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.

Be careful, this suddenly got SUPER political

Is gravy just hot, thick, meat fat?

I already regret my use of “just”, as it could be misconstrued that I don’t hold the marvel of gravy with the utmost reverence. That would be a shame. There’s nothing “mere” about gravy. Gravy is a wondrous substance that goes with anything. Meat? Of course. Cheese? Definitely. Bread? 100%. Ice cream? Chocolate? Some types, perhaps. Candy? It’d sure as hell improve the taste of Red Vines/Twizzlers. See? My logic is impeccable. Gravy goes with everything. Indisputable.

For the past week or so I’ve been feeling this irritating sensation. The kind of irritating sensation I usually get from water lodged in my ear. I’ve got weirdly shaped ears, I’m used to it. Water gets and trying to remove it is like bot fly extraction (warning, that link is both totally fascinating and utter nightmare fuel). I tried a bunch of cotton buds and got all the earwax out, but nevertheless the sensation persisted. I wondered if there was anything wrong with me. Then today after poking around with my finger a bunch, I realised that I’m now so old that I get ear hairs. So that’s great, something new that I have to upkeep about my body, as it steadily falls apart. Much like gravy, my body is basically now just hot, thick, meat fat.

Which I guess means it’s in good company.

You know, I started this about two hours ago. I’ve been getting distracted, procrastinating as much as possible and generally avoiding getting words down on this page. I don’t want to write every single day. At the same time, specifically because I don’t want to write every day, I need to write every day. I know myself well enough that if I let myself off the hook for a single day, then I’ll let myself off the hook for other single days. Then they’ll be less single days and more a cluster of days. Then I’ll find excuses not to write maybe for a week, or more. Soon enough I’ll write when I feel like writing. The thing is, I barely ever feel like writing. Occasionally, yes, I get gripped by creativity and it all bursts out of me. Then other days I’ll have this tabbed while I’m reading articles about the cessation of the US governmental shutdown, or 15 non-Oscar nominated films that deserved to be (and you know my boy Paddington was right in there). Maybe I’ll walk to the kitchen and grab ingredients for cheese and crackers, contemplate assembling them there, and instead decide I can do it on the fly. Then perhaps I’ll discover that they’re cumbersome enough to make that doing them one by one whenever my whims drive me, is just plain inefficient. In this entirely hypothetical situation it could be that the bacon marmalade (one more shout out to my boy Paddington) I’m using is too clumpy to easily spread with a knife, and a spoon would’ve been smarter, but I’ll press on anyway to my own detriment. Then possibly I’ll make five or six crackers before getting frustrated by my own ineptitude that I’d eat them all and take the ingredients back to the kitchen without having written a single word.

Hah, like that would ever happen.

But in any case, there’s no good to come of me bashing my head against a wall here.

I bet that’s how Trump felt.

They’re always the last things I write, and are usually just a desperately written reference

Here’s an anatomy of why most of my posts don’t quite stick the landing.

I’m always tired. If that sounds entirely disengenuous, be aware that sometimes I’m tired from being so energetic, if that makes sense. The majority of my entries are done in that window of 4-5pm. It’s the sweet spot between having finished all my work and whatever evening plans I have. It also means that, once again, I’m tired. Maybe I’ll have something on my mind if I’m lucky, but it’s primarily a case of clock based motivation. Less creative “incentive to write” and more “let’s get this out of the way” sorta energy. It’s rare that I jump into these with a restless desire to loose imagination from my soul or an unshakeable political conviction to express myself. More often it’s “if I’m start in the next minute or two, I can have this off my back before 5pm rolls around.” I like to think it’s more carrot than stick, but if your carrot is long and thin enough, it may as well be a stick.

Don’t think too hard about that. I certainly didn’t.

So I’ll usually start off with a brief opening statement. I don’t truly know how this became incorporated into my style. Maybe it worked once to strong effect and I’ve been aping it ever since. In any case, it orients me enough that to fuel the following paragraph. That’s the hope, anyway. Fingers crossed (metaphorically. It’s hard to type that way) that this opening paragraph sparks some kind of material to expand upon, weaving a coherent series of threads into a greater whole. Occasionally things align and cohesive links emerge. More likely I’ll end up with a non-sequitur of sorts.

