Pages From The Diary Of A Woman Being Cat Called

I was walking through Downtown Berkeley wearing what I thought was a work-appropriate dress, but, upon further reflection, and especially after the amount of unsolicited attention I got today, I realize that it is, in fact, not a work appropriate dress. Technically, it fits within the guidelines of the dress code my boss sent me. So maybe it’s not that the dress is work inappropriate – perhaps it’s just the way that my body fits in the dress that makes it the subject of undue attention.

After a year of hormonal mishaps, I am pleased to announce that I have gained 20 pounds, and after a few months of obsessive, maniacal work outs, those 20 pounds have gladly landed all on my ass. I am quite proud of my new ratio (35/26/40), so I strut my stuff accordingly.

I was strutting through Downtown Berkeley past all the hobos and high school kids when a man walking towards me said, “Nice legs!”

I effortlessly retorted, “I know!” and kept walking.

Apparently, the older woman who was walking slightly ahead of me was a bit put off by that interaction. She turned around to gape at me, but I kept my head held high because I couldn’t be bothered to clock that look on her face as either in shock, appalled or both or neither or something completely different. It was just another reaction to me as I’m walking down the street, and I’m pretty used to it by now.

I kind of assume that the old lady’s look was one of disapproving feminism. I know, I know. The movement dictates that I’m supposed to say things like, “No!” or “Stop it!” or glare or say cat calling is wrong. Sure, cat calling is wrong, but that man was right – I do have nice legs. I put a lot of effort into having nice legs. He was merely expressing a statement of fact.

I know that in another lifetime, I was supposed to say something like, “Thank you,” but this is 2018, and I don’t think I need to be grateful for other people’s power of observation.

Now this is the point where I talk about the gendered double standard of compliments. Before that man told me that I had nice legs, a woman across the street had complimented my shoes. Generally when people comment on my physical appearance, I don’t think it’s my responsibility to be grateful. Commenting on people’s physical appearances is just…trite and unoriginal.

But I understand the dichotomy of the compliments. When a man tells me I’m pretty, it’s a power move and he is probably trying to subjugate me in some weird role play of instantaneous-strangers-on-the-street sexual dynamism. When a woman tells me I’m pretty, it’s an acknowledgement of all the things that women do and women suffer through in order to be deemed attractive by the cis, heteronormative male gaze. With women it’s about mutual respect, communication, and acknowledgement. It’s a conversation starter with the intent of a conversation surrounding who we are as women, or whatever it is. With men, it’s dangling attention like a carrot in the hopes that he can strike up a conversation that leads to sex.

Which is fine – I like sex. But if you want me to stop what I’m doing and notice you – well, telling me I have nice legs isn’t going to do it for me. Perhaps this is sexual reduction, but, well, try harder. I like a man who can get creative – when it translates sexually, it’s tons of fun.

Day 23 Without You

I think of you. As I sit here in sorrow. I love you, and I’m in love with you. I don’t want to see you at all forever for the rest of my life.

I don’t know how to explain it. I want you here, right here, right now, but I don’t want to see you. I want to cradle you, to hear your voice. But I am afraid to touch you. If my skin ever touches your skin I will disintegrate into the sand. I will blow in the wind if you get too close to me. And I love you, and I can’t live without you.

Don’t ever call me. No more text messages. Let’s stop pretending. You know that I love you. You know that I can’t live without you. So do me a favor and disappear. Become that other person you always talk about being. Leave me here. Abandon me with my demons, and my demons are wanting you. I want to be close to you, always and forever.

But I can’t. Because you are gone, and here I am, drunk after another one night stand and still thinking of you. I wish that the empty sex didn’t make me think of you. It’s supposed to make me forget.

I could never forget you.

Please call me. It is torture without you. It is torture with you, too, but I’d rather be in pain with your dick in my pussy than hurting all alone and with no logical reason as to why this hurts so much.

Musings On A Romance

Falling in love is such a painful and violent process. It took me a long time to figure that out because after an entire lifetime of rom coms and mood lighting, I thought that it was something that happened magically and all at once. I thought falling in love was about fate and a sense of destiny and about belonging together. But it’s not.

Falling in love is a human phenomenon that has managed to survive even when it has been at odds with the formulation of a capitalist society that in many ways tries to supplant “falling in love” with the grand emotions of “buying things” and “using your job as a measure of self worth.” Falling in love is a generally very inconvenient thing in a place like this. We are told that we need to organize our lives in a way that leads to success, and in order to be successful we have to work hard, and in order to work hard we need to put down the distractions and focus on what matters. Falling in love is a distraction.

