Several people have called me a ‘man eater’ which has given me pause. I looked up the definition of a man eater, and it seems that man eaters are considered to be promiscuous, manipulating, cold hearted, withholding, deceptive, and hell bent on under mining men’s confidence and self worth. I mean, sure, fine, ok, maybe I’ve got a touch of all of that in my heart, but, also, um, excuse me! I more than just a cold hearted bitch. I have feelings and needs, too. Just because I have given ‘a chance’ to men who I kinda knew weren’t up to the task of dating me, and just because I walked away from those relationships with no remorse or regret, doesn’t make me a mean person. If anything, I think I’ve been pretty open and honest on a social media level about my expectations of relationships, dating, sex, etc. If someone hasn’t done their research, that’s kinda on him. I do my research. If anything, I yearn for love. I love being in love. I like relationships. I’m open minded when it comes to dating, and I accept that I will make mistakes, and I’m not too hard on myself about it. If that makes me a man eater, then, damn. Fine. I just rue the idea that female confidence is always flipped into a pejorative. But whatever. Anyone who’s worried about labeling me a ‘man eater’ probably isn’t my caliber of person anyway.
I usually don’t like to talk about my professional life on my blog because it’s not very salacious, but given recent events I have a lot of shit on my mind.
I work in the spirits industry (and, by extension, the hospitality industry). It’s a tight knit community in the Bay Area. With the recent protests and riots, the issue of Black Lives Matter has come to the forefront of the conversations in our community. Given the compounding circumstances of the pandemic, people are more exposed to the message and the urgency of the BLM movement. That’s a good thing! We are now witnessing the biggest civil rights movements in American history.
But this is a rant. There are many reasons why this is a rant. I almost can’t even organize my thoughts intelligently because I’m so angry right now.
I know that today might be the first day that many people have decided that they want to be anti-racist. That’s great for them. However, as someone who has been aware of these issues and been to these protests and participated in activism in the racial justice realm, I am incredibly frustrated. We all know how easy it is for people to post on social media. A lot of people think that they are going above and beyond by going to these protests (although I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people are going just because they’re lonely and bored, but, hey, I’m a cynic). A lot of people think that going to a protest is what they need to do in order to take a stand against racism and police brutality. I am here to say: that is not enough.
Protests are for young people and the disenfranchised. Protests are how the powerless people express their power. However, I am not powerless, nor are any of my professional peers powerless. Yet when I spent time this week talking to people in my professional realm about anti-racist solutions, no one wanted to do anything. Yeah, I get it, anti-police brutality is the hot topic in anti-racist circles right now. But I don’t have any power over the police or government policy and budgets that relate to the police. Nor do any of my peers. Yes, we might feel powerless to impact the conversation of anti-police brutality outside of concerted efforts to call our elected officials, sign petitions and donate to bail funds. But this movement doesn’t stop at ending police brutality. It begins at ending police brutality.
Fine, sure, if it’s your first day not being racist, this is probably all pretty overwhelming. But, fuck, why am I talking to people who didn’t know that all this was going on? Honestly, I’m shocked that anyone I know or come in contact with didn’t know about this. We live in the Bay Area! We live in California! I remember the Rodney King riots. Oscar Grant was murdered only 11 years ago. Black Lives Matter protests have been happening across the nation for the past decade. Where the fuck were these people? I guess they were at work doing other things, but, fuck. Having conversations with people about BLM has made me wonder – do these people not have any black friends? It’s super awkward to be around people who need to have their white, anti-racist, day one tears acknowledged and validated. That is not the point of all of this! I am way past the point where I can even cater to or indulge those tears. Because it’s your fucking fault if you didn’t know this shit was going on in the world you live in. It’s your fault you didn’t look around you. It’s your fault you haven’t been paying attention. So sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.
