Doing our best

I wanted to riff a bit more on the subject of The Dandy doing the best he can for me, and me for him.

One of the things that I think makes our living arrangement so good is that he seems to trust me that I’m doing my best for him. My official job around the house – the thing I do to earn my keep – is making sure he’s fed (which includes ordering groceries and tidying the kitchen as well as actually making him food). My physical and mental health are both a bit dodgy so there are periods where I’m making him two or three meals a day – some of them from scratch – and keeping the kitchen pretty tidy, and periods when I wake up too late to make The Dandy breakfast or lunch, put on some kind of convenience food for his dinner, and only throw a load of dishes in the dishwasher every two or three days.

And he has never, ever sat me down during one of my low periods and and told me I’m not upholding my end of our deal and need to get my shit together*. I think/hope he can see that I’m committed to taking care of him, I just have varying capacities. And times that it might look like I’m slacking off it’s because my well-being is hanging by a thread and I can barely even take care of myself. But I’ll always get back on top of my game eventually.

Meanwhile, my desktop computer needs upgrades and I’m pretty keen for them to be done. And I would have no idea how do to any of it, so it has to be The Dandy. And The Dandy’s stance on such things is “I work with computers all day so I hate doing it in my spare time.”

He also gets defensive and thinks that me asking when something’s gonna be done means “hurry up,” so when I first asked when he thought he’d be able to have my PC working again, he once again gave me the spiel about how he hates spending his free time doing computer stuff so it wasn’t gonna be immediate. I said I wasn’t trying to pressure him, I just wanted a time frame so I could know when I could look forward to having a working computer again – but I was hoping it would be less than two months. The Dandy seemed surprised/relieved and said yeah, definitely not months, he figured it might be a week or two.

And after that – remembering how much grace he gives me with the things I do for him – I stifled my eagerness and anxiety and forced myself not to bring the subject up again. I mean it was tempting to specifically ask The Dandy “will you work on my computer again today? When will you do stuff to it next? Will it be done soon?” but I decided to back off and see what happened.

And he’s been working on it without me having to say anything. Not every second that he has spare time or anything. But he clearly has it in the back of his mind that it’s a thing he needs to do for me and he works at it when he physically and mentally can, just like I do with the cooking and kitchen-tidying.

And by the way it’s been a way more involved process than he thought it was gonna be. Actually initially the idea wasn’t to upgrade the computer in any way, it was just to convert it from Linux to Windows – but in trying to do that he ended up running into one obstacle after another that required some new hardware thing to fix.

So this has turned into a whole huge thing now – an ordeal that must feel painfully close to what The Dandy does all day at his job – and I’m more thankful than ever for his help.

I don’t ask him “will you work on my computer some more today?” and he doesn’t say “hey, I’ll work on your computer but I’m gonna need food first” but on weekends I’ve been making him fancier-than-usual, time consuming breakfasts and I can tell he knows I’m doing this as both a thank you for recent tech support and a “here’s some food to power your mighty brain in case you feel like doing more tech support for me today.”

*Like several of my exes used to.

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The Dandy gives me a $200 stipend each month as part of his agreement to support me – a “petty cash” fund of sorts so I can buy myself stuff without having to ask him or dip into my savings. But he’s absent-minded af and it’s not possible to set up an automatic monthly transfer between our banks, so I often need to remind him.

Yesterday I asked him (for the third or fourth time, probably) for May’s money. And pointed out that it was now June so it was officially late. And The Dandy said that he’d just spent quite a bit on a new hard drive for my computer so perhaps we’d have to just say that May’s $200 went toward that.

This doesn’t seem fair. But I don’t feel like I can say anything to him about it.

The thing is, I had assumed I’d be paying for whatever upgrades my computer needed; my computer, my responsibility. But then The Dandy just kinda took over the upgrading process and bought the stuff himself, and I was grateful for that because I recently spent a bunch of money from my savings on dental work so I’m having a lot of money anxiety. As it stands I was planning on avoiding spending any unnecessary money on myself for the foreseeable future so I could replenish my savings. I was looking forward to getting May’s $200 from The Dandy so I could begin this process.

And now The Dandy is suddenly and unilaterally deciding that I’ll contribute to the computer stuff, after all, retroactively. And it’s my computer and he never specifically said “don’t even worry about it, I got this,” he just kinda subtly started talking in terms of him ordering the stuff and not me, so I don’t feel like I have official cause to complain. But the bait-and-switch sucks.

