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.

 

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My Gym Playlist Indicates That I Might Be Into Hardcore, Kinky Sex (Which, Am I?)

The other morning I was working out intensely at the gym while listening to Beyoncé’s limousine-blowjob song “Partition” at full-blast on my headphones and envisioning myself as the male lead in my own mental remix music video.

This fact is funny in and of itself, because I’m a lanky white guy from Connecticut with a generally awkward demeanor and a wardrobe from Kohl’s comprised mostly of unassuming sweaters.

gymmemeOther songs that really get my juices flowing (pun totally intended) at the gym include the vulgar whips-and-chains anthem, “S&M” by Rihanna; the strip club hymn, “Pour It Up” by Rihanna; that song about penises called “Rude Boy” by Rihanna; aaand… “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel.

(Just kidding about that last one. What I really meant to say was “My Neck, My Back” by Khia.)

(Side note: If you’re unfamiliar with “My Neck, My Back,” then I highly suggest you look it up on YouTube right now. Actually, just click this link. Especially if you’re at work. In fact, take your headphones off and let it play aloud. It’s totally not NSFW… it’s SFW, if that’s a thing. Crank up the volume, too – the song’s uplifting lyrical content will motivate you and your coworkers to be your best selves, and then you’ll all be really productive, and then your company’s stock will go up, like, a lot of points, and then your boss will notice that this positive chain reaction all originated from your desk, and then you’ll get a raise. And you won’t even have to give me a cut, because I’m selfless. You’re welcome.)

(Side note again: I’m sorry if I just got you fired. I SWEAR I DIDN’T MEAN TO. I was just being a practical joker. And it’s not my fault your boss is such a douche canoe.)

(Side note again: I know this was like, two paragraphs ago and the moment has passed, but can we talk about how I referred to “Pour It Up” as a strip club hymn up there? What the fuck was I thinking with that choice of words? And am I going to hell?)

Anyway, I’m just writing this post because I think it’s interesting how it took me ten years of being a gym-goer to finally become aware of the fact that I’m essentially a classic example of a “lady in the street but a freak in the bedroom.”

Except replace “lady” with “wholesome gay man.” And also I guess by “bedroom” what I really mean is the in-my-head-while-I-have-motivational-daydreams-at-the-gym-of-myself-and-Nick-Jonas-dry-humping-on-the-elegant-chaise-lounge-that-I’m-sure-he-has-in-the-corner-of-his-real-life-bedroom-bedroom. In the actual bedroom, if I’m being totally honest, I’m more likely to watch the OWN Network, read a book, maybe do a Bioré pore strip if I’m feeling frisky, and go to sleep by eleven. But still.

Okay, I think I’ve revealed enough about myself and my inner demons for one post.

Now, what do YOUR favorite workout songs say about you? Feel free to get vulgar in the comments.

 

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.

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 8.19.34 AM

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.

 

Recent Conversations I’ve Had About the BEYONCÉ Visual Album

With my writing pal Steven:

  • Nic: Dude. I have listened to nothing else for weeks. I stayed home today because of the snow and ended up just sitting on my couch watching the videos in sequential order. Over and over again. For many hours.
  • Steven: Has anyone ever told you that you have an obsessive personality?
  • Nic: I just can’t stop. It’s like I’ve been sucked into a black hole.
  • Nic: The black hole that is Beyoncé’s vagina.
  • Nic: I’M TRAPPED IN BEYONCÉ’S VAGINA.
  • Steven: You’re scaring me.

With my work-wife Mila:

  • Mila: Try watching the videos while eating like a fat pig.
  • Mila: You will feel so inadequate.
  • Nic: I just don’t get how these videos can be so perfect.
  • Nic: And there’s SO MUCH SEX.
  • Mila: I know!
  • Nic: And all of this sex is with a man she’s been with for years and is married to, so it’s super classy. Like, Beyoncé is singing about giving a raunchy limo blowjob and meanwhile I’M the one who is made to feel like a dirty, inferior slut for having multiple partners.
  • Mila: I KNOW!

With myself:

  • Nic: Two more viewings of “Drunk In Love” and then I’ll shower.
  • Nic: Okay, maybe three.
  • Nic: SURF BORDT!
  • Nic: Four.
  • Nic: After the fifth one, I swear I’m going to get my shit together and do something productive with my life.
  • Nic: Fuck it.
  • Nic: Six.

