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The thing about Dandette

I’m totally jealous of The Dandy’s relationship with Dandette, and that seems really weird and dumb to me. I’m dating him and she’s not. And I’m poly so in theory him dating someone else wouldn’t be a big deal to me, anyway. So why do I care that he lives with his ex and still seems pretty close to her?

First off, I think after a few years of feeling essentially solo-poly, I’m really craving a main partner* right now – a serious relationship with someone who (like me) doesn’t have other serious relationships going at the moment. I’d like to be someone’s focus and vice-versa, at least for now. The Dandy is my focus. I think I’m his…but the fact remains that he lives with his ex, with whom he has a comfort level and a history that I want. They act like an old married couple. I have recently learned that Dandette (who is unemployed) wakes up early every morning just to make The Dandy coffee before he goes to work. That is such an act of intimacy and care and kindness. I want to be doing that for him (well, not that but a similar act that doesn’t require me to wake up early). I also learned that after she makes the coffee, she comes into his bedroom and puts it on the nightstand. That…feels like a couple thing, not a roommate thing. Especially since, until recently when I expressed squick at their weird boundaries, The Dandy slept naked. It bothers me a lot.

Also, I have a huge, huge fantasy of a man rescuing and taking care of me, especially financially. It’s what I’d hoped for when I married my ex-husband (he was more socially competent than I was, he wasn’t severely agoraphobic, he had higher earning potential…he was my way out of the shitty roommate situation I was currently in). It’s maybe slightly what I wanted when Minx moved in and thus halved my rent (please oh please, someone just make it so I don’t have to pay ~$1000/month just to have a roof over my head…get me out of this constant pinch of poverty and make it so I actually have money left over at the end of the month and can build up a savings again for emergencies…).

I have since realized that I don’t think I can live with another person ever again, both because I really enjoy my space and quiet time and because I feel like I’ll inevitably piss the other person off and they won’t want to stay and then I’m fucked. The way rent is soaring in my city, if I move into a big, expensive apartment with a boyfriend and the relationship ultimately ends, I won’t be able to afford anywhere on my own anymore. I need to maintain the tenuous toehold in independence that I currently have. Plus I worry that if a man offers to take care of me, I’ll forget entirely how to take care of myself and just revert to the doormat I was when I was married, thus giving him all the power. The thought terrifies me. So I don’t feel like I could move in with a partner or even let him pay for my necessities. But I want to. Oh, how I want to. And Dandette already has that. From The Dandy, no less. Their apartment is huge – my entire place could fit into their living room, possibly more than once – and The Dandy was letting Dandette pay far less than half of the rent, presumably because he makes so much more money. And then her mental health went sideways and she couldn’t work anymore, so now he just pays all the rent. Dandette gets to fall apart if she needs to. I don’t. Ever. And yeah, I’m jealous.

Some of my feelings here are not jealousy but irritation. The Dandy has indicated that he really wishes she’d move out. He told me, once, that when they were together she would ask him to dominate/top her but then scream at him afterwards that he did it wrong – this makes me so incredibly angry on his behalf that I kind of want to kill her. She’s a burgeoning alcoholic. She doesn’t work. But The Dandy would feel like a monster if he kicked her out, given that she’s broke and having severe emotional issues and has nobody she could even stay with. I told him that they are broken up and she’s not his responsibility, and he said he knows this, but still. And yeah. It’s hard. If I were him I probably couldn’t kick her out, either.

And on the other hand the two of them have this ease together. The way The Dandy talks about her, you’d think he kind of hated her and that the two of them would just keep to separate corners of the apartment and be all awkward and stilted. They don’t, though. The Dandy has called me on the phone to chat and she’ll be right there inserting the odd comment into our convo in the background. Until recently they would hang out around the house naked. She brings him coffee every morning. They have domestic little chats about whether the dog’s been fed yet or who’s gonna do this or that chore. When I was over last night Dandette was talking about some mutual friend of theirs who’s been irritating her: “I’m gonna go to Tom’s party on the 25th and you’re coming with me so I don’t kill him.” Just casually assuming she could boss him around like that. And he said okay. So like…what the fuck is their deal?

