Posts tagged: me
Antonio’s pitch rises, then falls on “Boy.” He shrugs, smirks, and pours a whiskey Coke. Antonio is also a female rapper: La’Fem Ladosha; she’s sitting next to me in VIP at Westway. La’Fem and Antonio are poets, sticky with words. I’m not sure which of them has spoken, but I feel myself agree before the end of the sentence. “He’s a Beautiful… Boy:” appraisal, accusation, resignation. These are—have always been—the notes of the chorus.
We watch the Beautiful Boy walk away. He’s slim and fair with a foxy jaw; he wears blue jeans and a clean white shirt. He’s gay. I can’t remember if he’s an editorial intern, an associate-associate editor, or a stylist’s assistant. He could be 17 or 21. He looks a little greasy, enervated, unshaven; it’s hot. He’s a Beautiful Boy and I pour myself a whiskey Coke too.
Well! Actually: Beautiful Boy and I used to talk on Livejournal when we were 14. I grew up on his Photobooth selfies. Our flirtations were cautious, iffy. A few times we fought: he unfriended, I unfollowed. He friended again, I followed. I saw pics of his first boyfriend, and when he lost his virginity, I read about it. One time he told me he’d tipped $3,000 on a bill when visiting New York with a daddy who was sweet, but not nice. I typed out “that’s so selfish,” but I was rapt. I gawked at his weapons: body and face. He spoke infrequently. He’d been a Beautiful Boy for as long as he could remember.
Well! Actually: I used to be a boy. I was cute but I wasn’t Beautiful. Of course at some point (like three years ago?) I stopped looking like a boy, and then at some point (like a year ago?) I stopped being a boy. The Beautiful Boy scoffed at me. He told me I Iooked desperate. Maybe I did, but I would have weapons of my own. Once again I unfollowed.
Well! Actually: I still wanted him. He was a ghost, but I did. I wouldn’t have even seen the post announcing his move to New York.
Two hours later, we’re in bed.
Beautiful Boy has passed out, but I’m there (we made out and we’re halfway naked). I look at his back and my stomach flips; He Looks Like an Angel When He Sleeps. My laugh is loud and I feel it coming, so I sink my teeth into my knuckle. I can’t remember the last time I made it to He Looks Like an Angel When He Sleeps because I can’t remember the last time I made it past He’s…a Beautiful Boy. I’m trying not to laugh, but it’s hard. I tilt my chin up, widening the angle between my gaze and his spine. I laugh silently through my teeth. Usually I laugh when I’m relieved, like in the middle of an exam when I realize I studied everything on the sheet in front of me and I’m going to get at least a B+ and I could have had a few more hours’ sleep. I don’t laugh when I’ve won, I laugh when I didn’t expect to.
Well! Actually: I’d expected him to take me home. When my face had softened and my waist had shrunk, Beautiful Boys (generally Beautiful Gay Boys) had started looking at me differently. It didn’t make sense, but—as a girl—I’d been attracting the gay guys who’d ignored me when I was one of them. I didn’t question it. I don’t. I decided to take it as it came because what came was what I’d always wanted. I’d take it one night at a time: fey dig, a dry smile, two vodka sodas, hand on the small of my back. Tequila shot, kiss in the dark, UberX.
They had always fallen asleep before I did, and I got used to sitting up in beds with Beautiful Boys, clutching the evening’s treasures and ignoring the absence of a weight on top of me. These nights were always about 75% of everything I wanted them to be. It got me off. I’d laugh and laugh and laugh!
I finish laughing. I reach for my cigarettes and catch myself in a full-length. “Shit,” I think, but I look because the moon’s out. My face is a softer, paler, leaner version of its father; I only recognize it in the second degree. I’ve got bangs and my hair is starting to shag. My collarbones jut out like a white marble countertop and my annual summer eating disorder is in full swing. My arms are smaller and fleshier than I remember. And I have breasts——also small, but there (wild!). My waist comes in at a startling new angle and slopes under the covers. I stop there and shut my eyes. It’s been a long night and the lower half of my body would be too much to deal with with right now.
