This Nightmare Drive from Hell Actually Happened

The plan for Friday morning was simple.

  1. Leave New Jersey at 6:30.
  2. Hit up my dental spa in Connecticut for an 8:00 a.m. teeth cleaning.
  3. Get back on the highway and continue driving north up to my hometown.

But this plan was disrupted early on, because some shit got in the way. Literally! Literal, actual shit got in the way. Rain, traffic, and vomit were also involved. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just start from that first bullet point and work our way down.

It was gross and rainy outside. Graig (boyfriend), Tank (dog), and I left our apartment about 10 minutes late. Not off to a great start — but! We had scheduled a 30-minute traffic buffer anyway, and Waze still promised us an 8:05 arrival time. So I was only mildly stressed out. People are five minutes late to dentist appointments all the time.

From the moment we merged onto the slick highway, traffic was a problem. By the time we approached the George Washington Bridge, we were moving at the pace of a large tree. (Which is to say that we were in fact not moving.) By the time we finally crossed the bridge and traffic cleared up, it was 7:45. Our Waze ETA had updated itself three times by then and had seemed to stabilize at around 8:25. I called my dental spa to let them know I’d be late. They were actually pretty chill about it.

But the rain! The rain was not chill. Even though we were no longer stuck in traffic, the relentless spraying from other cars made it difficult for Graig to see clearly enough to speed. Meanwhile, Tank — a dog — was getting restless. He paced around the back seat and jumped on the center armrest every few miles to check in on us.

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“Remind me again,” Graig eventually said, “why you won’t just find a dentist in Jersey?”

“Because it’s a dental spa,” I replied, as if that explained everything. (Which it actually kind of does; dental spas are rare and delightful.)

We finally crossed into Connecticut at about 8:20, which meant we had just a few short exits to go. It looked like I might actually make it by 8:30 — not ideal, but not wildly egregious given the circumstance.

And then the car suddenly filled up with a putrid odor. A most putrid odor. I knew it had to be a Tank-fart, but it smelled worse than his usual variety — more aggressive, with top notes of dead flesh and rotting garlic. I turned around to yell at him and saw that he was squatting over the seat, assuming his full I’m-about-to-take-a-shit position.

“TANK!” I screamed, hitting him and Graig at the same time. “NO!”

“Don’t shit in my car!” Graig howled, trying to use his free hand to intervene without crashing into a guardrail in the process. The smell was getting stronger. It created a thick fog of pure chaos in the vehicle. “DO NOT SHIT IN MY CAR, TANK!”

We successfully snapped him out of his about-to-take-a-shit stance, but now he was huffing and puffing and kind of foaming at the mouth. I mean, I guess I would be too if I suddenly had to hold in a shit that I had already mentally greenlit for departure. Still, we were concerned. Was he sick? He’s not a shitting-in-the-car kind of dog! He’s a good boy!

As we kept trying to get him to hold it in, he jumped over the armrest into my lap — which I then immediately envisioned covered in dog shit because my mind loves to envision worst-case scenarios against my will.

We knew that making him wait 10 more minutes would be literal animal abuse, so we got off at the very next exit to let him go. Right as we pulled into an empty parking lot, the dental spa called me to see how much longer I would be.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, a carsick bulldog still shaking on top of me as Graig parked. “Probably about ten more min…”

GGGGGGUGHHRUGHHH.

Tank projectile vomited directly onto my legs. It was a macabre scene, but I managed to only let out the quietest little gasp so as not to alarm the dental spa receptionist on the other end of the phone.

“…utes. Would ten more minutes be okay?” I glanced downward, stunned that I had evaded being shat on only to get puked on instead, and finally just admitted defeat. “Actually, I’m sorry. Can we just reschedule?”

Graig looked over at the mess of foamy vomit — most of which ended up on my jeans and not his car — and just started laughing. Fair. I opened the door; Tank jumped out into the rain and peed on a nearby patch of grass. I stepped out and tried to figure out how I’d clean off my jeans without any paper towels or napkins or even tissues. I recalled that Graig keeps Armor All wipes in his backseat.

