Cross because I’m Not Fit

I generally think of myself as “in-shape”. I workout 6 days a week, sometimes twice. I think that falls in the social onset, body dysmorphic, workout-addicted, prototype proliferating through Los Angeles, don’t you? Granted, every now and then, in a stoned haze I’ll down a half-pound of pasta, but hey! Cardio was invented to offset carb addiction.

But alas, I’m just an average American, cream cheese curdling through my veins, compared to the crossfitters.

Redd

I walk into “The Box” (apparently that’s what the Reebok labs are called sometimes – other than being called labs as well. When did gym become passé?) where a mass of crossfitters are seated on wooden cubbies, watching five individuals (crossfit trainers) deadlift and heave from “The Box”’s entrance.

All five trainers are hulks. It looks as though Reebok commissioned Michaelangelo to sculpt their bodies. Can muscles really grow on top of muscles?

I stand there watching, initially impressed, then intimidated, and eventually resting comfortably in the aroused lounge. Is that a man or a woman? Nevermind, doesn’t matter, I want my body to look like that.

My friend, a born-again crossfitter, pulls me in the class. “You can have a piece of this pie too! All it takes is determination, $250 a month, oh, and of course, your soul.”

I’m invited to this class because the WOD indicated it was buddy day. Don’t confuse WOD with shredded, gooey napkins from a laptop-side masturbation sesh – Crossfit WODs are simply the “workout of the day”s – posted so you can prepare – you know, bring a towel for cardio days, get extra sleep on endurance days, and bring a Home Depot vomit bucket for the buddy days.

So the WOD begins – some ungodly combination of two 12-minute non-stop circuits between running, kettle balls, and pushups. Initially, I’m good. I don’t overexert myself and maintain form. But my body-space acuity is worse than a drunk squirrel’s, plus kettle balls were foreign to me.

Squirrel

Obviously struggling, the trainer corrects me.

“You have to thrust up with your groin. Thrust your arms up with your groin and pop back your back to achieve it.” The trainer begins to hump the invisible woman.

“You mean thrust like I’m … ?” I ask.

“Yes.” He says. But I don’t move that way – I’m a bottom!

I figure it out, but at this point, my breathing slows down and muscles fatigue. Holy shit! We have another 15 minutes left! I inhale deeply right as the crossfitter next to me claps his hands – after rubbing them in the chalk bin. I choke on a cloud of chalk as I embark on my final 400 meter run, not before I’m almost hit in the face by someone else’s kettle ball in my chalk-induced blindness.

The girl in last place for this circuit, the final one to reach The Box before our first 12 minutes ended, was red in the face, sweaty, and gasping but arrived to The Box with cheers and claps. “Yay! You look like you’re dying! Keep going!”

I arrived about a minute or two after the last girl – to no applause because they’d already begun discussing their next set.

So the second set continues and I complete a full 9 minutes before I feel it. The bubbling, rumbling, the flow. I’m about to burst and it’s not going to be pretty. I leave my teammate hanging with barely a word and rush to the bathroom to a wide audience of judging stares. (I stupidly chose a corner on the OPPOSITE side from the restroom.)

In the restroom, after puking the entire bottle of water I guzzled, I feel as though I’m dying. My heart thumps out of my chest, my head spins like an engine belt, and I’m not sweating – I’m gushing. I don’t have my towel or shirt at this point, but I lock eyes with a box of toilet seat covers. I grab a few to sop up my sweat; they disintegrate on my face upon sopping, leaving flecks of wet tissue paper glued to my forehead.

I leave the bathroom to disappointment. The workout ended. Stretching and cool down arrived.

As we stretch, another member chats with me.

“Are you visiting?” he asks me. I tell him, yes I’m new and trying crossfit out. He explains that in Crossfit – visiting means you are a crossfitter and are simply on vacation, checking out another city’s Box. I tell him there’s too many sexual innuendos to fully register that sentence.

He ceases the conversation. I didn’t mind, he came off as an insurance sales agent or a Jehovah’s Witness, not anyone really trying to converse. I stretch to my other leg, where I listen to two Avatars, sorry, girls, gossip about dating.

“Omg, it was perfect. He was funny, he was paleo AND he was crossfit. I think he’s the one.”

After the class, my kegels, or some type of interior leg muscles I didn’t’ know I had, were sore until Wednesday. Class was Saturday. But after, I felt this lingering sense of intensity, kind of like a desire to continue pushing myself. This class, unlike my go-to BUTI workout, is different. It’s not a fun dance party masquerading as a workout – it’s truly like you’re a Greek soldier training for war. But I dig that. In fact, I’m going to take all 6 of the Foundations classes.

Oh Lawd, I did it. I drank the Gatorade.

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Dear Straight, Black Woman, Can We “Cher” Culture and Acceptance?

 

A young senior in college, Sierra Mannie opinion piece was posted to Time’s website yesterday. A writer at Canwecomplain.com responded to her letter with a parody of it, writing essentially the same piece from a gay perspective. Her piece was flawed in its form, a form letter to a minority, so following it would be flawed as well. I liked the piece but felt it was a bit too tongue and cheek. I think there’s a real opportunity for dialogue here. So here’s my two cents…

 

Before I respond – let me create my equity:

In college, I found a strange attraction towards Blaxploitation film and therefore felt the need to dive head-first into an ocean of sociological non-fiction on the topic – mostly to define the pros and cons of its appropriation.

I also found myself drawn towards Middle Eastern culture – taking multiple classes on the history and current sociology before travelling extensively through the region.

Having lived in Germany, including a stint in Berlin as a gogo dancer, I found a fascination in the Ashkenazi Judaic (“German-Jewish”) Experience throughout history, reading all the Schnitzler and Kafka I could.

All this bottle-necked to my own experience of coming out of the closet.

So let me be clear, I feel I’ve earned a license to comment on minority issues. I’m a proponent for education, and I see you are a bright young woman, so I hope you will listen because the Black Experience is not that different than the Gay Experience and if either group wants to make progress, we need to build up and support each other, not knock each other down. That’s cannibalistic and makes us less powerful to the straight, white, politicians we are lobbying our rights from.

 

 

 

 

I’ve responded in red to her piece:

I need some of you to cut it the hell out. Maybe, for some of you, it’s a presumed mutual appreciation for Beyoncé and weaves that has you thinking that I’m going to be amused by you approaching me in your best “Shanequa from around the way” voice. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you. I need humans to stop marginalizing themselves by tiny boxes of definition they think they fit in, then asigning themselves to an “us” vs. “them” mentality. Can’t we work together for human progress?

