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Maxine's Journal

Adventures of the Polka-Dotted One


[sticky post]Welcome to my world
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emanix
I'm posting this entry for the edification of new readers, as a flag to my important posts (at least the ones important to me), and a map of my world.

My name's Maxine Green. I'm an artist and illustrator by trade, polyamorous (and many other things) by nature, a scientist at heart, and an activist by accident.

My introductory post is here: Butterfly

A continuing series of scribblings about the things that are important to me:
Defining My Terms: 1. Bisexuality
Defining my Terms 2: Polyamory
Defining my Terms 3: Kink
Defining My Terms 4: Radical Agnostic
(because not everything is about sex)
Some More Definitions

Original Essays/Articles:

SAMOTURE - or This is What an Activist Looks Like (2009-10-01)
Bisexuality & Statistics: Twice as many dates? (2010-07-16)
Secret Loves (why they suck) (2010-06-10)
The Emanixine Creed (2010-10-03)
The big, beautiful shiny rainbow of kink (A.K.A. there's no One True Way) (2011-04-25)
On hierarchies, relationships and cat ownership. (March 9th, 2013)
On how touching someone without asking is assault. EVEN IF THEY LIKED IT. (October 17th, 2012)
I Am Not Here For Your Entertainment. (The Story) (October 25th, 2011)
Self-Evident Epiphanies - Human Beings. (January 30th, 2011)
Hi, I'm poly and I don't exist. (August 1st, 2010)
. (.)

Resources:

Bicon Follow-Up - Poly 201 responses. (2010-09-05)
Bicon Follow-Up 2 - Recipe for Aloe-based Lube (2010-09-05)
Bicon Follow-Up 3 - SM/Breathplay, with link to Jay Wiseman's Essays (2010-09-05)
How to Be Trans-friendly and Subvert Crummy Gender Roles at the Same Time, in Five Easy Steps! (2010-04-07)
Legal Prostitutes Have HALF the Infection Rate of 'Straight' Population (2010-07-12)
'The Bastards! - A sympathetic technique for relationship harmony.' (September 27th, 2013)
More Bad Science - Contraception and Statistics. (a.k.a. Implanon Implants: They're Fine.) (January 9th, 2011)
. (.)

Some more "Me Manual" stuff:

Let's Only Date Grown-ups. (June 8th, 2012)
Form Letter (Response to idiots sending me form letters on dating sites and social networks) (October 23rd, 2013)
On Pain, Punishment and Perverse Incentives (February 3rd, 2012)
. (.)


No doubt I'll edit this further as new things occur to me, and as my essay series grows.

In the meantime, enjoy!

M.

x

Recipe for the Good Life.
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(From my personal manifesto)

Live cheaply. Keep the regular costs as low as possible, and save the rest for investments. Invest in things that add to your life. Good shoes for comfort, a good coat for warmth, a camera for memories. Prioritise. Resist ostentation unless it brings joy to people who aren't you.

When you have all you actually need, invest in story. Never forget that narrative has value. Give your lunch to a homeless person. Run naked in the rain. Change the world for the better. Tell a story with your life, and make it a good one.

----

- Written ‎12 ‎January ‎2013. I think when I wrote it originally I considered it unfinished, but having found it on my laptop again today, I think that it stands perfectly well as it is so I'm posting it.

Some Musings on Nomadic Life
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This afternoon I came in to a conversation on facebook inspired by this article: 6 fascinating people who own almost nothing. The conversation wandered into how a lot of the folks who claim to be embracing minimalism and the 'no possessions' lifestyle (and who often seem quite smug and self-satisfied about it) do, in fact, rather carelessly rely on the use of other people's housing possessions to support their lifestyle... something that works in small numbers, of course, but isn't sustainable over a whole population, clearly. There was also plenty of discussion about the lessons these minimalist folk have to teach us. So naturally this conversation got me thinking back over how I have been living my life over the last few months.

