#Fact: I spent my 31st birthday topless in the kitchen of a photographer that I met off Instagram

Ohhhh 31 ... best birthday ever. Here we go ...

Anywho, one of the people who texted was my old fuck buddy whom drove me to the strip club for my failed shift:

(We used to live in the same building.)

We then agreed to meet up at Molly Malones (one of my fav irish dive bars), and I was a little later than I expected.

I apologized as I sat down to order a drink.

What kind of wine do you have? I ask the bartender.

We have red, and we have white, he said with a slight slur that made me wonder if he was in fact drinkin' the kool-aid.

No judgements ...

I ordered white as my buddy turned and said, see the options you have? What a classy place.

My kinda joint! I said with a wink.

I didn't expect you to have makeup on he said, staring at my face.

(I had told him that I just got back from the gym in text on the way over.)

Oh, I said. I do try to make an effort sometimes.

He laughed as he continued to stare at my face.

How is it possible that you are hotter now than eight years ago when we met?

I don't know, I said. I'm just really happy and at SUCH a good place in my life.

He continues, I still love how we met btw.

I started laughing, oh god here we go ...

I don't think I remember much from that night.

I do, he says proudly. You were with your girlfriends and you came up to me in the elevator and said "where have you been all of my life?"

Yeah, I said. I would say something like that.

I kept staring at you wondering where this hot girl had come from. I thought it was great.

Me too. I said, and then you drove me to the strip club which is the only job I've ever been fired from.

That was probably a good thing, he said laughing.

Yeah, cleaning the pole was not a fun time. I remember looking at myself in the mirror thinking, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE FRIEL?" It was hilarious.

Remember when the building caught fire? I still remember sitting at my desk at work and seeing it come live on the news.

That must have been so trippy, I said laughing.

I was home when it happened. I had just moved in (after losing everything I owned in the cockroach infestation), and I remember going to the store, coming back and someone said leave the building is on fire. I was like whatever - it's Hollywood and they're prolly on drugs.

I walked up the flight of stairs and then smelled it. Not to toot my own horn but I was pretty proud that when I left the building I grabbed only my dog, ID, wallet, and phone charger. Not even my computer!!!!! I was in straight "get the fuck out of there safe" mode.

Ohhh the Alexio (the building's name) we laughed sipping our drinks.

I really don't know very much about you, I admitted. Even though we had all these random adventures, and a lot of sex - I really don't know who you are.

I know he said, we should change that.

He's super cute btw. The only reason why I never dated him was because we lived in the same building. That whole "don't shit where you eat" thing is a cardinal life rule in my eyes.

I actually hate that about my previous time in LA. I know so many of the most random, random human beings because of my couch surfing - but I never spent time to ACTUALLY get to know them. It was superficial these experiences we would have and then move on promising to see one another, and always flaking.

Living on the island really taught me a lot about friendship and relationships in general. I had 3 best friends that I knew absolutely everythinggggggg about, and we saw each other almost daily. It was so fulfilling and I want that! I purposefully don't serial date; I'm instead focusing on growing relationships that I already have. 

He then made me do a shot of jameson as we made out like eighth graders ... at the bar ... told you this place was classy ...

I then grabbed a LYFT home and the next morning received a text saying it was worth being tired this morning. I smiled.

Later in the day I was supposed to meet up with a girlfriend in Culver City, and she wound up flaking.

<tangent> That's another thing I hate about LA, it's like come on people. I know people get sick and shit happens, but get it together and friggen SHOW UP!!! </tangent>

Instead of staying home I decided to hit up a guy I met on the Summit cruise.

<tangent> The first night of the cruise I went over to introduce myself to Ben Gleib (am a huge huge fan of his), and as I did he was with a group of people whom I also introduced myself (to not be rude).

Hi, I'm Chris, he said outstretching his hand.

Hi, I'm Jen.

He then grabs my badge, and it says Jen Friel.

HOLY SHIT, he says, I am a huge fan of your writing.

So DOPE! I said with a hug. Thanks for reading!!

Of course, he said. Years ago I asked if you would follow me on twitter, and you did. I really appreciated that.

