discographypicPeople (who know me well) know who my favorite musical artist is, and has been for 25 years. When I was in the fifth grade in 1990, I was a huge Vanilla Ice fan. And while many people’s tastes in music change dramatically over the span of their lives, my fandom of Vanilla Ice remained a constant. I liked his music when he was popular, I liked his music when he was despised, and I liked his music when he was forgotten – I’ve always liked his music.

A fellow teacher once asked me (at a teacher party, no less) why I thought Vanilla Ice was the best rapper, because he sincerely disagreed with this perceived sentiment. (The two of us would later attend a Snoop Dogg / Warren G concert together.) After a brief moment of contemplation, my retort was simple: “I’ve never really thought that he’s the best rapper,” I replied, “he is simply my favorite one.” My hipster(ish) colleague gave me an intellectual look of pondering, then replied, “You know, that makes sense.” And that really did describe why I liked Vanilla Ice. He wasn’t overly popular or overtly talented – he was simply my favorite.

With the cacophony of life experiences that I have stowed categorically in my past, it is difficult not to reflect upon the events of my existence without trying to make sense of all that has gone on. And in my (sometimes feeble) attempts at organizing the bygone eras of my life, I often search for an avenue to collate, arrange, and organize the events, experiences, and people who make up the blueprints of my memories.

Rereading my favorite book gave me a few ideas on how to do this, and it occurred to me that I could feasibly align every woman I’ve ever loved with an album by Vanilla Ice. Yes, I can see how cheesy that looks in print, and it sounds even more ridiculous when I read it aloud. But the truth is, it can be done. In my mind, I possess a catalogue of knowledge when it comes to the musical career of Vanilla Ice. Of course, this makes me seem “obsessed” (or something), but then again, no one says anything like that when someone has the same amount of knowledge about The Beatles or The Rolling Stones or Pearl Jam or Nirvana – those bands have a much greater “cultural relevance” that transcends popular culture and/or the definition of “cool.” But perhaps that’s why Vanilla Ice is my favorite. He isn’t “cool,” and neither am I. He isn’t “accepted” and neither am I. He was once loved, appreciated, and enjoyed, but then suffered a backlash from which he has never fully recovered, no matter how much good he does in the world anymore. Sure, there are people who still appreciate his music, but to most, he will forever be a cautionary tale and a punchline. So, I can certainly relate.

My favorite writer, Chuck Klosterman, wrote, “We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime.” I completely agree. And while I’m certain I was never “in love” with more than four or five women in my life, I’ve loved many. Chuck goes on to write that “there are certain people you love who – define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like.”


It’s not at all bizarre that I can allegorically (and chronologically) organize the quintessential women of my past by using the musical catalogue of Vanilla Ice; I’m sure thousands of people could do it with the music of Elvis Presley. But again, the difference is, Vanilla Ice isn’t “cool.” And perhaps that’s one of the reasons I can connect with the ideological concepts of his career, rather than a band like U2, who has never really been “uncool.”

I would estimate that there are approximately 37 people on the planet who could understand this analogy in its entirety. But in all honesty, this isn’t written for them, or the women mentioned, or even for anyone reading it – this is for me.

These are the women of my past, as told (chronologically, by woman and by album) through the discography of Vanilla Ice.

hooked-covNatasha / Hooked   – Hooked was the first real album Vanilla Ice released, and it’s the one that almost no one knows about (released by a small record label in 1989 and barely sold any copies). It’s that girl you dated who no one really remembers that you dated, but who made a huge (yet silent) impact you viewed every subsequent relationship, for the rest of your life. For me, that girl was Natasha. We met at church and dated during my sophomore year of high school. I loved that she was a varsity basketball player (be it at a small private school) and I think she loved that I was a big school letterman. We got along amazingly well and she is the last person I dated whose parents actually liked me (though I think I’ve always thought I was good with my girlfriends’ parents; this perception coincides with memories of nearly everyone’s parents hating me).

In the world of Vanilla Ice, Hooked is the origin of everything. It contained the original versions of “Ice Ice Baby” and “Play That Funky Music” (two songs that, when re-released on To The Extreme, would reach #1 and #2 at different times) as well as the original version of “Satisfaction” which would be re-recorded and released on Vanilla Ice’s third album, Extremely Live. And though I’d had numerous “girlfriends” before Natasha, she was the first one who I really took seriously.  Our relationship was enigmatic and commonsensical at the same time, as though the mystery of having a girlfriend (who went to another school) seemed to make sense.

