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!

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How Not to Lie to Your Boyfriend

The following is a tale of deceit. It involves a milkshake, a car, a cell phone, the seminal 2003 film How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, an inflatable penis pool toy, many bottles of alcohol, and one twisted WEB of dirty motherfucking LIES.

So let’s begin.

Last Thursday night, I had to drive to my hometown in order to be picked up the following morning at 8:00 a.m. for a weekend beach house extravaganza. Before hitting the road, I pigged out on a dinner of boneless Buffalo wings and curly fries (as one does) (when one is a fatass). Because a heaping platter of fried goods does not a balanced meal make, I also decided that a chocolate milkshake would be needed to cleanse my palate during the long drive.

(Side note: Yes, I have a food addiction. I’ve gained twenty pounds of comfort weight over the past year and frankly am just like “fuck it” right now until I can initiate a major life overhaul to reverse the damage, which I currently have loosely scheduled for early-to-mid-October, but who really knows how the fall season will shake (lol) out.)

So I went to Dairy Queen to grab my lil’ shake before hitting the road.

Before I could even merge onto the highway, though, I realized that the DQ guy must have put too much syrup in it or something because it was ridiculously sweet. To the point where it, like, hurt to swallow (no comment). So I put the cup in the center console and vowed not to touch it until I got to my destination and could throw it out.

But old habits die hard (with a vengeance). I found myself reflexively reaching for the shake and mindlessly taking syrupy little sips about every two minutes, which would then make me want to vomit. So after a while I just decided to bend down real quick and place it on the passenger side floor so as to ensure it would be totally out of my reach for the remainder of the ride.

When I finally got home and parked my car, my boyfriend, Graig, called me. “Hey babe, how was the ride?” he asked. “I take it you made it there safely?”

“I did,” I responded, ejecting myself from the vehicle and walking around to the passenger side door to grab my backpack off the seat. “It was actually quite pleas—SHIT! FUCK! Fuck a GOOSE in an AIRPLANE!”

“What’s wrong?!” he asked, audibly rattled by my vulgar outburst.

“I accidently spilled… a Diet Coke,” I answered. “I spilled Diet Coke all over the floor of my car.”

I know what you’re thinking:

  1. What kind of ne’er do well places a drink on a car floor and expects it not to tip over after literally the first pothole?
  2. WHO THE FUCK LIES ABOUT A MILKSHAKE?

Answers:

  1. This kind of ne’er do well.
  2. PEOPLE WHO ARE DEEPLY ASHAMED OF THEIR ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH MILKSHAKES.

“You had a Diet Coke?” Graig asked, knowing that I kicked my Diet Coke addiction years ago. “Why?”

“You know, it was just such a rando craving!” I replied, and then quickly pivoted back into a longwinded rant about the tragedy of the spillage. He bought my story and we each went to bed, separated by two state lines and one thin veil of deceit.

TWO NIGHTS LATER…

The beach house crew (all women plus me) went relatively bananas on our first night, so Saturday was the chill portion of the party. The remnants of the night before — empty beer cans, chips, a floating dick in the pool (above), etc.— surrounded us. We were drunk but mostly exhausted, lazily drinking margaritas on wicker furniture (like the Golden Girls that we are) and watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on the porch TV.

Because How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a film all about deception and betrayal, I began thinking about my Diet Coke stunt from Thursday. I realized it was the first time in our yearlong relationship that I had ever been dishonest with Graig. And about something so stupid! I thought to myself. Who does that? I don’t want to live a lie!

“Guys,” I said, randomly perking up and addressing the group. “I have a fucked up tale to tell. Are you ready?”

In an effort to get the shame off my chest, I then gave them a dramatic retelling of the incident. We all laughed heartily. Moments later, I noticed that my sister-in-law was looking down and deviously typing on her phone.

“Check your inbox, bitch!” she maniacally chirped when finished.

And then a group text in which she and Graig are both members lit up on my phone.

Hey Graig, remember when Nic told you he spilled Diet Coke in his car? she wrote.

“OH MY GOD, NOOO!” I screamed.

Yup, Graig wrote back.

“SHONDA RHIMES,” I desperately pleaded from the couch. “DON’T DO THIS!”

IT WASN’T DIET COKE, she texted, nefariously dragging the announcement out in a melodramatic, all caps-y fashion as I watched the horror unfold on the screen before me.

Wait, Graig (innocent lil’ Graig) replied. Huh?

