poem

Hungover

Lay down, stretch it out, write some words down.

Eat a peanut butter cookie.

Think about the end, think about the end. Think about the end.

Fall asleep to the roar of airplanes up above. Skyward humans wiping mouth corners with branded napkins bled with dye.

Learn guitar, an f shape with some flair.

Lick tongues.

Shut the door so the others won’t hear.

You are my favorite song. You are gummy quarters stuck to shitty mahogany.

You are the ashtray in Tia’s apartment.

You are gin and tonic.

I wake up in awe!

I tug your hair and make the love.

Your birdsong sweet with every easy push.

Your face blush.

My eyes all wide open.

My eyes all wide.

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Love Letters (To No.1)

I’ll always fall in love, at least a little bit, with a cutie who’s left handed.

She’s got big ole eyeballs still, just like in the old days, when I was a young kid with a gold heart all ready to break. That same heart is still thumping, I swear it is, right down here inside my ribs. It’s just bronzed over.

I think we all get a little closer to each other when we use our first names, mid-sentence, deep into those talks. Those talks that always happen when it’s dark, when the car is parked somewhere, and we’re both staring forward into a big open night. And the air is thick because we know what we want to say but can’t. And our arms are crossed, and you’re opening all the way up, and you say

Sam, …”

and I feel it. I think our names sound different when our lovers say them.

She’s got a cozy room and a bed with messy blankets. There are postcards in the window and photos strung across a clothesline, photos of brick walls in her hometown, photos of a happy drunk girl whose laugh you can hear when you look at them real close. Sometimes I’ll sit on the floor and listen to her music and she’ll nap, and the sun will break through the blinds and remind me I’m at home, right here, with her wrinkled forehead and lavender fingernails, gnawed off with nervous tendency. She’ll make earl grey when she wakes up.

I think it’s too easy to have sex. I think sex is too easy because it’s at everyone’s fingertips. Lauren said it best: “nowadays, it’s easier to have sex with someone than it is to hold their hand.” I know people who fuck too much and they don’t know it. I think I’ve been there once, and now I know it. I think fucking is like eating junk food. You never feel good afterward, though, and that’s what kills. It’s fun to indulge when the pleasure is approaching, and you’re getting closer to it, like driving into town. But it’s a mirage. And then you put your clothes back on, and ‘one-night stand’ becomes last-night, and you gotta find a highway to clear your head.

She’s got an eye for things. She takes photographs all the time and none of them are of her, and all of them have that enigmatic quality that takes me away to a different place. Some sort of dazzle lives inside her lens, a magical aesthetic that I can’t figure out. She knows what clothes will fit. She talks about the things she loves.

And sometimes I’m sitting down, writing, in the library, in a chair. And her hair falls over into my lap, and her arms wrap me cozy and warm, and my first name is a whisper in the left channel. And all the bronze starts falling off, and all our clothes are still on, and I become a photograph on a clothesline.

And it’s all in my head, right now, these love letters to no.1, the smudge of her left-handed response tucked neatly into a light blue envelope, no return address. But my eyes are wide open for you, for your glossy 8×10’s, for your blankets, for your room, for your world.

Take me there.

 

 

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On Books (or: An Epitaph for the Immortally Dead Men)

One day, I will write a book.

I will write an entire book, from start to finish. I will bind it in a deep, forest green. It will look terribly simple on the front, the title written in a pale, yellow Times New Roman. The back will feature absolutely nothing. Inside of the book will be words, mostly, because that’s the fodder for imagination.

I’ve been reading quite a lot lately, which is something I typically can’t still still long enough to do. Like everything, I have no patience, but at least enough to almost finish something. That’s how it has been with books lately, except I really love finishing them.

One book I’ve read recently is called Slaughterhouse-Five. It is written by Kurt Vonnegut, whose name I have been mispronouncing my entire life. Here is one of my favorite lines, which I have highlighted with a cheap, yellow marker, in the copy that I’ve bought:

“I don’t think Trout has ever been out of the country,” Rosewater went on.  “My God – he writes about Earthlings all the time, and they’re all Americans. Practically nobody on Earth is an American.”

Ain’t that just something?

This book also features other fantastic literary nuggets; alphabetical orgasms, if you will, such as:

On the ninth day, the hobo died. So it goes. His last words were, “You think this is bad? This ain’t bad.”

“Valencia was snoring like a bandsaw.”

and

In went water and loaves of blackbread and sausage and cheese, and out came shit and piss and language.”

I’ve been reading these books and I’ve been feeling all sorts of things. I’ve been hallucinating vividly and I’ve been giggling to myself in the corner of the coffee shop. I’ve paused a hundred times to look up at all the passing people and wonder if they’re catching on to me, on to my secret, on to this feeling that all of my books have been giving me.

I feel like I just found infinity.

And I don’t wanna share it!

You know, there’s a voice inside your head when you read. Except it’s not your voice. It doesn’t really have a sound at all, actually, and that’s something I can’t stop thinking about. Who is that voice? What is it, in all of its androgyne and colorful monotone? Who’s reading to you all these little words right now? It ain’t me. I promise.

