blog challenge topic 2: hair

April 18, 2013

Dad’s Hair

My dad’s hair smelled. Not bad. Also, not good. Just distinct. He always wore a hat. Mostly a rolled up stocking cap. So maybe it was the smell of the hat and his sweat trapped in the hat and then dried on his head plus cigarette smoke and sawdust from work and the smell of outside mixed with smell of his truck, in which he stored everything – his tools, books, clothes, etc. Sometimes I’ll smell the inside of one of the stocking caps that I used to wear all the time and I swear it smells a little bit like him.

When I was young, maybe 6 or 7 or 8, Dad used to let me and my sister Katherine comb his hair. He’d sit on the side of one of our beds and take off his stocking cap and and Kath and I would stand or kneel behind hind and run a comb through his hair, over and over and over. Or maybe it was a brush? Dad never said much to us while he sat there. He was mostly quiet. Kept his hands folded together in his lap. Maybe his head was bowed down a little, unless one of us tilted it up or to the side. Which is a distinct possibility. I’m pretty sure Kath and I fussed over him and probably argued about taking turns and whoever wasn’t doing the grooming likely tried to lean up a little bit against his shoulder or his back.

Hair Cut

For a chunk of time when I was little, like at least in kindergarten through 2nd grade, I had short hair. My mom called it a pixie hair cut, which was maybe a way to cutefy the cut which was pretty boyish on me. Or at least I passed a lot as a boy then. Mom always took me to her hair stylist to get my hair cut. The salon was in the basement of a semi fancy, old hotel near downtown and first mom would get her hair permed and I would run around the hotel and ride the elevators and then while Mom was under the dryer I’d get my hair cut. Mom’s stylist used scissors on everything but my bangs, which she cut with a straight razor. She would pull a lock of of my bangs out with her one hand and hold them and then with her other hand hack at the ends with the razor. It always tugged on my head in a way that made me tear up. I would get so quiet and I wouldn’t look at myself in the mirror because I didn’t want to see myself crying. I don’t think she needed to use a razor to get the stupid pixie look she was going for and sometimes I think she must have enjoyed inflicting the pain on me.

MTB’s Hair

The first time I saw MTB was years ago at the E room. I noticed her because she was rocking a modified mullet and wearing mostly black, and I’m pretty she was wearing a vest too. I remember thinking about her hair and thinking “bold.” As in right the fuck on bold. It was so fucking cool, I thought; she was making the mullet her own. Plus she looked hot. I saw her a few times at the E room. I thought the same thing every time. Bold! Coooooool! Hot!

I met MTB in person about 4 years ago via a get together for CS. CS invited a bunch of people out to celebrate the fact she’d quit this job that was sucking the life out of her soul. I was sitting at the end of table with 6 or 7  people when MTB walked in Bar Bar and I thought, holy shit there is that hot dyke who rocked a mullet from E Room. I immediately got self conscious and I tried not to stare at MTB. Or not to be too obvious about staring. At some point CS introduced us and then at some point later, MTB and I caught each other’s eye across the table.  I’ve got to admit that I don’t remember how MTB was wearing her hair that night. I’m sure there was that curl cascading down the right side of her face, but I couldn’t say how long or how short it was, or if it was dyed. Besides catching her eye, what I remember were her boots. Danner’s. The kind a logger would wear. I nearly melted.

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blog challenge. 4 topics in 8 days. first up: beer.

April 17, 2013

MTB and I are undertaking a mutual blog challenge. The challenge runs from today through next Wednesday the 25th and our goal is to publish a post on each the following topics: hair, dogs, summer and beer.

We are kicking it off with beer. Which is funny because I don’t drink beer. I don’t even like beer. I never acquired a taste for it. Cheers. Except not with a beer.

