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The Journal Of The InnKeeper
Ranty Lessons by Joreth
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4th-Feb-2009 06:53 pm - [sticky post] Welcome Visitors!
photography, Self-Portrait, personal
 Welcome all visitors and newcomers to the Journal of the InnKeeper.  I thought I'd preface this with a little explanation of what this journal is, what the purpose is, and who I am.

I am Joreth, The InnKeeper, of The InnBetween.  As you can see on the left sidebar, I am an Atheist, I am Polyamorous, I work in the entertainment industry as a Camera Operator, a Stagehand, a Video and Lighting Technician, a Forklift Operator, a Boom Lift Operator, and a Spotlight Operator, and I am sex-positive.  I am opinionated and aggressive and passionate and I care deeply about humanity and my fellow companions on this planet.

This journal started out because I started dating tacit, who began referring to me in his journal.  So I created a profile here so that he could reference me with a link, instead of just S (the first initial of my real name).  I didn't figure I'd use this for anything since I have my own website where I can post whatever I want.  Mostly, what I wanted to post were pictures, and my website is much better for that purpose.

But then I discovered that my journal was a great way to post those stupid email forwards that everyone wants to send, filled with cute pictures and kitchy sayings or jokes, because I was pretty sure that, here, only people who cared what I had to say would see them.  I wouldn't be sending on unwanted junk email, because if people didn't want to read what I had to say, people wouldn't friend me.  Plus, I could put stuff behind cuts and then visitors would have to do double duty and actually CLICK on the stuff they wanted to see.  So nothing I posted was unsolicited.

But then I discovered the internet's second true purpose (porn being the first one) ... RANTING!

Keeping with my concern of bothering friends and family with unwanted email, I found I could blow off steam and rant here in my journal too, and just like with the email glurge, only people who wanted to read it, would.

Well, over time, it turned out that the things that most frustrated me, the things I ranted about most of all, were things that I (and my followers) felt would be a benefit to society to be heard.  I have always been an educator and a mentor.  I'm not particularly smart, but I do grasp concepts quickly and I can often (not always) find ways to phrase things so that people understand when they might have had trouble before.  At work, bosses routinely tell new guys to just follow me around in order to quickly learn the basics of the business.  I was a mentor, a math tutor, a lighting lab instructor, and a guidance "counselor" at various times.

I have also always been an activist at heart.  A passionate personality and an interest in education tends to pair up to become activist leanings, for whatever causes strike's the activist's heart.  The topics I was most passionate about tended to be the topics that frustrated me the most and ended up as a rant here in my journal.  So my journal took on an educational bent, for some definition of "educational".

I tackle topics that interest me the most, or that I have the most stake in the outcome of changing society.  I cover the most current news in STDs and sexual health, I cover gender issues, I cover netiquette, I cover polyamory, I cover atheism and science and skepticism.  These are topics I feel that people need to be educated about, and I do my best to provide one source of education, to those for whom my style of teaching works.

But, as I've repeatedly said, the topics that tend to get written about HERE, in my LiveJournal, are those that I feel most passionate about, which tends to lead me to feel most frustrated when they're not going the direction I think they should, which leads to most of my entries being rants.

And, to that end, Dear Reader, please understand that, although many of my posts are, in my opinion, educational in nature, they are also written from the perspective of a passionate, frustrated, human, who takes the term "journal" to heart, and treats this like a journal, not a "blog", or a news column, or a classroom.  I hope that people get something of value from my journal, that I can report interesting or relevant news items, and that I can teach people something, and I do offer more classic or traditional styles of education, such as lectures & workshops, but I also come here, specifically, to rant.

Journals are typically places where people can write their private or personal thoughts.  They were traditionally considered safe places to reveal one's innermost thoughts, perhaps even those ideas that could not be spoken aloud.  Well, we have discovered just how valuable revealing certain journals can be to society, usually after that person's death.  And the advent of the internet has created a whole new society whose private thoughts are more public than truly private.  We use the internet to share those personal, innermost thoughts, to reach out to people, to connect with others, when once we might have suffered in silence, in isolation, with our private, paper journals as the sole, compassionate listener to our most intimate selves.

So, here, on the internet, utilizing LiveJournal as a personal journal where I can write my innermost thoughts, perhaps the kinds of things I cannot verbally say in polite society or as a way to organize my thoughts for a more appropriate-for-public version later, you, my Dear Reader, can get a glimpse into the mind of the InnKeeper.

But note that this journal, like any other journal, is only a small slice of who I am.  I use this journal to vent, to rant, to let off steam, and these rantings have shown to have some value to those who follow it.  But this is not the whole of who I am.  This is Ranty Joreth; this is the Joreth who needs to vent; this is the Joreth who needs to blow off steam; this is the Joreth who says anything and everything that may not be allowed to be spoken aloud, in public, or to the intended recipient.

Joreth is ranty and frustrated and passionate.  But Joreth is also compassionate and caring and occasionally a little silly.  Joreth melts at the mere sight of her fluffy kitty and is often late to work because she can't bear the thought of disturbing her cat to remove her hand out from under the cat's head.  Joreth needs hugs and cuddles.  Joreth cries at sappy movies and whenever anyone around her tears up.  Joreth sometimes lets her emotions carry her away.  Joreth gets deeply hurt.  Joreth isn't happy with her physical appearance but is mostly content and accustomed to it.  Joreth secretly craves attention and adoration.  Joreth likes to sing, especially bluesy-country songs and showtunes, but is terrified to have people hear her sing, in spite of being a mezzo-soprano in a choir for 5 years.  Joreth is touched by tears glistening in her father's eyes when he's proud of her.  Joreth has a sweet tooth and can almost always be tempted by sugary desserts.  Joreth is a lot of things, just as everyone else is.  This journal, and the other online aspects of Joreth are not the totality of who Joreth is.  

You get to see a portion of me, and it is truly me, here in this journal, but it is, by far, not the only portion of who I am.  Do not mistake reading a journal, whose very purpose is to be an outlet for a very specific part of my personality, for knowing who I am or anticipating how I will behave or react.  Just as I show only a certain portion of myself at work, and I show only a certain portion of myself with biological family, I show only a certain portion of who I am here.  All versions of me are still me, and there is some cross-over, but they are not complete models of me by themselves.  Just like anyone else, I am a three-dimensional, multi-faceted, complex and dynamic person.  I care, I love, I laugh, I hate, I hurt, I crave, I desire.  Just like everyone else.
1st-Apr-2014 01:59 am - Why Did Joreth Block Me?
frustration, ::headdesk::

For future reference: if I ask you to drop a subject or to stop talking to me for a period, and I warn you that continuing to press the issue will result in me blocking you, it is not a "threat" that you should feel afraid about; I am giving you necessary information to make informed decisions about your future interactions with me.  I hold no illusions that anyone is "afraid" of no longer having contact with me or that it's even something worth fearing.  Frankly, if someone is afraid of that, then I worry about their emotional stability.  Nor is it because you have a difference of opinion. I am quite good friends with a lot of people who have radically different opinions to me, some positions to which I am actively opposed and even work against. The reason why they remain friends is because we both respect each others' right to hold those positions and not argue about them for the sake of peaceful interactions.  I am opposed to the ideas themselves, not the people, and we can coexist, not just peacefully, but even amicably and as friends as long as a basic level of respect for each others' humanity is in place (if their opinion itself is a disrespect of others' humanity, well, that's a whole other can of worms).

No, when I tell you that I do not wish to discuss a topic anymore, it is not because of your opinion. It's because of your personality. It's because I find your approach to be disrespectful and I am attempting to keep the peace by just agreeing to disagree, at least for now.

If I warn you that I will block you, it is not because I can't handle differing opinions or that I live in an echo chamber. In fact, accusations of such are worth blocking for on that statement alone. It is because you are violating my boundaries in my request for peaceful disagreement and the only way I have to enforce my boundaries is to block you entirely because continued pressing of the issue is direct evidence that YOU DO NOT RESPECT BOUNDARIES and are therefore untrustworthy to be around.

I am posting this because I cannot message you after I have already blocked you to explain why you have just been blocked. So if you get blocked by me, this is why. It's not me, it's definitely you. It's not your opinion, it's you.

You are being blocked because you are untrustworthy, not because you hold a different opinion and certainly not because I can't "handle" that opinion, and not because I have to have to have the last word. In fact, there's a good chance that you already had the last word, since I will often not even bother to refute people I'm about to block, I just say "drop the subject or you will be blocked".  You are not being censored (although I appreciate that you think I am a powerful enough person that I have the force of the government behind me, I simply do not have the ability to censor you). You are not more rational than I. You are not more level-headed than I. You are not more open-minded than I. You are entitled, rude, belligerent, pushy, manipulative, and a conversational terrorist*. None of that is more "rational" or "open-minded".

By the time I feel the need to resort to blocking you, I couldn't give a fuck about whatever opinion you think is so important that I'm blocking you over it. By that point, your opinion is the least objectionable part about you. By that point, I am more concerned with your total lack of empathy and your willingness to trod all over another person's request for space. If you can't even give that space on a stupid social media site, I have to wonder if I'm even safe being around you in person, or will I need one of the weapons that I carry on me at all times**?

And the internet is the ONLY place that I have the power to remove people like you from my presence. Every where else in the world, I am forced to coexist with people I am not safe around. Every where else in the world, I am smaller and less capable than those I am not safe around. But here, on the internet, I can force YOU to give me the space I need to feel safe.

So that is what I'm doing when I block you. I give fuck-all about your stupid opinion on whatever stupid subject that started this whole thing. I care that you have no consideration for the people around you. And THAT is why I will block you.



*Even for me that title is a little too hyperbolic, but that's what it's called and I didn't make up the term so that's the word we're stuck with.

**I have had to pull my knife on 3 occasions, only two of which were strangers but all 3 were people who did not back off when I repeatedly and clearly stated my desire for space.

17th-Mar-2014 03:56 pm - Actors And Characters And Canon
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
I agree with Felicia Day about how changing a character's appearance through casting is not about sticking to canon. In addition to all the other things she says about diversity and minority representation, for me, when I get upset about changing a character's appearance through casting or when it's OK with me has to do with when that character's appearance affects the character development.

Take Annie, for example. That was a story about an unwanted, forgotten child who struggled with adversity in the lowest class of person there was. In the era it was written in and for, being poor and red-headed was the lowest a person could be (because being a person of color was *not* actually a person, and the predominantly white audience could not relate in any way to a black protagonist; just look at the names given to Warbuck's ethnic servants). But today, who better would understand the trials of being in the lowest economic class, hated and distrusted based on appearance alone, with little-to-no options for improving one's station than a little black orphan girl? Changing Annie's appearance from a red-headed white girl to a black girl does not change her character. In fact, one could argue that it enhances exactly those character traits the character was written around without the embedded racism of the early 20th century.

But remember the debacle about princessifying Mierda from Brave? All they changed about her was her clothing, and that sent fans into an uprorar. Why? Because the whole fucking movie was ABOUT her resistance to being princessified. And she WON that battle. That's why we loved her and that's what her entire character was about. Changing her clothing is literally the same as changing her very personality and her whole story. But you could make her a different ethnicity and still tell the same tale.

Most white characters are written as white straight males out of default, not because there is anything inherently white, straight, or male about their characters. There was that article I passed around a while back that advocated to parents that, while reading your children their bedtime stories, try changing up the gender pronouns. It turns out that telling most stories with white male protagonists as female, especially those written for children, doesn't typically alter the story in any way. It's totally believable because the stories aren't usually written AROUND the experience of being a white straight male. They're just stories that white straight males have adventures in. And when that's the case, pretty much anyone can have those adventures.

But when a writer creates a minority character, that writer has to deliberately make an effort to point out that the character is a minority. They usually only do that when they have a reason to do it, such as the experience of being that minority is what results in the character as we eventually meet them. I'm going to overlook for the moment the fact that most minority characters are either poorly written, written flatly, or written to represent or convey a stereotype and just address the fact that they *are* written, but are written for a reason. So to cast that character with a white actor pretty much erases the entire reason for that character having been written as a minority in the first place. Very rarely are minority characters put in a story just because the author felt like describing someone who looked different without those looks being some kind of commentary or effect on who the character is.

I originally wrote "never" instead of "very rarely", but then I remembered modern vampire romance novels (sorry, but Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton write romance novels. They just do. Disclosure: I like modern vampire stories and I read romance novels. I stand by my assertion that they are one and the same). I believe that the minority characters in those stories really could be replaced by white actors and it would not significantly change the characters in any way. I think that these authors threw in minority characters simply to give themselves more adjectives to describe a cast of several dozen that all have six-pack abs, piercing eyes, honey-voices, and long flowing hair. Eventually you run out of ways to describe bulging biceps unless you throw in ebony skin or perfectly symmetrical faces with full lips without adding almond-shaped eyes, but there's nothing fundamentally "ethnic" about these characters that isn't simply "exotic objectification". But I digress.

Does the arrogance and selfish entitlement of Captain Hammer still work if we make that character a black man? Or a woman? Or a disabled person? No, Captain Hammer works best as a white male precisely because of the arrogance and entitlement of the character. He is, in fact, a commentary on the perception of heroes and making him a minority would hurt that message. But there is nothing about the Human Torch that is inherently "white" that a black man couldn't also play.

There is, however, a problem with casting a skinny model as a character who is the very embodiment of physical activity, martial arts, and ass-kicking skills even though both the actor and the character are white women (although a woman of color could easily play her character too). The character represents strong, independent womenhood, while a conventionally attractive female with no muscle definition does not convey that same message. She conveys the importance of beauty over strength and unrealistic ideals of the female body, which directly conflicts with the character's traits. Wonder Woman is an Amazon written by a man who is actually a "misandrist" - he actually really and truly believes that women are the better gender. She does not work as a skinny, conventionally attractive, small woman. She is supposed to be bigger and stronger than men. That's her THING.

Tonto cast as a white actor? Tiger Lily cast as a white actor? Aside from the original racism inherent in writing those characters in the first place, those characters *are* their ethnicities. To cast white actors in those roles is to further the erasure of those ethnicities and to erase their entire motivation for being in the story in the place where they are. If we tried to tell the Color Purple with white actors, we would be erasing the whole reason for that story existing in the first place. If we were to tell The Secret Garden with an Indian protagonist, we would be erasing the whole reason for that story existing in the first place. The whole reason the characters have the adventures they do and the personalities they do is *because* they are wealthy white children in colonial India.

