I hope you have a fucking great time, sincerely

Fair warning, I’m gonna talk about some sexy type stuff today. If that’s not your thing, enjoy the rest of the internet until tomorrow. ‘Cause it’s not like there’s anything sexy on there, right?

I haven’t talked about sex in a long time. Why? I’m not entirely sure. It might be that my parents sometimes read, and gosh forbid they know I’m making whoopee. Really though, that’s not it. Am I afraid of tarnishing my image as an irreverent little scamp who makes puns and talks incessantly about 90s pop culture? Not quite. Am I too busy clutching my pearls to type the word “orgasm”. I’m not. Am I constantly scrambling for topics to write about day by day? I am. This however, is not an act of desparation. I had a couple of chats over the weekend, and I feel like I’ve got some stuff that’s worth hearing for some people.

Sex is weird. People are weird, therefore bringing multiple people together to simulate making more people is exponentially weirder. Also sex is tied up in so many bullshit social morasses that it gets tricky to keep your head above the mire. The muck is fine, sex can be wonderfully dirty, and that’s can be great. Not here to yuck anybody’s yums.

I’d wager that socialisation plays into how we feel about sex a lot more than we may think. Sure, the media and advertising shapes a huge amount of our views as to what we find sexy, ways to have sex and what good/bad sex looks like. My guess is it goes a lot further than that. I can’t speak to womens’ experience, but it seems like there’s a gratuitous amount of pressure placed upon image. Hell, I’m listening to a podcast right now where Allie Ward talks to an expert on Beauty Standards (the study of which is called Kalology, apparently). The ins and outs of it are more than a litte absurd, and I’m sure all women know intimately more about the struggle than I do. I’m not here to talk for them. It’s not like men are entirely exempt, and I’m sure Marvel Studios have done wonders in making men feel inadequate too (remember the surprisingly buff Chris Pratt workout pic?). Equality, this is what we’re shooting for, right?

Look at me, vamping like a food blog. What I want to talk about today is partnered orgasm pressure from a male perspective, and how it’s letting us down. Because I don’t think us men talk about it enough. This is also probably gonna be a very het-oriented view. I apologise.

As men we’re often told that our sexual prowess is one of the many things that defines our masculinity. We’re supposed to be virile, dominant, borderline animalistic. Raging horndogs with big ol’ dongs. That’s male sexuality, apparently. If you’re a good partner you fuck good, your partner’s eyes roll back into their head, they cum buckets with ten orgasms, and your sperm is so mighty that your partner instantly has quadruplets. That’s the manly thing to do.

Unsurprisingly, this creates a ton of pressure. Here’s the thing about arousal, it’s all mental. If you’re all stressed about having to be a certain something in the bedroom, there’s a high chance that will affect performance. It’s tricky to get it up and keep it up when you’re anxious about whether you’ll be able to get hard enough. Or if you’ll be able to sustain it. Or if she’ll enjoy it. Or like, what if your dick is weird? Or too small? Or you don’t feel dominant and animalistic? GOOD LUCK, BUDDY.

I’m gonna take the charitable assumption, and guess that whoever I’m talking to wants their partner to have a good time. That most want congress to be a mutually fulfilling, satisfying and pleasurable jaunt. So I’m gonna share something I heard a while back that helped shift my perception.

NOBODY HAS EVER GIVEN ANYBODY AN ORGASM.

It was from famed sex educator and porn star extraordinaire Nina Hartley. She said that orgasms aren’t given, they’re facilitated. You can be the sexiest goddamn entity in the world, you can be physically doing everything you can, you can tap into all your partner’s favourite sensual triggers, and they can still not orgasm. It’s because you’re not making them orgasm, they are.

Remember when I was saying arousal was mental? No matter what you do, if your partner can’t bring themselves to a place where they can let go and access their orgasm, it ain’t comin’. It’s not necessarily because of what you’ve done or haven’t done, but sometimes it’s out of reach for all of us. It happens. Releasing to the point of orgasm isn’t always accessible, and neither does it define the experience. I’ve had many bouts of amazing sex that haven’t resulted in an orgasms, both for myself and/or partners. That hasn’t stopped it from being amazing sex.

