Thursday, April 15, 2010

13-Year Old Me Totally Hates This Random Kid

Last night Brooke and I went to see Hair on Broadway. My good friend John works for the show's production company and he hooked us up with house seats. In return I plan on hooking him up with some schwag from my office, like toner or some witty repartee. (You're welcome, John!)

Of course, the production was terrific. Top notch acting and singing, dazzling set design, impressive hair. In lots of ways, though, the show seems dated – despite the fact that many of its central themes (war, peace, divisiveness, etc.) are so prevalent today. But to a crowd of people in 2010 watching a bunch of motivated hippies say, "Let's make paint signs and protest the draft!" is kind of confusing. Can’t we just create a Facebook group and promote it on Twitter? And should we really be organizing a march without bringing in some Marching Consultants to increase the reach and productivity of our protest? It's all so – unfamiliar.

However – and here's what they don't tell you in the Playbill (rated G for kids)– the show manages to pull it all together with the one central theme that is timeless, compelling, and timelessly compelling: nudity (rated R for thank you). Right at the end of the first act, everyone on stage strips down completely. Zero clothing. Wangs, boobs, junk, hoo-has – it's a veritable sex organ chef salad. I'd read the magazine articles; I knew it was coming. But I don't care who you are: Unless you've been in an orgy or frequent fringe Turkish bathhouses, seeing that many naked people at once is jarring.

Sitting in front of me was the tallest guy in the audience, possibly the world (or so it seemed to me in that moment). I tried to play it cool, like a thirty year-old consenting adult who has seen his fair share of public nudity, but when you're weighing things like "tasteful discretion" versus "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many attractive women, who were singing and dancing just a few moments ago, completely in the buff," craning your head to the side and maybe even lifting yourself up a bit out of your seat seems like a small price to pay for such an indulgence.

To the director's credit, the scene is staged perfectly. It's not like "NUDITY. (Curtain.)" There's a distinct pause in there, just enough for ones eyes to scan the group, linger when necessary, and come away with a feeling of satisfaction that the amount of nudity you have just absorbed is compelling and impressive without being show off-y. (Note: That "show off-y" part is entirely for the benefit of my generous friend who provided the tickets and the integrity of his impressive production. For my part, I would have worn a monocle – despite sitting in the sixth row – and even if they had performed the entire show buck naked, when it was all over I would still have bought the all-nude calendar and downloaded the Undress the Hair Cast iPhone app.)

So, sex organ chef salad. Mmm. Then comes intermission and Brooke and I don't really discuss the elephant's penis in the room because we're she's civilized. About ten minutes later, the lights dim a bit and the music starts up again, and while there's no one on stage yet I look to my left and in the aisle not fifteen feet away is one of the actresses from the show. And not to rank one character above another, but she was definitely the hottest one. And there she is in her crop top and low-cut jeans SLOW DANCING with a 13-year old kid from the audience. She's a solid six inches taller than him, so her hands are on his shoulders and his are on her bare midriff.

Now, let's just stop for a second and consider this. I don't know about everyone else out there, but I didn't see a real live naked girl until I was 16, which I think is pretty fair considering my poor choices in hairdos around that age. Here's this kid though, no older than 13, who moments ago saw not a totally naked girl, but like eight at once. And now, not TEN MINUTES LATER, one of those very naked girls is slow dancing with him. I, for one, am entranced. I can't stop staring at this kid who, to his credit, doesn't seem to have a visible erection. If it were me, not only would I have had a raging hard on, but I probably would have thrown up a little.

So there they are, gently swaying back and forth, and I notice that both their mouths are moving. Could they really be having a conversation? Not only could I not converse with girls at that age, but when a girl first took her shirt off for me I didn't talk to her for a week because I was afraid doing so would disrupt whatever made her take off her shirt in the first place and it would never happen again. But there was this kid, chit chatting away with a statuesque blond, presumably not about how, while scanning a Broadway stage from left to right some fifteen minutes ago, her vagina was the first he'd ever seen. I am baffled, truly dumbstruck. And more than that, jealous. Not because I wanted to be that kid in that moment (I'm marrying a girl who considers nudity a right, not a privilege), but because I wanted to be that kid 17 years ago – to be able to go into school on Thursday and tell my friends that I saw a woman's vagina and then danced with her. I imagine that night will be the best night of that kid's life for a long time to come, while my most memorable moment at the age of 13 was when I learned to pop a wheelie' (on a bike, not in my pants). I envied that kid for everything he was and everything he would become thanks to that one shining moment. (Note: The rest of this post is best read while playing this song.)

