Why am I not surprised?

 

Okay so in my last post, I mentioned the large number of skeptics who give me hell or get all judge-y and condescending for choosing to believe that astrology has merit, and that I’ve never met one of these people who knew literally anything about it.

And sure enough, one such person poked his head up.  Surprising, right?  Aren’t you surprised?  Because I’m totally surprised.

See this?  It’s my “surprised” face.

But he wasn’t just condescending, he did one better (by not even reading the entire post before making his condescending comment, *Edit* and something else that seriously made my day), and since I’m just a bit argumentative (possibly because I’m an ENTP, possibly because I’m Air and Mercury Dominant in Aquarius, with Sun conjunct Mercury, or maybe just because I’m a bitch who loves to point out when people are flat-out wrong), I couldn’t resist.

Screenshot (29)

Aww, aren’t you precious.

It’s so cute when people try to be condescending, touting their imagined intelligence. Especially when their comment contains numerous grammatical errors.

And most especially when their comment reveals the fact that they didn’t bother reading the entire post before telling me why I’m wrong (and literally proving my original point about these obnoxious skeptics).

Like, I literally just got done talking about how the obnoxious, condescending skeptics prefer ignorance, that they jump to their precious conclusions without knowing anything about it, and here’s a guy who proves my point beautifully.  He didn’t even bother reading the next four paragraphs of my post (much less the whole thing).  He stopped at that sentence, jumped to his conclusions, and did the whole “do a simple blind study and win a million dollars. Easy money” thing.

And for the record, from this point forward, unless I specifically say otherwise, when I use the word “skeptic,” I am talking exclusively about those who get all judge-y and condescending, and feel compelled to give me shit about something they know literally nothing about.  I know a great deal of skeptics who are extremely respectful, and we can discuss it civilly and politely.  Nothing I’m going to say applies to those people.

But that’s not how things work? The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Sigh….

Okay, so since reading is hard (and I know I got super science-y and technical in my last post, you may not have been able to follow if even if you’d taken the time to read it), I actually quoted 2 specific studies of astrology that literally did that exact thing. One by Clark, one by Gauqelin. I also pointed out that Gauqelin’s results were replicated 3 times, by 3 different organizations, in 3 different countries.

Which you would’ve known, had you bothered to read the entire post before telling me why I’m wrong.

Just sayin’…

Also, we don’t have “extraordinary evidence” that the Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy exist. Those are some pretty extraordinary claims. But using what we currently know and understand, we agree that it’s extremely plausible, to the point that it’s generally accepted as fact. Are you saying you don’t believe in those things? That you’re incapable of understanding or acknowledging something you cannot see or touch, because it hasn’t been proven?

That’s a depressing way to go through life. And what’s more, every astrophysicist, quantum physicist (or quantum anything, really), and physical cosmologist thinks you’re an idiot.  I mean, that’s literally how these people make their living, by imagining things currently beyond the scope of our understanding, and entertaining the idea that it might be true.

Did you read literally anything past the sentence you quoted? Or, like many obnoxious skeptics, did you not bother to learn shit before making your snap judgement?

That’s a hypothetical question, by the way. Don’t answer it, I already know the answer (look at that, I’m like totally psychic). Because I’ve had this same conversation a hundred times with a hundred people exactly like you.

And, like I said in my post that you didn’t read, I have no desire to argue or debate with those who prefer ignorance to education.

Oh, but there is just one quick, teensy little thing….

But for the record: Just do a simple blind study of astrology and you will get one million dollar if it works. Easy money.

Bigger sigh…..

*Edit* So the commentor goes by Randy, and the url he provided is literally the link to the Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge (which was created by James Randi, and I’m assuming the commentor’s name “Randy” is a play on that), which makes all of this so much better.

Like, a million times better.  Oh my God, I literally, actually laughed out loud when I saw that.  Like, totally ugly laughed.  You guys seriously have no idea how happy this made me.

Okay, so the million-dollar thing was called the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge (I know, Google is hard *Edit* especially when you were literally on the website), and the challenge was to prove the validity of ESP, and paranormal claims, not astrology. Not a single applicant accepted for testing was an astrologer.

You know, since multiple studies have literally already proven the validity of astrology.  Which, had you kept reading the next four paragraphs of the post after the sentence you quoted, you would have known.

Also (*Edit* and this is my favorite part, you guysthe challenge was terminated.

Which it says, in big-ass bold letters, at the top of the page you linked to.

*Edit again*  No seriously, how did you not know the challenge was terminated?  I mean, I know you didn’t read my post, but I figured you’d at least skim the shit you actually agree with on that site.  Like, how is that even possible, that you’d link to that site, but not know that it says, right up at the top, in bold letters, that they terminated the challenge?

Three astrologers applied.  None were accepted.  The most hilarious exchange was between the JREF (that’s the organization hosting the challenge, I know you didn’t know that *Edit* even though you were literally on that website.  Seriously, it’s almost not fair how much I’m enjoying this).  Look, I really am like totally super psychic!) challenge facilitator and an astrologer named John. A. “JAK” Keeran.

It’s hilarious because the JREF would literally not accept drivers’ licenses or birth certificates as legitimate proof of birth date, paternity, or biological parents’ birth dates.  JAK was never tested because they could not agree on acceptable proof of one’s birthday or parentage.

Oh and also, they didn’t like the idea of him using both astrological skeptics and believers in his data pool, because that’s something that made sense to them, while he wanted an equal number, or at least generally equal number, of skeptics and believers.  Because he felt that was the most objective method, that it would ensure that a group of nothing but believers couldn’t potentially slant their own answers to fit the test.  JREF felt that having skeptics specifically could somehow skew the results in his favor, and give him an “out” if the tests disproved his claim.

And while they said it had to be a double-blind test, somehow JAK was supposed to gather the group, interact with them, and get data from them.  Which is like, the literal opposite of a double-blind test.  When he pointed this out, and voiced concern that direct involvement with the subjects could potentially taint the test, their response was (I’m paraphrasing here) “Oh well, sucks to be you.  I guess you just can’t do the test after all.”

Oh, but tell me more about how objective and scientific and totally not-ridiculous that challenge was.  You can see the records by the challenge facilitator, and see just how demeaning and insulting he was to everyone who applied.  He openly mocked them, and was proud of it.

Whether their claims were bullshit or not doesn’t matter.  I happen to think 99% of anyone who claims any kind of paranormal thing is full of shit.  You won’t see me openly mock or insult them, though.

I know, it’s weird, right?  It’s almost like I’m a better, more compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded human being, capable of recognizing that other people have other experiences and thought processes that lead them to different conclusions that, while I may not agree, I can accept as valid to that individual.

Totally weird.

No, I save the mockery and insults for hypocrites, the willfully ignorant, and those who think they can come on my blog, say something demeaning (and incorrect) and not get publicly ripped to shreds.

So yeah, that challenge was a complete scam, by an organization (which was not a scientific organization, by the way *Edit* and you probably should’ve noticed that when you were literally on their website) run and headed by a former magician. It was so widely criticized, it was eventually terminated, citing wanting to use the money for other purposes as their reason (*Edit* which it literally says, right at the top, in big bold letters, on the website you were on when you copied and pasted the link to show how super smart you are)

And it’s hilarious to me that every obnoxious skeptic immediately brings up that challenge, knowing literally nothing about it, such as the qualifications for applicants, the “controlled” parameters, or the fact that applicants had to sign away their right to an attorney and had no access to the results of the tests, meaning that the organization could legally slant or change the results altogether to suit their purposes.

Whether the organization actually changed results or not, I don’t care. If their goal was truly to objectively prove or disprove the existence of paranormal abilities, why would they need to use such underhanded methods?

Uh, cuz it wasn’t objective, bro.

You know, facts and all.

The only “challenge” ever open specifically to astrologers was to see if they could correctly answer questions about future election results. Since astrology doesn’t predict the future (and it’s kind of laughable, and stupid, to think that astrology does that, and kinda just proves the ignorance of the skeptics running the test), that challenge was never won, and every time someone new opens that challenge (there has been more than one), no astrologist will ever win.

There’s also one open to anyone who claims to use paranormal abilities or astrology to diagnose and treat a range of illnesses. Again, astrology does not do that, so no astrologer will ever win it.

So, since no astrologer will ever win those challenges, that must prove astrology is bullshit, right?

Or is it possible the challenges themselves are slanted, knowingly or unknowingly, by skeptics specifically looking for flaws?  Or, more likely, by skeptics who are totally ignorant about what astrology actually is and have no desire to educate themselves?

Since, again, actual, objective scientists, using actual scientific method, repeatedly found validity in the practice.

Repeatedly.  As in, more than once.  As in, not an isolated incident.

As in, there are literally more tests and studies proving the validity of astrology than there are proving that it’s no better than chance.

Because of the studies that exist that claim to disprove astrology, a) I have a hell of a hard time finding the actual scientific studies themselves, published in the actual scientific journals, which immediately sends up red flags.  Any medical or scientific study that does not make its findings public screams “fraud” to me, but then again, I think Andrew Wakefield is a fraud, while a great number of people worship him as their cult leader, so what do I know?

B) They are made based on claims that don’t actually exist among professional astrologers (yeah, no astrologer can “predict your marital status at age 30” by using your birth chart, bro.  And none of the astrologers I’ve ever met have literally ever claimed to be able to do that.  What a shock that the study using that as their basis found no correlation), such as predicting the future or someone’s IQ, or whether they will die in an accidental death.  I mean, really?  Is that what all you skeptics think we believe?  Like for real?  You actually think that?

Wow, dude.

