Friday, February 27, 2004

Exam Anxiety

First, let me be clear: I've been out of school for a loooooong time now. Midterms and finals are a thing of the past, forever banished to the annals of my personal history, like Kathleen Wong, the girl I thought was "cute" in the second grade.

From time to time I have this strange anxiety dream about exams, though. There are slight variations on the theme, but at its core, the dream is the same. I'm told others have similar dreams all the time.

Me, I'm running through the crowded hallways of school. I usually don't label it as high school or college until some later point in the dream, but I'm running because I know I don't want to be late for the exam. Problem is, I know that I don't know anything about the subject matter on the test. I suddenly realize that I had never attended a single class on this matter, nor had I done any of the homework. The class is usually math (the teacher manifests herself as my seventh grade pre-alg teacher), and the thought that runs through my mind is that I am utterly unable to perform Laplacian transforms (a concept I "learned" -- but not really -- in my freshman year in college). And I get scared that I'm about to fail the exam.

At some other point -- usually in the same dream -- I realize that I have a history class on Wednesday afternoons which I have also never attended. (It's always history. I never was a strong history student, which I suppose is why I never attended the class in this dream.) In my dream I make a mental note to myself to go to the Registrar's office after failing the math exam to see if I am in fact still enrolled in this history class, and take steps to drop it if I am in fact enrolled.

Strangely enough, the exam anxiety dreams never manifest themselves as something important in my current, "adult" life, like the bar exam or something.

All I can say is, I'm glad i never have to take another exam ever again, especially in classes like math (which I actually did well in in high school) and history (which I did not do so well in). The dreams ... well, they can just keep coming.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Stop, or You'll Go Blind!

My friends mean well. Really, they do. I think. But sometimes you just gotta take the truth by the horns and accept reality, know what I mean?

One night recently Maria invited a bunch of us to happy hour at Dragonfly. Sounds like fun, and I do so enjoy hanging out with my friends over a cocktail, or two, or five, so I make my way over. Eventually, another one of Maria's friends approaches the table. I can't for the life of me recall his name, so I'll call him "Joe." Anyway, Joe is this Asian guy who, thankfully, is NOT a lawyer and is, instead, an architect, which is kinda cool, because far too many of my friends are lawyers already.

Almost immediately, Bert kicks in. "Joe's gay," he decides. Observing him for a bit longer (and now joined in by Debra and Lora), a concensus is reached: "Yep, he's gay." And so it begins: "You should talk to him," I'm told. Of course, "talk to him," is thinly veiled code for "go down a path that will eventually lead to long-term dating," and in fact doesn't mean "talk."

First of all, I'm a shy guy by nature. Talking to strangers, even if they're friends of friends, can take some effort on my part. Second of all, I'm at a point in my life with my disenchantment with the gay dating prospects in this city have turned me off completely to the prospect of even putting myself out there anymore. Indeed, I voluntarily removed myself from "The Market" a loooong time ago.

But my friends don't stop. Bert starts pointing his observations that the guy has a hairstyle similar to mine (not really -- his is more coiffed and mine is simply messy); that our sleeves are rolled up almost identically (who doesn't roll up the sleeves on their dress shirts? If all the guys in the room hadn't been wearing rugby shirts, I'm sure some of them would have had their sleeves rolled too); that our pants are the same (uh, dress slacks, hello?); and even (Bert's self-anointed coup de grace) the same shoes (I didn't have the wherewithal to double-check this particular assertion). We have apparently come to the conclusion that there is, in fact, a Gay Asian shoe on the market that Joe and I are trendsetters for.

As I say, my friends mean well, but come on. Thankfully, Maria never told Joe that she invited us all to hang out for the purpose of possibly introducing us, so any perceived rudeness on my part was not necessarily viewed as a clear snub on my part. But the bigger problem with well-meaning straight friends who set up their gay friends is that all too often, their mental processes go no further than, "Hey, you're both gay. You guys should date."

This mindset is incredibly simplistic. It evidences a deeply flawed understanding of gay male interaction in Washington, DC. In gay male Washington, DC, the proper analysis is: "Hey, we're both gay. Are you hot enough to get naked in bed with me?"


My friend Jessica tried to set me up once too. Stupidly enough, I let her. Against my better judgment, I agreed to have dinner with the friend of one of her co-workers. What follows is the funny story that I have told no one except Jessica.