Black people can’t have anything. Any of these things include, but aren’t limited to: a general sense of physical safety (this sentiment seems a bit dated, while hate still finds home in the less-educated pockets of America, I hardly think the majority of blacks feel unsafe at a given time, these experiences are contained and rare, which is why they make such big ripples in the media when they occur. Additionally gays are subject to hate crimes as well), comfort with law enforcement (valid point – police have not had positive PR in their African-American relations lately), adequate funding and appreciation for black spaces like schools and neighborhoods (I work in marketing and obtaining funds for LGBT initiatives is like asking your business partners to face their worst fears), appropriate venues for our voices to be heard about criticism of issues without our race going on trial because of it, (there are appropriate venues, and if you think there aren’t, build some; we are in the age of social media where a platform for a strong voice can be free and reach a wide demographic, especially with YouTube. and solid voting rights At least you own full marriage rights in all 50 states. (cc: Chris McDaniel).

And then, when you thought this pillaging couldn’t get any worse, extracurricular black activities get snatched up, too: our music, our dances, our slang, our clothing, our hairstyles. A lot of the colloquialisms and cultural traits that define the African American society lately were written in the Bronx/Brooklyn, but often co-authored by the gay community. Tea, shade, reading – these are all terms created from the interaction of gay and African American cultures. It remained sequestered from mainstream society’s usage until the documentary Paris is Burning and allusions to said film in the popular series RuPaul’s Drag Race provided that opportunity. All of these things are rounded up, whitewashed and repackaged for your consumption. But here’s the shade — the non-black people who get to enjoy all of the fun things about blackness will never have to experience the ugliness of the black experience, systemic racism and the dangers of simply living while black. The non-gay people never have to experience the ugliness of the Gay Experience – bullying, beatings, loss of familial relations, homelessness, domestic violence, discrimination, etc.Though I suppose there’s some thrill in this “rolling with the homies” philosophy some adopt, white people are not racially oppressed in the United States of America. I’m starting to think you should have written a letter to White, Hetero America and not the gays.

White people are not racially oppressed in the United States of America. Minorities are making waves and kicking out the old C-level geezers who grew up during Business’s White, Straight Male monopoly. But humans all fall into some category and will be oppressed at some point due to that fact, even if it’s not racially charged, it can still be as vitriolic and painful.

Nothing about whiteness will get a white person in trouble the way blackness can get a black person shot down in his tracks. These are just facts. Same way nothing about straightness will get a straight person in trouble the same way a gay club can be infiltrated with terrorism or gay men can be lured to houses under false pretenses to be beaten to death.

The truth is that America is a country that operates on systems of racism in which we all participate, it’s also a country operating under sexism, ageism, etc. whether consciously or unconsciously, to our benefit or to our detriment, and that system allows white people correction, white men – and this is confined to certain industries to succeed. This system also creates barriers so that minorities, such as black people, have a much harder time being able to do things like vote and get houses and not have to deal with racists and stuff. You know. Casual. There are a whole lot of issues here that, yes, are related to race but by a degree of separation from the factors of geography and history. We will change this, unfortunately time is our greatest tool.

But while you’re gasping at the heat and the steam of the strong truth tea I just spilled,what’s even worse about all of this, if you thought things could get even crappier, is the fact that all of this is exponentially worse for black women. A culture of racism is bad enough, but pairing it with patriarchal structures that intend to undermine women’s advancement is like double-fisting bleach and acid rain.

At the end of the day, if you are a white male, gay or not, you retain so much privilege. What is extremely unfairly denied you because of your sexuality could float back to you, if no one knew that you preferred the romantic and sexual company of men over women. Are you saying if we deny who we really are, we will receive the same rights as the straights and because we have this ‘choice’ we are less oppressed? (You know what I’m talking about. Those “anonymous” torsos on Grindr, Jack’d and Adam4Adam, show very familiar heterosexual faces to the public.) The difference is that the black women with whom you think you align so well, whose language you use and stereotypical mannerisms you adopt, cannot hide their blackness and womanhood to protect themselves the way that you can hide your homosexuality. We have no place to hide, or means to do it even if we desired them. Sometimes, as an out gay male, I wish I could wear a label that let everyone know I’m gay. I want to be who I am and want people to know. I sometimes envy minorities dictated by skin color because when it comes to communication, people will treat those races exactly as the want. When you’re a gay male, your communication partner will assume you’re straight until proven otherwise. As gay men we constantly hear homophobic remarks (faggot is the new N-word after all) from straight counterparts who do not know we are gay. We also have to deal with the pressure of deciding when to reveal or hide sexuality. We also have to deal with the loss of friendships or change in attitudes from our ‘friends’ who learn of our sexuality. I understand this is different from physical pain you might argue minorities who wear their identity in skin color are subject to (same type of pain many straights target the gays with), but the mental pain is something the gays cannot hide from.

In all of the ways that your gender and race give you so much, in those exact same ways, our gender and race work against our prosperity. To claim that you’re a minority woman just for the sake of laughs, and to say that the things allowed her or the things enjoyed by her are done better by you isn’t cute or funny. First of all, it’s aggravating as hell. Second, it’s damaging and perpetuating of yet another set of aggressions against us. I’m confused here, are you saying we claim to be black women or are we using idioms and colloquialisms that you deem solely for black usage? If the former, who are these men?

All of this being said, you should not have to stop liking the things you like. I like boys. This is not an attempt to try to suck the fun out of your life. Appreciating a culture and appropriating one are very, very different things, with a much thicker line than some people think, if you use all of the three seconds it takes to be considerate before you open your mouth. If you love some of the same things that some black women love, by all means, you and your black girlfriends go ahead and rock the hell out. Regardless of what our privileges and lack of privileges are, regardless of the laws and rhetoric that have attempted to divide us, we are equal, even though we aren’t the same, and that is okay. Claiming our identity for what’s sweet without ever having to taste its sour is not. Breathing fire behind ugly stereotypes that reduce black females to loud caricatures for you to emulate isn’t, either.

So, you aren’t a strong black woman, or a ghetto girl, or any of that other foolery that some of you with trash Vine accounts try to be. It’s okay. You don’t have to be. No one asked you to be. You weren’t ever meant to be. What you can be, however, is part of the solution. Now all this? I agree with. I fully agree, it’s wrong for someone to use their social media account to gain views and followers by making fun of someone else – that’s cyberbullying. If there are individuals using their Vines and solely making fun of African American, female stereotypes it’s not only uncreative, it’s disrespectful. It’s the same argument against vine users who “appropriate” gay stereotype for laughs. I think the argument is confused by Vine users appropriating stereotypes to greater definitions of cultural interactions.

With that being said, the gays share a lot of passion for black culture. Much of our community speaks similarly to the Ebonic colloquialisms you reference. This is never done to disrespect, but it’s usually an ode to the voguing culture from 80’s/90’s. While there are stark differences I acknowledge, the Black Experience and the Gay Experience is very similar. For this reason we have created an original way of communicating that makes sense within our communities.

