Gay friends and other ruminations

I’ve decided to poach from my recently excavated journals for another post. This one is from September 28, 1992. Long time gone. I have a cripplingly poor memory. Consequently, these journals have been a revelation to me.

*     *     *

P said there’s a woman in his office who wants me to take her daughter out on a date but first she needs to see a photo of me. He said it’s because she doesn’t believe I’m white. [Note: At that time, I was virtually the only white person living in a black neighborhood—Fort Greene, Brooklyn—which has since been gentrified and is now overrun with white people.]  That’s insulting! Who is she that I can’t meet her on my own merits? Has her vagina been dipped in platinum? Still…I gave her the photo of me on the balcony in Cozumel and felt stupid doing it. On Saturday, I’m taking M to a matinee. I jokingly asked her if she was going to “require a feeding” and she said, “What am I, a cow?” No, my sweet, you are definitely not a cow.

On Sunday P and I got on the G train and paid a visit to D for dinner. [Note: D owned the top two floors of a beautiful, old, Brooklyn brownstone, which included a roof garden.] The train skipped Bergen Street so we had to get off at Carroll Street and catch the Manhattan bound F one stop. Fucking subway. When we got there it started to downpour. We sat in the kitchen while D cooked and you could hear the hard rain fall against the greenhouse on the roof. It sounded like bacon frying. We smoked some pot and had a few beers. I faded into the background and listened to the two of them talk. Let me tell you something; everyone should have a few gay friends. They are endlessly entertaining. Especially after smoking some weed. They were arguing about the proper way to cook a pot roast, calling each other bitch and slut and all sorts of other horrible things. Yelling about adobo seasoning, whatever the hell that is. God, I was laughing my ass off. Some of the funniest, kindest people I’ve ever met are gay. It’s too bad I have no proclivities towards experimenting.

I didn’t have to work today so I made a good breakfast with three cups of strong coffee because it’s getting chilly out. The sky was crisp and blue so I went for a walk on the Lower East Side. As I passed Delancy Street, I was propositioned by a hooker, of all crazy things. I approached this cute Latino and she gave me that look and I thought to myself, well, this is kind of nice. Then as I passed by she said, “Do you want a date?” Oh. That. I got really embarrassed and checked to see if my shoelaces were untied. They weren’t.

I sat at a sidewalk cafe on 2nd Avenue and 6th Street to read the Times and watch the big parade. There was a really old guy sitting in front of me and everyone seemed to know him. They all stopped to chat. Cops. Old folks. Club kids. Blacks. Whites. Latinos. Everybody! I wonder who he is? I walked to the Orpheum and bought a ticket to the new Mamet play that’s in previews. $27.50. I’m surprised it’s opening down here and not on Broadway. [Note: That was Oleanna with William H. Macy and Rebecca Pidgon.]

I ended up shooting pool at Julian’s. That stairway has the most God-awful stench in all of NYC. And that’s saying something. Urine, body odor, vomit and Olde English 800 malt liquor all in one noxious whiff. Blame it on 8-0-0, indeed. [Note: That was the ad campaign slogan at that time.] I’m going to start using the rear entrance that lets out onto 14th Street, even though it kind of dangerous. The guy forgot to turn the timer on so he only charged me $3.50. I always feel stupid because I’m such a bad shot and I assume everyone is watching me but the truth is nobody cares. The guy behind the counter came out and taught me how to rack the balls for 9-ball. He also tried to explain strategy but I didn’t understand him. It’s not that his explanations were vague. It’s just that I’m as dumb as a brick when it comes to geometry. So I still don’t know how to play the game properly.

Ate dinner at an Italian deli/cheese shop that has a few tables in the back. Ate off a styrofoam plate and used plastic utensils. Low key but so damn delicious that I almost passed out from bliss. Took the 6 train to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and walked home over the bridge. Stopped midway to watch the sunset over the Hudson River. All alone, but not lonely.

37 thoughts on “Gay friends and other ruminations

  1. I spent many a formative hour shooting pool although sadly never in New York. I had a few games in NJ though (Montclair to be precise) and I never could get with your blue pool tables.I really like these old journal posts, even though they’re not from so long ago, they feel somehow from another age.

    • Billiards is cool. It has real panache. I could bowl a decent game but nobody gives a shit about bowling. If you’re good at pool, you’re a shark. If you’re good at bowling, you’re kind of a loser. You can get depressed girls who wear all black to sleep with you if you’re a good pool player. If you’re a good bowler, you drink with the boys. And if you think about it, they’re not that far apart. I always wished I was good at pool. That’s why I’d go to that horrible, dumpy, now torn down pool hall. It never took, though. I think these posts are from VERY long ago! Over 20 years! It’s a different city now than it was then. Way different.

  2. In that span, we’re all different.Some of us wrote good stuff then. Some of us can still write.Love your gritty time trips!Pool? Don’t know the rules, but I have played snooker and billiards

    • The funny thing is that even after reading these journals, I still don’t remember a lot of what happened. These things must have occurred. Why else would I have written them down? Pool is hard enough. Snooker looks ridiculously impossible.

