Tag Archives: new york city

68. James Gets Cold Sores of the Bum

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Last time we talked, I said I didn’t want to talk about it. Well now I want to talk about it. Put your fork down cuz this about to get nasty. Mom, this will be too much for you. Dad… you still have a flip-phone so nevermind.

Last August, I had unprotected sex with this dude who showed me all the paperwork from his doctor’s visit saying that he was absolutely STD-free. Five days later, I shit my pants at work and slept with an ice pack shoved up my asshole having sex dreams about being sodomized by popsicles. (I didn’t read The Secret but I heard from someone who read the cover synopsis that if you will things into the universe, the Universe will respond. So I stood on my bed with my eyes closed and arms outstretched like Princess Elsa and screamed, “UNIVERSE I WANT FROSTY THE SNOWMAN TO LICKY-LICKY MY MAN PUSSY!”) #bussy

The next day nothing was better. Every time I had to shit, it felt like shards of glass were passing through me. I had been going through this for a couple days, but I thought it was just hemorrhoids so I was just using some god damn witch hazel which was not doing ANYTHING. So Kelley came with me to the doctor.

The doctor made me lie in the fetal position with my pants pulled down while she made small-talk with me about golf. Honsetly, I would’ve rather talked about Serena Williams’ splits,but the doctor was in charge. It struck me that I had been in this same position earlier that week, and it had been MUCH more enjoyable.

Finally, after whispering into my post-apocalyptic asshole about the world’s quietest sport, she said, “Oh, you’re not gonna like what I have to tell you.” At that moment, I thought to myself, ‘You could literally tell me I have three days left on this earth, and I would still kiss you on the mouth just MAKE IT HURT LESS.’

“You have anal herpes.”

…Divine.

The next week was pretty awful. They gave me medication to treat my outbreak but nothing for pain management. I kindly declined my friends’ offers to score me pot or something stronger from the WASPy people they knew. It took three more days until I started feeling even marginally better. Every time I had to go to the bathroom I told my roommates to crank the volume on the TV cuz I was going to SCREAM on the toilet. It still felt like shards of glass coming out of me, and I would bang my head violently on the wall until I was done. At this point of the story, I would like to thank the rapper Desiigner for the songs “Panda” and “Tiimmy Turner”, because I listened to both of these songs every time I took a dump learned ALL the words to both songs. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, Desiigner, but you made my first outbreak of anal herpes much more tolerable.

Before the meds started kicking in, I went back to the doctor to get some painkillers. They gave me an appointment with a male doctor. ‘I hope he’s not hot.’ He walks into the room. He’s gorgeous. “What seems to be the problem?” I tell him about my broken asshole and how I wasn’t given any painkillers and I was definitely face-to-face with my pain threshold. “Alright, just pull down your pants and lie on your side.” ….’I really don’t want to do that. He’s so hot, and I’m so…herpes. Well maybe he’s not gay.’ As I pull down my underwear, I catch sight of Hot Doctors pink socks. Defeated, I lie down in the fetal position and pretend to disappear as the Hot Gay Hot Doctor spread my ass-cheeks apart.

Now, if you’re ever diagnosed with the Sexiest Virus ever (formerly known as ASS HERPES), DO NOT GOOGLE IT. I was v depressed at first. The doctor told me I would have this virus for life. So I figured I should find some sort of support group to learn to grapple with this. Well the internet is NOT a friendly place for people who are monumentally terrified. All the threads were people posting things like, “Why did this happen to me? I’ve never had unprotected sex. I feel like my life is over. I don’t feel comfortable having sex again. Maybe we should just only date each other. Is there a website solely meant for herpes-infested people to date each other?” My friends thought that this last comment would be a BRILLIANT new dating app entitled”Herpes Ever After”. They even researched to  make sure the domain hadn’t been purchased yet. They were very excited. I have since murdered all of said “friends.”

Here are the things that you are thinking about me since reading this far:
“Well you got herpes because you had unprotected sex.”
“Herpes is gross, and I don’t want it so I’ll never date you.”
“I’m so glad I don’t have genital herpes. That’s disgusting.”

I thought all of these things, too. I was pretty devastated, because I felt for the first time in my life I was involuntarily disgusting.

