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Monday, March 24, 2003


As a public relations professional, I am not proud of what I'm about to describe. In my defense, I can only say that war is hell and battle fatigue can sometimes bring out the worst in people. I am only human. I am no exception.

You see, my theatre opened a new comedy last weekend. A French comedy. Typically, I'm able to convince at least a few photographers and television producers that the first night of a production at a major regional theatre is a newsworthy event. Unfortunately, there's another little drama playing out around the world and no one seemed very interested in stopping by on Friday night.

Having worked as a journalist for many years, I understand the judgment that goes into making decisions about coverage allotment, particularly the often complicated and compromising arithmetic required to maximize attention to disparate events while juggling limited resources.

I can also use this understanding for evil. An illustrative example:

I spent Friday afternoon working the phones, vainly trying to drum up anything, anything to give the show a boost. Finally, I called the producer of a local entertainment magazine program who, in turn, transferred me to the assignment editor on duty.

Now, a word about assignment editors. There's a reason they act that way -- surly, I mean, and curt. They are the busiest people in a television newsroom, set upon on every side by people -- people like me, mostly, flacks with something to sell -- demanding their time. They are the air traffic controllers of the boob tube. When you get the ear of an AE, you have just a minute or two to make your case before they're off to the next fire, murder or celebrity gaffe. Seconds count. Guile becomes a tool.

"Jack," I said, "this is our last major production of the season and it would give you some beautiful pictures for Monday's show."

"Look," Jack replied, "all of our feature crews have been assigned to the news division for the foreseeable future. I can't spare a shooter tonight. Sorry."

I try never to put an AE on hold. They are, as I've said, busy people. But Jack is a friend. I can impose, just this once. "Can you hold on one sec?" I ask.

Jack assents and I mash the mute button, yelling to a colleague in the office next door. "Do you suppose there's any chance some anti-French protestors will be showing up for tonight's opening?"

She considers this for a second and then calls back, "I really doubt it but, you know, anything is possible."

I have Jack back on the line a moment later. "I've just learned there's the possibility of an anti-French protest here tonight," I say, more or less honestly.

"I'll schedule a crew," Jack says.

"Thanks," I say. "Curtain's at 8." I hang up the phone.

To my credit, I did not immediately pick it up again and arrange for a few friends to show up with tongue-in-cheek placards denouncing Moliere and his ilk. I may be a flack, but a man has to draw the line somewhere.
March 24, 2003 at 9:45 AM | Permalink
Categories: Work It

Thursday, March 20, 2003

A Conversation From the Brunch Scene

Jeff: Are you all going to Paul's party next weekend?

The Giant Queen: I am.

Sean: Probably.

Erik: I'll be out of town.

Jeff: Brad?

Brad: I don't know. Paul and I have never really gotten along very well. I think he's a nice guy, but then sometimes I hear things he's said about me behind my back and I realize he probably just invites me to things like this because he feels he has to. So, I don't know. Maybe.

Jeff: Maybe?! Hell, he's called me every name in the book behind my back and screwed Lewis while we were dating and I'm still going. I'm dying to see that new house.

Brad: What would you do if you were me?

The Giant Queen: You mean besides drink too much and use sex like a drug?

Jeff: Besides having to start shopping for my wardrobe at Target?

Erik: Besides bursting into a show tune at the drop of a hat?

Sean: If I were you, I think I'd go, and I'd tell Paul that it makes you unhappy when he gossips about you.

GQ, Jeff, Erik, Brad: (stares)

Sean: What?

Jeff: Sorry. We just forgot this is your first brunch with the girls.

Brad: These aren't "the girls". These are The Women.

Jeff: Try again?

Sean: Um...

Erik: Take your time.

Sean: If I were you, I'd have to visit a Superfund site to choose a new cologne?

The Giant Queen: Not bad.

Brad: (signaling for another round of Bloody Marys) Welcome, my friend, to the show that never ends.
March 20, 2003 at 9:49 AM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Don’t make me release the dog.

There is an etiquette to this sort of thing, gentlemen. I realize calling it "casual sex" is a bit misleading, but some things just aren't done.

Don't talk about the war. You were invited over for a weapon inspection only in the broadest of euphemistic senses. You are here to engage in a sort of congress, not to talk about Congress. To be perfectly candid, I am fucking you to forget, momentarily, about the state of the world in general.