She then dropped the bomb: It was a chocolate milkshake. And much to my surprise, the first emotion I felt was not disgust. Rather, I was overcome with a tsunami of relief that my dark secret was finally out in the open.

Playing along with the dramatics of it all, Graig responded with exaggerated shock at first, but then quickly transitioned into an adorable text-soliloquy about how he was “more upset that Nic lied” than the fact that I drank a milkshake, and that he “knew something was up” because “Nic never drinks Diet fucking Coke.”

And so a brand new lesson that nobody’s ever learned before was revealed: lying hurts people and is bad for relationships. Even when it stems from a shameful place of milkshake-addiction.

In (about thirty seconds’) time, Graig ultimately forgave me. And now we’re moving into a new apartment together next week! (This was technically already in the works, but whatever.) The place is in Jersey and I refuse for our new home to be built on a foundation of lies, so I am thanking God that there aren’t any Diary Queens in the neighborhood. Also, we will now have a beautiful pool, into which I plan on bringing the inflatable penis basically every day next summer. So this tale has a very happy ending, which is good.

All We Wanted Was to Watch Some Damn Golf

On Saturday my boyfriend Graig and I went on a beautiful eight-mile walk along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. It was scenic, serene, far removed from the city, and this is apropos of nothing but I’m currently writing this blog post from the train and the man to my left is eating a very aromatic banana.

ALL I CAN SMELL IS BANANA RIGHT NOW.

Waiting for it to be over.

Keyshia Cole.

Okay, he’s done.

So after our walk, we ended up at what is steadfastly becoming my favorite bar/restaurant ever — a picturesque, waterfront tavern in a park where wealthy middle-aged humans like to hang out and heterosexual couples like to get married. (Why this recipe somehow spells out “Comfort Zone!” for me is its own sad problem, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Everything was going great at first. I had a Landshark Lager in one hand and a lobster roll in the other. There were also many oysters involved. We were watching the Masters on the bar’s only television, and I was inexplicably invested in every nuance of the event.

Love shocking my friends.

Love shocking my friends w/ my golf knowledge.

Things took a dark turn later in the day, though, and by the end of the night we ended up in a weird situation where our bartender hated us and wished us dead in her head, and yes, I just rhymed.

Something to note here is that I am cripplingly afraid of confrontation and/or ever saying anything that could even vaguely paint me as an asshole to a waitperson. I don’t say things like, “I’ll have some more water,” as my subconscious seems to believe that only a total dick would make such a demand. Instead I say, “Um. So. Can I have some more water, p-p-please?” in a very high, mouse-like voice. It’s embarrassing for everyone involved and really I’m sure waiters hate me even more for making it weird than they would if I just asked for water outright like a normal citizen, but whatever, this post isn’t even about water, so let’s just move on, Jesus.

Somewhere around Jordan Spieth’s seventh hole of the day, the lunch bartender decided that “nobody cares about golf” and changed the station. This caused a panic between Graig and I, but luckily with a very polite/awkward request (see above paragraph) we were able to get him to put the golf back on (and also bring us more oysters, which are delicious and bring me joy and should really just be called joysters IMHO).

joysters

But then.

An hour later we were forced to close out our tab with the lunch bartender and start a new one with his replacement, a sassy blonde girl with crunchy shoulder-length hair and baby blue nail polish. Immediately upon starting her shift, she grabbed the remote and proclaimed, “I don’t wanna watch golf!

“Bitch, you got some neeerve!” is what I absolutely did not say to her but should have.

Luckily, the outgoing bartender did the dirty work for us and whispered to her that we were invested in the men on the screen in the pants and the shirts with the metal rods and the balls. (I should have known that writing about golf would swiftly turn into erotica.)

She looked annoyed but changed it back, and then proceeded to pretend that Graig and I didn’t exist for the rest of the evening. Like, she was being a total gem to everyone else at the bar — engaging in friendly small talk, smiling, generally being a non-dick – but every time we tried to flag her down for another round it was like getting the attention of an angsty teen in possession of a smartphone and very severe resentment issues.

We managed to get the bar-back to get her to get us drinks when we could, but overall we just felt vehemently hated yet entirely invisible at the same time.

Once the final hole of the day was shot, we decided it was time to vacate and go somewhere where we weren’t de facto lepers. We tried for ten minutes to get the crunchy hair bitch’s attention—in what was not a crowded bar at all, I might add!—but she kept avoiding our hand gestures and actively sought out patrons to engage in lighthearted banter with instead.

“What’s wrong with us?” I asked Graig. “Are we THAT hate-able?”

