Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'll match your three Kates and raise you an Amélie

Okay, so I lied, but this is a mindless post, so it doesn't count. But it's just too fun a toy not to share.

Want to know what I look like? Well, according to this genealogical site's funky, free face recognition demo thingie that scans a photo of your face and compares it against a database of famous people, I look most closely like:

(Photo scan #1)

Kate Bush
followed in close second by...

Amélie Nothomb---author of Fear and Trembling, which I've never read. Didn't know anything about her until today, though have heard vague mention of her book.


(photo scan #2)

Catherine Zeta-Jones

with a Kate Winslet chaser

But before you get all excited and I get a flood of proposal emails (and I get too much of an ego), realize that a few clicks down the line after Kate there, at some point I also inexplicably got Colin Powell. (?)

I guess all four of these women all kind of have similar faces, though I'd have never thought to put them together before. And I actually do see some similarities to me in coloring, hair, face shape, mouth, etc., though none of them are my clone by any means. I have to say, though, I've never once thought I looked anything like Kate Bush, but in the photo they were using to compare (above), I actually kind of do.

Anyway, go play, and let me know who it says you look like. Even if it's wrong, it's kind of cool to see the scan at work, and it only takes two seconds to upload and get the results.

Ebb Tide

People. I'm exhausted. Bone tired. "Why are you telling us this," you ask? Just to say though the spirit is willing, I'm just too wiped out tonight to answer all of your great comments from over the weekend. Thanks for all of them--they were terrific. I apologize for the lack of energy, responses, and a more interesting post. I'll get to it soon. But tonight, I'm just closing my eyes and that's gotta be it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"And then Mommy puts her finger in Daddy's..."

A little while back, Steff at the Cunting Linguist wrote an interesting post about kids and sex education, related to how schools tend to focus strictly on the biological facts of sex rather than also include education on all the important emotional issues and other relationship skills that surround sexuality.

She certainly has a good point—maybe if we stopped teaching kids that sex was just about insertion, pregnancy (avoidance of), and STDs, and taught them how to actually have healthy relationships with people, there would actually BE less inappropriate insertion, pregnancy, STDs, and who knows—even fewer bad marriages/relationships and/or divorces later on.

But the point of this post is not about that, actually. Steff also stressed that these relationship skills also don’t get taught outside of school; and often, in fact, even the biological stuff doesn’t get touched by most family members and other responsible adults in kids’ life.

Right around the time she wrote this, I ended up in a group discussion where people were all sharing their childhood models of intimacy and their parents’ attitudes about sexuality when they were growing up. It's not the first time I've been in such a scenario, and it’s always weird for me. I sit there, and everyone talks about how they rarely ever saw their parents kiss or hug or tell each other they loved each other. They talk about how their parents never told them anything about sex, or one of their parents told them sex was terrible and at best just something to be endured until it was over. They talk about how they never even WANTED to see their parents as sexual beings, that it was too weird. They talk about the funny (but on another level, sad) myths they learned through friends or other faulty sources. They talk about some of the damaging mistakes they made because no one gave them any information.

And then it comes around to me and I have to share my experience. And I tell them how my parents taught me about sex before I’d entered kindergarten. How they’d read me this very comforting and age-appropriate book called “How Babies are Made” that showed how flowers, and chickens, and doggies, and humans have sex and reproduce (with images of paper cut-out art—hard to describe, but this allowed for the depiction of nudity without too much in-your-face detail). I explain how at every stage of my childhood, my parents were open to questions about sexuality and had reading material prepared and at the ready for when I would ask those questions. About how they didn’t make nudity a big deal or anything to feel ashamed about, and so I actually sometimes saw my parents naked when I was a kid. How saying "I love you" was standard at my house. How my dad used to grab my mom and kiss her in the middle of cleaning up after dinner. How as a teenager, when we were on vacations, my parents would ask me to watch my younger sister so they could go back to the hotel room and “have some privacy together” (“...And if you come back, don't knock or come in unless you see the shades are back up”). How when I was getting older, my mom told me that she thought I shouldn’t have sex until I was married, but if I ever decided I was going to, I should come to her so she could help me get good birth control. How I knew what kind of birth control my parents used, and that my dad actually showed me what my mom’s diaphragm looked like when I asked to see it. That my mom bought my dad a subscription to Playboy for a birthday gift--and they let us kids look at the magazines if we wanted to, because “the human body is nothing to be ashamed of.” How my parents insisted I take a full semester of sex education as an elective in high school.

All this is true. And when I tell this story, I usually get one of two reactions:
  1. Horror (“You saw your parents NAKED? You knew when your parents were having SEX? Your mom bought your dad a subscription to PLAYBOY?”) -OR-

  2. Envy (“I wish my parents had been able to be so straightforward about sexuality—that sounds so healthy.”)
In either case, before these verbal responses, it usually results in people staring at me like I’m a freak. Which shows me my experience is pretty damn rare.

I was always comfortable and proud of my parent’s age-appropriate openness about sexuality. I feel in many ways it saved me from a number of sex-related mistakes many of my friends made growing up.

Of course, in other ways, it’s created other problems. Being someone raised with healthy sexual/relationship models in a world of people raised with dysfunctional ones still creates clashes for me. People don’t have my experience, so they can’t relate to me on that level.

But anyway, more to the point: In reading Steff’s post, I got to thinking. My parents certainly did better than most, if my discussions with others on the topic have been any guideline. I’m happy about that, and I give them real kudos for this. Most especialy, I give them kudos for letting me know I could ask them about anything and actually meaning it. They never made me feel ashamed or embarassed when I did ask them something.

From them, I learned about intercourse and love and menstruation and reproduction and birth control and shame-free desire. And for this, I truly thank them.

But after reading Steff's post, I thought about it some more. And after thinking about it, I realize that despite all of the above, there was still a lot of stuff they left out, or never said specifically, which I had to absorb for myself. For instance, they never told me specifically that:
  1. People had sex for other reasons than having babies. As the title of the book they read to me at five pretty much implies, they taught me sex was something that “mommies and daddies” do when they “are in love with each other” and want to create a baby. This made sense at the time they read it to me--my mother was pregnant, and they wanted me to understand what was going on with her. They did make me understand that they had sex together as an expression of their love for each other. But there was never any clear discussion of the fact that people had sex all the time, whether they wanted babies or not. This became clear as I got older, and there was the implication my parents had sex and enjoyed it a lot despite being past wanting more kids, but it was never “taught” to me as a truism early on that sex was, well...just plain fun.

  2. People had sex when they weren’t married. My parents didn’t believe in sex before marriage. I’m fairly certain based on things I’ve heard them say that they were both virgins themselves when they got married. Of course, through media I absorbed fairly quickly that people did it even when they weren’t married, but my parents always explained this to me as being a “not-the-best-choice” scenario. I could tell they thought the people who did that were devaluing what they saw as the sacredness of loving sex. And there was some sense they gave off, though they never said it out loud exactly, that people who chose to engage in pre-marital sex were stupid, misguided, and asking for trouble—and that the sex was meaningless and probably not as good.

  3. There were sensations involved with sex besides feeling love for each other. I had no idea that the word “orgasm” existed was until I was a pre-teen and read the phrase “I came, and then he came” in a book (Judy Blume’s Forever) and asked about it. To my mom’s credit, when I asked her what that meant, she told me immediately. But I remember how surprised I was that she hadn’t told me this kind of thing before. And I also remember asking her to describe to me what an orgasm felt like (poor Mom, what an impossible question to answer!) and her floundering around for a few minutes without words, and then just blurting out “Good!” in this frustrated, I-can’t-do-better-than-that way. Heh.

  4. People had other kinds of sex other than coitus. I can’t even remember when I discovered people had oral, anal, etc. sex, but it wasn’t via my parents. I can’t remember asking them about it, either, once I knew.

  5. People you knew could possibly attempt to sexually assault you, and how to recognize the signs of that, and what to do when faced with such a situaton. Obviously, given some of my previous posts, this would have been a good thing to be educated on.

