NOTE: Now, I know I ran my mouth to my cousins and friends of my parents about this blog at the wake. Chalk that up to way too much wine and just being glad to see you all. Now, to all my cousins who still respect me, and especially my surrogate aunts and uncles, I'm warning you, this post is a bit racy. If you still want to respect me, or look at me the same way you did when I was...oh...14 years old, you might want to skip this post and instead read this one, this one, or this one instead. Lots of swearing, but no smuttiness.

Besides, I know all of you have used the "f" word before. :-)

Okay...you've been warned.

One of the things I love about Cleveland is how friendly and open the people tend to be. Even more so if there's a mutual attraction between you and the Clevelander.

Or, in this case, a Cuyahoga Fallsian.

Theron (the screaming guy on the left in the above photo) lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, in a "Cleveland Double" style house, built around 1908 or so. It's a cool place, actually...it still has the original woodwork, unpainted since the house was built. There was even a charming burn in the kitchen floor from an iron. He said his landlord was going to fix it, but to be honest, I kind of liked it. It only added to the ambience of the place.

Theron hails from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, also known as "Caucasian Falls" by some of the locals. The city was immortalized in a Pretender's song, My City Was Gone.

Now, enquiring minds want to know...where, pray tell, does the expression "Dirty Cleveland" come from? I shall shed some light on that.

I tried to call my friend Mike a few days after the funeral. I was feeling social and itching to get out, and I had the keys to my mom's metallic emerald green Lincoln Continental Executive Series, fully equipped with whitewall tires, a tan cloth landau roof, and enough bling to make every pimp from Detroit to Buffalo jealous (they didn't order it like that, they just ended up with it...long story). Mike's a cool cat, I actually met him in San Francisco one drunken night at the Endup when he still lived in Sacramento. He lives in an incredibly cool loft over D'Vine Wine Bar in Cleveland's historic Warehouse District. However, I got a message from Nextel: "We're sorry. The Nextel number you are tring to call is not in service at this time."

Mike, pay your bill. Or at least what's past due. They'll turn it back on. Trust me.

Undaunted, I went to the place where I knew there would be a lot of homosexuals and plenty of opportunity to get into trouble...Bounce. I once took my ex-boyfriend Nate there once, and he loved it. Couldn't believe he was in Cleveland, actually.

So I parked the Pimpmobile, and walked in. As I walked past the coat check, I saw the bratty towhead pictured below with John Waters (photo taken after he and John had been hanging out for hours at a house party in Akron). I went to fetch my drink, a really stiff Ketel One and tonic with a wedge of lime, which came to $3.

Yeah, you read that right. Cleveland was looking really good to me at this point.

I decided to saunter back over to the coat check to see what the cute coat check boy was up to...my curiosity was piqued.

I walked up to the window and smiled. "Hey," I said. "You're on my Tribe list." I was referring to tribe.net, yet another networking website. I recognized him immediately...we had chatted online before and exchanged e-mails, and I had always wanted to meet him. There was just something about him I found absolutely irresistable...I couldn't put my finger on it.

Well, I ended up putting my finger on it later -- my whole hand, actually -- but that's another story, and completely inappropriate to discuss at this time.

He looked at me for a second, and his eyes flew open. "You're...you're..." he said, trying to remember my name.


"Chad Fox! I can't fucking believe it! This is so random!"

"How you durrin?" I crooned, sipping my vodka. I felt so smooth, my name was Smoothy McSmooth of Smootherton, Ohio.

"Dude! What the fuck are you doing in Cleveland?"

I told him.

"Sorry, man. Smoke?" He extended a Camel Light.

"Thanks." I smiled...we can't do that in California. Probably a good thing, but still...sometimes I just like a cigarette with my cocktails.

Or after sex. But again...another story, another time.

We talked for quite a while, and learned we had a lot in common. Theron manages the We Belong To Pat Benatar and Scissor Sisters tribes on tribe.net, and I happen to belong to both of them. Suddenly, it was 2:45, and it was time for last call.

"Hey Chad," Theron suddenly said, "What are you doing after this? Wanna come over and hang out?"

"Sure." I didn't really feel like going home.

"Cool," he said, with a big grin spreading over his face. "Tell the bartender you want some beer to go, and we can go hang out at my place."

"A'ight," I replied in my best East Side of Cleveland dialect. I walked up to the bartender and asked for 16 bottles of Bud Light. She handed them to me in a plastic bag.

I love it. Beer to go at last call. Yet another reason why I love Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to being the coat check boy at Bounce on occasion, Theron is also their VJ, playing videos for drunken GLBT Clevelanders until midnight on most nights. Apparently, this comes with privileges.

After introducing me to about 100 different people (all beautiful people, all friendly), we went out to the Pimpmobile (he snickered at it) and headed over to Tremont.

In true Cleveland fashion, Theron didn't maul me at first. In fact, he was a gentleman, and we sat on his couch talking and listening to Pat Benatar, Psychedelic Furs, and Flock of Seagulls. He kept scootching closer and closer to me, and it was obvious he wanted to kiss me.

"Come here," I said finally, and broke the ice.

A bit later, we were lying there, draped comfortably on each other, listening to DeeLite (another band I haven't listened to in years), when he asked me, "So...may I go to second base with you?"

It was so, so cute.

"I guess."

Theron made a two-base hit and we landed on third. Hey, we were both playing a good game that night.

"I want to try for a home run," said Theron with an evil grin. "If you're up for it, of course."

I was up for it.

He popped "Poltergeist" into the VCR.

I liked his style.

Fast forward to 7:30 am. I had to get back over to the east side because I had my sister's apartment keys, and she needed to leave for work. He walked to the door with me, and gave me a kiss goodbye. Immediately I noticed the acrid smell in the air, along with a dull roar that seemed to come from everywhere.

"Sorry about the smell," Theron apologized. "It's the steel mills."

"Hey," I said, quoting my father in a nasal Cleveland accent, "That's the smell of jobs. That's the smell of people working, and Cleveland surviving."

Theron burst into laughter. "See you later today?" he asked. "I was wondering if you were up for another game."

"You're dirty," I commented.

"Dirty Cleveland," was his reply.


Now, before you dismiss me as a complete whore (and I know a few of you will anyway), I have to say one thing. This happened at a time in my life where I needed it most. Not only was it fun, but it was affirming, and for the first time, the residual hurt I've been feeling lately completely vanished. I feel like I'm finally getting my life back...getting into my groove again, the way I was...the way I should be.

Happy again, finally.

It's about fucking time. Don't you think?

memo-repeat, 2003 -- by chad



At 21:16, Blogger .Michelle. said...

I love your stories, Chad Fox. Love them. They provide me with a sense that even during the bad times, life can be good.

At 00:20, Blogger Chox said...

Life is too short and precious to not be good at all times. Don't ever forget that.

At 04:33, Blogger Joe said...

Don't forget "Cuyahoga" by REM.

Great story.

At 07:27, Blogger Knottyboy said...

Is it possible to get whiplash from a flashback? Damn I need to soak in the hot tub after that trip in the way-back-machine. Sounds like you're home safe and sound, having pimed around your old haunts.


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