Louisiana crawfish boil and my gay boyfriend


For the past four months, Strong Jawline, my current provider of intercourse, has been telling me I’m pretty.

I’ve never been accused of such a thing. In 39 years I’ve been called “striking,” “Mediterranean,” and “similar to Peter Sellers.” Once, thrillingly, I was compared to Tracy Thorn of my favorite ’90s band Everything But the Girl (LOOK IT UP, MILLENNIALS. PLEASE. WITH ENOUGH POPULAR SUPPORT THEY WILL DO A REUNION TOUR):


I love Tracy Thorn. She’s hot, and, as we used to say in Illinois, I would not kick her out of bed for eating crackers. But we’re not what’s normally thought of as “pretty.” And it is frustrating to me that most photos don’t show me the way I feel, which is pretty much always this (below), even when I’m copy-editing software reviews:


Being aware that I don’t resemble Rita Hayworth is not the same as giving a shit. I consider myself stealth pretty, in that I hypnotize people into dating me and when they fall in love that thing happens where they realize I’m beautiful on the inside so I become “pretty” in their brains (this is, of course, before we attend a wedding, travel together, or have a fight but not before I make off with plane tickets, meals, ultralight camping equipment, a large-screen television, a Formica table, diamond earrings, and, in one instance, a car).


Where was I? Oh. Currently, I’m trying to keep this ruse going long enough to walk away with a baby. I am nearly exhausted with all the not-exploding-in-violent-rages and honest-and-open-communication-in-place-of-passive-aggressive-warfare.

But there may be something else at play here. To wit, this is how a recent conversation went:

SJ: You look really pretty right now.
Jenny: You know I look like Peter Sellers, right?
SJ: I love Peter Sellers.

Sweet, right?


Then, two weeks later:

Jenny: We had a roller rink outside the town where I grew up.
SJ: Oh, we did, too. I loved the ’70s. I had roller skates and this pair of tight red pants.
Jenny: That’s hilarious!
SJ: And a midriff top.
Jenny: A … you had a midriff top?
SJ: And a parrot.
Jenny: (Color draining from my face. I am on a mission to GET PREGNANT. Which, unless you want to pay for the science kind, involves a whole lot of heteronormativity.)
SJ: I really liked Queen and the Village People. Oh, stop looking at me like that. I liked several nongay bands. Like David Bowie.
SJ: And I had a James Dean poster in my room.

Then this weekend we drove to the Sacramento River Delta. We took SJ’s minivan, which is decorated with sea animal bath toys taped to the dashboard. At one point I looked over and he was cutting his thumbnail with a bowie knife. While he was driving.

Jenny: (Sigh of relief)

Five minutes later, in the town of Crockett:

SJ: Ooh! Let’s go antiquing.
Jenny: (Heart palpitations)

Later, we walked into an estate sale and split up. Half an hour later, we met outside, and we’d both walked out with — I shit you not — cleavers.

Jenny: (Sigh of relief)

Half an hour later:

Jenny: What year did you move out here?
SJ: Down. I’m from Portland. I’ve always been “out.”
Jenny: (Muttering to self)

Half an hour later:

Jenny (DJ’ing as we drive on back roads): Do you know this song? It’s the happiest song ever. (Plays “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac.)
SJ (listens): I’ve never heard it.
Jenny: Guess who it is.
SJ: Hmm. Madonna.
Jenny: Older.
SJ (listens): I have no idea.
Jenny (flooded with relief): I’ll give you a hint. It’s not Stevie Nicks who’s singing.
SJ: How is that a hint?
Jenny (no longer upset about the possibility that SJ is gay but now upset that he’s not gay enough to know who Stevie Nicks is): HOW IS THAT NOT A HINT.

SJ (looking over at my growing list of stereotypes): Are you going to include some counter-evidence? There is some counter-evidence, too.
Jenny: What’s the counter-evidence?
SJ: That I was a swarthy seamen in the north seas for five years.
SJ: I’m good at giving women orgasms.
Jenny: Yeah, but that’s not funny.
SJ: I’m good at working on my car. And the other evidence is very circumstantial.
Jenny: What evidence is circumstantial?
SJ: Well, that I had a parrot. That’s not necessarily gay.
Jenny: It is when you combine it with the midriff top and the roller skates.
SJ: And I did dress in drag.
Jenny: WHAT.
SJ: I went to see Rocky Horror Picture Show all the time. I never tried to be a beautiful woman. But I had this nerd girl persona.
Jenny: SJ, you might be gay.
SJ: I prefer the term “queer.”

This is how you do a Louisiana crawfish boil:

  • Drive to Bob’s Bait Shop (the Master Baiter) in the Sacramento River Delta town of Isleton, California.
  • Pick up 100 pounds of crawfish. Put in three coolers in the back of your gay minivan and cover with ice.
  • Drive to historic town of Locke, California, and walk around, agog that such a living piece of history, of Chinese immigration to California, exists. Compete at the local bar with a local wedding to order a local drink.
  • Drive back to rental house.
  • Swim across the river while someone from Louisiana boils crawfish in a huge pot over a gas burner with spices, corn on the cob, mushrooms, and whole heads of garlic and onions.
  • Swim back, towel off, get a beer, and stroll up to 100 pounds of crawfish and corn on the cob, mushrooms, and whole heads of garlic and onions piled on two tables.
  • Crack a crawfish in the middle and pull out the tail. Eat that part. Don’t eat the yellow guts or the pink eggs of the pregnant ones like I did.
  • Continue to feel flummoxed that someone as attractive as you, who makes lists of gay stereotypes to point out why her potential mates might be gay and then posts them on the internet, could possibly still be single at 39.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. suegranzella says:

    Okay, I WANT you to get pregnant, but only if you swear to NEVER EVER STOP writing this blog!!!!! It is RIDICULOUS how happy I get when I see a blog email in my inbox. THIS WAS INCREDIBLY ENTERTAINING!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I live to serve! Haha. Thanks, Sue. 🙂 xoxoxoxo


  2. He sounds pretty great but I recommend paying for the science kind!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! You do make a pretty great example of it. 🙂 And we shall see if the regular way works — science may yet be on the table! And then this blog will take an interesting turn …


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