How to: Not Talk To Gay People About Sex

Do any of you have something that really just grinds your gears and gets you every time?  I happen to have a lot of them, and if I were to list them all it would require more time and dedication than I could ever hope to expect from any of you.  Consider this an act of mercy that I’m only focusing on one moderately upsetting thing for today.

I had this particular thing in mind for today, because it happened to me last night.  Sometimes being gay can really stink, and a lot of those times happen when you’re interacting with other (mostly heterosexual) people.  One of those interactions I despise is when someone decides it’s a good idea to ask The Question.  You’ve probably encountered it, either in a movie, with friends, hell – maybe you’ve even asked it yourself.  The Question is, for me, as follows: “What do 2 girls, like, DO, y’know… In bed?”

It’s almost always followed by lots of nervous giggling on the part of the asker.

There are a couple of responses that I use for this question, and the one I pick depends upon how well I know the person asking me, and how much I want them to not hate me.

In this case, I was at a bar, so I was able to be all, “I haven’t had enough tequila for this talk”, and that seemed to work pretty well.  (Other fun responses are things like, “Let’s go find out” and “Please shut your face”, but my favorite is, “Well that depends. Are we sleeping or fucking?”)
I’m not a particularly private person.  I’m loud, kind of annoying, and really obnoxious.  I’m outspoken about a great deal of things.  And yet, this one single question leaves me feeling utterly flabbergasted.  I really think this is a prime example of straight privilege, because nobody asks a straight couple what THEY do in bed, right?  Because everyone knows.  But apparently asking gay folks is not only a) super appropriate and acceptable but 2) going to give you an answer to apply to every gay person ever (because we’re all the same, duh!)

I was told that I handled the question like a champ, but I’m still really riled about it.  I also told the particular asker to check things out on the internet.  It’s a wonderful place and there are TONS and TONS and TONS (etc. etc. ad nauseum) of resources on how two ladies might get it on.  Betcha you’ll never guess what happened next.

“I FEEL DIRTY DOING THAT.”

But you feel perfectly alright asking someone you don’t know very well TO THEIR FACE about their sex life?

It would be completely different if this person were asking me about things to do to make one’s sex life more interesting.  I personally feel I have a lot of really brilliant sexytime ideas, and since I’m obnoxiously outspoken, I find very little shame in sharing them.  This, however, was a whole ‘nother scenario.

The moral of the story this week is pretty simple: don’t be an ass.  I don’t care if you’re drunk, I don’t care if you once asked a gay person in a pride parade and they answered.  I’m a different human being, and you should fucking respect that.

We’ll be back for regularly scheduled shenanigans later on.


Self-Help Books Can Actually Be Helpful???

Okay I’m sorry, I didn’t fall off the planet, I’ve just been shirking my duty as your faithful advice blogger for… Well for long enough to risk falling off the planet, I suppose.  I haven’t really done much, apart from the usual going to the gym, going to work, and eating food routine that most people seem to have.  So exciting.

One thing I have done is finish reading a book.  An advice book, no less – something I normally avoid like a cat avoids water.

I’m not usually one for self-help books. I tend to find the advice therein trite, condescending, and in some cases enabling of the behaviors the person reading needs help with. Of course, when my mom handed me this book I went, “Yeah, sure, I’ll read this. Eventually.” Because my mother likes to hand out advice, wanted, warranted, or not, I really just rolled my eyes. And then my girlfriend read the book first. And then something ridiculous happened – she told me it was good. Not just good, but something that I should be reading.

Thus, I just finished reading, The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay, PhD. The book is broken down into a few sections, on love, work, and being a grown-up. Really, the whole book centers on acting like an adult now instead of later, and getting your act together before you’re 30. There are a lot of examples that Dr. Jay uses to describe exactly what she’s getting at, whether it’s the twentysomething boy who was essentially homeless because he grew up in an unsettled divorced parenting situation, or the young Korean American woman who had grown up being teased for being different and a virgin in high school, so she never stopped to consider the sort of qualities she actually wanted in a partner – she just wanted to be wanted.