In fact, don't talk at all. You are pretty but you are also likely to be profoundly stupid and/or Republican. Exclamations of "ooo!", "ahh!", "yeah!" and the like are acceptable, but I couldn't care less for chat about Kylie, your unfulfilling job, or how this is so much better than with your girlfriend. I'm well aware that it is. Just shut up.

Dress appropriately. I'm sorry they got ripped up but you know what? Spending $30 for a single pair of underpants is obscene anyway. I'm not impressed by fancy labels. Either go commando or wear the ones you use on laundry day. They won't be on long anyway.

Get out. This won't be a hurried thing, believe me. I'm pretty selfish in bed, I'll admit, but I'm a guy and that comes with the plumbing. You're just looking out for number one too, or you wouldn't be here. So an appropriate amount of time will be invested in making sure both parties remain in a full, upright and locked position until they reach their final destination. Then, please, towel off and leave. Don't make me release the dog.

I'm glad we got that cleared up.
March 19, 2003 at 9:50 AM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

A Conversation From the Bar Scene

The Giant Queen: Well, I guess we'd better head out.

Tod the Twink: But I just ordered us another round.

GQ: Alright. An even dozen, then. But after that, it's to bed with you.

TTT: I'm counting on it.

Brad: That boy is bad for your liver.

GQ: Perhaps. But he's sooooo good for my--

Brad: Oh, my, look at the time. You two have fun! (exits left, at a sprint)
March 18, 2003 at 9:53 AM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


Spend a week or so in Austin, walking along the streets, haunting the night, puzzling over the perplexing variety of laws and ordinances prohibiting alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking at precisely the times you most need to do them.

Spend that week, and you'll come away with the overwhelming impression that the city's entire economy is supported by web design firms, nightclubs and bars, and tattoo parlors.

Which is, when you think about it, one of nature's nearly perfect examples of symbiosis.
March 11, 2003 at 9:54 AM | Permalink
Categories: Half-Baked Humor

Monday, March 10, 2003

Falling in love with a poor man

Excerpts from the semi-autobiographical novel by an anonymous author, as performed at Fray Café 3 at South by Southwest Interactive, Austin, Texas, yesterday:

From the Prologue:

I've stopped going to therapy.

I joke sometimes that the only reason I started seeing a shrink in the first place was so that I would finally have something in common with most of the people I meet at parties. But that's not true.

I started going to therapy because I honestly believed that I needed help sorting out my life. I honestly believe I still do, but I've stopped going to therapy.

Finding a suitable therapist was a chore in the first place. I've dated so many social workers and psychologists, and been friend to so many more, that managing to ferret out the last remaining mental health professional in the tri-state area who wasn't already intimately familiar with at least some aspect of my life was a major coup.

As a testament to their usefulness, I will cheerfully disclose that I found my prize in the Yellow Pages, "therapy" conveniently situated just a few pages south of "tanning." I had consulted the latter category first, having reached the conclusions that my pallid face needed color and that my addled mind needed professional psychiatric help almost simultaneously. The teeny-tiny part of me that is anal-retentive insisted on satisfying these needs alphabetically.

Besides, tanning is cheaper and requires somewhat less introspection.

I selected Dr. Linda Voller to be my guide back to Well-Adjusted Land on the basis of a time-tested criterion: she had the most tasteful and attractive advertisement in the directory. It was on this single qualification that I had chosen my last mechanic, barber and florist and I had been pleased with the results in all three instances. I was therefore not adequately prepared for Linda.

She greeted me at the door of her office wearing a pant suit that was impossibly pink, a shade of the color just this side of radioactive that left such an impression on my retinas that when I recovered sufficiently to examine my new doctor more completely, everything from her hair to her high heels (both of which were, I noticed, bright white) was bathed in a sort of rosy glow, an effect that was, at once, both comforting and disquieting.

* * * *

Anyway, I've stopped going to therapy. The cessation of treatment has nothing (well, little) to do with Dr. Linda's dress sense. I've stopped going to therapy because Dr. Linda Voller has succeeded, if not in leading me to the Promised Land of Mental Well-Being then at least putting my feet on the correct path toward it and giving me a swift kick in the seat to send me on my way.

It took only two sessions.

Dr. Linda listened attentively to two fifty-minute monologues as I recited my litany of woes, took (as near as I could tell) only a page and half of notes, and then, at the end of our second meeting told me something so patently obvious that in retrospect, it was easy for me to miss.

