Friday, February 27, 2009

Next...

Rejection is a bitch.

And as an actor it's routine. I've never had the proverbial "Next" shouted out to me in the middle of an audition, however, I certainly have seen befuddled casting directors with that "don't call us, we'll call you" look on their faces. And to be honest, I have blown chunks on the rare occasion. Rejection in those instances is not surprising. However, when you know you've kicked ass, when the air in the room crackles with your brilliance, when the casting folks are slack jawed, bathing in the glow of your talent, and still they don't cast you, that really sucks a sow's teet. Usually there is no reason offered for the rejection. The other actor may have been a bit taller or blonder. Or maybe casting really liked his knit shirt.

Since September, I've auditioned twice for the theatre where my husband is artistic director. You would automatically think, "Wife of...he must get some nifty perks." But aside from the occasional free glass of box wine, being wife of is not the glamor position you might expect. But back to the auditions. Both plays were directed by Director Guy, who is a friend of mine. Always dicey.

The first time I went in with tremendous high hopes. It was between me and another actor. I was told by my husband that Director Guy was stumped. Did he want the seasoned reporter or the green, newbie reporter. Keeping with the times, he went green. Not only was I rejected, I was called seasoned. I have to say, I was somewhat crestfallen. It was a perfect part for me. Add insult to injury, it got back to me more than once that the newbie was the weakest link, and I should have gotten the role. Oh, lookee there, an open wound. Anyone have some salt? And you know what really ticks me off? If I'm forced to accept the mantle of seasoned, kicking and screaming all the way, then shouldn't the seasoned actor get the mother fucking role?

This last month, the above scenario happened again with eerie familiarity. Same director. Down to two actors. The big difference, I didn't have the high hopes. Experience taught me to guard myself. This time my husband told me I wasn't heavy enough. I'm not sure that's a valid excuse in Los Angeles. It might be hooey. But forgive me if I don't choose to examine that one too closely.

But this really isn't about an actor's rejection.

Fairly new to the blogging world, I've been putting myself out there best I understand. And when there is a group of bloggers with like interests: a mom blog, for interest, or gay blog, I put myself on the list. So, when I came across a blog called Hot Dads, I thought perfect fit. These were a bunch of dad bloggers talking shit and proud of it. From the entries I read, Hot Dads included humorous, irreverent, poignant stories, some of which had nothing to do with being a parent. Good writers all, and I wanted to be a part of them. Here is the email I sent:

I would love to write for Hot Dads. You might need a gay blogger in your mix. Check out Mommy With a Penis. And give a holler.

Not too eager. Not too stiff. Just the right amount of familiarity. I state what I do and don't belabor the point. Here's the response I received:

I don't think so....not quite up my alley. If you knew anything about me...you would not have even sent me an email.

Why was a hat pin thrust through my rib cage? Not up his ally, fine. But why not leave it at that? If I knew anything about him?? And just what would that anything be? It wouldn't be that he's HOMOPHOBIC, would it?

But this really isn't about a blogger's rejection.

Tomorrow, the California Supreme Court will rule on Prop 8. Talk about a crazy ride. We can get married. We can't get married. If you got married, there's a chance it may be invalidated. It's a fucking roller coaster. But being seasoned, I'm more skeptical. It's like auditioning for Director Guy for the second time. I've girded my loins with titanium. Otherwise the hurt can be profound. Here's hoping the Grand Poobahs handing down the decree are not like Hot Dad... "If you knew anything about us, you wouldn't have bothered with this equality thing." But even if that is their ruling, here are a few facts that will not change:

-I love my husband no matter what happens.

-We love the kids we jointly adopted no matter what happens.

-We are as much a family as any other family in these United States.

-Eventually, we will all look back at all this and say, "Gay marriage, what was the big deal?"

Strength, my brothers and sisters. Rejection is a bitch, but our heart and soul and tenacity will bear fruit. And try this the next time you're watching TV and one of those stuff shirts starts pontificating about family values. Don't let him or her ruffle your feathers, just yell from your gut, "NEXT!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Husband the Whore

This morning, a parent from Sebastian's school said, "You know, your husband is a whore." He felt justified in saying this because he saw Michael has over 1,500 Facebook friends, making it sound like my husband doled out fifteen hundred blowjobs to acquire those friends. (I can't imagine it's that many.) You might think I'd defend my husband's honor. I did not. The thing is, I know I married a slut... Or should I say former slut... Perhaps recovering slut is more apt.