First of all, Frank showed up late. Now, seeing as I'm already nervous as it is (even though I'm not sure why, because I have no real high hopes for successful results from this dinner), I'm starting to call Jessica. "Uh, aren't you, like, supposed to be somewhere now?" she asks me. Seeing as I never told her the arrangements of this "date," she clearly has heard of it from Frank. "He's... uh, not here," I tell her.

I think at that point what I feared most was not so much resigning myself to going home and having cold pizza for dinner, but the thought of being dissed sight unseen. More times than I can count, I've been in bars where guys won't look twice once they've made their split-second determination that I'm not worthy of the bedspace next to them, but I think that the prospect of such an evaluation being made before even looking at me was placing me dangerously close to a complete tailspin.

Luckily for my mental health, Frank showed up, and we had a very pleasant dinner. We had talked throughout, and it was, to my shock and utter surprise, quite nice. I was leaving for a work-related conference a few days later, but I promised I would call him upon my return and we would get together again.

Can you see where this is headed?

After I returned to the city, I called him on Monday evening. It was exactly one week since we had met. He answered the phone; appeared to recognize who I was, and did not appear actively hostile toward my call. Well, turns out I caught him on the way out the door, so he said, "I'll call you later tonight, or if it's too late, I'll call you tomorrow."

Neither of those two calls came.

Not being a stickler for "The Rules," I gave him a second call on Wednesday. Left him a message on his voicemail: "Hey, just calling to touch base, see if you wanted to get together again. Call me."

No return call. Ever.

I can't even decide what the right adjective is for this particular circumstance. Annoyed? Upset? Angry? Hurt? Insulted? I think it's odious and horrible that gay men in this city pre-judge people based purely on their looks without ever exchanging a word with them. But this guy I actually talked to for an entire dinner. We got along, and got along well, and we said we wanted to get together again. Did something happen?

About a week later, Jessica emailed me, delicately and politely asking me, "So, uh, how come things didn't work out with Frank?" I had to lay into the fact that I never received any phone call returning mine. "Sorry, he clearly wasn't interested," I told her. "No!" she protested. "She told Doug [her co-worker friend] that you guys hit it off and were seeing each other again!" I can't help thinking that a telephone call -- returning the ones I had made -- would have facilitated that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Who Wants to Marry a Fag?

The Federal Marriage Amendment is the most odious piece of politicking I've seen in ages, and I've lived in DC now for ten years. In these years, I've seen politicking, I've seen naked hatred, I've seen the screwing of the little guy many many times. But this takes the cake. Where to begin?

Adding hatred and discrimination to the Constitution. Great idea there, guys.

Until the point is see millions of heterosexual married couples turning in their marriage licenses because they're suddenly "devalued" by San Francisco gays, I can't give a rat's ass about the argument that gay marriage somehow "cheapens" the straight institution.

And speaking of cheapening the straight institution, let's talk about "Who Wants to Marry [A Millionaire/My Dad/A Little Person]?". Yeah, shows like this don't cheapen the institution of marriage. Do Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell raise their voices in protest here? Nope. Straight people can feel free to get married as they please, even if it's a farce. No problem.

And then there's Britney and Jason. Let's think about this: During the 55 hours between the exchange of vows and the annulment ("I was too immature to know what I was doing!", she protests), had she died, he would, by operation of law, have been entitled to EVERYTHING she had that wasn't held in someone else's name. He would have been presumed to be the one significant other in her life. That presumption attached the MINUTE after the license was issued. That presumption NEVER attaches to gay couples.

The catalog of farcical marriages goes on and on: Anna Nicole and geriatric millionaire; Drew Barrymore's 12-day marriage to a bar owner; Cher's 9-day marriage. A virtual who's-who of "let's get married just for the heck of it." All while gay people sit and watch from the sidelines just wishing they could get a piece of that action.

Has anyone actually READ the Massachusetts decision that started all this, by the way? They made a great effort to distinguish between the civil institution of marriage, and the religious one. They are separate events. (Ever hear of the First Amendment?). Let the people marry at City Hall, the SJC said. No one is forcing any church to bless that union. Just give them the same government benefits anyone else is entitled to. "Activist" my foot. Fair-minded, I'll give you.

