Never be That Guy™. You always know when you’re being That Guy™, and you need to stop it. Just stop it, Guy

I don’t often write about polyamory. I have my reasons.

Firstly, when I initially heard of polyamory, it was from people who found it difficult not to talk about polyamory. They found ways to shoehorn it into almost any conversation, and I found it more than a little grating. I don’t want to be That Guy™. Secondly, I know that in a mainstream sense, poly is still a relatively new idea. Some people find it intimidating, challenging or even uncomfortable to think about. I get it. I often did when I first heard about it. Rest assured that I don’t follow these bullshit Gold Star Poly mantras of thinking that it’s the be all and end all. I firmly don’t believe that poly is for everyone. I think that people navigating their relationships in a variety of different ways is healthy, and if a system works for you, that’s a personal thing. I also don’t believe in prescriptivist shit. If there’s some combination of systems that’s your sweet spot, I’m glad you’ve found it. Today though, I want to talk about poly, because it’s given me the best dating advice that I wish I truly understood much earlier.

Be genuine.

It sounds simple, it’s not. I know that when I started dating, I had this internal scarcity model dictating my actions. It felt like having sex, being in a relationship, these were things I was missing out on, and I desperately wanted to enjoy them. The efforts I went to were staggering. I’d constantly think about my interactions, and how I wanted to present myself. I’d focus on whether or not a situation was potentially romantic, and if I saw an inkling of it, I’d lean in. I wouldn’t lie in the pursuit of having sex, but I’d definitely lessen aspects of myself in order to agree with people more. To try and put our compatibility on a pedestal. I’d worry about what I said, and whether this would make people like me less. I’d fret about what to wear on dates, the implications of my clothing choices and what they said about me. I’d be swept away on a wave of anxiety if I thought I’d messed up. In my mind, the risk of losing out on something that could be more was a tragedy. People who were interested in me were a rarity, and if I missed out, chances were that an opportunity wouldn’t come around again any time soon.

There’s a lot that was very wrong about the above. It’s not like I didn’t care about these people, but I definitely objectified them. I turned them into a goal I pursued. Of course I wanted to spend time with them, get to know them and grow closer, but also I was very much driven by a fear of being perpetually alone. Also at a base level I was diminishing myself, trashing my self-confidence. The underlying idea was that I was not worth affection, and thus I needed to trick and scheme my way into someone thinking I was. Gross all over.

I no longer operate on a scarcity model. I’m older, more relaxed, and confident [a reminder that we stan the Oxford comma here, when it makes sense -Ed]. Poly has enabled a lot of this change in behaviour. I know that I have someone to come home to. I’m in a stable, loving relationship and I’ve stopped seeing my value in whether or not I’m dateable. I know I’m dateable. I’ve been dating someone for over five years. Being in this relationship has assured me time and time again that all of my little oddities and eccentricities are features, not bugs. I’m a lovable dude to the right people. However, I’m not gonna find the people who like my specific strangeness if I act like someone else.

It’s entirely changed the way I navigate potential romantic connections. I don’t try to appear more appealing by changing myself. I’m okay having disagreements, because I don’t try to force things down a romantic path. If we’re not compatible, that’s okay. There’ll probably be other people who we will be compatible with. I’m done with spending time around people simply because I’m attracted to them, and hoping that I’ll fall for their personalities. I don’t prioritise sex these days, because being able to have connections where I’m able to be my genuine self means that sex is a bonus. The real goal is increasing the amount of time I get to spend having great conversations and doing neat activities with people. I don’t try to date anymore. I just have adult friendships. Sometimes those friendships become intimate, and that’s the cherry on top. I let these connections be what they are. There are a number of people with whom I’ve shared kisses. Some of these may end up resulting in sexual connections, some may not. I don’t mind. Getting to know someone you admire, hearing about their lives, and seeing what the world looks like through their eyes is a real reward. If sex is going to happen, it’s gonna happen when you’re both ready, comfortable and enthusiastic to do it. Why rush that timeline? If you’re both being your most genuine selves, and you’re each attracted to those genuine aspects, it’s probably more likely that things will get intimate. Far and away, I’ve found these connections so much more rewarding than any I had when I was dating out of fear.

So no, it’s not poly advice, but I doubt I’d have learned it if I wasn’t poly.

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Oh by the way, this is a sponsored post for Kind Bars. Soz

Your regularly scheduled reminder that progress takes time.

We all have the capacity to change and grow. You’re allowed to learn new things that shift your opinion, and this is a great thing. Just because something doesn’t gel with your current world view, that doesn’t mean it’s immediately wrong. I know we don’t all have the energy to create space for regressive voices to learn at all times. Still, if the goal is to hope for a better future, the more we can work towards fostering understanding rather than “scoring points”, the closer that future gets. Signed, someone who still has a lot to learn.

