Frequently-Asked Questions

Beauty Level-Up #5: An FAQ on Contouring

Contouring is one of those things that seems really intimidating. It doesn’t help that many guides to it don’t start with the basics and launch into placement of colors. I was personally quite freaked out by contouring until very recently. Even now, I’m still exploring different ways of doing it.

Here is what I’ve learned about contouring that I learned from experience more than from what I’ve read online and heard from others, as well as some links that have helped me.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is contouring?
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Skepticon Is Nigh: A Tale Told in Reaction Images

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know how beyond stoked I am for this weekend. In but a few short hours, I will be boarding the flight that will be the first leg of my journey out to Springfield, MO, where I will be not only presenting my first workshop after two years of crashing others’ but also speaking at the Skepticon.

a cat with the caption (heavy breathing)


My workshop is on Becoming & Being One of the Cool Kids Online. It will cover the weirdness that is being a skepto-atheist-secular-SJW-type who uses the interwebs.

Attention online is a mixed bag, as we will discuss.

Because getting attention online is complicated, we’ll be talking history and theory but also brainstorming strategies and plans of action.

My talk is called Simple Pleasures: It’s Complicated.

I will also be decked out to the nines for the benefit of all beholding, but especially my dance partners (you could be one!), at SkeptiProm / Dino Prom.

the singer from Future Islands doing a kind of awkward yet kind of hot jig-dance

The aforementioned decking-out will take place at my hotel room, where I will be allowing in people (within reason) to borrow make-up and jewelry, as well as get help with the application of the former.

Elsa striding in her cool (see what I did there?) new outfit, captioned

It is so on.

For once, I am taking my laptop with me to con, and I’m committed to posting at least one update during all the excitement. I do tend to post things on social media, as well, so you can peek there for livetweeting and other updates.

Expectations vs. Reality on Dating Sites: Fat Hairy Girls

Content notice for racial and gender-based slurs as well as rape apologism and fatphobia. This post is heteronormative not because I’m hetereosexual, but because most of my online dating “adventures” have been with men.

I am, for better or for worse, a seasoned veteran of OkCupid. I’ve been using it off and on for almost a decade now. The way in which I have used it and for what end has varied over the years, as has my weight, my appearance, and my sexual orientation.

What hasn’t changed?

  1. For various reasons, I’m not everyone’s non-platonic cup of tea.
  2. Most men on the site claim to be opposed to at least one of the facets of who I am.
  3. I get messages from those men anyway.
  4. Hilarity ensues.

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Do I Get to Dress Like the Women on Matt Taylor’s Shirt at Work Now?

The Matt Taylor ShirtGate / ShirtStorm issue has been covered to death. As a supporter of women in STEM who is not herself a graduate of a STEM program, I thought I’d be okay with limiting my participation in conversations around it to signal-boosting others’ takes on it.

Kiran Opal discusses why people’s reactions to Matt Taylor’s apology were so terrible. Gretchen Koch explains with whom exactly she is angry. Phil Plait makes a case for why, although the conversation has centered around a shirt, it isn’t just about a shirt.  Greta Christina took on the issue from her unique perspective as a pornographer.

Many people on Twitter and other social media platforms have brought up the fact that women and people perceived to be female face constant criticism for their clothing choices both within and outside of the workplace.

This is where my outrage as a person perceived to be female comes in.

Until the day comes where women and women-perceived people’s clothing choices are not policed to death, especially in the workplace, I am entirely unsympathetic towards Matt Taylor’s choice to express his sexual preferences via his clothing choices at work.

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Polyamory: What No One Warned Me About

A born loner, bookworm, and nerd, I looked up “sex” at the library when I was nine years old rather than asked my peers about it. In the ensuing pre-teen and teenage years, I encountered all kinds of sex and love related things online (they were textual rather than visual, since I was only allowed to use our crappy dial-up for an hour a day and I feared getting caught with images or video). One of those things was the concept of non-monogamous relationships.

