Did I just have a date within a date with that corn dog?

I went on a date the other night. It was lovely.

It’d been a while, not sure why. I haven’t been doing much to seek out intimate encounters outside my anchor partner. Or maybe it’s just that everyone I’d been growing close to had been poly, are interested, but are also in relationships that are currently closed. Which has been fine. Emotional intimacy has always been far more important to me than physical. In those instances, it’s just been nice to have new friends. This person, however, is poly. So we got to have an actual date. It’s something that’s been in the works for ages. We’ve hung out at parties, but never one on one. She has a weird schedule. I now have a weird schedule, and for the first time ever, our free time coincided. I asked if she wanted to grab a food, or a drink, or overthrow the bourgeoisie, or do amateur parkour, or get stoned and watch a dumb movie, or go to Tilt. She said Tilt, the local arcade bar, sounded great.

I vowed to do wreck my face doing amateur parkour on my own damn time.

I think we were both there for about half an hour before I noticed her. Not because she wasn’t worth noticing, but because she was wearing all black and playing a game in the corner. Somehow, in a room full of garish fluorescent lights, she’d discovered camouflage. She played D&D with the barman, so I got to meet him too, and he was really friendly. Their DM used to DM our games of Call of Cthulhu, and was by far the best DM I’ve had for any game ever. We all gushed about how great he was. Then she and I grabbed beer and a seat. We chatted. We chatted for a long time, actually. Seeing as we’d never hung out one on one before, it was the perfect time to get to know each other better. I mean, it’s kind of the point of a date.

More importantly, the fact that we were sitting meant I had the perfect excuse [you didn’t need an excuse -Ed] to order a corn dog. As an aside, I love corn dogs. They’re a favoured treat of mine. I’m not wild about fried food, but back home when we got fish and chips, you ordered a “hot dog” and got given what North Americans call a corn dog: A battered hot dog on a stick. It’s one of my exceptions to my ambivalence about fried food, likely because of nostalgia. I’d never tried Tilt’s corn dogs, but I can now confirm they’re fucking fantastic. The batter is made in house. It’s pretty thin, but with some nice crispy flourishes. Also, they’re huge. I’m used to corn dogs on popsicle sticks. These ones come on skewers. You know the type that people use for BBQ kebabs? Picture a hot dog on that, except the only available bit of stick to hold is 1-2cm long. That’s a lot of dog. It was meaty and sumptuous, and a truly fantastic snack with beer. Have I now written a longer love letter to this corn dog than I have to this date? Maybe, but that corn dog and I shared something that no date and I ever will. R.I.P.

Anyway, it was fun to chat. She’s funny, and we’ve got a lot of geeky interests in common. A theme of adulthood that I’ve noticed, is I’m not actually aware of what most of my friends do to pay rent. I hang out with them because I like their company, but their jobs have never defined who they are to me. So I got to hear what she does for work and what she likes about those things. I got to learn how growing up was for her, familial connections and perspectives. She had been to the nigh legendary Florida theme park: Gatorland. I’d heard tales. She told me more.

After a while, I chimed in that while I was having an excellent time hanging out, I also wanted to play some vidya games. We played an isometric D&D style crawler called Gate of Doom. It was super button mashy, but nostalgic and silly. The magic system was quite unusual. All four characters had the same spellbook and system, but you had to wait until your magic bar filled up. The spellbook would flick periodically between spells, and whatever was active was the one you had access to. I kept turning into a walking flower, which was kinda neat. I had some kind of stun pollen with a radius effect. We beat the game, and my hand damn near cramped up. We played some Puzzle Bobble, and evened up at 5 wins. We chatted some more, and it was last call.

