Thursday, 24 July 2014

Boy/Boy

There I was, minding my own business, when I noticed one of my clients absent-mindedly swiping away at her iPad. This wasn't new - she often has the thing open at meetings - although she usually uses it to take notes. Whatever she was doing, she certainly wasn't taking notes this time. It looked suspiciously like...

She's probably just changing word processors or something, I told myself. Those cartoons - at least, I assumed they were cartoons - must be a background and she's taking a quick break from taking notes. I mean, my hand is tired; hers must be too, right?

I edged a little closer to her to see if I could sneak a peak. I mean, if she's not going to be paying attention, she may as well not be in the room. There's a perfectly nice reception area for her to go and play Minecraft in. I was almost steeling myself to tell her this when I noticed what was actually on her screen.

Yaoi.

There was no mistaking it, even from a cursory glance. There isn't any other genre that places cute manga boys in compromising positions with other cute manga boys. And, as a clincher the title bar (of what, I now realised, must be a web browser) read YAOI WORLD 18+ in capitals, so I'm fairly sure that's what she was looking at. And, I noticed, the female client next to her, as well.

I scuttled away. I'm not against anyone looking at that stuff, of course, but I wasn't sure it was appropriate - I'm not even sure what "appropriate" is these days, so that wasn't a good start. I wasn't about to go and tell her to leave the room, else she'd ask why, and I'm not sure "you can't look at yaoi when you're meant to be taking notes" is a sentence I ever want to say in any context whatsoever. Indeed, before yesterday I wasn't even aware I'd ever have the opportunity to say such a thing.

The meeting finished and I was in a quandary as to what to do with this incriminating information. I was on the verge of telling my boss, but then what would that achieve? We would most likely lose a client, and it would be me that got her into trouble. Myself too, actually, as I should have said or done something. Or asked her not to use an iPad in the first place. We've got notebooks. I kept schtum, hoping she wouldn't do so again in our next meeting. But, I realised, I needed to tell someone. Apart from you, of course.

Eventually, once I made sure that my boss was out of earshot, I 'fessed up to my colleagues over dinner than night. And everyone laughed.

Well, once I'd explained what yaoi is.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Addiction XVIII: Music

It may be fair, or possibly TMI, to claim that music turns me on more than any porn. Perhaps not sexually, as such - but I get a high from music as dizzying as the finest orgasm, an edge unlike anything else I feel. I live and breathe music. It rushes through my head and encircles my brain. It stays with me and beats on every step I take. Rhythm pervades in the heavy breaths of my roomie, the jaunty steps of my colleagues, the clatter of steps on the stairs and the musical ululation of my speech.

I'm imagining most of you can say the same.

I used to listen to music pretty much 24/7. It was the first thing I did in the morning and the last thing at night. I turned on my computer to play music. Now, in my boring adult life, I've stopped doing that, seeking solace in the newspaper on the way into work and only occasionally plugging in my iPod on the way back. I've also seemed to fall off the wagon of going on long walks, voices and instruments being my accompaniment on those warm summer nights.

Here in my room I can indulge once again.

And I grab those moments. When the colleague who is rooming with me is busy and I'm alone. Or even if he is and I can plug in my headphones. I put it on and turn it up loud. I sing along at the top of my voice like I used to. I drum my fingernails across the desk surface. I applaud along with the audience. I even close my eyes and imagine myself there, at the front, or up there with the band, or watching from the side of the stage.

I feel like myself again.

And that's one reason why I'm DJing at a disco tonight. Except I also found out recently that there's a song called #SELFIE, so there's that too.

Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Scarface

Dinner was a late one for me yesterday.

It wasn't anything fancy. Just pasta with sauce and more cheese than there actually should be. But it was late, and by the time I sat down to eat the stuff, I was grateful for a plateful. (Rhyme! I'm so cool.)

