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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Anyone Else Becoming as Unhinged as I Am Lately?

The past few weeks have seen me having more melodramatic breakdowns than usual, and it’s a problem. One second I’ll be all balanced and happy and zen, and then the next I’ll be spiraling into a black hole of fury: arguing that working forty hours a week is bullshit, telling myself that I’M THE SMARTEST PERSON I KNOW, and randomly IMing my friend Steven with nonstop pictures of Mariah Carey alongside her various love interests throughout the years.

Like, the other day I saw this beautiful passage on Louise L. Hay’s Facebook. Basically it’s all about how if we use a tomato plant as an analogy for creating the lives we want, we can be happy. Because we trust tomato plants to grow, and so when our personal tomato plant starts to sprout, we shouldn’t get angry and ask, “WHY AREN’T YOU BIGGER AND BETTER?” but rather we should keep watering it and say, “Woohoo! It’s on its way!”

I read it and thought, That’s how I’m going to live my life from now on.

Then this IM conversation happened after I randomly went off on a tangent to Steven about how I wish I had a year off to eat, pray, love, and finish the millionth third draft of my book:

  • Steven: i feel like you’re on the verge of a breakdown
  • me: dude it’s true
  • Steven: i can feel it
  • Steven: coming in the air tonight
  • Steven: i FEEL it. when your messages get short and sans caps and punctuation and proper capitalization
  • me: there’s just gotta be more to life
  • me: than chasing down every temporary hiiigh
  • Steven: oh god you’re breaking out the Stacy O
  • Steven: every time you do that, you have a crisis of faith
  • Steven: and then you throw shit and start crying
  • me: and the worst part is that I’m lucky to be employed where I am
  • me: and yet
  • me: WHERE’S THE MEANING?
  • Steven tomorrow you’re gonna be all, “we must reach for the stars with our highest energy and smoke our own poz toxins and look out of our third eyes and be the best versions of ourselves”
  • Steven: followed by quoting some zen writer I’ve never heard of
  • me lmao. true

Later that day…

  • me: the issue is simple
  • me: I just need to hold on through this rough patch
  • me: and continue to strive toward creating the life I want
  • me: I’m just getting so fucking impatient
  • me: like… fucking.. WHEN
  • me: but I mean, I know we mustn’t attack our tomato plants
  • me: WHY AREN’T YOU FUCKING GROWING YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT TOMATO PLANT WORTHLESS FUCKING PIECE OF GARBAGE
  • Steven BAHAHA
  • Steven: I’m dying
  • Steven: I think you need to work toward being your best self
  • me: I’d like to be handed everything on a silver platter
  • me: WHERE’s my platter
  • me: omg I’m a fucking abomination
  • me: that’s negative
  • me: I’m a radiant expression of God’s love
  • Steven: I. Am…Dead

So, I don’t know. I guess the one lesson, if any, I’ve gleaned from this whole thing is that if you’re lucky enough to have a tomato plant, don’t be an asshole. Be grateful. Be graceful. Let it grow. And then go make some marinara sauce, maybe? Or: schizophrenically unravel via IM and then blog about it later. That always works too.

tomatoplant

 

When It Comes to Altruism, America Might be Screwed

Every spring, the company I work for gives employees a paid day off to go out into the world and volunteer for pre-arranged community service projects, possibly on account of their awareness that New York is filled with career-driven narcissists who don’t give enough of a shit about philanthropic causes to volunteer their actual time to them.

This year, my work-wife Jenny and I signed up for a project called Walk and Play at the Humane Society. This was a major accomplishment for us, as the pet shelter-related opportunities are limited and always the first ones to get filled up. Because puppies.

Jenny and I were elated about having managed to snag not one but two of these highly coveted spots. It was like being awarded VIP status on the guest list to one of those super posh nightclub openings that used to happen on Sex and the City all the time but happen infrequently (and also, suck) in real life. (Remember the place with all the beds? There were so many beds.)

“WHOOMP, THERE IT IS! PUPPIES ALL DAY, E’RRY DAY!” I proclaimed to Jenny as we victoriously high-fived each other post-sign-up. “Or at least puppies from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 16th.”

