Our Anniversary

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When people really matter to me, I tend to not make a big deal of them, holding them closer to my heart, and much more quietly. I can make a big hubbub and stink about those who don’t matter, but the ones that do I trust to know enough and not feel slighted. Andy and I have that sort of relationship. It’s not a big bombastic in-your-face show, because it means more than hype and hoopla to us. However, he does have his own category on this site, and I’ve referenced him hundreds of times because he’s a main part of my life, even if I don’t always make a fuss.

Within his category are  number of stories that I’ve written and posted over the years. From the obtaining of a wedding license to a rumination on all that’s happened since the day we met ~ from the wedding ceremony to what being married might really mean ~ from ensuing anniversaries to birthdays in Maine, it’s been a wild and wonderful ride. Here’s to us.

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Fourteen Years Ago…

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Today marks the day when I met Andy for the first time, fourteen years ago. I’ve recounted that enchanted evening in the past, so I won’t reiterate, but it merits repeating that he is the foundation of my world. I thought about it again as I woke from a nightmare the other morning. Like most nightmares, this one was indistinct and confusing, but the one constant was fear. Someone was trying to break into our home, I think, and I went around attempting to determine where the assailant was entering. I couldn’t find any evidence of a break-in, and then a new dreadful possibility settled in: the person was already in the house. I froze, then began frantically searching for Andy, trying to warn him and tell him to leave. At that point I woke up, in a panicked state, feeling around in the dark. It took a moment – one of those terrifying moments where reality hesitated to return, and the dark nightmare lingered a little longer – but then I felt Andy next to me. I was safely in bed, next to my husband. The same relief I’ve felt after awakening from every nightmare washed over me. My breathing slowed. Beside me, Andy’s breathing was steady, calm.  (And just to reassure myself, I woke him gently and asked that he check all the locks the next day.)

That’s what Andy has always been to me: safety and sanctuary. At my darkest moments of despair, when I’m feeling most alone and frightened, he is there, and in that refuge there is love. It’s the one thing that has sustained me over the years – and that love is the thing that has sustained us. Every relationship has its trials and tribulations, and with someone like myself they can be dramatic and difficult, but credit must be given to having withstood the rockier times, and hanging in long enough to establish a deeper resonance, one that grows and feeds itself.

It’s rare to find such a good man, and though I don’t often show it, I’ve come to realize how fortunate I am to have Andy in my life. There aren’t many people I can so completely and wholly trust. There aren’t many people who would so fiercely protect and care for me. There aren’t many people who would so love me. I’m a very lucky guy.

Happy Anniversary, Drew.

 

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A Summer Song

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Some days, especially hot ones, should require no more than a quick glance at the computer screen. I’ll make it easy for you – and for me – and just supply this summery Enya song. It was used in an Iced Tea commercial I think, and Iced Tea always reminds me of summer days spent in air-conditioned quiet, watching the NBC soap operas and lazily waiting for the night to come.

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Hunk of the Day: Timor Steffens

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For some reason, it’s always a dicey affair when Madonna begins dating a guy. For every Jesus Luz, there is a Warren Beatty. This time around, she’s rumored to be seeing Hunk of the Day Timor Steffens. My jury’s still out on how hot this guy is – I’m honestly undecided. It’s the same thing that happened with her last boy-toy, Brahmin Zaibat. In some photos he was stirringly sexy, in others I wondered what she was thinking. For now, she gets the benefit of the doubt because, after all, she’s Madonna.

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A Summer Frag

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Our anniversary snuck up on us this year, so I barely have time to make a last-minute gift idea, but if my husband is reading this I’d like to direct his attention to a reasonable request found in the local Sephora. This is ‘L’Eau d’ Issey Pour Homme Yuzu’ by Issey Miyake. About a third the price of a Tom Ford Private Blend, this is more in keeping with our budget these days, and more in line with an anniversary that falls in a quieter way.

I tried it on a few weeks ago, and was going to pick up a bottle when I was in Boston last, but the Prudential Center Sephora was sold out of it. I’m not saying that folks in Boston have better taste than those in the Capital District, but Colonie Center still has it in supply. Just saying.

As for its scent, this one owes its origins and opening notes to the yuzu – an Asian citrus that formed the basis of a summer party we threw a couple of years ago. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a summer that’s still fresh.

