Monday, April 14, 2003

Typical Night Out

Whenever I spend time with Paul, I always end up hauling something heavy and awkward up stairs, spending eons more time than expected on the task at hand, or paying a couple of bucks more than my share in order for the waitress to get a decent tip. He is fussy, hysterically funny, hypocritical, hypercritical, sensitive and rude all in the same half an hour. But having said all that, Paul is one of my best friends in the world.

To understand why, I'd have to explain too much history, but there are moments that explain why I can't be mad at him for long. Like that summer night, during my former roommate's slow descent into the land of the unpredictable and loopy, when I had nowhere to go and couldn't face going home to her instability. I got in the car without even knowing where I was headed, and found myself calling him, and when he heard the tone of my voice, he told me to come to his place, without even asking questions. Not expecting a houseguest, his place was the usual shambles of pet fur and dicey food expiration dates, but he welcomed me in with a hug, listened to my tale of woe, shared his fruit and cheese dinner with me, and I felt safe for the first time in weeks, sleeping in his giant bed with him and the dog. How could you hold a grudge against a guy like that, no matter how many times he embarrasses you in public by telling people stories you'd wish he'd forget?

So last night, Paul invited me and J to a magic show, but J had no interest in it, so Paul and I went. After the show, I hung out with Paul, the magician and the magician's boyfriend at the bar across the street from the show. His magic tricks were done well, and his gruesome razor-blade in the mouth trick still has me wondering how the HELL did he do that? However, his stage presence was, well, not present, and no amount of cool fire burst designs on his retro shoes or interesting personal piercings could overcome the lack of polish. Still, no one told him that right after the show, but his boyfriend confided in us, when the magician was visiting friends at another table, that he would be giving him a lot of "notes" about his performance. It's not good to live with your manager, it just is a terrible, terrible idea.

Anyway, it turned out that I'd met the magician by chance the summer before, at a garage sale at the house he rents space in. At first, I was totally intimidated by him, because he had this intense gaze, and a nose piercing that was sort of like a horse shoe hanging in between his nostrils. Disgusting, frightening and intriguing all at the same time. I had no idea that the reason I couldn't see it during his magic show was because he can turn it upside down and hide the two ends inside his nostrils whenever he wants to. Who would know that you could do that? I know that Paul has a thing for redheads, and the magician has that orangey-red hair he likes, so I kind of wondered at the garage sale how Paul and he might hit it off. I don't think that Paul would be into the big nostril piercing part of the package, but I don't claim to know all of his turn-ons, either.

So, here we were, almost a year later, sitting in a bar with the redhead magician and his boyfriend, who I later find out is twice his age, and that they intend to get married in June. Just as well, because Paul's long distance boyfriend is coming to town for a visit soon, so I guess I'll never know if Paul and magician boy would've worked out. I'm sorry to think it, but I can't help but wonder what on earth these two think they are doing, planning a marriage, when it seems that they have little in common and don't get along terribly well. Oh well, I wish them well, and really, what do I know about marriage anyway? (If you've read any of these posts, you can answer that - uh, NOTHING!)

We had a fun time over dinner, and the magician's boyfriend actually turned out to be the more interesting of the two, very funny and well-spoken. They all admired my Tootsie Pop t-shirt, which is apparently the utimate gay man t-shirt, because it asks the magical question that got their attention, "How many licks does it take?" I originally bought the shirt as a funny pajama top, but some brave streak has come out in me lately, and I decided that it was provocative without being obscene, and I've been enjoying the wide spectrum of comments it evokes.

The service in this particular bar is always really slow, and after a rather long dinner, we say goodnight to the magician and boyfriend. It's late, we figure out Paul's overnight parking problems , and then he walks me to my car. As I'm driving him back over to his place, Paul decides that he needs to go to the convenience store. It's Sunday night and now it's almost midnight, so we have to go to the gas station with a market inside. You can see how evenings with Paul always seem to end up running well over the time I mentally alotted, but I don't really mind, except that we are running over into my precious sleep alottment time now, and Lord knows I need more of it than I used to in order to face work Monday morning.

Just before he ran in, Paul asked me what I wanted, as repayment for driving him to the store. Well, we'd just had dinner and I even broke down and had a black and tan, so I'm not hungry or thirsty in the slightest, and I think he's being silly thinking I need to be paid for running a small errand. Not to be put off, he comes back to the car all grins with his present for me, which turns out to be an obscene looking "pickled beef stick" titled "Big Mama". This is even funnier than the "Giant Beef Stick" Slim Jim I got for J a few weeks ago, and I am still grinning thinking about it and our ridiculous comments on it. How many licks DOES it take, Big Mama?

We laughed and carried on about "Big Mama" for the whole ride back to his place, and after I dropped him off I realized that I would probably wake J up if I called him as promised. Aw, J won't care if I talk to him tomorrow instead. He'll know it's just another typical night out with Paul - bizarre, fun, much longer than I planned. I can't wait until we get together to go to that Bat Mitzpah (how do you spell that again?) next month. And just WAIT until J gets a load of "Big Mama".

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