Yikes

My recommended ads involve vibrators, jumpsuits, and Target. It’s like internet algorithms knows me better than I know myself.

target


Rampant Middle-America Nonsense

It’s amazing that just showing up a for a 9-to-5 makes women “career obsessed” at the same time it makes men “responsible”.

Guess how much I care about your casual misogyny, average middle america? Take it away, Peggy.

peggy3


What I Want and What I Don’t

Someone recently said to me the world would be better if women were more open about what they want and what they didn’t.  The observation certainly calls out a fault with current/evolving gender roles and expectations as well as social norms. Our culture frequently supports donning a positive demeanor and being open to others’ requests at the expense of our own selves, like southern hospitality run amok. To ask for things is greedy. To expect that your standard be met by someone is selfish. I realize that many things in relationships need to be a negotiation, but your basic principles need not be. We shouldn’t surrender our own needs to please others, whether they be family, colleagues, friends, or romantic partners. Sometimes displeasing another can ultimately be a service to you both, forcing the readjustment of expectations. To circle back to the initial comment, people can’t really be happy unless they start feeling more comfortable admitting out loud what they want and what they don’t.

In the spirit of committing to being my truest, happiest self this year I’d like to openly think about and consider these categories.

In Life

WantDon't Want
Travel adventures: From European metropolises with cobblestone and old houses that are too close together, to snowy national parks where I can camp under the pine trees. I want to traverse busy streets and watch the northern lights and lounge on gulf beaches and climb pyramid ruins. If I can't afford to leave the country this year while I work on my credit debt, I'll plan circuits for national park tours and lodges.

Fitness: I want to do more than fall in and out of fads and quick fixes. I want to make my fitness strategies a regular routine. Living alone now, no one can interfere with my progress except myself. There are no more scapegoats.

Continued financial growth: I don't want to be rich. I've never wanted that. My goals for financial growth are to make enough to be comfortable, do the things I want to do, and never have to stress about funds. The ability to put money away for a rainy day would be great too.

Cultivate experiences: I want to continue what's been an amazing decade of cultivating happy, memorable experiences, both on my own and with friends or partners. Experiences and happiness over things, always. Say Yes to indulgence.
Kids: The stresses of childbirth, care-taking, and family building. At least, not this decade while there's still so much independent life to live. Maybe later ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A breached inner sanctum: Poor choices for friends and acquaintances that are toxic, controlling, or altogether bad influences on my time, priorities, and emotions.

Uncomfortable workplace environment: It may be easy to win a battle, but it makes the war unbearable. I need to be a team player at all times, avoid shining at the expense of colleagues just to be the one that was "right", and never try to take someone down. It's just not worth it and puts my goals in jeopardy.

Irresponsible habits: As I fight down my debt, I've done a great job excising a few old habits that added zero value to my life but monopolized resources. Good riddance, I say, and let's continue fighting those urges in 2018.

 

Pinterest mosaic of my 2018 aesthetics

In a Partner

WantDon't Want
Expressive and outgoing: Let's face it: I'm a lot. I want a partner who can keep up with my energy and spontaneity (dare I say, my capriciousness???)

Amenable to change: Strong principles are important, and I do value those. But it's also important not to take your rigid positions to your grave. When new evidence presents itself, one must be willing to adapt one's perspective to include that evidence and accept a change in perspective.

Tender: Has feelings and is not afraid to tap into them. This is connected to good listening skills, so I'll include that here also.

Responsible: His maturity and independence must reflect his age.

Live and breathe humor: Life is a comedy; nobody gets out alive. We need to be able to laugh together, always.

Socially aware and empathetic: His thoughts on immigration should be more educated and critical than a few paltry, black and white talking points that sound like "just come here legally". He should be thoughtful, empathetic, and open to the concerns of his fellow humans.

