Anarchy & Anxiety

Why, yes, of course I like watching the world fall apart! Living through the collapse of Western society has been a lifelong dream of mine, and now that dream is finally coming true!

Granted, it’s a lot less violent than I thought it would be. But, then again, this is just the beginning. This first few days have been the amuse-bouche of global panic as everyone around me tail spins into “What are we going to do about toilet paper?” Me? I’m gearing up for the fun stuff. You know what I’m talking about.

Dating at the beginning of the end of the world has likewise been interesting. My Hinge matches are drying up, probably because we’re all ‘social distancing’ nowadays. (No we’re not. It’s the East Bay. Oakland will forever be grimy as fuck, and seeing as this virus wreaks havoc on the old, this pandemic has become a cause célèbre of the younger generation. And I love a good reason to party, so, party on, Garth. Party on, Wayne.) Coronavirus is really wreaking havoc on hook up culture, which bums me out because despite the fact that I don’t actively participate in hook up culture on that level anymore, it was always comforting to know it was there. Kinda like driving by your middle school. No, I’m not going in, but I like the flood of memories and nostalgia for the good times I get every time I see it.

Granted, this pandemic is really thinning out the crowds out there. Everyone who’s at one of my favorite bars this weekend is definitely a self selected bug chaser and/or gift giver, which also means they’re all fucking freaks on some level because bug chasing/gift giving isn’t a new thing. That’s some post-AIDS epidemic shit. Far be it from me to parallel these two widely different virus outbreaks, but that is some next level “I don’t give a fuck” that came from a previous, more freakadelic generation. We straights can act like we’re being hardcore, but are we? Really? It’s not even in the same ball park. Although, one part of me wonders: is that hot? And am I really going to…nah. That’s between me and the next person I fuck.

Speaking of the next person I fuck, it’s probably going to be the same person I fuck because, well, there’s nothing quite like a quarantine to make you realize, “Yeah, I can Netflix and chill with this person for the next two months.” Which isn’t shade by any means, but, rather, just not my usual approach to dating. I was planning on doing what I always do when I date someone: hem and haw for 6-9 months about whether or not this is worth my time, then dump him for a month, then get back together, then dump him again, then get back together with him, and so on and so forth until both our resolve has dissipated into mutual bitterness and angst. However, given current circumstances, I’m going to have to recalibrate a few things. Who knows, maybe a good, old fashioned quarantine is just what I need in order to surmount my toxic dating habits. Doubt it, but who knows!

I just want someone who will hold my hand and cough into the world with me while we watch all of this burn to the ground. True romance.

Reclawed

I was lying in bed, licking my now almost nonexistent wounds, talking to some boy about what the fuck it is he’s going to do for me when I realized, oh, wow, what is this? Blood? What do we have here? Are my claws back? I immediately sat up, turned on the light, looked in the mirror, and – why, yes, there they are, sharp and glistening in the light. I couldn’t help but grin. It’s me, baby. I’m back. After having been effectively declawed by my depression, hunting season is back on.

“Don’t forget who you are,” I whispered to myself as I plunge myself into a spree of antagonization and humiliation via text message. Here I go, indulging all my most sadistic and antisocial personality traits, demanding love from people who don’t even know what the fuck is going on here.

Party time.

Edge Playing With Myself

I was sitting at the bar with my iPad out, ready to order some lunch, because that’s what I do. I know most people at most bars these days, so despite what some people might say, getting lunch alone at the bar while dressed in frills and silks is a fairly safe endeavor for me. Of course, it comes with its occasional bout of bullshit. Such as that day.

There was an unattractive man in his mid 30s or early 40s sitting two seats over from me. We exchanged the perfunctory polite pleasantries that two daytime bar patrons would normally exchange, after which I ordered my lunch and started getting to work.

“Working remotely, eh?” he said.

“Mmmhmmm,” I replied.

“I’m working remotely today, too,” he said, proffering his glass of wines for a cheers. I smiled and kept click clacking at my keyboard because, oh, okay, here comes some bullshit, right? Right.

“Hey, when you’re done working, we can talk about working remotely,” he said.

“I’m cool,” I replied, starting to feel a bit miffed that someone who clearly knows that I’m working feels inclined to impose on what is obviously my work time.

“Cool? Cool about what?”

“Talking.”

“Oh.”

Fantastic. There I was, five minutes into trying to get some work done at the bar, when: poof, my sense of safety and resolve were immediately stripped from me. I gritted my teeth and tried to focus on my work, but that simple request for ‘talking’ to me had dissolved my ability to concentrate on sending out these annoying little emails because all of a sudden my head was occupied with, ‘I really hope that this guy finishes his wine and leaves because now I feel incredibly uncomfortable, just totally conspicuous, like if I stop typing for just a minute I’ll suddenly be obligated to talk to him or subjected to being made to feel like my presence here is an open invitation to be treated as today’s floor show about working women at bars, so now I have to get all this work done while fretting about this man sitting next to me and if I finish my work I’ll have to pretend to keep working just to keep things comfortable.’

