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Monday, May 4, 2015

Thoughts on beards and...

A silly thing crossed my mind this morning.

So, beards are good, right?* We like beards. While a stubborn few cling to the idea that to be clean shaven is to be neater and more formal, more socially acceptable, the hipster men of our present generation (not to mention all those adventurous non-hipster masses who came before) have reclaimed The Beard that is their birthright, and have embraced the joy of being fancy once more. And most of the women of the world share in their hirsute delight.

There's a thing, though, that I just thought of. Would you agree, that there's a particular stubborn pungency to the smell of cunt juice that clings to one's fingers as it dries? It's tenacious; not unpleasant, but strongly lingering. If not washed off straight away, it tends to hang around through the day, subtle, yet evident.



Perhaps you see where I'm going with this? One of the things we beard-appreciating ladies appreciate is the added sensation of stubble or hair on our tenderest parts when our men go down on us. Yes? That extra tactility (it's a word, I just checked) of a hundred wiry hairs biting just a little into our sensitive, pinkest skin. It's a delicious cruelty that makes us writhe against your face that little bit more.

But oh! How hard the aroma of us must cling to those face-forests thereafter! And how tantalising, disturbing, alarmingly evocative it must be to walk around with a constant reminder of the services you performed earlier wafting into your nose, embued as your beard is with tiny beads of love-cream. It must be difficult to get anything done.

There's something wonderfully animal about it all. N'est-pas?

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. 


*I am choosing to ignore that disturbing article doing the rounds about the dubious bacterial load that beards carry, but would implore all beard wearers to wash their hands carefully as often as necessary. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Matthew 7:3-5

I'm a horrible reader. I need to find my inner Zen when it comes to reading things.
I trip over one word that wrankles for some reason, and I'm out of the game, it's like I'm wearing a hair shirt, metaphorically, writhing around in discomfort, my brain firing out alternatives and reasons why the word's wrong. And often it's a word that everyone is using - but I can't enjoy the writing anymore. Typos, word misuse, personal pet peeve words... ugh. I'm awful.

In the last few days, I've come across the phrase, 'I let out a whelp', which was meant to be meant as a yelping sound, but as far as I know only means a newborn pup. I know 'whelp' is an exclamation sometimes, but 'a whelp', no - so what I had was an image of a woman tied to a bed in the middle of a gang bang giving birth to a puppy spontaneously, and that was it, it was all over for me.

I have similar reactions to to commonly used words. One is 'want' in place of 'desire' - when did that start happening? You're overcome with want? Want is a noun now? I thought it meant a lack, as in 'for want of a nail, the shoe was lost'. Now it suddenly means desire. And every time I see it I get shaken out of the story and thing, grr! Same for 'hit'. For me, hit is a verb, and as a noun it means a chart topper. But it's used in place of smack, or stroke, or blow now, thirty hits to my butt... nooo, please no. It sounds so clumsy.

Anyway, yes, see how my train of thought works, in the middle of nice stories? And the worse thing is, I am also tormented by my own petty pernicketiness. It's not fun to feel like this. It's not fun to jolt over extraneous apostrophes as if they were tripwires. It's pants. And I don't know what to do about it. How do I put down the red pen? 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

fat jokes

I have this very attractive colleague, he's 42, if I remember correctly, he mountain bikes competitively and is in great shape. He's very funny, good at being overly familiar in a nice way, very kind, full of teasing. He brightens the day, really, I appreciate his presence.

Yesterday, though, I think he horrified himself by saying something out loud I suspect he meant to say in his head.

I was lamenting the lack of a blind in my classroom, as no one can see the board. There were just himself and another young colleague in our tiny staffroom after work. I wondered if there was anything I could bring in to hang in the window that would do to block the shine, as I don't think a blind will be particularly forthcoming.

He instantly piped up, 'A pair of your knickers?'

Now, generally in my workplace, which is female-dominated, we don't do fat jokes. Generally, here, it's impossible to lament your fatness, even as an obese person, because someone rushes in to tell you you're fine. Actually, I'm not sure that goes for me any more, as I've clearly crossed the line at this stage, but still. There tends to be an elephant in the room during these conversation, still, these days, and yes, that elephant is me.

So... though Dan's joke was gasp-worthy, slightly shocking, funny in its utter meanie rudeness (you're not supposed to mention the gigantic nature of my ass!) it was also refreshing, and a little comforting in its honesty and chilled outedness. I really don't think he meant to say it, but I'm glad he did. And I also kicked him, as really, if manners maketh the man, telling a lady she has a huge arse get you kicked in your own one.  

weirdness

I am so very white-skinned that my boobs are kinda see-through in bright sunshine.