All of my problems, on some level, have to do with either clothing or music.

I could have saved myself hundreds of dollars, and the health of my retinas, by simply asking any random gay man who happened by. The diagnosis would have been the same.

* * * *

I am essentially an optimist and a romantic, and I am gay. It therefore probably goes without saying that my record collection is heavily weighted with original Broadway cast albums, collections of torchy ballads and the obligatory chart hits and disco. It is music predisposed toward cheerfulness, sunny attitudes about love, moon, June and boys with bodacious pecs. But I also own a small assortment of compact discs which I loosely categorize as "Music I Play to Torture Myself."

You probably know the sort of song I'm talking about. You may have a similar shelf next to your stereo. It is likely only a matter of time before this genre joins album rock and adult contemporary as a hot radio format.

It is the music I play when an affair reaches its inevitable end, and I find myself burrowed beneath the bed sheets, a variety of comfort food and tissue boxes arrayed at my side. It is my-man-done-done-me-wrong ditties. It is here-I-go-making-the-same-mistake-again harmony. It is music to mope by.

The Man Who Got Away. The Man I Love. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. "I thought I'd found the man of my dreams, now it seems this is how the story ends, he's gonna turn me down and say 'can't we be friends?'."

But when it comes to love, and love unrequited, and love-just-not-quite-quited, nobody but nobody beats Rodgers and Hart:
If they asked me, I could write a book
About the way you walk and whisper and look.
I could write a preface on how we met
So the world would never forget.
And the simple secret of the plot
Is just to tell you that I love you a lot.
And the world discovers, as my book ends,
How to make two lovers of friends.
Well. Nobody asked me, but this is the book I wrote.

* * * *

From chapter eight: "Love in the Time of College"

It was beginning to put on its fall finery, little bits and bangles of amber and orange mixed in amid its leafy greenness. It was certainly there in May when I moved into this room, but I hadn't taken note of it then, or appreciated how perfect it was. It was a perfect little tree, its perfect branches reaching just high enough to still allow me a view of the circle drive, the library beyond and the grassy expanse that separated them.

"Perfect," I thought. Maybe this year wouldn't be so bad after all.

I returned to school that fall hoping to put the preceding two terms far behind me. Academics aside, I had spent my sophomore year growing a beard and sleeping my way though the performing arts department. Neither endeavor had proven very satisfying. This year, I had promised myself, would be different. Better, I hoped.

I considered my newly discovered perfect tree to be a good omen. I had the tree and I had Eric Kendall. I thought Eric was perfect too.

Eric and I had met and become fast friends over the summer break because of a common past: we had both dated Michael briefly, and we had both — at different times and for different reasons — come to the conclusion that briefly was the best way to date Michael. For his part, Michael agreed with both of us.

* * * *

For the first part of the semester, Eric and I were inseparable — where's Brad? He's with Eric. Where's Eric? He's with Brad. We were quickly becoming not just friends, but best friends and it was quickly becoming the worst kept secret on campus that I was falling in love with Eric. Everyone knew it. Everyone but me and, I thought, Eric.

When I finally figured it out myself, I took, as usual, my own good time deciding how to proceed. Eric had gone home to Dallas for the midterm break and I resolved when he returned to put my cards on the table. I suggested lunch at a downtown restaurant, he accepted and I was mere moments from putting our friendship to the test with a profession of my love when Eric beat me to the punch, professing his instead. But not for me.

I switched gears from doting suitor to enthusiastically supportive friend with astonishing, if not convincing, speed. "That's wonderful," I lied, smiling wanly.

The next few weeks were as predictable as the last. Where's Eric? He's with James. Where's Brad? He's in his room, listening to Rodgers and Hart.

* * * *

We met walking along separate paths, me from my office in the BT after a marathon writing session and a budget meeting that had revealed more holes in our rundown than copy, Eric from a rehearsal at the arts complex.

The snow from the past week's unexpected storm was nearly gone and the wind had left with it. We talked for a while in the brisk winter air about our respective "days from hell" — small talk that revealed nothing. Then we hugged. We hugged for a long time and I, feeling awkward, pulled away, intending to mumble something about an exam to study for and then head back to the dorm. But something in Eric's eyes stopped me. Well, something in his eyes and something in my mind.

I pulled away. It was me. It was the first time. It was the first time I had stopped hugging Eric before he stopped hugging me. It was a little thing. It said a lot.

