Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Okay, they TEASED us, they BAITED us, they kept us waiting TWO EXTRA MONTHS, and last night FINALLY the 7th season of RuPaul's Drag Race premiered with some interesting twists and changes.

The most notable change this year is the exit of perennial least-favorite-judge Santino Rice, whose fashion advice was often hyperbolic, RARELY on fleek, usually misguided. He has been replaced by Ross Matthews and Carson Kressley, both of whom I ABSOLUTELY ADORE. And of course, Michelle - whose show I think it REALLY is - and Ru. I like the idea of a four-person weekly panel, because I think the Michelle-Santino (with benevolent Mama Ru Jesus-like in the center, arms outstretched) dichotomy was a little hackneyed by the end of last season.

Also changing - the format of Untucked (thank GOD). This time around it's a little more genuine - instead of a fabulous lounge to drink in, it's a cluttered corner of backstage and we get to see more of their interactions and less Desperate Housegays voice over work. There also doesn't seem to be a secondary lounge where we will have tearful moment of redemption every week. I'm glad the emotional manipulation has been dropped a peg or two.

But as with any season, what is going to make this season EXTRA FABULOUS are the GIRRRRRLS! I am SO excited for this crop, and I have been since their Meet the Girls videos launched late last year.

This year, to keep up with the changing times over at World of Wonder, I decided to switch up my formula a little bit - especially since last year my formula was less accurate than it usually is. I am going to go through each girl individually and rate them (1-5) in six categories that have been important in years past. These ratings are based on a number of things: their Meet the Girls videos (and other promotional videos that have been released), their Covergirls videos, and their showing in these first episodes of Drag Race and Untucked.

While I've never been able to predict the ACTUAL order, I've come VERY close a couple of times. I prefer to think of the girls as a couple of different sets that get weeded out in order. I'm pretty certain my bottom four will be the first four to go, if not in that order. The next four will go, but not in any particular order.

This year, though, I am VERY confident in my top six.

SPOILER ALERT: I will be revealing the results of the first episode. If you're not ready for that jelly, don't read further yet.


Lovechild of Latrice Royale and Nicole Paige Brooks
That's right, the first episode saw the release of one of the oldest queens to ever enter the competition: Tempest DuJour. While I think there were a couple others who also could've gone home in this dreaded first spot and I would have been okay with it, the fact is Tempest brought a flavor to the competition that is covered completely - and better - by some of the other queens. Here's how she shakes out:


Great heart, great wisdom. I wish her beautiful heart had been rewarded with a longer stay


Her wig for the promos is... aight. Her dress is wonderful. But both her spring and her fall look were mediocre, and her final Mainstage look was absolutely disastrous.


As I mentioned before, Tempest was a little bit of a lot of stuff, and everything she had to offer is offered a little bit better by many of the other contestants. She was a benevolent mama-figure... like Kennedy and Kasha. She was a camp queen... like Trixie and Max. She had larger than life sensibilities... like Miss Fame. She was funny... like over half of this year's cast.


I did like her personality a ton, but her ability to converse with the other girls felt lacking. When she spoke on the mainstage, she was thoughtful and powerful, but her lipsynch (both on the mainstage and in Covergirls) was dead-eyed and unremarkable. When her voice wasn't being used, she faded into the background.


I actually really appreciated her sense of humor. "I don't know whether to cry or poop. I'm on the verge of both." Bawdy, tacky, but without trying too hard. The shade Tempest threw at Kandy when she named her the queen that should go home first was AMAZING. If she had stayed around longer, I have no doubt she would've been a slightly sharper Latrice, loving and motherly with a dragon's tongue.


Tempest was rough around the edges, and it showed up everywhere. While her looks were pretty good, her boobs were always awkwardly stoic, she didn't pad very well, her makeup was a little too... final scene of Rocky Horror, and that bodysuit was a mess. If I wanted to see that many pale wrinkles, I'd take my shirt off in front of a mirror. In the end, THIS is where she lost and became last-place.



Lovechild of Jessica Wild and Roxxxy Andrews
This one... what is she even doing here? I have nothing nice to say about Ms. Ho. I think her skills are questionable, her attitude is atrocious, and I just plain don't like her. You'll notice a couple of these girls scored lower than Tempest overall, and for good reason.


Go ahead... treat your fellow competitors badly. It worked out so well for Roxxxy. The difference between her and you, Ms. Ho, is that Roxxxy had a LOT of talent to back up her shitty 'tude.


Bo...ring. Her promo look (above) is pedestrian, her spring and fall looks were forgettable, and I can't even remember what the 'Ho wore on the runway. And all those wigs with the dark roots? Why go to all that trouble to LOOK LAZY?! Also, Michelle Visage hit the nail on the head - when you paint, it looks like you paint on a beard (see above). You, gurl, were not ready - in body or heart - and should go.


Seen it before. She's like Rebecca Glasscock without the charm (and yes, that's meant to be shady to both of them).


I just plain don't see it. I think her face is ugly, I think her heart is ugly, I just don't see it.


Though I want her to be a little more imaginative than "how old are you?" I do think she has some good quips and comebacks up her sleeve. Pity we wont get too many chances to hear them.


Overall, my judgement of her is that she just wasn't ready. She's got a chip on her shoulder with the other contestants, so I think she knows that too. Maybe in two years, when she had more practice and more confidence, it would've been a good year for her. But now... sad.



Lovechild of Shannel and Adore Delano
Category is: First Time in Drags on TV. Her whole schtick is that she's studied every season of the show and thinks she's got the code cracked. Her encyclopedic knowledge of the past contestants is going to bring her to victory. Unfortunately, Sasha missed a couple of key chapters in that book: when you're new, don't think you're better than you are (Adore made it VERY far on the pretense that "hey, I'm not good at this yet. But I'm fierce!"). And when other girls come for you, don't let them see you sweat. In one episode, she's already broken both those rules. This competition is no place for a defensive rookie.


As I mentioned before, she's already let the other girls frazzle her. Pearl obviously has an avenue direct into the itchy part of her panties, and I think several of the girls are liable to use that to their advantage.


I didn't dislike her lobster dress, actually, and her promo look is one of my favorites. But damnit gurl, that giant black bra in the nude illusion challenge... NO MA'AM. Her wigs are just-out-of-the-bag, which can be charming, but not when you put on airs of being polished. You're not. Get over it.


Her schtick just doesn't work for me. So many of the other girls this year work their schtick PERFECTLY, so when your product is boring and unremarkable, you lose me.


I kinda like her, but then she also reeks a little bit of CRAYCRAY. Like she may have stalked some of the past queens to learn their secrets. I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to bathe in their blood a la Dandy Mott. Still, that craziness is a little fascinating.


You wouldn't know it from anything she's done on the show yet, but if you research this girl, she actually is hysterically funny. She did a series of youtube videos - her doing impressions of all the other queens - and they are VERY funny. And scathing. And dead-the-fuck-on. It must've happened after the show, though. Her makeup skills were markedly better in those videos than in this episode.


Very new. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you, but again... she doesn't like to admit it. If she came with the "heart of gold" act like Adore, she'd stand a chance. But because she's not making herself super likeable and already being defensive and butthurt, she's not going to last long. When things start getting stressful in that workroom, she's too willing to throw herself as bait on the floor.


#11. PEARL

Lovechild of Phoenix and Princess
Obviously she's been so used to being told she's cute as a boy, she's obsessed with the idea that everything she does is cute. Her "over it" attitude, her unwillingness to show social skills. Yeah, that might get you fucked at a club where nobody can hear you talk anyway, Hunty, but it ain't gonna win you $100,000 on a television program famous for some BIG personalities.


While I wouldn't go so far as to say she is mean to the other girls, I would say there's a disturbing Tyra Sanchezness to her: she's not there to make friends or win fans, she's there simply to show off. 


I will give her this: next to Miss Fame, she may have the most eye-burning looks on the mainstage. When she walks the runway I can't take my eyes off of her. Her makeup definitely needs some work, and her wigs are blah, but her fashions are un-fucking-believable.


While there is something refreshing about a contestant who apparently doesn't give a fuck about winning, I'm just not impressed by a 20-something whose already so jaded and blazé. You're young and you're ADORABLE... have some fucking heart.


I was frankly SHOCKED by her inability to seem human or likeable in the least in her Meet the Queens promo. Miss Fame wasn't exactly human or likeable either, but at least Miss Fame looks like a goddamned work of art. Pearl had gross makeup AND a gross personality. And on the show she improved very slightly, but was still kinda... boring. She may go even sooner than this if we have a particularly high energy on-camera challenge.


"Whatever" and "I don't care" don't count as fierceness in my book.


For being brand new to drag, I'm impressed. But compared to some of the girls who have this game DOWN, she is noticeably weak in some of the technical aspects of the artform.



Lovechild of Tatianna and Laganja Estranja
Yuck. Yikes. Kill it with fire. I'm about to read this little cunt for filth.


The only zero I have given to any of these girls. Every word out of her mouth is something nasty and gross. I'm already over her.


I'll give her this - bitch certainly knows how to make a statement. That tartan catsuit... one of the best looks ever to grace a runway.


If only because she is WAAAAAAY bitchier than everyone else.


She does put together some pretty great looks, and though I despise her with all my heart I do kinda look forward to the next awful thing she says.


"I'm jealous. I wish I had fat to push together." I choked on my drink.


