Written in Stone, Part 1

If you haven’t, I suggest reading the Introduction before reading this.

First, the obligatory legal shit:

This is fiction, y’all.  Any similarities to any person/place/thing/whatever is purely coincidental.  Also, it’s fiction.  Don’t try this shit at home.

Trigger warnings: this is pretty heavy in the consensual nonconsent category, as well as straight-up nonconsent.  Themes of rape and assault are common.

Also, I live in Nevada.  The legal age of consent in my state is 16, and there is the mention of an adult having sex with a minor in this story.  By continuing to read this, you acknowledge that it is legal where you live to read stories that involve sex with 16- or 17-year-olds.

M’kay, cool?  Cool.  So once upon a time….

Kieran shifted again, trying unsuccessfully to rotate his hip.  His leg had gone numb a long time ago, as well as both his arms.

Sighing, he switched his focus to his mouth, using his tongue to try and adjust the gag.  He knew that his jaw would be agonizingly stiff tomorrow.  He also knew that, when he was finally released from the position he was kept in, the blood rushing back to his limbs would be excruciatingly painful.

Still, he preferred that, and every minute spent tied up and gagged on the floor of the basement was a minute he didn’t have to spend with the man who owned him.

He would deal with the pain, and the stiffness, and the soreness, all night if he had to, if it meant that he would be left locked in the basement, would be left alone.

But he knew he wasn’t that lucky.  His owner, Dryas Roubanis, had spent quite a long time that afternoon scrubbing him, grooming him, and cleaning him inside and out.  And the more time he’d spent doing it, the more Kieran’s heart had sunk.

“On your knees,” he hissed, shoving Kieran roughly to the floor of the bathroom.  Anticipating the move, Kieran caught himself and was able to keep from cracking his knees on the tile.  He immediately straightened up, locking his hands behind his back, waiting for what Dryas would do to him.

He wanted to watch, to see what his owner was doing, but obediently kept his eyes glued to the floor.  But he could hear Dryas moving around the room.  He groaned inwardly when he heard the faucet turn, and water began filling up the tub.

If he was meant to service and bathe Dryas, he would have been the one to draw the bath.  The fact that his owner chose to do it, himself, meant that Kieran was going to be prepared for something.  The “something” he was being prepared for wasn’t going to be pleasant.

A rough hand unhooked the clasp on his shoulder, and his tunic fell to the floor.  In the next instant, a hand grabbed him by the hair and yanked him up to his feet.  Grimacing, he did his best to follow the movements, trying to lessen the pain.

“Get in,” Dryas spat, shoving him toward the tub.  Finally free from the hand holding his hair, Kieran stumbled forward, quick to obey.  The slightest hesitation, he knew, would bring pain.

Obey, he thought to himself, shutting all other thoughts out of his mind.  Just obey.

He stepped into the tub, into the warm water, but the warmth brought him no comfort.  He tried not to think about what was about to happen to him, tried not to remember what happened whenever Dryas wanted to bathe him, tried not to remember what such preparation meant.

There was no gentleness in Dryas’ touch as he washed the dirt from Kieran’s body.  And it took everything Kieran possessed within him to keep from cringing.  The last thing he wanted in the world was his owner’s hands on him, but that was yet another thought shut out of his mind.  He refused to acknowledge it.

Slaves didn’t have the luxury of deciding who touched them, who used them.

At least Dryas enjoyed Kieran’s reluctance, and he didn’t have to feign enthusiasm like he did when made to entertain his owner’s guests.

That thought momentarily broke through his forced blankness and shattered his focus.  This kind of preparation meant he would be used to entertain guests for the evening.  He would be used, hard and often, perhaps beaten, for the enjoyment of Dryas’ friends.

When he felt Dryas’ big, rough hands on him, pushing him to bend at the waist, he closed his eyes, bracing himself on the edge of the tub, his chest tight, his breath trembling and shallow.  He couldn’t stop the whimper from escaping him when he felt Dryas behind him, spreading his cheeks and exposing his hole, still sore and raw.

“What’s the matter, little bitch?” Dryas demanded, roughly massaging the tender hole with his thumb.  “You want my cock inside you?”

“Please, Dominus,” Kieran begged.  They both knew he wasn’t begging for his owner to fuck him, but for his owner to stop hurting him.

But that didn’t bother Dryas in the slightest.  He only laughed, pushing his thumb further in to Kieran.  “You’re lucky I already have plans for this hole tonight.  But there’s no reason I can’t use your other one.”

He pulled out of Kieran and grabbed him by his hair once more, pushing him own farther, until he was eye-level to Dryas’ groin.  The young slave waited, watching as Dryas pulled his chiton up, revealing his cock, already half hard.

Dryas didn’t say a word, just coarsely pulled Kieran forward, shoving his cock deep into the helot’s mouth.

Kieran tightened his throat, bracing for the pounding of his owner’s cock.  But this was heaven compared to the other option.  Given the choice between sucking his owner’s cock and being fucked, he’d choose sucking ten times out of ten.

Sucking cock was something he was used to.  Something he could handle.  And thankfully, he was very good at it, which made his mouth attractive.  Attractive enough to make Dryas choose it over his ass often enough to keep the pain at a manageable level.

Dryas was never gentle with him, and he wasn’t gentle now.  His cock forced its way down his throat, past his gag reflex, threatening to choke him, but he quickly learned the rhythm and adjusted his breathing.

It wasn’t comfortable, but it was far preferable to when Dryas fucked him.  And thankfully, his owner never lasted all that long in his mouth.  Less than ten minutes later, Dryas’ thrusts became more frenzied, more brutal, and with a low, snarling, animalistic grunt, he pumped Kieran’s mouth full of his seed.

Kieran sighed with relief, swallowing his owner’s cum.  It was over.  And Dryas was always less interested in causing pain after he came.

“Turn around,” Dryas said almost immediately.  “I’m not done with you yet.  You’ve got a big night ahead of you.”

His owner only took that kind of time with him when he was expecting company, which meant Kieran would be the evening’s entertainment.  Dryas liked to show off, and since Kieran had the bad fortune of being exceptionally beautiful and looking much younger than his 19 years, he was brought out often to entertain his owner’s friends.

But even then, his owner had never spent this much time making him presentable.  Whoever he was expecting was someone he was obviously eager to impress.  Which meant that if Kieran made even the smallest mistake, he would pay dearly for it.

Kieran half-heartedly wondered who it could be.  Some wealthy nobleman, most likely.  Dryas was past the typical marrying age, and was keen to find a wife.  It was entirely likely that this evening was an attempt to garner the favor of a pretty Spartan or her father.

Maybe he would marry a kind woman.  Maybe she would be gentle with Kieran.

Or maybe she would be just as cruel as Dryas.

Kieran sighed softly.  It didn’t matter.  He would serve whoever his owner told him to serve.  Such was his punishment for the unforgivable crime of being born a helot.

He was nearing his 20th birthday.  That meant he had 15 more years.  Then, he would either be euthanized, or sold to the State.

Or, if the gods had any kind of compassion, maybe sold to a breeder as a sire.

With any luck, he’d gain value as a sire once he lost his value as a pleasure slave.  He’d been raised by a breeder, and came from a long line of solid genetics and beautiful, obedient slaves.  His dam’s lineage could be traced back a dozen generations, and his sire had always been exceptionally obedient, and had looked remarkably young for his age.

His sire had been valuable, sure, but it was his dam that made Kieran’s own value skyrocket.  She was the breeder’s prized possession, and his pet.  He always made sure she was comfortable, he always went out of his way to keep her healthy, and even waited six months in between breeding her, when most dams were bred within six weeks of giving birth.

Kieran thought back, his mind wandering through his memories of her.  She’d been graceful, and she’d had a quiet dignity about her.  It was as if she’d been born for breeding.  She conceived easily, her body kept its shape and its beauty even when she was in the later stages of pregnancy, and every birth had been smooth and without complications.

From what Kieran remembered, all her offspring fetched high prices.  No matter who she was bred to, she created strong, healthy, beautiful children.  All quiet and obedient.  All smart enough to know how to serve, including those little nuances that couldn’t be taught, like when to be attentive, and when to disappear.

But he looked the most like her, he had the same big, dark brown eyes, the same brown hair, tinged with red in the right lighting, the same attractive, soft features.  Aside from that, he’d also inherited his sire’s tendency to look much younger than his age.  Kieran was the easily most beautiful of all her offspring.

So it didn’t really surprise him when Dryas paid the hefty fee to keep him whole, rather than sterilize him, as was done with most slaves.  If Kieran behaved himself and kept his youthful appearance for the next 15 years, he could potentially be sold to a breeder, and live the next couple of decades in relative comfort.

Sure, he wouldn’t be treasured and kept as comfortable as the dams were.  Sires were almost always former pleasure slaves, almost always purchased at 35, while good dams were extremely valuable and bred as soon as they hit 16.  And, because so many pregnancies and childbirths are hard on the body, they were always kept healthy, well-fed, and given much more than the average helot in terms of luxuries and creature comforts.

The demand for decent pleasure slaves was always increasing, and the demand for quality dams who could birth multiple offspring was equally high.  Even mediocre female helots fetched much higher prices for their ability to breed slaves than were affordable for the average Spartan.

His dam was far from mediocre.  A particularly fetching descendant of one of the most well-known helot bloodlines, she was robust and strong, born for breeding, and found a way to have dignity in her role.  When she spoke, which wasn’t often, people listened.  When she preferred a particular sire, her opinions were given weight.  She never formed strong attachments to her offspring, but she was given the opportunity to say goodbye when they were sold.

She was even given her own room, with a queen-sized bed, with the expensive bamboo sheets she’d fallen in love with when the breeder had loaned her out to a friend for a weekend.  She had a very strict diet, but she was fed three full meals a day, along with two snacks, and was even given coffee and chocolate twice a week for the first month after every birth.  She was allowed to watch TV in the evenings with the breeder, and she loved to read, so was given any book she could think to ask for.  Even among dams, that kind of treatment was unheard of.

Kieran’s sire had been purchased at 35, and the two were paired together for the first time when she was 17.  The breeder liked their offspring so much, he bred them together almost every time she was ready to conceive.

Kieran’s sire had been beautiful, and had a decent genetic line, as well.  Nothing amazing, nothing even remotely on the same level as the dam he’d been bred to, but solid and respectable, all the same.  It was more his temperament and his physical appearance that made him valuable.

Kieran knew he would never be treated as well as a dam, no matter what his genetic line or what his offspring turned out to be.  But still, being sold as a sire was significantly more appealing than being sold to the State or put down.

At least he wouldn’t be used for anyone else’s sick pleasure.  And at least he’d be away from Dryas.

He lowered his gaze, unable to keep from noticing the dark bruises on his thighs, feeling the ones that littered his torso, and his stomach turned as he thought of how he’d gotten them.

Dryas liked to cause pain.  Everything he did was painful, and the dark satisfaction on his face whenever he’d succeeded in making Kieran scream, or beg, or cry, made it clear how much he loved it.

His most recent bruises, he’d gotten just the day before, when Dryas had pulled him across his lap while he watched TV.  He’d spent the next hour spanking him, slapping him, punching him, yanking painfully on his hair, and roughly fingering him dry.

When Kieran had finally begged him, tearfully, to stop, he’d shoved the boy onto the floor, slapping him hard across the face before rising to his feet, unbuckling his belt.

The beating had actually been relatively mild by Dryas’ standards.  Still, Kieran had been relieved when Dryas had tossed the belt aside, grabbed a fistful of his hair, and shoved his cock in his mouth, violently fucking his face until he came.

But Kieran always preferred Dryas using his mouth to his ass.  His owner’s love of causing pain and his dislike of lube made being fucked by him brutal.

He sighed again, and closed his eyes.  All he had to do was get through the next 15 years.  Starting with tonight.

The door at the top of the stairs opened, and Kieran felt his heart seize with dread as his owner descended the stairs.  There was no telling what Dryas would do to him tonight, or how he would be made to entertain the man’s guests.

Dryas walked up to him without a word and roughly grabbed him by his collar, hauling him to his feet.  Kieran let out a choked gasp as he struggled desperately to get his feet underneath him, to take the tension off his neck.  His muscles burned as he tried to force them to cooperate.  He’d been kept in that position so long, and his whole body protested the sudden movement.

He couldn’t stop the soft whimper from escaping him.

“Shut up,” Dryas snapped, slapping him hard across the face.  Kieran had expected it and set his jaw a fraction of a second before the blow landed.  He’d heard horror stories of slaves having their jaws dislocated from a particularly hard hit to the face with a gag in their mouth.

But even without a dislocation, the slap hurt, and Kieran grimaced.

Oh gods, he was already in a bad mood.

Kieran finally managed to right himself and stood on his own two feet, facing his owner.  He took a deep, shaky breath, trying to steady his racing heart.

