My clock radio jolts me awake. "Damn," I realize, "I have to buy gifts." Groping for the lamp, I knock my reading material off the

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Grab everything on hand and give, quick!

My clock radio jolts me awake. "Damn," I realize, "I have to buy gifts." Groping for the lamp, I knock my reading material off the nightstand: Hornito by Mike Albo (HarperCollins, $23), an evocative memoir of growing up gay in suburban Virginia and looking for love in New York's East Village, all-too-familiar subjects I erroneously believed couldn't be mined further. As I stumble to the kitchen, I marvel in the mirror at how my Superman-blue Paul Frank monkey pajama bottoms ($38 at ZebraClub, 1901 First, 448-7452 ) almost make my fat ass look cute, almost.

I'm so clogged with grouchy vibes that a fiber-rich bowl of John McCann Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal ($6.59 for a 28-ounce tin at area QFC stores) seems like a good idea, but cooking is a bother. Instead, I slather a bagel with Sorrells Pickard Gourmet Peanut Butter ($3.59, QFC), which sates my femme palette with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, while the cowpoke on the jar allows me to pretend it's masculine grub.

I scour away last night's bar stink with Bee & Flower Jasmine Soap (69 cents at drug stores everywhere), then augment my bed head with Vain's sticky, pink Super Bubble Pop ($14.95, Vain, 2222 Second, 441-3441), the hair goo that smells like a high school cheerleader's breath. As I get dressed, I wonder why I even bother wearing nice underwear such as my sassy Ben Sherman boxer shorts ($18, Urban Outfitters, 401 Broadway E, 322-1800, or 1513 Fifth, 381-3777), until I remember that I want to look nice for the paramedics when I inevitably get creamed by an SUV.

Finding a parking space downtown proves nigh impossible. But suddenly, I realize—now that my younger brother has found direction in life and become a fireman—I can buy the whole family gifts at www.nyfirestore.com, online home of the New York Firefighter's Friend, without ever facing vicious Christmas shoppers again.

Hooray, my loathsome chore is done before it's begun! To celebrate, I zip over to Fallout Records (1506 East Olive Wy, 323-2662) and scoop up Ghost Ship by the Sultans, the latest Rocket from the Crypt side-project (Swami Records/Sympathy for the Record Industry, $10.99), and Steal This, a new five-song 7-inch by punk pinups the Explosion (Revelation Records, $4.25).

Braving the outside world has primed my appetite; back home, I gorge on a bounty from the Spanish Table (1427 Western, 682-2827): chorizo sausages, anchovy-stuffed olives, marinated octopus, and stinky cheeses—creamy blue Cabrales, buttery Manchego, and paprika-flavored Pimentino. I'm sure Laura Werlin, author of The New American Cheese (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $35) would chide me for not buying domestic, but screw her. Washing down my repast with Jolly Roger Christmas Ale ($7.27 a six-pack at Bottleworks, 1710 45th NE, 633-2437), I praise Seattle's Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. for dreaming up a beverage that celebrates two of my favorite things: yuletide and pirates.

Now I'm feeling bloated. To induce enough guilt to either purge or go to the gym, I leaf through Men's Show (Edition Stemmle, $65), the dreamy photo tome by New York social shutterbug Patrick McMullen, documenting the backstage excitement of the boys' side of Fashion Week. Gazing at all the images of smiling hunks in their designer underwear, I wonder which notion is more preposterous: that models can display personality, or, considering my yuletide indulgences, that I still dream of having a six-pack that doesn't come from the beer aisle?

 
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