“Okay Nic, let’s make a pact,” Jenny replied. “Neither of us is allowed to adopt a dog. No matter how much we may fall in love while carelessly frolicking with them through parks, we can’t afford to just be adopting creatures willy-nilly.”

“Deal,” I said, relieved that there would be a formal checks and balances system (did I just misuse that term?) in place to combat my probable impetuousness amongst puggles.

Friday morning came quickly, and Jenny and I found ourselves on the fourth floor of a rundown Midtown East building surrounded by donated doggy clothes (because that’s what rescue pets give a shit about) with nine other volunteers from our company, none of whom we knew personally.

The volunteer coordinator was a petite young brunette with leggings and a nose ring who instantly reminded me of delightful country breakout starlet Kacey Musgraves.

“Okay, so we need two volunteers for the kitty hospital room,” she said.

Everyone immediately looked down as if to say, “Hell to the no; I’m holding out for a hero the cute, non-hospitalized dogs.” But then two brave souls looked up and sacrificed themselves for the greater good and I pitied them a little but mostly just felt major relief because (a) I’m vaguely allergic to cats, and (b) I’m made up of twenty percent Selfish Asshole. (And eighty percent Mariah Carey.)

“Now we need five volunteers to play on the roof with the large dogs.”

At this, the remaining people threw their hands up in a tizzy. Not Jenny and I, though; we just looked at each other and came to a mutual telepathic understanding that we were going to be savvy and save our hand-raising for the small (or at least medium-sized) dogs. Ain’t nobody got time for large dogs, we told each other with our eyes.

“Great!” Kacey Musgraves said, selecting the first five volunteers to play with the large dogs. Then she motioned toward the rest of us. “Now you four will have the pleasure of cleaning literal shit out of cat cages for the next three hours.”

She didn’t actually put it in those words, but she should have because that’s exactly what ended up happening. WE WERE BAMBOOZLED. Why the dogs were qualified as “large” before is beyond me. THE LARGE DOGS WERE THE ONLY DOGS.

I considered sticking my neck out and saying, “Ohhh, sorry, I’m allergic to cats,” but then figured that that’s exactly what someone who’s not allergic to cats would say. (Kind of like in movies when the killer is all “I’m not a killer!”) Plus I didn’t want to face the possibility of them saying, “Well then why didn’t you raise your hand for the dogs?” and me instigating a whole argument over how Kacey’s categorization of the dogs as “large” was misleading and cruel.

So I just accepted my fate and planned to avoid directly touching the cats/my eyes.

We were soon escorted to a room filled wall-to-wall with cat cages. The cats were cute enough, but the stench in the room was gross and a problem. It smelled like someone had murdered a carnie, locked it in a closet, peed on the body every morning for approximately a full year, and stuffed its pockets with Gouda at some point around the five-month mark.

(Wow. That was some fucked up and macabre imagery, and I apologize. I hope I didn’t ruin Gouda for you. Or carnies, for that matter.)

We were instructed that every cage had to be cleaned, and it was best that we split into pairs so we could tag-team the cat piss. The cage cleaning process entailed setting the cats free to roam around the room while we dumped out the litter boxes, sterilized and refilled them, brushed hair off the cat beds, and cleaned/disinfected the messes on the floors of the cages. These tasks involved maneuvers like bending down. And reaching for things. And lifting things.

Also, getting dirty.

Jenny and I smiled enthusiastically as we put our disposable gloves on and prepared to get to work, but deep down we were both spoiled, ungrateful bitches who were not amused.

“I bet HR has diabolical intentions with this whole community service thing,” I later whispered to Jenny as she scrubbed a cage floor and I lined a freshly treated litter box with newspaper. “They’re probably all, ‘Oh, our employees want to complain about their cushy jobs? Let’s have them perform manual labor while locked in a sauna of broken dreams and cat shit for three hours! That’ll take care of that problem!’”

After I said this, I realized how ridiculous and first-world-problems-y of me it was to be wasting my words on complaints.