I guess it’s not incredibly wild to fathom that people who haven’t been involved in anti-racism would bilk at my ideas for the spirits and hospitality industry. I’ve been trying to garner support for any of my ideas, which are as follows:
- Kentucky based whiskey companies need to stand in solidarity with protesters fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor and David McAtee. They were murdered in Louisville, a city that is known as the hub of the bourbon trail. Kentucky based whiskey companies need to be held accountable for acting to end racism in their backyard. They need to donate money to bail funds, to Black Lives Matter, or the NAACP. Anything less than a pro-black organization is pandering. I think it would be great for these companies to donate 1% of their 2019 profits to these causes. Brown Forman, the parent company of Jack Daniels and owner of other Kentucky whiskey brands, made $835 million last year. Brown Forman is also the #4 donor to Rand Paul through the course of his career as a senator. As of yesterday, Rand Paul was blocking an anti-lynching bill in the senate. That is unacceptable. Kentucky is a Southern state, and when I visited the distilleries in Kentucky I was shocked by how overwhelmingly white those businesses are. Kentucky based whiskey companies need to take a stand, they need to send a message that they are anti-racist by putting their money where their mouth is. Hopefully their hiring processes will follow suit.
- Reparations. That’s right. I said it. Reparations. As it pertains to the hospitality industry, we need to offer reparations to workers in this industry who are at the most risk of physical harm, who are low wage workers, and who are typically passed over for promotions. This is includes bouncers, dish washers, and fast food workers. And, yes, we need reparations! I believe in reparations for all black Americans, but giving out money is a tricky and overwhelming process, so there is where I’ve decided to start. I see people donating money to help the small businesses that were looted and harmed during the protests. It is tragic that this happened to the small businesses. But what about the workers? What about the people who can’t even open businesses on their own? What about people who have worked at these restaurants for years, currently can’t work because of the shut down, are facing a loss of income when the unemployment bonus dries up, and are kept at the back or in the most dangerous parts of these businesses? Where’s the money for them? Where’s the money acknowledging that their work is valued by the community? Reparations are the only way we can ask for forgiveness from the black community and truly heal.
- A zoom panel that addresses black issues in the industry. An all black panel. Specifically for black workers in the industry. Let’s give them a space to talk about what impacts their work, what they need, and how things should change. I don’t need to see another white-pandering, anti-racist zoom panel that neatly spells out the ABCs of how not to be racist to white people. Elevate black voices. Give them a platform to talk about themselves, not about white people. I can think of 10 people off the top of my head who would have amazing things to say, whose voices I want to hear.
- A mentorship program that matches black workers with distillers, bar owners, bar managers, and brand ambassadors to encourage career growth.
I am putting these ideas out there, and I am super frustrated that within the last week of talking about these things, no one wants to collaborate or use any of these ideas. At one point, someone told me that they don’t want to do this because they’re not sure if it’s what the black community wants. Which flabbergasted me because I know that they weren’t in touch with the black community. Hate to say it, but I was the closest they were going to get to the black community on that call. It’s also ridiculous to think that black people should be seeking out organizations and making demands of them at a time like this. If we want to help the black community but aren’t directly involved with them, then we have to try. We have to have ideas. We have to make bold moves. Yeah, we risk the black community not wanting those resources, but so what? It’s better than doing nothing at all.
This is all to say that allyship is fucking exhausting. Not nearly as exhausting as being a black person in this industry. I just wanted to share with all seven of my readers that while this might feel like a historic moment, behind close doors I as a white passing woman can’t even get my white colleagues to show solidarity. So I’m in a very cynical mood, because we all love to post about ways the make things better. But I have watched people not be accountable all week long. It is making me so fucking angry to see this movement exploited for clout, as usual.
I support black power. For me, Black Lives Matter doesn’t go far enough. I support black people in positions of power in every industry, but especially mine. I have never had a black boss in this industry, and I have had shockingly few black coworkers. I don’t expect any black person to tell me what they need if they don’t want to. The burden is on me to fix this system, and if I get it right, cool. And if I get it wrong, I’ll try harder next time.
Now that I can’t use the bar as a standard setting for screening my dates, I’ve decided that I should put more effort into the other aspects of screening my dates. I always like to find out about a man’s relationship with his mother – that’s usually a good indicator of his general attitudes towards women. But recently I’ve found that my favorite, perhaps most important litmus test is: how does he feel about sex workers?
While I have never been a sex worker myself, I have always felt very accepted by the sex worker community for the writing I have done. Several of my best friends are sex workers. I believe that sex workers’ rights is one of the most important new social justice causes of the century. So it’s important to me that the men I get involved with aren’t whorephobic.