“Apparently,” he said. “Should we just do a dine and dash?”

Before we could fully contemplate the option, a spunky woman in a mini jean jacket randomly approached us from behind.

“Hi guys,” she started as we turned around. She was pointing to another girl across the bar. “Do you see my friend over there? What do you think of her?”

“I don’t know her personally, so I ought not to form an opinion based purely on her physical appearance, because to quote alt-R&B songstress Janelle Monáe, who will tweet this two days into the future, a woman’s body is ‘not for male consumption,'” is another thing I did not say in response but should have.

“She’s a dish!” is yet one more. (Because Titanic.)

“She’s super pretty,” is what I actually said, trying to sound stereotypically gay enough for her to realize that she was barking up two entirely homosexual trees. But somehow I failed. (I blame the golf.)

“So why have neither of you hit on her yet? Come on, guys!”

Graig then jumped in and cut to the chase: “Actually, we’re boyfriends.”

And then the girl was all, “Oh my God, really? We’re lesbians! I just wanted to boost my girlfriend’s self-esteem and also try to play you guys for some free drinks.”

…WHO THE FUCK?

“Well, even if we wanted to buy you drinks we couldn’t because the bartender is very mean…” I started to say to her, but then her girlfriend stormed out of the establishment in an emotional tizzy and she abruptly chased after her before anyone could even say bye.

I felt bad for the girlfriend, who was clearly having a rough time in this Bar of Broken Dreams. I wondered if maybe she just needed to feel sexy for a moment, as her GF obviously sucked at satisfying that need on her own. Or maybe she was dehydrated because the bartender was being a vindictive goblin to them, too. Or — wait! Perhaps the whole thing was just an elaborate ruse designed to enable THEM to ACTUALLY DINE AND DASH. You know what? Those lesbians were evil geniuses.

Meanwhile, Graig and I ended up waiting another ten minutes for the bill, which we paid, because we plan on going back for the U.S. Open.

 

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.

IMG_20150120_104214

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.

 

The Straight Gay Ghost of Tinder Past

tinderghost2

So this past Saturday, right? I’m sitting on the couch in my hotel room and killing time on Tinder waiting for a trolley to pick me up for a wedding, and I come across this buff bro type named Benjamin with the perfect amount of facial hair and I swipe right and It’s a match! and he messages me.

  • Benjamin: oops lol

Twelve minutes of silence

  • Benjamin: this happens sometimes, it’s weird

At first I thought he said “oops lol” as in “I MEANT TO SWIPE LEFT BECAUSE YOU’RE GROSS lol,” which hurt my feelings and stunned me into the twelve minutes of silence you see noted above, but then when he followed up with that second message I was just confused.

  • Me: wait what? What happens sometimes?
  • Benjamin: I’m not gay lol. But idk sometimes guys show up in my feed and I guess I’m an aggressive swiper
  • Benjamin: the last time this happened the guy took my third photo a little too seriously and asked me if I wanted a bj haha

So of course I go and look at his third photo, and it’s of a random sign on a fence that reads: Ready. Set. Blow!

  • Me: LOL oh, gotcha. Yeah sometimes Tinder puts girls in my feed and I’ll have a mild identity crisis. Not gonna lie, that third picture of yours is intriguing haha
  • Benjamin: ha

So at this point I’m fairly certain it’s over, but then after a few minutes he’s baaack.

  • Benjamin: You ever suck a straight dude’s cock?
  • Me: Uhh
  • Me: maybe in college? now I only give head to get head haha
  • Benjamin: lol I see
  • Benjamin: You’re saying I’d have to suck yours too? lol
  • Benjamin: I might be willing to try

Okay. If you weren’t just like, “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? THIS IS ALL SO ABRUPT!” as you read that, then I’m going to go ahead and assume that you run in some fucked up circles. Because seriously, what the fuck was going on? It was all so abrupt!

A sick part of me was intrigued, though. And he was cute. And I mean, who knows, I figured. Maybe sexually flirting with a closeted/questioning straight man on Tinder will be a great, emotionally healthy thing to do! Plus the wedding trolley was running late.

  • Me: haha REALLY?
  • Benjamin: maybe
  • Me: well I’d probably be too chickenshit to meet you IRL anyways
  • Me: I’ve seen enough TV to know that being lured into a strange setting on the promise of straight dick can be dangerous
  • Me: I don’t want to get gay bashed!!!
  • Benjamin: lol
  • Benjamin: no I understand
  • Benjamin: so do you have a nice dick?

