Peace, Corporate America

Re-published on the 3rd anniversary of my departure from the 9-5

Every kid who’s been raised in the U.S., hell even many who haven’t, wants a piece of the American dream. That elusive idea that if we work hard, train hard and do what we’re told, at a certain point we end up with ample, maybe even extravagant, riches and enough security to enjoy life. If I’m the first one to tell you that formula is flawed, it’s time for you to wake the fuck up.

Peace Corporate America

I’ve been working since I turned 15, which in itself I believe is admirable. No one can deny that we are a society fueled by money, and the lack thereof will significantly cripple you. The problem, in my eyes, is that since the age of 15 I’ve been trained to think that my dreams are just that: whimsical, unattainable thoughts and hopes for a life that isn’t sustainable or valid. Despite never allowing myself to truly give up on what I believe will make me happy, I’ve been guilty of segregating my “real life” from the life I want. As of February 6, 2013, I’m done with that shit.

Frustration and disapproval of my own lifestyle and choices has been bubbling inside me for some time now, but the fear of homelessness, poverty and a life that doesn’t quite compare to how I imagined it has kept me chained to the machine that is corporate America. I’ve paid my dues and am finally beginning to realize that Enid was right when she told Carrie that “the key to having it all” is to “stop expecting it to look like what you thought it would look like.”

Maybe I’ll never be a rich and famous writer who can afford Louboutin heels and a weekly manicure (I’ve got high standards…), but that may have never really been in the stars for my happiness. I can’t base my quest for contentment and satisfaction in life on the media’s portrayal of what it means to be happy and successful. Because quite frankly, they’re no experts. The only actions that can truly make us happy are doing what we love, for that exact reason (i.e. not for riches beyond our wildest dreams–if that happens, good for you, though), changing things that make us miserable and helping to pass the fortune that inevitably comes from these actions on to those who may not see so clearly.

The majority of my reason for leaving the corporate world is derived from my own desire for happiness. I’m a selfish bitch. But part of it is also the inability to see the massive amounts of homeless people in this city who are suffering, regardless of how they ended up that way, while corporate Americans enjoy lavish lifestyles at the expense of their morals and souls.  I cannot feel like I’m part of the mechanism which allows that to happen. I know many people will not agree, but I’ve experienced this cold with a good jacket and warm home to retreat to. I don’t wish this situation on anyone inescapably. Underneath everything, whichever store it may have come from, we’re still all humans, and it is our duty to help each other. If we can’t swing that even on the smallest level, we have every right to be ashamed.

After all this ranting, the point is that I’m making the conscious, educated decision to say sayonora to the 27th floor of a building on Broad Street, and I’m doing this in exchange for half the pay and complete vulnerability to weather conditions while working. Not only am I willing to give up a yearly salary, healthcare (which, face it, doesn’t do anyone much good anyway) and a consistent 9-6 work schedule, I am eagerly looking forward to it. It’s finally clear to me, after so very many years of struggling, that this is the only choice I really have if I have any intention of ever actually being happy, approving of myself and making a difference in this world.

Many people may shun this decision and think of me as ignorant, but that’s something I can easily handle. Shoving the creative soul I’ve been given to the depths of corporate America’s pit in exchange for fleeting security, insulting pay and constant unhappiness–that I just can’t do. So I’m out. Consider the microphone dropped.

Originally published March 28, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

The Elusive Female Orgasm

Now that I have some lady friends, it occurs to me that the issue of the female orgasm is much more dire than we stress. I am probably the only woman I know who has never faked an orgasm in my life, and I can’t be the only one who has a problem with this. In fact, by definition it seems that literally every other woman is having a problem, as are the men attached to them sexually. So what’s the deal? Why is it so hard for us to feel the same release our male counterparts do at the end of each sexual encounter? I have theories. I know, surprising.

The Elusive Female Orgasm

Photo credit to “When Harry Met Sally”

  1. Porn.

I’m definitely not one of those chicks who is opposed to pornography. I’ve been alone for a very long time, and I know the value of watching someone else enjoy the action you’re not getting. Here’s my problem with porn: it’s unrealistic. I know I’m not the first person to say this, but I feel like it’s going in one hole and out the other (I meant ears!!). It’s a rare experience when a man is gifted enough with only his penis to bring about this heavenly state of being we call an orgasm. I’m tempted to ask why so many porn videos ignore this fact and show women screaming their brains out, but when I think about it, I can’t remember the last time I watched a porn that actually featured a female orgasm, which is fucking sad. When did it become acceptable for men to be the only ones who reach sexual climax without the assistance of their own hands or expensive toys? I don’t care who declared that this is okay, because I’m declaring it’s not, and I challenge one single woman on the face of this Earth to disagree with me convincingly. If the population of porn consumers weren’t overwhelmingly men, I would absolutely suggest a boycott (or girlcott, if you will) of this industry until they start producing videos where both partners get to come, even if they’re not both women or both men.

