Friendship, Relationships

The Yankee And His Ilk

I spent an evening with the Yankee this week. What a wonderful time I had. He is one of the most loving, considerate, wonderful people I will ever know. I would be wise to love him for the rest of my days and never let him go. But alas…

When I made the decision to stop seeing him I wasn’t exactly sure why I was doing it. I knew in my bones that it was right but couldn’t name the feeling.

This month I fell in love with someone, probably for my first time ever (it was great and horrible, thanks for asking) and spending the evening with the Yankee in the midst of that was… made it crystal clear.

He rubbed my shoulder and it felt like an eraser on my skin. He touched my hair and I felt like a dog being poked. He whispered in my ear and I smelled his breath.

My body wasn’t tuned to love him. It’s like he was a song in A and my body was tuned to B flat. The intention was there but everything was coming out wrong.

I loved him for it of course but it would always be a little mistranslated.

So, I propose a toast.

Here’s to the lovers who are perfect on paper but who your body rejects, on it’s own accord. To listening to your body when it knows that. To doing right by and respecting it. To looking for something better when you’re sure nothing better exists.

Trust that it does.

There’s someone who plays in your key.

Dating, Friendship

Someone Like You

The other day the Yankee and I went to the movies.

I was reminded of what I like about him in the first place.

From the first time I met him I felt like he knew me.

Perhaps because we have similar beliefs. Perhaps because he instinctively sees through me. Perhaps because he’s a good listener.

The thing I miss most about him, the thing that makes me call him when bad things happen is that feeling of being known.

But that isn’t missing a person. It’s missing a feeling you can get from a certain kind of person.

I’m an addict. I want more of that feeling. And him. But for different reasons.


Maybe It’s Just Time

All of a sudden I want to be in love. It scares me.

What do you do with that kind of energy? Longing?

It doesn’t particularly help. I try to push it from my mind.

Hilariously enough The Yankee noticed it first. He told it to a mutual friend of ours. Pulled me out of my little closet. He’s so good at being a person who knows and loves me. I guess it comes easily to some people.

Intimacy is not who you let touch you. Intimacy is who you text at 3am about your dreams and fears. Intimacy is giving someone your attention, when ten other people are asking for it. Intimacy is the person always in the back of your mind, no matter how distracted you are.
– (via yoursly)

Intimacy, Relationships, Sex

Why I Won’t Stop Loving The Yankee

This is sort of embarrassing. So there’s this sex thing that I’ve always been turned on by but also always been embarrassed of. And I’ve always found that the things people want you to do to them become obvious in the end as they try to get you to do it without having to say it. Like how a cat pets your palm with the back of her head.

One night I was being such cat and the Yankee kind of called me out on it. Or rather dared me to do it. And immediately I felt shame. The shame you feel the first time naming a turn on. Immediately followed by the shame of having been so obvious about it that he could guess it. But then the turning on kicked in and I was a goner.

And afterwards when we were drinking water and making the bed he said “hey, did you notice how wet you got when I said that word?” And I was incredibly mortified until he said how much he liked making me so happy and we giggled about it and went to sleep.

And that is why I can’t stop loving the Yankee even though I don’t want to be with him anymore.

When I first started seeing the Yankee I hesitated to use the word relationship but it was probably pretty soon after that night when I started admitting that it was indeed some variation on a normal relationship. He heard me, my words and my body, because he was listening. He noticed the small things that made me who I am and he respected and cared about and even tried to cater to them. I couldn’t ask for more care and consideration.

And so now I understand how someone can feel so bad, so wrong, so selfish, so unjustified in wanting to leave a partner. Even when they know it’s the right thing to do anyway.

Dating, Intimacy, Relationships

Some people underestimate how erotic it is to be understood. – Mary Rakow

At work yesterday I was talking to one of the girls in the cast when she said “I don’t plan to ever break up with the guy I’m with now but if I did…” and I thought, ‘well, enjoy that.’ Because as much as I adore The Yankee (and each day I truly adore him more and more) I don’t see myself raising my beautiful Jewish babies with him. I have a lot more dating left in me.

