Tag Archives: how to behave

Lost My Funny: Reward If Found

Moods often come and go.

Sometimes, though, they stay around for a while.

Overcoming your mental state generally means you have to change what’s going on around you, and some of us are excellent at doing that. I’ve proven my skills at overcoming adversity — to myself.

I think they're looking for the Funny. From picturephoto113.blogspot.com

But sometimes life can’t be changed, and it’s that immobility of circumstance that forces the mood to not just stick around but fester.

These days, I’m sort of keeping a lid on things, but I’m not myself.

I’ve been pretty much trapped at home for a month, due to sickness and the resulting finances that come with. I’m doing the watching-TV crap, I’m freaking out internally about certain things I don’t want to share with you, and there’s a lot going through my mind — but I’m too tired to get them done, and pushing could render me stuck in illness for a longer period.

It’s the original Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t scenario.

In the long-term, I think this illness will have brought great and lasting change by way of goals and lifestyle choices I’ve adopted after great isolation and reflection for several weeks. In the short term, however, it’s a really fucking hard place to be.

I’m tired. I’m tired ALL the time. And now I’m getting angry about being so tired. What, knocking me on my ass for a month hasn’t been enough? Aren’t we DONE yet?

See, unlike most people who get angry about getting sick, I’m that rare person who really DID succeed in making major life changes, lost 70 pounds, was on track for losing weight again, etc. I did all that so I could STOP being sick.

Instead, I’m not just sick, but I’ve got this stupid fucking pneumonia, something that knocks the stuffing out of people for weeks and months. I’m sicker than I’ve been in nearly a decade — a decade that was filled with chronic injury — and it’s PISSING ME OFF.

And I’m scared.

I hate being scared.

But I’m scared. I thank god I’m at least in Canada when things go sideways like this.

And while life goes sideways, there’s still the digital world around us. Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah. There are friends and there are followers, but few of them will be there when shit lands and lands hard.

The rest? I’m a dancing puppet, at best, is how it feels sometimes.

There are those who get all depressed when they lose friends during adversity. Me, I woke up to that reality a long time ago. I’ve been left and I’ve left others. It’s what we do.

We CAN’T be there for everyone. We pick those we can give of ourselves to, those we feel compassion and kindness toward. We have to pick our battles — and who we’ll go to battle on behalf of. It can’t be everyone. That’s just simple truth.

When it comes to Twitter, etc, I’ll unfollow people because they’re too depressive or needy or I’m-a-victim. I can’t read that every day. They might take it personally, but, you know what? We gotta do what WE got to do to get through life. I understand that.

So, if you’re some follower from Twitter who’s all disappointed because my Funny decided to take leave of me weeks ago, then fine. Be disappointed.

But don’t fucking tell ME you’re disappointed. Don’t think YOU’RE entitled to Happy-Happy Joy-Joy from me when I can’t even dig it up for myself. Who the hell are you that you think it’s about you?

Hey, I miss my Funny. I’d like to offer a reward if it’s found and returned to me, okay? It doesn’t WORK like that. I can’t go, “Here, Funny-Funny-Funny, c’mon, Funny-Funny!” and expect it to pounce out of the shadows like a dog being beckoned by its owner with a bone in-hand.

But tomorrow I won’t be jumping off a cliff or sticking my head in an oven. I’m not that far gone. I’m barely far gone at all. Instead, I’m methodical and just holding on as I hope to come back to myself, and I figure out where I’m at and how to get past it. I’m not concerned about entertaining YOU or making anyone laugh. You’re the least of my concerns.

I never unfollow the folks on my list who are going through tough times like chemo or other things that really beat you down over the long, long, long term. I admire them for at least keeping an even keel. They may talk of their disease and how tough it gets, but I can relate, and it’s a constant reminder of just how hard life can be sometimes.

I’ve been there in the past — month after month after month of illness or injury, where life just kicks the shit out of you and merely being able to drag your ass through it is an accomplishment.

I know I’m not there now. I’m just in an arduous place and it’ll pass soon.

On the upside, I’ve improved my diet, lost 10 pounds, met a weight goal, made my minimum bill payments, and have enough food in the fridge for a week.

If that’s all I can manage right now, fucking awesome. GO, ME. SERIOUSLY: Go, me! YEAH. Soon, I’ll feel like myself again. For now, getting by is good enough.

