Friday, October 20, 2006

An Autumn Treatise on Nothing in Particular

Back in 2002, while sitting in an airport, I struck up a conversation with an interesting gentleman, a Canadian national.

I really dug his turban. And the beard, one of those long elegant face coverings, the kind usually associated with members of his religious group. He was, for some reason, fascinated by this sculpture in the airport. I, too, found the abstract public art fascinating.

We both were leaving from the same terminal, so we continued our chat as we slowly meandered with the hundreds of other passengers through the black crowd control ribbons, towards the security checkpoint. We talked about air pollution and overpopulation. We discussed religion, politics, all of those forbidden fruits one is supposed to ignore in the Garden of Polite Conversation.

It was a great distraction.

I noticed how the other travelers kept their distance from my temporary companion, how that old woman wearing that Star of David pendant clutched her handbag and muttered in Yiddish, how that old, bloated security officer tried to stare through him and kept his right hand down by his sidearm, his left hand on the screening station. I heard the whispered paranoia behind me, people afraid of bronze-colored men with turbans and beards.

I remember laughing at how downright silly the whole scene was, watching this poor man stumble over his words, trying to pretend that he wasn't aware of people's assumptions, the illusions of what evil dresses like, what it looks like, how it wears its beard.

I remember laughing when I realized that, well, how insane it is to travel in a country where 90 percent of the population never felt the need to learn the difference between a Sikh and that Saudi butcher they'd seen on TV.

I've never been able to figure out which is worse - the very real, very human reliance on rumor, legend, and stereotype to create perception or the very real, equally human reliance on perception to create rumors, legends, and stereotypes...

* * * *

I'm an observant bastard, downright scientific in how I approach my study of various terrain. I learned to track animals and cattle as a child. I know how to wait silently for hours on end in cold, camouflaged tree stands, carefully absorbing every broken twig and forest shadow, weapon in hand, ready for that respiratory pause when time stops, when prey becomes food.

As I grew older, even after I swore off hunting, I learned that that ability serves me well in all sorts of situations. Surveillance comes as naturally to me as breathing; I've learned, as Sun Tzu advocated centuries ago, that knowing one's terrain can mean the difference between victory and defeat in any situation.

One should always be aware of their surroundings, of who may be eavesdropping, of who may be waiting in dark alleys, of which hand an opponent favors in a fight, of the smell of certain foliage and substances, of the sounds of pain and joy, of the touch of that which may be considered unwelcome. One should always, too, accept that it is impossible to catch everything, understand that the obvious can sometimes leave one oblivious, that the universe is designed to leave every living thing imperfect in perception as to maintain its own divine, perfect cycles of creation and destruction.

Trust me, one can indeed contemplate such things at the most random times in life. Ask the soldier if he does not think such thoughts in combat and in peace, ask the murderer if he does not contemplate such things, the new mother while holding her child, the farmer who tends to his crops, the scientist who stares into an instrument and sees the building blocks of existence.

The key to this trick is to understand that life isn't simply what we make it; it's mostly how we choose to see it, to feel it, to interact and comprehend it...

* * * *

A friend of mine once needed to schedule an appointment with her gynecologist for a regular check-up. When she tried to make the appointment, she learned that her doctor was out of the country and was referred to another practitioner.

The doctor who examined her knew my friend was only a temp; he made random small talk during the examination.

At one point, he stopped when he noticed some tenderness in a certain area. The patient attempted to explain that, well, that was normal for her, that no, she hadn't been raped, and that Dr. X was aware of the repeated trauma. She even explained what she did for a living, figuring that might better explain the tenderness.

According to my friend's account, he left the room, asking her to get dressed, not to worry, and to wait for a few minutes. It was only while she was dressing that she noticed the Gideon Bible, the types of magazines in the examination room, the copy of a Left Behind novel. She noticed the inspirational framed posters on the wall, of kittens and nature scenes.

She waited for the doctor to return for an hour and a half. At first, she started to panic. Had the doctor discovered something that was overlooked three months prior? Did she catch something at work? Or in her personal life?

