I follow a lot of different kink groups on various sites (since the alt BB days, even Compuserve had BDSM bulletin boards) because I find it fascinating the different perspectives on WIITWD (What It Is The We Do) that are out there.
I follow a lot more than I participate, and when I have participated, I’ve often found that the very people who proclaim to all how accepting WE KINKSTERZ are of others are themselves incredibly intolerant of views that don’t exactly match their own.
And they bellyache and whine constantly about all the young kids playing on THEIR lawn, shaking their virtual fists about them not doing it right, with no respect for their elders, and generally making a mess out of all the traditions they hold so dear.
While we were in Madrid in September, we took several tours through AirBnB experiences (I highly recommend them!), and as we strolled through Lavapiés, our guide pointed out some modeled lips just randomly sticking out from a building.
She explained that there were 700 or so of these lips all over the neighborhood, modeled and placed by a man whose girlfriend had left him.
He created a pair of lips for every day he was without a woman in his life (or so the story goes).
I think we saw maybe a double handful of them.
Our tour guide was in her twenties, and she said, wistfully, “I told my boyfriend he could be that romantic.”
I replied, “My ex-husband once convinced a local comedy group to allow him to get on stage and declare his love for me during a performance.”
She sighed a bit.
I said, “It’s only romantic when you still love them. If you don’t still love them, or worse, you barely even know them, it’s creepy. It’s stalkerish.”
Her eyes opened wide, as she thought about it. And she got it. She agreed. Then went on to talk a bit about the things he does NOW, while they are in their relationship that are romantic, and took us meandering further in our tour.
I could have continued the story instead of letting it go.
I had broken up with him. He was an alcoholic with mental issues and had emotionally abused me. The show was something I had taken to doing for myself, with my friends, as I put my life back together as a single woman.
And I was mortified.
EVERYONE in the audience was looking at me. Wanting me to give him a positive response.
Except I couldn’t.
I couldn’t do anything for too long. I was just…frozen.
It was yet another attempt to manipulate me, to ignore what I had said over and over that I wanted—to be left alone.
Finally, I was able to say, “No,” and walked out.
He tried to meet me as I left. People tried to stop me, to allow him to show his love—all well intentioned, I’m sure.
I felt trapped. Panic-y. And for a short while, hopeless that this constant stream of trying to get my attention, trying to convince me that he knew better for me than I knew for myself would ever end.
“Marry a guy who will email you when you block him.”
This morning, I saw this meme on FB.
“Marry a guy who will email you when you block him.”
“Fellas, marry a woman who doesn’t play these kinds of games.”
Leaving aside the second point for another writing—because I feel it needs to be addressed, just not to dilute today’s topic—let’s stop glorifying, even to ourselves, the actions of violating consent.
Let’s choose partners who, if blocked, will realize you’ve just withdrawn consent to be contacted, and who WANT you to have the time and space you need to figure things out.
Let’s love those who make us feel like we can simply say, “give me some time to think about this,” without having to go tot he extreme of blocking them.
Let’s glorify people who make their feelings known day in and day out without screwing things up so much that they have to stand outside a window holding a boom box playing Peter Gabriel.
Marry (or don’t marry) the person who celebrates you for who you are, encourages you to be whoever you want to be, and respects you when you say “No,” however you do it.
I’ve said loudly and often that the best relationship, in my view, is one where both people feel like they get FAR MORE from the relationship than they put in.
‘Far more’ being value.
It doesn’t matter how nice you are or how good you look on paper if you provide no value.
Everyone has worth.
Not everyone provides value.
This isn’t about victimhood.
It isn’t about validation.
It’s about value.
Not what YOU value—at least not at first.
It’s about what everyone else values.
When you have an attitude of providing value—volunteering, helping, solving problems—you will give people something they believe they can use, and they might do cool things with it.
Some of those people will share those things with you.
And that’s important. Because you are not a bottomless well of awesome. You need replenishing. You need value returned to you. Some will come from those you give it to. Some will come from unexpected places, if you’re open to it.
People who love you will give you back value of their own. I’d go so far as to say that if you want to surround yourself with people who provide value, then ruthlessly cut off anyone who does not offer you value in return.
Of course, those people will be doing the same, so you will need to put your value out there to attract them in the first place.
Bait, if you will.
And just as in fishing, the bait you use will influence what you catch.
