Friday, October 24, 2014

Kittens & Puppies & Mens, Oh My! (Adventures in Datingland)

I'm doing it. The dating thing.

And I am ALSO now raising two playful kittens.

Let me 'splain.

For years I was trying to find something, anything, to bring down the weight of my extremely obese cat, Metaphor, aka, Stinky. Diet pet food after diet pet food, New toys, which she would condescend to play with for three minute, then never again.

Did she LIKE the collar? No. Did she tolerate it, like so much else? Yep.


Finally it dawned on me, perhaps a playmate would encourage Stinky to move around. So I consulted experts and very carefully selected Motivation, aka, Mojo, and after the 2 week seclusion period, some extra time for him in the Cone of Shame (why can't males leave their danglies alone?!?), and some slow, supervised exposure, Stinky and Mojo seemed to be on the path to kitty friendship, if not yet at the playground.

Seems to me like she's saying, "Hey, maybe he isn't so bad, after all."


Next, Stinky got sick very suddenly, and I had to have her put down. Cue many tears, and then I was faced with a dilemma. Now I had a solo, five-month-old kitten who would be bored silly while I am at my day job all day. How can I be the best pet mommy to HIM?

Answer = Kitten #2. After crowdsourcing name ideas, I'm leaning toward Creativity, because she seems playful, but a little shy.  Tivvy for short.




About Those Puppies...


So while all of this cat drama is going on, I've signed up for the wonderful world of online dating.


While yes, the pictures I used for my profiles are more flattering than not, they're not glamour shots, photos I've seen of authors and others, which don't look anything like them, or are 30 years old. Just better lit, mostly. Here's a selfie I took last night, with the new kitten.



In my profile, I'm honest about my struggles with weight, in the first paragraph.

I put my real age right out there: [gulp] 53 years old.

I state, among other things, that I am looking for SINGLE guys, in my area, aged between 40 and 60.

So I'm getting messages from some men who actually fit that description. Yay! Also from guys who aren't local, or guys who are much, much older than 60.

I'm getting messages from skeevy married men who just want to have a sleazy affair or one night stand, on the down low.

And I'm getting very flattering messages from, I'm calling them puppies.  Here's a sampling (names changed to protect the guilty).


  • Hey, how's it going? My name is Adam. I would probably be way too nervous to come up to you in person, but I just wanted to say that I think you're absolutely beautiful!  Adam, age 25.
  • Would you be interested in a boy toy for the night? Ben, age 23
  • I guess you can say trying to be flirty, lol. I'm open to women outside range, and am talking to several 50+ women, what can I say, y'all are a bit of fun! To be honest though, I'd be more interested in hooking up than a relationship with someone north of 40. Casey, age 30
  • And I get that I am young, but age is all in the head. Mentally I connect with women in their 40s and 50s. It's who I'm attracted to. So if you can get over the age thing... lets chat.
    I am awfully good in bed so that's a huge plus right? :) Desi, age 34
  • I'm not all that intimidating, honestly. I'm pretty friendly. I'm a XXX by trade. And I've dated older women before, so you wouldn't be an "experiment," as it were. Eduardo, age 25.


Seriously, I know my face doesn't scare horses or small children, and on occasion, I do feel very pretty (cue Natalie Wood's vocal stand-in).  But is it so hard for a young guy to get laid that they're hitting on an overweight woman old enough to be their mother (or, in some cases, their grandmother)?

I haven't entirely ruled out playing with a puppy, but mostly, I feel too squeamish about it.

Especially the one who is the same height, age, and NAME as my son.



Poly Want A Partner?


On the other hand... not an insubstantial number of connections I've made have been men who state they are in open or polyamorous relationships.  Messages about being home alone, while the wife is out with her boyfriend.

*blinks*

Polyamory is based on the theory that people can enjoy more than one loving, sexual relationship at the same time. (As opposed to "swinging," which is more a series of flings.)

I find I'm kind of intrigued.  In my own history, yes, this has described me. I have enjoyed - and sometimes, felt guilty about - feeling deep love and sexual attraction to more than one man at a time. Sometimes I was open about it; sometimes I was not, but I always felt worse about the secret-keeping than the sex.

Have I found "my people?" I always felt homesick when I'd finish a Robert Heinlein book that described an extended, group marriage arrangement, from Stranger in a Strange Land to Friday to To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

Research is pointing more and more to the idea that monogamy isn't the only "natural" pairing for human beings, any more than heterosexuality is.  Both may be the most popular, but they don't meet the needs of every individual. It turns out, I already knew a few poly people, and  I like them, a lot. They don't have horns or hooves or anything unusual about them, except perhaps a greater appreciation for sensuality and openness about sex. (Kind like mine.)

