Read Meg's new piece for Refinery29!

It's just a slideshow of me being a lonely, snarky asshole, but I still call that journalism when I go home for the holidays.

A (Misanthropic) Look At The Top Dating Apps



Read Meg's new piece on Medium!



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"Have you ever been on a motorcycle?"

A commenter notes: "Not enough applause GIFs in the world for this post!"

Try. See if you can find enough applause GIFs. If you only know one thing about me, know that I love a GIF.

Sometimes, when the night air seems cold and the world is a mean, friendless place, Meg and I will ask each other random questions via text. I don't really need to know her cup size or when she thinks the race war will begin; I just need to know she's there. However, because we're both what is politely called "colorful" and coarsely called "batshit," sometimes these late-night questions lead to stories, like the other night when Meg asked me if I'd ever been on a motorcycle.

The answer is yes. Longtime fans will remember my post about a date that ended in a shed in the woods watching Entourage under a Confederate flag with the central star replaced with a whiskey ad. Well, this is... not nearly as bad. Several years ago, I made a date with an-older-enough-to-be-exciting-but-not-like-OLD-old man on some internet.com website. Looking back, it's hilarious that 31 used to be "fascinating and older" and not I'LL STILL BE COOL IN THREE YEARS, RIGHT?!?!?!, but time makes fools of us all. I drove over to his house, and before we left he wanted to introduce me to his roommates.

All thirteen of them.

The house was huge with several bedrooms, but then eight dudes just... lived in bunk beds in the finished basement.Most of them were gay, so I guess it functioned as a generic sleepaway camp/armed services/hostel/prison fantasy. Introvert that I am, the idea practically gave me hives. There was also a generalized scrotum-and-Cheeto odor that under normal circumstances I might have found comforting, even arousing, but the thought of the endlessly recirculated air down there alarmed me. Then I met Asher, who lived in a cage.

Can I tell you what's not sexy? People who are big into being obviously kinky. Be your own butterfly, go right ahead, but there's something about people who need casual acquaintances to know that seems desperate. Thus it was with Asher. He slept in a little cage - he was a small guy, and the cage was of a size that he could wiggle around more or less freely in it but not really stretch out. He had a blanket over the top against drafts (DRAUGHTS, in the UK) and to make a surface he could drop his glasses, billfold, and keys on. I was not going to bend down and look in on him like he was a terrier - I refused to play - so I carried on small talk with the area of his legs I could see and successfully contained my questions until my date and I got out to the driveway.

Me: Was he locked in?

Him: Oh, yeah. When he's ready for bed he finds someone to lock him in for the night.

Me: What if there's a fire?

Him: Oh, Tim's job is to make sure someone lets Asher out in an emergency. You know how you're supposed to have a plan for fires...

Me: What if he has to pee?

Him: He holds it, I guess.

Me: If he has an accident, is one of you supposed to rub his nose in it?

Him: I guess. I don't know. He's a nice guy.

A nice guy. The hell? He wants to be locked in a cage at night, which, ignoring the BDSM subtext, is wildly dangerous, but it's okay because he doesn't steal or carve "FOR THE REICH" into people's foreheads with a broken beer bottle?

By this point, we were on his motorcycle, so I had to shut up. I didn't get to ask any more questions about Cage Boy because my date spent the evening telling me about his coati (!) and his nine-year-old daughter (!!!!!!!!!!). Three days later he texted me to tell me he had a nice time but was moving to Denver - you know, 'cause. So, fair warning, if things go south with Giant Camel I'm just going to prostitutes. Fingers crossed, I can avoid ever going on another date.



"Mom said you hit a cow with a chair?"

That's what they think of me. They think I'm some mad cow-chair-hitter. I would never do that. What I did was hit the fence with the chair to scare the cow, which I think we can all agree is rational behavior, provided you're holding a lawn chair and need to scare a cow.

What Happened Was:

So, Landlady, on account of her being a hell of a swell gal, is giving us a good deal on rent. She also has a persistent neck injury from a surgery that went haywire in the dark pre-Obamacare year of 2009. So between that and needing to do something, anything, to keep from staring at the wall until I write an all-"aLL wORk and NO play makeS JACk a DuLL Boy" blog post, I've started trying to do little tasks around the property. I patched a gravel road, which is hilarious. One of the chores I decided I should do was to establish a compost pile. I love compost. It comforts me - I feel like I'm being less wasteful, and it reassures me about death. Maybe when I die, I can quietly rot in a corner of the garden until I'm ready to be spread on marigolds.

So, I had in mind a nice neat little pile of rotting kitchen trash. Landlady apparently envisioned some kind of JUMBO NUTRIENT RECLAMATION SYSTEM, which is why she woke me up at seven the other morning to go dig up her uncle's dead vegetable garden. Apparently he'd just gotten bored with tending it and let it gently wilt, and Landlady saw all that unused mitrogen sitting around and licked her lips like  a dieter at Wawa. [HONK HONK BEEP BEEP REGIONAL HUMOR] So we ripped out all these poor little watermelon and squash vines and piled them on top of my respectable little heap of eggshells and apple cores.

