Monday, March 26, 2007

What Kind of Bride Would I Be?

I work in public relations. What's worse, I work in public relations in New York. I should not be fazed by self-promotion, bad grammar and evil girls.
But yet I am.

And as more and more friends and family take the plunge into wedded bliss, I'm even more astounded by the metamorphosis that so many women go through once a ring is slipped on their finger. They go from skulking caterpillars braving low paying jobs and the ridiculous cost of denim and cocktails to flamboyant she-monkeys with wings who offer their friendship up to you in a menu of overpriced entrees. You know you're BFF with one of these ladies when she asks you to open a new line of credit so you can participate in the most special day of her life. Lesser friends and relatives are invited to pick from an assortment of options that cement your connection to the bride and her beloved. Whether it's the $300 copper pot for the lady who until yesterday lived on Ramen noodles or the just-cause-they're-Tiffany tchochkes for the couple who can't even spring $5 at a friendly game of beer pong, everyone with a checking account is invited to share in the love and sanctity of holy matrimony.
Blame it on my Jehovah's Witness upbringing or the fact that as a gay child every day was a celebration (in my head), but I've never understood formal ceremony and celebration. No Christmas, no birthdays -- for me it was a way of life and in fact, I still feel kinda funny whenever I get a present. I had a birthday party for my 25th birthday and swore off future festivities because I felt plain weird accepting gifts from people.

But to watch the brazen "gimme gimme gimme" attitude of the modern bride has gotten me to thinking that I am doing myself and my relationship a grave disservice.
I have been doing a terrible job at publicizing my relationship. For instance, I barely told anyone that James and I exchanged rings on New Year's Eve! And when James brought up the idea of having a formal ceremony in the fall I cringed.
What would I do in a tux and under an altar? Or a chopa?
But now I'm changing my tune. Everyone is cashing in on people's sappiness and I'm missing out. I'm not going to wait for George Bush and his thug cabinet to let me and my man collect the bounty of glorified panhandling.
I'm going to plan a wedding and I am going to be the biggest, baddest most nightmarish Bridezilla ever to appear on Oxygen. And no one can stop me. Stilettos for my bridesmaids, speedos for groomsmen, I want to be dipped in gold body paint and lowered into the church a-la-Moulin Rouge.
I will now start accepting applications for bridesmaids....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chirac's Olive Branch to the U.S.

What: French President Jacques Chirac put aside personal hostility towards Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday and announced his support for the interior minister's bid to become the next president.
What it means for us: Icy post-Iraq Franco-American relations could thaw should Sarkozy, an unabashed capitalist and admirer of the U.S. be elected to the presidency.
In 2006, Sarkozy, a Conservative and descendant of Hungarian Jews (his mother is French Catholic) wrote a book called Temoignage (Testimony) which chastised modern-day France for its lackluster presence on the world stage. From the 35-hour workweek to the country's lackluster presence on the world stage, Sarkozy pulls no punches in an attack on his own party for its culpability in shaping France's current whimp status.
Summarizing Sarkozy's book last July, The Guardian wrote: [Sarkozy] demands a radical overhaul of France's social welfare model, which has been staunchly defended by President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, and sharply criticizes the other two politicians, saying they waited too long to scrap an unpopular change in labor law last spring. Directly contradicting the line from Chirac's Élysée Palace, he also renews calls for affirmative action, a taboo in the Republican conception of equality.

Innnnteresting. Watching this Presidential race unfold from afar, it's interesting to see a candidate challenge the pillars of modern French society. The idea that there is no need for affirmative action in France is born either of a dangerous naivete or from a cold politeness that turns away from injustice in the hopes that it will disappear (Vichy government anyone?).
As our country sets the course for change and the introduction of progressive, compassionate government, it would be lovely to see a new ally emerge in Europe -- a country, that like us, was once looked at as the epitome of free thought and democracy. Wouldn't it be something if both France and the U.S. rose at the same time to reclaim that status?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

How do you say Gay in Spanish?