I’ll commonly just go into a new thought I had. Maybe I had something I wanted to roll around on the page in the hopes of creating a new bit. Or perhaps I suddenly remembered a pop cultural artifact I wanted to Have An Opinion on. This part out of everything likely ages the least well. I’m not one for salient hot takes. My tastes change over time and enthusiasm is mercurial. While this non-sequitur sentence doesn’t matter a whole heap at first glance, it likely subtly changes the rest of the entry. While expressing my views on whatever it is I’ve chosen to focus on for this one paragraph, it’ll help me hone into a certain point and expand elements of it. This usually gives some form of guidance to the rest of the entry.

By the time paragraph three or four rolls around, I’ve got some idea of what I’m saying. Not always, but often. You wouldn’t think it, but this is practically the only part of the entry that matters. My brain has warmed up enough that it can process and analyse rather that just let loose ideas. I’ll dig in to consider what was important about the preceding paragraphs. If you’re looking for insight (and curiously, came to this page) or original thoughts, you could probably just skip the preamble and look out for this one. Chances are it’s longer than the others. It’s very possible, too, that the paragraph I’m talking about really gets bifurcated into smaller ones while realistically the content doesn’t change enough to justify a paragraph break. Look out for some prolix in there too. I try to cheat with commas, which is more symptomatic of writing as I speak than any real intention. Look, I could be a better writer, but is that really what you want? I mean, I’d like that. I’m just not sure I want to put ther work in to get there.

The second to last paragraph (and oh, we’re getting there) is a casualty of the format. While the preceding parapraph likely had some decent ideas, I doubt I expressed them to the fullest. The second to last paragraph has all the potential in the world, because it could deep dive into finding gold in my words. Instead, it’s used to hastily (and sloppily) tie up most of the threads I’ve raised over the course of the half hour. Clearly it matters more to me that I “technically” finish the entry, than utilise what I’ve considered to reach valuable conclusions. Don’t hate the player, hate The Game. Don’t hate the rapper “The Game”, but you should hate The Game, because you just lost it.

As I did all my steam. Here’s the occasional pre-tail where I’ll lazily circle back to the opening statement/paragraph in an attempt to desperately convince y’all that any of this was a) planned or b) plotted. It wasn’t. Why? Well I was probably too tired to be bothered. Also because 5pm just rolled around and I wanted to get the fuck out of the office.

I’ll nearly always end it with some quippy ending statement. Also, no. I don’t think hard about the entry names.

How negative do you have to be before it comes out positive?

Today I bought 75 cans of tuna.

If anyone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them exactly that. Today I bought 75 cans of tuna. I figure it’s the perfect response. It’s a neutral statement that belies my constant state of dread. I don’t need to specify that walking into the office instills me with a sense of listlessness and helplessness, because they likely assume I bought almost eighty cans in the hopes of committing ritual seppuku via mercury poisoning. I should be so lucky.

You know, I reference mercury poisoning often enough, but I don’t really know what the symptoms are. Let’s review, shall we?

  • mood swings, nervousness, irritability, and other emotional changes,
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • abnormal sensations,
  • muscle twitching,
  • tremors
  • weakness,
  • muscle atrophy, and
  • decreased cognitive functions.
  • peripheral vision impairment,
  • stinging or needle-like sensations in the extremities and mouth,
  • loss of coordination,
  • muscle weakness, and
  • other impairments of speech and hearing

So it’s like being permanently hungover. Seems like a rough way to go. Still, nothing like saying “fuck it” and ingesting too much deep sea fish out of sunken cost fallacy. That, if anything, seems On Brand for me.