After the test results came back from my orgasmic swabbing, CityMD made me come in for my official diagnosis. I met with a very awkward male doctor who didn’t know how to sugarcoat any facts. For this, I am eternally grateful. Because by this point, I just needed some numbers and facts and shit so I could realistically prepare for my future with my new bff ANAL HERPES. Here’s what he taught me:

  1. “Cold sores of the bum” is WAY less threatening than the term “anal herpes”.
  2. There are two types of herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is commonly known as “cold sores” where HSV-2 is commonly known as genital herpes. I had HSV-1 on my asshole. Yes, the “cold sore version” in my anus.
  3. 4 out of 5 people have HSV-1, but many people don’t know because they don’t present symptoms.
  4. Some people who never show symptoms of HSV-1 never see any reason to get tested for it. And many doctors don’t even suggest testing patients for HSV-1 because they don’t want to scare them. Yes, your run-of-the-mill STD/STI test does not include a herpes test.
  5. You can learn if you have HSV through a blood test. If you test positive for HSV-2, then you know you have genital herpes. But if your blood tests positive for the HSV-1 antibodies, you still don’t know if you have cold sores or genital herpes. You would only learn this from swabbing the infected area while your body is shedding the virus.
  6. Both types of herpes are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, NOT through bodily fluids. And you’re not going to just get herpes from touching any part of my body. You would have to have intimate contact with the infected area.
  7. If you have HSV-1 in the form of cold sores, you can transmit it to someone else’s genitals through oral sex even if you aren’t presenting symptoms.
  8. Both HSV viruses are transmittable right before an outbreak, during an outbreak, during the healing process after the outbreak, and randomly when the virus is present on the skin without symptoms (which is called asymptomatic shedding).
  9. A person with HSV-1 experiences asymptomatic shedding about 5% of the time. So if you have HSV-1, whether you’re aware of it or not, there are 18 days of the year when you could be transmitting the virus to others even though you aren’t showing symptoms.
  10. There is no way of knowing whether I contracted HSV-1 through the unprotected pound session I had or if I had received it through oral sex on my butthole earlier in my life from someone who has had cold sores at any point.
  11. In my first two years with HSV-1, I can expect anywhere between two and ten outbreaks.
  12. I have only experienced one in my first year.
  13. I take one pill every morning with breakfast. Her name is valacyclovir, and I am very grateful for her. I will take this pill every day for the rest of my life. I am grateful that I had Obamacare at the time of my diagnosis, and I will need to have health insurance for the rest of my life.
  14. Medical friends have said that I don’t need to take valacyclovir every day, and I don’t need to be insured forever. But HSV-1 presents itself when the body is enduring stress. I never want to experience that kind of pain ever, ever again in my life. Thinking about that kind of pain puts stress on my body, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. Yes, I experienced a more extreme outbreak, and yes, they decrease with frequency and intensity over time. But at this time, I plan on being insured/medicated until I’m dead.
  15. Unfortunately, you can still contract HSV even while using a condom. The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact. If the condom doesn’t entire the infected area, there is still a possibility of transmittal. Thankfully, daily doses of valacyclovir dramatically decrease chances of transmitting the disease to my other sexual partners.
  16. There is a huge stigma surrounding “genital herpes” while no one gives two fucks whether or not you’ve had a cold sore before. They’re the same fugging thing.

I feel like these are all things I should have been taught in health class in high school. But either we didn’t learn any of that or else I was too busy slamming my boner in the desk and then fucking it. It’s impossible to tell.

I’m dealing with my diagnosis much better now. I’ve since started using a gay app called Grindr in which men meet up to pork each other in private and then the next day one of them ignores the other in public and then the ignored one goes home and skullfucks the voodoo doll he made of the man who ignored him. I asked my doctor if disclosing my status to my sexual partners was necessary, and he honestly told me it was up to me. He said herpes really isn’t that big of a deal and it’s highly probable that my sexual partner already has the virus and doesn’t even know about it. I’ve decided to disclose, because it’s the responsible adult thing to do. But I only disclose if we’re going to have anal sex, because that’s the only possible way they could contract the virus from me. I don’t let guys eat me out or finger me. So if we’re just meeting to 69, then it’s none of their business. I’m very responsible about it. Still, after sharing the information, some dudes decide to ignore me. The more kind dumbasses just tell me they’re no longer interested, and that’s their prerogative and I clearly have no hard feelings toward those losers.  And then I’ve had more frustrating encounters, like this one:

*Me and Dipshit are making out. He pulls away to ask me in his sexiest whisper…*
Dipshit: Do you have any incurable diseases?
Me: (Whispering back) Yes. But it’s none of your god damn business.
Dipshit: What do you have?
Me: Nothing that concerns you.
Dipshit: What is it?
Me: You’re not gonna get it today.
Dipshit: Today?! WHAT IS IT?!
Me: I HAVE ANAL HERPES BUT YOU CAN ONLY GET IT FROM EATING MY HOLE OR BAREBACKING ME WHICH WE’RE NOT DOING SO IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

That got him REALLY horny for my juicy-juicy so I sploojed everywhere and I left. AND THEN he started texting me and apologizing for being so intrusive but he’s SCARED THAT I GAVE HIM HERPES. Literally minutes after I left. He thought he contracted my herpes by letting me half-heartedly fuck his fist. Boy, bye. I told him to stop texting me and to educate himself. He told me he thought I was cool and wished me success. Well. All I have to say to that is I AM COOL AND I WILL SUCCEED. SO THANKS FOR not SUCKING MY SEED.

Is that too much? Perhaps that’s overboard. Well if Overboard is good enough for Goldie Hawn IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

Funny enough, the only two people from Grindr who have consented to safer sex with me after disclosing my status has been doctors. Yes, that’s correct bitches, the only two people who have let me sit on their condom-clad weiners have been EDUCATED-ASS DOCTORS. Just think about that.

Oh, also, to all the guys on Grindr who have bareback sex just because they’re on PrEP, you are very, very dumb. HIV isn’t the only lifelong disease you can get from unprotected sex. You could get herpes in your bootyhole and then cry on the toilet as your feces slide past your open sores. Poppers won’t help you through that.

Anyway, I’m much better now. I don’t cry myself to sleep due to my diagnosis anymore; now I just cry myself to sleep because of my unbearable loneliness. And I don’t have to sleep with an icepack under my hole which is nice because now when I wake up and my bed is soaked, I just have to lick it to figure out if it’s human urine or nocturnal emission. And my friends have helped me concoct the best pick-up line ever which I have yet to use:

“Hey daddy, you want some anal herpes?”

God how PERFECT would it have been if this were my 69th blog. Oh well, life is hard and so am I.

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

“Tiimmy Tiimmy  Tiimmy Turner
He be wishin’ for a burner
To kill everybody walkin’
He knows that his soul’s in the furnace.”
~”Tiimmy Turner” by Desiigner

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This is me giving no fucks about my herpes-infested anus.

Here are some articles to reference. And please don’t be afraid to talk to me if you have questions. But I, Ms. Kitty Marvin Hansen, reserve the right to be frustrated over stupid questions. Lucky for you, I’m the nicest person I know so I will probably answer inane questions with an immense amount of patience.

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/15/135442942/even-without-symptoms-genital-herpes-can-spread

http://www.thestdproject.com/hsv1-resources-info-herpes-simplex-1/

http://www.herpes.org/protecting-uninfected-partners/

http://myprepexperience.blogspot.com/p/what-is-prep.html

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

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

58. James’s 2014 Gratitude List

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So while I was home for Christmas, my mother asked my sisters and me if we would make a list of five things we were grateful for from 2014, and she wanted us to share these lists on Christmas Day. Well, we all sort of dropped the ball on that one, and when Christmas Day rolled around we were all a little too shy to be super vulnerable in front of each other. I know it meant a lot of my mother that we make these lists so here’s mine now:

1) Career Success: The year started with the biggest high and the biggest low of my life. I was cast in my first real professional show as a dancer in 42nd Street. It was fucking amazing. I got to wear all the original costumes from the Broadway production, and I was getting paid to tap and sing every damn day! I am so grateful for that. But near the end of the production, my grandma passed away unexpectedly. I flew home on my two days off for her wake, I sang at her funeral and then I flew back to Florida immediately afterwards. It was really hard for me to be a tap-dancing ray of sunshine after that, but I told myself that she was sitting there in the front row watching me. After that, I performed every show for her with the biggest smile I could muster. Also 2014 ended with another career success for me: I was finally cast in my first professional lead role as “Burt” (or if you’re my mother: “Dick Van Dyke”) in Mary Poppins. I am very grateful for all the gains I made in my career in 2014, and just so everyone knows: it took me three solid years of auditioning in New York to be cast as a lead. So if you’re moving to NYC to pursue acting, BE PATIENT, GOD DAMNIT.

