It's my party ...
As my birthday approaches, my best friend, Adam, decides to throw me a party. It will be his thanks for forcing him to stalk the hot guy who is now his boyfriend of over a year.
But when I pull up to Adam's house on the big day, I remember the terrifying last time someone threw me a birthday party. Sweet 16. I had just started consorting with the gays, I was 15 going on 16, and worst of all ... it was 1988.
My birthday was nearly over and I hadn't gotten so much as a slice of cake. Mom must be planning a surprise party! I told myself. When my stepfather took me on a silly errand I knew I was right. My mind raced. How would she know who to invite? At school I was the nerdy, poor kid with a perverted sense of humor. I wasn't particularly hated, but I wasn't particularly liked. I was just there.
We get back to the house and I open the door: "Surprise!" The place is decorated. There's a cake. There's a present. And there's a person. One. One person showed up to my surprise 16th birthday party.
And I don't even know him very well.
It's Chris. He's a New Waver. Trendy haircut. Imported clothes. Duran Duran's biggest fan. I always feel incredibly uncool around him; therefore he's my role model. We both love Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys. (Yeah, he came out a couple years later.)
Chris and I sit at a table set for 20. Bless her heart, my mother makes the best of it. She puts in one of my cassettes and cranks up the volume. Of course it's the most embarrassing tape I own, "Weird Al" Yankovic's Dare to Be Stupid. It's not even a store-bought tape; it's one of those dubs where you hold a microphone to the speaker and press RECORD. We're poor. As "Girls Just Want to Have Lunch" warbles, Chris says he could have brought some CDs. "We'd need a CD player first." Could this be any more humiliating?
Chris says while they were waiting, he and my morn called people they were sure I was friends with. No one was home, but they left messages. At least everyone knows.
Everyone in the world.
I quietly cry all night long. I can't wait to move out! I can't wait to leave high school! I hate my life. I can't wait to be a full-time gay! The next day at school, everyone who got a desperate message offers excuses and condolences. Most of them can't hide their laughter. I guess it is pretty damn funny when it happens to someone else.
Now a full-time gay, I head into Adam's house. It's decked out, Angie Stone is thumping on the MP3 player, and the place is packed. Here are all those wonderful gay and lesbian friends I dreamed about. Look! There are even a few heteros, for old time's sake.
I tell the story and we all laugh at that nerdy, gay 16-year-old crying in his pillow. It's weird, but the complete opposite emotions move me to tears again. I'm finally having the 16th birthday I always wanted. A good party will cure any trauma.
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|Title Annotation:||HELL IN A HANDBASKET; gay celebrates birthday|
|Author:||Brocka, Q. Allan|
|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Date:||Mar 28, 2006|
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