Take from it what you will, but the important nugget that I took from this lesson was to get ego the fuck out of there. It’s not about you. The be all and end all is how you can help your partner access a place where they can let go. Any concept of virility or value tied to an ablity to “induce” orgasms is fucked up and unhelpful. Get that shit out of there.

Make your partner comfortable. Ask them what they want. Your “job” is to help them have the experience they’re looking for. They’re connected to their own nerve endings, chances are they have an idea of what makes them feel good. Do you have go to techniques that “always work”? There is no “right” way to do things. Everyone is different. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily apply across the board. Listen to your partner, look for body language and try to interpret what that means. If you don’t know, ask. The socialised notion that we should all “just know” is super fucking harmful, and likely holds so many of us back from more fulfilling experiences. If you’re gonna ruin the moment by showing genuine interest, maybe you both could do better with different people.

If they have an orgasm? Great. If they have ten? Great. If they have an excellent time? That’s what we’re looking for. If we’re all enjoying sex, maybe we won’t be so scared of whether or not it’s happening the “right way”.

Advertisements

Block-busted. Little Leon Lays down the Law

Children are not the most discerning viewers.

I mean, most viewers are not the most discerning viewers, kids even less so. I remember as a child, being part of a discussion about the Fair Go ad awards with my family. Okay, let’s step back a sec. Fair Go was a TV show about consumer rights, etc. They’d also run annual awards for creative advertising. NZ has always done an excellent job with clever ads, and I’d eerily patriotic about it. So I was a child, and The Adults Were Talking. I heard what they said, then impulsively barged in.

“I think the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers toy ad should win. It’s a toy ad and they show all the toys. The toys look really fun, so it’s a good ad.” I was wrong, perhaps because my metrics were off. At least I gave it some thought.

Like I said, not so discerning. It’s probably why shitty kids movies made to push toys continue to exist. Their audience laps them up without complaining, and it puts adult bums in seats. Then, of course, the real money comes from the toys being sold. Ugly Dolls, Transformers, Trolls 1 and or 2. Plus ça change, eh? That said, here are some movies I thought were shit, even as a non-discerning kid:

Super Mario Bros (1993)

Look, a bunch of these are likely to be video game adaptations. The medium has suffered shitty storytelling, contrived plots and low level talent for years. Sure, gaming is a massive industry now, but in the 90s it wasn’t such an all-encompassing entertainment juggernaut. Super Mario Bros was a big deal. It was the game that people thought of when they heard the words Video Game. The movie, however, was a total fucking shitshow. A bizarre plot where Earth was suffering a planetary overlay from some dinosaur planet. All of the game’s goofy/cute looking monsters were retconned into dinosaurs. Even Yoshi, who may well be a dinosaur already, didn’t fair so well. Look how they massacred my boy.

This film actually had talent involved, but even as a kid I could see the lack of coherence. It just made no fucking sense. And why were goombas so fucking creepy? Did Bob Hoskins actually know what he’d signed up for? Looks like maybe not. I watched it again a few years ago, and may have developed an ironic soft spot that was beyond me at an age where I didn’t know what irony was. Have some drinks and watch, but please leave your expectations behind. Super, it ain’t.

Street Fighter (1994)

As a precocious little seven year old, I guess I was finding my pretention too. This movie was yet another shitshow. Once again, they massacred my boy. Why was US Colonel Guile played by renown non-American, Jean Claude Van Damme? Why did esteemed actor Raul Julia waste his final performance on this piece of arse? I’m not the first to wonder. I hated it, but didn’t know why. I was so thirsty for video game film content that I tried to watch it many many times to see what went wrong. I just kept finding more things. Where were the Hadoukens? Sonic Booms? Shoryukens? Why wouldn’t they just do something awesome and animated (they did. It was awesome. Here’s the entire thing on Youtube)?

