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.

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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

May

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

May

With this El Jimador
I mean business.

Picking up the glass
Watchful of the rim
The quaking liquid
clear/sheer/invisible
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
true.
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
glass.

The Sex Test: Are you positive?

In searching for like-minded lushes on the blogosphere, I stumbled across a wonderful article from The Frisky that I felt it was necessary to share: 8 Ways to Be Positive You’re Sex Positive. The article addresses some of the ways all of us might be misusing the phrase “sex-positive”… and as someone who uses it to describe my attitudes about sex, I worry that people misinterpret me or get the wrong idea about what it means to say “Yes, I am sex-positive.” So while not only is this particular article helpful in providing a definition and a bit of education, but the article also paves the way for clearer understanding–at least as concerns my future ramblings and lush stories.

Basically, “sex-positive” describes those who believe all consensual forms of sexuality are healthy. Those who call themselves sex-positive typically advocate for sex education and safer sex, and its not uncommon for many to support feminism (or be a feminist). And yes, sex-positive individuals may tend to explore more and experiment with their sexuality. But, as I mentioned above, it can also be misleading or used in the wrong context to describe behavior or tools that create toxic attitudes toward sexuality. What I find most interesting, but incredibly complicated, is that the term has been attacked because its use devalues people who do not identify with sex whatsoever: asexuals, graysexuals, or any other individual who experiences sex as undesirable or non-consensual.

Anyways, I hope you’ll read The Frisky article because it’s short, sweet, and direct.  I read it and realized that I was guilty of misguided notions myself, primarily point number 7!  I definitely struggle with being open-minded about what pleases others sexually because, well, some things I would never do; it’s hard to cognitively leap from my distaste to another’s gratification. But the first step in removing some of that judgmental thinking is becoming aware of it, so I hope you dear readers will also do some self-evaluation to see if you can become truly sex-positive, too.

That’s all for now, little lushes.

Stay classy,

The Blushing Lush

P.S. Do check out the article’s author, Rachel Rabbit White! Her Tumblr is incredible and a wealth of amazing photos, notes, and links to her published articles.

Pool Hall

Here’s a poem I wrote back in September ’12,  about three months after my escapade with “The Mountie”.

Pool Hall

Crack.
Balls scatter. Solid, left pocket.
Change of hands, stick
glides across the table
tan on felt

slick on stiff

my snug skirt slips and

all eyes on that space

inches from the edge
the tipping point
a slight nudge/an intake of breath,
in the right direction,

with the weight of force,

and the ball drops

your turn.

Before, there was a lately blooming kiss

Perhaps I should provide a little background, so you dear reader can understand how one might develop into a blushing lush such as I. Given my aforementioned late arrival to the concourse known as intercourse, it should come as no surprise that my entire romantic history might define me as–loud whispers now, don’t be discreet–a late bloomer.

Don’t get me wrong: I am a healthy girl who developed at all the right times, and perhaps even a tad early. For example, I don’t think I grew more than an inch since 6th grade; I was the tallest kid in all my classes through elementary and middle school. And I’m pretty sure my bra size hasn’t changed since 9th or 10th, either; since then my cups have always been quite enough, thank you. But I didn’t have boyfriends or play spin the bottle in middle and high school. I didn’t really have crushes on any boys–or girls, for that matter. I was, for lack of a better term, a tad asexual. Boys didn’t preoccupy my thoughts, nor did the same sex. They didn’t have cooties. They just weren’t interesting. And I knew I was attracted to males because, in typical tween fashion, this girl had mega-crushes on the two muscled leads of Fast and the Furious fame (R.I.P., Paul)… and on Chad Michael Murray. Suffice to say, I was a wee misguided during my teen years.

So it was that, at the grand ol’ age of 18, I kissed a boy for the first time ever. I’m talking a real, honest-to-goodness kiss, not one of those brisk pecks or platonic smacks an aunt or grandma could have given. It wasn’t cute or planned or even remotely romantic, either, because I was self-involved teenager who had her own shit to handle and I was completely oblivious to male attention. Unlike many of my peers, the pursuit of sex was not on my teen agenda and so I didn’t have any–or anything resembling it! Hence my late blooming kiss.

