Rambles

FATHEADS

^This is a great example of why real writers don’t think of funny clickable titles before actually writing their articles. But I’m not a real writer, so FUCK ‘EM.


I just erased about 200 words of a blog post about millennials, and I really don’t know what I was thinking. I was writing about the housing market, you guys. The housing market; not a doughnut market or a flea market—now that’s a flea-sized market, not a flea-market, with like couches or anything—which are normally my areas of expertise, but the real housing market. And I scared myself.


Side bar, did anyone else know that “millennials” have that extra, sneaky, secret “n” in it? I’ve been spelling it “millenials” forever.


But in the wake of having no previous essays about my life and not having anything excruciatingly embarrassing happen to me since my last post, I’m going to go a la The Bloggess and do a life-y, non-essay post. “The second mention of the Bloggess in two posts?” you ask, “Are you trying to get her attention?”

“YES” is the correct answer.

Oh wait, something embarrassing did happen to me. Well, mildly embarrassing. Someone commented on my nipples. I have weird nipples. Not weird in appearance or spirit, but weird in that I feel like they’ve generated more conversation about themselves than the average nipple accrues in its lifetime.

I was shirtless and about to go into the pool at work when someone commented on the hairs around my nipples. Yes, I have hairs around my nipples. Apparently, my body—which is about as hairless and unmasculine as a Sphynx cat—grows sparse hairs on my chest, around those nips and below my belly button. I don’t have sexy chest hair. and the guy was like, “Why don’t you trim them?” and I was like “Um, I do trim them, I just left a little on because I have very pale nipples and I don’t want to appear nipple-less.”

The other time is when boys on the track team would point out that my nipples were visible through the liquid-like texture of those running, sports-material shirts. Like I said, these bad boys have started a lot of conversation.

Anyway, I feel like it should be a general rule that A) No one talks about my nipples ever again and B) We all stop talking about each other’s bodies. Because, honey, I know my nipples better than anyone in this world. I don’t need you to tell me about my nipples.

I’m going to stop typing out the word “nipples” because even I’m getting creeped out now.

THERE’S NO SEGUE FROM THAT STORY

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This keeps popping up? Fafuq?

I just watched the awkward interview of Cara Delevingne with Good Day, Sacramento and I want to punch those anchors in the head. They were so rude and very “adults being condescending to a teenager whom they think is beneath them” and I would’ve been the same way. They called her “Carla.” Like journalism 101 is knowing the name of the person you’re interviewing.

And then The View ladies bashed her too. The young people—Raven Symone, my queen—was defending her and the old people—WHOOPI—were being so rude. Whoopi Goldberg said Cara wasn’t a famous actress. But who at this point hasn’t heard of fucking world supermodel Cara Delevingne? Also, Raven you look amazing! That hair! Those eyebrows! That berry lip!

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I feel like the older generations are constantly looking down our generation. Like, they caused the housing crisis and have fought numerous wars, but suddenly we’re the fuckups for Tweeting while walking?

You go, Cara, and you go, Raven.

What else is annoying me?

Oh, why can’t I look hot—temperature—and hot—appearance—at the same time? Today it was a high of 97 degrees, and I was a greasy pizza mess. Note, I did not have pizza, that was just the state of my appearance. But I was near one of my coworkers—keeping this vague because some of them read this (Hi, guys!)—and the sweat was making his hair flawless and natural and he looked gorgeous. Why am I a Totino’s pizza roll and he is a Parisian croissant?


Side bar, when did Raven go on The View? Is Barbara Walters still alive? Where is Elisabeth Hasslebeck? Who is the lady in the middle complaining about being “hangry?”

OMG FUCKING SIDEST OF SIDE BARS: I hate it when people say “hangry.” It is, without a doubt, one of my top ten least favorite words. The only thing I can think of that tops the list is the name “Madison.” Just not a fan; no hate, though, Madisons of the world.


I figured out how to tie in the unrelated title. Everyone I’ve complained about—Whoopi, the nipple-obsessed co-worker, the Good Day Sacramento anchors—are being total fatheads. Yes, I’ve validated it.

