Friday, August 15, 2008
This is the story I turned in for my final. Yep, I read it in front of the class.
I'd like to emphasize that this is FICTION. It is NOT based on me and Jon, except for the conversation in the restaurant, which mostly happened (but for different reasons... remember my procedure? We had to be creative). The thing about the labels is also true; I'm sort of obsessed. Everything else is made up. I'm completely comfortable in sex shops, and I would never throw a washcloth away like that.
Without further ado...
I bought the corkscrew that will open the wine that will enable me to get screwed--in the butt. Is there irony in this? At the time I couldn’t decide, but in retrospect I recall that irony is dependent upon intent, and since my intent was for things to head that direction, it’s not ironic. The only irony is in the connotation of unscrewing to get screwed, and that’s a little too obvious to seem clever.
“Let’s get drunk and try something new,” I said, and watched his eyes widen. Suddenly we were co-conspirators, rather than sullen dinner companions. He leaned forward, half-whispering, “Oh yeah?” I saw the beginning of the first smile elicited in nearly an hour.
“Do we have what we need?” he asked, genuinely, finally interested in the conversation.
“It’s all taken care of,” I replied, thinking of the parcels in my purse. “All we need is the wine.”
“You don’t have to, you know.” He’s so sweet.
“I know, I want to. It’ll be fun.”
“We’ll go slow. You’ll have control.”
We moved on to other topics; mutual acquaintances, vacation plans. An upcoming visit to his mother was mentioned, but the subject was quickly changed. We did not order dessert.
“Will there be anything else, sir?” the waitress asked.
“No, thank you, we’re ready to call it a night.”
Liberated by a signature, we fled the restaurant and headed to the grocery store for the wine. There were plenty of knowing looks and giggles; like it was new again. I was excited, but a voice in my head nagged: Is this what you’ve come to? Buying his interest with butt sex?
That afternoon’s trip to the Love Emporium had been an adventure in itself. I approached the door apprehensively, then paused, stood up straight, and took a deep breath. Pretend you belong here. I entered and tried to appear as casual as one can look when confronted with breast-shaped cake molds and double-ended black dildos. Wandering the aisles of restrictive cuffs, nipple clamps, glass phalluses and anal beads, I realized that this place didn’t sell “love”; it sold trust. Which is a good companion to love, sure, but I love plenty of people--I’d have to really trust someone to let him near me with one of those things.
Finally, I found what I was looking for: lube. To my dismay, there were easily fifty different varieties. In the supermarket, I’m the person who spends ten minutes looking at toothpaste, reading every bulleted list of features, carefully comparing the active and inactive ingredients of each brand. Mayonnaise, peanut butter, vanilla extract, anything: I read every label before placing it in my cart, and this is for things I merely intend to put in my mouth. Lube labels lacked the convenience of a well-marked box filled with nutrition facts, but they did include ingredients, giving me somewhere to start. Having an aversion to words containing more than fifteen letters, I looked for shorter lists comprised of things I could at least attempt to pronounce. I felt confident that under no circumstances did I want anything flavored, which ruled out a significant portion of the store’s inventory. Anything in a brightly-colored or obscenely-shaped bottle was also out. I picked up a small, discreet, dark-brown bottle; it read “Gun Oil” in a bold, masculine font. Of course! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this before: pick a gay one. If it was good enough for them, it was good enough for me. I quickly paid and left. The trip to Crate and Barrel for the corkscrew was significantly less notable.
He knew nothing of my afternoon errands as we walked into the grocery store, hand in hand, to make what should have been an easier purchase.
“What kind of wine do you want? Maybe something Australian?” he asked, examining a bottle.
“I don’t care, you pick,” I answered, tired of making the decisions.
“How about a pinot noir?”
“Too many letters.”
He frowned. “I thought you didn’t care.”
“I don’t care. I just want you to pick something that I like.”
“I’m not a mind-reader.”
“I don’t want you to read my mind. I want you to know what I like.”
His frown deepened. “You can be inconsistent, and I don’t like making assumptions.”
“I’m inconsistent?” I volleyed. “At least that’s better then being completely predictable all the time.”
“What’s wrong with knowing what I like? There are worse crimes than repetition, you know.”
Nothing is as unforgivable as being boring, I thought, but I didn’t say it aloud. I knew I only half-believed it, anyway.
He picked up another bottle. “Shiraz?”
“I think I want a GSM, actually.”
He looked at me, half-smiling, half exasperated. “Why didn’t you just say that to begin with?”
“I didn’t realize it until I knew I didn’t want any of the others.”
By the time we arrived home, the grocery store storm-clouds had dissipated, and the mood was again one of anticipation. He put some music on, and we started kissing on the couch. He had one hand in my hair as the other rubbed my back, getting lower and lower until I pulled away, suddenly aware of the mechanics of our endeavor.
“I’ll be right back, okay?”
I locked the door to the bathroom behind me. I needed to make sure everything was… welcoming. I sat down on the toilet, but nothing happened. I bore down a little; still nothing. This probably wasn’t something I could force. I stepped out of my underwear, then stood and grabbed a washcloth from under the sink, ran it under the tap, and added soap. One foot up on the counter, I washed every nook and cranny. Unsure of what else to do, I threw the washcloth in the garbage and washed my hands.
He had lined up the purchases on the counter, and was looking at them intently: the lube, the wine, the corkscrew.
“I feel like I should take a picture,” he said.
“Please don’t,” I said. “Are you going to open that?”
The first glass went down fast. I poured myself a second, grabbed the bottle, and we headed into the bedroom to pick up where we left off.
“So, uhhhh…” He was clearly aroused, and looking forward to our inevitable conclusion. “Are you ready?”
I finished the last of my third glass, having purposefully outpaced him. “Yep, let’s go.”
He applied more lube than is probably reasonable. I thought about how easy it would be to poop the next day. That’s not sexy. Sex acts shouldn’t inspire thoughts of defecating.
“Alright, last chance to back out. I promise I’ll only be a little disappointed if you don’t want to go through with it,” he said, smiling.
I want to say we didn’t do it.
I want to say that instead we decided to talk about the fact that sometimes I cried for no apparent reason, or that he could go three hours without saying a word to me even though we were in the same room, or even that sometimes I longed for the awful, salty freedom of sliding my hand into the waistband of another man’s pants. We could have addressed any number of the tiny horrors we committed each day which ate at what we both once heralded as our penultimate, all-consuming love. Instead, we had sex. You know… the Catholic way. And it was good. Perhaps not as cathartic as a long, honest conversation (or the classic talk/cry combo), but it wasn’t just the naked Band-Aid I had been afraid it would be. I’d put it along the lines of a cheaper, more-orgasmic Ropes course. Our well-rehearsed routine was technically proficient and achieved the stated goals, but trying something new reminded us of what had been missing for quite some time: attentiveness. Professionals on the internet may make it look easy, but this act required care, and focus, and the ever-elusive communication. It was a start.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Thankfully, research is finally backing me up a bit. Thank you, Science.
(Thank you, Nick, also, for posting this article.)
http://www. livescience. com/culture/080812-contraceptive-smell. html
By Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer
posted: 12 August 2008 08:04 pm ET
Birth-control pills could screw up a woman's ability to sniff out a compatible mate, a new study finds.
While several factors can send a woman swooning, including big brains and brawn, body odor can be critical in the final decision, the researchers say. That's because beneath a woman's flowery fragrance or a guy's musk the body sends out aromatic molecules that indicate genetic compatibility.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are involved in immune response and other functions, and the best mates are those that have different MHC smells than you. The new study reveals, however, that when women are on the pill they prefer guys with matching MHC odors.
MHC genes churn out substances that tell the body whether a cell is a native or an invader. When individuals with different MHC genes mate, their offspring's immune systems can recognize a broader range of foreign cells, making them more fit.
Past studies have suggested couples with dissimilar MHC genes are more satisfied and more likely to be faithful to a mate. And the opposite is also true with matchng-MHC couples showing less satisfaction and more wandering eyes.
"Not only could MHC-similarity in couples lead to fertility problems," said lead researcher Stewart Craig Roberts, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Newcastle in England, "but it could ultimately lead to the breakdown of relationships when women stop using the contraceptive pill, as odor perception plays a significant role in maintaining attraction to partners.
