The popular LGBTQ advice columnist gets even more personal in essays about sexuality, race, and authority.

Graphic by author.

“How do I make peace with the years I lost in the closet? How do I forgive and forget? How do I let go of a rotten relationship?” These are a few of the questions John Paul Brammer has received in his time as a gay, Mexican American advice columnist since 2017. He answers them by sharing his own experiences in a new memoir titled ¡Hola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons.

Brammer’s debut book is published by Simon & Schuster and joins a growing shelf of modern LGBTQ memoirs. Readers who…


Songs to dance to after a year of melancholic pandemic playlists.

Graphic by author.

Many pandemic playlists made in 2020 were defined by grief, loneliness, and attempts to escape through music. These playlists leaned into nostalgia as we turned to our favorite artists to make it through each day, hour, and minute of quarantine.

Those bittersweet collections were necessary, but I feel like it’s time for new playlists marked by unadulterated joy as the U.S. continues to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and we imagine a post-pandemic future. I’m trading my favorite mournful crooners for artists like Lizzo and ABBA as I wait to qualify for my state’s vaccine rollout. Instead of songs meant to combat…


A poem.

Graphic by Sara Schleede.

Spring pushed Winter off the Empire State last night.
They fought after one too many spiked hot chocolates.
Winter had touched Spring’s leg and threatened to stay a while longer.

Now every woman in the park wears bike shorts —
A nylon memorial for Diana.
And every time we push our hair back with sunglasses,
we think fondly of The Parent Trap’s Chessy:
“Can I hug her?”
Yes, yes!
These days, you’re the only one allowed to hug her.

A girl at the store bites into the tomatoes in her mom’s cart, chomping into the roma, the cherry, the grape…


Warmies sells a menagerie of heating pads that combine comfort and cuteness. Its alligator is my latest obsession.

Graphic by author. Alligator Warmies by Warmies.

Laparoscopic surgery is an increasingly popular technique for operations in the abdominal area (like gall bladder removal) that is meant to be minimally invasive. Typically, a surgeon pumps a patient full of carbon dioxide gas so a laparoscopic camera can transmit quality video to monitors in the operating area. The patient is left with tinier scars than would result from traditional “open” surgery.

And the aftermath fucking hurts! As someone no longer in touch with her gall bladder, I would recommend a massive, stomach-spanning scar literally every time! …


But Wanda Maximoff’s pain illustrates the danger of indulging in fantasies of a lost future.

Graphic by author. Image via Disney+ and Marvel.

Spoilers for WandaVision and the MCU ahead.

I keep thinking about the awful seduction of a lobotomy. That a doctor could possibly extract all the bad stuff from my head and make me a more productive citizen and loving family member. It bewilders me to see other people already moving on from this year of profound loss, the effects of climate grief, and the erosion of traditional levels of adulthood by late-stage capitalism. They seem to me like the brainwashed residents of Westview, N.J. in WandaVision, Marvel’s nine-episode miniseries on Disney+. …


We can’t befriend the gargoyles atop the Chrysler Building, but we can wear them as cufflinks!

Graphic by author.

Clothes are tiny buildings for our bodies. Or maybe buildings are big clothes for our tiny bodies. Sheer fabric and skyscraper windows both give the illusion of transparency. Doors and jean zippers alike grant access to the invited. Gleaming spires atop foreboding cathedrals and shiny jewelry on imposing people similarly invoke our awe. And lately I’ve been entranced by the combination of fashion and façade that happens when designers incorporate our most iconic edifices into their clothing lines. Below are a collection of architectural…


A poem.

Graphic by author.

Walking through the convent,
I pick a few things that belong to Sister Catherine
a scarf, a letter, a sewing needle and its thread.

Passing through the hall I gather some trinkets from Sister Anne,
a letter opener, a holy text, that wilting vase of lilies.
I have started a fire in the fireplace —
A sensible location.

It is already roaring with all my belongings,
everything I’ve ever held, donned,
hung on the wall to admire.

I want to stuff the entire building into the flames,
an architectural ouroboros.

But Cécilia urges patience, she clutches my hand as the…


Prolonged power failure and freezing temps have reignited my loathing for this popular HGTV design.

Graphic by author.

Do you love entertaining guests? Want to keep an eye on the kids while doing dishes? Are pesky walls blocking natural light from reaching every crevice of your home? Do you hate narrow hallways? If so, you or a loved one may be entitled to emotional compensation for being convinced that an open concept floor plan was the solution to all your problems.

The open concept floor plan plaguing suburban main floors for more than a decade is best defined by what it lacks: few walls, no doors, and little variety in wall or floor pattern. …


Texans need your help, not your ridicule.

Graphic by author.

Texas was hit with a once-in-a-lifetime storm Monday, which left millions of people with burst water pipes, carbon monoxide poisoning, and a prolonged lack of heat. Many cities are also under notice to boil their water before consuming it, as the power outages also impacted water treatment plants. Texas’ power grid, independent from the rest of the U.S., is run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and is the result of anti-federal government oversight pushed by conservative politicians since 1935. Texans, especially those experiencing homelessness, are in need of food, shelter, and other necessities. …


These wrinkles remind me that I’ve survived long enough to age.

An abstract face with a single, piercing eye that has a crow’s foot where winged eyeliner normally goes.
An abstract face with a single, piercing eye that has a crow’s foot where winged eyeliner normally goes.
Graphic by author.

I love crows. You look into their beady little eyes and know: that is an animal that’s got its priorities sorted. Crows can be fearsome parents, love to socialize, remember those who wronged them, apparently despise cars as much as I do, investigate the deaths of their fellow crows, and they’ve got a statue dedicated to their love of fries. They make tools, have an appreciation for shiny objects, and hang out in the H-E-B parking lot. Crows soar through modern fantasy novels and ancient mythology alike, where they are alternatively bad omens and loyal friends.

Suffice to say, we’ve…

Maggie Chirdo

Aspiring caretaker of a haunted greenhouse. Copy Editor at The Interlude. Other words in The Knockturnal, Bitch Media, and NYU Local.

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