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Lorde knows

Lorde knows I could kvetch for hours—typed that as “hors” and immediately thought that “kvetch for hors d’oeurves” would be a great catchphrase. Also has anyone else ever seen the words “hors d’oeurves” written out and said in their heads, “Whores devour?” Or is that just me? It’s fine if it’s just me.

Whores devour!

OMFG did I just find a new signoff?

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Inspirational, Life

#BLESSED

The other day, I changed my Facebook profile picture and header. And since I was on my phone, there is an option to swipe right on your header picture and it takes you to your other photos. And since I was just hanging out on the toilet, I decided to swipe through my photos, getting pretty deep into the last year.

My current Facebook header.

My current Facebook header.

Side bar, we all go on our phones on the toilet. Let’s not play coy.

And so I went through the photos of my sophomore year of college. And it made my heart hurt of happiness. Because I got to see all the fun moments again. Some were small, like eating fried ice cream with one of my best friends—Shelby—or bigger, like having a picnic with some of my friends who were graduating and being silly. It showed me the friends I made and lost over the year, and the person I was over this last year.

And as I was going through the photos, I thought about the person in the photos. What would other people think of the Danny that was in those photos? He was pictured with friends, eating ice cream, dancing, going to parties, snuggled up in pajamas, cozied up with friends, outside in the snow. He has a life, a smile on his face. Would they think he’s charming? Handsome? Outgoing?

On the outside, I’m sure that’s what they would see. But sophomore year was one of the hardest of my life, probably only on par with my sophomore year of high school, when I made the decision to come out of the closet.

But sophomore year of college was a little different. I don’t consider this to be a “secret”—because I don’t think it’s something shameful or meant to be kept a secret—but it’s just not something I often talk about. I think I’ve alluded to it in previous blog posts, but I struggle with depression and anxiety. The depression is something I’ve been dealing with—mostly unaware—for years, and the anxiety is something that developed in the last few years. This past year I decided to confront them both head-on.

Now, I don’t want this post to be about depression, because I think that’s deserving of its own time and love, but it did inspire this article, in a way. Depression warps your mind, your thinking. It tricks you into believing you are drowning, that you are alone. And for much of this past year, I’ve felt like that. I felt like I was trapped behind glass, preserved in static like a pressed flower.

But looking through those photos made me realize that that was not true. Over the past year, I lost friends and gained friends. I made connections and broke them. I tried for love—in all areas both platonic and romantic—and I stretched myself. And my depression makes me think that I am alone. But I know that I am not. Those photos—and my life—are populated with people. New friends. New connections. People that I went ice-skating with, people that I stayed up with late into the night. People I texted in tears. People whose names I screamed in joy in the dining hall. Not sorry for that, by the way.

A selfie I took this morning for no reason but vanity.

A selfie I took this morning for no reason but vanity.

And this morning I got a Facebook message from a friend I haven’t talked to in almost five years. It was just brief and small, but I got to apologize for something that had weighed on me in a small corner of my mind. And even that was beautiful. It was a reminder that my life brushes against someone else’s constantly, and that it’s not just my story. Our world is a multiverse and there’s that word—sonder—that might be fictitious but means “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.”

Objectively and distantly, my life looks good. But up close and personal, it is so much better. At times, it doesn’t feel like that, but those photos made me realize something. That while I can look at them and be thrown back into the visceral pain I might’ve been experiencing at that moment, or the bad week I’d had before, but it also shows that life went on outside of my hurricane. Life with people who cared about me enough to text me and ask if someone was wrong, people whom I hugged tightly as we said goodbye for the summer, people who accepted my loud, brash voice and my prickly insecurities and my weird head.

We are lucky and grateful and blessed a thousand-thousand times for the people in our lives. I am lucky and grateful and blessed a thousand-thousand times for the people in mine.

I heard this really beautiful quote from Ingrid Nilsen, who is a YouTuber, that she said in her coming out video. It was in the context of her coming out, but I want to write it down now, so it’s immortalized on my blog.

She said, “We all deserve our best chance.”

