Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Author: Innocent Loverboy (Page 2 of 23)

We’re just innocent men

“I still don’t understand why I have to take at least one female member of staff with me.”
“All the clients working with you are female.”
“Female-identified.”
“Fine, that. It’s a matter of customer protection. You know this.”
“I’m not dangerous because I’m a boy, you know?”
“A boy? You’re not a boy. You’re a man.”

Am I? I’ve never thought of myself as a man.

Hacker T. Dog and Lauren Layfield are just normal men. They're innocent men.
We’re just normal men.

Sure, I’ve been called one by many people over time. I’m referred to as “the man” by members of the public who don’t know my name. My second girlfriend used to refer to me as a man despite the fact that I wasn’t particularly comfortable with it. I’m cisgender and male, so I’m fairly certain that various pieces of literature about me – medical records and so on – list me as a man. Back in my internet dating days, I was listed as “22-year-old man”.

And yet I still think of myself as a boy.

“I’m still a boy. You can refer to a ‘group of boys’ and they can all be adults. You can have a ‘boyfriend’ and he can be however old you want.”
“I guess…”
“And nobody seems to have a problem with the term girlfriend. Although it seems to be easier with girls. There’s a popular blogger with ‘girl’ in her name and she’s almost 40.”
“That’s different.”
“How?”

I’ve long had a problem with the term, and in particular the connotations of, the word “man”. There are plenty of neologisms which ascribe something to a man – something to be ridiculed (man pain, man flu, man look); something society sees as “female” being appropriated (man bun, man bag); a negative action (mansplain; manspread); be assertive to the point of being a dick (man up). Look at all of those and it probably goes some way towards explaining why I’m not comfortable with being a “man”?

And then there are those who whine about it. People who use the #NotAllMen hashtag non-ironically and protest about it being “not me.” Dude, we know it’s not you. That’s not what anyone’s saying. But, again, this creates a visibility issue. Men get accused of something and their automatic response is to bitch about it.

Incels, MRAs, PUAs and the like make media headlines and have paid-for ads appear on Pornhub. Things like Yewtree and the recent revelations about Russell Brand show the predatory side of men in power. Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are universally hateable men who should, by all rights, be in prison by now. Michael Moore wrote a book rightly entitled Stupid White Men.

Look at this from the point of view of an alien coming here for the first time: men do terrible things, they can’t handle criticism and they’re dangerous and to be avoided.

(And yes, I know that isn’t what I’m actually getting at. This is hyperbole, I know. But just imagine.)

“I don’t really know. I’ve seen older women refer to themselves as ‘girls’ and nobody has an issue with it. Why can’t I be a boy?”
“It just seems odd. Why wouldn’t you be a man?”
“Have you seen what ‘men’ are doing these days, or for the past few millennia?”
“But that’s not you.”
“Yes, I know. But you shouldn’t need to say that. That’s the issue. If I’m a boy it doesn’t carry any of the negative labels. Plus, I’d have to admit I’d grown up, and nobody wants to do that.”

She paused. There was a stillness in the room during which I realised I hadn’t made the most salient point.

“Gender doesn’t exist, anyway. It’s a social construct.”

And then we had a discussion about that.

The Amorous Milk

Some people call me the milkman because I always deliver pain.
Others think it’s because I’m a renegade milkman.
But the real reason they call me the milkman is…
I carry a bottle of milk with me.

It was seven-thirty post-meridian and I was just standing outside the Zoroastrian Centre on Edgware Road when I got a text.

It wasn’t full of doom and gloom, but then again, it wasn’t overly exciting, either. Alicia had run out of milk and wanted me to pick some up on the way to her flat. There was an M&S on the road, so it wouldn’t be difficult. Simple task, of course, and nothing unusual. I’m always buying milk. How would I be able to drink my tea otherwise?

But this made me unreasonably excited.

The relationship between Alicia and I was wonderfully uncomplicated. We would meet at her house (often on my way back from work); we would talk and eat; we would flirt and eventually have sex. We would sleep, spoon, maybe have sex again in the morning, and then we would leave for our respective lives. There were, of course, variations on this theme: on our first night together we watched Moulin Rouge! beforehand; on our second, she randomly drummed the main beat from Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo on my stomach. But the general idea was the same.

