only dislike sentences that begin with "So" if it's at the beginning of a post or essay or message...coming in the middle is opposed to cumming in the end, which is best of all) how was Joe Jr's responsible for our bodies changing from skinny twinks to muscle daddies?  Well, no, the service wasn't so slow that we aged 10 years by the end of the meal.  But Joe Jr's was the place where we ended about 7 years of veganism.

Tired of being skinny and always wanting to change our appearance, we were working out hard all the time at the old Better Bodies gym on 19th St.  Duane was religiously studying his weightlifting bible: Joe Weider's Ultimate Bodybuilding.  He learned all the right ways to lift and all the best routines.  He
 learned that we needed to do heavier weights with less reps in order to bulk up.

"Proper form!" was his
mantra, and I eagerly obeyed (I was much more submissive back then and he wasn't yet a Dumb Ape for me to mock).  We also studied the "Big Boys" at the gym to see what they did and how they did it.  But through it all, we stayed skinny stick figures.  If we were doing everything so right, why did all that time spent at the gym seem like such a waste? (Except, of course, for the time the Big Venezuelan Trainer forced us to our knees in the locker room to test our gag, that wasn't such a waste and we didn't waste a thing.)

But still, we wanted to grow.  Finally, we asked one of the Big Boys.  Danny was so thickly muscled that you could barely see his neck -- and his arms were perpetually out at 45° angles because of his monstrous lats.  "Ummm (clearing our throats and our voices cracking like Peter Brady), excuse me, Sir?  Can you please tell us the secret of getting big?" we begged, almost in unison.  The answer, after we told him we were strict vegans (no meat, no poultry, no fish, no dairy), was something that the Ape himself might say to some emaciated kids, were they to ask him the same quesiton today:  "Ya gotta eat steak!"

And then, almost as if in a haze, the three of us left the gym together and headed over to Joe Jr's.  We didn't really know where he was taking us...we just blindly followed, our hearts pounding in anticipation of doing something naughty.  We sat at the counter and he ordered 3 Roumanian steaks.  We'd never heard of that before, but we were putting ourselves in Danny's (and Joe Jr's) hands.

We each took a steak knife and fork in our hands, a little unsure of how to use them after years of meals consisting of tofu, steamed kale and carrot juice.  Also, would we get sick?  Would our bodies reject the meat, forcing us to remain skinny forever?  We'd originally become vegetarian for moral and health reasons, but vanity can be a much more powerful force.  We were determined to do this, if this is what it took to pack on the muscle.
We sliced into the steaks, each taking a piece on our forks, looking at each other hesitantly, taking a deep breath...until Danny pounded his fist on the table and blurted out, "Just fuckin' eat it already!"  So we put the forks in our mouths, started to chew, and...

Nothing happened.  It felt normal.  It felt like it had felt when we'd had steak all our lives before giving it up.  It took us back to our childhoods.  And dammit, it tasted good!  (That deserved an exclamation point; sorry, F. Scott.)

So, if you look at our photos and think, "Those guys are hot," please take a moment to remember Joe Jr's and the part that that great old neighborhood diner played in making us what we are today.  And mourn the fact that all of those great old neighborhood places are rapidly disappearing each day, as NYC real estate skyrockets and forces them out of business.  I doubt that Chipotle is changing anybody's life the way Joe, Jr's changed ours.

Thanks, Joe Jr's and Danny (wherever you are) (are you reading this, Danny?) (if so, hi, Danny...what's up?  What have you been up to since 1998?).

Why I like it thick and rough.

I never realized that the Laughing Cow was a straight dude.  We all know that straight men have discovered their "inner queen."  They can fan the flames of their faggotry (thank you, Margaret Cho) better than most gay men.  I mean, Liberace now seems butch compared to some straight guys. Anyway, I'm at the market tonight and in the corner of the dairy department is the Laughing Cow display screaming out to me.

And I'm still working through this.  Not the Laughing Cow, but the loss of masculinity.  Am I to assume that such a trend signifies a more open acceptance of diversity of people / styles / attitudes?  I don't really see that.  I still see people trying aimlessly to fit in.  And for straight men, fitting in now is feminizing themselves.  Gay or straight, I miss the masculine aspects that used to seem so natural to men.  I know masculinity is not gone, I just miss its abundance. 

But don't get me wrong,  I'm liking the Laughing Cow and his sassy style.  But what I prefer is a more masculine approach to advertising.  Like Silver Palate's Oatmeal:  Thick & Rough.  That drives the point home and got me to notice.  I think we have a new oatmeal.  So move over, Mr. Quaker Oats. 