And that’s what I feel like looking back at these photos has reminded. That I deserve my best chance for happiness. I have a thousand reasons to be depressed. We all do. But I deserve my best chance. I deserve my best chance to grasp at happiness. And I have people who remind me of that wordlessly, effortlessly. Life is so short and if you’re not grabbing at it full-handedly, then what is the fucking point of any of this?

Some will be small, like curling up with your best friends on your carpet, like eating fried ice cream, like waiting for them at the airport and jumping into their arms. Some will be big, like holding them when they cry, like helping them hold together their broken heart. We deserve our best chance. Take it. Grab it. Seize it.

Life is unfair and hurricanic and wild and lost and soulful and all we can do is tear into it and live and feast and drink it up.

Take your best chance. Live it up. Revel. Scream.

P.S. This post is dedicated to every person who ever made me experience sonder. Thanks.

Things I’m Thinking About:

The oatmeal I had this morning. It was delicious and fancy but also exploded in the microwave while I was trying to be Pinterest-chic and cut up strawberries. I spent 10 minutes wiping down the inside of the microwave that’s probably been in our house since the ’80s.

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The aforementioned oatmeal

Betty Halbreich. She is a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman’s, and I want to be her when I am old(er). She was in the documentary, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s and I really find a soul sister in her.

This blogger/author who is my actual literary mother and inspiration. Her name is Jenny Lawson, and she runs The Bloggess, and she inspires me to be weird and authentic and creative and writerly and successful every time I read her posts. She also showed me that it was okay to write in your voice, even if your voice is rambling and sharp and different. I adore her.

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Rambles

STONED IN GLASS HOUSES

Itchy of eyes, strong of spirit, is my current emotional epigraph. I just looked up the difference between epigraph and epitaph; the former is pithy phrases on coins and the chapters of books, the latter is an inscription on a tombstone. So really, either could work.

Okay, so I don’t know if it’s “taboo” to say this, but I have pinkeye. And no, it’s not contagious unless I swipe my fingers across my eyes and then stick them directly into your mouth and eyes and nose. For some reason, I feel like having pinkeye garners the same level as repugnancy as having herpes. Like, one is a relatively harmless, innocently-gotten simple itch, and the other is pinkeye. HEYO.

If there’s anything that could make me feel more unattractive, it’s having pinkeye. Like on top of the farmer’s tan, the congested nose and the—in my opinion, disarming and charming—grating tone that aforementioned nose has given my voice, I should also just have red eyes to rival a pothead’s.

Also I write these posts a day ahead, so when you—a.k.a. the one reader in England and myself at a later date—are reading this, I might be literally bright-eyed and figuratively bushy-tailed. And cleared of the herpes.

The herpes thing is a joke. I don’t have herpes, future boyfriend(s).

This is my second post of the evening, and I can’t decide if it’s coolly meta or weirdly meta to reference a blog post within a blog post. I’m not sure if I’ll post the other one. If I do, was it good? Or was it rambling? I feel like it might’ve been rambling.

With my pinkeye—can we change the name? I mean, I know that the actual name is conjunctivitis, which is about as attractive as a pair of capri pants—I legitimately look stoned, and I wondered if I could pull it off and just pretend I was hitting that dank kush instead of having pinkeye. In this world, being a pothead might be more socially-accepted than having the pink. Nope, can’t call it the pink. Just sounds like a VD.

I wasn’t originally going to write about having pinkeye, because my last article was about embarrassing myself at a party, and it gets pretty depressing when you’re trying to think of an article topic by just going back in your mental Rolodex of times you want to set yourself on fire from embarrassment. It feels like accidentally waving to someone who wasn’t actually waving at you. Just a quick-cold-sliver of embarrassment setting up house in my large intestine.

Writing about embarrassments is cathartic, but soon the cauterizing effect just starts to feel like your flesh is burning. Look, that’s a total callback, and I used cauterizing to bring it back full circle. That is Pulitzer-level shit. Someone congratulate me on that at a later date.

I’m sure that there’s a psychological reason behind why I feel the desire to mention all the times I’m a gross human on the Internet.