He may change his mind. At the time that we spoke about this, he asked me what the date was today and I told him and he said “oh, okay, so I would have gotten paid yesterday. And this month I get three paycheques instead of the usual two.” I suspect he does feel a little bad about taking on the buying of the computer stuff and then abruptly pulling this little switcheroo on me, and he’s calculating whether he can indeed pay me and also pay for the motherboard. I’m just gonna stand back and let him sort his thoughts out without putting any pressure on him. He does seem to take care of me financially (maybe even emotionally and practically) as best he can – like I don’t think he’s stingy or lies about what he’s able to do or deliberately fucks me over, he just can’t always do the things I need when I need them. So we’ll see how this plays out.

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Computer is unavailable to me and historically I can’t make new posts from my phone. Testing testing.


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My new hard drive that The Dandy bought me came in the mail today! And he ended up springing for the bigger, more expensive one, after all. And it’s not even like I pushed him to buy the bigger one, or even expressed outward disappointment when he said he was gonna get the smaller and cheaper hard drive. I know beggars can’t be choosers and I do appreciate whatever he chooses to provide for me.

But he chose to go bigger. And I gotta admit it makes me feel taken care of and loved. 🙂

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Scattered thoughts about money

Sometimes I feel a little short-changed by my arrangement with The Dandy. As you may recall, I largely don’t work anymore because the pandemic and other things kinda fucked my shit up, so The Dandy pays for all the rent and groceries and household things and gives me a $200/month stipend so I don’t have to come grovelling to him every time I need things. In return I try to contribute around the house by ordering all the groceries (on his credit card), cooking for him, and doing the bulk of the kitchen cleanup.

It’s important to note that:

  • The Dandy would continue living here even if I moved out, so my living here rent-free isn’t costing him more rent per se.
  • He and I have very different tastes and dietary needs, so when I say I cook for him, I mean I cook for him. Most days I’m making us two separate sets of meals. Or making him proper meals that require multiple steps while I eat random handfuls of cheese and nuts and cold cuts all day because I can’t be bothered to put that much effort in for myself.
  • I have a far higher tolerance for living in filth than The Dandy does, so while it could be argued that my cleaning the kitchen doesn’t count for much because I’d do that anyway even if I lived alone…well, no. No I wouldn’t. When I lived alone I let my living space go to hell and would dig myself out of my mess every few months (at best). I keep on top of the kitchen mess specifically because The Dandy can’t stand messes and I want him to feel comfy in his living space.
  • I’m the one who pays for our Netflix; I also have regular ongoing bills for my cell phone, gym membership, and testosterone. None of these bills are too huge (especially because I’m on The Dandy’s insurance and it pays for a chunk of that testosterone) but I’m just saying, that $200/month that he gives me isn’t just for me to spend on fun stuff. It does have to cover some expenses.

Just…sometimes I feel like, for all the hours I put into making The Dandy’s life easier, maybe I’m being a bit undervalued.

But then I remember that when the cats (cat, now; BastardCat passed away slightly before Christmas) have had health issues, The Dandy has always stepped up and paid for vet visits and stuff with no hesitation. Times where I might have balked at the price of running tests, and put it off because things were probably okay, he unflinchingly went ahead with it and footed the bill. Also I dunno if you know this but when you have an animal euthanized, they charge you for it. Also if you want a cremation and a fancy urn obviously that costs money. So BastardCat’s death cost $600 and The Dandy covered it and never, ever mentioned it again – not to guilt me out, not to ask me to pitch in some money toward it, not to fish for gratefulness. He just stepped up and did what was needed and didn’t make me feel bad about it. DickFace the Kitten had to have dental surgery recently and that was well over a thousand bucks and The Dandy paid for that without fanfare or complaint, too. And this happened within a month of BastardCat having several vet appointments with blood tests and stuff and then the euthanizing.

So that’s obviously a huge load off my wallet and a huge relief that I don’t have to choose between my cats’ health and being able to afford food. Maybe I am being adequately compensated/appreciated for what I do around here.

I have some dental work of my own coming up. The Dandy’s insurance covers half of it. My part will be around $2,000. It’s possible that if I asked The Dandy to step up and cover that, he would. But I’ve been too shy to do that. I do have savings so I’ll pay out of that. It stresses me out though because although I have this cushion of cash to fall back on for emergencies, I honestly don’t feel fit to hold down any kind of job anymore, so that chunk of savings is likely the last time I’ll have access to that much money at once in my life. In my current situation of getting $200/month from The Dandy (some of which I spend on expenses) and doing the occasional $60-$100 art model shift, by my calculations it would take me about a year to save up enough to replenish the funds I’m spending on my teeth right now, and that’s if I don’t buy myself a single thing that entire time besides the usual Netflix/gym/testosterone/cell phone service.

