Monday, February 27, 2017

Tender Buttons

Hey, friggers!

What’s happening?

Here in Minneapolis, the weather's been scaring everyone.

It keeps being freakishly warm and raining and then freezing suddenly, like, "It's warm! It's warm! Put on miniskirts! With no tights! LOL BITCH GOT U LMAO."

As I walked home from work the other day, I stepped over an earthworm trying to cross the sidewalk. It was just creeping along, slowly flopping itself forward, as if it wasn’t the middle of February and 60 fucking degrees outside and the world wasn’t going to end soon due to either global warming or something that Trump tweets.

This worm didn’t care.
Harbinger of doom, no problem.

Speaking of harbingers of doom, do y’allfags watch The Bachelor?

I do. I rage-watch it, the same way I rage-read Cosmo’s sex and grooming tips. It feels delicious and wrong and highly educational, you know?

Seven and Tawnya and I sit on the couch and shriek every time Nick (the Bachelor) tiptoe-walks his fingers onto the oiled upper thigh of yet another woman who’s there “with a totally open heart.”

We scream when Nick addresses the group of contestants on the show as “you women”; we gag each time he sloppily tongue-kisses every person on the show within a single 90-minute episode.

What is it about shows like The Bachelor?  
It makes my skin crawl to watch it, but that also feels good?

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that there are people willing to go on a national TV show to fight each other over a slimy, personality-devoid manturd with salon highlights and the flat, dead eyes of someone who has never questioned his right to attention from women.

We watch it every week.

In a closet near the living room, Tawnya keeps a hideous, pilling yellow blanket.

This yellow blanket has become my Shame Blanket.

When something embarrassing happens on The Bachelor—if it’s really bad and I can’t handle it—I have to leap up, go get the Shame Blanket, and bring it back to the couch, where I pull it over my head and moan, “No. Noooooo. OMG NOOOO,” while thrashing around on the couch like a salmon.

And while watching groups of grown women earnestly discussing their “relationship” with the Bachelor (a man they’ve been on a single solo date with) is absolutely enough to make me go get the Shame Blanket and twist it in my lap for comfort...there’s actually only one thing that for sure will make me wail in horror and cover my whole head:
Watching Nick lace his fingers through a woman’s fingers as they talk.

He holds hands with them.
All of them.
Sometimes he holds a woman’s hand in full view of the other contestants. Sometimes he holds hands with every woman on the show during the same episode.

This is not something I can deal with. My heart races; it makes me feel panicky to even watch all this handholding promiscuity.

I can’t hold hands.
At all.
With anyone.
It’s so intimate! So familiar! Such an innocent-yet-loving move! How could you romantically hold hands with that many people? Especially if you’ve only known them for a few weeks? How could you do this ultra-personal thing???

It’s so upsetting.

And here’s the thing that worries me, faggettes:

Fucking on the first date is no problem for me.

Making out after just meeting? Yes, show me into that filthy bathroom stall with no lock and a mysteriously soaking-wet floor.

[so sexy mmm come on]
But holding hands? Holding hands???
That is Intimacy Level: 92 for me.

We’d better be well into the “I love yous” to be holding hands, and even then I’m doing breathing exercises as I unclench my clammy paw.
My friends think this is so weird.

I’m starting to think that maybe it is really weird.

Tawnya: Let me get this straight: you can hold hands with someone’s genitals, but not their actual hand?


And as I date for the first time as a fully single adult, I’m learning something:

I have real problems with gentle intimacy.

I can’t hold hands.

I can’t kiss someone in front of my friends unless we’ve been dating a long time.

I get uncomfortable even watching someone else give their date a backrub at a party.

(OK I am literally shuddering just thinking about watching someone give their date a *sensual backrub* at a party, someone help me.)

All of these things are what I consider “intimate” couple things—totally unacceptable activities to do in front of others.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to do unspeakable activities with a brand-new date in a private space with no one else around.

I also seem to feel cheerful about writing about my sex life online, for strangers to read.

But the day I am able to lace my fingers casually around someone else’s fingers and walk somewhere?

That’s abouuuuuut the same day that person and I would be talking about how many queer teens we want to adopt together.

(We all live on a hobby farm in the country, where my partner—the one I can hold hands with—has built us cabins. The cabins overlook a lake. We also rescue dogs. It’s chill.)