I read a book called The Little Prince two weeks ago, and that’s because of some wonderful human in California who told me I should. It only took me an hour to read, but I’ll think about it forever and ever. Ain’t that just something? Here are a couple of things I highlighted from that book in my cheap, yellow marker:

“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.”***

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”***

and

“When someone blushes, doesn’t that mean ‘yes’?”***

***It must be emphasized that The Little Prince was originally written in French, and these are simply the closest versions of those thoughts, replicated in our silly bastard of a tongue.

I am experiencing a spiritual awakening, and it is simply because of all these books I’ve read.

It’s funny to think about hearing the thoughts of dead men. Nowadays, we get about 80 years, give or take, and Orwell got 46. And 64 years dead, he talked to me, in that little monotonous voice inside my skull, and he made my blood pump through my heart, and he carved a few new valleys in the gelatin that is my brain. Orwell isn’t dead. Orwell is conquering at the imperishable age of 112.

You know, I think everyone has forgotten how to be sexy. I think we all forgot, because our whole life is an image. It’s a filtered photograph on the screen of some horny teenager, masturbating in spouts of 6 seconds at a time to a scanty-clad pale, naked body on the other side of the state. The image disappears and he’s feasting for the follow-up.

There’s a 25 year-old woman somewhere who is drinking water for dinner. In the morning, an IV of morphine will push her into a sugar-filled fantasy-land while silicone inflates a pair of plump, throbbing nipples. In three weeks, she will throw out all of her used brassieres in the advent of the Semi-Annual Sale. Also, she’s still drinking water for dinner.

The internet rages on about fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, big assess and the thesis statement of All About that Bass. They will make flipbooks of the “ideal” woman from the 50’s and empower themselves with the words of Kennedy’s closet fucktoy. They will blame photoshop for Justin’s dick and stylishly worship the winged heroines of the apocalypse.

Sexy, my loves, has nothing to do with your body. You will learn this only when you read more books.

Sexy is a vocabulary. Sexy is confidence and radiance and a magnetic laugh. Sexy is knowing what makes Venus spin backwards and the taste of red wine. Sexy is a glowing bead of sweat on the brow of a 6:00am run. My god, sexy is the way you move, the way you think, the commentary of your dancing hips bathed in the lanterns of a summer patio party. Sexy is the imagination and the expression of the soul. Sexy is what you don’t show. Sexy knows when to fuck and when to make moonlight love, when to wear a black dress and when to wear nothing at all. Sexy is the elegant antithesis of that stupid, minuscule image you have in your head of the ideal ass. Sexy is why the book is always better than the movie. Always.

I’ve been reading these books and they’ve been turning me on. And you think that lacy underwear is the trick.

It’s funny, to hold faith to one book. I’ve read ten books at least that brought me some sort of enlightenment, and have pushed me farther away from worshipping the crucifix. But a lover of jesus isn’t looking for that at all. I could throw a believer in a sea of literature, in an ocean of knowledge that puts a bible to shame. They’ll drown in martyrdom, willingly, stubbornly, holding the failing raft that is the new testament.

I bring that up only because a 52 year-old man is sitting behind me with a group of three, 15 year-old girls. Collectively, they’re not even his age. They’re as desperately impressionable as a wet sponge, and all I can hear from his flabby mouth is “Christ is the answer.” Their eyes are glassed over as they nod like puppets. He smiles plastically.

Just as easily, I could lean over and whisper “Don’t eat your breakfast and you’ll lose 5 pounds a week!” And they would listen. And they would skip breakfast. And that is because they’re 15 year-old girls.

Ain’t that just something?

I read this book recently called The Alchemist. Some people say it saved their lives. Personally, it makes me want to go to the desert. In that book, Paulo Coelho writes:

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”***

***Similarly, this book was originally written in Portuguese, which they speak in Brazil.

I guess I’m just clinging on to all these words, the stories and hearts of dead poets. And it made me want to write, to dream, to breathe,

to touch infinity.

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Nine Ladies Dancing

Yo. I’m in a good mood. I want to play and make shit and write it out.

I recently got out of another relationship. I was dating a pretty cool chick that I liked quite a bit, and things didn’t work out. It’s all good. I have nothing but accolades to give and appreciation to show for the entire experience. Out of respect to her, we will leave it at that.

I’m now in that stage of reflecting on it all, almost from an objective standpoint. Some time passes and you get a chance to see it for what it was. In doing that, I’ve learned quite a bit, I’ve grown quite a bit, I’ve smiled quite a bit. I suppose it’s always up to you to learn things from stuff that happens to you.

In dating this girl, and breaking up, I’ve been looking back on the past 10 years of going steady. Today, I want to share some nuggets of wisdom that I’ve looted along the way. I hope you can relate.

Here are nine things, in no particular order, that nine anonymous girls have taught me through the mess that is The Game:

The Rebound Will Brick
Always. There is no replacing something that you just shared with another person. You can’t fill that void. I dated a girl right after my longest relationship to date, and it hit me pretty quick. Ain’t it a sick feeling, kissing someone and thinking of another? Fucking hell, that one tore me up. If you think you’re over it, you’re probably not. It’ll catch up to you.

