Revamp

He reached his hand between my legs, and as I sat there, in the dark, in his car, at 1 am, all I could think was, “Damn, nothing!?” I tried to act into it, and I kinda was, but after four drinks, all I could think was: I wanna eat some cold cuts and go to bed. It’s late. I have work in the morning.

I could hear the sigh in my head going off like a fire alarm. Ugh, is this really who I am? Wasn’t I Miss Fuck Feast? Miss fuck anywhere, fuck anyone, wild times, let’s party? And here I am, on a Wednesday night, a mere four drinks in and ready to call it a wrap. Because I want to be sharp for work tomorrow morning. So I can make money.

When did I become this person!

Recently, but also for a long time. I think I always wanted to be this person, this career driven woman, but I spent my 20s fucking around (literally), and perhaps I spent all my libido chips in the lottery of my 20s and now, in my 30s, meh. Fucking this dude seems…fine? Okay? Whatever? Do I really not care that much? Isn’t this all I used to care about five years ago? All I wanted to do was get laid. Now all I wanna do is get paid. Am I okay with this?

I’m definitely okay with telling this dude to call me so I can slink into my kitchen and eat cold cuts and then go to sleep. That sounds fucking amazing.

I mean, sure, yeah, okay, I couldn’t just keep fucking people fecklessly forever. Or, I could have, but I didn’t want to because doing the same thing forever is pretty fucking boring. I guess for you, dear reader, perhaps there’s been a blip in communication. I was Miss Fuck Feast, Miss fuck ’em all, Miss party thing, which is weird to write out in a sentence because I feel like such a fraud, sitting here, at 1:13 am, having eaten my cold cuts in favor of fucking some medium attractive man. I skipped a few steps there, namely, a couple of recent rotten relationships and also a childhood filled with mixed signals that made me pretty indifferent to the idea of marriage and motherhood.

So here I am. Still dating in my 30s. I’m not mad about it. I have disposable income and get to fritter my life away drinking. I’ve been madly in love. I’ve met the love of my life. Twice. And I’ve moved on from that. And I’m dating in my 30s. Which is supposed to be something that appalls society, but fuck it. I really don’t give a shit. I plan on doing well for myself for the rest of my life, so, in the spirit of my 20-something self, I have decided to turn this into a ‘dating in your 30’s’ blog. Wish me luck because I am so fucking sick of dating, but gotta do something while I’m trying to get my novel published, right?

Love ya bunches.

A Night at the Gay Bath House

I was really excited to go to the gay bath house for Brontez’s show. Steamworks is a legendary place in the East Bay, perhaps made more legendary by Brontez’s stories in The Gay Cruising Diaries and other published works. I’ve always wanted to go there, or at least since I read Brontez’s books. It seemed so seedy, so illicit. The type of place that a well behaved woman never goes to, mostly because it’s a men’s only club. So when Brontez announced that he was playing a show with the Younger Lover’s the night after Thanksgiving and cis women were allowed to go, I just knew I had to go.

We queued in front of the bath house, which is an unassuming building down by the Berkeley water front, on the other side of the freeway from the posh 4th Street shopping district. It was me, my best friend’s [straight] sugar daddy, Gangsta Boo and my gay friend who was basically acting as a gay guide to all of us straights. “I like that the cover charge for the show is the same that anyone would pay to get in,” my gay friend opined. Yup, $30 to get in for the show, which is I guess what anyone pays to get in on a regular night already, not like I would know. It seemed like some of our fellow revelers in line were deterred by the steep price, but, hey, it’s a punk show in a gay bath house, not a decrepit warehouse. I can get down for the culture.

Part of me wondered, ‘Am I problematic for being so eager to stink up the gay bath house with fish?’ Eh, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s not like I’ll be back here next week. I did, however, feel slightly guilty about being on my period because period blood would be the ultimate stain of womanhood inside this cum covered temple to male sexuality. Whatever.

As we stood outside in the winter cold, behind all the other queer looking cis women as well as the party appropriate gays, men continued to shuffle out, looking irked by the cis women eager to get in. Hey, I get it, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, time to de-stress from the family, and, what is this? The gay orgy is being tainted by real women? It must be a buzz kill. But it’s just this one time, promise. Won’t happen again.