I try to be very conscious of when I am and am not relying on other people's kindness. I have been very lucky since I started being nomadic and living out of my backpack, back in March. A lot of people have very kindly offered me their hospitality and even keys to their houses, so despite working out my initial numbers based on staying in hostels and short lets and things, I've been able to save a lot through the generosity of my friends and lovers - and spend it on taking them out for nice dinners instead, or in one particular case, supporting their indiegogo campaign! When I am staying with people I try to give back in practical ways too, such as washing dishes or making meals, making sure the fridge is stocked, doing minor repairs, offering to baby-sit, helping with the bills if bills need paying, that sort of thing. If at some point I forget that there's a give and take there, though, and start getting entitled about it or assuming anyone other than (possibly) the government owes me a place to stay, or pretending I've done it all by myself, do please shoot me!

On the other hand, I think there are ways in which the nomadic lifestyle could be much more sustainable for a lot of people, which perhaps would emerge naturally if enough folks were doing it: there are already plenty of hostels offering dorm spaces and similar for backpackers (even while I was relatively settled in zone 3, I did occasionally ponder moving nearer in to the centre of the city and only paying rent as and when I needed to, given that the daily rate for a hostel in central London was about equivalent to my rent+bills and also included breakfast- but of course there were at the time other intangibles such as stability, and choice over one's housemates to consider, plus storage for the 'stuff' that I was lugging around from house to house with me). I do wonder how the current offering would flourish, change and compete if that market was to grow significantly. Extending it even further, what would the world be like if we were all guaranteed stable housing as and when we needed it, for as long as we needed it, ('at-will accommodation', if you like) and nobody owned property at all?

Speaking of property, one thing that backpacking really does for you as an individual is that it will make you think very hard about every single thing you buy or choose to carry around with you. When every new item you acquire means than something else has to be thrown or given away, buying 'stuff' begins to take on a different light. As an inveterate 'pack-rat', that's been a real eye opener for me, and particularly for folks who tend to horde 'stuff', I'd recommend trying it, even just for a short while.

I hadn't really intended to be nomadic for quite as long as I now have been. My initial intention was to put most of my stuff in storage just for a little while, go travelling to see friends and family for maybe two or three months and then settle down again, but as all of the work I do is non-location-dependent and I am under no particular pressure to stay in one place, the charms of the 'footloose and fancy free' lifestyle have rather drawn me in. When I do pass through London I have found myself rather naturally reducing my possessions in storage by roughly one crate each time I visit, when I look at things and realise I haven't missed them even for a moment. And the less stuff I have in storage, the less inclined I am to settle down and be weighed down by it. It has been a fascinating process.

I do find that I am shocked more than ever, when I walk by shops selling ornaments and suchlike, by the sheer uselessness of so much of what's out there. Tea, however, turns out to be really important to me (nobody who's met me should be surprised by this, yet somehow I was!) and I now make sure I have a small supply in my backpack to be certain that I have it wherever I happen to be, and usually a travel mug tucked in my belt, as well. Books are important to me too, but I have finally given in and gone the kindle route, because there is only so much paper one person can carry.


There is definitely a sense of freedom in knowing that everything you need for your every day life will fit into a backpack or a suitcase. Knowing that one has the option to take off at any moment means one is never at the mercy of a bad landlord or bad relationship, you can do crazy things like leave the country on a moment's notice, because you know you have everything you need with you, or fly south for the winter, which certainly has a tinge of luxury (though living abroad is mostly cheaper than the UK, in fact). In my case, at this particular time, it has also meant that I could up sticks and move to Manchester to spend time looking after my terminally ill grandfather as his health has been deteriorating over the last few months, and stay for as long as I'm needed. It's hard to put a price on that sort of freedom.

It's not for everybody, though: I know that if I was even slightly less physically able than I am right now, I wouldn't be able to handle carrying both my backpack and the 'mobile studio' I built to take around with me in a suitcase. I am dreading the next time my knee gives out and I have to use crutches, as public transport will be a whole different experience. I could be faced with the stark choice of settling down in one place or giving up my art (or being dependent on other people to move my case for me, which... well, let's say it's a last resort!). There are all sorts of reasons one might need to be static, or have more equipment than a person can reasonably carry. And of course if the work I did was location-dependent, there might not be any point to my minimalism. I'm not trying to pretend that the life I live now is easy to arrange, or even possible for everybody.