And then. I opened the back door, looked down, and saw that Tank had somehow ALREADY COVERTLY TAKEN A GIANT fucking DUMP all over the FLOOR when we weren’t looking. No wonder the smell was so repugnant! It wasn’t the smell of a shit that was aborted in the eleventh hour — it was the smell of a shit, period! And it wasn’t solid or neat, either. It was mushy and took up a lot of surface area.

So this was actual hell. I had taken a whole day off just to wake up early and sit in rainy traffic for two hours and miss my dentist appointment and then  get vomited on and then stand outside in the pouring rain while a backseat full of dog shit stared me in the face. It was not spa-like at all.

WHY, GOD? I wondered. WHY?

I called Graig over to show him the crime scene, and he just started cracking up again.

“We actually couldn’t have invented a worse morning if we tried,” he said. “This is incredible.”

He used poop baggies and Armor All wipes to eliminate the waste as best he could until we’d have access to real cleaning tools and chemicals. Meanwhile, I used a combination of rain and a single Armor All wipe to deal with the puke on my jeans. Watching Graig find so much humor in the situation helped me calm down a bit, even though I was still mourning the vision of the harmonious Friday morning I had previously dreamt of for myself.

The three of us finally piled back into the car, soaking wet and making even more of a mess but not caring at all by then. As Graig was about to pull out of the parking lot, Tank puked again — this time all over his backpack in the backseat. We didn’t have any Armor All left, so Graig pulled out a sacrificial pair of boxers from his luggage and used them as an impromptu rag. It was like we were on Survivor.

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As we got further and further into Connecticut, Tank returned to his normal self. He eventually even mellowed out and went to sleep. And then the rain stopped! The storm seemed to have passed. We laughed about it for the rest of the ride home. Even I had to appreciate that the universe wasn’t lazy in its quest to fuck up our morning; it really went all out. I can respect that! But I was also grateful that it wasn’t even worse.

“Imagine if Tank had, like, stepped in his shit while we were still driving?” I asked Graig as we continued our post-debacle discussion. “Imagine Tank’s paws just completely covered in shit, pacing around and jumping all over the car. That would not have been funny at all. That would have just been mean.”

“True,” he said. “We’re very lucky.”

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This is How You Gain 20 Pounds of New Relationship Weight in One Year

beforeafter

October 2014. Graig and I meet for our first date on the second of the month and it’s like a total “OMG marry me now, K? K.” situation. The ensuing weeks involve frequent beer-and-wings-marathon sessions that turn into frisky all-nighters, which, as someone who requires a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, is more than a little problematic. But I’m also euphoric at having finally found the man of my dreams, so mostly I just shout “YOLO!” in the face of my newfound fatigue. I develop a daily empanada craving, usually in the afternoons when the clock strikes four.

November 2014. We’re still riding high on our mutual infatuation, and I have officially accepted that skipping the gym and saying “fuck it” to healthy eating throughout the week will simply be my fate until our honeymoon phase starts to cool down, something I predict will happen just in time for Christmas, maybe.

December 2014. Christmas happens. Mariah Carey happens. Reclaiming my healthy eating and gym-going routine happens. JK! Instead, Graig and I go to football games where we tailgate and consume thousands of beer calories. Also, I randomly get into donuts, which is just silly. “Diet starts Monday after New Year’s!” is my new mantra.

January 2015. LOL. Who thought eating healthy would be a possibility when the Patriots are dominating in the playoffs? We go to every home game. My mantra becomes “Diet starts Monday after the Super Bowl!”

February 2015. THE PATS WIN and so this month is cancelled.

March 2015. IT’S MY 27TH BIRTHDAY and so this month is cancelled.

April 2015. Seven months into our love affair we’re still cruising high on our infatuation with one another, but I decide that I need to make a serious life change after my doctor confirms that I have indeed gained ten pounds. Which, honestly, she didn’t need to tell me because I felt like a blob of shit anyway. But the revelation serves as total motivation, as does the fact that Graig and I have a trip to Aruba slated for May. I randomly go through a deep Sheryl Crow phase and also I start running again, both of which allow me to close out the month feeling vaguely human.

