Category Archives: Sess and Sessuality

Men are Victimized! and How to make your Blog title Provocative

I recently watched a couple of good awful movies, which is my way of saying they are good movies but make you want to nuke the world in order to contain and purge all sadness and the possibility of sadness from said world. Not that its relevant, but this genre of movies don’t strictly come into the other genre which is good awful fine-I believe-there-is-some-good-in-the-world-I-guess-I-don’t-need-to-google-search-“how-to-build-a-nuke-in-your-backyard”-just-yet.

Examples of the latter type of movies – Schindler’s List (or Life is Beautiful. You get the pattern – basically anything involving an exorbitant number of dead bodies piled together like so much candy), Mary and Max, Up (to a certain extent). If anybody is interested, there is a certain amount of sociology, philosophy and psychology based film theory critically looking at the need for a different type of aestheticization of the world post Holocaust. Look it up if you want – Kracauer, maybe Bazin, Susan Sontag to a certain extent I think. These recommendations are pure generalizations. Don’t go quoting me on this.

Getting back on point, I saw good awful movies – Soldier’s Girl and Stuart: A Life Backwards. Soldier’s Girl is a movie about a U.S. Army soldier who falls in love with a stripper while he is training, and the ramifications of their love affair. This is a picture of the (extremely hot) girl –

Her name is Calpernia.
Her name is Calpernia.

This is a picture of the actor who plays the girl

A.K.A Thranduil from The Hobbit and Ned the Pie maker from Pushing Daisies. BAM!

So yeah, she’s a transgender woman and the movie basically looks at how ineffective the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was with regards protecting the privacy or safety of the soldiers in the U.S. Army. Maybe it is my born-out-of-cruel-experience slight misandry speaking, or my general dislike of army ethics and social conditioning, but by the end I really wanted to shoot almost every single man (by which I mean self identified man) in that movie (with some exceptions). Either for being phenomenally huge dicks sculpted out of rotten elephant shit, or for staying silent and watching (for the most part) other men be elephant shit based oversized dicks.

Next, there was Stuart: A Life Backwards which has two main attractions for the superficial viewer (a tag I hope to never outlive). This guy

You have my permission to fuck me till I die.

And this guy

Oh, Benedict.

However, the movie starts and even though you have read up so you know its going to be full of awfulness, it proceeds to get awfuller and awfuller, till you want nothing more than access to some Uranium and Plutonium and bunch of disenchanted nuclear scientists to do the calculations so we can summarily put an end to misery.

How very Ayn Rand of me.

I never thought I would ever in my life ever say or write a sentence even similar to that.

Stuart is about an alcoholic heroin-addicted homeless man named Stuart whose story is told backwards – from adulthood to childhood. And as much as we would all like to think that means you get to see something marginally nice towards the end, we all know children and humans too well. Not only does he get younger, the shitty things in his life and the psychological scars they leave get steadily worse as he gets younger. And because he is a child, we feel way worse for the way worse things happening around him.

Both of these movies are based on real life people and events, by the way.

The point is, after having watched these two movies not back-to-back but over the course of 48 hours, I felt really bad for men. Way less than how bad I felt for practically all women including me, but quite bad. Because while I wanted to kill all men, one of the most potent parts of watching men ill-treat other men is that – and I know this is going to sound awful before and possibly even after I explain fully – I can view it more objectively than when men ill-treat women in movies. By which I mean that as soon as something bad happens to a woman in a movie, especially at the hands of a man, I feel a blinding anger and sadness that feels like its coming out of my pores. Sometimes I have goosebumps with this blinding rage and anguish that makes the world a little… scratched. It feels as though someone is scratching at the walls of my world with no intention of quitting till everything I love crumbles under the incessant and determined picking of dirty, unwashed, unclipped fingernails. Which basically means I have no feeling whatsoever left over, no thought of the man in question except that he must die. And painfully.

So, not very objective. This feeling doesn’t come to me when I watch men ill-treat other men. Which may not be a good thing but I don’t think my mind handle that much sensitivity, so it is what it is.

So when I finished watching Stuart and then a day later finished watching Soldier’s Girl, I was left thinking about a conversation I had with a bunch of guyfriends about feminism. Somewhere in the middle of that hours long on and off conversation on sexual politics, comedy and normalizing, I mentioned that I often think feminism concentrates too much on women – teach girls how to be confident, teach them to defend themselves, to know when to go to the police, to want to have careers, to be what they want….

That’s great and I’m certainly not saying we should be teaching men how to defend themselves. I’m saying a big part of the world is, unfortunately or fortunately, male. And if we are willing to concede that some women may be socialized into acting in ways that are detrimental to womenkind and mankind alike in the long run, why can we not talk about the fact that there are men, many men who are socialized into a mind-set which we may find alienating, misogynistic, gender-insensitive, and unacceptable. I’m not saying we should all sit and have a chat with rapists and domestic abusers. However, shouldn’t it be part of the conversation – that change in the treatment and position of women is not a cause for women alone?

Take this scarring TED talk for instance –

Shouldn’t we as feminists be actively engaging with the fact that a lot of sexism, hetero-normative gendered behavior, as well as perceptions of stronger and weaker sex and gender are taught at a very early age to tiny boys who are given no mechanism to challenge this with? It’s not just about how they treat women, but about how they treat each other.

I’m all for teaching kids to be badasses, to fight and fight and struggle to get what they want, but teaching that is not exclusive to teaching young boys to not be kid-sized turds of human beings. I’m fairly sure its possible to be a go-getter and be a not-asshole at the same time. For fuck’s sake, Emily Bronte talked about this in fucking 1848 in The Tenant at Wildfell Hall, in which Helen Graham asks why she should not protect her boy from learning and internalizing the vagrancies and general male dickishness of the world, when she would definitely do so if she had had a daughter.

