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I am exhausted. Violet is exhausted. Yesterday was an entire day of driving after waking up in the woods, in a tent, after 4 hours of sleep and in my case, with a wee headache from the slight over indulgence the night before.
The long lesbian camping wedding weekend is over. We made it.
Now here’s the part I started writing in my head on Saturday as I sat in the sunshine, amongst a crowd of people, deep in the woods, as the music started and the brides both walked down the isle: How wonderful it can be to be wrong.
The wedding was gorgeous. Even after the sun set behind the tall forest of trees, as I watched two women, in front of a very loving crowd of more than a hundred friends and family, promise ideas and ideals of their love with all of the support from all of us I kept my sunglasses on. I think the only person crying more than me was one of the brides sister. The ceremony was perfect. And I am not trying to overplay this event. I am serious when I say the wedding, the reception, the weather, the place, the music, the people, the dancing, the singing, the food, everything was absolutely perfect. It was an incredible event and I am quite sure that I am not the only one still glowing from the experience.
Notice that the part where we camped did not make the list of wonderful, perfect things in that last sentence. I mean, it was fine and it was nice to only have to walk 100 feet from the reception to go to bed. But still, it was cold and bumpy and buggy and just not very comfortable, which is something I look for in a sleeping environment. But the magic of all that came before having to sleep on the forest floor trumps any complaint of mosquito bites I might have.
Violet promises she didn’t take it and I believe her only because I’m pretty sure that cute foot on the right is hers.
I feel so lucky to have been a part of this incredibly beautiful and loving event and have no trouble or resistance in retracting previous (camping) concerns.
The other day I was at a huge home improvement and repair store that I will leave nameless (unless they want to pay me.) I went to pick up a few things for the yard. I was also packing, which I do now and then, not often, just when the mood strikes. And just to be clear for one and all, not the moving kind, the soft pack packing kind, the one with a bulge.
So, as I wandered the isles, eventually finding everything I needed, I started for the checkout line when all of a sudden I felt the bump in my pants start to hang a tad lower than he should be. I continued walking, a bit slower though, in an attempt to assess this situation. By the time I had decided that this could become a potential issue I realized that my detachable disco stick had completely jumped the tighty whities ship and was now slowly crawling down my left leg a little bit more with every step.
I stopped walking, obviously, right in the middle of the isle. My face clearly expressed concern as I can never find anyone in that store to help me but now, of course, with my leg bent up to stop the AWAL lovelance at my knee, threatening to flop onto the ground and roll away into the gardening section, I had two guys asking me if they can help me find anything. Without actually making eye contact I mumbled “Uh…no, that’s cool, thanks though. I’m just… uh, thinking… um, about some stuff.”
I have a college education. I am well read. I pride myself on my ability to hold a decent conversation with just about anyone and yet, with my dangling dong at my knee cap, I told these men that I had gone to a crowded warehouse filled with endless home improvement supplies so that I could do my best impression of a flamingo while I, uh think… um, about some stuff.
How very eloquent.
Eventually I decided I had two choices and two choices only – unless I was willing to consider the third option I came up with which entailed running out of the store screaming, “It’s not my fault! The elastic on my tighties are going slack! I neeeed neeew underweeear!!!”
So, the two most tasteful solutions (although ‘tasteful’ might not be the perfect descriptor, please keep in mind that the situation at hand did not really make room for classy action) were these: I could either reach down my pants and grab the lost longhorn, hike him back up into his escaped bulge-bed –OR- I could attempt to walk with a bit of a limp, as my left knee had to remain at a 45 degree angle in order to keep the manly junk from leaving me.
I stood there for a while. Quite a while really. Eventually, I went with door number two. The store was crowded and reaching way, way down my pants just seemed even more ridiculous than hobbling a little.