I haven't posted in over a week because I've been traveling. Actually, I'm still supposed to be on vacation but unfortunately, 12 hours into our visit to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, James fell ill and we had to come back home .
It's been an insane week but nonetheless we're both still standing, and I'm blogging. For now, all is right with the world.
While we only spent 48 hours overseas, it was all the time I needed to add a new dimension to my opinions on some of the issues that loom large in my life and that of many other Americans. It's funny what six waking hours at an all-inclusive resort will do to the most cynical liberal or cantankerous conservative. The impact of the words "Breaking News" is lost when it's competing against your fifth margarita and the chanting of topless European chicks diving into the pool beside you.
I'm lucky to have soaked up that libertine spirit so quickly because it would come in handy as I explained to doctors and ER staff the symptoms that brought my partner, and not my father, to the hospital in the first place.
I'm disappointed to report that at times I actually felt nauseous whenever I had to explain that James (who's 15 years my senior) and I are a couple. To do so in Spanish and weather the pregnant pause between that revelation and the writing of Husband next to "Relation to Patient" made me feel like I was coming out to my parents all over again.
There were also times when I'd just smile and nod whenever other nurses would say that my dad or friend would be fine. The cab driver who took me to my hotel so I could check out went so far as to ask how my girlfriend was doing. It was fun to play straight for the 20 minute cab ride and rule out pregnancy as the reason for the sudden trip to the hospital.
Can you ever expect people to understand that two men can be in relationship and just shrug it off? Can I? I wonder if the eyes I felt on me was just my repressed homophobia coming through.
On the plane ride home, holding James' hand, I thought about what the word marriage means to me. Forget that, I thought, what the hell does this relationship mean to me? How "out" should I be and is that any reflection about how I view my life with my partner?
Do the pointy shoes, tight jeans and penchant for color and my man purse not speak enough for me?
I haven't felt that insecure and ashamed since I was 21 and in the closet.

And then I left the hospital with James on Friday only to be called a "maricon" (Spanish word for faggot) by two guys in a car as we crossed Seventh Avenue. I turned back and exchanged some words with the guys - something I would never do - feeling ready to go to blows in the middle of the street and in the snow.
The guys sped off.
I don't know whom to be more mad at - those jerks in the car - or myself.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bush Visit to Latin America: Let's Hear it for the Rainbow Tour

Blogging live from Charlotte International Airport...

...and wishing that I were part of the President's press corps. I would love to be on W's trip to Latin America, especially because he's making a stop in Bogota.

I'm usually very critical of George Bush, but I do commend his stab at diplomacy. And I'm also impressed with the agenda he's set forth for his visit to the region:

-- In Brazil, talks with President Luis Inazio "Lula" da Silva will focus on alternative energy, chiefly ethanol.

-- In Colombia, Bush will meet with President Alvaro Uribe on Sunday (his visit to Bogota will only last 6 hours) to discuss human rights and narcoterrorism. And to play it safe, 21,000 police officers have been deployed to escort the President during his visit. (Link is to a Colombian newspaper, btw)

-- In Mexico, President Vicente Fox and Bush will talk about illegal immigration and free trade.

-- In Uruguay there will be discussion of free trade as well;

-- and in Guatemala, Bush will discuss human rights and humanitarian aid for the country.

Though most reports point to Latin America's widespread dislike for W, the institution of the Presidency is a hard spectacle to ignore. In a region that's just cluttered with noise from despot leaders and the yawn of apathy from their citizens, what better way to shut up Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales than with the roar of Air Force One?

OMG - has the South made me a fan of W's macho-theatrics?

Eh, not so much. This is a PR boondoggle -- it's fun times for everyone involved -- it's a diplomatic hook-up. Everyone knows this is just a five day fling, no one in Latin America is expecting a call back from the White House with a plan to save the region...from itself.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Greetings from Memphis

In Memphis on business...will sleuth for a southern-themed post topic. BTW, US Airways SUCKS. And my hotel room doesn't have a minibar.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Where To Tie a Yellow Ribbon

Billions of dollars have been funneled into Operation Iraqi Freedom. And while no one is really free yet -- neither the Iraqis from the endless violence in their land nor Americans from the threat of future terrorist attacks -- the money keeps pouring out of Washington to keep the good fight going.

Halliburton has scored billions over the last four years, and with W showing no sign of admitting that this war is wrong, the big H only stands to get richer. And I'm not saying that to be disparaging, believe it or not. As a capitalist I can only applaud the success of an American corporation. I will, however, condemn the sleazy politicians who are BFFs with the company and who are making money with the company while the rest of the world falls apart.

While one group of Americans basks in the spoils of war, another group of Americans has been rotting on the outskirts of Washington. The Walter Reed mess uncovered by the Washington Post is the latest PR nightmare for W's war and it's the latest scandal to bring to light the stupidity of this war and its impact on our own people.