Natasha was “Ice Ice Baby” and “Play That Funky Music” and “Satisfaction” because those songs weren’t entirely original, but rather, contained music samples from classic songs that, in many ways, represented the quintessence of music (“Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie, “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry, and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones). And those classic songs seemed like music that you were just supposed to like, because they were great, or culturally relevant, or just plain catchy – and much of my logic for taking my relationship with Natasha so seriously followed a similar line of logic: I met her at church, she was cute, she was athletic, she was funny, her parents liked me. We had a great relationship, but that took a backseat to the perception that she was just who I was supposed to date because of who and what she was. Hooked did this for Vanilla Ice. The reason Hooked led to such fame wasn’t because it was aesthetically great, but because it was fittingly good.

totheextreme-covGretchen / To The Extreme – When “Ice Ice Baby” became a radio station hit, SBK Records bought the rights to the album, re-mastered it, re-recorded a few of the songs, and released it as To The Extreme. This is the album for which Vanilla Ice is best well-known; this is the only time that Vanilla Ice was ever “cool.”

In the fall of 1997, my senior year of high school, I was the track star (which, honestly, didn’t mean much to anyone outside of my own ego) and my girlfriend, Gretchen, was one of the girls’ varsity starters (as well as varsity cross country and track as well). She is To The Extreme, not because she was the best or the most well-known or most popular, but because she became the point in my life when love became bigtime for me. I’d had several girlfriends throughout high school, but none had the impact on my life and my future outlook on love than Gretchen. Up to that point, I thought girlfriends were just – girlfriends. But for some reason, my bond with her was different. I was her first real boyfriend, and she was my first real love. However, like “Ice Ice Baby,” although she was great, popular, fun, and attractive, she was also cliché and unoriginal. Part of me genuinely loved her, but part of me dated her because she was the archetype of what I thought a girlfriends should be (much like Natasha) – beautiful, athletic, and popular. And just as the bassline of “Ice Ice Baby” was taken from Queen and David Bowie, much of what I perceived as being a relationship with Gretchen was merely taken from my own assumption of what my “girlfriend” was supposed to be like, but the biggest difference between Gretchen and Natasha was exposure: Gretchen and I were a well-known couple.

But there were also genuine things about her that I loved which were entirely original, like the verses of “Ice Ice Baby” to which everyone knows the words and have nothing to do with “Under Pressure.” But essentially, when it comes to the women I’ve loved in my life, Gretchen (like “Ice Ice Baby”) was the one that took everything to the next level. But things turned for Vanilla Ice and To The Extreme and the album began to decline – things turned for my relationship with Gretchen when the realization hit that I would be leaving for college, and things declined. To The Extreme faded into cautionary obscurity and my relationship with Gretchen faded into an on-again-off-again phase of indecisive confusion, until our relationship finally ended sometime during my freshman year of college (though it was really over long before that). To The Extreme remained on the Billboard album charts for 16 weeks, but much of that was on its way down. But it will always be known as the one that really started it all, even if it wasn’t actually the first.

Like many people when they hear “Ice Ice Baby,” thoughts of Gretchen always give me a reminiscent grin – not because I miss her, but because it simply brings back thoughts of a bygone youthful feeling of nostalgia; a feeling of fond memories and vanished innocence.

exlive-covKim / Extremely Live – Releasing a “live album” in the 90s was the cool thing, and as SBK Records insisted that Vanilla Ice keep with the “trends,” he released 1991’s Extremely Live, which was essentially a live version of To The Extreme (with live versions of “Ice Ice Baby,” Play That Funky Music,” and others), but also included a live version and a studio remake of “Satisfaction,” which was originally released on Hooked. So essentially, Extremely Live was different, but the same, and it overlapped with To The Extreme. Listening to the album felt sort of casual and disorganized and, in many ways, rushed. It was presented as one solid concert, start-to-finish (though it was actually several concerts mixed together, using crowd noise to bridge the gaps between songs) and was only appealing because it was a seemingly-detached extension of To The Extreme. Essentially, Extremely Live was an attempt at creating a different version of the same thing, but totally different.

