The Old Gray Mare

My lovely friend Gina Vetro, actress, comedian, pianist, genius, who I lived with on St. Mark’s place “back in the day”, sent me this paragraph on the state of NYC this morning.
Last night i walked the westside highway w/ Billy (erb), aka Billy Beyond aka Bilbo Baggins…the rain was pouring down, it was fun, almost decadent. Remember NYC used to be fun? Then we saw a police van w/ about 4 cops & they stopped this 1 very polite young black girl w/ about 8 of her friends, she was the only one drinkin a bud outta paper bag. 

when she politely answered them the cop said, “I can give u another ticket for insubordination, where’s your ID”…WHO THE HELL EVER CARRIED ID IN THE SUMMER IN NYC!”  These are the same piers that you did blow on, smoked a joint, got fist-fucked up the ass, took a hit a poppers, stabbed someone or got stabbed & MAYBE (if you were lucky) saw a body floating in the Hudson River!!! An OPENED BUD  IN A PLAIN BROWN PAPER BAG???!!!! REALLY!!!!???? 

As Frodo & Bilbo continued their walk squeezing past the packs & herds of higher income white people (or higher income moms & dads paying for their higher income housing) who used to be to afraid to come into the West Village /Meat Packing after dark (pre-carrie-bradshaw days) Bilbo looked @ me and said, ‘‘The west village used to be so awful & dangerous, now look at it, it’s just awful…………”

Even my sister (whom i equate to Mary Tyler Moore) says ‘everything you can get in NY, you can get in Wayne, PA…so what’s the diff???’

I told her that her sister is right, and Drew and I are seriously considering retiring to my childhood home on Lake Michigan in ten years, which is something I never thought I would do in a million years. 

But so this isn’t a completely depressing post, I’ve left you with a couple videos of Gina, the first, she is clucking like a chicken for Calvin Klein, the second, she’s just taking care of her man’s car like a good wife.

Unicorns & Rainbows

From: M. Raffaele
Subject: Photos!
To: Uncle Cranky

Date: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 7:08 PM


From: Uncle Cranky
Subject: Photos!
To: M. Raffaele <>
Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011 at 8:31 PM

On Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 8:31 PM, Uncle Cranky wrote:


From: M. Raffaele
Subject: Photos
To: Uncle Cranky
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 8:17 AM

Haha! What do you mean, you “LOOK” like a grouch?? Is this news to you? 

Did we really abandon you halfway through the night? I didn’t eat any dinner before going out and I got so blotto my boyfriend had to come and get me. Then I slipped off my shoe in the hallway of my building and sprained my ankle. Veeerrrrrry classy indeed. And yes, I totally pinned it on your strong drinks. What can I say, I’m a horrible person. It’s why we’re friends.

Text me or Zoe when you get back into town from riding burros in the mountains of Peru or whatever it is you’re doing overseas this summer.


From: Uncle Cranky
Subject: HOW DARE YOU??
To: M. Raffaele 

 Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 11:38 AM

On Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM, Uncle Cranky wrote:

I AM NOT A FUCKIN GROUCH ! ! !  *!@:#!@!!@#!!*
From: M. Raffaele <>

Subject: Re: HOW DARE YOU ! !
To: Uncle Cranky
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 12:38 PM

You are a golden, magical unicorn in a forest of rare gems and exotic orchids.

From: Uncle Cranky
Subject: HOW DARE YOU??
To: M. Raffaele
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 5:52 PM

On Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 5:52 PM, Uncle Cranky wrote:

ahhh, thats better,……but, ……YOU FORGOT THE FUCKIN RAINBOWS ! ! !


We get a lot of celebrities coming into the Patricia Field store (where I work) and generally they’re pretty nice. Beyonce was a sweetheart. Katie Perry is adorable. Paris Hilton is always friendly and nice. Jerry Hall was a bit of a bitch, but her kids are always great. I think she was pissed she had to spend time in a store she probably considers declasse paying for stuff her kids wanted. Or maybe she’s just a bitch.