And if you want your fuckin’ Funny, turn on a sitcom.

I’m more than just a joke, so don’t treat me like one.

No Fatties: The Ethic of Funny

People urge me to try stand-up comedy. A natural, they call me. A funny girl.

And, hey, they’re right.

What, it’s wrong I should know I’m funny? I shouldn’t acknowledge it? Right, like I’ve spent my life cracking jokes so I can play the fool now.

Jokes are hard. Funny is tough. Humour’s a fine line.

I pride myself on a having higher funny “ethic” than I think most people ever will. There are things I won’t touch: I don’t insult people for their size or weight, or for their colour or abilities.

Your job, clothes, where you live, how you act, what you do with your time — those are all choices, and I feel absolutely fine about ripping them apart and going to town on ’em for jokes. It’s commentary on who we’re opting to be as a society. Get on the bus in thigh-high rubber fuck-me boots and a LaToya Jackson studded-special leather jacket? Sure, yeah, I’ll use it for humour. Your choice.

But I don’t hurt people with nasty public jabs made about a weight problem, or vision issues, or a goiter, or anything like that.

You think people wouldn’t change those things about them if they could? You think they’re not aware of how outside the norm they might be?

Somehow “fat” is different from all the other discrimination out there, because people “choose” to be fat. That’s another argument for another time, considering the modern food industry, media, how government’s been bought and sold, and more — so I’m not going there.

This whole posting sprang up because I got all pissed off about some remarks a young guy was making about “fatties” on Twitter today, mocking overweight girls trying to glam it up for a profile shot — saying how they’re just getting fatter and fatter, and he wants to puke.

Who the fuck does he think he is? He’s perfect? Does he KNOW what it’s like to be 300 pounds and feel like losing weight is the hardest thing in the world? Um, no.

Know who does? I do. I know what it’s like. I’ve weighed that. Note the past-tense.

I’ve hauled my 275-pound body up a 30-floor highrise’s stairs and back down again, I’ve cycled 70km in a day, lived through the hellish pain that comes from waking up a body that’s long been hibernating. I know.

I know the looks a girl gets when she’s pushing 300 pounds and has the audacity to enter a gym — the skepticism, the obvious wondering about how long she’s gonna last.

Fat people are NOT encouraged to change. When they try, they’re largely scorned and mocked just for even attempting that. Trust me, I know.

It took watching my father almost die from diabetes to wake me up; I didn’t want to die like THAT. And it was the hardest road I’ve ever travelled.

Mocking fat people clearly hasn’t been working. Look at our world.

Insulting the disabled removes them from our world, while denying us the possibility of another Ray Charles or Stephen Hawking because of shame felt from having to endure the mockery that comes from a large portion of the public.

Making a non-specific insult about a body-type or disability or skin-colour doesn’t have to have an intended recipient — without one, you’ve broadly painted everyone. They’ve all been struck by the ignorance of that comment.

Have YOU ever been that person behind the computer screen when an insensitive generalized remark is made, and you react with “is he talking about me?” because it could totally be about you?

Passive-aggressive hate is everywhere on the internet. Its passivity should in no way suggest it is impotent. It rises up and harms many.

My tweet about it said it best: Being mean isn’t cool. It’s never been cool. And if you make it funny, it’s still not cool. Grow up. High school’s over.

We’re an unhappy society. What’s causing it? Is it the ever-present derision and commentary about each other that sets us constantly on edge? People are less secure than ever, and some are striking out at others as a result. Suddenly, it’s no longer a grown-up world, but a return to all I loathed about being in grade 10.

Seriously, what’s going on?

When I hear waif friends panicking about calories, “oh, god, I’m getting fat!” and they’re a size four, I wonder where the fuck we all went wrong.

Maybe some people still haven’t gotten over their elementary-school mocking and want to take it out on everyone else. I don’t know.

What I do know is, in an age where we have greater glimpses into other people’s lives than ever before — their pains, their sorrows, their struggles — I find that we’re getting crueler, more ignorant, and more insensitive when we’re supposedly civilized.

I often wonder if it’s the culture of the celebrity-gossip blog that’s killing kindness in society.

Instead of pettiness being confined to blogs about celebrities, we’re now visiting it on everyone.

