Friday, November 27, 2015


"Happy birthday," I said. "You're 23, right?"

She pulled a small drag out of her cigarette. "No," she exhaled. "Too old."

I swiveled on my heel, making a half-circle and finally facing away from her. "You're not old enough," I said just within earshot of the two of us.

In just under two hours, my workday begins. I will haul ass across the city from Lakeview to the Lower Garden District. I will make it to my apartment with plenty of time to toss today's outfit in the dryer and stand under the shower. I will glove and scarf and sweater and bicycle my way into the Central Business District. I will go to work. And at noon, I will leave and a lengthy, unmemorable Thanksgiving holiday will commence upon leaving.

But before that happens, I yell, "I love you."

I am approaching my car and she is behind me on the porch. I trudge forward, barley lifting my chin to bark the sentiment over my shoulder.

"I love you," she shouts back.

My first impulse is not to appreciate the moment, but to appreciate the fact that she didn't punctuate her response with a comma and a "too." It's an asshole's reaction, but I know she'll understand when I joke about it later.

I slide the key into the ignition, but I don't turn it. First, I've got to find the right driving music. I scroll and tap my way through Spotify until I find "Dancing In The Moonlight" by King Harvest. It's been in my head all night.

For a few moments, I sit still and listen to the lyrics. And then, when the chorus starts, I twist the key and yank the seatbelt across my chest to keep myself safe.

Monday, November 9, 2015


When 11:11 roles around, I wish that you would text me.

Since Thursday, I’ve never missed an AM or PM opportunity to submit my wish.

Now, it’s Monday morning and I’m up to eight consecutive, ritualistic wishes.

The truth is, I wasn’t aware I was doing it until this very moment.

I just checked my phone, and when I saw the time, I closed my eyes and wished.

I realize how incredibly mystic/passive/nuts this sounds, but it’s really the only action I can control to redirect you back to me.

Sure, I could text you. But then what?

I spend the rest of my day waiting for a reply?

I agonize over every word I wrote, second-guessing the language and grammar?

I fuck this up?

I could grab our relationship with both hands and steer. But for once, I want someone else to take the wheel.

And honestly, I just want to be the recipient of someone else’s impulse.

That’s not stupid, is it?

Texting you could also put what we’ve got in jeopardy.

Because right now, this is delicate and freshly minted.

To me, it’s safer to invest in shooting stars, and genies, and cyclical 12-hour chances.

My birthday isn’t until July, but I can reserve that wish for you, too.

We’ve got all the time in the world, don’t we?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015



Every morning after my breakfast, I take the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue just to visit you at the bank.

This daily routine permanently wedged itself into my life the day I shuffled into the Whitney Bank lobby and was greeted by a teller with a smile that reminded me of a 1950s toothpaste ad. I was there to put something in my safety deposit box and spent the previous evening agonizing over the event, but I felt the anxiety trickle away when you looked into my eyes and asked, “How can I help you today, sir?”

You are a sophomore at Tulane University — studying Broadcast Journalism with a minor in English. You grew up in Castor, Louisiana with your mother and three younger sisters. At Castor High, you were a decorated student athlete who carried his lacrosse team to three consecutive state championships. Outside of school, you were a devoted boyfriend to the most beautiful girl in Bienville Parish. And on the day you were accepted into Tulane, your mother cried inconsolably.

I know all of this because you told me so.

Over the past year, I’ve told you about myself, too. You know that I grew up on a pecan farm in Clanton, Alabama and that I received my draft card on my birthday. You know that I returned from the service and settled in New Orleans, where I founded the company that eventually made me a wealthy man. You know that I spent my first day of retirement at the New Orleans World’s Fair in 1984. You know that my wife passed away shorty after the storm and that I’ve been very lonely ever since. You know that I enjoy our visits and that’s why I return to the bank every morning after breakfast — just to spend a few minutes with you.

But there’s something you don’t know: I’ve only got a few months to live, and I’d love to share them with you.

This may come as a shock, but I’ve thought very carefully about this proposal and I believe it’s the one thing that would make my final days worth living.

What I’m asking is that you be with me. Quit your job, take some time off school, and move into my home for the duration of my life. Accompany me on a trip here or there and see wonderful parts of the world. Share my bed and allow me to pleasure you, if you’d be inclined. And in exchange, you will be named my sole beneficiary after my passing — collecting everything I’ve amassed in a lifetime. To me, this is a last-ditch effort to be with someone I care for before I succumb to brain cancer. To you, this is an opportunity to have whatever life you want after I’m gone. Take care of you family. Go anywhere. Buy anything. All I’m asking for is your time and your intimacy.

Right now, I’ve never been more nervous or embarrassed.

I can’t imagine what you think of me.

The truth is, I’ve spent my entire life being a partial version of myself. But I’ve come to love everything about you — even though you’re a straight boy from Castor — and I’m finally ready to be the person God intended me to be. I know this is a long shot, but I really want you think hard about my offer.

