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Saturday, July 1, 2017

The one where I watch Beauty and the Beast

Yes, I'm admittedly behind the times with my movie reviews.


I have a definite habit of spitefully avoiding most things people recommend to me for extended periods of time. It's one of the many hold-over coping mechanisms from my childhood that doesn't currently serve any purpose, but I can't quite completely get rid of. It was a lot more advantageous while I was growing up to know the opinion of those in charge than to try and form my own opinions about things. If I did have an opinion on something, even if it aligned with expectations, it was usually best to shut up about it. Regardless of allegiance, my thoughts on anything were regarded as pretty irrelevant. Hence, in my adult life, people make recommendations on things I might enjoy and I skeptically start gathering opinions on said thing so I'll know what the majority consensus is and how dangerous it might be not to align myself.


In any case, I had been hearing for awhile about the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast and how it was "better than" a lot of people had expected it to be. I also had a fair amount of information about the "exclusively gay moment" supposedly featured.


So when B&B (alternative title: The Re-Beastening) was available in-flight, I locked my tray table in the upright position and buckled in to see what I thought about it.

Fair warning, the remainder of this entry isn't going to be about how I thought Emma Watson did a really good job. Or how stunning the visual effects were. I'm not offering any commentary on whether or not there was more of a "feminist" angle to this version vs. the animated one (although it is something that I've thought about, and my simple answer is "no.") The remainder of this entry is going to be a total soap-box style rage about LGBT representation and how incredibly disappointing it was to be promised something "exclusively gay" and then be delivered a fey side-kick sucking on his pinky for 2 hours and briefly partnering up with another man during a fancy gala dance.


The long and the short of it: it sucks to have a marginalized identity be used purely as a marketing strategy. As if the people that produced this movie were concerned the gays weren't going to go see a musical.


It's a movie about a "weird" girl who doesn't fit in with her little backwoods hometown. You know, she like...reads books and stuff.


It all works out okay, though, because once somebody who is literally royalty gets her to assume that stereotypical care-giver role (and like...gives her a whole fucking library full of books to read when she's not busy demeaningly teaching him how to be a decent human being), she's fulfilled and the ending credit music can swell up.

Fucking pro tip. If the main character is skewed from the norm in any way whatsoever, the queers will get to it. That's what happens when a community's integral identity and sexual expression have been suppressed and villainized for the better part of...forever. Representation is found where it can be had. Belle being ostracized for reading books is a very watered-down version of how it feels to recognize that feeling of being "other." But when you're parched, even a drop of water can be refreshing.

Sure...it's all in vogue now. It's so chic to be queer. I mean, LeFou was clearly, obviously homosexual. Just look at this!


That's gayer than nine dudes blowing ten dudes. And this was a Disney film. What else could I possibly be asking for?


My pinnacle of representation, my Edenic wish, was for LeFou to be gay, and for it to be a non-issue. For the film to not have wasted so much sweat and energy on making him skip everywhere. I wanted "he's 100% dedicated to serving another man" to not be inflated to insinuate anything other than lackey-hood. (Although I'm one thousand percent sure there's some pretty raunchy BDSM Rule 34 out there, if you care to find it.)

There's a perfect moment for this in the film, when Gaston and LeFou are bro-ing out and complaining about how annoying women are but how ultimately they want to be partnered exclusively with one for the remainder of their days. (That's a whole other kettle of fish, dear readers.) Gaston, in a reflective moment, asks LeFou why he hasn't found the right woman to settle down with yet. LeFou's response, "I'm clingy," could have so easily been replaced with him screaming, "IT'S BECAUSE I LIKE DICK OMG."


Okay, so maybe not actually those exact words. I get that you were kind of a school-boy perv, Walt Disney, but I won't besmirch your legacy by advising that you insert all-caps phallus references into your films.

It would have just been awesome to have representation = normalcy. Say...LeFou is Gaston's lackey, but he also makes eyes at the bartender of the hunting lodge. Maybe you see LeFou and the bartender reach for and hold each other's hands when the whole village is going ape-shit about the Beast being a real thing and the townspeople are gathering their torches and other various angry mob accoutrements. It's...effortless. An action two hetero characters could engage in without the audience pausing their popcorn shoveling. That's how representation is done well. Once you brush off all the glitter, we're just boring old humans like the rest of ya'll.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Willful Girl Flies First Class

There was a certain amount of activity that I anticipated when making the decision to be open within relationships.


