11.10.2013

She Wants Great Sex, or Why She Doesn’t Want to Sleep With You


Guest Post by Frammitz

I hear that, for men, sex is like pizza—even bad pizza is pretty good. For women… not so much. Most women I know would rather have no sex than bad sex. But you’re so sure she would really like it with you. What could she be thinking?

You don’t actually have a right to know what her reasons are for saying no. However, if it’s really bothering you, here are a couple of reasons why she might not want to have sex with you right now. Any one of these is enough to stop the car.

Note: if you can’t get past the first couple of bullets, remind yourself that “no” means just that and get over wanting an explanation.


It might be physical.
It’s an awesome ride, but it’s not just an amusement park down there. She might cover with the old “I have a headache” line. Let it go. The truth may be yucky:

·         She has an upset “stomach”. Like the Pepto Bismol commercial, this could mean a range of things, from gas to the trots. She doesn’t want anything bouncing on her right now. She’s probably embarrassed about this, and doesn’t want to explain or give details, because she still wants you to think she’s sexy. Always.

·         She’s menstruating. You say you don’t mind? Maybe she does. Her hormones are at a nadir, she feels messy, you’re not going to go down on her, and she ends up having to clean it all up afterwards because it’s “her” period. You feel evolved and mature about not minding “her” period, but she didn’t want the period, and she doesn’t want sex.

·         She’s pregnant. At certain times in the pregnancy, she’s worn out or huge or uncomfortable. At other times, she’ll jump you as you come in the door. Pregnancy isn’t easy. Take what you can get.

·         She had a baby recently. After six weeks, the doctor tells her she can have sex. That means that medically, the tearing and cuts have healed and the risk of infection is past. This doesn’t mean she wants to have sex. Go ahead, plead your case, I know it’s been a while. Make her feel desired, because she sure doesn’t feel attractive when she looks in the mirror. But let her take her time. She’ll come around.

·         She’s tired. She’s just tired. Can’t you see that she’s tired?

·         She has a yeast infection. Leave her the fuck alone.

Or it might be mental.
For her, good sex is not all physical. She needs to be in the mood. Even if the above physical things don’t apply, there are equally valid reasons why now is not the time:

·         She’s taken. Or at least her heart is. I don’t know the nature of your relationship with this woman, but if there isn’t one, it might be that she already has a guy, or has one in mind that she’s zeroing in on.

·         She’s gay. Yeah, sorry, this is very unlikely, given the small percentage of gay women in the general population, but if that’s what you need to salve your ego, fine, it’s a remote possibility. It goes back to the wanting good sex, and to her, good sex involves her girlfriend.

·         She’s saving it for marriage. That happens. Not to anyone I know; my friends generally believe in the scientific method. But it’s possible.

·         She doesn’t think you’re good in bed. She wants great sex. Bad sex is a waste of her time. I don’t know how she made the decision that you would be bad in bed. Maybe you dance badly, or not at all. You’re completely self-centered. Your idea of foreplay is telling her that you have a boner. You’re drunk. You’re out of shape. You don’t smell sexy. Your clothes are sloppy. You made a disparaging joke about her favorite kink. Maybe she’s wrong, but she’s made her call. Move along.

So there you have it. Maybe it’s her. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s just something she ate. However, if this is your spouse or partner, and you’ve crossed out everything in the above list, maybe she’s just not aroused. She needs to warm up to the idea. It’s time to get sexy, my friend. You know what I’m talking about.

Frammitz was laid off for a few months and started a blog. Now that she has a job again, it’s really cutting into her writing, but at least the cable bill is getting paid. When she does finish writing something, she promises herself that she won’t show her husband what she wrote this time, but she always does.You can visit her blog at www.frammitz.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.



THE EPISTOLARIANS

10.23.2013

The Fat Kid

Have you ever looked at someone hugely, grossly overweight and thought “Thank goodness I’m not them!”

Did you clock their bulging seams, their cushions of flab, the way their legs bulge out around the ankles (feet in their shoes by comparison appearing tiny), the way the features of their face seem to be engulfed by a neck which just took over?

Did you ever smell them in high summer?