No one ever tells you what the end of your life feels like. But to me, every day feels like I’m bound and locked inside the trunk of a car, waiting to plunge into the river. But for a few moments every day, the trunk opens and I can see the sky.

You said you always wanted to visit Southern California, right? Well, we can leave tomorrow! On the plane, I want to hear more about that summer you worked as a 4H Camp counselor. Tell me everything. Let’s have drinks at the Del Coronado and talk about everything. We could watch the sunset and I’ll buy you sunglasses so you won’t have to squint. After I go to sleep, you can go wherever you want. But while we’re in bed, hold me and whisper, “I love you.” You don’t even have to mean it. Just say it into the air around my ear and maybe I’ll hear it before drifting off.

Whatever your answer, I want you to know that you are funny. And you are very, very kind. And you have the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen. And on your off-days, my driver still takes me to the bank, even though I know I won’t find you. He lets the car idle while I gaze into the lobby — imagining you walking across the floor to fetch some coffee or deliver a message.

Right now, the trunk is closed and my hands are feet are bound. Very soon, the water will come rushing in and I’ll fight for air. And the water will win, like it always does.

But before that, let me see the sky one last time.

After that, I'll be ready.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

That’s Hysterical

Before every first date, I pick out an outfit, shave my face, and treat myself to compulsive, frantic, psychological episode.

I know that it’s coming, but I’m still surprised when it does. That’s because it manifests in different ways and in various phases of my pre-date routine. This micro-breakdown sometimes hits me while I’m in the shower — singing a loud and off-key rendition of a Ying Yang Twins song, which is an oxymoron. My Night At The Strip Club Spotify playlist is a traditional choice when preparing for a romantic night on the town, and the Ying Yang Twins are sprinkled throughout this curation for obvious reasons. Strip club anthems are the calling card of Atlanta’s most party-ready, rapping misogynists. I’m body-rolling my way through “The Whisper Song," when suddenly I think to myself, Oh God. I’m about to go on a date with someone for the first time! What am I doing?!

What follows is a series of questions directed at myself. Some are date-specific [Do I have money in my checking account?] and some are much more existential [How did I fuck up my life so dramatically?], but each one is accompanied by a palpable rush of panic and anger. This episode is amplified by the fact that I never give myself enough time to get ready. Since I’m prone to these freakouts, I avoid getting ready too early. This helps me avoid downtime to mull over new worries. This also backfires and I end up sprinting from room to room, trying to make my face and body appear fuckable while showtime inches nearer and nearer.

Date Dash comes to a screeching halt when I finally have to stand in front of the mirror. Here, I study my reflection and reflect on how I achieved this toneless, adolescent build. With the possibility of sex looming in the near future, I take this opportunity to yell at myself for everything I’ve eaten in the past 27 years. I blame my parents for shitty genetics and I wonder aloud how my siblings managed to look like Swedish TV anchors while I look like someone who’s perpetually recovering from last night — a balding, 20-something version of David Caruso on a bender. I am fat and skinny and look too young and too old. I am a physical paradox. And somehow I have a date.


No time for bathroom sobbing. Bathroom sobbing can wait ‘til later when I’m drunk and alone. This train of thought leads to a second round of questions about my impending date, mostly along the lines of my predisposition to drink like a monster. Like most of us, I’m a more affable person after a couple drinks. Unlike a vast majority of us, I will tear past the acceptable limit until I am a hurricane of insobriety. Knowing this, I will engage in a psychotic debate with myself about the pros and cons of anxiety drinking and its effect on my “game.” This debate is interrupted by a sudden compulsion to have a drink. Slipping on underwear and yanking up socks to the stretchable limit around my calves, I hustle to the kitchen where I shotgun a Michelob Ultra with the fridge wide open. That’s better, I think. I’m going to be fine.

I spend the next few minutes ironing my outfit in hurried brush strokes and nodding along to Genuine’s “Pony.” Night At The Strip Club is still going hard. I’m not calm, but I’m making it. I pass for fine until I fully dress and return to the mirror. This is where I come undone again.

Sometimes there’s discoloration on my sleeves or a stain on my collar, but most of the time, I just hate the outfit. I grit my teeth and I cover my face with my hands so I don’t have to see what’s in front of me. Here comes the meltdown.

Nothing fits.

Nothing’s new.

I wish I had nicer things.

I wish I made more money.

I wish this wasn't me.

*Bathroom sobbing*

Eventually, I run cold water and dab my eyes and cheeks. I throw yesterday’s office attire into the dryer with a Bounce Sheet and an ice cube. I open Spotify and change Night At The Strip Club to Angry Workout. I turn the music all the way up while I latch my Rolex and mist Spicebomb across my neck. Fuck this, I think. I didn’t spend two days trying to convince a guy on the Internet to like me by using charm and recycled jokes just to break down in overtime. This is happening.

