Negative Capability

(If Mean People Suck) Nice People Burn

Negative Capability

(If Mean People Suck) Nice People Burn

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I Am A Gay Homosexual

I was originally going to call this piece “I Am Stan’s Dog,” but I realized that people without cable wouldn’t get the reference at all. Then I realized is I used the name I did, people who know the reference will still get it, and those without cable will miss out twice, because: 1) they don’t know who Stan is and 2) they will think I am making some kind of anti-gay slur. If it works two ways, that’s how I like it. Which I guess would make me bisexual, which is, trust me, the best segue possible. It actually works three ways, because a gay homosexual would actually be straight, since it’s a double negative. And if there is ever an opportunity for me to be doubly negative, you can bet your ass I’ll be there.

Ever since I was a little kid people tended to think I was gay. It wasn’t because I enjoyed fellating the other boys but because I wasn’t into sports or cars. As I entered my teenage years and began dating girls, most people figured that I was just sensitive or into new-wave, but hetero all the way. There were always people who called me a faggot or made fun of the way that I dressed, but to be honest, those weren’t really the people I was doing it for. I never got beat up because people thought I was gay, though once I did get threatened. I took care of things myself that one time, and trust me, there’s nothing a macho asshole finds more permanently scarring than a faggot breaking their nose in front of their friends. That’s another story, coming in a future issue.

I really like Asians and gay people. As a result of my life experiences I feel that most Asians are honorable, sincere and intelligent. They’re not great drivers, but take the good with the bad. Sure, that’s a stereotype, but the main reasons stereotypes exist is because quite often they’re unfortunate truths. People say the hardcore Jews (you know, the Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox) are rude, cheap and smelly. Damn straight, pal. Who cares about their totally stupid religious beliefs? Who wants a join a club where everyone is cheap and smelly? You’d have to be chosen for the position, I think. I think Chow Yun-Fat is a great actor, even outside of his action films. I love Pizzicato Five a whole lot and a bunch. Sanrio makes tons of stuff that is so cute! Twilight of the Cockroaches is a million times better than anything America has ever done with live action mixed with animation. And Akira, Lensman, Appleseed, Battle of the Planets and lots of other anime are some of the many reasons I think American animation sucks.

And as for gay people, it’s really simple. In real life, most lesbians are angry, hairy and repulsive, but hey, in the videos I have, they are really friendly, very horny and they have really nice breast implants. I like them a whole lot. And gay guys have always been awesome to me. Some of them find me attractive and I can’t get enough of that, baby. Most of the ones I meet are sweet, honest, funny and very in touch with themselves, which I really dig. I admire their political strength, most of them are better educated than the general population and I never worry that they’ll riot if their team doesn’t win a medal at the Gay Games. The Gay Pride parade and the Halloween parade are always a hoot. The only thing I don’t like is anyone shoving their sexuality in my face. This goes even more so for breeders. I don’t like it when any couples grope each other in public. It’s selfish, it’s vile and in most places, it’s a crime. I’m also not a fan of the really tight shorts that gay guys are so fond of, but you know what? Let ’em fucking do it. Let ’em do whatever the hell they want. I understand wanting to check out everyone else’s equipment. J. likes to look at the crotches of creepy old guys all the time, because, as she puts it, “you want to see what’s going on.”

Everyone’s related to someone gay, except me, I think. I’ve been to family reunions a few times and I’m the only person there that people think is gay. I think everyone should just worry about themselves and leave everyone else alone. And those religious fucks that harass gays should be set on fire in their sleep. There’s a total fucking asshole who actually has the domain name “” with all kinds of info about how to hate gays, cheer for AIDS and generally be a total fuck. Sure, I hate lots and lots of things, but I never hate anything defenseless and I never hate anyone who doesn’t really deserve it. I hate people and companies and institutions that hurt others, especially innocents. Fuck the church. Fuck the state. Fuck them in their eye sockets.

