Tag Archives: media

Aging: Becoming My Mother’s Daughter

Next month is my birthday. I have about 6 weeks of being 36 left.

I’m told I look younger. This is good news, I like it.

Truth be told, I really don’t care about looking “36”. Not yet. I probably will. Likely when it starts to show. When I’m 42. Heh, heh.

But you know what?

A shot taken of me by my friend Rick Rake at an event on July 28th, 2010.

I’ve worked for that age. The sun damage my skin shows now is in stark contrast to the pasty-white well-hidden tubby non-outdoors girl I was for the majority of my life. When I was a kid, I was the fat kid who whined and lied about pretend injuries to get out of sports. Every hike I was supposed to do, I got out of.

I was so not a joiner. I was pudgy, pudgy, wheezy girl.

Not so much these days. I’m not where I need to be, but I’m better than I’ve been since I was 18, and there aren’t a lot of 36-year-olds who can attest to being healthier than they’ve ever been — than they’ve literally EVER been.

Despite that health, I’m caught with fatigue a lot of the time. I just deal with it. My friend who’s 42 tells me she was always tired for a few years in her 30s. I’m assuming that’s where I’m at. I eat fairly well, exercise 6 or more hours a week. What more can you ask, right?

Honestly? My newly-appearing wrinkles give me pause. I’m not sure I’m wild about them just yet. I do, however, like the “character” they give my grin these days and the way they highlight the twinkle in my eyes.

I think I wear the few wrinkles I have well. I know my mother wore her age fantastically, like a perfect-fitting pair of jeans.

People were devastated when my mother died. She was a sexy-as-hell redhead at 57 when cancer took her 11 years ago this week. She looked fantastic. Dead? How ironic.

I’m thinking a lot about her this week. Maybe it’s part of my reclusiveness of late. 11 years. Wow. Mind-boggling. Can’t help but reflect on anniversaries, and I’m not thinking so much about the loss of her this year as I am about the woman I’m becoming on my own life journey, and if it parallels my mother’s. Wish I could ask.

I think a woman’s 36th year is pretty pivotal in who she is. She’s now out of the “targeted demographic” most coveted by marketers, she’s starting to pay attention to wrinkle creams and thinking biological-clock type thoughts if she’s not already a mother. It’s the beginning of the transition from “breeder” to “matriarch”, a different kind of role that women seem to play when they hit early middle ages.

One day we’re the chick next door that the guy wants to hang out with and tries to sleep with, the next we’ve become Mrs. Robinson and anyone we chase under our age begets us a label of “cougar”. It’s a quicker transition than you might think.

I’m not sure if I’ve hit that stage yet, since friends still think I look 28, so I might be able to get away with more.

That youthful appearance may not linger a lot longer, as the greys and wrinkles begin to mount.

I both like and loathe the greys I have now, even if few in number. They multiply.

Today, I’m thinking about getting a punk-rock haircut again and embracing the salt-n-pepper look that’s coming on. There’s something tasty about edgy prematurely-greying people. Very, very tasty. I can pull that off. Not like I’ll be all grey tomorrow anyhow.

Age, I guess, really is a state of mind. I know some folks at 36 who look like they’re in their 40s. How you live really starts to show through in a hurry, and it’s your choice. This is the age that your lifestyle becomes visibly apparent to everyone.

Because of that, getting older doesn’t scare me. It’s probably to do with decent genetics (that come with a ticking time bomb but sure look pretty) and probably because I feel like I’ve been through enough in life already that whatever’s coming down the pipes is something I know I’ll just handle. Scared? Who’s scared?

No, I ultimately like my age. I’d rather be turning 37 than 22 again. You couldn’t give me enough money in the world to relive my 20s. My 30s ain’t been no walk in the park, either, but from 35 on? Yeah. I like it. Liking it more all the time, the further I get from my past and the more progress I make on this vision of who I always cheated myself out of being.

Some of us SURVIVED our 20s. Some of us kind of defied an awful lot of odds to get past where we were. Some of us really fucking love coming into our older, more comfortable selves.