The doctor finally returned with a rather strange woman, squat and grandmotherly square, who didn't seem to be a nurse.

The guy had called a damned women's support group. Apparently, the doctor didn't believe her story. She'd obviously been raped. The vaginal trauma. The bruises around her neck. Evidence of some ungodly act of sodomy. And there was no way such a plain-spoken, mousy, intelligent person could work in the industry she claimed to work - didn't fit the psychological profile of those kind of performers.

Somewhere, in the Wild Kingdom of Too - Close - To - Goddamned - Disneyland Southern California, an adult entertainer had to waste three hours of her life, explaining to some counselor that some women actually enjoy a little pain mixed in with their sex acts, who can't get off without certain orifices explored or pressure applied to certain places. And that's just in her personal life.

By the way my friend explained it, the counselor at least tried to be undertanding and finally did believe her. And I think my friend got off on watching a squat, grandmotherly type squirm as she described various tricks of the trade to allow certain acts involving certain ...

Er... I'll spare you, dear reader, the details.

Some folks are Missionary For Five Minutes Get Off Me Go To Sleep people; some aren't. Three words to describe my friend's sexual appetite: Klingon Mating Ritual.

I can tell you that, contrary to what you may think, the No. 1 drugs abused by the adult performers I've met are acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

* * * *

Even an expert's perception can be distorted by the variable mistaken for the control, by the unwillingness to accept that one's worldview doth not equate with reality. Careful observation can lead to a good hypothesis, but sometimes skipping steps to reach a conclusion leads to nothing more than a handful of dogshit.

When patients storm out of an office, convinced that their fill-in doctor is some kind of Moral Majority nutcase or Sexual Liberation as Long as You Enjoy Sex Like "Normal" People Women's Rights supporter, one only hopes the practitioner in question took the time to realize that what one perceives, even as a professional, is often what one chooses to see, feel, or believe. There's no such thing as total objectivity.

* * * *

We're all biased. The choice we have, however, is to choose to hold our breath for that split second it takes to evaluate whether one is indeed aiming at a large buck ... or aiming at a toddler playing in the woods. Our aim in all things is dictated by more than our line-of-sight or our accuracy.

* * * *

In high school, I had a crush on this one girl for what seemed like an eternity. And though her slightly off stepsister had once threatened to castrate me (literally holding a hunting knife to my junk) if I tried to make a move, I asked J. out one Friday afternoon after getting out of detention.

After working up the courage to ask her out, the false bravado one needs to even approach a pretty girl, I was shot down horribly. A subtle letdown, but a horrible one. I wasn't her type. Her boyfriend was an All-District football player, she thought of me only as a friend, and she was busy all weekend.

I beat myself up that whole weekend. I wasn't cool enough, wasn't handsome enough, wasn't good enough. Smart girls don't want to go out with me, I remember thinking, because of my thuggish reputation, my punk-nerd-gone-terribly-wrong ways and my gun and, sometimes, machete-wielding friends.

That Saturday night, my friends and I drove to a buddy's house, watched cheesy slasher flicks and rocked out the basement with three-chord, Dropped-Dm Hardcore Punk and Hip-Hop. We drank loads of this magical, evil elixir called Thunderbird in between shots of SoCo, rolled up twenties and lines of prepack uncut driving friends' affluent prep school girlfriends to strip and do pretty much anything asked of them.

It was a wonderfully juvenile escape from the real world. I even remember screaming off a porch that my heartache wasn't really worth beating myself up.

That Monday, the sweet, innocent girl who'd rejected me was absent from class. I was disappointed when I didn't see her in French - I wanted to rub it in that, ha, her weekend couldn't top mine, that I didn't need her to return my puppy-love and...

And then I found out why she wasn't there. She'd been more than just busy.

My crush's stepsister, you see, the slightly off one, had gone to the father's gun cabinet, locked and loaded every weapon, and had emptied hundreds of cartridges into two sleeping parents.

I remember seeing the crime scene photos - there was barely enough left to fill one coffin, much less two. More pools of blue goo than flesh, more liquid than solid.