And so, before I had even had my first kiss, I was well-read and -versed on poly terms, concepts, and theory. There was one thing that all the poly websites, books, and podcasts didn’t quite prepare me for: how much more devastating a poly break-up can be to the dumpee’s self-esteem.

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Buy a Dance With Me at Skepticon

Today, I was simply going to announce that you can buy a slot on my dance card at SkeptiProm/Dino Prom. The proceeds will benefit Skepticon. Though I can’t promise that I’m good at dancing, since I grew up in a Footloose-esque family, I can promise that I’m always entertaining.

the invitation to SkeptiProm


As always, I can never just announce a thing without something else coming up. A simple fundraiser is too hard to comprehend for some people, evidently. Avicenna notified me of … well, read it for yourself. [Read more…]

Beauty Level-Up #4: Beauty Boxes

One of the newer trends in the beauty industry is the subscription service. It usually means paying a set amount of money a month to receive a box full of goodies in the mail. Different boxes have different levels of customization and vary in price, brands sent, and so on. I have maintained a subscription to at least one at a time for the past two years or so because they’re a great way to accumulate travel-friendly items and maintain a strict beauty budget while still getting to try out new things.

As someone who loves shopping online, enjoys trying new things, loves getting packages in the mail, travels a lot (yay for trial- and travel-sizes!) and is a sucker for “try this with a coupon code!”-type Facebook ads, I’ve sampled several of the beauty box offerings out there.

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“Neutrality” Is Political: Defending the Criticism of Fiction

Part 3 of 3.

The devoted fan or adamantly apathetic’s defense against the criticism of fiction is generally is along one or more of three veins.

  1. It’s just fiction and exists merely to entertain. There is no need to take it so seriously.
  2. The adaptation of this fiction cannot be blamed for elements that are true to its source material.
  3. It’s fiction and is not meant to be a political statement / politically correct.

The last one, like the first, is intended to stop people from criticizing at all. Unlike the first, it isn’t entirely disingenuous. Regardless, the argument is invalid for one simple reason: A lack of overt political messaging does not mean that a work of fiction has no messages and is therefore “neutral.” [Read more…]

Abrahamic Influences on Anal Sex: Islam vs. Christianity

This post assumes cis- and hetero- normativity because, in the context of the Abrahamic religions, gender and orientation variance from the cis-het norm isn’t exactly a topic that is heavily covered by the canon.

I swear, this wasn’t my fault or my idea.

Via, a video and a question.

did Muslim girls have this idea too?

In case you haven’t seen it yet but don’t want to watch the video (which is inexplicable as Garfunkel and Oates are hilarious), The Loophole is a humorous take on the real-life phenomenon of certain purity-pledging, vaginal-virginity-obsessed Christians having anal sex as a way to avoid tampering with the mythical hymen. The question-asker is wondering if Muslims also have anal sex as a way of avoiding premarital vaginal sex.

In a word: no. But there is another phenomenon regarding anal sex that I uncovered in my research for my talk on LGBT people in the Muslim world.

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Adaptation Is Not An Excuse: Defending the Criticism of Fiction

Part 2 of 3. Content notice for racial slurs.

The criticism of the idea that you can criticize fictional works tends to run along one or more of three veins, from most to least flimsy:

  1. It’s just fiction and exists merely to entertain. There is no need to take it so seriously.
  2. The adaptation of this fiction cannot be blamed for elements that are true to its source material.
  3. It’s fiction and is not meant to be a political statement / politically correct.

The second isn’t as flimsy as the first, but still doesn’t manage to delegimitize the practice of the criticism of fiction. The best recent example with which I have some familiarity comes from the new Constantine TV show. I found the second episode’s treatment of the Rroma/Romani/Rrom/Sinti peoples to be very much in line with the horrific oppression with which they are treated by society. Alex, as someone of Romany descent, has something to say about that. I will turn my focus to episode three, which addresses so-called “voodoo.” In the case of “voodoo”, as with “gypsies”, so far, I’ve found that Constantine punches down in a way that cannot be explained away via loyalty to the source material.

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