December 28, 2011

Reasons You Should Go To A Dive Bar

The bathroom at The Old Pink
My senior year of college, I was tired of trying to convince my best friend Ally that the guy she was dating was gay. We would joke about it, but sometimes it would turn into a fight, so I came up with a solution.

"Alright, enough is enough. Let's make a little bet. If he comes out as homosexual before 2021, ten years exactly from today, then you owe me dinner and drinks. If he remains in the closet, uh, I mean, if he is not gay, then I owe you. Deal?"

Long story short - she accepted the deal and ended up owing me dinner. While I suppose it's not nice to bet on a persons sexual orientation, one must also consider that a recession is a recession, and eating out is expensive. And eating out is gross, but I digress.

I arrived to Buffalo from Los Angeles a few days ago for a holiday visit and already, it has been an awesome time with family and friends. When I met up with Ally, she said, "Ok, name the restaurant and let's go! Tonight is on me; wherever you wanna go and whatever you wanna do."

When I told her The Old Pink, an Allentown neighborhood dive bar that serves the best steak sandwiches that I have ever tasted, she was a little taken aback, but stepped on the gas and said, "let's roll girl."

We went, had a blast, enjoyed the music, talked with the laid-back staff and other bar dwellers, and discussed what a lot of people were missing out on by never going to a dive bar.  In college - or more specifically, my time spent in Los Angeles - many individuals would raise their nose at so-called "trashy dive bars," which in my opinion, is where I have met many interesting, intelligent, and outgoing people over the years.

I've always believed that if people think they are better than certain places or cities, than one is usually better off not getting to know them. While forming new friendships in Buffalo while a student at Canisius, I always knew what relationships would last and which would not the moment they walked through the door of The Old Pink.

"Ally, I deleted this number and think
he's an old fuck buddy. Oh well, let's get
another drink.
And ironically, the first dive bar in the country was established in ... you guessed it, Buffalo, New York in the early 1870s. The bar, Dugs Dive, located near the Erie Canal, was underground and patrons were quoted as saying one had to "take a 'dive down to the towpath level to enter Dug's" - thus giving birth to the well known stereotype of a 'dive being a bad or seedy bar. During the same time, this area was known as the most dangerous square mile in the entire world. Yeah, Buffalo boys and gals have been, and always will be, bad ass motherfuckers.

So -- grab a flannel, drink some cheap vodka, call your friends, and head out for an awesome night with some cool people. Also, make sure to read my review of The Old Pink Steak Sandwich that I wrote in college and learn a bit more about Dugs Dive.

December 24, 2011

The Book Left Behind

The sky was three shades of red,
While the sea had went down,

No water was in sight,
My parents had said it was pointless to leave,
So we grabbed some supplies,

Made our way up the hill,
And watched the world come to a close.

What is that?
I asked my father,
Who pulled a piece of metal,
Wrapped in cloth,
From the bag he carried on his left shoulder.

It's what we leave behind,
He said,
And he tossed me a metal pick.

Who knows,
He went on,
If others will cross this path in the future,
So I found a place over there in the cave,
A place behind the rocks,

Far below the surface,
Where we can leave these.

How silly,
I thought,
Of course no one will find these,
Close to everyone is gone,
And we will be gone, too,

Within a day or so.

The first born is to be killed,
I scribed,
And the feet of the second child,
If a girl,
Are never to touch the ground.

The third,
If born,
Must be the last,
And if any more children are had,
The parents are to be sentenced to death.

I laughed,
Being my last muse and all,
And gave my father my piece of metal,
Which took over two hours to scribe.

Can I read it?
He asked,
And I told him it was personal,
And that it was meant for those in the future,
Or humanoids,
Or someone,
Some community,
That could understand what I wrote.

I understood what I wrote,
But then I was gone,
And in that same spot,
Maybe a couple hundred yards from where my father buried it,
Maybe a couple thousand years later,
A father and son stumbled across what I wrote,
Ironically, the only thing left behind,
And once again,
The world would never be the same.

December 23, 2011

Back To Buffalo For The Holidays

This homo is going back homo for the holidays -- and I couldn't be more excited.  Having lived in Los Angeles since graduation in May, I have not been back to Buffalo in over seven months. As many of you know, my obsession for my rust belt city back east runs deep. While shopping at the Beverly Center for presents this past week, I was on the top floor and decided to check out the view; of course, being seven or eight stories tall, the view was beyond amazing.  Downtown Los Angeles to my right, the Hollywood sign off to the side, and cool landmarks, beautiful houses, and movie studios in between.  At that moment, it made me realize that L.A. is a place that inspires me, troubles me, and influences me as a writer, much like Buffalo did during my youth and in college.

I'll be in Buffalo the 26th to the 3rd -- yes, the day after Christmas. And yes, I do not care that I am missing Christmas day. I'm not religious and to me, my entire visit will be what Christmas is supposed to be about; spending time with family, friends, and let's be serious, the occasional fuck buddy from college. Christmas day, I'll be spending time with friends I've made in Los Angeles and I could not be more excited. This past Thanksgiving, which I spent with a friend and a dozen strangers at an amazing house in West Hollywood, was probably one of the best holidays I've had. It did not turn out to be the emotional whirlwind I thought it would be, since it was the first holiday I was away from home. Well, actually, it did get a little emotional, but that was only after I had 3 shots at Thanksgiving dinner, oooops ....

