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.

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The Straight Gay Ghost of Tinder Past

tinderghost2

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

  • Benjamin: oops lol

Twelve minutes of silence

  • Benjamin: this happens sometimes, it’s weird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BENJAMIN IS GONE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Internet is so weird.

 

Why Do We Hook Up With Our Exes?

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

That’s probably almost everyone, right?

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

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

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

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

But of course mixed bags are mixed.

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

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

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

So that’s been a thing on my mind.

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

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

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

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

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

Geese1

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

 

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received: “Be the Light”

Lately my spiritual journey has involved a lot of “Why am I here?”-ness.

Not the classic question of “Why am I here?” like, on the planet, though. Mine has been the other classic question of “Why am I here, ‘stuck’ in this place in life when I feel like I have a higher purpose and no matter how much action I take to try and fulfill that purpose NOTHING SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING, AND SO WHAT THE FUCK, UNIVERSE?

And then last week two of my awesome #SpiritJunkie friends and I had the honor of meeting the wonderful author/spiritual teacher/sassy guru Gabrielle Bernstein, whose new book Miracles Now is (a) like a big ol’ cup of chai tea for your soul, and (b) available here.

The energy in the theater during Gabby’s lecture was, in and of itself, a miracle. It was loving and open and just good and yes, I’m being sappy and trite right now because I can.

When the topic of feeling stuck in one’s current place in life came up, Gabby’s advice changed the game for me. She simply said, “Your job is not to be a [fill in the blank with your professional title]. Your job is to be the light.”

Be. The. Light.

gab1

Girlfriend is walking the walk.

I didn’t realize it until that moment, but this has been my mission statement in my writing (where I ultimately feel a higher calling) since day one. Whether it’s by sharing a funny story, opening up about something that really sucked for me, or simply making a weird/corny pun – the goal is always to inspire/heal/entertain/make someone’s day a little less shitty. In other words, the goal is to be the light.

While Gabby spoke, I realized that I’ve been saving so much of my light for some future moment that involves the title of “Published Author” that I’ve been missing out on opportunities to be the light in the present moment of my day-to-day professional life – because at some point I had declared the corporate/media world I work in to be totally void of meaning (which it kind of is, but that’s a whole other Oprah) and therefore decided that I didn’t need to show up with my best self every day.

But the problem there is that by sitting around thinking, Ugh. I’m destined for something greater than this, I was doing a few sabotage-y things to myself and those around me:

  1. Getting lost in anxiety over the future rather than cultivating gratitude for the present moment.
  2. Focusing on where I’m not rather than accepting where I am.
  3. Forgetting that every second is an opportunity to spread love.

In fewer words, I was basically an asshole.

I’ve learned that being discontented with the present moment is a sure sign that the ego is in control. Rather than setting aside personal concerns and doing whatever you can to enhance the lives of those around you (in other words, creating ripples of good energy, in other words, being the light), you’re focused on your own self-importance (in other words, creating ripples of crappy energy, in other words, being the darkness… and not the good kind).

So. I’ve been putting this whole “be the light” thing into practice since I heard Gabby speak, and I have to say that the change in my energy since has indeed been a miracle. Yes, I’m still working toward my long-term writing goals, but I’m also not tripping over the future anymore.

Instead I’m doing whatever I can to be a source of love and positivity for those around me right now. If that means addressing a work situation that I find to be ultimately purposeless in the grand scheme of life, I do it anyway purely because (a) it’s my job, and (b) not doing it would really make someone else’s day shittier – and do I want to be involved with making someone else’s day shitty? No. That’s not very light-y.

(Side note: I feel like normal people probably just stop at (a), which is a valid enough reason to do one’s job, really, but I’m obviously not normal. And if you’re reading my blog, chances are you aren’t, either. Which is a fantastically wonderful thing.)

In conclusion: BE THE LIGHT, NIC. BE THE DAMN LIGHT.

gab2

Gab + Nic = #Light.

 

And Here’s the Douchiest OkCupid Profile EVER

In case you missed it, I recently wrote about how I advertise the fact that I’m a fast pedestrian on OkCupid because it seems like the least douche-y option for my “I’m Really Good At” section. But then just for ha-ha’s I went on this whole tangent about what I’d put in that section if I were a total douche canoe, and it was kind of the best thing ever.

