Solving the Mystery of My Taylor Swift Dreams

Since last fall, I have been dreaming about hanging out with Taylor Swift.

And I’m not talking about, like, wishing she and I might one day spend time together. No. I’m being literal. I’m talking about the fact that every time I’ve closed my eyes and drifted into REM over the past four months, one Taylor Alison Swift has somehow found a way to insert herself into the picture.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan. I was a fan before she became a global phenomenon who sold 1.287 million albums in a week—back when it was only like 1-point-zero-something million, even! Her entire canon, from her self-titled debut on, has nursed me through more breakups and life crises over the past eight years than any grown man should ever admit to on the Internet. (And yet here we are.)

So it is not without acknowledging the creepiness of my current situation that I share it with you. I’m vividly dreaming about a woman I don’t know but whose work I devour; it’s stalkerish. My subconscious is a stalker. It probably eats cheese and owns binoculars and doesn’t shower.

***

In my dreams, Taylor Swift and I are usually hanging out in a hotel room or a Starbucks or sometimes both. Once, we waited in line for coffee while listening to music on an iPod Classic together with a single set of headphones, using one speaker each, like best (ear!) buds. It was sweet.

But there’s a subtle dark side to the dreams, too, which comes in the form of a recurring shtick in which Taylor knowingly makes normal-people decisions for the both of us while I openly resent her for not using her celebrity status to get us special treatment.

For example, Dream-Taylor and I once ordered three hundred dollars’ worth of room service and she made us split the bill!

“Seriously, you millionaire?” I sassily asked her while reaching for my wallet. “You couldn’t pull some strings?”

She just stared at me until I woke up, at which point my tune had changed to something more like, “Wait. FINE! I’ll pay for half. I’ll pay for it all! BE MY FRIEND,” which is sad.

***

There’s one dream in particular that takes the cake. And not only because we ate cake in it. (Although we did indeed.)

It was New Year’s Eve and Taylor and I were invited to a big party at a venue with steps in front of it. There was also a fountain. It was kind of like a dream-combination of the New York Public Library, the Met, and Washington Square Park. Oh, you know what? I think it was actually Lincoln Center! But I digress.

Taylor and I showed up on the steps in our fanciest going-out clothes (Tom Brady jersey for me; ’50s bathing suit for her), but we were late and the party was over.

“What are we going to do now?” I asked my slender sidekick, exasperated.

“Let’s drive around and find something to do,” she chirped in response. “It’s New Year’s Eve!”

And then a slightly rotund hipster appeared out of nowhere and offered us a ride, which was nice and all, but suddenly there were four other people in our group and the slightly rotund hipster’s car was a tiny sedan with manual windows.

Taylor didn’t care, though, because she called shotgun—leaving the remaining five of us to squish together in the backseat like a bunch of freakin’ animals in coach! (Coach: what I’m sure Dream-Taylor flies.)

I cursed her in my dream-head, wondering why she didn’t just call a limo company and say, “I’m Taylor Swift. I’d like to order a deluxe party bus. Here’s my credit card information, which is under the name of my cat Olivia so as to preserve anonymity, thank you, good DAY!”

But she didn’t do that, the inconsiderate dream-bitch.

Eventually we all ended up in a big parking lot/alley area not unlike the music video set for *NSYNC’s “Girlfriend.” Taylor and I were vaping in a corner with some kind of sour green apple-flavored e-juice and talking about how we both really thought the everyone-going-to-jail ending of Seinfeld was criminal. “No pun intended!” she cooed as I let out an unreasonably hearty laugh. It was all so real. I can still see the green apple liquid bubbling in the vape pen of my mind.

***

There are myriad reasonable explanations for whatever it is in my subconscious that causes these dreams to happen, a few of which may even have some kind of deeper meaning and/or lesson attached. But I’d like to discount all of them for the following conspiracy theory:

I’m being haunted.

You see, last fall during a trip to the Catskill Mountains with some friends for Oktoberfest, I encountered the below mannequin at a local antique shop.

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1989? More like 1782!

