Somewhere in 2001, I became an unofficial line coach for “The Vagina Monologues”.
I can’t tell you if I was asked to take on the role as a challenge or as a building block to an unavoidable friendship, but I knew I had to accept it, and take it seriously – because it meant something to the person who asked me.
So I did it. I helped “The Doc” rehearse her lines for her part, every Thursday night – and sometimes on the weekends in a living room we shared with the man we loved.
Today, she sent me a scan of that original script, warts and all, and it cast a million ships of memories through my mind – of a very different time in the world; socially, personally, etc.
And a very different version of me.
The Doc was, and still is, my best friend’s – best friend. And, she’s one of my best friends as well. In fact, it would be better to just consider her my sister at this point.
A wonderful woman who was raised by a wonderful woman to be a strong lead in everything she does, some might simply call her a feminist, which she proudly is. But she’s so much bigger than a singular label and a devout educator at the core.
Even at twenty-one, and drunk, she was laser-focused on Women’s Rights and Equality. We talked about it all the time. We disagreed about it all the time. I was brimming with testosterone and I couldn’t be refined, until someone decided they would take on that fight.
Which, 20 years later, she’s been an integral part of doing.
And no, it’s not that I had an issue with Women’s Rights or Equality or any of that stuff – it’s that I had a problem with her taking up my time with my best friend. But that’s what happens when love walks in. Twenty-on-year-old me didn’t think that way.
Imagine how I felt when she moved in?!?!
We would argue, then we would be drinking buddies. We would argue, then we wouldn’t talk for a week, while sharing a bathroom in a condo. We would argue over the last egg in the fridge.
We. Would. Argue.
But we would figure it out and get those lines practiced like clockwork – every week.
All in the middle of it was our best friend – so we knew we had to eventually draw a line – but we didn’t really do it for him; we did it for one another – because, and don’t tell 21 year old, or even 31 year old her or me this – we really did and do care about one another. We have just been pushing each other in the right direction the whole time, aggressively.
We were destined to be friends – because, ultimately, we wanted to be.
Claws and all…
The Doc – I keep calling her that because she devoted half her life to earn that title – and I would spend hours in the bar at the Nathan Hale Inn on Thursday nights. Drinking expensive wine and bourbon – practicing those lines..
Openly talking, explicitly, about the explicits..
Looking back, it all seems so surreal – but half of my college loans were left on that bar top – so I know it all went down the way it went down.
And she ended up performing her role – a story about vagina’s, furniture, and an ordinary guy named Bob – as if she wrote it herself. A true extrovert; a true natural.
It’s moments like that – situations like this – that we shaping me. I didn’t know it then, but these out of context situations she got me into were breadcrumbs for my future.
She got me to meet Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Gandhi, while my face and knuckles were all busted up. Being embraced by a man of peace, as a man of petty war is still WOW. I cried then. I am crying now.
She got me to march in a pride parade when society was still openly using slurs as the punchline to jokes. A straight man in an openly-gay land in a time where those two things did not coexist.
I honestly don’t even know if she was at either of those events – but I was there because of her influence on me to embrace those things; to see those things – and to understand those things.
2001… 2002… 2005… 2012…
People didn’t understand how NOT OKAY things were out there in the world. These topics were always simmering, but were never the focus. And all the while, she was holding seminars on reality – trying to get people to see the big picture.
Trying to get people to get real.
Trying to get everyone to get everyone.
And her work is working and will continue to work.
Her impact is contagious. Her drive is uncanny.
I stand behind her every stride.
So, Doc, thanks.
Thank you for creating a better environment for anyone that will listen.
Thank you for making my best friend a happy husband and father..
Thank you for showing me a world beyond me.
Thank you for never pulling punches and always being you.
The girls and I love you without end.
Sorry Bob was so fucking boring.