Then the music swelled and the cast started filling the stage. Their time was coming to an end; she was being called back to the bright lights. The big city. The two stopped dancing and looked into each other's eyes. Without a moment's hesitation, the actress leaned in and gave the kid a hug. Somehow he wasn't openly weeping with joy at that point, though I practically was. Then she turned and ran away from him, like so many other women will in the years to come, and as I watched him go back to his seat, head down, emotionally exhausted, all I could think was, "Savor it, kid. You may not realize it now, but what just happened here was, all things being equal, as good as life gets. These are, indeed, the times to remember."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I’m Going to the Non-Denominational Beach Ceremony and I’m Gonna Get Ma-a-aried

Hey, it’s Brooke. Long time, no write. I’m not going to make excuses like Dan – cause let’s be honest, this isn’t my blog and I owe you people nothing. But today, I thought I’d write. Is it because my new position in corporate American is slowly sucking out of my soul? No, I love my job. Go team! It’s because sometimes people need a creative outlet where they can say things like cock-sucking, motherfucking whore bag, and not be censored, you know? Also, I’m so happy! To be engaged. And I wanted to share my first bride-ish experience: dress shopping.

See, every little girl dreams of getting married. Except me. I dreamed of living alone in a massive hotel suite, where I was beautiful, famous, and fascinatingly eccentric (a cross between Greta Garbo and Miss Havisham). And I had teams of servants would bring me anything I wanted, and I’d never have to make my bed. Ever. As I got older, I always prided myself on being a non-girlie girl. Not that I don’t like clothes and shoes – I do. But I don’t want to spend the day chitchatting with a girlfriend about her fight with some other girlfriend while shopping for said clothes and shoes. I want to drink scotch and shop online. So the idea of planning a wedding seemed, hmm, not fun. Daunting. Horrible.

Why not elope, you ask. There was just one problem. No, it was not Dan’s mom, who said to me a year ago, “I’m not sure what’s taking so long, but if you guys want to elope I support you.” Nor was it my dad, who when I call to say I have news, always shouts with joy, “You’re pregnant!” No, there was no family pressure. But here’s the thing: I like the nightlife. I like to boogie. And while the idea of picking out tablecloths or discussing the seasonal availability of hydrangeas makes me want to die, I did, it turns out, want to commemorate our marriage with more than a celebratory smoke and a pocket pair at the poker table.

So we decide to have a wedding. And I tell friend Kristen, who I wouldn’t call a girlie girl (because she reads this), but I will say that her boyfriend once walked in on her stuffing wedding magazines under the couch like fetish porn. So the lovely Kristen sets up some wedding dress appointments (did you know you need an appointment to shop for a wedding dress? I did not). And I reluctantly meet her and friend Jess on a Saturday at a wedding dress shop. I walk in to the showroom: lace, chiffon, white clouds of tulle for miles – it’s a billowing sea of estrogen. They take us into the private dressing room, with the three way mirror and the pedestal and flatteringly lighting. The dress consultant (real person, real job) gives me a white corset to change into. Then she and my pals go raid the showroom. I sit sullenly in the dressing room, wearing my corset like a half-dressed Bridal Barbie.

Ten minutes later, three giddy girls return with cascades of white fabric – and it begins. I step into the first gown. The consultant clips me in (they use industrial-strength clothing pins). I slowly, carefully, get up on the pedestal and turn to face the mirror. And that’s when it happens. I am a princess! I am a beautiful, magical princess. I want to melt into the sweet, soft petals of silk. I want to prance around while holding the train in my hands. And more than anything, I want every ex-boyfriend I’ve ever had to walk in at that moment and see me – this me! this perfect me! – forever washing away his previous image of me screaming and throwing my cell phone at him. This is the effect of trying on a wedding dress.

You suddenly, shockingly, become that girl.

But don't worry – while you can’t take the dress out of the girl, you can take the girl out of the dress. You know, for sex. (Bam, I still got it.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brushing Up on My Bird Death Humor

You know me. I love a good bird death joke as much as the next guy who thinks birds are delicious. But someone had better call Homeland Security because we've got a LOOSE CANNON at livescience.com.

Hahaha, wait what? I think I missed the joke. Let me retrace my steps: bleeding to death, being blown into a craggy cliff, blinded by dense fog . . . oh I get it! Because fog is . . . nope, lost it. Let's keep on reading, maybe it'll become more clear.

Now we're cooking with laughs! In fact, this reminds me of another joke I heard. It was about a dog who got caught in a bear trap (like the cartoons) and apparently dragged the metal contraption 50 yards through a dense field of thicket, stopping halfway across to drink from a puddle of water, before bleeding out. I mean, that must be a really funny story because I'm crying – like when you laugh really hard, or that inexplicable tightness in your chest overwhelms you. I don't know if I can take any more of this zaniness!

