Sunday, September 23, 2007

You haven't lived until ...

... you've sung the National Anthem as an out ’n’ proud gay man in front of 40,000 screaming baseball fans. This was the fourth National Anthem at the Cubs for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, and our performance this year was even better than the first three because 1) the brand-new seating that cantilevers over the the entrance we always use (labeled "Gate Q," which I mention here for no particular reason) created a nice shady place for us to wait until we were marched onto the field, 2) our artistic director fleshed out his already rockin' arrangement of the National Anthem with some lush new harmonies and some soaring vocal fireworks at the end and 3) our last few notes were drowned out by a roaring MILITARY FLYOVER that sent everyone in the stadium into a patriotic frenzy of screaming, cheering and voter registration renewing. (Unfortunately, there was no patriotic frenzy of televising us, so as far as you know, this whole post is one elaborate lie.)

... you've been personally picketed by Fred "Gay Buttsex" Phelps and his gang of we're-not-gay gay-buttsex-obsessed witnesses for Christ. A sad little contingent of Fred's peeps dragged their discount fashions and their sparkly, rainbow-festooned God Hates Fags signs all the way to the big city to convert the Cubs fans to their cute little religion on Saturday. But the Cubs security detail walled them off on some obscure street corner, so we didn't get a chance to cross paths with their cocksuckery ministry. The CGMC artistic director read part of the group's barely-English ("the abominable, ao (sic) called Chicago Gay Men's Chorus") press release out loud at rehearsal Sunday night. Its third-grader logic and its Ann Coulter vocabulary tempered its underlying hatred for us, but its declaration that we are "appropriately known as Chicago's Anal-Copulating Caterwaulers" drew some whoops and cheers. But not in the way Fred probably hoped—though most likely in the way Fred secretly fantasizes when he's alone with his Jergens and his fishnets.'ve changed clothes in the Wrigley Field men's room. Matthew and I were not interested in watching the game in our black-and-white monkey suits, so we brought a change of clothes into the stadium with us after we sang. We figured the bathrooms on the ground floor—the fabled trough rooms lined with men peeing elbow-to-elbow in a tribute to urination efficiency—would be a weird place for two guys whose outfits announced to the whole stadium "Hey! We're gay! We just sang for you! In matching outfits!" to strip down to our name-brand underpants. So we climbed to the top tier where we figured the bathrooms would be 1) less populated and 2) less covered in pee. We had to sweet-talk a guard who wasn't about to let us up without top-tier tickets (alliteration runs rampant!), but she agreed that the steerage bathrooms weren't the place for two half-naked gay singers and she scooted us up to the fancy bathrooms so we could complete our transformation in relative privacy. But even the floors in the first-class loo still seemed like they were covered in pee.

... as a person who officially couldn't care less, you've pleaded with an 8-year-old to enjoy watching the Cubs kick butt. My brother-in-law is a Dodgers fan. So my nephew has decided he has to be a Dodgers fan as well. But his little 8-year-old world is still pretty black-and-white, which means he'd be committing a patriarchal betrayal on the magnitude of Greek tragedy if he—just for a moment—made some outward sign of happiness, approval or even basic organic function in the face of the Cubs' 9-5 whopping of the Pirates on Saturday. So sullen he sat (alliteration runs rampant!) while his Cubs-neutral uncle very conspicuously jumped up and cheered and clapped and sang about Cracker Jack for three hours next to him.'ve killed a man with your bare hands. Or so I hear.'ve spent a weekend playing provider for the most important people in your world. My folks, my sister, and my niece and nephew came to Chicago to hear me sing and to hang out with Justin and me for the weekend. (My brother-in-law stayed home to tile and grout their new kitchen floor, which sounds like it could be a total Cubs-hating cop-out, but having just finished my own kitchen renovation I totally understand his need to stay on schedule and his burning desire to get the damn thing done.) And when my family wasn't enjoying their day at Wrigley Field on our dime, they were eating our food and sitting on our furniture and using our towels and sleeping safely and soundly in our beds ... and I just can't think of a more satisfying feeling than having everyone I love under our care for a whole weekend.

... you've watched your niece and nephew play happily with your fiancé (and vice versa). I'm getting everything I've ever wanted out of my relationship with Justin: a best friend, a happy home, a life of endless giggles and snuggles and Law & Order reruns ... and now the realization of all my extended-family domestic fantasies. Just as his family and his nieces have embraced me as one of their own, my family and my niece and nephew see him as a part of us. Amid all the meals and conversations and jokes we shared this weekend, we even got a bonus round: Justin's family stopped by so the adults could all meet each other and the kids could all play together and if I hadn't been so busy putting fruit garnishes on dessert options, I might have thought about how happy I was and burst into tears right there in front of everyone. Thank goodness my hand-sliced strawberry fans kept my runaway emotions in check.

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