Blah, Blah, Blah, I Have the Travelling Blahs

I’m getting anxious about my trip.  It’s not a big deal, just the usual nerves about going away.  I’ll be fine once the get going gets going.  I’m just trying to distract myself until then, but so far it’s going kind of crappily.

Is crappily a word?  It doesn’t matter.  Spellcheck on this computer doesn’t work, so I guess I can call it a word if I want.

Heard from an old married man today.  It’s funny how things you thought were so charming once upon a time seem kind of sad a decade later.

PSST, Hey Terry Frank

The Nation of Islam is not the same as Islam and Black Muslims are not interchangeable with Muslims.  The theological differences between the two groups are about as large as the differences between mainstream Protestantism and Mormonism.

I don’t know if that contradicts your point or just adds  to it or what, but I thought you should know.

Expert on All Things Theological,

Aunt B.

I Clearly Have Spent Too Much Time Looking at Porn

If there’s one thing the internet will teach you, it’s that, if you have specific enough search terms, you can find just about any type of body doing anything you can think of to any other type of body.

Shoot, I spend most nights perusing sights that specialize in BSDM comics where a cute liberal girl pegs “unwilling” libertarian boys while those boys are wearing only kilts and have honey (or perhaps sweetened rosewater) smeared all over their manly chests. And I have about eight thousand of those sites to choose from.

And so, I feel compelled to ask, is “being thought of as desirable” different than “being desired”?

I think it must be and yet, how fucked up that being desired doesn’t always do much to assure us women that we are thought of and should think of ourselves as being desirable.

Via Kactus this morning, I learned about this site, adipositivity, which has, as its mission, “Trying to change attitudes about the aesthetic validity of big women, one fat fanny at a time.”

I’ve also been checking out Bessie Lee Mauldin (see here and here) because it just drives me crazy with delight to think of her, that dumpy blonde, as someone’s lover.  I mean, shoot, look at her and know that’s what a lover looks like.  It makes me want to take up a clandestine romance right now, just so that folks can gossip about me being someone’s lover.

Promise me, folks, if you’re going to gossip about me, you will say, “Oh, you know, Aunt B. is his/her lover.”

Ha, I got all sidetracked by Bessie Lee.  Um.  Where was I?

Yes, okay, the aesthetic validity of big women.  I want to call that “being thought of, even by yourself, as desirable.”  You look in the mirror and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, look at this curve, that soft spot, these tits, that ass.  Who would not want that?”

Does seeing pictures of women looking desirable help that?  I kind of feel like it does, but I don’t know.

But then does seeing pictures of fat women being fucked help that?  I don’t know.

Here’s the thing.  It’s not as if there aren’t pictures of fat women being desirable or having that desire consummated out there.

What we want, I think, is more complicated than that and it’s not something you can see in “aesthetic” pictures, though you can see it in porn; we want assurance that the gaze that falls on us will desire us.  For straight women, then, it’s not how we look that’s the whole issue; it’s whether what we look like elicits from the people we desire desire in return.

If a photo shows the face of the person who potentially wants to fuck us (us being the women who identify with the women in the pictures), it’s clear whether he is motivated by our or his own humiliation or by real desire  Once we’ve been assured that the woman looks attractive, I think it’s easier to settle down and enjoy what we’re seeing, two.  But if the women are being humiliated, it’s nearly impossible.

But in these photos?  Who knows?

And, as Twisty often says, do we want to even be in that type of contest, let alone trying to win it?

In Which I Try to Be Intellectually Honest

I don’t think marriage is the default best configuration for raising children.  I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to say that out loud, but I’m going to say it.

I don’t think marriage, as we sell it to people, is even a very good way for grown-ups to live.

That colors my discussion with Martin Kennedy and it’s not fair of me to not put all my cards on the table when he’s trying to put his (even though we’ve been giving him grief for doing it).

Families should be safe and nurturing places for everyone in them.  People should feel protected, supported, and free.  They should be safe.

I could start a list right now of every woman who I’ve heard dispare over how little her husband does compared to her in terms of keeping house and taking care of the children and just doing the emotional work of being present at home when he’s home and we’d still be here tomorrow.

At the same time, I could start a list of every woman I know who is married to a guy who doesn’t really have a job that could support him, let alone them, and who doesn’t seem the least bit concerned that he’s doing the equivalent of having moved back home with his parents, except he gets laid regularly.

And I could tell you stories about the men I know who are, in their hearts, done being married, but are afraid of leaving their kids unsupervised with their wives or the men who work full time and come home to find the wife and kids still in their pajamas in front of the TV, where they were when he left that morning.

My point is that, when I look around, I see a shit-ton of marriages in which one person feels (and I know you never know what goes on inside a marriage), and it looks that way from the outside, that they’re kind of in it by themselves.

Who wants that?

This is not to mention the bigger issues–the outragiously high number of kids who are molested by family members, the physical and emotional abuse, etc.–that far too many of us went through or witnessed.

It’s nice to believe that marriage is some cure-all for social ills–that it makes kids safer, that it makes men manlier, and that it fulfills women’s every need–and that if we just encourge people to get married, everything will be hunky-dory*.  But I don’t see it.

I literally look at all the married folks I know and I just don’t see that their lives are better or easier than mine.  I don’t think that I’m biased against marriage.  I have a hard time imagining being married–I’m old and I’m stuck in my ways and it’s not like folks are lining up–but I like the idea.  I like to imagine what it would be like to have someone who chose to be on my side at my side when I got home from work and what it would be like to watch that person grow old next to me.

That seems like a deep honor, for someone to share that with you.

But I don’t think you can blame folks for looking around and saying, “I don’t see how being married puts me in any better position than not being married.”  If marriage is such a great cure-all for the world’s ills, you’d not see only half of adults choosing to be in one and you’d not see half of marriages fail.

I want people to form loving families, where folks feel safe and taken care of and able to take care of the people they love.  If a man and a woman can do that through marriage, more power to you.  I will gladly dance at your wedding.  If a woman and a woman can do that through moving in with one woman’s brother and his son, Merry Christmas!  If two men, a father to one of those men, a baby they adoped, and a friendly neighbor can do it, great. 

Will gay marriage change marriage?

I think that, in some ways, it will.

But here’s what I remember and keep in my heart.  I remember being a suicidal fifteen year old in a town small enough to walk across who hated her life at every minute and who felt unsafe at school and less safe at home.  And I remember hearing about AIDS for the first time and reading about these families who were turning their backs on their sons, because having AIDS pretty much meant that you could not pretend you weren’t gay.  And I remember reading over and over again about these folks who had lost their families talking about moving to more gay-friendly confines and searching out and finding folks to be their families.

They made their own families.

You can go out in the world and find good people who love you and who want good things for you and you can make real, deep emotional connections to them, and they can be your family, if the one you have doesn’t work for you.

Forget everything else gay culture has given us; we’re blessed just by that notion.

And gay marriage?

If everyone had the idea that you marry the person you love, regardless of his or her ability to give you children, regardless of his or her ability to conform to gender norms, if you just go out and find someone you love and want to be with and want to take care of and can’t wait to fuck, and marry that person, that would be revolutionary.

It would change what marriage means to most people.

Obviously it would.

I believe it would change it for the better, though.

I can’t wait to dance at those weddings either.

*Hmm, that’s a phrase one wonders about its origins.  I already had to give up honyak.  Am I going to have to give up hunky-dory, too?  One doesn’t normally think of the Hungarians as being folks widely disparaged against, but I’m starting to suspect that all the nonsense words I learned as a child used to be words that made fun of Hungarians.  Explain that to me, people.