I’m crippled with anxiety at any given point in the day, but there’s something about going on a job interview for sex that turns me into an erratic basket case. But once I’m on the couch, and 7PM is only a few minutes away, I cool down and somehow find the confidence to leave the house and go to dinner with someone I barely know.

Then, across the table from a perfect stranger, I will experience an entirely new dimension of horror as I agree with ideas I don’t believe and pretend to be someone I’m not.

Please enjoy Night At The Strip Club.


There’s something you stir in me, and it’s not appetizing like cake batter or tomato soup.

Inside my stomach, there’s a thick, black tar that bubbles when I look at pictures of you or hear your name.

The sad part: I look for it.

I’ll noticed that you’re tagged in a Mutual Friend’s Facebook post, and then I’ll investigate what you’ve been up to for the past few months. You look good. I can’t believe you finally went to Barcelona. It’s embarrassing, but at least it’s private. And it induces a toxic indigestion

The really hard part is not bringing you up around other people. Saying your name in conversation is a compulsive, embarrassing habit I can’t seem to break — or at least muffle. No matter the topic, I am masterfully skilled at working your into the discussion. Try me. The Pope’s visit to America? Modern Family? A YouTube video of a moose fucking a Jeep? I’ve got just the segue to a story about you and me. And while I’m telling my friends, I’m becoming ill with hot, dark magma.

Right now, I’m writing about you.

And I can feel the nauseating sludge groaning from deep in the pit of me.

But I like it.

It’s you, after all.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Missed Connections

Missed Connection: We work in the same building and I think you're on the first floor. I was walking my bike through the lobby this afternoon and I saw you sitting in an armchair near the elevator. I noticed from across the room that your eyes were red and your forehead was sweaty. You looked like you'd been crying. Or possibly between cries. You were sitting perfectly upright like a fence post, but you were staring down at your shoes. During the workday, you are the closest person to me on Grindr, but for some reason, we never talk. I thought about resting my bike against the wall and walking over to you. I wondered what it would be like to put my hand on your shoulder and ask if you were alright. I wanted to be someone you could trust. I really wanted to. But instead, I kept moving towards the door — adverting my eyes when you looked up. I've thought about you for the past few hours and even though I wasn't there, I want you know that I think you're a huge pussy for crying in public.

Missed Connection: Listen, guy. Just because we hooked up once doesn't mean you have to sneak out the gym when I walk in. We're both adult men and I'm not going to make it weird for you. And if I ran out the room every time I encountered someone I hooked up with, I wouldn't be able to leave the house. So relax. Finish your workout on the stairclimber machine like a woman and let's get through this.

Missed Connection: You are the deaf busboy at Rum House. I left my number on a coaster and you never texted me. Now I have to spend the rest of my life wondering if you weren't interested in me or if you never saw the coaster because you're deaf.

Missed Connection: You kissed me in your F-150 and then looked away and said, "This was a mistake." Then, without saying another word, you dropped me off around the corner; in front of the bar where we'd just met. I stood on the curb until you drove away, and then I walked two miles home alone in the January deep freeze. I forgive you, but I hope something exotic and angry swims up your urethra. Oh, and you're real name is Logan Broussard because fuck you.

Missed Connection: You're the drive-thru boy at the McDonald's on Carrollton. I think you heard me fart. You made me a Sausage McMuffin and I involuntarily made a toot cloud for two.

Missed Connection: You're the cashier at the H&M five minutes from my apartment. You're also my Facebook friend and you follow me on Instagram, although we've never met in person. I was standing in line for 10 minutes before I realized you were behind the checkout counter. From that moment on, I stared at the other cashier – mentally begging her to go faster so that I didn't have to come face-to-face with you and drudge through an awkward, sweaty conversation. And before the obese woman with two babies could reach out and take her receipt, I forced myself onto the other cashier, throwing my belt, shirt, and debit card in her face. Then I "nonchalantly" leaned against the counter and hummed the Lianne La Havas song that played overhead. Once I had my bag, I practically sprinted out the door and turned the corner so you wouldn't see the back of my T-shirt: "Britney Spears Circus Tour 2009." The worst of all Britney tours.

Missed Connection: You were my summer camp counselor when I was 10 or 11. You were probably only a couple years older than me at the time, but you seemed at least Erik von Detten's age. One time, you sat on top the monkey bars with one leg extended out. Your entire dick and balls flopped out of your gym shorts. I've been looking for you ever since. 

Missed Connection: We met on Bourbon Street. I think your name was either Matt or David. Pretty sure you're a ginger. We fucked, I passed out, and in the morning, you were gone. Now, I've spent the entire morning combing through all of my slutty gay male Facebook friends to see if we have you in common. No luck so far. Will try again at first light.