Other things that are On Brand for me: Unnecessarily convoluted puns. Having serious opinions about pooping technique. Caring too much about irreverent observations and too little about making good decisions. Listening to Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” eerily often. Starting sentences with “So”, “And” or “But”. LCD Soundsystem’s “Christmas Will Break Your Heart”. Mixing Four Loko with anything. Consuming odd flavour combos less because I can’t afford better and more because I crave new experiences/hate waste. The bold plain colour t-shirt/pants combo. Cute animal based graphic tees. Air Bud over everything. Capitalising For Emphasis. Knowing a bunch about films I’ve never seen. Not watching any classic cinema. Crying frequently during Wreck-It Ralph. Spending more time reading Magic the Gathering articles than playing Magic the Gathering. Balking at people who haven’t watched Community. Climbing things while drunk. Confusing nostalgia and regret. Listening to a ten hour loop of Tom DeLonge’s verse from Blink 182’s “Miss You”. Commas.

In case you were wondering, I’d happily sell out and turn Being Me into a financial transaction. If anyone wants to pay me for On Brand content, I’m game. How else am I going to Do What I Love/Love What I Do and practice self care simultaneously? There must be some kind of way, right? Become a lifestyle guru for those with questionable standards? Sell jade vagina eggs to take advantage of desperate women? Become a lobbyist for Big Tuna? Get a book deal that involves repackaging exceprts from this writing project? Start a cooking channel for pescetarian bachelors? Get sponsored by Four Loko and write about it for Vice? Start a blog about listening to 10 hours of Tom DeLonge’s verse from Blink 182’s “Miss You” in different public locations?

And here I was thinking I wasn’t marketable enough.

I’m nothing if not a student of human nature

Why are cleaning products so often marketed as nature analogues? Nature’s is pretty much the dirtiest thing there is. It’s where the word “dirt” came from. Marketing is weird.

Poo is natural. Rot and decomposition are natural. Sure, waterfalls are nifty, but they can also stir up gross sediment. A windswept meadow looks lovely, but also harbours a diverse ecosystem of insects and excrement. There’s such a thing as underwater carrion, but they call it “chum” so it sounds a lot more delightful.

These were all thoughts I had while washing my hair, noticing the “natural” shampoo another employee had left there. So, literal shower thoughts. Marketing has always bugged me, but it’s not like my connection to it has progressed since my teenage years. I’m still political in that adorable Mall Goth capacity. I’ll get free promotional sunglasses and scratch off the branding. I’ll refuse to get clothing with visible logos. To this day I still don’t understand football fans wearing moisture wicking billboards. You’re paying to advertise for someone, they should be paying you, right?

I truly wonder what teenage Leon would think of Leon aged 31. I’ve kind of inverted. As a teen I was obsessed with heavy rock and metal. My wardrobe existed in shades of black (where does “charcoal” fit in? -Ed). I thought I was totally counter-culture and legit, but also listened to schlocky trite like Sum 41. I remember thinking just how rebellious and edgy I was, while also totally fitting into a cookie cutter paradigm. I was all “fuck those posers Linkin Park” with one breath, and an entirely sincere “adults don’t understand” in another. I was misunderstood, like every teacher. Likely misunderstood mostly by myself.

I prided myself on how much I hated the things that didn’t jive with me and made a point of letting everyone else know it. It was pathological. If there was something I hated, I’d do my research and find out as much as possible about it so that my barbs had substance. In retrospect, as an adult I wish I still had that kind of work ethic. These days I wouldn’t waste the energy. I’ve got better things to do, like question the political motivations of cleaning products. I’ve hardly even started on my Netflix queue. I swear I pay $10 a month to watch an hour or two of content on average.

Is there a point to any of this? Of course not. Existence is meaningless and nature breeds filth. If you love nature so much, why don’t you marry it, grow old together and slowly decompose until plants desecrate your bones for nourishment?

Honestly, that sounds kind of romantic.

Move over Radiohead, we have a new King of Limbs in town

Toronto Fringe is here and I’ve lost my girlfriend.

In a metaphorical sense. We’ll still be sharing a house/bed, but it’s likely to be more of a “ships in the night” kind of deal. She’s working evenings and I’m a 9-5er. We’ll share company during the weekends. Magic: Arena is my new girlfriend for the next two weeks. Maybe I’ll go watch some shows myself too.

