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*swoon*

I was talking to an art instructor I’m friendly with (and work with), and mentioned that when I used to weight train, my lower back got strong really fast. He said he could see that about me. I was surprised – I assumed that when I stopped weight training the muscles there dwindled back down to nothing. But apparently modeling is working the area out still because when I got home I did the two-mirrors thing to look at my back and yeah, my spine is still a dent up the centre of a big wad of muscle. Cool!

So I told The Dandy about all of this and said “Cower before the mightiness of my back-beef!”

He said “Nah.”

I said, “Fine. Well if you won’t cower before me, will you at least tell me that I’m a terrifying amazon warrior and you’re proud to have slightly domesticated me?”

He replied “I don’t want to domesticate you. I just want to set you loose on my enemies.”

Best compliment ever. 😀

 

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Tangled

The Dandy and I talked a bit more the other day about the way things tend to go when I’m trying to address relationship issues. I reiterated that he’s making me do a lot of the emotional labour and he shrugged and said “I’m not good at that stuff.”

In retrospect I wish I’d just said “Okay, so what’s your plan to get better at it?” – short, to the point, assumes that surely he’s planning on pulling his own weight and let’s talk about the details of that. Instead I sputtered “Okay, but I mean you can’t just go ‘oh well, I’m not good at this’ about a major relationship skill and expect me to pick up your slack. You need to work on it so you can do your part. And anyway you’re a lot more self-aware and in touch with your emotions than most guys I know so I think it wouldn’t take much to get you up to speed. You mostly just need to remember to communicate more and remember the stuff I want better.”

I told him, for like the billionth time, that when I’m airing grievances I understand that he doesn’t want to discuss them at that moment – that he needs to think about stuff for a bit and then get back to me with explanations/solutions/etc. – but I need him to acknowledge my feelings. When he just sits there silently watching me talk I feel like he doesn’t understand what I’m saying at all and is just letting my words wash over him or something. I want to hear him say “I can see why that would upset you” or similar*, to validate my feelings. If he can in fact see why it would upset me, that is. If he doesn’t get it then that’s probably a whole other conversation we should have.

The Dandy said, at one point, that usually in his experience an airing of relationship grievances leads to huge screaming drama or a breakup so he freaks out. I asked what I can do, during relationship discussions, to help him feel safer. He said he wanted to feel wanted.

This confused me. “I…could give you a handjob while telling you that you’ve upset me, but I can’t guarantee my grip would remain at a comfortable level…”

“I meant ‘wanted’ emotionally. It has nothing to do with sex.”

“I…hmmm. So d’you want me to preface an issue I’m having with ‘I love you, but…’?”

“No, that wouldn’t work.”

And I was simply at a loss by this point. But also, a little bit pissed off. Because this discussion that had begun with me saying I feel like I do too much of the emotional labour in the relationship had come to a point of him telling me that a) when I’m telling him that he’s upset me, I have to carefully coddle his feelings so he doesn’t get sad (hello? Maybe I feel unloved by whatever he did that made me angry! And the only “coddling” I’ve requested for those times is for him to apologize and/or validate my feelings, and he won’t even do that!) and b) he doesn’t even know what form the coddling should take, so I guess I need to figure it out.

And it’s all just a clusterfuck because on one hand I do understand needing reassurance that a currently angry person still loves you but on the other hand it’s just so fucking common for guys to expect women to do ridiculous amounts of emotional work in relationships, and to be a bit “me me me!” in relationships (again: if I’m angry with him in the first place it’s because he didn’t do something I wanted or he did a thing I didn’t want, and I feel like he doesn’t care about my feelings! So where’s my coddling? Where’s my reassurance that I’m loved?). And these two things are intersecting and I don’t know how to untangle it all.

I did tell him that when I was married, it made it easier to have fights with my partner without thinking we were gonna break up. We’d expressly committed to the long haul, after all. So each fight felt maybe a bit like we were two angry cats with their tails tied together: kind of claustrophobic and awful, but at least I knew neither of us would run away. I asked The Dandy if it made any difference to him that I do consider our relationship permanent (or at least I really, really hope it will be) and I intend on working hard to keep it going. He said it does help, knowing that.

