How To Lose Weight So That The Gays™ Will Accept You As Their Own

So, you’ve decided to finally come out of the closet.  Congratulations!  It’s a milestone achievement, not one to be taken lightly (or at all, if you’re Roy Cohn). 

Once you have finished celebrating (or being abandoned by everyone you’ve ever known, depending on what part of the country you live in), I’m afraid now comes the hard part. 

You must lose weight.

You’ve never had issues with your weight before.  Sadly, this is because you were living in the Straight™ world.  The Straight™ world looks very similar to the Gay™ world, but it is not the same.  It’s understandable that you would make this mistake, as you have been operating under the conception that the world is a harmonious place where people bridge differences and try to get along. 

Sadly for your newly homosexual brain, this is a lie.  You must get used to lies because you must now date men, and all men lie.  This is another tough pill to swallow, but I have no doubt your swallowing skills are up for the job.

Upon entering the Gay™ world, you learn that no one looks twice at you.  Not the lumbering Bears, nor the padding Otters, nor the texting-while-crossing-the-road Twinks. 

This is a bad thing. 

You are a homosexual, so you do not like to be ignored.  Without any extra information to go on (no one will talk to you in your current form), you must assume that it is your body that is the problem.  This is a safe assumption because bodies are Gay™ currency, and right now people are ignoring you the way you ignore the homeless.

You will now embark on the quest for the Perfect Body®.

This is no easy feat.  It will require a great deal of your time and attention, and nearly all of your energy.  Luckily for you, stimulants are also good for weight loss, so you can knock out two birds with one stone. 

If you have any hobbies, these are best sidelined in favor of working out. 

If you have a pet, get rid of it. 

The gym must become a daily habit.  If you happen to frequent a Gay™ gym, this is even better.  This will not help you meet any attractive men to date or to sleep with (you are not yet “fully cooked”, as it were), but it will provide a steady source of fuel for your body image issues.  Think of these intrusive feelings of inadequacy as food for thought, as you are now no longer allowed regular food (the dubious luxury of the Straights™).

Now you have an eating disorder.  Do not worry!  This is a good thing.  All of the best Gays™ have eating disorders.  I am proud of you.  Validation from others is Gay™ ambrosia, so this makes you happy for several seconds.  You will chase this feeling through a series of Instagram stories (sent to a carefully curated “Close Friends” list) that show off your body from select angles to hide your (numerous) flaws.

***Note: you will need a full-length mirror for this.  This is an essential homosexual gadget.  You may be tempted to forego the full-length mirror in the interest of saving money (your gym bills are rapidly stacking up), but be forewarned: you will end up paying more in the long run in therapy bills.  The mirror is an investment well worth making.

Three years have now passed.  Just as one human year equals seven years in the life of a dog, so does one regular year equal seven years in the life of a homosexual.  Your sexual currency is rapidly declining1, but this could not be helped.  You needed those three (21) years to build the Perfect Body®.  Congratulations!  People are now paying attention to you.  

Unfortunately, these years of restriction have now tanked your libido.  You are now only homosexual in theory.  This is not good for your sex life (or lack thereof) but does have the benefit of satisfying your more religious relatives who think that you should be celibate.  Now you have earned the acceptance of both the Gays™ and the Straights™. 


Editor’s Note: You might be wondering what life is like back in the Straight™ world.  Unfortunately, I cannot answer that, for I am not the ambassador for the Straight™ world.  He is on vacation in Phoenix and did not reply in time for this article.  All questions can be referred to their embassy in Scottsdale, AZ.

1 A select few may apply to become Daddies©.  See “How To Become A Dom Top Daddy©” for more information (bottoms need not apply).

Why I Started Writing Erotic Fiction

It all started when I was in high school.  Stumbling blindly across the internet, I happened upon one of those websites dedicated to fan fiction.  Amateur writers would take it upon themselves to craft their own stories using beloved fictional characters, whisking them away on noncanonical adventures where the only limitation was your own imagination.

A few of these adventures weren’t like the ones you’d see on screen, however.  As it turned out, some of these amateur writers had imaginations that took them into very dark corners indeed.  I’d read stories about the cast of Glee or the demon-fighting brothers from Supernatural in which the conflict of the show became the backdrop for passionate and oftentimes explicit relationships between the main characters.  

Being a vociferous reader (ever since my days as a little boy reading Nancy Drew), naturally I devoured these stories with a curiosity that only grew as time went on.  From there I started reading original erotic fiction stories, having grown tired of the constraints of fanfiction and the insufferable cast of Glee.  Some of these were little more than glorified written pornography, although others weaved complicated stories and themes together to tell stories that were actually quite well-written.  

I was intrigued by the depiction of the inner life of characters that you would see in erotic fiction that you didn’t get elsewhere.  I wanted to know what people were thinking when the action was going down.  How does Emilio feel when Harry grazes his arm in the backseat of his dad’s Honda?  What’s running through the men’s minds when the clothes come flying off after the realtor steps away to make a quick call?

Call me a sentimentalist, but I found myself gravitating toward stories centered around romance and star-crossed lovers.  I believed myself to be a consumer rather than a creator, never believing that one day I would make the plunge and myself become one of those amateur writers.  I continued reading erotic fiction on and off through the years until in the midst of the pandemic I came across a story so powerful it changed everything.

The Discovery: Prison Inmates was an erotic fiction story about two men who fell in love in a men’s prison.  The story told of the wacky circumstances that led to these two lovebirds finding each other in the midst of a hopeless place and their plight to overcome the evil warden and his malevolent plans.  I was instantly hooked, devouring page after page, chapter after chapter of their heartbreaking tale.  