I don’t know what I thought the inside of Steamworks would look like, but it lived up to all my expectations. It was a place that even on the brightest days was a sunless, thumping, sweaty maze of a place, filled with men of every ilk, from the young, chiseled gays to the old, drooping men. And Dicks! Dicks everywhere! All sorts of naked men with their dicks out, strutting around, prowling, flitting in and out of the private rooms that I knew I would never go into.

It felt really awkward being fully clothed, especially in our winter wear inside of a giant sauna. So we stripped down, put on towels, and headed to the back where the show was set up in, uh, a giant glory hole structure? There must be some properly gay word for it, but it was basically a bathroom sized space with urinal stalls that had no urinals in them and glory holes in the stalls. Yeah.

The Confirmed Bachelors and The Younger Lovers played over the pulsating techno music to a small set of music fans crammed in the back area as the regulars flitted around. One guy caught my eye as he stood at the periphery, stroking his cock and looking wild eyed while the nearby spectators inched away from him. It was definitely one of the most punk shows I had ever been to as the musicians and audience stood there, naked or in towels. The music was fast and spazzy, quick and rhythmic and belted out in a short fifteen minute set. It made me feel young again, like when I saw Gravy Train at The Gilman when I was in high school, or any time I saw a show at Sugar Mountain, or Ghost Town Galleries, or The French Fry Factory, or Lobot, or Full House House, or any of those other bygone old school Oakland party venues. Just this time everyone was pretty naked with their dicks out. My kinda party.

After the set was over, we milled about, poking around the bath house. Somebody even grabbed my ass! Which made me feel pretty flattered since I thought I was pretty untouchable in that place. Gangsta Boo did some pull ups, and the rest of us jumped in the hot tub for a bit. (Should I not have done that? Since I was on my period? Oh, well, I was swept up in the moment and forgot. Oopsy daisy.)

“Maybe we should get going?” Gangsta Boo said as my friends wafted around the hot tub. Yeah, we should probably get going. The show was over, and we were definitely just straight-ing up the gay club for no good reason. So I put my clothes back on and left, feeling like my two hours of being a cultural tourist were up, and time to go back home to my normal, boring, straight life.

Thanks for having me. Now I can say I’ve been to a gay bath house. Life achievement unlocked.

Subject Matter

Have I lived a life worth writing about? I ponder this as I lie in bed at 11:30 am, not hungover but still feeling guilty about drinking alone in my room last night while watching TV because it was too cold and I was too lazy to go outside again. That doesn’t seem like a life worth writing about. Middling between the quasi-punk stylings of my early 20s and the aspirational reality of my early 30s, I think: well, I did plenty of wild things when I was younger. But now? The things worth writing about have slowed to a snail’s crawl. Is it interesting to feel lost like this? Is this what people want to read about? Or should I pick a direction and hurtle myself down that road, even if I have a sneaking suspicion that’s not where I should be going. Although being torn doesn’t feel very interesting, either. Perhaps I should just ride the coat tails of my own youth, which is slipping away from me, and write about that. Forever.

San Diego

I was riding around with my friend and his ex-con friend and his ex-con friend’s girlfriend when the ex-con pulled out a bag of shrooms and offered some to us. I, being here on a work trip, politely demurred even though part of me thought: wait, don’t I consider myself to be a legendary pseudo-party girl? Isn’t work two days away? Why am I saying no to drugs, again? It occurred to me that maybe I’m not quite the pseudo ex party girl that I am in my mind, maybe I’m just someone normal doing normal things riding around in the back of a truck in the barrio (because it’s San Diego and that’s what they call this part of town). Sure, there was also the part where, eh, maybe I didn’t want to shroom with this friend in particular because he keeps on reaching around my waist in a way that should make me feel uncomfortable but when push comes to shove later tonight I will lock him out of his bedroom and tell him to stop, and maybe I don’t want to be on shrooms when that happens. But another part of me knows that there is nothing Cat Marnell-esque about me, not even after all those years of partying and drinking but now I feel so much less edgy as I yawn in the back of this truck and wait to slither off to my friend’s room where I will fantasize about the boy I fuck but still not masturbate because I’m at a point in my life where I not only know that masturbating in this guy’s bed while he sleeps on the couch would be rude, but I would also not take any pleasure in doing it, either.