I had seen monogamy and how the majority of those who were monogamous had this weird, sitcom-esque unhappiness about them. A perpetual playback of, "this doesn't make me happy but I guess it's better than nothing." If only there was a better way!


Which is not to say that I haven't encountered this same attitude within nonmonogamy. There's unhappy couples everywhere. Not so subtly masking their unhappiness with witty comments or fatigued asides; they ring all the more hollow without accompanying laugh tracks or the sympathetic "awww" of a stock audience recording. After testing the relationship waters in my formative years, I made a conscious decision to not only be open, but to be Brian Kinney open. Me first. My happiness paramount. Allow others to get close, certainly, but always keep an inner sanctuary that's purely me. I protect that shit fiercely.


Imagine it as a small Airstream trailer. I've got the interior to myself. Sure, it's cluttered. Everything probably has a faint smell of pot smoke to it. Sometimes unexpected garbage I thought I had cleared out starts piling back in through the windows and I have to step outside before I get buried like one of those people on Hoarders. It's not always perfect, but it's always me.

The exterior I have less control over. Thankfully, I don't hang out with the type of people who think scrawling, "wash me" into a layer of dust is the epitome of humor. To bring the analogy full circle, I knew when I decided to be open that I was parking my Airstream in more of a music festival, open field lot. That I might be visited by people who were at the festival to see the same musician I was (read: people who are into the same things I am, have the same kinks, same interests, etc.), but that I had just as much of a chance of meeting people who were there to see different acts. The important part has been allowing visitors, regardless of taste variety, to leave something on the outside of the Airstream. A cool bumper sticker, some Sharpie artwork, one of those kitschy lawn flamingos...maybe just a smashed beer can.


This past weekend, I added a new bumper sticker to my Airstream. The Cuddler (a gentleman I know from the gang bangs and figured was worth giving him a moniker for purposes of this entry) offered me a sugar-daddy style, 4 day vacation before I officially started Summer School. The type of experience that far exceeded anything I had anticipated when I made the decision to be open. (Which is not to say that we didn't schedule time to fuck in addition to sight seeing and shopping for touristy souvenirs.)

I'm fundamentally a blue collar girl, so allowing such extravagance, especially somebody else providing it for me, took a bit of mental justification. Thankfully, there's enough of a hedonist underneath that blue collar to get around any economic misgivings and allow myself to enjoy the experience. Dear readers, this trip changed not only the exterior of my Airstream, but made me update the interior as well. For 4 days, I adopted a policy of saying yes, and it was...amazing. Metaphorically, I took that sheer, separating curtain from the plane when I left business class and hung it up on the wall of my internal sanctuary. A reminder it's not so bad every once in awhile to sit with a complimentary glass of wine and just be happy.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The one where I'm on Season 3 of Transparent

Possible spoilers ahead, dear readers.


I spent my Spring Break this year finishing up a coding project for school. Spent hours putting in data and x/y values only to run the program and watch my characters still continue to bounce around like they had spiteful amounts of free will.


In order to avoid throwing my laptop out the nearest window, I'd give myself period breaks to binge watch the dramatic story of the Pfeffermans. I got through to Season 2 while on vacation, and have been working my way into Season 3 the past few weeks.

Tonight I reached the episode where this show that has gotten so much right (different types of transitioning, the difference between people who like to cross dress and people who identify as trans, the exclusion of trans women by the feminist community) completely shit the bed when it comes to nonmonogamous relationships.


Brief catch-up: The youngest daughter of the Pfefferman family was in a relationship with another woman and interested in opening the relationship up. Incredulity from the GF, "aren't I enough for you?" yadda yadda yadda, ensuing break-up. Fast forward to young Pfefferman in a relationship with another woman (fittingly, the same woman she had been interested in opening up her previous relationship in order to date), and suddenly intensely aware of how she craves jealousy within a relationship. Because jealousy implies passionate exclusivity, and Pfefferman is so in love with this other woman she can't bear the thought of her not bursting into tears when Pfefferman unexpectedly "cheats."

Which is not to say that a relationship dynamic can't be different depending on the people involved. I'm arguing against the implication that the only reason she wanted to open up the first relationship was because she wasn't really invested or in love with that woman. Once she found "the one," standard relationship bullshit could commence.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Willful Girl Rides Again

It's been just over a week since the ink was officially pressed via ballpoint pens onto the legal document separating Now-Ex-Hubby and myself. I try not to dwell on the fact that we forwent a more traditional "everyone sit and stare at these two people in love" type ceremony; our legally sanctioned relationship both began and ended in a courthouse.