With God:

  • Nic: THANK YOU FOR CREATING THIS WOMAN IN YOUR IMAGE.
  • God: You’re welcome.
  • God: …Surf bordt.

 

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.

 

There Really Needs to be an “I” in Team

I must confess.  After re-reading my last post and its subsequent comments, I realize that I may have inadvertently led people to conclude the following:

  • I have morals
  • I’m a virgin
  • I’ve never had a one-night-stand

None of the above statements are true.  Kidding — I totally have morals!  Which is why I can’t deny the fact that I did indeed experience my own condensed version of the “slutty college years” before landing on my current set of conservative beliefs.  Granted, they were months and not years, as I spent most of undergrad in two separate long-term relationships… both of which involved frequent lovemaking.  I love getting naked; I just associate it with silly things like intimacy and feelings.

Anyone who is celibate for any reason — I totally respect you.  Anyone who gets around like a bicycle — I totally respect you as well (just don’t give me herpes).  I’m in no position to judge.

Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that if you read my blog and you happen to be a 29-year-old, 6’1″ dark-haired ER doctor with lean muscle mass and a flawless bone structure — don’t think I won’t sleep with you.  Because I will.  I’ll just insist that we get married, buy a raised ranch, and adopt a Guatemalan baby afterwards… No big deal.

But enough about gay sex!

On the career front, I have a co-write session booked this Friday morning on Music Row with an awesome up-and-coming folksy-country artist originally from Indiana.

I’m hesitantly coming to terms with the necessity of co-writing.  Pretty much everything on the radio these days is co-written.  It’s why whenever Beyoncé has a new single out you can expect to hear 5-10 different writer/producers referring to it as solely theirs while the other 4-9 end up posting angry, misspelled tweets.  And so on.

Here’s the thing: I secretly hate working with others.

This is not to say that I’m some kind of disgruntled misanthrope… though that’s sometimes true.  I’m just obsessed with the perfection of any final product that has “by Nick” attached to it.  This applies to group work in school, where one of two things invariably ends up happening:

  1. I basically complete the entire project myself and pretend that allowing the other student(s) to take equal credit is no biggie.
  2. I give up control completely, detach myself from the final results, and allow others to do all the heavy lifting while I daydream about Josh Duhamel in his undies.

Needless to say, I’m obsessed with my GPA (not that it matters in grad school).  So unless my partners are more brilliant than me — I’m such a douche — I generally stick with option number one.

This approach is not viable when it comes to songwriting.  Reasons being:

  • The point of co-writing is to incorporate different backgrounds/styles, thereby creating something better than one could come up with alone.
  • If one person sat around not contributing it would totally kill the vibe in a “why are you even here?” kind of way.
  • If the song actually goes somewhere commercially, there’s money at stake.  When splitting royalties, it helps (for general being-able-to-sleep-at-night purposes) to know that all parties indeed contributed equally.

In 2009, famous choreographer Twyla Tharp wrote a book called The Collaborative Habit, in which she discusses how imperative it is to work well with others.  After unabashedly judging the crap out of her for writing the book alone (and then realizing that I was wrong and she had a contributor), I gave it a skim.  I quote:

Collaboration is how most of our ancestors used to work and live, before machines came along and fragmented society.

Am I supposed to feel like a bad human now?  Seriously, Twyla, get a Facebook!

                                                     Slightly Recommended

But for real, I understand that Rome wasn’t built by a single person.  (Yes, I modified that saying to suit my blogging needs.)  Granted, writing a song is different than building an empire.

Nevertheless, I do recognize that writing alone involves limitations.  I play piano, my co-writer plays guitar; this is an opportunity to get outside of my box.  I also recognize my need to get over myself and accept the idea that accomplishing something with someone else doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment.  Thus, I’m looking forward to Friday morning.  It will be just my fifth co-write ever, and five is a great number for change.  A key change! Oh snap.

I will be going into that writing room armed with the following:

  • An open mind and willingness to collaborate
  • A few unfinished ideas that I have no strong emotional attachments to
  • A liter of Evian

The recipe for success, am I right?

Oh and one last thing — if you happen to be that above-mentioned ER doctor and you’re still reading, please don’t think that my issues with working together carry over into the bedroom.  I promise they don’t.  Call me!  (Though I might lead you on, back out at the last minute, and then melodramatically blog about it later.)

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