Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Year of the Weddings: The Kickoff

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I've got multiple friends getting married in the next year, more than any previous years. This past weekend I kicked off the year by attending my friend Brittany's wedding. Brittany and I used to work the Electronics Department together years ago, and I'm really not sure I've had more fun with anyone at work in my life.

We had photo shoots with the display cameras, impromptu sing-alongs to The Little Mermaid (with little regard to who else could hear), and once spent a good forty five minutes trying to locate the exact moment that you could see the priest's boner, also in The Little Mermaid (that movie kept us pretty busy for a few months). We don't see nearly enough of each other, so I was thrilled when I was asked to be the plus one for another one of our friends.

Because I'm me, I of course began stressing about what I was going to wear weeks ahead of time. I was less than thrilled with my collection of dress clothes, so I planned on buying something new for the occasion. Also, because I'm me, I couldn't actually afford to buy anything until the day of the wedding. So I drug my ass out of bed on Saturday morning and began the chore of putting together an outfit with no plan as to what I was looking for.

All I knew was that I wanted to rock a bowtie. I was pretty impressed with how stunning I looked just in my imagination, so I couldn't really see anyway it could go wrong...until I talked to my mother about it.

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. My mother, after 27 years, still has not figured out how to handle her anxiety ridden, super sensitive, gay son. She has yet to learn that what I need is not honest advice when I'm asking opinions on clothes, or hair, or the size of my pores. I need blind agreement with no hesitation about whatever opinion I am expressing, because if I'm at the point where I'm ready to let others in my plans, I've already hemmed and hawed over it for a week and I'm just looking for a little validation.

What I don't need to hear is, "...really? ...a bowtie?"

I suppose the argument could also be made that I've had 27 years to realize that my mother isn't going to mince her words because I'm an overly sensitive basket case.

My first stop was at TJ Maxx, because I'm obsessed with that place. I've been finding the most fantastic clothes for super cheap there. I also, somehow, end up buying clearance glassware every time I'm there. I found a super cute black shirt, a green and gray bowtie that was beyond adorable, and also a really pale blue backup tie (because Mom's voice was still in my head).

I decided on light gray pants, but quickly realized that finding them would be a problem. I searched TJ Maxx, Old Navy, Target, Sears, JC Penny, and briefly even considered whether or not I am quirky enough to pull of vintage pants I noticed in the window at Ragstock (I'm not).

I found nothing until I stopped at Herbergers, and I spotted exactly what I was looking for. After an hour of searching, finally things were looking up. Just as I was bending down to grab them, I heard the unmistakable ripping sound (and sudden breeziness) of the entire crotch of my jeans blowing wide open.

I was, of course, mortified. Then I was pissed. I briefly considered just never leaving the corner behind the Calvin Klein slacks. I figured people would notice me living in The Herbergers though, so I thanked whatever deity exists that I put on adorable underwear that day and soldiered on.

Oh yeah, and they definitely didn't have my size, so I was leaving the store with less pants than I entered with.

I ended up finding what I need at Kohl's (why didn't anyone tell me how awesome that place is?!). I skipped the ties all together, because turns out I totally can't pull off a bowtie (Mom- 1, Chris- 0), but I was happy with the look.

The ceremony was beautiful, and the bride was f#%!ing gorgeous. But the main event for me, of course, was the reception. The first thing I do upon entering any room is figure out what kind of vodka is available (and I'm disappointed every day when I walk into work), so I immediately found the bar. That's when I met the new love of my life, the hot bartender (I don't remember his name because I'm pretty sure I never thought to ask him).

I was pretty convinced he was flirting with me, but I'm pretty convinced that most people in the service industry are flirting with me. I ended up making way more trips to the bar looking for clues than I should have and quickly realized this was going to be an expensive investigation if I didn't switch from Ketel One to the much freer beer. And I mean, the rule is, "Liquor before beer, you're in the clear," right? What could go wrong?

They went down real easy (seeings as they were the first beers I'd ever drank in their entirety that weren't some sort of lemony orangey shandy)...a little too easy. So easy in fact that I had enough for me to stumble into some pretty dangerous thought territories, "I wonder if I could pull off a shaved head...It probably wouldn't be super hard to find my ex's phone number...I should give that bowtie another try...breakdancing can't be that hard," and of course the most dangerous of them all...

