Diego Luna Owes Me New Panties: The List of Five, the Female Gaze, and the Politics of Desire

2 Nov

I recently read for the second time at Atlanta’s Bleux Stockings Society, which is a live lit series featuring female and nonbinary voices. This month’s theme was “attraction.” 

There is a concept in some monogamous relationships called the List of Five. The idea is that each of you have a list of five people, typically celebrities, that you are allowed to sleep with, guilt-free, should the opportunity arise. I don’t know where this idea originated or where I heard of it, but I this it’s a cute exercise and I’ve had one for ages. Since this a show about attraction, here it is.

Diego Luna

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I discovered Diego Luna in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. I’m not proud of that, necessarily, but I’m not ashamed either. Discovering Diego Luna in the Cuban-revolution-era sequel to Dirty Dancing is like meeting your significant other online prior to about 2005. Nowadays your grandma is on Tinder and Diego Luna was in Star Wars, but once upon a time we didn’t talk about where we met our partner, or where we first discovered Mexico’s most beautiful export.

I have a lot to say about this man but only 7 minutes, so let me just sum up: there is nowhere on earth I would not be willing to have sex with him. On a beach, in a hotel, under the sea, in an actual coffin, on the moon, in a stadium bathroom, I really don’t care, I would fuck him anywhere in the universe, Diego, do you hear me? Call me.

Diego Luna is the only person who has been on this list since its inception.

Tom Hardy

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Speaking of Inception, did you know that Tom Hardy is in Marie Antoinette? He totally is, and he looks just as good in 18th century French attire as he does in a suit or whatever he’s wearing in that movie where he’s a convict.

Tom Hardy recently bumped Joseph Gordon-Levit off this list, so if JGL wants to join, and they want to engage in a little Arthur/Eames roleplay, which I like to believe they do anyway, I’m totally into it.

Chris Evans

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Not only is he doing his level best to live up to Captain America’s mantle in his public life by calling out institutional -isms and vocally supporting good causes, his shoulder-hip ratio is the perfect demonstration of the inverted Dorito shape. I once saw him call President Trump a liar on Twitter, and it caused me to spontaneously ovulate.

Sebastian Stan

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I have watched a couple of truly embarrassing movies because this man is in them. In one of them he’s a witch! And another guy punches him, and Sebastian Stan looks up from the punch sort of smirking like [here I demonstrated my best attempt at a sexy smirk] and it’s just OH MY GOD.

Daveed Diggs

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Other than his ability to spit rhymes, I have little evidence to support my theory that he is great at dirty talk, but I believe in the scientific method and I would be willing to test my theory over and over and over again until the scientific community is as satisfied as I am.

Speaking of science, here’s a scientific fact: when Daveed Diggs smiles, the sun goes dim, realizing it has been tragically outclassed, yet the amount of light in the solar system remains the same.

The List of Five is ever-evolving. If you’d like to see some of the people taken off the list over the years, see me after the show.20181102_131646

[image reads:

  • Ryan Reynolds – plantation racially insensitive AT BEST + Deadpool sucked
  • Ryan Gosling – grew gross mustache for that movie I didn’t see
  • Kaidan Alenko from the Mass Effect video games – turns out he is not real :( 
  • Kara Thrace from Battlestar Galactica, Eomer from The Lord of the Rings, Tor from The Hero and the Crown – same problem
  • Steven Tyler – leftover crush from childhood. PROBLEMATIC AF
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson – still would, but ONLY in Quicksilver costume from Age of Ultron
  • Seal – I would be overwhelmed with feelings and cry the whole time
  • Keiffer Sutherland – it is no longer 1987; he no longer looks like he did in The Lost Boys
  • Jason Momoa – eyebrows are more expressive than mine and I cannot abide that
  • Former President Barack Obama – disrespectful to Michelle to even consider this
  • Taylor Hanson – still would]

In the interest of equality, my husband Chris also has a List of Five:

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[List reads:

  • Shakira
  • Shakira
  • Jennifer Anniston
  • Queen Elizabe II (“Power is sexy”)
  • Shakira]