The study involved about 100 women, aged 18 to 35, who chose which of six male body-odor samples they preferred. They were tested at the start of the study when none of the participants were taking contraceptive pills and three months later after 40 of the women had started taking the pill more than two months prior.
For the non-pill users, results didn't show a significant preference for similar or dissimilar MHC odors. When women started taking birth control, their odor preferences changed. These women were much more likely than non-pill users to prefer MHC-similar odors.
"The results showed that the preferences of women who began using the contraceptive pill shifted towards men with genetically similar odors," Roberts said.
Based on the work by Claus Wedekind, a University of Lausanne researcher who preformed similar studies in the 1990s, Roberts suggests a likely reason for the pill's effect on a woman's odor preferences. The pill puts a woman's body into a hormonally pregnant state (the reason she doesn’t ovulate), and during that time there would be no reason to seek out a mate.
"When women are pregnant there's no selection pressure, evolutionarily speaking, for having a preference for genetically dissimilar odors," Roberts said. "And if there is any pressure at all it would be towards relatives, who would be more genetically similar, because the relatives would help those individuals rear the baby.
So the pill puts a woman's body into a post-mating state, even though she might be still in the game.
”The pill is in effect mirroring a natural shift but at an inappropriate time,” Roberts told LiveScience.
The results are detailed in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Friday, July 18, 2008
It's basically the best idea Dana has ever had. We write two-word phrases (four-letter words, natch) on her fingers, then take a picture of it and post it, with a brief explanation. The first day showcased the iconic "Thug Life," then Dana got creative and came up with "Taco Bell." I'm the Art Director, which means I draw the words on her, and take the pictures. I've also come up with some of the knuckle phrases. "Head Lice"? That one was all me. The forthcoming post (I don't want to ruin the surprise) is my favorite yet, and I wrote the blurb explaining why it was such an important choice. The credit for the phrase is all Dana, though.
If you can think of any sweet knuckle phrases you'd like to see written on Dana, please pass them along.
Monday, July 7, 2008
The biggest thing going on for me right now (aside from hanging out with Jon all the time, because I'm one of those people who falls in love and stops calling her friends) is the Creative Writing class I'm taking. It's basically great. Almost everyone in the class seems to want to be there, which makes a huge difference. There's a real sense of camaraderie when we discuss our pieces, and I love it. With that said, I'm going to include my first assignment, a short dialogue in the style of a one-act play (not that I'd expect anyone to act it out, the point of the assignment was writing dialogue and making believing characters that the reader/listener cares about). Sorry subscribers, I don't know the blogspot equivalent of an "lj-cut," so it's going to be long.
"The Forever Girl"
Cecilia; 30 years old, dark hair, business-casual dress.
Tom; 35 years old, tall, conventionally attractive, wearing a suit.
Setting: Mid-scale hotel room, not fancy, not dirty. Both sitting on the made bed, both fully dressed, except for Tom’s jacket, which has been hung on a chair. Her purse is on the desk, above which hangs a mirror.
Cecilia: So, she’s "the one?"
Tom: She fucking better be. I asked her to marry me, didn’t I?
Cecilia: Don’t swear at me. You never used to swear at me.
Tom: (Stands) I didn’t swear at you, I swore to emphasize how insulting your question was. What’s your problem, anyway?
Cecilia: What’s my problem!? I’m not the one who walked in and announced I was getting married with as much gravity as if I had said I was buying a new couch.
Tom: Well, it is like buying a couch. A slightly used couch, that I’m keeping forever.
Cecilia: You’re disgusting.
Tom: Oh come on, that was funny. I’ve never known you to be sentimental, Cecilia. You’ve picked an odd time to start.
Cecilia: Well excuse me for not being overwhelmed with joy at your connubial bliss.
Tom: Impending connubial bliss; we’re not married yet.
Cecilia: Same difference. I want my records back, by the way.
Tom: Your records? Jesus, Cee. (Sits) Nothing is changing, I’ll just have a ring on my finger. I can take it off before we meet if it bothers you that much.
Cecilia: Nothing is changing!? Everything has changed. You’re changing everything, and you act like it’s nothing.
Tom: Don’t be so dramatic. I’m marrying Angie because she’s put in the effort, because she deserves it. She’ll be a great mom and she’s not afraid to host Thanksgiving dinner. She’s everything a man could ever desire, and she’s given me her loveliest years. So I’m giving her half of my assets. It’s only fair.
Cecilia: You’re revolting.
Tom: If that were true, you wouldn’t be here.
Cecilia: (Making eye contact) If she were everything a man could ever desire, you wouldn’t be here.
Tom: (Pregnant pause) Fine. She’s all a normal man should desire. I need a little more. That’s why I have you. (reaches for her hand)
Cecilia: (Withdraws hand) Had me. I don’t sleep with married men.
Tom: Oh for crying out loud. What’s the difference? I was with her when we met, it didn’t stop
Cecilia: She was your girlfriend then. Now she’s your fiancee, soon to be your wife. I refuse to be the "other woman."
Tom: (Gently) Cee, you were always the "other woman."
Cecilia: (Staring ahead, refusing to meet his gaze) Not like this.
Tom: (Tom looks thoughtful. He stands and paces the room slowly) I had no idea you could possibly care about this so much. I thought we understood each other.
Cecilia: Funny, so did I.
Tom: Did it really never occur to you that I might marry someone else? You couldn’t have thought that I was going to propose to you.
Cecilia: Don’t be stupid, of course not. Not any time soon, anyway... I mean, no, I don’t want to marry you. Not actively. But I guess I saw more romance in our liaison when it didn’t end with your swearing loyalty to someone else before God and your mother.
Tom: But that’s what I’m saying; we don’t have to end with that. It circumvents that entirely, because the two are unrelated.
Cecilia: Unrelated!? Incredible. (Stands) So, if you thought that you and I understood each other, do you think you and Angie understand each other? (Paces contemplatively)
Tom: Of course. We’ve lived together for years. We’re practically symbiotic.
Cecilia: So she knows about me? Knows about us?
Tom: Are you kidding? Of course not.
Cecilia: (Sarcastically) What, she wouldn’t understand?
Tom: You know perfectly well why she doesn’t know about us. I’ve never met a girl who was that understanding.
Cecilia: Well, maybe she’ll surprise you. Maybe she’ll still want to marry you when she finds out.
Tom: I guess I’ll never know, because she’s not going to find out.
Cecilia: Oh? What makes you so sure?
Tom: (Looking her in the eye) Because I’m not going to tell her, and you’re not going to tell her, and no one we know is going to tell her.
Cecilia: You’re never going to tell her.
Tom: That’s the general idea of an affair.
Cecilia: (Sits on the bed, bouncing a little. Mischievously) And what if I tell her?
Tom: (Nears Cecilia and kneels to meet her eye level) You won’t, because you wouldn’t get anything out of it. It would do absolutely nothing for you. You hate scenes, you don’t like emotional women, and most of all you couldn’t stand being marked as a woman scorned. You would look jealous, and you would look weak. And that’s not the Cecilia I know. That you are neither of those things is why I couldn’t stay away from you.
Cecilia: I liked you because you were emotionally unavailable and good in bed.
Tom: A match made in heaven.
Cecilia: (She breaks his gaze, and stares ahead as she lets the sadness well. Tearfully, more to Fate than to Tom) Why does this always happen to me?
Tom: (Rises and sits next to her on the bed) I can’t answer that for you.
Cecilia: I’m always the temptation, the private conquest, the secret. I’m never THE girl, the bring-home-to-mom girl, the Forever girl.
Tom: Maybe not everyone is made to be that girl. Maybe you’re meant for something else. You don’t strike me as the white-picket-fence, happily-ever-after type, Cee.
Cecilia: (Absorbs what Tom said. Collecting herself, she stands and walks over to the desk, looking at herself in the mirror) You’re right, I should have expected this. You can marry whomever you like, it makes no difference to me.
Tom: And what about us?
Cecilia: There is no "us."
Tom: I thought you might say that. I’ll miss you like crazy, you know.
Cecilia: (Turns to face him) You’ll cope. I need you to leave, now.
Tom: (Stands, crosses the room to her and takes her in his arms. He leans in to kiss her, but she
turns her face).
Tom: (He releases her, and removes his jacket from the chair, putting it on) That’s more like the woman I know. I’ll have my assistant drop those records off . They’re great recordings, you have good taste.
Cecilia: I know. Goodbye, Tom.