Upon revisiting this photo four months later, it has become clear to me that this is obviously a Taylor Swift-impersonating mannequin-demon-ghost-of-yore with nefarious intentions. It must have latched on to me that day in the antique shop purely to haunt my dreams for no good reason (other than the fact that I outed the bitch on Instagram).

I mean, it all makes so much sense. How else to explain the selfish, miserly tendencies? Everyone knows that the real Taylor Swift showers her fans with surprise gift packages and student loan payments. How else to explain the splitting of the headphones? Everyone knows that mannequins are deaf in their left ears. (The vaping remains shrouded in mystery, but I’ll take two out of three.)

Looks like my subconscious isn’t the creepy one after all!

So. In the tradition of facing one’s demons, I’d like to directly address the evil Taylor Swift-impersonating old-timey mannequin ghost right now, once and for all: I know what you’re up to, and I’d like you to stop. Go haunt someone else. Maybe John Mayer? Better yet, go audition for a haunted house. Take up knitting! I don’t care. Just, whatever you do, GET OUT OF MY DREAMS. (Get into my car.)

***

P.S. THAT LAST LINE WAS JUST A BILLY OCEAN JOKE. DO NOT GET INTO MY CAR, BECAUSE I KNOW YOU WOULD ONLY HAUNT IT AND ALSO PRESUMPTUOUSLY CALL SHOTGUN WHILE FORCING THE REST OF US TO UNCOMFORTABLY SQUEEZE INTO THE BACKSEAT. GOOD DAY.

Three Things I’ve Learned from Being in a New Relationship

The last long-term relationship I was in ended in early 2010. Obama was still in his first term, Mariah Carey was yet to be impregnated with fraternal twins, and I had crabs a Blackberry. I was barely out of college and about to start grad school, which is to say that I was young and a total dumbass. So the fact that I’ve been in a new relationship for nearly four months now – as, like, an adult/non-dumbass – has led to a few interesting self-revelations.

Let us pray explore them!

1. I don’t care about social media as much as I thought I did. When my BF and I first met, he was a very, very private person. I mean, he still is, but he’s now out of the closet to his friends and close family members for the first time ever, which, considering the fact that he’s a macho Wall Street dude with three decades of “straightness” behind him, is kind of a huge deal. Needless to say, his weird privacy fetish was challenging for me at first, given that I am the quintessence of an over-sharing blogger with a set habit of documenting way too much shit on soche meed (sp?).

But I’ve learned this: the hippies/Luddites/old people are right! Going on adventures and falling in love with someone while being present in the moment truly is better than bragging about accomplishments on Facebook. WHO THE FUCK KNEW?

Also, a bonus. My boyfriend’s text inbox is the perfect place to send meaningless selfies when I think I look great but don’t want to saturate Instagram with my [#gorgeous] face for absolutely no reason. It’s also the best place to send unsolicited pictures of my various Chiptole orders.

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2. Turns out I’m actually okay with dick pics, as long as I’ve known the recipient for a minimum of three months and have been in a committed relationship with him for at least two of them. I used to be super anti-that dick pic life, but when I was drunk on Christmas day at my dad’s house last month, I randomly found myself thinking about my boyfriend while I peed in the bathroom. Huh, I thought as I looked down, I bet he’d love a pic of this right now. Snap!

(Of course I shook vigorously and stepped away from the toilet area entirely before taking the pic. What do you think I am, an animal?!)

(Although now that I think about it, I definitely didn’t wash my hands first. Sorry to those who’ve touched my phone within the past month! You’ve totally Six-Degrees-to-Kevin-Bacon-touched my…bacon.)

3. I’m no longer a crazy psycho! My past two serious relationships took place during a time when I was even younger and messier than I am now. Though they each lasted over a year, they were dysfunctional and combative (and pretty much fucked) from the one-month mark on. Which is ridiculous, when you think about it. Like, why stick around for eleven more months if after the first one you’re already screaming at each other and crying and having more hate-sex than normal-sex?

Because you’re a crazy psycho, that’s why.