At the root of it all, I feel that The Dandy never got enough space from Dandette to fully get over her. I mean I don’t see how someone can get over someone if you’re still living with them and never even drew boundaries like putting clothes on around them. It’s like they stopped fucking but literally everything else stayed the same. For me, anyway, getting over someone requires a very distinct separation to kind of hammer home that it’s over so I can process everything. It requires distance from the other person while I get my shit together. Minx and I may cuddle and sometimes sleep in the same bed, but that only happened after she moved out and we didn’t really talk for a few months. We built that friendship from scratch; it’s not a continuation of the relationship. With The Dandy and Dandette I’m not so sure.

And I don’t know how The Dandy not being over his ex might fuck things up with us, but I think there’s a chance it will. And I don’t like it.

 

*I don’t use the word “primary” because I associate it with people who do hierarchical poly. I don’t have different sets of rules for different partners.

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Mental health

By the way, my tribunal for disability was in December and I still haven’t gotten anything from them, even though at the time the lady said I was approved. When I called them a couple of months ago they said it can take up to 60 days so I kept on waiting. Now it’s been around 100 days so I recently called back. The woman on the phone was surprisingly good at the whole customer service thing, in that she apologized for me being inconvenienced (a government worker! Apologizing!!!!) and said there was still no decision on record so she would email the lady from the tribunal and prompt her to send in her report.

I’ve been burned by customer service people before so I maintain a healthy skepticism about whether she’ll actually send that email. But the apology was nice. It’s been rough having a stable income dangled…just……..out…………..of…………………………reach for the past four months.

I’m pretty scared that the tribunal lady will have forgotten whatever sympathy she felt for me when she saw me ugly-cry in person and her decision will have changed to a “no” though.

In related news, I finally got in to see a psychiatrist over the possibility that I have ADD. He feels that I do, and has prescribed me meds to try. Although they’re expensive and I probably can’t afford them unless disability kicks in.

I want to be diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, too. The shrink actually saw some signs of it himself as we discussed my life story during our appointment.

I feel like a trendy moron, asking about ADD and autism right now. Seems like those two things are in the news all the time and everyone and their grandmother is all “I bet I have those!” But I do think I have them, thanks to all these trending articles talking about how they manifest differently in women. I don’t match up to how dudes with those issues act. But I do match up to how women apparently act.

And I know there’s no cure for either thing, and I’ve developed coping skills anyway, so arguably there’s no real point in me being diagnosed.

Here’s the thing, though: my parents would always gaslight me over my experiences, like dismissing things I had problems with as no big deal, just me being oversensitive, blah blah blah. Or they’d act like I was just an idiot weirdo for doing things differently than other people might.

But if my various hunches are correct, I grew up not just with an abusive parent, but also with celiac disease and severe anxiety and depression and OCD and ADD and autism (also synesthesia but that didn’t really affect my life so…). And by high school I’d developed enough coping skills to have friends and boyfriends and get As in all my classes.

I’m still weird; I still don’t blend with other people very well. And that makes me feel like a failure. But if in fact I do have all the various afflictions/syndromes/whatever that I suspect I do, then I’m not a failure for coming off kind of odd to people sometimes; I’m a motherfucking champion for making it as far as I have with basically no help or understanding or support.

So it’s a reframing I’m after, I guess.

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Dandy stuff

Spent last night at The Dandy’s place. Dandette didn’t get in the way much, so that was good. It’s frustrating because at my place it feels like I have no privacy because the walls are paper thin and my downstairs neighbours are vindictive assholes who probably write down every single sound they hear from me in a revenge book or something. The Dandy’s place is gloriously quiet from a neighbour perspective – it’s in a high rise, so the walls between the apartments are concrete. But his goddamned ex-girlfriend is his roommate and she has boundary issues so her attempts at showing she’s okay with our relationship sometimes take the form of, like…spying on us and issuing verbal high-fives? Thus, The Dandy and I have no place where we can fuck and I’ll feel 100% comfortable.