Tom: Take care, Cee. (He opens the door, turns to look at her, then exits, closing the door behind him)
Cecilia: (Turns to the mirror and smooths her hair) "White picket fence." Of course I don’t want
a white picket fence. That’s the most boring idea of forever I’ve ever heard. If that’s what he thinks "happily ever after" is, she can have him. (Picks up her purse and exits, without looking back)
It looks like the italics on the stage directions didn't copy. I'll try to fix that later, but for now I'm posting it as-is. The assignment is due tomorrow at 6, so I don't have a lot of time to make edits from feedback, but if you have a suggestion between now and like 5 pm tomorrow, please post it. Obviously, "It sucks, rewrite it," wouldn't be a particularly helpful suggestion;I'm more looking for small changes in wording to make it sound more natural, or anything someone thinks needs clarification.
That's all for now. Our next assignment is poetry, so in the near future I'll be posting some of that, looking for help. Poetry is not a strength of mine and I'm a little nervous, but also excited to hopefully improve my skills.
OH. And I have the dates for Maine: August 27th - September 2nd. Not very long, I know. But, Jon is coming with me! He's going to meet my family and see where I grew up and it's basically a big deal. So I'm excited for that.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
For the most part I've been settling into a routine of housebound-coupledom. I've been reading a lot, since there isn't internet at my new apartment yet (we're lazy), and I spend most of my time at Jon's, where the only thing to do really if he's on the computer is to read. I've been reading A. M. Homes, first The Safety of Objects, then Music for Torching, and I just finished The End of Alice. I bought Things You Should Know as well, but I forgot it at home. If you've read her, you know that she specializes in suburban dystopias (which is almost redundant, anyway), and is generally a pervert. After filling my head with affairs, death, supreme unhappiness, unlikable characters, and the half-mad musings of a blood-thirsty Humbert Humbert knock-off (The End of Alice really wasn't very good. Maybe someone who hasn't read Lolita could possibly enjoy it, though "enjoy" probably isn't the right word), I feel like I need a brain bath. Hers is a consciousless, cum-stained, hate-filled, self-involved universe, and I feel infected somehow, like I couldn't possibly be happy with anything, ever. It's gross.
I'm debating whether I want to read the last book of short-stories just to get it over with and put her away once and for all, or if I need a break. It's a short book. I'll probably just read it. And then I need to find something vaguely hopeful to read, before I give up on humanity. Any ideas? Not The Audacity of Hope, thanks.
What else. Nick has been at BEA for the last five-ish days, and all of his reports from there (which include high-rise hotel rooms and meeting Alec Baldwin) have made me unconsolably jealous. Why don't I attend celebrity-dotted parties? Why don't I ever go anywhere new? Why don't I have a real job? These are not nice questions to answer. In fact I'm thoroughly disgusted by the answers to all of them.
My most notable accomplishment of late was volunteering at the Emerald City Comicon, which earned me the opportunity to gawk at Jamie Bamber, who plays Apollo on BSG. I also walked by Will Wheaton on numerous occasions. I could have met either of them, but didn't have anything to say, so I decided against it. I guess I'm not as big of a geek as I thought.
This part is slightly personal and not meant to alam anyone: my once-robust health has noticeably declined, and I've been to the doctor more times in the last three months than I had been in the last three years. Aside from the foot troubles, I went in for a lady exam, and had an abnormal pap result. This was followed by a colposcopy (which is a terrible thing to endure and I don't recommend it to anyone; though I hear dying of cervical cancer is worse, so, your call), and I just received word on Friday that I have CIN2, which requires further treatment. It's not cancer, but it can turn into cancer if not removed. I'm 24 and I feel suddenly very mortal. I've possibly expressed my premature-death daydreams to some of you, but that's generally more a fear of Final Destination-type accidents involving log trucks, stray bullets, or improbable electrocution. I've very rarely considered the possibility of my body turning against me and taking me down from the inside; yet here I am. I'm squeamish about medicine in general and things involving my reproductive health specifically, so this is essentially the worst thing ever for me to have to go through. Well, disembowelment would be worse. But that's filed with my above, fanciful death scenarios. This is much more... realistic.
I haven't told anyone in my family (I don't think they read my blog? If I'm wrong, well, surprise!), mostly because I don't want to answer any questions about it or have them be worried about me. Assurances from my doctor and internet research concur in the estimation of this diagnosis as both not-terribly-serious and entirely-treatable, but I think my this-only-happens-to-other-people sense of entitlement has kicked in and is making me feel victimized by the universe. Rather, I'm allowing it to make me feel victimized by the universe; I'm not so far gone as to not take ownership of my feelings. Phew.
Moving on: I'm feeling homesick for Maine and my family and have just started planning a Summer sojourn, but it's being complicated by the fact that I would like for Jon to come with me and meet everyone, but he has work-related issues with the time and length of the trip I'd like to take. Some resolution should be found soon (I may just go alone, obviously), and I will of course announce as appropriate when any dates are set.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Receptionist = me.
Dana R. Larkin says:
what do you think about ween? band for pretentious college students or awesome?
Dana R. Larkin says:
Dana R. Larkin says:
i'm trying to form my opinion and therefore, need you opinion to make my own.
Well... I have an ex who's way into them, and he's not what I'd call pretentious. Actually, I know a few people I respect who really like Ween.
But... they can go both ways, for sure.
I've never been super into it.
But I can appreciate how random and awesome some if it can be.
Dana R. Larkin says:
ok, cause i don't want to start liking them more only to be shunned. i mean, it's not like they're dave mathews band or anything,
Dana R. Larkin says:
I've never heard of anyone being shunned for liking Ween.
Dana R. Larkin says:
i don't know man, they really do make me think of, like, uber cool college kids.
I mean, maybe if you only listened to like, Ween, and Mr. Bungle, and Blood Brothers, and experimental noise, shit, then there could be a problem.
But, you mix it up.
Dana R. Larkin says:
Dana R. Larkin says:
i mean, i listen to r. kelly.
I don't think JUST liking Ween has ever nominated someone for shun status.
Dana R. Larkin says:
okay, then it's settled. i like ween.
Dana R. Larkin says:
i have a whole bunch of them on my ipod, but haven't ever really listened to it. but, i'm going to now.
Dana R. Larkin says:
please make sure to tell everyone you know about this conversation we just had.
I've been dealing with a few "b" words lately.
"Bitch" is, I feel, an appropriate term for everything that's going on right now. For one, there's some turnover going on at work, and it basically makes everyone super cranky pants and constant complainers about everyone else. I mostly try to stay out of it, but it's all going to trickle down to me at some point, which I'm not excited about. That alone wouldn't be such a big deal, but it's on top of some other things, such as the fact that I'm moving. Yep, moving.
I've lived in the same house for almost three years, and I have a lot of stuff. It is also a huge mess (one of the reasons I'm excited about moving - a smaller place will have less surface area that requires washing!), and contains many things that belong to none of the people currently living there, because it's been occupied for so long and never had a proper mucking-out. Leaving that house is a daunting task, and I'd probably be freaking out more overtly if it actually felt real. I left a message for my landlord, but I haven't communicated directly with him yet, so it still feels a little abstract. That'll change soon.
Dylan and I have applied for an apartment together, which is awesome, but also brings with it a host of issues. For one, the decision that we were all leaving the house was a little sudden, and neither of us were financially prepared for it, meaning we had to borrow some money from our dad. I HATE BORROWING MONEY. I don't have any credit cards for a reason: I don't like spending money that isn't mine. Having to suck it up and ask for money was hard, but necessary. I've never really asked for money from my parents before (other than "Hey, if you want to help with school..." but that's more implying I could use some money than it is asking for it), but at least I only needed like $200, which I can pay back quickly. Dylan, on the other hand, has asked for money before, plus they're just way harder on him than they are on me, so I've had to hear a lot lately about how irresponsible Dylan can be. Yeah, I know. But he can also be responsible. Maybe we could assume the best before we assume the worst? But that's hard to point out when I also need a hand-out. I'm not in a moral-superiority bargaining position.
Most of you know by now that my foot is broken. Yeah, it sucks. Yeah, I have a stupid cast that my stupid friends wrote stupid things on. Yeah, my armpits hurt like a motherfucker.
