Sunday, June 28, 2009

Giant Penises, Museums, and Drag Queens

I write to you today from a San Francisco hostel.
For those of you I haven't told, I've decided to take a trip.
I spent the night in San Francisco and today I'll be taking 2 buses and probably hitchhiking 4 miles to get to a Freegan Farm. It's like vegan but you get your veggies second hand or out of a dumpster instead of from Whole Foods in Union Square.
This farm is a self-proclaimed hippie commune with a group of farming vegans who don't believe in "god, government, or relationships." So what do they believe in, you ask? Well, I'm not really sure, so that's why I figured I'd check it out.

Even my one night in San Francisco gave me a touch of new insight. I stayed in a hostile on Mission Street, described by a kind stranger as a "Latina China Town" before giving me her number and address and telling me if I ever found myself in trouble I could call her.
At the hostile I had 5 roomates: 4 men from England, France, Sweden, and Atlanta, and 1 girl from Australia. They were all so incrediblely friendly and the English one decided to take me around San Francisco and show me the hotspots.
It's PRIDE WEEK so there were giant penises, museum exhibits, and drag queens galor. So basically it was heaven. We left Castro where I insisted on going to the Harvey Milk exhibit and went Haight Nashbury. I don't know if that's acutally how you spell it. But It was total hippie-ville. I thought Brooklyn was hardcore but I was in for a rude awakening. Let me tell you, my fellow American Apparel V-Neck wearers, we ain't got nothin on these people. I ate bangin vegan food in a pretentious attempt to fit in, and ended the day in Golden Gate Park under a tree planted by Janice Joplin.
Despite my attempts my Englilsh roomate wouldn't let me pay for anything but the cabride home which I forced on him, and surprised me with sunflowers. When we returned to the hostile he made a comment about how adamently I protested his kind gestures and the one female quickly retorted, "American girls aren't used to be treated nicely."

Is that true? Here I was thinking I was being independent. Maybe it wasn't about independence. Maybe it was just about someone else wanting to treat me because it would be a nice thing to do for another person.
When that kind older stranger gave me her number in case I need help, she told me, "I don't do this very often, but I think it's time we all start be a lot kinder to one another in this country."

And I couldn't have agreed more.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Tao of Jew

One of the many symbols the Yin-Yang holds is a balance between male and female. The meld into one another, complimenting each other, and within each is a bit of the other. When all is well the dark mixes with the light in perfect harmony, melting, pushing towards the top, releasing towards the bottom and vice versa. They live in a state of peace. Meldy, melty, complimentary peace.

I like that model. I like that idea. And despite my salty rough edges, I think it's true.

Recently, a slightly more optimistic friend did me the service of listing all the good traits of the masculine that is typically less common in the feminine. As she rattled them off one by one I felt a surge of hope. I agreed. Things were going well. I almost felt ready to embrace the masculine, as a friend and not a foe-- Eve's companion, instead of the the dumbass who got caught with the apple.
And so my newfound Yin-Yang mentality was going well, until an ugly thought pushed its way horn first into my head:
In every almost- perfect model there is the potential for exploitation.

I mean twenty-first century capitalism does pretty well, but Bernie Madoffs still show up every now and then to steal grandpa's money.

What happens when the nearly-utopian model of the yin-yang gets exploited? What if one pushes the other a little too hard and instead of pushing back it retracts? And suddenly, like the mental state of a bi-polar teenager, it splits in two.

So now, without the model that's served others so well, you're kind of wandering in female zone. Falsifying your truths, shitting on your instincts, and if we're being real honest, missing the gentle push of the Yang. It takes a whole lot of energy to be angry. And it's a lot trickier to keep your Yiney shape without that resistance to balance you out.

And then you start to wonder what the Yin is made out of. If the separation has occurred, will it hold its shape, anxiously awaiting its reunion with the Yang? Or will it just puff out into a circle and become it's own entity?

Some wounds heal flawlessly while others leave scars that undeniably change what was.
I guess only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Feminist Falters

A catalyst is rarely intended to stir up the cacophony that soon follows. A mother scowling at her overweight twelve-year-old as she grabs a potato chip doubtfully means to give her bulimia and the assassin of Franz Ferdinand couldn't have possibly planned on turning the whole world into a battlefield.

And that is why, when an acquaintance told me that a community in which people don't believe in relationships was the perfect place for me, I doubt he meant anything by it.

But behind the strained smile I had managed, a bomb exploded.