I’ve drunk beer exactly one time in my life. I was 14. I was at party celebrating our Episcopal diocese getting a new bishop. Episcopalians are decadent when it comes to alcohol. Or at least they were in the 70s. Me and my friends were some of the youngest kids at this party, which was put on by one of my best friend’s older brother and sister, who were kind of cool, or at least cool enough to know lots of cool people. Also, their mom let kids drink alcohol at their house, upping the cool factor exponentially. The scene had a little bit of The Dazed and Confused feel to it, with a whole bunch of high school and college kids coming in and out of the house. Classic rock blasting on the stereo. And a handful of us, who had just gotten out of junior high.

I started out with a couple of Strohs tall boys, which tasted bitter, and then had some Little Kings creamed ale, which tasted creamy and bitter. But Little Kings were what all the cool, older kids at the party were drinking, so I just sucked them down. I followed up the Strohs and Little Kings with some wine and then port and then some liquor. Just re-reading that sentence, makes me want to vomit. The night did not end well for me. But I won’t go into too many of the details. Suffice it to say that when I got home, I vomitated. (I asked my housemate, Remy, who I just accidentally called Roomy, what another word for vomitate is, absolutely unaware that I was thinking out loud and in doing so, that a non-word combination of regurgitate and vomit was actually coming out of my mouth. Pun intended. Anyway, she said I had to include the word, vomitate, in my post) I vomitated a lot that night. Outside the party in a neighbor’s front yard. And then in the bathroom attached to my mom’s bedroom.

After that, for years, and by years I mean up through college and a little longer, I mostly stuck to disgustingly sweet liquored drinks, like cherry vodka and peach schnapps, etc, which did not make me a very good dyke. Because I was never up for splitting a pitcher or springing for a six pack or going in on a keg or driving over to Ohio on a Sunday because Indiana is dry on Sundays. There was no shot gunning for me. Or playing quarters. Or funnneling. I don’t regret that. But maybe its why I didn’t stick with rugby, which I do regret a little.

My housemate, Remy, suggested that I tell that story, in part, because I don’t have any other beer stories of my own. Remy also said I could basically lie and say I drink beer, but I think she was just humoring me because she is tired and I want attention. Remy said a bunch of  other things about beer, like how delicious it is to have one after a long hike and how once when she was drinking Belgian beers with her friend, Lisa, the bartender touched Remy’s finger nails because her nail polish was glittery and that chicken cooked on a beer can reminds Remy of going to Communist Bulgaria and hearing the song, Ring of Fire, and sitting in a bedroom full of stuffed animals, and also of constipation. Except, Remy wants to stress she wasn’t not the one who was constipated; it was her friend, and for some reason a very handsome soccer player took Remy and her friend to the hospital where her friend  was given anal suppositories.

Is it maybe lazy or a cheap shot or too obvious or trying too hard to be funny to end a post on beer when you don’t drink beer with the phrase “anal suppositories.”

I am so very confident that MTB is going to have a much better story about beer! Very confident, in fact.

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two shirts and a plane trip

March 28, 2013

Last week, my dear friend from college, ADM, came out to visit me for a few days. We ate good food and had drinks and talked a lot and she met MTB and I made dinner for all of us (30 minute coq au vin, which took more like 60 minutes); plus AG came over too and brought berries and whipped cream. We covered a lot of ground during our big dinner conversation – the Steubenville case, queerness, regionalism, ACT UP, HIV, teaching, college, old friends and how I didn’t know that Judith Butler was a dyke (oops).

At my request, ADM brought with her some t-shirts from her ACT UP SF days that she was ready to pass on, and she passed them on to MTB, who was ecstatic to receive them. It kind of blew ADM away that anyone would want these t-shirts. In fact, when ADM and I first talked about the shirts back in January she kept saying how they were stained and dirty and maybe they had holes in them and who would want these things. And then when ADM gave the shirts to MTB and explained that the pink stains were probably from fake blood, I thought MTB’s head might explode. Here were shirts that were 20 years old and they were shirts worn by an activist doing activism.

