It’s the weeks where we feel beaten down before Monday begins that are the hardest to face, eh?
This morning’s rife with the turmoil of a good Pacific storm. A lot of wind and rain. As is usually the case, a good windstorm means a blue sky’s on its heels. I literally see both from my north-facing writing desk. Blue skies over the Pacific, charcoal over the inland. A torrent has just ended and the roads are filled with the splitter-splatter of cars racing through puddles, and roofs are dripping themselves dry.
It’s life. Damages come fast and fleeting. One minute we’re one way, the next, everything’s changed, oppressively so. The storm passes, we’re in a daze, but the reality is, we look around, nothing’s really changed.
I promised myself I would write tonight so I’m doing so out of obligation, not inspiration. Let’s get that straight right off the bat.
And I’ve been drinking. I think I hear Cat Stevens singing “Trouble” off in the background there.
Truth be told, this is one of those heavy-thinking anniversaries most of us maybe have. It’s not affecting me, not in a negative way anyhow. More in a “Fuck it! I’m only here once! I’m BUYING WINE!” kind of way, actually. That’s not so bad. Continue reading →
I’m giving a few people a stay of execution on Twitter.
Soon, the unfollows will commence, as I seek to find new folks to fill my ADHD hours with.
Who’s in danger of getting the axe? Anyone who keeps whining.
See, I’ll bitch. Bitching’s good. I encourage rants and bitching. I even encourage being argumentative and incendiary. (Obviously. Look at me!)
But if all you’re doing is whining about how the latest inconvenience in your life is, well, an inconvenience, or you’re moaning about what a loser you are, or doing the whole existential pity-party “Why me?” bullshit, well, I could probably be filling my cyberspace better.
Why you? Because it’s your fucking turn. Like it was for me for 10 years. Because that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Because, for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, you will experience inconveniences, tragedies, and heartbreak. Because that’s life. Because it takes thick skin. Because you have to want it. Because you have to FIND the good shit in the middle of the tough shit. BECAUSE. Because. Continue reading →
After a couple months of everything in life feeling like it was a little harder than it needed to be, and life just throwing one sucker punch after another, it feels like the proverbial clouds have parted and ease is raining down upon me.
My week has been busy, as will the next few days be, too. My mind’s not on sex, not on writing, so I’m just taking a moment to share before the craziness comes down.
Some family’s coming to visit me this weekend, as I secretly suspect my aunt wants to shower a little money on me after having lost 45+ pounds this year. I was laughing on the phone with her last weekend, saying how I’ve suspended my weight-loss campaign (before McCain’s “suspension madness”) because I can’t afford the clothes I need for my new body, let alone a skinnier one, so I’ve pushed the pause button for the last couple months. All of a sudden I get this phone call last night saying they’re coming to town and seeing me for the first time in two years. I can’t help but smell a shopping trip. (Please, Cosmos?)
Monday I turn 35. Wow! The end of an era. The end of being in that coveted 18-34 demographic. I will officially be out of the realm of cool. And I couldn’t care less. Continue reading →
This day, the 15th, is one of my least favourite days of the year for private reasons. I fucking hate it. So, I got to thinking last night as I smoked a joint and continued to write, and this is the rambling ode I had about being single on Valentine’s day, and I dedicate it to all those who rolled out of bed alone today and didn’t feel badly about it.
I’m at home on Valentine’s night. There’s a Dr. Phil show on, about how to “love smart.” It’s a primetime special. Ever noticed how the matchmaker sites go onto full boil around this time of year? Notice the fix-up services advertising more these days? It’s like the world conspires to tell you you’re a loser if a) you’re single or b) your lover doesn’t spend enough on you or c) your lover doesn’t put out.
I’m reveling in my singleness this evening. I made garlic bread. With extra garlic. And spaghetti with meat sauce, something the wise would never eat in front of a date. I’m wearing my cut-off shorts and a fleecy sweater. I’m having an awesome night of relaxing, writing, cooking, watching a little telly, and reading. And deep down inside there’s this niggling of “But they think you need a boyfriend. Do ya, honey?”
I know I had a moment of weakness last week, that’s what I do know. I seized a moment with someone and let things go further than they should have, but for that night, regardless of what the future did or didn’t hold, companionship sounded like a good idea. There are people you know you can trust, even if you can’t imagine really being with them for the long haul. And there are weak moments.
