Last night my dear friend P called me from Montreal. I’ll say this; he and I can get pretty silly on the phone. We are talking about the kind of silly that would get you a detention at school or grounded at home. Like people who are drunk and foolish kind of silly. Yet most of this silliness happens over the phone lines, which makes for a much safer environment. Nothing gets broken and no one gets hurt. P and I talk often but only see each other about once a year. He comes out every summer for a month or so since his mom lives here as well as most of his friends. He is truly the highlight of the season. Each summer inevitably we'll come up with some sort of phrase or song or word that not only cracks us up his entire visit but also carries on over the year in emails and phone calls. Unfortunately, as with most silliness our little jokes are only funny to us. If anybody else would sing or say this exact joke to me I would NOT think it was funny AT ALL. P says it and I am on the floor in convulsions. And vice versa. I love that.
P and I have known each other for about 17 years. We worked together at a very trendy local shoe store for about a year and even though he has since lived out East for about 10 years we are closer than ever. I am a great corresponder and so is he. It works out perfectly. Anyway, this shoe store was pretty fun to work at. Because it was sooooo trendy we sales clerks were practically royalty in town. We never had to stand in a club line up. We would go out in a group and have people hang around our table trying to impress us. Can you say, “Free Drinks?” Oh yeah! Some of our fellow employees really lapped this up. But P and I laughed over the fact that all we did all day was kneel on the floor touching strange peoples’ feet and yet were considered cool by real cool people. People like big popular bands and actors etc. who used to shop at the store. What weird situation. It cracked us up.
On the job we would have music wars as I was really into punk and P was totally freaking on Gay Boy Club Shit. He and I used to almost tackle each other in front of the tape deck trying to get our preferred music queued up. Black Flag vs. Pet Shop Boys. We would talk to in high-pitched voices and give a running commentary on what new fuck-up the other had created. P would tease our homophobic co-worker who was always trying to peek at my tits. That’s my P – I know he’s got my front. We often had religious zealots canvassing the street so P would helpfully collect their pamphlets about Jezebel and give them to me. He would cross out the word “whore” throughout the literature and substitute my name instead. I think he also told these weirdoes about me as they used to lay in wait for me and follow when I left to get my lunch. P would be laughing his ass off in the window display. When P would come to work with a hangover I would run out to do fairly unnecessary errands so he would be left alone to deal with all the customers. I remember hearing his pained, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO…” as I ran out of the store. They were good times. There was always some new drama we could bitch about and if things were slow we would make something up.
So here we are in our late-ish 30’s and we still act like complete juveniles. Last night was no exception. P is a great mix of grounded and insane. His sense of humour is quick, clever and cutting. The more stressful or terrible a situation the funnier he gets. So when cancer comes into the picture I know I can count on him to cheer me up. If you follow the comments on Dooce you can’t help but encounter all the Monkey euphemisms. I personally use Monkey as a term of endearment. I have called P ‘Monkeyman’ and such for ages. When I realized that Monkey really means vagina to a lot of people in the world I knew P had to be told. I immediately sent him an email appropriately titled Dearest Vagina. Well, I had no idea how horrifying that word is to a gay man. I was promptly told never to ‘go there’ again. But trust P to take The Monkey and run with it. His mom is coming for a visit in the near future and since she is staying with P he has a 3-week period where he won’t be able to sleep over with his boyfriend. We’ve all been there! But how he actually relayed the tragic news to me was, “Cheetah’s going to be MAD!” I repeated that phrase in a funny high-pitched voice and all hell broke loose. Johnny Weissmuller, close your ears! I offered to make a sock puppet of Cheetah so P could use it to ask his mom for playtime. In that funny voice. You can guess where that went. Cheetah is a very bad boy! Both of us were hysterical.
So thank you Dearest Vagina for getting those endorphins raging through my body. That is just what the doctor ordered. And thank you everybody else for reading a post about private jokes. I know it was funnier for me than it was for you.