Her game is on fleek. If she were sweet, I'd actually consider her a front runner. But past years have shown that pure, unfettered, unselfconscious bitchiness does not make it far in this competition. Though her vaguely formless boy-body was a very poor choice on the runway. I loved Kennedy's read: "in my generation, that is a complete no-no."



Lovechild of Jiggly Caliente and Jujubee
I actually like her quite a bit. Her Meet the Queens video was one of the best. Her personality is fun, she makes me laugh and smile. But are all of the pieces there for her to play a sickening game?


I love that she's broad and funny, she's not self-conscious about her body, and though she's supportive of the other queens, she doesn't let them forget it is a competition she intends to win. Exactly how I'd like to imagine I would be in that situation.


This is really where she loses me. All of her looks were completely forgettable. Fat girl in a leotard, over and over again. Her makeup is amazing, her wigs are all voluminous and fun, but those outfits, mama. I forget them. Even look at this one. Acid-washed denim jacket over a black, rubber dress? No... just no.


While she does stand out for me, she stands out in exactly the same way as many girls of seasons past. She reminds me a LOT of Jujubee, which is a wonderful thing, but also... nobody does Juju quite like Juju does, so it seems like a cheap copy.


She has personality and talent, I'll give her that. What she lacks is SMOLDER. She is definitely a star. Is she THE star? No.


Everything she says is delightful and funny. I love her personality - one of my favorites.


She's good, but she's middle of the road. I look at her and say "wow, she's a perfectly ordinary woman."



Lovechild of DiDa Ritz and Sahara Davenport
Gorgeous. Body for days. Love the looks. Where'd her personality go?


She's sweet and fun and genuinely seems to love being exactly where she is every second. I love that about her.


Boring-to-poor. Until the nude reveal, I lover her mainstage, but then that damn ugly fringe. And the midriff spring look would've been great... had it not been the exact same thing she showed up to the workroom wearing. Makeup is on - holy shit is that young Whitney? - wigs are cute (I love that she rocks the short hair).


While her look is completely different than anyone else on this show, it's still not anything special for me.


In still photos - like the one above - she's one of the top three queens of the season. But on camera she is stiff and uninteresting and what the hell was that butterfly-coccoon debacle?!


Half of what she says I'm like "WTF?" The other half I think she's fun and quirky.


Jasmine is one of the most fully realized characters on the show this year, and I like the character she portrays. I wish her taste level were a bit higher, but overall I'm not mad at what she does.



Lovechild of Coco Montrese and Alyssa Edwards
Beautiful, stately, professional. She's a class act and I'm sure she is used to winning pageants. She does know this isn't a pageant, right?


One of the two patent professionals on this show. She doesn't compare herself to others, she doesn't feel the need to be shady or spiteful. She's direct and respectful and honest and tasteful. And when she does weigh in, you listen. I'm still GAGGING over her Violet Chachki read on Untucked: "We come from two different generations. You out there with that boy body... in my generation, that's a complete no-no."


Everything about her screams tasteful. Her outfits were all gorgeous - GREAT use of color, her wigs are stunning. Her makeup is stunning. She could go out in drag during the daytime and not get clocked.


Though I love her impeccable combination of grace and ego, I do find she blends into the background.


Even still, when she's on screen I find her marvelous. I don't miss her when she's not center stage. But I love her when she is.


Her sayings are all a little cliché and she doesn't give me anything Alyssa and Coco didn't offer a couple years ago. But she's still fun to listen to.


Bitch. Knows. Her. Product. And. Sells. It. To. Me. Another fully-realized character, but this one has taste for centuries.


#6. MAX

Lovechild of Milk and Detox
One of the most truly original contestants in years, I have so far enjoyed everything Max has done! One of the standouts to me pre-season. I love the character, I love the dedication to what she does. And again - truly, truly original.


Happy. Upbeat. Supportive. Though she hasn't had a lot of screen time yet, I think she'll turn out to be one of the fan favorites this year. She's my pick for Miss Congeniality.


I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. the old Hollywood sensibility, and also that there's a young drag queen trying to do silver-haired, period drag. I also really enjoy that Max, though tall and super skinny, plays with the dimensions of his body. I like that all his looks were very well put together, and that he uses different padding for different looks. Sometimes he has hips, sometimes he has boobs, sometimes he has both, sometimes he has neither. I don't like, however, that I can't forget he is, in fact, a boy.


Probably the most original cast member since Sharon. Nobody who has been on the show yet has done what she does, and unlike Milk, who was also very original, it doesn't seem like she is trying super hard to think outside the box. She just does.


I think she is mostly very charming and fun to watch, but to pull off such a grand character you need a lot of guts, and I think she's still amassing hers. Doesn't quite have the gumption, yet, that she's going to need when the pack starts to dwindle down and the other girls start to pick apart what they don't understand. I think Max is going to get her feelings hurt a lot toward the middle of the season.


I enjoy what she says and think she's very funny, though she's not quite on target every time she tries to be. In this way she reminds me a lot of Pandora - ALMOST perfect with the quips and bon mots... but not quite there.


Her wigs need work and her nude breastplate was very lopsided. But then again, she walked the runway in polio crutches... which took a LOT of skill. But I hearken back to an earlier complaint of mine: I can't forget she's a boy.



Lovechild of Raja and Courtney Act
Some of the best makeup skills to ever grace the show (she is RIGHT up there with Raja and Raven). Out-of-this-world beautiful certainly is a great descriptor she has chosen for herself. But I predict she will be the first contestant ever to hear the criticism "STOP RELYING ON THAT FACE!"


It IS a competition, but I think in these super early stages there is such a thing as TOO competitive. I don't like how much she is already comparing herself to other girls. While I think she or Katya should've been the winner instead of Violet, I thought her reaction was a little over the top when she didn't win. Of course, it may have been edited that way as well.


She knows how to melt your retinas right out of your head, that much is true. I like that her looks were extremely varied, completely perfect, and each time she wore the garment: it NEVER wore her. She is honestly a supermodel. I love that.


But, super pretty supermodels have come and gone every season and I'm never that impressed with them (okay, I did drink the Courtney Act koolaid). But they don't win the show - not since Raja, anyway. And that's the thing about Miss Fame that bothers me most: she basically IS Raja, but prettier.


But... It works for her. Her on camera work outside of the show is captivating, and I found myself looking forward to her or Katya on every challenge. When she was on screen, I did not want it to end. I craved her presence.


I'm surprised to have a contestant who is SO pretty also be SO quick. Though I want her to be careful not to stray into bitchtown (and she's already been dubbed by many fans as one of the "Plastics" with Violet and Katya).


One of the most solid, professional, completely packaged products to hit the stage this year.



Lovechild of Sharon Needles and Alaska Thunderfuck
Okay, so she doesn't attempt to serve any Realness, but that is exactly her game and she is GOOD at it. I loved the Barbie-doll privates she painted onto herself for this challenge. I thought it was an excellent and funny way to balance her character. I love that, with Max, we have a truly original performer this year whose schtick has not yet been seen (at this level) on the show.


I like that she's funny AND competitive, and although she's not been the absolute NICEST to the other queens, she's not been a raging bitch either. She seems to be right where she needs to be - focused on her own game, and nobody else's.


Okay, that number-print dress up there is fantastic. That bow is flawless. That wig is amazing. She's accessorized ENOUGH, but not too much - this is how all of her looks have been so far: perfectly unique while still following the rules of taste and class. And though she's another queen (like Bianca and Sharon) whose makeup is stylized and probably going to remain pretty constant throughout the season, still... Bianca and Sharon both WON with that.


Just like Max, she's one of the most original characters to hit the show in a while. Why NOT be a Barbie doll drag queen, complete with doll parts and doll face?! And she's consistent. She's also very fun on camera - as a boy AND as a girl.


Leading into the season, she was one of the most talked about Queens. In interviews, shows, etc etc all the other queens referenced her. And there's a reason. She has a great combination of a polished and specific product, room to grow and try new things, and a competitive enough attitude to make her work hard, but enough confidence to know where her side of the street ends.


Almost every "confessional booth" moment she had made me laugh out loud. "I pretty much pride myself on using NONE of my actual parts."


What she does, she does very well. Though her bodysuit boobies were a little lopsided, I knew exactly what she was doing with her Barbie privates without her having to explain, and the way she paints her face literally does make her look like a giant, moving toy. Again: perhaps a little too specific a product, but what she does she does VERY well.


Lovechild of Chad Michaels and Bianca Del Rio
Gorgeous. Classy. Professional. Funny. She rounds out the top three because, like the other two, she obviously sharpened all of her weapons before heading out to Drag Race. And it shows. She is going to glide almost effortlessly to the finale.


Like Kennedy, she's a patent professional who knows EXACTLY where she stands in the crowd. But where Kennedy's persona gives off a "nuh uh, Gurl, don't come for me" persona, Kasha's persona is very "please come for me. I don't want to hurt you, but I will!" Also, in her confessional moments, the expressions she makes with her face are to die for.


Kasha Davis knows her proportions VERY well. Her stuff is classic and drag-y, and yet still exciting and fresh. Even in the look above - nothing I haven't seen before, and yet the details are all REMARKABLE to the point where I'm not at all mad that it may be a little "dated." Her makeup is FLAWLESS: I would honestly believe that was someone's mother. Her wigs are just styled enough that they don't like fresh-from-the-bag, but they also look like they could actually be real hair instead of some vaseline-d fantasy hair.


