Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monogamy Isn't All Bad

Sometimes I feel like a monogamy basher. I don't mean to bash the institution. I don't really mean to bash anything, except dumb shit. Monogamy isn't dumb, it's just ill-founded at times, most of the time. I don't believe that, with monogamy, you are always just tying yourself down or that its unnatural. Not much is natural anymore, anyway. I know that some people fall in love. Some people meet a person that is special enough to spend the rest of their life with and then they bust their asses making it "work." And some people think if you don't meet someone with whom you can spend the rest of your life, then you are pathetic, doomed or incomplete. I don't buy it. I think some of us have been duped; we are buying into a lot of blanket concepts and notions that aren't really for everyone.

Most of my friends are currently working on distinguishing between what is "right" and what is "wrong" for them in life. The two questions I see my peers tossing around most frequently are: (1) Choose a corporate/9 to 5 career path or follow your passion full time? ... and ... (2) Settle down with someone or continue/try being alone?

The first question is perfectly valid. It is time for us to either really sink our teeth into what we love, or agree to working full-time to pay the bills. Sometimes we have to do both in the beginning. Most of the time, actually. But, in this case, we have to grind; We can't put our passion on the back-burner. It's got to keep it's place in the center stage and we have to work just as hard at making something of it. I love the sayings my dad says and so ... it's time to "shit or get off the pot." We either dive in and become better at the thing we love, or we get a job and call that thing that we do what it is, a hobby.

The second question is not one I like to ask myself. I think we spend too much time and energy looking for the answer to that question. It's a distraction, because you can't control it. Love, sex and companionship are NOT things that should be constantly sought after or over analyzed. They can all be fun experiences and make really great stories, but not if they are forced. No TV personality or self proclaimed relationship guide can lead you to a healthy relationship. Happiness and relationships aren't like the chicken and the egg, the happiness comes first. For me, it was just about choosing happiness. I tried a few things and then I settled into the one that fit me best. It's my life and it's my responsibility to make it what I want it to be. No whining about how it should have been. If, in the end, my life is not what I thought it should have been, that's on me. Either I didn't makeit happen, or I wrapped my happiness up in lofty goals that I really had no control over.

Another thing I always have to keep in my mind, is that it's not always about what I want. Sometimes I have to take a day or two and figure out what I need. My needs list is constantly changing, so it's good for me to check in with myself and get frequent updates. I might have to make some changes. I believe happiness rests on the ability to be versatile and easy going. Sometimes things change. Sometimes the floor falls out and we have to climb out of a mess. You do what you have to.

I say do what makes you happy. If that involves spending a night, a few days, occasional quality time or the rest of your life with a partner, do it. Stop dating, practice celibacy, take a break, fall in love, move all of your sexual energy into a passion or skill, have a one night stand or get married.
See ...
I'm not a hater of monogamy. I don't think love is fake or that marriage is a lie. Okay, so I still kind of think marriage is a lie, but I'm a happy skeptic. I need things to be proven to me and never once have I seen all of those vows upheld simultaneously. Anyway, I don't think love is fake or marriage is a lie; I just don't think they inherently bring joy and I don't think one will be able to enter a healthy relationship until they are happy. So for now, this is how I'm living my life. Doing the things that keep me calm, happy and healthy. For me, that means dating and enjoying my sexuality without an end goal of finding a man to give me my happiness. I have my happiness. I give it to myself. (Nightly.)

Letters from Readers - My Life As April The Swinger

Dear Poly,

I Am Obsessed With Sex.

To give you a glimpse into the kind of girl I can be when the mood strikes me – I’m giving you limited access inside my head. Earlier today, while standing in line at the grocery store, I observed the clerk as she held up an unusually large cantaloupe and asked the older woman next to me the million dollar question: “Can you believe how big this is?’

I felt a that’s what she said moment coming on and had to put my hand over my mouth to stop it.

Yes, I am a 13 year old boy.

My latest outlet for my sexual obsession had been mulling over the invites for casual sex on Craigslist - complete with nude pictures and surprisingly entertaining sexual suggestions. My curiosity had outgrown my daily reading over the seedy personal ads of Craigslist and I decided to sign up for a Swinger’s lifestyle website. I’m not sure what I wanted to come from it, but it was something for me to peruse to help beat the boredom of being jobless.

After laboring for hours over my profile, trying to think of the best way to bait the most swingers, I came up with a pretty impressive write up. It’s just like fishing…except instead of fish, I’m reeling in poles…( comes and goes.) I doctored up a picture of myself, a description of likes and dislikes and of fantasies that I longed to fulfill through the website. I clicked submit and waited for my biters.

