Saturday, February 28, 2009

Patterns.

All right. Three times in the past four weeks makes it a pattern, I think.

First, there was a call from nonboyfriend that was unexpectedly friendly and even fond. He sounded almost sad when I spoke about how happy I am these days. (Of course, I didn't mention that I was also exceedingly happy when I was with him, and my contented state now still probably doesn't compare. Best not to let on too much. Because while that all is true, I'm not pining for him.)

Then there was Edward, who forced his way back in my life with a series of emails and then phone calls, usually lasting multiple hours. The sentiments were as I expected - he misses me, he loves me, so on and so forth. He made some effort to guilt-trip me that I make no apologies about having been with other people since I was last with him more than a year ago. He wants me to believe that he hasn't had sex with anyone in that entire time. Now, I generally take whatever he tells me with a grain of salt, but this is just an outright lie. One of the reasons he and I are physically compatible is a comparably insatiable sexual appetite. Just like I couldn't abstain for a year without some damn good reason to do so, neither could he. And considering before this month, we hadn't spoken since last year, there's no chance he has, either. I stubbornly refused to be guilt-tripped, pointing out that he never even discussed anything remotely resembling a relationship, let alone monogamy with me. Granted, had he done so, I more than likely wouldn't have agreed, but that's beside the point.

And just this week, a boy I was dating over break (one of the three, and the only one things definitively ended with when I left. There was a goodbye date and all) sent me a facebook message telling me he can't wait to see me again. And that he misses me. And when will I be home?

I'd noticed with this third guy that about a week earlier, his facebook relationship status had changed from "in a relationship with..." to "single." And then, like clockwork, came a message to me.

Nonboyfriend told me as much when he called me. At least there, I appreciated the honesty.

And Edward, in our last phone call, told me that a girl he'd liked as "more than just a friend" had just revealed to him that she has a boyfriend.

So, what do we have here? Three recent (but past) lovers. All suddenly single or momentarily unhappy in their relationships. And who do they call? Me.

At first, I was actually flattered. Remembering back to when I was in exclusive relationships, whenever things were going sour, the first thing I'd always think of was the last person I was happy with. So in one sense, I'm flattered to be that happy memory. I took it as a testament to the fact that my honesty and genuine attempt to be easy-going has gone over well and left much better impressions than previous monogamous relationships where I tried to be whatever my partner wanted me to be.

But somewhere around the third consecutive time this happened, I started just feeling like I'm everyone's backup. Like I'm the reinforcements. The B-team you bring in when those you really want are unwilling or unable to play. And that's much harder to take as flattering.

I'm probably making too much of this, but nevertheless, I do think it counts as a pattern. And essentially, it comes off that I'm not quite good enough to be anyone's first choice. Which sucks, no matter how enthusiastic a second choice I might be. Perhaps some of this is residual issues with nonmonogamy and having trouble moving so much that I never settle down enough to establish a "primary" relationship with any partner(s). I'm always the secret, the second-hand option. Most of the time, I'm happy to be that. And to be fair, this street goes both ways. These people aren't my primaries, either. (Perhaps with the exception of nonboyfriend, who I didn't see anyone else when I was with, not because I wasn't allowed to but because I genuinely didn't want or need to.)

Still, sometimes you just want some love. And to not be a secret. Maybe that's why the cuddling with the Viking was so surprising to me. I haven't had that in some time, either because I couldn't open up enough to be comfortable with it (Jacob is always willing to cuddle, to his credit, but I have intimacy issues with him) or because people would be silly and do things like never spend the night or insist they couldn't sleep and be touching at the same time. (Again, to nonboyfriend's credit, despite his restless sleep habits, he'd make a concerted effort to keep an arm around me. But I haven't been in bed with him in almost a year, also.)

I suppose I haven't really made any shocking revelations here. I just keep saying over and over that, well, it sucks. Because it does. I don't want to always be a backup. I think I might deserve better. Someday, I hope.

Friday, February 27, 2009

longest. entry. ever.

I've written recently about my being "one of the boys" here at school. While that also happens to mean I have precisely 0 female friends here, I really love hanging out with my boys. There are three key groups: One is Bear, and then sometimes he brings friends around, although admittedly not often. There is one guy, a year younger than me, who I met while in Spain. He was part of the "in-crowd" of boys there, and while we weren't best friends, we always got along well... Particularly when there weren't other girls in the program hanging all over him. He's one of the ones I went skinnydipping in the Mediterranean with. I didn't expect to keep in such close touch with him, but he lives four houses down from me and invites me out on a regular basis. It isn't a weekend without him. He lives with six other guys - they invite me over usually before the parties start meaning I hang out with just them... it's kind of like being in a frat. I love it. (I generally have a pretty strong disdain for the Greek system... at least in its stereotypical tendencies at my big, monied private northeastern university. I've always said, though, were I allowed to join a greek group, I'd do much better in a frat than a sorority.)

Then there is a friend of mine who's in my major at school, and worked on the magazine with me for the past few years. He and I went to Ireland together, and he's a major reason I had such a fantastic time there. He's currently running the magazine I was running last year (I stepped down since I couldn't commit the time and got an offer to work on a queer publication on campus), so he likes to bounce ideas off me. He's smart and funny and laid back. His girlfriend (who also spent some of the time in Ireland with us) is finishing up grad school in London right now, so I get the distinct impression I'm a "safe" girl with him, because he knows I know and like his girlfriend, and there's no tension there. He lives with five other guys as well, and while they're also funny and smart, it's in a very different way than the frat-like boys. Some of them are fellow writers, some are chemists, but they're all laid-back and very much let me be one of the boys. One of my favorite things is that they never leave me behind. I know that sounds simple, but I've gotten left behind on a regular basis by other "friends," sometimes in notably shitty situations. (Think leaving me alone in a bar in a foreign country when I've been drinking heavily. Actually, now that I think about that, it's happened in at least three different countries. Ew.) But these boys have never once left me behind, and are in fact excellent at making me feel like an integral part of the group.