May 2015. I get offered a new job as a full-time writer! It’s exciting and also a reason to celebrate and pig out for an entire month. My start date is June 1, after our decadent Aruba trip (during which I essentially eat the entire island), which happens to be a Monday. Diet starts Monday of my new job!

other

These are a few of my weight-gaining things.

June 2015. This shit is kinda stressful. It’s longer hours and a more difficult commute than I’m used to, so I start sleeping at Graig’s most nights because it’s closer to work. Of course this means that a) having a routine of any kind is basically impossible, and b) I can’t even pretend to go to the gym, because the one I’m a member of is literally fifty miles away. I start eating bagels for breakfast every morning while simultaneously contemplating a self-reinvention as an unapologetically overweight BHM, or big handsome man.

July 2015. It’s summer and I’m fat! I avoid the scale but I am so sure that I’ve gained at least a total of fifteen pounds by now. Clothes are getting tight but I can still more or less fit into them after I empty myself of the tears that go along with realizing my clothes are getting tight.

August 2015. Graig and I are at my best college friends’ condo for a fiesta of sangria and pasta and cigars. As we absorb the beautiful sights from their nature-y back porch, I get up to go to the bathroom. In doing so, a button literally pops off from the waist of my shorts and lands on Graig’s lap. It’s so fucking symbolic I could write a novel (and/or blog post) about it.

September 2015. You know that line in “Summertime Sadness” where Lana Del Rey is all “Nothing scares me anymore”? THAT’S HOW I FEEL. Except replace “scares” with “fits,” as I keep destroying my clothes simply by trying to, like, wear them.

What I’ve learned from this journey so far is that I’m such a (hungry hungry) hypocrite! If you’d asked me in 2014 why I kept a strict diet and gym routine, I’d have probably said, “Because I care about my health and it makes me feel good.” But, well, LOL, nope. It was really just to catch a dick. Humans are basic!

piantz

Those jeans ripped while I was trying to get into a car. It was cute!

October-December 2015. There is an end in sight; maybe we’re not so basic after all! Graig and I moved to a new place together in Jersey. The building has a very nice gym, which, combined with the stability of having a constant home, has allowed us to settle into something of a routine that involves whole wheat english muffins and morning workouts. So here’s to a 2016 that’s, like, healthy or something!

How to Survive the Internet

Remember AOL? When a profile was a thing with like five questions (“Marital Status: LQQKING”) and a space for a personal quote? In sixth grade I remember my high school-aged cousin wrote “a weekend wasted is not a wasted weekend” for his PQ, and I didn’t even get it but I thought he was the “kewl”-est, so I put it in mine too (right next to an Erykah Badu lyric that I thought sounded sophisticated but didn’t realize was about the spiritual complexity of being a woman).

Then there were the “hometown” webpages! Mine was filled with shiny bubble letters (which totally required knowledge of ~HTML~) and those weird slutty avatar things. How anyone didn’t detect my gayness is a mystery, but that’s neither here nor there.

Nothing during those AOL days was ever here or there, and that’s what was so wonderful about it. Nothing mattered. It was all so safe and vacuum-y and intimate. You could log in and log out, knowing that you were always pretty much aware of everything you needed to be aware of, because really there was nothing to be aware of anyway. Save for maybe your forty or so buddies’ profiles. (OMG, was I a loser?)

But now we have this information overload situation. Today’s Internet is all about making the world a better place generating money and expressing outrage and displaying sad, dark thoughts for the world (see: no one) to read and humble-bragging and think-piecing and time-wasting and lots of other things but mostly generating money. It can (Taylor) swiftly turn into a soul-sucking place if you let it.

This is especially true for those people who want to feel like they have a grasp on shit. Because unlike AOL Hometown, one can never have a grasp on today’s actual Internet. Obviously! I know.

But how often do you still feel like you’re trying anyway? How often do you try to get to a point online where you’re like, “Okay, I’m fully aware of everyone out there who wants the same things as me, and I can totally take all of them on”? (#SelfObsession.) How often do you find yourself with twenty tabs open only to work through all of them and then feel LITERALLY LIKE YOUR SOUL HAS BEEN PUNCHED IN THE FACE?