"You know what's delicious? Long island iced teas."

The dangerous mix of looking adorable, a hot bartender who was letting me wink sloppily at him without batting an eye, the bride and my's shared love of dancing like nobody's watching, and free booze got me there, and there was no turning back. 

There's not a rule about liquor before beer before more liquor before more beer before a Britney Spears medley.

There should be.

The rest of the night is a bit blurry, but I remember pizza, more dancing, going home with an entire tray of cupcakes, and having a helluva good time. I'm so grateful that I got to witness the bride and grooms special day, and I'm also glad I got a warm up for Amanda and Kloos's wedding in a few weeks (citizens of New Ulm, prepare yourselves). Maybe I can get this partying out of the way before weddings that I have actual responsibilities at.

As a side note, I do have one pretty clear recollection of the end of the night when we definitely ended up downtown, and I saw the hot bartender standing outside of the bar with his friends. I stood four feet from him, pointing, and yelling at my friends (a block away), "You guys! Hot bartender! GUYS! HOT BARTENDER!"


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall Resolutions

Alright, folks, summer is over (maybe not officially, but I wore a sweater today, so close enough). At the beginning of summer I usually talk a pretty big game about having goals and shit, but that business goes right out the door once June hits. I don't think that I'm quite ready to give up the idea of summer vacation. As spring is coming to an end I can't stop thinking about days at the lake, Pride festivals, laying out by the pool, drinking at inappropriate times of the day, and driving around with the windows down and a "summer song" blasting.

And then I remember that I'm a grown ass man, and I still have a job that I need to go to every day. So I'll give up on the summer vacation fantasy...but you can't seriously expect me to work a full day and then do something other than drink Lemon Berry Shandy and pretend I'm a Real Housewife in some much more glamorous city.

As the cooler weather rolls in, however, so does an overwhelming sense of regret and dread when it think back to all of the wasted time, money spent, and Cheetos eaten in the last three months. So for the next three months I'll be working to undo some of the damage done by Summer Chris with my Fall Resolutions. 

I'm not going to say that the heat is responsible for all of my bad decisions, but I'm pretty sure it's definitely responsible for short circuiting my brain and making me think it's fine to not pay my phone bill so I can afford to buy pizza at 3 in the morning on a Wednesday. 

Go to bed, fool.

In fact, let's go ahead and make that resolution #1.

1. Go to bed, fool.

Netflix will still be there tomorrow. You're not actually hungry. Nothing is happening on Facebook after 10 pm. Maybe you could try cleaning your apartment at a reasonable time of the day? Turn the Kylie Minogue off, and go to sleep.

2. Try cooking things that aren't chicken or pasta.

Chicken and pasta are delicious, but I'm worried I'm becoming a bit of a one trick pony. Even my Pinterest board is dominated almost entirely by chicken or pasta dishes (and, also, I should probably just rename the board, "Ways to get cheese into my body"). I've been trying to pay attention to more diverse recipes, and there's even talk of buying a squash.

Also, every kitchen cleaner commercial I've ever seen has given me a really unreasonable fear of raw chicken, so I think this is going to make cooking a lot less stressful.

3. Read two books from this list.

I worry that I've wasted most of my twenties reading about shopaholics when I know that I should be reading something a bit more profound. I mean, ideally, I'd read all 65 books on the list, but I'm realistic about how much reading I can get done in 3 months (and I still have a few books about that shopaholic to get through).

Plus, I have Netflix now, so my schedule is pretty full.

4. Pick up the phone and call someone.

I have so many friends that I haven't spoken to in ages, and every time I see them we always do the same "We definitely need to keep in touch more! Phone date?" song and dance. Can we all just agree that this is bullshit? I've never once followed up on this. It's not even that I don't want to talk to these people, I just have it stuck in my head that I'm way to busy, but I'm pretty sure I spent an hour staring at my DVD's trying to pick one to watch the other day. I'm pretty sure I can squeeze in twenty minutes to talk to people that I genuinely like.

So be forewarned, if you promise to catch up with me, you don't get to leave until we've got a date written down in our planners.

(4.5. Buy a planner.)