The turning point in my development came when I was fourteen, I suppose. For some reason, the other guys in my school all started to grow sideburns a little longer than normal. They looked like people on Star Trek, with little points next to their ears. I thought it was a stupid, empty trend, so I did what I thought was the opposite: I shaved my hair near my ears even higher than normal, to make a sort of anti-sideburn. A few days later my step-monster told me that I had to sit down for a talk with her and my father. They sat together in judgment on the couch while I stood in front of them. My step-monster did all the talking because the whole speech was her idea. She said that “they” thought my anti-sideburns looked terrible and said I had to let my hair grow back to the way it was. My dad shrugged, like he had tried to stick up for me but lost the argument. This was a precedent-setting event, because up until then my step-monster had no say about what I did or how I looked. At the time I understood why it had come down like this—my father had been undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer for almost a year and was in no position to put up a fight over something as trivial as my hair.

Instead of following orders, on my way home from school the next day I stopped at a store and bought some gel for my hair. I think the first hairstyle I chose was like Alan Wilder’s from Depeche Mode circa Construction Time Again. After I went to that style, I refused to get my hair cut by anyone. My step-monster began waging a war with me over my hair, and since my hair is still quite pointy some fifteen years later, I think I’ve won. Because of my choices in music and clothes and my selected hairstyle, many people throughout high school continued in the long tradition of assuming that I was gay. I still dated girls, went to the prom and talked about sex often. None of my friends thought I was gay but there are assholes in every school who feel the need to bother other people for being different. I am not saying I am a martyr or a victim at all. I could have changed my haircut to something normal-looking any time I wanted to, but I never wanted to change. I like pissing people off, which I am sure comes a huge surprise to you, my friend.

The truth is, I’m not now nor have I ever been gay. In fact, by the time you read this I will be married to a beautiful, brilliant, hysterically funny, sweet, caring, successful woman who has made me happier than anything else in my stupid, empty, pointless life.

Before I tell you about her, I feel that I must admit something that may be shameful, but I have never been too interested in maintaining illusions about myself, because it takes too much effort. I won’t ever dispute an illusion someone has about me that gives me an unfair advantage, I need any edge I can get. Except steroids. So, my admission is this: I find Val Kilmer in Top Secret and Real Genius, along with Mike Edwards, lead singer of Jesus Jones, very attractive. I don’t think I want to have sex with them, if only because anal sex doesn’t interest me all that much, and lord knows, I don’t like anyone enough to catch. So, I suppose getting head from either of them might not be awful, and kissing them might even be pleasant. Sadly, both of these people are no longer the ones I found attractive. Val Kilmer now strikes me as a vain, arrogant asshole. And I haven’t seen Mike Edwards in years, but I think the thing I found attractive was his exuberance, if that makes any sense at all. He was nice to look at as well, but it was my perception of him as a person that I liked.

In NegCap #1 I talked about the monkeys in my life because I thought it might help soften the way I come across to a reader who has no idea how I speak, or what I really mean. The new audiozine that Peter and I made (Misfit Toys, which is advertised on pg. 18) will certainly help because if you “hear” this story the way I mean it, you will enjoy this story a whole lot more. I also sincerely believe that it will be more honest and realistic to give an idea of what the other side of my personality is like. I spend more time as the nice person than the angry person, but let me tell you, the angry one is a shitload funnier than Mr. Nice Fuck. That pussy has no fucking idea what’s important and would waste my dwindling assets to print a fucking poem about a little stuffed cow and his bear friend. Oooh, Polly Prissypants wants to share his gay little poem with a table full of tea-drinking monkeys! There, my second South Park reference as a reward to those of you who have cable.

Now I’d like to share the story of how I went from being an isolated, frustrated, hostile prick to the lovely human being you admire right this second.

Her name is J. She is very small and has natural red hair, like a little ladybug. Like a Jbug. If we have children, they will be babybugs. With any luck at all they will suppress my genes whenever possible. Diluted Jøsh might still sting your eyes, with any luck at all. I have acid for blood, like the good guys in the Alien movies.

In the summer of 1994 I was living on 30th Avenue in the Sunset district of San Francisco. I think it is an amazingly cool place to live because almost every night, huge, voluminous mounds of fog roll in from the Pacific Ocean (which marks the western edge of the area) and blanket the area in cool, tactile vapor. I had two roommates, a woman named Jamie who owned her own DJ business, and Jason, a masterful techno (heck, no!) DJ who went by the name Surge, as in surge protector. We all shared a two-bedroom house with a little backyard and a garage.