  6. That homosexuality existed. Sex was presented to me as a straight hetero thing. And at some point growing up, after I discovered homosexuality existed and then asked my mother about it, I remember her telling me it was a psychological condition, and implying “those people” were confused and messed up. It was a fairly common belief at the time, and even presented as "fact" in contemporary adult sex books back then, so I guess it’s not surprising she said this, though it’s disappointing. Nowadays, she swears up and down she NEVER said that, but I remember it very clearly. And in truth, even now, though they try their best to be open and nonjudgmental about the topic these days, my parents are at least to some degree closet homophobes.

  7. Adults masturbated, and how. It’s funny. I remember learning fairly early on (before grade school was out) about boys having "wet dreams." But when teaching me about that, no one actually told me that boys could induce the same effect when NOT dreaming. My parents never denied the existence of masturbation, and as I got older I’m fairly sure they acknowledged its existence to me and never implied it was unhealthy, but they never taught me anything specific about it, either. Learning to masturbate was a self-taught thing for me, and I remember being concerned as a kid that I might not be doing it the “right way,” because I didn’t know what the “right way” was, and I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to check.
So there were a few things left off the plate when I was getting taught the facts of life.

Honestly, none of this ever occurred to me before, because in comparison to everyone I knew, I’d always had the most information about sexuality, and my family had always been the most open. I guess I felt I couldn’t expect more if my parents’ level of openness already put me in the “freaky” category in a lot of people’s eyes. But looking at this list…well, yeah, even they could have done an even better job.

The one thing I will say is that they were always open for discussion of these things, which was great. But their way of judging age-appropriateness in many situations was to wait until the child had questions, and then be well prepared to answer them responsibly. It was a good method, but not foolproof, because some things you don’t know to ask until someone else tells you. And if no one tells you…well…

Most of the topics listed above I eventually got information on in that high school sex ed class my parents made me take. The teacher of that course was great and very open, and in retrospect I have to give her a lot of credit for what a terrific job she did. But even she didn't answer everything.

And Steff is right; though I had a fairly good model of a working relationship in my parents, no one at school OR at home gave me specific instruction on what makes for a healthy relationship. And that’s important information.

So now…what did your parents teach you? What did they leave out? Do you think parents should talk to kids, or is that just too uncomfortable a situation for kids, to be discussing sex with a parent? Did anyone have any good instruction beyond the biological aspects on things like how to build healthy relationships and handle the emotional aspects of sexuality? What do you think should be discussed with children when it comes to sex and relationships? At what age? Should you bring it up, or should they? How much information is too much? Too little?

And if you have kids, what do they think about/want from you in this arena? Have you ever asked?

Share and share alike.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I Speak the Truth

Just in case any of you people ever wonder if I'm creating a fake blog "persona" rather than giving you the real lowdown...

Thus speaketh the blogger:

...I pretty much am Elizabeth Bennett incarnate.

Thus speaketh the meme:

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?

You're Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen!
Take this quiz!

I'm just sayin'. As is my co-Elizabeth, Bitch PhD.

And yes, I *do* think if she was written today, she'd undoubtedly be a single girl with a sex blog. Ahem. Or at least, she wouldn't be Bridget Jones, for god's sake.

A real post later on (I think, unless I get waylaid).

Friday, May 26, 2006

Reasons for living

Sleepless at 3 a.m., everything begins to make sense in this strange and beautiful way. Or begins to lose all sense in this strange and beautiful way. Either way, hosanna and namaste.

Thanks, Metafilter.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Words and Magic

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business."
--Tom Robbins

Would you believe me if I told you that I could make things happen with my writing?

Don't worry, I wouldn't believe me either. But believable or not, logical or not, it's happened to me, many, many times. When I take the time to actually shape a particular need or want or hope into a fully crafted, styled piece of writing I can feel so close to me that I can hear it breathing and alive, shortly afterwards that thing just suddenly shows up in my real life.

Case in point:

Lately, I've been yearning for long-lost friends who I used to have my most intimate understandings with. In particular, I've been thinking about an old friend who, over a decade ago, was a huge part of my life--so much so that even now, I still can't hear certain songs or experience certain things without equating them with her and what we were doing together at that time.

Things happened. We both moved repeatedly all over the country, and touch was lost. I never thought I'd see her again, or ever find out what happened to her. But in the midst of everything that's been going on for me lately, I've thought about her. It made me sad, and nostalgic. And it resulted in me writing one of my favorite posts so far. It may not seem that great a post to anyone else, but for me, it had deep personal meaning, and captured just what she meant to me (and I hope I meant to her).

So I wrote that, wrote her up in a way that made her live for me again after years of her being just a ghost in my memory.

And today, she walked past me on my street.

Almost thirteen years since I last saw her, or knew anything about her. She lives in my fucking neighborhood.

(photo credit: ghost girl by jeffmclennan)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

25 Words or Less

There’s want. And there’s need. And there’s love. And then there’s you.

You figure it out.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Okay, so has ANYONE ever used a dental dam?

If so, please 'fess up and read the post below and let me know what it's like.

I've been asking around since yesterday's post. No one I know has ever used them, so far as I can tell.

Really, is this just something people say you should do and NO ONE uses them? Surely there must be someone out there who has experienced sex with them?

Or is going down on a woman simply too delicious to give up, even if there is risk involved?

And speaking of which...had the iPod on random shuffle today and heard one of my favorite bands, singing what must be the singularly best song about oral sex, and one that surely should win some kind of award for best use of double-entendre. It's the kind of song where people who don't want to know will just think it's just a love song about a guy eager to see his girlfriend after having been away from her. The kind of song my Doris-Day-meets-Gidget mother would insist I was reading things into. But she doesn't read enough.

You can also go here to read the lyrics if you want.

Figured given the recent discussion, I'd share. Click the link two paragraphs above and enjoy (and let me know if you did). Ring-a-ding-ding-ding...

Hm, while I'm at it, ARE there any other songs specifically about oral sex? The only other one that comes immediately to mind is "Some Candy Talking" by Jesus & Mary Chain--and that one's fairly vague. (Lyrics to that one on this page, if you scroll down a ways.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Oral Exam: Dam-med if You Do, Damned if You Don't?

As someone who will probably be re-emerging back on the dating scene some week or other after a long hiatus, I've been doing some thinking and reevaluating how I want to handle sexual encounters in the future. And this brings up the issue of protection.

In general, I have been careful about picking sexual partners (as in, I would not be the kind of person you'd be able to term "promiscuous," unless you were an extremely conservative person). I've also been relatively careful about condom use when it came to sex. But what I mean by "sex" in that last sentence is coitus. Which I think most people have defined it as up until recently.

Now, oral, that's been a different story. With all my sexual partners, whether giving or receiving, I never used any form of protection. And I don't know, because I haven't been in other people's beds, but from what I hear out there in the world, this seems to be the norm for many other people, too.

And yet you read that really, we should all be protected during oral sex, too--that we should be using dental dams, flavored, unlubricated condoms, plastic wrap with lube, etc. while engaging in cunnilingus, fellatio, or rimming.

You hear all the time now that you can contract diseases through oral sex. But how likely are you to? It's nearly impossible to find useful statistics. In general, you mostly read that the percentage of risk is far lower, but still present. Here's a good site that tries to balance theory with actual documented cases of AIDS transmission--but of course AIDS isn't the only STD. It's much more difficult to find any fast data on other STD transmission through oral sex.

In any case, though perhaps extremely low, the risk is there. And I'm wondering in light of that, what are people doing out there these days? Particularly those of you who are sexually active but not in long-term relationships, or who are in a serious relationship but aren't sure if it will be your last and only sexual relationship--or if you are polyamorous, or in any other kind of multiple-partner situation.

Are most of you playing the odds when it comes to oral sex? Or have things changed and are many of you using safe sex alternatives during oral contact?

And if you are using safe sex alternatives, how are they to use? I've got to be honest, just the thought of giving oral to a banana-flavored-condom-encased cock sounds gag-worthy to me. And I wonder how it would feel to receive oral or a rim job through a dental dam (or to give it). I mean, I know I'm capable of coming with a barrier between my clit and whatever is stimulating it, but it's certainly not the same as direct tongue contact. Is a dental dam thin enough to feel not much different? And does it taste gross? Smell strongly of plastic?