Like Chad, I see her more as a perfected version of an old favorite product, rather than someone forging fascinating and exotic new paths. She represents, to me, an extremely fine example of an older generation of Drag. So while she is not the new millenium's harbinger, she is absolutely a beacon that says "hey, bitches. We are still VERY relevant over here."


Look at the photo above. I don't know about you, but I can't take my eyes off of her. During her Meet the Queens video, I fell INSTANTLY in love with her character and her vision and her act. On the runway, she was an absolute BLAZE of glory. And when she did her reveal, even though her bodysuit was so orange it could've been used as Coco Montrese's highlighter, I still believed it was her body. She moved as though it was. I was totally convinced.


Mark my words: she's going to be VERY fun to watch this season. There'll be some classic zingers on par with "Go back to Party City where you belong"


She has obviously spent YEARS doing this, and her version of the artform is absolutely perfect. I can draw a LOT of parallels to Chad Michaels here. My only worry with her is that she may not be quite as versatile as the show often demands. Her very specific vision of her art is flawless, but it may not be enough.



Lovechild of Delta Work and Pandora Boxx
She's VERY smart, VERY funny, and like the rest of the Top Three, she has entered the competition at the top of her game. She is the first big bitch since Delta to REALLY know how to combine fashion with curves, and I love her level of competitiveness: enough to make you know she's hungry, not enough to make it tiresome.


She's fiercely competitive, but doesn't let everyone else know every chance she gets. She's hilarious and judgemental, but not in a way that's cruel or begs comparison. Overall, I think she's just bitchy enough to be a riot, while not crossing the line and becoming downright CUNTY.


As I said: first big girl since Delta to bring me some fashion. Though her looks were a little similar this time around, they all looked amazing and I thought she was absolutely one of the best nude illusions this week. Her wigs look like they could really be her hair, and her transformation from homely boy to GORGEOUS juicy model is nothing short of a masterpiece.


She's refreshing because she's sarcastic and sardonic without becoming MEAN. She stands out by the things she manages to slip into conversation, and by interjecting just enough personality, but not TOO MUCH, into everything she does. There's not another girl on her level this year, except perhaps Katya.


Her screen presence is to die for. It's like she GLOWS whenever she's on screen. Her smiles, her eyebrow arches, the pursing of her lips - it's all incredibly captivating.


I would never want to do something to make the glamour toad read me. Because I get the feeling I would never be able to get back up.


She knows her face backward and forward. She knows her body inch by motherfucking inch. I guarantee she is going to win the first "make an outfit out of candy wrappers" challenge, because she obviously knows how to make anything a Ginger Minj custom work.



Lovechild of Willam and Raven
She's the sarcastic queen with a razor sharp wit. She's got a number of talents at her disposal. She dresses like a dream and can be both fishy and drag-y. She's The Queen who will, at long last, win the crown that neither Willam nor Raven did... but should have.


She's fucking stunning and serves up KILLER body-ody-ody, but never brags about being beautiful and is humble about her body. She's sharp-tongued and quick, but makes her remarks that makes the other queens LAUGH, not reel. She doesn't care a fuck what the rest of them are doing, but also doesn't try and pretend they don't exist. She is EVERYTHING.


Her Soviet flag workroom look blew me away. Her spring look blew me away. Her fall look blew me away. Her runway reveal blew me away. She wears colors in a way that says "yeah, I know red is my color. But did you know I could wear neon green, too?" Her looks are simple, but don't read that way - they're calculated, meticulously crafted, and if you really look at the details its obvious they were not as simple to put together as they look.


From the first day the Meet the Queens videos were released, Katya was a standout to me. She's like a gorgeous standup comedian who models fashion in her spare time, steals the dresses, then sells them on ebay to buy plastic surgery. Hers was one of three that made me laugh out loud, and I watched hers three times before moving onto the next one. I've been hoping these last couple of months that she would be just as dynamic come show time and she did not disappoint.


Katya was one of the most filmed and quoted people in last night's episode. She weighed in on just about everything from her confessional booth. They cut to her reactions pretty consistently. You'll also notice she appears in just about half the clips from the peeks into the rest of the season. There's a good reason for this: the camera absolutely LOVES Katya.


"Not even tricks at home see my naked body. I have one candle burning in the farthest corner of the room." It's lines like these that will cement her for years to come as one of the favorite queens on the show.


There wasn't a damn thing wrong with ANYTHING she did on last night's episode. That she was merely safe was a complete shock to me: her outfits in all three runways were CLEAR frontrunners in my book. I just don't think there's ANYTHING bad that can be said about her yet. She's the closest to perfect on the show this year.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Liberal Censorship: How Liberal Activism Died

Once upon a time, I was a dyed-in-the-wool Activist. I would meet with leaders and lawmakers to try and make them see things in a way they had never seen them. I fought for equality and rights. I marched. I rallied. I protested. Often it was at the top of my lungs, demanding to be heard. Screaming and fighting go hand-in-hand, and believe you-me, it was a fight. Sometimes the point was to make a scene simply so there would be witnesses, the hope being that collective conscience would win the day and, with all eyes on them, the nemeses would crumble to the ground and reveal bright, shining new allies. Sometimes the point was to make someone see that a life-or-death situation really was life-or-death, not just an imagined danger looming ever on the horizon.

And I was fully aware then, too, of how "easy" I had it. There were men and women who fought for my rights TO fight - hell, to LIVE. Some gave their lives, others were taken. A plague had been allowed to ravage my people just a decade and a half before, and people who watched more friends die in six years than I had yet made in the world continued the fight and the message. There was a time when there were more memories than there were warriors. The very fact that I had "allies" was my advantage over my predecessors.

In those days, the fight was different. We could no longer be fired for being gay, but we could still be denied a job. We could identify as gay, but we could not assemble on school or government property under a "gay" name. We could teach abstinence in school, but we had to learn the do's and don'ts of gay sex and safe sex on our own time - often by painful trial-and-error. We could still be labeled as "sex offenders" simply by dating someone whose parents weren't supportive of the relationship. We spent our time begging movies and TV and books and the media in general to show gay people as loving, respected couples rather than lonely, predatory comic relief. I remember Ellen coming out on TV. I remember the first gay kiss on prime time. I remember how it felt, for the first time, to be visible.

In that time, I said and did a lot of offensive things. I kissed men and women I didn't know in front of strangers. I dressed provocatively in an amalgam of men's and women's clothing at an age that was probably "too young." I fought to wear a pink triangle badge on my shirt when we did Cabaret, to remind the audience it wasn't just the Jews who knew the horrors of genocide. I wrote hyper-sexual poetry that used curse words and racial slurs and epithets. I nearly sued the school board for the right to have the word "gay" in the name of a school-sanctioned club. I made. A LOT. Of people. Very angry.

And I can even remember the very moment I decided I was no longer an Activist. It was when I attended an on-campus meeting of a so-called "activist" group made up of a dozen cisgendered white people. The discussion revolved around the rights of bicyclists to ride in the MIDDLE of a lane on the HIGHWAY, rather than on the shoulder. I stated that if I were driving on a winding road and was faced with the split-second decision to hit a bicyclist in my lane or hit an oncoming car, I would WITHOUT QUESTION hit the bicyclist. I was literally screamed at for fifteen minutes before the group decided we should picket outside of taco bell because they underpaid their tomato farmers in Hawaii. I was asked not to join (which was actually more a relief than anything else) unless I would admit being wrong for my beliefs on OTHER topics. That was the nail in my Activism coffin.

Today's fight is a far cry from the fight of my youth. Today we fight for the right to marry in the REST of the states. Today we fight for the right to adopt children, to keep custody in divorces, to be able to donate blood. When I was young I never imagined I'd even be able to get married. Now I can, in most of the US. I never dreamed there were gay people who had children and families. I am now friends with HUNDREDS.


Can we just take a minute here to discuss a principle that modern activism (rightfully) harps on constantly? It's called privilege. Once upon a time we fought for the right to be recognized as something other than sexual predators suffering from a mental illness. Now we have the privilege of whining about namecalling.

Too often I see my community begin to foam at the mouth because of a WORD or a PHRASE. And what's worse, we demonize EACH OTHER for not being equally politically correct at all times. RuPaul - undoubtedly one of the five most powerful and influential people in our entire worldwide community - becomes the target of untold vitriol and hatred because of a made up phrase/word she uses on her show. ON HER WILDLY POPULAR SHOW... THAT HAS ELEVATED DRAG TO A WIDELY ACCEPTED PERFORMANCE ART. THAT HAS MADE DRAG QUEENS INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

As far as I'm concerned, RuPaul can say whatever the fuck she wants. She has MORE THAN earned that right in my eyes.

What's really terrifying is that we, as a community, are espousing the very same value that used to threaten our very existence. Remember when the word "gay" was a bad word? Remember when "gay" people being in television or movies or anything at all was considered profligate and dangerous and pornographic? I do. Barely, but I remember it. I remember when Colorado voted NO on protecting the rights of gay people in the workplace. I remember when television syndicates refused to air Ellen on the grounds her show was too "adult" and "immoral" to be seen by young people.

I'm sick of seeing my community up in arms over WORDS. Words are just that - they are abstract concepts with no corporeal form. If you walk into the woods and call a tree a "bush," it does NOTHING to that tree. Go. Try it. Tell the tree it's a bush. Every single day. If the tree dies, it wasn't the word that killed it, it was something else. The word has no power over the tree because the tree A. cannot internalize it, and B. knows it's a fucking tree and so it acts accordingly.

