So Chris and I've been friends a few years now and I've always enjoyed his humor and enlightening meanderings—he is an ex-pat living in Germany, but does a lot of other traveling, too, so he sees interesting things and offers an enlightening (usually entertaining) perspective. But I don't think until he sent me a copy of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type that I'd read his fiction. It is satire and I am about a third through, my reading pile being larger than my time allotment... but it is HYSTERICAL!
So today I'm pleased to be Chris's FIRST!!! I mean, erm... be his first blog hop stop to kick off his release and offer a sneak peek... (does that make you feel naughty, you peepers, you? *cough* Sorry, just trying to enhance the mood). Seriously, the PREMISE is divine... Poor Curt is a gay man, sorely lacking in gay shiek—so lacking people keep confusing him for straight and he can't get a date... so this is the story of his mentoring at the hands of college roommate S. Teri O'Type... seriously funny stuff. Just give it a look:
In the Beginning was the Icon
I’m Curt Child, and this story is a conversation with Teri, my oldest and—according to Teri—my gayest friend. And that’s why I’ve come back to him after all these years. For help. I’m hopelessly dysfagtional as Teri puts it. I’m a gay man who just can’t seem to get gay. Not in the attracted-to-men-with-great-asses way, but in all the other ways that make a gay man so fab—Teri’s word again—which I reckon is short for fabulous, but I’m never sure about these things.
Life was hard for me as a child. I wasn’t graced with impeccable taste or beautiful skin or even those large searching eyes. I wasn’t even born with the . . . what’d you call it again? The . . . the—
“Oh, Curt. Again? You know I don’t like repeating myself.” Teri sighs and puffs, as only he can. “CurtCurtCurt. The innate knowledge of the importance of moisturizing, honey. Are you writing this down?” He’s repeated it four or five times today, but I just can’t seem to absorb it. “Exactement!” Teri giggles.
It took me forever to understand why we look better in low-rise jeans. OK, I still don’t fully understand, but I’ve taken Teri’s word for it: we look thinner. But how does it work?
Anyway, this is the story of my journey toward . . . toward—
“Great and gracious pop princess, Curt! Greater gayness, greater gayness, greater gayness. Breathe it in, breathe it out.”
OK, so Teri, my gayru, as he likes to call himself, is going to give me lessons in . . . in—
“How to remember who you are? Where you fit in?”
“Could we call it something simpler?”
Teri bows his head in prayer. “Oh Prominent Female Pop-Music Goddess, help Curt narrate his journey more gayly. Help him, Oh PFP-MG, to connect with that one teensy-weensy gay cell in his rolly-poly body. Amen.” He raises his head and gives me the thumbs-up to continue narrating.
Right. See, Teri has this sexosophy. He tells me that just because I’m into men—mainly tall men with blond hair—this does not mean I’m necessarily gay per se; and when I ask him to define what he means by per se, he winces and sighs and puffs, as only he can.
“Oh, CurtCurtCurt, you have such a long, long, LONG road ahead.”
“We,” I correct. “We have such a long, long, LONG road ahead.”
This redefinition of gayness, as I call it—Teri adamantly refuses to call it a “re” definition—has kind of taken over my whole life. Yesterday everything was so clear: I liked guys, therefore I was gay. But then along comes Teri, and there’s a whole world of greater gayness out there that I’ve somehow missed.
“Totally missed,” Teri gushes. “Like you were never even close! Over the rainbow? You’ve never even seen the rainbow. You wouldn’t know a rainbow if it bonked you on your balding head! Follow the yellow-brick road? You’re a million miles away from the road. There’s like a jungle of flesh-eating zombies between you and The Road.”
“Lost me.” What does being gay have to do with rainbows and roads? And zombies? It’s like the first day of school and I’m the only kid who can’t read. Beginnings are always hard, but I’m beginning to think I’ve missed the gay cruise entirely, if you know what I mean. And I guess you know what I mean better than I do myself. I guess I just lack—
“Style?” Teri barks. “Gaytuition, gaygiene, the truth of homocabulary? The mien of haughty intelligence? Did I mention style?” Teri taps his right temple with an imaginary pencil.
“That was the first thing you barked.”
“And where’s your dog?” Teri asks.
“I don’t have one? Where’s yours?”
“Cary Grant’s getting his nails done.”
This isn’t fair. Do I really have to have a dog? All I want is a guy to come home to, one who’ll have a silly nickname for me and rub my back without me having to beg. A one-plus-one-is-one situation like Dear Old Dad and Dear Old Mom have back in North Carolina. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. It’s just so hard to find a guy when all the guys I know are straight, and I think they think I’m straight too. I guess I could just tell them, but I never seem to find the right time. It’s not like I go around saying, “Hi, I’m Curt Child. Nice to meet you. I’m gay.” Right? Who does that?
“First, Curt, we in the O’Type family don’t think in equations; and fifth, we don’t have straight friends; and second, you have to have a Jack Russell or a mutt you saved from the animal shelter—like when a famous pop-music goddess adopts an impoverished toddler—preferably black.”
I fold my arms: the universal sign of disbelief and defensiveness, which Teri immediately deflects by holding forth for an hour and twenty minutes on the “generally accepted fact: Cute little girlfriend does not a straight boy make.” It seems like a tangent from the dog discussion, but I have to concur. I used to be one, with one, though wasn’t one. Like a one-plus-one-is-zero situation, I reckon.
“Someone’s talking in numbers again, Curt. Here’s the point, Mr. Bland Banana: You weren’t one.” Teri gives me a big, sappy smile.
“But you know what I mean.”
“I do . . . but do you?”
We both sigh in unison, which Teri says is a good omen, and make an appointment for our first lesson in Greater Gayness next Tuesday.
”It’s a start,” Teri whispers in my ear, which is creepy and wet.
Christopher Allen is an American author living in Germany. His fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in numerous and various places, from A-minor magazine to Chicken Soup for the Soul. In 2011 Allen was a finalist at Glimmer Train and also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The official online launch of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type is on Facebook Here. He blogs about his obsession with seeing every inch of the earth at I Must Be Off!