However you parse it, slut in the former or recovering stage, I do admit that Michael is a tremendous flirt. "How can you let your husband flirt like that?" I've heard on more than one occasion. But I believe that Michael's flirting is a spectacular talent and should not be reserved for me alone. Would you stifle a child who had a natural aptitude for music? Of course not. You'd go out and buy him a trumpet. It's the same with Michael, he goes into a bar and charms the socks off everyone. But you better believe, when we go home at night, I'm the trumpet he blows.

So, back to the parent this morning. He calls my husband a whore... (BTW, does that make Facebook his pimp?) And I launch into the following story...

Remember that TV movie of the week when we were kids, called Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway? Starring Eve Plum? (Shameful nods of acknowledgement as we remember Jan Brady as a prostitute.) Well, there was a spin-off movie, starring Leigh McCloskey, called Alexander: the Other Side of Dawn. (The title alone makes your teeth ache, doesn't it?) In this movie, Alex's father kicks him out of his small town Oklahoma home. He packs his bags, hops on a bus to LA, and he dreams of a glittery life in the arts. Not surprisingly, his dreams were not waiting for him at the LA Greyhound station. After a brief fling with Dawn/Eve/Jan, he decides to become the kept man of a closeted football pro. (Tight end? Wide receiver?) Even that doesn't hold the allure Alex was after, so he becomes a gigolo.

When Michael saw this flick, his pubescent self thought this was the most glamorous thing he'd ever seen. Instead of the cautionary tale it was meant to be, he saw it as a life map. Like Alex, he packed his bag to run away to LA to become a hustler. For men! How swell.

His plan was thwarted, however. Someone saw teenage Michael headed to the train station, struggling with a suitcase and called his parents. I'm sure there was a lot of yelling, maybe skillet throwing. (As a WASP with suppressed desires and tons of emotional baggage, I appreciate the histrionics of Michael's family.) And then life resumed to Alton, Illinios normal.

This is a picture of Michael embracing his inner whore. And in the land of hooker pumps, pole dance classes and striptease seminars perhaps that's OK. Now, watch out y'all. See that look in his eyes? When hubby throws down the cigarette, he's gonna pick up that trumpet and blow.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bad Mommy 1 & 2: Tooth and Consequences

Bad Mommy is new feature of Mommy With a Penis. It will show up sporadically, at my whim, and share fucked up mommy moments. Maybe they will be my own personal tales. Maybe they will be stories from the news. Or maybe certifiable celebrities like Britney or Jacko will do something even more outrageously stupid than driving with baby in front seat, or baby dangling over balcony. Whatever the story, whoever the parent, this column is dedicated to illuminating the bad mommy in us all. But just in case it gets a bit too real, I have DCFS on speed dial.

Sebastian's second tooth came out. We oohed and aahed, got him excited about the Tooth Fairy, placed it under his pillow, and then promptly forgot to do the switch. You should have seen his fallen face the next morning, lone baby tooth in his outstretched hand. Somehow without coffee in my system my mind was surprisingly quick. I explained that the Tooth Fairy doesn't work full time, only Monday, Wednesday, Friday. "Put your tooth back under your pillow and I'm sure by tomorrow morning you'll have your money. Pancakes for breakfast?" That seemed to appease him. You better believe I wrote a pithy note to myself, "REMEMBER! TOOTH! ASSHOLE!"

Sebastian got two dollars from the Tooth Fairy. I decided this was enough because the first go around he promptly lost the money. I know friends who give their rugrats twenty bills! Isn't that a bit extreme? Especially in the economic crisis. I bet those parents will sing a different tune when they get their share of the bill for the octuplets' health care...


*****

I have purposely stayed out of the Octuplet Mommy controversy. I remained silent when I found out she used $100,000 from an on-the-job back injury to pay for fertilization treatments, instead of taking care of the six children she already has, three of which have special needs. I didn't say a word when I found out she is still living with her parents in a four room house, and her very own mother on national television said she didn't know what her daughter was doing. But when I heard she didn't have a job or health insurance, my lips became unBenjamin buttoned.