I think a serious change in perspective and goals need to happen, at least for every-day feminists or people-who-think-women-are-human-people-with-just-as-much-natural-right-to-agency-and-decision-making-capabilities-as-men if you don’t like using the word “feminist” to describe yourself. Let’s start by having proper sex education for boys. Perhaps campaigns to educate otherwise idiotic parents (I reserve the right to be judgmental about parents who decide to bring new people into the world without intending to take care of them in any and all ways) about what “naughty” “nathkhat” “spirited” “that word that Uncle Vernon used to describe Dudley” “chootiya” boys grow up to become – even bigger chootiyas who will no doubt fall behind in a fast changing world if not end up being eve-teasers and rapists.

Perhaps have school talks to boys about seriously being kinder to each other – nothing wrong with crying, nothing wrong with “being a girl”, nothing wrong with wanting an emotional connection, nothing wrong with not having sex, nothing wrong with having consensual sex, and nothing wrong with being friends with or liking girls. Tell them it’s a sin to like boys though, because they have cooties. Or when you have guyfriends or male acquaintances who don’t seem to get what you’re saying about some gender problem, to engage and not immediately label them a misogynist and give up. Of course after you engage with them, if they seem like a misogynist, feel free to cut off their balls. They should certainly not be having or raising children.

You get the gist – we really need to civilize the not-noble savages that men are currently. Maybe a few feministy decades down the line, they can be the Pocahontas to our John Smith, except their Pocahontas wouldn’t have anything to teach our John Smith. Scratch that analogy actually. Can’t make misogynist joke now. Can’t be racist now. Too soon. Another time, perhaps.

Ok bye.

– Billy

P.S. – This was drafted and saved before 12. The only reason its delayed is because of internet connection and image loading problems. So no embarrassing fact revelation business. Feck off now. Intentional spelling.

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Children’s movies and Boys and Girls and Curly haired men who know how to kiss

Well, hello. This is going to be another one of those posts. You know the ones – where I talk about movies and then I talk a little about penises. And today, I’ll be talking about Disney movies. And if you’re like me and you take Dan Brown’s literature as gospel, the two subjects go exceedingly well together. Kind of like Hot Dog and mayonnaise.

Anyway, getting to the point, I finished reading The Beautiful and Damned recently. For those of you who are uncouth, uneducated, unworthy plebeians, that’s a book written by Scott F. Fitzgerald, who also wrote The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Although surely, none of you uneducated and so on people would deign to read my illustrious, erudite, culturally high-minded blog where I talk about penises, right? Go away now. Shoo. Chop Chop.

Like he says. Shoo, morons.
Like the tall guy says. Shoo, morons.

 

Anyway, it got me thinking about Disney. Mostly because I recently watched Tangled for the nth time and then watched Frozen. Which got me thinking about Brave. We all know where this is going now, don’t we? Hairstyles. Nope.

Anyway, The Beautiful and Damned is a story about two young people who fall in love and get married, and how their privilege damns them to a life of knowing their lack and their unhappiness. Because if they weren’t privileged, spoilt, without any responsibilities or vocation and so full of expectations about what life would be for them, they may not perhaps have been subject to the peculiar kind of unhappiness they got – the kind where the seemingly reasonable expectations of young people remain unsatisfied, and because those expectations meant so much, their hearts were made irreparably broken – by each other and by themselves.

One of the early reviews of the book I read talked about how the character of Gloria Gilbert is an “original”. The beautiful and callous Gloria is driven only by one thing – to enjoy herself. And she is the kind of character that knows that her life will be presented to her on a platter as long as she is beautiful. Her moments of solitude, her likes and dislikes, her ability to enchant with the most inane of subjects simply because of her manner, her open disdain for the people she wishes to despise, is all made hers because of the charm her beauty provides. As you may imagine, she is not a particularly likeable character, but not more so than Anthony Patch, her husband. He is a whole other collection of insecurities and neuroses that try to constantly hide behind the skirts of Gloria’s beauty and popularity.

About five years ago, I would have hated reading this book. Not only are the characters so useless, they have very few redeeming qualities and Fitzgerald doesn’t really try to be particularly kind to them (probably because he was quite sure everything would end badly – quite like it did for him and his Gloria-esque wife Zelda). Who ever thought jobless, self aware socialites during prohibition married to supposedly egoistic writers would end up in a mental institution. Such is life.

Now, as much as its difficult to read at times, its worth knowing all the pitfalls your previously magical marriage will succumb to if you don’t have some temerity, some *incomprehensible French phrase meaning confidence*, some Courage of your convictions. And some general lack of selfishness. Another reason to read/ enjoy – well, it’s Fitzgerald. I have a snoot not very well hidden in my not very deep depths.

ME: Sex joke.

me:

 

Though I admit there is a certain awfulness about characters like Gloria. Or for that matter (to bring this closer home for those who don’t give two micropenises about some obscure character from some book) characters like Betty Draper from Mad Men. They seem colorless and one dimensional and utterly childish when we see them. They seem to have finished with the business of life and striving once they get married. And seeing that image is not something a normal woman enjoys – because for most of us, it is our worst nightmare to become relegated to a corner of life after we find people we want to spend all of it with.

But at the same time, I hate it when en masse people hate on poor Betty Draper. Because she, like Gloria, is not simply a figment of someone’s imagination but a representation of what life meant to a lot of women at some point of time. And as much as we can find faults in them, it is equally important to remember how much they are a product of their times. Gender is a construct certainly, but so is every aspect of life inspired by and derived from gender. Betty Draper existed with her childishness and her marital woes, and she existed because someone taught her from a fairly early age about the way things are supposed to be. And then she learned from friends about the kind of husband one should have, and the kind of life that would be ideal, and the kind of children one should raise. And her friends probably knew because of her and their parents, and then, from Disney movies. Where the all suffering, cursed, single girl is taken away from her woeful life by the ever so democratic (democratic in that they’re poor, not in that they are less than the normal standard of beauty) love of their rich, princely, handsome future husbands.