I like to bring up sex workers casually. Sometimes I mention my best friend, sometimes I mention my best friend’s sugar daddy, sometimes it’s just random. I like to gauge a man’s reaction to my conversational mention of sex workers. Does he tense up? Is he at a loss for words? Is he contributing something to the conversation? Does he get weird and ask inappropriate questions? Or is he cool?
Nowadays, I find that most men know the correct answer: sex work is real work. Plenty of men know women who are sex workers. Some of them are even friends. However, recently I’ve discovered that ‘not being whorephobic’ simply isn’t good enough for me. Because even if a man can deliver the politically correct answer to, “How do you feel about sex workers?” I find that often times men always like to put a caveat on the response: sex work is real work, but I would never pay for a prostitute.
I do not like this answer. Granted, there’s more context to the answer that makes me dislike it. Generally, men like to say, “I would never pay for a prostitute because I don’t need to/have to/want to pay for it.” Something like that. It’s so condescending. It’s almost like saying, “Paying for a sex worker is beneath me.” Which to me sounds like, “I support the idea of sex work, but it’s for ugly men and beta cucks.” No! No, no, no, no, no.
The idea that paying for sex work is a last resort for desperate men who can’t score pussy on their own is a toxic attitude that perpetuates whorephobia in its own way. First of all, whenever a man says that to me, I always want to tell them: I know plenty of men, some of who are hotter, younger, richer and/or happier than you, and they revel in paying for sex. Being able to fuck women for free has nothing to do with it. I have learned from these ‘plenty of men’ that paying for sex is about having a quality experience. It’s about investing in sex rather than throwing the dice and hoping that tonight’s Tinder date is down for some freak shit.
To say that paying for sex work is for desperate men implies that there’s something shameful about paying for sex, that it’s an act of defeat. Shaming men who pay for sex perpetuates the stigma and shame around sex work, which in turn makes it harder for sex workers to fight for their rights. If the clients of sex workers hide in the shadows, how are sex workers supposed to come into the fold?
Sure, I get it, a lot of men aren’t interested in paying for sex, and that’s fine. I would feel differently about the conversation if a man were to say, “No, I don’t pay for sex, and it’s not something I plan on doing because that’s not where I’m at with my sexuality right now. But, who knows, maybe that will change in the future.” If a man says he supports sex workers, but then turns around and poo poos the idea of paying for sex himself, then he doesn’t really understand what it means to support sex workers. And that’s not good enough for me anymore.
Turns out I love men who love prostitutes.
I’ve dated liars before. In fact, I willingly dated someone I knew to be a pathological lover .(I really, really loved him. Them.) It was a fascinating experience. Every time he told me something that I suspected may or may not be true, I forced myself into a zen-like state where I told myself that it didn’t matter if it were true or not. What mattered was what he was trying to communicate to me and why. If I could grasp that, then the truth of the situation would matter less and less.
As I continue to date around town (yes, even during a pandemic, lol), I find myself gripped yet again with the underlying fear that all these people are fucking lying to me. Granted, the things we fear in other people generally tend to be the worst things that we fear other people finding out about ourselves. Or, yeah, I’m a liar, too. Which is how I’ve managed to establish my rather unique communication system. If I’m trying to get someone to tell me the truth about themselves, I’ll rarely ask a yes or no question. It’s better to discern information anecdotally.
For example, one of my dating tips and tricks is to find out how a man feels about his mother. It’s generally a direct translation of how they feel about women and by extension how he’ll treat you. However, you can’t just say, “Tell me about your mother” point blank on a first date. I mean, you can, but it’s such an on the spot question and puts people on their guard. It’s much more interesting to learn about a person based on what they do or don’t say in anecdotal conversation. Which is why I always have elaborately premeditated anecdotes about every possible intimate detail of my life: exboyfriends, family, jobs, living situation. I edit out all the unsavory parts and fill it in with things that will make me look good. I’m not going to slip and fall into accidentally revealing myself if I don’t want to. Which is probably why I’m a 32 year old woman still dating; see my previous post about being dismissive avoidant if you’re interested in reading more.
Anyway, all of this is just to say that I’ve mastered the art of appearing to be vulnerable without every being vulnerable. Check back next week for more tips and tricks!