To quote Gwyneth Paltrow, “I laughed.  I cried.  I had many epiphanies.”

Then, to my dismay, I reached the end of chapter six to find there was nothing more.  Their love story ended without so much as a slapdash epilogue.  I raced to the author’s page and was devastated to discover that not only was the story unfinished, but it had been released a decade ago. 

There was to be no happy ending for Jamie and Rhys. Their story would most likely never be completed, the strands of their tale of love left dangling for countless readers to wonder what could have been.

I had never been so incensed in my life.  I read through all of the comments through the years.

When will you return?

When will you finish?

This story is so hot.  They should totally do it in the prison shower and then get caught by the guard.  Also, how do you pronounce Rhys?

All were left unanswered.

I was not going to wait.  Taking matters into my own hands, I decided that I would write my own story about two men who fell in love in a men’s prison.  Like The Discovery: Prison Inmates, my erotic fiction would be more than just written pornography.  It would be a captivating melodrama grounded in emotional truth.  I wanted my readers to experience the same sense of love and heartbreak that I had experienced reading about Jamie and Rhys.  Only my story would give my characters the happy ending they deserved.

I sat down and plotted out my story.  I knew I wanted it to be a love story set in a men’s prison, but beyond that, I had yet to think any further.  I wasn’t looking to write a carbon copy of this other person’s story, but rather write something I felt was in the same spirit while telling a unique tale.  

There was something freeing about sitting down to write each night.  The normal fears that plague my writing were no longer present.  I was only writing erotic fiction, I told myself.  It didn’t have to be any good.  So I wrote freely, not bothering to worry about whether or not what I was writing sounded stupid or convoluted.  I simply wrote.  I outlined the story in my head and was surprised to find it take on a very soap opera-like feel.  It wasn’t simply two criminals falling in love—suddenly there was intrigue and betrayal in the works. 

Derek, the older of the two lovers, was in prison for murder but had no memory of the night itself.  The younger of the two lovers was terrified of prison and desperate for a way to defend himself.  The mysterious warden with his old, lined face scowled at the two lovebirds as their romance blossomed within the concrete walls of the prison.  But was there something more behind those cold grey eyes?  Could he have had a hand in Derek’s arrest?

I was waiting for my new computer to arrive as I was working on the story, so I wrote the entire thing in a Google Doc on my phone.  I wrote sitting on my couch, I wrote in between sets of pull-ups in the park; I even wrote as I walked around the block.  Never in my life had I spent so long continuously writing something without editing it.  Before I knew it I had 33,000 words.  That would be enough for four good chapters.

By the time I finished Protect Me: A Prison Love Story, I had no idea if what I’d been working on would be any good.  I went back through it to edit it, unsure of how much time I wanted to spend shaping it and trying to make it as good as possible.  To my surprise, I found the story held up relatively well.  Sure, it wasn’t Proust, but it wasn’t trying to be.  I went through and made some edits to make it flow as well as possible, and then I went about submitting it.

I submitted it to a website that caters to erotic fiction of all varieties.  It was free to post and had a relatively large readership, although it did have to pass the website’s editing process in order to be posted.  I submitted it one chapter at a time, waiting with baited breath to see when it would be posted.

Finally, a week later, I got a notification that chapter 1 had been posted.  We were live!  I checked my phone, anxiously awaiting the response from my (soon-to-be) fans.  I watched in awe as the views stacked up, with over 10,000 people reading my story within the first 24 hours.  This was unbelievable!

I was further astounded to see my story was faring relatively well in the comments section.  People loved the romance aspect of it, the melodrama, the older prisoner’s hairy chest.  While that wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting, you never know what the fans will relate to.

As soon as all four chapters had been posted, I knew I had to begin anew.  I began writing story after story, each time writing melodramatic tales of love, loss, and the complicated reality of human relationships.  I would spend hours every night plotting out my stories, writing new scenes, editing old ones.

I found it interesting that, despite the fact that I was indeed writing erotic fiction, I found the sex scenes starting to feel somewhat rote and mechanical.  It almost felt like they mirrored real-life sex in the sense that the first few scenes would be full of life and passion while the later scenes started to fizzle out.  I would trudge through the sex scenes, looking forward to the later part of the chapter where I could write about the characters playing mini-golf.  

A part of me wondered why I didn’t just write short stories and skip the sex scenes altogether.  But I knew that the thing that drew me to erotic fiction was the romance, the fantasy, the passion between two characters.  I tried to make these scenes come to life by making them about more than just the sex.  They were about the characters getting to know each other, opening up, fighting, forgiving each other’s betrayal.

It’s been six months since I started writing erotic fiction, in which time I’ve written six different stories.  It remains a pet project I’ve been doing just for fun, albeit one that fulfills me creatively and makes me a better writer.  Because of my willingness to let the writer side of my brain run wild, I’ve surprised myself by what I’ve been able to accomplish before the editor side of my brain has a chance to shut me down.

Who knew what wonderful things could blossom just from writing a little smut?

-Theodore Dandy

Here’s Hoping I Don’t Get Ghosted Again

I really, really, really do not like to let myself hope. I’ve heard it said that expectations are resentments in the making, so I usually try to never allow myself even the slightest luxury of hope for fear of letting it slide into the category of expectation and thus inevitably leading to failure. The worst part about things not working out the way you want them to is the crushing disappointment you feel afterwards. Therefore, it stands to reason that by not allowing myself to hope, I can avoid this pain entirely and live a simple, carefree life.

