You’re allowed to be shy

One of many things that irritates the shit out of me is the idea that shyness is a terrible awful hideous unspeakable apalling horrifying character flaw that will ruin a shy child’s life unless they are pried out of their shells and forced to interact with hostile strangers constantly.

Shyness is not the end of the world! I’m shy and I’m fucking fine. I have a good job, a husband, friends, a social life. Now, to be fair I’ve been getting less shy over the years to the point where I will sometimes to go to events where I don’t know anyone, but even when I had just left college and was still much more shy I had friends and a good job. Even the combination of shyness and being a new grad didn’t make it impossible for me to find work.

As a bit of an aside I think a big part of my becoming less shy was changing my environment. I left the miserable pit I grew up in and suddenly I wasn’t surrounded by dirtbags who were assholes to me all the fucking time. Strangely enough, it’s a lot easier to interact with people when you aren’t either convinced you shouldn’t bother because they’ll just be dicks or are braced for them to start being dicks because that’s what you’re used to. It took a while, but after a few years of people generally being nice to me I started to see that as normal, which made me much less anxious about talking with strangers.

Anyway you know what my life would most likely be like if I was still as shy as I was when I first moved out here? Fine. I would be perfect goddamn fine. Because shyness is not the end of the fucking world. Shy people do not need to be fixed. Social anxiety (and other anxiety disorders), on the other hand, is a different thing. If it’s fucking up your life and making you miserable then it’s probably more serious than just shyness and you deserve an expert’s help. But if you just feel a little nervous about meeting new people, that’s totally normal and you’re fine.

Okay let’s see if I can drag this back to any relevance to kink 🙂

It’s very common for people to recommend going to a munch to meet other perverts, and it’s also very common for people to not want to because they’re shy. That’s okay! You don’t have to love munches and you don’t have to go to them if you don’t fucking want to. Lots of people either dislike them or just can’t be bothered for all sorts of reasons. If interacting with a bunch of strangers you might have one and only thing in common with sounds like hell on earth to you, don’t do it.

Just don’t whine about how lonely you are when there’s a really effective way of meeting people that you could do if you felt like it and we’re cool.

Also shyness is not life-ending. You can in fact suck it up and do things that are uncomfortable (again, if you really for really real can’t, that’s not shyness, that’s probably social anxiety or another anxiety disorder and you should try to get treatment for it). The world won’t end if you feel awkward as shit for a couple hours one evening. It still won’t end if you do that a few times to start getting to know people.

If you do want to go to events and are shy, there are plenty of workarounds to make it less awkward. Ask the organizers to introduce you to people who are especially friendly to shy newbies. We all remember being new and not knowing anyone, there will be lots of people who want to pay that forward by being extra nice to newbies. Ask if there’s anyone willing to meet you for coffee and go to the munch with you so you’ll have someone to sit with and someone to talk to who you kinda sorta know. Like I said, we were all new once, we remember what it was like. Ask if you can volunteer for anything. This generally works better at parties or workshops but if you do the volunteering first and then go to the munch, you’ll probably see some of the other volunteers or other people you met at the event.

Oh and you can goddamn well be shy and dominant at the same time, just like you can be an introvert and dominant at the same time. Being dominant is about how you like your relationships to work, being shy is about how you relate to strangers or people you don’t know well. They’re not fucking connected!

Finally, as supposed “character flaws” go, shyness is incredibly fucking minor. It’s not like you’re a shitty tipper or rude for no reason or mean to animals, you’re just a little anxious about meeting new people. Oh noes, the horrors. Also, people who pressure you to “come out of your shell” can fuck right off. Encouragement can be helpful if you even fucking want to come out of your shell (and you don’t fucking have to choose to be less shy), but pressure is not encouragement and it’s not helpful. You are not harming anyone by being shy and do not owe it to anyone to become the life of the party on demand. People who pressure you to do stuff (outside of a freely negotiated d/s relationship, of course 😉 do not give a shit about helping you be happier, they just like making you do things. Seriously, it’s a huge red flag for abuse when people decide that they know better than you what your life should be like and what parts of your personality that aren’t fucking hurting anyone need to be “fixed.”

