Monday, December 29, 2008

Growing, Growing...Not

If it's the last Monday of 2008 and your employer is squeezing the last bit of productivity from you in the middle of the holidays, consider yourself lucky. We all know what the alternatives are and they ain't pretty.

The effects of our crumbling economy will yield long lasting effects, one of which, I think, is a generation of backward-looking adults who will have one foot sorta planted in the future and the other rooted in childhood just for safety's sake.

For those of us in our late twenties, the recent global financial crisis is reminiscent of those post-9-11 days when jobs were hard to find and the ubris of graduating from college was blunted by the realization that it was back to mom and dad's house after four years of dorm life. At age 22, 23 or 24, however, one could afford optimism, roll over on the couch or in your childhood bed, and say "a job will happen."

But what happens at 27, 28 or 29, when you're a few years into your career, esconsed in a nicer apartment and a lifestyle that consists of wine tastings and fondue nights instead of boozey sloshes through the East Village and your job is suddenly, as the British say, "deemed redundant?" And now you have a pink slip to go with your Barney's sale items? And you just had dinner at your parents' house and prayed all the way home "please, God, don't send me back there."

What happens when, in the middle of having grown up, you're forced to swallow your pride and phone home...because you're about to lose it all?

The phenomenon of delayed adulthood, where responsibility is clicked off in favor of mom's cooking and a Wii, has been studied to death and culled down to a formula that I think goes something like this:

Lazy kids + overbearing parents + wobbly economy = "twixters" (defined by Time magazine in 2005 as "full-grown men and women who still live with their parents, who dress and talk and party as they did in their teens, hopping from job to job and date to date, having fun but seemingly going nowhere.")

Today, the "wobbly economy" component of that equation can't be emphasized enough.
For those of us who have tasted that bit of financial and domestic freedom - even while paying off school loans - a return home, or even the slightest downgrade in expectations (e.g. well, I guess I won't be a TV star but at least I have dental insurance), is especially painful because it seems like only yesterday that you were slamming your locker door, mumbling "I'll show them."

Show them (your parents?) what, exactly? How to turn your old room into a home office?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Recession or Not

You say recession, I say drug dealers and prostitutes will still fork over wads of hundreds for luxury brands. Call me all sorts of politically incorrect, but a stroll through the new Gucci store on Fifth Avenue placed James and me smack in front of, not merry post-holiday shoppers, but rough, uneducated, let's just say it - ghetto - ruffians dragging an aspirational brand through the mud. Scusi, but does Gucci mean Walmart in italiano? The crowds, the loud mothers asking smelly five year olds if they like the $500 sneakers they were trying on were just too much. Such a shame that so much money and effort went into creating a glorified Chuck-E-Cheese playpen.

So where can one go in New York for a taste of the good life, without the plebes and criminals? Where can someone celebrate the end of the year with supple leather, champagne, and the scent of Aqua di Parma candles? I'll tell you where: my home, where I come to relax and blog after a productive round of bargain hunting at my fave shops: Club Monaco, H&M and Zara (ok, Daffy's and Armani Exchange factor in this list as well but please don't tell anyone). The rest of the world can have upper Fifth Avenue, I'll keep the Flatiron district where the crowds are few, the air is cleaner and there are less Escalades to watch out for.

Photo: Boxing Polar Bears at Bergorf Goodman's men's shop.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama and some Ex-Gay Hot Mess

Shout out to reader Lionel for reminding me about Barack and his wishy-washy gay platform: Homeboy President-elect had ex-gay hot mess Donnie McClurkin headlining a gospel tour during the campaign. How could I forget this??

Lionel's comment below, with a link to McClurkin's bio and quotes on his broken-now-mended masculinity. Thanks, L!

"The abnormal use of my sexuality continued until I came to realize that I was broken and that homosexuality was not God's intention... for my masculinity."
Donnie McClurkin. Remember him? Obama took him along on the campaign trail. Why is anyone surprised by Rick Warren. Barack Obama was always a choice between two evils."

Look, with the economy being what it is - and P.S. we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan - I wasn't expecting for Barack to make gay rights the focus of his first 100 days in office. I was just hoping that it wouldn't be an issue at all. Instead, this man who has access to the most brilliant minds in this country chooses backward minded folks who trade in hate and fear-mongering.

I don't want to talk about Obama and his coterie of homophobes anymore. The man is a politician and he's got four more years to show us that, tee-hee, he's of the same ilk as his predecessor. I will, however, continue to remind all of those hyper-liberal, gay Obama-freaks who have skulked away from this particular issue, that the avowed savior of thought and reason in politics is a sham who is no friend of the gays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Unhuman for '09

While I've been on a tear about gay marriage, I've failed to keep it real on immigration, an issue that matters a lot to me. In the last few weeks there has been a wave of attacks on Latino immigrants in working class enclaves in the New York - is this an unfortunate turn of events or the harbinger of things to come as the economy continues to knee Americans where it hurts?

