Category Archives: check in

but fever let me play the game

This week I was reading the Internet (as one does at work) and came across this Buzzfeed article and took the 16 Personalities assessment, and the combination got me thinking. I won’t go into the more practical side of money here (a different post for a different blog I don’t write), but I think we all have money stories about relationships that we wish didn’t exist.

Because I came from a family without money, I always assumed that I would end up with in a fairly equitable relationship. Neither me nor my partner would significantly outearn the other, because I just couldn’t imagine a world in which I knew people that far out of my socio-economic circle. I must have known that most of my friends’ parents’ outearned mine – that I was already outside of my socio-economic circle – but I never thought much of it. I was an optimist, I suppose. My boyfriend at the time did not seem significantly out of my reach, money-wise, and now that we are adults I know this is true.

When I finished college, I realized I had met a lot of rich people – people who went to the Caribbean for spring break, people whose families traveled to Europe every summer, people whose families owned summer homes and personal helicopters rich – but hadn’t really made friends with those students. I’d made friends with the other students on work-study, whose parents lived in modest suburb homes and who wanted to be activists and nurses and teachers. Even the future lawyers I met (and still know) do mostly public interest or government law. I made close friends with zero future doctors. I joked – often – that my brother, who was in computer science, would be supporting me and my parents in our old age. I didn’t date in college; I wished I could date the sons of professors and engineers and lawyers, but they dated the daughters of professors and engineers and doctors.

Post-graduate school was the first time I had to deal with my own money – and my own salary. I’d given up my dreams of becoming a professor to pursue the personal life school had always seemed to preclude me from participating in. I worked contract jobs for a while, earning a significant hourly wage but a low overall wage, and was able to save a little and spend a little, since I was living at home. When I finally took a full-time job, it was a low-paying public service one. In addition to internalizing the belief that I had failed my own potential (whatever that means, of course), I resigned myself to being too poor for many things. Given my salary – and the salaries I could expect – I could never afford a $20,000 wedding, a modest house in a good neighborhood, two college educated children, European vacations with a boyfriend. I couldn’t even afford an apartment with a nice bathtub and air conditioning.

At the time I was seeing someone who seemed to always need more money than he had. It wasn’t that he didn’t spend his money wisely – he was pretty responsible – he just needed all the money he made for necessities. I knew as a single person supporting only myself, I had the luxury of making choices that only affected me. I didn’t have pets, my parents and family didn’t need my help, and if I chose to pay for cable instead of for food that was my prerogative. Suddenly, I became the spender of the couple. When he wanted something nice for himself that he couldn’t afford, I would buy it for him. I bought expensive presents for his birthday and Christmas. I paid for meals when we went out together. I bought us gifts we could enjoy together (nice lingerie) and offered to pay for expenses as small as parking. I never begrudged him this; I knew he didn’t make very much and needed all he had, and I didn’t overspend. I did, however, question his life choices that made it so that he never had his own money. The parts of his life that required his financial attention weren’t parts of his life I could share in, so I was only guessing and empathizing with him.

In Los Angeles, dating is expensive – dating when you spend half your monthly income on rent takes some serious work. When I started dating again, I always split the bill with my date, unless he insisted or was just a gentleman who ordered my drink for me at the bar and paid. It wasn’t that I dated frequently and burned all my money this way; I just never thought to not split the expense. As a woman, of course I ended up coming out behind in the end – buying new dresses, new bras, new shoes, new makeup, new purses, getting my nails done, taking care of my health. But I was securely employed, well-educated, and independent; these were qualities I valued in myself and I needed others to value in me as well.

I haven’t dated “up” yet, despite the fact that I live in Los Angeles. In the words of Friends, I’m not fancy on the inside; it’s hard for me to find myself in situations in which I might meet those people who are higher on the social ladder than I am (it shouldn’t be hard to meet someone higher on the salary ladder than I am; I’m very, very low). I’ve never had a boyfriend that could take care of me. I’m not sure I’ve ever gone out with anyone who could even come close. Would it help? Absolutely. Like many young people, I’m burdened with student loan debt that I religiously pay. I pay my bills and keep a minuscule food budget but try to also enjoy my money and the experiences it can buy. I dream of dating someone who could help me cut expenses in half – food, trips and experiences, gas, rent. I dream of dating someone who could make possible parts of my life I’m not even sure I want – homeownership, namely. And would I let him pay for our dates? Probably.

I’m now dating someone who makes far less than I do (his hourly rate is about half of mine, plus he was briefly unemployed) but at the same time has more than I do. He lives where the cost of living is lower, but he has less expensive tastes than I do (he doesn’t need a theater subscription every year) and is happy someplace I could never really enjoy for long. This time, though, money is a strain. My job is stressful, which means I only enjoy it for the money, which is never enough. We only see each other about once a month; it hasn’t been long enough to see if we will be spending evenly on travel. While in some contexts we try to evenly split the cost of spending time together (he’ll pay for lunch, I’ll pay for the movie tickets; he’ll pick me up from the airport and drive, I’ll pay for the zoo entrance fee), in others I bear the bulk of the cost of us spending time together (we’ll both pay for the plane tickets to get somewhere, but I’ll pay for the hotel room that allows us to be alone together and food) and it makes me feel resentful. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve already done this for someone; I’m sure the mounting stress of my job is a contributing factor – the money that allows me to finance our time together is slowly killing me. But the fact of the matter is that I often find myself feeling angry-sad that he isn’t spending equally on us.

