I don’t like your truck

I had to rent a pickup truck last month. I needed to haul some lumber and while I can fit a surprising number of pressure-treated 2×12’s into my Prius, its not a surprising enough number to finish my project. I grew up rural. I know trucks well enough to know what to expect. I expected four wheels, a nice roomy bed in the back, and an engine to get them around.

In the back of my mind, I knew that’s not really how they do trucks anymore, but it wasn’t until I reached the rental car lot that I realized how irritatingly off base my expectations were. It was a small lot on the edges of town and they had three pickup trucks to choose from. They all had essentially the same features: a massive double cab with too many seats, air conditioning, bluetooth enabled radios, other modern frills and fripperies… and a six foot bed.

The lumber I had ordered was eight.

I didn’t need a bluetooth enabled radio. I didn’t need room for five people. I didn’t need air conditioning (it had windows, after all). I didn’t need seat heaters or an electric key fob or a backup camera or any of the crap in the cab. I needed eight feet of truck bed.

“How?” I wondered to myself. “How can a vehicle be simultaneously too big AND too small!?!”

Sighing with irritation but without a better option, I took it. Clambering into the driver’s seat, I flashed back to my first time driving a pickup.

I was twelve and a horse girl, like you do when you grow up rural. Horses eat hay so once a year or so we had to go get it. Hay is cheaper when you go get the bales in the field instead of having them brought to you so that’s what we did. As the youngest (and the shortest and the weakest), my job was to keep the truck moving, slow and steady, as everyone else shifted bales up to the tailgate, then mom tetrised them up, four hight and five deep into the bed. I couldn’t reach the pedals without tying 2×4’s to my feet, and that’s with sitting on the very front edge of the seat. Once we had as many bales as we could wedge in back there, I clambered over the front seats to share the two tiny seats with my brother, several beat up tool bags, and a layer of gloves, hats, candy wrappers, receipts, shop rags, and other detritus I find inseparable from a working vehicle.

That truck features vividly in my memories of childhood. It hauled fence posts, heavy machinery, ran the plow in the winter, and brought home at least a dozen Christmas trees before it went to the big racetrack in the sky. It was white and had a hydraulic lift on it. It was scratched, dented, filthy, and beautiful. It was made to haul stuff, not people, and it did it’s job exceptionally well.

I felt the same sense of smallness in this chonky, shiny rental, but without the accompanying comfort. It should have smelled like degreaser and sweat. It should have had room in the bed for everything I needed. It should have been easier to get into. I only ever drove that truck a few times, but riding in it over and over made it comfortable. This one, so much bigger than it needed to be, and yet not big enough for what I needed, didn’t feel right.

Another truck that looms large in my childhood memories was older, but came along a few years later. With a cab even more spartan than the work truck, it got cold in the winter and hot in the summer. The shifter must have been a solid foot or so long and emerged from bare steel to sit directly between my knees whenever we had a second passenger. My short legs meant I always wound up (still do) in the smallest seat, the shortest one, the one with the least room in any dimension, and in that big old Clifford-red ford, that meant the center of the bench seat with one foot in the driver’s side footwell and the other in the passenger side.

The red ford became my brother’s primary ride, and part of the deal was giving me one to school every day. It was how we got to friend’s homes, and how we got them to the creek on hot summer days. This truck was all bed, no cab. Whoever he had a crush on got to sit in the front and the rest of us rode in the back, hot wind whipping past us, each bump in the road jostling us, giggling, back and forth.

Neither of these trucks had a backup camera. You had to learn where your ass was and try to keep it where it belonged, or get a friend to stand in your rear view and wave you back and forth as you wiggled your way back into wherever you needed to be.

Which is good, because that backup camera I mentioned earlier, the one on my fancy new rental? Yeah…. It’s mounted on the tailgate. Which is great! Unless the bed is too short to hold your lumber, and the tailgate is pointed at the ground.

The one and only time I needed to back up that stupid truck, the singular moment when a camera might have been a handy gadget, it was useless. It would have been better if it hadn’t been there are all, considering how distracting it was to have the screen tugging at the edges of my vision while, as I learned to do 23 years ago, someone stood in my rear view and waved me in.

Before this, I already had some strong opinions on people who drive pristine pickups. I feel like I’ve been seeing them everywhere: glistening late model 4x4s with lift packages and exhaust pipes in improbable places. My uncle joined the club some years go with a precious baby that runs on batteries as much as fuel, comes with a push start and an app, has every possible climate control and comfort option in the massive cab…. And hauls a boat twice a year. The driver’s hatred for millennials is probably the heaviest cargo it’ll every carry and god forbid it get a scratch.

These people, folks who value the appearance of physical labor, but don’t actually perform any, fall into the same category as people I call “cowboys with no cows.” Posers who adopt the trappings of people who actually work for a living, claiming the music, the style, the stuff, but none of the hardships, annoy me. There’s a reason cowboy boots have a heel. There’s a reason to drive what is essentially a big-ass wheelbarrow. There’s a reason to have a massive and powerful engine. Those reasons outweigh environmental damage, the space they take up, and some discomfort, but without them, these sorts of things are just a big old fuck you to everyone else. And to try to shoehorn a monster truck into a city lifestyle is just plain stupid.

I like hybrid vehicles, they’re better than the alternative. I like climate control, though opening a window is still the OG AC. I like having the means to build and move and shape, which means I like that trucks exist. And honestly, I probably like your truck, because if you’ve met me and you have a truck, you’re probably the kind of person who has it for a reason.

But I’ve been keeping an eye out, since my rental, and fuck me if I don’t see an awful lot of special snowflake pick trucks whose only serious cargo is the driver’s ego. If that one is yours, my friend I can tell you this: I don’t like your truck.

The End of the World

Last month I made a pilgrimage. It wasn’t spiritual, or at least, any more or less spiritual than any other travel for me. But it took me to a temple in a remote, dense jungle, and for a half a moment, it connected me to times past and future.

The Mayan ruins of Ek’ Balam are not well known. After the crowds at Chichen Itza, the Zona Arqueológica de Ek Balam was an oasis in the jungle. A low wall surrounds over 20 acres, includes a number of excavated structures, and hides even more still undiscovered.

It was the end of a long day. We’d been up since five thirty and wouldn’t be home until seven or eight. It was our last stop of the day so we already had a great deal of background on the Mayan Empire, its reach, and its eventual fall.

I am a lone wander, on occasion. I like to linger at my own pace, moving on quickly from things that don’t interest me and contemplating those that do. Guided tours, however, rarely offer that flexibility. I chose one that offered free time at each location, and for just a moment, I really got some.

We had wandered the city of Chicken Itza, swum in the cool green waters of cenote Hubiku, and been walked around the discovered perimeter of Ek’ Balam. We stumbled on an active archaeological dig and got nervous at some suspicious sounds from a not distant enough for comfort distance. And in the last few minutes before heading back home, I took myself to the edge of an ancient platform to sit, my legs dangling over the edge, a twenty foot drop into dense jungle below me, and contemplate.

Being high up gave me a sense of safety, so when the jungle rustled and groaned, instead of shrinking away in fear, I searched for the source of the sounds. I saw the ubiquitous lizards, some little scuttlers and a few big old iguanas, climbing trees in search of food and mates. I saw squirrels with their fluffy tails hopping about, being squirrelly. Far above, local birds of prey circled. And beneath my feet, a colorful assortment of plastic bottles, wrappers, and other human trash.

In answer to the question “Why did the city die?” Our guide gave us depressingly familiar answers. Overpopulation. Pollution. War. History repeats itself.

Which is why I almost laughed out loud to myself when I first noticed the trash. A bitter laugh. Where has humanity not touched? Corpses litter the highest mountains and the wasted husks of our food and drink sink to the bottom of the deepest oceans.

Can we ever learn from the lessons of the past? Certainly. Will we? I think not.

We have been warned. The warnings are old, ancient, and more insistent every day. Not content to poison our water, we have now belched toxic waste into the air, filled vast oceans with unkillable plastics of every size and shape, ripped mountains to powder and ground thousands of people under the churning wheels of industry. Corporations externalize the cost of picking up after themselves into debts that we pay in the currency of our lungs, our drinking water, our cancerous growths, and our guilt.

As a little girl of about ten or eleven, I once asked my dad why the economy needed to grow. (My mom listened to NPR a lot.) He replied that it needed to keep up with people having children. As the population grows, so does the economy need to grow, to keep up.

Even then that didn’t make much sense to me. I couldn’t quite figure out why but it has since become obvious. The world is finite. We cannot grow indefinitely, kids or not, and expect the planet to supply our needs. We have made some incredible technological leaps that have staved off the end, but they have also given us a false sense of our own ability to mitigate.

More accurately, perhaps, it has given us a false sense of when and how much to mitigate. We allow tourists to lug single use bottles into the heart of the jungle and when they toss them over the edges of centuries old structures, structures that themselves stand mute witness to the inevitable consequences of exactly that behavior, we shrug and get back in the van.

I only sat on the edge of that wall for a few minutes. Just long enough to tap out a few quotes. I wanted to remember what it felt like to feel awe, anger, despair, all at once, all only enough to squeeze out a rueful laugh.

I’ll spare you, my beloved reader, from the end of this train of thought. I do think it’s possible that things will turn around. My generation cares more than the one before, and the ones after are downright pissed about it. Vegetarianism and teetotaling is rising in popularity, as is a movement to hold corporations accountable for their shitty single use packaging and over reliance on unbreakable plastics.

There is hope. It can be hard to see, sometimes, but there is. Even in the worst case scenarios… the world has been through an awful lot and look where she’s come. She’ll be ok. Eventually.

Which Are You?

Imagine with me, if you will: you’re going to the grocery store. You have a long list, it’s Friday afternoon, and you’re greeted by an irritatingly full parking lot. You spot an empty space. As you round the corner to pull in, you are greeted with… The Stray Cart. One wheel is popped up onto the curb to keep it from rolling away into traffic but it’s butt is in your way, much as you are now in the way of other shoppers. This onerous chore, already packed into a busy day, just got worse. And why?

Because someone else’s time is more important than yours.

Shopping carts are a privately owned community resource. You won’t be arrested, fined, or even shamed really for leaving your cart in a neighboring parking spot, but putting it back is the right thing to do, a helpful thing to do, and a low effort thing to do. Because of this peculiar combination of features, returning a cart makes an interesting litmus test, dividing people into the majority group: those who default to helping others, and the minority: those who can’t be bothered.

I have always been the kind of person who puts their cart away. As a child shopping with the family, I or my brother took on the task, not even really realizing there was the option not to. As a young adult with small shopping, I left my cart at the door and walked my bags to my car (or all the way home, for that chunk of time broke me’s car was busted). Now, I make it a point of walking my cart, and others if I walk past them, back to where they belong. It has become as much about completing tasks and putting things in order as about helping others.

I think about this every time I go grocery shopping. I think about the people who day in and day out do the little things to make the lives around them easier. Better. I think about the people who choose not to complete this incredibly simple, easy task and I wonder why. I wonder what the rest of their life looks like. I wonder if I have any cart-leavers in my life that I don’t know about. And I feel a little smugness, and a little solidarity, with everyone else walking their carts across the lot and back to the door.

Loving Presence – A Small Ask

Perplexed. Perplexed is the emotion with which I currently struggle, and I’ll tell you why.

Earlier today I welcomed a new friend into my apartment. I lit candles, dimmed the lights, applied lipstick and powder and lingerie, and set the kettle on.

He arrived, stepping through the door as I settled a red velvet robe on my shoulders. I greeted him with a smile.

The next half hour is a bit of a blur. Shoes off, coat hung on a hook, envelope set on the bar, body directly into the shower. Every step abrupt. He’s nervous, I think to myself. It’s not unusual for someone with nervous energy to rush from one task to the next, but once we sit and have time to chat, the nerves will melt away, as they always do, into pleasant conversation, and on into an embrace and those things that follow.

He sat very close. Not unusual. He asked me about my family origins. Not unusual. He reached over to caress my hair. Not unusual, but awfully soon for such an intimate gesture. All of forty five seconds had elapsed.

He asked me what I do, other than this. Not unusual, if awkwardly worded. “I read a lot” I said as he moved my robe to expose more cleavage. Not…. Unusual? But not common. “Mostly for school”

“What are you studying in school?” The question may not be unusal, but that after each one, he shifts his gaze away from mine. Hands now on my thighs, tugging at the tie of my robe. Not unusual in itself, but it’s been barely two minutes since we sat down together and such entitlement so soon is off-putting.

“Is everything all right?” I ask, teasing. “I generally prefer to warm up to new friends and I find it difficult to talk and touch at the same time.”

For those of you who have met me, you know there is both a warming up period, and a reward for it. For those of you who have not met me, now you know. In the case of this gentleman, that reward is now lost forever.

“You work with computers. Do you ever find that the rigid logic of computer language effects your interactions with people?”

At first I thought he was offering an example. He turned 90 degrees to me, planted his feet on the floor, and began “this isn’t working out. This between you and me, it’s just not working.” I waited for him to illustrate the point. I waited in vain. “I’ve been here for half an hour. If I leave now and let you keep half the donation, does that seem fair to you?”

In stark contrast to the rest of that time, this moment stuck with me. I felt my throat, hot. My heart pounding. My hands shaking. I’ve never had this happen before. I don’t know what my feelings are, much less whether that seems fair or not. Take a deep breath. I think I feel sad? Rejected? But also indignant. No one else has ever put me in this position and I am not prepared. Do I think it’s fair? No, I don’t think so.

“I don’t feel like I’ve misrepresented myself.”

“There’s no way I could have know you would force me into conversation like this. I have 25 Oks on p411 and what you’re doing is unusual. I’ve never had anyone do this before.”

“Do you not like to talk to people before you have sex with them?”

“Not like this”

I have nothing to say

“Think of it rationally. You get to keep half.”

“I don’t want to do that, I want to take a moment to see how I feel.”

“It’s fair. You get half.”

I have no time to think, or feel. He’s impatient. He’s not interested in what I think, only in me agreeing.

“You know what? Fine. Go get dressed.”

I sipped tea while he gathered his belongings, marveling to myself at my luck. I’ve only once before had anyone make it through screening, only to screen themselves out after arrival. On that occasion, I had to force him to leave, stony faced, carefully controlled anger simmering. All I had to do this time was ask him to see me as a person before he saw me as nothing more than a mindless whore and he showed himself out.

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out. Would you like a hug?”

I’m not sure whether what I saw on his face was horror or incredulity, but he declined. It’s a petty pleasure, but I enjoyed his struggle with my heavy door.

It is difficult not to harbor ill will. The phrase “the trash takes itself out” keeps recurring to me but I will always give people the benefit of the doubt. Most providers are accommodating. We are in customer service and giving our clients what they want is a critical part of that service. Many of my colleagues in fact prefer to skip the small talk and put on their show, leaving the difficult work of feedback for people in their intimate personal circles. That makes sense, and I understand it. What I don’t understand is how someone came to me expecting that, and then left when they didn’t get it.

Had this happened three or four years ago, I likely would have folded. It’s happened before. The pulling, the grabbing, skipping the moment of connection that precedes something more. Then the performance, acceptable to some, transparent to others, humiliating for me. All fake because there’s nothing real on which to build, despite my best efforts.

A core virtue of an excellent entertainer is timing. Tension and the release of it. Trust, respect, pleasure, arousal, climax, release, warmth. These things have their time and their order. You cannot skip one and expect the next to be as good. In trying to force the timing, today’s new friend lost it all. He never trusted, failed to respect, and missed out on the rewards.

I’ve spent all afternoon texting and talking with friends, industry and not. I dislike rejection and needed support. There’s selection bias, of course; my friends love and respect me, but the universal response was disgust. Disbelief. Horror. Bewilderment. Who would put up a thousand dollars only to be deterred by someone asking “See me. See my humanity first and then my full erotic power will come, pounding, in waves on your shore. Only first: see me.”

Today, I verbalized a small boundary that represented a big ask. Seeing someone is no small thing. People practice for years and still have trouble. I have a long way to go before I can do it with ease. But some people don’t even want to try. And in my asking, in my insistence on my humanity, it turned him off, and he left.

I Can’t Even

I know it’s been a while since I updated regularly. I feel an upswing of inspiration and motivation on its way. I do apologize that my first post after a long silence is an angry rant but I do hope it’s taken in the way it’s intended: not as something that makes me hate anything or anyone but as an astonished, incredulous venting of what, after a week or so of telling the story to friends, has given me some great material. the “Too Long; Didn’t Read” summary is that someone tried to mansplain my clitoris to me and did it in the absolute dumbest way possible so I fired him. Sigh. I love dudes but…


Not all men suck, but when they do, they all suck the same way.

When I decided to start offering full service again, I knew a few folks who had a middle ground between sensual massage and piv sex. I thought about it, and decided against it. Receiving pleasure is much more emotionally taxing for me than giving pleasure. My entire body is extremely sensitive and can only handle so much in any given period of time and my mind and heart are far more interested in doing than being done to. So, instead of offering a middle ground session at a lower rate, I decided that that reciprocal touch that includes everything except would simply have to fall under the umbrella of reciprocal touch that includes everything. I know there are people who would see this as paying more for less, but that is a pretty clear sign that our attitudes about sex don’t match up well. Oral sex, digital sex, its all still sex and it all takes it out of me, physically, emotionally, etc.

Given everything I’ve written and said and decided regarding oral sex in fbsm, enter Patrick.

It started in his first form submission. His comment made it clear that he was looking for mutual masturbation in a massage setting. I replied with a little blurb acknowledging the request but denying it, including an excerpt from the blog post I wrote about it. Over the next dozen emails, he went back and forth between agreeing to FBSM and that my limits were fine, to being ‘confused’ about my definitions of FBSM, to finally insisting that he could give me so much pleasure if only I let him and it would make his fantasy so much better. Throughout all of this I am getting less and less opaque, making it very clear what he should do moving forward: either book a more expansive session or chill the freak out and let me do what I do best.

A this point, I should have known better. No one needs this much explaining. No one reasonable, anyway. People with head injuries and English as their second language have an easier time navigating my boundaries and needs than this guy! But I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and I felt that it *could* go really well for him and worst case scenario for me he gets handier than I like and I ave to redirect.

So Patrick and I are in my apartment, slowly undressing, kissing, exchanging pleasantries, getting ready for some table time, and he brings it up again. Not in a ‘you should change your mind’ kind of way but in a ‘if you only listened to me you would understand that you’re wrong about your own clitoris’ kind of way.

It’s an intimate scene. I’m undressed and he’s down to shorts, we’re embracing, kissing, ready to start a lovely, luscious sensual massage in a few moments, if only he will stop talking. I am irritated in several ways by the arrogance of this person who kisses like a wet limpet and never stops talking to listen, who insists on stifling my voice with unskilled and indelicate face mushing, and who now has brought up a topic that had been set aside. Cue a spike in my blood pressure.

Guys? Guys. This guy tried to mansplain my own. clitoris. to me. Like, wft? You can fuck right off, at that point bro.

His thought was that *very gentle* clitoral stimulus can’t possibly be in the same category as penis in vagina sex. And he’s not *entirely* wrong; a lovely little tease can be a nice interlude and is welcome under the right circumstances. But he is assuming 1: that he has a magic face that is capable of gentle pleasure, 2: that what I mean by ‘wear and tear’ on my body is confined to literal physical damage, 3: that I don’t understand that he can’t keep an erection in a condom long enough to have PIV sex and so 4: he shouldn’t have to book a FS session, 5: that oral sex isn’t sex, and 6: that he isn’t asking for free extras and it doesn’t make him look real cheap.

And I would have happily explained this to him if I got more than a few words out at a time. It’s as if this guy doesn’t know that I spend most of my life thinking about, learning about, and catering to cocks of various sizes, styles, tensile strengths, and functionalities. As if I didn’t understand that age and ailment can make it harder to hold onto an erection. As if I haven’t put any thought into the decisions I make. As if I don’t already know exactly how I feel about receiving oral. None of what I do is arbitrary and here comes this brick wall with a mouth spouting nonsense and completely ignoring all attempts at communication from me.

So I kicked him out. For the first time ever in my six years as an entertainer, satisfier, erotic specialist, and tolerant person in general, I kicked someone out mid session.

I don’t get that pissed off that often. Especially when I empathize with the guy. It sucks to reach a point where an orgasm takes so much time and energy to achieve that they can only come few and far between. This is an expensive hobby and of course you want to get a satisfying experience for your money. That’s fine and I don’t mind at all when people feel that way, or even when they ask once or twice, or hint at it, or try to bribe me, or whatever. What pissed me off this time was the combination of me *knowing* that his jackassery was coming but hoping I’d be wrong, and having such an incredibly personal experience dismissed as if I simply didn’t understand my own. Fucking. Clitoris.

Of course I gave him his money back. I’m sure many folks would say I didn’t have to and I did regret it the one and only other time I left my fee behind, but it was clear that it was necessary this time. I hold myself to an unreasonably high standard in these matters and I wasn’t about to let this person have any hold over me.

I am proud of my behavior. Furious as I was, I simply put on a robe and said nothing. Well, nearly nothing, I caved a few times and tried to engage in further discussion but I have been in these arguments before; every word I say is a weapon in his arsenal. Plus I only got a few words out before he reminded me why I was kicking him out. He asked me out to lunch, to talk over a cup of coffee, as if I wanted to let him continue to explain to me that I just didn’t understand and interrupt me every time I started a new word. I would rather eat dirt.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to eat dirt, I got to sit on my couch and listen to my lovely music, relax, wait for Adelle to come over so I could vent and we could snuggle, text my partner and my assistant to vent, and write this long angry essay about someone who would be right at home on the US Senate.

I just… It’s hard to believe, in some ways. I could *feel* my face getting red and hot, my pulse starting to race, my voice starting to shake, in the beginning of the conversation. Every time he interrupted me it was just fuel on the fire. A perceptive human who is interested in what other people have to say can see those logarithmic increases. I can see them. He couldn’t.

He apologized, of course, and I’m sure he regretted whatever it was that made me kick him out, and of course I forgive him for his mistake, but forgiveness doesn’t magically erase the adrenaline. With 45 minutes left to get him on the table, off the table, showered, and out, I wasn’t about to give the worst, most angry, half assed massage ever. I love my work and I’d like to keep loving it. Continuing a session after something like that is a good way to make me hate my work.

Post Script. It’s been a week and I’ve had time to both cool down and get angry all over again a few times. I’ve been through the stages of bad behavior: disbelief, anger, incredulity, anger again, resignation, and as of the publication of this post, release. I have received a few follow up emails, all equally as tone deaf as the first. This guy thinks it was his words that pissed me off, haha! But I’m finally at my computer long enough to block his email address and, with luck, I will never be reminded of him again. And I still don’t regret giving him his money back. I wouldn’t have regretted keeping it, and I was well within my rights to do so, but this is someone who made a fuss about 330 being an odd number and he had to go get change at the coffee shop. Tone. Deaf. Ha!

In the week between, I have met and re-met incredible people. The vast majority of people I meet are fantastic, or at least only odd, and I rarely have to deal with someone so boorish. Most of the time my darling clients are kind and gentle, generous, thoughtful, intelligent, bearing gifts and charm, grace and appreciation. As time goes by and this incident recedes into the realm of ‘funny stories I get to tell at the right kinds of parties’ bad behavior will take up less and less of my mental space to make room for my beloveds, the sweet gentlemen who, as always, make my life more pleasurable and more interesting.

Here’s to listening to my gut more often, haha!