2) Stacy: When my grandma passed away, I called Stacy to see if she was available to come to the wake and the funeral since she’s basically like an honorary Hansen. When she picked up the phone she said, “I’ve already asked off.” The wake was on a Monday, and she worked a 9-to-5 desk job at the Department of Transportation. After she finished her workday, she drove for an hour to make it to the end of the wake. She then took me to the church where I practiced the song I was going to sing the following day at the funeral while she sat quietly in the pew while I learned a song I didn’t know at all. Then she drove another hour to take me home. She came to the funeral the next day, and when she tried to sit in the “Friends” section instead of “Family” my older sister yelled, “STACY. GET OVER HERE.” After hearing my big sister raise her voice at her while in the House of God, I think she was so frightened that she unintentionally shit her skirt for the second time in her adult life. But she scurried over to sit with my sisters and me. She sat next to me the whole time, and she didn’t try to comfort me too much with touch. Afterwards, she drove me back to the airport. When my parents tried to give her money for the gas, she refused. And when it was just the two of us in her car, when I no longer had to put on the façade of being the big brother who keeps the show running smoothly with jokes and smiles, I started sobbing as she drove. And she didn’t pull over to give me a hug or try to hold my hand; she just calmly put her hand on my knee while she drove. She understood the core of loss. She understood that there was nothing to be fixed or bandaged, and she let me be un-okay for a few minutes of my life. I have never been more grateful to Stacy in my entire life.

3) Caity: 2014 was a big struggle for me. I remember having just a really terrible day after a particularly grueling night of waiting tables. I trudged into my apartment, went to our room, took all my clothes off, turned on my box fan, laid down on my stomach on the hardwood floor in my underwear and just started bawling. Caity came in to see if I was alright and I remember saying, “I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere. I’m not suicidal, and I don’t want to die; but I just want to not exist for like ten minutes.” Everything finally just got to me. The unkind people, the auditioning life, my self-doubt, my wreck of a dating life, my loneliness. I cracked. And I laid there on the ground crying while Caity laid there next to me rubbing my back until I calmed down. To be frank, I’ve cried alone in my room countless times. But this was the first time it happened in front of Caity, and I’m grateful that I didn’t have to feel so alone this time.

4) Summer Vacation: For the summer of 2014, I finally gave myself a summer off. I did what I wanted to do. There weren’t really auditions happening, so I just stopped looking. I stopped working on my craft for a second. I’m sure I went to a dance class and a voice lesson here and there, but for the most part I gave myself a summer vacation. I laid out almost every day. I woke up early, took the train down to West 4th Street, walked to Starbucks, ordered the largest iced coffee they had and laid on the grass of the Christopher Street Pier until it was time to go to work. Then stumbled to work, crispy like a piece of bacon, worked a lazy summer shift, went home, passed out and did it all again the next day. I also realized I had never been to California, and I had been told by a therapist that I would enjoy it out there. So I asked friends when they were available, and everyone responded back with their finicky, specific schedules. And instead of doing what I always do which would be to plan my entire life around everyone else’s, I thought to myself, ‘Fuck it! I’m going by myself!’ And it was fucking amazing. Kaylee accompanied me for a few days, but then I hung out by myself. And I had such a good time. I am so grateful for the courage to travel alone, and I’m so grateful to have had the means to take a little vacation. Yes, it took me a little bit of time to catch up on my finances, but it was worth it for a real fucking summer, god damnit.

