Saturday, April 29, 2017

Did Bernie Ruin the Men of the Left?

            It like so many of my stories lately, it started out in the most rom-commy of ways. I took myself to lunch at a fancy sushi restaurant to celebrate a few different things, and after the twelve- dollar ramen and the four pieces of yellowtail I could afford, I said yes to a really elaborate dessert. Conditioned by years of Food Network to peer back into the kitchen, I watched the dreamy pastry chef execute the multistep process it took to construct the chocolate fever dream what was eventually set on fire before me. I liked how careful he seemed with his hands, so precise that I thought he just might know some knots.

            He stuck in my head so I sent him a card. (Outer envelope, restaurant address. Inner envelope: “To the chef who made my (name of dessert) at lunchtime on 4/3.”) On the back of a homemade card featuring a photo of last year’s azaleas, I gave him my number and suggested that he look me up if he was single or in an open relationship.

            It was a silly thing to do and it made me feel romantic and optimistic and happy, but I assumed I’d just give myself credit for trying and never hear from him—but he texted! And when I sent him my picture he sent back three heart-eye emojis.

            He was a great texter for a few days, all “good morning” and “beautiful” and “sleep well” so I was really excited for our first date. We met downtown and walked around the city at twilight, heading for a bench in our most cinematic park, where the tress were almost in full bloom and the fanciest people were walking their dogs.

            Because I am me and he is a guy that I picked, politics came up almost immediately. Though I’d hope to avoid the primaries conversation to at least give us a CHANCE to like each other, he went ahead and said the spell-breakingest, pants-wall-buildingest thing he could’ve said:

“I’m still upset about my man. I know he could’ve won in November.”

            In my heart was a Star-Wars-prequels cheesy NOOOOOOOOOOOO, and what I said aloud wasn’t much better. I think it would be spelled something like:

“GaaaaaaAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHhhhh, NO!” I practically folded myself in half with anguish and disappointment. I punched him hard on the arm, not a fantastic move a half-hour into a first date, I know. It was a delicious, powerful, bread-baking arm, hard to forget.

            Trump is the very worst, of course, but Bernie has wrecked my love life way more, simply because his slightly subtler “nice guy” misogyny is something I much more likely to encounter in my daily liberal bubble of a life. While my being queer, poly, and fat probably helps ward off any wandering Trumpsters, The Bern is a persistent and pernicious irritation.

            We talked about lots of other things, and in some ways it was a really nice date, culminating with eating cheesecake in a really diner-ish diner, but he kept coming back to Hillary like a chime. What about the banks, he asked, as if Dodd-Frank had arisen from thin air, as if “his man” hadn’t taken money from the gun lobby. The gun lobby!

“That’s understandable, I guess,” said my getting-less-cute-by-the-minute date, pushing my voice up to a level of strident that only Gloria Steinem could hear.

These conversations feel like microagressions, like attempts to put me in my place. Is there anything more condescending than the “I don’t like Hillary, but here are some other women I would vote for” line? Imagine replacing “women” with any other category and it sounds even more tone deaf and creepy.

It’s been a year and I STILL don’t want to hear about how Elizabeth Warren is the kind of woman you could approve of, dude.

To me, Bernie-fervor and the she’s-a-liar disinformation campaign that sparked it was an outgrowth of trolling culture, which itself feels like an expression of rape culture. There might be an anxious-girl leap in there, but that doesn’t actually make it not true. Men who are susceptible to misogynist mob mentality on that scale may never feel safe for me to be around.

It didn’t work out with the pastry chef for a variety of reasons, but I’m happy to come away with hope, with the realization that I have the option to wait, glass-slipper style, for the Hillary-voter of my dreams. That doesn’t mean that I will, but it’s a relief to know that I can.

I know that it wasn’t really a case of Bernie ruining the men of the left. Last year’s primary only served to bring to light the misogyny that permeates all of American society, and it’s a bummer to know that Democrats (OR WHATEVER) aren’t exempt, but we aren’t. Whenever I’m having these annoying conversations with Bernie Bros, sometimes I’m comforted to stop and think “This is the work.” Activism doesn’t only live in pussy hats and marches, it’s in the little day-to-day pushbacks that can slowly move the conversation where we want to it be. I’d rather have snuggles, but for now, I’ll settle for evolution, even in the tiniest of ways.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Return of Mr. Sweetface, Part Three: I Really Like Being a Ma’am

            At that Cuddle Party last month, we were going around the room saying our preferred pronouns and I joked (Maybe a little too jokey for a cis-lady talking about pronouns, come to think of it.) that my preferred pronoun was “Ma’am.” Ever since then, it has been.