Did you ever see a small child, who is really beyond ‘chubby’, and recall that image of the fat, fat person to mind, and think “Oh dear – I can see where you’re headed!”

Or a big, ungainly, overweight teenager, looking awkward and uncomfortable in clothes designed to hide, and think “It’s not too late! Stop now! Stop the eating! Get some exercise! It’s so simple!”

I’ve thought all of those things. Fortunately (thus far) I’ve managed to stop myself from saying any of them out loud. Because I think if I did, I would (deservedly) be punched in the middle of my face.

It’s a highly emotive issue for some, this business of fatness.

The general media consensus tells us that Slender is Sexier (I know; blah blah blah – old news) while there are those who attempt to convey the opposite message – Fat is Fabulous – there’s more to love – and in some part they succeed, drawing obsessive followers, while in dark corners, the Thin-titled put their heads together, purse their lips and whisper in scandalised tones about ‘chubby chasers’ and ‘fat freaks’.

The health crew reliably tell us (nearly causing blunt force trauma as they hit us over the head with that ungainliest of tools; the Body Mass Index (BMI)) that TooFat and TooSkinny can be equally unhealthy, and that what we need is BMI <25, 7 hours of sleep a night, 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and 30 minutes of exercise as often as we can bear to take it.

Fashion is torn. Music and Movies largely follow fashion. And in the end it all comes down to money.

Because truly, in the western world, we eat too much.

“Never before have so many calories been consumed by so few.”

We pay for food we don’t need to give us energy we won’t use and then buy new clothes (because the old ones don’t fit) and a gym membership (to get back into the old clothes).

Call me cynical, but I don’t really think anyone’s looking out for us. Not really.

Which brings us round to common sense (should we not be taking care of this for ourselves?), and the fact that it might just be lost with our ancestors.

Allegedly we are built for running. We carry the bulk of our weight carefully around our middles, ensuring a low centre of gravity whilst allowing us to remain upright. We have tall, upright bodies for seeing well with our binocular vision. We have long legs and strong muscles (when developed) and can go on for miles and miles and miles (once trained). We are tough, athletic creatures at heart.

And we’ve let it slip.

Since the advent of…what shall we blame today?

Canned goods – which allow food to be stored for longer and used when convenient?

Refrigeration – which allows food to be stored for longer and used when convenient?

Fast food – notoriously full of grease (because our brains are programmed to love sugar and grease, because these are the things which grant fastest energy (which is what our anciently-historical selves would have needed whilst living in caves and going out to hunt bison)) because it’s what sells well??

Family breakdown – because parents no longer monitor what their kids eat, or feed them out of guilt or indulgence?

Advertising – because they confuse us by showing the most outrageously sexualised adverts of ‘perfect’ bodies alongside an offer for ‘Buy One Get One Free’ on processed food?

Consumerism – because in the end it’s all about giving us our opinion, telling us we demand it, and then offering a supply?

Poverty – because fresh food and foods-with-fewer-additives-and-preservatives cost more?

Personal trauma – because it’s easier to eat (or starve) away the pain than deal with it?

We are absolutely buffeted with conflicting messages, the most prevalent of which is this:

Fat Is Bad.

I should know.

I’m remembered as a skinny child with a dairy allergy, but looking back at my childhood photos, I see a well-rounded girl with a wide, lumpy face.

Once the dairy allergy was gone (simultaneously with my home life taking a nosedive for the far worse) I entered 12 years of over-indulging and comfort eating.

I don’t even remember when I first noticed I was fat. It goes so far back I can’t remember.

Photos of myself as an older child and a young teen still make me cringe deep inside. Why was I allowed to continue eating myself into a sphere? How could I not have noticed?

I’ll tell you how – food was feedback.

It told me ‘Yummy’. ‘Delicious’. ‘More’. ‘Yours’.

It delighted my eyes, my nose, my taste-buds – even my fingertips as I reached out for another delectable morsel.

It was positive input.

It counteracted the daily negatives I received via word, non-word and inference - “Burden. Unworth. Ugly. Greedy. Vile. Unwanted. Failure.”

But with that positive input, there was the weight, too. That kindasorta happened along the way, almost incidentally.

