Friday, December 16, 2005


A number of people have been eagerly waiting for this post, so I won't keep them in suspense any longer.

As I previously explained, last week I won a "Date with a Straight" in a silent auction to benefit a Monster Bar bartender savagely beaten a few weeks ago. The "straight" was Seth, a manager at the bar, whose clientele and staff are mostly gay. I thought he might enjoy coming to the Crossdressers International (CDI) Holiday Dinner, which was held on Wednesday. As for me, frankly I really wasn't the least bit desirous of a traditional date à deux. I'm not interested in dating anyone, being happily, monogamously married for 17 years. So a big group dinner seemed just the thing.

We left voice mail messages for each other, eventually actually talked to each other, and worked out the logistics. He would go directly to the restaurant, El Quijote in the Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd Street at 8:00pm. I would have had him come to the CDI apartment first, but on dinner nights the place is already overcrowded with people changing. I told him I might be a little late. Since I take a long time with my make-up, I'm usually one of the last ones ready (this was particularly true when I was coming directly from work). So it's generally my job to lock up the apartment and bring the stragglers to the restaurant.

As it happened, this time I wasn't late. Since I retired I am able to start dressing earlier, and I only had to wait for one person to finish. She was done at 7:45, so we went out, found a cab fairly quickly, and were at the restaurant five minutes early. (Curiously, we arrived right before the group that had left CDI 10 or 12 minutes before us--they couldn't find a cab near the apartment, and after 10 minutes walked up to a busier intersection. We were much luckier.)

Seth hadn't arrived, which was understandable since I told him I might be late. I saved us a couple of seats, and then went around greeting some of the people who had come directly to the restaurant. When it was a few minutes after 8:00 and he still wasn't there, I decided to call him to see if there was a problem. I had just gotten my phone out when I saw him making his way past the bar--it helped that he's very tall. He made his way to the room we were given in the rear, and I made introductions.

We sat and talked for a bit, as the restaurant staff worked to accommodate our overflow crowd. I think we had told them we expected 20 people, and they had arranged seating for that number plus a couple extra. But that wasn't enough. Twenty-six people showed up in all. (Despite our asking people to RSVP, we never really know how many are coming. My rule of thumb is to take the number of people who RSVP, multiply by two, and pray.) There was plenty of space in the room, but they had no empty tables to put there. Eventually some people finished their dinners, and the restaurant staff did their furniture moving.

I've been going to the Monster for years, and Seth has worked there for years, but I still didn't know him. He is usually off on Wednesdays, when I usually go. So I started with the inevitable question: How did a straight guy end up working at a gay bar? (It was very inevitable--I heard someone else ask him that when I got up for a few moments to do my duties as CDI treasurer.) He said it was just an accident. He was going around from place to place in the Village leaving his resumé, and the Monster had just opened when he arrived. There were only a couple of guys at the bar. It was only on his way out, after an initial interview downstairs, when he noticed that the place had filled up with men. He said it was an advantage being a straight guy managing s gay bar, because no one could accuse him of favoritism.

Eventually, the waitress came and took our drink orders. Seth ordered a Coke, while I had my usual apple martini. (I thought perhaps he might not drink alcohol (probably another advantage for someone working in a bar), but later events proved that false.) We did the usual blind date talk, where are you from, what did you do before, etc. etc. We established that I am twice his age (sigh). Seth is an actor. He has done dinner theater in Alaska, and (I think he said) Arizona. (Dinner theater in Alaska??!! It's connected to the cruise ships that stop there.) We talked about his work schedule: 10-5 weekdays, 8-5 on the weekends. That's 10pm-5am!! Sometimes he doesn't see the sun for weeks. Which makes up for his summers in Alaska, where it never sets.

There was a DJ in the next room, and while we waited for the food some of the CDIers did a sing-along. We also noticed that a lot of the guys from there took the long way around through our room to get to the men's room. Hmmm. Maybe I should have brought along some CDI membership applications to pass out.