The next day I had another epiphany, which I told him: my preference, when I’m upset about a thing, would be for him to discuss it with me immediately; to respond, on the spot, with the reasons why he did what he did and how he’d conduct himself differently in the future/how we’d handle our obvious fundamental difference of opinion/whatever. But he told me that he needs time to think about the things I’ve said and would rather get back to me in a few days. So basically, any time I’m upset about a thing and I just vent to him about it without demanding answers, he can know that I still want and love him because I’m respecting his preferences. If I was giving up on the relationship and about to break up with him, I wouldn’t bother accommodating his needs; I’d tell him I was pissed off and then demand he fucking justify himself right fucking now.

That really seemed to hit home for The Dandy. He said he understood, and he seemed comforted. So that’s cool.

 

 

*Or just apologize for the thing he did, but he’s already said he hates saying “I’m sorry” and pretty much can’t do it, so…

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She’s baaaaaack…

The Veteran – my former friend and colleague who stopped taking her meds for bipolar disorder, had a huge manic episode, and dropped out of the art scene – has suddenly resurfaced in an art-model-oriented Facebook group I’m in, and I’m shaken.

TBH I thought she’d dropped off the map because she’d burned a bunch of bridges with her erratic behaviour and simply couldn’t get work anymore. But I guess she didn’t fuck things up as badly as I thought, or she’s been apologizing her ass off and people are being magnanimous about it, or something, because I get the impression she is indeed posing again. Which means I’ll likely bump into her at some point. Which I do not want. At all.

 

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Moar Artist

Soooooo The Artist came over the other night and his penis ended up in my vagina. 😛 I hadn’t been planning to do that just yet but I feel pretty okay about it.

Except the sex was a bit…eh. I dunno. He takes f o r e v e r to come. He warned me of this when I started giving him a hand job. Hand job progressed to cowgirl-position sex which progressed to missionary sex when my thighs got sore which progressed to a missionary-position Hitachi Sandwich because I was getting bored to shit lying there while he thrust and thrust and thrust and sweat dripped off his face into my eyes.

He never did come, possibly because when the Hitachi came into play, he switched his focus and started thinking of his dick as a tool he was using for my benefit (he told me about the change in perspective. I’m just guessing that it could be why he didn’t orgasm). Mid-Hitachi, he got exhausted and I asked if he needed a break. He said yes and I had him dildo me while I continued Hitachi-ing…so I got off, but we never did get around to finishing him. He’s said that he has “a high sex drive” which I tend to think means craving frequent orgasms, not just craving a lot of sexual activity, so I suppose he’ll get frustrated if I consistently give up on getting him off. And I mean it would be rude to give up, or to indicate that I’m bored by how long he takes. He’s been lovely about making sure I have fun (mind you, I didn’t take 20+ minutes to get off…). I’d like to do the same for him. But I just don’t know if I can.

I wish people were easier to categorize. I’d like The Artist to either be a “yes” or a “no” for me, unequivocally. But instead there are things I really like about him and things I don’t and I just don’t know.

Like…how do I keep ending up with these guys who are really into history and geography and stuff? The Dandy, The Pedant, and The Artist are all like that, and will go into big spiels about things that don’t really interest me. Every time I’ve seen The Artist, maybe he’s nervous or something but for the first hour or two he’s sort of aggressively talkative, and about stuff that I don’t really care about. Then he slowly calms down and we end up snuggling naked and gazing silently into each other’s eyes (his eyes are so pretty – a misty green/blue, with black, spiky, wet-looking eyelashes straight out of a mascara commercial – I go absolutely weak in the knees) and it’s just so calming and wonderful. Am I only liking him when I don’t have to deal with his personality, or could it be that the taciturn snuggly boy is his personality and the other stuff is a veneer of chattiness to cover up nervousness or something?

He’s sort of hippie/spiritual in a way that I enjoy very much. I told him how I have a hard time meditating and he said that maybe focusing on my breathing is simply not the best way for me to do it. He said there are other ways, like focusing on touch, and he had me close my eyes while he tapped my temples with his fingertips and soothingly talked me through focusing on the sensation and relaxing my body. Might be too early to say but I think that did work better than the “focus on your breathing” thing. He believes in energy exchange, and that he can be a conduit to get people’s sadness out of them.