Semi-automatic weapons and shotguns tend to leave that kind of mess.

I was 15 or 16 at the time. Both women were a year older than me.

I woke up early this morning. I'd had a nightmare about the crush, about how she'd killed herself on a lonely overpass two years ago, about how a parole board had forgiven her but a community couldn't. I got up, got dressed, and went out for breakfast.

Three college students were trading horror stories about how their high school days at the diner. One girl had, like, been dumped right before prom and had to, like, go stag as prom queen. Another girl had, like, tried to kill herself because some cheerleading coach told her she'd, like, never be a captain of her cheer squad. The lone guy had been dumped at a My Chemical Romance concert because his girlfriend, like, didn't like his pot habit and wanted a straight edge guy.

I thought that their conversation was the silliest thing I'd ever heard. People grow up like that? I thought that only happened in, like, movies.

Perspective. All a matter of perspective. I'm sure their observations and experiences are just as real and painful as mine, but, well, it's easy to find certain things funny when you have very few such things in your line-of-sight...

Exhale, hold, aim, squeeze, inhale. Just like hunting. Remember to adjust for the differences between different human beings, the individual that makes the collective, before making a judgment. Observe the surroundings. Take in as much information as possible.

It may have hurt as much to be the single prom queen or the suicidal cheerleader. Who knows? No point in judging something as silly or serious. To each their own.

* * * *

And someone once asked me why I thought Catcher in the Fucking Rye was a comedy the first time I read it. I had no idea that people took Salinger's work as something deep, meaningful, a representation of high school rebellion and chaos.

Again, perspective. I have no bearing by which to guide my observations.

The person who asked, at a cocktail party, was downright offended that I'd dare laugh at one of the most important novels of the 20th century. This person went on for 20 minutes about how the book had changed their life, how they had felt liberated by the experience, how they were able to relate to the apathy of Holden Caulfield.

And then I explained my high school crush, her suicide, and the image of her parents' mutilated, bullet-ridden carcasses burned into my brain, in graphic detail. Since this guy felt the need to waste 20 minutes of my life, I felt he owed me 20 minutes.

It's funny what makes some folks puke. I guess some people can't take literary criticism well.

Is the ink on that overpriced Ivy parchment in your office printed in angel dust, or did you really think people like me would never find their way into your sheltered world, that we only exist in John Singleton films

I'm glad I tied to read Salinger as an adult. I still think it's pretty boring. Of course, I have no frame of reference to understand such a book. Where I grew up, somebody probably would've jacked that whiny bitch Holden. Hell, I was too busy getting stabbed and watching friends getting shot at to worry about existential explorations of some dreamworld.

Perception is, I guess, nine-tenths of one's accepted reality. Some people puke up watered-down booze and petits fours at the idea of nonfiction murder; some think Saint J.D. wrote one hell of a silly book.

I have no idea why, but that guy at the cocktail party never called to invite me to dinner. Or to hear stories of his time living in this hostel in Paris, how he'd tried cocaine but never inhaled, the time he'd been captain of his crew team, and that trip to Greece that his parents paid for after he'd defended his dissertation.

I guess he was scared I'd rub off. New perspectives tend to do that. Or maybe it was the cowboy boots. They didn't seem to fit in at the cocktail party.

Or maybe he finally figured out that I had sized him up, through careful observation and analysis, that I'd chose to choose one of my more brutal experiences as both a reality-check and a conversation-ender, a strategically placed reminder that not everyone with terminal degrees in their field grew up the same way?

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows...and there's always some Shadow lurking somewhere.

Exhale, hold, aim, squeeze, inhale. And choose your targets very carefully.

# # #


shayna said...

As the movie "Crash" best states...

"Moving at the Speed of Life…
We are Bound to Collide with Each Other…"

“I will understand you. I will judge you. I will berate you. I will help you. I will need you. I will comfort you. I will abandon you. I will love you. I will kill you.” - Crash

Cat. said...