And we’ve fought our asses off since Stonewall and deserve the right to speak our minds as well. So I’ll read you (not you but the omnipotent ‘you’), throw you shade, and allow you to spill the tea about it later to your girls – all in good fun. You can do the same. And when I see you at the Beyonce concert, I won’t think of you as a sistah based on your skin color, I’ll think of you as a sister who shares the same goals and passions I do. And I’ll support you in your fight for equality. I hope you’ll stand up and support me too. Because, I’m sorry but it’s true, within the soul of every gay man is the hint of a strong, black woman and I think the community’s acceptance of and aspiration to be “strong black women” is nothing other than a compliment.

 

 

Check your privilege. Try to strengthen the people around you.

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The Golden Penis

Two betches lie on pristine towels before a Grecian pool. Their skins are oiled and tan. The blonde betch is Carol, a prototypical wolf in sheep’s clothing. The brunette, Sandra, is a basic Mid-Western face; beautiful & perfect but empty inside. With that being said, she is an ironic history buff.

Sandra: You’ve gotta sieze the day, Carol. Our bodies are only going to be this perfect for so long. Live in the now. You’ve gotta find that golden penis.

Carol: Golden penis? Is this some sort of metaphor?

Sandra: Haven’t you ever heard of Isis? The Egyptian Goddess? She like, married her hot brother Osiris, and then this jealous trashy ho, Set, cut Osiris up in 14 pieces, scattering them around Egypt. Well, Isis went searching for those 14 pieces and found all but one.

Carol: What part?

Sandra: The dick. (pause) A shark ate it. Apparently, it fed him for days – that’s a god dick for ya. SO, Isis did what she had to do. She attached a golden penis on him and lived happily ever after.

Carol: Oh, so you’re saying I can only find pleasure from a man-made penis?

Sandra: No, all I’m saying is, Isis lived happily ever after because she knew what she wanted, she searched for it, and she found it. If we want to be rich by the time we’re 25, we need to marry a rich, naïve man soon. We have to be present and conscious of this very moment.

Carol: Ugh, Sandra, “now” totally is not a thing! Light travels at a finite speed. Duhsies – it takes time for it to bounce from the object to your eye. When you see a thing, you are seeing it as it looked some point in the past. The brain integrates the different sources of visual information, and since the differences in arrival time are much smaller than what your eyes can discern and your brain process, you don’t see a difference. The “present”—the sum total of the sensorial input we say is happening “now”—is nothing but a convincing illusion.

Sandra: Okay, okay, wrong word choice. I meant we need to seize our youth and use our plump melons to attract our targeted demographic (rich daddies) while they’re still ripe.

Carol: Oh. Oh yea, totally.

Golden Penis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I ambled through the strawberry bushes lining the forest’s path, I met an elderly woman. Her hair flowed freely and her quilted skirt billowed with an unsteady cadence of wind brushing past the trees.

As we picked strawberries we remained silent, possibly both of us grazing over our own solitude. The woman broke the silence when she turned to me, locking a calming but firm stare and uttered:

“You are responsible for your own well-being, especially that inner you not even your lover gets to see. That is your essence and before people can knock it down, you have to allow them to do so by having knocked yourself first.

Converse with yourself, share inner dialogue and build yourself up. Think about your strengths, your wins, and your virtues. Then focus on how you’re improving where you need to by setting and then working towards goals.

Do that and as the days pass, they cement themselves like bricks on your wall of confidence, eventually it’s impenetrable. The added bonus is you can live exactly as yourself without fear of ridicule because you are self-reliant and seek internal validation.”

She then turned away, her basket full, and we never crossed paths again. But her words, like viscous tar, tend to stick with you.

 

 

 

“The excitement in sports comes from the unpredictability – unlike most other organized gatherings, the outcome in sport competitions cannot be predicted until each game ends. I suppose this transposes to sex as well, the excitement in being a whore can sometimes be the sociological observation through meticulous hypotheses testing that most men’s barks truly, truly are bigger than their bites. “

-          Philosophical Principles by Reformed Nymphomaniacs Volume 1., 4th Ed.

 

Internet voyeurs, internet trolls

You propagate the cycle of the

Internet Hos

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Bi-partisan Hyperbole

 

 

For the past two weeks my phone’s been acting up. It wouldn’t alert me when I received new texts and my calls would go straight to voicemail. This carried on for a frustrating two weeks, driving my boyfriend crazy. I truly dread visits to Sprint, but I was at the point of scheduling a tech visit.

 

Luckily, before going to such extremes I Googled a way to troubleshoot and discovered my phone had accidently been switched to a “do not disturb” mode.

 

I tucked my tail and wrapped myself in humility. Moral of the story?

 

A tool is only as useful as its user allows it to be.

 

Oh, and even the damn fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s isn’t immune to those mischievous “butt-dial” fairies.

 

*****************************************************

 

Your tongue keeps you deaf, your Facbook, blind.

 

*****************************************************

 

I fear the art of conversation is lost. All we have is digital footprints and intersecting monologues of self-involvement.

 

***************************************************

 

Friendship is true when one likes the other despite their achievements … oh and of course true friendship is tagging each other in your social posts.

 

************** *************************************

 

“I don’t care what the Goddamn Google Maps says, my intuition is never wrong!” – Mom as she proceeds to lead us on a 3 hour detour.

 

**************************************************

Honey Boo Boo’s first semester of college:

 

My roommate annoys me slightly through obscure communication like placing the recycling bin (a Trader Joe’s bag filled with soda cans and Ranch bottles) in front of my bedroom door so I run into it on my way out. A kind gesture to let me know it’s time to be taken out, no verbal communication needed.

 

I’ve decided to one-up her, communicating obscurely my feelings towards her by shitting in Trader Joe’s bags and leaving them in front of her door. Do you think she’ll get the message?

 

**************************************************

 

I would rather saw my dick off with a dull, serrated blade and then throw it in a food processor to watch it shred, than have sex with my wife again. I didn’t have a choice. We both awoke before my 6:30 a.m. alarm and the fat cow wanted to graze over feigned conversation. She’s taken to reading the paper, a desperate attempt to find some common interest we share in a vast, lifeless desert and insists on dissecting every minute item, from education bills right down to local small business claims. Then faking that baby-doll voice that literally makes me want to have my skin ripped off. I had to shut her up. So I kissed her.From there, I proceeded to go through the motions until the greatest performance of my life, orgasming to my wifeThe sex was revolting, like having sex with a robot. She was too in her head and pre-planned. Like she rehearsed or scripted what she thought I wanted or something. She forced us into awkward positions comfortable for neither her nor I. I continually tried to modify the positions, but she’d get even weirder with it.

