I Ate Chocolate Cake and Enjoyed it

I woke up and had one of those perfect Bed Stuy mornings. It was muggy with light rain outside, and my drafty ass window is definitely leaking cold air. I rise from my bed with a burning conviction to take myself to brunch. I talk big shit about supporting local, people-of-color-owned businesses in my neighborhood, so I know exactly where I’m going. Some days, spending money to soothe my gentrifier guilt works, but today wasn’t going to be one of those days.

I’m too nice to the waiter because I keep imagining my beloved roommate Allison as the waiter’s proxy. I let multiple mistakes slide because I’m a regular at this restaurant, which is owned by a Japanese couple, who run the restaurant while their adorable baby is strapped onto their bodies via Baby Bjorn. I’m too nice to the shitty waiter because I love a peripheral baby in this restaurant… Dude, what is wrong with me?

Either way, I’m drunk from that very distinct endorphin rush that’s a byproduct of creating the exact work you’ve always dreamt of making — a Sex and the City fan fic, coming to an instagram page near you in Q2 2019 — in a cozy, familiar space, with 1930’s jazz swelling in the background. A creative transplant’s paradise.

I’m bursting with so much writing joy that I decide to order myself a fondant chocolat. I always deserve a molten chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but why not combine that sensory pleasure with the intellectual pleasure of having an entire Sunday afternoon to write down my deepest Carrie Bradshaw-related thoughts?

Yes, terrible waiter. Please bring on the fondant chocolat.

When the cake arrived, that shit was cold and goopy, and there was no ice cream in sight. I almost dwelled on the terrible experience of the service, but the berries on the plate looked sOoOoOoooOOooo good. Sometimes a blueberry is so fucking juicy, acidic, sweet, and straight-up mouth wateringly delicious that it snaps you into back a good mood.

I then learned that eating strawberries in uniform slices in the same way you would eat Pringles is ~~~the only~~~ way to ever eat strawberries ever again. I pictured the bursts of green-tipped white strawberry flesh smooshing tangy juice all over my tongue while the little seeds dodged themselves between my teeth.

me and these berries

me and these berries

I wanted to send the goddamn cake back, but I couldn’t wait to taste the chocolate. Every corner of my mouth sang with mild chocolatey goodness as I brought that goddamn Anthropologie spoon to my mouth. There’s a level of restraint in the use of sugar that coats a complex crust of chocolate around your tongue that melts in cascading layers of bitterness, tanginess, and sweetness. The chefs might not have operated their microwave to bring me a molten cake, but still, they really did that shit!!! I thought of the kitchen staff as fondly as Anne Burell thinks of her cohort in The Worst Cooks in America for bringing me that non-molten molten cake. My cheeks are sore from smiling.

The shitty waiter waited until I was about halfway through the alleged fondant chocolat to bring the vanilla ice cream. And even THAT was truly bangin’! The little black specks of vanilla bean emitted this Casper the Friendly Ghost figure that rose up from the scoop, cupped my face, and whispered, “You’ll never go back to extract ever again, boo.”

I treated this dining experience as a data collection of sorts to see how much sensory pleasure I can still enjoy while being blatantly disrespected. The results of the are in, and boy are they surprising: my taste buds orgasmed regardless of the timeliness and correctness of the dessert’s execution.

Sometimes your desire to support a locally-owned business and your attachment to its nice Japanese owners make you deliriously loyal. Sometimes you’re just so content with the simple pleasure of being indoors in the rain, eating fresh berries and chocolate, in a hotbed of creative fulfillment that you quite literally can’t complain.

Why don't we sing ourselves love songs?

Bro*, I cannot remember the last time I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a partner. For years, I have heralded this holiday as a capitalist scam, refusing to play along, and opting instead to celebrate Galentine’s Day with my friends. Seriously, V-Day is the biggest scam. Sticking this stupid holiday smack in the middle of the slump between New Year and Easter ensures corporations make decent sales in Q1 of every year.

(*Yeah, I started using Bro as a joke but it fucking stuck, and I can’t get rid of it. I have also now mutated the word Bro to “Brotato” and “Broseph,” so… can I even still claim that I am an arbiter of taste? *goes back to googling $900 rugs*)

Having said all that, this season of my life is truly all about honesty, and I just have to come clean: I love love, y’all. I talk a lot of shit about Valentine’s Day, but I am actually the sappiest motherfucker in Brooklyn. I love making combined grocery lists, participating in gross PDA over candlelit dinners, using my bottomless charm to impress the fuck out of someone else’s friends, leaving cute little notes on my personalized stationery, and just all around pampering the fuck out of a sig oth.