I don’t want him to not buy things for himself or enjoy his life without me. And I certainly want him to continue to save towards his own goals and to be comfortable with his financial situation. I dislike, though, the guilt-cycle that inevitably comes out of it: the resentment I feel at my investment not being met, the guilt I feel at being angry because I know he doesn’t make as much as I do, then the renewed resentment because I want to see him next month so I am contemplating buying his plane ticket. Someone joked that I was the “rich boyfriend” – how can that be, when I can barely pay my own rent?!

(Image from Joy of Lingerie on Tumblr. Click on the image to visit!)

i’m finally ready to take that blind leap

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Miss me? Somehow I doubt it 😉 But yes, I am back, at least temporarily. Part of this is that I have a new smartphone and OH MY GODS IT DOES STUFF. I can post to Twitter, I can bookmark interesting images and sites, I can use Yelp on the go to find lingerie stores… It’s crazy. How did I live without one before?!

The other part is what is with each passing day looking increasingly like heartbreak, which is a lot less exciting. Suddenly my life has a lot of time in it. For someone who was “not a real boyfriend” I built my life around him as if he was, and I’m only now becoming aware of it. No wonder everyone thought I was dating. I have no idea what’s really going on, so I haven’t really had a lot of violent mood swings or cries. If I had to pick, I’d say I’m just nursing a sense of anger and betrayal.

One of the things I cannot stand to hear but have now heard every time someone has broken up with me is, “You deserve better.”

Bullshit.

Okay. Maybe they’ve all actually meant this. Maybe they were all being nice guys. But to be honest, to me it always translates to, “I found someone better.” It doesn’t help that it’s always true. Either they literally have found someone better, or they’re going out with someone new within days.

I’m not sure I’d actually prefer to hear the truth. I’m already sensitive about how sparse my relationship record is. I think what I don’t like is knowing that I’m being lied to. I love white lies and sugar-coating. Believe me, I tell them and do it all the time at work. But when it comes to relationships, I feel like any guy who says that to me thinking that I’ll believe him is just patronizing me. As if I can’t see through the patent falsehood, like I won’t notice him with someone else at that party, like I haven’t heard that he’s hooking up with my best friend, like I won’t keep hearing, “I said I loved you, but I guess I just love her more.”

Or is it that it makes it sound like I don’t even know what’s good for me, what’s right for me? I admit that I’m terrible at knowing these things, especially apparently when it comes to relationships. But I firmly believe that even if it’s a stupid decision, if it feels right in my heart, then I can’t go wrong. Not because it won’t explode in my face, but because at least then I took a stand without regret. I don’t regret falling for guys and holding on for dear life. I regret those relationships not working out, of course, but I don’t regret what I did. I literally force guys to break up with me because I won’t let go. But to hear, “You deserve better” just sounds like he knows better. He knows what’s good for me. He knows that I’m just being irrational because I didn’t want better, I just wanted him. He knows that it’ll all work out for me someday, because it all worked out for him, didn’t it?

And by saying, “You deserve better,” he can dust his hands off and never worry about it again. He took responsibility, admitted he wasn’t right for me, and now everything else is my problem. If I’m heartbroken – well, that’s just because I haven’t seen the light yet. If I’m upset because I feel used – well, all the more reason he wasn’t good enough for me. If I feel small and empty and worthless – well, obviously he told me that wasn’t true, so what’s my problem? He gets to go back to his comfortable new relationship and not worry about me.

I’m sure that this is a line I’ll be tempted to use someday, if I ever get the privilege of breaking up with someone (so far I’ve only been broken up with – the downside of being so selective about who I fall for). And I’m sure part of me will mean it. Maybe all of me. And I’m sure he’ll disagree. He’ll feel like I do now (or will, when enough time has passed that I can officially put it down as a breakup).

So someone has to remind me not to. The person I usually ask to remind me about things isn’t around anymore, so here you go Internet, do your thing.

Hopefully I’ll be back on Tuesday for TMI Tuesday. Cross your fingers! I have to teach on Tuesday night so hopefully I will have some time during the day.

(Image from Lovely Derrier on Tumblr. Click on the image to visit!)

the stars come out // contest

Happy two-months to the blog! I’m pleasantly surprised I’ve been able to keep this up (:

I had hoped I would have something special in mind for today, but alas. Work and organizing myself around my “I’ve been out of grad school for a year hooray!” deadline has been keeping me busy. Instead, I’ll post about something super useful: cleaning sex toys. I realize that a lot of people have this information, but I know that some of my friends don’t and I think it’s important to share.