I wish I couldn’t identify so well with each of the people in this book. I’m way overeducated for my current job. I know this, and I know what I want to be doing, I just don’t know if I can actually put in the work to get there. I just keep assuming that everything will fall into place, because that’s what I’ve been taught to expect. I’ve also been hearing, “You’re young, this is what you’re supposed to do” an awful lot, too.

I think, contrary to popular belief, “YOLO” (you only live once) is part of this problem that leaves folks screwed over in their thirties. The twenties are apparently to be spent partying, traveling, working as a barista at Starbucks, and generally not giving a shit about the future because you’ll think about it “when you’re thirty” or “way later”…. Draw a timeline of how you want your life to go. If you have a picture like that, and “babies” and something like “medical school” are in the same place… You might have to reconsider what you’re doing.

What resonated most with me, for a silly reason, was the entire section on love. Every time my girlfriend and I have had problems of any sort, I have been advised by at least one person to break up with her and find someone else. I’m always told that I will have plenty of time to find my perfect someone, because my girlfriend and I are “so young” (I’m almost 24, for the record). I think getting together at a pretty young age, relatively speaking, is seen as a thing of the past. I have a friend who just got married, and she’s a couple years younger than I am. Do I think that’s too young? Maybe. I don’t know.

The point I’m trying (and failing) to make is that I feel really lucky in love. I don’t think I care if my perfect soul mate life partner match from heaven is out there in the world somewhere. There are another 7 billion people on this planet, of course. But, at this point, I think instead of stressing over whether or not my girlfriend and I are completely 100% totally perfect, I am going to focus on all the great things about being with her. At least in this respect, I feel like I have my shit together.

I wish I had an idea of what I want to be when I grow up. I wish I knew what I wanted to DO with my life. I want to do a million things, and I’m so afraid of all the possibilities that I don’t know where to start, and so I’m just paralyzed by all of them.

This paragraph I just wrote isn’t in the book, but there are a bunch like it. It makes me feel less bad, being as concerned as I am about my career future, because Facebook and the media seem to keep telling me that I should be gallivanting around Europe half-naked and fucking my way through hostels or something to that effect. Those same institutions tell me that I should drink more and do stupid shit because, after all, “you only live once”.

While that’s all probably a good time, I will take my amazing girlfriend, our tiny apartment, and a half-cooked plan for the rest of my life over drinks in an English pub any day. I may not know where I want to go, but I know who I want to get there with, and I really think that’s a big step in the right direction.

I’m not advocating for or against settling down at an earlier age, and I’m not even knocking working for Starbucks.  All I’m saying is that this book is pretty great, I recommend it, and I think we could all stand to get the ball rolling on the rest of our lives a little faster than age 30.

A little ambition never killed anyone.

…Right?


Are Your “Buts” Making You An A-Hole?

So hey, I recently discovered some websites that give me a lot of feelings.  Some of these feelings are akin to, “OKAY REALLY PEOPLE, REALLY?!”, while others are closer to inarticulate rage that makes me want to throw heavy and sharp objects at the person who said the thing.

What, might you ask, gives me these kind of feelings?

I’m Not Racist But…

I’m Not Sexist But…

I’m Not Homophobic But…

There are some really ridiculous human beings out there, folks.  And what’s really funny is that these websites are full of people who can’t seem to grow up and come face-to-face with their own prejudices and feelings that are racist, that are homophobic, and that are sexist.

There are a lot of other statements that get made in everyday use that don’t have this prejudicial slant to them.  You’ve all heard them, you probably hear them on a regular basis and now you won’t ever un-hear them.  Have you ever heard anyone start a sentence with, “Now don’t take this the wrong way, but…”?

I hear that ALL THE TIME.  And you know what’s funny?  The person who leads off that way almost always says something really horrible.  In fact, I’m usually left wondering whether there is a right way to take some comments that start with “Don’t take this the wrong way, but”.  Seriously, all it’s doing is excusing your rude behavior!  This is a good way to sound like a major a-hole.

