On Cuddling

As a rule, I don’t cuddle.

Call it a problem with intimacy, or a fear of commitment. Call it a lie, call it nonsense. Humans need contact; cuddles follow. But I just don’t enjoy it with my sexual partners.

Now, that’s not to say I haven’t cuddled or will never again cuddle. Really, I just don’t like to do it. This may upset some of you dear readers, but my perspective on cuddling is similar to my perspective on anal sex: I’ll do it, but it’s not pleasurable.

As an adult, I make compromises. Sometimes, cuddling (and, yes, anal sex) is a compromise. If it satisfies my partner, why shouldn’t I give that pleasure? And in turn, I receive pleasure in ways my partner may not himself enjoy because it’s a give-and-take system. You scratch mine if I scratch yours. Or, in the words of my favorite pixie indie rock vixen Jenny Lewis, “You gotta give a little love to get a little love.

Bananas CuddleTop 3 Reasons the Blushing Lush Refuses to Cuddle:

1. Sleep: how can I get any with you wrapped around me? I can feel the rise of your chest, air from your mouth or nose steadily lapping my shoulder or neck, and twitches and tics from your dreams throughout the course of the night. If you are a light sleeper, you know these to be true barriers.

2. Heat: I radiate it, you trap it, and then it’s all sweat and sex-stank from there on out. Open windows don’t help. I tend to burrow away from the cold, further into the nearest warm body, and then the heat trap returns. It’s a vicious cycle.

3. Discomfort: I have trouble getting to sleep with my body contorted in such a way, particularly as I tend to toss and turn frequently before falling into slumber. While this issue is probably a learning curve, I don’t care to experience many sleepless nights getting to the stage where a dead limb feels comfortable. Plus, I am concerned that my every move disturbs your sleep–because it sure as hell disturbs mine.

Cuddle Grammar Meme

In short, I need SPACE when I sleep. Sleeping parallel is preferred, and a hand here or there quite welcome. But don’t you dare wrap your arms or body around mine. It’s-just-too-close, ya dig?

I admit that platonic cuddling with close friends (male or female) can be and usually is quite lovely. I think the presence of  clothes helps, tbh. In the presence of partners and other conquests, clothes just come off and there’s not putting them back on. What kind of fun would that be?!

So, all that’s left to say is this: when I do cuddle, I am a Big Spoon Personality. No shocker there, I assure you. As an Amazon-boned woman, it’s hard to not dominate the bed…


Until we meet again,

The Blushing Lush



What happens in a Winnebago: part the second

Continued from previous

I sat down at their table, bold and brazen. (At least, I hope that’s the impression I gave.) By way of introduction, I ventured, “So, tell me your names and about yourselves.”

I get the story: friends from Nevada, traveling and doing legwork in support of Proposition 8. We make introductions but I focus on the blonde boy’s name alone. Initially, I sense he’s amused by my presence. To get a shot with him, I need to charm his friends; I have to win the group over and get in their good graces.  It’s only fair–I took the group by surprise so it’s my job to carry the conversation and offer my wit. And if I do say so, I did my job well. One of them even remarked upon it: “You are really good at making conversation, you know that?”

Why, thank you, I guess.

I discover my target is an English teacher in Nevada (swoon) and an aspiring writer. We chat about books and literature, his writing, and teaching. I find out his buddies work in the coal mines… and I genuinely was shocked that coal mining still exists in this country. Moreover, in Nevada it is fairly common for high school and college age students to work there as a first job. Not to be ignorant, but I had just assumed the U.S. had mined all of our nation’s coal decades ago and sourced these essential minerals abroad. An eye-opener, to say the least.

They are finishing up the last of their pitcher around this time and, being gentleman, offer to me some. I don’t have a glass so, being the classy lady I am, I grab the pitcher and sip right out of it. It was a ballsy move, but I knew I had to prove I was chill to roll with them the rest of the night.

It did the trick. They laughed, and my blonde-haired man offered me his pint glass to share. They said they were going to go next door for pizza and invited me along. I agreed, and told them I’d meet them outside the bar after I closed my tab.

Arriving at the bar, I see one of my friends taking shots with the Irish gentleman. She yanks me over and demands, “take a shot with us!” She’s a little blitzed, but enough in control that I don’t need to worry. I’ve got higher pursuits, so I decline the shot and share a little that I’ve learned about my target.

