Monthly Archives: June 2011

Stonewall.

my photo of "Stonewall"

Daryl and I were here in April of this year. It was a much more subdued visit than what transpired at this same location yesterday.

It was a chilly, rainy early afternoon as we searched the winding, uneven streets of New York’s west village for a little bar called the Stonewall Inn. Daryl and some wonderful lesbian friends of ours jumping the clogged drain puddles and dodging the vicious splashes of speeding taxicabs with umbrellas in hand as we came upon this tiny brick place in a city of tall, thick concrete. A glowing orange neon sign greeted us into the day.

It was much smaller than I expected. I remember the first time I saw the “Cheers” bar in Boston I was underwhelmed at its small size. I expected it to be larger than life itself… filled with those folks from the TV show singing songs while Sam and Diane argued flirtatiously in a corner. I was disappointed then, but not today.

The Stonewall Inn was barely open this early afternoon. “The gays” typically don’t begin bar hopping until much later in the early evening, so the bar was deserted, except for a short little fire plug bartender named typically, Joe. He welcomed us in immediately as if desperate for company on this miserable Saturday afternoon. Folding our dripping umbrellas and leaving them by the front door, I looked around. You could smell the age and the mustiness of this dark and dingy place. A thick painted tin ceiling and dark poster filled walls hugged us as small tables were tossed about a small elevated “stage” hardly protected by a single red velvet rope. Black and white photos of the now famous “Stonewall Riots” were haphazardly placed around on the deep paneled walls of this establishment. Framed newspaper and magazine clippings of history were draped behind the bar. Somehow the light of day made this bar look like me when I wake up in the morning. Raw and exposed. Pale and puffy. Vulnerable yet somehow as cozy as the thick fleece robe I throw on to ward off the early morning chill.

“What’ll it be?” Joe smiled, as we pulled our heavily shellacked bar stools across the old wooden floor making a wood on wood scraping echo that empty bars tend to make. We looked like a bunch of drowned rats as Joe hooked us up with clean-glassed beverages. He continued shuffling around the place acting as though he had to get ready for some large crowd, punctuated with a chuckle or two about a drag show here a few nights before.

My group of friends sat and listened to Joe’s ipod music playing loud enough over the bar’s worn speaker system to get a foot tapping from Janet Jackson’s “Control.” I continued walking around the bar’s interior, studying the photos on the walls of the Riots of 1969 trying to imagine a world where gays and lesbians had to hide so much of themselves, even in the progressiveness and toleration of New York City. To have to fear for your livelihood, your reputation and in some cases, your life must have been unimaginable to deal with on a daily basis.

Daryl and I attempted to play a game of pool on the Stonewalls well worn and uneven table, its dulled orange felt dusty with cigarette ashes and a cocktail straw. I smiled as I thought that gay men typically aren’t playing the game as a sport anyway, but as more of a way to connect to someone else if only for a moment… or possibly to start a conversation with a future life partner. The pool table eventually ate our cue ball, refused to spit it back out and our game was done. Joe didn’t have the key or the means to fix it.

We chatted and joked with each other and with Joe for another hour or so while finishing up a couple of rounds of cocktails. Daryl purchased two souvenir tee shirts for his sister and Mom, and we moved on. The rain had let up a bit as we headed out into the streets of the Village as the ghosts of men and women past smiled as we all left giggling hand in hand not realizing that in a few months there would be throngs here celebrating another milestone, another victory.

Thank you for your tiring fight, people of this tiny little place called Stonewall. Thank you for your beginning to bring the right of marriage to ALL people to the sidewalks and streets of this city… this state and eventually this country.

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beach blanket boingo

Well the inevitable has FINALLY happened. Daryl and I were invited to Lewes Beach in Delaware this weekend by some wonderful lesbian friends of ours whom we haven’t seen since our amazing jaunt to New York City back in April. We are still playing it by ear to see if we to end up there or not since we also have a memorial dinner for my Dad to attend earlier in the weekend in Chesapeake City, Maryland. Depending on how long dinner is and how many cocktails we consume will dictate if we’d like to continue on with the 2 hour drive south to the beach.

