What happens in a Winnebago: part the first

Oh, were I wish it true, dear readers. That in certain locations, operating under the magical law defining Bermuda’s triangle, some acts will never, ever, reveal themselves.

But I’m much too blunt–or honest?– for that.

The second time I had sex, it was in a Winnebago. Oh yes, I do have quite high standards for all the men with whom I copulate. In actuality, the whole Winnebago thing was a bit of an accident, and it has turned into quite the funny tale. It’s kind of my one story about fucking in a weird location. You know, some people have barn haylofts and mountain gondolas…. I have a brand-name RV. All in all, I like to think of it as one scenario (of many) in which I’m subconsciously making up for my late-blooming sex life. That is, since I didn’t get up to shenanigans typically partaken through the inexperience of youth, I am trying to make up for it quickly and comically as an adult. I suppose when you have serial one night stands these types of situations can arise. And when you throw in alcohol, plus a trio of vagabonds, shit is gonna get a little weird.  Thus, lucky man number two (whose first name I do remember thank you much) is fondly referred to as “Winnebago” among my girlfriends and close compadres. In private, however, I refer to him as the Poet or Raven boy, and for reasons which will soon be revealed.

The night of my second sexual encounter goes as follows: I’m out at one of my favorite tequila bars with two close girlfriends. We are sitting at a table off to the side of the bar, a good location to survey the people around us as happy hour dwindles and the evening crowd piles in. We are seated for only a few minutes when a group of men–business types– come over to strike up conversation. My friends find common ground with them when they discover that the suits are native French speakers; I presume one of the lads had overheard bits and pieces of our conversation, as my friends often slip in and out of French when a topic gets particularly personal and we don’t wish prying ears to overhear*. The three of us proceed to speak exclusively in French with the suits and, being the least fluent of the group, after a few minutes I have lost the topic at hand. Not one to be a wallflower, however, I find that amongst this well-groomed group of Frenchmen is a lone Irishman. And it is he with whom I make conversation–and thank god I did.

(*My friends are fluent, but I am not. My comprehension is quite high though, so if I pay close attention and the conversation is held at a relaxed pace I can keep up and contribute with a sentence or two where relevant!)

Sometimes, there are nights where my friends and I meet strangers and fun things happen. We aren’t always receptive to these interactions, but when they happen it’s like a sort of magic.  The night I met the Poet, my Raven boy, was a night of magic.

The Irishman is an older gentleman, easily in his 50s. He sits across the table from me and after two minutes of conversation I’m ready to be his best friend. See, I studied abroad for a brief time in Dublin and while I was there I fell in love with the country. Dublin is a gorgeous city, full of culture and pubs and literature (the study of which being the chief reason I lived there briefly). I absolutely want to go back and maybe perhaps live there again one day. But the country on the whole, Ireland’s geography and history and remarkable people and national identity, has a sacred place in my heart–and therefore my heart has a weakness for any man from it! Anyways, this Irishman is fascinating. Like many I had met before him, he knows how to spin a good yarn. He talks about his life, about leaving Ireland and moving to the States, then coming to Seattle and never wanting to leave. We talk about his profession and his passions. And somewhere along the way we land on the subject of attraction: why men and women are desirable and why; whether some features are universally attractive and what those are; whether one personality trait is inherently more desirable than another; etc. It’s a strange topic to discuss with a stranger, but in this particular bar I’ve had a number of such odd and surprisingly pleasant encounters. In fact the chief reason we frequent it so often is because of the type of nights we’ve had there, its central location and quirky atmosphere attracting a wide array of individuals whether native or recently relocated or visiting.

After debating the complex reasons why men and women might be attracted to certain characteristics over others, the Irishman challenges me to survey the room and pick out the hottest guy in the bar. He’s argued that attraction is nature-based: women are attracted to men on the basis of their ability to provide. In our modern age, the ideal male provides security, financial and otherwise, to the female. The nature argument, in reductive terms, asserts the caveman’s skills as the hunter and the female’s as the gatherer. Conversely, I’ve argued for nurture-based attraction, with a dash of scientific rationale:  we are attracted to those who share characteristics we value (i.e. socially constructed heteronormative definitions of beauty and success) as well as those who are biologically appealing (along the lines of pheromones which match to create a more complete DNA profile). To demonstrate, the Irishman picks out the guy he believes best fits a nature-based argument in our modern context: an athletic, tall, blandly handsome guy seated at an adjacent table amongst three pretty women and two other athletic-looking guys, all roughly in their earlier twenties. The subject in question is cracking jokes and clearly holding court amongst his friends. He’s the hottest guys in the bar, argues my Irishman, “Because he’s sociable, confident, good-looking, and knows how to make women laugh. The women are responding to his body language, leaning towards him and flirting; the guys are sitting back, envying his confidence and letting him lead. He’s that guy everybody wants to be or be with.”