No seriously, show me where any astrologer claims to be able to determine your height from your birth chart.  That one, I’ve never even heard of.  But apparently some skeptics in India think that birth charts are supposed to do that.  What a shock, that study found no correlation, either.

There’s this one dude in Mumbai, named Raiyani, who tried to literally ban all public astrology practices.  He went to an event and issued a challenge.  These are his exact words:

“I said, you give me 12 predictions for every month-end about the movement of the Sensex, of inflation as per the price index, and the quantum of rain [in some of the main cities of India].”

He goes on to snidely say, “Predictably, no one responded.”

Uh, yeah, bro.  It’s not a damn weather service.  It’s not an economic guide.  It doesn’t show you how to game the Stock Market.  Those who are educated about astrology know this.  And we don’t pretend astrology can do what it can’t.

Also, c) astrologers will flat-out admit that astrology has limits, and will readily publish studies showing such limits (as opposed to the skeptical organizations in Belgium and France, who waited 8 and 14 years, respectively, to publish their positive results, because they didn’t like the answer they got).

Nona Press, an astrologer, gathered a few hundred birth charts from those who committed suicide in New York City between 1969-1973, and they found no significant correlation between suicide and astrology (which, to me, is common sense, but this was also 40-ish years ago, and apparently there were some people back then who thought astrology and suicide were somehow linked).  Quick, wanna guess how many years they waited to publish those results?  It wasn’t 14.  It wasn’t 8, either.

Oh, but astrologers are the biased, ignorant, close-minded ones.

Riiiiiight….

So um, the burden of proof is actually on the skeptics to show that those tests and studies are wrong.  Cuz as of right now, claiming that it’s complete bullshit is more extraordinary than claiming it has validity.  Since multiple people in France, Belgium, and the US already tried to prove one study wrong, and literally couldn’t.

Facts are hard, I know.

But no it’s cool. It’s totally cool to cite that paranormal challenge when you don’t know anything about it (you know, such as the fact that it’s been terminated).

Just like it’s totally cool to get all condescending about something you know literally nothing about.  And didn’t even bother reading the entire post, because your ignorance is just that important to you.

You wouldn’t happen to work for Trump, would you? If not, man, you missed your calling.

So I have a challenge for you (assuming, of course, you’re still reading this and didn’t stop after some random comment ten paragraphs ago.  I don’t have high hopes that you’re still with me, but we’ll see).  It’s the same challenge I’ve issued to every obnoxious skeptic who tries to get all condescending with me.  And just like your dear James Randi, no one has “won” my challenge.

In fact, while I’ve issued this challenge to literally every obnoxious skeptic who has given me shit for it (along with a few non-obnoxious skeptics, who have been respectful), only 3 people have ever taken me up on it, and one was Kazander.

Kazander was never obnoxious about his skepticism.  He was honest, direct, and polite, and that’s fine with me.  A few months ago, though, we were talking and I brought it up and he again reiterated that he thinks it’s bullshit.  So I issued the challenge, and because he is capable of changing his perspective when presented with conflicting information, he took me up on it, and discovered that he was wrong.

Interestingly enough, the other two who took me up on it didn’t fall under the “obnoxious skeptic” category, either.  It’s almost like those who jump to conclusions and feel the need to be condescending and put down other people are afraid that they’ll be proven wrong, because they cannot handle the world not fitting inside their precious little box.

Weird.

But as I was saying, only three people have ever taken me up on it.

Those three people are not skeptics anymore.

So here’s my challenge:  Tell me I’m wrong.

You want burden of proof?  M’kay then, I’ll prove it.

Give me the time, date, and location (city, state, county, country… or territory, whatever) of your birth.  Then give me a few days (these things are labor-intensive as fuck, I never do them for free, but I can be just a smidge spiteful – you know, it’s the Aquarius in me – and the chance to publicly show you up is more than worth the 10-15+ hours of my time it’ll take).

Give me that, and literally nothing else.  I don’t want to know anything else about you.  Then, when I’ve got your natal chart analyzed, tell me I’m wrong.  Tell me it’s not accurate af.

I’ll even post it here, so other people of different astrological signs can read it and weigh in.  That way you can’t cite the professor who handed out “individualized personality profiles” to his class, who scored it with an 80% accuracy, and then found out they all received the exact same thing (which, incidentally, was Gauquelin.  Does that name sound familiar?  It should, because he’s the dude who found the correlation in the positions of specific planets in celebrities.  He was in no way a believer of astrology, and he openly professed his skepticism.  He also openly professed that at least parts of it just cannot be explained by coincidence and random chance, and that there is validity to it).

If you’re a Cancer with Saturn and the Moon Dominant, chances are that there won’t be a hell of a lot in there that a Sagittarius with Mercury and Jupiter Dominant can relate to.

If you’re so sure it’s full of shit, you shouldn’t have a problem with that.  And if you’re so enlightened and educated, you shouldn’t have a problem admitting that you were wrong, and recognizing that being a judge-y douchebag probably isn’t the best way to navigate through life.

Oh and since you know everything you need to know about astrology, without having to read anything, do me a quick favor and calculate the ecliptical geocentric longitude on the eastern horizon at the time of your birth.  That’ll make things quicker for me, since I won’t have to do it for you.  It’ll help me out when I line up the Houses with Signs, and it’ll help me figure out your planetary chart ruler.

And just in case you don’t know how to calculate it, here’s the equation I use.  Just remember that you have to use sidereal time, not solar time, and that makes a big difference.  Since sidereal days are like 5 minutes longer than solar days.

{\displaystyle \lambda _{\rm {Asc}}=\arctan \left({\frac {-\cos \theta _{\rm {L}}}{\sin \theta _{\rm {L}}\cos \varepsilon +\tan \phi \sin \varepsilon }}\right)}

But it’s cool, if that intimidates you, or you don’t know how, or if you’re not familiar with the field of astronomy, I’m happy to do it for you.

You probably won’t take me up on it, though (remember, I’m like totally psychic.  I know these things).  No obnoxious skeptic ever does.  And because you choose to make condescending remarks without reading the rest of the post, because you cling to your ignorance and don’t bother reading what I wrote about it in the first place, anything you have to say outside of your birth info, I’m just not interested in hearing.

Good talk, though.

Why I believe in astrology

So I was talking with an old online acquaintance the other day, when I mentioned astrology.  His response was:

I just don’t get it.  You’re so wise and educated about everything else.  You aren’t swayed by popular opinion.  You always go for objective facts in every other subject.  But you buy into this astrology and Tarot thing, hook, line, and sinker.  Even though the facts and evidence are mounted against it.  Why?  On some level you must know it’s bullshit.  Why do you believe in it?

The short answer?  Because I’ve looked at the objective facts and have formed my own opinion, regardless of the popular consensus among other educated people.

I’m not going to get into Tarot here, that’s a whole separate thing, but yes, I do believe in astrology as a tool that, as long as one recognizes it for what it is, is extremely useful and quite effective at achieving a specific set of goals.

I’ll use the hammer reference that is so often used in debates regarding gun ownership in the US.  If you’re not from the US, and not familiar with the reference, it goes like this:

A hammer is a tool.  It is neither good nor bad.  It can be used to build a house for a homeless veteran, or it can be used to bash someone’s skull in.  The result of either scenario is not due to the hammer, but the person wielding it.

Astrology can use a somewhat similar metaphor.  Because it is a tool.  It is neither good nor bad.  It is neutral.  It can be used reasonably, by a reasonable person, for constructive purposes, and it can be used unreasonably, by an unreasonable person, for destructive purposes.

And for the record, the facts and evidence are not mounted against it.

*If you’re a skeptic, and you are polite and respectful of those who choose to believe in it, then cool.  Carry on.  What I’m about to say doesn’t apply to you.*

Most skeptics I’ve talked to actually know literally nothing about astrology, aside from reading the occasional newspaper horoscope or daily horoscope on some free website.  They have formed their opinion knowing literally nothing about it.

Which is just as bad as wholeheartedly supporting astrology, knowing literally nothing about it.

Honestly, I don’t care.  Your opinions are your opinions.  And I’d say most of the skeptics I’ve spoken to have been polite-ish and respectful-ish of my conscious decision to believe in the validity of the practice.  And those who have not been polite or respectful, I honestly just shrug off.

The kind of person who forms an opinion on something they know nothing about, and then gives me hell for having a different opinion, is not the kind of person I’m interested in debating with.

Because you can’t win that kind of debate.  Meaning you cannot convince a willfully ignorant individual to let go of his ignorance.  And usually, willfully ignorant individuals are extremely unwilling to let go of their ignorance, and therefore I don’t bother wasting my time trying to educate them.  I honestly just don’t care.

But again, for the record, there does not exist a mountain of empirical, concrete evidence disproving astrology.  There doesn’t even exist a moderately large hill of evidence disproving it.

Most people who do a ten-minute google search and promptly assume they are experts in the field will quote the 1985 study by Shawn Carlson, showing that astrology was no better than chance.  And then, believers of astrology will answer with Professor Suitbert Ertel’s 2009 reappraisal of the data collected in the study, and his conclusion that (in layman’s terms) Carlson is full of shit.

They’ll then follow with Vernon Clark’s 1961 study showing that astrologers could match and identify personality traits in individuals with a rate of accuracy that was significantly higher than chance.  Some may then go on to quote Michel Gauquelin, who studied a few thousand celebrities from Europe and the US, looking for correlations between the positions of planets at an individual’s birth, and any concrete effects it had on their lives, such as choice of profession and independent biographical descriptions.

