I'm off to Denver. I'm bringing my own personal laptop, which doesn't have so many problems with wireless internet, so I'll be in touch...
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Amanda's taken on the "do women actually have sex drives"? crap, and since it's something I've been meaning to say a lot about, I'll dive off her post and take the opportunity.
I'm tired of arguing biological crap about differences between men and women. The big difference is, was, and for a while more at least, will be only this: most women can bear children. Men can't.
Because of that, we're going to view some things differently, particularly the sex thing, cause if women get pregnant, guess who's got to spend nine months giving blood and breath to creating a kid, and who's gonna be stuck raising that child? And women, built as we are, are also more suseptible to STDS. You've just got more surface area. It sucks, but it's true. For these two reasons alone, I'm incredibly picky about my sexual partners.
But let's not forget our social pressures, shall we?
And how fear of the female body and its desires can really fuck you up into thinking that women aren't people.
I was always pretty nuts about boys. In kindergarten, I had two "boyfriends," which I remember thinking was pretty risque at the time (looking back on it, it's funny, because the boys, Nick and Brian - damn, I remember their names 20 years later - were great indicators of what my grown-up taste would be. Troubled home lives, one of them skinny, smart and dorky, the other one more punkish, stout, with the spiked hair and leather jacket - seriously, his parents suited him up very well in kindergarten) and I spent most of gradeschool forming gangs of girls who would chase boys around the playground and tie them up to playground equipment with our scarves.
Later, as I got plumper and dorkier, I attached myself to good guy buddies. Dorky Matthew and Aryan Adam were the two biggest ones from this period. I had very few female friends because it's tougher to find girls who won't play the girly game when you're in gradeschool, since that's the time when you're all rushing around trying to fit in.
After kindergarten, I always formed crushes on one boy in particular, and stuck with that crush for years, sometimes. Not only because it was expected of me to give an answer when asked what boy I had a crush on, but because it helped me narrow down the playing field. It just didn't seem appropriate to go wacky over that many boys, and I do think that I'm sort of hard-wired into serial monogamy. The idea of polyamoury just never worked for me on an emotional level, though there was a point in highschool when I did consider "sharing" a boyfriend with a girl I was hot on. This never happened for a number of reasons, but the big one was just because I couldn't do it, emotionally. I'm not built that way.
Highschool, I was pretty much just batshit insane. I hit highschool theater and there were all these available guys, and suddenly they were actually interested in me *back.* I'd never gone so wacky over so many guys in one year. This was also the first time where I could honestly say that, looking back on it, I had a crush on a girl - let's call her Mistress, who had this amazing, girl-next-door sexual appeal to both men and women, and who made the most of it (she was the one who wanted to share a boyfriend with me [which I couldn't deal with], and then she later got married, and invited me into a threesome with her husband. I was so drunk at the time that I told her, "You know, I'm totally cool with you, but your husband freaks me out. Maybe if you'd married somebody else...?"). Ah, batshit insane.
Undergrad was my second real girl crush, the one that was so incredibly wacky that every morning I woke up wishing I'd become a boy so I could date her (this is where my "and that girl in Speech class wasn't bad either" line comes from). After that, my last two years of college were a frickin' boyfest, which I won't go into detail about because my parents read this blog.
We had a lot of fun in Alaska.
The funny thing is, I always thought I was really weird for liking boys as much as I did and for thinking about sex all the time, and the masturbation thing for women is really tough to figure out because our culture's focused so much on penetrative sex. So you're kinda like, "OK, I'm doing that, that's not doing it for me. And it's kinda messy. Is there an easier way to do this? What's the trick, here?"
The trick, of course, is to gear yourself out of the "penetration" mode, and go for the "What would lesbians do?" mode.
There's a lot to be learned from watching lesbian porn.
You also get a lot of "fear and disgust" of the female body thrown your way pretty early on (there's that crazy moment at puberty when you suddenly realize you're not a real person after all, you're the "other" you're one of those *women*), so you're also battling a lot of "don't touch yourself, ewww gross" stuff. To be a woman in a society that says women are weak and icky can be... tough. To say the least.
