This Is Not Nostalgia


On my walk home for lunch, I smelled my grandmother’s cooking. Not a specific dish, but the smell of her kitchen: warm and savory, like potatoes and bread and pie dough.

It was a little shocking and a lot weird, because my grandmother lived nearly 200 miles away and she’s been dead for 30 years. If she’s trying to haunt me, she’s running way behind schedule. Which isn’t like her at all.

Subaru Remains Quiet As Anti-LGBT Bill Becomes Law In Indiana

Greetings from Indiana

From a piece I wrote at Gaywheels today:

We have reached a curious point in LGBT history.

For those of us in the Western World, it’s not the toughest point. We’re not being sent to concentration camps, we’re not being massacred (although LGBT folks in other parts of the world can’t say the same). And although HIV and AIDS remain major medical concerns, our friends, lovers, neighbors, and siblings aren’t dying all around us like they were 20 or 30 years ago.

No, the problem now is that we’ve gotten our foot in the door. Or, to use another metaphor, we’ve been given a place at the table, and the chair has been pulled out, we just haven’t been allowed to sit down yet.

African Americans reached a similar point in the early 1960s. Brown v. the Board of Education had done away with the doctrine of separate-but-equal, ushered in fifty years before in Plessy v. Ferguson. Legal rights had accrued, ensuring that Americans couldn’t discriminate against other Americans based on the color of their skin. To anyone with half a brain, it was very, very clear that African Americans had won their civil rights.

And yet, there were idiots like George Wallace, still standing in the doors of school houses, saying, “Not on my watch”.

That’s more or less where LGBT Americans find ourselves today. We even have our own George Wallace to ridicule: Judge Roy Moore, who is, ironically or not, also from Alabama.

Read the whole thing here, if you like.




n. The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

[via my friend Brick, who maintains a very NSFW blog here]

What I Should’ve Said Is…

Cinderella on the staircase

Some people think that the international language is love. Some people think it’s food. Landmark Theatres thinks it’s cinema.

I think that the international language is language itself. Specifically: idioms.

The funny thing about idioms — turns of phrase like “the ball is in your court” or “that’s the last straw” — is that they translate, but only indirectly. Idioms are unique to specific communities — communities that might seem vastly different from our own. But idioms surprise and delight because, when we manage to make sense of them, they describe behaviors and events that we all know.

The Danish idiom “hygge”, for example, describes the sudden intimacy that comes from sitting around a campfire with other people. I’ve never been to Denmark, and I certainly don’t speak Danish, but I know what “hygge” means. I get it. I’ve experienced it firsthand.

Idioms like that take my breath away. They make me happy. Call me Pollyanna, call me a dewy-eyed optimist, but idioms suggest that humans — no matter how far apart we live, no matter our superficial differences — share a lot of common ground. (Here are a few more I enjoy.)

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23 Resolutions For The 46 Days Of Lent


I’m not religious. Frankly, I think organized religion has done more harm than good on Planet Earth. Instead of filling the bellies of people who have nothing, religion has taken the cheap route and filled their minds with excuses to argue and kill other people who have nothing. (See, for example, much of Medieval Europe, much of the current Middle East, and Mississippi. Basically, any place or era that starts with the letter “M”.)

However, there are some parts of religion that I like. One of those is Lent. Like most people, I have a number of bad habits, and Lent is a structured way to help break them. And so, here’s my to-do list for the next 46 days.

  1. I will stop using glitter as eyeshadow.
  2. I will stop using Elmer’s Glue as pomade.
  3. I will find and purchase facial cleanser in bulk.
  4. Ditto for nail polish remover.
  5. I will buy a third tuxedo.
  6. I will take more photos.
  7. I will learn to wear layers.
  8. I will do light-cleans of my house more often so that I can spend less time deep-cleaning like a maniac two hours before company arrives.
  9. I will purchase a storage solution solely for sequins.
  10. I will purchase a second storage solution solely for E6000 and spray adhesive.
  11. I will begin tidying and cleaning the attic.
  12. If it’s in the attic and it doesn’t have my name on it (e.g. a diploma, a trophy) and/or I haven’t looked at it in two years, it’s going to a garage sale or the garbage can.
  13. I will be honest about my inability to lose weight and accept the fact that there are some costumes in our collection that I will never be able to wear again. And some I should never have worn in the first place.
  14. I will teach my husband and my boyfriend to sew.
  15. I will be more tolerant of young adults and other tourists who come to New Orleans to party like it’s 1999. I mean, they don’t know any better.
  16. I will be more tolerant of tacky bitches, who also don’t know any better.
  17. I will make a concerted effort to meet up with friends for occasional lunches and dinners instead of waiting for them to contact me.
  18. I will do something about my social anxiety. That something may include completely shutting myself off from the world and wearing a veil for the rest of my days, or it may include prescription drugs.
  19. I will take more naps surrounded by hounds.
  20. I will drink a little more.
  21. I will exercise a little more.
  22. I will write for myself a little more.
  23. I will play with my Xbox a little less. Except for Dragon Age: Inquisition, because I’m going to beat the hell out of that game if it kills me.

