Sean preparing for his big day
Off to his first day at work
Success: he survived Monday
I wanted to teach him this too
Did you ever have a cooler, older cousin? One that led you
through the defining moments of childhood? One that bought you that first
beer, showed you that first porno, or rolled your first joint? My cooler,
older cousin didn’t do any of that but she was impressive anyway.
Ann Renee, or Ren as she is now know, went to NYU, and
one year when I went to stay with my Aunt and Uncle, she changed my life.
Taking me to Sixteen Candles. so I saw it in the movie theatre), I was spellbound, not just by
the beauty of Molly Ringwald (where is she now?), but by the vision of
As I was not wearing any underwear, it was all in the
wash, I was uniquely embarrassed and aroused through the whole movie. That
my cousin was cooler, older and a sexy seventeen did not help. That night,
alone in the bathroom, I experimented, as all men do, and learned of the
amazing things the male body can do.
It was not all self-love that she taught me. Ren also
spun 1999, the record by a man still known then as Prince (his birth
name!), and my musical tastes were altered forever. I can still remember
the scene after my first trip to the record store after my return to
My Dad, yelling about the ‘Purple Faggot’
record as I hid the Boy George and Madonna cassette tapes that I’d
shoplifted. Oh, yeah, Mom & Dad, I ‘liberated’ a bit back
then. Now that I’m older, I just ‘acquire’ things, but still don’t
ask me how or why.
Anyway, I digress from the cooler, older cousin theme I
started with. I always felt in awe of Ren, and to an extent I still do.
She’s living up near her parents in New Hampshire now, doing something
cool and artsy, I’m sure. Luckily, I was able to pass on her gift, her
insight on how to be a cooler, older cousin.
See I have an Australian cousin, my Mom’s sister’s kid (Ren
is on Dad’s side), who is four years my junior. When we first met, I was
eight and he was four. My folks have this great photo of us in Texas,
visiting family, where I have my arm around him, like a protective older
brother. My only memory of that trip is when I led him to fence post and
showed him how to pee outdoors. Something his Mom just wasn’t capable of
When I was sixteen and he was twelve, we met again. This
time I was old enough to drive, though my parent’s didn’t trust me with a
big truck on Texas roads (smart!), I still impressed Sean. I was taller,
thinner, and manlier than he was, and I used this advantage to impress on
him how joe-cool I was.
Again, eight years later, I heard he was going to be in
Texas when I would be in Florida, and I took some of my Russia spoils and
bough him a ticket east. There my Mom and I were, waiting at the exit ramp
of the flight, and I was feeling good. After a year and a half in Russia,
I knew I would be so cool. Experienced, rich, and with way too many
stories to tell, I waited for that plump twelve year old to shyly enter my
amazing world. When my ego is inflated the most, is when it always
happens, and this time would be no exception.
We waited through throngs of people, and just when I
thought he missed his flight, off walked a hunk that hugged my Mother. Not
one to let any random punk next to her, even if he was twice my size and
thug looking, I challenged the intruder. Only then did I realize this man,
this stud, was my grown-up cousin. Fuck!
There went all the planning, all the dreams, all the
opportunities to feed my ever-hungry ego. Gone in a wave of muscles and
charming good looks. Instead of spending the week giving my cousin tips on
the fairer sex, I spent the week as his press agent, answering the many
and lustful questions young ladies asked of me about him. I was so
With reluctance, I planned this journey to end in
Australia, with Sean. I knew that all the fun I might have from Moscow to
Singapore would end the moment I stepped into his aurora. There is no way
I can compete with the stud-cousin now. No way at all.
All I can do to save any shred of self dignity and
cooler, older cousin superiority, is to spend my days suntanning and
swimming at the beach, and drinking and sleeping on his couch, while he
slaves at his first corporate job.