(Not to be dramatic but… personalized stationery has actually changed my entire life. Get @ me if you want my help designing and printing it, fam.)


But alas, V-Day 2019 finds me single with an exorbitant amount of affection kept in my back pocket, and instead of sitting here wishing I had someone cute and cuddly to shower with it, I’m using all this romantic energy on myself.

Romancing Myself is the name of a newly adopted Friday night ritual, which usually includes a lot of weed, candlelit baths, a delicious dinner of chicken nuggets or any other worthy comfort food, and staring each of my dildos straight in the eye and daring each of them to fucking break me.

honey boo boo.gif

While I’m sure your own version of Romancing Yourself won’t be the same as mine, I decided to put together a playlist in the very spirit of the holiday. Instead of crying into the pregnancy pillow you claim you bought to soothe “back pain” but actually bought to cuddle with when you’re lonely, you’re going to sing along to every song in this playlist while looking at yourself in the fucking mirror, and you’re going to mean it.

Scroll through to see my humble offerings for this holiday I’m ashamed to claim:


The Closer I Get To You by Luther Vandross feat. Beyonce Knowles

Is any Valentine’s Day mixtape complete without Luther Vandross? I admit, the words “By giving me all you got, your love has captured me” 100% don’t make sense when you read the line from your phone, but when you’re singing it to yourself in the mirror, this shit really SLAPS.


Whenever Wherever Whatever by Maxwell

Once, while writing a list of affirmations I found myself writing, “If there’s a thing that you need, I’ll give you the breath that I breathe” and realized I was simply writing a Maxwell lyric. Think of every sentence in this song as a pact to take care of yourself whenever, wherever, whatever, baby.


Crazy for You by Adele

Crazy for You by Madonna

Have you ever stared intensely at a photo of yourself in the bathtub and thought, “Damn, I’m really crazy for this lil girl, she’s fine as hell.” First, you should probably stop using the word “crazy” because it is ableist as fuck. Second, you should definitely sing along to either of the aptly named bops while staring at your body. You’re hot AS FUCK and if you don’t advertise as such, how will the rest of the world know how to look at your godly frame?


Cater 2 U by Destiny’s Child

This should be a no-brainer. I still do not understand why Jay-Z can’t untie his own goddamn shoestrings and take off his own cufflinks, but in the context of singing this song to yourself, it cannot be any more perfect to get yourself in the mood for self-play.

Shea Butter Baby by Ari Lennox feat J. Cole

Ari Lennox could probably sing pages out of a septic tank repair manual and make it sound sensual. In this jam, she sings about finding someone so irresistible that you’re willing to fuck them next to a trash can and fuck up your sheets with layers upon layers of shea butter. Come correct with that same energy when you approach your own reflection because YOU. ARE. THAT. BITCH!!!!!


You Da One by Rihanna

Admitting to yourself that you do nothing but think about yourself all day *might* sound narcissistic, but unless you’re a cishet white man, you honestly probably don’t spend enough time thinking about yourself. TAKE. UP. ALL. DAT. SPACE. Just admit that you’re da one you’ve been looking for all your life.


Elian’s Revenge Leikeli47

See, what typically happens to me is I start out slow with some self-play-encouraging bops, pick it up a little bit in the middle because I’ll shower afterward, then end it with some upbeat catwalk anthems for when I’m ready to take on the mean sidewalks of gentrified “Stuyvesant Heights.” Leikeli47 pretty much ONLY makes catwalk anthems, and this one in particular is dedicated to any and all idiots who have slept on you.


Shawty is Da Shit by The-Dream, Fabolous

“Shawty rock the beat for ya boooooiiiiyyyy, SHAWWWTY!!” Surprise! You’re both the shawty and the boi/y and you only have to worry about pleasing your goddamn self!!!


I’m Dope by Tobe Nwigwe and David Michael Wyatt

If your momma has told you you’re ridiculous for having unorthodox desires — I better see every Asian-American reading this post perk up a little, because y’all know I’m talking about you — remind yourself of all these haters that are feeding on every felt-cute-won’t-delete-later selfie. A double tap from your lil romantic or professional crush is nice, but YOU’RE DOPE REGARDLESS.

Happy Valentine’s Day, you beautiful, extraordinary humans.