This all brings me to my next point; stop being a pussy. Yeah, I said it. Use this new year to do what you want. Stop thinking, "what if," and stop making me write cliche articles like this to urge those of us in Generation Y to follow their dreams or to take a few chances. Fuck, I'm not an expert, but doing what you love and taking that (crazy) risk is well worth it; if not, you are back to where you started, and in my opinion, even better off.

When I moved to Los Angeles I had no friends. Honestly, it took me close to three months to make even one friend; that's not an LA thing, it's a life thing. Stop using that as an excuse. In retrospect, it was a great learning experience and pushed me to explore the city, become more outgoing and social, and drove me to understand that people aren't kicking down your door the minute you move to meet you. 

Save your Christmas money, return your busted ass gifts for cash, sell shit on Craigslist, file your tax return early, and start putting money into a little nest egg that will help you get you where you want to go. I love hearing from friends and blog readers that they love the shit I'm doing, but in all honestly, I would love for them to do the same.

Happy Holidays! This post got a little sidetracked, but if you see me in Buffalo, buy your boy a drink! Also, please note that I have not stayed at my mothers house for more than two days since my freshman year of college, so this should be quite the interesting visit. Further, find out what Bars You Can Find Me At during my stay in Buffalo, New York.

December 22, 2011

Everything Happens For A Reason, Right?

You know,
I had a really great date,

It was such an awesome night,
And I'm so glad he asked me out.
Everything happens for a reason, right?

Hey, this really sucks man,

But did you hear I lost twenty bucks?
Oh well, everything happens for a reason, right?

I met a new friend the other day,
As we both hailed a cab in Hollywood,
See, I'm glad I listened to you,

Everything happens for a reason, right?

That girl who dropped out of high school,

I heard she was killed,
You sat next to her in science class,
Our third year there,
I think,
But before she was killed,
She was raped.

Everything happens for a reason, right?

Speaking of,

Did you watch the news the other day?
I was thinking the whole time,
Damn, not another shooting,
But, everything happens for a reason, right?

Poor guy got shot right in the neck,
And guess what?

He was about to leave ten minutes before,
But his wife called,
And told him she was bringing some lunch.
Everything happens for a reason, right?

No, cause now, I think that things just happen.

But, it wasn't lunch.

The reporter said she was pregnant,
She just found out,
And she probably thought while leaving the doctors,
Everything happen for a reason, right?

She did,

But not anymore.

Things don't happen for a reason,
And of course,

I don't think there is a plan.
But, you do, right?

December 20, 2011

Reasons LGBT People Should Visit Buffalo

As a gay writer living in Los Angeles, I often reminisce about Buffalo, New York, which is my hometown back east.  Ironically nicknamed "The Queen City," the metropolitan area is known for its large and active lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population.  Growing up, many individuals – gay and straight – would often be surprised with my devoted love and admiration for a medium-sized, rust belt city that is supposedly downtrodden and boring.  However, over the past few years, I have come to conclude that the biggest Buffalo naysayers have either never visited or have never moved away.

Here are my reasons why LGBT people should visit Buffalo.

Low Cost
– I’m not sure that economists would agree with me, but there are a few perks of living in or visiting one of the poorest and impoverished cities in the United States.  The hard earned money of your sugar daddy, uh, I mean your money, will go a long way in Western New York, especially if you are looking for a fun and exciting night on the town.  The average drink prices in Buffalo are around $4.00 while larger cities, like Los Angeles, typically charge upwards of $15.00 at popular bars or clubs.  In bigger cities, I often leave my drink unattended for long periods of time in the hopes of getting roofied and having an inexpensive night out.  You know, sometimes that awkward moment of waking up in an alley – or worse, Jersey City – is well worth the money you saved by not buying drinks all night.

– Unlike our big sister, New York City, Buffalo is a place known for its laid back, outgoing, and easy going mentality. This comes in handy when you are exploring the city and surrounding places – such as Niagara Falls or the many parks and recreational areas.  For me, the friendliness factor is a huge plus in the gay bars and clubs; places that, sometimes, are portrayed as cold and disconnected.  Sure, I’m usually smitten and end up sleeping with any guy that even smiles at me, which is why I had a pretty active sex life with attending college in Buffalo, but when one is one vacation, the population of any city will really make or break your visit.  Buffalo, also nicknamed “The City of Good Neighbors,” is a unique place where one visits and feels instantly accepted – no matter ones sexuality or gender identity.