I do remember the first time someone else noticed I was fat, though. A routine check-up at the doctor necessitated me to lie on the bed, and after examining me for whatever-it-was, he put out his big, man’s finger and poked me in the middle of my belly “You’re getting a bit fat” he said.

It echoed round my brain.

Judgement.

Shame.

Hurt.

Fat.

I can’t have been more than 10 or 11 years old.

I clammed up and didn’t meet his eye for the rest of the consultation. I remember staring determinedly at the edge of his desk and answering questions in a monotone. He offered no advice (that I recall) other than that damning announcement.

I made a fuss and we changed doctor. The new one was nice. She didn’t call me fat. But by then I didn’t need her to tell me.

Then my schoolmates began to notice, and they called me fat, too.

I was worst at Physical Education (PE). I achieved a reasonable time one year on our annual cross-country run because I somehow missed an entire lap. I frequently found reasons to be ill before PE. Or to join in the least I could. I hated the communal changing rooms and tried desperately to hide my body as it continued to grow outwards.

I left school with self-esteem that rock-bottom couldn’t even see down to. It wasn’t just the Fat (though that weighed heavily on my mind) – the bulk of the issue stemmed from an abusive home and the systematic destruction of my self-esteem. But none of that mattered, because the ‘me’ I presented to the world, the one who was perceived – and judged – by others, was Fat.

I grew up hiding myself in big clothes. I lurked. I socialised very little. I ate. I did make friends at college, for the first time, who liked me for myself; who appreciated my creativity and sense of humour and the person who I was. But I drove those friends to distraction with whining about my weight, leading one of them to finally snap and tell me “Do something about it or stop complaining”.

This was the best advice I’d ever received, and in that moment, I finally owned my fat.
It hadn’t happened to me – I wasn’t afflicted – I didn’t have ‘fat genes’ or ‘big bones’ – I had done this to myself. And I could undo it.

This was a powerful tool, once I’d admitted it to myself.

I got a job and joined a gym, and the weight fell off. I began to feel better.

Then the membership lapsed and the time wasn’t there any longer, and the weight went back and I felt worse.

Then I signed up for a half-marathon and began doing some training and the weight fell off. I began to feel better.

Then the half-marathon was over and the weight went back on and I felt worse.

Then I got engaged and was going to be married and I dieted and the weight fell off. I felt better.

Then I got married and the cooking for Husby and the wonder of being in charge of my own pantry went to my head and the weight went back on and I felt worse.

The rest of me was better – I had some self-esteem, some good friends and family and a man who loved me dearly, however I looked. They encouraged me and told me I was strong and striking and intelligent and a wonderful daughter/niece/sister/wife, and that they loved me very much just for being me.

They didn’t care that the ‘me’ was Fat. But I cared.

I cared because I could still poke myself in the belly with one finger and say “You’re getting a bit fat”, and I was – I was at my heaviest ever. I cared because when I saw a photograph of myself, I saw a blob. An ungainly, ugly, flabby, lump, trying to look good in clothes which still couldn’t hide the truth.

I decided to lose weight to qualify for fertility treatment (whose requirements demand a BMI of <30). On the day I was first measured, my BMI was 31, which, shockingly, put me into the ‘obese’ category. Obese. 

Like those Fat People.

Something had to be done, so I installed a lifestyle diet – the 5:2 fasting diet, where for two days a week, you eat nothing for as long as you can; then only fruit and veg until a normal (but healthy) evening meal.

I gave up cheese.

I began going for walks with a friend twice a week, and we encouraged each other to follow work-out DVDs when it was raining.

The walks turned into walks with running-y bits, which turned into runs with walking-y bits, which (for me) have turned into Proper Runs.

Sometimes the not-eating would spill into other days, too, and it didn’t matter because (lets face it) there was lots of fat to lose.

I found some inspiring quotes:
“Sweat is fat crying”
“No food tastes as good as slender feels”

The second quote caused an argument, as my friend believed that it was the kind of trash associated with pro-anorexia literature and websites. I disagreed, finding it motivational. We were both vehement, and in the end agreed to disagree.

Since April, I’ve been working hard.

The next fertility appointment came, and I was excited to show off my progress and my commitment. But they didn’t even ask, and I was knocked off my feet by how much that hurt me. I decided there and then that the inconsiderateness of fertility clinics and even the possibility of having a baby was not a good enough reason to lose weight, however noble. I needed better motivation.