And this is who Kim was in my life. I met Kim through a friend I’d met after caddying at a local golf tournament in the summer of 1998. Kim was nearly the conceptual doppelganger of Gretchen – tall, thin, gorgeous, and played basketball. And during that summer after I graduated – a summer of turbulence, confusion, indecision, and something else – Kim and I dated pretty seriously. If retrospect is the looking-glass, then I’m pretty sure that my relationship with Kim was based solely on the concept that she was more or less another Gretchen, but was different. I don’t think I ever tried to view her as a conscious existential incarnation of Gretchen (like, Gretchen 2.0 or something) but on a deep subconscious level, I think I’d found my archetype and it created somewhat of a dating comfort zone for me because it had worked with Natasha and Gretchen (for the most part). But through that retrospective looking-glass, I did learn one vital lesson about love: Every experience is unique and no relationship can be recreated within the bounds of another.

mindblowin-covErin / Mind Blowin’ – My relationship with Erin was never an “official” relationship (though it really kind of was), but we were “together” for nearly all of my freshmen year of college at Emporia State University. However, in my mind, during that time period, Gretchen is the one I always seem to remember (even though our relationship was floundering and nearly over), and Erin is always the one I seem to forget (probably because our relationship was so casual and never particularly taken seriously), even though both Gretchen and Erin had a very similar impact on me at the time of their respective roles in my life.

After Vanilla Ice’s pop culture downfall in 1992, he left music for a few years and didn’t release another album until he recorded Mind Blowin’ in 1994. This album was absolutely nothing like To The Extreme and it was Vanilla Ice’s attempt at adapting to the manner in which Hip-Hop had transformed in light of the rise of Death Row Records and the evolution of “Gangsta Rap.” So this new album was much darker (including multiple allusions to drugs, sex, and violence) and less “pop” than To The Extreme; his lyrics reflected the contemporary cultural lexicon of the music with which he wanted his “new sound” to be comparable. Simply put, Vanilla Ice was trying to adapt, and Mind Blowin’ was his perceived archetypal representation of Hip-Hop in 1994.

That’s the role Erin played in my life. At the time, she was vitally important for the same reasons that Gretchen was important – Erin embodied everything I thought a “hot college chick” should be, even though she was also incredibly smart and had an amazing personality. But this was college and academia and I wanted (and needed) to adapt – to evlove. So although I was still an athlete (on scholarship, even), I didn’t seek an athlete to date. Erin and I clicked and she seemed to fit perfectly at the time, even if my own perspective may have been skewed. My perspective during that year was to sleep with as many women in college as possible, and Erin seemed okay with this (…she once slept with both me and my roommate in the same day – me in the morning, him in the evening). She knew what I was doing, and kept seeing me anyway. I tried to adapt to this slanted perception of what I thought college was supposed to be.

The darkness of Mind Blowin’ in songs like “The Wrath” and “Oh My Gosh” showed a clear change in Vanilla Ice’s musical direction. He seemed like he was almost trying too hard to release something that would meet the new criteria of the Hip-Hop, trying to defy the nexus that bound him to his old “pop” style. And while the album is now seen by hardcore Vanilla Ice fans as one of his best endeavors, it was wholly rejected by the musical establishment in 1994. Thus, it vanished from the 90s musical lexicon as abruptly as it entered, just as my “relationship” with Erin abruptly ended when I elected to transfer schools, leaving Emporia State to attend Friends University. And in the same way Mind Blowin’ didn’t work for Vanilla Ice, attending a party college and pseudo-dating a precocious “college chick” didn’t work for me – and in fact, probably made the situation worse.

hardtoswallow-covKelli and Kelli / Hard to SwallowDuring my sophomore and junior years of college, I kept trying something new, ironically, by dating two women back-to-back with the same first name. In a new environment, I tried to be a different person. And part of that, I suppose (in my diluted way of thinking) included dating a new kind of woman. The first Kelli was someone I worked with at Sears, a job I was working over the summer and during school (after track practice), mostly for beer money. I’d gotten a job in the warehouse because I thought that moving refrigerators and washing machines would help build strength and make me a better runner. But anyway, she was adorable and sweet and had the greatest dimples in the history of facial features. She was a year or two younger than me and we had (surprisingly) a lot in common. Also, she seemed to be almost the same as, and different from, the women I was accustomed to dating, simultaneously.