They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone. If they’re telling you that, I think you should ask yourself who you’re listening to. Rebounding is like eating junk food: it’s fun while it’s happening, but it’ll soon make you sick to your stomach. Eat healthy. Give it time.

Beauty Matters (for the First Date)
And after that, it’s mostly irrelevant. I dated a girl a few years back that was stupid gorgeous. Just stunning. This chick was just radiant. I was a dorky college kid who had never seen someone that pretty before. So when she told me she was interested, I did a backflip. I didn’t believe it. Then we went out to coffee.

I can’t remember a single damn thing we talked about. I was mostly shitting bricks because of how pretty this girl’s eyes were. Yet, that’s all there was. Sure, she was attractive, but you can only talk about her smile for so long. After that, when the crickets start chirping, and she’s twiddling her thumbs, the silence between you becomes a chainsaw. Attraction is the first step, absolutely. I just learned that day that it’s about 13% of the deal. You can adorn a cardboard canoe like the Taj Mahal. But will it float?

Talk the Talk, Walk the Talk
I once dated a chick that loved to talk about me. She told all her friends about me, she told her family, she told social media. She told me about me. Her words were abundant; an endless source of reassurance and praise. It was enchanting.

But the spell eventually wore off. I snapped out of it and realized that it was all talk. This chick could talk about me all day, but she couldn’t prove any of her praise. When the going got tough, her words thinned. She was quiet. The proof was in the pudding. Truly caring is tangible. Even the deaf are loud. If I’m falling off a bridge, last week’s text won’t be the arm that saves me. And this chick was last week’s text.

Sex is a Mirror
I’m such an advocate of having sex, making love, doing the nookie. I think it shows you so much about your relationship. It’s a physical pop quiz that reveals the emotional woodwork between two people.

I’m not going to kiss and tell. All I want to say is this: being naked with another reveals more than boobs and butts. If she’s a giver in bed, she’s probably one to surprise you with hockey tickets after work. If she’s a taker in bed, the odds are you’re doing most of the legwork in the relationship. If she cares about your pleasure, she cares about you. If you’re insecure about your naked body, you probably don’t trust the one who sees it. Sex, man. Sex is real.

You May Not Be Ready
I dated this girl that was 10000000% wifey material. This girl had it all: brains, beauty, a heart to give. She laughed at my jokes. She took me to dinner. She looked at me with love in her eyes. Before I met her, I would rant and rave about dating a good girl. I went to bed every night wishing I could meet a lady to take home to momma. Then she appeared, and I suddenly realized that I wasn’t even close to ready.

To quote Kanye: “see I could have me a good girl, and still be addicted to them hood rats.” I wasn’t done with the bad ones. I wasn’t actually ready to be treated right. To be loved. That shit is hard to accept when you’re still checking out tits at parties. I hadn’t yet satisfied that disgusting curiosity that is college-aged hormones. The truth is: you probably don’t want to meet the love of your life until you’ve fucked up and fucked around a little bit. Get it out of your system ASAP. Then you can think about something real. Shoutout to the good girl. I appreciate you to death.

Indifference Kills
I’ve endured love, I’ve endured heartbreak. It’s nice to see yourself on the other side, able to laugh it off and smile that it happened. This chick destroyed me, though, and she taught me the hardest lesson I’ve yet to learn: some people just don’t care much about you.

This was a huge shocker to me at the time. I was loved by so many, and this chick didn’t seem to notice. She didn’t make me feel like anything special. I was just another stranger in passing, a pebble lodged in the rubber sole of a boot. I suppose that dating the girl that didn’t care about me at all was the best and worst thing to happen to my ego: I thought I was strong, and she proved me feeble. I thought I knew my worth, and she dwindled me down to a penny. But being razed to the ground by someone who gives absolutely no fucks was enlightening. It allowed me to reinvent myself. It gave me space to weld the kinks in my armor. Fuck, that was a hurricane. But I’m the captain of a new vessel.

You Are My World,
And I am yours. I fell so deep in love with a girl, once upon a time. I made this girl my everything. She had her own ringtone in my phone. She was my confidant, my lover, my best friend, my Player Two, my pillow, my food, my air. This girl was the center of my universe.

Very quickly, this girl was my life. I stopped talking to friends. I stopped talking to my mother. I stopped doing anything alone. This love was my pulse. It was obsessive and over-the-top, a daily roller coaster of emotional extremes. I call this my Romeo and Juliet relationship. I thought it would never end, that I had found the one. But she moved away. And my world was empty. I felt annihilated. But hell, I love to look back on it. I learned that you can’t do that. People are fleeting. Life is always changing. When you put all your eggs in one basket, what happens when it’s unwoven? Keep your friends. Keep your hobbies. Keep your alone time. It’s so fucking important to keep you alive, too.

“Friend” is Half of Girlfriend
And she needs to be exactly half friend. This is everything. I once dated a girl that was too much of a friend. She talked to me from a distance. She encouraged me to check out other people. Our sexual energy was extinguished because she couldn’t see herself as a lover in my eyes. This came from a lack of confidence in her person.