He found statistical abnormalities in the positions of planets visible in the sky at the time and location of the individuals’ births, for example the position of Mars figured heavily in professional athletes, Jupiter in actors, Saturn in prominent scientists, and the Moon in well-known writers.

Three independent groups in Belgium, America, and France scrutinized his study, looking for errors, and ended up replicating his result.  Whether they used the same group he did, or completely different groups, those same statistical abnormalities were there.

So I mean, for every study out there proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that astrology is bullshit, there’s another one proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there’s validity to it.  There is no mountain of evidence on one side or the other.  Using any particular study as the sole basis for one’s opinion in this subject is illogical and inaccurate.

So here are my thoughts on it, taking out personal experience (which, as someone who did/does this for a living, is extensive af).

Okay, so there are three main fields that focus on all that fancy space shit: astronomy, astrophysics, and physical cosmology (you also have sects of cosmology that are more mythical/spiritual/religious/philosophical, etc.  I’m not talking about that here, because that’s not recognized as a legitimate science the way physical cosmology is.  But for simplicity’s sake, I’m going to just take out the “physical” and call it cosmology, and you all will understand that I’m talking exclusively about physical cosmology).

At its simplest, astronomy is the study of all the stuff you see in the sky right now (or with a telescope).  All the celestial bodies, stars, planets, all the objects out there.

Astrophysics is all about asking why, about discovering the processes that made the stuff we see in the sky, and why those things we see do the things they do.

Cosmology focuses on the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the Universe as a whole.  And in cosmology, there are three components that make up the Universe: radiation, matter, and dark energy.

Dark energy is pretty damn interesting, what we know of it, anyway, and the theories surrounding it range from really cool to really fucking bizarre.  All we know is that it is why the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate.  The most common theory is that dark energy is an attribute of space itself, that space literally has its own form of energy, and the more the Universe expands, the more space comes into existence, the more dark energy is formed.  And the more dark energy is formed, the faster the Universe expands.

This means that dark energy permeates everything, interacts with everything, and has a pretty damn significant effect on the Universe, itself, and everything in it.  In fact, dark energy makes up the vast majority of the Universe, at about three quarters.

Cool, right?  Except we have no idea what it is, or, outside of pushing things away, what it does, and how it affects literally anything else.  And, as being about 75% of everything in the Universe, it’s reasonable to surmise that it does have some sort of effect.

One new theory is that dark energy governs time, the fourth dimension of the Universe (or spacetime, it’s really way more complicated than that, but we’ll call it time, this is already long enough).  Because, as fucking weird as it sounds, we cannot fully explain why time only moves in one direction.

Because the Universe (we think) operates according to the laws of physics.  I mean, as far as we can tell, that’s pretty constant.  But the interesting thing is that like, 99.99% of physics is completely time-reversible.  Meaning that it works regardless of the direction time moves.  To completely oversimplify it to a laughable degree, think of a planet orbiting a star.  Physics makes the planet orbit the star, and the only affect time has on the orbit is the direction.  Move time forward or backward, and the result is identical, aside from the direction of the orbit.  The past and future are symmetrical.

So if physics allows for time to move in any direction, why doesn’t time move in any direction?

There really isn’t a great answer for that.  The only real “explanation” is the second law of thermodynamics, which we also don’t fully understand.  It says that, as time moves forward, shit gets more complex and crazy.  This is, obviously, not time-reversible, and physicists reluctantly settle on it as the reason why the past and future are asymmetrical, and why time can only move in one direction.

It’s like a ruined orgasm, though.  It works, sorta, but it’s not satisfying, it’s just disappointing.

But dark energy could actually offer a more complete explanation.

So some really smart people with a metric fuckton of time on their hands decided to see if the second law of thermodynamics and dark energy could be related, because why the fuck not?

They created a little mini-Universe thing, consisting of a planet orbiting a star with a changing mass.  Super limited scope, but they didn’t even know if they’d find anything.

Well they found something.  If dark energy didn’t exist, the little planet just kept orbiting the star forever and ever, super boring.  And unchanged regardless of which direction time moves.  Run the simulation for billions of years, and the past and future are exactly the same.

But toss dark energy in the mix, and it pushes shit apart, which means that the planet would eventually be thrown out of the orbit, and go down a path it could never return from.

And obviously, this is not constant regardless of the direction time moves.  Move time forward, and the planet gets further away from the star.  Move it backward, and it gets closer.  The past and the future are now asymmetrical.  And because dark energy is always pushing things away, it requires that time only moves in one direction.  Time going backward would mean that dark energy is pulling things together, which is impossible (we think, we actually have no idea what dark energy is going to do in the future).

Dark energy must push things apart, and this only works if time is moving forward.  So dark energy, the thing that makes up the majority of the Universe, could literally govern the laws of time.

Now, this was one little experiment, with one little planet and one little star, so no one is getting too excited yet.  But it’s interesting to think about what other effects dark energy could have on the Universe.

But at the very least, even if it doesn’t affect anything, everything we experience from space passes through it.  Gravity, light, radiation, subatomic particles, literally everything.  It reaches everything, it touches everything.

So in that light, it’s reasonable to theorize that we could be literally and physically connected to the celestial bodies that figure prominently in astrology (as well as every other celestial body in the Universe).  Which means it’s reasonable to theorize that, to a miniscule degree, those celestial bodies and the energy they produce could possibly have a legitimate effect on us, particularly if they are visible to our part of the world at the time of our birth.

But that’s not the only thing.  There’s also dark matter, which is seriously fucking cool.

Here’s what we know about dark matter: if the laws of gravity are correct, it must exist.  We can’t see it, but we can see the effects it has on light around it.  It bends light around it, using gravity, but we obviously can’t see it the way we can see a black hole (which also bends light due to gravity).  We can also see stars orbiting around the outer edges of galaxies much faster than they should be able to.

We know that it doesn’t react with anything that we can see.  Just gravity.  So, while dark energy is pushing everything apart, dark matter is defying the laws of physics, holding things together in ways we can’t even begin to understand yet.

The most widely accepted theory is that it’s a massive particle that is just too light and too weak to interact with anything we can perceive and detect.  But if that’s the case, how is it holding normal matter (ie, planets, stars, galaxies) together even as force and dark energy are pulling them apart?

We can see that it’s clumped together throughout the Universe, and that in the very beginning of the Universe, it created a sort of scaffolding that influenced the location of normal matter as time went on.

Some theorize that it is evidence of extra dimensions, and suggest the existence of a “Hidden Valley,” an entire parallel Universe made up entirely of dark matter, existing right alongside us, completely imperceivable to us.

Some theorize that it connects everything, in one massive chain, to the literal center of the Universe, where the laws of physics, including gravity, originated.  It touches everything, permeates everything, connects everything.  That it is not limited by the fourth dimension, and harnesses the power and energy of the Big Bang, bringing it infinitely forward and backward through time, affecting everything it touches.

As wild as both these theories may seem, scientists literally cannot even come close to disproving them.  Not even remotely.  What’s more, we can’t even come up with a plausible reason why they couldn’t be true.  We just don’t know.

All we know is that it touches everything, and that it’s everywhere.  Just as dark energy is.  Billions of these particles (if they are particles) are passing through our bodies every second.

Dark matter and dark energy are these mysterious forces that simultaneously prove and defy the laws of physics, affect gravity and the energy holding us together, potentially govern time itself, and possibly hint at entire realities we could never hope to comprehend.

And I mean, this shit is real.  It is recognized science, these are widely known and accepted theories throughout multiple scientific fields.  And we have no idea how it affects us.

When you look at all that, and then take into account the radiation, light, particles, and literally everything else we’re exposed to every millisecond of every day, all the shit literally bombarding us from space, is it really that much of a stretch to think that the closest celestial bodies, the ones visible to the naked eye, just might have an effect on us?

To a point?

Cuz uh, I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch.  You know, because science.

Our personalities are incredibly complex and multifaceted.  No, that can not all be explained by the positions of the planets and stars when you were born.  No, you will not find all the answers in astrology.  No, it is not infallible.  And your Sun sign is only one part of your astrology birth chart.  There’s a lot more to it.  So it’s not 100% accurate.  My parents, a Leo and a Capricorn, are sort proof of that (I say sort of because they stayed together until my dad died, but they definitely weren’t all that happy together).

Hell, I’m a walking example of it.  I’m an Aquarius, and do well with Capricorns.  Consecutive signs are never compatible.  Now, there are theories regarding Aquarius and Capricorn combinations, and why those specifically might do better than other combinations (one of the most popular is due to the planet rulers.  Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, which represents discipline and structure, while Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, which represents rebellion and impulsiveness.  However, Aquarius is also co-ruled by Saturn, which may temper the Aquarius’ flightiness just enough, and give an Aquarius and Capricorn just enough that they can still relate to one another), but Aquarius and Capricorn should not work at all.  Aquarius is Air, Capricorn is Earth (Earth and Water go together, while Air and Fire go together).  Capricorn is negative (or feminine, or yin) while Aquarius is positive (or masculine, or yang).  And in this case, opposites don’t attract.  Negative goes with negative, positive goes with positive.  Capricorn is a Cardinal sign, while Aquarius is Fixed (Cardinal and Mutable go together, while Fixed signs usually do best with other Fixed signs).  Aquarius is flexible by nature, and considered to be the most “Mutable-ish” of the Fixed signs, but it’s still a Fixed sign.

It should not work.  At all.  Granted, it’s not the worst possible combination of the zodiac (that would be a tie between Aquarius and Cancer, and Aries and Scorpio), but it shouldn’t work.  Of course, I’ve got Virgo rising, which helps, but still.