5. Stop watching YouTube videos that you know will make you cry (unless you're really ready to commit to it).

Have you guys seen that Home Depot marriage proposal video? I knew full well what would happen when I watched it, and I knew that I had to go to work shortly afterwards, but I watched it anyway. I sobbed my way through all five minutes and forty-one seconds of it, and it f#%!ed with my whole night.

Now we've established that I love a good cry, but I need to stop sabotaging my mood when I have shit to do.

6. Save your money.

I really, really need to get a better handle on my finances, and the only way I'm gonna pull it off is if I put a lock on all of the stupid stuff I spend my money on (I considered buying a toe ring the other day, you guys. a toe ring). I've got a flight to Vegas to buy in the next few months, and it would suck to miss out on that because I can't get my argyle sock addiction under control.

There are countless ways to keep myself entertained without spending a dime...probably. 

7. Watch your portions.

Every diet plan that I've tried, I've failed...spectacularly. My new plan is to work on just not losing my goddamn mind once a week when I decide a deserve to splurge.

After I finish this pan of brownies off.

8. Drink more wine.

Because I want to feel good about checking at least one of these off the list.

9. Be a better listener (and in turn, a better friend).

I have an overwhelming urge to be at the center of every conversation. It's a trait that bugs even me, so I can't imagine how other people feel. I'm working on taking a backseat in social interactions, asking leading questions rather than segueing immediately into a story about myself, and at least pretending to be interested in what other people are saying (even if I'm really, really not).

Shit's hard.

10. Don't stress, this is your favorite time of year, enjoy it!

Sweater weather, Halloween, crunchy leaves littering the sidewalk, carving pumpkins, hoodies and campfires, candy corn, watching Hocus Pocus, scarves, and a whole crop of new TV shows (and new fictional characters to grow attached to) are right around the corner. I'm going to make an effort to not worry about things I can't control, and work on being present in and appreciating my favorite time of year!

Happy Fall, y'all!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pride: Part II

The beginning of September ever year brings about the last of my summer events, the Mankato LGBT Pride Festival. It's nowhere near the scale of Twin Cities Pride, but that doesn't ever stop us from celebrating like it is. It marks the end of my summer, and it also usually marks the beginning of my annual "Look at your life, look at your choices" fall resolutions. But that's a post for another week. For now, let's just focus on the shenanigans.

Every year I take the Friday of Pride off to prep for the weekend. With people coming into town I always have a lot of crap to do before I'm ready to host guests. This particular Friday was also going to be the first time in a month that I had enough money to to a bunch of laundry and get a haircut (and my hair was getting out. of. control.).

Another yearly tradition is ignoring all of the stuff I need to get done on Friday and going out to kick the weekend off at karaoke on Thursday night.

Karaoke is a weekly event on Thursday nights, and every week I make the responsible decision to skip it, knowing that I'll be much better off if I just stay in and get some sleep (because it is a weekday after all). Every week I stand up to my own poor decision making skills and say, "Not tonight. Tonight you're gonna wash some dishes!"

Until someone asks me if I want to go.

Truthfully, they don't even have to really ask, the mere suggestion that karaoke exists is usually enough to shut Responsible Chris right the hell up.

I hadn't really counted on the hangover that the perfect storm of cheap vodka (imbibed too quickly), my Pre-Pride Crash Diet, and the knowledge that I had the next day off would cause. It was the worst I've ever felt after a night of drinking (and I one time drank an entire bottle of UV Blue in a matter of hours). I tried to get up and clean, but I was only able to wash two plates (two small plates) before I had to slouch back to my bed and moan for three more hours.

Not inviting people over is easier than cleaning anyway...

I'm not sure that I ever truly recovered. I had some gas station food, which made me feel better, but I just never felt quite right. We went out to Shogun Sushi and Hibachi for dinner (and it was amazeballs), and then we assembled at Pub 500 for Queeraoke.

Drink after drink and I didn't feel a thing. By midnight it was becoming clear to me that I was wasting my money (and also that my name was not going to be called to sing). I needed to just throw in the towel and rest up for the next day, but my friends had other ideas. We ended up at The Haze (I reject the name change).

There is nothing worse than being surrounded by drunk 21 year olds when you're not drunk and also stuffed full of Japanese food (is hearing Pitbull really that exciting). I had two options. I could embrace being a shitty person and sneak out the door while my much drunker friend stalked his prey on the dancefloor, or I could get on his level. So I pounded three drinks and one of those stupid test tube shots and waited for it to kick in.

