Linked in logs

This was supposed to be done hours ago.

But nOOOooo, my girlfriend had to remind me that it was such a nice daaAAAAy, and suggested I’d probably really like biking to wOOoooOOrk. And she was rIIIiiight, but still. I barely have the attention span to write this while on the subway. I doubt I would’ve gotten very far holding it in one hand while the other held the handlebar of my bike. I’ve yet to entirely clear my handlebars with my airbourne body (not that it’s a goal of mine. What can I say? I aim low), but that would’ve been a surefire method.

I was talking with a friend last night about our weird little community. It’s an oddity and a treasure all wrapped into one. These disparate people have become a family of sorts. We help and support one another. It’s the larger part of my social circle. Lines of intimacy and romance are often crossed, given that most of us are poly. It’s probably my single favourite thing about Toronto. This friend and I were talking about the group [you can say “cult”, this is a safe space -Ed], and how it’s shaped us. Without question, I would not be the person who I am today without these folks. They’ve helped shape my views and let me to understand conflicts I otherwise never would’ve. They’ve enriched my life with perspectives and knowledge. They’ve normalised affection between friends, which has defined how I interact with people I care about. My friend and I pondered having never found this group at all. She joined by total mistake, accidentally clicking the wrong Facebook link. She stuck with it and was welcomed in.

I thought back to the chain of events that led me there and started pulling. I met the group through my girlfriend, who was friends with some of the founding members. I met her at a sex positive community party. I was introduced to that party through a live sex storytelling event. I knew about the storytelling event through one of its hosts, who I met on OkCupid. But of course it goes further back than that. I met her because I was in Toronto. I was in Toronto because I’d immigrated from New Zealand. Buuuut, the reason I went to Toronto was because of some guy I’d met at a party. I was planning on living in Vancouver because I had family there, but was largely ignorant of Canada as a whole. This guy was like “you’re looking to find a media job, right? Skip Vancouver, it’s sleepy and Toronto is media central in Canada.” I followed his advice.

But why was he at that party? Because he was a friend of someone I met through local community theatre. Why did I join said community theatre? Because of a high school drama classmate/friend. So had I not met this friend through high school drama, would I have met this group here in Toronto? Maaaaybe another event would’ve triggered meeting him. Or perhaps someone else would’ve given me that idea, but here’s where it gets tricky. I only went to Toronto when I did because of a break up. I was with someone at the time in a long term relationship. If we hadn’t have broken up, I probably would’ve stayed in that relationship for years. Moving to Canada would’ve either never happened, or happened years after it did while I waited for my partner at the time to be ready for the move.

So y’know what? There was a pretty slim chance, all things considered, that I’d bike to work today. I guess that makes me lucky?

Check, please. I need something to watch

It’s time for an all new, all confident Leon.

Instead of telling people I know a thing or two about a topic, I’m gonna lead by saying that I know two things, and watch their goddamn jaws drop to the fucking floor.

I’ve figured out that I like dating shows. I enjoy putting on my judgey pants and trash talking the contestants. That said, I need to have characters to root for, and heavy handed production (think musical swells, obviously leading editing) makes me want to puke up my anus. Bravo TV kind of stuff is more trashy than I like. I just want to watch people go on dates, and make my own little hero/villain narratives, while vicariously judging all of their choices. Part of this was realising I’m actually quite into Married at First Sight: Couples Couch. To be clear, I think MAFS is super exploitative and gross, buuuut having live commentary from previous couples watching the episode is a really fascinating look at how different couples approach problem solving and issues. It’s quite engrossing. They’ll say things like “it sounds like she wants to ask for support, but by doing it in that way she’s directly antagonising him and pushing him away” or something. They talk about the situation in light of their own experiences, etc, and that’s kind of neat.

At a friend’s recommendation (that I later discovered wasn’t actually a personal recommendation, they just heard that the show existed) watched the first episode of Netflix’s Love is Blind last night. Egads, I hated it. Love is Blind, from the first episode at least, was goddamn boring. It felt like a combination of weak talent and terrible content selection. None of the contestants were charming, interesting or likeable. This seemed especially weird, because there were all these contestants who don’t get screen time. They seemed to fixate on four couples max. I want to hear about the virgin dude with the weird swollen Ken Doll face, aside from him just being a punch line. People are inherently fascinating, so how was the talent so milquetoast?

