Nate Berkus Will Destroy Your Marriage

I read this amazing article on The Huffington Post the other day.  Wouldn’t it be nice if every parent could be as insightful and loving as this one:

… The first time you’re born, you identify the people in the room as your family. The second time you’re born, you identify the whole world as your family. Christianity is not about joining a particular club, it’s about waking up to the fact that we are all in the same club. Every last one of us. So avoid discussions about who’s in and who’s out at all costs. Everybody’s in, baby. That’s what makes it beautiful. And hard. If working out your faith is not beautiful and hard, find a new one to work out. And if spiritual teachers are encouraging you to fear anyone, watch them closely, honey. Raise your eyebrow and then your hand. Because the phrase repeated most often in that Bible they are quoting is Do Not Be Afraid. So when they tell you that gay people are a threat to marriage, honey, think hard.

I can only speak from my personal experience, but I’ve been married for nine years and barely any gay people have tried to break up my marriage. I say barely any because that Nate Berkus is a little shady. I am defenseless against his cuteness and eye for accessories and so he is always convincing me to buy beautiful trinkets with our grocery money. This drives your sweet father a bit nuts. So you might want to keep your eye on Berkus. But with the exception of him, I’m fairly certain that the only threats to my marriage are my pride and anger and plain old human wanderlust. Do not be afraid of people who seem different than you, baby. Different always turns out to be an illusion. Look hard.

Chase, God gave you the Bible, and He also gave you your heart and your mind and I believe He’d like you to use all three. It’s a good system of checks and balances He designed. Prioritizing can still be hard, though. Jesus predicted that. So he gave us this story. A man approached Jesus and said that he was very confused by all of God’s laws and directions and asked Jesus to break it down for him. He said, “What are the most important laws?” And Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love others as yourself.” When in doubt, Chase, measure all your decisions and beliefs against that. Make damn sure that you are offering others the same rights, courtesies, and respect that you expect for yourself. If you do that, you can’t go wrong…

Read the rest of the article here.

A Resurgence

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to arrive at Lil’B’s house around the same time that his younger sister’s Big Sister arrived.  Neither of us had a hard and fast idea of what we wanted to do with our respective Little’s that day.  It was unseasonably warm – I was actually wearing shorts – and so neither of us wanted to be cooped up inside if we didn’t have to be.  We ended up taking Lil’B and his brother (10 months older) and sister (16 months younger) to play miniature golf as a group.

Months ago when I took Lil’B there alone, we encountered a small Mexican family that we spent some time talking to because the course was crowded.  At one point one of the little boys comment that, “Your son is pretty good.”  That was, by no means, the first time I had thought about people thinking Lil’B was my son when we are out together, but as I’ve mentioned before, it’s quite clear we do not share any genes.

The Big Sister is of Mexican decent and seven months pregnant.  There we were three Mexican children under twelve years old, a very pregnant Mexican woman and a pasty white guy all playing miniature golf together.  I couldn’t help thinking, “people think we’re a couple, I’m the step-dad, and these are her kids.”  Obviously, if I were Lil’B’s “father” there would have to be a “step-” in front of it.

I had a first that day.  After we completed the course we were on, we went to the “19th hole” to return our balls and clubs and I got a hole in one.  Go figure.  I received a coupon for one complimentary round of miniature golf, which expires one month from the day we were there.  So when it was time to plan the next outing with Lil’B, I was inclined to go miniature golfing again.  We both enjoy it and it would be silly to waste a free game.

It was raining like mad yesterday.  Without a back up plan, I went out on a limb.  I took Lil’B to see Beauty and the Beast, recently re-released in 3-D.  I’ll be honest.  I wanted to see it and I don’t have anyone else to go with.  I wasn’t sure it would be up his alley, but the only other kid-friendly movie out there was The Adventures of Tintin and I really don’t want to see that if I can help it.  I told him as we were driving there, that I wasn’t sure how he was going to feel about this movie, but that it was something I really wanted us to see.  I told him it came out originally when I was young and that it might be a little dated, but I thought he would enjoy it anyway.  He said he was fine with it. When it was over, I asked him what he thought.  He nodded and said, “It was cool.”  Normally, that question is met with “It was awesome!”, but I’m taking him at his word that “cool” is an honest reaction.  I told him I knew it wasn’t really our usual style, but it was still fun.

