Archive for the 'Gay' Category


‘Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi’

The album cover of Klaus Nomi’s 1981 self-titled debut album.

Last week, a colleague posted the following to Facebook:

Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi by sharing this video.

She says “(the real) Klaus Nomi” because her cat is named Klaus Nomi. (Not, I quickly regretted asking, “Claws Nomi”?)

But that Facebook post is amazing for two reasons. First, Terry Gross has interviewed so many people, it seems impossible that, in all that studio time, not even a passing reference to Klaus Nomi came up. Not only that, but she’s from New York City, and she was like 30 years old when Klaus Nomi was at his peak.

Second — Klaus Nomi. I mean look at him. This is the video my colleague Christine shared:

Continue reading ‘‘Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi’’


vicious old queens

Frances de la Tour, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Iwan Rheon. (Image: Patrick Redmond)

There was a time when a show like “Vicious” might have seemed daring, but today it feels quaint, comfortable, silly. And I don’t think it intends to be much more than that, and that’s OK.

Continue reading ‘vicious old queens’


Hot August night

A familiar face peered out from the shelter of an open trunk. He was fussing with something inside, and he was trying to get my attention.

“Hey hey hey!” I shouted.

“Alex!” he called back. He knew my face but not my name. I didn’t remember his, either, so it seemed hypocritical to correct him. Continue reading ‘Hot August night’


Greek foot

His feet look strong. Rigid, you might say, sinewy. But not bony. They are feet well-used, but not calloused or dirty.

It suggests a lot of time spent barefoot. He has the sand-scoured soles and suntanned top skin of feet that spent the summer months on the beach.

Under the skin across each foot curves a pattern of athletic veins. From ball to heel, a graceful arch slopes high and tight, like the loaded spring of a catapult.

His toes spread wide at the broad, flat, flipper-like ends of his feet. They are each distinct and squared at the tip, not a one crushed against another or mangled by years of too-tight shoes. His big toe is neither bulbous and vegetal, nor stunted and incomplete, just the next step up in a natural progression from this little piggy to the next.

The toenails are clean, neat, but not meticulous, not manicured. Maintained, you might say, but not “cared for.” Not shiny. Rather, appropriately dull and masculine, but glowing at the same time with effortless, thoughtless health.

The flesh of his heel sinks in around the Achilles tendon, taut as a drawn bow. His ankles, stony and firm, yet vulnerable, look mechanical and ready. And the region just above, at the base of his calves where the leg hair starts to grow, peeks out from the turned-up cuff of his jeans like a hint, an innuendo, a suggestion.

These are among the things you’re likely to notice when you’re a college freshman, in circumstances foreign and uncomfortable and exhilarating, suddenly free to look—in fact, encouraged to look—at the world with new eyes, meeting the guy across the hall who, like you, is sitting outside the door of his room with a book while his roommate is on the phone. Continue reading ‘Greek foot’


Jeff and Eric’s wedding sermon; 9/18/04

Jeff and Eric's wedding, 09/18/04

Jeff and Eric contemplate love, their future together, and the color of water, surrounded by friends and family in Minneapolis on Sept. 18, 2004.

Jeff and I recently celebrated the 8th anniversary of our commitment ceremony — let’s just say it: our 8th wedding anniversary — on Sept. 18. Sandwiched this year as it was between the unions of four dear friends, Mark Galante and Erik Sisco (Sept. 15), and Brian Dillard and Charlie Smith (Sept. 23, also my birthday), the anniversary was made even more special. September is getting to be quite a month!
It seems appropriate to revisit the sermon Jeff’s dear high school friend Mark Havel wrote for the occasion, on that bright and cloudless September afternoon, in Deming Heights Park, on the tallest hill in Minneapolis, the City of Lakes.

Sept. 18, 2004, is with me every day, and this sermon still makes me cry.

When Jeff and I began planning things for today—most of which happened over the telephone and by e-mail—he joked that somehow water was becoming a recurring theme for the occasion. The “flowing water of life” we just heard about in the poem by Rumi, and the “Wood Song” and “Water is Wide,” which we’ll hear in a moment, carry the theme pretty clearly. Jeff seemed to think it an appropriate motif to latch onto somehow, being in the land of 10,000 lakes and all. (Now I’m wondering if it had something to do with the shower at The Saloon …) I’m not going there, but I did decide to run with it, anyway.

And, the first thing that popped into my mind was the title of a book by James McBride called The Color of Water. It’s a book about a biracial boy growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, in New York and Delaware. He was raised by his eccentric, white, Jewish mother who converted to Christianity when she married his African-American, Christian father. Because of the time in and circumstances under which they lived, you can imagine that race and religion were very much a part of his coming of age and self-understanding.

