a deeper dive into dave
When I started this blog, eight years ago, I was thinking something like:
“This is my fifteen minutes of fame! Clear the decks! Clear the tracks! You got nothin’ to do but relax! And yes, Sondheim gave me permission!
“I will regale everyone with my hilarious stories of my shambolic life, thus making at least an imitation but passable calf’s leather Louis Vuitton purse that you’d get at the St James Town street market, out of a sow’s ear that you’d get at that butcher on Queen East that hasn’t seen an inspector since nineteen fifty-two!
“Then, finally, my dad will be home all the time while my crazy mother goes to work shelling soes—I mean shoeing sells—Ugh, sorry about this—she sells seashells by the sea shore, finally! —and, down at the Freudian level, which is the only level that really counts, I’ll get all the confidence-inspiring, homo-supporting attention I crave! I can hardly wait for the book deal and the talk show offer and a relationship with another man that lasts for more than five minutes! It’s gonna be AWE-soooooommmmme!”
I started with silly little posts, beginner blogger stuff, stuff about Inès de la Fressange, or Elizabeth David, people that no one under a hundred would even know about, so you don’t have to shake your head and point at your temple like you’re miming shooting yourself, gentle reader. I know.
That’s the first barrier, that my target audience is all on life support with a “do not resuscitate” order tied to their big toe. And they were the last people on the planet to read anything that wasn’t communicated with emojis designed by kindergarten students on a handheld six-inch screen and notified with a song by Li’l Kim marked “explicit” to alert teenagers to the good stuff. Actual books are considered a kind of shameful clutter, like dirty dishes.
My friend glanced at my bookcases recently, and said, “You’ve got an awful lot of books there!” in the tough-love tone you’d use to advise a heroin addict that his housekeeping standards had fallen. “Have you ever considered getting rid of some?”
Books, if ignored, proliferate, like weeds or roaches, their presence a stain on your character. And kind of elitist, too.
What happened to books?
The Internet! Us! Basically I became a writer at a time when reading is falling into disrepute, so that YouTube is rife with ads touting Readibubbly, the app that will read your work emails to you, super fast, in a voice of Artificial Intelligence, but at seventy-eight rpm, like your LoveGlove just sucked back a gallon of helium gas and had labia that move; and when disreputable self-starter reading is rendered unnecessary because you can have Donald Trump read you the complete works of Jane Austen on Aubdibubbly, MacDonald’s for your brain.
Now that’s relaxing! No way would that make me want to take a bottle of children’s aspirin and toy with a box cutter in a hot bath!
This was a bit after I decided to become a photographer at a time when digital photography means everyone’s a photographer. Your five-year-old, your Jack Russell terrier, you, everyone can take a perfectly pointless photograph and upload it to Flickr, that grim, democratic graveyard of self-esteem. It’s called Flickr because that’s what your common sense and ambition do before they die there, as you post a pic of the sunset you took from your bathroom window.
You just happened to have your phone with you, and the sunset was sooooooooooooo beautiful. Your pic on the other hand looks like an orange rectangle on top of a black rectangle, but it’s the intent that counts, I hope. Did you know you can turn off the flash? I didn’t think so.
So my first posts here had absolutely no value of any kind, told in my inimitable voice to this empty auditorium. I was “just being myself”. I was “authentic.” I wrote about things like I just got ten followers! or some incident in my life that was like, I cleaned the mouse fluff from behind the bookcases!
There is limited attention you can get for all that, especially when you’re a senior white liberal gay man. Seriously, “gay” is the only choice out of that list that I can recommend without reservation. I don’t know what I was thinking in the pre-birth waiting lounge, when I filled out what I’d like for toppings on the pizza of my life. It should have been a warning that I was the only one in that line-up. I see that so clearly now. Even god had to cover her mouth so I shouldn’t see her titter, like a shy Japanese girl when you’ve asked her to bring you a smoked meat sandwich, then blow you.
I didn’t really know what to write about, and the blessing is, when you start something new, and don’t read the manual, you get to do anything you want.
Hey truckers! You want freedom? Then don’t read the manual. Real Men don’t read the manual. You know this. We just fiddle with whatever the manual’s about until it breaks, then sulk, and then you’re supposed to go, you or it could actually be anyone in the room, “Why would Nikon make some shitty dial that just breaks off like that? You’d think they’d tell you on that colored “Fool-proof Beginners Chart and Dial Guide” on eight by ten laminated paper that they totally included with your purchase! Here, have a raspberry-pear cider. Run us through Modern Monetary Theory again! I love your mansplainer talks!”
What happened to sex?