Shortly after the temple-tapping meditation I said that the idea makes a lot of sense because touch is always the best way to calm my brain down. I said that being petted is one of the only times my brain is actually silent. And then, I guess feeling sorry for myself because my stupid fuckin’ head perpetually has 109 tabs open at once, I burst into tears. The Artist held me and petted me and told me soothingly to let it all out. Once I was feeling better – my head still on his chest – he guided my fingers up to his face so I could feel that he’d teared up in sympathy. I told him actually my big fear is dragging others down with me when I’m depressed or anxious, so it worries me when others are really susceptible to feeling my feelings. He says he feels other people’s feelings but doesn’t hold on to them, they just pass through. Interesting if true.

But yeah he’s really into helping people through their emotional bullshit but claims he doesn’t feel responsible for doing it, he just likes to. And claims that other people’s depression doesn’t bum him out.

He’s aware of my body language etc. far more than The Dandy or The Pedant. I would have thought it was pretty obvious and simple to notice when someone moans during sex or touching and keep doing whatever it was that caused it, but both my other guys often seem to be on autopilot when they touch me, and gloss right over the thing that drove me crazy and move on to something else. After The Artist and I had sex he told me all kinds of little flexes and twitches he noticed me doing in response to whatever he was doing. He’s much more aware of my body than I’m accustomed to. I like that.

He consistently has a whiff of armpit about him that I can detect when we’re snuggled up together. I suppose I should probably mention that to him. I’m a little worried it’s not fixable, though. People always assume BO is a bad-hygiene thing, but I sometimes have a bit of a smell close-up even right after a shower and applying deodorant. Although I think every time I’ve seen him he’d just done a full workday so it may be run-of-the-mill, been-doing-stuff-all-day stink.

His penis falls within my ideal size range and is uncut (yay!) but it’s slightly odd-looking and I think there may also be a slight hygiene issue there, too.

So, y’know. There are good things and not-so-good things.

 

 

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better

The Dandy and I talked a bit and I’m feeling a bit better about things.

Or I was, until I went to run a bath to wind down before bed and it turned out The Dandy hadn’t pushed in the button thing on the tap to take it out of shower mode when he was done showering that morning, so when I turned the taps on I got cold water dumped on my head.

So now I hate him again, but in a more temporary way.

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A bad night.

The day after that preliminary discussion with The Dandy, he came home from work after me and came over for a hug and my lower back immediately started hurting. I observed this out loud and asked, kind of rhetorically and kind of not, if he’d done that to me. “How would I make your back hurt?” he asked, bemused and I guess thinking I was kidding. I spelled out for him that we had juuuuuuust had a discussion the night before about him ignoring my needs and I’d spent all of the current day wondering why and if it would end up leading to the end of our relationship so frankly, his presence might be stressing me out. He kept hugging me and didn’t say anything. I prompted “Do you have any thoughts about the stuff we talked about?” and he was still silent.

Later, The Dandy was in his room and I was lying on the couch watching tv. The Dandy had ordered Indian food and we were collectively waiting for it to arrive.  Then Bastardcat jumped from the floor onto my shins – I think aiming to land on the stable surface of couch and missing – and clawed the shit out of me trying to keep his balance. Sudden pain just totally fucks my brain sideways and in this case I hadn’t even realized Bastardcat had been nearby so it was like razorblades fell into my legs out of the fucking sky or something. I screeeeeeamed and immediately started to cry.

The Dandy – I think because our big discussion had included “You don’t even come check on me when you hear me hurt myself, wtf” although perhaps he would have come out anyway given how I’d screamed – came out and held me until my crying wound down.

Then food came.

I should give some context to the next thing that happened.