Moreover, the clips that the show chose were resoundingly uninteresting. Did they just not get any good material on film? Especially because everyone seems to be dialled up to 10. They’re so desperate to either make an impression on their potential partners or the audience, that it feels like people are acting. In the first episode you have a marriage proposal or two, which feels like an absurdly rushed and unearned timeline. MAFS at least lets you know what you’re in for right from the start. Love is Blind feels even more unrealistic, and potentially more exploitative. I’m not, however, sure who’s exploiting whom. Are participants just looking to parlay their appearance into a spin-off show or something? Garner minor celebrity and use this to further their own cultural capital? With Bravo TV stuff it’s usually unnecessarily trashy, but it felt like Netflix wanted this show to look classy. As a result it flies so close to the ground that it sorta flat lines.

What is the show for me, folks? I thought Dating Around was okay. I also think a good distinction is that I don’t like competitions. I like seeing people actually go on dates, where the conflict is will or won’t they match? I don’t care who “wins” the heart of the Bachelor, because that seems like an inherently stupid and flawed system. I want to see normal people in normal social situations and vicariously gauge how I’d treat the same situation. I want to watch things work out between two people, or collapse into a tyre fire.

Got any good show suggestions?

Back to the Grindrstone

Hey friends and strangers. I had my first ever hookup on Grindr last night, and decided to do an AMA with friends to talk about it. What follows is without a doubt not safe for work, and I want to give people the chance to opt out before reading if that’s something they’re incredibly not into. So if that’s you, maybe leave now?

 

Welcome all. Let’s kick this off. I’ve got coffee and oatmeal on hand and I’m ready to answer some questions. Also if people are only here to lurk, that’s fine too.

Q: Did you guys do the smoochies?
A: We definitely did the smooches.

Q: What motivated this male date?
A: It’s something I’ve been thinking of for a while. It’s not my first sexual experience with another guy, but I’ve been curious/interested for a while and wanted to see how I felt with a more one on one encounter. I’ve taken my time and checked in with myself over what my comfort levels were, what kind of experiences I was looking to have, and figured now was a fine time. Plus I had two days off, so lots of down time.
Q: How long did you converse (online or in-person) before getting physical?
A: Maybe a few hours. He’d messaged yesterday at around 2am, and yesterday I was actively interested in having a hookup. I messaged him back around 7pm, and we chatted a little about expectations, what we were both into, etc. He said to come over around 11pm, and he was a mere 500 metres away from home. I appreciated the convenience most of all.

Q: Also how did you find the overall Grindr experience? Was it hard to connect with someone?
A: Grindr is fucking nuts. People will lead with dick pics, and be very straightforward about what they’re looking for. That part is actually fantastic, it cuts through so much admin type stuff and gets right to it. I didn’t feel bad about rejecting or not replying to people, because I knew they’d be fine and it’d be easy for them to meet others. I’m sure this experience is probably pretty familiar for women on dating sites, but it was very new for me. Over 500 profile views in 24 hours, upwards of 60 messages.

Q: Did you learn anything new about yourself through this experience?
A: Honestly, it really reaffirmed that I’m a natural switch. I had this idea that I wanted subby experiences with guys, and yet during the experience I had to try really hard to reel myself back from taking charge. I also had some misguided idea that I’d be fundamentally different after the experience, but I was very surprised at how nothing whatsoever changed. I’m the same me I always was, and the thought of how vehement people are about homosexuality is fucking absurd. Like, I’d already stuck stuff in my butt before, it’s not like I’m at all a different person now.

Q: What drew you to this person over any others?
A: Firstly, they lived very close, and that was convenient. But also they listed stuff in their profile that I was interested in. Dom, well hung, they were attractive, and through our conversation it was evident that they were interested in having an experience where both of us would be comfortable and could have fun. I chatted with other people (and was close to doing something on Monday), but the guy couldn’t be bothered leaving his place to meet up in public first. With this guy, I felt comfortable enough to just go straight over to his place.

Q: How open were you with your date about the experience you were looking for, and how was it received?
A: I was entirely open. I told him I was bi/pan and partnered, that I’d had a handful of experiences with guys over the years, but I’d never taken a physical dick in my butt. I told him that I’d probably be a little bit of a newbie and might need to go slow with some stuff. He was A-Ok with all that. It was also kind of great knowing that this was a disposable experience. We both put out the stuff that we were interested in, kind of cross checked the lists and went “great, now we know the stuff each other wants”, and that really helped make the experience more gratifying. Zero pretence.

