Taking Our Time

I’m no stranger to falling quickly and wanting to move fast when dating. But I also made it to thirty without being married because I never actually followed through with those steps, mostly because it didn’t quite feel right with those people. You know the reasons it wasn’t right–there was a different reason for every person and I’m sure you’ve experienced some of those reasons. It just wasn’t a good fit and didn’t seem like the payoff was worth the risk. Or deep down you just didn’t believe the person’s words because their actions said something subtly different.

taking your timeI love this quote. There’s something magical about feeling relaxed about taking your time with someone (not that I’m not going “squee!” inside constantly and doing ridiculous shit–because I AM). But there’s something nice about being able to tell yourself that this could be a good person to actually take your time with–not because you have doubts and want to make sure he’s the right one, but because you’re enjoying the chance to fall in love with someone and you don’t want to rush it or slow it down–you just want to experience all of it as it comes.

When Dating Goes Bad

Why men are confused about me, I’ll never know. I’m fairly straightforward and most people who have been around even a few months know the most basic things about me. Why men who want to change me or have a certain “type” of woman even approach me, I’ll never know. But word to the wise, take me as I am or fuck off.

Kisses.

After I posted a photo on Facebook about being on Tinder, an old friend from Texas hit me up. He was cute. An asshole, but cute. I figured, ‘What the hell? I can always just flirt.’ Flirting is fun. He was single. I was single. Fun, right?

Not necessarily.

A few days into things he talks about how he wants four kids. Four. 4. F-o-u-r. Okay, fine. He’s from Texas. I get it. They think everything has to be bigger to be better. The problem is, I don’t even know if I want children. I got a puppy and she’s adorable, but even as I’m writing this, she’s chewing up the lid to my water bottle. The one that I need for MMA class. Yesterday she destroyed a roll of toilet paper and the day before that she dug through the carpet. If a puppy is this annoying, how bad are kids? I was a nanny. I know the answer to that. (Hint: Very.)

I explained to Texas that I wasn’t sure I wanted to have kids and if I did, two would be my max. I was already starting to feel like this was the type of man who thought his ideas, dreams, hobbies, and things he wanted would trump mine. It turns out I was right.

The larger issue is that I’m a writer and as such, it’s a challenge to balance motherhood and writing. My writing comes first. I’ve heard plenty of writers who are also mothers talk about this difficulty and quite honestly, I don’t want children badly enough to sacrifice my career for it. And because I don’t already have kids, it’s easy for me to say no. At least for now. It’s important for me to say no for now anyway because I’m so busy. It’s times like these that I wish men could carry babies.

Texas said “That’s fine,” which really seemed to mean, “I’ll convince you otherwise later.” That’s not how this works. That’s not how ANY of this works.

We continued talking about kids–because that’s what any normal person would do a few days into talking, right? Turns out he was adamant about breastfeeding. As in, the lady needs to breastfeed or else. His kids WILL be breastfed and that is final!

Again, problematic for many reasons. One being, they’re my breasts. Two, it’s painful. Three, what if the child doesn’t “take” to breastfeeding? Four, again, they’re my breasts. Five, what if I don’t want to breastfeed? What if I want to work?

I was breastfed. I think there’s an amazing case for breast-is-best, but I don’t know that I will have the time to breastfeed a child if I’m say, in the middle of writing a novel. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

Should this be a deal breaker for a guy?

No, but the fact that he had such strong opinions about a woman’s body and life was a deal breaker for me.

It gets worse, though.

When I first started talking to him, I had been really adamant about not wanting to connect with men with sex first. I wanted friendship. I wanted to see if I liked the person and then see things develop from there. Friendships turned relationships are the absolute best. But there are few men who really can do that without pushing. He was no exception. He kept bringing up sex and finally I was frustrated enough to give in. Big mistake.

There was a moment in our conversation when he asked me if I would swallow his cum and I said no. It wasn’t like I said I wouldn’t kiss him, but he reacted really badly. Almost like he was throwing a tantrum. Almost like he demanded it. I told him he had been watching too much porn. He flipped out. The funny thing is, when I called him out on it, he backed off from what he said. Then I called him out on it again a few days later and he turned the tables on me. I was a hypocrite and had double standards, he said. I was an elitist who showed no empathy, according to him. When I wanted to talk about sex, it was okay, but when he didn’t, it wasn’t. He considered this a double standard.

I’m smart enough now to that any guy who demands I do something in bed, or throws a fit and attacks me when I say I won’t do something, is not going to work for me. If anything, that’s a really dangerous sign. And I’ve had at least one experience with a guy who made me realize that it’s not even worth it to continue talking to someone like that.

Beyond that, doing whatever you want in bed can be fun, but the cool part is that you (as a man or woman) get to decide what you are comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with. You get to say no whenever the hell you want and usually, the person you’re with likes you enough to just drop it. Maybe they love that. Maybe they’re disappointed, but most guys are just like “Okay.”

It gets even worse, though.

