Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to Find Friends, Lovers and Play Partners

Looking for new friends or potential dates can seem scary, especially when you are coming from the perspective of alternative sexuality. People who are kinky are worried about everything from getting caught by friends and family, to making sure they don't end up the victim of a predator posing as a member of the BDSM community.

Kinksters who want to meet like-minded people in comfort and safety can go to activities organized by reputable BDSM organizations in public places. A number of clubs exist in San Diego and other areas for the purpose of bringing kinky people together for education and socializing. They often have "munches," which are meetings in restaurants that are open to non-members. These events usually provide a casual atmosphere and no pressure. Since they don't want to advertise their sexuality at their public meeting places, people are advised not to wear fetish clothing, and there are no indications of the nature of the group meeting apparent to outsiders. BDSM clubs often have "orientations" for new members and discussion groups in public places for the same reasons. One of the iron-clad rules of the kink community is confidentiality, so people attending these get togethers don't have to worry about their boss or their minister finding out (unless they are at the meeting too). No one at the meeting will tell who attended, so everyone's discretion is protected.

Munches, classes and discussion groups are not hard to find, and are easy to research on the Internet. A reputable club should have its own website, at least part of which should be viewable by the general public. There are also Yahoo groups that exist solely to organize these kinds of activities, and those are easy to join as well. These days, a little time and effort is all that's needed to find a safe way into the fetish community.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 Changes!

evilgrrl is changing her blog! I love, but I've decided I need to separate my more personal, R-Rated posts from my more professional book and movie reviews that I'm hoping to show prospective employers as writing samples.

evilgrrlslair will continue to post mostly R-Rated blogs on sex, BDSM, alternative sexuality, and politics. For the more PG-Rated stuff, please head on over to my new additonal blog


Monday, May 25, 2009

What's Up With the"Twilight" Phenomenon?

I'm 43 years old, and I love vampires. I have always loved vampires. When I was a child, I used to watch Hammer horror movies with my parents, and ask why everyone hated the vampire. Admittedly, I was a strange child (as I am a strange adult), but I think the reason I rooted for the vampire was because I "got" the connection between sex and death that the vampire represents. Okay, at that age, it was love, not sex, but the connection between death and "sexual love" (if you will) still applies. For me, the vampire was a far more compelling love interest than some callow young man who just wanted to marry the heroine and give her babies like everybody else. The vampire needed his paramour as much as life itself, and their love would last for centuries. Talk about romantic!

I read a review of Stephanie Meyer's novel, "Twilight," in Entertainment Weekly by one of my favorite writers, Stephen King. He said he could understand the appeal of the subject matter - chaste love for young teens - but he didn't think Meyer could write. With all due love and respect, I think Uncle Stevie missed the boat on this one. That's okay. Uncle Stevie (as he refers to himself when he address us, the "Constant Reader") has written some damn good stuff about vampires, in "'Salem's Lot," for example, and in the Dark Tower series. The vampire is a very rich, fertile source of inspiration and association (especially for something that's undead) for artists of all stripes. King himself is a very good writer, and his thematic exploration of how vampires prey on the living, especially their own living families, is darkly magical and unsettling. I think, however, that for Uncle Stevie, vampires don't resonate sexually, and for me they do.

A vampire is like a hero in a Gothic novel: you're not sure if he wants to rape the heroine, kill her and eat her, or all three, in no particular order. Vampires conjure up almost Jungian associations of breast feeding: the simple, but all-consuming experience we assume newborn babies have when they suckle, the largely benevolent but scarily omnipotent power of the mother and the mother's breast to feed and comfort or to withhold food and comfort, the possibility of suffocation under the breasts of that much-larger body. The unself-consciousness of nursing can become emotionally entangled later in life with the unself-consciousness of orgasm, the nurture from a mother's breast can remind you of a lover's emotional nurturing, and the sucking for dear life itself. . . best to leave that to your own imagination for now.