Q: What was your favorite moment(s)?
A: So there was this moment I was sitting on him. Feet up on the bed, shaft all the way in and I started giggling. He asked me what was up. I replied that there was this thing that happens with farmers and cows. If farmers need to give cows medicine, they do it rectally. They shove their whole arm right up in there. Now, if the cow farts, the muscles of its rectum all tighten up and break the farmer’s arm, and that was all I was thinking about right then. But luckily I didn’t need to fart.

Q: What was the dick like?
A: Bigger than me, that’s for sure. Long shaft, slightly curved. Very nice dick.

Q: Did you just use the free app or did you get the upgrades?
A: Dude, I still torrent. There’s no way I’m paying for an app. Free all the way.

Q: I know that you had met specifically for the hookup, but did you do anything outside of sexual activity (e.g. Netflix, video games, etc.). If so, was it enjoyable or awkward?
A: We were mostly there for the sex, but took breaks every once in a while. After we were all done, he’d cum and we were both exhausted, we laid back and listened to some music. He played this R&B artist Emily King who I’m listening to right now. It was nice. We did that for maybe ten minutes, then I got dressed and went. It was a nice experience, but I certainly didn’t feel any romantic connection and that was okay. He was kind, respectful and patient, and I couldn’t have asked for more.

Q: So you had anal? Was this new, or have you had it before (pegging, solo toys, etc.)? Was it stressful letting a stranger put it in your butt?
A: Anal was new for me. I have toys, but nothing huge. I’d never done it with an actual boner before. I was straight up and told him, also saying that if I really wasn’t into it, I’d just suck him off or something. He was great at easing me in, starting with fingers. He did one, two, three, and gradually opened me up, checking in that it was okay at each stage. I smoked some weed beforehand, hoping that it was relax me enough to enjoy it, and it helped a bunch. It wasn’t stressful, but it was intense and different getting used to unfamiliar sensations. A number of times I gave him a double tap and we paused for as long as I needed.

Q: Did you strictly bottom and assume more of a subby role for this encounter? You didn’t switch with each other throughout? The ol’ swapparoo?
A: I was strictly interested in the bottom/subby experience, and he wasn’t interested in the alternative anyway. We didn’t switch, For me, the idea of status play is fun, and it kind of feels like acting. Getting into a character and going with it. I had thought that maybe it would spark something in me, and afterwards I’d be like “oh this is what I was missing”. It wasn’t that life changing. I like subby stuff, and maybe it’s taught me that I’d be interested in incorporating more femdom into my sex life, but I also like taking control and giving back, and I think I just learned that it’s more of a contextual, experienced based thing for me. Plus, I’m naturally a helper, and it’s easier for me to focus on others’ pleasure than my own. Always.

Q: What is their (first) name? What did they look like? What did they smell like? What did you like most and least about a) their appearance, b) vibe, c) personality d) interests?
A: I’m terrible with names. I asked it twice, then instantly forgot each time. I honestly don’t know what his name is. He was a taller guy, soft feminine features. Not muscular, but more cuddly? Black guy, short hair and no facial hair. I have virtually no sense of smell, so I don’t remember what he smelled like. It meant a lot to me that he was kind, and willing to go at my pace. He was a touring musician, so it was pretty cool to hear a little about that, and listen to music afterwards. We honestly didn’t spend a ton of time not having sex though?

Q: How does he identify? Gay? Bi? Pan?
A: Gay, definitely. We didn’t talk a bunch about it, but it sounded like he had a bunch of casual partners, some more serious, and really enjoyed being able to have experiences.

Q: Did you talk about safe sex practices prior to doing it? i.e. testing, condom use, safewords, whatever else?
A: We did! We started off on the app talking about what we’d like to do to each other, sexual interests, etc, and getting each other warmed up. Then I was like: Sidebar, let’s get the boring admin stuff out of the way. Have you been tested, do you have anything I should be aware of? Or tension points for me to consider? Are you good with me giving a double tap every now and again if I need to pause or slow down? Condoms were a non-negotiable, and he was in for that.