  1. Lack of education

Honestly, I don’t think it’s fair to 100% blame men for not getting us off. We’re complicated creatures, and it’s no three-stroke finish for us….ever. I’ve heard us compared to certain types of engines, and let’s think about it this way–how many people have ever been able to successfully make an engine purr without some sort of training? No one works on an engine for the first time and suddenly fixes all the mechanical issues and starts up the ignition immediately. That said, one group of people who are exceptionally skilled at revving us up are women. We know what we want and exactly how to get there. The gap in information comes from the fact that we’re too afraid to communicate with men about what we need sexually. I’m not sure why, but it most likely stems from age-old stereotypes regarding our role in sex and who sex is really for. I know what the history books say, but here’s the deal: We’re having sex for the same reason as men. Because it feels good. It’s not to please them, but to please ourselves. If it’s not, take some time off from it and figure out why you think the act of sex is so much more valuable for men. That said, it only makes sense that if they’re not passing the test (a.k.a. making us come), we need to review the chapters with them and figure out what concept they’re not getting. I can get myself off in a matter of minutes. It makes no sense that after half an hour of sex I should still be frustrated.

  1. The fake orgasm

Ladies, you’re perpetuating this issue every single time you pretend your partner has put you in that place.  I’m cynical and not very happy relationship-wise right now, but I don’t really think men are stupid. They just don’t have vaginas, and they have no idea what makes them tick. The same sort of priming and optimal conditioning doesn’t go into a male orgasm. Every woman knows she has to get to a certain place then stay there for a secret amount of time before she gets to squirm around and stop caring about everything else on Earth. Men know we want that, and they know we take longer, but they don’t know why. They don’t know that “Don’t stop” means, “Seriously, if you do ANYTHING differently I’m going to lose my orgasm and we have to start all over.” Why should they know that when so many of you throw in the towel and put on performances for them so they’ll run to the bathroom and you can finish yourself off? I do not approve. Men don’t know if you’re faking; they only know if you aren’t coming like they expect you to. If they don’t get you off, they need to know, and they need to rectify it. It’s not hard. Seriously..if it’s not hard we only need a few digits and some dedication. Any idea how much concentration goes into a blowjob? No excuses.

I can imagine there are countless other reasons that our partners aren’t getting us there, but the biggest problem is that we’re telling each other instead of them. We’re grown-ass people. At least we should be if we’re having sex. It’s time for us to learn, on both sides, to take and give instruction and guidance with dignity and acceptance. No one’s perfect, but no one gets any closer from refusing to try. You know how you like it, otherwise you would have never had an orgasm. Spread information, not infection.

 

Originally published March 1, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Oral Sex: Addressing the Two-Headed Beast

Last Tuesday* night I went to bed feeling like a whore, but I shouldn’t have. The evening’s events were not my fault, but I did get the short end of the stick.  Unfortunately, the stick was all I got, and I am unhappy, to say the least, about what seems to be a trending issue in modern sex.

Oral Sex - Addressing the Two-Headed Beast

Illustration by Jarrod Reed

I know that everyone’s sexual preferences are different, and that is absolutely respectable; however, I feel that there are certain things that should be shared with a potential sex partner as early as possible, and I also think that some things are just too old fashioned to be accepted below a certain age.

Case in point, last Tuesday night was my first “all-the-way” sexual encounter with a guy I’ve known for almost a year now. I met him through a friend’s boyfriend, and for a long time I kept him at arm’s length, and quite frankly a little further, because he was just too goofy and seemed immature. It didn’t help that his breath was extremely unappealing. I even told him about the breath issue and that I wasn’t interested in him as more than I friend. I wasn’t a bitch. Contrary to belief, I’m actually a really nice person, and I hate to let people down or hurt them. I just told him I was sorry and I didn’t want to lead him on, but I just didn’t think we were compatible.

So when he asked me to go to a Yankees game after not speaking for months, I checked with a close guy friend and confirmed that this was cool by the guy code since I’d been open and honest. Imagine my surprise when we actually had a really good time. The game was fun, he treated me like a lady (well as far as one can when hanging out with an awesome chick at a baseball game), showed me affection, and I ended up inviting him over for football. Over the course of four hours, one thing led to another, and we were definitely halfway down the third baseline when we stopped, as per my request, and he went home.