She cannot afford these kids! And because of that we will all have to pay!

I may have sniggered at Angelina, made fun of Mia Farrow for their at-home soccer teams. BUT THEY CAN AFFORD THEM! They even adopted some of theirs, being part of the solution of our overcrowded planet. But not Octomom...

Kaiser Permanente's tab for giving quality health care to these premature children is estimated at a million plus, perhaps two million. Octomommy can't pay it, of course. So, Kaiser has asked for reimbursement from Medi-Cal. From the state. Taxpayers, close your eyes and open your coffers.

Then, and I love this, Octomother says she has some secret source of income that will take her till September, when she will enter school. And then she plans to use student loan money to take care of her kids!!??!? WHAT! The children's outspoken grandmother says she already uses her entire retirement check to take care of the original six. But no Welfare for this Octopussy (you knew I was going to use it.) She's a proud woman who doesn't seem to have any problem making use of any other governmental hand out she can get her hands on.

Actually, when I step back and take a breath, it is a nifty little idea. I might just traipse on down to the Jaguar dealership, roll off the lot with a spanking new XKR, telling them the next guy will pay for it. Or better yet, Jaguar can take it as a loss and be reimbursed with bailout money, or stimulus package, or whatever we're calling it. Sweet.

A letter...

Dear Octo Mommy. Fourteen children. Fourteen! All with specific needs and desires. They will want the Tooth Fairy to visit. And Santa Clause. And the Easter Bunny. They will want the occasional Hot Wheel and Hello Kitty barrette. They will want trips to the zoo. And the aquarium. And sunny days in the park. (Good God, your stroller will be a double wide, your diaper bag a steamer trunk.) They will crave gymnastics and ballet and soccer and karate and violin and theatre. They will want treats. Favorite books. Special costume pieces that don't smell like the Goodwill bin. They will want unending hugs and kisses and rolls around the floor, and silly time, and ATTENTION.

There is no way in hell they can get these simple things from you. And I'm not even talking about a larger place to live, or educational funds, or beds, or three squares, or heat, or waste removal. So, you can talk food stamps and Social Security and student loans and your mother's retirement checks and Medi-Cal all you like. But in the end I bet formula to Pull-ups that the good citizens of California end up paying for your children's Tooth Fairy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Attack of Conscience

I honestly don't think there's any way I can write the following post without sounding like a total assholeshitfacejerk. And so, into piranha infested waters I dive...

Last Friday night, an acquaintance of mine was beaten up, held at gun point, and robbed of keys and phone. This happened in Silver Lake, an area of Los Angeles that has opened its arms to the artsy fartsy, the lefty greeny, the faggy dykie. A magical place where cappuccinos are dry, customers bring their own shopping bags to grocery stores, and bohemes somehow make Birkenstock with black socks look cool. In other words, Ann Coulter would spontaneously cumbust were she ever to set stiletto in Silver Lake.

Acquaintance was walking from one hipster joint to another, the stretch not at all well lit, and was jumped right in front of my daughter's school!! He immediately went to the hospital and is told this is the ninth of this kind of attack in two weeks! What was first thought of as fag bashing, because all those attacked were men, seems not to be the case. At a community meeting Thursday night, the police informed us that no epithets were uttered, thus these were probably not hate crimes but gang initiations.

It actually doesn't matter the reason. Crimes of this sort are detestable. Those who were attacked deserve our full compassion and the perps deserve electrodes on their nads.

But back to Acquaintance... I personally cannot abide him.

He's a button pusher. He's into mind games. He will find the soft spot of any situation and exploit it for some grotesque sense of one-upsmanship. He'll recall things you've said years earlier, take it out of context and throw it in your face. And, heaven forfend, you choose to rebut. He'll counter with this faux therapist voice, "And this bothers you?" He will fight for the last word, and yet skillfully dangle a carrot for you to defend. And when, against better judgement, you choose to clarify the previous point, he's right there with another fucked up observation that leaves you feeling unheard and combative.

The only way I have found to deal with him is to be perfunctorily cordial and go on my way. But he's a pro at insinuating himself. A regular tick of humanity. There are few in my circle who honestly like him. And on December 16th, 2006 I did something I've never done to another human being. I banned him from my house.