On the flip side, I went out with a chick that couldn’t give me any advice at all. She wasn’t a rock. She wasn’t a friend. She was around for the gifts, for the sex, for the attention, but she vanished when I needed her most. See, I learned that we must wear a few different hats in a relationship. Sometimes you just need a friend, in the most innocent and pure sense of the word. I think it’s about half the time, give or take. I think I like that balance. This play on words does not apply with fiancé. Nobody is one half fian. I am being facetious.

It All Applies To Me, Too
I’ve been talking about these girls, these experiences I’ve had in dating people. I’ve been a little harsh, and maybe a little rude. But I want to hold myself to the same standard. Everything I’ve written, I want to apply to myself, too. It’s a duet, after all. There’s no doubt that I deserve what has happened to me, heartwarming and devastating and the in-between. These girls are so important to me. There’s so much to learn, to do, to live, to share, to experience with another. I’m infinitely grateful for everything that’s happened.

In the end, I just want to keep going. To keep dating. To keep skylarking. You can’t take it too seriously. If they break your heart, just be happy. I know it’s been said a billion times. But after all is said and done, you always have a choice. You can loathe your time with a person that you once loved. You can burn bridges and fuck around. You can keep a bitter lemon on your tongue inscribed with the initials of the devil herself. You can talk shit and drown her portrait in booze and blood.

You can do all these things. I guess I just don’t want to do them. I want to keep loving and keep giving as much as I can. I don’t want to hide or hate or belittle anyone. I just want to say thank you. I just want to keep learning and keep saying thank you. And keep saying “I love you” and keep hugging people goodbye. I think that dating, in a way, is just flirting with the future. We’re just people looking for a future. So if it’s not jiving, you gotta be cool. You gotta be happy it happened. You just gotta remember that it’s all good.

Cheers. I love you.

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XY Arbitrary

Hello again, reader.

I’ve found another social issue that I’d like to explore in this conversational piece of thought. The topic at hand is something that I’ve been challenged by all of my life. Its omnipresent, not only in my world, but in the everyday events of our global system. And recently I’ve built a lot of identity around one term that could wrap up this entire post:

That term is gender-bender. And this writing is all about attacking gender roles.

If you’ve followed my thoughts since I started writing them on this little website, you’ll know that I had a pretty influential anthropology class at the end of my junior year in college. The infinitely bright professor of the lecture had much to say and didn’t fear the voice of his own opinion, which I respected and valued as a student (because it’s nice to have somebody with a spine in control of the podium for a while, don’tcha think?). One of Dr. Van Gerven’s main reference points was a dear friend of his called Mickey who thought herself to be completely female despite the nature of her physical body (i.e. Mickey was transgender). As he told his stories about his friend, I found myself growing more and more frustrated by the way these folk are outcasted for a seemingly hollow reason. After all, we stress the whole “I was born this way” mantra, yet the gaping holes in that preaching are constantly exposed when we can’t accept people because of their “sinful choices” (i.e. being gay, or dressing as a woman).

Then Dr. Van Gerven started to talk about the formation of the fetus in the body, and since then, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about my role as an ‘XY’.

You see, in the first stages after an egg is fertilized and the body starts to grow, it doesn’t know gender at all. Days pass as the little human begins to take shape until a critical moment weeks into development when one’s sex is determined. Interestingly enough, we all start as female, because it’s the default setting before that switch. Once that moment passes, the reproductive organs begin forming. The penis, after all, is just an oversized clitoris. The labia are a re-organized scrotum, and we all know about the location and pain associated with eggs and testicles. Basically, once your junk is formed, the powder blue / tickle-me-pink paint is ordered from Home Depot and Samuel / Samantha is printed on all the baby shower invites.

It’s that exact moment when your entire life as a person on Earth is essentially determined.

Granted, we’ve come a long way in this civilization with regards to the male/female dichotomy. But in my eyes there is still an ocean between my progressive view on being a boy/girl and the point from which we operate today.

Departing from the notion that our private parts are the determining factor of our lives, I couldn’t help but think about how ridiculous that idea really is. I noticed these arbitrary behavior systems that we constructed around this philosophy start to pop up everywhere almost immediately after leaving that lecture. Girls wearing nail polish. Boys jogging without shirts. Girls having long hair. Boys having body hair. Girls kissing girls. Boys afraid to hug boys. Girly drinks at bars. Manly food commercials. The list goes on and on.

Slowly, however, I started to get a bit pissed off by all these things I noticed, because they’re all-exclusive and ever-limiting.

If you know me, you know I’m nothing close to being a ‘manly-man’. I’m not the big and bulky Bradley. I’ll never wear a mustache. I can’t tell you every team in every division in the NFL, and I certainly have never been uncomfortable with showing my other dude friends some TLC (I tend to be a sloth around the people I love). Oh, and I’m also not afraid to tell them that I love them. Basically, I’m no Spartan and I know it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m super comfortable with the way I view myself, but it hasn’t always been that way.

