Arts & Culture » Blister




My life is passing me by. While illegally gesticulating through the wither and dither of my daily unofficial autobiography on the telephone and driving at the same time, he who is on the receiving end pops up in real time on the left turn to my right-of-way. The feeling is akin to what you would imagine a collision with the fourth wall to be: presentiments shattered, packages torn, fixing your hair in the rearview mirror.

"Babe? It's you, babe!" I wave what must be a third arm out the window.

Except Babe isn't driving the love of his life, a black Volvo station wagon he calls Timmy. He's cowering ever so slightly in the driver's seat of a gold Volvo station wagon, with whom he must be having an elaborate affair while listening to Liberace records. This is all very shocking.

"Baaabe!" David explains. "Timmy's in the shop, babe. I had no choice. I'm driving a borrowed Volvo. I call her Goldie."

"Gold! (Gold)," I huff a 1983 version of Tony Hadley in his direction. "Always believe in your soul! You do know, of course, that today is the day that was never meant to happen. Today is the day that Spandau Ballet has reunited. How dare you!"


Anyway, this whole New Romantic exchange is but a small glimmer of the sequin that I'm meant to digest tonight. Roy, of the Lurlene Fishpaws, has extended a hearty invitation for me to join him in a night of divergent purposes. To wit, we're planning to nurture the odd ingrown hair of aproned domesticity, the one that tends to pop up when you're avoiding illicit substances by cooking dinner together at his apartment; a dinner of flank steak and vegetable-enhanced Stove Top stuffing that we're supposed to actually eat. Then, like social bulimics, we're off to the tarnished glitter ball of Revolution to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Southern Nights because it's March 25 and aren't theme nights clever like that? There will be vomit.

"You're going to eat a beet," he murders Blondie. "Don't even play. These ain't no pickled beets either."

Six bites of pinkish cow and one inch of blood-red beet later, it's time to get the shy ends of the toothbrushes ready. It's time to ruin everything. It's time for shiny plastic things and chinos and gummy bracelets and Blair Warner. It's time to go out like 12-year-olds who can actually get into gay bars, like, 25 years ago.

"I'm ready! Now!" Roy Natalies me out of my depressing utilities conversation with my telephonic husband, the sort of talk that involves cutting back on cable channels and you should do more.

"Fine," I Cinemax for the last time. "Let's go."

But in the car things turn decidedly ABC Family.

"I don't know what it is," Roy fidgets. "It's like, I want to go out and have a good time, but there's something inside of me that's pulling me down. Maybe this isn't such a good idea. You know what I mean?"

"That's just because you ate. Now shut up."

The amorphous pull-down force doesn't stop there, though. It only seems to grow more into a reality when we pull up to a strip-mall Pentecostal church just around the corner from the cocaine Caligula of Revolution. A pickup truck pulls up to the stoplight, and instead of catalyzing me with some fire-fuelling "faggot" braggadocio, lets out a limp "I love you, Billy Manes."

"Oh, dear!" I Golden Girl back.

Inside what is supposed to be a feast for the rattled senses, one meant to conjure up images of Studio 54 and doing blow off the blowhole of Andy Warhol, a relative mess of jean-shorted detritus sits in a bar-island circle and stares up at American Idol while taking its daily liquor licks. This isn't very exciting at all.

"Better make sure I have my ID," Roy tries to play it off. "I don't want to get carded and all."

Soon after, we're stuck in the mud pool of entertaining ourselves, which most often means inside-joke channeling of Kristen Wiig. A few "Gilly?" and "Thorry!" attacks later, and we're both clapping our imaginary baby hands together to try to pop Lawrence Welk bubbles.

"With my by myself!"

Eventually, the cavalcade of large calves in high heels starts to trickle its way in, leaving a trail of false eyelashes and herniated handlers behind them. Somebody buys me a shot, somebody hands me a stack of drink tickets and original glamster Rusty Fawcett sidles up next to me to say things like "These bitches think I'm kidding" and "You keep it real, girl." I wish I could, but given the speedy acceleration of 25 years' worth of drinks in 25 minutes, I'm more likely to be found in the corner next to the toilet, like a fake cocaine baggie.

I make arrangements for "cute seats" for the glamazon revue (featuring a quarter-century's worth of pretending), and we find ourselves drunk and silent, sitting and waiting for drag-queen time to pass. It does, eventually, but it all seems to blur together into a Danielle Hunter cartwheel sparkled with Xanadu neon. More drinking, more clapping, more falling apart.

"I'm having fun!" Roy's mouth moves in an approximation of said sentence, only running a second behind, and I start to realize that if I stay here any longer I'm liable to have to be carried out on a very luxurious stretcher, barely chewed flank steak lining my flanks.

"Me too!" I Wiig out a little. "Except I'm having more fun than you. At least twice as much, really. I mean, I had fun 25 years ago before you were even allowed to have fun."



It's at about this point that Roy stops in time, turns his head and utters the words, "We should go."

"I know this much is true," I Spandau back. This is the sound of my soul.

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