There have been hard times too. Finding time and space to myself has not been entirely easy. There have been times when my choice has been between offending my hosts or sharing space, and occasionally even beds with people (and pets) I would not normally choose to. Getting ill and needing several days of hardcore rest whilst visiting in a house without a dedicated guest room was... tricky. And if one has kindly been invited in as a guest, turning down that invitation, or backing out of a stay that one had already committed to, and saying to someone "Actually, I'd prefer to go and stay in a B&B or a hotel for a bit so I can get some space to myself", can seem impolitic, and difficult (or expensive) to arrange at the last minute when something hasn't gone to plan.
Not knowing what city one is going to be in next month can get a little exhausting, too, where long range planning is concerned, but the hardest thing I have had to deal with yet has been accessing medical care whilst on the move; something I have found incredibly difficult even as a relatively well off British citizen in stable employment. The NHS as a whole is not at all set up for patients who migrate, even between just two addresses, let alone many. Walk-in and access centres are not well advertised, and often websites are out of date (we turned up at one that was advertised online to find it had closed more than a year ago), and the ones that still exist are often poorly signposted and in obscure places. I find myself struggling to use the exact same sort of facilities I would have to visit if I was sleeping rough on the street, and wondering how (or if) anyone who is homeless through circumstances not of their own choosing actually manages to see a doctor, other than through visits to A&E. As I am dependent on a regular supply of thyroxine tablets to actually keep me alive, and also having had a chest infection for most of the last month on top of this, that's been pretty stressful.

But still, I do feel incredibly privileged and lucky to be able to live and work the way that I currently do. I hope I come across as neither smug nor self satisfied, but I do think there are some very valid lessons to take away from all this stuff... or from the lack of stuff. :)

Form Letter (Response to idiots sending me form letters on dating sites and social networks*)
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Dear Stranger,

Read the damn profile. Pick something that might be a mutual interest. Start a conversation about it. It's really not hard. If I wanted generalised spam messages with no connection to my own personality I'd go look in my trash email.

No love,

Someone who's very bored of getting form letters from people who clearly don't give a shit about who I am other than 'female'.


*Yes, this happens often enough that it is worth having a form response that I can copy and paste. Now, finally, here it is.

The Bastards!
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Or, 'The Bastards! - A sympathetic technique for relationship harmony.'

Are you a Fixer? Do you offer solutions instead of sympathy? Does this sometimes cause friction in your relationships when friends or partners who are simply looking for a sympathetic ear find themselves bombarded with 'have you trieds' and 'did you think ofs'? Or are you the partner or friend who sometimes find yourself looking for sympathy only to find yourself in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition?

I'm definitely a Fixer. If someone shares a problem with me I immediately start looking for ways to make the problem go away. This has occasionally caused friction in my relationships with partners who felt it was intrusive or disempowering when they just wanted to heard rather than Helped. But I've found that one particular technique I have used over the last few years has really helped with this. I have also noticed that my friends have been pinching it to use with their own partners and other friends. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I've come to the conclusion that it might actually be worth propagating further and sending it out into the world. So here it is: 'The Bastards' or How to Fix the Fixers and raise a smile, in one simple step.

Now I can't claim sole credit for the idea, since I pinched the original concept from Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt's book The Ethical Slut. One chapter described a situation like the one I mentioned above, and suggested a way for the Fixer to switch off the urge to Fix and just be there for their friend who simply wanted a sympathetic ear. The writer or their friend would occasionally provide a period of 'Poor Baby', where those two were the only words they said, repeatedly, until their friend was done venting. When I read the description, I particularly thought of one of my partners, who would often be frustrated at my trying to Fix things when really he just wanted to get something off his chest. But my partner thought 'Poor baby' was too patronising. He didn't want babying, so much as the feeling someone was fighting at his side. He felt that 'poor baby' didn't really convey the appropriate air of righteous indignation at the state of the world. So I pondered this for a while and dug around for a phrase that I felt might better fit the mood. The phrase I came up with was 'The Bastards!'

