Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I like a boy and I don't think he likes me back

I like a boy and I don't think he likes me back. He hasn't made it plain that he doesn't like me back but I think to a less infatuated eye the signs are clear. First, we are an unlikely match. We're at distinctly different stages of our lives. We're not star-crossed lovers, we're more like two galaxies in crossing. Second, he leaves me sexually frustrated. You guys know how I like to get down. I enjoy a little tete-a-tete on the regular, but from him I just haven't been getting much. Finally, I see him a lot less than I did initially. We talk on the phone often but we don't go out on dates like we once did.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably being let down easy. He wants to be friends.

That's the (obvious) conclusion, but since he hasn't said it explicitly, it's a bit difficult for me to accept. What if I'm wrong? What if he's just really busy? What if it's me; I've sent the wrong signals and I just need to be more expressive of my desire? Yeah, I know, garbage.

The thing is, despite the conclusion I've made, there is a part of me that doesn't want to let go. You know how the story goes, someone rejects you and it makes you want them more. Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist, did a study of your brain in love, from which she decided that love is not an emotion, it's a drive. This drive is much like the motivation to achieve a bomb ass GPA or to get into a good law school. When in love, lust, and infatuation you're brain goes all haywire: you're high on dopamine and scans of your cranium look the same as if you were doing cocaine. Nice. What makes Dr. Ritter so sure? She hooked 49 subjects up to an MRI machine and asked them a series of questions. Her conclusion: love is intoxicating and easily as important to us as our personal success.

Knowing that, I guess sometimes when someone gets to ignoring us, we become even more driven. Add the dopamine effect and it's like driving under the influence. Right now, I guess I'm like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas trying to make meatballs, sniff and deliver blow, and dodge a helicopter at the same time. It's upsetting that I can be of two minds about this. There are the rational conclusions based in evidence and logical thinking, then there's Ray Liotta in the passenger seat destined to fail.

Love, lust, and infatuation are about compatibility and timing which is why it's so hard to find someone and why the one who once rejected you can have feelings for you later. The thing is, sexual energy is often exchanged between two people of the opposite sex who we adore and admire, but they just may not be good for us as boyfriends or girlfriends. With due dilligence we learn that some of the folks we envisioned having babies with better serve our lives as great friends, And while friendship sometimes feels like an awful consolation, we have to remember that the most intense friendships often last longer than the relationships we blow through.

Now, for a move-on mechanism. The fastest way to forget someone is sex (for me). Right now I do want some loving. The season is changing, I'm sleeping in the nude again and I'm wrapped in a high ass thread count. That's the formula for desire, but until the reality of friendship settles in, I'll be masturbating to the sound of his voice in my head.


for more from Helen

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In the Good Old Days

In the good old days, women were not as promiscuous and sexual as they are now. False. That would mean that either women like Mae West and Josephine Baker were sexual aberrations, or women have been using their vaginas for a lot longer than we as a society will admit. Once we managed to pull our pussies from under the ruling thumb of the white male majority we became more sexually competitive and expressive, but the biology of desire has always been there.

Throughout Western history, literature is often the only vehicle through which women vocalized social opinions. Heroes of that kind of expression are women like Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” who challenged assumptions in modern medicine about psychosis and sexuality. Contemporary with her time, though not addressed in her story, a sexually expressive woman was considered mentally ill. Were I white woman in 1892, I’d be banging some male nurse and journaling about it from inside a white-walled room.

Well, in class on Early to Medieval English literature, I was unceasingly bothered by the statements that typically emerged when we read female authors. My colleagues were either surprised that the women were writing, that the women were writing well, and that some of their stories were so sexual. There surprise was all relative to the fact that it was “back then”. Mind you pre-Medieval England was not a Christian place, and the sex politics were vastly different, but even Chaucer’s Wife of Bath had very powerful and distinct ideas about sex despite her piety.

Listening to the girls I wondered if perhaps they were all chaste half-virgins, or if we women have internalized this societal prognosis of our simple sexuality. If they had internalized this system of belief, that would then denote that they were in denial about the urges in their own vaginas. When all women are portrayed as feeling a particular way about sex, you personally will come to feel that you are the only woman in the world with a needy vagina. We are biologically designed to sexually desire insertion. The when, where, and with whom is determined by personal views on the politics and morals of sex.

