Like Swiss cheese, I’m seeing holes in my plans.

Does everyone like regular editions of “things Leon’s not allowed to complain about?” I hope so, because it’s happening.

This poly dating thing is hard. That’s my complaint. Oh, it gets better…

I’m finding poly dating to be difficult because I’m a guy.

Boo hoo, right? Here we go.

As a cis straight white male, I’m finding it hard to meet women who are interested in dating a cis straight white male who dates other women.

Take a second to absorb that, because essentially what I’m saying is that, as someone in a fulfilling, loving relationship I’m dissatisfied that it’s proving difficult to date people while being above board with the fact that I’m in a fulfilling loving relationship. It’s not just that I’m a relationship, it’s not just that I’m a cis straight white dude. It’s no secret that (and I’m generalising here), in a hetero-normative situation if a girl is interested in meeting guys, it’s much easier than the alternative. I might get one message a month on online dating. Most girls who I know who actively use the service get 20 or so a day. Maybe more. That’s without messaging anyone. This simply is not a reality for guys. Perspective females for the most part aren’t as desperate as guys to have sex, because it’s not as difficult to make that happen. I also happen to be unfairly picky. To add to this, I’m not just looking for random hook ups to have sex with. I’m looking for potential partners I could form meaningful longer term connections with. There’s the rub.

When I was searching for a relationship, I had standards in place. I’m not knocking that, everyone should have standards and things that they want. Everyone should have boundaries they feel comfortable within, dealbreakers and also things that light a fire in their heart. I have a lot. I construct complicated interlinking scaffolding that erects an enormous structure around myself, with only small gaps for people of exactly the right geometrical shape. What I’m saying is I don’t date squares. Dumb, considering my propensity for dad jokes. To enter this fortress of solitude, there’s a plesiosaur filled moat to swim through, scattered caltrops by the entrance and a barricaded door behind a flaming hoop. Provided you can pass all those shit-tests I’ve set up, once you’re inside it’s quite roomy and comfortable.

Now that I’m searching for someone else to give of myself to, I’m not inclined to drop those standards. I want someone interesting and engaging who elicits a response from parts of me that’re otherwise unstimulated. I want someone I can be around who allows me to be those facets of my personality that are hidden, waiting for someone who’ll appreciate them for what they are. My as far unsuccessful options have been online dating or meeting people within the poly community.

Thing is, I’m still not at a point where I’d consider trying polyamory to be a part of my identity. It’s just something I’m doing. I certainly can’t speak for people within the community, but I perhaps haven’t explored it enough to know better. I feel like I’m just dipping my toes at the moment, which leaves me hesitant to delve too far into this community lest I’m outed as a fraud or something. Some kind of charlatan putting on a ruse in order to infiltrate this foreign society. Yeah, so it’s not like that whatsoever. Most poly people I’ve met within the community have been friendly, interesting people. Thing is, I’m not looking to date someone because they’re poly. I’m looking to date someone because they’re awesome and they want to date me. I just don’t want the fact that I’m openly dating someone to be a complication. So far the people I’ve met are lovely, but none of them have sparked anything akin to romantic interest. Not a huge problem, there are other avenues to pursue.

Online, right? I’ve done online dating before and I have a ton of high percentage matches. Thing is, once I toggle my “looking for” section to include non-monogamy, my options are narrowed significantly. I’m finding myself messaging people I probably wouldn’t have messaged before just because they happen to be non-monogamous. Doesn’t that seem disingenuous? Like I’m putting their status above what I’m actually looking for? The other route I’ve taken is to look at normal matches and search their questions for the words “open” (in an attempt to see if they’ve answered their opinion on open relationships) or searching for the book “sex at dawn” in their profiles. Even then, I feel intimidated messaging people because I don’t want to offend anyone or waste their time with messages that won’t interest them. I mention at the top of my profile:

** I’m actually seeing someone at the moment, but one of the things I’m looking into is practicing mindful, ethical polyamory. I have very little idea how to actively pursue this, so it you’re not into it feel free to tell me to bugger off. I won’t be offended.**

I still wouldn’t want to message anyone who’s not into it though. I don’t want to burden anyone with unwanted solicitation. So in reality I’m my own worst enemy here, I’m not only putting barriers between myself and people I would date, but I’m then making more obstacles for myself to overcome in order to get to the people who would potentially want to date me. Making things easy isn’t my strong point.