I have openly spoken to The Dandy about how much my dentistry is gonna cost and how stressed out I am about that, and he hasn’t stepped in to say “hey, I can cover it.” So either he really doesn’t want to, or he thinks I’m not asking him because I don’t want him to for some reason. Actually he kind of never speaks freely about money stuff, and most times that I’ve tried to he seems mortified so it’s awkward af, which is why I’m too shy to bring it up usually. Also though it seems horrifyingly likely that if I did ask him, he’d say yes but in a weird tone of voice that would get me all paranoid wondering if he resented me. I’d rather not ask him and thus not have to face him maybe acting like he doesn’t think my health is worth supporting, if that makes sense.

In other news, I’m running out of hard drive space on my computer and to my surprise when I asked The Dandy what my hard drive upgrade options might be – figuring he could tell me what to order and I’d buy it, since it’s my computer and I’m the one needing the space – he started musing out loud, as if to himself, “hmmm. I could order this and then set it up that way, but maybe it would be better if I got this other thing and worked it like this.” Do you see? He didn’t use his mouth-words to say “Hey, I don’t mind covering this, I’ll just buy it.” He just made a point of talking as though he assumed he would be the one footing the bill. I’m super happy he’s the one forking over money for this, but I wish to hell he would be straightforward about it like a normal person.

But – look, I know I sound like an asshole – he’s being kind of skimpy about how much he’s willing to spend on a new hard drive. He was telling me today about the options he’d researched, and said that the minimum size I’d need was like a hundred bucks or something and one twice as big was maybe $300 and he wasn’t sure he wanted to spend that much. I said that I personally might prefer a bigger hard drive, just so I wouldn’t run out of space again anytime soon. I’d love to just not have to worry about it for a good few years. (Even when it’s my money I’m spending, I tend to go for the version of a thing that’s more expensive but will solve my problem completely and for a long time rather than the option that’s cheap but I’ll need to buy something new/extra pretty soon.) The Dandy still balked over spending ~$300. I was tempted to be like “fine, pitch in the amount it would cost for the smaller drive and I’ll pitch in the rest” but I’m afraid if I set a precedent of buying my own tech stuff he’ll just start assuming I always will. And obviously I like it way better when he just handles it. And I’m about to drop $2k on my teeth.

I’m frustrated by his reticence here because $300 is nothing to The Dandy. He’ll spend that much on himself – for things way more frivolous than a computer upgrade – without even blinking. Shortly before Christmas (before Christmas! When he was already spending a bunch of money on presents!) he got it into his head that he wanted some fancy crystal to use on special occasions and he ordered some wineglasses online that were $160. EACH. He ordered six of them. We already have wineglasses, and the only company we ever have over is his mother which makes three people total, but for some reason The Dandy just needed to have six of these glasses. Around that same time he also became obsessed with buying some high-end serving pieces that match some china handed down from his mom. So he got a soup tureen and some other big serving bowl from this line of chinaware, and I’m sure each of those was over $100, too, though I’m not sure by how much. We already had big bowls we could serve food in. But the Dandy wanted these specific ones.

So, he can and will spend money on all kinds of fancy shit that’s not at all a necessity (by his own admission he averages $1,000/month just on fun shit for himself – collector’s edition fountain pens and custom dress shirts and whatnot). And honestly I don’t begrudge him that, in and of itself. He works for that money and he deserves to enjoy it. It’s just that sometimes, living with him, I feel like a Dickensian waif with my nose pressed up against some rich guy’s window. The Dandy is practically diving into a vault full of hundred dollar bills like Scrooge McDuck and meanwhile my teeth are trying to crumble out of my head and I don’t really even have enough clothes right now and it’s just a lot to deal with, ok? And the thing I need computer space for is important to me, and if The Dandy had sprung for not even the biggest and most expensive hard drive but the mid-range, ~$300 one big enough to suit my needs for a while before I’d need another upgrade, it would feel a lot more like he values me and wants me to be happy. When I cook and clean and stuff it’s because I want to take care of him and make him happy, and I’d like to feel as though that care is mutual.

Meh. Maybe I’m being too cynical or picky.

At any rate, soon I will have a usable computer again, at least for a while, and that will be good. 🙂

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A better synopsis

I got way carried away in my previous entry trying to set the scene for the current drama. I dunno if anyone’s gonna wanna wade into that.

The TL;DR version is: my parents suck and I barely talk to them (especially my father. I did try to cultivate a relationship with my mom, for a while, before I realized the full extent of what an asshole she is). They do send me money on my birthday and at Christmas, though.