But in this relationship so far, I’m self-aware. And so is he! In four months I have yet to analyze a text message for hours or scream “WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!” in a manic Beyoncé-voice at him or throw a dirty skillet at his face without warning. We communicate and express our feelings but mostly just laugh and act like little kids with mild behavioral problems. We’re a lot more like best friends and a lot less like two people who share a mutual, hate-generating belief that the other should have solved all our problems by now but haven’t. It’s great, and something I suspect can only happen with ample amounts of age and survival of past bullshit. And that’s the biggest revelation of all, right? That new relationships – when they’re good and right and full of promise – are not supposed to be hard, which sounds simple, I think, because it is.

 

An Open Letter to the Literary Agent Who Told Me He Was Horny 5 Minutes After Rejecting My Book

Since we’re talking about books and literary things, let’s begin with some character descriptions.

Me: A 26-year-old gay writer. I work full-time in the music industry in New York City and harbor a borderline stalkerish obsession with Mariah Carey, both of which sometimes interfere with my writing. But I still manage to make time for it because I can’t not write. I write on the train. I write at home. I write whenever I can because I’ve been writing forever and specifically I’ve been writing and rewriting a book for the past three years. A book that is, as so many authors refer to their debut manuscripts, my baby.

Except my baby is yet to have a birthday—or in literary terms, “be published”—which brings us to You: Successful literary agent. Older male. In a position of potentially significant power over my writing career and, most importantly, my baby’s birthday.

Before I get into anything, I’d like to thank you. You showed genuine (?) interest in my work—responding to my initial query within an hour back in December and requesting the full manuscript at 11:00 p.m. three days later. On the Friday before Christmas, no less!

But then last week you decided you didn’t want to take it on. This stung, but I got over it quickly because I’ve long since accepted that rejection is a major part of the journey. Plus you softened the blow with praise, saying I “hit the mark fantastically” when it came to “hysterical writing writing.”

Of course there was also criticism. You had issues with my character arc. It wasn’t “obvious” enough. You wanted to feel more strongly that all the crazy circumstances in my life have somehow shaped me into a “better man.”

For both the praise and criticism, I offer sincere thanks. I do not take it lightly when someone as busy as a literary agent with a full client list makes time in their schedule to not only read the work of an unpublished author, but to offer thoughtful feedback as well. It is a huge gift.

So I said as much:

Thank you very much for taking the time to review my manuscript and also for explaining exactly why it didn’t work for you. I’ll definitely let you know if I decide to revise in the way you suggested in the future.

Thanks again!

Nic

And then you added me on Facebook! Maybe this way I can keep track of your work, you wrote, with a smiley face.

Awesome, thanks! I replied. Accepted.

I felt weird doing it! you then wrote. But I really do like your writing and I think your voice is important. If we can ever figure out a way to package it differently, I’d love to explore it.

This meant something to me. A lot, in fact. I’d gotten a rejection, but now I had a professional literary person adding me on Facebook and wanting to stay up-to-date with my work because he thought my voice was important! It wasn’t quite Tommy Mottola turning his limo around immediately upon listening to Mariah Carey’s demo tape in 1988 to offer her a record deal, but it was encouragement nonetheless.

After the arduous journey I’ve been through so far with this book—querying an earlier draft of it to many agents, getting many rejections, being told my “platform isn’t strong enough” about a hundred times, and revising the shit out of the thing—your kind words were a big deal.

So I thanked you again:

I’m very glad you decided to request. I’m grateful for anything to make me feel more plugged in to the literary scene, and am glad to have made a connection out of our querying exchange. You have no idea how much your words of encouragement RE: my voice are so very appreciated. As I work on either this or other future projects, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again!

And you replied with this:

I’m upset that there are no shirtless pics of you on your Facebook page!

Really, dude?

But okay, fine. I get it, you’re flirting. I flirt with men all the time in my non-writing life, and I’m mostly comfortable with this kind of thing. It happens between gays. It feels weird happening here, on a string of e-mails about my book/baby, but of course I’m going to quickly respond to you in an overly “I’m totally cool with this!!!” manner, because scroll up: I’m me and you’re You.

LOL. Surely after reading my MS you know me better than that.

