thoughts on munches

Despite being a self-aware pervert since college (almost 10 years ago), I’m just now making my first foray into organized kink. It took me this long because, truthfully, I’m deeply skeptical of any organized special-interest group–my experience is that a fair level of drama can arise in such small communities. Also, like most people I have the typical fears of crossing social paths: I’m a recognizable sort of person, my job is fairly conservative, and I live in a relatively small community. So while I’ve attended some large events in other areas, I’ve tended to shy away from munches and other local-level activities.

But. I also believe strongly in the value of community. Members of fringe groups of any kind need community to survive, to deal with the darkness of our own minds and the horrors of conservative society. And we need like-minded folks to find new ideas, new partners, to make living interesting. As the venerable and troubling Dan Savage says, “everyone always talks about the dangers of coming out of the closet but nobody talks about the dangers of being in the closet.” While some people might be perfectly happy practicing their deviance-of-choice in isolation, not only will that cut your potential dating pool down to lowlifes or nothing, you can go crazy alone.

So. Off to the munches for me.

Thou shalt not eate thereof

Sometime very soon I’m going to post some thoughts that are kicking around in my head concerning Prop 8, the state of marriage here in Massachusetts, Loving v. Virginia, and other topics related to the post-election fallout. But until I can organize those together, I’ve an immediate concern: my ANNOYING straight colleagues.

My next-cube-over coworker has a daughter my age who just became engaged. To a guy she met last year (I heard all about that too). They went to Disney for vacation, and my coworker had a plan to have flowers delivered to their hotel in the chance that he popped the question–he did, they did, and yesterday they went dress shopping. For a wedding in 2010. I’m looking forward to a full two years of alterations and decor news.

They’ve been cooing over pictures for almost ten minutes now, and I’m starting to feel seriously nauseous.

I’m sure if they were queer they’d be just as annoying, and the problem is really with the office job. But there are times when I feel suffocated by the sensation that I’m an undercover agent in the land of heterosexuals, even though I am so socially conforming in many other ways. And maybe that’s part of it: I hear myself going “oh, that’s really a great dress, are those pearls?” and what I’m thinking is “WTF?” because all of this pearls and lace and bridesmaids and babies and house-shopping create an image that in sum makes me feel so invisible. And frustrated, because what can I say? Your happiness is oppressive to me? What can I do? I want these things too, I just don’t want them like that.

out of the closet and on display

Do you remember my post about my history as a redhead? No? That’s okay. Just believe me when I say that yesterday something happened that never has before: I enjoyed a hairdressing appointment. There has been no time in my life when I liked having my hair cut or styled. And yesterday someone did both, and I was thrilled.

This is mostly because I finally met a wonderful stylist. He was smart, he was funny, he didn’t make me feel bad about my product choices, he let me know what he was doing and made me look seriously cute. Five or six inches, half a bottle of conditioner and one razor later, I look absolutely smoking:)

What made me most happy, though, was not the haircut. It was the amazing discussion we had about the gay rights movement, and what rights we want now–whether “marriage” is the right word for the privileges we desire, the political/social/religious connotations of “gay marriage,” and the discomfort that comes with being able to pass as straight in the company of those who are more conservative. He told me a funny/sad story about a client he’d been seeing for many years who told him she’d “never met one of THOSE people,” and I told him about the terrible Easter incident with K.’s extended family. We had a good moment of solidarity, even though we didn’t totally agree on the political issues.

And the best part was this small moment of vicious satisfaction that I got when there was a pause in the conversation…and I realized that everyone else in the salon was silent. Listening raptly. And I wondered, ‘huh, are we making them uncomfortable?’ and then though, ‘I hope not…but if so…well, it’s about time.’

what so proudly we hail’d

On this great anniversary of our nation (*dry cough*), I am thinking mostly about the electric bill, and wondering whether we have enough money in our joint account to cover that and the rent check we just mailed out. I think we do; K. is working today, which means double-time and a half—it ain’t so much on $8/hr, but it’s something.

It is hard to be patriotic these days. I am glad for the things we do have, and know that many people across the world don’t have the standard of living we do. I am truly grateful, for instance, that I have clean water, that I don’t have to worry about intestinal parasites, that I live in a house that doesn’t flood on a regular basis. But the news is depressing, and it’s hard to even think about the big picture sometimes because I am too busy thinking about the electric bill. And that’s true for most people I know. There are probably people out there who just pay the electric bill without thinking much about it (kudos to you if you’re one of them), and I hope someday that’ll be me, but in the meantime…happy 4th of July. I’ll be doing laundry and paying bills.

an ethical dilemma

Several years ago, my mother converted to fundamental Christianity. She was raised Baptist, many years ago, but was not a practicing Christian of any variety for most of my life. But for whatever unknown reasons, she has joined an evangelical church and has become a full-blown Bible thumper.

It makes me sick. Truly, physically nauseous. When I went to her church the first (and hopefully only) time, the pastor told us that pagan teenagers that worship the devil will go to hell, and encouraged his congregation to be as dedicated as Muslim suicide bombers to their cause. These are the people my mother spends three nights a week with. I don’t know for sure that they hate The Gay, but based on what I know of them, it’s a pretty safe assumption.*  And although her behavior towards me and K. hasn’t changed at all in that respect, I just can’t support her decision to give her time (and money) to their causes.

Now, I won’t go into the details of the history of our relationship, but I will say that it’s been rocky–since I was about 10 years old. It’s really only been in the last couple of years that we’ve been getting along better. We have real conversations now, and she invites K. and I over for dinner on a regular basis–we don’t always go, but I appreciate the gesture. I’m trying, really really trying, to maintain the stability of our relationship.

So when she asked me if I could do a little sewing for her church’s Easter banner, I made up some dithering excuse about how I’m really busy with work right now and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it, but can I get back to her on that? It hurt me to say it. I’m a very honest person, I always speak my mind. I’ve been looking for a reason to tell her why I can’t support this–and I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. And the worst part is, I think that was the right decision.

*edit: I didn’t know for sure because I wasn’t willing to do the research. having done it, I know for sure. hate the sin but not the sinner…

moment of silence: Benazir Bhutto

Rest in peace. You won’t be forgotten.