Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heart Yorslf?

A few reminders:

1. Isn't it fun to come across a vanity plate that reminds you of something you've been blogging about?

[Image: Car license plate that reads "<3 YORSLF"]

Happens all the time, amirite? Spotted in the...Whole Foods parking lot. (Seriously, click on that link.)

2. If you haven't already done so, check out Sciatrix's compilation of links on the House TV episode debacle. I'm glad she put them all together in one place.

3. Carnival of Aces is still happening! Deadline for posts is coming up in a few days--this month's theme is re/presentation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So, whatever happened with the Hobbit Acceptance Project?

The Hobbit Acceptance Project continues apace. I guess these sorts of things never truly end. Since the start of the project in June, I've only shaved my legs and armpits a couple of times. Mostly to wear a bathing suit and to wear a dress at a fancy restaurant, things I was still not comfortable doing while hairy. I decided to take a tip from Beth Terry and obtain an old-school safety razor for the times that I did want to shave. One reason I don't like shaving is because I don't want to support companies that bombard me with "smooth legs = beauty!" advertising. So, shaving with an antique is one solution to that, although it's not as user-friendly as the plastic multi-blade models. While I'd heard horror stories of people cutting themselves with safety razors, I haven't had that problem. If anything, I cut myself less.

Anyway, I'm a lot more comfortable "going out with stubble" on my legs now, as I mentioned in my first post on body hair. I barely notice the stubble now. When I do shave my legs or armpits, they look strange to me. My loyal following of Hairy Pits Club has shown me that like all hobbits, I'm hairier than 99% of the female population (although I think some of this has to do with self-selection...not everyone chooses to post their pits online). No, I don't have a hormone imbalance or anything...this is just how I roll. I've decided that I can't abide my armpits in a total state of nature, and that's okay. If you check out Hairy Pits Club, you'll see people actually having fun with their armpits. Dying them rainbow colors, even. This inspired me. I learned that there were actually a range of armpit hair modification options. You could shave them, trim them, dye them, buzz them, braid them (I'm not that hairy), etc.

On a related note, I liked this post a lot. I don't agree with it, but it made me think more deeply about my own stance. I do agree with the commenters who say it's impossible to eschew femininity entirely, even if one tries. If I spent my life in a gray sweatsuit, people would view my body, hear my voice, and ascribe femininity to me. So I agree with those who are saying: Keep what you genuinely like about femininity (not only what you get socially rewarded for) and toss out what you don't like. I like glittery eyeshadow, the color pink, and wearing jewelery. I don't like dieting, talking about dieting, wearing high heels, "control" garments, etc. I don't like to leave my body hair entirely to its own devices, but I don't like shaving, either. I think I'll just let the two battle it out. It's not as exciting as Middle Earth, but it's something.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Coming out to those "situational friends"...or not.

You may have a few of them: Situational friends. People whom you primarily see within the context of one activity. I've had many of them from work, classes, groups, volunteer activities, and Occupy. I see these people a lot, in some cases more frequently than I see my close friends. But no matter how much we chat, they still don't know a lot of personal stuff about me. (In fact, I'm a champ at knowing people for a really long time and having them know almost nothing about me as a person. I don't even know how I do it.)

This is on my mind, because at the last Occupy meeting, someone mentioned that "half of the working group is out [as gay]." I cynically thought, "I can't come out because everyone would make fun of me". Even though I've come out to positive responses a bunch of times, and I'm a big proponent of the action in general, it doesn't stop being scary. Although I doubt anyone cares what my orientation is, suddenly it felt like the elephant in the room to me. I am, indeed, the only person in that group who is not either out as gay or in a long-term heterosexual couple.

Situational friends can be the hardest people to come out to. The level of emotional investment is fairly low, and yet you still have to spend a lot of time with them, making things difficult if their reaction is negative. Situational friendships also often take place in groups, and it's much harder (and in my experience, not the best idea) to come out to a crowd. I don't want to come out, at the wrong time, just for its own sake. I won't lie about my sexuality--the one time a situational friend asked me, "Are you straight?" I said, "No, I'm asexual". But that rarely comes up. No one EVER asks me annoying stuff like, "do you have a boyfriend?" or "why are you single?" As aggravating as those questions (and the assumptions behind them) are, I'm left with no real segues.

It makes me bemoan the fact that there's no way to successfully drop hints about being asexual. I think it's that lack of cultural context that makes coming out so hard and so formal-seeming a lot of the time. In my experience, no one says "by the way, I'm gay" to their situational friends. They mention a girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, husband, or someone they find attractive (of course, there's room for misinterpretation here, too...another place where bisexuals easily share our experience). I can't say "that person is cute" without having people think I'm straight or gay. I think that's why I never told my friends about my rare crushes, even though I cultivated them (sometimes) in order to fit in.

If someone knows me for 10 years, they'll see that I never date or have sex, and they might start to realize that I'm "different" somehow. But even in the case of these sticky situational friends, I don't think I'm going to wait quite that long.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Occupy Isolation!

The Occupy movement gets addressed from a lot of angles, but the one most relevant to this blog is community-building. I sort of wanted to get involved with Occupy, but the groups in bigger nearby cities seemed really overwhelming. The prospect of being smooshed in a huge crowd of strangers made me feel too unsafe. So, idly, I searched for "Occupy [my town]" online, and found that we were actually having a meeting. I was truly surprised, because this is a small, boring, apolitical, relatively conservative suburban town. Since then I've become pretty involved with our small occupation, even though we only meet for a couple of hours each week. And at this point, the most notable result of our occupation has been a burgeoning sense of local community.

I'm not saying that everyone in the group is my new BFF, or that we're all going to get along 100% of the time (that's not what community is, anyway). Nor do I know what this occupation is going to look like a few months from now. But the fact remains: This is the first time, in the 3 years I've lived here, that I've ever experienced community in my town. Through Occupy, I'm able to sit down with a group of people who were strangers to me in October, and work with them to try and change things for the better. I've met neighbors, and around town, I've ran into people that I know. This is a big deal, because it's something that I doubted would ever happen. I've always felt very isolated here, like the world was happening outside my town, and I was missing most of it. Occupy gives me some hope that this is not the case. If we can create community here, of all places, then maybe change is truly possible.

Although there is that asexual issue...up next.

(And last, here is some utterly shameless self-promotion for my zine, because it's been a while. If you're ever thinking, "Well, I'd sure like to hear what Ily has to say on some non-asexual topics", here's your chance. It's both serious and funny, like this blog tries to be.)