I mean, this:

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 8.24.16 PMBecame this:Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 9.04.04 PM

I don’t know what this says about me as a person, but coming up with that second one was actually the most fun I’ve had in about a fortnight. And so with that in mind, I thought it’d be awesome and probably a little revelatory to sarcastically remake my entire profile in the voice of the Biggest Dick Ever* as part of an imaginary game show I just made up in my head called If I Were a Douche.

Douche

Shit. I just realized I got so carried away with all the O’s that I forgot the U in “Douche.” I’d fix it, but lately I’ve been trying to do this thing where I embrace my imperfections. (Thank you, ekgo.)

So here we go.

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 11.57.34 AMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 11.59.42 AM

Me: Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.00.54 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.03.08 PM

Shit. Did I just learn something new about myself?

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.03.44 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.04.00 PM

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.05.03 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.06.23 PM

Wow. I’m never starting a sentence with the word “also” in a dating profile ever again.

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.06.54 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.07.55 PM

Okay, Me as the Biggest Dick Ever* is getting kind of annoying – and also a little nonsensical. Chimneys? WTF?

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.08.47 PM

Me as the Biggest Dick Ever*:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.09.02 PM

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.09.28 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.09.48 PM

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.11.01 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.13.49 PMListen, Me as the Biggest Dick Ever,* you can stop filling out this profile at any time. No one is forcing you to carry this task out to completion. Also, did you just ridicule my entire career as a blogger?

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.16.54 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.18.46 PM

OMG but seriously, remember the AOL-butt?

*I realize that, if taken out of context, the name “Biggest Dick Ever” takes on a whole other meaning. So I thought that I should asterisk it every single time it came up in this post. Just so you know that I know.

 

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?

 

A Brief History of My Cosmic Connection with Mariah Carey

1993: I am five years old and watching TV unsupervised when I happen upon the music video for “Dreamlover.” Who is this perfect woman? I ask myself. I spend the remainder of the year emulating the video – frolicking in open fields and longing for a hot air balloon to whisk me away.

1994: Mariah releases her inaugural Christmas album, Merry Christmas. My dad tells me that holiday stuff is always cheaper after Christmas, so in an effort to seem like I understand how money works, I ask him to buy me the CD on December 26th… at full price.

1995: “Fantasy.” Enough said.

1996: While flipping through the C’s at the local music store, I learn that there are still many Mariah releases I do not own. I embark on a fanatical campaign to acquire her entire catalog – including CD maxi-singles and VHS concert tapes. I also spend hours meticulously furnishing a lavish Mariah scrapbook, which essentially becomes my Sistine Chapel. While in the midst of compiling information for the scrapbook, I discover that Mariah and I share the same birthday (327 WHAT WHAT), and the whole thing is a lot like that moment in The Princess Diaries where Anne Hathaway learns she is of royal blood. (Or something? I don’t remember The Princess Diaries accurately.)

1997: Mariah releases her magnum opus (/the answer to everything ever), Butterfly, and ALL BETS ARE OFF. This CD becomes my best friend and helps me cope with everything from my parents’ divorce to my frequent existential crises to my destructive and crippling addiction to Oreos. (I was clearly a very damaged nine-year-old.)

1998-2002: I continue to follow and support everything Mariah does, but in an effort to fit in with my friends (all of whom are boys who somehow don’t understand diva-worship), I do so secretively – effectively going into the Mariah-closet. As a result, I become dead on the inside.

2003: High school begins. I clandestinely attend a Mariah concert alone and feel the presence of God in the theater.

2005: The stellar Emancipation of Mimi album is released. I hesitantly reveal my extreme excitement to my best friend Fran, who is also a huge fan, and she effectively drags me out of the Mariah-closet. Like Mimi, I am emancipated.

2006-2011: With each passing year, I grow more and more outspoken and unapologetic with my public love of MC. I go to concerts. I stand in my truth. Mariah eventually just becomes an inextricable part of my persona and identity.