And then you said, A boy can still hope, and I didn’t respond. Because it suddenly felt a lot like you didn’t give a shit about my writing at all but instead just wanted to get laid, which—as someone who has struggled with low self-esteem in the past (something you may have noticed in my manuscript!) and then overcome it by realizing that I’m more than the validation I get from men who want to sleep with me—was kind of shitty.

After noticing my silence, you said: Sorry for misbehaving lol.

As a recovering “giving-way-too-much-of-a-shit-about-the-feelings-of-sleazy-men-who-are-only-nice-to-me-because-they-want-to-see-my-dick” person, I felt bad for you. I didn’t want you to think I was mad or offended by something as innocuous as a couple of shirtless pic comments. I definitely didn’t want to make you feel guilty. I also didn’t want to seem like a sheltered prude who’s far too idealistic and sensitive for my own good, though this letter suggests that might be exactly what I am.

So I lied. I wrote: Haha, no need to apologize, and tried to deflect: a bit of levity is always appreciated in these situations.

Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Maybe I should have been honest and said something like, “Apology accepted; let’s just keep it professional from now on,” but again, scroll up to the character descriptions for a refresher on the power dynamic here.

Levity? you responded. I’m serious. I need shirtless pics! Lol.

Still trying to be cool, I wrote, Haha, OK fine, here, and attached a titillating photo of Nick Jonas’s 39-pack. You reciprocated, Here’s mine, and sent me a shirtless model. I wrote, We’re so hot.

Which is when you said: I know!! Now I’m horny…

I’m sorry, but no. You don’t get to do that. You get to be the gatekeeper to publishers with the power to validate the hundreds of hours I’ve spent chipping away at my manuscript, yes. You get to read that manuscript, which is made up of my heart and tears and life and spirit, and you get to judge it and reject it. Fine. I’ve come to accept the reality that my book is ultimately being sized up as a product for a marketplace. But I am not a product, and you do NOT GET TO ASK ME FOR NUDE PICS. YOU DO NOT GET TO TELL ME YOU’RE HORNY. FUCK YOU.

Phew, alright, okay. Maybe I should take a breath.

So can we talk about my book again for just a quick second? Then I promise we’ll be done and you can go masturbate. You have read my manuscript, so you should be aware of the fact that my character eventually gets to a point in his (my) life where the validation that comes from male sexual attention no longer drives him (me) as much as it did in the beginning of the story. My character realizes that he is (I am) a hell of a lot more than that.

With that in mind, I should apologize to the both of us, because I have disappointed myself and misled you. In that moment last week, responding to you coolly and lightly playing into your advances, I was embodying my beginning-of-book self. The self that would have maybe even been flattered by your e-mails and thought, Hey! He doesn’t think my words and talents are good enough, but at least he thinks I’m fuckable.

But now, as I write this, I’m my end-of-book self. My old-enough-to-understand-why-this-is-happening-but-young-and-naïve-enough-to-still-be-insulted-and-morally-outraged-by-it self. I’m someone who is willing to point out the fact that what you did was disrespectful and not OK. Someone who believes in my own abilities and doesn’t need to play into your ego just so I can maybe kind of hope that we’ll someday work together. I’m someone who just de-friended your unprofessional ass on Facebook.

There’s your fucking character arc.

I Need to Stop Swallowing Things

December 2014. ‘Tis the night before Christmas and about twenty bacon-wrapped scallops rest menacingly on a white porcelain serving tray in the buffet area of a festive celebration. They appear to be delicious. Succulent. I love succulent. I grab one with my dirty Christmas-Eve fingers and quickly pop the whole thing into my mouth, enacting a sort of self-inflicted reverse five-second rule. And, oh! It is delicious. It is succulent.

At first.

But then I notice that the bacon is extra, extra tough. Jesus, I think to myself as I vigorously chomp my way through the remaining shred of it that just won’t budge. Is this bacon or is this, like, really fucking old beef jerky?

