The Castro street fair was this past weekend. It was a nice, relaxing time actually, a low key close to the festivities of summer.
I finally met up with Dan after not seeing him in what seemed like forever. We had a nice time strolling though the fair and catching up with all the things going on in our lives. We also had the pleasure of seeing Big Red Dave as well, who we hadn't seen in some time either.
There wasn't anything scandalous to report at this event. There were some bearded women dancing in period costumes to no music, I think that was my favorite. I would have photographed them but a photo wouldn't have captured the bizarreness of it. I've definitely become accustomed to all the bizarreness, but then again I was quick to embrace it. I really enjoyed the Alice In Wonderland section of the fair. Dan couldn't handle it, apparently he was molested by a giant caterpillar when he lived in San Francisco during the .com days.
I'm continually amazed at how quickly events get cleaned up in the city. I remember when Pink Saturday ended how shocked I was that within an hour Castro street was cleaned and back to normal operations. Same thing with the fair this weekend. At the stroke of 6pm the music stopped and an hour later the street cleaners were finishing up, giant mechanical snails leaving their residue. Poetic, eh?
Staten Island, the land of stench. Staten Island, the land of eternal disco. Staten Island, the republican part of New York City. Staten Island, the bastard borough of the city so nice they named it twice. Staten Island, my birth place.
Yes this mortal coil was pushed into existence on a piece of land that was once famous for having the world's largest landfill and being the home of Willowbrook State School, a place who's scandalous treatment of the mentally retarded made Geraldo Rivera into a "journalist." Yes, from the start of my life till age 11 this was my home until my family was relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona, by far a classier joint.
Being that Staten Island is so small and that few people are willing to admit that they are actually from there, it is rare that you meet people who originated from that corner of New York. However, during my four months in San Francisco I have met three people from Staten Island, two of which are connected to me in wild ways.
The first was a man I saw at the gym wearing a Staten Island Advance tee shirt. I had to stop him and say something. My grandmother used to do the word searches from the Advance and send them into the paper and got me a myriad of free rulers.
Here I am with Grandma, the Staten Island Advance word search grand master! c. 1984
The next two are really weird.
On Twitter I found a fellow San Franciscan who went to high school with one of my cousins at Monsignor Farrell High School.
Then, through another social networking site, who's name will be conspicuously omitted, I met a man who was best friends with the son of the people who were the previous owners of the house we lived in at 362 Oakland Avenue, and who, several years earlier than me, went to PS 45.
What are the chances? Perhaps we should start a Staten Island meet up?
And for a last bit of Staten Island pride, here is the Madonna video, Papa Don't Preach, filmed at various locations on the island.
During my five years in Dallas I went for four of those years without establishing a relationship with a physician. It was only in my last year there when I got sick that it occurred to me that I ought to find a regular doctor and get one yearly checkups and physicals. Aside from the health reasons there were fiduciary reasons, I was paying insurance premiums but never drawing any benefit from that.
I've already gotten sick once since we moved here (turned out to be just a cold) and trying to see a doctor if you're a new patient when you are sick is impossible. Luckily, the urgent care physician I saw was great but getting sick was a reminder to establish a relationship with a regular doctor. So I set up and appointment with a physician nearby our apartment in the Castro.
I walk in. Meet and greet. Paperwork. Weight, height, temp, pulse, blood pressure, etc. Very standard visit so far.
The doctor comes in. He's an older man, looks like a cross between the best parts of John Waters and worst parts of Tom Sellick. From the get-go the questioning was a bit accusational. It didn't quite seem to click when I told him that I was fine and that I just wanted to get a check up and some blood work done, it had been since December that I did so.
We continued with the questioning.
"Are you straight, gay, or bisexual?"
First thought that came into my head was, "Why does any of that matter?" I'm not ashamed of answering the question but my immediate thought process was you treat the patient, not the sexual orientation. I thought that places like San Francisco had moved beyond the concepts of "gay diseases" and the like. The soapbox was quickly dismantled and put aside to maintain civility.
"Are you in a relationship?"
Okay, I don't see the need for this question either but he's probably trying to profile me so don't get so defensive.
"Are you monogamous?"
I see the point of this question from a clinical profile view point but combined with the first question I'm starting to get a little bit uneasy here. Normally these kinds of things come up in a more suave conversational method, this guy's bedside manner sucks!