2012: I am twenty-four and working in music and television in New York City. I manage to finagle my way onto the guest list for a random launch party for a Caesar’s Palace thing at Gotham Hall, where Mariah is making a rare appearance and performing. I bring Fran as my plus one. The setting is living room-intimate, Mariah’s eyes sync up with mine twice, and life is a dream. Much to my chagrin, though, Mariah and I don’t get to formally meet. But I take what I can get.

2013: A friend of mine who works for Jimmy Fallon surprises me with tickets to a taping of a Fallon-Mariah interview in promotion of “The Art of Letting Go.” Mariah and I still don’t get to meet, but again I take what I can get.

2014:

Monday, February 10th: Mariah puts out a teaser for her new single, “You’re Mine (Eternal).”

Tuesday, February 11th: I read a press release early in the morning that states that there will be two versions of the song released on Wednesday, along with a video premiere and a Mariah interview TAPED LIVE FROM THE TELEVISION NETWORK FOR WHICH I WORK. I freak out for about twenty minutes over how there’s a chance I won’t be allowed anywhere near the taping, but my hysteria is calmed when I get a phone call from a colleague close to the production who is aware of my status as a Mariah disciple and gets me on the list.

Wednesday, February 12th: I spend the entire day in a perpetual state of nervous excitement. When it’s finally time for the taping, I head up to the floor of the studio and feel as though I’m living in a surreal alternate universe. As I’m standing outside the studio entrance, I see Mariah’s entourage emerge from the hallway, followed by the deity herself. She is everything I expect her to be and more – wearing heels, calling people “dahling,” and radiating an energy of playfulness. Mariah’s best friend RaeRae (whom I immediately recognize from Instagram and the song lyrics to “’Betcha Gon’ Know”), takes a spot beside me as we wait for Mariah to make her formal entrance onscreen. Mariah stops right in front of the both of us for a last-minute touch-up, smiles at me as if we know each other, and I have to restrain myself from reaching out and pulling her into my arms for an impromptu embrace.

Backstage during the taping, I go back and forth in my head trying to think of ways to introduce myself to RaeRae without looking like a total creeper. I finally settle for, “Hi! I’m Nic. I totally recognize you.” We proceed to have a conversation about photo booths and dogs and children in which I’m awkward and blubbering on account of the fact that I’m FREAKIN’ TALKING TO MARIAH CAREY’S BEST FRIEND, but we eventually exchange Twitter handles, so I decide that I couldn’t have been that embarrassing. (Or RaeRae is just really accustomed to being fanatically approached by Mariah-obsessed weirdoes. Probably that.)

When the taping ends, the wonderful guy who got me on the list (to whom I am eternally grateful) pulls me into the studio where Mariah is hanging out and drinking Dom Perignon with husband Nick Cannon, Jermaine Dupri, MTV’s Sway, and a number of other people who are all desperately trying to get as close as possible to her. I recognize that the odds of my getting any one-on-one time in which to actually talk to her are slim to none, as there’s simply too much competition with people who actually seem to know her from somewhere. I come to terms with this quickly, though, and am willing to take what I can get. (As per usual.)

During a random photo op in which I’m creepily hovering/mouth-breathing over Mariah’s head, RaeRae pulls out her phone and takes a quick video. Later on, the Dom Perignon gets passed around and I take a swig directly from the bottle. Yes. I take a swig of Mariah Carey’s Dom Perignon. From. The. Bottle. After about twenty more minutes, it’s time for her to leave. I give her a smile and a wave and a round of applause, and she reciprocates. (Minus the applause, but whatever.)

At the end of it all, I go downstairs to my work-wife Mila’s office, where I’m delighted to find her still working past nine o’clock. Still on a Mariah-high, I give Mila a highly dramatic retelling of the night’s events. We then log in to Facebook and find that the video RaeRae spontaneously took earlier has just been posted. TO MARIAH’S OFFICIAL PAGE.

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Did I quickly scan through the 1,000+ video comments to see if anyone referenced the weird dude in the back? No…

For the remainder of the night, I ride a feeling of floating all the way home to my apartment. It’s as if I’ve been whisked away by a hot air balloon. The experience of the past three hours has confirmed that what I’ve always said is indeed true: Only three things matter in the end – how much you loved, how much you forgave, and how many times you were in the presence of Mariah Carey.