When I first broke it, I thought the whole thing was kind of funny. It was 4 am, I was at home with my drunk roommates having a "dance party," and I was jumping up and down to "Flagpole Sitta." Some of you know why the last part makes it take the cake on ridiculousness. I was all hobbled, and could hardly get out the door of my house to go to the doctor, since there were video game cords everywhere. Hilarious, right?
There's obviously more to say, but I started this at lunch and need to get back to work. Will update later!
Friday, March 7, 2008
I lost my virginity at 18, after graduating high school, and I had kissed five people up until that point. I didn't need a list (I could recite everyone I had kissed in chronological order until the number reached around 20), but I had one. The list had the boy's name, as well as symbols signifying "how far" we went. Also, everyone I kissed received a journal entry (so quaint!). So, numbers were big to me. HUGE. Anyone I dated, I wanted to know their numbers as well - how many he had kissed, how many of them gave head, how many he slept with. Since my numbers were pretty low and I mostly dated guys who were a little older and little more experienced, sharing wasn't a big deal. But, once I hit six, I started to worry. My last boyfriend, who was two years older than me, had only slept with four. Was I a slut?
The next sexual situation I was in was with a friend with whom there was no chance of dating, since he lived in Maine and I live in Seattle. We were hanging out one day, and he kissed the back of my neck while we were in a toy store. My entire body responded, every hair on end, a current running through my spine. We couldn't get back to his house fast enough. When we were naked on his bed in the light of the afternoon sunshine, he said I was beautiful, and I believed him. I felt perfect in that moment. It was electric, one of the most arousing experiences of my life. And I stopped it short for the sake of a number. (We never went all the way. He has a serious girlfriend now, and once she found some old racy correspondence of ours, so he had to stop talking to me because it made her uncomfortable, regardless of the fact that we live on different coasts. But irrationally jealous girlfriends are another topic.)
A few months later, I had sex with someone else, and it was lousy. I had wasted an opportunity for GREAT sex for the sake of the number, then had mediocre sex with someone I had no intention of dating, or even sleeping with again. I felt defeated. I still had a higher number, and not even a good story to show for it. As anyone who has experienced phenomenal sex knows, it's an unrivaled experience. What had I passed it up for? I then vowed to never let myself miss another opportunity. (That was later revised to not allowing myself to miss an opportunity except for the sake of monogamy, but that's another story.)
I still kept the list, more for curiousity's sake, but I didn't allow fear of adding to it to interfere with whom I chose to sleep with. Now, I'm not proud of everyone I've slept with, and I would take a few back in the light of hindsight. But the lion's share, I don't regret one bit, number be damned.
This last Summer, I stopped updating the list. At first I panicked: was that really someone I wanted to be? I remembered with horror the first female friend who told me she honestly had no idea how many men she had been with. Then I thought about it more. I consider myself to be a sex-positive person, and I think the double-standard of males with a high number of sexual partners versus females is ludicrous. Tucker Max doesn't know how many people he's slept with, why should I? (Note: it's nowhere near as many as Tucker Max. I'm double-digits, not triple ((double-note: why do I feel the need to clarify?))). Also, I prefer to date a guy who has had many partners - he tends to have more sexual skill, be more confident in bed, and be more adventurous, all things that I value.
Rather than be afraid of how someone else would react to my number, I thought about it this way: Do I even want to date the kind of guy that would judge me for something like that? The answer was no. A relationship is about mutual respect, and trust; if my past makes him feel insecure, that's his problem, not mine. I would rather weed out guys who are uncomfortable about that sort of thing than pussyfoot around someone else's prejudices.
This was originally written in response to a question about whether "notches on the bedpost" really mattered, which he asked in advance of his own blog post on the matter. I don't think of his general readership as my peer group, so I want to ask you the same thing: What are your thoughts on numbers? Do you keep track? Do you ask? Does how many people someone else has slept with affect your opinion of them?
(PS- the timeline of my experiences with the "friend" is a little off - it made more sense this way, in order to maintain flow as well as to protect his anonymity.)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
The move to this "grown-up" blog will mark the end of my other blogs; not that they were updated that often, anyway. I'm not going to delete them - the ability to search through past entries for reminscing purposes is too valuable - but they will not receive any new posts other than a final one redirecting (my very few) readers here.
That said, I'm hoping to keep up my interest in writing by shying away from the boyfriend-related gush-or-sob-fests that dominated my previous postings and sticking to the areas of social commentary, philosophical poderings, or bitchy snark; you know, my strengths.
Thanks for your interest. I'll do my best to deserve it.
PS - I wouldn't necessarily call this NSFW, but tread lightly.
The Humble Beginnings
The concept of "bad blow job face" (BBJF) came from a fairly innocent conversation between Chris and myself, regarding a sure-to-be-perfectly-nice girl he had recently met and attended a party with. She quite obviously had a crush on him, which made me want to know what she looked like, which resulted in Chris sending me a link to her Flickr and directing me toward this photo:
(Please note: I do NOT have permission to use this photo, nor any of the photos to follow. If anyone in any of these photos were to contact me and ask for their photo to be removed, I might consider it.)
My response to the picture was something to the effect of, "Oh. She doesn't look like she would give very good head."
This comment was meant to convey two ideas: 1) I'm a snarky bitch, and 2) Chris is well-endowed and possesses an insatiable sexual appetite - he needs to be with a girl who can take it like a pro. Plus, he's a good person who deserves GOOD blow jobs. Expressing my opinion that she wouldn't meet his needs was actually an example of me looking out for his best interests; the snark is just an added bonus.
He seemed amused by this and asked why she looked like she wouldn't give good head. I couldn't come up with anything concrete, and simply asked if he really disagreed; he didn't, and the subject was more-or-less dropped. Well, dropped until she was mentioned again. After that, whenever he brought her up, I immediately thought "girl-who-looks-like-she-gives-bad-head," and I think he perpetuated the nickname himself a few times by referring to her as such. It became a bit of an inside joke between us.
Fast-forward to last weekend. Pat and I went down to Portland, OR, so he could see the city before he leaves the wonders of the West Coast for the banality of Shithole, USA. There we stayed with some friends of mine, and Chris came out to meet us at a bar (Dante's, where we watched a fire-dancer - aka stripper - set her titties on fire). I honestly do not know why, but his unfortunately-nicknamed former friend came up, but this time under a truncated title: "Bad blow-job face girl." Pat, being of sound mind and inquisitive spirit, asked what exactly made up a "bad blow-job face." I found it difficult to name specific characteristics, and instead tried to name a celebrity that qualified, but could only come up with pinch-faced, hollow-cheeked ones like Calista Flockhart and Lara Flynn Boyle, who do not actually personify the spirit of BBJF. In hindsight, Renee Zellweger would have been a better example; but I digress.
Even working together, Chris and I were not able to come up with a list of characteristics for BBJF, and the subject was dropped at the time. But apparently, after the weekend, Chris revisited the idea with his good friend Scott, who was also dissatisfied with the lack of parameters. He came to me asking for BBJF "rules," and I have the sad task of informing him that there are no rules regarding this affliction. Only guidelines. Let's look at these guidelines in greater detail.
A Brief List
In preparation for this entry, I brainstormed a few facial characteristics that could be construed as BBJF. While sitting in Psych class, I came up with:
-Thin lips (please note that the originator of BBJF actually has full lips)
-Cold eyes (frequently beady)
-Inexperienced-looking (not to be confused with innocent-looking)
-Unenthusiastic about the task
-Large nose (wide, long, or both)
-Underbite (overbites have a surprisingly low impact on BBJF)
While no one trait consigns a face to BBJF territory, the combination of a few of these traits can have an erection-killing result. For instance:
(like my slick editing job? MS Paint for life!)
This girl is clearly a professional, so she must appeal to someone. But when I look at her face, I see BBJF written all over it. She has a big nose, cold eyes, thin lips, and certainly lacks enthusiasm. If I had a dick, I would NOT put it in her mouth.
A non-professional example of combination-trait BBJF, exhibiting large nose, underbite, and cold eyes (not having a dick in her mouth, her enthusiasm is difficult to measure):
This girl has a nice full lower lip, but it is not enough to excuse her face from BBJF-dom.
In this example, she has pretty eyes and acceptable lips, but the large-nose/weak-chin combo is too strong:
No blow-jobs, please.