No matter who you choose, there is nobody who is qualified to decide what can and cannot be said. And when we demand for the cancellation of shows, for the firing of employees, for the eradication of "hate speech," we may think we are doing ourselves a favor, but in reality we are doing ourselves a disservice. It is just as easy to ban the word "faggot" as it is to ban the word "gay." It is just as easy to fire someone for saying the word "she's a dyke" as it is to fire them for saying the word "I'm a lesbian." We cannot draw a line in the sand when it comes to language, because anyone who can speak or write or communicate can manipulate that line. With enough support, that pendulum could swing back on us in a very ugly fashion.

Censorship is dangerous. Censorship is a WEAPON OF GENOCIDE. Period.

And beyond that - we should be teaching our youth that they are stronger than labels and words. It doesn't matter what verbal weapons are thrown at them - they will not hurt. When we fight for the right to never feel offended, when our rights have been hard fought by offending others, we are displaying the very ultimate in hypocrisy. We are telling our youth that someone calling them a "faggot" affects them. Hurts them. Well guess what? There hasn't been a single month of my life - EVER - when I haven't been called a faggot. EVER. It never stops. If I had been taught at a young age that this word could damage me, I'd have sustained a lot of extra damage by now.

Also I, for one, find it comforting to know exactly who my enemies are. If the Republican Party ever stopped demonizing us, thousands of our "supporters" would flock to them to save a little money. Hell I'd probably vote Republican once in a while if only they didn't hate the gays and women and immigrants so much. But how would I know the extent to which they hate gays, women and ethnic people if they didn't - CONSTANTLY - state it?

Harvey Milk - one of our patron saints, I daresay - often said that "hope is never silent." He believed that visibility was our most powerful tool, and in a large way that has proven true. My visibility as a gay man at a young age helped change a LOT of hearts and minds - men and women that used to "pray for my soul" and were convinced I was diseased and in pain now campaign for equality and vote against candidates who demonize our people. I did that. I was not alone, but you bet your ass there's a part of them that remembers little gay-ol-me. And I offended every. single. fucking. one of them. at some point.

Furthermore, I now currently work as an openly gay man in an industry that is OVERWHELMINGLY straight-white-Republican-men. And I'm fucking THRIVING. There isn't a day goes by that I don't have to fight for my right to be at the top of the heap. And ya know what? I am right there at the top as often as not, and have never been very far away from it even when I'm not Alpha Dog. I have proven beyond a doubt to everyone that has seen me that I am just as capable of greatness, that there is absolutely NOTHING about me that precludes me from success. I can do EVERYTHING they can do. And many of them probably didn't believe someone like me existed this time last year. I also don't care what anyone says about me, and recognize that deep down, it's their actions, not their words, that matter.

Oddly enough, I get in more fights with "Liberal" people over the right to say what I want than I do with "Conservative" people over my right to exist.

Do me a favor, my fellow Liberals: quit caring so fucking much what other people say about you. The more power you give them, the more power they will take. If you simply must be offended by something recognize this: there are people that are offended by you, too. Does that mean you should think/speak/act differently to please them?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Yes, my loves, it is that time of year again when we all start saying "Hunty" and "Darling" and "Gurrrrrrrrrrl" to one another a lot more. It's the season wherein we GAG on ELEGANZA, we LIVE for what is being SERVED, and we all crave MUG, FISH, and BODY-ODY-ODY.

RuPaul's Drag Race has returned for it's sixth season.

As most of you reading this probably already know, I'm kinda sorta FAMOUS for my annual predictions, which are usually pretty damn spot on (I did accurately predict 3 of the top 4 last year after a single episode). This year I had to watch TWO episodes to see all the queens - I often find the pre-season materials to be an inaccurate depiction of their ACTUAL skill levels - so it feels like the predictions are a little late. Be warned: this post contains spoilers about the first two episodes.

The following predictions are based not only on the girls' work thus far in the competition, but on extensive online research (into their drag careers, not trolling through the internet trying to discover leaked information), as well as careful study of teasers, trailers, and the opening credits of Untucked. I also take into account the formulaic nature of previous seasons, as well as the fates of previous queens whose behavior garnered them accolades or... acco-SHADEs. I have seen their audition tapes, I have seen their work before and since the announcement of the cast. I have studied these girls intently.




the lovechild of Pandora Boxx and Alyssa Edwards
THAT ON WHICH I GAGGED: Kelly is a well-known, respected LA queen. She is naturally funny and quick-witted. And though her persona can be bitchy, she does so with enough class and with enough heart that it never feels cruel. She's a little Carol Burnett, she's a little Joanna Lumley, and her Marilyn illusion is stellar.
THAT WHICH WAS BUSTED: Kelly, darling... how did you do drag for 17 years without learning how to hot glue an outfit together or style a wig? Adore Delano at least has enough sense to obscure her wash-and-wear-hair with a funny hat... did you think you were going to skate through on your reputation?!
BITCH SHOULDA DONE: Kelly should have brought her weapons sharpened and at the ready. Even her lipsynch was lackluster and disappointing. I almost believe she and her good gal-pal Willam Belli had a bet going that she could get eliminated faster. She was right. But there's hope - her MASSIVE following and support from Celebriqueens like Coco Peru may just land her a spot on All Stars 2 coming this summer.


the lovechild of Phoenix and Tammy Brown
THAT ON WHICH I GAGGED: I will say this about her - I LOVE her concept. "I love things that are so hideously ugly... they're beautiful." Yes! Like Crocs, or Jiggly Caliente!
THAT WHICH WAS BUSTED: Just about everything. I could have done a better job in this competition, using only my current wardrobe and skill.
BITCH SHOULDA DONE: I can't even tell you. Honestly, Magnolia, you were quite possibly the single worst contestant in the show's history - and I still remember Serena ChaCha, Nicole Paige Brooks AND Shangela. I think if she had brought her quirky, bizarre outlook on drag with a more positive attitude and enough humility to say "I could learn from this" she could have... no. Nope. She wasn't pretty, she wasn't funny, she wasn't particularly interesting. Guess whose fan-following is NOT going to get her on All Stars 2?


Historically, the initial "make couture out of caca" challenge gives way to a bevvy of themed video challenges, paired with runways that are meant to show off the pre-existing wardrobes of the queens. These challenges efficiently eliminate the queens who seem to be totally unable to step out of their comfort zones.


the lovechild of Latrice Royale and The Princess
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Vi Vacious, being the venerable New York Club Kid she is, can SERVE it hunny. Leave it to a Ball Queen - and not no Mariah, nor an Alexis Mateo - to stomp a runway, serve up some piping hot Face Casserole, and burn a hole in your memory: whether it went off as planned or not, her entrance is going down in history with Raja's as one of the most memorable.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: The Execution. Vi's ideas are golden, her pedigree is undeniable, and if nothing else, her personality is fiery and fascinating... but her ability to bring that spark to her craft is lacking. Her outfits are *almost* ferocious, with a distinctly homemade flavor not unlike Carrie White's prom dress.
THAT WHICH *MIGHT* BE TURNED: Vi represents a side of drag that cannot be ignored, and has been all-but-ignored on the show: The Ball Queen. Drag reached - some would say it's apotheosis - in the NYC Ball scene, where it was less about a flawless female illusion and more about a stagger and a swagger, a sharp tongue and facial intensity. The comparisons she has already received to figures like Pepper LaBeija suit her nicely. Vi serves us that world better than anyone before her. If, for a change of pace, Ru pays less attention to the purely aesthetic aspects of drag and considers the next Drag Superstar's grasp of it's history and culture, Vi has this on lockdown. Unfortunately, based on the celebrity judge lineup for this season... I can already tell she DOESN'T.

the lovechild of Tyra Sanchez and Mariah
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Her makeup is masterful. Her looks are both mesmerizing and tasteful. Her hairstyles are inventive. And she pulls it all off effortlessly. She may be young, but this gurl is well-taught, and has been carefully training for this day. She is part of the generation who grew up preparing herself for RPDR, and it shows.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: Besides that grill (to quote Jujubee: is the barbecue cancelled?) Trinity's attitude is all wrong. Every year there's the queen who takes herself and her ART so fucking seriously that she underestimates those who have found the humor in taping their penises up their asses and drawing boobs on their bodies. They spend the competition deciding what the other queens should and should not do, and mistake self-respect for indignance. She has already shown her propensity for both behaviors, which I find extremely unattractive in a drag queen. Combine that with an on-camera dullness to match Vivienne Pinay yawn-for-yawn, and you just know this bitch will lose a lipsynch.
THAT WHICH *MIGHT* BE TURNED: She IS talented. VERY talented. In a season that is dominated by comedy queens, she might learn a thing or two about lightening up and punching up the camp. And she is obviously HUNGRY for this crown. She could be this year's recipient of the "most growth" award, which is usually enough to get someone into the top four.


lovechild of Jessica Wild and Rebecca Glasscock
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Despite the editors' best efforts to make her appear annoying, vapid, and flighty, I actually find Joslyn delightful. Her laugh is effervescent, her sweetness is genuine and enduring. And beyond that, she gives even the great Courtney Act a run for her money in the legs-and-ass department. Plus, her corny jokes ARE funny, and when she talks about her outfit during Untucked, I realized that she is very self-aware, and very much in on the joke that is her persona.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: Her taste level could use some improvement. She needs to do some reading on the subject of Coco Chanel and her philosophies on fashion.
THAT WHICH *MIGHT* BE TURNED: When she is on, she is a total stunner. And whether the judges liked it or not, I definitely saw and appreciated the concept in her initial outfit. It's also refreshing to see someone on TV who is enthusiastic and bubbly - though I do love Bianca, I think her incessant ennui will get old. I don't think Joslyn's magical world-view will get old any time soon.


the lovechild of Manila Luzon and Shannel
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Gia is the visual epitome of drag. Her ability to play with proportion, to seamlessly blend the absurd and the fabulous, and her ability to quickly, sharply, and fairly read a bitch are definitely huge assets in the competition. I actually don't think she comes off as a bitch, and I've agreed with just about every word she has spoken thus far. Plus, she is one of the best we've ever seen on the show at taking something surprising - like a hula hoop purse - and SELLING IT as if it were the next big thing.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: She is the unfortunate recipient of this year's Dead In The Eyes award. While her fiery personality can be fun to watch, there's something unnerving about the fact that it never touches her eyes. Beyond that, she has a slight fixation on what the other queens are doing - and that's energy that would be best spent on her own side of the line.
THAT WHICH *MIGHT* BE TURNED: Gia surprised me quite a bit in this first episode. Going into the season, I saw her as middle-of-the-pack at best. After the first two episodes, I see her as a front-runner. She's one of the more polished  queens in the pack. She could continue to surprise me, however I do have a sinking suspicion her on-camera abilities will be her downfall.


