Everybody has a Christmas list, I guess. Actually, most of the time I feel so gifted just by being alive that Christmas seems kind of pointless to me. (God, and I'm not even on Prozac -- must be the right hormones kicking in!) But anyway, I've been thinking about Christmas and the kind of stuff I'd really, really like, although I'm sure I'm not going to get it. So here goes.
1) For old time's sake: One selection from the Sears and Roebuck's Plain Republican White Shirt Mitt Romney Collection (a sadly aborted -- OK, I know that's the wrong word -- sadly jettisoned project). Simple American know-how, produced in China by Bain Capital by non-union but highly motivated, hard-working individuals who would be Americans if Jesus Christ (of the Latter Day Saints) had only smiled on them and not made 'em God-less heathens. These shirts are known to work beautifully over temple garments.
2) My own anatomically correct, almost life-size, cuddly and sleepable-with Jake Gyllenhaal doll. Every gay guy should have one; actually every straight guy, too. After all, they're entitled to a little cuddling, aren't they? Preferably, the doll should come barechested: one of the great complaints in the NY gay press about Jake's New York stage debut in, If There Is, I Haven't Found It Yet, by British playwright Nick Payne is that, sadly enough, Gyllenhaal did not appear barechested. Not even for a minute.
3) One big hug from President Obama. Let's face it: the last election was not about issues (for the most part), not about the economy (for the most part), not about class and race (for the most part) -- it was about huggability. That is, who'd you rather be hugged by: Barack or Mitt, who's about as warm as dry ice? Mitt, warm up some. It's not too late. Ask Ann how to do it.
4) A part in the next Woody Allen movie. Sure, we all know it: Going to a Woody Allen movie is not fun anymore. His movies have gotten so pretentious and repetitive. But the people in them, stars and all, are having such a good time that I think it's time the audience should have just as good of a time as the stars. They'll all get to wink and modestly admit, like Alec Baldwin, they're underpaid. But who cares? It's a Woody Allen movie, get it?
5) My next book reviewed in the New York Times. The Times only reviews about .01 percent of all books published, but the more important thing is that they review books advertised in the Times, usually by people who either write for the Times or are written up in the Times either because they have a lot of money or a lot of fame (another word in our deeply talent-driven 21st century for money). So, isn't it about time that hard-working writers like myself (and God knows how many more are out there like me) get reviewed in the Times, too? I don't ask for a big-ass review by Michiko Kakutani (who's known to be kind of thick anyway -- I could quote at far range from her reviews, but won't), just something. Joe Blow, John Blow, anybody -- just review me. And like Laura says in Tea and Sympathy, "When you talk about this in the future -- and you will -- be kind."
6) A guest spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen is certainly the first lesbian, in the way that Michelle Obama is the first lady, although Ellen may have to soon wrestle with Christine Quinn over this distinction if Christy becomes mayor of New York (for a lot of people, one of those "over my dead body" happenings), or with Rosie O'Donnell, who has been known to push a lot of buttons and/or people out of her way. But Ellen is wonderfully likable, and in a difficult time being that way has become more prized than ever -- a characteristic most writers don't usually share, unless they are talking about their next afterlife experience.
7) If I can't appear on Ellen's show, how about an appearance on David Geffen's Christmas list? Geffen, who is now an American Master (according to PBS, who'd a-thunk it?) is known to dispense largess once a year at Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/etc. and any hard-working writer worth his desk printer could use a boost from the former best friend of Cher. Dave, could you act like a real mentsch and spare a paltry mil for me?
8) On a less selfish level, how about world peace? It's something every Miss America contestant asks for, but, like, you know, like, I really, really mean it this time. Imagine what world peace would give to the effin' world. All of those trillions spent on wars -- we could go out and buy whole countries with it. We could buy Afghanistan, or at least make it comfortable as an economic colony of us (kind of like Cuba used to be when it was all big hotels and donkey shows), a place to put up our underwear factories, manufacture those AAA batteries sold at discount stores that never last more than a week, etc. World peace: Put that on your Christmas list and keep it there.
9) Having Pope Benedict XVI officiate at my own fabulous gay wedding. The perfect Christmas present, especially with St. Peter's done up so brightly for the holidays, and the pope (née Joe Ratzinger, ex-head of the Inquisition) could get to wear his most blingy, eye-popping outfit, layer upon layer of lace and tulle, and a headdress to make any sister of perpetual indulgence turn chartreuse with envy.
10) Cooking lessons from Daniel Boulud. Now I can learn to make incredibly simple, incredibly overpriced dishes and serve them to my friends with a genuinely blood-freezing level of attitude. What writer wouldn't want this? I mean it. We could start off with the $32.50 plate of spaghetti, just to show that we're serious.
11) A year's worth of botox. I could end up looking like Joan Rivers, or even her daughter Melissa. Joan, who has now become the national spokesperson for survival -- her story could break the heart of a stone -- has given new meaning to the term "youthful," as well as hope to many a republican Jewish girl. She did not do well on the marriage front, and can't seem to sell her Park Avenue apartment, but, despite everything, as Stephen Sondheim wrote about it so well in Follies, "I'm still here."
12) A date with Justin Bieber. He could explain to me how to become the most Googlable person in the world. No easy feat, and I admire his wit, depth of talent, looks and hair for becoming this. I have no idea how he did it, but in this age when 60 percent of American high school graduates cannot find the U.S. on a map, it's nice to know that they've all been Googling Justin and coming up with a trove of facts about his life, popularity and career. (Like his having his own scent that now outsells Right Guard deodorant.)
13) Getting to dance on Dancing with the Stars. Not that I can dance like a star, or even want to -- but to have that rush of popularity and fame, isn't that what we all took up cocaine for back in the mid-1980s? (Oh, God, don't tell me you haven't give up coke by now? Then maybe you should get on Dancing with the Stars.)
14) And last: As a special present to me, we should make Christmas come in the 13th month of the year, because I'm never ready for it in the 12th month. The Jewish calendar which is lunar-based has to throw in a 13th month every couple of years which must be extremely confusing but which must give a lot of rabbis in Israel a reason to keep their jobs. So, having Christmas in the 13th month means that you'd have some years without it, giving everybody a reasonable, necessary, and well-deserved vacation from it. It would be hell on Macy's, a Jewish store, I guess, but heck, even Macy's deserves a year off. Don't you think?
Perry Brass is the author of 16 books. His latest, King of Angels, A Novel About the Genesis of Identity and Belief, was awarded a Bronze Ippy for Best Young Adult Novel, 2012 and Honorable Mention from Elisa Rolle's Rainbow International Gay Book Awards. His previous book was The Manly Art of Seduction; both books are available as Ebooks and in print. He is currently working on a book about the power of desire, and can be reached through his website, www.perrybrass.com.