It would be alright.  He would get through whatever was going to be done to him.  It would just be for one night.

And then 15 more years, said that bitter voice inside him.  But he willed himself to ignore that.

Just get through tonight.  Do what he says.  Please his guests.  Don’t give him reason to beat you.  Maybe the gods will have mercy.

Dryas was muttering under his breath as he unlocked the gag and removed it.  “Don’t speak unless spoken to,” he growled.

“Yes, Dominus.”

“That mothax bitch, Charis Athanasiadi, and her self-righteous neodamode pet are here,” he said.

And Kieran’s heart plummeted.  So much for the gods and their mercy.

He knew that name well, and he knew exactly what it meant.

His hopes of getting through the night without being beaten were immediately smashed.

Of course he knew of Charis Athanasiadi.  Everyone in Laconia, Spartan and helot, knew who she was.

Charis Athanasiadi was born a mothax, a child of a Spartan and perioeci coupling.  Her father, a Spartan nobleman, had petitioned the kings to allow her to study at the agoge, and she quickly rose to the top of the class.  When she graduated, she was given trophimi status and the right to take her Spartan father’s name.

But, while that’s not entirely common, it’s not unheard of, either.  She was hardly the only trophimi around.

No, what had been truly scandalous was when she’d used her inheritance from her father’s death to buy a small symposium.  No non-Spartan had ever been a symposiarch before.  Everyone expected her to fail, and most of the current members of the symposium left, preferring the stigma of not belonging to a symposium than to belong to one owned by a trophimi.

That had been eight years ago.  Since then, her symposium had become by far the most popular, the most desirable, and the most exclusive in all of Sparta, if not all of Laconia.  Membership provided a level of social status that was not easily attained through other avenues.  Everyone wanted to join it.

Kieran’s owner was no exception.  But until now, all his requests had been denied.  Kieran decided not to voice the opinion that calling her a mothax bitch might be part of the reason for the continued rejections.

Although he highly doubted his owner had the balls to call her a bitch or a mothax to her face.  She had earned trophimi status, and calling her a mothax would be just as insulting as calling a true Spartan a mothax.  And in fact, it was a common insult among Spartans, similar to the way perioikoi used the insult, “bastard.”

No, Dryas didn’t have the courage to say that to her face.  Not to Charis Athanasiadi.

So however he’d managed it, he’d finally gotten a private audience with the owner of the most prestigious symposium in Sparta.  Which meant that whatever was planned for the evening would involve something torturous, painful, and dehumanizing.

Kieran had heard enough stories about what went on in symposia, about the cruelty and torture that went on in those places, to know that whatever was going to be done to him tonight wouldn’t be pleasant.

Dread filled him as Dryas untied his hands and ankles, and he tried not to whimper as the blood rushing back to his numb limbs burned away every other thought in his mind.

He wasn’t successful in his attempt to keep quiet, and Dryas slapped him again, hard enough to send him reeling.  Kieran tried to catch himself, to keep from falling, but his limbs felt heavy and clumsy.  He fell back, hitting his head hard enough on the concrete floor to make him see stars.

“Get up, you little shit,” Dryas sneered, yanking him to his feet and shoving him toward the stairs.  “I expect you to be on your best behavior.”

“Yes, Dominus.”

He struggled to get up the stairs, willing his legs to obey him.

Obey, the voice inside him said.

His hip ached with the effort, and his shoulders and arms felt completely numb.  Wordlessly, he followed Dryas through the house and into the parlor, where the guests were waiting for them.

Kieran immediately adopted the proper posture, standing to the side and slightly behind his owner, with his head and eyes lowered, his legs slightly spread, and his hands clasped behind his back.  His fingers tingled and burned so badly, he couldn’t even feel the pressure as he held his hands behind him.

“I apologize for the delay,” Dryas said gruffly.

“It’s not a problem,” a smooth, feminine voice replied.

Kieran ached to see the owner of that voice.  It wasn’t at all like he’d imagined Charis Athanasiadi would sound.  He’d expected the owner of the most popular symposium in Sparta to sound harsh, and cruel, and cold.  But her voice was warm and inviting, authoritative without being oppressive.

He wondered what she looked like, but he didn’t dare lift his eyes.  Many Spartans were offended when a helot made eye contact.  He didn’t dare risk offending her.

“Is this your slave?” she asked.

“Yes,” Dryas answered.  “This is Kieran.”

“May I see his body?”

A shudder ran through Kieran, and for just a second, a brief, illogical hope that Dryas would deny her request flashed through his mind.  Whatever she wanted with him, requiring the removal of his clothes right away couldn’t be a good sign.

“Of course.”

Dryas unhooked the pin at Kieran’s shoulder and roughly yanked his tunic off of him.  Kieran gasped, blushing madly, staggering with the force of Dryas’ touch.  He still couldn’t get his arms and legs to work quite right, and it took a moment for him to regain his balance and fall back into the proper position.

He was aware of Charis rising to her feet.  His heart raced as she approached him, slowly circling him.  It was as if he could feel her eyes on him, and his skin dimpled under her gaze.

“He’s the favored offspring of Glenna, prized dam of the Talm bloodline, from Aktaion Euphemis,” Dryas explained.  “The most beautiful of all the helots she birthed, the most obedient, with the most talented mouth and the tightest ass.”

“That’s an impressive lineage,” the woman with the kind voice said.  Kieran detected a note of dismissive neutrality in her voice, as if she either didn’t believe the claim, or didn’t care.

“He lives up to it,” Dryas insisted, somewhat defensively.  “Try him for yourself.  Feel his holes, and tell me if they aren’t better than any you could offer in your symposium.”

Kieran’s face flushed hot.  A comment like that, made to a symposiarch, meant an almost certain beating.  Spartans did not enjoy having their pride attacked, and a symposiarch was fiercely proud of the quality of their symposium.  Implying that Kieran was of higher quality than the slaves she offered her members was an insult that would not be taken lightly.

He flinched when he felt a hand on his face, but the touch was much gentler than he expected.

Her fingers lingered on his lips.  “They’re soft,” she said approvingly, more to him than to his owner.  “Open.”

Kieran obediently opened his mouth, and the symposiarch tenderly pushed a finger inside.  With her other hand, she lightly caressed his face and neck, reassuring him.

Still too afraid to dare looking up, he focused instead on the pale, calming, impossibly soft blue of her peplos.  Despite himself, he imagined what that flowing, light material would feel like against his skin.

He wondered if it would feel like the strangely soft fingers on his face and in his mouth.

Her skin was soft, and smooth, and clean.  Her touch was gentle.  She didn’t force her way into him the way Dryas and his friends did.  Her presence was calm, and confident, and quiet.  He imagined her being gentle with him, just as she was gentle with his mouth now.

“His ass is exemplary, too,” Dryas told her.

“I have no doubt,” she replied in that same, neutral tone, pulling her hands from Kieran’s face.

“Feel it,” Dryas insisted, grabbing Kieran by the shoulders and turning him around.  “Your members would gladly pay double their fee for a taste of his ass.”

“Are you offering to sell him to me?” Charis asked.

Dryas scoffed.  “I’m simply pointing out that true quality doesn’t exist in symposiums.  Not even yours, Lady Athanasiadi.”

“I don’t doubt the quality of his body,” Charis replied smoothly.  “I can see such for myself.”

Kieran sucked his breath in as she stepped forward, her chest brushing against his back.  He felt her hands on him, moving slowly across his hips and up to his chest.  A moment later, her lips brushed his ear.

“Bend over, darling,” she whispered.

She stepped back, removing her hands from his waist and putting one on his back, between his shoulder blades.  With gentle, gradual pressure, she pushed him to bend at the waist.  Trembling, Kieran did as she wanted, and spread his legs, gripping the backs of his knees and arching his back to give her better access.  He prayed she would continue to be gentle.  His ass still hurt from the preparation Dryas had put him through.

Sure enough, the finger that grazed his entrance was soft and light.  Yet, even the light touch brought pain.  Luckily, his face was hidden from her view, and he didn’t have to feign a pleasing expression.  The body language was easy enough to fake.

He let out a soft, eager moan and pushed back against the finger at his entrance, pretending to want her to enter him.  He didn’t have to hide the grimace as the pressure of him pushing back against her sent more pain rolling through his body.  It would be even worse when she entered him.

Obey.  Just obey.

But she surprised him by pulling her hand away.  “Stand up,” she told him.  “Turn around.”

Drawing in a discreet, shaky breath, Kieran straightened up, his face contorted with pain as the lingering soreness made his movements agonizing.  He stumbled forward before regaining his balance, forcing his legs to obey him.

Dryas, who stood in front of him, saw his expression and shot him a fierce warning look.  Kieran quickly and carefully arranged his features into an expression of neutral submissiveness and turned back to face the symposiarch.

“Look at me, Kieran,” she said softly.  The sound of his name on her tongue made his heart jump.  Nervously, his eyes flitted to hers, and he was stunned by the depth and compassion and beauty there.

No, she was nothing like he thought she’d be.

She was young, younger than 30, with long blonde hair and the most stunning gray eyes he’d ever seen.  She looked kind, and gentle.

As his eyes met hers, she gave him a warm, reassuring smile.  “That’s a good boy,” she said.

His blush deepened, and he lowered his eyes, unable to hold her gaze.

“You’re right, he is quite beautiful,” she said to Dryas, running a gentle hand down his chest, and across his ribs.  Her touch sent chills down his spine.  He steeled himself, expecting her to fondle him, but surprisingly, she kept her hand above his waist.  “But he’s so thin.  Why is he so thin?”

“He’s always been thin,” Dryas replied shortly.  Kieran flinched, recognizing the hostility in his tone.  No doubt he took offense to Charis’ question.  Dryas was not a pleasant man when he was pushed to the defensive.

There was a tense pause, then Charis removed her hand and stepped back.  “I’m thirsty,” she declared.  “Would you happen to have any tea, Dryas?”

And Kieran flinched again.  Her voice had been light, and friendly, but he heard the insult underneath it, the same as his owner did.

Charis was trophimi, the daughter of a Spartan lord, and had earned the right to take her father’s name, but she was not a Spartan.  Dryas was Spartan nobility.  Even other Spartans wouldn’t dare to use a nobleman’s first name without being given permission to do so.

“Kieran, get the tea,” Dryas snapped through clenched teeth.  Charis resumed her seat on the couch, beside her companion, while Kieran hurried to obey his owner, not even taking the time to redress.  The evening certainly wasn’t boding well for him.  It would take a miracle to get him through it without being severely beaten.

His hands still trembled, from fear and from the lingering numbness, but he forced them to obey his will as he arranged the cups and the pot of tea on the large silver tray.  Somehow, he managed to lift it up and hold it steady as he walked to where his owner sat on the couch.

“No!” Dryas practically shouted, startling Kieran.  “Serve my guests first.  What is wrong with you?”

“I’m sorry, Dominus,” Kieran murmured, straightening up.  But as he turned, he lost his balance again, and this time, he couldn’t correct in time.  He watched in horror as the tray, and everything on it, crashed loudly to the floor.

Panic took hold, and Kieran immediately dropped to his knees, shaking violently.  His first instinct was to crawl to his owner’s feet in a desperate attempt to appease him and avoid the beating he knew was coming.

But the logical part of him knew better.  In the next instant, he heard the thunder in his owner’s voice.  Pain exploded in his ribs as Dryas kicked him, still shouting.

He wasn’t even capable of registering what his owner was saying.  It was all clouded and muted by the panic in his mind, the deafening sound of his racing heart, and the blood pumping furiously in his ears.

Another kick landed in his stomach, knocking the wind from him and making him try desperately to squirm away, gasping for air.  But Dryas stopped him by grabbing a handful of his hair and throwing him brutally back down to the floor.  All Kieran could do was cover his face and pray that the beating would end soon.

Stop!

Both Kieran and Dryas were stunned by the sheer strength and volume of the voice, the voice that managed to cut through the fog of panic and pain in his mind.  They both looked up to see that both Charis and her companion had risen to their feet.  The man was tall, much taller than Kieran had expected, with blond hair, a firm build, and an angry scowl on his face.  But it was Charis that pulled his attention.  There was fire in her eyes, and she looked every bit the cruel, heartless symposiarch Kieran had expected her to be.

But to his surprise, her anger wasn’t directed at him.  It was directed at his owner.

Why?

“You are going to sell that boy to me,” she snarled.  The warmth was gone from her voice.  It cut Kieran to the bone, and despite himself, he curled closer to his owner, preferring the violence of the man to the knife of her voice, and the full brunt of her anger.

But then, almost a full second after registering the tone of her voice, his still-panicked mind finally registered what she said.

Sell him?  To her?

What?” Dryas cried, incredulous.  His reaction very closely matched Kieran’s own.

“You should never be allowed to own slaves, if that’s how you treat them.”

“Who are you to tell me how I treat my slave?”

