I started my new job this week, and so far, it’s been pretty good. I hate not having a work friend, though. Everyone is nice, but it isn’t the same.

I feel like I’m being pompous or boring because people keep asking me about Afghanistan, meaning I repeat the same stuff over and over.

Today, I got defensive about someone saying something derogatory about my undergrad, and I really should have responded differently. I need to learn to keep my tone steady, regardless of how I feel, when dealing with coworkers.

I like my new bosses. I was told by our staffing coordinator that she advocated for me strongly and even stronger to get me on the job I’m on because of my experience. That’s gratifying, but the content is less interesting than I’d hoped for, and the direct supervisor is a little behind the times. So, we’ll see how that goes.

I’m also struggling to accept the fact that I have to start totally fresh and prove myself all over again. I feel a bit rejected that people were hired in June and I wasn’t until November. The other hires are extremely competent and some have ridiculous levels of experience, which makes me feel inferior.

Blerg. I’ll get there, it’s just going to take a while to settle in.

Online Dating Conundrums

Conundrum 1: Why do so many men rate my profile highly but also answer questions like “no I will not date anyone even slightly overweight” or “overweight people can not be sexy”? My profile pictures clearly depict the fact that I’m overweight/extra curvy.   I know I’m relatively proportional and not 400lbs or something, and maybe they just love my personality, but I’m not “average” weight, and something isn’t adding up here.

Conundrum 2: Men rate me highly. I go and rate them highly. They view my profile and it shows up as them having rated me again. WTF was the first one for if it can happen again? I don’t get this.

Back to Basics: Kinky

I went to the introductory kink night at our local dungeon this weekend. Originally I intended to take a newbie friend, but I ended up going because a man I met some time ago was hoping for a familiar face. I wasn’t sure what to expect for a few reasons: 1) I’m not a newbie, and I don’t need beginner lessons anymore, 2) I hadn’t been to the club in several months, and 3) I had no idea what dynamic was going to play out with the person I went with.

Overall, it was a good night. It was nice sort of watching and taking in all the kink stuff again. As per usual, I learned a few things that merited introspection.

First, I’m a know it all. I hate it about myself. I noticed it last night, and now I can’t stop noticing it. When I understand something, I take great joy in getting to share that knowledge. When someone asks me a question, it opens the door for all this (sometimes unwanted or unwarranted  information sharing. Basically, I need to watch carefully to make sure I don’t volunteer too much information, and I don’t give my opinion unless asked.

Second, I’m weird with naked people. I’ve known this, in that I’m much more modest than most, but I figured it out a bit. I don’t mind nudity at all if it’s with a lover or all that much if it’s a friend I know very, very well.  If it’s a stranger, I’m a tad discomforted, but it isn’t a big deal. Now, if it’s someone I’ve only met once or twice but anticipate hanging out with or seeing somewhat frequently, it totally freaks me out to see them naked. This came up in a conversation with a new contact from CollarMe recently too – I don’t like nude/dick photos or phone sex until after I’ve met someone in person, preferably not until we’ve done sexy things in person that merit me seeing them. It’s way too awkward for me otherwise.

Third, I need to boost my confidence. People want to play with me, and people find me and my reactions beautiful. Not everyone will, but those who disagree with that shouldn’t be who I judge myself on. The cane demo Top last night was very enthusiastic about me, telling me I’m beautiful and my reactions merit being in porn. I’ve had multiple partners reiterate how gorgeous I am when I climax…so I need to embrace that.

Lastly, I love impact play. I reallly, really, really love spanking and paddles. There’s just something so unbelievably hot about it, especially when paired with bondage. I got a few gentler spanks last night, and all it did was tease. I want more, harder. It sucks too, because I’m all submissive and shit and I hate asking people things. I would have totally gone for a much harder spanking with the person I went with last night, but I had no clue if that’s something he would have been game for, and I wasn’t going to ask.

Day 10, 30 Days of Me

Day 10: Describe your most embarrassing moment.

Sort of getting annoyed with this exercise, as it’s more difficult than anticipated.

I don’t know that I have a most embarrassing moment. I embarrass myself regularly. For example, on Friday, I was walking across one of the most busy roads in the city, and I wiped out face first. I didn’t trip on something, or someone. There was no ice. My ankle rolled and BOOM I hit the ground. I got up and quickly walked away. Embarrassing.

