It’s not easy being a modern man.    You try to be a good male feminist by promoting a woman candidate to be the first female President, until all the women you know start telling you that it is the MALE candidate who is better at understanding the needs of American women.   What next?  A male speaker at BlogHer?!

And then, if I ask for photos of female bloggers’ bras for my birthday, I’m a sleazy, typical male.   But if I profess my love for ABBA, I get emails like this one, a list of the “50 Gayest Songs Of All Time” —

20. Dolly Parton “9 to 5”
19. Coming Out Crew “Free, Gay And Happy”
18. Village People “In The Navy”
17. Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Relax”
16. Village People “Macho Man”
15. Judy Garland “Over The Rainbow”
14. Bronski Beat “Smalltown Boy”
13. Diana Ross “I’m Coming Out”
12. Cher “Believe”
11. Gloria Gaynor “I Am What I Am”
10. Alicia Bridges “I Love The Nightlife”
9. Madonna “Vogue”
8. Olivia Netwon-John “Xanadu”
7. Kylie Minogue “Better The Devil You Know”
6. Pet Shop Boys “Go West”
5. Kylie Minogue “Your Disco Needs You”
4. The Weathergirls “It’s Raining Men”
3. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive”
2. Village People “YMCA”
1. ABBA “Dancing Queen”

Now, I actually like ALL of those songs (other than #19, which doesn’t sound familiar to me), but so what!

This was not the first questioning of my sexual orientation this week. 

On my birthday, Sophia gave me the best present she could have given me – she was super-nice to me.  Although things haven’t really changed between us — I’m still moving out — at least we don’t have to glare at each other as we pass each other in the morning.  I give her a lot of credit for making things better. 

I always complain on Valentine’s Day that the woman gets flowers, while the guy nothing, so I was surprised when Sophia brought me flowers for my birthday.  How thoughtful.  I know it is corny for me to ask for flowers, and sort of ABBA-ish, but I appreciated the special gesture. 

Later, I told Sophia about this old Italian restaurant nearby that a friend recommended, so we went there for dinner.  Wow, was it a bad choice.  It was the worst food either of us ever had.  Open since 1945, the restaurant’s menu only had two items — spaghetti and lasagna, and each was awful — soggy pasta and ketchup-tasting tomato sauce.  The patrons seemed to have been bused in from a convalescent home.  Normally, a bad restaurant choice on my part puts Sophia in a bad mood, but this establishment was so lousy, that it was quite amusing.  When our hapless waiter asked us if we would like to have bibs with our spaghetti, we both laughed out loud.  It was that type of place.  Sometimes bad experiences turn out memorable.

On the way home, I called my friend and asked him how in the world he could RECOMMEND this place.   I told him how much Sophia hated it. 

“Dude,” said my friend, being one of those guys who says “Dude.” “This is totally your fault.  I said this is a place where WE should go.  You don’t bring a girl there.”

“How was I supposed to know that?” I asked.  “And why would I want to go there even without Sophia?  It’s terrible.”

“Yeah, I know it sucks.  But they have cheap beer.  And it isn’t fancy.  You know, it is a place to go with the guys.  Like having a chilburger at Tommy’s.” 

The last time we met, we had a chiliburger at Tommy’s.

“So you think that when I’m with Sophia, I go to a nice place with good food, but when I’m on my own, I just go to Tommy’s for a chiliburger?” 

“Sure, don’t you?” he asked.

“No, I actually don’t like eating crap either.  I like good food.”

“I can’t stand those fake Beverly Hills Italian restaurants where they give you little portions and put pesto sauce on your pasta.  That is so gay.”

“I like pesto sauce,” I stated.


Why do some men still use that “gay” term to describe something they think is “unmanly?”  And is pesto sauce really that unmanly?

Anyway, back to the body scrub.

Now that Sophia and I reached a detente in the house, we decided to get our lives a bit back in order before I start my apartment searching.  The house was in a serious mess.  Neither of us had done the dishes in days.  The patio, once a haven of beauty, was in a state of disarray again.  I threw some of the old pots and scrubbed some of mud away.  Skanky water filled some hanging pots without the proper filtration.  I emptied them out, holding my nose, hoping not to catch malaria.

While I dealt with the patio, Sophia met with the cable guy, who had come over for the third time this week, trying to fix the spotty TV connection. 

After helping outside, all I could think about was… a shower.  I felt utterly disgusting, with all this mud all over me.  I went into the bathroom upstairs, undressed, and turned on the water in the shower.  Now, I love showers, for a whole number of reasons.  They are relaxing.  I can think.  I can sing.  I can dance.  Who doesn’t love a shower?  But today, it was all utilitarian.  I wanted the dirt off.   But there was no soap!

I jumped out of the shower, soaking wet, ready to grab the soap that is usually by the sink.  But it was another casualty to our in-house tensions during the last few weeks.  No one had put out any new soap.  I was about to open the bathroom door and run to the other bathroom for soap, when I heard the cable guy working on the TV in the next room.  I jumped back into the shower. 

That is when I discovered Sophia’s “body scrub” sitting on top of the railing, next to the shampoo and conditioner. 

I had seen it there a hundred times before, but like a workaholic who never stops to smell the flowers, I had never thought to actually try something called a body scrub.

The liquid was grainy and reminded me of the texture of some long-forgotten acne medicine.  Unlike that teenage elixir, this liquid was fragrant, making me feel as if I was running naked through a grove of wild apples.  I put the body scrub all over me — my back, my feet, my face — and scrubbed away.  When I was all done, I had never felt cleaner or more refreshed. 

Body scrub, I don’t care if you are in the same category as ABBA and pesto — you have won me over!   If YOU are considered gay to enjoy… well, then I am proud to march in your parade.