While our teen years couldn't possibly be more different, I too thought (think) Catcher in the Rye was...a letdown.

cooper said...

I had totally different teen years than yo as well.

"I thought that only happened in, like, movies." - um sadly no but these people take their angst seriously, and as you say it is about perception. This is why we can't go into other countrie with our perception of what they need to liberate them, this is why I can't tell a black american women what she needs to do to free herself from oppression, Each and every person see things as they do for a variety of reasons and their your perceptions are no less valid than mine, your problems no less valid than mine; however, the solutions will be different.

I like catcher in the Rye but it is not on "my list"; it's not a keeper.;)

This was a great post Jason.

Anonymous said...

holy fuck good post.

Anonymous said...

Excellent message. I've always said, everyone's problems/issues are relevant. No better or worse than anyone else's, just from a different point of view.

I enjoy reading your blog. It makes me think, consider, and best of all..reconsider.

Take care.

Smurf said...

Wow Jason. As the commenters above me clearly stated, this was an excellent post. It was extremely well written. You have this way about you that tends to make someone on the edge of their seat as they read something you have written. You have a way of making us feel what you feel and see things clearly as you do. All signs and qualities of an excellent writer.

One thing I found very intriguing and thought provoking was when you said, "Hell, I was too busy getting stabbed and watching friends getting shot at to worry about existential explorations of some dreamworld." The first part that struck and tugged at my attention was the "dreamworld".

Ok... you say "explorations of some dreamworld" you are referring to a made up place. But along with your perception thing. I have heard and sort of like the "perception is one's reality." The reason I say this is that one might say that living the gang life and being only caught up in booze, drugs, sex, music, cars, who's turf it is or who has the most impressive bragger's rights merely is another form of a dream world. You see there is so much more to life that so many people get to busy to actually see. We may say that is reality and because people are living it, technically it is a reality. However, in the scheme of time... what importance is that stuff? Music lingers on... it is a soul's expression to a world around it, but... would one be wrong to call that a form of a dream world too?

One thing I have pondered alot over time is the matrix that most Americans live in. (I can only say Americans because that is my immediate arena to observe.) But the most common matrix that is lived in America is getting up, getting ready for work, going to work, coming home, turning on the tv, eating and going to bed or something similiar to it.

For me, when I was pondering that, I found it so sad that we lose our life most often trying too hard to find it. Money is never the cure all answer for life and yet... we seem to think so and probably not everyone would consciously say that.

The television has fostered this way of artificial life. Not only are we watching to see what happens in someone else's life, we waste hours upon hours watching things that are about fictional things and experiences and somehow we forget to make some of our own experiences and we lose the ability to functionally live our own, or we have the potential to do so.

You were talking about observations and perceptions... its very interesting just how true your point really is.

Very thought provoking, thank you my dear Jason.

Miz BoheMia said...

Beautiful post amigo mio and I can relate to it all... yeah, I got a number of strange looks when, at 21 when most people I knew were busy getting high and fucking around and getting fucked, I hung out with Tibetan Buddhist monks instead... with my bell bottoms and sometimes poofy hair and sometimes long braids and my friend in full monk attire... perception can be a bitch and closed minds can rob you of the most beautiful of experiences...

Not a hunter... won't be... vegetarian and all but I think we all have this innate, organic, animalistic instinct that we must listen to if we are to succeed and simply survive... the three times I didn't I was attacked and now I will be damned if I don't...

As for the gynecologist... doesn't surprise me... I have had a bitch of a time to find someone secure enough with having a patient who is well read and asks intelligent questions and is in charge of her body... I have mostly been met with scorn and ignored... but then I don't hold back in telling them what I think of them but yeah, once they are WELL AWAY from my vagina! Dios mio!

The story about your crush is heartbreaking... yeah, we can never know what is going on inside someone else...

I have never read Catcher in the Rye... I am curious but have not been curious enough to pick up a copy... oops!