So last night I was out with, essentially, both groups of boys. Well, as it were, both groups were out at and invited me to the same campus dive bar. So I went. I was admittedly overdressed for the diveyness of the place (although given the high Greek population at the place, I was sure I wouldn't be the most dressed up) - wearing a racerback tank dress with jeans and ankle boots on a low heel. More out of laziness than anything, I left my hair naturally curly, hoping it would pass as sultry, and not just frizzy. I put on eyeshadow, which is more than I usually do, and threw on my white peacoat.

When I got to the bar around midnight, there was a small line out the door, and I saw one of the frat boys outside, talking to a girl, touching her face. I chuckled to myself (he was supposed to pick me up en route to the bar and had flaked. See what I mean about not getting left behind?) and didn't call his attention. A few moments later, though, he came running up to me, visibly wasted. He gave me a hug - something he's good at at something like 6'4", meaning I just wrap my arms around his waist and he kind of wraps his around my shoulders - and kissed my forehead. It's an interesting habit he's picked up recently - it feels not quite paternal... maybe more brotherly... but in any case, it's a sweet gesture. I chided him a little about standing me up, and he muttered some incoherent response. I walked into the packed bar and he vanished.

After pushing my way to the actual bar and ordering my signature long island iced tea (the most bang for my buck... we are in a recession, here!), I started scanning the place for my other group of boys. Aside: I need to give them some name... If the others are the frat boys, I guess these ones will be the band. My friend and a few of his roommates are in a heavy metal band, so that seems appropriate. After a few texts, I found them at the back of the bar, one of the rare tables already secured. Ah, it's good to know people. My friend from Ireland and I started chatting immediately. He was quite drunk, although he holds it well. His eyes were squinty and I occassionally had to repeat myself, but overall he was doing well. He's a funny guy and I love talking to him, so in no time, we were joking around, me laughing loudly and smiling broadly when I wasn't. There was some banter with his roommates, too, who all know and seem to like me as well. Overall, I was having exactly the kind of night I've been missing and needing to pull myself out of my being-sick-and-pathetic funk.

And I think the idea that the most attractive people are the ones who are having a good time has some real merit. I've heard all over the place that the best way to pick someone up is to go out with friends and really look like you're having a good time - it makes you that much more attractive to everyone else. Apparently that's true. I ran into a few other guys I knew, a few of whom I've hooked up, and they all were eager to come and say hi to me, tell me I was looking well, all that jazz.

Three long islands and two shots later, we were closing down the bar. The chemists decided they wanted to go back to their house to maybe smoke, and asked what I wanted to do. I don't smoke, but I was having such a good time that I didn't want it to end, so I agreed to go with them. We stopped off to get my friend a sandwich and I stepped in to use the restroom. They were ready to go by the time I came out, and I overheard them telling one another to be sure they waited for me. It was sweet, like a headcount, and they wanted to make sure I was there. We walked across campus and caught the free bus that took us to their street. They actually live a few blocks from me, but we were all fairly tipsy and we didn't want to walk. And the bus was right there, and free. We tried not to be too rowdy on the bus, although the boisterous energy was still very much alive.

When we got to their place, we went up to the second floor (they have the whole house, essentially each floor is converted into a separate apartment), and they grabbed some more beers and started smoking. I grabbed a seat on the couch, and after some debate, we settled on watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. What can I say, we're products of the 90's. The whole thing was just a great way to unwind. There was more joking around, giving one another shit, and eventually one of the roommates retired to his room with the girl he'd brought home. (I don't know if she's his girlfriend or not, but I did get the impression they knew each other before tonight.) My friend had passed out about a half-hour after getting home, leaving just me and two of his roommates. I'd been sitting next to one of his roommates on the couch - he and I have been flirting mildly for a few weeks. Of course, a few weeks ago I ran into the band at a party, and blanked on this boy's name. He looked visibly bummed when I admitted that to him that night. He sometimes gives me shit about it, but to be fair, I WAS pretty drunk. Anyway, I'd been thinking about this roommate for much of the night - he's the most my type of all the band. He's got several inches on me, broad shoulders, blonde hair and - of course - pretty blue eyes. He is actually in the band, where he plays bass. We'd had a discussion earlier in the night about family heritage - the other people in the band are all very Irish, save for the one who's latino - and this one is, as it turns out, even more northern european than I am. He's Swedish and Norweigan. Which would certainly explain the milky skin, blonde hair, blue eye combo. Mostly though, at the time, I just thought it was funny to find another Scandinavian (I'm Danish. And Irish, yes, but my dad was actually born in DK, making that part more dominant.) We'll call him the Viking.