And I wasn’t giving the good side of myself enough credit – there was a part of me that truly didn’t mind the work and was genuinely pleased to be helping out. Like, it felt awesome to get outside of my ego for a little bit and put my energy into something that didn’t benefit me directly.

But then I also had to acknowledge that if I weren’t receiving compensation (a whole day’s worth, nonetheless) to do this project, there was no way in hell I’d have opted myself into it in my cherished free time – which I think makes me a horrible, entitled person and also what’s wrong with America.

As we neared the end of the shift, a charismatic orange-haired kitty named Felipe started eagerly sticking his little paw out of his cage and trying to latch onto my shirt/generally touch me everywhere. And so I promptly forgot about all the philosophical issues the day’s activities were raising in my mind and just fell in love with him.

I’m not much of a cat person, but Felipe was really cute and I’m not a heartless bastard. Felipe was precious. Precious enough to melt my heart and make me glad that I got bamboozled into the miserable cat sauna, even. As I lovingly gazed into his tiny cat-eyes, I thought about how much it would pain me to see him alone on the streets. Or worse, hungry. Or worse, abused.

It was in this Scrooge-at-the-end-of-A-Christmas-Carol-y moment where I realized why one might willingly choose to volunteer at the Humane Society. Because Felipe (and every other cat ever) deserves to be loved. They deserve to not live in cages. Or at the very least, they deserve to live in fucking clean ones.

Then Felipe got all scratchy on me, but I secretly liked it.

“Friiiskey, are we?” I said, masterfully replicating the voice of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. “Jenny! How CUTE is this little guy? Take a pic!”

10371392_875058025122_7128745751022172651_n

Because I’m a super authentic person, I immediately posted this on Instagram with a caption that was all, “Delighted to be helping out for a great cause! #community”

When Jenny and I returned to our normally scheduled lives in the office on Monday morning, we learned that as a gift for all our hard work on Friday, the building was going to transform into a funhouse of treats and refreshments – stations with free beer, margaritas, wine, tacos, fries, sushi, Pinkberry frozen yogurt, and hot dogs were being set up for everyone who volunteered. Because America is nothing if not dependent on questionable motivation techniques and absurdly lopsided reward systems.

“Well, they did bamboozle us into busting our asses and cleaning up cat feces in a stench-filled shitbox for three miserable hours,” I said to Jenny. By then I had forgotten what Felipe even looked like. “It’s the least they could do.”

 

That Married Dude I Made Out with Last Year? SAW HIM AGAIN

Last November I met a man on a train. Let’s call him James. James and I bonded all the way from New York to Connecticut, and then we passionately made out in his car like a couple of horny high schoolers until we decided to cut the party short due to the fact that he had a wife whom — no big deal — he almost forgot to tell me about. It was a debacle, and really you should just read my entire original post about it to get the full effect before continuing, because OH MY GOD – I saw him last week.

I was stuck at the train station due to a delay and decided to treat myself to a large iced coffee to ease the pain (because large iced coffees always ease the pain — they’re a lot like Vicodin and/or puppy therapy in that way).

As I approached the Dunkin Donuts stand, I noticed that there was a man with an effortlessly strong build standing at the front of the line in sharp tan suit pants and a white T-shirt. His suit jacket and dress shirt were cradled loosely under his hot right man-arm.

I’d so hit that, I thought to myself, apparently not requiring any knowledge whatsoever of what his face looked like.

Then he turned around and our eyes met.

AND IT WAS JAMES.

We hadn’t seen each other since the night we met, so this was kind of a BFD. (That’s “big fucking deal” for those of you who actually put your educations to use and therefore don’t speak in profane teen girl abbrevs.) (Abreva?)

I immediately went into super-adrenaline mode and decided that I would just pretend I didn’t see James in front of me or that I did see him but had absolutely no idea who he was because I’m the type of person (in this imaginary scenario of me not recognizing him, that is) who just makes out with strangers on trains all the damn time and so trying to keep track of them would be like trying to keep track of the number of nipple rings at a Bear convention.