In high school, in speech class, all of my speeches had to do with vegetarianism and animal rights... my speech teacher got sick of that and asked me to do something different for my last speech... so I tackled the gang situation, had friends from LA gangs who had actually killed people that I interviewed and to finish it off I showed the most gruesome scene from Boyz 'n the Hood... my teacher was a vanilla type woman and barely spoke to me after that... and me, I could not have asked for a better compliment! Yes, we all have different perceptions and to each their own but I have to admit that it feels good to mess with the other side every once in a while!

xmichra said...

never read catcher in the fucking rye. it wasn't a requirement in our school.. and i had been reading religious thesis and Terry Brooks instead :)

I was laughing so hard... i'm sorry, i know it shouldn't be funny.. but your friend at the gyno.. that hit a laughable comparisson to me. Not in that region, but the idea. I was prescribed a waxing kit once.

I will type about that in my blog one day. But it was still, very funny. Perception.

I don't know if 'comparing' your high school truma is very relivant. Like you said, to each their own.. and you just never know. Maybe that cheerleader wanted to dies because her father molested her. Maybe she was the next gun holder. You just never know.

But I do know that I feel for you. That is not a memory that I would wish on anyone... and a nightmare that I hope can leave you.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Very true, chica.

It's fascinating, isn't it? It's one of the reasons I tend to be so cynical when it comes to online communication - I've seen folks toss so many random ideas around about the people behind the blogosphere, presumably based on individual life experiences and perspectives. Sar (Belle of the Brawl), for instance, won a Conservative Blog award, yet I've yet to really see how, exactly, she's perceived as a conservative blogger. And, well, I've even had a few folks make the most random assumptions - a source of constant frustration, because, well, I view blogging as an outlet for my thoughts, a creative digital collection of random shit and some folks seem to believe that it's more than that.

Lol, always amazes me that you've stuck around reading this thing as long as you have. Very different, indeed.

As for liberation and telling people things, well, technically, those with the power to do so can, and do, daily. And sometimes that's a good thing - it's that pausing to think, to analyze, to examine the terrain...for instance, one person's justifications for, say,invading Iraq may be used as a justification for sending/not sending support personnel to places like Darfur, depending on perspective. Or one could easily use various Constitutional amendments to both defend or call for the abandonment of policies like Affirmative Action, Women's Reproductive Rights, fact, this happens every day.

You're absolutely right, solutions will be different, depending on how one approaches life. There is no one single road to either right or wrong action.

Anon 1:
Holy fuck thanks :)

Anon 2:
Hey, thanks. Feel free to read as you see fit...and comments are always welcome (hence the option of posting anonymously.)


The ZenFo Pro said...

You are right about the dreamworld phrasing; that was actually intentional - the dreamworld I was talking about is actually the fictional intangible world so many folks - English profs, librarians, me, you, everybody - tend to get lost in at times, as if art, in and of itself means something. Even language can be meaningless without a point of reference.(The cocktail party happened last year, and this person just couldn't get over the fact that a LIBRARIAN wouldn't like a supposedly classic novel.)It's also a play on the escapism central to CITR, that, well, I've always assumed so many folks buy into.

Oh, definitely, the false bravado of those who glamourize the so-called "thug life" without pausing to understand their environment, without taking a holistic look at the world around them - its a trap every single human being falls into, daily. It's as self-blinding as people who commute 20 miles out of their way to avoid poor neighborhoods, as much an illusion of identity as cutting checks to charities to clean up the world's woes, etc. We all miss certain key things.

You know, for some reason, your blog hates me these days. Every time I open it, something goes wrong. Can't post a comment, or somebody calls, or, lol...finally playing catch-up today. LOVE the YouTube clip!!!! Oh my goodness, I'd forgotten brains, beauty, and a woman comfortable enough with herself to say "fuck"...come back to this side of the pond, travel quickly, your country needs you!!!!


Lol, yeah, in high school I'm sure I was supposed to read it. But I was too fascinated with reading encyclopaedias (no lie, I had a buddy of mine's dad, one of the coolest high school teachers ever, who turned me onto reading ready reference materials as a way to stay calm and focused, to keep the mind "well-fed"...a trick he learned in the 'Nam) and, well, being a juvenile delinquent. Really enjoyed Achebe, Richard Wright, James Baldwin,and, well, histories and biographies.