Later at the bar I told some of my friends this story and one of them agreed (by virtue of a subtle beer clink) with me in reference to his girlfriend. And I had a realization. One of the reasons why the Yankee is my Yankee instead of my boyfriend is that “Boyfriend” is a term reserved for people who are on their way to spouse (like that actress’s boyfriend is) and the Yankee isn’t that. My friend’s girlfriend wasn’t on track to be his wife, but by letting her use the term he (admitted with his words that he) was letting her believe she was.

Every once in a while I catch some slack for dating a guy for 4 months and managing to still “keep it casual.” But I like to think that in some ways my relationship is enhanced because of it. I’m not lying to him. I’m being more honest with him than a lot of my friends are being with their titled significant others.

I like not lying, it makes me feel really good. And fortunately The Yankee likes it too.

I demand unconditional love and complete freedom. That is why I am terrible.

– Tomaz Salamun


Fly With Me My Meadowlark!

The other night I went to a party and ran into a friend, a coworker, an acquaintance I used to know and still work with occasionally.

We did that thing where you walk into the party, lock eyes and immediately know that you’re gonna make out at some point. That heat is just there. So we hung out, we talked alone and in groups. We had cocktails. We did all the old-acquaintance-at-a-party things and then we left the party to get drinks somewhere else with another friend.

Add some wine, subtle touches and a mutual friend whispering in my ear about how good he looks in tight pants and after a fantastically romcom moment we were making out on the side of the street. A good kisser, very good. On the whole a fun night, completely harmless, I wouldn’t mind if he calls but I won’t die if he doesn’t. (And they say hookup culture is ruining our society!)

Then I got on the long train ride home and didn’t feel quite guilty, more confused. What did the Yankee and I agree to back when we were talking about open relationships? The conversation was long and good but what had we decided? Will he be upset?

So tonight I was over at the Yankees and I did what I do best when I have to admit something. I blurted. I paused the movie and said “I made out with my friend last night. And it made me realize that I don’t know what our boundaries are.”

He said “That’s because we don’t have boundaries. Heh. Listen, I want you to do whatever makes you happy and if that includes other casual stuff then I don’t need to know about all of it unless its a really good story or something you want me to know. Just let me know if anything turns serious. Okay?”

I nodded and we resumed the movie. And I’ve never liked him more.

Having the freedom to choose makes me want to show how much I care. Makes me like him more. Even if that includes other people. Fancy that.

I have a friend who told her boyfriend that she likes to kiss people at parties sometimes and that if he’s not down with that then he should get out now because she’s not planning on changing.

I’ve never understood her more.

To me, the thing we describe as cheating is lack of respect for boundaries that have been discussed and agreed on, or disregard for a partner’s needs that have been perceived or expressed. I had to learn (by hurting people and getting hurt) that communicating about feelings and setting boundaries for a relationship is important, and that boundaries may change over the course of a relationship.

Stoya on the Pitfalls of Heteronormativity and Monogamy | VICE United States [x]


I Like My Choices. I Hope She Likes Hers.

whitneymallory:John Green though…

I hung out with a friend yesterday who I haven’t seen in a while and who was eager to tell me that she’s been catching up on my blog. She wanted to hear all about the Yankee. And she said specifically that from the blog it sounds like he likes me more than I like him.

I look at the Yankee and I’m fairly certain I’m going to break his heart one day, and it kills me.

But I have to trust that he has as much agency in deciding to spend time with me as I do in spending time with him.
So the little part of his heart that he’s etched out for me, I’m going to enjoy living there for as long as I can and put this anxiety to rest. Because I like him. And whatever comes after that, well, worrying about it won’t change anything anyway so I might as well go outside and play.
Bodies, Feelings, Intimacy, Sex

Treat Yo Self

Last night I slept over with The Yankee after a very long week of working a lot and seeing him not at all.

I just sort of called to tell him I was on my way over.

And when I got there and he tried to hug and kiss me I suddenly started feeling so horribly claustrophobic and very not in-the-mood-y, which of course led to guilty and self-loathe-y, followed by indignant and righteously indignant because, hey, I’m a badass feminist blogger, I should be able to go see the guy I’m seeing and then not have sex with him and then not feel bad about it. But I can’t. Not that I said any of this out loud. I just started watching Buffy.