At the time, I was going to the University of San Francisco trying to get a Master’s in Writing and working full-time. It was not hard to do both because the classes only ran on Wednesday nights. I worked every day from 3pm-11pm except Wednesdays, when I had class, and Saturdays, when I cleaned, did laundry and ran errands. As you can imagine, I had no time for a social life. I worked at an answering service where most people I spent my nights with were uneducated social misfits who worked the phones because they would have scared children with their appearance. Because of the hours I worked, at the end of the day I had no desire to socialize with anyone. I guess I could have dated someone from the writing program at USF, but unfortunately I was the youngest person there by quite a few years. There were only twenty-eight people in the whole program and most of them were male, married, untalented or over forty. Besides, I think two writers together as a couple would end up either competing or hurting each other. No thanks.

Like most other pathetic, lonely people, I spent most of my time in my room by myself. I wasn’t doing any drugs at the time, just because I didn’t have any. So my normal schedule was getting up at noon, watching The Kids in the Hall and Short Attention Span Theater, getting some food, going to work until after 11pm and then coming home to watch some more TV by myself. For my birthday the year before, my brother got me the single cheapest modem available. It was one of those clearance items that all the catalog companies advertise. My brother also sent me a floppy for America Online so I could sign up and earn him a free month of service. After I got hooked up with AOL, I signed on almost every night to talk to other people who were up as late as I was. It was actually fun for me because I am very quick on my feet and I have lots to say.

For the first few weeks I went to the chat rooms that were related to dating but I found all the people sad and desperate. Then I started hanging out in weird rooms like “Pet Lovers” and “Hairy Bears for Same.” It took me a while to pick up on the lingo, but once I mastered it, it was a blast talking to other people in a strange new online language.

The rooms that were the most fun for me were the gay rooms and the trivia rooms. Most of the gay guys that I met there were really fun people and most of the trivia people had memorized just as much useless shit as I had. It really helped keep me stable because outside of work (with braindead losers) and school (with self-indulgent, middle-aged failures) it was impossible for me to find people I could relate to.

One night, while hanging out in the “Truth or Dare” room I was lecturing everyone on grammar (again). Most of the people really hated me because I did my best to say something mean to everyone I didn’t like. In the middle of telling everyone how pathetic it was for them to be on AOL at two in the morning playing Truth or Dare with pock-marked, balding shut-ins from Wisconsin, some fucking loudmouth bitch had the nerve to say to me, “If everyone playing this game is such a pathetic loser, what does that make you?”

I sat there for a minute wondering why someone who had been watching my attacks would be so stupid as to attack me personally. I wrote back, “I have an excuse—I work long hours and this is my only free time.”

She told me that I was just as pathetic as everyone else in the room and if I had something so great to offer the room, I should stop criticizing everyone and think of a good Truth or Dare question. She had me. Right at that moment. One person stood up among the retards, spoke the truth, got my attention and earned my respect forever.

At the time my screenname of choice was LetThemDie and she was JH11306. She IMed me to ask who the “them” were (see “OCD? NOT ME!” on pg. 7) and I said that it wasn’t anyone specific. She asked, “If you want them to die, how can you not even know who ‘they’ are?” “I dunno,” was my lame reply. I told her my name was Jøsh, she said she was J.

We continued talking that night, and she never made any grammatical mistakes. Even my sister, who is a teacher, just learned the your/you’re thing a year ago and still doesn’t always get it right. But J was very smart and she challenged me on so many small points that I realized I had met my match. Instead of trying to fight or make a point, I decided that she could be on my team. And we didn’t even have to be against anyone, we could just say that we stood together for the same things.

We e-mailed and chatted online pretty regularly after that first meeting and then we exchanged phone numbers. I didn’t consider her a possible girlfriend for a few reasons: 1) she’s five years younger than me and I think I’m too smart for people my own age; 2) she was living in southern California, I was living in San Francisco; 3) everyone online is ugly, stupid, acne-scarred, morbidly obese or all of the above. I realized that since I was none of the things on that list, it was possible that J wasn’t either. She e-mailed me a jpeg where she was drinking a wine cooler in bed with some guy. I thought that was pretty funny. I sent her a picture of Lurky and said he was the only person allowed to share my bed. She thought that was weird but funny.