Hard to Swallow, released in 1998, was completely different than anything Vanilla Ice had ever done. Unlike the way Mind Blowin’ was a different genre of Hip-Hop, Hard to Swallow was an entirely different genre of music. Produced by the famed Ross Robinson, Hard to Swallow broke out with the Hard Rock style of Korn or Limp Bizkit. Vanilla Ice himself described the production of the album as “therapeutic” because of the difficulties he was having at the time, and was able to resolve many of those issues through his music. His raw emotion and desire to make sense of the world around him show through in the lyrics of songs like “A.D.D.” where he screams, “I just can’t fuckin’ be myself!” He was struggling with the identity of who he wanted to be and the identity of who he was expected to be, which likely led to the song “Too Cold” – a Hard Rock version of “Ice Ice Baby.”

My relationship with the first Kelli was very good, but never felt like it fit me. And we eventually (amicably) broke-up and I met another Kelli. This one, I met online (again, trying something new). She lived in Kansas City and was five years older than me – a successful nurse from a well-to-do family. She would drive from KC to Wichita to see me on a regular basis, and even took me to Florida once. We too had a great relationship (though unofficial it was) and it again felt like something new. The problem with this relationship was that she was looking for something more adult, and I apparently wasn’t done being a college frat(ish) guy. But in the end, I broke things off with the second Kelli because I needed to return to my comfort zone.

Hard to Swallow is – nearly in its entirety – Hard Rock, similar to the style of Korn, with the lone exception being the final song, “Freestyle,” which returns to Vanilla Ice’s Hip-Hop style. And along with being the only Hip-Hop song, it’s also my favorite (though I do like the Hard Rock songs as well). And in the end, I returned to my comfort zone as well, but carried some of the lessons learned from these women into my subsequent relationship.

bipolar-covChristina / Bi-Polar – I met Christina during my junior year of college, and it was the most hectic relationship I was ever in. Like the album Bi-Polar (which is divided into two halves: first half is Hard Rock, second half is Rap) my relationship with Christina existed on one of two ends of a spectrum: Either we were having amazing sex or we were savagely arguing and fighting. There was rarely (if ever) a middle ground and it never seemed to make sense, and I never did get a grip on it. Bi-Polar begins with a song called “Nothing is Real,” a sentiment which adequately defines the false chemistry upon which our relationship was built. I’m pretty sure I loved Christina, but I’m aware that there’s a chance that I merely loved the idea of Christina – a woman who loved me with enough passion to hate me with a vengeance. To this day, I’m 100% convinced that she was completely out-of-her-mind insane (and I have plenty of evidence to support this), but I’m also 100% certain that she thinks I am completely out-of-my-mind insane (and she has plenty of evidence to support this). That’s how our relationship worked – opposites that clashed enough to keep it interesting.

Bi-Polar starts with Hard Rock, and even includes several songs that sound like Death Metal (such as “Mudd Munster”) as well as solid Hard Rock like “I Know.” But then, halfway through, it switches into some of the most solid Hip-Hop music of his career with songs like “Hip Hop Rules,” “O.K.S.” and “Dirty South,” not to mention “Hot Sex.” To draw direct comparisons, the abrasive nature of the Hard Rock on the album was our relationship when we fought – the smooth solid drive of the Hip-Hop was when we had sex. There was no in-between and both happened equally as much. Bi-Polar also has an inordinate number of guest artists on the album such as Public Enemy, Slipknot, and Insane Clown Posse, which coincides with our relationship as well, because we were often inclined to involve others in our fights and arguments, as well as our sex life. That was just how the relationship was, and for some reason, this dysfunctionality worked.

hotsex-covChristina (the second time) / Hot Sex – Christina and I broke up, and briefly got back together, but this time, the relationship was more-or-less solely based on sex. I’m pretty sure this was simply due to the fact that we didn’t see each other enough during the second relationship to fight, and since sex had become all that mattered in our relationship, it was all we did. Hot Sex was released two years after Bi-Polar, but was simply the second half (the Hip-Hop half) of Bi-Polar. It barely sold, it didn’t last long, and it just sort of faded into nonexistence, just as my relationship with Christina did. We never had a final “official” break-up.