When Michael and I first moved here, we had a yearly, black tie Christmas party. Catered affair. 120 people give or take. Everyone would bring a Toys For Tots gift. It was an impressive haul any given year: bicycles, boom boxes, action figures, fairy wings. On a couple of occasions, I've been told it was a highlight of the holiday season. Friends throughout the year have said, "I hope I'm still on the list." The list??? I have a list? I finally felt I had power in LA. My own little fiefdom. Small fish, perhaps. Life on the Q list, maybe. But I had my very own list from which I could ruthlessly revise depending on my whim.

Since having kids, we entertain much less frequently, putting what little extra money we have into college funds and vodka. The last Christmas party we had was two years ago. It started out to be one of our best. And then, just as it was beginning to wind down, in walks Acquaintance, uninvited, and his boytoy, also uninvited. Now, Michael and I are not sticklers about the invite. Even if someone is not on the list, we welcome them into our home, offer them sustenance and libation. It's Christmas, for Christ sake.

But Acquaintance had to hold court. He bragged to anyone who would listen how he crashed the party. How he should have been invited in the first place. I went along with his bizarre humor. He then made the pronouncement in front of others that I put on weight and looked older. Even still, I did not take the bait. He continued on in this vein, and was so obnoxious, even his date, a man I had never met, apologized to me. I finally had to walk away. But then it got back to me that he was an asshole to the catering staff, and to prove he's really bi and not gay, he made out with a female guest. This ended up embarrassing the guest, humiliating the uninvited boytoy, and prompting me to lance this boil before his poison spread further. "Don't you ever darken my doorway again!"

And I've been quite pleased with that decision until now. Good Angel and Bad Devil have been bickering on my shoulders...

BAD DEVIL: He deserved it.

GOOD ANGEL: No one deserves getting beaten up.

BD: He's an asshole. It was only a matter of time.

GA: He's needs reconstructive surgery.

BD: Maybe they can fix that honker of a nose while they're at it.

GA: He had a gun placed to his head.

BD: I wish I could have been there to see the look on his face...

GA: He's a father with two kids. Where's your compassion?

BD: You want to see compassion? I'll show you compassion.

Bad Devil sticks out his tongue and gives Good Angel a raspberry. Good Angel shrugs in response. Bad Devil lifts his leg and lets one rip. It's loud and long and makes tears come to Good Angel's eyes.

GA: You're disgusting.

BD: Neener, neener, neener.

GA: You are such a child.

BD: Karma's a bitch, sweetheart.

GA: Fine. That's your stance. I'm thinking of calling him.

BD: You don't like him enough to call him.

GA: I think it's time to get beyond all past grievances. To reach out and do the right thing.

BD: You do and I'll fart again.

And on and on and on it goes. Never resolving. I expect better of me, but I have the feeling I'll end up taking my own advice and just go on my way.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cheese in a Jar

Came home late from a thing last night. Had no money for the babysitter, had to stop at Albertson's. This would kill two birds: ATM for the moolah, snacks for the munchies. Walked in the store and I swear a Hallelujah chorus accompanied the woosh of the automatic doors. There, before my eyes, was a pyramid of Lays potato chips next to a smaller pyramid of cheese in jars.

I had my initial doubts. I mean, I don't think I've ever bought cheese in a jar. How healthy could it be? Since it's stored at room temperature, it can't really be considered dairy, can it? I figured it was probably an amalgam of plasticine and botulism and yellow food dye #33. I decided to check the label to see what's in it. At least look at the calorie count. I picked up the jar, and could only allow myself a quick glance. So quick, I can't even tell you the brand name. I did, however, make out the word medium, ostensibly referring to its spiciness. (I doubt it had anything to do with the jar size or the cheese's clairvoyant abilities.) A surge of nervousness passed through me. Was I really going to do this? Buy fake medium cheese? Without anymore thought, I grabbed jar and bag, threw money at the cashier, and scurried home.