I'm trying not to be grossed out by that. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I usually avoid these things like the plague, because I am truly, deeply boring. And this is a disappointment to the nominator and all the poor people who might read, expecting scintillation. But I like little random questions. So feck it. 
The award comes with rules, so if you are nominated, you are required to do the following:
 *Usually I take delight in ignoring the rules, cos fuck you, I won't do what the internet tells me, but here they are. I might not provide eleven facts.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Answer the questions provided by the person who nominated you.
  3. Provide eleven random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award and have less than one thousand followers.
  5. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers to answer.

Here are Abi Rode's questions: 

Bacon or sausages? You can only have one…
Well, as a vegetarian, I want neither, but if we're talking protein substitutes, I'll go for some Fakin' over the ubiquitous veggie sausage. Why do they try to recreate gristle? That's why I gave up meat in the first place... 
When a plane lands is it ever acceptable to clap?
Eh, yeah? If there's Weather, and the pilot lands smoothly, or with difficulty, maybe?
What do you crave when you’re hungover?
Grease. Horribly, sometimes McDonalds, but not really. Fried food, though.
What is the sexiest accent for you?
Sexiest? Hard to say. Scottish, maybe, I love hearing Douglas Henshall saying 'Darlin''. I'm also quite fond of posh English accents, though they amuse me too. Oh, and once a Czech IT guy helped get my computer back online, he was in my computer, and was telling me to do allsorts, I might have turned clockwise three times waving a rowan branch over my head for all I knew what was going on. Suddenly  I was connected again, and I said, 'Oh, it's back! Did that just happen or did you do that?' and he replied, 'Ve did it togezzer' in an extremely sexy, deadpan voice, it was like IT phone sex. So I've a soft spot for Eastern European accents too. 
Where have you been, that would surprise me that you have no interest in returning to? And why? (i.e. somewhere that’s universally thought of as great)
I'm not sure I've been enough places. Armagh, but I don't think anyone really thinks that's great. I hope they don't. God. No, I'd go back everywhere I've been, but I would go other places before I'd go back to Paris, I have to confess. 

 If I made you a cup of tea/cup of coffee/sandwich and it wasn’t to your liking, would you tell me?
Ah, such an Irish thing. As I'd an American mother, my filter isn't great, I probably would. I tell everyone everything. 
If someone had some food on their face, something in their teeth, would you tell them?
See above.
Do you have any strong feelings about your name, first or surname – or if you’re a girl, giving it up?
I did give mine up. This name's a pen name, and as such, fanciful and indulgent. I'm obsessive about my first name because everyone gets the full version wrong, and misspells the short version. SIGH. This bothers me. I bristle. I was happy to give away my father's name, as after all, it's only his abusive father's name as handed down to him. The chance to become someone else appealed to me. And I think I'm more comfortable with my married name, though I don't quite feel I deserve to lay claim to it, somehow
Do you leave voicemails, or just hang up and send a text?
Heh, usually the latter, because I hate listening to voicemails and I don't want to inflict them on anyone else, and I don't trust that they listen to them either. 
What is an unacceptable item of clothing that would have you struggling to forgive?
Eh... in what sense? Like, fur? Or some fashion crime? Fur would be a hard one, and in the latter sense, em... I dunno. Shiny tracksuit? Those uni-ball sack swim suits? Jumpsuits and play suits are deeply dubious, imho.
If you left your country for a year what would be the thing that you would miss the most (we’re assuming you’d miss your family, partner, friends and pets)
Irish humour. Soft rain. Once upon a time, Guinness would have been up there. 


11 Random facts
Ugh, I don't want to do random facts. I struggle not to just put myself down. Erm... that's one. 
I can't turn off my inner proof reader any more, and just read blithely. Misplaced apostrophes scream at me in neon. It wrecks my day every day. I wish I could stop. 
I'm starting to grow white hair now. It's coming.
 I'm 39 this month. 
I have studied philosophy, but I've forgotten what little I managed to understand of it at this stage. 
I think Bagheera was the first fictional character I was ever in love with. 
I've suffered from Trichotillomania for twenty years. It's shit. 
I wish there had been local swimming pools and swim teams when I was in school, because then I could have been good at a sport. 
I think I'm dyspraxic. (It's also shit).
I bake exceedingly good cakes. It's all in the butter and vanilla.

 Questions
  1. Favourite tv programme du jour? The one you'd stay in bed with toast for 48 hours for. 
  2. Item of clothing that makes you feel sexiest/most confident/most like yourself or all of the above. Em, beside. Whatever. 
  3. What can you forgive easily? 
  4. Pet peeve (apart from that phrase)?
  5. Tell me a beautiful place you've been that stays with you. 
  6. Have you got an internet friendship that you think will endure? Have you met IRL? 
  7. What's your speciality? 
  8. What's the worst thing your parents have bequeathed to you? And the best? 
  9. If you could choose one talent to excel at, what would it be? 
  10. Tell us a horribly embarrassing experience you've had. Go on. 
NOMinations.
Ms Rayne, off you go. 
Exhibit A, plz. 
F.Leonora Solomon
Ms Elyot
Jeannette Gray. 


