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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!)

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so be careful who it is you’re talking to // tmi tuesday #20

(I love this image. I wish I could say it was me. But it’s not.)

Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday once again. I skipped a couple weeks of TMI Tuesday; two weeks ago I was actually just offended by the first question about Lent. Why would you assume that I observe Lent? That seemed like a poor assumption and, as I’m incredibly unfond of religion, I was sort of turned off to all the other questions as well. Last week was incredibly crazy and I was not at my best. But that’s a different story for a different time/different blog. This week’s questions are really good though!

1. What made the best sex partner you’ve ever had so good?

A combination of things. I was at a high point of sexual confidence, so I had no problem telling him what I liked and what I wanted. While every guy I’ve been with has wanted to make sure it was good for me (those are their exact words), I hadn’t really figured out what would make it really good until this guy. Second, he was willing to do what I wanted, even though it wasn’t exactly what he wanted/wasn’t really something that worked for him. In other words, he was willing to dominate me because I wanted him to, not because he actually wanted to. He would have much preferred to cuddle me and have very gentle sex, but that’s not really my thing after the first few times. Lastly, we loved each other and I trusted him so that the idea of submitting was safe and hot, rather than anxiety-ridden.

2. What made the worst sex partner you’ve ever had so bad?

All of the opposite things from 1. I did not really like him, did not entirely trust him, and honestly wanted him to just shut up the whole time. Our personalities clashed, and I wasn’t as willing to open up and tell him what I liked. Actually, I told him what I didn’t like – the lights on – and he ignored me. Which I let go. My bad. He was very overbearing and tried too hard to take control. Normally, I like this, but he wasn’t good at it so I lost interest quickly. He also asked me to do things that made me really uncomfortable. As much as I wanted to not judge and explore, it was incredibly unsatisfying sex. I should have asked him to leave the minute he asked me to speak in Japanese to him.

3. Who was the most physically attractive person you ever had sex with?

UHHHH. I don’t have sex with good-looking people. Probably my last partner. I thought he was very handsome in a sort of boy-next-door way. Not so good-looking that I was intimidated, but enough so that I was attracted but comfortable.

4. How was it?

It was always good, and sometimes it was downright amazing. We were long-distance, so we got pretty good at communicating. See almost everything I’ve written about our sex.

5. Who was the least physically attractive person you ever had sex with?

Oh that’s so subjective and I feel so bad ;___; (Do I count? I have sex with myself a lot.) Probably the Friend With Benefits I had while in grad school. He’s adorable, but in an adorable way. Not really in a drop-your-panties kind of way.

6. Why did you do it?

I really needed sex. That sounds incredibly shallow, but true.

7. How was it?

Eh, it was okay. Again, unsatisfying because we weren’t really in a relationship. I told him what I liked, but he wasn’t really into it; he actually admitted most of the time he was “too tired” to do things that would really get me going. So I got like, half-sex.

Bonus: Describe a bad sexual experience you admit was your fault.

The aforementioned bad sex. I admit that it was my fault because I shouldn’t ever have slept with him. That would have made my life a lot easier. He was persistent so I gave in (shut up, I know you’re judging me), and that was a huge mistake.

(Image from theclassypolaroid on Tumblr)

maybe i shouldn’t have called // tmi tuesday #8

Yesterday and today have been rough. Normally I would be way more excited about these questions (I was when they went up on Sunday!), but right now I’m just not feeling sexy or intimate. I feel very distant and cold and a little bit like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff. I’m afraid I’m just thinking too hard, but that if I don’t think that hard I won’t be happy either. Life’s a bitch sometimes.

This week’s TMI Tuesday questions are on a subject near and dear to our hearts (and some other body parts, too). It’s all about SEX!… Yes, again.

1. What is your sexual personality?
a. The Controller – initiating sex, twisting your lover into positions you want, and driving scene play by play
b. Sex Slave – You love to be used and at the mercy of your lover. You don’t initiate but follow and do as you are told. You love to be used.
c. Daredevil – Sexual adventure and sexual thrills are what you are all about. You get off on the risk factor.
d. Subdued – Sex is a necessary part of the relationship so you are available when needed.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. 😀

2. How many times have you sneaked away from party guests to have sex in another part of the party venue. Where did you sneak to? Were you ever caught? For example, at a wedding reception you sneaked to have sex in the coat room. At a party, you sneaked to have sex in a bathroom or closet.

Never. I’ve never been to a party, and I’ve definitely never been to a party with anyone.

3. Your sex partner that you are mad crazy for has requested you do one of the following, which one would you grant consent to do:
a. Bondage/light restraint with your hands, legs tied while having sex
b. A sexual spanking that leaves light marks
c. Record the two of you having sex
d. Have sex in a mirrored room where you can see yourselves having sex from every angle

Any of the above, provided I trusted them enough in addition to being madly attracted to them.