Missed Connection: In Palermo, you were crossing at an inner section in the rain. I looked up from under my umbrella and saw you gripping a messenger bag over your head like a visor. In Paris, I saw you on the street below our apartment. You were with friends and you waved back at me. It was New Year's Day and we all had to be going somewhere. In Kilrush, we passed each other on a muddy trail. An icy breeze lifted off the sea and you packed up your shoulders and shivered. I smiled at you and said, "I know. It's unbearable." From behind me, my boyfriend asked, "What's unbearable?" And I wanted to say, "All of this," but I just reached back for his hand instead.

Monday, June 22, 2015


I’d been a resident of the city for less than an hour when Tim messaged me on Grindr.

Halfway through breaking down a column of cardboard boxes in my new apartment, I heard the telltale chirp from underneath a pile of winter coats. “You’re new,” he said. “I’m barely here,” I responded. I recognized his pic from Facebook and quickly deduced that we are already friends. “Ryan,” I said. “I know,” he said. “Tim.” I bit my bottom lip. “I know.”

I didn’t really know that much about him, other than he was dating a friend of a friend. But he was beautiful, that was for sure. “You’re close,” he said. “Just moved into The Saulet,” I responded. “Where are you?” “I’m at the corner of Baronne,” he said. “A block away.” I looked around at the apartment and saw bare walls and anthills of my crap everywhere. “I’ve got a lot of unpacking to do,” I said. “Maybe we can grab a drink later. “Sure,” he said. “Let me welcome you to the neighborhood.”

I fell asleep early that night and woke around 6AM under a steady beam of sunlight funneling in from across the Mississippi. I rode my bike to my first day of work and arrived at the office before anyone else. I settled in at my desk and tapped opened Grindr. Tim was 104 feet away and presently online. “Where are you?” I asked. He immediately responded, “At my office. Corner of Magazine and Poydras.” I looked out my window to see if he was watching me. “That’s so weird,” I said. “So am I.” He didn’t respond for a few moments and the replied, “Well I guess we’re going to run into each other sooner or later. Wanna swing by my place after work? I asked for his address and spent the rest of the day confined to my desk — terrified I’d run into him in the hallway on the one day I forgot to wear deodorant.

The trick to dressing for sex is looking relaxed, but confident. I am neither, but should appear as such. I don’t overthink it: a pair of gym shorts without underwear; the man’s lingerie. Very practical. Oh, and a T-shirt from high school to appear youthful and nostalgic. Then I slap on some deodorant and try not to sweat a lot on the walk over to his place.

He was hotter than his pictures and that made me anxious and sweaty. His modern, impeccably decorated loft didn’t make me feel any less inadequate and unsuccessful, either. Whenever I meet a guy at his place for the first time, I immediately ask for a tour. This ensures perpetual moving and talking and the last stop in his bedroom. This went the way it’s supposed to and I flopped onto his bed; kicking off my shoes and sucking in my stomach. He wordlessly scooted in next to me and I felt the weight of what was about to happen. “So,” I said. “How's work going—” and before I can ask the question, he grabbed my face with both hands and kissed me.

He rolled on top of me and pinned down my wrists with the steak-sized palms of his hands. He let one hand go free while he snapped open my fly, one button at a time. I used my free hand to pull a handful of hair — guiding my tongue around the inside of his mouth. Then, from my back, I pushed both of us onto our knees while he shimmed my shorts around my thighs.

When it was over, we made uncomfortable small talk while I washed his ass off my face in the bathroom. And here, I realized that it was my second night in a new city and I’d already had a solid hook-up with an incredibly attractive guy. There was a lot to appreciate about it: the effortless fluidity, the reciprocated climaxes, and how I’d achieved this without being under an influence. But it felt finite. I saw us passing in the halls at work or washing our hands next to one another in the bathroom and purposefully discounting what just happened. This wouldn’t turn into anything and that was okay with both of us, I’m sure. But there’s something grave about coming to a stopping place when you’ve just created a fresh start. New Orleans might be new to me, but this feeling of vacancy is like an old friend. I’m barely here.

He talked about his weekend plans while I made my way to the door. I shook his hand for calculated distance and turned my back before I could watch him close the door. Then I bounced down the front steps and called my best friend to tell him about everything I’d done and everything I was going to do next.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dirty Talk

I can be fairly creative with my words. But not in the bedroom; where my language is pretty much limited to “Yes,” “Fuck,” “God,” and “Shit.”

And sometimes, “Ouch.”

And one time, “HUHHH?!”

It isn't because I’m not quick on my back — I’m having a genuine experience and I’ve got a million things I want to say. But all that comes out are curse words or affirmations of consent. And frankly, part of me is terrified of saying something embarrassing.

What if I start to say, “Aww yeah that feels really good,” but it comes out like, “Aww yeah my dick’s having a blast inside your annoying mouth right now.” Because maybe that’s what I’m really thinking and maybe that thought could become an audible sentence. My brain will often lag behind my mouth when I’m excited — causing stutters and compulsive outbursts. So I keep my verbal reactions to single-word expletives or moans, which are also conservative.