The point here is that my upset or lack thereof when it comes to casting an actor of different ethnicity or gender or orientation than the character has to do with how that character's appearance changes the character's development, traits, and skills, not whether something is canon or not. Did the author write that character's appearance that way for a reason? What does that appearance do for the character's development? Is there another way to accomplish that development? Is that the *best* way to accomplish that development? Does that development or does that appearance represent stereotyping, outdated cultural influences, bigotry, or prevent more complex dimensional characterization or does it instead enhance or explain the character or highlight/comment on the culture's stereotyping, outdated cultural influences, bigotry, or prevention of character advancement? In other words, is that character poorly written because of its appearance, or do the ethnic/gender/orientation limitations placed on the character actually serve a larger social commentary purpose?

I don't want to stick to canon for canon's sake. Sometimes authors make mistakes or write something less well than it could have been written. Doesn't mean I don't like it, just means it could be better. What purpose does this element serve? Do I like that purpose or can the spirit of the story survive with a different take? Can that purpose be served by a different element? Those are the questions that ought to be asked when casting choices are made and plot changes are made going from one medium to another.

Replacing minority characters with white actors is racism because of the larger social issue of diversity representation and because the minority part of the character usually is an important character trait. Occasionally casting white characters with minority actors is NOT racism (or "reverse racism") because there is almost never anything fundamentally "white" about a character that could not exist if a minority actor portrayed that character and because of the larger social issue of diversity representation.

Racism is what happens when someone of an already disadvantaged racial class is disadvantaged or discriminated against. By definition, it is not racism when an advantaged racial class has to share some of the privileges with disadvantaged racial classes, even when sometimes "sharing" means you get those privileges just a little bit less often. That's called putting on the big boy pants and not hogging the spotlight so that others get a turn too.
8th-Mar-2014 08:46 pm - Getting The Right Bra
Nude Drawing, sex
Lately on Facebook and Twitter and G+, I've been supporting the opening of a new store called Revelations in Fit. Although there are similar local stores in select large cities, the concept for this store is still a revolutionary idea - that women are a lot of different sizes and shapes, that American bras are terribly designed for that variety and American sizing and fitting systems are completely wrong, and that every woman deserves a bra that fits. This new store came about from the author of the blog Adventures in Bra Fitting, who saw this problem and tried to help by sharing with women the correct way to fit a bra. As a professional costumer and corsetier and a full-figured woman with a small frame, she is more than qualified to help.

Poorly fitting bras cause a lot of problems. They contribute to back pain, bad posture, fatigue, poorly fitting clothing, and low self-esteem when women don't like how they look in the mirror. It is very disheartening to not have well-fitting clothing. Yes, I realize this is a first-world problem, and even a class problem in first worlds, but it's still a problem. They may also be associated with other health concerns (although the idea that underwire causes breast cancer is a complete myth, so just drop that one right there).

tl:dr I finally found bras that fit and I solved the problem of having only ugly white or beige bras. I share some advice on getting pretty bras that, if you're like me, may never have occurred to you to try before. The MUCH longer story and a picture of my efforts are behind the cut. Also included behind the cut is a lot of personal information about my physiology.Collapse )
26th-Feb-2014 04:08 pm - How NOT To Pick Up Chicks At A Club
Swing Dance, social events, dance
How NOT to pick up chicks at a club:

  1. Don't invade her space before you've even exchanged names. I know it's often hard to hear and you have to get close to speak, but keep the body bent away and/or stand side-by-side, and back up when there are no words exchanged. Make it clear that you're leaning in towards her ear, do not drag your mouth across her cheek to get to her ear and then back across her cheek towards her mouth when you back up.

  2. Don't mistake her smiling at you for an invitation for anything. Women are socialized to always smile and be polite, and many smile when they're nervous and don't know what else to do. Watch her other body language, like is she leaning towards or away from you and is she trying to hide behind her drink and are her eyes flitting around the room rather than fixing on you?

  3. Don't shout "SMILE!!" when she's waiting at the bar for a drink and obviously annoyed about something. Ordering her to perform for your benefit is probably not going to be a reason for her to legitimately smile.

  4. Don't stand facing her squarely if she's sitting down or her back is to a wall so that she can't escape without feeling like she has to push past you (even if you think/know that she wouldn't have to do that; she doesn't know that).

  5. Don't do a weird step-forward-lean-in-step-back step on the dance floor so that she can't tell if you're trying to come in and kiss her or not;

  6.   5a) and then don't try to kiss her after she figures she's safe and it's just a weird dance step.
     
  7. Don't cut in on her when she's dancing with someone else. Especially if she's dancing with a female friend. ESPECIALLY if she then grabs her friend back and they "close ranks", don't try to cut in on her again.

  8. Don't stomp off to the bar pissed off when she does the last, or when she does anything to discourage you, for that matter.

  9. Don't try to kiss her when you haven't even exchanged names.

  10. When you're doing the kind of dancing that requires touching (i.e. swing dancing, ballroom dancing, pseudo-partner-ish dancing) and/or that requires you to lead her, DO NOT lead her into simulated sex moves. If she wants to turn her back on you and grind her ass into your crotch, she will.

  11. Don't challenge her to kiss or touch you by asking if she's "too afraid" to do so.

  12. When she clearly refuses your challenge, don't then challenge her with "am I too young for you?" Yes, that question shows you are definitely too young, like too young to have social skills and you should be put in a time out by your mother for misbehaving. Even if she's barely 18 herself, you are too young to be allowed to date.

  13. AND DON'T FUCKING TAKER HER HAND AND TRY TO FORCE HER TO FEEL YOU OR HERSELF UP OR TRY TO TOUCH HER BREASTS, ASS, OR CROTCH. Hands and back/shoulder blades only, even if she does allow you to do the kind of dancing that brings hips and legs into contact.

Shit like this is why I prefer swing dancing, ballroom dancing, and gay clubs. Ballroom & swing clubs may still be too heavy on the chauvinism-masquerading-as-chivalry but they emphasize maintaining a level of dance etiquette that makes women feel safe. Men are supposed to ask a variety of women to dance so that none of the women feel left out, but then they are supposed to return her to her table or spot after a single dance and not dance more than two in a row so that they don't monopolize her time. Even people who arrive together or as a "couple" are supposed to dance with others at least a little so that the single women have dance partners and none of the women are monopolized and can feel safe to socialize as they choose without feeling trapped or stuck and jealousy is strictly discouraged. (The reason why it's the man's job to dance with all the women is because there are usually more women than men and if everyone partnered up, there'd be a dozen women with no one to dance with. Women are also encouraged to ask men to dance so it's not one-sided, but women often outnumber the men so this etiquette exists so that women don't stop coming for lack of dance partners).

Alcohol-induced boundary-pushing is also limited at many swing and ballroom dances by not selling alcoholic drinks at all (although I've attended several swing dances in public bars and it's still usually fine because of the general swing etiquette of discouraging public drunkenness - it's too difficult to pull off many of the dance moves while drunk without hurting your partner or other dancers).

So even when I get hit on by people I don't want to be hit on at swing and ballroom clubs, it's always with much more respect and much less threatening behaviour than I do at regular night clubs. So I'd rather go partner dancing or club dancing at a gay club to avoid men all together.

This is why so many guys have so much trouble meeting or finding women, why they're not approached, and why they have to "do all the work". Many straight women, even those of us who are aggressive and totally fine with making the first move, get chased away by the few jerks that are out there, and because we can't tell the jerks apart until after they've done their damage, it's easier and safer to just go away so that we don't HAVE to try and tell them apart. There's also the complication that what could be inappropriate behaviour to some women may not be inappropriate for others, so even if we could label all the jerks with a big neon sign over their heads, we still may not be able to tell until after we've been made uncomfortable. All that unpleasantness often just isn't worth the effort to go out, so you guys get stuck with "were are all the women?"

If men who want to meet women, and men who care about women, want to help change this, then instead of bemoaning "where are all the women?!", you can help by addressing other men when you see it happening, or when you know someone who behaves inappropriately to make the places you are in feel safe for the women to come back on their own. Because the jerks are the ones fucking it up for you, not the girls who are running away.

I don't mean that it's your job to "rescue" women and protect us, I mean it's everyone's job as a participant in society to help create a society where people feel safe. And since a lot of hyper-masculine behaviour is done to impress other men and done completely contrarily to women's preferences (i.e. men who refuse to learn to dance because it's "not manly" even when their own female partners express a preference for male dancers), it is helpful to have other men discourage harassment and molestation. Again, not to be the white knight and "protect" us, but to be a responsible citizen and contribute to creating a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

And thank you to my friends last night who kept interrupting the guy I was with on the pretext of dancing with me to give me excuses to get out of uncomfortable interactions. Even when sometimes you guys were mistaken and you interrupted me with an actual friend, I really appreciated the effort because several times you weren't mistaken and I needed an escape.

Touch is one of my Love Languages, and when I'm nervous or anxious, I find that I need a lot of affectionate touching to help calm me down - stuff like holding hands or standing with arms around the waist or leaning against someone, nothing unusual and things that even platonic friends can do. But that contact really helps. Most of my coworkers, however, have remarked to me that I often seem very aloof and that I am really quite self-contained most of the time. So when I am affectionate with someone, it is REALLY noticeable by comparison and many times that affection is mistaken for meaning something more than is intended. Being affectionate, to me, means only that I am either really comfortable with someone, or that I am feeling a lot of anxiety. It is not an indication of sexuality, to me.

I noticed that, by the end of last night, I had practically not taken my hands off my friends for the whole rest of the evening. I was letting even dance acquaintances that sometimes make me feel a little bit uncomfortable stay close to me and keep their arms around me, and I kept holding onto my drunk friends to keep them upright, when I would otherwise close in on myself around all that. So I was more bothered than I thought I was at the time, which is why I woke up today with this rant running around my head.

Guys, don't do that to girls you just met at a bar. And guys, please do the other stuff I was talking about, like discouraging this kind of behaviour, giving your female friends "excuses" to politely escape and then backing off if they say that they are actually OK, and allowing her to do a little bit of what is necessary when she's not OK like leaving or hiding or being nearby.
15th-Feb-2014 07:53 pm - Undercurrent Of Fear
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box

“If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.”

~ Chris Clarke

It's important to note that "an undercurrent of fear of men" does not mean "is a perpetual victim and terrified of all men". It means that fear of any given man turning out to be one of the few bad men who will harm her is a motivation for almost every choice she makes in her life, from what she wears in public to how she walks to her car to her habit of calling home when she's late to freaking out when her loved ones don't call home when they're late to where she parks her car to what stores she's willing to shop at to what her daily schedule is so she can time her errands according to when she believes she is least likely to be accosted, and much more.

This "undercurrent of fear" is very subtle and sometimes not even a conscious, deliberate thought. But she might choose to wear pants one night instead of a skirt, and justify it with the cold weather, but really it's to avoid being called a slut (because only sluts wear skirts in cold weather, or something). Or she might choose to wear sweats and no makeup to the grocery store just to avoid someone flirting with her. Or she might choose to read a book on the bus and say it's because she likes to read (which is true) but it's also very convenient for avoiding eye contact with strange men.

It is not an outright, terrifying, panicking sort of thing. Most women who feel this will often come across as stable, confident, self-assured, capable. It's the same sort of fear that prompts people to buckle our seatbelt. We're not shaking in our seats every time we get into a car, but the undercurrent of fear that we might possibly, at some point, have a car accident informs our behaviour, often in very small ways.

And then to hedge off anyone who wants to jump in with "but I'm a woman and *I* don't feel any generalized fear of men! I'm not afraid of any man unless he actually does something threatening!  So this doesn't apply to me, therefore you're just using hyperbole in your crazy feminazi misandrist rhetoric!"

OK, so no one has (so far) accused me of being misandrist by posting this quote (but I have gotten feminazi, misandrist, and whiny cunt for posting a video made by a man asking other men to stop supporting rapists, so I'm STILL not being hyperbolic), however I did get a comment almost immediately on Facebook saying that it didn't apply to her, personally. As I told her, it doesn't have to be true for every single woman on the planet. The statement says "If NO woman in your life ... consider the possibility that it may..." (also note the use of passive terms, all the better to avoid the aggressive uppity woman who doesn't know her place accusation).

The important point is not to say that every single woman lives in terror of all men because that would be patently untrue. The important point is for men to understand that this is a much bigger problem than many men are aware of and their lack of awareness might possibly be BECAUSE they are part of the problem in some way.
14th-Feb-2014 01:39 pm - More Poly Jewelry
Purple Mobius, polyamory

Dude! Claire's, that costume jewelry store in most US malls, is selling poly jewelry! Quick, go out and get some before they figure out what it is they're selling!

The earrings and rings were $6.50 and the necklaces were $5.50 each. They seem to be marketed as "best friends" jewelry, I suppose because their target audience is tweens and teens, so they don't want to encourage The One Twue Wove that early, but BFF (best friends forever) is an acceptable trope for that age.

Since they're costume jewelry, I expect the silver and gold patinas to rub off over time so I'm also going to buy enough to pack away for when the others wear out.


You can order the accidentally polyamorous jewelry from Claire's online & have it shipped to you!

I can't find the rings online (apparently called best friends rings), but I did find a set of bracelets with the infinity heart that I did not see in the store! I might order a set of those. Also part of the "best friends" collection, you get a bracelet set with one silver & one gold just like the rings.

The silver & gold pendants: http://www.claires.com/store/us/goods/jewelry/cat1260146/charms+%26+pendants/p16763/infinity+heart+pendant+necklace/
The silver post earrings: http://www.claires.com/store/us/goods/jewelry/cat1260132/studs/p96843/interlocking+infinity+symbol+and+heart+stud+earrings/
The gold post stud earrings: http://www.claires.com/store/us/goods/jewelry/cat1260132/studs/p96851/interlocking+infinity+symbol+and+heart+stud+earrings/
Gold & silver bracelets: http://www.claires.com/store/us/goods/jewelry/cat1780116/for+friends/p27378/best+friends+infinity+heart+bracelets+set+of+2/
I can't find those infinity heart "best friends" rings on their site anywhere. This is the closest I can find, a "Love Knot" ring. http://www.claires.com/store/us/goods/jewelry/cat1260040/rings+/p1001319/heart+knot+ring/

*Meh* I've bought other jewelry that have a heart and an infinity but not in the usual poly configuration just to have *something* even a little bit related that matched an outfit, so y'all might be interested in this. But knowing that they have a real infinity heart ring set at the stores in person, I'm less inclined to settle for this one, personally.