It’s not infallible.  It’s not a science.

It’s a guide.  An eerily accurate guide to help people learn more about themselves, to inspire them to want to learn more about themselves, and reflect on who they are and how they relate to the people around them.  It encourages people to examine the way humans interact with one another, to examine what makes them who they are, and how to overcome their weaknesses.

And yeah, y’all.  It’s eerily accurate.  There are obviously exceptions to every rule, and Star Signs are only one part of our astrological chart (for example, my Sun sign is Aquarius, which makes me impulsive and insensitive, but I have Mercury conjunct Venus, which tempers that coldness with tact, politeness, and empathy due to an extraordinary ability to see and understand everyone’s point of view.  I also have every planet but one in Quadrant II, which makes me diplomatic and protective of those around me), but using astrology, we really can see clear, objective pictures of ourselves.  We can see our strengths and we can learn how to improve our weaknesses.

All I need is your birth date, and I have a pretty accurate idea of who you are.  Give me the time and place of your birth as well, and I know enough about you to truly creep you out and make you uncomfortable.

I did this for a living, y’all.  And I was damn good at it.  People would call me with relationship problems, I’d ask their birthday and their partner’s birthday, and before they could say another word, I could completely pick apart their relationship, telling them exactly what problems they were having, and why they were having those problems, and how to fix them.

Again, not infallible.  But I was right well over 90% of the time.

Still skeptical?  Alright, I’ll prove it.  Each sign has personality strengths, but those are easy and generalized, so I’ll do one better.  Just off the top of my head, here’s a list of common weaknesses for each sign, along with things each sign secretly worries about.  Scroll to your sign and tell me I’m wrong.

Aries:  Impulsive and quick to anger, and once you start, it’s hard to stop.  You’ll never shy away from a fight or an argument, even going as far as ending a relationship or friendship, but you often end up regretting it, and want those people back.  You pretend not to care, you pretend to be the strong, immovable one, but you can’t handle losing people.  The problem is that the regret and guilt set you off even more, which makes you even quicker to anger, and it’s a vicious cycle you don’t know how to stop.

Taurus: Stubborn to a fault, and impossible to reason with when angry.  You will push others away when angry, and won’t accept reconciliation.  You also tend to bottle things up, letting them build and build until you explode, and once that happens, you truly become a rampaging bull, and nothing and no one can stop you.  But deep down, you’re afraid that those you love just don’t want you around, or that they don’t love you the way you love them.  You’re steady, stable, and reliable, and put a great deal into your relationships.  But you worry that it won’t be reciprocated, and that instability is one of your biggest fears.

Gemini:  Argumentative and changeable, you’ll debate anything, anywhere, with anyone, but you don’t like being told you’re wrong, and can take it personally when someone doesn’t agree with you.  But deep down, you’ll adjust and change who you are to fit in with those around you, because being untrue to yourself isn’t as bad as being alone.  You’ll even take this as far as completely changing who you are around certain people.  You can’t handle boredom, and falling into a rut is something you truly dread.  Aquarius and Sagittarius are the signs most known for running when they feel trapped, but Gemini is right up there with them.  A dull routine will rot your soul.

Cancer:  Ruled by emotion, you can be pessimistic and insecure, and those emotions can become louder in your head than reason and rational thought.  But you try to hide it, because you think if others see that you’re upset, you’ll be disappointing them.  You pretend to be happy, taking care of everyone around you, neglecting yourself.  You never want people to think you’re too much trouble, and a fear of rejection or the unknown can keep you frozen in place.  You can also be spiteful, just as much as Scorpio.  The difference is that Scorpio has better control of their emotions, and is very deliberate in their vengeance, while you will lash out.  Even if you’re justified in lashing out, though, you’re generally gentler and kinder than Scorpio, and you’ll feel guilty afterward.

Leo: Not everything is about you.  You’re proud and have trust issues, and tend to blame yourself for everything, convincing yourself that you’re unlovable.  But you need to learn that you’re not the cause of every bad situation.  A bit on the melodramatic side, you work hard to cultivate a reputation as being the best, but this mindset that no one can do it as well as you can exhausts you.  You like being the leader, the protector, you like taking care of those you love, you take pride in taking care of those you love, but you don’t have to be perfect for people to love and admire you.  Everyone needs a break once in awhile, and you’re no exception.

Virgo:  As long as everything goes your way, you’re totally flexible.  You’re a perfectionist, and when people see you, they see someone who has their shit together.  Underneath, though, you’re less sure of yourself.  You have extremely high expectations of yourself, and worry that you won’t be able to live up to it.  You put an immense amount of pressure on yourself, and all that constant pressure makes it hard for you to stay positive, and you can get overwhelmed easily.  Spending time alone means getting lost in your head with a mind who looks at you and sees someone who can’t measure up to those high expectations.  So you avoid being alone if you can, because your mind doesn’t stop, it doesn’t have an off button.

Libra:  You need balance in your life.  Confrontation and anything that throws off that balance is something you avoid.  Often, you’ll outright lie to avoid an argument, and pretend everything is fine.  You’ll be untrue to yourself before causing any perceived stress to those you love.  Letting down those you love is the worst feeling in the world, and you’ll do anything to avoid it. But sometimes, making the right decision is hard.  You can become frozen when presented with a hard choice, spending more time analyzing what you should do, than actually doing it.  Your analytic mind can be difficult to turn off, and you fear making the wrong decision, particularly in love.

Scorpio:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone knows that Scorpios are the darkest sign, the most vengeful and spiteful, the ones who will use that stinger without hesitation when threatened.  This is not news (perhaps the fact that more serial killers are born under the sign of Scorpio is news, but I’d bet money that not a single Scorpio is surprised by that).  But what most people don’t realize is that all that venom hides arguably the most sensitive heart of the zodiac. Unique among water signs in that, while you’re ruled by your emotions, you have incredible control over them and will hide, not letting anyone get close, and using that stinger to push them away.  You don’t trust easily, and you don’t trust many, and allowing people to see that vulnerability means giving them the power to hurt you, and that terrifies you.  As loving and sensitive as you are, you crave that fulfilling relationship with someone you love and trust.  But the problem is that you’re so afraid of being betrayed, you’re so afraid of losing who you are, you’ll just instinctively push people away.  You’re worried that this habit will keep you from ever finding that kind of love, but you don’t know how to fix it.

Sagittarius:  So commitment is a thing.  Also, emotion regulation is a thing.  You are intimately familiar with neither of these things.  Explosive and impulsive, you’re pretty open and wear your passions, rather than your emotions, on your sleeve.  Because of your openness, it’s really no big secret that your biggest weakness/fear is commitment.  It’s not that you’re unfaithful, though.  You’re the archer, and a centaur, and you embody both the horse and the hunter.  Wild horses can’t be tamed, and hunters need room to roam.  Being pinned down, losing your passions, losing who you are, is scary.  But what fewer people know is that your openness and your generosity lend to a forgiving nature that can often be taken advantage of.  You wonder if people will ever appreciate you, or if they’ll just continue using you.

Capricorn:  Everyone knows that Capricorns harbor a fear of failure, that’s pretty well obvious in the sign most widely associated with workaholics and ambitious climbers of the career ladder.  But there’s a whole different side that no one knows about, because you’ll do anything to avoid showing them.  Judgmental, condescending, and antisocial, this is easily the most misunderstood sign of the zodiac, because you don’t make it easy for people to get to know you at basically any level.  Stoic and steady is good, but there’s such thing as too much of a good thing, and you tend to not have a lot of deep connections with people.  But while your poker face is convincing, it’s still just a poker face, and you feel deeply and passionately, and can get lonely and moody.  But a fear of rejection, judgement, and abandonment keeps you from reaching out.  The goat never gets tired on the way to the top, and can handle immense amounts of stress, so you’d rather deal with it alone than risk being hurt.  Just as fiercely protective of those you love as any Leo, you have a habit of taking that too far, thinking you can protect everyone you love from everything bad in the world.  You’ll do anything to avoid putting a burden on the people around you, and feel guilty if you think you have.  You think you’re doing the people around you favors by keeping your struggles and your pain to yourself, and you don’t realize you’re pushing them away.  Because of all this, you worry that you’ll always feel isolated, but you don’t know how to fix it.

Aquarius: Oh dude, so many.  We all know about the fear of, and disdain for conformity, and the lengths to which you’ll go to break free of it.  There are even Aquarians who deliberately buck against the expected Aquarian attitude, just because they hate being put in a box.  But you’re pretty good at disguising your true self, so people don’t often know the rest.  You’re often cocky and overconfident, elitist, and unapproachable.  Impulsive and creative, you have great ideas and can create extremely specific plans, but get bogged down in the details, and then get bored, and then move on to something else.  You can’t finish a sandwich.  You actually enjoy being alone, one of the most comfortable signs with getting lost in your own head, so that combined with your detached and aloof attitude makes people feel like you don’t want them around or don’t care about them.  Also, emotions are things.  Like, they actually exist.  Maybe show them once in awhile.  You’re the master at hiding what you’re feeling, even better than Capricorn, Cancer, and (the most widely recognized master of hiding) Scorpio.  But there’s a reason for that.  Capricorn is Earth, and Cancer and Scorpio are Water.  They have better relationships with their emotions than you do.  Emotion is your biggest, most far-reaching weakness.  Your defense mechanism when you can’t handle emotion is to lock it up and pull away, but while this allows you to function, and you’re arguably the best sign in a crisis, able to stay calm and think quickly and creatively, it’s a double-edged sword, because you worry that you don’t actually feel emotion the way people are supposed to.  You’re so used to burying it, you feel like it’s muffled and muted compared to everyone else.  You wonder if you’ll ever feel emotion the way people are supposed to.