"We should talk," he said.

"I guess we should."

We walked to the Brown, took a table by the fire and over countless rounds of beer, we talked for three hours. And said absolutely nothing.

* * * *

When Eric knocked and swung open the door, it shattered finally and mercifully the bare concentration I'd been able to muster for the presentation. He threw his jacket casually over the chair by the closet and jumped up on my bed. "What are you working on?" he asked.

"Nothing," I said, quickly saving my work and switching off the computer monitor. I pushed my chair back from the desk and tilted it to recline with my feet propped up beside him.

We made small talk about one-acts and the weather and his new apartment and then allowed the silence to grow around us. Eric took off his glasses and placed them on my desk, shifting to prop himself on a pillow and meet my eyes.

"I'm staying," he said. "Is that OK?"

The thirty-six conversations I'd rehearsed in my head for this moment when it arrived were no longer available to me. I switched off the desk lamp and joined him on the bed.

* * * *

That night, for all of its awkwardness and questions raised in my mind that I was convinced would be answered in good time, was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that in the time distant from it, I have elevated and expanded that single night to represent an entire relationship, a template to which I made the next six weeks adhere. So wonderful that I have spent the rest of my life contriving to find ways and to create situations that would again make a man say to me, "I'm staying. Is that OK?"

* * * *

I arranged to arrive back from Christmas break a full two days early. There was work to be done on the paper, and if I rearranged the furniture in my tiny room four times in those days, I can excuse it for wanting everything to be perfect when Eric returned from Texas.

Everything was perfect, precisely the same as it had been four months ago when I first took note of the tree outside my window, now bare of leaves and — had I bothered to think about it — just as much an omen now as then.

Something had happened over the Christmas break. That much was clear the moment he walked through the door. One of us had come to his senses. The other one was me.

Eric said it with a finality that implied he thought it was exactly what I wanted, a belief that we had the tacit understanding that this had all been well and good and great fun but well, heck, gosh and shucks, now it was time to get serious and get back to the business of being such good friends.

"It was just a moment in the woods," he said, pulling me close and hugging me tightly. "Our moment," he whispered in my ear. I wanted to say something to him, the drama queen in me frantically racing ahead in the script to find the proper response that would make him take his jacket off again and stay with me, for that day and the day after that and the day after that and so on.

But there was nothing else to say, no coda, no counterpoint. The handsome prince doesn't stay in the woods with the baker's wife, not for long. They both have lives in the real world to which they must return. In the real world, the baker's wife and the handsome prince are just very good friends.

I held on tight, but I knew how the scene was supposed to end. This time, Eric stopped hugging first, as it was and as it should be. He flashed me a toothy grin, said "I'll see ya later," and walked out the door.

For the next two weeks, I moped. I felt like the subject of an Oliver Sacks study: The Boy Who Mistook Abiding Affection for Love. How could I have so badly misread Eric's intentions, or my own? I had played both basketball and life long enough to understand what a rebound was, and yet when this man caromed off the glass and landed in my arms, I was naive enough to believe that I wouldn't have to pass him eventually, credited only with an assist in his life and a foul in mine.

But sports metaphors weren't my style and neither were they Eric's. We were show queens. It was a moment in the woods, he'd said. Our moment.

The problem, I eventually figured out, was that Eric and I had too much in common.

Relationships wear out and people break up all the time for that reason, but it slips by them. "I don't know why," they'll say. "It just wasn't right." That isn't the problem. The problem is that it's too right. In divorce papers, quarreling couples cite "irreconcilable differences" to justify their parting. Eric and I had, as near as we could discover, almost exactly the same likes and dislikes, friends and enemies, sense of dress and sense of humor. Our intimate relationship ground to a screeching halt not for irreconcilable differences. It was our irreconcilable sameness that got in the way.

Love — passion — requires just that: an unquenchable passion to discover the other person, to delight in a newfound curve to the back as he lies sleeping with the glee of giddy exploration, to let oneself be introduced to new ideas, challenges, pastimes and pleasures that are foreign to you but old hat to him. And vice versa.

Eric and I had virtually nothing of our own that was terra incognita to the other. As we discovered, or rather rediscovered, as lovers we lacked the diversity to make the exploration sustainably interesting.

As friends, however, we were perfectly qualified.