The other phrase I hear is, “No offense, but…” which is, like the above phrase, a precursor to something really offensive.  Saying this phrase before something is kind of ridiculous.  It’s not a safety blanket that absolves you of whatever douchey thing you’re about to say.

My last, extremely least-favorite phrase of all time is, “I’m sorry, but…”  You’re not sorry.  You’re not even remotely sorry.  Don’t even.

I’m not a stranger to these sort of feelings.  I’m in no way excusing racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, ageist, or whatever-ist thoughts.  Part of the reason I liked reading the websites I linked to above is that, in some instances I see thoughts that I have had.  I’m not proud of that by any means, it just goes to show that even though I’m wonderful, I’m certainly not perfect.  The difference is that I have worked pretty hard to not make excuse statements before I say something or have a thought.

My advice in this instance is to stop it right now.  Just stop it.  Stop qualifying your statements to make yourself feel better.  If you weren’t a bit racist/sexist/homophobic in some way, those thoughts and feelings would not be around.  The trick is to grow up and confront those feelings.  The best plan of attack I can give you is to stop and think about what you’re thinking.  If you would a) never say it out loud or b) never think it without the disclaimer at the beginning, then it’s a problem.

I have a lot of feelings about these things, obviously.  Just please try not to be a douchebag.


The Basics

Okay, let’s talk basic respect right here and real quick.

Basic respect is letting a person finish their sentences.  It’s treating them like a grown adult instead of like a small child.  It’s not talking down to them.  It’s not insulting things that are important to them, such as their religion.

I’m back in school for the new semester, and I have had some really shitty experiences so far.

The first was with a professor.  She’s obviously smart, but she’s just kind of a jerk.  I think she would enjoy being a kindergarten teacher more than a college professor.  I just have a big problem with talking down to adults.  It gives me a big bad case of secondhand embarrassment to hear someone be so condescending to another adult.  If there’s someone sitting in the back row in a bank of computers that can’t be run independently because they’re connected to the presenter’s computer… Shut up.  Don’t talk to him like he’s four and needs to sit in front.  It’s rude.

Oh, and speaking of the word “rude”, don’t dismiss “rudeness” for “honesty”.  They’re two COMPLETELY different things.  Honesty can sometimes BE rude, which is why we have the white lie, but that doesn’t work the other way around.  Rudeness is hurtful, honesty usually isn’t.  It’s not rocket science.

This brings me to my next series of encounters.  I have a couple of classmates (in a different class) who, ideologically speaking, are on the same page as me.  They’re liberal dudes.  Cool, good for them.  However, they’re the most disrespectful people I have ever encountered in a college setting.  They yell over everyone, professor included, and they don’t let people finish sentences.  They interrupt everybody and it’s really difficult because they always get class off-track.

Today, however, this took a turn for the moderately horrific.  It’s a class about interest groups, and we have to do a big research term paper on a group of our choosing.  One of the obnoxious guys picked the Catholic Church, which is fine.  Unfortunately he said that part of its agenda was protecting heterosexual marriage while defending child molestation.  Someone in class got really offended, probably because she’s Catholic.  So what does this guy say?  “Whatever, you’re a child molestation sympathizer.”  I wish I could make this shit up.

Now, I’m gay.  I’m not really the biggest fan of most religious institutions, and that sentiment probably goes the other way here too.  BUT I am also willing to let people have their religious beliefs and do what they’re going to do.

I’m not saying this because I’m some bastion of respectfulness, tact, and wondrous empathy or anything.  In fact, I’m usually the one running my mouth with the first thought that pops into my head because I think it’s funny.  That all being said, I do think these are some experiences that are forcing me to take a long look at how I am, and how I conduct myself and how disrespectful and stupid I may seem to some people.

I hope this does something similar to you.  It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to someone, even if you disagree with them.


