this is a big secret, so don't tell anybody, but i went to my first circuit party on friday. it was the TOF-sponsored butch ball at octagon. if you go to my gym and are reading this, you probably already saw me there. i should preface my appearance by saying that troy made me do it. he dressed me, he bought my ticket, and made me go. yeah. i have to say this, because i'm now less likely to mercilessly tease phil about his own circuit party forays.
as i mentioned, many of my fellow world-gymmers were there. and, troy put me in a metal mesh top with a completely open leather back. what covered my skin clung to it, and the metal got very warm after a while. however, when i was outside, the slightest breeze would cause the metal to become freezing, sending me jumping. needless to say, i was one of about two people there who could have gone to the "glam-butch" ball and gotten in. the rest just had their shirts off, and to tell the truth, that's what i wanted to do too, despite the fact that i was probably one of twenty people there under 145 pounds. or as troy put it, "i feel like a little baby", in a baby voice. troy's understated irony at these moments is unexpected and impossible for me to capture.
for instance, we started out the evening leaving troy's place, crossing the street in midtown to get a cab. troy still had the last two things he grabbed in his hand: condoms in the left, lube in the right. he yells out on 7th avenue: "I'm ready for the party! I've got condoms and lube!" with a note of this-is-so-silly. troy followed it up with "blog that" and smiled, knowing i was thinking the same thing.
the 'event' itself was in the cavernous octagon, with lots of slippery stairs. i was a little shocked to see so many over-roiders there. and a little awed by it (where did all these people live?). and a little disgusted by it (all this work to yourself to become part of a fantasy?). and a lot horney by it (these guys are hot). the big boys seemed like action figures after a while. arms bending only at the shoulder, a quality that made their dancing very funny. different outfits, themed (military, western, leather, motorcycle, cop, park ranger). matching sets, or male couples who dressed the same but were composed of an xxl one and a m one, like a big milk pitcher with its adorable, miniature version of itself, the creamer.
after a time, reality itself seemed pliable, matrix-like, populated by assumptions that replaced my mind, action figures like luke skywalker and han solo and chewbacca, from 1978, on my mother's orange velveteen couch, next to the umbrella tree in its brown plastic planter, their motions carefully directed by me but seeming to happen by themselves, my placement and coreography becoming reality itself, with semi-rural ohio a horrible apparition out the window, my fantasy attachment to the figures my first understanding of the erotic value of things, fetish. the only time the reality of the club broke down was when i saw myself and troy in the mirror. troy (who looked stunning in vintage chaps and no shirt) and i (stunning, but somehow too glamorous) seemed like we didnt belong to the physical theme of the party (we didnt), and the reflection was the only thing that asserted this. that isnt to say that we didnt enjoy ourselves, or that troy didnt get some serious nasty in the backroom, or that i didnt get a little action myself. however, the feeling of being inside a memory kept me from being too connected to the scene at hand.
i'm too tired to make a blog entry.
no really, and i know what you're thinking, because i say it all the time when someone says they're "busy": this is new york. we're all busy, important, and tired. and everything is hard, including crossing the west side highway. deal.
but i'm not too busy, because the show i was working on at bonakdar jancou, with olafur eliasson, opened on tuesday. the opening was wonderful and a lot of my really good friends came, including some new ones. curators from LA MOCA, ICA in boston, MOMA, etc. many collectors came, and one actually bought the most un-buyable part of the show before the opening even started. beyond the mild celebrity of the show, the work is wonderful, not the least because it's an architectural installation. as tanya bonakdar predicted, the opening had the atmosphere of "where's the art" while people walked in and experienced some intense reflections caused by the installation. i'll take pictures soon. oh, and i got paid for the whole thing.
and yes, i feel important, but it hasnt stopped me writing. after the opening i had to rush to a benefit a few blocks away to try and get party-chat time with the guy who's going to pick the architects on the shortlist for a museum for new media art. we're on the long list, and i wrote a kick-ass proposal/package of our office's work. my boss, a smoothie, got to meet the heir to a lot of money who's the chair of the foundation in question, and we got to chat for 5-10 minutes. felt good to be asked to do that. feels very good to know at a certain point in your life, your conviction is taken seriously. it also feels good knowing that other people taking it seriously isnt what you look for in emotional satisfaction anymore: their admiration is simply an extension of something you believed in long ago, namely, your self, your voice.