Once it was just the three of us left conscious, he asked me if I wanted to go downstairs and grab a glass of water with him. I'd been thinking about him WAY more than I should have been since we'd gotten to the band's house, and in my tipsyness, I just said "Yeah, I'll go downstairs with you!" Probably too enthusiastically. He led me downstairs and I managed not to trip over anything, including my own still-heeled feet, on the way down. He did, indeed, pour me a glass of water, which I drank thirstily. And then he set his glass on the counter and sauntered towards me. Without taking his eyes off mine, he took my glass from my hand, and in one fluid motion, put his hand on my chin and pulled my face to his. And kissed me. Sweetly, but not without intent. His lips were soft, and he was a good kisser. And one of my favorite ways to be kissed is with hands on my face like that. As he pulled away, I blinked and felt that goofy, girly smile spread across my face. He saw that, and smiled back at me. Then leaned in to kiss me again. When he pulled away the next time, he chuckled and just bluntly said "Yknow, if we're gonna be making out, we should at least go sit on the couch." I giggled and followed him into the other room. I settled in to his outstretched arm surprisingly comfortably, and we did, indeed, keep making out. At some point, I stopped and mentioned that I was definitely enjoying this, but I also really enjoy being one of the boys, and I didn't want this to jeapordize that. In retrospect, it might have been a little harsh, although it's true. At the time, though, he took it in stride and simply said "Oh, of course. Does that mean we should go to your place instead?"

I laughed because I hadn't said anything about sleeping with him (although my body language and my eagerness in kissing him might have given away my ulterior motives) and led him out the front door. We sauntered through the light rain, and he took my hand as we walked through the now-quiet streets. We reached my apartment just as the wind picked up enough for us to bitch about it, and I showed him in.

I was incredibly glad I'd spent a portion of the day earlier washing basically everything I owned, including all my bed sheets. I stepped out to the restroom, and when I came back, found him examining the Netflix movies on my desk. I asked him if he was judging me by them, and he chuckled and said "Only a little." (For the record, they were Dead Like Me and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. There are much more embarassing movies in my renting history.) He put the discs down and stepped towards me again. With my face in his hands, he kissed me deeply and backed me over to my bed. The fall to my floor-level bed was surprisingly graceful, especially considering how clumsy I am. I blame him and his hands at my hips offering some extra support.

The making out continued, albeit more intensely. Slowly, clothes came off. I liked that he asked me if it was OK if he undressed me. Sometimes I really love the rough, assertive kind of sex, but there's something to be said for a gentler approach, too. I also really loved that he brought up protection before I had to... in my experience, men who are hesitant about wearing a condom aren't worth shit. (OK, barring pre-determined and discussed fluid-bonded couples. But that's a whole different issue.) The sex itself wasn't incredible, but considering it was a first-time pairing, it was good. And all throughout, the adorable bluntness never ceased. After we'd finished, he looked at me and asked, honestly not able to predict my response from what I could tell, "Can I sleep here or do you want me to go?" I laughed louder than I should have at 4:45 in the morning. "Of course you can stay! I'd prefer it, actually. And I'm absolutely not sending you out into the rain at this hour. That would be shitty." He smiled, looking genuinely pleased and just a little relieved. I got up to turn off the light, surprisingly comfortable with being very visibly naked. As I climbed back into bed, I told him I just needed one of my three pillows, and he could have the other two. Again, he looked genuinely pleased. It was cute.

As we rearranged the pillows, he stretched his arm out, offering me his shoulder again. Now it was my turn to be surprised. I love cuddling, but again, in my experience, it's often something men in my life put up with without much actual interest in themselves. So I usually don't expect to actually have the option to fall asleep cuddling. With the Viking, it just seemed like a statement of fact, like of course I want to fall asleep wrapped around you. So, thus far, we have the cuteness, check; good kisser, check; relaxed no-bullshit approach to talking and safer sex, check; wants to spend the night, check (a pet peeve of mine is when people I'm sleeping with don't ever want to spend the night. It's weaksauce, in my opinion) ; AND cuddling? check.

We fell asleep like that, my head on his shoulder and hand on his chest, his arms around me and a leg thrown over mine. We moved around in our sleep, but I slept well. Whenever I moved, he'd readjust to make sure he was still touching me. When I rolled away from him to face the other way, he moved to be beside me, wrapping his arm around me and working his hand between mine underneath my cheek. I woke up like that, him still very much wrapped around me. For the first time this semester, I wasn't cold when I woke up. In fact, I was a perfect temperature - apparently he doesn't run ridiculously hot like some boys tend to.

Around 1130, we were both half-asleep lying on one another. "Sasha?" He asked. I looked up at him, still a little groggy. "I should probably head out sometime soon." "OK," I replied, predicting and kind of dreading the awkward morning after leaving dance. "Wanna fool around a little first?" he asked, without a hint of irony. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing too loud again. "That'd be fun," I managed. And he went back to kissing me, and running his hands over my body. Eventually, I ended up going down on him, and at one point he stopped me and asked me to turn around, so he could eat me out at the same time. Again, I was caught off guard. While I love giving oral sex, recieving it for me is a kind of uncomfortable thing (not physically, I've just got some issues with it and can't relax enough to enjoy it), so I declined, but thanked him, genuinely, for offering. Again, in my experience that isn't something many of my partners have volunteered to do. Especially when they're already being pleasured. Aside: Perhaps some of that explains the hesitance in recieving oral sex... In any case, though, it was another pleasant surprise. So was his skill with his hands. Again, I'm generally not a huge fan of manual stimulation, because I'm picky and I feel bad making my partners work so hard when I'm not even confident I can get off. While I didn't get off this time, either (which is, sadly, normal for me), it was immensely pleasurable, and he definitely knew what he was doing. Lovely.

After we'd finished and caught our breaths, we slowly redressed, untangling our clothes from the various piles we'd thrown them in. He excused himself to the restroom, and I fussed around in my room. He came back in and I was bracing myself, now, for the awkward goodbye... He just smiled at me, said he had a good time, and that he'd see me next time. With a short kiss and a quick stroke of his hand down my jawline (which seemed to me like the sex partner equivalent of the guys' fraternal punch in the arm), he let himself out of my apartment. Totally painless.