Geeky AF: And, here's a hill that I'll die on. At the same time that he's geeky, he needs to also not be a pretentious gatekeeper about it. How can you love me if you simultaneously question my authenticity; if you think my identity and hobbies are nothing but performance? The answer is that you can't, and it shows. Gatekeepers think if you weren't into something at age 7, then you're fake. So, let's share our hobbies and hope we perk the others' interests in new things! Explore geekdom together! There is room for everyone, and endless new fandoms to discover.

Lumberjack aesthetic: Not required, but it sure helps.
Narcissism: Now that I've developed a radar for this personality type, at least I can avoid it in the future.

Emotional problems: I can't get sucked into any more caretaker roles. My personality demands that I give, and boy... do these people take.

Indoorsy: My interests lately seem to revolve around nature: national parks, regular parks, beaches, and/or roughing it. He needs to want to live this life with me, not just put up with it. Snow, rain, cloudy, or shine--let's go out in it!

Triflin': At the first sign of a conflict-oriented demeanor, I'm out. My lifestyle goals don't involve petty quarreling and losing ourselves in the details.

Endless dietary restrictions: I love to cook. Don't be a pain in my ass 😛

Religious and serious about it: Being atheist affects everything that I am--my values, my priorities, the way I process experiences, and the way I plan for the future.

Gender Fluidity: I thought I was more progressive than I am. I've learned through trial and error that I do, in fact, require him to have more body hair than myself and to wear less makeup than I do. My own jealous nature requires exclusive rights to the feminine features and accouterments. (same vein: the man I'm with shouldn't be more interested in his own ass than mine.)

Hobbies that consume: Hobbies are great. They accent your life and add to your general happiness. They should not consume you to the extent that you go weeks without speaking to your significant other. They should not become your sole identity trait. They should not drive you to think of your friends and loved ones as mere vehicles for praise of your work. And, most poignantly: I should not have to take on his hobby just to get his attention.

 

cd6

The future hubs right here


Aziz “I’m Sorry” Ansari

The Aziz Ansari exposé this week described what’s perhaps the lowest-stakes encounter we’ve seen mainstreamed as part of the #MeToo movement, and as such has launched the most interesting and impactful discussions on sex, consent, and male aggression I’ve seen in a while. The exposé has this ability to make people excruciatingly uncomfortable because it’s about regular people having regular experiences. It’s easy to hate a Weinstein. It’s less easy to hate someone who looks and sounds like you or your friends. As evidence, see…. well, nearly every response piece on the subject. Taking the temperature of the response pieces is something of an exercise in “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.” Whether articles come out for or against the OP, the consistent premise is that all women have been Grace. No one seems to be denying the universality of the woman’s experience exactly as described. The only disagreement among authors seems to be whether or not to care. I blink in disbelief. In the same breath, antifeminists admit awareness of our society’s pervasive disregard for women’s comfort and autonomy while using this very example as a way to deny it and declare women O.K.

We might be O.K., but we’d like to be good, great, fantastic! That’s what equality is all about. An anonymous comment on the Lindy West NYT piece sums up my reactions, so instead of reinventing the wheel I’ll simply leave this here:

Clearly Aziz Ansari was trying to rush things on a first date in a way that rushes to the male’s endgame rather than something mutually pleasurable and collaboratively reached between lovers. Some women are fine with the former, but most want (and all deserve) the latter, and for a man to expect the former is extremely presumptuous, disrespectful, and makes a woman feel terrible rather than pleasured. It is not rape, but it’s emotionally hurtful. Aziz treated her like a piece of meat as she moved away and even explicitly told him she didn’t want to feel forced. This ruins sex for women, and all people deserve to enjoy sex. Women have had enough of having female sexuality and pleasure ignored.