47 Important Movies I Have Never Seen (But Occasionally Told People That I Have)


I am not a movie person. I know that such people exist — my husband is one — but I am not among them.

That’s not to say that I don’t watch movies. I do. Lots of them. But they are not always good. For every amazing Miyazaki film on my hard drive, there are two stinkers from Elizabeth Taylor’s “unfortunate period”. (I have watched The Driver’s Seat more times than I can count.)  I am also a sucker for completely forgettable foreign comedies. Heidi Klum would question my cinematic taste level.

But it’s worse, because I lie. I lie about having seen important films, popular films, the ones that everyone else knows. I’m secretly convinced that everyone else lies about having seen these movies, too, but I can only be certain of my own shame. Pity me.

Here is a list of 47 movies that I could’ve been watching instead of Return of the Killer Tomatoes. Although let the record show: I have no regrets.

  1. Annie Hall
  2. Beaches
  3. American Beauty
  4. Avatar
  5. Back to the Future
  6. Beetlejuice
  7. The Big Lebowski
  8. Braveheart
  9. Casablanca
  10. Chariots of Fire
  11. Chinatown
  12. Dirty Dancing
  13. E.T.
  14. Forrest Gump
  15. The Godfather: Part II (and honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever watched the first from start to finish)
  16. Goodfellas
  17. I Am Curious (Yellow)
  18. Iron Man (any of them)
  19. Jerry McGuire
  20. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
  21. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  22. Nashville
  23. Persona
  24. The Pianist
  25. Pretty Woman
  26. Raging Bull
  27. Rain Man
  28. Reservoir Dogs
  29. Rocky (or the sequels, for that matter)
  30. Saving Private Ryan
  31. Scarface
  32. Seven Samurai
  33. The Shawshank Redemption
  34. Silkwood
  35. The Sixth Sense
  36. Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
  37. Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones
  38. Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
  39. Sunset Boulevard
  40. Taxi Driver
  41. Terms of Endearment
  42. Toy Story
  43. Tootsie
  44. V for Vendetta
  45. Vertigo
  46. X-Men (any of them)
  47. Zoolander

12 Drag Names I Will Never Use


bewbsI’ve done drag — real drag, with a bra and all — a handful of times. Generally speaking, it was awful.

Sure, I enjoyed the makeup and the false eyelashes and the heels — who wouldn’t? But the wigs were hugely uncomfortable. The wigs and the shaving. I really hate to shave.

Until recently, I thought I could overcome those hangups, and I stockpiled a stellar list of potential drag/stage names for my alter-ego.

Alas, it’s clear that I’m never going to have enough time/patience/Barbasol to use them, so I’m releasing them into the wild. Hopefully, someone with a lighter beard, a softer jawline, and a greater tolerance for polyester wiglets can use them. Maybe you?

As an added bonus, some of them will work as band names, too. You’re welcome.

  1. Nosegay Pantysniffer (Technically this one belongs to Jonno, but the copyright has probably run out.)
  2. Wendy 2000 (She’s dated, not expired.)
  3. Ovarian Thrombosis (This may be something horrible in real life, but the cadence is good.)
  4. Transvaginal Messiah (All those mesh commercials finally got to me.)
  5. Pussy Terwilliger (It’s like poetry.)
  6. Cookiepuss McGruff (If you choose this one, your signature song becomes the best Beastie Boys tune of all time. And you get a signature dessert, too.)
  7. Tundra Thundercunt (The loud, lewd lady from Lapland.)
  8. Estrogenia McGuyver (Oh, what she can do with two bottlecaps and a maxi pad.)
  9. Miss River Bridge (It’s funniest if you live along the Mississippi.)
  10. Maxine Poutine (Girl likes to eat.)
  11. Chanelvis (Which I stole from a co-worker at Lucky Cheng’s)
  12. Chainsaw Guevara (She’s never heard the term “bloodless revolution”.)

