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 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 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.

shirtdebacle

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.

10689771_936772713392_5065515524980736380_n

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

 

Are My Ripped Jorts Destroying My Life?

Last week, after having a few beers at a live fantasy football draft (which I dominated, by the way), I impulsively agreed to meet a random dude from OkCupid for an impromptu first date in the city before heading home.

Ordinarily, this would not have been a noteworthy experience. But on this particular day I had decided to wear ripped jorts to work.

Jorts, for those of you with taste and/or lives, are jean shorts.

jorts

Me channeling Miley Cyrus while wearing jorts in what appears to be the rainforest, which is a caption I never thought I’d write.

I’m not exactly sure why I love my jorts, but I do. Maybe it has a lot to do with Mariah Carey’s 1993 video for “Dreamlover,” in which she frolics through a meadow in a pair of her own; I don’t know.

In any case, below is the entire story arc of the date in which I wore jorts, as told through a truncated series of Facebook IMs between my friend Steven and I.

En route to the date…

  • Me: The draft is over, my team is amazing, I’m drunk
  • Me: now I’m meeting some dude for more drinks
  • Me: I’m wearing topped jean shorts so
  • Me: he’ll definitely think I’m hot
  • Steven: topped jean shorts?
  • Steven: omg do you mean RIPPED?
  • Steven: because if so, you must change
  • Steven: are you a twink in the West Village circa 1985?
  • Me: it’s too late!!!
  • Steven: you have an affinity for ripped jeans
  • Me: If he’s the One he would accept ripped jeans
  • Me: and or jorts
  • Steven: omg
  • Steven: you own jorts don’t you?
  • Me: I’M WEARING THEM NOW!
  • Steven: omg it didn’t even register I was so focused on the ripped part

During the date…

  • Me: Truly he is peeing
  • Me: RAPPER
  • Me: he’s herring us more beer
  • Steven: you don’t need more beer
  • Me: Shonda Rhimes

After the date…

  • Me: Ok I’m overrrrrr it with this dude
  • Steven: Why?
  • Me: we just parted ways
  • Me: it was just like very abrupt
  • Steven: sounds gross
  • Me: Haha idk I’m confused!!!
  • Me: this is the first date in a long time where
  • Steven: you were drunk from the start?
  • Me: no where he was clearly NOT into me
  • Steven: Which of course makes you want him
  • Me: Meh this guy was boring
  • Me: if I’m getting honest
  • Steven: Ha
  • Me: His only appeal is that he’s Italian and from Staten Island
  • Steven: OMG Mariah is on Twitter asking fans about songs for her tour
  • Steven: and tweeted: “Side Effects or Petals?”
  • Steven: I CANNOT
  • Me: Nooooiii
  • Me: I’m too impaired to deal with this
  • Steven: Hahahaha wait why? They’re both gems
  • Me: I mean what’s her mental state?
  • Steven: if she’s thinking about either of those songs, she’s clearly angry
  • Me: They’re so different
  • Me: [FACEBOOK STICKER OF CAT WITH DOUGH ROLLER]
  • Me: Like what kind of a weird a
  • Me: Ass match up is that
  • Me: [FACEBOOK STICKER OF CAT WITH DONUT]
  • Me: I didn’t mean to do those!
  • Me: /
  • Me: whatever it’s probably the jorts that made that guy not into me
  • Me: Your silence indicates that you write
  • Me: Age*
  • Me: Agree****
  • Steven: the ripped jorts have to go

SO IS IT TRUE?

Are ripped jorts a crime? Do ripped jorts ruin everything? Are ripped jorts the reason why Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola got divorced in 1997 and also why things are now on the rocks with her and Nick Cannon and therefore why she’s taken to Twitter to survey fans on their favorite jilted-Mimi songs? Are ripped jorts to blame for the fact that I went home alone after my date that night and ate an entire box of Annie’s Party Mix?

Maybe. But actually — you know what? Fall is soon to be upon us. So I can probably just shelve this discussion altogether until next year. Time to break out the full-length jeans with holes in them and continue evading the underlying issues that draw me to ripped denim in the first place! Yay!

ADDENDUM

Below are some highlights from the “Jorts” page on Urban Dictionary (followed by my thoughts in bold):

Jean shorts. Worn mostly by children and douchebags. Jorts are perhaps the easiest way to recognize people you will not like. If you wear jorts, you probably don’t talk to girls. (I mean, that last part is true in my case.)

Slang for jean shorts. These are most often worn by the fashion illiterate. (I prefer ensemble-y challenged, asshole.)