I'd taken two mouthfuls when a colleague I vaguely recognised appeared at my elbow. Some of them live in the same place of residence I do at the moment, so I wasn't particularly fazed by her appearance.
"ILB," she said hurriedly, "someone's fainted outside; could you come and look after her while I call an ambulance?"
"Of course," I chirped in the all-too-cheerful-to-actually-be-serious tone of voice I use when I don't want to be interrupted, and abandoned my pasta. I have, in fact, been called up to deliver laissez-faire first aid every day in one way or another, despite the fact that I only have a smattering of first aid training. Mind you, I'm not sure anyone else in the building has any at all.

Once I got out of the building, I could see where the fainted girl was. She looked like a teenager, so I picked up the pace, jogging swiftly towards the area and up some stone steps and...

The next thing I knew, I was falling at breakneck speed forwards. I flung out a hand, but not quickly enough. There was an almighty noise - a mixture of my head hitting the ground and the wind being knocked out of me - and blood. A lot of blood. Coming from, it seemed, my mouth. I had tripped over the last stone step and landed on concrete.

One of the teenagers ran to get the first adult she could, who was actually a nurse, so thanks for that, God. I was still dripping blood at an alarming rate, but I indicated the fainted girl, who still needed help. My colleague, who had followed me out, went to tend to her while the nurse lifted me up and sat me on a wall. A trail of blood followed me. Someone produced a first-aid kit and I was given water to drink. I was a bit shaky, partly from blood loss and partly through shock, but I didn't seem to be badly hurt. My elbows, palms and knees were grazed but not too badly cut. My top lip, however, had split open, and there was a wound in my cheek from where a tooth had driven in hard and almost cut through.

I sat there for about half an hour, swilling water and spitting out blood, until the flow could be staunched by pressing sterilised tissue to my mouth. I was in a lot of pain - hadn't considered how painful lips can be before - but I eventually stood back up, taking an ice pack, bottle of water, and collection of tissues with me.

The girl who had fainted, it turned out, was okay after being seen to by a paramedic. Two other girls, who were in the same area by complete coincidence, were taken to hospital for broken ankles and the like. I was offered the chance to go with them by the nurse - I politely declined because, as far as I was aware, I didn't need any stitches. And I could still talk. With little else to do, I went back inside to finish my dinner.

I woke up this morning with a swollen lip and a dark red scar across it which makes me look slightly deformed. To be fair, I'm lucky, insofar as it could have been much worse; my eyes, nose, ears and forehead all avoided any impact, and my chin (on which I landed) is fine. It's just my mouth that hurts. And it hurts a lot.

But at least, this time, I can say I had an interesting weekend.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Clueless

Sometimes I haven't a clue what to say.

I've been working hard this week. Maybe not as hard as I could have been; who knows? I keep getting hauled off to do stuff I'm not rota'd to do; where or not that's a good thing is also a bit of a moot point. I'm working. I'm presumably getting paid for it - although, again, who knows?

But, again, I haven't a clue what to say sometimes.

Which is weird... because I get people firing questions at me all the time and I field them like I'm in some sort of universal game of Trivial Pursuit. Maybe I deal with them well - maybe I don't. I don't really mind, to be honest. Because it sounds like something to say. And I do - I have plenty to say. I just lack the opportunity to say it.

I had the afternoon off today and lay in my room reading Divergent. Upon returning to the office to pick up some stuff (I forget what) I chanced across a colleague who was just leaving. Bid her farewell, went up to the office and found nobody there. I felt very ethereal and suddenly realised that I was, in fact, feeling incredibly emotional. Perhaps a combination of heat, work, stress, tiredness and all that comes with it.

But probably because I'm an emotional person.

In any case, I was still there when someone from management entered discreetly.

"How are you?" she enquired innocently, making me jump.
I was completely silent. Because I hadn't a clue what to say.
"I've... I'm feeling a bit... maybe..." I started. Stopped, swallowed, started again. "Emotional?"
This probably wasn't the "fine, thanks - you?" she was expecting. "What's up?"
"Oh... nothing," I said. Which was a lie. It wasn't nothing. I've just no idea what it was. "I've just been..."