First of all, how insufferable am I with the whole making-light-of-gay-bashings talk up there? But it was an actual concern I had, and that’s why talking to closeted/questioning straight men on Tinder is never a good idea — you’ll totally wonder if he’s serious or if he’s like, acting on some kind of gang initiation dare where he has to lure a gay guy into a strange setting with the promise of straight dick and then maim him. It was a dark scenario to contemplate, but luckily, as you can see above, he asked me about the quality of my genitals before I could fully explore it.

  • Me: I’ve never had any complaints haha
  • Me: You???
  • Benjamin: about 7
  • Me: nice

How hilarious is it that we’re both grown men here? Like, as I’m reenacting these messages I’m legit thinking to myself, “OMG HIGH SCHOOL DELUXE,” which is both sad and also evidence that people never actually grow up and everything is just a façade. (Wait was that deep?)

  • Benjamin: you have Snapchat?
  • Me: yeah my name is ctnicolas
  • Benjamin: send me a pic of it
  • Me: my wedding trolley is here! Argh right when this was getting good

Saved by the fucking trolley, am I right? I mean, as much as I enjoyed our bizarre spur-of-the-moment exchange, I’m not about that dick pic life. Even though I’m pretty sure I gave him my Snapchat name because I wanted to get a pic of his dick, but whatever, I’m a hypocrite, YOLO.

After I logged off Tinder, I got two notifications indicating that Benjamin had messaged me. By then I was in wedding mode, though, so I didn’t sign back in to look, figuring that he probably just said “lol ok ttyl” and I could go back to our conversation later in the evening after I got white girl wasted at the open bar.

Flash-forward to later in the evening when I’m white girl wasted at the open bar:

BENJAMIN IS GONE.

Like, his profile is not in my matches anymore. Our entire message history has vanished. It’s like he was never there. Like he didn’t even exist.

You may be wondering how I was able to so accurately quote the conversation throughout this post without the actual transcript for reference, and the answer there is that I was obviously writing this post in my head from the very first moment Benjamin brought his penis into the discussion, so I was grasping tightly to the contours of pretty much every line we exchanged right from the start. (Though I didn’t have the foresight to screen-shot it before he went all fucking Houdini on me, but lesson learned.)

I told my best friend Fran this whole story the next morning over coffee.

“Yeah, dude, it was so weird,” I said. “Like, ‘Ever sucked a straight dude’s dick? POOF I’m GONE!’ He deleted his entire Tinder profile because of me.”

“Or he just blocked you,” she dryly retorted. “Oh! Did I just stomp on your self-importance?”

It was kind of insulting but mostly hilarious, because it was true.

So in conclusion, I don’t know. This whole situation was bizarre and crazy and yet another example of the sad, strange world we live in. Mostly I just feel for Benjamin, because I know we’re all on a different journey in this life and sexuality isn’t always black and white and so who the hell knows, maybe he’s bisexual and needs to figure that shit out via a spontaneous Tinder beej. Or maybe he’s gay and tortured. Or maybe he’s straight and was just having a moment like the one I had that time I flirted with a beautiful girl at a straight bar all night and we almost decided to go back to her place to “just get naked and see what happens” but didn’t.

Or maybe — actually? — it’s none of my damn business. But then again, neither is the length of his dick. And yet somehow I know it’s “about 7.”

The Internet is so weird.

 

Why Do We Hook Up With Our Exes?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Regina George hooked up with an ex.

That’s probably almost everyone, right?

Okay. Raise your hand if you’ve ever hooked up with an ex on a totally sporadic basis but nonetheless repeatedly since breaking up four years ago and you almost don’t know why the fuck you do it but you’re also fairly certain that it’s because you’re so automatically comfortable in his presence and he’s your least laborious booty call option when it’s a quarter after one and you’re a little drunk and YOU NEED HIM NOW, and also maybe you still care about him a little but you’re not sure if it’s just because you miss “the idea of him” or because you actually miss him, and now you’re really questioning your life choices because you’ve managed to quote both Lady Antebellum and When Harry Met Sally in one longwinded run-on sentence about what is ostensibly your real-world love life but is clearly nothing more than a series of personal decisions you’ve made based off messages that pop culture has fed you over the years of what your love life should look like, and fuck – when did everything become so meta?

First of all, I understand if your arm got tired at some point during the above soliloquy and you’ve put your hand down by now. It exhausted me too; it’s fine. I also understand if you need HIM NOW a glass of water.