So, I am joining a few poly and Sex-Positive Meet-Up groups and FaceBook Groups, and have checked out a library book on the subject that was recommended to me. I'm going very slow, feeling like Bambi's mother, cautiously sniffing the air and taking one tiny, cautious step at a time, before frolicking in the meadow. We all know that Bad Things happened when she forgot.

And that's not the kind of stuffed and mounted I'm looking for.


And while I am meeting and chatting with a variety of men, I am being careful, both with my person and with my heart.

Note: If you are going to be sexting, and if you are going to be sending selfie pictures of your favorite vibrator (I would never ever sext a picture that showed intimate body parts, not even a nipple), you just might want to either delete those pictures off your phone, or move them into another folder, before you let people scroll through your phone to look at your kitten pics.  Oops!

Have you known people who were openly polyamorous?
Had unusual online dating experiences?
Your thoughts?


Monday, October 20, 2014

She Ain't Your Typical Snow White

Because who hasn't wanted to read the story of Snow White, retold where she's an amazing badass? Who hunts vampires?

Pleased to welcome to Writing in Flow bestselling author Rebekah R. Ganiere, and her book, Snow The Vampire Slayer.
Lady Snow Gwyn is tired of playing "mother" to her seven Vampire Slaying brothers. For the past two years, she's yearned to be out there fighting at their side as they hunt for bloodsuckers in the black of night. Snow is as good a fighter as any man, but she wasn't called to be a Slayer. A mere formality in her book.

 Prince Sageren, Son of Lothar has spent the last fifty years in exile, awaiting the day when he can finally avenge his family and take back his throne. Barely existing, he's forced to face his inner demons and the monster he once was, compelling him to vow to never drink from humans again. A simple enough task--until he crosses paths with a human who makes his fangs ache to drain her.
When Snow runs into Prince Sage on a late night trip to the woods, she's torn between the urge to kill him and the desire to succumb to the feeling he stirs within her. And when Snow's life is threatened by the same evil that murdered his family, Prince Sage must enlist the aid of Snow's brothers to not only help him save her life, but to also regain his rightful place as King of the Vampires.
 If Sage can keep the Slayers from killing him first.


Sounds delish, amirite? Here's an excerpt:

Run away. Run now. He wanted to scream. But he couldn’t. Drink her dry. Make her your own and you’ll never be alone again. He pounded on his skull. His gaze met hers and he suddenly lost all reserve.

One moment he was inches away, the next he grabbed her braid and forced her body against his, crushing her lips with his own. His tongue plunged deep into her mouth. She stiffened at his touch initially, but then relaxed against him. He needed this.

Her supple body pressed against his, her curves sparking every inch of his skin to wake up and pay attention. Out of sheer will, he forced his fangs at bay. He wanted her all to himself at that moment. Just her. The feel of her lips on his lips. Her tongue danced and licked his with a palpable need. Her apparent lack of experience made Sage savor her all the more.

He was dangerously close to losing control. She pushed against him roughly and he let go. Her eyes widened before hardening. Quick as light, she swung to slap him, but he caught her wrist.

“You don’t want to do that, love. You’ll split your palm open again.”

“You had no right to kiss me.”

Need pounded through him, making his body quake. He let go of her wrist. “I didn’t see you protesting too much.”

“I…I…” Her mouth opened and closed several times, but no words formed.

His gaze trained on her throat. The pulsing vein and the thundering of her heartbeat called to him. He licked his lips.

He stepped forward, gripped her arms and locked his eyes with hers. Her pupils contracted and then flooded open.

“You will go straight to the cabin. You will get your things and you will run. Run ‘til you get safe in your bed. And when you wake up in the morning, you will remember nothing.”

Her eyes glazed over and he eased his grasp on her. She picked up her sword and ran. A minute later, the light in the cabin flickered out and the door slammed. Sage didn’t dare let himself even breathe until he knew she’d gone, for fear that he would chase her down and ravish her.

When he no longer heard her footsteps, he fell to his knees and clutched the bloodied gauze she’d left behind. So long he had been in exile, underground. So long he’d denied himself the companionship of a woman. And here, in the middle of a glade, he’d found her. His heart’s desire was a human. What the hell was he going to do now?

***

Rebekah R. Ganiere is an award winning author. Her novel Dead Awakenings, debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, released in May. The second book Snow the Vampire Slayer was released in September 22, 2014. And her trilogy The Society will be released Nov. 17th 2014 by Kensington's Lyrical Press.

Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County chapters. In her spare time when she isn't writing you can find her moderating on SavvyAuthors.com or hanging out with her husband, four children and her English Bulldog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, and two tortoises. 

The escaped snake has yet to be found.