Pisces:  You need to be reassured in a relationship.  Extremely sensitive and tender-hearted, you put everything you are into a relationship.  But an avoidance of confrontation, combined with that sensitivity, means that it’s easy for people to take advantage of you.  You’re very self aware, so you likely know when it’s happening, but fear of confrontation and losing those you love will keep you silent.  You’re notorious for daydreaming, creating elaborate alternate realities in your head when you’re struggling with the world around you.  That self-awareness has limits, though, and you’ll often deliberately delude yourself into thinking everything is just fine, rather than dealing with the truth, because dealing with the truth is stressful, and you’d rather be taken advantage of than be alone.

So yeah, there’s validity to this shit.  It’s not all bullshit.  And I’m not going to discount something based on the opinions of people who know nothing about it.  They think that believers of astrology look at it as a science, when it’s not.  They think that believers of astrology worship it like a religion, when they don’t.

Astrology speaks to us.  It gives us a window into who we are.

At its core, that’s all astrology is.  It’s not a science or a religion.  It’s a language.  Its purpose is to communicate.  It’s up to us whether we want to hear the message, and what we do with it.

This is just not my month.

So I have apparently pissed God the fuck off.

And He’s not the least bit shy about letting me know it.

M’kay, so I might have mentioned that I’ve been fighting a cold.  Well, it’s more like a gazillion colds, over the course of like three months.

Routine bloodwork in October showed an elevated white blood cell count.  No big deal, but my doctor decided to check again in December.  And it was still elevated.

Still no big deal, he gave me some antibiotics to combat the infection and we called it a day.

Except the antibiotics had no effect on my symptoms, and I was just constantly sick.

So he ordered more bloodwork earlier this month, and I had the follow-up was yesterday.  And my white blood cell count is still elevated.

M’kay, now it’s kind of a big deal.

He said, “Alright, one of two things is happening.  The first is that you’ve got a really persistent infection.  So I’m going to prescribe one hell of a strong antibiotic, and you’re going to take it for ten days.  I’m telling you now, it’s going to suck.  This will kill pretty much every living organism in your body.  Even all the good bacteria in your digestive and reproductive systems.  So you’re going to feel pretty shitty for awhile.  Nausea, diarrhea, cramping, headaches, gas, bloating, loss of appetite, oh and you’re female, so it’s going to fuck all that shit up, too, so there’s the possibility of yeast infections, aren’t you lucky, some more nausea, it’ll be great.  You’ll have fun.”

Well fanfuckingtastic.

And why is he, a man who is usually pretty much against prescribing any kind of medication, prescribing this satanic fucking drug?

Why am I taking this satanic fucking drug, that will likely make the next 9 days a living hell?

I’m glad you asked, imaginary other half of this conversation.

Because after the ten-day course, he’s going to give my body about two weeks to recover from that shit, and get back to “normal,” and then he’s going to check my white blood cell count again.  If it’s still high, there’s something else going on.

So as it turns out, there are like 200+ separate viruses that cause what we call “the cold.”  And, as it turns out, the viruses themselves don’t actually cause the symptoms.  They’re actually relatively harmless.  But our immune system detects the virus and freaks the fuck out and goes into overdrive, which causes the congestion, coughing, sinus pressure, headaches, fatigue, achiness, all that fun shit.

The interesting thing is that, once a particular virus is eradicated, the body builds up an immunity to it, and the next time your immune system detects it, there are no symptoms.  Your body knows the drill.

Which would be cool, if there weren’t over 200 different specific viruses that cause it (with more constantly evolving and showing up) so there’s no way we can ever build up immunity to all of them.  So every time we’re exposed to a new virus, our immune system fucks shit up.

I’ve got cold symptoms, with an elevated white blood cell count.  An elevated white blood cell count is *usually* a sign of infection (hence the antibiotics), and the cold symptoms are a sign of my immune system fucking shit up.

However, if it’s not an infection, if it’s not my body reacting to some foreign thing, then that means my body is producing too many white blood cells.  It also means that those white blood cells are fucked up and unable to function properly, which is why my immune system is fucking shit up for like 3 months straight.

Oh and I’ve also had some very persistent joint pain in really random places in the last few months, like my freaking elbow, with no discernible cause.

What could cause all that, you ask?

Not a lot, as it turns out.

There are a couple of possibilities, but with me being in otherwise perfect health, those possibilities are pretty damn remote.

So not a lot.

Really only one thing.

And that one thing would be leukemia.

…yay…..

So I’m working on not freaking out.  It may not be leukemia.  It may just be a series of drug-resistant superbugs that just happened to hit me one right after the other, without affecting either of the other people who live in the house, or any of the inlaws that I’m often in direct contact with, or my chemo patient, immune-suppressed mom, who I spent 8 hours a day in a small room with (although I made a point not to get close to her or touch her), or Steel, who I spent about ten hours with (and yeah, I didn’t make a point not to get close to him or touch him).

The more you think about it, the less likely it sounds.  But it’s still possible.  I’m an optimist, after all.

Of course, while I am an optimist, I’m also not an idiot.  I know what the chances are of the test going the way I want it to.  And I’m working on preparing for that.  I’ve got to figure out the ins and outs of my insurance, what kind of specialists and resources are in the area, all that fun stuff.  I’m not going to be blindsided by some bullshit.

Other than that, there’s really nothing to do but wait, and work on not freaking out.  I’ve got 20 days until the next blood test, and then a day or two after that to find out the results.  Just have to be patient.

And not freak out.

But you know, I don’t give a fuck what any doctors or tests or statistics say.  I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.  I’m going to live to be 118 and I’m going to achieve my lifelong dream of stealing a watermelon from a grocery store.

I’m actually serious about that, by the way.  The one thing that’s at the very top of my bucket list is to steal a watermelon.

Allow me to set the scene.  I’m… I don’t know, 75?  80?  Old enough that people look at me and say, “she’s an old lady.”  Wrinkles, white hair, sagging boobs, all that jazz.  I do my little old lady shuffle into a grocery store, wearing something ridiculous and conspicuous, like a neon pink mumu, bedroom slippers, and a shower cap or something.  I don’t know.  Something ridiculous.  I shuffle into the produce department, pick up a full-sized watermelon, and walk out.

An employee will invariably see me and stop me, and tell me I can’t just take the watermelon, I have to pay for it.  And I’ll look at the employee with a completely straight face and say something like, “Andrew?  My goodness, you’ve gotten so big!  Where’s your mother?  I brought this watermelon for the picnic, I know she likes peaches better, but your uncle Dave always gets in a tizzy if there’s no watermelon.  When did you dye your hair?  Are you still playing the banjo?”

And the employee will feel so bad, and so awkward, that he’ll just let me go.  And I will have succeeded in stealing a watermelon from a grocery store.

Sounder pointed out that it’s possible, even with the conspicuousness of something as large and random as a watermelon, that I won’t get stopped.  And if that’s the case, then I’ll just put the watermelon in my car and go back in for another one.  Rinse and repeat, until I’ve either taken all their watermelons, or someone stops me.

And then I’m going to take all my watermelons to a bowling alley, carry one in, and attempt to roll it down a lane.  Again, rinse and repeat.  They won’t get very far, of course, and I won’t be rough, so they don’t bust open and make a huge mess.  But I want to see how many watermelons I can roll down a bowling lane before someone stops me.

Why?  Because you can get away with shit like that when you’re old.  And fucking with young people is going to be the best part of my day.

Oh, and I told Sounder I want to go to the mall with him, when we’re not quite as old as 75 or 80, but close.  We’ll separate and find two nice-looking young people, like in the food court, but on opposite sides of the food court so we can see each other, but the young people won’t notice.

I’ll hand my cell phone to the young person and say, “I’m sorry, dearie.  I’ve got such bad arthritis.  Would you be willing to text my boyfriend for me, if I tell you what to say?”

The young person will say sure, because she’ll think it’s just so cute that a little old lady has a boyfriend, and she’ll take my phone to text what I tell her.

And then I’ll say, “You filthy rat-bastard, you gave me crabs!  I had to shave off my landing strip!”

Her reaction will be priceless.

So she’ll text it (I keep envisioning a girl), and across the room, Sounder’s phone will go off and he’ll approach another young person and say, “I’m so sorry to bother you, I can’t see very well.  My girlfriend, the love of my life, just sent me a text.  Would you be willing to read it to me?  I can’t really work those buttons, either.  You know, old fingers.  Could I bother you to reply, as well?”

The young person will think it’s so romantic that old people are in love, so she’ll say, “Sure,” and take his phone to read the text message out loud to him.

Her reaction will be priceless.

He’ll ask her to type his reply, and he’ll say, “That’s what happens to cheating skanks.  It’s karma, bitch.”

So my phone will go off, and my young person will read it, and I’ll reply with, “Well it was your idea to get that prostitute in Mexico in the first place!  It’s not my fault I have an insatiable sex drive!  Oh, honey, it’s ‘insatiable,’ …s…a..t…i… there you go.  Mad face emoji.  Thank you so much, dearie, you’re such an angel.”

So his phone will go off, and his young person will read it out loud, and we’ll just go back and forth until the young people are just too hysterical to type anymore.

Also, did you know they’re not teaching kids how to read and write in cursive anymore?  People are seriously pissed off about this, but dude, I’m fucking stoked.  Just imagine it.  I’ll be in a nursing home one day, and I’ll coordinate all kinds of shenanigans, and we’ll communicate in notes written in cursive, and none of the young people working there will have a clue what we’re saying.

