Infidelity and Penises

So.

So…

So I guess I have a confession to make. I probably should have told you before, but I didn’t want to ruin Christmas for everyone. But now the holiday is over and I guess it is time to come clean.

I… haven’t been… completely faithful to you. Fine. I cheated, okay? I snuck around behind your back and visited other social media.

No, I’m not talking about the blog written under my government name. That barely counts! Nearly nobody reads it, for one thing; it basically exists as a repository of self-incriminating confessions prospective employers can Google when looking for reasons not to hire me. And that blog is completely different than my presence here, except you can immediately tell the same person writes it, and sometimes the topics overlap in embarrassing ways. But more importantly, we both knew the deal when we got into this. So that’s not it.

But… that wasn’t the only one, or even the latest one. And I know that when I started this I wrote that things were going to be different this time, and that I was going to make things work out, but I guess I didn’t. I screwed up again.

Why? Why? Who knows why? Yes, it’s true that we’ve been together in this corner of the blogosphere for over a decade, and it’s true that one can fall into a routine after a while. It’s not right to take one’s social media for granted, but it happens sometimes. That doesn’t mean I don’t care! I mean, I probably don’t care, but it’s not because I’ve been lurking here for over a decade. I still find you interesting. I still read your posts, and sometimes I leave snarky comments. But it’s true that sometimes the eye wanders, especially in times of stress. And when Jimmy described how much fun he was having on Gay Twitter, I let my self control slip. (That’s not to blame Jimmy; I accept full responsibility for screwing up.) Exercising a series of bad judgments, I clicked around and ended up on Gay Mastodon.

I was just looking around, okay? I was just curious to see what was out there. But yes, I found a server (which you do not want to click if you are at work), and I started reading. No, of course I don’t have an account! Of course I am not posting!! I made that mistake here, and just look what happened. Never again. Never, ever again.

Sweet baby Jesus. I didn’t mean to tell you all this. I just wanted to blog about penises. Because I learned something while betraying your trust, and I thought you should know.

You know how over the years I have incessantly, unrelentingly hounded you to post scantily-clad blogger selfies? It was kind of a joke, but some of you graciously indulged me, although most of you have been understandably reticent. I never intended to pressure you unduly, although I screwed that up too, as Dr Spo can attest. As with so many of my predatory behaviors, the thrill is in the pursuit more than accomplishing the goal.

As it turns out, there are other communities where the participants are much more eager to post scantily-clad blogger selfies. Frequently, those selfies are less than scantily-clad.

Let’s be clear. I have been on the Internet a long time. I am no stranger to the things one finds there. I have not kept an exact count, but over the decades I estimate I have the human penis represented photographically over a dozen times. Although I have no direct intimate experience of other people’s penises, I am sure they are great. But… penises aren’t that interesting to look at. Probably this is just another expression of my broken sexuality, but given the choice between a hirsute fellow displaying his penis and a hirsute fellow wearing trousers, I think I prefer the latter. Penises are fun to hint at, but when it comes to blogger selfies I think being scantily-clad matters. There is a reason Salome dances with seven veils.

But I think the most shocking disclosure is that even though there are many selfies featuring fellows who on paper ought to push my sexual buttons, they are mostly… not interesting? That the people on the Mastodon server I find most compelling are the ones who microblog about things other than lust and sex? What in the name of our Lord and Savior is up with that?

But that’s not the greatest contradiction. The greatest contradiction is that somehow you heavily (some would say overly) clothed posters of text and memes are somehow incredibly engaging and attractive, and the ones on Mastodon flashing their fleshly assets like bulldogs in heat are often less so. What is up with that? Is it just that blogging attracts the most beautiful people? That’s my best hypothesis so far.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you are all stunningly attractive, and that my wandering eye has messed up everything. So now what?

The other site was just a dalliance. I don’t want to get involved. I wasn’t kidding about avoiding heartbreak in my last entry. If I dump you for that site then I’ll start to get emotionally attached to people there too, and then bad things will happen to some of them, and then it is heartbreak all over again. Thanks, but I’d rather not.

I could pull a Newt Gingrich and unilaterally declare our relationship open. In public we paste on smiles and pretend nothing is wrong, and I keep sneaking around, and I try to look away and not seethe with jealousy if you have a Facebook or a Tiktok or a Reddit on the side. That’s how open relationships work, right?

I’ll say this much: trying to follow multiple social media simultaneously is exhausting. Never mind the web of lies and deceit one has to maintain while cheating. Even when everything is above board, it’s so time consuming. Who has the energy for that? I don’t. Clearly, one social media would have to be the primary, and it would probably be you.