 

I started picturing an Olsen twin and used my wife as a sex doll. She sucked at roleplay though. “You like this big dick, baby?” I asked her. She responded, “Ooh, Yes I’m greatly enjoying your statistically average penis, baby. Trust me, it’s perfect size for me..”

 

She’d taken her thirst for knowledge too far.

 

I feel so disconnected. Like I resent my wife for not being the fantasy of a future woman I hoped she’d become. A fantasy I fell in love with. A fantasy that she’s let me down with.

 

Now, I’m afraid, I’m stuck in a stale relationship that’s about as dull as a fluorescent-lit DMV waiting room. Plus I hate how she calls me Mar Mar.

 

Tonight, I’m coming home and announcing that I’m leaving, it’s time to take the final bow.

 

 

Marcelo

My bones are quivering and I’m breathing deep, my muscles still contracting and releasing from the passionate lovers tryst I just shared with my husband. I didn’t even initiate it, but it was the exact thing I needed to affirm I’m committed and in love with my Mar Mar. It’s strange, one moment I remember him as the immature boy I fell in love with. But one day, he traded in his Sports Illustrated for the Wall Street Journal. And it was like he became a new man. So, I’ve been reading all sorts of interesting topics to relate to Mar. He must have found me so sensual; voluptuous and intellectual, his own Cleopatra. Of course, how could he resist? So he kissed me.From there, I took control. It needs to be nuanced, just ambitious enough, but not so much so that youI was poised and graceful, practicing my new poses and showcasing my new flexibility. Bizzie Gold’s Kama sutra yoga videos were finally going to work.I could tell he was going mad. Like a kid in a candy store, he wanted to ravish every flavor he could come up with.

 

I ensured to affirm his masculinity in bed. Men need to feel validated.

 

I just feel so connected you know! Like I delivered the drug that he needed to readdict him to me. It seems a bit twisted to think about it that way, like I need to trap him in a cloud meth cooked by love, but Love makes you think crazy things you know?

 

This morning meant everything to me. Tonight, I’m going to plan something very special for my Mar Mar. I’m going to make his favorite dinner… and then entice him with an encore.

 

 

Lucy

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The Real Housewives of the Air Force – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell All Special

The Officers Lounge on Spangdahlem Air Force Base was designated for the upper crust of the military pecking order. And yes, the military does have a social hierarchy and yes, it does rival any hierarchy Bravo can cast.

There’s this culture in the military to ardently define life by your level in the ranking system. If you earn a promotion, it could be possible that the friends you once spent every weekend with are now subordinates and you can no longer fraternize. The top wives of the Officers Lounge could be real uppity, expecting strict verbal deference and respect from anyone ‘lower rank’.

Of course, the wives with the longest sticks up their asses often trolloped directly to the Enlisted Lounge in search of some meathead dick when their brainy husbands would deploy to Afghanistan. The Enlisted Lounge, where I straddled most of my bartending time, was designated for the airmen, or the low-ranking Air Force members without college degrees.

Working both bars, I earned the privilege of witnessing intoxicated stories like the cheating wives unfold from a (mostly) sober vantage point. Hold that thought. The idea of witnessing intoxicated stories. I’m going to bring it up again later because I am about to go off on a tangent, so please, hold that thought.

 

It actually was pretty fucking cool. I know ‘fucking’ is lazy writing unless it’s like S & M erotica literature or something, but seriously, it was pretty fucking cool. I was given the bank, the authority to run, and the keys to a military sports bar. Me! The faggy 18 year year old twink from Texas!

I was far too socially awkward and lacked the charisma to be popular in high school. I found it easier to find one person who fully understood me and latch on co-dependently, my bffl, Lizzie.

Working as a bartender was like free therapy for my social anxiety (anxiety probably onset from subduing my true self to hide sexuality, but no need to overanalyze here). If I wanted tips, I needed to win over consumers, which meant they needed to like me. At first, I served like a butler – quick and efficient like a German car, unseen and silent like a Japanese ninja. But the job just wasn’t fun and the tips weren’t that great.

One night, Ed, an alcoholic fool in a drunken stupor, verbally assaulted each individual in the bar, hunching his body over, glaring down with alarming seriousness and then asking, “Are you a faggot?”

After each customer reassured Ed that no, there indeed not faggots, he jolted his body on top of the bar, pressing himself up like a cobra-posing yogi, and asked me, “What about you, Jake, are you a faggot?”

It was like the penultimate gay nightmare (ultimate being the gay bestie “You’ve gained 10 pounds, now one wants to insta shirtless with you” intervention. At this point, I was freshly out of the closet, maybe two months, but I had not come out at work. Fight or flight reflex set on.

I calmly responded in front of a now silent but full bar, “Are you asking me if I’m gay?”

Ed scoffed. “Yea, do you suck dick?”

I flinched my head back, thinking about his comment. “Well,” I sighed. “Yea, I do. I am.”

Ed then flinched, as if he had just been shot by a .22, taken off-guard by my words. He lowered himself from his stiff yoga pose, shrinking in his unsuccessful attempt to rally a stupid, drunk army of ‘non-faggots.’

Ed’s voice jumped to a pleasant, calm tone, “Well. Awesome. Good for you.”

I think that may have been the first time Ed saw a real, live gay person. After that moment, Ed ended up being one of my highest tipping regulars.

That is what I LOVED about the Enlisted Lounge. The airmen were young enough and not smugly educated, growing up as a military fetus upon turning 18 instead of being hazed by immature frats; they were willing to learn. Pulled from every bumfuck town in the States, the military is a melting pot of cultures. Being the gatekeeper to alcohol, I made sure to add the spice.

 

After that moment with Ed, I was officially out. Word spreads fast on-base. Work dramatically improved. After being more open about my sexuality, having no pressure of arriving to that awkward, ‘oh by the way, I’m gay, does this mean you’re going to turn weird and slowly back away from my life?’ conversation, I felt comfortable fully exposing my whole self to my patrons.

“Patrons” soon became friends – they’d invite me to bar-b-cues, on trips, and the sexually confused ones would invite me to naked sleepovers (SCORE!). Through much positive reinforcement, I learned truly that if you are yourself and are willing to learn whatever someone else can teach you, you will find a humble confidence that brings inner peace. For the first time, I was popular! (And not just because I handed out alcohol). And being friendly, meant I was dished the most scandalous of tea.

Do you remember when I told you to hold a thought? I was privileged to witness many odd stories while working at my bar, including hot messes like Alexa.

 

 

It was Halloween night, 2009. Lady Gaga was atop the charts, we were still trying to figure out whether Ke$ha was a black or white chick, and I was dating an airman under the ominous reign of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – military’s one workaround for gay members. Okay, fine. Gays can join our club IF they promise to not do gay things and not ask for gay benefits for their gay partners.

