Saturday, April 21, 2012

Songs That Remind Me of You

A few weeks ago, I ran the Crescent City Classic 10k in 55 minutes. That's not exactly Kenyan time, but in my mind, I ran like fucking Maurice Greene.* It was one of the proudest moments of my life and true vindication for my adolescence as the asthmatic fat kid. And even though I've been a runner since I was 19, I owe much of my recent success to the Pub Running Club.

The club serves as my weekly opportunity to impersonate a sleek, graceful gazelle – sprinting and darting around downtown pedestrians with the herd. And then, at every mile, I take a shot. The shots feed my violent alcoholism and the club itself feeds my ego. I run seven days a week, but the Running Club lets me show off. I've been getting faster and faster and didn't think anyone noticed until another runner said something.
Guy In My Running Club: "How the shit did you get your pace down to 7.2 minutes?!"
Me: "Well, I'm listening to a playlist of like 30 songs that remind me of people I've dated. It gives me something to run away from."
Guy: "I really like your shoes, man."
I weirded him out, but I wasn't joking. One of the first things I did after setting up my Spotify account last November was create a Songs That Remind Me of You playlist. Because it combines my two favorite things: romanticized memories about people that I used to like and now fucking detest and fun mixtapes. The playlist walks the line between sentimental testament to my love life and self-mutilation, but I love it and I listen to it all the time – especially when I'm running.

Linger – The Cranberries
Wonderwall – Oasis
Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams
Nothing Left To Lose – Mat Kearney
Listen – Beyonce
Naive Orleans – Anberlin
I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
When You're Gone – Avril Lavigne
A-Punk – Vampire Weekend
At The Stars – Better Than Ezra
Lolli Lolli – Three 6 Mafia
I Love My Bitch – Busta Rhymes
At Last – Etta James
Crush – David Archuleta
The Promise – Tracy Chapman
Sullivan Street – Counting Crows 
I Heard Love Is Blind – Amy Winehouse
My Friends Over You – New Found Glory
Hey, Soul Sister – Train
Bulletproof – La Roux
Mine – Taylor Swift
Whatever It Is – Zac Brown Band
Collide – Rachael Yamagata
Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not – Thompson Square
Xxxo – M.I.A.
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend – Discovery
Crown On The Ground – Sleigh Bells
Tongue Tied – Grouplove 
True Affection – The Blow
Cosmic Love – Florence + The Machine
Don't Stop (Color On The Wall) – Foster The People

The tracks are listed chronologically, beginning with my first girlfriend. But in terms of being inclusive, the playlist is slim. That isn't to say that only legitimate boyfriends and girlfriends are honored. Quite the contrary. I Heard Love Is Blind  reminds me of a trick who looked exactly like another guy I was dating at the time (See Why I'm Awesome/An Asshole). And Don't Stop (Color On The Wall) is a recent addition thanks to a peachy fellow named Walker from Athens, Georgia.

Also, some of the songs carry more weight than others. Linger was literally playing in the background when I lost my virginity, while Lolli Lolli was McBougie's ringtone when we met back in 2008. Come Pick Me Up was on the radio when my first boyfriend dropped me off after our last fight, and I'll always remember laying by the pool and listening to Collide the day that Wit's End moved back to Houston.

So why even create something like this? Because sometimes I feel like a callous prick when it comes to dealing with [most] of my exes, and this keeps me in check. It's kind of hard to feel like a badass when a David Archuleta song can make you flustered and semi.

But I'll just run with it.

*In 2000, my dad hung a poster in our garage from the 1999 World Championships in Athletics that featured Maurice Greene, Marion Jones, and some other black guy. And it still hangs there today. Which is why I can easily pull Greene's name out of my ass and appear interesting and well-versed on historical American athletics. Psych ya.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Beginner's Guide to Prospect Rejection Protocol

Everyone needs something to believe in. And I believe in keeping my options open.

And with that responsibility, I have to be realistic about how my spreadaround attention is going to come back to me. Which forces me to be open to things just not working out. Having more than one prospect in rotation is an art mastered by such great leaders as Ryan Gosling. But even "The Goss" knows that having many irons in the fire leads to scorched fingers. So one must develop a system for handling burns.

In fact, I have my own protocol for dealing with prospect rejection. I call it my Prospect Rejection Protocol. And it goes a little something like this: 

Prospect Rejection Protocol (PRP)

When a guy that I'm casually talking to ends things with me, the first thing I do is turn red and lose my breathe for a second. I then give my head a quick shake and acknowledge that I am both red and short of breath. Then I close my eyes and say to myself, "It's ok. You've been getting too comfortable anyway." And then I respond with something vague and/or passive aggressive. Finally, I move on. It sounds bleak in back and white, but it's proven to be the most effective way for me to deal with getting brushed off. 