Dinner proceeded. We both had the white bean soup to start. Seth had the salmon, I had veal scallopine (though El Quijote is a Spanish restaurant, our limited menu only included one Spanish dish--paella, which was too much for my corset). The food is good there (and they treat us nicely), which is why CDI has had its holiday dinner there three years in a row. I finished with a nice flan. Seth, watching his non-existent waistline, passed on dessert.

About 10:30 or so things concluded. I paid the checks, both the main one for everyone's food, and the separate one for Seth's and my drinks (it's so nice when the restaurant will do separate drink checks--it's always a hassle when I have to try to collect from people at the end). We reclaimed our coats (it was the first time this year I hauled out my fur--faux, of course: an awful lot of polyesters had to die to make that coat). At the door Seth pointed out the statue of Don Quixote (as I'll spell it). He said it was his dream to play that role. He wanted to do it when he worked in Arizona, but they said he was too young. He did get to understudy it, though.

Seth had promised that at the end of the date he would take the winner back to the Monster for a drink, and several other people wanted to continue the evening there. So we divided into fours for the cabs. But 23rd between 7th and 8th is always a difficult block for cabs, I've found, so we went over to 7th where we found one pretty quickly.

When we got to the Monster, Seth was back on his home turf. The staff was surprised to see him dressed up, and some kidded him a bit. He got us drinks, getting a very potent margarita for himself. He also got one for another off-duty Monster staffer, one of the MenVogue group from the benefit show last week, I think. We (by then a about 10 people from the dinner) went downstairs and got tables by the stage. Seth went off to find someone with a camera, to immortalize our date (I don't think anyone took a picture of us at the dinner--drat). Tommy did the honors. I hope I can get a copy.

Eight of us, including Seth and me, got up and danced. We filled up the entire central area of the smallish dancefloor, and drew a bit of an audience. He remarked about how unusual a sight it must be for them, with so many women on the dancefloor, but it really wasn't that much. Most Wednesdays we're out there, though usually not quite so many--he's just unused to Wednesdays at the Monster.

We danced for a bit, then returned to our tables to wait for the show. It was the week for the monthly "Peoples' Choice" talent contest, instead of Jesse Volt's regular show. This was actually the fifth one, but I had somehow missed all of the previous ones (I'm not there every week). We waited, and waited. Many of the other people from CDI left--it was getting too late for them. Seth asked me if I wanted another drink, but I opted for just a diet Coke. I was already getting sleepy. He told me a bit about the MenVogue act from the previous week. I was surprised to hear they had only rehearsed twice--I guess they were fast learners. He said one of them was really uncomfortable in drag, and was out of his dress the moment the show was over. The others were partying at the Splash Bar in their finery later.

Eventually, 40 minutes late, the show started. Jesse did an introduction, and Monica Monroe performed first. Then came a series of very similar acts: very thin, fairly tall, African-American drag lipsyncers wearing long blonde wigs. They all danced quite athleticly, most doing splits. (Later someone remarked that she thought it was a spoof, the same person coming out again and again.) There were only a couple significant variations: one guy who sang a song with his own voice, and one who came out in African garb, who eventually disrobed to show a highly surgically-enhanced body. The scars on the undersides of her breasts were quite visible. A couple of the performers had a pair of women-born-women back-up dancers. I think Seth and I were both more interested in them than in the main performers--remember, Seth is straight.

After, I think, 12 contestants the three top ones (as determined by the loudness of the applause via a sound meter) were announced. Two were blonde clones, one actually had dark hair. Jesse presented them with their prizes, and the show was finally over. Twelve contestants is too much, especially if they are going to start so late. I guess they can't do anything about the similarity of the acts, other than to have fewer of them.

Seth and I, and the one remaining person I had to get back to the CDI apartment, went upstairs and got our coats. He got us into a cab and said goodnight. Thus ended my "Date with a Straight."

It was fun. Seth is a good conversationalist, and it was nice having someone new to talk to at dinner--I've heard most of the CDI members' stories many times already. So if there are any straight women-born-women out there looking for a tall, twenty-something actor/gay bar manager, check out Seth. Tell him Caprice sent you.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


"With our Super Viagra you can fuck even in the bathroom for hours."