And dude, there will be so many shenanigans.  I’m thinking a random flash mob in the cafeteria at 3 in the morning, I’m thinking every single resident hiding all of their left shoes, I’m thinking everyone speaks in pig latin for a day (you’d be surprised how few younger people know it, even now.  It’s a dying language, and that makes the linguistic anthropologist in me sad.  But it makes the psycho rebel in me happy because that means none of the young people at the nursing home will be able to understand a damn word we say).  I’m thinking everyone whose name starts with a consonant dyes their hair blue, and then the next day everyone whose name starts with a vowel dyes their hair green (it’s not like we need to look professional for jobs or anything, why the fuck not?).

Oooh, or spending an entire day speaking in nothing but “oldies” song titles (since our music will be oldies then), and then correct the staff when they say anything.  Like, “I need you to sit down now, please.”

And I’ll respond with, “Sit down, stand up!  We can wipe you out anytime!”

Or loudly argue with another resident about what we’re going to watch on the TV in the main community room area.  He’ll want to watch BBC and interracial, and I’ll want to watch gangbangs and double penetration.

Alright I need to stop, because I’m just going to keep thinking up fucking awesome ideas, and this’ll end up being like 8,000 words.

The point is I cannot wait to be old, and I’m not about to let some bullshit fuck that up for me.

Again, it’s still possible that it’s just a really, really bad cold.  That’s what I’m hoping for.

But regardless, if it’s leukemia, I’ll just deal with it.  That’s all it is.  Some bullshit to deal with.

My dad had stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was straight-up cured.  He did the chemo, did all the treatments, and lived for like 10-ish years after that, and it never came back.  He died of completely unrelated shit.

A shit ton of my relatives have had different types of cancer and were cured after chemo and/or whatever other treatments.  It’s some bullshit I’ll deal with, and then I’ll move on.

And on the bright side, I’ve taken four doses of the antibiotic so far, and the side effects have actually been really mild.  Just some minor cramping and nausea off and on throughout the day.  Totally manageable.  So hopefully I’ll be able to avoid at least most of the crap my doctor described.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Lunch date with “friends.”

Do you have any of those friends that you used to be so fucking tight with, and you just adored, but then as you got older, you drifted apart to the point that you really don’t have anything in common anymore, and you can’t even really stand each other’s company, but you remain friends anyway?

You know, the kind you go without seeing for months and months, and then you start to miss them, and all the cool shit you did back in the day, and their many, many, many faults start to seem smaller in the unique rosy light of nostalgia, and you think to yourself, “God, I miss them.  Why don’t we hang out anymore?” so you arrange a hangout, and ten minutes into the hangout, you think to yourself, “Oh yeah, this is why we don’t fucking hang out anymore.  Because they’re fucking idiots.  Why can I never remember what colossal idiots they are?”

Yeah, that happened today, at a lunch date with two friends, who I’ll call, for reasons that will become apparent, Feminazi and Christian.

But first, some info on my attitude towards monogamy, and idiots in general.

I’m not a fan of monogamy.  The majority of people in my life, even the muggles, are aware of my attitude toward monogamy, and toward its most vocal supporters.

It’s like with veganism.  I don’t have a problem with veganism.  I don’t have a problem with many vegans.  Not my thing, but it’s cool.  People like it, let them do whatever makes them happy.

What I have a problem with are idiots.  Like the idiots who try to feed their pets (carnivores, such as dogs and cats) a vegan diet.  The idiots who take every opportunity to tell you how awesome it is being vegan.  The idiots who loudly judge you for eating meat. You know the type.

Those idiots are not exclusive to veganism.  They exist in every area, and monogamy is no different.

If, when you find out I’m poly, your response is to scoff and say, “Well your relationships just won’t last,” I want you to know I think you’re an idiot.  Like, a big one.

Interestingly enough, now that I think about it, the vast majority of the people who have said this to me were single at the time.  But what I really love is when people who are divorced say it to me.  Especially the friend who said it to me today.

The friend who, as it happens, is literally on Husband Number 4.

“Oh wow, really?  You’re obviously the world’s foremost expert on how to make relationships work.  Please, tell me more about how you made your marriage(s) work.”

It’s fun when I get to let my inner spiteful, petty bitch out to play.  And if you get on my nerves enough, I let the petty bitch loose and just sit back and enjoy the show.

I’m not afraid to burn bridges, y’all.  And actually, I burned one pretty spectacularly here recently with Red.  And it was satisfying as fuck, let me tell you.  After months of him toeing that line between loveable asshole and straight-up asshole, he finally pushed me past my breaking point.

I fight dirty when you push me past my breaking point, and I hit him with every low blow I could think of (and I’m a very creative individual.  There’s not a lot I don’t think of).

I’m serious, I doused the fucking thing with rocket fuel and took a flamethrower to it.  It was an explosion that would’ve made Michael Bay jealous as fuck.  No one can make shit blow up the way I can (figuratively, anyway).

Push me, motherfucker.  See what happens when I lose my temper.  I dare you.

I inherited my dad’s psychotic temper, with my mom’s ability to just tear people the fuck down.  Combine that with my emotional self control and the fact that I never say anything I don’t mean, and it’s one hell of a combustible combination.  When I decide to burn a bridge, it’s not a decision I’ve come to lightly, so I don’t regret it, and I will make the biggest explosion I can.

I will fuck a motherfucker up.

Red underestimated my ability to do that.  And he really shouldn’t have, he knows that now.  I know way too much about him.  I know what he takes pride in.  I know what his insecurities are.  I know what his fears and his dreams are.  All of that shit becomes a weapon that I use to make grown men cry.

Manipulating someone’s thoughts, feelings, and headspace is what I do.  And I’m very, very good at what I do.  Nothing is off limits once I decide to burn a bridge.  Nothing.

Needless to say, he doesn’t like me anymore.  Needless to say, I’m totally fine with him not liking me anymore.

But that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about relationships.  My relationships.

Because monogamy may work for you.  It works for a lot of people.  It doesn’t work for me.  And take my current and previous relationships as an example.  My first marriage, which was monogamous, ended in divorce (granted, monogamy wasn’t what ended it.  But it sure as hell didn’t help).

My second marriage, which is poly, has already lasted longer than my first.  Hell, my relationships with both Steel and Sounder have already lasted longer than my first marriage.  It works.  Despite all the people telling me it won’t, despite all the people wanting me to fail, because if I succeed, then somehow that means that their way isn’t the only way, and it actually is possible to have healthy, happy, stable relationships that don’t conform to the societally accepted norm.

Now, I understand my privilege is showing, and all of my gay readers are probably rolling their eyes.  They’ve only been dealing with the same thing since…. Oh I dunno, how long ago was the Bible written?  Somewhere around there.  I’m probably not going to be beaten to death in a back alley for having poly relationships.  Judge-y looks and snide comments by bored soccer moms and lonely single people are about all I’m going to get.

And I don’t know if any of you are aware of this, but I’m just a teensy bit on the argumentative side.  Go ahead.  Try me.  Say your snide comments and open that door right up.

What’s really hilarious is that the kinda-sorta-friend of mine, recently a born-again Christian, and I had lunch with another friend, a psycho-liberal feminazi.

Of course Christian is as annoying and idiotic as you’d expect the average born-again Christian to be.  There’s really no surprise there.  Two-dimensional and flat, there’s really not much to her personality anymore.  She used to be entertaining as fuck to be around.  Now, she just judgmental and preachy.  Add to this the fact that I’m Catholic, and it’s like a requirement for all non-Catholic Christians to hate Catholics (I think it says so somewhere in their Bible.  Because theirs is different from ours.  Quick, someone ask a born-again Christian why the Catholic Bible is different.  The hipocrisy is strong with the padawan), and the conversation gets annoying fast.

But she’s easy enough to deal with on her own.  Mostly because she actually knows very little about Christianity, and the history of Christianity, and why we do what we do, and why we believe what we believe, and she’s never actually read the entire Bible (Catholic or otherwise), and I mean really, she just makes it too easy.  Not even worth rambling about, really.

Now, the feminazi is a bit different, mostly because she’s a walking encyclopedia for male-on-female crimes.  Do you want to know how many women were raped in Chicago in June 2014?  She fucking knows that shit.  Want to know how many CEOs were women in New York in 2015?  She fucking knows that shit.  Want to know how many action movies pass that… whatever that test is, that is supposed to show whether a movie is sexist or not, I absolutely refuse to look up the name of it?  Yeah, she knows that shit.

Oh, and quick rant about that damn test.  Action movies are generally geared towards men, and are marketed towards men, for literally one reason, and it’s not to be sexist.  That reason is because a business owner, looking to make a profit on an action movie, will fail if they market it exclusively to women.  I’m a feminist, m’kay.  If I owned a movie studio that was going to make an action movie, and I looked at the data objectively, I would have to accept the fact that women are not my target audience, and I have a goddamn business to run.

I know that people don’t watch movies for social commentary, unless that’s the point of the goddamn movie.  They watch to be entertained.  Shallow, attractive characters are entertaining.

Women bitch about it all the time, and yes, they may be justified.  But you’re not going to change anything by bitching about it.  You’re going to change it with your goddamn wallet.  Show that with hard data.

We did it with a comedy, and the studio took notice.  It’s what they did/are doing with another movie that was geared toward women, and blew past expectations.  Maybe you heard of it, Trainwreck.  That one did great, because people, men and women, paid to see it.  Women loved it.  Women went to see it in the theater.  Women showed the business owners that yes, this is a good fucking idea, and they should give us more of it.