Q: But was the dick PINK?
A: It was naaaaaaught, but I guess I answered this one further up.

Q: Did you not come?
A: I didn’t. This isn’t an anomaly for me. It usually takes me a while with a new partner before I do (though not always), and part of that is comfort and easing into the experience. I also lean pretty demisexual, so romantic interest is kinda important in having more gratifying encounters. Which I guess begs the question of why I’m looking for casual hookups? In a way, it’s research. I’m interested in finding out what kind of stuff I like. I don’t know if I’m romantically interested in guys, if I just like cock or being dominated, or if I do like guys romantically, but the puzzle pieces haven’t come together yet, and these experiences will help me put together a picture of what I would like my experiences outside cis women to be. I’m open to it, I’ve got zero shame around the idea, but I want to figure out what I’m into before diving in headfirst.

Q: How long was it from arriving at the house to doing it? How long was the doing it?
A: There was very little pretence. Maybe 3 minutes between walking into his room and getting down to stuff. I told him I wanted to smoke some weed first. I stripped down to my underwear, he invited me onto the bed. We made out and felt each other up a bunch. Then I was like “pause, I’d like to have that smoke now” so I did, then we got back to it. The overall experience was about two hours with short breaks.

Q: Were you hard while you were bottoming?
A: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It varied, and wasn’t consistent. I honestly haven’t figured out to what degree I like penetration. At first it wasn’t so much painful, but getting into my head and telling myself to relax. That these sensations were new, and I was safe. We took probably a solid ten minutes to go from the tip to the shaft going in all the way. It was very intense and new, it felt better as we went on, but never to a point where I was like “oh this is fucking great and my new favourite thing.” It was more a feeling of “oh shit, there’s a very intense, non-painful but non-pleasurable sensation, and it’s distracting me enough that I can’t enjoy the pleasure part of this equation.” So not bad, but still an experience I have to work on, to see how much I enjoy it.

Q: Anticipating anal, did you do any particular prep (different cleaning, diet, etc)?
A: So the day before, when I was anticipating having an experience, I used a little douche bulb at home beforehand. Then nothing eventuated. Yesterday I was thinking about it, but also thinking more about the fact that we needed eggs, bananas and cottage cheese. So I went to the supermarket instead of douching, and hoped that wasn’t taboo. The part where this gets very interesting, is that we talked about whether or not he subbed. He said that he didn’t, he was so so on the experience and moreover, he didn’t want to have to eat a sub’s diet. I was like PLEASE TELL ME MORE. And he was like well, subs typically have a super high fibre diet to keep themselves flushed out. I was like ZOMG, I’ve had a subby diet for years and didn’t know it. So it turned out I was naturally flushed out enough that douching wasn’t necessary.

Q: Are strap-ons of interest to you now?
A: I’ve used strap ons before, but not much. I do like the idea, but part of this process is unravelling comfort levels and understanding what I’m okay asking for. I think for a long time, there’s been an innate element of shame and confusion surrounding asking to be dominated by women. I’ve found that in hetero sexual connections, there’s an assumption that the guy will take charge or be dominant, so it’s been hard to get the gumption up to ask for the alternative without feeling like maybe it’ll change the way I’m seen, or lead to a loss of respect from my partner. Dumb stuff that happens when you soak up years worth of mainstream societal rhetoric and 90s gay panic jokes. I like oral stuff a bunch, and it turns out this goes for all genders.

Q: Was he funny?
A: Nope. Personality wise, I can’t imagine why we’d hang out otherwise. I certainly didn’t feel any kind of connection, and it felt transactional, but compassionate.

Q: Did you like that it was a purely sexual experience? You’ve described yourself as demi before but this sounds like a straight up raw dog (with protection).
A: It was a very refreshing experience to have zero pretence. We sorted out the ballpark of what we wanted over Grindr, then turned up and did the sex. I think that having a personal connection is important to my sexual experiences, and I imagine that most of my Grindr hook ups may be unsatisfying to an extent because of this. At the same time, I’m using it as research to hopefully figure out what I like, then seek that out once I’ve got a better idea.

Q: Is there a spreadsheet available of said Mr. Sub diet?
A: I haven’t released my celebrity diet regime yet. But basically for breakfast every day I have oatmeal with added banana, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, nutritional yeast and peanut butter. Lunch is often tuna and crackers with an apple. Dinner is steamed veggies (cabbage, broccoli, carrots) with cottage cheese, two eggs and kimchi.

