Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Ingracious Basterd

Women can geek out over ale too. Hell, anyone can geek out
over ale. And we all geeked out a bit over ale.

My own brew as it happens.
But I failed to identify the hops.
I was recently away, over the weekend, visiting my godson and his family. It was a strange position as the rest of the family were not really involved and it was further thrown into disarray because they assumed I was stopping overnight whereas I had failed to plan for that and has assumed a late night drive. Now, I'm not complaining, there was beer to be had and shared and geeked over and I was offered most comfortable lodgings and even the offer of bedclothes (though I remained entirely in my own clothes). All that and I got to play with a growing lad in the way that crazy uncles can without getting weird and stuff. Basically all the stuff that I am not always able to do with the Boy for the simple reason that I would not be called upon to do it again or regularly by dint of not being there most of the time, unlike with my own Boy.

They have done couples therapy.

But I am the one who is unhappy in our relationship,
Tilly is very happy and content, so there will be
no couples therapy. After all, there's no point in
fixing what ain't broke.

Glad to see this couple in the image though.
Whilst there I spoke to the parents, which is a coy way of referring to these friends, and Brienne (a teacher whose work I respect a great deal) shared her work for some of the things that I shall have to do. Like me, she rides her hobby horse all over her lessons and I was pleased to see that someone who is successful in creating the numbers and outcomes that I would like to emulate taught in a style that, while very different,m was sufficiently close to my own methods that I felt justified and such. This was good, I was able to gain many resources and ideas and readings that I would not have been able to find for myself in a month of Sundays. Time with my other teacher friend whom I respect a great deal (I think I have referred to him previously as Indy) was similarly well spent - I hope that I was able to open my ears more than my mouth and I was amazed at the abilities that they possessed. I mean, I knew that they could do the things that I was party to, but I hadn't actually considered what they meant nor how they worked in the context of some of the issues that both of them face and are working through.

Penny Rolle imagined herself, as an
idealised form, exactly how she looked.

Bravo.

My male privilege means I did not feel
the impact of that.
And here's the thing, I was struck by their openness both with me as an outsider and with each other as we all held forth on various aspects of society and politics and theory. Their background is rather more sociological and linguistically based than mine is historical and political and so there is always much to discuss and exchange as well as mull over and compare notes upon. It was a positive trip, but none of that is the point of the post with it's oddly Tarantino-inspired title.

I was loaned, I borrowed, the graphic novel Bitch Planet. It is good. It is very feminist. But I found it odd that one of the key points in that tome was the origin of one of the characters that hinged on the fact that she was comfortable with who she was and what she looked like - it was portrayed as a heroic thing to be and, I guess, it is. It brought home to me that I could never be a woman and that whatever I am I am not a transwoman. There are issues in there and in the intersectionality of oppression that I simply am unable to identify with. My privilege is that I have never experienced any of it (and the setting was problematic for me, I want to know more about how this world developed, but I suspect that, being allegorical, I am to be disappointed in that regard). It would make a great textbook for feminism and I shall be seeking my own copy to use in lessons. This, too, is nothing to do with my title.

No, see, that mix-up at the beginning required some frantic texting back home to see if we could change the family plans in the field, so to speak, and effectively leave Tilly in limbo for a day longer. There was a dance practice on the following day that would take up all the afternoon and evening leaving me with the Boy. I arrived home to find that lunch had been made, that the pots were washed (mostly) and that the family had coped in trying circumstances (what, with me not being there and Tilly trying to get the Girtlie ready for a day out rehearsing for a show) without me. It was good to have me back, certainly, and all I could do was be tired and irritable.

I tried petals, but Tilly was uninterested.

I shall never have flowers or a candle lit bath drawn for me
because I am a man. I have enough privilege that I probably
don't need the gesture being made.

Is it not enough that men run the world?
This was compounded after I put the Boy to bed and decided that, as far as I knew Tilly was out until 8.30pm, I would have a bath. By God I was going to have a bath and feel less smelly and I was going to have it with candles in the dark because I bloody well could. Male or female, masculine or feminine, I like my candles and I have never really indulged in the concept of a candle-lit bath. It is something that I have done for Tilly on a number of occasions in a failed attempt to be romantic and loving - there was once she sort of liked it when she first moved in but looking back that may just have been for my benefit. I don't know. It is also completely irrelevant.

I set the bath, I set the candles, and I prepared for a twenty minute relax in candle light. Except, at that moment, 7.30pm, Tilly arrived home. I blew out the candles and hid them, Tilly would not take kindly to my using candles for a bath. She would raise some objections and I would feel guilty. Or she would look at me with the same expression she used when I said that I wouldn't mind being bought flowers - the one that conveys confusion, disbelief and a little element of distaste at my tastes - and I wouldn't be able to deal with that. So I abandoned the attempt and just washed. It was not a lovely experience.

Sometimes, though, it is genuinely
hilarious.
In the morning I was irritable with both of my children as I was late (the new normal) setting off to work. Tilly is now extending her lie ins until 8.30am, the old 7.30 waking time is too early for her now. So, even though the children are now sleeping in until 7.20am now as standard it's not good enough. I am back to providing breakfast and setting them up with activities to keep them occupied whilst Tilly slumbers on. This morning she tried to get "ten minutes more" after keeping the Boy snuggled with her for half an hour after he had woken up. I am uncertain what she thought she would achieve with those extra ten minutes with a young Boy desperate to get out of bed and thus struggling to get her awake, but she would not be budged or goaded into waking properly and rising from the bed.

And so the title: it's me.

I am lucky. In a patriarchal world I have the freedom of my job to escape the child-care, I can travel to visit friends and be the 'fun one' and have no real worries. I mean, sure, I offered to help but they did the cooking and the washing and provided whilst I just sort of, well, turned up. At home I do the pots and never get round to vacuuming quickly enough. I fold the clothes after they are washed and, increasingly, hang them up to dry and that's it. Throughout the day I get to avoid anything approaching family duties and I stay back late to do not very much rather than come home. I read books to the Girlie or the Boy and that's my parenting done in the week. In return I get meals made for me by Tilly and a house that is mostly kept in order. What more do I want? How much more do I wish to abuse the privilege of being male and middle-class?

All the way through my childhood I was warned against being boastful or ungrateful. It was a big thing in my household to not be grateful enough when receiving gifts even if, especially if, they weren't something you actually wanted. One had to be excited and genuinely thankful for everything or it would be taken away: food, toys or comfort - if I were not grateful I did not get it. Okay, that sounds worse than it was, but the basics are there. Being boastful was a confusing thing that I still don't understand. If I were to be proud of something I had done or enjoy recognition then that was boastful, it wasn't when others called attention to something I had done, so I spent (and still spend) much time waiting for others to recognise things about which I am proud so I get to talk about them. Mostly people don't, why would they?

As my parents feared, as I always believed and also dreaded, I am ungrateful and I am boastful. I am no martyr. Nor am I really depressed, no, this is just a statement of fact that was brought home to me on my recent visit. There was trial and there was a family who worked with one another - I do not offer the same support to Tilly nor to my children. Yet I am offered support in return. But I eschew it because I am not good at taking or understanding support and I never will be. Stunted growth emotionally.


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