Secondly, who the hell knows why we hook up with our exes? Do we have our reasons, or are there no reasons at all? Maybe it’s healthy. Maybe (usually?) it’s not.

In my case, I’m going to go ahead and assume that it’s a mixed bag but mostly the latter, because my actual relationship with Lionel (dude on which the above is based) was kind of a schizophrenic shit-show that more or less inspired a literal book.

But of course mixed bags are mixed.

Lionel and I love each other. Yeah. Lionel loved me before I ever wrote about love on the Internet.

Are we in love? Well. We live far enough away from each other to forget that the other exists within 72 hours of most of our hookups. Moving on with our everyday lives without each other is an easy enough process for me to reasonably conclude that the answer is no. Or at least: not nearly enough.

Normally I don’t lose sleep over Lionel, but I recently got drunk at a barbeque my brother and his wife were throwing. I requested Lionel’s presence at the last minute, he showed up, and it was like fucking Homecoming Dance 2014 as my various friends and family members giddily caught up with him while declaring, “WE’VE MISSED YOU SO MUCH!!!” in tones that were totally riddled with a Nic-has-devolved-into-a-tragically-hot-mess-of-a-psychotic-gay-man-since-you-guys-broke-up-and-he-moved-to-New-York subtext.

So that’s been a thing on my mind.

Whenever Lionel and I get together, though, I end up emerging from the experience in a peculiar, emotionless haze. His tattooed arms are a time machine back to 2009 when I was 21 years old and blissfully callow; it’s the easiest thing ever to drunkenly fall asleep in them.

But then I’ll wake up the next morning and it will be 2011 or 2012 or 2013 or, as of late, 2014. And it will be different, because I am. And he’ll drive us to grab iced coffees before we officially go back to our everyday lives that have nothing to do with each other, and I’ll speak in micro-sentences with a Lana Del Rey monotone and he’ll have to talk nonstop to keep the car from descending into a vacuum of awkward silence.

He won’t say anything about my coldness, though I’m almost certain it’s weird for him. How could it not be? Back when we were together, I was a high-strung emotional wreck totally incapable of reaching a middle ground between “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” and “LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.” Now my general attitude is just “thanks for the coffee, bye.”

“What are we doing and why?” is what I probably should be saying.

I’m about as sure that we both have our reasons as I am sure that there are no reasons at all.

Geese1

I couldn’t think of a good picture to accompany this post, so I had to improvise with this shot of some geese I encountered on my way home from the gym recently. Frankly, I’m impressed at just how well this all worked out for me.

 

Kind of a Blog Post About Dating, Mostly a Video of Me Singing a Dixie Chicks Song

Recently some readers have been inquiring about my dating life, which, contrary to the fact that I haven’t really blogged about it in nearly nine months, has not disintegrated entirely into a never-ending loop of me eating bagels and watching the OWN Network with the affirmation “I give up on men but it’s fine because Oprah completes me” pinned front and center to the cork board of my sad, sad manless mind.

No, it’s been quite the opposite. Really I just cooled it on the confessional dating posts because I got sick of being held accountable to the identity of Thirsty Writer Who Can’t Find Love. The line between my art and my life had gotten a little too blurry. (Also, furry.) (And a lot like jury.) (Duty.)

(…What the fuck just happened?)

I think during the golden era of Jilted-Insecure-What-Is-Love-BABY-DON’T-HURT-ME blog posts, what I was really looking for was some kind of external validation and/or magical cowboy to sweep me off my feet and make all my problems go away. (Because #ThatzHealthy.) The reality of actually settling down and committing my time and energy to the happiness of another human being and having to deal with things like “sacrifice” and “compromise”? LOL. No. The first option required much less effort and made for better writing material.

I came to this epiphany earlier this year after I finally stopped looking for that cowboy and then a bunch of dudes fell for me at the same time and it made me feel like almost as much of a douche bag as I do for typing this sentence right now. You know those surreal phases where you become a man-magnet and the more men want you, the more other men want you? And your life becomes a real-world version of The Weather Girls’ timeless classic “It’s Raining Men,” until finally you’re like, “Wait, I think I wanna just go inside now. Or at least whip out an umbrella,” because you’ve lost the ability to give a shit? It was one of those.

Mancloud

Which is why now I’m not really wasting anyone’s time by trying.

Instead I’ve just been living and focusing on things that I love already – my family, my friends, my writing. My newfound interest in singing random country songs while shittily playing guitar. Of course I’ve loved being in relationships in the past, and if another one happens to come my way soon and it feels organic and right and not at all like suffocating, then awesome.

