Is it possible that time has forgotten me, or is it that I have forgotten time? I'm smacked up against the prospect of another Monday night of lifting the old bag of bones and liquor from Couch Point A and dropping it uncomfortably like a bilious (and slightly poky) water balloon into its thematically challenged Point B (say, an '80s night), and I'm having a bit of an aging meltdown.
"Let's just pretend we're, um, um," I malfunction to my carload of Tim and Taylor. "Let's pretend we're younger and that this is still fun and that we're going …"
"My head is so full of nothing that it's about to burst," Taylor swells. "I can't pretend."
"You can't even fake it?!" desperation takes a dive.
I've just been rattling through my latest deepest darkest secret in frenetic blurts — something like "Did you know that Rogaine doesn't work on receding hairlines, and did you know that it actually makes the problem worse?" — while simultaneously trying to drive and smile, and I swear another hair just fell onto my eyelid in the process.
"See what you get for faking it?" Tim plucks.
None of us are happy and we're all totally dying, so it's only appropriate that we should be piling into the cadaverous high-school reunion world of the fossilized '80s night machine. To wit: My first '80s night was in 1992, which means that for 15 years … 15 YEARS!!!! … this preposterous concept has seen its novelty sanded down to a transparent grain of amphetamine-free sand from beneath which I have yet to free myself. Sure, it always sounds like fun for one drunken minute, like "Hey, wanna dust off the Capezios, snort a rail off Gorbachev's stained head, suck off a yuppie and end up a Billy Idol mural on Demi Moore's pink walls?" But now I'm the one with the pink walls. My proverbial teenage bedroom is spackled with the rotten flesh of never-getting-over-it. My life is an '80s night.
"There's a raffle," baffles the door guy at the Parliament House piano bar.
"No worries," I tear a ticket. "I've already lost."
And just then, a giant black drag queen in pigtails rollerskates by in a reform school uniform. Tootie, I presume.
Tonight's fatalistic concept isn't meant to kill me, it turns out, but to help other people via Hope and Help, which makes my personal derision flip even that much more in upon itself. It doesn't help, however, that adhesive name tags with pictures on them are being offered, including Lisa Whelchel and Rue McClanahan in their respective iconic caricatures. Where they should read, "I'm a Blair," or "I'm a Blanche" — in their own dire gay fashion — they instead offer "I'm a Blare," and "I'm a Blanch." I'm a … 'fraid I want to go home.
"There must be some fun to be had here," I Garrett Taylor's Polniaczek. "Let's go hide in a corner."
There is no hiding, unfortunately, as this is a gay '80s night — a fact that does not excuse the sticky-taping of a Bananarama poster next to a Ghostbusters one — and by just walking into the cramped quarters, one is instantly a nugget of pop culture just waiting to be swallowed up. It starts with the Baio. Have you seen it? Do you like it? Don't you think it's sad?
Yes. No. No.
And then — boom! — it's on to the Coreys. There's some speculation in this particular queer petri dish that one Mr. Haim's distaste for one Mr. Feldman's perky wife-with-boobs on their reality TV nightmare is less about professional jealousy and more about smearing white stuff all over each other's faces … and not the powdered kind!
"He's soooo gay," "I soooo know," "Hellllllloooo, Lost Boys?"
A fag-hag to beat all fag-hags (in the nicest possible terms) named Paula comes over to tell me that her gay friend had never even heard of me, which means that she's waaaayyy gayer than he is. Then she reveals that she used to stalk me at my former place of employment, watching me shovel words in book form from on high at the bookstore and minding every last dreaded retail movement made by my calloused, embittered hands. I'd be scared, but there's a foam-board Pac-Man stuck to the wall behind my head waiting for some foam-board pills, and my mind is wandering.
"Aren't there any drugs around here?" I feel his pain out loud. "How can you have an '80s party without drugs!?"
Like this: You have a Dirty Dancing contest.
"One, two, three. Four, five, six," gays a hairdresser just shy of an Arthur Miller franchise. "Now, switch partners!"
Taylor, Tim and I count our steps out the door, somewhere in the direction of another time of our lives. We end up at the IHOP, which could loosely fall into the '70s if only for faded memories of alertness as illustrated by wooden triangles with pegs in them that tested your IQ. Savannah's here, potentially pancaking up with a short morsel of blue-collar muscle meat.
"He's HOT!" I syrup.
"Isn't he?" she eggs.
And then I say it, the one phrase I've been holding onto since the time of my first pubic hair and Live Aid. "You should let him spackle your teenage bedroom with his white stuff! If you don't, your teenage bedroom might get condemned!"
Forget me, time. Forget firstname.lastname@example.org