Sunday, May 26, 2013

Can Men Be Vamps?

The definition of a vamp is a seductive woman who exploits men by use of her sexual charms. But I’ve often wondered if men can also be vamps.

After meeting Terrence’s friend Miguel in San Francisco, I’m completely convinced that men, too, can be vamps. (I stopped off in San Francisco on my way home from Berlin to celebrate with my gay friend, Terrence and spend an evening with Patrick.)

In fact, I think vampiness comes even more naturally to men. While many women are busy finding a man to feather their nest, men tend to cast about, always on the lookout for their next conquest.

Women and men use drastically different means to lure in their prey, of course.

Women use their bodies, dressing provocatively to show off our best assets: low-cut blouses that expose a bit of cleavage, tight, short skirts that hug our butts, and of course, high-heeled shoes: the vampier, the better!

Men use a whole different tack: courting women with divine dinners, hot cars, and bachelor pads designed to entice and seduce.

Now I’ve seen a lot of seductive bachelor pads in my life, but I’ve never seen anything like Miguel’s. A successful real estate mogul, Miguel owns several apartment buildings and homes in the San Francisco area, where housing prices have increased as much as 30 percent in the last couple of years. Needless to say, he’s doing quite well.

Miguel lives and parties in several houses, but none is more fascinating than his party mansion, which is 5,000 square feet of pure fun and frivolity.

Inside are 32 rooms – each designed and decorated around a different theme: the Elvis room with all the best concepts from Graceland, the I Dream of Jeannie room where you walk into Jeannie’s bottle, and the Bourbon Street room with a full sized carousel horse, Victorian wrought iron gate and a waterfall running down the wall.

The I Dream of Jeannie Room, where you walk inside Jeannie's bottle.
We danced to British invasion rock and roll (“I Saw Her Standing There,” “Bus Stop,” “You Really Got Me”) in the art deco theatre on a cushioned dance floor with two balconies.

Since Terrence was a good friend of Miguel’s, he snuck us into the secret passageways hidden in the walls and under the floors. That’s where we found the most amazing part of the house of all -- an area I’ll call his “concubine dormitory.”

On either side of the hallway were five dormitory-style rooms with a single bed, and at the end of the hall was a room with a circular red velvet couch, sheepskin rug, mood lighting and a seductive sound system.

I wondered: who stays in these rooms? They obviously succumb to Miguel's vamp-charm.

I am not just a vaping vamp;  I consider myself to the be vampiest woman of them all. But I think if we included both women and men, Miguel may just have me beat...


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eine Unvergessliche Nacht in Berlin (An Unforgettable Night in Berlin)

Viktor dropped me off at the airport, and while he may say he’s a “camel,” storing up his reserves for the times when I’m gone, I could tell he was a little jealous, knowing that I would soon be partying with Tobias in Berlin.

I have my system down when it comes to international travel: I put on my Victoria’s Secret violet sweatsuit, eat a full evening meal, and then take a half an Ambien. It guarantees I’ll sleep for almost the entire flight, so I’m ready to rock ‘n roll when I land.

After a brief stop in Amsterdam (which holds painful memories of a break-up long ago), I landed in Berlin late on Friday morning.

Don't you love a man who indulges you in gifts in your favorite color?
Tobias picked me up at the airport bearing a dozen passionate purple tulips (don’t you love a man who indulges you in gifts in your favorite color?). I put on my Van Gogh Starry Night scarf around my head as he took me on a spin in his BMW convertible around this international city of 3.4 million people and the scene of one of the oldest celebrations in the world, the Karneval der Kulturen.

That afternoon, we grazed on food from all over the world and danced to the multi-cultural sounds of Berlin. The lawn in the center of the festival area was buzzing with acrobats, magicians, stilt-walkers, witches and wizards, while about 300 market stalls seduced us with fantastic culinary creations.

With nearly 800 musicians on four stages over the four-day festival, there’s something for everyone: from Reggae to the Tarantella, Flamenco to Samba.

Tobias tenderly held my hand as he led me through the rich and winding scene, a virtual treasure-trove of cultural expression with every sort of gift you could imagine.

But Tobias had already bought me a gift: an adorable Steiff bear with violet-tipped mohair and a note around its neck stating simply, “Ich bin dein… für immer” (“I am yours… for keeps”).

After a late afternoon nap, we headed out for the evening, and it’s a good thing we didn’t overdress, because Tobias led me to Berlin’s famous KitKatClub, where there’s an “undress” code. You shed most of your clothing upon entering!