Also, side bar, I mentioned that I was so not into thinking about flirting at work, because I was “disgusting” and this happened twice and both times the person was like, “No, you’re not disgusting!” Like I was fishing for compliments, but actually I meant—and I told them this—disgusting in like the “sunburned, congested, generally sweaty” disgusting way. Trust and believe, you would know if I was fishing for compliments.

Is the title clever? I thought it was clever. Originally it was “He without sin should throw the first stoned,” but that was a mouthful. And also I’m already such a big sinner—Illuminati—so I really don’t need to add anything to the list, and I feel like reworking a Bible verse to include potheads is a big, fat “No.” But I could be wrong.

I’m not wrong. I’m a Satan worshipper.

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There is really no way to end this post. Oh, don’t hate on me for having pinkeye. I’m actually cool for talking about it.

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Life

ROCK CANDY AGAINST BICUSPIDS

I think that I would like to be in love. I think it would be a nice feeling.

When I think of love, I think of crunching hard rock candy between my teeth. The snap of diamonds against each other, sugar melting on my tongue, gritty against the bitten and worried skin behind my lower lip.

I was saying to someone the other day that movies on the first date are never a good idea, and it struck me that I’ve now been on two first dates that had movies. The guy I was talking to asked, “How did they end up?” and I answered, “Well, I’m still single, so not great.” And that made me sad because it felt like I was reducing those dates to just passes or fails.

I’ve never been in love. And most days I’m okay with that, because most days I’m just scrolling through Twitter trying to think of dairy puns. It’s dairy tiring. I’m sorry. And if I was close to falling in love, I think I would skitter away like a spooked horse.

I’ve noticed that I compare myself and place a lot of metaphors in equine/deer animals, and I don’t know why that is. Just kidding, I know why that is. I like the awkward stilt of animals like that, animals that don’t slink or slip but clomp and jump and leap. And I feel like I’m much more of a clomper and jumper and leaper.

I had a dream the other night about a boy that I went on a not date with. In the not date, which was a date, we never mentioned the word “date” and so we hovered in limbo. Anyway, he just had a cameo in my dream and said “Hi,” but in that disconcertingly cheerful way of his that makes me uncomfortable because no one should ever be that happy to see me.

And maybe that’s why I shied away from him. He seemed too enthusiastic and too eager, and I’m used to chasing people. I asked out the same boy three times, and was rejected three times. I asked someone out in a moving car and he didn’t answer and we had to keep driving. And I don’t think I would date this boy, but he just reminded me of coffee foam on crooked teeth and the narrow clink of cups against saucers.

And I would like to be in love, but I don’t think I am built for it. I am calcium-love deficient, and my frame would crack and bend under the pressure. I am too spiny, too thorny, without soft flesh for cradling the blow. I am all angles and upturned jaw and teeth. I think love is the cracking of rock candy against porcelain bicuspids, the shattering and melting of hexagonal sugar that is gritty against the bitten and worried tender inner skin of my bottom lip.

Love seems weird because I feel like we all know what love is as an objective but I can’t take the next step and picture myself in it. It’s like reading the description of a roller coaster in a textbook. I can imagine the loops and the drops but I can’t imagine what they feel like. It’s like reading the texts of your friends. I always read them in my voice, and it takes a second for me to be able to hear it in theirs.

I know that I’m young, and that my friends are young, and that we’re all these loveless, lovelorn, fledgling birds. I don’t think I really know anyone in love.

But I think I would like love—objectively. I think I like it as a location, a place to exist within, like you’re literally in love, but I don’t like the idea of what leads up to it, the messy, the vulnerable, the stumbling steps.

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Essay, Humor, Life

SEPPUKU

On Friday, I accidentally tried to break the ice at a party by telling everyone about the time I shit my pants.

So if you ever think that you are awkward or embarrassing, remember that you are not alone. Also remember that I am still cringing.

