Privacy has been on my mind a lot lately. I have an open book policy when it comes to my life. (Obviously or I wouldn’t have a blog) I realize that not everyone is as forthcoming as I am though. For example, a couple people have made it a point to tell me that that they don’t want their pictures featured on the Gay Gasp. I don’t blame them at all for the request and I totally respect their privacy. In each case I had not intended to do so, but better to be safe then sorry on their part. However, one thing everyone should know is that I try to be as considerate as possible when selecting pictures. If the post is about friendship, past memories, and anything generally G rated, I tend to use my own discretion. When it comes to any X rated content, I only use what I find on the internet. (90% coming from Tumblr) I almost never post a picture someone has sent me privately. The only times I’ve done so is for Joe’s Spank Me Time Local Edition. In each instance I’ve asked the person privately for their permission before posting anything.
I constantly hear people complain about bad drivers but I never see anything written about good driving habits. What is a bad driver? More importantly, what is a good driver? I suspect if you were to start the conversation with a group of your friends, you’d quickly find that everyone has a different idea of how to drive. I wouldn’t consider myself a road warrior, but I’m as good an expert as anyone. The best general advise I can give is to be aware of and considerate of other drivers. However there are also some specific situations that need addressing. All of these tips are meant for normal driving conditions. (Gridlock traffic and congestion is a entirely different animal)
Use your signal lights: If you take anything away from this post, please let it be this: Please use your signals! That includes any lane changes. I’ll repeat that incase you missed it; use your signal when you change lanes, merge onto the highway, or make a turn. A lot of people forget that other drivers don’t know where you’re going or what you’re thinking. For example, lets say you are the first in line in the left lane at a very busy intersection. Your plan is to turn left, so when the light turns green you flick on your signal light as a courtesy to the cars behind you. Even though you used your signal, you’re still an asshole. It would have been much better to put on your signal as soon as you pulled up to the red light. That way as other cars approached they can choose accordingly. They can choose to wait behind you through several green lights while you try and cross over 3 lanes of traffic or they can choose to get in the right lane and bypass the congestion. Use your signal light!
Pay attention to the cars around you. Why is it that cars love to drive in your blind spot? Especially when you are trying to change lanes. You may have you’re signal on but they can’t see it because of their unique position. I know they don’t do it on purpose, it’s just a case of being blissfully unaware of their surroundings. It’s still annoying. It may sound like common sense but use extra caution in parking lots whether you’re backing out or traveling up and down parking lanes. I work in insurance and you’d be shocked at how many claims come in from minor parking lot fender benders.
Tailgating. We’ve all been tailgated and it sucks. Additionally, we’ve all screamed “Get outta the way!” while being stuck behind a slow mover. There are two different tailgating situations: on an open highway and in congested traffic. Like I said earlier, road etiquette in traffic is different beast. Being tailgated in congested traffic has no easy remedy. If you’re exceptionally nice you can try and move over to let them pass but that’s being a better person that I have the strength for. However, if you’re in the left lane cruising down the open road with no one in front of you for miles but a line a 10 cars behind you…take the hint. You’re driving too slow and it’s your fault you’re being tailgated. Conversely, don’t get mad when you cut over to the right lane and get stuck behind a slow moving Buick.
Get out of the way if you don’t know the way. I’m a bad driver when I don’t know where I’m going and I think that’s true for most people. By the way, having a GPS does not mean you know where you’re going. So the next time you’re driving in a new city be extra nice. Wait until the road is completely clear before you pull out and pull over when needed to let locals pass by. No one likes getting stuck behind out-of-towners.
My car, my rules. If you ride in my car be prepared that I don’t wear a seat belt. Save your breath lecturing me. I know I’ll get pulled over, get a ticket, get arrested and die someday in a crash. I know! If you don’t like it then get the fuck out of my car. When I’m a passenger in someone else’s car I’ll wear my seat belt if that’s their preference. Their car, their rules.