I think one of the more important things I learned from the date, is that I’ve finally reached a certain level of confidence. It always used to be that I was too afraid to make a move, and that nothing would happen until my date was like “dude, are you actually interested? Do you want to have sex or not?” Then I’d be all “oh, of course. That’d be great”. It largely came from feelings of inadequacy and not knowing how to navigate those spaces with utmost consent. These days, a better knowledge of consent has informed massive change. I’ve realised that I can just ask, and in ways that leave things very open for the other person to say no. A lot of the time these things happen organically, and I think societally people have assumed that organic was the only option, anything else was clunky and took you out of the moment. I haven’t found that. I’m getting better at reading signs, but still like to clarify. There was a point where we were sitting close to each other. I think her hand was resting on my arm, mine resting on her leg. I realised and said “I just want to check, do you like this kind of touch”. She said yes, definitely. Simple and clean. I knew she was interested, she had every opportunity to be like hmm, maybe not at the moment or actually, maybe no and that would’ve been fine. Instead, I actively knew we were on a wavelength, that she was interested and the waters weren’t muddied. Consent is the fucking best, and anyone who thinks it ruins the moment maybe hasn’t learned how to ask in a non-intrusive manner.

Since things were winding down at the bar, we were both still awake and having a good time, I asked if she wanted to keep hanging out. She invited me over, and we spent a bunch more time together at her place. I left some time after 6.30am, and since she lives with one of my friends, I got to give my friend a good morning hug when she got up to go to work. Since I live maybe 5 minutes walk from her, I got to go right home and to bed.

Is it time to bring back I Have My Dates?

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All about the poly-tics

I feel like I post fairly often about my love of Paddington, but rarely about my love life.

Let’s be more specific. I’ve been practicing polyamory/ethical non-monogamy for maybe three years by now. It’s had its ebbs and flows. It’s not always something I’ve been enthusiastic about. I’ve had a few friends ask about it lately, and I figure that a bunch of people who read this may not have a grasp on what a moderate poly life could look like. I don’t by any means think it’s suitable for everyone. For some people, it’s very suitable. It’s been some time since I’ve talked about poly, and my relationship with it.

I started practicing poly several years back. As someone who was staunchly monogamously wired, it was more dipping my toes into the water to see how I reacted to the temperature. I was tentative, taking things one toe at a time. See, my girlfriend at the time was already poly. I was fine with her dating other people while I looked for someone to settle down with. I figured once I found a monogamous connection, we’d part ways amicably. Spoiler, didn’t happen, and we live together five years down the line. We talked a bunch about the poly framework, how it worked for her, and I considered if it was a structure that’d suit my lifestyle. For a long time, it really wasn’t. I’d get jealous when I even saw her kiss others, let alone have sex. There were a lot of tears, heavy hearts and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Then inevitably we’d talk through it each time, and learn how better to handle things when they happened. Therapy helped a bunch.

I think a fairly common dynamic occurs when monogamous folks open up their relationship. Generalising, but a ton of hetero men tend to think it’s gonna be just getting laid all the time. Then dating disparities come in and they find their female partners are getting more dates/success. Then resentment sets in, and regret at opening a door they can’t close. Relationships end. It’s not all of them, of course, but poly life can cause rifts that may not have occurred otherwise. What people don’t realise, is that opening up a relationship or moving towards non-monogamy isn’t a) an easy fix for a relationship or b) easy at all. It’s communication, communication, communication. Endless hours talking about feelings, owning feelings, understanding how your actions affect partners. Knowing that instead of trying to find compromise and solutions with one partner, each new partner adds exponentially more communication. Don’t forget, new poly partners often have partners of their own, and it’s morally shitty to ignore them totally in deference to your desires. It’s like juggling while fucking. Chances are, there’s gonna be a mess somewhere.

Poly stuff takes up a lot of time, and a bunch of scheduling. My first poly relationship was wonderful, with another first time partnered poly person. We both navigated how to be fair and compassionate to our metas (our partner’s partners). I think we learned a ton, and it definitely led to some difficult and emotional conversations with my primary partner (sometimes known as “anchor” partner, so as not to imply any partners are more important than others). This woman and I dated for a while, until I found I didn’t have the time management skills to keep dating while doing my other personal projects. We broke up, and I went back to my projects. I considered dating from time to time, but ultimately the desire wasn’t there. I was too busy to add more intimate connections, and satisfied with the fullness of my life. Then I got kind of scared that I didn’t have the capacity to give partners enough of myself, and that I’d be wasting their time. Felt like a dick move, so I just didn’t date. For a while. Maybe I’d kiss someone at a party occasionally or something, but that was about the extent of it. Then I got depressed off and on for so long that I no longer felt capable of dating. This went for some time.