Someone I’m dating called me out on the hand-holding thing last week.

It was icy and dark out, and as we walked to their house to spend the night, they slid their hand over my hand and tried to interlock their fingers through mine.

I froze as they did it—held out my spread-out hand stiffly, like a freaked-out starfish.

My date dropped my hand and we walked up the stairs.
That same night, they tried it again, this time more deliberately and in bed. Because no one else is weird about normal human intimacy, while we were naked, my date reached up to grip my arm, then slid their hand down to take my hand, holding it against their chest.

I wriggled free like an eel, shifting my hand to a different position.

My date smiled in the half-dark. “You don’t like holding hands,” they said.
I laughed, nervous. “I don’t,” I said. “Wait, no, I do like it—I like it a lot. Just not, you know, with someone who’s still new to me. Is that OK?”
Of course it’s OK.

This person has already spent a lot of time in my personal ::area:: For me to have a small, tightly controlled boundary isn’t a big deal.

It’s just an odd deal.
One that makes no sense.

What’s…what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I let my guard down? How is not holding hands a "guard" at all?

Can a person become so casual about fucking that they become almost ritualistic about small displays of real affection?

Do any of you queermosexuelles have anything like this—private rules of intimacy that feel important to protect for no explainable reason?


  1. I'm weird about calling people hot or beautiful or whathaveyou language and pet names. I'd rather just kiss you and you know, ya know? Like, I want to do all sorts of nasty things to you but I don't want to say it out loud.

  2. For me hugging is weird. I'd have sex on a first date, I've made out in a car on a first date, but if my date hugged me? That'd be weird. I don't know why. Even with my ex-gf I was like an awkward robot trying its best to run program: hug girlfriend.

  3. I'm pretty PDA heavy but pinning me down to have "the feelings" conversation and calling it "dating" instead of fucking are things I'm really, notoriously hilariously bad at.
    Guys or girls, I am super protective of me and my feels.

  4. .......Krista, are you okay?

    But I can relate in a different way. Even if I'm fine with sleeping with someone, I find it very difficult to actually talk about sex with that person. I think that takes real intimacy and vulnerability, more than actually having sex. It's bizarre! Idk! But it is what it is.

  5. I've never related to something so hard in my life.

  6. you'd be in hell if you were dating here in Brazil. please post more <3

  7. For me, I am fine with all the making out and snuggles. But people think it's really wierd if a lesbian/bi/queer woman doesn't perform oral sex at all.

  8. "They." You're playing the pronoun game a lot. Are you dating men now? If so, it would be great if you discussed it with frank language- Advocacy for bisexuality is always appreciated.

    1. Some peoples' preferred pronoun is "they" so I imagine it's probably the person's preference and not an attempt to be ambiguous on Krista's part. (I only removed my comment below because I realized I could reply directly.)

  9. I have a thing! I don't like to call my dates by their names until I get to know and trust them. I don't call them other names like pet names or nicknames, I just address them directly and avoid calling them anything at all. I have no problem sleeping with someone on the first date, but I won't call them by name for months. Only one person has ever noticed it.


  10. I'm poly and my primary partner is upset by the idea of me holding hands with other people, while not at all worried about me having sex with them. This results in me having the same boundary as you with other partners but it's not even my own boundary! This article helped me understand my own situation a little better.

  11. Yo, I got a friend who has a ROTATION of older men she goes to see in the city every once in a while, but she still considers herself waiting for her 'real' first time because she's still waiting for an emotional attachment. Sex ain't the pinnacle of intimacy.

  12. This article made me think of your post...

  13. I noticed in college that I was having sex with people who I didn't actually want to make out with or hold hands with or any of that non-sex intimacy stuff. The sex was still good most of the time, but when I finally started to regularly have sex with someone who I also wanted to kiss and hold hands with, the sex was so much better. Like, holy crap it was different in the best way. I think it's because it's more emotionally intense when that sort of intimacy is involved.

  14. I don't do hand-holding with people I sleep with other than my SO. We are open so all the other fun stuff is great and chill. But I won't hold your hand, cuddle, sleep next to you, or call each other baby. I know it sounds terrible, but I'm just not into that kind of intimacy. Makes my skin crawl...sometimes even in my primary relationship. Just wired that way, I believe.

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