They’re not bad at sex, they’re abusive

Every once in a while the following conversation happens in my Twitter feed:

Dude: “eating pussy too submissive for me it feel gay”

Woman: “I’m fascinated at this trend of dudes admitting on social media how bad they are at sex.”

And don’t get me wrong, I do get the joke, I’ve made it myself, but today I thought that this was only part of the story. When feminist people talk about sex, we usually think of something that most people (but not everybody!) wants and enjoys, that often includes orgasms and lots of fun together in a mutually pleasing activity. Therefore, a cis guy who is not invested in his cis female partner’s pleasure as well as his own is really bad at this activity. This idea also lines up with the very patriarchal notice of men’s sexual prowess, where a man’s value is linked to his ability to “satisfy” women in bed, only that in that version sheer exhaustion is seen as success as well.

So already we’re talking about different ideas of what “good in bed” means, but for the moment the following definition must suffice: straight guy is good in bed when his female partner enjoys the sex. The guy in this tweet does not think about his partner’s enjoyment. He thinks of his own masculinity, which is very cis and very heteronormative. In his world her pleasure does not feature. Eating pussy is evaluated in terms of his social standing and self image. Giving her oral sex would be submissive, and I bet you a tenner that he absolutely feels entitled to getting oral sex because usually the Venn diagram of straight dudes not giving oral sex and dudes seeing it as her duty to perform oral sex is a circle.

Given that he is very much invested in his own pleasure and not at all in hers, we can pretty much say that he will enjoy sex much more than she will. And usually people crave things they enjoy a lot more and things they don’t really enjoy that much less. What do you think happens when a dominant man who enjoys sex a lot is together with a woman who enjoys it less? Personally I don’t think that he’d simply accept a “no”. At least he will repeat asking, nag, talk about how she’s neglecting him. In the end there will be consent, but there won’t be consent that’s freely given. There will be “duty” at best and violence at worst. A man who publicly declares that he is not invested in giving his partner pleasure is therefore a man you shouldn’t let near you.

 

 

Monday Mercurial: Erxcuse me, I’m an Ermine

On our Saturday walk I saw an ermine, which was a first for me.

Yeeeees, I know the quality sucks. I only had my mobile and the camera is rubbish. I’m getting a new one (because the screen is broken beyond reasonable. I’m also getting some heavy duty cover) and this time the camera was a criterion, so hopefully the next time I stumble across interesting wildlife it will be a better quality.

The meadow is part of the cemetery. I guess that’s the part where the anonymous graves are, in that case wave hello to my grandparents. If a small animal burrowing among his ashes cannot raise grandpa from the dead then Jesus stands no chance whatsoever.

Tummy Thursday: Around the World in 5 Courses

This year we had our traditional (a tradition means “at least twice”) New Years Eve dinner of five continents in five courses. The way we do it is that we draw continents and courses and then nobody knows who’s got which or what the others are bringing. This year we had the second main course and the Americas, so while I knew what I#d be serving, the guests brought their own. courses.

Let’s begin with the first starter: Asia, a salad

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Ruccola, persimmon, avocado and sesame. While I’m pretty sure that nobody in Asia ever created that dish it was delicious and a good light starter.

Second starter: Africa: Tunnesian pea meatballs and pastry filled with goat cheese and lime and two dips.

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The friend who made these is a professional cook and everything was delicious. The lime added freshness and it was a bit spicy, but not enough.

 

First main course: Oceania: Australian meat pies with peas

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Well, the concept was good. Unfortunately the friend who made them is a really bad cook. How bad you ask? well, she brought a bag of frozen peas and then asked me if I had any ideas what to do with them…

Second main course: Americas: Mexican tamales

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Once with their protective corn husks, once without. No, you don’t eat the corn husks. Served with guacamole and refritos. They’ll get their own post in the future explaining how they’re done. They’re quite filling, which meant that we had some leftovers for the brunch next day.

Dessert: Europe: Scottish Cranachan 

Well, there are no pictures because we ate it all before we remembered. Although it’s dead simple: raspberries, cream, roasted oats, it is also extremely delicious.

Somehow in my thirties the focus of New Years Eve definitely shifted from alcohol to food…

 

Have kids, they said. You’ll never be bored, they said.

You’ll grow so much and learn so much, they said. You’ll be faced with so many new challenges, they said.

Like repairing a slatted frame on a Friday afternoon because the kids thought that you only told them not to jump on your bed because you’re a mean old sucker…

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You can see the part where the laminated beam broke completely through. Mr will visit Ikea on Friday and # 1 will learn about the value of money (that’s the equivalent of 7 Pokemon movies!).