The thing about this whole thing that’s most odd, this little fight with this ignorant kid, is I might consider myself somewhat overweight, but I know I’ve changed a LOT about myself — I’ve lost more weight in the last couple years than most people could even fathom. I KNOW what it takes to lose 3 pounds in a week, I know what kind of hardcore activity is required week-in, week-out. I could probably kick your ass.

There’s a reason most people fail in trying to not be “fat.”

It’s not a two-month course-correction — it’s trying to change for the rest of your life what it took you a lifetime to become. There are years of up-and-downs as you learn about yourself before you one day figure out what it takes for YOU to have success. There are medications and environments that can artificially influence weight. It’s not a black-and-white thing.

And there is no addiction in the world more difficult to overcome than food: We are faced with making choices about it three times a day, at least. Every holiday revolves around it. Every social outing is based upon it.

Overcoming weight issues and other addictions is a massive challenge.

It’s NOT society’s job to fix anyone’s life. It’s on EACH PERSON to improve themselves, and using excuses why you won’t change just doesn’t cut it — because some of us find the strength to change even in the face of our largest adversities.

I don’t accept that being unhealthily fat is a lifetime sentence. I believe every unhealthy overweight person* can change their life and improve their health — because I could, even after a decade of injuries.

And I think we can be better people.

We can be a kinder society.

We can accept that words and actions hurt others.

We can try to understand how it might feel on the other side.

I don’t WANT a world where everyone’s NICE all the time. Do I strike you as a sunshine-and-roses kind of girl?

I just want a world where people are treated with a little respect.

I didn’t need the world to give me a hug and tell me everything was gonna be all right when I was super-fat. But I sure as hell needed less skepticism when I finally had the courage to go to the gym and try to change my life. I needed people to understand and support me when I started on my path of change, rather than presupposing I was just going to be another failing fatty who would give up on everything.

I may have ate the food, but EVERYONE in life around me helped perpetuate my mammoth size that by saying all the things that made me insecure and hurting in the first place — which drove ME to my security blanket of food. Yes, I still take the blame, but at least I understand the reasons, too.

Too bad I didn’t have an emotional dependency on cocaine — at least then I might’ve been a hottie and socially-accepted in my svelte size four. After all, nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels, says Little Miss Kate Moss, who might be confusing how skinny feels with the high she’s riding from her cocaine addiction that fuels her size-zero money-maker.

We’re ALL fucked up.

Don’t try to pretend you’re not. YOU know it. I know it. We ALL have things we’d rather not have come to light at a party.

People with obvious physical issues can’t hide theirs, though, so they don’t get off easily. Instead, they’re publicly hurt.

That’s my problem.

That it’s somehow been deemed acceptable behaviour in today’s world?

That’s our problem.

* “Skinny-fat” is the new phrase out there — people who look healthy ‘cos they’re skinny but their numbers are off the chart, all because they luckily have a quick metabolism so they can hide their true health. There ARE overweight people who are healthy, I’m definitely one — since I can climb/descend 30 floors in a high-rise after cycling 15 kilometres and get my 6 cups of veggies a day — but society still isn’t talking about how health is about internal numbers, not outward appearances. Stop judging on looks or abilities.

The Fine Art of Schmoozing

I have the rather freaky-ass opportunity to run with a different crowd now.

The people I’m working for are politically connected. It’s an entirely different world. I once fancied the idea of running for politics. I was probably 16 or 17 at the time and was volunteering for the Liberal party as a member of the Young Liberals. I helped campaign for an East Indian guy in a Vancouver suburb. I, I’m sorry to admit, was part of a Burma Shave.

(Kind of marketing done in pieces at roadside. Originally, billboards that would write out one well-developed sentiment over several clusters of signs. In politics, a bunch of yahoos standing roadside, wearing sandwich-board signs for any given politician. Hi, I’m Steff — resident yokel and yahoo.)

It’s fuckin’ ‘zarro, man.

Whew. Deep breath in, strong breath out. Yeah, it’s a real headtrip. I once wanted to run, y’know? Now I’d be the fringe freak candidate, though. I’m in the right fuckin’ city for it. Enter: The Sex Party. Oh, yeah. I want their convention to have the acronym O.R.G.Y. Hey, if it’s a bonus anywhere, this is where redundancy works. “The Sex Party’s convening now. The O.R.G.Y. aspires to take things to an entirely new level, but they say they’ll have to sweat it out this weekend if the right climax is to be found.”