Growing up, I’ve always been an optimist in the long term. I truly do believe that the world is changing for the better, that I will always be taken care of, and that I will ultimately lead a life in which I find serenity and fulfillment.

When it comes to the immediate future, however, I could not be more of a cynic. If there’s something I want for myself, I do not believe that I will get it. I’m certain that if I let myself want something, if I allow myself to hope that maybe, just maybe I’ll get what I want, then it will never come true. The only way I could ever manage to actually get things to work out in my favor is by resigning myself to the idea that they never will. That way, if things do work out, then I can be pleasantly surprised. And if they don’t work out (which they won’t), then it won’t hurt quite as much.

I remember sitting in my seventh grade class as the end of the year awards were being given out, thinking to myself, “I’m not going to get one. They’re not going to pick me. I’m not special enough to win anything.” I did not get an award. Therefore, I was vindicated.

When I was in high school, I desperately wanted a boy in my Theatre class to like me. I used to listen to sad Taylor Swift songs and lie in bed, hugging my pillow and thinking about him. I told myself he would never be interested in me, no matter what I said or did. He wasn’t. I was vindicated again.

When I applied for colleges, I allowed myself to hope, just a little bit. I told myself that maybe I was good enough to get into NYU or UCLA, maybe I had the talent to pursue theatre. I did not get into either of those schools. I beat myself up for having the stupidity to get my hopes up. I would not make that mistake again.

My journey of recovery from alcoholism and food addiction has involved performing rigorous amounts of self analysis, looking at my character defects and patterns of behavior that don’t serve me and end up causing me more pain than they’re worth. Recently, I began to notice that perhaps my disdain for the concept of hope was not actually a normal view of life, but perhaps a self-pitying defense mechanism.

I began to notice how judgmental I was of people who would tell me that they were hopeful about something. Whether they were talking about a weight loss goal, applying for a new job, or entering a new romantic relationship, I would roll my eyes at hearing the hope in my friend’s voices. Didn’t they know that by talking about it out loud, they were almost certainly ensuring their own failure?

“Why are you so afraid of letting yourself hope?” my friend asked me one day.

It was an excellent question. I think the answer is that I have always been good at is finding new ways to keep myself from harm, to wrap myself in a cocoon of comfort and familiarity so that I never have to feel pain or fear if I don’t want to. Unbeknownst to myself, I had spent the last year avoiding discomfort so heavily that I had hugely isolated myself from my friends. I began to notice the effects of this loneliness, and so began the long road of undoing my defenses and trying to be vulnerable again.

One of the things I tried to do was to allow myself to hope again. Despite the fear of the pain of failure, I wanted to let myself feel that giddy excitement that comes from hoping that maybe, just maybe, things will all work out for the best.

I decided to try dating again. It had been such a long time since my last relationship and I felt like I was finally sure of what I wanted and capable of being vulnerable enough to let another person in. I knew that the pandemic was probably the worst time to start dating, but I figured that there was no time like the present. Plus, the zoom dates, masks, and social distancing would probably all have the positive effect of forcing me to take my time and really get to know someone.

After a few conversations and flirtations, I ended up talking to someone on a dating app who I was really interested in. Not only was he 6’5″ (!), but he was also a doctor (!!!). He was handsome, he was smart, and we texted back and forth for a week before making plans to meet up that weekend for a socially distanced date.

I found myself thinking about him at random times throughout the day. I would sit down to meditate in the afternoon and ruminate in my head over the texts we’d sent. I would curl up in bed at the end of the night, hugging my pillow and imagining cuddling him like I did when I was a teenager in high school. Needless to say, my hopes were very much elevated.

I was surprised at how forthright he was, openly discussing his excitement for our date and his desire for something more than just casual. I admired his vulnerability in the way he laid his hope bare for me to see, unashamed and unworried that it would come back to bite him. I wished that I could let myself be that free to hope. But maybe I was getting there.

We made plans to meet Saturday evening after he had finished hanging out with a friend. I texted him that afternoon, telling him to let me know when he was ready to meet and that I would head out. My text showed up as a green SMS message, different from the blue iMessages that had come before.

I waited a couple of hours, trying to find something to distract myself with so I wouldn’t be consumed by pre-date jitters. As it grew later in the evening, I sent him another text. Perhaps he hadn’t gotten my first one?

It showed up green again. That was strange.

All of a sudden my heart sank. I knew it was true as soon as I thought it. Had he blocked my number? A quick Google search verified my fears. My fears were again verified when I checked the dating app we had initially met on and found that our conversation had disappeared entirely.

I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I closed my computer. I sat there on my couch, staring out into my living room and trying to make myself understand what had happened.

Why had he blocked me? Why hadn’t he said anything? Had there been signs? Had I missed them? Was it me?

Question after question ran through my mind. I pushed them away, only for them to be replaced by one overwhelming thought:

This is what happens when you let yourself hope.

All the work I had done these last few months to try to open myself up and be vulnerable felt like a cruel joke. I felt so completely pathetic. I couldn’t stop my mind from conjuring images with which to torture myself.

Earlier that morning as I talked to my mom on the phone and told her how excited I was for tonight.


An hour ago as I set aside my outfit for the date, checking my phone to see if he’d texted.


Moments before as I sat on my couch typing the words into Google, “How do you know if someone has blocked you”.

