Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Confessions of a Twirly Boy

    “The Rock is mine!” I said.

    “No, He is mine!” Lori replied.

    Well, that is how it all started. That is what started me on this path with poles, booty shorts, bruises and Twirly Girls.

    The first time I met Lori while she was sitting on a large pumpkin. Our mutual friend Jimmy had invited her to join in on one of the Rainbow Community Center outings, which happen to be a trip to the pumpkin patch. Then after that, I would see Lori every first and third Sunday of the month at Holotta Tymes’s Un-BOY-lievable Drag Show at Club 1220, where I am the Door Whore. Over time, Lori has become a good friend and part of our close-knit little group.

    Now, add Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into the mix. Lori and I have been bickering back and forth, for a while on whom The Rock belongs to. She just cannot except that The Rock wants me. Well, at any rate, the bickering has been slowly escalating and crossed over into the usage of social media, including tweeting The Rock himself. (For which some reason he has not yet responded to.) Finally, Lori called me out. She challenged me to a Pole Dance Off to determine who wins the heart of The Rock.

    I then figured that this Pole Dance Off should take place in front of a good size crowd. I knew that every year that Lori was part of the fundraiser for the Lovely Rita Foundation that raises money for the National Kidney Foundation. Therefore, I asked Lori if she wanted to do the Pole Dance Off at the coming fundraiser on April 22, 2012. “Yes!” was her answer. We were set then, I had nine weeks to get in shape and learn to Pole Dance.

    With a quick check in with Lori on Monday morning, I was signed up for my first class at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness Monday night. Now, I had to take care of a couple of things to make sure I was ready. First was to find a pair of booty shorts. I ended up at A-1 Dance & Theatrical in Castro Valley where I got great service and a cute pair of black booty shorts. The second thing was to trim the leg hair. I was informed that longer leg hair could be pulled while spinning on the pole.

    Twirly Girls Pole Fitness is located in downtown Pleasanton. It looks like it use to be an old auto mechanics’ shop from the outside. Inside, it is an inviting set-up with several dance poles. The class I was taking was a Taster Class, a great way to see if pole dancing is something that is for you. I of course was the only guy signed up for the class.

    I did feel a little self-conscious about being the only guy in the class. Pole Dancing is usually only associated with women, all though there are some amazing male Pole Dancers, like Philip Deal, who I recently got to meet. Anyways, I felt a little awkward, as if I was invading the girls’ clubhouse. Lori and Bel made me feel comfortable right away, just as if I was one of the girls. Bel is the owner of Twirly Girls and Lori was our instructor.

    Lori was a great instructor (even if I have to make sure she does not try to sabotage me for out Pole Dance Off).  She got us warmed up and was very good at teaching us the beginning moves of pole dancing. Lori taught us how to make sure our pole was ready to spin on while still looking sexy and then some basic moves to entice out viewing audience. Next, she moved on to teaching some basic spinning moves along with some moves we could do to relax while still dancing at the pole.

    Let me tell you, pole dancing is one major work out. I was feeling it muscles I did not even know I had. The next morning I was really feeling it! Every muscle in my body was aching. I was walking like the Tin-man. Then I notice the bruises on my inner thigh from where I was wrapping my legs around the pole. Lori called them pole kisses, hell it looked like the pole got up and swung itself at me. The thing is, even with the bruises and muscle pains, it was all worth it.  I had a great time in the class and I am looking forward to the next class.

   Win or lose the Pole Dance Off, I am excited about taking the pole dancing class. It is a lot of fun and I will be getting the much-needed exercise my body could use. I also have the feeling that it is going to be a great group of ladies that I will be taking the class with. Which reminds me, I first got laughed at by some of the other guys at work when I told them I was taking a pole dancing class, but when they learned I was the only guy dancing with these ladies… well, jealousy did not look good on them. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Book of a New Beginning By Robert Carstensen

The Book of a New Beginning

By Robert Carstensen

    I had a dream. I was sitting on top of a hill under a big old oak tree. Sunlight filtered its way down thru the branches and leaves to come rest upon my face. I sat there watching the golden grass sway in the warm breeze of a summer afternoon.

    “I’m sorry,” said a voice behind me.

    I looked over my shoulder and there stood a Man, leaning against the trunk of this noble oak tree. If asked to describe him, all I could say is that he looked like a simple man. Even as I try to recall his face now, I cannot. I remember that he seemed ageless to me, not young, but not old either. There was life though; it radiated out of him, a love for life, a giver of life and in the slight shadow he cast, a taker of life.

    “Are you G…?” I started to ask. “God? Yes, I am” he finished.

   “Excuse me, but what would you be sorry for?” I said to him.

    He tilted his head slightly and a slight grin came to his face. He then stepped away from the tree and took the few steps it took to reach me. With a slight gesture from his hand he said “May I sit with you?” “Please” I replied and with that, he sat next me. He crossed his legs and leaned back slightly to rest on his elbows.

    “I’m sorry for the… the pain. The pain that I have let too many cause and in my name none the lease” He said. 

     I looked at Him with a confused face, “I am not sure I know what you are talking about.”

    Again, that slight grin came to his face and then a slight chuckle. “What?” I said. “I like that you are confused by my words and admit it. So, so many that are confused by my words and instead of asking for clarification, they make up something they think is what I meant. Most times they are way off target.”

    God then looked me directly in my eye, “I made you.” “And I love you” He continued. He then rose to his feet and extended a hand to help me up. I took it without hesitation and smiled to myself, and as if reading my mind and chuckling again, he said, “Yes, let God raise you up.”