I asked him to wait until Thursday. It was like a jungle in my pants (between waxes) and I didn’t get paid until Thursday. It didn’t take me long, based on his size, skill and our sexual chemistry to decide that Tuesday was a better day for sex, especially since he didn’t seem to mind a little fur. Too much? Stop reading.

So he came over, clearly ready to get down to business and not in the mood to chat or kick it. Once we got into my bed, I initiated foreplay, since he clearly wasn’t going to and I’m a woman who needs it. I won’t say I’m the best at that stage of the game, but I can hold my own, and I held his too. At some point, the building pressure became unbearable, and we had sex. Satisfying sex for him after about…5 minutes. I won’t try to deny that I enjoyed it. The man is well endowed and not afraid of working on the bottom. But every woman knows 5 minutes just isn’t long enough for an orgasm, unless you fake it. And I don’t. Ever.

So while he struggled to prepare for round 2, I assured him all was cool as long as he helped me get to my happy place too. I just wanted a little help, even if only manually, to get me off. Any respectable man should be eager to oblige. He watched. Eventually I said, “Are you just going to watch me?” and when I added the question, “Why don’t you help me out?” he responded as follows:

I don’t eat.

Do I really need to go on? The infinite number of issues with this answer is self-explanatory, and it’s so unreal that I can barely believe it even happened.

I’ve never eaten pussy, so I can’t attest to the experience, but one thing I can say is that giving men head was not an especially enjoyable experience for me initially. My ability to become aroused during this part of foreplay is a skill and adjustment that was honed over the nine years I’ve been sexually active. I get it, dude. I really do. But it’s just not acceptable. It’s 2012. Oral sex is so much a part of our sexual identity now that entire songs are dedicated to it, and in my opinion rightfully so. The outdated idea that “I don’t eat” is the end of the conversation is honestly appalling. Which is probably why my mouth fell open when I realized what kind of meal he was referring to.

The most frustrating parts of the entire experience were his lax, amused attitude and his refusal to even MANUALLY stimulate me to orgasm after he gladly shot his 5-minute-old load. I’m not even one of those girls who bitches about that. Obviously sex is preferable to masturbation, but once I’m in that zone, I just wanna get off. Common courtesy is to help, especially if it’s your fault I’m still hanging.

And when a discussion is obviously upsetting me and threatening any relationship, friendship or otherwise, that we have going forward, how about try NOT to grin like a little fucker? That only drives my paranoia that you came just to cum and don’t give a fuck about me right on home and into the expensive garage I pay for with my hard earned tax dollars.

Give a fuck. Give head. Or get out.

UPDATE:

Years later, after reading this experience all over again, having been removed from this situation for quite some time, it’s finally more clear to me what really bothered me about the whole shebang (and that’s it). What if the tables were turned?

I’ll be fair and say that the majority of men I’ve encountered since this experience have been happy to oblige and reciprocate dirty deeds. I hope I don’t have to consider myself lucky in that respect. What ground my gears back then was that I had given him what he needed, and most likely EXPECTED out of the deal. Twice, in fact. We’d cross that road, and he’d come to it. Yet, instead of holding up his end of the undiscussed deal, he disrespectfully treated me as though I were his plaything, not a human of equal caliber who also had needs.

Unfortunately, though we live in the 21st century, I fear there are still many men, and possibly even women, for whom this example of sexism and inequality is acceptable. There is a growing interest in the thoughts behind and acceptance of oral sex for women, but the fact is that sometimes, one is likely to accidentally crawl into bed with someone who feels that “not eating” is acceptable, yet still expects to be treated like a delicious popsicle. Why?

A good friend of mine used to maintain that he didn’t do that because he didn’t know who had been there before him. As can be expected, that defense always infuriated me. It shows such a lack of education about the female body, as though every sexual partner leaves a deposit of filth that cannot be removed by our body’s natural, and pretty fucking awesome, ability to clean itself. Interestingly, I don’t know where his dick had been either, but he sure expected every woman he was with to deliver her fair share of head. I suppose his soap was better than the totally organic and chemical-free stuff we ladies were born with.

It’s difficult not to make the connection between this double standard and the one that labels men as “players” and their female counterparts as “sluts” and “whores.” Why is it that our genitals are seen as biblical tools for reproduction, not to be touched in “unnatural ways,” but the penis is somehow immune to these same guidelines?

*Originally published September 27, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Social Media for Dummies (The Ex Issue: V1)

Social media: Connector. Ingenious networking tool. Information database. Electronic invitation system. Friendship maintenance assistant. Passive aggressive comment forum?

