Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shingle All The Way

For those that have participated in sex, scares do pose worry. I have had sex. Yes, truly! Also, for those in the non-virgin know, scares are mathematically a possibility. When my period is 30 minutes late, my skin breaks out in hives. I am a practicing hypochondriac, so I make it a clinical urgency to stress out about everything. Living with someone that thinks she "caught AIDS" because she touched a wet doorknob tends to rub off on you. I'm not a whore, but I feel it my duty to keep free clinic workers employed, and I schedule regular appointments to get tested. Lupus is a silent killer; one can never be too careful. I was booking my big gay cruise for this coming October when last February's memories slapped me hard in the groin. About one year ago this month I endured the worst scare of my life, and I've witnessed Lindsey Lohan without panties.

Fresh off my Caribbean cruise over 2010's New Year's, I walked around with the bronzed aplomb of a young Tara Reid. I had consumed mostly vodka on this adventure, so instead of gaining weight like the fat, redneck masses on oceanic pleasure vessels, I rode the high of dehydration and thinned, sun-kissed cheeks. My personal elation grew to preposterous levels as I planned a trip to Los Angeles to visit a good friend in a few weeks' time. What I mean to say is, I conspired to fly across the country to get some booty. If I managed to see some sights, that was just gravy.

Three days before my departure to Mexico (a.k.a. California), I had concluded my nightly ritual of scrubbing clean in the shower, washing away the stench of disappointment and my work’s fluorescent lighting. I caught a quick glimpse of my thigh, mid-towel rub, and I noticed what looked like the chicken pox in a small area about five inches above my knee and six inches to the left of my penis. Please do not be so crass as to figure out my anatomy based on those measurements. I was flummoxed. Chicken pox as an adult, for a second time, could not answer this quandary. My mind briskly jumped to herpes, naturally, because it is most common on the lower thigh. Shivering in the steaming hot water, I dashed out of the shower and sprinted across my tiny living room, naked, forced open my laptop and located the nearest dermatologist's office online. Only in New York would their office be open at 7:30 pm. I dialed in a panic and spoke to a husky-voiced woman manning the front desk. I offered her sexual favors if she could slide me into the first appointment the following morning for the doctor to look at what I impetuously WebMD-iagnosed as herpes. She obliged.

The dermatologist was Asian, and the lovely Asian populace champions one of the stereotypes I hold dear. Smartness. I felt relieved in his small, capable hands. Dr. Asian assessed the area and entertained my concern as I recounted the previous night's events. With all the bedside manner of a cactus, he said it could be herpes before he scraped the skin and spread my flesh on a petri dish for testing. Results to return in 5 business days. I was crestfallen. He should have offered a different diagnosis, whether it be a heat rash or something exotic like poison ivy, yet I received no charity...I would not forget this at the next all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet I patronized. I barely zipped up my slacks by the time my life began to swirl in front of me, and I crawled outside the office and up the street. I then dialed my mother.

"Don't panic, but I think I might need to kill myself," I informed her. I explained the situation and glossed over how I could possibly contract this "thing." Los Angeles was now out of the question. I could not fulfill my duties in a spectacular fashion while under this kind of pressure. The gauze and ace bandage was really quite tight around my leg. I told mama that I was under self-imposed suicide watch, so I needed to cancel LA and fly to Atlanta so I could be comforted and observed. In between downing Xanax three at a time and guzzling margaritas (Mexican retreats and drinks are an obvious escape), I snapped pictures of the area on my Blackberry and sent them to several expert friends to gamble on a diagnosis. I also finagled an appointment to see my childhood and early-teen dermatologist. My friend in LA, obviously dismayed yet sincerely concerned, understood my change in itineraries.

On a blue-balled Delta flight, I landed back in Atlanta. Depression overwhelmed me, and in an effort to reduce the risk of fainting, I ate food nonstop. My mother tried to convince me that herpes did not look like my skin blight, as she handed me a pickle. My youngest sibling, in his honeymoon phase with Google Images, touted that his extensive online research and the fact that the question spot was on my leg brought him to shingles. Since he was not Asian in the least, I refused to heed his conclusions.