Wild Wild West (1999)

This one’s fresh, ’cause I just went to a screening with live commentary by local Toronto drag queen Allysin Chaynes. It was a blast. As a child though, it was a rough movie to watch. Why were all the characters so patently unlikeble? How could a giant mechanical spider be boring? Why was the movie significantly less exciting than the audacious and oftentimes riotous full seven and a half minute music video? Will Smith throws his hat across the room to himself in a full white suit. It’s badass. I think I may even still like the song, especially Neil Cicierega’s brilliant rearrangement. I thought this film was gonna be super cool, and instead it was kinda boring, the jokes didn’t really land. It was a slog.

I watched last night after a bunch of drinks and, egads. It’s fucking terrible. Not only does the script suck, but the characters do too. Salma Hayek is reduced to an accent, pair of boobs and a role as a plot device. The script has an unforgivable amount of racist and ableist jokes. It’s altogether many kinds of hateful. So many non-plot literal devices (it’s steampunk all over) serve no real purpose in the plot. And of course, Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix to play Jim West, which is always notable.

Look, I’m no prodigy. I watched my unfair share of terrible movies. These are just some of the few instances where I realised it.

Thunderbolts and lightning, very very bright rain

I hate being up past the sunrise.

I just hate it. I don’t like the weird vampiric notion that everyone’s starting their days as I’m ending mine. The next day always becomes a total shitshow, it complicates bedtimes for the following evening. Frankly it means I miss out on most of the daylight hours. It’s very rare that I’m looking to have an all-nighter, and I usually regret doing so. Of course this means I had an all-nighter last night. Do I regret it? No. No I don’t.

Yesterday was a weirdly balmy, tempestuous day. Heat warning, storm warning. Entirely at the mercy of the elements. A burner event was on at Allen Gardens. Tarna’s art car, a giant metal jackalope, was making a public appearance in a final fundraising push before Burning Man. The idea was a big sunshiney event with music running from 3pm to 11pm. Right next to the botanical gardens, guests were encouraged to enjoy the beautiful greenhouse full of colourful plant life. As it was a public space, the tickets were suggested donation, but a bunch of strangers showed up and had a great time. There were blankets, snacks, dogs, mist machines, and a collection of ace DJs.

I came prepared. We’re talking boy scout level here. I had a costume with various layers I could strip as things heated up. I brought my backpack and filled it with supplies. A couple of bottles of water in case friends needed them. I had chewing gum, granola and nut snack mix (which proved to be a terrible, dry snack choice), my knee brace, a poncho, several packets of earplugs, an umbrella, and a big black garbage bag in case the inevitable downpour arrived. I also had my seemingly iconic yellow wide-brimmed sunhat. I was sorted. I got to take off my shoes and dance, feeling the grass and dirt beneath my feet. Around 8pm it started to lightly drizzle, but we were all so covered in sweat it barely registered. An hour later the heavens opened and it fell in sheets. The music shut down. I had my umbrella and wide brimmed hat as protection. My friends and I regrouped. Did we want to head off to our friend’s place nearby? We could get out of the torrent, warm up and chill out. Or we could wait and see if things kicked back in. We decided to wait it out, as people marvelled at the ludicrous amount of lightning in the sky. Several bolts struck straight down at the CN tower as we watched nature in full fury.

15 minutes later, the music kicked back in, rain still cascading from the sky. The atmosphere was electric, and everyone got into it. We were all totally soaked and loving it, the rain refreshing our sweaty, aching bodies. I danced so goddamn much my feet were on fire. I must’ve stopped my withered old bones at least six times to stretch my legs, and the poor, overworked soles of my feet. The number of times I wiped my chest clean of moisture, only to realise the pointlessness of my endeavours. Rain was still bucketing down, I was just gonna get instantly wet again. What did it matter?

Then after it all finished at 11pm, we got to retire to our friend’s place anyway, a gorgeous penthouse apartment downtown. I took a shower and got cleaned up, then we lounged around until the wee, wee hours of the morning. When I could see the building peaks lighting up with the first hints of morning sun, I knew it was time to call it. Or an Uber at least. I felt a weird kind of guilt that I’d thrown away my next day in service of the night.