5) Strong Sense of Family: Most of all, I’m grateful to have such a strong sense of family within me. After the sudden loss of my grandma, I’ve made myself try harder with my sisters. It’s not that we aren’t close, but I wanted to feel them even closer. And I can feel the mutual effort. I can feel us all trying to be more vulnerable with each other. We tell each other that we care about one another instead of assuming that we all know. We reach out to each other even though it’s scary to put ourselves out there. And my New York family feels stronger than ever. Stacy sleeps in my bed every night even though she has her own room. When I’m getting ready for a date, she sits on my bed telling me how beautiful I am so I don’t get nervous. And then when I’m on my inevitably boring dates, I can’t help but think to myself, ‘Man, I’d rather be at home playing with Stacy.’ Whenever I fly back to NYC, Caity offers to meet me at the airport. Even when I ask her not to, sometimes she shows up anyway just so she can ride the bus home with me. Also, she waits up for me every damn night. Even if I get home super late from work and she has to wake up super early for work, she’ll be waiting up for me. Whenever I go visit Stephanie and Chaz, they offer me food and coffee the second I walk in the door. And we all fight at dinner when one person tries to pay the whole bill. I have long-distance friends that I don’t talk to for weeks or months, but when they call it’s as if nothing has changed. They make me laugh within seconds, and we don’t hold it against each other for being MIA for a bit. We recognize that everyone is dealing with their own shit. With all these people combined, I feel like I’ve unknowingly assembled my own team of Avengers. I have a whacky group of people who are all vehemently Team James, telling me that I deserve better every time someone mistreats me. They tell me it’s okay to be picky when selecting the people who deserve to share my joy. Team James cheers for me when I’m winning and lays with me when I’m not.They constantly remind me to be my own friend. God, I only hope that I reflect the light that they shine into my life. I love you guys, but it’s absolutely your fault that I can’t find a boyfriend that meets my extremely high standards. Thank you.

I remember laying on the beach with Alison at the beginning of 2014. I told her, “This is gonna be my year.” And she said, “Yeah? Well, good!” My spirit was definitely tested, but 2014 brought be a great influx of love. Though I wouldn’t say it was the best year of my life, I’m grateful for the things that the Universe gave me: hope, love and peace.

I hope you enjoyed, mom. 🙂 I’m grateful that you asked me to do this.

#dontgiveup

JAMES

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?

56. James Is Down For Fat Dudes

Standard

So I am back to online dating. It’s an interesting topic to talk about, because when I mention it in a conversation, I can see people actually get embarrassed for me. I literally see them blush. Sometimes they even ask me to repeat myself, as if they can’t believe that I actually just confessed that not only am I looking for a (sexual) partner in crime but that I’m doing it using a social media app. People get squeamish when I bring it up as if I’m casually discussing how I like to fingerpaint with my terds or that I like to drink all fluids through my anus. I was unaware that online dating was supposed to be a taboo topic, and I don’t really understand why it would be. I mean, isn’t everyone secretly hoping to magically find a mate? Why is it wrong to talk about it? I’m the same as everyone else except that I’m not choosing to wait with bated breath and fingers crossed for someone to come into my life; I’m actively pursuing it. Plus it’s a great way to meet people that I wouldn’t encounter organically in the real world. My friends could all set me up with their other single pals, but then I’m inevitably dating somebody’s sloppy seconds. And do I really need to date another actor? ABSOLUTELY NOT. So this is a useful means for me to meet people outside of my social circle. I’m not the type of person who’s going to go out to a bar to meet someone, because I don’t really drink/ I hate bars. My friend asked me, “James, why don’t you just go to a bar, drink club soda and talk to people? That way you can meet someone in real life!” Well, I could do that, but then I couldn’t be upset later on when I discovered that this person was an alcoholic. Or if we became an item and they asked me to meet them at a bar for a night of heavy drinking, I would have to explain two things to them:
1) I shut down when I go to bars because I feel like a piece of meat, and as a result I stare at everyone with dead eyes a la Carrie right before she murders everyone at the prom.
2) I only was at that bar in the first place, because I was on the prowl, lurking for prey to snag.
But mostly… do lasting relationships start in bars? Or do you just take someone home to go buck wild for the night? #fuckbeingpolite