Things with Christina just kind of ended by default, uncharacteristically uneventful. This contrasted with the drama-filled circus that our relationship originally resembled. Our second attempt at a relationship was more of the same, but was a little different, and didn’t particularly matter much (just like Hot Sex) and when it was over, it was over, and that was it.

platund-covMy Wife / Platinum Underground – The first time I heard Platinum Underground, I was transfixed by the feel of the music and how something about it felt more “musical” and “artistic” than nearly anything I’d ever heard Vanilla Ice release. The opening track on this record is “Survivor,” where Vanilla Ice talks about how the struggles of his past have given him hope for the future, and this song spoke to me loud and clear. In the midst of the struggles I was facing (as an as-yet-unknowing sex addict, among other things), my favorite musician gave me a song that portrayed exactly how I felt about how I’d somehow managed to make it that far in life. And even though my past of self-destruction was still a part of my present, a part of my subconscious embraced this song as an anthem of hope.

Hope is exactly what my wife is in my life. When we met, there was something different about her from any women I’d ever dated, known, or even met. I don’t think there’s really such a thing as “love at first sight,” but I did immediately know that this was a woman with whom I could spend the rest of my life. And in the midst of the struggles I was facing, she was (and is) the most supportive, understanding, and (most of all) forgiving person I could have ever hoped for in my life.

The whole album felt like this for me. “Tell Me Why” is a song that pleads with the world around as to why things have to be the way things are – and why can’t they change? I asked myself this so many times in so many ways. He even remade “Ice Ice Baby” for this record as a way to let everyone know that he hasn’t forgotten his roots (and it’s a decent remake, done in the “Miami Drop Mix” style that he performs at his concerts).

The remake of that song itself could be its own metaphor for my wife, because I’ve always thought that she was the living amalgam of the best aspects of every woman I’d ever loved, as though she was custom made, just for me – the best parts of the past, creating an amazing present.

And then the album has some of the most fun and energetic music Vanilla Ice has ever put out – his sequel to “Ninja Rap,” aptly titled “Ninja Rap 2” – his sampling of Ace Frehley’s “New York Groove” called “Bounce” – the driving metal song “Step Up or Shut Up” (a song my wife and I were in the recording studio with him the day it was recorded) – these songs, and others on the album, are fun, feel-good, and energetic; this is exactly how she makes me feel, not just about her, but about life in general. Just like when a great song comes on the radio and your mood suddenly improves, simply being with her has this exact impact on me. Being around her is all I need.

The album closes with the song “Persevere,” which is self-explanatory from the title. And this, essentially, is how she and I have remained married. Even before I went to prison, she knew that I had problems and that we didn’t have a “perfect marriage,” but rather than giving up (as many of our formerly-married friends have done), we persevered and pressed forward into the future.

vanillaiceisback-cov“The Affairs” / Vanilla Ice is Back – Bad ideas can manifest themselves in many different ways, and they often seem confusing, discombobulated, and rushed. This is exactly how I feel about Vanilla Ice’s 2008 album, Vanilla Ice is Back. This record was pitched to him by a California record label who had the idea of having Vanilla Ice record his own versions of his favorite old school rap and pop songs, including “Baby Got Back,” “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” “Jump Around,” and “Fight the Power.” And although a few songs on the album were tolerable (actually, to be perfectly honest, I love his version of “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” – always will), this album wholly did not work. Much of the backing music track sounded like cheap karaoke and most of Vanilla Ice’s vocals sounded like he was rapping into a tin can. Even his own remake of “Ice Ice Baby” on this album was bad. Have you ever had a cool idea in mind, but then when you tell someone about it, it sounds absolutely ridiculous? Vanilla Ice is Back is the musical incarnation of this concept.

As a teacher, I had a lot of affairs with numerous co-workers (and infamously “made-out” with a student), all of which were seemingly permissible at the time, but were retrospectively horrible choices. I’d venture to say that every artist or musician or actor has that one endeavor that he or she wishes had never occurred, and while I’m sure he wouldn’t outwardly admit it, Vanilla Ice is Back is “that one.” My elicit affairs are that way for me; I wish they’d never happened, not because they were bad experience (though, again in retrospect, most were), but because they were bad choices. As a sex addict, I have come to believe that I was powerless over the addiction. But I also know that the opportunity to say “No” to all of those affairs was readily there, I just chose to allow my addiction to control my actions.