And it turns out that 'The Bastards!' fits pretty much every situation. If it doesn't make sense? All the better. It's not about the logic. It's about the righteous indignation dammit!

"I've had a long horrid day at work."
"The bastards!"

"I ran out of milk!"
"The bastards!"

"Ow, this headache really hurts!"
"The bastards!"

"I'm having trouble in my relationship..."
"The bastards?"

"My grandad's in hospital with pneumonia."
"Those bacterial bastards!"

"I got disappointing numbers from my mortgage advisor."
"The calculating bastards!"

...and so on.

And that's it. It's that simple. Obviously it doesn't fix every problem in the world, but sometimes, well... it's not about Fixing. With a bit of practice, even the most hardcore Fixer can learn to set Fixing aside and bring out The Bastards when appropriate, and folks who know what they're looking for is sympathy rather than help can learn to ask for The Bastards. And we all, hopefully, get on that little bit more harmoniously.

Lucky Bastards!

On being an Outdoor Cat
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emanix
I don't post much personal stuff these days. I've been finding, whilst I'm ever so happy to be out, as an activist, as a kinkster, as a visible poly person, that I want to live my private life... well, privately. But since writing my last post I've been feeling the need to post a personal update.

I've spent most of the last nine months out in the countryside, bouncing around alone in a big empty house with a barely functioning phone and minimal internet. I was tired of humanity, tired of the city, tired of sharing space with folks who mostly took and forgot to give back, tired of broken promises and thoughtless behaviour. So I left. I moved out to the Edge of Everywhere, into my 'hermitage' and I hid away. And, of course, I learned some new things about myself.

I learned how terrifying it is to be on your own, two hours drive or more away from everyone you know, and to be suddenly taken ill with a fever. To call up the only folks you can rely on and say "Ring me in the morning. If I don't pick up, call an ambulance." knowing that was the best they'd be able to do.

I learned a few things about my own resourcefulness, my own ability to cope when things suck. I learned a few things about my need for human contact, but also my never previously suspected need to be able sometimes to switch that off and just be.

Most of all, though, I learned a lot about who the folks are I really care about, and who really care about me. The people I feel the need to reach out to when I'm out on a limb, and even more, the folks who stuck with me, who made sure they kept in touch, even when I was out of sight and far away. I learned about the lines of love that stay open when we are far apart, when communications are hard, and the ones that shut down as soon as you're not visible.

I learned about being an Outdoor Cat.

Now I'm moving on again, after nine months. Just long enough to have had the baby. The hermitage was always temporary. It could have been longer, it could have been less. I don't feel quite ready to leave, but perhaps I never would have done, who knows? And where I'm moving to is... nowhere, everywhere, into thin air.

I have a place lined up to go to, it's not ready yet. May not be for a few months (given the folks involved, maybe even longer). In the meantime, I'm embracing the freedom of movement. I will be living out of my backpack, with a suitcase on the side full of art materials to enable me to keep painting, keep creating. I'm free from paying rent or bills, so that gives me a little more money for travel and accommodation should I find the need to pay for places, but I am starting to suspect I won't be struggling. I am trusting that there will be places open to me.

As if in answer to that trust, when I started telling my friends and loved ones about my plan, vistas of possibility opened up. I found myself welling up with tears as one after another members of my chosen family, friends and lovers, even ex partners I'm still close to, began offering me places to stay not just for a day or two but for weeks or months, as long as I liked, and not just rooms but also keys to their houses to come and go as I please, to be trusted, one of the family. To install the cat flap. I am indescribably grateful for that. Awed by the love and joy in those connections and wanting to celebrate that. To announce to the world that I love these people. Be good to these people. They've been, are currently being so good to me.