Generally, I’m awkward. I win here, though, because usually I laugh and brush it off. It rolls off my back now. Or I cringe, and repress the memory.

Really, my most terribly awkward moments happened in middle school, back when I was cripplingly shy and socially anxious. In high school, show choir sort of kicked that out of me and let me revel in my weird – on stage no less. Middle school, not so much. Most of those moments dealt with my terribly obvious crush on a guy in my class. One such incident was in 6th grade, when my sister told this guy I liked him on the bus and made me cry. Another incident was in 8th grade, when we had square dancing in history class. Our entire class engineered it so we’d be forced to partner up. Mortifying.

Other than that…yeah, nadda.

8/8 Quit Playing Games With My Heart

Yes, I just quoted a Backstreet Boys song…deal with it.

Game playing in the romantic world has come up more than once in my life lately, and it kind of took me by surprise. In the universe’s (The Universe has a twitter, btw) typical fashion, it even showed up in my webcomics – see today’s Questionable Content post.

I guess on some level, you could say that all the so-called rules we follow in the dating world are playing games, because they aren’t us acting entirely on intuition. By this I mean things like waiting a few days to call someone after getting their number, not texting back immediately, not always being available during the initial time you’re asked out for, texting the morning after if you had a good time, etc. In my (potentially naïve) view, though, playing games has always been a negative thing, and has always been something that people do intentionally. It’s playing hard to get or acting uninterested in order to attract someone.

I have hidden my interest in men before, but usually because I was afraid of rejection and I wanted to judge their interest first. I realize now that is the same thing as playing a game because it isn’t being direct and forthright with your feelings. I’ve also come to realize that sometimes games aren’t all negative, but are natural. I didn’t intentionally think to play hard to get. I don’t lead people on or tease them on purpose. If I’ve ever done so, it’s been a measure of my own uncertainty or insecurity in that particular situation.

I’ve basically been a bit of a hypocrite. I make a big deal about owning how you feel and being honest, but when it comes down to it, I’m not that blunt. When asked for an opinion or asked how I feel, I will be unfailingly honest. I may even overshare and give way too much information. That said, I tend to not volunteer information. In the past, in all situations – with friends, family, romantic partners – volunteering emotional information has more often than not ended very poorly. It’s a trust thing. If someone has asked something, I trust they care about the answer and I am ok making myself vulnerable because they did so by asking. It’s rare for me to trust others enough to become vulnerable with them on my own initiative, and that is where I’ve been “playing games.”

I don’t know if how I act is really game playing, I just know that I need to be more direct. I’ve known this for a while, but I’m still working on acting on it. I’ve gotten better recently in a series of interactions in the kinky and vanilla world, in terms of play and dating, but I still have a ways to go. I was taken aback a bit this weekend, though, when someone suggested that I was playing games, when in my mind, I was just uncertain of his interest and of how far I was willing to go with him. I didn’t intend to give mixed messages, and I cleared it up right away. On a similar note, when playing a game that asked “what would make an unattractive person appealing,” one thing brought up was directness about sexual interest. I don’t think I’d fit in the unattractive persons group, but it’s interesting to hear from others how directness is admired rather than seen as off-putting.

Now to go on building myself up and forcing myself to be more direct. Putting my money where my mouth is can be hard.

Day 14, 30 Days of Kink

Day 14: How would you say real life BDSM/kink varies from fantasy BDSM/kink? If you haven’t experienced real life BDSM/kink how do you think it might differ?

Well, the first obvious thing here is that it’s real. Real life BDSM is not just in your head. It’s not the fleeting thoughts on your morning commute or in-depth fantasy world from your bedroom.

I think the biggest difference between fantasy and reality comes with how much ownership and responsibility one has to have with their own desires and experiences, especially as a submissive or bottom-type female. In novels and stories, Dominants always seem to know the thoughts running through their subs’ mind. They know when to hold back or to push harder, they know what the bottom’s limits are, and they can feel when something is amiss. They know when to tease versus when to be serious, when to punish and when to reward.