Season after season, a huge turning point in the competition comes in the form of... The Snatch Game - which is almost always the challenge presented to the Top Eight. And now we have the new tradition of the RuPaul Roast to look forward to as well. After proving that they can make a dress out of styrofoam cups, and they can read sexual innuendo on camera in a costume of Ru's choosing, this point in the competition forces the girls to reveal their hands card-by-card. It also pushes them into situations that are honestly INCREDIBLY difficult - celebrity impersonation, stand-up comedy, politics, etc etc. It is at this point that those who came expecting to rest on their crutches are revealed and destroyed.


the lovechild of Shangela and DiDa Ritz
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: I didn't expect to like Adore. And I don't. I LOVE her. As a friend of mine pointed out, she is the epitome of little boy dressing up in mommy's clothes for fun. Her charm is unmatched this season - it seems pretty damn impossible to hate her. Even when she's talking in her "I'm a dumb girl" voice, she's telling jokes about Heatherette. When her mouth is hanging open in a drooling, vacuous pout, her eyes have a sharp sparkle to them. She's got that weird-kid-trying-to-be-a-popular-kid-while-making-fun-of-them flavor to her, which I find ever so appealing.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: There isn't anything about Adore I would call "busted." She needs polish and experience. If this were a competition made up entirely of drag queens under two years old, Adore would destroy. Sadly, she's up against queens who have been doing this as long as she's been alive. By comparison, her wigs, her makeup, her dresses - everything looks a little shabbier than it is.
THAT WHICH *MIGHT* BE TURNED: Last year we had the Coco-Alyssa storyline to keep us guessing from week to week. This year they are setting Adore and Laganja up to be the rivalry of the season. While I do believe Laganja is further along in her development as of the start of this season, I see a star in Adore with whom Laganja will only be able to compete for a limited time. Adore WILL overtake her. I just don't believe it will be this season. But I'm almost CERTAIN we will see Adore in All Stars.


the lovechild of Delta Work and Jinkx Monsoon
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Darienne may be the funniest queen ever to grace the show. Seriously, though Ben Delacreme and Bianca Del Rio are both gut-busters this year, I split a seam every time Darienne is on camera, whether speaking or mugging. She's got a sophisticated understanding of herself as a person, and that brings with it a charm that cannot be tamed. Also, her tits are the best in the competition - not just because they're real, but because she knows EXACTLY how to use them. I'm also in love with her ability to be aggressive without seeming aggressive, to be competitive without seeming competitive, and to be humble without seeming humble.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: Unfortunately, like big girls of seasons past, her size gets in the way of her fashion sense. Her outfit for this latest episode was horrendous, and I knew the moment she hit the runway she'd be lipsynching.
THAT WHICH *MIGHT* BE TURNED: but WHAT a lipsynch! I could not take my eyes off of her. It helps that she was paired with a HORRIBLE queen who basically stuck a mop handle in her ass and got face down on the stage, but even against a strong competitor I think Darienne would have slayed. With a lipsynch of that caliber - spot on, funny, passionate - she is going to be difficult to bump out.

#6. MILK

the lovechild of Sharon Needles and Raja
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Her ideas are wild and a little uncomfortable. Her silhouette is fantastic - like Jack Skellington with tits!. And she is brave and constantly thinking of ways to push the envelope. Her confidence in her own abilities is compelling, and she makes a stunning man to boot!
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: She is basically Sharon Needles 2.0. If this were season 4 all over again, Milk would be the winner, and Sharon would get on the show and appear boring and outdated. They even look the same in drag.
THAT WHICH *MIGHT* BE TURNED: Just like Sharon and her constant ability to push the envelope and surprise me, Milk will be a fascinating figure to watch. I suspect she will always bring her A game, but then her comfort zone is making others uncomfortable. Eventually I think it will get old, mostly because we've seen this before.


I find episodes around this point in the season to be ever-so-slightly heartbreaking. There's always one girl I'm craving to see sent home whom I know will be in the top three, and I'm watching girls that I love get sacrificed for tiny mistakes. Usually, there are challenge winners and losers with whom I severely disagree. So I bear in mind that my own personal tastes and RuPaul's differ greatly. This is where the pressure begins to take its toll, and the real crazy starts to bloom. 


the lovechild of Yara Sofia and Jade Jolie
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Laganja has a wonderful, weirdo quality about her. Whereas Milk, like Sharon Needles, tried endlessly to be subversive and shocking, Laganja just IS those things. Coming out of the first photo challenge (which she very deservedly won) and getting back into boy drag only to apply jet black lipstick? I fucking LOVED it. Her strange and unnerving wig paired with a totally unnecessary Elizabethan collar?! It was as if she was a Japanese horror heroine whose hair could strangle you to death. I'm also impressed by her immaculate transformations - her face and her look are wonderfully chameleonic, I don't always recognize her in photos. She would be  that kooky, shocking character even as an Executive Assistant or a Paralegal. She is such a natural on camera and in character...
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: ...that it's sad when she constantly tries so damn hard. Its understandable when your drag mother is Alyssa Edwards, proud owner of more quotable RPDR memories than any two other queens combined, but what Laganja needs to internalize is that, just like she doesn't have to try to be weird and edgy, Alyssa doesn't have to try to be punchy.
BITCH MIGHT WIN IF...: she spends this competition listening, watching and learning as much as she does talking.
BUT SHE BETTAH WATCH OUT FOR...: Adore. I think their positions are very reversible. One of them will last much longer than the other in the competition. I'm betting on Laganja because her rough edges still haven't shown. But Adore could just as easily continue to surprise me. And should they reverse positions, I think Adore has a better chance of taking it all the way than Laganja - Ms. Pothead has already demonstrated a propensity for drama, which will get her eliminated late in the game if she doesn't learn to reel that in.


the lovechild of Tammy Brown and Alaska Thvnderfvck
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Ben's character is so well crafted, so well played. His transformation is so thorough. And he does an incredible job of being utterly delightful the whole time. His smile is the best on the show, his attitude is wonderful. And he is obviously extraordinarily talented - to make something tasteful and gorgeous out of Golden Girls props... wow. And that black-and-white-checkered sun hat he was wearing to greet the other seven girls... WOW.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: nothing whatsoever. My decision to place him fourth comes from a feeling that Michelle Visage is going to take a disliking to him, based on her critiques thus far. But Ben's is a character and an illusion that is expertly - no, PERFECTLY - pulled off.
BITCH MIGHT WIN IF...: nobody quite notices her... proximity to last year's winner. Ben and Jinkx are very close gal pals. Luckily Ben is a LOT stronger in the hard skills of the craft than Jinkx was, so he won't have to deal with the incessant bullying that Jinkx did.
BUT SHE BETTAH WATCH OUT FOR...: Bianca del Rio. Though their humor is totally opposite, Bianca and Ben have a lot of similarities - both have a ton of taste of the ability to construct a look. Both have already won a main challenge. And both lean VERY hard on their comedy to keep them afloat. The major reason I rank Bianca above Ben is that Bianca's particular brand of acid humor is pretty much NEW to the show, whereas Ben reminds me an awful lot of Jinkx in terms of his tone.


the lovechild of PhiPhi O'Hara and Chad Michaels
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: I'm going to sound biased and toot my own horn at the same time - mastering the art of being sweet and totally cunty at the same time is HARD WORK. I can appreciate it when I see someone who has also mastered both. Plus his hard skills are to die for - that dress was... transcendent.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: Bianca is the only top-four with an obvious weakness - despite her ability to make jokes about it, her makeup skills are honestly jarring and off-putting. GURL YOU BETTAH SISSY DAT FACE! She's SO CLOSE to looking fabulous that is almost hurts to see her not quite make it.
BITCH MIGHT WIN IF...: she continues on the path she's on now. She keeps other queens off her tracks by being just scary enough and just sweet enough at the same time. They won't come for her because they at once know 1. If I hurt her feelings I'd lose a powerful ally, and 2. If she decides to fight back, I WILL lose.
BUT SHE BETTAH WATCH OUT FOR...: Ben Delacreme. He's overall a little stronger at the drag game than Bianca, and though I personally appreciate Bianca's sense of humor more, I think Ben's humor is just as strong, just as rehearsed, just as solid in his persona.