But if there is one thing hundreds of years of patriarchial Biblically-inspired marriages have taught us, it is that open relationships cannot work. The honorable thing for me to do would be to admit that I have once again ruined everything, and to disappear so that you have space to heal and find somebody who isn’t unfaithful garbage. That would be the honorable thing, but I haven’t exactly exhibited a lot of honor lately.

A Most Austere Prayer

Let us pray:

O Father, who art in Heaven,
Rescue us from worldly temptations
Such as fresh bread
Purchased from a good local bakery
Sliced and toasted golden brown on the outside
And the ruination of a soft pillowy crumb within,
Slathered with softened butter and preserves,
Or topped with an egg fried Spanish-style
In a quarter inch of olive oil
Until the edges are brown and crispy.
O Lord, rescue us from such temptations,
That we may focus on carrying out Your will.

O Father, protect us from the deviancy of pasta,
Whether noodles or extruded into shapes,
Whether coated in a rich cream sauce
Or a tomato sauce infused with herbs
Or just some garlic sauteed in olive oil
Or even boxed fluorescent orange mac and cheese.
O Lord, cast pasta away from our mouths
That You may speak the gospels through us.

And potatoes, O Holy Father, potatoes!
Those high-glycemic apples of the underworld.
As the Grace of Your only Son’s blood sacrifice
Rich in tannins, with signifiers of blackberries and red currents,
Underscored with notes of dried red florals and salted dark chocolate,
Hath cleansed mankind of our sins,
Thus we ask for Your Grace and Strength
In resisting finely mashed potatoes whipped in buttermilk
Or oven-baked potatoes broiled until crispy on top
Or potatoes chopped and fried with onions and herbs
Or even potatoes zapped in the microwave
Served with sour cream and pepper
But most of all from chips,
Nasty chips !
Nasty perditious chips !
The Prince of Lies whispers in our ear
That one chip will be enough,
That one taste will be enough,
But as with all sins, O Lord,
One sin follows another
Until the entire bag is empty.
Close our ears to these lies, O Father!
Make these susurrations as discordant as chainsaws
As children screaming in restaurants
As neighbors renovating the apartment upstairs
So that we may not be tempted
By salt and vinegar chips
By dill pickle chips
By hickory smoke chips
By sour cream and onion chips
By those ketchup chips they sell in Canada
By cracked pepper chips
By any potato chip of any flavor anywhere.
Already potatoes led our Irish brethren to famine
Please Lord, do not allow them to claim another soul.

O Father, spare us from tortilla chips also,
Whether salted and plain
Or loaded up with sour cream
And refried beans
And salsa
And salsa verde
And guacamole
And grated cheese melted under a broiler
And maybe olives on top.
As Your Son resisted his three temptations in the desert
May we resist the temptations of loaded nachos
And thus carry out Your Will.

We look to You, O Lord
And place our hearts and souls in Your Care.
Please lend us Your strength
That we may be well prepared
For St Peter’s measuring tape
And St Peter’s bathroom scale.
Shield us from temptation
So we may join You
In our eternal reward:
Plates of steamed green vegetables,
Half-scoops of cottage cheese,
And on occasion
Bits of stale dry Melba toast.
Amen.

Windfall of Misery

From time to time (such as while preparing the last entry) I find myself looking through old posts, and I run across comments from somebody no longer active in the blogosphere. This time it was some comments from Jean-Paul at myhusband&i, who suddenly shut his blog down a year ago. At one point, JP was one of my most loyal readers and commenters. I was certainly not as loyal to him, but just like everybody else I loved his blog and his witty storytelling and the Spanish Onion and Cruella and most of all the love JP had for Guido, his tall gorgeous hairy Spanish talented chef husband. JP was unafraid to declare his love for his husband out loud, and that devotion infused every entry. Maybe somebody disliked JP or his blog, but you would not know it from his large and devoted readership.

JP’s blog is gone, but he is not forgotten, and from time to time I see him comment on somebody else’s blog. Once I made the mistake of replying to one of his comments, which probably just irritated him and/or scared him away. Nonetheless I miss JP and I miss his blog, and when I see his handle these days I feel a stab of emotion. This often makes my inner four-year-old and upset, which result in internal conversations that go something like this:

“I wanna read JP’s blog!!”

“Sweetie, JP took his blog down from the Internet. But there are lots of other blogs to read. Why don’t you read Willym’s blog? Sometimes he posts those funny sock puppet videos. You like sock puppets, don’t you?”

“NO! I don’t wanna read Willym’s blog!! I wanna read JP’s blog!!”

“You don’t want to read Willym’s blog? Oh, that will make Willym so sad. You don’t want Willym to be sad, do you?”

“… n… nnno…”

“Then let’s read Willym’s blog so he won’t be sad. Oh look! He posted about Linda Ronstadt! Yay!”