"You've just been..."
"...working hard," we finished together.

There was a pause. Once again, I didn't have anything to say.

"I'm hungry," I announced. And I swanned off to find some semblance of food. I chatted to some people about music and even managed to slip in a casual mention of My Little Pony, although I'm still not sure why that happened no please don't judge me it's been a long week let me relax how I want dammit!

And so I return to my room and open up a window to write a blog post.

But I haven't a clue what to say. So I'll just stick with this:

Hello!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Awkward

I was awoken this morning at seven-forty-five by my roomie colleague telling me that it was time to go and get breakfast before I reminded him that I had a day off today but I would be pleased to go and have breakfast. Of course, I didn't; I promptly fell back asleep and didn't get up again until ten. Torn between feelings such as "I should just stay here in bed all day" and "you are a lazy bum, get your arse outside" and "oh dear Glod, I'm bored already", I ventured out into the wilds with no particular plan in mind.

I ate too much in Pret before going and drinking too much milkshake and then realised that I ought to be getting stuff that I thought may be useful in a somewhat bizarre set of circumstances. I needed, I convinced myself, swimming trunks, as I don't have any and I might at some point go swimming while I'm here. I don't plan to, but it would be nice to have some trunks just in case the opportunity arises.

This is how my brain works.

I wandered around for far too long before noticing there was a TK Maxx about ten metres from where I was standing. Venturing in, I found myself temporarily blinded by colourful overstocks and things nobody in their right mind would pay for - before reminding myself that that is, indeed, the whole point of TK Maxx. Finding my way to the menswear department, I accosted a member of staff to ask if they had swimwear. He directed me.

"Thanks, dude," I said, giving a thumbs-up.

Dude? I actually just called someone "dude" in the summer of 2014? Someone I don't know? Who works in a shop in the place I'm not even from? And I called him "dude"?! What the fuck's wrong with me?

I bought the cheapest pair of trunks I could find - blue - and ran out of the shop before anyone noticed me there. I even had to dip into WH Smith to regain my equilibrium... and, while I was there, I decided to buy something else.


After trying and failing to access any sex blogs on the Kobo display, I chanced upon some portable speakers - this was a product that I actually did (and still do) need for work and had neglected to get so far - because I am, as has been said, a lazy bum. I chose the cheapest type again - blue - and waltzed up to the girl at the checkout, forcing my face into a grimace that may at some point have resembled an ingratiating smile.

"Hi hi hiya!" I trilled.
Stony face.
"I'd like to get this, please!"
Stony face.
"Uhm... very hot today, isn't it?"
Stony face.
"You know, I've been looking for these everywhere! It's good that you have them here!"
Stony face.
"Uhm..."
Extends hand, takes my speaker in a vice-like grip.
"Thanks! How much?"
No response.
"I'll pay by card, right?"
No visible emotions.
"Okay, here's my PIN..."
No signs of life.
"Thanks! Bye!"
Death stare.

Evidently the girls around here don't take to being flirted with the same way the waitress at the restaurant I went to at Robinson's stag weekend. Feeling more awkward than ever and aware that I'd already spent about £30, albeit mostly on food, I went to sit at the bus stop surrounded by old-age pensioners, who could all sense that the guy in his twenties listening to Rizzle Kicks with a Rocha John Rocha T-shirt and pair of Chinos probably "isn't from round 'ere".

As I got off the bus and walked back into the place I'm staying, I could feel a slight creep of confidence back into me. After all, I'd gone into town and been confronted with the Stare of Reluctant Customer Service - and called someone "dude" - and survived. I'd even stood by a living statue waiting for him to move for a while. I could do this. I don't always have to be awkward, surely?

I went up to the office to make a cup of tea.

"Hi hi hiya!" trilled a middle-management girl. "You aren't smiling in your staff photo? Can I take another one? You can smile this time!"

Stony face.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Any Questions?