More recently, I’ve found myself dating again. I’ve begun steering towards more of a Relationship Anarchy model. The basics of which are that each connection you have is at the level you both agree on. Some partners may be looking for long term relationships. Others may just want casual intimacy or limited hook ups. For most of my poly dating experience, I haven’t been entirely sure on what I wanted. Relationship Anarchy has been taking shape almost organically.

Aside from my anchor partner (sometimes known as “nesting” partner, if you live together), I have a couple of assorted connections. There’s an occasional partner I’ve connected with a few times. If the mood strikes us, we’ll hang out and sometimes have sex. Though we also hang out without sex too. It’s an option, rather than a necessity. Neither of us would consider it a “relationship”, but more of an intimate friendship. I’ve reconnected with the aforementioned ex. We’d kept hanging out for the past few years in a non-sexual capacity. Lately we decided that it’d be nice to keep the door of intimacy open, that there was still a bunch of affection there, and it’d be nice to share that physically sometimes. I’ve also been seeing someone else after a friend set us up. She came out of a long term relationship and was looking for some fun, but also didn’t want to be out there screwing randos. My friend was (is) seeing her, and suggested I’d be a fine chap for her to connect with. It was a weird, almost unreal conversation, but I guess this is the world I live in now. Turns out, she’s lovely. We’re having fun, while also offering emotional support. Then there’s someone I quite like, who I’ve been on a few dates with. Her schedule means we don’t often get to hang out, but it’s not a point of contention. If time allows, we’ll do some more dating. If not, no harm done. That’s not to mention the overall poly community, a few of whom I’ve had connections of varying intimacy with. Friends/partners of friends, it’s all quite incestuous.

Ultimately, a few years down the line, non-monogamy has started to solidify into a model that suits me. It’s pushed me away from a scarcity mindset, and allowed me to be open to connections instead of obsessing that they’re not happening. It’s taught me that there’s no set structure for what a relationship has to resemble. It’s allowed me to understand that quality of emotional and physical connection is far more important than frequency. I can have deep connections with people I see rarely, but whenever I see them there’s a lot of affection and compassion. It’s not always sexual, and poly has made it easier for me to share emotional intimacy with non-sexual friends. Expectations matter when they’re agreed upon by all parties involved, but there’s no sense in forcing a level of connection if you’re not both into it. Everyone’s needs are different, and provided you can meet said needs, the quantity of partners is irrelevant. Respect and understanding go a long way.

And hey, the more people I date, the more people I can share Paddington with.

I’m looking forward to our inevitable second date sometime in 2021

I went on a date last night!

It’d been many, many, many months since I’d last dated. Or maybe over a year. Wait a minute. I think I went the entirety of 2018 without going on a single date. Geez. Classic 2018. I guess that’s why they didn’t call it Twenty Dateteen. Or something. I’m sure some teenager dated 20 times and called it Twenty Dateteen. But this isn’t about them and their 20 dates. It’s about me and my lack of twenty dates.

But I had one last night.

The single date came about after quite some months of back and forth. I’m not talking a steadily amounting flurry of flirtatious banter, I’m talking nuts and bolts…

“Hey, are you free tonight by any chance?”
“Oh shit, I’m busy tonight, but can you do next Thursday?”
“Ugh, I’m out of town next Thursday, but I’ve got a totally free Tuesday after that.”
“Dammit, I’ve got Wednesday and Friday free that week.”
“Well damn, those are the two days I don’t have free that week.”