“No way,” I argue.  Taking a reductive route, I counter, “He looks like a douche! He thinks he’s the shit, but he’s not even engaged with his group–he keeps looking around the bar, checking out other people. Sure, he can get pretty girls to laugh at his jokes, but he’s not the hottest guy in the room.”

“Then who? Point him out.”

“Ok.” I take a moment to look around. In a corner booth just past the bros and biddies, beneath paintings of matadors and wrestlers, are a trio of guys in their mid to late twenties sharing a pitcher. They are just hanging out and talking, though no snippets of their conversation are audible from where I’m seated. Two of the guys, left and center in the booth, have brown hair and long beards. My impression is that they are disheveled, mountain-man types. The third guy seated on the right is the one who’s caught my attention, his curly blond hair partially covered by a beanie and his trimmed beard just the right measure of scruff.  He’s slouching a little in the booth as he talks to his friends, and I can see a bit of cream string tied around his right wrist as he rolls a cigarette between his fingers. I watch as he brings the paper to his mouth, licking the edge of the paper and sealing the joint shut. He doesn’t attract attention in the bar, but he’s attracted mine. Though I can’t say why, he strikes me as the type of guy you want around because he’s good and knows how to coax a smile. I feel a magnetism towards him: I see him, and I want to keep seeing him.

“That guy, there.” I point, quickly, and gesture with a nod of my head. “He’s the hottest guy in the room.”

“Are you kidding me? That guy in the corner? He looks like he’s stoned. He’s slouched in his seat, he’s not commanding the room. And he’s skinny.”

“No, definitely him. He’s slim, yes, but his body type is lean muscles, he’s strong and tall. See his hands? He’s deft. I don’t know, there’s something about his hands… his fingers are elegant. He’s quietly confident. He’s not commanding the room, but he’s enjoying himself and he’s not making a show of it. He looks intelligent, too.”

“You really think so? Then go talk to him.” The Irishman is daring me, and I know that winning the argument rests on how I respond.

What he doesn’t know is that I really, really like to win arguments and I rarely refuse a challenge.

“Ok. I will.”

I get up and make my way across the room. I stop in front of the booth, planting myself slightly to the left of the man I’ve selected. I smile and I make my move.

“Hi. My name’s Danielle. Can I join you guys?”

To be continued…

The Blushing Lush


New photos up!

Hello lovely readers of the Internet.

Just a quick note to share that I’ve added a couple more photos to the Gallery roll. All the photos on the blog sidebar are also on view under the “See” tab from the main menu.

I’ve been digging through the archives, and given the most recent spat of unreasonable winter weather, I’ve pulled out a few pictures from last summer when all was sunshine and happiness. Lush life is best spent outdoors, and in the two-oh-six, there’s quite a lot of outdoors to see. Expect more soon, and perhaps I’ll include some of the more illicit images in there next time. I do wish Washington had a more lax container law…

Happy places are often woodsy places.

Happy places are often woodsy places.

Sex, Love & Friendship: Insights and Stereotypes

Time and time again, I am transfixed by the thoughts and philosophies of others–especially famous writers and thinkers–as it concerns sex, desire, love, intimacy, and relationships.

Generally speaking, I have a strong opinions about lots of things. Especially all of the above. But I’m aware my opinions are influenced by my upbringing and lived experience. Not only am I limited by what I have done, learned, and experienced through my relationships with others, but time in which I live also exerts its own special blend of influence. Throw in the dynamics of intersectionality, privilege, hetero-normative behaviors… it’s a big ol’ mess to unpack. So I’d rather focus less on theoretical pursuits and more on the shit I can actually do. In all things, a lush is nothing if not an active participant; let’s just say all my years of liberal arts education have shown theory to be quite, well, passive. Why theorize when you can DO? Why not take the insights realized by others and use that clarity of mind to navigate our own lives to greater risk as well as benefit?

So this week I give you, dear readers, a passage from the great feminist thinker Susan Sontag. As soon as I read it, I felt Sontag had been reading my mind. She is much more apt and compelling than I, and thus:

“Part of the modern ideology of love is to assume that love and sex always go together. They can, I suppose, but I think rather to the detriment of either one or the other. And probably the greatest problem for human beings is that they just don’t. And why do people want to be in love? That’s really interesting. Partly, they want to be in love the way you want to go on a roller coaster again — even knowing you’re going to have your heart broken. What fascinates me about love is what it has to do with all the cultural expectations and the values that have been put into it. I’ve always been amazed by the people who say, “I fell in love, I was madly, passionately in love, and I had this affair.” And then a lot of stuff is described and you ask, “How long did it last?” And the person will say, “A week, I just couldn’t stand him or her.” (via Brain Pickings)