See, in addition to The Dandy having been vaguely negligent about meeting my needs for a long while, he also seems to be going through a phase of never fucking hearing any. Goddamned. Thing. I. Say. I’m pretty sure this has mostly just been within the past month or so. And instead of interjecting “Oh sorry I can’t hear you from over here” so that I come closer*, or coming closer to me, or saying “pardon me?” he always shouts “WHUT?!” which drives me friggin’ crazy. The other night I was in the kitchen and he was in the living room and I was talking to him for like two full minutes and when I came out of the kitchen: “WHUT? I didn’t hear any of that.” Could he not have fucking told me sooner?! Anyway, it irritates me so fucking much, but I hadn’t said anything about it because a) it would feel petty asking him to say “pardon me?” instead of “whut?’ b) my anxietybrain tells me that he doesn’t think my thoughts/words are important, but logically it makes more sense that he’s just distracted or his hearing is going, so I don’t want to make a big deal and have him feel self-conscious about it and c) I could not for the life of me think of how to address the issue without flying completely off the handle. I’m PMSing and I’m sitting on a bunch of other resentments so…yeah. Breaking that seal would be dangerous.

The Dandy also has a bad habit of interrupting me. Usually it’s when we’re having some abstract discussion that he has a lot of opinions about – like the other day we were discussing whether vanilla or kinky sex work clients were more likely to be douchebags. He (a straight guy) had some bizarre thoughts on the subject**. I (a person who has dated both kinky and vanilla men for almost thirty years and has dabbled in kinky sex work) also had thoughts. But every time I’d open my mouth to try to address The Dandy’s statements, some other thought would burst out of him. This is how all of our discussions about human interaction, technology, current events, Netflix shows, etc. go – he says a thing, I open my mouth to respond, he bursts out with more thinky thoughts, I get maybe two words out and he has another mighty outburst of verbiage, etc. It’s unclear whether he notices that I’m speaking or preparing to speak when he has these explosions of words. All I know is that when a thought comes into his head he apparently has to say it right now regardless of anything else that’s going on. It’s not just me he does this with. It might be everyone. Dandette for sure. Anyway he’s so single-minded, oblivious, and effortlessly LOUD that I’ve just been letting him railroad me. The alternative would be to bellow my response at the top of my lungs to try to drown him out (which I think might be impossible), or to repeat “let me speak. Let me speak. LET ME SPEAK” over and over until he finally notices I exist – if he ever does. I suppose the fact that this is always happening during ostensibly entertaining conversations is a factor, too. Like I’d feel like a Hysterical Woman or whatever, shrieking my lungs out and demanding to be heard during what was supposed to be a light conversation. Is it really that important that The Dandy knows what direction I wish the second season of Jessica Jones had taken? Probably not.

Anyway. Indian food came and The Dandy was unloading it on the kitchen counter while I stood next to him telling him an anecdote about my day. And I don’t know if he’d forgotten what-all he’d ordered or what the fuck, but he opened one of the foam containers of food and went “Oh – vegetables!” in a surprised tone – completely cutting me off as I was talking.

In retrospect I think my brain was still flooded with adrenaline and other stress-chemicals from Bastardcat jumping on me and it was making me more sensitive. But I immediately flung my arms up in exasperation and started walking away from The Dandy.

He asked what was wrong and I turned and screamed “Do you have ANY IDEA how much you interrupt me?!?!? You don’t do things I explicitly say I need. You talk over me like I’m not there. You never hear a single fucking thing I say the first time. Is it a hearing problem? A learning disability? WHAT?!? Or are my words really that unimportant to you?!?”

The Dandy moved forward to hug me, but stumbled and stepped down hard on my bare foot. A second surge of panic-chemicals punched me in the brain, paralyzing me in fight-or-flight mode. “DON’T…TOUCH…ME” I said, and The Dandy immediately backed off a few steps. I stood there in the kitchen and wrapped my arms around myself and just sobbed my face off. After a minute or two The Dandy cautiously stepped toward me again with his arms outstretched. I somewhat reluctantly walked into them. When I tried to pull away a minute later (I was angry with him, after all. There’s only so much he can comfort me when he’s the one who pissed me off, and his arms were starting to feel constraining) he tightened his hold. I stood there for a few more minutes, crying and intermittently pushing slightly against his grip, and then finally decided it was ridiculous to stay there out of politeness and struggled out of his hug.

I said I was gonna take the dog out now to get it over with so I could enjoy my food. I went to pee first and ended up crying in the bathroom for like ten minutes. I couldn’t stop. The Dandy finally came up to the closed door and murmured that he could take the dog out if I needed him to. I thanked him and cried for another five or ten minutes and then shuffled out to the kitchen to get food. The crying had just exhausted the shit out of me.