And then, there’s my lady Samantha Bee, who has the unique gift of being able to sharply and hilariously describe the precise feelings I’m unable to verbalize:

Part of enjoying [this modern world] is setting a higher standard for sex than just not rape, and women get to talk about it if men don’t live up to those standards, especially if that man wrote a book about how to sex good. [….] But listen, if you don’t want to tune into your partner’s feelings throughout sex, maybe you shouldn’t be fucking a person at all. May I suggest a coin-purse or a ziploc bag full of grape jelly. Men, if you say you’re a feminist, then fuck like a feminist. – Samantha Bee

bee1


The Return of Googlebro and This Stupid, Exhausting Fight for Respect in the Workplace

Mr. Damore’s memo last year argued that biological differences — citing greater levels of anxiety among women, and a lower tolerance for stress — helped explain why there were fewer women in key engineering positions and leadership roles at Google.  – New York Times

Or, crazy thought…. perhaps women are more stressed at work because even though they work full time they have greater childcare responsibilities thrust upon them by their partners and are expected to perform the majority of the shopping and housework and see less sleep and free time than their male colleagues because of it. Perhaps they are more stressed at work because their coworkers openly discuss and share manifestos about their biological inferiority for logic- and math-based tasks and use the workplace trends that emerge from consistent under-representation and being spoken over during meetings, undervalued, and passed over for promotions in favor of male colleagues as justification for these decidedly unscientific “beliefs” without a shred of irony. Perhaps they’re more stressed because their colleagues and/or superiors sexually harass them, and no one believes them or cares, or worse–blames them for causing it by the mere act of performing their jobs.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Women cannot end misogyny in the workplace. By its very nature, misogyny reduces or ignores the concerns of women. It’s men who must be the ones to take up the call against their peers and end workplace misogyny in our name. These are not women’s issues; they are issues about women.

giphy


Poverty Status of the Day:

Accepting injections of live diseases from the developing world for science.

shrugg


The Art of Rising Above

Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them in an argument. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their therapist, if you prefer the analogy). Rather than responding to the emotional chaos—focus only on the facts.

Forbes


Thanksgiving to Christmas Is For Tolkien Weekends

RottenTomatoes

The Bloat: An Unexpected Trilogy, The Desolation of CGI, and The Battle of the Five Rotten Tomatoes

I don’t buy anything but groceries and gas these days, but on Cyber Monday the extended Hobbit series was on ultra clearance, and I went for it. It’s a love/hate relationship with this series, but mostly love these days. Let’s watch and react:

  • Gandalf’s complete disregard for Bilbo’s firm “No”s is a bit disturbing. Bilbo very clearly declined these adventures, and multiple times at that. I am uncomfortable.
  • The randy, uncouth uncle from Outlander is a dwarf. It works.
  • Hobbit meals make me incredibly hungry. In fact, I’ve made a second dinner while watching.
  • Fav new character: Sebastian the hedgehog.
  • Naked CGI dwarves bathing and spanking each other in a Rivendell fountain was the extended scene we didn’t know we didn’t want until it already existed.
  • Yessss, they brought Figwit back for the Hobbit. Oh my god. The extended edition is everything.
  • The exteded Rivendell council scene makes so much more sense than the patched oddity that I saw in the theater. In fact, there is so much exposition and character illumination in Rivendell that was cut in the theatrical, and yet Peter kept the rock battle and 40 minutes of goblins. Please. Peter, get your life together.
  • Middle-aged, CGI-smoothed Legolas just makes me uncomfortable. Some things should be left alone.
  • The memes are right: Bard looks more like Orlando Bloom than Orlando Bloom does.
  • Mordor’s mountains can’t possibly be a natural formation. It’s too squarelike. Sauron must have done something magical to bring that about in his heyday. Update: This geologist agrees.
  • Tauriel and Legolas rode from Erebor…..to the castle of Angmar…. and then back to Erebor in a few days. Nein. No. That is literally half of the west-to-east expanse of the Middle Earth map and then back again. Nope. This is Game of Thrones levels of time travel.
  • You guys, Legolas is riding a giant bat over mountaintops. This has gotten out of hand.
  • At the end of Battle of the Five Armies, Legolas finally… after six movies… runs out of arrows. It’s the only easter egg I’ve ever cared about. Thank you, Peter.
  • Things I didn’t want from the Hobbit series but received anyway: Alfrid’s unibrow.
  • Fun fact: If you took a shot every time you heard a Wilhelm scream in a Peter Jackson series, you’d be dead.
  • The weakest part about An Unexpected Journey is the utter lack of Thranduil.