Q: What was that gag reflex tip you mentioned a while ago?
A: I totally thought about that when I gagged once or twice. So the tip that I read on the internet (and like, weirdly works) is to grab your left thumb in your right fist and squeeze for 14 seconds. I don’t even know if the left/right thing is important, but it’s weird how well it works.

Q: Would you do it again (with the same person or with a different person)?
A: I’d do it again. It’s definitely not something that I’m like “shit, I need to organise as many hook ups as possible”. If it took a week, a month, six months to have another one, I’m not bothered. I feel thankful that I’m secure enough in myself, with my community and friends, and in a supportive relationship whereby I can take this at whatever speed I choose. As I said, the guy was very nice, but I don’t know if the vibe was precisely what I was looking for. At this stage I’m looking to explore and figure stuff out, so I’d rather meet more people and try different things. I don’t think he’s necessarily expecting a follow up, but said I was welcome to drop him a message any time if I wanted to fool around. Who knows? If I find that I have a real taste for it, maybe I’ll message him again.

Q: Were you worried you’d show up and he would be not-cute, or have a bad personality?
A: Somewhere between half to not at all. I was excited about the experience. We’d sent pictures beforehand, and worked each other up a little. I feel super privileged to have an amount of imbued confidence, being a guy and having that physical stature to be able to take care of myself. I had no qualms that if at any point something didn’t feel right, if I wasn’t into it/him, or a boundary was crossed, that I would get dressed and walk at the drop of a hat. Plus I was close to home, so the stakes were so so low.

Q: Would you recommend Grindr as an option for people who are looking to experiment/explore?
A: I would. I was surprised at how straightforward the process was. As someone who’s done a ton of online dating and is used to sending maybe 15 unique messages for every one I get returned, it was incredibly flattering to be desired and a little objectified. It was also a little overwhelming. Every time you sign in, people see that you’re online and you get a flood of messages. It felt very easy to dismiss people without worry. If someone showed interest and I was like “oh, I like the look of them”, I could respond, but there was no necessity over it. I also think it’d be helpful for me to do a post asking for advice, safety tips etc. Before the experience I got in touch with a good friend and asked them if they’d be okay if I used them as a safety person. If I was in a scenario I felt a little cagey about, could I let them know where I’d be, and get in contact if I needed help or support extricating myself. I didn’t message said friend about it last night, because I felt pretty good about the experience going in.

Q: Did you put your dicks in each other’s dicks.
A: Negative. There was dicking, but no docking.

Q: Do you like sucking dick?
A: I do. As I said above, I’m naturally a helper. I really like facilitating pleasure, and it’s super gratifying to see someone’s eyes roll back, or feel their body respond. Sucking dick kind of makes me feel slutty, in a way that eating pussy doesn’t. That’s a fun experience in itself. It does feel like there’s a lot more you can do with a pussy, more ways to be creative, but maybe that’s just because I’m more used to it. I tried bringing a bunch of that in, playing with tempo, sensations, different parts of the cock, etc. So I think I like the way sucking cock makes me feel, but I find it far more fun to go down on pussy. Who knows? It’s still a new experience for me.

Q: What was the mood of the sexy time, did you have fun banter and laughing, or was it intense and passionate, or was there nice dirty talk, etc?
A: It varied. It never felt like the experience was too intense that I wasn’t in control. Physically it alternated between intense and tender. I think I would’ve liked him to be a more vocal dom/top, and that would’ve lifted the experience. It felt easier doing dirty talk, which I sometimes struggle with, because the encounter felt more disposable. I feel like with partners who I have social connections, I’m hesitant to push into too many new areas too quickly, because of a worry that this might fundamentally alter people’s comfort levels within the friendship/relationship. Not having that strata surrounding it made it a lot easier to ask for what I wanted, which was gratifying. I didn’t feel passion, which made me feel slightly distant from the encounter.

Q: Did he laugh when you mentioned the farmer cow thing?
A: He did, but it also felt like my sense of humour was very different from his, so there wasn’t really back and forth banter in the manner that would make an experience super gratifying for me.