I managed to hang on to my existence until the day of my doctor's visit. Much like the first horror, I set the scene and disrobed. My childhood derm-igod knew in an instant what was wrong. He corroborated my brother's theory. Diagnosis: shingles. Of course, the jubilation on my face could not emerge until I saw some papers, so I asked him to kindly take the razor and scrape my leg and send it off to the lab. He also explained that the overwhelming stress of moving cities, changing jobs and having to find a new hair stylist caused this situation. Four days later, the results proved shingles was the culprit. At 27 years old, an old-person’s disease almost killed me.

Knowing that life is precious with little time to stress soberly, I quickly quaffed three shots of Ketel One, grabbed a Xanax for the road and booked another trip to Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Baby Snickers Shower

I found myself at Babies "R" Us the other week to invest in a gay baby shower gift. Between the aisles for ass cream and canned, powdered versions of breast milk, a maternal instinct raged. This was my Charlotte York MacDougal Goldenblatt moment.

My biological clock began to tick loudly at age eight. During this time, when I wasn't playing with my Kid Sister doll or teaching my mother's preschoolers how to sashay properly with a bottle, I also aided my mama in her girlfriend festivities. Many of our female relatives deigned to either get married or pregnant during this pivotal phase of my life. Both sides of my family house some very unfortunate people, and I was damned if I knew why someone would want to marry into it. While marriage-done-well eluded me, I fully comprehended the idea of sex and babies. I was advanced at eight years old. The only missing piece of the baby puzzle was the “miscarriage.” How a mother could lose her stroller baffled me. Those baby vehicles were massive, especially the ones that supported Siamese twins. I reconciled that it must be best for this act of miscarrying to occur to women that did not have leashes for their strollers or at least a primitive GPS system. I digress. In all, I mastered an adept aptitude for baby showers, rolling pigs-in-a-blanket for the tablescape or arranging pink and blue balloons around the shower participants based on how obese they were. The larger ladies received more balloons, as proportion and scale for any function's decor determine its success. Baby shower bliss consumed me, and I vowed to procreate in the coming months.

The infatuation with infants dwindled as I eased into puberty at age nine and three-quarters. My testosterone levels always surge high. Obviously. I survived a particularly dark maturation into adulthood, and I could never quite find the locus for starting to really dislike infants. I often referred to babies as bitches. "Bitch" was my word of the day for an entire semester. I refused to be around them unless absolutely necessary, devoting most of my schedule to my own pursuits: gay porn, tanning and legos. The original GTL. My neighborhood girlfriends and I (along with a few boys I managed to confuse), in order to become successful adults, beefed up our reading, moving from The Berenstain Bears to the men's underwear section of the Macy's catalog. We realized, too, that tan fat looks better than pale fat, so we'd lounge street-side and bake in the sun with the sounds of the distant ice cream truck providing a soulful soundtrack. From a creative perspective, we discerned that conversing about architecture would take us far in many social circles. Legos served as our building blocks of culture and grasp of structural engineering. With our careers and social lives first, babies were the last things on our minds.

I upheld this no-infant ideology for nearly fifteen years. However, in my early twenties, the vision of being a kept woman with 2.4 children suddenly sprouted back to life. I remember many times of solo ejaculation where I’d lament that the lost semen would never see their future siblings. I am in my late twenties now, which induces a vomit feeling in my stomach not unlike the sight of Sarah Palin. But my biological clock switched back to the on button.

A friend of mine, along with his partner, adopted a baby shortly after Christmas, thus the requisite trip to Babies "R" Us. The shower occurred in a fabulous Park Avenue apartment, a home that was equal parts art gallery and gay spa. Mimosas and Aquanet flowed freely. There was a baby there as well. Little Asher Lucas, the infant, epitomized the perfect child, silent and adorable in his stroller, and I mustered all of my strength to stay secluded in one corner and be catty and jealous with a few friends. We also drank copious champagne amounts to take the edge off and keep me from stealing the baby. He was so cute.