I truly feel like I’m learning new stuff all the time. This year in particular has had a ton of growth. Last night I went to a lavish party with a particular group of friends. We tend to get together for fun excuses to get dressed up. Earlier this year, we visited a couple who’d moved to Montreal and had a post New Years event. This was at a huge low point for me. I’d deeply sunken into my depression, and come to the realisation that I wasn’t thrilled about being alive anymore. No melodrama, I didn’t want to die, but I also didn’t have a desire to go on living. My mental health had staggered for so long, and was bottoming out. I felt fortunate to be around friends, but it was hard to feel happy. Look, having fun is more enjoyable than not having fun, but there’s a noted difference when the things that used to bring you enjoyment begin to feel neutral. It’s a close knit group, and I made no secret of how much I was struggling. They were warm and compassionate about that, we all shared what was getting us down and it was cathartic. It also wasn’t some magic switch that made everything better. I still struggled.

Last night at this party, it was notable just how much things had changed. For the first time in years, I’m at a stage where I feel truly happy and grateful for everything around me. The medication has really turned around my mental health. I’m at a new job that I love. It’s challenging and requires constant creativity. I’m exhausted when I leave work, but it’s a tangible, pleasant exhaustion. Like the satisfaction you get after a good day of manual labour. I have a wonderful partner, and because of the work/life balance my job brings me, we get to spend a lot more time together during the days. We can wake up together, even. It’s such a mundane thrill. I have so many supportive friends, and I’m feeling better about the other intimate connections I’m making. I feel confident and engaged all the time. It’s an unbelievably positive place to be, and nine months ago I wouldn’t have thought it possible.

Recently, I read some post about the difference between being “nice” and being “kind”. It stuck with me. I don’t have a clear through-line, but I want to work on becoming a kind person. Nice often seems to stem from propriety. Being contextually pleasant, and doing small gestures. It’s almost like being nice is something to garner social status. That’s not what I’m looking for. I would like to be kind, and I think it’s an actionable goal. The way I see it, being kind is embodying a belief that people are worthy of compassion, and aiming to teach them that. It’s doing things for people because you want their lives to be better, and knowing when that’s in your capacity. It’s not ceding of yourself, compromising your needs for others. It’s finding ways to make it effortless to care, and to help. In my head, being nice is posting a supportive comment on a Facebook post. Being kind is letting that person know that you have space for them if they need it. Being nice is giving platitudes. Being kind is understanding what that person needs- whether it’s venting or advice- then giving them what they need rather than what you personally want to give. Being nice is offering help. Being kind is allowing that person to say no if they need, and not to feel bad about it.

As I said, I’m still learning. If things go well, I’ll never stop.

Will we get to keep our free healthcare? Who knows?

Let us get INTO it. Let us GET into it. Let US get into it. Let us get into IT. LET.

Wow, that Leader’s Debate was garbled nonsense last night. Scheer regurgitating pre-meditated takedowns on Trudeau rather than really talk about his party’s platform. Trudeau seemed to aptly deflect. Not hard, Trudeau easily has stronger presence than a wet dishrag given sentience. Scheer does not. Somehow Trudeau failed to make headway. Those two mostly talked over each other, with May chiming in every now and again with her environmental platform. The Bernier guy was supremely out of touch, unsurprising, given that his platform revolves around racism. Singh gave a number of cogent points, and from what I saw, most capably navigated the debate. There was some other old white dude there, and he talked little enough that I don’t know if it’s worth finding out who he was. Mostly though, they acted like children. They talked simultaneously, trying to shout one another down or loom with stronger presence. It was more than a little embarrassing. It’s a pity that Singh will never get a chance to lead, considering he seems to really have the wisdom, compassion and conviction of a strong leader. It sucks that Canada’s racist enough to be blinded by a turban. In under two weeks we’ll find out who emerges victorious, and whether or not this country falls prey to the same kind of bullshit populist politics that seem to be taking control worldwide. All my fingers crossed, the answer is no.

Will Canada become a shitstorm if the cons win? Who’s to say? I’m of the belief that it’ll greatly impact the lives of the most vulnerable, just so rich people can get more tax cuts. Like in Ontario, where child support agencies are struggling after DoFo’s provincial government slashed their funding by $80m. I’m guessing that everything they’re currently blasting the Liberals for (having staff with racist, misogynist, bigoted past posts) are behaviours currently held by the majority of their party. I also guess that they’re gonna continue to ignore the effects of climate change. I’m horrified by the idea of a pro-life dipshit being in the driver’s seat of this nation. Before Trump, I’d hold fast to the notion that there’d only be so much damage one political party could inflict. Turns out, wealthy monsters aren’t healthy for leadership, especially when they’re being puppeteered by more nefarious forces. Scheer is quite obviously a mindless single celled organism, and Harper is prodding him along (given that he still holds the party purse strings, and has accepted a leadership position in the International Democratic Union).