Once we got over the difficult parts of talking on the phone, we became really good friends. From time to time we’d call each other to go meet up online on a mission to fuck with other people. Sometimes we would act like we were meeting for the first time in front of everyone and make them think we were making a love connection. We’d pretend to be incestuous siblings, father and daughter and even two gay guys having a spat in a chat room. It kept me happy and interested for so many long nights. Once J had come into my life, I had something to look forward to besides school and work. She never ceased to amaze and impress me with her sparkling wit and natural intelligence.

In October of 1994 I was three months out of grad school. I had been sending out resumes to real companies for six months already and I was getting no takers. It was really demoralizing. J said that I should be able to find a job because she thought I was smart and a talented writer. There is nothing you can say to me that is nicer than that I’m a good writer. I don’t think everything I do is perfect, I just know that I am talented and I’m worlds better than almost every other writer I’ve ever read.

After another month of sustained rejection by the job market, I decided that I’d had enough. I was still working this shitty, go-nowhere answering service job that was totally bumming me out. Luckily for me I got fired, hard, which forced my hand. In my mad scramble to find work elsewhere I realized that I had absolutely nothing in San Francisco worth staying for. I was becoming more and more isolated and frustrated with my life. J was the only thing that made me happy, but I figured that I could keep chatting with her on AOL.

When I told her that I was going to move back to New York, she agreed that it would be best for me, but she was bummed out because it would be more difficult to remain close. I told her that she was welcome to come visit me any time she wanted because I’d still be around for a few weeks. Despite my warnings that I might occasionally be unpleasant, selfish and moody, she decided to come anyway. I doubt I’d ever let my 20-year-old daughter go visit some wacky misanthrope she’d met online, but her parents were never really into setting limits with her. They were right to trust in her judgment because I’m basically harmless.

When she got off the plane she was wearing overalls and a backpack and smiled when she recognized me. I refused to take off my sunglasses because it was too sunny. I also hate the fact that strangers feel that I’m approachable because I’m not. The glasses are supposed to be a barrier between me and the rest of the world but they don’t work nearly often enough. No, pal, I don’t know the time and even if I did, I would never tell you, you fuckwad.

We drove back to my house and listened to some tapes and talked about everything we had talked about online. We went out for dinner, I took her to see some sights and we had a nice time. There was no love connection and to be honest, neither of us was really looking to make one. We were friends and that’s all we both wanted. We did make out a lot and get into an argument, but hey, that’s what friends are for, right? After a few days we started to fizzle because we didn’t have the crutch of a computer or a phone between us. I put her back on a plane and figured that after a fashion our friendship would resume normally.

It turned out that there was a great deal of miscommunication while we were together because we were both trying so hard to accommodate the other that we never expressed an opinion of our own. That was a problem we resolved on the phone after she got home. We realized that what had happened was kind of stupid and resolved to try it again as soon as possible.

She came up for the weekend again and this time we hit it off very well. We didn’t feel as shy or withdrawn and made an effort to not make so much of an effort. Once we had relaxed, we clicked together. I was charmed by her slight California accent, she was weirded out by my pet rats. Luckily for both of us, the junkie had sent me some E and I convinced J to take it. Whatever ice was left was not just broken, it was shattered, and after that night we both felt like a relationship was coming together. It certainly helped that J was able to close the deal on our second “date.”

Even though it felt like we had something good together, I knew I was going to be moving home and J was going to return to college in California. I didn’t think a real relationship would be feasible, if only because I’ve been in so many pathetic long distance relationships and they only work if the distance is removed as quickly as possible.
We talked on the phone every day and online every night. I sent her tapes and cards and letters and she sent me pictures and little presents. I could feel us getting closer even as I knew we would end up being apart.

I made final arrangements to drive back to NYC, told everyone I knew that I was leaving and started packing and shipping everything I could. About a week and a half before I was finally scheduled to bail, J called and asked if it was cool if she came up to visit one last time with her friend Kib. I was so flattered and psyched that she was making such an effort to see me before I left, like it actually meant something to her that I was in her life. Until that point, almost everyone else I knew was barely interested in the fact that I was leaving for good. Even my friends back in NYC didn’t seem all that excited to hear that I was coming back. But J knew it was an important time and acted accordingly.