Then I slept in, hung out with my girlfriend and grabbed brunch. It was fucking excellent and I regret nothing. I still hate sunrise evenings, but it seems the exception proves the rule.

And last night ruled.

Today was the day I became a man. My K Bar Mitzvah, if you will

I’d like to take a minute or 30 to talk about New Zealand snacks.

I caught myself in a rabbit hole last night, getting sucked into the myriad snack foods that defined my childhood. There were so many. NZ snacks are pretty adventurous, especially in comparison to those I find here in Canada. I don’t know, Kiwis really push the boundaries when it comes to flavour and texture. Don’t just take my word for it, read this sublime piece of NZ journalism (please do, it’s a fantastic piece and Madeline Chapman is a talented, hilarious writer) detailing the many many types of chips that line our supermarket shelves.

I feel like it’s important to mention NZ’s corn based snacks. Perhaps not because they’re the most hard baked part of our national moreish consciousness, but because I liked them a lot. Burger Rings. If that name means nothing to you, you’re likely sane. Burger Rings occupied a similar position as Funyuns and/or Bugles. They were tactile, and fancy as shit. As a kid, your fingers could be doused in cheeto-esque dust, as you displayed your abundant wealth for all to see. Looking down on all the playground plebs with their chicken chip bullshit. When they called them “rings”, they did not stutter. They were the perfect size, though presumably as an adult they’d fit as far as my nails. And the taste? Ostensibly “burger”, whatever that means. They had abundant tang with a sumptuous umami flavour. An excellent snack option.

There also were a bunch of corn/cheese options I fucking loved. Biguns. BIGUNS. The same kind of jewellery based shenanigans as Burger Rings, but with added CHONK. Imagine a cheese ball that could envelop your finger. That’s the magnitude of what you were dealing with. Dense but puffy corn resplendent with cheese dust. Packed right through with flavour. I fucking loved Biguns, and Cheezels, their more economical but less outrageous cousins. Oh, not to forget the bacon based Rashuns. Those were some DENSE chips. Goddamn Bluebird monopolised the 90s savoury snack market.

Truthfully, I was never much of a savoury snacker. I’m a sweet boy at heart. When it comes to lollies (the Kiwi word for “candy”), my heart was abundant. I never got much into Snifters, though as an adult I’d probably fall right in love. Snifters. A candy shell, chocolate layer, and chewy mint candy centre. K Bars were hard, chewable candy concoctions. They clung to your teeth, lest you forget that you’d just ingested pure sugar. They’d last for ages, a marvel considering they were dirt cheap. Jafas are the quintessential Kiwi movie candy, as far as I know. Not least because they became slang as nationwide disdain for Aucklanders (Just Another Fucking Aucklander). They had an orange candy shell and dark chocolate centre. Think a bite sized crunchy Terry’s chocolate orange.

I think it’s time we talk about the elephant in the room. Or rather, the fucking menace in the movie theatre. Stay with me. Tangy Fruits. Tangy Fruits were iconic for several reasons. They came in substantial little pottles, which were practically only available at movie theatres. They were dense but chewable, colourful fruit lollies. They were, much like K Bars, pure sugar. Now. I don’t think you can understand from that picture just how many there were in a pottle. There were too many, not just for a child, but straight up an unfathomable quantity of sweetness. Kids would get them for the movies and inevitably eat too many. Sugar crash, sickness, raging energy. Whatever it was, they made films damn near unwatchable. Not only would kids up the back do Tangy Fruit races down the aisles, but in the last third of the film, things would get batshit.

See, there was some combination of the lolly’s density and the big plastic pottle that gave it a loud and specific resonance when shook. Agitated and energetic kids would shake these containers so fucking hard, that it’d get difficult to follow the movie. Just a bunch of little fucking wildlings shaking these damn things around like the thunder of wardrums. Little shits everywhere disturbing the peace, with no regard for narrative structure. To be fair, if you had that much artificial energy coursing through your young veins in an enclosed space, what would you do? It’s a marvel we didn’t tear up the upholstery. I so dearly want some tangy fruits right now, always and forever, but nothing good lasts that long. Much like most great Kiwi candy, they’ve been discontinued and only live on in my deepest fantasies.

