Friday, March 31, 2006

What is it with the double standard?

So today I went out for lunch with a couple of male colleagues. They assured me that a big greasy burger was the best cure for a raging hangover*. But that's another story.

One colleague has grown up children, and one has a 8 year old son. My kids are younger yet, at 7 and 5. So, somehow we got on the topic of older female teachers having sex with teenaged boys. We discussed our own reactions to this as parents and how we'd talk about this stuff with our kids. The general consensus was that a 16 year old male would be happy as heck to be introduced to carnal delights by an older woman and how can that be so wrong. But then, the clincher came; why does it seem so wrong for a older man to introduce 16 year old girl to carnal delights? How big a deal is it if the older person is a teacher or not associated in any way? These were deep questions we batted around over lunch.

Care to share your thoughts?

*I'm feeling much better now thank you very much :-) The hamburger cure worked.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lets Discuss Attittudes behind Sexual Harrassment

I often read the blog of a woman who recently moved from the US to Canada. The posts are varied, insightful, relevant and really make you think. Last night, she posted a interesting article about an important sexual harrassment case. She poses a question about why some men think and behave badly like in this famous case (Jensen vs Eveleth Mines).

Anyway, I know that a lot of liberal, insightful, talkative men hang around here, so I thought I'd post a link to L-girl's blog and hopefully you'll go over there and share your thoughts. I'm interested! (Of course, women's thoughts are welcome too!)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Suckle Me, Succubus.

I was a mere acolyte, treading gingerly through my first fortnight in the blogosphere, when I was accosted by a menacing presence. I froze at the sight of its inscrutable hulking mass.

You were Cyberpolsters, clerics of the blog, a literate if unruly band with massive experience points and a flare for sexually-charged dialog. Clearly you had encountered trolls before, because you dispatched the slimy beast with aplomb.

The last time I'd heard any mention of trolls was ages ago in my prepubescence, long nights sifting through the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. Therein one finds trolls described as "horrid carnivores" that "know no fear and attack unceasingly." The loathsome, ahem, "members of a troll have the ability to fight on even if severed from the body." Next time we see one we're supposed to burn it or immerse it in acid.

Among the hundreds of creatures "malevolent and benign" catalogued by the Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and other D&D compendia, one was permanently emblazoned in my memory. She was the succubus.

My neighborhood Dungeon Master, a slightly older kid with an assertive creativity, would initiate the encounter. We wizards and fighters only had to hear the first few words – "naked, beautiful, woman" – and we suspected a succubus. We went giddy with both fear and desire. What young man could resist? Who could avert his gaze? A breast! Two! An imagined teardrop ass and shadows down below. Long locks, full lips, arched contours and … wings! Fucking wings! Do you understand the amorous implications of wings? Would they mean something medieval, something raw, some good hard fucking? Or would she just flutter and levitate, inches above your expectations? Lord help us.

She was compelling, but I wasn't old enough to know exactly how her parts and mine were supposed to work together. I certainly didn't understand the promise and the fraud. After all she was a devil, a hell-denizen, and when we found her in a game I think we just ran away scared.

Guys, I know I wasn't the only one who lingered too long on the succubus page while searching for data on shriekers and hell hounds. Girls, did you each have your incubus?

Friday, March 24, 2006

How best to be laid to rest?

Recently, I had the interesting experience of visiting the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston. The picture I've shown here is the section of the museum devoted to 'embalming'.

This leads me to the area where I'm seeking you opinions and discussion. One thing that the embalmer used to do (in the 'old days' the embalmer was your funeral director or undertaker) was come to the home of the deceased and prepare the body for the 'viewing'. After embalming the person and preparing them, the family would keep the body at home for some period of time so people could come and visit and pay their respects.

I don't think we really do this anymore. Death and the tidying up after death has been moved to a more impersonal place in our lives. A person can practically avoid it altogether. The think I like about the old way is that the living don't sanitize it to the point where you could forget the person died. It was 'in your face' and I think that ultimately it helped for everyone to deal with it.

I came to this conclusion in a round about way. Years ago one of my dogs, Torin, was run over, right in front of me. It was winter, nighttime, and we were having a snowstorm. I took my dog's body home and laid it in the garage. Because of the time and conditions I really couldn't do anything with it right then so I sat in the garage, and cried, and petted his body, and cried some more. I spent hours thinking about our time together. My boyfriend came over and did the same, as well as another girlfriend who was close to me and my dogs. The next day, it was still -20 and the ground was covered in snow, but my boyfriend* and I took Torin's body to his house and buried him in the back yard. While I mourned Torin for a long time, the whole process of saying goodbye was really helpful to me in being a peace with his passing, even though he died a violent and untimely death.