So you don't learn how to masturbate in sex ed, and it's not as incredibly obvious as men's masturbation, which always seemed to me like it would be easy to figure out. If you know the mechanics of penetrative sex, you're going to try and simulate it. Trouble is, stimulation for women is mostly about the clitoris, with the penetration part a sort of added bonus for most people.
Luckily, once you figure that out, honey, it's all over.
Funny thing is, though I was always sure I had a serious sex drive, I was always worried about it. Most of the women I talked to in high school didn't actually like sex. Or, they said they didn't. It was something they sort of "gifted" to their boyfriends to keep them happy, they said.
This never made sense to me, as I was always happy to jump on my boyfriend (`till things soured, of course)... and would have been really happy to jump on other people in highschool, too, but women have that "slut" label hanging over their heads. Once you sleep with a guy, you've gotta keep on for a "decent" period in order to be... decent. As previously discussed, this one got me into a lot of trouble, and I stayed with somebody far, far longer than I should have.
It's only been recently that I've fessed up to my attraction for real and allowed myself to stare at boys on the train - never face-on of course, as that "invitation to harrassment/rape" thing is always over my head, too (look at all these social inhibitors to the visibility of female desire) - but you better bet that when the tall, pretty guy in well-fitting suit turns around, I'm totally checking out his ass.
And for those women who keep track of such things: during the four days a month or so when I'm ovulating, I know it - sexual drive spikes on par with any guy's at any time of the day, because suddenly all boys everywhere are beautiful "and that sweetheart female cello player on the train with the short hair isn't bad either." I want to bundle up all the boys and take them home and shower them in kisses. When I'm ovulating, even Blaine the football player looks damn good for a night.
It's really awful.
And it took me forever to come to grips with it, because "girls aren't supposed to feel that way." Girls aren't supposed to think so much about sex, and though I'm still emotionally a serial monogamist, I recognize that the myth of the libido-less female just doesn't apply to me in the least.
I think we're raised to be afraid of our bodies and what they desire: sex, food, strength, and so we don't listen to our bodies and acknowledge what we want.
If you want to know what a lot of female hysteria/wackiness is about, I'd say it's this: being taught to be a non-person, somebody who's not supposed to feel any sort of desire for anything at all, and trying to operate on that level.
That'll drive anybody batfuck insane.
Iain Rowan is doing some guestblogging over at Vandermeer's joint, and he's posted an overview of the work of brilliant English writer Rupert Thomson.
My buddy Julian turned me on to Rupert Thomson with one book:
The Book of Revelation.
Read it. The rest will follow.
A true Brutal Woman book - don't say I didn't warn you. Here's an amazon.com overview:
Stepping out of his Amsterdam studio one April afternoon to buy cigarettes for his girlfriend, a dashing 29-year old Englishman reflects on their wonderful seven-year relationship, and his stellar career as an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer. But the nameless protagonist's destiny takes an unthinkably horrifying turn when a trio of mysterious cloaked and hooded women kidnap him, chain him to the floor of a stark white room to keep as their sexual prisoner, and subjected him to eighteen days of humiliation, mutilation, and rape. Then, after a bizarrely public performance, he is released, only to be held captive in the purgatory of his own guilt and torment: The realization that no one will believe his strange story. Coolly revelatory, meticulously crafted, The Book of Revelation is Rupert Thomson at his imaginative best.
An incredible look at sex and power, sure, but that's only half the book - the other half of this novel is about dealing with what's been done to you, about breakdown, collapse, and finding the strength to live on.
Really well done.
My sister's son Christopher won a year's supply of pickles for being terribly cute, and was written up in the local small-town paper:
PICKLE LOVERS WIN PRIZES
Two photogenic children from Battle Ground are among the winners of the annual Steinfeld's Pickle Pucker Photo Contest.
Christopher XXXX, 15 months, son of Jacqueline Hurley of Battle Ground, won second place in the contest and will receive a one year supply of Steinfeld's pickles....