So far I’ve had zero success. I’ve had one response, but attempts to actually put a date into place have been dismal. She’s cancelled on me three times. I understand she’s busy and has stuff on, I don’t blame her. At the same time it’s hard not to count this against her. I can see how little of a priority I am, which would be undesirable in a partner. I’m sure things would shift if we actually started dating, but if she’s that busy all the time that might be a dealbreaker. I generally like to be able to spend time with partners. It seems like the whole point of a relationship to me.

As it stands, I’ve been looking to try this poly thing for a while now, but I’ve had a grand total of no dates. My girlfriend is encouraging and supportive, but things still haven’t worked out. It’s a bummer, considering I’m part of a generation of people used to immediacy in our lives. I want things to happen right away, because the internet has taught me that life works that way. But it doesn’t. Things, like cheese, take time. People, like cheese, are worth it. But some of them, like cheese, smell.

So for the moment, I’m without any additional partners. I do however have a block of cheese. So I’m not truly alone.

A stitch in time saves much more than $9.

Because I’m a man of more than sufficient class and taste (I’m neither of those things), but less sufficient means, I’m selective when getting new things. Because I know very little about doing clothes (seriously, the button fell off my most common pair of pants and now they’ve basically fallen into non-use. I don’t own a needle or thread (causing me to keep the frayed thread that previously united button and pant), so I’d contemplated just throwing them out. Surely I’m a better person than that? They’re nice pants and only cost me $3 from a thrift store, but I want them to remain in my life. What’s a boy to do? I think that while clueless, I’m clued up enough to sew on a button. At least it’s not as difficult as ironing a shirt. That’s some SWAT team shit), I don’t buy new ones. I don’t know how to match stuff with things (though this result of 5 seconds’ googling should be a help), so I kind of need help finding fabrics and stitchings that work in concert with what I’ve got going on. I’m a hot mess that sometimes works out by some divine concordance. My disinterest in funnelling a lot of funds into something I’m fundamentally broke at achieving means that I place a limit on what I purchase. So when I find something that I can take home and make friends with, I’m afforded no small amount of personal satisfaction.

What I’m saying is that I now own a suit.

This means a suit is now something I could wear just whenever. Going to the dairy for a bottle of milk? Bam! I can now make it look like a business expense. In the line for an unemployment benefit? Bam! I now look like a formerly successful businessman who’s empire has fallen. I could even sleep in a suit if I so wanted, because it’s mine. That’s power.

It’s not much of a power suit though. It’s brown and would be crisp looking if it didn’t spend the last 24 hours sitting in a bag. So now I need to iron it. Damn, my weakness. It’s very 60s, so I’m working on a lavish moustache to go along with the thing. The thing that caught me the most however, was the price. Procured from a vintage boutique and starting at $275, it got priced down to $135 to shift it out the door. That didn’t work, so they just dropped it to $9. $9 for a full suit. Come to think of it, that’s how much it probably cost in its heyday. I spent more than that on breakfast this morning and breakfast didn’t open up a whole new world of costume possibilities. It also makes you question the abstract nature of value. How can something be perceived to have a particular price, then drop to 1/27th of that and still have it be acceptable? Money doesn’t mean anything, peeps. We’re living in a flawed system.

Anyway, the store was kind of neat. Called Cabaret Vintage, they had a store full of decadent old dresses and dapper blazers. They also had a basement where everything cost $9. Dress ups ensued. I tried on 10-15 suits, only finding one that fit (and even then, it wasn’t a perfect fit. It’s tough wearing a suit when you’ve got shoulders. How are you supposed to raise your arms? The whole experience was excellent though. Things ranged from the kitsch to the classy. There was an old raincoat that, judging by the weight, must’ve been made of lead. Putting it on, it barely stopped short of my toes. I felt like I was three children stacked on top of each other pretending to be an adult. The shirts were absurd and parachutesque. Everything sported ruffles and had cuffs that could only be secured with cufflinks. Things just felt too large, for the most part. A peculiar experience for me. I was like a child who’d raided my grandfather’s closet. My fingers barely cleared the sleeves and these double breasted suits could’ve likely fit if I’d had a third breast (on that note, I should ask a scientist how to get a third breast in case of necessary suit-wearing). Still, it was fun to take a little time travel to the 60s and understand that my non-standard body shape would make it just as tough to find a fit back then too. Time, the great equaliser.