But as for the idea of longing for a magical cowboy to sweep me off my feet and make all my problems go away? I’m over that shit. It makes for better art than it does an actual way of life.

 

That Married Dude I Made Out with Last Year? SAW HIM AGAIN

Last November I met a man on a train. Let’s call him James. James and I bonded all the way from New York to Connecticut, and then we passionately made out in his car like a couple of horny high schoolers until we decided to cut the party short due to the fact that he had a wife whom — no big deal — he almost forgot to tell me about. It was a debacle, and really you should just read my entire original post about it to get the full effect before continuing, because OH MY GOD – I saw him last week.

I was stuck at the train station due to a delay and decided to treat myself to a large iced coffee to ease the pain (because large iced coffees always ease the pain — they’re a lot like Vicodin and/or puppy therapy in that way).

As I approached the Dunkin Donuts stand, I noticed that there was a man with an effortlessly strong build standing at the front of the line in sharp tan suit pants and a white T-shirt. His suit jacket and dress shirt were cradled loosely under his hot right man-arm.

I’d so hit that, I thought to myself, apparently not requiring any knowledge whatsoever of what his face looked like.

Then he turned around and our eyes met.

AND IT WAS JAMES.

We hadn’t seen each other since the night we met, so this was kind of a BFD. (That’s “big fucking deal” for those of you who actually put your educations to use and therefore don’t speak in profane teen girl abbrevs.) (Abreva?)

I immediately went into super-adrenaline mode and decided that I would just pretend I didn’t see James in front of me or that I did see him but had absolutely no idea who he was because I’m the type of person (in this imaginary scenario of me not recognizing him, that is) who just makes out with strangers on trains all the damn time and so trying to keep track of them would be like trying to keep track of the number of nipple rings at a Bear convention.

(Explanatory side note for straight people: Bears are large hairy gay men who are traditionally into body piercings and leather. And conventions, apparently.)

Our eyes met again as James stepped to the side to wait for his coffee and I moved to the front of the line. He looked nervous.

“Large iced coffee, please,” I said, trying to look as directly at the cashier as possible. “With milk only.”

I spoke loudly, immaturely hoping that the sound of my voice would initiate some kind of nostalgia or arousal or regret or why-isn’t-Nic-saying-hi-to-me?-ness (emotion of any kind, really) in James.

I wanted him to notice that my outfit was similar to the one I wore the night we met seven months ago – a button down shirt, slightly open at the chest with two chains of contrasting lengths showing (because yes, on Tuesdays I dress like the owner of a pizzeria). I also wanted him to notice that I had a bunch of new half-hippie/half-someone-who-hangs-out-on-boats bracelets on my left wrist, so I made sure to really stick out my hand as I reached forward to pay the guy behind the counter.

Why did I so desperately want James to notice everything about me?

Maybe it was just my way of acknowledging how bizarre it was that last fall we shared an intimate moment – a moment that I’ve since written and talked and thought about at length; a moment that has been the subject of blog posts and essays and bar conversations and marathon phone calls and so much else – and here we were pretending to be total strangers.

It felt rather dishonest.

But it was all either of us could bring ourselves to do, I guess. And so James and I continued to stand there in awkward silence until we each got our respective cups of fuel for the morning.

“Thanks,” I said to the DD guy.

“Have a good one,” James told him.

And then we each sped off in directions so completely opposite that anyone watching would have never known we were both going to the exact same place.

I couldn't really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here's me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There's a message here somewhere, maybe.

I couldn’t really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here’s me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There’s meaning here somewhere, maybe.

P.S. It just occurred to me that, when left open to interpretation, the last line of this post could totally make it sound like I was insinuating that James and I took roundabout routes to the men’s room and then gave each other blowjobs in the handicap stall or something – and I’d just like to clarify that that’s not what happened at all. I just meant that, you know, we were both commuting into the same city. There was probably some underlying metaphor there, too. I didn’t need to clarify any of this, did I?

P.P.S. How gross would it be to give a blowjob in the stall of a train station bathroom? How gross would it be to do anything that involves heavily breathing through your nose in a train station bathroom? Just, ew.

P.P.P.S. No judgment, though, if train-station-bathroom-blowjobs are your thing! To each his own.

P.P.P.P.S. But still I probably wouldn’t share a drink with you.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Unless that drink was a vodka gimlet. Or a Guinness. Or a White Russian. Or a jalapeño margarita. You know what? Never mind.

 

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