I made some modifications to the ones I bought, so here's my new Poly By Claire's Collection:

I went back and got a second silver pendant to store in a ziploc jewelry baggie in anticipation of the day that mine would tarnish and the finish would peel off (they are costume jewelry, after all), assuming I wouldn't be able to find these again when I needed to replace them.

I also bought a second pair of silver earrings to turn into dangly earrings. I had this pretty silver chain made up of curved links, so I attached a fishhook earring to the middle of a short length and attached each end to the humps of the heart with a very small jump ring. I would have made it a single strand but there was nothing in the middle of the infinity heart to attach it to, so it would have tilted to one side and I didn't want that. With two points of connection, it hangs straight.  I also didn't want to have to buy two more silver pendents to make the earrings (which would have that hanging point in the center), so instead I cut the posts off a pair of earrings to get them cheaper.

Then I took the silver pendent off the silver chain because I rarely ever wear anything but chokers when I dress up, and I already have my favorite silver & copper one from Abzu Emporium that I wear daily on a standard length ball-chain.

I made 3 new chokers - a red suede, a purple suede, and a silver fine-weave chain - that the new all-silver pendent can be switched to, to match whatever color outfit I'm wearing. I already have a silver pendent that looks like it's made of ball-chain (but it's not, it's solid silver) on a black choker and that's my go-to "dressy" necklace now. But I wanted a few colors so that I could have jewelry that matched my outfits, not just standard black (especially for the few red, purple or light colored outfits I have that don't have any black in them.)

Then, of course, I still have the gold pendent & gold earrings for the very rare occasions when I want to wear gold jewelry, and silver and gold rings for those costumed occasions when poly jewelry wouldn't work for the character and some other theme jewelry would work better.

I'm hoping to get the silver and gold bracelets that I saw online as well, but they were not in the stores when I went back to get my duplicate silver earrings & pendent, and the sales clerks seemed so confused when I asked for them that I'm sure that they never carried them in-store.

Now I have daily poly jewelry, gold poly jewelry, dressy poly jewelry to match any color outfit, and very large poly jewelry (got some for xmas that I haven't posted pics of yet), and birthstone poly family jewelry.

I think I'm good on the poly jewelry now!

14th-Feb-2014 01:07 pm - Thin Skinned
Bad Computer!, anger
I get a lot of shit for losing my temper, getting offended, and blocking people when someone is a serious asshat. I'm often told to "calm down" or "relax" or "I'm just asking questions" or "we're just having a conversation."

No. Fuck you. I'm not the asshole for getting pissed. You're the asshole for pissing me off AND YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO MY ATTENTION, TIME, OR POSITIVE OPINION OF YOU.

From Miri Mogilevsky:


In responding to an asshole on my blog yesterday, I realized that there's a misconception out there that anybody who demands respect and asks someone to stop insulting them is doing so because they have "hurt feelings" or a "thin skin."

1) Even if that's true, there's nothing wrong with that and we must not use "thin-skinned" as an insult. Ever.

2) When I demand to be treated the right way, it's not so much because my feelings are hurt otherwise but because I am worth too much to be treated like shit, and being able to interact with me is not a right granted to you simply because you exist and possess a computer. It's something you get to do only if I decide that interacting with you is fun or pleasurable or simply useful to me (the latter applies mostly to people I don't know personally).

If that sounds egotistical, I don't really care. I'm not here for anyone's entertainment or to serve their apparent need to humiliate and mistreat others.
14th-Feb-2014 01:02 pm - Why Do Men And Women Feel Threatened?
Super Tech, strong, feminism

“Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. (I love that wonderful rhetorical device, “a male friend of mine.” It’s often used by female journalists when they want to say something particularly bitchy but don’t want to be held responsible for it themselves. It also lets people know that you do have male friends, that you aren’t one of those fire-breathing mythical monsters, The Radical Feminists, who walk around with little pairs of scissors and kick men in the shins if they open doors for you. “A male friend of mine” also gives—let us admit it—a certain weight to the opinions expressed.) So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” “They’re afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” “They’re afraid of being killed,” they said.”


~Margaret Atwood, Second Words: Selected Critical Prose (1983), pg. 413.(via bydbach)

You've probably heard the punchline before, but here’s the full context for the quote.
14th-Feb-2014 12:59 pm - Discrimination And You
woo, stupidity, rants, Dobert Demons of Stupidity, religion
Much like you are not being censored unless the government itself is actually penalizing or prosecuting you for speaking about something, you are also not being "discriminated against" if you are not part of a marginalized group that is institutionally and systematically prevented from participating in society on the basis of some quality that has nothing to do with what they are preventing you from doing.

So, someone who doesn't want you around because you're a bitch? Not discrimination of people who "tell it like it is". Someone who doesn't want to follow you on Facebook because all you post are pictures of yourself? Not discrimination of good looking people. Female-type person won't go out with you? Not discrimination of Nice Guys or Smart Guys.

A public and commercial establishment refusing to offer you their advertised services at their advertised prices on the basis that they don't take business from people with your skin color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, nationality, or level of ableness when those qualities have nothing to do with the services being offered such as a restaurant or office supply store? That's discrimination.

You are entitled to being allowed to participate in society to the best of your abilities. You are not entitled to any individual providing you with the opportunity to irritate them.
14th-Feb-2014 12:54 pm - Privilege Is Annoying
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box
This is a post made by someone else, but it says exactly what I want to say on the subject, so I'm just going to quote it here:


The most common argument I see against the [use of the] word "privilege" is that it is "annoying."

You are, of course, welcome to find anything annoying if you want. So here's what I personally find annoying:


  • Seeing people with no background in the social sciences summarily dismiss a sociological concept backed by decades of theory and research because they don't like the sound of it;

  • Having my own ideas and writing dismissed because they share a word in common with a bad Tumblr you read once;

  • Being asked to apologize for people I have never met or interacted with who were mean to you when you argued against the word "privilege";

  • The implication that ideas have to make you feel good in order to be accurate and worth your consideration, and ideas that make you feel uncomfortable or bad can be safely dismissed.

14th-Feb-2014 12:42 pm - Follow Your Arrow
Super Tech, strong, feminism
We all know the joke about listening to a country song backwards gets your dog, your wife, and your truck back, but country music has a long history of feminist values and a rich diversity of topics. I'm even building a whole YouTube playlist of feminist country songs.

I'm not saying you'll like it if you just don't like the sound, but country music isn't what most people think it is. Take this song for example...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ8xqyoZXCc



This is a song all about the no-win double standard of social expectations, self-acceptance, diversity, and being authentic.  There are more like it to be found in country music.  In fact, country music is one of the earliest genres to include hit songs that stand up for women's rights and alternative viewpoints, believe it or not.  I have a whole post brewing about that for later.
14th-Feb-2014 12:30 pm - The Sex Talk
Nude Drawing, sex
Pretty decent intro to sex (I know MANY experienced adults who still need to hear this intro because what they know is WRONG).

Pretty thorough for 6 minutes. Obviously they skimmed over some stuff, but nearly everything one should know in the first talk is at least mentioned.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBfYtEy1Ovo&sns=fb
14th-Feb-2014 12:27 pm - You Keep Using That Word...
frustration, ::headdesk::

"A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon." -- Kim Ann Zimmerman, Livescience.com

~Shared from Physicist TV




This is why I have made a point to now say "hypothesis" even when using cultural or slang idioms. I also say "conspiracist" and "conspiracy story" instead of "conspiracy theorist/theory" because it's not a theory.

Wrong: "My theory is..."
Right: "My hypothesis is..."

Wrong: "In theory, it should work"
Right: "In principle, it should work"

Wong: "Theoretically speaking..."
Right: "Hypothetically speaking..."

These are not the only examples nor the only corrections for the examples given. But it's a start to give you an idea. This rant came from a Facebook post, not an hour-long lecture or a class or a book on science & grammar, so I kept it brief with just a few examples. I don't feel the need to list every possible example or exception and I'll get irritated if the comments devolve into a semantics debate with pedantic exceptions (but personal substitutions are welcome, to increase the general vocabulary).

I won't play the obnoxious pedant every time someone uses the word incorrectly and correct them (unless it's actually relevant to the discussion), but know that every time y'all use it wrong, I'm thinking in my head that you're wrong and I assume that you know less about science because of it unless/until you can prove to me that you don't.
14th-Feb-2014 12:17 pm - When Dance Gets Kinky
Flogging, BDSM
Another blogger wrote a post called When Dance Gets Kinky with some examples of BDSM elements found in dance performances.

I often use dance as a metaphor for sex and relationships, but for me, the parallels are so strong that "metaphor" is not always the right word. Dance, sex, and romantic relationships all rely on the same elements - communication first and foremost, physicality, and passion. Just like sex, dance can be done with strangers, friends, long-time partners, solo, or in groups. It can be awkward, silly, hot, fun, tender, or chaste. It can be comfortable or challenging. You can teach or learn something new or fall into predictable patterns.

Like good sex and good relationships, good dancing incorporates the skills and steps you learned from past situations to blend with the new partner, forming a unique, one-of-a-kind experience that can never be duplicated or replicated with anyone else ever again. Even with the same partner and the same steps, it will not be the same. The chemistry will be different, or it'll be more effort some times than other times, or it'll be faster or slower, or you'll hit it just right or it'll be a little bit off.

For me, dancing is not just a metaphor for sex and relationships. Dancing is almost interchangeable for sex, and what I learned from dancing I apply to relationships. The three very different activities are inextricably intertwined in my head, even though I am perfectly capable of having relationships without sex, dancing without relationships, and I certainly don't have sex with everyone I dance with! It's just that, to me, they are three sides of the same coin, as it were.

So naturally, I'm interested in examples of dance that also incorporate elements of BDSM. To stretch the coin metaphor way too far, BDSM would be the fourth side of that coin - in requiring the same elements, in who it can be done with, in the moods you can have while in a scene, and in how it can be mixed or isolated from the others. Most of my kink is separate from sex, I have to mix my kink with relationships but I don't have to mix my relationships with my kink, and I am desperately hoping to one day mix dancing and kink but finding a partner who does both (and who does my style of poly, since I can't do kink outside of a relationship) AND has that chemistry that makes any kind of relationship even possible is a pretty tall order.

Just a tip, if anyone really wanted to increase his chances with me, he'd learn to ballroom dance and be interested in at least some of my kinks and have advanced poly skills and he'd mix all that up under a rational & skeptical worldview. Seriously, the dancing & kink stuff REALLY goes a long way towards catching my attention - just as much as the poly & skeptic stuff does. None of this is a guarantee, of course, but dancing will catch my attention immediately and at least make me consider the dancer, even more than the other stuff (but, to be honest, the other three are more likely to *keep* my attention once I've decided that I'm interested).

Anyway, the examples she gives are from the TV show So You Think You Can Dance, but from a night when the dancers are doing the same choreography from previous episodes. While all 3 examples are exemplary, I am still partial to the originals just because they did them first and they are now associated in my brain with those routines. So I'm going to include the original videos in the comments, while the ones the blogger highlighted are embedded in her post:

http://reginawest.com/2012/08/16/when-dance-gets-kinky/



This dance is actually about addiction. It's passionate and entrancing and heart-wrenching and I cried when I saw it for the first time. But the blogger included it for the domineering manner of the male dancer and how rough he is with his female partner, who keeps coming back again and again for his treatment.

I want to take a moment to make absolutely clear that BDSM relationships are not about addiction and they are not abusive, 50 Shades of Fucked Up notwithstanding. They are also not exclusively about male Doms and female subs. This song and this choreography are NOT about BDSM or even about abusive relationships. The male dancer represents the addiction itself; he is the addiction personified.

But within BDSM there is role playing that superficially takes on the trappings of things that might look like abuse or pain or even addiction to someone outside of the relationship or unfamiliar with BDSM and kink. It was this superficial resemblance that attracted the blogger. Rough treatment and the resistance can sometimes be found in some BDSM scenes and the blogger's point was that there were elements of kink found in the choreography's individual steps, leading her to imply that the choreographer herself may have a background in kink to draw on.







This one is all about spanking. That should be self-evident why the blogger included it on a list of kinky elements in dance routines.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T209HHIJ8bc




The first song included on the blog post is a little different. It doesn't appear to be a remake of a past choreography and it's not one of the dances in the competition. It's one of the group dances that the contestants often perform as the opening number to kick off the show. Their performance will not be rated or included in the judges' consideration of the contest.

The video she embedded also doesn't work. At least, when I tried to watch it, it said that the user had been banned for too many copyright violations, so here's another upload of that same number:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9okkG-8BOM
14th-Feb-2014 12:02 pm - The Surprising Costs Of Being A Woman
Super Tech, strong, feminism
I've passed on articles highlighting the stupidity of marketing the exact same men's product but in pink for girls only. But did you know it's not just stupid marketing, it's also brilliant marketing? They make the exact same product but make it pink and sparkly and suddenly they can charge more for it.

It's expensive being a girl. That's one of the reasons why I wear men's clothes and use men's versions of products - they're actually cheaper, and when there *is* a difference in product quality, the men's version is usually more functional too - more durable, more practical, more parts that actually work and aren't just for show (seriously, pockets that don't open on cargo pants?).

Fuck the pink and purple and sparkles. My guns are black, my tools are chrome, my deodorant is unscented, my razors are sharp, and my Bic pens are blue. Unless you're buying something that actually serves a purpose for being gendered (biology or aesthetic preference), don't support gendered products or marketing. Buy what's more economical or is best suited for its intended task if the differently gendered items are basically the same product just colored or packaged differently.

http://www.learnvest.com/2012/05/gendered-pricing-the-surprising-costs-of-being-a-woman/
14th-Feb-2014 11:59 am - Creepy Guy Is Creepy
Bad Computer!, anger
Just so you know, when a person goes out of their way to avoid publishing identifying information about themselves on the internet, like their real name or current location, it is incredibly creepy to then publicly message them on social media with that information (it can be creepy to privately message them with that info too, but there is some nuance there that I don't feel like addressing right now; just to be safe, assume it's creepy in private too). Even if you know them or met them in person. Even if you aren't being "threatening" when you do it. Even if you think you're being friendly about it. ESPECIALLY if you think you're being friendly about it. Then you're both creepy and oblivious.

CREE-EE-PY.

When you publish personal and/or identifying information about someone who has deliberately not published that information (and worse, not told YOU that information), you are:

1) stalking
2) being invasive
3) dismissing, disrespecting, or disregarding personal boundaries
4) some combination of the above
5) all of the above

Even if that isn't your intent. Your intent to be creepy is irrelevant when deciding if you are, in fact, being creepy. The person who gets to decide if you're being creepy is the one who is creeped out by you. Period. I don't care if it's "not fair", only the person whose boundaries you just stomped on gets to decide how hurt they feel over it. Just like the person who is offended by a racist, sexist, homophobic, or other -ism slur is the one who gets to decide if it was racist, sexist, homophobic, or other -ist, not you (and not your token "friend" who thought it was funny, either).