Kib, J and I had a wonderful time hanging out together and I realized that even if I did move all the way across the country, I could try to make it work with her because she had tried so hard to make it work with me. J remembers those last moments in California when we were together much better than I do and she clearly remembers that Kib left us alone in his car so we could kiss goodbye. I remember sitting in my room that night with everything that I owned in the world piled up in boxes. I felt so completely worthless and empty and all the material things in the world offered me no comfort.

My friend Jay and I drove cross-country in my car and I’d call J every night and tell her about all the wonderful “Americans” we’d encountered that day. Even though I never said she was my girlfriend, she was.

Once I moved in with my mom, I settled down and started looking for a real job for the first time in my life. Fresh out of school and full of enthusiasm, it came as no surprise that I couldn’t get a job anywhere. There must be something about me or my resume that makes people think that I can survive without work, without friends and without encouragement. I was sinking into a morass of depression and self-pity. J never gave up hope and kept telling me that I’d find a job soon enough. I like saying that I’m the proud president of the Jbug fan club, but I tell you, when I was getting my ego kicked around the hardcore NYC job market I couldn’t even imagine a time when I’d be happy. That was when J decided that she was going to be president of the Jøsh fan club and she took over in a bloodless coup. The only previous member was me, and I gave up the tiara and scepter without incident.

I told her to come visit me as soon as possible and to stay as long as she wanted. My mom said it was okay, and if J wanted to fly out from L.A. to stay with me knowing that I was living at home, I was more than thrilled to have her. Two days before she arrived I had finally lined up two interviews for the same day. The first was with a temp agency, who said they could help and still have never returned my calls. The second was with a small company that published two trade titles. The owner gave me a typing and writing test, looked up and down at my resume and hired me on the spot. I told him that I couldn’t start right away because I had to get my girlfriend from the airport but I could start the day after that.

A day after I took the job, J basically moved in with me and my family. We learned to share a twin bed, my Acura Integra and our lives. She transferred to NYU to finish college and then we found a nice apartment of our own in the city.

As soon as she moved in with me, we were “living together.” Once we were really together, we never wanted to be apart. When I try to pin down exactly why it is that J is so perfect and so wonderful, I turn into a jabbering retard. It’s worth trying, but please forgive me if it gets awkward.

From the first time I started talking to her, J challenged me in every way. All the things I took for granted about life, she made me appreciate. Every time I worry that I’m getting too angry, she can always calm me down. Whenever I need an objective opinion so I can make a good decision, J is right there for me. There are so many things that I know, but J knows about all kinds of interesting stuff that I know nothing about, from accounting to food to foreign countries. She’s always willing to try new things and is actually capable of being enthusiastic about something just because I like it.

We also have tons of things in common, both hates and loves. We both love the original Winnie the Pooh stories and no matter what the occasion, if gifts are being exchanged, one of them is always Pooh-related. We both really like being in New York and we both really loved being in San Francisco. Even though I used to hate travelling, J has made it fun and worthwhile for me. We both enjoy: relaxing in the penguin house at the Central Park zoo, smoking weed, watching Animal Planet, sleeping late, gambling, Chinese food, HBO, and of course, monkeys! (She even added Max and Kissy, two nice teddy bears, to my monkey family. When she was a kid, they were her lawyer/doctor husband and her baby, respectively.)

I used to be really bored with sex because it just ends up ruining most relationships, but J and I are so comfortable with each other physically that we never worry that we’ll do something wrong. We’re both very conscious of being clean all the time and wash ourselves frequently and since we communicate well, our sex life is just amazing. The two things couples fight about most are sex and money but we fight about important things, like who should answer the phone or who gets to pick the movie to rent.

When it comes to household responsibilities, everything is worked out fairly and we get along famously. We have even established reasonable ground rules for arguments that we actually stick to almost 25% of the time! Even when we’re incredibly pissed off at each other, we never think that we should find someone else. I just have to make a sincere and loving effort to make her fucking behave like I want her to. Just kidding. She’s no pushover and she’s one of the only people smart enough to actually argue the facts with me successfully.