If anyone out there has any information or experience with this, please do share; I'd really like to get some input (heh). (And remember, you can always leave an anonymous comment if the info is too personal and you don't want to identify yourself.)

Oh...and also...
Let's say you normally don't use protection during oral. If your next partner felt it was important to him/her, would you be willing to have protected oral sex every time? Or would you think that was just too sterile and decide to look elsewhere?

Do tell.

P.S. Though I know this is petty and probably unwise, I'll fess up that the thought of barrier-protected oral sounds entirely unsexy and unappealing to me. I like the intimacy and feel and taste of full-on mouth-to-skin contact. But I suppose that's rather short-sighted and obnoxious of me to say. I'd be really annoyed if a guy gave me the "a condom isn't natural, therefore I should get to have sex with you without it" speech. It really isn't any different for oral sex. And honestly, I really don't want to contract an STD of any sort, through any means. So maybe I just need to heave a big sigh and kiss my carefree, barrier-free oral days goodbye...

In any case, there might be a difference between what you're DOING and what you think is the right thing to do; so if this is the case, that would be good to know, too.

(photo credit: Bike Kill 2005 no105 (K kiss no1) by beigeinside)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Thanks, a Clarification, and Goodnight.

Thanks to everyone who sent in a question and kept me typing rigorously through the weekend. It was fun, but I think it'll be a while before I do that again. It was way more labor-intensive than I thought it would be, and I didn't even have *that* many questions...

In any case, it's back to sex, relationships, and other life stuff for the next little while. (I know, what a relief, right? There's only so much "Dear Abby" shit you can take. Thanks for bearing with me.)

I also need to make a correction, and wanted to note it here. In my "The Final Cut" post a while back, I credited two quotes to Eleanor Roosevelt. I've since found my initial source was wrong and one of the quotes ("What is to give light must endure burning") was not from Eleanor, but from Dr. Viktor Emil Frankl, who was a neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. It's still a great quote, but credit needs to be given where credit's due. I've corrected it in the original post, and sorry for the misinformation.

Today has not been a great day. Lately, as I've been working through some stuff, I have finally had some days of real optimism--which I'm grateful for, as it's been a while since I've felt like that. But I'm finding patterns are hard to break, and the non-optimism, no-way-out thing has become my pattern for way too many months of late. I guess it's easier to stay where you are, with what you've accustomed yourself to, than to suffer the exhaustion that comes with struggling every day to get yourself out of that. The result of this: it seems the minute I find anything optimistic, I then immediately find or do things to smash down and obliterate that thing. I think I'm afraid to hope for too much, so I'd rather destroy hope early than see it destroyed after I've actually begun to believe it's a reality.

I know this won't be the case forever. I *will* walk out into the light and open air eventually. And I'm committed to fighting until I punch my way through whatever wall I have to. But some days, you're just damn tired of bloodying your fists, y'know? Today, I felt like Beatrix waking up in that coffin in Kill Bill: Volume 2. She knows what she has to do, and she's going to do it, but man, is it going to be hard to get out above ground.

Let me tell you, I sure am waiting for the day I can walk on over to that empty diner and ask for my glass of water.

For the time being, though, I'll sleep on it and build my strength for another day's fight.

Until then...keep a glass out on the counter for me.

And last, but certainly not least...

Answers for the Eeeevil (in a good way) Minx. Who deserves many strokes of her cat-suited back for being so patient.

1. If you were an animal (non-human) what animal would you be?

I have been told by many ex-boyfriends, and I tend to agree, that I'm very cat-like. Love lounging in bed/sleeping. Love having my back (well, whole body, really) rubbed/head scratched. Initially suspicious--you have to lure me to you through kindness and trustworthiness (and treats and other temptations). Once won over, though, I will be incredibly purry and affectionate. Like to rest my head on people I like. Have been known to give an occasional love bite. Am hyper-sensitive to changes in the emotional air. Seem harmless and warm and pretty-soft-soft, but get my back up and the claws come out and I'll fight to the death.

Funny thing is, I used to hate cats growing up. One attacked me when I was a kid and I was scared of them after that. I thought they were unpredictable, mean creatures. Then my housemate had one and I realized they were just misunderstood. Once you get them, they're the coolest. And I realized they think instinctively much like I do. Now cats lurrrrve me, and I love them. But I've sworn to own only one at a time--I do NOT want to become crazy cat lady in my old age, alone with 20 cats.

Hm, though you're not asking what animal am I like, you're asking what animal would I be.

Being a cat is appealing, actually, but I'd rather not be a domestic cat. If I could choose, I'd choose to be a lioness. I've had a number of dreams about lounging with or encountering female lions, and I always feel comfortable in the dreams--I'm never scared. (I'm also a Leo, so I guess it all makes sense, if you believe astrology--which I only do when it suits my purpose).

Other than that, I sometimes think it would be great to be a bird--one of the kinds who can really soar and dip up there--a hawk, for instance. Or one of the types who can both fly and swim underwater. That would be cool.

2. What 7 songs/albums would you want to have with you if you were shipwrecked on a desert island (that happened to have a very good sound system in full working order)?

This is an incredibly hard question. I love music and have too much of it to narrow it down, and what I want to listen to changes all the time with my mood. Sigh...if this were really true, I'd probably burn 7 CDs of my own full of hundreds of songs. Or I'd go for greatest hits CDs of my favorite bands, so I could have a little of everything they've done. But let me try to do this, thinking about which CDs/bands get most play for me over my lifetime.

Um, it turns out I'm gonna have to cheat a little. I'll do 7 bands, but multiple CDs.

    1. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses. I love this band. LOVE them. And they remind me of a particular time in my life that I like to reminisce about.

    2. The Pixies, Surfer Rosa and Doolittle. Actually, I'd want the whole catalogue, but then I'd have used up my whole 7. Another of my all-time favorite bands. You should see me tear up the dancefloor to Debaser. In fact, I almost named my blog "girliesogroovie," but then I didn't.

    3. Ride, Smile and Nowhere. This band was genius in its heyday. These were there two most perfect CDs.

    4. Luna, Lunapark and Bewitched and Penthouse. Arghhh, I can't choose.

    5. Radiohead, The Bends and OK Computer.

    6. Ramones, Ramones Mania (I'd take all the CDs, but I can't, so one good comprehensive one)

    7. The Beatles. You can't really be serious about me choosing just one of theirs, right? Sigh. ...thinking...thinking...No, I can't name one. I have to have all of them.

This feels entirely not enough! Seven? Seven? No way. Um, other bands I'd want to bring something of: Blur, James, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Bright Eyes, Pulp, Verve, Nina Simone, Bjork, Beck, The Waterboys, The Pogues, The Rolling Stones (pre--1985 only), The Frank & Walters, Lush, Jesus & Mary Chain, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, The Smiths, The Cure...

Oh god, forget it. I'm about to launch into my whole music collection. Note to self: never get stranded on a desert island. You'll be useless.

3. Which is/are your favourite piece(s) of underwear?

My favorite piece of underwear is the one I'm sliding my hand in under and then taking off of him, if he was foolish enough to have it on in the first place. Or, alternately the one I'm wearing that he's doing the same thing to, in reverse.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Easy Peasy

From Shon, the kind of terrorist we could all use to be attacked by, comes my easiest response. Didn't even have to think half a split second for this one, and that feels mighty nice for a change.

He asks:
What's your comfort food book? The book you have read so many times you know it by heart but you keep coming back to it?
First off, I love the idea of a "comfort food book." I never would have thought of that phrase, but it's perfect.

So, what I read when the world is too much with me and I just want to escape and just enjoy and not think to much. I've got two definites, and then a runner up:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Never fails. Love everything about it. The flawless writing, the subtle sarcasm, the plot twists, the period feel, the romantic yearning, the desperate misunderstandings, the everything-rights-itself-in-the-end conclusion. And especially the mental and verbal sparring between the two main characters that substitutes as massive sexual tension in today's world.

