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.

 

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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.

 

On Awkward Arm Positioning When Sharing a Bed with a New Person

So you know that feeling when you wake up next to a brand new guy and it’s 5:00 a.m. because your body likes to be a total dick sometimes for no reason, and then your mind starts wandering and you’re like, “Perhaps I should get up and pour myself a glass of water,” but you realize you can’t because your arms are so weirdly positioned under/around New Guy that you’re basically trapped and so before you know it you’re having a mental hissy fit about how your arms are assholes and THEY are holding you back from living your best life? And then you get briefly sidetracked as you randomly remember that you need to do your taxes that day, and so you make a mental note for later and feel irrationally accomplished for a good twenty seconds but then you suddenly have to fart and then you have to pee, but again, arms, and so basically the whole thing gets real Armageddon, real fast? And then you look over and New Guy is still asleep and therefore totally unaware of how hard your life is because even after everything that’s just happened, it’s still only 5:03?

That may or may not have been my life a few Saturdays ago.

I eventually sat down in front of my computer to do my taxes this past Saturday, but then I opened Paintbrush and an illustrated graphic of the other Saturday’s debacle just randomly oozed out of me like some kind of weird discharge that one would probably have to send away to a lab for testing if it happened in real life (but that I most likely wouldn’t because now I still haven’t done my taxes and so if there’s anything to be learned from this blog post it’s that I clearly don’t have my self-care priorities in order).

Note: I made the font for my thoughts extra fancy because that’s how they look and sound in my head. They’re British, basically. (In fact, I recommend you read them aloud in an accent as you explore the graphic.)

Sleeeeeep

I think the moral of the story here is that we all need to stop blaming our arms for everything and just accept that life is uncomfortable sometimes. Also, taxes need to not exist, because arms. Wait. Did I just blame my arms for taxes?

 

Three Things I’ve Decided About the Search for Love

I recently came across a half-serious/half-bitchy article on Esquire‘s blog that addressed the myriad ways in which my soul sister, Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City, has allegedly corrupted the belief systems of modern women. Within, the author kind of says — no big deal — that my entire life’s work is bullshit. Also, the reason I’m single.

Specifically:

7. Portraying Yourself as Someone Who Can’t Find Love Will [Not] Find You Love. Publicly crafting yourself as a person who can’t find love will not encourage anyone to love you. You should resist every urge to make your dating horrors into a cottage industry. Do not blog about them, do not indicate them in your status updates, and don’t you dare read your personal essays at even one open mic night.

This makes scary sense, doesn’t it? Like, when I first read it, I was all, “Shit, my Internet writing! My blog! I have destroyed ALL chances of ever finding a husband. Should I purchase an impregnated cat now? Or?”

But then I breathed deeply, closed my eyes, and thought to myself, You know what? No.

Because for me – someone who has been healed and inspired by the writings of many a confessional memoirist – writing is all about transparency. And with that, honesty. And so yeah, I’ve written quite a bit about being unable to find a decent man over the past three years (interestingly, just about the amount of time that has elapsed since my last serious relationship… Coincidence? No? Holy shit, it’s not! That article is totally on point and I’m steadfastly getting closer and closer to dying-alone-with-nothing-to-show-for-my-life-but-a-Netflix-account-and-a-freezer-full-of-ice-cream status with every word I type, huh? Wait. NO. I am going to stand in my truth on this one! I’m also going to finish my thought, as I’m pretty sure this parenthetical tangent happens to be in the middle of what should have been a cohesive sentence but has now just become a long schizophrenic ramble about nothing) but at least I’ve never tried to pretend I’m perfect.

With the above in mind, here is my list of three things I have learned about the search for love this year:

1. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved (or to love yourself).

I used to bitch a lot about the concept of self-love being a cliché crock of shit perpetuated by assholes who were already married and therefore never had to put their money where their smug, supposedly self-loving mouths were. But then I devoted this year to my inner journey and realized that maybe I was a little full of shit, too. I read up on spiritual principles, developed a relentless zeal for Oprah’s brilliant series-for-seekers Super Soul Sunday, and adopted a meditation practice. And I realized that I, like everyone else, had some healing to do. So I started reflecting, forgiving, visualizing, and meditating even more. I was doing pretty well. But then I developed a mindset that was all, “Okay, so after enough hours of meditation I’m just going to be perfect and completely healed and self-loving and awesome one hundred percent of the time, and then I’ll be able to allow love into my life. Right?”