Unfortunately all that did was make me forget that I cared about being a good person.

You can find your own way home, right?
Pride Saturday included the parade and the festival. Both of these events are usually some of my favorite parts of 'Kato Pride. I love watching it grow every year and seeing not only the gay community out but also our straight allies. This was mostly just really f#%!ing hot.

Luckily we had a respite from the heat. My friends, Jamie and Simon, hosted their second annual Pride Champagne Brunch, and let me tell you, the gays know how to do brunch. They made an egg bake and turkey bacon (I don't really need to have your "healthy alternatives" agenda shoved down my throat...but I'll take a few pieces), rainbow fruit skewers, and rainbow cupcakes. I brought doughnut holes and muffins that I bought at the store right before I came over (which were plated to make the pictures appear less tacky...oh, the gays). 

The gay alternative to a Bloody Mary
With plenty left over to drink right from the bottle!
The Pride Dance was exactly like very single dance I ever attended in High School...and it was awesome ('cause we're old enough to DRINK now!). There was a balloon arch leading into the dance, tables lining the walls covered in plastic table cloths, a DJ playing the most wonderful Top 40 hits (peppered with classics like Barbie Girl), and just a bit of drama.

I spotted a guy that I knew out on the dancefloor. He was a friend of a friend of an ex boyfriend (so we're obviously very close). The last interaction we'd had was after the breakup with the ex that connected us, and we were dancing out at the bar. There seemed to be a connection and at one point he pulled me out of the bar and into the alleyway (it was way less murdery than it sounds), pushed me against the wall and then leaned in an inch from my face and just kinda stayed there. After about ten awkward seconds I finally asked him, 
"Dude, are you going to make your move, or are we just going to stand here all night?"
"Bringing you out here is my move."
"Your move can't be to force me to make a move!"
He peaced out shortly after that, and I hadn't seen him since.

So when I spotted him at the dance I shot him a smile, but I continued dancing with my friends. I kept catching him looking over at me, and he finally took the chance to come over and talk to me while we were all dancing The Cupid Shuffle. He grabbed me by the shoulder, leaned in really close, and whispered in my ear, "Just so you know, I think you suck!"


Clearly he had a bee in his bonnet over something I'd done, but I couldn't for the life of me fathom what it could have been. I didn't really have time to figure it out and avoid missing any steps in The Cupid Shuffle, so I let him walk away, but I confronted him as soon as the song was done. 

Apparently what he meant to say was, "You're a great dancer, I think you're awesome." but he was just too drunk? Buuuuuuuut I'm pretty sure that's just because I confronted him on it. It's hard to misunderstand someone that much when they hiss something twice in your ear.

The evening almost ended early after I nearly threw a shit fit of epic proportions (seriously, think Chernobyl), but luckily I have friends who can read the signs and talk me down before someone gets hurt. We did end up going home right after the dance, but it was the perfect way to end the night. I'll take sitting home without pants, watching Gilmore Girls, and eating Buffalo Wild Wings over getting drinks spilled on me at The Haze anyday.

And so, just as quickly as summer came, it's over. It's time to say goodbye to Pride Festivals, days at the lake, celebrations of corn, and lazy afternoons by the pool. Look out next week for my resolutions for a more grown up Fall. It's time to get down to business and make some real strides on my journey into adulthood!

Do you guys even believe me anymore when I claim I'm going to start making big changes?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Yes to Staying in More!

I feel like I may have misled you all with my past few posts. I've been sharing a lot of stories about going out on the town, drinking too much, and generally being sociable. The sampling of stories you've been provided are not reflective of the reality of my daily life. They're just a lot more fun to tell than the story of that time I stayed in and watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and then decided to watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

The real fact of the matter is, for every story I have of me having a wild night out, I've got another three of me being asked if I'm going out and reacting with a mix of disgust and exhaustion at the thought.

"We just went out last month..."
One of the biggest "ah-ha" moments that I've had on my journey to becoming a grown up was the moment that I realized that sometimes being an adult is f#%!ing boring. Not every night is going to be amazing. I don't need to have something planned every night. I don't even really need to be around people every night. Accepting this really did make me appreciate not only the super fun nights but also the super dull nights.