With all our vulnerabilities exposed in one of the shakiest times in the American experience - whether you're a Palm Beach doyenne or a Bushwick maintenance worker - one would be stupid to think that civility will reign supreme in the New Year. That's why I worry about how the dire predictions for our economy will impact those with the least recourse for defense in the U.S. Soon it will come to pass that college-educated aspiring professionals will compete with undocumented workers for all sorts of menial work that many of us didn't even know existed - just wait for the shoot outs at the bread lines.

Racial tension is an unfortunate part of America's history, and it's not going away because our new President is Black. And I don't think the attacks on these Latino immigrants are just a sad coincidence either. In fact, they're just the beginning of what I always knew would be the outcome of the thinly veiled xenophobia of the "immigration debate" led by the conservative right - an unprecedented economic slowdown being the spark that sets this problem ablaze.

Along with our plummeting dollar comes the threat of us losing our humanity in times of crisis. These "isolated" incidents speak to that and I fear more of these in the months ahead.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Forced to Vote for Obama, I Now Want an Apology..

...from the oh-so-informed gays that looked at me as if I had confessed to pricking people with a syringe loaded with HIV after expressing my reservations about Obama's qualifications for President. Remember the uncomfortable exchanges we've had at dinners and cocktails parties, where I was derided for being everything from a racist to a self-hating gay for "not seeing the light"?


What say you now, oh enlightened New York liberals, that Obama is giving a prime spot at the Inauguration to Rick Warren, the Evangelical pastor who famously presided over the Saddleback debates, and oh yeah, is a staunch supporter in Proposition 8? Doesn't that sound like something W would do?

Change you can believe in indeed - change your tactics the minute you're in power. Well played, Barry. Shifty, two-faced, you certainly are a product of Chicago's stellar political system. And I thought you were a softie...

So, stupid gays, are you folks still going to send Barack a postcard asking him to consider you in his administration? Or are you going to throw a shoe at him next time he starts talking out of the side of his mouth about equality and bla bla bla?

If gay is the new black, let's revisit the 1961 inauguration of John F. Kennedy whose invocation was given by Cardinal Richard Cushing, archbishop of Boston and member of the NAACP. How would history have judged the President had he chosen some southern segregationist religious figure to pray at his inauguration? The LA Times, which offers this bit of Presidential trivia in an opinion piece that basically says the Warren decision is no big deal, clearly fails to understand the significant blow Obama has dealt the gay community.

The President-elect offers this explanation for his choice:

“That dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about: That we're not going to agree on every single issue. But what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere when we -- where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. That's the spirit in which, you know, we have put together what I think will be a terrific inauguration and that's, hopefully, going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration.”

How nice, except for the fact that my rights are not negotiable. And that's the issue with Barack's point of view - like W, like pretty much most of Middle America, Barack thinks gay rights are a nice to-do like, say, curbing your dog. But guess what, Barack, my tax dollars matter just as much as that of avowed Christians, and just like you and Michelle don't belong at the back of the bus neither do James and I.

And to those who are wont to ask "would McCain have done any better by the gays?" my answer is he never promised us anything during the campaign. Here's to a great four years.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Caroline, Fran, GCL?

One of the many disappointments that comes with growing up is realizing that oftentimes the positions of "power" you thought only a select, super-human few could occupy can really be done by any gum-cracking chimp: policeman, PR director, U.S. senator.

While Chicago boils over with serious corruption charges against its Governor, New York is going soft on political scandal, offering up a fight - for now - between Caroline Kennedy and Fran Drescher (she was working in a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens, when her boyfriend kicked her out in one of those crushing scenes...)for Senator Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be vacant seat. I think a Cuomo is also jockeying for the position as well.

Um, OK.

When asked by CNN's Larry King on Monday what makes her a qualified candidate for the senate, Ms. Drescher replied "Well Larry, I'm a survivah, I'm an appointed U.S. ambassadah and I've worked the aisles at the Senate."

I'm sorry, what?

I haven't even bothered to hear what Caroline Kennedy is talking about because I'm more interested in the conversation in Hillary's head, which I hope is going something like this: "I promised myself I wouldn't kill anyone in '09 but homegirl, you're making me go there. First you and your drunk driving uncle stab me in the back in the primaries and now you're trying to fill my shoes, making it seem like anyone can roll out of bed one day, grab some cash, and say they want to be a senator? That's not how I roll."

Can we just bring in someone qualified for the position? This is not a vanity post - a Senator actually has to do a lot of work, especially in these times of economic upset. The Senate appointment would only happen if Hillary is sworn in as Secretary of State, but assuming this goes over without a hitch (thanks to a Dem majority in DC now), there are some big shoes to fill in Albany.