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Hunk of the Day: Jack Laugher

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While the world may swoon over Tom Daley (of which this site is largely guilty) there are other British divers that fill out their Speedos just as well, such as Jack Laugher, the Hunk of the Day. In addition to his fun name, there are his perky assets – just keep scrolling down to see them. Forget the Olympics, the real contest is between Laugher and Daley in the Speedo department. Who do you think wins that battle?

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It’s July, and this Recap is Hot, hot, hot!

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Let the temperatures soar and the recap begin! We’re gearing up for some summer traditions – such as our anniversary this week – and some new twists as well, like my new baby (news and pics of that coming shortly). In the meantime, a look back at an average, and therefore perfect, week in mid-summer.

A reunion with my pal Kira made for a fine weekend in Boston, highlighted by her very first performance of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (whose reinvention was reason alone for me to attend too.)

As had happened with George Michael, Ricky Martin, and Anderson Cooper, I was the last one to believe that Ian Thorpe was gay (and, quite frankly, I’d never even heard those rumors.) Well, it turned out he was playing for my team all this time, and recently came out, so he was honored with the ultimate glory – a crowning as Hunk of the Day.

The unheralded yet stalwart hosta was a reminder that consistent perfection is rarely if ever honored.

My turn as a spandex-bound gay disco hero, which is all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Grilling something that apparently serves as a home under the sea.

The Madonna Timeline will be back, and until then we wait in joyful suspense.

The Hunks were hotter than ever, thanks to the likes of Todd Finlay (who is one of the three colorfully-clad SPeedo guys in the featured pics here), current touring Phantom Cooper Grodin, writer J.W. Harvey, and male models Sung Jin Park, Bryan Thomas, and Andre Hamann.

One more naked Michael Phelps shot.

Finally, how’s this for homoerotic: Zac Efron and Bear Grylls, going down together. Literally – and on video.

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Hunk of the Day: André Hamann

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Forget the World Cup, one of the best things Germany has done is give birth to the Hunk of the Day, André Hamann. Rather than espousing upon his obvious attributes in my silly words, let’s have a few quotes from a much more masterful word-worker, Nathaniel Hawthorne in ‘The Marble Faun.’ They pertain to Mr. Hamann, and any beautiful man or woman for that matter. They also tell us a bit about art, and beauty, and humanity. The conundrum is that Mr. Hawthorne seems decidedly undecided as to which is more powerful. See for yourself…

Nature needed, and still needs, this beautiful creature, standing betwixt man and animal, sympathizing with each, comprehending the speech of either race, and interpreting the whole existence of one to the other. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

It was difficult to make out the character of this young man. So full of animal life as he was, so joyous in his deportment, so handsome, so physically well-developed, he made no impression of incompleteness, of maimed or stinted nature. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

And, in truth, while our friend smiled at these wild fables, he sighed, in the same breath, to think how the once genial earth produces, in every successive generation, fewer flowers than used to gladden the preceding ones. Not that the modes and seeming possibilities of human enjoyment are rarer, in our refined and softened era, (on the contrary, they never before were nearly so abundant,) but that mankind are getting so far beyond the childhood of their race, that they scorn to be happy any longer. A simple and joyous character can find no place for itself among the sage and sombre figures that would put his unsophisticated cheerfulness to shame. The entire system of Man’s affairs, as at present established, is built up purposely to exclude the careless and happy soul. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thus coarsely does the world translate all finer griefs that meet its eye! It is more a coarse world than an unkind one. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

This hallowed work of genius shows what pictorial art, devoutly exercised, might effect in behalf of religious truth; involving, as it does, deeper mysteries of Revelation, and bringing them closer to man’s heart, and making him tenderer to be impressed by them, than the most eloquent words of preacher or prophet. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

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One More Naked Michael Phelps Photo

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As if getting naked here a few days ago wasn’t enough, here is one more gratuitous shot of Michael Phelps nude. It’s a lazy summer Sunday, so take a look-see at when Mr. Phelps went bulge-to-bulge with Ryan Lochte, or took a shower in his Speedo, or just removed his clothes and got naked altogether. God save the Olympian.

