Thursday, October 25, 2012

Regional Exceptionalism

I'd think a majority of people like their hometowns.  I grew up in a suburban town about 18 miles southeast of Los Angeles proper, a city called Lakewood.  There's absolutely nothing remarkable about Lakewood, it was a blue-collar bedroom community for neighboring Long Beach's McDonnell-Douglas aircraft manufacturing plant and the rest of Southern California's aerospace industry.  Not quite the image most people have of Los Angeles suburbia; we weren't living next door to the Bradys, there were more Reagan democrats than hippies, and there were a lot more pick-up trucks than convertibles, but it was unmistakably Greater Los Angeles.

I like Lakewood.  I hated it as a moody teenager.  But it's freeway-convenient, there's a mall, natch (though there's a better one in nearby Cerritos), an abundance of parking, huge parks, tons of trees, and all the chain restaurants one's clogged arteries could ever desire.  Unlike newer cities in Southern California, there are no housing associations and though the houses are all tract homes, they've been modified throughout the last 50 years.  So, although they still look similar, Lakewood has a bit more character than towns further to the south and east.  And while I have no desire to live there now, I can't help but feel more than a little nostalgic any time I drive it's tree-lined streets on my way to my Mom's house.  These days I have a much greater appreciation and fondness for the people I grew up with and the place that shaped me.

All that said, it's not the greatest fucking thing since sliced bread.  If you didn't grow up there why would you give a shit about Lakewood?  If you told me you drove through it and thought, "Meh", I wouldn't give a rat's ass.  So why do so many people get so uppity about their hometown?  I can understand a bit of pride in where you come from, but people take it to ridiculous extremes.  Especially here in Los Angeles.  I don't mean people from Los Angeles, I mean the transplants.  You run into this all the time on dating websites.

Like any of the bigger cities, L.A. has a shit-load of transplants.  People come from all of the country and the world to work or go to school here, and some of them bring a gigantic chip on their shoulder based exclusively on where it is they grew up.  Part of it is that Los Angeles seems to be the most hated city in America.  Why, I don't know, I guess because people imagine it being overrun with Hollywood douchebag types, but I'm sure people in New York and other cities deal with the same thing.  People from the Midwest really feel they're nicer and more humble than everybody else.  I might believe it if they weren't constantly telling me how much nicer and more humble they are than everyone else.  People from the Northwest seem to think the same thing.  People from Northern California seem think they're smarter than they are.  Or, at least smarter than Southern Californians.  As do people from the northeast.  Well, thanks to Orange County and the Inland Empre that might actually be true.  People from the Northeast also seem to pride themselves on being "straight-shooters".  East Coast types loooove to say, "I tell it like it is.  I call 'em like I see 'em.  I'mma straight-shooter".  Blah blah blah.  People from the South seem to think they're nicer and better than everyone else, just 'cause.  Having been to the South I can say that southern hospitality is a real thing, so long as  you're white and in no way deviate from the heterosexual, Christian norm.

I've been to all of these places.  I haven't been through the northeast a great deal, not like I have the other regions, but I've gotten more than a taste.  I've enjoyed my time in most parts of the country.  Who doesn't love New York, Chicago, Portland, Austin, Seattle, New Orleans, Minneapolis, etc.?  I've met awesome people just about everywhere I've been (except Arizona...fuck Arizona).  I've run into my share of assholes.  My old job was unique in that I was sort of like a fly on the wall in office and retail locations throughout the country.  I just sort of melted into the background, so most people felt free to speak candidly despite my presence.  Very candidly.  It was awesome.  I got to hear the gory details about anything and everything in people's daily lives: their problems, their relationships, drug habits, sex lives, etc.

What I learned is that there are definitely some subtle differences between regions, but get right down to it and you find that Americans are pretty much all the same.  So, why then do people think their hometown's shit doesn't stink?  One Midwesterner wrote on her profile that, "People were so much less racist where she was from."  I've been to her hometown, there weren't any people of color there for racial tension to occur!  Look, not to make Los Angeles out to be the be-all end-all, it's not, but 4 million fucking people live within the city, 9.9 million within the county and about 18 million in the greater metropolitan area.  Most of them aren't white.  They come from all over the fucking world, they speak different languages, they have different customs, eat different foods and tend to gravitate towards people of similar ethnicity and background.  Any time you throw in that many different kinds of people into one area, make a lot of them poor, add shitty traffic and you have the perfect recipe for a bit of racial strife.  So fuck you, lily white woman from flyover country, but I saw and experienced racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny everywhere I went.  Everywhere.