Ultimately, though, I do love being single. I admit, I am alone. I’m not lonely, though. Not usually. (Weakness, it happens.) And I resent Valentine’s Day (and the media and society) for seeming to think my lack of desire for a real, true relationship is anything less than healthy. I want a relationship, but I want the right relationship. Anything less than simpatico is just not worth my time, grief, or efforts. The right man, he gets it all. I’ll drop anything for the right guy, you know. I’m just a diehard romantic. But I scrutinize with the best of them, and I just want the right combination.
Otherwise, I’ll keep my Sundays for reading the paper in my boxers and a t-shirt. I’ll get up when I want, sleep where I want, eat what I want, and do what I want. I won’t have to check to see if “our schedule” is clear, I won’t have to worry about any of that. Like I say, when it’s right, it’s worth it, but when it’s not absolutely right, it’s infringing on my space.
That makes me very male in some ways, I think. I’m not sure why more men feel that way than women, but perhaps it comes down to how comfortable they are alone. It’s interesting, I’ve seen an increase in the media, people bringing up something I’ve long believed: One of the worst things you can say to a lover is what they said in Jerry Maguire, “You complete me.”
If you cannot be complete on your own, you are not a whole person. If you do not have a sense of self, you have nothing. If you cannot love yourself, who else can? These are clichés, and for good reason. They’re as true as they can be.
If you don’t know yourself when you fall in love with someone, you’re going to have the very, very rude experience of cluing the fuck in to who you are somewhere down the line, and that person you’ve committed yourself to is going to find out that they no longer fit the bill. Who you love must complement who you are, not complete it. We’re foolish when it comes to love, we put the cart before the horse.
I long ago discovered that my “fuctedness,” as one pal would say, needed solitude. Every time I got into a relationship, I lost more and more of who I was. I became this person who needed to have that approval from “them” in order to have that sense of self. Now, I couldn’t care less. I know that the right people, the ones I want around me, they dig me. The ones who don’t dig me, don’t get me, and won’t have me, and that’s just fine. Don’t fight it, man. Go with the flow.
But when you really learn to dig yourself, you don’t need anyone anymore. You see people for what they are: Icing on a fuckin’ fab cake, baby.
See, the difference between those of us who enjoy being single and those who do not is pretty simple. Those of us who enjoy it, we’re optimistic about love. We figure, hey, if the time’s ever right, if the cosmos ever aligns, then maybe we’ll come out of that with something/one we just can’t get enough of. Until then, we’re alone, and we’re going to enjoy it, ‘cos when that love comes, aloneness goes. And it’s more than aloneness. It’s solitude, quietude. There are some things you will never, ever experience if you don’t command your time alone. Some of the most profound experiences of my life have come to me in moments spent completely isolated from the world.
I moved to the Yukon for one year when I was 21, and it was a profound experience all the way around. Before then, I was a popular gal and always had plans, always was out. I moved there and discovered the true art of being alone and loving it, and it changed my life. I remember a night right around summer solstice. It was daylight then from three in the morning until two in the morning, just an hour of dusk in between… fucking sublime. Sigh. You could sit and watch the sunset followed by the sunrise in the time it took to slowly nurse a single beer. I was having one of these profound days – a day in between nights at the bar, preceding a long weekend away, where we’d be camping at the foot of Mount McKinley and Mount Logan, the continent’s highest peaks. I remember thinking, “I’ve got it pretty fucking good. This will be one of the best times in my life, and I will never, ever forget these experiences. But tonight I got to slow it down and keep it all to me.”
I packed up a few things… a joint, a couple of beers, some Robert Service poetry, and a sweater. I drove the car out of the city (of 15,000) into the nearby country, Miles’ Canyon, the Yukon’s mini version of the Grand, through which the Yukon river carved a wide and tumultuous path. I did a hike out to the edge of the canyon and found an isolated spot above the river where I sat leaning against an alpine fir and facing northward, where I could see the sun dead ahead, just slightly left of the magnetic north. It was midnight and the sunset wasn’t far off. The mountains lay before me to the north (and to the south and east and west) and the land was all reds and browns and greens and yellows with this beautiful deep blue sky. The light, as that incredible northern light is, was absolutely preternatural. There’s something angelic and sweet about the late eveningg summer’s light up there that bathes the world in buttery goodness. I did what I often do, I just sat there and watched how the light changed and shadows shifted on the landscape. There’s something profound about sitting there literally watching time pass by.