(Explanatory side note for straight people: Bears are large hairy gay men who are traditionally into body piercings and leather. And conventions, apparently.)

Our eyes met again as James stepped to the side to wait for his coffee and I moved to the front of the line. He looked nervous.

“Large iced coffee, please,” I said, trying to look as directly at the cashier as possible. “With milk only.”

I spoke loudly, immaturely hoping that the sound of my voice would initiate some kind of nostalgia or arousal or regret or why-isn’t-Nic-saying-hi-to-me?-ness (emotion of any kind, really) in James.

I wanted him to notice that my outfit was similar to the one I wore the night we met seven months ago – a button down shirt, slightly open at the chest with two chains of contrasting lengths showing (because yes, on Tuesdays I dress like the owner of a pizzeria). I also wanted him to notice that I had a bunch of new half-hippie/half-someone-who-hangs-out-on-boats bracelets on my left wrist, so I made sure to really stick out my hand as I reached forward to pay the guy behind the counter.

Why did I so desperately want James to notice everything about me?

Maybe it was just my way of acknowledging how bizarre it was that last fall we shared an intimate moment – a moment that I’ve since written and talked and thought about at length; a moment that has been the subject of blog posts and essays and bar conversations and marathon phone calls and so much else – and here we were pretending to be total strangers.

It felt rather dishonest.

But it was all either of us could bring ourselves to do, I guess. And so James and I continued to stand there in awkward silence until we each got our respective cups of fuel for the morning.

“Thanks,” I said to the DD guy.

“Have a good one,” James told him.

And then we each sped off in directions so completely opposite that anyone watching would have never known we were both going to the exact same place.

I couldn't really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here's me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There's a message here somewhere, maybe.

I couldn’t really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here’s me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There’s meaning here somewhere, maybe.

P.S. It just occurred to me that, when left open to interpretation, the last line of this post could totally make it sound like I was insinuating that James and I took roundabout routes to the men’s room and then gave each other blowjobs in the handicap stall or something – and I’d just like to clarify that that’s not what happened at all. I just meant that, you know, we were both commuting into the same city. There was probably some underlying metaphor there, too. I didn’t need to clarify any of this, did I?

P.P.S. How gross would it be to give a blowjob in the stall of a train station bathroom? How gross would it be to do anything that involves heavily breathing through your nose in a train station bathroom? Just, ew.

P.P.P.S. No judgment, though, if train-station-bathroom-blowjobs are your thing! To each his own.

P.P.P.P.S. But still I probably wouldn’t share a drink with you.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Unless that drink was a vodka gimlet. Or a Guinness. Or a White Russian. Or a jalapeño margarita. You know what? Never mind.

 

I’m a Fast Pedestrian with Angry Thoughts, but at the End of the Day I’m Spiritual So It’s All Good

One of the things I advertise on my OkCupid profile is the fact that I can walk really fast through crowded urban streets.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 8.24.16 PMIt’s not that I’ve ever been particularly proud of this ability – frankly, there are many other, more important things that I can do well – but “walking briskly in New York City” was really the only answer I could think of for that question that didn’t make me sound like a pretentious douche bag who looks in the mirror on an hourly basis and probably has a pet name for his penis. Because that’s nobody’s type.

(Although now that I think about it, I have been involved with or know more than a few of those kinds of dudes. And they never seem to run into any problems getting laid. So maybe I’m wrong and that’s actually everybody’s type?)

(Holy shit. I think I just figured out why I’m single.)

(Hold on…)

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 9.04.04 PMOkay, I’m ready for all the men to want me now.

(Side note: While the above answer is of course a joke, I did have to change my real-life profile to that for about twenty seconds in order to secure the screen shot. And it was the most anxious, frightening, and uncomfortable – and yet oddly invigorating? – twenty seconds of my life.)

Moving on.

Wait, where was I going with all of this anyways?