Image from Disney's "Cinderella" (1950) showing a magic spell. The magic looks a bit like jizz.
Neither Cinderella or the Fairy Godmother look like Alicia. Cinderella’s hair here is similar to hers, though.

What made this simple request special was that this was the first time she had ever asked me to do anything domestic. Maybe neither of us had ever considered this. I was her lover, not her maid; I offered to help her wash up after dinner, but she had consistently refused. I occasionally went to the fridge to get chilled water for immediately after sex. Once I put some stuff in the bin. But that was about it.

Here, I had an actual errand. Go to the shop. Buy some milk. Bring it with me to her flat, so I could have tea with her before sex, also with her. I’d never had to buy milk in any sort of relationship before. Rebecca’s mum always had a supply available and Louise preferred lemonade (although she also had some for me when I requested coffee).

Is this what being a husband is like? I wondered, as I stepped into the warm light of M&S (noting the contrast with the Harrow darkness outside). Providing milk to your lady with the promise of hot sex afterwards? Calm down, ILB. You’re overthinking things again. Just turn up with milk and a penis and that’s all she’s really expecting.

I chose semi-skimmed, paid and set off down the hill to Alicia’s flat. As usual, she opened the door wearing a nice dress and a smile. I nervously, but with an air of utter confidence, presented her with a bottle of milk in lieu of a hello. She smiled, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and beckoned me inside.

We had a lot of sex that night.

This was preceded by some apple crumble she had made with custard. I don’t like apple crumble or custard, but I was very good at pretending. Plus, I had tea to drink to get rid of the taste.

With milk.

Moustache Man

“So there’s your bag,” said my dad, hitching it usefully over my shoulder. “And your stick’s in the back of the car. Are those new shoes?”
“New shoes? No,” I replied, truthfully. “I’ve had these for a few months.”

My mother bustled over to check if I was still alive, or something.

“One more thing,” she added, doing a very good impression or someone who has just had an afterthought. In actuality, she had been wanting to ask this for a while, but had never quite managed it. (I think she must have been mustering a fair amount of courage to do so.) “Have you ever had… this before?”

What? New shoes, even though they aren’t new? The cardigan she didn’t know I had, despite having bought it for me? I was genuinely surprised she hadn’t asked about my coat.

“Like, this? A moustache without any beard? Have you ever had this before?”

I have, in fact, had this before, and I do so practically every year.

“Yes. I do so every November.”
“You’re doing Movember this year?”
“I do Movember every year…?”
“It’s a strong look,” said my dad.

He says this a lot, usually about hairstyles I don’t like. He’s been trying to get me to grow a full moustache and beard and get my head shaved for a few years now. He says it’s a strong look. I don’t particularly want to look strong.

“You should keep it,” said my mother. “It’s a good look for you.”
“No it isn’t,” I answered (also truthfully; it looks ridiculous). “I look like a ’70s porn star.”

Both parents laughed at this, which – considering the amount of time they spend trying to pretend porn doesn’t exist – was both gratifying and surprising. Feeling that I couldn’t quite top that, I turned to leave, before my mother stopped me in the hall.

“One more thing,” she added (again).

No, I haven’t considered how to make porn when your rapidly degenerating body is making it difficult to do something as simple as put on a coat. And the stick, that’d get in the way.

“Yes?” I ventured, trepidatiously.

“Are those new shoes?”

Mothman

The first Nite Owl runs an autorepair shop. The first Silk Spectre is dying in a California rest resort. Dollar Bill got his cape stuck in a revolving door where he got gunned down. Silhouette… murdered. Mothman is in an asylum in Maine.

rorschach’s journal

It’s after nine in the evening and pizza has just been delivered. Apparently, this was a big part of the university lifestyle that I never got to lead. Three years up in Nottingham and pizza delivery only occurred to me once or twice. Here in Oxford, it happened after every essay was completed.

But they wrote more essays than I did, so.