(Do souls even have faces?)

I un-followed about two-hundred Twitter accounts last week.

And! It was such an Emancipation of Mimi moment. With a simple Twitter cleanse, the mental curse of the Internet becomes a million times more manageable and less draining. I now wonder why I even bothered reading half of the shit I used to in the first place. Like, why did I ever even follow Gawker? All that site ever did was make me feel like a loser for not being as “clever” (/snarky/bitter/troll-y) as its writers, and also like there was no reason to ever be positive about anything at ALL, EVER, which is a fun way to live. (Except not.)

Ugh, Internet snark. There is just so damn much of it. And it’s so contagious. Especially if you’re smart. Especially if you’re frustrated with just about anything in life. It’s so gross. Except for when it isn’t and it’s just hilarious. Bah! Snark is such a contradiction-inducing topic of ugh-ness for me. I love it! But I hate it. Everyone is such an asshole. But sometimes that’s the perfect thing to be? I don’t know.

Surviving the Internet means constantly reminding yourself that it is so not real.

I suck at remembering this, because social media especially targets this weird, #basic corner of the brain that thrives on attention and validation and empty communication and self-identification and instant gratification and comparison — and it’s addicting someTIMES, you GUYS!!! It’s like being wasted on some kind of fruity vodka drink that tastes super sweet going down but then makes you want to vom about an hour and a half later.

But social media can do so much good. Spreading positive messages and shit. It has turned my mood around on many an occasion — whether seeing someone else’s inspirational post or getting feedback on one of my own. Of course the same things have turned my mood in the exact opposite direction on more than a few occasions, too. So again I don’t know.

Can we talk about fan armies? They are frightening.

Who even are they???

Whenever I make the mistake of exploring the online world of fandoms (#BeyHive, #Grandtourage, #Swifties, etc.) I always come out of it super sad and afraid for the millions of people who worship other humans for no reason and live in these, like, delusional states of wishing that one day they’ll be validated for good by the Internet celebrity of their choice with the magical power to make all problems go away forever.

But then fandoms can also be a crazy beautiful modern phenomenon of community. Yet another paradox of the Internet!

It can be tricky for the Internet celebrities themselves, too. I randomly met Frankie Grande the other day and we were talking about his Big Brother journey and at one point he sighed and was just like, “People love to assign their own versions of my story to me.”

It made me think deeply for like, two seconds, but then I just couldn’t WAIT to tweet/Insta a pic of us together.

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Because I’m a hypocrite, duh! I want to be Internet-popular toooo.

Which is just silly, because if there’s anything to be learned from this post it is that the Internet isn’t going to solve any problems that you can’t solve yourself (except for when you need to find out Zac Efron’s height, maybe) — but it just may create new ones.

Surviving the Internet is to accept this fact. It’s taking the pressure off, signing the fuck out whenever possible, and knowing when it’s time to focus on something real in life. Because as unremarkable as you think real life might be sometimes, it’s all any of us actually have. And when it comes to the fruity vodka drink that is today’s Internet, a weekend wasted really is a wasted weekend.

 

Solving the Mystery of My Taylor Swift Dreams

Since last fall, I have been dreaming about hanging out with Taylor Swift.

And I’m not talking about, like, wishing she and I might one day spend time together. No. I’m being literal. I’m talking about the fact that every time I’ve closed my eyes and drifted into REM over the past four months, one Taylor Alison Swift has somehow found a way to insert herself into the picture.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan. I was a fan before she became a global phenomenon who sold 1.287 million albums in a week—back when it was only like 1-point-zero-something million, even! Her entire canon, from her self-titled debut on, has nursed me through more breakups and life crises over the past eight years than any grown man should ever admit to on the Internet. (And yet here we are.)

So it is not without acknowledging the creepiness of my current situation that I share it with you. I’m vividly dreaming about a woman I don’t know but whose work I devour; it’s stalkerish. My subconscious is a stalker. It probably eats cheese and owns binoculars and doesn’t shower.

***

In my dreams, Taylor Swift and I are usually hanging out in a hotel room or a Starbucks or sometimes both. Once, we waited in line for coffee while listening to music on an iPod Classic together with a single set of headphones, using one speaker each, like best (ear!) buds. It was sweet.