I’ve taken chances, though. I’ve tried to be sexy and in-the-moment. One time, I was having sex with my exboyfriend and I enthusiastically said, “Oh yeah, pound my little gay hole.” And then he stopped. And then there was silence. And then he laughed in my face. So then I started laughing because he was laughing, but I didn’t think anything was funny at all. I just wanted him to leave so I could drink that memory into a fuzzy black chunk that never happened. And I never said the words, gay hole, ever again.

Just kidding, I say it all the time because it’s hilarious.

Being truthful with my emotions hasn’t fared well, either. One time, in the middle of sleeping with this 22-year-old, I reached over and switched on my reading light. “Why’d you do that?” he asked. And before I could make something up, the truth came out: “Because you’re beautiful and I want to see your face.” Charming, right? Well he just stared at me. And instead of banging him out with confidence, I immediately lost my erection and shame-ate half a pizza after he left. 

Have you ever met someone you just can’t be cool around? Well that’s how I feel with pretty much everyone I sleep with. So I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut. I’ve learned to just be in the moment and to focus on all the wonderful physical and cerebral benefits of sex. And I’ve learned to rely on my underdeveloped physique and my improvised, erratic body movements.

And — of course — my gay hole.

Gay hole. Hilarious.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

He Doesn’t Remember

When he forgot the names of my cousins, I forgot them too.

That’s kind of how this mess started — with outlying information like the names of my cousins. But every day it becomes more and more personal. Memories slip away from him and I lose them here in the real world. It’s a real pain in the dick, to say the least.

Most of the time I’ll be driving to work and POOF! I won’t know what the inside of my grandma’s house looks like. Or I’ll be ordering Chinese from Dynasty and BLAM! I can’t recall any of the names of my fraternity brothers — not that they mattered that much anyway.

It works with real shit too, like my body. I’m definitely not the piece of ass I was when we broke up. Mostly because I’m missing a piece of my ass. I’m also missing certain angles of my face, the cleft in my chin, and what I look like when I’m sleeping.

Things get tricky when he’s uncertain about something. The color of my hair has changed about a million times. It’s still red, but it’s been just about every shade of red. And when he’s hazy about a particular detail, I get hazy. When I cry, my face looks like someone smudged it with their thumb. This doesn’t bother me too much because I’d rather no one see my face when I cry, which happens more and more often these days.

It’s not all bad, though. He forgot about some of my shitterier qualities, so those have been eradicated. He forgot that I eat with my mouth open, so now I eat with some civility. He doesn’t remember that I piss in the shower, so now I use a toilet like a human. He doesn’t remember what religion I am, so now I’m free to explore whatever I want. I’m thinking Presbyterianism, but that will probably change.

Obviously, I get to keep everything I didn’t share with him. I’ve got a few summer camp memories left. I remember doing ecstasy alone in the bathroom at my friend Ani’s wedding. And I know the name of every guy I fucked behind his back. Part of me wishes I’d told him about that, even though I know he’d never forget. Which means I'd never forget.

He doesn’t remember where I went to grammar school, so that chunk of my life is pretty much gone.

He forgot my birthday, so I make one up every year.

I’m friends with more than 2,000 people on Facebook and don’t know who most of them are anymore.

But I’ve still got my laugh.

I still know my way home.

And I still have my name.

I have a very limited recollection of my life, and I’m missing a few limbs here and there. But I remember slow-dancing in his living room to a Tracy Chapman song, and I’m hopeful he’ll let me keep that one.

My skin doesn’t smell like anything anymore, except on certain morning when I’m alone in my bed. I’ll catch a whiff of my own flesh and I’ll bury my nose into the bend of my arm. This usually doesn’t last long, but I savor every second and every inhale because it let’s me know he’s awake too.

And he’s thinking of me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


At work today, I saw you walk past my window, so I jumped up and bolted through the office — hoping to catch you at the front door.

My co-workers looked up from their monitors and stopped mid-conversation with one another to watch me serpentine, arms flailing, though each department. I rounded corners and swung open doors — knowing the whole time that it probably wasn’t you at you. This is embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t actually see your face. Just a back view of someone’s blond-headed skull on top of a frame similarly proportioned to your own. But that was just enough to convince me it was you.

The back of your head.

I know the back of your head.

I never told you this, but the first time we met, I noticed the back of your head before I noticed anything else about you. I imagined myself sliding my hand up your back and into your thicket of blond hair. I felt compelled to run my fingers through it. Smell it. Pull it. Then suddenly I felt myself walking towards you. And then I was standing next to you, with a clear view to your face. I knew before I looked that you were going to have one of the most beautiful faces I’d ever seen. I stole a look and then I quickly faced forward again before you caught me gawking. My instinct was right: You had one of the most beautiful faces I’d ever seen.

I stared intensely at our reflections in the mirror behind the bar because seeing us next to one another was perfect, and we didn’t even know each other yet.

