Dear BLCKSMTH: Bad Advice for Good People


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Dear BLCKSMTH,

Hi hello. You haven’t posted anything in like two months. What’s up with that? Signed, Mike S. in Portland

Hey Mike! Your name sounds suspiciously familiar, have we met? Well, truth be told, I’ve been working on my webseries a lot lately, and am close to releasing the first episode! Besides that, I’m also learning how to speak truth to my newly awakened interest in politics.

Also, I’m interested in my writing about being single evolving. I’m a privileged white male, and whining about dating can only get you so far before it sounds like you’re releasing a Taylor Swift album, complaining about boys while the world is burning. I’m in charge of my own happiness. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop sharing the horror stories, though! We’re all in this crazy thing together.

Dear BLCKSMTH,

I’m getting on the dating apps for the first time ever. I’m 47. So, how do you overcome the feeling that you got in first grade and all the cute gay guys will not pick you for dodge ball time? Signed, J. in Cleveland Continue reading Dear BLCKSMTH: Bad Advice for Good People

Why We Ghost


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The epiphany happens one day when you’re cleaning your apartment: Oh! I haven’t heard from him in a few days. I think I’ve been ghosted. You get your phone out, go down the most recent text messages. A few names of friends scroll by, your dad whose health is doing fine, your mom who is safe from the hurricane in Texas, a couple new connections whose names are not in your phone yet. Yup, there he is: Handsome Andy, who you chatted with a year ago. You saw him again more recently at a bar, and holy shit now he has a beard and is handsome as f. A nice full beard is nature’s beer goggles. Continue reading Why We Ghost

The New Yorker

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I wake up much later than the alarm clock says I should. I sit up in the bed, the sheet falls away. I take in the room: decent sized, comfy queen bed, there is a vintage bike mounted up high on one wall. Maybe it’s not vintage maybe it’s just dusty? Anyway. There are books and comic books high on the other wall. The light through the window is high and hitting the floor, it’s almost noon here. There is no one else in the bed, I slept alone, but then a memory comes fast and sneakily: a perfect morning almost two years ago, not this bed, when I had flown in overnight and got under the covers. I kissed the back of his neck repeatedly; he made a soft, pleased murmur in his half-sleep every time I kissed it, his neck always got so so bristly in between haircuts. I shake my head, literally swat the memory away. Ugh, that again? And then another even more disorienting thought: Wait, where am I?

Oh. That’s right! I’m in New York. Continue reading The New Yorker

Up, Up, and Away

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The flight is bumpy, the flight is turbulent, the flight is a flight designed to turn my knuckles white.

It touches down in Albuquerque at midnight. My hometown airport is almost deserted except for a few huddled families. I realize for a small self-pitying moment that no one has ever met me inside an airport. I roll my eyes and call a Lyft to take me to my dad’s place. He volunteered to pick me up at midnight. I politely declined but was secretly horrified: what the fuck, dad? You are 83. You are not picking me up at the airport at midnight. Continue reading Up, Up, and Away

My Anxiety, A Love Story

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Anxiety is the shoe that never drops, the anticipated alarm that never goes off, the gift in the middle of the night that keeps on giving. Here are a few recent times my anxiety reared its ugly head and painted a reality different than the actual one.

 

I thought my beard looked like pubes.

I looked in the mirror one day before work, and was suddenly convinced that my beard looked like it was composed entirely of pubic hair. The entire rest of the day when talking to coworkers or clients, I thought that they thought the exact same thing.

 

I took a bumpy plane ride and got covered in Xanax gravy.

I’ve had a debilitating fear of flying since I had an unusually turbulent flight through the Rockies once. There’s nothing more hilariously disorienting than the adrenaline rush of realizing you left your backpack (containing your keys and wallet) back on your plane, right before your connecting flight, while you’re under the heavy Xanax blanket. Continue reading My Anxiety, A Love Story

Homecoming

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I feel it the minute I get off the plane: the air itself is different. It’s warmer, drier, thicker, if the air was a tortilla chip it would be stone ground. I leave the terminal, look for my rideshare. I glance across the airport at the Theme Building, the midcentury UFO-with-landing-gear, whose restaurant closed a few months after I left this city in 2013. It’s then that the chorus swells with the noises I rarely hear in Portland: the car horns raise their frantic duck voices in harmony, I hear the nearby lilt of a family speaking Spanish and I smile. I’m in Los Angeles. I am home.

Los Angeles is everything people say it is. LA is shallow, LA is awful traffic, LA is that guy on Tinder you matches with you and never, ever replies. LA is a city of broken dreams and loosely made promises. Los Angeles is an acquired taste, if you like the taste of garbage. LA is that spoiled child that falls down and looks around to see if anyone is watching before starting to cry.

What I mean to say is: I love every inch of LA. Continue reading Homecoming

This ends badly.

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