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Zac Efron & Bear Grylls, Shirtless & Going Down

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As if doffing his shirt and riding a majestic steed through water wasn’t fantasy-island enough, here we have Zac Efron getting his shirt off with Bear Grylls, and repelling down a cliff to get even wetter. Say what you may about Mr. Efron, he knows his freaking audience. Horses, water, shirtless Bears… oh my.

And just to make things easier for you, here is a naked Zac Efron, and a naked Bear Grylls. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

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Hunk of the Day: Bryan Thomas

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Some men are so physically perfect you simply have to sigh. Case in beautiful point is Pennsylvania-born male model Bryan Thomas, the Hunk of the Day, who seems born to be on the cover of a magazine. Beauty has its own spirituality, even in the slight way it elicits a sigh, a whisper of desire, the hint of want. There is a long tunnel of longing in each of our lives. Such prettiness is a reminder of this. It’s the same prettiness that unfurls from the frond of a fern, or drips from the dew-stained bloom of the rose. It is visceral and ephemeral, fixed and fleeting, and it tugs as much at the mind as it does on the heart.

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The Madonna Manifesto

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It is a moment pregnant with possibility. She stands on the precipice of something great, and almost every time this has happened in the past (and there have been many such times), she’s jumped off and soared. That anticipation is in the air again, but still I find myself wanting something more. She is, after all, Madonna.

Despite playing on Instagram and teasing bits of what may musically come, she’s been largely quiet of late. A pristinely-photo-shopped romp with Katy Perry on the cover of a magazine gave fans a slight bone, but we’re salivating for more. Traditionally she averages about two years between albums, bridged with soundtracks and other projects, so we’re almost due for a new one – the first since 2012′s powerful if slightly-unappreciated ‘MDNA’. That colorful record was a driving, if at times dark, exercise in exorcism, dwelling on her divorce (‘Love Spent‘, ‘Gang Bang‘) and balanced by fluffier fare (‘Girl Gone Wild‘, ‘Gimme All Your Luvin‘, ‘Turn Up the Radio‘) but it wasn’t the miraculous pop moment she’s conjured in the past (‘Ray of Light‘, ‘Like A Prayer‘). The world awaits a proper return to form, but this world is drastically different from the world in which she rose to prominence three decades ago. Can she still cut it? Yes, but only if she goes back to her roots.

For the past several years, Madonna has, quite shockingly to some of us, kept largely to the same hairstyle. While this may seem trivial and off-focus, I bring it up because it’s a key feature to her career, and the point of this post. “Everyone always says, ‘Oh, she reinvented herself,’ but the thing is, I just get a new haircut every year, which everyone should do,” she once said. This was powerful, even if you think it’s frivolous. When was the last time you got a new haircut? Not any haircut – not the one you usually get, not the one your stylist lovingly knows so well – but a brand new color, a brand new length, a brand new look. I’m guessing most of us haven’t done that in years – if ever. Madonna used to do that with charming regularity, and drastically different results each time. It was a part of her success, and part of the unexpected thrill we got when each new image morphed into the Madonna canon.

Yet since 2005′s ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor’, she’s kept mostly to the reddish-blonde soft-frame of curls she still sports – it’s the look she wore for her H&M ads, the Reinvention/Confessions/Sticky and Sweet tours, and her impressive appearance at the Superbowl. It works for her, but to me it’s starting to feel, dare I say it, stagnant. That’s the one thing Madonna is not. Shape-shifting, jumping, and executing hairpin turns at a breakneck pace, she has never stood still or waited for very long. But her reliance on the tried and true, as well as her work with of-the-moment hit-makers, points to a recent tendency to play it safe.

What I want from Madonna is for her to go back to the beginning – to go back to being brave. I want her to age with dignity and defiance. I want the perennial ‘Fuck you’ attitude to re-surface and carry her into maturity in a way that once again redefines and challenges the ways in which society has slowly and predictably been trying to trap her. She falls prey to that with every round of face-filler, with every photo-shopped worry-line. Rather than skirting those issues or chasing the elusive quest for eternal youth (and there’s a good chance that some of us worry about that more than Madonna does), she would be the best one to champion a graceful yet empowering way of aging.