Go forth (or stay in) and be shy, fellow shy people!

Why is it so common for dominant women to dislike brats?

To be fair I don’t actually know if it’s common everywhere or just where I hang out online, but every time the subject of brats comes up in that one fetlife group I like, most of the comments from women are about their total lack of interest in brats. That group is very long term relationship oriented, which probably skews the results, but it’s pretty consistent so I think there’s something worth digging into there.

My suspicion is that women get enough shit from men on a daily basis that we just aren’t interested in getting it from men who are supposedly submitting to us. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who only endures a little bit of disrespect on a daily basis, it’s still fucking exhausting to not be able to finish a sentence in a meeting because men keep interrupting you. I think that kind of daily bullshit makes us so sensitive to disrespect that there’s almost no level of playful poking that’s actually fun for us. Unless you’re extraordinarily perceptive, it’s incredibly easy to slip over the line from playful bratting to serious not-fun-anymore disrespect.

I even like a little smart assery in a scene (I think that’s a fun way for my play partner to encourage me to hit them harder), but I’m just not into actually having my authority tested. Either you want to submit to me or you don’t, and if you don’t, what are you even doing here?

Bratting can also be really manipulative. If you do it just right it can be a fun way to invite your partner to play with you, but if you’re even just a little bit off it turns into trying to make your partner feel obligated to play with you and that’s such a dick move. I’ll play when I fucking feel like playing, I’m not here to entertain my supposed partner on his preferred schedule. Which isn’t to say submissive men should never get a say in how often they and their partners play or that they should never try to initiate play, just that it’s easy to fuck it up and irritate the shit out of your partner so you should be careful.

I’m worried I’m making women sound like hypersensitive assholes, which is not at all what I think. What I’m trying to get at is that just existing in the world as a woman can be a huge pain in the ass and a lot of us just want a fucking break from it for five whole minutes. Imagine you had really sensitive ears and what everybody else experienced as normal everyday noises were much too loud for you. Wouldn’t you want some quiet time?

Yeah, actually, women like porn: part 3 of many

Why no, I’m still not done hammering this point home 🙂 Women do in fact like porn, we just don’t like shitty porn.

Today’s example is Laurell K Hamilton, specifically the Merry Gentry and Anita Blake series‘. The Anita Blake series started out as primarily urban fantasy / supernatural police procedural with some sexy parts and started to contain more and more sex in later books. The Merry Gentry series is also urban fantasy but has always contained a lot of sex.

In the interests of honesty I liked the Anita Blake series better before it shifted from police procedural with some sexy bits to sexy bits with a smidge of police procedural now and then, but given that the series is up to 27 books I think it’s safe to say that sex sells 🙂

Here’s an excerpt of the first book in the Merry Gentry series, A Kiss of Shadows:

We ended on the bed. My clothes were gone, though I didn’t remember them going. We were naked and slick with oil on the clean white sheets. The feel of his body sliding over mine brought my breath shuddering from between half-parted lips. He kissed me, tongue probing, and I opened to him, rising from the bed to force his tongue deeper inside my mouth. My hips moved with the kiss, and he took it as invitation, sliding inside me, slowly, until he found me wet and ready, then he slammed the length of him inside me, as fast, as far as it would go. I cried out under him, body rising off the bed, then falling back against the sheets, staring up at him.

Now, I’ve read more graphic sex in fanfic but that’s still pretty explicit. And there are nine books in that series, which is eight more than there would be if the first one hadn’t sold, which tells us what? Oh that’s right, women like porn!