So, who else wants to throw their hat in the ring?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Sean Penn and "Milk" : Once Again, I said it First

The Los Angeles Times and The Advocate aren't having any of Sean Penn's dictator-loving ways.

Um, you know who called this out first, right?

In an opinion piece in the latest issue of The Advocate, James Kirchick laments Sean Penn's hoisting on the shoulders of the gay community as some sort hero when his "political activism [in support of Hugo Chavez and Raul Castro], irrespective of his views on gay rights, negates the values for which a movement based upon individual freedom must stand."

To those members of my community who are boycotting theaters whose CEOs donated money to Yes on Prop 8 or restaurants whose owners donated to the same cause, why not direct your ire toward someone who is making millions off the legacy of a gay rights pioneer while paling around with dictators who hate gays AND who advocate the destruction of America?

"The most important film of our time" as some silly gays are calling "Milk," stars an unapologetic America hater who can't lavish enough praise on murderers - read his cover story for The Nation. How convenient that Penn is using his publicity tour for Milk to promote Hugo Chavez' bolivarian revolution.

I'd like to know how many Chelsea queens want to pack up and move to Caracas right now.

Someone PLEASE throw a shoe at Sean Penn and the mindless ilk who, in the name of gay rights, overlook the most obvious trespasses on common sense.

Monday, December 15, 2008

So Does the Secret Service Not Care about George Bush Anymore?

President George Bush was in the middle of a last-minute victory lap through Iraq when a local journalist flung his shoes at W in protest of the Commander-in-Chief's visit to the country.

Here's what I want to know: where the **** is the Secret Service? I love how the President is just standing there ducking shoes and not one hired goon thought to jump on W or whisk him out of the room.

Let's hope Obama's security detail has quicker reflexes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New for the Recession: A Nicer You

With the economy spiraling down the toilet I'm noticing that some alpha gays are feigning an emotion that wouldn't otherwise register on their Destroy-Conquer range of functions: concern for others.

Over cocktails this week, some of us A-gays were discussing whom we'd banish from our work lives - those roadblocks to progress who suck the air out of the day with their useless feedback or their brazen politicking. The same conversation last year would have lavished much more attention on the details of how said individuals would be banished: perhaps after a public flogging or escorted out of the building in handcuffs. This year, however, our wish was as paired down as some of our companies' holiday parties: "I don't want that blankety-blank-blank to go hungry or lose their home, I just want them out of my life."

Said, of course, from the side of the mouth, with an eye roll and a sip of a martini.

Malice, the currency of upwardly mobile young gays, is plummeting faster than the dollar. In these times of duress, which are only expected to worsen, those of us who have amassed millions in the bank of our inflated egos are realizing that 1) we're human and as such are vulnerable to the whims of the Universe 2) now is not the time for Destroy-Conquer mode. In fact, we're on "lucky to be here, for now" mode 3) maybe our moms, and Jesus (?) were right: it's not a good idea to wish for other people what you wouldn't want for yourself.

With the preoccupation of being able to keep an overpriced Manhattan flat or that gym membership (and all it's privileges), who has the time to slap a bitch or play sabotage? And is it even worth tempting Karma by wishing for the downfall of others in this precarious state of world affairs?

Through the end of the month, then, expect rainbows and sunshine from an A-gay near you. It's not that his heart has been revived by the holiday spirit, it's not that he approves of you and your Express peacoat or your clunky Steve Madden shoes, it's just that he has bigger things to worry about.

In '09, however, expect "lucky to be here" mode to turn into "it's your job or my Gucci briefcase, bitch." Then all bets are off. But for now, under the mistletoe and the haze of gingerbread and peppermint, expect softness, light and somber reflection.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When I Grow Up

Have I ever told you that when I was a kid I wanted to be a flight attendant? Nothing (short of being in Menudo) seemed more glamorous than commandeering a microphone to welcome passengers aboard an international flight and being able to serve coffee and wine without spilling a drop (I was a clumsy child and as such my Colombian mother thought the best way to correct my lack of grace was with a smack across the face when things slipped my "manos de lana" - wool hands).

Anyhoo, that passion for flight was replaced by a passion for media. Or an unfortunate series of events.

The point is, if James were to leave me and I should find myself tired of the PR game, I would so go work for Emirates, the Middle Eastern airline who treats its flight attendants like royalty. Though, seeing as the United Arab Emirates has some strict policies against les sodomites, how would any man who gleefully accepts the airline's mandatory manicure and facial policy fare in this part of the world? Details, details.

Check out this article from today's Wall Street Journal; highlights from the slideshow below.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bow Down or Bow Out: Meet the Alpha-Gays

Details magazine, that closeted little glossy, reports on a new breed of power, cash and ego-swinging male: the Alpha Gay.

