My Real-Life Version of ABC’s Hit Primetime Drama Nashville 

Y’all. (And I do mean y’all.)

Can we talk about how obsessed I am with the new ABC drama Nashville after having seen just two episodes?

Yes? OK, good, because this ex-Nashville resident is hooked. (Yes, I refer to myself as an ex-Nashville resident even though I only lived there for a single summer.)

This brilliant series has inspired me to reflect on the real-life version of the show that I lived through just a year and a half ago.

For anyone who wasn’t reading during that era of Keychanges – here’s what went down:

This blog was actually created in Nashville after I moved there for a summer of meetings with various music publishers to explore a potential career as a country songwriter.

After being validated by music executives in the sense that I was great but not great enough to cut the forty-thousand-aspiring-songwriters-trying-to-make-it-in-Nashville line, I got all depressed and started Keychanges (does the name make more sense now?) as a way to work through the pain of being told that I’d have to pay actual dues in the music business.

(Fun fact: to create a vague sense of anonymity, I originally added a “K” to my name and blogged under the incredibly ineffective pseudonym Nick. Clearly, that desire for anonymity was never very strong, and has since gone out the window entirely — but Nick kind of lingers on in other areas of my life. In fact, the other day I had an IM conversation with a coworker about the spelling of my name and I was all like, “You know, I was just thinking about how stressful it’s going to be to pick out what my engagement party banner will say, because of all of the potential spellings of my name! Like, do I want ‘Congratulations _____ and Nic,’ or ‘…and Nick,’ or maybe, ‘…and Nicolas?'” and then she was like “Oh! Are you engaged?” and I was forced to respond with, “No… I’m totally single,” and then she thought it was hilarious but I was kind of offended by the fact that she thought I was the kind of person who would be engaged and choose to creepily withhold his fiancé’s identity from her by putting a blank where his name should be in a hypothetical engagement party banner scenario — but I didn’t say anything about it because I didn’t want to come off as confrontational and/or inadvertently create a hostile work environment.)

I realize that was the longest tangent ever, and I sincerely apologize. Back to Nashville.

After a few weeks in town, I started frequenting Nashville’s (two) gay bars and realized that I’m a total prude.

Then I realized that I had unintentionally led my new found blog audience to believe that I was a virgin, so I felt the need to clarify that I would totally sleep with an ER doctor if the opportunity presented itself.

Then I started watching Heroes on DVD and blogged about how Hayden Panettiere almost makes me feel like a straight man. (Freakin’ crazy because that’s now happening again on Nashville… Full circle, anyone?)

Then I read a few books and reviewed them, which led to the revelation that I’m basically just a Mormon gal trying to find love in the Big Apple.

Then I got hit on by a drunk guy fake-named Charley and tried to quell the awkwardness by telling him a totally false, convoluted story about how I’m Jewish and sober and spent two months on a kibbutz in Isreal and couldn’t sleep with Charley because I have a Jewish boyfriend, and the whole situation somehow led to the discovery that maybe I didn’t hate New York after all.

Then I left Nashville but couldn’t find a new apartment in the city, so I lived with my mom for a month and had a severe emotional meltdown after finding a box of condoms under the bathroom sink.

Wow. Where the hell was I during the series development stages of Nashville?

Because this is all pure gold.



Don Draper Guy and Nicolas: An Imaginary Love Story

Remember last summer when I arrived five years late to the Heroes party and watched the entire series on DVD in the course of about a week?

Well, that’s happening again. Except this time it’s with the superior drama Mad Men.

What do I love most about Mad Men? Probably the fact that it’s about chauvinistic male advertising executives being hot. It turns out that I have a real soft spot for pompous manly men with archaic values and a tendency to demean women. I want one to demean me! Preferably while we’re making love after I’ve cooked him dinner. (Of course.)

You can imagine my excitement when, this morning on the train, I encountered a man who was the absolute embodiment of Mad Men heartthrob Don Draper. (The Metro-North is of course filled with hot, suited businessmen on any given day, but this guy was exceptionally Draper-esque.)

As I sat across from Don Draper Guy, I couldn’t help but notice that he was wearing a wedding band. I then couldn’t help but imagine the following love story in my head (written in italics so as to aid the reader in distinguishing glorious fantasy from depressing reality):

Don Draper Guy and I share in intense eye contact for approximately thirty seconds. He then makes a weird half-kiss, half-bite gesture with his lips that I correctly interpret as a declaration of his love for me. He slips me a note with his cell phone number on it. We immediately begin a soft-core sexting session right there on the train amidst the oblivious commuters who may or may not happen to notice that Don Draper Guy and I are digitally consummating our relationship before their eyes, but choose not to acknowledge it because, like all commuters in the New York metropolitan area before 10:00am, they’re miserable.

After several minutes of continued sexting action, Don Draper Guy ups the ante by suggesting that we both get off the train at the next stop, go back to Connecticut (via his private car service that he decided not to use that morning in an effort to be more down to earth) and look for houses with his realtor.

“What about your wife?” I say, and he shrugs. I correctly interpret his shrug as, “Oh, is this ring still on? My ex-wife and I have been divorced since this morning, and I’m now totally available and gay and in love with you! Will you marry me?”