Yeah, okay, you caught me: I also always wanted to be a news copy writer. Ah, well. Chasing ambulances proved to not be my thing. Nothing like showing up on the scene of an accident because it’s your fucking job when some gaping onlooker turns and calls you a “sick bitch” for liking that kinda thing. Nah, dude, it’s the grade for glass, y’know? Report from scene of an accident? What’s yer fucking excuse, bub? Whew. So, yeah, I learned to not like that one in a hurry.

Point is, there was a time when my life could’ve gone a couple other directions. Like, seriously different directions. It fucking STUNS me, BAFFLES me to be this person now, writing about the things I have, considering the type of aspirations I’ve always had. I’m outed, man, my name is OUT there. I can be Googled. I can be found. I can be deciphered — piece by bloody little piece. Like, it’s over for me. There are jobs I will never, ever have. There are positions I will never, ever have. It sort of disappoints me to know I can probably never get it on merit — like I damned well should. I can schmooze, man, but I can’t live that life, I don’t think.

There’s so much carefulness, you know? There’s been about a dozen times now in work-related (including tonight’s party) situations where I’ve said really politically incorrect things, like calling the entire Middle East sexist when I’m surrounded by Iraqis and other folks in that region. (I qualified it quickly by saying it was an easy dismissal by people who didn’t understand the culture so much — which is true, to an extent, as they do adore women, but I think that’s in the same ballpark as saying you love the kid and that’s why you hit them, to teach them… I don’t think it’s meanspirited, but I still think it needs updating).

Anyhow. Schmoozing. The fine art of.

Schmoozing, in essence, is the art of faking sincerity. Now, you can be sincere and schmooze, but it’s just easier to not give a shit, because then it keeps you neutral, all right? Keep it current, keep it simple, and keep it neutral. Don’t get involved, just have an opinion and a well-timed smile.

Eye contact. Need I say more? Fuck, man. Eye contact. All about the eye contact.

You gotta learn to listen with your eyes. You wanna focus on them so intently that they can tell you’re really being drawn in. It forges an intimate bond. You lean in ever so slightly. Tilt your head slightly to one side, and just soak ’em in. Be attentive. Listen, and more importantly, hear.

When you talk, think about what you’re saying. If you’re short on an idea, don’t hem or haw, or um or uh, ‘cos it makes you seem like a bubblehead. Do a simple “I don’t know” hand guesture as you try to find the right word. Focus then. Silence, good. If five seconds passes, it’s “I’ve lost my thought,” and you move the hell on.

If conversation falters, just tell them you’re just going to make the rounds but you’ll check in a bit later. Thank them for the chat, nod, and move off with a toast of the glass and a slow, searching stride.

When you’re speaking, don’t talk politics or religion, if you can help it. Don’t discuss money problems, ever, when you’re schmoozing. It’s about impressions, not bad ones. Ask where they’re from, who they know, and if you think they want to tell you, ask about their job.

You need yourself a 10-second introduction. “Hey, I’m Steff from Vancouver, born and raised. I fancy myself a writer, and when I need to pay the bills, I work in a consulting firm. The rest of the time, I blog, photograph, ride a scooter and a bike, cook, and slack.”

When someone tells you what they do, you have an in for asking for their business card. “Oh, I’d like to hear more about that sometime” or “Hey, I’ve been in the market for one of you” or “Oh, great. Say, can I get your card?” I favour straight-up, but in case you’re feeling pussy… you know.

You can touch if you get the sense they’re into that, but understand that different people have different personal space issues, and to assume that everyone’s cool with being touched is foolish, and in the case of some cultures, flat-out wrong.

Limp handshakes are creepy. Lose it. Be firm. Never more than three seconds for a handshake. Clammy hands? Find a way to dry them. Nerves are for pussies.

So, there’s a good introduction to the world of schmoozing. It works well for picking people up, too. Instead, you lean closer and closer. When you take a sip, always make eye contact over the rim of your glass. It’s sexy. When they can’t hear you, don’t speak up, lean into their ear and speak more clearly and maybe even softer, so they have to also lean in. It’s sexy. If you’re trying to pick them up, then definitely touch them, but just on the back of the hand or forearm, or possibly the elbow. Anything else can feel forward, I find. (Taking the elbow’s a bit more sensual, though.)