In one of my favorite movies, Six Degrees of Separation, Will Smith’s character says, “I was just so happy I wanted to add sex to it. Don’t you do that?” Sex for pleasure is frowned upon by religious types, but it’s an expression of the body that is often the least expensive way to dope ourselves up. Love and sex expert, Dr. Helen Fisher claims that sex does the same shit to your brain as cocaine does.

If sex is so good and all the grown-ups are doing it, how have we also allowed ourselves to be so misinformed about it. First, is the myth of The Good Ole Days. They never existed, because humans were as sexually, emotionally, and mentally complex now as they were at the beginning of our written history. Therefore, we were always as selfish and prone to evil then as we are now. Though, as a species we’ve become like hoarders when it comes to written information, we still manage to deny the ugly parts of history. Women would have had less opportunity to have casual sex and may even have been less likely to because they were married just as her flower was beginning to bloom. The conditions surrounding your sexuality are far different than your grandmother’s.

Further, the censorship in Hollywood promotes limited depictions of sexuality. The rating committee (the people who give a movie an R rating) are more likely to give high ratings for depictions of a woman experiencing pleasure than pain. Sex is either violent or comical, but never enjoyable. In the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated, filmmakers express their frustration over the politics behind the ratings. One says that sexism and abuse of women is promoted through these depictions. Pleasure, specifically an orgasm, is often juxtaposed with pain, so that the encoded meaning is that a woman will be punished for her pain. This portrayal of punishment for the sexually satisfied promotes submission, fear, and self-hatred amongst its real life viewers. Whereas huge amounts of violence are acceptable in even G-rated films.

Believe what you will about the moral value of chastity, waiting, etc. Personally, I wish I were better at the whole waiting thing. It could possibly make things better. I don’t know. However, do not assume that women have only just recently emerged from the dark. We’ve been been fucking – and writing about it – for a good minute.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On Health Care Reform

I'm irate! I voted in the mid-term election. Hell I voted early in this election. But it feels that my vote didn't count as the House to day was overhauled by the Republican party. My qualms with this right heavy House: Health Care Reform. It didn't hit me until today that I won't be getting my universal healthcare. I am, therefore, more livid than I've ever been about probably anything.

One frustration, and likely the frustration of most democrats, is that an argument against universal healthcare is so inhumane that it our side was almost indefensible. Why should we have universal healthcare? Because we are a so-called first world country, we have the resources, and the poor are now dying from curable illnesses that they cannot afford to have treated. However, through the use of inexplicably effective propaganda, the Republican party managed to protect their interest. Greedy bastards.

I think about my Mother. Everyone knows she died of cancer in 2005, a year before MA got a universal healthcare system. Well she's lucky she died in Massachusetts, because anywhere else she probably wouldn't have lasted so long. Often poor people do not seek medical care because they are afraid to be diagnosed with something they cannot afford. My mom waited an extremely long time before she sought hospitalization. She discovered she had cancer. Because of the nature of her illness and the fact that we were below the poverty line in the most socialist state in the fucking union, her care was free up until the day she died. She could have been diagnosed sooner if we'd had some kind of insurance, if she were seeing a doctor regularly, etc.

My mother isn't the only woman who has cohabitated uncomfortably with a terminal illness. There are people all around the country too afraid to enter a hospital. We need universal healthcare or at least a system that protects not only our poor but our middle class in case of illness. In order to have universal health care it would require higher taxes and for citizens to pay for comprehensive subsidized health care packages unless they choose to go with either an employer provided or private health insurance.

My largest frustration is that the Democratic Party, which I'd consider the more progressive, gets no love because of their efforts to appeal to common sense and intellect rather than propaganda and religion. Fundamentalist and extremist Christians support the party because it backs their desire to control the dominant ideology of this country, and in exchange they are willing to sacrifice the civil and human rights of the poor. They are more concerned with prayer in school and Nativity Scenes on State property, than the idea of sharing just enough wealth to ensure that cancer victims of the lower class, at least, die peacefully.