Paranoid Children Have More Fun


trees and cloudsI never played with action figures. I never saw the point. Acting out scenarios with tiny, plastic dolls? I preferred acting with my whole body. At recess, I recruited friends to become fellow jewel thieves or jungle explorers or doctors on desperate missions to halt raging epidemics of cooties.

I was even better at scenarios that played out in my head, scenarios I enacted alone, scenarios I never told anyone about. In one recurring fantasy, I was a cat burglar. (To younger readers: cat burglars were once a thing, though no one speaks of them anymore.) Every time I visited a mall or a department store, I’d note the location of the air vents, service doors, and other ways I could use to break in later — though sadly, later never came, because I was also a massive goody-goody.

In my other favorite scenario, I played a kidnapping victim. When my parents dragged my brothers and me on weekend errands, I’d lie face-up on the Naugahyde back seat of our hulking Oldsmobile station wagon, following the trees, trying to count blocks, and making note of telling scenery. I committed that information to memory so that when I picked the lock on my imaginary handcuffs and found my way to a phone in the kidnappers’ lair, I could tell the police where to find me.

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For No Good Reason, A One Direction Fantasy

one direction

One Direction played the Super Dome last night — or as it’s now called, the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, which makes it sound less like a stadium and more like one of those bubble-topped, science-fictiony concept cars of the 1950s, but that’s neither here nor there.

My seats were in the balcony. The top, top, top balcony. It was as close as I could get to the stage, considering that every seventh-grade girl from Lake Charles to Pascagoula began calling for tickets five days before they went on sale. And still, I paid twice the face value.

An hour into the show, the band performed a rousing mashup of Iron Butterfly’s psychedelic rock anthem “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” and Yaz’s 1982 dance floor smash, “Don’t Go”. (I swear, in the right hands — or right throat — “Don’t Go” could give “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” a run for best Please-Don’t-Leave-Me Ballad of all time.) Despite having some decent pipes, One Direction didn’t imbue either tune with Doug Ingle’s throaty, pre-orgasmic churn or Alison Moyet’s throaty, Pall-Mall-tinged desperation, but it was still damn good.

Like the five young men on stage, One Direction’s core audience hadn’t been born when the original songs came out, so they assumed the band’s elegantly arranged, two-for-one cover was a completely new tune. But the handful of parents who’d managed to score tickets knew differently. People of my generation were on their feet, cheering.

And that’s when it happened. A hundred yards below me, at the downstage right corner of the hulking platform that some nameless production company had erected to support the designer sneakers and slim hips of Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall, and Zayn, a dozen bodies rushed the stage. I thought they might’ve been security personnel, but my lorgnette revealed otherwise. They weren’t in t-shirts or uniforms, they weren’t chunky, beefy bodyguards: they were doughy, white-haired men in off-the-rack suits from Joseph A. Bank.

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10 Things I Am Not (And Am Thankful I Am Not)


blindersIt’s so, so easy to take things for granted when the going is good. I have a hunch that’s what keeps us going, us humans. There’s something deep in our DNA that wants us to wear blinders, wants us to chug along believing that since we’re not sick, not in pain, not desperately sad, not running for our lives, everyone else in the world is fine, too.

That makes sense, I guess. If we dwelled on that too much, we’d never get anything done. We’d die of worry and guilt.

(Side note: it may be part of our DNA, but it’s not innate. It’s something we learn as adults: worry about what’s in front of you, worry about the things you can change. Six-year-olds terrified of atomic bombs or bad guys in the night haven’t perfected this skill.)

So, it’s rare when everything’s going fine — so fine that you can’t imagine a time when things would ever not be fine — that you stop and think: “Now. Right now. I’m very lucky right now. I’m more fortunate than many people on this planet. Possibly most of them”

It happened to me this week, driving home after a long day of work and errands. For some reason — I still don’t know why — I took stock of my life. And I realized how very lucky I am to have a job and a husband and a boyfriend and loving hounds and loving friends. And it’s all because of an accident of birth: American, late 20th century, middle class, male, white.

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