Tag Archives: funny

67. James Hurts Like a M#th@f*ck3r!

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Welp, I did it; I finally experienced something that I feel uncomfortable broadcasting on the internet. Yep. You heard right. I’ve written about how to clean out your asshole before getting railed, I’ve written about being sexually molested, and I’ve written about the guy who tried fingering me after I ate Indian food. But this, I can’t write about. But I will give you context without explicitly telling you what’s wrong with me, because frankly it’s none of your god damn business:

I am currently in the most pain of my life. Here are things that I have experienced that are less painful than what I’m currently going through:
1) Peeing out these weird crystals when I was younger.
2) Falling on a dick.
3) Strep throat so bad I wanted to drool into a bucket.
4) Broken collarbone from flying off my bicycle.

My pain has been so intense that I’ve called out of work three days in a row. I’ve never called out of work before. Ever. Even when I had strep throat earlier this year, I tried to work. I didn’t know what was wrong with me yet, but I would go to work and then get so dizzy I would lose my balance and then they would send me home. This happened a couple times before I went to the doctor. But on the second day of this current pain I was still going to work. I started my shift on Friday sitting down on the stairs sweating, because I was in so much pain. My coworkers kept checking on me: “Daddy, are you alright?” They brought me cold water and one of them made me this mixture of water, salt and lime. But by the end of my shift I was incapacitated. My abs contracted so hard that I doubled over, and I didn’t end up making it to the bathroom. My coworker drove me home, and I was thankfully able to make coherent silly conversation. When I got home, I told my roommates that I was okay and that I was gonna go to the doctor in the morning instead of work. They went to bed, but then I think Kaylee heard me crying in the bathroom. I told her I was nervous I wouldn’t make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night so she came into my room and helped me lay down a towel underneath me. I was still in an insane amount of pain so she gave me a melatonin and sat and talked with me until I fell asleep. She left my room at 4 am and then slept for two hours before she had to start her day.

The next day I texted Kelley and asked if she would come to the doctor with me. We took an Uber, because I couldn’t walk without being relatively hunched over. In my opinion my hunched-over hobble make me look like the monster from Stranger Things. But Kelley insisted on singing, “So I creep, yeaaaah,”  (that song “Creep” by TLC) every time I walked around which I also thought was accurate and hilarious. She came back into the exam room, and she was there when they told me my diagnosis. Honestly, it ended up being worse than what I had originally thought. And when I became speechless from shock, Kelley filled the void with the questions I needed to be asking the doctor. The doctor tried to make small-talk about my vegan diet, but I was already gone.

I waddled out of my Uber when it reached my front door, and I stumbled up to my apartment. Slowly, my friends started to trickle in to keep me company. I told them what the doctor said. Basically I’m not gonna die, but my life changed forever on Saturday. The medication they gave me started to make my stomach turn. Stacy ran out to grab me Pepto Bismal and ginger ale. Caity yelled at me for not asking for help every time I got up to do something for myself. But I got up anyway to do something in the kitchen and then I got stuck there; my pain got so bad I couldn’t move. I laid face-first on the counter, and then Kaylee, Stacy and Caity all just came out and hung out in the kitchen until I could move again. And then when my stomach cramped up so bad I had to lie on the floor in the fetal position, they all came and laid on the floor with me. But the whole time, they weren’t being gross and cuddly. The conversation moved seamlessly from the living room couches to the kitchen and then to the living room floor. No one commented on it; everyone acted normal about it.

But the pain isn’t what I want to write about; those are just plot points. And I don’t read books because of the plot; I read because of the relationships. And Jesus Christ I am so grateful for my relationships. Jian Li came up here from Chinatown and brought me juice, because I didn’t have the appetite for anything else. My friends have been checking in with me via text, offering to help me in ways that I wouldn’t be able to accept. Stacy offered to do my laundry. Caity went grocery shopping for me. And when I couldn’t do anything but throw pillows and scream my body to pieces, Caity sat there and let me be furious. My friends sat and talked to me when I couldn’t stop asking, “Why is this happening to me? How am I supposed to be this beacon of light when I keep getting shitted on? I want so badly to be this optimistic James who looks on the bright side and cares about people, but it’s so hard when people keep stealing pieces of me. Because I’ll never  be the same. And I feel like there are two James’. There’s Light James who loves drag queens, loves being outside on beautiful days and has a fashion sense that can only be described as Harajuku Throw-Up. And there’s Dark James who listens to angry rap music, ignores his fellow riders during Uber Pool and who has this insanely dark sense of humor. And every time something like this happens to me, I feel like I lose a little bit more control of my body; like it belongs to me less and less. And I veer closer to the Darker James. And what if he’s not as lovable as Light James? What if people don’t want to be around Dark James?”

And here’s what they said:

“This is not your fault. You are not being punished. This is science and it happens to people sometimes. We love both James’. And no matter what happens to you, Light James will always be there, because it’s a part of you. And no one can take that away from you; that’s part of your framework. And no one wants to talk to the other riders during Uber Pool; that’s natural.”

And then Stacy reminded me of a story that showed me Dark James is lovable, too:

At my grandmother’s wake the atmosphere was so dark. A bunch of us grandkids were doing our best to cope so we started whipping out inappropriate jokes. My cousin Lani asked, “Where’s the champagne?” And I said, “I don’t think there is any.” And she said, “Well, when I die there will be champagne at my wake.” And I said, “God, I can’t WAIT for you to die.”

(Totally kidding please don’t die but I do like champagne because I am a glamorous lady with exquisite taste.)

After Kelley accompanied me to the doctor even though she had plans with her super hot boyfriend, I texted her to tell her how grateful I was that I didn’t have to be alone when I was in such excruciating pain. She responded with something like, “You don’t have to thank me. It’s what friends do.”

But I know that’s not true; not all friends are even half as amazing as this. I am fully aware that I am so blessed with the friendships I’ve been given. Before all this pain started, I would end every night by listing all the things I’m grateful for. And now, I’m usually hurting so much that I can’t think about a whole list of things. But even as I lie there crying and whimpering, I still take the time to say thanks for my friends: “Thank you so much for sending me these amazing people to take care of me. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve such amazing people, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing to keep these people in my life but please give me the foresight to keep doing whatever the fuck that is. And I know that even in these most unlucky circumstances, I am one of the luckiest people in the entire world.”

This is the James I want to be. And you can’t take that away from me.

“This is not your fault.”

“You are not being punished.”

“Champagne IS delicious.”

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES THE  INDOMITABLE

“OLIVE: Can’t you see that I’m a mess?
ROSEMARY: No, you’re not, Olive. You’re wonderful. And you’ll handle this the same way I did. With an incontrovertible sense of humor.”
~Easy A (Bert V. Royal)

66. Dr. James’ Diagnosis: The Trouble With Love Is

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Dating is hard blah blah blah. I talk about it a LOT. But then again, so does EVERYBODY. Everyone talks about how hard dating is. Everyone. Everyone talks about how fed up they are. And everyone is like, “Why can’t I find someone?” Ok. So then if everyone here and everyone there and everyone everywhere is frustrated, you’d think that we’d all be ready to cut the bullshit and get serious about dating. Right? WRONG, BISH. Because it takes work and we don’t fecking WANNA.