  3. I LOVE these Journal entries….I think you should post more of them because they express a time-gone-by and also, your younger self in that time and in that city that you know has changed so much…..PLUS…you are one hell of a writer! So Good!!!As always, for me personally, you evoke NYC for me and I guess it makes me Nostalgic….I grew up there and spent the first 28-29 years of my life there…And then later, lived there in the early 1960’s when I was in a show on Broadway….Talk about changes….!When I saw what a seat cost you ‘Off Broadway’, it made me think about how appalled we were when Orchestra seats for Broadway went up to $7.50. Seven dollars and fifty cents! Talk about your changes.I dearly hope you will share more of your journals with us, my dear.. They are truly wonderful

    • Which show!? Was it fun? Thanks so much for your kind compliment. It really is the nicest thing that anyone can say to me. There’s so much material here. Binders and binders full of stuff. But a lot of it’s junk, too. Not worth typing out, much less sharing with strangers. Last night I saw a Broadway show with Jessica Hecht and Judith Light that’s in previews. Any idea who they are? It was pretty great stuff. Hope the critics don’t kill it.

    • Oh Yes…I know who they are….! I LOVE that you go to the theatre all the time.Oh, how I would love to see Vanessa R. in the play she is doing right now….I heard, he is not so great but that she is Perfection!The show was “SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY” Based on the Poems of Edgar Lee Masters….It was a really Beautiful evening. I sang in it and wrote all the Original music for it as well as choosing all of the other music and writing new lyrics to some of the Public Domain songs…..There were just 6 of us in the show….A true Highlight of my life, in every way. We opened at the Booth Theatre and were booked as a “concert” type evening for four weeks. It was a hit, so after the four weeks we had to move to The Belasco Theatre….The whole thing was quite extraordinary….

    • What a great experience that must have been! That’s something not many people get to do. I found your show on IBDB. I see Joyce Van Patten was in the cast. And I love the Booth. One the the best houses. Named after actor Edwin Booth, brother of assassin John Wilkes. Bette Midler is doing a one-woman show there about Hollywood shrew Sue Mengers. The Belasco is another nice house, but there are some obstructed views because of pillars. Thanks for sharing. Fascinating to me.

    • I LOVE the Booth Theatre! It has an intimacy that is unlike any other Broadway house….I have all this 8mm film I took of Shubert Alley when it still was what it was, back then….Loved The Belasco, too….So much History in both those theatres……Not to ‘name drop’, but Sue Mengers owned a painting of mine that was given to her by Herb Ross and Nora Kaye—-I never met her, but I met them because of a dear old family friend, John Taras, who was a Dancer/Choreographer back in the day and became Ballet Master for New York City Ballet under Ballenchine—-John, Nora and Herbie ALL started with American Ballet Theatre….Anyway, they bought a couple of paintings of mine and gave one to Sue Mengers….I hope you go see that show….! It’s one of the things I miss so very much about NY…Going to The Theatre!!! Of course I cannot go anywhere anymore because of Health Issues—but, we have a lot of Theatre here, too…..It’s not Broadway, but sometimes there are these “gems”……Incidentally Joyce and I are still very very close…..She is a terrific person and a WONDERFUL Actress as well as being a great great friend. Betty G. was an incredibly special person, too. Joyce and I are the only ones left from “Spoon River”…..OY! (I didn’t mean to go on so…..)

  4. i read this earlier, but had to come back to comment (it’s been a busy day). i think Naomi pegged it, your journals bring a sense of time and place i only knew from film, tv and literature. there is a sweetness and certainly youthfulness, that is very touching, sugarpie! i hope you’ll continue share bits of your history with us. xoxoxo

    • All alone but not lonely is a wonderful state of being. It’s why it took me so bloody long to get married. I never had that insatiable need to have someone around at all times. Put me in a room with a piece of string and I’ll make the best of it.

  5. fascinating – i love the tales, but mostly i can see the seeds of your current writing style in here. you’ve gotten more efficient, but maintained (even sharpened) the snark! love it!and here’s to gay mates! one particular one that we share is currently knocking around Moscow…

  6. Awesome, I love your past ramblings. The paragraph where you describe getting stoned and listening to gay friends bicker over adobo seasoning is my favorite. My gay drinking buddies have always cracked me up

    • Gay people are a delight. Many of them have tragic pasts but they rise above all the horribleness they suffered as children. I’m glad things have gotten easier for them and that they’re becoming more accepted. Glad it happened in my lifetime.

  7. After your somewhat deflating intro, that was fascinating. I am jealous of the simile of the rain sounding like bacon.And a random woman coming up to you in the street and asking for a date! What’s the name of that area again?

  8. Another goddam comment of mine disappears. I’m worried blogger may have recruited a gorilla-hating bigot to their team. Anyway, I think it’s a pity you didn’t ask that Latina hooker out for dinner and re-enact a scene from Pretty Woman. I’d love to know how these things work out in real life.

    • Good heavens is that true?! You couldn’t comment?! Perhaps blogger is trying to bring me down by keeping my comment numbers low. Anyway, I think I might know how that story would have ended. Her pimp would have kicked my teeth in for stealing her away. Nothing at all like the movie.

  9. Despite being incredibly late to the party, I’m enjoying it immensely. I love this one, the intro works – please don’t change it (ha! like you need/want advice from an internet stranger, even an admiring one at that). I grew up going to the Fisher Theatre in Detroit (we were ushers & got in free) and reading this made me miss those days. Love the last line. These glimpses into the past are pure gold.

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