My biggest complaint about the Midwest is that if they spent half as much time actually being nice and self-deprecating (how someone can actually be self-deprecating while telling you how self-deprecating they are, Midwest!?), rather than telling me how nice and self-deprecating they were, my time there would have been even more enjoyable.  Apparently, "nice" actually means passive-aggressive in the Midwest.

Now this "tell it like it is" business from East Coasters...well, this one's a bit trickier.  I believe that the people you grow up with (family, friends, acquaintances, etc.) are naturally going to be the ones you most likely rely on to shoot straight with you.  So when you move and people are nice to your faces, well, they're not being fake, they're just not being assholes.  They don't know you that well, and don't want to speak out of turn.  At the same time, people in most East Coast cities aren't as rude as typically portrayed.  Or, in some cases, as rude/tough as they like to portray themselves.  Some love to perpetuate this mythos that they'll spit in your face if you pass them on the street, but if you're hurt they'll carry you on their backs.  Well, yeah, it's bullshit.  Well, except maybe the Philly/Jersey area...and it's only the spit in your face part that's true.  I would say Boston, too, but I think I'm just biased because I hate that goddamn accent.  But Christ do they whine a lot, and it's just made that much worse by the world's most grating accent.  Bostonians would complain about getting a blow job.  "It's too fackin' WET!"  I dunno, maybe they're nicer in the summer or spring.

Bottom line, I've been told off nearly as much on the West Coast as in the East, and I think the difference could could be as simple as the shit weather they have to put up with in the East.  Yeah, you can try that "Oh I just love the seasons" bullshit, but I'm not buying it.  The weather sucks 80 percent of the year on the East Coast.

I'll stop here, 'cause I'm tired and this is getting too long...but I can't be the only one who feels this way about this subject, can I?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Gays...

If you want to save time browsing through gay mens' profiles on "dating" websites, allow me to present to you what constitutes about 70% of the profiles out there.  First there's the headline:

"Are there any SANE guys out there???"

There's a lot of strange people in this world, thus are a lot of strange people in the dating scene, but I hate the guys who make it sound as though they're just a beacon of stability surrounded by a sea of insanity.  We all have our quirks, issues, and baggage, I know I do, so stop pretending you don't.  Odds are, if you feel the need to put that as your headline--or anywhere in your profile for that matter--you've got more than your share of problems.  Like attracts like, more often than not.

Then there's the body of the profile:

"VGL, fit/athletic, masculine guy seeks same.  I workout about 5-6 times a week and generally take care of my body, you should do the same."

Just a roundabout way of saying, "no fatties".  Guys in general can be pretty shallow, so I don't really care too much about that, what bothers me more is the assertion of masculinity.  All too often the guys that write that are basing it on qualities that are just as superficial as their sense of aesthetic.  If you drive a truck that doesn't make you masculine.  Neither does vulgarity, e.g. using "fuck" every other word.  I reeeeally hate guys who try to overcompensate by using curse words as though they're going out of style.  "Fuckin' that shit was fuckin' stupid as fuckin' fuck.  Shit."  Watching football doesn't make you masculine.  It doesn't make you a meathead either, unless you let it.  I got pretty creative with my swearing during the NHL playoffs, despite the fact that my team actually won the Cup!  The Dodgers are constant source of inspiration for new curse words and phrases for me.  It's an easy trap to fall into, but that's not what makes one a man.  So stop being an asshole to the guys with the limp wrists.  It's pretty much the queer equivalent of the straight guy who buys a motorcycle in a desperate attempt to stay young, it's just sad and you're not fooling anyone.  We all suck dicks, we're all men, get over yourself.

"I'm laid back and only attracted to guys who are free of drama."

No you're not.  You just typed a headline that says the exact opposite.  In fact, since it's an obvious exaggeration, it sounds like you might be a bit of a drama queen yourself, Nancy.

"Not into black or Asians.  Just a preference, get over it."

It's always white guys that put this.  There's superficial and there's narcissistic, this strikes me as narcissism.  "Let's see, I'm good-looking--I'd fuck me--I'm only gonna go out with guys that look like me."  You can't create the master race through butt sex, dumbass.

"Looking for guys 18-28."