In NYC, the dating pool is HUGE with a population of almost 8.5 million people. That is a FUCKLOAD of daddies #daddiesgalore. Knowing that there are so many single, eligible hotties, we feel like the world is our oyster. We go on a date with someone who seemingly fits the profile of what we’re looking for except for that ONE thing. “Oh man, he would be PERFECT if he didn’t drink.” And then we meet someone who doesn’t drink so we drop Guy #1 for Guy #2 who happens to be PERFECT if only he didn’t live in Brooklyn! But then we meet someone who lives in our actual neighborhood so we can just skip home after a night of blowjobbing so we drop Guy #2 for Guy #3 who seems to be PERFECT except he happens to paint his fingernails. But then we meet a masc bro who crushes beer on his forehead so we move on to them and so on and so on and SO ON. We’re told “NEVER SETTLE” so we don’t! We live in a city where we can have Thai food WHENEVER the fuck we want it. “It’s 2 AM and I fegging NEED panang curry with imitation duck. I’MA GIT IT.” You can literally have whatever you want whenever you want it. They even fucking deliver alcohol. You can pay someone else to do your laundry and fold it and then DELIVER it to your front door. You can order your groceries online. OR you can go to the grocery store, buy all your groceries and then LEAVE THEM THERE and they’ll deliver them to your house later after you recover from a day of adulting. You can go out to a restaurant here and tell the server exactly how to cook your food and what sauce to put on the side and you can sub your kale salad for a quinoa parfait while the chef in the kitchen slams his head in the fridge door repeatedly out of utter frustration for your lack of class. We’re conditioned to believe we can have exactly what we want. We believe perfection exists. So we search for it in the people we date. Everyone does it. Tinder is no longer to blame, Assholes. It’s us. It’s our fault. Let’s own up to it. We write people off for a variety of reasons. “Oh, he’s too femme. BYE.” “Oh he’s a bad speller. What a fucking idiot. BYE.”Oh, he’s too eager. He wants this too bad. Desperate? BYE.”

And you know what, I am fucking eager. And that’s what makes me undateable by NYC standards.

There’s all these fucking weird rules to dating, and I don’t get it. Basically, it sums up to being “COOL” ALL the time, which I fail MISERABLY at. I go down in a blazing ball of glitter when I attempt to Keep It Cool.

Here are the rules to being cool:

HOW TO BE COOL:
1) First of all, your Tinder should only be flattering pictures of yourself looking SO Cool.
2) On Instagram, you need to delete any picture that doesn’t get a sufficient amount of likes. (Sufficient amount of likes= Enough likes that it stops listing the individual people who liked the picture and instead lists the number of likes.)
3) Never make the first move. If they’re interested in you THEY will talk to YOU. Because being Cool gives you the right to also be entitled.
4) NEVER send more than one text in a row to a boy you like. NEVER. It must be a volley of texts back and forth, and sometimes it’s fair to respond with just a stupid emoji. And remember if the conversation dies, LET IT. If they want you, they’ll keep talking to you, even if you respond with monosyllabic, noncommital texts like “K,” or “Cool,” or “Yeah.” Be entitled. It’s like, you could actually die in real life and they should keep being like, “You okay?” for like DAYS, even as your body rots. They should stick around. Because your’e Cool. And Cool people deserve that kind of deranged commitment without any reciprocation. #Coolpeoplerights
5) Keep conversation light. Cool people don’t experience difficult emotions, and they DEFINITELY don’t talk about them. You may discuss breezy topics like: the weather, celebrities, TV shows that aren’t too femme, your favorite places to throw up, etc.
6) You may creep through their Instagram/Facebook but don’t you DARE like any of their pictures/posts. Being Cool means remaining disinterested and aloof.
7) Do not dole out specific compliments. You may say things like, “You’re attractive.” But you’re NOT allowed to say something like, “God, your smile is dreamy.” That is not something Cool people do. Don’t show them your whole hand. Stay in control. Keep a sense of mystery. They should always be wondering, ‘God, does this person actually like me or are they just killing time by sending me inconsequential emojis and making meteorological observations?’ Mystery is the MOST Cool.
7) Most importantly, at the exact moment that the hottie starts to show clear, obvious interest in you, you MUST drop him. Because being eager makes him UNCOOL. And Cool people can only date other Cool people.

I fail at being Cool. I send five texts in a row. I tell men exactly why I think they’re hot. I resurrect dying conversations by asking questions like, “If you could slap anyone in the world right now, who would it be?” Or “What Britney lyric most describes your life right now?” I post pictures of me looking absoLUTEly foul. (See below.) I tell them that I crept through their Instagram. I am honest about what I’m looking for in a relationship when people ask. I check in with them throughout the week to see how they’re doing. I show interest. I make an effort. I put myself out there. I BREAK the quintessential rule of being cool: I’m eager.

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My sexiest Instagram post, by far.

Yes, I’m eager. I know that I have my shit together. I feel very comfortable with where I am artistically/personally/financially, and I’m ready to bring in a significant other. I want a relationship. But is that a bad thing? Is it wrong to be honest and openly state that I’m looking for something serious? Am I supposed to pretend I don’t want it? Am I supposed to stop looking for it and then it’ll come? IS THAT AN ACTUAL THING IT’S NOT STOP SAYING IT. No one ever got something they really wanted by not pursuing it. That’s stupid logic. No one tells you, “Oh, you want a job? Just stop looking for a job! Then you’ll get one. Someone will recognize that you’re unemployed by your sharty clothing and they’ll offer you a job. But when they offer you a job, PRETEND YOU DON’T NEED IT THAT BAD. Because wanting something is WRONG.” No. No bitch. No. It’s not like that. It’s like this:

I’m ready, and I’m realistic. I recognize that perfection doesn’t exist. I recognize that no one will have ALL of the qualities that I want. When someone asks what my Perfect Guy looks like I just laugh. Because to me, that doesn’t matter. Yes, ideally I would date someone my height. But if the guy is shorter than me, I’m still gonna give him a chance because PERSONALITY, Y’ALL. I don’t care if you’re tall; I care that you call me back. I don’t care if you’re skinny; I care that you are real with me if you lose interest. I don’t care if you’re younger than me; I care that you are emotionally available. Because I hope that someone would do the same for me. I know that I will never the most anything; there will always be someone out there who has a better body than me, someone who is smarter than me, someone with better skin, someone who is funnier than me, someone who is cooler than me. That’s fine with me. But no one is my combination of things.

And I think I deserve a chance, God damnit.

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

“And my hopes, they are high, I must keep them small. Though I try to resist I still want it all.”
~”Fools” by Troye Sivan

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My attempt at a 420 look at the ripe old age of WHAT AM I WEARING, MOTHER?!

 

 

64. James’ Defense For Not Knowing What the Fuck You’re Doing

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“A Bitch and His Hoe” or “How To Hook A Man In 3 Seconds” or “How To Make A Man Blow His Load With One Look”

Lemme give you a brief history of James-Up-To-This-Point:

When I was little, I would watch Ace Ventura when I wasn’t feeling well. I thought Jim Carrey was the funniest bitch there ever was.

Then in middle school, I did this weird play, but it was super fun because all of my friends were in it. I had a blast. I got to see my friends every day, and we got to be freaks on stage.

Then I saw Moulin Rouge, and I thought, ‘This is the worst piece of shit I have ever seen. WHY won’t they stop singing?! STOP SINGING AND DIE, SATINE!’

Then I realized that I actually really liked singing. My best friend Dalila and I used to listen to my cassette tape of “My Heart Will Go On” on REPEAT. I would go over to boombox, press play, lay down on the ground next to Dalila and we would SCREAM along with Celine Dion. And when the song was over, I would get up, rewind the tape, and do it ALL over again. I’m sure my babysitter was somewhere in the house begging God to please explode my boombox.

Then in intermediate school I was throw into the school musical where I got the leftover parts. Well the JOKES ON YOU, because the leftover part was Buzz Lightyear, and I got to sing, “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” with a complete fucking stranger. This was my real first foray into acting as I pretended to be able to care about anyone but myself and Kit-Kat’s.