This is the last communal pizza they will share in this flat. I’m an extra piece – an additional complication that they hadn’t factored in. To whit, although I’m sharing in the pizza, I’m trying to prove myself useful by getting a moth out of the window. The moth is winning this epic struggle.

“How much longer are you staying here, anyway?” I ask as I attempt an arabesque in order to find the moth behind a cupboard. She flies away and I inujre my leg.
“We have to stay for a certain amount of time,” says E, “or we don’t graduate. Very few of us actually do that time, but we have to stay for…”

At which point the girl who nobody likes walks in. She exchanges a sour look with E, the Seamstress and the moth. I may as well not exist at this point.

There is a very long pause. Without a word, she crosses the floor, exits into her room and closes the door.

Everyone breathes out. I attempt to cup the moth in my hands; she escapes and I only succeed in slamming my hand against the wall.

“What was all that about?”
“We don’t know what to do with her,” says the Seamstress darkly. “It’s been long enough and I’ve no idea exactly how to repay her for…”

I don’t exactly know what they need to repay her for. It remains unsaid. I notice the moth hovering around a light; I try to vault over a pouffe to get some leverage, but I trip over it and fall. I continue the conversation as if I’m styling it out.

“I’m not a fan of the concept of revenge,” I say, finally taking a bit of pizza. “But there are things you can do to make her feel a little uncomfortable.”
“Play music,” suggested E, “really loud. Something she doesn’t like.”
“Maybe just leave the moth in here,” said the Seamstress, “seeing as how ILB can’t get her out.”
“Go into your rooms,” I said, “and pretend to have really loud sex. and she’ll get jealous.”

They both laugh at this, although there’s something in the laughter which shows they’re aware that we have, in fact, spent quite a large chunk of the day doing just that. To save my blushes, I hop across the room to open a large window on which the moth is now resting. I even try to coax her out. She’s having none of my bullshit.

The evening is filled quite pleasantly with pizza, graduation discussion and free-flowing conversation. This, clearly, was the university experience I missed out on; I may have done some interesting things in my time, but here I feel much more comfortable.

E eventually says she has to go to bed, but we all know she’s just wanting to leave us alone. With an empty pizza box discarded on the side table, we stand there in silence, looking at each other, for a few very heavy seconds.

The moth flies in between us at one point.

We retreat into her room. Clothes end up on the floor. A condom wrapper joins them soon enough.

The rest of the night is full of kisses and orgasms.

But I’m aware, at the back of my mind, that we are never truly alone.

THE MOTH IS ALWAYS WATCHING.

Revelations: Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…

We knew it was getting late, but neither of us could have really told you what time it was. Needless to say we were moping a bit; I really didn’t want to go home. I never did, but I always ended up on the coach. I was kind of ready, anyway – I had my box ready. Shoes could go on last.

By this point I had usually been there for approximately twenty-four hours. In that time, we may have had sex two or three times. Maybe even four, depending on how horny we were and how much trouble we had sleeping. I stopped counting after the first few times, but once we tried to estimate how many times we had had sex and it was, in her words, “definitely over a hundred.”

That’s a lot of sex, now you think about it.

Anyway.

Whatever the reason, at this point we both had an itch that needed scratching and so, while I’d usually be dressed and ready to go at this point, this time we were both naked and on her bed. Ready for the main event.

I can’t recall exactly what made us horny, but I was certainly incredibly hard and she was certainly incredibly wet. Planting a smooch on her lips, I steadily – but with a definite amount of urgency – slid my cock into her. We let out a collective sigh as I settled into place. So familiar by now, and yet so good, every single time.

“Hey! It’s time to go! Are you two ready?” came the call from downstairs.

We shared a look, and with a huge amount of regret, and a Herculean effort on my part, I pulled out. My penis was shining, coated in her wetness. A few seconds wasn’t enough for either of us to have come… and we both knew this.

“Hey, it’s okay,” she lied, trying – although not particularly successfully – to hide the fact that she was disappointed. “We’ll have to finish this off next time you’re here.”
“But that’s, what, two weeks?”
“We’ll survive.”