And I tried to play it off a little, like, “Oh boy is my knee sore.” while I shook my head back and forth and huffed like, “Woo wee! Yowzer. I’ll tell ya, knees can really hurt sometimes, can’t they!” But from the looks I was getting, clearly I wasn’t pulling it off. Clearly I didn’t look like I had some convincing, excusable injury or disability; I think I mostly looked like a crazy person who was probably not totally sober. And yes, quite a few people stared. But you know what? As much as they stared, they didn’t know what they were staring at or why, and that was good enough for me. If I made it out of that store without a sudden wee-wee-show-and-tell then I won, damn it.
I wanted to laugh. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t understand how ridiculous this all was. But laughing by myself for no apparent reason while limping with a rather large squashy knee goiter was no way to be if I could help it. So, I bit my tongue and just did what I had to do to get the hell out of there.
I hobbled to the check out line, a bit sweaty and red in the face. But I had made it. And just as I finished checking out some older woman asked if she could have my cart. But my cart was the only thing allowing me to hobble properly. I certainly didn’t have enough items to constitute needing the cart but I did need it in order to not drop my jiggling johnson out of my pants. Again, I had two choices: Give up my cart and let the junk free –OR- Say, without even making eye contact, “I need it. I just need my cart. I’m sorry.” and rush by the poor woman with a speedy hobble.
So, strike two on the not sounding very stable or reasonable to totally decent people front. That response was a very basic social interaction gone major fail. I realized immediately, as I was hobbling away, that I could have easily said something like, “Sure, of course you can have my cart. Let me put my stuff (i.e. my feral free willy) away in the car and I will bring this right back to you.” But that is not what happened. Instead I went with crazy-limpy-hobbly-freaky-stressed out-sweaty-dyke-with-a-weird-lump-in-my-knee-and-zero-social-skills response instead. Not my day.
I finally got to the car, grabbed the escaped willy wonka and put it in the glove box. I got half way through a deep breath when I realized I had forgotten to buy the main item I had come for. Of course. I thought for sure I would start laughing or crying but instead I just stared at the steering wheel for a bit, exhausted and you know, thinking… um, about some stuff.
Again I had two choices: I could go back in, sans boy beef and quickly grab the tomato stakes –OR- I could drive more than 30 minutes further and hit up a similar store that never saw me desperately trying to keep my silicone salami under wraps.
As I was driving to the other store I did make a second stop to buy myself some brand new tighty whities, just incase I ever get the urge again to strut around with that squirrelly little packer.
One of my favorite neighbors lives two doors down. He’s a fabulously frumpy and usually mostly grumpy old man with a heart of gold. I’ve written about him before, just after we had our first and one of my favorite quick conversations of all time. He has a little terrier named Lily that he walks with every day for several hours. They’ll leave sometime late morning and if I catch them walking by my house we’ll come up with some quick and amusing banter and then off they’ll go until late afternoon at least. Raymond loves Lily. He’s said more than a few times, “Yep, this little gal’s my best friend, I guess.”
Any time I catch him on the start or end of his walk he’ll tell me one of three stories about Lily that I have heard somewhere between 10 and 50 times already. I’m not sure if he realizes he keeps telling the same stories or if he even cares. I listen, quickly realizing which of the three it’s going to be and laugh where I did the first time. As the story unfolds I say, “oh wow” exactly where I should and where I did the first time I heard it, and eventually end with some sort of closer like, “Well, at least you’ll never need an exterminator” just like I do each time I hear it.
A few weeks ago I noticed him walk by without the dog. I opened my front door and asked, “Hey, Raymond, where’s Lily?” He stopped walking and sort of shouted, “Who?”
“Your dog, Lily.” I said.
“He looked away and at the ground and said, “Oh her. Eagle got her last weekend. She’s gone.”
This was not one of the three stories I had ever heard and if I had heard correctly it seemed an unbelievable one. “What?!” I yelped. “What do you mean an eagle got her?”
Raymond, still looking at the ground, said, “Yep. Was up in the mountains with her, like we do. Let her off the leash, like I do, and she never came back. I seen that eagle before. I know that’s what got her. So, Lily’s gone.”