Q: After this experience do you feel like you could date a guy?
A: Not right away. I don’t have any objections or qualms to dating guys, but I think I need a better understanding of what it is that draws me in first and what I’m attracted to. It’s kind of turned around the way I look at things, and now I need to recalibrate to better understand what I seek. Full disclosure, kissing is super important to me in a relationship, and I’ve never had a kiss with a guy that I’ve enjoyed much. Like, sure, I’ve been with women who were average kissers, but most guys so far haven’t kissed the way I like.

Q: “After this experience do you feel like you could date a guy?” Is it a style thing or is it that you don’t feel that intense attraction in the same way?
A: I’m definitely attracted to guys, but not in the same way. It’s more of a sexual thing, and it’s probably that I haven’t reframed paradigms enough to see guys as valid romantic partners. It may come with time, or maybe I won’t. I’m happy for things to work themselves out eventually, in whatever way that manifests. I’m still exponentially more attracted to women, but it seems really myopic, knowing that I am attracted to guys, not to act on it. The biggest credit here comes to the years and years of protest and defiance from the queer community, plus the company I keep. Non-hetero connections have been normalised to the extent that it seems stupid not to act on them if I have an interest. I don’t lose anything of myself by doing so, and that’s a hell of a freedom/privilege.

 

I might call it there folks. I’ve gotta have a shower and get ready for work. This has been fun, and I sincerely hope y’all have gotten a kick out of it, sated curiosities of experiences you’re not necessarily looking for yourself, or emboldened you to examine the experiences you’d like to have and recalibrate for yourself. It was fascinating for me, and I’m very happy to share that with others. Also ever thankful for the endless support I get from friends and my partner that have enabled me to delve into new things without feeling pressure, stress or shame. That’s a big fucking deal, and I’m very lucky to have it. It’s 2020, y’all.

It’s me, I’m the one who watches

Well Watchmen was a goddamn satisfying endeavour.

I’m not gonna do spoilers. I don’t know what the statute of limitations on a highly critically regarded 2019 HBO show based off a popular graphic novel series is, but I feel like we’re still within it.

I like the Watchmen universe, and I rarely think about it. I read the graphic novels in my early 20s and thought they were fantastic. Totally gripping. The Snyder film came along and it was kind of meh. It had a slavish reverence for the source material, right down to framing. The only times they tried anything different were when they changed the action to better reflect the popular Wushu trend The Matrix brought in, and Snyder’s trademark brand of unnecessary slow motion/zoom shit.

I came into the Watchmen TV show expecting a dour rumination on racial politics in a small American town. Instead I got a vibrant and colourful show, caked in bizarre and specific humour. Watchmen is endlessly imaginative and actually builds on the IP it inherited in fascinating ways. The racial politics aren’t remotely throw away. Instead the show uses its platform to examine themes of racially motivated violence, prejudice, and inherited intergenerational trauma. Unlike the Snyder film, they deviate from the source material in ways that only strengthen the world-building. Much like the Snyder film, the needle drops are a little on the nose, but not enough to bring down the show.

The structure of the series is awesome too. The first half centres around developing its most prominent characters. It builds up a butt-ton of mysteries, and ties them up in the back few episodes in a pretty satisfying manner. There’s nuance to the characters, and their trauma is a pathway into greater understanding of the society they inhabit. It also has this nice little trick that it does a few times. It’ll put you into a scene where you’re like, okay this is slightly weird, but I guess I’m in. Then it’ll zoom out just a little bit and you’ll be like oh, OH SHIT.

I think over time I’ve become naturally hardened to reboots, etc. When there are so many new ideas waiting out there in the wings, it’s massively disappointing to be fed the same old content. Yes, there are only 7 types of stories, etc, but there are infinite untold ways to tell those stories and so much colour with which to inhabit a world. At the same time, I do understand that corporations are hesitant to waste money, so they rely on pre-sold content. A Star Wars will always make money, because at least a certain number of people will watch a Star Wars. In this post MCU landscape, it’s not like people don’t make new superhero IP or adaptations all the time. People love The Boys, right? I didn’t see any reason for a new Watchmen show to exist, and I’m happy to say in writing how wrong I was. Watchmen is not a reboot, but actually builds upon the original in all new ways. It’s not pointless, they used their big platform to tell a new story that raised all sorts of interesting quandaries, ideas and themes. Dare I say that I’d be open to more of this stuff?

On that note, how is Hulu’s High Fidelity reboot?