Looking in the mirror later, I noticed a tiny little hickey at the base of my neck, and smiled, thinking how it was funny and kind of adorable and therefore appropriate. I've spent the rest of the day hyper and happy. It's amazing what some quality cuddling will do for your mood.

My only concern is that by doing this, I've thrown off the balance of me being able to be one of the guys. At the same time, my hope is that when the rest of the band inevitably finds out, they'll just give us each some shit and that'll be the end of it. And I'm pretty confident that if they do find out, that will be what happens. There's just a nagging fear in the back of my mind that it won't go over smoothly and that I'll start being viewed as "the Viking's girl." Which would suck because those changes always seem to be accompanied by changes in how you're treated. And I love the way I'm treated now. All around.

And I do apologize for the ridiculous length of this post. Thanks to any of you crazies who read the whole thing. And even to those sane people who gave up halfway through.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Almost lover.

Yet another post about Edward. Maybe this will be less scatter-brained. (Sorry about that last post, by the way.)

Anyway. I'm behind the times, but I just found this song. And it very much describes the whole Edward and I thing. I spent two hours on the phone with him last night. I can't be angry at him anymore. I don't have the energy. Although I was doing OK with him just letting me alone. But that hasn't seemed to be the tactic of any of the lost lovers in my life lately. But this song is sad and beautiful and resonates with fallen hope... I think that's appropriate.

And one more assertion that I couldn't have picked a more apt psuedonym for him - apparently this song is going to be in the newest Twilight movie. When Edward and Bella split up. Funny how that works.




should have known you'd bring me heartache - almost lovers always do...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The real Edward

i.e. NOT my Edward. Although he did randomly contact me two days ago. And it was strange. And I am pathetic in my inability to separate myself from him. I don't even fall for his lines any more, but I can't seem to cut all ties. Weakling.

Anyway... While doing some work for my academic blog, I stumbled upon an old photo of Leonardo DiCaprio, circa 1997 slash Titanic. And realized that he looks a hell of a lot like Edward, aka Robert Pattinson, from the Twilight movie(s).



other people MUST see the resemblance. I think some of it might be the pale-white-boy-with-spikey-hair look, but nevertheless. It probably also serves as testament to the fact that tastes don't change much... 10 years ago, tweenage girls were drooling over the exact same look they are now. (And yes, some of us are STILL drooling.) I actually prefer Leo now, although that might have something to do with the fact that I actually respect him as an actor. Robert Pattinson, eh, still to be determined. But oh, the boy can sing! Kind of a twangy James Blunt/James Taylor vibe. Interesting, indeed.



That's all I've got for you today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cabin fever

Thanks to my annual bout of bronchitis, I've spent the past week indoors. With the exception of staggering my way to the occasional class - which I only have three days a week, one of which I missed - I've been in my apartment. Bear came by to make sure I was alive, but other than that and my roommates delicately trying to keep from waking me while I was sleeping 18 hours a day, I've had no human contact.

And it's driving me batty. Granted, at this point, I'm through a five-day long antibiotics stint (and the forced sobriety that accompanies it), but I'm still hacking pretty healthily. I suppose now, it's less of a body-wracking cough, but still not fun.

But I don't care. Because I NEED to get out of the house. I almost snapped while talking to a professor today. Thanks to my cough-syrup-induced coma I didn't return her email for a few days, although when I did, it had the missing project attached to it. I understand this is less-than-professional behavior, although she did know in advance how ill I was (and I'd gotten the appropriate extension), the class is nonetheless a bullshit class where I'm the only senior and we do things like spend two hours discussing how to properly cite in APA format. Which I've known how to do since I was 14. Not to mention, we're journalists and therefore don't use APA for anything but bullshit academic projects. Anyway. She decided to pull me aside after class and scold me on how such a long response time would never be allowed in the professional world. I gritted my teeth and took it, but then she went off about how, were she my boss, she would have been calling me and calling me... The woman has my phone number. She could have called me. I left the room fuming more than I should have been, and had to spend an extra few minutes standing outside in the blowing lake-effect snow just to cool off.

I realized, after the fact, that my internal overreaction is almost certainly a product of my being cooped up for far too long. (And might have been some pent-up emotion about the fact that we spent the entire class talking about how people whose family members have been murdered do or don't process and heal. My teeth were hurting from clenching my jaw so hard.) But also, I'm co-dependent. I've owned it. But good lord, I didn't realize how quickly I'd become accustomed to seeing my boys each weekend. I really missed not just the company, but them specifically. I saw one of my closest friends (and the psuedo-ringleader of one of my groups of boys) today in class and spent the whole time thinking about what I'd missed out on this weekend. Which makes me question just how much of my codependence I'm really OK with. I don't want to be non-functional when I'm on my own.

I suppose I'm not, really. I'm going to go ahead and blame this on the fact that I'm terrible at being sick and alone. It upsets me on a pretty fundamental level. And then there's the less complex reason of - I really have fun with these boys. It's more fun than I have doing a lot of things, but infinitely better than being drugged up and trapped inside my long, narrow room. Which increasingly resembled a prison cell the more time I spent inside it.

Anyways. I spent the evening cranky - although it was helped by my Queer Writing course and subsequent speech by David Valentine, who was well-spoken and intelligent and interesting. He's best-known for his book Imagining Transgender. I haven't read the entire book, though I have worked through a few chapters. Dense, fascinating material.

I came home to find my roommates had made dinner - including a special portion for me. (I've got an obnoxious food allergy that they very kindly accomidate.) Lovely surprise. We each take turns cooking, but there's no particular schedule. But that helped with the foul mood. And then we watched Jeopardy - a strange but enjoyable ritual where we pretend we're smarter than the people on the show. Then it was on to House, M.D. I don't normally watch, but this show featured a child who was born intersexed, and we'd just been discussing it in my Queer Writing class. Took the opportunity to educate my roommates and make clear - once again - my stance on some homo/queer/transphobic statements one of them was throwing around.