Cleaning toys starts with knowing about the different materials that manufacturers are using. There are tons of different materials, but there are some main ones that you are most likely to see.

The easiest ones to clean are hard materials, like glass, wood, ceramic, metal, and hard plastic. These are the easiest because they are non-porous (in a pretty obvious way) and can be washed like you would wash dishes. Glass toys can even be put in the top rack of a dishwasher. Most toys like this don’t have vibrators or other parts that you would need to be careful with. What you do need to be careful with is accidentally breaking a glass toy. Few glass toys will break if dropped, but they can crack or become chipped.

Silicone toys are also easy to clean. Silicone is non-porous, so you can wash them with soap and warm water or put them in the top rack of a dishwasher. What makes many silicone toys less easy to clean is that a number of vibrators are made with silicone – obviously, you don’t want to put that precious motor in the dishwasher! Soap and warm water will still work, as long as you are careful with the toy. Some toys are waterproof so they’re easy to clean; others have seams where the silicone meets a plastic handle or controls and these can make cleaning a bit more complicated. Just be careful!

Silicone-blend toys are, in my opinion, little bitches. Yes, they can be more durable than a pure silicone toy, but they can also be very misleading if you are not reading carefully. Silicone-blend toys can be porous, so they should be covered with a condom for ease. Condoms keep the toy clean and safe. Keep this in mind when looking at the materials list of toys.

Like the silicone-blend toys, jelly toys (or soft plastic toys) are porous and should be covered with a condom. These toys are usually nice and soft, but can’t really be cleaned effectively because they are porous, so a condom is the best way to go. Additionally, you can simply avoid jelly toys, but this is a matter of personal preference.

Antibacterial soap is generally sufficient. Dishwashing soap is easy and you probably have it around. Make sure that you wash thoroughly, let the soap sit for a few minutes, and then rinse well. Make sure that you rinse carefully! Let the toys air dry so they don’t get extra dirt or lint on them. It’s a good idea to wash your toy again before its next use as well.

In lieu of soap and water, antibacterial toy cleaners can also be used. They are safe for your toys (the kind that can be cleaned, of course) and eliminate the need for soap (if it’s not handy) and possibly water (for example, if you live in a dorm with shared bathrooms). Like lubricant, they come in small, discreet bottles and can be kept close by. Some can be wiped off with a clean towel!

Right now, Happy Buzz Reviews is giving away a small bottle of Renew Toy Cleanser from Good Vibrations. Renew Toy Cleanser is organic, so it’s not at all harmful to you or your toys. It does say it is lightly scented, but the ingredients list is short and it seems like it smells a little citrusy.

Head over to the link above to enter! Entering is pretty easy, though two of the entry types require Facebook login.

If you have more questions about sex toy materials or cleaning your sex toys, check out any of the major online sellers for more information.

just kiss me baby and tell me twice

Happy one month anniversary to me! Yes, it’s true, I’ve now been around on this blog for a whole month. Congratulations to me!

Since I just posted Friday and plan to post again tomorrow for TMI Tuesday, this celebratory post will be limited to some interesting links relevant to my interests and something I’ve already posted about.

First is an interview with Gary Trudeau, author and artist of Doonesbury, about abortion and sexual politics in his comic strip. Despite the criticism I know some people (even people you’d think would be supportive!), I’m rather refreshed to hear his take on issues and how it relates to what he writes. Yes, Gary Trudeau (along with other commentators such as Jon Stewart) is a man, but let’s face it: he commands a huge audience and following and is funny. I like reading his stuff, regardless of his gender/sex, because ideologically we’re similar and I appreciate satire.

Second is that Ben & Jerry’s has announced that it’s renaming one of its ice cream flavors in the UK to support same-sex marriage. Apple-y Ever After cartons, adorned with pictures of gay couples on wedding cakes, will join flavor Hubby Hubby to celebrate and support same-sex partnerships. And deliciousness.

Now that a month has passed I should be getting to my first full-length review sometime later next month. Not necessarily of the newest toys on the market, but one of my old favorites that I can keep falling back on 😉 Also stay tuned for tomorrow’s TMI Tuesday!

(Image originally posted by stairmastertoheaven on Tumblr. Click on the picture to go there!)

learn to fly // welcome

The first post is always the hardest; I’m only a little embarrassed to admit that I read several other blogs for ideas for a first post and found that it always seems to just get better. I’m no stranger to blogging, but previously I have always blogged about myself and my life, which I will probably be limiting here (:

You can find out more about me here or use the Contact page to contact me. Other useful widgets are in the sidebar and more will be forthcoming, as will links that I find helpful or interesting.

Coming soon: informational posts, fun links or quotes, and a sprinkling of reviews. At the moment I can only afford about one nice toy a month (and I buy exclusively nice, expensive toys), so reviews may be few and far between. I am hoping to supplement my stash and income by other (perfectly legal) means, but I have proven to have many interests that divide my attention and make it difficult for me to succeed at anything but that which I deem extremely important.

Good night, and have fun with it~!