Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sweet little lies

It's been awhile since I've ventured out into the fascinating world that is straight culture.

So far this summer I've been spending my time either working summer school or playing Ultimate, so my interactions with the straights has been fairly limited. By which I mean I'm still surrounded by the culture on a daily basis, but can usually distract myself with the other activity I'm engaged in so it's not as mind-numbing. For example, when somebody at pick-up is talking about the person they've met on Tindr and how, "girls who text winky faces are just looking for it from anybody they can get it from," I can use that as a great moment to go get back in the game instead of violently eviscerating that slut-shaming idiot.

Last night, I had an opportunity to be amongst those who love Grey's Anatomy for an extended period of time.

Three fantastic hours of conversation about whether men who wear eyeliner actually want to be women. Why a card including "Horneytown, NC" was the best card in a game of Balderdash. And how great Lindsey Lohan's tits looked in Mean Girls.

To clarify, that last one on Lindsey Lohan wasn't just a passing observation. We put the movie up on Netflix and it was like there was a commentary track running that was singularly about her tits the entire time. Like each new scene warranted another out-loud opinion on how her boobs looked and a repetition of how she's really "gone downhill" since then.

Which, if I had to identify the major issue I have with straight people it's that constant, unvaried life commentary. It's like they've all been handed scripts that they're diligently reading from.

So, in regards to straight rhetoric, I bring you a new set of 3 common lies that straight people in relationships tell themselves. (Note: These weren't all brought up last evening, they just happen to be ones that were banging around the ol' thought-noodle recently, and being amongst the monogamous sect last night brought them to surface again.)

Obliterate the past.

When there's the idea of the one, and you've found that one presently, it means that all other time periods and all other people that may have been within those time periods need to be disregarded. Or, at the very best, only talked about in the most dismissive way possible. What the two of you have presently is so much better than anything you had before, and will last even in the face of possible future temptation. All past loves and all future interactions will be meaningless when faced with the blinding love that exists now. It's a great ideal that ignores the reality of serial monogamy, and makes everybody sound like they're 15 years old experiencing that first real heart-melting romance.

Only you can have me.

Braggart men who will not shut up about how sexy their partner is. Monogamous couples that get off on walking right up to the line of cheating. Couples that participate in swinger parties with the clear intention that they're going to remain a singularity the entire time and are only there because knowing other people want to fuck them makes the sex the two of them have together so much hotter.
Because they're committed and can have each other whenever they want, vs. the masses who just have to sit enviously on the sidelines. It's mind-knotting double think, because it means nailing down when a third-party ogle is sexy vs. when it's threatening. (Note: There are relationships that involve a consensual power dynamic of one partner being "owned" or used as "bait," but those typically involve levels of communication and trust that I don't typically see in the variations discussed above.)

I'll be different.

I think, of the three, this one is the most harmful. This is the myth that somebody who is a total dick to their current partner will surely be different once they're exposed to the beauty of your special brand of love. It's past the "broken boy who only love can fix" narrative of characters like Christian Grey (although that mythos is it's own special brand of fuckery) and closer to Bill Masters of Masters of Sex. A self-involved, dismissive individual who repeatedly disparages his current partner and yet whom Johnson is all, "yeah it'll be different when he's with me 'cause I'm the progressive brunette of the series." I've been through enough therapy to recognize that it is possible for people to change. I've also been around enough douchebags to realize personality-altering change rarely comes just from entering the right relationship.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

That thumpa thumpa

One of Now-hubby's current girlfriends recently lent him Sex Criminals. Which, the book had also been recommended to me by one of the guys I fuck regularly. When I saw it show up on Now-hubby and I's coffee table a few weeks ago, I was interested to pick it up. Sometimes things in open relationships just work out that way. (Also, there's something to be said about representation. When you exist within a given community, chances are everyone you know has similar book/film/etc recommendations for you.)

For a story, it's an interesting premise. Spoilers: this chick can literally stop time when she has an orgasm. Then she meets a guy that can do it to and they go on wacky adventures together. 

I know it's a bit of looking the gift horse in the mouth, but my main complaint about the series is that there's almost too much sex in it. I know: "What were you expecting from a comic that has 'sex' in the title?" Also, "ugh you spend so much time complaining about how you struggle to find representation and here's a comic with a strong female lead that actually enjoys sex and isn't shamed by it." If I can elaborate, it's not that I'm shocked and offended that a comic book would show its characters in flagrante delicto. I'm just bored and unimpressed that every single character in Sex Criminals so far (I just finished the second collection) is a walking sex bomb who's fuse is about to reach terminus. 

(Two Ewan gifs in one entry? Hoho, dear readers.)

Here's the thing about representation for me. It has to be presented as a sort of utopian ideal where there's a clear presentational undertone acknowledging this isn't really the way the world works (but isn't it fun to imagine that it is for a moment?) Either that, or the portrayal has to be realistic in the sense that the minority representation is played off a majority representation, maybe with things working out a bit better for the latter individuals because you don't want to bum out your viewership too much.

Sex Criminals doesn't have either of those. Every character feels exactly the same because every character approaches sex exactly the same. 

(I've used that gif on the blog before. Fuck it; it's the best one for that line.)

Outside the repetitive sexual enthusiasm, it's enough of an interesting storyline for me to recommend it as worth checking out. And, if you'll all excuse me, I've had an Owen Gray video playing in the background since around the halfway point of this entry, and it's time to...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Speak for Yourself

One of the podcasts I listen to recently had an episode featuring a lady with Foreign Accent Syndrome. The tl;dr: One day six years ago she had a really bad migraine, and ever since her voice has affected a particularly strong French accent (she's originally from Indiana). The accent alters all her speech except when she sings. Singing apparently being a language loophole of sorts; it's also used as a therapy mechanism for stuttering. You know, if the tried and true method of swearing a blue streak doesn't seem to be working.

If all the Facebook profile pic filters haven't given you a clue, a significant legal decision was recently made about how marriage is defined in the United States. People used their voices to express displeasure about the current status of things, and so affected change. Yes, I realize it's entirely more complicated than that. Also yes, I realize that this change doesn't by any means actually fix a lot of they systemic problems inherent in the way that any majority culture views "the other."

But it does (as things always tend to do), get my little mental hamster wheels spinning. How do we, as a society, go about defining an "other" when that spoken voice isn't available to guide us as far as terminology, or educate us on areas of continued inequality? For example, there's research out there that people in comas are capable of having simple yes/no style conversations. Our brains are a terrifying jumble of stuff, people. As much as we learn about them there's always new stuff being discovered.

By default, terms and regulations get created by those who are cognitively able to: 1. recognize that an inequality exists and 2. express to others around them know how they would like that inequality addressed. I think a lot about what the mind space is like for a person whose sensory processing system is so differently wired that they can't tolerate general ambient noise without wearing the kind of headphones that block anything quieter than a jet engine. Disability (or "differently abled," or "neurotypicality") exists on a spectrum, and the words we use and the laws put in place are there because those on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum spoke up for those on the lower end. Which is, of course, not to say that the progress that's been made is anything less than deserved. I'm just curious what the discourse would be like if we figured out how to access the truly voiceless.