Lather, rinse, repeat since the end of July. If I got the sense that she was deliberately avoiding me, I would’ve stopped. But she seemed to be showing genuine interest. She was just very busy and travelling often. We’d met at Hanlans some time back and chatted, then ran into each other and chatted some more. We got on well and the conversation flowed. I posted on some poly dating group and she chimed in that she’d be keen to go on a date at some point. We started messaging and came to the conclusion that it could be fun, and if the worst that happened was we each made a new non-romantic friend, that was a pretty high floor.

Cut to yesterday. I had nothing to do in the evening and figured, why not send off a message? 4pm rolled around. I’d had no response and figured I might as well make alternate plans. Then all of a sudden, a notification “oh wait, I think I’m actually free tonight!” She had work the next day, so we sorted out low key plans. Just meeting up at a craft beer bar and having one or two drinks. She’d injured her neck, so I brought along a couple of capsules of magnesium citrate (they’re muscle relaxants, more or less) that she could take overnight. We sat down, ordered drinks and, well, hours went by.

Turns out I still love going on dates. I’m so into learning about someone new, what makes them light up and their dealbreakers. It’s all kinds of fun figuring out what you have in common, where your tastes diverge, etc etc. If someone’s had wholly different life experiences, it’s kinda exciting to see how they became the person in front of you. My date was a professional ballet dancer, so I got to learn a ton about what that’s like on an everyday basis. The relationship she had with her body on a functional level was super interesting, and how it lent itself to different forms of movement and physicality. You’d think that if someone did ballet, for instance, that they’d just have this all encompassing body awareness. Not entirely so, she said, since ballet is so strict and formal, trying other forms of dance often means breaking free from that rigid headspace.

We ordered another round.

She informed me that some species of otter can grow to sizes of almost two metres. Otters are adorable and great, but that’s too much otter. So I guess I can add one more seemingly benign animal to the list of species I need to fear. Chickens, you’re in good company.

We’d both moved to Canada as adults, so it was really swell hearing someone else’s immigration experiences, finding out what she missed and certainly did not miss about having left her country. We discussed the weirdest acquired tastes from our respective homelands. The Canadian foods we just couldn’t get on board with. What we did and didn’t like about this new culture and society.

It got late. I asked her if she needed to call it quits because of work the next day. She suggested we get another round.

It was also great to hear about her past dating experiences, both poly and not. Hearing what she’s learned over time and how her boundaries have been established. Discovering what she looks for, what turns her off and whatnot, it really gave colour to the scant outlines I’d drawn in my head after our past meetings. It was nice hearing about her partners and getting to gush about mine without that being weird. We got the sense that things were wrapping up at the bar, so we settled up and walked back to the station together. We parted ways and kissed goodbye, both actively looking forward to the next time our schedules miraculously aligned. It was sweet. I caught my reflection in the train window heading home. I had a dumb, dopey grin on my face.

I forgot how much I missed dating.

Space Odyssey 2100 and one?

It’s funny. I never expected that I’d make it to 21 posts. Over five years ago, when I was younger, sharper (but more blunt), more arrogant, naive and immature, I thought it’d be a good idea to start writing every day. It was not a well-contemplated notion, but after building up momentum I surpassed 21 days. I kept rolling on past 100, 200, 1000, and yesterday I penned (metaphorically. You wouldn’t like my handwriting) my 2100th entry. I used to have this little recap tradition every hundred entries, but I’ve long since forgotten to keep them going. It’s been some time, let’s catch y’all up.

Career:
I’m in a rough spot. I’ve stayed in the same routine job for the past four years. I’ve been trying to leave, but it’s hard getting that propulsion behind me. Each time I get rejected (and those hits keep coming) it leaves a crater sized rut I then need to crawl out of. Motivation comes in rare bursts, and the hard part has been latching on to pull myself up. My job is uninspiring, and it’s been detrimental to my mood. Out of desperation, a new kind of creativity has come to the fore. I feel synaptic connections forming that didn’t exist prior. A greater understanding of narrative, storytelling and structure. I know I want to harness this in some fashion, but I’ve yet to find an outlet that comes with compensation. Half my trouble is having vague ideas of what I want to do, but lacking the wherewithal and commitment to pursue any of them boldly. My fingers are perennially crossed, but it feels like I’m reaching out with both hands tied behind my back. I’ll keep treading water, and hopefully it’ll bring me in sight of land.