I personally did not grow up on Disney movies. Not because my parents were incredibly aware feminists, but because we never had a lot of TV experience, but I had read all the original fairy tales as a child. My father was against Barbies though this had a lot more to do with his communist anti-American ideas rather than feminist ones. By the time my sister and I had demanded Barbies (like all our friends had) for long enough to actually get one each, we were a little below ten and eight I think. I spent a couple of solid childhood years making my Barbie (Barbies in the plural once my sister dropped hers) fall in love with and then become girlfriends with imaginary Ken. They would go to college or have jobs and houses (that were largely imagined), but the plot of their lives generally involved men (Ken). And that’s not all. Imaginary Ken was a dick (albeit without an actual dick) who practically harassed Barbie in the name of romance before she fell for his rakish charms. I’m not entirely sure where I picked up that rhetoric from except for subversively problematic and sexual Bollywood romances. For a long time, I like many pre-pubescent and pubescent girls assumed that guys being dicks was a manifestation of affection, attraction and unconditional respect for us as human beings. Now of course I know that most guys are dicks to some girls because they have small penises which they feel will be compensated if they are huge cocks to us. Tis a scientifically verifiable truth.

Like this random asshole spreading his legs around like he’s evolution’s endgame. Pffft.

 

So if I hadn’t been taught from the very beginning that I should and could earn and live for myself, perhaps I would have been happy being blissfully ignorant as my handsome husband with the stolen identity cheated on me with an inordinate number of women. Or I may have spent my life being woefully sad as I waited for my husband to get his inheritance (Gloria).

When I went to law school/ college, I was introduced to some other Disney movies – Mulan and The Frog Princess. And I did not need the inspiration at the time but it was good to know Disney made movies where the girls had more to do than get cursed and passively wait around till some handsome chappie comes along and molests them as they sleep. This got even better when I saw Penelope which is a little known film with Cristina Ricci playing the titular character who is cursed by a witch to be born with a pig snout (and little piggy ears) till one of her own accepts her. So her parents keep her away from the rest of the world and try and make her the most “accomplished” young lady, so that eventually some blue blooded rich man would eventually agree to marry her for a phenomenal dowry. Towards the end of the movie, she is about to be married to said rich dude (who is disgusted by her but has to marry her because of some publicity reasons that are too complicated to explain here) when she runs away from the altar. Her mother follows her, begging her to go back so that she can become a “whole new you”. To which Penelope replies that she doesn’t want to be a whole new version and that likes herself the way she is, breaking the curse.

This was before Tangled or Frozen, and was such a beautiful surprise. And somewhere in the movie, Penelope runs away from home and spends a few weeks discovering herself and making friends on the sly. The first thing we see her do when she leaves her parents’ house after breaking the curse is get the job she wanted – as a school teacher teaching biology, largely horticulture and plant biology. Later she makes up with the guy she likes, but while that is certainly the most romantic bit of the movie, it is not the most important part, as elucidated by its conclusion. It’s about finding your strength and own way, overcoming insecurities and fears, finding ways to be happy in spite of or because of them.

Then there was Tangled where both Rapunzel and the hot-as-motherfucking-bananas Flynn Rider save each other time and time again. Not one of them is more responsible for the other. Pixar’s Brave is a story primarily about a mother and daughter who have different opinions of what life and duty should mean. Her mother tells her it is her duty to get married to one of the haggardly princes from neighboring clans, and Merida doesn’t want to get married. The story is about how she ends up getting her lesbian way without having all the super awesome men fight between themselves over her.

And recently I watched Frozen, admittedly because I initially thought that was the movie with the cute animated guy who looks like a white haired pixie (Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians, which is what I’ll be watching next). But I was not disappointed despite the palpable lack of said cute animated boy. Frozen is about two sisters who have to deal with the fact that one of them, Elsa, is a raging Ice Queen who accidentally turns her kingdom (yes, they’re royalty) into an freezing hell-ice-scape. Her sister Anna, having missed her older sibling because of the latter’s isolation while trying to control this admittedly problematic power follows her to try and convince her to come back and make things hot again.

Done and ...
Done and …
Done. Dayyym gurrll.
…Done. Dayyym gurrll.

 

Anna was the one who made her sister lose control of her powers by arguing with her when Elsa refused to give Anna permission to marry a guy she knew for less than a day.

What is amazing about this movie is not just that it is primarily about the two sisters and how they end up helping each other, but the men in it. The man Anna wants to marry turns out, after spending more than half the movie seeming rather perfect, to be only marrying Anna to gain power of the throne. Anna stops him from murdering her sister towards the end. Another significant character is that of the Duke of Weselton who tries to use the unfortunate forever-damned-to-winter state of the kingdom to change trade agreements to his country’s benefits. Both of these men are stopped by the sisters working together. On the other hand, Kristoff and Olaf, both of whom help and support and fight alongside the women to get things done receive just rewards not just in terms of “getting the girl” but in having their own independent aspirations fulfilled.

As Colin Stokes points out in this awesome video, children’s movies need to address concerns and quests for both boys and girls, with proper, characteristic role models for both boys and girls. He speaks to the fact that movies with primary male characters tend to go about their quests by themselves, or in each other’s company, but with very little involvement with girls. And in the same way, very rarely do Disney movies provide respectful, supportive male characters who succeed because of their ability to work with each other and with strong, independent women characters. In Tangled, Penelope, Brave and Frozen, not only do the women work (often with each other) to make their own lives and/ or their kingdoms a better place, but the men who join their “team” as Stokes puts it, end up having a better deal as well.

I don’t really need inspiration from Disney movies anymore, but representation is incredibly important. And I’m glad that at least for a certain socio economic section of the population, not only are Disney movies more accessible, but that they are likely to inspire Barbie to take college seriously, get a Ph.D., have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and then work to improve herself or the world and do any number of things to make herself and other people happy.

Barbie shouldn’t have to live a complacent, sedentary life. That seven foot tall, blonde, double-breasted Amazon she male deserves more in life than just dong-less Ken.