A lot of things happened in that t-shirt exchange, like connecting someone I love not just to queer history that’s important to her, but to my own personal history too, and connecting someone else I love to something big in my life that’s happening right now, and also connecting two people I love to each other. All that via t-shirt and a plane trip.


before I was my girlfriend’s girlfriend – part 1

March 2, 2013

I couldn’t come up with a term for myself in a relationship. Was I someone’s sweetie or boo or partner? Except for a casual thing, where the term “date” was totally apt, I was perplexed by figuring out how to be butch or how to represent that I am butch in relation to my romantic/dating/love relationships. And this was the case for the larger part of the last 10-14 years. (Also, let me quickly backtrack and say that the idea of “how to be butch in a relationship” is a totally different than the idea of the “representation of butch.” Not that there’s not overlap. But I am not going down that rabbit hole right now.) Like a number of things that have happened this fall, calling myself my girlfriend’s girlfriend was not a conscious decision. I mean, it was conscious in terms of our relationship, but not in terms of the linguistics. We just started using the term and it felt right, which kind of surprised me and also made me think about a couple things. Namely, what had been going on for me during that chunk of time when I couldn’t figure out what to call my “amour” self and when exactly did that chunk of time end, anyway?

There’s lots here to explore in future posts and I’m going to start the process by writing about that chunk of time when my romantic self went nameless. I think what was happening was I was exploring my manhood, in short, and that process was exclusive of identifying as a woman or soley/primarily as a woman. I mean, I acknowledged to myself that I had a female body, and did not argue that point with anyone, but I started started feeling kind of dissonant about it, my body I mean. Plus, for a number of years, I think I was really was trying to get my man on. For instance, for a a stretch of years, I had mostly straight cisgendered guy friends, which wasn’t a conscious choice; I really liked and/or loved these guys. Also, I loved duding up with them, which wasn’t something I did consciously, but something that just happened. And by dude up I mean we did things like check out women together, in ways that in retrospect, were probably kinda gross. Sometimes I wonder if there is any correlation between the body dissonance and getting my man on, which I hesitate to say out loud because I doubt there’s a direct line between them and I don’t want folks to draw easy and false conclusions, but this shit is complex, so it’s worth putting out there. The manhood thing was intoxicating. Not just because of how great getting having masculinity seen and validated by my male friends, but also because there had been so many times in my life, especially when I was young, that I was sure that God or biology or the stars had made a mistake by giving me the XX chromosome. And coming out in the 80’s had been so anti-butch and anti male

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the amazing thing that’s happening

February 23, 2013

Here’s the deal: I’m fucking in love. It’s amazing and insane and every day I could post something here about it. But I feel protective and maybe a tiny bit shy about it in terms of blogging and also self-conscious that maybe it’s obnoxious to go on and on about it here, even though I’m guessing its been obvious, anyway. But it’s also why, lately, I’ve not been posting very much. And then this morning, I thought fuck it, this amazing thing is happening in my life, I’m just going to be upfront and write about it more directly, and with that sentiment in mind I’m going to tell a story about a date that happened this past fall.

We were feeling high on each other that night and we’d gotten kind of dressed up to go out to dinner. Ties and nice belts and MTB had on this awesome leather vest. I’d gone to her house to pick her up and we’d bolted from there pretty quickly because the trick or treaters on the street we’re making her dogs a little nuts. In fact, we sort of ran out to my car and then turned the music up loud. Driving to the restaurant, we kept looking at each other and grinning almost every time we stopped at an intersection. We sat side by side at the Indian place and we laughed about how we couldn’t get our chairs closer together because how bulky the arms on the chairs were. We held hands, anyway, though, and we leaned over the chair arms and kissed each other’s cheeks as we talked about how our weeks were going. I remember looking at MTB at throughout dinner and thinking that I couldn’t quite believe this was happening; “this” being that I was going on dates with her and that dates with her could feel so amazing. I’d said as much to her at some point before this date and she’d said something similar back to me.