Health:
2018 was a weird year. I fractured my wrist and it’s been slowly recovering. I have most every function back, but I still get mild pain from many activities. It sounds worse than it is, and eventually the bone will grind down back to normal and I won’t even notice. The accident gave me a ton of perspective. Oh, if the wrist wasn’t bad enough, I sprained both ankles at the same time. It involved a ton of hard work and perseverance to build strength and mobility back up. I went from struggling to eat a bowl of cereal, to completing Tough Mudder once more. After the accident, I gave my ankles two weeks off, then slowly built up my running distance and speed. I went from running two days a week to four. I saw athletic therapists to work on safely increasing flexibility. I did all the exercises like a gold star patient. At the hospital, my doctor told me I wouldn’t be ready for Tough Mudder two months later. My physio disagreed. I proved my physio right. The whole ordeal gave me a quiet confidence in my ability to rebound that I know will pay dividends as the years pass.

Concurrently, my mental health has taken several blows this year. I’ve had bouts of depression before, this year they hit harder. I had a couple of panic attacks, dissociated a few times. I had trouble staying tethered to reality and held fast to therapy to try and bring me back. The therapy is helping slowly. It’s giving me tools to unpack and diffuse times of struggle. I’m taking ownership of my needs and control of my symptoms. I’ve been in a vulnerable state, but I know there are lessons to learn here. Things will get better. I’m in an upswing at the moment, and hoping an aerial view will help me see a path forwards.

Comedy:
Oddly enough, my therapist recommended that I get back into stand-up. She said I needed an outlet that also played into healthy narcissism and ego. To get an appreciation for my own creativity and ability, she said stand-up would bolster confidence and recharge a part of myself that’d been lacking. It’s honestly been tough to push myself back into it, but she was right. It’s making gears turn that ground to a halt for some time. I’m thinking from angles I’d never considered, and my perspective is shifting accordingly. There’s a clarity to the world that I haven’t been able to access, and a sense in the murkiness that’s helping me through the mire. I didn’t realise what I’d lost, but I’m excited to find it once more.

Relationships:
My girlfriend and I have been together for four and a half years, and living together for two of them. Things have been comfortable, easy, routine. At least, as routine as a couple of weirdos like us could manage. None of that is meant to come off as undesirable, but it has involved us sinking into patterns. We’ve talked about it, and it feels like there’s change on the horizon that’s trending positive. I know I’ve taken steps to try and look closer into how things work, and how they could work even better. Just because I so often feel in a rut, that doesn’t have to spread to the rest of my life. There’s no reason not to keep things exciting and sometimes that involves work. Relationships are work, and good relationships are so worth it. I’ve got one of them, and I intend to hold onto it.

In terms of poly dating, I’m gonna put more effort into it next year. 2018 was pretty sparse for new dates. My girlfriend has a wonderful partner who seems like they’ll be a positive force for her. I’m ready to find a person(s) that complement(s) who I want to navigate the world as. I feel like there are valid parts of myself that are rarely accessed, and could stand to be shared with others. Will 2019 be that year? I’m here for it.

Pop Culture:
It’s the end of 2018. Disney has entirely taken over the blockbuster market and I find myself slinking back from it. Then again, I just watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and it feels like there’s hope for the relentless super hero onslaught. Also Marvel, please don’t do the Onslaught saga. It’s a mess. 2018 was the year I fell in love with Paddington 2: the cinematic antidote to the venom in our world (and maybe the Venom motion picture Sony released). Paddington 2 is a perfect film, proving that even in darkness, there’s always light.

