Protected: she’ll always leave you for gravity

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who are you today?

Living mostly in my offline life these days, I occasionally miss the person I am online. Here,  I’m stripped of all my little fears and paranoias.  As a child I imagined myself as a princess, graceful, poised, intelligent, courageous, the girl who speaks her mind and is beautiful to behold–and indeed I am have become that, here, a virtual swan only. Reinvented, as any socially awkward person would, in a better personality, a better self.

In real life I’m not half so interesting–in fact, I’m clumsy, cynical, and more than a little insecure. Sometimes I talk too much, too loudly, and other times I’m stricken with bouts of crippling shyness. And while I am petite and pretty by any standards, be assured I have broken more than my fair share of flatware, sprained not a few fingers and toes, simply out of a sheer inability to control my own body. Indeed,  in some ways I am less afraid of my online secrets  being revealed than I am of my online friends discovering my true self.

Last spring I did a small research project on telecommunications infrastructure for rural economic development–it’s a major policy issue, and a topic of great discussion in the media and elsewhere. In my area, there are many towns that are stuck with dial-up, where people prefer a landline due to a scarcity of towers and geographical interference. We’re ten years behind most major cities technologically, and that gap is growing fast. That’s by US standards–by global standards the scale changes drastically, of course.

Think of the people in those places, where the internet only barely exists. Or, think of your own life in some freak alternate universe post zombie-attack or peak oil or disaster situation of choice.

Who are you, offline? And who would you be, if you had never known anything different?

when worlds collide

As I logged in a minute ago, I couldn’t help but notice the featured post on the WordPress homepage: “How to Tweet Your Way Out Of A Job,” about a foolish person who, after receiving a job offer, posted something on Twitter that made the company revoke the offer.

Indeed. Just this morning in a staff meeting one of our younger professionals gave a presentation on “Web 2.0” –how organizations like ours use social networking sites to promote themselves and keep up with customer opinions. It was laughable at points, because the main audience was people who have yet to understand that Ctrl+C= Edit>Copy = Right Click>Copy…but I took a warning to it as well. Some of my coworkers may be net savvy.

So what? Well, this  is exactly what has kept me away from the blogging of late. I don’t have much opportunity to post, and most of it is during the work day when my computer access is unlimited but potentially monitored. It’s not easy for me to sit down and write a post about the really hot threesome I had last weekend (true story;) when I’m restricted to posting at work. It’s hard enough to keep my coworkers from asking where I got that bruise on my arm (raquetball practice), nevermind having them find out what I write online. It wouldn’t be catastrophic, but it wouldn’t be good either.

And yet, these are the very issues that brought me to blogging to begin with. S. Bear Bergman wrote an excellent essay on this in Butch is a Noun, about the opportunities that the internet creates for those who have very little community in real life. Both the personal blogs by people like you, and collaborative blogs like Genderfork — they bring me comfort when I’m feeling isolated, and give me intellectual stimulation in the absence of real life dialogue.

Furthermore, this is exactly what makes me admire the big-shot sexbloggers I love to read.  For those that have other jobs, I’m amazed they find the time and energy–for those that have made promoting gender and sex awareness their profession, I’m in awe of their dedication.

In conclusion, bless teh interwebs.

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.

whatever makes you feel pretty

Winter is coming down on us fast here. Today it was 40 degrees and overcast, the air smelled like snow. The leaves are mostly down, and until we change the clocks (soon!) the view from my morning bus stop is of sunrise. I have a hard time with this time of year, waiting for the long slow winter, and this year is turning out especially difficult. Various work and relationship problems are making me feel rather bad about myself, a little bit worthless…

What I need is a dress-up day. Kitten heels, warm tights, a full skirt and a clingy sweater. Scarf, hat, and gloves (of course), coordinated with bag. Perhaps a structured handbag, or possibly a little clutch. A few rhinestones here and there might not hurt, possibly a vintage brooch. A date out would be nice, at a good restaurant with a slightly fancy wine, or even just a place with dainty desserts. K in a blazer, shiny boots, a pair of glass cufflinks…yes, a dress-up date would be the perfect thing. 

Alas, K. and I live in a potato field and we’ve been to every restaurant we can afford about a thousand times before (no novelty there). So I suppose I’ll resort to what I usually do in these situations–window-shopping (monitor shopping? what do you call online shopping when you don’t buy?) for the kind of dress-up clothes you wear when you don’t have anywhere to go out. Slinky stockings, knee-high socks, fluttery little pajamas…and of course jewelry. Because when you’re fantasizing about having money, you should really go all out.



postscript. I am actually not the kind of girl who wears a lot of jewelry because I become obsessive about everything going perfectly together, which isn’t one of my talents. The jewelry I wear most is more of the body-modification type and was installed by a professional piercer. More utilitarian than beautiful. Though, I’ve just discovered that Tribalectic carries piercing locks…unfortunately they only come in stainless steel (I can only wear titanium and niobium), but still–so hot! It makes me want to get another body piercing just so I’ll have somewhere to wear one.

you, of the swagger and smile

Dear Office Crush,

Sometimes I think you notice me, sometimes I’m not sure. I mean, it doesn’t really matter–you are twenty years older than me and married. Older and married, and so bitter about your job that you wouldn’t notice a good thing if it fell right into your office.

But of course I notice you. It would be hard for anyone not to, you are  senior management and therefore accord interest. Not to mention that you are near-universally disliked for your habit of speaking bluntly and inappropriately—a quality that I find distasteful as well, but am somewhat amazed by. You get away with so much shit only God himself could put you in your place.

Of course I notice you, because you are powerful and look good in a suit, because you are middle-aged and suave and wear your butchness so naturally. You’re fond of mens’ dress socks, you whistle in the hallway,  you wear french-cuffed shirts under your formal suits.  You love the Red Sox–I’m sure you played softball in college. You brush the back of your neck with one hand when you’re waiting for something, a slow deliberate act from many years of practice.

No, I don’t think you notice me. Not like that, at least…which is for the best, since this crush is so inappropriate it barely deserves mention. And, like I mentioned, you are an asshole—though a charming one.

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.’