So all I did was sit there, consider my life, my place, the potential in my future, who I was and who I would become. To this day, that moment stands in my top twenty, if not my top ten, in my life experiences – and still, stacked up against international trips, true rites of passage, it holds its own, my friends. I was with no one. Nothing really happened. It was quietude in its finest. Not a human voice. Not a plane. Not a vehicle. Nothing electronic. No wires. Nothing. Just me, the gods, and the earth. And it was fucking incredible.
And when you’re afraid of aloneness, you miss out on moments like that. Moments when you sit around and connect with nature on your own time. A guy once said to me, Cities are built for distraction. Meaning, they’re there to help us forget all the things we wish for, that we’ll never have. So too are the wrong relationships, Valentine’s day be damned.
When you spend more time alone, when you get really honest with yourself about what you ought to be valuing, you gain this inner contentment about what it is you’ve got, and you often develop clarity about what it is you need, and how to attain it. These are things, qualities, that many of my fellow (wo)men need to find.
I wouldn’t say that being single leaves me in a state of nirvana, but I’m in a place that I really dig, and it’s because I’ve come to feel that I’d rather be alone than in a relationship where I’m not fully… I don’t know, what, plugged in? I’m charged, he’s charged, it’s all good? I mean, I’m damned good company, most times, so I’d really have to value a guy to keep him around, is what I’m saying. Life’s just too fucking short.
So, yeah, Valentine’s day. I digressed a lot there. Love’s hard enough without cheapening it with commercialism. If you want romance, celebrate it always. If you want love, keep it year round, not because a calendar tells you it’s that time again. And love ain’t about what you can buy, people. These expensive gifts… really. When did generosity become about the almighty dollar? When did it stop being a thing of spirit, of gesture? I just honestly find that buying into this Valentine’s day bullshit really helps to make people forget what relationships ought to be about. The little things: The qualities shared, the words said, the actions done. Not the things bought. Not the fancy places we go.
But the very best thing about being a content, whole person in the search of love, is that when you find someone who really does deserve a shot at fitting that bill, it’s so incredibly rewarding to just drink them in. They’re not fulfilling you, they’re just nurturing all that is good about you. Then, it feels like a gift, like something you should cherish. Something you want to cherish. Not a job, not an obligation. And isn’t that how things ought to be?
I like sex, a lot. A lot more than I have it, tragically, and that’s not for lack of opportunity, but, rather, because I have moral preconceptions and perhaps even fears that I just can’t get past (IE: STDs, my Catholic youth, etc.).
I’ve said before that anyone can get laid if they set their standards low enough. I still believe that, and doubt that will change anytime soon. But I went and made a comment in response to one of my readers’ comments a couple days ago and have since received an email asking me my definition of promiscuous. That alone would have given me pause for thought, since definitions are generally arbitrary, but the moral semantics of it, that’s a different beast altogether. But then the reader went on at length and that then left me utterly flummoxed. This is the hefty tome I received:
What makes one promiscuous? It seems that promiscuity has a negative connotation; Is this because of a description based on religious, cultural, moral or philosophical matters? IE: Experiencing sexual desire is limited to procreation only; monogamy; one man with one woman… And if this doesn’t fit the scheme, are we sinning or acting amoral? Is it gender related? If a woman sleeps around, more than likely she will be considered a slut. Say a man has the same amount of sexual partners… “well, boys will be boys and need to be experienced.” I don’t think a man would be “accused” of sleeping with too many partners — oh, maybe in the gay community. Okay, so what is it – the quantity? How many times with different partners – 3, 10, 25 – what is the cut-off number? Or is it a matter of timing/frequency – a different partner every month? I know some people can’t even remember the names of their lovers! And are you promiscuous if you (even just once) sleep with someone for other reasons than “just” making love? I am thinking about a “sugar daddy”, IE: financial gain other than prostitution. Or is it then a matter of feelings and emotions; consequently, the lack of emotions and/or just a fulfillment of desires and needs? Would a married family man be considered promiscuous if he (once) had sex in a swinger club — kissed the wife good-bye in the morning, and in for a quickie with another woman the same night?
What, are you trying to make me work for a living? Hardy-har-har.
Here’s what the dictionary wants us to believe, for starters:
1. Having casual sexual relations frequently with different partners; indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners.
