Voodoo, Taboo, Sex & Juji: Special Guest Blog

{There are a few people in this world who have literally saved my life. Back in my high school days, that was Ann Agresta. When I was on the verge of suicidal madness, and my own family didn’t know what to do with me, I found solace and refuge in my friendship with Ann. She too was an outsider, she too felt like she didn’t belong, and when people like that are lucky enough to find one another at their lowest moments, the attraction and the need is instant and gratifying. Her Mom became a surrogate Mom to me (as so many did for reasons I’m still fathoming) and her friendship became a lifeline for some of the roughest years to follow. Whenever I’m feeling upset or overwhelmed by the world, I think of Ann. I think of our craziest and silliest times and it always manages to lift me out of the funk. When I asked her to write something for this blog, I expected something funny, but I didn’t exact to be so deeply moved too. Here is her entry, and an incriminating photo of the time I wore handcuffs and ladies lingerie. Some things never change – and I hope they never do.}


By Ann Agresta

What can I say about a man I have been friends with for over 25 years? So many memories flood back to me when I think of all the years we have known each other. The bond between true friends never breaks, and I consider Alan to be a true friend. We can go years without contact, but the minute we see, email, text, Facebook or Instagram each other, it is like no time has passed at all. And that is when you know you have a true friendship. I just mentioned all the forms of social media one may use to keep in touch with friends, but my favorite is still old fashioned physical MAIL! And I like to think that Alan instilled that love of mail inside of me! The packages that I received from Alan while attending RIT caused quite a stir and I loved every minute of it. There was glitter, questionable pictures, some things I may have even blocked out of my memory. But while I was away at college and still very homesick, getting mail from Alan would cheer up any bad day I may have been having.

The closeness that I had with Alan started in high school. Missy and Alan were my best friends. We were the three musketeers, we always did everything together. High school in general wasn’t my favorite social place; I was not part of the popular groups, I was very overweight, constantly made fun of for that, never had a boyfriend and never attended a prom or senior ball. But the one thing I did have was a few true friends that never judged me. We had a bond that wasn’t based on looks or popularity. There are things that I have told Alan that no one else in the world knows about me and I would trust him with my life.

When we all went our separate ways to college, I knew we would still remain close. And Alan’s love for traveling kept our friendship alive. One of my first memories of college was Alan telling me he was gay. Now, he did date Missy in high school which is a story for a different day! But when Alan told me the “news” I didn’t blink an eye. It wasn’t news to me because sexuality doesn’t define anything in my eyes. It didn’t change how I felt about him. The one thing it did do was make me feel proud that he trusted me enough to tell me. I remember a lot of dark emails from Alan in our early years in college. I think we all went through dark times but Alan’s talented writing skills made his emails seem so mysterious and made the dark times seem even darker. I did worry about my friend, sometimes he seemed so alone at Brandeis. The only thing I could do for him was offer an ear when he needed to talk and have a blast with him when he visited me in Rochester. And oh boy, did we have some good times. A few highlights include: scaring children at Ponderosa because of the outfit Alan had on, me walking Alan on a leash in a grocery store in Potsdam, NY while he was wearing a pink bra as a belt, us rushing onto the dance floor at a drag show when “Be My Lover” by La Bouche came on over the speaker, us cracking up together at the most inappropriate times. With just one look, Alan could make me laugh until it hurt! I do recall Alan ran over a curb in a parking lot while visiting me in Rochester and almost tore off the entire bottom of his car, but I had no part in that incident.

One of my most cherished parts of my friendship with Alan is his friendship with my mom. Because we spent so much time together, my mom loved Alan so much. She would do anything for him and with him. Case in point, she bought him the Madonna ‘Sex’ book when it came out because we were not old enough to get it! She posed for countless pictures and photo shoots with Alan. We have the pictures to prove it. I just found one the other night from the 1990’s where Alan is in a cape and my mom was taking pictures of him outside at night. And that all seems perfectly normal to me. No matter what kind of picture Alan asked any of us to pose for, we did it. I am not sure why, but it was just sort of an unsaid thing – Alan wanted pics, we did it! I posed in front of a ‘Sunset Boulevard’ poster in NYC and mimicked the pose of the character on the poster because Alan asked. Seemed perfectly normal to me. And again, that is what a good friendship is – doing things that your friend asked, no questions asked! Well, there were some more questionable moments that I probably should have not went along with, but we won’t get  into that here!

When my mom had brain surgery, Alan stopped by the house to visit while she was still recovering and her face lit up. Moments like that are never forgotten. That was a very stressful time for me, but just one look from Alan, one private joke, and we reverted back to giggling children.

I could write for days about all the memories I have with Alan. The bottom line is we will be friends forever, through good and bad, and I know that if I needed Alan at 2 AM he would be there for me and vice versa. I can hardly believe we will both be 40 years old this August. At times when I am reminiscing with Alan, I feel like I am 16 years old again.  The memories bring me back to the days when life seemed simple, when the biggest decision we had to make was what color feather boa we were going to use in our photo shoot. As I type that, I am laughing because life may be more complicated now, but Alan is still deciding what color feather boa to wear in the next photo shoot!!! And that is just one of many reasons why I love him so!

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