Now, I am scouring New York's tanning salons and Whores "R" Us clothing stores for Really-Desperate-Housewives-of-Jersey to toss my goodies at. With my hair, predisposed levels of melanin and phallic-love, it's only fitting for my progeny to have hair, self-tanner and the ability to deep-throat a pickle like Snooki.

Imagine that baby shower.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Walk, Walk, Drag It, Baby

I had fully intended to catch up on the latest episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race" the other night when I sensed a palpable disdain emanating from my rib cage. Such a feeling struck me as odd because my happiness is generally measured by how pronounced my ribs display themselves underneath my skin. My thinness shone bright this night. But, like women and yeast infections, childish bouts of self-pity trademark the homosexual psyche. Seven and a half hours since the last episode, I was due. Pharmaceuticals are, therefore, essential. Chad Dooley and pills with vodka chasers maintain a fabulous, if not tumultuous, relationship. Sadly, my newest prescription for Prozac failed to kick in at this imperiled time. I gently placed my vodka tonic atop my cute yellow end table from CB2 and trounced to the cabinet above my refrigerator. The blond wig that I secured for last year's Halloween costume waited for me. I needed a pick-me-up, and that trash-tastic stripper hair, alcohol and an iPod Shuffle filled with Lady Gaga and Katy Perry could easily rectify the evening's shittiness.

While people incessantly ask me if I model or compete in drag competitions, I'd never fancied the idea of supporting my lifestyle on a required cocaine addiction or sweaty dollar-bill tips stuck to my duct-taped cleavage, essentials in such industries. Ogle at my fabulous gams, and you'll comprehend the relevance of the question. Not for me. However, the idea of donning a drag persona for Halloween this past year tempted me something fierce. Since I failed to locate the materials to become a human Shake Weight/jiggling female breast combo, I decided with the help of my friend, Amanda, to commit to the drag idea. We devised a slutty sister wife costume, capitalizing on the TLC trainwreck, "Sister Wives," sweeping the nation. My excitement was giddy-fying.

I immediately initiated an exhaustive search for the perfect drag accoutrement. A wig, red patent leather pumps and an American Apparel skirt and shirt combo. Strawberry supplied the red bra. In hot pink fabric paint on the bleached tank top, I scribed "I BET I FUCK BETTER THAN MY SISTER WIVES." I also purchased a fake infant to dangle between my legs.

With strict anticipation mounting on the night of the transformation, my friend Erica and I went to the store down the street to obtain makeup sturdy enough to mask facial hair. At this point, I could not shake the image of Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes plucking, spackling and spraying in the opening scene of "To Wong Foo." I was about to do this to myself. So, of course, I began humming the tune to that movie sequence..."I Am The Body Beautiful..." The song's chorus aided the process to musically drug myself with drag. Thank you, Salt 'N Pepa. The worst part of the process was shaving, and why women attempt such torture on a daily basis is beyond me. Have they not heard of laser hair removal? I am 6 feet 4 inches, and my shower is the size of a coffin. No angle mentally pictured by either of us resembles anything approaching sexy or coordinated.

The makeup proved the simplest part. My face provides a great canvas with big brown eyes, pouty lips and uniquely-draped cheekbones. Erica, also my resident cosmetologist, completed this masterpiece of hotmessness. I looked bewitching. Seriously. Please reference the pictures on my Facebook page. Standing at about 6 feet 10 inches, including 5-inch heels and an inch and a half of hair, I took my Amazonian ass out on the streets. Taxi drivers cat-called at me. Gay men beheld me in drag-awe. Women noted their jealousy of my legs and my triumph over their own prettiness. A hulking black guy at a bar in the East Village mistook me for an actual woman as I passed by him, and his pursuits to hit on me were incredibly touching.