I grew up around women, almost exclusively. And because of that, I never really learned the things that one would learn from their fathers, like changing the oil, and the sweet spot for taking down a 13-point buck from 50 yards out. But I can clean the heck out of a house, and I know when to shut up because you’re on your period. In short, I’m a purebred momma’s boy. Since I swam in the sea of estrogen for eighteen years, I understandably came out kinda ‘girly’. Then, once I went to college, I noticed just how manly I wasn’t.  It took some time to accept that. My freshman and sophomore year were filled with frustration, lots of self-doubt, self-consciousness for being the thin geeky dude and a major dose of the ‘I’m-gonna-die-alone’ cocktail. Then one summer I just started smiling and girls started liking me again.

As of last August, however, that frustration has manifested once more, and that twenty-something rebel inside me has been itching for a fight. So let’s break down the gender roles that we all play like oscar-winning Hollywooders every day. And then I hope you kinda just shit on at least one of these silly behaviors for the rest of your life.

Scene one: Your naked body and the inside of the armoir

Welcome to the first thing you do after the first things you do every morning: dress-up. Take a peek at the average male’s closet and you’ll see a sloppy pile of blue jeans and an array of tees and tanks. There’s probably a collared button-up somewhere wrinkled into the mix, but for the most part, a boy’s closet is a slew of socks, shirts and trousers. Now a lady’s wardrobe is vastly different, always evolving, and filled to the brim with thousands of colors, styles and accessories. At first glance, a woman’s closet is a madhouse. But after further investigation, you’ll realize that inside the chaos lies something remarkably beautiful: variety. A woman has ten purses, fifty five bracelets and neckpieces, earrings, hairpins, scarves, socks, shirts, blouses, skirts, cocktail dresses, sun dresses, dressy dresses and casual ones too, hats, beanies, tennis shoes, running shoes, heels, flats, glads, boots, leggings, belts, headbands, sports bras, old bras, push-up bras, new bras, lingerie, and just about every other thing that us guys love to see you in.

What the fuck kinda shit is that?!

To be real honest, the ‘girl’ inside me is pretty jealous about all these things. We, as men, are limited to what we’re allowed to wear, and girls get to have all of the fun. Of course my reference point is that of an American youngster living in the 21st century and other parts of the world seem to blur this division a little better (or stretch it further). Nonetheless, I still find a massive gap between what girls wear and what boys wear. And I can’t figure out why.

I’ll be honest again: I’ve grown infatuated with the color pink. More specifically, colored jeans are pretty ‘in’ right now, and I’m a sucker for chicks that wear light pink denim. Man, it kills me. At the same time, I’d absolutely love wearing some of my own. I’ve grown a collection of dyed bottoms myself, but there will always be a few shades that are tougher to rock than others, if not impossible. Question: why are we still operating under the difference between red and pink? Why can’t I wear pink pants? Why?

Why?

But someday soon I will. And I’ll challenge my own discomfort every time I put ’em on. My best friend Zach has a family friend from Holland that wears all types of colors. His reason: “because I like them”.

So fuck color roles and stuff.

Scene two: Your fancy dinner and a movie (and any first kiss)

You’re primping for a date. If you’re a chick, that means an hour of prep, a natural shade of make-up and a not-so-revealing top that will still accentuate some of your assets. If you’re a dude, that means a couple quick glances in the mirror and a spritz of the cologne that you’ve had since high school. Once any two people have agreed to a night on the town, everything we’ve seen in movies suddenly strikes down upon the evening.

Step one: the boy must drive. Always. So he goes and picks her up from her house.

Step two: the boy holds the door. He also pays. This is courtly love and respectful kinda stuff, which shows you’re a gentleman, and I’m not too upset about it.

Step three: the boy makes the first move. Always. Until then, the girl will wait and flicker her eyelashes and flip her hair and do all the other things that us guys go crazy for.

I’ve been here before. I hope you have, too. Truthfully, I don’t have too many problems with the roles of the first date, because they’re fun to play. It’s what comes later that bothers me to heck.

Recently, a girl told me that I was being the ‘girl’ in the relationship, and that she was the ‘boy’, and that sometimes she just wasn’t into it. And because of my complacency I brushed the comment off and didn’t think too much of it. Later on, it kept coming back to me, and now those words boil my blood. What she really should have said was: “you’re an emotional person and I’m not, and sometimes that is overwhelming.” Instead, I was called a ‘girl’ because I felt things.

This is the kinda stuff that I’d like to debunk now.

Girls: stop believing in the image of what it means to be a man. In reference to my Spartan comment earlier, crying and feeling strong emotions used to be considered extremely masculine. Now, we’ve taken all of that away and have proposed that men must be statues. Because of this, I’ve lost my ability to cry. I’m not allowed to. And if you’re reading this and you’re a cryer, I hope you can understand the frustration of not being able to discharge some sadness via the waterworks. Recently I cried and I had to write about it because it was so rare. But it felt so good.

Boys: stop promoting rape culture. What I mean is, stop holding girls to physical expectations. Enough with the perverted pig attitude and pursuing the ass and tits. Stop it. Now.