Now, I answered yes because I'm not going to count the number of times when Brad and I jointly, and I emphasize jointly, aren't 100% monogamous. There are times, but not enough that I would say that we're not monogamous.
Nothing prepared me for what came out of the doctor's mouth next.
(With sarcasm, dryness, and irony) "So if you're in a monogamous relationship, why do you need to get tested for HIV?"
Jaw. Dropped. To. The. Floor. Are you kidding me!? A doctor, who's office is at the corner of 18th St. and Castro questioning the value of an HIV test for one of his patients!?
First of all, not more than three minutes ago we discussed that I had a brother who died from HIV. Furthermore, it's always good to get tested even if you're in a "monogamous" relationship because even if you're monogamous you can never be 100% certain that your partner is too. If he was trying to determine if I was lying about my monogamousness (spell check accepts that word by the way - use it today in a sentence) there are better ways of figuring that out and I don't seem to remember making an appointment with a psychiatrist. Lastly, when did it become a frivolity to get an HIV test?!
I answered him.
(Cooly, calmly, but with indignation) "Because it's always good to know."
He cast me a patronizing smirk and a nod. I felt at that moment what I imagine it must have been like for little black girls in the south when rich white women would approach them and tell them how "precious" they were in an attempt to assuage any thoughts of them being racists.
I won't be going to this doctor again. His attitude is severely lacking and I find his clinical style and demeanor to be antiquated. Not to mention he thinks HIV testing is some kind of luxury, reserved only for the truly debauched.
I took my sheet of paper and stormed down to Noe St. to get my blood drawn at the local Lab Corp office. Never before have I felt so righteous while being bled.
Eric aptly pointed out that I didn't share any photos from last weekend's Dore alley street fair. Brad and I headed down to the event in the late afternoon and braved the grey skies and gusty winds. When we arrived I felt so bad for those only clad in a few strips of leather or nothing but the gauze pouch of their jockstrap to shield them from the chilly weather. If you're a true diehard for your fetish it won't bother you any, right?
Take, for example, Angelica Huston. She had no issues with the weather whatsoever.
This man, who was smart and didn't shave off his hair, was doing his civic duty by helping this fireman with his outfit.
So that's all the photos I took from that. Overall we found the event to be very, very tame. We did see some displays that may have shocked Mary Ann Singleton but after having been through three pride events in this city I was not at all scandalized, and I wanted to be scandalized, I really did! Maybe next year the sun will be shining and people will be more brave.
In other news the weekend has been great. Friday I wasn't feeling up to going to the gym at all and Brad suggested that I take the J on my way home from work and meet him at Dolores Park. I love meeing Brad at the park and I just love that the train stops right at this spot:
This spot never gets old.
Thanks to the technology of the iPhone and the new app for Twitter, Twinkle, the two gentlemen sitting in front of in the above photo (one in a blue tank top and another in a black shirt) were able to identify themselves and say "hi" to us. I didn't get their message until after we left the park but we promise to Twitter whenever we're at the park now to let one another know. Geek. Moment.
Saturday was amazing weather so we spent a good amount of time sitting outside a cafe and chatting...and taking pictures of our legs.
iPhones do things to your brain, that's all I'm saying.
After the cafe we wandered into the Out of The Closet thrift store and came across this book which I had to buy:
It's a collection of old magazine ads from the 60s and 70s, when marketing dictated that men drove fast cars were hairy, did archery in really tight pants that showed contours of everything, drank, and smoked. Love it.
I don't like what that byline implies; that somehow you don't care about yourself if you don't shave your back hair off, like you're some kind of slob.
Secondary sex characteristics are traits that distinguish the two sexes of a species, but that are not directly part of the reproductive system. They are believed to be the product of sexual selection for traits which give an individual an advantage over its rivals in courtship, and aggressive interactions. They are distinguished from the primary sexual characteristics: the sex organs.
Well known secondary sex characteristics include facial hairs of male lions, and long feathers of peacock. In humans, the most visible are breasts of females and beard and moustache of males. Secondary sex characteristics include the tusks of sea lions, the plumage of many male birds, the chemical indicators of many insects, etc.
If you're naturally smooth that's great, but by what rationale did smooth become the norm that has been foisted into the mainstream? What happened to the days of Magnum PI and Knight Rider, where men in media were unabashedly natural?