The Dandy was eating at the kitchen table, but when I took a plate of food to the couch he asked if I’d like company. I said he could come over if he wanted, and he did, cautiously leaving half a cushion of space between us. He asked if I wanted to throw on Netflix – watch one of the shows we’ve been marathoning – and I said no and began to cry, I guess because marathoning tv shows with him is a bonding thing for me and I did not feel in a bonding mood.

After food was done I changed my mind and decided I wanted the distraction of The Santa Clarita Diet. During the course of a few episodes, my brain began to calm down and I felt a lot better for having let out a bunch of bottled-up feelings. The Dandy reached for my hand and I took it.

Then it was late and The Dandy needed to go to sleep. He asked if I’d join him in his bed instead of going to mine, and actually that sounded nice. It had been a while since I’d slept next to him, I think because I’d been ignoring a big clump of built-up resentment toward him.

When I said yes to sleeping next to him, The Dandy gave off a vibe that…well, maybe I read him wrong, but it felt like relief to me, like Yay, now we can put this whole thing behind us!

I said “You know that just because I feel better for having vented doesn’t mean the issues are fixed, right? They’re still there. We still need to find solutions.”

The Dandy stayed silent and the vibe turned to Well, fuck.

And now I’m wondering: is he writing off my huge crying meldown as just a symptom of my anxiety rather than seeing it – rightly – as me expressing genuine feelings and issues in a really unfortunate way because of my anxiety?

I’m also, to be frank, wondering just how stupid he is, thinking everything was solved when at no point did he validate my feelings, apologize, or tell me how he’d do better in the future. Like, I wasn’t freaking out over being convinced our toaster was haunted, I was bringing up actual things that he’s done and knows he’s done that are bothering me for straightforward reasons. This was demonstrably not me having a meltdown over imaginary or silly things. So…that’s…not just gonna magically vanish? He has to fix it.

 

*Incidentally, when I say that he “can’t hear me from there” I mean like if we’re in adjoining and perfectly silent rooms. I don’t try to talk to him while he’s playing music and using a chainsaw or something. He, meanwhile, has casually talked to me from other rooms while I was right next to the running dishwasher or while my head was under running water.

**He would say things like “I bet guys who go to sex workers for vanilla sex are more douchey than the guys who go to get a fetish indulged. Because, see, the vanilla guys can’t get their needs met any other way, so they’re probably bitter.” Um. First off, there are plenty of reasons to fuck a sex worker besides “I can’t get laid any other way.” Second, why does he think fetishists go to sex workers, exactly?

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Had a bit of a blowout recently with The Dandy because once again I indicated that I was stressed out and I really needed to be petted and he wanted to do other stuff first. Like, I have expressly told him numerous times that it takes TEN FUCKING MINUTES to completely reboot me via snugglepets, and that when I say I need this it means I neeeeeed it and I want him to drop whatever he’s doing if at all possible. But he keeps acting dismissive when I tell him I need him.

So the other night – after waiting for him to finish sorting through a bunch of old pen boxes to see which ones to keep and which ones to toss, and after also being so wrecked from a long day at work that The Dandy noticed I looked fucked up and asked if I was okay and I said not entirely, I was like “hey can we put on Netflix and you can pet my back?” and he said “but the kitchen and living room need cleaning.” There is no earthly reason why they needed to be cleaned right then – it was almost bedtime and he would not be using either of those rooms until he got home from work the following evening. There’s also no earthly reason why he couldn’t have attended to my needs for ten minutes and then obsessed on cleaning. Also, literally two minutes before this, I’d begun to bag up the pen boxes he’d decided to get rid of and he told me not to. And yet when I asked for his company and pettings, he suddenly needed the boxes cleared out right away. WTF.

If I feel vulnerable and mistrustful with someone, I can’t get to the catharsis I need even if they do pet me. And The Dandy making it clear that he didn’t really care about bringing me out of my state of stress made me not want him to anymore. I mean I couldn’t get stress relief out of it if I thought he was petting me bedrudgingly instead of out of love and a need to make me feel better.