so that leaves tired. the yankees are locked in a tied game with the mets as i type. top of the ninth, game 5, yankees could do it. i almost want the mets to win this one so the yanks will finish it in their own ballpark, and fulfill my prediction, "yankees in 6". btw, i've been a yankees fan since i was 12. my brother liked the pirates, and i needed a team to root for. the yanks had a nice logo. however, at 29, my juvenile admiration extends to the lovelieness of many of the players. i've not taken too many notes on each one, but i have gotten the basic goods. yankees: derek jeter [aside: yankees just scored two. that's all she wrote] who is my daddy and jonno's secret admirer and number 2, paul oniell #21 yum, roger clemens #22 cute in the way that weight-gaining mid-30s pitchers get, scott brosius #18 who has a face that looks at once thuggish and innocent. mets: mike piazza #31 a jersey-dude doing chelsea stud even with his big forehead, tod ziele #9 who can call me anytime, benny agbayani #50 who has this cute little frosted tips 'do when he takes off his cap (and those legs!), mike hampton #32 lovely too, and of course jay payton #44. all of this was written by me on an index card while watching game 3. it's hard to watch all this while i'm typing.
i'm tired cuz it's been a long couple of weeks, i'm resting from several intense workouts at they gym this week, i've met some new friends recently, and i seem to be getting a little money for all my career efforts. i'm feeling very satisfied right now: not the satisfaction you think about (where you think, best robot voice, "i--am--satisfied--") but the deep well of goodness you feel when people ask you how things are, and you can say "they are very well, thank you" simply by riding the surfiet of emotion within you. in fact, i'm happy right now, and ready for bed. and the best part, right now at least, is that i almost forgot to blog the whole thing.
"The names which designate things correspond invariably to an intellectual notion, alien to our true impressions, and compelling us to eliminate from them everything that is not in keeping with that notion."
i'm listening to a song by the jayhawks called "ohio": i'm calling you from somewhere deep in ohio. i like the song because it's good, and it's about ohio. whenever i run across anything that mentions the state at large, i'm glad (alas, this doesnt really apply to cincinatti, cleveland, or akron). if i ever find something referring to my smallish hometown, i'll be even more taken in.
for a state that's so large, i'm continually amazed that it's the cultural aporia it is. the good part about this relative vacuum is that it can be, well, harmless most of the time (and at its worst). my childhood, which has somehow now become symbolic of the state at large, the way minerals replace wood to make it petrified, was a continuous experience of trying to name things i could see, but having no one, not my parents friends or teachers, know enough about the world to adequately explain, and not having value judgements (or having no judgements) about me being inquisitive, except to express mild surprise that someone would be so curious in the first place. it was an ideal foundation for someone who makes things, out of the world and into the world.
ohio, ohio. hi in the middle.
round on the ends, the romantic notion i have of the state is mostly dispelled when i go back and have to interact with anyone. after all, i don't live there anymore for a reason. a trip to a meijer store causes me to wonder at the enormous amount of products and food under a large roof, inspires marvel at a huge suspended grid ceiling with drop-in light fixtures but no ceiling tiles between them, all the structure above visible, how it could house a whole city block of people in my neighborhood, how the shoppers seem completely deadened to the idea of other people not their family, how the cashiers are the only human sign of this huge machine for selling. however, in small moments, between conversations, outside, driving, seeing the many old schoolhouses, courthouses, farmhouses, barns, fields, elm, sycamore, walnut, buckeye, beech, the romantic feeling comes back, in the present, the state a large field long inhabited, sparsely but dense enough to be a place to be from.
i was in columbus, ohio this weekend to be in my friend-since-grade-school dan's wedding.
in advance i wasn't looking forward to the bachelor party. the best man had sent me an email telling us to bring an appetite for "beer and beautiful women" and that we'd be going to a gentlemen's club or two. troy, or maybe it was jonno, encouraged me. after all, what better material for the blog?