In the mirror, I noticed a girl coming up from behind. She shimmied her way between us and I quickly realize she was your friend. So I complimented her hair and asked what she was drinking. She was nice, but she didn’t introduce you right away and I appreciated that. So I intentionally kept my interest in her. Not you. But I could see you in my periphery, craning your neck and brushing your hair back with one hand. You wanted me to notice you, but I wouldn’t give you the satisfaction. Finally, she gestured to the air behind her and says, “This is my friend, Jeremy.” And I could see the relief in your face when I leaned in to shake your hand. And I didn’t let go right away. And neither did you.

After the bar, I took you to my office to listen to music and shoot hoops, because that’s my move and I do it with every guy I want to fuck and it always works. And it did work. And then we started seeing each other and it was nice. The sex was nice. The intimacy was nice. You were nice. But at the time, nice wasn’t enough for me. So I chose someone else.

When you came to my house that last day, I knew I was going to break things off, but I hugged you anyway — which was a selfish thing to do. You were so excited to see me and I felt guilty for knowing the future. But when you threw your arms around me in the doorway, I pulled you tight and inhaled. Then I took you by the hand and led you into my bedroom. Before you break someone’s heart you feel an unearned boldness. It’s like all the good parts of you wilt and the ruthlessness inside takes over and says all the things you’ve been withholding. That happens, and then eventually, you watch the back of his head as he walks away.

I tore through the art gallery towards the front entrance of my office and pushed open the glass door with both hands. As soon as I did, I realized that I’d left my sweater back at my desk. Outside on the street, the air was wild and icy. I crossed my arms, rubbing my biceps with my palms and locking my jaw to keep it from clattering. The wind was loud in my ears, but I could still hear the sound of your name humming under it.

But you were gone.

You're still gone.

And that will always be my fault.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The 2nd Annual Exy Awards

Hello and welcome to The 2nd Annual Exy Awards. Once again, we’re here to honor those brave men who made a significant impact on me [and my private parts] in 2014. I met my current boyfriend in March of last year, but I got it in A LOT before he showed up. So settle in and please refrain from sending emails trying to guess who’s who because I won’t respond. Unless you give me a really good reason to do so. And if you’re the recipient of an Exy, you will not be presented with a physical trophy. Your award is knowing your performance did not go unnoticed. Good or bad, you made an impression. Don’t change for no bitch.

Our first Exy of the year is for Most Fumbly Morning After and that goes to Guy With Wrist Tattoos. We’ve been friends for years and then one night we got drunk and hooked up. I tried to leave early the next morning so we wouldn’t have to face each other, but you woke up and we did that whole, “So that was weird, right?” thing. And it was.

The Modern Romantic Comedy Award goes to Guy I Met At The Backpacker. You came over and asked me if I needed help finding anything and my first thought was, “Yeah, can you help me find where to direct this boner?” But of course, I didn’t say that. Instead, I did the most cowardly thing imaginable: I went to The Backpacker’s Facebook Page, searched fans with your first name [which I knew because of your nametag], found you, added you, messaged you, and asked you out. That night, I went over to your house and we had sex. I didn’t have the balls or finesse to run game in person, but I do have a funny online personality and that’s really all I need, right?

The Oldie But Goodie Award goes to 45-Year Old Who Looked 30. You are the oldest person with whom I’ve ever hooked up. Congrats! Also, I stole your copy of Lolita off the bookshelf on my way out. I already have a copy, but taking yours felt poetic. I’m not giving it back.

Worst Sibling Award goes to Me for banging my brother’s friend. It was a dick move, and I shouldn’t have done it. And sending my brother a picture of the guy exiting my car the next morning was also a bad decision. Sorry bro. We good? Yeah, we good.

Worst Kisser goes to Guy With Boyband Hair and Tiny Mouth. Man, what a letdown. A handsome guy who kisses like a CPR dummy is the human equivalent of...


A sexy CPR dummy. And I know you’ve got a small mouth, but you should be making up for that with tongue skills. You brought nothing to the party. Plus, you made me work overtime and I don’t even do that at my real job. So many metaphors!!!

Hardest Break goes to North Louisiana Stoner. Telling you I just didn’t feel the spark wasn’t easy, but you handled it like a champ. Probably because you were super high at the time.

The Muse Award is bestowed upon those who have inspired personal essays that went on to be published in print or online in 2014. This year, the award is given to Guy I Dated For 3 Years for inspiring two pieces that were published: One in the 4th Issue of Hello Mr. Magazine and another in the 21st Issue of Gertrude Literary Journal. I turned our relationship into literature and it’s some depressing shit that people enjoy reading. I think you’re the worst, but you bring out a better writer in me. Get fucked.

The No! That's Not What I Meant! Award goes to Litigation Attorney With Chest Tattoo. When we were doing it and I said, “Spit in my mouth,” I didn’t expect you to cock back and shoot a loogie in my face. It wasn’t funny at the time, but it’s hilarious now. I’m seriously laughing at my computer thinking about it. What an asshole.