Jesus doesn’t respond, presumably because it is approaching midnight on his (His?) birthday, which means he’s probably busy pre-gaming with some sheep/shepherds/disciples and is drunk on homemade wine/Fireball shots/whatever the good shit is that they only serve in heaven.

So I finally get that last piece of extra-hard bacon down a few minutes later and go back to enjoying the company of family and friends. Some time passes before I return to the scallop tray. They still look delicious and succulent, but are now tainted with the recent memory of having had to chew on a single piece of stubborn-ass pig for minutes on end, so I’m almost like, Ugh, not worth it. But then I’m like, Eh, fuck it. It’s Christmas and I should be grateful to have a bacon-wrapped scallop in the first place, even if the bacon is absurd and requires inordinate amounts of chewing.

As I reach for the new one, I notice something I didn’t before. The scallops all have TOOTHPICKS in them! Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks that barely peek out from the hors d’oeuvres in which they dwell. Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks, ONE OF WHICH I have most likely just EATEN!

But I have to be sure. So I remove a toothpick from a new scallop and eat it, and guess what? The bacon is as tender as a fucking Babyface song from 1996. It goes right on down with minimal chewing effort, thereby confirming that I currently have a chewed-up toothpick wreaking havoc inside my fragile little 6’3” body.

toothpick

In the past, if someone were ever to have asked me how I’d react if I found out I’d just accidentally ingested a toothpick, I’d definitely have said, “Well this is an irrelevant question; only a total dumbass would accidentally ingest a toothpick.” But I can now say that a) I am a total dumbass, and b) my natural reaction to finding out I’ve just accidentally ingested a toothpick is to freak out in the car with my mom as she treats the whole thing with an alarming amount of nonchalance.

  • Me: “How are you so calm right now? Your son just ate a piece of fucking WOOD! What is this going to do to my insides?!”
  • Mom: “First of all, it’s not wood. And second of all, you’ll be fine.”
  • Me: “How do you know I’ll be fine?”
  • Mom: “It’s a toothpick! People have shit out diamonds before and survived.”
  • Me: “Have you ever shit out a diamond?”

And then I realized that I had just asked my mother if she’d ever shit out a diamond, which is usually a pretty clear indicator that a conversation has gotten a little off track. (For the record, though, she never has shit out a diamond. Though she did give birth to me, which I’d like to think counts for something since everybody knows that I shine bright like a diamond and also am many a girl’s best friend.)

I texted my boyfriend (of three months; I promise I’ll post something with more details for you guys REAL SOON because he’s amazing… but right now this story must be told) when I got home and explained my dilemma to him. He too was convinced that this was not a big deal, saying that he swallowed much worse than a toothpick during his wild college days, and for a second I wanted to be all, “TELL ME EVERYTHING,” but then I was like, You know what? I actually don’t wanna know.

So I just went to sleep.

The next morning the BF and I talked a little more about my situation and then I sent him a bathroom selfie in which I stood sexily in front of the mirror in my cute little boxer briefs, with the caption: “About to confront my toothpick problem!”

And then I realized that I had basically just sent my boyfriend a selfie saying “GONNA GO SHIT [OUT A TOOTHPICK] NOW,” which is always a great way to set the mood with your significant other on Christmas morning.

He didn’t respond for about fifteen minutes, during which period I wondered if I had officially crossed the gross-line with him, but then he responded with the IPhone poop emoji and a thumbs up, so I figured I was fine.

So anyway, enough about poop! The moral of this whole story is that I survived. The toothpick came, the toothpick went, and now my life has resumed to normal and I’m blogging about having eaten and digested a toothpick on Christmas Eve, and I’m pretty sure this is the “Circle of Life” that Elton John sang about in The Lion King. Happy 2015.

 

The White T-Shirt Debacle of 2014

There are few things I enjoy as much as a fresh pack of plain white undershirts. (Those few things mainly being cheese, Mariah Carey, and water.)

Plain white undershirts are perfect because they have this strange psychological ability to make me feel magically shielded from the harsh realities of the world, and that’s important. They also provide a nice foundation for all my super fashionable real shirts to rest on while ensuring I don’t destroy them with my repugnant perspiration problem.