And that’s how ya do it. Go off, my minions, and schmooze this weekend. In my part of the world, we call it networking.

All About Oral: Odor, Etiquette, and Why Some Women Don’t Want It

So, I received an interesting email recently, and the reader had this to ask:

I was wondering what your opinion is on oral sex etiquette. For guys AND girls, is one obliged to kiss someone who just finished going down on you? If your partner doesn’t feel like swallowing, what should he do about his come?

Personally, I can’t wait to kiss a guy who’s just gone down on me. I’m not really sure why it is, but I like to think that a) it shows my appreciation, and b) he finds it hot. Similarly, if I go down on a guy, I also can’t wait to kiss him afterwards. I find those kisses the hottest, most intense a kiss can get. I look forwards to them every time. Besides, planting a smacker on your lover after they’ve gone down on you is the subtle way of making sure you’re tasting great. I’ve often grabbed the guy mid-oral, made him kiss me, find out the taste-test way if I’m tasting as clean as I want, and if I am, he’s shipped back south to finish the job, and my fears and insecurities are abated. Smart, crafty? Of course I am. ;)

I think it’s rude, really, not to kiss your lover after having received their oral services. I don’t know why, but I do. I’m not sure there’s a hard-and-fast rule out there, but really, if you avoid a lover who’s just been indulging in your bodily juices and such, it communicates that you’re repulsed by yourself. It’s not that sexy. Own your sexuality, own your body, and prove it with a post-oral kiss.

When it comes to swallowing, I’m not one of those “good girls swallow” proponents. I often don’t. It’s different in a relationship, I suppose, and it depends entirely on his hygiene and his personal flavours. I’ve occasionally swallowed, and the first time I ever did it, it was by accident and I was surprised it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it’d be. I’ve sometimes chosen in the past to let a guy ejaculate in my mouth, and as I’ve snaked back up his body, kissing everywhere I go, I’ve deposited bits back on him, and then we kissed and squirmed happily together. I think it doesn’t really matter too much, but guys absolutely love a girl that swallows, not only because her lips are around him as he orgasms in that happy, warm place, but because it shows she accepts him in entirety, and that’s arousing no matter what sex you are.

If you haven’t brought him to orgasm orally, then it comes down to either finishing inside you, or by manual means, in which case either a condom catches the ejaculate, or it “goes where it goes.” Again, what happens with his come in a manual situation’s pretty much up to you, him, and the moment. There’s no real etiquette involved. Want it on your belly? Great. Want to take the chance that he’s not a squirter and your walls or floor won’t catch it? Great. Do whatever strikes you as the right way to go.

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In keeping with this topic, I’ve been asked a few times and just never get around to answering it:

What can a guy (or gal) do to change the flavour of their ejaculate/personal juices?

It comes down to general health as well as diet. Are you prone to infections? There might be little you can do to change flavours if UTIs and/or other infections find you regularly.

But usually it’s a diet-related thing. Most sources tell you that a meat-heavy diet can result in a more bitter-tasting sperm. Rumour has it that vegetarians have the best taste out there. (For some reason, I just find vegetarians a little less sexy, though. There’s something odd about a man who doesn’t like sinking his teeth in meat, you know?) Focusing your diet on more carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables, as well as drinking a lot of water and other pure, non-sweetened juices can do a lot to giving you a better flavour (and odour).

Smoking, coffee, and alcohol can also result in a bitter, unpleasant come.

You want to eat foods rich in anti-oxidants, high in fibre, and with lots of juice content. Pineapple juice is thought to be one of the best things you can drink in regards to improving your flavour, and is great for overall health anyhow. Drinks like blueberry juice and cranberry juice are also great in this regard. Celery is said to be a terrific food for come.

If you’re really wanting to get serious about things, you could invest in quality juicing at home. Cucumber, celery, pineapple, ginger, and so forth, all mixed together with some protein supplement can really help you develop a sweet, nutty flavour.