So I'm moving on... as I jokingly said to a friend of mine who asked me 'where to?' the other day, I'm moving on to the internet. My email address is the same as ever, as is my mobile number. I have a couple of partners willing to accept packages for me, depending on where I'll be in the world. I'm still just as easy to get hold of, just perhaps a little harder to pin down in one place. I'm already pretty much booked up for the next couple of months, in terms of places to be. In fact I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever find time to move into my new place at all. I shall play it by ear, as with everything else in my life at the moment.

I'll see you on the internet!

With love and joy,

M.

xx

On hierarchies, relationships and cat ownership.
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emanix
It's a set of questions that comes up perennially in poly communities: Do I refer to my relationships as Primaries and Secondaries and if so what does that mean? Is that descriptive labelling, does it simply describe how things already are, or is it prescriptive, indicating how one thinks the relationship ought to be? Doesn't primary and secondary imply hierarchy (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't)? What other terms could I possibly use?

For me I have always very clearly explained that my 'primary' partners are the partners I think of first (first, hence 'primary'), before I make decisions, and my secondary partners are the folks I inform after a decision is made. It's always seemed a little clumsy requiring so much explanation to make it clear that my system was not based on a prescriptive hierarchy, but I've struggled to find better terms to use.

The other day I was engaged in a discussion in a poly space that was actually unrelated to this particular debate. The discussion was about current partners vs. exes, and attitudes towards relating to them. A most excellent lady, one Poly-Anna, calls her ex-lovers "Outdoor Cats" and her current primary lover her "Indoor Cat." I took one look at this metaphor and fell utterly in love. I mean, what's not to like? It's cute, familiar to nearly everybody and involves kitties. Win!

From the discussion:

"All Outdoor Cats used to be Indoor Cats until something went wrong. But once you are an Outdoor Cat, you may occasionally get petted or fed, but you never live indoors again.

Also, we don't mind visitors coming into the house and petting or playing with our Indoor Cats, but it's important to us that the Indoor Cat remember where he is fed and sleeps."

"We also recognize that our Indoor Cats may be someone else's Outdoor Cat. There is a cat door!"


Of course, there is the implication that by equating relationships to cat ownership, one might be implying ownership of one's partners... but I'm pretty sure anyone who has ever lived with cats knows that "ownership" is a rather loose term for a particular cat choosing to live with you for a while, for as long as that suits the cat.

So I got thinking, and the more I thought about this particular analogy for relationships the more I liked it.

Now, I don't agree word for word. For example, I don't think it's quite true that all Outdoor Cats used to be Indoor Cats. I think that some cats may well start out as Outdoor Cats and get themselves adopted to become Indoor Cats later.
Some cats really don't like living indoors and want more freedom, or are suited to a different style of household.
Some cats like to live indoors most of the time, but occasionally go off a-wandering.
Some cats have two households.
Some cats may bring other cats home with them, or the occasional small animal to play with, and it is quite possible to have more than one Indoor Cat as long as they get on well together, or have enough space.

These labels can still be descriptive or prescriptive: One could say prescriptively 'I'm looking for an Indoor Cat' or 'I'm looking for an Outdoor Cat', 'you're an Outdoor Cat right now, would you like to move Indoors with me, entailing x, y and z?' or you might just find yourself saying descriptively one day 'well it looks like I have an Indoor Cat now, what a surprise!' but I really like that there is no implied value judgement. Something that's ever so hard to avoid with language like primary/secondary or anchor/satellite or most of the terms I've come across in poly circles. The Outdoor Cat is not automatically less important than the Indoor Cat, is not due any less love, respect or consideration, the Outdoor Cat is still very much a cat in its own right, it's just a different living situation.

...and sometimes cats... get rabies and have to be put down?

Okay, perhaps I've stretched the metaphor just a little too far, but you see my point I hope!