Value will attract people who look for value. Some will provide value in return. Keep these to be proud of and to fill you up. Some will be leeches or lampreys, and will need to be thrown back to suck others dry.
I’m not advocating tit-for-tat.
In fact, even in it’s most positive form, tit-for-tat is a crappy relationship paradigm.
That’s what I mean by getting far more value from the relationship than you put in.
But that’s further long than in the attraction phase.
Because in the beginning, we need to see something in another human that attracts us. That’s the value.
And we need to see enough of it to spur action, multiple times, to get to a point where we can really take whatever this is seriously.
But what is value?
To many it’s simple: beauty or physical attraction of some sort.
That is one kind of value, sure. But there are more we have to offer:
There are hundreds more. And each person’s value image is slightly different than others, I’d guess. Like a fingerprint of what we desire.
And when someone exhibits one of our top values, we’re drawn to them.
When they continue exhibiting those values AND (as importantly) show appreciation for the values we exhibit as well, bonds form, and we create relationships—play connections, friendships, and love.
And that is where the value is key.
Because when we are exhibiting values that are natural to us, it’s not hard. And when people reflect back to us that they appreciate those values, that’s a value in itself. Add to the values they exhibit (hopefully as naturally as breathing to them), and voilà! We feel we are getting FAR MORE than we give.
That was one of the questions I asked last night in a lively debate about love and sex and kink.
I had been talking about not ever wanting to hurt someone I love, and going out of my way to avoid doing it intentionally.
They countered with the claim that it was never intentional. It “just happens,” when people are upset and cannot control their emotions.
So, I said, “Have you ever wanted to kick a puppy? Or punch your child in the face?”
They looked horrified and said, “No.”
I asked if they had done those things.
They said “No” again, this time as if they were looking for the trap.
I pointed out that they did not do those things because to them, those things are anathema. Repugnant. Wrong.
Then I asked if they would do those things when they were REALLY REALLY angry.
They said they would not.
So, I asked, “Then why would you hurt someone you love with your words? Unless deep down in your heart you want to? Unless in the core of your mind you want to? You want them to hurt like you are hurting, to prove they love you or feel for you, or something.
“Because if you really believe that hurting someone you love is 100% wrong, and there is NO REASON TO EVER do it, you won’t.”
Humans will human.
I was very clear in the ensuing conversation that I am not perfect. I do sometimes want to hurt someone I love the way I am hurting, deeply and instinctually, and sometimes it slips out.
However, I mostly don’t. And when I do, it horrifies me.
There is no reason, ever (sure, prove me wrong—I can’t think of any though) to emotionally attack someone to cause them pain just because I am hurting.
Just like there is no reason (for me), ever to:
And so on.
And so, I never have. Not on purpose—on purpose.
Yes, I’ve said some hateful things. Never with a conscious intent to hurt. But definitely with a subconscious intent to.
And because I realized that was wrong for me, I do that MUCH less often as well.
There is NO WAY that I can avoid hurting people accidentally, through misunderstandings or thoughtlessness or just being me. I accept that, and do my best.
And I am every day, in small and large ways also teaching myself that hurting people I love on purpose is wrong.
“If a man rejects Nice Guy-itis, yet has no other option to turn to than to embrace Bad Boy-itis, if his only choice is to give up the Victim in order to be the Victimizer, then that is the option he will end up with, like it or not.”
My first read through on this idea left me thinking that a recovering nice-guy’s only option when rejecting his victim mentality is to adopt the victimizer persona.
Im guessing that the other option that is implied when it reads “has no other opton” is: “the wholehearted man” that Brene’ Brown speaks of. The man that has a “shame resilience”. A man that allows himself to move forward and act on his desires, regardless of the trauma he may have endured and the shame it caused.
So, Im guessing that a guy has to work through the notion as written:
“To truly uproot Nice Guy-itis, a man must go to the level of the Victim vs. Victimizer frame and begin asking himself, “Is this really true? Is it really the case that there are only two types of people in the world? Is it really the case that you’re either a chump or an asshole?”
He can then adopt the other option, the liberating mentality of wholehearted man. a man who acts on his desires not allowing the shame messages to rob his happiness. One who gives of himself and truly does not expect anything in return.
Black and white are useful, because they are extremes. People understand them.
Nice Guy, Bad Boy.
However, the world is not black and white, and would be the lesser were it. The world is not only full of shades of grey, but color and nuance.