At this point, I’d been out of the closet a full three months, just long enough to be taken off the market. I found myself in a confusing, non-relationship with Chase, a hot airman.

Of course, like any juicy soap opera, we were forced in a non-relationship because the concept of a ‘relationship’ was preempted from outside forces that impeded our union. The six-month process of kicking a gay service member out of the military was underway after I’d already met Chase.

We both agreed that we could only date for a short while until he’d be forced to move back to the States.

Chase visited my bar every night after we started ‘not dating’. He brought his friends, who were amazing and tipped well and became my friends, and taught me how to mix drinks like a pro. Chase could shoot me a look across the bar and I would fill from head to toe with jittery butterflies. We would watch philosophical documentaries and then expound on our views of the universe and after, we’d have loud, sweaty sex like cavemen. The ‘non-relationship’ just worked because we both stimulated each other physically and mentally.

This October night, as Chase sucked down a lemon drop martini in my military sports bar, we began a conversation with a stumpy Latina dressed as an Oktoberfest Maedchen.

“I see you’ve gone cultural with your outfit for the costume party.” I winked to her as I wiped an already dry beer glass with my towel. I was hinting at the costume party happening at the bar next door.

“It’s just a façade. I’m still a Patron-drankin chola at heart. Can I get a double por favor?” The Maedchen swung my wink back in my direction like a pro Tennis player.

She ordered shot after shot of Patron and enlightened Chase and I on her life. I was drawn to her affable and quite funny personality, so I spilled the fact that I was a homosexual to her.

After the bomb, the Latina – Alexa – sat wide-eyed, mouth agape, “I’ve been in Germany three years. I’m a third grade teacher on base and I haven’t had hot European sex with two men yet.”

Chase and I exchanged the non-verbal communication that successful couples do. The bottom of Alexa’s empty glass gurgled as she inhaled deeply from her straw, staring at us wide-eyed, expectant.

“Well, you won’t it find it here. We’re American, honey.” Chase said.

Alexa exhibited that intoxicated regression where you kind of bob around like a baby. In defeat, she hung her head towards her lap and stared down for a slight moment before pulling out a

A fucking chicken wing. She proceeded to go to town on said chicken wing before pulling out another. And another.

This was at around midnight. My bar didn’t serve chicken wings. Where in the hell did this woman pull those from?

Alexa transformed form patron to pest. She was no longer a sensible customer but rather a basket case I now had the responsibility of baby-sitting. That’s the problem with the little customers. One moment they’re fine, and the next, they’re on the River Blackout. And I was on the military base too, if, after leaving my bar, this crazy swill tub did something insane like roller blade on the autobahn, I’d be held responsible.

After sucking the cold buffalo sauce from her thumb she refocused her attention on Chase and I, “I want to take a shot with you.”

“I’m not allowed to take shots.” I informed (lied to) her. “They have cameras here.” In actuality, I was encouraged to take selective shots with patrons if it meant they’d buy more alcohol.

Alexa deflated again for a moment before quickly billowing up with excitement, “I’ll take them to the back of the bar! Behind the back door. You can take them there!”

The above conversation where she asked me to take a shot and I declined looped three times before I finally gave in and agreed to meet her.

“Fine! I’ll take a shot. I can’t make it look bad though. You head back there, I’ll meet you in about five to ten.” Alexa accepted my offer and trotted happily to the back with three shots of Patron.

I remained stationed at my bar for thirty minutes flirting and eye-fucking my boyfriend before Alexa stumbled over.

“Hey! You never came!” Alexa shouted as she pouted her face and placed her hands on her hips.

“I’m sorry! I had customers.” I waved my arm towards an empty bar. “Are the shots still there?”

Alexa started to resemble Honey Boo Boo. She hiccupped, “No! I drank them. You guys are boring. I’m going next door.”

She swung around and headed straight out the door, almost fighting with it on her way out.

“At least she’s not a violent drunk. Did you see her eat those chicken wings?” Chase asked me.

I laughed, “Really? The first time I’ve been hit on by a girl since I’ve made the change and that’s all you’re giving me? A size-too-small costume and cold chicken wings? Because that screams let me give up on giving up on women!”

“Plus she didn’t even offer us any. How selfish do you think she is in bed?” Chase said.

After stumbling from my bar, Alexa continued drinking next door.

I’m not sure what was said, or who said it, but someone pissed her off and the German Maedchen evolved into a wailing banshee. Apparently she began chucking bar glasses across the room. This was an extreme safety hazard, so, the bitch had to go. Police were called and the process of booking began.

Although, instead of going quietly, the teacher decided to channel her best Thelma and Louise. After hearing the police had been called, Alexa threw off her heels tried to outrun the military officers in her size-too-small, milkmaid outfit.

A beefy cop quickly tackled the poor drunk to the ground, forcing her on her stomach and locking her wrists in handcuffs. Alexa, the third grade teacher, belligerently resisted.

She kicked, spat, thrashed, squirmed, squalled, squawked, and elbowed, gnawing her way out of the police officer’s meaty grasp any way she could. Two additional cops arrive, to assist in the situation, aiding their colleagues to subdue the drunken woman.

Alexa spit in their faces while she writhed on the ground.

“Damn! She looks like she needs an exorcism or something!” said one of the officers with a drop of fear.

Alexa shrieked, “I have aids! I have aids, faggots!” She spit at them.

They managed to place her in the back seat of a police vehicle but could do nothing to penetrate her violent alter-ego. After placed in the backseat, she continued to kick, this time directing her rage at the car windows.

“I have aids, motherfucker!” She spat through the cage separating her from the drivers.

Silence sat in the car along with the inebriated teacher and as she heaved, energy depleted.

A switch clicked and the tears began to flow. “Please don’t do this. I’m a teacher.” she pleaded. “I’m a teacher…”

Apparently the sobbing card didn’t hit. Instead of booking Alexa and holding her with the Air Force, the security forces police decided instead to pawn her off to the German polizei. The German police were not subject to American laws and therefore, could issue corporal punishment if she kicked or spit at them.

“I have aids! (spit) Don’t do this! I’m a teacher!” She screamed and kicked vehemently before she was passed off like some venomous caged animal to the German Polizei. They immediately shut her up when they pushed her body against their bright green van, knocking the wind out of her. She could now be stuffed in the back like a cased sausage.

The bright green, official German Police conversion van drove off into the winding German countryside, Alexa’s wails echoed farther and farther, and the quiet stillness of night returned. Happy Oktoberfest!

I closed my bar chuckling to myself that night, I mean, not for her being arrested and probably losing her career, but just the ridiculous scene I’d watched unfold.