But as I said, this time around she chose not to comment on anything she could hear us doing. So yay.

The Dandy is very sweet. As yesterday was the first of the month, I redoubled my efforts at finding a new apartment (by the end of the month I figure everything good has been snapped up). I perhaps naively thought that if I sat down and focused real hard on my online search and then called up a shitload of places in a row, I could get viewings for later that day or maybe the next day. But I kept getting answering machines or the ad I saw was old and the place was taken or blah blah blah. I do have two viewings booked for Tuesday night and The Dandy says he can probably come with me, so that’s exciting! He’s really good at figuring out how best to arrange a place and/or make the best of a weird layout so I need him in my corner.

Anyway. Focusing that hard, plus dealing with people, exhausts me, and also I just hate all the other stress of wondering where I’m gonna live and how I’ll afford it and all that. When I got to The Dandy’s I was okay but after half an hour or so my adrenaline buzz began to wear off, I guess. He was just finishing loading the dishwasher when I said “I am in dire need of spooning” and told him I seemed to be having some kind of emotional crash from the apartment hunt. He stopped the housework immediately and took me to his bed and snuggled me and massaged the knot I always get next to my shoulderblade and I had a little cry and then felt better.

One thing about The Dandy – I think I’ve mentioned it before – is that he’s the kind of person who mostly just listens to me when I rant. I prefer more feedback. So, like…when I was intermittently crying I said something like “I feel like any woman who’s not always calm and collected is labeled a ‘psycho bitch’ and I worry that I seem unstable when I act like I am now. But really this is just a stress-cry and once I let this all out I’ll be back to normal.” The Dandy just kept on holding me and rubbing my back, and that’s not terrible, but what I wanted was for him also to say “You’re not a psycho bitch” and/or “guys who throw that label around are assholes” and/or “I don’t think you’re unstable.”

I mean the thing is my ex-husband used his resounding silence as a means of controlling me. I didn’t realize it at the time. But if I talked about wanting to do a thing he didn’t especially like me doing, he’d go all cold and tight-lipped and silent. He wouldn’t actually say he didn’t want me to do the thing. In fact if I anxiously said “…Is that okay?” he’d say yes – in a clipped, icy tone that still totally seemed like he was pissed at me, so I opted not to do the thing.

Now, granted, as I told The Dandy I was afraid of being labeled “psycho” etc., he kept on hugging and petting me. His body didn’t go all cold and still and distant as my ex’s probably would have (I don’t recall a time that he pulled this “silent treatment” bullshit while we were cuddling so I don’t know). So it’s probably fine. But I’d still have preferred that he’d gone the “Oh don’t be silly you’re just a human being having human feelings” type of route.

I talked to my friend Dom about this and he said that to him, reassurances like that sound condescending. His girlfriend likes that stuff and has said so, so he does it. But it doesn’t come naturally to him. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that reassurance of that kind is condescending. But maybe that’s what it is with The Dandy – what seems obvious and natural to say to me doesn’t feel natural to him.

The Dandy is also silent when I talk about any of my various forays into sex work (and when I mention other partners), and when I’ve asked “are you okay with all this?” he just kinda shrugs and smiles. He doesn’t seem coldly pissed off like my ex did but it still unnerves me a bit. Although maybe he really is fine with it but just has no advice to give. When I was ranting about guys on that pay site not texting me back, he did discuss it with me and offer some theories. So yes. This is very different from my ex husband.

I’ll say this, though: it was much, much more obvious to me that The Pedant really was fine with my sex work and with me being poly and all of that. He would actively engage me in discussion about that stuff, and had lots of advice and whatnot. He once painted my toenails for me because I was supposed to see a foot fetish guy later, for Pete’s sake (and The Pedant is not into feet and hates the smell of nail polish – he got nothing out of the interaction except me being grateful for the help). He absolutely made me feel as though he supported me in all areas of my life.