Girls: stop waiting. So much of my frustration in gender roles spurs from the fact that girls are typically obsessed with waiting for him to make the move. This goes for the first kiss as well as anything before that, like being approached at a bar. Being such a go-getter myself, I can’t understand the mentality of not pursuing what you want. If you’re out to talk to some boys, then talk to them. If you want him to kiss you, just kiss him first. If you want something, get it. Stop waiting.

Boys: in the dating world, we’re forced into a highly competitive environment. This will work wonders with our testosterone. Now, what we must do is stop disabling each other. This is not the Serengeti. This is Boulder, Colorado. So let’s start being a little more respectful out there in the field and start encouraging our homies to talk to the chicas. Don’t be the big douche that comes flying into a group of friends and stealing the chick from our circle. This makes you look like a fool. I promise that she’s not into it either. So mind your business and cool your jets.

There is much more to comment on with regards to our interactions. How about you tell me what gender roles you find in your love life endeavors that just seem so boggling?

Scene three: The rest of your life

Since we’re pretty much stuck with what’s between our legs, it’s time we start changing the things outside of our bodies. On the daily, I find something that we’re forced to believe in just because of our gender and sexuality, and like I said before, it’s oppressive. Just as much as race, we do not choose what we look like. Being male is not a choice. But it is an imposed lifestyle, and I’m doing my best to warp those boundaries. Here is a rapid-fire series of thoughts that relate to the subject of gender-bending:

-I grew my hair out recently to challenge the male image. Then I cut it for other reasons. But in that time when my locks were long, I felt empowered by the idea that I was doing something that less than 10% of males do. I was also frustrated when my trip to Target supplied me with only two different shampoo/conditioner hybrids and zero choices of wide-tooth combs. Did you know that the only piece of human information that we can’t gather from an anonymous strand of hair is the owner’s gender? Why do we associate gender and hair follicles? Why?

-I have a hard time understanding anybody that says they’ve felt love and disagrees with universal marriage rights. If you really have embraced and felt so strongly for somebody, you’ll realize that it’s so far out of your control. Being homosexual is not a choice, just like being heterosexual isn’t either. Gender roles in loving somebody cannot continue to apply; stop with the Adam and Steve excuse. If anything, your sexuality is another one of those limiting factors. Can you imagine the freedom and lightness of being attracted to anybody? What of the opportunities of setting sexuality aside and pursuing people and not pussy?

-I’m gonna try to stop saying ‘manly’ and ‘girly’. It’s not productive.

-Sometimes I imagine what my life in this exact moment would have been if I hadn’t grown up as a dude. It’s almost an impossible thought, when it really shouldn’t be.

-I think men forget just how easy their lives are. No periods. No pregnancy. No worrying about walking home at night. And all of those things are pretty fucked to forget about. On the flip side, I think women have taken advantage of their roles as peacocks. Help a guy out and stop thinking you’re worth the entire world, won’t you? We’re all people. So let’s give each other a helping hand.

-The list, like most of my lists, goes on and on. I really hope you do your homework and tell me some of your thoughts on the subject.

To leave you, my dear reader, I’d like to do a little bit of shameless art promotion. Here’s a piece I finished yesterday that I’d love to share (and that intentionally carries the same title as this post) :
XY Arbitrary

The idea was inspired by these two beautiful people that I cut in half and merged into one:

Man2 woman1

The notion is simply this: what if you played the other role? What would that change?

Why?

-Sam G
http://www.facebook.com/samgaglioart

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Eyes That Gaze, Thoughts That Gape

I want to apologize for most men.  Or boys.  Or males.  Or really, whatever age and title you’d like to give us.

I know of a lot of girls who have been hurt and used by such terrible male-people, and I want to say I’m sorry on their behalf.  I’ve been saying this a lot recently to people around me, so you’ve probably heard me say it if you’ve been around.  It really kills me, thinking about all the ugliness that people have to go through.

I am sitting in Starbucks on Broadway and University near one of these people right now, and that’s why I had to get this thought out of my head.  I think that sometimes male-people don’t think about anything other than their hormonal instinct, especially after a certain age.  If you’re over thirty years old and you are interacting with somebody that could be your daughter, you make me want to vomit and backflip and shoot somebody all at the same time.  It’s really disturbing, and I hate thinking about it.

Then again, I know a lot of girls who have been taken advantage of by people the same age as me, and that’s just as bad.  Again, I’m really sorry about it.  I truly am.

Sadly, I have fallen victim to this urge more than a few times in my life, to this vicious and primitive desire to “reproduce”, if you will.  When I get off the bus from school, I often pass a very simple street-art etched in marker on an electric-box of an hourglass-shaped, elongated body of a girl, and inside the drawing it says “Do you stare or do you care?”  Sometimes I stare, and I can’t help it, and it eats me just a little bit.  Sometimes my motives are physical, and that bothers me.  It kinda makes you feel sick inside.

If you are a girl, you probably know what I’m talking about, and you’ve probably had to make a tough decision to escape the situation.  If you’re a boy, I hope you can separate your head from your head.  Trust me, you really have to.  I hope you do.