Lol...I'm cringing already at the word "wax"...

See, that's why it's important to simply take those few seconds to reflect, to try to at least understand what makes other people the way they are, what built them. Part of that was to demonstrate, too, the principle of being observant of your environment and to sorta explain where I come from, as a human being side-by-side, how I see some of the things in Oxford versus how a lot of other folks see it, how experience, age, knowledge base, etc., affects perception.

I've had problems, in the past, with several local students, for instance, assuming that, based on this blog, my flirtatious nature offline, etc., I'm an overgrown fratboy or some cross between Andy Rooney, Van Wilder and a Tom Waits album. I found outa few days ago, for example, that an alumnae was TERRIFIED to come to my library last year, because she was afraid she'd run into me, that I'd rip her apart for being in a sorority (hence why I'm careful what I write about Greek Life these days). And she thought I had the hots for her neighbor. And she was convinced I'd somehow refuse to help her because she didn't like punk music.

I kinda figured it was time for another "frame of reference" type post...been on my mind for a while now...

KFigment said...

The human race has lost perspective. They are all trapped in the little bubble that they know and feel safe in. Rarely does anyone ever venture out of the bubble to experience life.

I had a really crummy day the other day. The computer crapped out on me, a client went nuts, my toilet broke, I spilled coffee on my new white shirt before a big meeting. If it could happen it did.

I came home that night and had the chance to talk to my friend who is stationed in Iraq. I asked him how his day was. He said good only one of the caravans got hit by an IED but they got everyone out and only one person has major injuries but they should be ok.

Gee and I thought I had a shitty day.

xmichra said...

hehe... ya, i could see why a frame of refrence is useful... haha.

And I used to read the encyclopedias too. My mom was a single mom.. and this salesman can to the door with the Encyclopedia Brittanica... all nice and new and smelling of book.

I begged her to get them, and she told me the cost. So i said it was alright and to never mind. She bought them later that week... she was a great mom. Anyways, i knew what kind of sacrifice that was.. so i read alot of things that a nine year old wouldn't :) My brother is a wiz with flags and with geography though. I had to make little games up so that it seemed fun for him to be playing with Encyclopedia.. lol.

sassinak said...

catcher in the rye is a boring fucking book
so, i'm afraid, is the great gatsby.

the world according to garp is actually funny.
huck finn is as good when you're 17 as when you're 9... who knew is was all political commentary and shit. [it's funny doing a book for school that you read seven years before it was assigned]

people who still talk about high school events like prom as though they matter should probably start looking at their current lives rather than staying stuck in their old ones.

people who have that happen to people they know in high school are allowed to use it to bitch slap idiots who don't understand that the great thing about books is that everyone who reads them gets to judge them anew.

NO ONE can make me like a book, not even the collective fucking unconscious.

idiots... why can't i shoot them?

Anonymous said...

Re: the gyno visit

In defense of the doc (whose religious views I disagree with), he probably sees way more women with those kind of injuries who WERE raped and are reluctant to come forward about it than women like your friend. Also, i don;t know for sure, but it's possible that he has some legal responsibility to report possible sexual abuse. I know they MUST report thosed kind of injuries to authorities if the injured party is a child, but I dunno about adults.

If, in fact, your friend had been a victim of rape or abuse, the doctor's response would have been more constructive than beating the shit out of the perp would have been.

Ms. Monkeythong,
who has friends who are rape and abuse survivors

LibraryTavern Liz said...


I'm not sure I understand about the friend with the injuries at the gyno. Some people like to play rough when it comes to sex, but abusing a woman and actually causing injuries is not okay just because a man (or woman) pays for the right to do so. Further, no human being exists to be merely the fuckhole slave of someone. The so-called sex industry is not at all about sex. It is about power and domination.

The ZenFo Pro said...

See, if there's one person I can always count on to understand where I'm coming from, it'd be you.