Why I chose this moment, surrounded by work colleagues I only know vaguely, to drop—pardon the pun—this bomb as an icebreaker will forever make me wonder. Now, it’s not that I’m embarrassed of the story. It’s actually one of my favorites to tell. Maybe one day I’ll be confident enough to write it for my blog, where it will live on the Internet forever until our world is sucked into a black hole.

Side bar, I’ve been reading a lot about black holes lately and despite no real evidence of its reverse, the white hole, I firmly believe that these two together create a wormhole that will transport us across the galaxy and are the key to spacefaring. So in other words, I have a lot of time on my hands.

Now, I’m sure that there are a lot of questions, like, “You went to a party?” and “What was your fragrance story?” and “Were there snacks?”

And the answers to those questions are, “Yes, can you believe it?” and “My Body Shop white tea musk cologne mixed with sandalwood bathroom spray (semi-accidentally)” and “No. Not even an onion dip.”

I rarely go to parties during the school year, mostly preferring to stay in with my friends, watch bad comedies and going to 7-Eleven for midnight Slurpees and corndogs. So my party muscles were stiff and atrophied, but my real muscles were looking amazing, and I was wearing this slim-fitting, black tee shirt, so everything was going well aesthetics-wise.

Anyway, I was standing in a rough circle of people when I decided to engage in verbal diarrhea.

Side bar, the poop puns will not end. They’ll give me the runs for my money. OOOOH.

“So, why don’t we all talk about the last time we shit ourselves?” I ask loudly, clapping my hands together.

The silence lays thick and slow as molasses over our small group as what I just said registered. When I say something that I instantly regret, the seconds drop like an IV drip: slow and uncomfortable. Awkwardly, I try to cover my tracks.

“Um, um, um.”

It doesn’t really go over like it should.

“I feel like this was just a way for you to talk about the time you shit yourself,” someone in the circle says.

I laugh—that high-pitched cackle of terror—and say, “Come on, it’s not like we all haven’t done it.”

I can feel my intestines coil around my esophagus and disconnectedly think that seppuku—the Japanese ritualistic honor suicide of samurais—seems like a solid option right now, as I look out at the halo of alarmed faces around me.

One guy offers, “I mean, the last time was like when I was six.”

“When was yours?” someone asks me.

Fuck. The last time I did it, I was sixteen.

“HA HA HA,” I shriek. I briefly tell them the SparkNotes version of the story—again, maybe one day I will divulge the entire SAGA—and then change the subject with all the grace of a MMA wrestler.

The incident of my fuck-uppery lingers in our conversation like a malodorous fume, and not even sandalwood bathroom spray can disperse the nefarious tendrils.

I don’t think it was even the story that made me embarrassed. Like I mentioned earlier, that story is one of my best anecdotes. I broke it out in the first dinner with my now-good friend Nina. I read somewhere that Lena Dunham hates “bathroom humor,” and that’s when I realized that I had a distinctly different style of comedy than Lena. I mean, there were obviously other markers, but I chose that one.

I think what embarrassed me more was the complete misreading of my audience. I’m generally pretty intuitive when it comes to telling certain people certain anecdotes. I can discern which comfort level I am willing to broach with certain people. With Nina, I knew I could tell the story. And I’ve been used to the presence of her and my other friends, along with my sisters, all of whom I’ve told the story to. So like a deer skittering across an iced-over pond, I went from coasting to slamming face-first into a wall.

Later that night, I texted Nina and told her about the misadventure.

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She was—obviously—shocked that I had fucked up so badly, but joined me in commiseration about being socially inept.

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It was brought up only once the next day at work, so I guess that’s a blessing. But I’m waiting for it to rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time, which will probably be at my wedding or—more likely—a court hearing.


There’s no real way to end an incident like this, so in other news:

Pro of the Week: Eating waffles with peanut butter and raspberry jam

Con of the Week: severe farmer’s tan

Neither here nor there: Someone telling me that they read my blog but “not to tell anybody.” Because there’s nothing quite like receiving a backhanded compliment.


If there’s any takeaway from this occasion, it’s that I better believe in karma, because obviously I’m doing something to piss Someone Upstairs off.