"Make way for the A-gays. Moneyed, successful, educated, and comfortable in their own skin, they're fast becoming the new archetype of cosmopolitan masculinity. The urban man's man. They don't own yappy miniature dogs or time-shares in Fort Lauderdale; they own Labradors and four-bedroom summer homes in Sag Harbor."

So, who's an A-gay? Tom Ford. Who's not? Carson Kressley. And who's at the bottom of the pecking order of power-fags? The Corky St. Claire's of the world.

You know the type: A bleached-tipped-dandy with a fold-out soap box who, when not "advocating" for some gay issue (take your pic here: gay marriage, AIDS, whatever - it's really an excuse to talk to mostly disinterested people about his life, workout habits, issues with food and his circle of bottom-rung 'mos) is usually on the arm of some overweight chica who knows not what an A-gay really is and so puts the trainwreck, C-list gay, on a pedestal.


Were it not for the fact that I don't have Tom Ford money, I'd slap you with a leather glove and toss a martini in your face to remind you that I'm an Alpha-gay.
But - as a fellow young Alpha astutely observed - among twenty-something gays, trajectory matters more than personal finances. If a young gay is going places - making friends with the boss, cutting c-gays off at the pass with intellect and panache - he's on his way to Alpha status. Throw in a smart, successful boyfriend (check) and I might be throwing drinks in your face after all.

That's 'cuz A-gays don't do nice.

Friday, December 05, 2008

One to Watch: David Campos

Cool story out of San Francisco about the appointment of David Campos to the city's board of supervisors. Campos came to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala at the age of 14 - without speaking any English - and now look at him.

To boot, he's openly gay.

The lesson here, mi gente: It doesn't matter (to me anyway)how you get here, it's what you do with your life once you make it Stateside that counts.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Real Housewives: Conspicuous Consumption That Even I Can't Stomach

No one loves flash more than me. A gold watch here, a faux hawk there, pointy shoes with mix-matched shirts and ties - I live my life in costume. There, I said it. But my look-at-me ways have limits, especially during a recession.

Which is why my jaw dropped in horror last night after catching a few minutes of the Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo. While the world is falling apart these five whores are gallivanting in a haze of bleached-blonde, acrylic-tipped, botoxed entitlement. With their chests pumped out to there with silicone and dipped in spray tan and diamonds no less. Some of these women are moms, some of them have careers, the common denominator among them is their offensive commonness and tacky nouveau-riche ways - case in point: in one episode the "ladies" gather for a trunk show in someone's home where Roberto Cavalli (for Dress Barn?) leopard prints were tossed on with wild abandon while the harpies crowed "it's so sophisticated, it's so classy."

Readers take note: asymmetrical hemlines and zebra prints are not classy. Especially if you're a double digit girl squeezing into a size negative six wrap dress.

The fine line between Real Housewives and Hookers on the Point is indistinguishable to me as the working girls on both shows have the same taste in clothes and johns/husbands. You can see the perversion in the eyes of the women on both shows, all of them obsessed with money, all of them frantic like animals trying to survive in the wild - all of these hos know it's not a long fall to the gutter.

Now, I admit, I can sit through an episode of the show (barely) but such is the nature of Bravo TV's programming, which I'm usually a fan of - except for the food shows because, honestly, my taste in food is pretty base (anything fried with a margarita rocks-salt on the side for me)- it draws you in and keeps you clawing for more drama or vulgarity.

But this is one show the world can do without. Hell, these are five women humanity can do without. It's everything that's wrong with America, a reminder that most people in this country are only one zero or two on their paycheck away from trampling someone at a Walmart for a 5am 25-cent discount.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mumbai: So Now It's Our Fault

If you ask New Age guru Deepak Chopra why terrorists went on a killing spree in Mumbai last week he won't point to existing tensions between India and Pakistan and the conflict over Kashmir, he won't point to the existence of fanatical Islam that blinds little girls in Afghanistan or hangs gays in Iran. No, the self-annointed "spiritual adviser" points the finger at Western policies, specifically the war on terror led by the U.S.

An opinion piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal sheds light on the latest case of scapegoating America in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

"What happened in Mumbai, he [Chopra] told the interviewer, was a product of the U.S. war on terrorism, that 'our policies, our foreign policies' had alienated the Muslim population, that we had "gone after the wrong people" and inflamed moderates. And 'that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay.'"

So now it's our fault that India's institutionalized poverty breeds terrorists; now it's our fault that India and Pakistan have been in a nuclear arms race and it's certainly our fault that Jews and Muslims have been at each other's throats for millenia.

What, then, Mr. Chopra, should the U.S., who still seems to be the go-to-guys when the world needs a'fixin', do to prevent these sorts of attacks both on our soil and abroad? Especially when the war on terror is futile and, in your words, "an oxymoron?"

Barack and Hillary have their work cut out for them.