The Exy for Worst Date goes to Guy Who Wanted to Get Coffee. When you asked me to have coffee with you, I thought it was a nice idea. Then, halfway though my Mochasippi, I realized I knew you! A couple years back, when I bartended at a club downtown, you used to come in with your boyfriend and sit at my end. Your boyfriend was hot and would check me out when I tended bar in my underwear. You, on the other hand, were rude and never tipped me more than 10%. And even though I hated you, I didn’t fuck your boyfriend [even though it would have been easy]. So that’s why I never texted you back after we hugged goodbye in front of CC’s Coffee House. Because years ago I showed you clemency at a time when I could’ve fucked shit up and then you didn’t even have the decency to take me to a real restaurant for a first date. Who raised you?!

Best First Date goes to Andy Rivière. I knew halfway through breakfast at French Press there was something different about us. And I could make up a million different awards to give you (Favorite Travel Buddy, Most Romantic Outdoor Slow Dance, The I Don’t Deserve You Award), but I won’t. Instead, just know that I love you and I will continue loving you as long as you let me. You win.

Congratulations everyone! I’ll see you all in hell.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


So here you are.

You got piss-in-your-pants drunk again and invited a complete stranger from the Internet over to your place for sex.

Now you’re in a bit of a pickle aren’t you? All because you got brave for a split-second and asked, “Wanna come over?” And to your surprise, he responded with, “Address?” And then you were like, “FUCKKKKKKK!” So now your brain can’t catch up with itself because you have a million things to do before he gets here. Also because you’re drunk, you stupid asshole.

Sorry. There’s no use making you feel frantic AND disappointed in yourself. Let’s save that for tomorrow morning. For now, let’s prioritize:

Start by cleaning the living room.

NO! The bedroom.

NO! Go shower first. You can make excuses for the state of your apartment, but not your hygiene.

Okay. Take your clothes off and put them in the hamper.

FUCK! Where’s the hamper?! Do you even own a hamper? Screw it. Jam it all behind the bathroom door.

You definitely need a playlist to shower by. And worse case scenario: He arrives within the next five minutes and gets to hear what great taste in music you have. “Is that Sylvan Esso?” he’ll wonder. “I love Sylvan Esso.”

Alright, so definitely some Sylvan Esso. Maybe some Sinkane. Leagues. Real Estate. Yeah, this is good. Eclectic and tasteful without being too hip or overtly anything. You’re actually really good at picking out songs. Maybe you could freelance as a playlist curator. That’s a great idea! You’ve got to write that down. Where’s your phone? Oh shit, your phone! That guy’s on his way! Get in the fucking shower!!!

Alright, alright. Soap under the arms. Soap on the dick and balls. Soap all up inside the asshole. If he goes back there with his face, at least you did the bare minimum. That pube situation is not good, but it’s not out of control either, so don’t even think about grabbing the scissors and trimming the hedges. You’re washed now, so just try to keep this momentum going!

Yo, this bedroom is fucking gross. Why is there a pair of boots in the middle of the floor with a sock hanging out of each one? And those jeans over there are practically standing up on their own. And the fucking Q-tips on every surface?! You’re a farm animal. But you can’t fix your shamble of a life right now; you can only fix this shitty mess. But you need to put on some clothes first. The trick to dressing for sex is looking relaxed, but confident. You are neither, but should appear as such. Don’t overthink this. A pair of gym shorts without underwear; the man’s lingerie. Very practical. Oh, and a T-shirt from high school. Good idea, appear youthful and nostalgic. Now slap on some deodorant and try not to sweat a lot when you’re cleaning this house — which looks like a group of people hosted a cockfight in the middle of a frat party after the world ended.

Go find a candle. Worse case scenario: He arrives within the next five minutes and at least you’ve got a candle burning. Candles make people think of mom, and being home, and sometimes real romantic fucking. All of which are nice thoughts, but not in that order. Oh, you don’t have any candles? Well make yourself a reminder to buy candles tomorrow. Where’s your phone? Oh shit, your phone! That guy’s on his way! Jam that pile of clothes in the closet and muscle the door shut! Febreze this bitch and move onto the living room!

NO! First run to the kitchen.

Grab the trashcan, run back to the living room, and just start pitching everything on the coffee table into it. And don’t you even think about cleaning that kitchen, bitch. He’s never going to see it, so just shut the lights off and pretend it’s not there. Let’s just focus on, what appears to be, a student project about how landfills work spread out all over the coffee table. That’s a bowl of crusty jasmine rice with pieces of rotisserie chicken congealed in, what appears to be, yellow mustard. That’s it! No more weed for you. But that’s a bigger problem, kind of like the one where you get piss-in-your-pants drunk and invite a complete stranger from the Internet over to your place for sex. You’re just coming face-to-face with a lot of mirrors right now and none of them look particularly glamorous. But just keep cramming that trashcan with Taco Bell wrappers and flimsy paper Burger King and we’ll deal with one issue at a time, starting tomorrow.