R.I.P. My childhood.

I’m down for the counting

I’m in a Haiku mood. Let’s go!

Whoever you are
Don’t forget to pee post-sex
UTIs aren’t fun

If you’re scared to death
To stand up for your beliefs
You’re still dying, *shrug*

She once said to me
“This ain’t my first rodeo”
When she’d never been

What part of lit class
Says you have to learn haiku?
The “syllabl-us”, duh!

It would be easy
To stomach all life’s bullshit
If we weren’t so full

Stale cookies go soft
Stale soft cookies will go hard
Are they just flat cakes?

I have a hard time
Rating a driver four stars
It would take a death

Well don’t I feel all poetic in time for the weekend. Party on, friends!

Getting dente-mental

I did it. I actually took a sick day. Are y’all proud of me?

That said, it’s hard. I’ve never been good at relaxing, and it’s not getting easier just ’cause I’m unwell. I managed to get back to sleep after taking meds, emailing my boss and feeding the cat, but it took a while. I miraculously remained in bed until after 10am, which is huge for me. I’m old, I’m decaying, I’m trying my best. I’ve only checked my work emails three times today, which feels like some kind of restraint. I played some magic, did dishes, applied for a job, put washing on and now I’m trying to get writing done so I can… get back to trying to relax? What am I supposed to do? Read a book?

Actually not a terrible idea. I put a reservation on my library app months back for Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It’s finally come in, and I’m realising that my chances of finishing it are pretty damn tiny unless I put effort in. The book is 640 pages. It’s hardly slim pickings. It’s supposed to be a stupendously ambitious fantasy novel by a Man Booker Prize winning novelist. Thing is, I’m a lazy reader. Of books, anyway. I’m mainlining online articles all day. I use reading as an escape on commutes, and I probably get a solid hour of good reading time each day. By the time I started reading, a few days had passed. I’ve been working from home and/or sick this week, so there’s a bunch more potential reading time lost. It expires in two weeks, and since it has a huge waitlist, there’s no chance I’ll get to renew it. Chances are that I’ll get halfway through, then have to wait another 6 months until I can read the other half. Non-ideal. However, if there’s anything an abundance of half-arsed Minion memes have taught me, it’s that the power is within us all to create change in our world. And that lots of old people still find hilarity in “you won’t like me without my morning coffee” jokes.

I’ve been trying with the food too. Been salt gargling, keeping up the kimchi, had some banana and peanut butter toast, licorice tea, and all sorts of comfort foods. I even had Kraft Dinner last night. Okay, I grew up with KD variants, and loved it as a kid. I got older, and my cravings extended to actually making macaroni cheese bakes. I’d do it all homemade from scratch. I’d toss in all kinds of spices and ingredients, then bake that bastard in a big dish covered with breadcrumbs. Crispy top, loaded with cheese and assorted goodness. Ideal comfort meal. I don’t eat much pasta anymore, because I’d only ever cook and eat Too Much Pasta. I don’t know that a substantive serving size is for pasta. It’s usually however much fills you to bursting, and then some. Now that I’m a 32 year old crone, I have to try and take care of myself, or elsewise combust. Toning down on the pasta has helped my body continue to function, instead of my internal gears (oh, did I not mention my cyborg state?) grinding to a halt while trying to process complex carbohydrates and a brick of cheese.