Then in my middle school choir we sang “My Heart Will Go On”, and I auditioned for the solos because CELINE FUCKING DION GOD DAMNIT. I don’t remember if I got it, but I’m positive that I sounded like a fucking superstar in my audition. A gay-ass, prepubescent, definitely gay, someone-please-love-me superstar. God, I was a fierce fucking alto. #neverchange

Then my friend (read: friends, plentiful and bountiful, for I was super popular at all points in my life) and I would sing the high soprano part at the end of the song “Phantom of the Opera”, and I used to be able to screlt those high notes (note: “screlt” is a portmanteau of “scream” and “belt”, which is a word for “to sing as high as Jesus”). I would screlt those notes ALLLLLL the time. Again, I think this was another point in my life where my mother begged God to please send a chupacabra to ravage my voice box.

When I was 14, I started dating people over the internet, because I was gay in my head but not out loud and I needed to talk to SOMEONE about it so I did the logical thing: I turned to complete strangers. I used to go to gay chat rooms and talk to other people like me. Sometimes we would become boyfriends, and that was pretty cool. But one day spikyblueeyes88 stopped logging on to AIM, and that was the first time that I had ever been ghosted. I’m sure I handled it appropriately: opening my journal, picking up a pen, calmly pushing my bangs out of my face, and then SCREAMING into my journal until the pain went away/ I fell asleep out of utter exhaustion from having so many feelings come out of the hole in my face. My heart said, “Rest, you weary son-of-a-bitch. It won’t get better, but someday you’ll have a blog to put ALLLLL your emotions in!” (Yeah, I end sentences with prepositions, because I’m a boss-ass bitch (with).

Anyway, back to internet dating. So I was 14 years-old, and my prospective internet boyfriend was 17 or 18. I had to woo him to be my One True Love. We were chatting, and it came up that he was a singer.’I’m a singer, too!’ I thought to myself. ‘I scream along to EVERYTHING I hear on the radio. I love singing; I’m a singer, god damnit!’ Well, Prospective Internet Boyfriend wanted to hear me sing. So he called my home phone and I picked it up on the first ring. He had a hot, sexy adult voice. I had a closeted, insecure 14 year-old boy voice. He sang first:  “Amazing Grace”. It was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. He was a professionally-trained angel, and he was going to take me to the Promised Land. “It’s your turn,” he said. Well, I had to pick a song I knew all the words to. At the time, I was SUPER into Evanescence. I knew every god damn word to every song, and it was my favorite music to cry to. So I decided to sing “Going Under“. If you don’t know it, go listen to it. It’s tragic. It starts with her growling these super depressing lyrics. I gave my Future Boyfriend my best Amy Lee:

“Now I will tell you what I’ve done for you
Fifty-thousand tears I’ve cried
Screaming, deceiving and bleeding for you-”
*CLICK*
“….Hello? ….Hello? Are you there? ….”

Yes, he hung up on me. And I didn’t even get to sing the chorus which is the best part and the part that really shows off my vocal ability! I sat there blinking, clutching the phone to my ear for a few minutes, and then I calmly replaced the phone on the charging dock.

‘He hung up on me because of my singing voice…’

So I recorded myself singing, and then I played it back to myself. I was DISGUSTED with myself. ‘JESUS CHRIST, JAMES, YOU SOUND AWFUL! I WOULD’VE HUNG UP ON YOU, TOO! YOU SOUND TERRIBLE! NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU SINGING LIKE THAT, YOU GAY IDIOT BITCH.’

Then I realized that I even hated my speaking voice. I was hitting the “s” consonant too hard, and THAT’S how everyone at school knew to call me a “faggot” and throw batteries at me! Eureka! Mystery solved! Also, I kept finding myself walking around with limp wrists. ‘HIDE YOUR SECRETS, YOU GAY T-REX!’ So I trained myself to walk with my arms glued to my sides as if they were stapled there. ‘Ha, now they’ll NEVER know!’ Then I spent HOURS recording myself talking and trying to adjust my voice to sound less gay. I dedicated so much time towards trying to figure out where to place the consonants in my mouth to sound less gay. Recording my voice, playing it back to myself, banging my head on the desk hoping my tongue would fall out so I would never have to say “s” again, and then doing it all over again. Funny enough, I feel like my “gay speech” calmed down after I came out of the closet. Alright, Jesus… I see you.

Also, after this experience, I saw Evanescence in concert FIVE times. I would go to their concerts and jump up and down with the biggest smile on my face screaming, “I WANNA DIE, TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Also, this story about the “Amazing Grace” guy hanging up on me singing “Going Under” is Kelley’s favorite story, and if we are EVER on the phone and I start singing she will ALWAYS hang up. She’s REALLY funny….

Also when I was 14, I auditioned for a production of Seussical the Musical. I was cast as a panther, and I was surrounded by so many talented people and that was the moment I decided I wanted to pursue musical theater.

So I went HARD. During Seussical, I met Miss Sara, and she started an all-men’s beginner tap class. I started tapping with her when I was 15, and I’ve been tapping ever since. I started auditioning like a motherfucker. I would go to the library and check out every CD for every musical they had and I would INHALE THEM. I knew every lyric to every song. I would do all the school shows, and I would audition for musicals in the community as well. I started taking voice lessons with Wendy when I was 15, and she changed my LIFE. (More on her later.) By my senior year, my schedule was jam-packed. I joined the Madison Youth Choirs, I played bassoon in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, I took voice lessons, I took tap class, I took an acting class through UW-Madison, I worked at a bakery, I worked at the movie theater, and I performed in shows. There was a point where this was my schedule: School 8:15-3:25, School musical rehearsal 4:00-6:30, Madison community theater musical rehearsal 7:00-10:00. I was eating, breathing, sleeping musical theater. I felt like I was finally doing something I really cared about with people who really understood me.

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Word of advice: don’t every try to out-do Katie in a selfie. Just be blessed to be in her presence and do your fucking best.

When I was auditioning for colleges, I went all in once again. I auditioned at NYU, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University and UW-Stevens Point. While I was auditioning, I was so scared and I felt suddenly inadequate. I was having a breakdown in one of my voice lessons, and Wendy listened to doubt myself and cry. When I was done, she had the best fucking response ever. She started singing Evanescence to me: “Fear is only in our mind, taking over all the time. Fear is only in ours minds, but it’s taking over all the time.”

*MIC DROP* BY WENDY. Did I MENTION that she’s the coolest ever?!

So I went to UW- Stevens Point, and I STILL went hard AF. I took the maximum credits allowed. I took some of my pre-requisites over the summer at a community college so I would have more room during the year to take theater and dance classes. I took every class I could get my hands on. I weaseled my way into modern dance, jazz dance and tap dance classes usually reserved only for dance majors. I auditioned for everything, even the dance shows that I felt underqualified for. And in the summer, I would do summerstock theater. I worked my ass off.

I graduated college in May 2011. I lived at home for the summer and performed in a musical while waiting tables. Then I hosted a benefit concert to help me raise money to move to NYC, and I moved here in September 2011.

When I first got here, I went to every damn audition. There was one time where I went to five auditions in the same day. I hustled like a motherfucker. It took me a while, but I finally started getting cast. I’ve been here for  four years now.

Now here’s the one event I can’t quite pinpoint. There was a moment where I didn’t want to eat/sleep/breathe musical theatre anymore. I started putting on Eminem instead of Sweeney Todd. I wanted to talk about music and comedy instead of my favorite Elphaba riff or which role I could play in Wicked. I wanted a life outside of musical theatre. To be frank, I didn’t want what I had always wanted. I didn’t want to do the things that I should do anymore. I didn’t wanna take ballet class or acting class or classes with casting directors, and I didn’t want to go to auditions for shows that I wasn’t right for just so I could get seen by a prominent casting director. I didn’t want to hang out with actors anymore. I didn’t want to sit in a holding room anymore. I didn’t want to do any of the “shoulds” anymore.