And now I'm holed up in my room again. This time chatting with Friend and our mutual friend, slowly working on plans for spring-break-slash-birthday-athon 09. I'm pretty excited.

And to top it all off? I'm listening to nothing but Blink-182 tonight. It's somehow strangely soothing. I think it might just appeal to the overly dramatic side of me that was reigning today. Nevertheless, punk-pop reminds me of high school, and how nice and simple my problems were then. Actually, no, that's a lie. My problems are simpler, easier to solve now. And less severe, for the most part. Does that seem backwards to anyone else?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Camp counselor

The few real-life friends who read this and have known me for some time will get the above reference. But as of late, I've found myself back in my old camp counselor shoes. No, I was never an actual camp counselor, but that was always how friends referred to my (and often our communal) tendency to be the one people wanted to talk to about their problems. The person people sought for advice. I know a lot of secrets. And in almost every case, those secrets have stayed exclusively with me. Then that habit faded for several years. Perhaps it had something to do with my own problems becoming more apparent and all-consuming... I'm thinking about an HNT possibly demonstrating as much one of these days.

Anyway. In the past few weeks, I have suddenly found myself back in the camp counselor position. Strangely enough, this time it's basically entirely with boys. (Traditionally, the clientele were almost all women.) It's possible this is a side-effect of my recent conversion into "one of the boys" - really, more of a solidification of my status there - but it seems strange to me that suddenly people are coming to me. And in every case, I can almost watch myself from the outside, as if someone else was narrating. I can hear the tone in these guys' voices, (or, sometimes, pick it up through our conversations online) and I just get the feeling that they desperately want someone to listen. So that's what I do. I ask them questions, prodding them to keep going. And they do. And sometimes they don't stop, at all. Occasionally, they stop periodically to apologize for blathering on about themselves, at which point I assure them I don't mind, then continue asking them questions about themselves. And they seem to appreciate it.

One case has been exclusively online, but is nonetheless interesting. He was a classmate I went to school with my freshman year of college, which puts us currently on opposite ends of the country. Up until about a month ago, he and I hadn't spoken since I left that school in 2006. Not even when I visited the campus last year - he and I didn't run into each other. We weren't exceptionally close friends when we were classmates, though we did live a few doors down from one another, have many mutual friends, and a shared sense that we were both a little "weird." (A term I use knowing both of us still identify as such and enjoy it.) I happened to make a comment about his status on facebook about a month ago, which started a conversation that has essentially been running since.

After the obligatory catch-ups (where are you at? what's your major? single or not? etc), he launched into a discussion about sexuality. He and I had never particularly talked about it before, although I probably looked more like I was into what I'm into then than I do now. (That was a terrible sentence. The cough syrup is getting to me.) Anyway, he launched into a conversation about sexuality, heading towards non-monogamy. It was honestly fascinating to stumble across another person in my life who embraces this "non-normative" sexuality so openly. He's also fascinatingly at peace with himself - something he's actually helping me work my way towards. But he seems so eager to have someone to talk to about his relationship, and these new things he's exploring... It's great to be that person for him. I'm sure I'm not the only one in his life, but I get the impression he really enjoys having someone who is honestly interested and curious about what he's doing. Tonight, he was exploring how he's feeling about the fact that his long-distance fiancee is going to be with another guy (pre-discussed, determined, OK'd and all that, of course) and deciding whether or not he wanted to watch via webcam. He was so nervous and anxious and excited... It was carrying through in his responses. And he kept coming back to talk to me, more emotions he wanted to work through. It was fun to be there for him. Of course, in situations like this, it's easy to be the camp counselor.

Then today, another friend contacted me out of the blue. He graduated from my current university last year, and was my right-hand-man when I was running the magazine last year. We didn't exactly have a falling out, but he came under the impression I had feelings for him (which I entertained for about five seconds) and ran scared. He has since apologized, but we haven't actually seen one another although he's been back to visit periodically.

He called me up tonight - I couldn't quite tell if he was drunk. My guess is that he'd had a few. But he started telling me to put off the real world as long as I could. I got a feeling this wasn't simply a phone call to offer me advice. So I asked him what he meant. And off he went, talking about how he hates being tied down to one place, how he wanted to travel and DO something with his life. And he likes where he is but he doesn't like what he's doing and so on. I reminded him that he's 23. And his life is hardly over. I reminded him that while yes, he does have some responsibilities, he's a single, talented guy (working in advertising presently) and he can still do anything he wants to. He wanted to rant more. So I let him. And then assured him, again, that things would be OK.

There was one other particularly shocking incident as of late - someone who I had neatly tucked away into the "Pleasant Memories" file reappeared and turned that drawer upside down, leaving its contents in a pile on the floor. I'm still sorting through the remains. Trying my damndest to file them away again. That was a good place for them to stay. But when he called, his voice sounded so vulnerable. He asked me if I was happy, and I couldn't tell if the tone in his voice was one almost hoping I'd say no so that he might not be alone... But I confidently and honestly told him I was happy. And I asked him the same question, mostly just to reciprocate. But it came out as something much bigger. "What about you, are you... happy?" I asked. And I heard him take a deep breath. And answer me honestly. And in that moment I wished I WAS a camp counselor and that we were sitting on some bench together and I could throw my arms around him. And maybe then he wouldn't have hustled himself off the phone, or sounded so surprised when I asked him a question that was relevant, but revealed that I'd really listened to his previous answers, even to our conversations a year ago. It always breaks my heart a little when people like him are so surprised that I'm so awed by them. I don't know what else to be, and it makes me sad to realize that others aren't aware of what these incredible people are worth.