Recently my dad made – via email – what I believe is a veiled ultimatum of “I’ll only send you money for your upcoming birthday if you agree we can visit you.”

I was going to make up an “oh I would but I can’t right now because -” excuse, something to string them along just enough to keep the money coming. They give a big enough chunk of cash that I’d definitely feel the loss. But my roommate/platonic life partner person, The Dandy, said I might as well just tell the truth. And, I mean, I’ll miss the money, but I’m in a place in my life where I don’t actually need it, so.

I ended up replying to my father that I’m not willing to visit with him and my mom because it brings up too many childhood memories and I end up all fucked up for days after and it’s just a lot. And I listed a bunch of specific memories. Because I strongly suspect my father has either forgotten what he’s done or willfully diminished it in his head to “sometimes I would get a little bit annoyed with my child.”

And when said child grows up and directly reminds you that you once punched a hole in the wall right next to their head in a fit of rage, it’s hard to rationalize that away as being just a li’l bit peeved, amirite? And perhaps some kind of mental floodgates will open and a bunch of actual, unadulterated memories will crash through. So my email to my father may well have hit him like the plot twist in the movie Memento: this whole time, nothing was what he thought it was. Dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnnn.

And so far he hasn’t written back. Or sent me money for my birthday.

I suppose there’s always a chance they’ll send something belatedly, once they recover a bit from my email, if only to preserve the fiction that they’re nice people? I dunno. For my own well-being I’m going to assume not, and further assume that this isn’t the end of their participation in my life. They’ll probably make some kind of response eventually. And it will be absolutely deluded and ridiculous.


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I’ve just had an email confrontation of sorts with my father and it’s actually kind of glorious. Skip down to the big indented quote thing to see what I actually said.

Context for those who are new here or don’t necessarily remember every detail of my life :P: my dad was abusive when I was growing up. My mom let it happen. I moved out of their house at 18 but that wasn’t far enough for my liking so at 21 I moved away from my hometown entirely and sent my mother a long letter the day I left (so the postmark wouldn’t reveal my new location) stating that I didn’t want to talk to her or my dad anymore and giving a long list of reasons why. (I addressed the letter solely to her because I hated and feared him so much and – at the time – still thought of her as The Good Parent, relatively speaking).

(My mother got a friend of mine to forward a reply to me, even though I had expressly said that I’d moved away to escape both of them and didn’t want contact. The letter expressed delicate, pearl-clutching shock that I’d been in such a bad emotional state as to move away; she’d allegedly had no idea. She went on to declare that she was just going to focus on the last page of the letter – the part where I said I still loved her and might open up communication with her again one day – and would throw the rest out. This is foreshadowing.)

(Then she and dad went to the police and sobbed that I’d disappeared and they were afraid I’d been kidnapped, and made the police track me down. I got a phone call from my hometown’s cops in my new city. They asked if I was okay and I said yes. They asked if I could possibly come to my hometown’s police station in person to prove it and I said “I’m not taking a three hour bus ride for this bullshit” and they were like “okay then” and hung up and I presume relayed to my parents that I was alive without giving them my address.)

A few years later – I might have been 25 – I did indeed open up communication with my mother again, because I still stupidly thought of her as The Good One (The Dandy knows all of this history and summarized: “she was an expert at playing the victim, so you believed her.”). Also, in moving away like I did I’d kind of cut myself off from my own past, as well; I had no childhood photos of myself, barely remembered any anecdotes about myself as a little kid, when doctors would ask if this or that ailment ran in my family I never actually knew, etc. So it seemed like it might be time to try to establish a relationship again. Only with her; I still didn’t care to associate with him at all. So we started emailing.

The problem is that my mother treats her and my father as a package deal. Like I think she came and visited me on her own once, but otherwise she only offered to see me when she and dad were passing through town on their way to visit my uncle and his family, and she did not offer an option to send him off shopping or something so it would just be us. And I did want to see her, so I grudgingly accepted this. And so we would all hang out every couple of years. But being in proximity to my dad messed me up. Like when I knew I’d be seeing him I would have nightmares of being a little kid and running through an endless series of secret passageways while he chased me with intent to rape or kill me and I’d run screaming to my mother for help and she either wouldn’t acknowledge me or she’d say “just try to stay out of his way.” (I want to note that in real life I was often afraid he’d kill me because of how hugely, screamingly, in-your-face-angry he would get with me, but he never said he was going to or made an attempt. And although he made me feel uncomfortably sexualized at times, if he’d sexually abused me I assume the repressed memories would have surfaced by now. The dreams were brain-hyperbole.)