Then again, we’re still swimming in peak TV. The Killing Eve was phenomenal, I’m holding a candle for the next season of Catastrophe, The Good Place and Atlanta are pushing genre boundaries in exciting new ways. I’ve heard Barry aligns pretty well with most of my tastes. We’re spoiled and nobody should be complaining. Except broadcast television. That industry is sinking year by year. Dare I go down with that ship?

This was a pretty dense info dump. I feel like I’ve just finished catching up with an old friend. Let’s do this more often, y’know? Don’t be a stranger and stuff. I’ll try to check in with y’all in a hundred or two entries from now.

Oh yeah, it’s 2018. I say “y’all” now.

It’s also National Homeownership Month, in case any middle class baby boomers were feeling left out

Pride Month started today. I did a small post on Facebook for friends and I thought I’d expand on it here. You know, for extra credit?

“Hey friends. It’s Pride Month. This isn’t a coming out post as such, because for me specifically it seems redundant. I’m still figuring a bunch of that stuff out (and certain scenarios have indicated that there’s definitely stuff to figure out).

What I’d rather mention is how proud and privileged I am to have such a wealth of supportive community around me. The fact of the matter is, I’m not worried about rushing into labels because I’m unbelievably fortunate for it not to matter. I have all the time in the world to test the waters and see what it is that I’m drawn to across romantic and sexual spectrums.

I know that I have all the time in the world entirely because I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people with a myriad of sexual and gender identities. If I did decide to start identifying in any new way, I know that I’d be greeted by nothing but love. I feel like that’s really something to celebrate. Not everyone has access to the same freedoms and support networks, which is heartbreaking. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I’ll do my damnedest to try and make space for anyone I can to do so.

Happy Pride Month everyone. I sincerely hope that wherever you are, you feel pride in whoever you are, even if you’re still figuring that out.”

I’ve never really been one to care for labels or identity. My sexual identity is no different. Frankly, playing Magic takes up more of my mental and emotional energy than thinking about whatever genders I’m attracted to. It just hasn’t been an important factor in my life. As far as I figure, putting a name to it only seeks to neatly put myself in a box for the sake of others. This isn’t about them, so why should it matter? That’s not to say that identity isn’t an important thing full stop. I’m not knocking it. A lot of people find comfort in how they see themselves. Identity politics can help them gather like-minded individuals and seek out community. I think that’s wonderful. I just don’t think it’s super relevant for me.

Maybe I’ll get there one day. In as far as my sexuality goes, I find myself occasionally attracted to other men. It’s not often though, that this translates into sexual interest or desire. I’ve had a handful of intimate encounters with male identifying people. So far they’ve all been mediocre or bust. Nothing’s particularly grabbed me and encouraged me to seek more out en masse. Then again, I didn’t like oysters for the longest time. I’ve had good oysters once or twice, so who knows? Maybe I’ll meet a good one and they’ll grow on me. Whether it takes further hold or not, I don’t really see the sense in denying myself any burgeoning desires. I know for certain that emotional intimacy with other men holds great importance to me. I’m very fortunate to have a lot of close, supportive friendships with other guys. Tender hugs have become pretty standard. Occasionally we’ll kiss hello or goodbye. It’s stopped holding any kind of weirdness for me. It’s just an expression of compassion.

It’s not like these feelings have come out of nowhere. They’ve been growing slowly over years, discarding outdated societal norms because they no longer make sense in my life. It’s at the point where, irrespective of gender, if I can’t be honest and vulnerable with a friend I start to question the point of that friendship. It’s precisely because of these vulnerable and honest friendships that I feel entirely comfortable taking my time to work it out. I have an overwhelming amount of love in my life. If I did suddenly discover a queer identity that fit me to a T, I know I’d be able to adopt it without fear of persecution or ridicule. I’m pretty fucking lucky. I have a supportive and loving community, a wonderful family that I assume (Mum? Dad? It hasn’t come up, but I kind of figured you wouldn’t care. You’ve always just wanted me to be happy) has my back no matter what. If I came out at work, I doubt anyone would care. Society (and in particular, Toronto) has reached a place where sexual identity isn’t cause for concern. I sweat privilege, and it’s because of the sacrifices and principles of years worth of brave individuals that I don’t have to put a label on anything. It’s evolved to a point where I don’t have to care about it. If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

But I’m certainly proud that we’re getting there.