But there’s a subtle dark side to the dreams, too, which comes in the form of a recurring shtick in which Taylor knowingly makes normal-people decisions for the both of us while I openly resent her for not using her celebrity status to get us special treatment.

For example, Dream-Taylor and I once ordered three hundred dollars’ worth of room service and she made us split the bill!

“Seriously, you millionaire?” I sassily asked her while reaching for my wallet. “You couldn’t pull some strings?”

She just stared at me until I woke up, at which point my tune had changed to something more like, “Wait. FINE! I’ll pay for half. I’ll pay for it all! BE MY FRIEND,” which is sad.

***

There’s one dream in particular that takes the cake. And not only because we ate cake in it. (Although we did indeed.)

It was New Year’s Eve and Taylor and I were invited to a big party at a venue with steps in front of it. There was also a fountain. It was kind of like a dream-combination of the New York Public Library, the Met, and Washington Square Park. Oh, you know what? I think it was actually Lincoln Center! But I digress.

Taylor and I showed up on the steps in our fanciest going-out clothes (Tom Brady jersey for me; ’50s bathing suit for her), but we were late and the party was over.

“What are we going to do now?” I asked my slender sidekick, exasperated.

“Let’s drive around and find something to do,” she chirped in response. “It’s New Year’s Eve!”

And then a slightly rotund hipster appeared out of nowhere and offered us a ride, which was nice and all, but suddenly there were four other people in our group and the slightly rotund hipster’s car was a tiny sedan with manual windows.

Taylor didn’t care, though, because she called shotgun—leaving the remaining five of us to squish together in the backseat like a bunch of freakin’ animals in coach! (Coach: what I’m sure Dream-Taylor flies.)

I cursed her in my dream-head, wondering why she didn’t just call a limo company and say, “I’m Taylor Swift. I’d like to order a deluxe party bus. Here’s my credit card information, which is under the name of my cat Olivia so as to preserve anonymity, thank you, good DAY!”

But she didn’t do that, the inconsiderate dream-bitch.

Eventually we all ended up in a big parking lot/alley area not unlike the music video set for *NSYNC’s “Girlfriend.” Taylor and I were vaping in a corner with some kind of sour green apple-flavored e-juice and talking about how we both really thought the everyone-going-to-jail ending of Seinfeld was criminal. “No pun intended!” she cooed as I let out an unreasonably hearty laugh. It was all so real. I can still see the green apple liquid bubbling in the vape pen of my mind.

***

There are myriad reasonable explanations for whatever it is in my subconscious that causes these dreams to happen, a few of which may even have some kind of deeper meaning and/or lesson attached. But I’d like to discount all of them for the following conspiracy theory:

I’m being haunted.

You see, last fall during a trip to the Catskill Mountains with some friends for Oktoberfest, I encountered the below mannequin at a local antique shop.

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1989? More like 1782!

Upon revisiting this photo four months later, it has become clear to me that this is obviously a Taylor Swift-impersonating mannequin-demon-ghost-of-yore with nefarious intentions. It must have latched on to me that day in the antique shop purely to haunt my dreams for no good reason (other than the fact that I outed the bitch on Instagram).

I mean, it all makes so much sense. How else to explain the selfish, miserly tendencies? Everyone knows that the real Taylor Swift showers her fans with surprise gift packages and student loan payments. How else to explain the splitting of the headphones? Everyone knows that mannequins are deaf in their left ears. (The vaping remains shrouded in mystery, but I’ll take two out of three.)

Looks like my subconscious isn’t the creepy one after all!

So. In the tradition of facing one’s demons, I’d like to directly address the evil Taylor Swift-impersonating old-timey mannequin ghost right now, once and for all: I know what you’re up to, and I’d like you to stop. Go haunt someone else. Maybe John Mayer? Better yet, go audition for a haunted house. Take up knitting! I don’t care. Just, whatever you do, GET OUT OF MY DREAMS. (Get into my car.)

