I am importing some songs from [title of show] into my IPod. My laundry’s washing in my building basement. Some new, clean summer sheets are on a heap on my bed. (My old summer sheets ripped right in the middle. My colleague thinks it’s from getting too much action. I just thought it was a convenient excuse to indulge in new ones with a much-higher thread count.) Dishes are sitting in my sink. (My pre-war building doesn’t provide the amenities of post-war urban residences such as a dishwasher.) The new shower curtain — duck prints on clear fabric — I got from Delphinium Home lays on the floor, waiting to be installed. (It matches the duck prints on my toilet seat and my red rubber duckie perched on the tub.) My windows are open letting in the warm summer wind. It’s already kinda stifling (since this week’s supposed to be simmering) but I welcome the fresh air since I was feeling pretty dry after a night of crisp a/c air. (I need a humidifier.) The chores can wait. I am taking a break to enjoy the crackling wit and catchy snazzy melodies of my new fave musical. (I just bought the CD.)

It was the second time I saw the show 2 nights ago. (I had seen it during its original run a few months back.) The experience wasn’t any less satisfying. Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen were as sharp and smart as ever. (Charles Isherwood of the NYTimes describes Jeff as “Chelsea-boyish” but it really is Hunter I have the hots for. My peculiar tastes seem to lust after this redhead. Then, again, I’ve always had a fascination for redheads. But I digress.) But my faves really are the 2 women, Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell, who are just phenomenal. Heidi’s flawless jazzying and Susan’s delectably deadpan dry wit are just too irresistible. These women are the bomb (in gangsta talk as inspired by the song playing right now, “An Original Musical,” where Hunter plays a blank sheet of paper that talks in mothafucka and bee-otch slang to Jeff as he writes.)

This show is about a pair of writers doing a show and making that the show in itself. It may not be groundbreaking (since this genre of postmetaparody began with Urinetown) but I think it is the wittiest so far. The crux of my claim to this conceit lays in the title — or the lack of it. As they mull over one for their submission to the NY Theaterfest (which was where this all began), they decide against all the hokiness and insist on the paradox of leaving the line blank and co-opting what was on that box on the form.

After all, it is hard to capture any experience in so few words. Labels are limiting and there is always that fear in attaching the wrong symbol to the right object.

I saw the show because Tim got tickets. Tim is this guy I’ve been seeing for almost 4 months now. He’s a 40-year-old actor from South Carolina. (After a disastrous dating stint with an actor who was raised Baptist in West Virginia, I thought I would’ve already learned.) A music graduate from Furman (whom he dismissively calls Southern Ivy League) with a graduate degree from Florida State, he taught in Atlanta for so many years before moving to NY to pursue an acting career. (He is currently working on 2 OffBway shows.)

I actually met Tim last winter on a drunken Saturday night at a Midtown bar where we exchanged numbers. (I’ve always been a sucker for geek chic and there he was, cool in his D&G glasses.) We went out on a date — dinner at Ginger, a sushi joint in the East village, and a movie at Sunshine (where we saw Bee Season). Then, we had a nightcap at Slide, this bar nearby. I thought we both had a nice time so I called him to let him know. I emailed him too. I had come and gone from my brother’s wedding, Christmas passed and the New Year rolled by but I never got a response back. I really wasn’t waiting for one anyway. I had already moved on to the next hook-up. Until I bumped into him one night at gym. I walked up to him and said hi — it was amazing I still remembered his name. What was even more amazing was that he remembered mine. He said that he had moved to Michigan for the rest of the winter where he had a guest teaching stint in some college’s undergraduate theater program. He also said that he had been meaning to call me since he got back. I raised my eyebrows but decided to not pursue the truth behind these stock gay answers. We went out for coffee after changing from gym clothes and have been hanging out since that night in April.

I used to always tell everyone how he was this guy I’m “dating.” But I just went to pee and saw that he already has a toothbrush sitting in my bathroom. He’s left some of his shirts in my hamper. (I don’t think he’s brought back my shirt he wore home that night we saw History Boys.) I’ve met his friends and he’s met mine. I hung out with his roomie from college who was visiting from upstate (whom Tim said found me charming.) Surprisingly, even Henry, who never likes any of the guys I’m dating, warmed up to Tim and found him to be a nice guy. Getting past the third date is always a hurdle but I think meeting each others’ friends (which kinda feels like sooo many first dates happening simultaneously) and moving past that ordeal unscathed is a milestone.

So does that make Tim my boyfriend? I can’t remember the last time I faced this dilemma. Carter and I were inseparable that whole summer we first met that it simply wasn’t an issue. I seriously think that Tim is the first guy I’ve seen for more than 3 months in 3 years. (Then, there was that guy from West VA whom I was seeing all spring last year who simply gave me the “talk” about the need to “simplify his life” after I had a 10-day Memorial Day vacation in Vancouver and Seattle. Everything was going so well before I left that the “talk” was simply unexpected. In gaycode, “simplifying my life” is an easier way of saying “I’ve met someone else.” I swear you can’t leave a guy you’re dating in NY for more than a week.) Though not inseparable, there is that unspoken reliability in our dynamic wherein I pick Tim up after his show on weekend nights and then, we hang out. My corporate day schedule and his Off Bway night schedule seem to make things a lot harder to coordinate than they really are. What matters is that we manage to make it work for both of us. There is no threat to overdo and overkill.

So how do I define this relationship? A lot of times (especially at work where I sit with these newly-hired fresh grads and talk to them about cash flow), I find the functions so much more effective than the concept. It may sound like a convenient way out of this quandary but the reality is that we enjoy doing things together. It cannot be any simpler than us choosing on whim to sun in our skivvies on the grass in the Christopher Street piers on a Sunday afternoon. Tim is, after all, my [label in relationship.]

Advertisements