But I guess, if everyone realized things like that, there would be no camp counselors. I wouldn't be needed. So perhaps I should be happy that, even though it's out of the blue and seems to come in waves from the people I least expect, it shows that I am needed sometimes. And that these certain people still trust me. It's a good thing, I suppose. To be worthy of people's trust.

And thank you to you, dear readers, for being MY camp counselor. I think it's no coincidence that I'm able to handle people's secrets once again because I have somewhere to unload my own. And recieve your wonderful feedback. I am truly a very lucky girl.

Update

So, as I assume is pretty obvious, I'm working on a re-design here. First and foremost, I owe massive thanks to Amalthea for creating my new banner. I think it's gorgeous, and am working on designing the whole site around the color scheme. I also owe massive amount of thanks to everyone else who submitted banners: Roland Hulme, Lilly, and Jake.

As for the re-design as it stands: I'm not thrilled with the look just yet. I kind of liked the old color scheme and would have rather just made a few minor changes to some of the colors (replacing the banner background color and overall background color for black, for example), but the stupid Blogger template won't allow me to do such things. Unless I've totally missed something. If anyone knows how to make that happen, please let me know. I tried to maintain the same idea of the greens and greys, although the black has kind of taken over. I'm a little bit over the all-black background, I think it's overdone. But being lacking in my HTML/CSS coding skills, I'm not sure what other options I have.

Oh, also, I really hate the white block at the bottom of the entries where it shows the tags and such... anyone know how to change that color? Cause I couldn't find it on Blogger's idiot-proof editing page. Sometimes I think I have more trouble understanding things when people try to dumb them down than I would if they just told me how to do what I needed to do. sigh.

In any case, I'm open to suggestions and hints and anything else you've got. Thanks for reading, and again, a special thanks to everyone who submitted banners and to Amalthea who submitted the winning design!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

HNT: In progress


I always like this moment in a given tryst: When I've been half-undressed and get pushed onto the bed... For one, one of my favorite things to wear is just my favorite pair of jeans (and a bra is optional), secondly, I feel like lying on my back on a bed is a way to make my body look really nice - flattened stomach, emphasized curves, etc etc.

Of course, it's been too long since I found myself in this position. *sigh*

Monday, February 16, 2009

please?

Amalthea turned me on to asofterworld, and I think I can safely say I'm obsessed.

This, particularly, describes exactly how I feel right now. I mean, in a round-about way. Were where I am now really HOME, then maybe. But perhaps it's just that this is what I wish I'd hear.

It's been a long weekend.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The truth about valentine's day.

Compliments of PostSecret. (Also, I enjoy the fact that the title of this image, the link to it, is "ohdeargodno")

It's funny. I read this, and realized how incredibly on point it is for my reaction to strong feelings. Some of it, probably, can be seen in my stated aversion to "mush," in my hesitance to ever allow myself to be called anyone's girlfriend.

And consequently, although perhaps less obviously, in my vehement personal reaction to strong emotions I feel. Like some scared teenager, I shy away from strong emotions. Sure, I love my friends, and I tell them as much on a regular basis. But beyond that, when things really start to get serious? I don't have the slightest idea how to handle that. I don't know how to process emotions that require me to be vulnerable. Not anymore, at least.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have those emotions. It just means, perhaps, that I bury them deep inside and don't ever let them see the light of day. Ha. It's one of those funny-cause-it's-true kind of things. I really can't say more about any of this in hopes of not jinxing myself or my situation. But it is times like this when my imagination is a very dangerous thing.

Then again, sometimes so are my fantasies, when I can't so much find them arousing as intriguing, as peaceful, as happy. That concerns me, because I understand my desire, plain and simple. But when it's complicated by something more, I nearly always tend to screw it up. And I'd rather not.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

V-day.

So, it's no surprise that el dia de San Valentino is upon us.
For me, it's kind of like any other day. And like I've written about before, I have random favorite holidays (Fourth of July and New Year's, for the record). But Valentine's day has never been particularly special for me. I'm short of those who avidly bemoan the artificial holiday's existence (although I'm not a huge fan of made-up and socially mandated displays of affection), but I certainly don't live for the day with my expectations delicately tied to a helium balloon, constantly rising higher.

That being said, it's been quite a while since I've actually been dating someone on Valentine's day. The last time was probably four years ago, when I was head-over-heels in love with Ex, who went to school on the opposite side of the country. I surprised him by flying from Washington (that's the state, not the district) and showing up at his door in Manhattan. It went well, all things considered. There was a massive snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow in Central Park overnight, and so the city was quiet and calm and romantic. We had celebrated our five year anniversary that December.

He left me for someone else three months later.

I'd like to think this hasn't jaded me for all time when it comes to Valentine's day. I just don't have any illusions about the holiday. And for the past few years, the kinds of relationships I've had don't lend themselves to over-romanticized displays of affection, anyway. After all, what is etiquette for someone who you're fucking, but they may or may not be in the same state, and while you tell each other you love one another, there isn't any mush involved in such statements of simple fact?

Answer: Emails containing things like this:



Compliments of Jacob, who is guilty of more mush than this on a regular occasion. I tease him about it, but he knows that sometimes it really does make me uncomfortable. So today he sent me this photo, and it made me laugh because it was so appropriate. And true. And just... how I would say things. How he and I communicate. It works.