Just like that stupid little tree.
March 10, 2003 at 9:57 AM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

A Conversation From the Bar Scene

Tagert: What is this video?

Brad: Fiddler on the Roof.

Tagert: Oh. [pause] Where's Elizabeth Taylor?

Brad: ...

Tagert: ...

Brad: You're thinking of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, aren't you?

Tagert: Oh. Right.

Brad: You like to see guys naked, don't you?

Tagert: Yeah. Why?

Brad: Just checking.
March 4, 2003 at 9:58 AM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Monday, March 03, 2003

The cutest guy in the bar

It is never a pleasant experience to encounter as an adult the barrel-chested gym coach who tormented you — perhaps unconsciously, but mercilessly — throughout junior high and high school phys-ed classes. Memories of standing, vulnerable and cold in a wood-floored arena, robbed of the relative dignity of your Toughskins and sweatshirt and reduced to thin blue polyester running shorts and a wrinkled white t-shirt come flooding right back, your brain naggingly reminding you that any second, the barked order to undertake a running drill or rope climb or painful calisthenic will come.

If a sight or sound or smell can take us back to childhood — cotton candy at a fair or the theme music from Captain Kangaroo — none can more easily reduce us to awkward adolescence than the sight of that coach, a little hunched, a bit thicker around the waist but still, undeniably, the man who made third period a little slice of hell.

If you're going to have such an awkward and unexpected reunion, however, there is really no better way than after a few drinks, when you are relaxed and comfortably on your way to a pleasant buzz, and while you are making out languidly with the cutest guy in the bar.

The coach, in this case, was Mr. Jackson, Richard's phys-ed nemesis for three years, from freshman to junior years of high school. Rich spotted him across the room, through a miasma of smoke, just beyond the pool table, nursing a longnecked beer and glancing, a bit nervously, around the room, his eyes darting up to take a quick look and then returning just as rapidly to contemplate his bottle.

The cutest guy in the bar, incidentally, was me, an admission which says less about my vanity than it does about the crowd at Magnolia's on a wintery Saturday night.
March 3, 2003 at 9:59 AM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Friday, February 28, 2003

Bad timing

I have incredibly bad timing. I've come to accept it.

Oh, I can tell a joke or sell a laugh line like nobody's business. That's in no doubt. But in all other endeavors — say, romance or professional advancement — my timing sucks.

I used to believe that my inability to make a move at the right moment was just a matter of cosmic forces beyond my control: coincidence, wily fate, El Niño maybe. But more and more I'm aware that it's just me. I apparently emit some sort of emotional distortion field, some force that surrounds me and renders me incapable of collimating a connection.

As recently as five years ago, I was more or less all about, for lack of a better word, nesting. Having sown a healthy helping of oats in my teens and 20s and, against the odds, living to tell the tales, I was unabashedly on the boyfriend hunt. Settling down, fella. That was the path for me. In spite, even, of having had my heart not merely broken but separated from my body and stomped upon just a couple of years before, I wanted a relationship.

And everyone else? They were into "hooking up", tricking and taxi dancing as fast as they could.

My pendulum has swung back though, friends. These days, I couldn't care less for a stable relationship. Hell, I can't even keep a long distance telephone service provider for three months at a time. There's no way I can keep my house clean and pretend to be able to cook long enough to snag a man anyway. And suddenly, inexplicably but unapologetically, I'm back at the other end of the spectrum.

I'm in the market for casual connections, frankly. Anonymous if necessary, "friends with privileges" ideally. I'll take my intimate relations with an eye toward variety, in size, shape, color and venue, thankyouverymuch. Towel-clad in a sauna on Saturday night? Sign me up.

And who are the guys I'm meeting now? Of course. The same ones who wouldn't have been caught dead putting "LTR" in their personal ad when I was desperately seeking are now totally into pairing off and hoarding Fiestaware. Turncoats!

But then there's Wes, my best-of-both-worlds boy.

Wes and I stumbled across each other a few weeks ago. We "met cute," as The Giant Queen used to say, our initial liaison a classic sitcom confusion laden with clever banter. We found each other in a mall, for pity's sake, and something just sparked.

Damn but he's nice looking, an unfortunate haircut notwithstanding, and he's just nearsighted or polite enough to think I'm cute too. We have almost nothing at all in common, which makes our friendly, brief conversations a delightful bramble of fascinating discovery. Even better was finding that, when the lights and the jeans are low, we have damn near everything in common, which makes the privileges a real privilege.