Last week, I was on a bus to Boston and since no one was around me, I started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack again in private. I listened to “Wait For It” three times in a row, and I started crying to myself. I thought to myself, ‘What happened to the Old James? Where did he go? Why don’t I love musical theater as much as I used to? Why is it no longer my life source? It used to be my EVERYTHING. I was on this path with my nose to the pavement for the past 12 years; what am I supposed to do with myself? What am I supposed to do when I wake up one day and realize that I don’t love this thing like I used to. I don’t want to spend my time and money on things I don’t love. I don’t wanna network for something that doesn’t fulfill me. I don’t want to know the lyric to every Broadway show. I don’t care to know every actor in every musical. I don’t care to know the career paths of musical theater stars. But why?! Where did Old James go? GIVE HIM BACK TO ME. I NEED HIM.’

Loss of clarity is horrifying. It’s scary. I don’t want to think, ‘Well I’ve spent 12 years becoming someone I don’t wanna be anymore; what now?’ I don’t want that. I want my certainty back. I want my fire back.

But I can’t have certainty, because it doesn’t exist. Certainty exists in the same imaginary world as control. But I don’t want to wander aimlessly. I don’t want to be lost. But then I looked around at my friends. One of my friends knows exactly how I feel: went to school for something completely different than what she’s currently pursuing. Another one of my friends worked at a job she fucking hated, and now she’s doing something she loves. One of my friends studied psychology, and now she works in finance. So. Okay, James. You’re not alone. Actually, you’re in the perfect company to be lost. But if “lost” terrifies you too much to be included in your vocabulary, then choose something else: curious, wandering, interested, well-rounded.

I’m letting go of the “shoulds”. I started taking tap class regularly, because it makes me happy. I only audition for projects I want to be a part of. I let myself listen to whatever music I want, and now I have a music soulmate at work and we could talk about FKA Twigs and Rihanna and Jai Paul for hours, and it’s some of the most fulfilling conversations I’ve ever had, because I don’t feel so alone. I’ve accepted that I’m good at hospitality, but that doesn’t mean I need to be a Career Server. I’ve looked into classes at Upright Citizens Brigade. I bought a guitar so I can start learning to play Evanescence/Celine Dion mash-ups. I went to a Zedd concert, because I felt like it. I spent a week in San Diego by myself. I stopped auditioning for an entire summer, and let myself have a life outside of theater. And the most exciting thing? I’ve started writing a comedic web-series with a friend. We meet about once a week and we sit and we write and laugh so loud that people stare. And when we don’t want to write our web-series, we write comedic sketches. I feel like I’m finally doing something I love. Oh. And I write my blog. Because I love writing.

I’m letting myself be who I am, and I’m not trying to make myself fit into whatever the Successful Musical Theatre Professional mold is. I’m letting myself exist, and it’s terrifying and liberating and I’m so proud of myself.

My baby sister recently told me she was jealous of me, because I knew exactly what I wanted and I’m finding success in doing exactly what I wanted to do. Leah, I would like to apologize to you for fooling you so fabulously. I wrote this blog to set the record straight. Some people dabble in different things, looking for something they care about and freaking out that they don’t have some fiery passion that “everyone else” has. And some people are me, and you’ve been working your tits off for 12 years for your passion only to realize that maybe you don’t want it anymore. Both are horrifying. But both are okay. Just do things you fucking like to do. Work at a job that either fulfills you or pays you enough that you can do things you enjoy doing. And don’t judge yourself for the things that you like. There is value in doing things for pure enjoyment. I promise you. Don’t judge yourself for listening to Fetty Wap twice a day, everyday, for two weeks. It’s okay. It’s okay to take a hip-hop class once a week even if it doesn’t further your career. You are more fun to be around when you’re having fun.

Now excuse me, Trap Queen is calling.

“Baby girl you’re so damn fine though. I’m tryna know if I can hit it from behind though.”
~”679″ by Fetty Wap

you’re okay.

JAMES

P.S. After posting this blog on Facebook my mother commented: “Clearly I didn’t know all this. But I’m relieved to know that when I suspected you were surfing porn sites in your teens, you were only attempting to find a boy friend.”

NOTHING’S CHANGED MA. STILL SURFIN’ THE WEB LOOKING FOR THAT WIFEY DICK.

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Her only goal every day is “Be 7 years-old” and she’s doing just fine. #selfieinception

62. James and His Search For Love: Falling Victim to the Fuckboys

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A little more than a month ago, I started an internet campaign to find me a boyfriend. I posted these pictures with this description: “Hey friends. I’m turning this into a Facebook campaign. I’m looking for a man. If you know someone who won’t pick their nose at the dinner table or ask to see my butthole on the first date, send them my way. Share this post, and Jesus will be a biscuit and sop you up. This is not a joke. ‪#‎comethru‬

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I had many friends that helped out by sharing my internet campaign on their own Facebook pages. I was in awe of how many of my friends came through to help a bitch find a man. I think a lot of people were really excited to see how everything turned out. At the time, my friend turned to me and said,  “James, you should really blog about your search for love.”

I don’t know that I’ve ever written about anything else.

So here goes; a blog about my search for love:

After my post started getting circulated around Facebook, I started to get lots of responses. There were some guys that I honestly wasn’t attracted to, but that’s okay. And then I had some guys that I thought were really cute that expressed interest. I started to get excited and hopeful about my search for love so I redownloaded Hinge, a dating app on my phone.

I’m just gonna let you know that this story doesn’t have a happy ending.

I was messaging back and forth with some people who had reached out to me either directly or through a mutual friend. But any sparks that were ignited in these new interactions were swiftly extinguished and it wasn’t for wont of huge romantic, earth-shattering conversations. Some people are insanely busy; we live in NYC, I get it. But for some of these guys it was as if maintaining any sort of conversation was a monumental effort:

Me: How was your day?
Them: Good.
Me: Did you kill anyone?
Them: Just one person.
Me: Who?
(Two days later..)
Them: A coworker.
Me: What was the crime?
(Three days later)
Them: Huh????
Me: Why did you kill your coworker last week?
Them: I don’t remember.
Me:…Cool.

Jesus Christ, didn’t anyone ever tell you how to conduct a conversation like a human being? Does it cause you physical pain to have a personality? It’s like it takes too much effort to type more than ten fucking characters. I’m not asking you to be interesting; you can be the most boring motherfucker in the world. Clearly, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point anyway; I’m putting forth effort to participate in a conversation with this Australopithecus son-of-a-fucker. Be boring all you want. But at LEAST ask me about myself, because I will spice this shit up like sriracha in guacamole, motherfucker! I’m like a piñata full of glitter; crack me open and you will NOT be disappointed. But Heaven forbid you express any interest, because we may both be queer but we will NOT be so feminine as to care about anyone but ourselves. HELL NAH! You’re so boring that I’m becoming a boring person just by electronic association. You know what, I would probably have more fun peeling lead paint off the wall and eating it because it would KILL me, and death would be a kinder fate than this torturous conversation with someone who is “interested” in me. You just keep being too cool for school; let me know how that goes for you.

Which brings me to my next point. Yes, a lot of my friends shared my post after they saw other people sharing it. But I actually personally asked a lot of people to share my Facebook post. I made it extremely easy; literally all you had to do was click the “Share” button and then “Share Now”. It would take two clicks. Yes, probably too much effort for the fuckboys who can’t be bothered to have an intelligible conversation, but I knew my friends could handle it. And after asking them, almost all of them shared it without hesitations or dick-pic bribes. Truth be told, I know a lot of them would’ve seen my post and just ignored it without sharing. But I knew that in directly asking them they had to take a clear stance: yes or no. And if they said “no”, then they had to have an explanation. One of my friends responded, “Why are you doing this?” My response was, “Because I’m a fucking go-getter”. This friend didn’t end up sharing my post, but they weren’t the only one. Listen, you absolutely aren’t required to share my post on your personal social media page. That’s your prerogative, and that’s totally fine with me. I’m not gonna hold that against you as long as you know why you wouldn’t share it. There’s this stigma about publicly announcing that you’re looking for love. Yes, some people will judge you and say things like, “Wow, James is really desperate. I can’t believe he’s doing this. I would never do that. That’s embarrassing.” But fuck those people; they’re not your friends. And I don’t always love this part of myself either. But there’s a line in the book I’m reading that says: “If you truly love someone, you will cherish what they despise most about themselves” (The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness). In a nutshell: your friends won’t judge you and everyone else is a fuckboy.