Regards,

– Billy

P.S. – On a side note I have avoided mentioning the show I have been obsessing over recently out of respect for the topic at hand. Can you guess what it is? Can you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is kissing. I can do the hair thing. I have to get to work on perfecting the rest.
This is kissing. I can do the hair thing. I have to get to work on perfecting the rest.
He did it again!! With the neck and the scarf!!

 

Ok. Yeah. Sherlock. Yup.

– Billy

Love Stories, Homosexuality and Crime

Warning – wee bit muddled, with all the good intentions and very little articulation.

The first time I was introduced to the idea of being gay – I don’t remember that. I do know that I thought it was a bit “wrong” somehow because that was the way I was told about it. I never really thought about it much. Whoever told me definitely did not make much of an impression, even about the concept. The next time I came into contact with the idea was Bend it Like Beckham, a 2002 movie with Keira Knightley, and an Indian girl who likes to play football the way Billy Elliot liked to dance. Anyway, for those who remember the film, Keira Knightley’s mother starts believing that her daughter is a lesbian (the blame is placed primarily on the indiscriminate playing of football, which is understandable. Let’s not pretend that football doesn’t make you a little homosexual, right?) and finally confronts her about it. Keira’s like “no woman, you fucking cuckoo?” (that was the basic gist)

And then she said the words that changed everything for me. She said “And so what if I were a lesbian? What’s wrong with that?” (or something like that. You must know by now, no actual research goes into these posts)

I couldn’t think of a reply to Keira Knightley’s angry, frustrated question. I already knew about sex and at the time it was simultaneously appealing, tempting, scary and disgusting. Lesbian or gay sex was about the same combination in the same proportions. Suddenly, gays and lesbians were… well, a novelty. Something that wasn’t bad, but I had personally never encountered. By the time I familiarized myself with Will and Grace, gay people had become a rare gift that I had yet to encounter. Not a very progressive viewpoint, certainly, but I was learning.

That phase was lost by the time I was seventeen, which was the first time someone came out to me. Well, sort of. A new friend told me he had slept with guys as well as girls.

“Is that a joke?”

“No.”

And maybe I’ve imagined it like this ever since, but I think he was waiting, proper waiting, actually waiting, for my response. Because admit it or not, I think knowing that a potential friend can deal with unexpected news, would actually accept you, is important.

“So, what exactly are you?”

He said that he was mostly just straight. Which is how I would love to describe myself if I ever dabbled in the lesbotic arts, which I currently haven’t done.

The next intervention that television and film made on my sexuality came a bit later. When I was nineteen (or twenty) I had an unhealthy obsession with James Spader. It started, naturally, with Boston Legal and manifested itself in familiarizing myself with all of his filmography, everything he had been in, procuring the ones that seemed enjoyable, taking snapshots of his beautiful young face from the movies, fantasizing about meeting Alan Shore in an abandoned corporate building’s conference room… it was a lark.

In the process I saw stuff like Sex, Lies and Videotape, Mannequin, Pretty in Pink, Bad Influence…. I was in the throes of a wasted quarter life in Law School and nothing was going to stop my unhealthy obsession with the man who at the time was in his early fifties (I think).

Recently however, I became familiar with another show that Spader is doing which sent me on a minor Spader relapse (exacerbated by the fact that I’m too sick to do anything but TV and internet). It’s called The Blacklist, and its quite an ok show. Its only ten episodes in so I cant really say much, except that I will watch it as long as its on simply to watch James Spader make being a witty criminal look SO good. And sound SO good. Take a listen. If you don’t like the way he looks, just shut your eyes and listen.

Anyway, this compelled me to look into James Spader again. Apparently he’s going to be in the next Avengers movie so that’s something to look forward to. Then I watched White Palace again. It’s a 1990 movie with Susan Sarandon. There’s sex, there’s swearing, there’s jews…. every pleasure you want out of life.

As I watched the film just a few days ago, I started getting a little déjà vu. Not because I had seen it three years ago, but because …. well. I realized Susan Sarandon’s sexual nature was a bit familiar to me. It wasn’t too long before I realized that my sexual personality was probably subconsciously based on hers in the movie. I already had a natural affinity, no doubt, but at the time I first watched it, I wasn’t sexually active. Now that that has changed – I laugh at the same stuff, I … well, lets not get into details. But yes, things are a bit familiar.

I had always assumed that movies have a lot of influence on the people watching it. In my case, I had rather presumptuously assumed the influence was largely intellectual. You know, I’d get interested in scientific, social, philosophical, technical… other random aspects of the movie concerned. It was all very British and pince-nez and nearly hipster. But that’s not it at all. My very behavior, my likes and dislikes, what I have experienced, what I have been brave enough to try. All of it has depended so much on the movies and shows I watch – I’m open to sexual experiences, I have no problems or questions with homosexuality, I occasionally like to get a little rough and more than occasionally like to be gotten rough on, I have a very progressive and often problematic attitude towards free speech, I find powerful douchebags hot, and so on an so forth.

You have to ask yourself – who would you be if popular culture hadn’t snuck in its lessons through your skull? Who would you be without Game of Thrones introducing you to the idea of complicated, amazing, power hungry women who have and use their sexuality whenever they want or need to? Who would you be if Bend it Like Beckham had never had that one line? Who would you be if Indian networks decided to not show Will and Grace on television? Who would you be if you had never seen Boston Legal?