***

P.S. THAT LAST LINE WAS JUST A BILLY OCEAN JOKE. DO NOT GET INTO MY CAR, BECAUSE I KNOW YOU WOULD ONLY HAUNT IT AND ALSO PRESUMPTUOUSLY CALL SHOTGUN WHILE FORCING THE REST OF US TO UNCOMFORTABLY SQUEEZE INTO THE BACKSEAT. GOOD DAY.

Three Things I’ve Learned from Being in a New Relationship

The last long-term relationship I was in ended in early 2010. Obama was still in his first term, Mariah Carey was yet to be impregnated with fraternal twins, and I had crabs a Blackberry. I was barely out of college and about to start grad school, which is to say that I was young and a total dumbass. So the fact that I’ve been in a new relationship for nearly four months now – as, like, an adult/non-dumbass – has led to a few interesting self-revelations.

Let us pray explore them!

1. I don’t care about social media as much as I thought I did. When my BF and I first met, he was a very, very private person. I mean, he still is, but he’s now out of the closet to his friends and close family members for the first time ever, which, considering the fact that he’s a macho Wall Street dude with three decades of “straightness” behind him, is kind of a huge deal. Needless to say, his weird privacy fetish was challenging for me at first, given that I am the quintessence of an over-sharing blogger with a set habit of documenting way too much shit on soche meed (sp?).

But I’ve learned this: the hippies/Luddites/old people are right! Going on adventures and falling in love with someone while being present in the moment truly is better than bragging about accomplishments on Facebook. WHO THE FUCK KNEW?

Also, a bonus. My boyfriend’s text inbox is the perfect place to send meaningless selfies when I think I look great but don’t want to saturate Instagram with my [#gorgeous] face for absolutely no reason. It’s also the best place to send unsolicited pictures of my various Chiptole orders.

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2. Turns out I’m actually okay with dick pics, as long as I’ve known the recipient for a minimum of three months and have been in a committed relationship with him for at least two of them. I used to be super anti-that dick pic life, but when I was drunk on Christmas day at my dad’s house last month, I randomly found myself thinking about my boyfriend while I peed in the bathroom. Huh, I thought as I looked down, I bet he’d love a pic of this right now. Snap!

(Of course I shook vigorously and stepped away from the toilet area entirely before taking the pic. What do you think I am, an animal?!)

(Although now that I think about it, I definitely didn’t wash my hands first. Sorry to those who’ve touched my phone within the past month! You’ve totally Six-Degrees-to-Kevin-Bacon-touched my…bacon.)

3. I’m no longer a crazy psycho! My past two serious relationships took place during a time when I was even younger and messier than I am now. Though they each lasted over a year, they were dysfunctional and combative (and pretty much fucked) from the one-month mark on. Which is ridiculous, when you think about it. Like, why stick around for eleven more months if after the first one you’re already screaming at each other and crying and having more hate-sex than normal-sex?

Because you’re a crazy psycho, that’s why.

But in this relationship so far, I’m self-aware. And so is he! In four months I have yet to analyze a text message for hours or scream “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!” in a manic Beyoncé-voice at him or throw a dirty skillet at his face without warning. We communicate and express our feelings but mostly just laugh and act like little kids with mild behavioral problems. We’re a lot more like best friends and a lot less like two people who share a mutual, hate-generating belief that the other should have solved all our problems by now but haven’t. It’s great, and something I suspect can only happen with ample amounts of age and survival of past bullshit. And that’s the biggest revelation of all, right? That new relationships – when they’re good and right and full of promise – are not supposed to be hard, which sounds simple, I think, because it is.

 

I Need to Stop Swallowing Things

December 2014. ‘Tis the night before Christmas and about twenty bacon-wrapped scallops rest menacingly on a white porcelain serving tray in the buffet area of a festive celebration. They appear to be delicious. Succulent. I love succulent. I grab one with my dirty Christmas-Eve fingers and quickly pop the whole thing into my mouth, enacting a sort of self-inflicted reverse five-second rule. And, oh! It is delicious. It is succulent.

At first.

But then I notice that the bacon is extra, extra tough. Jesus, I think to myself as I vigorously chomp my way through the remaining shred of it that just won’t budge. Is this bacon or is this, like, really fucking old beef jerky?