There are pills on the market that swear by improving the flavour of come, but what they don’t tell you is that the pills are rich in things like ginger, aromatic herbs and spices, and vegetable supplements. Sticking to a diet that’s rich in spices like ginger, low in sodium, high in natural sweeteners, will do the same trick.

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There are women who resist having men go down on them. These women are resistant for a number of reasons.

One, maybe they just don’t like oral. Strange, but true. Oral’s a very intense experience, as most of us know, and for some, it’s simply too intense.

Two, they’ve had bad experiences. Lovers can be idiots. We can say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and it can turn a pleasant experience into a scarring one. It’s hard to shake the memory of someone who’s been a thoughtless lover, and it takes patience and encouragement and support to overcome a negative experience.

Three, they have a history of infections. Some women are predisposed to infections. Maybe they swim in natural bodies of water too often, maybe they have a bad habit of shaving their legs in the tub, maybe they have poor post-workout hygiene, maybe they’re just built that way. Whatever the case, a history of infections can leave a woman with a really negative sense of herself and her privates.

Four, they simply have a negative sense of their personal odours. Like most women, I’ve had times when I’ve been self-conscious about my odour. I’ve avoided intimacy with a guy based on paranoia, not reality. In the end, I’ve come to learn that I generally smell the way I’m supposed to, and I have an average, if not desirable, taste to me. The only way a woman overcomes these sensitivities is by way of supportive, open lovers who offer compliments and kindness, not crass observations. The odour a woman emits is filled with the pheromones that turn men on, but the pheromones don’t work on us. Instead, it makes us paranoid. I actually worked in a fish restaurant as a teen, and was belittled by guy friends for smelling fishy after work. For years, I’d have issues about any odours my vagina emitted, and was never able to relax when a man went down on me, not until my mid-20s.

Five, your guess is as good as mine. I recently did the piece “Twats and Knives: Together at Last” in which I discussed the new trend of women getting cosmetic surgery done on their pussies. Why would a woman do that? Who knows. It’s not always something we’ll understand.

The point is, whatever the reason, some women aren’t into letting a man perform orally. If you’re a woman and you’re really, really concerned about your odours and tastes, you might want to try douching. It’s not something you should do regularly, as it kills natural bacteria that can fight infections, but if it’s something that gets you past the fear of having a man perform on you, then maybe it’s something worth trying. Including things like pineapple, ginger, celery, and other juice-altering foods in your diet might also give you a better sense of your emissions and scents.

If you’re a guy and you know she won’t let you go down on her, then don’t force the issue. Instead, sometime when you’re fingering her, you can lick your fingers and tell her you love the way she tastes, and you wish you could try it firsthand sometime. Comment on how her natural scents get you aroused. Linger by her belly, kissing her groin and surrounding areas, and toy with her, breathe her in. Don’t be obvious and say all the positive comments all at once, just occasionally make statements, and you’ll probably slowly wear down her resistance.

Insecurities are a hard thing to overcome, and as women, we’re barraged by advertisements on television that tell us we have to worry about our smells. Once every month, we get periods and there’s always inevitably that moment where we discover it’s a little on the ripe side. It’s not a wonder that women have insecurities about their sexual juices and aromas; it’s a wonder we ever overcome it, considering all the crap we see in the media. Any woman who’s ever had a yeast infection and has seen that look on their doctor’s face as he/she describes the “cottage cheese” within her knows how awkward it can feel to be aware of this thing growing inside of her.

It’s a struggle to overcome the paranoia, but supportive lovers get us there.

What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas (Baby)

I stirred up a little controversy with this posting the other day when I said most women didn’t like porn sex. C’mon, a girl can have some fun, n’est ce pas?

I love aggressive sex. I love a mix. I come with my own multi-speed. I can’t do the same thing all the time, and when I get given the green light, you bet your ass I can bring added elements into the game. I go from frolicking to ferocious and back again in mere minutes. Never, ever be predictable. That’s my motto.

I wanted to stir a little controversy with that posting, though. Yes, it was in absolutes, and yes, it was tongue-in-cheek. Let me explain things in a little more level-headed manner, then.

Here’s the gist of it: Don’t fucking assume you know what your lover wants. Don’t assume that because you saw it on TV, it’s definitely gonna be working out for them. Talk and find out what page you’re on. Figure out what you’re wanting to do to each other, and know where you’re going to go, to a degree. (I mean, you never want to script these things. It’s about going with the moment. It’s like planning your vacations – sure, having an itinerary is nice, but isn’t a little spontaneity a good way to go, too?)