But when given the opportunity with an action movie, we were too busy bitching about Star Wars being sexist or some shit to care.

The new Ghostbusters flopped, for a number of reasons, but you want to know the biggest reason it flopped?  Because no one paid to go see it.  And because no one paid to go see it, they’re not doing the sequel(s), and no one is going to rush to do another movie like it.  Yeah, you can kiss the idea of an action movie with an all-female cast goodbye for a few fucking years, at the very least.  You blew it.

Even if it sucked for other reasons (which it did), if enough people had shown interest in an action movie with an all-female cast (and by people, I mean you, ladies), then the studio, which is a business with the goal of creating a marketable product and earning a profit off said product, would likely have taken a closer look at what mistakes were made and how to fix them, so that they would have a more marketable, more profitable product.

It doesn’t even matter what men think/thought of the movie.  Die-hard male fans of the original were going to be skeptical of a reboot with an all-female cast, anyway.  It wasn’t geared to them, because most of them just weren’t going to be interested.  It was geared to us.  And we proved that marketing action movies primarily to us doesn’t make good business sense.  The studio isn’t going to forget that 70 million dollar loss anytime soon.

Congratufuckinglations.

Oh, but you want to know a movie that did so well, it not only spawned an originally-unplanned sequel, but a live national tour and a fucking Broadway musical?

Magic Mike.

Magic.  Fucking.  Mike.

But wait, that’s not sexist because it’s men who are naked and are attractive, shallow characters (and don’t tell me they’re not shallow.  After I found out they were planning a national tour, I decided to sit down and find out what all the fuss is about.  Yeah, all of them are two-dimensional, shallow characters lacking any real depth or complexity).

Yeah, I don’t want to hear you bitch about how Pick-a-Movie is “sexist.”  Your wallets speak louder than your words.  And yeah, your wallets have spoken.  Don’t like it?  Fucking change it.  Stop bitching about the movie industry being sexist and fucking change it.

When movies like The Ghostbusters start making more money than Magic Mike or Sex in the City, and the movie industry still caters action movies exclusively to men, then I’ll be willing to listen to a damn word you have to say about that stupid test.  Until then, I’m just not interested.

I don’t fucking care.

Feminazi is the reigning queen of bitching-about-shit-but-not-getting-off-her-ass-to-do-a-damn-thing-about-it.  Because then she’d have nothing to bitch about.  And then she’d starve, because bitching is her primary form of sustenance.

She’s always annoying when she gets on her feminazi, down-with-the-Patriarchy, all-men-are-sexist rants, and I’ve gotten pretty good at telling her to shut the fuck up (or just tuning her out), but since the election, she’s gotten just impossible to be around.

No you guys, I’m serious.  She spent half the time at lunch criticizing the waiter because he said, “Good afternoon, ladies.”

She said that calling us “ladies” was sexist.  I didn’t pay enough attention to her to figure out why.  I was too busy imagining what the waiter would look like naked, tied up, sprawled out across my lap with a red, well-paddled ass.

Again, normally, I tell her to shut up, or I tune her out.  But now that the other one is a super-conservative, born-again Christian, it’s actually entertaining getting the three of us together.

The two of them argue about everything.  And 99% of the time, it’s annoying as fuck.  Like, to the point that I really don’t understand why I keep agreeing to hang out with them.

But when they start talking about me, it’s wildly amusing.

Because here’s the thing.  I’m a Dominant, poly, bisexual woman.  I run all of my relationships, and I have relationships outside my marriage.  Feminazi loves this trait in me.  Christian hates it.  She says (and I’m not making this shit up) that I’m “desecrating the sanctity of marriage.”

Bitch is on her fourth goddamn marriage.  It’s great.

So anyway, Christian always inevitably brings up my relationships, usually with a snide sort of, “So, Jen.  How is your husband doing?  Have you spent much time with him lately?  You know, since he has to share you with so many other people?”

And she says this in front of my kid, which is hilarious because she thinks a) I keep the fact that I’m poly from my kid (which I don’t), and b) I won’t answer frankly and honestly in front of my kid (do you have any idea the shit my kid has heard?  This is nothing.  And besides, she’s always too busy playing on my phone to hear a damn word that’s being said.  Which is why I only let her play on my phone in certain situations.  It frees me up to say shit I couldn’t really say if she was paying attention).

Today, I replied with, “Actually yeah, I spent some time fucking him in the ass with a strapon last night.”

The look on her face was priceless.  The look on Feminazi’s face was priceless.

After this point, with these two idiots, I don’t have to say another word.  Feminazi just can’t resist “jumping to my rescue” and defending me to Christian.

Until….

The conversation always inevitably turns to the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom.  Which Christian loves.  And Feminazi hates.

I’m serious, she always has something to say about it.  Like I’m single-handedly going to lose women the right to vote or some shit.  She and I have had tons of arguments about it, and she’s a very, very slow learner, but she eventually figured out that it’s a bad idea to start arguments with me, so she generally keeps her mouth shut about it.

Especially since her 7-year-old son is completely impossible to be around.  Like, you literally cannot take that little shit to a restaurant.  Or a doctor’s office.  Or anywhere in public.  He’s a fucking terror.  And whenever she can’t get a sitter, and gets stuck with him, she spends literally the entire time scolding him, and my kid and I just look at each other, and we’re both thinking, “Would you take a look at this little shithead, and his idiot mother?”

Okay, maybe those aren’t her exact thoughts, but judging by the things she’s said about him and Feminazi in the car on the way home, it’s pretty damn close, okay?  The kid is a fucking nightmare.

Unless, interestingly (and satisfyingly) enough, I babysit him.  He’s a fucking angel when he’s with me and his mother isn’t around.  I’m serious, I’ve actually videotaped him playing nicely and quietly with my kid, just to rub it in his mom’s face.

And she can’t understand why he’s such an asshole to her.

I’ve tried repeatedly to tell her that a big part of it is that she thinks he’s going to grow up to be a rapist, and kids pick up on that shit, and it kinda fucks with them hard.  And the other reason is she’s just a shitty parent.  She shoves him off on the cheapest, crappiest, most overcrowded daycare she could find, and then gives him no attention or structure when she gets home from work.  Because she’s too tired from her job.  The poor dear.

But no, that’s fine.  Her financial security is more important to her than her child’s mental and emotional well-being.  He’s going to end up in prison, or a sociopath, or, in the best-case scenario, with major, crippling intimacy issues, but she can afford to get her hair done as often as she wants.  Yay, go her.  She should be so proud.

So anyway, she gives me shit for staying home to raise and educate my daughter, I give her shit for actively destroying any chance her son will ever have at a normal adult life.  Give and take, you know?

And eventually she learned to just shut the fuck up.

Unless we’re with Christian, who can never resist bringing it up.  And once she does, Feminazi can never resist shitting on it.

But I don’t knock her down when Christian is around.  I don’t say a damn thing.  Because Christian will always jump to my defense, talking about how I’m doing “the Lord’s work” by raising my child.  And they’ll argue about it for awhile, with Christian passionately defending me and my family values.

Until the conversation turns back to me being poly, and having a number of successful poly relationships.  Then both their tunes change, and Christian starts attacking me for desecrating the sanctity of marriage and emasculating my husband (oh she has no fucking idea), while Feminazi passionately defends me for being a strong woman who breaks the bonds of traditional female roles.

And occasionally, if I’m bored (which I usually am, hanging around with such two-dimensional people), I’ll keep it interesting, if say they’re arguing about me being poly, and Feminazi looks like she’s winning the argument, by switching it back up and turning the conversation back to me being a stay-at-home mom.

It’s hilarious, it really is.  And at the end of the hangout, I still can’t figure out why I’m still friends with them, when I can’t stand either of them as human beings, and the only entertaining part of hanging out with them is pitting the two of them against each other (I never claimed I wasn’t a manipulative bitch, okay?) and watching them get more and more heated over someone else’s fucking life.

Like, come on, that’s just funny.  They just get so passionate about the decisions I make in my life, that in no way affect them.  It’s great.

Eventually, though, I’m going to remember why I don’t like hanging out with them, and hopefully I won’t repeat the same bullshit over again six months from now.  But I’m not always the quickest learner, so we’ll have to wait and see how that goes.  Maybe now that I’ve written a post about it, the next time I start thinking to myself, “Man, I miss Feminazi and Christian.  We used to have so much fun together.  Why don’t we hang out anymore?” I can look back to this post and think, “Oh yeah, that’s why.  Because I can’t stand the psycho bitches.”

Hopefully.  We’ll see.

 

Elust 90


Photo courtesy of Rebel’s Notes

Welcome to Elust 90

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #91 Start with the rules, come back February 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

 

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Conflicted part 1

Glow

Happy Endings

 

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Please You to Please Me

How to suck my cock – part 1 (attitude)

 

~Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Visions of Sugarplums

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All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

 

Writing About Writing

The Curious Case of Trigger Warnings
Writing About It All

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

PLEASING THE MISTRESS
Reader Q&A: Dominant women struggle, turn-ons
Chastity Questions
Not every hole is a goal

Erotic Non-Fiction

A Picture is Worth…
Morning Stretch
Lovemaking Almost Too Brilliant To Describe
The GP
I Want
Indescribable Pleasure
Humiliating an ex-Nazi: Raylene’s 2nd dozen
Preparation
I love big, fat dicks

Erotic Fiction

Dude, You’re Wet!
When Love Becomes a Weakness
On a Silver Platter
The Silent Treatment
A Seasonal Affair
Three in a Stall
Schoolgirl Uniform
The New Principal 4: Escape

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Anal Retentive Or Just OCD?

