Thursday, June 22, 2006

I'm Gay! I'm Gay!


(c) Copyright 2005, The New Yorker

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Ok, so I know that for my friends in areas where salmon aren't native to, this cartoon probably makes no sense at all. So: why do salmon swim upstream?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Shame

The last day of my visit to the Philippines, while I was writing a blog post in my old bedroom, my father came in and sat down. Believe me when I say that this is really a very unusual thing for him to do. In all the fifty years of my youth, my father has never, ever come to sit down in my room.

He sat there in silence, making me very nervous. Usually, he is chewing the scenery, ranting about my report card, my clothes or my excessively bouncy hair.

After a minute of this, I was freaking out. My heart started to beat faster and my stomach felt like Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (then unbeknownst to us, three months in-utero) had mysteriously teleported into my stomach and was doing hurdles. I thought my father was going to tell me something serious and grave, like they found a lump in George Bush's elbow and that it was his brain.

Finally, he spoke up. "You don't need to say anything," he said, holding up his hand to emphasize this point. "Let me speak."

He said this in Chinese, so I'm translating for you poor uneducated, monolingual folks.

I nodded silently, biting my lip from asking an instinctive why.

"I have never shamed your grandfather, or your ancestors or our family name," he said quietly.

If you say our family name out loud, it sounds like the English word for "testicles," which is not really that embarrassing. I think it would be more embarrassing if it sounded like the word "balls."

He continued, "When you get back to Chicago, do not embarrass them. Do not embarrass us."

My head nodded on its own accord. I was unable to speak, maybe because he still holding his hand up. Even if it wasn’t, I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to say anything.


Back here in Chicago, I thought about those words to me. Obviously, my father wasn't talking about my shoes--they were really quite fab--so I had to assume he meant my comic book collection. Or my homosexuality.

He also mentioned that he himself has never done anything to embarrass our family, though I beg to differ, he mortified me whenever he walked into the room in just his threadbare boxer shorts when my friends came over. I think he meant our family name, which hardly smelled like roses, but more (appropriately) like wet balls.

My father has been in an unhappy marriage for over twenty years. Ok, I don't really know how unhappy he is. He belongs to another generation of Asians where "being in love" is not what defines a marriage. Honor and respect, maybe--possibly status. Personally, I defined his marriage as unhappy because he doesn't have a giant flat screen plasma TV.

Sometimes it's hard tell if your man is really happy in your relationship and sometimes, the only way you can truly know is if you dig deep down and see if you can find the receipt to that flat screen TV. Brian and I don't have a flat screen TV and I am frantically saving up for one to save my relationship.

I suppose he could've separated from my mother, try his luck with someone else who could stand his killer rotten broccoli farts. But my father doesn't believe in divorce, not because it is not legal in the Philippines, but because it would be shameful and a blight on our family name. I think that even if he was in the most terrible of marriages, he would never even consider it. "Divorce" was not in his vocabulary; I hoped that "arsenic" wasn’t either.

In my father's tradition, having a mistress is not exactly shameful. In fact, in some circles, it's very acceptable to have a mistress. As long as the wife is in charge of the money and the home, most wives are quite happy to have somebody else have to deal with their husbands' oral spelunking and desire to wear panties. A prostitute is just something you pay for with the change in your pocket and hope your dick doesn't fall off three months later.

When I was thirteen, I think he had a mistress. I couldn't prove it though. At that age, I was more interested in the lifeguard in the local pool to care about him. Isn't that weird? My parents' life was falling apart and all I cared about was my dick.

I guess my father and I weren't so different after all.

I am not sure why he felt the need to invoke our ancestors, our family name that last day. As far as I knew, he didn't chew peyote. Maybe he realized that homosexuality was never going to be exorcised from my soul, no monsignor will drive it out of me.

I will not be ashamed of being gay. I will projectile-vomit gourmet pea soup at you rather than be ashamed. I have twenty pairs of shoes that say I have nothing to be embarrassed about.

This Father's Day, there will be more loveless days in my parents' marriage than there were those filled with love. I guess it is my conceit to think that this constitutes an unhappy marriage. After all, he still has honor and the respect of his community.

I respect and love my father. Here in Chicago, ten thousand miles away, I can hold up my end of the bargain easily; he doesn't have to hear about my fabulously gay life. He won't hear about that, or much about anything else either.

No, that's not a shame.

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June is Gay Pride Month! Read other posts about it:

The Gay Experience - Gay rights are fabulous and hard to contain.

Pride
- A Gay Pride Cartoon.

Lucky - I was lucky to survive my tumultous teen years. Bill wasn't.




More about my father:

...and a Happy New Year - A son reaches out.
Walk Like a Man - What? You mean not like a fashion model?!?

Stays Together - my father's dinnertime rules. Plus: an Amazing Race moment.
The Long Way Home - My trip to the Philippines. Drama! Comedy! Diarrhea!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

#1 Single

I got to spend some time with the #1 Single girl herself, Lisa Loeb, who came to the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival in Skokie to perform.

The festival was well attended with lots of booths, activities and food. I must admit, much as I was excited about trying some of the food served, I felt a little trepidation when I walked into the perimeters of the festival. Would people recognize that I wasn't Jewish? I was tempted to use the paper plate as a yarmulke except mine had some mustard left on it from my hotdog. I didn't want to have to wear a pickle to match my outfit.

The act before Lisa was Rabbi Joe Black, who had a rousing rendition of "Who Led The Jews Out" sung to the tune of "Who Let The Dogs Out." We were told to respond with "Moses, Moses, Moses" when he sang this line. It was pretty funny.

When Lisa stepped onstage at about 1:30 pm, I had already whipped myself into a frenzy. Another minute, soft peaks will form and I can be folded into a dessert base. I was just a little off to the side of the stage, within spitting distance, although she's probably too ladylike to spit at me. Maybe if I carried a sign that insulted her outfit, she would. But I loved her too much to hurt her feelings. Besides, that would be a lie. I loved her outfits.

Even though there were a lot of people around me, I felt like she and I had a connection, you know, singer and stalker-fan as one.

In between songs, she chatted to the audience about the fantastic Chicago food. She had spent some time a few years ago in Chicago when she was filming an episode of Cupid. It was at this point that she had turned her attention to me in the audience and we had a little conversation.

She was telling the audience that her mom tried to get her to date Jeremy Piven, the star of Cupid, and Lisa said "Jeremy? No, mom, Jeremy was nice, but not for me."

I yelled out, "Yes!" urging her to go out with Jeremy, who I think is quite hot.

Hearing my cry, Lisa turned to my general vicinity and shook her head and said, "Noooo, have you read Page Six?"

I nodded vigorously, thinking she must see me, I am the only Asian in the audience, and my hair was perfect.

"Well then," she said.

Then she went on to sing some of my favorite songs: "Truthfully," "Let's Forget About It," "I Do." Here are some pics:




During the concert, I ran into fellow blogger Rob from Welcome to the Bloghouse, who writes funny celebrity and entertainment commentary.


Here is a picture I took of some random gays in the audience. If this was you, I wasn't making fun of your outfit, or your hair. I only said that because it's my way of saying I want to fuck you. Call me?


There was also a truly bizarre fan in the audience who brought his cat Sheena to the concert. On a leash. Dressed like she was going to the Kentucky Derby. I think that people were either fascinated or repulsed by the cat, or maybe its owner, I don't know.


I just have only one thing to say: I think it was cruel to put this outfit on a cat and not have any matching booties.

UPDATE: Sheena plots her revenge! (thanks to the very wise Gurustu)