I’m not saying she needs to tone anything down – if anything, I’m suggesting the opposite. And in simply continuing to do what she does, she’s already, in a sense, defied a bunch of rules. Though the rebel in me secretly hopes for an earth-rattling ‘Sex‘ or ‘American Life‘ moment that pisses off more people than it pleases, she’s probably wise not to go for simple shock value. There have been delicious glimpses of it – her nipple-baring antics and butt-cheek peep-shows, which excited and thrilled even this staunchly gay character – and she still gets pages of press for something as small and silly as popping in a set of gold grillz. But I want her, more than anything, to be real. That was the real power of Madonna in my formative years. She glammed it up as her fame and money increased, but you always got the sense – and the photos to prove it – that she was willing to get down and sweaty on the dance floor with the gay boys. She didn’t isolate herself from humanity, she reveled in it, taking it in and transforming it into something else, something more.

In the writing of this, I’ve once again confirmed her power. She is more than pop star or show-off, she is a mistress of mirrors, reflecting back whatever ailments, shortcomings, failings, powers, magics, darkness, and light we each project. Madonna has, strangely, not always been about Madonna, but about what we think about Madonna, what Madonna makes us feel. It’s the key, and often-overlooked, component in why she remains such a fascinating creature, and why she will continue to remain so.

If her long and storied past is proof of anything, it’s that we should never count her out. In fact, such moments of doubt and wonder usually portend something miraculous in the offing. After thirty years, we know her better than she thinks we do. (And when she proves us wrong – again – it will be even better.)

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Hunk of the Day: Sung Jin Park

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Represented by Wilhemina Models in New York, this is Sung Jin Park, the Hunk of the Day. A native of Korea, Mr. Park is a bit on the thin side, recalling the waif-like hey-day of early 90′s heroin-chic. (How did Marky Mark ever get into the underwear scene at such a thin time?) Mr. Park is further representation of the Asian male model explosion currently taking over the pretty scene.

 

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Grilling Spongebob’s Home

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Pineapple. Grilled pineapple. A few years ago it would have been unthinkable, but having finally come around to the beauty and deliciousness of properly grilled foods, I’m a convert, and a grilling fiend. If it can be eaten, it can be grilled. (We’ve even done an excellent grilled cabbage – a whole head cut into wedges and coated in butter, salt and pepper – that fell apart in the mouth and tantalized in a way that no other method of preparation could have produced.)

In this instance, we have a few rings of pineapple, seared for the sweet finale following a grilled dinner of chicken, until the caramelization has begun, and the fruit has slightly broken down, leaving a soft and juicy body with only the merest accents of smokiness. It was heavenly, and the perfect ending to a grilled meal, when I’m often puzzled as to a seamless conclusion (grilled ice cream has proven impossible.)

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Hunk of the Day: J.W. Harvey

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There aren’t many writers who have made it into the realm of Hunk of the Day. Wait, are there any? (Peruse the Archives if you want – I’m too lazy to do so.) I don’t think there are, so this may be the christening of our first, and it goes fittingly to J.W. Harvey, a FaceBook friend who writes for The Huffington Post. And, since he is the writer, here is his bio on that venerable site:

J.W. Harvey is a shapeshifting creative in New York. A writer by nature, he uses the arts of acting and modeling to explore new characters and emotional depths–as well as gaining influence from other artists as a freelance event and social media manager–repackaging his experiences in words for the reader to unwrap. He candy-coats deep intellectuality with shiny commercial ribbon, creating artistic layers that all audiences can consume.

If there’s one thing that’s sexier than such an exquisite body and face, it’s intelligence. Talent and thoughtfulness add further layers of interest, but when someone can articulate complex themes and probing analysis and turn them into words seemingly spun of gold, that’s always impressive to me. The art of writing is a vanishing one, thanks to character limits and the attention-deficit epidemic of the internet (to which blogs like this are admittedly to blame.) Thankfully, Mr. Harvey is doing what he can to stop the inevitable erosion, and when you’re done drooling over his chiseled chest and dreamy eyes, take a few moments to read some of his work.

These are connections that you know are there even when you’re not. These are the connections that you can measure all of your relationships against.

You don’t pick and choose who these people are in your life, but when you find them, keep them. Cherish them. With them, you can forgive any guilt or worry without a single expression. With them, you can find peace in their eyes, whether you can see them or not. ~ J.W. Harvey

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