“… ok… but…” (lower lip trembles)

“Come on, little guy. Let’s see. Oh look! Gilbert and Sullivan! Parkinson’s disease! Let’s read so Willym won’t be sad!”

With a certain amount of distraction and emotional manipulation, I can usually move past the emotions and back into the numbed resignation that is the best we can hope for in life. But then last week I read the news and my inner four-year-old had a meltdown. I’m talking a full-blown, at the grocery store, other shoppers looking away awkwardly, on the floor, shrieking screaming wailing meltdown, the kind often referred to as “the most effective contraception in the world”:

“No! It’s not fair! NOT FAIR!! NOT FAIR!!!”

“Sweetie, I know you’re upset, but it’s time to get off the floor now.”

(Arms and legs flailing, knocking boxes of pasta off the shelves) “Noo!! NOOOOOO!!! Guido DIED and it’s not fair!!”

“Come on, kiddo. Let’s ge–”

“NO! NO NO NO!! Guido DIED and now he’s NOT HERE!! It’s NOT FAIR!!!!”

What am I supposed to say? My inner four-year-old is correct. It isn’t fair. As much as I want to join my inner four-year-old on the floor we have to get the damned groceries and pretend like everything goes on just as it did before. Life isn’t fair in any way, but how do you tell that to an inner four-year-old? What can you say that makes anything better? No wonder we make up comforting stories about people looking down upon us from happy afterlives, their pain and suffering over, waiting for us to join them (provided we are subservient enough and stay on God’s good side by accepting the blood sacrifice of his only Son). Without those stories what do you have?

There’s an excerpt from Dan Savage’s book The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family that comes to mind at times like this:

When I can’t sleep — something that happens at least three nights a week — I sometimes just sit and watch Terry sleeping. He takes a breath, there’s a pause, he exhales, there’s another pause. What, I wonder, would I do if this man stopped breathing? Can the day-to-day misery of being alone be worth the risk of being absolutely shattered if Terry should die before me? If Terry were to die today, if a knock came at the door tonight, if some stranger arrived to tell me that I would never be able to speak to Terry again, or hold him, or look into his eyes, or smell him, or listen to him breathe — just writing these words makes my stomach hurt.

Being single visits a kind of constant, low-intensity misery on a person — at least on a person who doesn’t want to be single. Coming home to an empty house, not having anyone to confide in, facing illnesses on your own — being alone hurts, but people can get used to it. But being in a long-term relationship doesn’t spare you from all that day-to-day pain. It just banks it. Every day I’m with Terry, every day I’m not alone, a little misery gets put into a savings account, where interest is compounded hourly. The day Terry dies, all the pain I avoided when I was with him will be paid out all at once; I will suffer a windfall of misery. I imagine the pain would feel literally like being torn in two. Maybe that’s what people mean when they talk about “one flesh”?

(pages 119-120)

Is this true? I don’t know. Savage doesn’t know either: knock on wood, his swimwear-modelling husband is still alive and well, and hopefully will remain so for a long time yet. Who knows? If Terry does die before Dan, then maybe things won’t play out this way at all. Regardless, this metaphor of a bank account of misery resonates with me deeply. I have not had an intimate partner die and am probably a psychopath who doesn’t feel empathy anyways, but I have felt weaker forms of that connection towards animals (very) few humans. I have felt that windfall of misery upon learning that an animal I have bonded with has died, especially when that animal died under unpleasant circumstances. A human who has been relatively close to me in life is currently dying of stage four cancer and I can feel that payout coming due. In many ways I consciously avoid getting too emotionally invested in people or animals or projects or organizations these days because I can see what is inevitable, and low-intensity misery seems preferable. Other people look back at past relationships with fondness and gratitude; I tend to see the pain, especially when my own bad conduct has played a part in hurting others. It is better to be a rock, or an island.

Some of you are shaking your heads at me now, because of course I missed the backstory: yes, Guido died of cancer, but he had been diagnosed with cancer years ago, and JP started his blog partially in response to that diagnosis. I did not learn this until preparing for this entry, and I suppose this is supposed to be the redemptive arc I am supposed to use to comfort my inner four-year-old: yes, Guido got sick and died, but it’s because Guido was sick that JP started his blog, and wasn’t his blog delightful to read when it was around? Sure, I guess, except not. It is great that JP’s blog existed as an artifact of his marriage, but in no way does that make it okay for Guido to die. I would have much preferred JP’s blog never having existed if Guido was still here and healthy. From the outside, it seemed that JP and Guido had a great relationship. They were still young and still in love and still having sex with each other, and if they could not live happily ever after what hope is there for the rest of us? It’s not fair. Sooner or later, death is inevitable, but that doesn’t make it fair.