What a fucking loser.

Now, I knew enough about life and about myself to know that this had nothing to do with me. Hell, we hadn’t even met in person yet. A few weeks ago I didn’t even know this man existed. Clearly this was all him, some unknown factor that caused him to treat me so callously.

But I wasn’t mad at him. I was mad at myself. I was mad at myself for not learning my lesson, for getting my stupid hopes up and allowing myself to think that things would ever turn out the way I wanted them to. And the pain I felt in that moment was nothing compared to the fear I had about the pain I would feel over the next few days each time I remembered the humiliation all over again.

After a solid 5 minutes of pity partying, I was ready to take action. As good as I can be at self-pitying and dramatic episodes, I am not the best wallower. I sure as hell wasn’t going to take a drink or turn to the fridge for solace. So I reached out to my best friend, leaning on him for guidance and comfort as I licked my wounds. Then, once I had a good cry, I opened up my laptop, went to WordPress, and started writing.

This blog has been a way for me to process things in my life as I go through them, even when I don’t understand why they’re happening or what they mean. I don’t write because I have the solution, but because I want to find it. Writing is what taught me that I had cut myself off from hope in the first place, and writing is what is going to allow me to hold onto it even when life is painful and humiliating.

Yes, I feel embarrassed. But I’m not embarrassed that I got my hopes up. I don’t want to go back to being that cynical little boy, telling himself that he’ll never be acknowledged, seen, or validated. I want to allow myself to hope that all of the work I do means something. And I want to hope that if I’m vulnerable enough to put myself out there and try for the things I want, then I’ll find the path to the things I need.

-Theodore Dandy

A Day In The Life Of A Smartphone Addict

7 am: I wake up, turn off my phone alarm, and go back to sleep.

I restlessly turn over in bed, my body ready to get up but my brain unable to bear the thought.

8 am: My anxiety gets bad enough that I finally sit up and check my phone to see if there’s a notification from work.

There isn’t.

Thank God! My anxiety is abated for a blessed three minutes.

830 am: I lay on the couch. I’m supposed to be meditating, but instead I’m scrolling through Instagram’s explore feed and looking at pictures of dogs.

These dogs are really long.

These dogs are also long, only they are smaller as well.

This cat is crying.

930 am: I put down my phone and start writing my morning pages.

I forget the date, so I pick my phone back up and check it.

I put the phone back down. I write for half a page.

Without thinking, I set the pen down and pick up my phone. What’s the weather outside? Interesting.

I wonder what it is in Virginia Beach. I was just there, after all.

Huh. It’s raining today.

10 am: I should be writing. Instead, I open up the Washington Post and read the advice column. God, these people really need a therapist.

I read until I reach the advice articles from 2018. Those were such simpler times.

11 am: I go for my pre-workout walk. It’s a sunny day, but I’ve done this walk a million times, so I ignore it.

I go through my Amazon subscribe-and-save instead. Is there anything else I need delivered this month?

Oh no, I’ve walked into a tree branch. That’s going to leave a mark.

12 pm: I begin my workout. It’s leg day, so I take the rock that my ex-boyfriend rescued for me from the top of a mountain and I do squats in my bedroom.

I watch the X-Files while working out. While I rest in between sets, I pause the X-Files to check Instagram. How many views has my Insta story gotten?

1 pm: I make my smoothie and steel cut oats and sit down to watch more X-Files.

I pause the X-Files and instead open up a web page to browse through horror movies of the early 2000s.

Did I ever see the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

Did I ever see the original?

Whoops, my oats have burned.

2 pm: I finish lunch and sit on the couch. It’s time to meditate again, but I just remembered that Facebook existed.

I go through the “On this day” memories and look at old photos. I wonder what these guys are up to nowadays?

Wow, how did he get so old?

I can’t believe she already has another baby.

Before I know it 2 hours have gone by. I meditate, scolding myself while I chant my mantra in my head.

5 pm: I chop up a sweet potato and put it into the oven to roast. Maybe I should spend the next 30 minutes being productive!

I open up my phone and check every dating app I have.

He’s cute, but he lives in Pasadena, so he might as well be across the planet.

I love validation.

Whoops, my sweet potato burned.

7 pm: I relax and watch some TV while playing a video game. I can’t believe I still do this multitasking time waster from when I was a kid!

I pause the game to take out my phone and see if there any messages on any of my dating apps.

Hey, that guy’s cute. “Woof!”

I pause the X files and spend the next 30 minutes scrolling through profiles. “I really need to put my phone down and concentrate on the TV and video game,” I think.

Before I know it, my lights start to automatically dim. It must be getting close to bedtime. Those smart light bulbs were so worth it.

10 pm: I take a shower and get into bed. I’d like to do some reading before I go to sleep, but instead I take out my phone and scroll through Instagram again.

I haven’t checked it for hours, so there’s about 10 new posts I haven’t seen. I congratulate myself for my discipline.

Sometimes I’m so disciplined it scares me.

I peruse Reels videos until midnight.

I really need to get to sleep! I put the phone down and turn the light off.

Why can’t I fall asleep?

-Theodore Dandy

Things I Miss Doing When The World Isn’t Ending

When quarantine first started, I thought, “Hey! This isn’t so bad. It’ll be a chance to reset, take some time for myself, and then reemerge into the world like a less anxious butterfly. Thank God I live alone!”

Now I look back at myself as I was then and think, “You stupid bitch.” We’ve been stuck in our homes for months now, and even the most introverted among us are starting to long for physical contact with another human. While I have no plans to go out and about until quarantine is officially lifted, I have officially reached my “restless, irritable and discontent” quota for the year.