IMG_20131202_201754

Sorry, Nic of a few months ago, but no. The path to self-actualization never ends. The only thing that really matters is that we’re making progress and loving ourselves through the process. I’m choosing to believe that my romantic match will agree with me on this. He won’t be perfect himself, and he won’t expect me to be perfect in return. And if he does? He’s not for me. (And furthermore, he’s probably a total douche canoe.)

2. Trying to control outcomes is exhausting and – oh! – pointless.

At the end of the day, Life (capital L, y’all) is gonna do what it do. So I’m going to say that Oprah has it right when she says that love, as with everything else, is all about a) setting an intention (i.e. “I want to meet a quality man who is basically a thirty-year-old version of Nick Jonas except gay and willing to get married and shower me with affection on the regular”); b) taking intuition-led action on that intention (i.e. “I totally just meditated on a love-affirmative mantra, updated my OkCupid profile, and went to a gay bar!”); and then c) surrendering the intention to the universe (i.e. “Okay God, so this isn’t my problem anymore. I’m trusting you to hook me up with my future husband, mmmkay? Thanks!”).

Needless to say, that last step is the hardest part, and yes, I’m still working on it. (Clearly. Or else I wouldn’t be blogging right now, as I’d kind of be busy giving my gay thirty-year-old Nick Jonas husband an epic blowjob.)

2a. Was that last parenthetical TMI?

Probably. But again, writing is all about honesty, right? On that note…

3. Portraying yourself as anything other than someone who can’t find love – when you, in fact, are looking for love and haven’t found it yet – is pretty fucking dishonest.

So, okay. I’m a firm believer that every word we put out there is an energy-carrying affirmation that is likely to manifest itself in our lives in one way or another, so on that level, I’m all about not being whiny and woe-is-me towards love. But I’m also a firm believer that I would be a total asshole if I tried to downplay my struggle over the past few years and cover it up with affirmations like, “Quality men flock to me and love is easy and I’m just, like, flawless! Yay!” (I’d also have absolutely no material, but that’s neither here nor there.)

At the same time, though, I’m not trying to repeat history. And so here is the affirmation I plan to take with me into 2014: “I am grateful for the many valuable lessons I’ve learned from my past romantic misfortunes, and I now know that I am deserving of a healthy partnership with a like-minded man. I trust Life to know when to bring us together. (And until then, I will fucking rock the single life.)”

3a. So now that my inspirational/uplifting moment is over, can we just talk about my gay thirty-year-old Nick Jonas husband character for a second?

I mean, honestly. How perfect would that be? We would be Nic and Nick!

NIC. AND. NICK.

 

I Accidentally Made Out with a Closeted Married Man, and Now I’m a Hot Mess

First and foremost, I feel the need to assure you that the events I’m about to recount actually took place. Like, in real life. Which you’ll soon realize is insane because one) I have already written extensively on the subject of falling in love with hot suited strangers during my daily commute on the Metro-North train, two) I once even blogged about a fantasy sequence in which I made out with one of them but he ended up being married, and three) that is somehow EXACTLY what happened to me last Friday night, in real life. IR-fucking-L.

There’s a lot to discuss here, so let’s just start from the beginning.

It was the end of a long week, so naturally I went out for post-work Sangria in the city with one of my best girlfriends. One pitcher turned into two, and before I knew it I was a little tipsy on a late-night train back to Connecticut. The train was delightfully empty, so I got cozy in a four-seater all by myself and prepared for the fifty-minute ride home.

Then he showed up. Hot businessman guy. He was wearing a grey pinstripe suit, fancy watch, and (according to my tipsy-goggles, at least) was ruggedly handsome – kind of like Brandon Walsh from 90210. Except manlier. And thirty-something. And, again, in a suit.

I took about five seconds to observe and appreciate his hotness, texted my friend something like “OMG, this man on the train is my everything,” glanced his way again, and then went back to staring at my phone (lest he catch me looking at him and interpret my stalkerish gazes as reason to desert me and switch to another train car that wasn’t crawling with predatory gay bloggers).

As we pulled out of Grand Central, the conductor came on the intercom and was all, “Please make all seats available,” and then the hot businessman opened up a roadie Coors Light, took a swig, and responded (to everyone and no one), “Uh, the train is empty!”

In my mind: He totally just opened the floor for conversation!!! Should I respond? I should definitely respond. No. That’d be weird. Wait, but he was weird first to even make the empty train remark to begin with. OK I’m doing it! No. YES. NO. Yes.