Not that the word “flaccid” was important. I just wanted to add texture.

It’s been some time since I’ve talked about anything polyamory and that’s likely because it’s been some time since polyamory was relevant in my day to day. Neither my partner nor I have had much interest in dating other people, so neither of us have. When enough’s going on in your life that you’re having difficulty spending time with those you love, it’s hard to muster up enthusiasm for getting to know even more people you’ll eventually have to cancel on. Hell, it’s hard enough failing at re-working a sentence not to end on a preposition.

I figure that still being relatively new to the practice of extending romantic connection beyond monogamous commitment, there are muscles to be worked. It’s not like those muscles atrophy without use, but have you tried going for a run after a weeks spent marathoning The Wire? One of these things is only an exercise in patience. I haven’t had to think about romantic/sexual connections with others in yonks. Nor have I put myself through the mental gymnastics of working around the abundant social programming of a largely monogamous society. I haven’t been considering my anchor partner meeting others and how my brain reacts to that idea. She hasn’t dated anyone in an age. The last time I dated anyone was maybe ten months ago. It ended amicably enough, but I also didn’t yearn to get back out there. So we’ve been nesting comfortably.

My girlfriend and I went to a party the other night. I noticed she was getting close to a guy there. Nothing remotely explicit. A light brush here, a hand on the upper arm or waist. My immediate response wasn’t anything apocalyptic, but more aw geez, now I’m gonna have to do the work of mental unpacking. I was bracing myself for the thought of dealing with feelings that could potentially be challenging at some point. Like standing behind a wall holding a shield encased in a suit of armour. Are feelings that monstrous?

I tried poking and prodding at them a little. I’d met this dude a couple of times before. He’s always been a friendly, welcoming fellow. He’s open and honest, fun to be around and a warm soul. He’s a tall, good looking guy, so I understand her attraction. It’s not like I harbour any ill will for him, so why would I bristle at the thought of my girlfriend wanting to spend time with him? Because my italicised counter-thoughts chimed in, if she thinks he’s attractive, then she doesn’t think you are. That was silly. I find other women attractive, does that mean I don’t consider my girlfriend to be a knockout? Hell no. She’ll get infatuated with him and you’ll feel lonely, sad, holding your flaccid dick in your hand. I mean, this was getting to the heart of it. I didn’t want to be left behind or put out. The assumption that she’d no longer want me was ridiculous. I went off and had another relationship while living with her. Did I desire her less? Hell no. It made me appreciate even deeper all the things that made her special. But she’s a hyper-desirable person. She’ll be constantly out at parties finding people to fuck while you circle the snack table and talk to people about Air Bud like a child or adult with severe arrested development issues. Like a textbook narcissist, this was all a big plea of “what about me?”

I’m sure I sell myself short, but my base assumption is that nobody is interested ever. Straight up, my brain tells me that nobody wants to fuck me. The fact that a) I’m not a virgin and b) don’t think I have it in me to coerce anyone, should contradict this all to hell. It’s a worthless mental affirmation that I constructed years before I’d ever had sex. I don’t know why I’m still holding onto it. I’ve got a strong conviction against making anyone feel unwelcome or uncomfortable and it’s really hard to shirk the notion that my advances would cause discomfort. To be thought of as That Creepy Dude is anathema to my M.O. My involuntary response is to never hit on anyone at a party ever. Then I feel like a fucking child as people are getting frisky around me. It’s not that I don’t get hot under the collar when I meet someone sexy at a party. It’s more akin to having a mental collar that threatens to blow my brain to giblets if I were to act on that. I’ve conditioned myself to be harmless and in so, severely damaged my self-esteem.