This Is A Rant

The first thing on the menu tonight is an issue near and dear to my heart, not because I was bullied hardcore as a kid, but because toward the middle and end of high school (and after), I became the bully.  It’s also really goddamn depressing, so if you’re looking for some comedy this post ain’t for you.  Read about underwear or look at hot ladies, or if you’re not into that stuff then you’re really in the wrong place.

So let’s talk about something that’s usually a big elephant in the room.  No, I’m not making a fat joke, I mean that metaphor.  It’s really freaking difficult to talk to women, about women, or around women, when the conversation turns to weight.

Unless you are truly concerned about someone’s health, shut your freaking mouth.  Don’t say ANYTHING because you know what, that girl might be just a-okay with her body image.  Furthermore, I don’t know if people realize that “names will never hurt me” only goes so far, it only works a handful of times.  When you hear someone call you a “fatass” over and over and over, or you are big but get blasted by rail-thin human beings on a consistent basis, let me tell you it freaking hurts.

Don’t judge people on how they look.  It’s not cool, and odds are most girls don’t think it’s attractive.  If they tell you it’s okay or they giggle at it, they’re probably fucking liars.  And jerks.  Run away from them.  And girls, why the hell would you ever belittle another person, particularly another woman

Margaret Cho recently had to deal with some of this, and her words are way better than mine are.  Go read this.  And then read more of her stuff, because it’s great.

The second thing that’s simply put, fucking heartbreaking, is that someone who worked really hard on the It Gets Better project has taken his own life.  Even though things and events in Eric James Borges’ life may have gotten better, his potential depression and anxiety might not have.  You can read a really well-written article at Autostraddle, and watch Borges’ It Gets Better video.

I have a big beef with the idea that men aren’t allowed to cry or have feelings or be anything other than “butch brawny dudebros”.  It’s a bunch of bull, and it’s okay to get help and talk about how you feel and to try to make things better in your life.  If you’re in college, check on campus for possibly free or at least inexpensive talk therapy.  People may judge you, but it’s your happiness against their pettiness.  Fuck them, do what you need to do.

Also on the list of things that are REALLY pushing my buttons (in a bad way):

Rick Perry defending Marines peeing on dead Afghan militants…. and comparing it to General George Patton taking a wee in the Rhine River during World War Two.  Because, you know, pissing on dead bodies is the same as insulting some of the worst humans ever (Nazis).  And further, he’s using the excuse that basically boys will be boys.  The idea that a man who has proven to be so absolutely stupid is STILL running for president makes me consider a) committing a murder and (maybe worse) b) getting into politics.

Second, and potentially even dumber… Joe Paterno, former Penn State University football coach, “didn’t know exactly how to handle it” when faced with accusations against the monster on his coaching staff..  Really, JoePa?  You couldn’t maybe pick up a phone and call the cops because a CHILD was being RAPED?  Seriously.  This is another prime example that good enough simply wasn’t good enough.

On top of all of this, the Packers lost.  Maybe you guys should start giving ME pointers on how to deal with these kinds of anger-inducing things.  Or you could tell me what really grinds YOUR gears…?


L of A Year (Get It?)

I hope you all had a fun, happy holiday week or so with your families! I know I did.

I know that for some of you, “family” doesn’t necessarily mean your biological family. It might mean an adopted group of humans you get along with better than the people who birthed and helped raise you. But at any rate, I hope whatever you did and whoever you did it with made for some great times and memories. Did you score any great loot? I got a pile of gift cards and my mom made my girlfriend hand-knitted wool slippers
 WOW.

That being said, let’s get down to business.

Not too long ago, my pal Aaron had a conversation with me about his ladyfriend. Unfortunately it was not such a good conversation. I mean the subject wasn’t good, it was kind of depressing. It was about when a good time is to drop The L Word. (insert pic of TLW cast with “no, not this L word”)

No, not THIS L Word

His girlfriend said she loved him. This is great, right? Well, I think it’s great, but I’m kind of a sap and I love mushy stuff (If you ever tell anyone, I’ll deny it). The tricky problematic part comes when the second person is either not ready to say the L word, doesn’t feel like they are in love, or offers some other response that isn’t “OMG I LOVE YOU TOO”. So what’s a dude to do?