Jean shorts that are unusually short, generally worn on men, was fashionable in the 80’s not now. (Steven is this you?)

F*ck you, I can dress any way I want. (Right on, sister!)

Jean-shorts. mostly worn by queers and cute bus drivers. (OMG I’m both of those. Except I don’t identify as “queer” and I’m not a bus driver. But I am cute. When I’m not wearing jorts, at least.)

Possibly the ugliest article of clothing one can wear. Usually worn by people who do not have friends, because a true friend would tell you that you look like a faggot. (Listen, Urban Dictionary, your Eminem-esque homophobia is out of control. I’m beginning to think you’re the gay one. And BY THE WAY, the term you’re actually looking for is “twink in the West Village circa 1985,” so bye.)

 

Not All Thinking is Relevant: Why I’m Done with Thought Catalog

I’ve only been close with one transgender person in my life so far, and she happened to be somewhat famous. Her name was Octavia St. Laurent, known by many from the iconic film Paris Is Burning. There’s nothing I can write here to convey how effervescent and lovely she was, so instead I’ll just state the facts.

Octavia lived about a half hour away from where I attended college in Connecticut. My campus-leader boyfriend hit it off with her after she came to our school to give a lecture on HIV for an event he organized one day. The chemistry was instant and Octavia quickly became something of a den mother to us. She schooled my boyfriend and me on safe sex, emotional wellness, and the importance of being our authentic selves. She gave us sassy yet wise life advice and told us mind-blowing stories from her salacious New York days. She never talked with us about her journey to becoming Octavia. She had nothing to prove; she just was Octavia.

One time the three of us got stuck in traffic for two hours during a thunderstorm, and Octavia and I passed the time by singing and harmonizing to Toni Braxton’s “How Could an Angel Break My Heart” (the Babyface duet version, of course) on repeat. Though it seemed insignificant in the moment, this has since become one of my all-time favorite memories. An 18-year-old white boy from rural Connecticut and a trans woman of color who happened to be a legendary LGBT icon, bonding over nineties R&B together in a Honda Accord. It was a lesson in just how not different we all are.

Octavia passed away at the end of my junior year. This was over a year after my boyfriend and I had broken up and we all lost touch, but the news fucked me up. I regretted not keeping in contact and not acknowledging that although she was a strong, nurturing figure to us when we knew her, Octavia was fighting for her health behind the scenes. I cried for days.

I realize now that briefly knowing Octavia was an incredible gift for the development of my character. I cared about the T in LGBT from my earliest gay days, because I had someone there to translate that T into an H for me. Human.

***

Earlier this week, I finished reading the stellar, capable-of-changing-hearts-and-minds memoir Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a work event a few months ago.

Redefining Realness is a movingly honest account of one woman’s journey. It’s elegant yet raw. It’s the type of story that, even having known Octavia (who I was delighted to see quoted at one point in the book), I had never actually heard before in such authentic detail. I’m much better for having read it.

You can imagine the visceral reaction I had, then, when not even 24 hours after finishing Janet’s book and subsequently reminiscing over my favorite Octavia memories, I came across a severely transphobic rant by Gavin McInnes published by Thought Catalog. If you don’t want to read the piece, just know that it’s a hot mess of misinformed hate speech.

At first I felt enraged toward McInnes for writing something so offensive. But I got over that quickly, as I realized that he’s entitled to think and write whatever the fuck he wants, no matter how horrible it is. So then I just felt disappointed. So, so, so, so, so disappointed in Thought Catalog for publishing it.

For giving hate such a major, influential platform.

***

I have something of a history with Thought Catalog.

The story starts in 2010, a few months before I moved from my small town in Connecticut to New York City for grad school at NYU. Please note ahead of time that I was 22 years old and remarkably callow.

Faced with a lot of free time that summer, I decided to write a book.

This was random, as I majored in music during undergrad and always had my heart set on singing. When it came to writing, I merely had experience crafting longwinded Live Journal essays that were never intended for an audience. They were self-serious and “deep” and little more than personal therapy.

But then I discovered Chelsea Handler books and fell in love with the sensation of laughing via written storytelling. I soon got into the deeper, more literary humor of David Sedaris. And then I read this hilarious and engaging memoir in essays called Bitch is the New Black by Helena Andrews. I proceeded to read every humorous memoir I could get my hands on until I started to hear my own voice developing in my head.

Once that voice started screaming, it was decided: I had to write one of these collections myself.