Shades and Reflections

I took my camera with me on our Sunday walk and upon looking at the pictures I decided that they together shaped a perfect theme for an end of year post.

Because looking at a whole year can never be one thing. Unless you’re a rock. I guess then you’re thinking in centuries or something.

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There were so many good things this year. I love my job, despite its high stress levels and I really hope that I can stay in this area. And I won’t say that I don’t care about the money. Having some financial backup really takes a lot off your shoulders, despite all the unexpected expenses we had this year. We had a wonderful holiday and despite the fact that #1 is deep within puberty and of course we’re having conflicts it’s also some precious time that won’t return.

I have so many wonderful friends, some very close to me, some across the globe and I’m greatfull for all of you.

©Giliell, all rights reserved The lake has started to freeze over in the part under the trees where all the debris accumulates, leading to interesting pictures.

But 2019 also had different layers. My body introduced me to whole new levels of pain. I thought I knew pain. After all I gave birth twice, broke some bones and had an infected wisdom tooth, but as it turned out, I only knew pain, not Pain. If you ever thought that “passing out from pain” was a trope found in books and bad movies: believe me, it’s not.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Politically, the world seems to be getting darker. Fascism is more and more normalised, the coup in Bolivia has critically endangered native rights and right wing parties in Europe are gaining more and more influence. But there is also some light, with progressive movements, especially around environmentalism.

Let’s see what 2020 brings and let’s work together to make it a better year, each one of us however we can.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Sweet Dreams: A Tummy Sunday

At our house we divided the Christmas days up between the families. In Germany “the big day” is Christmas Eve. That’s when the kids get their presents and the tree is lit (at least back in the days when you still used real candles) and the first years as a family we tried to do right by everybody. Back then my grandparents were still alive and I wanted to spend time with them, but “of course” you couldn’t say “we’ll visit Giliell’s family on Christmas Eve but not you”. The result was lots of unhappiness. My in laws would make very sad eyes at us for leaving early* and my family would complain about us being late. The kids would get so many presents in a short amount of time that they ended up exhausted and crying and unhappy. And then of course they wanted to negotiate about the two other days (in Germany you have two Christmas Days) as well…

At some point we decided to tell them all to gently fuck themselves and set down some rules and if you are ever in such a situation, especially with young kids. On Christmas Eve NOBODY leaves the house or enters the house. We spend the evening together, just the four of us. We have hot stone/raclette for dinner, which is really quick and easy to prepare and then the kids get their presents (and us as well).

The 25th is the day when Mr’s family meets. Out of the 5 siblings 3 of them take turns to host the whole party, although we have taken over from my  in laws since they’ re not getting younger and we have more space (and it is less exhausting and more rewarding to do it myself than to listen to my mum in law’s complaints. Sorry if I’m sounding uncharitable towards her. I really love her, there’s just some areas where she’s as exhausting as a toddler). Since that family is already in charge of cooking for about 20 people, the guests bring cake and dessert, which is actually the point of this post.

The 26th we visit my parents and since it’s the time of miracles, for the last few years my sister’s husband has been showing up as well.

But back to dessert. I made a Pavlova. I’ve been wanting to make one since forever and thought that this was the perfect occasion:

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Uhm, sorry for the crap image. I’ll do better. But the Pavlova was amazing: I sprinkled roasted pine nuts on the meringue before baking and prepared butter caramel baked apples with raisins and spices a few days in advance. On the 25th I prepared pomegranate seeds only transported the dry meringue “cakes” as well as the fruit and unwhipped cream to my uncle and aunt in law’s place where I whipped the cream and assembled everything there. I even added edible gold leaves.

I looked like a Christmas Dessert is supposed to look: lavish and opulent. It tasted like heaven. The sharpness of the Pomegranate balanced the sweetness of the meringue and the whipped cream was just right. If you’re ever asked to bring a spectacular dessert i can only recommend a Pavlova as you can adapt it to the occasion and don’t need to worry about transporting a fully assembled cake.

 

*My mum in law is one of those people whose only way to get what she wants is by making others feel bad. Sad comments along the lines of “I would really love if somebody …., but nobody cares enough…”

Have you been drinking varnish? A continental comment on the transphobic “restroom panic”

As you may have heard already, trans folks got an early Christmas present in the UK: A transphobic woman lost her employment trial, establishing a trans friendly case law and also paying for the privilege of doing so.