Of course, JP is not the only one who has experienced loss recently. John Michael from Open a Window, and Agnes Goldberg-DeWoofs both lost their partners to COVID, and Mildred Ratched is dealing with a lot of grief after her mother died. It is unfair to play favorites, but Guido’s death still hit me hard.

I don’t know how other people process grief, and I certainly don’t pretend to understand what Jean-Paul is going through these days. I imagine people who are more emotionally mature than me and my inner four-year-old handle grief in more emotionally mature ways. Certainly I did not have to go through the day to day as Guido was in the last stages of his life. (Pardon my French, but fuck cancer.) But it is hard to imagine that JP is not grieving. I doubt JP will read this (and it will be plenty embarrassing if he does), but just in case: thank you for your blog, we miss you and you are welcome back whenever and in whatever capacity you want, I’m sorry Guido died, your relationship with him was an inspiration to many of us, and I hope you (and all the other people who have been dealing with grief) have strong supports you can lean on as you grieve and heal.

Sprung Again

Well, here we go again. I have written about the treachery of spring clothing before. Once again Lurkville is emerging from a long, dismal weather. Once again people are cavorting around in immodest dress, and once again I am struggling. A handsome mustachioed fellow walked by wearing shorts that ended above the knee, and my thoughts were derailed. You might think exposing a little leg is no big deal, but let us not forget the trouble the Israelites got into for worshipping a golden calf. God was real mad at them for that one.

Of course, things are a little different this year, because we are living in a pandemic, which makes these unclean thoughts even more unwelcome than usual. In the linked entry I blamed my impure thoughts on how other people dressed, but that is just blaming the victim. I bear sole responsiblity for my lustful thoughts. If others choose to wear shorts or leave the top button of their shirts undone or otherwise dress immodestly, it is my job to stop drooling and avert my eyes, and if that does not work then I would be well advised to take Jesus’s advice; blind people cannot commit adultery in their hearts.

I don’t understand why this is so difficult for me. We all know that this is a pandemic year, and unless you are in a social bubble with one or more willing partners, it is our duty to quell our libidos and chastely sit through seven hours of Zoom calls a day with gratitude in our hearts. Everybody else can manage this. I read your blogs, and see that you have all managed to keep your libidoes in check. You restrict reproductive thoughts for appropriate situations such as scrolling through Scruff profiles, reading Captain America/Winter Soldier fanfiction and serving cake to people in your social bubble. Otherwise you calmly reason with your bodies that this is not the time for libidinous thoughts, and your bodies comply. Mine very much does not. That might be understandable if I was fifteen years old and struggling with the hormonal waves of puberty, but I have no such excuses. Furthermore, I have not had sexual contact with another human being for twenty-one years now (not that I am counting). You would think my body would take the hint: if nobody wanted to sleep with me before, they certainly don’t want to sleep with me now.

I am not arguing that lay people should be held to exactly the same standard, but if the Catholic priesthood can be expected to live lives of chaste service, it surely is no big deal to expect the unmarried laity to embrace chastity during a global pandemic. And yet, not for me. Maybe I am a nymphomaniac?

I thought these thoughts were supposed to subside as I got older, but now I am older and they are still here. There is talk that Lurkistan is taking steps to ban conversion therapy. Overall, this is pretty good news; coercing people to change against their will is awful, and I fully endorse ending it. On the other hand, I am worried, because if I would like outside help in converting from a hypersexed menace to a well-adjusted asexual, I had better act soon.

Dear Santa

No, I have not forgotten. You made it abundantly clear that I have not been eligible for your services for decades, and certainly my conduct this year has only dug the hole in my Niceness credit rating deeper. And from one fat, judgemental bastard to another, I get it: rules are rules. But a lot of the people in my corner of the blogosphere are decidedly Nice, and you have gifted several of them some pretty terrible things this year. Sure, I read their blogs and comments, but that isn’t their fault, and it is no reason to punish them for my naughtiness.

So consider this a petition, fat guy: how about gifting my fellow bloggers some good things for 2020? Save the lumps of coal for the one who deserves it.

As always, it is dangerous to list specifics, knowing that I will omit people. But my niceness credit rating is ruined anyways, so here goes:

  • Please gift John Gray some better health so that he is not run down from his job all the time. Please help Dotty fit into her new household (no more weeing in the house!) and please keep Winnie and the other animals healthy and happy. Please gift John some handsome, muscular, well-hung bedfellows who will treat him kindly and give him hot sex.

  • Please ease off the stressors Dr Spo has been facing this year. Dealing with whatever medical complaint he faced really wore him down, and now his mother’s poor health is making things worse. Please gift him some serenity, and gift his mother some healing energy so that she can at least go home for Christmas. Please gift him some administrative staff he likes and who will stay in the office for a while. Finally, please gift him lots of hot sex with Someone.