“This is too much for me to do deal with right now,” he says. Beautiful Boy and I nurse a bottle in the back room of Beauty and Essex. I went to Atlantic City for the weekend, but we’ve been texting; we meet up for cocktails.
I pour myself a whiskey Coke. I’d forgotten about the weapons. I smile and stare at him. I almost thank him for his body and his face——after all, they’d been mine for a week.
Well! Actually: he hadn’t given them for free! I’d followed him on Instagram; he’d been photographed with me a few times. I’d gotten him in. People knew his face, but they didn’t know his name. They thought he was in my world, and maybe he was lucky to be there because there are so many Beautiful Boys and so few browless 21-year-old transgender women hopping into bed with them. Beautiful Boys swarm Manhattan, gold-winged with stingers that don’t even die after they sting you. They just give it and take it back and fly off to another fleshy plant.
I always let them——always.
I’ve never understood them!
“Well,” I say. “I understand.” I hold his gaze with mine, trying to sing appraisal, accusation, resignation (I’m really just begging him to fuck me). Beautiful Boy doesn’t say anything, so I get up. I stagger down a spiral staircase and out into the Lower East Side. I cram a Camel Blue into my mouth, tear my lighter out of my clutch, and prepare to sob outside of a private cocktail party. Essex Street smells like straight-up shit. I breathe in and taste it.
I turn around.
He’s slim and fair, with a foxy jaw; he wears blue jeans and a clean white shirt. He’s gay. I can’t remember if he’s an editorial intern, an associate-associate editor, or a stylist’s assistant. He could be 17 or 21. He looks a little greasy, enervated, unshaven; it’s hot.
“You were talking to that other guy all night. I was kind of hitting on you the whole time, but you didn’t notice.”
“Oh,” I reply, almost whispering. “Well if I didn’t I notice, I guess I didn’t notice.”
My smile is dry. Maybe he tells me his name. A photographer comes up and asks us for a photo, so I curve my hip into his. Our cheeks just brush. The camera blooms. He asks me what I drink and I tell him. I’ll meet him at the bar inside.
The photographer’s eyes narrow.
I take a few more deep breaths of Essex.
Hari Nef is an actress and writer living in New York City.
Photography by Ivan Bideac.
Read the fourth installment of my sex column on adult-mag.
An Ex-Wasp and an Anti-Wasp Go to Nantucket…And This is What Happened by Hari Nef and Jack McCready
Blackbook Magazine | July 10th, 2014
Jack McCready: Nantucket has a year-round population of roughly 10,000. In the summer that increases to 50,000, and someone once told me on the 4th of July it’s closer to 100,000. That added 50,000 that come out for the 4th tends to be every kid that attended a New England boarding school and shot-gunned a beer at a Trinity frat. Against all of our better judgment, my friend and fellow BlackBook writer Hari Nef and I decided to head out there with my family to see the spectacle and escape from the city. We packed up our looks, booked our buses and ferries, filled our music libraries with Lana Del Rey and Sugar Ray, grabbed our friend Chloe Mackey, and headed into the belly of the beast for some fun in the sun.
Hari Nef: When I told Jack that I’d spent many summers on Nantucket, he was surprised. Jack and I had known each other growing up in neighboring Massachusetts suburbs, but our friendship really bloomed after we both moved to New York. In our past lives, we were both wiley gay teenagers, stylish but polite, outgoing but anonymous, gay but not queer. In New York, we reappeared to one another in new skin, he a dashing party boy in head-to-toe ACNE, me a browless actress two months on hormones and 22 awkward snaps into her tag on BFA. Jack and I created new mythology for our selves and our lives: a pair of hot young things who had cut lines and booked gallery spaces since the dawn of time.
When Jack invited me to Nantucket, I was surprised.
To stay in New York would have been a white flag.
To go to Nantucket would have been a battle cry, a guerrilla attack on a past life we never really felt was ours to live.
True to form, we chose the latter.
Hari: Jack, Chloe, and I have fun with clothes. We dress abrasively, bombastically, elegantly–committed to nothing and no one but our personal brands. When Jack picked us up in this look, he set the bar. His weekend style fell somewhere between “alleged heroine addict” and “Jasper Johns goes to Amoeba Music.” We were eager, perhaps too eager, to impress our style on the locals–and to document the ensuing fallout, madness, and fury.