Today, when someone I know passes away, I make a point to go to the funeral and any kind of gathering/celebration of their life that might be offered. It is really important to me and find its one of the few times that people let their social masks slip. Emotions are usually running high and people are 'real'.

What do you know of rituals today that we use to help deal with death. Do you think we go too far in modern society to keep it out of view? Do you personally let yourself get engaged in the funeral ritual when someone passes away?

* he's now my husband. Earned a lot of brownie points for digging a grave in the frozen ground in the middle of winter for my beloved friend! :-)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Trip to the Head

I was reading the Marquis de Sade's "Philosophy in the Boudoir" this morning while taking a crap. Its a very thought-provoking book that reminds me why I love French culture so much. For those who haven't had the pleasure of being exposed to it, the text is comprised of seven dialogues in which philosophy and carnality are intermixed with glee.

In the heat of the fifth dialogue, I came across a line that fascinated me.

It is spoken by the character Dolmancé, in the midst of their planning a new sequence of debaucheries. He is gently refuting the ingenue Eugenie's objection that homosexuality is "unnatural".

The line is this: "Nature does not have two voices, one forever condemning what the other commands."

Sexual desire, by its very existence, can never be unnatural.

This quote hit me hard, because it gets to the centrality of nature's power to rupture the boundaries of culture. Culture and morality are continually establishing oppositions that Nature so violently overwhelms when its magma floods the town, wiping out high and low equally.

Just wanted to share that.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Betty & Veronica

Over at Cocks & Dolls, Dolly has decided to prioritize her "Betty" side, after enjoying her "Veronica" nature. And it got me thinking about women, something I do a lot in my spare time these days.

I'm not sure if the Archie comix were as popular in Canada as they were in the U.S. but, to summarize their differences for the purpose of discussion, Veronica is the whore and Betty is the nice girl. Oh, and they're both hot, in their own way.

I posted the following as a comment to Dolly's post but I'm going to copy it here because I thought you guys might be interested as well. Its been edited slightly for clarity.

My thinking is: all females are both Betty and Veronica. She'll be Betty for awhile, and she will seek Veronica. She'll be Veronica for awhile, and Betty is on deck. And all of this is as it should be.

If you want to keep a female around you, never stop seducing her. Seduction is a lifelong project - don't think once you marry a female the courtship stops. Or, put another way, if you do stop the courtship after you're married, don't be surprised when she finds something better.

I think the #1 reason marriages fail is because couples "take each other for granted" - which means to me that at least one party falsely assumes that seduction is no longer a necessary component of the relationship.

I also suspect that the belief in some abstract concept called "love" is basically laziness. A slovenly and disrespectful approach to the Other, because it places faith in an imaginary force that will allow both parties to simply "be" and be happy.

Guess what? There's no such thing.

Personally, I feel the same way about "Love" that I do about many conceptions of "God". Afraid of death? Here, have a beautiful afterlife. Afraid of your own dark impulses? Here, have an imaginary Hell to keep you in line. Feeling unloved? Here, have a phony idol that will love you no matter how many times you fuck up.

Here's a thought, with apologies to Heidegger: Being is death; only Becoming is life. Where there is no struggle between the sexes, there is no dynamic, and the erotic loses its ability to manifest. Desire in action is the only means available by which we get the girl, seduce the man, change our lives, or change the world. This eternal, Natural project is the one for which we were designed - so my plan is to enjoy it in the little time we all have left.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Edmonton teens beat man to death

This is the headliner story we've been hearing a lot about for the last two weeks around my neck of the woods.

Apparently a group of teens was being rowdy and obnoxious on a bus, one of the passengers asked them to be quiet, and they beat death.

The link above is to an editorial in one of the local papers, commenting on the general outrage expressed by the fact that these 'kids' are out on bail. First they split the scene then turned themselves in later.

Under our Criminal Justice system people under the age of 18 are protected as 'youth' and their names are not released. So, these 16-17 year olds are out, no one knows who they are, and chances are good they are going to get very light sentences if convicted of manslaughter.

What you don't see in the online news is all the sound bytes we get constanly on the local news of the progess of the case. One thing that stands out in my mind, is how the friends and family of the accused, are often openly moaning about how these teens are actually 'good' kids.

Pardon? This baffles me.

In my mind, I'm thinking that a 'good' kid, would have not participated in the beating, and in fact, tried to get his buddies to desist.

As a parent, I'm thinking that 16 and 17 year old kids are very nearly adults. In fact, during many times in history, they would be off on their own already, functioning as adults. How can it be that people can reach this age and not have the moral boundaries and self control that tell them when their actions are wrong?