In a nutshell, the campaign was mostly a bust.

Then it all started to go downhill after that.

I went on some Hinge dates, and not all of them were successful on my end. But whenever I had a bad date that I wasn’t interested in seeing again, I always made sure to send them a text to let them know that I wasn’t interested. Yes, it was uncomfortable for me, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. And every time, I received a response saying, “Okay. Thank you for your honesty.” Of course they could’ve responded rashly and called me terrible names, but that didn’t happen! It didn’t happen, okay? The world will not end if you are honest with people. Yes, you might let them down, but isn’t it better to know? I know how it feels to be on the other end of that situation, and being ghosted just sucks. For those of you who don’t know, “ghosting” is when you’re talking to someone regularly, and they suddenly stop responding. They disappeared; the Rapture took them away but left their social media accounts running at full speed; they ghosted you. I got ghosted by people I went on actual dates with! I know you exist; I fuckin’ met you, bitch; you can’t claim the Rapture as an excuse cuz I JUST SAW YOU.

I’m juggling all sorts of man-fuckery in my life, and then I’m walking down the street and some kids yelled out their car window, “YOU GAY ASS MOTHAFUCKA!!!” We can make all sorts of jokes about it. “I mean, were the wrong?” “Well what did you expect wearing that outfit?” “They were just talking about your hot ass!” It’s easy. Making jokes is what I do. I understand why these assholes say stupid shit to me, but it still hurts.

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This is the outfit I was wearing.

I understand that those kids don’t have to take accountability for their actions, because they could just drive away after they yelled hurtful things at me. I understand that the fuckboys don’t have to take accountability when they ghost me because of their foolproof out-of-sight-out-of-mind reasoning; “If I don’t see the damage I’ve done, then I haven’t done any.” I understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own fucked up issues. But it still fucking hurts god damnit.

So I went to the gym to take out my aggression against everyone and then I took a picture with this caption:

Bitch I don't know how to photoshop; I'm just a gay ass mothafucka.

“Bitch I don’t know how to photoshop; I’m just a gay ass mothafucka.”

Then one of my friends commented, “You seem angry.”

….

I AM ANGRY. And here’s why:

After I posted this picture, I got some really amazing comments from my friends. Here are some examples of their amazing comments:
“You are fucking fierce! I cannot even!!!”
“You are classic movie star gorgeous.”
“You need to be on a CW show.”
“#canIgetamopforallmycum”

But then I had some fuckboys come crawling out of their filthy cum-dens due to the utter thirst. So for all the fuckboys, this is my ode to you…

“Oh, Stupid Fuckboys who come scuttling when I post a picture of my abs. No bitch. No girl. No sir. You don’t get to just disappear whenever you like and reappear when I yell ‘SOOOOEEY!’ It may be dinner time for some, but bitch, tonight you’re going to bed hungry. If you didn’t want me when all you could see was my inner beauty and my killer personality then you DEFINITELY don’t deserve to drool over my outer beauty. Go join the other fuckboys. Because while I’m here being a fucking 26 year-old man, you’re just a 14 year-old boy who yells at his Super Nintendo and slams his controller on the ground because of prepubescent rage. Grow up. Call me when our relationship wouldn’t be statutory. Girl bye. Go slam your dick in a door; it’ll be kinder than anything I would do to your golf-pencil dick. But still that would cause you less pain than all the emotional and mental torture I’ve experienced with the fucking fadeaway and the ghosting. Girl bye. Fuckin scrubs. And yes, I realize I dodged a bullet in the long run, but it’s impossible to avoid all the shrapnel flying through the air as I sprint blindfolded through this fucking minefield that is Looking For Love In The 21st Century. I don’t know how to play by your rules, Fuckboys. I don’t know how to be “sort of interested” or “neither here nor there”. I’m either in or I’m out, and bitch, you are OUT. So yes, sure, you did me a favor. Give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back for circumventing giving me the full brunt of your adolescent fuckery, but don’t for a second think that you caused me no pain by ‘letting me off easy’. You’re a coward, and they don’t have no reward for that. Oh, and Fuckboy, if you have time to post a Facebook status about some sort of assery that narry a fuck could give two shits about, then you have time to send me one of your painfully inane and succinct text messages saying, “not interested sorry #toocoolforpunctuation”. But you seem really busy sucking on a binky that’s twice the size of your own personal penis. It’s not hard to respond to a text message. I promise it’ll be easier than ignoring that annoying homeless man asking you to spare some of the plentiful change you have clanging around in your backpack. So girl bye. But no, you don’t deserve to be likened to a girl cuz women are far cooler than you, because they did you the insurmountable favor of pushing your sorry ass out of their vagina. So bye, Fuckboy. Good-the-fuck-bye.”

*mic drop*

JAMES

“Tell me what you know about love”
~”Tmwykal” by SoMo

61. James Got Less Weave But More Face

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For those of you who don’t know me well, let me just tell you that I turned 26 last week. It’s pretty cool. So. 26. Let’s talk.

I have less hair. I absolutely have less hair. It’s cool. I’m not saying this so people will comfort me and tell me my hair isn’t thinning. It’s totally thinning. It’s not stress. I literally have one thing on my to-do list today: a show. It’s not because I wear baseball caps every now and then. I know I could try Rogaine. I tried that Aveda Invati stuff that is supposed to help with thinning hair, but all that did was make my head smell AMAZING. But I’m not really looking for sympathy or compliments or reassurances. I’m simply trying to accept the deterioration of one of my favorite parts of my body: my hair. I’ve always joked that I rely on my beauty to get my way, and now that I’m losing something that I believe has attributed to my charm I’m feeling a bit…fucked. I feel like puberty ended two seconds ago and now I’m losing my hair? I mean, I could always pull a Trump by shaving off all my leg hair and piling it on top of my head. I mean, I would then have a sizable afro. Thoughts? Clearly, I’m trying to put a positive spin on something that is a bit devastating. I mean, I haven’t hooked a man yet, and now I’ve gotta do it with less hair?? How am I supposed to bat my eyelashes flirtatiously behind a curtain of bangs? Is it too much to get bangs-extensions? But, James, let’s be positive. Are you losing hair? Yes. BUT. Are you increasing the playing space for your insane face-making? Um. YES.

Making the BEST of this forehead! #tonguepop

Making the BEST of this forehead! #tonguepop

26 has also taught me that I usually hate Timehop. If you don’t know what Timehop is because it’s not a compatible app on your flip-phone, Timehop is a smartphone app that connects to all your social media and reminds you what happened in your life on this day in past years. It’s cool sometimes when it shows you how happy you were when money was just paper that tasted funny. It’s also cool when it reminds you of how weird your friends have always been. But Timehop is literally the coolest when it shows you how funny your grandma used to be or when it shows you a really cute sentimental post from 5 years ago from an ex-boyfriend that you thought you were totally over and now you’re lying in bed creeping on their Facebook feeling significantly uglier and creepier by the minute. And now you’re lying facedown in your pillow failing to smother yourself but succeeding in drowning in a combination of your own sweat and drool. I can’t help but feel like I’m accumulating more and more painful memories as I get older. I’m sure the same could be said for the accumulation of awesome memories but those don’t permeate my consciousness as frequently. Well, these revelations only increase the amount of time that I spend facedown in my pillow hoping that my bed will swallow me up. I wish there were some sort of equation for how long things will hurt. Someone once said that in order for you to get over your ex-boyfriend, it will take half of the amount of time that you were dating. So if it was a year-long relationship it would take you 6 months to get over that person. Frankly, I think that equation is bullshit. Because honestly, I dated someone for more than a year and I don’t miss them at all; nothing inside me yearns for them in the least. But someone that I’m totally over that I dated a million years ago that my Timehop just showed me a cute moment we had and I feel like I can’t breathe. I just wanna lift up my mattress and lie under it until I become Flat Stanley. What’s going on, James? I thought we were cool. I thought we could exist in the same world with this person and not fall apart? And then Timehop resurfaces a bitch from Christmas Past and you go and creep all over their Facebook and then you feel worthless? What’s that??