I have only read the first novel of Stephanie Meyers's series, but I would venture to guess that she gets it. When I was a teenager, before I was sexually active, the light touch of a boy's fingers running up and down my inner forearms would make me dreamy and aroused for days. My body felt exquisitely sensitive, which is how "Twilight's" female protagonist, Bella, feels after the lightest physical contact with Edward, the vampire with whom she falls in love. The setting of the book is high school, and the wish-fulfillment of Bella the outcast becoming Bella the girl who doesn't know she's beautiful and popular will surely appeal to most teenage girls. Many teenagers will also understand the connection between sex and death on a subconscious basis in the age of AIDS, Hep C and the still scary spectre of teenager pregnancy. Even if we take the attraction of those elements as a given, however, there's a whole other level of depth to the novel that may not be apparent to the casual reader.

I am one of many people around the world who finds the imagery of dominance and submission to be arousing. The typical feminist explanation of a woman's rape fantasy is that the woman controls the fantasy, so everything that happens to her in the fantasy is of her own choosing, and that the lack of consent frees her from responsibility for her own immoral sexual desire so she can enjoy the fantasy sex without guilt. Additionally, I find the idea of someone wanting me so much that he has to take me against my will (in exactly the way I want him to, of course) to be very hot. Just for the record, fantasy rape and real rape do not exist in the same universe, and that when a potential sexual partner says no, they really mean it (unless you are playing with safe words, which is a whole different blog entry). Never mistake the fantasy of rape for the reality of it.

Reading through "Twilight," I could not help but notice that Edward's relationship with Bella is often one of loving dominance. He commands her. He compels her. She does what he tells her to against her own judgement because she trusts him. He is as obsessed with her as she is with him, but he's afraid of losing control because he is just that attracted to her. In addition, she is the only woman who has ever inspired those feelings in him. Pretty heady stuff.

Just when I was starting to find the love story just a tad sedate, however, a threat was introduced that threw all of the qualities of vampire / victim love and dominance dynamics into sharp relief. I'm not going to tell you what it was, in case you haven't read the book yourself, but having two crazy sexy guys willing to fight to the death to possess you isn't the worst predicament you could find yourself in, even if at least one of them does want to kill you.

No, "Twilight" has not taken over my life, nor have I bought any fan paraphernalia. However, I have signed up to read the next book in the "Twilight" series at the library, and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. It's not the next coming, but it is pretty entertaining, and in today's world, you could do a lot worse.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Looking Back: Things I Wish I Had Known About Beauty When I Was Younger

Dear Young Girls and Young Women:

I spent a lot of time in my teens and twenties wishing I was more attractive, comparing myself with other girls, and reading beauty magazines. Some of the things I learned were useful -- for example,
I'm certainly glad I started wearing sunscreen on my hands and face every day -- but in retrospect, a lot of that time was wasted. Why? Because a lot of my beliefs and assumptions about beauty turned out to be incorrect.

I'd like to tell you a few things I wish someone had told me when I was a young woman.

Often, Youth = Beauty

Now that I am in my forties, it seems that all the young women and young girls I see are pretty, if not beautiful. No matter how much you bemoan your acne, frizzy hair and weight, in many ways, you are in the best physical condition of your life. Almost nothing has started to sag or wear out yet. So, while you probably can't help comparing yourself to your peers, remember that your youth alone gives you some beauty, and take confidence from that.

If You've Got it, Flaunt it

As I observe young women now, many seem to be either very modest or complete exhibitionists. This bit of advice is for you modest young ladies who were raised right. Unlike your mother, I'm going to suggest to most of you to go ahead and wear that short skirt, that shiny pink dress with green stripes, and put a purple stripe in your hair. Only do it if you want to and it seems reasonably flattering (i.e., no muffin-tops), but by all means, if it looks good, wear it. You will never be in better shape to do it, and you will wish you had. I hear older women say all the time that they wish they had worn 2 piece bathing suits and halter tops when they were younger and could have carried it off, and I may yet dye my hair some unnatural color.

Except for a Few Horn Dog Men, Beauty Really Does Come from Inside

A lot of men in their teens and twenties are only after one thing, and a lot of them don't care about you as a person or about your personality. This is, by no means, ALL men in their teens and twenties, so don't tar them all with the same brush. Many of these males will begin to learn what their more enlightened bretheren already know, however, after an encounter or two with women who are only pretty on the outside. The younger, more sensitive man, and his older brothers who have been burned, would rather have a woman who is intelligent, cares about him, is punctual, courteous, and shares his interests than a bitchy hot babe. Sadly, however, some men will never come to this conclusion, regardless of age. Just feel sorry for them, and don't pursue them yourself. Even if they are millionaires, they will never be "worth it."