Our original BBJF, while possessed of thick lips, warm eyes, and likely enthusiasm (she did have a pretty major crush on him), still qualifies for BBJF status because of her large nose and because she is inexperienced-looking, as well as an unidentifiable je ne sais quoi. BBJF doesn't have to be based on an aforementioned trait; it can be more of a feeling. I apologize to those looking for a more definite explanation: this is not yet a science.
If anyone has received a blow-job from any of the ladies used as examples and can vouch for its quality, please let me know. I am only making general observations, and any additional research could be helpful in the advancement of the field.
Electric 6 was amazing. There was much pre-funking with my awesome coworker Dana and her rad friend/bandmate Tracy (Dana and I each had two 24's of Rainier, and the three of us killed two bottle of champagne), then some gay bar action and strawberry shortcake shots at the Crescent Lounge (where Johnny met up with us for a bit, yay!), then much dancing (with a smattering of face-rocking), then much giggling over a beer at Pony, and finally much walking around the city with my friend Steven. After seeing him safely onto the bus, I finally grabbed a cab sometime around 2:30? I think? Maybe before that. But after 2.
The opening band was called "The Gore Gore Girls" and it was noisy and sweaty, but in the bad way. I don't like all-girl bands, and I don't think that makes me misogynistic. I just don't like things that suck, and girl bands tend to suck. This particular girl band was fronted by a mannish, horsey girl with frizzy drag-queen hair who attempted to make up for her lack of stage presence by wearing sequined underwear, which were admittedly pretty sweet. The band wasn't that together, they weren't that interesting, and watching them play actually made me kind of angry, because I find it frustrating when girls fail in male-dominated activities. It's like we're supposed to pat them on the back and say, "Good effort," just because they tried.
When the Girls finally made their much-anticipated exit we bee-lined it for the front and secured spots up against the stage. Electric 6 played a nice long set, and despite being sick with something icky they caught on tour (I'm assuming it's more in the vein of a cold than gonorrhea, but he didn't specify) they exhibited excellent showmanship and the whole show was, well, electric. Sorry. They saved "Gay Bar" for the encore and it was presented with surprising enthusiasm, considering (as Dana pointed out earlier in the evening) they're probably getting tired of playing it. I don't have much sympathy for such things (hey, if Nada Surf can keep playing "Popular," then anyone can suck it up and play a song they're no longer fond of), because refuseniks are basically biting the hand that feeds them. Oh, to be burdened with a hit song.
When the show let out Tracy and Dana went to either continue the evening or crash at Tracy's, I'm not sure which. I started to leave, but then texted Steven and we agreed to meet up at Chapel. Chapel is lame. Sure, it's beautiful inside, great ambiance blah blah blah, and the couches upstairs are great (if your posse can score one), but we showed up a few minutes after 1, and they had already called last call. Their service is notoriously awful, but calling last call before 1:30 (bar time, even) is unconscionable. So we took our perfectly spendable money up the street to Pony, which also had a couch to sit on, and speculating about what sort of bodily fluids might reside on that couch made it that much more enjoyable. This was my first time in Pony, and I must say that I like it waaaaaaay better than the old Cha (haven't yet been to the new location, so I will refrain from passing judgment on their current iteration). Though I was a little bummed that I couldn't get a PBR. No matter.
We stayed till closing (we were asked to finish our drinks at a completely respectable 1:45, thankyouverymuch), then walked downtown through the refreshing Autumn night. The late-night bus scene down on 4th was quite the screen-shot of urban living. Buspimps for days. Had I bothered to check, I would have seen that I could have taken the 82 - it ended up right behind my cab on the way home. Oh well.
And that was that. Now I have but a few short hours before I fly to LA and undoubtedly get into some sort of trouble with Joseph! Yay! Hopefully I can sleep on the plane, but I'll probably be too jazzed. It's okay, I'll sleep when I'm dead. Which may be sooner than later, at this rate, but I'd rather have a shorter life brimming with intrigue and action than a very long life with a very short eulogy. I think.
Last night I stayed up far too late with a boy who was far too cute doing things that were far too familiar. I've known him for years and we also just met. It's a long story. It was sort of bittersweet having one of those nights, the nights where you talk about everything and feel so immediately, tenuously close to the person and it's exciting and scary, momentous and monstrous, knowing that I'm about to leave and that nothing will come of it. Sometimes you just get the one night, and that's okay. Those nights are so compelling to me, I could tell my life story as a string of the details of each one. Cory. Ben. Augie. Jonathan. Matt. Dave. Andy. Marc. And now another Dave. There have been more that fit the general description, and technically two of them were dates that became "the night" which is sort of not what I'm talking about because part of the wonder is the spontaneity, but these are the ones that stand out right now in my memory. Some of them became relationships, some friendships, and some were just the once.
The encounter gave me a much-needed confidence boost, as he had very kind things to say(you're smart, you're cute, you're beautiful, you're hot, you're sweet, you're good at that - I don't think any of these things can be heard too much), and on Sunday I found out for sure that I'm going to see Cory again at the end of the month, and there's nothing like the prospect of seeing the first person who ever saw you naked to make you wish you were considerably skinnier.
I know it's silly to care about this at all, because there's a snowball's chance in Hell he'll make it through the primaries, but I was honestly astounded while reading this article (http://www.salon.com/wire/ap/archive.html?wire=D8P319700.html) that this guy actually thinks someone might want him to be President of the United States of America. This guy couldn't be president of a homeowners association. If you're too preoccupied with being deaf and having to potty to know what you're saying during a debate, how can we have any faith in your ability to be aware of your words with foreign dignitaries, AKA people with access to giant bombs?
Also, I ask, nay DEMAND, that all presidents have necks. Seriously.
I walk in, and the over-friendly, over-alert staff greet me immediately, asking, "What can I get started for you?" This should be a simple question to answer.
"Oh nothing, I just need a bagel, thanks," would have been appropriate.
"How about a bottle of water?" could have helped explain my mussed hair and glazed expression, not to mention give me a jumpstart on the road to recovery.
"Chamomile tea, please?" is another reasonable option.
Basically, anything besides the zombified "Uhhhhhhhhhhhh..." that escaped my lips would have been sufficient, but I guess we can't all be Rhodes Scholars. Or, functional.
The barista gave me a look of sickened pity and offered, "It's pretty early, huh?" To which I think I replied something like, "Totally." Then, defying all logic, I order a tall soy chai latte. That is definitely caffeinated. I pick out my bagel, and when the girl at the register asks if it's for there or to go, I say for there. Whaaa? I have a bus coming soon. But, apparently, sitting is an important element of not coating myself in sesame seeds, and that is a higher priority than little things like busses to catch. As I sit and wait for a beverage I have no business consuming and a bagel I am sure to regret, I decide that I should text Nick, who I just left sleeping at his house, and tell him how braindead I am. I concentrate really hard on this text message. They call out a bagel that is a different variety than the one I order, and nobody claims it, so I wonder if it's supposed to be for me and approach the counter. The same barista sees my confusion, gives me the same look as before, and tells me that my bagel is coming. When it's done he motions to me and as I collect it, he looks at me like I just won the Special Olympics. Ugh. I sit back down with my sundries, and ignore their consumption to continue concentrating on on the text message. It's almost done when I see the bus go by outside. I promptly close the phone to check the time, thus deleting the message. Genius.
Now I have half an hour until the next bus that goes to where I need to go, and 15 minutes until a bus that gets me within striking distance. I hate waiting for busses (which is how the whole SBC plan came about), so I opt to take the earlier bus and walk from Leary Way to 73rd, which Mapquest says is 1.45 miles. Over the course of the bus ride, I feel the change from still-a-little-tipsy to oh-Lord-I-wish-I-was-dead. This change should never happen when a person is awake. The air is losing its early-morning dimness and brightening into a beautiful day; my lack of sunglasses and worsening headache don't appreciate this development. The second bus passes me when I have about eight blocks to go, and am nowhere near a stop. I don't make an attempt to catch it.
I stumble into the door over an hour and a half after I left Nick's apartment in Eastlake. The dogs go insane, having been alone for about 12 hours. I open the back door to let the dogs into the yard, which triggers the most heinous noise known to man. I shut off the alarm, get out their food, fill their dishes, and sit down. The caffeine kicks in. I realize I'm not going to go back to bed.