Why are people so thirsty in winter? There’s water everywhere

I’m having a hard time writing this right now, because I keep getting distracted.

I’m gonna level with y’all. I just installed Grindr. Don’t worry, this entry isn’t going into NSFW territory. I think it’s worth talking about why I installed it, and my experience with the app in the mere hour(!) it’s been installed.

For some time, I’ve been interested in exploring same sex attractions. It’s something that’s slowly grown over time, perhaps as I’ve been more acclimatised to queer spaces. It’s certainly normalised queer relationships for me in ways that my upbringing didn’t. I don’t know how many of y’all grew up in the 90s, but most of the media I watched used the concept of being gay as a punch line. Whether it was a host of gay panic jokes, or even just the fact that we used “gay” as a synonym for “stupid”. It was a different time, and I’m so stoked the world has moved on from that point. Many many many of my friends are queer, and I’m used to that being a very normal part of our society.

That said, I was mostly oblivious to my queer attractions for a long long time. It’s not like I’ve been hiding in the closet, terrified of coming out. I flat out didn’t realise I was interested. It’s not like I’ve stopped being attracted to women either. What has happened, is that I’ve realised that the way I saw queerness growing up carried a ton of shame. That same sex attractions were a burden some folks carried. That it naturally meant experiences would be more difficult, clandestine, and secretive. I’ve never been interested in hiding who I am, or I wouldn’t be the me y’all know and love.

Over the years, I’ve noticed inklings of queer attractions in myself that have grown. Gears turning in my head that haven’t whirred things instantly into being, but slowly presented glimpses of interest. I know that I have sexual interest in genders other than just women. What I don’t know, is how to navigate these spaces, or even explicitly what I’m looking for. I feel lost in terms of dating non-women. I’m not used to protocols, trends, how dates tend to go. I don’t know what to look for in guys. I don’t know quite what it is I’m attracted to. Not just looks, but personality, sexual behaviour, etc. It’s all very new to me, and I’ve been tentatively dipping toes in. To put it bluntly, I’ve had sexual experiences with guys, but none of them have been anything to write home about. I’ve always thought that it’d be reductive at best to have one or two experiences, then decide from them that I’m just not interested in having more. I obviously am interested, but I haven’t found what was missing from those experiences, or how to have the experiences I don’t-yet-know-that-I-want-to-be-having. I don’t know if I’m looking to date men, just have sex with men, or something in the middle.

Enter Grindr. We all know that Grindr is a hookup app. Nobody has any illusions, right? I’m interested in trying a bit of that out, and figuring out what I like. I’ve never really had a ton of luck with online dating, and I’m sure a ton of that is dating as a straight male in a flooded market. As the maxim goes, for many women dick is abundant and of low value. I’m not an idiot. I’ve been in queer spaces. I’ve been hit on a bunch by guys, and I’ve always been friendly, but rarely interested. Frankly, it’s nice to be wanted and complimented. With online dating, typically I’d probably get one message back for every 10-12 I sent. I’ve been on Grindr for an hour. My phone is constantly blowing up. I’ve had 15 messages from different guys. My profile has been looked at over 80 times. It’s a very different equation. It feels great to be desired, and I’m kind of excited to have new experiences. I’m comfortable in my ability to establish boundaries and have consent-filled encounters and that feels like a privilege.

And yes I’ve been sent multiple dick pics already. It has been an entire hour.

Talkin’ ’bout my Gem-eration

I just came back from brunch with a buddy.

Do I talk about The Gem around here enough? I mention it frequently, but should I do it more often? Goddamn I love this place. Solid, affordable menu items and an ever evolving specials board. Great music on the turntable. A gentle, meandering atmosphere. Coffee on hand at all times. It’s a Sunday morning oasis, and an ever-treasured part of my weekly ritual. The place isn’t perfect, and that’s what makes it ideal. Par example, today I ordered the hot chicken sandwich from the specials board. A piece of toast, draped with a generous portion of chicken strips (non-breaded) covered in gravy. Home fries were topped with obviously pre-frozen veggies (corn, green beans, peas), flanked by a side salad and dressing. Absolutely bizarre, but tasty and filling. My mate and I ordered Caesars and had a good ol’ gab. Wonderful way to spend Sunday afternoon.