Look, once again I have nothing. It’s not like I do much prep for these. It usually starts that I’ll look around my desk for inspiration. Maybe I’ll think of a conversation or song that’s been on my mind and go from there. Once in a blue moon I’ll have a topic ready to rock and/or roll. Presently: Zilch.

My hand smells funny. There you go. It’s still cast-bound and I went for a run today. Toronto’s still in the sweltering grip of a heat wave, so my hand sweat excessively. Well, all of my sweat excessively, but the sweat on my right hand had nowhere to go. Poor, poor pores. With all the blood rushing into said hand, it began to swell. Maybe it hated being constricted or something and hulked the fuck out. It got to a point where, mid-jog, I’d be flicking out droplets of sweat on the path before me. Like a sweat Red Carpet. Sweat Carpet?

It smelled funky, so I washed it in the shower, letting the water trickle out. Problem solved, I thought. Except for the liquid leaking onto the office floor, that was. A trifling issue. A few hours later (namely, just before) I got a whiff of my cast covered palm and my nose crinkled involuntarily. It looked a little odd. White and patchy. I prodded it with a finger and skin came loose. Gross. I rubbed it a little and lots more skin flaked with it. Was I spliced with a snake? Is my hand a grand fungual infection? Have I got athlete’s fist?

A quick Google says I should put a light amount of baking soda on it to draw out the moisture. A quick look at my brain tells me I should add some salt, detergent, cooking oil and vinegar to make it into a bitchin’ arm volcano. I can pretend I have a cool Mega Man arm cannon and possibly be arrested for disturbing public behaviour. Maybe I’ll get deported to Johannesburg, my arm will morph into an inhuman appendage, I’ll be able to wield awesome alien weaponry and I’ll feel like I have to throw up whenever I watch the movie. Then maybe I’ll develop a bizarre Pavlovian vomit response to looking at my own limb. I’ll continue to unload until my body inverts and I develop a misshapen exoskeleton. Then I go to live under the sea like one of Lovecraft’s unfathomable horrors.

Anything’s possible. I mean, I managed to write a whole entry from nothing, right?

Quite quote unquote, quid pro quo?

I’ve been humming and hawing (a word I’ve been using for years without knowing the true meaning. Apparently it’s to hesitate in speech) about what to write. No cohesive themes are popping into my head. I don’t have the darndest notion of where to start, but if I’ve learned anything from this project it’s that starting is the quickest route to getting somewhere.

Man, that sounded like I dropped some serious wisdom:

“Starting is the quickest route to getting somewhere” – Albert Einstein.

Maybe I’ve finally gained the ability to casually drop aphorisms on the fly. Wouldn’t that be a rad superpower. It sounds meek at first blush, but the more you think about it, you’d be able to give your opponents pause while you came in for the coup de grâce. They’d be standing there doing some serious hawing (’cause the only way to truly learn a word is to use it in a sentence, right?), and I’d take advantage of their flat footed predicament. An ability to drop truth bombs at will sounds like a great power with great responsibility.

I read an Onion article the other day “Man Forced To Reverse-Engineer Point In Midst Of Meandering, Absentminded Rant“. I was just happy they had the restraint not to print my real name. Perhaps it’s come from years of downing Harmontown episodes, but I totally do this. I’ll start at a certain point in a conversation with this unearned confidence that I’ll be able to spout something vaguely resembling sense. I’ll twist and contort, taking non-linear sidesteps while engineering a through-line that comes together at the end. It’s a high wire act. I’m well aware that most of the time it doesn’t work, but when I have a couple of drinks, any potential self-doubt is clipped in favour of blind faith. I’ll make it happen, even if I have to force it with clunky segues and tenuous narrative links.

I get away with it far more than I should. Maybe here in Canada it’s an offshoot of accent privilege. I’ve mentioned it a bunch of times before, but I feel like having a Kiwi accent affords me a great many privileges here in a foreign country. You know that socially observed phenomenon whereby attractive people go through life with strangers being nicer to them? 30 Rock did a great episode on it with John Hamm. Living in a foreign country, I feel like having an accent gives shades of the same. So perhaps people smudge over those times when my conversational crafting is bumbling at best. Possibly they’re not even understanding the words I’m saying, but get a kick out of my cadence. If neither of us notices and it gives me neat little advantages, I’m certainly not gonna complain.