Wow! Even in the bathroom! I can't wait for a type that will let me fuck in the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


It's December, which means it's time for a host of holiday traditions. I've pretty much rid myself of most of them, but one that stubbornly refuses to leave is the P.D.Q. Bach concert which somehow always sneaks itself into my calendar between Christmas and New Year's. This year it's "P.D.Q. Bach: A 40-year retrogressive--An overview of classical music’s underbelly," on the 27th.

For 40 years "Professor" Peter Schickele has been "discovering" the works of P.D.Q. Bach. Johan Sebastian Bach had 20-odd children, and P.D.Q. was the oddest, according to the "Professor." He most certainly was the worst composer.

Forty years ago Juilliard composition instructor Peter Schickele realized that his job wouldn't give him the time he needed to compose the music he wanted to write. The problem was, it was practically impossible to be a full-time classical composer. It just didn't pay enough. He came up with a solution. He and his friends had been putting on little classical music satire shows to the great delight of the Julliard students. He figured he could put together a full-length concert and tour with it around the college campuses. A six-month tour would bring him enough money so he could do serious composition the rest of the year. Thus the entirely fictional P.D.Q. Bach was born.

And thus I first encountered "Professor" Schickele as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967--when he slid down a rope from the balcony and ran up on to the stage, just as it was being announced that he was missing and the concert would have to be cancelled. I roared with laughter, and I've been roaring at his jokes ever since--at least when I'm not hissing at the bad ones. It's part of the fun.

In fact it's most of the fun. The music is silly, and a two-hour concert of it would soon get quite boring. But Schickele's joke-ridden introductions to each piece make the evening very enjoyable.

So this year it's the "40-year retrogressive," with selections from the various decades of concerts. It's been a long time since Schickele slid down a rope, let alone since he swung on a rope à la Tarzan from the box seats to the stage of Carnegie Hall, (he's 70 years old now), but I'm sure he'll be as late as ever. Just as I'm sure his "Manager of the Stage" will be hissed by the audience, and his shirt-tail will be flapping outside his pants.

If you want a preview, listen to WQXR this Sunday at 11:00am. 96.3FM in the New York area, around the world on the web at But order your tickets fast.

Monday, December 12, 2005


The internet is a marvelous thing. I don't know if I would ever have found my true gender identity without it. I pay my bills on it (though I actually did that online for years before the internet), order my groceries, and do all kinds of shopping. I get most of my news from it.

But what I'm enjoying right now is listening to the radio broadcast of my college's basketball game from back in Wisconsin. If I wanted, I could listen to the opponent's hometown broadcast of the same game. This weekend there will be 85 college games broadcast over the web by Yahoo, counting both men's and women's--not to mention a few hockey games--and a wrestling match. It's not quite free, but for only $4.95 a month I can listen to all the Wisconsin games. And I'll unsubscribe in the spring when they stop playing.

The internet is a marvelous thing.


From Reuters' "Oddly Enough News:"
Man loses bet by staying alive
Dec 12, 12:26 PM (ET)

LONDON (Reuters) - A 91-year-old British man who staked a 500-pound bet that he would be dead by the end of the first week in December lost his stake by staying alive, a bookmaker said Saturday.

Arthur King-Robinson said he put the bet on at odds of 6/1 at the start of the year because his wife would have faced an inheritance tax bill of 3000 pounds had he died in the intervening period.

"I thought I'd heard most things that people want to bet on after 30 years in the business," said Graham Sharpe, spokesman for bookmaker William Hill. "But one asking literally to place a dead cert was unique. I'm glad Arthur has lost."

King-Robinson had feared that his wife Cynthia, 85, would have to sell the home they had lived in for 50 years in southwest England if she had been hit by the tax bill.

"I lost my 500 pounds -- but it gave me peace of mind," he said.

I don't know what they call this kind of bet in the UK, but over here we call it "life insurance." More precisely, "term life insurance." Thousands of such policies are taken out every day, I'm sure. The only thing odd about it is the age of the buyer, and the business of the seller. I wonder if he could have gotten a better deal by going to a real life insurance company. Of course, they probably would have had him take a physical exam.