All I could say was “wow” and “I’m so, so sorry, Raymond.”
He finally looked up at me and said, “Ya well, there’s a little puppy in Olympia I already picked out. Still suckling so I gotta wait a few more weeks. Same breed. Only difference is she’s got two black eyes.” (Lily had a big black spot over her left eye.)
“Well, that’s great. What are you going to name her?” I asked.
Raymond thought a minute. “Think I’ll name her the same. Call her Lily.”
I’m not going to lie, I thought this was a bit strange, but the whole story was strange and the poor guy just lost his little best friend to a huge bird so I immediately replied, “Well, that sounds like a great idea.”
He started to walk his long walk alone and I went back inside and on with my day.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tonight, a few weeks after that conversation, I ran into Raymond again. He patted The Seal and told me the same two stories he always does about labs (one is about how great their shit is for growing flowers) and I asked, “So, when is the new pup coming home?”
Raymond smiled big and said, “Two weeks.”
I told him he needed to bring her by as soon as she showed up and asked if he was still going to name her Lily. He said, “Well, everyone wants to name her Jazz.” I replied that I thought that sounded like a great name.
He responded, “Ya well, I like Lily best.”
“Well, Raymond, it’s your dog, name her what you want.” I said.
Raymond nodded his head back and forth, “Well, there’s another person involved with this new dog and her name.” (I assumed correctly that he was talking about his ex wife.)
I asked, “Does this other person with a say happen to be a woman?”
He smiled and nodded.
“Well then” I said, “Good luck with your new dog, Jazz.”
A few weeks ago I was on the phone with Ruth when she said, “You know, it’s been far too long since I’ve been in the forest.” To which I replied my standard reply, “Listen Ruth, at your age there is no good reason to put things off.”
Last weekend I spent my time in a cabin on a mountain in the woods with my mom and my godmother. I still smell a bit of camp fire and imagine my mom’s explosive laugh is still ringing through the trees, the giant, stoic trees that surrounded us. Ruth always has a content glow about her, but last weekend it was really something to see. Staring at Ruth amongst a sea of springtime forest, somehow, makes more sense than most things.
Happy Earth Day, everyone. Give her a kiss and make sure she knows you love her.
I was at a (the) lesbian bar in Seattle listening to a show when I found out. I was in the restroom, checking twitter, like I do, when I saw a few folks saying goodbye to you. And. my. heart. broke. When I went back out Violet leaned in and said, “What’s wrong, JJ? You look sad.”
Dixie Carter has always been a favorite of mine, for many reasons, but namely her character on Designing Women (of which I’ve seen every episode and realize that this does not surprise any of you but thought I’d put that out there.) Julia Sugarbaker was important to me. She was one of the first influences where my little jesse-self consciously and intentionally decided that I wanted and needed to be more like her. I idolized her. Watching her allowed me to realize that being well spoken trumps anything else (a hint of southern charm and dramatic flare only help). There is no brawn, no brain, no intimidation, laws, politics, bigotry, hate, or injustice that could outdo what it was that Julia Sugarbaker had to say.
I can very clearly see her walking down the staircase towards the end of the show, classy, intact, mad but with a confident and startling calm, towards whomever it was that had wronged her or her friends. She would start to talk slowly, simply, “You know, Mr. Henderson, it isn’t nice to call someone names…” until eventually the speed and intensity of her voice crushendoed, never losing composure. And there was a feeling in the air, a buzz of electric energy that was only a few final thoughts away from the final punch. And when she said, “…and another thing, Mr. Henderson…” you were totally frozen, gripping the arms on the chair, ready to stand up and explode in cheering. Because you might be the tallest, strongest, meanest, smartest man in the world, Mr. Henderson, but you have NOTHING on the intelligence, vocabulary, dignity, confidence, and articulation of Julia Sugarbaker, with her precisely polished ability to deliver what it is, exactly, that needed to be said. And now that she just told you off and where to go in the most charming, seductive, intimidating, eloquent way- you apologize- the crowd goes wild- and the credits roll.