Sex started early for me, so early I’m not going to tell you, not in the current climate, because I might be a socialist, and you might be a neo-liberal, so you’d be bound to call me a nasty name. That’s what we do now, when we disagree with someone. And even though I’ve only ever been underage and had sex with adult men, never the other way around. Is there a word for that? Pervophile? Lucky?
I don’t know what they saw in me at twelve! Anything to get a mention on “The National” with Peter Mansbridge, I guess.
So I always loved sex and yet sex has never been very successful for me, mainly because I’m not sufficiently aggressive or goal-oriented. Really, I’ve liked the idea of sex: porn fantasies that I never realize. Even a threesome takes more skill at negotiation than a hostage-taking.
In real life I’ve found sex repulsive, a bit de trop: too hairy, smelly, rambunctious and gung-ho and basically comical, like I should be wearing a big red nose, a fright wig, and floppy shoes shaped like pancakes and ride down your treasure trail in a clown car, and when you cum, I get a banana-cream pie right in the kisser. Then I honk my horn.
There was a brief, shining moment in London where for the the merest deckle-edged envelope of time I met young men my own age and finally looked into the eyes of someone I’d met at the end of a back alley of a dream and had the sinking feeling of excitement and anxiety that signaled “love”. Then I woke up, sighed with relief, and went back to the man who needed to burn my body with cigarettes. Hey, Paul, I know you’re tired after work, but pencil in some time to pick up an ashtray at Habitat!
Now sex is nothing but plumbing. I’d rather read a good book, something by me, perhaps. But what do you want? Typically, gay men, who are all bottoms, want some variation of the following:
“I want you to whore me out at a biker gangbang!”
Oh, really? Do you work for the Disney Dream Factory? Because my imagination machine could never have come up with that! Please. Being whored out at a biker gangbang is the Little Red Riding Hood of gay sex, and I’m grandma.
“No limits guy!”
No limits. Seriously? OK. We’re gonna fuck your cat, Fluffy, in the frozen food aisle at Loblaws, using Shirriff Chocolate Pudding mix as lube, then run her under the broiler. What’s wrong? You allergic to gluten or something?
What happened to white people?
My humor is passive-reactive. I’m at my best taking other people’s remarks and sneering at them, for example, or improving them, or riffing on them. But I need them—you—Mr Droidass, or whatever—to make the lame remark first, or come up with the wrong word so I can correct you while rolling my eyes back until all you see is the whites, or if all else fails, rhyme with you.
With you? Or you? Oh, yes, with vous! I'm not good at funny right out of the blue. That's not an example of what I can do!
I’m sorry about the infantile rhyming, but I learned to read with Dr Seuss, that old white male racist.
White men, even more than white women, are inherently anti-Black racist, I get that. Men make unfortunate life choices, starting with our too quick decision on “male” that we get in our pre-birth questionnaire.
“So ya got male, or female, what’s your choice? And hurry up, there’s a bus just arrived with all the company of seraphim and cherubim, and you know how ratty they get after a long trip with bathroom breaks they didn’t even need. There’s infinite angelic beings after you and my manna break’s overdue.”
“Well, I don’t wanna hold everything up, how do I choose?”
“So men get all the power, all the attention, all the advantages so they can maximize the power, oh and you’re physically stronger, taller, bigger body parts and also this means people cut you slack when you do shit because they’re afraid of you. The only thing you don’t get is, let’s see, oh yeah, responsibility for life itself and something called imponderable ineffable mystery.”
“That’s what women get that you can never have and as part of my job I’m bound to tell you that imponderable ineffable mystery means that women will drive you to acts of despair and murderous rage because you want that, too, and women don’t want to give it to you. But we do give you a penis, which is a dangly body part you can play with, and here’s the neat bit, it changes shape when you touch it. It’s like magic at your fingertips, twenty-four seven! Honestly, I’d recommend ‘male’.”
“Okey dokey male it is!!”
“Done! You’re male! Please be sure to read the fine print. Next!”
The fine print says: “Penis: excessive attention to the penis causes brain death and resentment, which can exacerbate acts of despair and murderous rage. Use only as directed. Oh, and you’re a anti-Black racist because your penis is small, which can lead to acts of despair and murderous rage.”
So men make these choices and due to their unfortunate choices, we’re more anti-Black racist. We just are. Whites generally are racist, and bear responsibility. It’s like the doctrine of Original Sin. Original Racism, and there ain’t no baptism to wash that away.
You can murder at the level of Pol Pot, confess on your deathbed, and you’ll be forgiven by God himself, because god is a man, photographs don’t lie.