TUESDAY, 12/6: My wife and I went down to the LGBT Center for the monthly (en)gender (formerly MHB) couples discussion group, run by Helen Boyd, author of My Husband Betty: Love, Sex, and Life with a Crossdresser. There were about 20 people there, including about 7 couples--almost too big for a discussion.

After that I went (sans wife) for a quick drink with some of the people at the nearby Art Bar (which we like to call the Aardvark because someone had mis-heard it that way.) We were in a very nice rear room, which I didn't know the bar had.

Then four of us walked down a few blocks to the Perry Street Theater, where Eddie Izzard was trying out some new stand-up comedy material. Izzard is a crossdresser, though he wasn't crossdressed for this performance, and I don't think he mentioned anything about it. I had quite a bit of trouble understanding his British accent--I kept wanting to get the remote control and turn on the closed-captions. Since I didn't understand a lot of what he was saying, I tended to doze off. One bit I think I did hear was how the story of Mary's virgin birth of Jesus was based on the possible mistranslation of a word in Classical Greek, the original language of the "New Testament." Izzard said that the word could mean "virgin," but it could also mean "young maiden"--changing "the virgin Mary gave birth" to "the young maiden Mary gave birth," which is a very different thing.

Unfortunately, I think Izzard got his facts a little confused. The verse he quoted uses a Greek word that could only mean "virgin." The ambiguous word was in Hebrew, in the Book of Isaiah--which many Christians believe is a prophecy of the coming of the messiah. It is there where the possible mistranslation occurred.

WEDNESDAY, 12/7: In the afternoon I went to a meeting of a delegation representing the NYS GENDA Coalition with Dan Conviser, the counsel to the NY State Assembly Central Staff. There we gave him some background on the bill (my part was to outline some of examples of the discrimination gender-variant people have encountered), and answered some of his questions. Lisa Mottet, from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, joined us to explain what other states and localities had done in this area. She also presented a list of the Fortune 500 companies that had added gender identity and expression to their non-discrimination policies--with the ones that are headquartered in NY State highlighted. We also wanted to find out if the rumors that the Central Staff had some objections to the wording of the bill were true.

After the meeting I went shopping for a bit, and then I returned to the Crossdressers International (CDI) apartment for the usual Wednesday open house. Wendi made split-pea soup and pepper steak for dinner. Both were very good. I changed out of my skirt suit into a less formal outfit. After the open house some of us went down to the Monster Bar in Greenwich Village, for some drinks and Jesse Volt's drag show. This week, however, Jesse's show was replaced by a fundraiser for Kyle, the Monster bartender who had been viciously beaten by some homophobes on his way home from work a few weeks ago. Jesse did hostessing duties for this also. It started with a group from the NY Gay Men's Chorus, who not only performed but presented $250 which they had collected for Kyle. A couple of individual acts followed, and Ariel Sinclair did a number. Jesse returned to the stage with her signature Cher lip-sync impersonation. Finally four of the Monster bartenders, calling themselves "MenVogue," did a drag number. They looked great (well one did look rather guy-ish). (One of them told me later it was only his third time in drag--though I suspect they may have gotten some amount of help from Jesse and Ariel.) They danced quite well--obviously they rehearsed a lot.

There was a silent auction for some paintings which was announced. Wendi put in a bid on one of the Wicked Witch of the West--she said it reminded her of her aunt. They also announced an auction for "A Date with a Straight." One of the Monster managers, Seth, said he wanted to help out Kyle by auctioning off a date with him--except he was straight. Jesse asked him how far he would go on the date. Obviously it was something Seth hadn't thought about. I decided I'd try to get him out of his predicament (and also help Kyle, of course), by bidding for the date. I got outbid, and had to bid a higher amount, but I won! Seth will be my date for the CDI Holiday Dinner next Wednesday. Tee-hee.

We hung out at the bar for a while, and I got a bit smashed. Then some of the Monster people said they were going out to the Splash Bar, and I tagged along. That was my big mistake. They started doing shots (Jagermeister--yecch), and I joined in. I got totally smashed. Eventually I got myself into a cab to get back to CDI. I remember the cabdriver talking to me to keep me awake. When I got back in the apartment it was all I could do to take my coat and shoes off, before I fell asleep. I woke up at 7:30 in the morning, still a little drunk.