In the wake of it J.K. Rowling dropped all pretence of not being a transphobe and the transphobic “persecution” cries are doing a round again. At the centre of their argument is that People who were AMAB pose a threat to women and girls in female only spaces*. They, including the very nice lady who didn’t get her contract renewed (she wasn’t even sacked as people would want to make you believe) believe that this is true regardless of what steps the person has done to transition** , which is part of why the judge ruled against the transphobe as the view was absolutist and “[t]hat belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

This doesn’t keep transphobes from keeping claiming that trans women are a threat to cis women in changing rooms and I think that one reason why they’re particularly successful in Britain is because of their unusual layout of changing rooms. Whether in France, Spain or Germany, wherever you go shopping, the fitting rooms are unisex. Single stalls with a door or a curtain. It wouldn’t be hard to sneak a peak, and occasionally you can’t help seeing something when there’s a curtain that doesn’t close perfectly and a mirror, but you’re supposed to handle it like a grown up. Going to fitting room the first time in the UK was a culture shock there were separate ones for men and women and the women’s was a large open room with a couple of individual stalls that you could use if you tried on swimwear or something. Everybody else stripped and dressed together much like a gym locker. I guess you can see why that would be the image that flashes before UK people’s eyes when they hear “unisex” toilets or fitting rooms. Our communal swimming pool has always had “unisex” changing rooms: individual stalls that you enter on the “street side” of the pool and leave at the pool side. There’s also “family changing rooms”. No fucking body is forced to share space with somebody else while naked (unless you go to the sauna, but then that’s what you pay extra for).

Of course transphobes are not ignorant. The vocal ones are well educated and have for sure travelled to the continent and further away. They know what unisex toilets and changing rooms look like, but they choose not to correct their audience. Much like all other reactionaries who know better but who selectively present “facts” to mislead people who are probably well intentioned but just not as well read or travelled.

 

 

 

 

*Apparently boys are safe in male only spaces. For reasons. Or they don’t count. I don’t know.

**Now, just to make it clear: All trans women are women. I don’t care about the state of your junk or whether you stuff your bras with tissues or tits. None of them are my business. Unless you’re using live tits. That’s animal cruelty.

Teacher’s Corner: Fuck Childhood Poverty

Childhood poverty is something teachers get confronted with. Or some teachers get confronted with. The stratified German school system has long been linked to perpetuating social stratification. The high school I used to work at was a place that rather confronted you with childhood richness, despite being in one of the most downtrodden towns in Germany: Now at my comprehensive school the matter is a different issue. Many of the kids there are poor, and poverty has many aspects and layers. And some of the layers are more obvious than others. A lot of it is hidden. Nobody notices that a child never has any fruit because you don’t check all the food they’re eating. But you learn to notice the kids who either devour the free school fruit or look sceptically at pineapples because they have no clue what those are. And you learn to notice the kids whose clothing may be impeccably clean but is always the same. A kid tripped and tore her jacket. Now she has to tape it. The kids who will cry if some utensil breaks. Or those who are mysteriously ill just when there’s a class trip that is not free.

As a teacher you either get a heart of stone or you quitly spend a lot of money out of your own pocket. With a stash of stationery. With the winter coat that you kept for kid #2. With bake sales to raise funds for class trips.

For most kids*, childhood poverty in Germany may not be as bad as childhood poverty is in the US, at least they get more or less enough food, shelter and healthcare, but it’s devastating nonetheless. So if you want to support kids and do some good for the upcoming holidays: ask your local schools if they need anything. Here many schools have a “clothes shop” where kids can get stuff, ask if they need school supplies or maybe craft supplies from a hobby you no longer enjoy.

 

 

*A big exception here are EU migrants whose parents don’t have a job. I wrote about this before

I Watched Frozen 2 (and I liked it)

Yesterday we went to watch Frozen 2 in the cinema. My friends took their grandkid and we took ours and the little one’s BFF. They were chatting so much in the car, and our friends arrived a bit late and once we all had our popcorn I was already so confused that we first accidentally ended up in the wrong theatre (I noticed when I could see clearly despite not wearing my 3D classes). Sorry to the other folks.

Once we found space in the right theatre, the movie could start and it was great fun. First, there’s a lot of the silly fun that these movies are known for. Olaf is reliable as in the first one, but there’s also lots of situational humour that both kids and adults can enjoy.

Also, there’s new fun characters, with the spirit of fire probably being the cutest.

 

I’m definitely waiting for merchandise.