Wes is also moving to Arizona next week, taking a job there after living in St. Louis all his life. Last weekend, the final Saturday we'd carved out time to fool around, he was pulling on his boots as he said, "Damn, why couldn't we have met a long time ago? We coulda had a good thing going all this time."

"It's my fault," I said. "I have incredibly bad timing. I've come to accept it."
February 28, 2003 at 9:42 AM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Call me Scrooge

Call me Scrooge. I know it is intended to be sweet and funny, but every time an actor or artist writes in their Playbill biography that their "favorite role" is as father to dear little Hannah or that their most recent "production" is a beautiful baby boy, I just want to vomit. A little.
January 16, 2003 at 9:18 AM | Permalink
Categories: Work It

Monday, January 13, 2003

A Conversation From the Bar Scene

Brad: Where's Jeff running off to?

The Giant Queen: The bathroom, I suppose. He said something about needing a towel and just took off.

Brad: Did he spill his drink or something?

Erik: No, he just bolted. It was weird.

The Giant Queen: Say, is he still on his meds?

Brad: I think so. Why?

The Giant Queen: Well, they say one of the side effects of Prozac is delayed orgasm. Maybe...

Erik: Maybe he had one left over from the holidays?

Brad: Knowing Jeff, if it was delayed at all, it was from this afternoon.
January 13, 2003 at 9:20 AM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Wednesday, January 08, 2003


I like her a lot, really I do! But I swear, whenever I hear Arianna Huffington talking on the radio, I can't picture her in my mind. I keep coming up with Zsa Zsa Gabor.
January 8, 2003 at 9:22 AM | Permalink
Categories: Pop Life

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

That’s a Lot of Dentists

En route to lunch on Broadway
Lakeview, Chicago, Illinois (December 14, 2002)
January 7, 2003 at 9:22 AM | Permalink
Categories: The Daily Brad

Monday, January 06, 2003

Happy new year

All in all, it was quiet start to the new year. I'd had a mild stomach complaint that pretty much drained me of enthusiasm for much hoo-hah, so I spent New Year's Eve lifting a glass at a friend's 60th birthday party and then, to everyone's astonishment including my own, departed before midnight.

If I had driven a little slower, 2003 would have arrived while I was on the road home but I pulled up to the house about five minutes before 12. I shed my suit, pulled on a snuggly sweatshirt and jeans and watched the First Night fireworks from a few blocks away.

The new year showed up while I was chatting with a dear friend in California, and we talked long enough that the tape-delayed Dick Clark special hit him before we said so long.

All told, 2002 wasn't that bad hereabouts — travel, fun, meaningful rewarding work, time with friends old and new — although the last few weeks were a rotten end. You just keep reminding yourself that lifetimes are made of years are made of days are made of moments, and you focus on the good ones out of each.

On New Year's Eve, I got champagne, comfort and companionship, and on my own terms. Not a bad beginning to the next 364.
January 6, 2003 at 9:24 AM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Monday, December 30, 2002

Ya Say You Wanna Resolution?

I will call him on his bullshit.

And by "him" I mean, of course, "me".

I will finally accept that I am not going to spontaneously develop a "six-pack" and will therefore start going to the gym regularly again to do something besides pay my bill.

No matter how tempting -- in a "driving-slowly-past-a-horrific-car-accident" way -- it is, I will not watch Joe Millionaire.

I will flirt with straight boys less.

But more productively.

I will make at least one meal each week that does not rely on the microwave and vacuum-packed foodstuffs.

I will pretend not to care what my TiVo thinks of me.

I will be true to my school.

I will try to stop ribbing Mark about his singing. Unless, you know, he actually does it.

I will try to stop relating every single thing that happens in my day-to-day life to "that one episode of Star Trek where...".

I will acknowledge that "embracing change" does not mean hugging a stripper whose G-string is stuffed with singles.

I will smile more, and with good reason.

When people ask me what I do, I will not assume they mean professionally and will talk about my passions and hobbies more.

I won't let what he wrote bother me or stop me from taking chances. He didn't really know me then, and I didn't really give him a fair shake in the aftermath.

I will start taking tap dancing lessons. Again.

I will make my bed. At least once.

I will stop referring to Jeff's fashion sense as "committing random acts of blindness."

I will develop a retirement plan more sophisticated than "win Powerball jackpot at age 66."