we started at a place called kahoots which was an old italian restaurant tucked behind a stripmall and a tgifriday's. it had retained its tuscan faux painting, but now had a mirrored stage, mirrored columns, mirrored walls, and televisions at each banquette set to espn. the food, and mixed drinks, were horrible. the music was cool, running the gamut of some old school, some new school doing old school, some new school. i'm not that innocent. the dancers here were somewhat okay. of note was a tall vixen with short blond hair, blue eyeshadow, and a tattoo that clearly was over her vagina. the guys i was with were looking at her tits, so i had to point out the fierce tattoo. she came over after dancing, having noticed us noticing, and she took dan away after asking if we were paying. our food came. i didnt eat it. i got bored. she came back, but dan was leading her (dan is about 5'6). i gave her a ulysses s. grant and she left.
the next place was columbus gold, spelled "cols. gold" in neon outside, which i pronounced "colonel's gold". one of our party remarked that it was a new spin-off of KFC, and i said this was a test market. the franchise aspect was echoed by the way they paraded the dancers. inside it was a full-on strip joint, complete with rotating stage and dancing pole for various erotic acrobatics. the dancers here could all handle it, and were kind of fun to watch. like the fine cigars we busted out were fun to smoke: interesting, but unsatisfying. my other since-first-grade friend jim remarked after some time that this must be pretty weird for me (referring to me watching women strip). i told him not really and made some allusion to the stuff i'd seen at the cock. i think i shocked him a little.
actually, i was very observant of everything. i was into how the place was set up, that it had had a previous use as some kind of tgi-houlihans-something, that everything the dancers did was completely harmless because men couldnt touch them, that they didnt get all nude, that watching a lot of the guys in the crowd was very hot (older daddy-types in flannel, OSU frat boys in flannel, construction workers in flannel, a bouncer who had my heart racing and dan noticed, and one errant papi in overalls who could dance to the music as well as the women), that the music was too well-put-together to be an accident (think old school plus new school) which made me wonder if there was some pink creative action somewhere, that some of the music was so finessed it was obviously targeted to us (think mc hammer and 'bust a move' and a little pearl jam).
one of the dancers the guys kept bringing over, which dan actually found a little annoying, and i found very annoying, didnt really talk to me much, and i wasnt fawning over her. she pointed this out to the others, and when i said "what are you saying about me?" she said
"those are the first one-two...six words you've said all night. you're quiet, but there's something different about you. you look a little sneaky. i'll bet there's something perverted about you. you're a little evil."
"i am very perverted. i am evil." there was no other response possible.
dan later remarked that the whole thing must be odd for me. this is while we were watching the featured dancer who had had a walk-on on baywatch drip a little wax on her legs (woah, so naughty), and make like she was putting the long taper into her clit, not doing it cuz her thong was on. i told him that i'd seen someone actually do that, put the candle up there, far, while it was lit. he was surprised. i continued and said that the not-touching part, the fact that the men watch and the women act was weird. that a guy would get to put his face in a dancer's breast, but not be allowed to lick, that the dollar bill in his mouth is taken by their hand, not their tits. that their was no opportunity to go in a back room and actually fuck a little, or even touch their breasts, ass, etc, was very weird. i was then thinking that the looking that goes on here corrals sexuality by inscribing it to a body-image, and i was completely cognizant the entire time of the similarity of the gym, especially in the steam room. however, there you can actually touch, if you have the balls to do so, and absolutely no one makes money from the transaction.
the dancers were pretending, really, and i indulged my fantasy projection a little when i wondered if there were any homos in the crowd pretending too. it'd be pretty easy.
troy, my bestest friend, stubbornly insists on not reading my blog. he's only seen it once, and that was two weeks ago, when i pulled a near-aphorism on him: "asking me to recite my blog writing is like asking a painter to tell you about one of his paintings". these kind of trite sophisms are something i don't usually indulge in to make a serious point because they try to encapsulate things with a falsely binary opposition. however, i was emotionally weak when i said it, and troy deserved to hear it. troy had me email the link, and after he read the entry from september 27th, he only said it was "nice".
