Sunday, November 28, 2010

Breakfast foods are always appropriate.

I have a conflicted relationship with breakfast cereal. I love it for the first five minutes of every bowl, and then as it begins to lose crispness and become a limp, soggy mess, I find myself kind of grossed out. This reaction is in my memories going all the way back to early childhood, and I suspect fond memories are part of what makes cereal so appealing in the first place. Remember when getting to eat a sugary cereal like Lucky Charms was a big deal? Compared to parent-approved Cheerios or Kix, the little marshmallows and pink milk were pure glee.
Now that I get to pick my own breakfast items (and despite how often ‘breakfast’ really means ‘coffee’), I find myself returning to certain cereals over and over. Honey Bunches of Oats really may be perfect in any of its various flavors, though I am partial to the one with strawberries. It has a good crunch from the oat clusters even when the flakes are starting to sag and the dehydrated strawberries stay delicious even as they rehydrate a little. It is also tasty with soymilk and takes the addition of fiber or other supplements well… adult dietary needs a kid should only scoff at. Other favorite cereals, besides the still amazing Lucky Charms, include Honey Nut Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats. The Honey Nut Cheerios are still sweet cereal in my mind, like a naughty version of the regular Cheerios. Eating a bowl makes me feel like a kid sneaking dessert every time. Frosted Mini Wheats are amazing to snack on dry and right out of the box, but I find them a little heavy if you eat a whole bowl with milk.
I’m not sure whether you can really lose weight by eating cereal instead of meals, and I wouldn’t recommend that strategy anyway, but cereal is often that perfect mini-meal: just enough to keep you going, but not enough to weight you down. I think I’ll go pour myself a bowl now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A little something to keep you going. Think about it.

I'm going to get a little explicit here for a second. Guys, why do some of you think that you deserve to get off in any given sexual encounter? You are not entitled to anything, and complaining about getting 'blue-balled' is not only offensive, it is morally wrong. This kind of obvious guilt tripping puts pressure on a woman to do things she doesn't want to do(and if it hasn't happened by the time you're complaining, it is because she doesn't want to). Your complaints are an abuse of the power you hold as a man in the western world.
And let me clarify one thing, before everyone starts yelling at me: I know a lot of great guys that would never intentionally do this, and furthermore, having done it does not make you a bad person nor does it mean you are an irredeemable asshole. We all have to stop and think about what we say and do in the heat of the moment and what the real impacts of our words and actions are on our partners. This goes for women and men, because the hardest part of any sexual or romantic interaction is trying as hard as you can to communicate and respect boundaries. The goal is that the next morning everyone involved can walk away happy and at peace with themselves about their decisions, knowing that those decisions were made in an atmosphere of acceptance and respect. A safe space, if you will. Pressuring someone, even when you may not think of it as pressure, destroys that safe space and creates a blatant power dynamic. It damages whatever trust you may have, and damaged trust is very, very difficult (and in some cases impossible) to repair.
Male-dominated culture gives added weight to the needs and desires of men, making the exercise of this type of sexual power far more difficult to resist than I believe most men would imagine. Firstly,it is truly difficult to say no to someone you are involved with, especially if you care for them and for their opinion of you. The problem is that women are expected to take on a passive sexual identity, one which promotes the idea that a man's needs have primacy and that a woman who doesn't want to indulge those so-called needs is a 'prude' or a 'tease'. When, even inadvertently, a woman is made to feel guilty or otherwise emotionally attacked, the man is projecting this sexually submissive archetype and punishing her for not meeting it. Sex already requires a certain emotional and physical vulnerability that only amplifies the damage that negative feedback can cause, especially when that feedback is expressed in the moment. Of course, it should be basic to any thinking person that women are not just vehicles for sexual pleasure, and thus the myth of the submissive sexual plaything belongs very much to the realm of fantasy. Unless two people consensually act out that particular scenario (after explicit communication of the boundaries, of course), this archetype should have no place in the contemporary couple's sexual life. But it does, and all too often it dominates a sexual encounter. So while you, my dear man, may leave sexually frustrated, she leaves feeling like a failure if she insists on 'disappointing' you or like trash if she gives in...either way, and regardless of the degree of the reaction, who wants this kind of emotional response after sex?

Women, we have to get better at saying no if and when we want to. Men, you have to get better at putting your penis on the back burner and respecting the boundaries from the outset.

I do want to note that I am aware of the heterosexual bias of this post. I would assume gender privilege is an issue in the LGBTQ community as well, but I really don't know how those dynamics play out so I do not feel qualified to engage in that discussion. I would be interested in learning more, and if anyone has resources to contribute for my and the readers' edification, please leave a comment!