            Back to Mr. Sweetface: After the spanks, I cuddled him close and held him for a while. It felt wonderful to have him back in my bed. He looks angular and strong, but the spanks had transformed him into an irresistible sweet softness.

            He got a second wind and asked if I might be willing to try nipple torture on him. I had to ask what he meant by that, since I’d only ever experienced fighting it off. It was simple and pleasant enough though: Squeeze and pinch his little nipples, bite them but not too hard. His moaning and writhing turned me on so much that I guided his hand to my own nipples and helped him start squeezing and playing gently, over the bra at first. It took a little while to get my bra off with a harness on, but somehow we managed it—go us!

            He gently played with my nipples while I squeezed and twisted his. I felt him start to get hard so I guided his hand there, guided him to start rubbing. He looked so dear that way, so vulnerable.

            “May I go faster?” he asked and as I assented, I was turned on enough to put my hand down my own pants, of course soaking wet. His mouth was on my nipple, sucking and playing until…

            “Ma’am, I’m right on the edge…” he moan-whimpered.

            “Go ahead and come,” I whispered, and I came soon after.

            I handed him a washcloth from my bedside table and went to get him a glass of water, feeling the weight and pleasure of my caretaking responsibilities. We fell asleep like happy puppies for a while, then he had to get home.

            The next day, I felt a clarity, a forward motion in my being that I hadn’t felt in such a long time. I liked being his Ma’am, and he had been such a very Good Boy.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Return of Mr. Sweetface, Part Two: Yay Ropes!

            As he pulled rope after rope out of his bag (peacock blue, purple, and pink, not too different from the collection I used to have) and laying them out on the bed, I stood feeling pleasantly uncomfortable, my bare arms chilly but happy.

            He wound the ropes around me building a harness, not in the sure, insistent way that Sweetie used to but at his own, gentle, soft pace. I loved the silky feeling of the ropes grazing my shoulder, the queenly gesture of holding my hair aside. When he put his arms around me from the front, I eased into a hug, enjoying the warmth of his familiar but new-again body both as a comfort and as a stranger.

            He tied some well-placed knots and pulled the rope taught under my crotch—oh crotch-rope, how I have missed you! The knots hit the right places and it felt silly and festive to wriggle around entertaining my clit and ass while he worked and reworked the knots at the top of the harness, twining and untwining, pushing my boobs forward and grazing my nipples under the padded bra.

            After he finished, I felt lovely and powerful. I sat down on the bed and told him to take off my shoes. He placed them very neatly on the floor at the foot of the bed. I pulled him to me and undid his belt and with what I hoped seemed like surety, I took down his pants.

            I got into bed and propped a mountain of pillows behind me. I told Mr. Sweetface to lie down across my lap, his sporty grey briefs still on. For the first time in years, I spanked. I tried first with my right hand, but my wrist is not quite right from my car accident last year. So now is my chance to learn to spank left-handed! I felt self-conscious about the rhythm and how hard I was hitting, but soon he started to groan and wriggle. I loved feeling his friendly dick start to harden against my thighs as I held his head down with my right hand and spanked with my left.

            I gently took off his underpants, enjoying the sight of his sweet, tender little round moon of an ass. I took in the slender smoothness of him, the beauty of the man over which I now had complete control. I put my right hand firmly between his shoulder blades and pressed down, looped my left arm around his ass to pin him. I held him there like I’d just struck the last emphatic note on the sweetest, softest piano. I let the pleasure and power between us hum and vibrate, and then I spanked some more. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Return of Mr. Sweetface, Part One: I’ll Just Take the Primaries Out on You Later

As tonight will be the second playdate of round two with Mr. Sweetface, I really should get around to honoring date one. These things take waaaaaaaay longer to write about than they used to, which is probably a good thing.
Three years ago, I broke things off with Mr. Sweetface for not-a-very-good reason, so when I ran into him at a poly gathering over the holidays and realized I still like hugging him, I got his number and asked if he’d want to start things up again—and he did!