It seems that my emotional state is still incredibly fragile, and any external factor can push my emotional state over the fucking edge, regardless of how much weed I smoke or how much I increase my anti-anxiety medication. Which is a total bummer. I must admit that I don’t think I’m ready for anything to reopen anytime soon. The idea of being in a public social situation sounds like a god damn nightmare, despite the fact that, yes, I really miss seeing all your beautiful faces at the bar. I can’t imagine sitting at a bar and running into people I haven’t seen in months and not 1) ugly crying or 2) getting into a physical altercation. And I’m not really looking forward to dealing with people who are out on day one of post-quarantine and how high key that’s going to be. So perhaps I will slowly expand my social circle so that I don’t come off like a total psycho mess, but, my god, this shit has been intense, and I’m not going to pretend that it’s been anything less than harrowing, even from my perch of privilege.
Admittedly, dating during quarantine has been quite a fucking doozy. I broke up with quarantine boyfriend #1 because, yes, it was that bad, and, yes, I am that fickle. So I hopped back on the dating apps and found a nice looking Texas boy who invited me over to his condo. I know, I know: how taboo. We’re supposed to be social distancing, but I decided on the first day of this shit that my mental health was as much of a priority as my physical health, so I’ve allowed myself to continue to see a select few people during this time, all of which are my family and then also someone to fuck.
Dating within the context of quarantine has been quite an experience. Mostly because I’m trying to not be a total coronavirus slut and start dating a ton of new people at once because I don’t want to endanger anybody. So that meant that I basically had one shot to get it right when it came to picking someone off the Internet to meet IRL. Which has been fine so far, but as a seasoned downtown Oakland bar fly, I must admit that going over to someone’s house for the first, second, third, and all future dates has put me out of my element. Quarantine dating for me looks like: sitting at this dude’s house, playing Monopoly, watching The Last Dance (I love it! Such good television), and one time we went on a hike. Normally, I would never play a board game on a second date or go on a hike for a third date. If I’m trying to get to know someone, I want to bring him onto my turf so I can appropriately judge him on a number of criteria: 1) does he dress like shit for a date to a bar? 2) does he know how to order and behave at a bar? 3) does he look at his phone the entire time throughout the date? 4) does he flirt with other women at the bar? 5) is he rude to the bartender? 6) does he complain if I order an ‘expensive’ drink? 7) does he tip well? 8) can he handle his liquor? 9) does he know anybody here? 10) can he hold a bar style conversation? All of these are things I take into consideration when dating someone new, mostly because I spend so much time in bars so I can’t really fuck with someone who doesn’t know how to handle themselves in a bar. But seeing as there has been no opportunity to go with this guy to a bar, and there probably won’t be an opportunity any time soon, I’m a bit at a loss here. I like to think I’m a decent judge of character, so I don’t foresee too many problems on the above listed criteria. He’s not going to show up to a public place wearing a fedora with a tweed jacket and a stained T-shirt. He’s not going tip $2 on a $50 bill.
However, there are a few other pitfalls when it comes to trying to get to know someone within the confines of their own apartment. First off, it feels like we’ve totally jumped the exciting, getting wasted at bars part of dating and have settled into the later stages of a relationship where we just sit at home and drink and talk shit. Which is fine, I love doing that, but I also had this glimmer of a thought the other day that this guy was boring. No, no, he’s not boring, it’s just that this style of dating doesn’t lend itself to a lot of excitement from jump. I also realize that the monotony of the context in which we are trying to get to know each other doesn’t offer a ton of insight into the soul. There are few outside forces than can trigger a deeper glimpse into who he is. If all we do is drink rose and watch ESPN, it’s pretty easy to get comfortable with each other in that context. I want to see something deeper, something darker. I want to know what kind of risks he takes. Is he the type of person who jay walks? Who drives drunk? Who gets in fights at bars? Does he like to steal shit from Whole Foods? Is he easily suggestible to a bump of cocaine? Is he spontaneous? Adventurous? Does he like to try new things? Or go new places? If I asked him to go to the museum with me, would we have a good time together? Is he scatterbrained? Tardy? Punctual? There are so many things that I’ll never learn about him if we just sit in his apartment and make small talk all day. Although, I’m a clever woman. I can find the answers to these questions if I try hard enough.