In other, more physically proximate V-day news, I think Bear is trying to sneak a romantic weekend on me. We had standing plans to go see a movie tomorrow (my choice), and this afternoon he asked me to join him for dinner at one of my favorite places on Saturday night. We haven't gone out to dinner yet this semester (although we do it periodically in general), and it seems mildly suspect that the first time just so happens to be on Valentine's day. And it just so happens to be MY favorite restaurant. And I wouldn't be surprised if he just so happens to want to come home with me.

I'm not complaining, I just think it's funny.

And I think it's funny how he never calls me by my name anymore, only referring to me as "Love," and very rarely even by the nickname he used to call me by playfully. And today he came by while I was holed up in the multimedia lab selling my soul to Soundslides. And complimented my project and made sure I was doing OK. Nothing a regular best friend wouldn't do, but I have noticed that he's a little more gentle with me since we slept together. Then again, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I just think it's funny.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

HNT: Nothing clever...

... to say here.



Just more of me naked. Possibly more of my ass than you've seen in a while. Oh, and strange tanning patterns, considering it's the dead of winter. Again, taken at New Year's.

In any case, I hope you enjoy!

HHNT!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On being a pro...

...blogger, that is.

No, I'm not actually a professional blogger. But I'm currently taking this class in internet journalism that's making me realize what it might be like were I actually getting paid (and therefore had the time) to blog. For this class, we're expected (among a slew of other things and programs and projects) to create and maintain a blog with a team of four people. And we are each expected to post at least three times a week. Yes, I know that means if I were to blog here for credit, I would fail miserably. But that means there are at least two posts a day... I think that's a little insane. Perhaps because I think of blogging as a personal thing and the idea of a blogging team in general is rather foreign to me, but I think two updates A DAY is a little much. It's an awful lot of content. Aside: We're also required to use wordpress, which I must admit does seem more powerful than Blogger, but it's also a hell of a lot more intimidating.

But ironically enough, I think, were I being paid to blog regularly, I certainly could. I've been slacking off particularly here as of late as the semester has picked up, but were my blogging a higher priority, I could pull it off. Maybe then I'd get some fun perks. Like more recognition, or hits, or other awesome things. another aside: does anyone know how I can add a hit counter to this blog?

Like meeting fellow bloggers. Oh, wait! That happened this weekend!

After a cozy five hour bus ride (which I slept through almost all of) to the City, I had the distinct pleasure of being picked up by Roland Hulme. hmm... that sounds a little strange out of context... What I mean is, he met me at the station. I told him I'd be wearing my white peacoat featured in past HNTs, and of course I knew from his blog what he looked like, so we exchanged numbers and set out. There was a little shuffling about as we played the i-think-that's-the-person-i'm-meeting game, but following the eye-to-eye acknowledgement and smile, greeted one another with a hug. Roland took me on a whirlwind tour of his office, a beautiful building in Manhattan, the stuff that young jschool students like myself only dream about, and then it was swiftly off to an Irish pub for some live music.

I should say that I'm not used to being around men who act so gentlemanly. (Yes, I know that's not a word.) Doors were held for me, luggage was carried, drinks were paid for - in short, he spoiled me rotten! I think Roland I got along exceedingly well, and moved past the awkward i-only-sort-of-know-you phase quite quickly. As he acknowledged, it's very strange to technically know so much about someone (he, and all of you, have seen me half-nekkid more than once, that's for sure) and simultaneously know so little (my real name, where I go to school, or even what color my eyes are). But just as I suspected we might, we got along well, quickly acting like old friends. He was indeed charming and fabulously quirky, as I was expecting. He was also, however, warm and welcoming, and I instantly felt comfortable around him - that's something that doesn't happen often for me and so I was all the more appreciative of it.

I do think I rose a few suspicions as to WHY I was at this pub with Roland. Several of his friends and coworkers were there, and while they were quite pleasant (and apparently a few were sad to see me leave), there were a couple who leaned in close and asked me without much subtlety, "So, how DO you two know each other?" I doubt anyone meant anything by it, and I actually thought it was quite funny. Not helped by Roland and my's fumbling around the answer - versions of the truth that attempted to maintain both our privacies - well, we read one another's blogs. What do we blog about? Oh, you know. Just life in general. *cue not-so-discreet subject change*

Overall, it was, without a doubt, the best welcome to the City I've had. I only wish I'd had more time to spend chatting and getting to know one another. Although I have no doubt that will happen in the future. As Roland said, we're no longer just blogosphere friends, we're friends in the realosphere.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

HNT: Obvious

...when I do THIS:





Guess what that means I want YOU to do?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We've got a lot of maybes to muddle through...

I just wrote some giant block of text blathering on about all sorts of bullshit that isn't even marginally related to this blog. I need to keep things reined in. So I suppose I'll do a brief update. I'm still almost too excited to function about my trip to the City this weekend. I'm not even going to enumerate my plans, because I don't want to jinx them. So in other sexuality news:

Bear and I seem to be fine. Back to flirting, talking, interacting like we always have. I'm impressed. I wasn't entirely sure that he'd be comfortable/capable of just letting the sex be just that and nothing particularly more. Of course, we talked about it, like grownups. That might have had some influence. He teased me about leaving him this weekend for the City. And really, I should have invited him, but I need this time away from everyone at school, for my own mental health. I'm rather different when I'm away from all these people and the stresses of school. I'm not sure he'd really recognize me. Maybe someday I'll work him up to it.