I miss brainstorming sex work strategies with The Pedant.

Anyway.

The Dandy makes a lot of money. I’m not sure how much exactly, but like…a lot. Definitely six figures, I should think. And he has all these arcane hobbies and is able to throw shitloads of cash at them. I’m jealous of his money (so. Very. Jealous.) but I love hearing about his hobbies. I love hearing about all the weird factoids he knows, in general.

One of his hobbies is collecting fountain pens. He has almost fifty of them in a special case; he showed me yesterday (it came up because I pointed out what I thought was a collection of colognes on a shelf in his bedroom. Not colognes: ink. The size of the boxes and the graphics on the boxes did look kinda perfumey, though). I must have been really well calmed-down from my anxiety crash earlier because I was more focused than usual and found myself really interested in these pens. The best part is The Dandy doesn’t halfass anything: I knew he didn’t just have a pen collection because they were pretty. He would know everything about them. So I could ask him any questions that came into my mind at all and he would field them. “What’s this pen made out of? What’s the ink made out of? Was ink made of different stuff back in the day? What’s the most expensive kind of ink, and why?” and on and on.

The pens were mostly made of celluloid, btw. And there are different kinds of celluloid, and one kind off-gases camphor so you can tell if a pen is legit the kind it’s claimed to be by sniffing the inside of the cap.

I worry sometimes that I won’t be enough of an intellectual challenge for The Dandy because, while I know obscure bits and pieces about a lot of different subjects, he seems to know all my trivia already plus a billion terrabytes more. On the other hand, maybe he’s not looking for an intellectual challenge from me. Maybe it’s enough that I’m the kind of person who will eagerly engage with him for almost an hour over a pen collection.

The Dandy said something to me, a while back, along the lines that saying “I love you” jinxes a relationship. I’ve been feeling really close to him lately and somewhat tempted to drop the L-bomb but obviously not if he’s going to recoil in horror because he thinks I’ve doomed us. So as we were lying in bed last night (after a whole bunch of sex) I asked “Do you really think saying ‘I love you’ jinxes things?” He said no, not really (I’m not sure if I believe him; he had not sounded like he was kidding at the time) and asked me if I think it’s a jinx. I said that oddly, that’s not one of my paranoia things; I haven’t had any kind of pattern where relationships fell to shit after we exchanged I-love-yous. I have however had a few relationships fall to shit not long after I began tentatively trusting that things would go long-term, so that’s my big jinxy thing: allowing myself to believe that a partner will be a permanent fixture in my life rather than just “living in the now” or whatever. The Dandy squeezed my arm in sympathy when I said that.

“So…is there a reason you’re asking this right now?” The Dandy said. Under other circumstances I might have used that as a segue to actually tell him I loved him. But his tone was so knowing and nudge-nudge, wink-wink-y that it annoyed me.

In the past few years I’ve had two relationships (The Bunny and The Pedant) where I said “I love you” and they didn’t say it back and we went on to date for a year or more after the incident. A year or more of me having put those words out there (several times, in The Pedant’s case) and being met with a pat or a smile or an awkward deflection in return. And at the time I was willing to rationalize this: he treats me pretty well, I feel loved, maybe he feels the same thing I feel for him but he just doesn’t label it the same, we don’t have to break up over this, blah blah blah. But now I feel like I was kind of debasing myself by sticking around and I don’t want to do that again, which means I’m not gonna tell anyone I love them until I’m as sure as can be that I’ll get it back, and if I don’t get it back…I may have to bail.

And now here’s The Dandy asking me why I’m bringing up the subject of exchanging I-love-yous, all smarmy and knowing n shit, and just…ugh. If he’s that sure that I love him, why doesn’t he just say it first? And if he’s not at the point of wanting to say it, why the fuck is he prompting me to say it?

I told him I brought the subject up as a philosophical discussion, and then I cuddled up to him and went to sleep.