the lovechild of Nina Flowers and Morgan McMichaels
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: She came in dragging a parachute behind her and not wearing a wig. It was at once brave and strange, and the fact that she looked like a gorgeous extra from a remake of Addicted to Love just cinches the deal. Plus she is a pleasure to watch speak or interact.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: She needs to be a little more consistently positive. There's the possibility for whininess that ought not continue much longer.
BITCH MIGHT WIN IF...: The last few episodes involve truly mind-bending challenges. Of all 14 queens, I think April did the best with what she was given to work with. She made duck dynasty into a goddess with epaulettes and a purse that wouldn't hold anything but a rubber duck.
BUT SHE BETTAH WATCH OUT FOR...: I think April is the dark horse of this competition (yes, Joslyn, DARK horse), and doesn't have a whole lot to worry about. So long as she applies herself, she will last a long time. She's beautiful, creative, and fun to watch. Ru will hold onto that.


the lovechild of Willam Belli and Carmen Carrera
THAT ON WHICH I GAG: Just about everything. Not to gush like Joslyn Fox, but I have been a huge fan of Courtney for YEARS now. To see her finally debut on the show is a dream come true for me and a damn shame for every queen against which she competes.
THAT WHICH IS BUSTED: I do fear she is going to rely on that body too heavily, which could cost her in the late-game runways.
BITCH WILL WIN BECAUSE: She is, without a doubt, the most beautiful drag queen ever to hit that runway. Hands down. Combine that with the fact that she's funny - maybe not THE funniest, but definitely near the top of that pack - she's incredibly sweet and supportive, and her taste and sensibility are absolutely unclockable. She is EVERYTHING Ru has ever dreamed of for this title - she is at once stunningly gorgeous, unendingly generous, and the pinnacle of charm - just try to not look at her when she and anyone/everyone else is on camera.
BUT SHE BETTAH WATCH OUT FOR...: The only thing that could be Courtney's undoing is her ego. Not that I feel it's unjustified, but if it comes down to a fan vote again this year, showing any iota of raw ego can cost you. If she spends this season positioning herself as a possible Ms Congeniality, she will not have to settle for the consolation prize, she will take home the grand prize.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


As a corollary to my last post about deal breakers, and how enforcing them in our own lives helps us ALL out in the long run, here are 12 that I've identified in my immediate sphere of influence, some of which may not be immediately apparent as a "deal breaker" to some. I submit to you that yes, they are all huge problems, no matter what.

Some of these I have experienced directly. Some of these I've noticed in close proximity to me. Some of these I've even exhibited myself. And again - NONE of these things make someone a bad PERSON, but I do believe all of these necessarily exclude someone from being a good PARTNER...

Let's face it, my Gays, as a community, we drink a lot. There's the old adage of the first gay cruise, that left port stocked just as any other cruise ship would have been, and ran out of liquor in the first two days. None of us is surprised by this story. And I'm sure we all have a short list of friends in the community for whom we are silently writing their intervention letters in our heads.

At some point, as we grow older, our body does start to realize "hey, this is poisonous," and the ill-effects of alcohol are harder to escape. For me, the approach to Dirty Thirty saw my body become increasingly less tolerant of venomous booze. I've seen similar experiences echoed by many around me.

Mentally I didn't respond RIGHT away, and for a while I continued to try and party like it was 2009... and I was still thoroughly in my 20s. Finally, begrudgingly, I began to get the hint, and my overall party level has tapered off. There are still times I over-indulge, but I'm usually fine by 10am, and those can happen on one glass of wine without a large enough meal beforehand.

However, it takes a special kind of disregard for your body to overindulge to the point where you spend the entirety of the next day sick. And let's be honest - none of us is ever all that surprised when we get there. We typically know, sometimes we even plan in advance. This isn't really an accident so much as a subconscious choice.

We all do it *sometimes* - on holidays or other special occasions - but usually it's followed my a long period of "I never want to do THAT again..." when we are extra cautious to ensure we stay on the neat-and-tidy side of that fence. Then, many moons later, we forget how much it sucked, overindulge again, and are again reminded - "oh yeah. Drinking that much means one helluva bad day."

We've already established this is not an ACCIDENTAL behavior, so it stands to reason that someone who does this with any kind of frequency either A. does not have the wisdom to learn from past mistakes, or B. simply disregards their own health and well-being (and therefore the same of others) for the sake of immediate pleasure.

VERDICT: kick it to the curb. This kind of pattern binge drinking is a tell-tale sign of a highly addictive personality, and you'll never really be sure if you're dating the drunk or the sober version of that person.

The term "serial monogamist" is bandied about quite a bit in our community. Typically it refers to someone who, rather than engaging in random sexual encounters with whomever, whenever it strikes their fancy, prefers to have sex with ONE person at a time, typically for a few months at a time.

Normal, every day "dating" in our world can often resemble this pattern since we don't usually have reservations about hopping in the sack early on. No risk of pregnancy? Let's fuck. Of course, we're all well aware of the myriad risks of promiscuity, so when we really like someone we want to protect them (and be protected in return) by choosing not to sleep around. As a result, many many gays choose to only "date" one person at a time, to a bevy of results.

More often than not this ends with an unrequited decision that "this isn't working out." After all, each of us will only have one relationship that lasts the rest of our lives. Then, both men move their separate ways, one usually a lot more wounded than the other.

The healthiest response to this is for both people to take a look at the situation and take stock of their role in it. The one who is left usually does this without needing to be told - often too harshly and for too long (yes, I speak from experience). But it behooves the one who is leaving to take a look at what they've just done and say "I just hurt someone. Could this have been avoided? Is there something I can do in the future so it's less likely to happen again?"

This necessarily requires some time for private reflection and introspection, something almost nobody can do when fascinated by the glamour of a new lover.

It makes perfect sense that sometimes, the right person comes along before the end of, or immediately after, the previous relationship. And who am I to tell anyone not to follow their heart? However, when it becomes a pattern, it betrays at best a fascination not with connection, but with butterflies in the tummy - and at worst, a callous disregard for the effect one's actions have on others.

VERDICT: Get out ma face. You're not falling in love with ME, you're falling in love with LOVE. Which has no pulse or identity... which means you have no idea what it is.

We do not live in a Disney cartoon. Sure, there are heroes and villains in our world, but things are not as clean cut as "he's the villain because he wants to hurt people." "She's the hero because she wants to help people." Things are more "wibbly-wobbly" and tenuous than that. Often times, the "villain" doesn't realize they are hurting people, or hurting *some* is justified by the good it does for *others*. Hitler didn't think he was a villain. Conversely, sometimes we hurt people by trying to help them. Ever pet-sit for a friend, only to have something bad happen to their pet on your watch? You never MEANT for that to happen, and yet...

So the idea of having an adversary is, at heart, ludicrous. Immature. That doesn't mean everyone has to like you - lord knows there are plenty of people who do NOT like me. But typically, a mature, healthy adult can simply put up a veil of silence and say "that is a persona non grata." And if silence doesn't suffice, there's always avoidance. Move to another room, go to another bar, etc. If that's even a challenge, there's direct communication: "please don't invite X because I don't want to see them," or "can we go somewhere else? X is usually there at that time, and I'd rather not put myself in that situation."

At extreme levels of immaturity, peace is not possibly, and then the pissing contest ensues. Yes, I've been there before, and it isn't pretty. It becomes a competition of who can be meaner or crueler to whom, and sometimes even turns into the possibility for physical violence.

If the simple act of going out on the town could result in either one of you being stabbed... there's a problem. First, why knowingly put yourself in an unsafe position? Second, what kind of a judge of character is he that he dates psychos? How MANY psychos has he dated? Does he attract psychos because he IS a psycho?

VERDICT: Even with Obamacare in effect, no man is worth a trip to the emergency room. Let him fly.

One of the wisest pieces of advice I've ever received is "you learn the most from those with whom you spend the most time." It makes sense - our attitudes, opinions and behaviors are often the result of discussion and compromise with those we hold dear.

So it stands to reason, when we choose to let someone be close to us, it's because that's what we want. And looking at the people I know, I'd say it rings true - like often hangs with like.

So if his Bestie - the one who saw your picture before your first date, the one whose approval you secretly KNOW you must have, the one whose texts he'll answer on a date - is the type who attracts or follows drama... guess what? He's Drama.

And herein lies the rub: we all have the same amount of time to distribute to our loved ones. When he was single, the Bestie got first pick. Now that he's getting close to you, hopefully you'll start climbing those ranks. The first time you go head-to-head with the Bestie for a chunk of Him-Time, there's going to be a problem.

And remember: we've already established he likes drama. It's going to be way more dramatic to watch someone get hit by a bus than stage a level-headed compromise...

VERDICT: No. Sir. No more.

This one is particularly near and dear to me. It's especially important here in Denver, an area of the country that is full-to-bursting with college students and corporate training grounds where middle-managers spend the first year of their careers before going where they're REALLY supposed to be.

Here's the bottom line: he already knows his future isn't HERE. and because of that he's already one foot out the door. Sure, he wants intimacy and connection and love and sex for the next year of his life, but there's also a shiny, new city of unexplored possibilities waiting in his future, and you'd be an utter fool to think he's not aware of that. He might grow to truly care about you deeply, even love you, but is a year enough time to alter the direction of his life for you? Is a year enough time to alter the direction of your life for him?

Probably not. Maybe... but probably not.