Be open with your lover, be accepting of hearing what they want, let them know you’re not going to judge them for their desires, make sure they realize that fantasies and wishes are nothing to be ashamed of, that we all have little weird things we’d like to experience, and it’s okay. That’s what you’re there for, for god’s sake. (And it’s always okay to say no. Just don’t judge.)

There are a lot of women out there, particularly, who are terrified of asking for what they really want. They’re scared they’ll be judged. They’re scared they’ll be perceived as being a dirty whore. They need to know they’re in a situation where they can ask for what they want.

That’s why what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

When you’re in your bedroom, or wherever you choose to play, you can be any character you want to be. It should never, ever colour or tint who you are as a person outside of the bounds of play – unless you choose to allow that.

It’s absolutely possible to know how to wield a riding crop and pick the lock of pair of handcuffs, and still be a good, caring person. It’s possible to groan “Fuck me with your throbbing hard cock, you beast” and teach kindergarten. Duality’s possible in the human condition, but the right to privacy in a bedroom’s something everyone deserves.

(Pity the US government’s missed that memo.)

A safe environment needs to exist, and whether a woman wants to be fucked like Jenna Jameson is something she has every right to decide, but not something she should be judged for. Men need to allow their partners the duality of being as bad as they wanna be, without assuming any moral judgments on that behaviour.

And women absolutely need to allow men to speak to their fantasies, too, without judging them. So he would love a three-way, how does it hurt you to know that? The fantasy existed before you, and it will exist after you’re gone. If you’re not interested, you say so, but never, ever judge a lover for saying what they wish they could have.

Hell, I’ve known men who’ve fantasized about three-ways but never actually want to have one, for instance, but sharing that fantasy validated them because it allowed them to put an image to words with someone they wanted to share it with.

Never underestimate the bond of having open communication. Being able to talk about these things can be one of the most erotic experiences you share. Allow the conversations to map the terrain you plan to explore as time passes.

Keep Vegas in Vegas, baby, but keep on rolling them dice.

Etiquette for Restaurants: Part 2

This is part two of the basic etiquette for restaurant dates. It began with a rant here, and continued with part one here.

First, a couple addendums raised in part one’s comments:

A. As mentioned by an anonymous commenter after the first posting, if you’re picking your date up, do not call her and tell her to be outside. Do not honk. Do not wait in the car. Go the hell in and get her. Yes, it’s nice to bring flowers if you want to, but try to avoid the clichéd dozen roses, and do not bring carnations. A single rose, or gerbera, or orchid, whatever, is always a nice touch. I could be wrong on this, but I feel corsages are dated and behind the times, and often plain unpractical. I’d stick with flowers for the table. What’s more, if it’s a nice date, she’ll enjoy the flowers more the next day.

B. It’s totally cool and actually good to help a date with a coat. Help take it off, help her get it on. It’s just a nice touch. Unnecessary, but certainly nice. Hand it to the waiter or give it to her to put on the back of her chair, if coatcheck isn’t an option.

Back to bizness. You’ve got wine, you’ve got food, and now you’re dining.

1. How you eat is important. Eat small bites. Use cutlery as much as possible. Cut your food precisely and delicately while being relatively strong and assertive about it. (Press harder with your knife, do controlled movements.) Try to not make noises with the cutlery or against the china. If you’re responding to her question or statement as you cut, make sure you at least glance up to make eye-contact as you’re talking. Always, always show you’re aware she’s present when you’re speaking. And hello? Small bites, please? Chew? With your mouth closed. Do not speak with food in your mouth. Remember in grade two when they said to chew every bite 17 times? Please do that on dates. BONUS: It will reduce the chance you’ll get gas later!

2. If you want a refill of coffee or something, inch the drinking vessel nearer to the edge of the table closest to where the waiting staff will pass it by. An industry professional knows this is the sign for a refill, so you shouldn’t need to shout for them.

3. Never take the last roll, butter, or bit of wine without asking her if she’d like it first. She’ll almost always say no (it’s a date thing) and give it to you, but give her the chance to do so. If she offers to split it with you, say no if you just can’t handle more, & say something like “I’d love to, but I’m set to burst.” Sharing’s nice though. It’s sexy and intimate, and feel free to take her up on the offer.