Not anti-Black racism, however. Ain’t no water wet enough! Ain’t no mountain high enough!
And we’re responsible, the same way that all Christians bear the responsibility for burning witches at the stake. If you run into a witch today, and you’re a Christian, you should be on your knees in shame. You should be like, “I’m sorry Great-great-great-great-great Uncle Adelbert set fire to you as part of the witch test. It’s what we learned in school. Now I realize we should have relied more on your speaking backwards in Latin. We didn’t put enough weight on that skill. It’s like the research was not where it is now. Feel free to dismiss every good deed since 1584. In fact, as reparations, I’m gonna go to Somalia and take back some food.”
And the witch will say, in her best mean girl voice, “I bet you think that makes me feel better. Like, Nnnnnno. Na-no. No no no no.”
What happened to being gay?
Here’s how fucked up gay men are about sex. There’s this ad I recently saw online, in a new kind of Craigslist-y publication catering to both straights and gays. I swear this is a true story.
The ad reads, mildly paraphrased:
“I’m into eating poo. Looking for a male, 30’s, who’s willing to feed me.
NO FAT PEOPLE.”
Do you get this? No fat people.
OK. The guy eats shit, he has no problem with that, in fact he happily flaunts his high-end kink like it’s the black belt of man-on-man fun—but some loser schlub who made the unfortunate choice to be older than thirty-nine with some extra pounds on his frame? Beyond the pale! How could any self-respecting fag endure that insult to his high standards and good taste??!
So, my passive-reactive humor. My talent, like my personality, is basically vampiric. When you think I’m being collegial, that’s just nature’s way of fooling you into spending time with me so I can drain your conversation of its usefulness. So that sinking feeling you got when I walked into the room? Not your imagination!
By the way, this is why I’m so generally unloved, so that everyone shuns me and piles into the bedroom waving streamers and blowing kazoos, and shuts the door while I stay in the living room. Think Santa Claus Parade, but sponsored by Hustler or was that Hutter?
It happens like this: I’m asleep on the sofa bed, I’m covered with my one clean sheet, or equally often a piece of cold French toast with syrup, or an old microwaveable container lid, anything just for like basic modesty. It’s been me alone in the apartment for maybe eighteen hours, so I feel like I live alone again.
I’ve already dismissed the idea of asking over that leather queen from Locanto, who wants me to be kneeling, naked and blindfolded, with my back to the door, because it doesn’t seem like a good idea. My back is not really all that noteworthy, like I never built up any serious musculature, there’s no Japanese-style tattoo with a carp, he would be disappointed. My back is plain.
I’m only worried about his traveling a long way for a let-down. He’d probably be so disappointed, he’d forget to scream “faggot!” and bash in my head with the baseball bat he’d brought for the occasion.
OK. Confession. I did once have the leather queen from Locanto round, because he responded to my ad that said whore out this no-limits guy at a biker gangbang. Then he took thirty hits of poppers, turned purple, told me about his asthma, then got on all fours and presented his gigantic rear end like he was Cirque du Soleil performing the USDA instructional pamphlet for artificial insemination. My illusions were, in a word, confirmed.
So I decide to have a wank, while crying, because stick with what you know, right? And I’m getting into it, maybe I’ve had a whiff of poppers, and I’m getting a bit light-headed and uninhibited. I’m running through my home movie of all the great sex I had thirty years ago, except in my mind they’re all hung like stallions and there’s more of them and they’re still the same age as they were then, but now I’m like the evil old guy.
Come into my parlor, twenty-something! Marvel at my hair like Einstein’s, pear-shaped body, I’m not sure if I wiped all that carefully after going to the bathroom, which is how you start behaving when you hang around straight guys as much as I do. Old sweatshirt, no pants, but socks because my feet are so calloused and rimmed with dry skin I myself am put off me when I see them.
For some reason I say on my hook-up sites that “I’m into younger guys”, which, seeing as I’m sixty-six, isn’t saying anything useful. Unless I develop a hankering for terminal eighty-year-olds, or necrophilia, if I miss the last subway, there isn’t anyone who isn’t a “younger guy.” So, if you’re forty you could easily be my son, and that’s my lower limit of “young”.
What am I going to talk about with a twenty-year-old who anyway just keeps checking his phone? Sorry if my penis got in the way of your third round of Candy Crush!
The last one put his phone down on my pubes and was watching Amber Ruffin while he blew me, so I had to keep encouraging him. He’d falter. But at least I was a white guy not enjoying sex because of feeling like Amber Ruffin was in the room, which I’d like to think is a kind of reparations that Black Lives Matter would tentatively approve of.