 

This is What Happens When I Best Man a Wedding

Yes, I just used “Best Man” as a verb in the title of this post. It’s a thing now, and you’re welcome.

So. After throwing an epic three-night, thirteen-man bachelor party at a rented house in Vermont last fall (the details of which I can’t get into for legal reasons), getting fitted for a tux while awkwardly asking the salesman, “So, what’s your perspiration policy?” (he just looked at me weird and said, “We clean them”), and sneaking my way into my now-sister’s bachelorette party in December by flashing everyone with my GC (Giant Co.. Gay Card) – my brother got married a few weeks ago. And! It was the best day.

Like, ever.

The fun started the night before at the rehearsal, where this conversation took place between two bridesmaids (whom I will refer to as Hilary and Amy) and myself:

  • Nic: Hey Hilary, wanna hear something hilarious? My aunt told my stepmom earlier that she thought I “had eyes for you.”
  • Hilary: Ha! Wait. Your aunt doesn’t know you’re gay?
  • Nic: I mean, it’s not like I hide it. I just don’t think she realizes that gay people exist in real, everyday life. Like, she’ll probably find out about me when we’re at my wedding.
  • Amy (joining the conversation): Oh hey, you have one too?!
  • Nic: What? No. I don’t. I’m not getting married. [Laughs uncomfortably.] I mean, I am getting married. I hope. Eventually. Just not any time soon. Gotta find the right guy first. All the ones I meet seem to fall short in one way or another, and I’m at the point where’s it’s like, I’m not in a rush to meet The One anymore, because where’s the fun in that? Plus I don’t wanna settle for less, y’know?
  • Amy (pointing to my left ear): I was talking about your cartilage piercing.

So that was awesome.

The ceremony the next day was also awesome, although there was a minor debacle when I went to deliver flowers to the bride in her dressing room and was cornered by the photographer, who asked to borrow the rings – allegedly for the purposes of taking artful pictures, but probably more so because she gets some kind of twisted joy out of making other people anxious – and then disappeared.

After five minutes passed, I started slightly freaking out at the realization that it was twenty minutes to showtime and my brother was waiting for me. So I bid adieu to the bridal party and luckily was able to find the photographer in a hallway, regain possession of the rings, and step outside to get back to the main church.

Except now it was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella, so I was like, “SHIT.” I went back inside and asked the photographer if there was an indoor route to the church that I didn’t know about and she was all, “I dunno.” So then I was like, “SHIT,” again, and just decided to run the few steps there.

And then, as I was approaching the entrance to the church, I slipped.

AND I PLUMMETED.

I was clearly touched by an angel, though, because I managed to make my hands hit the ground first. So it mostly just looked like I was doing a spontaneous and highly awkward military pushup (on a rainy church sidewalk, in a tuxedo) for a second. I also managed to quickly retrieve the rings (which, by the way, had also plummeted and were dangerously close to a sewer… I know. Can you IMAGINE?) and put them safely in my pocket.

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One would never know I had just almost ruined the entire wedding (and my ruggedly handsome face) with a single plunge.

And after that, everything went smoothly.

I pranced into the reception to En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” while the Maid of Honor whipped me (literally), I rocked the Best Man speech (by “rocked,” I mean I got up in front of everyone and went on a long-winded verbal tangent about how my brother is a guy who exemplifies love and I am a guy who spent most of the nineties making Mariah Carey-themed scrapbooks), and I made sure everyone got really, really drunk – which, given our network of friends and family, didn’t actually require too much effort on my part, but still.

The whole thing was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make you stand back, look at your life, and say, “Holy shit. This is it. This is what matters.” It’s like, we can get so caught up in our daily routines – coffee, soul-sucking jobs, petty arguments, super important life-or-fucking-death (just kidding, I mean petty again) arguments, social media, Mariah Carey’s mental health (okay, maybe that’s just me?), the fucking weather, etc. – that it’s easy to start believing that the stuff that doesn’t matter, matters. But then something reminds you that it doesn’t.

Over time, I’ve found that meditation and books and — frankly — wine are good at helping me get to that place of transcending the bullshit. Celebration and love and family are even better.

And Best Man-ing is, of course, the best.

 

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