I was sick, wanted comfort food, and KD seemed to fit the bill. I wanted to throw in sundried tomatoes and pickled jalapeños, but I thought I’d be responsible and steer clear of agitative (I looked it up, it’s a word, apparently) foods. This also meant skipping the gratuitous quantity of tomato sauce I used to soak it in. So instead I piled in fresh garlic, kimchi and a little ketchup flavoured popcorn seasoning (which we have on hand because my girlfriend is a popcorn fiend. It’s basically the same stuff as KD flavour sachets). Also, obviously, copious cheddar. It was… fine? I guess. I don’t know what I was expecting. The kimchi somehow wasn’t bold enough to stand out amongst the other big flavours, and the macaroni may even have been a little “over dente”. I had the leftovers today for lunch with a little tuna, which worked much better. I think next time I’ll stick with the grown up stuff and bake my own.

Enough writing, it’s reading time!!!

The marginal misery tour is hoping to take me away

*Cough cough* I am sick.

I mean, I am, but I’m also not a complete harbinger of plague, dripping rot from my gaping maw. Yesterday afternoon I started feeling that familiar scratchy heat at the back of my throat. I felt a little drained, but mobilised to go out to a gig. I got to the gig and felt like shit, which was a real waste. Protomen and Tupperware Remix Party (who I guess are now commonly referred to as TWRP (sounds like “twerp”) were doing an audacious double bill. I’d seen both bands before. Protomen, the Mega Man tribute band, and TWRP back when they were in their infancy. As time would have it, Protomen were surprisingly opening for TWRP. I was exhausted, sore and generally ill, but even through all that I could clearly see how hard the two acts were killing. TWRP have really blossomed from when I last saw them. They’re still all costumed, but it feels like their garb has all been overhauled and updated. Their songs are absurdly wholesome, with running themes of everyone being capable of whatever they put their mind to, healthy body image, and the wonder of life. Very camp, very fun. The lead singer Doctor Sung was crazy athletic, doing high kicks, jumping straddles and nunchaku demonstrations. It was wild. I wish I hadn’t felt so munted that I had to leave early.

Cut to this morning. I still felt like shit, scratchy throat and generally achy. I knew the best thing to do would be to avoid the office and potentially contaminating others. So I did what any sane person would do and nixed the option of a sick day to work from home instead. Why? Why why why would I work from home instead of taking a sick day? That’s what sick days are for, convalescence. Staying home so you’re keeping yourself sequestered and tending to your malady. Getting healthy, so you can get back to work quicker and not linger in illness. I did not do that.

I once again ask myself why, and the answers are easy. I’m not saying that they make sense. I work as part of a team. If I’m sick, the work still needs to be done. Ergo, if I’m not there someone else has to do it. I don’t want others to be put out because of me, so I figure it’s usually better to work from home instead of taking a sick day if I’m still technically capable of getting the work done. Today, same thing. Which is monumentally stupid, because I cover for sick co-workers all the time and don’t complain. It’s not that big a deal. Yet somehow when it’s others covering for me, it feels like I’m dumping my shit on their lawn. Stupid. Also artificial scarcity. We have a limited number of sick days. I don’t know if I’m gonna get really sick all of a sudden and legit need those sick days. Thing is, I usually don’t. It’s rare that I take a sick day at all, thanks to the aforementioned bollocks above. Yet last year I broke my wrist and couldn’t work. The sick days were really helpful. I think we have something like 10 days per year, and I’ve probably used maybe 2 so far in 2019. The scarcity doesn’t exist. The real answer would’ve been to take the sick day and recover. Then tomorrow, probably back to work without strife.

Sure, it wasn’t like I couldn’t work today, but doing so wasn’t exactly helpful. I’ve been vigilant while home, in doing the best I can to heal quicker. I’ve done multiple saltwater gargles. I’ve had bone broth. I did garlic bread for lunch. I’ve tried to keep my fluid intake up. I’ve eaten a bunch of kimchi. Not because it’s necessarily a cure all (although it does have a ton of healthy bacteria), but because I wanted to eat kimchi. At the same time, I’ve been staring at a largely black and white screen full of text. It’s been a lot of eye strain, under unfavourable lighting conditions. It’s actively made me feel dizzy once or twice. Once again, I’m not dying, but this hasn’t helped. I’d wager it’s significantly less good than rest would’ve been.

So I guess I’ll feel marginal in the office tomorrow instead.