I received about 10 emails in the first 20 minutes. I must say that I was impressed - as impressed as any girl would be putting herself up on a Swinger website.

Most of the mail was from single men who immediately gave me their address, time to meet and contact information. I pictured what the hell I would do if I actually did answer one of their emails.

“Hi, I’m Audrey and yes I would like to have sex with you. What’s your name again???”

The other emails were from real hard core swingers. The type of couples who live in the Woodlands with their 4 kids and 2 dogs and who claim to be a 100 percent in love and only looking to spice up their 20 year old marriage. Responding to these emails takes more work because they want only other swinger couples and they require a quasi friendship before fucking. So my little make believe profile which had me named April, has now transformed me into a housewife married to a successful, but emotionally distant surgeon. April, the housewife that lunched, shopped and toked most of her days, wanted an outlet like this to get rid of some of her frustration. You know… because I was always being ignored by my pretend surgeon.

I spent hours on end browsing profiles of all kinds of shapes and sizes. There were profiles with perfect bodies advertising taglines like “Insert Here” to older ones that had “It still works”. I joined in on chats and engaged in full blown conversations about what my husband and my sex life was like, what I was going to cook him for dinner, and how I could get us invited to the next swinger party being hosted at “Candy and Jack’s”. I was determined to get “Best New Swinger” added to my profile.

I spent 14 hours in one day attached to my laptop waiting for new mail and what the next person or couple had to say about my profile

I had a sickness.

Another 24 hours passed and I found myself without Internet access. I figured I would be okay and would just swing by my parents at the end of the week to check up on my online life. I thought my absence from the website meant my inbox would be chockfull of emails from all kinds of people just waiting for a response from me.

Did I mention I had a sickness?

I imagined all that unopened mail full of salacious words ready for me to devour. I started to salivate and twitch and needed to get a hold of a computer a.s.a.p.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I found myself at the unemployment office. Now, I usually go there to look at my obligatory job searches and fax over a w-9 form or two. But that day I was smack in the middle of two men who really looked like they were down on their luck and searching for their next meal ticket. It is there that I was trying to look at my newfound swinger’s website filled with pornographic pictures plastered up as soon as you log in. I was trying my best to position my body so that neither of the men, if they so happened to glance over, would be able to see.

I stopped before I started to read my mail, which was only 5 unread and 2 of those 5 from someone I had spoken with already. I minimized the screen and, in that moment, realized that I could actually be using this time to find out what I really want from this time in my life. Or, shit, I could, at the least, go get my nails done.

I brought the screen back up and ventured over to my account where I could find the button necessary to delete my profile.

It was with that swift click that my life as April the Swinger ended.

~ Audrey


If you would like to share, please send your story to:
Stories will be posted to the blog. Your anonymity is of the utmost importance to me. Please change all names and be respectful of others. Thanks for your contributions.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Letters From Readers - A Man

Dear Poly,

I think I may be having a slight mid-life crisis. A hot Japanese girl, who I turned down when she was only 19, came by one of my shows last week and not so gently reminded me several times that she was now 21!
For a moment I was at a loss for words or at least a good counterpoint.
She was standing there looking her absolute hottest while non-verbally asking, "So what now?"...and I had nothing.

~ Man


Dear Man,

This is an interesting dilemma. I don't know how much insight I can offer in this situation. You are a man, and while I love and respect men, I try not to attempt to understand them. I have enough trouble trying to understand myself and pinpoint my own motives.

What I will say is that I appreciate this momentary glimpse into the mind of a "mid-life" man.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Serial Dater's Definitions - A Good Man

My friend Locke hit me up earlier today and asked me to consider "Defining a 'Good Man.'" At first I thought this was totally out of my range. I have been following all these women's relationship, sex and love blogs. You have to know your options, so I like to keep an eye on the other side. Make sure my grass is still the greenest. So, this topic sounded like something I would see on one of those blogs. Top Ten Qualities You Want in a Husband, not my style. Categorizing men so arbitrarily seemed impossible, but as I thought more about it, I decided I can tackle this. Why not? So here it is ...

The Serial Dater's Definitions:

A Good Man [good] [man]

-noun, plural - men

1. funny, generous, self-reliant, not on the bus (one of us has to have a car), open-minded, not looking for a relationship, free of STDs, more than functionally-literate, creative, kind, well-endowed, available

So, these are the first qualities that come to mind, but even as I was typing I was thinking this is not me. I like the idea of these things, but there are good men for different things. So here's that breakdown. No crazies.

  1. A Good Text/Instant Message Man - He's witty. I don't really care how great he looks, if he lives with his folks or has a job or car. We will just exchange funny texts every once in a while anyway. *This can also be any of the following men gone wrong. You can be demoted.
  2. The Good One Night Stand Man - I have to be very physically attracted to him. If that's all he's there for, he has to be a 9, at least. He's good in bed, free of disease. Has his own place, so we have somewhere to go. He has change for a dollar so I can catch the bus in the morning.
  3. The Good Every Once in a While Man - Same requirements as above. In addition to being able to make change, he should occasionally be able to give me a ride home, like when it rains.
  4. The Good Repeat Man - All of the above and a job or passion that keeps him busy and paying his bills. My friends should like him. He's not my boyfriend, but he's bound to be around my friends occasionally. I have to have a crush on him. He's super smart and kinda nerdy. This is the one I like. The "bottom man," if you will. He will probably eventually be a friend, instead of falling by the wayside.
  5. The Good Marrying Man - He needs to have the sense to know I'm not that lady. He should just keep his distance, lest he be very disappointed.

That having been said, I never set out and look for these things in anyone. If a guy approaches me and is cute, clean, doesn't frequently hang on Washington and he has good breath, I will give him a chance. After talking for a bit, I can decide if I want to move forward. This is normally a very organic process. Whether in person or online, stuff just takes a flow of its own. It's different for every guy. Some guys won't get past the Text/Instant Message Stage. And a lucky few will have a dope friend for life.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bad Sex, With Mr. Apologies

... it was bound to happen sooner or later. Get ready folks. This one's going to be tough on all of us.

It happened sooner than I would have hoped, but long enough ago now that I can rehash it without having nightmares and cold-sweats.

I took an extended vacation to Colorado two years ago. I was there for three weeks. Assuming I would find moments of boredom in that clean mountain air, I made a Craigslist ad before I left. "In town for a few weeks. Looking for fun things to do while I'm there." It was simple enough, I know. I included a sexy pic and began checking my email on the hour. It was fruitful. I few guys responded, but if they didn't creep me out, they bored me immensely. Then there was Mr. Apologies.

Mr. Apologies was charming, witty and polite. We exchanged a few emails, then I gave him my number. He texted immediately and over the next few days, the excitement built. I boarded the plane, knowing that not only was there a private mountain home and fresh Fall air waiting, but there was also an exciting short romance.

I got picked up from the airport and taken to the house in which I would be staying. It was pretty, but so secluded. As my driver pulled away, I felt a little overwhelmed. My phone rang. It was him. He had taken the day off of work because he knew I would be getting in and he wanted to "make himself available." Perfect. I hopped in the truck supplied by the owner of the house and made my first ever trek through the mountains to meet a man. We met at a local Italian restaurant. He was cute. Not gorgeous. He was tall and athletic. His face and body bore a few minor imperfections that added to his charm. His smile was slightly crooked, but not in the way a swindler's smile is crooked. He would do just fine for the next few weeks.

We went out a few times and it was great. I didn't bring him back to the house for a while. I didn't want to be the city girl that came up the mountains and delivered herself to the psychopathic serial killer that trolled Craigslist for unsuspecting vacationers. If he was going to kill me, he was gonna have to do it in public. But he wasn't a psychopath. He was utterly vanilla. His jokes were witty, but safe. He was timid when he kissed me and apologetic for being too forward.

The night I did decide to bring him back to the house, we had dinner and watched a movie. He brought a bottle of Jameson (upon request) and I made a homemade pizza. It was lovely. I could only imagine how happy he would make some husband-seeker one day. So, so normal. The night progressed and we decided to take the movie upstairs to the bedroom, because it was "warmer." You know ... heat rises.

Once you lay down with a man you have been hanging with every night, it doesn't take long for the hands to stray places they haven't yet ventured. It was hot on paper. A secluded house in the mountains, two virtual strangers, a hot tub in the room, snow capped mountains right outside the window and a bottle of whiskey. We were there. What could go wrong now?

I eased my hand down his bare stomach and unbuttoned his jeans. His hand grabbed for mine and then he relaxed. This was odd, but kind of hot. I felt like he had a momentary lapse in judgment and by that, I mean I felt like he might have considered exercising some restraint. Nah. We kept going. He seemed a little scared. Was this dude a virgin? I pushed that thought out of my mind and recklessly proceeded. I unzipped his pants and slid my hand down the front.