To look good. Purely, simply and superficially, so that when I meet someone they don’t think I’m a big, fat cow first, and a lovely person second (as if that even matters after the judgement’s happened. All I am then is a fat, nice person).

I gave up desserts. Not intentionally, but just because I didn’t find I wanted them.

My portion sizes have shrunk drastically.

I’ve been dieting and exercising and remaining in control of it all, ensuring that I eat healthily but not too thoroughly in between fast days. I doubt I’ll ever be skinny, nor do I really want to be. Because I do love food, and I doubt my ability to ever get that thin, though toned and slender surely might be achievable?
But the allure is strong, and I’m beginning to understand the delight in conquering hunger. Of embracing it and knowing that it means it’s working.

I don’t mind being cold any more, because shivering and trying to maintain body temperature burns calories.

I’ve reached the point where sometimes, I genuinely do forget to eat lunch, and it’s okay – it doesn’t kill me, and it all helps towards the goal.

I’ve come to a point where the bathroom scales are my friends, because they show my progress so delightfully (GOODBYE 20kg of unwanted blubber (HOW much?!!?!)) and I get onto them several times a week to check how I’m doing.

I recently got a new job, for which I needed to buy some new trousers. Thanks to the slimming, I astonished myself by fitting straight into a UK size 14 (I had previously been a generous size 18) and in realising the difference, congratulated myself mentally for a bare moment before the thundering realisation of just how incredibly fat I had been, crashed down on me.

I strengthened my resolve.

I will get this.

I continued with the 5:2 lifestyle and upped the ante on the exercise front, taking on a squats challenge, adding back in my old gym-years routine of push-ups and sit-ups. I began going for longer runs, alone. I was able to do up my belt an extra notch, and danced in celebration when it happened.

And today I realised that the size 14 trousers I bought a month ago are baggy in the front, baggy in the back and round the thighs and round the tummy. I won’t hold my breath, but I might’ve slimmed out of them!

For a moment I felt really good about myself and my efforts, until I got home and looked in the mirror and could still see pudgy arms, a wobbly tummy and jelly thighs.

I’m still Fat.

And I’m disappointed, too, because I know I’ve been doing well. But just not well enough.

But there’s more to be done. More weight to be shifted. More toning to happen. More running and striving and training and starving and…

…and it’s only now that I’ve realised where the work needs to be done.

On the inside.

On the part of me which looks at Fat People and sees a Fat Person rather than just a person; the part of me which looks at a Fat Teenager and sees Heartache Waiting To Happen rather than a teenager; the part of me which looks at a Overly Chubby Toddler and sees the early stages of Fat Problems rather than just a toddler.

The part of me which looks in the mirror and sees a Fat Kid rather than Lizzi.

Because when I look on the outside, I only see the ‘me’ – the physical, awful shape, who was told all those nasty things from an age too young to protect herself. Or to know any different. Or to know that the horrible things weren’t Truths.

So those skewed truths were internalised and now the mirror spews them back. To slim is to beat them. To get stronger is to refuse to listen to them. To (begin to) look good is to flip them the middle finger and tell them to fuck off. To be fitter and slender and in control is to conquer them.

Because the person in the mirror is not who everyone else sees. Everyone else seems to see someone they really like. Someone maybe sweet, kind, valuable, worthwhile, inspiring, good, helpful, worthy of love.

And one part of me wishes I knew that person. And the other part of me is terrified because those nice things still feel like lies, and that the people who think them might one day find out that they’re lies, and know the truth. The one I can’t unhook from.

And so I strive to look on the outside like what people seem to see on the inside. Because that other image is too entangled with the original ‘truths’, and this way, I have half a chance of learning to like myself.



THE EPISTOLARIANS

10.21.2013

Moms on Moms

Guest Post by Dana @ Are My Pants Too Loud

Moms are tough on moms and as much as I would like to tell you that I am the one sheep in wolves clothing, I would be lying. I am one of those moms and I blame other moms for making me this way. I am fairly certain that when you get pregnant you put on something similar to beer goggles; for lack of a better metaphor, we will call it milky bra syndrome. This sounds better than “mommy brain,” which I fucking hate. 