So I announced we should go to bed and when we got there I grabbed his wandering hands and wrapped his arms around me and apologized for inviting myself over and then not even sexing him.

He laughed, “I get to hold you in my arms. What are you apologizing for? This is amazing.”

My point isn’t any of that stuff. In fact all that stuff is completely beside the point. Forget it all.

My point is that in the morning I felt differently. I had needed 8 hours of cuddling just for my body to remember that touch can be pleasant and antagony free. After a long week at a very frustrating job where I felt all the bad feelings and every word out of anyone’s mouth felt like an attack, every touch a remonstration, my body forgot that every human interaction isn’t bad or demanding or cause for worry.

We like to think we’re smarter than out bodies, but we’re really not. You deserve a thing. Treat yo self to it.

Bodies, Gender, Street Harassment

Ghost-me and Body-me

Last night the Yankee and I were cuddling and he said my body was so perfect he feels so honored to get to touch it, nuzzling my neck. I froze.

I could hear in his voice he meant it only as a compliment to the girl he likes. But somewhere on it’s journey from my ears to my brain it morphed into ‘your body is amazing, why don’t you share it?’ I heard it in the context of him showing it off to a friend like a sandwich he just bought “This is amazing. You should get one too. Here, have a bite of mine first. Right? I said it was good!”

And I just laid there, right next to him but miles away.

Sometimes I think of body-me and me-me as being completely different people with different likes and dislikes. Sometimes I imagine dropping body-me off at a spin class and ghost-me sitting in the juice bar for an hour reading John Green. I imagine dropping my body off at orgies to be enjoyed like a vegi tray, just a token of my appreciation for my invitation (which, she considers, is sort of a compliment in itself) but I don’t need to stick around. The rest of me can use the time to catch up on Shameless. I let my body walk home from the party while ghost-me takes the train, it’s slower but safer, and I care less what happens to body-me anyway.

Sometimes it feels like they’re unlikely friends from an after school special. They can be BFFL’s inside but then once there is a pair of eyes nearby they drop hands and pretend not to know each other. Ghost-me walks behind body-me, inconspicuous, no one notices her trailing behind, looking down, hips decidedly not swaying. Noticing in awe the attention her friend gets, wondering how she does it.

There is so much to be said about the effect of prolonged objectification of women on women.

The American Psychological Association has found in recent years, that self-objectification has become a national epidemic. The more women and girls self-objectify, the more likely they are to be depressed, to have eating disorders, they have lower self-confidence, they have lower ambition, they have lower cognitive functioning, the have lower GPAs. How does this connect to women in leadership? Women who are high self-objectifiers have lower political efficacy. Political efficacy is the idea that your voice matters in politics and that you can bring about change in politics. So if we have a whole generation of young people being raised where women’s objectification is just par for the course, it’s normal, it’s okay; we have a whole generation of women who are less likely to run for office and are less likely to vote.
-Caroline Heldman, PHD, Associate Professor of Political Science – Occidental College

We learn that sex is about being desired, staying desired.

So how does this translate into real life? Women spend a lot of time and energy trying to please men. We learn early on that we are being looked at – that we are to be looked at. That we are performers. It took years before I actually started enjoying sex. YEARS. I think what I enjoyed most about sex, when I was younger, was the feeling of being desired. The actual sex part was super boring for the first while.

We learn, as girls and women, that the performance is more important than the actual feeling.

Facials, feminism, & performance: On f**king men in a patriarchy

None of this is new information for me. I’ve been noticing this tape running in my head for years. Now I just have the opportunity to deal with it.

The worst part is that I know this man doesn’t feel this way about me.  I know that if I announced over dinner tomorrow that I didn’t want to have sex with him anymore he would ask me about the decision, tell me he was really bummed and then when we had talked it out and understood each other he would ask me about my day again or the latest episode of Girls. He would ask me about my latest blog post or if I’d read any good articles lately.

The problem isn’t him. The problem is the fact that I’m a patriarchal woman, a woman raised in the patriarchy and I have a loop running in my head telling me that even though this is different from the street harassers it really isn’t.