“He’s not yours anymore.  You’re selling him to me.”

“The hell I am!”

It seemed as if all the anger suddenly melted off of Charis.  She flashed him a friendly smile, and when she spoke, her voice had regained that warm, sweet timbre.  The change was so sudden, so complete, it left Kieran stunned, confused, and terrified.

Who had that kind of emotional control?

“If you ever want a chance at membership, you’re going to sell him to me,” she said quietly.  “Or if you don’t, I will publicly denounce you and have you banned from every respectable symposium in the State.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Dryas exclaimed.  But Charis pulled her checkbook from her purse.

“You said you paid fifty thousand drachmae for him?  I’ll give you forty.  That should more than cover your loss.”

Kieran’s heart raced.  He had no idea what to think as he watched the two of them face off.  He didn’t know which he should be more afraid of.

Charis gestured to her companion, a tall, muscular, blond man who very literally shook with anger as he stood quietly beside her.  He saw her gesture and nodded his understanding, walking toward Kieran, rage etched into the lines of his face.

Fear gripped Kieran and he hid his face as the tall man bent down beside him.  But the hands that touched him were gentle, and lifted him up as if he weighed nothing.

“It’s alright,” the man whispered, loud enough only for Kieran to hear.  “The lights are on.”

His fear momentarily forgotten, Kieran jerked his head up to meet the man’s gaze, confused by his words.

Oh, he knew what the words meant.  Every slave did.  It was part of the hidden language of helots, one of the ways they communicated to each other without their owners knowing.

The lights are on was a verbal phrase that meant, “There’s no danger, you’re safe.”

But how did this man know those words?  And was he telling the truth?

Was he a slave?  But he’d been sitting on the couch beside Charis, not on the floor at her feet.  And Dryas had referred to him as one of his guests.

Wait, hadn’t Dryas called him a neodamode?  Kieran had simply brushed that off as another insult, but was it true?  Was this man a helot?  And had Charis Athanasiadi freed him?

It was possible, but extremely rare.  This man was over 35, but only just, and he was strong, healthy, and attractive.  If he was still whole, he could’ve been sold to a breeder.  Or if not, he could’ve been sold to the State.

After years of paying to feed, clothe, and house slaves, owners were often eager to get whatever money they could.  Even the owners that valued their slaves and refused to sell them once they hit 35 still kept them as slaves, making them pets.

To free a slave meant to lose any kind of control over him.  Any owner can beat a slave.  But beating a free citizen, even a neodamode, was assault.

Had this woman really freed this man?

Kieran was so stunned, he didn’t even notice Dryas bickering with Charis about the price.  The man holding him adjusted him and rested his head against his chest.

“I know you’re scared,” he told him.  “Try to relax.  We won’t hurt you.”

Kieran took a deep, shaky breath, trying to obey, but Dryas suddenly raised his voice, startling both him and the tall man holding him.  The man whirled around to face them, and Kieran gasped when he saw Dryas’ hulking form towering over Charis, mere inches from her, screaming in her face, flailing his arms.

Kieran flinched, the panic rising once again, knowing all too well the mood his owner was in.  And if he was being sold to Charis, he could only imagine what kind of mood she’d be in after having her dignity attacked like that.  Which didn’t bode well for his first night under her ownership.

He’d heard stories about the beatings symposiarchs will dole out when they’re in good moods.  He didn’t want to imagine the beating she would give him after being yelled at and humiliated by his former owner.

“It’s alright,” the man told him quietly.  Kieran only then realized he’d been cowering against the taller man’s chest.  “He doesn’t matter enough to get under her skin.”

Kieran wanted to believe him, but that bitter voice inside him kept telling him all about the brutal night he had ahead of him.

He was terrified, but he tried to keep his mind in the present.  In this moment, he felt safe in the strong arms of the tall man who held him.  It felt good, being held like that.  He felt protected, cared for, even cherished.

He couldn’t control what would happen to him once he left with his new owners.  But he could control what he chose to focus on.  And no matter what happened to him once they left Dryas’ house, he would enjoy the way it felt to be held so tightly.

Like he mattered.

Introduction to Written in Stone

Alright, so I’ve been tinkering around with an idea for a story.

As some of you may know, archaeology is a big hobby of mine.  And my absolute favorite ancient civilization was Sparta.  And for years, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an erotica story that takes place in an alternate universe, where Sparta rose to be the dominant world power throughout history, instead of England.

Of course, in order to make that work, a few things needed to be changed.  There are very clear reasons why Sparta failed, most of it having to do with the unbelievable amounts of racism and elitism that ran rampant through Spartan society.

So if anyone wants to create a present-day universe in which Sparta succeeded, that has to be toned down to the point that they can function independently of the other two races inhabiting Sparta.

They were such elitists, thinking that any kind of commercial work was beneath them, that when the economy started to tank, many of them couldn’t pay the syssitia membership fees (think of it like a mandatory country club), and if they were not members of a syssitia, they lost their citizenship status.

And I mean, I’m all for high standards, but there’s got to be a limit.  Sparta as a society valued military prowess and nothing else.  If a citizen wasn’t a great soldier, it didn’t matter how smart he was or where his strengths lay.  I mean, you could take Stephen Hawking.  The Spartans wouldn’t care about his intelligence or what his mind was capable of.  All they would’ve cared about was the fact that he’s not physically capable.

And yeah, that’s a pretty narrow mindset, and it doesn’t really lend itself to a population that could function on its own, without the perioikoi and helots to support them and keep the economy running.

Add to this the fact that they married much later than pretty much anyone else in history.  Not only that, but because military prowess was more important than relationships, husband and wife didn’t live together until the husband was 30.  They had to sneak out at night to be together.  Which doesn’t lend itself to high birth rates.

They also didn’t assimilate the cultures they conquered (ie, they didn’t necessarily rape everything with a vagina, but that’s more because they had very unique views of sex for the time) or allow immigrants citizenship, except in very few circumstances and only with approval of one of the kings.  Pretty much the only way you could become a Spartan citizen was by having Spartan parents.

Combine that with the fact that they were utterly, hopelessly monogamous, and pretty prudish, actually, compared to the rest of Greece at the time (and pretty much every other civilization, it goes back to their unique and extremely progressive view of sex, that it was an act to be enjoyed with a partner as an equal, rather than a display of power over a powerless, uneducated woman or small child), you just didn’t have a whole lot of little Spartan babies running around.

I mean, there were a lot of factors.  I can kind of feel myself starting a massive, 5,000 word ramble, so I’m just going to stop here and say that, while there was a lot right with the way they saw the world, there was a lot wrong with it, and it destroyed them.  And I, being the anthropologist that I am, took great, childlike delight in rewriting the last 2,500-ish years of their history to make it work.

Which at some point, I may actually organize into something legible enough that other people can understand.

But in the meantime, I’m going to use this to sort of introduce the story I’m writing, as well as provide a glossary, since some of the terms aren’t easily understood or pronounced.  And I’m going to publish Parts One and Two immediately after I publish this, so it’ll make sense, I promise.

The story follows a woman who has risen to prominence in modern-day Sparta (I had to play around with city and country names to avoid any connection with modern places, but finally I got bored with that. We can all understand that this is fiction, right?  And I cannot point to pretty much anything on a modern map of Greece.  Every place I used, I took from maps that were relevant in Classical Spartan history), despite not being a full-blooded Spartan.

In Sparta, feminism doesn’t exist.  They aren’t even familiar with the concept, except as an abstract thing that some other countries have.  Even in ancient Sparta, women had just as much freedom as men, were educated just as rigorously, and while they could not participate in the government, that’s quickly and easily fixed in my fake history.  Women were always considered equal to the men.

Sexism among Spartans isn’t a thing.  It’s replaced with racism.  And the main character experiences difficulties because she’s not a full Spartan, but she struggles with it herself, from time to time.  It’s apparent that she takes more pride in her Spartan heritage than her perioeci heritage (and that’s a complicated thing, which I’ll get into at some point in the story).

As in ancient Sparta, the country has three main classes (or races).  The Spartans, those of Dorian descent, we all know about.  The “middle class,” the free and autonomous population that drove the economy was the perioikoi.  And the last class were the slaves, the helots.

To make a modern-day Sparta work, that overly prudish attitude had to go.  And just because of the nature of Spartans, that was another relatively easy fix.  I toned down the racism, but I can’t get rid of it completely without turning the society into something completely different (besides, a society without flaws is boring to write, and I’m writing this just as much for my own entertainment as for anyone who reads it).  So Spartans are still racist and elitist, and the goal of every Spartan citizen is to make more Spartans.

Once that responsibility has been fulfilled, however, no one fucking cares.  What adults want to do, as long as they have made and continue to make adequate contributions to the State, is their own business.

They don’t have words for homosexuality or heterosexuality, because it’s just not something they care about.  Everyone has a preference, but very few are so far to one end or the other of the spectrum that they cannot enjoy sex with either gender.

Marriage is still a big deal, and Spartans are still primarily monogamous.  However, they began taking hints from places like Rome, and helots became privately owned, and it became common and accepted for married Spartans to have sex with their slaves.

Because of a shit ton of economic shit I’ll get into at some point, the vast majority of privately owned slaves are male, so regardless of a Spartan’s sexual preference, that’s pretty much their only option.

I’ve tried to use the names to help illustrate the different races.  At some point, I’ll get into cultural differences between the perioikoi and Spartans, but for now, I used very different name origins to try and illustrate just how different they are.

Spartans use Greek names, while perioikoi have English names, and the helots, with some exceptions, have Celtic names.

 

Glossary of Characters

Athanasiadi(s): (ATH-a-na-see-A-dee or dees) Charis’ last name is Athanasiadi.  Men and women’s last names are slightly different, the male version is Athanasiadis.

Charis: (CARE-iss, where “iss” rhymes with “miss”) the main character

Cullen: (CULL-in) Charis’ slave

Dryas: (DRY-as) Kieran’s first owner

Ilya: (ILL-ya) Charis’ husband

Kieran: (Key-AIR-an) a young slave, the story is told primarily from his perspective

Rowyn: (ROW-in) Charis’ slave

Taber: (TAY-ber) Ilya’s slave

 

Glossary of Terms

Agoge: (A-GOJ, long O sound) the private Spartan-run school that all Spartan children must graduate from to be granted citizenship.

Agora: (Ah-GOR-a) A mall

Helot: (HELL-ot) the race of slaves

Mothax: (MO-thax) A person of mixed Spartan and perioeci descent

Neodamode: (Nee-OH-da-mode) a helot that has been freed

Perioeci: (Pear-i-OH-ess-ee) the autonomous middle class

Perioikoi: (Pear-i-OH-i-koi) plural of perioeci

Symposiarch: (Sim-POE-zee-ark) the owner of a symposium

Symposium: (Sim-POE-zee-um) Something like a mandatory social club.  Not belonging to one does not cause a Spartan to lose citizenship, but is looked down on and carries a big social stigma.

Trophimi: (Tro-FEE-mee) a mothax who has graduated from agoge and been granted full citizenship as a Spartan

The gentleman’s guide to going down on a woman

So it’s occurred to me that some men simply don’t know how to do this properly.  And I get it.  It’s intimidating, there’s a lot going on down there, where your own setup is pretty basic.

This is often exacerbated by the fact that women don’t often tell men what they like.

But here’s why:  Because most of you are all so wrapped up in your precious little egos, that the slightest constructive criticism is interpreted as an attack on your very manhood.  It’s ridiculous.  Laughable.

I’m serious, we literally make fun of you for that.

But it’s annoying, too.  Because now we have to find some other way to tell you what we like, and how to pleasure us better.  Most of the time, we just train you to respond to different moans.

It’s stupid.  It really is.  But we’d rather do that, because you suddenly crying in the corner, or shouting about how ultra macho manly you are, and you’re God’s gift to women, just isn’t sexy, and we wanna cum, goddammit.

So learn to take suggestion.

And then follow the fucking suggestions.

Kazander, who is actually very talented in this department, has phases where he’s just awful at the following suggestion thing.  I’ll tell him to move higher or lower, and he won’t move.  I’ll reach down and literally move his head where I want him, and as soon as I let go, he’ll go back to his original spot.

I have literally held him in place by grabbing fistfuls of his hair.

And that’s not fun.  It’s distracting, it’s annoying, and it makes it take even longer for me to cum.

He’s far from the only guy to do this, too.  He just has phases now and then.  I’ve been with guys where it was a constant battle.

That’s not sexy, okay.  It’s frustrating.  And if I’m frustrated, chances are I won’t be all that interested in giving you anything you may want.

Follow directions.  If we tell you to move a certain direction, do it.  If we move you to a certain place, fucking stay there.

Also, and I’ve actually only had one guy who didn’t do this, all the rest of you are just terrible at it, but when you do something we like, don’t fucking change it up right as we’re about to cum.