We LOVE our girls to pieces! They truly aren’t judgmental in any way and they are terrific hostesses, however, this will mean we will have to put on our bathing suits in a public situation. Keep in mind that while Daryl and I HAVE begun eating much healthier and together have lost the combined weight of say a Matchbox car or two… oh hell, make it a box of 4, we are most certainly NOT in shape for public viewing at the present time.

So, about halfway through writing this blog, I attempted to do a Google search for a photo to perhaps “illustrate” what two fat gay interracial men in bathing suits would look like. I wanted a comedic angle to help tie the story together, so I typed “fat gay interracial men in bathing suits” into my Google image search engine with “Safe Search” off.

Maybe I’m not adept at knowing how to search using key words, but very few of the photos even included a bathing suit.

Here’s one that DID (well sort of):

Does this look like "fat gay interracial men in bathing suits" to you?

Needless to say, there were no images that I could use in a public forum. I was distracted and totally lost my train of thought on this post. Once I get back on track, I will finish part two of our weekend adventures!

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That FIRST Father’s Day after…

Dad on his boat, where he always seemed to be the happiest.

My Dad passed away last year two days after Christmas of heart failure. It was quick and, according to medical professionals, painless. I’m grateful for that and I believe my Dad would be grateful for that as well. He was a very proud hard–working man’s man who would have found it undignified to have withered away slowly and painfully, having to depend on others for his personal care.

It’s still odd that I can’t pick up the phone to wish him a Happy Father’s Day this first year without him. Something I took for granted. He had JUST learned to “text” from his phone. Something I’m sure he learned in order to stay in touch with his granddaughters. We would exchange text messages and I would always joke with him by teaching him to use emoticons and to sign off with “c u soon!” I’d criticize his typos and he’d LOL. I still have that last Holiday text wish on my phone. I still have his number on my phone as well. I just can’t delete it yet, as he may decide to call me someday if the brimstone and fire haven’t melted his phone yet.

I wanted to get a card for him while I was at the mall last week returning a shirt. I just wanted to get a Father’s Day card and send it SOMEwhere… ANYwhere really. I was frustrated with that a bit. I was also annoyed that the mall was decorated for “DAD’s DAY.” Photos and banners EVERYwhere indicating that Dad deserved this tie or that shirt. How could this “holiday” even go on without my Dad? I remember when I was younger and I would be at the mall with my Dad on the very rare occasion that he would go. I would always get so frustrated because he’d “dawdle.” He wasn’t a shopper. He’d walk so damn slow. It frustrated the hell out of me. I miss it now.

I don’t think any of us ever think our Fathers will leave this world really. We think them indestructible. Honestly, later in life, when I realized he was a mere mortal and full of flaws, I came to love him deeply and unconditionally. The funny thing about that was he did the same to me… accepting my own midlife “crisis” of coming out.

I think he’d find comfort in knowing something that Dad’s RARELY if EVER get to hear while living… “Dad, you did a great job with what you were given. I appreciate you and thank you for that.” Say it to YOURS today and as many other days as you can.

I’ll finish this blurb about my Dad with just a few words to describe him. He was a simple man and I think he’d appreciated this.

Flawed. Funny. Proud. Humble. Hard working. Dedicated. Sailor. Protector. Accepting. Quiet. Confident. Silver Hair. Thick glasses. Over-achiever. Annoying. Loved his family. Cash, never credit. Fast cars. Fast boats. Slow boats. Stubborn. And last but not least… he was a DEVOTED Dallas Cowboys fan from the word GO.

Love you Dad. Miss u much!

Your son,

Edwin Leroy Williams, Jr.

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rear window.

image courtesy IMDB

Daryl and I have lived at our current location for close to 5 years now. Our 2nd floor condo has a small tastefully decorated patio that overlooks several other areas of our condo-opolis. During the warm days of summer, I like to partake in the occasional cocktail whilst (hate pretentious writers that use that word, but I’ve always wanted to use it myself just because… I can) observing this condo-opolis community whilst tossing the obligatory three-finger wave to those neighbors that insist on communicating.