Watching this movie with Lil’B, was a kind of surreal experience, though, when I realized how long before he was born this movie had come out.

I told him this movie came out “when I was young”, but I didn’t say how young.  It was only as we were actually watching the movie, when memories of the first time I saw Beauty and the Beast in theaters came flooding back, that I realized just how young I had been.  I saw the movie for the first time, as the beginning of what would turn out to be a tragic failure of a Valentine’s Day date – the only one I’ve ever had.  I was sixteen years old.  The girl I was dating, Cindy, had all sorts of romantic notions.  During the opening number, “Belle”, when the “Gaston Groupies” sing:

Via Disney Wiki

“Look there he goes, isn’t he dreamy? Monsieur Gaston, oh he’s so cute!
Be still my heart, I’m hardly breathing. He’s such a tall, dark, strong and handsome brute”

she thought it was “adorably provincial.”

Via Disney Wiki

In 1991, Beauty and the Beast was on the cutting edge of animation technology.  Everything looked so crisp and clean, the scene when Belle and The Beast dance in the ballroom already looked nearly 3-D and that was before 3-D movies made any sort of resurgence.  The characters, at least the human ones, seamed pretty realistic with fairly natural movements.  The wisp of hair that is forever falling down into Belle’s eye, struck Cindy as being the coolest thing ever.  She saw so much meaning and subtext in this movie that went over my head; to tell the truth, it still goes over my head.  But Cindy saw it, and I wanted to see Cindy so I saw it too.  (Hey.  I was sixteen.  Give me a break.)

When the movie was over and Lil’B and I were heading back out into the rain, we had a little math lesson.  I told him, “Remember I said I saw this movie when I was young?”  he said he did.  I told him, “I saw it when I was sixteen years old.  How old does that make this movie?”  Somehow I hadn’t put it all together before we were in the theater.  I didn’t realize that this movie was 20 years old.  In fact, strictly speaking, with an original release date of  November 22, 1991, it’s older.

“I saw this movie when I was sixteen,” I told him.  “In fact, I think I saw it on Valentine’s day.”  That statement went right past him, but it stopped me short.  It stopped me short because that’s all I said.  I didn’t say, “I saw it on Valentine’s Day with my girlfriend”, I just said, “I saw it on Valentine’s Day.”  I told myself that I didn’t elaborate because I didn’t want to confuse him, but it continues to nag at me.

Lil’B and I have never discussed my sexual orientation.  If he’s even aware of what it means to be gay, he may already have figured it out or assumed it, but we’ve never discussed it and I’ve never confirmed or denied it.  If he is aware of it and I told him I went with my girlfriend, maybe that would be confusing to him.  Then again, if I said I went with my girlfriend and didn’t explain that I don’t date girls now, that seems dishonest.  It continues to nag at me though, because by withholding additional information, I missed an opportunity to open dialogue between us.

When I signed up with Big Brothers and Big Sisters I told the Match Specialist, Jenny,  that I’m gay.  It was important to me to be honest and not keep a secret from the family I was trying to build trust with.  Jenny asked me if I wanted to be open about that with the family and I said I did.  In fact, me being gay prevented me from being matched with the first little boy they selected for me.  In that instance, Jenny told me about the kid before telling the family I am gay and when it didn’t work out, she felt badly.  When she called me about Lil’B, I asked if the mother knew I was gay.  She said that she had told Lil’B’s mother right up front because she didn’t want to have another situation like with the previous family.  But the mother and I have never talked about it either.  I assume she remembers, but I don’t know and I don’t know if she told Lil’B.

When I was matched with Lil’B, he was only seven and I felt like he was too young to have that conversation.  Now that it’s been nearly two and a half years, it’s difficult to bring up.  Admittedly, I’m concerned how he’ll react.  And strangely, I’m afraid of being rejected by a ten year-old.