And then the whirlwind explodes for me. I look at my friends who are married. I see people my age who own property. I see other 26-year olds who are financially stable. They’re creating families while I’m jumping up and down at the NYC Pride Parade in order to collect handfuls of free condoms that I’ll never use. (I actually went home with my bags of condoms and put them into a flower vase and put them on a table in the living room.) We all lost our health insurance at the same time, but now they pay for their own while my plan is to start wearing a helmet everywhere I go. They’re adding money to their retirement funds while I’m crying in the aisles at the grocery store when the peanut butter has gone on sale for $1.50. They’re posting pictures on social media of them doing cute stuff with their significant others while I’m still contemplating, ‘How much buttcrack can I expose and still be considered, like, sexy?’

Honestly, I rarely feel 26. I look at my receding hairline and I feel like I’m in my thirties. I look at the success of some of my friends not working in theater and I feel like a kid. Then I look over at the Stitch doll I sleep with, only confirming my adolescence. When people go out drinking and I stay home cooking mango curry with dry-fried tofu I feel… old. The only time I feel my age, 26, is when I look at my massive amount of student loan debt and think to myself, “Well, that looks right!”

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But I am absolutely 26. My birthdays don’t feel discernibly different anymore, but with the passing years I do notice an increased awareness of loss. Loss of two grandparents, loss of hair, loss of feeling in my left shoulder where I had surgery on my collarbone, loss of carelessness, loss in my steadfast belief that everything happens for a reason. But I do feel like I’ve gained knowledge; I feel like I finally understand why some people get sad around their birthdays. Every year is a reminder of mortality. Every year where when we’re expected to celebrate the day we were born, some of us can’t help but be reminded that someday we’ll die. And then we’re reminded of all the people we’ve lost along the way, all the people we wish we could still call on the phone, whether they’re no longer alive or no longer in our lives. And while I miss my personal collection of lost loves, I don’t want to be sad every birthday. I prefer to take the life I have left ahead of me and using it to commit atrocious acts of fuckery.

Who’s down?

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#dontgiveup

JAMES

59. James’ Charm School for What-The-F*ck Gays OR “James, Why Are You So Prickly?”

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A while back, I was having lunch with my friend Jian Li. I was telling her about a date I had gone on where the guy grabbed my hand and kissed it, and I immediately responded with, “Stop it, stop being nice to me, you don’t even know me.” Jian Li laughed and asked me, “James, why are you so prickly?” I’ve been putting some thought into it. I pulled myself aside and asked myself, “James, why are you so prickly? Why wouldn’t you just be nice to the guy who was really nice to you??” Well, hookers, that’s a complicated question. First of all, it’s really annoying to be put on a pedestal. It drives me nuts when a guy just goes goo-goo-gah-gah over me. Like, seriously, bro, you don’t even know me. You just know that I’m cute and funny and tall; I cover your basic list of needs and you just jump in headfirst. That’s so dumb. To these guys, I’m a good fit, because they only have basic needs. But what about what I need? Why don’t you take a second to ask yourself, “Do I have the things that James needs from a partner?” Unfortunately, the answer is usually “no”. But I’m also prickly, because I’ve had so many terrible fucking dates. From the guy who stuck his fingers in my ass in the middle of the street, the guys who drop all their heavy shit on me on the first date and every crazy fucker in between, I’ve had it with these crazy hoes. I’ve even thought of opening up an education center called “James’ Charm School for What-the-F*ck Gays”. So yeah, I’m prickly. Cuz when you’re nice to me, I’m just waiting for you to start doing loud, inappropriate impressions of your Latino neighbors having sex (true story). I always get too excited when a first date goes well, and then something crazy always happens on the next date.

Let’s revisit some of these moments, shall we?
1) The numerous guys who tried to get me to cuddle before the first date. Bitch, I wasn’t born yesterday. You wanna press your weewee against my caboose in the dark and see what happens. Besides, who cuddles before a first date? “No, no, I’m not like that. I just wanna hold somebody.” Well, bro, sorry to break it to you, but that’s fucked up. Get a body pillow! Or call a friend! Wouldn’t you rather press your weiner against someone you know? I could be a serial killer for all you know! I could steal all your shit. Wait, do you have stuff worth stealing? You got some Olive Garden gift cards? Yeah, fuck it, I’ll come over and “cuddle”.
2) The guy who tried to connect with me over “Keeping Up WithThe Kardashians”. I will never know what you’re talking about. I will never watch that show. I’d rather cuddle with a stranger. And then you talked about going to a gay bar for a singalong night called “Musical Mondays”. I WOULD RATHER DO ANYTHING ELSE. I’LL CUDDLE NINE STRANGERS IF YOU STOP TALKING.
3) The guy who asked me what my dick looked like. I was tempted to respond, “You know how when you put a hot dog in the microwave too long and it explodes on one end? It looks like that.”
4) The guy who told me I was losing my hair. Yeah, it’s whores like you that make me pull it all out.
5) The guy who after we hooked up pointed at my body acne and said, “Are you okay?”
6) The guy suffering from word-vomit and couldn’t stop talking. Here were topics he covered: he told me what steroid testicles look like, he showed me his AmEx card, he told me how much his rent was, he told me every show he’s ever done. I asked him to be quiet for a moment, and then I looked upwards and yelled, “GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS TORTURE?!” Then I said, “Sorry, keep going. This is riveting!!”
7) The guy who kept rubbing his weiner against me while we were cuddling. I turned over so he would stop, but then he started rubbing his weiner against my spine. Then his roommate came home. Thank God; some respite! I started to talk to her, but then I felt him reach his toes across the couch until they were tickling my balls. Sir, must I tell you that it is inappropriate to fondle me while your roommate watches in horror? Also, toes?!
8) The guy who told me the elaborate story about how he took a straight guy’s gay virginity. I think he thought I was laughing at his “hilarious” story when I was actually intentionally trying to choke myself with my dinner so I could pass out and go to the hospital and meet a hot doctor who would peek under my hospital gown. Oh no, that last part is fucked up….
9) The guy who told me on the first date that he was still married. To a woman.
10) The guy who was short.
11) All the guys who I had “good” first dates with, and then we hooked up at the end of the date and they were suddenly “busy” for the rest of their lives. You know what, guys?! My mom says I’m a great kisser, and everyone loves when I scream with their dick in my mouth! They say it feels awesome, and it always makes me the most popular boy at EVERY work party!
12) The real kicker. The guy who told me I would never succeed in my career and that I should pursue a different path. You think that after he said that I would’ve gotten up, delivered a self-rigethous, “How dare you,” or a “What nerve!” And then I would’ve dramatically slapped him and left. Right? That’s exactly what I did except that I dated him for an entire year.
13) This wasn’t a date. My old friend was visiting the city, and he sent out a mass text letting everyone know that he’d be in town. I got super excited, because I really missed seeing this person and I wanted to catch up. I was feeling a little down, and I felt like hanging out and giggling would be the perfect remedy! This was our text interchange verbatim:
Him: This is James right? I’m in les [lower east side].
Me: You’re a les. Yes it’s me.
Him: Where are you? Let’s go out!
Me: I’m going somewhere to the upper west side later.
Him: Fun. Well I’m horny are you free after haha
Me: Are you kidding me
Him: Not really
…you motherfucker. You are the fucking worst. I was genuinely excited to see you. I had a bunch of fucked up dates, and I was sick of feeling like a piece of fucking meat. So I thought catching up with an old friend would be soul-soothing. BUT I WAS SO WRONG. Do I want to have sex with you? Absolutely not. I’m not just a hole to be stuffed, you whorebag bitchlicker. I needed a fucking friend, and you wanted to spit on my butthole. Also, we hooked up one time in college. ONCE. And it was so awful that I threw you some tissue and told you to have a ball. If I wanted to endure that immensely enjoyable experience once more, I would just go to my kitchen and slam my barely semi-hard dick in the refrigerator door eight times. I suggest you do the same.
Alright, Jian, you win. I’m prickly. But do you blame me? I’m looking for some retribution from all these wretched dates, and I just get crazier and crazier people! And then when I go to a male friend for comfort, they offer me their Twizzler-dick to dry my tears? It’s all bullshit. So yeah. I’m prickly. I’m a fucking cactus. SO STOP TRYING TO STICK YOUR DICKS IN ME.
Deuces.
“All the bullshit’s for the birds. You ain’t nothin’ but a vulture.”
~”Deuces” by Chris Brown
#dontgiveup
James

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Dear men: be more like her. Thanks.