Capitalism has managed to vilify falling in love by subjecting it to the power dynamics of our society’s gender structure. We have managed to manipulate “falling in love” as a byproduct of surviving – for the right amount of money, you, too, can fall in love! We trade financial favors across the gender spectrum of our relationships and let that make or break our falling in love. Little do we know that money has no impact on falling in love – which is probably why we try to stuff it into boxes and not let it breath, because the ugly truth of falling in love is that capitalism has no sway and no control on the matter.

Monogamy, too, is at odds with falling in love. We prescribe falling in love like a perfunctory act of being alive – you should do it between the ages of 18 – 32, after which you will marry that person and that will be good enough for you for the rest of your life. But falling in love is chaos, and it can happen anywhere, any time. Falling in love doesn’t abide by the rules that we have given to it. Falling in love is messy.

Falling in love is hard work, too. Falling in love is by its very nature an unfair and unjust process – it subjects random people to its whims whenever it chooses. The potential for pain is just as limitless as the potential for pleasure. There is no guarantee that it will ever work, no matter how ready or open or willing or wanting you are.

Falling in love is sold to us like a magic cure all, but really it’s just a sparkly way of making the chaos of human existence seem appealing. It feels cruel to know this. But not nearly as cruel as a broken heart.

How much of the world around us is about curing the urge to fall in love? How much of this was built to ensure that we could all fall in love at the same time, all together? Why does it still define our existence when, after all this time, it offers no security, no promises, no guarantee of long term happiness? Why are we like this, and why do we love it even when it gets us down.

The Art of Conversation

It was a new feeling. Which is strange for me because after all these years, there are few experiences which I haven’t had.

As I was sitting there, engaged in my standard, par for the course conversation at the bar with someone I had known for years, it happened: he said something that meant something.

Now, I know that needs a bit of clarification, so let me clarify. I talk a lot. Pretty much all I do all day is talk. I do it for a living. I talk to a lot of people about a lot of things. I’ve been doing that for years. After a while, conversations start to take a predictable path. Sit at the bar, mull around, get to know you, tell me something funny, chatting about recent events, those conversations where people try to shock or impress you.

Perhaps the way that I’ve been having conversations has become formulaic. It’s like a math equation: show interest, use these types of word, watch the body language, smile, laugh, say something witty. I know how to give compliments, change the subject, when to exit a conversation exactly when I want. I know how to control the conversation. Because of this, I rarely find myself having conversations that break the mold. Everything stays surface. Everything stays “professional.” We talk about things that matter without things actually mattering.

I like having conversations with people because it’s the best way to get a read on someone. There are many people out there who don’t know how to control a conversation, so it’s easy to steer them into topics that reveal themselves. But that’s not what I’m interested in.

I’m interested in other people who know how to control a conversation, because someone who knows how to control a conversation reveals himself in a much more challenging manner. It’s almost as though most people who know how to control a conversation know how to not reveal themselves – hence the challenge of the conversation. Most people who know how to control a conversation know how to veer away from the vulnerability, which, in all honesty, is pretty disappointing. Often times they have rehearsed moments of vulnerability, small nuggets of information made to feign the act of conversational intimacy. That’s not what I want, either.

Here’s what I want: conversation as a dynamic act of consensual and mutual vulnerability. I can talk and talk and talk and talk, but often times people confuse the talking for interest, attraction, for the real me, for who I am as a person. I almost feel bad when that happens, but I have to remind myself that it’s not my fault that other people think that they know me when really they’re just hearing the things that they want me to say.

Because here’s what generally happens: I can sense that someone’s attracted to me, so I act attractive. It’s transactional, really, and I learned this from all my brilliant, beautiful sex worker friends. But it’s not real, this game of, “I’m going to talk about myself in a way that will make me seem more attractive to you.” It’s a ruse. That’s not really who I am. And often times I find that people aren’t interested in who I really am (because that person is vile and mean) – they only like me when I’m putting on my best face. But that tires me.

There is ugliness inside me. There is ugliness inside you, too. When we start to hide it, that’s when the conversation becomes disingenuous. And I know what you’re thinking – if I can control a conversation, why have a disingenuous conversation in the first place? Ah, yes. Well, turns out most people still subscribe to the idea that falling in love is some sort of fairy tale magic equation that happens in an instant. I am happy to give that to them, because it takes no effort from me. But me and what I want? Well, opening someone’s mouth up and peering into their soul – that’s a game that has crushed most men that I have ever met. Not a lot of people like to play that game. It is a dangerous and painful game to play.