Only after the babysitter left, and with Michael ensconced in the other room, did I feel safe. I opened the cheese jar lid. Thwock! Intoxicating. I thought, "This could be a perfect night." Chips, jar of cheese, little bit of TV. I hunkered down in the ripped leather chair, grappled once again with my love/hate relationship with Big Love (see previous entry for significance) and snuck-ate chips and cheese, so I wouldn't have to share with Michael.

There are no words to describe the golden, creamy, jalapenoey goodness that is jar of cheese. Didn't matter that Lays is not the best dipping chip, I had never tasted such manna in my life. Before I knew it, the entire jar of cheese and half the bag of chips were gone. GONE. I must have had an out of body experience because I swear, I only remember enjoying seven or eight chips. Forty-nine tops.

Michael entered the TV room. "What are you eating?" I showed him the empty jar. He looked at me with the same incredulity had I announced I was going to uproot the family, buy me some hogs and harvest truffles in Tasmania. I felt a great shame. Phoney baloney cheese and chips of chips coated my hands, mouth and chin. At this rate, I'll be one of those Neanderthals wearing a stained wife beater and drinking a 40, while reclining in a corduroy Barcalounger.

Today, I'm paying for my jar of cheese binging. It feels like there's a fossilized radial tire in my gut. It's solid and implacable. Why can't I eat like I did in my younger days? There was this place in New York, Potbelly's, and I would go there often for their fries. They served it with either melted cheese or gravy on the side. I'd get both and call it lunch. I wouldn't gain an ounce and my body wouldn't go into toxic shock. But today, I might just possibly have to get over my fear of colonics.

I mourn that I can't eat a load of crap anymore!

The other day, my son said, "I don't like cheese pizza!" That's a terrifying thing for the parent of a finicky boy to hear. There are only so many things Sebastian will eat without fail. Chicken legs. Chinese ribs. Bread spread with Nutella. And up till now, cheese pizza.

Bash wasn't always this choosy. Quite the opposite. In fact I took great pride that I could get him to eat salmon and brussel sprouts with gusto. And I would derisively tsk the other mothers who would give their children Capt'n Crunch to snack on in the park. But my son's habits changed around the time I found him eating out of the dog bowl. He got more basic with his tastes: cereal no milk, pasta no sauce, pancakes no syrup. Then Sebastian refused to eat dinner all together. I'd threaten with, "Well, you're just going to have to go to bed hungry." But he'd hold strong. I'd finally let him be excused and next thing I knew he'd be on his hands and knees sneaking kibble. From that moment on, no green, no fish, no tofu. I can only hope he's somehow leaching vitamins and nutrients from chocolate croissants.

What if he doesn't like chicken tomorrow? And what if ribs are eighty-sixed as well? I'm afraid if I don't take some sort of drastic measure his entire diet will be in the hands of Purina.

Irony is a bitch. My son doesn't like cheese pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese. (Now, that's fucked up. What kid doesn't like mac and cheese?) And yet, these are the very items I want to be scarfing down all day long. Even with bloated belly, I'm still obsessing over cheese in a jar.

I had to go to Albertson's this morning for some light shopping. I was nervous. Would the yellow jar be there as the doors open? Taunting me? Woosh. No chips. No jars of cheese. Now it's a pyramid of Pepsi, and I don't like Pepsi. Safe for now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Are Sister Wives Fellatio Enthusiasts?

I haven't written about my addiction. Serial television. Doesn't matter what it is: espionage, vampires or those desperate gals on Wisteria Lane searching for season two glory, I cannot seem to get enough. And even though it's a Wonder Bread world, where the "gay" act straight, the "old" are gorgeously fit, and the occasional "black" is played by Taye Diggs, I am a lemming who will gladly follow. All I need is the challenge, same bat time, same bat channel, and I will strap on a tourniquet, pump up my vein and shoot up with juicy anticipation for the following week's unending plot points.