4. Do you act out your sexual fantasies (select one)? Why?
a. I act out all of my fantasies.
b. I act out many of my fantasies.
c. I act out some of my fantasies.
d. I act out very few of my fantasies.
e. I don’t act out any of my fantasies.
f. I don’t have any fantasies.

Hmmmm… Probably D. Most of my fantasies are exactly that – fantasy – and based on a set of highly unlikely (and, in fact, apparently impossible) scenarios that I couldn’t really get to happen. I don’t really have big, vague fantasies; rather, I fantasize about a particular partner and particular situations or acts. For example, sex in the backseat of his car, or hotel room sex after a day of driving around visiting comic book stores and walking along the edge of the beach because we hate sand. See? Weirdly specific. So unless I can get those situations to line up (which, I’ve been informed, is not going to happen) I won’t get to act them out.

I have had some simpler ones that we’ve played on, but I don’t have many of those.

5. How important is sex in your life (select one)?
a. I could hardly survive without it.
b. It is very important.
c. It is somewhat important.
d. I could live without it.
e. If it were up to me, sex wouldn’t even exist!

Depends on what we mean by sex. I’m somewhere in the B-D spectrum. By that I mean that for a long time, I have lived without it, if we specifically mean sex with a partner. If we take a broader view of sex that includes phone sex, Internet sex, erotica, masturbation, etc., then C might be more accurate. I’m not sure I actively seek out these venues for sex, but they turn up with frequency (sort of on a when-I-feel-like-it basis) so I’m willing to accept that they must be important. B is only true for having a partner.

Bonus: Finish the following phrase.

Sex is preceded by grope-y snuggling and followed by snuggly spooning.

(Image originally posted by lust-sex-love on Tumblr. Click on the link to check her out!)

with the high heels on // tmi tuesday #1

Hooray! This is the first week I’ve had the patience to sit down on a Tuesday and answer the TMI Tuesday questions! This week all the questions are ones that have been asked before, so obviously they are all new to me! (And why there’s a picture from Casablanca. Quiet it made sense in my head.)

1. Have you ever shared sleeping accommodations with someone of the opposite sex without anything steamy happening?

Yes, on multiple occasions. Sometimes it was with someone I was sleeping with and we just didn’t do anything. More often it was with someone I wanted to be having sex with and obviously wasn’t. I could explain more, but… Ah, well. I’d like to think that’s all in the past.

As a side note: One of my favorite things to experience is waking up with someone. It’s one of the most incredible feelings in the world.

2. When it comes to swinging or partner swapping, which would excite you more, watching or being watched?

Watching. I think. I’m already a bit of a voyeur (watching my partner is such a turn on) that watching my partner with someone else would be really exciting. Plus then afterward I could be all possessive and jealous and prove why I’m better.

3. Would you vote for a candidate caught in a sex scandal?

I really think it’s stupid that people wouldn’t. I understand it, I just don’t think a sex scandal has any bearing on their ability to perform the political, representative function of their office. Barring really bad sex scandals, like something involving minors, rape, or human trafficking, I don’t think a sex scandal is that big a deal, politically-speaking.

4. Do you masturbate to porn, and if so, what is your favorite genre?

No ): I have previously expressed a desire to watch porn with my partner as foreplay/a precursor to sex, but I don’t masturbate to it. Nor do I have the time to watch enough of it to have an idea about what genre I would like.

5. What are three mistakes someone could make on the first date with you that would automatically make you turn down a second date with them?

Ooooo, this is hard. (It shouldn’t be, I’ve been on what I think people would consider to meet the minimum requirements of dates, and they’ve been bad.) 1) Try too hard to have sex with me. I hate that. When I am physically shying away from you, you should not keep pushing into my personal space. Just because I’m open about my sexuality does not give you license to lay claim to it. 2) Objectify me in weird ways. There’s a difference between telling me I’m pretty or sexy and saying what a hot Asian girl I am. The former is flattery and I will blush and act like a 15 year old. The latter will make me raise my eyebrows and stare at you in what I can only hope is a humorless glare. 3) Not be interesting. If you don’t make me laugh, and if we don’t have some kind of connection where I’m smiling and only feel awkward because I have that fluttery, butterflies-in-my-stomach-feeling because I want you to like me too, then you’re doing it wrong.

Is that 3 things? I need to go on more dates. More bad dates.

Bonus: Is your sex drive in park, neutral or over-drive. Explain.

Park. I go through phases depending on where I am in life. I am definitely not being driven by sex right now. Not that I don’t have any sexual desires (my partner can get me going pretty easily!), but I’m definitely not prioritizing or making them a central concern of my life. Maybe you’d consider that neutral? I’m not sure.

You, too, can play along! Just visit the TMI Tuesday blog, check out the week’s post/questions, and follow the instructions on the post! Have fun!