I remember watching Secretary for the first time (another James Spader movie. I think that man has been a huge part of my sexual awakening without either of us ever knowing. I’m sure he’ll be pleased to know it when he finds out). Suddenly, BDSM made so much sense… Before that I had assumed BDSM involved people who just had no self respect. The beautiful thing about that movie was that it never directly addresses feminism or the arguments for and against BDSM… but you know it has, sneakily, carefully, and very beautifully. There is one moment, when Lee is sitting on the chair and refuses to move because her boss/ impending lover told her not to. People try to dissuade her, bring her food, support her… Her father, a recovering alcoholic reads a passage from the Bible – “You are the child of god’s holy gift of life. You come from me, but you are not me. Your soul and your body are your own, and yours to do with as you wish.” And your mind slowly gets blown.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of India did something pretty awful – it overturned the Delhi High Court’s judgment (from 2009) that decriminalized homosexuality, “unnatural sex”. I can’t imagine what this means for the thousands upon thousands of people who struggle with themselves on a daily basis. What it means for me is that a lot of my friends, people whom I love and care about, even have to think for a minute about whether their country’s law allows them to love whomever and however they want to. In fact, considering the fact that the Supreme Court seems to have an utterly Victorian, unbelievably prudish definition of “unnatural sex” (anything that is not “penis into vagina”) I myself am a criminal on several counts.

I have never been more saddened by anything the Supreme Court did in my lifetime. Because its one thing when they kowtow to power every day, when they show blatant disregard for the kind of desperation that has brought everyday individuals to the highest court in the land, when they are unceasingly misogynistic. Its disheartening when they actively decide they want to continue the unfair and frankly, unsavory system that exists currently.

People, especially adults who never went to law school often ask me if I don’t want to make a difference. If I did, why did I leave the legal profession? The truth is I realized I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and I don’t have the stomach for it. I am slightly sociopathic, very rude, and quite disarmingly morbid at times, but that doesn’t make it easy for me to deal with the courts, and its multitudes of terribleness.

On the other hand, there was films, and TV, and the natural high of making people laugh, and winning points by making jokes – this, I understand. This I can deal with. And this, I know, from my own personal experience, changes things in the most effective way possible – underhandedly and subtly. Watching Secretary was a revelation because I realized the truth of pop culture being a normalizing agent – suddenly, I didn’t care why people chose (if they did choose at all) to be dominants or submissives in bed as long as they were safe and emotionally and mentally satisfied.

This whole normalizing this is certainly used by largely male dominated film industries to normalize all kinds of crap, from rape culture to stalking, to unabashed machismo based, purposeless violence. On the other hand, there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned love story – a simple one, with no AIDS or excessive amounts of political and/or social discussions about homosexuality – to suddenly make you not care, as long as people have the temerity to fall in love, to want people and the courage to do something about it (the way I, cold and heartless as I am, would never have).

I hate adults sometimes, and many times, I want them to not be in control. I want a world where their opinions about what is “proper” doesn’t stop me from doing what I want – whether it is kissing girls, or choking on a penis. I have hopes for the entertainment world, and I know how to navigate it. I have hopes because if aspiring writers and directors and actors I meet are anything to go by, sooner or later people my age, with positive and compassionate attitudes about feminism, about rape culture, about homosexuality are going to be flooding the entertainment industry. And soon enough, people are going to watch. And maybe in a decade’s time, we wont be “criminals” for things we do in bed with a consenting partner.

God, I can’t think of a good ending for this post. Just… fuck it.

– Billy

Why I’m elitist and against all men in all of earth.

I know I didn’t post last week. There was a really good reason. I can’t tell you about it, but it was a legit reason for once. And once that reason was over on Friday I spent the rest of that day and Saturday curled up in my bed in the fetal position, looking for something on the internet that would distract me from desperation and fear and the awful in-between-ness of life right now. I also ate hot dogs and momos.

Embarrassing secret in lieu of said non-posting – Sometimes I look down at my boobs and stare at them for a while, simultaneously thankful, exultant and critical. I have been assured that this fascination with having boobs is not entirely abnormal. Either way, yes, I look at them and hold them a bit and wonder if I could do a Molly Ringwald lipstick trick from The Breakfast Club (I can! I just checked. With the right support, I can! Ha!). None of this is sexual. It’s just another version of nail biting, finger tapping, ear-rubbing, hair twirling. Just something you fiddle with while doing something else.

Over the last few months, I have witnessed my friends go through a lot of gender/ sex based trouble, from being ogled at unwillingly by regional news cameras to learning about the number of ways in which we put ourselves down in the workplace. What really made things awful was when a friend had to learn how to deal with stalker behavior in the workplace.

Before I get this going I want to set down the usual caveats – I do consider myself a feminist by which I mean I don’t think there’s anything wrong or right about women waxing, not waxing, crying, not crying, having sex, not having sex, charming snakes, not charming snakes, falling in love, not falling in love, not having babies, not having babies… That last is because

h
Why would anyone want this coming out of them?

Coming back on point, being the clearly militant feminist that I am, my views on this subject may be not very balanced and may in fact be highly vagina leaning.

Also, I haven’t watched Raanjhana despite Abhay Deol’s presence, so this is NOT a review. I’ll merely be talking about a certain disturbing trend in Indian cinema that I have alluded to in the past – “Love” being continuously represented as creepy with just a hint of completely cuckoo stalker behavior. And yes, I have read Shobhaa De’s views on the film, as well as the reply from the director, as well as commentary on said reply. Allow me to get a word in edgewise despite having no authority whatsoever other than a lifelong affair with movies and having a uterus.

Despite all my clever book learning and rampant elitism and intellectualism and other isms of the same nature I, like many other ism fetishists, automatically accepted what my childhood told me was irresistible – the guy in the movie who is strong and insistent and determined and grabs hold of the girl and plants one on her and convinces her that he deserves her and that she should be with him and give him a daily taint licking. 90’s Bollywood left no doubt in our minds – the thrill is in the chase. You cannot possibly do anything less than declare everlasting love or crude lust in the process of wooing a girl. And that’s fine. It’s a movie trope and definitely a more problematic one than most gender-wise, but fucked up machismo oozed out of practically everything Bollywood, so whatever.

What becomes tedious however, is the inevitability of success in all these movies. Bollywood would have you believe that this behavior will actually be appealing to a normal woman. That the girl, who angrily rejects the guy who man-handled her under the pretext of synchronized dancing while being surrounded by at least ten other men, actually turns her back to him and smiles “secretively” at the oh-so-charming antics of her secret love. That she actually likes being followed home (For lack of anything typically Bollywood popping into mind – Sarfarosh) and taken pictures of without her knowledge (Kaho Na Pyaar Hai) and basically being eye raped every time she encounters the guy (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Main Hoon Na, ). And yes, it is imagined visual rape as soon as you’re obvious enough to make her aware of your constant ogling, angelic background choir and imaginary violin playing notwithstanding.