Oh, San Diego. The city that I always say I would like to move to but never will. Because the Bay Area is stultifying in such a comfortable way, and maybe I’d rather suffer loudly than survive mediocrely in San Diego. Where I have friends and can be pretty. But I’d rather stay in the Bay where I can be mad at the world because of money and then also succumb to my own money hunger while acting like I have no other options. I have other options. San Diego is an option. LA is an option. New York is an option. But leaving? No, I could never leave the Bay Area. I bristle as I walk down the street in San Diego, knowing full well that I could live a happy, satisfying life here, but I never will because I’m crippled by my own anxiety and could never leave my home, which is on fire right now and crumbling and expensive and inhospitable. I’ll never leave because I don’t know how. It just seems so hard. Even though I refuse to do things that would make my life easier, such as not eating out every day and making new friends.

I am in San Diego. Which feels good, but would it feel good if I lived here or would it grow to be the same punishment that the Bay Area has become? I guess there’s something surprising about living in a B-List town that has suddenly become a petri dish of gentrification and social upheaval. On the upside, I can go anywhere else and proselytize about the impending doom of gentrification and how to beat it. On the downside, well. I’ll never have a home the way I thought I would have had a home in the Bay Area. But maybe it’s time to grow up and let go of that idea. This is about more than gentrification. This is more than growing pain. This is growing chaos. This is growing permanent damage. And I am the collateral. I could wax poetic about being spiritually homeless, but there are too many actual homeless people and I am not stupid enough to make that kind of poetic faux pas. I’m just disenfranchised and privileged. Ah, America. Always putting me in a place of disinteresting compromise.

Grief

What is happening to this place? It’s noon and there’s traffic already, or there’s traffic still, and commercials are airing on the sports radio station as we wait. And wait. To get home. Or to his home, where I’m driving him, because he’s tired and wants to go to sleep.

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?” he asks randomly. Throwing vast, sweeping questions into the air so we don’t have to listen to the commercials on the sports radio station because listening to commercials on the sports radio station means that we don’t have anything to talk about. God. Have I ran out of things to say to him? Maybe I’m just tired. Or anemic. Did I take my iron pills this morning?

“Do you mean that, like, geographically, or socially, or spiritually, or career-wise?” I ask, bristling at the randomness of the question, which just feels like a parlor trick meant to coax out an inevitable argument. I’ve been keeping the argument tucked neatly if still somewhat overrunning at the back of my throat for weeks now. There’s no need for an argument. Just suffer. Suffer through it.

“Just, like, whatever,” he responds, which irritates me.

“I don’t see myself living in the Bay Area in ten years,” I respond.

“That’s not what I meant.”

I sigh. I sigh a lot nowadays. It’s a symptom of giving up. On him. On here. On myself. I’m just kinda…here. In a depressing way that I’ve been avoiding talking about for a while now. I drink a lot more recently. In a medicating way, too. Like I’m trying to cure myself of the time that I’m wasting away by being like this. It’s not anybody’s fault, really. I can blame him if I try hard enough, but I’m too lazy for that, so I accept responsibility for my own misery and blame it on this place. The new people who are here. The new people whom I hate and I don’t want to befriends with and whom I don’t want to fuck. It’s their fault.

He’s fine, he’s just here in my life in a purposefully inconsequential manner. Which I’m not supposed to write about but there’s really nothing else to write about. Writing about anything else will make me sound bitter. Maybe I already sound bitter.

I leave him at his house and go downtown and pay $22 for a salad with chicken, which I can expense on the company credit card, but, even so, it feels profligate. But that’s okay, because all the new people pay $22 for the salad with chicken and I bet most of them don’t have company credit cards. Me? I pat myself on the back for being clever enough to not really have to pay for my salad with chicken. Although if I were truly clever, would I still be here? Maybe I’m only clever part of the time, like when it comes to being employed by a company that offers health benefits, but not when it comes to living in a city that is capable of supporting my vision of myself as both an artist and a career woman.