I will tell fewer lies of omission.

I will leave before last call. Sometimes.

I will endeavor to dress better. And undress slower.

I won't let my friends down.

And by "friends", I mean me, too.
December 30, 2002 at 10:21 PM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Har har…

A friend in Colorado was complaining recently that the weatherman on her favorite television station had become increasingly inaccurate over the years. "Yesterday he forecast 10 inches of snow, but we only got 4 inches," she said.

You know, I think I've chatted with that weatherman on America Online.
December 17, 2002 at 10:22 PM | Permalink
Categories: Half-Baked Humor

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

A Conversation From the Bar Scene

Les: Hey there! What have you been doing lately?

Brad: Not you, unfortunately.

Les: No one has been doing me recently. That's par for the course.

Brad: Yeah, I've played that course before.

Les: I keep telling everyone I'm saving myself.

Brad: Saving's not a bad thing, I guess. You've certainly earned my interest.

Les: I should warn you, there's a substantial penalty for early with--

Brad: Don't say it. We've got a nice little Elyot and Amanda thing going here. We don't need Beavis and Butthead.

Les: Right. (pause) Your place or mine?
December 10, 2002 at 10:23 PM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Monday, December 09, 2002

Spam spam eggs and spam…

If I had responded to all of the spam e-mail I received in the past two weeks, I would have 350,000 free business cards, 250 miniature radio-controlled toy cars, and would have netted approximately $7.4 billion from assisting various deposed heads of state in securing their rightful fortunes.

Also, my penis would be 56 inches long and I would have seen more than a lifetime's worth of vaginas and boobies.
December 9, 2002 at 9:28 PM | Permalink
Categories: Half-Baked Humor

Friday, December 06, 2002


It should go without saying that when a friend is in trouble, there is only one thing to be said ("I love you and I'm here for you.") and one thing to be asked ("How can I help?").

It should go without saying, but apparently, it doesn't.

There are a few people who are going to have to work very hard indeed to regain my faith in them, and a few I never doubted and who have in these recent rather horrible days made me indescribably proud to call them friends.

Our friend is in trouble and we've said and asked what's expected. Now we just have to figure out what to do.
December 6, 2002 at 9:29 PM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Monday, November 25, 2002

A Conversation From the Cheesecake Factory

Jeff: Did you see that ABC is going to be producing a gay version of Hart to Hart?

Jeffrey: A gay Hart to Hart?

Brad: Yeah, about two interior decorators who stumble onto a murder mystery every week.

Tagert: With Alan Cumming.

The Other Jeff: Really?

Brad: I suppose in this version, the dog's name will be Threeway.

The Other Jeff: Who's going to play Max?

Brad: I don't think Lionel Stander is still around, is he?

Jeffrey: No.

Brad: They should get Bea Arthur to do it. She's got the voice. (gravel-toned) "My name's Bea. I take care of both of them."

The Other Jeff: "Which ain't easy, 'cause when they met, it was faaaabulous."
November 25, 2002 at 10:15 PM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Sunday, November 24, 2002


Since my birthday usually falls smack in the middle of Thanksgiving, it's rare that I get to spend much quality time celebrating with friends who scatter across the country for family dinners and football watching. For a few years, I hosted "holidays for the homeless homos" -- turkey, pumpkin pie and all the rest -- for a small band who had nowhere else to go for food and fellowship but one of the few drawbacks of increased acceptance of gays and lesbians in recent years has been a declining interest in such an affair. My friends are all going home, where they finally feel they belong.

So for Turkey Day, it's just me and Mother Graham these days.

But my birthday celebration this year has been simply grand, thank you, observed as it was over the past five days (and the final, "cooling-off" day tomorrow) as the Season of brAdvent. It's provided an opportunity to dine and drink with small groups from my chosen family, to share good conversation, humor and hugs before everyone goes their separate ways to feast.

The fact that I've not paid for a meal, been recognizably sober or slept alone since Thursday is a happy side benefit. I have a feeling brAdvent will be a welcome addition to my holiday calendar from now on.

(My Jewish friend Marsha, who also has a November birthday, expressed some jealousy that I was taking six days to celebrate. I suggested that next year she might want to observe "Marshashana".)

