New Name, No Shame

I’ve been meaning to keychange the name of this site for a while, but I could never really think of anything I loved enough to commit to that also wasn’t egregiously corny. And so here’s a conversation between my writing buddy Steven and I that took place during a recent brainstorming session:

  • Nic: What’s a good blog name for me?
  • Nic: The Ridic-Nic Report?
  • Nic: Get it? Ridiculous?
  • Steven: I just spit out my seltzer.
  • Nic: RiNicolas? OMG LIKE RIHANNA.
  • Steven: No. To all of the above.
  • Nic: Nic-On-A-Stick?
  • Steven: You’re fired from naming things.

We kept discussing for a while until I almost decided to call this site “The Cheesecake” because I love cheesecake and it would also make way for a cheesy (see what I did there?) slogan like, “High in calories, higher in humor,” but I ultimately decided that I probably shouldn’t name my life’s work after a baked good. (Wait. Is baking even a part of the cheesecake creation process? Or are cheesecakes just like, born cold? I’m too lazy to tab over and Google. Actually, no I’m not. I just checked, and it appears that they are baked in ovens like other cakes. FYI.)

My inability to come up with a catchy/quirky name eventually led me to throw my hands in the air, say “fuck it,” and just go with the incredibly straightforward “The Nicolas Blog,” EXCEPT with the exclamation point that you see above — because frankly, that one punctuation mark says more about me than any proper word ever could. So I’m thinking I made a solid choice.



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.


Finding the Jewish Boyfriend Within

I’d like to preface this story by saying that going to bars alone is a fresh skill that I have only reluctantly developed as a result of moving to a new city for six weeks.  But it has so grown on me.  Sure, the first half of the night usually involves the following:

  • General awkwardness
  • Irrationally strong feelings of jealousy and/or hatred directed at people who have friends
  • Frightening premonitions of future cat-lady status

But then you get approached by a hot guy and life is suddenly worth living again.  You just have to suck on the sour to get to the sweet — like eating a lemon drop or performing oral sex as a means of receiving it later.

  • Note: all names mentioned herein have been changed to protect privacy.

So Friday night — it was the start of my last weekend in Nashville, and I found myself back at the gay bar where I met the blogged-about older hottie Martin over two weeks ago.

This time around, I ended up meeting Charley — an adorable and deliciously muscled all-American looking guy whom I typically would’ve melted for upon first contact.  However, it soon became apparent that he was drunk off his ass.  At 11:00 pm.  This threw me for a loop, as people generally don’t start slurring their words until at least midnight in New York.  This isn’t to say we don’t get drunk at all hours of the day — we’re just able to disguise it by forming whole sentences.

I was completely sober while talking to Charley.  The result was an excruciatingly uncomfortable conversation that needed to end as soon as possible.  In an effort to get him to lose interest, I turned off my charm and avoided eye contact.  It didn’t work, which I’ll go ahead and construe as evidence that I’m irresistible.

Eventually, Donna — his sassy Southern wing-woman — showed up and started rambling on about some Australian guy she was sexting with.  I feigned the urge to pee and excused myself.

As I took the long, around-the-entire-square-footage-of-the-establishment-twice way to the restrooms, I was secretly hoping to run into Martin, whom I hadn’t heard from since I responded negatively to a booty call text he sent two days after we met.  A part of me was aware of how pathetic it was to fantasize about running into him, but the other part of me wanted to get all up in his face and yell, “If we had gone on at least three dates and participated in a joint STD screening over the past two weeks, maybe we’d be sleeping together tonight!  Your loss, a-hole!!!”

It’s probably a good thing that he never showed up.

I started looking around for more potential suitors.  Only two people were catching my eye:

  • A shirtless bartender with a strangely endearing Luigi ‘stache who slightly resembled a founding member of the Village People
  • A lesbian who was wearing the same outfit as me

I decided to keep to myself.  For a moment, I became suddenly aware of the absurdity of the fact that I ended up at this bar yet again despite my staunch inability to sleep with strangers.  Then I ordered another beer and got back to scanning the room for hotties.

A basic lack of man-candy made my mind begin to wander.  My internal dialogue:

  • I miss 90’s Mariah so much.
  • I think I want Indian food for lunch tomorrow.

Before I could finish my next thought (which I’m pretty sure involved veggie samosas), a now-even-drunker Charley reappeared out of the freakin’ blue.  Without saying a word, he grabbed my hand and led me to a secluded area outside the women’s restroom.  The following bizarre exchange then occurred:

  • Me: “What’s up?”
  • Charley (directs my attention to his right bicep, which he’s now flexing): “And I’ve never even done porn.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond to this unsolicited declaration.  Charley broke the silence by going in for a (ridiculously sloppy) kiss.  My sobriety was making this whole situation feel about as natural as heterosexual intercourse, so I immediately pulled away.

  • Charley: “Why are you pulling away from me?”
  • Me: “I don’t know… I feel guilty… Umm.  I’m Jewish.”

Random, irrelevant, and oh — totally a lie.  Though I do sometimes get mistaken for being Jewish, I’m actually Italian and Catholic.

