Monday, November 13, 2017

Bye and Thanks to The Socialist

My third date with The Socialist (a week ago yesterday) was just as warm and snuggly as the first two. I drove out to visit him in the suburbs, to his very guy apartment with a goth mix playing and Smiths posters all over the walls. He was wearing a Smiths t-shirt that matched the rest of the aesthetic, and all of it felt very homey and familiar. When I was nineteen, my boyfriend-type-person was a goth guy who took me to a rave club on Friday nights, and that seems to have influenced most subsequent decisions.

I felt so cozy sitting on his (velvety black) couch with my feet in his lap, talking about books and life and politics. I was SO RELIEVED when he made fun of the idea of a rigged 2016 primary! I told him he deserved ten blowjobs for that, and I meant it, but maybe I need to set my bar higher than “only buys into SOME misogynist news cycles.” Kinda where we are right now, though.

In bed, it was easy and warm. He knew just how to kiss me and just how to fuck me, didn’t mind when my exuberant moans rattled the walls of his crowded apartment building, though he did eventually get up and close the window. I couldn’t contain my joy, and he didn’t want me to.

After a couple of snuggly hours, I got tired of the goth music and (this is seriously one of the best date things that ever happened to me) put on one of his TWO Monkees playlists, singing along to cheery retro deeps cuts with his whole heart and his whole face. This, to me, is the miracle of dating, the way that, in spite of every wall and flaw and trope, a near-stranger’s perfect goofball humanity can shine out of him like the sun, and I am sometimes lucky enough to be there, naked and satisfied, to witness it. (And, in this case, laugh my head off.)

Definitely not hot songs, but I climbed all over him some more anyway—"Another Pleasant Valley Sunday” indeed.

The trouble started when I tried to tell him what I needed in terms of post-snuggle communication. He had disappeared for most of the week following our excellent second date, and as I tried to ask for something other than radio silence I felt stupid and needy and a little flower of hurt bloomed in my chest. I knew I wanted him to be more present by text, but everything I said felt like it had the potential to scare him away, everything kept coming out wrong.

We did spend a very pleasant half-hour joking our way through the emoji keyboard (Upside-down-smiley-face makes a much better ping than the businesslike thumbs-up, don’t you think?!) As I was putting on my pants, though, I knew I had to try and get serious, and he could not have looked more miserable about that.

I explained that praise is a really important part of sex for me. “Praise” makes it sound more BDSM than I meant it to. What I really meant was…softness. Kind words. He hadn’t given a single tiny sparkle of a compliment, and I explained that I couldn’t read his mind to tell if he liked me. He argued that he wouldn’t have had me over if he didn’t like me, but that is just nonsense when it comes to sex. (And I have, like, five years of blogging to prove it.)

“I’m just not good with praise” was the verdict and so was “I just don’t like all the talking.” I said that if we were fucking, he needed to communicate better, and he seemed to take it to heart.

On the long drive home, my phone chimed, and I got my hopes up that maybe he’d said something sweet. When I pulled up at home, I opened the phone and saw…more bantering about emojis, which is admittedly fun and cute but also nagged at that little void in me where kind words should’ve been. I have all the kind words to offer, and I wanted to believe that I deserved some in return.

He pinged the next day, but the connection felt broken. There would’ve been so many things to chitchat about all week—the Blue Wave! The new emojis! Orange heart! But my phone was silent except for reminders from ResistBot, so I had to admit that The Socialist didn’t like me the way I liked him.

After I let him go, I felt a return to myself, a relief from the emotional hangover that had made the sad election anniversary even harder to navigate.

What I want is simple, I want the cute person to tell me I’m cute. What isn’t so simple is remembering that I deserve it.

As the dust settled and I sent my OKC app to the cloud for a breather, I realized something I’ve never been able to non-judgmentally take in about myself before: sex is a scary thing to me. It’s all of the wonderful things, too, but sharing my space, my body with someone takes a deep investment of trust. I’ve always wanted it to be no big deal but with a sensitive body and soul and a heart that will leap into action at the least provocation, I have to take care of myself. I have to admit what I need.