it means something that my bestest friend would (or would not) read it, and it's one of those struggles specific to me and troy's friendship. we try to convince each other that something that has had an emotional impact on one is absolutely going to be of interest to the other, and the other has only to run out and do what is asked and he will be grateful he did. with troy, it's movies. he's always trying to get me to see some film. however, i'm notorious at needing to be dragged to films. even if there's something i want to see, i usually won't go unless i go with someone who's more gung-ho about it than me. this is compounded by the fact that i'd rather sit through the wrath of kahn or sister act again than see something unknown but recommended. the last film troy wanted me to see was high fidelity. i promised i'd see it if he read the blog. since he doesnt read this, he won't know i didn't uphold my end of the bargain. john cusack: sheesh.
with me, it's having him read the blog, or accepting my choice of clothing. i bought a pair of levi's engineered jeans, which i like for their novelty, and i rather like their baggish fit, too. troy hates them, cuz he thinks they flatten my butt and make my crotch look, well, flat. i take every opportunity to tell him about this or that feature of these jeans, and it annoys him to no end. "chad, just drop it. i don't like the jeans, and you're not going to convince me". well, not in three weeks of nagging, i'm not. it's more like months.
anyway, he calls tonight to catch up on what i did this weekend. when i tell him i had a steam room encounter, minor, on sunday, he asked me what i wrote in the blog. i tell him the bones of the story, but then try to fit in the other stuff, the stuff that doesnt make it sound like i was asexual or a wimp, in the words i wrote in the blog. one of the things i struggle with in verbally describing events described in the blog is that the facts of the story, as i remember them, are not in the same order as you read them, although they may be in the order that i write them. i've found great power in the insert cursor, writing things, going back, rewriting, adding, adding, accumulating writing the way you accumulate memories on experiences (proust, paperroles). after i was done describing the recent event to troy, he started teasing, and said "see? i didnt need to read your blog. i just had to call you up and get the spoken-word version, like books on tape!". this made me laugh...
i'll get mine, my dear, impatient friend. you're going to milan, and the only way you'll be able to keep up is by reading.
gym diary month 6, continued.
my body is continuing to recover from the fatigue of the recent over-worked week. yesterday, all i could do was four sets of squats (an exercise i learned a week ago and one which i adore for its efficiency), some sit-ups, and some light arms stuff. this morning, however, i seemed to have recovered some of my mental capacity, so i rolled out of bed--rolling being all i could do because of the excruciating pain the squats of the day before were now wreaking on my legs--ate a big breakfast, cleaned up, and went to the gym.
the objective was to do another chest day, even though i'd done chest stuff on friday. i have had to put three days between body areas, but today i decided i was going to take advantage of my chest feeling okay and apply my new mental intensity toward my workout. suppliment the physical with the mental.
i did well; i got through all the chest stuff with better-than-ever results: more reps with the same weight, better control, etc. especially the incline press, a motion i find extremely difficult. i only had a few more exercises to go when i noticed that the guy i call 'leather daddy' was stretching out on the mat area. this is a guy who i overlap with a lot, who always gives me a few looks, but who has never really made it on my radar. he was without his 50-something husband, and had a newly shaven head. he looked fine, all 6'-2" 200lbs of him, like a moving version of colt leather studios model, but with slightly old-school faggot flavah, the high-top all-white reeboks, the grey and white striped tank top with something printed on it in pink and teal. i took him in a little while he was doing his ab crunches, but i just kept doing my thing. not much has been able to distract me up there lately.
i did shouler crunches, he did shoulder flye machine. i did pull-ups, he did shoulder crunch machine. between my sets of cable crossovers, he picked up a bar on the floor near the cable machine and asked if i was using it. i said no, and he took it elsewhere. i did my last set, decided to get outta there. as i left, i noticed him seated at a chest press machine. i had no idea what he did with the bar. we exchanged glances, and i looked at him with a pleasant gaze, mildly wishing our workouts had coincided more, so we could play together.
after showering, i decided to steam a little (it's cold outside), and get on with the day's business. as i went from the shower, i saw daddy emerge from the steamroom, looking surprised (caught): he'd followed, and he wasn't sure he wanted me to know it. i do what i always do: i said "hi there", and went in.