It also was the moment that my transition into Liz Lemon was completed.

So last Friday I decided that I'd be spending the weekend in. With Mankato Pride coming up next week, I needed to save my money, and why not take the time to get some stuff done around my apartment on the long weekend?

Full disclosure, I only decided this after I tried to make plans, but everyone else was already busy.

It was a great weekend. One of the best, really. I left my apartment for a few short work shifts, but that added up to only about 9 hours of me having to wear pants...all weekend. I got a headstart on all of the crap that I'd put on my Netflix queue, and...well I guess that was about all. But, I made like a SUPER big dent in that shit.

On Friday night, after getting myself too worked up by Scandal, I shut my computer and put in my Elizabethtown DVD. I don't know what it is about this movie, but I'm completely willing to admit that I have a problem. I've watched it at least seven times in the last month.  

If you haven't seen it, you should check it out, if only for the scene where Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom stay up all night talking on the phone to each other. I've decided it's the most romantic scene in any movie I've ever seen (I'm looking at you, scene where they kiss in the rain in The Notebook). They spend all night on the phone with each other and then decide to meet halfway to watch the sunrise. It's the sweetest the world.

It's also bullshit. Maybe this shit happened in 2005, but this is 2013. We don't talk on the phone anymore. We text. Texting is just about the least romantic and adorable way to get to try to get to know someone.

I recently started talking to a guy that I saw some real potential with. He messaged me on OK Cupid with a link to a clip from Portlandia and a corresponding message containing three words I had to Google the definition of.


 Color me impressed. 

After a few days of messaging, we exchanged phone numbers and began texting. For days we were up until all hours of the night (and morning) exchanging witticisms, but I promise you it was not nearly as adorable as Elizabethtown had me expecting. A good 3/4 of time in these conversations was spent waiting for the next message to arrive, and at 4:45 in the morning it can be hard to stay awake. At one point I was literally dozing off with the phone laying on the side of my face so that the vibration would wake me. Not cute.

The other 1/4 of the time was spent trying to convince him that I'm totally not the type of person who abuses emoticons (and failing miserably).

I worked on Saturday but decided upon coming home to have a "Sondheim Saturday Night." I queued up Company and Into the Woods and settled in again. I figured it was about time I gained some sort of working knowledge of Sondheim, you know, beyond what all of us gays know from our Intro to Being a Homosexual Seminar.

There's not really a seminar, but I did take a Musical Theatre class in high school, so...same diff.

I was off all day on Sunday, and the plan was to clean in the morning and then spend the afternoon and evening with Netflix again. I ended up sleeping until 1:30 in the afternoon, so I had to skip the cleaning portion of the day. Obviously.

I did tear myself away from Raising Hope long enough to attempt to do a Pinterest facial mask that afternoon. It seemed simple enough, and the before and after pictures were impressive. It called for you to take two egg whites and mix in a teaspoon of lemon juice. Let it sit for 20 minutes, smear on, and it is supposed to peel right off to reveal a 90% more attractive you.

It was disgusting.
I think my guesstimation of just how much a teaspoon of lemon juice is was a bit off, and I also think you're probably supposed to use lemon juice, like from a lemon, and not from a possibly expired bottle that's in your fridge. It never really hardened, and it certainly didn't peel off. It mostly just dripped into my mouth and eyes and didn't do anything to my skin.

Do I even need to get into what I did on the Monday holiday? Worked a short shift and then home to Netflix, Diet Coke, bathroom, and repeat. 

So how did this lackadaisical weekend help me to become a better grown up? What did I learn?

I learned that Shonda Rhimes still has the power to make me grow too attached to fictional characters.
I learned that I should quit romanticizing Kirsten Dunst movies.
I learned that Steven Sondheim also has the power to make me grow too attached to fictional characters.
I learned that just because it's on Pinterest, doesn't mean it's really gonna work.

And I learned that I can spend an entire weekend enjoying my own company and not give a f#%!. I don't need to cram my weekends with activity to enjoy them. I don't need to feel bad about not getting anything done for a few days (although getting this validation could spell trouble in the future). Being a bit bored isn't the end of the world, and it's a helluva lot easier on my wallet. 

So I guess what I'm taking away from this is I'm awesome, and I get to feel good about being a lazy pile for three days straight. 

I love the way my brain works.