“So, ya’gonna sleep wit’him?” slurs the Irishman.

“I don’t know, we’re going next door for pizza. Hey —, I’ll text you and let you know if I need a ride home.”

When I step outside, I look up and down the block but can’t see them. Shit. I worry they took the opportunity and left, that my English teacher wasn’t interested in me at all and was just playing along or being polite. I check the pizza joint next door, to no avail. I wander back inside the bar, deciding to use the bathroom and then check again before giving up completely.

My friend spies me exiting the restroom and yanks me aside. “What happened? Thought you were going with those guys?”

“I couldn’t find them. Think they ditched.”

“Damn! He was hot though. Come drink with us then, — is pissed at one of the French guys. He knows her cousin and said something weird so we’ll probably leave soon.”

“Nah, I’m going to check outside one more time. Hopefully I just missed them.”

When I step outside again, the trio shouts and waves me down outside the pizza joint. “Where’d you go? We thought we lost you,” they ask.

Thank god. I relax a little, my fears unfounded. “Ladies,” I say by way of explanation.

We go inside, they order slices and we wedge into a corner table with stools. Loud hip hop mingles with revolving noise of drunk customers and street-side shouts. I have to lean in closer to the my blonde-haired boy to talk to him, and during conversation catch myself resting a hand on his knee. He doesn’t move away. Our conversation turns to his teaching, and he shares that his favorite work is The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe.

He pulls out a book from his messenger bag and hands it to me. “I always carry The Raven with me. I have it memorized, I re-read it constantly.”

His friends laugh and tease him, “We’re sick of it! It goes everywhere he does.”

Throwing our greasy paper plates away, we head back to the street. I ask him why he loves that poem so much–why The Raven of all the stories by dead white men in the canon of literature? He seems affronted by the question at first, but then I see this shine to his eyes and notice the steadiness of his hand as he takes the book back from me.

He opens a page, and he begins to recite.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door –
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –
Only this and nothing more.”

I can’t help but gape at him: in the middle of the sidewalk on Pine St, as young people pass him by and linger outside bars and hot dog stands and food trucks, this beautiful man is reciting poetry. To me. Holy fuckballs.

He continues on, unabashed. His voice rises and falls with the rhyme, picking up speed, escalating in volume. He’s planted himself firmly with the open book in his right hand. His eye darting periodically down to the pages, but I suspect holding it is just for show.

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.

There’s nothing for me to do but watch and listen, smiling broadly. His voice is loud enough now to attract attention, and I catch stares from nearby smokers. A few naive youths pass us on the street, jeering and snickering and cat-calling, but my Poet’s attention does not break. Enunciating the consonants and vowels, applying rhythm and tone from stanza to stanza, the recitation is theatrical. Shakespeare in the Park? No, I’ve got my own Poe on Pine. His devotion to the text is forceful, his cadence well-timed. He’s magnetic.

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore –
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never – nevermore.'”

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

By now, his voice cracks and breaks in places; the telltale signs of the spliff he smoked earlier. Nevertheless, he persists. He is going to recite the poem in its entirety and I am entranced despite myself. Who cares if he woos all his women this way? He’s a goddamn Casanova. He is a beautiful man but it’s his passion that creates a pull in my hips and a tightness in my throat.

I want to take Raven boy to bed.

To be continued…

Sunday Morning Stumps

Some lingering questions after a late night out on the town

1. I am tired of gay men telling me I’m a “cute lesbian”. I know they mean well and have good intentions, but it is exhausting to defend my sexuality. (The irony here is depressing.) Why is that women with short hair are assumed to be lesbians? Where does this cultural association come from?

2. Why is an influx of heterosexual men and women in predominately homosexual spaces so problematic?

3. Where, oh where, will I get my penis, vulva, and breast-shaped desserts now? Goodbye, Erotic Bakery. Your comestibles will be sorely missed.

4. Why do I constantly pursue men who play me, and why am I such a glutton for bad treatment from my lovers?

5. How hard is it really to text someone back, even if it’s to say “no” or “rain check”?

On libations

The consumption of alcohol happens to be a necessary factor in my pursuit of sexual relationships with men.