Dildinosaurs and rapping professors. What else is new here?

Are there any rappers out there called Will-Da-Beast? What about Ry-No or Ape-raham? I guess I just like the melding of wild animals and street smart ethos, primarily because I love using the phrase “urban jungle”. Who doesn’t? What would my rap name be? I guess I’d feel obliged to be Leon the Prof as an ode to my lyrical academia and pop-cultural sensibilities. A name like Leon the Prof certainly speaks to my whiteness, something I find difficult to ignore.

On that note, I had a weird experience with colour today. Come As You Are were having their March Madness sale so I went along with my girlfriend to check it out. One of the things I found that I thought was equal parts neat and novelty (a noveltoy?) was a vibrating dildo mould. The idea of giving my girlfriend a personalised dildo was hilarious. When she mentioned that she’d have no hesitation in using my silicon simulacrum well, the naughtiness felt more than a little nice. On special for $10, we had a winner (wiener?). The catch? They only had it in dark skin tone. So it’d be like she had my black vibrating brother from another mother. In retrospect that sounds amusing and totally fine, but at the time the idea of representing myself somehow other than who I am felt weird, as if somehow disingenuous.

It’s strange, considering it would’ve just been an object. A sex toy is just a tool, there’s nothing animating it beyond batteries. I’ve never had an issue with jealousy over a toy for the usual reasons. While they’re great fun and can offer exciting pathways to new plateaus of pleasure, a toy can’t hug with real human warmth. A toy can make you feel physically splendid, but can’t listen to your feelings and respond thoughtfully. A toy can’t show compassion or make you feel like it’s pleasing you because it loves you and wants you to feel transcendant. A toy is just that, something to play with. At the end of the day, it’s not gonna remember your anniversary and write you a sweet card full of sentimental mush. It’s not gonna form memories that make you laugh till your guts are sore. It’s not gonna take care of you when you’re sick, call you just to check how your day is going or cheer you up when you’re having a hard time. A toy is lovely, but it’s not a lover.

So if I had’ve bought the dildo mould, I guess I would’ve had to give it a name. Maybe even a rap name, since I got one too. How about MC TOYSauRUS? PrehistoRick? If I’m gonna give a black penis mould of mine a name, is there any reason why I can’t make it a dinosaur too? Would it give saurgasms? Damn right it’d Bedrock her world.

One day someone’s gonna slap me for shit like this. Fitting, given my cheekiness.

Reviewing things. I’m a fan of this guy’s work and jumped at the chance to check him out live. Also any possibility of spending time in Massey Hall should be taken. That place is magical.

Can Competitive Erotic Poetry Slam Battle replace Snapchat now please?

I guess it’s fair to tag this one as a guest author entry. If that exists on here. Starting out as a fun, flippant message, an exchange between my girlfriend and I quickly became what I can only term as a silly “Competitive Erotic Poetry Slam Battle”. I think she won, but she thinks I won. I guess we’re both winners. Her passages are reprinted (with full permission) in italics. I caught me a smart one.

Stopping by to say I love you so.
Gotta go.

Fun, right? But I’m never one to let something go…

Girl I know that feel.
My love for you is real.
I’m full of zest and zeal,
supportive and leal.
This I do reveal,
in hopes you won’t repeal.
In that case I’ll appeal
and showcase my appeal.
Then clothes we might both peel,
I’ll show you my steel,
on my knees I’ll kneel
and make of you a meal.
Tongue slippery like an eel,
your breath I’ll seek to steal,
until you canst not squeal
and then your moans will peal.
Do we then have a deal?

I thought I’d done fine, but I was ill prepared for the comeback.

Boy, I’ll do you one better than a deal and a meal;
your love has got me high. Up I fly in the sky,
every day much better. 
In your bed I will lie, every way much wetter
than I’ve been now, I’m in now without a doubt.
The match has been lit and I’m not tapping out.
I’m about you, around you, and so I know
I’ll wrap my lips around you, never let you go.
Your hard and my soft are the best kind of match,
we start a fire, desire that burns and burns on.
Lighting a pyre, inferno that turns and turns on
like a record, setting us for beautiful things,
setting records, as to your sweaty form I cling.