 

 


I’m Outtie

I have no time for a man who still doesn’t know who he is by his late twenties/early thirties. I don’t want to have the same conversations now that people had in high school about finding themselves. The privileges of our advanced, relatively safe society that prioritizes the pursuit of happiness also lead to the prolonged infantilizing of men. I can’t believe how many men my age still have these same youthful questions, like:

  • What do I want to do for a career?
  • Should I pursue more school?
  • What kind of relationship would fulfill me?
  • What sort of partner would be compatible with me?
  • What traits do I like in a woman?
  • What are my own hopes and dreams?
  • What are my own interests?
  • Do I have ambitions, and what are they?
  • How does a crusty dish become uncrusted?
  • Who takes care of the home that I co-rent and live in?
  • Do I even like women after all?
  • Am I even a man?
  • Should I date cishet women but also be a secret trans lesbian woman and also be an anal-obsessed camgirl on a fetish site for funsy comments and likes? (This sounds weirdly specific but ok)

The point is, men require the most delicate support and maternal nurturing that seemingly never ends, and it is exasperating.

Untitled

nic

Yeah no. I’m about to log into all my old dating profiles just so I can delete them.


November’s Aesthetic

What are men to rocks and mountains?

rocksandmountains


God Was With Me During My Routine EKG and I’m Completely Fine. Praise His Light.

People who boast “God’s looking out for me” whenever a bad situation rights itself are inherently untrustworthy. I say this because if they sincerely mean what they say (and they do), then the inverse must also be true, which is that people deserve the bad things that happen to them; that God could have spared them but purposefully chose not to. I mean, really…. Can you imagine thinking that God’s looking out for your flu symptoms or your fender bender or your football game while Boko Haram kidnaps children that are never rescued? Could you even muster the shamelessness? When I hear someone say they must have a guardian angel, it makes my skin crawl.


Y tho

When you nicely (?) ask your team to stop making copies of documents with little dates and initials at the end in an effort to stop version control problems, but then years later they still do it and we still have constant version control problems.

dumble


BBC Depression

My emotions, on the occasion they exist, have their own unit of measurement in the manner of Brontes, Austen, and Gaskell. At the bottom of the scale, notched at soulfully dispossessed and tragically nostalgic, is what I call the BBC depression. I take off work, stay up all night, and watch British female-led period dramas until I have to re-enter the world or work my way through it by some other means. The period drama roster expanded over the years as new options came out (Outlander, Poldark, recent Bronte remakes), but for the most part remains the same and waits for me to get sad so that I may escape into its grace and manners. Someone wants to build a mill, someone misheard a rumor, so-and-so glanced sideways at a woman at the ball. Yet, somehow these [mostly] idle characters (no one would accuse Ross Poldark or Jamie Fraser of idleness) with low stakes narratives hold so much weight with me when I’m feeling at my most vulnerable, and I return to them in earnest every time.

Maybe it’s the way they come at feminism by telling stories marked by its absence. Characters acknowledge an understanding of women even when the environment of the story pretends not to. In most tales, the greatest threat to the status quo is a headstrong girl who knows her own mind–a timeless premise. The witty societal commentary both thrills and burdens me, as so much of it still applies in some fashion today.