There comes a moment in a strong woman's life when she starts to wonder why exactly she's so strong. Well, she begins, she has a strong mind and even stronger ambition. Nothing wrong there. She has overcome obstacles. I'd say that's objectively viewed as admirable. So if all is well and good, then why does her strength feel like her greatest weakness of all?

It's pretty commonly known that when many women hit thirty and have no prospects of marriage they begin to panic. After all, most of their friends are married and it's an experience many other women have had that they haven't.

But what about when a woman hits twenty and she's never been called a girlfriend? It's not really covered in the media, but, um, it happens. And she obviously doesn't need a boyfriend to be happy, it's nothing like that, it's just... it's an experience that many other women have had that she hasn't.

She isn't ugly, or boring, or dim-witted, or clingy. She's actually quite the catch if she does say so herself. But she's beginning to wonder if she has a fucking tattoo on her forehead that says Do Not Date. And it's starting to get to her, to gnaw away at her because what in God's fucking name is the problem and WHY if she's so fucking strong does she even care at all?! And maybe, just maybe, it isn't that men only use the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain to communicate while women use both (because they do!) maybe it isn't the genes or the chromosomes or the hormones, maybe it's just that by being so fucking strong, by being so God damn sure she could stand on her own two feet, that nobody thought she needed a hand to hold when she started to fall. And so she fell. Down a spiral of science textbooks, friendly fucks, and questions that don't have answers.

It doesn't make her research less valid.
It just makes her wonder why she has such a passion to research in the first place.

But what is she supposed to do? Pretend that she doesn't have a thirst for answers? Make believe that just because there may not be an answer, the questions don't persist to rain in her head?

And so she continues to put on her armor of red lipstick and carry Darwin's text as a shield, all the while wondering if her hubris will ever bring her happiness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

O Didn't Always Stand for Oprah

OK, I have been a REAL slacker lately and for that I apologize. In the past 24 hours I have purchased a plane ticket to a freegan farm, run through the streets of Brooklyn in a bikini (it was raining), and probably ruined my liver. Not necessarily in that order. But although I am quite busy being irresponsible and spending money I don't have, I managed to find the time to do some research. I've been reading a lot about gender differences in the work force, politics, and even in learning disabilities. All of which is very valuable information.

But I'd rather talk about sex.

The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that craves food, power, and sex. It is the lowermost part of your brain and is involved in hormone production.
Oh, and here's the best part:
It's connected to your clitoris.

So if you're feeling beautiful, in control of your life, and powerful in every which way, hop in the sack, baby, cause that little ball of nerves is gonna sing like a tea kettle.

But the problem is, most of us don't feel that way all the time. And unlike men, our orgasms are EXTREMELY moody.

When we have sex we are constantly thinking about our partner- what our relationship is to him, what he mean to us, and how much we care. Now don't get me wrong, there is certainly something to be said for that.

But it's kind of a buzz kill. Literally.

Perhaps the trick to a truly orgasmic union is to not think about the union at all. Maybe some sex isn't about a bond. Maybe some sex is more about your relationship to your body than your relationship to your man. Perhaps if we thought less about who was touching us and more about the touch itself, we'd be more likely to put on that infamous O face so many women have yet to make.

I'm not saying that's the only way to have an orgasm, and I'm not saying there isn't beauty in a connection. I'm merely implying that maybe there's beauty in having "just sex" too.

My personal theory is that a woman's sex drive is the natural activity of her hypothalamus combined with her emotional past- especially with men. So if she's had healthy sexual experiences and an overall positive outlook on male figures her hypothalamus gains some points. But if she hasn't had the best of luck, that's gonna intercept those signals. So even if she naturally had a hyper-active hypothalamus, a negative experience can totally prevent a grand finale. After journaling and a few therapy sessions she can reclaim her power emotionally, but how can she reclaim it physically?

Perhaps having "just sex" can be healing. Perhaps, if done safely and with a trustworthy person, it can make her learn new things about her body, its different patterns, and its incredible potential.
Maybe "just sex" can be the best sex of all. Because realizing the touch feels good makes her hungry. And realizing it's safe to be hungry makes her powerful. And realizing she's powerful makes her tilt her head back and...

well, you know the rest.

Oh and P.S.- Many women aren't exactly sure what an orgasm is. It's extremely common to think you've had one if you haven't. Trust me, I've been there. So I'm just gonna clarify without the fluff: You kind of feel like you have to pee and then fluid comes out. And it's not pee. So if you feel it coming and you're not sure what it is, don't stop and say you have to go to bathroom like your good ol' friend, A. Woman over here.