I was saying to my girlfriend the other day that I’d love nothing more than to have a job where I could just be amicable and charming all the time. Spout total nonsense, but help facilitate others having a blast. I like making people happy as much as I enjoy being liked. Win/win all around. I was speaking to a French dude today who said when he was in Korea, he got invited on a popular KPOP panel show just because he was a) tall and b) spoke English. They were all oh, your English is so great as he spoke in his thick French accent. He told me he had zero qualms about monetising that shit, because it made others happy and he benefited from it. Is there some way I can do the same? Find a line of work where I can be me and that’ll be enough for others? Where my meandering absentminded rants are marketable? How do I even set out to find that?

Then again, as the great Albert Einstein once said: “Starting is the quickest route to getting somewhere.”

Wise words indeed.

Skeletons of memories.

I’m starting this by saying that this entry won’t be me at my top of my game. It’s been a long day. I went maybe 6 hours without drinking water and now my brain is all backed up. My phone is stuck on some booting loop and the suggested solutions from the internet aren’t working. It’s 10.30pm and I’ve just eaten dinner. You know what that means, right? LIST TIME.

While I was prepping dinner, the phrase (or combination of two words. Not 100% sure it’s a “phrase”) “Remember When” popped into my head. That’s enough of a writing prompt for me to go go gadget bulletpoint:

  • Remember when buying candy was super exciting? When you’d go to the corner store and they’d have something like pop rocks that came in a little plastic toilet? You’d lose your mind at the novelty of it all, even when it was just sugar at the end of the day. Or that tongue colour changing technology? You’d walk up to some adult and they’d be all “what’s going on you young whipper snappin’ youngin’?” and you’d be all “BLARGH. LOOK AT MY TONGUE” and it’d be blue and you thought they’d be like “WOAH, THIS KID MUST BE PART GIRAFFE” but instead they were like “have you been hitting the jenkum too hard again? I had a storied childhood.
  • Remember when it was totally acceptable for someone’s gender identity to be the butt of a joke? When TV execs thought it’d be hilarious to make a dating show like The Bachelorette then be all whoopsie, she’s trans like that was some hilarious switcheroo instead of reducing someone’s very being into a joke? Then the contestants had the gall to try and sue for psychological damages? Is there a better illustration of gay panic lying around?
  • Remember when you were a kid and your friend’s parents would have one of those rotary telephones sitting in the corner of a room and you’d play with it as if it never had a tacit practical use? Then the parent would be like “well in my day” and you’d be all “your day is past. Hurry up and expire you sack of dry bones so we can inherit the earth.” Then we did inherit the earth and phones hardly have physical buttons let alone some rotating finger trap, yet we still have the audacity to use the word “dial” when we talk about calling someone.
  • Remember when Robbie Williams tore off his skin and we found out he was actually a skeleton in disguise the whole time? That was pretty trippy.
  • Remember when Pokémon hospitalised a bunch of kids in Japan and you were all “holy shit, a cartoon killed people?” but also those monster things look kind of cool. I wonder when this show will make it over to New Zealand?
  • Remember when coffee, alcohol and avocado were gross and now they’re the only things that sustain your boney old bones?
  • Remember when Bone Thugs N Harmony hung out at public transit buildings with Phil Collins and he looked into the camera all staunch? Then he’d loosen up when the chorus came around?
  • Remember when people would use the word “bones” in lieu of a currency? Like “How much for a night in your fine inn?” “three bones, goodsir and I’ll toss in a bowl of soup with a heel of crusty bread”? Me niether, but I’d like to live in that world.
  • Remember when you got your first bra and you were a 30 year old male? Then you went to a drunken art party on a train wearing said bra and drunken people were like “I guess it’s fine to shove fake money into your bra and that bit will never get old” and you sorta adopted a grin and bear it approach and you weren’t so much offended by people’s ownership of your body autonomy as you were that they failed to realise how hack and uninspiring the joke was. Then an all female Van Halen cover band played and that was kinda cool.
  • Remember when your parents got you a subscription to the Delta Airlines kids travel magazine and it had stories/comics with the characters? Plus it’d showcase the kids meals which looked super exciting? Then you got to fly with Delta Air and were super pumped, but it was a mediocre airline and the kids meals fucking sucked and your dreams died with your mortal shell soon to follow?
  • Remember when petrol broke $1/L back in the 90s? Then by the time you had a car you were paying $2.20/L and it cost over $120 to fill your tank?

