Monday, July 07, 2008

Pop Culture

I saw two movies over the weekend, which is slightly unusual for me. And more oddly still, I had a moment of yeah, that’s happened to me in each of them.

The first one was Get Smart, which I saw with Max Friday night. There’s a scene where Agent 99, played by Anne Hathaway, is tied up in the back seat of a car during a high-speed chase. The car is being driven by her former lover, who’s a double agent. He’s going to kill her and set off a bomb, but they get sidetracked into sniping at each other, in a manner typical of ex-lovers.

Stung by a jab of Anne’s, he yells back at her, “Well, some men like women who are feminine!”

Anne rears up in outrage and screeches, “Are you calling me unfeminine?” And, while still tied up, kicks him in the face – hard.

Which to me does not seem like a completely unreasonable response in that circumstance. I have never actually kicked someone in the face, but I myself have been called unfeminine, and at the time it I got rather annoyed by it. I knew, intellectually, that what it meant was “You scare me. Women aren’t supposed to scare men. Therefore you are not acting like a woman.” I would imagine pretty much any woman who’s strong-minded, independent, and direct about what she wants, in bed and out of it, gets this at least once in her life, if not more. It’s one of those put-downs that utterly reveals the insecurities of person who says it.

But still – at the time, it pissed me off. So I thought, “Yeah, you just go, girl. Show his ass unfeminine.”

Then on Saturday night, Monk and I went to see Wanted, with Angelina Jolie. It was what he and I call a Gun-Porn movie - meaning a movie in which sexy people with really BIG guns shoot each other over and over.

In this movie, Angelina and James McAvoy are professional assassins. There’s a scene in which the two of them are crouched in hiding, waiting to spring out and kill someone. James turns to Angelina and says, “Do you ever think about being… some other way?” When she displays confusion, he says, “You know, like not doing this. Like just being…normal?”

Angelina looks at him like he’s crazy. “No.”

And then they leap out to kill someone. Which again, I have never done, and don’t plan on doing. But still – I have had people indicate to me that my life wasn’t what they considered normal. It wasn’t a compliment. Some of them had a mistaken idea that I would change it to suit them. My solution was to invite them to not participate in it.

I really want that short white leather jacket Agent 99 was wearing for a chunk of the movie, and if anyone calls me unfeminine while I’m in it, well, there’s just no telling what I might do. Because I’m really not interested in being someone else’s idea of normal.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wow, I’m not feeling super-inspired, writing-wise, the last week or so. And my motto is: when you can’t think of anything else to say - make fun of people.

Thus, the complete and unedited text of an email I received.

Wish to surrender, be blindfolded, restrained, whipped until cry/blood spilt, used by any number of males/females, like the star in The Story of O for however long you wish and anything else you wish, including branding.

All right, there’s nothing dramatically wrong with the basic idea here. But – why does this person not use the word I? People who don’t say I remind me of old Charlie Chan movies – that faux-Asian accent thing.

Nice to know branding is included. It’s always a pain when you get the contract and read the fine print and see that they want to bill your credit card separately for that.

I like how he/she specifies that they would be like the star of The Story of O. It was my observation of the book/movie that pretty much all the bottoms got those things done to them – but then, we are all the star in the movies in our heads, aren’t we?

But if you think of it terms of movies… Well, when I read emails like this, I can hear the voice of Miss K – she of the brutally honest response – saying “Why do I care about this?” Jae would probably say, “Yeah, and people in hell want ice water. So what?” That’s because one thing all three of us have in common is that we all have a background in theatre and writing. When you tell a story, either on a stage or on a page, if you wish to capture your audience, you must make them care about your character. A flat statement of need does not emotionally engage people.

It’s not like I’m trolling for slaves amongst one-line emails from strangers in any case. But messages like this certainly do not make me wish to add the writer to my cast of characters.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This is something I’ve been wondering about lately, because of one of my friends’ argument’s for pre-marital sex. She’s of the opinion that you should have sex before marriage so you can dump them if they’re a lousy lay, or you don't have a conveniently common kink, or whatever.
So in that vein, pretend for a moment that you have room in your life for another long-term partner. You meet someone. They’re gorgeous, they’re intelligent, they’re witty, you’re in love with them… but they’re completely vanilla. Not only have they never done kink before, almost everything about BDSM is squicky to them. Black leather makes them raise an eyebrow, the purpose of your spanking bench and floggers completely eludes them, and the thought of needles, canes, or electrocution gives them a touch of the vapours. Would you be able to have a romantic relationship with this person? Why/why not?
I cannot believe anyone would get married without having sex first. I mean, I know people do, but... good lord. I simply cannot wrap my little brain around that idea.
This is kind of a muddled question. It hinges on whether or not the hypothetical me is poly. Because I have had ongoing sexual relationships with people who weren’t seriously kinky. Do a search for “Mike”, a guy with whom I had a delightful FWB thing a couple of years ago, before I started dating Monk. He’s a lovely man, it was a charming little affair – and he’s not into BDSM. He wasn’t squicked, he just sort of shrugged and said, “Well, if you really want me to, I would try, but…” A GG&G response, but not a sacrifice I needed.
And while Mike wasn’t into BDSM, he was perfectly fine and respectful about the fact that I was.
So yeah, not being kinky is a handicap, and it’s going to present a challenge to any long-term, high-frequency relationship. But for an occasional thing? Sure.
And, quite frankly, I have a good track record with converting people to kink. But as with Mike, I don’t always feel it’s necessary that I should.
(Yes, I know I’ve said I don’t know how you can get your partner to be kinky. It’s true, I don’t. I know some ways I would try to get your partner to be kinky, but that’s different. There are some skills I possess that I simply cannot explain. Besides, as persuasive as I am, even my conversion rate is not 100%.)
Would I be monogamous with such a person? No. But I wouldn’t be monogamous with anyone, so the point is moot.
But what jumped out at me from this letter was the fast slide between, “You meet someone. They’re gorgeous, they’re intelligent, they’re witty,” and then “ you’re in love with them.” I have met gorgeous, intelligent, witty people with whom I’m actually not in love. I’ve even slept with some of them. Sexual attraction, taking pleasure in someone’s company, having fun times together, attachment, affection and caring on both sides – those are all things I’ve experienced a fair amount of. But being In Love? Whoa, that’s big time.
So no, I don’t think I could fall in love with someone who treated a significant part of my identity with active disdain. I think there’s something more than sexual going awry with someone who does.