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This and that

The other day when The Dandy and I were fucking he bent to whisper something in my ear. He’s not a talker during sex and the fact that he whispered makes me think he was telling me something that made him feel really vulnerable. Unfortunately I couldn’t freaking hear him. All I caught was “mumble…feels better mumble mumble……..feels so much better.” And it was such an intimate moment that I couldn’t stand to be like “WHUT?” soooo I completely just made a sexy moaning sound and kissed him like I’d totally heard him and whatever he said had turned me on. I hope he hadn’t been asking me to change positions or something.

In other news, it’s coming up on my slow season for modelling and so I’m hustling for work. My anxiety has been rearing its ugly head lately so I haven’t been accomplishing things I really should accomplish, but tonight I sat down and emailed like ten different people all “Heyyy I haven’t posed for you in ages, wanna book me sometime soon?” and I got two gigs out of that already with hopefully more to come as people check their mail. I feel fucking awesome.

And in still other news, the pay-texting site I joined is not looking like my ticket out of poverty. 😛 Guys are saying hello to me and then just completely bailing on the convo. New members of the site get a few bucks of “money” to spend and I suspect these dudes are just wildly saying “hi” to women until their freebies run out, and then they don’t wanna pay for anything with real money. I could of course be wrong.

But like…why just say “hi” to a bunch of people and then nothing else? Are these guys waiting for something? Hoping for something? If I responded to a “hi” with a photo of my tits, would the guy be like “Yes, this is the person I want to be talking to” and use up the rest of his freebies on me instead of “hi”-ing around some more?

…I mean I’m not gonna send pics of my tits. But I’m wondering if instant sexiness is what these guys are searching for with all the “hi”s. Or actually I suppose even tits wouldn’t make them spend more money. They’d just jerk off and go to sleep and then “hi” a bunch more people hoping for more tits.

Meh.

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GODFUCKINGDAMMIT

A friend told me about a site where you can get paid to text with people. This is relevant to my interests. I’ve set up a profile.

Now, the profile has this animated .gif thing by way of showing the world what I look like. I managed – with difficulty – to get that completed. But I want to add more photos of myself and for some fucking reason they’ll only let you do that through a Facebook or Instagram account. I do not want my Facebook account linked to this site in any way, for obvious reasons. So I made an Instagram account.

So…do the people at Instagram just assume that everyone on the fucking planet has an iPhone and will only be accessing their shitty website from it, or…? Because I’m on the site on my laptop and it told me I need to download the app before I can share any pics. So I downloaded it, thinking “…but isn’t an “app” a thing for mobile phones? But okay, sure, it says to download this thing so I will.” And sure enough this is a mobile phone thing and won’t open on my laptop. And upon closer inspection of the description in the app store, it seems like the app only works with the iPhone’s OS. And I kind of have an iPhone, but it’s very old (so, OS version is probably way out of date) and a hand-me-down from Minx (thus still requiring her password to download shit, and I don’t know what that is) so I’m probably pretty much fucked.

I’m so fucking pissed off right now. Why doesn’t their site recognize that I’m ACCESSING IT FROM MY GODDAMNED LAPTOP and do away with the whole “app” thing? Every other website can tell whether or not I’m on my phone…

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Asserting myself

With previous partners I’ve been hesitant sometimes to ask for things I needed because I hated making myself vulnerable like that and/or I was afraid the other person wouldn’t do what I asked for and then I’d have to re-evaluate the whole relationship. With The Dandy I pledged to myself that I wouldn’t do that. It’s still hard sometimes, though. So many people have disappointed me in the past.

The Dandy came over recently, after I’d barely heard from him for a week. I am a person who needs pretty frequent contact with a partner when he’s not around – it just gives me a sense of continuity. Silence between visits makes me feel like the relationship ceases to exist when dude isn’t around. I want something every day or two, even if it’s just a texted “<3” so I know he’s thinking of me.