People Who Love You See You as More and More Beautiful

Have you ever noticed that your own significant other is really attractive? Do you remember back to when you met that person, and they weren't quite as hot then as now? That's because people we love become more attractive to us the more we love them. So when people who love you tell you that you are beautiful, believe them.

You Will Eventually Look Back on the Age You are Now

Eventually, I will be in my sixties, and I will look back on my forties, and have a whole different list of things I wish I had known now, but don't. I can't predict what those things will be yet, but for now, I'm going to take my own advice: I'm going to realize I'm beautiful, flaunt myself, work on my inner beauty at least as much as I do my outer beauty, and listen to the people who love me when they tell me I'm beautiful.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm Moving to San Diego

I wanted to write this blog to send to people with my new contact information to explain a little bit about why I'm moving.

As most of you know, I moved to LA with the hope and intent to make a living in the film business. I wanted to write - and I have, although it hasn't gone anywhere - and work in film production as a day job. I was employed on some TV shows and movies - most notable Power Rangers, but never got on the big budget shows I wanted to work on, even after I joined the Union. Periodically I worked in non-entertainment jobs, like at National Construction Rentals, but at the current time, I have been completely unable to find any job in any industry with a salary that would allow me to pay my mortgage.

Fortunately, I have very good friends - Chris and Don, whom I think of as my family of choice - who had actually asked me to move in with them before and still wanted me to do so. Unfortunately, they live in Escondido, a little north of San Diego. I love my condo, and I love living in Valencia, but financial circumstances just don't allow me to keep living here. Escondido has some very nice features, though (nicest of all, Don and Chris), and I've gotten to like it more and more as I've spent time there visiting. They helped me find a nice, affordable senior living facility near their house, and my mom will be moving in there the first week of April. Her building is near the Senior Center, and I still plan on seeing her every day and taking her shopping.

One of my biggest worries has been not being able to work in film any more. However, with the economic slowdown and the continuing threat of a SAG strike, I don't think I'd have a better chance of finding film work in LA than I will in the San Diego area. I'm also unsure about my future in production. I've worked on some shows where the coordinator worked mostly in the office, but I've also worked on shows where I busted my ass going up and down stairs all day, closed up all the stages at night, gone to every location, and ended up carrying a lot of stuff for load in and load out. I can still do it, but it's starting to get a little old, and so am I.

So what's the bright side of this situation? Well, while I'm still sending out resumes and looking for work, my unemployment still leaves me with a good amount of free time. I've been spending a lot of it writing again. Not another screenplay this time, but non-fiction, commentary, book and movie reviews, blogging, all kinds of things (as some of you know from my many emails to you with samples asking for critique! LOL!). After I get moved in down in Escondido, I have a project or two that I think may lead to some creatively satisfying work for me.

The other downside to moving is that I will no longer be seeing my friends in LA as often. Escondido is not all that far from LA, though, especially as anyone who knows Chris and Don are aware, as they have been up here frequently. We still intend to come up here to socialize and visit, although probably not as much as in the past, at least not until the economy improves. I still want to stay in touch with people, though, so please do make sure you have my current contact info.

Please wish me the best in my new endeavors, and let me know how things are going with you if you get a chance.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Old "Truthiness" Problem - Blogging Discretion 101

Remember Sarah Palin's little "truthiness" problem? She opposed the Bridge to Nowhere . . . after she supported it. And she put her plane on eBay. . . but didn't actually sell it there.

I think a lot of us - especially those of us with alternative sexual lifestyles - may have "truthiness" dilemmas too.

I've finally started blogging - writing on a regular basis - with the hope of getting myself published somewhere: an e-zine, a free weekly newspaper, a club newsletter, somewhere. What do I have to offer people? My fabulous business acumen? Not so much. A peek into the lives of the rich and famous? Not really. Incredibly insightful commentary about our current political scene? Probably not.

What I have to offer people is my insight into myself and my life/lifestyle, and my willingness to tell the truth about it. There are already lots of rather impersonal articles and books out there about sexuality, getting older, the creative process, etc., so I've got to offer something different if I want to attract readers. If I can open up and talk about my own real experiences, pains, joys, and opinions, maybe readers will be able to identify with me - or be interested in reading about sexuality in a totally gratuitous and titillating way - and want to follow my blog or other form of writing.