So it’s a sad week, guywise, and I’m disappointed, but this is also a good, big step. I listened to him when he told me what he had (and didn’t have) to offer, and I believed him. Instead of treating the difference between us with self-sacrifice and eventual resentment, I treated us both kindly, setting us free to find a better fit. Sigh-go me.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Dating in the Upside-Down: A Like Story (Part Three)

            Thinking about the rest of this story, I had a saaaaaaad realization: I’ve lost a word since the last time I wrote about sex! Let’s have a moment of silence for the word “pussy,” which will never not remind me of the rapist-in-chief. I used to like using it sometimes, and now I’m kinda lost about what can replace it. It sounds a little clinical, I know, but I think for now I’ll just call body parts by their names and hope for the best.

Okay friends. If you’ve been keeping score, you’ll know that I haven’t had sex in a couple of years, not since blue-canary-nightlight guy, so I might not have the most perspective on what it was like with The Socialist, but it was good. Easy. Friendly. PIV sex has always been the big mystery to me, the hardest thing to settle into, even though it’s often what I want the most. This was a night where bodies just knew what to do, where everything just sort of took care of itself.

Soon after we got into bed, he got out of it. He knelt on the floor and pulled me to the side of the bed, put my legs over his shoulders, and BURIED his face in my vagina, like I was the most delicious thing in the universe. As assured as if this had been happening since the beginning of time, like he owned the place. Urgent and expert, he sucked my clit and thrust his tongue in as far as it could possibly go, and it felt so ridiculously good that I laughed between cries, apologized for laughing, then descended into giggles again.

All those years on lesbian island had made me sort of indifferent to receiving oral sex, but I guess that’s over now. I felt beautiful and silly and so, so happy. I kissed his slippery face gratefully, then set out to learn his lovely penis. It was friendly in my hand, sure of itself the way he is, and as affectionate. I felt self-conscious about my skills since it had been so long, but he assured me that there would be plenty of time to practice.

I was soooo grateful to have a box of condoms in my nightstand like a boss. They’ve mostly been used to make toy clean up easy, but what a joy for them to find a person.

There was something different about the sex this time, and as much as I want to collapse into giggles at the chemistry between us, I think what was different was me. In all my adventures, though so much good, dirty fun was had by all, I could never be fully present in my body. I struggled so hard to reduce sex with men to a transaction so that I wouldn’t be swept up in an inevitable wave of abandonment and hurt. But this? I was here for it, in every sense of the phrase.

He just fit so perfectly, bent me in all the right ways, filled me up in such a joyful, kind, friendly way. When I looked up into his face, he was with me, and when he held me down by my hair and insistently bent to kiss me, I felt the weight of the world lift. This is my bed. This is my body. This is my home, thanks for visiting. I felt grounded and pink, floaty and rooted, and the feeling hasn’t really left since.

Between snuggles, we chatted about music and fascism and other 2017 things. I looked into his deep green eyes a lot, felt silly, and did it some more.

            Since I started writing these posts, I’ve ruled him out and ruled him back in again. I haven’t lost my post-election fear of white men, the fear that somehow I’ll be swept away from The Struggle by the appeal of testosterone and playlists. I haven’t forgotten that he listens to Howard Stern, but I have to admit that The Socialist treated me 100% like a person. He treated my body with respect and admiration, and I can’t dismiss that.

So for now, I’m cautiously optimistic, thinking of an outfit for our next date, and Googling “Stranger Things Valentines.” I can’t ever really be anyone but myself, and I have faith that that will appeal to someone, even if it’s not this time. For now I’m willing to say, who knows?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dating in the Upside-Down: A Like-Story (Part Two)

This isn’t one of those stories where I ignore a red flag and then everything goes awry—everything went PERFECTLY.

For our second date, I asked if he wanted to come over and watch a few episodes of Stranger Things, Season 2. The perfect, spooky, romantic, music-y date, I was proud of myself for thinking of it. I stocked the freezer with toaster waffles and he volunteered to bring wine. Again with the giddy.

When he arrived, (SO big and tall, dressed nicely all in black, looking like he was just custom-made for me…) I mentioned that I’d found our local radio station’s Halloween special “Too Bauhaus-y” and he said there’s no such thing. He showed me his Halloween Spotify playlist and it was indeed very Bauhaus-y, and also full of The Cure, and The Smiths, as well as a little Marilyn Manson I could mock him for: PERFECT. So perfect as to seem fictional. Maybe I was just really, REALLY happy to have a guy on my couch.