Based on the deluded belief that my writing was far too quality to be given away for free on the Internet, I shaped my essays in private, trusting that when I was finished I’d somehow just send it to a random publisher and it’d become an instant bestseller because that’s how life works.

I got about sixty pages into my book project before grad school started and I shelved it. Living on my own in the city for the first time, interning at a music label, and having my pretentious views of the world shattered kind of took precedent. I had some life to live before I could write about it.

Though I didn’t want to publish my work on the Internet, I started blogging during the summer between grad school semesters upon reluctantly accepting that book deals generally aren’t just given away to first-time authors with absolutely no platform.

I fell in love with blogging once other people started telling me how hilarious I was, and by the time I graduated in 2012 I was prolific. I measured my worth as a writer in laughs and reasoned that if my blog wasn’t funny, then no one would give a shit. But I was writing about my life, and my life wasn’t always a joke. Sometimes it hurt or sucked or just confused me. So I eventually allowed myself to write about that stuff, too.

Once I achieved a vague balance of hilarity and introspection, several readers of mine started tweeting and sending me links to Ryan O’Connell’s work on Thought Catalog. “This guy’s stuff reminds me so much of you,” they’d tell me in various phrasings. “You should write for this site, too!”

I read Ryan’s work. He published pieces at a rate faster than most people publish tweets, so some of it was fluff while other pieces were absolutely brilliant. I placed my focus on the fluff because, frankly, I was jealous. My readers were right—Ryan and I were similar. Except he was Internet-famous and had a book deal while I had a tiny (though dedicated) following and was nowhere near being a safe bet for a publisher.

Recognizing that Thought Catalog had a massive online presence, I decided that maybe I should go for it. I submitted an old blog post of mine called “Not OK, Cupid.” Within a couple hours, I got an e-mail from an editor at the time, Stephanie Georgopulos, who informed me that they’d love to run it (for free).

Being published on TC led to a spike in readership on my own site, so I did it a few more times. I noticed that with each new post I’d get maybe a thousand new hits and a handful of Twitter followers. It was validating and exciting at first, but then I started reading some of the content on the site that wasn’t written by the small handful of great writers (Ryan, Stephanie, Nico Lang, Gaby Dunn, and some others) whose work I admired. I noticed that much of everything else was unedited, uninformed, unaware, and generally sophomoric.

The low editorial standards of TC made me self-conscious about my own work, so I stopped writing for them and instead decided to focus on my own site and my manuscript.

A few months later, Stephanie reached out to me through my blog e-mail, totally unaware that I was the same Nicolas who’d submitted a few pieces to the site already. She loved my latest post and tried to sell Thought Catalog to me as a place to republish it for more exposure.

Feeling particularly validated that an editor had found my blog on her own accord and specifically reached out, I agreed, reasoning that, “So what if this isn’t a ‘quality’ site? It’s expanding my reach and I need to build a platform.”

I wrote for TC on and off for over a year after that. Throughout, I focused on my craft and submitted to many more reputable publications, but when the rejections poured in, being published on TC was always a bittersweet consolation prize.

***

My most recent pieces for Thought Catalog were posted just last month, weeks before they decided to run Gavin McInnes’ hate-fueled diatribe.

Their choice to publish that piece has made this long-time-coming decision of mine easy: I’m done. It’s over. I deserve better. Octavia’s memory requires more of me. We all deserve better.

The next time I get published outside of my own blog, I want to be proud of the accomplishment. I want to be able to say, “This publication has standards.” At the very least, I want to be able to say, “This publication doesn’t troll for clicks by publishing harmful, misinformed rants by raging transphobic assholes.”

But beyond my own writing career, what I’m more upset about with this whole thing is the fact that McInnes’ piece remains out there and continues to attract thousands of views and shares.

As the experiences I’ve recounted in this essay attest, I haven’t always been an educated, smart reader. I grew up in a small town where many issues (like trans ones) simply aren’t discussed. I was a naïve 22-year-old and an even more naïve 18-year-old. If Thought Catalog had been around back then, I can almost guarantee that I would have read it and taken it seriously.

Whether or not the editors want to acknowledge it, Thought Catalog has major reach and influence. In today’s world, social media presence is power. And with nearly half a million Facebook followers, Thought Catalog has got a fucking lot of it. And to quote Spider-Man, because apparently it’s come to that, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Thought Catalog routinely evades this responsibility (not to mention editorial integrity) by crouching behind their indifferent slogan, “all thinking is relevant.”

Problem is, that’s not true. McInnes’ 1950’s-esque hate speech is not relevant.

It’s straight up fucking dangerous.

 

%d bloggers like this: