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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!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What's in a Name?


Well, there was a chance once and I fucked it up.
Gilbert O'Sullivan released a song called What's in a Kiss at some point, I don't know when, but I know that my father bought it for my mother before we moved from the semi-detached house into the house that he would later leave us from. It was maybe an anniversary present, I don't know, but I do know that my father thought he had been rather romantic. My father was good at romance. His instinct for big gestures and clever sounding phrases combined with my mother's rather odd ideas of romance to mean that he was probably right. It is therefore no surprise to me that I have the song on repeat given the name that I chose for this post that was cooked up whilst on the road in the EV.

Aye, pretty normal stuff.
Ah, yes, the journey. I had a round trip of 200 miles in the EV and it went rather well, all told. I was a tad too optimistic in assuming I would have 73 miles of charge (but I could have managed it in the event, I just got spooked) and so ran with about 67+ miles between charges. This was not as intrusive as I thought it may be. Indeed, I cheated on the way back and stopped to charge for two goes of around 15 mins a pop and ended up going further than I would have managed for one stop of 30 mins (basically, on the way back, I charged for 35 minutes total and got the whole distance with no worries, on the way I charged once for 38 mins and once for 20 mins). So, success.

Anyway, yes, the title of the post and the song by Gilbert O'Sullivan. In the song, our Mr O'Sullivan asks what's in a kiss, as you would expect given the title, postulating that it may perhaps be more than one moment of bliss. In a lesson today we were discussing divorce and marriage and we got on to love - all the students agreed that love was the main reason for marriage and agreed that it was better for a child to be in a lone parent family than have two parents who didn't love one another. This led to a discussion on how one could know that one was in love - what does love like? Of course they asked me how I knew that I loved my wife. I'm not too hot on outright lying - though I am pretty good at it - so after some prevarication I murbled about various lofty sounding things but couched them in a way that made them sound a little less high and a little more soulless and logical - as that is the persona that I have adopted for the class.

What's in a kiss?

Enough germs to catch pneumonia as I recall.
But it got me thinking - what is love? Haddaway was always unable to offer a decent solution in the 90s but that didn't stop me remembering my father's gift all those years ago. Kisses with Tilly are generally affectionate and pecks. There is some hugging and much use of the forehead for kissing if there are any kisses offered at all. Mainly I am permitted to kiss her forehead and cheek but these are rare allowances amid a general lack of touching or closeness. Hugs are more frequent than they were this time last year but they are more the sort of hug one offers a relative. Is love, between husband and wife, therefore more expecting of sexual frisson? If dreams are all the things we might have been, thank you again Mr O'Sullivan, then my dreams have recently been blank - I do not remember them. I have stopped reading, I have stopped creating and, well, I'm closer now than ever before to that goal of being able to fade away from my life completely with the minimum of fuss. A dream of blackness and blankness is all that I could have been. What's in a kiss? A lot, if one cares to look for it.

It's the militarism that does it I think.

I'm no militaristic person, well, not much;
but there is an inescapable kind of logic
and progression to rank and the military.
But that wasn't the original impetus for my writing this post. What's in a name? I don't tend to use names, I dislike them and will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid them. In my work I tend to use seating plans in order to remember names or else assign silly nicknames for humour, and also because I have no clue how else to remember names anyway. It usually works in my favour as I can create my classroom persona at will and have settled somewhere where I can get away with this a little more than I used to. So it is that I have never really liked nor identified with my name or any of the numerous shortenings or nicknames that others have used. None of them are 'me' in a way that allows me to answer to them immediately - it's like I have to remind myself that the name is referring to me.

Now, there are cases where I have identified as made up names. One of these was the name used for a character (and several characters in my own stories) in a role playing game with some friends back when they were still in University and I had recently started my teaching gig. That name was a surname and had rank attached. At a friend's wedding some of the people from the role playing game were trying to help some other people get my attention and they succeeded by, in desperation, calling the name of my character - I responded nigh instantly because that name registered. So, apparently, I have a surname that works and that I can use to identify myself. It bears no resemblance to my actual name and was stolen from a flyer, when I was growing up, for a window-cleaner. the flyer was on photocopied white paper and lay in a gutter outside the church my brother and I attended. I remember the day clearly and I have no idea why. Hardaker was the name, pronounced hard-acre, and, for some reason, this has stayed with me to the point where them shouting this name had a greater effect than using my actual real name or any of the nicknames that friends have called me for years. At school I respond far more quickly to 'Sir' than I do to my name or my title. At home I have managed to create a system where Tilly doesn't use my name or even a substitute (lately she has started using 'darling' as I use 'honey' for her - and always have - but I'm not sure that counts).

I searched for the name suggested, this
came up.
In online conversation I note that I tend to use 'J' as a sign-off. Sometimes I use the full Joanna but, outside this enclave, I tend to avoid using my name at all. I was noting that the guidance voice on the EV for the sat-nav used a voice I have heard used for corner time in a site linked from GetDare and was cycling through the other options that I would prefer when I realised that I was thinking of myself as, well, as Joanna. In my monologue, when I'm not using slurs and put-downs, I actually refer to myself as Joanna. Does that have to be anything strange? Could it not just be a thing? What means that I can't be called Joanna? Would calling myself Joanna make me identify any more or less as the name? Should the name be Joanna Hardaker rather than Joanna Atkins? Joanna can, after all, be shortened to Jo (which is homophonic with Joe after all) and thus is about as gender neutral as one can imagine. However, would that really make a difference - I don't actually identify as Jo or Joe either and I've never really liked the shortening of my actual name (though it is preferable to the whole name with its whole extra syllable). Besides, this means nothing, I used to have the name Bex with my mad-ex so...

But what is, exactly, in a name?

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