I remember, as a teen, being infatuated with the 1954 Hitchcock thriller, entitled Rear Window staring James Stewart and Grace Kelly (not to be confused with a favorite porn flick entitled “Back Door” starring Mitch Cock). I’ve always considered myself an “observer” of life’s situations and I believed to have a front row seat (albeit a WHEELchair and armed with high-power binoculars) like Mr. Stewart would be the perfect way to do just that!

That being said, I have recorded several “observations” from our 2nd story patio. We live in a rather diverse neighborhood, so please bear in mind that I am in no way perpetuating stereotypes, however I can only say what I saw… see what I saw… seesaw…

These observations are in no particular order:

Mexicans do all the landscaping.

Black men do all the trash pick up.

“The Gays” have the prettiest patios.

Lesbians have the sturdiest decks.

Italians have the smallest decks, but act like they’re huge.

Baptists play Gospel music the loudest (for some reason more so when the gays/lesbians are having friends over).

Thugs always have cars with tinted windows, the deepest bassed music blaring from the tiniest of speakers and usually three out of four shiny hubcaps.

Republicans always fly American flags.

Democrats usually have pretty flower or cute bunny flags.

Blue collar maintenance men have the filthiest mouths and the nicest asses.

Fat people don’t pick up their dog’s shit.

Men always spit.

Retired folks always have a bench or a chair just outside their front door, under a hand-made wreath.

The mailman has the best looking legs.

Little kids always stomp UP the hall stairs, run DOWN the hall stairs, and never fail to SLAM the front door.

The UPS guy is always hot.

Birds always dive at rogue cats.

Cats always ignore diving birds.

And finally, baby strollers are beginning to look like SUV’s as are the Mother’s pushing them.

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just trade him in!

As I was driving this afternoon on my day off running errands, I came across this new store a few miles from our condo.

I wondered WHY didn’t someone think of this sooner? I mean, a place where you can actually EXCHANGE men? Brilliant I tell you… absolutely brilliant!

The sign has ALL the attractions to get your man to go with you (to trade him in on a younger, fresher, more um… healthy model). They have tools and tech and sports and gaming! Why that man of yours won’t know what hit him as you leave with your new and improved stud.

Just hang on to those receipts though folks, ’cause in a year or so, you’ll be back!

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its a sign i tell you!

Look… I’m all for advocating healthy sex on a regular basis, but public displays of nightly sexual poking habits are just… well… just blasphemous.

So are glaring typos.

Enjoy your day… or in this case, your night!

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mistah weems.

I have a dry cleaner lady. Actually, now that I think about it, she has ME.

Her name is Cwisteen which I think means Christine in Chinese. I asked her her name once and that’s what I’ve been calling her since. She’s ALWAYS in the store alone and she always asks me “was yu fone numbah Mistah Weems?” when I enter. I have shirts, ties and suits that I have cleaned there weekly. It’s on my way TO and FROM work and I can’t argue with the convenience. She will always tell me, “u pay lateh, u pay lateh!” when I pick something up. I assumed that she was always too busy to figure out my bill each time.

I have been going to her religiously for over five years now, except when I boycotted her one winter because she lost a jacket of mine. I eventually came back with my neckties between my knees because with her pricing, I could buy a new jacket to replace the missing one anyway.

Last Monday morning traffic was light and I was running ahead of schedule. I stopped in to drop off a suit and blurted, “Good morning Christine!”startling even ME with my cheerful tone. After the usual phone number inquiry, she stated that “yu owe sixty fow dowahs.” Still not quite awake and my hearing not well lubricated as of yet, I muttered, “What did you say?” “Sixty fow u owe. I cut u break, you give me sixty okay?” she asked making eye contact. “U take sukah. Take two sukahs,” she said pointing to a hand painted basket loaded with “dum dum” lollypops.

I wondered silently if she was subliminally calling me a sucker? I get paranoid about things like that. Once I was in a Chinese restaurant and I noticed several waiters mumbling in their native tongue, giggling and pointing in my direction. I assumed they were making fun of my large almond shaped eyes, my thick dirty blond hair and my huge package. I picked up my fork with continued nervousness as I finished eating my sesame chicken.

“How bissniss?” she asked as I gave Christine my debit card. As she swiped it, I answered “fine,” took three dum dum lollypops, carried my suits to the car and went to work.

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