Saturday, 10 December 2017 — Shabbat 3:26 am
It’s a chilly Saturday morning around 3:30 am as I type this. The past couple of days have been incredibly cold in Pueblo, Colorado dipping into 3 degree weather one night and 9 degrees the next. It’s been harder for my body to warm up. It’s really not very fun. It sets for a very non-productive vibe. Really I just want to snuggle at home and watch all the shows on my DVR and eat soup and pasta interchangeably til I fall asleep into my next nap, but that’s not ideal. The cold makes me want to curl up in a blanket all day. In fact, I have one at the salon and sit on the couch in a blanket these days. I’ve been so cold! It looks unprofessional so I only do that when no one is around, but it’s tough on my body. I stand all day and as soon as I sit, I want to relax.
Last night I received an email from my color mentor in New York. She wrote to about 25 of us or so to let us know that her color line is no longer going to be manufactured. I was devastated for her. I remember learning all of the education for this line and helping to spread the word and I remember how uninformed folks were and I remember how unsupportive the parent-company was of her. I was not surprised, sadly, to hear that sales were low and the contract had come to an end. I was incredibly disappointed for her and this brand has not had a chance to flourish for the smart colorists it was designed for. It made me upset. Chris saw how upset I was. I came home and started researching brands to convert my current dispensary. We’re not going to convert until January 1st, but needless to say, my next order received will be my last order received of Beth Minardi Signature. So many dreams were crushed yesterday. It was really one of the saddest responses I have sent back to her. Later that night, I saw her post her “press release”-style letter on Facebook for tens of thousands of industry folks to see. The horror in my mind that occurred to be her right now. She sent me a response with all the love in her heart and her words and also asked for me to pray for her. I will, Beth. I will. I’m disappointed as if her color line were my own because it was one of the only brands I had a full few of as an educator at Joico from the time it was introduced. It’s the end of an era for me. It shows me that no matter how legendary you are as a celebrity colorist and well-known educator in your field, you can be thrown off a pedestal just like everyone else.
I think back to the election and Hillary Clinton not winning the presidency. I see a 30+ year career thrown to the wolves. Trump is putting white supremacists in office and tweeting nonsense and in the meantime Hillary is in a bookstore in upstate New York trying to avoid the press. It’s dissolving really. It’s sad.
Last night, another powerful woman I have always admired, Madonna, received an award during Billboard’s Women in Music event. The broadcast will air on December 12th, but I’ve already read and seen her speech. She talks about moving to New York, being raped at knife point, being robbed numerous times, being everyone’s sex object and being torn down for doing so and talking about those things. She remembers being with Sean Penn and how mortifying it was for people to see her with this man and his temper. She felt dismissed. When she released Erotica and the Sex book in the early nineties, she was called a whore and a witch. She had a message for all the girls and gay boys and men and polka-dotted folks at the time. No one listened, they criticized this artist. I actually love Erotica and find it to be one of her trailblazing albums. It foresaw so many genres and where music was gonna go. She wasn’t a man. She was Madonna. As she got older, radio stations don’t play Madonna anymore. She’s too old to be Madonna according to radio DJs. She can’t be sexy. She can’t have a voice. She’s an opinionated old woman. If she were an opinionated old man, she’d be sitting in her luxury Penthouse in New York City getting ready to be sworn in as commander and chief and everyone would make excuses for her (his) bad behavior. She’s not a man. She’s being written off. Honored, but written off and she’s feeling it.
Beth Minardi, Hillary Clinton, Madonna. Three women I admire. Three women that should never say sorry for being them or feel any shame in their monumental careers. I don’t ever eel like women in power have a fair shake. They win awards, they make fortunes, but they’re not always appreciated.
This morning I woke up, Beth’s letter still in my head. Tweets about Hillary still in my phone, Madonna in my earbuds and I think to myself: “thank you for being you.” Thank you all for being fearless.
As a gay man its sometimes really difficult to morph into what society thinks of you. They’re all too busy wondering if you take it up the ass or have been “out” since you were six. They all want to hear these sobbing coming out stories and feel bad for you for being gay. They only focus on my sexuality; they forget that I’m a human. They bring up my sexuality constantly. They ask me if I like blow jobs and porn. They don’t ask me what I studied in college or who my favorite Food Network chef is. They ask me sexual questions. I refuse to answer. They call me boring. The only time I wasn’t “boring” as a gay man in recent years was when a woman called me a faggot in a bar a year and half (almost two years) ago. I asked her to stop saying that word. She repeated it three times and waved her middle fingers at me and proceeded to start a riot and throw her drink at me. I slapped her. Her behavior was out of hand. Her words were out of hand.
