“I’ll use it as my profile picture.” I told Ro-Beardo Malone.
“Actually, I was hoping it would be the first picture on the next Feitelogram.” He replied with his half-cocked beard-smile, a tactic he frequently employed to try to inflame my inability to tell the difference between dry-sarcasm and his occasional earnestness. (e.g.: “Not enough films about the Kennedy assassination” accompanied by half-cocked beard-grin.)
It was 10:55, the hour of the always-breathless lead-up to The Chris Gethard Show, where my role as “The Man Behind The Plant” put me to some degree off-camera, getting ready to retweet people saying things like “Give me some jews 2fuk my boyfriend dumpt me” as well as home-brew images or cartoons having to do with the show. People frequently ask me, in bars or first dates, how I manage seeing my comedy friends with my friends from film school and the lucky thing is that the show is like a nexus of all of them.
Here, in one corner, is comedy-man Keith Haskel getting dressed up in a banana suit while his girlfriend helps him zip up. Over there is once-villain-man Andrew Parrish, warming up the audience and rushing around getting ready to punch Chris for an on-show bit, there getting in to an Evil Knieval costume is Ro-Beardo Malone, jimmying around trying to figure out whether his crotch muscles have healed enough that he can break loose and dance his fullest.
That night, a woman tried to book Rob to play a vuvuzela at her next bar mitzvah or event. That night, a woman called in with notes passed to the host with underlines to accentuate her increasing drunkenness. That night, a waltzing-seniors holiday special took over our studio so we were crammed in to a smaller one. I look forward to the show every week.
This week in improv class, I finished my last session of a 401, the class I was stressed out about enough last time around to write regularly about on this blog. Though I spent most of the class fairly confident, I lost that confidence in my last session and felt like crap going out for obligatory drinks with everyone after the show. That night, I started replaying a Mega Man RPG for the Nintendo DS.
In the haze after college that I am still in, I look for meaning all around me, for structure. When I didn’t feel good about my last 401 class, it made me feel down for two days.
I went in to my therapist asking why and she told me that in the absence of a significant other, my relationship with comedy and performance is the primary one in my life.
To that end, I went on two (unsuccessful) dates this weekend but things are looking, well, as they are.
In truth, I have to remind myself that there’s no control. To my friend’s perturbment, everything is like improv.
You can state your idea, your wants, your desires, but you have no control over where the scene or your life goes. Only where you choose to venture, preferably boldly, and the discoveries you make yourself open to with other people.
Tonight I go back to The Chris Gethard Show.
It’s a dating special.
I’ll be there again,
The man behind the plant.
My friend Jon Bander outed me yesterday.
The truth: I had been writing self-strokingly about the weight I had lost and telling people as much when they gave me a nice compliment or conspicuously in conversation (“Good show tonight.” “Yeah it was. I lost 50 lbs.”) but to outpour on social media was something else.
I had someone post on my wall that I was an “inspiration” my friends rag on me and people hold me up as some sort of symbol.
Meanwhile, on the other side, my parents were concerned I had lost too much weight (hovering somewhere around 175) and were wondering if there son was going to waste away. Their plans to have me see a doctor before I left were only foiled by a. A New York practitioners inherent lack of availability and b. them realizing I had been given a clean bill of health by that doctor about a month ago.
In the middle somewhere there was me, still self-conscious, still grabbing my belly at any passing moment, still wondering if I’d gain it back, if I’d added a pound. If now that I’d been “exposed” whether I’d just be another casualty, gaining back all the weight I had lost.
Friends told me it took them 5 years to get it back, others nodded knowingly as if it wouldn’t even do me any good to know.
The phase I’m in of “my new lifestyle” seems the scariest, the one without a plan where I try to find my own boundaries, set my own rules, figure out what works for me, what I’m allowed to do.
In Yoga (which I still think jokes and references to are stupid), my teacher talks about posture, as we stretch a belt across our backs to sit tall. When we arrive at our computers, we hunch over. When we sit on the mats we align our spine.
As I look in the mirror before the TCGS dating game tonight and put on a nicer shirt, now I wonder about my posture and how to fix that, how to get my body right.
Where is the happy medium between these things? My parents concern, my neuroses and the possible benefits of eliminating the things hampering me in my life.
What is the goal I’m trying to achieve (as Bander asked me as a necessary pre-requisite before instructing me on the diet I took to get to this weight)?
If it’s romance, as my friend Jason Chan has said, being skinny or even attractive (don’t think I’m there) doesn’t seem a large part of the equation.
If it’s happiness or self-contentment, isn’t that a state of mind rather than a physical pose? Haven’t I said before I was “happier” at my previous weight?
These are questions without too many answers as the holidays or my nearness to my Paris vacation grow closer.
Well, maybe I’ll figure it out in old gay Paris.
Or maybe my parents are concerned about me because they saw me split a cupcake into thirds.
My parents (seen above in soft-focus, head-cut-off form) were enlisted on a Sunday morning after a post-Faicco’s expedition to help me try out my latest point of exploration: Molly’s Cupcakes over in the West Village.
The place seems to have some reality-cred which I didn’t know too much about (not being an avid watcher of “Top Chef”-type shows) but I am fan of your down-home-style cupcake joint and the capacious milieu and swing-like chair seemed to draw me in.
Even though Mom pointed out their award-winning cupcake, a Peach Cobbler-blend with a real-peach slice on top, I was not interested. Such things struck me as being unnecessary, cupcake-wise, when for me the bread-and-butter of a cupcake should be simplicity.
I do like Pichet Ong’s cupcake inventions at Spot, to clarify, which often included Yuzu and berries and stuff, but even there, simplicity is maintained with the relatively small size and modest-icing of a cupcake being paramount. For me the monster-truck style-cakes of Crumbs are anathema and the Baked-by-Melissa tinies, while great, definitely suffer due to portion size on their value quotient.
So, I got the alpha-cake, vanilla base, chocolate-buttercream icing.
And I gotta say, it was pretty good.
The icing was refreshingly (unexpectedly) dark as opposed to milk chocolate and the base was also deceivingly lemony, a fact we interrogated the owner about to no avail.
What seemed simple ended up nuanced but markedly enjoyable, by no means a “perfect” cupcake (I think Blue Ribbon gets the closest to that), but certainly an excellent one.
My parents still looked perturbed though when I only ate my third of the cupcake.
“Too sweet for me.” My dad, the wuss, said eating about a third of his third before retiring. Mom and I tried to say something but well, you can bring a horse to water…
At least I ate half my huge Faicco’s sandwich in front of them.
At least they know I eat.
Vanilla Cupcake w/Dark Chocolate Buttercream- $2.50
Bleecker St. bet. 6th Ave and Carmine St.
1 to Christopher St. ACEBDFM to West 4th St.