"So what do you like to do?" I asked a new client, inspecting her as if looking over a pince-nez. In fact, if I had a pince-nez, I would have been looking over it. As it is, I don't even wear glasses.
"I read a lot of books," she said with a brave attempt at a smile. "Like, a lot of books."
"So do I," I admitted. "What type of books?"

There was a pause.

"I read a lot of fantasy adventure." It was a confession. But I encouraged her with a smile. "Trilogies, really, or longer series, like, like... uhm..."
She faltered for a minute. "Harry Potter," she almost whispered.
"That's no bad thing," I said. "I love Harry Potter. What about The Hunger Games?" I prompted.
"Oh yes," she ejaculated with more enthusiasm. "I love The Hunger Games, but I saw the films before I read the books. I've got a Mockingjay pin, but..."
"You're not wearing it now," I interrupted.

I'd already scanned her neckline. Around it she was wearing a fire symbol which looked vaguely familiar - not a Mockingjay.

"What's that?"
"This?" She held up the metal symbol. "It's the symbol for Dauntless."
"Are you Dauntless?"
"I don't know," she said. "I'm Divergent."
"I think everyone is, up to a point," I said. "But if you had to choose, what would you choose?"
"What about you?"

I paused. For a while, I'd been the one asking questions. But now she'd asked me one.

I really like answering questions. I'm not good at asking them. I'm not really good at asking anything, really, but I love answering questions - it allows me to show off my knowledge as well as add a dash of ill-deserved egocentricity. Especially if the question's about me. But then I've read a lot of books and talked to a lot of people. And I've answered a lot of questions. And - thinking about all that while I relished the chance to answer one more question, having already shown that I know exactly what she was talking about - I already had the answer.

"Erudite," I grinned at her. "As I'm sure you'll find out."

Now ask me a question.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Take Down

It's my second day here and I already think I've done a bad thing.

The place I'm working is - there is no other way to put it - beautiful. It's a mixture of pre-Victorian restored architecture and ultra-nouveau art deco style rooms with slogans, illustrations and posters dotting the walls. Whoever knocked the latter building up - and that;s the one in which I'm working - evidently knew their stuff. I am impressed.

That is to say that I would be impressed if somebody hadn't stuck a pro-abstinence poster on the corridor wall.

I didn't notice it at first, to be fair. I thought, to be honest, that it was promoting safe sex. It did say "SAFE SEX?" in big letters, with a number of Bish-style cartoon figures in a bed having innocent conversations. But the more I looked, the more I became suspicious... and then the more suspicious I got, the more obvious the poster's bias was.

And then I saw the text underneath the central image.

Save sex for marriage. It makes sense.

I wasn't angry. I certainly wasn't enraged. I was just confused. I'm aware some people have this view (although I never have); I'm also aware that it can be a relatively popular one. I can even see the reason behind it if I think for a large amount of time. It just... well... the poster has no place in such a public setting.

I'm surprised by it, even more so, because I wasn't aware that Britain - even here in Somerset - has this sort of abstinence campaign. We've heard plenty of stories about the one prevailing in American teen culture - the purity rings worn by the Jonas brothers and Family Guy lampooning it in their unique way - but I just didn't think we'd have that sort of thing in Britain.

The worst thing is that this building isn't only used by us. It's also a byway for plenty of people working in the rooms, including teenagers, who are going to pass this poster daily and may be at risk of taking in this ludicrous message, which although seems harmless as it's just an opinion, uses the statement "it makes sense"; essentially, "the above opinion is the correct one." It's one step away from saying "sex is dirty and disgusting, and only married men and women should have it and then only to have children." Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but I'm assuming the company that produced this poster takes that sort of view.

In any case, there's definitely no promotion here of safe sex. There's promotion here of no sex. And no sex until marriage in this case is unsafe sex anyway, as you probably haven't been taught about it if people are going to make you wait to learn about birds vs. bees until you're 21 or so.

So I removed it.