I miss doing things! I miss so many things. So, until a vaccine provides us with the freedom we so desperately crave, I’ll just go ahead and list out all of the things I miss doing when the world isn’t ending:

  • Going to the gym. God, remember how fun that was? Actually, my gym owner is probably a Trump supporter and constantly harangues everybody to put their weights back (which of course I do every time because I’m not a mallard). But he’s also a silver fox, so I forgive him for his bad attitude because have you seen his arms? Also he has a weirdly hot nephew as well who seems to be affiliated with the gym in some way…? It’s a mystery, but one that I’ll have to wait until things reopen to solve.
  • Going to coffee shops. Ugh, remember lattes? The taste and the texture and the way that you always forgot to say you wanted it iced (whoops!). They were such a divine treat. Sure, the cafe on the end of my street is open for to go lattes, but it’s not the same. Drinking a latte in a to-go cup on my couch while I stare at the fresh flowers I just bought for myself (because my mom bought me that vase and told me to “freshen things up”) is totally not the same as sitting and drinking it in the cafe (mom was right about the flowers, though).
  • Hanging out with friends. I miss going into the cafe I used to work at to see my old friends and delight at the fact that Victoria got new bangs. Now I just have to settle for seeing the bangs on Zoom! Those bangs don’t sparkle nearly as much as they do when you’re going to late night Canter’s dinners and eating those tasteless yet weirdly spicy pickles and trying Matzo ball soup for the first time and pretending that you actually liked it. Now I just eat delicious food that I cooked myself, sit on my couch and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is nice, but Sarah Michelle Geller isn’t really my friend. Yet.)
  • Kissing boys. Boys! Remember them? Me neither! It’s been forever since I’ve indulged in romance. Sure, we’ve all made eyes with that stranger from beneath our mask on our daily quarantine walk (those lashes spoke a thousand words). But romance is put on hold while we’re all staying six feet apart (I would rather forego men altogether than go on a Zoom date with a stranger). I’ll just have to settle for Instagram flirtations and drooling over Sarah Michelle Gellar’s boyfriends in Buffy (to quote my mother, “Buffy’s a little ho!”)
  • Touching your face. Who am I kidding? I still do this.
  • Going out to eat. Okay, so maybe I didn’t go out to eat all that often even when the world wasn’t shut down. But still, there was that occasional time my friend Jess would invite me out to dinner and we would get pasta. God, those were good times. Pasta just doesn’t taste the same when I cook it for myself (speaking of Jess, I need to call her, she’s such a good friend… she’d probably be down to order takeout pasta and eat it over zoom… but it won’t compare to eating it in the restaurant… they bring it out piping hot and the restaurant is also super dark, which means that you can’t see the menu, but then Jess can’t see that I spilled spaghetti sauce on my shirt, so everyone’s a winner).

One day I will do these things again. Until then, I will write about them and continue to make my way through television shows from the late 90’s.

-Theodore Dandy

The Death Of Television

Nothing compares to the grief that comes after you finish a TV show.  If you’ve followed it all the way since the beginning, you’re saying goodbye to characters you may have spent the last 6+ years of your life falling in love with.  The hours you’ve spent getting to know this wonderful world filled with interesting and dynamic characters has left you with a hole in your heart that you can’t possibly fill with something as inane as nature or human connection.

If you’re finishing a show that you’ve only just recently discovered and binged, it’s like meeting your soulmate only to find out he’s dying of terminal cancer.  Or, it’s the same feeling you get when you make a new best friend in school who decides to up and move halfway across the world just because her family is moving and she doesn’t think moving in with you is a very good option.  Suffice it to say, it sucks.

It’s a hidden kind of grief that you can’t exactly share with your family and friends.  Sure, everyone sympathizes with you when a loved one dies.  But when you’re grieving the loss of a television show, it’s pretty safe to say that no one really cares.  You can cry all you want, but you better keep it to yourself if you don’t want to meet with some pretty heavy eye-rolling.

For me, the sense of loss is like a weight in the air.  It makes me feel like I’m walking through some kind of absurdist dream.  Everything slows down, and the thoughts and cares I had before seem immaterial now.  What do deadlines matter when I’ll never again get to explore the fantastical world of The Magicians?  What’s the point of getting in my workout for the day when Lost ended 10 years ago?  How can I care about anything you have to say when all I can think about is why Hannibal didn’t get picked up for a fourth season by NBC?

I wish I knew the perfect way to move on.  You can always watch the show again, I know, but it never feels the same.  It’s tainted with this painful sense of longing, like going through old photos of you and your ex.  Sure, you had some wonderful memories together, but that time is done now.  Like all grief, the only thing that can lessen it is time.

I do know that I never start another show right away that I know I’ll really enjoy.  My experience of something new will only be clouded by my grief at the loss of the old.  The only way I can truly reset and learn to love again is by watching something I know will be mediocre.  It acts like a palate cleanser, a rebound relationship with something that captures my interest but deep down I know I’ll never truly become emotionally invested in (like Scandal, or Homecoming season 2).

I also find it comforting to start an older show that’s already come and gone.  There’s a certain nostalgic feel to it, like going to visit grandpa and listening to his stories about when milk was cheaper and nobody had any rights.  My latest rebound is Fringe, JJ Abrams’ follow up to Lost that aired for 5 seasons from 2008 to 2013.  It’s just the right mixture of quality television and outdated hairstyles that makes me feel like maybe it’s safe to open my heart again.  Already I can feel myself getting drawn into this next show.  Maybe I’ll start an Instagram account posting Fringe memes that will go viral and cause the show to experience an unexpected resurgence.  Anything is possible in the world of television.