I had a time. No bones about it.

Am my rite?

I have no idea where this is going, but I can only stare at a blank page for so long. It’s funny, but I’ve been doing this for so long now that I make it harder for myself than it needs to be. In thinking about an entry, I set up all these boundaries to keep me moving ahead, but who’s to say that they’re worth anything? Example: Years ago I did an entry where I thought about a theme and applied myself to it. It went well and the end result came together better than my random ramblings. So of course I took that and ran with it. Think of a theme before you touch the keyboard became, if not a mantra, then a guideline. I’m unsure of how many hours I’ve lost through trying to think of a theme. I’m writing every single day, I don’t have the luxury of producing a polished mass of condensed thought. Furthermore, expecting a theme to blossom in order to ensure a quality entry is a wash. Just because I have a general direction, it doesn’t mean I’ll end up following it. Hell, the point of this entire project was to go with the flow, stroll down tangential pathways and embrace meandering mental footsteps. Furthermore, the notion that certain entries were good because I’d thought of a theme doesn’t presuppose that entries with a starting point are the only good ones. I’ve probably had just as many stream of consciousness brain dumps that’ve led to interesting conclusions. Why should order matter?

I also try not to repeat myself if I can. Of course I have. How could I not? When did I start this? Something like the 22nd of March 2013? That’s 58 or so months. If we guess that a month on average has 30 days, we’re looking at 1740 entries. Wait, I can actually confirm this. Gimme a sec (he says when he’s the one who sets all the time boundaries. As if you have any idea)… Looks like this is my 1,771st entry in a row. I don’t think I could have 1,771 conversations without repeating myself, let alone 1,771 bouts of 30 minutes typing. Okay, so that means at the very least I’ve spent 885 hours on my current output. “At least” I say, because most often the half hour I say I’ll spend writing takes around 45 minutes to an hour. I start and stop, pause the timer. Sheesh. I’d start going into all the things I could’ve learned in that time, but I’m certain I did that entry some while ago. I just have this vague nagging feeling. It’s nibbling away at me and while I know that there’s no point in getting bent out of shape, that’s different than realising that there’s no point in getting bent out of shape. Facts and cognition are not identical.

Why is it that I care? It’s the height of silliness, but I know deep down that if I ever wrote an entry and someone pointed out that I’d done it previously, one of my horcruxes would go kaput. I mean, what are those previous 1,770 entries but little nuggets of my soul embodied by digital ink? Ugh, now I recalled having used the phrase “digital ink” and that’s making me feel sour. What’d be worse would be repeating a topic, but discovering that I’d done it far more eloquently previously. My inner being would be trapped in some kind of Soul Asylum bolting away from my body like a “Runaway Train”. Holy fuckers, did you know Soul Asylum had 11 albums? That they’d released them as recently as 2016? I kinda thought they released the aforementioned locomotive hit and “Misery” then called it quits. I bet Soul Asylum never repeated themselves like some hack I know…

At the centre of this distaste for repetition has to be a seed of utter narcissism, right? As if anyone out there has read all my entries. Even if they had, as if they’d take the effort to go out of their way and let me know I’d copied something from myself. Perhaps in repeating concepts there’s the chance I’ll get them better the second time. Or what if I found a new angle to explore? In a sense, my predilection for inhibition towards repetition is needless submission. What if there are creative drippings awaiting their time under my fingertips? I mean, real writers edit, right? My wry rite of writing is rightfully frightful, if not trite, what have I to be contrite?