While I’m at it, how about an except from one of the later books in the Anita Blake series, Kiss the Dead:

He took me at my word, and began to move faster, harder, but each stroke ended in that caressing roll of his body, as if he were petting, massaging deep inside me. It was an amazing sensation. I felt him hesitate, and looked back over my shoulder to see his face. He had his eyes closed; one, so he could concentrate on his body, feel his way inside me, but the other reason was so he could last. Most men are visual, and without being able to see himself going in and out of me, he was able to fight off that last moment a little bit longer. I watched the concentration on his face as my body rocked and moved against the bed under the push and power of him. I had a second of warning, and then the orgasm caught me. It dug my fingers into the bed, it screamed its way down my throat, and out my mouth.

Hey look, more porn! It’s like women enjoy writing this stuff or something. As far as I know the earlier Anita Blake books without explicit sex in them sold just fine (otherwise why would her publisher keep publishing them?), so it’s not as if Laurell K Hamilton desperately added sex to her books so she could pay her rent. I’m pretty sure she (gasp) just likes writing sex scenes.

Yeah, actually, women like porn: part 2 of many

I’ve talked about how much I love Spike’s work already, but hey, why not really drive the point home? When I blogged about the Smut Peddler 2014 kickstarter, it was over 500% funded and still had 13 days to go. It ended up raising $185,301 of the original $20,000 goal. Yeah, that’s 9 times the amount of money Spike needed to publish it. Wanna tell me again that women don’t like porn?

Or hey, let’s look at the kickstarter for the Yes, Roya and My Monster Boyfriend double header. It $161,169 of a goal of $40,000. Okay, four times the goal isn’t as much as Smut Peddler 2014 raised, but but that’s still a serious expression of consumer interest. Now, probably plenty of straight guys would enjoy Yes, Roya (as long as they aren’t freaked out by MMF threesomes), but I submit that straight men are perhaps not the primary buyers of an anothology called My Monster Boyfriend.

Then there’s Letters for Lucardo, which not only raised $22,143 of its $8,000 goal, it hit that goal so quickly that Spike added another reward to thank the backers for basically insta-funding it.

And let’s not forget, Smut Peddler is explicitly woman-friendly porn written and drawn primarily by women. How exactly are women “just not interested in porn” when so many of us write and draw it? Don’t believe me? Check out the contributor lists for all of those anthologies. And don’t forget that Yes, Roya was written by Spike, a woman, and illustrated by Emilee Denich, another woman. Letters for Lucardo was written and illustrated by one woman, Noora Heikkilä. Either Spike has some bizarre gift and has found and published every smut-writing/drawing woman on the planet, or maybe, just maybe, there are fucking tons of women who like porn enough to make it.

Or in other words: yeah, actually, women like porn.

Spite week: recap

Another spite week is over! Here’s a roundup of links in case for some reason you had better things to do than read my blog every day 😉

Spite week: Diablo III
Spite week: fall!
Spite week: book rants
Spite week: handling money
Spite week: terrible puns
Spite week: bad YouTube tutorials
Spite week: cooking shows

In case that’s not enough spite, there are also roundups from the first and second times I did it.

Spite week: cooking shows

I have a bit of an obsession with cooking shows, more specifically cooking competitions like MasterChef and The Great British Bake Off. As a food nerd, I love seeing how creative the contestants can be, and it’s really interesting seeing new people and new challenges every season.

Sometimes you just want some relaxing television, and while there can be a bit of drama in cooking competitions, generally the worst thing that happens is a cake not rising (can you tell I’ve been watching Bake Off lately?). I also don’t hate seasons not ending on a terrible cliff-hanger to make sure you come back next year 🙂

Of all the cooking competitions I watch, MasterChef Australia is my favourite. Because they just crank out more episodes than the US or Canadian versions, you get to know the contestants a lot better and you get to see a lot more interesting food. Also, Australians are apparently ridiculously nice. A few seasons ago one of the contestants had a bit of a freakout because they had to butcher a whole eel for a challenge and they had a phobia of them. On US or even Canadian MasterChef, the other contestants would most likely have just shrugged their shoulders and let them go home. On Australian MasterChef, one of the other contestants took time out of their own cook to come over and partially butcher it to the point where they could do the rest. And they do stuff like that all the time!