Now, more than ever, that’s what I want to do.  I want to be as respectful and kind and sensitive about sexual stuff as I used to be.  It’s deep in my moral compass.  It needs to be resurfaced.  I’m a good person.  I am.  And I’m going to keep being that, even if it means I won’t get naked with a girl when I really could.  If the nice guys finish last, I’ll be proud to say that it’s because we care, and you’re more than an opportunity to satisfy a superficial craving.  I’m sorry if I haven’t always been the nice guy that I know I am.

Anyway, that’s what I wanted to say after seeing that man who disturbed me once upon a time when I saw him talking to a couple of girls my age.  It kinda threw me for a loop just now.  But at least it made me write this.

Hey girls,

I’m really sorry.  And when I say that, I want you to think of me as a strong person, and not a wimpy, apologetic kid.  Because I mean it.

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Bars, Bailando & Bustin’ Balls

I’ve been thinking about three things as of late.  Let’s pretend that this post is actually a condensed novel fit with all the goodies of storytelling in 1/19th the length.  That being said, I’ll be narrating, and I wanna establish setting before anything else.  The following snippet is taken directly from a tumblr account that I visit ritually, known as “Know What’s Fucking Crazy?”  The topic is bars, and frankly put, bars are fucking crazy.

The modern bar is a weird, weird place. Men and women from all over a particular area converge on this central location to pay as much as a 1,500% markup for alcoholic beverages. In exchange, they’re able to socialize with people they might want to engage in intercourse with.

Bars are the only establishment on earth where you actually have to go out of your way to wait, hope and pray for someone to take your money. If any other business made its patrons do that, society would burn their fucking business to the ground and they would have no business.

Ever had to push through 200 people only to stand there, cocking your $20 bill like an asshat, waiting to get noticed by one of the two overwhelmed servers tending bar? It fucking sucks. And it’s fucking nuts.

Because I was born 21 years ago as of last October, I have been awarded the skeleton key to access the watering hole of the human animal, (and on a quick side note, if you asked me two years ago if I was excited to be 21 and to be able to go out drinking, I’d have sat your ass down for a long talk about morals.  I’m glad I’ve lightened up.  It’s a funny thing noticing your own change, isn’t it?).  This past weekend I was bar-hopping on both Friday and Saturday night and, dare I say it, I enjoyed the hell out of myself.  There’s just something so rewarding about being around a bunch of people your age, celebrating nothing in particular, all out for the same purpose of letting go of inhibitions in the pursuit of self-enjoyment.  Simply put, it’s a fun energy.  And as most of you know, I’m quite the show off, which is highly permitted and encouraged in this newfound nightlife.

So begins the establishment of our protagonist.

But it’s an indirect description, as the focus falls upon the folks surrounding me.  You know enough about Samuel Gaglio to understand the story anyway.  Let’s listen in:

We arrive.  Rule number one: always smile when you enter a room.  Always.  The females take note of that.  Make your presence felt.  So I’m beaming.  A few strides in after the I.D. check and I start scouting.  Observing.  Beauties everywhere, of course, but not much room to roam.  It’s loud; ZZ Top roars from the jukebox in the corner.  We order drinks, a beer sounds good.  I maneuver to avoid the extended pool sticks and gather around a circular wooden table that hugs a support post.  The roof is low.  The room is full.  The lights are just right.  I take a seat.

We’re all laughing, cracking jokes, talking like sailors.  The beer goes down smooth, so I have another, and everyone else does the same.  Pretty girls everywhere.  Time to play eye tag.  Some glares linger, others are quick collisions, results of surveying the area. I’m still smiling, inviting, suggesting.  My group is half of my attention.  Silent self-advertising claims the rest.  I’m pumping out sexual energy in all directions.  Practically screaming.

I wait.  More bullshitting.  More eyes.

It’s time to migrate.  It’s time to start dancing.  This liquor goes straight to my feet, and it’s time to groove.  My body is a better pick-up artist than my words could ever be, so we find the nearest dancefloor and I get to work.  The music is moving.  It forms easier paths to interaction.  No words are needed anymore.  I’m approached by a group of three.  Wanna dance?  Sure, let’s dance.  Sounds good.  And we do.

But these chicas suck, man!  They can’t dance for shit.  Yeah, that’s endearing sometimes, but P.Y.T. is blasting and that’s my fucking jam.  I’m keeping pace, they take notice.  I’m impressing but it starts getting awkward.  They asked to dance, yet they what they really wanted was a grinding buddy.  But I have no interest in that public display of foreplay.  I’ll pass on the monotony of keeping time by rubbing ass-to-junk.  The song ends.  They don’t say much.  They couldn’t keep up.  I’m done.  I lie: nice dancing with you, have a good night!  And I return to my group.

What the fuck?  Frustration.  More eye contact.  More grooving.  I’m in the zone but there’s no reciprocation.  I really just wanna dance, on its purest level, with no intentions of anything else.  Can’t I just rewind to the 50’s?  What happened to the jitterbug?  Time to leave.  Disappointed.  I could’ve stayed, but the night ends.  I’m back home.


What a let down, man.  Sammy G, what happened?!  Is that it?  Did you just give up?!  You gotta keep putting yourself out there buddy!