Then this textversation:

Landlady (9:52 PM) i just thought of something
remember how those cows got in
i hope they dont go after what we just put down

CTN (9:54 PM) Will they, if there's fresh grass around?

Landlady: (9:55 PM) yes
cows eat grass
did you not know that

CTN: (9:57 PM) Right, but if they have grass would they eat dried up old squash vines?


That was it. I had been in a bad mood all day: no matter how much Cool Whip I eat, I'm still overweight; I got turned down for a job writing gay romance novels because I "lacked the necessary experience"; I just... no. I was not having it.  I calmly put on my shoes, walked outside, and picked up the lawn chair. I brandished it at the cow, and it shied back a little, but that wasn't enough. From somewhere deep inside me, I felt a primal cry:

"I SAID HAUL ASS, PIGFUCKER!" And I slammed the plastic chair into the fencepost. The cow, seeing that I meant business, turned and "ran" off (cows can only go so fast), and I went in to have a conversation with Landlady about how cows remember things and I had better be careful.

Later that night, the cow returned, knocked over the fence, and ate all the compost, but I take my victories when I can get them. 



On Country Living

So, due to "circumstances," (read: "our roommate spent his rent money on pot and we got evicted") I now live in a historically black farming community in east central Texas with:

- Two menopausal women of color, one of whom is my boyfriend's mother

- the boyfriend in question

- a seldom-seen teenager

- three dogs, one of whom has Crazy Eyes and killed one of the goats

- the surviving goat, which was crippled when its hooves were burned in a wildfire but that no one has the heart to euthanize

- assorted wildlife (rabbits, cattle, scorpions, methheads)

I told an old friend about this, and she said essentially, "Well, of course. These things happen to you!" They do, and I'm tired of it. I'd give up all this "colorfulness" to live in an APARTMENT in a TOWN like EVERYONE ELSE, but the fates have decided against that, so instead I'm going to tell you about my encounters with cows and how I got sprayed with urine without realizing it.

Twice in the past month, my landlady (the non-mother-in-law menopausal woman of color) has woken me up to help her deal with a cow. Technically, a cow once and a bull once - I'm showing my non-country origins, but I don't know if there's an inclusive word that means "one of those animals of irrelevant sex." Head of cattle, I guess. The first time was fairly simple - there was a cow in the yard, and we needed to throw rocks at it so it would go away and not eat up the plants. Everything out there is trying to eat or kill something else and usually succeeds; an ornamental cactus was eaten by rabbits to my horror (imagine the fierce little rabbits that could casually eat a cactus), and then one of the rabbits was killed by a triumphant Yorkiepoo named Romeo. Landlady killed a mouse with a length of PVC pipe, Giant Camel killed a scorpion with a drain stopper. "It's the ciiiiiiiircle of liiiiiife...." but we were to determined to interrupt the circle at the point of "Cow Eats Magnolia Tree."

It worked. I always assumed that if you threw rocks at a cow, it would charge, rhino-like, and cripple you with a well-placed blow from its mighty hoof, but instead it climbed back through the barbed wire fence and wandered off. My part in this success was apparently so impressive that a couple of weeks later I was called to help with a bull.

Let me set the scene:


Chris, a homosexual struggling humor writer

Landlady, a menopausal woman of color

Cathy, also a menopausal woman of color and aunt to Landlady

Alfred, some kind of weird relative by marriage to Landlady, for whom he apparently has a thing

Dee (non-speaking), a well-behaved little girl and daughter to Alfred

Bull (non-speaking), a bull

Two more key details. Cathy has a) a tendency to speak incredibly quickly, b) the thickest Southern accent I've heard outside community theater productions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and c) a mild stutter. On a good day, if she's pointed directly at me and there is no background noise, I can understand her every third sentence. Alfred thinks Landlady and I are romantically involved, and is weird about it. I resent being put in the position of telling a stranger that it's not that, I'm actually gay, just borderline homeless, LOL.

So Landlady and I walk along the edge of the pasture, past a dog's grave and a trailer with "welcome" spraypainted near the door in yellow, to Alfred's. We did not have A Plan, which I hated. They were used to it - apparently chasing this bull back wherever it belongs is easier than making whoever repair the fence - but I Wanted A Plan. I'll do anything if there's a checklist, but no one would Tell Me The Plan. As I eventually deduced, the plan was to gently and slowly annoy the bull into going in the right direction so that no one had to move rapidly or make a quick decision in the heat. I like this idea, but I still didn't know where the friggin' bull was supposed to go. So the upshot was that I walked around three yards to the left and slightly behind Alfred so the bull couldn't get around him as easily, while Cathy and Landlady drove around in a minivan and a Lincoln arguing about whether the bull would walk toward a car horn or away from it. While this debate raged, the bull jumped a barbed wire fence and got its hind legs tangled in it. I was the only worried person; everyone else just watched him kick until he freed himself. Eventually and more or less by accident, we got the bull back into the correct pasture, and I went home and ate fistfuls of stale Captain Crunch until my calm was restored.

So, you know, that's what I'm up to. I guess the urine-spraying story will have to wait till next time. That's what we in the business call a teaser.
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