  • Please help Fearsome and Shawn sell some houses so he can get his new futuristic truck. More importantly, please continue to heal his arms so that he is not in physical pain, and gift him as much hot sex as he would like with Better Half.

  • Please help RTG heal from his surgery, and deal with whatever new cardiological issue has come up now. Please keep Anne Marie’s stomach healthy. Please gift them both with hot sex or at the very least gratifying porn.

  • Please help Sixpence adjust to his new digs and his new longer commute. It sounds as if his move was positive overall, but it was surely stressful. Also please gift him lots of hot sex with HuntleyBiGuy and his other paramours.

  • Please gift RJ with a boyfriend. He is dealing fine without one, I guess, but it is time, and it is not good that he feels like a third wheel at social gatherings. Also gift him lots of hot sex with aforementioned boyfriend.

  • Please gift Michael54 with some serenity at work. “The Kid” has really done a number on Michael’s well-being. Even though the kid sounds Naughty please find somebody who can get through to him and start healing the hurt that is making him hurt others so wantonly. Also please gift Michael some clarity in dealing with Other Michael in a way that benefits his well being. Also hot sex with whomever Michael54 feels is appropriate.

  • Please gift mrpeenee better health this year. He has been through a lot with dental troubles and other health scares. Please gift him with as much hot sex as he would like (not necessarily from you).

  • Please grant Poor Steven some calmness around his mother’s condition. It is good he found a better nursing home for his mom than the awful one she went to earlier, but it still caused Poor Steven a lot of stress, so please gift him with a better 2020. Thank you for helping Steven find in-person social gatherings to attend. Please gift him some (safe!) hot sex as he goes through his exploratory phase, possibly with a new boyfriend.

  • Although she does not have a blog, Deedles is Nice and we all love her and her comments, so please gift her with good blood sugar this year, and please give her good mental health in addition to hot sex with Balder Half.

Lots of other bad things happened to people this year. There have been suicides. Blobby got injured a few times. Cb’s dad died, and he had a stressful time dealing with the estate. Other people seemed to have good years, but that is no excuse to give them coal in 2020 (and not everybody blogs about their struggles). Please Santa give them good years as well, and lots of hot sex.

P.S. Naturally, I forgot someone I had intended to include: Sassybear, who had a nasty series of health emergencies all in a row, and who also dealt with the suicide of his blogger buddy David. Not cool, Santa. Please give Sassybear good health this year, lots of companionship from his dogs, lots of Green Lantern paraphernalia, and hot sex with his boyfriend and spouse.

(And yes, I have forgotten others, too. My apologies.)

Pornstalgia

Recently, Dr Spo (the dear?) directed me to get in touch with The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections. He said that TBDHSR wanted to make me an honorary board member (?!) and that furthermore that they did not know how to contact me (??). Of course, it was a ruse. Instead of an honorary board seat I received a stern talking-to. How embarrassing was it that I post less frequently than Harry Hamid (may he rest in peace) and didn’t I understand the terms of the contract I signed and when I finally decide to post I go around making baseless accusations of my readership how very dare do I have I no shame and also I have few enough readers as it is so I had better start posting some quality content if I am interested in maintaining ownership of all my fingers and toes. You know the spiel. We have all been there.

Admittedly, the Board wasn’t wrong. I haven’t felt much like blogging lately. Truth be told, I have not felt like doing much of anything. I don’t want to get out of bed, which has done wonders for my employability. I don’t want to cook or clean or attend to other grownup chores, which has done wonders for my living conditions. Even checking poor Steven’s blog forty times a day so I can leave snarky comments is draining. Blogging seems beyond the realm of possibility, and blogging something engaging seems farther still.

Perhaps I should be concerned, but I can’t be bothered. Lacking the budget for healthier coping strategies (therapy, opioids) I have turned to my usual bad habits: cheap carbohydrates, spider solitaire, and wasting hours on the Internet. I have been spending more time than is healthy looking at educational films on the Internet, which makes no sense given that I have lots of educational films downloaded on my computer already. Maybe this is Grindr for ugly unloveable people? Instead of experiencing the thrill of hunting down eligible bachelors in the real world, I keep looking on the Internet for educational materials that will give my brain the dopamine rush it craves. Maybe the next video is the one? Or the next? Or the next? That perfect educational experience must be out there somewhere, right? Well, probably not, because I am a perverted freak who is unskilled at Internet searches, so the signal to noise ratio is pretty bad. But once in a while the slot machine pays off (so to speak), so I keep pulling the lever (so to speak). Such is the nature of intermittent reward.

And boy howdy, was I jolted by a couple of finds recently. The jolts were ones of recognition — not of having viewed the films before (which is common) and not because I recognised real-life people in the films (which has happened once) but because the films in question answered questions I have been harboring for decades.