There’s also the usual adult joke or two thrown into that Disney is famous for. You know the ones that completely fly over the head of the kids and make the adults giggle and I also think that makes a great family movie. Things can be understood at different levels.

I absolutely liked how they handled the Anna – Kristof relationship. The two of them are lovers, but they are also friends. The whole gang meets up at night in the castle to play games and all the characters care for each other.

Another great part was the costuming. Now, I have no idea how they got spandex in Arendelle, but both Elsa’s and Anna’s travel gear looks like they can actually do the things they are doing in them. Still no pockets, but Anna gets a bag.

Now, for the great “Elsa is gay” controversy:

If that ain’t a “coming out” song I don’t know what it is. She’s always been torn, and different and now she’s singing a duet with a female voice who holds the answer and who is supposed to show herself. I am not quite sure what she’s coming out as, but I think that “queer” definitely counts.

Lastly, an unexpected aspect. While the trailer already hinted at Sami culture, I expected some nod at cultural diversity and you know what. I didn’t expect colonialism to be actually a topic and I didn’t expect the solution to “past wrongs” to be so radical. Without spoiling it: That’s what actual recompensation looks like.

In Need of Cute

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The bunnies, back in late summer. I think we can all do with some cute. You know your blogging team is all struggling with personal and health shit, so, sorry for neglecting you a tad. I had a busy week, because the world is a shitty place for kids and sometimes you can help, at other times you can’t and that’s the hardest part because all you can do then is keep your files up to date to prove you did everything you could. I’m taking that kind of shit hard. And because my mind is constantly working on 10 things at the same time while also forgetting some rather simple things I managed to damage both my front and my back bumper in two different but equally stupid events the same day after 20 years of driving without any accidents. Duh.

Happy Birthday, Caine

Robert, Desert Son OM kindly reminded us that today is Caine’s birthday. I am rubbish at dates, but I always prefer birthdays to death days, as they speak of life and quite often, of happy memories.

How to better celebrate Caine’s birthday than with a bird, so here’s a duck on a sea of gold. Happy Birthday, Caine!

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

What do you mean “boundaries”???

These days a conversation blew up in my Twitter feed, started by what seemed to me a pretty thread about asking for help and emotional labour:

“I want to chat briefly about this text that I received from a friend last week:

“Do you have the emotional/mental capacity for me to vent about something medical/weight-related for a few minutes””

Sounds pretty harmless, right? She talks about friends respecting their friend’s capacity, how amazing she thought it was for her friend to check in with her whether she could handle such a conversation right now, and after being asked for one, she provided a template for declining:

“Hey! I’m so glad you reached out. I’m actually at capacity / helping someone else who’s in crisis / dealing with some personal stuff right now, and I don’t think I can hold appropriate space for you. Could we connect (later date or time) instead / Do you have someone else to reach out to?”

From some of the reactions on my carefully curated Twitter feed you’d think she’d proposed skinning live kittens. People accused her of being a shitty friend (because saying “that’s tough” is easy and all that is needed) to being so deep in capitalist thinking that she wants to make personal interactions transactional and I just thought “WTF”???

Because nowhere does she mention wanting something in return. Nowhere does she decline helping her friends in general. She’s probably a very good listener who is compassionate, providing her friends with emotional support, or otherwise that particular friend would probably not ask her for her time.

What struck me was how nasty the conversation turned and how entitled people felt to other’s emotional space. Because boy do I know what it means to be emotionally exhausted. I talk a lot about my job, and most of the time I take it with humour. I have good emotional hygiene, which is something that I had to build with time, and I have a loving family that can provide ME with emotional support. And still sometimes I’ll leave school feeling raw and overwhelmed. When you have to have long conversations about abuse. When you hear that a girl the same age as your daughter was raped. If you came to me to vent with something perfectly legitimate but less severe than that, I might blow and take it out on you. You don’t want me to call you a crybaby who needs to get a grip. Not because that’s what I think, but because it would be self -defense against you needing something I just cannot afford to spend. I would be a bad friend to you, but you’d also be a bad friend to me.

If you came with something equally serious, I might simply break down. Again, none of us would be helped by this. I have the suspicion that the people demanding 24/7 emotional availability from their friends don’t care about their side of the interaction. Maybe they have less stressful jobs. maybe they have a greater mental capacity. Or maybe they are usually the venting side, not the being vented at side. And maybe they just never thought about this. In that case: please do so now. Do reach out. You’re not a burden to your friends, but please don’t forget that right now, they may not be able to give you what you need.