This addiction hearkens back to the eighties, when I was introduced to that quartet of guilty pleasure: Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing and Falcon Crest. (I can still hum all their theme songs beginning to end.) And it didn't matter the backdrop, vineyard, oil field, cul de sac, all that was needed was a fertile environment for good to battle evil. The myriad of characters became part of my generation's mythology. My fingers practically tingle as I type their names: Fallon, Jock, Valene, Alexis, Chase, Lilimae, Miss Ellie, Chao-Li, Dex Dexter. Ewings and Carringtons and Giobertis and Colbys were the dynasties I avidly watched build and topple weekly. The acting may have been overwrought (did Linda Gray ever have dry eyes?) but it was the stories that kept me coming back. Who can forget the Moldavian massacre? Or when Pam found Bobby in the shower, claiming the entire previous season was a bad dream? What the...? Okay, there might have been some missteps, but there were also a string of paternity suits, kidnappings, evil look-alikes, who shot JR, long lost children and poison paint to fill my cup.

Recently, I saw the season opener for Big Love. With the subject matter of polygamy, one would assume a limited spectrum of stories...and shoulder pads. And, yes, I grant you, the protagonist's home life with three wives and a gazillion kids can be somewhat mundane. "What do you mean you didn't get the detergent, Margene?" (On a personal note, I'm not sure there is an actor alive who has a more monotonous whine than Bill Paxton.) But the B story... The Gothic plot lines on the compound, is quite Shakespearean in it's largess. And even though socialites with big hair and Nolan Miller couture have been traded for sister-wives with french braids and Little House on the Prairie smocks, I have been suckered in and made a believer.

The past two seasons, the villain was the Prophet, Roman Grant, head of the compound on Juniper Creek. He made life a living hell for monotonous Bill and his growing family. But this season, the villain mantle has been snatched away by his wormy, power hungry son, Alby. So far, Alby put his father in a Percocet haze and when that didn't work, Alby set up the Prophet for a fall, landing him in the slammer. Alby has since moved into the big house and is doing his damnedest to fill his father's shoes. But he has a hidden secret...

...Turns out, when not picking out a new wife, turning out a passel of kids or making apple butter, Alby hangs out at rest stops on the interstate to get himself some backdoor action, if you know what I mean.

There was something hot about the promise of sex in a grimy bathroom setting. Leather Daddy walks in. Alby sees him in the mirror and braces himself against the sink. Leather Daddy approaches and fondles Alby from behind. And then he slowly pulls out...a knife. Turns out Leather Daddy is really Hired Killer. And then Hired Killer does something only TV hired killers would ever do. Instead of jabbing the knife into Alby's gut, he stupidly announces his intent. Alby goes on the defensive. They wrestle. Knife skitters across the tile floor. Hired Killer then tries to drown Alby in the clogged sink. Enter two men (prospective pee-ers or fellatio enthusiasts, not sure which) thwarting Hired Killer, who realizes he's underestimated the homos and hightails it out of there.

Cut to Adaleen, the always good for a laugh Mary Kay Place, wife of the Prophet, mother of Alby. We find out this failed assassination may have been set up by her. (That's not Shakespearean, that's damn near Greek.) I lean forward in my chair expecting Adaleen to kvetch how her skeevy son has done damage to the Prophet's reputation, but instead she takes a tact I did not expect. She insinuates men who like to be fucked deserve to be sliced up like summer sausage.

Really? Lynch the faggot!! Alby is a despicable character with the morals of a morel, but that's not why he should be killed. This weed wacker has got to go because he likes it up the ass!?!

I tried to take the high road. I justified that faggot lynching has taken place on our soil, Matthew Shepard being the unfortunate poster child, so why not on TV? And fiction holds a mirror up to society's actions so that we may recognize its atrocities. And really, these characters are of a fundamentalist sort, and not necessarily the most enlightened bunch. I shouldn't let this get to me.

But then these characters' live counterparts come to mind. They might be watching the same episode and chuckling to themselves, "Goddamn right. Lynch the faggot!"

I understand I cannot change others. I cannot change the finger pointers, the fanatics, the haters. If others want to dislike me or my family because of what we are rather than who, there is precious little I can do. If others want to pool their hard-earned monies into coffers to overturn my "legal" marriage, my strongest recourse is to live by example: to raise my kids safely, hold my husband's hand tenderly, and take out the trash daily. We are interracial, dammit. We're homosexual. We're parents. We're family. We're not going anywhere. And we're painstakingly, for lack of a better word, NORMAL.

So, back to Big Love. I can't expect the show's creators to change. That responsibility falls on my shoulders. I must change. If this is bothering me so much, I must get off my fat ass and change the channel.