And I’m just so angry that I consistently spell out exactly what I need from him and why and he still doesn’t do it. But hey, technically the only one responsible for my well-being is me. So I went and took a bath, instead, to try to bring myself down. It doesn’t work as well as being petted but it’s something. And I locked the bathroom doors (it’s the kind of bathroom that’s got a door to the master bedroom and another door to the hall) because I was fuming mad at The Dandy and wanted to be alone.

After I’d lain there soaking for a while, The Dandy tried to barge through first one door, then the other (hello, maybe that first one was locked for a reason). Finally he said my name and I was like WHAT and he asked if he could come in.

There seemed to be no point in throwing a tantrum and telling him no, so I reached up and unlocked the nearest door.

He silently sat on the toilet lid and started petting my back and, like the time before, I eventually started to cry but in anger, not release. And suddenly it occurred to me that a whole bunch of stuff had been bothering me for a long time; stuff along the same theme.

I told him that I try to give him the things he wants and needs but tbh I don’t feel like I’m getting it back. I actively work at learning what he needs in various situations. He has some things that bug him – no real reason, they just do – and I do my best to avoid doing these things because I want him to be happy. Meanwhile, I’ve told him numerous times to please stop leaving cupboard doors open in the kitchen because there’s a good chance I’ll end up hitting my head on one of them at some point. It’s not an “ugh, this drives me crazy” thing, it’s an “I don’t want to gash my fucking head open” safety issue. And he still can’t remember.

I’ve told him numerous times to please take two seconds to fill dirty cat dishes with water so that by the time I’m loading the dishwasher, the dried cat food crud will just slide right out when I dump the water – otherwise I’ll have to either scrub the dishes to get the chunks off (the dishwasher won’t do it) or leave them to soak, thus cluttering the kitchen when I’m trying to make it clean. The Dandy hates clutter, too, and one would hope he doesn’t love the idea of making more work for me. But he still doesn’t soak the cat dishes.

There have been a bunch of times recently when I accidentally hurt myself – bent a fingernail back or stubbed my toe or something – and The Dandy heard a thwack and me squealing in pain but didn’t come see what was up or even call out “are you okay?”

We’ve had a bunch of times when I told him I was anxious and needed his help in some specific way and he didn’t provide it, either because he had something else he felt like doing instead or because somehow he thought “I need you to do X now” didn’t mean I was in fact requesting him to do X now.

We’ve been together now for over a year and he still doesn’t know how I want to be touched – almost every single time he pets me, he plunks the whole weight of his hand onto me and starts moving it back and forth and I have to say “lighterlighter…LIGHTER…” until he’s finally giving me the kind of soft stroking with fingertips that I actually crave.

And as usual, The Dandy sat there silent while I aired my grievances. Which is par for the course – I know that he needs time to process things before he feels ready to address them* – but this brings another issue to mind: I have told him eleventy billion times that even if he can’t actually discuss my issues when I first bring them up, I at least need to feel validated. I need him to apologize or say “I can see why this would upset you” or something. But he still doesn’t do this. I know he has a really hard time ever saying “I’m sorry” so I found him a fucking article about things a person can say that are more important than “sorry” (repeating back what the problem is so it’s clear you understand, talking about how you’ll do better next time, etc) and sent him the link but he doesn’t do any of that, either.

And like I’m totally spoon-feeding him what I want and how to give it to me and some alternatives in case some of the things I want are too hard and he’s still not doing it and how much of this relationship am I supposed to fucking carry?

The Artist is on his way over to provide me with snugglepets. More on this bullshit with The Dandy later.

 

*And I only found this out after the eightieth time he appeared to be staring belligerently at me while I explained something that was bothering me – not answering me even if I said “WHY WON’T YOU SAY ANYTHING” – and finally it dawned on me to ask if he just needed time to think about shit, and he said yes. And said that it would work well to air my issues and then give him a few days before I ask him about them again. And when I was like “Okay but could you be the one to initiate follow-up because I don’t want to feel like I’m doing all the work here” he was like “I might forget though.” Because why would he possibly remember that I’m upset and work on fixing it, right? HA HA HA MADNESS.

 

 

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