For me, this also leads to a new realisation. Right now, I am the Outdoor Cat. All of my relationships, however loving and intimate, are long-distance and ad-hoc. While I have a partner I consider to be 'primary' by my own definition, we're not well suited to living with each other so we don't try to push ourselves into a box that doesn't fit.
Some day I would very much like to be an Indoor Cat again, but I'm not planning to rush into anything unsuitable just because it's a home. I think, for now, the wandering life suits me.
But I realise also that, as an Outdoor Cat, I'm not without care, feeding or attention. I realise that if something bad were to happen and I was to get sick or injured I think there are several homes where I could get taken in, looked after for a while, taken to the vet... and for that I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate. It was only when I looked at my relationships through a slightly different lens, thinking about the love and care involved in each, rather than the logic of decision-making and who informs who of what, that I realised that. I think that's a beautiful thing.

What relationship do you have with your 'cats'?

Getting Away With It: How you are probably a sex criminal too.
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I originally wrote this as a FetLife post, referring to some events that were happening on there, but several recent conversations have reminded me that I wanted to share it more publicly as well.

I'm going to take an angle on discussing consent that isn't often addressed. It may be a little uncomfortable to think about. Hells, it's uncomfortable for me, especially admitting that I have transgressed these rules a few times myself, but I really feel the need to point this out.

The headline:

Touching someone without asking is assault. EVEN IF THEY LIKED IT.

Touching someone - anyone - without their prior consent, in a sexual manner is sexual assault. That includes fondling, groping, kissing, biting (actually that last counts as Actual Bodily Harm in the UK, if it leaves a mark, I don't know what it is in the US or Canada) and so on.

Prior consent is the important bit here. If you haven't asked first, that's assault. No matter how the person responds afterwards. Even if they enjoyed it, even if they came, even if 'they secretly wanted it but wouldn't dare to say' like all the rapey tropes in bad porn, and even if it's funny, even if they THANK YOU FOR IT, if you didn't ask first, you still assaulted them.

Consent is established by saying 'yes' before the fact, not by 'not saying no' when something is already happening. Only YES means yes. (There's a group set up to talk specifically about this on FL, in fact: https://fetlife.com/groups/39158 plus there are blogs and websites dedicated to the idea outside of the kink world, too.)

If someone decides they're okay with it after the fact, if they decide to accept your apology (or if they decide no apology is necessary), if you remain friends with each other, or lovers, or coworkers, that doesn't mean you didn't assault them, it just means they decided they're okay with it. You were lucky. YOU ASSAULTED SOMEONE, AND YOU WERE LUCKY. Consent after the fact doesn't make it not assault, it just means you are 'getting away with it'.

If someone decides they're okay with it, accepts an apology, but then later says in effect 'dude, what you did, you do know that was assault, right?'... then that's not an attack on you, that's a statement of fact.

I will add that, yes, I have assaulted people myself. I have swatted the occasional butt that was bent over enticingly in front of me without asking for permission. I've assumed consent on a couple of occasions when it wasn't explicitly stated up-front, either because I thought the humour of the situation warranted it or because I thought the other person(s) involved would be okay with it. I made a judgement call and I got away with it. That doesn't make it any less assault, however, and if I'd gotten that judgement wrong and upset someone, I'd damn well hope to be called out on it.
As kinksters we play with consent and with trust all the time, as doms and subs and as tops and bottoms. If my judgement is off, I want to know it, so I can learn from it, and I want the people around me to know it, so folks can protect themselves and me.

So I've gotten away with assaulting people. That doesn't make me a monster. It also doesn't make my friends (because yes, I'm talking about occasions when I was messing around with friends or lovers) into doormats or liars or put them into the wrong for not having gone to the police about a casual butt-swat. Those people who insist that a crime didn't happen unless it's recorded by the police are almost as problematic as the folks who believe that none of this is important at all. Sometimes it makes sense to take it to the police. Sometimes it really doesn't, and there are a million valid reasons why someone might not, including that they Just Don't Want To. Even stepping on someone's foot is a form of physical assault. Can you imagine a world where you weren't allowed to mention that someone was clumsy and had a tendency to step on feet, unless you were willing to take it to the police?