Jack: At one point during the weekend I had titled one of Hari’s looks “Keg Ryan” but soon realized due to my penchant for beer and my less-than-polished looks I was probably the real Keg Ryan of the crew. The outfits became really important to the entire weekend, especially for Chloe who was turning about five different looks a day.
Hari: “So,” Chloe murmured. “What are we actually doing tonight?” This is one of those special Nantucket Questions asked over centuries of Nantucket sunsets (I knew this to be true because my aunt had a house near Squam Pond while I was growing up). No matter where you are or who you’re with, there’s nothing to do in Nantucket. Ever. But this weekend, we’d hoped, would be different: a deep cut from Ultraviolence come to life. We went over someone else’s house. There was tequila there, and a jacuzzi.
Jack: Luckily a couple of our friends from the city happened to be shacked up at a really beautiful house with a whole crew and were nice enough to have us over for a classic Nantucket night of King’s Cup and skinny dipping. In one round of King’s we had to quickly think of something we would never eat and Hari, in tribute to Gia Gunn, declared she “would never eat fresh tilapia because that would be cannibalism.”
Hari: By 4 a.m., I’d had a few beverages, one bad burrito, and a thorny exchange with Joe, some local guy I met Tinder. I love Tinder, but it’s not very intuitive for trans women. I toggle my Tinder Gender once every few days: a bid for equal opportunity between gays and breeders. Joe had some pointed words for my “delusions” and “deceptions.” Before I blocked him, I told him that he would die in a world ruled by trans people.
Jack, Chloe, and I spread out in a clearing and looked at the stars–which you can’t do in New York. We talked about how traumatic it can be to make unpopular life decisions for your own good. After a good cry, we went inside and attacked a pint of chocolate gelato. We were asleep by dawn.
Jack: The pum-pum-tun-up was ready to turn down for the night. I took my half drank Stella up to bed with me and it remained there on the bedside table for the rest of the weekend, warm and flat.
Hari: When we woke up, it was the 4th of July.
Jack: Despite predictions of storms and all hell breaking loose we decided it was pertinent for us to make our way over to the nefarious annual 4th of July day rage at Nobadeer beach. I was certainly excited (maybe a little worried) to see Hari Nef at a 4th party, where instead of BFA you have Barstool Sports.
Hari: Jack’s friend James picked us up and drove. He played some fabulous music, and I decided he was hot. I didn’t know where he was driving us, and I didn’t care. At several points, I stuck my head out the window and screamed, “Where’s the pum-pum!! Where’s the turn up!!” trying my best to locate or manifest the Independence Daytime Adventure of that I’d dreamed.
Suddenly, this man appeared on a horse.
Jack: At first I thought this might be Shania Twain on her way to grace us all with a surprise performance at the beach, but the outfit wasn’t glitzy enough and upon further inspection he was no lady.
Hari: We drove down a dirt path lined on one side by ticketed cars. Shirtless youth bore American flags on poles and bathing shorts. Packs of preteen girls squatted by the side of the road puking. Local police stood idly by, some on foot, and others in off-road SUVs. The clouds sat low in a gray sky.
“Why did we come to Nobadeer Beach on the 4th of July?” moaned Jack.
Jack: Part of me instantly regretted coming out to “Nobes”. Another part of me would’ve had crippling FOMO had we not stopped by. I’ve been coming to this same 4th party for a few years, and while I’ve never really had the time of my life it has always been it’s own brand of fun. However, growing up around Boston I realized over time that culturally there is a pattern of people going out less to find someone to sleep with and more to find someone to fight. The crowd that day seemed like it was ready to pop-off one way or another and I didn’t want to be around when it did.
Hari: What we discovered on the beach looked like the promo vid they would have shot for the Spring Breakers clothing line if the producers had partnered with Polo Ralph Lauren instead of Opening Ceremony. It was the kind of beer-crunching, chest-thumping, tongue-thrusting turn-up that would have terrified me as a queer teen, but which now seemed exotic, Bacchic–even a little tender. Some drunk bros crawled up to Chloe and gawked her hair. Jack frowned and paced around on his phone, taking breaks to greet the Beckys and Charlies he knew from summers past. The music got louder. The sky got darker.