And as he came of age, as he struggled with his identity, as he wondered about how and where he fit into the world around him, the boy asked his mother one day about what God’s spirit looked like. For me and for all the theology I’ve studied, his mother’s answer was as strange and as simple as it was profound. She said simply, “God’s spirit doesn’t have a color. God is the color of water.” Continue reading ‘Jeff and Eric’s wedding sermon; 9/18/04′



“Good morning. How are you?” I said, walking in off the street.

I kept the earbuds in, but I turned the volume down so I could hear myself speak. Also, if he said something, I could avoid the embarrassment of tugging them out of my ears to ask him to repeat some pleasantry or other that would only sound awkward and unnecessary in the repeating.

“How are you?” he said.

“Ok,” I said. Then I thought to say more, and I lingered slightly. “It’s Friday,” I added. “So that’s good.”

My voice sounded especially nasal. Is it always this bad? It was almost a whine, weak, hesitant. I talk too much out of my head and not my chest. Far too much of my life is spent in my head.

“Yes it is,” he said.

He had an intensity in his eyes, a directness, that I wished I’d matched in my tone. It was nothing, just his way. And this was my way. It was only a “good morning,” but it was all I would have occasion to say, and I felt like I’d blown it.

I ordered the usual iced tea and lemonade. I still could not bring myself to ask for an Arnold Palmer. And I grabbed a granola bar from the bowl on the counter and silently added it to the order.

Thinking about Monday morning, I watched him pour from both pitchers.


Looking outward, looking inward

Half the fun of going to the gym is the chance to observe its particular biosphere. It’s treasure trove of wildlife. I say you ought to get something out of it. Lord knows I hate going to the gym.

It’s a symptom of my inexorable laziness. But I see results when I work out, and male vanity is even more compulsive than laziness. So I go. But always in the morning before work—because I hate going after work even more.

So I’ve become familiar with the characters of my morning routine. I think you see a more consistent recurrence of the same people in the morning. Everyone’s routines are a little more regimented early in the day. We still have discipline in the morning, and hope—as opposed to later in the day when we are apathetic and undone and much more inclined to get a cocktail than lift anything heavier than a gym bag.

Continue reading ‘Looking outward, looking inward’


Two cheeseburgers to go

“I don’t care if you’re taken or not, because you probably are, but I’m going to ask you a question anyway.”

She said it without punctuation, and it came at me by surprise, the sort of introduction that makes you assume you’re not going to want to answer the question.

I was sipping a beer, waiting for a couple of cheeseburgers to bring home for me and my husband. She was the person nearest to me at the bar, two stools away, and was also waiting for her brunch. My order was to go. She had silverware.

She looked about 50 — maybe late 40s. It was hard to tell. She had brown hair that looked natural enough to me. The skin around her eyes was mostly unwrinkled. She was small, not unattractive, but not fit. She wore glasses and had a little nose that turned up at the end. Mousy, I would call her. Librarian-esque. IT, maybe. She wore minimal make-up; just some eyeliner, some powder. Just a neighborhood gal out for brunch on a Sunday by herself.

I didn’t want to talk to her, but my need to not be rude trumped my need to be left alone. “Uh, sure …” I said. Continue reading ‘Two cheeseburgers to go’


Up His Sleeve

From more than halfway down the block I saw part of his right arm, partially obscured by the trees lining the sidewalk. Just a patch of fabric on a light-blue polo shirt. I recognized him instantly. Funny I knew it was him with so little to go on.

I didn’t quite believe myself, so I waited until I cleared the trees so I could see more of him. Yes. There was the cigarette. I could see the outline of his glasses.

I can pick him out of a crowd by a gesture or the way he walks. The way he sways his arm. The way he plants a step. There’s an indelible imprint on my mind of all sort of of subtle clues, most of which I probably don’t even know about.

It was remarkable to me in that moment how well I must know him, after all these years. It made me proud. It felt like he was as familiar as my own reflection. It’s the stuff people hope for in a relationship. It’s the stuff you get old remembering together.

Then a terrible thought hit me. Maybe it’s just the laundry that I know so well.


The Boy in the Bubble Emerges

Of the salient differences between my new job and my old job, I must say one of the most intriguing is the number of gay people. At a gay cable network, I was naturally surrounded by gays. At a public radio station, the demographics of the audience, and the people who serve that audience, widen considerably.

Delightfully, the reason this is intriguing is that it doesn’t seem to matter. Of course I never expected it to. It’s just a notable change for me. After four years of being surrounded by rainbows and unicorns — and a lot of straight women — every blessed day, one gets used to certain ways of comportment. There are certain facts about one’s life that don’t need explaining, a common way of looking at the world. It’s not so much that I now need to change my behavior. I wouldn’t. It’s more that I need to open myself up to new things, new people, different life experiences.

the untallied hours