I had this thought the other day, about how neat it’d be to fill the place. Have the tables all packed out with friends, give the bar a solid day of money-making. We could all hang out together, grab some drinks and run the kitchen through its paces. With a take-over of the establishment, we wouldn’t be so worried about wait times. We could have a rad Sunday afternoon party, with everyone able to get in some fun without ruining Monday morning. We could all be home by 7pm or so, ready for an early night. Doesn’t that sound like a fucking riot?

My friend has been going through a period of instability that feels all too resonant. It seems like many of my close friends are undergoing a metamorphosis, or recalibration of sorts. So many of us have been dissatisfied with where we’re ended up. Maybe disillusioned about who we thought we’d be by our early to mid-30s. Commonly, we’ve been at crossroads, having evolved or matured in our values. Passions and interests changed to reflect how the world has shaped us. Friends are quitting their jobs, losing security and stability they once had. They’ve been branching out in work and hobbies, making big and different life decisions. Coming to terms with where they are and its proximity to where they’d like to be.

It’s hard living in a 24 hour news cycle, where it feels like pressure surrounds us. Where the world appears to be coming apart at its edges, and we’re deciding what matters to us. What callings speak to us, and how to realign our efforts with societal changes we want to see. How to support ourselves and those close to us when the pendulum appears to be swinging away from the vulnerable. Where to place our intentions and care, and how we can get out what we’re putting in to life. I don’t know that a 30s sea change is a modern convention, but it does seem to be happening a ton with my peers lately.

And we’ve got The Gem if we want to talk about it.

I swear I did not smoke a half-pipe before writing this

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been writing dumb little Valentine’s rhymes today. Wrap your eyes around these bad boys:

Roses are red
Violet is blue
She should have thought
Before she started to chew.

Blood is red
Veins are blue
Is a caesarian
A womb with a view?

Who says romance is dead?

I also can’t stop thinking about how hard OPM’s seminal single “Heaven is a Halfpipe”, from their 2000 album Menace to Sobriety, refutes the titular dichotomy of the landmark 1988 video game “Skate or Die”. I’m conflicted. One is a dumb stoner anthem from the year of our lord, Will2K. The other was an unmitigated gaming delight from my childhood crammed full with fun minigames. I know who I want to believe, but that’s not what truth is. If I can die and skate, then maybe my cherished skateboard simulator needs an ampersand in its title. Then again, now that I’m thinking about it, skating in death is not a certainty, despite OPM’s assurances. They only mention heaven’s halfpipe scenario, but Hell defies explanation. Are we then to believe that posthumous skating is a reward for ascension? If I’m to carry myself through this mortal coil in a morally unscrupulous fashion, am I forsaking my ability to kickflip in the afterlife? THEN then again (it’s a term now, poindexters), OPM doesn’t NOT say that skating is possible in Hell. In fact, I can’t imagine Beelzebub foregoing gnarly grinds for all eternity. Which sphere of Hell has the skatepark? In true hellish style, do they put it in the icy one? Creating vast difficulty for anyone trying to gain traction on the nefarious, slippery terrain? And furthermore, if Heaven is a halfpipe, isn’t that sorta shit for non-skaters? What do they do aside from getting in the way of ardent tiny wheel based sportspeople? That sounds like a pretty shit reward for a life well-lived, playing second fiddle to some goodie two shoes skate punks.

I forewent IT’S A REAL WORD, GET OFF MY BACK, JACK the gym today and I’ve already been punished. I’m on the subway. The train has travelled all of one stop. There’s an unauthorised person at track level. We’re stopped with the door open. The air conditioning just turned off. The lights in the train car have gone out too. It’s packed, we’re all waiting. There’s a gentle dissatisfied hubbub, but mostly people are sticking with whatever they were doing before the power went out. They’re reading books, typing on phones. I can see the train opposite, it’s waiting too. Honestly, everyone is in pretty good spirits. Strangers are chatting. It’s unbelievable how much disruption this dude walking around in the tracks has caused. The power is out, I’m guessing because they don’t want to electrocute the guy. I’d walk to street level and take a bus, but it’s -20 degrees outside. It’s so goddamn cold that being above ground feels like a hazard. If I’d just gone to the gym, I would’ve been blissfully ignorant of this disruption, instead of dejectedly looking at my phone, wishing for the sweet release of death so I can skate in Heaven.

Happy Valentine’s Day, I guess.