(Let me say upfront that this is a long post, but I decided to post it all at one time rather than promising installments that might not get delivered. Read some, do something else, come back to it, but by all means enjoy it. I DID!).
What an incredible holiday vacation I had (THANKS Maxim; you're incredible and played a big part in this). I really thought that I would write a blog entry or two while I was away, but the temptation to just chill and vegetate was too strong. I left work at 2 pm on 12/21 and didn’t look back. I was bound for CT/NYC (an 11 hour drive), but spent two nights with Maxim in VA along the way. Since central NC is one of the markets where the LOGO channel is not a part of the line up, I had not seen any of the episodes of Noah’s Arc. Maxim had two episodes recorded on his DVR and I was finally able to see my first shows. Coming from a Bible belt region that is still struggling to say the word ‘homosexual’, I must say that watching black gay males on this show was absolutely “fab-u-lous”. Now before some of you decide to throw darts at me for saying that, remember the “deprived” environment in which I must constantly live. Therefore, NA was as refreshing as spring rain. The next night, we got the chance to see ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (in Dupont Circle, of course – lol). And, isn't Heath Ledger's character the non-stereotypical, straight-looking sweetie with more issues than the New York Times? The theatre started the movie on the hour, every hour on most of the screens. That really helped keep long lines from forming although there were plenty of people there. I don't know about the rest of you, but Jake Gyllenhaal's character certainly set off my gaydar early in the movie. Of course I have read the articles on Keith Boykin’s website and other Single Gender Loving (SGL) blogs about this movie (btw, I agree with Keith’s love/hate assessment of the movie). But just as shows like “Will & Grace” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” opened some doors for gay black shows (even if they are confined to the LOGO channel), I believe that movies such as Brokeback Mountain may open the doors to some major cinema coups for black gay love stories that are not categorized as ‘down low’ films. How about a movie about a high ranking gay member of the President of the United States staff who eventually settles down with a creative producer and forms a loving power couple sgl family (hint, hint Keith and Nathan).
Ok, back to my vacation. From Brokeback Mountain, we hit Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Dupont Circle for dinner. I am a solid fan of this bookstore/restaurant and this was actually my second time eating there in December (the first time was with two other Duke alums - Maxim and Tim'm West). The sharezies are a great way to sample foods (sort of like tapas), and there is a great view of men passing by on the sidewalk entering or leaving Dupont Circle. But I digress, whew. One of Maxim’s friends came by to deliver a Christmas gift while we were in the restaurant. I had a great laugh when he asked if I was Maxim’s mentor (forgot to use my Just For Men formula lol). Maxim’s reply was better than any I could have given when he told him that he (Maxim) was my mentor (which is true).
On Friday, I was off to NYC/CT for a week-long holiday vacation. Another aside here, what’s up with slow azz drivers on the NJ Turnpike. If you can’t stomp with the big dogs, stay on the porch (and off the turnpike). Ok, enough venting. While no one has ever accused me of being a fan of cold climates, this is my third or fourth time in the area during the winter, and God help me, I am starting to enjoy it (last winter, I was walking in Times Square during fast falling snow and handling it like an old New Yorker). There is something magical about the Big Apple that will make you change your opinion about being there. There is literally something for everyone and all of the time. Ok, during the week, we (my CT relatives & I) went to Mohegan Sun and contributed to the economic security of the native Americans there, even left all of the winnings from a pretty nice slot machine hit. I upgraded my cellphone to a picture phone and added the wireless earpiece. I am so hooked on that little Bluetooth piece of technology, that I am beginning to feel/look like a Borg who is being assimilated; resistance is futile.
On Christmas Day, I slept late, chucked the diet and ate like there would never be another holiday, slept like a bear in hibernation, opened presents from the family plus those that staff and co-workers had given me earlier (I have enough restraint to wait until Christmas day), and never bothered to get dressed all day. But the real reason that I slept late can be attributed to the LOGO Channel. Remember from above that I got to see my first 2 episodes of Noah’s Arc with Maxim? Well, on Christmas Eve, while channel surfing, I stumbled upon a marathon of Noah’s Arc running on LOGO beginning at 11 pm. I watched every one of them and am now completely caught up. Let’s re-open those discussion topics on the shows now that I am armed and ready to debate the pros and cons. Now that is what I call a relaxing holiday.