Not to mention I pretty much am Elizabeth Bennett incarnate. Stubborn, too smart for my own good, guarded, clever, and desperately romantic underneath it all. Tend to not always know what's good for me in terms of men. Tend to assume I'll never find the love I want. Tend to keep hoping I will. That sort of thing.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend. The first two (and best) books in what eventually became a small series following the title character into adulthood. Adrian's (a boy, by the way) diary entries through his thirteenth and fourteenth year. Just absolutely hysterical. They still make me laugh every time I read them, and you can get through one in a single sitting if you have a little time. The books actually cover some really serious topics that were taking place in the '80s when they were written, both in America and in England (where the story takes place). Divorce, parental infidelity, political upheaval, the Falklands, welfare, social security, changing gender roles in the family, punk, teen sexuality...but it's all portrayed through the eyes of this incredibly precocious teenager (who has no idea he's precocious--he thinks he's a genius), so that it makes even the hardest things seem amusing and deal-able. They're just a delight to read, and though they can be considered "young adult books" on one level, they works equally well on an adult level due to the author's incredibly subtle, dry, well-honed wit. You can practically see the author waiting for your double-take so she can take the piss out of you for not being quicker. If you were a teenager in the 80s, or if you know anything about English politics at the time, it's a must-read. But I think anyone would find it funny. Coming of age has commonalities across every era, and these books are my favorite coming-of-age novels. It's nice to have a C.O.A. book where it's not all angst and darkness, even when there are angsty things happening. Sometimes you just want to look back on your angsty teenager self and just laugh at how dopey all your earnestness and presumed "depth" was. This book lets you do it without being too hard on yourself, or without making it seem like too bad a time.

If you want to read a little excerpt of them, you can here and here.

Those are my main two.

And the runner up would be...

The Harry Potter series. I love it to death. Every time a new one is about to be released, I read through the entire series again from start to finish. And sometimes, if the wait is too long, I grab one and read it just to relax. I love her writing, I love the stories, and I love the way they remind me of some of my favorite children's lit writers growing up.

I wonder--was anyone surprised these were my picks?

I bet you guys all thought it would be something darker, right?

She comes in absence of colors

Time to answer Darkneuro's question--whose name, by the way, for my first couple of months of blogging, I stupidly used to think meant "dark 'n' Euro," but who in fact is a lovely, golden-haired American vixen who can cook up some mean recipes and write the hell outa a blog post. But despite her blondiness, she's still dark in her own lovely way.

And lovely darkness brings me to the answer to her questions:
What's your favorite color and why? How does that color make you feel, and how often do you use that color in your day-to-day life?

I kinda/sorta started answering this question in an older meme here, but not the follow-up questions. So, let me start ovah and bettah.

What's your favorite color?

In my head, I haven't deemed anything a "favorite color" since I was a little girl. When I was a little girl, my favorite color was pink. Or at least that's what I told everyone. I wonder now if I did that because I knew "good girls" were supposed to say they liked pink.

But in reality, the color I have always been most attracted to, and have surrounded myself with most often since I first left home for college, has been black. My parents never dressed me in black as a kid. And in fact, it was impossible to find black clothing in the lame suburb I lived in during the neon and pastel '80s. But at age 17, when I tried on my first black dress, every person in the store I tried it on in stopped what they were doing, looked, and said it was perfect. And I knew it was true, even if they hadn't. I could feel it the minute I put it on--I had come home. Black and I just go together.

So, despite what I might be telling myself, it's clear (or perhaps, more aptly, opaque) that my favorite color is black.

And why?

My childhood icons of ultimate female beauty:

1. Morticia Addams

2. Miss Scarlet from the 1970s version of Clue

3. Catwoman (Julie Newmar version), 1970s TV Batman series

Notice the clothing color of all three. Notice the attitude with it. Sexuality, confidence, power. It was appealing to me even at five. These women were slinky, mysterious, confident in who they were. They had the freedom to make their own choices. They weren't mere objects for men--they had their own thing going on. And yet they were exceptionally alluring to men...but also a little scary to them. Men respected them, couldn't quite figure them out, wanted to get close--they knew they could possibly fuck them, but that they couldn't fuck with them or they might end up tangled up in man-eating flora, scratched within an inch of their lives, or getting the candlestick in the conservatory.

(Plus, I'm naturally gothic in coloring. Pale skin, dark hair, dark eyes, high-pigment lips. So black just looks good on me.)

How does that color make you feel?

Safe. Protected. Dark. Mysterious. Alluring. Untouchable. Powerful. Sexy. Noticeable. Hidden. Stylish. Scary. Come hither-y. Venus fly trappy. Thinner. Curvy/slinky. Confident. Secret. Right. How I am, inside. How I want to be seen, outside.

And how often do you use that color in your day-to-day life?

HA! I have probably worn at least SOMETHING black every day of my life since I was 17. There was a time it was all I would wear. So much so that in college, I made some crack about trying to avoid someone and how maybe I should walk around like "the unknown comic" with a bag over my head, and my good friend and housemate instantly, sarcily retorted, "But it would have to be a black bag."

Black has felt like who I am since I can remember. It might always be that way, I don't know. But lately, I feel like maybe I'm done with that. Maybe I want more color. Maybe I'm sick of hiding and feeling dark and protected. I've been trying to add more color into my wardrobe. I look kick-ass in red and royal blue, for instance. I've been really into Tiffany blue/green, though I haven't hazarded wearing it yet. I love the color of leaves (in all seasons). I like orange. I want more brightness, boldness. That's what I've been craving. So I'm trying to um...retrain myself out of all black, all the time.

Right now, as I said once a few moons ago on Karl Elvis's blog, even when I try to wear pink, it still looks like black. Or at least it feels that way to me. Like I'm pretending--covering up the black, but it's still there. I'll probably always be a little gothy at the core. But who knows, maybe someday I'll wear aqua and silver and only look and feel all shimmery aqua and silver. (But underneath, I bet I'll still be wearing black lingerie.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

"Let me sleep. It's my favorite thing...to sleep."

A favorite line from the movie "Mystery Train." May not make so much sense if you can't see it in context--a cute, sleeping, naked girl saying it in grumpily in Japanese as her boyfriend tries to wake her up. But I love the moment because it says it all. I love sleeping. It's my favorite thing. (Well, my almost favorite thing. But the other thing also can involve bed, too, so let's call it even.)

So, now some answers for the (apparently) very tired Tory, all about one of my favorite pastimes. (But I'm changing his "u"s to "you"s, because I've got a pet peeve about that.

1. On which side of the bed do you sleep?

It depends on where the bed is situated. I'm not tied to one side. I prefer not to sleep right next to a wall, so whichever side of the bed isn't, I'm usually there. Right now I'm sleeping on the right-hand side of the bed, sometimes in the middle-ish. But often, in the quest for perfect mattress alignment, after a period of time I'll be known to switch to the other side, just to even things out. I'd probably be using the whole bed more wide-rangingly instead of having one side, except for my damn cat is an enormous bed hog and I don't want to crush her in my sleep. I swear she takes up as much room as any human who's been in the bed.

2. How much can you stand clothes on your body when you sleep?

Well, I don't actually have any starch in the house, so I can't stand very much clothing on my body at all. It all just kinda flops over whenever I try--it's never stiff enough. (See below for more serious answer.)

3. What's your fav sleeping attire?

I don't favor sleeping attire at all, other than a sheet, blanket, or duvet. Sleeping feels best clothing-free, I think. But if it's exceptionally cold, I'll usually throw on a t-shirt. And, because whenever I say that someone always asks this: Yes, I do mean just a t-shirt. On a rare occasion I've worn a man's pajama top, or the top and bottom. But I have to be really cold, or I have to think I'm lookin' really cute in it.

I have other things I've worn in bed, but not to sleep in.

4. Have you been told you snore? Sleepwalk? Or talk in your sleep?

I've been told I snore and that person didn't live to tell me again. Ha. Actually I've been told, "You don't snore, you breathe heavy." Whatever that means. Other people have said they haven't heard me make any noise when I'm sleeping at all. So I guess it depends.

I've never been told I sleepwalk, though once I did have a waking dream, which was very creepy. No one has ever told me I've talked in my sleep.