And ...

There it was ... The smallest dick known to womankind. I don't even know what to call it. I was amazed. I felt bad for touching it. It felt so ... so delicate. I didn't even really know what to do with it. It was roughly the length of my pinky, a little thicker. When I put my hand around it, I engulfed it. This was awful, but not as awful as it could get. Just as I was snapping to and getting past the shock of it all, he looks me in the eye ... In that way that says "Hey, look at me," and he said it. The worst two words in the world. He looked me in the eye and said, "I'm sorry." Oh God. Why? Couldn't we just let it be the unspoken thing that we both knew? Did you have to make me acknowledge it aloud? I thought about saying "For What?" and feigning ignorance of his small member, but that would have opened the doors for a "For my small dick." I couldn't risk more conversation so I said, "Make love to me." I couldn't bring myself to give him a Fuck me. He was just too nice.

So, I got on my back and he got on top of me. It was awkward. But, Yes. We had sex. Or some weird variation of it. What was I supposed to do, kick this nice man out into the cold snowy night with only his tiny dick to keep him warm? Grow up, people. Sometimes you have to take one for the good of humanity. So I took one. More like half. Ok. One-quarter.

He could barely get it in. I like doggie style, so I thought we could try, but he wasn't able to do that. Because we had had so much luck with the 'dirty talk' this evening, he decided to let me in on the little secret: He had never been able to accomplish the task of doggie style with any lover in the past.
Hoooo ... Okay, buddy. This is not share time. My vagina has officially crawled up into itself.

I was super embarrassed. This wasn't even like sex. It was so awkward. It wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't kept saying things about it. He referenced the size of his dick with a disappointment that reminded me of the tone my mom took on when being passive aggressive. After the third comment and lack of any enthusiasm, I was about to throw in the towel. Dude, I'm a good person. If you take the time to lay with me and I take the time to lay down with you, I am gonna give your lil dick the ol' college try, but meet me halfway and leave your defeatist attitude at the door.

I guess I could have lied and told him it wasn't small, but what I couldn't muster in lies, I made up for in heart. I gave all I could, and right at the moment when I thought I couldn't do it anymore; right after his last comment, he slipped out of me, but the condom did not. It was too big for him. I pulled back and he went down on me. Disappointing. I'm not even going to go into it. I am not the type of person that feels she has to have company in her misery. Just know, it wasn't good. It even hurt a little.

After it was all said and done, he got up and drove into the night. I didn't have the heart to stop him or ask him to stay. We were both sad and I think we both just wanted to be alone. He called me a few times after and we talked, but on the last call, he brought up the night and apologized again. I couldn't take it. Bad sex once with someone that you cared about is minor, but this was all we were. He and I were just awful sex and apologies. I never answered his calls again. Think what you want of me. I moved my flight up a week and came back to Texas, where apparently everything is bigger. I think he blocked me on YahooIM. I'm not mad at him. I understand. I deleted him from my phone. I don't think either of us are fully over it.

The Spark

I met The Spark on the heels of meeting someone pretty great, we will call him Guy A. Sometimes it happens this way. I meet a cool guy. We start having good sex; not just good sex, but fun sex, sex with a connection. So, we start having that kind of sex. We start something without really starting anything. Then, I meet another guy that is okay. In this case, The Spark was okay, but he was also really really good looking. Tall, sculptured body, great teeth... all that. Let's not get it wrong; Guy A was a pretty dude, too. He was a sight to be seen actually. Made my stomach hurt when he smiled at me or said cute things. So, let's not discount him.

So, I am seeing/sleeping with/idunno-ing Guy A. I meet The Spark and we have a mild amount of chemistry. He's got a lot of energy and I can't help but imagine what his body looks like under his jeans and his t-shirt. To be honest, I didn't really know if we had chemistry or not. I was hung up on his looks. I would soon find out it was only physical. Anyway, he bought me a couple drinks and we talked for a while, then he asked me to dinner the next night. I agreed.

I ran a little late, so instead of dinner, we just started with drinks. This wasn't going to have a PG-13 ending. I could tell from the beginning. There was a lot of laughing and too much touching. We were at a bar, so we had to lean in to talk. He pulled me in at one point to tell me a completely nonsexual story about something that had happened at work. As he was telling this totally mundane story, he slipped his hand around to my back and pulled me slightly closer. My breasts pressed against his chest and he moved a bit closer. He didn't kiss me, he just kept telling his boring-ass story, but it was hot, all the same.