Do you think our society would be better served by having harsher punishments for adults and for 'youths'. It seems to me that there is little accountability in western culture and people literally get away with murder.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Angels In America?

I've been really fascinated by this whole Imette St. Guillen story. For those of you not from New York (or Boston, Imette's hometown), Imette St. Guillen was the 24 year old criminal justice grad student who was brutally raped, tortured and murdered last week. She was last seen at The Falls, which is a bar in Soho, which is an area that I avoid like the plague for reasons completely unrelated to this murder case. (Narrow, packed sidewalks and $9 beers, anyone?)

This case, and more specifically-- the MEDIA COVERAGE of this case has stirred up quite a bit in me, and I've already carefully decided not to share my opinions with my co-workers (I work on the Upper East Side, after all). Imette's face has been plastered across the cover of every shitty New York newspaper for the past week and a half with headlines like "Imette St. Guillen-- Fallen Angel, Always."

I know I'm being a bit extreme, but I have a real problem with the whole reverence thing. Apparently this girl was not as brilliant as the media has let on. She was at the bar, became drunk and belligerent, got in an argument with her friends, and then insisted on staying behind when they all left. For a criminal justice student, this girl seemed to lack basic street smarts. At closing time the bouncer (who is the number 1 suspect in the case) tried to escort her out the door and she became aggressive and argumentative with him. She was last seen getting into a van with the bouncer, who was overheard saying "I'll take you home." Less then 24 hours later she was found in a secluded area off the highway-- nude, wrapped in a blanket, severely beaten and mutilated. Murdered.

It's a horrible and tragic story, but the worst part is that this sort of thing happens quite often, and this particular case has morphed into a sick Lifetime Movie. What about other rape victims? What about other women who mysteriously disappear? Why haven't we heard their stories? What does a woman have to do to become an "angel"?

Friday, March 10, 2006

To Shave, to Wax, to Tweeze or not?

Recently, I've stumbled across several stories, posts, and comments that have got me thinking about body hair. The hows and why of removing or not removing, and the different cultural attitudes towards body hair on men and women.

Yesterday, Ms L. referred to a competition in the Yukon where they judge who has the longest, coarsest, thickest leg hair. The ladies around Whitehorse grow their hair all winter in anticipation!

Also, yesterday, we were imagining some fun hair removal experiences for pawlr at the spa in L.A.

I started looking around to find out a bit more about attitudes toward body hair. I used to just think that it was women that feel they should have hairless pits and legs but I came across info leading me to believe there a lot more men out there doing hair removal. Whether its waxing/shaving their backs or doing their bikini lines!

One interesting pseudo-history article talked about the fact that hair removal has been something people have indulged in through all recorded history. Read about it here. At one time, people would shave or pluck all the hair on their head then wear wigs and draw on eyebrows!
Another article I came across was a research project in Australia, trying to determine why over 81% of women surveyed felt they had to remove their excess body hair.

I read quite a few articles and some of the theories included things like:
- women in particular have been convinced by the marketers that body hair is ugly and unfeminine so it should be removed
- more and more men are falling into this mindset
- body hair on women is a sign of sexual maturity and power and it should be removed so they will appear younger, pre-pubescent, less powerful
-men should remove the hair from their butts and groin area if they are planning to wear a thong type bathing suit to the beach

In my own history, I, like most girls, started shaving as teenager. I went through a phase in my twenties where I stopped. This was partly because I often got a rash, especially under my arms, and also because I was rebelling against 'societal norms'. Well, I guess I question my own socialization because I didn't like the way I looked 'au naturelle' and have removed hair ever since. I'm quite a fan of waxing and am even seriously considering permanent hair removal with laser treatment. Does that make me a woman who is overly concerned with being attactive to men, or of low self esteem? I don't think so.

My attitudes to body hair on men are more lenient. It doesn't bother me to see hairy pits or a hairy back. I don't look at a guy and think 'eew, he should wax that!'. Looking around the net though I discovered quite a few guys and gals who don't like excess hair on men. In fact, quite a few salons advertise waxing for men and I found this article on getting Brazilian wax for men. I knew women went in for this but never thought men would. So interesting. And yeah...ouch. Read this article. In between cringing I was laughing. A short excerpt from the first one gives you the idea:

Brazilian Nuts; The Brazilian Wax treatment was introduced to North America in the late 1980s by J. Sisters International, a Manhattan salon that is owned and operated by seven clearly insane sisters from Brazil. The Brazilian is an all-over body hair removal treatment that chiefly involves the buttocks, pubic area, and dark crevasses in a ritual of pain so spectacular there are few words to describe it.
Most charitable estheticians will provide a tongue depressor to sink your teeth into during treatment. Some will turn up the salon's sound system so you can scream 'til you burst a blood vessel.