If I was to vandalise a friend's car as a joke* and he finds it funny, that's a shared giggle. If he doesn't find it funny, he could choose to take it to the police, or he could decide that our friendship is worth more than that. Whether he finds it funny or not, and whether the police were involved or not, a couple of years down the line he'd still be entitled to say 'watch out for Emanix, she vandalised my car a couple of years back'. Why would we apply a different standard of proof to discussion of sexual assault? Why do we still allow anyone to get away with the idea that if you think you can succeed in making someone enjoy it, you don't need to ask permission**? And why do we assume that we will know a rapist when we see one, when every one of us at some point has violated somebody's consent, deliberately or otherwise, even if only by stepping on a foot. It doesn't make it okay, but the idea that these things are only perpetrated by 'monsters' who are easily recognised allows far more leeway for the folks who think that because something was okay once, with one person, that it's automatically okay with everybody else, the folks who assume they have the ability to tell without asking what's going to be okay with any particular person, and of course, the otherwise pleasant to be around folks who just happen think they have a right to other peoples bodies. There, my dears, be dragons.


*I would never do this, I just couldn't think of a better example right now & I know folks who have. Please do not vandalise my car.

**I think of this as Schrödinger-sex. You don't know until you open the box whether it contains an orgasm or a jail sentence. Why on earth would anyone find that attractive??! (E.L. James, I'm looking at you, here.)


Edit for clarification:

2012-10-17 22:53

Seems a couple of folks are getting bogged down in the rules-lawyering about what one can and can't get away with doing in what situation and why. (Including me!)

The point I'm trying to make by means of exaggeration is not really that one is automatically in the wrong to work without explicit verbal consent, because we've all done it on occasion, but on the flip side the only way to be *100% certain* that you're NOT going to end up with a criminal record for assaulting somebody is to look for active consent, otherwise you're having Schrödinger-sex: You never quite know for sure there's a spot on the sex-offenders registry waiting for you inside the box or just an entertaining evening.

The only person who can tell you whether they're consenting to what you're doing with someone is the person you're doing it with. If you want to be entirely sure what you're doing is okay, don't ask me, ask them!


Cocktail Recipe: The Dawn Glow
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emanix
Apparently yesterday, the 9th of June, was World Gin Day. While I missed the party (by being too busy at another one - oh, it's a hard life!), I thought I'd belatedly mark the occasion by sharing a recent cocktail recipe that has made my friends and I very happy.

Named both for the colour and for the fact that grapefruit juice is often associated with breakfast, this delicious discovery is particularly lovely when relaxing out of doors on a sunny afternoon (or morning, if you're feeling especially decadent). Refreshing, sweet and crisp, with a mix of flavours that you will want to roll around in your mouth as the bubbles bring out every nuance.

The Dawn Glow:

Two large parts Fentimans Rose Lemonade (we used a 275ml bottle per person, but you can buy it in larger bottles),
One part pink grapefruit juice (not from concentrate),
Large splash of Gin
Ice
Optional slice of lime

Pour casually into as large and decadent a glass as you can find. Drink at leisure. Amazingly, the strong flavour of the grapefruit brings out and is balanced by the rose rather than overwhelming it, to create a warm and surprisingly subtle drink that tastes of sunshine and joy.

Let's Only Date Grown-ups.
emanix
emanix
tacit spotted this in my paper journal back in February and asked me to post it so he could link to it. I only just remembered it today:

Let's only date grown-ups.
Here is what is mine, there is what is yours.
This is what I would like, and this is what I will give.
This is what I won't, can't, don't give.
Where is your beginning and what is your end?
Love is not give and take, love is give and give.
I give, and you give, and we draw lines in ourselves where we stop.
I draw a line here, do you see it?
It's the place just before it hurts me to give,
because I know, if you love me, if you love the way I do, this is where you would beg me to stop.
And if you don't, if you wouldn't, you are worth nothing further.

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