Listen, livescience.com. I get that writing about birds can sometimes get boring. And then all the editors get together and are like "Bird story brainstorm!" and because the weather was nice this morning and someone brought in donuts, you're all kind of giddy to the point where someone is like, "Can you believe this story about birds flying into mountains?! It's like (sticking arms out to simulate wings) vroooom, splat!" And the managing editor is like, "I think you've got yourself a thesis!" Then everyone else is like, "lede, deck, nut graph!" and other stupid publishing words before Jeanna Bryner ends up back at her desk with a little powdered sugar on her fingers, still kind of chuckling at Phil's bird impersonation, and starts writing about how all this these birds flying to their death is HIGH-larious (that one's a freebie, livescience.com). But next time, let's leave the bird corpse humor to the bird corpse humor professionals in Britain, ok?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Boob Day Week!

On a day marked by resurrections, one Easter event failed to rise to the occasion: Boob Day. 75 degrees. No breeze. Sunny as an undercooked egg. It was supposed to be – it needed to be Boob Day, my first one back since a two-year Boob Day hiatus in Miami. And yet, it flopped. (Pun intended? What does it matter . . .)

Maybe it was the religious undertones that threw everyone off. After all, a holiday with such rich traditions as hiding eggs and having brunch at the club shouldn't be sullied by low cut shirts. I at least thought the Jews would step up (full disclosure: I'm marrying one). Coming on the heels of Passover, which is basically a week long South Beach diet, I figured tight, attention-grabbing clothing would be a no-brainer.

No dice. There Brooke and I were, walking the streets of New York Sunday afternoon, nary a boob in sight. Sure, there was the stray reveler – a v-neck here, an ill-fitting sundress there. But basically it was amateur hour at the cleavage show – sample act: an open front cardigan with a tank top underneath. What's your encore, a responsible pant suit? I mean, come on. I was dismayed, as was Brooke. "My boobs are out," she complained out loud. "Does everyone else think they're too good for Boob Day?" Although in everyone else's defense, Brooke's boobs are always out. (High five myself.)

But then a miraculous thing happened, and I'm not just talking about a certain carpenter's apprentice rising from the dead. Monday morning I had to get to work early. I was out on the street by 8:30, fiddling with my iPod and remembering what a truly fantastic song this is, when all of a sudden it hit me: a woman's boob. Right in the arm. And when I looked up from my iPod and turned onto Broadway, there they were, all in front of me like a rolling hillside. Shirted boobs of every ilk: side boob-friendly tanks, more-appropriate-as-pajamas tees, and the textile-defying "stretch" Oxford.

By lunch time, SoHo was awash in cleavage. It wasn't just Boob Day interruptus; it was what you might call a hooter IED. Apparently, everyone's collective abstinence from the day before had built up such an unbearable pressure that one ordinary strength Boob Day wouldn't be enough to relieve all the tension. Because you know what? Same thing this morning: Up and out early, wading into a veritable Mardi Gras. And with three more days of sunshine and mid-70's temperatures, I don't see it ending anytime soon.

That's right, folks: It's Boob Week. Cherish it. Revel in it. For all we know, it's the Halley's Comet* of cleavage. There's no data! Like the boobs themselves, we're flying fast and loose. Enjoy it while you can.

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* Not to cast a pale over Boob Week, but isn't there something really sad about the fact that Halley's Comet only comes around every 75 years? I remember everyone making a big deal about it the last time it was visible in 1986 and I was like, "I'll catch it next time," because seven-year old me didn't really understand the concept of aging yet. I mean, I'll be 82 the next time Halley's Comet appears! Even if I'm still alive, I'll probably be like, "WHAT? Who's Halley? A comet? Sounds like a nice piece of tail!" (Because though incontinent, I'll still be hilarious.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Do: Think Wedding Registries are a Racket

(I never thought I'd be planning a wedding. Then again, I never thought I'd convince a girl to marry me. But here I am embarking on this grand adventure. I will chronicle my trials and tribulations in a new segment called "I Do.")

You would think that registering for presents would be the most fun part of getting married. It's like Christmas but with a higher price point. And since you've presumably reached a point in your life where you are nearly self-sufficient, you already own all the boring necessities like underwear and water filters. Your wedding registry, then, is reserved solely for crap that you want – stuff that you might point to while window shopping one spring day and think, "Soul-crushing consumerism aside, that's a really attractive serving bowl."