The Art of Social Media

Photo credit to flickr.com

As if meeting, dating, breaking up and moving on weren’t already difficult enough, modern singles now have to face the repercussions of expired relationships and their effects on every social media network thus far established. Where do I begin ranting about the irritation surrounding this?

Let me avoid diving into this without noting what everyone already knows. Social networking sites make stalking an ex as easy as baking the family-recipe pie with your mom in the kitchen. Though most sites have privacy settings in attempt to avoid real danger associated with these issues, it doesn’t take a hacker to skirt these safeguards and gain indirect access to life updates and new photos in various ways. I could go into a completely different session about how invasive this is, but now is not the time.

Stalking capability now addressed, the apparent inability for anyone using a social media outlet to maintain any level of maturity is ferociously annoying, to say the least. Whether you can come to terms with it or not, social networking is not catered to your needs, desires and hard drive alone. It’s public. Everyone you are associated with, and in some cases even people you’ve never even heard of, has access to anything you post, tweet, note, tumbl, update..you catch my drift. And if you don’t, let me put it a little simpler for you: Your shit is not private. We can see it.

Social Media Privacy

Photo credit to flickr.com

 

In light of this fact, it goes without saying that you can expect responses and reactions, whether positive or negative, to anything significant you might have to say. For example, post a status with an intelligent quote, expect “likes.” Tweet a relevant news story, expect “retweets.” In my opinion, it’s not a difficult concept. Who knows? Maybe I’m a genius, and it’s rocket science for laymen. In any case, now we all know. So if you’re still friends with an ex or someone ex-like on a social media site, it shouldn’t be unexpected, unappreciated or too far of a stretch to see a “like” or even a comment from them, depending on how friendly you are.

Why all this babbling? To set up the situation for my chief complaint: Passive aggressiveness via social media updates. Dudes and ladies, we get it. Love hurts, love stings, all that mushy and painful shit. No one expects you to come out of anything resembling a relationship and suddenly be BFFs with your ex, especially if that something resembling a relationship was actually just two people using each other for sex before one moved across the country. Don’t say I didn’t warn you not to fall for me. If someone expects that, delete them from your “Friends” list. However, if you need a shit ton of space and you can’t bear to remember that person exists, it’s on you to take the necessary precautions to prevent unwanted exposure. If you don’t want to take the risk of receiving “likes,” “tweets,” comments, whatever from someone in your romantic past, let me solve your problems. Fucking. Delete. Them.

If you just thought to yourself, “But what if he notices we’re not ‘friends’ anymore and takes it the wrong way?” ask yourself what Katy Perry wondered on her Teenage Dream album: “Who am I living for?” If it’s your ex, get yourself committed. It should be you, and if the person whose thoughts you’re considering isn’t you, it’s time to rethink your life.

Drowing FB

Photo credit to flickr.com

The real root of the issue is that if you have enough of a problem with this occurrence to lash out at your opponent, status updates are not the place to do it. Part of being a grown-ass adult is looking your problems in the face and telling them what’s up. Not posting an insult on a public site without having the balls to admit you’re thinking of a certain person. Need to have it out with your ex-lover? Check out this new-ish thing call a cell phone. It works in several different ways, in the form of direct calls, text messages, and even voicemails. Some more advanced phones today can even handle email capacity. Yup, that means you could draft an email spilling your guts and anger too. All of these are acceptable ways of getting closure or expressing frustration so you can move on in a healthy way, and if you’re really tactful, your balls might even drop. Text messages, phone calls, Facebook updates, emails. One of these things is not like the others. Can you spot it?

Originally published September 2, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

PushMethod

PUSHMETHOD, Catch Wild Play Babysitter to Ailing Writer

“Guys, I’m so sorry. I think I’m going to be sick.” Not exactly one of the notes I’d scribbled down for my interview with Catch Wild, this statement turned out to be the end of the interview and the beginning of a very long night. Thanks to two very amazing bands, I survived and now have the beginning of a lovely tan.

Having been invited to attend Catch Wild’s show with PushMethod at Asbury Park’s Press Room, I thought it only proper to make an entire day of the occasion and spend some quality sand and sea time before heading to meet up with the bands. Several hours and minimal sunscreen later, I heard myself utter those words as I realized I had sun poisoning.

Catch Wild

Photo credit to catchwild.com

When Catch Wild’s Jessica Rose suggested that we adjourn to the back porch area of the venue to conduct our interview, I was happy to oblige. Though I was physically in pain from excessive sun, I generally felt fine and ready to rock. Once the band began to spill details on a variety of topics from how they came together to how their music progressed to inspiration and writing style, I furiously jotted down each word in my self-adapted shorthand. Suddenly everything seemed a little slower and much less stable than before. I started to feel slightly dizzy and extremely nauseous. Focusing on bassist, Swinny’s words seemed a daunting task and capturing them on paper an impossible one. Moments later, I heard the words tumble from my mouth, and the band sprang into action, fetching an industrial sized trash can and a glass of water.