His touch of my face or my hair or my leg might as well be a whistle on the street. And I’m afraid that no matter how kind the soul adoring me is I’ll always hear that. And, like in the ending of Lady Han when her lover comes back to marry Hanjo after she’s gone crazy, they can be together forever but his love can never undo her insanity.

Dating, Sex, Sexism

Condom Police And The Introduction Of The Yankee

Much like The Comedian, or Marlboro Man, or The Yeti, I’m starting to think that the dude I’m seeing right now needs a title, and The Boyfriend isn’t it.  Let’s go with The Yankee.  I like that.  Let’s hope this situation sticks around long enough to warrant the knighthood.  So, now that that’s out of the way.

I was reading This post of Emily’s the other day and had a lot of feelings about it.


My first thought was Yeah, why is it that women always have to be the condom police, insisting on our own safety?  Why is it that men put their own pleasure above their partners safety?  That’s so… un-partner-ly.

Plus, as Dan Savage says, if a guy tells you he doesn’t want to wear a condom because he can’t feel anything through it, tell him that we know there isn’t a big difference between condom on and condom off because condoms break and men (wait for it) don’t notice.

And then I realized that even though this is the cultural narrative, and this is the script I always hear, I’ve actually never personally had this experience.  In my life the sentence “Condom?” or “You should grab a condom.” has always meant, “Yeah, I think I do want to have sex with you.”  And then a condom was retrieved; end of story.  No one has ever fought with me about wearing one, no one has ever tried any funny business without one.  In fact the closest to ‘funny business’ I’ve ever gotten was when a guy grabbed one and I laughed in his face “What’s that for? I’m not having sex with you. Drop it cause we won’t be going anywhere near needing that.” Yeah, I said that to a naked man’s face. I’m very motivational. You may take notes.

In fact The Yankee is SuperCondom Man.  He has on occasion said “We’re not going to have sex, but I’m going to [put our organs near each other] so I’m going to put on a condom now, ok?  But we’re not going to have sex so put that out of your mind, ok?” He’s so darn nice to me. I can’t be the only person in the world turned on by that sentence can I?

I don’t know what it says about me that I’ve never been on the receiving end of such funny business. I wish I did so I could turn it into some advice.

What I do know, however, is that our society teaches

that sex is a contest, and that men win and women lose when sex or nudity happens. It’s an archaic, prudish, creepy concept that derives from twisted notions about female purity and women-as-property. [x]

If you don’t believe me just go watch Seth McAsshat’s opening number from the Oscars.  And then read Seth D. Michaels wonderful article about it.

And when we teach that sex is a commodity for men to buy/win from women through trickery/bribery then it fits into the same model that men win bigger from women losing bigger.  Sex without a condom being a higher score, or in the butt, or whatever else they consider more degrading.

People are fond of saying ‘men are jerks.’ but I hate that notion. I know too many good guys to believe that they’re just naturally predisposed to nastiness and I’ve magically stumbled on a treasure trove of good ones. Men aren’t the problem. The patriarchy, the kool aid, the polluted airwaves telling Seth McFarlane that ‘I win because I tricked you into letting me see your boobs’ is funnier than anything Amy Poehler has ever said, is the problem.

So if the guy you’re seeing is a jerk about using condoms teach him a lesson about what you expect and deserve. By dumping his ass.

So I guess the only advice I can give on how not to be the condom police is to say No early and often and when you mean it.

I tell my niece, “if a guy offers to buy you a drink and you say no, and he pesters you until you say okay, what he wants for his money is to find out if you can be talked out of no.”  The rapist doesn’t listen to refusals, he probes for signs of resistance in the meta-message, the difference between a target who doesn’t want to but can be pushed, and a target who doesn’t want to and will stand by that even if she has to be blunt.

It follows that the purpose of setting clear boundaries is not to be understood — that’s not a problem — but to be understood to be too hard a target. [x]

Say what you mean and mean what you say.  If a guy presses you in a common interaction he’s going to try to press you later.  Make your boundaries clear and firm and you’ll naturally weed out the people who aren’t going to respect them.

And you’ll be changing the paradigm a little at a time.  That should make you feel good.