Lets pick up where I left off. My high school years where generally uneventful. My survival strategy was to keep my head down and blend in. As I stated before although I was not out I didn’t try and put on a false facade of pussy loving either. Therefore, I am proud to say I am 100% Gold Star Gay, I’ve never kissed, cuddled or fucked a girl. Being gay and single didn’t stop me from going to prom though. I went to a Catholic school so they had a lot of random rules about a lot of random things. One of those rules was that no student was allowed to attend prom alone and forget about taking someone of the same sex. I would’ve like to go alone but instead did the next best thing and took my fag hag’s best friend. I was however going to go to the prom on my terms. I wore a classic navy pinstripe suit with sneakers and a gold polka dot bow tie while dancing my ass off all night long. On the day of graduation, the keynote speaker was alumni and Waterbury mayor Philip Giordano. Later during an investigation into the mayors finances, the feds discovered he had been paying a local prostitute to bring her two children to the mayors office so he could molest them. Yes, Waterbury’s finest graduated from my high school. The other famous alumni was impeached Gov. John Rowland. Score!
Picking a college was relatively easy for me. I wanted a school that was large and outside of Connecticut. When my sister mentioned that she had heard about UMass’ gay residential program it sealed the deal. In the Fall of 2000 I started my freshmen year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst living on the 2 in 20 Floor. UMass has many niche residential programs including and international building, a quiet floor, and an all girls floor. I wanted to live on the ‘gay’ floor because I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone. It was a wonderfully unique experience living with 50 other LGBTQQA students. We had a co-ed bathroom designed so to help Trans students feel more comfortable and a lounge that was expertly painted with pictures of gay cartoon characters. There were drag queens in the bathroom and lesbians fighting down the hall. It was truly a family atmosphere full of love and hate.
When I started college I was a virgin. In fact I hadn’t even had my first kiss yet. Then came the internet… It was a time when Napster was at it’s height and Gay.com chat rooms were all the rage.
I completely blame the internet for my path toward sex and sin!
Ha! Kidding. More appropriately, I wanted to find sex and sin and did it through the internet. This was also when I had my first boyfriend. His name was Matt and he such a nice guy. I had never had someone be interested in me before so the whole experience was sort of strange. Not strange in a bad way, but it was uncharted territory for me. The territory was so uncharted that it was 5 years until I dated someone else. Alas, we broke up after about a month but continued to be friends. College was a great time in my life that I will always look back on with fond memories. However, when graduation day came I was totally ready to leave and move on to the next chapter.
A funny side story about meeting guys online. I used to have a history of long drawn out crushes on guys I’d never spoken to or met. When I first signed up for Bear411 (around 2002) I came across the profile of the hottest guy I had ever seen. We chatted once briefly but he was several hours away in New London, Connecticut. I didn’t even know where that was at the time. Years went by and I never forgot his picture or his smile. I always thought of him as ‘that hot guy from New London.’ (I’m horrible with names) As fate would have it, five years later I was at a local restaurant in Middletown Connecticut when he walked in. Again, I thought to myself “OMG it’s that hot guy.” I was introduced and reminded that his name was Justin. It sounds cliche’ but everything does happen for a reason. He is now one of my very best friends in the world and to think it started with a little stalking 10 years ago on Bear411.
That little restaurant called Tommy’s was where I met the key people I now consider my dearest friends. It’s also the point in my life when I became the Joe you know and love. Although I may moan and groan about Tommy’s, I am also very grateful to Frank and Stan for bringing people together. It made a huge difference in a crossroads moment in my life.
This feels like a natural stopping point. Especially because to tell the story of Tommy’s is an entire blog post on it’s own. 🙂
A walk down memory lane
Clockwise from left: (1) My very first roommate Brad half naked on Halloween. He was Hawaiian from Oregon and always bought magnum condoms. (2) An average Friday night of hair dying on the 2 in 20 Floor. (3) The UMass Drag Ball. (4) Me circa 2003-2004
My 31st Birthday is just about 2 weeks away.
I was born in Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut at around 2 am. I have one sister who is 4 years older. I tend to have a terrific long term memory although my short term memory is shit. My childhood was happy, unfortunately happy childhood’s do not make for interesting blog posts so I’ll give you the general highlights. I grew up in the East Mountain section of Waterbury Connecticut. We moved once when I was about 6 however our new house was/is walking distance down the road from the old house. I remember once of the neighbors had a Scottish Terrier named Scottie (not the most original name on earth) who would trot up and down the street so all the kids could pet him. The summer after 1st grade we went to Disney World on vacation and I got to meet my favorite movie princess Cinderella. The highlight of my summer came when she kissed me on the cheek.