After two drinks it was a done deal. He was telling me to pick something to do; to shoot for the stars. We could do whatever I wanted. I wanted to go back to his place. We did. We had sex the whole night. It was the kind of sex where you feel everything. He would stop and talk to me, then start back and his cock was huge. Not only was it huge, he was a grown man and he knew what he was doing. I love approaching 30. The men in my age range are so much better than they were at 22. I don't know what happens in those few years, but these dudes have me taking the occasional sneak peek into the 40 to 50 yr old range, just to see what I have in store. I haven't had many in the higher age range, but it's good up there too.

Back to the 30's, back to The Spark. He was doing a nice job. And yet, I couldn't climax. He was alternating between head and sex. I didn't want him to get discouraged and I knew I could do it if I just had more time, so I faked one. I only ever fake an orgasm to buy more time. I can almost always cum. I have to have some shit on my mind to not be able to climax. That wasn't the case this night. I was happy go lucky and having a good time with the new guy I had met. I was young and free and dating 2 really cool guys that were really great in bed ... wait. No. Seriously? I am having really great sex and thinking about how I could be having better sex??? Then, he pulled out of me and put his mouth on me again. The stress of realizing that I had come to this place where I had my choice of really good sex hit me and there it was...

My fingers grasped the sheets. My muscles tightened. My mouth opened slightly and I inhaled hard. I closed my eyes and, inadvertently, out of sheer lust and instinct, I pictured Guy A. I didn't mean for it to happen, but at that moment, at the moment of impact with The Spark, it sparked ... I liked the other guy more, but there was no reason why this guy couldn't get me off. How spoiled can you get? I had a perfectly good man going down on me, and even though my body felt only him, my brain took me to a different place. No one lost. As soon I as finished, he was back on my level and with my eyes wide open, and his arms wrapped around me, I came again, this time thinking only of the man inside me.

This would be the only time I would ever have sex with two men in one night.

Self Help 101

You can't end war, hunger or racism. You can not single handedly bring world peace. The odds are good that in an election, your single vote doesn't really make a difference. Your tweets and status updates aren't going to cap the BP oil spill or even stop off-shore drilling. There are few things that we can do to make this world a better place and they all start with action. Smile at people more, show respect and courtesy. Don't fake it, mean it. Choose happiness and treat your loved ones better. Hug your kids and read to them. Create things that better yourself and express your views. Read about the things you are interested in and take as much time absorbing others' viewpoints as you do spewing your own. And last, but definitely not least, become a better lover. Because, when your in bed with a great lover, all of the bad in the world shuts out and everything is good.

Everyone is so concerned with the actions of others, lets take a minute to look at ourselves. So, when you get home from work today, instead of telling your lover all the ways you were annoyed throughout the day, work on your form. Go to a proxy server right now ... I know you're at work. I got you ... Now use that to google 'new shit to do in bed.' Yep. Tilt your monitor away from the boss' office, close Huffington Post and the UStream live feed of the BP spill and look at this:

  • Kama Sutra's Top 10 Positions (Don't watch the video, though. I don't want you to get fired.)
  • I'm not going to link 'how to talk about sex.' Talking is easy. Just lean over to your lover and say ... "I want to be better in bed. Let's go practice." I guarantee you will get a positive response.
  • How to Masturbate (Pleasing yourself is first above pleasing anyone else.)
  • Sex Tips From Some Strange White Couple
  • Don't Click This At Work - Porn - Pornstars know a thing or two about sex. Observe.
So remember, if the world is getting you down, cheer up! There's sex to be had. You may not be able to cook or sing, but nature gave you the power to master this task. Harness it and make the world a better place.

And always remember to WRAP IT UP and practice safe sex.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letters From Natalia

NOTE: The views expressed in this blog post are not those of Poly. Poly does not condone the use of "Sweaty ass hole" as a term to describe her beloved Houston.


Dear Poly,

It took me two days to realize

...that this guy I ran into a few nights ago at the bar, was a dude that I ... wait, wait.

Little bit of a back story on him. He's hot. That's really all you need to know. I met him last year in the sweaty ass hole that is Houston.