That is what Julia Sugarbaker could do. That is what Dixie Carter could do. That is what a beautiful, intelligent, strong woman looks like. And that is what I want to be like when I grow up.
Thank you, Dixie Carter. May you rest in peace.
While some would love for you to believe that this is last week’s news, Constance McMillen is in a court room right now, today, defending civil liberties for queer folk everywhere. TODAY. RIGHT NOW. RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. The judge has said he plans to try and make this quick, so we shall see.
In the mean time, here are some fun facts about what is going on with all of this right now:
To start, in a recent interview Principal Poophead Wiygul admitted that he has been bombarded with emails (good for us!) “I’ve been called every name known to man, I’ve been called a bigot and homophobic.”
I personally would like to take some credit for that, you ephing homophobic bigot! Lawd, I hope you get fired!
Moving on to more fun facts…
The homophobic-bigot-superintendent, Teresa McNeece took the stand in court and oh, you know, lied. Under oath. Yes sir, she raised her right-god-fearing-hand up to the cover of an oh so holy bible and then… she lied. I wish that her going to hell satisfied me, but it doesn’t. I assume that I am going to hell as well, I know all of my friends will be there, the rules are loose and the weather is warm year round, from what I’ve heard. So, no, the fact that homophobic-bigot-superintendent Teresa McNeece is going to hell doesn’t do it for me. So, instead, I will help to expose her little lies, hopefully making her time on earth a little less easy.
Here is Teresa McNeece’s lie:
We all know now that there was a private “no-lesbos-allowed” prom in the works to replace the one that the school officials canceled, right? Well, Constance and her lawyers were not made aware of this until the school district’s lawyer revealed that in a filing, a filing that Teresa McNeece supposedly helped draft. But when McNeece took the stand she said she didn’t know about it and she didn’t know it was a breeders-only event. But she did. See, that is the catch. And that, my dear Teresa, is what we call “lying under oath” “perjury” “false witness” and doubles as a criminal offense. Ooh, I hope you get yours.
Here are two more things I would like to mention and then I will end this post (and maybe the next post won’t be about this, but don’t hold your breath.)
Food for thought:
1. Right now the most publicized average-joe-queer-figure in US news is Constance McMillen. When I was in high school, just a decade (plus a couple of years) ago, the most famously publicized queer person (one of the only queer people ever to catch national news attention at that time) was Mathew Shepard. And that fact alone, amongst all of the ridiculous bullshit that Constance and a lot of us put up with every single day still, helps me sleep at night. Because that is just amazing, really. Right now, after no time at all as far as social-progress timelines are concerened, we are in a place and time where when a (teenaged!) queer person says, “Hey that’s not fair! You are just doing/saying/acting like that because you hate queers” a ton of folks, millions even, jump up and say, “Ya! That is not fucking fair! Let’s do something about it!” I could have never imagined this kind of support in high school. All I was hearing then was, “Being gay can get you killed and really, there isn’t much to protect you from that.” But I also couldn’t have imagined a GSA club at my old high school either, so clearly, things are changing, and every now and then, that change is actually for the better.
2. I am not an “eye for an eye” kind of guy. But I do strongly believe that the assholes that are still attempting to cancel an entire prom to avoid a lesbian from attending do not deserve to just sit in their offices and twiddle their homo-hating thumbs. If you haven’t told them how you feel about this, please do! Every voice in support of Constance is a critically important voice!
Tis all for now.
Ok folks, here is the deal: Today is my blog’s 2 year anniversary. Aw, good for me… whatever. Point is, the second anniversary is the cotton anniversary. And since a few of you seemed rather interested in the shirt I made for myself the other day and I am still totally disgusted with the Mississippi morons who are trying to get away with blatant discrimination I went ahead and made a little online shop where you too can mock the homophobic bigots while reclaiming a derogatory phrase, all with a simple little t-shirt. Wear it loud, wear it proud, I say! And let’s just be honest, prom really is so fucking gay.