As soon as that incident happened, I was poison. All my comedy gigs were suddenly here and there or canceled. People wrote hateful blogs about me. People had threads on Facebook about me. It didn’t help that the incident was filmed and placed online for the world to see. This video clip made it to a few websites and all of sudden Josh-Cooley.com was being attacked with hateful messages: “you’re gonna die from AIDs, Fag!” / “I’m going to shoot you outside your salon on Tuesday.” / “I’m gonna beat your ass since you like to beat women” and many other things were sent to me. No one saw that situation. They aimed at my sexuality. They aimed at my reputation as a popular hairdresser, a blogger, a comedian, a socialite in my area. They did everything in their power to run me out of town. They didn’t win. I went to work like a big boy and called the cops if needed and filed police reports, called publishers, called websites, called lawyers, went to court and settled what I needed to legally.
Legally, I got a ticket for slapping someone in a bar. She didn’t get shit for starting her anit-gay riot against me. She was defended. I was the dirty faggot that slapped her . I read horrible things about me from other salon professionals. They wanted to attack my character and my work. Gimme a break! You saw me thrown off my pedestal that I have erected for myself and you decided to throw rocks at me when everyone else did. You’re scum as far as I’m concerned if that’s what you think of me. If you participated in hateful words or kicked me while I was down, you’re a horrible person.
My point is this: it doesn’t matter how popular my mentors and influences have been, they have all been dismissed and ridiculed and survived. I have been dismissed, ridiculed and survived. No one said: “I’m sorry my color line wasn’t successful”. No one said: “I’m sorry I’m not going to be your president.” No one said: “I’m sorry you think I’m an old slut and you forgot about me.” Nothing. There are no apologies to give.
In this life, I have learned that people overuse two phrases the most. The two phrases are: “I love you” and “I’m sorry”. I don’t believe them fully. I once felt love, it goes away. It gets old like paint on a signature wall you used to love in your house. I’m sorry is so disingenuous. If you are trying to apologize, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it. Your actions, your words, you further actions and restriction from judgement show a true apology. The words “I’m sorry” are rarely uttered from my mouth. Some would call me arrogant for this, I would deem myself shameless.
2017 is approaching fast. Beth is still an amazing colorist and educator living in New York. Hillary is taking a breather, but just as gracious as ever and Madonna is still a bad ass bitch, still touring, still making music. They all inspire me. They all keep moving forward. I am too.
I have spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 avoiding life in Pueblo, Colorado. I used to love this city. I used to be a part of its heartbeat. I miss that. I have heard numerous gossipy things about me, but I’m so above it. “The slap” is old news.
Jesus Christ! It’s two years old!! Its been dealt with. If you ask me again, I’m still not sorry. I’m not. I apologized publicly for shaming the city of Pueblo in a viral video that didn’t represent us very well and I apologized to the business it happened in. The owners of the business don’t like me very much anymore. Well, whatever. Then don’t like me. Fuck ’em! I’m not gonna kiss your ass to get in your good graces. I apologized. I moved on. I am moving on in 2017 FULLY. That past is the past and it’s tim to focus on the future.
I’m going to take a good month off from the blog soon and restructure my social media as I’ve been hinting at for a year. Right now, I’m looking at a new Twitter/Instagram handle @cooleyisthenewgarbo. The @studiojry days are over. I’m going to focus on Rockstars + Lambs and my staff and my growing work with Label.m. I am going to write comedy again at some point, but as of now, that’s almost nonexistent. Madonna’s not played on the radio anymore and I’m not getting comedy gigs. Whatever. One of the most hurtful things I can be told from a NEW CLIENT in the salon is when they share with me that their co-workers or friends shared “the slap” video with them. I don’t honor that conversation in my salon. I think it’s a trashy subject. I’m bored by it now. If all I am to you after two years is a faggot that slapped a bigot that happened to be a drunk female and you’re still judging me for it, you can fuck off. I’m not sorry. I won’t be. I don’t care to be and I don’t have to prove myself to you anymore.
My mentors didn’t lay down and die cos people were against them or didn’t support them and neither am I.