Two weeks later and I damn well made sure that we had the time.

Link button to the Revelations meme site

Branding

“I seem to have lost my coffee cup. Have you seen it?”
“Your Super Mario cup? The one you got just after your wedding? Surely you lost that last year?”
“No. I mean, yes, I did lose it. But I’ve got this new one, a bit like a Thermos flask, only it’s gt a brand name on it. It’s big and black, and it’s…”
“Oh yes. Well, I’ve lost my coffee cup too, but I think it might be in the break room. I’ll go down and get it, and if I find yours, I’ll bring it up, too.”
“Oh, thanks. You know it? It’s big and black, and it’s…”
“I know. It’s got the name of some sort of animal on it. Rhinoceros or dolphin or…”

Pause.

“Octopus?”
“Yes, that’s it. Something about an octopus.”
Hot Octopuss,” I said innocently. “With a big O and a crown symbol.”
“I’ll find it.”
“Cheers.”
“You’ll be okay until I get back?”

Pause.

“Yeah,” I said as I took a sip of cold water from my Whipple Tickle bottle. “I’ll be just fine.”

[citation needed]

I posted this on Twitter, Mastodon and Bluesky the other day:

Hi, I’m your lazy blogger who doesn’t write a damn thing. 👋

I’ve been all over the place. I want to write, but I’ve got a terrible weight in the pit of the stomach and the thought of sex is making me feel sightly sick.

(Realistically, everyone else appears to be having quite a lot of sex, and since I’m not having any, I’m feeling a little left out too…!)

Please excuse my sightly reduced presence while I try to sort my head out.

While the bare bones of what I’m feeling are very much there, I feel like I need to spin this out a little more. I don’t quite understand exactly how I feel, but the best I can do is this:

(i) I’m not actually lazy. Recently I have taken on a lot of responsibilities at work, not all of which were voluntary. I’m coming home incredibly tired and often want to take a nap, if not immediately upon my return, within a couple of hours at least. While I may be lethargic, you couldn’t really call me ‘lazy’.

(ii) In previous situations, blogging was my escape after a hard work day (or, earlier, a hard week at university, or while jobseeking, or… etc.). I could be having a difficult time but with the knowledge that I can go home and write openly and unashamedly about sex being a sort of beacon I could carry in my heart, it didn’t seem so bad.

(iii) However, being unable to blog due to the aforementioned fatigue in point (i) above (plus other extenuating factors) is resulting in the “terrible weight in the pit of the stomach” to which I referred on social media. Whereas I often think of my blog as a boon, for the past few weeks I’ve been seeing it as more of a burden. I’m not good at this.

(iv) Whereas over the past week I have masturbated twice, and had an orgasm each time, in many cases the thought of being sexual with anyone, myself included, has made me feel slightly sick. I’ve been enjoying my own sexuality like I usually do, but again, it makes me feel slightly off – like I shouldn’t be doing this (I haven’t felt that way since I was 18!) – and it’s making me start to doubt myself.

(v) The mention in the post about “everyone else appears to be having quite a lot of sex” refers to specifically what I see on the blogs and all over social media. Yes, this is due to the people I follow – I am aware of this; it is, however, also becoming more of an issue to me. People I know and like enjoying active, varied and satisfying sex lives was always something I liked to see… now, however, I’m starting to feel like I’m not worthy to even know.

(vi) Not having sex hasn’t bothered me so far (well, it has, but not to any noticeable degree), but comparing this to what’s happening to “everyone else” (and yes, I know it isn’t everyone, but look above at point (v) makes me sort of… lonely? Left out? Envious? I’m not sure how to categorise it. Whatever it is, it certainly contributes to the aforementioned “terrible weight in the pit of the stomach“, which manifests when I see that stuff on social media.

(vii) I genuinely don’t have much to write about. Yes, I ran a session about this at Eroticon. Yes, it is also relatively effective to open a blank post and start writing at random (that’s how this post started). But I still don’t think it’s working. I sat on the bus on the way home today and tried to think of blog post ideas and didn’t even come up with a single one.