On Wednesday, I drove up to central CT for a mid-afternoon lunch with No4real4real. Now those of you who follow my blog know that this man is someone I admire greatly, and each time we meet, talk or IM, I continue to marvel at his wonderful personality, insight into the condition of sgl life, and his comfortability with who he is. Our original intent was to eat at Sally Apizza, but they did not open until later in the evening. So, we walked down the street to Frank Pepe's pizzeria which was as delicious a pizza pie as any other I might have sampled. I was trying diligently to maintain the momentum I built over the last 18 months resulted in losing 67 lbs., but this opportunity was too great to pass up. It was worth every damn ounce that I gained, but now I am having to hit the gym twice a day to get it back off. Oh well. No4real4real hit me with a bit of philosophy that had been shared with him by someone with the Human Rights Campaign (I just became a member last month). It was that older men who are just coming out are like adolescents in terms of hitting the gay activities scene. Hmm, now did I fit that or what? ATL Pride in Sept., the Octagon, X El, Chi-Chiz, and the Hangar in November, the Bachelor’s Mill and the Fireplace in December. Life is “jood” (thanks James Earl Hardy for that word). After some really good conversation, we drove to the local Ikea. Of course I spent money that I didn’t need to spend, but I convinced myself that the things I picked up were needed for the renovation of my condo. My ass will be broke all of January (we get paid once at the end of every month). After dropping No4real4real at his place, I was back in southern CT in quick time. Thursday was all day rain, so I canceled my plans to go into NYC and had another sleep-a-thon.
Saturday was my designated day to take NYC by storm. I have learned how to leave my car in CT and take the Metro-North into Grand Central. After some tremendous seafood at BB King Blues Club & Grill near Times Square and a tour of Rockefeller Center, I hopped on the #1 subway to Christopher St. I am still not great at starting conversations with folks that I don’t know, but I did enjoy the eye candy in Chi-Chiz on Saturday afternoon, not to mention some hotties who came into Starbucks. No wonder folks pay southern mortgage payments in rent to live in NYC. I could get a serious addiction to the area. Now my biggest challenge of the trip was deciding whether to stay in the City and be a part of the midnight crowd in Times Square or not. Worsening weather conditions in CT made me decide to head to the house and put off TS for another year. Besides, its more fun when you’re with someone. Sigh, maybe next year.
Sunday was back to Maxim’s in the DC area. We did dinner at Kramer’s again (love that space), and then he introduced me to the Fireplace in DC at 22nd St. & P in NW. This popular watering place was jammed with phyne sgl men to turn your head. What’s more, it is so crowded that it is impossible not to have physical contact by being in the right place at the right time. Plus, it is good to be hitting the circuit with Maxim who seems to know a great many of the bois and is known by many as well. Those who don’t know him try to get to know him, and that’s a good thing. He and Braids had a special thang going that evening. Life is jood for everybody!! The drinks are not watered down, either.
After delaying as long as I could on Monday morning (watched old shows with Maxim, any excuse to keep from leaving), I finally headed back to NC. I had to stop at Banana Republic for one last mini-shopping spree to counter the depression of going back to work. It helped some.
Now I am going to end this with my New Year’s resolutions. I don’t ordinarily get into doing this but feel these two are especially appropriate (and do-able):
1. to weigh no more on Dec. 31, 2006 than I did on Jan. 1, 2006, and
(drum roll please because this is the spoken word...)
2. NEVER MAKE SOMEONE YOUR PRIORITY WHEN THEY ONLY MAKE YOU AN OPTION! -- Author: Unknown (for me, no more trying to stay in touch with folks who don’t want to be in touch).
(A special shout out and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to No4real4real who turns 26 on January 7th. It's your day, seize it and hold it!)
To Maxim, Tandy, Kelley, T-Bone, Rashid, No4real4real, Tim’m, AlbuK, Dalite1, all of my fellow bloggers, readers, friends, “mentors” and supporters, A Happy Prosperous New Year and Shem hotep!