And this chain of not-real-events replicate themselves in cyber space pretty well. Believe me, I have nothing but love for the www. It gives me books, movies, music, games… without it I would be forced to watch regularly scheduled television for entertainment. Oh and porn; I wouldn’t have porn without it. The internet is a revolutionary platform for the socially ill-practiced – your shy people, you introverts, your asocials, your high functioning sociopaths.

Ha! Sherlock!

All of us thrive on the internet.

On the other hand, introverted and shy roadside Romeos now have a platform through which they can virtually cat-call/ manhandle/ make things uncomfortable for a girl by sending messages such as “rain drops r falling on my brain and my whole heart is in love with uuuu!!!” or “sexy picture” or “I am always with u, u don’t know me” or “I called ur mobile from in ur home after I broke its lock. My love is 4ever.” Note the bad grammar – it will become relevant soon enough.

At least unlike amateur creepy photo-stalking or torso grabbing while dancing, Raanjhana’s creepy behavior seems to largely be based on wrist cutting and other forms of emotional blackmail. The former by the way, wouldn’t even kill you unless you keep the cut wrist submerged in water for at least a few hours as you wait for a slow death to come along (I know because I listened in 10th grade science and read a few detective novels). However, this does not make the “you’ll eventually get the girl to fall for you after years, nay LIFETIMES of creepery” lesson less irritating.

At the risk of sounding like I’m facetiously pacifying a simmering crowd, as far as considerations of different cultural backgrounds and socio-economic factors are concerned, I’m never one to dismiss them. I spent most of my last semester in college debating in in its favor and writing papers about it. If you hit on a girl in a club in India, she will most likely be messaging ten people her location and your description at that moment, because she’s never had a good experience with being hit on by a stranger. In other countries, nobody’d give a rat’s ass. If you talk to a guy in a mildly familiar way in some/ most small towns and villages, there will likely be an assumption that you’re interested in them. In Delhi, it probably means that she may or may not be interested but you’re going to ask her to ride on your Freudian Bullet motorbike repeatedly. In law school it means she has no feelings for you and she’d like to stop talking to you soon.

The problem with the real world, especially the real urban world, is that when boy from who cares meets girl from city, feces goes down, motherlovers. I’m not saying all guys from who cares indiscriminately fall in love and become creepy. But I am saying that under most circumstances, largely due to the kind of turdy idea of “romance” said boy is brainwashed with largely because of movies (because let’s face it, Indian parents are unlikely to talk to their children about love and/ or feelings) and other boys who watch movies, as soon as boy has a crush it becomes something intense that illicits the kind of awful poetry that Elizabeth Bennet was talking about – it’ll drive affection away like my dog drives away rats. And as soon as something intense is recognized, the boy goes on to woo the girl in ways that all sources of romantic information (movies and perhaps songs) have shown to yield positive results – hack her social networks, stalk her where you can, write aforementioned poetry (for lack of a better word), tell her about all of the above, ask her out, and when she says no, either be disproportionately disappointed or stark raving mad, bad mouth her for “leading you on”, and if you start having too many feelings, hope to exorcise her ghost by sprinkling/throwing acid on her face.

I understand that its not entirely one person’s fault that they were brought up in a culture where rejection by a girl meant gun shots (Punjab and Haryana, as I pointed out to a friend who didn’t see the problem with Rose’s fiancé angrily shooting at her and Jack in Titanic) and/or acid before one could achieve closure. It’s learned behavior, and it doesn’t mean you’re a sick individual. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s making the long suffering recipient of your badly written poetry, your e-cards, your eye-rape, your bullets and your leftover household acid, VERY uncomfortable.

Sometimes your behavior maker her too angry – about someone online stalking her and violating her privacy – to actually go about her normal life without seething; sometimes she’s uncomfortable and frankly a little scared of what your invasion of her personal space means for what little freedom she has been afforded by an already unsafe city; sometimes she’s uncomfortable and upset because even though she tried to tell her boss about how she was feeling, they told her you were from a small town and so she should probably excuse your creepiness as the behavior of a “die-hard romantic” and try to be kind and perhaps not lead you on in any way; sometimes she doesn’t like being made responsible for your feelings, sexual or otherwise; sometimes she’s uncomfortable because she didn’t want to die at the hands of an asshole with a gun; and sometimes she feels bad because she looks at the mirror and can’t see a recognizable human face anymore.

Of course, some of these uncomfortable feelings are worse than others. However, as a member of a functioning society, boy from who cares, don’t you think you should try not to make her work life or her social life or her life in general uncomfortable in any way, just because you felt something? I’m sure you have made some male friends who were born and brought up in the same culture as her. Ask them where you went wrong. And perhaps ask your employer to tell you how you can act so as to not make the workplace an uncooperative space for everyone.

And don’t give me your claptrap about small town, “pure”, “unconditional”, “unfiltered” emotions versus the “polished”, “hard headed”, “emotionless” mentality of the Big City. I don’t see people raising such a fuss in favor of small towns when a girl feels those “pure”, “unfiltered” emotions for a boy of a different caste, or when a girl tries to passionately run away with a guy in lieu of those “pure”, “unconditional” feelings, regardless of her being from a city or village. This is not about small towns being better than cities for the soul. It’s about men believing they have the right to jizz their feelings all over women, who should be so grateful for said feelings that lack of reciprocity is an insult worthy of anger or emotional blackmail or violence.