5. Do you sleep with the lights on or off?

Off. I like things as dark as possible when I sleep. I HATE it when I accidentally fall asleep with the lights on and wake up a few hours later with bright lights in my eyes.

6. How many hours do you sleep on average?...And how many hours CAN you sleep?

I try to aim for 7-8ish hours of sleep. I rarely get it, though, because I'm a total night owl and hate going to bed early. If I had my way, all work would begin at about 2 pm. I usually clock somewhere between 6-7 hours.

Since mid-childhood, I've always been able to sleep a frighteningly long amount of time, and would every day if I could. Ten hours would be a cinch for me, and left to my own devices, I'd sleep that much every day. That's when I feel best, if I have at least 10. I could probably sleep 12 or 13 on a good day--though I rarely indulge myself in that anymore. Used to, though.

When I say that amount of time I mean in one, uncut length of time. I'm not really big on naps unless I'm really, seriously exhausted.

And I hate when I can't just sleep until I wake up naturally. When I was a teenager, my family would fight about who would be the one to have to wake me up if they needed to for some reason, because I'd always be in such a raging fury at whomever the unlucky culprit was who dared to disturb me. Now I just get angry at my alarm.

7. Can you share a bed? Or not comfortable? What size bed do you have?

I don't like sharing a bed unless I really, really like a person. If I've been getting close to someone but don't feel 100% intimate with them yet, I'd rather they went home (or I did) than slept over, because I get hyper sensitive to every sound and movement and feel all out of place. Even their breathing will bother me and keep me weirded out and awake.

However, if I'm really into someone, I have none of these problems when they're sleeping next to me, even from early on. It's weird how that is. But it's actually a good gauge for me of what I really feel about someone if I'm not quite sure, or am trying to talk myself into feeling something different. In any case, there have been a very few select people who I've been totally comfortable sleeping with in bed.

I also don't like cuddling when I'm trying to fall asleep. I like it fine before I'm ready for sleep, but when it's time to drop off, I don't need or want you to be draped all over me. I like some breathing room. I think most guys appreciate this. Saves them the pins-and-needles she-fell-asleep-on-my-arm thing.

8. Nightly rituals before getting under the sheets..what are they?

Um...well...I don't think of them as ritualistic, but here's some basic things I usually do:
1) Feed the cat her dinner.
2) Wash face, brush teeth.
3) Set alarm (which is currently my satellite radio attached to go of on my stereo).
4) Either:
    a) go to bed with a book and read 'til I'm ready to drop
    b) go to bed with the laptop and catch up on blogs until I'm ready to drop
    c) put on the radio to a talk show or music I like on sleep mode, so it will shut off automatically in about 20 minutes
    d) put on a cd I like on sleep mode
    e) go straight to step five
5) Turn out the lights.
6) Pet the cat who always instantly crawls up on top of me after step 5, as she knows she has a captive audience and demands her five minutes of affection nightly.
7) Get the cat off the top of me. At this point she'll leave the room to go eat dinner.
8) Sigh. Enjoy the silence. Snuggle up into the covers.
9) Sleep.

There are other things I tend often to do or think about somewhere in between steps 5-9, but at the moment I don't feel like sharing them.

Thanks for the question, Tory-ador.

All of this sleep talk has made me tired. Think I'm gonna curl up for a while and rest. I'll answer the remaining ones tomorrow. Thanks for the questions, all. This is fun, and keeps my brain percolating along...

This is a post about a whale! NO! This is a post about being happy!

Don't get the title above? Click on the picture. (Audio of it if you scroll.)

So. Question number two (only a few hours left for this special offer) comes from Spcknght (whose name I always seem to want to misspell):

What do you mean "IF anyone sends you one" (and that is NOT my question!)? OF COURSE we're going to write in! Who wouldn't want to know more about our wonderful Sexeteria lady?

Ok, my question's somewhat like Circe's...I'd like to know the most intensely happy moment you've experienced in your life--with the wish-rider attached to my question that you experience just as much joy tenfold after answering this.

Now see, this totally confirms Spcknght's claim the other day that he's a snow angel with a slightly tilted halo. Because aw, just read that--isn't he the nicest guy? And yet, his question really bothered me immediately after I read it. Because, dammit, I actually don't think I know if I've every had a moment that was SO intensely happy that it stands out above all others. And dammit, that just seems wrong, wrong, wrong. (I won't say it made me sad, because that would bum poor Spcknght out.)

I mean, I get happy. I laugh a lot more than you probably think I do from reading this blog. I swear to you people, I'm a goddamned delight to know!

Ergh. Before I protest too much...I'll just answer the question as best I can. Spck, I can't think of an overriding moment. I'm not happy about that. But looked at another way, let's just say it means I still get to have my supremely happy moment sometime in the future. I do have some moments I remember where I felt really good, though, most of which involve music, dancing, and travel--some of my favorite things. Here are a few:

1) I was living overseas (in Scotland). I had a passle of roommates from all over the UK and we all loved the hell out of each other (take L'Auberge Espagnole and make it an all English-speaking household, and that's a good comparison). I also had my ideal boyfriend (my ideal at the time anyway), a tall, lanky, smart-as-all-getout, socialist, literary, grungy, demi-alcoholic English prettyboy. And he had a bunch of similar friends who I also loved. And all of us converged on a ceilidh held in the city I lived in, where my one roomate's band was playing. (For those who need a definition: celtic music+square dancing+copious amounts of alcohol, whooping, and stomping=Ceilidh. In other words, ceilidhs are marvelous.) The band was spectacular, the place was packed, and the dances were romantic (waltzes) AND crazy wild (steps where men literally turned around so fast that the women's feet lifted off the ground, propeller style). There was even danceable bagpiping. I was in a country I liked better than my own, in a culture that seemed to be far more "me" than anything I had experienced in America at the time. I was away from all the crap back home I didn't want to be involved in, feeling great and adventurous, knowing that I'd managed to get out and get there and have my own life, surrounded by cool, fun, smart people who I adored. I felt I fit. And I was also feeling a bit like a coveted, exotic treat (British and Irish boys like American girls the way American girls here like their Brits and Irishmen). I never got to sit down the whole night--there was always someone who needed to dance with me (and as we know from previous posts, dancing is heaven for me--and so is getting propositioned to dance by men I like who insist romantically that they will die if I won't dance with them). All of us were together and we were sweaty and drunk and all a little bit in love with each other. And then of course, there was someone who I knew at the end of the night I'd be going home to have spectacular sex with.

In short, it was a good time. I won't bother to use superlatives to describe it--it's was beyond any form of "good" you could use, so why bother. And in that goodness, I was happy and beaming every single minute.

You know, my housemates and I actually took a camera with us and we filled up an entire roll full of film with photos documenting the night--and, then, in the last minutes, some drunken person accidentally opened the shutter and totally ruined the film. But though we were all disappointed, the next day, hanging out in our kitchen slightly hung over and cooking breakfast (probably at 2 pm), we all decided it was really the best thing. Some events, some feelings get lessened by a still photo. We all said, and I still agree, some things you just can't capture--sometimes the memory alone is better to have than the photos.

You know what, Spck, forget it. I don't need to give any more examples. I do have a happiest moment so far. That was it. That night and those people will have a place in my heart for the rest of my life, and I'll always be happy whenever I think about it and them. Thanks for reminding me. :)

Well, yay. Now I feel good and want to share. So, if you're reading this, here's a little chaser of happy you can share with me--my little gift to anyone else who might be having a hard day or week or month or year.

During my difficult last year or two, I've been happy to take any tiny perk of joyous relief I can get. And a few months ago, I heard this, and it made my day. I downloaded it immediately afterwards. Whenever I hear it, I can't help but get happy. Bless that adorable, silly, cheesy, clever Ringo Starr. He's got the right perspective--it probably IS as easy as 1-2-3. Having a bad day? Click to play and dance with me, people. Sing it loud.

To be or not to be,
I don't care...

Be Careful What You Wish For

Okay, so five questions sent in so far, and the first two from Circe and Spcknght are REALLY hard! Which is good--it's good for me to be challenged. Somehow, I think I imagined myself having instant answers to everything, but instead I was kinda floored by both of these.