Over the years I’ve been realizing more and more that my mother is a pretty big piece of shit. Mostly for knowing all the awful things my father did when I was growing up and doing nothing (if not actually defending his actions in some way). I mean she was in the room on a number of occasions when he was having some kind of temper tantrum two inches from my face while I cowered and sobbed. Also there’s the considerable issue of her stupid fucking goldfish brain refusing to take any info on board that she doesn’t like, such that she’s convinced herself that I moved away at 21 for no reason and don’t want to talk to dad ever because I’m just super mean. I’ve re-had the whole “No, the issue is that he’s ABUSIVE. Here is an incomplete list of traumatic incidents he perpetrated” discussion with her several different times and she’ll listen to me until I’m all done and then go “but whyyyyyyy don’t you want to talk to him, though?”

More recently, I’ve had the epiphany that when mom (well, both of my parents, really) claim they want to hear from me more often and know how I’m doing, what they mean is “we own you so you need to acknowledge us goddammit!” – I’ve written some “life update” emails to my mom (and once even grudgingly had an email convo with my dad) and kind of expected a big gush of gratitude about it, giving all the whining about how much they wanted this from me, but instead never got any reply at all.

Oh also I think a big part of my mom’s insistence on knowing how I’m doing is she hopes I’ll have news she can brag about to the rest of the family and I never do. So I’m useless to her as a status symbol and therefore uninteresting.

So I was already pretty done, but then right before the pandemic A Bad Thing happened at work and when I stupidly looked to mom for sympathy she reacted exactly the way she did when I was a kid getting bullied (or abused by my dad): she made excuses for the perpetrator and never at any point expressed actual sympathy or said that what happened was wrong. And that broke my last remaining thread of a relationship with her. I don’t speak to either of them now except to thank them after they e-transfer me money on Christmas or my birthday.

Because yeah…maybe ten years ago my historically super-cheap parents suddenly started giving me money on special occasions. I assume they did this as a bribe of sorts so I’d want to keep them in my life. And for a long time, it kinda worked – I’ve been wanting for a while now to entirely cut them off again but haven’t, solely for that reason (well, and the glimmering hope that I’ll get an inheritance when they die). Remember: I was pretty super poor back then. A lot of that special-occasion money just went toward continuing to keep myself fed and housed.

So I let my emails to my mom dribble down to nothing over the years, and made excuses to avoid their visits whenever possible, but I never formally told them to fuck off. I figured eventually things would come to some sort of head, though. I mean they’re paying me and I’m not “putting out.”

ANYWAY. My birthday is sometime around now and my dad(!) just wrote to me asking if I’d hang out with them the next time they passed through my city.

Out of habit, I started coming up with excuses that would allow me to politely keep stringing them along; that my father is writing to me about this now feels like a veiled “should we give you birthday money this year or is it not worth it?” and I hoped to keep the money flowing. But I wasn’t sure which excuse to use, so I consulted with The Dandy.

He said “Why not just tell your dad the truth: that every time they visit, you end up reliving childhood trauma and you don’t want to go through that anymore.”

“Yeeeeah, but then I likely won’t get reparations anymore.” (I refer to their Xmas and birthday money as “reparations” for my shitty childhood.)

“If they’re giving you the money in exchange for a relationship with you, it’s not really reparations. It can’t really be reparations unless they know they traumatized you and you don’t want contact with them and they choose to give you money anyway.”

“Yeah…” I said. “And I’m in a way better place in my life now, so I don’t need the money like I used to. Wait………WAIT… we think my father even knows why I barely talk to him? Or has my mom been protecting him from that for decades? She may not have told him about the letter or anything else. He may have no idea his actions have even affected me.”

“Maybe!” The Dandy said.

Either way, I expect it would hurt my father to be confronted by his own behaviour, which is nice (I mean he psychologically scarred me for life; he deserves to get some back). And in being honest with him, I would stop the charade of pretending that I was open for visits in theory but just so goshdarned busy – the requests for visits would just stop. And if my parents stopped transferring me money on special occasions after that, well, that would just make it really clear exactly what kind of selfish, transactional people they are.

Also, The Dandy and I got off onto a riff somehow about what would happen if I did see my parents and my dad and I somehow ended up in a physical fight – like, if he had a screaming tantrum and got up in my face to shove me like when I was a kid but instead of cowering I endeavoured to punch his teeth down his throat (realistically this would never happen, for a bunch of reasons, but The Dandy and I talked about it anyway). The Dandy said that in a case like that, having written an email to my father ahead of time outlining some of the specific abusive things he’s done might serve as some kind of court evidence that there was precedent of him being violent with me and I was simply defending myself. And, y’know…I’m not sure if it’ll ever come in handy IRL, but I figure it can’t hurt to have evidence that I’ve confronted my father about some specific things he did. And if he replies with basically anything besides “that never happened/you made all of that up” it’ll act as proof that he did something.

