Monday, November 29, 2004

Starr in the City: Weekend in Review

After God, my mamma and life itself the thing I think I love most is a beautiful man. Over Thanksgiving weekend I was thankful to see many. Again I must say I love New York. Weekend highlights:

Wednesday: My late dinner at the Pink Tea Cup and sharing it with two friends was great. I am thankful for their friendship, love and understanding.

Thursday: I had Thanksgiving dinner with one of my friend’s family. His mother laid out a spread that reminded me of home and his entire family was very welcoming. I didn’t feel embarrassed about the two plates I had and the food I left with. Thursday night I went to the new Krash in Manhattan. The venue has cool décor, lots of space and good club lighting. I was happy to run into several New Yorkers I know as well as a fraternity brother from DC. The music was pretty hot and so were the men. By the end of the night I mustered up enough courage to say hello to this short brown skin guy who had my attention from the moment he walked in. I typically never meet anyone in a club, just not the best venue for me to meet and greet, and I rarely approach anyone. When it comes to matters such as this I am actually quite shy. Who wants to deal with rejection, awkward moments and the like? Not me. Anyway, I said hello to him and he gave me a What’s up and head nod. That was the extent of that conversation. Nevertheless, I tried. I am thankful for good food and warm reception from my friends’ family for Thanksgiving dinner. I am thankful for the dj at Krash who kept me smiling and dancing. I am thankful for the courage to step outside my box and say hello.

Friday: I got sweaty in the grown folks section of the Playground. The Playground was a black gay club in NYC that had been a hot spot for the past two years. Friday was its last night. The place was packed and while tons of young folks and hip hop heads crowded in the two main dance rooms I got my groove on in the small room where they were playing house music. I believe that grown black gay men have an affinity for house music. Take that how you want to. I am thankful for the energy and excitement of house music as well as the stories it tells through vessels called dancers. 11.27 is also my sisters’ birthday. For her I am thankful and blessed.

Saturday: I rested my body and sat in the floor exchanging quirky tales and philosophies on all sorts of things with my two weekend hosts. I am thankful for Muffin and Foxxy.

Sunday: I was scheduled to leave the City and head back to the District during the early afternoon. But like most things in life, schedules are subject to change. I changed my plans and decided to bar hop on Christopher Street. I had a few cocktails and a lot of fun chatting it up with my friend, his friends and some strangers. After a few rounds and laps around Christopher I headed to Escualitas to catch the Harmonica Sunbeam show. Harmonica is a hilarious hostess with good timing and can go toe-to-toe with just about any comic I’ve seen on television. She introduced the strippers one-by-one and they came out and did their thing with their things. I was a little upset when the guy who won the contest was not my favorite. It was another reminder that sometimes the best man is not always the man one who wins. I danced a little, dropped off a few bills in some g-strings and watched the friend I had gone there with meet a very hot guy and exchange info.

Although I have learned to go to clubs and bars with no expectations of meeting someone to spend the rest of my life with, or even the rest of the night with for that matter, the thought still comes to mind every now and then. The idea that I’ll be standing alone or dancing and some handsome man will come up to me and sweep me off my feet is still a fantasy for me. I suppose that is the hopeless romantic in me, a believer that it could happen to me. I try to fight it though when I’m out so I’m not disappointed at the end of the night when that fantasy didn’t become a reality.

Her show also featured a presentation by La Santa Luz Dance Company. They are doing a special performance benefiting Latino Youth in Action, a program of Hispanic AIDS Forum on Dec. 1st, World AIDS Day at Club Deep, 16 West 22nd Street, New York, NY at 8:30pm. If I were still in New York I would definitely check it out. The dancers and choreography are great.

Did I mention the hottest guy at Escualitas was an employee? And no he wasn’t one of the strippers. I noticed him when I first walked in and several times during the night I saw his shadow moving about the club. At the end of the night as I was leaving I got another shot of courage from somewhere and started a conversation with him. I wanted to melt but I held it together. I told him good night and walked away after our short exchange because I couldn’t really tell if he were interested or not. Sometimes I am a little clueless. As I walked away I said to myself, “you can’t be scared all your life.”

That’s when I made my move. I went to the car, got an ink pen and wrote my name and number on a dollar bill. I walked back up to the guy who was now standing outside the club and before I could say anything he started talking to me again. Needing to hurry back to the car where my friend was now waiting I extended the dollar bill to him. He took it and noticed the writing. I told him that time is like money, something not to be wasted and it wouldn’t be a waste of his time if he called me. He smiled. I smiled. The line was corny but it was a good one. He asked me if I would be back on Thursday. I wanted to tell him yes but I knew the answer was no and told him as such. I told him I had to get back to DC but it was a pleasure to meet him and I hoped he’d be in touch. Giving him that dollar is just like playing the lotto with it. I may hit the jackpot if he calls OR it was just fun to play.

I am thankful for Sunday.

Today is Monday and I’ve made it home safely to DC. I had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Starr in the City

Last week I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I had been dealing with a lot of issues in my life, past and present. Finally, by Monday of this week I was starting to feel mentally and emotionally like my normal self just in time for the holiday. Since I finished graduate school I’ve been spending my Thanksgiving in DC instead of traveling home to Cleveland. This year I departed from that. Wednesday I packed my bag and headed to New York City to spend the holiday and the weekend with one of my closest friends and his roommate.

Late dinner on Wednesday night at the Pink Tea Cup, a great Thanksgiving dinner with great friends, a fierce hip hop party at the new Krash followed by breakfast at Tiffany’s and enjoying the energy that is New York City. There is nothing like taking a bite out of the Big Apple. I love so much about this city that simply being here has helped put me in a better space and I’m feeling 100% again. So look out world. The weekend is far from over. Today is Friday and it’s really just beginning....

