Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Old & G(r)ay - NYC, June 2007

I slipped my orthotics into the black boots I used to wear only to sex clubs, put on expensive jeans and a red “vintage” t-shirt with a white Target bullseye. It was a brilliant, sunshiny Sunday in mid-June. The temperature sweltered near ninety, as I left Bed Stuy for Chelsea, taking two subways before hobbling up 8th Avenue to 21st Street and into the Rawhide.

Feeling around at the air like some bad skit, I stumbled into the bar, blinded by pitch darkness: black walls, floors, bar, and stools. The Rawhide goes back 30 years, as do much of the clientele. We come here once a year for the proximity to Folsom East, the kitsch, and cheap drinks.

Clive called out: “Over here.” He emerged from shadow, next to the front window.

“How old do you think he is?” Clive pointed to a man outside.

“A hundred?”

“Not me, sweetheart. Him.” Clive stood up and we kissed hello.

Clive had two more years until turning forty himself. Today he sported an aging rock-a-billy look: black combat boots, white undershirt, red suspenders, with the hair on his head shaved to the length of his facial stubble.

"God bless him," said Clive. His English accent made that sound kind.

The gentleman we were discussing, stood off the curb, pretty far into the street. Scrawny and ridiculous, he was shirtless, with one hand akimbo on his hip, trying to hail a taxi. He had tanned his skin to the color and texture of a football. His ass hung deflated, gently undulating, out the rear of his black leather chaps.

"I hate getting old. Older."

(To read the full story click here.)

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