Australian MasterChef is also more focused on the food than the other versions I’ve seen. Where MasterChef US deliberately stirs up drama by doing things like making contestants pick teams and then twisting the knife by asking whoever got picked last how they feel about it, whoever runs the Australian version realizes there’s plenty of drama in people pushing themselves to do their very best at something really hard and skips the boring shit-stirring.

Even though I’m not much of a baker I still love The Great British Bake Off too. There’s just something charming about a show where the prize is being named the UK’s best amateur baker and having a picnic in a beautiful park with all the other contestants and their families.It’s a bit of a slower-paced show than MasterChef just because baking is a slower-paced activity. There’s not much excitement you can get out of everyone hanging out having a cup of tea while their loaves of bread bake.

If you’d like a nice relaxing watch, I definitely recommend any of those shows.

Spite week: bad YouTube tutorials

Full disclosure, I stole this idea directly from Ferns:

YouTube tutorials make me want to set things on fire, they are unbelievably aggravating. I don’t know what makes people think yammering on about nothing for 99% of the video and having maybe 3 seconds of actual useful instruction is going to get them more subscribers because all it makes me want to do is kick them in the shins. Most of the tutorials I come across are for nerdy things and you know what’s great about stuff you do on a computer? YOU CAN TAKE A FUCKING SCREENSHOT. Seriously, there is no programming task that can’t be explained just as well with screenshots and text, which also has the advantage of allowing readers to skim it quickly to get an overview and search for the one part they actually give a shit about.

To be fair, there are some things video is better for. If you’re learning to cook or do makeup or make a new kind of craft, it’s really helpful to see exactly what motion the person is making and how they’re holding the tool. But even then, you need to get to the goddamn point. If you want to spend ten minutes (aka a YouTube eternity) talking about the theory of the thing, your personal experiences doing the thing, other ways you could do the thing, fine, but do it AFTER you show people how to do the fucking thing. That way nobody will wish they could find you just to poop on your lawn.

Spite week: terrible puns

Why terrible puns? Because I can 😀

And I’m not even sorry 😛

Spite week: handling money

You know what I have opinions about? Money! I have so many opinions about money!

But first a disclaimer: this is advice for people who make enough money to live on. I don’t know anything about being seriously poor and am not going to pretend I have anything worthwhile to say about that. If things are shitty for you right now, ignore the rest of this post and just do what you have to to survive.

People do a lot of stupid shit with money and I wish I could shake them all and tell them to get their shit together. The single biggest thing that irritates me is when people spend money they don’t have. Do you have a car payment? If you do, you are fucking up! Buy the car you can afford – and by afford I mean “can pay for in full” – not the shiny one that you want. Seriously people, do your research, get the reliable used car that’s a few years old and not cool anymore and suck it up.

And credit cards! How do so many people fuck up so badly with credit cards? Here’s the deal: you can spend whatever you want on a credit card as long as you can pay it off IN FULL every month. If you can’t, then you are fucking up. To be fair, I do have an advantage here in that my parents’ failure at credit cards gave me a reasonable and justified fear of them so I never spend money I can’t pay off. The interest rates on credit cards are goddamn terrifying, do not fuck with them. I have good credit and still pay %19.9 on any balance I carry. Don’t do it!

In general, just because you want something doesn’t mean you can have it. Shiny new electronics? Save the fuck up for it. Luxurious vacations? Save the fuck up for it. Videogames? Stock up on super cheap ones during Steam sales and play those while you save the fuck up for new releases. Want to go see all the summer blockbuster movies but can only afford a few of them? Guess you’d better suck it up and pick your favourites. Nice jewelry? Save the fuck up for it or get good at finding bargains on eBay or interesting unknown artists on Etsy.

To be honest, I have absolutely no concept of budgeting. I just never got the hang of it because I have the sheer dumb luck to just kinda spend less than I make. My most expensive habits are books and fancy scotch, and luckily I go through fancy scotch very slowly. I would spend a shit-ton if I went out more, but I’m a crotchety old lady in training and I’d rather drink at home in my pajamas while playing videogames than go out and interact with people all the time.