Jack: The combination of overcast skies, anxiety induced by riled up drunken bros, and amazing American novelty clothing all made me feel like I was in the America that Lana Del Rey is always singing about. About five minutes after getting there, saying hello to all of New England, and snapping some photos of Hari sprawled on the sand with a backdrop of wasp debauchery, I was ready to head out.
Hari: By the morning July 5th, I’d found my way to this pool at the Summer House Inn.
It was a treacherous journey.
On the 4th, around 4:00 p.m., came Hurricane Arthur. We retreated to Chez McCready, where things took a dark turn. Siblings stumbled up stairs into cavernous bedrooms; the gale-force winds blew closed French doors ajar, Japanese horror movie style.
We’d expected the 4th of July on Nantucket to be an East Coast Fantasy: sun, sand, and salmon shorts. Lemonade and uppers! When Rosemary, Jack’s mom, came to the top of the stairs, the dream had clearly died. She announced that everyone–everyone–had to leave by tomorrow.
The power went out. My ferry was on Sunday.
I was homeless in Nantucket.
I called my aunt, the one who used to have the house. I asked her if she was on the island. She was. I asked if I could sleep on the floor of her cottage at the Summer House Inn. She said I could.
Jack: Just as as quickly as the nightmare began it subsided and we found ourselves in Sconset. Gone were the broz, babez, beerz, and bluntz. We were in the only part of the island exempt from the fratty bedlam of the 4th weekend, and it was sunshine, blue skies, and cable-knit sweaters.
Hari: This is my cousin. Isn’t he cute? He’s 11. He sleeps in a bed with my aunt, even though there’s a pullout couch in the other room. Newly divorced, she saves the couch for her suitors. She’s campaigning for husband #4. When I slept over, she had a guy there who owned some newspapers. She fell asleep in the main bedroom, took a field trip to the other room in the middle of the night, then slipped back into bed with her son. I love my aunt a lot.
Jack: This kid is the best. He told my brother and I about his budding acting career and his love of extreme sports. He kind of reminded me of a hybrid of my brother and I at his age. He had a cool leather jacket and an Instagram bio that stated “yolo is how I live.” I was intimidated and inspired.
Hari: I thought I’d seen the last of Jack after his mom kicked me out, but it turns out we were both invited to a garden party for Boston Common on the Summer House lawn. I was watching my cousin, who took this photo. There was an open bar from a vodka brand I’d never heard of. There were also bite-size lobster rolls.
Jack: At this point in the weekend my outfits had finally gotten more Nantucket appropriate, but less age appropriate, and I was going for a waspy toddler look. I wanted to crawl on the beach in little polo shirts with a sippy cup of beer. Despite being at a magazine party with a liquor sponsor, we weren’t back in New York yet. I was relieved to be rid of the storms and chaos, but starving for more than a penny-sized hors d’oeuvres. The weekend, for better or worse, was just about done. I stayed an extra day, got a sunburn, paid $40 for a $12 cab, drank a couple margaritas, finally read Monica Lewinsky’s piece for Vanity Fair, and found my way back to the city feeling cooled-down and hyped-up.
Hari: Jack and I had had it by 9 p.m.
We reclined in lawn chairs and sighed into the sea air. Trees, seas, and sand: Nantucket scenery is so quaint it’s perverse. I always associated it with the Hundred Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh: a woodland paradise sprinkled with cozy little homes. One stumbles into a Nantucket cottage expecting to find Rabbit himself, or Piglet maybe (definitely not Eeyore). What one finds are liquor cabinets, seashell applique bathroom mirrors, and WASPS with their pants down.
Perched on the shore of this pretty New England limbo, I stared at the sea. First, I thought of New York. Then I thought of Nantucket. Had I spent more than a handful of past 4th’s on Nantucket? Probably. Did I remember them? No.
This one wasn’t the weekend I wanted.
I took a deep drag of my cigarette.
It was definitely the one I needed.
