Australia, February 21, 2000
Its tough being the cooler, older cousin
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 girl's panties.
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 Florida.
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 doing.
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 crest-fallen!
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.