Nightlife – Having lived in Los Angeles for close to seven months and as I been to a variety of large cities, such as New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, and Toronto, I can honestly conclude that the nightlife of Buffalo is on par with larger cities.  One perk, for other alcoholics like myself, is that the bars close at 4AM, which in other words, means closer to 5AM.  Also, unlike most cities, the drinks aren’t measured – one of the first things I learned in college after I got my fake I.D. was that the tightness of your V-neck and how nice you are coincide with how strong your drinks will be.  For you picky gays, this will also give you an extra two or three hours to scope out your options for a one night stand – but be careful – because you are still in a drinking city with a sports problem, and after a long night on the town, your perception and morals get blurred.

There are many other reasons to visit Buffalo, New York, and I have only touched upon a few.  In a nut shell, it’s an educated, liberal college town with lots of art, culture, and amazing food.  In addition, New York of course is the most recent state to allow same-sex marriage, which is a big pull for LGBT families and couples looking to get married.  If you couldn’t tell from this article, I may or may not enjoy a few drinks every now and then, so make sure to check out my review of the Best Bars of Buffalo, Five Signs I No Longer Live In Buffalo, and Reasons You Should Have Sex With Someone From Buffalo.

A Fairy Tale Which Explains Homosexuality To Kids

As I head back to Buffalo for the holidays, I spoke with my older sister a few weeks ago about how I wanted to explain in simple terms that I am part of the LGBT community to her kids. 

People are often at odds at when and how to inform kids about gay relationships, but as I get older and my male partners will start to visit with me during my trips back east, I think it's healthy and informative to allow children to understand that human relationships are unique, complex, and varrying in many different ways.  

Here is a small short story I wrote which I hope will help others that have felt stuck in this area - it's what I will be reading to my niece and nephew during my trip back east. And please share with others; if you have kids of your own, please take a moment to read it to them and take a progressive approach at allowing your children to be accepting and in touch with gay love and relationships, as for their generation, it will be a thing of normalcy.

Why Aiden Felt Different by Jeffrey Hartinger

Once upon a time, there was a outgoing youngster named Aiden, a boy from Boston whose life was in shambles when his very Irish parents decided to move very far from his hometown to a very weird city in Southern California; Los Angeles. 

His father, Mick, along with his mother, Regan, and his three sisters and five brothers relocated on a very snowy day on the east coast, but when they arrived to California by plane six hours later, the sun was out from hiding and people were going to and fro with dark skin and short shorts and long hair.

Being 14-years-old, Aiden usually felt out of place, even in Boston, where he had many friends and was popular in school.  Living on the west side of town where his extended family had resided for the past few decades, his neighborhood was a place where his parents friends would walk into his house unannounced and where sunsets would be a community event shared over food and drinks and laughter.

During the first few weeks following his move to Los Angeles, Aiden felt disconnected from many of his peers and his siblings; sure, he was a little different, with reddish-brown hair, dark green eyes, and pale skin, but there was something else that he couldn't quite put his finger on. He assumed it was his inability to adjust, but one day, on a shopping trip with his mother to Santa Monica, Aiden felt a weird feeling in his stomach when he spotted two men on the beach.

They were holding hands.

Aiden stopped and watched the two men. Next to them, there was a little boy and little girl, and as they made their way closer to the boardwalk, they stopped and had a tourist take their picture. His mother noticed Aiden watching the group and told him it wasn't nice to stare.

"Mom, why are those guys holding hands?" Aiden asked.

"Well, because they are in a relationship, just like your father and I. Honestly, all couples are not like daddy and I, either. Sometimes there are two guys, sometimes there are two girls, sometimes there is a black person and a white person, and so on," said his mother. "But no matter the situation, the important thing about any relationship is that it should be healthy, happy, and that you stay true to yourself. Remember that buddy."

And that Aiden did. As time moved forward, he became more outgoing and active, just as he was in Boston. Over the years, it was clear to Aiden that he wanted to spend his life with someone who was also a boy. Aiden had boyfriends, played sports, went away to college, and while at school, he met the man the would become his husband.

One night, he called his mother from New York City, where he had been living for the five years following graduation, and told her the news.

"Mom, I have something to tell you.  Kyle asked me to marry him. I said yes," said Aiden.

His mother was very excited for her son; she would wish nothing more then happiness and security for her youngest child. The next year, Aiden and Kyle were married, and they relocated to Boston, where they both lived happily ever after.
Some of my short stories for adults:
The Friend Of Leon
The Day Before

December 19, 2011

NOH8 Campaign Third Anniversary Event

During the few hours that I was at the House of Blues in West Hollywood for the NOH8 Campaign third anniversary event last week, my mind would wander from time to time; even though it was a fun and interesting party filled with entertainment, celebrities, and an open bar, the atmosphere had a significant impact on me as a younger, gay man from the east coast.

Growing up in the liberal Western New York City of Buffalo, my childhood and early adulthood was spent as progressive LGBT legislation and gay-marriage laws were passed in the neighboring states and cities.  I am well aware that gay-marriage is only legal in a few states, but I had never lived in an area where one was banned from marrying.  To an extent, it made me feel sick and anxious, but it was also motivation for me to become involved in the movement.