Even though it was a Netflix date, I’d worn my favorite red lace dress, and as soon as he sat down next to me, I started to suspect that the dress was coming off before too long. He had a warm, open energy, and draped his arm invitingly over the back of the couch. I think it took me about one episode to snuggle in, and when I did, it felt like it such a natural, easy fit. His hands (I’d spent all week thinking about them, tempted to text and ask if he liked spanking people) were big, soft, and warm, gently but insistently affectionate. As he stroked my arms, my hands, my hair, it became harder to concentrate on the Hawkins goings-on, though nothing could distract me from the terribleness of Bob’s taste in music (Team Bob 4life though) and the awesomeness of the rest of the soundtrack.

I finally turned my head and kissed him (is there anything better than that moment?) during episode three—it was easy, delicate, soft. I pulled away after a little bit (“Wait I really want to see what’s on that video tape!”) and made intermittent attempts to stay focused on the plot points, but after a while, it was time to switch to music, my mix called “Dreamy music” which has an inexplicable and not-super-helpful amount of Radiohead on it, definitely time to edit.

I knelt next to him on the couch and wrapped myself around him, pulled into a soft quilt of man-smell and comforting warmth. His hands went to my boobs in my favorite insistent-but reverent teenage-feeling-up way, and I growl-groaned, relieved and hungry, safe and ecstatic, just like that. He moved to the floor and spread me out over the couch like I was prey, but in the very good way.

“I’m in a place…” I said, and I was. I hadn’t been to a submissive place in my heart or head in a long time, certainly not since my ill-fated date with Mr. Makeout Music, and I was very happy to be back there.

I was wearing thick black tights, but when he ran his hand over my crotch I could feel the wetness soaking all the way through. I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or thrilled, but I’d been this way since I met him, and it felt like very, VERY good news.

Next: I DO have a bed…

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dating in the Upside-Down: A Like Story (Part One)

A lot has happened since I posted last. I’ve all but wrapped up my post-election trauma therapy, paring down the sessions from weekly to monthly, experimenting with how it feels to not spend QUITE so much time thinking about trauma.

Part of me hoped that I would be different once I finished this phase of exposure therapy for PTSD. I’d heard other survivors talk about feeling more open, more accepting, more affectionate, less quick to anger. I guess I’ve changed a little, but there are some boundaries I just can’t bring myself to cross—my yesses are sometimes stronger and easier but my nos are too. It’s disappointing not to just be open like a lovey-dovey post-traumatic flower, it feels a little lonely, but given the world we are currently trying to inhabit, I’m as open as I can be.

I went back to OK Cupid-ing a little while ago when I realized I was getting a crush on my massage therapist, whom I would never, ever hit on. I started swiping and chatting again, and I’ve honed my screening question to perfect bluntness: “Bernie or Hillary?”

To my heartbreak, I have NEVER gotten the chance to flirt with a guy who voted for Hillary in the primary (Seriously, if you know any, kindly send them my way. I will reward their loyalty with SO much generous sluttiness! And cake!) but I liked The Socialist’s answer. It gave me the immediate sense that he was solid and trustworthy, confident, and somehow, I even gleaned from his answer that he probably had a pretty excellent penis. (Spoiler alert: He does!) I don’t know how I could tell all of that from a tiny paragraph about politics, but I could, go me.

Plus, I liked his sense of humor, and he was a close-to-my-age goth guy who was EXCELLENT at the ultimate aphrodisiac: talking about Nineties music. I asked him out for wine and cake at my go-to first date spot, and I delighted in the chance to put a face on for somebody cute for the first time since the spring.

When I saw him, I was even more convinced that he might be a match—big enough to make Amazonian me feel little, so I knew he could probably throw me around. (Further spoiler alert—he could!) He was smiley and self-effacing in a charming way and so, so funny. What really sealed in the liking was finding out that we had both been at the same Dead Milkmen show in 1994-I’m an absolute sucker for that kind of meant-to-be-ness.

And then (there’s always an “and then”) The Socialist mentioned that he listens to Howard Stern all day every day at work. When I expressed shock and dismay, he defended himself a little:

“But Howard Stern supported Hillary Clinton!”

“He also helped create the atmosphere of misogyny that defeated her!”

Knowing that The Socialist was a fan of one of the grossest decades-long perpetrators of lady-objectifying, one of the deepest architects of rape culture, should have been enough to make me leave, but after he conceded that I was probably right, I stayed, and knowing we probably weren’t right for each other gave me a chance to let my guard down even more. I confessed that I’ve had a pants-wall since primaries, that I was worried I would always be at war with men. AND HE WAS THERE FOR ALL OF IT. What I liked so much about him was his ability to remain unfazed, to argue without getting defensive or fragile. He’s A MAN.