As for films, there are some instances of non-creepy devotion and/or wooing that can be an example for most young men – Jab We Met is one. He likes her but at no point does he make that her problem and he doesn’t creep her out, or emotionally blackmail at any point. Oddly enough, Faizal did a perfectly spiffing job as well in Gangs of Wasseypur, though I suspect that’s largely because that girl would have very likely bitch-smacked him all the way to the coal mines had he tried to make her uncomfortable. Wake Up Sid is another. Oh well, I guess these are largely based in urban settings.

Wait, no. There are examples in almost all 90’s cinema as well as current Bollywood, city-based or village-based, that accurately depict how most normal women would react when they’re creepily hit on by men they don’t like – it’s the villain. The villains in most Bollywood films at some point or the other creep on the heroines in highly discomforting ways. Usually, the hero steps in to save the day, and puts the villain in his place, but that’s not the point. New Informational Ad:-

“You there. Yes you, the man who regardless of where you were born and brought up, is confused by the myriad of ways in which girls will not like your moves, literal or figurative, or worse, think of you as crazy, out of balance murderer. You know asking for permission for every little thing doesn’t work. But when you send her a mail detailing the dream you had of watching her sleep and waking up to masturbate about it, she gets a friend to call you up and threaten to feed you to rats. Don’t worry. We have a revolutionary system that helps you navigate these tricky waters, and it requires no additional learning apart from the same sources you learned your current creepery from and mistook it for charm.

Next time you feel those intense feelings for a girl, and you start thinking of all the ways in which your favorite heroes from the movies got their girl, STOP. Now, think of that same movie and remember when the villain troubled the girl, and how bad she felt? Now every time you want to make the girl fall for you, or hack her social networks, or write poetry about her and send it to her two weeks after having first met her, don’t imagine yourself as the hero. Imagine yourself as the villain, and think of her friend who calls you to inform you about how and when you’ll die and where your body parts will be hidden as the hero.

You can talk to her and even mildly flirt with her, but as soon as she gives the slightest indication that she doesn’t want to hear it, you are no longer the hero. But you can avoid being the villain, and instead be some kind of side character. Telling her she’s a bitch for “leading you on” or “friend-zoning” you, or pursuing her even further, or cornering her and following her in further attempts to make her fall in love with you, makes you the villain. So does throwing acid at her, raping her or murdering her or anyone she cares about, but that should be obvious. Your villainy would give her the divine right, acquired as just compensation for eons of female suffering at the hands of assholes, to tell you to fuck off, and then to cut off your penis and make you give it a blowjob, in that order.”

Yes, I know. How very elitist and pedantic and feminist of me.

Too sleepy now.

Bye fuckers.

–          Billy

P.S. – I know this theme is not as colorful as the previous one, but at least you don’t have to strain your eyes in order to read it.

The First Porno in a Young Girl’s Life and other such concerns.

I can’t think of anything to write about properly despite having met friends and batchmates this week and having plans to meet friends and batchmates again. So maybe we’ll strike a chord with this – Let’s talk about Sex and Love (baby). If they have anything to do with the other, if they matter (Spoilers: Hells Yeah, at least for the sex), if you need one for the other, if you can really love objects, that sort of thing.

Please know, my primary objective here is to educate and inform yall about the various ways in which you can be completely unsafe with your body and emotions, and hence live life to the fullest. For those who want to be wimps, there is this amazingly awesome channel called Sexplanations on YouTube. Hank Green created, of course. It’s hosted, for lack of a better word, by this woman called Lindsey Doe (I know. Wickedly close to Lindsay Dole from The Practice. Oh, Law School days, how you come to mock me with your emotional link to certain TV shows) who’s a professional sexologist and really good at explaining some shit. I recommend it to everyone, especially guys who don’t have a clue (basically, most men). Also, there’s Laci Green.

ME: Watch it. You’re overusing brackets again.

me: Right you are (mumbles under breath) you pompous twit. [I’m watching a lot of British stuff these days. Is it obvious, darlings?]

Let’s begin then, shall we?

 

For any young’uns out there, especially those who read and watch TV and shit, it’s important to remember that your imagination and sex will always have a BDSM relationship, with sex usually telling your imagination to lie there with its twee all swollen while the sex drinks some coffee. Sometimes there’s a role reversal and your imagination will tell sex to try maple syrup, and sex will not like it at all.

ME: This is uselessly gratuitous.

me: it sells.

The first time I imagined sex, it was pretty much the exact scene from the very first Mills and Boon I read. It was called Willing to Wed, written by Cathy Williams. The guy was Irish, rich and called James Kellern. I have often postulated that my love for Irishmen may originate from thence (incorrect grammar?). The girl was called Ellie, short for Elliot. It was my first introduction to an actual sex scene. Before that, I had thought the lifeboat scene from Kane and Abel was the height of pornographic/ adult literature. Regardless, I read that book till it was literally ragged. Back then I used to have a habit of tearing off the sides and corners of pages in books and chewing them up to form spitballs that I’d very rarely spit (now I only do this with notebooks and old newspapers). The sex scene pages from Willing to Wed were the most torn off corners of any of the books I ever read or have read since then. It went missing during one of the many moves my family made during my adolescence. Perhaps my parents noticed the book, its contents and its condition, and decided that it had to be “taken care of” post haste. Either way, I have looked for the book far and wide. There are some sites that speak of its existence, but none that allow me access to it without paying money.

For those who know me now, you must probably imagine some seriously weird shit, ranging from angry slapping and other forms of abuse to absurd experimentation with sexual supplements. Let it be a lesson to one and all who are afraid they’re sexually boring at the beginning of their sexual awakenings (how many times can I use the word “sexual” before some sort of natural internet age-check comes along for viewers?), worry not, because you’ll get there if my example is anything to go by. The book contained the most ‘90’s Mills and Boon-y sex you could imagine. This was the stage of Mills and Boone after they started actually describing sex, and before they knew the meaning of a sexually aware and possibly promiscuous woman, not that they know too much about it now, but it’s a wee bit better. The basic story was the same – man and woman meet, initially don’t take to each other but are also clearly attracted. They eventually give in to their mutual lust only to discover over time, and to the insistence of a beautifully (problematic, I know) possessive/ psychotic guy, that they are actually in love. Then they get married, at which point the book ends.