Throughout my time spent at Canisius College, I spent a majority of my time advocating for the rights of others; not just those within the LGBT community.  A liberal and accepting institution, my alma mater is also Roman Catholic, so to some extent, there were many roadblocks and limitations on activism that I could do on campus, particularity in association with Unity, which is the gay-straight alliance.  Many friends and members of the club would often exclaim, “This is bullshit” or “why is event going to be an issue?” I, of course, would agree, but looking back on the past few years, the situations I encountered were probably more beneficial than I could have hoped.

As I walked around the event, it was beautiful to see the hundreds of photographs that were displayed; and these were just a handful compared to the 18,000 that were taken over the course of three years.  Towards the end of the night, celebrities had the opportunity to go on stage and have their photograph taken by Adam Bouska, which was interesting to witness with the flashing lights, powerful fan, and dramatic poses; at the end of each session, Adam would hug the individual and they talk for a bit, after the iconic grey tape was removed, of course.

It was also amazing to see people my age and younger in the crowd, including the singer Rebecca Black, who caught slack a few months ago for her outrageous music video and, according to some, her inability to sing.  For those of my generation, we are at a weird brink in history when it comes to gay rights; we are so overwhelmingly accepting and progressive, yet there are still countless barriers and roadblocks that many people are unaware of. It's one thing to be accepting, but it’s another to demand equal rights for all individuals.

A friend of mine was in town for business a few weeks ago and was staying with me.  We grabbed dinner on her final night in Los Angeles and started talking about our future.  She asked if I wanted to have kids.

“Yeah, probably three or four at least.  It depends how many my husband and I want to have or adopt.”

“Oh, really?  So, you like, want it all?”

It made me think.  Yeah, I suppose I do want it all, but who doesn’t?  Who doesn’t want a family and some kids and a decent house … I, unlike most, draw the line at the white picket fence in the suburbs.  I’m not that crazy.

For me, gay marriage is something that I know will be granted to all Americans in the next decade or so.  In a way, I’m grateful and hopeful, but then again, what about all those gay men and women who can’t have it now?  After graduating from college in May, I moved to Los Angeles to intern for The Advocate. During my time there, gay marriage was passed in my home state of New York; I was beyond happy and one of the first things that crossed my mind was Yes, I can finally get married in my hometown of Buffalo if I wanted!

But, then it had me a little upset – why should I get excited that I am ALLOWED to get married in the place where I grew up and went to college and made friends and built the foundation of my life?

As I left the event, I looked around at the diverse mix of people. It made me realize that a social movement is influential and successful only when it has a wide appeal and support from a combination of individuals; not just those within the minority that is being suppressed or celebrity endorsements.  The “NOH8” mark on ones face may smudge and the pictures may fade, but three years later, the campaign, I believe, is mere months away at obtaining the goal they set out to accomplish : marriage equality in the state of California and beyond.

Make sure you to support global marriage equality and learn why LGBT People Must Come Out in order for full acceptance to come.

December 18, 2011

Go Get Tested For HIV / AIDS

"Your brother is concerned that you are an alcoholic slut," my mother said nonchalantly as I answered my cell phone.

"He's been reading your articles."

"Excuse me? Hello to you, too."

"Jeffrey. Let's be honest. How many days can you go without drinking your little box of wine or hooking up with someone? I can't believe you covered yourself in Franzia boxes and posted the picture online."

"First of all, that picture was beautiful, in addition for making my pecs look good. Second, not that it's any of your business, I haven't had sex in two years. Well, five months, but that didn't count." I replied.

The conversation fizzled off and into normal mother and son topics, such as my upcoming week-long visit to Buffalo during the holidays, which will most likely give me enough writing material for the rest of my life.

A few days later, I called her and we talked about a more serious topic, which involved getting tested for HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Of course, when I do have sex, it's protected, but any sexually active person should make testing a routine part of their health regimen.

As I walked into the clinic in West Hollywood, a few things went through my head.  The first was a flashback to my sophomore year in college when I was tested for the first time. As I had caught my boyfriend cheating on me a few days before and I was depressed and anxious, this wasn't a highlight of my college career, needless to say.

I then started to think of the stigma of HIV/AIDS in association with gay males. I knew I had been safe over the past few months while living in Los Angeles, and in all honestly, a majority of my sexual encounters have been very conservative, although I have been known to give advice on topics such as Four Reasons To Be A Slut and Why You Should Have Sex On The First Date.

After getting all my results back negative, it put me at ease, although I knew in my head that there was little chance I could have contracted anything since I never partake in risky behavior.

The one time I gave that stray possum a blowjob in an alley near my apartment, I even demanded that he wore a condom in fear of getting rabies. Just kidding; this article couldn't be completely serious, you know?

My hour or two at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center really put things into further perspective for me; not as a gay male, but simply as a sexually active member of Generation Y.

Many years ago, on June 5, 1981, the Center for Disease Control reported a cluster of gay men in this city who tested positive for the HIV / AIDs virus. Although over 30 years has passed and much progress has been made, those in our generation must understand that the worst may be over, but if we live carelessly and with no sexual health decorum, it wouldn't be surprising if the past repeated itself. Sometimes, history does that.

And sure, especially for those in the LGBT community, it may be scary or intimidating to walk into an office and get your test results for the first time.  But do you know what's scarier?  Living your life and being uninformed of your personal health.