Out loud: “I know, right? The train is so empty!”

To my surprise, he looked my way and smiled warmly as I mentally congratulated myself for being capable of putting words together quickly enough to respond to his declaration. (Even though, let’s be honest, all I did was say exactly what he said except with a “so” in front of it.)

From there, we engaged in a bout of small talk about our commutes (we live in the same town, turns out!) and jobs (we work in the same part of the city, turns out!) and interests (we both watch football, turns out!).

While all of this was going on, I started developing the hopeful feeling that this guy was maybe gay, maybe into me, and maybe meant to be my husband. I mean, why else would he be so friendly? But then I told myself, “No. Calm yourself down, Nic. This dude probably thinks he’s just having a man-to-man discussion about Eli Manning and meanwhile you’ve let your mind go to that ‘ohmiGod is he gay and in love with me?!’ place in not even five minutes. GET A GRIP.”

After a few moments, we reached a lull in conversation. And then some random ass creepy guy in a black trench coat showed up out of nowhere and took one of the seats directly in front of me in my four-seater, despite the fact that there was a whole train car of empty seats available to him! James (the hot businessman guy — fake name, FYI) and I immediately exchanged glances to acknowledge how bizarre this was.

The creepy guy must have realized that James and I were telepathically discussing his weirdness (or maybe he just had to pee), because he abruptly got up and went to the bathroom, leaving me alone to wait for him to return and maim me take his seat back.

But then.

Like a knight in SHINING fucking ARMOR, James got up, swooped over into my four-seater and asked, “Would you like me to sit here instead?”

And so of course I said, “Yes!” and officially moved on from the “ohmiGod is he gay and in love with me?!” place into the more confident “My life is a romantic comedy and James and I SHALL BE MARRIED AND THIS SHALL BE THE STORY WE TELL OUR ADOPTED CHILDREN’S CHILDREN!” place.

For the remainder of the ride home, James and I talked. About our educations, occupations, hometowns, hobbies, and dreams. At one point I told him how I was working toward becoming a full-time writer and he responded with, “That makes sense; you give off a crazy-creative vibe,” and I had to pinch myself to ensure that I wasn’t just train-hallucinating this whole situation.

When we got to our stop, we walked off the train together.

“Alright,” I said as we approached the escalator, “I guess I should get on my way. Got a bit of a walk home.”

Then James was like, “Do you want a ride?” and I was like, “Yes!” (Because an exclamation-pointed “Yes!” had clearly become my go-to answer to any and all of James’ questions that night.)

I know what you may be thinking: Nic just accepted a ride from a stranger? Is he fucking nuts?!

Yes, I did. And yes, I am. And this is why hot people are dangerous. Because had this dude been gross looking or even just average, there’s no way I’d have said anything other than, “No, thanks.”

Still, as we walked to his car, there was a small voice inside of me that was like, “Uh, Christian Bale in American Psycho, Nic. He was hot. He wore a suit. And he killed bitches!” But I was able to quiet it down by asking James flat-out, “You’re not a crazy American psycho, are you?”

He just laughed adorably and said, “No! Trust me, you’re in good hands. I never do this. At all. Is this weird? This is weird. But I feel comfortable with you.”

And so we hopped into the car and continued talking for the duration of the ride to my apartment while our hands almost touched on the center armrest and I realized that I still didn’t have any conclusive evidence of his gay or straightness. There was a part of me that truly wondered if James was just a really nice straight man doing me a favor… but then there was another part of me that wanted to believe we had been flirting all night long.

Either way, when we finally got to the front of my building, I didn’t want to say goodnight. I considered inviting him up to my apartment, but then I was like, “WHO ARE YOU?” (to myself, not him) and instead settled for exchanging cell phone numbers with the intention of hanging out on purpose sometime soon.

And then.

I thanked him for the ride and reached out to shake his hand goodbye.

AND THEN.

He leaned over and went in for a kiss!

And so before I knew it, I was living in a dream and we were making out. And y’all — it was good. This man clearly knew what he was doing. Which is why it was so jarring to me when he abruptly stopped mid-make-out, said, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” and freaked the fuck out.

“What?” I asked, acting as if everything about this whole situation wasn’t bizarre enough to begin with.

“I don’t do stuff like this,” he nervously responded. “I’m married.”

So then my heart kind of casually just stopped, no big deal, and I said, “Wait. You’re married?” [Dramatic pause.] “To a human?”

