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?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Morning, kikis!  

Well, Trump is president.

It’s real.

Reading the news is horrifying and my Facebook feed is giving me a heart attack and Trump just keeps signing more executive orders (the pipeline! Abortion! the ACA! the environment! Immigration! the wall! Refugees!) and I’m calling my senator and speaker and biting my nails to bits when the line is busy and the Women’s March was good but also very problematic and I love you all and I’m so sorry and terrified.

He’s been president for one week.

I’ve been curling up behind Samson, my huge Rottweiler roommate, lifting up one of his ears, and whispering “everything’s OK, no one can get you” regularly now since November, but this past week it got so bad I could hardly stop spooning him long enough to go to my job.

Besides hugging big dogs, you know what else is great for avoiding dealing with massive worry and a general sense of impending doom?


That’s how I’m dealing with my own Terror Level: Red, anyway.

A few times a week, when I’m not anxiously reading aloud particularly appalling news headlines to strangers on the bus, I come home from my day job, take a bath, shave until I resemble a baby seal competing for an oil-wrestling title, and then take my sweet time curling my hair and putting on makeup.

I really draw it out—I love getting ready. I can spend hours in my bathroom, listening to Dolly or Rihanna, sitting on the floor with my back up against the old iron radiator while I paint my nails, fussing in the mirror over whether my cat-eye liner is exactly identical on each side or just good enough so that no one would notice.
(OK but my soul would notice, I should wipe this off and start again.)

Then I go on a date. Sometimes it’s with someone brand-new-to-me, sometimes it’s with someone I’m—shall we say—getting more familiar with.

These dates usually go late, and if they go really well, they run so late that I cannot imagine how I’ll make it through the coming work day.

Then I go home, take a shower, go to sleep, and wake up at 6 a.m so I can squeeze an hour of writing into my morning before I go to work again.

I’ve found that if I do this often enough, I can stay in a continuous delirium of exhaustion and sex-induced haziness, and nothing—not work meetings held under fluorescent lights; not a searing awareness that no one’s rights matter except those of rich, white, cis men; not even the hellscape that is Day 7 of our current political regime during a slushy grey January in Minnesota—feels 100% real.

Is this what Peaches meant?

It works.

This probably isn’t the healthiest way to deal with stress, but it feels right, for now.

It doesn’t feel right for everyone, however.

Last weekend, after an extended ::cough cough:: session in bed, someone I’m dating sent me a series of concerned texts.

It seems that, after they returned home from our time together, their lower lip immediately began to swell to comical proportions, and their hand broke out in a gruesome red rash.

Their lip.
Their hand.

The only places that had come into contact with my ~holiest of holies~.

Eh. Maybe my date was mildly allergic to a perfume or a soap I’d used.

“Take a Benadryl,” I said, breezily certain that the skin pictures I was seeing over text were allergy-related and nothing to worry about.

Silly little rash.
Wee swollen lip.

I mean, my skin is so sensitive that even looking at a bottle of scented laundry detergent makes my neck erupt in a festive celebration of hives, so I think I know my way around a slight allergic reaction.

Text me when you’re dealing with real pain, lover.

The next day, I got the text:
The lip was worse. The hand rash was much worse.


I became alarmed.

Was this an allergic reaction? Was there a problem with my pH—had I suddenly become caustic? More basic?? Was this an STI? What was this?

It had to be from sex.
It had to be from sex with me.

I did what I always do when I have a question regarding my sexual health—plead for free answers from my queer crotch-doctor friend, Lola.

I explained the problem to Lola and puked all my worries onto her and sent over the rash pictures. 

She calmed me down immediately. 

Lola said she thought it was a clear case of bangover.

I was soothed, but not entirely.

My date miraculously got a doctor’s appointment right away, and went in. I was so nervous, sitting in my work cubicle, waiting for the diagnosis.

This was my fault, it had to be.

I was venomous. I was made of hot lava poison, I was Rogue from the X-Men—no one could touch me without dying.

Then my date sent me this:

Apparently, you can fuck too much.

The doctor had seen this before.
Dry winter air + very dry skin + spending too long banging the hell out of one another when perhaps *someone* hadn’t done a perfectly smooth job shaving = a friction/irritation rash on several of the body parts that had done a lot of, um, frictioning.

The moral of the story: moisturizer, y’all. And take some damn breaks.
And make a choice: either shave or don’t, but the in-between? in the winter months?
Don’t do anything rash.

I’m going to take things a bit easier for a few weeks, gays.

That shouldn’t be too difficult, because I am experiencing another Dating First: subtracting someone from your dating life.

How do you stop dating someone?
I honestly don’t know.

When I had a partner and was just fooling around with people, it was simple. If you didn’t want to fuxx anymore, you or the person in question just stopped answering.

The fade-out.
A few unanswered texts and it was done—you knew.

[via textsfromyourex]

But how do you stop seeing someone you’re friendly with and have been very casually dating for awhile?

It’s not “dumping”—it’s too early to call it dumping, as nothing serious or relationshippy has happened.

It’s also too rude to do the fade-out at this point—you were certainly mature enough to do *mature things* multiple times, so you’re probably mature enough to alert the person that you are henceforth uninterested in judging the art in their bathroom ever again.

We’re queer. This is Minneapolis.
I will for sure see whoever I stop dating again.

But do you call?

It’s 2017, who calls?

Do you text?

This feels unchill — what would that text look like?

You can borrow this to use as your breakup script if you want.

Do you arrange a date specifically to say you don’t want to date anymore?

This is too weird—the person who has no idea what’s happening will think this is a regular date because you want to keep dating, which is actually the opposite of what’s happening.

It feels like a trick.

Those are the only options I can think of for ceasing to date someone you’re casually and regularly sleeping with, and all of them seem unacceptable.

I will see any person I stop dating everywhere for years.
It is the gay curse.

I’m at a total loss here, lesbiqueers.
I can’t take any more carnage this week, either.

I hope you have a big dog or a warm person to hold onto in these dark days.

And if you have a great idea for how to respectfully and lovingly “break up” with someone you’re not even in a relationship with, do let a girl know, eh what?