You see, it has not always been this easy to download full-length, on-demand educational videos on the Internet. You are all too young to remember this, but once upon a time watching educational films was a real ordeal. You would have to go to some dingy video store, where the videocassettes (videocassetes!) were not even rewound sometimes, or worse, you had to go to a MOVIE THEATRE in some dingier part of town, and watch your educational material in a dark room full of heavy-breathing strangers. Such movie theatres had their risks so in those antediluvian days many of us consumed educational materials in the form of still images. Often the best you could find were thumbnails, but if you got lucky (again with the hunting instinct) you might find some lowish-resolution images. Hard drive space was precious in those days, but I still managed to accumulate a collection of these educational images — first on floppy disks (so to speak), and later on the hard drive of the second computer I owned for myself.

One set of images concerned a strange party held in a basement or a rec room. At this party a number of scantily-clad people appeared to be enjoying each other’s company. Picture one of poor Steven’s nudist gatherings, except populated by straight, horny senior citizens who do not understand that nudity is about liberation and not sex. In one image eight people are standing around exploring each other’s anatomy with their hands and mouths. One woman is sitting back on a stool as one person — male? female? nonbinary? — explores her nether regions with some fingers, while another golden brown balding man kisses her on the lips. Another woman is standing with her eyes closed, each of her hands grasping appendages, as her neighbours kindly engage in a breast examination. It is not clear that everybody is having fun, but they certainly seem engaged in their task.

Another image features the golden brown man staring into the distance as a woman cuddles him from behind, reaching around to offer certain (presumably shaved?) body parts some tactile attention. This image always stuck with me, as did the entire situation. What was this party? Was it real, or staged? Did senior citizens really enjoy each other’s company like this?

A different set of images was clearly staged for video production. I knew this because some of the pictures were labelled “Videograb 1” and “Videograb 2”. Also one of the images was the cover of the video cassette, labelled “Oldies Spritz Parade”. In this series of images, two older gentlemen (one clean shaven, one with a bushy gray beard) dressed in pyjamas paid tribute to a nubile young woman standing between them. In other images, the nubile young woman handled various appendages of her elderly friends.

I think you know how this story ends. As I wallowed in my own self-indulgent self pity, clicking around on unsatisfying video after unsatisfying video, what do I stumble across other than educational films documenting the events from those still images so many years ago? I knew that some video of the nubile young woman and her two friends must exist somewhere, but I did not anticipate seeing it. I was even more surprised to find video evidence of the rec room party.

The two films were both unsurprising and deeply surprising. The production values were typical of these kinds of educational films, with terrible music and the participants uttering the requisite grunts and moans. But I found other aspects of both films astonishing.

The first surprise was that film of the rec room party existed. That should have resolved the issue of whether the event was staged. Much of the film’s cinematography was typical of the genre, with the usual close-up shots and participants positioned so that certain anatomical features were prominently on display. However, by the end of the video I still had my doubts, because some of the people (in particular one couple) were not senior citizens at all — they were much younger. Was this terrible casting for an educational film targeted at aficionados of senior citizens, or was this a genuine party where a wide variety of people had been filmed?

A second surprise was an erotic shock concerning the golden brown man. Apparently he suffers from imperfect eyesight, because in some of the educational film’s scenes (but not in the still images) he is wearing glasses. As it is objectively true that glasses make people sexier (especially when those people peer over their glasses at you) this added a depth to the plotline I had not expected.

Reading glasses aside, a third surprise is although the rec room party participants seemed to be enjoying themselves, the video was not as educational for me as I was expecting. This was true of both films, actually. Would have I reacted differently if I had been exposed to these videos at a similar age when I found the still images? The image of golden brown man staring into the distance has long been highly charged for me. I cannot tell whether exposure to the video would have made that better or worse, and I cannot tell whether my standards have changed as educational materials have become more accessible on the Internet.

The other video also held its own surprises. For one thing, the fellow with the bushy gray beard seemed genuinely befuddled about how to behave in the presence of a nubile young woman. Several times the aforementioned woman positioned bushy gray beard’s hands to get him involved in the festivities. There is no question that these kinds of nonverbal communication practices are important when interacting with other people, but it is rare to see this in educational films.

Another surprise was how much attention the two gentlemen paid to the pleasure of their nubile young friend. Most of the video consisted of the men caressing and nuzzling and sucking on various anatomical features of their ladyfriend. That seems highly unusual to me. In most educational films of this genre (older men, younger women), the woman desperately focuses on the man’s satisfaction, at the expense of her own enjoyment. Other than fondling, little time was spent on the appendages of the gentlemen. There was one brief scene of oral attention to an appendage, but it did not last long. I do not know why I should have been surprised at this, but usually I expect a usual tiresome trajectory of perfunctory attention to the ladyfriend followed by slobbering oral attention to the men, quickly followed by penetration in unnatural body orientations. The pattern in this film was significantly different, and I am not sure why.