Jesus fucking Christ, that’s the most annoying thing ever.  I finally asked a guy why he did it, and he said it was kind of like a big finishing move.  He was trying to make the build up more intense.

Ugh.  No.

Unless we specifically tell you to go faster or harder, don’t do it.  Obviously, what you’re doing is working.  We’re getting close.  We’re about to cum.  More often than not, when you try to do your “big finish,” it either ruins our orgasm (yes, women can have ruined orgasms, too) or completely derails it and now you have to start over.

When what you’re doing is working, don’t change it.

Also, it’s a tongue, not a fucking shovel.  Too many times, guys get way too rough, way too fast.  My clit is attached, m’kay.  Don’t try to dig it up out of my body.

It’s a hell of a lot more sensitive than you think, a hell of a lot more sensitive than anything on your body.  So be gentle with it.  If she tells you she wants you to go harder or faster, then do it.  Otherwise, start out slow and gentle.

The mindset seems to be that the faster and harder you go, that faster she’ll cum.  Yeah, it doesn’t work that way, literally at all.

It only just doesn’t even feel good.  And it’s distracting.

Be patient, take your time, and she’ll cum a lot faster than if you try to rush it or get super aggressive with it.

And try to keep the noises to a minimum.  Unless she wants you to, don’t do any moaning, and for God’s sake, don’t make any slurping or lip-smacking noises.  If you sound like a cow, that’s not sexy.  It’s distracting.

You want her focused on how good everything feels, not all the other shit.

I’ve also seen a lot of guys who just don’t know how to use their tongue at all.  Like, it’s been so bad, I just made a couple of guys stop, because it was a waste of time.

The alphabet thing is stupid and cheesy, but it works for someone who is unsure or just learning how.  It’s a good starting point.  Just don’t use the very tip of your tongue.  Often, that’s just too much pressure, and goes back to the too-hard-too-fast-doesn’t-feel-good thing.

Once she cums, don’t just suddenly stop.  Women’s orgasms last longer than men’s, and if you stop right as she starts cumming, it just falls off and basically feels like a ruined orgasm.  Super disappointing.

Keep going through the orgasm.  Go with the previous rule.  Just keep doing exactly what you were doing to make her cum.  Wait until the orgasm is over to stop.

And then, when she’s had a few minutes to relax, ask her if there’s anything she wishes you had done differently.  She should be more willing to tell you now, after she came.  Because hell, she came already.  It doesn’t really matter if you throw a fit because she gave you constructive criticism.  She already got what she wanted.

But she’ll also be in a very mellow, relaxed, good mood, so she’ll likely be very gentle and tactful in how she says things.  Just take her suggestions to heart, and next time, you’ll have a better idea of what to do.

Like with all things, practice, practice, practice.

Reining in my inner bitch

So Kazander has this friend.  And the first time I met him, he was nice enough, I guess.  I drove him home after the Super Bowl because he was breathtakingly drunk, and told him I’d disembowel him with a plastic spork if he puked in my car.

But then, the more time I spent around him, the less I liked him.  When he refused to let me join the fantasy football league he’d invited Kazander to join, citing “No Chicks” as the rule, my opinion of him plummeted.

Because the poor boys just can’t handle a woman doing better than them, apparently.

I was beyond annoyed, and immediately lost pretty much all respect for him.  But I was civil and polite.  He has a daughter around the spawn’s age, that the spawn actually likes (in small doses, the kid is a huge brat, and even the spawn would lean over and whisper in my ear, “She doesn’t have very good manners, does she, Mommy?”), and the spawn has a birthday coming up (she wants a haunted house theme for her birthday party, which is super easy to do in fucking August), and she doesn’t have a lot of friends her age (mostly because I can’t fucking stand kids her age), so I’m trying to be nice.

The other day though, and then today, it took every ounce of willpower I have to refrain from unleashing my inner psycho-Domme crazy bitch on him.

It started when he made a stupid mistake, and yet another sexist remark.

I was talking about my dream car, which, as all my longtime readers know, is a Dodge Charger Hellcat.  Which may be considered odd, given my penchant and passion for sports cars and muscle cars, as the Charger is neither.

Sorta.

It’s a sedan.  But it’s a sedan with 707 horsepower, a top speed of 204 mph, and can complete 1/4 mile in 11.0 seconds.

Yeah, it’s faster than its Challenger brother (all cars are boys in my head.  Not girls.  ‘Cuz I’m a rebel).  Because, as it turns out, and this was totally unexpected by the designers of the car, the longer body makes it more aerodynamic than the Challenger.

It only comes with an automatic transmission, which makes me sad, but I’m somewhat consoled by the degree to which you can customize how and when the gears shift by programming it.

AND…

Let’s compare it to some other cars, shall we?  We know that the Charger Hellcat has 707hp, 204mph top speed, and insanely enough, it costs about 65 grand.  It can also seat 5 people.

Conversely, the Lamborghini Aventador Pirelli has 691 hp (slightly lower), a top speed of 217 mph (slightly higher), sits 2 (slightly lower), has a V12 engine (even more of a gas guzzler than the Charger) and is a steal at $400,000 (just slightly higher).

And Ferrari, the Starbucks of supercars (I say that because, while Starbucks is indeed very good, it is undeniably overpriced and they seem to care more about merchandising and their logo than they care about the product.  There is a Ferrari watch, a Ferrari camera, and – and this is true – a fucking Ferrari Segway, for fuck’s sake.  Jesus Christ), struggles to keep up, too.  The cheapest one you can get, pretty much the only one someone who isn’t a millionaire would be likely to get, is the California T, which starts at $200,000.  And it seats 2, has a top speed of 196 mph, and 550 hp.

A fucking Charger sedan can hold its own against names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and MacLaren.  For under $70,000.

I mean, are you kidding me?

Of course, one must remember that the Ferrari, Lamborghini, and MacLaren are specifically designed not just to go fast with a shit ton of power, but to stay on the road when you take turns at high speeds.  The Charger has the power and the speed, but not the control and precision of the cars 5 times the price.

M’kay, cool.  But I don’t want a car that costs 3 grand a month to maintain and I can’t park in any parking lot, because I don’t have all that much faith in human beings.  The Charger Hellcat is very unassuming and doesn’t draw a lot of attention to itself (when it’s parked and turned off), because it’s a sedan, and it says Dodge Charger on it, and most people just assume it’s a regular family car.

I’m seriously rambling.  The point is I love that fucking car, and I was talking about all the things I love about it.  Sexist Douche heard me going on and on about it (I can occasionally ramble a bit) and got all super condescending and said, “Are you serious?  You couldn’t handle that car in daily life.  Do you know how horsepower works?”

Oh, you poor, silly little man.

Kazander sensed me getting ready to let loose, and let out a groan as soon as Sexist Douche uttered the words.  He knew I wasn’t going to let that go.

But first of all, what???  Do I know how horsepower works?  What the hell kind of question is that?  How do you even answer a question like that?  That’s like asking, “Do you know how counting works?”

Do I know what horsepower is?  Yeah, bro.  It’s a unit of measurement, invented by James Watt a long time ago (honestly, I don’t remember when, and don’t care enough to look it up.  The fact that I can name the inventor is usually enough to shut up the assholes who think boobs make it impossible to know about cars), defined as the amount of coal a single horse can lift out of a mine in one minute (or 33,000 foot-pounds).

Do I know what horsepower measures?  Yeah, bro.  It measures the total power and acceleration of an operating car.  As opposed to brake horsepower, which measures the total output of the engine, without all the shit that an operating car has attached to the engine that slow it down.

So I mean, no one can match me at getting condescending.  I’m a master of it.  And I took great, childlike joy in utterly humiliating him.

And for the record, no, I’ve never driven a car with 707 hp.  I did, however, handle a 562 hp Lamborghini Gallardo pretty well, with a very respectable lap time, above average for the day (and one of the employees told me I and the woman with me were the only females there that day).

Also, just by the way, I made my goddamn living handling a 600 hp diesel Cummings 18-speed engine pretty fucking well.

He thinks he’s special?

11234002_805160926266419_83360-5554159277369

 

No, ladies and gentleman.  That is not an 8-speed.  I know there are 8 numbers there, but you see those little H’s and L’s?

Um…  Yeah…

408acdf3426f4b6f92daa931f1e82fcd--patterns-file

Can he figure out what range and what gear he needs to be in, hauling 80,000 pounds, on a 6% incline?  Or worse, a 6% downgrade?  Engine brakes won’t do shit for you at that point.  And it won’t take much to burn out your brakes and lose them completely.  With the company I worked for, if you ever lose control and need to use one of those truck runaway ramps, you immediately get fired.

Because it does a lot of damage to a truck they’re still likely making $900 per week (no, that’s not a typo.  $900 per week) payments on, and it’s a completely preventable disaster.  If you ever need a runaway truck ramp, you fucked up pretty spectacularly.

When you’re that heavy, with all the fucking roaches (roaches are 4-wheeled cars, and to all my readers, please know that I say this as lovingly as possible: you all piss us the fuck off, literally every time you drive.  Stop being a dick to truck drivers.  They work 11-14 hour shifts, they get paid pennies per mile, and the entire country would literally lose its fucking shit if truck drivers ever go on strike.  Vegas would be dead in days.  We rely on trucks for pretty much everything.  And you cannot demand a service while simultaneously being a dick to those who provide that service, m’kay.  You like living in literally any city in the country?  Want to continue being able to buy food in that city on a somewhat regular basis?  Don’t be a dick to truck drivers.  Unless you live on a farm or across the street from a cattle ranch, you will literally starve without them), it’s hard to maintain a slow enough speed.  Going fast is bad for semis on downgrades.  The brakes will literally catch fire.

I have no idea what I was originally talking about.

Oh yeah…

So I cheerfully humiliated the Sexist Douche.  And, naturally, as most Sexist Douches do, he backed off and crawled away with his tail between his legs when he realized I knew more about cars than he does.  End of story.

Until today.

I had to play Designated Driver today, and we had actually seen a Challenger Hellcat on the way there, so I was totally gushing about it. I was talking to the FIL about it when none other than Sexist Douche walked up.

He inserted himself into the conversation, but he was decidedly less douche-y, so I engaged with him.  We got on the topic of Mustangs, the Harley Davidson of sports cars (I say that because people who don’t know anything about motorcycles – of which I am one – think that Harleys are extremely powerful and fast, the elite of the elite.  But they’re not.  They just have the iconic name and the iconic shape.  Much like the Mustang.  But don’t get me wrong, there’s this attitude that you’re not allowed to like what you like if it’s not the absolute best in the world, and that’s stupid.  You like the Mustang?  Awesome.  It’s popular for a reason.  Harley is popular for a reason.  Cool.  Drive the hell out of it.  Enjoy it.  Just don’t pretend it’s something it’s not.  Same with the Ferrari.  Lots of people like it.  It’s popular for a reason.  Starbucks is popular for a reason.  Cool.  Drive the hell out of it.  Enjoy it.  Just don’t pretend it’s something it’s not).

And for awhile, it was going fine.  Until

“Well, Mustang’s biggest problem is that it became a bitch car.”

“A what?”

“A bitch car.”

I assumed he meant that the car was wimpy, or it didn’t have a lot of power.

Oh, but he wasn’t done.

“No offense.  But it’s just that a lot of women started driving them.  So, like, real gearheads lost interest, and ever since then, Mustangs in general have just gone downhill.”

Wait, what?

What the actual fuck, you unbelievable misogynist asshole?

I honestly didn’t even know what to say to that.  I was basically just done with him as a human being.  I was over it.

I realized that nothing I, or any woman, could ever say would change his perception of us.  He sees us as an intrusion on the car enthusiast world.  Something to be tolerated, at best.  He will never take me, or any other woman, seriously.  Girls stick to girl stuff, while boys stick to boy stuff.

thought I had opened his eyes a few days ago, when I revealed that I knew more about horsepower than he did.

And for anyone who’s never experienced that, it really is just such a shitty feeling.  It’s the same feeling I get whenever I take my car to the shop by myself and the mechanic scoffs and laughs when I tell him I replaced the O2 sensor.  When he says, “You replaced it?  You?”

It just makes you feel so invalidated, and helpless, because there’s nothing you can ever do about it.  You can’t just stop being a woman.

And it’s just another reminder that you’re going to have to deal with this for the rest of your life.  You can’t win.  If you “stick to girl stuff,” you’ll be belittled because you’re “just a woman,” of course you don’t know things like how to change a tire.

But if you take an interest in “boy stuff,” you’ll be belittled because the boys will never take you seriously.  You’ve got to know more, you’ve got to work harder, you’ve got to hold yourself to higher standards than a guy in that field.

Most men don’t know the difference between horsepower and brake horsepower, for example.  It’s just not something that’s super important, in the big scheme of things, because it’s more a theoretical measurement, than anything else.