Stalk Find Rebekah:


Or, ask Rebekah a question here.
I'll be guesting on her blog next Monday, yeah, me!



Monday, October 6, 2014

Slut of the Month: Coco Chanel

Abandoned orphan. Cocotte (kept woman) and Couturière. Nazi-lover?



Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel did not live an easy nor uncontroversial life. Her parents: mother Jeanne, a landrywoman, and father Albert Chanel, a traveling street vendor, were unmarried at the time of her birth, though persuaded (shotgun marriage?) to formally wed, several children later. When Gabrielle was 12, her mother died; she and her two surviving sisters were sent to the convent of Aubazine in Central France, while the two boys were sent to work as farm laborers.

Later, when Gabrielle "aged out" of the convent at age 18, she (and her sisters?) found work as seamstresses (having been trained in sewing by the nuns) during the day, and sang and danced in La Rotonde, as a poseuse, one of the performers who entertained between star turns. As shown in the clip, below, from the movie Coco Before Chanel, the pavilions were dark, crowded, noisy venues.

It is thought to be here that Chanel picked up the nickname Coco, perhaps from one of the popular songs she frequently performed.

To advance, the girls had to present considerable talent, to move up to a star position. Another option was to attract a protector.





Coco did not have the singing or dancing talent to move to a star position.

She did, however, succeed in attracting the interest of ex-calvalry officer, textile heir Étienne Balsan, and lived with him in  his chateau, Royallieu for the next three years.


A Child is Born


Julia-Berthe, Coco's older sister, is supposed to have married, given birth, and committed suicide when the boy, André Palasse, was six. Whereupon Coco adopted the boy, and promptly shipped him off to boarding school in England.

But there were persistent rumors that the boy belonged not to Julia, but to Coco, probably by Balsan. In any event, Coco did not bear any (other) children, so Palasse would become her sole heir, and perhaps, her most important emotional connection, outside of "Boy" Capel.


Enter Boy Capel - Lover, Sponsor, Muse


While living with Balsan, Coco would fall in love with and "run away with" his friend Captain Arthur "Boy" Capel, a member of the English aristocracy. He established Coco in a Paris apartment, and would finance the fashion boutiques Coco opened in Paris, Deauville, and Biarritz.

At a time when women's fashions imprisoned, even distorted women's bodies in tight corsets and many yards of stiff, fussy fabric, Chanel's designs were revolutionary and boasted simple, clean lines. They used fabric like jersey that breathed, and moved, and allowed women to breathe, and move.  They were modeled upon men's fashions, in large part, those seen and admired by Coco upon her lover, Boy Capel.

via www.holyholyfashion.com
It didn't hurt that these styles were also most flattering to Chanel's own lean, athletic, boyish figure.

Fashionable women couldn't get enough. To Capel's surprise, Chanel repaid all the amounts he had "loaned' her (most men at that time considered such loans to a mistress to be a gift) in a short period of time.

And then Capel was killed, in an auto accident in 1919. Never mind that he had married, elsewhere; never mind that Chanel herself had taken other lovers. twenty-five years later Chanel would refer to his loss as "losing everything."


via favimages.net

The Parfum That Launched a Thousand Affairs

en: Chanel No.5 parfume
en: Chanel No.5 parfume
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having launched a successful clothing brand, Chanel branched out into scents.

Traditionally, women's fragrances around 1920 were either single floral notes (for respectable women) or heavy, musky aromas. Working with parfumier Ernest Beaux, who for the first time used aldehydes in the process, Chanel is said to have selected the fifth vial (of ten) as the mix she sought.

In 1921, Chanel launched her signature fragrance, Chanel No 5, which included oils of jasmine and tuberose. Depending on who told the story, the "invisible" flask would be based upon either the men's toiletry bottles Boy used, or perhaps his alcohol decanters.

In any event, the sales of Chanel No. 5 would make Chanel a very, very rich woman, even if it would make her partners in the endeavor even richer. Pierre and Paul Wertheimer would finance, produce, market and distribute Chanel No. 5, for 70%, and Theophile Bader, founder of the Galeries Lafayette department store, would receive 20%. During WWII, Chanel would become unhappy with her 10% (especially as the Wertheimers had moved its manufacturing to America, and were not originally sharing the worldwide sales) and she would try to seize greater control of the company.


The Only Thing She Sewed Up Was Her Designs


via Buzzfeed
Even though Boy Capel was the great love of her life, Coco did not stop being a sexually active women involved with other men, even before his death, let alone afterwards.  Many lovers were famous, such as Igor Stravinsky, the Duke of Westminster (English), Grand Duke Dmitri Romanov (Russian), poet Pierre Reverdy, illustrator Paul Iribe. Some say she had more than a close friendship with the Prince of Wales (later to abdicate his throne for American divorcee Wallis Simpson). She maintained a lifelong friendship with Winston Churchill, as well. Some claim her friendship with Misia Sert, wife of Spanish painter Jose-Maria Sert, included a sexual element.