Jesus doesn’t respond, presumably because it is approaching midnight on his (His?) birthday, which means he’s probably busy pre-gaming with some sheep/shepherds/disciples and is drunk on homemade wine/Fireball shots/whatever the good shit is that they only serve in heaven.

So I finally get that last piece of extra-hard bacon down a few minutes later and go back to enjoying the company of family and friends. Some time passes before I return to the scallop tray. They still look delicious and succulent, but are now tainted with the recent memory of having had to chew on a single piece of stubborn-ass pig for minutes on end, so I’m almost like, Ugh, not worth it. But then I’m like, Eh, fuck it. It’s Christmas and I should be grateful to have a bacon-wrapped scallop in the first place, even if the bacon is absurd and requires inordinate amounts of chewing.

As I reach for the new one, I notice something I didn’t before. The scallops all have TOOTHPICKS in them! Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks that barely peek out from the hors d’oeuvres in which they dwell. Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks, ONE OF WHICH I have most likely just EATEN!

But I have to be sure. So I remove a toothpick from a new scallop and eat it, and guess what? The bacon is as tender as a fucking Babyface song from 1996. It goes right on down with minimal chewing effort, thereby confirming that I currently have a chewed-up toothpick wreaking havoc inside my fragile little 6’3” body.

toothpick

In the past, if someone were ever to have asked me how I’d react if I found out I’d just accidentally ingested a toothpick, I’d definitely have said, “Well this is an irrelevant question; only a total dumbass would accidentally ingest a toothpick.” But I can now say that a) I am a total dumbass, and b) my natural reaction to finding out I’ve just accidentally ingested a toothpick is to freak out in the car with my mom as she treats the whole thing with an alarming amount of nonchalance.

  • Me: “How are you so calm right now? Your son just ate a piece of fucking WOOD! What is this going to do to my insides?!”
  • Mom: “First of all, it’s not wood. And second of all, you’ll be fine.”
  • Me: “How do you know I’ll be fine?”
  • Mom: “It’s a toothpick! People have shit out diamonds before and survived.”
  • Me: “Have you ever shit out a diamond?”

And then I realized that I had just asked my mother if she’d ever shit out a diamond, which is usually a pretty clear indicator that a conversation has gotten a little off track. (For the record, though, she never has shit out a diamond. Though she did give birth to me, which I’d like to think counts for something since everybody knows that I shine bright like a diamond and also am many a girl’s best friend.)

I texted my boyfriend (of three months; I promise I’ll post something with more details for you guys REAL SOON because he’s amazing… but right now this story must be told) when I got home and explained my dilemma to him. He too was convinced that this was not a big deal, saying that he swallowed much worse than a toothpick during his wild college days, and for a second I wanted to be all, “TELL ME EVERYTHING,” but then I was like, You know what? I actually don’t wanna know.

So I just went to sleep.

The next morning the BF and I talked a little more about my situation and then I sent him a bathroom selfie in which I stood sexily in front of the mirror in my cute little boxer briefs, with the caption: “About to confront my toothpick problem!”

And then I realized that I had basically just sent my boyfriend a selfie saying “GONNA GO SHIT [OUT A TOOTHPICK] NOW,” which is always a great way to set the mood with your significant other on Christmas morning.

He didn’t respond for about fifteen minutes, during which period I wondered if I had officially crossed the gross-line with him, but then he responded with the IPhone poop emoji and a thumbs up, so I figured I was fine.

So anyway, enough about poop! The moral of this whole story is that I survived. The toothpick came, the toothpick went, and now my life has resumed to normal and I’m blogging about having eaten and digested a toothpick on Christmas Eve, and I’m pretty sure this is the “Circle of Life” that Elton John sang about in The Lion King. Happy 2015.

 

The White T-Shirt Debacle of 2014

There are few things I enjoy as much as a fresh pack of plain white undershirts. (Those few things mainly being cheese, Mariah Carey, and water.)

Plain white undershirts are perfect because they have this strange psychological ability to make me feel magically shielded from the harsh realities of the world, and that’s important. They also provide a nice foundation for all my super fashionable real shirts to rest on while ensuring I don’t destroy them with my repugnant perspiration problem.

