Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's and Galentine's, Steaks, Fisting and Falafel

The only thing I find more depressing than Valentine's Day, in a world-weary is-this-really-how-people-see-themselves why-god-why sort of way, is Steak and Blow Job Day.

They're two sides of the same tired, heterosexist, high fives to the patriarchy coin: predicated on the assumption that
1. Men like sex but hate relationships, and
2. Women like relationships but hate sex.

It's such an unbearably sad way of looking at romantic interaction. If you genuinely believe both of those things, wouldn't any dude-lady relationship be an unfulfilling transaction where you tolerate something you dislike in order to get something from another - something they don't want to give? Why would you want to fuck someone who doesn't want to be fucking you? Why would you want to date someone who wasn't thrilled to be dating you right back?

It reminds me of Cliff Pervocracy's point about Fifty Shades of Grey: that negotiation is about finding ways for both partners to have a mind-blowingly amazing time - not about one party presenting a list of all the things they want to do to their partner and said partner picking the ones she hates least.
I asked for it, and I could have stopped it without fear of retaliation.  My tops asked me--and gave me--what I wanted, not merely what I could tolerate.  The whole thing was full of a spirit of fun and experimentation, not anger or bitterness.  And I loved the hell out of it.  I didn't come away thinking "that wasn't so bad" or "I had that coming." I came away thinking "I feel fucking fantastic." From Let's Read Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter 15!
Of course, what's really frightening about this assumption is that it describes all sex as something that women will put up with but fundamentally don't want. It elides all sex with rape. Some radical feminists take this approach and argue that all PIV sex is bad because it's like rape; misogynists can convince themselves that rape isn't that bad because it's just like sex but more so. Neither approach leaves any room for female pleasure.

So imagine what a blessed relief it was to find out that someone has invented Fisting and Falafel Day.

I don't even really like falafel.


What I actually wanted to talk about, before I got distracted by rape culture (happens to me all the time), was Galentine's Day.

I celebrated it for the first time last year, because my Beloved Lady Friend was sad, and I thought she might be sad about being single on That Day, so we went for a pint and talked about novel writing and rimming and mental illness, because that's how we roll. This year, there will be two Beloved Lady Friends, and cocktails, and it will probably be exactly like Sex & The City, except in grimy north London. By next year I anticipate reaching Knopelike levels of dedication with knitted cushions featuring intarsia designs of my friends' faces embroidered with inspiring quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt.

The other half of my objections to V-Day - if you love your partner so damn much, show it every day of the year; why do you need a special day to remind you to be nice to them? - can easily be applied to G-Day. I suppose the difference is, with the former, it feels like you're Being Told to participate, whereas the latter is an active choice. Plus, our culture never stops trumpeting the Enormous Power of Romantic Love - but taking time out to celebrate the joys of female friendship feels a tiny bit subversive.

I'm going to end this here before I start extolling the virtues of abjuring electric light in favour of aligning your cycle with that of the moon. Happy Galentine's.

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