Make sure to stay safe and get tested.  Make an appointment, as they are fast, informative, and in the most cases, free.  Also, please take a moment to learn about Blood Donation and the LGBT Community.

December 12, 2011

Los Angeles Rain

It was six months ago,
When I packed up my luggage,
Some photographs,
My east coast memories,
And headed west.
Am I now a cliché?
Because everyone heads to California,
With a goal,
And a little cash,
Hoping to evolve along the way.
I’m not the first,
And I sure as hell won’t be the last,
Cause as I sit in this gloomy coffee shop,
It’s not the everlasting L.A. sun that gives me hope,
But the rain.
I’ve been here long enough now,
For which I understand how it works,
And it’s rained twice since I moved here,
I’m not sure it will again before I head to Seattle.
The southern California vibe is complex,
As is the sun that sneaks in as I type,
But I’m not going to let the rain bother me,
Cause when it comes down to it,
It’s the rain,
That makes everything shitty,
So the next few months can be beautiful.
If you are interested in reading some more of my poetry, please click on the titles below:

December 11, 2011

My Obsession With Wine

My obsession with wine started at a very young age.  As for the exact age, that actually depends on who you ask, too.  I am borderline convinced that I was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, but my mother has argued otherwise, so I have taken her word for it over the past 22 years.  In third grade, it was her who stumbled upon a couple dozen bags of grapes and instructions regarding fermentation in my closet; a time in my life that I mark as the start of my downward spiral with wine.  A few years later, there was more drama involving me and a closet and let’s just say it didn’t involve grapes.
Wine and I have a love-hate relationship – I love when I open a new bottle and I hate when I finish it.  In college, I stopped into a drug store after cashing a check in order to pick up the essentials for the weekend; condoms, two bags of sour path kids, and face wash. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something very unique and interesting.
“Franzia,” I said quietly, “my sweet little baby.  Why are you in a box?”
5 Liters. $11.99 marked down to $8.99.  SOLD. 
I already had enough wine at my apartment to make a diehard alcoholic black out, but I got nervous and excited and curious at the same time so I passed my fake ID to the worker, bought three boxes, and I was on my merry way.
Over the years, I have been called every name in the book – and even a few more – but nothing gets me more upset than if something says something bad about my second love – boxed wine.  My first love was Cindy Crawford, but after I realized I was gay and couldn’t get a boner, I’ve since moved on.  And further, wine has gotten me laid over the years; and it does not make one difference whatsoever that I was passed out, blacked out, or can’t remember it.
In the next few weeks, I will be writing about my personal experiences with wine; both good and bad.  Some may call me an alcoholic while others may not understand my love and admiration.  But, either way, I want to get a lot of stuff off my chest.  No longer do I want to get caught in the grocery store whispering to grapes again.
“You guys,” I often say, “could have been something.  You could have done something.  You could have been Franzia.”
If you are having an addiction issues with wine - please start being more careful so you don't get sent to rehab. Just kidding. If you are having issues with alcohol, make sure to reach out to a family member or friend and get your life in order, cause life to too short! In addition, please learn about my other obsession : Red Heads.

December 8, 2011

Shots Fired At Virginia Tech

According to the official twitter account of Virginia Tech, which can be followed at @vtnews, "A police officer has been shot. A potential second victim is reported at the Cage lot. Stay indoors. Secure in place."

In addition, the suspect is described as a "white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack." The school says he is on foot towards McComas and that people should call Call 911.

On April 16, 2007, 32 people were killed and 25 wounded during the massacre at the hands of Seung-Hui Cho.

Follow the twitter account of the school for more updates and let's hope for the best.  The students, faculty, staff, and others on campus will be in my thoughts.

Lower Middle-Class Syndrome

While driving in Los Angeles today, I noticed the cars around me in the early morning traffic.  Seeing the various luxury cars had me reminiscing, for some reason, about my upbringing back east.

Growing up as what I consider slightly below middle-class in a rich suburb of a poor city, in my eyes, really put things into a great perspective for me during my youth.  I remember for a period in high school when I had my stick shift car, something broke and I couldn’t afford to get it fixed, so my family and friends literally had to push the car down the street and I had to throw the clutch to get it to start.

It was funny back then, and it’s even funnier now, but I really consider my oftentimes embarrassing upbringing to be a major motivator for a lot of the things I do in life. Also – I miss driving a stick shift; possibly because I’m gay and enjoy jerking a shaft while driving.
Of course this recession is terrible and it is having impacts on almost all families throughout the country.  However, I also believe the United States to be on a slow upswing, and hopefully, I believe the past few years will serve as an example to those of us in Generation Y. 
For a majority of Generation Y, our youth was spent in the 1990’s; a time in American history where it was normal to have 3 or 4 family cars, where you took a few vacations a year, and where you went to the mall with your mom and got whatever the fuck you wanted.

Once we got to high school and college, there seemed to be a downswing and no longer were we given the “luxuries” we came to expect.
Maybe it was the circumstances of my upbringing.  Maybe it is in part to the recession.  Maybe it’s the fact that I come from a blue collar family.  But, I know for one thing; our generation needs to change things.