I just rhymed the same sound. She had to go and bring extended metaphors into the mix (she’s a catch, right?). Still, cracking knuckles I crafted a response:

Girl that was slick, your words have me yearning from my head to my dick,
your love has me turning from lust to desire to get lost in your pyre.
Your flames they did catch, ill-content to sit, your heart found its match.
My tongue craves your clit while my brain craves your wit. It’s whittled away
a wanting to stray now I’m wanting to stay inside you all day but as time marches on,
the feeling gives way to my heart’s buoyant song. I see where you fly
and I’m floating right by you and nothing feels wrong, reaching out for your hand
to remove any doubt, with you I stand with both feet off the ground
and there’s no need to land while I trace your mound and cause you to shudder,
your heart all aflutter like wings beating utterly quick like your heart
as it starts to race, as your thoughts start to roam with a quickening pace
as this little poem makes you picture my smile
locking lips with yours right by your hips so

Yeah. We might be gross, but at least we’re gross together.

I ain’t even mad, brew.

My stats tell me that an intrepid reader found this page by googling “Mad Jacks Rum”. That’s a tick off the ol’ bucket list. I now feel like a public service, giving back to the masses, eager to engage in guilty pleasures of low class alcohol. Because unlike almost anything else, that’s something I can be considered an authority on.

Mad Jacks Rum, saviour of debaucherous New Zealand teens from Cape Reinga to the Bluff. Some might call it rum, but that’s a misnomer. It’s actually rum flavoured vodka, but is now a far cry from its glory days. Mad Jacks Gold Rum is its new incarnation (I say new, but it’s been singing its siren call to disenfranchised teens since May 2003). See, because alcohol is subject to delicious tax monies for politicians and adults just want to ruin everyone’s fun, low cost, high potency (read: dangerous) alcohols got extra tax dumped down all over them. Glibness aside, it was probably all for the best. There are many reasons that New Zealand has a vile binge drinking mentality and the availability of strong, cheap (I liked to say efficient) spirits doesn’t help young livers as much as it aids their wallet.

In any case, this rum flavoured vodka still costs $9.95 for a 1L bottle, but it’s a svelte 13.9% alcohol instead of a much headier 23%. 14 year old Leon would’ve raised a riot, but 28 year old Leon is content to muse that it was probably for the best. It’s a wonder how little issues seem to rankle your ire once you’ve ascended their reach. If it’s not in your relevant period, it’s not relevant. Period.

Mad Jacks’ bedmate Kristoff Vodka never really appealed, because if you can imagine foul tasting water and shitty vodka, it was a hybrid of their worst attributes. Mad Jacks on the other hand had a taste that could easily be masked by coke’s caramelly confection. Or, y’know, you could skull it straight from the bottle. If your liver is untarnished, you can do some damage before things get truly vile. It also has the failsafe vomit response, cleansing you from all ills. You’re a teenager, you’re indestructible, right?

I think back to my first dalliance with Mad Jacks. Waay back in 2001. It was a different world back then. 9/11 (or 11/9 if you were to flip the dates for down under relevance) had yet to happen and the innocence made us feel indomitable. Ah, who am I kidding? We were all angsty teens who just wanted to be liked. What’s changed? It was the Shakespeare production cast party (because despite an abiding love of The Bard, let’s just say the existence of a ritualistic illegal drinking occasion didn’t exactly hamper our desire to be involved) and my best mate had procured a fine bottle of rum flavoured vodka.

There was reassurance in the gnarly swashbuckling pirate visage on the bottle, armed with two cutlasses. With another friend, we didn’t crossbone so much as skulled that bottle, chugging away as much as soon as possible. The rest of the night was a buoyant blur. Things seemed hyper-real. Conversation flowed smoothly, unfettered by nerves and the aforementioned angst. Confidence emboldened my spirit. We danced, joked, sang. I kissed a girl (and I liked it), then almost too soon the post midnight hour struck and we scampered off home.