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

to the blog, Batgirl. Kinksters, psychopaths and feminism.

I've just nearly left a comment on various posts/articles today, but maybe in the long run we should all be having our say on this one. I'm completely open to discussion on this because I no longer seem to have the ability to order the thoughts I have as instinctive gut reactions when I read something into a coherent and cohesive response. So maybe this makes no sense at all.

I've been following the Dwyer O Hara murder case, as any Irish person has been, but I look at the photos of Elaine O Hara and I see someone who could be me. I know her body type and her lack of self worth and her depression and her longing for love and a Sir, but thankfully not her institutionalisations or the conviction of her suicidal urges. I've no urge to flirt with someone who wants to stab me to death, or stab me at all, thank fuck. Knife play... it's not for me. I'm grateful. I'm not that strong. But if I were into it, I would hope that it wouldn't be driven by a death urge or an inability to see what the person I was playing with was. A murderous shit in wolf's clothing, in this case.

My heart goes out to that poor, tortured woman, and the fact that the only person she could find to give her attention was a twisted sociopathic fucker who saw her as nothing more than a means to his own homicidal gratification.

No, this is not what BDSM is. Kink is not about wanting to kill women, or anyone. It's not about wanting to be killed. But people are allowed play with the metaphors. And that means they should keep their eyes open about why.

Emer O'Toole wrote a piece today suggesting that in the midst of kink positivity, we do still have a responsibility to look at the cultural morées that our play has grown out of. It's no longer de rigeur to dismiss BDSM as misogynist. Men like submission too! And yes. Choice and consent count for a lot. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't look at where this urge to be on your knees, or have someone kneel before you comes from. Especially if you think 50 Shades represents what BDSM is.

To be honest, my personal impulse is to analyse the emotional, psychological why of the impulse over the cultural and historical one. I'm a little more interested in what's in my head and how it was shaped by my own experiences and relationships and exposures than by the sociopolitical culture I live in. I don't think that means it's any less important, though. And I agree that the lines between those two things are extremely blurred - I'm the scared daughter of an unquestionably dominant, aggressive, verbally abusive Virgo father who I also have to recognise as a pretty misogynist person. There is nature, yes, but sometimes nurture waves a brightly painted flag too. And this is why I look at Elaine O Hara, and I can understand, and I can see her intense vulnerability with such searing night vision.

I've watched and read enough crap porn to recognise sexist tropes when I see them. 'My stable of women are just holes for my use' doesn't stop being sexist just because it turns us on. Sorry. Doesn't mean we shouldn't play with it; if it speaks to your erect and swollen bits, go for it, but don't pretend it's above a rigorous feminist inspection. To think otherwise would be a little incurious.

Ahem. Back to the sainted glory of BDSM. Accepting that BDSM isn't influenced by cultural power imbalance just doesn't make sense to me. I agree with others that BDSM practitioners are not psychopaths or murderers. I'm as ready to jump on stupid statements about why should we teach our children 50 Shades is good and Graham O Dwyer is evil as the next girl. Ok, 50 Shades is massively problematic, and that asshat commenter doesn't understand anything about why it doesn't represent BDSM etc., but he doesn't know that.

I think BDSM can be beautiful, brave and freeing. I don't think Emer O'Toole is unintelligent enough to suggest that Dwyer's impulses are BDSM gone awry, as GirlontheNet suggests in her angered response. I won't speak for Emer, but I don't think her assertion that we should ask why BDSM is becoming so popular is anti-kink. She seems to be asking questions about our culture that is so rife with violence against women, which sees women as expendable, is also so keen to roleplay on such a fine line. Half the lines that turn us on were once (and in all honesty, still are) spoken with utter seriousness by some asshole who subscribes to every patriarchal, sexist belief you've ever rejected. I don't think that means we should do away with whatever 'suck my cock, whore' line we've ever loved, but it does mean we should think about it.

 In this case, we have a columnist questioning her own fantasies about BDSM sex because a woman was manipulated and violently murdered. BDSM is not about this – it’s not. It’s about mutual, consensual exploration of fantasy with willing participants.

Now, I know Emer a little, and I think this is a massive reduction of her point about underlying sexism in our culture and and insult to her own sexual awareness. She's neither that headshy or that stupid. What she is is extremely aware of how insidious misogyny is. I'm looking for a quote to back me up, but there's too much. Just... read the article again, please. It's the ideology she wants to look at. The acceptance of, or influence of social conditioning behind the consent.