Yeah, I am often guilty of eating out too much (not girls), putting a little bit too much on my credit card, and buying things I do not need.  Although I do make conscience efforts to curb unneeded spending – but then again – make sure I have fun and enjoy the money I earn.
As more families become part of the middle or lower-middle class, I believe those in our generation will gain perspective.  Have a nice apartment.  Have a reliable car.  Do fun things and spend time with your family and friends, but in one way or another, understand that we must learn from the mistakes of our parents and grandparents.

The older generations are typically prone to talking shit about Generation Y and those younger than us, but in the grand scheme of history, I suppose it will be us that will spend a majority of our lives cleaning up the mess they left us.

December 7, 2011

Why Gays Must Come Out

As my website slowly gains popularity, I often get emails that request more “serious posts,” or at least, subjects that are less provocative or scandalous.  The thing is, the subjects I discuss are serious components of modern society, yet – the perk and downfall of Generation Y is that we, for the most part, don’t wait to sit and get lectured on why gay people should marry or the perils of illegal immigrant.  However, we do enjoy articles about sex tips and relationship advice with social issue commentary woven into the text.  As I’ve stated in the past, I believe comedy to be a universal connector, and for those our age, an important tool for social change and the evolution of beliefs.
As a gay male, a majority of my posts are humorous and do involve the LGBT community; however, for this article, I will be very serious on something that needs to change in the gay community.  It’s not funny.  It’s not lighthearted.  And further, many people will probably be put off by the subject manner – and you should be.
For those of us who live in the United States and other “liberal” parts of the world, it’s finally time for us to stop slowly coaxing people to come out of the closet in regard to their homosexuality.  Earlier today, I watched an awesome speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton that called for the global acceptance of all individuals within the LGBT community.  Well, quite simply, it called for equality for all people – but the emphasis was placed on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people across the globe, as their human rights are overwhelmingly violated.
We do not live in Iraq.  We do not live in Sudan.  We live in America; I consider myself to be one of the most accepting and understanding people – and simply, I am beyond exhausted at older Americans who feel the need to continue to hide in the closet. 
Yes, I said hide
Hiding in the closet is something you do when you are seven and don’t want to be found during hide-n-seek; it is also something you do at 35-years-old when you don’t want people to know the real you.  Sure, there are some circumstances where one should not disclose their homosexuality – such as if it will bring harm or if you could possibly be asked to leave home with no safe place to stay.  But, in the majority, LGBT people need to come out.
It’s not a private matter.  Well, at least in my opinion, it’s not.  How the fuck can you complain about lack of inequality when you are not honest with yourself? How do you expect straight Americans to defend you when you can’t even defend yourself?
This post is not for those of you who are 13 or 14 or around that age who are coming to terms with who you are; you guys and girls are awesome and beautiful and wanted and you will go on to do amazing things with your life.  This post is for established young Americans and those abroad whose worst possibility of coming out of the closet is losing so-called “friends” or family.
Notice, I said so-called, because why would you want to lie to yourself and consider them friends or family if they would cast you aside?  And further, people can surprise you – usually for the better, so don’t underestimate the close relationships in your life.
You owe it to the people in other countries that simply CANNOT come out as homosexual because they, most times, will be sentenced to death or life in prison. The United States of America is not perfect, and we have a long way to go on LGBT equality, but in order for the world to gravitate towards full inclusiveness, we need to make minor sacrifices within our own lives and realize the positive impact it will make on the entire world in the long run.

December 5, 2011

Gay Dating Advice for Gen Y

I was working on book tour stuff at a Koreatown coffee shop in Los Angeles and my mind began to wander.  I decided to take a mental note of my newest obsessions – Asians in flannel, Asians in cardigans, and Asians who drive motorcycles. Then I sent the following text message to my friend Siobhan.
“I was an intern for the oldest gay magazine in the country.  I live in one of the gayest cities.  I have a gay blog.  I am going on a gay book tour.  I am guest writing for the largest gay travel site. I’m single.”
Hmmm. It sounded funnier in my head and less pathetic until I saw the words in front of me.  But, as this is not a perfect world and I cannot daydream about Asians all day, I decided to reminisce about my dating and sex life over the past six months since moving to the City of Angels.
Sure – I’ve had my ups and a few good flings, but along with the good comes the bad, such as : trying to escape out a bathroom window at a restaurant in Silver Lake, texting a blind date after seeing him from afar and telling him that a friend was mugged and beat in Hollywood, and my ill-fated attempt at downloading the gay apps “Grindr” and “Scruff” for my IPhone, for which a dude messaged me the following: “Hey man, can I  suck you dry for my lunch?” 
Some people have no class – and fuck – if I say that, then you REALLY have no class.
I’ve dated gay guys (and supposedly a few straight ones) in Buffalo, a smaller city back east, and Los Angeles, a gay haven for those on the West Coast, and surprisingly, the dating scene is not all that different.  Sure, in LA, I have dated a bunch more and there is more “variety,” but the perks and downfalls of gay dating don’t fade or go away just because one moves to a larger city – which I believe is a myth that many younger gay people often get into their head.
For gay dating, or for that matter - any dating - one must have their “deal breakers.”  And listen up, that is not me saying being picky and superficial, such as “they must be 6’3 with awesome bone structure” or “must drive a BMW or Range Rover.”  Honestly – shit like that is just fucking stupid and not worth it.  However, they are perks.  Anyways, you must have a small list of things that you would never tolerate in a relationship – aspects that are not up for negotiation.
For me, personally, I could never begin a relationship with a man who was not living life as an open homosexual.  I actually ended things with someone here that was an amazing person that I had a great connection with, but by allowing yourself and others to know what your limits are, you safeguard yourself from large heartbreak and miscommunication down the line. And open homosexual, to me, does not mean writing about LGBT rights and such like I do in a public forum, but it does involve having that honest element in one’s life in regard to their family and friends.
Please realize that dating is dating – whether you are gay or straight – and don’t fall into the mentality of, “Oh God, I’m never going to find someone because I am gay” or “I don’t relate to anyone in the gay community,” because if those are your beliefs, you might as well set up yourself for failure.  Date, date, date, and if worse comes to worse, at least you will have a few funny stories.
Please make sure to check out My Perspective On Love in relation to Generation Y.