I waited until nobody was looking, and then I walked up to the wall, detached the poster, folded it up and hid it in a folder somewhere in my room.

I don't know if this is a wrong thing or not. I definitely felt like I absolutely 100% had to do something, and there was no point in taking a stand as there's nobody there to rally against, so a bit of direct action seemed necessary - I'm not even sure than anybody noticed. Nobody's mentioned it if they have.

But if, in my act of tiny rebellion, I have saved one impressionable teenager from believing that sex is an ungodly, dirty act that is totally not allowed at all unless you are straight and married, then I will have done my job properly. And, in that case, I will have done the right thing after all.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Innocent Loverrrrrrrrrrrrrrboy

As of this coming Wednesday, July the 9th, I won't be in London for a month. I'm moving, temporarily at least, to...

...THE WEST COUNTRY!

Fear not, this isn't permanent; I don't plan to end up chewing straw and saying things like "oi ain't zeen 'im that be varmer since Vroiday". This is, essentially, a work placement; I'm being seconded to the West until the middle of August. I'll have my own room with (hopefully) an internet connection, so I won't be blogging any less (in fact, I may well be blogging more), but you may find my presence to be a little more scattered than usual as it's dependent mostly on access to Blogger and Twitter, and there's no way of knowing how regularly I'll be able to get that.

Essentially, I am heading into the unknown (well... Somerset).

One thing's for sure, though: with the exception of Robinson's wedding, which is in a couple of weeks (for which I'll be back in London), I won't be seeing any of my friends, nor @JillyBoyd. For four and a half weeks. That may not seem like a long time to some of you, but it seems like ages and ages to me, considering what I'll be doing and the near-isolation I'll be putting myself into for a bit of solace... when I get the chance to; I won't be doing so all the time.

And so I put the ball into your court, gentle bloggers, readers and fellow miscreants. What is there to do in the West Country? I get days off during the week (and weekends) and, although I'm not sure what my timetable will be, I'm guaranteed to want to wander about a bit - exploration's in my nature, after all. And (this is the key bit) if any of you actually want to meet me, particularly those of you who I've met and would be in that area, then hit me up (that is, contact me, not have me assassinated in a drive-by shooting) and I'd love to have a drink and a catch-up.

I'm looking at some of you specifically here.

As far as sex blogging goes... well... I'm sure I'll find something to write about. You probably won't even notice I've gone.

See? Still here!

Monday, 30 June 2014

#AdultSexEdMonth - why do we need to educate adults?


I wanted to contribute to Adult Sex Ed Month - today is the last day - and I was planning to do so even before June started. But time ran away with me and I got lazy and busy and all sorts of things ending in Y that delayed be from writing a post. By this point, there are so many fantastic articles on the site that you're almost spoilt for choice with the amount of tips, tricks and advice adult sex ed can provide. Following the hashtag #AdultSexEdMonth is also worth doing.

So in an attempt to round up the month: why do we need adult sex ed at all?

Click for the site, y'know
Those of us over the age of 18 are meant to be The Font Of All Sexual Knowledge. We're the sex educators, the parents, the teachers, the older, wiser and more experienced bunch. Most of us have had sex, the average Brit having lost their virginity by the age of 17. Crucially, we've been through sex education ourselves - we have, of course, all had different experiences with sex ed (some good, some not so good, some almost too good) and we're the ones who are supposed to be passing it on. If we know it all, then why should we be educating ourselves as well?

I see the answer to that as simple: we don't know everything. Sex is a sweeping, diverse landscape and there's so much to do and explore - one of the main reasons why I love writing about it so much. 

And I've been doing that for a long time - sex blogging since 2007 and writing about sex in my everyday blog since way before that, in 2001. Like a lot of people, I started having sex in my teens and have been doing so intermittently ever since, although there have also been long periods of sexual inactivity. I've masturbated myself silly throughout the years and, although it took me a while, I dived in headfirst when it came to meeting up with people who could teach me more about sex - what with the CCK socials, Spiritual Space, Erotic Meet, Eroticon and even casual meetups since and around then. I've also been on sex ed courses, both being taught and being trained how to teach, and wrote/delivered a session at one of them.