            His life is really full—he has two young kids at home and of course wonderful Mrs. Sweetface, so it took some time before we got together. In fact, it almost fell apart in the planning phase—I felt like he was being a little careless and not keeping me in the loop, so I did what I SO WISH I’d done with Mr. Makeout Music (And, okay, what wish I’d stuck to with The Professor…)—I had a boundary.

            I honestly thought that would be it—I’ve had so many experiences of pushing back and getting trolled, (See you never, Tinder.) blustered at, or left for the least bit of pushback, but Mr. Sweetface GOT. HIMSELF. TOGETHER. It was an amazing and heartwarming transformation—we got the plans straightened out and he got into a very nice rhythm of checking in every few days and telling me about his life, and asking about mine. Simple, but orienting and secure. Setting higher expectations can be a magical thing.

            We got together the Saturday after Valentine’s Day. I wore my pretty red lace dress. He came over after getting the kids to bed, and I asked if we could take a nice walk around my neighborhood before playing. We were three blocks in when the date almost ended—the 2016 primaries got another chance to fuck my shit up. He’d worked hard for Bernie but then teamed up with Hillary, because he’s not a MONSTER, but he said the standard entitled-straight-white-dude things about third parties and such, and I almost sent him home. But then I realized three things:

1.      He’s a good guy and we have a nice connection.
2.      It was time to stop letting Bernie add bricks to the pants-wall.

3.      I could hit him. (Mr. Sweetface, not Bernie.)

That settled it. I said “I’ll take the primaries out on you later.” (I wish I’d said “I’ll give you something to Feel the Bern about.”) and we walked on. We argued for a little longer (My new job should really be getting a dollar every time I use the word “misogynist.”) until he put his arm around me and steered us to better topics. My keychain got stuck in the lace of my dress and he helped me untangle it. By the time we got back to my apartment, I had warm feelings for him again—I was fizzing and stirring with anticipation.
            My post-Sweetie apartment is the most mine of any space I’ve ever occupied. It’s a robin’s egg blue loft decorated in jewel tones and happy art, as if I were a lovable townie from Gilmore Girls. The perfect girly space, and the perfect place to say “Go upstairs and get your ropes ready, I’m gonna put on my shoes.”

For the scene I decided to wear the shoes I’d bought for the dance at the Big Poly Conference two weeks before, black leggings, and a fancy black push-up bra with gold filigree decorations. I wasn’t sure if I was up for the nakedness that used to be my habit, but I felt pretty and strong. I wore the spiked collar that Angel Face had given me a long time ago after a night of goth dancing. I reapplied my bright red lipstick and climbed my twinkle-light-railinged stairs.

What happened next is what I want to remember the most: Without me asking him to, he knelt. He put his head down, his knees apart, his hands softly on his knees. (This was an echo of another less-kneely thing that happened, a stricken, speechless moment that The Professor had the weekend we met. That was a moment I feel thoroughly confused about and will always keep.)

Back to Mr. Sweetface, he looked so small there, in his grey superhero T-shirt, jeans and dad-socks. I didn’t really understand what I had been giving to the doms in my life until that moment. I stood above him, in the Wonder Woman pose, feeling the weight and self-consciousness of this new power. I crouched down (not easy in those shoes) and kissed his forehead, his fluffy blond hair.

“Get the ropes,” I said. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Aw, A Breakoff :..(

So I know I'm leaving out the middle of the story here, but the nice thing I had going with The Professor ended this morning. Similar to the Mr. Makeout Music situation, he wasn't as available as he thought he was and we had disproportionate levels of excitement about each other--my enthusiasm will always probably set a high bar, for better and worse.

              I may write more about it later on, but for now, I want to remember two things:

1. Phone dates feel like real dates and to me, sexting counts as real sex.

2. The night of the Cuddle Party, I had a piece of advice from one of the presenters written on my hand. It said:

"Believe your own perceptions more than what he's telling you."