Here's Circe's:

It's always interesting to me to have someone write about something sexually pivotal. Not necessarily the best, the worst, the funniest... but a sexual something that sticks in your mind for some stubborn, indelible, possibly unknown reason.

This one was hard because though I've hand many experiences, nothing felt pivotal. Everything to me has felt kind of like a progression or continuum or something. I tried running through the mental file cabinet for memories/images that are stuck in my brain in a coupling sense, and came up with a bunch of stuff, nothing of which seemed pivotal...a couple of guys I'd really lusted after when I was younger who turned out to be disappointing in the "getting physical" department...what my first lover said to me the morning after I'd had sex for the first time...what I wrote in my journal about how I felt after I'd had sex for the first time...discovering a person I was dating was notably small in the endowment department and how I processed that...a lover and I breaking a bed frame when we were really going at it...or me waking up in his bed for the first time, naked under the sheets, on a sunny morning after a night full of amazing lovemaking and finding myself alone--and then him proudly walking in with half an avocado and a spoon to surprise me with "breakfast in bed"...the best oral sex I ever had...

Just a catalogue of some of the weird random memories that stick. But none of those felt particularly pivotal. And then it hit me that my most pivotal stuff had nothing to do with when I was with another partner. It's more about the images that sparked the initial flames of my sexual imagination when I was young, well before I was sexually active. You know, those written or movie moments that you come across and suddenly realize, "This is making me hot. This is what arousal feels like." And that starts a lifetime of fantasizing and (in my case) erotic storytelling and in some ways, forges your own sexual personality.

Anyway, thinking back, it's clear that my most formative arousal moments were all related to scenes of sexual seduction. Not nonconsent, exactly, though that theme skews off the seduction theme. But rather, situations where there is one experienced partner, and one innocent and slightly nervous but secretly curious/aroused/attracted novice who, finds that despite her/his better judgment ("Oh, but this would be so bad/so secret/so dirty/so wrong"), she/he finds her/himself slowly drawn in by the more experienced partner's erotically suggestive behavior, until she/he can't stop her/himself from surrendering her/himself to the seducer's (and his/her own) desire.

Mmmm, even writing about it and remembering all those images as a kid still gets me going. The whole, "It's wrong, but I can't help myself" thing, combined with the experienced partner's overwhelming desire for the person, and to get what he/she wants, yet the carefully calculated moves he/she takes to make it happen...hunter and hunted, but the hunter makes it so the prey wants to be consumed--willingly, swooningly offers its own throat up in the end, knowing that the pain will be goooood...

Here's a shortlist of these pivotal pieces of writing/imagery that made me realize what turned me on before I was even clear what really having sex would be like (in no particular order). Grouped together, they're my pivotal thing:

1) The two seduction scenes in John Jake's The Bastard (pulled off my dad's bookshelf). Experienced French serving wench seduces inexperienced son of the woman she works for in the loft of a barn. Later on, more experienced, but poor, French son moves to the American colonies and seduces rich society virgin--though she is promised to another! (gasp!)--outdoors in a hidden spot on her intended's estate grounds. I wrote more about this book here.

2) All the "first time" stories in the Penthouse "Forum." A couple I used to babysit for had copies of Penthouse all over their house. And a huge stash of them in their bedroom closet, too. (Yeah, I looked in their closet. I know, it was wrong. But listen, all of you out there, if you've got a pre-teen or teenaged babysitter, well folks, you'd better just resign yourself to the fact that she/he is probably rifling through your smut). After I'd put the kids to bed and was sure they were asleep, I'd pull the magazines out and read and read and...well, you know, do other stuff. Thank god it was the era before those hidden-camera clocks. Anyway--any teacher and naughty schoolgirl type fantasy was sure to get lots of re-reads. As did any story about the clueless delivery boy who walked in on the brunette and redhead sunning by the pool... And um, sure, the babysitter stories were good, too. Not that the couple I was sitting for had any idea I thought so.

3) Another babysitting moment: Found an anthology of Victorian erotica in a different couple's house. Can't remember the title. A lot of it was pretty bad. But there was this one voyeur story about two wealthy young siblings (of the opposite sex) secretly watching their father seduce and have sex with the maid. (And then the siblings had sex while they watched--but the master of the house/maid/"sir" thing was what really got to me).

4) The glass elevator scene in Class. MILF Jacqueline Bisset talks to Andrew McCarthy about whether he prefers "going up or down." He says he likes going up. She decides to show him how wrong his choice is, literally, and his eyes roll to the back of his head, as they sink to the floor in plain view of everyone else using the adjoining elevators.

5) Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in The Hunger. Need I say more? Okay I will. Late at night, my parents in bed, me in the dark watching after-hours HBO. Deneuve's a vampire. Sarandon's human, a virgin, and as far as she knows, straight. Afterwards, she's none of the above. Highly erotic scene. Many people I know of my age seem to have good memories of this one...

6) A number of Eric Jong books. I never actually read any of the books all the way through. The overall writing and plots seemed pretty crap to me even then. But there were loads of seduction scenes, of all combinations. That lady had one good 'n' dirty mind.

7) The Thorn Birds (the book, not the made-for-TV movie). Two scenes: one was kind of a mutual seduction--priest is seduced by pure, beautiful young girl/girl is seduced by reticent, hot priest. They both draw each other in, even though they know it's wrong. And then I remember in contrast to that more gentle love scene, a scene with the girl being "taken" in a very masterful way by her eventual manly-man husband, which added a very nice contrast.

8) A whole bunch of teen sex flicks, forgettable except for the seduction scenes. It was pretty much standard to most of these in the early 80s that there was always some guy or girl character trying to lose it, and some salacious, more experienced person willing to help them figure it out...

9) Dangerous Liaisons. I was already more experienced by then, but Malkovitch does a damn fine job luring any number of pure young ladies into the flames in this one. (Valmont did it even better, but it was years later).

Okay, so there you have it: My pivotal sexual thing--the seduction scene. This kind of theme still fuels my adult fantasies quite a bit.

Anyone want to share a favorite seduction scene of their own? I love collecting good ones, even now.

More later. And the booth is still open for questions if anyone wants to send them.

Oh NO. I forgot a hugely pivotal one!

10) The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Frank N. Furter sedces Janet. And then Brad. Oh Tim Curry, you hot piece of alien transvestite ass, you...

You tricked me. I wouldn't have - I've never - never!

I know, but it wasn't all bad was it? I think you found it quite pleasurable.
(He caresses Janet/Brad)
Oh so soft. So sensual.

Ohhhhh - no - stop...

(and of course neither of them really means it)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ask me. I won't say no...how could I?

Coyness is nice, and
Coyness can stop you
From saying all the things in
Life you'd like to.

So, if there's something you'd like to try,
If there's something you'd like to try,
Ask me--I won't say no, how could I?
Since this morning, I've had something in my head to write that would be more of a "real" post. But for some reason, I don't feel like it. I don't want to tell people things today. Instead, all day I've just been sitting here wanting someone to ASK me something. Anything. I have no idea why. Maybe I'm just really overwhelmed with the amount of people in my outside life lately who have been calling me up to talk about their troubles or celebratory moments and forgetting to ask how I am or what's going on in my life.

I don't know. But all day I just keep saying to myself, "I wish someone would ASK me something good."

So I'm putting the offer out to any one out there who might read this. For the next twenty-four hours, write in the comments below or email me [sexeteria at that gmail place] any question you want, and I'll promise to answer it on the blog. It can be about anything--me, sex, the meaning of life, whatever. Every question (if anyone sends me one) will get an answer--though, I reserve the right for my answer to be, "I'm not going to answer that one" if I feel it's necessary. In other words, I won't guarantee an answer will be the exact one you want, but I can guarantee none of them will be untruthful. But I'll do my best to give good answer.

So. Have at it.
Ask me, ask me, ask me
Ask me, ask me, ask me,
If it's not love
Then it's the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb
That will bring us together.

[Though the above wasn't inspired directly by this, I do want to give a nod to the fabulous Darkneuro, who did some kind of "send me a question" meme a while ago and some residue of it may have stuck in my brainpan. I know hers had guidelines, and I don't remember what they were, exactly...but there are no guidelines here.]