I am sure some may find my choices to be problematic, blending liquor and sex and emotion and passion together like a fearsome hurricane. I find it quite normative, and in line with most of my generation’s attitudes towards dating. Alcohol and dating go hand in hand; I go on dates in bars, I meet men at bars, and I happen to start every sexual relationship I’ve ever had in… you guessed it… a bar. There is a certain ease and comfort in dating in a bar. There is cultural currency there, and it absolutely informs my decisions over who I choose to date and how I date. I don’t date for love; I date to fuck. And bars happen to be great places for meeting single attractive males who might be interested in casual sex.

Dating and drinking have nothing to do with having any type of alcohol dependency. While I occasionally drink alone, I very rarely drink to excess even on “wild nights out”. I do not drink to get drunk. I rarely ever blackout from drinking. I like to socialize with alcohol, but by no means do I socialize exclusively with alcohol. I mostly drink in moderation. I drink because I want to, not because I need to. I feel no compulsion towards alcohol that would qualify my behavior as addictive.

I like the taste of certain beers, whiskeys, tequilas, and wine. I like cocktails. I appreciate the atmosphere of bars and lounges and clubs. I can take it or leave it–but I usually take it! I enjoy the craft of beer and mixology. I love the culture of booze: the writers, the celebrities, the urban legends, and sometimes even the politics. I prefer lagers and hefes over summer ales and IPAs. I drink stouts as appetizers and Irish coffees as desserts. I have discovered a love for jalapeno tequila cocktails–the tang of juice mixed with the searing, back of throat burn of the pepper. I drink whiskey with smashed ginger, ginger beer, ginger ale, on the rocks. If it’s an Irish whiskey and I’m feeling brazen, neat. Depending on the bar, I’ll experiment and try a drink special or branch out to a different brand of liquor. And unless it’s a Moscow Mule, I don’t ever drink vodka.

I like small, dark bars. I like the homey, wood paneled bars with cozy chairs and stools that remind me of the finest pubs in Dublin. I like the quirky or eccentric theme bars decorated to look like hunting or ski lodges, circuses, arcades, western saloons, forests. I like old local haunts pungent with the lingering scents of cigarettes and beer, perhaps fried food, and when you leave you can smell it all on your clothes.

Drinking, like sex, is all about the experience.  It’s important to have limits and boundaries; to separate what is okay from what is not okay, what feels safe from what feels scary or dangerous. It’s okay to stop. It’s okay to go. And sometimes you make a big mess and a fool of yourself, and you put your head back up the next day and pick up the pieces.

Writing Block(s)

Greetings, dear Reader!

On the eve of Spring, I am back to dust off this nascent blog and once again attempt to keep a writing routine. Can’t judge a girl for losing her focus when there are so many cocktails, bars, and boys to conquer, now can we? This wide world is full of distractions, and I am so easily distracted…

I must admit a certain focus has be lacking in my lush life, and so I will attempt once more to do something creative with consistency. Or, try to. For now. Though I do realize I had quite hardly started much. So, like the sexually inexperienced, my blog is starting and stopping and starting again with quite irregular rhythm–my b, y’all.

Now for some paperwork: I will, I SWEAR, continue the saga of the Winnebago. I couldn’t possibly leave you, dear Reader, hanging! You deserve to know how our flirtations progressed from bar to recreational vehicle… and trust me, it is quite worth the wait. I mean, I was serenaded. On the street. With poetry. **Sploosh**. (Am I right?)

But for now all I can spare is just a few photos of my lush life in action.  I am trying to be more sociable in 2014, and I’ll be damned if I don’t have at least a half dozen (or more!) stories to share because of it.

Why bother writing unless there’s something salacious to be writing about? There’s a reason the most notorious writers are drunks, addicts, and other unsavory types. They had terrible lives to share with the world! And boy, do I hope to add mine to that list. So without further ado, some pictures of a lush out on the town and fully committed to revelry:

Fresh blackberries in ginger whiskey with a splash of lime, courtesy of the always friendly bar-maids at Mars.

Fresh blackberries in ginger whiskey with a splash of lime, courtesy of the always friendly bar-maids at Mars.

Black lace, fire engine red skirt. #datenight

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