Milky bra syndrome is the parenting honeymoon phase between announcing your pregnancy and the blissful sleeping, eating, pooping and sometimes crying 6 month old. After 6 months, they move and need more attention and YOU need more attention. This is when other moms get involved. The milky bra comes off and is replaced by some uncomfortable tight jeans that you stuffed yourself into and covered the unzippable zipper with a long blouse/sweater/dress number. Meeting other moms of other kids who also need more stuff, namely people, is much like high school. You are gauging yourself amongst them and they are gauging themselves amongst you. 

Thankfully you have successfully hidden your muffin top behind that long blouse/sweater/dress number so you are at least one point ahead of that poor mom who cannot get herself out of her leggings. You return from the play date feeling exhausted but better than legging lady but not quite as good as not so tight jean mom with perfect skin. You know, the bitch who we really want to be mom friends with; hopefully she will pick me over legging gal and we can have park dates until our the last godforsaken preschooler finally gets into Kindergarten. Or, maybe she won’t and I can stop stuffing myself into those tight jeans and replace them with leggings, one in each color including multiple hues of gray.  Either way, whether I become friends with the bitch or Leggy Sue, I will continue to rate myself against them. I will rate the way I handle my kids’ tantrums. I will rate how healthy or not healthy my kid’s snack is. I will rate how much sooner my kids are potty trained compared to those whose kids are still in PullUps.  I will most likely lose in all of these categories, except potty training. I am goddamn master.

Besides being the potty training whisperer, I have yet to lose out on the category that is the most painful and isolating. It is the category that moms are not supposed to talk about. It is the category in which no one is even ranking themselves. It is the kind of category that wives only complain to their husbands about. It is the category that we all need so badly.

Intellect.

Motherhood is all consuming. I get it. Kids are important. They are our future, blah blah blah. However, if I am with another mom, the LAST thing I want to talk about is my kids, their husbands or a fucking Pinterest recipe involving a crockpot. I want to talk about me: My likes, my dislikes, my politics, your politics and books not written by Nicolas Sparks. If I am at a dance class and am secretly scouting potential mom friends and you proceed to repeatedly sing some fucking “choo choo” song with your 16.43 month old and expect us to coo or clap, I will slash your tires. 

Save that shit for the grandparents and tell me how you feel about Obamacare. 


I am a newly 30 mother of two girls who are prettier than anything I ever thought I could bake. When I am not cooking or raising kids, I pretend to teach freshman college students how to write. Recently, I moved amongst 100% strangers to Portland, OR and have discovered Whole Foods and Grocery Outlet. Blogging is the only hobby besides quitting smoking I have stuck with longer than 6 months. You can read about sibling grief,  amateur parenting, awkward Crossfit moments, and the all-too-honest recap of the stupid stuff I think about at aremypantstooloud.com 
THE EPISTOLARIANS

10.14.2013

Essential Editing Tips for Every Writer

Guest Post by Sandra Miller

Now that you've finished your work, the challenge now is to make sure that all the sentences and paragraphs go well with each other and that your work is free from any grammatical, typographical and spelling errors. This step is called editing.

Editing is the process wherein you check whether the paper is well written and organized, there are smooth transitions between paragraphs and the content was able to convey what the paper is all about.

In order to help you with the editing process, here are useful tips you can keep in your toolbox.