If you step on my toe, your intent to harm me does not matter and you do not get to dictate whether my toe should feel hurt or not. Don't keep standing on my foot defending your right to stand on my foot and complaining about the tone of my yelling. GET THE FUCK OFF MY FOOT.

And don't post identifying information about people online. It's, at best, rude, and at worst, putting someone in danger. If you're not a reporter doing an expose on some dangerous criminal or underground organization, or with law enforcement (and don't get me started on the tangles of THAT hornet's nest), you probably don't know when it's in the public's best interest to know something, so just don't.
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box


"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


America is built upon the backs of those less fortunate. It's past time we offered our gratitude and made good on our promises. Ours is a bloody, violent history filled with an ever-growing list of amends for mistakes made at the expense of humanity. We have not yet caught up to our ideals. We have made progress, but social inertia threatens to lull us into coasting the rest of the way into our future, teasing us with the lure of easy, downhill motion while masking the other part of that physics equation - the drag without constant vigilance and deliberate effort will eventually pull us to a stop.

Now is the time to take advantage of our downhill momentum by easing into even greater forward motion with the gravity of our situation currently on our side. To our future, we give the fruits of the labor of those tired, poor, huddled masses. Will they be succulent fruits to nourish our children, or will they be dry, grey, wrinkled on the vine, leaving our children to a bleak existence because of our arrogance and flawed planning? Our future is written by us, and the outcome depends wholly on how we treat the characters of our past and our present.

Picture published on BAMN - Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary website (http://www.bamn.com/social-justice/yearning-to-breathe-free-bamn-declaration-on-immigrant-rights)
14th-Feb-2014 11:39 am - Damn Right I Support It
Silent Bob Headbang, yay!, shiny, cool

"I might not be the same but that's not important
No freedom til we're equal
Damn right I support it"

Too often, disadvantaged groups use the strategy for acceptance and equality of closing ranks against everyone else and appealing to the majority with "we're not that different from you! We have this one thing different, but we're not like THOSE freaks over there!" We are pitted against each other in our scrabble for inclusion to the club, like Survivor contestants or pledges being hazed. Because it's in the interest of the ruling class to keep us bickering and squabbling amongst ourselves. It prevents us from banding together and finding our own power. It keeps the ruling classes in power above us while we content ourselves with victory over their table scraps. Separate But Equal is not equal, it's a grudging concession that they deign to relinquish, hoping it'll keep our eyes off the banquet on top of the table.

It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk-outs and sit-ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference

The exact same thing that made whatever class you're in a disadvantaged class, an oppressed class, a second class is what you are turning around and doing to someone else when you discriminate against another. But what if we all banded together? What if all minority groups linked arms, faced the majority squarely in the face and said "we are all one and when we add us all up together, you are no longer the majority"? Would we finally find equality? Would we finally know freedom?

I might not be the same, but that's not important. There is no freedom until we are all equal. Damn right I support it.



14th-Feb-2014 11:36 am - A Father's Letter To His Daughter
Super Tech, strong, feminism
The makeup aisle feels "like one of the most oppressive places in the world. ...

When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence."

I have a lot of friends with daughters. I hope that they grow to understand (if they don't already), that the sexist jokes and smack talk and chittering behind women's backs that they do with their buddies is the same sort of thing that other men will be doing about their daughter someday, if they don't contribute now to a change in our culture.

They can't threaten all the men in the world with their shotguns to keep their hands off their daughters, and they especially can't do anything about it if it happens out of their earshot. So they need to create a culture that is hostile towards that kind of behaviour, so that some other person can stand up for their daughters in their absence (when their daughters can't defend themselves, which they can't do if the jokes and the laughter are behind their backs).

And I hope that they grow to understand (if they don't already) that a woman doesn't deserve better treatment from them because she's someone else's daughter, but because she's a person all by herself. But maybe realizing that your own daughters deserve respect, not because they're your daughters but because they're "a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire" all on their own will make the distinction clear.

Eventually, I hope that people won't need to be told "what if it were YOUR daughter that some guy was sniggering about?" to break through that solipsistic fog because they won't need a personal connection to her to make them behave - her humanity will be enough of a reason.

http://www.viralnova.com/father-letter-to-daughter/
Super Tech, strong, feminism
I love the nuance in this article. Usually "the single gal" articles are either about how pathetic we are for shunning male patronage or how totally amazing we are for doing it all alone. We are both and neither and other and I'm tired of being caricatured.


"The single life isn’t a prison sentence nor is it a cocktail party. It is simply a life—a life with responsibilities and rewards, good days and bad ones, successes and failures.

Most of all, it’s a rich and varied life with many opportunities to build strength and character. ...

I’m not saying single people are better than married people—that’s silly. I’m saying that it’s time we start treating the single experience with the respect it deserves. Because what is perhaps most impressive about single women today is their ability to build rich, meaningful lives without any sort of blueprint. It takes courage to stay true to yourself when so many voices are telling you to follow a more conventional path. It takes mental agility to hold two ideas in your head at once: Yes, I would like to meet someone someday; yes, I am fine right now as I am. ...

The trouble is, this leaves the impression that the only way to be a respectable unattached woman is to be impervious to love. ...

Instead of calling the contemporary single woman “fabulous,” let’s see her for who she really is: a person."


http://www.thedatereport.com/dating/advice/stop-telling-single-women-theyre-fabulous/
14th-Feb-2014 11:14 am - She STILL doesn't have to talk to you
Super Tech, strong, feminism
*sigh* Having a profile on a dating site STILL does not obligate a woman to give you the time of day. There are lots of reasons why she may have a profile and still not want to meet you, talk to you, or even be open to dating anyone at the moment.

1) Being single and having a full and exciting life that may leave little time for dating does not mean she can't still be open to the idea if someone exceptional comes along, so she may be busy with life right now, but she's still allowed to look even though it may look like she doesn't have "enough" time, according to your definition of "enough". The "right" person will fit into her busy schedule because of shared interests and mutual compromise and she is under no obligation to sit around playing the lonely spinster while she waits for you to magically arrive and add excitement to her life. YOU have to be exciting enough for her to justify making space for you in her life. Her complex life is what makes her exciting enough for you, that's why you contacted her.

2) It may be an old profile from when she was looking and she's holding onto it. It's not your business to decide when it's appropriate to let go of a profile.

3) She may be looking for different things, like friends or activity partners, and not a romantic partner, or she may even be looking just for sex and her busy life isn't an issue for a once-in-a-while booty call.

4) Lots of women (and other people too) prefer to take their time and get to know people online for a while before giving out contact info, real names, or meeting in person. Sometimes it's safer. Sometimes she's an introvert who relates better in text. Sometimes, a busy schedule and a request to send emails first is a test to see how pushy the guy is, and if he pushes too soon for a RL meetup, she'll know to drop him because either he's an entitled asshole who doesn't respect boundaries or they just want different kinds of relationships.

5) She goes through busy and not-so-busy stages and it's not worth her time to take down the profile and put it back up every time her life changes, especially if she put a lot of effort into her profile or she will lose her username by deleting it. Besides, if someone exceptional came along, she may be willing to go out of her way to change life to accommodate.

6) It could be you. Just because a woman is available, it doesn't mean that she's available TO YOU, and maybe her "busy schedule" is a hurdle she isn't willing to overcome because you don't do it for her.

This is written from the perspective of a man complaining about a woman's profile only because this is the direction of the complaints that I see most often, not because it never happens with any other combination of genders.

Look, I've written plenty advising women to please respond to the men who contact them even if it's a rejection because I want to reward the courage it takes to approach someone and because I think it sucks that we have this double standard where men have to put in all the effort and women get inundated with crappy first-contact letters.  Both sides suck.  When I'm talking *to* women, I want to encourage that they do their share of the contributing to change society.

But when women are complaining about the bad experiences they're having online, DON'T MAKE THIS ALL ABOUT TEH MENZ.  That is not the time to tell women that they should ignore their own discomfort in order to make men feel better.  That is not the time to bring up how much it sucks to be a man as if it were a competition of which gender has it worse online (trust me, it's not the male gender as a whole, even if I agree that some parts of their experience suck).  That is the time to LISTEN to the women and to do whatever is in your power to help change things.  Because I guarantee that if women as a whole felt safe online and safe to be sexual beings, the double standard that makes it hard for men in online dating would go away as a result.

If we want women to do the approaching, the first-contact outreach, to respond to first-contact letters, and to be clear about their intentions, we have to make it safe for them to do so.  If someone doesn't feel safe in expressing themselves, they will avoid doing it or they will do it in passive-aggressive or indirect ways that may seem confusing or contradictory.  
14th-Feb-2014 11:01 am - Best Relationship Advice
Purple Mobius, polyamory
http://www.businessinsider.com/nate-bagleys-best-relationship-advice-2014-2

I believe that it is possible to have both individuality and *healthy* deep attachment, and I believe that the only way that it CAN be possible is to start with the individual.

And I think that even couple-centric evidence supports this. Of course, this is not scientific research, by any stretch of the imagination. But it is one more social research project that supports my hypothesis. Over and over again, articles and documentaries and interviews that ask "successful" couples how they managed to be successful (usually defined by longevity but more and more often defined by quality, or some combination of the two) find similar answers. And those answers include independence, individuality, space, freedom, and conscious decision.

"On the key things that make a relationship successful:

...Self Love: The happiest couples always consisted of two (sometimes more) emotionally healthy and independently happy individuals. ...

Establish that foundation, and you're in good shape.

Intentionality: ...The couples who try on a daily basis to experience some sort of meaningful connection, or create a fun memory are the couples who shattered my perception of what was possible in a loving relationship."

Because poly people are working without a blueprint, without a roadmap, without role models, everything we do has to be intentional. We have to consciously think about the structure of our relationships and what we want from them. Monogamous people, because it's the social default, can simply "fall into" a relationship if they want, and they can even last for a long time in them. But the people who find HAPPINESS in their relationships apply the same lesson that we as poly people find is necessary for ours - deliberate intent.

It's OK to fall into the status quo, as long as you've thought about it and chose it for yourself because that's what works for you and everyone in the relationship (the reason I'm opposed to poly structures that enshrine couples privilege is because they DON'T work for "everyone", they prioritize the original couple at the expense of anyone else. A married couple who has a satellite relationship with a hot bi babe is fine if that's the relationship that just happens to work organically, but a married couple who prescripts that structure and sets up the rules to prioritize the happiness of the couple over the happiness of the HBB (or even the individuals within the couple) without her input and she is expected to agree or GTFO is not fine, for example).

So, this article isn't about being single or polyamory at all (my relationship preferences). But I find that the lessons learned in singleish or solo polyamory, or polyamory that respects the autonomy of the individuals - those lessons that are necessary for that kind of polyamory to work at all, never mind happily - are the exact same lessons that make the best, happiest, monogamous relationships, regardless of how long any of the relationships last.

Funny, that.

#NotAPolyIssueButAPeopleIssue #polyamory #polyamorous #poly #OpenRelationships #relationships
9th-Feb-2014 07:44 pm - Suckage By Association
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
"I've never been there, but I once met someone who talked about it and I didn't like that person, so I'll just assume that he's representative of the entire experience there and say that it'll probably suck."

When it's not a subject with objective data that can illustrate, contradict, and/or remove our own logical fallacies and cognitive biases regarding experiences, I'm going to take a pretty dim view of any review that includes "I didn't experience it myself", especially when combined with "because I don't like a person who likes it".

Now, if the objection is "the entire content is this subject I don't like" or "the target audience is people I don't relate to", it's probably a safe assumption to make that you're less likely to like it yourself.  But...

"I don't want to go to an adult store because only losers go there" and

"I don't want to go to Kentucky because my cousin is a redneck and he lives there so it's filled with rednecks" and

"I don't want to read Shakespeare because elitist snobs read Shakespeare" and

"I don't want to listen to country music because I once heard the joke about listening to it backwards gets your dog, your wife, and your truck back so it must all be filled with stupid lyrics" and

"I don't want to go to the ballet because I once saw a picture of a guy in tights so I assume there's nothing there but men in tights" and

"I don't want to go see your dance performance because I know a guy who pops gum and likes the theater so the audience will probably have people there who pop gum and I can't stand that" and

"I don't want to try Indian food because I was once in an Indian person's house and it smelled funny"

are all examples (from real life, I might add) of people being prejudiced, close-minded, and in some cases just stupid.  Telling others not to try the experience without having done it yourself (again, with experiences that are enjoyed or disliked subjectively, not that make truth claims and have objective data to verify those claims) only lets those around you *see* you acting prejudiced, close-minded, and in some cases just stupid.  And since I know no one thinks of themselves as prejudiced, close-minded, or stupid, I know that none of you will want to APPEAR that way even by accident, right?  So don't do that shit.

This is not to be confused with reading several reviews about an experience from people/organizations that have a stable pattern of having similar opinions as your own and reporting "I heard/read that This Person didn't like it for these reasons".  I want to be very clear that I am complaining about a specific thing - criticizing an experienced based on association with another person that you don't like, not for the content of that experience, which can be verified even second-hand, and assuming content of an experience based solely on the presence of another person that you don't like without verifying that content is, in fact, the content.

I have a habit of liking movies that get poor critic reviews, so I might decide to go see a movie just because all the critics said it sucked.  If my close feminist friends all say a particular movie was sexist and offensive, I might give it a miss.  But if one of my coworkers, who happens to be sexist, likes a particular movie, I won't assume that the movie is sexist just because he likes it unless he actually SAYS something about the content.  Him just liking it is not enough for me to assume anything about the content.  I need some other data point, like WHY he liked it or the demographics of the entire audience who liked it, to give me a clue as to whether or not I might like it.

And even then, I often surprise myself by discovering things I used to swear I hated and would never like.  Hummus, for example.  Absolutely hated it until about a year ago.  Tomatoes are another thing.  I've hated the texture so much that my mom had to puree them in pasta sauce before I'd even look at it.  Now I love them both.  I also used to really love the Chronicles of Narnia, even though I was an atheist child.  But back then, I lived in a liberal bubble where my atheism wasn't the target of oppression.  Now that I'm more aware of oppression, I can't help but feel turned off by the obvious religious apologetics in the series.  My tastes change over time, and the more I deliberately test my assumptions about my opinions, the more aware I become of who I am and I am better to more accurately predict what I might like or dislike and in what direction I might change.