Since encountering these two films, I have been somewhat hesitant to explore the Internet further. Who knows what else I will find? Neither of these discoveries was awful, but why should I expect my luck to hold?

No, of course I am not going to link to either the images or the videos here. I have my good Henley Street name to consider, and these images and videos will not affect you in the same ways they did me. For one thing you are not perverted freaks, but more importantly you don’t have the decades of history I have had with these images, and thus they won’t have the same emotional resonance. Finally, there are innocents who occasionally visit this blog (Willym, Maddie), and it would be unethical to warp their minds by exposing them to such material. You will have to be content with these verbal descriptions, and I will have to go hide my head in shame forevermore for even writing about this. What the hell was I thinking?

40 Days and 40 Nights

Heads up: this is a self-indulgent entry, as if the rest of my entries aren’t. Reader discretion is advised.

The job was supposed to be easy: surf the Internet and monitor some blogs, monitoring them for infractions of the American Psychiatric Association’s blogging guidelines. Who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity, especially given that I read blogs all the time anyways?

The job was supposed to be easy, but I screwed it up. I got emotionally involved. First I took a genuine interest in the erudite and witty blog entries. Then one day I left a comment. Then I started commenting regularly. By the time I was let go from the contract I was checking my blogs several times a day, hoping to receive some intermittent reward for whatever idiot dictum I happened to leave on someone’s blog that day. Sometimes I would check a blog ten or twenty times a day, even though I knew full well the blogger in question had a real job and would not respond to comments until the evening.

And then things fell apart. A combination of unemployment and exhaustion and certain stressors I shall not document here hurtled me into a boring existential crisis. Is my life worth living? (Not really) Do I make anything better for anybody, even a little bit? (Nice qualifier there, bud) Is this balanced out by all the bad stuff I do? (Not a chance) Am I willing to do anything to improve the situation? (Nope) Am I willing to do anything to terminate the situation? (Not yet, apparently, but maybe I am getting closer) Blah, blah, blah. Those of you who have been there know what I am talking about, and those of you who haven’t likely don’t get it at all. All I know is that checking blogs compulsively was not helping, and also the comments I was leaving were getting snarkier and more passive-aggressive and more controlling. So I took a break.

The original intention was to take a break from blogs altogether. That lasted four days. The next intention was to refrain from commenting. I didn’t know how much of a break would be appropriate until I remembered Internet rumours that it takes 21 days to break a habit. I settled on keeping my big yapper shut for 40 days and 40 nights. That was long enough for God to cleanse the world of sinners (Noah and his family excepted) and for Jesus to wander the desert, so it ought to be long enough for me.

Forty days came and forty days went. I did find myself checking blogs less frequently, which was a relief. I wish I could say that I became more productive, but I didn’t. I was also relieved to note that life went on. Few people missed me and fewer people cared. The blogs I followed kept pumping out entries and for the most part people kept leaving good comments. Once again I was reminded people were better off without me than with me. That is a comfort.

I was tempted to break the silence on several occasions. Once in a while I thought of something clever to write. Often I fought the urge to tell people they were being wrong on the Internet. Those urges were irritating but I was better off for resisting them. The few times I felt genuinely bad were when people were suffering. In particular, CB’s cat Phoebe died and I did not say anything. I almost said something, but then my web browser ate my comment instead of posting it. I interpreted that as a sign and kept my silence. I still feel bad about that. Other bad things have happened too. Erik got gay-bashed. RJ lost some friends. John Gray is going through some mysterious marital troubles that feel like a punch in the gut.

I broke my silence on Dr Spo’s blog yesterday. It was a dumb throwaway comment. I should have kept my mouth shut. I don’t know what happens next. The fast worked; posting daily comments feels less compelling now. Maintaining silence would be golden, but I doubt it will happen. Maybe I go back to leaving unwelcome commentary just as I did before.

It is summertime in Lurkistan now. I would prefer being outside to being on my computer. Local elections are coming up in Lurkville, and I have stupidly promised to get involved with them. At some point I will need to earn money again. It would be better to put blogs on hold for a while. I won’t, but I should.

Being on the Internet has taught me that you can stomp off in a huff once. Do it a second time and people stop taking you seriously. I have used up my chance. But sooner or later, it is inevitable that I will disappear again — maybe temporarily, maybe permanently, but probably without warning. I am nothing if not unreliable.

Sex and Vaginas

In a recent comment on his blog, poor Steven expressed confusion about the relationship between vaginas and sex. To be specific, he asked: “ewwww what do vaginas have to do with sex?”