I’ve got work to do. I need to train those mental muscles to relax and chill out. I need to accept that my partner will be attracted to others and it’s fine for her to act on that attraction. If this relationship is to have the sustainability we both desire, then I need to work on compersion, to be happy for her finding connection. But also that it’s okay for me to do the same. I also need to understand that I’m not a burden or continually unwanted, that sending out flirty vibes is not the same thing as assuming the woman I’m talking to has no agency or choice in the matter. That it’s possible for someone to look at me and think I want to put my lips on his and maybe touch his butt.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

In a world where the Pawdcast was my job, I’d find some way to hate it too.

Wow. Today’s been up and down and up and down and up and down like an elevator riding a rollercoaster on a moonhopper. First up, Pawdcast emergency! Our prepared guest was sick in bed with food poisoning. She’s a great comic and it’s more than a little gutting to have lost her appearance on the Pawd. Things have been going great since adding guests (even with the absence of my fake trailers). While my co-host and I have built up fantastic chemistry, having someone else in there too add unpredictable angles and elements really lifts each episode. If they’ve never before seen an Air Bud Entertainment film they really have no idea what they’re in for. Good or abysmal, or anywhere thereabouts in-between, there’s no way the film doesn’t leave a significant impression.

The last few have been beyond ghastly. I’ve had more than enough Christmas for one year and it’s still two months away. This one though, was Halloween themed. Halloween is my favourite holiday and this film was the perfect experience to put me in good (you know it) spirits. I’m seriously considering the possibility of low level Stockholm syndrome at play. Having been so repeatedly conditioned into mind numbing celluloid trash by this franchise that we’ve fallen for our captors. That the past few films were so terrible, we’ve lost all critical objectivity and anything beyond a streaming pile of shit seems like gold.

Things came back on the upswing when my friend offered to step in at the last minute to record with us tonight. He could spare the time today to watch the film and chat with us and it’s gonna be an outstanding episode. He’s a renown Toronto playwright, clever, quick witted dude. I’d intended to try get him for a later episode, but he’s gonna knock this one out of the park. I’m back up, right?

But work. Work happened, as it does five days a week. Work today was a shitshow with a morning that got blown out, leaving me playing catch-up all afternoon. I’m trying to get way ahead of schedule so as not to leave my co-workers with a massive clean up job after me. A holiday that can’t come fast enough. I’m burned up, I’m significantly past sick of my job and it’s making each day a struggle. Back when we were up on Bloor it was easy enough to ignore. Transit was half the time. There was cheap, healthy food easily accessible. I could use my lunch breaks to go to the gym, leaving my evenings free. I can’t do these things any more and it’s taking an extra two hours every day. It’s draining, enough that I find I actually need to leave the building a few times per day to cool down. If I was doing a job I enjoyed, that challenged or interested me, that wouldn’t be so bad. But being in a mind-numbing entry level position almost two years later makes me feel like I somehow failed. I’ve applied to other jobs, but no dice. I’m at that limbo point with no idea of direction. I’ve been bouncing about doing job shadowing within the company, but that’s not a new job. It’s no indication of anything at all. Where previously things were fine, now I can feel how much they’re taking from me. No bueno. Very no bueno.

But on the other hand, I’m seeing someone again. Like, seeing a person I was seeing before. Again. Time constants had me worried I couldn’t give enough for a proper relationship, but we agreed to give it another shot without being worried about quantity of time spent. She has a partner, she’s not looking to be completed, only complemented. We got a lot from each other’s company and I’m sure that’s not gonna change. Plus, we’re gonna work together on completing one of my childhood dreams: Clocking Gunstar Heroes. She’s an excellent person. I’m happy. For today, that’s enough.

Oh, plus the MOTHERFUCKING EXCELLENT PAWDCAST WE’RE RECORDING TONIGHT. RAWK OUT!

Ahem. It’s nice to have things to be excited about, I guess.