Never Steady, Ever Ready

Ains, dating at your age is tough. Everyone is still married and figuring out that they’re unhappy, and they’re having their kids. In a year or two they’ll start getting divorced, then some quality people will be available. But just don’t wait until you’re forty, because then shit gets weird again.” – Dad

I'm the one on the left. No, the other left.

33 and single sounds like a porn site and/or country song, but that’s where I find myself. I hadn’t planned on it being this way. Back in 2005, when I was less tattooed, less happy, and more ‘married’ (domestic partnered) I thought I had it all figured out: my then-wife and I would have a kid or two, move down to Argentina with my mother, she’d work and I’d stay home with our baby who would be conceived with the help of science and a sperm donor.

Suffice it to say, a thirteen year age gap between the two of us, and several years of oats to be sowed on my end, led to the bombastic combustion of our four-year-long relationship, unsurprisingly not long after we set the date to inseminate me.

My ex-wife was thirteen years older than me. She felt, and looked, at least a lifetime ahead. Crows’ feet, tits tugged on by gravity, the sort of weather-worn way that she carried herself. “I won’t make it to 33,” I remember thinking when I met her at the age of 20. Now here I am. Only, unlike her, I’m not robbing any cradles or snatching children from under a bridge.

Fast-forward to now. I’ve been single for five years, my ex-boyfriend having been The One I thought I’d wind up with, mainly because things looked so awesome on paper. (In 3-D, perhaps less so.) Things didn’t work out, and maybe that’s why I’m so jaded. Or maybe it is, as David Ives put it, all in the timing. Dating in your thirties is just weird and depressing. It’s like getting to a cruise ship buffet hours late. The options are dismal, and possibly dangerous to your health.

Think about it. Who’s on the market at this age? According to my amateur research talking to every marginally attractive human being who strays away from the herd, as well as several misguided and ultimately failed forays onto dating sites, the only suitable standards to have are those as low as the Marina Trench.

My father had a very good point: most stable, complex, semi-successful normal people are married by my age. More often than not, this is because they – like any normal person – have followed the normal linear track: high-school, some form of college education or trade school, relationship, job, marriage, promotion, kids. And normalcy breeds discontent (some research has led to the guess that only about 17% of ‘stable’ marriages are considered happy and 42% of divorces occur by age 46.)

speed dating

So while I wait like a flounder lurking at the bottom of the dating pool for the most savory crumbs in my age group to fall, what am I left with? Several odd groups that seem obvious.

Unmarried thirty-somethings. These would seem to be the most appealing, except they’re often not. Who is still single at my age? I hate to say it, but the same principles of dodgeball apply, those who are picked last are the ones who were the least desirable. They either are physically or emotionally still lingering around for myriad of reasons, much like the parrot with the patches of feathers missing who screeches German action verbs still for sale at Petco. Single thirty-somethings are either weird, socially unskilled, or physically less attractive than a plate of gefilte fish.

To play fair, I’m a bisexual alcoholic who resembles golem at a tattoo convention. Not exactly take-home-to-mom material or a Suicide Girl.

Younger single people. Ah, to be a new cougar on the prowl. This seems hot, right? Choice cuts of human meat, newborns still wet behind the ears, the stuff of niche porn and romance novels…well, not exactly. Various issues I have with kids under 30: they don’t get references to Blossom, they’ve never held a Pound Puppy, they only know Justin from his solo career and Christina Aguilera from after being released from the bottle, and they think I’m kidding when I describe dial-up connections and dot matrix printers. Also they have a penchant for selfies, text shorthand, and something called a Snapchat. They can be fun for a toss, but aren’t what I think of when I think of a committed relationship. Extra snag? The female ones can be batshit insane. My last attempt to date a 26 year old ended with an envelope full of glitter tied to my car and her crying into the pages of her diary at Starbucks. Yung’uns are an expensive hobby, both with regard to time and energy.

Older single people. Okay, so increase the age range and my daddy issues and DDLG fantasies have plenty of room to wiggle and get weird. Bald or balding, with greys in their chest hair and laugh lines visible in a well-lit room, there’s something sexy about older men. But as a girl who doesn’t like or want kids, and as someone whose maturity level is on par with Finn in Adventure Time (case in point,) I don’t think I’m the most glittering cubic zirconia in the pawn shop. I’m not ruling out any elders, I just know my strengths and my weaknesses. (Viagra and Flomax.)

