Pregnancy is exhausting. I don’t mean a happy little fatigue that one is well-conditioned for, like walking around the neighborhood, lifting a couple of weights or running a marathon. I mean that the line between me an unconsciousness is thin, fuzzy and sneaky. Before getting squirted with semen I was already known to fall asleep on commuter trains, park benches or only half in my pajamas, bent at the waist over the bed with my feet still on the floor. But rarely were those naps at one, three, five and seven pm.
I now abruptly pass out and fall down asleep several times a day and can successfully konk out for an entire night of sleep at eight pm. These naps are not cozy, restful, invigorating layovers in an otherwise productive day. These are narcolepsy spells that can be brought on by eating, talking, typing, standing, breathing and drinking water. Naps sneak up behind me, hit me with a croquet mallet, kick me in the shins, inject me with ninja sedatives, bind one wrist and my ankles to my chair and then put Cool Whip in my other hand while tickling my nose. Last week they wrote “jerk” on my forehead with indelible ink. It’s only a matter of time until naps saran wrap my toilet and call to tell me the refrigerator is running. I would fall for that right now.
All of this exhaustion is not only making me whiny about how I can’t be my typical, neurotic, to-do-dedicated self, but it’s also not super helpful for meeting all of the new queers in the town that I have just moved to. At some point, I look forward to meeting all of the other queer parents that Portland has to offer, and admitting to good company that I can’t get a cheap high school baby sitter for every evening off that I would like. But I’m not even showing yet. I could currently pass for just pleasantly plump and I had rather hoped to appear a hip, young thing for a few months more. Hell, until it actually pops out, couldn’t I just be a hot, energetic go-getter whose midriff everybody wants to caress while I bat my eyelids and preemptively work the whole baby-as-a-cute-flirting-accessory thing? Nope.
Partner and I went to a drag king show at the local dyke bar. I napped right before we went, so as to be as far away from the next unconscious spate as possible. I sipped on ice water as a beverage prop and made token efforts to comment on who among the strangers was hot and who was the social butterfly, the event organizer or the not-very-funny comedian that further makes me doubt Curve magazine and any of the dubious awards they give out. The performances were endearing, the emcee was charming and the cover charge collector was ravishing, but I had dead eyes.
Look at that delicious beer walking all around me. Did somebody mention top shelf tequila? Why can’t gay standard time have eight o’clock events starting earlier than nine? Will my hotpants fit ever again? How much will it cost to buy new ones? How little above minimum wage can one get away with paying a babysitter for a night? Will any parent let their high school-aged child stay with my future progeny all night so that I can not just watch the mediocre drag kings lip sync for an unimportant cause, but also give myself a hangover and have somebody else get up with the little alien in the morning? And, seriously, just look a that delicious beer. No wonder I’m not really focusing on making eyes at any of these hot little things, even when they catch my eye. I’m struggling to maintain consciousness even without a cold, crisp, courage-building, anti-sleep, wit-inducing, tricking prop.
Fake, non-alcoholic beers are not very good. And being sober pretty much makes drunk people boring and annoying. Even the hot ones. As somebody who doesn’t have any historical problems with alcohol – only an abiding love for and healthy relationship with mild intoxicants – being the infinite, never-ending designated driver puts a serious damper on my already low energy levels and my ability to keep up with and enter into shiny, brand-spanking-new queer culture events. My inability to drink and stay awake with the drinkers is kicking me out of queer culture!
How would I recognize a queer event without the booze and the music that I can shake my booty to for hours? Ok. I guess there would still be the rainbows, the awareness raising and the fabulous outfits. But I would be sleeping through them. The Gay and Sober tent better have really amazing beanbag chairs and exceptionally gifted masseuses, because the illusion of paying more attention than everybody else to our health and well-being is one of the only perks to conceding alcohol. And, frankly, my body enjoyed getting flushed in the face, a little fuzzy in the head, a zap of energy that let me dance past my bedtime and a belly full of a nice, dark, malty brew.
Every great civilization has claimed food, drink and dancing as their own – the ancient Egyptians, the flappers, the gangsters, the protesters of the sixties and seventies, and, of course, the queers. How many flower and love children said “no” to weed and shrooms, and how much less fun did they have without the comradery of the rest of the rainbow-seeing Woodstock? How many mobsters got to be the godfather without the sweet stench of whiskey on their breath as they whispered threats to their underlings? How many pregnant boys can manage to work around their expanding bellies, lengthy sleep schedules and sulky libidos to get laid and enjoy the happening events that are in bars? Woe is me and every other pregnant chick or dude trying to function as a normative member of their out and about culture.
All I want are three to four cold, frosty pints, a pair of favorite pants to fit without a rubber band around my snap and button hole and to be wakeful long enough to engage in the mating dance of the other queers under the age of forty. I only have to wait another six months to give birth and as long as it takes until the cheap, high school babysitter is available for an entire weekend. This is going to last forever.