December 4, 2011

Los Angeles Rush Hour

I listened to the CD you left me,
As I cruised on the 405 to work,
It’s not even that hot out,
And I’m still the only one with the windows down.
It was perfect out today,
And I let my left hand flow through the air,
It’s not as smoggy as they said it would be,
But maybe I just don’t notice that anymore.
I popped it in on the way home,
I sang my heart out during the chorus,
And I missed my exit for Koreatown,
So I just continued to drive on.
I went past Hollywood,
Across West Hollywood,
Into Westwood,
Back up towards Santa Monica,
And that’s where I stopped,
Cause I guess there was nowhere else to go.
But then again,
There were still more places to go,
Just not in my car,
I suppose,
So I parked it a few blocks in,
And made my way to the beach.
I sat for awhile,
On some blanket a tourist left,
But I missed the music,
So I walked back towards the pier,
And back down the road,
Until I got in my car,
Realizing it wasn’t the music that I missed.

My Red Head Phobia

I suppose it all started when I was younger, but my fascination and phobia with red heads hit a peak during college.  I recall sitting in my genetics class sophomore year when my professor said something that caught my attention. “blah blah blah blah …. red heads will become extinct within the next hundred years … blah blah blah.”
I gasped, a little dramatically, and threw my hand into the air.
“Mr. Hartinger. I told you before, if you ask about doing a punnet square again, I’m taking points off your participation,” she said as if she was annoyed.
That was my obsession of the week, which was trying to figure out the eye and hair color combination of my future children if : a ) I was straight and b ) If I fucked a girl with green eyes and blonde hair. 
And further, I should have been the one to be annoyed; she looked like a crossbreed between two Muppets that didn’t quite make the cut for Sesame Street and her voice constantly sounded like she took a bong hit too many and didn’t have a glass of water to compose herself.  In addition, I’m not sure what type of little science experiments went down in the class after I left, but it always smelled as if a sewer rat had a late term abortion that went bad.
“Actually, can you expand on when those people will be extinct?  A tentative date would be helpful.” I said.
She rolled her eyes and mentioned something about recessive traits and shit about evolution.  A few classmates looked at me weird.  They already didn’t like me because I took the class as an elective and was caught more than once looking at their answers during tests.  A female red head from a few rows over gave me a dirty look.  I tried not to look her in the eye in the fear of turning into stone.  Her hair looked as if it was dipped into the blood of a baby.
At that moment, two things went through my mind.  First, to send a potential fuck buddy a nice text message as it was a few days from the weekend.  My second thought was that I needed to get over my fear and animosity of redheads.  Sure, I was friends with a few in high school and college, but that was only for the simple reason of keeping my friends close and my enemies closer.  You can’t trust a red head even if you dye their roots the deepest shade of blonde.  That was my mentality at the time and I was ready to be accepting and progressive.  But – alas – like any phobia, it began in my childhood.
Each summer, my family and I would drive from Buffalo, New York on a cross country road trip to Southern California.  At the time, I was ten-years-old, and like I usually do, I was minding my own business on our day trip to Newport Beach.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of them submerge from the water and make a dash for the beach in my general direction.
As he got closer, I examined him – dark red hair, probably a shade lighter than a lobsters vagina, almost transparent skin that was burned in many areas, light green eyes, and jagged and pointy teeth, which he claimed were still his baby teeth.  I was not buying this shit.
“Stop right there!” I screamed.  “Why do you look like that?”
“Like what?” He said nicely.
“Like a demon.  Where are you from?” I asked.
“Down south,” he responded, “near Atlanta.  Where are you from?”
“Don’t change the subject.  Down south you say?  I never heard of Atlanta, but I have heard of Hell.”
I tried to use painting as a form of therapy.
It didnt work.
I ran to my grandparents, and from that point forward, an irrational fear was instilled in me.  The years went on, and as a budding gay activist during college, I tried to keep my redhead racism under wraps.  After I was informed that red heads were in fact going extinct, I was a little beside myself.  To be honest, I wasn’t for nor against their extinction, but I needed to overcome my phobia so I could tell my great grandchildren that I had made friends or even fucked one of these mythical creatures.
My junior year, at the prompting of my roommate, I joined a dating website.  Every night, I would run into her room and complain how there was such a lack of suitable young gay men in Buffalo.
“Well, Jeff, that’s probably because you have already fucked them, fucked them over, or done both to someone they know,” she said nonchalantly. “Let’s go set up your dating profile.”
The online dating was fun and a few good dates came from it.  One day, I logged on and had a message that I wasn’t expecting.  It was from a redhead named John.  Before I read it, I walked into the bathroom and splashed cold water in my face to calm myself down.  I poured myself a glass of wine and finished it in the kitchen.  Then I made my way back to my bedroom.  I was so nervous that I checked all the locks in the house and wrote a letter entitled “If Dead Or Missing” that I hide under my mattress.
The Red Herring / John : Hey handsome. You are cute.  What’s going on?  I like your profile.
Normal Hair Guy / Me : Hey Red.  Are you naturally red?
The Red Herring / John : Uh, what? Oh God, not another guy that is obsessed with red heads.  What the hell.
Normal Hair Guy / Me: Excuse me?  Don’t flatter yourself.  I’m scared of red heads and had to get drunk to answer you.  Let’s just go on a date so I can get over this fear.  When are you free?
Needless to say, I never heard from him again.
I’m not proud of my past behavior, but people should make a calculated effort to overcome any fear – irrational or not. It’s a work in progress and I would like to thank everyone in advance for their understanding.
If you are red haired, gay, and living in the greater Los Angeles area, I would like you to help me overcome my phobia.  A few things.  First, you will pay for the entire date and will give me $20 on top of that.  If you look like Raggedy Andy, it’s not going to work.  Last but not least.  If you have more than 1,345 freckles on your dick, please do not send me an email.  Everyone has a limit and that is mine.