So how much gritty, down-to-brass-tacks truth do I share? Let's think about it.

I'm unemployed. I'm looking for a job. I'm not exactly in the closet. How can I share the interesting details of my life without making myself totally unemployable? Regular 9-5 employers don't want to hire someone with a lot of drama in their life, and even alternative lifestyle employers want to know they can depend on their employee not being a neurotic flake (which I'm not, should any potential employers be reading this now).

So I've created a little set of guidelines for myself. These may work for you, or they may not. Even if they don't, however, they should start you thinking in the right direction of what constitutes riveting, gut-wrenching honesty, and what constitutes TMI (Too Much Information).

1. If you are opening up about yourself, try not to be so painfully specific that a potential employer reading your blog will throw your resume right out the window.

For example, while I am not closeted about my bisexuality or my BDSM activities, I don't talk about them unless it is appropriate. I consider that to be discreet. I wouldn't wear my freedom rings or gay pride pin into a job interview anymore than I would open up my wallet and show my interviewer pictures of my friends and cats. It's just not the time or place for it.

If my coworkers ask about my weekend activities, I try to say things that most people would say about their own husbands, wives or partners.

It would be appropriate to say, "My girlfriend and I went to a women's conference in Palm Springs."

It would not be appropriate to say, "My female partner and I went to a wild and wooley sex weekend in Palm Springs, and boy, the gals were just doing it everywhere!"

2. Some blogs might be for a particular audience, but not for general consumption. Essays about your extreme depression and suicide attempts would be very helpful to others on a website about mental health. Posting them under your own name on My Space could be a CLM (Career Limiting Move).

3. Likewise, you probably do not want to publish photos of yourself drunk off your ass or showing body parts that would get you arrested in public on Facebook or anywhere else your boss, coworkers, or potential employer might see them. I'm not really sure why people want to take such photos myself, much less post them on the Internet, but it happens all them time, and I'm here to give you a gentle reminder that it might not be such a good idea.

4. Don't slam former or current employers. As Dr. Phil says, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you are hostile and vocal about your current or past employer, new or potential employers are going to believe you will slam them too (which you probably will).

If you must criticize former or current workplaces, make it as non-specific as possible. Rather than say:

"My boss, Lorraine Smith, at MGM Studios, is a crazy, psycho bitch from hell. She called from the road this morning, and started yelling before I could even say hello on the phone!"

you could say:

"I once had a very demanding boss. She called me from out on the road one time and started yelling before I could even say hello."

Now if your current boss, the crazy psycho bitch from hell, reads your post, she may realize you are talking about her, which could be another CLM.

Therefore, if you decide you must - in the interest of truth, honesty and the American Way - blog about her in a totally uncensored way right now, perhaps you should blog under a completely confidential identity. . . one she would never be able to trace in a million years.

* * *

That's pretty general, but those are my guidelines. They are mostly just common sense, but if you are young and naive, have only now begun looking for a job, or are perhaps just starting your blog, they might not occur to you until it is Too Late. In that case, you would not be able to be a Good Role Model, but rather a Terrible Example to Us All.

I'd love to hear from others how they have dealt with this issue, as I still struggle with it myself. Employers are especially welcome to comment about what they would and would not find appropriate, as are fellow wage slaves who have been smacked up side the head by something they've blogged.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trust Obama and Let Warren Speak his Piece

A lot of people are very upset about Obama inviting the now notorious Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. This has been evidenced by the many, many blog entries posted about it and the HRC's petition asking Obama to rescind the invitation.

Rev. Warren was very vocal about his endorsement of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, and LGBT rights proponents continue to protest in front of his church (as well they should). Now they feel insulted that their guy, Obama, has made Rick Warren such a public part of our celebration

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't particularly like Rick Warren either. Oh, he's friendly, and he's a good speaker and all, but it's hard for me to like someone who is so opposed to a lot of the things I believe in.