Wow. Talk about a flurry of inconvenient emotions that I was not ready to surrender to at noon on a Tuesday. I had shit to do, and fuck that guy for making me feel uncomfortable even as he chats it up with the bartender and orders another glass of wine. Part of me was afraid that at any moment he’d call me a bitch, to which I’d have to respond, “Yeah, I don’t care,” because there’s something about men at bars that just make them seem so entitled. Although, as I sat there typing away, I wondered who felt more uncomfortable in the situation: him or me? And I resented him for putting both of us in an awkward position, and then I resented myself for feeling even slightly sympathetic to him after I rejected him because that’s just what we’re supposed to do, aren’t we? Why hasn’t feminism totally fixed this problem for me already? I have shit to do! I can’t waste anymore precious time internalizing and analyzing the fear that I feel just because one man at a bar talked to me while I was working. Fucking bullshit!

But it’s inescapable, isn’t it. I realized as I sat on the couch with my friend whom I hadn’t seen in a couple years with his hand on my thigh. Oh, I know what this means. He wants to fuck me, which isn’t surprising, but why do I feel like an uncouth teenager all over again, clumsy and awkward and forgetting how to say no to something I don’t want to do. Put up walls. Put up walls. Make it uncomfortable. Be weird. Run away. Or – am I going to do something I’m not terribly invested in just so things won’t be awkward for twenty minutes? No, that’s not me, but the fact that it crosses my mind irritates me. How come after all this time, and all this life experience, and all this education on consent and feminism, I still feel like this. Why does rejecting someone’s light, innocuous advances feel like an insurmountable moral conundrum?

Like the man who asked to come over and watch a movie with me. I’ve been entertaining a dalliance with him for two years, but nothing had happened because I just hadn’t felt like letting anything happen. But I realized as soon as I opened the door and let him in: oh, this will perceived as consent. As I sat there, in my own bed, next to him, watching some movie, I wondered: do I actually consent? Do I actually want to do this? Am I actually attracted to this person? Do I have the energy to say no right now? Didn’t I know this was going to happen? If I’m going to say no now, why didn’t I say no earlier? Oh, I know, it’s so fucking exhausting being inside the head of a woman who is well aware of her options but still too fucking frightened to exercise them. Can I be coerced into saying yes? If I am coerced into saying yes, will I feel good about it tomorrow since I’m toying with the idea of saying no so much? And then whose fault will it be. So I laid there, and I felt like someone else’s conquest in which I was actively participating.

Maybe this is all baggage from my last relationship. Which I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about because I’m so sick of talking about it. But aren’t any of these situations just an extension of the situation I put myself in last year? You know, the one where he had keys to my apartment so he would come in at five or six in the morning, coked up and coming from who knows where and from doing who knows what (or whom), to fuck on me or fuck at me or whatever you want to call waking me up in the middle of the night to fuck me in that heaving, skin crawling, post cocaine state of dissociation. It was, as he liked to remind me, ‘part of the kink.’ If it was part of the kink, how come I never got off?

I hate feeling like a victim. I hate that I have to carry around these bad habits, and I have to find some forcible way to shake them off me, much like I have to shake off strange men breathing down my neck. This is so boring, and it’s not really who I want to be, but I guess I can admit to a certain amount of emotional tail spin that is dragging my sexuality into a whirlpool of post break up din. Guess I should sit down, meditate, and redefine my boundaries with the entirety of men in the world.

Like the colleague that my friend told me is just going to try to fuck me.

“Has he tried to fuck you yet?”

“No, but I’m sure he will,” I replied.

“Well, at least you know.”

Oh, I know. I know that I’ve been feeling really sorry for myself, and I know that it’s making me feel angry, and when I get angry I just want to…demoralize a mother fucker. Oh, this will be fun. Time for me to hurt some feelings and call it female empowerment. Watch out, world.

Marked (Part II)

A bruise. Oh, great. Just what I need. To be single and have a bruise. A bruise that isn’t easily explainable. A bruise that obviously isn’t from bumping into a chair. This thing definitely looks like a bite mark. Fuck.

I kinda wanna call this guy and tell him that bruise are for mains only! But I’m not sure what the implication there would be. Is the implication: you are not my main, don’t do it. Or is the implication: now you gotta be my main. That’s too much. I don’t want to think about that. I just want to not have this bruise so I don’t have to think about what kind of lie I might have to tell if one of my other dates asks my why I have a bite shaped bruise on my leg.

Or maybe I don’t want to think about it because I secretly like it. How bold. How kinky. What nice little reminder of a fun little time. I do like being covered in bruises, head to toe. Leave your mark on me. Let the world know who I belong to.

Although, no, isn’t that what I want to get away from? Isn’t that what’s been pissing me off all week? Getting yelled at in the street like I’m somebody else’s discarded property. My date getting accosted for being seen in public with me. The last vestiges of a wild kink from a failed relationship: getting off on being someone’s property. Like an immutable object that was meant to be possessed. I don’t know if I’m mad that various denizens of Downtown Oakland still look at me like I belong to someone I’m no longer dating. Or if I find it to be endearing. He certainly did put a lot of time and energy into making that kink feel real as possible if I’m still experiencing it two months after the fact. How thoughtful of him.