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

If I Can Make It Until Midnight

I can’t say that it has been good. I can’t say that it has been bad. All that I can rightfully say is that it certainly has been and it ain’t over yet! 2004 – What a year! Since January 1st of this year in every aspect of my life something monumental has occurred. The year has been full of more ups, downs and plot twists than anything that I could have ever imagined. Some events have been positive, some events negative and many events I just don’t know what effect that they have had or will have on my life. I have never experienced a year quite like this one; change, thought and reflection have left no stone unturned.

What I find really interesting is that the year so far has been overwhelming for not just me, but most of my friends, frat brothers and relatives. Some folks don’t believe in spirits and cycles, I do. I am hearing the same story told from many different lips, in a myriad of voices and tones. So much has happened this year to us and no one knows what is yet to come. To me that thought is kind of scary. However, I take comfort in my faith that we will make it through and that a new year will bring forth new glorious energy.

My biggest prayer - that we’ve learned the life lessons the universe and the almighty creator have intended for us to learn over the past months. As they say at church, “If I can make it until midnight I will be all right. 12:01 means it is morning, a new day.”

Friday, November 19, 2004

Man in the Mirror

Last night I looked in my bathroom mirror to see what others see when they look at me. I gazed in my own eyes for several minutes wondering why so often it seems like I am the only one that sees the real me, not some made up image, character or caricature –just the special man that I am.

Earlier in the evening one of my closest confidants said, “I saw the look on your face when….and I know you were thinking…..” I thought to myself, yes, he saw a look on my face, but what this person who thinks he knows me so well was thinking that I was thinking was totally wrong. Do people not get me, not know me, not understand me because I wear a mask? Of course that plays some role in all of this. I can’t think of a soul on Earth who at this point in my life I feel comfortable enough with that I can share and expose my total and complete self to. Thus, I continue to remain somewhat guarded, mastering the art ‘how to be’ but not always just being. I would deny to anyone that I am a fraud or a fake. I am who I am, just at arms length. One of my fraternity brothers told me it okay and that I can’t let everyone know all there is to know about you, my thoughts, feelings, life experiences, the things that would maybe create a more complete picture of who and why I am. I agree my most intimate self is not to be shared with everyone. I live in a world where it can’t be. Sometimes though I just wish someone else would see the same thing I see in my mirror.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Emotionally Unavailable

In the past year I have taken a fancy to several men who at some point or another showed an interest in me. Yet, it is November, harvest time has come and I am as single today as I was when I started planting seeds of amorous friendship months ago. I constantly ask and others ask me the question: Why are you still single? I generally respond to myself and others with the stock quote, “I suppose I haven’t met the right person at the right time.” The answer is very cliché, I can say it while still smiling and being gracious and it won’t send me into a depression. But today, I’d like to focus on one real reason that I am still single.

I seem to be attracted to, or they are often attracted to me, the emotionally unavailable. The emotionally unavailable are generally people that meet all of your basic dating criteria. Everything on the outside looks good and it’s not until you try to take it out of the wrapper, either on a date or via several conversations with the person that you find out –they won’t allow the wrapper to come off. The emotionally unavailable I encounter have been used and or abused in a previous relationship and won’t allow someone else the opportunity to truly get to know him. He is closed and won’t let you into his world, his thoughts and feelings. As selfish as it may sound – he pisses me off. He could be good for me if he weren’t messed up.

On one hand, yes you have been through the fire, someone fucked you over. You have valid reasons to believe that someone else wants to and will hurt you again. More than likely, someone will. However, Mr. Emotionally Unavailable by not allowing yourself the opportunity to love and be loved you are short changing yourself and others.

An open letter to all those emotionally unavailable people:

Dear Mr./Ms. Emotionally Unavailable,

You deserve to be cared for by someone who genuinely wants to see you live, love and grow. Please release some of that fear of being bruised again. Someone will care for you. Someone will love you. Moreover, you will be able to care and love someone else. When those things happen in sync – I’m told it’s a beautiful thing. (I wouldn’t know it yet because you haven’t given me the opportunity.) Experience the beauty for yourself.

In the words of Sister Angelou, “heal yourself and then go heal someone else.”

Ready and Available,

Clay Starr

P.S. – If you are reading this and you are one of those people that are going around hurting others, know that hurt people, hurt people. Address your real issues. Go do some healing of yourself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The World Is Yours

I believe that God has the whole world in his hands and in just 25 business days, according to the man who works at the post office, I will have the power to travel around the whole world in my hands. Yes, today I threw on my black turtleneck, flung my scarf around me and headed to the Moto Photo at Union Station to pose for my passport picture. I whipped out my mirror to make sure my brows weren't too bushy and my lips were saying welcome in any language and in a flash (literally) the shot soon to be seen around the world was taken.

After standing in line at the post office for nearly half an hour I met the pleasure of Mr. Wheeler. It was Mr. Wheeler who walked me through the process of completing my application and verifying all my personal bizness. With a staple, a stamp and my $85 I had done the deed. My application was "in the mail."

For some this process isn't quite as exciting as it is for me. This is my first passport and it symbolizes a freedom that I don't think I've felt before. Although I have never felt like the caged bird, or trapped by anyone or anything, the thought of having a little blue book that whenever I have a little green money I can take and go anywhere in the world....just excites me. (Ask my friends - not a lot of things excite me.) Where will I go? What will I do? Who will I meet? What will I eat? The world is my oyster.

Wanna taste it with me?

Monday, November 15, 2004

After all...

After all this time I have spent debating if I would give blogging a try, I have finally made up my mind to introduce to the World Wide Web, The Starr Report.