Now, someone on this blog had commented that the liberal media loves loves loves to see wounded soldiers and coffins for the sake of humilliating the President. Would that we liberals could all be so maudlin and easily placated that we'd gladly trade in the well being of hundreds of thousands of civilians just so Al Gore could be Commander in Chief. In the face of death and destruction, why can't we admit that it's just that and not just a glitch in an otherwise flawless program? Why is a medical facility that is below standards for an industrial nation a political bargaining chip -- can right wingers ever admit culpability?

And I'm not talking about the new Secretary of Defense, Richard Gates, who has been cleaning up house following his appointment to the post. I'm talking about everyday people who never see anything wrong with the way this country is being run. It's OK to not be a Democrat, but to try to make any excuse for the way this war is being handled, to not flip out when you read about the profits being siffoned by the private sector at the expense of dead or crippled young Americans is unhuman.

Could it be that the noose around the Right's neck is a yellow ribbon?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Michelle Malkin Would Make a Great Fag Hag

I don't always agree with Michelle Malkin. I think she tries a little too hard to be Miss All-America, but honestly, I think her misguided heart is in the right place. Like most Americans, she's worried about her country and thinks that a hardline approach is the only solution to our problems, both at home and abroad.

And while she is staunchly anti-gay-marriage, she's not into hate speech. Unlike Ann Coulter, who had this to say about John Edwards yesterday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC):

"It turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot' [...] so I can't really talk about John Edwards."

Instead of applauding her fellow conservative, Michelle Malkin blasted Coulters unabashed bigotry:

"[Referring to the audience's reaction to Coulter's comment] A smattering of laughter. Not from this corner."

Now this got me to thinking about two scenarios:

The first involves me, Michelle and some martinis here in Chelsea and a dance-off at Bank. Michelle and I will call each other Gook, Spic, Faggot and Cunt and probably make out in a cab ride back to her hotel room where we'll order champagne, watch the Golden Girls and wake out a crumpled mess and ready for brunch.

And that's because I think Michelle Malkin could be a gay guy's best friend if she left her suburban bubble in Virginia and spent some time with fun gays who are as concerned about this country as she is, but don't have a stick up their butt about it. (Insert cheap gay joke here)

The second scenario involves Ann Coulter coming to Chelsea and calling me a faggot. Make no mistake, I would grab that bitch's hair and make her eat every last strand of her hideous peroxide blond locks. Now some faggots might like Ann Coulter's brand of hate mongering but not me. Those "conservative" faggots who applaud her and George Bush and Dick Cheney deserve their moniker and every last insult spewed at them by their party of choice.

So kudos to Michelle Malkin for earning a gold star for the conservatives this weekend. And hell, here's a gold star for Ann Coulter, she may have spared us from a Mormon President with her endorsement of Mitt Romney.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rudy Giuliani To Conservatives: You Must Love Me

I'm going to tell you a secret: All New Yorkers love Rudy Giulani. That they know it or not is another story, but look at the throngs of cash-wielding tourists in Times Square, our clean streets and the relative safety of our city and you have to put politics aside and give props to our former mayor.
That said, he'd never get my vote for President.
Rudy's game of footsie with Conservatives who would like nothing more than for my city to become an asceptic strip mall of churches and Walmarts is offensive.

While a city like New York needs a tough hand to make it work, America's problem isn't mass transportation and homeless people armed with squeegies. Our problem is that our government has been taken from us by people who look fondly to Reagan and Nixon and the McCarthy era. The Conservative movement is firing Jesus and national security at us in the hopes that everyone will quietly rescind to the 1950s.
That a former mayor of New York, the REAL city on a hill, would have the gall to compare himself to Reagan is appalling. Says the New York Times' Caucus Blog: Mr. Giuliani used the former president’s “peace through strength’’ theme to talk about combating terrorism; he used the former president’s personal responsibility theme to talk about workfare vs. welfare; he vowed his support for lower taxes; and he embraced Mr. Reagan’s style of “optimistic leadership.’’
Bla bla bla. After Reagan the nation plummeted into a recession and that was only after he let AIDS run amok. Guess he was too busy invading Grenada to worry about a killer virus that was claiming Americans left and right.
But this isn't about Reagan, it's about Rudy Giuliani's ill-advised move to embrace a dead-end ideology for the sake of the Presidency. If Rudy were smart, he'd have become the kind of Republican that some of us can stomach, like John McCain, and he'd have made a case for workfare and lowering taxes without making us think of that punk Reagan. America is sick of Liberals and Conservatives. What our country wants is vision and a leader with the resolve to get us out of Iraq, put Iran in check and become a humanitarian nation as opposed to the harbinger of death.
On that note, do stay tuned for my thoughts on Hillary Clinton...