I get asked to mentor people all the time. I can’t mentor everyone. I have a small handful of close friends that I will do anything for, and another small set of writer friends who I help out when they need something. Beyond that, I work with my clients and that’s about all I have time for. My expertise is social media and branding, which is a big hot thing right now. Everyone needs social media credibility and few people know how to make it happen. Those of us who were into social media and blogging years ago have ridden the waves and survived. We’ve grown with the technology and even influenced it. Many of us are entrepreneurs in our own right.

And he wanted to be one. Usually, that’s really hot. In this case, it wasn’t, because you can’t be a great entrepreneur by riding someone else’s coat tails.

I got the vibe that he might not have been as interested in me as he was my “following” and “influence.” (Barf to those buzz words, anyway, but that’s what he called it.) I like giving people the benefit of the doubt, though, so I waited it out and decided to try to suspend my judgment for awhile. I’ve been known to make harsh judgments right away and later end up liking someone. But as time went on, he asked me to help him create a following online where he could share inspirational stuff. First, I think inspirational stuff can be done very, very well. People who do it right: Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Buddhists. But you know those looney self-help people? I don’t like that stuff. He said he’d pay me, but that bothered me even more. I was confused. Was this a professional relationship or romantic? I was offended. Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem helping friends out, so if he had a question, I could answer it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get paid; but I didn’t want someone dating me just for what I could teach him. That’s just weird. And selfish and egotistical.

The day he told me he wanted to start a YouTube account to make money came after the day I’d posted on Facebook about all the millionaires on YouTube. Naivete makes people think that just because there’s a millionaire doing something that they could be the next. Internet millionaires earn their money, just like all the other millionaires in the world. It’s hard work, great work, talent and knowledge that make people successful. (Unless of course you’re born with a silver spoon. Then it’s your parents’ hard work/talent/etc.) It’s incredibly naive to think that you can just walk onto the scene and own it without having done anything.

People don’t just gain millions of followers by being online. Even celebrities don’t. It insults me actually, when people think creating a following online is sooo simple, and this was the impression I got from him. I got the feeling he thought because I could do it, anyone could do it, which means he didn’t value my intellect and skills. Look, I’m not saying I’m a fucking genius here but I work hard. Throw a little respect a girl’s way if you’re trying to woo her.

And don’t ask me for help creating a Twitter handle.

What Makes Me Feel Beautiful

Someone recently asked me the question “What makes you feel beautiful?” I smiled and I thought about this new guy I’d met named Jay*. A few days ago we were talking before bed and he texted me “Good night, beautiful.” It wasn’t the first time he’d said it and there had been other men who said it to me recently–that I was beautiful, or sexy–but when he said it, it made me feel beautiful. It made me blush. I got that warm feeling in my stomach that all crushes start with. I liked hearing it from him. I knew he meant it and it wasn’t about sex or trying to get on my good side. It was sincere.

Just last night, though, I had one final talk-turned-argument (for closure’s sake) with the person I’d spent the past three plus years in love with. I’d told Jay about him and Jay asked me what it would take for me to get over him. It made me think for the first time that maybe there was someone out there that would be worth getting over him. Someone who made me feel the same way. I thought the answer would be that when I lost weight and got (what I considered) hot again, but the more Jay asked me certain questions, the more I realized I could-and should-get over him now. Why wait for someone who didn’t even tell me I was beautiful when there was someone who had no hangups about telling me now?

When I was talking to the now ex-love last night, I started thinking about the fact that he never once called me beautiful. When I would ask him if he liked my hair or something I was wearing, he wouldn’t even answer. One time he said he liked brunettes and later I died my hair brown and he said it didn’t look good. I wasn’t used to this. Usually men had no problem complimenting me or finding me attractive, and although I didn’t expect it (nor did I always believe they were sincere), I appreciated it.

It really bothered me–this inability for the ex-love to compliment how I looked. Of course there were many other amazing traits that made me fall in love with him in the first place, but this was something that hurt me. And it wasn’t something I’d read on Cosmo’s “Ten Signs Your Man Isn’t The One.” (Just kidding, maybe I do read Cosmo.) It was something I started realizing hurt me even deeper than I thought as the result of receiving compliments from someone else I started caring about. It wasn’t about the compliments. It was the ability Jay had to actually verbalize how I made him feel and how he saw me. Communication is key and if you feel that someone is amazing or attractive, shouldn’t you be able to say it?love

I think that’s why it made it much more meaningful when Jay said it. He told me I was beautiful in a moment where I least expected it. I had just finished saying “I can’t date you. You’re too young and you live far away. I can’t do long distance anymore.” He said he understood about the distance and we discussed why his age would be problematic and then before we got offline, he said “Good night, beautiful.” I blushed. I felt butterflies. Magic. All of it. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t like Jay. It was that I did like him but I’d tried a few long distance relationships and they just didn’t work.

But still, his compliments continued, despite that we started meeting other people and my feelings for him grew the more we talked and the more I felt understood deeply by him. And as his compliments continued, I realized what I loved about them was the fact that he said how he felt and if I was going to “get away” then he was going to make sure I knew how he felt about me.