    He looked out over the vast valley and said more too himself then me, “I made you all.”  He stood there for a moment, silent. “I love them all, whether they love me or not. My love is unconditional.”  

    Then it clicked, “the pain… being gay… you made me gay, brought me into this world gay. Yet so many people cannot see that. That you wanted me to be gay.”

    “Yes” he said.

    “Why don’t you tell them then?” I asked.

    “They don’t listen anymore.” He said as he looked at me. “Let’s be honest, if you were to walk down there now and say that you have a message from the Almighty God… well, they would laugh at you. They would call you crazy, label you with some kind of schizophrenia and want to medicate you.”

    I looked at him for a moment. “I’m sorry,” I said. That got me the look of confusion from God this time. “We all can learn to listen a little better,” I continued to clarify my apology.

   “It’s not you that should be apologizing, it’s… it’s those buffoons down there that need to be apologizing… and not to me, but to you! Buffoons, ha, maybe that is what they need! To be kicked back a few notches on the evolution scale! That would knock the hate out of them!” he said, glaring into the valley. I couldn’t help but laugh. God then turned his glare to me and it only stopped my laughing for a moment. And as they say that laughter is contagious, God began laughing himself. We both shared the image of primates sitting in the pews of his houses of worship.

   “It’s changing though,” I said. “The old ways are dying. The old view of the way the world should be is slowly being buried each passing day.”

    “I know, but there is still so much hurt and pain that is going on and it shouldn’t be. I am getting tired of bring home my children way before their time.” God said. I saw a brilliant tear run down his cheek as he continued. “I bringing each one of them home myself. Those fools say they go to this so-called purgatory, but no, I go to each one and hold them… cry with them. I bring them home.”

    “The ones that could not take the bullying anymore” I said.

    “Yes” he replied. “All of them, everyone that has died out of hate… by their own hands or by the hands of others.”

    We stood there, shoulder to shoulder for several moments without saying a word. The warm breeze continued to come up the hillside, the grass swaying this way and that way.

    “I’ll have to find a way to make them listen, that is all there is to it” again, saying more to himself than to me. “I will find a way.” He looked at me and continued, “You have the same ability to love like anyone else! You deserve to love without barriers. I made marriage as a way of expressing your love to the fullest. It had nothing to do with this marriage is for procreation only bullshit! I want everyone to be able to fall in love and know what it is that I feel for them!” God then turned to the valley and yelled, “I made you all equal! None of you are better then another! You fools need to learn to live your own lives before you try to control others!”

    God then looked at me and a big smile came across his face. He raised his hand and pointed at me as he turned his head back to the valley. He yelled even louder, “I made this man in the likeness of Me! You hear me you homophobic hate mongers? Like Me!”

    “Whoa… Did you just say that you are gay?” I said, staring in disbelief.

    “I am gay… I am straight, I am all,” he said.

    “Wait; wait… what about that stuff in the bible? Man should not be with another man and all?” I said.

    “Never said it,” he said bluntly.


    “Their bible,” he said, pointing into the valley, “is written by man, not by me. Trust me when I say that there are many things that are wrong in that book. Especially the first part!” He continued, “There are some good rules to live by in the bible. Sadly, it has changed so much over the eons. It is used more now to try to control people then actually help guide them.” God then turned again to me and said, “Do you know that Aesop’s Fables were supposed to be part of the bible?” 

    “No,” I said.

     “He didn’t like some of the ways that other stories were being changed, the way my word was being changed, so he decided to pull out of the project and put his stories into his own book.” God smiled as he continued, “Probably for the better, I would hate to have seen what that fool King James would have done with them.”

    “The consumption of grapes would be an abomination and swallows would be the barer of doom most likely,” I said. At which God chuckled.

    Once again, we stood there in silence, not awkward, but more of an understanding silence. I found it comforting. Then without warning, God reached out and took me into his arms, his face pressed into the nape of my neck.

    He cried. God cried.

    I wrapped my arms around him and hugged just as tightly back. I then felt it… his pain. It rushed into me and filled my body whole. I wanted to drop to my knees but I knew that I could not. I needed to stay strong at this moment and support him, support God. As I felt the pain, I realized that it was not just his pain. It was everyone’s pain. God takes on everyone’s pain. It did not hurt, but was heavy, so very heavy.

    God then raised his head, with his arms still around me, looked me in the eye and said, “I am sorry.”

    “I forgive you,” I said and I then cried myself.

    “I will make them see. I will show them the errors in their ways. I will make them listen,” he said. God then let his arms fall from me and he took a step back. I could still feel his pain, but no ware as intense and slowly fading. He then raised his hands to my face and wiped the tears from my eyes. “I am sorry you had to feel that, but the burden had become too much for me alone and I knew you would understand. I knew you would be able to bare it.”

    “I must take me leave of you now,” God said. “I know it will be hard, but I need you to carry my word to them, to those in the valley. It will take time but all beginnings do.  You just need one to listen and it will grow from there.”

    I turned to look into the valley and said, “Yes, I will.” I then felt warmth grow on the side of my face. I turned to look back at God and he was gone. All I could do was smile at myself and then I woke up. I rose to my feet and reached to brush the lower braches on the old oak tree. I took a few steps and saw the foot prints of where two people were standing. I smiled, “Time for a new beginning,” I said aloud to myself, “It will get better.”

    I walked down the grassy hill into the valley.