Oh, slow people. So I started writing this post from my seat on the commuter train, because basically I had to zigzag my way through an army of molasses-paced pod people at Grand Central Station to get there, and it was so fucking annoying because everyone loves to walk in every which direction while being all “I’m slow and I wear mittens” while I’m just internally like, “ARGH! GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THE TALL GUY THROUGH SO HE CAN GO HOME AND DRINK WINE AND GOOGLE LYRICS TO NINETIES POP BALLADS AND FANTASIZE ABOUT BEING FRIENDS WITH OPRAH AND VENT ABOUT HOW SLOW YOU ARE ON HIS BLOG.”

But then I started writing, and then that whole OkCupid introduction turned into a way more involved tangent than I had originally intended it to be, and so by the time I was ready to get into how enraging slow people are, the frustration had worn off and my desire to angrily rant was (mostly) diminished. And then I reminded myself that having to deal with dawdling pedestrians is small. fucking. potatoes compared to the real issues in the world (potato famines, for instance), and we are all cut from the same divine thread of oneness and so really I need to be spreading love and light to everyone — even people with shorter legs than me.

Wow. I’m pretty sure this entire post just turned into like, a deep lesson in perspective, love, forgiveness, and the Golden Rule, all at the same time. You’re welcome for the wisdom.

Now move.

 

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.

 

I Accidentally Made Out with a Closeted Married Man, and Now I’m a Hot Mess

First and foremost, I feel the need to assure you that the events I’m about to recount actually took place. Like, in real life. Which you’ll soon realize is insane because one) I have already written extensively on the subject of falling in love with hot suited strangers during my daily commute on the Metro-North train, two) I once even blogged about a fantasy sequence in which I made out with one of them but he ended up being married, and three) that is somehow EXACTLY what happened to me last Friday night, in real life. IR-fucking-L.

There’s a lot to discuss here, so let’s just start from the beginning.

It was the end of a long week, so naturally I went out for post-work Sangria in the city with one of my best girlfriends. One pitcher turned into two, and before I knew it I was a little tipsy on a late-night train back to Connecticut. The train was delightfully empty, so I got cozy in a four-seater all by myself and prepared for the fifty-minute ride home.

Then he showed up. Hot businessman guy. He was wearing a grey pinstripe suit, fancy watch, and (according to my tipsy-goggles, at least) was ruggedly handsome – kind of like Brandon Walsh from 90210. Except manlier. And thirty-something. And, again, in a suit.

I took about five seconds to observe and appreciate his hotness, texted my friend something like “OMG, this man on the train is my everything,” glanced his way again, and then went back to staring at my phone (lest he catch me looking at him and interpret my stalkerish gazes as reason to desert me and switch to another train car that wasn’t crawling with predatory gay bloggers).

As we pulled out of Grand Central, the conductor came on the intercom and was all, “Please make all seats available,” and then the hot businessman opened up a roadie Coors Light, took a swig, and responded (to everyone and no one), “Uh, the train is empty!”

In my mind: He totally just opened the floor for conversation!!! Should I respond? I should definitely respond. No. That’d be weird. Wait, but he was weird first to even make the empty train remark to begin with. OK I’m doing it! No. YES. NO. Yes.

Out loud: “I know, right? The train is so empty!”

To my surprise, he looked my way and smiled warmly as I mentally congratulated myself for being capable of putting words together quickly enough to respond to his declaration. (Even though, let’s be honest, all I did was say exactly what he said except with a “so” in front of it.)

From there, we engaged in a bout of small talk about our commutes (we live in the same town, turns out!) and jobs (we work in the same part of the city, turns out!) and interests (we both watch football, turns out!).

While all of this was going on, I started developing the hopeful feeling that this guy was maybe gay, maybe into me, and maybe meant to be my husband. I mean, why else would he be so friendly? But then I told myself, “No. Calm yourself down, Nic. This dude probably thinks he’s just having a man-to-man discussion about Eli Manning and meanwhile you’ve let your mind go to that ‘ohmiGod is he gay and in love with me?!’ place in not even five minutes. GET A GRIP.”