Anyway, around 3:27 this morning, I officially began my 35th year and, I've got to say, 34 has been just swell so far. The Fifth Feast of brAdvent, followed by an evening at the theatre with friends (Pippin, and what better way to mark by birthday than with the musical story of a young man who -- much like myself -- goes through the trials of war, love and politics before finding himself?), still beckons.

I may not yet have found my "Corner of the Sky", as the title character of the play yearns to do, but my little corner of the Earth suits me just fine, thankyouverymuch.
November 24, 2002 at 9:16 PM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Sunday, November 03, 2002

A Conversation From the Bar Scene

Brad: I thought you were dancing.

Sean: Look at them.

Brad: OK.

Sean: You try getting out there. (points emphatically) I swear to God, trying to get in with those circuit boys is impossible. They're all attitude and heaven forbid you don't have the right moves or the right chest or the right drugs. They're like a bunch of damned dancing apes, and no one else gets into the group.

Brad: Dancing apes?

Sean: Right. (pause) They sure look good, though. Damn, look at that boy move.

Brad: ...

Sean: What?

Brad: I'm just trying to figure out if your observing apes dancing makes you more Dian Fossey or Bob Fosse.

Sean: ...

Brad: What?

Sean: How do you ever get laid?
November 3, 2002 at 10:19 PM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Sunday, October 27, 2002

People who need people

When I got home last night, there was a message on my answering machine from The Movie Star. "Call me when you get in. I need a favor."

Mind you, I haven't seen -- except on the screen -- or talked with the guy in almost two years, but small talk and pleasantries were overlooked when I returned the call. "What was the name of that frozen yogurt stand you took me to the last time I was in St. Louis?" he asked.

"Ted Drewes," I said, "and it's frozen custard. There's a difference."

"OK, whatever. It's delicious. And you said they ship tons of the stuff out of town, right?"

This much is true, if a little exaggerated. Apparently, Ted Drewes -- which has only two locations and is available only in St. Louis -- has fans all over the world, many of whom will pay for overnight shipping and dry ice enough to get their fix long-distance.

The Movie Star came quickly to the point. "I need you to order a batch for me and ship it to a friend in Chicago," he said. "It's for a birthday party, on Friday. Can you do that?"

"Glad to," I said. "And I'm fine, by the way, thanks for asking."

"Good, good." He then reeled off a Visa number and a Gold Coast address. "Thanks!"

I read the information back to him. "So, don't you have people to do this sort of thing for you?" I asked.

"You've been watching too much E!" he said. "Anyway, in this case, you're 'my people'."

The conversation went casual after that and life updates and work grouses were duly exchanged, as well as a promise to buy me dinner the next time I hit the coast.

I suppose if I can't have people of my own, being someone else's people is the next best thing.
October 27, 2002 at 10:08 PM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

A Conversation From the Bar Scene

Cute Boy Flacking for Some Liquor Maker: Would you care to try --

Drunken Brad: (wolf whistle) Well, helloooooooo nurse!

CBFSLM: Heh. Would you like a free shot of [unable to remember product].

DB: Are you coming on to me?

CBFSLM: Um, we're just here tonight offering folks samples of [unable to remember product].

DB: Why me?

CBFSLM: Your pardon?

DB: Why me? There are hundreds of men here.

CBFSLM: Well, um, I'll bet you're one of the...er, taste makers around here.

DB: I'm Mentos? Are you as drunk as I am?

CBFSLM: No, I mean a taste maker. A trend setter. Hip.

DB: You are drunk. How many of those [unable to remember product] shots have you had?


DB: Wait, wait. I remember now. Mentos is the fresh maker.


DB: You seem pretty fresh. Would you like to be made?

CBFSLM: Um, not right now, thank you.

DB: OK, later then.

CBFSLM: Later.

DB: (calling after) Good luck selling your [mumble mumble trying to sound like product name]!!
October 22, 2002 at 11:09 PM | Permalink
Categories: Conversations

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

It’s possible

Autumn has always been, for me, the season of possibility. There's something about the crisp air and the brightly colored leaves falling from the trees (I do so love seasons -- and men -- that announce their arrival by getting undressed), about the school term finally kicking into rhythm, about taking down the sweaters from the top shelf, that jump-starts my optimism and makes me...well, more frisky than usual.

Which may explain why lately my mouth has been writing a lot of checks that my ass may not be able to cash. Literally. Ah, but it'll be one hell of a ride to the bank.
October 15, 2002 at 11:12 PM | Permalink
Categories: My So-Called Lifestyle

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