And the more I find to like where I previously assumed I wouldn't like.  The universe is a vast and wondrous place, far more interesting than any individual can really comprehend.  And there is far too little time to discover all its wonder, so I don't want to waste time avoiding things that might turn out to be amazing just because some other jackass also happens to like it.

“Your true self can be known only by systematic experimentation, and controlled only by being known.” Francis Bacon
Purple Mobius, polyamory
http://www.amazon.com/Hyde-Park-Hudson-Bill-Murray/dp/B00B4ZN3XQ - Amazon
http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Hyde-Park-on-Hudson/70243444 - Netflix
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1477855/ - IMDB

This movie was recommended to me by several people, many of whom are not poly. When that happens, I go into the viewing with a dubious mindset. Most of the time, people who are not poly don't really understand what polyamory is, so when they identify something as "poly", it's not really. I was aware of 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's affairs. Not in any detail, but as a critic of American politics, I am superficially aware that many of our past politicians' indiscretions were more or less common knowledge but ignored, as the public focused on how they performed their jobs and not what they did in their bedrooms. I am aware of that because of the stark contrast for how we treat today's politicians and celebrities. But that's a rant for another time.

This movie is from the perspective of Margaret Suckley, commonly called "Daisy", who was a sixth cousin* to FDR and a regular companion during his time in office. It is more or less a biography of FDR while he was president of the United States prior to his involvement in WWII and seeks to show him as a relatable human, rather than an impressive government official and leader of the Free World.

It has been established that FDR was married to Eleanor Roosevelt, had a long-time affair with her secretary, Lucy, another two-decade-long affair with his own secretary, Missy, and rumors that are accepted as probably true about an affair with Princess Martha of Sweden while she lived at the White House during WWII. It is also "common knowledge" that these affairs killed the emotional connection between FDR and his wife Eleanor, who remained married to him as a political partnership until he died. Rumors of illicit affairs with the owner of the New York Post, Dorothy Schiff, and the main character, Daisy, are controversial, to say the least.

With this kind of history, I had a few preconceptions going into the film. I thought it would be just another movie about cheating, which is pretty common. Many movies that get suggested to me are nothing more than movies about cheating. Occasionally the cheating is the result of a loving relationship and not just about sex, but it's still nevertheless about cheating. Every once in a blue moon, I will accept a cheating movie as a poly-ish movie if I give it a pass for the era in which the movie takes place if the story feels like it would have been the version of polyamory that I recognize had it not been for some heavy social penalties. In other words, it was as close to polyamory as a non-monogamous relationship could get given the circumstances.

This is what I feel that Hyde Park On Hudson is. From here I will be discussing the movie itself, with complete disregard to the question of historical accuracy. In the context of my Poly-ish Movie Reviews, I care less about the liberties a director takes with historical facts and more about how well the movie answers the question "is this a movie about polyamory or that has polyamory in it?"

In this movie, Daisy is a sweet, naive girl who falls in love with a powerful older man because he invites her in to his heart and shows her the human being he is, not the political office. He is caring and compassionate and frail and vunlerable. She knows that he is still married and she does not harbor a belief that he will leave his wife for her. She has heard the rumors that they have a loveless marriage, and usually that is enough justification for a mistress to accept the role. But Daisy observes the spouses together and believes that they still share an emotional connection. This observation does not seem to provoke any jealousy. She just seems to accept that her lover still loves his wife.

But soon enough, Daisy learns that Franklin is having sexual relations with his secretary, Missy. Missy runs after the fleeing Daisy to confront her and explain the situation. Up until this point, I still felt that this was a cheating movie, just one of those that included emotional connections and not just sex. Missy drops more bombs on the shaken Daisy when Missy reveals that Franklin is having other affairs too, and that Missy knew about Daisy from the moment their relationship began and accepted her. Missy insists that Daisy must accept that she will have to "share" Franklin. Daisy says that can't, but Missy tells her that she can.

So, I could have included it on my Poly-ish list at this point because Franklin has what appears to be loving relationships with multiple women who know and "deal with it", but it would have held a wobbly position on that list. It's the next part that makes me feel that this is a poly movie.

Eventually Daisy forgives Franklin and they begin seeing each other again. Simultaneously, Daisy develops a friendship with Missy. The two women become very close, deliberately using their mutual connection to a lover as the springboard from which their own relationship blossoms. Daisy comes to admire and rely on Missy. Missy often fetches Daisy when Missy believes that Franklin will benefit from her presence. The two women do more than reach a truce regarding their respective roles; they forge an alliance. And both women have a somewhat more distant relationship with Eleanor, but a relationship built on respect and admiration nonetheless.

Eleanore has a separate home, but she is a constant fixture in the scenes in the movie. So the image that is portrayed to us is one of a loving family with Franklin, his smart and savvy political wife, his lover and assistant, and his companion, as well as his mother who appears to know all about who is sleeping with whom. His mother and his wife butt heads, naturally, but everyone seems to get along and to accept or cherish each other's roles in Franklin's life. Franklin's mother and secretary, for example, both "severely criticized [him] for not inviting [Daisy] to dinner" on the night that the White House hosted the King and Queen of England - the first time that British royals had ever set foot on US soil. After Daisy learns that she is not the only one and is pressured into attending another social political function while still sulking about it, Missy is the first to approach Daisy and welcome her to the event. Franklin even publicly declares that Daisy belongs at VIP table, where everyone who is important to him ought to be, along with the royals, his wife, and his other mistress.

This movie is not solely about FDR's romantic life. It is also about the friendship forged between the US and England in the tenuous days before WWII, it's about the pressures of political life on an ailing man, about the effect of foreign wars on domestic issues, and about the dichotomy of being a private person in the public sphere. The movie included stellar acting and touching peeks into complex people in complex situations.  I have to say that, although I knew that Bill Murray was a good actor and I've always loved his films, this was the first movie I've seen of his where he wasn't "Bill Murray" in it. You know how there are some actors that, even while they're good, you still know that they are who they are? Gary Oldman is the opposite of that. He's an actor that I usually make it halfway through the movie before I even realize that it's Gary Oldman. Leonardo diCaprio is one of those actors that, even when he's doing a good job, he's still always Leo.

But Bill Murray's performance in this role thoroughly distracted me from my jewelry-making (I often do physical projects while watching movies - my brain can't focus on a story alone without my hands doing something) because I kept watching in fascination at a face that I just knew belonged to Peter Venkman but there was nothing of Dr. Venkman or Phil Connors or Frank Cross, or even of Bill Murray himself as seen in interviews in that face and in that body. I saw FDR, as I knew him from recordings and film reels. I heard FDR in his voice, I saw FDR in the tilt of his head and the way he held his hands. When I can't see Gary Oldman, I really can't see Gary Oldman. But to physically see Bill Murray and still not be able to "see" Bill Murray was disconcerting and wonderful and I am charmed by this film apart from its poly (or not) leanings.

So I recommend this movie. I thought it was an engaging film that I was willing to enjoy as a narrative and not insist that it be taken as a biography, and I felt that the relationships portrayed in the film represented what I recognize as polyamorous - loving, consensual, accepting, family - in spite of the lack of intentional communication and apparent deception that I feel was characteristic of the era regarding romantic liaisons. Although the modern poly movement of the last 30 years prioritizes communication above all else (and I happen to agree that it is a necessary element to healthy poly relationships), people are still the products of their times and cultures. So a movie set in another time and culture will necessarily have a different perspective on appropriate and effective communication. I may still disagree with them, but I believe other elements are more important to classifying a relationship as poly than whether or not multiple adults sat down around a large table with health reports, spreadsheets, and Google calendars to discuss the future possibility of taking a new partner.

There are many different ways to do poly. Some of them are wrong, some of them are right, some are healthy and some are outright abusive, but what makes it poly is that there are multiple, they are loving, and there is acceptance. It is not poly if there are only two partners & that is the preferred state. It is not poly if it is purely based on sex with no emotional connections and that is the preferred state. It is not poly if there is deception maintained throughout (and if that is the preferred state). It is not poly if the participants feel forced into the situation and begrudge the arrangement. Deception and poor communication certainly exist in poly relationships. But it's what the movie says about deception or communication, or how it's dealt with, that changes it from a movie condemning non-monogamy to a movie that merely presents one example of a loving relationship that happens to have some flaws.



*Sixth cousins are really only barely related. It means that they shared a common ancestor roughly 6 generations in their past. So, in other words, you add 5 "greats" before the word "grandparent" to come up with "sixth cousins". The "once removed" bits in relationship taxonomy refer to whether or not the cousins are in the same generation as each other. So first cousins have the same grandparents. Second cousins have the same great-grandparents. First cousins once removed is your first cousin's child - you and that child have your grandparents (their great-grandparents) in common and are in different generations from each other, hence "once removed". None of this has anything to do with the movie. It was common both in the era and within the Roosevelt family itself for non-first cousins to marry or be involved and Daisy's "sixth cousin" status was completely irrelevant to her romantic relationship with Franklin. It was really only relevant to mention because it was her connection as a relative who had grown up as a child with the Franklin that excused the President of the United States' mother for inviting a nobody like Daisy to the White House to attend the President when he fell ill. But I find genealogy interesting, and I know that a lot of people don't know how all those second/third/eigth cousins twice removed labels actually work, and I also know there are a lot of knee-jerk reactions to the idea of relatives having sexual relationships with each other. So I thought I'd mention it in a footnote.
23rd-Jan-2014 09:34 pm - Future Disclaimer
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Read this on someone else's blog and thought it sounded like an excellent disclaimer for my personal posts as well, since it's much nicer in tone than I usually am and still makes the points I want to make. I'll be saving this and adding it to my Me Manual blog posts in the future, probably with a few minor edits to reflect my personality and/or circumstances.

"This is a personal post so it has extra rules. I don’t want advice. I don’t want condescension about my age or any other aspect of my identity or lifestyle. I do not want devil’s advocate. In fact, since this is all completely about my individual experience and I don’t mean for it to apply to anyone else’s experience, I’m not interested in entertaining any debate over it. You are welcome to believe that I am wrong about my own life and experiences, if you keep that to yourself. If I see anything in the comments section that makes me regret having been open about my life, it’ll be deleted without further explanation. Commiseration and personal anecdotes are always welcome, though."
23rd-Jan-2014 09:15 pm - Food Musings
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
Huh.  I may be beginning to not like hot dogs anymore.  Over the years, I've added to my palate but the only other food I can recall ever to stop liking is bologna.  I used to LOVE that stuff - I'd eat nearly a whole package straight out of the fridge without bothering to make a sandwich out of it.  Now I can't even stand the smell.  But I stopped liking bologna about 25 years ago, when I was still a kid.

I suppose it's not terribly surprising, given how closely related hot dogs & bologna are (although I have only eaten beef hot dogs in the last decade), but I've been steadily increasing the number of foods I like and only dropped the one.  So that's surprising to me.

I have a weird relationship with food.  I was one of those picky eaters who would only eat like 3 foods.  It turns out that I have an overly-sensitive sense of taste, which is why I didn't like so many foods.  The taste was always too overwhelming.  And then, on top of that, I became anorexic and forgot how to enjoy food and how to eat food and even how to recognize hunger.

When I turned 18, I slowly learned to like the taste of food again, after I mostly healed my anorexia.  But that learning curve sharply steepened after a few years.  Now I do two things with my food, and they are exclusive to each other:

1) I eat to fill my stomach and taste is more or less irrelevant.  This is mostly what I do at work and how I originally got over my anorexia.  I have something of a military-esque relationship to food at work.  I eat because I need to eat, and I eat what I'm given, and I wolf it down because I don't know when I'll get the chance to eat again.  I can eat a lot of food that I don't particularly care for this way, but I have to be motivated for it, like when I'm at work.

2) I eat for the sheer pleasure of the taste or the positive associations the food has, and its nourishment or even my desire for fuel are more or less irrelevant.  This is where I learned to like food again, and to broaden my palate to include foods that I couldn't even stand being in the same room with before - mostly strong flavors like Indian food, hummus, asparagus, ranch dressing, stuff like that.  I eat to feel happy and to revel in the experience.  I don't need to be hungry and I will probably not be able to tell that I'm not hungry until I'm overly full.

For some reason, I very rarely, if ever, combine seeking out food for both nourishment and pleasure.  Most of the time, I seek out food for pleasure and it just happens to coincide with times that I need nourishment, since that occurs roughly twice a day.

Hot dogs is one of those rare foods that fulfilled both categories for me.  I used to love the taste of hot dogs, especially at those venues that are associated with hot dogs like baseball parks and movie theaters.  But I also used to work at an an arena setting up and tearing down for concerts, and the kitchens would usually bring out all their left-over hot dogs for the crew rather than throw them away.  These were mostly still warm, but they had been out for a while and they had no condiments at all.  After a hard night of loading trucks and hauling truss and amps up and down ramps, I needed protein and sugar (hot dogs and buns).  When I ate hot dogs for pleasure, I would usually only eat one.  But when I ate hot dogs at work, I would usually eat 3 or 4, dry, in a couple of bites, with one gloved hand while pushing a road case with another.

So I'm really kind of surprised to realize that I may be losing my taste for hot dogs.  I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  This is sort of new territory for me.  Then again, a lot of my explorations with food is in new territory :-)
21st-Jan-2014 03:00 pm - A Bra Solution
Nude Drawing, sex
Wherein I go on at length about bras and TMI about my own bra needs that will probably only be of interest to other bra-wearers or people who care about the happiness and issues of people who wear bras.

I've occasionally been linking to a blog called Adventures In Bra Fitting (http://adventuresinbrafitting.wordpress.com/).  I have the exact opposite problem that she has - wide back, small cups - but I totally relate to the problems with how America handles women's breasts (pun intended).

After roughly 20 years of searching, I finally found a bra that I like.  It has wide straps that don't cut into my shoulders, it fits snugly around my ribcage actually taking the weight instead of the straps, the gore sits flush against my sternum, there is just enough padding to keep my sensitive nipples from being irritated by my clothing and from showing through my shirts, it has a deep plunge for low-cut tops, it's a racerback which I need because my scoliosis causes standard straps to slip off my shoulders (conversion clips make it nearly impossible to put on a bra by oneself with the clips on), it's cotton which is my preferred aesthetic look and feels better when I sweat and do physical labor at work than the nylon and lace bras do, and the cups are the matching shape for my breasts (hardly anyone matches molded one-shape-fits-all bra cups).