In fact, while we're on the First Amendment, let's talk about the fact that there are, in fact, a growing number of churches who do in fact bless gay unions as partners for life. Does not a marriage amendment then elevate a particular religious belief over others? Is this not another First Amendment violation?

To those anti-gay marriage folk out there, I say "Get over it." You'll never support anything that might, in some fleeting way, make gay people happy. And that's just pathetic.

Who Wants to Marry a Fag? At some point in the future, I would hope I would have that option.

But She Was Pregnant!

So a friend of mine told me a story last night that was comical, in an "okay, you know that's really not funny, right?" sort of way that I thought I'd share:

My friend Katie was walking home with a friend of hers from being out with some friends one night. It was late (well past the witching hour), and suddenly she noticed her friend (a tiny little woman; some 5'3 and 109 lbs) was accelerating her pace. Katie keeps up, wondering all the while, "This is odd...."

As they reach the front door of Katie's Foggy Bottom apartment, Katie is literally clubbed. Not hard enough to knock her out or even really give her serious bodily injury mind you, but yes, someone raised a hard object and brought it down with some force at her head. Katie turned, shocked, to find... a short, stocky, very pregnant woman, surrounded by three other vigilantes (presumably the pregnant woman's "crew").

Of course, before Katie can compose herself, Pregnant Vigilante moves again, this time whacking Katie's arm in an attempt to get her to drop her purse. When that didn't work (Katie's purse was looped over her head and across her chest), P.V. simply yanked the purse and walked off with it. I say "walked," of course, because, being very pregnant, this woman was not about to run off with the purse.

Now having had some time to come to grips with what was happening, Katie suddenly decides, "This isn't right," and decides to launch an attempt to get her purse back. She follows P.V. and her crew down the street, keeping a semi-safe distance, but saying, "Hey, give me my purse back! It's my purse! Give it back!" To which P.V.A.H.C. are actually responding, to wit, they are saying "No." Katie alternately is also on a cell phone with another of her friends, Maria, describing this entire situation ("Yeah, I was just robbed outside my apartment. I'm following them now. P.V. is kinda waddling, so it's not that difficult to keep up....")

(I'm not sure what Katie's friend is doing this entire time. I think she's gone into her apartment and started calling the cops, but then again, I can't figure out where Katie's cell phone would have come from.)

In any event, at some later point I guess Katie gets separated from her attackers and meets with the police. Miraculously enough, when given the description of the attackers, the police are actually able to round up a very pregnant woman and her buddies. (Shocking, given the sheer number of pregnant women with posses who roam the streets of Foggy Bottom in the middle of the night.) One would think the story ends there, but it doesn't.

Having now somewhat identified the women as her attackers, the Police don't believe Katie. "You can't prove that they did this to you," they tell her. "Uh," stammers Katie, "I just said they did. What more do you need?" "You're not sure of the ID. This case won't ever get prosecuted," she is told. Despite Katie's protestations that, having walked behind the waddling crew for some 10 minutes, she took good stock of their backsides, and sure enough, these women had the asses she saw (complete with funky pants with a strategic tear in them), it apparently wasn't good enough.

The cops never took the attackers into custody.

Asked why Katie didn't fight back, Katie could only respond with, "I was just thinking, 'But she's pregnant!'" When she told this story, the friends we were with and I were much less sympathetic. We would have kicked P.V.'s pregnant ass. (Or so we said. Who knows what cowardly stripe would have been painted down my back had I actually been faced with that situation.)

Katie eventually found her purse, discarded. "Well, at least I get the purse back," she thought. Missing were some makeup, a cell phone, and a pack of gum. P.V.A.H.C. never thought to unzip the pocket in the lining of the purse, where they would have found about $100 in cash, some credit cards, and an ID.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Just a Little Bitty Pissant Cyber Space

Okay, so this post is my general introduction to the world of the blog.

Hello, world.

My current internal debate is whether to tell my friends the address to this blog, or just allow random strangers to stumble on to it. I feel as if the blog would be better suited for allowing strangers only to read it. Mostly I feel this way because I am certain that any of my friends who would read this blog would take the opportunity to relentlessly make fun of me for anything I say. My friends are like that, for some reason. But you gotta love 'em anyway.

So, given that I haven't told anyone of the existence of this site yet, I am compelled to ask you, gentle reader, a question most famously posed by one Deborah Cox: "How did you get here? Nobody's supposed to be here...."