I wish the media could understand that. I wish marketers got it. My age is almost like a battle-wound scar. Like that scene in the movie Jaws, where Quint, Brody, and Hooper are shooting the shit about old scars:

Brody[pointing at Quint’s tattoo scar] What’s that one?
Quint: Oh, that’s a tattoo. I got that removed.
Hooper: Let me guess. “Mother!” [laughs]
Quint: Hooper, that’s the U.S.S. Indianapolis.
[Hooper’s face drops]
Hooper: You were on the Indianapolis?
Brody: What happened?
Quint: Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail.

As far as some of us are concerned, we probably shouldn’t even be alive. Enough’s gone on that, y’know, our survival’s really by the grace of God or whoever else was in the kitchen. Signs of age, to some of us, are like proof of getting to The Other Side.

At this point, I don’t see myself changing my hair to hide the greys. I’ll never be slowly salt-and-peppering again in my life, I want to enjoy the awkward and cute transition.

I also don’t see myself trying to hide wrinkles with Botox, ‘cos I never thought my face would be thin enough to have wrinkles — I thought it’d be unhealthily fat and smooth for decades yet. Wrinkles? SERIOUSLY? Okay, bring ‘em.

There’s something satisfying about slowly becoming my mother’s daughter. I’m one size away from being the same size as her before her death, even if I’m 40–50 pounds heavier. Muscle tone!

Every now and then, I look in the mirror, and a woman who sort of reflects the mother I had as a wee little lass is the woman staring back at me. I still can’t believe that’s who I’m becoming. When I was 5 going on 6, Mom was the age I am now.

I never saw myself being here, now, looking more and more like her as she was then, every day.

But I’m starting to really, really like it.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

I had an end-of-the-night chat on Twitter with my friend Tris Hussey (@TrisHussey), one of Vancouver’s best WP blogging smartie-pants, about the strange life of being a vanilla girl in a sex-blogger-world.

It’s had me thinking since, which is why I like smartie-pants like Tris.

See, he thinks the world needs more sex-positive voices — especially from everyday-peoples like me, I guess.

Me, I still have a hard time swallowing the role. So to speak.

That’s what my whole journey in sex-blogging was about. Discovering my own sexuality in a more positive way, where I no longer judged my tastes or worried what things might suggest about me ethically or morally.

It was a hard fucking battle and I’m not even sure where I am on that road right now because I’ve been abstaining for too long. Just… because. I didn’t want to think about sexuality. I had to think about me.

But I’ve thought about me. I’m a better “me” than I’ve ever been. Now I’m ready to be more. Again.

I think the reason my sex-writing has been so successful at being applicable to the average person is because I am one. I’m not interested in burlesque. I couldn’t give a shit if I ever experience a threesome. I don’t have anything too crazy going on in my closet, can’t tell you about any really freaky encounters or swinging parties. I don’t have really odd kinks, I don’t need to push any boundaries. I don’t need more/crazier/harder to get off than I used to.

I like a little bondage, a little kink, trying creative positions, and have a little thing about sex in interesting places if time/lack-of-visibility allow. That’s about it.

I’m not off-the-charts with my sexuality, and I’m not even promiscuous. I’m old-fashioned.

But I think into every sex life a little doggy-style must fall. Or maybe a lot. It’s open for debate — let’s bang-out a plan of attack. What can I tell ya?

I think sexuality is probably one of the biggest journeys we all take.

How many people ever truly get comfortable in that context? How many people not only get comfortable with being truly sexual, but do so in a healthy way — they don’t overconsume porn, hurt others in their quest for fulfilling needs, or develop unhealthy dependencies on any particular activity, person, or lifestyling?

The world doesn’t have enough oft-laid happy “average” people skipping through life with a “I“ve been shagged SILLY” bounce to their step. How many accountants do you see walking bow-legged on Monday morning, huh?

The attitudes we DO have about sex, unfortunately, are being shaped by really fucked-up messages on the media, in Hollywood, and the internet. Sleeping around’s more popular than it’s been since the ‘70s,  STDs are on the rise, people are experimenting left, right and centre because media’s showing all these alternative approaches to us…

But where’s the heart?

Where’s the emotion?

Why’s there such a profound disconnect between what we’ll let ourselves feel in the crotch versus what we’ll allow our hearts to feel?

What the hell are we thinking?

Sigh. Don’t ask me, man. I’m only beginning to even attempt to crack that nut.

For the last 2–3 years, I’ve not been considering sexuality and society as much as I once did. Re-reading my work has reminded me of why I’d been so angry about it all in the past, and has rekindled my interest in being one of the voices to bring some reason to the argument.