Maybe I’m just angry that capitalism has finally caught up to me. I liked it when I was young and the economic forces that be didn’t care that I paid $312 for a room in West Oakland, stole from my job and ate bags of chips from the corner store. Now? I have to pay for Internet, phone bill, Netflix, Spotify and Hulu, which is way more than what I used to pay. It used to just be electricity, maybe also water. You could listen to the radio and watch videos from the library. Although, I guess Netflix is cheaper than Blockbuster. Spotify is cheaper than buying CDs. Who knows.

I meander into some bar because I’m glamorous like that and also because it’s my job. I do that for the rest of the day before I go home early, as usual, and sit in bed and eat peanut butter cups and wilt away on the Internet. I’m not sure what I’m grieving about, but it sure is painful.

Cool By Proxy

I must think I’m pretty cool, huh. As I’m sitting in the bedroom reading my Michelle Tea book while over in the kitchen they’re snorting coke. I’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour so I can wake up in the sunshine and scoot off to Alameda to do my normal job. Where I’ll interact with normal people and secretly feel better than them because I’m cool enough to be the chick in the bedroom at the coke party. Where I also feel better than everyone snorting coke in the kitchen because I have a real, adult job to attend in the morning. What a boring conundrum. I should just pick one and commit to it, but I think I might be the type of person who likes having a ‘secret lifestyle.’ Like if I were a successful career man, I’d have a secret stripper girlfriend. But I’m not, I’m just an overgrown adolescent with a semi-legit job and friends who do coke on Monday nights. I don’t do coke on Monday nights, though. My friends do. I’m not sure if the reason that I don’t do coke on a Monday night is because doing coke on a Monday night is a loser thing to do at this age, or if I’m too much of a loser to do coke on a Monday night. I used to do coke on Monday nights, four years ago, but life changed and now I read books in the bedroom while everyone else gets wasted. I fuck someone who does coke on a Monday night, but loves to point out to me that I’m not nearly as fun as I used to be. I resent him for those kinds of statements and quietly remind myself that I make more money now that I’m less fun. But shouldn’t having more money be fun? Why am I less fun now?

On Tuesday afternoon when he gets up he chops up more lines so he can stay awake long enough to drop me back at home when I get off of work, and I stand there and watch. He offers me a line, and I say no, even though part of me wishes that I were cool enough to say yes. But I know what yes would mean: a thirty minute drive through rush hour traffic, gritting my teeth and then picking a fight, then sitting at home alone while the coke rush fades at 5:30 pm. After which my skin would feel dirty and I’d have to scrub myself off in the shower for too long, hoping that my roommates aren’t resenting me from the other room for not conserving water like we’re supposed to because it’s California. Okay, I’ll pass on the coke this time, and I tell myself it’s not because I’m uncool but because what ever brief coke rush I would have would be uncool. Instead, I watch him snort his lines, and we both know I’m judging him as he meanders into the other room, leaving me there next to the plate that used to be full of cocaine. Although, I don’t know why judgments are always perceived as negative. I think I have passed a positive judgment on him, even if it looked slightly bitchy as it passed through my mind. I was judging him to be much cooler than me, and as I stood in the kitchen and was part of his life for those forty five minutes, I was happy that he gets to be cool. That he gets to live that life and enjoy it. I don’t think I’d enjoy living his life, which is why I live mine, driving soberly through traffic back home to look at more spread sheets and fantasize about being someone much more interesting than myself.

Novel Update

Also, hi, I’m making a ton of progress on my novel. I got a lot of work done in New York, but I’ve decided to ‘white whale’ it, which means I have to add some more heroin and fist fights, so when I’m done with that I’ll let you guys know. It’s the main reason why I post way less frequently on here – blogging can really detract from the novel writing process, but I’m PMSing tonight so I thought I’d spew some swill here before hitting the book hard again tomorrow.