domingo, 5 de maio de 2019

The darkest secrets of a Chelsea guy

Addiction is one of the biggest problems of New York City. In this island of 24/7 success we need to be aggressive, we need to fight like a lion in a jungle to survive, and even if we are losing the battle, we have to fake that we’re gonna make it. Due to all this pressure people find many ways to escape from reality, and using drugs - including alcohol - is one of them. Some people need a line to get high, some need to get high to be out of line. But if you wanna enjoy Chelsea, you need to start from the High Line.

Centuries ago, when our civilization was still sober, Thomas Clarke bought a farm with an impressive Georgian-style house and decided to name it Chelsea after the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home for soldiers in London, England. Thereafter, the Moore family obtained the property where nowadays many guys like Jack are able to share one of the most expensive square meters of Menhattan. Yes, before Hell’s Kitchen this was for many years the place of shelter for the gay community. Then we had Stonewall, fights, revolutions, more stones, more fights, and we ended up with guys showing their butts on social media to get more likes instead of legal rights. The sober days are over.

This is Jack’s story. He is a circuit party boy, and he is looking for love in hopeless places.


The chapters of our lives are usually marked by important events: graduations, promotions, weddings, funerals. But this does not apply to everyone. Jack’s transitions are marked by circuit parties: Mykonos, carnival in Rio, Barcelona festival, Gay pride, Winter Party, White Party, Black Party, the Pick-Your-Color Party, year after year... like in a circle - non stop. Thinking outside the box —or outside the circuit—is it possible to love someone when we are almost always high? What happens when the ecstasy effect is gone?

The spring has sprung and as expected all New York guys wait for the first warm weekend to find an excuse to be shirtless around the city (from Central Park to Pier 45) and this year an electronic music boat will shake the muscle boys out.

Whatsapp group:

‘_Hello guys, look who I’m bringing to the party today… Giselle, yayyyyy.

_ I’ve got Calvin Klein with me.
_ Jack, you are coming, right?
_ Of course, and I got everything, baby.
_ Excuse me lololol.
_ I’m so excited. See you soon guys.

In case you are not a circuit party boy and you are lost in translation: Giselle refers to the top model and means GHB: just a few drops and you will find everyone super hot, you’ll be horny like a rabbit. Calvin Klein is not about your underwear brand but coke and ketamine, you mix both and supposedly you become a super hero.

The party was set. Half of the gay population of NY was there, at least the muscled ones: guys who spend most part of their lives at the gym (it’s Whey too much), guys who waste time with stupid competitions: who is the hottest one, who has more Instagram followers, who is the most popular; lots of “O.M.G I can’t believe you are here”; superficial chatter; fake smiles; snapchat stories to keep people busy and pretend everyone is happy, and drugs…a lot of drugs. That's the only way to reach the parallel universe.

The boat was just about to leave Pier 59 when Jack finally showed up:

_ Hi.

_ Hi or high? I can’t believe you almost lost the boat and you live a few blocks from here. Why don’t you answer the f*cking phone? Since you disappeared I was on Grindr trying to find you so I spent hours sending messages to all these horrible profiles.

_ Bitch, please!

They laugh together and hug each other. A short dialogue, a smile and a comfort hug - this is a sample of love.

One long blast and the boat was leaving the port followed by electronic music rising up. All five guys in the group took one pill each and toasted with G water: let the game begin. A couple of songs and all thousands of party goers on that cruise were spiritually and musically connected. Bruce and his friends were experiencing the first stage of the drugs, the boys were like free birds ready to fly, to explore, to love:

‘La da da da da, la da da da da

Da da da

We are searchlights, we can see in the dark...’

__ O.M.G my song! Jack was literally in ecstasy when ‘What about us’ came on. He started to dance like crazy pushing everyone in the crowd when he accidentally hit someone in the stomach. The guy was just about to punch his face when they looked at each other and the world stopped for a few seconds. It was one of those magical moments when we see someone for the first time and we know it's gonna be forever...

… They started to dance, they were flirting like teenagers, smiling with their souls, they were connecting and getting close to each other, they could read their minds without saying a single word. At that point nothing else in the world mattered. It was the real sensation of finding something we wait for all our lives. After minutes of intense connection his “soul mate” took two straws from the bar and asked for his hand:

__ I know this sounds crazy, and it’s also too early for that, but would you spend the rest of your life with me?

Jack said yes with his eyes almost in tears, and then Mr. Right tied the straw around his finger. It was not a diamond ring but it was meant to be real.

Maybe Pink is right—we are billions of beautiful hearts; we are children that need to be loved and no matter who we are, we always picture ourselves sharing our lives with someone special. Unconsciously we keep looking for “the guy” to save us, to support us, a shoulder to cry on if necessary, or someone to caress us until we fall asleep. At the end all we need is the comfort of someone arriving at home and the sounds of the keys at the door: ‘he is back’. This is happiness.

__ Hey, I need to use the restroom. I'll be right back. Don’t move.

Fast forward to the next 30 minutes: the love of his life had already disappeared in the crowd, he never came back from the restroom. And well, we all know the drill. They say circuit party love is forever… or never.

Jack’s dream of finding the love of his life has sank right on Pier 59, the same place where Titanic was supposed to doc a hundred years ago. But in circuit parties when a disillusion happens there are no lifeboats - or survivors. Most people get lost in this ocean of appearances where muscles have more values than brains. Slowly they start to feed their dark side, to kill their essence, to delete the person they used to be (we can’t hang with negative people and expect to have a positive life). The after party becomes a rule, and pnp (party and play) becomes a habit while they believe the addiction is under control. They wait anxiously the whole week for the weekend until the weekend becomes everyday and then: game over.

