For the most part, I pretty much feel like Sandra Bernhard and I have been in a very loving, committed relationship for the past 20 years. I can’t say for certain when I first started loving her, but I know that it was before she played a lesbo on Roseanne because I can remember trying to hide my excitement when that plot-line rolled around. I watched Roseanne with my parents every night when it was on and it was NBD, and then all of a sudden Nancy was frenching ladies while my mom cooked pork chops and I was like “CAN YOU KEEP IT DOWN??? I CAN’T HEAR THE TV!!!”
I remember buying her first book around that time and reading it very seriously in my room, not understanding what she was talking about. “Dry-humping? Fingerbanging? I better highlight these things and look them up later.” Reading her innermost private thoughts made me feel very childlike (I was a child) and vulnerable, similar to how it felt to be in a room of adults, listening to them talk and hanging on every word, wanting to ask questions but knowing that if you drew too much attention to yourself they’d tell you to fuck off, so you sit tight and then let rip with something embarrassing like, “Do you guys like me?”
I’ve spent a pretty decent chunk of my life trying to get Sandra to like me, and have had personal encounters with her several times. A million years ago, while living in Chicago, I landed a phone interview with her for an article I was writing for some embarrassing online lesbian magazine. Due to the time difference, it was set to go down while I was on the clock at my office job, which I was perfectly willing to sacrifice by not doing work that whole day so I could sit and stare at my phone, waiting for a private number to pop up. Every time I had to get up from my desk—to pee, or smoke or whatever—I brought my phone and notebook with me. When her call finally came through I was washing my hands in the bathroom. I ran out into the hall to conduct the interview sitting Indian style on the Berber rug while randoms in pantyhose walked by looking at me crazily. I was fired from that job about a month after that, but it was for something else.
Shortly after our interview I moved to New York and it was there that I experienced my favorite Sandra encounters. One time, while walking around Chelsea with my girlfriend, we passed Sandra in the street and she grinned at us while giving us a once over with her eyes as if to say “I see you, lesbians.” Another time I dragged that same girlfriend to a record release party that Sandra was having where I got up the guts to ask to have my picture taken with her. Unfortunately, in this picture I look like I slathered grease on my face before leaving the house, and then chose the moment of the shutter click to push a few turds out into my pants.
Lately I keep up to date with Sandra via her tweets. Throughout the day she’ll send updates about the tennis matches she’s enjoying, what sort of household goods she purchased (seems like she’s always buying light bulbs), and remarks on discarded office chairs with clumps of Sargento cheese melting into them. I make a point to re-tweet her most clever tweets, so she know that I have an eye for comedy, and have gotten bold once or twice, tweeting to her directly with things like “Sandra, I adore you!!” The next time I see her I’m going to ask her to arm-wrestle me and if I win, then that means we’re friends. That’s fair, right?
Previously - Cole Escola