After dinner we headed out for a drink. Location was our main consideration in picking a place and because we were in southeast, on upper Division, I suggested the Sapphire Hotel, which I was thinking of as a queer friendly place, although I don’t know why I was thinking that. Maybe because I went there once with VR and the waitress had flirted with us. MTB and I were talking and laughing and leaning into one another as we walked into the Sapphire. Holding hands tight. Right away we both noticed that we were getting stared at, as if our walking in that door was like sliding a needle across the record. It was weird and we tried to laugh it off and find a place to sit, but the only two seats, side by side, were at the bar and one of the stools had some kind of schmutz on it. We stood at the bar and tried not to figure out if the bartender was purposefully ignoring. I might have even tried to clean up some of the junk with napkins before we finally got the  bartender to give us a rag. Even with a rag it was impossible to fully clean up the schmutz, which most likely was some kind of mustard. Little globules kept showing up everywhere — on the floor, on the stool rung, under the seat — and the bartender stayed too busy to pay any attention to our efforts. I started to feel like I was in a really bad TV show, which seemed so absurd because MTB and I were so impossibly high on each other. We finally got some water from the bartender and gave back the nasty rag. This is stupid, I was thinking, and I just looked at MTB and said “lets get the fuck out of here.” She smiled so big at me and squeezed my hand and told me good call.

We made a b line to Crush and fell into a small, early in the night, Halloween crowd — a couple of handfuls of people in costumes, the only one I remember being an insanely hot gay guy dressed up as sailor. It was such a fucking relief to be in a “gay” bar. We lamented the demise of the E Room. MTB and I sat close to each other on the couch in the back room and watched people dance and talked and laughed and drank our drinks and made out. Someone got up on the little stage and did some air guitar and we clapped when they were done. A guy who was dancing with a larger group of people came over and asked to take our picture. MTB was immediately suspicious. Why did he want a photo of us? What was he going do with the it? On our very first date at TBA, there were roaming photographers and MTB had purposefully scooted out of the way when this woman was tried to take a picture of us eating ice cream. This gay guy answered that we were hot and really cute together. We laughed. MTB blushed a little bit. I told her I didn’t think it was big deal and also that she is fucking hot and it’s not like he knew who we were, anyway. Not like he could post a photo and say this is MTB and LM at Crush. He took a couple snapshots and said thanks. It didn’t really make sense, but it made us laugh more and squeeze each other tighter and smile bigger. And normally I’m shy about saying things like this, but it was like something magical was happening.


school’s out

January 31, 2013

Courage: A kid in school comes out to MTB after class.

Meets courage: MTB comes out to the kid.

First off, WAY TO GO HOMOS! Seriously, this shit needs to be happening every day. Also, it’s 2013 and it’s still a radical and scary thing for anyone in a school to come out and be out. And for everyone I know who is prepared to tell me a story about how there are out kids in their school and its no big deal, I am more than 110% sure I can come up with a boat load of stories about how it sucks or is impossible to be out in school, as in teachers and coaches getting fired and kids getting harassed and beat up. The It Gets Better Campaign is a bullshit answer. How about some ACLU action? Better yet, how about us queers organizing to make schools a safe fucking place to be queer? Seriously, how do we do that shit?

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what i’m really talking about when i talk about the sky

January 25, 2013

For months I’ve not been able to figure out how to talk about all the huge feelings I’ve been having for MTB, except to talk about the sky. And I’ve talked about the sky a lot since September. I still can’t quite figure out how to talk about all the huge feelings, even now. Which is something I told MTB this week. I said something along the same lines to her last week too, when I was trying to distill these massive feelings into a 5 line blog entry, which I kind of came up with but then never posted. Mostly because MTB came up with something better, without even trying. She wrote a spontaneous poem over chat that she didn’t even know she was writing. It was amazing. And perfect. And so much better said than anything I can say right now, even if I am tempted to go back and retag a bunch of my old posts with the “love” tag.  And I was feeling so high about about all of that that I was gonna post MTB’s poem here. We even talked about it. I had a draft ready and everything. But the truth is, it was a private thing. And part of what made it so perfect and amazing is how MTB wrote what she wrote from this tender and open place where she was just talking to me and my heart from her heart. And I find myself being so protective of her softness and tenderness and amazingness. Really, of her heart. And I am aware that I am not talking about the sky right now. And that I haven’t talked about it much lately, although I do like to send MTB photos of the sky from the tram and tram deck. I imagine that she knows that they are both photos of the sky and of the amazing thing happening between us.