I want to know his secrets. I don’t know that sitting in an apartment for the next six months will give me a clear path to understanding what his secrets are. How will I know if he’s a womanizer if we just sit in his apartment? How will I know if he’s a slut if the only place I ever see him is at his apartment? What if he’s clingy, but we spend so much time at his apartment that I can’t tell? What if he’s mean, but he has so much control over the situation so it doesn’t show?
My friends tell me that dating someone in this new quarantine context might be good for me. They’re right – I’m trying to get away from Gangsta Boo-esque lovers, and what better way to not date an alcoholic than by not going to bars? Part of me just wishes that this guy would cave to my will and just move me in so we could fuck all day every day for the rest of quarantine, but, then again: we’re in a new context here. I am, as always, eager to initiate yet another codependent, toxic, sex fueled relationship. In ye olden days, that kind of relationship was frowned upon by people who prioritized things like their careers and their boundaries, but seeing as we’re all stuck inside now, the barrier to entry for a toxic relationship has lowered significantly. It’s hard to separate the true freaks from the ‘I’m new to toxic relationship’ ilk. Personally, I’m looking for someone who is seasoned in the art of mutual skull fuckery. Which is why I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve taken my time with diving into quarantine boyfriend #2. I’m pretty sure than anyone I start dating during quarantine will devolve into some sort of bizarre, toxic boyfriend, mostly because what the fuck is going on right now and how do we navigate that in new relationships? My expectations for quarantine boyfriend #2 are very, very low, mostly because I feel like that’s the most merciful way I can approach this situation. Yes, we are both lonely and we are both horny. Yes, we can help each other with that, but how much will quarantine cloud our judgment? Will the insanity of quarantine bring us closer together? Or is it making us say, “Yeah, let’s fuck” to someone that we would normally never say that to? Only time will tell if this is yet another misguided, quixotic pursuit of the physical comforts of flesh, or maybe the context of quarantine will help us access a more authentic level of vulnerability and togetherness. Either way, I’m just stoked to fuck.
In my heart, I have always been fairly anti-American, which I guess is ironic since I’m a full blooded American. It’s kinda like how I’m half white and I love dogging on white people all the god damn time. What can I say. I am large, I contain multitudes. That being said, I’ve never been a huge fan of this country, despite definitely benefiting from the privileges that come with being a white passing American. My ancestors fucking suffered to get here. Fuck it, my immediate family suffered. So, sometimes I deal with guilt for being ungrateful, but then I remind myself: fuck that! There’s nothing wrong with wanting more! There’s nothing wrong with demanding better from the system! It’s the American way.
Anyway, now that we’re here in the midst of hugely embarrassing pandemic, all I can say is: my god. Why the fuck did I stay here? Well, I’m lazy, that’s why I stayed here, and I’m too privileged to learn to speak another language or bother to adapt to another culture. But, more importantly: I stayed here, and now what. I feel like I’m living in the opening act of a societal collapse that I always suspected was coming but somehow am not at all prepared for. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that the amount of baseline rage I encounter in people on the street right now is abnormally high, and I live in North Berkeley, which is basically just an enclave for rich white people who smile at their neighbors. Sure, maybe the quarantine has gotten to them, but, god damn, Karen, a class war is coming can you not scream at me about wearing a mask? Sure, I’ll admit that I, too, have been feeling quite pugilistic, so my goony side is reveling in the simmering resentment in the streets.
Sometimes I feel sad knowing that I’m going to have to live through whatever the fuck comes next, and that scares the shit out of me. But then I remember: war. Living through war is something that most people have already done. We in America have generally been to insulated to feel its full effects, but seeing as we’ve inflicted war on a slew of other countries, we kinda have this coming to us, don’t we? If everyone else in the world can survive war, I’m sure that we’ll be able to weather whatever comes next. Not that I’m comparing the pandemic to war, but, rather, doesn’t it seem highly likely that war is the inevitable cure for our broken economy? Which is why I’m not incredibly worried right now, mostly because I know I’m powerless to stop whatever comes next, so I might as well enjoy the quietude of the quarantine.