I say yes, we buy a house, and I quit my job to take care of the children from his previous marriage while he keeps doing important business-y things in New York.

I start crossing paths with Don Draper Guy’s ex-wife while picking up the kids from soccer practice. Though our relationship starts off acrimoniously, we slowly bond and eventually become besties who meet for tea and talk about everything — including Don Draper Guy’s bedroom prowess. Alex and Sandy (my step-kids) love the fact that their mom and gay step-dad are able to be in the same room together without going all Madonna-and-Elton on each other every five minutes.

Our whole unconvential family arrangement troubles some of our more conservative neighbors, but I don’t care because we own enough acreage for our neighbors’ opinions to be non-factors. Also, Don Draper Guy loves and adores me and comes home from work every night to tell me how perfect and not fat I am.

We obviously live happily ever after.

It takes a very special type of desperate gay man to be able to dream up the above scenario, so I hope you’re impressed.

Here’s what actually happened between myself and Don Draper Guy:

He compulsively checked his BlackBerry while I stared creepily in his direction and possibly drooled a little. At one point, he crossed his legs at the knee — a daring train-move that exposed his argyle sock-covered left ankle. I briefly visualized him sitting at the edge of his bed sexily putting the sock on earlier that morning. Then a weird bug/fly thing started buzzing around us and he heroically shooed it away, which I construed as him caring about my well-being. Then we got to Grand Central and he disappeared immediately into the sea of emerging commuters walking toward the main terminal.

I proceeded to power-walk my way to work while wishing I could have just stayed home and watched Mad Men all day.


My Personally Most Wanted Superpowers

This weekend, I developed a very unhealthy obsession with the bygone NBC drama Heroes. The DVDs of the show were recently on sale at Target, so I naturally bought three seasons based on the presumption that there would be some hot men in skintight superhero costumes. As it turns out, they wear normal-people clothes — but by the time I realized this fact, it was too late.

Remember when I expressed worry over becoming a sequestered and obese blogger-hermit? Well, it’s happening. Except instead of blogging, my addiction has become watching Heroes on DVD.

My inner dialogue:

  • How did miss this when it was originally on the air?
  • Why am I so attracted to Hayden Panettiere when (1) I’m gay, and (2) she was 17 at the time of filming?
  • I find the character of Hiro Nakamura to be really annoying; am I racist?
  • I wish this were an HBO series. There’s so much violence, I need some sex and vulgarity in order to feel balanced.
  • If I could pick one superpower, what would it be?

If you’re looking for something really unproductive yet fun to do for the next few hours — think about that last bullet point. Better yet, pick your top three superpowers. It’s been keeping me up at night.

I finally settled on the following:

1. Flying. This is obvious. Who doesn’t wish they could fly? Sometimes, I’ll go all Nelly Furtado in my kitchen and just burst out into the chorus of her 2000 hit, “I’m Like a Bird.” It’s fun until someone walks in.

2. Mind-reading. I don’t need this superpower as much as my next boyfriend does, but it would be neat.

3. Cellular regeneration aka not being able to die. An example: during my second weekend in Nashville, my awesome roommate and some friends took me on a trip to Bucksnort, TN (Google it) for some drinking, kayaking, and general “being in the presence of nature”-ness.

As we kayaked along the creek, we’d occasionally pass by local residents (fishing, bathing, etc.) and I’d get all nervous. I assumed everyone was armed and ready to take us out — me for being gay, of course, and the others perhaps for trespassing. I suspect most New Englanders would have had the same fear.

We pulled over at an obscure little area with a 30-foot cliff where everyone got excited to climb up and jump off. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s all my dad’s fault. He once told me about his friend who jumped off a cliff into surprisingly shallow waters, hit a big rock, and almost bled to death. Come to think of it, he has told me random horror stories about pretty much everything, and I now know the intention was to prevent me from living a life filled with any kind of adventure whatsoever.

When a friend pressured me to jump, the following exchange occurred:

  • Me (staring up at the top): “I can’t do it! I have to pee! I don’t want to get an ear infection! I’ve heard scary stories!”
  • Her (at the top): “Wuss.”
  • Me (facing the other way, now peeing): “Oh my god… Whose woods am I peeing in? Is someone gonna come out and shoot me?!”
  • Her: “For the last time, Nic, this isn’t Deliverance.” (Jumps.)

If only I had the superpower of cellular regeneration. I’d have been unafraid of gun-toting southerners, I’d have jumped off the cliff, and I’d probably have played a prank on my new friends — something involving an ugly death and then coming back to life in a creepy fashion.

  • Note: my only stipulation regarding this superpower is that I would want to stop being invincible once I’m in my 90’s so I could call it a day and die of natural causes in my sleep.

Honorable mention goes to invisibility, as that is the superpower voted most likely to result in me seeing Bradley Cooper naked.

As I proofread this post, I realize how sad it is that this is how I spent my weekend.

On a closing note — for anyone who was left curious after reading my last post — Friday morning went sparklingly well!  My co-writer was incredible, and we really vibed.  We spent four hours together and ended up with a great song that coincidentally happens to be about flying.


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