Because I finally have a bra that fits, some of the fatty breast tissue that had migrated around to under my arms and my back (which is very, VERY common in women) seems to have migrated back to the breasts where they belong.  After 20 years of being flat chested, I actually have cleavage for the first time that I can remember.  Other people have noticed and I have actually been asked if I have increased in size.  I haven't, but my breasts are better supported now so it looks like it.

Unfortunately, they only make the bra in a handful of colors.  The heather-grey I like, and of course I had to get a black pair.  But those were the only two colors for a long time.  Now, they've added a black and white striped pair, and a fucking neon green pair.  I like to match my bras with my underwear, and in fact, I almost never wear bras & underwear that doesn't match, regardless of who might possibly see them.  I don't dress for other people, I dress for me, so I always match my bras and underwear because *I* like them to match even if no one ever sees them.

In a fit of frustration, I had a thought.  Since I can't find the one bra I like in the colors I want to match my existing wardrobe, it occurred to me that I could buy the grey pair and bleach them, and then dye them to match.  Sure, it seemed like a lot of work, but the alternative is to go without and continue running around in sub-optimally shaped bras that do match, or wear (Zeus forbid) mismatched sets.

So I haunted the one store that carries this model, looking for the ever-elusive size 36B (apparently only 34s can be Bs but 36s and above must be Cs or bigger).  Forget finding a 36A, which is the size I normally have to wear in bras that don't fit as well, especially before my breast tissue started moving around with this better-fitting bra.  Pre-molded B cups with a 36 band just had too much empty space in them at the top and non-molded cups didn't encourage the shape I wanted, leaving my breasts to do that thing where they start to slide towards the armpits, and I wanted cleavage in my low-cut tank tops.

Finally, after several shopping trips, I found, not a grey 34B, but a white one! And only one - not just in that size, but it was the only white bra of that model there.  I normally prefer a 36, but this is a nice soft cotton t-shirt-like material that was a little more snug than I prefer but not uncomfortably so at the 34.  So I snapped it up and bought a bottle of red RIT dye for a little experiment.  At only $6 a bra, I was willing to experiment. (Also, note that it was under $10, another reason why I love these bras.  Normally women have to pay $30 or more for a good bra)

Today I dyed the bra and it came out FABULOUS!  So this afternoon I will be going to the store and asking the lingerie counter lady to order 5 more 36Bs in white, and another 36B in grey and one in black.  The extra grey & black one will get packed away until my current grey & black ones die out and need to be replaced.  The white ones will get dyed 1 more red, two purple, and two nude (the duplicates to be packed with the duplicate grey & black).  If I can find underwear I like in green and blue jewel tones, I'll get another set to dye in those colors as well.  I'm just as picky about my underwear as I am about my bras, but that's another rant.  Women, even in body shape, are not all the same person.

So, the point of this long, TMI story is to recommend that everyone with breasts learn how to size themselves properly, make the effort to find a bra that you like that fits you well, and then buy a shitload of them in white to dye the colors you want if they don't already come in the colors you want.  It is totally worth the effort to learn the proper way to be sized and find bras that fit well and then do a little DIYing to make them match your aesthetic so that you are wearing bras that YOU find pleasing as well as comfortable.

I hear from the blog author, who has double Gs, I think, on a small frame, that she has none of the complaints that women with large breasts often have - back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, fatigue, etc. - because she wears bras that fit well.  So I believe very strongly that this amount of effort is worth it for a good fitting, attractive (according to the wearer) bras.



For those interested in which bra I'm talking about, it's called the Fruit Of The Loom Perfect Racerback Bra from the Fresh Collection that I can only find at Walmart. I can't find it anywhere else, and even the Walmart online store doesn't carry it. I have to physically go into a Walmart and hope they have the size and color I want.

I have occasionally found individual people selling an individual bra on places like Ebay, but no online retailers, including the Fruit of the Loom website itself. Also remember that, since molded cups fit almost nobody, what works for me may not work for you. But here are some links to images I found of the bras so you can at least see what I'm talking about, if you want to go out and try to find this bra to try on for yourself:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Fruit-of-the-Loom-Frontclose-Racerbrack-Bra/22751234
 - this is the same bra but found in the girl's section in only "girls" sizes. But it's basically this bra in adult sizes with a hanger tag that says "The Perfect Racerback Bra"

Here's the grey one I bought, offered for sale from a seller on an Ebay-like storefront: http://hotuniqueboutique.ecrater.com/p/17539530/womens-fruit-of-the-loom-racer

Here's one from Ebay with the hanger tag that helps me identify it on the shelves: http://www.ebay.com/itm/FRUIT-OF-THE-LOOM-FRESH-COLLECTION-BRA-RACERBACK-COLOR-KIWI-GREEN-/221357842263?pt=US_CSA_WC_Intimates&var=&hash=item3389f49f57
13th-Jan-2014 01:19 am - Spice Up Your Sex Life!
Nude Drawing, sex
To avoid using toys during sex on the assumption that "relying" on them means you have failed to satisfy your partner or that you're a poor lover is like refusing to use spices in your cooking on the grounds that spices make you a failure as a gourmet chef who can't make an appetizing meal without the "crutch" of flavor.

Using toys during sex takes skill and creativity and openness and vulnerability and opens up the definition of "sex" to such a wide vista that you may one day come to wonder at what you used to consider "sex".

Sex is so much more than putting tab A into slot B. Maybe some people are content, even happy with plain mashed potatoes and creamed corn. I like bland food myself. But my world opened up when I discovered Chinese food and Indian food and Ethiopian food and Cuban food, all known for their varied and colorful spice palates. I didn't give up mashed potatoes when I discovered spice. I just enjoy so much more than mashed potatoes now, and I found new appreciation of mashed potatoes now that I can contrast them with mashed sweet potatoes and curry potatoes and Potatoes O'Brian.

I never quite developed a taste for Vietnamese food, or German food, and I still can't stand seafood. And that's ok, there's no rule that says once you start trying new foods, you must try and like them all. But after having sampled so many different styles of food, I feel that my cuisine before was bereft, and that I am a better person for having tried new things, as well as knowing myself as a person for having experimented and accepted some while rejecting others.

I am not a failed cook for utilizing spices in my cooking. Sure, it takes skill to make appetizing dishes using the same taste-muted ingredients. But it takes different skill, full of subtlety and nuance, to make appealing dishes with a variety of spices.

And a partner who embraces toys and props and settings in his play is someone who has embraced his creative side, and his analytic side, and his introspective side. And it is *those* elements that make someone a good lover.

"Your true self can be known only by systematic experimentation, and controlled only by being known." ~Francis Bacon
7th-Jan-2014 12:53 pm - Local STD Testing Update
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise
I haven't done an update on local testing options in a few years, so even though that post is still here in my journal, it's time to do a new one.

Local Testing Options ReviewCollapse )
Here's my opinion on necessary testingCollapse )

To sum up:

Get tested for everything listed above at least once to establish a baseline. Then get tested for The Big Four approximately once a year and 3 months after new sexual partners.

If you don't have a GP or health insurance for a full STD screening, visit one of the online services like AnyLabTest Now! for a complete workup to set your baseline. Then, if you are in the Orlando area, I recommend using the Orange County Health Department on Center Ave. for the minimum Big Four to maintain your regular testing schedule and AnyLabTest Now! for the HSV test for the most economical options. If you skip any of the steps, get another full workup as soon as possible to reset your baseline known health status. If you test positive for anything, discuss your case with your STD counselor, your clinician, or your GP for the appropriate measures for you.

For more information about HPV, about HPV research, or about other testing posts that I have made, click on my STI tag below.  I focus on HPV research and occasionally I post about local testing options and general testing information to give non-local people enough information to research their own local testing options.
statement, Kitty Eyes, being wise

I'm working on a collaborative project with my ex-sweetie involving breaking up. Tell me your breakup stories and preferences? Good breakups, bad breakups, and why were they good or bad? Did you do the breaking up or did they? How often do you do the breaking up vs. get broken up with? What do you wish you had done differently? What do you wish your ex had done differently? How was overlapping social circles handled?

I don't need to hear any details of the relationship or why the breakups happened or even who was involved other than what the connection between the players was, but the breakup actions and what followed the breakup are relevant. It doesn't even have to be limited to romantic breakups.

No names at all will be used without permission in my project and even most anecdotes will be lumped together to illustrate types and trends rather than specific examples.

Responses can be posted here, privately messaged to me, or even told to me in person if we know each other IRL.

holiday, Xmas Kitties
How does an anti-thest, anti-traditionalism, anti-consumerist, anti-obligated-gift-giving atheist celebrate the winter holiday season?

I celebrate Newtonmas which, for convenience's sake, looks exactly like Christmas celebration complete with wishing people happy holidays, giving gifts without obligation, wearing red and green, and singing songs specific to the season, decorating with pine trees, tinsel, little colored lights, fuzzy red and white peaked caps, and eating ALL THE THINGS but especially the things with cinnamon, apples, chocolate, and lots of sugar (sometimes all in the same dish, but not necessarily).

The only difference is that, in my mind, the birthday I'm celebrating belongs to a different historical figure - one that I know for a fact existed - Isaac Newton.  And I'm not so much celebrating his birthday specifically as I am celebrating what his birthday respresents, namely science.  All the gifts, all the food, all the time spent with family, all these things are reminders to me of how much science has improved our collective lives.

I live in a time and place where even those of us below the poverty line have such wealth and abundance compared to our past generations, that I can afford to bitch about consumerism on a laptop using high speed internet access in a house with central air conditioning.  I live in a time and place where visiting loved ones 3,000 miles or more away is an actual *possibility* (even if an unrealized one at any given year).

I celebrate on an arbitrary day that happens to numerically match up with the day a historical figure was born (if you do some more arbitrary numerical fudging) because that figure is one of many who represent all that has made my life possible.  I choose that particular arbitrary day because everyone else collectively chose that same arbitrary day for pretty much the same reasons but with a different central character, so it becomes convenient to take advantage of the national acquiescence to allow us all to celebrate.  In other words, no one puts up a fuss if I take time off or spend the day celebrating or wear clashing colors or weird accessories because they're all doing the same thing and it would be strange if I did otherwise.

I won't take offense if people do not wish me Happy Newtonmas instead of Merry Christmas, although I do appreciate the "Happy Holidays!" effort made by those to acknowledge that there are other holidays being celebrated during this season by trying to include their holiday of choice even if one doesn't know what that holiday might be.  But if anyone was curious what a person with different values might do during this time when it seems as though one set of values is being pushed onto an entire planet regardless of personal holiday preference, well, this is what one person with different holiday beliefs does.

There is no war on Christmas.  There is only a desire to experience our own holidays in our own way.  This is how I experience mine.
holiday, Xmas Kitties
I have a lot of issues surrounding cultural obligations of gift giving.  A lot of it is internalized so it's not necessarily that any specific individual is making me feel obligated.  But those feelings are there nonetheless.

Many years ago, I made a personal pact not to exchange holiday gifts with anyone except my parents (who still buy me lots of stuff, making my life considerably easier, which is a huge relief to someone living below the poverty line) and my nephews (because they're kids).  It has always been my extended family's practice to stop buying gifts for family members when they turn 18, so I had some precedence to mitigate the social pressure to give gifts.

But as I dated, that pressure to exchange gifts grew, the more people I dated.  It was always there in monogamy, because it's part of the social expectations wrapped up in being in a relationship and in being female (I just could not get it through my male partners' heads that I did not want them to buy me flowers or jewelry because they could not let go of the cultural trope that women like flowers and jewelry even when one of them says she doesn't).  But as I started dating poly people, people who are already deliberately bucking the social conventions, that pressure didn't lessen.

As I said, it wasn't necessarily direct pressure from individuals.  Because of my difficulty with gift-giving, I tried to date people who had similar issues, so that I could escape that pressure within my relationships.  But when I started building large, multi-adult poly families, certain traditions were held by some people with a ferocity that brought all those social obligations roaring back, whether they intended it or not.

When there would be a holiday party, inevitably someone would bring someone a gift.  I get it, it's a wonderful feeling to see someone's face light up with pleasure at something you did for them.  I enjoy giving people gifts.  But I'm dirt poor and I just can't afford it.  So at these poly family and extended poly social gatherings, someone would be really into gift-giving.  They might say "I just like giving gifts, no one has to get me anything" and they might even mean it.  But some people would feel obligated to return the gesture.  And others would likewise enjoy giving things.  And sooner or later, we'd have a poly holiday gathering where everyone but me was exchanging gifts, and yet I would still be receiving them.

So I could continue to just accept gifts.  Or I could make a fuss and reject all the gifts on principle.  Or I could bow to the (usually unintended) pressure to return the gestures.  Between socialization as a woman not to make waves, to go along with the crowd, "when in Rome", be polite, etc., and the genuine desire to do nice things for the people I love, as well as feeling left out that can be such a danger in polyamory in general, eventually that pressure builds, regardless of the well-meaning intentions of everyone else.

And forget giving gifts to just some people and not others.  In a family where "honey, what's for dinner" can lead to a week of relationship triage emails and a panicky
group IM chat, deliberately leaving someone out of what is supposed to be a beloved tradition expressing love and happiness is a social minefield.

So now, although I still have a poly family and I still have core partners (my replacement word for "primary" because I refuse the hierarchical power structure but still have emotionally intimate connections and long-term commitments), being a solo poly or someone with a singleish poly lifestyle, I am missing that sense of obligation with regards to gift giving.  I feel a huge relief as I look at my meager checking account and tally up all the bills and eye my empty work calendar and I realize that I don't have a dozen other people to buy gifts for in the next two weeks and I don't have to deal with the crazy, hectic consumerist shopping trauma that my life always entails because I'm always too busy with work in the months leading up to December so I only have a couple of weeks before the holidays to even start thinking of gifts.  And I know I could make gifts that would be cheaper, but then I have that whole time issue thing.

So, I'm thankful that I can build deep, intimate, loving connections with my partners, and even to create our own traditions, but can also have the kind of structure that makes it *look* like I'm a single person, which allows me to discard certain other traditions that don't work for me without hurting people's feelings or raising too many eyebrows.

I deal enough with poly education of my monogamous circles, that sometimes it's a relief to do something that I don't have to explain or justify, even if they accept it for the wrong reasons.  They all think it's totally reasonable that I wouldn't have anyone to buy gifts for because I'm "just dating around" or "single", but when I have a partner that passes for an escalator relationship partner, and I talk about how stressful gift-giving is, that's one more battle I have to fight to make people understand alternative relationship options.