Written by: Bruno de Abreu Rangel

Edited by: Daniel Franken

domingo, 10 de março de 2019

The rejected from 5th Ave.

Not surprisingly, we always picture rich people in their private jets toasting with high-priced champagne and laughing forever like an echo; convertible luxury cars sliding from New York to the East Hamptons; penthouses on 5th Ave. with glamorous parties surrounded by beautiful people and the most exclusive network: The Great Gatsby life... Yup, Google it and you’ll see what I’m talking aboutNevertheless, what we don't expect is to see someone who can buy anything be rejected and feel lonely and unhappy, why’s that? 

This is Harry’s story. He is f*cking rich, but he feels so poor that the only thing he has is money. 


 If you can afford a fancy coat, an expensive stylish bag or an incredible wax alligator pair of shoes, you are probably a potential client of GlamMoore, the biggest upscalenation-wide department store. For many years and generations, this multi-billion dollar company has belonged to the Moore family and soon will be given to Harry. But, wait. let's start from the beginning.      

It was 2003 when Rose and George Moore received the tragic call: their son passed away on an aircraft accident near Saint Tropez, France. The worst part? Having to identify the body since they only found some pieces of one of the richest boys on the planet. After that day they never recovered, they lost their minds, they were “dead” living one day at a time waiting for a miracle...

... which happened two years later. 

Jonas was this lovely/ hyperactive kid abandoned in an orphanage in upstate New York. Lucky for him, he had exactly the same traits of the Moore’s dead son. During Xmas season, one of the socialites who used to donate resources to the orphanage saw Jonas and contacted Rose right away: 

__ Sweetie, you need to stop by and check it out with your own eyes. It feels like your son is alive, this is unbelievable. I cry every time I see this boy. This is God giving you a second chance. Life is full of second chances. 

We won’t never understand how controlled we are by destiny no matter our choices. Jonas was a huge fan of Harry Potter and he did see his life change like a magic. One night he went to bed in a simple spare room with nine other random boys and the day after he woke up in a luxury suite with an incredible balcony facing Central Park. Once he got the Moore surname, he also changed his name to Harry. Poor little Jonas was erased, deleted, was left in the past and from that instant his mission would be to fill the empty space in the heart of the Moore’s dynasty. 

Day by day, he was becoming the most spoiled boy of Manhattan and his parents were at his beckoned call in order to make up for the absence they felt. Harry was forced to accomplish an overwhelmed schedule: bilingual school, etiquette classes, polo with his new friends, theology classes at Saint Thomas Church, brunches, parties, social events and all this supervised by his nanny Brittany (a personal assistant who was in charge of taking care of his agenda and making things happen). In a few years he would be prepared to lead the whole empire: 

__ Brittany, don't tell me “ops I did it again”, this is the second time it happens. Andrew just showed up at this party at St. Regis wearing the same Gucci hoodies after I told all my friends it was an exclusive piece from GlamMoore. Send the whole collection back to Italy and call our office to see what happened. This is quite embarrassing. 

For the record he was only 16 and full of attitude not to mention arrogant. Another short story. He was in this fancy rooftop bar in Midtown East and the bartender refused to serve him alcohol since he was underage. So instead of ordering a soft drink or just leaving, he came back and asked her out loud:  

__ Hey, I have a question for you. Are you happy? 
__ Yes, I’m very happy, why? 
__ Cause beautifulyou are not! 

And he turned his back followed by his friends laughing. Harry was definitely the leader, the center of attention, and he was always ready to steal the scene at any cost. 

There is an Abraham Lincoln quote that says, “Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character give him power. Years later those episodes kept on repeating and getting worse. Something was going wrong. He was crossing the line and no one could stop him. He was becoming invincible until he wasn’t.  

One night before his 21st birthday he was walking in the corridor and overheard his parents having a fight: 

__He made a scene to get Rihanna to his birthday party tomorrow at The Plaza. It's not about the money, she’s only asking five million for the night, its nothing. The fact is which boy would ask for that when they could have anything? He is GAY Rose, he is not our son. Our son is dead. I can’t believe God is taking my second chance away. 

Rose was trying to argue in a trembling voice when Harry decided to leave downtroddenThat was a shocking scene in which he realized they were not his family. That sense of rejection was coming back in his life for a second time. Therefore, he locked himself in his bedroom and cried for endless hours until he was overcome by fatigue. From that day, he promised himself he would never cry again. 

Rejection usually comes from those we love the most. So how long does it take to heal our wounds? One month, six months... maybe years of therapy. Of course, it’s not going to kill anybody - at least not physically. And if you are those who overcome rejection easily, good for you. But as a human being you won't escape from the same drill: crazy diets; spending hours at the gym defying the limits of your body; using expensive creams to rejuvenate your skin; seeking support in friends, in synthetic drugs (taking a few more ecstasies to picture life with colors that you cannot see), having sex with as many people you can because your own company is not enough and you finally get the paranoia that any unsuspecting person who crosses your path will bring you the expected emotional security. 

Harry decided to move on with his life without having “that talk” with his parents. He changed his hair cut, renewed his wardrobe, his style, he hired the best personal trainer, recruited someone to take care of his diet, visited some specialists to get some “tricks” and three months later another magic happened: Harry went from Harry potter to HARRY HOTTER! 

Bruno de Abreu Rangel 
"The author thanks Daniel Franken for his assistance editing."