Now for spending less money:

Learn to fucking cook! Takeout is delicious but stupid expensive, you need to learn how to feed yourself without involving a restaurant. There are a completely ridiculous number of people on YouTube who want to teach you to cook for free, click around a bit and find one you like. You can also take in-person cooking classes, ask a friend who’s a good cook to teach you in return for the leftovers, get some cookbooks, or try one of those recipe + ingredient delivery services like Chef’s Plate (if you happen to want get some free meals and help me get free tasty meals (full disclosure!), use social referral tag #3platesFromNotJusBitchy  when you sign up – yes there’s a typo, no I can’t fix it). The great thing about services like Chef’s Plate is that they send you detailed instructions and just the right amount of ingredients. If it turns out you hate a particular spice, hey, at least you’re not stuck with a whole bottle of it that you’ll never use.

Related to learning to cook, even if you aren’t any good at it yet, at least bring a sandwich for lunch instead of buying one for >$5 every single day. Even frozen meals or canned ravioli from the grocery store can be much cheaper than going out for lunch every day. I’m not saying you can never have a tasty lunch out, just not every single day. In a pinch, if you have a grocery store nearby, you can buy a couple of buns and some deli meat and have a very fresh if not very interesting sandwich very cheaply.

If you enjoy drinking with your friends, which I certainly do, try having a party at home instead of going to the club. Ask people to either bring something to share or chip in for a liquor run, put on a nostalgic tv show, break out some games if you’re nerds, and everyone will have a good time. The markup on drinks in a club or restaurant are ridiculous, you can save a lot of money and still have a good time by partying at home. Just be a decent human being and have your party on a weekend and don’t be loud literally all night, okay?

Also if you have storage space, buy in bulk! Toilet paper never goes bad and it’s cheaper for a big package than just a couple rolls. If you eat rice, buy a 20 lb sack instead of a little bag. Same with potatoes if you can keep them cool and dry.

And finally, put some goddamn money in savings even if it’s only a few dollars here and there. Thou shalt have an emergency fund! If you have some savings, an emergency like your car breaking down is way less of a disaster than it would be if you were already broke. If you have a good chunk of savings already then think about investing, but at the very least save something.

Seriously, if nothing else I’ve said in this entire post sinks in, for the love of god save something.

Spite week: book rants

No, I haven’t seen the movie yet, this post is about the books. More precisely, this post is about how I think the ending was a total copout and I’m STILL MAD. Yes, the last book did indeed come out in 2004, what’s your point? 😛 The rest of the series was so good (although the later books were a little rushed) and all that time I thought it was building up to something amazing, and then it just kinda fizzled out at the end. As bad as the reviews are for the movie I can’t imagine the ending could possibly be less satisfying than the one in the books. And it’s not like Stephen King can’t write an ending, look at IT (yes it was problematic as fuck but the ending didn’t suck), The Stand, The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, Insomnia, etc, etc.

As mad as I still am about the end of the Dark Tower, at least I made it all the way through it. The Wheel of Time, on the other hand, got to be an intolerable slog in the middle of the series. Theories about why that is vary, my personal theory is that Robert Jordan got scared he couldn’t write an ending epic enough to satisfy readers after so many (many) books leading up to it, so he stalled for time by writing book after book of pointless political maneuvering and hoped that something would come to him. Either that or he actually thought those books were interesting and no editor had the political capital to tell him to knock that shit off. I’ve heard the last few books where Brandon Sanderson took over are a lot better than the middle slog, but to even understand what’s going on in those books I would have to do a lot of re-reading and I just don’t have it in me.

Speaking of writers who need editors: Anne Rice. The first few books of The Vampire Chronicles were so good, and then shit got weird. I can buy all sorts of wildly bizarre plots as long as the book or series is internally consistent, but once you start throwing in every half-baked crack fic idea you have you’re going to lose me. Editors, people, listen to your editors!

Readers, what books are you mad about?