The interim 6 months between trash bags of his stuff thrown out the back door and sitting in front of a judge who told us this was one of the easiest divorces she's ever officiated were...not easy. To be uncouthly glib, break-ups never are. There's no adequate parlance to describe how somebody can come to affect every atom of who you are, and how incredibly difficult it is to tear that part out. I suppose I'm not being a very good poly person by completely axing the relationship instead of finding a new, progressive way to maintain it. I'm a bridge burner by trade. It's not that there aren't possible alternative ways across the chasm, it's just that the route one's used to is smoldering, and R&D for the next traversal will be postponed by the usual bureaucratic bullshit.

Which is not to say that I spent 6 months sitting at home and not getting into a fair amount of sexual adventures. I took my time. I felt sad. But I'm not a wallower. Here's the shenanigans I've been up to:


I helped a gentleman I know from the gang bangs quit smoking by offering, in return for him each day smoking one less cigarette, to send him a nude per day.


I tried THC lube.


I've been on a variety of spectacular dates. 

A birthday FMF threesome. (The male half of the couple was the one with the birthday request. We joked a lot about how even after years in "the lifestyle," it's those seemingly apex sexual encounters like two women at the same time that still persevere.) 

Added to my compendium of "hotels in the area that are decent to fuck in" with a gentleman pretty much my equal in both general disdain for humanity and explicit appreciation of the movie Tommy Boy.

Two fantastic food-focused dates with a city mouse cutie I met at the party where I tried the THC lube. I spent the entirety of the party thinking he was adorable, intelligent, and amorously skilled. (We didn't have sex with each other at the party, but being able to view and evaluate another's sexual capabilities is one of those unique opportunities afforded.) After scheduling via gif-heavy messaging, our first date entailed lamb curry and Super Mario World. The second, lobster mac and cheese and comparing our coding skills. Both dates included amazing kissing and oral sex that made my head fuzzy.
   
An absolutely glorious time with a man who knows one of the secret ways to my heart is with a plate of fancy cheeses.


Through the course of those dates I adjusted to officially starting anti-anxiety medication. I had been in the process of scheduling this while Now-Ex-Hubby and I were still together, and it seemed remiss to give up after things were more officially over. The very brief summary is it took about three days to not feel stoned after taking my allotted dose, about a week to get my orgasm response back to normal (I went hyper-responsive, which was interesting, as I've heard the opposite is usually the case), and about three weeks until I felt like I could classify this as my new "normal."

Frisbee and I seem to be staying the course. Our relationship, of course, is a bit different since the dissolution of myself and Now-Ex-Hubby. Relationships inherently change anyway over the course of time. This change just happened to be more akin to a reliable car suddenly breaking down in the middle of the freeway; the adjustment period stressful and full of unanticipated needs. We've kept the monthly check-in, although we amended it slightly. The most difficult part has been not getting sucked into, "this is better because that one ended" mindset. To revisit the analogy, I've got a new car now, but the old one also got me places.  

Any or all of the above may be worthy of their own entry at some point, intrepid readers. I've got escapades aplenty coming up in the schedule as well. If nothing else, it's good to be back.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Willful Girl goes on Hiatus

Greetings, intrepid readers.


Divorce proceedings between myself and Now-Ex-Hubby have begun in earnest. (At some point I will likely wind up changing that moniker - it's quite exhausting to type out every time I want to talk about him - but for now it serves its purpose.)

As part of those proceedings, I have been advised by my lawyer to, "stop all posting to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter."


Which, I'm taking into consideration the same way I've evaluated my workplace's advice to be careful about my social media presence. I'm not the type to get into butt-hurt comment thread arguments about who doesn't understand who's perspective on life and why that's literally the worst thing that could ever happen. So if Now-Ex-Hubby wants to use my Facebook posts (pictures of my cat yawning and status updates on how much I like the Avenue Q soundtrack) as fodder in the divorce, I guess that's what's going to happen.


That being said, when it comes to normative places like the courthouse, there's a considerable difference between my fondness for crass, puppet-based musicals and my fondness for consensually engaging in sexual activity with scores of other people.


It's disappointing that there's a difference, but I feel as though it would be reckless to continue posting about my various adventures until the ink's dry on all the paperwork. So I'm taking a (hopefully brief) hiatus from writing here.