There are a lot of obligations and expectations that I feel free of by identifying as a solo poly or as poly singleish.  There are other things I struggle with, other downsides, other expectations.  But this is one I am happy to be free of.  And it doesn't mean that I dislike receiving gifts, or giving them for that matter.  It just means that I feel some relief of this particular pressure to give, that really comes from several places and is a very complex issue for me.
9th-Nov-2013 11:23 pm - Happy Anniversary!
Purple Mobius, polyamory
I was too busy and sleep deprived and just fucking exhausted to get online yesterday, so happy belated anniversary to my sweetie tacit!  9 years together, I can hardly even believe it! I wasn't sure where our relationship would take us when we started. You were so different from anyone else I had dated before and I wasn't sure our slightly different relationship styles would mesh well enough to find a common thread.

But I tried a new (at the time) tactic of just jumping in and seeing where things would go without trying to prescript our future, and also allowing our relationship to change and flex with circumstances instead of holding onto a particular structure and then giving up when circumstances change. And that seems to be the successful strategy.

You "get" me unlike anyone else, you inspire me to be more than I am, and you always seem to come up with some nuanced philosophy that so clearly expresses views that I, myself, am just developing or being introduced to, unintentionally providing me with such a clear roadmap, lighting my path and showing me the way I wish to travel.

Thank you for always being there for me and for taking so many years to get to know me and evolve along with me. I look forward to sharing many more years, many more shared projects, many more conversations, many more debates, and even many more chagrined moments as I realize that I have gradually approached a perspective that you held for some time and that I argued against at first but have eventually come on my own to see.
28th-Sep-2013 12:56 am - 50 Shades Of Fucked Up - The Movie
Flogging, BDSM
Some time ago, I had the occasion to connect with Michael Chapman, filmmaker and creator of the movie The Ledge.  Because of that connection, he started following me on Facebook and has seen me rant about the 50 Shades of Grey pieces of shit er, I mean novels.  Now, it turns out that the actor who played the lead in his movie, The Ledge (alongside Live Tyler), has been positioned to play the lead character in 50 Shades, Christian Grey, in the upcoming movie version of the book.  So Chapman has even more of an interest in the new movie.  And he asked me my opinion on whether or not the new movie has any hope of being good.

Flattered that an actual filmmaker would seek me out for my opinion on the subject and kind of shocked that he was even aware I had one, I thought about it, and wrote him a long response, trying to summarize my feelings for this book and its sequels into a single email.  It's a lengthy response, but I still think I only barely scratched the surface of what I was trying to convey.

Nevertheless, he liked my response so much that he asked if he could publish it on The Ledge's Facebook page.  Naturally, I said, of course!  I hadn't written it with a public post in mind, so it's clearly an email response to a question, but he was welcome to post it if he wanted.  So, he did, and it has now been read by over 6,000 people all around the world (The Ledge apparently has quite the international following, considering it's a movie with an atheist protagonist and a Christian is the bad guy, and theism vs. atheism is a big part of the conflict).  This is the largest platform I've ever had for one of my opinions.  So I'm pretty stoked!  If you're on Facebook, you can see the post and like it and offer your own perspective: https://www.facebook.com/theledgemovie/posts/598254666879883.  If you're not on Facebook, here's what I wrote:



I think the only way a good movie can come out of that book is if it keeps just the title in common and basically becomes a whole other movie, without the author's "creative" input. There are no redeeming features of that book.

Now, whether it will make *money* or win the cast and crew some acclaim is a different story. But the very premise of the story is that it romanticizes abusive relationships and reinforces the "if you love him he will change" trope, all with very boring, unkinky sex and a lot of really bad writing. It's Twilight fan-fiction for fuck's sake.

It's very premise is flawed, and if the story foundation is bad, there's nothing you can do to dress it up and make it better. Keeping the title and changing everything else about it is common in Hollywood, but it might piss off the book fans. The best thing that anyone in the kink community can say about that book is "at least it got mainstream people talking about BDSM, and maybe, because of their interest, they'll research the healthy ways to do kink." I think my favorite criticism I've heard so far was "It angered both the librarian and the pervert in me", but I don't know who said that.

I think anyone involved in filmmaking as an artform would do well to pay attention to the BDSM community's view on the book. If they are part of a film for the art of it, then 50 Shades is not a good choice. But anyone wishing to earn a little notoriety and be shocking would probably get something worthwhile out of being affiliated with the movie, because it will get attention.

The "big strong domly man trains a submissive woman who just doesn't know she's submissive yet" storyline is one of the most common kink storylines ever. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of books with that same plot. Any of them is going to be better written than 50 Shades, and at least some of them are going to be written by people who actually have some experience in the kink community, unlike the author, James.

In fact, I'll recommend one right now. It's called The Training of Eileen and it's available on Amazon - Elicitation is the first book in the series. It's the same plot - rich guy finds innocent young wife and trains her to be his sex slave. But the difference is that he wasn't abused and raped as a child and who now takes out his sociopathic rage towards women on his partners. This main character is caring and loving - he does what he does because *the submissive likes it*.

It uses the "she just doesn't know it yet" trope, but in this case, it's not a rapey excuse, it's that he paid attention to her early on and detected submissive tendencies in what she revealed about herself. In this story, it's all about giving the submissive what she wants and giving her permission to want it. In 50 Shades, it's all about what the dom wants (to beat women) and the power struggle between him and his girl who wants to "fix" his broken kinky ways.

So, my opinion is that there is no salvation for this movie. It cannot, by virtue of its source, ever become a good movie without doing the Hollywood bait-and-switch - capitalizing on the name but completely rewriting it from the ground up. But it *can* become a money-maker and it *can* catapult the cast and crewmembers into some measure of fame by association. The question is, is that the kind of association one wants to be known for? The kink community does not support the book, except to for those who welcome *any* conversation-starter, even bad ones. Since I have enough trouble getting trapped by men (as I am a single heterosexual female) who think that "coercion" is merely another word for foreplay, to say that I am not one of those who even welcomes it as a conversation starter is an understatement.

I'll leave you with some chapter-by-chapter reviews of the book, if you're interested to hear exactly what is so wrong with it and why:

http://collegeatthirty.blogspot.com/search/label/fifty%20shades%20of%20grey
http://jennytrout.blogspot.com/p/jen-reads-50-shades-of-grey.html
http://zephyrscribe.tumblr.com/tagged/50+Shades+of+Grey
http://theramblingcurl.blogspot.com/2013/02/need-more-evidence-that-50-shades-is.html
demure, sad, polite, boxed in, Misty in Box

Saw a sitcom the other day where a girl got jealous of her boyfriend hanging out with his ex. The guy showed no sexual or romantic interest in the ex-girlfriend, and even seemed to completely miss anything that could have been an innuendo from the ex (and it really was "could have been" - she seemed equally as oblivious to any innuendo and did not appear to be behaving in a predatory or inappropriate way).  He behaved, in my opinion, in a way that, if you cut her out of the scene, you wouldn't be able to tell the gender or the past relationship from his actions.

The girlfriend told him that she was uncomfortable (which, honestly, is a step up in the good relationship skills department for a sitcom), but he tried to assure her that she had nothing to fear.  She tried to make him understand by threatening to hang out with her own ex and he said he wouldn't mind if she did.  So she did.  She very deliberately chose a good looking ex and very deliberately chose a setting designed to increase the discomfort.  The only flaw in her plan, I think, was in choosing an ex that she actively despised, so if her boyfriend really had a reason to worry, this would not have been the guy to worry about.  She also proceeded to avoid her ex as much as possible, not doing anything flirtatious or to lead him on in any way.  She explicitly expressed her distaste to her ex and was honest about there being no interest there.  The ex, similarly, did not flirt with or hit on the girlfriend or behave in a way that would make her uncomfortable, other than the fact that he was a general sort of jackass and she just didn't like him.

The sitcom then showed the boyfriend getting along rather well with the ex-boyfriend, much to the girlfriend's annoyance.  It looked like her plan was going to backfire and that he really was secure and she really was in the wrong.  I would have loved to have seen a sitcom that took that track.  But, 'twas not to be.  In the end, he confessed to feeling uncomfortable around the ex, he was just being socially polite, but that he'd rather not have her spend time with the ex anymore - even though she loathed the ex and would stop seeing him the second her point was proved or she had lost the argument.  The couple ultimately both agreed that they shouldn't hang out with exes anymore so that neither would have to feel uncomfortable.


::facepalm::

What a lost opportunity!  What a great chance to highlight trust and security in a relationship!  What a perfect time to illustrate good communication skills, personal growth, and the amazing strength a relationship can have when those in it have unshakable trust in each other. Without even broaching the subject of open relationships or changing the plot at all!  Since we never actually witnessed the boyfriend behaving jealously, they could have altered that final conversation just a little so that he said "see honey?  I'm not worried about him being in your life because of how much I trust you and how much faith I put in our relationship," and she could have said "you're right, dear, I see how solid our relationship is and how much trust you put in me, and I will work to be worthy of your trust and to be as trusting of our relationship, to honor the love you have given me.  The love you have for me is so amazing and so strong, that I want to gift you with a love as equally amazing and strong, and I will strive to do just that."

One paragraph of dialog changed, only slightly, could have made such a huge change in the tone of the show, while leaving everything else exactly as the mindless-sitcom watching audience apparently would have wanted.  I'm willing to bet money that a sitcom that left in all the standard, silly hijinks that this episode included, and ended with a reinforcement of monogamous values, but that just happened to not reward jealousy, would have been well received - or at least gone unnoticed.  I'm willing to bet that there would not have been any outrage at a sitcom that ended with a monogamous couple not cheating, not opening up their relationship, and upholding their commitment to each other to be faithful in a relationship so strong that no outside influences could tear them apart, even though the sitcom also didn't encourage insecurity as a way to make that commitment to monogamy.

I'm reminded of the time when I was at a party with my high school sweetheart (in a monogamous relationship), and we both kind of separated to hang out with our respective friends at the party (physically went to different places, not had a romantic separation), and a girl who had a crush on him started following him around. My friends who witnessed it spent the whole night coming up to me to tell me about it. No one could believe that I was truly OK that he spent time with her.

The thing is, I absolutely trusted him. There was nothing she could do at all that could *make* him violate our relationship agreements without his participation, and I fully believed, with my whole heart, that he would not violate our relationship. She could stand there, stark naked, and say "take me now!", and he would just say "um, wow, uh, I gotta go." She could touch him and he would move away. There was NOTHING she could do. Even if she raped or molested him, it would, by definition, be without his consent, making her the bad guy, not him.  Oh, I have no doubt that she could have set up a situation where he might have actually gotten aroused, but I fully believe that he would never have DONE anything to violate our relationship agreement of monogamy - that he was fully capable of controlling his actions in spite of any feelings that might, ahem, arise, and that he is not an animal who, once turned on, must sate his lust no matter the consequences.  I was never under the illusion that he didn't find other women attractive.  I just believed he could have those feelings and not act on them, or that if he felt he had to act, he would break up with me first.

And if he DID do something to violate our relationship, that would have been HIS decision, not hers. If he really wanted to violate our relationship, keeping him away from *her* would not have stopped him. He would have found some other way.  Either I would be unsuccessful at keeping him away from her specifically, or he would find another girl whom I wasn't trying to keep away from him.  As a former cheater myself, I knew better than anyone that a person who wants to cheat will, no matter what they agree to or how hard their partner tries to stop them.  Perhaps ironically, being a former cheater in no way lessened my ability to trust my sweetheart, but does make me extremely hostile towards those who justify cheating now that I have relationships that are set up so that I don't feel that I have to cheat to get what I need out of relationships.  If I'm not getting what I need from a relationship, I adjust the relationship parameters so that I can get what I need (namely, freedom and independence).  But that's a whole other discussion.

My first fiance and I had a similar situation. He had an evening planned with his best friend, his "big sister" (a slightly older girl he thought of in a sister way) whom he hadn't seen since she went off to college. Most of the evening was in public with their mutual friends. 2 girls, one who wanted to hook up with me and one who wanted to hook up with him, started calling me at home to tell me just how chummy my fiance and his friend were being - the point was to sow dissension and distrust so that we would break up & be "free" for each of them to move in on us.

I was not bothered at all by anything they were saying. I already knew they were "chummy" and I trusted him. I finally had to go down to the restaurant where they all were just so that the girls would stop calling me. But I didn't confront him about his dubious behaviour, I told him that the girls were pestering me and that I trusted him to honor our relationship. I asked him to address their accusations, and I found his explanations to be completely reasonable. I had no problems with him hugging his "big sister", with her kissing him on the cheek, with them sitting next to each other in the booth, or with them poking and tickling each other. All of that were completely normal things for siblings to do and I was similarly affectionate with my platonic male friends.

As a monogamous teenager, I had nothing to fear. I was absolutely confident. At a time when most people are at their most insecure, most needy, and most lacking in relationship skills, I had nothing to fear. He would be faithful to me or he wouldn't. In either case, that was something between us, not me and her.

As someone who also has felt the twinge of insecurity that comes when another person of the appropriate gender enters the picture, it seemed to me as a hormonal teenager and it still seems to me now that if you can't trust your partners to behave themselves just because someone of the appropriate gender is nearby, then your relationship has bigger problems than an old friend or ex hanging around.

Believe me, I do completely understand feeling insecure that is triggered by the presence of another person.  I have, in the past, even asked partners to refrain from being romantically involved with particular people because I was afraid of how their presence would affect our relationship.  And you know what I found out?  That my original teenaged position was validated - either he would be with her or he wouldn't, no amount of me placing restrictions would change that, and that ultimately, the problems caused by his interest in another woman were really problems between he and I that restricting his behaviour would not have solved.  There comes a point at which you just have to let go and trust in your partner to make decisions that will not harm you, and to trust that, when he or she does (because no one is perfect), the two of you can find a resolution and overcome the hurt that was caused.  Because without that trust, your relationship is doomed (or dysfunctional, which one could technically call "doomed" but which could also last a very long time, even until death).

16th-Sep-2013 12:09 am - STD PSA
Nude Drawing, sex
Did you know that STD screening only requires a blood & urine test? No invasive procedures, no penis swabbing, just a blood and urine sample. That's it! And did you know that they ONLY test for the specific STDs that you're paying them to test for? Nothing else. No "everything" test, no drug test, no genetic defect test, just the specific STD tests that you request. NOTHING else will show up on these tests.

