UJR

September 24, 2010


UJR

So, I’ve covered who I hate most in my family (See Mann Coulter and My Asshole Uncle for more information) and now it’s time for who I love most. Beside my mother, whose awesomeness I’ve already covered in Mom, the blessed honor of favorite family member goes to UJR. Although two people, my mom’s brother and his husband (Yes, husband. They live in Massachusetts), I’ve come to think of them as a single entity. They’ve done more for me than I, or they, realize. Without them I’d probably be dead or living under an overpass, addicted to prescription drugs and whoring myself to the highest bidder and for that, I’m thankful.

I don’t remember it, but I first met UJR on New Year’s Eve 1980. I was a spry, young five-year old probably clinging to the Cabbage Patch Kid my parent’s had reluctantly given me for Christmas that year. R (he’s the boyfriend) met me and, from what he says, knew instantly that I was a friend of Dorothy. For the next decade he tried to convince UJ of my latent homosexuality, but UJ wasn’t hearing it. Not until the summer of 1993.

As fate turned out, I ended up attending a college in Baltimore, the same town UJR were living in at the time. The June before school started, my BFF, let’s call him Flint, and I drove road tripped to B-more for a getaway before starting college. Halfway through our trip the radio broke and, since this was before CD players were standard in every car, all we had was an old crappy tape player and a slightly used copy of The Carpenters greatest hits tape. We popped it in and, before we knew it, we were listening to “Top of The World” on repeat for three hours. We arrived at UJR’s door, singing that song at the top of our lungs and it was then, UJ later told me, that he knew I was truly part of his family.

Me and UJ

And thank God I was. When I started college I was stuck with the roommate from HELL. The campus was so full that, in a freshman dorm, they stuck me with a 22 year-old, ex-marine with a penchant for loud, obnoxious music and making out with his skanky girlfriend until all hours of the night. Thankfully, since UJR lived close by, they let me come over for dinner, took me shopping and even bought me a copy of “A Boy’s Own Story”–a staple for any young emerging homo. One day, after class I came back to my dorm room and my butt face roommate was gone. No one ever told me and I never asked, but I think JUR may have made a phone call to the dorm monitors in my building.

College flew by with my spending almost every extended break with JUR who had by that time moved to Miami Beach. It was no surprise when I came out to them when I was 21 and even less of a surprise when they invited me to live with them when I graduated.

I did so, had a fabulous time, dated a complete loser (See Facebook and Ex-Boyfriends for more information), all the while learning what it meant to be a successful gay man. UJR taught me how to make a killer martini, impress dinner guests with homemade risotto, why everyone should hate the French and even how to interview for a job. Every weekend we would go out, have way too much to drink, demand the dj play ABBA and talk about all the crazy people in our family. Those memories of Miami Beach are like keepsakes that store on a bookshelf, pulling them down when I want a good laugh or to remember just how wonderful my life is.

Me, mom and R

But, like college, my time in Miami came to an end after about 18 months and I moved up to New Jersey to live with Homo Honey.

It was quite a change to transition from living with my two gay uncles in what was, at the time, the gay Mecca of the United States to sharing a small apartment with Homo Honey in the middle of Straightsivlle, USA. To ease the culture shock, UJR and I talked every Sunday at 8. We’d chat about our weeks over martinis and cigarettes. They helped me through my relationships and work dramas and I levitated their lives with pop culture gossip and the emotional rantings of a twenty-something fag.

Since then, we’ve all aged a bit and moved onto bigger and better things. I eventually moved to Atlanta, met the man of my dreams and became an architect. UJR moved to Boston, have each had a couple jobs since then and spend most of their time jet-setting to amazing places like Dubai and Monaco. Even though we’ve all grown and adapted to new surroundings and situations we still have a standing appointment every Sunday at 8 to talk on the phone. As soon as they pick up, it seems like we laugh continuously, stopping long enough to sip our martinis and reminisce about all the fun we’ve had.

Thanks UJR for being such amazing role models, such close friends and such trustworthy confidants. I love you both very much.

My advice to UJR:

You guys shoul start a company where you mold young men questioning their sexuality into positive members of the gay community. It worked for me…

My advice to everyone else:

Call your favorite family member this Sunday at 8 and let them know how much you care.

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4 Responses to “UJR”

  1. mom Says:

    A well deserved tribute to two of the greatest men I know. Michael,I wish all young men had a UJR like you did, the world would most certainly be a better place. Thank you my brother and Robin for always being there for my Michael,I will never forget it.(UJR, uncle Jeff and Robin)


  2. […] college HH moved to Philadelphia and I moved to Miami Beach to live with UJR. She talked me through my obsession with Hector (see “Man Whores and First Loves” for more […]


  3. […] the first time I flew on an airplane. I was eight years old and Mom and I flew home from visiting UJR in Providence. From the time we stepped onto the jet way, it was truly a magical experience, for me […]


  4. […] enthusiastic BB collector over the coveted Princess Diana collectable that Mom planned to give Uncle Robin. But my all-time favorite Mom BB story was when she was waiting in line in the bitter cold for a BB […]


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