I think so much of what’s wrong with us as a society can be explained through our skewed perspectives on sex.

I’m not suggesting getting laid equals world peace.

I’m suggesting that it’s the attitudes we associate with sex that matter, not necessarily about whether we’re getting laid or not.

When we do get shagged, how vulnerable do we truly let ourselves be? How willing are we to let our loved ones into our deeper darker places we’re scared to admit exist? How ready are we to open the doors to where we keep our skeletons?

Sex is the physical realm of mental trust. What you’re willing to do mentally SHOULD translate sexually, vice versa.

Yet how often is that true?

Are you open to others, do you accept all ways of life, can you trust those around you, are you comfortable expressing your needs? Tell me what kind of lover you are, and I’ll tell you the answer to those questions. Again, vice versa.

If everyone was open, trusting of others, accepting of other lifestyles and worldviews, willing to be versatile, able to be vulnerable but also strong when needed, and could let others lead when necessary but follow when called for, what kind of world do you think we’d live in?

Don’t tell me sex can’t heal us.

Don’t tell me sex isn’t an important statement on who and what we are as a people.

And don’t even think of telling me we’re okay.

I’m not crazy about standing up here and being the sex-positive poster-girl. I’m not enthused about the judgment or speculation it promises to hold for me. I’m not happy this job needs doing by anyone.

But there’s no one out there talking about sex for ME.

There’s no one *I* get. No one echoes the battles I’ve fought, the lessons I’ve learned, and the thoughts I’ve had in a way that really resonates.

And I know how alone I felt and how fucked up and self-judgey I was, and for how long.

Someone needs to speak for me.

So I will.

And hopefully it’ll mean a few other people feel spoken for.

Because I’m getting real fuckin’ tired of the people who’ve been doing all the talking so far.

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RANT: BDSM Films are “Torture-Based” Porn?

One of the most offensive things to me is when journalists — people who are paid to get messages right — get things wrong.

Like here, in the San Francisco News, where they describe fetish films with bondage and sado-masochism as being “torture-based” films.

Talk about an economic stimulus. California taxpayers have paid $46,791 so that employees of the San Francisco pornographer Kink.com might produce more perfect web-based depictions of motorized dildo impalements on www.fuckingmachines.com; do a better job displaying women as they’re bound, gagged, and repeatedly electrically shocked on www.wiredpussy.com; and more effectively transmit images of, well, people doing pretty much what you’d imagine they’d be doing on www.whippedass.com.

That’s right: California’s government has been subsidizing torture-based pornography.

I’m going to ignore all the content in the article about government funding and who’s right and what’s wrong, because the only thing that matters is clarity right now, and on that count, SF News, from a city who KNOWS about kink, calling a little sexual brutality TORTURE is way off the fucking mark.

Torture is what happens to you against your wishes.

AGAIN, let’s remind the whole world how the kink and BDSM community work: It’s consensual. People not only agree to be beaten, bound, gagged, and whatever else makes your little conservative cockles shrink in fear — they BEG for it, DESIRE it, and SCHEME to get it.

THAT is not torture.

Let’s remember that language exists to allow us to communicate. It’s there for us to put to words what springs from our minds. WORDS matter. Precision counts. Especially in a motherfucking newspaper.

When we denigrate someone’s sexual preferences as being a fondness for “torture”, you belittle actual incidences of torture in places like Abu Ghraib, China, and wherever else inhumanities occur.

Mary getting paddled while in leather restraints on film as she squeals and moans is hardly akin to high-value prisoners being water-boarded and deprived of basic human rights while off-the-record and on the hush-hush.

So let’s open our fucking dictionaries, editors & writers of the world, because what’s a blase and catchy little term for YOU is something that’s subjecting whole demographics to judgment and ridicule. Learn a little professionalism. It’s the least you can do.

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The Business of Unhappiness

Body image. Stand any one of us in front of a mirror, ask us to reveal what we dislike about ourselves, and an unhesitating list would be quickly forthcoming.

Industry knows this. They count on it. All the way to the bank.

If you’re happy about yourself, why would you ever spend all that disposable income on beauty products, clothes, and other distractions that keep you from looking inside, where true self-image resides?