(Oddly – considering how generally sensible and smart he is – The Dandy’s suggestion for my email was to say that seeing my parents traumatizes me because X, Y, and Z and because of the pandemic decimating my modeling career I’m stressed out and not equipped to deal with additional shit. I was like “No, I don’t need an excuse to not want to be traumatized.”)

Anyway, The Dandy’s suggestion to just be honest seemed like a pretty great idea on all fronts, so here is what I wrote in response to my father asking if he and mom could visit sometime soon:

Truth be told, every time I see the two of you it brings up a lot of childhood memories like you screaming at me for any tiny thing that annoyed you, the time you got so angry at me that you punched a hole in the wall right next to my head, the time you outright told me after one of your tantrums that you’d come very close to hitting me, the times you would “playfully” squeeze one of my hands to the point of pain while taunting “do you want me to break your hand? Do you want me to break your hand?”, the times you’d “playfight” with me even though I hated it and was yelling “stop!” and trying to get away (incidentally my tailbone is crooked and I’m pretty sure that’s from you kicking my legs out from under me so I landed coccyx-first on the kitchen floor when I was a kid – I was in pain for weeks so it’s a fair bet I got a fracture that healed weird), the super uncomfortable phase during my late teens when you felt compelled to comment on my body all the time (“showing a little cleavage today, huh?”) etc etc etc etc etc – and mom sitting by and letting it all happen. Excusing you, even. Do you know that after a particularly awful “playfight” she once told me that I had to “be the adult” in these situations because you couldn’t? I was probably ten years old and all bruised up from a grown man slapping me around, and she told me it was up to ME to manage YOUR behaviour.

Anyway, when I see you this all comes flooding back and I end up pretty fucked up for a good while.

And I don’t want to deal with that anymore.

I thought that dredging all those horrible memories up might agitate me, but mostly I feel lighter. Kind of free. Because I didn’t just dredge the memories up, I said “here, YOU take these” and threw them at my dad’s face. And I did it in writing, so if he turns out to have a stupid fucking goldfish brain like my mother does and keeps asking whyyyyyyy I don’t like him, I can just keep saying “I won’t rehash this. Go read the email again.” Or more likely I’ll just completely ignore him. I said my piece.

It occurs to me, too, that my parents are very very hung up on appearances – so I’ve likely trapped them in a dilemma where they won’t want to give me money anymore because I’ve stopped holding up my part of the transactional relationship, but they won’t want to stop giving me money because they don’t want it to look like their love is transactional. Oh, this is delightful. I should’ve done this years ago.

I sent the email maybe sixteen hours ago, btw, and have not received a reply or a birthday money transfer at this time. I’m certain I’ve caused some kind of panicky commotion in their household and that’s why there’s been radio silence, though I’m not sure exactly what kind of commotion – is he confronting my mother, asking “is this why our kid doesn’t speak to me? Did you know about this?!?”? Is he running to my mother going “help, I have absolutely no memory of any of these incidents!” and she’s like “I knowwwww! Our kid keeps making up weird shit. How do we even respond to that?” or are they openly debating on the optics of cutting me off from the birthday money supply or…?

If anything happens I’ll keep you posted.

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Hey, remember Mantis? Welp, a while ago he messaged me on FetLife to let me know he would be in town soon, and to ask if I’d like to get together. He proposed we watch a movie at my place. And I (after a whole bunch of thinking about it) ultimately said yes.

The one time that we met in person (and somewhat in the aftermath of our meeting, too, where we had that exchange about his “emotional unavailability”) he kinda turned my crank in a dysfunctional way – like, he reminded me of The Pedant and other manipulative men whom I’ve chased after and yearned for but they always maintained an infuriating, tantalizing distance. I didn’t want to chase Mantis and try to date him per se; I wanted to engage with him and manipulate him back and win. I wanted to turn the tables on his manipulation so he ended up yearning after and chasing me while I acted indifferent.

But at the same time I felt like if I actually tried this plan there was a good chance I’d lose and get my feelings hurt. I ended up doing the second-best thing: refusing to be sucked into Mantis’ drama when he seemed to be contriving to pull me in. He made his big spiel about how he’s emotionally unavailable and prone to freaking out and bolting if someone he’s physically intimate with gets too close to him but maybe we could still make out sometime blah blah blah and I was like “nah, this sounds like waaaay too much drama. I’m up for friendship but that’s it.”