Your age:  49.  Again, a universal problem with guys, not exclusive to gay or bi guys.  But, really, come on.  If you happen to find love with a younger guy, fine, but guys your age are hot too.  Are you seriously eliminating them from your search?  And 18?!  Guys that young might be fine to look at, but they're stupid.  They aren't even good at sex yet, give 'em a few years to marinate.  Meanwhile, try someone closer to your own age, you perv.


"Not into old guys.  Gross."

There are some hot older guys out there, why the hell would you write them off?  The ones that aren't looking exclusively for hairless twinks are past their stupid years.  They're homos so they still look younger than straight guys, they've likely got their shit together, and they're "experienced", if you know what I mean.  Giggity.  And those "gross" old guys?  They're the reason you have shit so good these days.  They had to be gay back when doing so was really tough.  That's not to say that what some guys still go through these days isn't difficult, but yeah it was a lot harder just a couple of decades ago.  You may not attracted, but show a little respect, please.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jesus' Son

I've always been drawn to people who would probably be considered eccentric by most. I'm not talking about the chakra readers on Venice Beach or the guy that makes art from his own poo, I just mean quirky types. Particularly artists of all stripes, such as painters, musicians, comedians, designers, etc. That's not to say that I've never found a buttoned-down C.P.A. to be sexy, I have, it's just less likely for me.

So when I met Matt (not his real name) I was instantly drawn to him. Matt is extremely good-looking; attractive to just about anyone who's ever laid eyes on him. Matt is also pretty fuckin' weird. Now see, in my experience, one of the major differences between dating a guy and dating a girl is that guys usually let you know right away just how crazy they are; usually before the end of the first date. And let's face it, we're all varying degrees of weird. Women are every bit as nutty, but with women you have to wait, sometimes months, before you find out just how weird. They hide it well. Like the girlfriend who would only pee with the lights off, or the girlfriend who didn't believe in evolution, or the girlfriend that still had a crush on her brother (yes, all real life confessions I've heard).

Now Matt is a Creole Jew from Alaska...yeah, I know, right!? So of course he's gonna be a little out there. And he was a bit strange from the get-go. He was an unemployed raw foodist with his own personal infrared sauna in his apartment and had aspirations of being an actor. He also gave himself enemas on a regular basis; common practice among gay men (for sex reasons which should be fairly obvious), but Matt was doing it strictly for "health reasons". These are all things I found out very early on in the relationship. OK, so those are all somewhat unusual, but, to me, not grounds for a break-up. Not when he's also a very sweet, kind, funny, intellectually curious guy. And he's cute as Hell with a butt like an apple. Damn, he's cute.

So, basically I thought these strange habits and lifestyle choices were the extent of it. And I actually found myself really falling for Matt. This was the first time I'd found myself falling for a guy. He made me laugh like few people ever have. I enjoyed making him laugh. He was incredibly thoughtful and giving of himself. Life with him just very warm and felt so right. He was there for me for an extremely volatile time in my life, and for that he'll always have a place in my heart. But then came the aliens.

Full disclosure: I've always had an interest in the paranormal. I am not a believer in UFO's or ghosts or Bigfoot, but I would say I'm an enthusiast. I like science fiction and I'll watch almost any show on the paranormal if it's on TV. This was something Matt and I had in common. So one day, we were watching a show about UFO's and Matt asked me my opinion of them. I told him that I while I enjoy thinking about the subject I've never seen any conclusive proof of alien visitation. Everything I've ever seen had a possible down-to-Earth explanation, though I am open to the possibility. Odds are there is intelligent life somewhere in the Universe besides Earth. So I asked him his opinion...and that's when he dropped the bomb.

"Well, when I was a kid I was abducted by aliens." At first I thought he was kidding; he has a dry sense of humor and he liked to say off-the-wall things to make me laugh. So I chuckled and said, "Yeah, sure." And that's when he let loose with a story straight from every crazy-ass alien abduction movie you've ever seen. And then he began adding shit that would make even the craziest conspiracy theorist skeptical. You see, the aliens chose him because he was the most prized of abductees...he was a direct descendent of Jesus. Yeah, that Jesus. The water-to-wine, died-on-the-cross, reason-for-the-season guy. The aliens had abducted him, taken him to an underground base somewhere and conducted experiments on him. He wouldn't elaborate on these experiments, but would only say that they had to do with the supernatural/Jesus-like traits that he used to possess as an "Indigo child".