Here are just a few of your options.
Yes, even bumper stickers. There are a million more shirt options at the online shop, located at http://www.cafepress.com/jljj. If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can do. I went with the reasonably priced items and visible clothing, but if you want a crazy expensive retro looking organic cotton blah blah or thong undies or boxers or something, just let me know and I’ll make one for you.
And please, all of you, give all design credit to Sinclair Sexsmith. All of it. She is the one who diligently sought out the same font as my homemade shirt (does everyone understand how many fonts there are in the world?! Jezus!), she is the one who changed the blue color again and again until I was convinced that it was the exact Cher-Blue I was looking for. If it wasn’t for her… well, if it wasn’t for her a lot of things wouldn’t happen, so I won’t go there. But a big thank you, friend. I don’t know how you put up with me but I appreciate that you do.
I am also linking these shirts to my new and most likely temporary “swag” page.
So, there we have it folks! And if you do get one and want to model it on my blog just send me a photo and I’ll post it.
Want to link these shirts to your website? Thanks. The link: http://www.cafepress.com/jljj And banners:
Ok, I’m going to try something new here. I would like to take this opportunity (the opportunity being that this is my blog) to clear something up, explain myself a little.
I have received quite a bit of feedback since posting about the Mississippi school authorities that decided to cancel an entire prom so to avoid Constance McMillen and her girlfriend from attending. Some of you have written in support while some of you have expressed serious disagreement, from poo-on-you sentiments, all the way to bat-shit-pissed!
The eye opener for me was the sincere surprise from some of you, who thought I would feel differently about a girl not being aloud to go to prom because she’s a lesbian? One comment calling me “a left wing(ed) bigot.” One email said, “I’m disappointed in you!… I thought you were honest and balanced.” Another email read, “…your perspective is warped and insanely one sided…” some followed by a few choice nouns, none of which I claim for myself. (Left winged bigot, however? I am already planning a Halloween costume.)
But obviously I need to clarify something here, so here we go:
Dear people of the world:
PLEASE DO NOT MISTAKE ME FOR FAIR, BALANCED OR IMPARTIAL. IF YOU ARE NOT FOR TOTAL EQUALITY FOR QUEERS IN EVERY SINGLE WAY POSSIBLE THEN YOU ARE AGAINST ME.
(And if you do not understand that Cher is fabulous our relationship could be tricky. Not impossible, but potentially a bit rocky.)
Now, let me clear up another misunderstanding: I am not trying to, nor do I have any interest in changing anyone’s mind about anything. That is not my battle and that is never my intention with or for anyone. I think everyone can and should go ahead and think and feel and believe whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want, about anything and everything. Feel free to look me right in the eye and think, “God I hate this faggot-lesbian and her awful hair (jealous much?) and I just wish Cher would stop already.” Seriously, go for it, feel it, think it, believe it, wish for it at night.
But when your feelings about me turn outward in such a way that you are attempting to compromise my ability to live my life the way I so choose (we all know being a faggot-lesbian was my choice), then… now, we have a problem. In these sorts of situations, some fight, some choose flight. You cross that line with me and I will step on your toes. And if you are a lot bigger than me I will step on them quickly and then run like hell because I am not dumb and bruise easily. See what I’m getting at, here? Hate, feel, think, and believe about queers whatever you want- great, fine, whatever. But do not try and impose that shit on us.
How this all relates to my girl, Constance: I don’t care if the entire state of Mississippi, the entire country, the entire universe, including extremely far away planets with life on them that we just haven’t discovered yet, totally all hate lesbians, just fucking hate them. Fine. Hate us.