I read a fascinating Huffington Post article on the economy of waif-thin models. It spoke of how having models thin is benefiting someone, somewhere, and until the public starts demanding differently, designers will kowtow to those in the industry who have everything to gain from keeping women thinking they need to be a size zero to four for any real chance at happiness in life. (I’ve written about anorexic models before and, as an overweight feminist, it’s always been an issue for me.)

You ask me, I think that fashion will never show real women for the same reason that science will probably never really “cure” cancer. There’s too much to gain from the downside — illness and our discontent. The upside means people become healthy and well. If they’re healthy and well, they’ll be happy. If they’re happy, they won’t want or need as much. If they don’t want or need as much, then how in god’s name will industry get their hands on all that tasty money in people’s pockets?

Your insecurities, people, are keeping industry going strong. Your insecurities are helping you contribute to the overall good of society. Productivity, consumer confidence, retail bottom lines — they’re all fed by your insecurities.

Why in god’s name would you want to feel better about yourself? Is that really the Modern Way? C’mon! Don’t smile on one another, don’t love your brother, don’t even love yourself! Piss, moan, whine, and feel shitty in the morning. That way, you’ll feel like you need to “treat” yourself and swing by Starbucks for a Venti Caramel Macchiato, and why the hell not one of those tasty apple fritters? Then, you’ll feel like shit for being so bad, you’ll beat yourself up at work, and say you need to go to the gym. That’ll cut into your day more than you’d planned, you won’t have the time to cook properly, so now you got to go blow your wad on take-out. But the take-out’s all cooked with oils and fats you can’t even imagine, so what would be 450 calories if you made it at home’s actually closer to 1,000 in take-out, and now the workout you just did’s completely pointless. But that’s okay, you’re planning to buy a new pair of jeans and shirt on the weekend anyhow.

See? It’s a cycle. It seems to work for you, it sure as hell works for industry, so why would we ever want to start feeling like it’s all right to be a few pounds overweight with a grabbable ass?

Personally, I’m losing weight. Most of the time, anyhow. Lately I’ve gone off the hook and have eaten badly and not exercised, but I’m back on track.

I’m doing it because I don’t like feeling fat. I don’t like having little to no energy. Or not feeling strong. And not meeting goals. I didn’t like movie theatre seats cutting into me. I didn’t like my doctor looking at me with grave concern as he told me I was toying with the odds on diabetes. I don’t want to be THAT way.

But I sure as hell don’t want to be skinny.

All I want is to be happy. It may have taken a lifetime to realize it, but it occurs to me that Happy doesn’t come off a shelf in a store.

Too bad there’s a few billion consumers who’ve missed out on that epiphany so far. Which keeps industry wringing its hands with glee.

This brilliant image is by a San Francisco photographer named Cheryl McLaughlin and you can find her here. This image is for sale.

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Putting My Foot Down On You, Dr. Scholl

I’m interviewing at an ad agency or two tomorrow. No, I won’t be doing any of the ad copy work or anything, more of a save-the-sanity support office worker, since I excel at that. But advertising is something I’ve always been very, very interested in.

Remember the movie Crazy People, from years back? Daryll Hannah and Dudley Moore? “Jaguar: For men who like handjobs from beautiful women.” Or, “Volvo: They’re boxy, but they’re safe.”

It was a comedy about truth in advertising that emerges when an ad-copy writer has a breakdown and is sent to an insane asylum. He decides to stop lying to the public and tells the truth. He enlists the help of his fellow nuthausers and they reinvent advertising. (My favourite was the Sony one, where the shortness of Japanese assembly-line folks meant better quality control as they were hovered closer to the microchip boards than the tall, gangly American counterparts who were so tall they couldn’t see the fine melds and such. Heh.)

Every year, I go and I see the film of The World’s Best Commercials for that year. I love good advertising.

But I fucking hate bad ads.

Case in point: Dr. Scholl’s for Her.

There’s this new open-toe gel shoe pad made for stilettos and the like, by Dr. Scholl’s. For some fucking reason, there’s this chick in a skin-tight micro tube dress, wearing strapless stilettos (that magically stay on) as her legs dangle off one side of a bareback horse, and she lies back over the hump of this horse, prostrated.

Because I do that in my stilettos every fucking day. And other things I do in my stiletto, apparently, include walking my dog on a reinforcing dike in the ocean, playing tennis, and more.