And just when I thought I had put this fear behind me…

Now, I’m Not Saying I’m Not Wearing Underwear…

For about a week now, the hosts of my favorite morning radio show have been promoting National Commando Day today.  Sometimes the tangents they go off on are not… the cleanest.  They stated that when a woman goes commando it’s called climando.  I think that’s disturbing.  (Which begs the question, why did I include it here?)  I know what that means and I’d prefer not to think about it.

Anyway, I wondered what this National Commando Day thing was all about.  I mean, it seems like every day is some sort of national day of something (though I have no idea who decides.)    Today the LOLCats seem to think it’s National Popcorn Day:

courtesy icanhazcheezburgers.com

But can we have competing national days?  Am I supposed to kick back and watch a movie while eating disgustingly over-buttered popcorn while not wearing any underpants?  I’m confused.

I did a search for “National Commando Day” on Google and the first item in the results says National Commando Day 2009.  In 2009, there was a National Commando day, but it was July 31st.  Later I found there was also a National Commando day on July 29th, 2010.  Nothing on 2011 and certainly nothing about today.  The link points to www.nationalcommandoday.org/ a website that focuses on bringing attention to Prostate Cancer and the need for early detection.  OK, I can get… ahem… behind… that.

The next relevant result was for GameStop.  September 20, 2011 was a GameStop-declared “National Commando Day”, but it clearly was not the same thing.  Apparently, that was the day that Gears of War 3 came out.  I’m not so sure I’m amused by their use of “commando” for their purposes, but that’s just me.

There’s a link to a Facebook group for National Commando Day, but it’s the same organization and it appears to refer back to the 2009 date.  And there’s a link to a site called http://www.prostateconditions.org/ which then has a link back to National Commando Day.org.  Nothing about a 2012 event.  There is, of course, a link to “going commando” on Wikipedia and not entirely surprising, there’s a link to the Sarah & Vinnie podcast from just this morning discussing National Commando Day, where supposedly, all of the on-air personalities of the show were going commando (or climando – ew) today.

At one point Sarah & Vinnie mentioned something about Betabrand which I’ve never even heard of before this week.  A quick search for Betabrand on Google reveals that the clothing manufacturer (who happens to be here in San Francisco) does make a product called Couch Commando Drawstring Pants.

Okay!  Now I get it.  I just click on the link to Betabrand’s website.  Apparently, I’ve had it wrong all along.  Today is actually Intergalactic Commando Day.  Here’s the deal.  According to Betabrand’s website, lots of authoritative, know-it-all types (like the Farmers Almanac, among others) agree that today, January 19th, is the coldest, most brutal day of the year, here in the northern hemisphere.  A quick downward swipe on the face of my iPhone tells me it’s about 50 degrees outside, so…  I guess I’ll take their word for it.  The challenge is:

On this auspicious and frigid date, men around the world (and beyond) are encouraged to spend the day 100% underwear-free. Our modest goal is 100 million participants: a massive, free-balling force of spirited gentleman dedicated to showing Old Man Winter who’s really boss. (Tropical commandos are welcome to join this effort in spirit.) In addition, Betabrand is asking all available women to report for spot-check duty in order to enforce the (un)dress code.

It’s actually a joint effort with an organization called Veterans Expedition.  I’m not really clear on what Veterans Expedition does, and I’m tired of reading other websites instead of writing on my own, so I’m just going to say that it’s an organization that does something that benefits Veterans, and that’s never gonna be a bad thing.  Anyway, for every purchase of Betabrand pants that occurs(ed) on January 18 & 19, 2012, they will donate $10.00 to Veterans Expedition…

And now I have jokes about what the crossed purposes of prostate cancer screening and Veterans Expeditions might be and exactly what kind of expeditions we’re talking about, going through my head and begging to get out my fingers, which… no!  Just no.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not saying I’m not wearing underwear, but…  anyway you look at it, it seems like it would be for a good cause…  😉