But right now you have to make one decision: What should be playing on the TV when he shows up? The obvious choices are: Bob’s Burgers, Modern Family, and Parks and Rec — lovable comedies, with which everyone is familiar. You can watch any of these without really being too invested or just use it as background noise while you force small talk. You’ve already seen these episodes, but you won’t have to fake-laugh in front of him because each one is genuinely funny. Go with Parks and Rec.

Alright, one more lap around the apartment. The kitchen is a black hole, your bedroom is serviceable for the 12 seconds he’ll see it with the lights on, the bathroom is out of toilet paper and there’s water all over the floor. Replace the roll and move on. The living room? Meh. That’ll do, pig.

Now flip on the porch light so he can find the address and flop yourself down on the couch in front of the TV. Adjust your limbs and torso to appear as chill as possible. You’re just kicking it. Yeah that’s right. You’re kicking it. And you’re down for whatever. Pfft. You always stay this relaxed. And you talk like a black person when you’re feeling relaxed, don’t you? Yeah, son. Relax. Just don’t fall asleep. That guy will be here any minute, and you don’t want to miss him. You can close your eyes for a second, but don’t drift off. Everything looks decent for once. Show it off to someone. What are you doing?! Stay awake!!!

Oh, fuck it.

He's not worth it.

Plus, you never got around to sending him your address, anyway.

But at least your asshole's clean.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I pull his index and middle fingers out of my mouth, but I keep my lips tight around them until the finger tips. Then I let my lips go slack and his fingers practically fall out.

“Where do you want to go next?” asks Joey. I stop staring at the guy behind the counter and look down at my phone on the table in front of me. “Doesn’t matter,” I mutter. “Maybe a movie?” I turn my head just enough to watch the barista again — his thick fingers strumming against the countertop.




I bite my lip and I can taste his oils — dirty from handling other people’s money. I catch myself panting when Joey stands up and knocks his porcelain mug onto the floor. It cracks in two and suddenly the barista with dickfingers is swooping over to pick up the pieces. He squats down in front of me and I feel my face turn red and splotchy, which is the same reaction as when I drink tequila because I think I have a tequila allergy but don’t actually know that for a fact. I probably have just a second before he stands up, so I pivot my body and mime picking up a shard, just as he’s rising. His ass grazes my hip and slides up the side of my body until he’s standing upright with a khaki butt cheek planted against the side of my face.

“Oh shit,” I say feigning surprise. “My bad.” He looks over his shoulder at me with an expression that says, That was an accident and we should both bail, immediately.

But what if I’m reading his expression wrong? What if he’s thinking how embarrassed he is? Or what if he initiated this and he’s relishing the moment? What if he hurried over here when the mug broke just so he could be closer to me, if only for a couple seconds? What if he felt me behind him just now and poked his ass out to intentionally? What if the attraction I’ve had for him since he took my order* is flowing counter to his for me?


And what if…

And what if this is our meet-cute?

This is the part where he starts laughing; little nasally snortlaughs and bunched up eyebrows. We stumble through apologies and brushing imaginary strands of hair away from our faces because that’s what people in movies do.

A year from now, we’ll talk about how clunky this whole scene was and he’ll describe my face as “red like a Solo cup,” because he’s said that phrase a million times since our first date at that Indian place. After that, he started using “red like a Solo cup” to describe anything he thought was beautiful. Even if it wasn’t red — which was weird at first and then my second favorite thing about him. On some nights after we’ve been drinking, I’ll rub his fingertips against my lips while we’re half-asleep and that will be my first favorite thing about him. Because it always has been.

We’ll date for a few months after the year anniversary and then things will begin to fall about because we’ve always been in different places. Me: Down on one knee, staring up into his confused face with a handful of ass a half-inch from my face. And him: Looking down at me and wondering what the fuck I’m doing. And then he clears his throat, steps directly over me, and excuses himself.

And just like that, our timeline — our future — disappears.

Later, at the movie theatre with Joey, I sit four rows behind and seven seats across from a guy with a full head of the most beautiful blond hair I’ve ever seen. I imagine accidentally brushing it when I pass, followed by our first long car ride together and a petty, easy break-up over the phone.

On my jog later, I pass a guy running in the opposite direction. I imagine taking a few more strides and turning to see him looking back at me. We’ll have sex on the third date and never again until his mom goes to the hospital and he calls me because he knows I’ll say, “Sure. You can come over.”

And when I finally go to sleep, I dream about being a little boy at summer camp. I sit on the edge of the volleyball court and stare at all the guys, inventing futures. One of the counselors, Kyle Gaudet, peels off his shirt and tosses it to the sand. "Rogers!" he barks. "Grab me a water." I stand up and rush to grab him a bottle.

This is how it starts, I think.

He has no idea what I've got planned for us.

*A medium cappuccino. Middle-of-the-road enough so he can't make any snap judgments about me, even though I didn’t want it.