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Essay

HE HATES ME FOR MY PERSONALITY

I was thinking about high school today, and not like an overarching “best years of my life” golden nostalgia, or a “fuck that cess-pit” vitriol, but just about popularity.

Usually, when people ask me if I was popular in high school, I generally say yes. Okay, that’s a little bit of an under-statement. I usually say, “Yaaaaaaaaaas.” But I wanted to seem not weird. I mean, I wasn’t like the party-starter or the fire-starter or the non-starter, but people knew who I was and I wasn’t generally egged in the halls.

Looking back, I’m realizing that people knew who I was because I was essentially a human firecracker shitting out rainbows—I was The Gay Kid. There are other LGBTQIA+ people I graduated with, and that were in the grades below me—but the ones who were in my grade weren’t as socially tone-deaf as I was, and so I was kind of Queen of the Gays. No big deal.

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Funnily enough, I never officially, publicly came out in high school. I’ve been out since I was 15, but that was to my friends and family and sometimes random strangers, but I never had the ominous “Yes, it’s true,” Facebook post. Somehow everyone just knew, but I feel like I contributed to it by being like, “Ugh, yes Zayn’s biceps are godly.” That probably was been a little too “homo” for a “no homo” to save.

But I was thinking about popularity and high school and all the boys I stalked on social media—

Side bar: So unrelated, but I had a major crush on a boy in high school and I used to go to his Facebook page so often that I could click on the search bar and his fucking profile would pop up. That’s the digital equivalent of the Kermit the Frog sipping tea meme.

—when I remembered a little occasion where I really felt I had eclipsed the bigotry associated with being stone-cold gay in a Catholic, all-boys prep school. Yeah, that’s where I got my high school diploma.

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There was this guy in a math class of mine, who I knew just like tangentially—as in we had had friendly conversations about the Pythagorean Theorem—who I found out didn’t like me. Actually, he really didn’t like me.

I found this out through Paul—the scrumptious bby of a friend I mentioned in my last post—who was talking to this boy—I guess we can call him…ugh, what’s like a really regular name, Herbert (?)—basically about how much I suck as a person.

Essentially, this is how the conversation went when Paul told me about his discussion with Herbert:


ME: (probably looking at myself in the mirror)

PAUL: So I had an interesting conversation with Herbert.

ME: Which Herbert?

PAUL: Herbert C.

ME: Oh, we had a class together!

PAUL: Yeah. We were talking about how he didn’t like you.

ME: I’m sorry, what.

PAUL: Yeah, and we had this long conversation and finally came to the conclusion that he doesn’t like you for your personality.

ME: Why the fuck are you telling me this?

PAUL: No but don’t you see how great this is? I showed him that the reason he doesn’t like you isn’t because you’re gay, but because he hates your personality.

ME: Yeah but he still doesn’t like me.

PAUL: Yeah, but not because you’re gay. This is progress!

ME: (shatters mirror)


Aside from the glaring issue of Paul have the social tact of an elephant, I was—shockingly—not pleased to have my bubble burst. I thought that everyone loved/tolerated me. Or if they hated me, I could brush it off. But no, apparently my personality was anathema to my classmates.

Now, a few years after the fact, I think I can appreciate that not everyone will love me. Just kidding, it still bugs me. But I think I can accept the fact that it bugs me. And maybe one day I can appreciate that not everyone will love me. But by then, I plan on being so famous that I can sweep away in my Givenchy—okay, reading back, I can understand why Herbert might not have been a fan. It makes a little bit of sense.

High school is such a weird time, because I don’t think you can replicate it with any other type of experience. It is the absolute fucking worst, but there’s something amazing in that worst-ness. Like, college is amazing for learning to lean on yourself, but high school is the first time you can really chisel away and see yourself. You can rage against the flat botanical wallpaper of your surroundings; you can seethe and fall in love and wallow. I mean, you can do that in college and in life, but there is something uniquely beautiful about the passion of high school emotions. I don’t think I loved or grieved as fully as in high school, because it was such an incomplete, full-thrust power.

That got really serious, so let’s bring it back to the silly. Once, in summer camp, when I was doing the deep-water test, I dove into the water and my bathing suit slipped down to my knees and everyone saw my butt.