I know this is a silly exercise. The idea that I’m ever going to have sex with Diego Luna is so far-fetched as to be ridiculous—and I probably wouldn’t even if I had the opportunity, list or no list, because I don’t like to share and I shouldn’t expect Chris to be OK with something I wouldn’t be if the situation was reversed. But fantasy is important, I think, especially for women, because so much of society is geared to the idea that women are to be objects of desire rather than subjects who desire. I can’t count the number of straight cis men who have told me, with great authority and confidence, that women should be objectified because women are just more attractive than men, as if the experience of straight cis men is not only more important than mine, but actively invalidates it. One time a routinely inappropriate coworker cornered me by the drink station just so he could tell me, “You have to admit, there’s nothing sexier than a woman when she comes.” Probably he was just trying to express to me how very concerned he was with female pleasure, as if that would magically make me stop being interested in my boyfriend of the time and be interested in him instead, but it sat wrong with me then and it sits wrong with me today. For one thing, hello, that’s wildly inappropriate work conversation. More to the point, though, my orgasm may be sexy for someone who’s attracted to me, but my partner’s enjoyment of my orgasm exists as a distant second to my enjoyment of my orgasm. Positing my pleasure as a creepy turn-on puts the onus on me to feel pleasure no matter how I feel or what my partner is doing, and to do so in the same performative way I am expected to do everything else in my life: for the consumption of men.

Are women beautiful? Yes, of course. So are men, so are enbies, so are agenders. Turns out the human body is a masterpiece of skin and muscle and fat and nerves and thoughts and feelings all bundled up into one incomprehensibly incredible package. And it turns out that sexual women are perfectly capable of feeling deep, overwhelming, stomach-churning, lip-biting, nipple-tightening, panty-soaking desire, despite modern US society declaring that we are “not visually stimulated” or “more invested in emotions” or whatever the fuck. Positioning cis men as the attracted and cis women as the attractive, with no room for deviation, not only invalidates trans and NB people altogether, it also places women as objects in our own lives, as passive vessels to be acted upon. And it creates a system in which, while women have lifetimes of beauty work to engage in and emotional baggage to carry around, cis men require so little effort to be seen as presentable, put-together, and attractive. Imagine that Chris and I put the same amount of effort into doing the same beauty routine. After washing our faces, brushing our teeth, dressing in khakis and a button-down shirt, and applying deodorant and a touch of scent, he is dressed in business fucking casual, whereas my low-maintenance ass is barely comfortable going to the mall. And DON’T get me started on prepping for a performance day. Now, is he attractive to me no matter how much effort he’s put in? Hell yes. Does he consider me attractive no matter how much effort I’ve put in? Yes. Does the rest of society consider us equally put-together given we spent the same amount of time on ourselves? No. Is that fucked up? Yes.

I’m not going to posit that wistfully fantasizing about the way Diego Luna bites his lip when he laughs is going to fix the gender gap, or stop sexism, or change the world. The Female Gaze is not an answer to institutional kyriarchy. I accept that. But I am going to posit this: reclaiming the right to feel attracted rather than just attractive, the right and ability to desire, is important. And it’s fun. And maybe it’s time more straight cis women started expecting straight cis men to put in a little more goddamned effort.

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Singing To Myself

10 Oct

There’s a song I like a lot. As near as I can tell, it’s called May You: The Folksinger’s Song, which is fitting, given it’s a song about being a folk singer. It’s by Jan Marra, but I know it because a friend has occasionally played it for loved ones who are having a really rough day.

May you never be sorry you traveled this road,
May you find all the work that you need.
May your eyes be bright when you’re out late at night,
May never your glory get mixed up with greed

The last two weekends, the first two weekends of the festival, were full of really rough days. It was hot and brutally humid. Well, it’s often hot and humid at ren faires, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

The crowds at this faire are not necessarily prepped for hot, humid weather. It’s a fall festival, after all. My stage is a little off the beaten path, with not much in the way of signage, and there’s no shade on the benches for most of the day. I did what I could–I even dragged benches up onto the stage for the later sets, which helped a lot, but I played for small crowds. They were good crowds, full of engaged and happy people who liked what I was doing, people who were complimentary, people who laughed and cried appropriately, people who tipped, but there just weren’t many of them. On Sunday I had a total of maybe 12 people on my benches over three sets. And for more than a little bit of time, I played for myself. We all did. Some of the finest musicians I know were playing to empty benches.

There’s a number of people who’ll sit in the rear,
They’ll talk through your sets, they will catcall and jeer
A number of people will turn a deaf ear,
Just keep right on playing for those who will hear.

