Queer actor, artist, and author. Jess studied Acting at The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in London, UK. Visit his website: juicethepoet.com
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A soft romance blooms on a rainy London evening

The Golden Ballroom was around the corner from The Savoy. Down a tight alleyway and through two large, oak doors, you were greeted by a small, balding man named Lindsay, who ran the cloakroom. He was in a permanent slump and was rather deadpan as he sat behind the half-door, fiddling with his keys. Staring down his spectacles, the lenses magnifying his two black eyes, Lindsay would croak out one or two high-pitched greetings before eventually cracking a very dry joke, accompanied by a sudden smile of breathy, hissing laughter. …

3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Travel Game

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Photo by Skyler Smith on Unsplash

Want to avoid the tourist-y stuff?

Living like a local isn’t as hard as you might think.

I’m not saying it’ll be easier and I’m definitely not saying that they’ll speak English either, but I promise you one thing — it will be worth it.

So, how do we get the most out of our visit to, say, Britain, Egypt, or Germany?

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Me and the guy. Photo by the incomparable Jorjee Birchall.

We still had a big problem — what would happen when I had to move away?

After several men ghosted me when they realized I couldn’t stay in the country after my documents expired, I met a boy that didn’t care about distance or leaving or visa rules — we were together: what difference would an ocean make? We quickly fell in love, but we still had a big problem:

How were we going to fare when I had to move away?

A long-distance relationship seems pretty black-and-white upon first thought, but it’s quite complex in practice. In-person, day-to-day interactions are very different from digital, distant ones. …

What do you want to be when you grow up?

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Pacing backstage, my stomach feels like it’s twisting inside of me while my hands feel so light and numb I can barely feel the inside of my pockets.

In a few moments, I had to perform a scene from Julius Caesar in front of every theatrical agent in London and I wanted nothing more than to return backstage, get out of costume, and get the hell out.

As a kid, I fell in love with the stylings of Judy Garland, Carol Burnett, Ethel Merman, Elaine Stritch, Angela Lansbury, Noel Coward, Ian McKellan, Victor Garber, and Carol Channing. I listened to…

A poem for long-distance lovers

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Photo courtesy of Jorjee Birchall

I’m up at

1.33? It’s late.

I’ve been drinking coffee since 10 pm, so.

And I’ve been thinking about
How FAR away you are

And I’ve been thinking about
How CLOSE I am to bursting because we’re not together.

We’re not right

each other’s sides and it absolutely kills me.

We’re not tangled in each other’s arms
Breathing slowly —
practically sleeping
— with joy and peace

in the splendor of our love for one another.

It’s just a whole lot to bear right now While my dad watches the news While my mom cries While I think…

Hello, I’m Jess, and I’m a wreck. (Hi, Jess.)

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Photo by Steve Baker, Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

It was the weekend that the Obama Administration legalized same-sex marriage.

I was in a musical at the time and one of the cast members had offered to host a cast and crew bonfire, as we’d just started rehearsals and wanted a chance to get to know one another. I got ready to go — a tie-dye shirt and jeans.

This tie-dye shirt, as it happened, had a rainbow color scheme. My socks had a few colored stripes on them as well.

As I leave, my mom stops me — “What are you wearing?” “What’s it look like?” I say, perplexed. “Well, you’re wearing a rainbow,” my sister says from the…

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Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

How the closet simultaneously protects and destroys young queer people

I was in the closet until I was 22, and until I moved out I had only ever set foot in one gay bar in my hometown. Some friends snuck me in and I had my first taste of Long Island iced tea. It was a place that had long been decried by my parents whenever we’d drive by. Clips from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers — one of my family’s favorites — played on a large screen above the dance floor. I loved it. …

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Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

You’ve heard about body language, but can we begin to understand it?

Body language is universal — individual, yes, and everyone and every body is different, but the body’s expressions transcend spoken word altogether. You might not realize it now, but we are all experts in speaking with our bodies.

You might consider the action of thinking to be a private event, but does your body betray you? Have you ever noticed that your partner is angry, even if they haven't told you so?

In this article, we’ll look at how we express ourselves by blocking emotions and breaking our natural symmetry, how to read into physical expressions more intuitively, and why…

In our goal-oriented, result-driven, capitalist system, we all have the same task: to get the job done.

When I finished my actor training in London, I had my sights set on world stages, not the corporate world, but with more and more companies adjusting to their remote work set-ups, employees across the nation are finding it more and more difficult to, well, work.

How can we get the results we need when we’re so burnt out?

How can we generate a better flow of ideas, motivation, and positivity?

  • Get out of our own way to work more efficiently
  • Deal with our feelings and problems so we can get the job done
  • Minimize excuse-making and be more productive

Growing up gay is hard. Growing up gay in a straight man’s world is even harder. Here are some books that have helped me along the way.

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Photo from the author’s personal collection

I could never come out. They’d kill me.

Why am I so scared all the time? I wish I could just chill out!
I’m just so angry! Growing up was so unfair!
I never got a chance to date the way the straight kids got to date!
People always let me down.
I don’t do trust.
I don’t do commitment.
I’ll never find love.
I’m just gonna grow up a bitter, old queen!

I recently celebrated my first anniversary with my partner. Looking back at my growth as a queer individual, some notable books contributed to several landmarks in my…

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