Monday, January 4, 2010


Why I now like Pat. That's not her name but I'll call her Pat. Not that I can't tell if she is male or female like the Julia Sweeney character from SNL but she has one of those names that can be both male or female depending on how one spells it. Pat works at the Post Office and has a mullet. She looks like an upstate lesbian. That is not a judgmental observation, it's more of an archetypal description.

The issue with Pat started months ago when
Richie and I encountered her for the first time. We had a package we were sending to an APO address (military post office) within the United States. Pat said we had to fill out a customs form. We said that it is domestic address. Pat said that it could be a foreign address. We said but look here at the address it is domestic. Pat said that it could be foreign. We said that if the address is in Alabama how can that be foreign? Pat said that it could be foreign.  I said I could be foreign but I'm not.  She didn't get it so we filled out the customs form.

The next package was going overseas and we had the forms all filled out and ready to go. On the form we had marked that it was a gift. Pat wanted to know what kind of gift. We said that it was media. Pat wanted to know what kind of media. We said it was a DVD. Pat asked how she could be sure it was a gift. We said "Your kidding right?" Pat said "No." We said, "Because we say so?" Pat said "OK". Pat started talking about a gift she knew a man got once. It was a metal detector used to find metal in the sand. And that he went on to retire and spend his days looking for rings and jewelry in the sand. As she told us this story she made numerous mistakes with the postage on our other packages and we had to point out her mistakes as she tried to somehow cover them up by making excuses that we were confusing her with our stories. A 5 minute transaction at the Post Office ending up taking about 20 minutes and we left scratching our heads trying to figure out what the hell just happened vowing to never go to Pat again. A few days later 2 of our packages came back to us with insufficient postage.....Pat!

Since that time, we have avoided Pat every time we go to the P.O. and have watched as people walk away from her window shaking their heads. But on Saturday I took a package in to buy insurance for it. The postage was printed and already applied at home so I just needed to buy the insurance and send it off. I got to the window next to Pat and the worker there was someone I've never seen. After I told her what I needed and gave her the insurance form all filled out, she told me it was the wrong form and proceeded to charge me for the postage. I told her to look at the label, it was already paid for. She said I have to pay again because the computer told her to charge me. Pat looks over and said "What's going on?". I think oh jeez, this is it, I'm going to lose it. Pat took one look at the package and in about 30 seconds I was walking out of the Post Office with my mission complete and Pat as my new best Post Office worker. So that's why I like Pat. The moral of the story....I don't know what the moral is.

Day 2 (oops, Day 3)

I have so many ideas, thoughts, stories, memories, anecdotes and body parts swirling around in my head and scribbled on scraps of paper that litter my mid-century John Stuart desktop or typed on electronic Stickies that litter my iMac's desktop...

OK, can I start over, please?  There was too much brand-name-dropping in that first sentence and we want this to be a commercial-free venture.  Anyway, my point is that I have a lot to say and there won't be much of an order to it so let's just get started.  The Ape is also blogging as I write this and my competitive nature wants to finish before he does.

So (oh, btw, I hate sentences that start with "So," so please stop me if I ever do that again), we slept all day yesterday and got up around 8pm.  The wake-up time seems to get pushed later and later each day; maybe soon we'll be waking up the following morning, in which case...will we finally be on a normal human schedule?  We had just enough time to feed our Facebook addictions (and our stomachs), shower, dress, and hop in a cab to go see our friend Susannah's show on Bleecker St. at 10:30pm.  We got there just in time to find out that the show had actually started at 8 and had already ended.  I swear the website said 10:30!  (Oops, there's that dreaded exclamation point.)  We were disappointed -- but not surprised -- because we have a history of this happening to us.  We have Bad Clock Karma, as our SoCal friends would say.

In October, we were featured guests at the Bruised Fruits Halloween show at the Broadway Comedy Club.  One of the improv troupe's members, the cute/funny David Hodorowski, had been a guest at our "comeback show" in August (more on how we came to stop and then start performing again in a future blog's on one of my scads of Stickies, I promise).  I had checked the Facebook event they'd created, which said the show started at 8:30am (I assumed the "AM" was a typo).  We arrived at 8:15pm to find out the show had actually begun at 8pm and they'd been wondering where the hell we were (well, nobody said "hell" but I thought the story would have more punch if I made them seem pissed off).