See, I still have my realist, if the first draft of ths post had gone


You know, that just made my day :) Thank you so much, chica! Yeah, I had a similar experience as a kid. When I was very young, my parents couldn't afford to buy a lot of the books I wanted to read, so my grandparents and great-grandmother filled in the blanks with their libraries. I had the NATO Handbook memorized at one point, read the Qu'ran, post-occupational plans from Operation Overlord (D-Day), etc, before I entered middle school. (Lol, if I'd spent more time staying out of trouble, and my grandfather hadn't died, lol, I'd probably be running a carrier group by now (j/k, Navy folk, j/k))

Lol, Gatsby made a better flick. Or maybe it's just because I dig Robert Redford's 70s flicks. Dunno.

Lol, well, in all fairness to the local college pop., we're talking about some very, very sheltered kids. I've only met a handful that even know of someone, say, serving in Iraq, for instance. Or who've ever seen a gun, much less fired one or had one pointed at them. A former student/fling called last night to share a joke her very urban, streetwise boyfriend shared with me in an IM: "I'd recommend visiting Oxford at least once, to see all the happy rich kids in their natural drunken state. When they get out and move to Chicago, we'll be seeing their obits when their Hummers break down in Gary."

Sorry, that was too funny. Had to share. Talk about asking to be carjacked...

Lol, well, this has more to do with a doctor wanting to do the right thing, probably because in their neck of the woods, they've never seen such things. We're talking high-end clientele neighborhoods here. One would think a doc would encounter one or two S/M-loving patients. Or figure out that the psych profile doesn't exactly fit. If someone seriously seeks to conceal a sexual assault, the last place they're likely to go is to the Cootch Doctor - same with emergency rooms. It's good for even well-meaning professionals - across the board - to stop and actually do more than listen to what patients/clients/etc are saying, not just with their mouths but with nonverbal communication.

Of course, this is also a tale told second-hand. Though I'm pretty sure there was no rape involved. The person in question probably wouldn't be laughing about it.

Lol, was that a barb? comment :) I'll just say there is a BIG difference in feedback from my actions (which were, actually, in self-defense) between how survivors feel about them and friends/supporters/advocates of survivors feel about them.

No worries, chica. This is definitely one of those "Different Strokes for..." type things. Lol, for some reason, my friend enjoys, well, rather violent sex acts - during consensual sex where both (or sometimes more) participants are into those sorts of things.

Its the only way she claims she can have an orgasm. I have no reason to doubt her, actually.

And, lol, I know gay men who've had similar experiences during employer-required physicals - anal intercourse isn't exactly a science anyone wants to discuss openly, most of the time, with a stranger who's already been given an explanation...

Lol, this is starting to sound like one of my IM chats this morning...

There are folks who are stimulated by all sorts of things that I myself don't really care for, but, well, to each their own. I've never had a desire to, say, shit on a partner or to be shat upon by a partner - but I've known folks who do, and folks who enjoy various fetish lifestyles. Who am I to judge?

LibraryTavern Liz said...

I'm not judging your friend. But the truth of the matter is that what is called sex work is actually abuse and slave trade. I'm not saying that there can't be the rare exception who is a person doing it for the money and who enjoys the work, but invariably people who get into that line of work are victims of abuse and previous rape and incest. They think that they have power by getting into the industry, but it uses them up and often kills them.

Rough sex play is one thing, but do you have any idea what it takes to leave bruises on someone's neck? Breath play is very dangerous, and even breath play doesn't leave bruises. Serious attempts to kill somebody by strangling them leave bruises.

Do you say to each his own when you know a woman whose husband comes home and slaps the shit out of her? Why does paying somebody (or, more accurately, paying somebody who lets her have a small portion of the money) make it ok?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Lol Liz...well, I guess this too does play into perspective.