-Theodore Dandy

Coronavirus Cured My Anxiety

It’s an anxious time right now.  Not only are people dealing with the fear of getting sick, but they’re also dealing with the financial insecurity that comes with getting laid off and the economy shutting down.  Self-help articles abound on the NY Times and the Washington Post featuring relaxation tips and tools for managing stress.  For someone with chronic anxiety, the current state of the world should be like a shot of adrenaline right to my brain.  And yet, for the first time in my life, I am calm.

I am an anxious person.  I was put on this earth for one reason and one reason only—to be anxious.  My earliest memory is from when I was in preschool, having just told my friend Lauren how to spell the F word.  We sat together on the ground in class, my hand cupped around her ear as I whispered the forbidden knowledge.

The next day Lauren came into class with a letter addressed to the teacher from Lauren’s mother.  This letter detailed just exactly what I had done.  In this letter Lauren’s mother laid out all of the horrible details of the sin that I had committed and, for good measure, she threw in what she thought my punishment should be: instant and merciless execution.

Or so I had convinced myself.  In reality, the letter had nothing to do with me, but that didn’t stop me from interrogating Lauren.

“Did you tell your mother?” I asked her, breathing heavily through my mouth.

“Did I tell my mother what?” she replied.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” I said.

We had a field trip to a museum scheduled for later that day, which was fate’s malicious plan to slowly torture me.  As we walked through the museum, I shot nervous glances at my teacher.  I knew she was simply waiting for me to let down my guard before she pulled me aside to inform me of my punishment and potential incarceration.

As I got older, my anxiety did not go away.  It began to shift forms, settling just long enough for me to become aware that it was my anxiety that I was feeling and not something else.  Then it would dissipate, drifting through my fingers before it would take on another form to torment me with.

When I was 11, it took the form of nighttime panic attacks.  I felt like I was going to die, paralyzed with the thought of me as an 18-year-old lying in bed at night in my college dorm having just found out my parents were dead.  These nighttime anxiety attacks always featured two intermingling scenarios: I was in college, and my parents were dead.  It became hard not to link the two together from now on.

When I was in my late teens, anxiety took the form of quicksand, pulling me down into the floor and suffocating me every morning.  Usually this was because I was hungover, the aftereffects of alcohol triggering my panicked “fight-or-flight” response every single morning.  I would always choose flight (if by flight you meant avoiding going to class and letting my anxiety build to a breaking point).

Then my anxiety felt like a blanket.  But not a comforting blanket; it was a suffocating blanket, one that made my breath shallower and shallower until I felt my lungs screaming for oxygen.

Next, it was a fist slowly squeezing my heart.  It felt like my chest was getting tighter and tighter as I became lightheaded and didn’t know why.

Then it was a cup of water in my lungs, slowly pouring itself out.  The water would dribble out of the cup, run along my fingers and then down my wrist.  It would continue down the length of my arm and into my sleeve, making its way down my body before hitting the ground.  There it would slowly build until it drowned me from the inside out.

After I got sober, my anxiety settled a bit.  Now, gratefully, it confined itself to a single moment each day.  Every day, the moment that I woke up, I felt as if I was going to die.  My anxiety was a spear that pinned me to the bed, waking me up as though an ancient warrior had thrust his javelin right through my chest and left me to choke on my own blood.  It was unpleasant, to say the least.

I decided to stop taking anti-anxiety medication 3 years ago.  My anxiety had become a lot more manageable thanks to the fact that I was no longer binge drinking nor obese.  But although my anxiety became milder, it did not go away altogether.  My anxiety became a shadow, tormenting me with pokes, prods, and pinches that I wasn’t sure were really real or if I’d simply made them up.

Then the coronavirus happened.  Everyone lost their minds, buying up food and water for a good reason and toilet paper for no reason.  Hand washing became the newest craze, and “social distancing” entered the lexicon as the latest buzzword.  And I became calm.  Something in me switched off.

Maybe the coronavirus put into perspective the fact that everything I normally feel anxious about didn’t matter.  I think another part of it is that it took away a lot of the daily social pressures to perform and to be productive, which are the usual sources of my anxiety.  I’m not the person to think, “God sent a pandemic to teach me how to chill out.”  But I am grateful that, as an anxious person, I am not anxious now.

Now don’t get me wrong: I definitely take the coronavirus seriously.  I’m social distancing, I’ve stocked up on my groceries, and I’m washing my hands with the best of them.  But I’m not worried.  Not in the slightest.  Maybe I should be.  Maybe I should be freaking out about food shortages and scores of people dying and being stuck indoors for the next few weeks or months or years.  But my question to that is: why?  What would I accomplish by worrying about any of that?  It’s all out of my control.  I’m doing my part to slow the spread of this disease, and I’m checking in with my family and loved ones to make sure that we’re all being safe and smart.

I have no power over the rest of it.  I can’t stop people in Florida from going to Disney World or Republicans from going to the Golden Corral.  And I don’t need to.  Coronavirus taught me that 99% of the things I spend my time worrying about don’t matter, and for the things that do matter, worrying isn’t going to help.  All I can do is focus on doing my best, taking care of myself, and being of service.