So I do.  A new weekend, a new energy, a new opportunity.  Same result.  Here lies the story’s antagonist: expectation.  You see, my new outings have become quite the double-edged sword.  I leave with the peacocked assumption that women will come flocking, yet I only have one way to channel communication.  If I leave it up to my footsteps, does my message really translate?  If I don’t make my moves, who will?  And if I sit silently in the corner, who will notice?  Gender roles come back to bite me in the ass again.

ALERT: Sex is all over the following paragraphs.

Now we’re talking.  In my ripe age of 21 years, I have developed what I will call a hormonal complex.  It’s the animal within me that begs release.  It’s nature, I know, and it’s constantly at battle with my educated conscience. The female PMS cycle seems to be the best analogy to describe my sex drive: one week it’s calm, it’s non existent, it doesn’t interfere with life goals or recreation.  The next I’m in heat, on my male period.  My ape ancestry is beating its chest and swinging naked through the trees in search of Mrs. Ape to get to work on little Ape Juniors.  My body is demanding.  Shit’s primal.  Mix this with a couple of beers (proud to be a lightweight!) and I need not elaborate on the implications.

My past few weeks have been pure sexual frustration.

Before we get to morals, let’s look at the science.  Sex is healthy.  It’s therapeutic.  It’s physically demanding.  It helps stress, blood pressure and promotes endorphin production, not to mention all of the emotional and spiritual sensations that only add to the enjoyment.  It feels good and it makes you feel good, and if you can deny this then I truly think you’re physically deficient.  Yes, I know, there are infinte reasons not to have sex, and I respect every single one.  And I understand all of its implications and moral weight.  For the moment, however, I’m just emphasizing my situation.

A close friend recently brought light to the heaviness that sex carries in our current society.  Granted, we’re much farther along than many others, and are quite open about sexuality and activity, but I still see a long road ahead in coming to terms with the issue. This friend of mine and I talked for some time, and our discussion revolved mainly around the idea of sex as expression.  Like I said in my first post on this blog, I chose to pick up writing again because putting thought to words cannot provide the same remedy that comes from visual art, or music, or running, or crying.  Emotion moves in many forms.  So why exclude sex?  We connect to each other all the time in so many ways, yet the one most frowned upon and socially oppressed has potential to be one of the best determiners of companionship and cooperation.  It’s an entirely different language than, for example, discussing political beliefs.  And to return to my George of the Jungle bit, it’s a calling to one of our most basic levels of interaction and purpose.  In my case, it’s a vital piece that is missing from the puzzle of my young adulthood.

I’m sorry Mom.  I’m sorry Aunt Lois.  I’m sorry Mrs. Munson.  I know you didn’t want to hear that.  But hell, I’m growing up!

Before this story peaks, our protagonist must progress to move against the opposing force that is frustration due to expectation.  And he will, soon, with a little help from the rest of his life.  Life outside of weekend activity is going as well as it could in nearly all aspects.  He has a kickass house with some kickass roomies, is infinitely blessed in the ability to attend a University in a gorgeous city while maintaing a purposeful job.  He has a car, he has food, and he has so much love and support coming from all directions that at times he feels he can’t thank everyone enough.  He has time to feed his artistic endeavors and even pump some iron on the side.  He essentially has all he needs and then some, and he feels more than grateful.

Yet, he is still being teased by his antagonist.  The hormonal complex fights oppression.

I’m not saying I need to have sex.  I am not, nor will ever be the type to pursue such a blind instinct for that quick satisfaction.  I hold myself high in all regards, and that includes avoiding a random hook-up.  That shit’s gross, unappealing, and self-deprecating.  All I’m voicing is my current struggle.  I’m a really busy dude, rising early to fifteen hour days full of all the things listed above.  I’m busting balls (and in a last-minute defense, the title of this writing was really intended to refer to my insane schedule and not the sexual implication, but I suppose in retrospect it will inevitably carry a double meaning.  Now you’re thinking again.  Your mind is in the gutter, reader.  Just look what I did).  Eyeing through the lens of good intention, sex would be a positive aspect that would furthermore power and inspire all other areas of my life.  I know it.

Okay, I’ve made my claims.  Light the torches.  Burn the heretic.

So how does the story end?  What’s going to conclude the midnight adventures of Gaglio, the Don?  Are there any girls that can actually dance, or is he doomed to snap his fingers and do his step all by himself ’till Monday morning arrives?!  Well my friends, we haven’t even climaxed yet.  You couldn’t really expect a grand finale, could you?

Every week has its Friday.  Expect to see Mr. G out in his members-only coat, smellin’ like a spritz of Curve, sliding around the wooden floors of any given basement bar on Pearl.  We ain’t done yet.  He’ll keep at it.  After all, what’s fun but the challenge itself? And as said before, that gringo just loves to dance.

So ladies: keep up, or GTFO.  The matador is caped.  The raging bull.  The dance with death!

Olé! 

So ends my third caffeine-charged flow of thought.  It’s 11:40 post meridiem.  Starbucks is inching towards shutting its doors.  I think I should find my pillow.  Rest is good, people! Do it!

And in the meantime, just keep on loving.

Samuel el Guapo

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