 

57. James is the Glue

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The first thing I ever wanted to be was a comedian. Well, the very first thing I wanted to be was a magician, because I used to be obsessed with Harry Houdini. But then I learned that even with his powers of sorcery, he was felled by a punch in the stomach. ‘Fuck that,’ the 8-year-old James exclaimed! Well, then I wanted to be a firefighter, but then I realized that I was terrified of fire; I just wanted to look like the firemen that I saw on TV. Finally, I decided I wanted to be a comedian…with the body of a firefighter. Even as a small, prepubescent pervert, I wanted to be making people laugh so hard it hurt while my body… made them so hard it hurt.

Ah yes, readers, let the fuckery commence…

But let me start at the beginning. Let me start at a time when I had a more innocent sense a humor, a time before I laughed incessantly at the thought of a “dick fart”. Yes, readers, let start with the first person who taught me the meaning of comedy: my grandfather. (Just for the record, while my grandfather is mentioned in the cultivation of my comedic talents, this blog does not in any way reflect his personal endorsement or his condemnation of my disgusting fucking sense of humor. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…)

Flashback to my early teen years: I was having an angsty time in high school just like every other teenager tossing and turning on the tumultuous, cum-stained waves of puberty. I distinctly remember a specific time during which I thought everyone hated me; I’m pretty sure I was having a disagreement with every single one of my friends. I also struggled heavily with depression when I was younger. In middle school, I frequently cried hysterically to my mother and said, “I wish I were dead.” Once, she burst into tears after I said that to her. She asked me to stop saying it, so I did but I didn’t necessarily stop feeling it.

In a nutshell, the struggle was REAL for this lanky gay in his early, early teens. So my mother suggested I spend a weekend at my grandparents’. I remember feeling a combination of absolute nothingness and utter desperation to get away from everything. This was the first time I fell in love with my tried-and-true method of problem-solving: running the fuck away. So my mother dropped me off at my grandparents’ house, and I stayed with them for about a week. I spent my days playing with my Neopets on the computer, biking to the local swimming pool and being rendered breathless by my grandfather’s flawless sense of humor. For example…

One day, I was sitting on the computer checking on my Neopets, wondering if anyone would ever need me as much as these digital monsters, and all of a sudden I heard a quiet chanting coming from the living room. This was also the time in my life when I was really into the TV show Charmed so I’m pretty sure I had come to the conclusion that the mysterious chanting was coming from a demon that had come to take my life. I bowed my head, I solemnly bid my beloved Neopets goodbye with a lengthy, inexperienced tongue-kiss to the computer screen and walked towards the living room, resolved to die at the hands of this inevitably sexy demon. As I reached the living room, I raised my eyes to make full eye contact with the demon, but instead I saw my grandpa standing the middle of the room, arms extended halfway in front of his body, palms to Jesus, eyes closed, chanting in Latin. He must have felt my presence, because he slowly opened his eyes and smiled at me. I smiled back knowingly; he was up to some type of fuckery.

“What are you doing, Opa?”

My grandpa replied back without a single hesitation, “Oh, I’m just sacrificing this baby lamb to Jesus.” And with a twinkle in his eye, he resumed his Latin incantation to Jesus as he offered up the nonexistent baby lamb while I LAUGHED MY FUCKING ASS OFF.

This memory has stuck with me for at least a decade now, and I think it’s because it was one of my first lessons in comedy:

  • Don’t hesitate. Just go. When I asked him what he was doing, he just said the first fucking thing that came to his mind. He didn’t judge his thoughts and think to himself, ‘Is this funny?’ He just trusted his inner comedian and succumbed to a violent, hilarious case of word vomit. I know that even if the first thing that had come out of his mouth wasn’t initially funny, he would’ve worked his way into it. Cuz he’s a fucking pro and shit.
  • Commit, god damnit. My grandpa fucking went for it. He stood in the middle of the living room, chanting in Latin for fucks sake, over an imaginary lamb carcass. Does my grandpa even know Latin??! I don’t fucking know, but I believed it! And he wasn’t giving a half-ass performance of his “Latin” incantation; he was giving all he had! And he went on for a considerable amount of time in Latin/Gibberish. (Let the record show that it is highly probable that my grandfather actually knows Latin. Among the many things he studied in college, I know he took a few classes in Theology.)

Luckily, he gave me subsequent lessons in being absolutely ridiculous:

It was a sunny day in Horicon, Wisconsin as we rode down the highway. He was driving while I stared lackadaisically out the passenger-side window. The lady driving in front of us was cruising at a speed much slower than that which my grandpa desired. Honestly, it is very likely that this woman was driving the legal speed limit, but my grandpa just wanted to go faster. Or he just wanted to make me smile. Either way, we just road along behind her for a bit. But I guess the forlorn look on my face was too much for my grandpa to handle, because he looked over at me and said, “Hold on.” Then he slowly rolled down his window, calmly reached out his head and yelled, “DRIVE FASTER, YOU OLD BITCH!” I remember laughing so hard I cried, while my grandpa put on his shit-eating grin, rolled up his window and continued driving. This was Lesson #2:

  • Make fun of yourself. More specifically, be aware of which groups you belong to, and feel free to make fun of them all the time. Quite frankly, my grandfather also could have been classified as an “old bitch”. Therefore, he had a right to make fun of other old people. He had the right to “berate” this old woman for “driving slow” when she was surely driving the speed limit.
  • Do the unexpected. My grandpa is a super well-mannered man. He studied like a million things in college, including a P.H.D. in “How to Be a Gentleman”. He never raises his voice and he never swears. So he knew that it would be fucking hilarious for him to scream profanities out his window at this woman. Also, just so the whole world knows, this woman absolutely did NOT hear him yell at her. Her window was rolled up, the wind was roaring, she was an old bitch, etc.
  • Know your audience. He looked at me and thought, ‘Here’s a teenager who gets scolded if he ever swears in front on his parents. Hell, his mother won’t even let him say the word “fart”! I know that watching an old man swear will really make him laugh.’ And he was right!
  • Go all the fucking way. He didn’t pretend to yell; he yelled at the top of his voice. You have to give it 110%! I apply this to my life by abusing the literary device “hyperbole” every time I tell a god damn story. Everything is funnier when it’s bigger, especially an “accurate retelling” of any “historical” event.
  • Comedy is the best medicine. This might have been the most important lesson that I’ve taken away from all of my grandpa’s jokes. Comedy can literally fix anything. If I am ever sad, I trust that my grandpa still knows how to make me laugh, even though my sense of humor has devolved into a disgusting rompery of foulness. For example: my roommates are currently singing a Christmas carol where they replace random words with “ass-queefs”, and I can’t help but randomly bursting out in laughter. Despite my current extremely sophisticated sense of humor, I know that my grandpa can still have me rolling on the floor laughing. #partridgeinanassqueef

I’ve taken all my lessons, and I’ve fully integrated comedy into my daily life. I use comedy every fucking day. Comedy is the adhesive that binds the book of my life, and I find myself constantly using comedy as a heavy-duty sandpaper, aggressively (read: effortlessly) smoothing over all the rough patches that I encounter in life. I do it now without thinking. I find it to be my innate duty, necessary but exhausting.