What woman doesn’t want that?

*Not his real name.

 

Glee

Tonight’s episode of

Glee

was awesome.

 

I actually used to dislike Glee.

Tonight I watched it, and loved it.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow was great.

 

They have a Celibacy Club, with members who make celebacy  pledges and wear celibacy charms.

And they talked about sex. Straight sex, gay sex, lesbian sex.

Why is sex such a hard thing to talk about? And why is

it a problem for two men or two women to have sex?

Biblical Women Who Behaved Badly

I liked the women who behaved badly, and I liked the women who made men behave badly. I liked Jael, the warrior woman, who in the book of Judges lured the enemy commander Sisera into her lair, fed him a soporific potion and then hammered a peg through his temple and left him for dead. Jael was a heroine, a seductress in the service of God, but that makes her a minority of one: all the other self-actuating, sexually compelling Bible women were presented as Satan’s spawn.

Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel (author of Prozac Nation)

*Emphasis my own

Sexual Energy Cannot Be Contained

So Delilah was instantly heroic to me–perhaps this was misguided, perhaps this was just an attempt to find a God who looked like me–but the rabbis were all telling me that she was a witch, a bitch, a termagant, a whore. There were other problem women in the Bible, the main problem being that their sexual existence could not be denied, and while everything about a woman can be controlled and regulated–right down to whom she is or isn’t allowed to sleep with–her elusive, effulgent sexual anima, her ability to project lust and allure, cannot be contained by any set of rules. It just is. Sexual energy, like the warmth of the sunshine or the green color of grass, is an indigenous characteristic with exogenous manifestations that can’t be stopped, can’t be helped, and should not be blamed…Nothing the rabbis said had any real impact, but certainly I later noticed that even at this late date, women perceived to be sexual–never mind sexually powerful–are scary.

Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel (author of the bestselling book, Prozac Nation)

The Ramifications of Sex

Following the pattern of thinking of many fundamentalist Christians and Abstinence-only proponents, gets the  idea of “If you have sex, you deserve the consequences.”

Usually these consequences are a child, an STD, or the label of whore.

What brought this about is my re-post of a conversation I found on the Ask-Feminists subreddit about men being forced into fatherhood, without options like women have.  I for one feel sympathetic toward men who are forced into fatherhood–either by accident or by a woman lying to him, etc. Women can choose abortion, adoption, or single motherhood but men don’t have an option like that. Men can face time in prison for not paying their child support, which is problematic if the  man had no voice in the choice to become a parent. Of course a Christian friend of mine argues that the man did have a choice–he chose to have sex and therefore he should be a father. Sex is about responsibility and repercussions, after all.

The problem with this argument is that it assumes that having sex makes you morally inferior (especially if that’ sex is outside of marriage and for pleasure) and that sex cannot be about pleasure–it must be about procreation. This argument also supports homophobia, because two men and two women can not procreate in the heterosexual sense. Thusly, it’s also a heteronormative argument and in some ways it could be considered an anti-feminist argument.

I agree that people should be responsible while having sex. To me, that responsibility includes ensuring they and their partner are healthy and disease free, that they use Birth Control and/or condoms and that they are honest about what they want with one another. By no means do I feel that sex is just for procreation, though. To say so puts women (and men) back a few decades. If sex is for procreation only, then women might as well abstain completely unless they want to get knocked up.

Most people who believe sex is for procreation only also believe that women are the gatekeepers to sex and if they “give it up” they’re responsible for the “sin” just like Eve was responsible for the fall of man. Women who engage in sex are immoral, “deflowered” (implying that they’ve lost their innocence and beauty), and sluts.

Sex for pleasure is often not talked about in abstinence only circles, because the implication is that it doesn’t exist. Sex is a duty, not something you can enjoy. Sex makes a woman lose her “purity” (as if morality can be gained by refraining from sex or lost from having sex), unless it is in the confines of a marriage bed.

Women’s bodies and genitals have often been construed as being dirty. In the Old Testament of the Bible if a woman was on her period, she was considered unclean and a man couldn’t have sex with her. In her book, The Female Thing, Laura Kipnis talks about the historical context of this assumed dirtiness:

Recall the unhappy fact that throughout history there’s been a universal conviction that women are somehow dirtier than men. The male body is regarded, or is symbolically, as cleaner than the female body…Possibly it’s that outjuttings of the body, like a penis, are regarded as somehow cleaner than holes and cavities…The vagina is frequently associated with rot and decay…”

Even a woman’s emotional problems were considered to come from the uterus (Jessica Valenti talks about the term “hysteria” in her book The Purity Myth, which is where I found the Laura Kipnis quote above.)

So if sex is dirty and women’s genitals are dirty, we can only be redeemed by having sex for childbearing purposes.

And then of course, we have Michelle Bachmann crying out against the HPV vaccine, making false claims that it causes mental retardation and feeding into the whole Republican sex-hating party because god forbid girls have sex…someday.