And before you delude yourself with imaginary fixes like long-distance relationships, or commuter relationships remember: he doesn't necessarily know what he's going to find on the other end. There just may be a close enough approximation of you in Seattle. It doesn't mean he cares about you any less, but that close approximation sure is going to feel good to cuddle with when he misses you...

VERDICT: Not gonna say it's not the right kind of man, but it's not the right time. Do yourselves a favor and don't let it blossom. The further you let it get, the more it's going to hurt when he leaves.

He goes to bed at the same time every night. He knows exactly when he needs to leave to get to work on time. He has the exact same grocery list every week, and runs his errands at the same time every day. Everything in his apartment has its ideal place. In short: HE IS PUT. TOGETHER.

I'm not going to lie - I find this attractive. Especially because so much of my 20s was marked with chaos and uncertaintly, a man who knows exactly where he's going to be every second of every day is refreshingly... corporate. It reeks of stability.

It also reeks of coping mechanism. We are chaotic creatures - every single one of us, instinctively, with move toward disorder rather than order. There are plenty out there who have mastered the art of organization in a way that is completely healthy, but this kind of fastidiousness is dangerous. Because love - LOVE is messy.

At first, you'll find it thrilling to conform to his habits. How cute, we're going to bed together. How cute, we're leaving for work together. How cute, I'm perfectly able to help him keep his place clean. But then you won't be able to sleep one night, and your tossing and turning might keep him up. You won't be able to find your keys one morning, so he leaves five minutes late. You decide you've had enough Mexican food and want something different for lunch this weekend. You forget your bag on his chair and it's in his way when he gets home.

Slowly but surely, your imperfect assimilation to his schedule will erode his acceptance of you down, until you are a nuisance and a bother. And he will give you the boot.

VERDICT: If he has no room for mistakes in his life, he has no room for you. Seek your space somewhere else.

Mark my words: this is probably the most uncompromising, steadfast dealbreaker on this list. There is NO reason on EARTH to have an issue with drag queens... except internalized homophobia.

He doesn't have to wear wigs or makeup or high heels or dresses. But if he despises those who choose to do just that, it's because there's a part of him that hates himself for not being that brave. There IS. NO. OTHER. REASON. PERIOD.

I'm not saying he should be able to name every queen on every season of RuPaul's Drag Race in the order they were eliminated (like I can), but if he bristles at the idea of a drag show, or makes derogatory comments at boys who "look" or "act" like girls, there is self-hatred present, and given the chance he will grow to hate you just as much as he hates himself.

VERDICT: Get. The. Fuck. Out. He needs therapy, STAT.

When someone is riding in your car, they are your guest. It's just like when they're seated at your dinner table or sleeping under your roof. Just about every religion on the planet, every culture that has ever existed will agree that you TREAT YOUR GUESTS WELL. You may not be able to control everything about their experience, but that which you can control you want to be pleasant. You want to take good care of them. You want them to be happy and comfortable.

Some of the things you can control are how hard your foot is pressed to the gas pedal. How much you drink before offering to drive, or when you've already agreed to drive.

You are precious cargo, and if he's truly a man, he's going to treat you as such. If he's speeding, driving while impaired, or otherwise driving dangerously he's giving you a clear signal - I don't give a FUCK about you.

Listen to him when he says that. It quite literally could save your life.

VERDICT: it doesn't matter how enchanting the evening was, we all look the same being scraped off the pavement. Let him drive off into the sunset alone.

Though I was raised in an idealistic, saccharine and utterly homogeneous society that would hotly debate me on this topic, my years in Los Angeles taught me something important: Everyone's racist. Everyone. It's part of our inborn survival instincts to mistrust things that are different. Dangerous situations are born of unfamiliar territory. Not to say that we should hate, or discriminate, but pre-judging situations and, yes, people, is an intrinsic part of being human.

This also means that we pre-judge potential mates. And especially as males - who are required to be attracted ENOUGH to their mate to hold an erection long enough to ejaculate - we pre-judge based on factors related solely to physical attraction. Body. Appearance. Behavior.

I'm not going to lie about it: I am more attracted to men of some races than others. I am not what I would consider a "body nazi" by any means, but I am attracted to men within a certain range of height-weight proportion.

Having these mate-seeking requirements isn't the issue. It's unavoidable - if you aren't physically attracted, you aren't physically attracted. It's the need to "cull the herd" by "weeding out" those who do not fit those requirements. When you broadcast that you're only attracted to "masculine white jocks WHO ACT LIKE MEN," what you're really saying is "if you don't fit the bill, don't waste my time."

But... that's a living, breathing human with experiences and thoughts all their own. They're no more a waste of someone's time than you are. You have plenty of friends and family members with whom you would not copulate even if given a chance, but they aren't a waste of your time, are they?

It's pure arrogance to assume you'll be so surrounded by masculine white jocks that you won't have any time to even notice anyone else, and it's pure ignorance to assume there simply could not be a black, large or effeminate man with enough strength, character and beauty to burrow into your heart. If you must judge - and we all must - have the grace to keep it to yourself.

VERDICT: It is ALWAYS an honor and a compliment when someone finds you beautiful, and it is an honor and a compliment that not everybody gets to hear all that often. Even if you wouldn't fuck them, be open to the idea that they still find you beautiful, and if they want to, let them tell you.

If you wanna know more about him without asking questions, look no further than his friends. Through years of being around one another, my friends and I interact and relate in ways that are uniquely tailored to one another, and an observant person would learn a lot about me simply by watching my friends when we're together.

I'm fairly certain this is true for all of us.

His friends, without even meaning to, will give you deep, DEEP insight into where he has been, and where they think he is going. If they show a genuine interest in you, are excited to meet you, and are eager to welcome you into the fold, it probably means he makes good choices and they're excited to see the wonderful man he's found.

If, on the other hand, they can't remember your name, would rather not talk to you, and barely hold eye contact, it probably means they're sick of meeting his disastrous dates, and don't expect you to be around for long.

VERDICT: They may be too close to say it out loud, but their non-verbal communication will tell you loud and clear what kind of man you've found.

This one just got me into trouble. And it's something at which I've always rolled my eyes when touted by others. Hopefully I've now learned my lesson.

The lack of conflict doesn't mean you two agree. It means one or both of you doesn't know how to communicate if they suspect conflict will arise. There will always be needs that aren't met. There will always be small disappointments and misunderstandings that warrant some notice or discussion. It doesn't have to cause an all-out ROW, but there should at least be ripples.

VERDICT: Still waters run deep... what's he thinking down there, where he thinks no light can penetrate?

Yes, this is *mostly* targeted at those of the community who have not yet come out of the closet. I know there are multiple schools of thought on this, and this may be an opinionated thing to say, but I don't think you are any good to the community at all if you cannot bring yourself to be honest about who you are.

For so many reasons, this is a big NO-NO, DON'T DATE IT. Either he has a relationship he's going against - which means you're perpetrating an act of evil whether you know it or not - or he's perfectly fine with lying to those around him (which WILL bite you in the ass some day, mark my words). Or, as with the Drag Queen Hater, he's harboring some deep self-hatred and shame and he'd rather not deal with it.

VERDICT: You deserve someone who is enthusiastic about the possibility of being in one anothers' lives. If he is trying to keep you secret, what else is he trying to keep secret?

Dating Dealbreakers: Why They're Important

As gay men, we provide a great disservice to one another in the form of "dating." We are not a large community - it can feel like it sometimes, but compared to heterosexuals our dating pool is MUCH more limited. Also, in Hetero-World, the existence of two genders in the dating pool reduces the amount of "overlap" you experience - perhaps you have common exes with your friends, but you definitely don't have common exes with your partner. In gay world, it is pretty much impossible to find someone who hasn't dated at least one of your friends or exes (especially when you have "socially active" friends and exes like I do.)

So ostensibly, we trade around until we find the piece of the puzzle that "best fits" the space we have open. This guy was too skinny for Steve, but John likes skinny guys, so John can have him. I'll take the guy John didn't like because they were both bottoms (and I'm fine with either). No... wait, he can't stand my dog. Well Kyle is allergic to dogs anyway, so HE can have the powerbottom, I'll take the guy who lives too far away from Mike... et cetera, et cetera.

Since the vast majority of us had no directly relatable model for same-sex dating/mating (which is, in my opinion, irreconcilable to its heterosexual counterpart), we all learn on the fly. Which means, then, that we discover what is "attractive" and "unattractive" to the people we date based on how they react to us. So in essence, we vet potential partners for one another. As a cohesive group, we teach one another how to attract and treat a mate.

This is problematic. The larger the pool of experience and wisdom we're all sharing with one another, the wiser and more experienced we all become. Conversely, the smaller the community, the quicker this whole pattern jumps the tracks.

Add to this the fact that our community, perhaps more than others, worships its youth. The minute a 21-year-old shows up at the bar they are surrounded, regardless of the fact that they probably don't know what they want, how to be a good man, and how to treat a good man. By the time that 21 year old is 27, he is suddenly a LOT less interesting to the community as a whole, and has likely spent the last six years with people who don't care if he knows how to be or how to treat a good man. So in those six years, he has probably grown to appreciate his own bad habits and damaging behaviors as "REWARDING," because hey - he's never had a problem finding a mate before!