A few years ago, a friend gave us tickets (great 5th row orchestra seats) to Jersey Boys on Broadway.  He said he would leave the tickets at the box office window, and we arrived nice and early (7:30pm) but there were no tickets for us.  As the Ape eloquently put it at the time, "WTF, man?"  We waited around as the crowd filed in, calling Ticket Friend (and getting his voicemail) as the ticket-takers kept telling us how sorry they felt for us poor, pathetic ticketless tramps. We finally gave up as the curtain went up, and went to the gym instead to work out our frustration. Ticket Friend called the next day and wanted to know why we were at the theater at 7:30 when the show had been at 3.  3??!!  We had totally forgotten about matinées.  Who goes to matinées?  He never said it was the matinée.  As the Ape eloquently put it at the time, "Fuckin' 3 o'clock??"  But even though we missed the show, we actually loved the fact that this happened to us, because we kind of got to live one of our favorite "I Love Lucy" episodes, where Lucy buys tickets to the big smash Most Happy Fella but doesn't realize until it's too late that her tickets were for the matinée.  Here it is, in its digitally remastered entirety:

I think the Ape is nearing the end of his post so I'm going to publish mine.  I win!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ape's first time.

Tap, tap, tap, this thing on? Man I feel like Mercury and Bowie: Under Pressure. Publish or perish. Is that what they say? Now what the hell am I supposed to do here? Vent, reveal my innermost thoughts, reveal my mindless thoughts or take on the world? Maybe I'll hit on all of them at one time or another.

All right so it's a new year and a new decade
. As you know we had our traditional Chinese food on day 1. I don't care what anyone says, you can not have Chinese food leftovers. Cold pizza maybe yes but Chinese food has to be eaten when it's made.

Hey Richie, I don't think I agree with that Fitzgerald guy about exclamation marks. I think it's used to lighten up whatever you're saying so your words don't read as a "drag". That's how I use them.

Damn, it's late again. Ten minutes after finishing the dark chocolate Marcona Spanish Almonds and twenty minutes before finding something else to eat. Time to end this day. Am I supposed to sign off, trail off or just stop typing?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to the blog!

(Damn, I wanted to have a much cleverer title for our first blog post, but then again there's something to be said for simplicity and straightforwardness, right?) And what's with the exclamation point? "Welcome to the blog!" I always try to avoid those because, as F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, "An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke." Then again, I do like my own jokes!

There is an awful Barry Manilow song blasting on my iTunes. I had the volume cranked up because the last song was Cher's "Just Like Jesse James," and you have to crank Cher up, especially if your downstairs 86-year-old gay-closeted-Republican-chainsmoking-bad-piano-playing neighbor ("Flubberace") is randomly banging on piano keys and you need to drown him out (while fantasizing about him actually drowning). But now it's Barry Manilow and it's a song I didn't even know we had. Let me check the title...OK, it's "The Kid Inside" from his album "Showstoppers." Wow, seriously sappy. Or is that sappily serious? Well, it beats random key pounding...but just barely. OK, now it's a Beastie Boys mashup so I'll turn the volume and the testosterone back up.

I want to thank (and dedicate this first blog post to) my Facebook friend Joseph DeSalvayon, who for the past year or two has incessantly nagged (actually, the word he and I use is "nudged") me to start this blog. Well, it finally worked. Well done, Joseph. You and I have a lot in common, because I always nag (I mean "nudge") Duane the Ape until I finally get my way. Over the years, it has started to take a lot less nag/nudging. It's like in the later episodes of "I Love Lucy," when Ricky would give in easily to Lucy because he (and we) by that point knew that he eventually would anyway, so why fight it? Of course, if it turns out that whatever idea I had was wrong or even disastrous, that's when I blame the Ape for not fighting back and for giving in too easily. Either way, it's a win-win for me-me. (I really hate the expression "win-win" but I've just decided that my cutesy "me-me" is far worse.)

The Ape is going to be co-writing this blog with me, on his laptop, from his perch at the kitchen counter where he can usually be found bent over, unselfconsciously (that's not a word but I like it) leaning all of his weight on one leg and thrusting his cute little butt out. I will often glance over to my left (from the desk) just to check it out, but I never let him know, sitcom-style (just like how you knew Mr. Roper on "Three's Company" was really attracted to Mrs. Roper, but he feigned disinterest to keep the upper hand).

I have so much to say but the Ape is waiting to take me for Chinese food, our New Year's Day tradition. He's flexing both biceps right now (or as he says, "I'm jus' stretchin'!!"), which I guess is my signal to finish this and get dressed. You do know I'm always completely naked at my desk, right?