But if I were to be talking to a gearhead, and he mentioned brake horsepower, and I didn’t know the difference, it would be “just another reason why girls just don’t know anything about cars.”

When I was dealing with the shit with the leukemia, my doctor, who is actually really good, I like him a lot, at one point tried to tell me my symptoms were because of “stress.”

Which, let’s be honest, is just this century’s version of female hysteria.

I asked him how many men he’s said that to, how many men have come into his office with any number of symptoms, and were told the cause was “stress.”

And you could watch him realize just how many women he’s said that to, and how few men he’s said it to.

And to be fair, he immediately retracted the comment and started taking me seriously.  Four-ish months later, I had a leukemia diagnosis.

It’s everywhere, it really is.  Thankfully, the majority of men, when they realize they’re doing it, immediately stop and correct.  Because it’s not something they do with any kind of malicious intent or because they don’t respect me.  It’s simply because society has ingrained certain attitudes and mindsets into the heads of everyone, men and women, and it’s not always easy to recognize it.

So most of the time, it’s not a problem.  Most people are generally decent and good human beings, and most people, when they realize that they are belittling another human being because that human being has boobs, they are quick to correct.

But then you have the Sexist Douches, who are either too stupid to understand, or too pathetic and small-minded to care about the fact that they are belittling another human being.

As is obviously the case with this Sexist Douche.  I mean, really, what’s the point of continuing that conversation?  What’s the point of giving him any of my time?  If he still belittles women, even after I showed that I have an extensive knowledge of both supercars and American muscle cars, when I could meet him as an equal as we debated whether a Shelby GT500 is better than a Charger Hellcat, even after I established myself as his equal on the subject of supercars (we were talking about horsepower, and he mentioned the Bugatti Veyron.  I rolled my eyes and said, “Sure, if we’re looking at that kind of car, we might as well just go with the Pagani Huayra.”  He said, “Yeah, but the emission system isn’t street legal.  You’d have to modify it.  And that’s like ten grand.”  I laughed and said, “Yeah, so if you have the kind of income that warrants spending 1.5 million dollars on a car, ten thousand dollars to modify the exhaust is just too far out of budget.  But why stop there?  The Huayra BC is street legal, and only about double the price.”), even after all that, he still sees me as beneath him, then there’s just nothing I can do or say.

I could build him a fucking MacLaren P1, from the ground up, using parts from a Bugatti Chiron and a Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio, because why the hell not, by myself, in 12 hours, and he’d still look at me as less than him.

Those are some of the most expensive cars in the world, by the way.  And I want to think only like 10 of the Ferrari were ever made.  Kinda hard to find, even if you happen to have 3-ish million dollars lying around.  And that MacLaren is fucking sexy.

But the point is, it just doesn’t matter what you do or say.  People like that will never change.

Jesus fucking Christ, and this guy has a daughter.

I kind of understand why the kid is such an obnoxious little shit, now.

No, but in all seriousness, I actually, legitimately, genuinely am heartbroken for her.  Because she’s going to grow up with a man who constantly belittles and demeans her.  She’s going to grow up thinking that she’s not good enough, she’ll never be good enough.

And what’s more, she’s going to grow up thinking that’s what a man is supposed to be.  So she’s going to end up with a stupid, pathetic, small-minded misogynist loser just like him.  And the saddest part is that, because she won’t know any better, she’ll let that stupid, pathetic, small-minded misogynist loser treat her like shit.

I’m a grown ass woman.  I can handle the misogynist douchebags.  But to be brought up like that?  It just sucks.  It really just fucking sucks.

To reproduce or not to reproduce

Jen,

Long time reader, first time writer.  I really love your blog and how matter of fact you are with everything, it’s so refreshingly honest.

I’m 28, my husband is 26, and we’ve been married for about three years and both of our parents have been pressuring us to have kids.  Aside from the fact that we’re two gay men and that process is a bit more involved than with a straight couple, there are a number of things that make us hesitate to go through with it.  Most notably, and maybe most selfishly, we like our life.  We like having time to ourselves.  We like being able to do things on our own schedule.  Most of our friends have kids and it’s all “I need to check with my sitter” and “I need to get back and relieve the sitter” and “I have a soccer game that day.”

And that’s not to mention the kink aspect.  I’m mostly submissive to my husband and one of the things I love is the spontenaity.  I could literally be sitting on the bed folding laundry and he’ll walk in, grab me by my hair, and just start fucking my face, just without a word.  Or I could be putting dishes away and he’ll walk in, bend me over the counter, and just start fucking me.  It’s one of my favorite things about our sex life.

You’ve talked about having a kid and how it has impacted your kink life.  I’m really just looking for an honest, matter of fact answer because everywhere I look all I see is stuff about how kids are the most amazing thing ever and “Oh I wasn’t complete until I had kids” and “You haven’t lived until you’ve had kids” and honestly, it’s all just overwhelming.

I need someone who can be honest with me, who can tell me the good and bad, and can tell me if it’s worth it.  I need someone who can tell me what life as a kinky parent is like without all the ooh-ing and ahh-ing that everyone does.

Please, anything would help.  And thank you so much.

Will

Will, dear, I actually take quite a bit of pride in saying this: You’ve come to exactly the right place.

And before I get into all this, I do want to do the obligatory I-love-my-kid thing.  In my specific case, yes, I think it’s worth it.  It comes with some pretty major fucking caveats, and some massive fucking disadvantages, but at the end of the day, I’m glad my kid is here, and if I could go back 7 years and do it again, knowing all the disadvantages and bullshit that goes along with parenthood, I’d still do it exactly the same way.

But what’s right for me may not be right for you.  And the only one who can make that decision is you.

Yes, having a kid will have a massive impact on your life, including (and perhaps especially) your kink life.  That spontaneity will all but disappear.

I mean, it won’t disappear completely.  You’ll learn, and your husband will learn, to be more opportunistic.  The kid is taking a nap.  Cool, come ride my cock.  Quickies in the bedroom while the kid is watching Barney, a quick blowjob in the shower in the morning before waking the kid up, a hurried, frenzied fucking before work while you’re making the coffee, I mean, there are ways around it.

But nothing really prepares you for that kind of loss of freedom.  Even when I was pregnant, I could still go where I wanted, when I wanted, and do what I wanted.  I could get up and go to the grocery store.  I could go out to dinner.  I could go to munches and play parties and doctor appointments and whateverthefuck I wanted.  I mean, I had limitations placed on me because of the complications with my pregnancy, but you get the general gist of it.

I had no damn idea.  And that was the first big revelation I had about my new reality as a parent.

Once she was born, even things like running out to get a quick lunch at a drive thru became an event.  It took planning.  Forethought.  And going out to dinner?  Yeah, that wasn’t something we could decide to do on a whim.  At 5:30pm, I couldn’t turn to my husband and say, “I don’t feel like cooking.  Let’s go out instead.”  We had to make arrangements.  Plans.  All the shit your friends say about sitters?  I’ve said those exact words so many times, it’s comical.

And let me just tell you right now: babies fucking suck.  I mean, you’ll either be adopting or using a surrogate, so there are some things (like breast-feeding vs formula, and then breast-feeding in public) you won’t have to worry about, but that doesn’t mean you get a free pass.  Midnight feedings, lack of sleep, exhaustion, frustration, resentment of the baby and/or each other, I mean, it’s fucking brutal.

Neither of you will be feeling very horny those first few months.  Newborns are the worst kind of baby.  They suck the hardest.  Every spare moment you get, all you’ll want to do is sleep.  Luckily, that part only lasts a few months, and then things start getting easier.

I love my kid, okay, and I loved her when she was a baby.  But I can also be completely honest.  There’s not a whole hell of a lot about the first six months of her life that I can look back on as a positive memory.  I mean, her first smile was awesome, her first laugh was amazing, watching her personality develop was fantastic, and really helped me bond with her.

That’s one thing you might actually be spared from, I’m not entirely sure.  Unfortunately, I don’t know many gay men who have kids, so I don’t know.  But for me, and many mothers, there’s this assumption and expectation that you’re supposed to be completely, 100% in love with your kid from the moment it leaves your body.  I don’t know if you’ll experience that expectation, but I imagine you’ll get at least a portion of it.  If you go through a surrogate, you’ll likely be expected to love it just as much as a biological mother would, from the moment it’s born, and if you go through adoption, you’ll likely be expected to love it just as much as a biological parent would, from the moment you sign the papers.

Either way, I’m going to do you a favor right now, and tell you that it’s completely bullshit.  I mean, I know even less about adoption than I do about surrogacy, so I’m just going to write the rest of this assuming that you decide to go through a surrogate.  I’m also going to write it from the perspective of a biological mother, since that’s the only perspective I can speak on with any degree of authority.  Obviously there will be things that are different with adoption, and with you being fathers, but I imagine the gist is about the same.

But there’s this expectation that you’re supposed to be completely in love with the kid from the jump.  And for some people, I guess that’s what happens.

It sure as hell didn’t happen for me.

I mean, I wasn’t completely indifferent to her, it wasn’t like that.  I’d been waiting for her for 9 months.  I’d been feeling her growing and moving around (and kicking the shit out of me, consider yourself lucky you don’t have to deal with that).

The point is, some people fall in love with their kids right away, and some don’t.  I didn’t.  Hell, I didn’t know her.

And then of course there was the guilt, because I didn’t fall in love with her instantly, that I must be a terrible mother, and then all the baggage with my own mother made its way to the forefront of my hormone-crazed mind, and what was I thinking, and what have I done, and how badly am I going to fuck up this poor kid?

Now I know it’s all bullshit.  You may not feel anything for the kid right away, and that’s fine.  I personally was reassured when the IV they had in her leg (she had to stay in the NICU for a week) started causing her pain.  I saw it, I recognized the IV burn, and I told the nurses.  Who promptly ignored me.

And then the mama bear instincts kicked in, and I went on a rampage until her next scheduled dose of antibiotics, where they realized, “Hey, it’s an IV burn,” and moved the IV.

She still has a scar from it, by the way.  Almost 6 years later.

So that was reassuring for me, because even though I didn’t really love her the way people say a mother is supposed to love her newborn, she was still mine, and I would do whatever it took to protect her.

So that’s something I tell new mothers, and it’s something I’ll tell you, too.  You may not be completely smitten with your kid right away, and that’s fine.  You don’t have to be.  You don’t know anything about the kid.  It’s a complete stranger.  It’s fine.  Because if something happens, if the kid needs you to protect it, those instincts will kick in and you’ll do what it takes without a second thought.  It’ll just come naturally.  Whether you’re a mother or father, whether the kid is biologically yours or not.

Because even though you didn’t carry it, and even if you don’t share a biological connection, you know that’s your kid, and if it needs you, it’ll flip the same switch in your brain that it flipped in mine.

We carry so much guilt as parents, because we put having kids up on this pedestal, and it’s all just stupid.  I’m glad I had my kid, I think she’s worth all the bullshit that comes with reproducing, but I can admit that there are parts of parenthood that just suck.

But while I didn’t feel that connection to her immediately, and I resented her more often than not, I did enjoy watching her learn, watching her personality develop, and that’s where we really started bonding.  That was really special, and for me, that’s the one thing that made all the other hell worthwhile.

Once they leave the baby stage, it’s easier.  And now, she’s almost 6, and she can do things independently, she does chores, she can hold conversations and she’s actually really into politics, interestingly enough.  I mean, it’s all got to be watered down, she’s fucking five, so there’s a lot that goes over her head.  But she does not like Trump.  Which is an opinion she formed on her own, independent of my thoughts or Kazander’s thoughts of the man.  I mean, she knew he was the president, and she’d seen a couple of interviews and speeches from Obama (most notably his Thanksgiving speeches, with all the dad jokes), but that was about all she knew.

It started when we were in NC, in the hospital room with my mom, who was watching a press interview with Trump.  I didn’t think she was paying attention, I was too appalled and disgusted to notice that she was actually watching, until she said, “Mommy, he’s mean.”

I said, “Yes, baby, he sure is.”

“I don’t like him,” she declared.  “You’re not supposed to be mean to people.  Especially if you’re the president.”

“You’re absolutely right.”

“I miss the old president.  He was nice.”

“I miss him too, baby.”

So she, quite proud of her new opinion of the president, started telling everyone she met.  Which was fucking adorable, okay.

The problem is that a small town in North Carolina is probably not the best place to voice that particular opinion.  Reactions ranged from awkward silence to dismissal to feigned cheerfulness.  And she picked up on that, and started to doubt herself, so a few days later, she said, “Well, I like him a little bit.”

“What?  Why?”

“Well, he’s the president.  You’re supposed to like the president a little bit.”

“No the fuck you’re not,” I corrected.  “You’re supposed to respect him a little bit.  There’s a big difference.  You don’t have to like him at all.”

“You don’t?”

“Not even a little bit.  I don’t like him, either.  And neither does Daddy.  You absolutely do not have to like him, and you don’t have to support him or stick up for him.  He’s a cruel man, and I will never like a cruel man, even if I have to respect him, or even if other people like him, or even if I feel like I’m supposed to like him.  If you want to like him, that’s your choice.  But there has to be something more to like about him than him just being the president.”

That made her feel better.

So I mean, it’s fun now.  She can have these kinds of conversations, she can develop opinions of her own.  She says she wants Michelle Obama to be the next president, and she was quite irritated when she found out that she won’t be allowed to vote in 2020.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a little kid is pretty fucking awesome, too.  You kind of realize how jaded and cynical you are, and it’s so refreshing to sort of let go of that for a little while, and look at the world completely differently.

But there is one thing I’m noticing here, in reading your email.  And I mean, forgive me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you don’t even really want to have kids.

So if that’s the case, I’ll do you a favor now, and tell you this:

You do not have to have kids.  At all.  Ever.  Like, literally ever.

I know exactly that attitude you’re talking about, and I despise it.  Every time someone said that bullshit to me, about how I’m “not complete” until I’m a mother, I wanted to hit them in the face with a chair.

Uh, no.  I was not an incomplete human being before my spawn was born, m’kay.  I am more than just a baby-making machine.  That is just as true for you and your husband, even though neither of you will actually be carrying the baby.  You are two whole, complete, autonomous people.  You do not have to reproduce in order to be human.  You are more than a series of chemicals and DNA that must be passed down to another generation.

That being said, I’m my father’s oldest child, and he came from a very old-fashioned Mexican family.  Legacy was and is a big deal.  He could trace his roots back a dozen generations.  He instilled in me the spirit of our family, and that as his eldest child, it’s my job to carry that on.  I mean, shit went a little sideways, so that fell off a bit, but the attitude is still there.

The point is, having been brought up like that, I mean, family was everything, legacy was everything.  So yeah, I felt obligated to carry that on in a way my little sister and my cousins never really understood.

Because I’m the oldest child of my grandparents’ oldest child.  In an old-school Mexican family.  Yeah dude, I was told basically from birth that it was my job to carry on the family line, and have lots of babies.  I have male cousins to carry on the name, but it was my job to carry the legacy.

So that was great.

But there’s this pressure to reproduce, this idea that reproducing is the end-all, be-all of existence, and that’s all just utter bullshit.

“Oh, you haven’t lived until you’ve had a child.”

“Your life isn’t complete until you’ve had a child.”

“I didn’t know what love was until I had my child.  You have no idea what real love feels like until you have a child.  Your life is just empty.”

Jesus Christ, shut the fuck up.

I mean, honestly, how much does your life has to suck to think that you were incomplete before you had a kid?

I kinda liked my life before the kid was born.

Sure I like who I am as a mom, I’m damn good at being a mom, it’s a role I take a great deal of pride in, but I also liked who I was before my kid was born.

And some of the bullshit was ridiculous.  I remember, early in my pregnancy, before I even started showing, I wore a T-shirt that had Cartman on it, from South Park.  My mom saw it and said, “You know you’re not going to be able to wear that once the baby is born.”

Um, what?

“Why the hell not?”

“Well, that show isn’t really appropriate for kids.  And you won’t be able to curse, either.  You have to change a lot when you have kids.”

Yeah, fuck everyfuckingthing about that.

I’m not going to stop being who I am just because I made a person, m’kay.  I don’t lose who I am, I don’t become reduced to nothing but my spawn’s mother.  I still curse, I still watch South Park, I still drink, I still party and have fun, I still am who I am.

And my kid understands that some words I say are “grown up words,” and she will be able to say them when she’s a grown up.

Which works.  She just doesn’t curse.  Even though I curse all the time around her, and even when I’m talking to her.  I talk to her the same way I talk to anyone else.  I don’t pretend to be something I’m not around her, and I’m not going to change who I am as a person because she exists.

I haven’t changed who I am, I just added “Mom” to it.

And I’m still not a kid person.  I still hate other people’s kids.  I love my kid to death, I think she’s fucking awesome, and I get compliments on her behavior all the time, because I believe in discipline, goddammit, and I’m not going to raise an obnoxious heathen who cannot sit quietly in a waiting room, or who annoys the hell out of people on an airplane, or who screams and throws tantrums in a grocery store, or who whines and throws shit in restaurants.

So I love my kid, but I am not and will never be a “kid person.”

You don’t have to change who you are when you have a kid, because there is nothing “missing” without them.  I mean, if you want kids, and you honestly do feel like something is missing without them, then cool.  But not everyone feels that way.  I didn’t feel that way.

There’s nothing wrong with not having kids, if you don’t want to have kids.  You sound like you’re happy with your life, like you enjoy the life you and your husband share.  If you don’t want to change it, then don’t.

You like having free time and disposable income?  Feel like giving it up for the next 18 years?

Right now, you can literally be driving in the car with your husband, and you may drive past a new restaurant that just opened up.  And you can turn to your husband and say, “Hey, that place looks nice.  We should check it out.  We can go literally any time we want to.”

Giving all that shit up is not something you should do on a whim, or because your families tell you that you should, or because you feel like that’s what people are supposed to do when they’ve been married for a while.

If your families are pressuring you to have kids, tell them to fuck off.  I got it when my kid was about 2, and everyfuckingbody and their damn dog suddenly were all like, “Well, it’s time for a sibling!  You’re going to give her a little brother or sister, right?  Isn’t it time to get started on that?”

“Uh, no.”

“What?  She needs a sibling!”

“She really doesn’t, actually.”

“Kids are always happier with siblings.”

“They are?  Well shit, I never got that memo.”

“They’ve done studies.  You need to give her a little sibling.  It’s better for her developmentally.  Besides, you’re not really a parent until you have more than one.”

“Oh wow, I’m not?  I never knew that.  Well fuck, and I’ve spent the last two years raising this thing for no reason, then.”

Holy fucking shit, dude.  And no, none of that is even remotely an exaggeration.  I literally did have people try to guilt me into reproducing again, and I literally had people tell me I’m not a real parent because I only have one.

Just ignore them, or tell them to fuck off.  They’ll shut up eventually.  After about a year of those kinds of conversations, I started getting less and less tactful.  They stopped after awhile.  I haven’t heard any of that bullshit for… shit, probably 2 years, now?  Something like that.

Don’t let people pressure you into having a kid if you don’t want one.  You don’t have to have kids.

I mean, I can’t tell you whether you should or shouldn’t.  That’s not a decision anyone can make except you and your husband.  And for me, yeah, it worked out, and I love it, and I think my kid is one of the coolest people on the planet, and she’s more than worth all the disadvantages and all the limits it places on my time and my kink life.

For me, yeah it’s worth it.

Is it worth it for you and your husband?  That’s not something I can answer.

Beauty and the Beast

One of the longest running subjects Kazander and I bicker about is the fact that I love musicals and Disney movies.

Although he can’t say much about the Disney thing anymore, because he likes Force Awakens and Rogue One.

Disney knows their shit, y’all.  They generally don’t fuck shit up.

But the classic Disney Princess movies have caught a lot of shit, and 90% of it is completely undeserved.

One of the movies that catches the most hell is actually my favorite Disney Princess movie: Beauty and the Beast.

You hear people criticize this movie all the time, how it’s an example of Stockholm Syndrome, how it encourages women to stay in abusive relationships, hoping that the boyfriend will change, etc.

As far as the abusive thing goes, really?  You think a damn Disney movie will turn a woman into an abuse victim?

It just goes to show how truly ignorant some people are when it comes to the psychology of abuse victims.  But because I don’t want to turn this into a 10,000-word psychology lesson, we’re just going to sum up what I would’ve written and say that no, that claim has no basis in reality whatsoever, because facts, m’kay.

And the Stockholm Syndrome thing is the product of gross oversimplification, and completely misses the point of the movie, and annoys the ever-loving hell out of me.

First, you have to remember that Disney did not come up with the story.  Like all the other Disney Princess movies, Beauty and the Beast was based on an old fairy tale.  They made it more kid-friendly, as they do (you have a problem with Sleeping Beauty?  Check out the original fairy tale.  Holy shit, dude.  Disney’s version is a feminist anthem compared to the original).

Although Disney did break from its normal pattern, and actually made the Beast more aggressive and scary than he is in the original.

The original Beast isn’t aggressive or scary or angry.  Instead, he’s depressed and emo, and he wasn’t cursed for turning a homeless woman away, he was cursed because a sorceress tried to rape him when he was 16, and when he fought her off, she basically did the if-I-can’t-have-you-I’ll-make-it-so-no-one-wants-you thing.

The live-action Disney remake made the Beast slightly more like the original, and in my opinion, it just doesn’t work as well with Disney’s version of the story.  Disney’s Beast needs to be aggressive and angry and hostile.

But politically correct people don’t like that, so they toned him down, and the scene where Belle runs away after the Beast finds her in his room (which is one of the most important scenes in the damn movie) is just awkward in the remake, and it doesn’t fit either character.  The remake really ramped up Belle’s independence, and the fact that she’s a very strong woman.  The Beast barely raises his voice to her, once, and that’s enough to terrify her to the point of choosing certain death over staying in the castle?

No, dude.  It doesn’t work.  Disney’s original version, with him being scary, is better, and they should’ve kept it, for more reasons than just that scene.

Honestly, Disney’s 1991 version is a million times better than the original fairy tale.  A big part of the reason why is because of Howard Ashman.  He deserves the credit for changing the story so completely, and for turning it into the amazing, incredible, touching, heart-wrenching movie I watched as a kid.

I mean, do you understand what’s happening in the story?  Do you really understand it?

First, let’s a take a look at Belle and the village.  They often say she’s pretty, but she doesn’t fit in.  She’s an outcast.  They stare at her.  They mock her.  They shun her for being different.

Meanwhile, Gaston, the villain, is lauded as a hero.  And that’s truly the scariest thing about the movie.  Not the Beast, not the Beast’s temper.  Not the long claws or sharp fangs or dark castle.

The scariest thing about the movie isn’t that Gaston exists, but that he’s universally loved by society.

He fits everything society says a man should be.

They fall over each other praising him, ignoring how cruel and selfish he is, because that’s not as important as fitting in to society’s man-shaped box.

Meanwhile, Belle, who is kind, and smart, and loving, is ignored and shunned because she doesn’t fit what society says a woman should be.  This is one area where the remake actually got it right, in that they make the town even more hostile toward her, where in the 1991 film, the scenes in the town just aren’t long enough to provide as much of that attitude.

But even in the 1991 film, it’s obvious that being good and decent is not as important as fitting in, and the good, decent people suffer for it.  Bullies are rewarded and loved, as long as they fit in.

Because we’ve been conditioned to think that those who are different are somehow less than us.  And it’s everywhere.  Immigrants, Muslims, women, the homeless, the sick, the disabled, criminals, those who are gay (this is a big one, I’ll get to that), those who are poly, those who are atheist or polytheistic or pretty much anything other than Christian, those who are trans, I mean, the list goes on and on and on.

People like Trump, true, cruel bullies, are rewarded for criticizing and further ostracizing those who are different, because people are so quick to see them as less.  That they don’t fit in, so they don’t belong with us, and they must be put in their place.  Or killed.

This is a common theme that comes up in many of Disney’s movies, but the only one that even comes close to Beauty and the Beast is the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

So, look at the Beast.  He’s bitter and angry, and hates himself.  In the original, the Beast asks Belle to marry him every night.  Disney’s Beast doesn’t ask, doesn’t bother asking, because he’s convinced himself that he’s unlovable, that he’s a monster, and that he’ll never be anything more.  No one trusts him because of the way he looks, because he’s a beast, because he’s an animal, because he’s less than human.

His character, and the bitterness you see in that character, shows just how badly being ostracized can mess with your head.  It shows how being told by society that you’re a monster makes you start to believe it, yourself, and affects the way you see yourself.

Howard Ashman worked on the musical score, he wrote all the lyrics while Alan Menken wrote the music, and while he didn’t direct or write the script, this movie is and always will be his.

He was an openly gay man, dying of AIDS, when this movie was made.  And sadly, he passed away before it was released, and never got to see the success of his last great work.

But the story was very different when they gave him the script and told him and Alan Menken to write the music for it.  For one, it wasn’t originally supposed to be a musical.  And secondly, the Beast wasn’t meant to be a central character.  There wasn’t much to his character at all, really.

It was Howard’s idea to make it a musical, and to change the Beast, to make him one of the main characters, to make him more central to the story.  He recognized immediately the way Belle is ostracized by society, and gave birth to the love story in which she and the Beast can find comfort in each other after society rejects them both.

As an openly gay man, dying of AIDS, in 1990, he knew quite a lot about that.  He connected with the way Belle is treated by society, while Gaston is beloved.

He, as a gay man, also faced the same stigma that they wrote into the Beast’s character.  Because compare the Beast and Gaston.  Under the bitterness and anger, the Beast is kind, compassionate, and selfless.  Even in his rage, he never hurts Belle or her father, and he risks his life to save her after she runs away (and is injured to the point that he cannot stand or walk on his own).

Quick tangent:  It’s interesting to note that in this scene, after he collapses, unconscious, in the snow, Belle turns to her horse, intending to leave him there to die.

She doesn’t, of course.  She changes her mind and helps him, but that’s a significant moment.  He risked his life for her, he protected her even when he was angry, even when he knew that she would never love him, she would never break the spell (because at this point, you know he doesn’t think she’ll ever forgive him for his outburst).  He saved her, not for his own selfish reasons, but because he’s a good man, and that’s what a good man does.

Belle, on the other hand, turns to ride off.  For that moment, she becomes society, she sees him the same way society sees him.  She turns her back on him, she intends to leave him there.

But she stops, and it’s a very important, revealing moment in her character development.  Because it shows that she’s not perfect, that she’s human, that she can let her fear and distrust overcome everything else, the way any human can.  And it shows just how easily even good people can become victim to the conditioning society has ingrained in us.  She could have easily gotten on her horse and left.  She was tempted to.  It’s what she wanted to do.  But she turns, she sees him lying there, and sees herself in him.

It’s not the fact that he saved her that makes her stop, but her own realization, her own discovery of the man underneath the monster.  She shows her own strength here, in her ability to go against society, her ability to go against what society says she should do.  She makes the conscious decision to see him as more than a monster, and she helps him.

He’s completely stunned by this, and by her fearlessness when he yells at her later, while she’s tending to his wounds.  She inadvertently hurts him, and he roars so loud, right in her face, that it blows her hair back.

But unlike the last time he roared at her, there’s no fear.  She meets his anger fearlessly, she yells right back at him, she matches his fire with her own.  It’s yet another important point in her character development.  She is never the “damsel in distress,” at any point in this story, but here we see her not as his prisoner, but his equal.  She establishes herself as his equal, she commands his respect as his equal, and now that she sees him as a man, the roaring and the temper don’t scare her.

Again, she made the conscious decision to see him as a man while he was lying there in the snow, and now that she does, the monster doesn’t frighten her.  She yells right back at him, she doesn’t hesitate, she doesn’t show even a hint of fear.

It’s safe to assume that no one has ever spoken to him like this, and this is obvious in the way he stammers and stumbles over his words, his anger immediately gone.  It’s here that he starts to see her as more than just another person to reject him, and it’s here that he lets her see a glimmer of his vulnerability.

His anger and his frightening appearance have become the walls to keep everyone out, but inside, he’s lonely.  And sad.  And hopeless.  But he endures.  He keeps going, even though he’s so sure he will never be anything worth loving, he will never be anything more than a monster.

Meanwhile, Gaston is cruel, selfish, intolerant, and close-minded.  But he’s good-looking, charismatic, “brave,” and successful, so society loves him.

He’s everything society says a man should be.

But what is a man, really?  What makes a man?

Is it just a grown male human?  Is that all it is?  Or does it go deeper than that?  Does it mean more than that?

The Beast is Howard Ashman.  Being gay and being sick in 1990 carried a hell of a stigma, and most of society didn’t see him as a man.  He wasn’t what they said a man is supposed to be.  So he was ostracized, ridiculed, and attacked for it.  This was something he understood at a very personal level, and he wrote it into the story.

Because when you look at the Beast and Gaston, you have to ask; which is the monster, and which is the man?

Belle is the only one who can see the truth.  She looks past the Beast’s appearance and gets through the walls he keeps around himself.  She teaches him that he has a soul, that he’s worthy of love, and that he’s not a monster.

The only thing I don’t love about the story is how depressed he gets when she leaves, because he’s based his entire concept of self-worth on the fact that she cares about him.  When the angry mob attacks, he gives up, he doesn’t care, he simply wants to die.  He’s lost all hope, as he had before she came, but this time, he doesn’t want to fight anymore.

But given the story itself, and the life of the man who created the character, along with the fact that he was extremely ill while writing for the movie (he was tired, too, and knowing that his death was inevitable, I have no doubt he had moments where he just wanted to give up), I can understand it.

For Howard, it was a metaphor for AIDS.  It was a curse, that brought sorrow to him and everyone who loved him.  It was about his self-loathing, his regret, his despair, and through it all, the tiniest seed of hope, that he didn’t even want to really acknowledge, that maybe, just maybe, there was a miracle waiting for him, a way for the curse to be lifted.  And through it all, his partner, the man who stayed with him despite the stigma, the one who loved him when he couldn’t love himself, was there by his side.

Knowing this, the lyrics to the songs take on a whole new meaning.  You look at Human Again (which was originally cut from the film, but they added it back in when the special edition was released), and you see Howard’s own hope in it.

When we cast off this pall
We’ll stand straight, we’ll walk tall
When we’re all that we were
Thanks to him, thanks to her
Coming closer and closer

The Mob song is by far the darkest, most frightening song of the movie, not just because of what’s happening in the plot, but because it shows so clearly the mob mentality that turns men into monsters, and how easy it is to incite that kind of fear, and violence.

We don’t like
What we don’t understand
In fact it scares us
And this monster is mysterious at least
Bring your guns!
Bring your knives!
Save your children and your wives
We’ll save our village and our lives
We’ll kill the Beast!

In the title song, the way the Beast sees himself is really illustrated, and it touches on Belle’s ability to show him that he’s worth loving.  She shows him he can change, that he can let down those walls, that he can let her in.

Tale as old as time,
Tune as old as song,
Bitter-sweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong

Belle saves him, more than once.  First she saves him from his bitterness and despair.  Then, she saves him from his own self-loathing.  Next, when Gaston is standing over him, ready to kill him, she saves him by giving him something to fight for.  And lastly, when he is lying there, dying, she saves him again by breaking the curse for him.

People deride this movie, saying that Belle is “weak,” and I want to punch them in their stupid faces.  Belle is every bit the hero of this story.  She gives the Beast something to live for, she shows him that he’s not worthless, she teaches him how to love himself by letting him love her, even before she’s able to reciprocate it.

She makes it clear from the beginning that she doesn’t need the Beast (his name is Adam, but it’s never mentioned in the movie).  She doesn’t need anyone, and this shows in all her actions.  In the beginning, he’s her captor, but she doesn’t care.  When Madame Garderobe tries to talk to her, tries to convince her to get to know him, she snaps, “I don’t want to get to know him!  I don’t want anything to do with him!”

She’s strong and defiant, and even when she was afraid of him, she damn sure wasn’t going to let that affect her.  She wasn’t going to give in just because she was afraid.  She wasn’t going to let him have his way just because he could get loud and scare her.

She pushed him, she forced him to break out of the anger and bitterness that had become his defense.  And once he did, she fell in love with the man she found underneath.

This story is about how society sees people who are different, how quick the mob is to attack, and how that mindset is wrong.  Both Belle and the Beast are good, kind people, but because they’re different, they’re ostracized and rejected.  This story is about how two people, lonely and misunderstood, find comfort and understanding in each other, and can turn to each other when society turns its back on them.

And this is a story that’s actually paralleled in Phantom of the Opera, which, while most likely unintentional (although it’s possible the author took inspiration from Belle et la Bete), is eerily similar.  And I love that the same people who criticize Beauty and the Beast just love Phantom of the Opera, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version is seen as one of the greatest love stories.

…. Are you serious?

The only difference between the two stories is that Belle is strong enough to be Adam’s equal, while Christine is too weak to do the same with Erik.

Belle forces Adam to shed the walls he has around himself, she doesn’t let his anger and outward appearance scare her, and she doesn’t allow him to continue being bitter.  She’s strong enough to stand up to him, even when she’s frightened of him.  She’s strong enough to go against society’s expectations, she’s strong enough to see the man under the monster.

She’s strong enough to face him, to basically tell him, “Alright, that’s enough.  You’re going to stop being a dick, and you’re going to stop now.”

Christine, on the other hand, cannot do that with Erik.  She can’t stand up to him, she can’t push him, she can’t stop him from becoming the monster society has convinced him he is.  She’s weak, she takes the easy route, she goes with the pretty face that society loves (although Raoul is obviously not a villain like Gaston is).

She goes with the one that’s the easiest to love, and the one society loves.  She goes with what society says she should do, and Erik is left abandoned.  She’s weak, and she allows herself to be manipulated, even when she’s aware that it’s happening.

Throughout the story, she never does anything.  She never moves the story along on her own.  She requires other characters to drive the story, and all she does is follow and react.

I love the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, but I can’t stand the story.  I can’t stand Christine, I can’t stand the fact that she turns her back on the beast, and I can’t stand that she allows him to manipulate her even when she’s aware that he’s doing it, and she lets her own fear defeat her.  I can’t stand the fact that she can’t meet him as his equal, she can’t say to him, “Alright, that’s enough.  You’re going to stop being a dick, and you’re going to stop now.”

Both Adam and Erik suffer from the same curse.  They’re both shunned by society.  They’re both seen as monsters.  Convinced that it’s true, they both use it as their defense, to keep people away.  They both take advantage of it, because they prefer people being afraid of them to people being repulsed by them.

Unable to love themselves, they both look to a woman, hoping she’ll be able to love them.  Still clinging to their bitterness, they both end up kidnapping and/or imprisoning her, even as they hope she’ll be able to see what’s underneath all the anger and bitterness.  Through their despair, there’s still that tiny, tentative hope.

Belle rises to that challenge, she breaks right through the Beast’s defenses and society’s expectations, and she saves him.  She lifts his curse.

Erik’s curse is never lifted.  Because Christine is too weak and small and scared to meet him as his equal.  She can’t save him.  Hell, he’s the one who kind of realizes, “Hey, I’m being kind of a dick.  Maybe I should knock that off.”

In the musical, he realizes this and even finally shows her his vulnerability on his own, lays himself completely bare to her, he shows her every part of himself.  He realizes everything he’s done wrong, everything he’s done that has hurt her, and how he had been trying to control her, rather than love her.

He realizes this and opens himself up to her, he lets go of the hate and anger, and shows her the man underneath.

More than that, he begs her to save him.  Publicly.  He begs her to be strong enough to love him.

He submits wholly to her in that moment, he gives himself completely over to her.  In that moment, he is hers, and he’s begging her to accept him, to save him, to lead him, to guide him and teach him how to be a man, instead of a monster.

He’s willing to let go of all the hate and anger that has kept him going for his entire life, he’s willing to leave everything behind to follow her, if she’ll just accept him.  He begs her to accept him, to lead him, to save him.

Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime,
Lead me, save me from my solitude
Say you’ll want me with you here, beside you
Anywhere you go, let me go, too.
Christine, that’s all I ask of you

Of course, she fucks that up, too, because she’s an idiot and a coward, and he goes right back to the anger, but now he’s even more pissed off because he knows that she will never love him.  It makes him even more of a dick.

Until, again, he realizes he’s being kind of a dick, and he should probably knock it off.

He redeems himself, because she isn’t strong enough to save him.  Even when she finally sees him for what he is, even when she finally sees the man through all his anger and self hatred, she still rejects him.

Because Raoul is prettier.  And younger.  And wealthy, we can’t forget wealthy.

No, Beauty and the Beast is the way this story is supposed to go.  Phantom of the Opera is what would’ve happened if Belle was weak, the way the movie’s critics like to say she is.

The movie is dedicated to Howard, saying he “gave a mermaid her voice, and a beast his soul.”  He was made an executive producer of the movie, due to how much he influenced the story, and his life and influence played a big part in the live-action remake.

Disney has played with gay and queer themes before, but it had always been subtext, or implied, or just enough to make people wonder.

Yeah, they didn’t do that with the remake.  I mean, the director of the remake is openly gay, but openly gay crew members isn’t anything new (as evidenced by Howard Ashman, himself).  Adding it to the movie, however, is completely new.

Not only do you have LeFou, the first openly gay Disney character (and I just have to say, I’m totally in love with Josh Gad.  Laugh if you want, but find me something he’s done that is not unbelievably awesome.  Totally in love with the guy), but you’ve got quite a few little queer things thrown in.  Most notably, you’ve got the bisexual man and his cross-dressing “wife,” and you’ve got one of the mobsters completely thrilled with Madame Garderobe’s transformation of him.

I actually love the changes they made to LeFou.  Especially the changes in the Mob Song, where he really starts to doubt Gaston, and starts asking himself whether Gaston is a man or a monster.

There’s a beast running wild, there’s no question
But I fear the wrong monster’s released.

And I totally awwed at the end, where he and the cross-dressing mobster accidentally find themselves in each other’s arms.  Totally adorable.

But it’s a more optimistic picture of society than what Howard painted.  How even Gaston’s closest follower and most loyal friend, the one who followed him blindly, the one who worshiped him, the one who idolized him, even he can realize that what they’re doing is wrong.

LeFou was Gaston’s biggest fan.  Completely in love with him, there’s nothing LeFou wouldn’t do.  No one loved Gaston as passionately as LeFou did.  No one clung to the idea of Gaston’s heroism like LeFou did.

But even LeFou, when confronted with what Gaston is, knew that what they were doing was wrong, and eventually turned away from him, saving Mrs. Potts’ life.

It’s a more hopeful outlook, that even the most close-minded and fanatical can change, that no one is too far gone to turn back.  I really like that idea, I really like the idea of redemption.

But with Howard Ashman being so instrumental in making the story what it is, it’s fitting that this is the movie in which they decided to bring the gay and queer themes out from obscure subtext and make them prominent, fearlessly facing the backlash they knew would come from the very people Howard Ashman felt ostracized by.

A company as universal as Disney would generally try to avoid taking sides in any political or moral divide.  The fact that they very obviously and proudly chose a side here is a beautiful tribute to Howard.  It’s his pain that made the story, it’s his struggles with society that inspired the Beast, and it’s his spirit that Disney was loyal to.

The rest of society turned its back on Howard, and everyone like him, but Disney showed here that they would not forget Howard Ashman, they would not forget that it’s because of him that Beauty and the Beast became such a massive success (it is the first ever animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture), and they would not forget the battle he fought and the pain he endured.

I mean, when you look at the story, when you see it for what it is, it’s impossible not to love it.  The heart of the story, the way Belle saves the Beast, the way she teaches him how to love himself, the way she teaches him that he’s worthy of love, is beautiful.  She teaches him to be vulnerable, she allows him to take comfort in her as she takes comfort in him.

And it begs the question, “What makes a man?”  And it encourages us to take a long, hard look at ourselves, at the way we see those we don’t understand.

Yeah, not Stockholm Syndrome, m’kay.  Don’t tarnish Howard Ashman’s memory by reducing his work to that.

When you live in Vegas…

… What do you do when you want to get away?

I mean, we already live in the tourism capital of the world.  I was born here.  I was raised here.  It’s nothing new to me.  Nothing special.

So Kazander and I were looking at places to do another stay-cation this year.  We considered the Luxor again, but honestly, that place has just gone so far downhill, neither of us wanted to go there again.

Which is sad.  I remember when it first opened, when I was a kid.  I loved that place.  I loved staying there whenever my parents did a stay-cation.  The first time Kazander and I stayed there, I was shocked at how bad it had gotten, but I was still nostalgic.

After the second time, though, even I had to admit that it wasn’t what we wanted.

Where, then, would we go?

He suggested the bustling metropolis of Laughlin (pronounced lof-lin, like in “loft”), NV, population, 8,000.

And I promptly laughed.

But then he said, “Well, they’ve got the river, and a couple of beaches, and jet skis and things.  It could be fun.”

Hmm, that’s actually a good point.

I’d driven through Laughlin a million times, but never actually stopped in the town.  I never gave it much thought.  It was just one more tiny little town in the middle of the desert.  A couple of casinos and a post office.

Big deal.

But the Colorado River is pretty cool, and I haven’t been to any part of the Colorado River since I was a kid.

So I looked it up.  And sure enough, there’s enough other stuff to do there to keep us entertained for a few days.

Who knew?

Hell yeah, actually.  I could definitely go for that.  It’s out in the middle of the desert, which I love, in a nice, climate-controlled room, which I love, literally right on the bank of the river, which I love.

Hell yeah.

So we made the reservations and drove out today.  We’re going back on Sunday.

And it just feels so damn good to get away.

Things are quickly reaching a boiling point with us living so close to his family.  I’ve been wanting to move out for years, but never really pressed the issue, because I don’t work, and that wasn’t fair to him.

Then, in the last year or so, I started pressing.  Because I need to get away from them.  I know myself well enough to know my patterns, and they’ve been pushing me and pushing me.  When I break, there will be no going back.

And his MIL and SIL (Mother-in-law and sister-in-law) have officially gotten me to my breaking point.

I have a friend, who used to be SIL’s friend, until he realized the kind of human being she is.  But she did introduce us, and we hit it off great.

I was hanging out with him the other day when he got close and said, “I have something I need to tell you.”

My curiosity was piqued.  “What is it?”

“SIL has been asking about you and Kazander.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like, she’s been asking if you’re into any kinky or freaky shit.”

At first, I brushed him off.  “She’s done that before.  She’s just bored and nosey.”

But the friend was not so easily assuaged.  “She wants to find dirt on you to take the spawn from you.”

“WHAT???”

“She and MIL want you out of the picture.  They want to find a reason to declare you an unfit mother.”

“She said that?”

“Not in those words, but she might as well have.”

He’s not known for lying or exaggerating, or drama-mongering, so I completely believe him.

“But they’d never want to take her from Kazander,” i protested.

“They think he’ll side with them.”

I started to laugh, then stopped, thinking back to all the times MIL just insisted that Kazander would side with her on different things, or agree with her, or take her (poor) advice, etc.

Yeah, she absolutely would think Kazander would side with her.

Holy fucking hell.

So I got home and told Kazander what was going on.  He was shocked, but dismissive, and that angered me.

And I mean, I could see where he was coming from.  He would never side with them over me, so there’s nothing they would ever be able to do.  They could talk to lawyers if they want, but I have no record, I don’t do drugs, I volunteer with homeless veterans, I’m a total, upstanding citizen and all that jazz.  I mean, there’s not a lot they could use.  They’d have to do some serious digging to find anything remotely close, and he pointed out that they’re not intelligent or creative enough for that.

Okay, so cool, I’m in no immediate danger of losing my child.

That’s not the whole point, though.

Because we are living in an environment where people are conspiring behind my back to take my daughter from me.  Whether or not they can succeed is irrelevant.  I don’t want to be around that, and I don’t want my daughter around that.

That’s toxic.

So I told Kazander, “We need to move.”

He scoffed.  “We’re not going to move.  They can’t do anything.  There’s no point.”

“I don’t care if they can’t do anything.  It’s the fact that they want to do something!”

But he remained dismissive.  Even after I said, “Either we need to move out, or I do.”

So I started looking at options.

I wasn’t going to play tug-of-war with my child.  If they want her so bad that they’re willing to destroy her entire world, then fine.  They can have her.  Losing one parent would devastate her, but if Kazander’s family went through with this, she would either lose both parents (if his MIL and SIL won), or every member of her extended family (if he and I won).

That would hurt her so much more.  God, that would crush her.  I don’t think she could easily recover from that.  It’s been so central to her whole world, her whole existence, ever since she was born.

God… That would… That would just kill her.

I could never let that happen to her.

And I have faith in my daughter.  I have faith in the way I raised her.  I have faith that, even if she’s brought up around those pathetic, terrible, small people, she will know the truth as she gets older.

It was Sounder who suggested another tactic, one that would keep my family together.

So I talked to Kazander again.  I told him I wanted to move out.

He said, “What if I want to stay?”

I shrugged.  “Then you can stay.”

That angered him a bit.  “You’d break up with me over that?”

“Over your family having ridiculous amounts of control over us?  Over you choosing them and that control over me and your daughter?  Yes the fuck I would.”

So we agreed on a six-month trial run.  We’ll get an apartment for six months, and then reassess and decide if living away from them is worth the inconvenience of not having them there.

And of course we won’t be going far.  The family is still so important to the spawn, so we’d absolutely bring her over 2 or 3 times a week to spend time with them, or even spend the night once in awhile.  But she won’t be spending weeks with them anymore.  I told Kazander, in no uncertain terms, that’s coming to an end.

I want to be moved out by the time the spawn starts school.  So I’m looking at apartments and Kazander is talking to his dad about how he’s going to manage the finances without living there.  It can be done.

It will be done.  Because staying there, keeping the status quo, is not an option anymore.

I’m stressed.  All the time.

I’m on edge.  All the time.

I’m short-tempered and irritated.  All the time.

I can’t do this anymore.  And I hated having to give him the ultimatum, but I was literally at a point where it was either that, or I would have to walk away.  I’m not going to live in a place where people conspire to take my family from me.

It’s just not happening.

So due to the financial burden that moving out will be, we decided not to go to Cancun, as we’d planned in October.  We’d need that for moving costs and rent.

But Kazander said, “With us not going, you really just need to get away for a few days.  You need to get out of the house.”

Yeah, I really did.

Okay, so Kazander and I have very different ideas of a perfect vacation accommodation.  I want a nice room.  I want a suite.  I want… not crazy expensive, but definitely not Motel 6.  At least 3 stars.

Kazander hates paying more than he absolutely has to for a room.  He’d do Motel 6’s the entire way.

And I get where he’s coming from.  When we go on vacation, we have a budget.  He’d rather spend the money on activities and cool things to do than the room.  Where I would rather do cheap or free activities and be comfortable in the room.

So we’ve always compromised, and met in the middle.

Not this time.

We’re staying 4 nights, in a casino that has two separate kinds of suites.  The second-tier suite, and the first-tier suites.  He said we could get the top-tier suite.

You guys don’t understand.  He has never agreed to anything even remotely like that, much less offer it himself.  I was blown away.

And I appreciated the hell out of that.  So I looked on the casino’s website, juggled some things around, combined a couple of promo packages, and found something that was $300 cheaper (I’m really, really good at doing that.  I’m good at finding deals when I need to).

We’ll stay the first two nights, tonight and tomorrow, in the second tier suite.  Then, on Friday, we’ll check out of that room and into the top-tier suite, where we’ll spend Friday night and Saturday night.

After him going so far as to give me the best suite in the hotel, I’m more than happy to have the second best for two nights to save him some money.  It’s definitely worth the minor inconvenience of checking out and then checking back in.  And the packages I combined come with some nice benefits and coupons that save us even more money on food and activities.  So all in all, we’re looking at saving about $500.

Hell yeah, I’ll take the second tier suite for that.

So we drove out today, checked in, and walked up to our room.

And the room isn’t bad.  I mean, you have to understand, it’s Laughlin.  This is not Vegas.  This is not even close to Vegas.  The casino resort we’re staying in is, according to what I read, the nicest one in Laughlin.

…… That doesn’t really say much for Laughlin, m’kay.

Without the promo, after taxes and fees, the second tier suite would have cost $5 more than the pyramid suite at the Luxor for the same nights.  And it’s about that quality, just without the big tub that the Luxor suite had.  Or without the 12 years of dust hanging from the air conditioning vent that the Luxor suite had.

I mean, it balances out.

Still, kinda disappointing when you’re under the impression these are the “elite” rooms offered.

But it’s nice, it’s comfortable, we had a fantastic view of the sunset from our room, and the river is beautiful, and brings back so many memories.  We’re going on a river cruise, we’re going to one of the beaches, we’re thinking about renting jet skis, I mean, it’ll be a really awesome stay.

 

Sounder is coming out this weekend, too, to spend some time with us.  And honestly, both Sounder and Kazander are doubtful, but I promise, promise, promise that my reason for wanting him to come out to spend time with us is not to play, but to just hang out.

Kazander and Sounder are complete opposites in a lot of ways, but they’re almost eerily alike in other ways, especially regarding their senses of humor.  I think they’d get along really well.

And my dream is to have all of us live together one day.  Sounder and Kazander will have to spend way more time with each other than the occasional drink at a bar or the occasional cock in Sounder’s mouth to find out if that’s a possibility or not.

These are two very strong personalities, in two very strong men.  It could turn out wonderfully, or it could turn out badly.  I’ve had enough tense roommate situations to know that I don’t want to jump in to one again, without at least an idea of what we can expect and how we can all put in concentrated effort to make it work.

The only way to be able to make any sort of educated prediction about that is to have them spend more time together.

That’s why I want Sounder to come out.  Not to play.

Although, of course, while we’re in the room, I’ll expect him to wear girls’ clothes.  I mean, that’s just a given.  He should be wearing girls’ clothes 24/7 when he’s not in public, anyway.  Obviously he’ll wear it here, too.

And I mean, should the opportunity for play present itself, I won’t stop it.  As I told Sounder earlier today, I will never pass up the opportunity to put a cock inside him.

But even if we do play, that’ll just be a small, short part of the evening.  That’s not going to be the bulk of our interactions while he’s here.  For the most part, it’ll just be chill, seriously just innocent hanging out.

So yeah, y’all…. I am beyond looking forward to the next few days.

And for someone who lives in Vegas, who has done the “Vegas tourist” thing over and over and over again, this is a welcome change.  Hell, this might actually turn out to be my new favorite stay-cation place.  Who knew?

Kazander often has good ideas, but he hit it way out of the park with this one.  That was just sheer fucking brilliance.

Who would’ve guessed, Laughlin?