In spite of my doubt, I left there giddy. It could have been the wine (I don’t drink enough lately to take it for granted) but I think it was the laughter. He asked me out again right away, and I said yes.

Next: What kind of wine goes with toaster waffles?

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.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fuck This Sexist Piece of Kindhearted Advice

            Not the first part, that’s like my whole thing. The “let love find you” part.

Last week, I left the library where I worked with Mr. Makeout Music. There were a lot of good reasons for doing so (Work crushes can sometimes be a sign that I need to be doing something more absorbing.) but the main reason was that it was exhausting to keep pretending to be okay around him. I wasn’t. Now that I’ve got the time and space and naps to heal, the pain of him is almost gone.

            Because I couldn’t bring myself to walk past MM one more time, Sweetie went to clean out my desk for me, with Awesome Genderqueer Librarian’s help. In the bag with my collection of kid art and my desk socks was a lovely stack of “We miss you!” cards from kids and coworkers. It was very gratifying to still be valued there, after three sometimes-crying months of love-shame and election grief. The woman who wrote the above advice is one of my favorite humans in the universe, but it unleashed a stream of gleeful annoyance that I’m kind of excited to paragraph.

            It’s partly that she knew (Ugh, everybody knew.) that my leaving was even about heartbreak at all, but mostly it’s this—I’m mad at myself for spending three months crying about a guy who got scared of me because I made the first move. He has tried to frame it in other ways, but from where I’m sitting, he adored me until I took his hand.

            Of course he had the right to decline my advances for any reason, but I hated the way I felt around him after that—too big, too excited, too complicated, too much. About our weird somewhere-between-friendship-and-the other-thing situation, he kept saying “just let things develop organically” every time I had a question or needed a clarification, but I think what he meant was, let things develop on his terms.

            Even the way our flirtation started, with him visiting my department or my office when he could (He had keys to my office, but I certainly didn’t have keys to his.), with me waiting around with an open heart and what I hoped was a pretty face for him to come and be praised, it sometimes made me feel helpless and trapped, even when things were nice. In one of our fights, I said I wasn’t a web cam girl, just waiting around to approve of him. (He probably wished he hadn’t told me his porn preferences…) The way the building is designed, he could see me from almost any of his posts, and it felt really claustrophobic sometimes.
            The “let love come to you” (if you’re a woman) paradigm is part of what makes the traditional structures of dating unworkable to me. When I like someone, I really like him/her/them. When I want ANYTHING, I try very hard to be awesome at getting it. If I’m attracted to somebody, I tell them. I ask for what I want and see if it works for them. I’m not Sleeping fucking Beauty, I’m an adventuress on a quest. On a good day,  I’m a goddess, and men have been known to kneel down for me without my even having to command it. I have a dominant, honest, brave, ridiculous heart that knows what it wants and will always go after it.

            The passiveness of the “wait for love to find you” paradigm takes me to a dark place. It reminds me of necrophila. It reminds me of rohypnol. (When I just Googled that for spelling, the horrifying third choice was “rohypnols buy.”) It reminds me of back when there was MySpace and all of my guy friends liked girls whose profile pictures managed these slack, vacant expressions. I could never have made my face look uninhabited enough to resemble the ghost/zombie girls who were the style of the Mid-Zeroes. It reminds me of the time I was told that I smile a lot for a submissive.
            The boxed-in passiveness of the advice reminds me of Moana being told that everything she needed was on this one little island and that all she had to do to be happy was reject the song of her own soul. (Did anyone else see her and her many new islands as a polyamory tale? Maybe it was just me.) Like Moana, I am an explorer, a leader, a navigator. I won’t sit in a box and wait to be clicked on, and I hope to never tunnel-vision myself into any more narrow little islands of gendered constraint.

Like many of my rants, this is really a culmination of an argument with myself. Since my brokeny teenage years, I’ve always “known” in my heart that I’m not passive enough to be loved by a man, that I could never be compliant or compromising enough for a straight cis male. That idea is offensive to one and all, but it didn’t come from nowhere. I would love for it to go away.

When I look at it objectively, I see that Mr. Makeout Music was a rare exception. I am surrounded, past and present, by men who have enjoyed being sought out, pursued, and pounced upon. Far from being a turnoff, my literal and figurative bigness and enthusiasm have drawn the best, most adventurous, most oomph-filled men to me. Some of them have even stuck around.