i sat in the corner, and in few seconds, he came in, and sat so we were at a right angle to each other. there was about two feet between us. he was instantly looking at me, intently but playfully, kind of sensing that he was intense looking, looking at my body, averting his gaze, looking puppy-like, all the while reminding me of a 220+lb rugby player in my college acting class who told us that although he was big, he often felt small inside, utterly convincing no matter how calculated. people came in and out of the steamroom. once, when it looked like all the seats were taken, and there was a moment where a newcomer was mulling whether he could fit between us (familiar to any subway rider), daddy scooted over a foot, toward me, so he wouldn't interrupt our fun.
we kept looking at each other, and our towels got looser we showed each other our thingies. he'd look at mine, and i'd absently stroke it, building a casual erection in the heated room, indulging his curiosity. he's been looking at me for a long time, and i think my initial intimidation of him was serving me now: i wasnt distracted by any future, a teleology of sexual activity that determines what i do in the now. without that distraction, i was free to be playing with the present. i kept looking at his nicely hairy chest, large nipples, large arms, and the soft, meaty chunk between his legs, draping over two biggish testicles. we went on like this for a steam cycle, and then we both left to shower.
he went back in, but i decided to get dressed. it was getting crowded in there, and although i don't really mind playing to an audience, i wanted to move on. within a few seconds, he was at his locker, in the next row. he kept going to the mirror, going to the bathroom, getting a tissue, whatever, each time passing my row giving me a glance. i kind of nodded his way, but kept getting dressed. a part of me wanted to go somewhere with him and get royally screwed. a part of me wanted to go home and make turkey burgers before the simpsons came on. he miraculously got dressed before me, and before i could say hey-hey again, he'd gone.
"When the successive hours of our lives unfold as though on too widely disparate planes, we find that we give away too much of ourselves to all sorts of people who the next day will not interest us in the least. But we feel that we are still responsible for what we said to them overnight, and that we must honor our promises."
my last entry: repeat it 5 more times, once for each day of the week, except increase the working hours until you get to twenty for yesterday, and each of the cab rides increase too, in distance or psychological comfort, knowing that my body is carried by others when it's tired, and i still love new york, even though the plans that propel my self through a week like this make me very, very tired. tonight before the cab ride i was at a co-worker's wedding party on a boat, which spent the night cruising around lower manhattan. we spent quite a bit of time hanging near liberty. because i was basically autistic after the first drink, i just stared at her, studying her demeaner, build, lighting, color, meaning, did my ancestors ever see her, were they speaking french or german or welsh, she's green again after being washed only 14 years ago, the water is like a carpet when it's night, will i get laid before the end of the weekend or will it be at the end of the month. will what i accomplish in the next four weeks propel me to design fame, or at least career advancement, or will things pretty much be the same as they were before: me working, me thinking what i think are great thoughts, me believing i'm hot, me happy, but slightly bored.
will career bliss take over my life, allow me no room at all to live my life, meet new people, call jonno, write jim, send dirty pictures to troy?
despite what may now seem like malaise (by dint of my enormous fatigue), the day was really wonderful, and i am determined to record it here, even if i was too sleep deprived to enjoy it fully. i left work at noon (submitting my proposal), went to bobby's store and flirted with him for a while (making talk about hooking up this weekend), went to the gallery to lock down this installation (ordering mirror panels 12 feet by 6 feet, ten pieces), going to the gym (seeing A from july, then seeing flirty carl, who is a master of peek-a-boo with the towel), going on the boat (despite the freezing breeze and cheesy music), and going up tenth ave in a cab. fucking new york, day, and night.
ouch, i worked 12 hours today, after working 6 yesterday. today was a photo shoot for a project i finished in april, and the photographer and his assistant were fierce. i left with an abiding optimism about what i do (the usual, i know, but it was reinforced by someone in another profession), and the incentive to meet a homo magazine editor, who sounds as fierce and appropriately sharp with his speech as i am, who will love the project we shot.
after drinking too much at ear bar, the crew and i parted ways. i took my usual cab uptown, seeing all the midtown towers and times square hotels from 40mph on tenth avenue, thinking these words: "fucking new york. i love you."
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.