J is the first woman I’ve ever met who feels as passionately about things as I do. When she was growing up people thought she was sick and evil for saying hateful things, but I always encourage her. One of the most amazing things about her is that she seems all sweet and innocent, but I swear, she has more sick and disturbing thoughts than I do. For example, we were just walking down the street a few weeks ago and this woman was walking toward us wearing this incredibly ugly, pretentious hat. J leaned in to her as we passed and almost shouted, “Damn, that’s an ugly hat!” I didn’t realize she wasn’t talking to me, she was saying it to the hat lady. I was so shocked that I started laughing. I might think things like that all day, but she’ll say things out loud. Actually, I do say stuff to people sometimes, but that’s probably why we get on so well together.

We complement each other very well. She gets skeeved out by all kinds of stuff, but I don’t mind getting dirty. I have no patience to cook a meal, I’d be happy eating everything out of a bag or a take-out container, but J loves to cook and more than anything else she loves to watch shows about cooking on TV. J is not good with appliances, plumbing or any kind of household repairs and I can fix almost anything. I am a total retard when it comes to understanding financial markets, investments or even the world of business and J kicks so much ass in this area it’s scary. We also have this weird thing where we instinctively care for each other right when we need it most. When things are going hideously for both of us and she can’t take it anymore, I’m strong and comforting. And when one of the rats dies, she can’t take care of the remains and I always find the strength to handle it. But if I start crying when I’m done, she’ll stop being upset and take care of me.

The other day I was totally frustrated and blocked up with the zine, bummed out about looking for a job, pissed off about some shit that had happened to me and ready to scream from the fucking heat. She came home with some presents, a wonderful smile and a bugfull of enthusiasm. Fifteen minutes later I was deliriously happy. And I know she could do it again any time I get bummed out in the future.

When she’s been working twelve hours in a day, I’ll take care of the laundry and dishes, make sure the house looks nice, go rent a movie and make sure her favorite Chinese menu is right by the phone. When she’s getting a little tense, I make sure she gets some extra-special attention that night. When she can’t sleep, I’ll get her a pill and a glass of water.

One of the many reasons that I love J is because she has an openness and a curiosity that’s refreshing. She’s bitter and cynical, to be sure, but she is so full of joy that it lightens my spirit just writing this. I swear, right this very second, I’ve got one of those “retarded guy discovers masturbation while on nitrous” smiles on my face, and I cannot stop. You know how, when you find the woman you’re supposed to be with, everything tastes better? I got that. You know how when you’re in love you never worry about what the future will bring? I got that. You know that feeling you get when you’re a kid and the world is full of love, and everything is safe and nothing bad could ever happen to you? I got that in spades. You know how you feel when you’re comfortable in your own home and no one can take that away from you? Wherever she is, that’s my home, that’s where I belong. I tell you, she’s the only reliable, consistent, wonderful, supportive person in my entire life and I know I’d be a total wreck if she wasn’t my wife.

You know what else? When I was worried about dropping my life savings to print NC1, she told me that I was doing the right thing every step of the way. When I gave her stuff to proof, she laughed out loud and couldn’t stop saying how happy she was for me. Whenever I got bogged down in the dull details of publishing, she would lift me up. And now that I’m finishing up this issue and I’m not 100% sure I’ll have the money to do it right, she’s told me that she’ll make sure it happens.

She’s one of the few people I know who can always make me laugh. Sometimes she’ll say something so sick and wrong that it’s shockingly funny. It’s sometimes a little scary how she always knows exactly how to cross the line of good taste to make me hysterical. And she does it all the time, and I love her for it.

More than all of that, though, is the way she feels about me. I mean, she could probably write fifty pages about all the things about me that she loves, and of course I can’t get enough of that kind of talk. But besides that, she thinks I’m a great man. I don’t think so, but because she does, I actually strive to live up to her opinion of me. I work very hard so that she will always believe in her heart that I’m the best person in the whole world and she’s lucky to have me, even if it’s never going to be true. She thinks I’m awesome, I think she’s smart and a good judge of people, so I tend to agree with her when she assesses my strengths.