As I said, we moved (See blog post ‘Sweet Home Waterbury’) down the road to a brand new house. My mother even let me pick out the carpet in my new room. I chose a nice navy blue color. If you can believe it, my childhood bedroom was decorated in a baseball theme complete with a wallpaper boarder circling the room with various players in various poses. Once school started I followed my sister to St. Mary School. My parents believe in God and go to church but I would consider them (or our family) as being a very religious. My enrollment in Catholic schools had more to do with a lack of quality public education then a deep religious belief. I remember walking up the two neighborhood hills to the bus stop. Often of the way to the bus I would practice my runway walk. (Yes I’m serious)
My early school years were pleasant and uneventful. All of my friend tended to be girls because I never had anything in common with the boys. As I got older and went through puberty I quickly realized I liked boys instead of girls and later came out to my parents in 7th grade. Like most swishy little gay kids I was picked on. I had been picked on to some extent my whole life. In kindergarten I got called a girl because it was before we knew the word gay. In 7th and 8th grade the popular guys would try to hit on me as a joke hoping I would fall for the prank and admit I liked them. I remember sitting in front of Al in 8th grade Spanish as he rubbed my ass with his feet on the back of my chair to the laughter of his friends. I was lucky enough that even at the age of 13 I was able to recognize the odd homo-erotic subtext of it all. But you have to remember, it was a Catholic school after all. These same boys also ridiculed anyone who wore corduroy pants because they honestly believed rubbing thighs would start a fire. I rolled my eyes a lot, even then. At this point I should make one thing clear. Yes I was picked on a child but I don’t think I was singled out any more then the other kids. Children are cunts and everyone gets a shot at one point or another. I sympathize with kids today in the age of the internet because they have it a lot tougher then I did. It does get better.
In 8th grade I had to choose which high school to attend. Holy Cross or Sacred Heart. My sister had chosen Holy Cross although 85% of my classmates were headed to Sacred Heart. After nine years with this bunch I was ready for a change so I became a Holy Cross Crusader. I loved high school because it was easy. By then most of the name calling and bullying tapered off. Many of my classmates really didn’t give a shit either way so I was able to fly under the radar. They were more concerned with getting drunk on the weekend. I wasn’t out in school but I never pretended to be straight either. I knew if I pretended to like girls the general consensus would be “Really dude, you’ve got to be kidding?” So I stuck to being neutral while wearing metallic blue Doc Martens and participating as little as possible in gym class. Still to this day I barely understand the rules of football. Once during my sophomore year I tried growing long hair. Once it reached ear length I accepted how truly heinous it looked.
Stay tuned for Part 2 which continues High school into college 🙂
Starting from the top:
Mitt Romney chose Ryan Paul (R Wisconsin) as his VP running mate.
Michael Phelps is staring in Louis Vuitton’s new add campaign. I’m normally not a fan of LV but the add looks great.
Miley Cyrus chopped her hair off and died it blond. Thumbs up! Now if she could only fall off the face of the earth.
Corey Feldman wore a shear shirt. I honestly didn’t know he was still alive.
Happy 54th Birthday Madonna
Sanya Richards-Ross wore large Chanel earrings and flowing hair while running her first race of the 2012 Olympics. Sanya, you know the way to may heart.
Mark Summers and Myam Bialik were both in serious car accidents this past week. (separate accidents) Bialik blogged that she will be fine however she suffered a serious hand injury. Summers was quoted as saying the accident “whipped out half his face.”
1. A bear paw has five ‘fingers’ and a dog paw has 4. Pay attention the next time you’re buying bear paraphernalia (or getting a tattoo). I’ve noticed mistakes.
2. I’m over the big bushy hipster beard. Trim that shit.
3. Don’t be a Facebook Lurker. A lurker is someone who’s always on Facebook but never posts anything. They may hit the ‘like’ button or check in every once and a while but the last real status update was in April. Lurkers are a waste of space that feed off of other people’s lives. I understand if work is particularly busy or if you are away on vacation but there is no excuse for consistent lack participation over a long period of time. Lurkers are useless. If you don’t want people to know you’re business get the fuck off Facebook.