As of late, both Essin' Em and Roland Hulme have written about cohabitation. Both, more or less (forgive me for the reductive summary) advocating away from the societal tendency to jump into an apartment with a significant other. In general, I agree with that. I've never even come close to living with a significant other. But, on the other hand, I know for a fact that I HATE living alone. Even when my roommates are gone for a weekend and I'm left home alone, I get antsy, bored, and depressed. I can't decide if this makes me codependent, but I think it probably does. I should concede that while I hate being alone, I absolutely have to have my own space. I could never share a one bedroom apartment with a roommate where we had nowhere to have our own private spaces. Actually, that was part of the problem in Spain, and why I tended to stay with friends so often. But what I'm wondering, in light of Em and Roland's articles: Does this need to be around people make me more likely to jump into a cohabitative situation preemptively? I'd like to say no. I'd like to say that I'm a smart girl and I'd give it some serious thought before I'd move into a shared space, certainly with a significant other (or two).

At the same time, my desire to live with someone has meant in the past that I've ended up with some more than shady roommates. Serious criminal activity has been involved, on one ocassion. So I get worried sometimes that I might not have the foresight to see that I'm getting myself in over my head. I don't really have an answer... Perhaps Em or Roland can offer their opinions... How do those of us who admittedly need to live with people avoid ruining our relationships by doing so? I know cohabitiation is of course an individual choice and preference, and must be taken on a case-by-case basis... I suppose more than anything, I'm just offering another viewpoint. Which is different for me, because I often find myself agreeing with these two.


I leave you with my latest favorite song by my still favorite artist. I'm hoping I'll be interviewing him this weekend, also. I have to figure out how to get into his concert, first. His name is Jay Brannan. And if you haven't heard of him yet, you should. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Talk.

I'm going to follow Wilhemina's example here and post some excerpts (or maybe a lot) of the conversation Bear and I had the other night, a few days after we'd had sex. I've had a little more time to think it over now, and I think I'm OK with things. He says he is, too. But for some reason, I feel like sharing this. Partially, I think, because I'm impressed with the fact that we actually talked about things like grownups (admittedly, over AIM). And also because this is a new experience for me, and it made me question many of the primary tenets of how I conduct relationships, if only for a brief time.

He said he was concerned that we hadn't talked about what had gone on between us. I'd been busy, he'd been frustrated and trying not to show me, I think.

Bear: I dont know if everything should just go back to normal
Sasha: do you want it to?
Bear: yes and no
Sasha: k... elaborate?
Bear: well what do you think?
Sasha: well, there's this kind of contradiction between my previously established theories and practices and now. I mean, I don't want a boyfriend, I don't want to be in a serious relationship. I don't do those well. And I don't have any problem, morally or otherwise, with the simple fact that I've slept with my best friend. In my mind, that doesn't mean anything has to change. At the same time, things feel different with you, and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's just because I'd kind of filed you into that nevergonnahappen file cause you were always so adamant about that, heh.
Sasha: and whatever happens, i don't wanna lose you as my best friend.
Sasha: as cliche as that sounds.
Bear: Sasha
Sasha: and i really wanna make sure i don't hurt you. (part of the i don't want a relationship clause.)
Bear: that's not going to happen
Sasha: well, it just needed to be said.
Bear: I just want us to be on the same page, whatever we may decide
Sasha: ok. so that's where my head is at. where's yours?
Bear: I dont know, honestly
Sasha: that's fair. but run me through it - giant block of text style,if need be.
Bear: Sasha, I know you're pretty liberated in terms of sex, and I don't if what happened thursday meant anything to you
Sasha: i'm gonna let you continue before i respond to that.

That particular statement caught me off guard. It's something I've struggled with before, this problem with owning my reputation while simultaneously trying to convince people (truthfully, I should add) that sex isn't meaningless with me. I mean, yes, sometimes there is meaningless sex. But more often than not - actually, I can only think of ONE exception in the past year - it IS meaningful. Maybe it doesn't mean that I'm going to marry this person, but I'm generally not even particularly detached. I don't really like empty sex. The intellectual and emotional stimulation are arguably as important as the physical stimulation.

But again, that's something I worry about him ever being able to really understand. He (at least used to) believes that sex is so important, and such a big deal... and I don't even necessarily disagree. But it isn't the end-all, be-all. And it doesn't mean we have to get married. But it doesn't mean our friendship has to end, either.

But before I could say any of that, he continued.

Bear: Sasha, I think we're on the same page with a lot of things
Bear: but shit isn't so black and white with us (no pun intended)
Sasha: haha.
Bear: you're bad at relationships
Bear: and I've never had one
Bear: we're both graduating in may
Bear: youre going back home
Bear: I have no fucking clue where I'll be
Bear: it would probably be a bad idea to start anything at this point
Bear: but still, what if...
Bear: and that's whats bothering me

And so what the hell do I say to that? I read it, essentially, as him telling me that he's rationalizing away a relationship with me. Which, actually, is OK with me. Because I really don't want to be in a conventional relationship, and knowing him, he wouldn't want anything but. I told him as much.

Bear: Yeah I guess I don't know if we would really be good for one another. There's a lot of complicated shit involved with that. But I hate that things are so complicated. I hate that I'm so complicated.

So at least, here, I guess, it's not just my fault. I know he has his shit to deal with, too. And I think he's all too right in that we wouldn't be good for one another. And there's the minor fact that I don't want a relationship. And I reminded him that relationships - of any kind - are hard. They're supposed to be, or they wouldn't be worthwhile.

We ended up deciding to basically play things by ear. See how we feel. We both have what we do or don't want out in the open, but we aren't swearing that nothing is going to change, because in my book that's a sure-fire way to make sure the inevitable change is uncomfortable and damaging. So we'll see how things go. I really do just hope that I don't lose him as a friend. I suppose I should have thought of that beforehand. Then again, in my defense, I'm not used to sex having such a power to change things. In so many ways, it feels like a throwback to high school... to a time when I'd had a whopping one or two sexual partners.... When I was a lot like Bear, in that regard at least.