Married people. Another group that’s only hot in theory, but a whole lot of drama and bad juju in practice. Get divorced or work on your shit. No thank you.

picky picky

I guess the lesson is to stay patient and continue to purchase rechargeable vibrators. Worst case scenario, I wind up alone, but really good at my hobbies and with an uncanny understanding of hockey. Meanwhile, if you’re under thirty, don’t be picky. Get out of your bad relationship before it becomes a bad marriage, or give someone a chance if you’re being a prima-donna. If you’re over 40 and newly single, welcome back. If you’re married but craning your neck, staple on a pair of testicles and call a divorce lawyer, style points for playing nice during the breakup.

And if you’re in your thirties but still checking the “Never Married” box, maybe living in regret of the neck tattoo and moving out of the basement might be  something to consider…right after you finish posting that photo of  your chihuahua on Instagram.

A Whole New Ball Game

I am a tiny human. I measure roughly the same height as an eleven-year-old boy, and, prior to my implants, I looked like one, too. My feet require inserts for stripper heels, I can make a fist in mittens, and I shop in the children’s section at Target…and not just for My Little Pony underwear.

When it comes to my insides, I’m fairly certain that most of me comes standard, the liver being the largest of my organs, my ribcage the size of an average hug, a heart the size of my closed fist. But what worries me is that I think my vagina could seat a family of five with enough of an additional expanse for an Encyclopedia Brittanica 32 book set and a kitchenette. I might also be able to accommodate a tire swing, a bouncy castle, and a chicken coop.

My vagina is enormous.

it's grand and it's a canyon

This is my opinion as an outsider. Of course it’s one of those situations, much like, “Does this dress make me look fat?” and “Should I have kept my hair long?” that has no comfortable answer for the questioned. I do know that, while I haven’t had a new human come out of there, I’ve had plenty of things, some of which are body parts, place inside, at times with vigor. And if rubber bands and my thigh-high socks are any indication, if you stretch something out even once, it doesn’t return to its original size. Thigh-highs fall down. Rubber bands snap. My vagina can accommodate the entire housewares section of Macy’s. It’s Amazon.com in its size. Probably has drones, too.

For the sake of science: according to a 2005 study, the average girl canal is three or four inches long, about the same length as your favorite tube of lipgloss, but it can double in length when a lady is turned on. I don’t know if they just lost the proper tape measure between 1995 and 2005, but the width hasn’t been surveyed since. A paper in Obstetrics & Gynecology from back when Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” was song of the year asserts that the diameter is somewhere between 2 and 3 ½ centimeters. Let’s assume that still holds true.

All of those measurements might work for Home Depot, but the extra legroom I seem to have doesn’t compute. And while I would never choose a play partner who would be so uncouth as to say that the interior’s diameter doesn’t match the five-foot perimeter, sometimes the spaciousness seems obvious. I’ve been in there myself. It needs to get its laces cinched.

So other than vaginoplasty (nope) what’s a girl to do?

Kegels are the go-to advice anyone would give me. A regular part of my yoga practice, and the most frequent way I make the time pass at red lights, I’ve done my fair share of squeezing my pubococcygeneus, or PC, muscle. (If you’re new to the Kegel game, or you’re a dude, just imagine holding in your pee. There you go.)

While Kegels are great for dealing with urinary incontinence, post-pregnancy issues including prolapse, and even inflammation to the prostate, they’re also rumored to be a sexual enhancer, time release Viagra that can strengthen both orgasms and, for those of us who do, ejaculation – premature, female and otherwise. The most common method of PC muscle fitness is to hold the Kegel for three seconds, relax for three seconds, and repeat between 10 and 15 times, increasing to up to four sessions a day. In no time you will have the Arnold Schwarzenegger of vaginas…or in my case, the O’Hare airport of vaginas ‘cause Kegels don’t seem to be cutting it for me.

How can a lady level up her Kegels? Well, Kegel balls seemed sensible as I shopped at my favorite boudoir boutique.

strong like bull with balls

Kegel balls look like…weapons for midget ninjas. Dog toys. Something you shoot out of a Nerf cannon. They do not look like an object you place inside of your vaginal canal to improve tonus, but that’s exactly what you’re told to do.

I figured, whatever, I’ve put in a tampon, an OB, and various other objects at different points in my life, how could this be any different? Allow for me to tell you: gravity. It is a fucking humiliating force.