I don’t have a repugnant perspiration problem; I swear.

So anyway. Last Sunday I was at Target in search of a new package of these miraculous garments and found a five-pack from Hanes that included three bonus shirts. Eight shirts for the price of five, I thought. This is heaven on a stick! So I bought them and went home and slept really well that night with the delightful knowledge that I’d have the blissful pleasure of wearing a fresh undershirt every day that week.

But then. Upon emerging from the shower the next morning and hastily tearing into the tight plastic packaging, I peeled off the first shirt of the bunch only to find that IT WAS REALLY SUPER fucking TINY. It was labeled “Medium” but was in fact extra-extra-extra small.

I wondered if maybe I had gotten really fat and no one told me, or if maybe Hanes had fucked up and accidentally shipped Target a package of miniature doll shirts to sell to humans, or if maybe there was a dark, evil spirit in my midst shrinking my brand new T-shirts and generally trying to sabotage my life (successfully) just for sport. But the truth is that I had accidentally purchased an eight-pack of boys’ shirts.

Like, for children.

shirtdebacle

Is it just me or does it kind of look like a Taylor Swift-esque crop top?

Since I had destroyed the packaging entirely when opening it (because that’s how I do), I decided to just eat the cost of the boy shirts and return to Target the next day for redemption and a second chance at happiness.

I found a five-pack (no bonus shirts for men, though, which frankly I think is rather ageist and fucked up of Hanes, but whatever) and double-checked to make sure they were definitely not for children. They were not, and so I bought them and went home and slept really well that night with the knowledge that I’d at least have the pleasure of wearing a fresh undershirt for the remaining four days of that week.

But then. Upon emerging from the shower the next morning, I excitedly peeled off the first shirt of the bunch only to find that IT was a FUCKING V-NECK TEE and I only wear crew neck tees, and again it was all my fault because I was so fixated on getting a pack of shirts marketed to adults that I had totally forgotten to make sure they had the right kind of neckline.

And so then I just gave up on life and ate, like, eleven donuts.

Luckily my boyfriend loves white V-neck tees (that weirdo), so I was able to fob those off on him, but still, I’m left asking myself how it’s possible that I could be so absent-minded not once but twice in my attempts to buy a simple pack of white T-shirts. What does this say about my attention to detail in other areas of life? What does this say about humans in general? What does this say about America? Why do I still have eight miniature T-shirts in my possession? Why is life so difficult and confusing and crazy and cruel? WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?

I have no answers. Only miniature T-shirts.

 

Being Gay is Simple

Being gay doesn’t happen online. It doesn’t happen on “Gay Twitter” or on a Hookup App or on HuffPost’s Gay Voices or in a misguided Advocate article titled “6 Gay Cliches That Are Totally True.” It doesn’t happen in NYC, at fancy dinner parties, or during brunch. Mimosas have nothing to do with anything.

Being gay happens when you’re on the couch with your boyfriend and he puts his arm around you and it smells distinctly like him and that makes you feel safe so you lean over and kiss his neck. It happens forty minutes later when his arm falls asleep and you trade positions.

It happens when you don’t have a boyfriend, too—when you’re home alone drinking a glass of water and thinking about how cute that guy at Target was. Being gay is drinking water and finding guys cute. It’s also breathing air.

Maybe you’re young and still figuring it out or maybe you’re old and you thought you had it figured out, but for some reason you’re lonely or angry or just disheartened that we live in a world where the Advocate publishes articles with titles like “6 Gay Cliches That Are Totally True.”

You don’t have any gay friends and you wonder if you’re doing it right. You’re sick of defining yourself, sick of being defined, and mostly just sick of having to think about this shit.

Or maybe you don’t care that much. I don’t know. You can like Madonna and football or video games and cupcakes. Maybe you like nothing. Do you love to sing? Maybe you’re crazy and overweight or maybe you’re boring and have a six-pack.

If I know you’re gay, all I really know is that you drink water and you find guys cute.

You also breathe air.

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But all gay men do take selfies with giant rainbow teddy bears… right?