So, as with all things, I am large and I contain multitudes. I guess there’s no avoiding having a sexuality tinged with disgust and violence. Might as well embrace it for the concrete floor covered in shattered glass that it is.

Ferreting Out Subtle Misogyny On Basic Ass Dating Apps

Hinge is cool because it seems to have an algorithm that learns what I’m swiping right on, so I’m getting more suggested matches that actually align with my taste (as opposed to an endless sea of skinny white boys with thinly veiled conservative political views). It’s nice, but now that I’m actually taking the time to look at what my matches’ profiles say, woo, boy, there is some weird shit in there.

For example: Must know how to make a home cooked meal. Well, seeing as I mastered the art of scrambling an egg last year, it’s not that I don’t know how to make a home cooked meal. Sure, my culinary skills are pretty fucking basic, and I feel shy about that sometimes. But having this be a primary ask on your dating profile is a bit much. Probably because when I see this I know I’m exactly not the type of woman they’re looking for, so obviously I’m a bit piqued. I’m really good at paying for meals – does that count for nothing?! Can’t I have a career and not enough time to know how to make ribs?I mean, I guess I could learn how to cook more interesting meals, but the expectation that I should already have mastered this fairly complex skill when they’re offering me – what? What are they offering me that I don’t already have? *scours Hinge profile* Yup, can’t find anything on here that merits me cooking for this man. Out of all the things a guy could put on his dating profile, this one red flags as “I’m looking for a servant not a partner” to me. Eh, maybe I should take more pride in my culinary abilities. Not because I want to be a better Hinge match, but because, fuck you! I can do anything I set my mind to, and I’ll still be too good for whatever basic ass bullshit blows my way on these basic ass dating apps. God damn it.

Anxiety Dating

I want him to love me. I want him to be in love with me. And I’m probably willing to do anything to accomplish that. Fuck. As I’m sitting there in my gold teeth, Chanel chain, lavender Mongolian lamb coat, and pink velvet ankle boots, I realize: I’ve probably overshot the mark on this one. As usual. God, why am I such a fucking try-hard. I’m trying to be witty and winning and funny in this otherwise unremarkable sports bar on a Tuesday night, feeling slightly awkward and out of place. Kicking myself for shooting so low, yet again, with my romantic ambitions. Yes, his dick is huge, but woman cannot live on dick alone. I’m putting all this effort into appearing girlfriendly, but what the fuck is he doing for me? I’m desperately trying to seem lovable, but does he even want me to love him? Or just fuck him. Sigh. Eye roll. Whatever.

This is just who I am. Or, this is who I have become after being raised Catholic. I still can’t seem to separate myself from all that early childhood indoctrination I endured. I should be a good wife! I should cook! I should clean! I should bear children! All of which I rebelled against very thoroughly, but, in retrospect, it wasn’t a very effective rebellion because I just found myself in relationship after relationship with men who echoed those sentiments in post modern, pop culture iterations. Suck dick! Be obedient! Behave yourself! Do as you’re told!

God, I can’t stand this. This man is probably just like every other man I date: depressed, nonfunctional, brilliant but bogged down by the confines of society. They say that you date the parent that you had the most problems with, and as I look at the roster of exboyfriends and exlovers, I can’t help but realize: damn, I did not know my mom was that fucked up of a person. Poor girl.

I want something better than that. I want something that doesn’t require a bottomless pit of effort in order for me to feel like I deserve love. I just want to relax. To wear my ridiculous outfits and not feel like a fucking spectacle. To be witty and weird and not constantly feel like I’m saying the wrong thing. I just want to be myself and have that be okay. Instead of constantly trying to hide myself because that’s the only way anyone will ever love me.

I’m probably overthinking this. I mean – I’m definitely overthinking this. That’s just what I do. It’s why I’m dressed up like a cream puff in a sports bar talking too much about the long and rich history of Emeryville, yet again. Mulling over in my mind how can I use every day conversation to build rapport, to build trust, to demonstrate my character, to be vulnerable, to be strong, to build intimacy and generate attraction. All of these things should add up to this person liking me. But he’s here, so he must like me on some level, even if this entire process feels inscrutable, and there he is, a mystery laid before me that I must crack open and understand. God, it’s so much work. Why can’t I just find a cheat code and skip to the part where I get to find out if this is a good decision or not. Why do I have to put all my weeknights and weekends into discerning: who the fuck is this person? And do I like myself when I’m around him? What if the answer is no? What if this is a massive waste of time? Should I be playing the field more? Fucking a million other people? How the fuck do people even get into relationships?

Okay, okay, calm down, it’s not that difficult. People do it all the time. Maybe if I just relax my way into this, I’ll yield good results. Although, no, I don’t want to slip and fall into another relationship because that was horrible. Must set goals for myself. Which feels so transactional, but fuck it. If I don’t have a vision and I don’t have direction, then I’ll wind up falling off an emotional cliff just like I did last time. Focus. I need focus.

So I sip my gin and soda, smile, and see what the fuck happens. I’m having a good time. This is good. I like being out, so even if this turns out a total wash, at least I’m enjoying myself. Everything is going to be okay. I’ll be okay. Right?