Cut the crap. Just write.

More like Artifice & Wankery.

Late night eats. They’re an important part of any good Friday, Saturday or any day ending with a sizeable quantity of alcohol. I didn’t even drink much last night, but after a $14 food truck sandwich filled with sadness and disappointment, I needed a mulligan. My girlfriend and I grabbed a ride home with friends that involved not one, but three fast food stops. Firstly, at Burger King for my friend to grab a veggie burger. Secondly, at Five Guys for a burger, fries and a shake. Lastly at A&W for onion rings. We got dropped home to feast and watch American Vandal until we got sleepy. A good night by any metric.

A&W was confounding though. In their desire to be a wholesome family restaurant, they’ve ascribed familial nomenclature to their nom nom noms. Frankly, their mythos is all over the fucking place.

It goes like this. There’s a Baby burger which has a patty and ketchup. Cute, it’s a basic burger. That tracks so far. The Buddy burger adds grilled onions, mustard and “teen” sauce. It’s odd that it’s not a familial relation, but clearly it’s a friend of teenage descent, right? However, by A&W’s metrics a Teen burger has onion, but it’s not grilled. It has the teen sauce, but also throws in pickles, lettuce, tomato, cheese and pork. If we’re delineating between the two, does this imply that Buddy is some kind of adolescent? Maybe a tween? Buddy’s puberty is in its infancy, but hasn’t fully blossomed into a hormone bound (though according to the byline, the beef patty is hormone and steroid free. How do you get a Teen burger without hormones? Is it grown in a vat?) burger?

Then we start getting into the adults. A Papa burger has two patties, onion, pickles, no tomato or lettuce, but still has teen sauce. Why would an adult burger have teen sauce? There’s some kind of disturbing connotation I’m not comfortable with here. So Papa has no bacon, but double patties. Are we to then draw the inference that extra meat is equivalent to age? But double Teen burgers exist that have two patties. So clearly the quantity of beef doesn’t have those connotations. Also why is a Papa less equipped with a toolbox of delectable toppings? Are we to assume that a Teen is young and passionate, full of potential, whereas a Papa has become resigned, old and tired. Straightforward and linear in his inexorable march towards the grave? But the Uncle burger has all the trimmings of the Teen burger (no teen sauce though), but with upgraded cheese and red onion in lieu of white. What are we supposed to glean from that? The burden of child rearing has quashed Papa’s spirit, but the fun Uncle gets to be fancy and carefree? We have to presume that the Uncle has no kids, because otherwise it would still be a Papa burger (and have two patties, duh). Or is this a way of A&W saying that your perspective (this burger being avuncular to you establishes this as his sole identity) overrules all else?

Hold on though, because there’s a Mama burger. The Mama burger is basically a one patty Papa burger. Why is that a gender dichotomy that’s being drawn? Is there an inverse correlation between the quantity of patties and x chromosomes? Would that mean that the Teen burger is female while the double teen is male? Hold on now A&W, that’s a political, sexist stance to take. If you’re adhering to the rules of your own goddamn mythos, it’s up to you to play within that structure elsewise fall on your sword and admit it’s all bullshit. Why do males inherently have more beef? Are you creating a very visible calf ceiling causing women to inherently limit their own potential?

Wait though. We have the Grandpa burger to contend with. The Grandpa burger is a Mama burger with three patties. Where the fuck did the extra patty come from and what does it symbolise? We’ve already walked through the notion that age and number of patties do not correlate. This is too much. The Grandpa burger collapses under the weight of its own senselessness. What the fuck are you trying to sell here A&W? The notion of a whitewashed nuclear family prescribing to outdated heteronormative ideals? How am I supposed to buy your burgers if I can’t even buy into their expanded universe? It makes no fucking sense and I can’t condone supporting this bollocks financially.

Furthermore who the fuck is Mozza? Why does putting an egg between English muffins suddenly make it an “egger”? Why are chickens exempt from familial hierarchical structures?