I’m certainly not worried about myself. I’m very fortunate to occupy a relatively safe space within society. I’m earning a decent living, I have no dependants and I’m not at the high or low margin for tax purposes. These policies rarely will greatly affect me. It’s not myself I’m worried for. There are generations to follow who’ll miss out on things we took for granted. They’ll have to fight tooth and nail for opportunities, and their lives will be irreparably held back by the decisions made in parliament. We’ve already seen the damage DoFo has done to the Ontario schooling system. Courses cut, teens left without enough credits to graduate, forced into default classes. Their futures derailed so that corporations can get tax cuts. Their climate eroding, due to the greed of uncaring businessmen. Their elders choosing myopic rhetoric over effective policy. Taken advantage of by those who care little for them. Used shamelessly.

I sure know how I hope the vote goes in a few weeks. Do enough Canadians want the same? We have two weeks of Hell before we find out.

If you forget, does it really count as learning?

Oh hey, I’m awake!

Desperate times call for me to be writing now, at 8am on a bus. It’s my first weekday day shift, so I get to see what all the 9-5 fuss is about. Sure, I used to start at 9.30am, but that half hour is a world away. There are spare seats on this bus. I don’t even need to nestle into a hirsute armpit at an odd angle. I have my own seat. I don’t even have a seat mate. Two seats to myself, even. Bag on my lap just in case anyone wants to sit down. We might be only one stop away from the station, by who knows? I’m not used to all this room to roam. The train platform will be the true test of time. When I wanted to get to work on time for 9.30am, the first two or so trains were crammed. It’s 8.20am now and… Welp, first train, no seats, but nigh infinite standing room. This is anecdotal for sure, but day one of 9am works. I even have a pole to hold onto. What luxury!

Imagine if the entire entry was just me talking about my train trip. My locomotion commotion, if you will. I’m not sure I can do much better, but let’s see what’s in my brain today.

At work yesterday I described a bunch of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That episodes. It’s an awesome show I’d never heard of before. Aimed at pre-schoolers, The Cat in the Hat teaches them about science. It’s fully in the spirit of Seuss’ colourful and absurd worlds. It’s formulaic, but kids love repetition. The two kids, Nick and Sally will have a problem that involves science. The Cat shows up and tells them about some place he’ll take them where they can learn. The kids will be stoked, and ask their parents if they can go. The parent will say yes, and make some kind of pun, then they fly away on the Thingamajiger. It’s a setup that lends itself to all kinds of adventures. Yesterday’s episodes were about stuff like gravity, water flow, how to build a shelter, magnets, etc. Important stuff for kids to learn. I can only imagine this show would’ve been my everything in those early ages. It’s colourful, safe, and has a bunch of jokes. The stuff they learn is pretty cool. The magnets episode involved magnetic blue and orange rocks in a river. They had to turn their blue and orange canoe around in the water, so the same coloured end of the canoe would be repelled by the rock, and they could float harmlessly past. I checked in with my brothers, my niece and nephews are all watching this show. How cool is that? They’re all gonna be smart cookies, with a thirst for colours, learning and puns.

Good news, I’m still awake! I’m just about to arrive at the office, and who knows what I’ll do today? If a magical cat shows up and promises to whisk me away to a fantasy land though, you know I’m following that whimsy.

What will I learn today?

Mel Gibson ain’t a fan. But who needs fans like that?

What’s Ned Flanders’ favourite brand of sunglasses? Okillys!

For no good reason, today I remembered something from high school. There was this girl that we all had a crush on. She was super cool and disaffected. Really pretty, long brown hair and almond shaped eyes. When I say that we all had a crush on her, I mean it. You know that stereotype of teenage girls excitedly tittering about the quarterback? We were those tittering teenage girls about her. ZOMG it’s mufti day, did you see what she’s wearing? That kind of stuff. Anyway, we were doing speeches for English class. She wasn’t in my class, but one of my friends told me he saw hers. She did her speech on Nelson Mandela, which was a neat subject. He was a cool dude. But she did a real half arsed job and didn’t really know how to finish. Instead she played Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” on a boom box and danced a little bit. Weird, and maybe more than borderline inappropriate. Incongruent enough that as soon as my friend told me, my crush on her instantly died. Simple as that. No more tittering.