I read more Tucker Max stories (a recent obsession, I finished them all last night, and am debating whether to buy the book), then get in the shower to prepare for brunch with Nick and Kate. We trek to the International District and digest a delicious-yet-greasy dim sum, which is immediately followed by a lunch with my mom and Dylan, where I have a salad and a bloody mary. So for Easter, I ate, basically.
The Me-Dylan-Mom combo is known for morally reprehensible humor, and true to form, the following conversation takes place.
Mom: "Tara (my pregnant aunt) is having a boy, but she won't tell me the name."
Me: "Did she pick out a back-up name, in case it's retarded?"
Mom (laughing): "No I don't think so, I'll have to mention that to her."
Me: "It's a good idea. You don't want to waste a good name on a baby you won't love very much."(We erupt into laughter, to the point of tears streaming down our faces.)Dylan (regaining composure): "You know, karma could come back and bite you in the ass, and you might have a retarded baby."
Me: "Yeah, that's true. I mean, I'll have to love it and all; I'll just die a little bit inside."
We also discussed the nuances of where and how you can catch genital herpes versus oral herpes, and if there's a way to tell which sores are which. This was theoretical, of course.
I feel bad for the old lady sitting next to us.
The faces-loving lover also liked toys. Once he tied me up and blindfolded me, and used a glass instrument to elicit my pleasure. He had introduced this particular tool before, which he wielded with some skill, but I look back on its use with mixed emotions. It was so impersonal. It could be warmed, but often wasn't, and went in so cold. It felt medical. I grew to resent his affinity for it, because I felt like he liked the experience - the faces, the toys, the power - more than he liked me. Which I suppose was his prerogative to prefer. The nature of our relationship was not one of love or adoration; it was a bargain between people of like-minded proclivities. If I wasn't willing to put in the emotional legwork, I couldn't expect sex not to be the focus of all our interactions. I got what I paid for, so to speak.
The demise of our arrangement marked the demise of my ability to carry on a fulfilling casual relationship. It can be argued that I never found it all that fulfilling, I just told myself I did, but that's another idea entirely. When I have a friend with benefits, I want them to also be my friend, otherwise the benefits lose their luster. So when he stopped agreeing to see me for anything other than sex, I lost interest in the whole idea. There's a fine line between being objectified and being desired, and I'm sure I've confused it before, but having it thrown in my face was unappealing. This experience, coupled with others that I'll get into in a minute, led to my current uneasiness about including toys in sex play; I feel like objects equal objectification. That the things I "should" feel or want to feel should be attainable through "normal" sex. I know this is flawed, and I don't agree with it in principle. Just in practice.
What troubles me most is that I didn't always feel this way. When I was young and first started masturbating, I would use practically anything I could get my hands on. I felt little shame, and I don't think it was an effort to debase myself; I was simply curious. When I was 15 I started going to church in an effort to scandalize my liberal, new-agey mother, and stopped masturbating for 8 months because it was supposedly sinful, and not conducive to my new holier-than-thou attitude. When I finally couldn't stand it anymore, I learned how to get myself off using a combination of thigh-pulsation and Kegel exercises - if I wasn't touching myself, it wasn't masturbating! Or at least wasn't as sinful! Or something! This was a labor-intensive process, though, and eventually laziness brought touching myself back into my life, though it was guiltily repented for, every time. Soon enough, boys were also introduced, and the churchiness began to dissipate; intentional hypocrite I am not, and if I was going to fornicate, I'd rather not have to apologize for it every time.
So, in summary: church-inspired irrational guilt + an emotionally distant boy with a treasure chest = me feeling uncomfortable with "marital aids."
Over a year ago I was given a well-meaning gift certificate to the best sex store in Seattle. I never used it. It's either expired or depleting in value as we speak. How sad.
My Lent is more complicated this year than many years past. I've given up three things, and made one commitment. In no particular order, I have given up: sex, beer, and doughnuts. The commitment is to go to the gym three times per week (which also involved joining a gym).
Giving up sex just seemed like a good idea; while I no longer enjoy the whole casual thing, I found that I was quick to escalate things with people I really liked, too, and that I was too permissive with people I've been associated with in the past. This Lent has found me in a uniquely single position, with no one even in the wings, and keeping it that way for a while seems wise.
I chose to give up beer for a few reasons: 1) I feel that I drink it too casually, 2) It is empty calories, and 3) I wasn't willing to give up all alcohol in light of Dylan's impending 21st, so beer seemed like a reasonable compromise. I will say it's been a little more inconvenient than I thought it would be (Cocktails are expensive! Beer is so refreshing!), but there was a time when you couldn't pay me to drink a beer, so I have no doubt of my ability to follow through.
Doughnuts are a repeat from last year's Lent. It went well, and I didn't immediately start gorging once it ended, but over time I have allowed more doughnuts into my diet than I'd prefer. Some people think this one shouldn't be so hard, but keep in mind that we have doughnuts at work every day, and on top of that we have special doughnuts from a different place on Thursdays. It's all-doughnut-all-the-time up in this piece. They're tasty, accessible, and free. But again, empty calories, and a misuse of company resources (they're supposed to be for customers). Giving up work doughnuts but not other doughnuts would just be silly - I'm an all-or-nothing kind of girl.
The gym thing was mostly good timing; I had been thinking about it anyway, and I'm just using Lent as an excuse to get me into the habit of going that often. When Lindsay asked me a while ago to go to her gym with her, I was receptive but non-committal, because in general I'm both busy and lazy. But lately I've also become increasingly, unacceptably fat. To the point that schedule and fatigue were deemed less important than a solution.
We're supposed to go together on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, which went well last week, but yesterday Lindsay had to go pick up her car from the shop, so she flaked. Which, of course, made me totally want to flake too. But, thanks to the compelling powers of Lent, I went anyway! By myself! And that, my friends, is an Easter miracle.
In less absurd news, Beth, the other cashier/admin girl at work (who was our third replacement for me when I got promoted, and the only one who was both good with customers and understood the concept of alphanumeric filing), is leaving to go work at Red Robin. Which means we have to find a new girl, and I have to train her. Which means I'll have to be down there working with customers for more than just a few hours in the morning and her lunch break in the afternoon. Which means my allotted web-surfing hours during the day will be greatly reduced. Weaksauce. Hopefully whatever new girl we dredge up will be moderately competent, and I'll be able to leave her alone after a couple weeks. Hopefully she's cool and doesn't put pictures of cats and Bible quotes all over the front desk. Hopefully Beth takes her cat pictures and Bible quotes with her when she leaves.
That's all for now. I need to get back to my paper, as it's due tonight at 6pm. We'll see if the prof buys it; I'm phrasing it very theoretically in a Judeo-Christian context, being sure not to capitalize my g's in "god," and setting it up as a scholarly interpretation based on the morals inherent in the theme, and not as a judgment from the author, as I don't think that's how she meant it. It's more pulpy, in the vein of a morality tale that only sells because of its exploitation of immorality.
I don't have feelings for anyone at the moment, no promising prospects even, and in that absence I think I've fallen in love with the idea of being in love. Or rather that place right before you're in love, when you know you're going to be, but you haven't quite surrendered yet. I'm infatuated with that week before you say, "I love you," when it's all you can think of in their presence, but the words can't make their way out of your mouth. When you secretly hope and more secretly fear that they're thinking the same thing about you.
Something else in my lj history that I wasn't expecting to find: the details of my last meeting with a classmate that has since died. When I found out about his death, I recalled running into him, but little else. In the lj entry, I actually mention things about our last conversation. It was his 20th birthday that day. By 22 he was dead, from cancer, and left a baby behind. I'm still writing journal entries about boys and work and inanity, and he's dead. It doesn't really seem fair; though I would be lying if I said I'd rather our places were switched.
This morning began with a myspace message from someone I briefly dated over a year ago, and with whom I haven't spoken in nearly a year. He apologized for running away (we had stopped dating but agreed to be friends, and a while after that made dinner plans - he flaked and then never returned my calls) and said he found a cd of mine that he wanted to return to me. A couple of days ago, while sending out myspace invites for the party, I came across him on my friends list, thought "oh wow, I wonder what he's up to," and checked out his page. That was all - I didn't send him an invite. It's weird how, so much later, we could both think of each other at about the same time. I've been looking for that cd, too. We weren't dating or anything when he disappeared, and I knew that he had done similar things before, so I wasn't particularly surprised or hurt. He's not someone I think of often - there are a few songs that remind me of him, and a few sexual experiences I look back upon fondly, and that's really the only time he comes up. But getting that message from him this morning made me feel really good. At the time, I was peeved for a day and then probably found something else to pay attention to - it wasn't a major moment in my life. This wasn't an apology I needed in any way, yet it still felt pretty nice to hear.