I think the real reason behind all this is twofold: one, a bitch is tired; two, a bitch is frustrated. I have very little creative impetus/outlet and no real consistent sexual one. Even my porn habits are starting to grate – I’m starting to spool at random, whereas I used to have a few cued up in my head to go through.

I’m not entirely without hope – as I say in the above post, I’m expecting my head to sort itself out. Give me a few days without any responsibilities and the grace to not feel the huge amount of crushing guilt for not doing anything for my readers and I might start to feel better about it all. I’ve even had a bit of a relief today at work and things are already starting to feel a bit lighter.

It won’t always be easy to find either. And it may take days, weeks, years even…

…but I really want to make it happen.

Bedisclosure

“They’re not bad as beds go,” said Toby, “but they’re not fantastic. I suppose they are resilient enough.”
“I find that they’re quite a good bed for having sex on,” I said to general amazement.

In reality, though, I was stretching the truth a little.

I wasn’t lying. I had had sex on the bed in my tiny room in university hall. Admittedly, I was probably the person in my flat who had done so the least, considering the girl at the end with the steady boyfriend, the one who everyone fancied in room 5, or the guy in room 2 who brought home a different girl every night. But I’d still done it… once.

Looking back on it now, it may well have been the last time I had sex with her. Our relationship ended a few weeks later, and for the times we met before that, her interest in sex (or at least in sex with me) appeared to have waned. But this time on my university bed was different. She most definitely wanted to have sex with me.

And we did. Ten minutes after getting into my room. Clothes covering what little floor space there was available, door firmly locked to avoid any unwelcome visitors, the single duvet pushed to one side, and her on her back, legs wrapped around my hips as I worked them like a piston. Uninhibited by the constraints of having to not wake up parents, or for fear of ruining another mattress. We could do what we liked, how much we liked, and make as much noise as we liked.

She cried out as her orgasm rumbled through her body. I collapsed on top of her and we lay there for a while, my rock-hard penis buried deep within her, no longer moving but listening to each other breathing. Her breasts were pressed against my chest, covered in sweat. That much I remember.

“That was wonderful,” she murmured as I pulled out of her. “It’s been too long.”
“Too long,” I agreed.
“But you didn’t come, though, did you?”
“I didn’t,” I admitted. “But I don’t need to for us to enjoy sex. You came.”
“I did. But if you need to come, the door is always open. I mean, my legs. My legs are always open.”

So, you see, I did have sex on that bed and it did work. Incredibly well, in fact, given the circumstances. But she never did visit me again on campus, and therefore I never had any more sex on that bed. I had sex, a few times, in Africa later on, but that wasn’t really on the bed.

It did kickstart a several-year dry spell, but hey ho…

No, seriously, it’s a genuinely ad-free blog

Dear [Company / Website / Representative],

Ad-Free Blog button. Art by Keri Smith.
It’s literally on my sidebar.

Thank you for [reaching out / e-mailing / e-mailing again / all your e-mails]. I have read your communication [with interest], and [considered your proposal / understand your request].

I am aware of [your product / website / service / production], and I notice that you have also contacted some other sex bloggers on the subject, including my friends [blogger 1] and [blogger 2].

As per [our previous correspondence / my about page], I’m sorry to [continue to] inform you that I do not do commercial activities on my site, including:
– sponsored posts
– affiliate links
– hosting guest posts
– writing posts on my blog for money

There is a button on my sidebar reading “ad-free blog”, which should give you some idea of my non-commercial ethos. [Since you’re e-mailing me, you clearly haven’t read my blog, or you’d have noticed it.]

If you are genuinely [desperate to / interested in] work/ing with me, I will do the following:
sex toy or product reviews, honest ones, without pay
writing elsewhere, about something I genuinely know, for money
– talk to external publications

As you will know from my [blog / posts / about page (which you haven’t read)], I am not [kinky / in a D/s relationship / a swinger / polyamorous / LGBTQ+ / a well-versed BDSM practitioner / in porn], so I am [confused / amused / irritated] as to why you are contacting me to [write about / post your content about] the subject.