Retching and barely strong enough to walk back to the green room wasn’t quite what I had in mind as a lasting impression of myself for Catch Wild. Thankfully, they are rockstars in every sense of the word and kept their eyes on me all night. I made a quick appearance for the beginning of their set, and Jessica even checked on me from stage before commencing with what the band maintains was an amazing show. I believe them.

The ever-attentive boys from PushMethod left an incredible impression on me as well and essentially concreted our budding friendships from my perspective.

When I finally made it to the green room, I found that I was freezing, despite the fact that everyone else was fighting for the chair near the fan. Inexplicably, my teeth were chattering and I was actually shaking. Even curled into the fetal position I couldn’t find warmth. All Tavis Eaton needed was to hear me ask for a jacket. It seems that cue acted as his bat signal, as the next time I saw him he was giving me a spare t-shirt from their car. With the added warmth, access to endless water and a lengthy period of sleep on the green room couch, I actually felt well enough to check out the PushMethod show, though I had to sit in a chair through the band’s intensely energetic set.

Due to some delays in the show, New Jersey Transit’s final train departed without me that night. It probably wasn’t the best place for me in my condition, anyway. Thankfully, the PushMethod guys offered to clear a spot for me on their trip back to the city. An expected two hour trip by train, the boys got me back to Manhattan in just over an hour, including a stop at Burger King. Less travel time, food and the company of three awesome dudes? I’ll take that over the noisy NJ Transit any day.

PushMethod

Photo credit to Sarah Natasha Photography

PushMethod didn’t stop there, though. As we pulled onto the nearly deserted streets of Hell’s Kitchen, Eaton made it very clear that the guys had no intention of making me ride the train all the way back to Brooklyn. As he shoved cab fare into my hand, Eaton just repeated, “You’re NOT taking the train tonight. You’re NOT.” As if kickin’ it with Eaton, Dusty Youree and Michael Lapke wasn’t cool enough.

Seriously guys? You are the definitions of rock stars. I owe you my undying loyalty.

Originally published July 6, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Hey Sandy, WTF?

For any of you who may have been living under the biggest, most elevated rock in all the land, our fair city has just endured one hell of a hurricane. Thankfully, none of our writers have suffered serious damages, but in many parts of the city and tri-state area, the same cannot be said.

As a New Yorker (relatively fresh, but I maintain that I am one..) it breaks my heart to see all the destruction that bitch Sandy brought with her. I was lucky this time around, and there is virtually no damage in my neighborhood, but I feel like it’s my duty as a human being to help those who didn’t fall into the lucky few. As such, I spent some time volunteering with Occupy Sandy the weekend following the storm and gathered some photos for those of us who may be coddled in mid-borough neighborhoods where there are only a few trees down.

Observe: (all photo credits below to Shanna Gibbs)

Sandy - Boardwalk Benches

Boardwalk benches relocated to yard area

Sandy Aftermath

Sandy destroyed parts of the Rockaways’ boardwalk

Sandy Aftermath - Destruction

Rockaways after Sandy

Much of the Rockaways is now in shambles

Sandy Donations

 

Sandy Deliveries

Busses bring supplies to Sandy victims

It’s undeniable that Hurricane Sandy had an impact on our city like no storm previously has. Our subway systems suffered unprecedented damage in the 108 years they’ve been in operation. As rough as that is for the 99% of us who take the trains on a regular basis, at least we have power, roofs, warm meals, hot showers and heat. So many people still don’t, despite the fact that Sandy hit over two weeks ago.

It’s unfortunate that it takes something so devastating to remind each of us that we’re human and we have to help each other, but now that we can see this, it’s up to us to take action to repair the relationships we have with one another. It will be months before New York is fully recovered, and in the meantime, the city is going to need us more than ever.

Volunteer and donation opportunities for Sandy relief efforts:

(This is a short list. There are so many more.)

Occupy Sandy

Red Hook Initiative

The Lower East Side Recovers

New York Cares

American Red Cross

Brooklyn Brewery Sandy relief

The Brooklyn Kitchen

Benefit shows:

Gotham City Improv– Friday night shows

Louis C.K. Live for Project Hospitality

Dumbo BID Fundraiser

“Anything But Politics”

The Bell House & Pretty Good Friends’ Hurricane Relief Benefit

SandyHatesBooks

and other various shows (Check Brooklyn Vegan for one lineup)

Originally published November 12, 2012 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com