I think this is the first time I've ever pulled that off. I'm proud today of being honest with myself about what I want and letting him be honest about what he can give. Rainbow star of sad achievement:

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Conference with Myself, Part Four: Saying Goodbye Lying Down

            After The Professor and The Kind Ma’am left the Cuddle Party, I asked a nice woman I’d met at one of the workshops earlier (She was the one to whom I’d exclaimed “I just got a goooood phone number!” About The Professor.) if she would like to snuggle in behind me. I’ll call her Soulful Lady, because who knows, she may be in future stories.
            She spooned up to my back and I held onto Mr. Shiny Eyes from the other side. I missed The Professor but also felt lucky to be so deeply ensconced in the lovey-dovey vibes of the room. I’d talked with Mr. Shiny Eyes about meeting up at The Recurring Character’s room party later on (Just being invited made me feel like I was home.) but I was pretty sure I’d end up happily on my own instead. Everyone was soft, warm, lovely, and I felt full. I untangled myself from the pile and said softly that it was time to go.

            As I hugged Soulful Lady goodbye, she said “Remember, you are not too much. You are exactly enough.”

            “Thank you so, so much,” I gushed. “I’ll really try to remember.”

            Saying goodbye to Mr. Shiny Eyes, I put my cheek against his like a happy kitten, overjoyed to have reunited. After we kissed goodbye, his face was flushed with playful vitality, a sunbeam of a person, a natural resource. We both glowed with belonging and peace.

            I hugged the Cuddle Facilitator and thanked her for her help—she is really, really good at her job. On the way to my room, I ran into The Professor and The Kind Ma’am and told them I was in blissed-out solo mode for the night, and they said be sure to let them know if I changed my mind.

            One important thing about the Kind Ma’am: She has ropes. That just makes me feel optimistic about life in general.

            I was getting off the elevator to my room when I heard a “psst” and looked down a floor to see The Professor holding the pink water bottle that I’d left in the Cuddle Party. I motioned for him to toss it up, but he said “Just come down.” in a way that was just Dommy enough for me to do what he said.
            I was SO GLAD that I’d left my bottle, because as soon as I walked back off the elevator onto the first floor, he wrapped me up in his arms and we made out like teenagers, which you may know is my favorite thing in the universe. The chemistry/Energy between us made me dizzy, as if I’d been struck by warm, fuzzy, pink lightning. I think we might’ve been a little more affectionate than some not-with-the-conference passersby may have been expecting, and I loved that—I’m still a showoff at heart.

            I got to my room (still somehow by myself), cranked up the heat, took off everything but my socks, got into the big fluffy white hotel bed, and felt myself in every sense of the word. I loved the Energy, light, and lust sparking through me—very similar to the sensation of having had ropes on, except that I hadn’t. My skin was hot and tingling, my nipples hard—I felt like I’d spent the day being naked and admired in the sun. I ravished myself and slept an angel’s sleep, forgetting to even set an alarm.

            I woke up later than I’d meant to, almost missing a chance at breakfast. The Professor had texted to see what I was doing, so I set out to find him and it was easy. He and The Kind Ma’am were having breakfast with a bunch of friends and there was a spare seat for me. I dreamily ate french toast and bacon, leaned my head against his strong, warm shoulder, and got to know the two of them a little better.

After breakfast, The Professor asked if we could go up to my room for a bit and yesyesyes. When he told The Kind Ma’am “We’re just gonna go say goodbye for a bit.” she smiled big and teased us-- “Yep, just going to say goodbye, alone, in a room, lying down…”

Checkout time was looming, so we set a timer for ten minutes. I’d forgotten the joy of setting a timer for snuggles at The Big Poly Conference, but then I pretty much love setting a timer about anything.

            Those few minutes alone with him, in bed, being held, were the sweetest and best. He put his hand on my heart and it felt like a direct line to the divine. He caressed my breast and it became the moment I refer back to the most during personal time.

When the timer went off, I reluctantly went to turn it off, but he had other ideas. While my phone merrily chimed away, he not-quite roughly pushed me into the wall, took my face in his hands and kissed me deeply. I could feel him hard against me and I wished that we had hours. Days.
            All riled up and goddessy, I regained control and pushed him onto the bed, climbed on top, and pushed myself against him, enjoying his startled pleasure.

Eventually, we did have to heed the silly timer. Saying goodbye took a lot of time, a lot of lap-sitting, a lot of kissing with one sneaker on because it was very hard to finish getting dressed.