And the women I slept with were as diverse as the odd choice of songs on Vanilla Ice is Back. Along with remaking his own song, “Ice Ice Baby,” the album also includes the remake of a Bob Marley song (“Buffalo Soldier”), several obscure songs by several obscure rappers – EPMD’s “You Gots to Chill” and Special Ed’s “I Got It Made,” a remake of the 80s synth classic from The Gap Band, “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” (which I actually prefer Vanilla Ice’s version to the original), and he also remakes of some classic well-known old-school Hip-Hop songs: Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” and a rock version of House of Pain’s “Jump Around” (which was released as a single that included a remake in the original style of “Jump Around” as well). So, as you can see, there was no rhyme or reason to the “theme” of the album – it was inconsistent and all over the place. And so was I. I had affairs with other teachers at my school, a teacher from another school (the daughter of a secretary at my school), a few women from the bars, and even an ex-girlfriend at one point. I was reckless and indiscriminate and sloppy and stupid (just like most of Vanilla Ice is Back).

wtf-covMy Wife (after prison) / W.T.F. – Wisdom | Tenacity | Focus – The mere title of Vanilla Ice’s most recent album (or at least its perception) illustrates my marriage today. You’d think “W.T.F.” would obviously stand for “What the Fuck?” But no, it stands for “Wisdom | Tenacity | Focus” – three things needed in life – and in marriage – to be happy and successful. To just look at the term “W.T.F.” without the subsequent context, it seems negative – just as some of my wife’s family and friends perceive her choice to remain married to me. But when you look deeper into the context of our marriage, it all makes sense; and in the words of the brilliant Chuck Klosterman, “context is everything.”

The feel (or motif, per se) of the songs on the album are the most positive of any that he has released. He has a fun song about Las Vegas called “Rock Star Party” (which is fun for her and me because we love Las Vegas), a song with Cowboy Troy called “Good Times” about just enjoying life, and a song I personally love called “My Way,” which is a song about how, even though Vanilla Ice hasn’t taken the easiest road to where he is today, that road made him who he is, and he’s fine with that – and that’s exactly how I feel about my marriage. We haven’t had an easy marriage – we’ve been through some shit (most of it being my fault, I admit). But as a result of the flames that we’ve been through, our marriage is stronger than any relationship I have ever had, or have ever seen in anyone else.

Even the cover of the album is symbolic of our marriage. In the cover-art, an older, more mature Vanilla Ice is surrounded by the flames that are burning his past behind him. There is no better illustration of our marriage since my return from prison. And just as Vanilla Ice isn’t burned by the flames that are destroying his past, she and I cannot – and will not – be burned by the flames that are destroying mine. We have only one direction to move: Forward. We are more in love now than we have ever been. This whole ordeal could have easily crushed our marriage, but instead (and mostly because of her strength, not mine), it has become more solidified in the foundations of love and faithfulness that define our relationship now.

W.T.F. ends with the song “Bought and Sold,” which is a song about how Vanilla Ice has been through good times and bad times, easy times and tough times, and he’s still standing – just like us. The message of the song is that, no matter what happens, he’s always known that he could make it through. And somehow, I’ve always known that my wife and I would make it through as well, in spite of everyone and everything that has tried to tear us apart. Admittedly, she deserves much more credit for keeping our marriage together than I do, but according to her, that’s not the case. “I didn’t marry you to divorce you,” she’s said to me many times. As far as she’s concerned, staying with me wasn’t some leap of faith or amazing act of strength; staying with your husband is what you do, because he’s your husband, and he wants to remain your husband. And maybe she should have left, but she didn’t. Because she saw in me the desire to be a better husband, a better father, and a better person. And because of that, she is still my wife – she believes in me.

In the movie Road Trip, Rubin (played by Paulo Costanzo) teaches Josh (played by Breckin Meyer) the basics of Ancient Philosophy by using Pro-Wrestling (apparently Vince McMann is the Pro-Wrestling equivalent of Socrates). And in his book Killing Yourself to Live, Klosterman can parallel every woman he’s ever loved with a current, former, or guest-member of the band KISS. And in my life, the quintessential women of my dating history – the ones who define why I love the way I love – can be perfectly paired with an album by Vanilla Ice. Sometimes we need strange and unusual mediums to understand the details of our own existence, but when we’re finally able to break things down and examine them, the finer points of life tend to make more sense. And in a time in my life when I’m just trying to get things to make logical sense, viewing my past in the context of the discography of a 90s musician may seem unorthodox and even a bit strange.

But it works.