Here's PRP in action:

1. Get dumped. Turn red. Possibly faint. 

2. Shake it out. Breathe. 

3. Say something like, "It's cool" or "Sweet. I'm banging your friends now!"

4. On to the next one.
PRP is an advanced procedure for individuals who have dealt with sticky, heartbreaking, and life-altering break-ups. It's for the jaded and the bitter and the awesomely badass. It's for those who've built up a thick skin and aren't afraid of change. And If you're like me, it's for those who have trouble keeping all of your appendages eggs in one basket. And if you fall into any of these categories, some might call you:

A. A player
B. A C-Unit
C. Optimistic, but open to things just not working out

But being a player requires organization and grace – neither with which I was blessed. And although I might play the part of an icy bitch on TV, I'm generally sensitive when it comes to managing affection.

I'm just kidding. I'm a mean, obnoxious, pain in the dick boots. 

Also, I just discovered the cross-out tool, so I'll be using lots of that in the future.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Grindr 'Til You Findr

I tried my damnedest to put this elegantly, but I can't. So here it is:

When I was out of town a few weeks ago, I downloaded Grindr. And then hilarity ensued. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with Grindr, Google it. Because I don't have the language to explain it. I would would inevitably make it seem like something it's not. Plus, I'd just end up sounding like A.) a desperate pincushion of a man-tramp or B.) a hypocritical closet ho. There's no option C. because horny and fake are pretty much the only pigeonholes for me to fall into here and I'm already dealing with both labels (I'm horny and fake if you didn't catch that). 
The mark of the beast.
For those of you on my level, please congratulate yourselves. You're just as gross as me. High-five. 

Like most users, I have weird love-hate relationship with Grindr. In fact, I was Grindr-free from last November until my recent foreign excursion. It’s not that I’m too good to use it while I’m at home in Lafayette. It’s that I’m WAYYY [with three Ys] too FUCKING [and then the F word] good to use it while I’m at home in Lafayette. 

I’m not a very ostentatious person, but when it comes to certain things (like getting a haircut at the mall or eating at The Golden Corral Buffet), I have a limit of what I’m willing to put myself through – Grinding in my city of residence being one of them. There’s too much potential for something dicey to happen. But as you’ve probably figured out by now, my abstinence from The Daily Grind is suspended when I cross state or country lines. Which serves as the backdrop to my last trip to San Antonio. 

The trip itself was pretty phenomenal and yielded the following stand-out Grindr moments:
  1. My friends and I got lost on our way to a Mexican restaurant, so I asked a dude on Grindr for help with directions. You know. Because he’s a local. Turns out, the little bastard led us further from our destination and then asked me if I was free to hang out later. Some people’s children, right?
  2. It’s night No. 2 and my brain is practically floating in High Life. I’d been talking to a certain guy throughout the day, and I have zero intention of anything actually happening. But I’ve just given away my location, and luckily for me, he’s right across the street at another bar. So on my way to the car, I message him back and say, “Hey, run outside and I’ll catch you on our way to the hotel.” I intentionally used the phrase “catch you” because I wanted to leave things open-ended depending on what he looked like in person. “Catch you” could either mean wave to you from a moving vehicle or physically drag you back home with me because you were so incredibly good-looking that I could not live without you. And as we slowly careered to a stop in front of his bar, I saw him walk out onto the sidewalk. And that’s when I screeched, “Gun it!” and frantically waved out the window. The last message I received from him read: “I told you the wrong bar. Have you left yet?”
  3. I’d started talking to a guy within the first few hours of my arrival, and continued the conversation for the following three days. On the fourth morning, I was sitting at a table with three of my friends, enjoying the delicious waffle sandwiches with which the Hampton Inn had provided the instruments to create, and this guy walks up to the table. I look up. He looks at me. And he says, "Ryan? My name's C.J. It's nice to finally meet you in person." And then, I felt like I was going to have diarrhea. The two girls at the table looked absolutely bewildered, and the other gay guys were visibly fighting the urge to explode. I, on the other had, was mortified. So I stood up, shook his hand, and walked him away from the table and down the hall. We made plans to hang out in the evening, which I regrettably had to break a few hours later, and I hugged him goodbye. Then we meandered in separate directions and I never saw C.J. again. Upon my return to the table, I was met with looks of confusion and hysteria. So I did the sensible thing and shoved half of my waffle sandwich into my mouth to buy a few more seconds before anyone could ask questions.
I hadn’t been to San Antonio since 2008 when The Dean took me to the wedding of some graduate school colleagues. I was ready to make this city my bitch again, one trick at a time. And with Grindr in hand, I made my way through the most audacious and annoying state in the union. This was a great plan and it probably would've worked if I hadn't been shithoused the entire time. To clarify: even though my Grindr self-restrictions had been disbanded, I never did a single sexual anything the entire trip.

Let's see M. Night Shimmynomanom write a twist ending like that.