That prompted me to wonder - should I be making my own apologies for the past? This isn't my first contact from someone I used to be affiliated with, apologizing or wanting to say hello or whatever, after a long enough time that I wouldn't have expected to hear from them again. I commented to Johnny this morning that apparently I am "easy to leave, but hard to forget." If those that feel they've slighted me in some way still remember me, what about those I may have slighted? They're not going to look me up to ask for an apology, obviously, but would it improve their day if I looked them up and offered one?
I looked up one of them. He wasn't hard to find. This is from years ago, around the time I graduated high school... and I really acted immaturely and without any regard for him at all. I was so into Cory, I didn't care that this boy had been missing me while I was gone - I made fun of him, and complained about what an inconvenience his feelings were for me. The last time we spoke was probably August of 2002 - I was supposed to call that September when I got home from Maine, but doubt that I did. This is a prime example of me earning some of that bad relationship karma I mentioned before. And I don't recall feeling very bad about it. I chocked it up to "being young" and filed it under "learning experiences." I sincerely doubt this guy is holding a grudge - it's been over four years, and he's not insane (not to my knowledge, anyway), but maybe it would feel nice if I threw a little "Sorry I was a child, how have you been?" his way? Or has it been too long? Is there a statute of limitations on these things? I'm not sure. Maybe no sorry, just a how are you? Sorry might imply I've been regretting this the whole time, and I haven't been. It wasn't really on my radar at all. But when I thought of who I may want to make reparations to, he was the first person that came to mind. Perhaps my subconscious was a little more sorry than I thought?
I feel even sicker now. Part of it is probably because I was drinking last night. Part of it is because I still can't really eat, and my stomach being empty just makes it more upset. The other part is that I was right. The girl that I thought it was? Lindsay confirmed that it's her. How did I know? He omitted to mention that she was in his apartment once. He told me that Patrick and Alan were up there watching a movie, but didn't say Christina. I was with Johnny at the time, and Johnny commented that was strange, where did Christina go? She was there, of course. At the time I was willing to write it off as maybe he didn't realize I had already met her and would know who she was. But it stuck with me, and other vibes I got while hanging out with them both, and now it really doesn't seem this was as "sudden" as he claimed, considering I noticed this on November 15th, a full week before he claims anything happened with her. Which makes me feel more stupid, for trusting him instead of my instincts.
Want to hear the funny part? Before she moved here, Dave and I went out to dinner in the U-District, and I was feeling rather introspective after watching a movie about dying, and he made a joke about me thinking too much. Later, while he waited with me for a bus, we were faced with a gaggle of skinny, over-coiffed, underdressed twinks, who were babbling about something inconsequential, and who happen to be dead ringers for Christina. I motioned to them and said, "Would you rather I was like that? Because if so, we might as well end it right here, because it'll never happen." He replied, "No, no, they're nice to look at, and sometimes nice to have sex with, but that's about it." Hilarious, right? Now he has his very own, practically living in his apartment (now she doesn't have to share a bed with Patrick! How convenient!), and apparently the irony is completely lost on him.
Maybe I just need to be mean again. I used to treat boys pretty badly. Like they were expendable. I was uncompromising when it came to what I wanted. One of the hardest things to hear from Joey after we broke up was that he felt like he was my slave. I didn't want to be like that. Then I jumped into things with Chris, and carried over some of that characteristic. I pulled a few "my way or the highway" moves with him, but felt bad for it. When we ended things, that was a huge reason for my boyfriend moratorium. I was tired of jumping from relationship to relationship, and I was tired of being such a bitch to boys that I cared for. Shouldn't they be the ones I'm nicest to?
I dated casually for a while, and did a pretty good job avoiding emotional entanglements. I was smarter than that, I thought. Sex is just sex, it's for fun. No heartbreak, and no need to be particularly considerate of these guys either; I mean hey, they weren't my boyfriend. Then the whole thing with Bo, which was obviously emotional for entirely different reasons (and also oddly unemotional... something I'm sure I'll have to come to terms with eventually), and then being freaked out by things of that nature, and then... a string of mostly drunken, irresponsible choices. But hey, at least it was fun, and I didn't have to deal with any messy feelings. I started to have an actual crush on Will, and was a little bummed when he didn't reciprocate, but nothing even approaching tear-worthy. Then I met Robert, and had a burst of hey-this-person-is-awesome-I-want-hang-out-with-him-all-the-time! Which, regardless of how it all turned out, was a nice thing to feel again. I had sort of forgotten what it was like to be so excited about someone. But, despite the great beginning, things spiraled quickly, and I was able to, rather painlessly for me (to the point that his pleas started to simply anger me, fueling my resolve), extricate myself from the situation. Meeting Eric at the time also made it easier. Now I fear that Dave feels towards me what I felt towards Robert - I was so happy to be with Eric, the idea of Robert struck me as ludicrous, as did the feelings he professed to have for me. If lighthearted myspace quizzes are indicative, Dave appears to be practically giddy over this transition from me to her. Sort of like I was with Eric. Ugh. There's that sick feeling again.
Why am I constantly plagued by bad relationship karma? Here was my second earnest attempt at earning good karma, thrown back in my face just like the first. I was upbeat, I was supportive, I gave more than I took, and I followed what I've now come to regard as the relationship golden rule: Leave them better than you found them. Someone told me once that our highest responsibility in a relationship is to leave them better than you found them-- that no matter what goes down, even if you end up not speaking, as long as you leave them better than you found them then you've done your duty, and I really took it to heart. I feel I've done that twice over now; will I ever get it back? Or is bad karma the only kind that comes to pay its respects?
So, what have I learned: that when you come to a relationship openly and with your guard down, when you give it your attention and your respect and, out of respect for the other person, stop fooling around with other people, they trample all over you. But, if you ignore someone, while simultaneously seeing other people, and don't give a shit about any of it? They'll keep begging for more. This isn't something that I'm okay with - do I have to be labeled a "hopeless romantic" or some other cliche to reject this lesson?
Last night I went through a few stages of grieving for the last two months; first sadness, then anger, and finally a little bit of relief. I've been so caught up in all of his problems, trying to tip-toe around his issues and be a source of support, trying to be fun and sexy and not too needy and on and on, putting my needs aside with the idea that I was building on something. It's taken up a lot of energy, which I've been aware of (and noting in a journal, because I had allotted six months for this "experiment," and was going to re-evaluate if the effort was worth it after that). The relief was stronger when I woke up this morning, and I even left the house on time and caught the bus, breaking a three-week streak (at least...) of taking cabs to work because I'm lazy and don't get up on time. That's over. A lot of things are over, actually. Drinking more than three nights a week. Potato chips. Snacking (or dinner) after 9:00 pm. I've been feeling fat lately anyway (metabolism slowing down, too many beers), but nothing can make a girl feel like an elephant than getting dumped for someone else. I don't know who she is (I have an idea, but it's based on nothing but intuition, which I've learned is not as reliable as I'd like it to be), but I can only assume she's incredibly hot. Please, Lord, let her be hot. I would much rather he be shallow than me be uninteresting.
After I got to work, though, the relief wore off some, and the sicker I feel the harder it's been to be "okay" with everything. Constant questioning by coworkers wondering how my holiday weekend was didn't help, and while "good" ruled my responses, I told my supervisor that I had been broken up with, so I wasn't feeling well. Which made me tear up a little again, but I was able to keep it together. Ugh. This is so not worth crying over. My roommate and my brother both just got out of three-year relationships, and both break-ups were instigated by the girl. That's worth some tears. But two months? When we weren't even technically going out? What is my problem? I was a disaster after Eric, too, and that was only one month. Something is seriously wrong with me. I used to have a much thicker skin. I also used to be the dumpER, though, not the dumpEE. When did that change? When did I acquire the stink of desperation?