After a few moments, we reached a lull in conversation. And then some random ass creepy guy in a black trench coat showed up out of nowhere and took one of the seats directly in front of me in my four-seater, despite the fact that there was a whole train car of empty seats available to him! James (the hot businessman guy — fake name, FYI) and I immediately exchanged glances to acknowledge how bizarre this was.

The creepy guy must have realized that James and I were telepathically discussing his weirdness (or maybe he just had to pee), because he abruptly got up and went to the bathroom, leaving me alone to wait for him to return and maim me take his seat back.

But then.

Like a knight in SHINING fucking ARMOR, James got up, swooped over into my four-seater and asked, “Would you like me to sit here instead?”

And so of course I said, “Yes!” and officially moved on from the “ohmiGod is he gay and in love with me?!” place into the more confident “My life is a romantic comedy and James and I SHALL BE MARRIED AND THIS SHALL BE THE STORY WE TELL OUR ADOPTED CHILDREN’S CHILDREN!” place.

For the remainder of the ride home, James and I talked. About our educations, occupations, hometowns, hobbies, and dreams. At one point I told him how I was working toward becoming a full-time writer and he responded with, “That makes sense; you give off a crazy-creative vibe,” and I had to pinch myself to ensure that I wasn’t just train-hallucinating this whole situation.

When we got to our stop, we walked off the train together.

“Alright,” I said as we approached the escalator, “I guess I should get on my way. Got a bit of a walk home.”

Then James was like, “Do you want a ride?” and I was like, “Yes!” (Because an exclamation-pointed “Yes!” had clearly become my go-to answer to any and all of James’ questions that night.)

I know what you may be thinking: Nic just accepted a ride from a stranger? Is he fucking nuts?!

Yes, I did. And yes, I am. And this is why hot people are dangerous. Because had this dude been gross looking or even just average, there’s no way I’d have said anything other than, “No, thanks.”

Still, as we walked to his car, there was a small voice inside of me that was like, “Uh, Christian Bale in American Psycho, Nic. He was hot. He wore a suit. And he killed bitches!” But I was able to quiet it down by asking James flat-out, “You’re not a crazy American psycho, are you?”

He just laughed adorably and said, “No! Trust me, you’re in good hands. I never do this. At all. Is this weird? This is weird. But I feel comfortable with you.”

And so we hopped into the car and continued talking for the duration of the ride to my apartment while our hands almost touched on the center armrest and I realized that I still didn’t have any conclusive evidence of his gay or straightness. There was a part of me that truly wondered if James was just a really nice straight man doing me a favor… but then there was another part of me that wanted to believe we had been flirting all night long.

Either way, when we finally got to the front of my building, I didn’t want to say goodnight. I considered inviting him up to my apartment, but then I was like, “WHO ARE YOU?” (to myself, not him) and instead settled for exchanging cell phone numbers with the intention of hanging out on purpose sometime soon.

And then.

I thanked him for the ride and reached out to shake his hand goodbye.

AND THEN.

He leaned over and went in for a kiss!

And so before I knew it, I was living in a dream and we were making out. And y’all — it was good. This man clearly knew what he was doing. Which is why it was so jarring to me when he abruptly stopped mid-make-out, said, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” and freaked the fuck out.

“What?” I asked, acting as if everything about this whole situation wasn’t bizarre enough to begin with.

“I don’t do stuff like this,” he nervously responded. “I’m married.”

So then my heart kind of casually just stopped, no big deal, and I said, “Wait. You’re married?” [Dramatic pause.] “To a human?”

“A human, Nic?” he replied. “Yes. I’m married to a woman.”

Jaaames!!!” I whined. “WHY?”

And then I punched him. (Playfully and on the chest, but still.)

He proceeded to apologize for not telling me about his wife before kissing me, and then he got this really sad look on his face, and for a second my heart felt incredibly heavy for him. Because I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be trapped in a straight life and married to a woman and have to deal with inner demons and family pressures and tempting little hot pieces of ass like me just occupying four-seaters on trains on Friday nights.

But then I felt more bad for his wife, because I’m friends with quite a few women and I know for a fact that none of them want their husbands to be repressed gay men.

