Katherine Ryan tells a fabulous story, in her stand-up show Glitter Room, about the time her ex-boyfriend moved to Japan. He had to go for work, and she didn’t want to move with him, so they split up. Shortly after he arrived in the country, he rang her to express shock that she had stayed where she was, and hadn’t followed him halfway around the world. He tells her: “I thought you needed me more than that.” Katherine replies: “Oh sweetie, I didn’t need you – I liked you. I enjoy having you around, but you are a luxury item.” I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think I understand a bit more where I fall on the idea of ‘needing’ men (or ‘a man’). Friendships are one thing, but when it comes to sexual and romantic relationships, men are a luxury.
I’m not very chatty on Twitter any more, and it wasn’t until last night when I spoke to a friend on the phone that I realised… I don’t even call my friends that much these days. The last few weeks have been weird and frightening, and they’re only going to get weirder and more frightening until sometime in June when the fear will come to a head and I’ll either sink, swim, or cling desperately to any of the friends I haven’t so far pissed off by ignoring. This is how it works, when my mental health is bad: I hide.
Is there any advice you could give your partner(s) that applies equally to your sexual life and your romantic life? As a general rule, my answer would be ‘no’, because in bed I want to be used and degraded but outside it I want support and kindness and equality. However, recently I realised there’s one broad rule that might apply to almost every aspect of interacting with me: the tighter you hold me, the harder I struggle.
This post features discussion of anxiety and also a real-life scene with elements of consensual non-consent. I know, right? I contain multitudes. If you like the idea of struggle-fucking as described in this post, know you’re gonna need to put the work in first: talk to your partner in detail about what you both want, and how you can withdraw consent if you want to.
Life is hard and haunted. The world is a mess, I am a mess. But I cannot just focus on the darkness and the panic: in order to keep driving forwards through the tricky stuff, I need to fill my tank with occasional joy. So I text a guy I vaguely know and I ask him to bring me tequila. And his dick.
CN: Coronavirus, lockdown, anxiety. I know not everyone wants to read stuff that talks about this, so please don’t feel like you have to. I wrote it a week ago and didn’t publish it then, despite the fact that Stuart drew this gorgeous image for it and I felt genuinely ready to put it live. It basically amounts to tediously mad dispatches from the inside of my lockdown bubble, and it’s not great, but maybe publishing it will make it easier to write the next thing, and then hopefully the next one after that.
When people Skype or Zoom or WhatsApp or email you to ask how you’re doing, what do you say? Do you say ‘Oh, I’m fine…’ ellipsis to show the deep breath you took as you processed what your brain was actually telling you before continuing ‘…you know, given the circumstances’? Do you say ‘well the kids are driving me up the wall but at least I’ve got gin and Netflix lol’? Or do you tell the full and unvarnished truth?