On Sunday, I sat for some portraits by my photographer friend Matthew Morroco. His signature move is to enter the frame with his subjects, then spoon them. Mid-embrace, I told Matthew I was heading to the Whitney later in the week for the H&M-sponsored celebration of the opening of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective. Michael winced, but didn’t blink.
“I’m assuming you hate Him?”
The truth is, I didn’t know.
Jeff Koons’s reputation precedes him: an artist many times bigger than life with an historically personal brand. His mention elicits the rare sort of eye roll and wan smile reserved for the richest, most earnest, most flamboyant celebrities. Kim Kardashian earns them, as does her husband. They’ve crept up on Marina Abramović and Tilda Swinton after years of more solemn adoration. Lady Gaga holds at least a 35% stake in eye rolling and wan smiling.
Upon further reflection, Matthew’s question led me back to what I consider my first ever Koons opening: the album release party for Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Undeterred by accountants or questions of ROI on an album yet to drop, Mother Monster filled the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a platoon of Koons monuments commissioned for the event. Eager to rankle the atmosphere—though still unsure why—I drained a plastic cup of champagne and abandoned it on one of the display pedestals.
It was mean! It was nasty too. If it was funny, it wasn’t because I was saying any kind of meaningful “Fuck You” to Gaga, or even Koons. My clear plastic stink bomb was funny because it was useless: a tiny dent on the hood of an extraordinary machine. When a fan video surfaced of Lady Gaga—mid-performance—plucking a used plastic cup rather triumphantly off one of the sculptures, I wasn’t sure whether I’d won or lost.
That’s the thing about Gaga, and especially Koons: no matter how hard you want him to work for you, he’s always working a little harder for himself. As my girlfriend Brandon Serpas, a Whitney intern, walked me through the galleries last night, the psychic tug of war going on between the Koons and Me began to feel very much like some kind of foreplay. For every charming, Cliffordesque balloon dog he laid at my feet, he doubled down with a closeup of his dick sliding into an Italian porn star (at that point, one remembers the dogs go for $60 million). Making one’s way through Koons: A Retrospective is to get hot, then bothered, then both. Three plastic cups of prosecco didn’t help much.
But then, there He is, or was.
Beaming, suited, politely shrouded by a gaggle of onlookers: the Man himself.
Finally, a chance to make up my mind.
I whipped out my iPhone and scrolled over to Voice Memos, and pounced:
How do you feel about making new work in light of having exhibited a retrospective at the Whitney Museum?
Koons: It’s always about becoming, and following your interests. That’s a pursuit you have your whole life. I look forward to continuing to make work until, eventually, I leave this place. But that’s what you look forward to every morning: to experience the highest state of enlightenment you think is possible.
What is your estimate for the number of #KOONSSELFIES that will be taken tonight?
Koons: I really have no idea. There could be a thousand.
That’s a good number. What your favorite color?
What’s Lady Gaga’s favorite color?
Koons: I couldn’t tell you exactly. I think she enjoys a lot of colors. I see her wear white a lot. She seems to enjoy white.
How do feel about the Transgender Movement?
Koons: It’s fantastic. People should be able to experience life the way they’d like to. It’s fantastic. It’s wonderful.
I thanked him, and then I asked him for a selfie. He obliged:
He was nice: positive, professional, maybe a little curt (I’ve heard he used to work on Wall Street). His testimony taught me nothing I couldn’t have Googled or asked my dad. The same might be said for some of his work. But then, suddenly, one remembers the scale of things: the million dollar art and the billion dollar man. Everyone’s famous now, so it’s crushing and kinda hot to behold a Man & Work combo so utterly, historically, analogically massive—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
And yet, as I hobbled away from Jeff Koons and peered up into a colossal stainless steel party balloon, I saw myself—and only myself—at the center of whatever I’d come uptown to see.
I dug my phone back out of my wallet to check the #KOONSSELFIE tag on Instagram.
There were 12.
i wanted to wear something to cover my hair today and found this scarf but before i went out i wanted to ask y’all if the way i wrapped it is problematique
i was going for the fifties convertible thing but if i’m serving sex and the city 2 please advise xoxo
out here with fam arabellesicardi