What’s more, to use this as a reason to question one’s own BDSM fantasies is to legitimise the excuses of the perpetrator. To say ‘hey well you know BDSM does make us do fucked up stuff’ is to utterly ignore the impact of context, consent, and all the other things that matter when you’re doing something like this.

Do you see Emer's article as doing this? I don't see her as demonising BDSM, but recognising that its action is influenced by a common normalising of violence against and subjugation of women. It seems oddly blind to assert that it does not contain those elements, however it deals with them. If you slap your sub in the face and then push her head back onto your cock again, where does that action come from and why does it turn you both on? Shouldn't we ... ask that? Does it mean that we can't enjoy it if we do? She's not ignoring context or consent. She's saying, do not be blind as to where this thing that turns you on originated. Why do you now claim it as your own ?

 I’m making this critique not as a kink-shamer, but as a challenge to myself: what are my reasons and justifications for inviting or accepting male sexual violence? And, at this point in history, when kink is becoming ubiquitous, I’m calling on all responsible, egalitarian kinksters to take a step back from personal desire and pleasure and ask similar questions.

 I don't think this paints her as a kinkster who's lost her nerve because of a nasty story. I think it paints her as the feminist academic she is who questions the providence of sexual customs in a problematic society. I certainly agree that asking questions and exploring our submissive and dominant impulses and what they're born out of is a good idea. I couldn't operate any other way, personally. You may want to mould your sub into all that they can be, in altruistic fashion, but if you're someone with an inborn need to hit another person, I don't think you should do so without a certain amount of introspection. There's nothing wrong with looking, or requesting that we look before we welcome the act with wholesale acceptance. Asking questions does not mean denying your kink, or suppressing it.

Tumblr is full of littles (who are genuinely still little) who want Daddies to discipline them. Of teenagers who find the idea of living in a 1940s relationship where the man has control of the woman as if he were her parent a massive turn on. Sexism is sexy! they were all clamouring, before I unfollowed because I couldn't take any more. Why is he turned on by that control? Why are these not-quite-yet women so seduced by the idea of having their every choice, from spending their own money to the colour of their underwear made for them? Shouldn't we ask? Listen, I would love to have someone spank me for not observing bedtime and being too tired to function well the next day. But I also try to be quite aware of my own struggles with self-discipline (as well as all the rest) and I'm not content to explain it all away with 'because it would turn me on'.

I certainly think that had he realised his phones and deleted  videos and records would be found, Dwyer would have pleaded a consentual sex game gone wrong. I'm sure he would have loved to have painted himself as the victim in some way. Instead, the evidence made painfully clear that he had about as much regard for O'Hara and her broken self as a meat eater tucking into a burger does for the animal it came from. In his arrogance, he thought his trail would stay hidden, so he pleaded not guilty. If he'd known, I think he would have argued all the way that theirs was a relationship of consent. Yes he's a shit, a sociopath, and manipulative, murderous abuser, without empathy for the woman he was tormenting so cruelly. Yes, most Doms want to treat their subs with infinite responsibility and care.

But then there are stories like this, by Cliff at the Pervocracy, who is pretty much a consent warden (as you can see from her extremely detailed breakdown of what's wrong with 50 Shades). This link details an assault she was subjected to within a scene, and why she didn't report it - much of the why says depressing things about the kink community. She later goes on to write a post about how her rapist was giving consent lectures, something that's deeply alarming.

In sanctifying kink, I fear we take our fingers off the button, for want of a better phrase. Our eye off the ball (for god's sake, help me). Yes, this man is a psycopath. Yes, Remittancegirl's point that there are far more psychopaths who've used religion as an excuse to kill than there are Doms Gone Mad is absolutely right. Sadism exists outside the beautiful bubble that is the mutual need and response of BDSM. But I don't think that means we shouldn't police and investigate ourselves and our desires.

No, sexual psychopaths' existence should not deny us our kink. No, you are not Graham O'Dwyer. Or Elaine O'Hara. But I bet you thought quite a lot between the burgeoning fantasy of slapping someone in the face and how it made you hard or wet, or being slapped in the face and how it made you hard or wet, and the act of slapping or being slapped for real. And if you didn't, do you not think maybe it would have been a good idea to do so?







Wednesday, February 4, 2015

challenges, stumbling blocks, call them what you will

Oh my god. I am trying to write/edit/finish something off. My husband has chosen today to borrow a petrol hedge strimmer from our neighbour and is right.outside.the.door using it on our monster hedge. It's very loud.

My school refusing daughter is upstairs on her computer, having had a screaming tantrum because I asked her to do some schoolowork. It's 1.04. It's time for her dad to bring her to school to collect more work.

The motor and the screaming tantrum are unsettling. They block the creative flow, readers, the discerning, decision making, critical faculty needed to pull a story together. I need that faculty, and I need five hundred odd more words that fit.

*Aughghgh!*