This one knows, she comes and goes...

There are only two times where I can completely let go of myself and feel I am entirely whole, perfect, and beautiful, and close to whatever there is that is divine in this world. The first is in the midst of really good, really intense, really mind-blowing sex with someone who has won his way into my heart and my soul.

The second is when I'm surrounded by loud, swirling waves of music--music that is so perfect and all-encompassing that it makes my whole essence rise up out of me, taking me higher somehow, and each perfect riff, each flawless break, each exquisite lyric, just pours more and more joy into me and my body can do nothing but move, and I dance until exhaustion. And then past it. I never want to stop.

During those moments, I entirely lose awareness of what's around me--and yet I'm also hyper aware of every sensation lifting me higher and higher...That may sound contradictory, but that's how it is.

At these times, I no longer care about anything except connecting to the sheer perfection of sensation, and that sheer perfection, pulled into me, makes me feel perfect, holy, and unbreakable. I don't care who's watching me, I don't care how I look, I don't care what is going to happen later on--I'm just there, and nothing else matters.

I wish I could be there all the time. It's a state of almost religious ecstasy. Or actually, religious ecstasy seems mundane compared to it. It's a state beyond even that--ecstasy with no definition, no guidelines, no bounds. If I could escape into it forever, I happily would.

It's quarter to three in the morning, and I've just gotten home from hearing the most marvelous live band. They were so good I couldn't stop smiling. They were so good I wanted someone to rub against. They were so good that I wanted to grab the stranger next to me and kiss him passionately, just to share with him how perfect it all was. They were so good I got there.

My ears are buzzing. My head's a little dizzy. My right hand is stamped. And I don't. Want. To. Come. Down.

Please, please, just keep me there just a little bit longer...

(photo credit: charlatans by St Steve)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sure, You Love Your Mom...

But do you like her?

Not to throw cold buckets of water on Mother's Day or anything...parenting is an important responsibility that ought to be lauded and respected--assuming, of course, that the parent in question actually parents responsibly, in a way that is good for the specific, individual child or children they are raising. But I suspect for many people this assumption isn't always the case. Or may only be partially the case.

Most people I know have some ambivalence around their feelings about their parents. I suppose I do, too. My parents are Good People. They live a Respectable Life. They loved me the best way they knew how. They gave me a relatively safe and definitely financially secure childhood. There are qualities about them I respect, and some I even admire. There are other things about them I don't like at all.

As a result, I love them (or at least, I've been raised to believe I do--ha!). But I've often wondered, if I were not their daughter, and I met either of them randomly out in the world, with no reference or connection--say, I was introduced to them by an acquaintance at a cocktail hour--would I have any interest in knowing them further than a quick, "Hi, nice to meet you?" I honestly don't know. I often suspect maybe not.

And my case is mild. My parents and I may not have a lot of things in common as adults, but they were not extremely terrible parents. I have friends whose parents were horrible people in most every way to them throughout their childhoods, aside from managing to keep them from starving. And yet these parents expect their children to provide them with the same filial love they believe every parent is due. They don't assess how well or poorly they did their job. They were parents, and so therefore, the child must be involved in their emotional--or sometimes physical or mental health--care for the rest of their lives. That is one weighty, and possibly undeserved, expectation. But you know what? Every single one of my friends can't help themselves. They keep trying to create that filial love they so desperately want to give (and have given back) from their parents.

Love of one's parents is a complex emotion, which can be a straight-forward, freely-given kind of love at times, but in all honesty (though I know most would hate to admit this) is also often at times tied up with a sense of obligation and latent childhood dependency instinct that we learned early on. As a child, to be outcast or abandoned by a parent is a threat to our very survival--that instinct gets burned into us, and I don't think it ever really goes away. And--perhaps because of this very message burned into all of us--as an adult, the horror of being rejected by family (or you rejecting them) puts a stigma on you, not just in your own mind, but out there in the world. I notice people who have decided they don't want to be in contact with their family or openly admit they don't like their family are often looked at with suspicion. There is a sense that the person must have done something wrong to put him or herself in that position--he or she must be the one with the problem. I think this is why you see so many victims of incest choosing to continue to go to the family Thanksgiving when the family member/s who perpetrated the abuse is/are sitting right there, surrounded by all the other family members who chose to ignore (and continue to choose to ignore) the abuse as it was going on so as not to rock the family boat.

Of course, that's an extreme example. It's not always about abuse. In some cases, maybe it's just as simple as some people just can not get along with their parents as human beings. Their minds, philosophies, politics, beliefs, ways of living, whatever are just too different. And yet, most of us feel obligated to our families just the same.

Does the fact that someone raised you mean they deserve your care, attention, and loyalty no matter what? Does your parent deserve to demand your life-long respect and devotion simply because they had the ability to successfully get an egg and sperm to smack together or sign those adoption papers, regardless of how they treated you as a human being after that moment? If you wouldn't have been friends with the person your parent is, or even liked her or him if you'd met outside of a family unit, does it mean it's okay to let that relationship go once you're a fully realized adult individual?

I guess all I'm saying is that in every society, motherhood is given the big, conceptual capital letters. MOTHERHOOD. And in Christian-founded societies, there's a lot of Madonna-ization that goes on surrounding mothers. In the US, that Madonna-ization reaches its fever pitch today, on Mother's Day. Just look at the image up top there--it's not a religious painting, but it's damn near religious in its connotation. And yet, it feels like so much conceptual stereotype and not enough reality. If you are a mother, your role is elevated. You are the Great Caretaker, the Great Sacrificer--even if you really aren't. You are to be adored, worshipped. You are to be given a Day, like a saint, or a president, or a person who changed the world.

To be a mother is to be given holy stature. I won't even get into here what that makes adult women who have not become mothers, either by choice or not, in the eyes of this society--that's fodder for another post. But I will say this: mothers are not holy. Yours wasn't; mine wasn't. They are human. They fuck up. Some of them not so much. Some of them royally. Some of them were bad mothers. Some were bad mothers accidentally. Some were bad mothers on purpose. It's okay to admit any of that, even as we may feel whatever level of love we do feel for our mothers, great or small, conflicted or not.

I can only imagine for the people out there today who have mothers who have violated the conceptualization of MOTHERHOOD with all too much human reality, that Mother's Day is a pretty awful holiday to have to deal with. And for any of the rest of you out there, who might not feel horrible about their moms, but might feel at least a little ambivalence about them, or around this holiday, I just want to say to you that there's at least one other person out there who feels like that, too.

We're not bad people for feeling like that. We're just human, just like our mothers (and fathers) were/are.

And I'm pretty damn sure that you and I are not alone in our ambivalence, even if no one else wants to come out and admit it.

Note: this was a fairly serious post that derived out of a humorous origin, believe it or not. It all originated out of this very amusing, tongue-in-cheek top 12 list of "Gifts you should never give your mom for mother's day" over at AmericanInventorSpot. Note that as bizarre as these gifts are, they all actually seem to be for real--but can the #1 gift in the coundown really be legal?

Also, thanks to Davezilla for pointing the way.


I am the second-highest Google search for "I may not be the norm." (In quotes)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Reviewing the Situation--Early Morning Musings And Late Night Conundrums

Well, so I'm back. Sorry for the unannounced absence. No dramatic reason for it--I just suddenly decided I needed a break for a day or two. And then each day turned into another day that I didn't feel like writing (on the blog at least--reserving whatever writing energy I had for what I had to do for work). And it turned into a week. Anyway, sometimes you just want to live without having to offer anything up to the gods or to an audience for having done it.

Interestingly, I've noticed my reticence to write of late seems to not be exclusive to me. A great many of my favorite bloggers seem to have gone almost, if not totally, quiet. Maybe we're all suffering from a similar virus--mindwillnottransmittokeyboardistitis, for instance. Or lifeistooverwhelmingtoarticulatitosis. Maybe it's seasonal--Spring fever. Or maybe we're making it look like we've all gone quiet because in reality we've all been together for one of our tri-annual meetings at a secret country mansion in Colorado known only as "The Meadows," where we have all been whispering our secrets only to each other and bonding in an orgiastic confluence of minds, words, and lickable body parts, along with the queen, the vatican, the Gettys, the Rothschilds, and Colonel Sanders before he went tits up. And we're just not telling you.