I'm not sure what time we left the club. . . but we saw the sunrise the next morning.
The KitKatClub in Berlin, with its bar, lounge and throbbing discotheque makes the Kitty Cat Klub in Minneapolis look tame in comparison. We were there until the wee hours; I’m actually not sure exactly what time, except we saw the sunrise on our way back to the hotel…

Minneapolis lit the I-35 bridge in celebration of legalizing gay marriage
It was a wild place where literally anything goes and everyone is accepted – gay, transvestite, straight, whatever. Naturally, vaping my sleek black e-cigarette was accepted there. It was a colorful and fanciful fairyland that made me feel proud to be from Minneapolis, where we just became the 12th state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage.

This was a microcosm of the world I want to live in – where everyone feels free to be who they really are – and I can be free to be my utmost vampiest!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

May Day, Mother’s Day and Vamps

It’s Mother’s Day – the day when even us vamps celebrate our moms. But for me, I find myself wondering whether moms were vamps like me before they became moms. (They couldn’t be quite as vampy as me, since I’m the vampiest one of all!)

I know my mom enjoys hearing my stories (I tell her some, but not ALL of my stories...) of the fun festivals I’ve been enjoying this spring.

The MayDay Festival features 10-foot tall puppets from In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre
Here in Minneapolis, I strutted my stuff along with about 50,000 other people during the 39th Annual MayDay Parade and Festival, featuring music, masks and 10 feet tall puppets.

It was a day of celebration, campiness and craziness as the long winter in Minnesota and non-existent spring (seriously, snow in May??!) had taken its toll even on those of us with somewhat stable mental health! We all got a little crazy – even normally reserved Minnesota-Scandinavian women were getting their vamp on!

This celebration was just a taste of things to come. . . next week, I fly to Berlin for the annual Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures), where I’ll be one vamp among about a million people from all over the world.

Tobias invited me to join him for this years festival, which promises more opulent costumes, imaginative masks and music and food from all over the world.

This time next week, I'll be writing from Berlin, where I'll be partying at the Karneval der Kulturen
But the best part is the after-parties. . . and there will no doubt be plenty of those where the colorful, cosmopolitan characters of Berlin will get particularly crazy, doing the wild boogey to reggae, groovin’ to rock, swinging to the blues and shimmying to samba. Me, I'll be doing all of the above, and then some...

It’s been a while since I’ve been out of town, and I’m a little worried that Viktor will get a little jealous, since he’s been my next-door man, rough and ready when I need him.

But I think he understands you just can’t take the vamp out of a vaping vamp. The vamp is here to stay. So is vaping. After all, I have a reputation to maintain!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bette Davis Eyes (and Greta Garbo's too)

(Note from Vita: Listen to "Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes when you read this blog.)

The first thing I notice about a man is his eyes. I look into his eyes (preferably dark brown) to see if I can see from here to his bedroom and back again.

Victor Hugo said, “When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.” I apply this same philosophy when listening to any man. Whatever is coming out of his mouth should match with what his eyes are saying. The eyes don’t lie.

(I admit that the second thing I notice about a man is his fingernails. A man who knows how to groom might make a good groom. Not that I’m interested in becoming a bride. But I may want to pawn him off on one of my friends who is.)

Bette Davis had hair of Harlow gold and gorgeous blue eyes
Bette Davis had such great eyes that a famous song was written about them:

Her hair is Harlow gold
Her lips sweet surprise
Her hands are never cold
She's got Bette Davis eyes

Here’s my favorite part (words to live by):

And she'll tease you
She'll unease you
All the better just to please you
She's precocious and she knows just what it takes to make a pro blush
She's got Greta Garbo stand-off sighs
She's got Bette Davis eyes

Greta Garbo's eyes were also beautiful. But she was more famous for saying "I vant to be left alone."
This got me thinking about Greta Garbo’s eyes. An entire song could also be written about her eyes as well. She may have been haughty and stand-offish (her famous line was “I vant to be left alone”) but it wouldn’t have been for lack of attention from both men and women (there was some question about whether she was bisexual).

Garbo had a nasty chain-smoking habit.
She loved to smoke when drinking.
Garbo, who also had a nasty chain-smoking habit, admitted, “I smoke all the time, one after another.”

Perhaps it was because she wasn’t left alone, or perhaps it was because she, like many women, simply loved smoking when drinking cocktails. (The butt of a cigarette she had smoked fetched $352 at an auction!)

And then I thought to myself: maybe this song has a lesson for me. I may want to take a man home just to “whet my appetite” and lay him “on the throne.”

But sometimes a woman just wants to vape and drink her cocktails alone.

I doubt I'll be famous for saying, "I vant to vape alone." Because it's true only once in a great while.