So online dating. I’ve done it a few times so I know how this goes. Clearly, I’ve never had a lasting relationship from Tinder, OKCupid, etc. but I’m willing to try it again. This time I’m trying something other than Tinder though, because that was a debacle for me. Let me explain Tinder really quickly to those that are unfamiliar: Tinder is a dating app. You upload like six pictures of you looking the BEST you’ve ever looked in your entire life, and you write a short blip about yourself that makes you sound casual, irresistible and clever with the LEAST amount of characters possible. The app then uses your GPS, and it shows you the profiles of people who are near you. It then presents you with a match, you look at their pictures, you read their info, and then you swipe “yes” or “no”. If you both swipe “yes”, the app allows you to message each other. Then a storybook romance ensues. Tada! Back to the story: The first time I had Tinder, I deleted it because it was giving me anxiety. A few months later I was convinced that I would be able to use Tinder while also keeping a tight-fisted grasp on my sanity, so I downloaded it for a second time. This time, I gave myself some guidelines. At first, I told myself, “James, hello, it’s James. How are you? Lonely? Perfect. So. Here are your rules: We will only do five swipes per day. Got it?” I did that for a while, but then I realized these guidelines were too strict to really yield me any viable options. So then I modified my rules and said, “James, you can swipe until you swipe ‘yes” to five different people.” Still, I found those rules to be too rigid so then I told myself that I could have unlimited swipes for five minutes per day. Well, friends, you can probably guess that it took a remarkably short period of time for this situation to escalate out of control. Eventually, I reached a point where I was waking up randomly in the middle of the night, grabbing my phone and swiping until I passed out again. But I really knew I had hit rock bottom when one night at 3:00 AM I was swiping deliriously with a blazing madness glowing in my half-open eyes, and all of a sudden Tinder told me, “You have no more available matches in your area.” Well that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Or DOES IT?! Do you know what Tinder was actually saying to me?? “Hey, freak. You live in New York City, one of the most populated cities in the United States, and you have swiped through EVERY GAY MAN IN MANHATTAN. You should be ashamed of yourself, you psycho bastard! So put your phone away, cuddle up with your shame, flip over your drool-drenched pillow and go the fuck back to sleep. In the meantime, I’ll be…’refreshing matches in your area.”

I haven’t made up with Tinder since then. Instead I’m trying a different dating app now, but I can’t help replaying in my mind a certain situation that played out a few times while I was on Tinder. On multiple occasions, I met up with people who were 20 pounds heavier than they were in their pictures. Listen, I’m not upset at you for being heavy. Honestly, I’d rather date someone who has some meat on them than someone who is just a bag of bones; I’m a big guy, and I’d like to be with someone who is also of great physical substance. Seriously, dudes, if I look at you and there’s even the slightest inkling within me that if I lay on top of you that you will stop breathing and cease to exist, I’m not down. You’ve gotta be able to support my body weight without eking our your last wheezy breaths. Let me reiterate: I’m not mad at you for being a big boy; but I am upset that you felt like you needed to misrepresent yourself in order to be found desirable. I’m mad at you, bro! I’m mad that you felt like you needed to bamboozle me into thinking you were skinnier in order to get a date. Look, maybe I’ve never been overweight, but I know what it feels like to hustle for worthiness. I know what it feels like to conceal the undesirable and seemingly unlovable parts of myself in an effort to woo somebody. I know what it feels like to seek approval from others before giving myself permission to love me. I have my own shit of which I am ashamed, but if I make a big deal out of those things, I give them the power to become the Kim Jong-un of my life! If I allow shame to become my supreme leader I will always be thinking, ‘What will this dude think when he discovers this shameful thing about me that I’ve tried so hard to hide but still exists within me, making me unworthy of love?’ NO! NO NO NO NO NO! No! Let me speak to the weight issue specifically: skinny is NOT synonymous with “attractive and lovable” and fat is NOT synonymous with “unpretty and undesirable”. I think Kevin James is so fucking handsome. I have the biggest fucking crush on Zach Galifianakis AND Seth Rogen, just the way they are! You don’t have to be someone else in order for me to love you, and that is the root of the problem. The problem isn’t that you’re fat or that you’ve misrepresented yourself; the problem is that you aren’t confident that what you have to offer is plenty and that confidence alone would make you sexy as fuck. And that’s what frustrates me.

Everyone has body struggles. I know. But I also know that sometimes being overweight is genetic, and for some people it will be a lifetime struggle. But I THINK YOU’RE HOT RIGHT NOW. Not just cute. Not just adorable. BUT HOT. And I am WAY more likely to swipe “yes” to someone who is thick than someone who’s a stick. So please know that and just show me you. Show me the real you. Because YOU, just the way you are, ARE WORTHY OF LOVE AND BELONGING.

Big boy, you are beautiful.

#dontgiveup

JAMES

“Yeah, this one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the fucking club.”
~”Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj

56

Here. I’ll be me, the Christmas llama, as long as you be you, whoever you are.