It is also a disappointing game to play. Some people’s souls don’t go very deep into their body, so looking into someone’s soul can be a rather short-winded game. Me? I’m a stamina person. I want challenges. I want puzzles. I want hoops and ladders. I want a complicated soul. I want it to take me years to figure out. Not five minutes. And I want that because I am the same way: complicated. I am willing to invest time into figuring out what lies in at the center of your soul – is it something beautiful and resplendent? Or is it ugly, just like the rest of us. I am willing to put effort it in, and I hope you are, too. This shit has got to be mutual.

So, when it happened the other night, when I found myself in the midst of conversation that meant something, when I realized that there was a mutual vulnerability and a mutual desire to understand, and when the words came out in conversation – not in a way that was meant to impress me or just to look cool – I was shocked. It had been so long. And it felt so good.

 

The Art of Confidence

I smile sickly sweet with these sticky teeth as I lick my lips and wait to pounce. There is money in the air, and I am waiting there, calmly, while everyone tries to grab it. They bounce around, hands in the air, flailing and jumping. Me? I am sitting on the other side, biding my time before I take it from them. I am very confident in my hustle, selling wolf tickets and bootleg g passes to people who think they can walk the walk and talk the talk. My smile burns bright in this dangerous night, and they are buying the broken dreams that I am selling. They give me their money for nothing, just they can spend a night trying to pretend to be something they’ll never be, but I tell them it will be okay. You can be one of us tonight. You can run with the wolves. You can strip down naked and bark at the moon. But – if you reach a point when you want to put your clothes back on and return to your nice, white life, I want you to know with all your heart that I have crawled off into the darkness with all your belongings and left you there, like a dog, alone and cold. I would say, “Sorry,” but I’m not sorry. I know you would have done it to me first if you thought you had the chance. You don’t.

Erotic Ennui

I’m swaying on the barstool again. I feel like I’m about to fall off as I try to hold it together through the tedium of this raucous conversation. I can’t tell if I’m bored or if this is the most fun I’ve had all week, but I do know that I’m fucking drunk. Like a god damn champion, too, teetering around in these four inch heels, the hem of this dress cradling my ass like a baby that’s about to slip out into the open. I smile, because, fuck it, these gold teeth look great on me, and also because who knows where this lipstick has landed on my face after a few hours of meandering palavering.

I don’t think he cares. Where is he coming from that the pantomime of my high-key pseudo-feminism is so interesting to him? Everything I’m doing right now is disingenuous, but it’s getting me to where I need to be: drunk. Which is all I need in order to get through this night, and the next day, and every day after that.

I’ve been drinking my emotions with the strange men of Oakland for weeks now. Although, actually, it’s been years – since I turned 17 and started drinking with the strange men of Oakland. Some things never change, and there has never been a shortage of men who like to buy me drinks and watch my performance of me, a little bit sloppy and a little bit sultry a couple hours before last call.

It disgusts me, but I do it anyway. The only thing that has changed is that I don’t fuck them anymore. I used to fuck them all, but it turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Every time I let my guard down and accidentally fuck one of them, it’s just so…disappointing. So I cycle through this little black book of my own boredom. They call it “dating” but I call it “a distraction from my problems” that is actually just a different problem in and of itself. Oh, well.

Another Con Job in a Long Line of Con Jobs

Time to apologize again. To hang my head and beg for forgiveness. I know the timing is suspicious, seeing as I *need* something right now, but I’m hoping that the forgiveness I am pleading for will be all encompassing, and that I will be forgiven for the opportunistic apology. Let’s smooth things over. I need some money.

If he loved me then, he should love me now – I’m exactly the same person, just a little bit more broke and little bit more willing to compromise what were previously my hard and fast morals around what constitutes my personal dignity. I’m just as funny and witty and charming and pretty when this wallet is empty, so hopefully he won’t notice the difference until after the money’s gone. It will be a painless process for him. I am going to make sure he enjoys it. We will have a grand old time bailing me out of the poor house. We will look back and laugh one day.

Although, this begs the question – will I love him when I’m flush? I hope he doesn’t stop to ask that question, because I don’t want to answer it. Last time this happened, I ran off to the races in my brand new clothes, looking good on his dime and leaving him at home to clean up my mess. I wonder if he’ll forgive me for it. I wonder if he’ll let me do it again. Every time this happens, I have to beg a little bit more, but, lucky for him, I am ready to beg as much as I have to. I know how to say please with his dick in my mouth and tears on my face. I know how to look pretty with his fingers around my throat. He fucking loves that shit. I know it will work this time.