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

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Poetry

-06.01.17_13:22-
Mistletoe: A Lusty Limerick

 

Elust 88

“It’s not my responsibility to educate people.”

Here’s the thing.

1.  Yeah, it is.

2.  You’re an ass.

So I had this conversation with a gender nonbinary individual in which I mistakenly referred to them as a man.  They corrected me, I apologized, and asked the appropriate question.

Which, for the record, is, “Which pronouns would you like me to use with you?”

They asked me to use the gender neutral “they,” and while doing that always makes my inner grammar nazi run screaming into the night, I recognize that this is because the English language has not yet evolved to the point of having singular gender neutral pronouns, and is not the fault of this individual.  Furthermore, as someone who is often much less traditonally feminine than I may appear at first glance, I also understand that a desire to be referred to as the gender one identifies with does not make one an attention seeker or drama mongerer.

So I asked the question, they answered, we moved on.  Until later in the conversation, when they said, “Thank you so much for knowing how to handle the pronoun thing.  Most people don’t, and it’s not my responsibility to educate the unwashed masses.”

Um, what?

M’kay, so here’s a lesson on gender vs sex.  Western civilization had, for eons, taken to interpreting them as the same thing.  But even long before things like gender dysphoria or gender queer or pick-a-label were acknowledged, it wasn’t supposed to be that way.  Go to a library and find a dictionary from the 50s.  Even then, they meant different things.

Sex is the set of genitals you’re born with.  Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.  Unless you have a rare condition, you’re either male or female.  One or the other.  It’s static.  It doesn’t change without a lot of work.

Gender is a hell of a lot more complicated.  It does have a basis on your sex, although some people, I have no idea why, try to argue that.  If you are a female, you are more likely to identify on the feminine side of the gender spectrum (although female may be a bad example, as females have quite a bit more socially acceptable room on that spectrum than males do).  Your sex makes you predisposed to a particular gender, but does not guarantee that you are that gender.

So what is gender?

Simply put, gender is the product of chemicals and hormones in the brain, giving one an internal sense of self, combined with biological factors and social constructs that assign certain tasks, behaviors, roles, and forms of expression as “masculine” or “feminine.”

All this complicated science-y shit combines to create a gender identity that may or may not reflect the physical sex, to varying degrees.

Sex is set. There’s no changing it without significant medical procedures.

Gender is a spectrum.  It can be fluid.  It can be fixed.  It can be all the way on the masculine side.  It can be all the way on the feminine side.  It can be somewhere in the middle.

Y’know, because of science and shit.

Some of those whose gender does not reflect their sex may choose to undergo treatment to have the two things be a closer match.  Some may not.

Trying to force someone to identify on one end of the spectrum or the other, using only their physical sex, is akin to telling someone suffering from clinical depression, “No, you don’t need treatment.  Just smile more.  You can be happy if you just try hard enough.”

In other words, kinda a dick move.

I’ve had a number of people (primarily men, interestingly enough) complain about using someone’s preferred pronouns.  And I’ve come up with an argument I simply adore.  I simply start calling the men Cheryl (because it was the first random women’s name that popped in my head) and refer to them as women.  Using feminine pronouns.  And rudely criticizing them for not being feminine enough.

Jesus, Cheryl.  Why don’t you ever do your makeup?  You really need to help yourself if you ever want to find love.  What man is going to put up with a woman who has no desire to take care of herself?  And what the hell, are you not wearing a bra?  So you want the girls to just get all saggy?  Do you not even care?”

Rinse and repeat.  In front of coworkers, family, friends.  Nonstop.  For weeks.  I never claimed to be a nice person, y’all.

People have gotten seriously pissed off.  And when they finally reach the point I’m looking for, I stop and say, “So wait, you’re allowed to get offended and insist that I refer to you as the gender you identify with, but someone else can’t?  Quick, tell me again how you’re not an asshole.”

I said all that to say that yeah, if someone asks you not to refer to them as the gender you assumed they are, you need to apologize for the mistake and fix it.  Whether or not you agree with it.  Because if you don’t, you’re just an ass.

However…

If you are an individual who does not identify as masculine or feminine, hell fucking yeah it’s your responsibility to educate people who are interested and want to be educated.  And if you don’t do it, you’re an ass.

Wanna know how I knew what the appropriate question was to ask?

Because someone fucking told me when I asked them how I should handle it.  And someone fucking answered my questions and helped me understand why it’s a big deal.  If I’d asked that question and been snubbed, or told that “It’s not your responsibility,” I would’ve just assumed they were just a whiny attention whore, and not given them the time of day.

So many people have this attitude, about so many things, and it’s the stupidest, laziest, most ignorant thing ever.

Why did Trump get elected?  There’s really only one reason.  And it’s because of that attitude.  Because no one was ever educated or enlightened by being insulted or demeaned or alienated.

No one wanted to have those conversations.  And now we have President Orangey McBabyhands.

And yeah, we all have that responsibility.  Even I, a white Christian American, have that responsibility.  For me, it’s primarily feminism that I have that responsibility with.  And so many of us are so quick to get offended when people ask about why we feel the way we do, why such-and-such issues are important, why whatever problem is actually a problem, that we’re alienating potential allies and instead making them enemies.

And yes, I’ve had men question my beliefs.  Not to be assholes, but because they don’t understand, and they want to.  I’ve had guys ask, “But seriously, why is catcalling a bad thing?  I’m paying you a compliment, right?  I’m being friendly, right?”

He’s not an ass.  He’s not a bigot.  He’s not a misogynist or a sexist.  He just doesn’t know.  And in 100% of the conversations I’ve had, I’ve been able to talk about it and help them understand, even if they may not agree.  And yes, sometimes it’ll be irritating the way they defend their views or argue why they feel an issue shouldn’t be an issue.  But that still doesn’t make them an ass or a bigot or sexist.  They have a voice, and they have a right to have their voice heard and acknowledged.

Let me say that again for the people in the back.  Literally everyone deserves to have their voice heard.  Whether you agree with them or not.  Whether their beliefs are comfortable or not.

We stopped thinking that way, and shut down conversation.  A man with questions was labeled sexist.  A white person with questions was labeled racist.  A straight or cis-gendered person with questions was labeled a bigot.

Wanna take a guess at who voted for Trump?  White, straight, cis men.

Wanna guess who got Trump elected?  Everyone else, who made those people feel like they didn’t have a voice.

Yes, you have the responsibility to educate those who want to be educated.  If you’re gender nonbinary or gender fluid or gender queer or gender dysphoric, you have that responsibility.  And yes, that will probably mean some uncomfortable conversations.  Deal with them as tactfully as you’d want someone to deal with you.

It annoyed me when I saw trans people being interviewed on TV, and the interviewer, completely ignorant and naive, would inevitably ask what genitals they had.  And the trans person would inevitably say they didn’t want to answer that.

And yeah, I get it.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s personal.  It’s private.  It shouldn’t matter.

But all of this is new, and people are wanting to understand.  They’re curious.  And this super personal, inappropriate behavior is not a new trend.

Gay people experienced their own version of this with stuff like, “So which one is the man, and which one is the woman?”  Over time, straight folks learned that A) they’re both men/women, and more accurate terminology may be top and bottom, and B) it’s none of our goddamn business.

But it took open-minded, patient gay people, tolerant of our unbelievably inappropriate questions and uncomfortable conversations, for us as a culture to finally sort of “get it” and figure it out.  Now, it’s generally considered normal, and those questions don’t happen as often.

The gender identity stuff is still too new, and we’re slow learners.  So we’re going to be curious.  We’re going to want to understand how your sex does or does not relate to your gender.  It’s going to be uncomfortable.

A possible way of answering the what’s-in-your-pants question could be, “You know, I’m not hugely comfortable talking about myself personally, but some people may have A in their pants, some people may have B in their pants, and some of the ways that may affect gender identity is C.”

Help people understand instead of alienating them.

Even I’m a good example of this. In college I had a black professor that I ended up spending a lot of time with (yeah, it’s what you’re thinking. Dude was hot. Smart as fuck. And submissive. No sense of humor though, unfortunately).  And one day, I screwed up my courage and asked him a question I’d always been curious about.  I asked him why there’s a Black History Month in the US, but no White History Month.  I asked him why I wasn’t allowed to be proud of being white, the way he could be proud of being black.

He could’ve just called me a racist and I would’ve decided he’s an asshole, and I would’ve been a hell of a lot less likely to give any kind of racial issues serious thought.

But he didn’t.  He was patient, and tolerant, and explained it to me in a way I, as a white person, could understand.  I talked to him, he gave me a voice, and I left that conversation thinking, “Oh, okay, I get it now.  You’re right, it’s not unfair, it makes perfect sense.”

I’m sure that was an uncomfortable conversation for him to have, and the fact that he had a well-thought-out and eloquent answer at the ready heavily implied that I was not the first privileged white person to ask him that question.  He created an ally in me, when he could’ve created an enemy.  I mean, I like to think of myself as intelligent and open-minded, I like to think that I would’ve figured it out on my own eventually, but you just never know.

And yeah, he has the responsibility (especially as an educator) to enlighten all the white people who ask questions.  I have the responsibility to enlighten all the men who ask questions.  And you, my non-cis friends, have the responsibility to enlighten all the curious cis-gendered people who want to understand you.

Is it fair to you?  No, probably not.  But do you want to indignantly cry about life being unfair while Cheeto Jesus gains more supporters, or do you want to man the fuck up or put on your big girl panties or whatever gender neutral equivalent we’ll eventually come up with and fucking deal with it?