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. 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 "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" 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, 30 December 2015

Gender Police

Eh, close enough

Erin Barret - the OP. All power to her, by the way, for
this is the sort of thing of which I wish I were capable
when suffering from something - hitting back by saving
others. That's true compassion, that is.
I shared something on the Book of Faces the other day about ovarian cancer. You may have seen it, you may not, but a cancer sufferer was explaining how they had been lucky and the cancer, ovarian, had been caught early during a routine check about pregnancy. She delivered her baby and then underwent an intensive round of chemotherapy etc. Long story short: it was working. And people kept asking her how they could help. So, she gave them a way: share her story, along with the symptoms of ovarian cancer, so that others could catch their cancer early. The chances are, statistically, about 1 woman in every 580 will have it. She wanted to pass the message on to 10 fellow-sufferers so that they would be caught early. So, she needed to hit 5,800 women. I saw it, posted by my mother, so I shared it to every female I knew that didn't know my mother - I included Tilly because, well, she's my wife, but also because she knows countless women that I don't and many of those may well be in the danger-zone of 40+ (though the OP was under 40).

Through reading about: the traits that define Aspie
women are the same as those that define Aspie men.
The idea that it is somehow harder to diagnose women
seems, to me, to be all kinds of sexist shit wrapped in a
nice misogynistic gift-wrap.
It was later, in the kitchen, that Tilly started an odd conversation. She pointed out that most men wouldn't share such a thing, they may not even read it, and that it wasn't really my place to be sharing the story. "If you're looking for areas of women's issues where men aren't welcome," she referred to a previous conversation we'd had about that, "then this is most definitely one of them." She explained that my actions were unusual, and probably rather unwelcome. She expressed that she felt "a bit weird" having me share it. She chose to chalk this up to my possible autism rather than to my genderqueer-ness for some undisclosed reasons, and suggested that I should keep a distance from future such opportunities to share such posts.

In fairness, two women who I tagged took the opportunity to untag themselves from the post and not all responded (or liked) the post. Maybe she's right. I don't know. See, I took the view that it didn't matter what gender saw the post - the fact that it could affect women was important enough for me to share it with women that I knew directly and to post it so that other men could share it amongst the women that they knew - it's another vector of information. Mind you, it has not been reshared by anyone that I know so maybe Tilly is correct. It's not even been shared by the Feminist men that I know so perhaps this isn't Feminism either. Maybe this is a 'muscling in' (for want of a better term) on the female turf, so to speak, as Tilly suggested. If so, is this evidence of my genderqueer nature (assuming I have one); evidence of my autism and lack of social skill or just evidence of the fact that I'm an attention-whore and a bit of a dick, prone to making poor decisions socially?

Disclaimer: I do not find Rey 'hot'. I would cosplay the Hell
out of Rey but not because she is attractive, rather because
there are so few accomplished women in pop-culture that are
around my age. She's disturbingly closer to my age than is
Leia. Who is still awesome, by the way.
Evidence for the latter was had just now as Tilly returned from taking the Girlie to a play. The Boy and I had been out to McDonald's and seen Episode VII. Anyway, on the way to the play Tilly and Girlie had witnessed the aftermath, almost immediate, of a collision between bus and pedestrian. It turned out, by using internet, that the pedestrian was 70 and was "not in a life-threatening situation" in hospital. God I love our NHS. I digress. This tidbit was shared with me, by both Girlie and Tilly, some five times or more after they arrived home. As soon as the Girlie was put to bed, with some faff, Tilly begins to regale me with exact details of how it must have happened. My reactions weren't good enough, she embarked on a second, more detailed, telling of how it must have happened and then, mid way through, began a third even more forensic detailed telling. At this point I stopped her, honestly, the key details are: old woman, collision with bus, be careful crossing the road, everyone was about as okay as could be expected. But this is evidence, sayeth Tilly, of my "lack of human response" and should be conveyed to the doctor tomorrow. Keep in mind that I have been able to share nothing of my day with the Boy with either her or Girlie yet, I likely never will as it is not of interest to either of them (and why should it be?). However, my lack of bother with the incident beyond the key facts is evidence that I am not normal.

I saw an accident today:/three cars frozen in the impact after blow
/indecently displayed in intimate detail/and dripping fluids.

Not this one, but this road. I saw vans upside down
(yes, plural) and at least one Mini underneath
a bus. All before emergency services arrived
but after people had stopped to help.
Seriously, fuck this universe, I've seen countless aftermaths of collisions. I've probably seen a couple of dead bodies after crashes. Is it wrong that I don't give a shit? No one I've ever spoken to about any of the incidents gave two figs what I saw or didn't, so I've stopped even mentioning what I see on the roads: no one cares. But now it is not normal to not care. Most people, that mythical group with whom Tilly is in constant communion, would care and would listen to people's forensic descriptions of such events with 'normal' human emotion and interest. That I don't means I am not normal. Fuck this for a lark. Fuck it. No one gives a shit IRL about what I see or what I think, not even my students, and now I'm expected to give a shit about an incident I didn't see in the kind of mad detail that supports Anxiety attacks about crossing the damn' road?

Tilly did say that she would be happy to listen if that happened again and that it sucked that no one would listen to me. But I don't buy that, she's not that fussed about most things I experience, which is fair enough - I believe that most people are actually not fussed about what happens to other people except insofar as it directly impinges themselves. It is a source of wonder to me that there are people that read and respond to what I say here.

Gah. Done now. Second ale. Marking tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015


Here's the offending item. Lord knows why it stuck
in my head enough for me to wig out today.
How's this for irrelevance? Today I was downloading some music for the Girlie in the car and thought about a memory stick I'd seen the previous day in town when out looking for curtain rings and hooks. Yes, I am that rock'n'roll. Anyway, I announced that I would go and get such a thing. We were planning to go down and visit Sienna and Pik with their newest - these are the people that Tilly went to see on the last day of term - and this entailed minimal planning for charges with the EV but there had been significant delay in setting off as they were also coming back from a family visit. I'm getting ahead of myself. I dashed out, I saw a lovely design and then couldn't justify buying it. I returned home. We set off. The charger was broken at the services but we found one that wasn't but had to wait for an hour to use it. A good time was had but much faff - all of which could have been avoided with better decision-making from me. Also, all of this gadding about has borked the mileage that I had set, of course it has, and there's the holiday we're trying to plan for around Easter... Sorry, financial worries are unbecoming.

The funny thing is that I couldn't justify spending £7 on a memory stick. Why? Because it seemed a lot of money to spend on something simply because it looked nice. Oh, it was a flowery design, I am a sucker for such things it would appear. No, it's not cheaper online.

Aye, and we chose shit ones. Oh, there are a couple of
good eggs in there, but my brother and his wife are two of
them and that was a bit stupid.
We were asked to be godparents - a heavy duty indeed (and one that I already fail on with one other child) - which was nice. Luckily Tilly is better at emoting and being human than I and could do all the necessary. Indeed, it will likely be down to her efforts that we act in any way like godparents, though we proved less good at choosing godparents for our own children. You see the full level of vacuity that I can provide to pretty much any situation. This ought to have been the front and centre part of the post, but no, instead it's me ruminating on not buying a memory stick with a pretty cover.

Tomorrow Tilly and the Girlie head out to see a play for the day, the Boy and I will no doubt head to McDonald's and then catch another showing of Episode VII. He likes it. I think I do too. Granted, it's no work of art and it is bordering on derivative but, missing much of the hype, I enjoyed it and it had a few more Feminist bits in it than the original trilogy (don't even get me started on the prequels) and so I can grant it a pass.

I can't complain, I got hugged without prompting as we finished charging on the way home. It came with an unbidden kiss too. My cup runneth over.

The theory is accurately summed up here. It explains my
bastion of humanity in the wastelands of semi-rationality
and attempted logic.

Objective logic is just male subjectivity.
I have noticed that Tilly has a pathological fear of being wrong. I mean, no one likes to be wrong, and no one likes to be in the wrong either. But Tilly seems inordinately threatened. I've always known this, of course, but it was watching her blow up at the Girlie a few days ago because there was the merest hint that Tilly was being blamed by her for something that was not something someone could be blamed for. Tilly kept on about not being to blame and kept layering on the anger thickly around the concept that she was being blamed - eventually I had to step in just to stop the ranting, the issue had long ago been solved, and do my best to get the Girlie out of the situation. It threw into sharp relief everything I've been saying on here for a long time - the problems that we face as a couple must be my fault because Tilly cannot countenance being wrong or accepting responsibility for any failings or issues. There can be no joint approach to any issues because she will not admit or accept that anything needs to be done by her. Says I, from the comfort of knowing that I am right because that's how one interacts with the world. There's a name for the paradox, I'm sure, but it goes something along the lines of confirmation bias and how humans prefer to ignore reality in favour of sticking to points of view that they hold. It is one of the few ways in which I can succeed at being a genuine human being.

Reality has a habit of existing outside of
our weltanshauung...

Sunday, 27 December 2015


Feminine interest, apparently, but I have always had
a soft spot for candles. Too bad I didn't notice what
my Mad-Ex meant when she said that I liked candles
more than her...

And I do. I like candles. Scented is fine, but big fuck
off ones in pastels are good too.
The actual event, Christmas, has been pretty good this year. We surprised my father for his birthday on Christmas Eve and actually managed to get some actual happiness out of him. He was genuinely surprised and genuinely happy to see us. Both children got time alone with the grandparents and both thus behaved beautifully - they were stoked to see them and play with them and my father was pleased to play host. Despite heavy rain and insanity-causing winds we managed to do the trip without running out of charge and get home in the early evening. I should explain that the wind was agin' us on the way down meaning that it took twice the power to keep a constant speed, thus around halving the distance we could travel with the charge we had, but we managed it without incident, just a little worry on my part.

You've seen this, right?

It's not perfect, but it's bloody
The Day itself went very well. An agitated Girlie woke at midnight and sobbed for two hours as it wasn't morning yet, but eventually fell asleep. There was a delay in the morning proper as the Boy awoke at 5.30am, then passed out until 8.30am, but the Girlie and I weathered it as best as we could with Christmas music on my laptop in her room before we all went downstairs together to unwrap presents. I'll confess to being jealous of the network of friends and contacts that Tilly has - resulting in her rivaling the children for amount and thoughtfulness of gifts. I got what I wanted, for a change: two Archive albums from my father and his wife; the beer I bought myself from the children and some mini scented candles with Mad Max: Fury Road DVD from Tilly. I got some toiletries from my mother, along with some socks and a scarf. I can't complain about this - you get back from life what you put in and I have spent since 2005 withdrawing from my friendship groups so... yeah. We had a cooked lunch together, though the Boy bailed after about ten minutes to play with his Angry Bird toys. In the evening Tilly and I watched Mad Max which she pronounced as not being as bad as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and then we went to bed.

I am debating whether or not my daughter's love of this toy
marks success or failure in parenting.

Still, she loves it.
Boxing Day also went well. The family watched some Angry Birds and Paw Patrol whilst I got ready for the day. The Girlie then spent most of the day in her room with her new CD player - Tilly helped set it up - and the Boy and I played with the Angry Birds toys. Lunch, then Tilly and the Girlie sang SingStar songs whilst the Boy and I continued to build and knock down Angry Bird forts. We also made the two Lego sets that he got for Christmas before having a lovely tea and then it was time for the Boy to relax on his screen and the Girlie to listen to more CDs on her player.

Wonder of wonders, Tilly and I shared some intimacy in bed last night. No details here, it's too much like a kiss and tell, but she did finish with "Happy Christmas". Now, I'm not complaining, I just hope that this isn't 'it' for a long time yet. Though I would suggest that perhaps it is, we'll see.

No word from my brother save a reply when I asked if they were safe from the flooding in their part of the country to say that they were nowhere near any flooding and my geography was wrong. My father texted last night to berate us for not phoning his wife's mother yet too. My family. Still, today the Boy and I went to the park whilst Girlie and Tilly did SingStar. Tilly started writing her next article tonight - I should be using the time to mark but I am clearly not, instead I am listening to the Archive albums because I can. I also found this and can relate.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Let's Twist Again

Is this her or me?
New contract. Good money. Article due in by the end of January. Reading necessary, so that's been this evening and will continue after Christmas Day. I'll do my marking I guess, as that's all our evenings gone. Tilly has already said we won't be up to see the New Year in, she's planning an early night. I've cocked up, organised seeing my father for his birthday, stupid idea - he won't be happy or satisfied and nor will we. That's tomorrow and tomorrow evening will be 'recovering'. Last night I cocked up too. After posting I got embroiled, we shared some alcohol but I'd already had an ale and so I was quickly gone. I got to put my arm under her shoulders in lieu of hugging in bed, woke at about 3am because my arm was so numb I could barely move it. Tilly tucks up tight, there's no chance of any other contact.

Christmas food shopping is done. One or two bits to get in the morning - that's my main duty.

Except that the room light is on, I'm trying to sleep - or
downstairs - and she'll finish when she's ready. Then it's lights
out and bedtime. No, there is never chance for snuggles
after reading. That's not a thing.
She's upstairs reading Game of Thrones again. Early night. We need to be up early to prepare seeing my father. I managed to get the children to write gift tags, ish, and that's been my one and only triumph. Tilly is too stressed to talk carnally or even just talk. I lack the will to push it now. We're housemates, I guess, and we co-parent. We haven't kissed today and we didn't last night either. For what that's worth. At the end of the holidays, likely after finishing the article, Tilly will return to book writing and research - that's our evenings gone again. Just as predicted in July or around then. I wonder what I'll have done wrong this time around? Will it be the Discussion? Not having therapy?

I've booked an appointment at the doctor's - see if I can get a referral to get diagnosed with AS. That will be a huge part of anything, I know that, maybe that's the exit plan? Difficult to see what therapy could do for me at this moment and still less what it could do for the relationship. Tilly is happy, though, happier than she has been and that has been happier than she was where we used to live.

Better than this time last year?

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Psychopath Test

Wait... what?
Been footling about and have taken a number of online tests, because I rather enjoy taking online personality tests in the hopes that I may actually learn something about myself. Of course, no one does, what you learn is how the makers of the test see the world and you regularly become disillusioned with the maker's views on the world - they are invariably entitled and sexist or, worse, out for amusement without a sense of humour. Nevertheless, I continue to try.

Whilst charging the car at the local services I chanced upon the Psychopath Test by Mark Ronson. Now, I know nothing about the man, but, as is my wont, I have read a good portion of his book already through about three different sessions - why not? Apart from the fact that I am undermining booksellers (though I don't know) and am really just too embarrassed to reach for the half-arsed and probably crap anyway BDSM books over there on the top shelf. They can't be as bad as Fifty Sheds of Grey can they? No matter. It opened a new avenue of research pissing away time on the internet by suggesting that I could be less AS and more psychopathic or sociopathic. Taking the online test indicated that I could be as high as 9 out of 15 (which is close to psychopathic) but then I took the Channel 4 test and it decided that I was more of a people person at just 30%. For reference, Tilly scored just 2. When it came to AS I scored 39. Those with AS tend to score around 31-2. For reference, Tilly scored somewhere in single figures or just afterward - no more than 12. On this one I score even higher - at 41. Basically, it looks increasingly likely that I have AS and am probably not a psychopath or sociopath. Which is fun.

I'm sure that I have previously mentioned (to the point of
nausea) my wish to be the damsel in distress and be rescued
by a knight in shining armour.

Well, actually, functional armour is just fine by the by.

This is Brienne of Tarth, in case you were wondering and, if
you were, where have you been whilst all this has been
going on? I mean, seriously!
Last night Tilly and I watched some Game of Thrones again, as she has been reading the books (I abandoned them because I grew tired of the poor writing style, but Tilly says its fine, YMMV) - and it was nice. We shared some German alcoholic apple juice heated with oranges in it and failed to touch for the proceedings. She was eating crisps and I ate salsa - which is hot and thus anathema in terms of sharing any kind of experience. I should have known better. After two episodes we retired to bed. A couple of points here - I had asked about maybe having carnal relations, after an initial (and quite vociferous) "NO", she had hinted that it may be on the cards but nothing more. We awkwardly held hands for a few minutes and then she fell asleep and turned away. By morning she was as far away as it is possible to get in our bed, and we have a big bed.

But in purple rather than red. There was glitter on the bits
that look like cabbage. Also, thistles.
Today I bought some flowers. And it was interesting. I spotted a lovely bouquet last night but decided to wait until this morning to get a fresher one, and also knew that I would be picking up some parcels, and they were to be for Tilly - to replace the crappy bouquet of roses I got 'for the house'. On return with the flowers Tilly was slightly grumpy - were they for the house? I said no, that they were for her, and she instantly changed and I even gained a kiss. Indeed, I have been kissed three times today. But what if they had been 'for the house' - i.e. for me? Then I suspect the day would have been different. But it brings home what a difference receiving flowers can make and confirms my suspicions that it is a nice thing to have done for someone. It is unlikely to ever be done, I think, for me. I did read, back last week, someone else commenting on a webcomic that they were a male with female mental impulses - they found it erotic and calming to have flowers bought for them. In all their relationships (more than three) they had experienced it just once and recalled it fondly - most of their female partners had professed humour and assumed they were lying. Well, apart from the sudden identification there I suppose that there wasn't much to learn or take home. Apart from the fact that I appear to be odder than even I suspected.

Once again, I have had more physical contact... No. Our Boy understands that in any physical exchange there is reciprocity. See below, 1.02 - 1.56 for full reference.

In that sense, when hugging, he understands that the person providing the hug needs something back. So, he tries to hug back. In that one action I get more out of a hug with my Boy than I do with Tilly because, when hugging Tilly, she wants more from me and provides very little. Now, I should point out the obvious flaws here: hugging the Boy carries no sexual overtones (or undertones for that matter) but, then, nor does hugging with Tilly. But, with the Boy, he at least tries to provide some reason for me to enjoy the experience as much as he does, there is little to nothing in that regard with Tilly. Even after the flowers and with kisses (which I'm not knocking) it was mainly about her and how she felt. Which is fine, I mean, sometimes it has to be about other people, right? I just wish that, once in a while, it could be about me.

Saturday, 19 December 2015


70 people in a pub with a small buffet. So... not at all like this.

Can't complain, the DJ had the Pet Shop Boys and played them,
okay, so it was West End Girls but that's better than was
managed at my actual wedding (no Pet Shop Boys was played
or owned) so...

Loving the red thing on the neck of the one on the right.

I had a long post planned out in my head at one point, but it is gone now.

The last week at work was... interesting. Work's do on Thursday was odd, mingle groups solidified without me in them and I slipped out. No one noticed I had gone and some didn't even know I'd been there despite holding conversations with me for ten minutes. The following day was awkward. The social group I thought I was a part of were getting ready for the pub but then it transpired they'd got leaving gifts for a colleague but I was not part of this at all - awkward, so I left. At a social gathering in the morning I was without conversation - the mingle groups solidified around me. At lunch a Faculty do was had, again I ended up without anyone to talk to. Basically, the whole week was an illustration of how I'm not in a social group. Again.

Previous to this, Tilly had sent me this article (on Thursday) about depression and ASD. It sounds a lot like me. It was a bit hard hitting, to be honest, and may have contributed to whatever vibe I was putting out on the evening do.

Lady Aspies are more subtle.

All of which means I am very probably Aspergic and depressed more than I thought I was. However, getting a diagnosis is, apparently, quite difficult as most GPs would prefer not to refer and assume there is no point. Add a healthy dose of government believing that any AS diagnosis would cost them somehow and you have a system set up to be hostile to people trying to get a diagnosis. As I am conflict avoidant and generally a bit rubbish (I still haven't had an X-Ray of my arm since I may have broken it, and yes, the bone still feels funny and it all goes numb every now and again), I do not feel I am likely to beat the system. Depressed much?

Today I ended up buying my own Christmas present (two ales) from the children because neither one of them wanted to go and get something (or wrap it). Which is fine, honestly, but they did both buy Tilly something (with me) and help wrap that. If even Tilly is failing to get them on board I should gather that I shall fail.

Tilly and the children went to visit Sierra and her new baby on Friday, meaning that I was back home before them and had time to charge the car - moreso since I didn't go to the pub due to the awkwardness. Tonight I went out for a shelving unit from IKEA whilst Tilly wrapped the presents for the children. We've had a couple of flashpoints on silly things, where she has 'joked' a cutting remark and I have responded in kind and she doesn't like it. As I was doing what she did I am at a loss as to why this would cause upset, but cause upset both occasions have. Never with me though, no, if I take offence then that is indication that I am being precious and/or autistic. Responding in kind is worse though, because then I am attacking her for no good reason when she's trying so hard not to piss me off - her words. Maybe Tilly is enacting her own Plan Omega. I don't know.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Sorry - boring babbling again

Yes, that about sums it up.

Oh, the article I shall refer to later
is here: link

Thank you, friend!
I am a chatterbox, aren't I?

Further discussion last night. Results: Tilly didn't realise I was specifically asking for flowers to be bought for me, despite the fact I said those words several times. It took me five tries to get her to realise what I was saying during the discussion. She thinks that this is odd, after all: being bought flowers is something that women have and men do for them. On sex: she's an introverted extrovert (or vice versa) and therefore needs lots of input before she can think of it. Each viewing of the telly together gets her to the right point but she's waiting for me to ask. That conversation where I referenced The Secretary? Well, that wasn't because of what I said but because she wanted to listen to the show. I missed my opportunity.

I give up too easily, she says, and it is exhausting trying to coax me into asking. She doesn't want to be the one who asks. But if I catch her at the wrong moment or I'm too stressed or I'm analysing too much or I'm thinking too much then she will say no, possibly fiercely. And that's not just for sex, that's for anything. So, when I go too far and she says no, I pull back, but I never know when is right to broach again and, because I'm not making any move, she stops thinking about it and it doesn't happen again until the next crisis point. That's why it's been three months. It will be longer yet.

The conversation we had last night? Good example of something that leaves her drained and in need of a "week alone on an evening just to recharge." Anything physical must be built up to. And now she needs to recharge before I can ask again, asking too early will extend the wait, but not asking soon enough will make it harder to recharge those batteries and get back to being physical.

A friend shared an article about emotional work and the burden falling on women. Yes, I am guilty of doing that to femme-folk. Especially Tilly. I told her so. I resolve to do better.

The pattern is maintained.

Mine were older and thus less fresh and full. Also, less
of them.

Reassuring to know that I still like yellow roses so
much. Tilly was uninterested. She remains so.
She's off to London with the Girlie this weekend. I was home later than I meant to be (soapboxing about breastfeeding at the pub) and helped get children to bed. Tilly is sharing with Girlie to effect proper sleep before an early start. She went to have a bath, I went to charge the car. Back at 9pm, she's in bed. I barely caught her before sleep. No contact, she's stressed about tomorrow and recharging after last night, but what get's me is the fact that there was no warning I would come back to find her in bed. Tilly never told me she was having a night this early. Had I been ten minutes longer she would have been asleep when I got home. My fault, I was late out.

Talking seems to be what I do, but it never changes anything. The more I talk, the more I turn things over aloud, the more Tilly is drained and the more recharging she needs. The more recharging, the less contact and the less actual relationship we have. I'm slowly killing any progress we ever make because I want to see progress and I need to clarify things. I had to repeat "I would like you to buy me flowers" five times before Tilly understood that I wanted her to buy me flowers and repeating it five times was draining for Tilly - she thought me buying flowers for the house, rather than her, would show movement. There's been no progress because I refuse to take a step like buying flowers for the house rather than for her. I have bought flowers for the house, I did it last night.

Oh, an addendum, I could have bought her flowers more often from 2007 and that would have ameliorated the feeling that I was emotionally unattached. She likes being bought flowers. Not all the time, sometimes it would be seen as suspicious and unhelpful and insulting, but being surprised by flowers is good way of showing support. Except when it isn't. No, I shouldn't expect any flagging on this: normal people, most people, can do this and work out the difference.

I'm giving it six months from the Discussion. If by the end of that (beginning of June 2016) we are still around here I shall, reluctantly, have to start disengagement. I shall be drained. Is that unfair? I think that's probably unfair.

Let's depress myself further shall we?

1. Physical and emotional intimacy from a single, female, partner.

On and off. Sometimes I am rebuffed from physical contact and trying again too quickly will lead to a longer period without contact, not trying soon enough will lead to a longer period without contact too. So, intense periods followed by long gaps is the norm at the moment.

2. Security of need - to know that I will be supported and desired.

I am supported, as much as Tilly is able. I do not support. I am not desired.

3. To be loved for who I am and to love in return.

Remains unknown. She is affectionate toward me, certainly, but there is no flame of passion. Tilly dislikes candles.

4. To be complimented once in a while.

Nope. This remains unmet - Tilly doesn't see the point if I'm not filling her cup, so to speak, and helping her recharge. And, if I am (and she says I do sometimes), she can't because she needs to fill up first. And, if she's feeling recharged, there's no point because compliments are meaningless.

5. When I say things like "I'm fat" to be told the pointless lie "I still love you".

Nope. It's still point 4 repeated. If I feel I'm fat I should eat less shit or do more exercise, duh!

6. To have playful and experimental experiences that may, or may not, lead to sex.

We've done it once a month, ish, five times and there was a concentrated period of this around March to May. Better than before, right?

7. To leave with a kiss goodbye, arrive home to a kiss hello. Hell, to kiss once in a while.

On and off. I never leave with any acknowledgement from Tilly, she is asleep.

8. To come first once in a while and be able to allow my partner to come first too. And no, not in a sexual sense.

Latter part done. Done. And still being done. But not enough and not all the time. The rest? Well, I was late back tonight and Tilly wasn't angry and we've had three conversations about me.

9. To dress safely and be able to talk about that fully. To have someone understand the liberation it brings to me and accept it, even if they don't want anything else to do with it.

Nope, not going to happen either methinks.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Love doesn't hide when it wants to be found

Or having a period, either way...
It can't have escaped notice that I have been angry. And, today, I have been in a rather bad mood.


After the Discussion there were various loose ends, so I thought, about my dressing and what it all meant. Tilly had suggested that there may be further compromise (through worrying if she wasn't able to compromise enough for me in the future) and there was even suggestion that there would be further Discussion. However, nothing further had materialised and I was concerned about the upcoming festive season.

People were encouraging about my, ahem, bravery in discussing my dressing with Tilly and suggested that Tilly was making positive steps. I was less certain. Being me, I had seen some rather nice duvet covers and sheets for the bed. See, since the Discussion I had been feeling freer than I think I have ever done before (with the possible exception of the second half of 2005 and early 2006) and I was surprised by how much I had been self-repressing. Going to IKEA was fun and a happy place because I was allowing myself to look at and admire and imagine owning furnishings with flowery patterns and pastel colours. I was looking at candles, I was smelling the scents and even just comparing items in a way I hadn't done before. In short, I was feeling like me. So much like me that I started looking at watches and wondering if they may be on the menu.

It's on offer, and it's a blanket. I thought I was on for a win
with this, but Tilly was initially confused, then irritated
and then just irritably confused when I said I liked it.

No, it won't be bought.
Coming back from IKEA I broached the subject of furnishings and duvet covers with Tilly, to see whither the line for compromise lay. And I found that the line was exactly where it had been previously. Going further, I learned that Tilly considered our Discussion a finished item, she felt there was nothing more to discuss. She was resistant to the idea that I could question my gender (after all, she never has, so why and how could I?) and resistant to the idea that it made any difference. Her wish that I not discuss my preferences in all things lest it be 'feminine' remained in place and, no, she could not imagine a time when it would not be. Why would I take an interest in anything 'feminine' anyway? At best I had grunted in the past, was that not enough? Did I have to push this notion?

She is still 'processing' the Discussion. She felt that she would never stop this process or come to any kind of understanding of it. Why was I not able to just carry on as before? Was that not good enough? Did I not realise how big it was for me to say that I wasn't part of the gender binary and was it not enough to have said it and then return to how things were before? I mean, surely I was just the same as before I said anything and I came across as reasonably male then. I did point out how much I had repressed things and how much freer I had felt. Tilly professed confusion and requested that I not open up around her or the children or in public or at work or with friends if at all possible. This was dangerous, she repeated (from the Discussion), and is the sort of thing I could get sacked for - so wasn't it best that I keep it all private and hidden. Sure, I could buy clothing (no, she had no desire to know any more than that) for Christmas as I seemed to be good enough at concealing clothing that she knew where it was but could ignore it if necessary. But no, she would not be party to any requests for time to dress or otherwise indulge. She hadn't been thus far and had no desire to change that in the future. She had, in the Discussion, expressed with surprise "but where do you find the time?" and, now, reminded me that I was finding the time and the space without her help.

She suggested that she could buy me a candle. A theme returned to tonight. I even suggested flowers for me. Tilly demurred, we could buy flowers for the house. She will not buy flowers for me, though I can still buy them for her or the house if I want.

And therapy. I have been looking through a list of therapists in the local area trying to work out what I would talk to them about. I mean, I have some half-baked ideas about identity and I'm reasonably certain that I count as depressed but... my experiences with two therapists and a psychoanalyst don't fill me with hope. The first fellow was well-meaning but bored by my incessant dribble, the second lady (chosen because the first one was male) was more involved but I ultimately ruined any progress that could have been made and the latter was... well, the less said about that session the better. It's not one of my proudest moments. I read the list a few times, even looked at personal sites for a few of them but have got no further. Until I know roughly what I want from the sessions (even if that later changes) I think that I would be wasting their time and my money to go.

Couple's therapy is a joke. Tilly is perfectly happy where we are and with our situation. Our lack of sex-life and weird 'compromise' regarding my sexuality, such as it is, is working for everyone but me. I'm what is broken in our relationship. What, she has asked in the past, would couple's therapy change in any of that? You fix the broken part of relationships: and that is me.

Another part of the anger, I can't deny, is the sexless marriage thing that rumbles on. We're at three months again. I promised myself a year in March, then I extended it in July. Do I extend another year from the Discussion? How much do I extend? When do I throw up my hands and say "fuck it"? When is the right time? Is there a right time? I suspect, post-Discussion, there will be 'processing time' before Tilly can contemplate sexual relations again. If previous escapades are anything to go by I could be waiting up to three years for sexual relations. After the long waits in the past, do I care to wait another three years for a return to once a month where it's all a bit... unsatisfying? Well, it's that or nothing.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Bah, Humbug!

Yeah, that's close enough. If I wore glasses (or more
purple) then this would be how I looked at the start
of advent.
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I am not a fan of the Christmas season. However, there are a number of positives this year. Some, like the fact that I no longer live in the metropolis I suffered for a decade and the fact that I have a job that I enjoy again, are not new (but no less effective) and others, like some of the things to talk about in this post, are brand new.

Mind you, all of this, I am aware, comes at a time when a good friend of mine is in a somewhat difficult position regarding their own head-scape and the ramifications of it. I suspect, nay know, that they will deal with these things effectively and well given time - it is in their character - but that doesn't make the build up or the process any easier. I am also aware that there has been virtual silence from Leslie and Rhiannon, both of whom are wonderful people, and that may not be boding well. These are all good people, people who are in need of support and commentary, and here I am talking of good things. It is a difficult square to circle, methinks, but I accept that my positives are still very positive.

Is this it? Is this what I was referring to in that night-time

I no longer know what it is.
Girlie is once again in a dance show and I am once again playing taxi but there have been some differences this year compared to the last two. First of all has been Tilly's actual thanks for playing the role, rather than expectation and occasional anger at slip-ups, traffic or perceived lateness. Indeed, on three occasions we have shared kisses on actual lips since Friday! This is big news, actually, and may be the most sustained sharing of physical affection since 4 September. Okay, there's been no other moves to other actions, but I appreciate that there has been cold in the house, with all of us coming down with snot and coughs, for a few weeks. Second of all, I was asked what I wanted for Christmas (after asking Tilly) and when I made noises about "things off the menu" based on our most recent Discussion I was informed, via text the following day, that I could take some of the Christmas budget and buy things for myself. Now, I'll be honest, I am crap at knowing what I want (more on which in a moment) but the fact that Tilly was willing to countenance the unknown (and I'm equally unsure to what I was referring) is something. Something rather big I feel.

Maybe, perhaps, something like this
instead. It certainly says a few things.

Mind you, the thing it says most to me
is how pretty it is and I rather like the
flower motif.

Trouble is, there's nowhere really that
I could wear this for any length of time
no matter how nice it looks.

I mean, work is out. Home is out if we're
not going to discuss things with the children
and my area of the country is a tad... how
shall I put it... traditional working class.
Wearing this is likely to get me beaten up.

Lovely as this is, it would likely have to
stay in the box. Which would be sad.
The fact that I am no more the wiser what I would like for gifts than ever is nothing new. I always used to have ideas, things that I wanted, but I've spent so long repressing those things that I no longer really know. For the longest time I hoped for something, well, feminine - maybe clothing or jewelry or something - and that is silly. It is silly for two reasons: 1. no one would buy me something feminine even if I asked for it and 2. when in the world would anything like that get used or worn? Then there was the body of time where I was considering chastity (in chunks, most recently in the build up to the Discussion) and, I'll confess, part of me still feels that such items may be useful. After all, we have made no sexual moves since 4 September. There's nothing DVD-esque or music-wise that I particularly hanker for. I've obviated most hobbies now: I no longer read or write, for example, and I haven't played an actual computer game (not counting flash games) since sometime in 2008 - indeed, despite saying I would back in 2012 I haven't even got a computer capable of playing them on any more. Having a PS2 with some racing games on it (mainly Gran Turismo) hasn't really caused me to play much since we moved, to be honest. I accept that I am virtually impossible to buy for. Well, virtually impossible to buy something for that would actually see any sustained use. I can't claim that I don't still hanker for something feminine: a dress, a bracelet, a necklace... I don't know. I've even looked at watches again but, you know, there's nothing that jumps out. Okay, no, there's nothing that I think I would get much use out of and the power of my stinginess is bigger than the desire to get a funky watch. My existing watch still works, after all, and the status quo is powerful in my life.

This is a lovely duvet cover. I'd happily have it.

At present I'm relying on the grey and black one I got as a 16th
Birthday present from my Mother and the blue and white
(mainly blue) one I got for Christmas that year. Now and again
the more red one (birthday, same year) gets an airing.

Basically, teenage boy from the mid-90s in the UK. It's...

Well, it's never really been 'me' but inertia is something that
I rather seem to feel comfortable with. I rather think we're not
ready for me to come home with something like this for the bed.
Since 'coming out' as genderqueer to Tilly, and I guess that is what I did, I have actually found that I am having more feminine flashes than before I did it. As in... well, I find myself looking more obviously at things that are considered feminine or indulging mentally in finding things 'pretty' or just good looking - as opposed to forcing the drab practicality test on things before I look too closely or too long. I think this is positive. It's certainly helped IKEA become a happy place of late whilst charging the car and I can't complain about that.

Last night, after we'd all been to the Girlie's show, the Boy was feeling sick and came into our bed. the Girlie quickly followed but I felt as though Tilly was sorry to see me decamp (there isn't quite room for all four of us in our bed). That is, there was a genuine sorrow that I was going and a lingering hug as I left. My compliments on her appearance have also been received better recently too, like Tilly thinks I mean them. Is this the first sign that her 'vibes' are now understood after my 'coming out'? I honestly don't know.

I don't think Tilly's ready for a further conversation on my identity or my preferences, certainly not in the sexual sense, or even a confirmation on what has already been shared and discussed, but this may be a genuine re-start and re-boot. After so many false starts and changes that went nowhere I could just be jumping the gun and getting happy too early. Whatever, for the moment there are positives and I am happy to see and experience them.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Conversations with Tilly

On Wednesday night, unexpectedly, we had the long-awaited discussion. The Discussion. We actually sat down and talked about me and my identity and my cross-dressing. For reals. Tilly even listened and asked pertinent questions. It was, it is, a Big Deal. Let me preface what follows by saying that this is a Big Thing and that I am impressed by Tilly's reactions and desire to understand. This is a genuine move for our relationship, perhaps the first since she moved in back in 2007. The whole concept is one that Tilly has avoided and run away from since the beginning and the fact that she has chosen neither fight nor flight is a Huge Thing. Huge.

I am aware that I have been more immersed in this for longer and that I have been waiting for this for a long time. It therefore follows that I find it hard to maintain my objective knowledge of how huge a deal this is for Tilly. This will colour my writing about it here and may even come across as a little (ha, a lot) unfair to Tilly. If it doesn't, then that is down to my writing style. If I come across as a party in need of sympathy, know that I am not. Tilly has made a big change and is facing a lot of things for the first time. I maintain the tone that I do solely out of my commitment to being honest. This is how I feel. It is not right nor truth, but it is honesty. It is ugly and it is insulting as it stems from my throbbing arrogance and privilege, but it is honesty.

This followed a discussion about Tilly's thoughts that I am Aspergic. Now, the last time we talked properly about this was back when I was in therapy. I was under the impression that Tilly thought getting an actual diagnosis was irrelevant. I was, apparently, wrong. She would like me to get one because then there will be things that I could do to minimise the impact of my autism, to be more neurotypical in how I present and interact. It would, she said, explain a lot (and probably justify her own attitudes to me and my needs).

The biggest part of this was actually my telling her that I thought I might be Genderqueer and what that meant to me - being both male and female with varying degrees of either at any point. She shared her feelings that I raised it badly back in 2011 when she needed support and didn't get any (this, if I'm being unkind, would have to be the standard call whenever we turn to anything about me, along with how whatever it is should be something I am fixing - but I weathered it and we moved on). She also discussed her own issues and how best to address those (by doing actions that will likely result in an argument, but she did ask and I must respect that). Back on topic, she said that it explained a lot and challenged my use of semantics a few times as if searching for a way to tell me that my self-diagnosis was incorrect. I can relate, it's a very new term and I imagine it's a frightening one to someone who doesn't want you to be it.

We barely scratched the surface of any of my actual behaviours or feelings after that point, but this is a huge shift in situation. She asked that I did not reveal it to the children as there was "no point complicating things" for them, my gender identity is sufficiently complex that it would confuse them (I disagree but I said I would respect her wishes). She also shared her worry that if I expressed my love of things that are considered feminine in what is considered to be a feminine way (she was shocked to discover that I like lots of things that I tend not to comment on out of deference to her but glad that I was not commenting on them, especially things that weren't clothes) then our Boy would feel that this was typical masculine behaviour. I politely challenged but she would not brook it so, out of respect, I have decided to wait on that score. She quibbled when I became like I am, was it genetic and thus passed on to the Boy? Was it down to my parents after my sister died? Could therapy reverse it? Should I be less accepting of the genderqueer labels? Wasn't genderqueer something to do with being a gender that did not match outward appearances and still being attracted to the same gender (so, transmen attracted to to men or transwomen attracted to women)?

There followed a session of actual embracing and hugging bed, nothing more but this was welcome, and a day of nothing afterwards. During that embrace she told me that she still loved me, but I think it was the lie she told herself about who I was that she was still professing love for. On Friday Tilly started blurting out things that she had learned and we discussed some of the things she had found and some of her thoughts on the matter. There was an article she read about how cross-dressing alters the image of me she has in her head (which I found problematic, but I think this means that she's actually taken on board that I cross-dress). This grew from the Discussion where she said that she was uncomfortable with me dressing as a woman (note the phrasing) as I would not be the man she married. Truth be told, I have never met this man she married, for I am not him.

In this discussion, Tilly asked that I take account of how her image of me has changed and that I take more charge in dealing with the problems that I face (as opposed to...?). She is happy to provide more opportunities and spaces for me to dress but accepted that she did not know how I would go about asking nor how she would go about providing the opportunities and the space. She shared her research that suggested her definition of genderqueer was more common and thus correct and that my own definition (based on the genderbread man) was a tad unusual. I showed her the infographic and she was confused and scared by it but did listen and ask questions about it. I respect the fact that this is a big leap for her, though I accept I sound a little dismissive of her struggles, she is trying very hard to be supportive in a way that she has never been called upon to be in the past and supportive to someone she finds it hard to support - after all, her narrative is that I fail to support her and that I deserve no respect or support as I do not respect nor support myself. Yes, apparently I am still a little bitter about that.

Anyway, she confirmed last night, in our post-discussion, that I have feminine traits and body-language along with masculine traits and body-language at different points. She suggested that this was the source of the 'vibes' that meant that she was not interested in sex: I was confusing her. And, as she added, she is a bisexual, so she would have assumed that this was a good thing, but it wasn't. It is confusing. She bounces between thinking it's all horrible and disgusting and awful and evil and everything being fine. She vacillates between hating me and loving me, between hating my actions and thinking they're not so bad. She worries about what will happen if she compromises and it is still not far enough - if I want to dress around her or show her what I wear or something (so, I guess washing my clothes is forever out) - and I'm not sure how to respond to that. I hope I'm remaining open and positive and supportive, despite my bile, invective and sarcasm here. I explained that we didn't know what the future held and that sticking with the here and now would perhaps be best.

We then watched some Game of Thrones and went to bed. This time there was no touching, like there had been nothing on Thursday night, and, like Thursday night, she slept facing away from me and I woke in the morning to find her as far away as it was possible to be whilst still in bed. Like Thursday and Friday morning I kissed her whilst she slept and like Friday evening and, well, every evening, we greeted with a hug but no kiss and it was over quickly.

Lots going on.

At work, my colleague with support has been told they will fail their probation and has thus resigned, they will be gone by Christmas. I have lots of marking that has been piling up. I haven't managed to get through much of it at all. It turns out that Aspergic Depression is different from normal depression and, if I am Aspergic, that explains some of my more infuriating behaviours (according to Tilly) and it may mean I am much more depressed than any of us suspected and have been for longer.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Happy Days

Except with my boots and different tights.

Oh, and no jewelry. I considered wearing some
but didn't. My watch has died too.
Last night Tilly was away and I dressed. I got out the first dress I bought, the purple tights, the pink briefs and bra (stuffed a little). I wore my boots and wig and had a lovely time. I had even planned ahead and bought a fruity fizzy drink to have in a wine glass because, well, no real reason. It was lovely. Of course, being me, I sexualised it and went over to the corner-time app (12 minutes with handcuffs) and hung about on GetDare (though there was little actual activity there). Mostly I just surfed the net playing swarmsim and viewing good blogs that I haven't properly read in ages. It was strange because I actually felt positive enough to try it. And it made me feel good. Really good.

I love the ache in the legs from wearing heels and standing up (that was the corner time thing) and I loved the feeling of sitting down to go online. I loved keeping my knees together. I loved having hair that pulled and got in the way. I loved the feeling in my toes, the feeling on my shoulders, the view when I looked down, the warmth of the tights, the slip of the legs, the tailoring, the hugging of the fabric. It was everything I enjoyed the most in September 2013 and I have rather missed it.

Just... *sigh*
But that's the thing, recently I haven't felt in a happy enough place to even try dressing up. Other opportunities have passed me by without me doing anything. I've had the box of clothes out numerous times and not indulged, and indulging it is. I have not seen fit to enjoy it, even knowing that doing so invariably improves my mood and outlook, cheers me up and communicate some genuine happiness. That latter point being something that I poor at expressing and feeling most of the time. So, what was the reason for this change in heart and sudden ability to indulge in something solely to make me feel happy again? That is a simple question with a predictably complicated answer (oh, Joanna, you? Complex? Needlessly so? All the time? Say it ain't so!).

On Friday I was bombarded with positive communication from Tilly. She is away this weekend at some friends' that she has contacted and made via Twitter. They run their own hashtag or something. Anyway, after a week of snarks and grumpiness and isolation, it was quite a tonic. I got images from the day (the Boy has glasses because he's long-sighted after the Girlie was found to be almost blind in her short-sightedness earlier in the month) via e-mail and plenty of nice texts. We spent the evening watching the first couple of episodes of Game of Thrones (though she maintained her laptop and e-mails with the narcissist writing buddy via her phone) and then retired to bed. We held hands. It was nice.

Ha ha.

No. Not Tilly. But, y'know, the
impression is the right one.

She's got a second book deal,
she's got a fiction trilogy in the
works and she runs a Twitter
hashtag thing that may actually be
a business.

Did I mention she was a full time
All of which was very positive. Very positive indeed. She claims that this is down to having used a hot-water bottle on her neck to reduce the pain there and thus, now significantly reduced in pain, she was in a happier place. And I feel churlish because I recognise that, as happy as this makes me, it's the sort of thing I was bemoaning as being too little and a significant reduction in intimacy before 2011. Now... Now it's the wonderful light at the end of a tunnel. Coupled with the decision to have the conversation about what it is about my cross-dressing that Tilly finds threatening and repulsive (a positive move, I consider; though, as she points out, likely to result in anger and frustration for me) you have quite a heady mix.

Mind you, this is just before the weekend she is spending away and I have the children. Tilly does labour the point that I can be irritable with the children (no more than her) and that she worries that I will go too far or be too angry or do half of what she does when frustrated. After all, I'm not home most of the time. Sure enough, the Girlie regularly mentions how she wishes I had gone away so Mummy was still at home, how Mummy is better than me and how much she misses Mummy. Neither of them particularly enjoy my company, the Boy does like our Saturdays but precisely because it's once a week and special. The Girlie does like me reading Harry Potter because I can do the voices and because she gets to spend the rest of the time with Mummy. Already, after a week, there is evidence of fraying around the edges on that - since she was born it has been Tilly that has been her primary carer and I can't challenge that. In the very beginning that was a very deliberate thing and I was very deliberately excluded - Tilly's own admission. So, the timing does make me suspicious.

Even so, I enjoy the attention and have enjoyed the contact.

But it gets me thinking. This morning, the Boy came into bed a bit before we started the day and I had more physical contact from him in those ten minutes than I've had from Tilly since 4 September. I wish I could wrap Tilly in my arms, have her rub my beard or some part of me affectionately, and just be close to her. But she hates too much physical contact and enjoys her own space (we still have separate duvets after we found, early on, that she can't bear to share - it was only after I left the bed when Tilly was pregnant that we found the solution and only when we planned to co-sleep with the Boy that we had the extra space she craved by not having a bed) so that this will forever remain a pipe-dream.

Ah, negative endings to happy posts, clearly I am back. Take a bow, Joanna!

Or a curtsy, whatever floats your boat I guess.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Signs I Can't Ignore

Moping has been the order of the day, of course it has. But tonight was different. Tilly asked if we should have the conversation I asked for in July next week. Not this week, because she didn't want to go off on some time away leaving me angry and irritable with the children. An interesting worry, methinks, and did I ever believe it was going to go any other way? She also suggested that I "give off vibes" that tend to make people unsympathetic to me. As I have never felt "vibes" from people I cannot comment.

I have offended a friend of mine, ardent Feminist, who posted that it was International Men's Day on the Book of Faces. I responded with the question "isn't every day international men's day?" and got a swift put-down response (I should point out that someone else responded with "it's international toilet day too" and was ignored). I suspect that this part of the "vibe" thing, but I may be wrong.

I have been reading a story. And listening to music.

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.


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
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.