If he has just ended it a week and a half ago for emotional reasons, as he had tried to, I would be fine. It's that he changed his mind, said that he enjoyed being with me and wanted to keep seeing me. That night, he had said he still needed to be alone, to straighten out his thoughts. We said goodnight and I closed the door. Then a few minutes later he called, asked if I had made new plans yet, asked if he could come back up. He said he was wrong, he did want to be with me that night, and invited me back to his place to watch dvd's. I thought it was so romantic. We went, watched, had a couple beers. It was really nice, I felt like things were right again, and we had a rejuvenated round in the bedroom that, to me, spoke of good things to come. We saw eachother again on Sunday; unbeknownst to me at the time, that was our last sleepover. Then fast-forward to Wednesday. We spend the day together at the Seattle Underground, I meet his coworkers, we get our picture taken (yeah, I'm really glad I have that little memento now...). I had to go to class, so we part ways, but discuss possibly getting dinner later, he says he'll let me know if he can. I get a text a few hours later saying he's going to hang out with his friend Lindsay instead, who I've been hanging out with recently as well (which means I could have been invited along, but I wasn't), and then... silence. I thought I was doing him a favor by giving him the space he has professed to desire, but... I'm getting ahead of myself.
After some scattered text mesaging throughout the day, at about 8 o'clock last night I leave him a very lighthearted message asking if he'd like to have a snowball fight, and he texts back saying he was out to dinner, but would call me later. Later ended up being almost four hours later, close to midnight. We chat a little, and then he gets to the meat of it - he's been spending the last few days with someone else. I'm a little taken aback, and ask more questions, and he throws out fun cliches like not wanting to hurt me and wanting to still be friends. Not understanding his whole meaning, I say that fidelity isn't high on my list of priorities, that I'm fine with something being open, but he says that he isn't, he can only see one person at a time, and I'm out. She's in. I don't think being a little upset over this was unreasonable. He apologizes, says he feels like a jerk. I let out the leash on my inner monologue and come back with a sardonic laugh and "Maybe you feel that way for a reason," or something to that effect. Not my finest moment, but biting my tongue has never been a strength. In defensive mode, I try to end the conversation by telling him to "Have fun." He says he doesn't want me to say that to him, he doesn't want me to be mad. I respond that it's okay for me to be mad right now. I tell him I'm going to be mad for a little bit and that I think that's perfectly reasonable. There's more conversation, it loses its importance. He told me to call him when I'm ready or something like that. After we hung up, I remembered that I have a cake pan and a pair of earrings over there. It's subconscious, but I know part of me does that on purpose. Like, by leaving things there, I'll be harder to disentangle from. It obviously doesn't work, but I'll probably keep doing it.
So, unlike the first break-up attempt over him not being able to deal with how "serious" this felt, this one is a horse of a different color. This isn't being emotionally unprepared, this is liking someone else better. After all of four days, if his assertion at the "suddeness" of it all is to be believed. How is that not supposed to be hurtful? How can he possibly expect me not to be at least a little upset? He's said many times that he was sort of a mess before he met me (and has admitted to still being a mess in some ways), and that he feels so much better now, and I've done so much, and blah blah blah. In retrospect, it was wrong to be giving if I was expecting something back; if I wanted to help him, it should have been just for the sake of helping him, not with the idea that maybe he'd make a good boyfriend some day. I still think he will make a good boyfriend some day; just not to me. I was the bandaid, but now my job is done, and he wants to go back out and play.
What I'm probably most ticked off about is when this first started, not the first night but that first week for sure, I specifically said that I'm tired of being the girl that people spend time with until they find something better. I've become a placeholder, and I hate it. I'm not trying to settle down for the rest of my life or anything, but I want some stability. I want someone who cares about me, not what they can get from me. Why is that proving so difficult? When I was younger, I felt like I was constantly being held down by guys that wanted more serious commitments than I was capable of. Now that I actually desire some sort of commitment, there's no one in sight. That's not completely true, in fact there are two people I could call right now and immediately pick up a dating relationship, but... meh. The ones that want me are never the ones that I want.
Just now I had to go downstairs and break Beth for lunch, and leaving this up here, with my phone too, allowed me to think about other things for a while. It was nice. I don't feel like so sick anymore - the little nausea I have left is mostly hunger-based, considering all I managed to choke down earlier was a small fruit smoothie this morning and half a salad at lunch. When I came back up I had a voicemail from Lindsay, who I had texted earlier to see if she'd be out tonight, and I called her back and while we were talking I wasn't even thinking of her as his friend, I was just excited to be seeing her tonight. It was a light-hearted conversation, and probably the first time all day I've laughed and meant it. So... yeah. See? I really did just have to get it out. Things are already better.
I guess the last thing I'm mad about is that he was supposed to go to my company Christmas brunch thing with me this Sunday, but now, obviously, doesn't want to go. He knows how I feel about plans; bailing on me at the last minute is like a slap in the face. Ha, that and as soon as we got off the phone, he logged on to Myspace and took me out of his Top Friends. Seriously. I never even asked to be there, he did that all on his own. Like a week after we met, too. But now? Gone. Can you say petty? Boy, do I know how to pick 'em.
I don't mind the Christmas season so much as I mind the lies. I like that everyone covers everything with twinkling lights. I like pumpkin pie, and pointsettias. I like gifts, and I like tree ornaments. I like the songs, including the religious ones. I just don't like prefacing all the good, nice things about the holiday with a big fat lie, and I'm willing to extend that to the nativity teachings, as well. I consider myself to "believe" in Jesus (as in, I think he existed, I think he taught people things, and I'm willing to accept the possibility that he was related to a higher power), but I do not believe that he was born on December 25th, nor do I believe that the "spirit of Christmas" has anything to do with his birth, or wise men, or mangers, or virgins. The "Christmas spirit," and many traditions, have to do with Saturnalia, and paganism, and being nice to people because the turn in weather brings a greater sense of responsibility for those in need (which is more like an evolution-instilled herd mentality than true charity). So, I don't know. While I'm certainly not a "Christmas-hater" in any way, I fully acknowledge that it has turned into a big ugly beast based on greed and missinformation. I fully intend to continue celebrating Christmas for the rest of my life, but I want to do it honestly and with fidelity to what I feel Christmas "means."
I understand that Santa can play a welcome role in people's Christmas celebrations, and I'm not saying that that is inherently bad. I enjoyed leaving out carrots for the reindeer, and my mom would take a big bite out of them so it looked like they had been eaten, which I thought was great. I just feel that personally, because honesty is so important to me, and an attribute that seems to be universally approved as appropriate to instill in children, one ought to lead by example. Developmentally, it is difficult to teach a child something if they can observe you acting otherwise. I don't want my message to be perceived as, "It's important to always tell the truth... except for sometimes, when it's more fun not to." I feel like this has greater ethical ramifications than the benefit that can be gained by adding "magic" to Christmas. We will still celebrate Christmas, we will still give gifts, but I don't feel that a brief belief in Santa is worth years of mixed messages."
A friend's response to the above information:
I am not a fan of Christmas in any way shape or form. However, if you did decide to be forward with your children on the myth of Santa (and I assume the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc), how would you instruct them to deal with their peers? Other children may treat your child as a pariah, or your child may disillusion the other kids prematurely - something other parents would not be very happy about.
Like I said originally, I want my children to know of the Santa myth and to understand it's cultural context (as well as other fairyland phantoms, like the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.), but I feel that "social normalization" in these aspects is less important than the fundamental lesson of honesty. When they are school-aged and the issue of peers arises, I want them to understand that our family doesn't perpetuate these ideas, but it is okay that other families do - just as a Jewish child is not taught to believe in Santa, but is (presumably) also not taught that people who do believe in Santa are evil or stupid. While I understand the pariah argument, it seems faulty to me in that no one would reasonably expect a Jewish child to believe in Santa, or to be taught to believe in Santa so that he shares that commonality with his peers. Why is a non-religious objection to Santa viewed differently? It is my intention and hope that my children are able to understand what Santa is without having to "believe" in it - just as they should understand what a boogeyman is, or a centaur, or a heffalump. They will be taught to respect other children's right to believe in Santa just as they would be taught to respect other children's rights believe in anything else. They're allowed to believe it. That doesn't make it true. The difference between what is permissible and what is "true" (or "right" or "desirable" etc.) is one that I hope to drive home before enrollment into public schools, because I think it sets an important backdrop to interpersonal relations for the rest of their lives.And if another parent wants to get into an argument with me over my child telling their child that our family doesn't believe in Santa, then I'll be more than welcome to take them on. I think that's a scenario where I would have the upper hand.