Most of the women I know who work in said industry are actually very independent....this small portion of money of which you speak? Is that in comparison to our salaries as librarians? In that case, well, we're the exploited whores working for squat, if that's the benchmark. The friend in question makes my monthly take-home in two hours, just for doing what comes naturally on film - as a performer,but not as a prostitute. It really does depend on perspective. But, as a male, I'd have to work four times as hard (no pun intended, but, omg, that's funny) as I do now to make 2/3rds of what I make now.

As much as it drives many moralists and feminists nuts, the mainstream U.S. adult industry is not either slavery or abuse. Exploitive, yes, but neither of those terms really apply. Actually, California v.Freeman, coupled with Sarah Day O'Connor's refusal to issue a stay, are the primary reasons why adult entertainment now constitutes a multi-billion dollar, mainstream industry. The industry has changed more than most folks know - more women are running production companies, taking control of their own image, and expanding their own avenues in ways often left undocumented.

The problems are more with the, well, those who don't like playing by the rules. They go to eastern Europe to get performers who will work for less (American actors demand things like, you know, condoms, mandatory AIDS testing, rights to work/not work with certain people, etc). And the underworld of this industry will, sadly, continue to make very good money truely exploiting performers (not just women either); that is abuse, I'll agree on that one.

But so long as American society casts moral judgments on women choosing what to do with their own bodies - even when they may disagree with what it is they're doing...well, we're no less than a bunch of closet Cotton Mathers looking for more witches to burn, more people to point at with shame.

Lol, yeah, seems to me we had this online debate a while ago, huh? Love it, chica! Missed these! And there's some major irony here, considering this post was spawned by commenters who thought the only thing I do with my free time is beat the shit out of partners who beat their partners...

As for the amount of pressure required to bruise, well...I've been involved with women who've not only bruised my neck, but drew blood. I wore butterfly bandages on my shoulder after my Italian fling thing - sometimes, a gentle bite can turn into a nasty scar because somebody slips in the shower... Lol, no worries, though...from the conversation I'm having, oh, right now about this...well, we're talking the sexual equivalent of old rugby game injuries...


LibraryTavern Liz said...

Jason, we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

pia said...

Perception is everything in life. I can't enjoy my so called blogging success, because it would be perceived as bragging if I say mentioned my Technorati, when in truth I don't believe itl

And if people look at my blog, will perceive me as a blogging failure because I get so few comments--but I post oftenpia

Am just in a I should give this up mood, because I do work hard on my posts, and....

actonbell said...

What an astonishingly interesting post! I'm very sorry to hear about the trauma you were so close to--that's horrible, and of course it affects your perspective and outlook. Of course.

One of the biggest challenges in everyday life is to keep hold of that perspective.

And no, it's impossible to get away from our biases, I guess. (speaking of which, I feel guilty about my earlier comment about Madonna. It was just wrong)Actually, it's hard to know what our biases even are.

Miz BoheMia said...

I don't know what anyone may or may not have said about Madonna but you know what, I like her... she may do things I would never do but I love her "fuck you" attitude and the fact that she has done anything and everything she set her mind to in a society that tried to hold her back simply because she is a part of the vulva-sportin' peoples that are women...

I have not followed the whole adoption thing closely but I know this... yes, money talks and many people bend the rules for that so 'tis not the fault of the moneyed but of the idiots who bend the rules so our anger, well, I have none here, is misdirected and instead of hitting Madonna up with it the corrupt system should be dealt with...

And my ass that father did not know he was giving the kid up for good... I bet some good money would change his mind on that!

I could go on but I will spare you... bottomline, that child is getting a home and who cares if Madonna didn't take him home herself... and if I was megarich I am sure that I would not say to a bending or two of rules... heck, I am not megarich and I wouldn't say no to that now!

so yeah... nutty vibes on a nutty morning! Ooops! ;-P

Cat. said...

Late reply: People assume that what they see is an elephant because the 'skin' they see is wrinkly.

Well, lemme tell you, folks, sometimes that 'skin' is actually curtains. And those feet, which look so much like elephant legs, are actually wastebaskets. :-) Never assume, cause that's when karma comes and bites you in the ass.

Oh, and by the way....I HATE election season. Maybe that's why it's also hunting season...? heh

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