I slept in Chase’s dorm room that night, snuggling naked on his tiny twin bed and patiently waited to tune into the next episode. I may have lived in Germany, cut off from greater American pop culture for a slice of my life’s pie, but who the hell needs Shonda Rhimes when you’ve got The Real Housewives of the Air Force unfolding right in front of you?

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Fishy Business

It began as a Golden Corral sandwiched between two private, student-housing complexes. With that many marijuana-bathed students lumbering to the buffet, it’s no wonder the Golden Corral couldn’t find a profit – even by serving prison-grade food. It shut down and the building rested in dilapidation.

The architects designed the building with buffet-going fat asses in mind: it was a fortress surrounded by a sea of asphalt that edged to both student apartments. The lot was truly massive, paved with the hopes of attracting herds of post-Sunday service Christians – gluttony is their sin of choice, after all. During the sweltering Tucson summers, the trek to and from the building was rife with visible heat waves and the skeletons of the senior folk who couldn’t quite make it to their Oldsmobiles.

My apartment’s balcony stood facing the old Golden Corral and every morning the building swished past my periphery. One morning, a new detail stole a larger portion of my attention. There was no longer the outlines of a once present Golden Corral sign on the exterior. Instead, a bright red logo reading Koi Sushi replaced it.

The timing was perfect – $7.25/hr at GNC wasn’t cutting it and I was too meek to force products on ignorant consumers who didn’t need them. I had to work at Koi – it was literally right outside my front door! A month later I sat at an interview.

This was not your typical, one-on-one interview with the owner. Instead, I sat in a large dining room with other applicants waiting for a presentation to begin. I was overdressed for a serving interview and suddenly felt very uncomfortable wearing a tie. I glanced around at my competitors and potential co-workers. Dark, Latino men spoke to each other in Spanish with white Hanes shirts chronicling former jobs and meals with various stains. Back of house, I thought. Young, Latino thugs painted with bad tattoos (and one self-hating wangster) crowded around a phone giggling. Busboys, I gleaned. The rest of us were obviously waiters.

“Where the hell is the owner? I, like, have things to do, you know?” a beautiful Latina in Real Housewives makeup whined. She held the hand of a skinny alternative boy.

“Seriously, what the fuck, right? I wanna go to Pepe’s and blazeeee.” Her boyfriend’s sentences rolled slowly to a halt.

I fidgeted in my usual social anxiety until a bald, muscular Asian man entered the room.

“Welcome to Koi. My name is Max, I’m the owner.” Max’s smile was shifty and harder to trust because when he did so, his eyelids scrunched close enough to hide his eyeballs completely. Max dressed like your typical insecure douche: tight shirt, tight jeans, & bulbous, unnaturally inflated muscles – GNC consumer, no doubt. If he wasn’t wearing an Ed Hardy shirt, I’d think him to be fluent in the language of man-on-man sex.

Max clicked through a terribly amateur PowerPoint presentation outlining Koi’s work environment. Apparently Koi isn’t a workplace – it’s a lifestyle.

After the presentation, the lights brightened and Max readdressed the audience, “I hate interviews, man. One on one, sweaty palms. I’m not about that. I care more about if you’re going to fit with the group. So, instead of asking you questions, I’m going to have each of you come up one by one and tell your story. Where are you from? What have you done? What do you like? What are you about?”

 

Alternative guy shared his love for ‘blazing’ which Max didn’t flinch at. In fact, he swam with the tide of the group’s laughter. Alternative’s Latina girlfriend shared her desire to be a make-up artist and model – she certainly looked as if she could win those jobs … in the porn industry.

My empathy alarm rang when one of the back of house workers stood up to speak. He trembled visibly with an intense fear of speaking. He struggled to communicate his thoughts and relied on a rudimentary handle of English. His whole speech was awkward. I almost thought the grown man was going to cry.

I glanced towards Max, he seemed to enjoy this man’s struggle. Is this really where I should be working? I thought to myself.

One day passed after that unorthodox interview when I received the job offer.

 

 

 

Business at Koi was slower than a wasted turtle. Within the business, we had three consumer demographics: Latino families, Asians, and college students – meaning none of our customer base tipped. $2 dollars on a $65 tab? Are you freaking kidding me? I was humble, I gave you my winning smile, & I refilled the hell out of your damn coke, you fucking camel!

Management’s philosophy was simple: The customer is wrong – unless they are Korean.

“Umm excuse me, mama-san. Table six didn’t expect the spicy noodles to be so spicy. They want to know if it’s at all possible to switch to the plain noodles” I murmured as I entered the kitchen – that Twilight Zone where the employees felt like stupid tourists in a foreign country.

Mama-san was Max’s Korean mother. Growing up in Japan with many Korean neighbors (illogical, I know, but I did have Korean neighbors and I am white after all… we were an ex-pat neighborhood), I was used to Korean culture. But Max’s mom was something else. Her English communication skills rested in the caveman level but she didn’t need words to communicate, just her feisty personality.

Mama-san snarled at me, “They are white, aren’t they?”

That was Mama-san’s go-to line anytime there was a problem. If a customer didn’t like their noodle, it wasn’t because the noodles were luke-warm, it’s because the customer is white. If the customer didn’t like their BBQ meat plate, it’s not because their meat was so charred it looked like a stale turd, it’s because the consumer is white.

Of course in America, we’ve come to believe the service industry is our very own scapegoat to project our frustration. If your restaurant server doesn’t beckon to your every need, bending over and taking any unwarranted rudeness like a champ, they’re inept and ineffective. Well, if you don’t want to be treated like a slave, you shouldn’t have become a server. Okay, maybe, but if you didn’t want someone to cough on your rice, you shouldn’t have been such a curmudgeonly pettifogger (that’s college for a miserable bitch, bitch).

I never did anything like spitting in food of course, I’ve got this pesky work ethic guiding my day-to-day. No, my philosophy was always: Kill them with kindness. The meaner and ruder customers would become, the sweeter I would. I could give the meanest of bitches a cavity. My greeting always began: Hi-ya masta, can I wipe yo ass?

The other waiters wouldn’t take shit so easily and hurt business with their customer retorts. Reviews flooded about Koi’s terrible service. Eventually, my shifts became an exercise in watching the two front doors for eight hours without going crazy.

Mama-san noticed me waiting for customers one day. “No stand. Work.” Mama-san said, holding a damp towel in front of me. She pointed to the baseboards of the bar.

“You wipe. Yes.” Mama-san ordered, acting out what she wanted me to do by kneeling on the ground and wiping the tiled baseboard.

I wish I wasn’t so subservient back then. I acquiesced and wiped down the baseboards of that whole, goddamn Golden Coral skeleton. Additionally, if I knew I was going to be on my knees so long, I would have bought some of those kneepads you can get from the sex shop – you know, to give blow jobs. And I’m sorry – if you’re giving head so long you need to wear knee pads, you’re doing something wrong.