But when Constance McMillen comes knocking on the public door of a public school and asks a public school employee if she can bring her girlfriend to the prom and wear a tuxedo (hot!), here’s what you do: YOU STUFF ALL OF YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS DOWN YOUR THROAT OR UP YOUR ASS AND YOU SAY, “SURE. FINE. OF COURSE.” And then, after she leaves the office, you can close the door and quiver in disgust at her most immoral, putrid request. You can call your wife even, and say, “Honey! You will never believe this! The most atrocious, despicable, disgusting, unholy thing just happened!” And then you can bitch about how gays and lesbians are genetic fuck-ups and it just makes you want to vomit and repent every time you think about it and then you hang up with your wife AND YOU PUT YOUR GAME FACE BACK ON. Because you have a job to do. And your job, in this situation, is to oversee an entire PUBLIC school, staff and students alike, and make sure that every single individual, regardless of race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender, age, blah blah, etc, etc, in this particular PUBLIC building is safe, accounted for, being treated fairly and is getting the most out of this PUBLIC education as possible. THAT IS WHAT YOU DO. THAT IS WHAT YOU GOT HIRED TO DO. That, Principal Trae Poophead Wiygul, IS. YOUR. JOB.
Side note/ here’s a thought: The best part for all of us here is this: We live in a (mostly) free country (it helps if you are white, straight and male, but the rest of us do have a lot of liberties still, you just might have to dig a little deeper or call the ACLU every now and then to help find them.)
And so, if you, Principal Trae Wiygul, or any of the board members, or you, Superintendent, Teresa McNeece, do not like your jobs or what is expected AND LEGALLY REQUIRED of you when doing your jobs, you have the right to quit that job and find something better suited for you(r homophobic asses.) If you don’t want a lesbian student going to public school dances, you have two choices: Either bite your dyke-detesting tongues and sell the girl a ticket for two to the prom –OR- quit your job and find something that doesn’t require that you be indiscriminately caring, responsible and reasonable of/for/towards children. There is just no third option for this one, folks. And this, to my joy and delight, you all are in the process of learning the hard way.
Back to my angry emailers: In all sincerity, I appreciate every email and comment and perspective I have received (and assume more are now on the way.) And for all of you that I have offended, I offer absolutely no apology. And for all of you that offend the shit out of me, no apologies necessary. Good for you for believing what you do and standing behind it. In this case, it might mean that you’re a homophobic bigot, but hey, to each her own.
I read everything you had to say and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. And although I disagree with some of you, that is totally a-ok. The spice to life, right? And even though I might not want to live my life the way some of you do, so what? So I won’t then. And clearly some of you really, really, really don’t want to live your life the way I do. Cool. Don’t.
And also, just to be clear, I have no intention of ever shutting up about what I think is right and good and true but I will never attempt to impose my beliefs and values on you in ways that would compromise your ability to live your life exactly the way you choose, that fits you best. And for all of you that have already started drafting another angry email saying that this post is telling you that you can’t be mean to lesbians and that is, in a way, me telling you what you can and can’t do, OH MY GOD.
Here is an updated contact list of the powers at be that CANCELED AN ENTIRE PROM TO AVOID THE ATTENDANCE OF TWO GIRLS AND A TUX. Feel free to let them know what you think. And feel free to post what you had to say here.
phone (662) 862-2159 Ext. 14
NEW: fax (662) 862-4713
NEW: Teresa McNeece’s FACEBOOK PAGE (page may have been deleted)
School Board Members:
NEW: HIS FACEBOOK PAGE (page may have been deleted)
NEW: HIS FACEBOOK PAGE.
And here is an interview with our girl, Constance McMillen. How fabulous is she!?!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
And no matter who you are, what you are, where you are, if you want to dance, to quote the wise words of Lady Gaga, “It’s alright, a-alright…”
… how you want, where you want and with whomever you so choose (so long as they want to dance with you, don’t forget that part.) And wearing a tux could only make things hotter. Keep that in mind.
(a.k.a jesse james)