4. Tear off bits of bread as opposed to gnoshing on an entire piece. Tear it over the plate, so the crumbs don’t pile up on the tablecloth. Butter it as you go to prevent yourself from getting thumbs into greasy badness. If you’re dipping in oil and vinegar, please, don’t double dip, tear bite-size pieces for dipping.

5. If you’re still eating your meal, you rest your knife and fork at 4:00 and 8:00 on your plate, respectively, between bites. Don’t hold your cutlery through the whole meal. Keeping it in your hand all the time – especially for women – tends to look aggressive. Take moments where you focus on your companion. (Goes for both sexes.) When you’re finished and want them to take it away, you set your knives, forks, and spoons used thus far at the 5:00 position.

6. If your server is stupid and tries to take your plate before your companion has finished, then they have clearly missed the basic training course. Tell them you’re not through, and gesture at your companion’s plate. If they succeed and take the plate away, she’ll be left feeling awkward eating in front of you. This goes both ways, so be a man and say something.

7. If she’s getting up to go to the bathroom – it’s not necessary, but it’s extra special classy and will probably get a small grin from her as she walks away from you – you can always push your chair back and stand as she leaves the table. When she returns, you can stand upon her arrival, wait for her to sit, then give her the napkin, or better yet, lay it on her lap. (You can be sexy about it and “accidentally” brush a finger down her thigh as you return to your seat, departing-like.) As I say, this is a real throwback, and is probably a little over the top for most evenings, but if you’re having a more special dinner experience in celebration of something, then yes, go ahead. It’s quite formal.

8. After dinner, your napkin gets folded (casually, in a tidy bunch, whatever, just not tossed down in a heap) and placed BESIDE the plate, not on it.

9. Paying! All the guys want to know this. Going Dutch is fine, but really, if you make more than her – she’s a student, you’re working in an office – then it ought to be on you. If you asked her out and chose the location, then it ought to be on you. If she asked you out, then it should rightly be dutch, unless she’s making your salary look comical. But if you want to feel like your balls are intact at the evening’s end, you probably shouldn’t let her pay, not entirely, but that’s your call. Some women will judge you for not paying. You know I’m right, as much as it galls you. A good move is always to pay, especially if you like her, and playfully ask if she takes trades for a home cooked meal, or tell her she can get coffees later or something. (If she balks at paying anything ever, then she’s a money-hungry minx and you need to be wary, in my humble opinion. Anytime a woman or man feels entitled to something, it’s time to be wary. Me, I like a man to pay, but I’ll always insist next time I do some cooking, and the way I cook, it’s a win.)

10. If it’s old-school car locks and we’re driving for the night and we let you into the car first, lean over and open our lock and let us in. Women, if a guy lets you in first, you don’t have to lean over and let him in, but it’s the kind of small gesture a guy really digs. Ever seen that old Cameron Crowe film Singles, when Keira Sedgwick lets Cameron Scott into his car? He’s bowled right over and is in love from then on. It shows you can not only graciously accept his chivalry, but that you’re woman enough to not feel threatened by reciprocating. Me, I’d always let the guy in. It’s just the right way to act. [Ed. Note: Do people even have these locks anymore? Lots has changed in the four years since this first was posted!]

11. When you’re dropping her off, and this is for anyone dropping a woman off – date or not – always, always wait until she’s gotten inside before you drive away. It’s a sign that you’re concerned about her safety, and honestly, our entrances aren’t always as safe as we’d like.

12. Not related to restaurants, but time to be said. Can we, for once and for all, move past the “don’t call the next day” bullshit? Call. Tell us it was a good time. Even easier and just as good, in the age of email, send her a quick note. “Wow. I had a great time. I’ll call you later in the week. Looking forwards to more with you.” That’s it. “Ooh,” we’ll think, “a guy who doesn’t play games.” You’ll get laid sooner, you know. Drop the bullshit head games. Keep it casual, light, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Call her later in the week, don’t mention a specific day, but you’ve bought yourself time now. Just a note! A text! A quick email! It’s a lovely way to play.

If there are other dating scenarios you want the etiquette for, let me know via comments or emails. Happy dining this weekend, kids.