Almost all of her lovers remained friends and admirers for the rest of their lives. In cases where they were or became indigent, she would often support them (and their families) in their declining years.

Chanel
Chanel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Somehow, Chanel also found time to continue her work as a designer, clothing that not only bore her elegantly simple and distinctive logo, but a very distinctive "look" that women all over the world wanted to wear. Unlike other designers, Coco was happy to let her designs be copied by others, correctly understanding that this only created a greater desire for the real items.  She also designed jewelry, and a handbag that is still famous today,


But What About the Nazi Years?


What has come to light in recent years is Chanel's early involvement with the Nazi party. While she was called before French investigators to answer allegations more than once, she was always freed - due to Winston Churchill's influence, is one rumor, due to lack of evidence was the reason given.

What is undeniable is that:

  • Chanel spent six of her formative years in a Catholic convent at a time when the Catholic Church was virulently anti-Semitic.
  • Her lover and fiance Paul Iribe wrote and published (with Chanel's funding) a magazine that quite frequently ran articles about how France was being destroyed from within by the Jews.
  • Her lover the Duke of Westminster also made frequent anti-Semitic statements.
  • She was able to continue to live at The Hotel Ritz when most Parisian tenants were evicted from it to make room for German officers (although she did have to change apartments).
  • She took as her (younger) lover during those years a professional German spy, Baron von Dincklage.
  • Her nephew (son?), André Palasse, was a prisoner in a German POW camp, later released.
  • She engaged in a bizarre attempt to end the war that was called Operation Modelhut and involved her and her connection Vera Bate Lombardi, and a trip to Madrid, Spain.
  • The chief of SS intelligence, General Walter Schellenberg, was convicted at Nuremberg of war crimes, but released in 1951 with incurable liver disease. Chanel paid for his and his family's living expenses and medical care, and for his funeral.

via Buzzfeed
An interesting statement, especially paired with this picture.
To me, she looks very cold and hard here.
This has been one of the hardest "Slut" pieces to write, because the idea of anyone willingly, knowingly, cooperating with the Nazi's and/or Hitler's "Final Solution" makes me want to puke.

However... I have learned that history is flexible, and historians and biographers bring their own baggage into their view of a subject. They can prove that Chanel cooperated with the Nazis, and had a Nazi officer as her lover. They can - and do - explain WHY they think she did that, but neither they - nor we - can see into her mind to really know.

My book club has been reading a number of WWII-themed books in the last few years, from The Book Thief to The Girl You Left Behind, plus several more, and I have come to understand better that sometimes people do what seems like horrible things on the outside, for what are internally admirable motives, like the French woman in Girl who pairs up with a German officer and acts as a double agent, sneaking in supplies and news, even though she is despised and spit upon by the people in her village.

My own opinion is that Chanel admired the Nazi Party and disliked Jews, except for her own particular friends, just as people can be racist and have black friends. She felt that the Nazi system of government was better than the communism/Bolshevik revolution in Russia, for France, and bore a grudge against the Westheimers (more Jews!) for what she perceived as cheating her.

However, It is also possible that Chanel was biting her tongue till it bled when her lovers made anti-Semitic comments. That she did what she did during the occupation and war to safeguard the life of her nephew, André Palasse.

Or, it is possible, she was simply determined to survive, and always "went" with what she perceived to be the winning team, without having any personal philosophy at all. Can any of us say, for sure, what Chanel felt, and why she did what she did?



Last March Down the Runway


In 1954, after a 15 year absence, Chanel returned to couture with a new collection. Paris felt it was the same old, same old... and while to a certain extent England and America did too, they also loved classic Chanel, and made it a financial success.

Coco Chanel lived to be 87, dying at The Hotel Ritz in 1971. Despite her early life of poverty and struggle, despite living through two World Wars, a long-standing morphine addiction, death of lovers and friends, and so much more, she achieved some amazing gains for women through her work. Even as I despise what I believe to be her Nazi-loving activities, I cannot help but concede and admire the way her bold and innovative fashion creations helped women stride into more freedom, of body and thought.  Would the women's liberation movement have happened when it did, if women had still been encased in corsets and acres of ruffles in the 1950's and 60's?


Curious about past sluts, from Russian Empresses to South African "curiosities" to Biblical villainesses? Listing of past Slut posts is here.

Do you wear any Chanel fragrances or clothing?
Do you think you would like to?
Your thoughts?