1)      Set aside a few hours before you start the editing process. When editing your work, it is better to clear your mind first and stay away from the work even for a few hours. This can give you better results rather than editing your work immediately with a tired mind.
2)      Editing and proofreading are two different matters. While editing is focused on the structure itself, proofreading is about spelling or typographical errors, punctuation errors, spacing, format and other stylistic matters.
3)      Editing and proofreading should be done separately. Focus is very important in writing. When you edit, make sure you’re focused on editing alone and nothing else.
4)      Check the basic structure. Some hate making outlines while others don’t even follow what was written on it. Nonetheless, make sure that your work has an introduction, 3 supporting paragraphs and a conclusion.
5)      Supporting points should back up the main objective. In other words, don’t go off topic. When you’re talking about planning a wedding, do not talk about what to do after the wedding.
6)      Make sure every important concept is properly backed up. When you provide examples for point 1, point 2 should also have its examples to properly support the claim.
7)      Keep it short. There is a tendency to be superfluous in order to meet the required word count. Don’t. Avoid using too much prepositional phrases and minimize the use of adverbs, adjectives and modifiers. When making a description, use strong verbs to create a sharper impact.
8)      Use transitional words/phrases. Transitional words should be used to ensure smooth transition from one paragraph to another. Examples are however, and, on the other hand, further, finally, in this case and more so.
9)      Keep it professional. You are writing for readers. Your opinion does matter but when it comes to writing, remove the rants, unnecessary opinion, sidetracks and anything that does not add value to the main point.
10)   Remove the unnecessary. Less is more, so they say. Delete the sentences or paragraphs that do not support the main objective.
11)   Set a word count. In relation to No. 10, setting a word count and sticking to it helps you keep your focus when editing your work.
12)   Check your facts. Make sure that all factual information is accurate and avoid providing misleading or incorrect information to your readers.
13)   Check the quotations used. It’s easy to say that person A said this while person B said that. When making a quotation, check its accuracy and don’t forget to make an attribution. Keep in mind that plagiarism is a mortal sin and should be avoided at all costs.
14)   Don’t trust grammar/spell checkers. It’s not 100% accurate and correct.
15)   Take a break. A few minutes away from your work is fine. This can give you more time to relax and be more efficient when you decide to edit again.
16)   Read it out loud. This way, you’ll be able to determine whether the words flow smoothly.

Editing may be a difficult process especially for beginners. Over time, you’ll be able to develop the skill and eventually streamline the process.


Sandra Miller is a writer from New York and an NYU graduate with a PhD in English Literature. While writing her first book, Sandra learned the art of self-publishing. She recommends authors use professional editing.


THE EPISTOLARIANS

10.07.2013

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Sharpened #2 Pencils

Post by Sarah Almond @ The Sadder But Wiser Girl

I used to be a teacher, and I understand having little to no budget and shrinking federal funding for schools.  Therefore, when school supply lists come out I tend to be fairly understanding when they ask for certain items. While my husband throws a fit, I quietly go to Target and try to get them what they need.
Then I got this year’s school supply list…

Oh.My.Gawd.

Holy crap on a stick, could they get any more specific? What happened to the days when we could pick up some pencils, paper, and a box of crayons and be done with school supply shopping?  Don’t believe me???
 

The following list may or may not be exaggerated.

Pencils:  Seven plain number two pencils precisely sharpened so that they may also function as a weapon.

Crayons:  Must be a box of eight.  Must be Crayola and the exact colors of the rainbow, because kids like rainbows and apparently other colors make people sad.

Glue: Elmer’s, 8 ounces, white, pointy cap because it looks like a gnome and gnomes are funny.

Ruler:  May not be wood, because trees die for that.

Markers:  Must be washable. Must be Crayola and in a box of 10.  Must not weigh more than 12 ounces.
Scissors:  Fiskars brand, bluntness of a 37 degree tip.

Folders: Seven plain folders, no pictures, no gloss, no black, no fun.

Spiral notebooks:  Must be plain, no gloss, no black (WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH BLACK????)

Tissues:  Two boxes, white, 175 count, no antiviral, no lotion, must be Kleenex or Puffs brand and must be as scratchy as possible.  No toilet paper please (we don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea…).

Hand soap:  Antibacterial, must be pink in color, must smell like flowers and not the scent of broken dreams.

What got me was the one thing that they needed to be specific about, they were not.  It simply stated “Stylus”.  WHAT KIND OF STYLUS?  Don’t do this to me!!!!

I’d also like to point out that this list was sent out by the people who are educating our future leaders.  The word pencil sharpener was spelled wrong more than once…

It did not help that my kindergartner was sent two different lists.  After going all over the world trying to find “chubby” pencils from the first list, the second one had nothing of the sort on it.  They got the pencils because I was trying to be a good mom and already wrote her name on the package.  Then I turned around forgot all about kindergarten parent night.  

Yup, it’s gonna be a good year… I can feel it.


THE EPISTOLARIANS

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