As he stood in the doorway almost leaving, he said: “Just know this: you are loved.” It was the perfect thing to say, and it felt both from him and not from him, like love was radiating from the whole building, from the whole universe of interconnected souls, is all. It was something I really needed to hear, a sentiment I want to take good care of.

When I returned to the default world, I found the contrast too great. I resolved to make my everyday life more loving, more gentle, more hospitable to my sparkly heart and hungry spirit. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but I like the changes I’ve made so far.

The Professor has been in touch every day since. He is just as good in the everyday as he was in the land of magic, and I appreciate him more and more with every text, call, and picture. He feels steadying to me, and I feel hopeful.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Conference with Myself, Part Three: Hugging Heartbreak, Embracing Joy

“Even if you feel overcome with nihilistic thoughts, your body is still alive with an optimism of its own.  Join the thoughts of your body.” –Yoko Ono

            When I first started adventuring way back when, I decided to use cuddle parties as a benchmark for how far I’ve come in inhabiting my body and letting go of grief. The first one, way back in 2012, I spent crying over my struggling marriage and unexpressed bisexuality. The second one, I spent mostly on my own despite the puddle of people, enjoying all of the lovey vibes in a very surprising new self-contained way. This time, I dove all the way in, tapped into my body’s optimism as Yoko suggests, and was blessedly immersed in the easy, soft connections with and among my fellow lovey-dovey souls.

            Still, sadness did need to have its moment. As I lay curled up and relaxed in the afterglow of The Kind Ma’am’s sweet/hurty attention, the loss I’d been trying to deny for months crept in and I just ached for Mr. Makeout Music, for all of the November grief. Since one of my New Year’s resolutions is to ask for help when I need it, I asked the Cuddle Facilitator to disentangle herself from a beautiful-looking embrace so we could talk for a minute. (I’m not a monster, it’s part of her role. But I still feel bad for interrupting snuggles!)

            I told her the story, the story my friends and I are all sick of, and she had an idea: “Let’s try this. I’m going to hold you, and you’re going to just feel it all. Feel it as deeply as you can, and then we’ll see if you’re ready to go back to playing.”

            So she put her arms around me, and as she held me, her heart against mine felt like MM’s heart, from those twice-a-day hugs that I missed so much. The connection I still felt to him was keen and wrenching and real, and I loved it so much. (I still do, though thankfully it feels much less claustrophobic/painful now.)

            I almost cried, but didn’t. I thanked her mistily and went back to the party, joining a cuddle pile with a few nice strangers who’d seemed fun during consent practice.

            I was blissed out and petting the hip of a nice woman from Colorado when (Hooray!) The Professor appeared above me and asked if he could join us. I was spooned in behind the nice woman, and he spooned in behind me, a friendly wall of warmth. I asked if he would pull my hair (or he asked me, I don’t remember) and he was such the perfect balance of gentle and forceful that I whooshed down into subspace, for the first real time in years. The weightless, beatific feeling of being relieved from control, turns out I’d missed it so much. I feel like I’m using the word “blessed” too many times in this story, but it keeps being necessary.

            I asked if I could turn over to face him, and the resulting embrace was one of the most comforting places I’ve ever been. I’m trying superhard not to get carried away here, of course he’s maybe just really good at hugging, but the way he fit with me had a teensy bit of destiny to it.

            At cuddle parties, you’re supposed to look for specific permission every step of the way, and for every request he made, I gave an emphatic “Yes!” especially the “May I kiss you?’ part—the Professor is really, really good at kissing. Just like with the hair pulling, soft and urgent, emphatic and sweet. There’s nothing like being really just thoroughly kissed.

            “Will you put your leg between mine?” He asked and oh yes, I just wanted to find a cuddle party loophole and just give him permission to do every. Single. Thing.

            “May I put my hand of your chest?” He asked, and that meant heart, not boob, and yesyes, it’s time to go ahead and believe in Energy, because this guy has ALL OF IT.

While I was lying there in The Professor’s arms, Mr. Shiny Eyes crawled over and asked for a kiss and I was happy to give it. The three of us chatted until it was time for The Professor to go have a late supper with The Kind Ma’am. I kissed him goodbye and settled into a new cuddle configuration with Mr. Shiny Eyes and the interesting strangers.

Next: More cuddles, more kisses, and saying goodbye lying down.