2. Lacking standards of selection; indiscriminate.
3. Casual; random.
First things first: I’m not here to judge anyone, for anything. That said, I think the point of the definition above is that anything outside of a regular relationship, as soon as casualness or randomness enters the picture, is promiscuity. However, the tone that the word takes on depends on the perspective of the speaker. Are you judging the behaviour? If so, then the word is a negative one. Are you simply stating fact? Then it’s merely a pragmatic, honest descriptor.
Fact is, I’m actually a pretty old-fashioned girl, in some ways. I want one guy to shower with affection, and nothing more. (Although I don’t wish to be married, but that’s another posting for another time.) I don’t want to experience a rainbow of lovers, I have no interest in that. I feel a sexual relationship gets better the longer you’re in it, provided you maintain open communication and a willingness to experiment. If a guy cheated on me, I’d probably walk. That’s just me.
Have I slept with a guy on the first date? Yeah, absolutely, and that was promiscuity. Have I had sex outside of a relationship? Yeah, I have, and that was promiscuous. Would I have sex with someone other than a lover I was presently involved with? No, I doubt it. Would I consent to being the other woman? In the past, no, I haven’t (and I’ve actually busted a dude who lied and said he was single, when I knew his girlfriend). In the future, I really don’t know, but I’d find it hard to justify being the “other woman.”
I don’t think you can argue the literal definition of what promiscuity is. I think the nature of the sex you have (with emotions, without, with a commitment, without) defines whether it’s a promiscuous act or not, and that’s not really a matter of semantics, but rather, simple fact. The question then is, is that amoral? And what’s the answer? Then, dear reader, you’re absolutely entering into a philosophical debate, and a difficult one, at that.
Is morality subjective? That is, does the morality of an act depend on the situation and the beliefs of those involved? The majority of the world will tell you no, that morality is not open for discussion, because X religion deems that virtue as being Y. It’s one of the oldest arguments known to mankind, except in polygamous/polyamorous societies, and one that there’ll never be a proper answer to, and certainly nothing definitive will ever tumble from the fingers of this lowly writer.
A lot of people will comment that it’s not the act itself that indicates morality or the lack thereof, but rather, the underlying intention. Yada, yada, fucking yada.
Ultimately, I think what it all boils down to in life is, can you sleep at night? When you wake up in the morning, do you feel a little more whole, or a little less so? Are you satisfied with who you are, with what you do or have done? Can you own up to your actions on your own terms? (Owning up to things in a social, public forum is not necessarily an indicator, because there are a lot of judgmental assholes out in the world, whether it’s Pat Robertson or the dude down the street.) Granted, sociopaths have their own little club where they feel none of these questions apply, and then you indeed have to look at what a moral median might be for society at large, which is how we get laws in the first place.
I know what gets me to sleep, I know what keeps me up nights. I know what leaves me tinged with disgust, I know what leaves me with warm fuzzies day in, day out. I have few illusions of the moral high-ground I’ve set for myself, and while those standards are ones I strive to hold true to, I wouldn’t judge another for failing to meet them – unless they were involved with me, because then it should become an understanding, something to strive for together, something to embrace. Ah, proof: A romantic at heart, I is.
Promiscuity simply is what it is, sex acts committed in a random, casual manner; a hedonistic enjoyment of the flesh. And that’s not all bad, particularly if both parties are on the same page. When people get hurt, when disease gets spread, when irresponsibility transpires, then it’s something I frown on, that I judge. The rest of the time, well, we’re all adults, and if there’s agreement, then that’s all that matters. It’s the interpretation of those acts that get us into these arguments of semantics. The definition is clear, but it’s the moral interpretation of what “random” and “casual” mean that have you asking your question. Semantics, my friend, are indeed a bitch.
But what do you think of promiscuity? What do you think of my two cents?
1. (I’ve been asked in the past what I think of polyamory, and perhaps the above gives those askers a little perspective on my response, but I will likely do an entire posting on that at some point as well, because it’s an interesting topic, and one that I feel is largely misunderstood, though not quite my cup of tea.)
2. (And in regards to the posting below, yes, I’m still broke, yes, I’m still scared a little since my financial safety net has disappeared, and yes, I could still use help. Feel free to pitch in, at any amount. Thanks!)
3. (How come I never saw that episode of Warner Bros.’ Saturday morning cartoons, hmm? I guess that was before TiVo.)