I'm not going to say which it is--but damn, people, am I tired.

(And how the hell did that Rod of Equity and Mercy get in there? Owie.)

Anyway, I've been thinking about some stuff while I've been away. Some of which will come up in future posts. But some of which is about the blog, and what next.

I don't know. I think I had a clear idea when I started with this thing. But it's been morphing into something else. And now I keep thinking of making changes. I already talked about redesign, and I'm pretty certain now that I want to do it. But I'm thinking about other things, too.

Okay, first. I've got to recognize that this blog just simply isn't going to be just about sex. That's what I thought it was going to be--that I wasn't going to share anything about myself, and it was just going to be a forum for discussing sexuality and issues related to it in the news and entertainment media, period. But it turns out I'm feeling too limited by that. I want to talk about what I feel like talking about--whatever, whenever it hits me. A great deal of that will probably still be about sex, because I like to think and talk about it. But it will veer off into other things quite regularly, I'm sure.

So, conundrum #1: Is it fair to keep calling this a sex blog? Is it fair to keep calling it Sexeteria?

I'm a bit sorry now I gave it a name that would imply such limitations. I wonder if I should change it. To be honest, I've kind of grown attached to the name. I don't really feel like changing it (or only kinda-sorta). But if only a certain amount of the talk is sex-related, is it too misleading? And if I change it now, is it too confusing? Should I just start totally over and leave this as a blogging elephant's graveyard? (I don't really want to do the last one--I see what I've written so far as an important part of the evolution into the blog being whatever it's going to be. It's more the name that's at issue, and whether you--or more importantly, I--think it's a bad idea to keep it or change it.)

And then there's this:

I made a quick and rash choice to go with Blogger when I first decided to make a blog. It was due to a total lack of knowledge. I had an urge one day to blog. Why? I have no idea. Before that I had pretty much never read a blog, unless you count non-personal, community blogs like Metafilter and Fark. It was a completely spontaneous choice, and I just googled "blogging" and came up with Word Press and Blogger, and Blogger just seemed easier and faster to figure out. I could be writing in minutes. And that was what I wanted to do.

But after that, I started looking around and reading and looking at other people's blogs. And I realized that all the blogs that had functions I really admired most were Movable Type blogs. For months now, I've been coveting these functions. I WANT them. And as I may have mentioned before on this blog, I have no impulse control.

Well, I sent my wish out to the universe, and shockingly, the universe sent me back someone very generous who has offered to give me exactly what I want. I can move my blog over to a Movable Type one. So now another fun fact about me--I get scared when someone offers me what I want. And even as I'm reaching for it, or sometimes am already up to my elbows in it and it is far too late to turn back, I am wont to think, "Is it really what I want?"

And then the trouble starts.

So now, I present to you conundrum #2. I can switch my blog over to Movable Type. I will get all kinds of cool functions that I will be far, far happier with. And I'd be part of a community of bloggers whose work I admire and relate to greatly. That would be good.

It would mean I'd have to learn a slightly more difficult interface, but I can handle that, because I think the benefits are worth it. There's a slight question about whether I can deal with the commenting interface there, given how my daily life works. I can't log on to the blog from work. So that's something to sort out--if it's possible to not be flooded with spam if I don't monitor comments or have word verification. But I'm sure there's probably a workaround for that.

BUT, here are some things I wonder about. It would also mean having to change my blog's URL. Which would mean lots of broken links on people's blogs that I would have to try to get fixed. And it might mean a that my stats would go back down to zero (does anyone know if there's a way to transfer over one's stats easily?). It might also mean some confusion or frustration on readers' parts, which means I might lose some readers, too.

I suppose all these last issues are totally ego related. But I like all the people who comment. I like that people are reading. And I don't really want that to go away.

So what do you think? Would it be too disconcerting if I kept the name, but varied my content a little? If I changed the name? If I moved urls? Would you follow me over? Would it be too much of a pain in the ass for you to update your blogrolls (if you have me on yours)?

Please feel free to weigh in on this; I'd really like to hear opinions.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Forever in Memes

Money talks, people, but it don't sing and dance, and it don't blog.

I have been TAGGED, like a desperate elk on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, tackled and trapped via helicopter leap by the insane Jim Fowler (click on the roll-over that says, "Are You Insane?"), most likely while Marlin Perkins sat on his lazy ass back at the lodge, drinking hot chocolate.

In this modern-day scenario, however, spcknght is Jim Fowler. And HE can tackle me in the snow any day (oooh er, missus!).

I thought I was gonna get away from this one, folks, I really did. I was sneaky. I deliberately didn' t leave a comment on Hiromi's blog the day she did it and tagged "...every motherfucker who reads this. Mwaaahahahahahahaha!" I just looked the other way and whistled innocently...nope, I didn' t see nothin'. And I overcame my persistent guilt by employing convenient semantic logic to rationalize..."Well, um, technically, I have never fucked my mother. So..."

But no, the NEIL DIAMOND MEME has found me anyway and wrapped itself around me like a sparkly, open collar 70's shirt and way-too-tight black knit trousers.

I know this week has been nothing but lists about me. And though I know I'm just sooo fascinating to all of you (ahem), I don't blame you if you feel it's a little much all in a row like this. But the truth of the matter is, I love memes and stupid personality quizzes. I love reading other people's. I love doing my own. No, it's not deep. It's not important. But it's fun. And I sure haven't had a lot of that lately, so I'll do whatever I get even small enjoyment from, thank you very much. Think it doesn't count as "real" blogging? Well, to quote a certain wise and eloquent man, "Bite me." (Those who do so in a very sexy way, though, get brownie points.) I'll get back to the real blogging soon enough.

So, y'know, "cracklin' reader, get on board," and all of that...

I AM: More than I probably appear to be on this blog. (And also: currently trying to write a description of what a "good kiss" is and getting all hot and bothered by it, yet still thinking it's not nearly good enough to post.)
I SAID: “No pillow!”
I WANT: The above quote to mean the more interesting thing you probably began imagining it meant, rather than what it actually did mean.
I WISH: That all the people I wish I could hang out with weren’t all living so far away from me.
I HATE: Liars and poseurs and blowhards, oh my.
I MISS: Feeling like I and my life are cool and interesting.
I FEAR: I won’t get to feel like that again.
I HEAR: Birds (especially one very insistent mourning dove). Airplanes in the distance. A car driving past. Clicking of the keyboard. Wind blowing through a tree. Farther in the distance: lapping water (though that may only be my imagination).
I WONDER: Where I’ll end up. And what the origin of the expression “all that and a bag of chips” is.
I REGRET: That I’m probably boring you to death with this meme.
I AM NOT: a pushover.
I DANCE: really well, so I’m told--and not nearly enough lately.
I SING: Loudly in the car by myself to stuff on my iPod or the radio. Softly to myself when I dance.
I CRY: More than I ever imagined I would the older I get, at things I never imagined I’d cry at…like sappy TV commercials or deliberately emotionally-manipulative movies. Grrrr, hate that. But I still don’t cry at Lifetime TV shows! Kill me if that starts happening!
I AM NOT ALWAYS: As strong as I appear to be.
I MADE: Myself go to yoga class yesterday.
I WRITE: Every. Fucking. Minute. Of. The. Day. (Or at least it feels like that sometimes.)
I CONFUSE: Other people’s needs (and sometimes interests) with mine.
I NEED: A patron so I never have to worry about money and can just focus on doing the writing I want to do. Or a sugar daddy. Or a generous old lady who likes my blog and leaves me all her money and her fabulous city brownstone in her will.
I SHOULD: Get out of bed.
I START: To imagine staying in bed all day instead.
I FINISH: This slightly dull attempt at a meme.
I TAG: YOU (and let me know you did it so I can go read it).

Disclaimer: Mind you now, I said I loved memes, but that doesn't mean I want to get tagged every day of the week. Too much of a good thing and all of that. Be gentle and sparing, you lot. There are plenty of others who you can share the wealth with, too.