Which means that you have to request specific STD tests. You can't just ask for "everything". They can't test for "everything". If you ask for "everything", they'll just give you those tests they think you ought to be tested for, which actually leaves out quite a few STDs because most clinics don't think you need to worry your pretty little head about silly things like STDs unless you're showing symptoms.

Also, you can get the most important tests at your local Planned Parenthood (while offices are still open, which won't be for long if the Rethuglicans have their way - PP is my primary health care provider, which means I'm screwed if I move to an area where the offices are getting shut down) or county clinic for fairly low rates. For a little more, you can get even more tests from several online services that will just send you to a local lab for your convenience.

All sexually active adults should get tested regularly, just the way we do other regular maintenance tests. If you're in a long-term monogamous relationship and you're not showing any symptoms, then your maintenance schedule will be different from someone with multiple partners, someone showing symptoms, or someone with shorter-term relationships.

My personal recommendation is to get tested prior to engaging in sexual activity with a new partner, and then again 6 months after first contact with a new partner. I also recommend actually trading test results with your prospective partners. After that, consult with your doctor about what kind of maintenance schedule is right for you. In most cases, women will only need a pap and HPV test about once every 2 or 3 years (guys can take their HPV status from their female partners) and that's it until/unless there's a change of partner or you're showing symptoms.

Speaking of HPV, ask your dentist about oral HPV screening. It's an important first defense in catching throat and mouth cancers caused by HPV.

Speaking of specific STDs, here's the bare minimum that I recommend getting tested for, all of which are available at PP, and the first four (what I call The Big Four) are usually available at your local county clinic:

~HIV
~Syphilis
~Gonorrhea
~Chlamydia
~HSV 1 & 2 (you have to specifically ask for both 1 & 2 or they won't give you 1)
~HPV for people with a cervix (no test for cismen except orally at the dentist)

If you haven't ever been tested for it, you might want to get tested for Hepatitis just to start out your record keeping with a full baseline set of records, but unless you're showing symptoms or think you've been exposed, this does not need to be done as often as the others.

I also recommend getting the Hep A&B vaccine, as well as the HPV vaccine if you can afford it. You can still get the HPV vaccine even if you're over 30, you just have to pay for it out of pocket and probably will have to go to a private physician instead of a clinic. The only reason the FDA approved it for under 30 is because it loses effectiveness if you've already been exposed, and if you're over 30, then you've probably been exposed. But that doesn't mean it's worthless.

The diseases with the highest mortality rate (i.e. likely to kill you) are also the easiest to avoid by using condoms and not sharing needles. Everything else is manageable, so don't stress out about STDs. Get tested so that you know where to start from and keep records just like your other health maintenance routines. It's nothing to freak out about, but it should still be done, just like going to the dentist or changing the oil in your car. It's better to know what your status is so that you can make appropriate decisions about your personal health practices. Routine maintenance for the responsible, sexually active adult.



To follow-up on the PSA about STI testing, here's a Sexual Health & History Disclosure form that's useful for helping you keep track of your sexual health records: http://www.theinnbetween.net/sexual_health_and_history.pdf Right-click on the link and save the file to your computer.  From there, you can fill it out and save and/or print it.

Even if you never share this with anyone and just use it to keep your own records, it's important that you know your medical history, and sexual health is just one aspect of your medical history.

This applies even to monogamous people, although if you've been monogamously married for a whole bunch of years, it's probably less important to share this with your partner, as I'm assuming you have already shared this info with them at least at some point over the years. But, as I know people who think "what happened before we met doesn't count", that's probably not a safe assumption for me to make.

It does count - get tested!
4th-Sep-2013 09:32 pm - Me Unimpressed
Bad Computer!, anger

  • An image of null
    May 5, 2013 – 6:56am
    look beautiful
    Report this

    37% Enemy55% Friend75% MatchMessage from alex_121


  • Just now!
    read profile

4th-Sep-2013 08:39 pm - The Strong Silent Type
photography, Self-Portrait, personal

  • An image of null
    May 11, 2013 – 1:06am
    Hi.
    Report this

    58% Enemy31% Friend10% MatchMessage from a_gentleman


  • Just now!
    Read the profile.


Seriously, what makes anyone think this approach works?  Just, "hi".  It's not as offensive as some of the others, but probably about as effective.  Could he possibly have put any less effort into contacting me?  If he made any less effort, he's just be a drive-by - y'know, where you just look at the profile and move on.  After all the work I put into my profile, to explain the important aspects of who I am, to help us both not waste our time by weeding out those clearly incompatible, this is the amount of effort he extends to me?  Hi.

I've already put forth more effort into him, specifically, than he bothered to put into me, what with this rant and all.  I bet he gets complaints a lot from his exes that he doesn't show them his feelings or that the relationships feel one-sided.

And, because this is essentially the exact same thing, I'm pasting it here rather than making another entry for it:


  • An image of null
    May 10, 2013 – 2:46pm
    Sent from the OkCupid apphelloSent from the OkCupid app
    Report this

    0% Enemy0% Friend10% MatchMessage from danj101


  • Just now!
    Read the profile.

woo, stupidity, rants, Dobert Demons of Stupidity, religion

  • An image of null
    May 30, 2013 – 10:12am
    Hi,

    I wish I could take you to TN to live with me and live happy ever after. Your so kool love the costumes.http://www.facebook.com/frankandre.velasquez?ref=tn_tnmn
    Report this

    53% Enemy45% Friend25% MatchMessage from UrbanPhotos


  • Just now!
    It didn't occur to you that a total stranger telling a woman on the internet that he wants to steal her away to some other state would be creepy?

4th-Sep-2013 07:28 pm - Why Do These People Find Me?
Bad Computer!, anger

  • An image of null
    Jun 14, 2013 – 7:38am
    Hi wanna mess around with a married guy?
    Report this

    Message from Bucs-fan010


  • Delete

    Sorry, Bucs-fan010 no longer has an account.


Hi, wanna fuck off?
4th-Sep-2013 07:26 pm - Yes, People Actually Say This Shit
Bad Computer!, anger

  • An image of null
    Jun 26, 2013 – 11:18am
    Sent from the OkCupid appDamn girl, let me hit that. LolSent from the OkCupid app
    Report this

    22% Enemy67% Friend63% MatchMessage from MusicTeachJames


  • Just now!
    Speak to me like that in person and it is I who will be doing the hitting. Now fuck off.

4th-Sep-2013 07:23 pm - Please Don't Contact Me
Bad Computer!, anger

  • An image of null
    Jun 26, 2013 – 6:46pm
    Hello,
    Great profile and great photos. I run an international logistics firm; travel a great deal. While travelling I am very involved in the cuckold lifestyle as a Bull. I'm fun, safe and fit. completely straight, but will appreciate your power over your cuck and allow him to eat my cum of of or out of you.
    I began with this hobby while in college, there was no Viagra back then. I would frequent a few very selective swinger parties where husbands and wives would invite me to fuck wifey while the husband would watch. I enjoyed it and the hobby grew.
    I'm sure we could work out a special trip where I could get you off while your little husband was restrained, denied and forced to watch.
    Please contact me. I look forward to serving you,
    Best
    Nathan White
    Report this

    33% Enemy49% Friend83% MatchMessage from Goodfriendnate


  • Just now!
    Read the profile.

  • Just now!
    And never send another offensive form letter like that to anyone ever again.


Let's be clear here.  It's not the cuckold fetish that bothers me.  It's the fact that he DIDN'T FUCKING READ THE PROFILE, sent a form letter, and thought that a FIRST CONTACT email was an appropriate place to sexually proposition someone.
4th-Sep-2013 06:48 pm - Just ... WTF
Bad Computer!, anger

  • An image of null
    Jul 15, 2013 – 6:07am
    i would like to try u sweetheart what do u think
    Report this

    49% Enemy57% Friend46% MatchMessage from rohanforluv


  • Just now!
    I think you're a fucktard who needs to have a hot poker shoved up his ass. Now fuck off.

4th-Sep-2013 06:30 pm - But Why Can't We Be Friends?
Bad Computer!, anger

  • An image of null
    Sep 3, 2013 – 4:21pm
    I'd like to be friends. But, then again . . . FUCK OFF.
    Report this

    28% Enemy67% Friend92% MatchMessage from cpilate32


  • Just now!
    Moron. When you approach someone, you're the one who has to fuck off.

    Imbecile.

4th-Sep-2013 06:25 pm - How YOU doin?
Bad Computer!, anger

  • An image of null
    Sep 4, 2013 – 10:16am
    Hey, how you doing?
    Report this

    48% Enemy9% Friend43% MatchMessage from Davidt123


  • Just now!
    I'd be doing better if you'd read the profile before contacting women.

Purple Mobius, polyamory
http://www.petting-zoo.org/2013/08/30/teamplay/

I can't tell you how many times I've tried to correct people on the "protect the existing relationship" that once you introduce someone(s) new, there is no longer any "existing" relationship - it's a whole new thing that has a whole new dynamic with (perhaps only slightly, perhaps massively) different needs and priorities.

New partners are not patches to be slapped onto an old pair of jeans - intended to add onto and improve, but not otherwise significantly change the original garment. They are a completely unique element unto themselves that changes the entire ensemble - sometimes in complimentary ways, sometimes in unflattering ways, sometimes merely altering the tone but sometimes changing the whole look and feel of the outfit.

Like my black slashed t-shirt that I made for a 7 Deadly Sins party one year, where I dressed as Wrath. With the leather pants and chain mail skirt and creepy fire eye contacts, I looked like Wrath. But paired with a black fedora and short flirty skirt and hi-top Converse, the black slashed t-shirt looked totally '80s hip hop dancer. Vastly different outfits because I swapped out other elements.

Then, for my Victorian ballgown, that's clearly a historical looking outfit. But I can take off the outer blouse and skirt, and just wear the corset and underskirt, and I get a Victorian-themed ballroom dancing outfit or add a mask and I got a kink-appropriate Masquerade outfit. Leave the whole thing put together and add some jewelry made of gears and I get a Steampunk Victorian outfit. Leave the fantail down and I get an extravagant gown that needs an assistant to move around or pin the fantail up and I get a much more practical gown that I can walk around in. Same outfit, different tones and feelings with different elements.

     

So stop trying to "protect the existing relationship" and start asking "exactly what kind of team is this anyway, and what will it be with me as part of it?"
28th-Aug-2013 02:00 pm - Keep In Touch At Dragon*Con
Silent Bob Headbang, yay!, shiny, cool
For the last several years, I've maintained a Group Me for conventions.  This is a web-based service that allows you to enter your phone number, join a particular Group Me (or be added by the moderator), and then send a regular SMS text message to the Group Me phone number that will then be relayed to everyone else in the group.  They have the option to do the same.  This has come in handy for sending a single message out to everyone to say "I'm going to eat at the hotel restaurant, anyone else free and want to share a meal?" and "Party tonight is in room 465!" and "Sorry, have to cancel the party - roommate is sick.  Please don't show up tonight!"  I send one message to one phone number and reach everyone who needs that information.  Everyone else can send a message or reply to mine and everyone else gets to see it too.

Some people have suggested that Facebook or Twitter is the same thing, or good enough, for this purpose.  But I don't agree.  For one thing, it requires that everyone whom you wish to speak to has a FB or Twitter account.  Second, it requires that you be friends with those people.  Third, it requires that you have the ability to access FB or Twitter whenever you want to send that message.   For some people, this is all true.

But not for me. And here's why...Collapse )

Group Me allows you to join yourself or have the moderator add you to the group.  No one else will see your phone number unless they already have your phone number in their phone's address book, so it protects your privacy.  It allows you to choose your display name so you can use the name that people can use to find you online or not, as you prefer.  It removes me as the central organizing point and gives everyone else on the list some degree of control or participation.  It works for all phones that have SMS capabilities (and if my ancient clam-shell dumb phone can do it, then every cell phone can do it).  It does not cost anything except whatever your current text messaging plan is.  If you have limited text messages, you can turn it on and off, and you can also check messages at the website with a computer or other device with internet access.

If you have no internet access and no or limited texting capabilities, then it's true, this service will not work for you.  But I'm also at a loss as to how to include you on con' plan coordination at all in this case if I can't text or send you internet messages.  So, sorry.

Here are specifics on how to join & use the GroupMe...Collapse )
24th-Aug-2013 02:44 am - You Have No Claim Over My Dancing
Bad Computer!, anger
So there's a guy who pissed me off recently and I want to delve into it to process the incident. As ya'll know, I do a form of ballroom dancing that's called "social dancing". It's basically people who have learned at least a little bit of formal ballroom, Latin, and/or swing dancing who then go out either to public venues or to ballroom dance studios and other dance spaces and just do what they do. Sometimes we learn something new, but mostly it's about having a good time and practicing or expressing whatever amount we *have* learned. Social dancing tends to focus on being good leaders and followers - on good communication - rather than perfect form or memorizing a lot of patterns (specific dance steps within a dance style). Many people only know a handful of patterns for each dance style that they've learned. It's about communication and connection and physical activity more than excelling at a physical art or sport. Perhaps not coincidentally, that also sounds like romantic relationships - being about communication and connection and physical activity.

Some background on the kind of dancing that's related to the incident.Collapse )

So back to the incident...Collapse )


Now I have some things to say about that...Collapse )


Video of the danceCollapse )
20th-Aug-2013 07:43 pm - I Love/Hate Strong Female Characters
Super Tech, strong, feminism

"In narrative terms, agency is far more important than “strength” – it’s what determines whether a character is truly part of the story, or a detachable accessory. ... Their strength lets them, briefly, dominate bystanders but never dominate the plot. "

I love female characters who are strong. I think of myself as strong, so a female character who is strong makes me feel represented in the film - she's someone I can relate to, can emphasize with. But being able to throw a punch is not enough. A cardboard cutout with kung-fu grip isn't something I can relate to, emphasize with. She still has to be a *person*, and the Disney princesses and other pandering female leads are not good enough.

My favorite male characters are complex, with flaws. My favorite female characters are also complex, with flaws. But I also want female characters that I *don't* like - because I want there to be so many female characters, in such diversity, that I can't possibly like them all. I want there to be so many female characters with such diversity that the very idea of inserting the "obligatory strong female character" becomes as nonsensical as it currently is to consider throwing in a "strong male character" just to keep the male demographic happy.

I don't want writers to throw in a female character, strong or otherwise, to make us damn uppity feminists shut up and I certainly don't want writers to throw in a female character to give the guys some eye-candy to sell movie tickets. I want there to be female characters because women are interesting, complex protagonists, antagonists, and side characters who have interesting stories to tell.

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/08/why-i-hate-strong-female-characters</span></span>

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