And that’s…it is what it is. It’s not ideal, but it happens. Normally it’s ok. I love to sing. I love to play guitar. But getting on stage requires a lot from me, and getting to this particular faire requires a lot of driving and being away from home. I’m not confident of my solo work, and when there’s only four people listening to me, it’s way easier to believe the little voice in my head that says what I’m doing is terrible. And then, you know, there was All That Stuff going on in the world, what with credible accusations of sexual assault still not being a barrier to being appointed to the Supreme Court (or elected president). Last Sunday morning I overheard a different friend make a joke that boils down to “bitches be lying,” and I cried a lot, universe. I cried a lot. I was supposed to be getting ready for the day, warming up and tuning and doing makeup, but instead I was crying. I got out there and I did my thing, playing the Village Protest Singer with all the considerable verve at my disposal, and I sang my feelings to the heavens and the three people who were listening, but I was hot and drenched in sweat and bleeding and full of rage and sorrow and fear, and I had to dig deep into my reserves to find the courage and energy to get up there, and the crowds were very small and I was very tired.

When the time comes to pack up and ramble along,
May never you wonder just where you belong,
And if you hit hard times may they make you strong.
May every experience lend to your song.

During my down time I tried to recharge by sitting in the audience of empty sets, listening to my friends play beautiful music, and that helped. At one of those sets on Sunday my first friend played the Folksinger’s Song. I don’t know if he played it for me; I think he played it for all of us, but it was still very good to hear. I cried a little more, and then I ate lunch, and I felt a little better. It was still really hard and I’m still very tired, and I’m still not confident in my solo stuff, but I do love to make music, and that’s not everything, but it’s not nothing.

May your heart be light, may you sleep well at night,
And I hope that you find all the love that you need.

To Your Union, and the Hope That You Provide

4 Oct

Recently, as in two weeks after Dragon Con, my best friend got married. This was a big deal for many reasons, both obvious and not-so-obvious. There were rainbows. It was pretty great. I have a lot of feelings about the whole thing, but zero emotional power to parse them, so instead, here is the text of the speech I made.

I’ve known Caroline a very long time—long enough that I am used to calling them “Indigo,” the nickname we used when we were high schoolers whose idea of “delinquency” was skipping church youth group to hide in the bathroom and write stories. It seems fitting, then, that we each partnered up with the appropriate-gender version of the other: my husband is much like Caroline, in that both are subdued introverts who like solitude, tools, dogs, and obscure facts, and I call Kate “Mini-Me,” because we are, respectively, the Fun Sized and King Sized versions of the same enthusiastic, glittery, anxious candy bar.

Not long after Kate and Caroline started dating, I went to meet them both for lunch one weekday. It happened to be the day that Oberfell VS Hodges was decided, which effectively struck down all same-sex marriage bans in the US. The three of us gathered in Woodruff Park, eating our respective lunches—spoiler alert, Indigo had tacos—and enjoying the sunshine and celebrating the federal recognition of civil rights they should have had access to all along. I seem to remember that people around us were celebrating as well, but I may be misrembering based on how monumental a moment it was for us. As I sat there in the sunshine across from my best friend in the world and the woman they really liked, who I also really liked, celebrating the day that had sometimes felt like it would never come, I had what you might call a wild fancy that someday we might all be at this point. It would be a mistake to say that I knew we would. I didn’t. It was too soon for that, and I can’t see the future. But I hoped. And on the day of the solar eclipse, when I got what I believe is the first notification text, and ran around the Seattle airport crying and telling people “my best friend is getting married!” I couldn’t help but feel a little bit smug about being right. 

It hasn’t been an easy or a fun road for Caroline to get here, but here we all are, gathered together to not only share our love of these two, but also to eat tacos. So please raise your glass or your tortilla chip to Kate and Caroline. I’d like to quote a great philosopher: Nicole Cliffe, formerly of The Toast, who recently said on twitter that the secret to marriage is to always react like a cartoon wolf when you unexpectedly see your spouse without a shirt. I hope you will take that advice to heart. May your household never run out of your preferred drinkies and snackies, and may your marriage continue as your partnership has: in joy and respect and healthy communication and great love.

15 Feb

I just spent about half an hour pulling a splinter out of a kid’s foot, cleaning the wound, and listening to her complain as she squeezed my arm with both hands–as hard as she could, though I didn’t feel a thing. We sat on the floor of the bathroom with her foot in my lap and the contents of the first aid kit spread around us, and she yelled “ow ow it hurts! This is the worst thing ever!” and I made lots of cracks about her very stinky feet. She’s around 10, and her feet were wretchedly stinky (she is a young dance student and had a field trip to a farm today), to the point my hands still smell bad after two thorough washes.