When I first imagined it, not only was the sex exactly as described in that book, it ended with me getting together with the guy. Of course, my commitment issues were pretty apparent even at the age of twelve in that I always thought of life after marrying James Kellern and would always end up thinking it was boring and desperately trying to find ways to spice it up. When I learnt how to use the internet properly many years later, I spent a lot of time on sites which gave Cosmopolitan-esque advice on how to make my imagined marriage less dull. But the important bit here, lest we lose sight of it, is that I did imagine marriage, and I could think of only the most basic sort of sex – quite a bit of boob play, some cunnilingus, missionary style, break, shower scene, boob play, against the wall sex. There wasn’t even any blow job as far as I can recall, though my memory may be unprecedentedly wrong in this instant.

All of the initial fantasizing based on the sex-and-love-go-together story has given me some pause in the past. I’ve often wondered if at some point in the midst of my utterly colorless teenage love/ sex life I purposely chose to forsake one for the other. That perhaps all the determined sluttishness and lack of concern for my feelings and those of the people with whom I badoinkadoink is some sort of defense mechanism. That would definitely fulfill the premise of a love story better – “I’m not really a slut, I just need someone to really love and understand me, and I’d give up this life of endless orgasms and weirdly satisfying fellatio in a heartbeat.”

I know a lot of people think so, including people who care about me. Almost everyone wants to see everyone they care about settle down, not really because of convention, at least not among us Ivy League-esque young adults, but because we all accept and know at some age that everyone will get married, and everyone will need someone with them in order to cope with the fact that everyone else got married. So I guess it’s natural that people should hope/ maliciously plan for me to one day meet a guy I fall terribly in love with and for whom I feel all the feelings which I have been making faces at and not really understanding and making fun of for all these years.

My school friends, knowing my tendencies, predicted quite incorrectly as it turns out, that I’d be the first one to get married. They longed for that day. The one I actively keep in touch with still waits patiently for lightning to strike me. I recently told her about a ridiculous offer made to me (that to be fair, I considered for half a second while drunk), which she chose to interpret as the offerer (offeror?) being in love with me, but I pointed out was said person being an idiot. She eventually came to see my point. I swear I saw hope dying in her eyes. It was fun.

My college friends used to tell me for the first two or three years they knew me that I’d be the first one to get married. I believe their hopes are also very close to being crushed. Of course after said two or three years they realized that perhaps I wasn’t going to be the lead-role in a romantic comedy. Mine was to be a tragi-comedy where the last scene is probably me dying of an orgasm at the hands of my gigolo at age ninety (fingers crossed).

There have been moments where I myself have wondered if they’re right. The idea never stuck. I can imagine the perfect guy and falling in love with him and I can imagine getting bored and wanting to leave and possibly never getting the guts to do so. Of course I don’t want to imagine meeting the perfect guy and falling in love and being left. Which of course would lead to the inevitable question – do I not care for marriage purely because I’m afraid? That’s never a good reason to do or not do anything.

But what finally settled it was poetically, what started it as well – pornographic literature. I found Ellora’s Cave – a publishing company for erotic literature. And this literature is not really Mills and Boon material. Yes, people get married and all that but this is the porn with orgies and role-play and anal and BDSM and bondage and stops just short of excreta (thank god for that – that would be the point where I use my safe word), not Mills and Boon. I was already introduced to the idea of a healthy yet intense BDSM lifestyle because of Secretary (Before watching that movie I thought James Spader was hottest as Alan Shore. Fuck no.) but that was the first time I actually encountered the graphic sex part of the life. It occurred to me then that while I may not be into orgies or anal or BDSM or the rest of it despite liking the porn, I was definitely not into settling for one person for any considerable length of time.

Maybe I’d be categorized as “oversexed” by most people, and definitely as “HUGE twat of a slut” by others and “always asking for it” by some utter shits. To be fair, what with the rumors of silent judgment surrounding my various exploits (not judgment for the lives they mess up, because I do deserve to be judged for that to some extent, no doubt, but for the exploit itself) I have often been a bit disappointed with myself. Not really because I felt bad for things I did but because I felt like I should ideally feel a bit bad.

Of course those were the days before I just stopped giving a fuck. I suspect that day came when I realized that a lot of people read my blog and were weirdly aware of my sex life. There comes a point when some things about oneself has to be accepted. I’m very far from confident and self-actualized in a lot of departments but I can honestly say that’s not the case when it comes to accepting myself as the sexual person I am. I used to pray for the day that I was certain about any one thing in my life, be it career or love or marriage or anything. I guess its only fair to karma-doesn’t-exist that it had to be sex and sexuality for me.

And what, dear slightly disturbed reader, can you take away from this? Certainly not that you should disregard any inclination you have to be romantic or to not be romantic. Simply to be a bit open to the idea that you may or may not be a total sap or an unforgiving slut, and to figure it out independent of what the haters think about that time you made out with a man twice your age. I may be very certain about a lot of things, but I’m still open to the idea that one day perhaps I’ll go mad and fall in love with someone and it will last long enough for me to settle down. At least I think I am. After all, I still hope that one day I’ll find my way back to that precious Mills and Boon that opened up a magical world for me.

–          Billy

 

P.S. – Seriously, if anyone runs into that book, please buy it for me. Old Mills and Boons cost less than a hundred bucks. Just buy it and I’ll pay you if you want. Willing to Wed by Cathy Williams. I’m really nostalgic about this. It’s not a joke.

 

Also, here’s some fun gifs. If it’s not obvious, I didn’t make any of them and they’re all stolen If you want to find them, join tumblr and you eventually will.

 

This is why we love Rory Gilmore.
This is why we love Rory Gilmore.

 

 

Graceful.
Graceful.

 

This is by Shantidraws on tumblr. I want it on a T-shirt one day.
This is by Shantidraws on tumblr. I want it on a T-shirt one day.