Seriously, though, thanks for thinking about me, [company name]. It’s possible you have sent me an e-mail on the off-chance that I have had a complete volte-face and started hosting all sorts of ads on my blog, which I have continuously said before I feel devalues the medium. It may be more worth your time to contact some other bloggers who don’t openly state that their blog[s] [is / are] ad-free.

However, since you used the CC: rather than BCC: field in your e-mail, I don’t need to guess. It’s clear who you’re contacting.

Yours, with a love that shines like a thousand splendid suns,
– ILB x

You’ll never shine if you don’t glow

Hey now, you’re an all star
Get your game on, go, play
Hey now, you’re a rock star
Get the show on, get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mould

When I was 17 (a busy year for me by all accounts) I was given my first, and so far one of my only, chances to play one song alongside a band which, despite being composed entirely of GCSE Music students at my school, was beginning to develop something of a following. I’d learned the violin part by heart – to a degree that I was fairly confident I could play it backwards. Through circumstances I don’t want to go into here – although Obsession might tell you – I didn’t end up playing. I went home at the interval, had a drink and a snack, and only then did I realise that I could have:

a) stayed
b) played my part
c) actually motherfucking done the motherfucking thing I’d motherfucking gone to motherfucking do

I’d also had several people there tell me I was pretty, so I might have pulled too. I mean, if I was going to be a rock star…

The following week was fairly awful, and the fact that nobody was taking how I felt seriously didn’t help either. In my intense gloom, one of the very few things that gave me a bit of a lift was All Star. I was doubting then – and this is a doubt that I still feel practically every day – that I was exhibiting (or do so now) any particular amount of talent. I was a pretender who had convinced himself otherwise, whereas in reality I was a talent-free jobsworth who didn’t deserve nice things. All Star told me otherwise. I was a star.

Smash Mouth knew it, so I did too.

Smash Mouth performing in 2011. Photo by Ingelbert, CC BY-SA 3.0.
My spring and my sunshine all at once.

One might assume that that was the end of it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For the year or so preceding that event, I had become a Smash Mouth fan. The reality of being a moody, depressed teenager was slightly mollified by the fact that I had a fairly decent repository of Californian surf rock I bought on a whim from HMV.

All Star was just the tip of the iceberg. By the time their fourth album Get the Picture? came along, I was a diehard aficionado. I knew all the words to all the songs, I would play them at maximum volume when nobody else was around, and even though they wouldn’t quite beat James to my number one spot, for a long time my John, Paul, George and Ringo were Harwell, Camp, DeLisle and Urbano.

They even played a rôle in my relationships. I got the girl I had a crush on into them and we geeked out on our shared love of US punk. My first girlfriend also became a bit of a fan, and we went on a date to buy Get the Picture? together. I even had sex to them a couple of times, although mostly by accident.

For more than half of my life now, when I need them, Smash Mouth have been there for me. Whereas there are a myriad of artists and genres that I will flick through at random, listening to Smash Mouth is like a hug from a kindly uncle: comforting, warm and familiar.

Steve Harwell is a legend

Although he left the band a few years before his death, and his tenure with them in the year preceding that was a difficult one for all involved, Smash Mouth would never have worked without Steve. His unique, characteristic raspy voice may not have gelled with any other band, but with Smash Mouth it just fitted like a glove. Whether it was a song about the Italian mafia, being stuck in a traffic jam or smoking too much marijuana (all actual songs), Steve’s voice just worked. The songs were written with his voice in mind and it was clear, from first listen, that they were.

It’s one of my biggest regrets that I never, even though I was fully intending to at the time, wrote to Steve, telling him how much his music meant to me and reminding him that they had yet to do a UK tour (and they still haven’t, and probably never will). As recently as half an hour ago I realised how much storage space on my iPod is taken up by songs with Steve Harwell.

Or just how many of his songs the band I’m in (in my fantasies; it’s not a real band) play on a regular basis.

Or that the fictional girl who asked me out kept wanting to see him naked.

Steve Harwell is very special to me and he always will be. His death is a sad day for rock and a gut-punch to anyone who, like me, grew up with his band. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.

Thank you, Steve.

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