It happened like this: There’s a club in my hometown that allows 18s+ in after 2am on Friday nights. It is the oldest standing gay club in the city, and it also happens to be one of very few places for underage youths to party (woods and public parks notwithstanding). So every Friday at 2am the club clears out all the booze and all the queers and, once free of illicit substances, the underage kids line up behind the queens and dykes for re-entry. In spite of the annoyance of kicking everybody out for 5 minutes just to let the same adults plus a bunch of young kids back in, the club stayed mostly full until it closed at 4am. Revelers, in typical fashion, would often pay the small cover to dance their drunk off before crawling home or into the beds of sexy strangers. (Since coming back to my hometown, I too have become one of the revelers, guilty of shaking my luscious booty to gay beats–right alongside all the high school babies, the ghosts of my futures and pasts mingling together in one sweaty, sticky crowd of nubile flesh.)

But I digress. So it’s a Friday night during my senior year of high school and my friends and I have stayed up late to go to the only club in town that will have us. We dress up and drive over, drinking terrible whiskey straight from its plastic bottle the entire ride, and then tear down the piss-stained alley to the line that curls around the corner of the club into the noisy street. We pay the cover, go in, and make our way towards the middle of the floor.

Roughly half hour in, I notice an enthusiastic group dancing a few bodies away, and they are clearly older college students. One of them, a lanky boy wearing sunglasses is dancing in my line of sight. Despite how ridiculous it is to wear shades inside a darkly-lit, strobe-filled club, I find it amusing and I think he’s cute. In response, I assume a rookie flirting tactic:  I eye him a bit and give a sly smile, just to see if he will notice me. And he does.  So, in spite of the terrifying prospect of failure, I decide to woman up and ask him if he would like to dance. And he agrees. And we dance. And it’s obvious he’s straight so this is a very different type of dance for me. He’s not gay and he’s definitely not a creepy older dude trying to pretend its innocent to hit on a teenage girl (we’ve all seen it, and the collective cringing should have caused Mt. Rainier to explode by now–just sayin’). I’m not sure what to do next, so I start talking at him. I get his name, give him mine; I ask questions about what he does, where he’s from… you know, the standard first-year-of-college conversational muck.

I’m feeling pretty confident by then, like super jazzed ’cause he totally thinks I’m pretty, you guys, and so I stop talking and focus instead on the dancing. And by dancing, I mean that my ass on his lap like it was stitched there. Oh yes, even back then I was self-aware enough to recognize that my big ass booty was a blessing, and damn could I shake it! (Shakira was right; these hips do not, cannot possibly, lie).

Now, I know what you’re thinking: he must have a huge boner by now. And he definitely does, cause there’s really no way of hiding that when a girl is rubbing her ass all up in your junk. I don’t care the circumstances, the body just responds. So I take this invitation to mean I should turn around to face him and grind with him a bit more pointedly, and that’s when it happens. I look up, and my arms are loosely around his waist, and he slides his fingers along my jawline and leans down to kiss me.

It happens quickly and wasn’t what I expected. I mean, why is his mouth so wet? Am I doing this right? And what the hell am I supposed to do next? So I pull back a little, but he’s got me and he’s not letting go. And, okay, so it’s a bit wet but maybe I need to be more patient and ride this out, see what happens, so I give in. We make out, tongues and all, in full view of everybody in that club. I don’t know how long we do this but at some point I’m feeling really aware of and awful for our obvious PDA so I stop kissing back and pull away. We keep dancing, and then it’s closing time and the lights come up. I give him my number and I leave with my friends, all of them giggling and gawping at me like they just walked in on a very public re-enactment of Deep Throat (which, to be real, probably wasn’t too far off given the club’s reputation).

As we all traipse down the alley to the pancake house a few blocks over, I can feel it starting. My body is warm, and my skin feels like a current is running through it. And despite the loving teases from my friends and my insistent replies that the kiss wasn’t a big deal, he was just some guy who I’ll likely never see again, I find that I can’t help but keep touching my lips, feeling the huge smile spreading across my face as I rewind the night over and over, feeling it again and again.

And that, dear reader, is a how a lush is born.

Cheers for now,

The Blushing Lush