And I figured I would probably never hang out with him again, even if he asked me to, just to be on the safe side.

But here I am, fresh off my breakup with TA and missing feeling attractive and having sex and etc, but emphatically not wanting to actually date anyone – I’m burned out on dating and hate hate hate the idea of meeting anyone new. I’m also lonely and bored, though.

So when Mantis asked about coming over, I figured either

1) I could stick to my original boundary of friendship only, and having someone visit would give me motivation to tidy the apartment and I’d probably have a nice time socializing – plus if Mantis was having some idea of using his physical presence to reel me in and make me wanna chase him, my aloofness would infuriate him. Which is not to say that I knew for sure I’d feel aloof; I figured maybe there would be sexual tension. But the plan would be to ignore whatever tension I might feel and be sexlessly friendly and pleasant, just to mess with Mantis. And this sounded like an amusing use of my time. Better than languishing alone wondering if I’ll ever have a partner again, at any rate.

Or 2) If I still felt attracted to him (which is not a given; my ADHD makes me like new shiny things but then I get bored) I could initiate makeouts or more and it would be kind of perfect because I’m burned out on dating and he lives in another city so it could be an isolated “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” sorta thing. Like, I think in my current mental state I’d be more than happy to hook up with someone once and then completely ignore them. And if Mantis is the kind of person I’ve been sensing him to be, he’d assume that us hooking up would make me feel all attached to him and try to chase him, which was his plan all along. But instead of sending volleys of anxious post-hookup messages looking for validation from him and asking when we could see each other again, I would just completely ignore him – and that would infuriate him.

So, I would definitely be entertained no matter what. I said yes to him visiting.

Mantis asked ahead of time if I was into weed at all because he could bring some, in vaporizer format. I said I might be into that; that I’ve barely ever used pot in my life but I’m somewhat interested in revisiting it. He said he’s acted as a guide of sorts for friends while they tried drugs – making sure they got through their trip safely – and would be happy to do this for me, too, which feels like another sneaky “I’m gonna get you feeling vulnerable and depending on me” thing, not unlike when he offered to mentor me about “dude stuff,” only, y’know…worse. I wondered whether his aim was to get me off-kilter with drugs so I would do things I would not normally be inclined to do. I made sure The Dandy would be home on the day of the visit, just for extra insurance (yes, I am anxious/suspicious enough that I even wondered if Mantis would rape me by coercion. And I knew that just having another guy within earshot would probably discourage him from trying, if he was going to).

The visit was yesterday. When I opened the door and saw Mantis for the first time since we hung out a few months ago, my gut reaction to his appearance was cognitive dissonance – he looked the way I remembered, but the soft-focus magical glow of attraction had dissipated and without it he was just kinda funny-lookin’ to me. And I didn’t get an impression from him that he was trying to do anything untoward with me at all – he kept a respectful physical distance from me and didn’t bring sex into the conversation in any capacity*. I had a few small puffs on the weed vaporizer**, we watched a movie, Mantis and The Dandy and I all ordered dinner from a local place and ate together, we watched another movie with the three of us this time, and then it was 11pm and Mantis left. And that’s it.

It was a pleasant visit.

It’s left me wondering, though: did I completely mis-read Mantis’ modus operandi? Was he just a troubled but basically good dude struggling with some emotional stuff and accidentally oversharing it with me, and perhaps actually he did ultimately feel relieved when I drew a boundary and said “friends only”?

…Or is being a gentleman at first part of a larger, nefarious plan?

I dunno, I know that anxiety can sometimes taint my ideas of people but I also have good gut instincts and it seems unlikely that I could be this wrong?

*The other/first time that we hung out, he was definitely showboating a bit. He made a point of showing me some texts he sent to a masochist he was gonna play with; he seemed like he was expecting me to swoon at the domly-dom way he spoke to her, or something. He made a point of telling me about a time that he proposed casual sex with a woman-friend of his and she said she didn’t think she really even liked sex but for some reason they did it anyway and it turned out she did indeed like sex – because he gave her an orgasm and nobody else had ever even tried. Like, 100% he was trying to let me know that he was fun in bed just in case I wanted to try him.

**He didn’t partake, himself, though, which is…odd, yeah?

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Often, after a breakup, I can look back and see that some of the stuff we broke up over was there right from the beginning – I just glossed over it or it didn’t get really bad until later or something.

I was just remembering how, before TA ever contacted me, I knew of her existence from a personal ad she posted on FetLife that I was tentatively interested in, but decided not to respond to.