If you’ve never been in this kind of situation, here are some sample responses from two of my favorite humans – my girlfriend, and the person who usually makes my delicious iced mochas, Kelly!

Girlfriend says: “I probably wouldn’t but maybe if that helped me realize that I was, in fact, in love with them too, then I would say it back.  Imean, didn’t that kind of happen with us?  I’m always the first to fall in love anyway, so…”

Kelly: “Eventually it’s gonna get awkward for her and she’s gonna keep saying it and being like “What the hell!”  I don’t know, he needs to figure out what he does feel and if he doesn’t feel that way maybe he’s just wasting her time.  How long have they been together?  How old is the dude?”

First things first, don’t panic. It’s okay to not be ready to say you love someone. It’s also totally okay to not be in love with someone! That’s the great part about human emotions – we can’t really force them, we just have to learn how to deal with them in their own special way. I strongly advise against saying it unless you’re ready (and ESPECIALLY don’t say it if you don’t love that person) Seriously, that should go without saying but it unfortunately DOESN’T go without saying. Some people are just stupid about repeating things they hear back to someone, especially when it’s considered a horrible awful thing to NOT say it.

Second, give her some SPACE. Saying something big like “I love you” is a big deal and people need time to react, even when they’re the ones saying it. This is especially a million percent true if the person who said it doesn’t get the response they hoped for right away. So what is an appropriate course of action for this situation?

My girlfriend probably said it better than anyone else could (except maybe for me): “ideally someone would sit you down and be like, ‘Hey I’m in love with you how do you feel about that?’ and then you’d have the opportunity to voice concerns on the matter and maybe talk about how you do love that person or maybe you’re really really slow to fall in love with somebody because of XYZ but when somebody’s just like ‘I love you’ it’s kind of hard to build a discussion out of that or be rational about that.”

I know that love and emotions don’t qualify as rational, but right now let’s realize that you can speak rationally about irrational things. That’s a little deep so I’ll leave that alone, but really, it is A-OKAY to wait and cool down before talking about something big like being in love.

Here’s some really important advice for EVERYONE to follow: if your dudefriend (or ladyfriend, I obvs can’t judge/discriminate) doesn’t say “I love you” back to you right after you say it for the first time ever, DO NOT PANIC! This is a big deal for them, too – it’s not easy to hear someone confess love, because I honestly don’t think anyone truly considers the fact that someone other than a parental unit loves them in a big way. If you don’t get a response right away, remember to chill out about it. Being upset won’t make them say it out of anything but guilt, and that is SO unhealthy I can’t even come up with a good comparison.

Also, remember that they might just plain old not feel that way. Once again I turn to my trusty pal Kelly to bring this one home:

“I also think I’d be comfortable enough to say it, or maybe comfortable enough to tell them I’m not ready to say it”.  (And then she sang Haddaway’s “What is Love?” and the conversation stopped being productive)

To summarize, don’t freak out if someone you’re dating says they love you.  (Wait.  Freak out if it hasn’t been a longer term thing.  If you’ve been together a week, don’t be declaring undying love.  There’s NO way that’s a real thing.)  Don’t smother those people bugging them about why they think they love you or whatever, unless you are really trying to change their minds.  And try to keep it comfortable and intelligent, don’t insult anyone and don’t break anyone’s heart.  Most DEFINITELY do not mess with someone in a vulnerable love-declaring state.  It’s rude and I guarantee you’ll lose all your friends forever.

 


SURPRISE

Wowser, I’ve been getting some attention from some pretty cool people the past couple days.  I’ve even been followed by a few different ladies!  (Don’t tell my girlfriend)

Seeing as how there are some girls paying attention here too, I should probably ask if you ladies have any dude problems.  I mean, I’m not a guy, but I do date ladies, so maybe if you have questions ABOUT your guy/a guy/something or whatever, I could answer it!

 

I’m just trying to prove that even though I’m gay, I can play both sides of the field.  Hurr, pun.