After referring to myself as a “columnist” for about a year, I got a call from a friend of mine who works at Time Out magazine.
“We’re doing a cover of Queer Voices,” she told me. “Just a bunch of Polaroids, maybe 20 or so, taking up the whole cover. I told the artistic director to get in contact with you.” She emailed me later that day, and I went in the next week to have my picture taken.
Time Out’s headquarters in Times Square was packed with fellow queers – writers and musicians and drag queens and the like. I noticed Justin Tyler Angel there, a nightlife personality I became friends with when we were both hosts at Cafeteria Restaurant.
B for “Bergeron” was at the top of their list. I felt amazing: my hair, red at the time, was freshly dyed and vibrant, my skin was clear and glowing, and I was wearing a beautiful new floral mesh top from Theory.
They took two Polaroids, one from the front and one at a slight right angle. They showed me the photos before I left: I looked fantastic. “Thank you so much!” the photographer smiled at me. “The cover should be up in a few weeks.”
I told everyone I was going to be on the cover. “It’s a ‘Queer Voices’ issue, and there’s gonna be like 20 Polaroids on the cover, and I’m one of them,” I told anyone who would listen. I felt like being recognized made it real: I am a Queer Voice. I am a columnist in New York City. I am a writer.
The morning the issue came out, I got a text from my friend at Time Out. It just said “I’m so sorry.”
Without responding, I jumped out of bed, threw on the first pair of sweatpants I could find (they were covered in the Pusheen Cat eating different foods), and rushed to the nearest street cart vendor that had Time Out magazine.
I searched the cover: There were at least 30 polaroids on it. Certainly my photo couldn’t have been overlooked; It was perfect. Did I really not make the cut?
Then I saw it: My vibrant red hair, duller in print, and my eyes, peering out over the TIME OUT magazine logo in the upper left-hand corner. I hadn’t been cut – I had been covered. The bottom of the Polaroids all had our names on them. Mine, like most of my face, was covered.
I stood there in my Pusheen Cat sweatpants, holding the magazine, feeling stupid. Maybe, I assured myself, this was just a Carrie Bradshaw moment – a much less embarrassing “Forty and Fabulous?” ordeal.
Or, more realistically, it was a Mike Wazowski moment, and I was just an embarrassing little green monster covered by a magazine’s barcode.
Whatever the case, I kept the magazine and framed it on my wall. It keeps me humble.