The interesting part about this article? The interviewer apparently paused upon hearing that my sister's last name was different from her son's, and carefully asked, "Is there a Mr. XXXX?"
I told my mom that my sister should have said something to the effect of, "No, there isn't. He's a 20 year old kid who put in his five minutes, has no job, and doesn't pay child support. This is my fucking kid."
Unfortunately, she didn't. So the guy's name is still associated with this great kid's, and my sister is busting her single-mom ass off to get all her ducks in a row.
After seeing my sister raising her kid, I've got a greater respect for single mothers. These women get nothing but shit from the media - the same media that tells them they're going to hell for getting abortions, but refuse to provide her with free medical care and state-sponsored daycare.
Fuck those fuckers. They don't live in the same world I do.
The good news is: People who sleep more are thin! Gear up for the new weight-loss perscription: Sleeping pills! If you're unconcious 3/4 of the day, you won't have time to eat! At this point, I wouldn't be surprised by anything the dieting industry was trying to sell me.
But you know what? They might be sleeping a lot because they're functioning on so much exercise and so little food that their body is physically incapable of doing much more than sleeping.
As someone from a family of binge and purge dieters, I can tell you that a big part of the "dieting strategies" used by the women in my family were this:
Eat once a day, go to bed by seven.
You'll "lose weight" in no time.
But if somebody jumps you on the train, you're pretty much fucked. You'll be so tired, dizzy, and washed out that you'll hit the ground in about 2 seconds. My sister once passed out at a friend's house merely walking across the kitchen.
Which sort of person would you like to be?
But, alas, he's old and bitter.
But damn fucking funny. Germaine Greer is now apparantely signing up for Celebrity Big Brother in England. Germaine Greer and Brigitte Nielson (of Red Sonja fame) in the same house?
Oh, shoot me.
Nick's thoughts on programming, which are so purely Nick that I'm reproducing them in their entirety, and sending you his way:
"Unfortunately, America is so anti-intellectual that we don't even have any famous enough to make it onto Celebrity Big Brother. I know I'd watch Fear Factor if there was a chance to see Noam Chomsky eat a rat on the show. Irving Kristol and Murray Bookchin can switch households and speaking duties for two weeks on Ideology Swap. I can just imagine a shot of Kristol peering into a crude hole cut into a wooden plank and saying "You poop...WHERE?" Judith Butler is...The Bachelorette! Or maybe we can have a show where people call in to vote on whether or not Susan Sontag was a lesbian; we'll call it Who's Your Life Partner? Let's just throw the whole lot of them on a show where they have to make their way from the Sahara to Johannesburg: The Subaltern Race.
The possibilities are endless. As an official Nielsen Family worth 40,000 normal people, I demand that production on some of these shows begin immediately! "
Judith Butler as The Bachelorette. Can't you just see it?
Though I find it incredibly sad that people in this country have to fight this goddamn hard in order to get the legal right not to be discriminated against based on who they want to take to bed. There's something really fucked up about that.
No doubt weirdos like me were saying the same thing about color-segregated benches and barstools 50 years ago in this country... 10 years ago in South Africa.
Funny, how long it takes to change this shit, eh?
SPRINGFIELD -- For the first time ever, the Illinois Senate approved a controversial measure Monday that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment, clearing a long-standing hurdle to passage and inspiring one key sponsor to proclaim a victory for "fundamental freedom."
Why on earth is this a "controversial" measure?
This is why:
Critics of the proposal claim the activists' ultimate goal is not just to end discrimination but to shift social norms about acceptable behavior. Some conservative religious leaders say if the gay rights bill passes, a push for gay marriage will be next.
Holy crap! Society might change! Kids might not grow up hating themselves for being attracted to... people! We might have less teen suicide! We might have to actually treat everybody just like they're real people!
Gosh, that would SUCK.
Who would be society's next sacrificial goat?
Maybe fat people.
C'mon, you knew I was going there.