We live in a world that is frightening and painful even for adults. Kids are small and fragile, and they live in a world that is confusing, arbitrary, painful, frightening, and designed for people who are wiser, older, bigger, and everything elser than them. They depend on adults whether or not they know it, or would admit to it, or even want to think about it.

I don’t have kids. I never wanted kids. But I have worked with kids extensively. And I have loved, in some small way, every child who has ever crossed my path. Even the dramatic ones, even the smelly ones, even the horrid spoiled bratty ones.

I don’t remember Splinter Girl’s name. She doesn’t know mine. In a few days, once her foot stops hurting, she probably won’t remember this at all. It doesn’t matter; she doesn’t have to remember. She’s a kid. She’s a small, fragile, dramatic kid. I’m an adult. It would be my responsibility to help her even if it wasn’t my job to help her.

And I am in some kind of mood about you people who keep letting your Goddamned gun fetish get in the way of remembering that.

Today’s Horoscopes

30 Jan

Aries – Don’t you wish you’d brought some dinner to work rather than trust your late lunch would carry you through? If only you’d done your horoscope reading earlier in the day, you would have known.

Taurus – Nobody noticed that thing, I promise.

Gemini – Sometimes it’s best to let things go; other times you should keep holding on. Which of these applies to the Scorpio dangling from the roof is a matter for your conscience.

Cancer – Dressing on the side. Trust me.

Leo – YOU’RE THE BEST*

Virgo – The stars say, and I quote, “you have a lot of nerve coming back here after what you pulled.”

Libra – Your immediate future holds dogs, or pretzels, or maybe a shower? Please let your future hold a shower.

Scorpio – Perhaps you should have been kinder to that Gemini.

Sagittarius – Expect rain. (The time will come to rise up against the Leos. Await the signal of the Aries. #firesignwar)

Capricorn – Punch through the walls you’ve built! Break down the barriers in front of you! Do something with your boxes of old textbooks in the office closet!

Aquarius – A ballerina en pointe may look effortless, but is actually working extremely hard. Consider developing your talents in the inverse situation.

Pisces – Keep trying and eventually you may be as cool as an Aries.

All Signs: It’s National Croissant Day. Find an Aries who forgot to bring dinner to work, and then bring her a croissant at work and you’ll have good luck all year!

Fictional Tropes I’m Tired Of: A List

15 Jan
  • Shit-ass reporter trying to make terrible things happen so they’ll have something to report
  • “Tracker” character looks at ground, immediately deduces everything that happened in that area for the last three weeks
  • Not Like Other Girls
  • Killing the scrappy to make me feel sad
  • Minor Character Of Color Saves White Hero At Cost Of Own Life
  • Weirdly religious cowboy villain (it was fine in 3:10 to Yuma, but please let’s stop)
  • Grizzled, stoic, totally boring guy gets redemption arc at expense of anyone else’s character development
  • The Marketing: “This property is all about WOMEN!”
    The Property Itself: *is mostly about dudes!*

Percentage of these tropes present in Godless: 100%.

How much of the show I watched anyway: 100%.

Personal shame meter: 50%.

’17 Going on ’18

28 Dec

(Footnotes after the jump)

The Year of Our Lord 2017 was a year.

If you’ll allow me to fall back on some platitudes for a minute, I’ll say that it was a year of transition and change. I mean, every year is a year of change, because everyone changes. Nothing illustrates that quite so well as the wedding pictures on the wall–way back from 2009! We look so different! And yet so similar! So saying “this was a year of changes” is kind of silly. Of course it was. Things change literally every minute.

On the other hand, this time last year I was pretty ready to hurt myself because I couldn’t see any other method of escape. Right now I’m tired, sad, and worried, but I’m not having to actively prevent myself from violence, and that’s not in any way a little thing.

I have some specific goals for 2018. I feel better when I get a little exercise, so I’ll try that. I should try to maybe only be an every-week regular at one biscuit establishment, rather than five of them. It would be nice to get all the art up on the walls and make sure the frames are even, so I have to get a friggin’ level. I need a haircut. That fits in with my main goal, which is to be a little kinder to myself. Wallowing in shame and anxiety is no way to go through life–it’s counter-productive at best. Does that mean I should get my ass back into therapy? Yes, it does. Also I should see the doctor about these weird knee aches I have recently* developed, and get my car in to figure out why the check engine light came on a little bit ago**, but let’s take it one step at a time.

Anyway, the last half of 2017 was pretty good. 2018 is going to be pretty good too. It’s rained here for far too long.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/stonebiscuit/playlist/30pjkpufM9ujjmlLj7kvQp

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