Bed, Bath & Far Beyond

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m a heterosexual man with all the benefits of being a gay man.

I’m speaking in broad generalizations, to be sure. But there are moments when I step outside of myself for a second, look back and think, ‘My gosh, you are so gay.’

I’m sensitive, and I like to talk about feelings, and some of my best friends are women. But I’m not talking about that sorta’ thing. I’m talking interior design.

Case in point: not one but two trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond this weekend. In the heat. The Africa heat.

Here’s the back-story. I have a new apartment. Well, not brand-new: I moved in six months ago. It’s pretty off the hook: two floors connected by a spiral staircase, high ceilings, and a roof deck with about 270° of sky. When I moved, I resolved to jettison all of my post-collegiate, curbside furniture and actually decorate the place. Up until a few weeks ago it was pretty sparse: my red chair, tv, stereo, and a few shelves.

Then the couch came: totally mid-century. Very Soho. And very me: it’s gray. Then came the leather recliner. And the hanging lamps. Lucite and plastic: very modern. And the white shag rug.

This weekend, I finally hung my Obey Giant triptic. Shepard Fairey’s stuff cracks me up. It’s faux propaganda, very 20th century post-industrial revolution Soviet looking, all reds and black. The center poster is Huey Lewis, the left an old Russian bomber, and the right, a great Eastern Bloc parliament building. Each one has Andre The Giant’s face and a star placed somewhere. They’re beautifully framed, and about three feet high. And they’re centered on my sixteen-foot high living room wall.

In between hanging them (tape measures were involved), cleaning the floors with a toothbrush (almost true), and re-folding and re-ordering all of my sweaters by hue, I hit Bed, Bath & Beyond for towels (red and gray) and a brushed stainless steel bistro table and black iron chairs for the deck.

And then the pièce de résistance: a 36″ tin star from the flea market. It looks like the Red Star on Chinese military caps. I mean, I love stars. Heck, they’ve adorned a few of my record covers. And I thought this one would sew everything together nicely. I’ve had me eye on it for a few weeks. I kept passing by it, never stopping. But today, with “Handshake Drugs” on my iPod, I stopped and asked the guy, “What’s the story with these stars?” And he goes on to tell me (as beads of sweat rain from my brow) that they’re made from roofing tin by Amish craftsmen in Lancaster County. I grew up about 45 miles east of Lancaster County. I love the Amish. I love stars. Done and done.

Then there are the details: white candles everywhere, a gargoyle perched high above the living room, a bookshelf jammed with keepsakes (an antique pottery bottle I found snorkeling in Bermuda, a baseball from the 1981 Tee Ball All-Star Game). And on a window sill in the kitchen — I noticed only today — are two reminders of where it all began: an Italian ceramic sun, and a porcelain cow-shaped creamer.

So I’m looking around my apartment tonight, everything hung and dusted and cleaned, everything in its right place, and I think, ‘It’s so me.’ One hand’s on my hip, the other is on my chin, and I’m wearing a Paul Frank shirt unbuttoned to show chest hair and I think, ‘My gosh, you are so gay.’ And I’m so lucky.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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