See, I’ve been noticing lately that queer folks will throw the words “masc” or “femme” into personal ads when describing what sort of person they’re looking for, and from context, I think sometimes it means “I want someone who dresses like this” and sometimes it means “I want someone with these particular secondary sex characteristics” and sometimes it means “I want someone with this type of genitals.” But usually people don’t clearly explain.

And the ad I saw from TA said that she preferred “masc people” or “people on the masc side” or something like that. And although I’m on testosterone and my gender leans a bit masc-of-centre maybe, I’m still read as a woman, have a vagina plus a big ol’ set of tits that I don’t bind, and don’t necessarily dress in a hugely butch/masculine way (listen, I’d like to see what I look like in a suit, but I can’t be spending that kind of money right now. So I wear whatever still fits me from before I started T. Which, at the time that TA and I first met, was sometimes dresses). Conclusion: this ad is Not For Me.

But then TA found me on FetLife somehow and wrote to me first. And a relationship developed. And when I later confessed that I’d assumed she wouldn’t be into me because I don’t have a dick or come off super manly or anything, she was like “what? Nooooo! None of that was even what I meant by liking masc people!” I think she might have said that she meant people with testosterone-based bodies, because she loves the way they smell. And she did love my mighty, mighty stink. But I still suspected that she was lying to me and/or herself and that men – cis men – were what really turned her crank; that she clicked with me emotionally but my physicality was a compromise, for her.

And then over the course of our relationship she:

  • Told me she’s not attracted to my chest.
  • Told me she’s not attracted to my genitals.
  • Became obsessed with obtaining cis dick to a point where it was clear I couldn’t offer her anything nearly as interesting.

Welp. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I was miffed by the meet-up with TA where she explicitly told me that seeking out strangers to fuck was a higher priority than seeing me, but I figured I’d get over the initial horribleness of hearing that and we’d mellow out into friends who kept in touch via text and saw each other, I dunno, once every month or two.

She’s barely even texted me since then, is the thing.

I just looked at our texting history on my phone to do a quick analysis and yeah…I texted her twice about some random thing in my life I felt like telling her and once to ask how to perform a particular function on Discord, and she gave pleasant but minimal responses each time. That is the sum total of our interactions for the past ten days or so. She never initiated conversation and never extended the conversations I tried to initiate into much of anything. I remember now that I sometimes had memes I wanted to send but I didn’t because her aloofness gave me a vibe that I might just be intruding on her life.

When we had our “exit interview”/how-do-we-convert-this-into-a-friendship meet-up, she told me that she did love watching shows and movies with me while snuggling and she’d still like to do that, just not on a weekly basis like before. And I guess I also assumed that being friends with her would involve semi-frequent texting, still, because it did when we were friends before starting to date. But…no.

And her comparative silence/distance makes me wonder if she’s even more obsessed with banging randos than I’d realized, like she doesn’t have the willpower to even drag her thoughts away from dick long enough to have a real conversation with me. I mean, maybe not, maybe she’s just taking a bit of space to recover from our breakup. I dunno. But the thought that she’s gone mostly quiet because sex addiction is putting me off her pretty hard, hence me not trying harder to talk to her. Like I’m not asking her how she’s doing or sending funny memes or anything. My forays into talking to her were “I managed to get my testosterone prescription refilled in time, after all!”-type stuff for a reason: I wanted to see if she took the opportunity to tell me stuff about her life in return, or not. And she would just reply something like “great!” and that’s it, so.

And I’m fine, actually. Our relationship was great in its heyday but right now, as things stand, I don’t miss her. I miss – and mourn – the heyday of our relationship. Also I’m beginning to realize that our breakup was probably a lot more mutual than I had previously assumed, and that bums me out just on principle. TA and her live-in girlfriend don’t fuck (and haven’t in years) and she still wants to maintain that relationship; I guess I assumed she would with me, too. I know that she doesn’t consider sex necessary to a romantic relationship like I do, and that for her, romantic feelings are very distinct from platonic ones so she knows when someone she’s hanging out with and not-fucking is a friend vs something more. And aside from our sex and kink life tanking (which she said wasn’t an indication of the relationship failing) I didn’t get a sense that there was anything wrong.

But, again, maybe the lure of fucking randos is so strong that it simply supplanted me. The Dandy and I both very much wonder if TA’s gf is getting any dedicated time or attention lately, either; feels like TA’s home is a pit stop where she sleeps, showers, and works on lesson plans between fucks. I hope the gf is doing okay and not feeling neglected. She’s financially dependent on TA and also kind of a doormat so if she, too, is getting spooky sex addiction vibes from TA, I don’t think she’ll be holding any interventions.

tl;dr I’m basically fine in the wake of the breakup but my feelings are hurt.

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