Coronavirus got rid of my anxiety.  Maybe it’ll be back; maybe next time it will feel like a slug nibbling on my left toe.  But I’ll be able to look back at the time when it felt like the whole world was falling apart and I’ll remember that sense of calm I felt.  And I know that I can feel this way anytime I want.

-Theodore Dandy

How To One-Up Your Ex-Boyfriend At The Driving Range

So your boyfriend dumps you but then, a month later, suggests a casual get-together at the driving range? This has happened to all of us. Don’t worry that you don’t know the first thing about golf. Use the following simple tips to show him your life is way better without him:

First, do not rent your golf clubs. Ex-bae is going to think you’re weak if you have to rely on other people (i.e. men) to provide for you. Avoid this problem by bringing that club you picked up on the street the time you got lost in K-town (the one you carried around drunkenly for several hours for no clear reason); it’ll do.

Second, remember at all times to keep in mind why you are here: it is not to be good at golf, it is to look as though you are good at golf. So, dress super-cute, and super-impractical.  Hopefully he won’t notice whether you successfully hit the ball, as long as you keep smiling and laughing (at him, or so he thinks).

Don’t forget to document every single waking moment of it all on Instagram. It’s crucial that everyone believes there is no bad blood between the two of you, so make a post with the caption: “So glad we can still be friends!” (Feel free to block him so he cannot see you have done this).

Most importantly of all, when the game is over, do not go home with him. I know you’ll be tempted (after all the aphrodisiacal golf), but it is only going to make things more complicated. At the same time, however, life is life, and it’s important to have fun with it. So to hell with it, go home and sleep with him if you must. As long as you’re being true to yourself, you can’t go wrong!

-Theodore Dandy

How Stella Got Her Libido Back

My first crush was Zac Efron in High School Musical.  I was a 13-year-old boy at the time, which meant I knew to keep this to myself.  Still, my love for High School Musical had to be expressed somehow, so I told everyone I was in love with Zac’s co-star, Vanessa Hudgens.  I even painted a portrait of her in art class to demonstrate my heterosexuality.  (Of course, I did love her as well, but in a girl crush kind of way; what Zac and I had was different).

Later, when I was a sophomore in high school, I fell in love.  His name was Adam Lambert and he was a contestant on American Idol.  My explosion from the closet (helloooooooooooo!) occurred on the same night that he tragically lost the competition.  It was a queer whirlwind of emotion; leaving me devastated for his loss, but thrilled at my newfound freedom.  I kept our dream alive by purchasing an abundance of Adam Lambert merchandise and boycotting American Idol.

The next year, Adam Lambert had become a stranger to me.  I tossed him aside like an old, dusty portrait of Vanessa Hudgens, in favor of my brand new crush: Darren Criss.  My new love had just begun starring on the TV show Glee (a show which premiered the day I came out – truly a day for the gay history books!)  I loved Darren’s voice and his cute outfits, with their whimsical bowties.  I attempted to copy this look, with only minor success.  I suppose this is a question that plagues every gay man regarding their crush: do I want to be with you, or be you?  Perhaps both.  (I’ll let you know when I figure this out).

When I got to college, the male-objects of my attraction grew from fantasy to reality (for the most part).  I began dating boys and hooking up, which for most people starts in high school.  For gays, it’s often delayed by a few years while we come to terms with our identity.  My early dating experience can perhaps best be summarized by the Taylor Swift lyric, “when all you wanted was to be wanted”.   Whereas, after a few years, I like to think it transitioned to, “takes me home, lights are off, he’s taking off his coat (Hm yeah)”.

After I got sober, it took me a while to develop the confidence required to refine my dating palette.  I had grown up with the subconscious thought, “you might as well date whoever’s interested, because who’s really going to love you?” (self-esteem not being my strong suit).  But I began dating men I actually liked and was attracted to— the temerity!

When I lost my virginity, the flood gates were truly opened.  I could do whatever I liked.  I wasn’t bound by arbitrary rules attaching moral stigma to sex or relationships. What freedom!  My wild, free-loving 60s phase lasted about a month, until I got into a new, long-term relationship – this one lasting over a year.  It was my first real relationship; full of love and lust, fighting and loss.  By the time it ended, I was ready to take a break.  I needed some space just for me, to focus on improving myself, rather than singularly devoting my attention to another.

A few months passed.  Then a year. “Are you dating anyone?” people would ask me. “No, I’m just focused on my writing,” I’d say. But the truth was, I had no interest in dating anyone.  I hadn’t thought about sex in months.  In the brief time following my break-up, I figured this was normal. But a year and a half later, I was starting to get worried.  When would I regain my interest?  I started to get in my head about it.

I have always had a healthy libido, even when I was at my most unhealthy with food and alcohol.  But now here I was – healthier than I’d ever been, mentally and physically – and yet I felt nothing.  I was a eunuch.  Who had I become?

It wasn’t so much the lack of interest in dating that worried me, it was the lack of interest in men at all.  I hadn’t felt attracted to one in months, not even handsome men at the gym, or those passing on the street.  I felt like a different person; as though this part of myself I had always carried was gone.  Most of the time I forgot about sex entirely.  But when I did think about it, it felt like a gaping chasm I had no idea how to cross.

I felt the irony suddenly of all the hours I had spent researching ex-gays and celibacy for my writing, only to now inadvertently become celibate myself.  The ex-gay community would finally love me!  But I was devastated; I was pretty much gay in theory only.  I remained grateful for the free life I had created, but lamented my lack of physical desire. Desire is a part of what makes us human.  Regardless of whether it’s a healthy desire or an unhealthy one; everyone wants something.  Whether it’s food, sex, money, connection… everyone has desires they try and fulfill.  To walk around with one of the most fundamental of these gone, left me feeling like a shell of a person.