When Prop. 8 made it to the ballot, I came out as bisexual in places where I wouldn't normally be out, and I gently made the argument for gay marriage to people with pretty closed minds. I encouraged people to vote against Prop. 8, and I helped get out the vote. Since the proposition passed, I have signed petitions and written emails (and blogs) against it and continued to speak out about it. I have supported the boycott against businesses that contributed money to the campaign, and I am following the legal challenges to it going through the state court system right now.

I absolutely do not want to invalidate anyone's feelings about Warren and his giving the invocation. He certainly would not be my first choice. Then again, I'm not Barack Obama. I don't have his experience, and I'm not as smart as he is. That's why he's going to be the next President and I'm not.

I was not always an Obama supporter either, but once I threw in with him, I went in with him 100%. I don't agree with his choice of Rev. Warren, but you know what? I'm pretty sure I'm not going to agree with all his choices or actions during the next 4 - 8 years either. I trust the man, though, and realize there must be good reasons behind the decision.

Some of Warren's apologists have tried to say, "Well, he's not that bad, or he also does charity work for AIDS. He says he loves gays even if he doesn't love gay marriage." I myself can't say that he's "not that bad," but he's not the worst, and therein (I think) lies part of the reason Obama picked him.

Unlike Pat Boone, he's not comparing the gay protesters in front of his church with the terrorists in Mumbai (What happened there, Pat? Early senility?). He listens to Melissa Etheridge and was willing to have Obama come speak at his Saddleback Church, despite their differences in opinion about abortion, gay rights, and probably a slew of other things. Warren is willing to give the invocation at a Democratic inauguration, despite the flack he is getting from the conservatives for "going over to the other side."

More importantly, Warren has hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of followers and readers all over the world. We already know that many of these people are not traditional Christians, despite their traditional social values. Warren has been asking his followers to focus less on abortion, gay rights and stem cell research, and more on global warming, world poverty, literacy, education, and AIDS and other diseases. He had tried to predispose them to placing a lesser value on some of the things that divide them from us, and more value on the things that unite us.

Does that mean he is worthy of giving the invocation? Not particularly. What it does mean, is that - through him - we now have access to all of his worshipers, and all of the readers of his book, "The Purpose Driven Life." A lot of his American supporters are "Reagan Democrats," or people who used to be Democrats before Reagan charmed the pants off of them. Many of them are not hateful or particularly homophobic; they are ignorant and biased, but not impossibly so.

We need to reach out to those people and bring them back into our fold. How do we do that? Not by yelling or being hateful. We do it by showing them our best side. We demonstrate to them what decent, honorable, normal people we are and what loving families we have. Will it win over everyone? Of course not, but given a little time, it will start winning over many of them. I am convinced of it.

Why else would Obama invite Warren to the party? Well, I think Obama knows just how uncomfortable he makes many Americans. I did phone banking full time during the election for 2 months, and I spoke to some of those people. They bought into John McCain's and Sarah Palin's insinuations that Obama is an unAmerican, Muslim, White-people-hating anarchist, and they bought into it lock, stock and smoking barrel. Choosing Rick Warren will calm them down. They know and like Rick Warren, and will be more inclined to watch the inauguration if he's a part of it, and maybe that will be one of the first steps toward the unification our country so desperately needs.

I know a lot of us worked our asses off for Obama - many people worked much harder than I did. We would all like a big pat on the back and reinforcement that Obama is going to be on our side in the struggle for gay rights. Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to get much more than we've already gotten. Telling us how he feels about gay rights is like preaching to the choir. I believe he is already at work on our behalf softening up Americans who don't know anybody openly gay (yes, they still exist). He's got an international financial crisis to deal with, as well as an extremely unpopular war he has to get us out of, and a million other things. In his mind, he knows what he's going to do about gay rights, and he's told us, and it's time to move on to other things.

Undoubtedly, Obama is as tough as nails. You would have to be in order to deal - day in and day out - with the scum of the earth racists I'm sure he's encountered almost every day of his life, and still maintain his cool and get where he is today. And obviously he can listen to people with whom he disagrees without changing his own opinion; his membership in fiery pastor Rev. Wright's church proves that.

That is why I personally don't think the battle to kick Rick Warren out of the inauguration is one worth fighting. I have confidence that Obama is on our side, and has our best interests (and the best interests of our country) at heart. Protest peacefully if you want and make a statement, but I say let this election's losers have a place of honor in our celebration. After all, we just made more than a statement; we won the election.