As far as my past partners are concerned, as well as experiences I’ve gathered from close friends, I find this so incredibly true. Those whom I love are not necessarily those with whom I have sex. But the expectation of our culture is that they should–that I should have sex with those I love, and love those I have sex with. But why should love be part of a sexual relationship? Sex can be without love, and still fulfilling and worthwhile and incredible. In fact, to set aside the expectations that love as an emotion adds to the relationship, I’d argue that for (or with!) certain people sex can be better in the absence of love. Setting aside emotion is freeing in its own way. You leave your expectations and ideologies at the door to the benefit of your sexual experience. That is not to say sex is not mental or emotional; it is. However, to set aside the idea of love is to focus on the immediate. Instead of focusing on the future–its possibilities, where the relationship will lead, how you can prolong or deepen your connection, what you have come to expect from him and what he expects of you–the focus on the now: the person touching you, gazing on you, inside you, on top of you, behind you… you get my drift. It is a very rudimentary concept, and yet humans are naturally inclined to create stories and dramas out of all we see and experience. I’m not arguing that everyone take this perspective, but to not consider or examine its possibilities does perpetuate the mythology that love and sex ought to be codependent experiences in order for men and women to flourish.

Sontag also has a wonderful perspective on sex and friendship, and I find it incredibly applicable to my own friendships (many of which are with men):

“I have loved people passionately whom I wouldn’t have slept with for anything, but I think that’s something else. That’s friendship — love, which can be a tremendously passionate emotion, and it can be tender and involve a desire to hug or whatever. But it certainly doesn’t mean you want to take off your clothes with that person. … Oh, I think friendship is very erotic, but it isn’t necessarily sexual. I think all my relationships are erotic: I can’t imagine being fond of somebody I don’t want to touch or hug, so therefore there’s always an erotic aspect to some extent.” (via Brain Pickings)

A former partner once told me that all friendships between heterosexual men and women operate, whether consciously or subconsciously, on the understanding that between them exists a “Break in Case of Emergency” box. In times of need, or “emergency”, one friend can shatter the box to pull the alarm and safely rely on the other to respond appropriately. The alarm? Sex. In essence, the idea that one friend is just waiting for the other to shatter the glass and pull the alarm, thus turning their friendship from one of platonic love to sexual love.

Having many close friendships with heterosexual men myself, I don’t doubt that the curiosity exists. There are times I’ve wondered whether one male friend might be interested sexually, and what that might look and feel like. Usually my curiosity is founded in just that–curiosity–not desire or passion, or even fondness. It’s more of an abstract what if? But to act on it, or assume there’s going to be a natural friends with benefits relationship? Ridiculous. Like Sontag, I agree that friendships can be erotic and full of love. So much, in fact, that I consider my closest friends to be extensions of my biological family; if anything, I rely on them and trust in them more. So to say that heterosexual men and women must at some point have sexual feelings towards the other is reductive, simplistic, and a total misappropriation of our culture’s values and beliefs towards sex and love. While the “Break in Case of Emergency” box is perhaps true for some types of friendships between men and women (or women and women, or men and men), I don’t think it’s a useful perspective or stereotype. In fact, I think its quite harmful because it misleads men and women to have limited expectations for their own friendships and sexual relationships. And it leads individuals outside such friendships to make incorrect assumptions about appropriate or healthy behavior between them. Who hasn’t seen the sitcom about the hetero male and female friends who, inevitably, end up in the sack together? (Zooey, my sister, I’m looking at you).

All I’m saying is that sex and love can be complicated. But they don’t have to be. You can make your own rules, and the rules can evolve over time. The trick is finding partners who are willing to respect and abide by them. At least, that’s how this lush tries to live her life.

Until next time,

The Blushing Lush

Gallery launched!

Hello lovelies! I decided to launch a new feature on this here blog, as I do so love to experiment during wee hours of the night. See that sidebar over there on the right with all the links and stuff? Beneath a list of the blogs I follow (which are all quite marvelous, I must add), I’ve added a photo gallery. I hope all y’all good readers of the Internets will check it out and get a sense of how this lush plays, drinks, and generally bandies about town.

I like to take photos of the things I do and see from time to time–my city is nothing if not alive, so there may be something to that whole “Sleepless” thing.

Here’s a little preview:

Seattle, WA, The Baltic Room, Drag Queen

Classy dames in dresses

Objectified flannel n' tits

The blushing lush herself, in flannel (what else?)

I plan to put up several more photos over the course of the month, pulling from my archived photos and adding new images as adventures unfold.

Until next time,

The Blushing Lush


Here’s a poem I wrote in September ’12. I think it sums up #lushlife quite perfectly–what do you think?


With this El Jimador
I mean business.

Picking up the glass
Watchful of the rim
The quaking liquid
I raise my hand and
like the pills I never
swallow or the
caress no man here will offer,
libations slip down
and I feel revived

Momentarily, the sharpness is
Inside, outside
the bitter flavor
an echo
tips of hairs to round skin of toes
this libation speaks truth.
And when you look surprised
dumbfounded that
unlike others
I can bear the brunt
take my truth with neither
salt nor lime
My pupils retract
my face stiffens
my lips, cold,

I know business with you
contains as much possibility as
the emptiness of this