This omniscient Dom doesn’t exist in reality. Yes, sometimes you might work with someone often enough and have enough chemistry that it starts to feel like the Top knows your mind, but the reality is that the dynamic desired stems from deep, honest communication. As a submissive, you have to know your limits and what things interest you, and you need to communicate that to your Top. You have to vocalize when you enjoy something and when you don’t. You need to let the person know if they can push you harder. You let them know if you’re upset. People can’t read minds; being kinky doesn’t automatically make you a mind reader.

Sure, it’d be great if I could hide from my emotions sometimes. It’d be nice to act out fantasies without having to talk through them. I get really shy and awkward at times, and the fantasy Dom would work around that. Reality – Doms can be awkward too.

The other way reality differs from fantasy is that real world things get in the way. Sometimes work, school, family, vanilla friends, errands, etc. get in the way of your kink. Sometimes you’re too busy, or you have cramps/a cold and don’t feel like getting kinky at all. Sometimes power dynamics have to shift due to real-world responsibilities.

Lastly, sometimes play hits an emotional land-mine you had absolutely no idea was there, and you have to work through that with your partner and yourself. These things aren’t thought about as much during fantasy. Reality is just that – real – and that means it isn’t always sunny or fun, and sometimes involves dealing with people’s real insecurities, awkwardness, and problems. That said, the harder parts are what make the good parts rewarding, and reality is even better than fantasy because of the difficulty, self-growth, and journey you take with your partner(s).

Flirting and Wooing.

I mean, on the one hand, I think I’ve gotten a much better handle on flirting in the last year or so. I am better at making eye contact, etc. That said, the “touch” stage is still my most awkward phase. In the kinky world, I’ve learned enough about how to generally get someone to play with me without having to outright ask. Usually, initiating conversation with a Top/Dominant fellow and subtly directing the conversation to kinky interests is enough for someone to inquire or flirt themselves into the “want to play?” discussion. It works. Now, for more than that, who knows? My romantic kinky relationships have all started out clearly that way, with upfront discussions of what someone was seeking and a very distinct “we are dating” going on. I had regular play partners in Pittsburgh, but one was clearly not romantic at all from the beginning and the others weren’t since they were poly and I’m not.

Thing is, I’m still always drawn back to the whole thing from the movie/book He’s Just Not That Into You. Basically, when a guy is interested, you’ll know. If he wants to date you, he’ll make it happen. If that’s the case, than a guy not making efforts to clearly “woo” you – flowers, dinner, meeting friends, text-flirting, etc. – indicates he’s not romantically interested. I wish I could fully embrace that, but I just feel like there are so many ambiguities that likely men are confused too, so they may not know the proper way to signal either, making it a convoluted mess.

Basically, in life I tend to be a person who works best with boundaries. I like certainty. This makes me sound a like a high-strung control freak, but honestly, I like to know expectations. I like being able to prepare myself mentally for all possible outcomes, weigh the likelihood of each in order to minimize disappointment/hurt, and come up with adequate spin in order to mitigate negativity. I’m a realist, and while about some things I’m naive and idealistic, for the most part I tend to prepare for the worst. The kinky community constantly has me falling on my ass, so to speak, because there is so much uncertainty about everything. There are entirely new social protocols to learn and adapt to. There are seemingly limitless possible outcomes for every interaction.

I acknowledge that I need to learn to live more in the moment, relax, trust in those around me, and accept the risk of getting hurt. This is easier said than done. I’m used to protecting myself and maintaining kind of a distant perspective on things, but I find myself more and more drawn away from that. As I have attended more events and gotten more involved here in DC, there are more risks and I have less control since it is less about my independent journey and more about the people and connections I’m making. Combined with the rest of the uncertainties surrounding social protocol in the kinky community, it just gets really confusing sometimes.

More than all that, I’m finally at a place in my life where things are steady enough that I could be in a serious relationship. Added to that me finding this guy who I really like and am attracted to, and it’s hard to be ok with play only. I want more. I want him to meet my vanilla friends and be a part of my life. I want him to want that of me. I don’t know how to tell if he’s interested in that. Thing is, if we can just be friends with play, that’s ok, I just need to know so I don’t get too attached. I just don’t want to ruin what we have now by asking too soon. I’m too afraid of potential rejection. I’ve never been in a play partner scenario, so it’s hard for me to know how it really works.