I agonized over what could be the cause of my low libido.  Was it low testosterone?  I had no other symptoms. Was I depressed?  I didn’t feel depressed.  Was I working too much?  Maybe I was stressed?  I tried a variety of natural supplements to help bring my mojo back.  Some were more successful than others, but none could ultimately make me want something I apparently no longer desired. I felt lost and ashamed to talk about it.  How do you tell friends and family you’ve lost interest in sex?  It’s not exactly something you share on Facebook.  But at the same time, what was I supposed to say when people asked me about dating?  How was I supposed to explain the emptiness I felt about something so intimate and personal?

One day a beloved friend of mine suggested I might be low in iodine.  There is a history of thyroid autoimmunity in my family, and a natural iodine supplement (from sea kelp) could be helpful.  So I started taking it.  Slowly but surely I felt myself coming back.  It was subtle at first – a naughty thought here, a suggestive glance there.  But then it came flooding, like a repressed memory I had recovered and unleashed.

I felt like I had awakened from a dream, and come back to life.  “I’m in my prime,” I suddenly thought, “what am I doing?”  I need to get out there, meet new people, date and experience life on its own terms again.  I needed to find Zac Efron and see what he’d been up to.  I dusted off the portrait of Vanessa Hudgens, threw on an Adam Lambert t-shirt and watched an old episode of Glee with Darren Criss crooning.

The difference was like night and day.  I had gone almost two years without this vital part of myself, and now that I had it back, I swore never to let go of it again.

Sea kelp had saved me.  It gave an integral part of my life back – my desire.

That little boy, who fell in love with every attractive man with the voice of an angel, had returned, and he was here to stay.

I still don’t know exactly what happened to me, but it taught me something important.  Even if it’s embarrassing or personal, there’s no reason to suffer alone.  Asking for help has invariably led me to the solution to almost every problem in my life.  Shame only prolonged my suffering, but pushing through that shame and becoming willing to talk about it was the key to recovery.

-Theodore Dandy

8 Dogs You Didn’t Know Existed But Sure Are Glad You Do Now

  1. Borzoi

Image result for borzoi

Also known as a Russian Wolfhound, the Borzoi was originally used by the Russian Aristocracy for hunting wolves.  It was common to see a hundred of these long bois engaged in the hunt.  I imagine this is the sight that will greet me when I enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Nowadays they seem to always be photographed galavanting around the forest like giant woodland nymphs (perhaps harkening to their long-forgotten past).


  1. Whippet

Image result for whippet sweater

Nicknamed the “Poor man’s racehorse”, the Whippet originated in England.  They were used for racing as a cheaper alternative to a traditional greyhound, from which they decend.  Hence why this boi is smol, but still long.  Like tiny Martians, these goblins are almost always trembling, probably because they’re so excited to meet you.  They may also tremble because of the cold, which makes sense since they’re almost always photographed in tiny sweaters.


  1. Pekingese

Image result for pekingese royal

Known as lion dogs for their resemblance to Chinese guardian lions, these little emperors were bred to live in palaces.  You can most clearly see this by the dignified way they waddle when you pass them on the sidewalk. They are one of the oldest breed of dogs and, surprisingly, one of the least genetically diverged from the wolf.   So be careful around these little guys, because there may be darkness hidden behind those calculating black orbs.


  1. Bergamasco Sheepdog

Image result for bergamasco sheepdog

Originated from the Italian Alps, this breed of dog was used for herding sheep.  The Bergamasco Sheepdog is known for its trademark matted hair, which served as protection from the cold as well as predators.  These dogs are often mistaken for giant mops roaming the Italian countryside.  Buca Di beppo, that’s no mop!  That’s a pupper.


  1. Xoloitzcuintli

Image result for xoloitzcuintli

Also known as a Mexican hairless dog, this dog is the ancient Aztec dog of the gods.  They are characterized by the developmental absence of one or more of their teeth, as well as being almost completely hairless except for the small tuft on the head.  All of this means you might mistake them for that old man at your gym who keeps bringing you DVD’s of old movies even though you told him you don’t have a DVD player.  Just take them and say thank you, he’s lonely.


  1. Afghan Hound

Image result for afghan hound

Some authorities believe the Afghan hound is the oldest breed of purebred dogs.  In fact, an ancient myth states they were the dogs on Noah’s Ark.  You might recognize this dog as the “Cher” dog, in that every single one of these beautiful hounds looks exactly like the singer Cher.  The Afghan hound is aloof and dignified but isn’t without its silly streak (also like Cher).


  1. Bedlington Terrier


Known for its pear-shaped head and sheep-like fur, this terrier is surprisingly a relative of the Whippet (though with significantly less trembling).  The Bedlington Terrier earned the nickname “Gypsy Dog” for its use as a poaching partner by Romanies.  Known interests include lace, flowers, and Stevie Nicks.  The one above is a patriot, but not all necessarily are.


  1. Catalburun

Image result for catalburun

These dogs are one of only three dog breeds with split noses, basically making it look like a dog split in half.  Vaguely reminiscent of the creature from the movie Splice, something about this dog stares directly into your soul.  Luckily for you, however, they are virtually unheard of outside of Turkey.  So you’re safe.  For now.