So anyway, there I am masturbating and actually having a decent time, because I’m a good conversationalist, sensitive to my needs, and, most important, I’m not shit-face drunk for sex these days. I won’t have to call anyone the next day to ask if I had a good time. I’ll totally know I was like the Sunset Boulevard version of David, Salome-dancing towards the camera while everyone gasps and recoils.
So I’m into it, and I’m just alternating licking vanilla icing off my balls and, if I’m honest, really kind of getting into chewing my own tits, right on!
Then all of a sudden my roommate arrives with guests. Fun-time is over. And you have to imagine that the front door opens onto a little entrance vestibule, but please don’t conjure up some Martha Stewart type scenario. It’s not a Shaker coat rack covered with milk paint, masses of gerbera daisies in a pewter jug and a “Bless This House” sampler in découpage.
It’s just twelve squares of dirty linoleum and a sad bag of garbage no one’s taken out forever. The bag of garbage is just sitting there like an abandoned dog that’s sure its master is coming back from the war any year now.
And there is no visual barrier between the door and where I’m jerking off, so you could, in fact, stand in the hallway, prop the door open and watch me—which, frankly, I’m not a hundred-percent sure hasn’t happened at one point. There is zero privacy.
The door opens fast, with no warning, just the key engaging and turning in the deadlock, then a ca-CHUNK, like the supports being unlocked on a drone missile ready for deployment. It’s like the sex Gestapo have come in the night to arrest me after my last date reported me, I don’t know what for, probably for being a bottom.
My roommate switches on the hall light and I have just enough time to hurriedly throw a towel over my junk, because young gays would stare unprotected at a solar eclipse before they’d look at the genitals of anyone over twenty-three.
Bottoms, by the way, are like the litter your unfixed cat just had, and as my roommate recently explained, animals that have a large number of offspring all at once are inferior forms of life. You see proof of this in guys’ profiles online.
NO drugs! NO sketchy people! NO Losers! NO thieves! NO bottoms!
they shriek, and hot diggity, I can’t wait to see your kitchen cupboards, SternAbsentDaddyTop4HomelessCumDumpBoyz. These profiles are as fraternal and welcoming as the signs you’d see on Main Street in somewhere like Mobile, Alabama in the 1950’s: “NO coloreds NO Jews NO dogs”. Let’s all us faggot bottoms, coloreds, Jews and dogs go lie down in a ditch together, shall we?
My writing finally got into its groove. I developed a couple of personas, and my inimitable style, but before I got there, I did a lot of fobbing people off with funny cat GIFs (which took the place of you mispronouncing a word, for example, or making some egregiously dumb remark. OK, not you, but someone maybe next to you.)
There’s one GIF that’s just a cat sitting on a chair in front of a computer, and only its front legs are animated. I just watch that and watch that like a retarded two-year-old Helen Keller.
There’s another one of an adorable puppy crawling over a sleeping cat and sitting on its face, and the cat is like “WTF??” but does not shred the puppy like you might expect. Do you not die for that, just from my description? I could, and do, watch that cat GIF with the puppy like it was “Imitation of Life” on permanent loop.
What happened to me? Somehow I got sucked into that thing, “The world needs MY opinion on world affairs, and Canada, and celebrity marriages, and climate change—and above all, economics, which I crib frantically from YouTube, because the most advanced I ever got in economics was, If I take out twenty dollars from the ATM five times, that’s a whole lot less than taking out one hundred dollars once.”
That’s the system, by the way, that the Secretary of the US Treasury, Janet Moneyburger, borrowed from me without even a hint of a thank-you. Not even a postcard, stupid bitch!
So Chrystia Freeland gets wind of my blog and it’s, “Sure, I’ll iron your shirts, Justin, but if David calls, for gawd’s sake, interrupt me, I may have to rejig the budget! Pass the spray starch, will ya?” Nancy Pelosi’s tying her Gambian headscarf and she’s like, “Someone saw Kyrsten Sinema yesterday at Mark’s Work Warehouse buying overalls!”
In comparison, there’s no GIF of Thomas Piketty crawling over Paul Krugman and sitting on his face, at least a concerted search on Pornhub didn’t find me any; or of Amber Ruffin sitting at a keyboard with just her arms moving. I would watch those until my face fell off.
(Every time I mention Amber Ruffin, by the way, BLM gives me another check mark beside “woke ally but we wish he wouldn’t”.)
Maureen Dowd running up to a chair in a fur coat, doing a back flip and ending up supine with her legs spread? Are you kidding?
I would never leave the house.