Although I am saddened by poor Steven’s ignorance, I can’t say I am surprised. He grew up in a socialist country, and I can only imagine that comprehensive sex education was not high on the agenda. For all I know the poor fellow fell into homosexuality because he was taught that it is an effective form of birth control. As responsible bloggers and wannabe sex educators, it is our duty to fill in the gaps in his knowledge. Thus, here is an explanation of how vaginas relate to sex:

Sometimes when a man and a woman love each other very much or have too much to drink, they rub their bodies together in a special dance. While they are dancing the man often puts his penis in the woman’s vagina (that is, he puts his wee-wee in her hoo-haw) and rubs it around a lot. Just as the Bible tells us, the man spurts his seeds into the fertile fields of the woman’s womb. Then the man and woman become a Mommy and Daddy, because a little baby grows in the woman and is born. Yes, that’s correct — it’s very much like when you planted sunflower seeds in the garden last year and they grew into flowers, or the time you accidentally ate watermelon pips and watermelon plants sprouted out your nose.

Sometimes the Mommy and Daddy love each other enough to do more special dances, which is how brothers and sisters are made. But then Mommy decides she doesn’t love Daddy anymore, and thanks to the crooked lawyers and crooked judges who think fathers do not deserve any rights to their own g-ddamn children, Daddy gets to spend over half his salary in alimony and child support for the next two decades while getting to visit his own g-ddamn children once every other weekend. So is it any surprise Daddy is drinking wine out of a box in his windowless basement apartment, finding himself on the Internet looking at pictures of other Daddies and wondering if there might be something wrong with him? No, I didn’t think so.

So that, Steven, is where babies come from, and also how sex relates to vaginas.

Blog Absence

“Whatever happened to that blog of yours?”

Guido and I were in bed, eating peaches flambeé and bananas Foster. He had a strange look on his face as he lit the bananas on fire. I wondered whether the cannelloni we had eaten for dinner had been a bit much. But until my dying day I will never be able to refuse Guido’s cannelloni.

“Seriously. You used to post to that blog all the time. Loads of admirers clung to your every word. What happened?”

I spooned vanilla ice cream onto the flaming dessert. “You know how busy things have been,” I said, only a little sheepish. “If you haven’t noticed, we have two cafés to run now, and we still have not finished renovating the flat in Denmark Hill. Add to that my day job rescuing rich patrons from bad colour schemes and it is no mystery why I have been neglecting my blog. We haven’t played poker with Ted and Gary in a dog’s age, which is just as well given we have no disposable income to fork over when we lose. Why, we have been barely managing sex three times a day lately. Who has time to update a blog?”

“That’s not it,” said Guido. “You have been busy before and still updated. Something else is different.”

My heart started to pound. Was this it? Was Guido falling out of love with me? After all these years and all that mayonnaise, was our relationship ending over some stupid blog?

“I didn’t know my blog was important to you,” I said, desperately trying to suppress the quaver in my voice. “I’ll update more regularly if you would like.”

“Oh, I hated that thing. You kept leaking my recipes and our bedroom secrets to a transatlantic audience. On the other hand, you seemed to enjoy it, and as your loving husband I was willing to put up with it.”

For one I didn’t know what to say. I tried to breathe deeply as I awaited whatever was coming next, dessert long forgotten as it singed the edges of the comforter.

“Have you ever stopped to consider,” asked Guido, “that you haven’t been yourself lately?”

That sounded like a dangerous question. “Sure, we’ve been busy,” I said. “But I’m still me, and you’re still you, and we are still sharing our beautiful and frequently comedic life together.”

“I am worried about you. You have been off your meds for a while. The last time that happened you convinced yourself that you were a glamorous New Hope drag queen with two boyfriends and a stable of unruly houseboys. What’s going through your head now? Has it ever occurred to you that are not a fabulous interior decorator in London, but some underemployed schlub in the frozen wastelands of Lurkistan? That you are in no way married to a gorgeous hairy six-foot Spanish chef, but rather you are neurotic, semi-closeted and alone and will remain so for the rest of your days?”

The tears were streaming down my face, mixing into the charred bananas and melted ice cream.

“I know this is difficult to hear,” said Guido. “And believe me, it hurts me to say it. But even though your life is hardly worth living, you are better off dealing with reality than retreating into a fantasyland. Now let’s get some sleep so I can take you to the nice psychiatrist in the morning.”

“All docs is quacks,” I mumbled more to myself than anybody. But even I rocked back and forth in my Justin Bieber pajamas, I knew Guido was right, and once again was looking out for my best interests. As my sobbing subsided and I drifted off to sleep, I gave thanks to be married to the best husband in the world.