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Humor

PAINT-BY-NUMBERS REALNESS

I step out of the shower and grab my towel, slicking the water off my arms and chest, doing each leg. As it swipes over my stomach, I notice a diagonal stripe of normal skin, bracketed by hot, cotton candy-pink sunburn.

*****

Back up a few hours, and I’m lying on a chaise lounge by the pool. I’m reading Mamrie Hart’s book You Deserve A Drink. I’m shirtless, and feeling awkward. I’ve always struggled with body image, which has been simultaneously alleviated and aggravated by going to the gym. But at this moment, it’s not my muscles that are the source of my discomfort. No, it’s my fresh Irish skin.

Through the amber lenses of my steampunk tortoiseshell sunglasses, my skin is tinted tan. I used a sunless tanning moisturizer that gives me a healthy glow, but in direct sunlight, it seems to be bleached of color, returning me to my wintry pallor.

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This photo has no relevance to the post. I think I look really hot in it and was feeling my look. Can I live?

And the pool is probably not the best place to be when you’re feeling hyper-aware of your paleness. It doesn’t helped that I’m sitting in a long line of glistening-skinned women, and my sister, Margot, who has beaten her Irish skin into submission and is a deep honeycomb brown. I’m feeling very judged at this pool.

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So I decide to stall my sunscreen application. Sometimes, a little burn causes my skin to take on a rosy flush. I set a 15-minute timer on my phone and settle back into the horizontal plastic straps of the lounge.

After fifteen minutes, I unstick myself from the tacky plastic and peer underneath my sunglasses at my stomach. I don’t feel burned, so I put off putting on sunscreen until a few minutes later. After that, I don’t think about it until I went to the bathroom. I moved past the mirror towards the urinals—

Wait, TOTAL side bar, but when I was at the pool a few days after, I went into the bathroom and saw this totally hot guy at the urinal a few away from. And whenever I tell this story, it sounds like the beginning of a big gay cruising adventure, but I swear that didn’t happen. Because when I was peeing, he finished up and walked out of the bathroom without washing his hands.

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The beginning of every love story.

And if you don’t know me—actually some people who do know me probably don’t know this—is that I hate dirtiness. I used to hate fruit because I had this irrational fear that it was secretly dirty and filled with maggots inside. I knew rationally that that couldn’t the case but I avoided them like the clap. So washing hands is a major turn-on for me. And this pool Adonis just DIDN’T DO IT. Our autumn wedding crashed and burned.

Also I like how I said it didn’t happen because he didn’t wash his hands, as if anything would’ve happened anyway.

—I noticed that my chest was pale pink from the sun.

Sitting in the car, my short bathing suit, which normally goes halfway down towards my knees, bunches up on my thighs and crotch. A clean line divides the skin that was exposed to the sun and the skin that wasn’t, making it look like I’m wearing a particularly anatomically correct pair of boxers.

*****

Additionally, my skin was two weeks away from really adjusting back to normal after a particularly bad tank top tan line situation.

So with the tank top tan line, the sunless tanner, the book-reading tan lines and the bathing suit tan lines, I was Fifty Shades of Fucked Up. I was dealing with more darks and lights than a noir film. I was doing my best Tony the Tiger impression.

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In the light of gay.

I was serving straight up paint-by-numbers realness.

Luckily, because I actually put on sunscreen, the burn was actually more like cotton candy and less like that fluffy pink insulation wool: a.k.a. it would soon melt away. Weird simile but it works (?). Like, simi-let me do this. Can I live?

Side bar: “Can I live?” will remain one of the most iconic lines ever to be uttered. Thanks, Kim Kardashian.

I always feel like there should be some overarching theme to end my posts, like “Don’t sun-tan” or “Drink lots of water,” but I like keeping the bar extremely low. It keeps you pleasantly surprised when I do mediocrely, and that’s really all I’m aiming for.

Side bar: my scrumptious friend—let’s call him Paul—wanted to be included in the post and give a quote.

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Poe-try again, bby.

ICONIC

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