Though I’ll always appreciate the way that he woke up my body and heart, I think Mr. Makeout Music mostly served to show me what I don’t want—I never want to try and make myself smaller or less in hopes that someone with a narrower scope might see me. I never want to be stuck on an island again.

            I know that romantic love isn’t something that can be to-do-listed into existence, but I WILL have agency. I will not sit in a box and wait. I will not listen to the fears and the family/social pressures that kept me away from the water. I aim to untie myself from the hetero/mononormative shore and learn to sail. My heart knows the way.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Conference with Myself, Part Two: Mr. Shiny Eyes! Cuddle Practice! Hair Pulling!

Before I float back into all the awesomeness, I should backtrack a little bit to say that Mr. Shiny Eyes was one of the guy pals I reached out to after my New Years resolution to remember how to have guy friends. In the thick of divorce grief a couple of years ago, I’d broken things off with him for no good reason, and I was superworried that I’d hurt him—and I had. I’m sad to say that I haven’t always been fully conscious of the fact that I can affect men’s feelings, and I was glad I asked him about it. We had a really nice call a few weeks before the conference, so it only took us a few minutes of being in the same building to get in kiss/cuddle/flirt mode that day. A day where I kiss three worthy men is a good one.
Also, I can’t overstate how much of a difference my extra introvert time made. It had been such a long time since I’d felt like I was on a magical adventure with my cute, slutty self—this was a reunion within a reunion.
Anyway, back to being excited/nervous/fluttery to meet up with The Professor at the Cuddle Party. I got into my PJs and nice warm socks and brought pillows and blankets downstairs to the party room. I was one of the first to arrive, so I made a little nest within the bigger nest of pillows and blankets and I stretched and breathed. The Cuddle Facilitator stamped my hand with a red heart that meant I could come and go as needed.
When The Professor showed up with The Kind Ma’am, I felt surprisingly shy for someone who’d spent the day raising my hand emphatically like a smutty Hermione in the workshops and smooching old and new pals. It was both like a first date and not a like first date at all. If all first dates involved wearing soft pants, (and like an hour of consent practice) the world would truly be a magical place.
Once The Professor was in his plaid flannel pajama pants, he sat down between me and The Kind Ma’am, his arms around both of us. They talked and I snuggled up against his shoulder, feeling the warmth that radiated from him all over. And who should sit down next to me on the other side but Mr. Shiny Eyes! Without much preamble, we started making out gleefully, and I got to feel the glow of being between two beautiful men, of being in a chain, no, a net of soft, snuggly vibes and comfy touch. The perfect mix of kissing and friendship, safety and adventure.
For technical stuff about Cuddle Parties this is a good post:  but basically the first loooooong time of the party was consent practice, practicing asking specifically for what we wanted and saying and getting nos and yesses. (Not doing the things yet, just the asking and answering.) We even had to say no to things that we really, really wanted and yes to things we hated—that way you can really feel what a no or a yes feels like in the body, the Cuddle Facilitator said, and I think it was true. I LOVE consent practice and often wish the world were more Cuddle Party-esque.
When the cuddles finally started in earnest, The Professor was occupied in a sort of two-person-seeming snuggle so I sat down on one of the chairs at the side of the room, breathed and waited to see what would happen next. I felt hesitant, but warm and hopeful. I was so pleased when The Kind Ma’am sat down next to me and asked “Can I put my arm around you?” Yes! I felt protected and friended, taken under her wing. I wondered aloud if she might be willing to pull my hair and guess what! She said yes!
Having been spinstering it for a couple of years, I hadn’t been too sure where I stood with my kinks, though I suspected they were still there. With her, it was as if no time had passed since my last adventures, like I always have been and always will be getting my hair pulled, forever and ever, amen. When she grabbed the hair near the nape of my neck, I let out a fairly un-Cuddle-Party-like groan/purr/wail. I tried really hard (and fairly unsuccessfully) not to disrupt the proceedings with my caterwauling, but no one seemed to mind.
I wound up sitting at her feet, feeling little and adored and silly. She arranged my hair into pigtails, played, pulled, and (after I asked very nicely) called me “Good girl.” Swoon. The Kind Ma’am was perfect and careful and sweet, but I got a little overwhelmed from the burgeoning energy of the room and the new/old/hurty/lovely sensations, so I thanked her and said I needed a little time. I curled up on my own for a bit, letting the relief and happiness and complicated homecoming emotions swirl around me and within me.

Next: Cuddling heartbreak a little, cuddling joy A LOT.