Let’s recap the insertion. The instructions say to use lube, lay down, and relax. I don’t see the need to relax as, when amped up on four cups of coffee and on the phone with customer service, you could still fit an entire shoe closet inside of me. But whatever. I did as told. Lube on balls, up the hatch.

Fortunately the brand I’d purchased was smooth, I now can’t imagine how the rigid, multi-piece models work, especially with regard to cleaning. But putting them in was fine, no big deal, I even started at the heaviest weight because, as per all things going inside of my vagina, if a little is good then more must be better.

All was well. Balls in, Kegels performed while laying down, no great shakes. What next?

The second of three ‘exercises’ offered by the included pamphlet was simply to stand up. Okay. Sitting up felt bizarre: gooey from the lubricant, somewhat cold, and like I had an unpleasant noun – Some grapes? Silly Putty? Two glass eyes? – somewhere between my belly button and the most fun part of my body.

I edged to the end of my bed. The feeling was like trying to insert your house key into the lock in the dark when your hands are frozen numb in winter. There was an odd war between my brain screaming a slew of obscenities and my body thinking, “Do I have to pee…really?” I persevered. I slithered off of the mattress, placed my feet on the floor, and stood. The noise that escaped my mouth was half of a horrified squeal and a retch. I know this is a blog, but the sensation was actually indescribable. Just imagine something bad, like the muscular equivalent of brushing your teeth after drinking orange juice.

balls deep

I did it, I stood up. And then quickly removed the Kegel balls with a squishy, unpleasantly damp pull. Washing them was easy: hot water and soap and a few paper towels did the trick. That was a fun way to waste fifteen minutes, I figured.

But I’m a sucker for a rival. Within two days I wondered if I could increase my ‘range’ and actually walk a few paces with the balls in place. So I tried.

What they clearly tell you in the enclosed literature – and it’s the draw for some gals – is that Kegel balls are built to roll. To shift around in their holster, all while within your corpus. Some claim the sensation of undulation can cause the PC muscle to clench, thereby helping your Kegels, but most just call it ‘arousing.’

If you like the feeling of carrying extra change or a bag of marbles in your vagina, then this is the tool for you. After three steps, and three squeak-gags out of my face, I had had enough…for the hour.

Cleaning complete, I wasn’t ready to give up, and gave it another go, figuring that there had to be a reason beyond peeing yourself and having played house to a baby. I couldn’t bear to lose the fight. I kept them in and tried to walk to the fridge to get a drink of water. And that is where gravity, the earth and my vagina’s cruel mistress, began to take her toll.

I’d love to chalk it up to simply performing so many Kegels in a short span of time, but I think the real reason is because my cavern has an echo. By the time I reached for a glass, the first curve of the bottom ball began its slow, slimy exit. If the rattling in my pussy hadn’t been jarring enough, the Shia LaBoeuf highlight reel that took place in my kitchen definitely woke me up. One ball out, the second sliding southward, I quickly expedited the process by yanking them out with the speed of removing a tampon before period sex with Jonathan Toews.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 6.06.04 PM

While Kegel balls supposedly can cause orgasm, and physiological and psychological benefits, I have yet to see or feel results. (For the record, I haven’t gotten any feedback from frequent visitors to my grand canyon.) That said, I haven’t quit, as I see the box by my bed as a challenge. So far I’ve gotten ready to leave the house, but haven’t been able to make it to my car before waddling back to my front door as though I’ve soiled myself. Soon, though. Perhaps by summer I’ll have the internal six pack of my dreams, or at least be able to act as a human tennis ball hopper.

Submit to the Quizlet

I don’t remember taking the SATs, or the GREs, or the ERBs, and some AP tests in high-school because I was one of those students who was more familiar with Philosophy than popularity. Other than my mother shrieking like a harpy about how the SATs would determine what college I went to, and therefore what law school I would get into, and thus solidify exactly the type of husband I would have, the success of our future children, etc., I don’t remember the experience.

I never went to law school, became a non-monogamous nympho, and never put faith in the efficacy of examinations. When I started seeing quizlets pop up on Facebook, ones with ‘fun’ results like what city I should live in (Paris? How about non…) or what Star Wars character I am most like (Princess Leia? Try Han Solo…) or what my spirit animal is (Owl? I’d prefer drag king…) I thought, “Wow, working a desk job sure makes people bored.”

Then on my favorite guilty pleasure portal,  I saw one of the girls I follow posted about a sexual profile test. According to her, it was fairly accurate, and I trust Tumblr more than most people I know in real life, so I clicked on the link and took it.