 

Wanda Needs Her Rice

I’m an expressive dude, and sometimes there aren’t enough words in the dictionary to convey the full spectrum of my emotions, so I often like to use the names of random celebrities as exclamations. This isn’t really an original thing to do (Steve Carell screaming “AGH KELLY CLARKSON!” while getting his unruly chest waxed in the 40 Year Old Virgin immediately comes to mind), but when you think about it, do any “original things to do” even exist? No! Because it’s 2014 and the world is, like, old.

So this past weekend I went to a wedding and interacted with people.

When being reunited with a friend:

  • Friend: Nic!
  • Me: CHAKA KHAN. I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN A DOG’S AGE!* How are you?

*This is a phrase that people need to use more.

When smoking a cigar outside:

  • Friend: Do we have a cutter?*
  • Me: Ugh, Shonda Rhimes, I didn’t see one.

*Please note that I ended up using my teeth to cut the cigar. And then I didn’t brush them until ten o’clock the following morning, which — yes — indicates that I am a repulsive human being and also the (tooth!) decay of Western society.

When eating delicious homemade kettle-cooked potato chips at the hotel after party:

  • Me: Shania Twain THESE CHIPS ARE GOOD

Shania chips

At the end of it all:

  • Friend: Have you noticed that you only use S-H names?
  • Me: Oh yeah… Huh.
  • Me: Well, sometimes I like to say Condoleezza Rice.
  • Me: It’s such a great name.
  • Me: It’s the best name.
  • Me: It has the contours and elegance of a full sentence, you know?
  • Me: It’s a name, but it could be easily mistaken for a sentence.
  • Me: Like Wanda needs her rice.

And then we all burst out laughing, but now that I’m writing it down I wonder if it’s actually not that funny at all and really the laughter was just on account of the fact that we were drunk at a wedding. Like, what’s amusing about a woman named Wanda needing rice? And isn’t “need” a bit strong of a word for something like rice in the first place? Nobody needs rice. Rice is not leafy greens or vodka or gay sex. Not only is my sentence not funny, it doesn’t even make sense.

Or, well — I guess it could make sense, but it would have to be a very specific scenario with context, like one in which Wanda was cooking Paella for a group of homeless teenagers or something. Or if she was some kind of FBI agent in a Hollywood thriller in which RICE was actually an acronym for “Rotating Isolation Chamber Extrapolator,” which sounds like a bunch of random FBI-ish words thrown together (because it is), but would actually be a fancy device of some sort, I guess? Or maybe — actually — you know what? Never mind. I’m getting far too carried away with all of this. Shakira.

Here’s a Mountain Metaphor

Six people: the maximum capacity for a bench on the ski lift in the small mountain town my friends and I visited for Octoberfest this past weekend. Our group consisted of two couples and me, and given that the sum of our bodies allowed for a one-person buffer between us and what I imagined would be a macabre, weight-driven tragedy, I had never been more ecstatic to play the role of fifth wheel.

We excitedly jumped on board but soon morphed into jittery hot messes once we reached the specific altitude of the mountain in which shit officially gets real. We got stuck for a moment and dangled and whined and sweated and prayed and got ready, basically, to die.

I tried to take comfort in the family-like closeness of our group—clinging to the dark thought that at least we’d all go down together—and it almost helped, but just for a moment.

“You guys, we’re only freaking out because this is like, the ultimate loss of control,” I heard my friend say from across the bench. “We have to trust that we’re not gonna fall. Why is it so hard to let go and believe that the people who constructed this thing knew what they were doing?”

“My balls are actually in my throat right now, so,” I replied, apropos of nothing and everything, and didn’t finish.

I could continue with a play-by-play of the hyperventilating and melodramatic rambling and meaning-of-life thought spiraling that ensued on my part, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just say that eventually I accepted that whether or not I freaked out, the outcome of this experience wouldn’t change. Like a lot of things, it was entirely out of our hands.

So I exhaled, the lift picked up again, and tragedy didn’t strike. And I realized that (one) friendship is everything, and (two) mountains are beautiful when seen from the safe distance of the bottom, but the views from the top are un-fucking-believable.

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