But then (and maybe I should be ashamed of this?) I felt mostly bad for me. Because seriously, WTF? I meet this perfect-in-every-way man — the old-fashioned, technology-free, just-like-in-the-movies way, even! — and we hit it off tremendously, and he’s the most passionate kisser in the history of the world, and then he’s somebody’s husband? How did I forget to check his left hand for a ring? How did he think it was okay to pursue me in the first place? Do any quality, available men even exist anymore? WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE?

After about thirty awkwardly silent seconds of sitting in James’ car post-wife-confession, I decided to just start making out with him again. This was desperate and not okay, I know. But again: his kiss. It was delicious. Delicious and forbidden and sexual and hot. And I knew that he was a very dangerous person to even think about getting involved with, but I wanted to pretend for just the shortest moment that he was good and genuine and mine.

And so we kept making out in his car for about ten more blissful seconds, but then — and I think this may have been my conscience resurrecting itself from the low-self-esteem-y grave I’d just dug for it — I started wondering what his wife’s name was and what she must be doing and what she might think he was doing and what her Pinterest might look like. And so I finally mustered up the strength to say, “Dude. This is fucked up. We can’t do this.”

“You’re right,” he replied, not fighting me at all. “I understand if you want to just lose my number. I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I sighed. “It’s fine.”

Then I got out of his car, walked up to my apartment, and aggressively slammed my bag against the floor in a fit of rage. I ran to my window to see if his car was still on my street, but he had already driven off. Regardless of all the reasons not to, I wanted to call him right then and there to ask him to come back so we could try and recapture whatever the hell it was we had both just discovered and lost, all within the past hour.

But then I walked into my bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and realized that I really, really needed to take his advice — and just lose his number.

2014 UPDATE: We ran into each other at Dunkin’ Donuts and it was weird.

 

I Really Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Participate in Halloween (So I’m Not)

The last time I dressed up for Halloween, it was 2010 and I had just moved to New York City to pursue my master’s at NYU. I was skinny, naïve, unprepared for city life, and in a ridiculously unhealthy Taylor Swift-esque non-relationship with an older businessman who ended up more or less destroying my faith in mankind for about a year and two-ish months. (Not that I counted.) Ah, youth.

So why am I oversharing with all of this life context?

Because frankly, a general state of personal distress is the only way I can begin to justify the fact that I was a makeshift leprechaun that year.

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Yes, that is a beard. And yes, that is a black athletic tank that I sliced in half, poked holes in, and tied together with a shoelace. Because poor, because grad school. (It was supposed to be a lepre-vest.)

I mean, can we just talk about the fact that I’m 6’3”?

What was I trying to do here? Singlehandedly smash the leprechaun height stereotype? Break the leprechaun glass ceiling? Just confuse people? Or was I supposed to be like, a totem pole of three leprechauns all concealed in one outfit to present the illusion of being human-size? I don’t even know. (But I’m going to go with that last one, because I’ve just decided that it’s borderline genius.)

Other misguided costume choices of mine over the years include Bo Duke, a pregnant nun, Superman and – most often as of lately – That Guy Who Refuses to Dress Up for Halloween but will Happily Spend the Night Watching Scary Movies and Eating Candy in His Pajamas.

And so that will be me again in 2013. I’m thinking it’s for the best, lest I have another stroke of genius and decide to be Verne Troyer or something. (And by “or something,” I obviously mean a totem pole of three Verne Troyers.)

Happy Halloween, y’all!

P.S. Here’s a note regarding the pregnant nun ensemble, because I know you were wondering: It was during one of those summer camp “Halloween in July” things, I was ten years old, and all I had at my disposal was a pillow and accompanying pillowcase. So I improvised. (The fact that Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit was my favorite movie at the time probably also factored in somewhere there.)

P.P.S. While I had put very little thought into the pregnant nun costume at the time, it just occurred to me as I was writing this that I was actually kind of making a poignant socio-religious statement with the whole thing. So maybe I should be allowed to participate in Halloween (thereby changing the world one costume at a time) after all!

P.P.P.S. Or, actually, no. Because candy and pajamas.

 

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