I know a lot of people get a kick out of lying to strangers at bars, but honestly, I had never engaged in the activity until this very moment.  If I were ever to premeditate a spicy bar alter-ego, I doubt I’d go with with real-me-except-Jewish.

In any case, he proceeded to share that he loves Jewish boys.  Some sick part of me must have been loving the attention, because I suddenly heard myself saying things like:

  • “Yeah, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to celebrate Christmas, but then I remember how awesome Hanukkah is.”
  • “Oh, Israel?  I’ve totally been there.  I spent two months on a kibbutz last summer, and it changed my life!”

I was just about to share some of my awesome bar mitzvah memories with him when Donna emerged from the bathroom and matter-of-factly said — in the Paula Deen-iest of accents, mind you — “It’s time to leave.  Y’all are going home together.  K?”

The fact that she’s a horrible friend won’t be discussed, as this post is already too long.

To easily get out of the situation without having to explain myself, I invented a New York boyfriend and apologetically told them about him — “He’s perfect for me and I just don’t want to mess it up.  It’s not worth it.  I’m sorry.”

And then I left.

After reflecting on it over an episode of Sex and the City and a Fiber One bar, I believe there may be an allegorical quality to this whole made-up boyfriend situation.  Perhaps he is representative of my true self.  Or the dreamboat ER doctor that I mentioned here, who’s still waiting for me to stumble into his life.

Either way, it’s time to go back to New York and find him.

The Hardest Part of Hooking Up

Allow me to preface my second-ever blog post by saying that I’m already a little addicted.  The more I read about the lives of strangers, the more I’m overcome with the kind of concern and fascination I usually reserve for myself and the Kardashians.  This could be dangerous.  I can see myself a year from now wearing the same pajamas for days at a time, laying in bed — MacBook on lap — and rapidly gaining weight while living only vicariously through the blogosphere as I guzzle half-melted Ben & Jerry’s pints and eventually have to be removed from my bedroom via crane.

Then I remember that blogging is two-sided and if I want people to read about my life, it would help to have one.  Which brings us to this past weekend.

  • Note: all names mentioned herein have been changed to protect privacy.

In my inaugural post, I half-seriously mentioned something about “exhausting Nashville’s two gay bars.”  I half-ended up at one of said bars at about 10:00 pm on Friday night.

The last time I went to this establishment, I was approached by and spent two hours in conversation with Brian — an attractive and charismatic black thirtysomething contractor in town for 24 hours on business.  Eventually we were making out in a dark hallway in the back of the bar when he tried to get me to go back to his hotel room.

Enter my puritanical inhibitions.  While promiscuity is as natural for most gay men as, say, listening to Madonna or breathing, I am cursed with what I refer to out loud as “self-respect.”  Really I’m just too insecure, prone to developing feelings, and — most of all — deathly afraid of any and all STD’s.  I blame my Connecticut education and Google Images.

I tried to drunkenly convey my concerns to Brian.  He assured me he was clean and equipped with protection.  Still, I was apprehensive.  To my surprise, he was super understanding and offered a completely-on-my-own-terms hookup, saying we can do as much as I’m comfortable with and nothing more.  In the heat of the moment, I said no — opting instead to go home and eat a Fiber One bar while watching Chelsea Lately interviews on Youtube and Googling ex-boyfriends.

I’m so used to saying no in these situations that he probably could have offered to Saran-wrap his entire body before it came into any contact whatsoever with mine — and I still would’ve declined just out of comfort.

                          My life as printed on a women’s baby tee. (

Back to Friday.

This time around, I decided that I needed to be more open-minded.  Along comes Martin — a forty-year-old UPS driver who lives here in Nashville.  I had previously sworn off much older men after a debacle in 2008 involving a ridiculous ex named Jose, but Martin had it goin’ on.  Masculine, tan, in better physical shape at 40 than I am at 23… generally tall, dark, and handsome.

  • Sidenote: Martin’s real-life first name is actually the same as my dad’s.  God’s sense of humor disturbs me.

Our conversation was filled with just the right amount of intellect and inappropriateness.  After sharing that he donates to charity and plays in a rugby league on the weekends, I was pretty much ready to introduce him to my entire extended family.  And/or bear his children.

We made out a little, manhandled each other, and exchanged numbers.  Despite the intense physical chemistry, there was no one-night-stand pressure.  It was wonderful.  Now, three days later, a big part of me really wants to see him again… if only I could find a way to reconcile my coital needs with my previously-mentioned neuroses.

I texted my best friend Felicity to get her advice:

ME: I made out with a hot older man the other night.  I think I may give him my flower if we ever meet again.

FELICITY: Keep calling it your flower and no one is ever gonna take it.

Not helpful, but this is why we’re friends.  Major props to anyone who gets the 90’s sitcom reference!

In any case, the sad truth is that it may be ultimately impossible for me to sleep with Martin in a way that I could ever be completely comfortable with. I’m the kind of square whose prerequisites for rolling around naked in bed with someone include things like being in a committed relationship.  And I’m fully aware that I could never have that with someone who:

  • Lives 900 miles away
  • Is almost 20 years older than me
  • Responds to my texts of “What are you up to tonight?” with “supposed to go to a bday party.. unless u want sex.”

Yes, please!  If only.

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