This, like everything else, is something that I will simply survive. Sure, I might have to watch the American way of life collapse, and, admittedly, despite calling myself an anti-American up there, there are quite a few aspects of American life that I fucking love, such as freedom of speech and abortion. But if I have to spend the next ten years suffering so that everyone else can enjoy a better world that is perhaps less polluted, less racist, less sexist, more educated, and more egalitarian, then okay. I can do that. I accept that. I’ve lived a good life so far. I mean, I doubt that the world will get ‘better’ even if America rips itself to shreds, mostly because this planet will still be inhabited by humans, and we are, if anything, an incredibly fickle and power hungry bunch. But if we have to reset a few things on a global scale and watch America crash and burn, then so be it. I just slightly regret not putting my money where my mouth was and ditching to Mexico twelve years ago, but so be it. I’m prepared to be an American til the bitter end, because I’ve been an American thus far, and what kind of American would I be if I bailed on America right when things got tough? I’d probably be the most American kind of American if I left now, because that’s what we do: we’re greedy. And that is our most defining characteristic.
Was I lonely or was I bored? Probably a mixture of both, which is why I find myself eating steak in the kitchen of some gentro-rehabbed West Oakland house with a boy that I would never even in a million years even entertain. Yet, there I was, entertaining. I knew I had no intention of fucking him, but for some reason his puppy dog attention had piqued my interest. Perhaps after two months of sitting in my house, not completely alone, but definitely not at a bar, whet my appetite for sad male attention. It’s been a while since I cut a man down sexually, and, oh, boy, I did really love that, didn’t I? Which was why I was sitting in his kitchen, drinking his booze, and eating his steak – I needed the emotional boost of knowing that I can still reject men, even in the midst of a pandemic. There’s something about being by myself for long stretches of time that has brought out my cruel streak. I’ll admit it – I’m not a very nice person. I get off on watching people fail. Humiliating people is a cornerstone of my personality. I cursed out my neighbor on Sunday, and, omigod, it felt so good. Which was why I was there – I can’t get enough of it these days. Also getting all dolled up and twirling around in my room alone has gotten pretty boring. So did I go over to this guy’s house simply because I knew he was going to pull a move on me and I knew I was going to reject him? Eh, yeah. Old habits die hard. And I had a great time! Will probably do it again soon.
I’m on the fake news again!
She’s fiddling with the keys on her key chain again. Slightly rubbing them together, almost popping them off the ring. Fidgeting. She’s just fidgeting. It’s a nervous tic, something that she finds herself doing often but doesn’t remember starting. Just passing the time. Trying not to look at her phone. She doesn’t want to see how many minutes have passed, or, rather, how many minutes haven’t passed. It’s still the same minute. She’s still waiting.
The bartender hasn’t acknowledged her yet. She wants to look busy, like she has a purpose for being here, but she doesn’t want to look so busy that the bartender thinks she’s not ready to order. She’s ready. Shot of tequila and a tequila soda, please. Hopefully the booze will cut through her nerves. She hopes no one strange approaches her. She hopes no one tries to talk to her. It’s part of the peril of being out in the world – being subjected to strangers who might impose their will on you at any moment. Although, that is why she’s here. To meet a stranger. Hopefully someone who will not be a stranger for long.
The candles in their little cups flicker romantically. This would be a great place for a date. Or, it is a great place for a date, but it’s hard to think of this as a date. It’s more like an exercise in putting herself out there. Practice. Fake socialization. Just to get back into the swing of things. Even though she knows she’ll be spending most of this date day dreaming about checking her text messages in the bathroom in the hopes that someone more interesting has texted. Well, not someone. Not *him* that’s for sure. Even though she does miss the frequent incoming text messages and the modicum of security that he brought to her life.
She smiles at nothing in particular. She hopes that the man who is coming to this bar isn’t creepy or annoying. Getting to know people is such a chore. It’s so tedious. Mostly because it’s always such a let down. It was the last time she tried to get to know somebody. Just…a total waste of time. Why can’t people put out the cliff notes to their personalities so she can make better decisions about who to date. For example, a little note card with past trauma, attachment style, love languages, and a rating on a scale of one to ten on how good they are in bed. It always sucks to spend a couple nights with a person only to find out that they don’t eat pussy, or they hate trans people, or they think that sex workers deserve to get murdered. It’s exhausting. It’s like a full time job that she’s not getting paid for. Which is why she closes her tab. He’ll be buying her drinks as soon as he shows up. If he shows up.