“A human, Nic?” he replied. “Yes. I’m married to a woman.”

Jaaames!!!” I whined. “WHY?”

And then I punched him. (Playfully and on the chest, but still.)

He proceeded to apologize for not telling me about his wife before kissing me, and then he got this really sad look on his face, and for a second my heart felt incredibly heavy for him. Because I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be trapped in a straight life and married to a woman and have to deal with inner demons and family pressures and tempting little hot pieces of ass like me just occupying four-seaters on trains on Friday nights.

But then I felt more bad for his wife, because I’m friends with quite a few women and I know for a fact that none of them want their husbands to be repressed gay men.

But then (and maybe I should be ashamed of this?) I felt mostly bad for me. Because seriously, WTF? I meet this perfect-in-every-way man — the old-fashioned, technology-free, just-like-in-the-movies way, even! — and we hit it off tremendously, and he’s the most passionate kisser in the history of the world, and then he’s somebody’s husband? How did I forget to check his left hand for a ring? How did he think it was okay to pursue me in the first place? Do any quality, available men even exist anymore? WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE?

After about thirty awkwardly silent seconds of sitting in James’ car post-wife-confession, I decided to just start making out with him again. This was desperate and not okay, I know. But again: his kiss. It was delicious. Delicious and forbidden and sexual and hot. And I knew that he was a very dangerous person to even think about getting involved with, but I wanted to pretend for just the shortest moment that he was good and genuine and mine.

And so we kept making out in his car for about ten more blissful seconds, but then — and I think this may have been my conscience resurrecting itself from the low-self-esteem-y grave I’d just dug for it — I started wondering what his wife’s name was and what she must be doing and what she might think he was doing and what her Pinterest might look like. And so I finally mustered up the strength to say, “Dude. This is fucked up. We can’t do this.”

“You’re right,” he replied, not fighting me at all. “I understand if you want to just lose my number. I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I sighed. “It’s fine.”

Then I got out of his car, walked up to my apartment, and aggressively slammed my bag against the floor in a fit of rage. I ran to my window to see if his car was still on my street, but he had already driven off. Regardless of all the reasons not to, I wanted to call him right then and there to ask him to come back so we could try and recapture whatever the hell it was we had both just discovered and lost, all within the past hour.

But then I walked into my bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and realized that I really, really needed to take his advice — and just lose his number.

2014 UPDATE: We ran into each other at Dunkin’ Donuts and it was weird.

 

I’m Becoming Rational and It Feels Weird (but Good-Weird?)

Last month I met up with my very talented writer buddy Steven to talk about our querying woes. In the middle of the cheesecake portion of our meeting (because with me, there’s always a cheesecake portion, and yes, I’m a Golden Girl), I got a call from a dude I talked to on OkCupid late last year, stopped talking to early this year, and then recently started talking to again in September.

He was calling to plan our much-delayed first date. He suggested hiking, I agreed, and then I hung up and analyzed the fuck out of the situation with Steven, because me.

  • Nic: So. I just agreed to go on a hiking first date. Hiking on a first date – this is a bad idea, huh?
  • Steven: OK, after having read the last few chapters of your manuscript, aren’t all of your dates hiking dates? What’s the problem?
  • Nic: No. There were only two hiking dates in the book, and they were the third and second, respectively. I’ve only ever been on one hiking first date, and that was with Far-Away Guy in August and WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT TUNRED OUT.
  • Steven: Calm down.
  • Nic: I’d rather go to that new beer garden that just opened in my town! Oh my God, this guy’s not the one. The one would have automatically known to suggest the beer garden and not hiking. I should just cancel right now and save us all time.

And that’s when Steven gave me an epic eye roll and was all, “Yeah, Nic. Cancel your date because this man you’ve never met before COULDN’T READ YOUR FUCKING MIND.”

Luckily, I was astute enough to sense Steven’s sarcasm, and so I soon realized that I was being ridiculous.

Also, I remembered that I love hiking. And so I went on the date, and that was four Saturdays ago. And we had a great time, and we’ve since seen each other three more times… and that’s all I’m going to say for now, because I’m starting to think that a four-week layover period between “dating-related thing happening” and “blogging about it” is the perfect recipe for perspective.

I think I just learned how to date (and blog) like a somewhat sane person? It only took me… OK, I just started counting the years, and that shit was depressing. Never mind.

IMG_20130928_131927_648

Taken on the date in question. NOW this is probably all foliage-y… but y’know, four weeks.

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