I used to call myself “the glue”. The first time I called myself that was my senior year of high school. I was really worried about going away to college, because I felt like the glue of my family (which is comprised of me, my two parents and my three sisters). I remember crying to my dad and saying, “You guys are gonna fall apart without me! I’M THE GLUE!!!!!”(Cue EVERY crying emoji.) Okay… So first of all, yes, I have been dramatic for a long time. But second, I wasn’t being a pompous ass thinking that my family needed me. When I left, who was gonna smooth things over with a joke? When I lived at home, if my sisters were fighting with my parents I would easily diffuse the situation by firing a well-timed joke. The gunfire would cease, everyone would laugh and immediately the tensions would disperse. What were they gonna do without me?? My father looked at me with compassion in his eyes and chuckled, “We’re not going to fall apart.” I went away to college, and my family didn’t blast itself into smithereens without my tactful, diplomatic jokes. Life went on, but I kept comedy in my back pocket as my reliable Secret Weapon.

Now I work in a restaurant. Every shift starts with a brief meeting, and sometimes the morale of my coworkers is kind of negative. Hospitality is hard, and customers can be assholes. Unfortunately, this negativity can spread like poison in the bloodstream. But I take it upon myself to be the antidote, and I try to lighten the mood by making a joke. For example, there was once a competition in one of the preshift meetings about who could tell their most embarrassing story. I gladly told one of the many stories of me shitting myself. I think people were more horrified than anything, but I know that, even if for only a moment, they forgot about their shitty days as they thought to themselves, ‘Wow, I’m so glad I’m not half as nasty as James!” But my job doesn’t end there! When we all go downstairs to start serving guests as they give complicated martini orders as if I’m a fucking Starbucks barista, it’s easy to succumb to the general soul-sucking energy that the customers bring with them. So even then, I continue to make jokes in an effort to keep the mood light and easy as I trip theatrically on a chair in the dining room and suggest that we put some orange cones and caution tape around it. Or how about the one time when I was reaching across a table to grab some empty plates and the guest turned her head and got a face-full of my crotch, and I asked my manager if I should charge her extra for that. Most people just think I’m fucking weird, but I don’t really care as long as someone is laughing (…most of the time that “someone” is just me).

Meeting people is a pretty vulnerable situation, but I use the same gameplan every time: make them laugh. That’s it. Step One: make them laugh. Everything else comes after that. Once I can make someone laugh, I can figure out how to navigate the rest. Later in the conversation, I can make another joke by referencing back to my initial joke or use a piece of information that they revealed to me earlier. For example, if when we met they told me they were a professional goblin hunter, later in the conversation I will ask them to clarify: “I’m sorry. Now when you said ‘goblin hunter’… Is that a real thing or was that your way of telling me that you murder ugly people?” That way, I continue to make them feel more comfortable by making them laugh, and I’m showing them that I care to get to know them because I’m listening to the things they’re telling me. Once I make someone laugh, I know how to win them over. Eventually if this relationship grows into a friendship, I will know how to diffuse an argument between us in the future. When someone is mad at me, if I can make them laugh it’s gonna make it real hard for them to stay angry. And no matter how upset they are with me, once they laugh they’ll remember what it is they love about me (besides my devilish charm). And if they’re sad about something else, it’s even easier for me to make them laugh. I just give them two pieces of good advice and then my third piece of advice is something silly. For example: “You know what you need to do? You need to be brave, tell him how you feel and then eat all the fucking ice cream.” Tada! The rule of threes! It also helps to deliver a joke in the midst of a serious moment. For example, a friend is opening up to you, crying and wondering if someone will ever love them. And then you look them straight in the eye, wipe away their singular tear and say, “Hey. Now you listen to me. You are the filthiest fucking person I know, but I love you, you nasty fucking bitch.” Bingo bango! Sentiment with humor! Never fails. And if it does fail, you slap them in the face and give them a cookie; after that, at least one of you is bound to feel better.

Comedy is my foolproof lubricant in vulnerable situations. I have a bad habit of using comedy in my moments of uncomfortable vulnerability. For example, if I text someone and say something like, “Hey, I really miss you,” but they don’t respond right away, I am bound to then text something like, “Oh, man, sorry, that text was meant for my mom… and the dick pic I meant to send to you accidentally went to my mom. Fuck! Oh man. I hope she likes it? No, that’s fucked up. I hope she hates it! Wow, but I hope she doesn’t tell me that she hates it; that would really hurt my feelings. Does it turn you on when I use a semi-colon in a text? Maybe my mom won’t recognize my penis, and she won’t know it’s mine. I’ll tell her my iPhone was hacked by North Korea. That’s a thing, right? Also, do you love me?” And then I would insert a slew of emojis, starting with the crystal ball emoji and ending with the poopie emoji. I know in my heart that I should just sit patiently in my vulnerable moment, but sometimes I just can’t HELP but scramble to use comedy as my emergency parachute, uncertain if anyone is waiting to catch me as I careen towards unknown terrain in the Land of Vulnerability. That way, I’m safe either way. If the feeling is mutual, they’ll return the sentiment and my joke will just make them laugh. But if the feeling isn’t mutual, my joke serves as a landing cushion for me and it distracts them from my moment of vulnerability, like that super bright white light that the Men In Black use to erase people’s memories. Their conscience will be scot-free and unburdened while over in my apartment I’ll be sobbing wildly facefirst in my Stitch stuffed animal.

This leads to me the lesson of comedy that I appreciate the most: comedy is an excellent way to deliver a sincere message. You get people to like you and make themselves vulnerable to you by making them laugh, and then you sock ‘em where it counts.

Comedy is my lifeline. It’s my signature and I scribble it on everything. But it does get a little tiresome, being the social lubricant all the time. I feel like people look to me to save the day sometimes… “Oh, I’m sad… James will fix everything! Make it all better, James! Do that thing where you tell a disgusting story, and I forget about everything!” Whether this pressure exists in the physical world or only in my head, I frequently feel it’s my responsibility to be some sort of superhero of comedy, like it’s my duty to heal the hurt with my jokes. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than to make someone explode with laughter and know that it was me that did that. But sometimes, I just wanna sit back and be the one made to laugh. Sometimes I don’t wanna be the superhero; I wanna be the damsel in distress who desperately needs to laughs until she sharts. Sometimes, I wish I was 15 again, sitting in my grandpa’s Buick while he screams out the window at an old woman to drive faster. I just wanna be sitting in that passenger seat, breathless with laughter while my grandpa smirks to himself, secretly satisfied that he made me smile while pretending he didn’t do anything remotely out of the ordinary. If only. But I can’t go back. I can only go forward when my eyes are open. So. In that case, I fully intend to soldier onward, carrying the blazing torch of comedy handed down to me by my grandfather and ignite the world with shart-inducing laugther.

Game on, Life. Here comes the giggles, you fucks.

“If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman? If I’m alive and well, will you be there holding my hand?
~”Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down

#dontgiveup

Love,

James / The Glue

This is what I looked like when my grandpa started teaching me to be funny. If only he would have taught me how inappropriate it is to wear a tye-dye shirt in front of a tye-dye background. Also. I'm posing with my stuffed animal. How can anyone be cooler than me?

This is what I looked like when my grandpa started teaching me to be funny. If only he would have taught me how inappropriate it is to wear a tye-dye shirt in front of a tye-dye background. Also. I’m posing with my stuffed animal. How can anyone be cooler than me?