At last RuPaul had graced my television screen, and the vodka seeped into my circulatory system as I reveled in the results of that Halloween night and the ensuing photography. The pick-me-up picked me up. My friend Suan's mother said I looked like Elle Macpherson, and a stranger commented that my hair looked liked I snatched it off Kim Zolciak's head (of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" fame). My mama said I looked like her with longer hair. My father, as mama showed him a picture of me, asked "who is that girl?"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I Am A Fortunate Gay Man...Just Not as Fortunate as Ricky Martin

The irony that a man who performs “She Bangs” dallies with dick is not lost on me. Like all infamously histrionic men, Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, and Sarah Jessica Parker, I am a homo. I also adore irony. However, you should not find this essay at all ironic. While I’ve only “officially” preached the queeny gospel to my closest family, friends and one-night-stands, YOU, the everyday-man in in my world of grandiose delusions, should have gleaned this info on your own. If you did not, you are an idiot. And, much like our Puerto-Rican-Vida-Loca friend, I’ve decided to start at this point, here in gaytown, laying the foundation of my sexuality because it will serve as a common theme in this new undertaking, this new journey of clichéd self-discovery. I am a fortunate gay man.

However, my fortune stops at a Chelsea apartment and minimal savings and the people in my life. With no former Menudo band alumni to fall back on, I must rely on the people I’ve touched. It has not, though, been all peonies and mylar balloons. Without going too far into it (because I don’t presently have the energy), I grew up in the South, birthed by Republicans and attended a high school where the Christian Youth met each week before the homeroom bell signaled the day’s education. You can imagine the joy I felt in such a habitat as an insecure stick figure by day and child tranny at night. Rather than slit my wrists, rebel, or God forbid, tell my story, I firmly decided to rail against my being. I put it in a box. I perched that box on a high shelf in my closet and went about my childhood and teenaged years with moderate abandon. That is not to say that certain aspects of my personality always sequestered themselves in said box. My vanity and dress sense never faltered; I maintained a strict aversion to ugly, toothless people; and my affinity for HGTV (and later Bravo) was not unknown to my peers. Yet, I practically walked around with a stamp on my forehead that proclaimed “I like girls...seriously.”

Fast-forward roughly ten years, and we arrive at the point of my exhaustion and Kirstie Alley’s epic largeness. I’d had enough. So, I tell myself one day: “Chad, you’ve simply got to let the gay flag wave. Tell someone.” I did. Over an IM convo and, minutes later, a phone chit-chat that turned into a shameful mix of phone sex and self-help buildup, I dabbled into the bisexual waters. Of course I wasn’t ready to go fully gay, so bi it was.

Being bisexual lasted about 27 minutes. I knew at this point I had arrived at my personal crossroads, the likes of which I had not faced since my decision to choose Barbie over Skipper. On the scale of George Bush to Hillary Clinton, I elected to go completely homo...Democrat. The first step in my three-point strategy was to immediately make my diet stricter. The second step involved someone else’s tongue and a scrunchy. The third had me informing my friends. My beloved friends and uber close acquaintances were wholly supportive, barely feigning their surprise at my pronouncement. My Jewish sister and early-20s roommate (I’m not really Jewish, nor is she, but we like to think we are) simply said she was waiting for me to say it for ages.

After the education of my social network, I broached the conversation with my brothers. They were not shocked either. The box on that damned closet shelf betrayed me yet again. Two weeks later, I summoned the descended testicles to tell my parents. After a few tears, some leaden threats and the Flying Biscuit’s Shrimp n’ Grits lunchtime entree, all was well. Yes, there is a larger story here, but not now. I survived it. I told my friends and family, and I still held their love, support, acceptance and bank accounts. That is my fortune. My mother goes to drag shows with me, and we pound vodka shots. My father wants me to plow into the successes of Match.com and find a man and be happy. My friends see me like I see my black friends - we’re all pink on the inside. My therapist charges me a fortune. I am so blessed.

Let’s end on a high note because I’ve plenty more in the pipe to bitch about.

Again, this version of events and mores is severely abridged. Unlike my time in the bedroom, I can’t always give it all away right up front...