I just turned fifty this January. I quit my bartending job of eight years that I liked, two weeks before the whole world shut down and everyone else got unemployment benefits. Sometimes I make very dumb decisions. But somehow, they usually lead to unforeseen magic. I’m hoping my luck hasn’t run out just when things are getting interesting.
I’m a good writer and a good talker. I tell great stories. People fascinate me. I love a good, hot mess. I also love being in my big, colorful, disorganized, tippy-down house. I love South Minneapolis. I love the queers, the weirdos, and especially the underdogs. I live joyfully with my amazing, talented wife, Katrina. We got a new puppy, Wally. We have two grumpy girl cats, Kevin and Miami. I have a charmed and messy life for which I am so grateful.
Up until relatively recently, my life has felt like an endless, tragic training montage in an underdog sports movie…and not the part where the character is ‘getting stronger’, becoming the best version of himself, ready for the big fight, just the part where he can’t make it to the top of the steps yet -over and over again. My whole life journey had been driven by the compulsion to embody an ever-elusive masculine identity that is an impossible amalgamation of pretty much every masculine trait I ever thought looked good on a dude I thought was cool. This is the most harmful thing about a philosophy of identity that is premised upon an achievable identity.
The up-side of decades of self-hatred has turned out to be the life I’ve had. That sort of fearless, blind soul-flinging, just trying to feel right by doing some other thing, or some other person, has led to some sweet adventures, a very diverse, butch skill set, and a well-informed perspective on lots of different crazy and perversion.
I drove trucks and limos and forklifts. I had lots of sex with lots of kinds. I did drugs and much creepier things. I opened a queer bar in Minneapolis, because weirdos who fight the good fight need a sanctuary. I even wound up at Harvard Divinity School, which is where I started taking testosterone. I never figured out how to get a grown-up job, even with my super fancy Hogwarts credentials. I think that’s mostly due to my inability to visualize somebody like myself in a position of respect. There were too few role models. I am acquiring confidence late in life. I started this as a blog after grad school as an intellectual outlet. Then I wanted to tell the story of the bar I opened. Then I wrote a book about my adventure. It’s a damn good story. I hope it will open a door to endless, myriad conversations about gender, sex, religion, and psychology. I hope I get to build community with my book. I don’t know if there’s a living to be had from that, but it’s what I’ve always enjoyed doing. I also want to be on Ellen and have her surprise introduce me to Cher. It would make me happiest to find out that my writing feels real to you.