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La la la - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 28th, 2014

09:25 am - La la la

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So what do you do when you feel a cold gradually getting worse throughout the day? Well if you're me, apparently you go home and mow the lawn. Because in my part of NZ, Magic Grass Day is August 8 but it doesn't stop raining like it's a maritime temperate climate until, well... sometimes into December. So if you get a day in spring when the ground's almost dry enough to do it, you do it. Even if you do feel like death. Otherwise it'll be creeping up over the windowsills before you know it.

Today I feel less like death which is nice. Isolating myself to avoid giving my friends The Lurgy is all noble and shit, but after six weeks of Dr Wheel being away and the YoT having left home and all, it's also a recipe for feeling more sorry for myself than is really necessary, and possibly going to bed stupidly early because there's nothing better to do, and dreaming about zombies. I was also stupidly sad that my zombie dream ended just as I picked up a sweet crossbow and started firing it out the window. LET ME HAVE MY FUN, SUBCONSCIOUS!

*ahem*


So in the first chapter of this book I've been reading about sexual fluidity, there's a passage that had me nodding along:

"The writer Minnie Bruce Pratt, reflecting on the confusion she experienced when she first discovered her capacity for same-sex sexuality, recalled being aware that such an abrupt change seemed impossible and incongruous:

"I didn’t feel “different,” but was I? (From whom?) Had I changed? (From what?) Was I heterosexual in adolescence only to become lesbian in my late twenties? Was I lesbian always but coerced into heterosexuality? Was I a less authentic lesbian than my friends who had “always known” that they were sexually and affectionally attracted to other women? What kind of woman was a lesbian woman?"

Pratt perfectly captures the conundrum created by sexual fluidity. Because our culture believes that all individuals are, unequivocally, one sexual type or the other (such that a lesbian must have “always known” of her essential lesbian nature), women with more complex and variable patterns of sexual experience are inherently suspect. No wonder Pratt felt “inauthentic” when comparing herself with the cultural prototype of lesbianism as uniformly stable, early-developing, and exclusive."

Swap 'twenties' for 'forties' and 'lesbian' for 'something that has yet to be identified and labelled in any understandable way' and that's pretty much the root of my confusion. I suspect my own authenticity because I don't fit any of the traditional societal labels. What is the label for someone who's considered themselves heterosexual for 40-odd years, but has occasionally been full-on attracted to another woman but brushed it off as girl-crushes, and mostly isn't attracted to women but sometimes is attracted to individual women? Bisexual doesn't fit IMO, because I think the attraction to women would have to be more consistent for that. But society doesn't give us a lot of choices, and for me, who doesn't fit any of the available ones, it feels a lot like well maybe this isn't a real thing.

Because having a label for something is what makes it real, especially in academia. Oh wait, putting it on the internet is what makes it real, right?

Perhaps the source of my confusion is somewhat clearer now.

Back in Ye Olden Tymes, everyone was heterosexual. Yes, I know that's not actually true, but in small town Dargaville it was assumed, being one of those wonderful meccas of heterocentrism combined with homophobia that NZ prides itself on. Certainly all the ladies I had 'crushes' on (all two of them) were. And so was I. Everyone was, yay! In that environment, there's no cause to question, much easier to just go with the flow (especially if you're an expat English kid who doesn't really fit anyway and thus is desperate to conform so people will like you).

Nowadays, there is no assuming anything about other people's sexuality. I don't actually know what the sexuality of most of my friends is (I mean, unless I'm trying to have sex with them, it doesn't really matter, right?) but when it does come up, assuming someone is heterosexual is a social faux pas, and you're more than likely to be wrong. So the environment these days is much more conducive to questioning these things, because I don't need to conform in order to be accepted any more.

What a relief! What a catalyst for confusing thoughts!

Which is why I'm finding this book to be helpful, because it's presenting the notion that maybe just because I don't fit any of the current set of labels, and I haven't *always known*, this doesn't mean that my understanding is wrong, inauthentic or suspect.

Yes, I am terrified of insulting my gay and bisexual friends by claiming a label that even I don't feel is quite right for me, and thus being inauthentic. This is probably more scary for me than the realisation that I'm capable of being attracted to women was, to be honest.

So for the time being, I'm sticking with 'mostly heterosexual but sexually fluid and capable of being attracted to certain women'. Or, depending on who asks, 'none of your goddamn business.'


My navel, it goes deep.

Meanwhile, grist (who is my brother, for those who are new) sent me this last night:


clicky to embiggen


It's the Tesla coil he's been building. More here. Next step: set it to music. I think it lends itself to metal, personally.

Comments:

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From:m_danson
Date:August 27th, 2014 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Change 40 to 30 and you more or less have me. I haven't settled on a word. I use bi-sexual most because people understand that. I've used people-oriented, pansexual, heteroflexible, queer, and fuck-if-I-know. What is in somebody's pants matters less than what their voice sounds like which matters less than individual personality which matters less than if I like them.

I very much liked that book. I read it.

Edited at 2014-08-27 09:35 pm (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
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For me, gender matters. My response to men is very different from my response to women. Hence my confusion - it seems most of the people who are like me have this thing where gender isn't important, but for me it makes a difference.
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From:m_danson
Date:August 27th, 2014 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Gender or sex?

Gender (masc/androg/femm) matters to me because I tend to run into problems with very fem women and very masc men… mostly due to social expectations. My personal gender-inside-my-head is neutral too.