In writing that out, I didn’t think I’d type “tittering” half as many times as I did.

Ugh, I used to love doing speeches at school. It was by far my favourite assignment. I was big into public speaking, considering that I spent all day talking shit in class anyway. I think I mostly liked making jokes, and it was an ideal opportunity to do so. I don’t fully remember my speeches from primary school. I did one about books that I kind of phoned in. It wasn’t my proudest work. I do remember getting a kick out of writing my barmitzvah speech, and figuring out metaphors with the rabbi. The friends I invited didn’t understand anything about Judaism, but they did enjoy pelting me with candy as I walked the Torah around the room. As is tradition.

I distinctly remember doing a fun speech during my ‘campaign’ for Deputy Head Boy in highschool. We all knew who was gonna win, so I tried my aim for silver strategy. I spent the whole time doing basically a stand up set. I leaned heavily on my best friend’s suprise campaign-

Which went a little like this:
“Hey bud” he said to me as he arrived at my front door to walk to school “I put up the posters”. I blinked. “Posters?” “Yeah” he replied “for your campaign”. Cue me walking into school, people coming up to me saying “oh man, love the posters. I’m voting for you for sure.” I saw one of the posters containing the image of an elderly Hasidic Jew and in bold: I’D VOTE FOR A JEW. WOULDN’T YOU?

-and really talked up my latent Judaism. I harped on about losing the Nazi votes, but hoping I could make it up with people proving they weren’t Nazis by voting for me. I didn’t win. Maybe I should’ve ended that one with Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and a little dance. Who better to claim the title “Survivor” than the Jews?

If I retconned every memory I had of giving a speech to have ended with that song, would that be the Mandela Effect at work?

As always, my survival method is to beer and grin it

Let’s get at it.

Holy hell I drank a lot last night. I’m lucky that I got to the work party several hours late. Had I arrived at 2pm, with an open bar, I’m sure I’d be in worse condition today. Yeesh. Counting it back I had seven strong Belgian beers between the hours of 5-11pm. One beer per hour. That’s far more than I’m use to having on a school night. As it stands, I still felt not great this morning around 5am. I had a headache, and I was mildly dizzy, overheated, etc. Usual hangover symptoms. I took some ibuprofen, drank some water and hoped for the best. Instead I just felt poopy for a few hours, and eventually drifted back to sleep.

Since weed was legalised, I’ve been getting hangovers far less, supplementing the usual large assortment of drinks for a couple of tokes. Maybe this has been a blessing, having heard just how much worse hangovers get in your 30s. I still woke up before my alarm, and rallied to overcome my ailment. More ibuprofen, kimchi, electrolyte water and stocky porridge. It helped. Coffee this morning hammered in the last of my support structure and I’ve been right as rain. Considering the number of co-workers that came in with dark glasses this morning, I think I got off lightly.

Right now I’ve got a can of coke chilling in the freezer several floors up. Much as I’d like to work in a different building, the fact that my new job keeps me in a place I know is actually kind of helpful. Like in this scenario, I know that 90% of the fridges do not have freezers. But I also know that the eastern mini kitchen on the 5th floor does. My timer is set, and in a few minutes I’m gonna run up there to get an ice cold can. There are interesting ins and outs in this building. Pecularities that I’ve stumbled upon, and should make this transition a lot simpler for me than my future co-workers. I know where the meditation rooms are. I know which floors are more likely to have free food hanging around. I know the secret rooftop seating areas and balconies. I know about the bike lockers and showers. Even though it sucks to have to work all the way down the bottom of town, with nothing but condo developments around, at least I’ve got the run of the place in my head. Small mercy.

I had my first training day yesterday and egads, this job is hard. You wouldn’t think it was that difficult to narrate what’s happening onscreen, but it’s a lot. You need to find the right spot so as not to talk over dialogue. It’s all improvised, no scripts. Someone picks up a pillow and jokingly “smothers another character”? Wait for the laughs, then say “the woman grabs a couch cushion and places it on the man’s face”. It sounds simple. In the moment though, there’s a bizarre kind of pressure. It was literally my first time ever doing it yesterday, and I did not do a great job. It’s fine, I didn’t expect to. I imagine that I’ll shit the bed for a while, and probably do a Rocky montage of narrating people’s behaviour for a while to get in fighting trim for my first day. I can’t emphasize how exciting it is to try something new that I’m bad at. I love progress, becoming incrementally more masterful day by day. This is a fresh skill set, it’s different and unfamiliar. I’m thrilled to get a chance to learn it right from the start, then one day look back at how green I was. Until then, I’m gonna have to eat metaphorical dirt.

Speaking of which, it’s time to get to my training.

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”.