December 3, 2011

What Is Generation : (WH)Y?

Generation Y is a group in society that should hold the most influence and power in the United States - but at the same time - it is a youth culture that does not act on it. This is the website for our generation; the blog of those who are culturally relevant and who want to enlighten the world.
I started this blog in order to give insight and commentary on modern issues, in addition to running submissions from individuals from Generation Y

From funny to serious, politics to sex advice to race issues, this is the blog for those who have often thought : Why?.
Make sure to become a fan on Facebook and follow me on twitter at BuffaloGuyInNYC- and tell your friends - because a big part of all revolutions just so happens to be word of mouth.

December 2, 2011

The Movie Star

I shut the apartment door,
As my neighbor was coming up the stairs,
Can you talk for a minute,
She asked,
And I opened my door to let her in.
I have a few minutes,
I said,
But I had more than a few,
As I wanted to head to bed.
You know,
She whispered,
I used to be beautiful once,
And when I first arrived,
I lived right down the road,
But over the hill.
She touched her face,
And traced a line from her eye,
Down to the lower part of her neck,
Then grabbed her purse from the floor,
Walking back towards the door.
Did you want to talk about something,
I asked,
I’m not in a rush,
I have a bunch of time.

You do,
And don’t forget that,
And with that,
She was out the door.

December 1, 2011

3 Reasons Why Gays Should Not Marry

Animals – If gays are allowed to marry, then all sorts of crazy is going to happen: people are going to marry dogs, cats, plants, and maybe even a television.  And according to someone from the Michele Bachmann campaign, women will want to marry the Eiffel Tower.  Ok – let’s get a few things “straight.”  First, Michele Bachmann is already married to an animal – Marcus is a pussy. Second, speaking of the Eiffel Tower, that’s the sex act her husband did with two gay clients before they were counseled into being heterosexual.
History – Alright, marriage has ALWAYS been between a man and woman.  Things should not change.  Evolution?  This needs to be ended, too.  Actually, everyone should be dinosaurs.  Yes, that makes sense, since they were the first things on the planet; that’s the way it should be.  Oh, and no gay dinosaurs.  Can you imagine two gay T-Rexes in a cat fight with those little arms?  Not cute.
Children - Kids will have no idea what is going on with two guys or two girls raising them.  As an infant, they will sit in their crib and think, “Oh fuck.  This is weird.  I can’t grasp this.  Two people of the same sex who love me.  Holy shit.  I need drugs to cope. I already don’t want to go to college.  Fuck it; I’ll just become gay, too.”  I’ve also heard of some children that were adopted from China, India, and Africa by gay couples that asked to be returned to the orphanage because they were so outraged.
Of course, this post was meant to be a joke, and ironically, a joke is exactly what the arguments against same-sex marriage happens to be.  It’s not about religion.  It’s not about the norm.  It’s about equality.  Make sure to check out Nine Myths About Gay Men.


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