 

 

 

One Saturday while opening the restaurant, belligerent shouting erupted from the sushi bar, quelling the peaceful late morning. The sushi chefs were livid, flailing their arms with Japanese outcries – I couldn’t glean any particular reason for the quarrel. Mama-san lobbed Korean in return to their Japanese slurs. There was no translator in this war of words and therefore no peaceful resolution could be made. At some point in the scuffle, a white, middle aged woman with an engorged pussy area and bad poodle perm entered the restaurant, let’s call her Brenda. The room then stopped and time followed suit. Brenda, Mama-san, and the sushi chefs stared at each other, trading glances in a motionless Mexican standoff.

Brenda shot first – herself, that is. Right out of that awkward restaurant. The chefs packed their knives (never thought I’d be able to write that line out of reality TV context!!) and followed Brenda. Mama-san retreated back to her cave – the kitchen.

 

Silence returned to the restaurant, but this time it was tangibly uncomfortable. I waded in this uneasiness for ten minutes before Mama-san once again exited her cave. She locked her eyes on me and I saw a lever pull in her mind. I switched from her son’s employee to her own personal stress ball. Mama-san shunted a broom at me.

“Follow.” She commanded as she exited the restaurant’s two front doors.

 

She led me to middle of the parking lot, stole the broom back and said, “See, trash? You sweep up.” As she did this she swept up cigarette butts and gum wrappers.

I spent my very last shift at Koi sweeping a damn parking lot – I felt like I should be wearing a damn orange jumpsuit. I know you’re hoping I quit or got some sort of sweet revenge…. But that just didn’t happen. I still subscribed to acute good-boy orientation back then. My job sucked, but I’d still do it with pride.

However, the next day when I returned to work, the doors were locked with a chain. I couldn’t peer through the glass because a sign was attached reading:

We are sorry for the inconvenience but we regret to say we have shut down the restaurant. Have a good day!

No call, no text, no word. Max and his Mama-san, the bosses from hell had ghosted my life. I turned around, brushing off my confusion. I breathed a heavy gulf of dusty Tucson air and glanced towards the cerulean sky. The parking lot, the baseboards, and Mama-sans simple orders all washed away.

I’m free. I thought.

After Koi, I gave up my return to the wider job market. The corporate sales world didn’t pay and neither did Tucson’s serving industry. My only choice was the smartest: Leveraging gay men’s insatiable appetite for visual stimulation by selling the idea of sex: bartending in my underwear. It’s just business, y’all – I’m all about using my ASSets to get ahead. And thank the Lord I did! – moving to Los Angeles is an expensive start to achieving your dreams.

Life is composed of moments and stories. Koi may not have paid my bills but it provided valuable life lessons. Don’t demarcate lessons by lumping them into bins good and bad experiences, instead, find the silver linings in every experience. Happiness and successful thinking lies in how you think about life. One thing that is black and white though: it doesn’t matter if you are Korean, Latino, black, or white. If you are bad at business, your business will shut down. If you aren’t a good person, you won’t attract good people. Stupid really can be universal and transcend ethnographic lines.

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Narcissism – and you can too!

I am was a narcissist. Yes, I stand on the cliff of introspection at that 12th step where you shout your resolve proudly to the world.

Narcissism is not an easy problem to solve because by its very definition, it requires the user to live in a delusional world of self-importance, which preempts one’s ability to admit faults. Additionally, narcissism is not per se a problem unless it errs more on the side of psychopathy or Machiavellianism – and when it does….Damn! That shit makes some good thriller writing – have you read Gone Girl yet?

I at least had have empathy.

Anyway, I clung myself to narcissism only because I found myself addicted to sex. Sexual addiction often neighbors narcissism; two sinful peas in a pod. Sexual addiction, of course, sprouted within me like a weed from insecurities. Insecurities? Well, I grew up a self-hating, closeted, gay ugly duckling in Texas.

Whew!

But my tale is not original: sexual addiction and self-involvement consistently arise from insecurities. Why do you think the archetypical whore continually pops up in storytelling? And why do you think some of your Facebook friends post shirtless photos of their ripped muscles with captions like: Fatty. ? To some it’s relatable, to others fascinating.

I came to the conclusion I was a narcissist when I reflected on my relationship history and social media usage.

I started dating at the age of 18. Having never truly dated until that point, intimacy remained alien to me. Like many other gaybies, sexual, NOT intimate, experimentation inaugurated my debut from the closet. As such, my definition of ‘love’ centered on a sexual relationship.

Luckily, my first two boyfriends were very ‘good’ at sex. When it’s boiled down, sex is simply acting, a performance. You must feel safe in order to perform. Well, sexual chemistry abounded with my 2 first, military boyfriends and served as my only tool to communicate infatuation.

It wasn’t until I met Ian that I learned there can be relationships completely devoid of sexual chemistry.

 

 

 

 

Most of the men in Tucson looked like walking burritos: disproportional and bulbous. But tall, blonde, with cobalt eyes deep enough to dive into, Ian didn’t look like the other boys circling Tucson’s singular gay club. Ian was the trophy boy the mean gays wanted but couldn’t obtain. My competitive alter ego had to have him.

Within a week of dating Ian, I knew I didn’t like him. He complimented himself in the mirror. He used the word I & me far too habitually. He spoke often and listened rarely. Regardless, I thought I could use Ian as a living dildo. There weren’t other viable dating options in our small city and a safe place holder never hurt anyone. Did I mention he lived in my complex? Very convenient.

But he didn’t value sex.

Ian would spasm to hump and he never kissed. The best sex comes when you break down your walls of disgust to share in your shameful fantasies. But all the ickiness that comes with sex offended Ian – sweat, cum, spit, orifices. Sex with Ian was systematic, evenly cadenced, and sterile; it felt more like a medical procedure.

He just didn’t seem to have any fun and remained eerily quiet during each ‘session’. I wanted to smack him and scream, we aren’t fucking in a library- show some enthusiasm, dammit. Fuccckk MEE! Of course I didn’t feel comfortable enough with him to perform that line. I did try to elicit some moans by forcing them out from the gut of my lungs. He ignored me. To my face. During sex. If I have insecurities, I at least have excuses for them. I’ll be sure to charge future therapy sessions to Ian.

But I hit a wall. Sex flowed naturally for me before, like a calm creek. Sex with Ian was choppy, I felt as if I were fighting against white water rapids. I was incredibly frustrated and began to feel very insecure. Am I not attractive enough? Am I not what he wants in the bedroom? I think about sex nonstop, why does he never seem to think about it? Is it possible he’s an alien and just needs to be socialized/learn what sex is?

