Get the Picture

A friend of mine once showed me a photograph of a girl, somewhere between the ages of 20 and 25, standing in a bathroom, photograph taken of the reflection in the mirror. She was perched on the balls of her feet, glancing over her shoulder, wearing nothing but knee-high socks and the rubber band that held her blue hair up in a top-knot. No makeup. Duck face. Not my type. He and I were at a bar, watching the game.

She had very nice breasts, that stranger, and she had a tattoo of a bird over her hip. There was a grey towel in the background. I still remember this. It was about three years ago.

My friend, whose roguish smile as he showed me the image on his phone was likely the same roguish smile that enticed that sylph into sending such a photograph, was unfazed.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“Some girl,” he replied.

“Does she know you’re showing that to randos?”

“Hitting send means show your friends,” he laughed.

“Um, I’m not sure she’s aware of that…and that doesn’t really rhyme.”

but first let me take a selfie

I never learned that girl’s name, and my friend has since gotten married to someone I have not seen in knee socks, but I have seen a former sexual partner of someone naked, and I don’t know who she is.

The truth is, I’ve always subscribed to the notion of keeping the truly sacred things private, while being willing to have the rest of my life basically torn apart by the rabid bored hyenas of the general public under the age of 40.

There are nude photos of me on various outlets of the internet, and I would say that the majority of my Contacts list has seen R-Rated (or worse) selfies from time to time. There are clips on many phones of me doing things that would cause nuns to have heart attacks and Republicans to pass indecency laws. I’m not proud. I figure that one day I’ll have cellulite, (more) wrinkles, and joints too arthritic to kneel. While I’ve got it, I flaunt it, and I assume that what I flaunt, shoot, or send gets shared.

And, really, if I’m recording it on your phone or sending it to you, I probably don’t actually care. Because real intimacy, in my experience, is the type of thing that doesn’t need to be captured on a pixelated display for future viewing. So if you have me, naked, somewhere in your digital memory, I assume you’ve showed it to others, and it’s just as much an illustration of your despicableness and lack of tact as my own.

Other than revenge porn, the way I see it, both smutty parties are to blame.

but first lemme take a selfie

That said, I think there is a sort of show-your-work thought process that ought to be employed if you’re so much as musing about sending your tits, ass, or other bits to a friend, lover, or stranger.

SET A PASSCODE.

I repeat, set a passcode. Either change the settings so that your messages don’t blow up your lock screen or enable a means of shutting down access to your phone. Right now. Do this. I’ll wait.

Ok. You do this for a multitude of reasons, one of which is that, if your phone is face up in a place like a meeting, a family dinner at Applebees, or while you are on a date with another potential body to send you a naked selfie, the other parties involved aren’t privy to the goods. Not because that would be an accidental violation of the sender’s intimately shared privacy, and potentially embarrassing to you, but also because those other people might not be into knee socks. Or schoolgirl uniforms. Or half of a mascot suit, whatever.

(For the record, I neither have set a passcode nor have changed the settings to not allow tiny thumbnails of picture messages to magically appear when sent, but I’m essentially a hermit orphan who never leaves the house, unless it’s to get naked with another person.)

“Hi, Mom!”

Although I have been in relationships where there was basically an ankle tracking device affixed to me, marking my every move, most healthy sex partners don’t necessarily know where their lover is at any given moment. They could be with their family, and unless they are freaky hippie types or blind, that would just make sharing the Bloomin’ Onion kind of awkward. You run less of a risk of having to meet their boss than having to meet their younger brother, the later of which will undoubtedly be an experience for everyone. Merry Christmas?

Forever: it’s a long time.

Chances are, you will be an ex one day. It may not end amicably. Think of the last person you had a nasty falling out with, perhaps you walked in on them cheating with a girl obsessed with ‘kawaii’ culture meowing repeatedly into the pillow, or they forgot  your birthday. Whatever. Whoever you were last really and truly angry at, do you want them to see you masturbating while eating a cupcake until the end of time or their phone is stolen and iCloud account magically deleted? No? Just keep that in mind. The Internet is forever. True love is not.

Tom

Bigger than bigger.  Maybe?

BEEN THERE, DONE THIS. Hot presumably lesbian Apple employee asks, “Could I see your phone for a minute?” after I was having issues with getting error messages when sending texts.

Boom. Dick pic.

Well, there goes her thinking I’m bisexual.

The rest of our Troubleshooting consult I don’t remember. I think she fixed the problem, and I almost walked face-first into the glass door on my way out. To my credit, it was a lovely specimen of male genitalia. Good lighting. A+.

Find My Moan

The only thing worse than seeming to have the incorrect gender preference for a potential Apple employee discount is not knowing who is seeing you naked. At least with friends and family, there’s that Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Naked thing. When you lose your phone…

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tit for tats or tits for tits? Not so much.

I can only speak for yours truly, but if I’m posing, I probably want something in return. More often than not, I’ve sent something and gotten bupkis. Often there’s just poorly spelled words mid-masturbation after it’s either saved or delivered. Unfair. Remember playground rules: I show you mine, you show me yours?

Hilarious that, as I type this, I realize that not once did a dick pic entice me to send any image of myself in return. Other than maybe a chastising furrowed brow selfie. If I wanted to send a photo, I would have done it already, dude.

And a footnote to all of this? If there’s something sexy being recorded, chances are I wanted the footage for my own amusement and bragging rights and am now too shy to tell you. See what clothes do?

Bottoms up

Ask yourself, “Have I been drinking or doing something else that can impair my judgment, ability to operate heavy machinery, or drive a car?” Did you have trouble taking off the clothes you were wearing due to issues with gravity and balance? If other substances are involved, don’t send the image. What’s worse than drunk dialing? Drunk texting, because it can be screen-capped. What’s worse that drunk texting? Drunk picture messaging. Or video messaging. Or audio messaging, slurred, which is basically the same thing as drunk dialing. There should be a, “Give me your keys, give me your phone” friend policy for wild nights out. Designated driver, designated texter, that sort of thing.

In the immortal words of The Who, “Who are you?”

If you’re making moving images, think about the motivation for him (or her) to record it. If you don’t know the person well enough to answer that, I’m not going to ask you why you’re sleeping with them, but I will ask why are you sleeping with them, on their phone, forever?

Absolutely, there’s a complementary aspect to, “Hand me my phone, I wanna take a picture/record this” as you’re doing whatever, but if it were so easy to be a porn star wouldn’t everybody with a tribal band tattoo and a tube of self-tanner be doing it? Make-up, production assistants, lights, legal, green screens, STD tests…actual porn takes work, and money, and porn stars. You wanna know why? Real sex isn’t always sexy. It’s often weird looking.  And awkward.

Lastly, fair warning, do not sponsor a “Beaver Hunt.” Arm yourself and be forewarned. Revenge porn is a very real thing, and it doesn’t have to be you in a Sasha Grey-like scenario. Selfies? Yep. They count. And you don’t want to become just another unsuspecting statistic, may you be the recipient or the sender.

Now if you’re still going to cross the rubicon of Send, at least message me a copy first.

[Note: If you have been a victim of revenge porn, or know someone who has, End Revenge Porn has all the information you need to fight back or help out.]

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.