I'm still learning more. I'm still discovering things that I never thought I would. I'm still finding things out there that I never knew existed. I'm close to people that I wouldn't have dreamed of being close to ten years ago. Every time I read a blog, talk to someone, discuss sex in an open way, attend an event... every time I do that, I'm learning. I'm expanding my knowledge. Every time, the world of sex gets a little larger and the light in my heart gets a little brighter.

And that is why we need sex ed - because it's not all about putting condoms on cucumbers and how not to get AIDS. It's more than just dispelling the myths about having sex standing up and that boys can't get raped. It's above and beyond a clear definition of what the age of consent may or may not be in Britain and around the world. All those things are important, yes, but it's so much more than that.

Sex ed is about understanding and opening up to each other. It's about sharing, the love of information, the appreciation of diversity, and how it unites and unifies us. It should be there for us to give to each other.

And that is why adults need sex ed. Because, in turn, it needs us too.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

New Haverbrook

I'M SORRY, I'M DEAF IN ONE EAR! SCARLET FEVER!
About a week and a half ago, I lost all hearing in my right ear. After a mild panic consisting mostly of going into work and asking everyone to repeat everything while teaching myself to lip-read, I decided that I really needed to do something about this, and went to a practice nurse to get my ears irrigated (both of them, because why the hell not?). She tried - hard - but the wax in there (and it is just wax, which is a relief, because I had enough hearing problems when I was in my infancy) wasn't budging. It was packed tight, rock solid and not going to be budged by the feeble efforts of sterilised water.

I made a repeat appointment, quietly cursing my ear in the full knowledge that it wouldn't hear what I was saying, and took the nurse's advice to get a little bottle of olive oil to put in my ear canal twice a day, lying on my side. I've never really been into putting food products anywhere except in my mouth (except for that one time), so that seemed like a prospect I wasn't going to very much enjoy. However, Cerumol ear drops are expensive, and since I don't have any money whatsoever, I got a little pipette and bottle for about £1, filled it up with extra virgin olive oil (because I am that cool), and have been lying on a towel, filling my ear with the thing I use for frying food. Twice a day.

Yesterday, we spent hours moving my sister's stuff into various recesses of SH, and this included moving the sofa bed I've been sleeping on into the lounge for her benefit. Her bed, which was taken apart by my dad, has been moved into our room, reconstructed with what seems like far too much effort for a Saturday evening, and OH MY GLOD IT IS THE MOST COMFORTABLE THING EVER at least when compared to the sofa bed I HAD THE BEST SLEEP OF MY LIFE I really hope my sister hasn't had too much sex on this bed because why do I think about these things?

So today I lay my towel down, got onto my side on the bed, filled the pipette with olive oil, dropped it into my ear canal and...

...the bed was soft and I felt like I was sinking into it.
...my ear was full and I couldn't hear anything out of it.
...my other ear was pressed against the bed and I couldn't hear anything out of it either.

This was, without a doubt, one of the most trippy experiences I've ever had. I closed my eyes and felt an almost complete disconnection to... well, everything, really. Who needs drugs, I reasoned, when you can just stuff liquidised olea europaea into your orifices? I almost thought of marketing it, when I realised that this was an incredibly idiotic idea, and went back to feeling slightly not there.

Ten more minutes of feeling out of my body when I realised I'd had the feeling before. I sat bolt upright.
"Hey!" I said to myself because nobody else was in the room. "I know! This is just like the feeling I get after I have an orgasm!"
I almost punched the air with my realisation. However, at that point, my hand found itself busy being covered with olive oil that came pouring out of my ear as a result of my forgetting what I was doing before having such an epiphany.

Ah well. At least the bed is still soft. In fact, keep adding olive oil and it'll be nutritious too...!