THURSDAY, 12/8: After changing back to boy-mode I went home and slept a couple more hours. Then I got cleaned up and shaved and went back to the CDI apartment to dress again. This time is was for a dinner of the VegOut Meet-Up group, at the Organic Harvest Cafe.

I'm not a vegetarian, but I this is another way I try to put the "T" in "LGBT." I went to one of these dinners a few months ago. It was about eight people, the group was pretty quiet, but I had a nice time. As I expected, I was the only TG person there--though the group leader said her partner was FTM, and they had attended Southern Comfort together.

But I knew that Alex, the leader, would not be there this time, as she had RSVP'd "no." In fact, I was only one of three "yes"es, plus there were four "maybe"s. But I was coming with fellow CDI member Madeline, who actually is a vegetarian. As it turned out, it was good that I brought someone, as only one other person showed up. As for the restaurant, it was more of a take-out place. They used to have a few small tables, but they had recently been replaced with a narrow counter around the perimeter--not very conducive to conversation. The food was good, though.

After we finished eating Madeline and I went down to Lips for a drink. We stayed for the show (and watched Jesse Volt try to deal with a very sullen customer). By then I was very tired, after what I had done the evening (and morning) before. So we called it a night.

FRIDAY, 12/9: I had an afternoon doctor's appointment for my quarterly check-up (my bone scan was improved, except for my wrists--he wants me to add hand weight exercises to my recumbent bicycle/rowing machine usage. And I got a flu shot.)

In the evening my wife and I went to a performance of the New Amsterdam Singers. A friend of ours is a member, and we go to a lot of their concerts. This was their best I've heard. Called "Voices Alone--A Century of A Cappella Classics," it included the Mass in G Minor by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Even though some of the pieces were recent, all of the music was melodic. We got there early, and sat in the front row, where we could distinguish the individual voices. The soloists were very good--some have beautiful voices. After the concert we returned home with another couple we know (she sings in a different chorus) for dessert and coffee. It was a very enjoyable evening.

SATURDAY, 12/10: After a quick Japanese dinner we went to the New York Philharmonic. Before the concert we went to a coffee and cookies reception with a few of the orchestra members. We were invited as "Friends" of the Philharmonic, i.e. we made a significant donation beyond the cost of our subscription. It was held backstage, in what is really the orchestra's lounge. In fact, Principal Violist Cynthia Phelps (who still looks very much like the California high school cheerleader that she used to be) was in the corner wearing jeans, having Chinese food with her children--she hadn't known the room was going to be used for the reception. We had a nice conversation with Erik Ralske, one of the orchestra's French horn players. He told us about how new members of the orchestra are chosen, and what exactly the principal hornist does.

After about a half hour there, we were escorted through the orchestra's executive offices to the main lobby. We checked our coats (where the extremely handsome but somewhat befuddled coat checker gave me $30 change for the $20 bill I used to pay our $9 total. I had him correct it.), and went upstairs. The concert was conducted by Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, who certainly cuts a distinguished figure, as a 70-something conductor should. After two orchestral excerpts from Wagner, they played Camille Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 2, with Andre Watts as soloist. Watts has fully recovered from his cervical disc problems of last year, as well as the burst blood vessel in his brain in 2002. I've never heard him play better, and I've been enjoying his playing since I first heard him when I was in college nearly 40 years ago. The final selection was a pair of suites from Manuel de Falla's ballet El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat).

I enjoyed all of the music very much. The Wagner excerpts (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Tristan und Isolde) were quite familiar, as was the Saint-Saëns, particularly the second movement. The Falla work was new to me, as far as I can remember, but I liked it very much. Frübeck led it all with great energy, and the orchestra obviously liked him also--they refused to stand with him to receive the audience's ovation, letting him get all the applause.

We went out and reclaimed our coats--where the still-handsome but still-befuddled coatchecker confused the bag and coat check numbers and tried to give my wife someone else's coat.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


"The awe and dread with which the untutored savage contemplates his mother-in-law are amongst the most familiar facts of anthropology."