So, Cyberpolers, what do you think? Are we succumbing to unrealistic ideas of beauty and tidyness by doing all this hair removal? Are women being victimized by the marketers? Are men? Lets hear your thoughts!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Out in L. A.

I just got here Saturday from New York. I'm staying with my older brother, his wife, and their three happy cats. Last night they invited friends over and we all watched the Academy Awards. We ate pizza, drank red wine, and sampled homemade fruit pie. Good people, good times. There was universal disappointment that "Crash" won Best Picture - most of the crowd felt it was too sentimental and poorly written. I didn't see it myself, did any of you guys?

Los Angeles is a wonderful place, really. Many New Yorkers tend to mistake Los Angelinos' approachability for superficiality. I did myself the first time I came to visit.

Here's a gross generalization: whereas New York is about the ambitious individual struggling to overcome, L. A. is about creative vision and collaboration. The critical "no" is rarely heard, of course, more typical is the "yes" that never calls back. But I guess I prefer the latter scenario because at least (I imagine) you get more time and support to develop an idea, whether you're a screenwriter, doing a treatment for a show or a film, or rehearsing a role.

My brother has set up a futon for me in his office, and sleeping there last night I was visited by Sabrina, a silver longhaired beauty. She crept up to me in the gloom, then stepped onto the comforter. She got closer, and as I lay as still as possible, she began to lick my face. I let her, then slowly turned around and presented the back of my head, which she started licking. The roughness of her tongue was such that I was worried I would lose some hair so I pushed her off gently. She kneaded, annoyed, then assumed an Egyptian pose In the darkness next to me. This has been a cool trip so far.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"You're too brittle!" "Well you're obsessed!"

A couple days back there was a cute exchange between Karl Rove ("Bush's Brain") and Hillary Clinton ("The Candidate"). Made me chuckle because they sounded like they really were locked in more of a lover's spat than a political dogfight. Check this link for a news report.

This got me thinking about what Rove meant by "brittle" and how damaging it is to describe a woman as such, especially a woman planning to assume a leadership role. It means so many things in different contexts: "prone to break down", "liable to let her nervousness get the best of her", "unable to cope".

Other sources offer the opinion that Clinton's retort was a classic jujitsu move - and I agree - because with one word she characterized him as "dogged" and "stalkerish". Every female voter knows obsessed when they see it and hates it when a guy starts acting that way.

In a way, men can be "brittle" too. They get nervous and overreact when their egos are damaged, or when they get challenged by alpha males above them - myself included! In my corporate day job, these struggles for dominance are palpable in the subtexts of lots of male-to-male conversations. Often it occurs just with body language or eye contact. Or gettin pee-shy at the urinal :)

Got me thinking some more. Could Hillary out-alpha Rove in a debate? Make him her bitch after disarming him first with erotic banter? I think this would be interesting to watch. The one advantage Rove has is that as the man behind the throne, he never has to show up. What a pussy.

Who's The House Spouse Now?

You walk through Manhattan, you look around, and everywhere you see waiters feeding Yuppies, serving them martinis and cleaning up after them; laundry workers delivering snazzy dry-cleaned clothes back to Yuppies' sterile lodgings; paid dog-walkers pulling Yuppies' expensive pure-bred dogs along; and babysitters busy ignoring Yuppies' spoiled babies - not to mention hordes of masseurs, therapists and other purveyors of the kind of support and comfort that, once upon a time, spouses got from each other. Well, at least a few did. Surely some still do.

But did any of these fast-lane male and female metrosexuals remember to take over the traditional, fulltime, housewifely roles that women have left behind? Do Manhattan men and women find any time to make their rented apartments cozy and nourishing? Or are they too busy earning double salaries so they can afford to outsource the chores of good homemaking to dry cleaners, gourmet bistros and childcare dilettantes?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Babes in Warland

Just surfing the web and this image caught my eye. My first thought: "Man, she's really servicing that missle!".

My second thought was this. Opportunities that became available for women during WWII became a social angle that allowed them to participate in public life and "do a man's work". But were they really? Since the entire mahood of the nation was projected overseas, in one sense they were still "taking care of the men" by doing what was necessary to enable the troops.

They filled a necessary vacuum, and in the process, helped the U.S. Military topple the Axis powers.

To what extent did this assist the women's movement in the 60's? I imagine a lot, but obviously, I don't know the details.