I don't know which part of it I found harder to believe; the aliens, the abduction, Indigo children or Jesus. There are a million details that I'm forgetting from what was something like a 4-hour conversation, but you get the gist. So, I left his apartment that night unsure what to think. He wasn't jerking my chain, I could tell he really did mean what he said. Almost immediately I began trying to rationalize it, was it so much weirder than some of the stuff that devoutly religious people believe: talking snakes, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, people turning into pillars of salt, creationism, etc.? Maybe not, but then later that week he told me about the "spiritual training" he'd been doing with his psychologist. I knew he was seeing a psychologist. Not so unusual, who couldn't use a little therapy now and then? But, as it turns out, this wasn't your typical, "how does that make you feel?" kind of therapist. No, this one specialized in hypnosis and was actively trying to help Matt "regain" his supernatural powers, the ones he thought he'd once possessed as a child. The ones the aliens had somehow managed to rid him of.

And still, breaking up with him was really hard. Not because I didn't realize I had to...I did, 'cause in at least one aspect of his life he was bat-shit crazy, but because I still genuinely cared for him and wanted him to be happy. I had no ill will towards him whatsoever, and no desire to hurt him. He still had a very kind and giving, if looney, soul. He was actually very understanding of my need to break up. He was cognizant of the fact that what he was saying was hard to believe (which also leads me to believe that he's not actually crazy). We bade each other good luck and promised to keep in touch. Which we do. He's still a friend and we chat from time to time, just not about his Divine ancestry.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dating Is A Pain

She was cute. She had a quick, acerbic wit. She had a big, dumb, lovable dog named Tugboat. Jesus, how could you not love a dog named Tugboat! Our musical tastes weren't perfectly aligned, but there was plenty of common ground. And, most importantly, she seemed to dig me--a quality lacking in far too many women.

Conversation flowed. I felt comfortable enough to playfully tease her and she deftly gave it right back to me. We people-watched over dinner and joked about our surroundings. It had been a long time since a date had felt so right. This girl was different. This was someone that I could honestly see a relationship with from the get-go. Or so I thought.

We'd originally intended to go to a lecture for the second half of our date, but we were enjoying our conversation way too much to put it on hold for a couple of hours. So we decided to walk to the beach instead. I don't know quite how far we went, but round-trip it took over two hours. We got dessert at the Santa Monica Pier when she suggested we go back to her place. I was beside myself.

When we got back to my car she pounced. I'm not one for making out in or near public, so I was a bit apprehensive at first--fumbling for my keys, wanting to get back to her place as soon as possible, but she obviously wanted to make out then and there. So we did. Then she dropped the bomb. Though, she'd waited until I was my most undone and my penis in her hand. She breathily said in my ear, "God, you know what would get me really fuckin' hot?" "Hmm?", I grunted in response. "If you would run over my hands with your car."

I just kinda laughed at first and commenced with the making out. It didn't sound like she was joking, but she obviously couldn't be serious. Oh, how wrong I was. "I'm serious. Would you run over my hands with your car?" She said. "I can't do that, why would I do that?" "Because I want you to." She kind of glared at me as if to say, this doesn't go any further until you do as I say. As I'd done all night with great success I tried to make a joke and countered with, "Couldn't we start off smaller, like with a small piece of furniture first and gradually build up to maybe sitting on your hands?" For the first time all night my joke missed the mark, and at that point she reminded me that she was holding my manhood in her hand by squeezing it 'til it hurt. Bad.

"I like pain. It's kind of a big part of my sex life." My life flashed before my eyes. I instantly found religion and began asking God to get me and my wiener out of this. "Look, I'm sorry, but for me this is supposed to feel good, pain simply doesn't fit into this experience for me." "Have you ever even tried?!" "Well, no...but I'm pretty sure I don't..." "You have no idea, just fucking give it a try and I guarantee you'll like it." With that, she pinched the skin of sack really hard with her nails. It hurt like a motherfucker. I yelped in pain, withdrew and kind of shoved her off of me simultaneously. She looked at me with utter disgust, then she kicked me with her boot. "Fuck this. Fuck YOU, fuckin' pussy!", she yelled as she adjusted her clothes and got out of the car. She gave me the finger as she stormed off, pulling her dress down which had been hiked up above her waist.

I just sat there dumbfounded. I checked my nuts to see if she'd cut me. Not seeing any blood or other damage I stuffed my manhood back into my pants, put the keys into the ignition and started the car. I watched her as she walked away, unsure exactly what to do. I thought briefly about apologizing and at least walking her to her car, but I just sat there dazed as she turned the corner and was gone for good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Music As Litmus Test...