I may be more introspective than most, but I'm willing to admit that through much of my twenties I was not a good boyfriend. Mostly because - YES - I didn't understand what it took to be a "good man," nor did I know how to recognize one, and if I happened upon one, I didn't know how to treat him. I look back on the things my boyfriends through that time put up with and think to myself "he shouldn't have stayed as long as he did." And to be perfectly fair to me, too, I look back on the things I put up with from them and think to myself "I shouldn't have stayed as long as I did."

Note: NONE of this is to say my exes are bad men or bad people. A couple of them are very close friends now whom I still love very much. But we were not a good match, and in most cases one or both of us weren't in a state to be a good match to ANYONE at the time.

In the last five years or so, I've narrowed in on what I consider to be the qualities of a good man, and I've figured out how to recognize those in others, and make those behaviors a part of who I am. Just like everyone else, brutal, ongoing trial and error taught me much. I've been a bad date, I've had bad dates. I've been a bad boyfriend, I've had bad boyfriends. I've been a bad ex, I've had bad exes. Each step of the process has taught me more and more, and though I'm still far from perfect, compared to where I was five years ago I'd say I'm much further along in my understanding of the life cycle of romantic relationships.

Unfortunately, being able to RECOGNIZE the traits of a good man does not always translate to REQUIRING those traits to be present. The thing I struggle with the most is having enough respect for myself and my heart to listen to the little voices that pop up to warn me about red flags. And I frequently see it in my friends, too - I watch a situation that I am fairly certain will end badly, but nobody else seems to notice... or care. Men are also good at lying to get what they want, and we are all experts at hiding the bulk of our flaws until someone is too emotionally invested to simply walk away... even when they should.

The overall result of all this is that our romantic relationships, as a whole, do not appear to be as solid as those of our heterosexual peers. I said it, and I believe it, and I'm not sorry about it. Not to say there aren't ROCK-SOLID romances in our community, but I think those stories are so much rarer and more elusive to us than they are to the rest of society.

As a service to the rest of my community, I am pledging to start listening to that little voice that tells me "this isn't good. There is behavior here that is unacceptable." These are often termed "Dealbreakers," and there are some damn-near universal ones that I have no problem enforcing: rude to servers? No ass for you. You hit/punch/slap when you fight? No ass for you. You're elbow-deep in an addiction? No ass for you. But there are a few that I've managed to identify that are RAMPANT in our community, that we all need to commit to annihilating if we're ever going to strengthen the quality of our relationships, and have them be seen as equal to everyone else's.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chivalry, Bravery: Part II

I still hold Chivalry in high regard. I always have. Even after the ominous warning from Lynne all those years ago, it's something upon which I've placed a premium. In myself, not necessarily in others... or so the history of my interpersonal relationships would suggest. And yes, frankly, it has caused me a great deal of frustration and pain in the intervening years - probably more than its been worth - and yet I still endeavor to make it a part of my daily life and behavior.

It's not just about opening doors, or serving others before you serve yourself - such behaviors are easily mimicked and co-opted by those without a shred of Chivarly in their heart. It's about actually CONSIDERING others before yourself. It's things like remembering to say goodbye to the people you enjoyed talking to all night, regardless of how quickly the person dragging you out of the party would like to make their exit.

I don't want to be that sad, sad Sally that says Chivalry is dead... but it's wounded and lost somewhere in the woods. It's certainly not something you see often anymore. Yes, part of that is because these insufferable Millenials have started to stake their claim on the world-at-large, and myopic self-fulfillment is quickly becoming de rigueur. I think it's also because a misled generation of shrill, hypervigilant harpies (male AND female) decided that "Chivalry" was code for "sexist," and ruined a good thing for EVERYONE.

"as if I NEED you to do that FOR me."

No, bitch. No. I did it because I wanted to, and in doing so I have taken NOTHING from you and instead OFFERED you something you didn't have before. It's an act of kindness, not of oppression, and if you fail to see the difference then excuse me but you're not fit to be a parent, a lover, or - frankly - in public.

It saddens me that general acts of decency don't seem to garner any notice or import anymore. And I'm not talking in an old-fashioned, morally subjective way. Show some ankle - hell, show some cleavage for all I care - and be proud of who you are. BUT, show some love for the people around you, too.

THIS is part of why I feel like a fucking alien anymore.

This weekend I acted as Emcee for Boulder Pridefest. I was a last-minute replacement, many things changed drastically in the days - hell, even HOURS - before the show. I ran with it as best I could, was professional as I could muster, and even had a lot of fun doing it. Pridefest, in and of itself, was a great success and very fun. My sole reward was a VIP ticket to the After-Party... an event which I would have been better off avoiding.

The After-Party began when the Boulder Pridefest crowd was shooed onto Pearl Street Mall for an hour while the crew worked to transform the theatre into a nightclub. Having been on stage for the past six hours, I decided to rest understage in the Green Room, where the headlining band and their friends handily ignored my attempts to be friendly. Shortly thereafter (but still more than 15 minutes late for their "call") the Andrew Christian performers arrived. They proceeded to loudly complain about the lack of a private bathroom and seemed entirely too eager to break into the alcohol that was apparently demanded in the rider of their contract, except that the ice in which their bottles were chilling and the stemware provided were both sub-par and that was, apparently, highly vexing.

After hissing a venomous warning that I was a fellow performer and NOT their servant, I decided to pack up my things, put all my valuables in my pockets, and flee to the relative safety of the upstairs - let the headliners deal with the naked divas.

From the vantage point I had in the VIP "lounge" (a cordoned off section with a table of food), I watched a perplexing array of 18 year olds, homeless people, and stripper groupies stumble through the doors and into the room. A constant stream of "Now THAT'S what I call Music #47-69" blared through the speakers, sending everyone into a vibrating, gyrating, humping, twerking FRENZY that, if submerged, would have made a great episode of River Monsters. Then, after the first 90 minutes, the older, richer crowd started to show up. This is when the real "party" began.

The rest of the night is remembered to me as a thick, flavorful stream of bile waxing and waning in the back of my throat. There were numerous young heterosexual couples dancing in scandalous ways - one dude leaned so far back to rest the back of his head on the apron of the stage that his stomach and private parts literally provided a table on which his girlfriend could gyrate. The Andrew Christian performers circled around the place, making eye contact with the unwashed masses only long enough to say the name of the event and/or encourage people to drink more, then participate in the contests coming up later.

The contests were two-fold. The first contest involved proving to one of the "models" that you were not wearing underwear. The prize was... underwear. The second contest was - I shit you not - a twerking contest. The eight entrants were all cis-gendered, thin-to-emaciated white people under the age of 21 (with one 30-something man in nothing but high tops and sport briefs). The prize here was also... underwear.

While all this feverish amorousness raged on at the stage, the Wealthy Elite gazed on, ravenous and enraptured, from the sidelines. They sipped their $10 cocktails and licked their lips at the visual feast laid out in front of them. A couple of them were friends of mine - friends who seemed genuinely pained to have to choose between the warring pleasures of interacting with friends and staring obsessively at the clearly-visible outlines of private parts being squashed by elastic fabrics.

I tried dancing a couple of times. I fell flat on my ass because part of the dance floor was soaking wet with some fucknut's drink (and a single, tiny, wadded-up napkin). Then I got smacked in the face by a haphazard hand so hard I drove home later that night with a headache. I still don't know who hit me - they didn't bother to notice or apologize. Considering my options for "strike three" (an instant case of the herp? Someone's high heel in my ear?), I decided to heed the warnings of the Universe and stay the fuck outta there.

Around 11 o'clock I realized that I quite literally wanted to scream. What the FUCK did all this have to do with the spirit of the event? How the FUCK did twerking and strippers - yes, STRIPPERS I don't give a fuck whose name is embroidered in the waistband of their panties - get mentioned in the same sentence as PRIDE?!?!?! Don't straight girls get to shamelessly bounce on the barely-contained erections of their sires in EVERY OTHER CLUB ON THE FUCKING PLANET? Don't skinny people with dubious dancing skills get to win free shit EVERY OTHER FUCKING DAY OF THE YEAR?! And hold the FUCKING phone - did the guy in this rap song really just use a fucking GAY SLUR?!!? WHY THE FUCK IS THIS BEING PLAYED AT PRIDE?!?!

I... lost my mind a little bit, and actually contemplated the pros and cons of puking my guts out right where I stood, but decided a better display of my distaste would be to leave. I slunk understage - was stopped by the fucking "security douche" the strippers brought with them to protect all their NO CLOTHES they were storing down there - and wasn't going to be allowed to access my stuff until one of the theatre staff who had seen me there for the last TEN MOTHERFUCKING HOURS told the guy I was allowed past that point. I grabbed my stuff (which had obviously been rifled through - luckily I had the foresight to hide my valuables) and booked it the fuck out of there.

I spent the drive home nursing the aforementioned headache and my sense of personal outrage. This... this is NOT the community for whom I've shed my own blood, sweat and tears. What happened this night had NOTHING to do with the world I helped build. These were not the people for whom I fought. These are not the rights for which I continue to fight.

It occurred to me as well that almost no eye contact was had. No exchange of names, of information, of affirmation. This "pride" party had been reduced to a series of deafening thumps that weren't so much "heard" as "sensed" through the vibrations that traveled in the collected transfats of my body.

There was no love for those with whom each was surrounded. There was no consideration of those who were neighboring. There was only the pursuit of immediate pleasure, noise, and body parts.

In that moment, in that space... Chivalry was not only dead, but its corpse was being used as a disco ball. An ugly disco ball, covered in acne and soiled (but expensive) panties. No... no wait. I'm thinking of the strippers again...