TBH The Dandy’s silence and uncharacteristically long hiatus between visits made me wonder if maybe something was up with him – but when I saw him, he seemed normal and in fact told me (unprovoked) that it had been way too long since he’d seen me. I asked what was up with that and he cited the funeral he recently attended, plus getting sick a few days before. I took that opportunity to tell him that I prefer more contact than I’d been getting, if possible. I guess I mentioned texting a few times because he said that texting is sort of new to him. For the longest time, the only phone he had with texting capability was provided by his work, and he didn’t want any personal messages on that. Now he has a phone that can text but it’s just not a habit he ever got into. He says he prefers phone calls. I told him that although I’m not usually a “phone person” and might not initiate calls, I would happily accept calls from him.

But yeah…good talk. I have some insight into him, now. And I think he’s upped his texting frequency since then.

Speaking of The Dandy noticing what I like and doing it, a while back when he was over I mentioned that I’m a sucker for having my head petted while I fall asleep. That night he spooned up behind me and we began to drift off and I guess he must have suddenly remembered what I said because he abruptly began stroking my hair/head and didn’t stop until I was almost all the way asleep.

He has a good track record of demonstrating that he wants to do the things I like, which is how I had the nerve to tell him to text me more.

On a whole other note, my solar plexus feels bruised and I’m 99% sure it’s from the handle-end of the Hitachi pounding into my chest as I did a cowgirl-style vibrator sandwich with The Dandy on Saturday. Ow.

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So very done.

The Pedant called me last week just to see how I was doing. He also offered to come over sometime that week so I could vent to him some more, since he knew I’ve been going through a lot what with looking for a new apartment etc. My heart skipped a beat at the thought that he cared about me and wanted to provide emotional support. If you’ll remember, my big thing with him was that he seemed pretty selfish in our relationship a lot of the time and didn’t want to go out of his way for me. I was hoping that our breakup might have made him realize he’d taken me for granted and maybe he was trying to make up for that.

But then when we compared schedules it turned out he was specifically hoping to come see me on Thursday night because he happened to be working walking distance from my house that day (he’s a security guard and they send him to various stores around the city). And I mean, he was still offering to come let me be angsty at him when he didn’t have to, so that’s something, but with the history we have it did bug me that it seemed to be only because he’d be nearby.

When I said I was working on Thursday night but free on Wednesday, he said he could come after his shift on Wednesday and crash here if I wanted and then leave (for his shift that was walking distance from my place) the morning after. I said yes, kind of on autopilot, because for a long, long time I was yearning after any little crumb of attention he felt like tossing my way and I guess I’m not out of the habit of eagerly snatching them up yet. But as soon as I said okay to him visiting, I kind of regretted it. I wondered whether that had somehow been his plan from the start – use my place as a motel and pay for his lodging by listening to my problems. And also I felt worried that he would let me down by cancelling or being late, because that’s a pattern with him. When he signed off on our phone call he said – in his warm, soothing baritone voice – that he would check in with me the next day and then the day after that, just to keep me updated on our plan. He talks a good game but he’s usually full of shit so I didn’t get my hopes up.

Sure enough, I did not hear from him the next day; the day after that (Wednesday, the day he was meant to come over after work) he texted me to say that he couldn’t make it after all. His job wanted him to bring in some piece of paperwork the next day and he had it at home. I think what irritates me the most is that he began his text with “I have some bad news:…” like a) he assumed his cancellation would be some big tragedy for me and wanted to ease me into the news gently and b) he assumed his cancellation would be surprising instead of just the latest in a long, long line of Pedant fuckups.

I was like “Okay thanks for the update” and went on with my life.

Since then, a Bad Thing has happened to me that is infinitely more stressful than the apartment hunt ever was. I texted The Pedant my terrible news and he texted back an appropriate shock/dismay reaction but has not repeated his offer to come over and talk me down from all my stressors. I presume this means he’s not scheduled to work near me anytime soon.

Fucker.

If he ever calls me again I won’t answer.

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