But I soon learned that wedding registries are all smoke and mirrors. Like strip clubs, they are great in theory. Naked women serving you drinks in between provocative dances involving polls? Heaven. Then you get there and the women are subpar, the dances are half-hearted, drinks are overpriced, and nudity is top only. The disappointment is only compounded by the immensity of your expectations.

So too is it with registries. For example, Shitty Fact #1: You can't register everywhere. So let's say I really want this set of antique dueling pistols. And why wouldn't I? Vintage is really hot right now, and I'll be needing to defend my wife's honor, right? Not according to Williams Sonoma! Because neither they, nor any of the other members of the United Confederation of Wedding Registries (UCWR) sell my coveted antique dueling pistols.

So what's an antique gun enthusiast like me to do? Well, one option is to create some sort of freestyle registry where you pull together items from all over the Internet into one big wish list, regardless of where they are sold. But if you think that sounds too easy, congratulations for paying attention. Apparently you can't just go making up catalogue of items on some renegade registry site because Shitty Fact #2: there are fucking RULES here. This is wedding country, and you're just visiting.

For example, you've just announced your engagement, be it via blog, Facebook, or old fashioned word of mouth. Apparently, this sends people into an etiquette frenzy. My mom called the other day and was like, "Are you registered?" and I'm like, "As a sex offender?" and she's like, "There's no time for jokes." It seems ever since word got out that Brooke and I are making all the premarital sex legit, people have been asking my mom where we are registered. And my mom, who has made it clear that she is neither a money tree, a house keeping robot, or a wedding registry directory, is flustered.

Brooke says there's only one way to solve this: register on The Wedding Channel, STAT. For those of you unacquainted with The Wedding Channel, it's basically the site where THE ENTIRE WORLD INCLUDING AUSTRALIA goes to search for you gift registry. And since they only partner with certain stores (isn't it everyone's dream to register at Kohl's?), you're not only cock blocked from those antique guns, but also from cool stores that have their own registries (CB2 comes to mind) which The Wedding Channel refuses to partner with, presumably because of NATO alliances.

Of course I balked at signing up at first because "disestablishmentarianism" is my middle name. I mean, I use Firefox for Christ's sake. Take you’re wedding registry puppy mill someplace else, Wedding Channel. But then Brooke explained that if we want presents (which we do, because one of love's greatest rewards is a vegetable juicer) then we have to do it. Short of creating a viral video entitled "Megan Fox Justin Bieber sex tape starring Dan and Brooke are engaged," this is how people find out where to buy you all the stuff you want.

The other problem? Shitty Fact #3: This has to be done now. Not five minutes from now, not after you're done with that ice cream cone – now. Brooke even made me miss this week's episode of Lost so we could register. I told her we'd better order a crapload of presents, because that's all we'll have left when we're social pariahs.

So there we are at Crate & Barrel with the gun thing, which everyone makes such a huge deal about regardless of the fact that it's basically technology from the 80's. Still, there's something fun about being sheriff of Crate & Barrel Town gunning down my enemies. BAM! Highball glasses. BAM! Table lamp. BAM BAM! Cheese platter and matching knives. I am the Wyatt Earp of home entertaining accoutrement.

Once the novelty wears off, though, Shitty Fact #4: it becomes overwhelming. Sample situation: There's a glass pitcher that seems kind of cool. It's sitting on a picnic table with colorful placemats, a tin ice bucket, and an umbrella overhead. You think, "That pitcher is part of the life I want to have." So you scan it. Then you leave the store and you start to think. Do I really want that glass pitcher? Do I put things in pitchers? It's not like the last time two of my friends came over to watch the game I was like, "Let me mix up a pitcher of lemonade." Panic sets in. What is someone is on The Wedding Channel RIGHT NOW purchasing this pitcher and I don't even know if my friends like lemonade!

This is how it goes with everything on your registry. The anxiety is oppressive, which inevitably leads to insane arguments like:

Brooke: "We should register for a lamp."
Me: "We already have three lamps."
Brooke: "Someday we'll need more lamps."
Me: "If we get a fourth lamp now it's going to look like a lamp store in here."
Brooke: "I'm registering for a lamp."
Me: "STOP SAYING LAMP!"
Brooke: "I can't believe this is my life."
Me: "Why don't you buy a lamp about it?"

But even though you're just a pawn in the Wedding Registry game and the powers that be at have exercised so much authority over your whims that now you're stuck getting all your wedding presents from Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn (or CB2 and Amazon.com if someone were so inclined to look), every so often an item comes along that makes it all worth while.

Bend over, Wedding Channel. I won this round.