We realised with some mirth that my mate had accidentally lifted a Victorian hat from the costume department. We chuckled through the neighbourhood, causing lightheaded mischief as only drunk teens could. We all took turns vomiting in assorted bushes on the way home and stumbled back to bed. Truly a picture book in the making. I awoke in the morning to parents, guardians of propriety and responsibility. They cooked me eggs and noted my frazzled state. “Obviously we know what you got up to tonight. You’re probably feeling pretty rough right now, so this should help. We’re sure this won’t be the last time, but it’s the one time we’re on your side. Everybody gets one. This is your responsibility now. We love you and trust you and want to keep trusting you. Just try not to mess up too bad.”

I turned out alright, didn’t I?

Nipping tuck rules.

Tonight’s topic (you mean I actually have a cohesive train of thought sometimes?) will be irrelevant for most of you. I’m not gonna lie, marginalising the majority here gives me no end of pleasure.

In any case, tonight I’m ranting about the new Magic the Gathering EDH/Commander rules that’ve come into effect. So if this isn’t up your alley, abandon all hope. Or just come back tomorrow.

Truthfully I can’t be bothered making links to every card I refer to here. If you have Autocard Anywhere it’d be super handy. You should probably have it anyway, it’s a great Chrome extension.

By now if you’ve got any interest in the format it’s likely you’ve heard about the changes. The manifest stuff isn’t really significant, so we’ll ignore that. The big rule that’s been making waves and rustling jimmies worldwide is the change to the “tuck” rule. I could quote the official ruling, but basically if your commander would be returned to your hand or library, you can return it to the command zone as a replacement effect. Let that sink in.

Done? Not yet? I’ll give you another second or two.

Okay, time’s up.

Now that we’ve thought it over, how many tuck cards does this ruling affect? I’m guessing maybe 13, 6 or 7 of those being commonly played in the format.

Let’s go through the big ones:

Chaos Warp – Red’s answer to problem permanents it’d be otherwise unable to touch. Despite getting powered down, this is still a great solution to deal with enchantments or high toughness creatures.

Oblation – Yeah, this was hit pretty hard. Still, much like Chaos Warp it’s also a versatile toolbox card for white to deal with a variety of problems.

Hinder and Spell Crumple – You might want to shift up to more powerful counterspells now. Keep in mind these can still take care of dominant graveyard-centric cards, but they’ve been taken down a notch or twelve.

Terminus and Hallowed Burial – Excepting the graveyard shenanigans thing, there’s probably no reason to play these any more.

Spin into Myth – It was barely playable before, but it won’t see the light of day now.

Bant Charm – Still a hugely playable, relevant card. Anyone sobbing over this can call the waambulance.

Condemn – Yeah, it’s kind of meh now. Still one mana though.

Deglamer and Unravel the Aether – Purely to deal with the God Commanders. If you were playing single target artifact/enchantment kill you’d probably still run these to deal with graveyard shite.

These spells (with the still playable exceptions of Chaos Warp, Deglamer and Unravel the Aether) are all blue/white. Green/Black/Red (I haven’t forgotten Chaos Warp, but it’s one card out of thousands) still don’t have access to these solutions and they were fine the whole time. Before you go on and gripe yeah, but these were colour pie effects of U/W. Of course the other colours didn’t have access to them. We still want to be special there’s a host of cards to reconsider (also I’m reminded of when counterspells were powered down. Blue players decried the death of a colour. Turns out it’s still a viable strategy, it’s just not totally dominant any more). Need you be reminded that if you wanted versatile ways of handling these generals you still have Nevermore, Declaration of Naught, Prison Term, Faith’s Fetters and Meddling Mage up your sleeves? Oh, you say, these are all tied to a permanent that’s fragile. Yep. You’re complaining you don’t have a near final solution (implication 100% cheekily implied) to deal with your opponent’s commander? I think what you’re looking for is a denial strategy, or a way to leverage your fun against the opponent’s by preventing them from accessing the card they’ve likely built their whole deck around (the relevant counterpoint to this is when it comes to oppressively powerful commanders. Give me a few paragraphs, there’s a lot to talk about here). The cards I’ve mentioned above give you breathing room and necessary tempo to enable your fortifications without entirely hosing a player out of a game. Do you know what kind of player doesn’t care much about whether their general is accessible or not? Players who choose generals purely for their colours, usually ending up in some kind of “5 colour goodstuff” arrangement. They’re looking to play strong cards that dominate the game irrespective of the flagship element of the format.