Nothing provokes speculation more than the sight of a woman enjoying herself. (Little Women)

“A man who has nothing to do with his own time has no conscience in his intrusion on that of others.” (Sense and Sensibility… mansplaining has ALWAYS been a thing)

And then there’s the ferocity and beauty of the moors… from the cliffs of Cornwall all the way to the Scottish highlands, the rainy, rocky natural world is never more exquisite to me than in the British Isles (in movies and photographs, because I’ve never actually been there). Perhaps I’ve grown up with leftover pangs of colonialism, but I simply prefer the windy, gray skies aesthetic of the mossy moors to just about anything.

I love these moors. They’re like survivors of another time. Climb Roughtor before sunrise and listen to the wind crying through the stones and you will feel God. (Jamaica Inn)

(+requisite Poldark pug)

And, I think, here is the zinger. When the topic of my sad stupor is a breakup (however old at this point), watching purer, nonphysical expressions of passion somehow help to excise those demons. Breaking down romance into such childlike depictions–all awkward gazes and fumbling over words and touching fingers while passing teacups–makes the concepts easier to digest.

When people in the real world can spend years and years together and still break up over minute questions of compatibility, intimacy ups and downs, or some fight about hobbies or communication over half a decade in….  isn’t it heartwarming to think one can simply choose a partner for happily ever after with some furtive glances, a few Pride and Prejudice style misunderstandings, a good deed or two, or a swoon-y declaration? Sure, it’s hapless fantasy, but that’s leaps and bounds better than my nihilism, which knows from experience that “love” in practice is just two people agreeing to be together until the day one of them changes their mind.

I often joked about other couples, what could you learn at year 6 that you didn’t know at year 2? I would laugh and roll my eyes. Then it happened to me. I still don’t know what he learned heading into year 6 that he didn’t know at year 2. I’ll never know, and maybe this cloud will follow me forever, cropping up now and then for a weekend BBC depression. There is no such thing as commitment when no commitments need to be final, and some weeks that’s too fucking sad for me to think about. So, I suppose I vouch for the quivering teacup passes and wholesome eyebrow flirting of North & South because it ironically feels more honest.


Lyft Lyfe

Another Monday, another exciting evening ahead of me driving for Lyft. Important mysteries with which man hath toiled since the dawn of time await me on my starry night behind the wheel… mysteries like

  • Where will I stop to pee?
  • Where will I park while I pee?
  • How much will my pee break cost me in parking garage fees?
  • What must I purchase at said location to earn my right to pee? and
  • How much grief and/or sexual harassment will I encounter on my mission to pee?

Aside from the plague of bodily functions, other exciting queries might cross my mind, such as

  • Will a passenger be “running really late” yet vexingly not be ready and standing outside when I arrive?
  • Will I get to smell the stench of unwashed line cook from a seafood restaurant?
  • Will I inadvertently traffic minors across state lines?
  • Will the passenger “clue me in” by literally reciting the route that I’m already following via GPS, turn for turn? and
  • Will driving, navigating, the District of Columbia, my own job(s), and the very nature of work in general be mansplained to me?

drive1

drive2


The Epidemic of Kink Culture Envy

I’m so over people feeling the need to wedge in “kinky” as a definitive part of their identity, especially when there’s no indication of kink in a three mile radius of their personality. When did kinky become a synonym for simply enjoying sex? Has our already pseudo-puritanical American culture backslid into complete Mormon nightgown territory when it comes to sex? And, why is it such a strain on the human psyche to consider one’s self to be sexually adequate and ordinary? Do people really need to co-opt the lifestyle terms of the peculiar just to feel desirable? It’s sad that more people would comp to being vanilla if it were rebranded as a vein of kink. Drop in those four letters (“BDSM”), and watch them cream in the glow of their sexual uniqueness (although when prompted to explain, they won’t be able to pinpoint a particular inclination for anything that might fall under those four categories.)

sec2

What’s dull work is estimating exactly how awful men are going to be at sex by how frequently they mention they’re “kinky” or “alternative”. Okay great, bro. You can’t get it up for me if your life depended on it, and you’re super into buttstuff. You’re not kinky. You’re just gay. You are a gay man.


%d bloggers like this: