Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Author: Innocent Loverboy (Page 1 of 4)

Wrap

Some time around 6am, I have a dream about my pet millipede, Big, who died when I was in my teens. He’s not actually in it; I’m singing a song to the tune of something like one of the more melodic numbers from Hamilton. It goes something like:

Look at him
So smooth, so round
Look at him
So sleek, so sound
(I want to see)
Look at him
So tough, so cool
(I have to see, just let me see)
Look at him
Just to hold him
To hold him once more…

I wake up and, not for the first time, I realise that I am crying.

I don’t know why I’m crying. I have nightmares about being cheated on; they make me cry. I have half-dreams-in-my-naps about odd sexual situations; they make me horny. I don’t appear to have any others. Maybe I do – I just don’t remember them. There’s no way of knowing, is there, unless someone invents a video dream recorder?

Girlfriend wakes up to the sound of me crying. I can’t explain exactly why I’m crying. I don’t know myself. Big was a good millipede. He lived a long and happy life, and died of old age. I took very good care of him (and I’m still looking for the only extant photo of us, looking at each other. I know it exists somewhere.); he’s not someone I should be sad about.

She asks; I can’t explain. She rolls over and wraps an arm around me. I cry until I can’t any more. Tears rolling down my cheeks, soaking my pillow. I’m lying there, my duvet half off, some of me hot, some of me cold. Paroxysms of grief, perhaps, or just the fact that my dream was set to music. Sad music makes me cry.

Her arm doesn’t move. She doesn’t say a thing. She just lets me cry while she holds me.

I feel a little better that I’ve got someone holding me. I go back to sleep, and for a while when I wake up a few hours later, I barely remember my sad dream at all.

We have been together for eight years. It was our anniversary yesterday (and we had a good day, for what it is worth). And yet I am still discovering things about her that I had forgotten. The fact that I fell asleep in her arms is one of them.

She may be many things, but one of them is a source of comfort. And, when that counts, it counts for so much.

The Wisdom of Memories

Q: What do you do when you don’t feel inspired?
A: I think about what the 15-year-old version of me needed. And I write about that. It’s a writing prompt that always works for me.

Rupi Kaur

Dear fifteen-year-old me,

It’s now twenty years later and, although I’m aware you don’t think you’ll live this long, I can assure you that you are very much still alive and in your mid-30s. There have, in the past couple of decades, been at least three global pandemics, all of which you’ll survive, despite being frontline medical staff at the height of one of them. I have some advice to give you, which I hope you can pass on to your future self, so keep this letter safe.

First and foremost, it is all right to be interested in sex. Most people are, at your age. While I respect the fact that you don’t masturbate (although I can assure you that you will), I also need to assure you that the ways your sexual identity is manifesting are not odd, unhygienic, or perverse. It’s also not illegal to be watching soft porn, although you think it is.

I’m not going to say something nebulous like “embrace the fact that you are a sexual being”, but you should at least accept it. Your sexuality will become a big part of your identity in the future, but if you’re not comfortable about it now, that’s fine. Be more chill about the whole thing.

You are never going to get over the crush you have now. Not really. You will fall in love again, faster and harder and more desperately than you have ever thought possible. Sometimes these people will reciprocate. Nevertheless, the way this crush pans out will hang over you, like the faint, uneasy smudge of a mistake. I’m so sorry about how it happens, but for the record, maybe it’s best not to ask her out.

When you are sixteen, someone you have only spoken to once will add you as a friend on MSN. She did this because she fancies you. You need to appear approachable and available beyond a vague “oh yes, I remember you.” If you figure out how to do this, let me know.

At your age, most girls want “a boyfriend”, and it doesn’t matter who it is. Your weird friend whose name is evocative of lights in the sky will be dating soon, and everyone will wonder how or why. You will pine, but never take a chance, given how your current crush is going to play out. Future girlfriends are going to tell you how attentive and considerate you are. It’s hard to take a compliment, but however you approach things now, try to be a good boyfriend. You probably will.

Your first kiss will be awkward and messy, and take you completely by surprise. The first time you have sex, you will hardly feel a thing, and it’s only during your second time that you realise how good it feels.

You will never feel closer to death than the first time you get your heart broken. It will happen again, and again, and every time it tears you into little pieces. Nobody else really understands how much of yourself you invest in romantic relationships, and how much it hurts when they pull away. You’ll be told, over and over again, that none of this is your fault, but you’ll always feel like it is. Even at thirty-five, you’re still trying to puzzle out what you did wrong.

You will take some risks, but much less than you’d like. When you’re seventeen, you’ll go to a community event you like so much that you’ll still be a part of that community for over a decade. At eighteen, go to Africa. It seems foolhardy to do so, but you’ll look back years later and be glad you did. When you’re nineteen, you’ll find solace in music and the companionship of an organisation you’re already in. Embrace every second. DON’T GO HOME EARLY – you’ll feel like you’ve missed something.

I have some advice for the future you that you may wish to remember, as well.

At seventeen, you will have a happy holiday that ends in catastrophe. Don’t do anything stupid, don’t assume everything is fine because sleep is a cure-all. But, most importantly, if some accusations against you are false, don’t say they are true because it’s easy to do so. You are never going to recover from this if you just lie back and take it.

At eighteen, you will figure out that your girlfriend is cheating on you months before she tells you. Ask her directly. Keeping it aside on the idea that she will realise she really loves you will not help at all.

At nineteen, you will wave happily to the girl you fancy at university for the last time. You will never see her again. You’ll never know where she went or what happened to her. Ask her for her MSN address.

At twenty-five, don’t ask your girlfriend to marry you by presenting her with a ring. She is under the impression that you get engaged and then go and buy a ring. You’ve never heard this of concept before, but that’s the concept she has. Never mind that you went to Bath specifically to buy it for her. Don’t do it.

At twenty-seven, you will start to question your deeply-held belief that love solves everything, even relationships that have turned sour. Tell someone something, sooner rather than later. Talk to Lady Pandorah, even. The girl who broke your heart at sixteen will also give you some sage advice. Listen to her.

At thirty-three, you will have a large accident. Use the resulting time off to re-evaluate what you really want. Working towards it will eventually yield rewards, even if it seems fruitless initially.

But finally, fifteen-year-old me, I have something very important to say, and I want you to listen.

You are under the impression, now, that you are hated. You have often felt worthless and under-appreciated – an older child eclipsed by a younger sibling, an accessory friend who’s part of the group but not really needed, an easy target for mockery and ridicule at school but not really a person in your own right. Even in your later years, you will think about yourself in such a way. You’re coming home to cry every day and you’re beginning to wonder if suicide is the end point. You don’t know how to do it painlessly, but you’re starting to think about it.

In the end, you won’t do it, and your one attempt won’t work. In fact, you know it’s not going to work before you try. It’s mostly for show, and nobody sees you anyway.

In some says, you will never achieve true self-acceptance. But if you take this advice that I’ve given you above, maybe there will be less “what-ifs” and crippling self-doubt in you as you grow. If you don’t do what I did – even though I know that you will – then there will be other memories. Maybe some good, maybe some bad. But perhaps even more exciting ones. You are waiting, constantly, for something huge to happen; every day you are disappointed that it doesn’t.

But you can be the catalyst for that change. I know you don’t know how. But start by learning to play the guitar, at least.

And I’d like you to do something for thirty-five-year-old me.

You are currently aware of the name of a soft porn sex comedy, possibly French, that regularly airs on Exotica Erotica. It’s got a major-general in it and a butler named Albert. You’ve never seen it in its entirety, but you know the one I’m talking about.

Write its name down. It’s driving the older you crazy trying to remember.

And now for the “awful self-promotion” bit…

October rolls around like the windy, leafy beast that it is, and that heralds both the arrival of terrible, laughable, but nevertheless necessary Hallowe’en nicknames on Twitter (mine is forthcoming…) and the nominations/voting processes of not one, but two lists of top sex bloggers.

I’ve never actually been on every edition of top sex blogger lists. There are two which total one hundred, and a few more from bloggers themselves which total…. well, less; I did one myself at one point… but I’ve never made any of those. The ones whose nominations opened yesterday are the ones I’ve managed to make, even at astronomically high ranks such as #97 (2009) and #47 (2019).

I also once made tenth in Kinkly‘s list of ‘top ten male sex bloggers’, possibly also ‘the ten male sex bloggers’. I put the badge on my sidebar anyway.

Anyway, the lists for you to take part in are:

1. Molly’s list.
This one was started by Rori Sweet back in the 2000s and adopted by Molly Moore once Rori retired from bloggerating (that’s a word now). I’m assured it’s a labour of love, although there’s probably a lot more labour than love actually employed here.
In any case, this always makes for a fascinating read. You don’t need to be a blogger to vote in this, either – just leave a comment on the post itself and you’re done.

2. Kinkly’s list.
This is the one I haven’t made too many times, but Kinkly (which is a commercial venture, so be warned) makes a HUGE deal out of it.
This year I actually updated my blog profile on Kinkly, mostly to reflect the new URL and all. To vote for a blog on Kinkly’s directory (which is, let’s admit it, vast – you need to use the search function to navigate it), you just click the button on their profile to show some love.

I’m not actually going to ask you to vote for me on either list if you don’t want to. If you do, then… great! Thanks, you’ve always been my favourite. It’s only a couple of clicks, after all, and it helps to swell my battered ego just a little.

And, of course, if you do find your way to a list nomination post and you have no idea who to vote for, “ILB” is only three letters, and it’s easy to remember

Keeping the British End Up: The Amorous Milkman (1975)

I started to watch this one with more than a little trepidation, I will admit, on account of the fact that I had only seen it once, and even then, only half of it. In fact, just about the only thing I remembered about it was the alarm clock with a little doll that dings out erections as it chimes (really) and sex being replaced by a train going into a tunnel (which doesn’t actually happen – something of a false memory there…).

What I didn’t recall was the plot, if there was one, and therefore I went in relatively fresh before reviewing…

The Amorous Milkman (1975)
Director: Derren Nesbitt
Starring: Brendan Price, Diana Dors, Julie Edge, et al.

First off, the sound quality is terrible. There’s a huge amount of background hiss throughout the whole thing, although this probably has been recorded from some VHS tape somewhere (I can’t imagine there’s ever been a DVD release), and even then, this probably didn’t have the hugest of budgets, it may just be there, as a feature. I’m going to ignore that, though.

The Amorous Milkman poster crediting Julie Edge as the star. Why?
Julie Edge is credited first. Why?
Answers on a postcard!

This one’s called The Amorous Milkman and is yet another of these comedies that has the name of a salt-of-the-earth working-class type job in its title, on account of the fact that you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that from the huge milk float our title character rides and the bottles of milk he delivers throughout. In fact, Brendan Price is even credited at the start as “The Milkman”, as if the character doesn’t have a name!

The title and premise are somewhat misleading, however. Davey (Price) is a young milkman who lives in a tiny bedsit, complete with erection alarm clock, who can only wake up with the sound of an aeroplane seemingly close by (too close; you’d think he lives in the airport by the noise itself!). He’s also very British, warming up a copper kettle on a gas hob to make a cup of tea in the morning. His first line also contains the word “bloody”.

British, you see. Cor blimey, guv’nor.

"The Amorous Milkman" in questionable yellow typeface.
And it was all yellow…

There’s even a British sex comedy opening, with a jaunty theme tune over a “morning routine” montage (including walking down all the stairs in his building using the same shot multiple times – a cunning bit of trickery also used by student filmmakers everywhere) and the titles superimposed in yellow (also a colour they use a lot…). And off he goes with his milk.

One would expect, I think, for the rest of the film to be fairly routine, with Davey delivering more than just a bottle of milk to the succession of bored housewives he meets along his route. Indeed, it does seem to be setting that up quite nicely, introducing us to Rita (Diana Dors), unsatisfied with her stuffy second husband Gerald; Janice, who we first see in the bath; a drippy young lady who patches Davey up after a bad fall; and a dog owner.

After a huge roaring bark which I could swear was also used for Knightmare‘s Festus, Davey falls over and hits his head. Of course, it turns out that this fearsome beast is just a small King Charles spaniel, but then we all saw that one coming, didn’t we?

Davey & Janice
She’s an attractive girl.
He’s got a mullet.

The thing is, that he doesn’t actually seduce any of these women until much later. The Amorous Milkman spirals from campy sex comedy into something of a drama about romantic misunderstandings, what with Davey managing to get engaged to multiple girls (Janice, and sexy brunette Margot (Nancy Wait), not to mention Julie Edge’s Diana, also a love interest) while not having sex with any of them.

In fact, in a similar vein to Adventures of a Taxi Driver, there’s even a dodgy friend, and a crime caper bit which ends up with Davey standing trial for indecent assault! Once again, this is a comedy which ends up trying to be something else – I would have preferred repetitive sex scenes with a number of housewives, to be frank!

A mass of writhing bodies meant to represent an orgy.
The orgy. Yes, I know.

Like a lot of ’70s sex comedies, however, there isn’t really a large amount of sex. There are, and I did remember this correctly, brief snatches of sex between Davey and other women lasting about a second long (and often in an odd colour like red or blue – maybe to make it more “memory”-ish), and there’s plenty of inoffensive nudity too, such as bars with topless waitresses, a party will a full-on orgy going on, and an art nouveau film-within-a film scene, where the flick they’re actually watching reminds me of real soft porn!

Pornception!

In fact, at one point during which Davey does manage to get into bed with Margot, very little is actually seen – and what there is is intercut with wartime footage… namely:
(i) a warplane
(ii) soldiers
(iii) more soldiers
(iv) Hitler
(v) a battleship firing
(vi) another warplane
(vii) pipers playing an Edinburgh tattoo
(viii) explosions
(ix) …a flamethrower? Why?

There are even some attempts at groanworthy verbal comedy (“I hope I didn’t hurt your pussy” – it’s a cat, you, see, a cat, there’s some Mrs Slocum levels of smut there) somewhere, but if I hadn’t written it down I probably would have forgotten it!

A sex scene, dimly lit.
It’s the most you’re getting.

My guess is that The Amorous Milkman is the result of a curious experiment, throwing sex comedy, romantic misunderstandings, Shakespearean farce, courtroom drama and a milkman into the mix, filming it all and seeing what sticks. Then again, it’s actually based on a novel (by the director), which I haven’t been able to obtain, so I can’t simply go and check if this is just a filmed version of said novel to begin with!

My head hurts.

For all I’ve said, though, this flick isn’t actually bad. It’s not good, but it’s not terrible. Frankly, I was expecting worse.

And I’m really glad I don’t live in his bedsit.

4(nal) secs

I was three pints of Diet Coke into a raucous game of “I Have Never” when somebody – I forget who – said that he had never given, or been the recipient of, anal sex.

A few people drank, including the pretty French teacher who was leaving the following day, the Asian doctor who had treated my head injury less than 24 hours prior, and the Liverpudlian girl who was better at rugby than the 200+ other people in the centre. After a few seconds, I drank too.

I always drink – for this isn’t the first time it’s come up during such a game – for anal sex, but in truth, I’m not entirely sure if my experience counts. I certainly had my penis inside an anus, and it was certainly enjoyed by both parties involved, but (aside from what might be termed the ‘technical’ side of things) I don’t think it really counts as anal sex – mainly because of its duration: four seconds.

It’s not even as if I’m at all squicked out by anuses (anii? No, I had to look it up – anuses) at all. I’ve given analingus (and would again). I’ve penetrated anuses with my finger (my second girlfriend liked to have one finger in each hole while I licked her clit, so I became pretty adept pretty quickly). I’m not shy, or ashamed, to touch. I’m aware it’s sensitive and I’m aware some people like it.

Having said all that, my arse is a no-go area. I’ve even had offers, but I’ve said no. I’ve had enough gastric problems throughout my life to know that I don’t trust my intestines very much, and I know from experience that, even if I use the toilet, clean, wash and then get bizzy with it, my rear end isn’t a very pleasant place to be around. I’m not really expecting to be on the receiving end of anal sex anyway, but yeah. I’m the giver, in this case.

Right, yeah. My experience.

My four seconds of anal came after forty or so minutes of incredibly vigorous vaginal sex, so there was plenty of preparation there. She had, incidentally, had somewhere between three and five orgasms (I’d stopped counting after two) and had been fingering herself in both holes while running a bath in order to clean up. I hadn’t had an orgasm, myself (I had earlier in the day, of course), and right then, I was still hard.

“Can I help?” I asked unsteadily, as I walked into the bathroom having regained the use of my legs.
“Certainly,” she quipped, bending over with her hands on the edge of the bath. “Go on.”
“Really?”
“I’m waiting.”
And I shuffled forwards, angled myself into what I thought was the correct position (having only seen this in porn, and never really given it more than a passing thought), and carefully slid my shaft into her anus, keeping a hand on each hip to hold myself in place.

[Disclaimer: Don’t actually do this. Anal sex takes a large amount of preparation, careful planning, toilet time beforehand and lots of lube. Louise was incredibly wet in all areas and more than ready at the time, and we were two horny teenagers, but it’s more than worth putting a warning here.]

My memories of being inside – brief as the actual experience was – amount to the fact that it was:

(i) tighter than usual (I could feel everything)
(ii) warmer than usual
(iii) completely baffling for me
(iv) clearly very pleasurable for her, as she let out a low, deep moan very unlike her usual high-pitched shrieks of joy during sex

Ed Miliband using the classic phrase to dramatic effect.
Uh.

I didn’t actually say anything, or do anything else. I was very stiff from all the sex and didn’t really trust myself to thrust. If memory serves, all I really said was “uh,” which was pretty much everything, as I pulled out immediately after I went in, and nothing happened afterwards. Louise gave me a giggle, and a kiss, and then went to get some towels.

With nothing else to do, I got into the bath.

So, no, I can’t pretend to be an expert and I’m not entirely sure if what we did counts. My memories, like the summer heat and the air around at the time, are hazy. But if we’re playing I Have Never, and anal sex comes up, then I’ll take a drink. Nobody really asks any further questions, but if they do… well…

…that’s what my blog is for.

Fiction: Glimpse

It was quick. Very quick. A flash in the pan, as one might say. But I saw it. I definitely did see it. I can replay it in my mind, even now. Over and over and over again, it comes back to me. I know what she did, and I know how she did it. And even in my memory, the very thought still sets me on fire.

I shouldn’t have seen it. I know I shouldn’t. I wasn’t meant to be party to such a visual treat. I was at the back of the room; she was at the front. I was meant to be busy with something else – I even had an arm curled around the girl I was with. She had her head buried in my chest, listening to my heart beat. I’m pretty sure it was lulling her to sleep. It does that. And I know, deep down inside, that this was the girl I was meant to be concentrating on. I was. I really was.

But, while bending down to nuzzle her hair, my eyes flicked upwards. I caught the slightest glimpse of the girl in the other corner of the room. What she did was extraordinary – a spark of wanton electricity. I’m glad I had somewhere else to look, but nevertheless, I’d seen it. I couldn’t un-see it. My mind was trapped, caught in a loop. My thoughts went places they shouldn’t have gone. I felt dirty. Stained, unclean, wrong. But so, so good.

My girl murmured that my heartbeat had sped up. Not without cause.

[The above was originally submitted to the Eroticon 2012 anthology! Eight years later, here it is, dug up and dusted down, and presented for the first time here – hooray bonus content!]

Tonic

I wish, and I say this with earnest sincerity, that I could bottle the feelings I have in my less lucid moments, for voracious consumption when fully awake and actually aware that I want to have sex.

It’s probably not as cut-and-dry as that; nor is it particularly practicable, I am aware. Both the sleepy daytime dreams and cosy quasi-wakefulness betwixt sleep and death probably warrant lustful feelings precisely because I’m not entirely in control of my body, and devolving somewhat into something more primal. I’m fairly certain that there’s even some amount of credence to the idea that my sexual desires, buried as they are in my unconscious during the day, find their outlet when I’m not wrestling them back.

It’s frustrating, then, that I have feelings like I did during yesterday’s rest (wherein I hit upon the idea of sex as a sanitary, clean, purely recreational activity with no ramifications whatsoever – stemming from idle thoughts of a social media friend and ending up, as ever, with the message pervasive in Emmanuelle), resulting almost invariably in RAGING HORN plus glorious visions and imaginings, that have all but vanished by the time I actually attempt to act upon them (as I also did yesterday).

[Check me out, English graduate over here, writing the previous paragraph as one complete sentence, including parenthetical remarks (twice) and unwarranted tense change.]

These feelings – and the visions that come with them, that also act as an aide-de-camp to arousal (I had a particularly vivid sensory hallucination recently, so much so that I could feel the vaginal walls contracting around my cock) – would be of a lot more use if they could be bottled, preserved, and used during masturbation, or even sex itself. They’re the perfect blend of lust, whimsy, and the like of laissez-faire attitude that makes for fun and fancy free sex.

Unfortunately, I’m fairly sure that a major component of these semi-fantasies is that they involve being very sleepy, and as much fun as sleepy sex can be, I probably wouldn’t be a fan of dropping off during (although it does happen!).

But if I could just, as I said above, bottle those feelings, and keep them for when they are needed… why, if I could do that, I’d own this town.

ILB and Gender: a flailing study thereof.

[CW: Body and/or gender identity dysphoria. I’ve never done a content warning before, but this one seemed like an important enough topic to mention.]

I’m a boy. I’m a boy now and I always have been a boy, and I’m both comfortable with and aware of the fact that I am, and was, and will be, a boy. I’m still not entirely au fait with the identity, and the connotations of, “man” – but I am one… or, at the very least, a boy.

This may not be a surprise to you, especially if you’ve read this blog for the past thirteen years and have noticed that it’s called “Innocent Loverboy” and that my abbreviation of ILB makes reference to me also being a boy. But, go back a couple of decades, and it would be a surprise to me.

It was a surprise to my parents. They were expecting a girl, initially, who they were going to name Lucy (a name that ended up unused, as my sister got their second girl name choice instead – it suits her, actually). I was both the first born in their marriage and the first grandchild to my mother’s parents, so I got a fair amount of attention for the first four and a half years of my life until my sister arrived in 1989 and I suddenly became yesterday’s news. I had started school about a year beforehand and, up until then, I just assumed that all the stuff I did was boy stuff, because I was a boy.

One of the taunts I endured throughout primary school concerned the fact that I was, in fact, a girl instead. Other boys in primary school were doing other boy stuff that seemed radically alien to me – they were pretending to fight (and fighting’s wrong!), talking about Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles (which is a violent programme! they shouldn’t be watching it!), making mentions of wrestling (which is an awful practice!) and – worst of all – playing football. I mean, football. I didn’t see the appeal.

I still don’t, and never will. Football – really?

For a while, then, around about year 3 or 4, I rationalised that, because I didn’t do the institutionalised boy stuff, I may not have been a boy after all. With the exception of Robinson, all my friends were girls, and I played ‘girl games’ in the playground with them which involved getting boyfriends and the like. I even got termed a ‘girl’ by one of the teachers who subdivided the playground into boys (football) and girls (everyone else).

As far as I was aware, I was a boy – but feeling like I shouldn’t be. I felt like I should be a girl. I remember telling Robinson that, on my planet, everyone was half boy and half girl, including me. I knew the term ‘tomboy’ and asked my mother if there was such a thing as a ‘tomgirl’ (a term used in year 7 by Lightsinthesky, until Spanner corrected him and added that the term was ‘Sally’. I’ve never heard that used again.).

According to my bullies, I fitted the brief (until year 7, when a whole new set of bullies decided that I was more suited to being gay, and thus came a whole host of new taunts, including an insult that isn’t really an insult).

After about a few months, however, I decided that I was indeed a boy and it didn’t matter if I liked girlish things – in fact, I wasn’t really, at all. I liked ‘me’ things – fantasy and adventure stuff, magpie collectables like Smartians and Orangey-Tangs, Saturday morning television, Super Mario games and playing the violin. I’d watch Knightmare and go to Woodcraft on Friday evenings, and I’d go to church on Sunday. I’d play on my SNES every day and do as well as I could at school.

I was me and I liked me things. At that age, I thought to myself, does it really matter if I’m a boy or a girl? I’m me. I knew, even then, that if I didn’t want to be a boy, I could change. I just needed to ask my mum and she’d arrange it. By year 6, I was fully entrenched in my gender identity, and when I stood up in assembly and said loudly and clearly, “I’m a boy, and I don’t play football”, I got a round of applause.

It’s an identity I carry to this day. I’m a boy, and I don’t play football.

Fast-forward to 2020 and now I’m much more aware of the idea of toxic gender identity assumptions. Gender, a social construct which is bollocks even if you accept the fact that there are more than two identities, is a fluid, shifting idea the size of a universe, and even if I’m confident in what suits me, I’m aware that there are many people who were assigned one that doesn’t suit them. That’s fine too.

But the world still hasn’t moved on, even with this new knowledge. Shops still do ‘for him’ and ‘for her’ sections. Toxic masculinity makes me feel uncomfortable with my chosen gender, and hyperbolic misandry makes me feel attacked. These things that people think – girls like fashion and gossip and Disney Channel movies; boys like sports and fighting and Batman – only go to reinforce these ideas. (Enbys don’t even get stereotypical things, because they don’t exist.)

We all know they’re wrong. We do. So why does it still happen?

Those of you who have read my erotica may have noticed that I have almost always written from a cisgender female point of view. I find it easier to write that way, and the novel(la/ette) that I’m (meant to be (not)) writing is entirely narrated by my female protagonist Melissa – and that’s fine, I’m not pretending to be a girl, I’m just writing fiction from the point of view as one.

I think that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a girl. It’s just fiction…

…is what I would think if it mattered.

But it doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t matter, and it never should have mattered. If I wanted to be a girl when I was 9, then sure. That’s how I felt at the time. I changed my mind later on, because I’m allowed to do that.

I’m a boy, because I chose to be a boy, and no matter what my genitals are, that was my decision.

IT’S NOT A DIFFICULT CONCEPT!

Go play some video games…

In my early-to-mid teens, my sexuality had a tendency – and I can’t be the only one – to manifest itself in strange and unusual ways, which left me feeling frightened and victimised, specifically since I was utterly convinced at the age of 12 that I did not like sex and never would be interested. (There’s a blog post to be written about that, but this… isn’t it).

As time goes on, and Age™ begins to show its multiple, increasingly grey heads, my understanding of sex begins to show in more unconscious ways – less frequently, I will admit (pretty much every 14-year-old boy will walk around school with an erection about 75% of the time), but with more intensity. Some of these things are similar to the incidences of my youth – I’ll become aware of the mere existence of sex, and then I’ll realise that I’m aroused. Some are, now that I’ve had sex a few times and know what it’s like, more explicit and detailed.

And some are just straight-up random.

I had a nap this afternoon (because I, the typical lazy millennial, was out all morning following a night of almost zero sleep – so sue me!) with the full knowledge that I’m much more likely to have sex dreams during afternoon naps. I have a few overnight – some that I remember, some that I don’t, many of them involving public nudity… but, if I want to dream about sex, the much lighter sleep I get in the middle of the day is The Time To Do So. And so the dream I had, while not overtly sexual, was a combination of the situation, the fact that my daily reading is full of sexually confident women talking about wanking, and (this is the link to my youth) thirty or so years of playing video games.

For my dream was nothing more than a framing device. Dreamy ILB was playing a video game that Real ILB is fairly sure doesn’t exist. The graphics were reminiscent of Magical Starsign and Pokémon Sapphire (presumably Ruby as well, but since I haven’t played that), and the gameplay had some sort of top-down action puzzle element, like Indiana Jones Desktop Adventures (and if you remember that, you win a prize!). The main (male) character…

…and I need to point this out: the main character of the game had to be male. Given the choice of gender, I will always choose to play as a female character, often with the name Serra. Since I was playing the game, the main character had to be default male…

…was an archaeologist (maybe it’s Tomb Raider? No, that would be a bit too action-y.) The female NPCs were all part of the same team, and the puzzly bits were necessary to open doors leading to different parts of the game. I remember, quite clearly, the puzzle Dreamy ILB was playing; he had to navigate the balloon holding the bomb from Earthworm Jim 2 with the correct collection of food (cherries and bread) through some underground passageways that looked like the mines from Donkey Kong Country. At the end of the passageway was the (female) lead archaeologist, who would open the door through to the next level if you did this successfully.

Dreamy ILB did this on his second try. Lead female archaeologist NPC went mad with joy and was represented by a constantly jumping sprite. At this point, Dreamy ILB decided to talk to the other (female) NPCs before moving on. Any gamer out there knows that NPCs should always be talked to.

It was at this point that Dreamy ILB recalled that this was, in fact, a highly sexual game. All the archaeologists were sexually liberated and talked freely about sex. Real ILB can’t recall if the main character was at all involved, but all the female NPCs would constantly mention it. Flirtatious NPC #1 had brought her sister, Flirtatious NPC #2, who said something like, “I wish I was in your team!”. But it was Flirtatious NPC #3 who had the biggest impact.

“I’m afraid I can’t come with you,” she said, “but I was thinking about going to masturbate on the beach.” (The in-game map, part of the HUD, helpfully indicated where the beach was at this point). “What do you think?” At which point, a [yes/no] menu popped up. I chose yes, obviously.

“All right!” she said chirpily. “Let’s do it!”

At which point the screen went completely blank. My GBA had reset itself, but upon opening the game again, I found I could pick up where I’d left off. The masturbation scene, presumably, happened offscreen, and restarting the GBA was the way to show it.

Is my guess, anyway.

Real ILB woke up at this point and he had perhaps the largest and most throbbing erection he has had in many weeks. Several hours later, I’m still not sure exactly why. I’m no stranger to the concept of female masturbation and I’m also slowly coming round to the concept of it being thrown casually into conversation – although maybe not by archaeologists in video games. Early Teenage ILB would have been turned on by this, of course, but then again, Teenage ILB was in a relationship with a picture, so that’s not much of a surprise.

But, for what it’s worth, I’m very glad that it did happen.

Video games are amazing.

das Paket

By the time I got to year 10, what was originally a German course consisting of sixty people in two classes with different teachers (effectively a department in its own right) had been whittled down to one class approximating about twenty-eight. GSCE German was an unsettled affair; while year 10 was all right, year 11 was fractured in twain by our teacher leaving partway through the year, being replaced as he was by a woman who could barely speak English, never mind the language she was being paid to teach.

Our first teacher was excellent, although not much of what he did could really be classed as “teaching”. He relayed anecdotes about his wild youth in Heidelberg, he constantly reminded the ice skater (on whom I had a crush) that she wasn’t on skates during the lessons, and he made wildly sexist comments for shock value after which he would mime stirring the pot. He was rude, clever, witty, and whatever he said, or did, everyone came out of every lesson knowing a lot more German than we did when we went in – whether or not he’d spoken any.

I sat at the front of the classroom in a kind of reverent worship, surrounded by the others who wanted to do well in the subject – the flirty one, the cheeky one, the earnest one, the hormonal one, and the other one. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but one of them above was me! We laughed, we talked, we cracked jokes, and had a generally good time.

Jawohl.

One lesson was about baggage handling during international travel, because that’s the sort of language you’re really going to need. We leaved through our battered textbooks which still referred to “the Federal Republic of West Germany” and did a rough translation of the questions being asked, then answering them. In German, obviously.

“I’m having trouble with this,” muttered Lightsinthesky. “I’ve got as far as ‘what are the advantages of having a big…’, but I don’t know this last word.”
I scanned through my dictionary.
“Package,” I said. “That makes sense, since it doesn’t mean luggage or a suitcase or something.”
“What are the advantages of having a big package?”
Our teacher heard that and repeated it, in a loud, ringing voice that filled the whole room.
“Yes, I do wonder… what are the advantages of having a big package?”
“They’re easier to handle,” I translated freely from the sentence in the textbook, before realising what I’d said, at which point the flirty one hyperventilated from laughing too much. Our teacher had an expression hovering between nonplussed and amused – supposedly during his wild youth he had heard more – and Lightsinthesky looked as if Christmas had come early.

“I don’t understand,” lied Einstein as we relayed this to him over lunch. “What are the advantages of having a big package?”
“He was referring to the male genitalia,” the cheeky one squeaked. (I tried, at this juncture, to point out that not only males have big packages. Not that anyone heard me over all the laughter.) “I can’t really comment.”
“Neither can I,” I said, to more general hilarity. “But I’m certain it’s a package I could deliver.”
Einstein, who took French, finally managed to say, “…so, do you actually learn any German in the lessons, or…?”

The following day he taught us how to say “my girlfriend is gay” (which would be useful, I rationalised, if you were a girl) and “this lesson is crap”, which we would use a lot when his replacement teacher joined us the following term. I got his e-mail address and began a correspondence, but although we unsteadily headed towards a friendship from that point onwards, I was careful not to mention packages.

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