Sex doesn't seem to be as important other than I seem to be far less interested in boobs than all of the hetero men and bi-women I know. That's probably due to being a fairly non-visual person.

That said. I've never had a girlfriend or sex with a woman. Opportunity has not been there… so I might discover differently at some point.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
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I'm gonna say both, because at this point in my life I haven't had the opportunity to know anyone who wasn't cis in the context where it might come up.

Basically I go *phwoar* over men more often and am capable of getting hot for them without even knowing them (including the occasional fictional character), and with women I generally have to get quite close to them before any attraction comes up.

Whether this is biological or constructed, I have no idea. Guess one day I might find out.
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From:fbhjr
Date:August 27th, 2014 10:51 pm (UTC)
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Cool coil!
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From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)

I am impressed

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I am impressed with his arts and crafts skills!
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From:pombagira
Date:August 27th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
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♥ you are so awsome, just so you know..

*loves*
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From:tatjna
Date:August 27th, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
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<3
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From:du_secondaire
Date:August 28th, 2014 01:16 am (UTC)
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I subscribe to the Kinsey "sliding scale" school of sexuality - probably nobody's entirely heterosexual or entirely homosexual, but most people are between 1-6 somewhere. I have a very good friend who was basically the opposite of you - knew her entire life that she was, without a doubt, a lesbian, and then in her 20s, met a guy she fancied and realized she was attracted to men as well.

That, and it's nobody's business. :)
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2014 01:35 am (UTC)
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The book I'm reading makes quite an impassioned argument against the 'everybody's bisexual' theory - although I don't think that's exactly what Kinsey was trying to do, more to present a continuum. But people have still interpreted it as meaning if you are a 2 you'll stay a 2 forever, and according to this researcher, that idea is based in the majority of research into sexuality historically having been about men - who apparently are more fixed.

Holy run on sentence, batman!
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From:bekitty
Date:August 28th, 2014 02:33 am (UTC)
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Bi doesn't necessarily mean a 50-50 attraction. Though if you're uncomfortable with that particular label, maybe describing yourself as heteroflexible might suit you better?

I am totally down with sexuality and attraction being fluid throughout one's lifetime. Personally, I thought I was straight for a while, then bi, then heteroflexible, and now I'm pretty sure that I'm either demisexual or biromantic asexual. Basically, I can do without sex for long periods of time (read: months to years), and I don't tend to think of people in a sexual way at all.

But that's my personal definition of asexuality, and it might not fit with other people's definition. Apparently, according to some people, there's something wrong with me and I just need to find the right person. Um. That would be a no. I see asexuality as an orientation like any other; it's just that I'm physically atracted to... nobody. Or very few people.

Romantic attractions are a WHOLE different story, though.
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From:nick_101
Date:August 28th, 2014 05:49 am (UTC)
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That Tesla coil is awesome.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 28th, 2014 05:56 am (UTC)
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I concur!
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From:ecosopher
Date:August 28th, 2014 06:12 am (UTC)
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I'm not fond of labels, although I understand why people like to use them. I just wish we were in the future already, when people can just be themselves and attracted to whomever they want and we don't need to specify to anyone, because whatever you feel is fine. You know?

And I think the idea that you can change throughout your life is quite reasonable. After all, other things change: political persuasion, our tastes in food, the kinds of people we want to hang around with, even our sexual desire waxes and wanes. There's really no logic in the idea that we're exactly the same all our lives.

Sounds like a good book :)

Also, I've been friends with you for ages and didn't realise that grist was your brother. Ha. I guess sometimes I just should read things more carefully!
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:August 28th, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC)
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Labels have some uses, but what I don't like is label-hogging and other-labeling. That is, I will describe myself using labels, and define those labels for the interested, but I'm not going to get offended at what other people call themselves. I also don't want to label people against their wishes, but only if they agree not to label me against mine.

I don't have a problem with the idea that people's sexuality can change, in fact it's a given that it does... though there are probably more common and less common ways. For example, most people are attracted to people around their own age... which means that the age of the people they are attracted to change as they age. I used to be attracted to guys at my high school and not attracted to men in their late 40s. Now high school boys look like children to me and "man in 40s" describes my husband. In fact, if your preferences don't age as you do, that can be a sign of pathology at the extremes.

Changing genders is probably less common, but not impossible.

People are too rigid in their thinking about this sort of thing. Maybe it's because having suffered through adolescence figuring out who we are, a lot of people decided "that's it, I'm never doing that again!" and hit stasis.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 29th, 2014 08:29 am (UTC)
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Heh, mostly I just talk about him by name, so it'd be an easy thing to not pick up. ;-)
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From:meathiel
Date:August 28th, 2014 03:45 pm (UTC)
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When will Dr Wheel come back?
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From:tatjna
Date:August 29th, 2014 08:28 am (UTC)
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Y'know it's funny, I don't really know. I think it's next Thursday or Friday but I'll check when he gets back in coverage.
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From:wildilocks
Date:August 29th, 2014 01:12 pm (UTC)
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Heteroflexible definitely is a term you might be comfortable to adopt, it even has a Wikipedia entry, lookie! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteroflexibility

Also, nice Tesla coil. Phwoar!
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:August 30th, 2014 09:52 am (UTC)
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LOVE tesla coils, they're sooo cool!
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