There was a time when I wouldn't even think about dating someone who had, what I considered to be, bad taste in music. As stupid as this sounds, one of the first things I would do to see if I was compatible with someone was to check the list of musical artists in their profile and see how closely it aligned with my own. If someone's list contained certain buzzwords like Britney Spears, Nickelback, Creed, Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, or any religious or country music artists, then I would automatically disqualify them. Don't get me wrong, I love music and I don't want to listen to these artists anymore than I did then, because I still don't care for it, but I'm also no longer a smug bastard about it. I used to hate these artists--because they had the audacity to make lots money, be popular and have lots of sex. And, by default, I hated anyone who would make me listen to them.

It didn't help that I was in my late 20's, and people in their late 20's are usually penis pumps. I also live in Los Angeles, one of the capitals of music snobbery. On the profiles of my local peers/potential dates were these long lists of ever-more obscure indie rock bands. It was kind of an unofficial pissing contest; whose list is longest and contains the most hard-to-find KCRW or KXLU artists. Seriously, some peoples' lists could be 30-50 artists long. Dicks. In hindsight, it's obvious that I was just projecting, but at the time it did feel that there was pressure to keep up. Which is odd for me, because I generally could give a rat's ass about that sort of window-dressing.

Which leads me to the date I had, some years ago, with the uptight indie music snob who was thoroughly unimpressed by my iPod's contents. She was short, thin, a chain smoker, blonde, conventionally attractive, but a real asshole. She had a large chip on her shoulder in general, but was downright dick-ish when it came to music. And I don't think she smiled the entire night. My grandma would have said she "had a puss on her face". Her face was in a state of constant puss.

Almost immediately she began going off about the band Modest Mouse, whose songs had recently started appearing in national TV ad campaigns. She was genuinely pissed that they'd "sold out". Really pissed. Because, you know, fuck anyone that wants to actually make money off their art. I didn't share her sentiments, but, nevertheless, I just smiled and nodded in agreement at whatever she said. At this point I was already pretty put off by her persona, but not enough to not try and get laid. Don't judge. I was in the middle of a long-ass drought.

Then she dropped the name of some indie band that, to this day, I'm not even sure was real. I honestly think it may have just been a name she made up to see how I reacted. To see if I would own up to never having heard of them, or if I'd play it off like I had. Needless to say, I fell right into the trap. It was something really ridiculous, too, like Jimmy Jam and the Canine Abortion. That's not the name she said, but it was something just as convoluted.

"Sure, I've heard of them.", I said. "I think I heard them on KCRW." Pro tip: When in doubt, just say you heard it on KCRW, because odds are that's where they heard it. But she was a real pro's pro. She smelled bullshit and she was going to call it. So she pressed, "What's your favorite track from their second album?" "Uh, I don't know, I've only heard, like, the one song...on KCRW." "Well, would you say they sound more like Furburger or Clap Your Hands Say Poop?" "Well, I them both so's hard to say, really...hey, how 'bout we start off with this spinach dip appetizer!?" She just glared at me as though, rather than suggest an appetizer from the menu, I'd actually just crapped in my hand and offered it up as an appetizer.

The rest of the dinner was filled with long and painfully awkward silences. And we barely spoke a word to one another during the subsequent concert that I had already dropped $80 on for our tickets. If memory serves, I didn't even jerk off that night. I was so turned off I just curled up into a fetal position, cried myself to sleep and dreamt of cutting off my own penis.

So yeah, fuck music snobbery.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Based on the actual case files from the joke that is my dating life. No names have been changed, because no one was innocent. This is just a place for me to vent about my own social awkwardness and the funny, quirky, boring, and bat-shit crazy people who agree to go out on a date with me.

I should probably preface this by stating that I'm a bisexual guy who tends to be attracted to artsy, bookish types and those who walk to their own beat. I'm relatively vanilla when it comes to my own sexual tastes and turn-ons, but I'm also pretty open-minded and tolerant of others' fetishes. And I think people pick up on that fairly quickly, so they don't hesitate to let their freak flags fly. That said, there's also that moment of sheer panic/amazement when the guy you're having a fun date with suddenly asks you to kick him in the balls...'cause that's what he's into. Or the girl who wants to call up her ex-boyfriend for a threesome with you. But we'll get into all of that later.

Also, the name Cliff Beefpile is in reference to a riff from the '12 To The Moon' episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and my profile name on an online dating site.