First off, shout out to all the kinksters like the one behind this test who perpetuate the theory that those of us who are experimental in bed are more intellectually curious and mentally stable. The exam was comprehensive, and gauged everything from what the taker has attempted to things that they just keep in the realm of fantasy.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 12.13.30 PM

Beginning with some “preliminary statistics” (the most irksome of which, for me, was the math test to make sure I wasn’t a robot) the test sets out to determine who it is exactly that is visiting the site. With what seems to be a parameter logistic model scaled to seven for the item response, each test taker grades questions between a Strongly Agree button, color coded in green, to a Strongly Disagree button, coded with red. Midway between the two is a yellow Neutral/No Opinion button. The test itself is eight pages, with the second-to-last being a series of graphs that the taker will gauge using a sliding button.

The questions were hard for me – I like inflicting pain during sex and seeing the results of it (marks/bruises, makeup running by tears, etc.) afterwards led me to think, “Well, I like seeing that I scratched a back up a little, but I don’t want to make anybody need to say they walked into a door or anything, so how strongly do I agree? Are there absolutes?” – but I made it through. I expected my results to be reflective of my own sexuality that my consciousness views with a fairly biased skew towards Brat and Submissive. Basically just be the boss, let me challenge you, and put me in my place, then snuggle me and call me your good little girl. (After that I’ll redress and go home and program my coffee maker, because pair-bond formation is something I struggle with. Feelings.)

Unfortunately, in the end, the BDSM test was just as frustrating as all of the others. While, like the SATs, which proved that my ineptitude at mathematics was vast, the foundation was clear – yes, I was largely submissive – there were so many variables that I seemed far more multifaceted and murky than my sexual palate leads me to believe. In this case, I am not Han Solo, I am Princess Leia in chains, while the test gave me a 37% C-3PO and a 4% Jaba the Hut.

Leia

These were my results:

89% Submissive
88% Brat
84% Girl/Boy
75% Degradation Receiver
75% Voyeur
66% Exhibitionist
64% Experimentalist
63% Bondage Receiver
63% Switch
59% Slave
54% Masochist
53% Primal (Prey)
46% Primal (Predator)
38% Non-monogamist
37% Brat Tamer
33% Degradation Giver
29% Bondage Giver
29% Pervert
24% Daddy/Mommy
24% Dominant
20% Vanilla
16% Sadist
15% All-Rounder
4% Master/Mistress

Doesn’t this seem like too many…things? I get that I scored higher in certain categories, but I don’t think that the criteria for judging Master/Mistress would indicate that 4% of myself is desirous of being called Mistress. (Spoiler Alert: Absolutely not, no thank you, Sir.)

The diametrically opposed types of Degradation Receiver (75%) and Degradation Giver (33%) don’t add up, both numerically or otherwise, something that even someone as mathematically challenged as myself can determine. While I think it’s great to be titillated by calling someone a whore, as I need someone to call me the names I like to be called, I don’t actually get off on doing that. Agreeing with a principle and executing said principle are not the same thing. Correlation ≠ causation and all that.

I know that analyzing the gap between divergent types of sexual preferences as scaled by an online test is a lot like trying to project nuance onto a mood ring. There’s no real cogent argument that can be applied when the basis for formulating a result comes from personal preference and appetites. While I agree that ambiguity and variances in behaviors can be mapped into ‘types,’ and a gradation of characteristics as interpreted by data, when it comes to sex it’s a lot like cryptographical mathematics, there are just too many elements in the fields for humans to reduce it to anything binary or simple.

Nothing is unequivocal, everything is unique, even when one’s own preferences seem fairly predictable, biased, and unwavering. Again, just skull fuck me and call me your princess.

my little bdsm pony

How can one be vanilla but also masturbate on command in public restrooms? What determines vanilla as a category? Moreover, I am not at all into non-monogamy for my emotional relationships (play partners, so long as we’re all being safe, should just play fair and be honest.)

And, again, not to beat a dead horse (unless it’s into that) an online test that gauges the sexual preferences of self-proclaimed deviants for the sake of distilling components into percentages isn’t exactly a reflection of relational framework theory or any sort of actual meta-analysis. It’s just funsies, as concocted by an intellectual kinkster, for the benefit of our kaleidoscopic community. The fact that I’m analyzing the analysis? Totally – 100%, even – appropriate. It’s my mildly aroused opinion that test taking, in this case, should be left for student/teacher fantasies.