I’ve been in love before, but never like this. I’ve been happy before, but never for this long. J has a lot of respect for me as a person and because of how I feel about her, I accept her admiration as being genuine. I know lots of others have heaped praise on me for the zine, but J knows which things meant the most to me and has told me that I’ve done something truly amazing. My wife is no fan of zines, in fact, she thinks most people involved with zines are sad and boring. But she thinks that this thing you’re holding is not just a zine—it’s the agonized cry of a brilliant and misunderstood person. She gives me more credit than I probably deserve, but hey, who am I to argue with someone so smart?

The few times we’ve been apart were really torture because she is so sweet and so funny and so full of joy that I feel like a stupid, angry, empty monster whenever she’s gone. That’s the best I can do to tell you why she’s the best fucking thing in the whole fucking world. J is everything to me, without her there’d be no zine, no hope, no future and I don’t want to think about life without her anymore. I’m done with relationship turmoil. I’m set for life.

Here’s where it’s going to get gay. But I’m proud to be this gay, in this way. I don’t have to take some faggy dance lessons or write poems to prove my love, I’ve got original ideas. In September of 1997 I decided that, after three years of being together, we should get engaged. I never mentioned it to J because I wanted it to be a surprise. We had talked about it for a long time and I must have mock-proposed to her a thousand times, so I knew what her answer would be.

My wonderful grandmother Mor-Mor (Swedish for mother’s mother, and Mor-Far is mother’s father, in case you care) was kind enough to give me one of her diamonds, since I was working part-time and didn’t have much money, and my mom was kind and generous enough to help me finance a platinum ring like J wanted. Once the ring was done, I got to work on the proposal. I didn’t want to just go to some fancy restaurant or bar and just pop the question. I wanted that moment of recognition and realization to be as long as possible, I wanted to prolong J’s pleasure, like I always do in bed. I had this idea for the proposal and I think the best way to present it to have you experience it the way J did.

The weekend of Valentine’s Day I told J I had a present for her, but it was a present that you do, not a present you get. That was mysterious enough to get her wondering what I was talking about. I told her that we would have to get up a little early for the thing I was taking her to and even though it was a Sunday, she agreed to get up.

I took her by taxi to The Screening Room, which is a combination nice restaurant and indie movie theater. We had talked about doing their brunch/movie package a few times but knew neither of us would be able to get up just for breakfast and a movie. When we got there the restaurant was empty so we were seated right away. We enjoyed french toast, fresh fruit, champagne, juice and coffee and J was delighted to be there. I told her the movie was going to be Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a movie neither of us had ever seen but had always heard good things about. I figured that if Hannibal from The A-Team was in it, it couldn’t be all bad.

After breakfast we sat in the cafe drinking coffee and waited for them to let us into the movie. Finally, someone came and let us into the theater, which was totally empty, for a reason. In the back of the theater was a man with a slide projector loaded up and ready to go. The lights went down and the first slide came up.

The slide was a picture of J as a baby, sitting in the sink, which served as a bathtub. Then came a picture of me with my first love, my dog, Sam. Then came a picture of J as a young girl on the deck of a cruise ship. J looked at me and then looked back the screen. She thought that the cruise company was using her picture in an advertisement without her permission and she was shocked and confused. Then she read what I wrote.

The second slide clicked in and she saw a picture where she was looking into the mirror, wondering when she would get boobs, and she laughed. She wasn’t sure what was happening but she was starting to get misty. Then came a picture from my Bar Mitzvah where I wondered when I might find love. I was getting all tingly because my plan was working so perfectly.

The third slide came up and J immediately realized where this was going. She saw a picture of me from college and then dressed as Adam Ant for Halloween. Then she saw a picture where she was posing with a giant prom date, and then another picture where she had braids and she started crying.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the ring as the fourth slide came up. The slide was a picture of me, smiling, asking her to marry me. She said yes and kissed me. I’ve never been happier and I know that with her in my life, I’ll be happy for the rest of my days.

I’d tell you how I did it, but that would ruin the mystery, right?

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I had to take out all pictures of my wife and remove her name so as not to impede her professional career. She loves me and is very supportive of this zine and the least I can do is not fuck up her life by having her name associated with my rantings.

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