I work in the office, not on the floor, and when someone famous comes in I usually remain hidden. I have met enough celebrities in my life, and I’m not particularly interested, unless it’s a rock star or someone I actually know. When Slash and his wife visited I made a point to come out and say hi and make sure they got a couple of CSFH tees. But other than him I can’t remember the last time I got excited over a visit.

We also get a lot of reality shows filming in there. The store is very colorful and fun and adds instant visual excitement. I am not immune to the lure of reality tv, but I’m not interested in the “stars” for the most part, so I don’t bother getting up from my desk when they come in. I did run out to see Kim Kardashian when she showed up because she’s just so goddamn pretty that I wanted to see if it held up in real life. It does. She’s actually more petite than you would expect and even prettier in person, if that’s possible. And her mom was very nice and fun. 

During that same visit Courtney’ Kardashian’s husband was somewhat ignorant and obnoxious about the transgender quotient in our store, but you would expect that from him. Which leads me to today’s blog. You would also expect that the Real Housewives of New York would behave a little better than one of the most hated people on reality television. Alas, they did not.

First, allow me to introduce you to my friend Codie Leone. She is a transsexual woman, and has been living as a woman since this 80’s. Nan Goldin took this iconic photo of her then:

This is Codie now. 

The ladies of PF: Ingrid, me, Sofia, Codie:

This is an outtake of a photo shoot that Aaron Cobbett did of Codie and her biological sons, which is a tale for another day:

So now you have a mental image. Codie has been my friend for 20 years. She’s hilarious, she’s generous and kind, and she manages the wig department and works in the salon as a stylist. Codie was on the sales floor when the Housewives came in to tart themselves up for some bullshit party that was most likely expensive and boring. According to Codie, they seemed very nice and she was happy  to help them.

She was not as happy once the show aired, because when she wasn’t in earshot one of the housewives repeatedly referred to her as “that guy”. 

Unfortunately I can’t post the video. I just spent the last hour digging around online and I am not web savvy enough to be able to bring it to you. I did find a small portion of it on this preview on Amazon, they’re in the store during the last quarter of the clip:

I bit the bullet and spent Amazon’s asking price of $2.99 to download the entire episode in order to see the full clip of their time in the store and be able to blog about it properly. It wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting, but it was still the kind of ignorance that you would expect from a housewife from Kentucky, not New York. Especially when this particular New York housewife has openly declared herself a gay icon:

It’s not that complicated. It’s really not. Transgender/transsexual people are people who choose to change their sex, usually because they feel that their genitals don’t match their hearts and minds. To call a transgender woman “he”, “him”, or “that guy” is deeply insulting and in my mind, only shows your own stupidity and insecurity. 

I love my transgender friends. They have the same dreams and feelings that the rest of us have and it hurts to see them take so much shit on a daily basis. They are forced to defend themselves every day of their lives in some way, and I’m fucking sick of it. It’s 2011 fer Chrissake, everyone has a computer, everyone watches television. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to derogate another human being for making a change in their life that hurts no one?

And while we’re on the topic, and for the record, a transvestite is (usually) a straight man who likes to put on women’s clothing, sometimes for sexual purposes, sometimes just ’cause he wants to feel pretty. A drag queen is a man who performs professionally as a woman. Transsexual, transvestite, drag queen: three separate and distinct categories. The terms aren’t interchangeable, unless maybe you’re Pete Burns? I don’t know what he considers himself at this point. Manwoman, maybe? I’m not sure, I’m just glad he’s out there shaking up the status quo with his bad self.

I don’t know what else to say about it. Reality television is reality television and a good part of the reason we watch is to feel batter about our own selves by laughing at others. I watch Jersey Shore and Project Runway religiously, so please don’t send me personal email rants about how hideous it all is and how far above it you are. Save that for the comment section here because I already agree with you and know that most of it is horrendous.

But still, can’t we at least expect a little more from women who live in New York City? Codie welcomed them because she is an open, friendly person and she trusted that they understood who she is. They repaid her warmth by squandering an opportunity to educate and belittling her on national television. This makes me heart-achey and blog-ranty.

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