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a good sad song and a secret

January 9, 2013

I really love a good, sad song. Really. Really. Love.


Also, there is nothing quite as sweet as someone like your girlfriend sitting on your lap and singing in your ear a song she liked so much in high school. The way she is smiling and rocking back and forth and swinging her legs — she’s letting you in on a secret. And you’re going to remember that for a long time.


recapping 2012

December 21, 2012

I’ve been starting the thing I do some years, where I look back and reflect on the year that is about to end. Sometimes the process has resulted in making lists of things: books I’ve read, favorite songs or records, highlights I want to remember. The other day, I started a random list of stuff that I’m really glad or grateful happened in 2012 like going to Hawaii, spending a bunch of time with Adele, turning 50, writing poetry, listening to music again, playing music again, lifting weights again, watching the Hoosiers play basketball again, going home to Indiana and spending time with my family and friends, driving Jeremy’s Miata convertible out to Waycross and going to the camp reunion with Howie, Remy moving in my house, getting a note of writing encouragement from Cheryl Strayed, riding my bike at night, doing readings with the Thank You writers and getting to read with Val, making a peach pie and a pecan pie, pickling with A.M., spending 4 days with Martha, spending a weekend with BDF and A.M., spending Thanksgiving break with MTB, spending Halloween and a Mrs dance party with J and MTB, at least 1000 other  MTB moments but I don’t want to be obnoxious about it, fixing up my Dad’s old lighter, fixing up my Bridgestone bike, fixing the railing on the side of the house, taking 100’s of photos from the tram, realizing the tram is magic, realizing I’m not as fucked up as I’d been telling myself forever. I think I could keep going with this, but as it is, I think it’s a a pretty good snapshot, because what 2012 seems to have been about was opening my heart. Tons of small things made that happen and I’ve talked about that a lot in my blog, especially beginning with August – friends, bike rides, sunsets, cooking food, the sky, etc.. But also a couple really big things made that heart opening happen too; one really cracked my heart right open. I’ve mentioned these, but they involve other people and are more private and I don’t talk about them all that directly; mostly I allude to them. What I can say is that everything changed at the end of April and then everything started changing again on a super hot day in the middle of August and then it was like “hell, yes, September.”

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something magical did happen

December 20, 2012

It was cold enough this morning for long underwear on the bike ride in to work. And glove liners. I guess Portland winter is actually here; so now its just a matter of settling in for January and riding it through until sometime in February, which is when spring usually starts. I’m think I’m going to experiment this year with trying to dive into the cold and dark, keep riding my bike and maybe go for some runs, finally rake up the October and November leaves in my driveway and on my front sidewalk and cut a fees things back in the yard.

Yesterday morning when it was snowing, MTB and I walked over to the park near my house. The flakes were big and fat and not really sticking to the ground, but they did hang on a little to the trees and bushes, at least for second or two. Everything seemed like a movie or a photo or like we were somewhere else besides Portland. We walked the paved path that loops around the park and MTB spied a clearing that she said looked like a place where something magical could happen. “Is anything happening?” she asked me as she stood on the grass in the middle of the clearing. At the time I said no, because I suppose I was looking for some big or grand gesture. But when I thought about it later, I thought yes, something magical was happening – it was snowing and MTB and I were out walking in it together, on a Tuesday morning, and she was holding a coffee cup with coffee from my house and smiling big and trying to catch snow flakes on her tongue and no one else was around and if you stared at the snow straight on it looked almost dizzying. And on the way back to my house we saw a big bush with more than a handful flowers still in bloom.

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