I don’t have a repugnant perspiration problem; I swear.

So anyway. Last Sunday I was at Target in search of a new package of these miraculous garments and found a five-pack from Hanes that included three bonus shirts. Eight shirts for the price of five, I thought. This is heaven on a stick! So I bought them and went home and slept really well that night with the delightful knowledge that I’d have the blissful pleasure of wearing a fresh undershirt every day that week.

But then. Upon emerging from the shower the next morning and hastily tearing into the tight plastic packaging, I peeled off the first shirt of the bunch only to find that IT WAS REALLY SUPER fucking TINY. It was labeled “Medium” but was in fact extra-extra-extra small.

I wondered if maybe I had gotten really fat and no one told me, or if maybe Hanes had fucked up and accidentally shipped Target a package of miniature doll shirts to sell to humans, or if maybe there was a dark, evil spirit in my midst shrinking my brand new T-shirts and generally trying to sabotage my life (successfully) just for sport. But the truth is that I had accidentally purchased an eight-pack of boys’ shirts.

Like, for children.

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Is it just me or does it kind of look like a Taylor Swift-esque crop top?

Since I had destroyed the packaging entirely when opening it (because that’s how I do), I decided to just eat the cost of the boy shirts and return to Target the next day for redemption and a second chance at happiness.

I found a five-pack (no bonus shirts for men, though, which frankly I think is rather ageist and fucked up of Hanes, but whatever) and double-checked to make sure they were definitely not for children. They were not, and so I bought them and went home and slept really well that night with the knowledge that I’d at least have the pleasure of wearing a fresh undershirt for the remaining four days of that week.

But then. Upon emerging from the shower the next morning, I excitedly peeled off the first shirt of the bunch only to find that IT was a FUCKING V-NECK TEE and I only wear crew neck tees, and again it was all my fault because I was so fixated on getting a pack of shirts marketed to adults that I had totally forgotten to make sure they had the right kind of neckline.

And so then I just gave up on life and ate, like, eleven donuts.

Luckily my boyfriend loves white V-neck tees (that weirdo), so I was able to fob those off on him, but still, I’m left asking myself how it’s possible that I could be so absent-minded not once but twice in my attempts to buy a simple pack of white T-shirts. What does this say about my attention to detail in other areas of life? What does this say about humans in general? What does this say about America? Why do I still have eight miniature T-shirts in my possession? Why is life so difficult and confusing and crazy and cruel? WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?

I have no answers. Only miniature T-shirts.

 

Being Gay is Simple

Being gay doesn’t happen online. It doesn’t happen on “Gay Twitter” or on a Hookup App or on HuffPost’s Gay Voices or in a misguided Advocate article titled “6 Gay Cliches That Are Totally True.” It doesn’t happen in NYC, at fancy dinner parties, or during brunch. Mimosas have nothing to do with anything.

Being gay happens when you’re on the couch with your boyfriend and he puts his arm around you and it smells distinctly like him and that makes you feel safe so you lean over and kiss his neck. It happens forty minutes later when his arm falls asleep and you trade positions.

It happens when you don’t have a boyfriend, too—when you’re home alone drinking a glass of water and thinking about how cute that guy at Target was. Being gay is drinking water and finding guys cute. It’s also breathing air.

Maybe you’re young and still figuring it out or maybe you’re old and you thought you had it figured out, but for some reason you’re lonely or angry or just disheartened that we live in a world where the Advocate publishes articles with titles like “6 Gay Cliches That Are Totally True.”

You don’t have any gay friends and you wonder if you’re doing it right. You’re sick of defining yourself, sick of being defined, and mostly just sick of having to think about this shit.

Or maybe you don’t care that much. I don’t know. You can like Madonna and football or video games and cupcakes. Maybe you like nothing. Do you love to sing? Maybe you’re crazy and overweight or maybe you’re boring and have a six-pack.

If I know you’re gay, all I really know is that you drink water and you find guys cute.

You also breathe air.

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But all gay men do take selfies with giant rainbow teddy bears… right?

 

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