With prior boyfriends, we reveled in each other. Two tongues explored each other deeply, excavating the dark moist cavities normally reserved for a toothbrush. Rather than finding disgust as I would with anyone else, I found excitement and permission. The union is privileged and sealed by the kiss.

Ian wouldn’t kiss, which as an Italian was a major issue. We fucking love to kiss; passion courses through our veins. But Ian was not Italian. He was Russian and as icy as Siberia. (Long story, but Ian later turned out to be a sociopath – which could explain why the sex was drier than a C-SPAN marathon). His brain was blocked by his own delusions and need for control. Intimate sex requires vulnerability, something Ian, or any sociopath, couldn’t give up.

During my Ian phase, where I suffered through three months of banal bedroom activity, I witnessed my sociopathic boyfriend manipulate others with his dark charm. I saw my friends falling for his perfect face that hid his two-sided feelings so well. I’d say things like, “Oh, Tiffany really liked you! You guys seemed to hit it off.” And he’d respond, “yea, she’s kind of a dumb cunt though, isn’t she?” Ian scared me because he was the first non-human I dated. I mean, you have to have a heart to be a human, right?

I also scared myself thinking I recognized traits in him that were also in me. I mean, I stayed in the relationship solely to use him for sex. We also shared bad social media habits. For example, his Facebook made him appear to be a legitimate fashion model – solely through careful Facebook management. I also used Facebook for dubious purposes. Facebook didn’t reflect my actual life, just a hyperbolic digital one. But I LOVED those likes!

 

 

 

 

 

After Ian, I maintained a series of short, walled off relationships, solely to secure sexual partners without looking like a slut – continuing my narcissist streak. I was over trying to make real relationships work. All the dates and conversation I had with men? That was all foreplay that I rolled through to get to bed.

Part of securing these prospects requires careful PR with social media accounts. What is your Facebook but a dating profile highlighting your awesome-ness without revealing your whore-ness? I, like Ian, programmed my Facebook so I appeared non-dramatic, fun-loving, but also intellectual (oh… and single). I suppose those traits truly do define me (you can shove it if you think I’m dramatic, bitch) but my showcasing of them felt dirty and cheap. I realized, in true narcissistic nature, my Facebook was a Jake display case to attract men. How sad.

I’m not sure if it’s because I dabble in PR with my job now or because I’m in a relationship, but I suddenly find myself very conservative in my Facebook posts. It might be because in the past year I’ve received a slew of friend requests from acquaintances to co-workers, managers, and clients. Due to the acquisition of new ‘friends’ I’ve forced myself to detach slightly from my social profile. My Facebook would need to be less personal.

But after I escaped the Facebook rabbit hole, expunging my vain posts crying for attention, I developed a more conscientious observation of its users. I noticed something strange. After wading through the satirical news stories, actual news stories, and a consortium of music videos, I saw people. Lonely people. It seems almost ironic that social media is inherently anti-social because it shifts human communication by ejecting the human2human medium.

One of humanity’s greatest desires is connection: we want to feel we’ve been heard and we want to feel validated. Social media provides this for us the way meth does its users. At first, it makes you feel great; those likes get you so high. But as you continue to use it and as your addiction continues to propagate, you depart farther and farther from reality. Only, you don’t recognize it until it’s too late.

To the beautiful girl posting her daily selfie for her “fans”: Your fans aren’t interested if they were bought from team #followback. When they like your photo? They don’t actually like it, they just hope that by putting the work in (i.e. liking/commenting photos) you’ll reciprocate the favor. Do you see what a house of cards this whole game is? And for what end? Additionally, the fact that you need to post photos constantly for empty compliments suggests you are dependent on external validation. Strength comes from within. If you spent more time investing in real, tangible relationships, you wouldn’t feel so lonely maintaining superficial, digital ones.

To the individual liking literally every single thing on their feed: why do you need to live vicariously through others? Are you not living yourself? Humans can only realistically have 150 true friends. (Dunbar’s number, look it up). So if you pull the excuse that you just want to keep up with all your friends, I call bullshit, especially if it’s over 2K.

To the couple who needs to share every private love note, every intimate moment for your friends: have you ever heard of romance? Romance consists of beautiful, private moments two individuals share. Romance is not manipulating your relationship to leverage likes or followers. I believe there’s an inverse relationship between a relationship’s success and how often it is posted about on social media.

One morning a love note left behind for someone was posted to Facebook: Oh, look at what hubby left me today. Let’s say hubby left him a present, okay, maybe then I could see the point of posting that, you’re excited about your new gift. But posting the love note someone left you? For what reason? To brag? Na na nan a na, my boyfriend writes me love notes. Well your boyfriend also can’t spell for shit. Additionally, are you going to write an epic love poem, exposing all your vulnerabilities to your lover if you think they will post it on social media? NO! You guys are killing romance!

For my boyfriend’s birthday, I decorated 37 envelopes with 37 different heart designs (can you guess how old he is?). I then filled each envelope with a different trait I loved about him. Finally I tied gift wrapping ribbon to each envelope and hung them from the ceiling in his apartment. I did this as an act of love … for him. There were no Facebook photos or videos about it because this was special. If I went in designing this gift for the likes it would garner on Facebook, I would question who I love more, my followers or my partner.

 

 

 

Obviously I’m present on social media. I also have a few selfies and a shirtless photo or two swimming around, but life is about balance – that includes social media. Do not fall down the narcissistic rabbit hole or you will end up a slave to your own need for validation and eventually be that guy who sets up his phone on a timer to take naked photos in their room (hello, get a hobby!). You’re beautiful, you’re above that. Have you ever read Fahrenheit 451 ? Your iphones are distracting you from actually living.

That filter and square frame never gives a sunset justice. Your 10K followers don’t give a shit about you as a human. All that time you spend maintaining your ‘influencer’ status? It’s keeping you from developing true, deep friendships that give life meaning.

I managed to claw my way out and I’m happy I did. Otherwise, I’d just be another shirtless gay guy on Instagram posting clouds of meaningless hashtags searching for empty validation and fucking my way into a lonely middle age. How much of life would I miss out on doing so?

 

 

Oh – and back to sexual addiction. By escaping my narcissism, I managed to alleviate (somewhat) my insatiable sexual appetite. But here’s the thing, sex is not egalitarian or agreeable. Some of us have no sex drive, which drives us mad. Other have too much of a sex drive, also driving us mad. We are all neurotic in obsessing over the sex we are longing to have or struggling to avoid. Sex bleeds to all parts of our brains and lives. It can make or destroy relationships. It can threaten productivity. It’s not exactly a concentric circle within love either. Whatever it is, it’s obvious we are all wired differently. Part of a relationship’s success depends on finding a mate who aligns with your sexual subconscious (or lack thereof). That’s what I’ve learned in my … ahem … extensive dating research.

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