OF COURSE! I said. I appreciate the fact that you read the random shit that I write.

I then found out a day later that he was performing (he's a comic), so I surprised him by going to the show. He was SO pumped when he saw me and my friend.

His set btw was HILARIOUS!!! He NAILED how douchey the people were, and Heather and I couldn't stop cheering loudly.

This guy is really fucking funny, I said.

Here's a video I found from a few years ago ...


Because he was working, we didn't get to spend a lot of time together, but on Saturday he reached out asking what my schedule was.

I said I was in town, and we should do it!

Now, I wanted to do it.

Fortunately, he was available and we agreed to meet up at Busbys so I could play hoops. I fucking love hoops.

I got there earlier than he did, and because I hate crowds and grocery stores was starving from not eating all day.

Nachos or tater tots? I texted.

See you soon, he typed back.

That's not an answer, I thought.

Moments later he arrived, and we started talking.

Can I just ask you a ton of questions?

Sure, I said open but a little surprised.

He then began rapid firing ...

Do you like to be touched?

Yes, I said. But I have to know you.

Do you think you are capable of intimate relationships?

Absolutely! I said. I was just in relationships for the last three years and am still good friends with both of them. We are WAY better friends than lovers.

I just don't get it, he pressed.

You're smart, you're beautiful, yet you date these assholes.

I know, I admitted. I have a pattern for dating narcissists. (Narcissists and co-dependents are like peanut butter and jelly.)

Shocking, the hot girl likes the bad boy.

Yeah but I said I never knew I was hot. Still don't really - I actually like that about myself. I've ALWAYS had to be the one to ask the guy out. That's how I lost my virginity - in a pool hall I went up to the guy and asked him how to hold a pool stick. I messaged him on AIM asking if he could take my virginity as I viewed it as a burden moving to NYC and still having the cherry.

(He also happened to be like Ron Jeremy, so I didn't have sex again until two years later.)

What do you want in a partner? he asked.

I don't know, I said awkwardly smiling.

Jen, you always know what you want. You know that and I know that. Who are we kidding?

I laughed, saying I know what I don't want. I'm not sure I want to date anyone right now though. Am just enjoying the "going with the flow." 

All motives aside, and whether we stay friends or not just understand that you deserve a really fucking good guy.

Thank you, I said with a smile.

<tangent> There's something about his eyes btw. In a non-cheesy way he absolutely takes my breath away. He's brutally honest, and I love it when people call you out on your shit. Helps with emotional growth. </tangent>

You go after guys who are mean to you. 

I know, I said. I just never know if the guy finds me attractive or not.

He then face palmed and said, every guy Jen. Look at your face (I attempted to cross my eyes in jest of trying to actually look at my face.). You're every guy's type.

Yeah yeah yeah, I said as we grabbed our drinks and went over to play hoops.

If I win we do a shot for your birthday, he said.

Done, I said back.


I wound up losing and did a shot of jager.

I haven't done jager since I was 21 and making poor decisions (like anything has changed).

We then sat down and started talking again. You know what is the only thing that is stopping you from being the next white Oprah or Marta Kauffman?

I spit out my wine laughing as I asked, no what?

A relationship.

I know, I admitted. My career SOARED when I got out of my own way, and truly let go.

You'll get there, and very soon he said with a hug.

We had an amazing rest of the evening playing arcade games and sometime past my bedtime and into my actual birthday we each grabbed a LYFT back.

Because I was pretty drunk, I COMPLETELY forgot to charge my apple watch, and starting at 4 am I got text after text of people wishing me a happy birthday (which comes through on the watch in the form of a vibration). Half hilariously freaked out, half asleep I threw the damn thing on nightstand.

I don't want to talk to people today, I admitted to Buster (my dog).

I spent my ENTIRE childhood (and adulthood) feeling like my birthday was this big fucking burden. Just wrote about it the other day while hysterically crying.

I don't need to close this chapter, I need to burn the damn book!! No more!! 

I proceeded to then turn off my phone, and make a conscious effort to not even LOOK at social media.

Today is my day. Truly mine, and zero fucks will be given. 