Who the fuck is this ad for? Who’s the guy smoking crack who seems to think THIS is what’s gonna sell these shoe pads to a woman?

How about having a real situation? Oh, I don’t know… maybe an intelligent woman with spring in her step as she delivers a brilliant closing statement in a law court case? Maybe you have a group of men, all sweating and nervous, desperately awaiting a job interview in a crowded, awkward office, as this sexy chick who holds all their fates in her hands strides towards them, with a I-Own-Your-Ass, And-You-Know-You-Want-Mine look on her face?

I’m surprised they didn’t just get to the point and have some chick in clear pumps spinning her way down a pole, since apparently we’re all just whores who use our bodies for advancement in life.

How about we move the fuck away from more of this objectifying, lame-ass look at chicks today, and into the realm where women really are becoming powerbrokers? Remember, sexy and smart don’t have to be oil and water.

They’re only oil and water because the media doesn’t want us to forget that it’s our asses that count, not the grey matter in our heads.

I, for one, will never, ever buy another Dr. Scholl’s product. This ad pisses me off THAT much. I’m sick and tired of seeing women whose bodies you can bounce quarters of, with brains the size of the quarter, as being the ideal that I’m supposed to somehow strive for.

My ass is copious. As is my intellect. How about selling to me, you assholes?

(If you’re looking for an update on my employment woes, I’ve been keeping that shit over on the other blog. It’s been one hell of a week for me, emotionally, and keeping it together’s one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced. I’m scared as hell, but I’m proud as hell of how I’ve been dealing. I’ll be glad when it’s over. I hope that’s soon. I’ve earned the reprieve. If I know anything, I know that.)

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Sex Sells Insecurity

So there’s this new show and I’ve seen all of 60 seconds of it, but I have some taped and will be weighing in with an opinion. It’s ABC’s How To Get The Guy. Great, just what we need. Yet another show that teaches women how to pander to the men around them in the hopes that maybe, JUST MAYBE one of them will see her for the star she truly is, and then they’ll just let’er shine, baby.

For fuck’s sake, let’s just once have guys feeling like the desperate morons that need to pander to us, okay? Let’s stop having this whole “oh, woe is me!” and “be a bettah babe” mentality that chicks seem to suffer from, all right? There’s NOTHING wrong with you. Love’s a bitch and it’s better that it fails more than it succeeds, because then you GET it when you GOT it. Get it?

Men are great when they KNOW what they want. The rest of the time, they’re loveable fucking pains in the asses, and doing all you can to up your charm quotient and flirt like the dickens is probably gonna do sweet fuck all to knock some sense in his head, which is the part that really needs to transpire.

But since the media knows there’s only limited appeal to a reality show that has a bunch of Manhattan women lined up in the street with those giant plastic sledgehammers as they wait for the opportunity up and bell-ring the dude of their dreams with said sledgehammer, we just keep getting the same old crap spoon-fed to us in a new manner. How to snag a man. How to get laid, get happy, get a minivan, and get the fuck on. How to ignore the fact that it’s really the rest of your life leaving you feeling like you’ve got a gaping hole in your soul as you chase down a guy who’s ultimately probably gonna be a bad fix who’ll last you less than any classic seven-year itch.

God forbid we ever stop trying to solve our giant emptinesses with people around us, or that we stop blaming our failings on the people we’re in relationships with, because then what in the hell would the Hollywood types ever do with all those television scheduling hours that need to be filled with, gasp, content?

Besides, new evidence shows that the notion of “sexual chemistry” tends to be something schemed up by men within the first five minutes of meeting a woman, whether it’s there or not. How in the HELL is watching 15 episodes of an over-simplified “If you do THIS, you’ll GET him” man-hookin’ methodology gonna do sweet fuck all for you if men are even MORE simple than we’d ever nightmared anyhow?

Sure, there are tricks you need to know. How to grin, how to use body language to your advantage, how to talk, how to kiss. I’m just thinking it goes two ways. I’m hoping the media figures that the fuck out soon. There’re far too many clueless men out there. Let’s start empowering THEM for a change and see what that does to shake up the mix, all right?

(Besides, I have this theory that women overcompensate in the “hunt” for the man for the fact that they often don’t know what the hell to do with him to keep him one they got him. Sexual issues, et al, are probably areas that need to be explored more than the realm of how to get him onto a first date. That’s the easy part. Geez.)

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