Supporting the meek.

That’s the rub and the crux of this whole rules change. The thing that really separates the EDH format from others is the existence of your general. As such, it encourages players to conform their deck around synergies and allows you to try cards that would otherwise never see the light of day in the most mainstream formats. Ever made a Chisei, Heart of Oceans deck? How about Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder? Experiment Kraj? Mayael the Anima? Homura, Human Ascendant? Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker? On that note, almost anything from the Kamigawa block? These decks operate about as well as doors do when the hinge holding them together disappears completely. They crash and burn (if your door vandal also happened to be a pyromaniac). Seriously, the number of times I’ve sat behind a field of permanents that fail to muster up any meaningful plays is manifold. It’s totally crushing and creates a harshly joyless play experience. You came to Twiddle permanents, not twiddle your thumbs. What this change does is makes it possible for a lower powered deck to maintain a presence at the table, rather than being hobbled and sitting around as a target. It still slows things down when your general dies, but you’re not totally debilitated. The format was created to be a fun and creative, showcasing all manner of new interactions and big splashy plays. These kind of rules changes facilitate that intent.

General Dickishness.

Now one of the more vocal arguments I’ve heard comes from control players being incapable of dealing with problematic generals. Your problematic generals would likely be cards like Sharuum the Hegemon, Deveri, Empyrial Tactician, Purphoros, God of the Forge, Uril, the Miststalker, Sigarda, Host of Herons, Rafiq of the Many, Zur, the Enchanter, Prossh, Skyraider of Kher, Jhoira of the Ghitu and Maestrom Wanderer. Deveri was a mistake by Wizards, no way of getting around that one. The card was created to deliberately subvert an essential component of the format. Turns out that’s silly. The rest of the generals are generally (not an intentional pun) kind of dickish. They’re widely played because they’re so powerful. Because they’re so powerful, players say it’s necessary that they have silver bullets to battle them back. That argument makes sense in a vaccuum, but we don’t exist in a vaccum. It’s not like, because these tools exist, they’ll only be used on these dickish generals. Silver bullets kill non-werewolves too and every general is fair game, including those more fragile, creative commanders. If you have one of these answers are you really not gonna play it against the weaker general, instead leaving it clogging up your hand? Then you’re not playing your deck to its full extent. If these kind of answers weren’t necessary, this problem wouldn’t exist. So here’s where we move to the next paragraph.

A social contract?

There’s nothing wrong with a style of play involving these dominant generals, but they don’t really mesh well with the weaker ones. What the whole situation really requires is a kind of tacit social contract. If you’re both playing strong decks, then go on, have fun (or not fun) battling it out to degeneracy. You’ll all do unfair things and everyone will have their grumbles, but you’ll be on level playing fields. If there is a shitty commander making things difficult for the table, multiplayer politics will (in 90% of cases) handle it and even things out. If you’re not playing multiplayer? Well there’s a reason tuck effects were already nullified in French EDH/Duel Commander. It creates a massive disparity. The main problem here is when you’re mixing upper tier generals with more casual ones. Surely if you have a really strong deck, you know it before the game starts. You already know everyone’s general before play begins. If you have a sense that you’re playing with a much higher tier general then perhaps take a second and reconsider. Couldn’t you pull out something else? By all means, go to a knife fight with a submachine gun, but know that it’s not gonna be nearly as satisfying as a more balanced, healthy competition.

This took longer than I expected.

In summation, the rules council of EDH generally operate around the best interests of the format. It’s not like this kind of thing was just decided yesterday and issued in a fast-tracked decree. These will no doubt have been rigorously playtested to see what overarching effect they have. You know, I was disappointed when Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant and Braids, Cabal Minion could no longer be played in your 99 cards (excluding general), but the effect on the format really hasn’t been a negative one. At the end of the day, you’re still free to operate under house rules. If these changes really irk you that much then disregard them while playing in your friend group. For that same token, if there are super oppressive generals being played in your group, then make a banned list of unfair generals. This sucks if you’ve spent money making a deck, but if your friends aren’t gonna want to play against that deck then you wouldn’t be getting use out of it with them anyway. Save it for other groups who’re into that kind of thing.

Or try Tiny Leaders. It sounds neat.