I had mentioned earlier either wanting to go to an animal sanctuary, or Vegas but what actually happened was WAY better.

<tangent> A couple of weeks back I had received a comment on my Instagram feed asking if I was interested in modeling.

I explained that I wasn't a model, but the next morning I found myself glancing at his website and falling in love. You could tell he had an eye for women.

I then followed him on Instagram, and said fuck it. For my birthday I am going to take topless photos. I want to be pervy in my nursing home at 90 and show the young nurses and doctors that I was hot once.

I don't want to post them in social, I just want them for myself.

I then thought everything through. On my birthday, I want to spend it naked in a random stranger's kitchen (that's where he shoots) while drinking champagne and being told I am pretty. I can't imagine anything better!! </tangent>

Yesterday morning, still feeling a bit sluggish, I got up and CRANKKKEDDD Madonna Vogue throughout my surround sound (thank GOD for old buildings and thick walls).

I proceeded to get ready and head over to his place.

I felt like a true hoochie in a cut off shirt and cut off shorts with knee highs and GORGEOUS ankle boots that I just bought via this "private" Facebook group. (Not sure it's considered private once it hits 20K people.)

<tangent> I have this connection to shoes. They tell your journey! So, to start 31 off right I needed to get new shoes. </tangent>

I was running about 30 minutes late (damn shots), so I didn't stop at the store to get champagne, I instead opted to grab a bottle of cheap wine from my fridge.

I arrived at the photographer's apartment and was shocked at how attractive he was.

OOOHHHHH ... that's why he's so good. Because women are flirt-ey. I get it now, laughing to myself.

I put my stuff down as he offers me a drink.

I have tequila, he said.

I look at my watch, it is noon.

I laugh saying I brought wine but I want to drink it in my favorite coffee mug.

He laughed as he poured me a glass.

I'm glad you're late, he admitted. I had trouble finding my pants this morning.

I shot back a look confused.

I had to come home in these horrible white linen pants.

I almost spit out my wine.

You left them at someone's place?

You could say that ... he said with a devilish grin.

Drink that tequila and I'll get the story out of you.

No way, he said.

We then sat and chatted for about an hour. Really really interesting human being. He had been to the Keys before, so we talked about how quirky the people are, and what a great place it is.

Have you ever had Mama Juana (er, MamaJuana)? he asked.

No, what is it.

It's from the Dominican Republic. If you order that there people will think you're "legit." Do you want to try it? 

Sure,  I said.

He then pulled out this canister with leaves in it and liquid.

He had to test it out (thank god), and wound up mixing two together.

It has to age, he said pouring me the shot.

Happy birthday, he said toasting.

This is definitely interesting (even for me).

What do you want to listen to, he asked?

Madonna. Only Madonna.

Done, he said setting up Spotify. 

We then started to shoot, and an hour in I felt SUPER comfortable and removed my bra.

Drink break, he said as I went to go touch up my make up.

When I came back we sat and talked for a minute about his business model.

What is your goal? (He wasn't charging me since he was the one requesting the shoot.)

Continue to build up my portfolio and get into a gallery.

I'm doing this piece now on people I have met off Bumble (the dating app). What a GREAT site!

I totally agree.

I love how we are having this conversation while you are still topless, btw. You have really nice tits.

Thank you, I said smiling. I feel really comfortable with you.

All in all, we shot for about four hours and then I headed home to have pizza with my best friend and cuddle with Buster.

I was going to hire a Manservant, but chose to keep it simple. (NO STRESS!!)

As I went to bed last night, I had the biggest shit eating grin on my face.

What an awesome, awesome and unexpected day, I thought. This is going to be the best year of my life, I can feel it.

He sent me some of the images this morning and I was COMPLETELY blown away.

I sent a couple of the NSFW images to my super close friends, and their replies back were hilarious. (As people kept asking how I spent my bday.)

The images are still coming in, but hands down the best birthday of my life and what a cool memory commemorating an entirely new chapter of my life.

Friel gives zero fucks.

(Thanks for all the Facebook messages!! Will be replying back to everyone tonight, and you can check out Nick's work here: http://nickholmesonline.com/)

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