He's not usually the type of guy I go for, he's about 5'8 and my age; Mid-twenties. Any who ... I ran into him at a bar a few nights ago. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and he smiled at me. I didn't recognize him. I walked by and he yelled my name. "Natalia! How are you?" My response was empty and I searched for a name in my head... who the fuck is this guy and why do I get the feeling that I know him on a personal level. Two nights later it clicked. I don't really remember how it happened, but I took him back to my place and he tied me up to the bed and had his way with me ... It was a hot 3 hour session: he whispered the dirtiest things into my ear and made me scream out his name while he used his belt to smack my ass, I was exhausted. By the time he left my vagina was swollen and irritated. I ran to the ice box as soon as he left and rubbed myself with ice cubes all night. Hot? Hell nah, that shit was cold and I couldn't feel it after a while. But I'd so rather not feel my vagina than have an irritated one. I never heard from him again. That's fine, I'd rather have just one awesome fuck than a tainted relationship. And that's how I know him... figured out his name last night. It's one of those things that makes you smile on a rainy day when you are alone at home and have time to wonder "what happened to that dude/chic I hooked up with last summer... that was fun." So what keeps me from having this on a daily bases? I don't know I keep asking myself that... hmmm, should I call him?

~ Natalia


If you would like to share, please send your story to:
Stories will be posted to the blog. Your anonymity is of the utmost importance to me. Please change all names and be respectful of others. Thanks for your contributions.

Letters From Readers - The One Second? Man

Dear Poly,

So, luv the blog.. Since I too am a serial dater, not really by choice it just happened post kid.. but lets skip the extra.. I am dating a fine, attractive, wonderful man, whose smart, great to talk to and has an awesome sense of humor. Drum roll please ... but he is a minute man.. I mean really kinda close to a second man? What do I do? I mean I feel it is shallow to break it off for bad sex but I mean the frustration is the same minus the companionship? Just wanted to know your thoughts..


Hey Lady,

Apparently, you are just too damn fine for ol' dude. Tone it down, wear a burka.

All jokes aside, I just have a few things to say. No one can tell you the "best" thing to do. But, here's what I would do:
(I'm a fan of bullet points, so here goes.)

  • He sounds like a great guy to spend time with. Don't get rid of him without communicating first. Talk to him about this issue. I know it's not the most pleasant of conversations, but if he wants to be with you, he needs to be able to please you and he needs to be man enough to accept that he's not handlin' up. My best sex comes with communication.
  • Ask for head. Men are strange about this. Some just jump in and go for the gold. Others are apprehensive when it comes to going down on a woman, because they aren't sure you want it. Tell him you want it. If he won't do it, then he needs to be masturbating with his hand and not using you for his self-gratification.
  • Head can't do it all. Vaginal orgasms are the steak where head is the potatoes. You guys have to figure something out so that he can go long enough to make you cum. There is no shame in stopping when he's about to climax and giving him a minute to pull it together. If he won't stop, he's just being selfish. But, a clitoral orgasm from head can prime you to be able to climax a little quicker, as well. Then you guys can meet in the middle.
  • If he has more stamina after his initial climax, you guys can have a primer run and then do a longer run once he gets hard again. This takes a little longer, but sex isn't fun if it's always rushed.
It all boils down to communication. Tell him you can't cum in one second. Not many women can. I think 1 minute was my minimum and I was masturbating and late for work. No man has ever been able to do it like I can. The thing is, you don't have to communicate with yourself. You know what you want. Don't expect him to know and don't make him guess. Tell him what you need. If he is receptive and gets better at pleasing you, then you have a new best friend. If he tries and it doesn't work out, keep him around for dates and have another guy for sex. But, be open and honest. He'll respect it even if he doesn't like it.

Yours Truly,

The Sacrificial Ego

Yesterday, Lisa called it... "So, you are in an interesting cycle. The guys hit you up, because they want to get a write-up. You get play and material and they get an ego boost." The trouble is, they don't always get that boost they are looking for. The Lover didn't get the most favorable review. He just never acknowledge reading his post, but he did ask me on a third date. Maybe he didn't read it. Lewis doesn't always read in a timely manner, so he gets info a few days late. The Beautiful One is always on it. He is one of my biggest fans. Why wouldn't he be? He gets glowing reviews. He earned them. He has even come up with new ideas, things for us to do in the future. He really likes to read about my experiences, not only with him, but with others. I think he likes that he can hit me up for more details after he reads. I don't give away identities. Never that.

This started as a way for me to share the hilarious and not-so-hilarious stories with all of you. My friends suggested that I chronicle my experiences, while also giving them an outlet to share their stories. So, after much encouragement from my friends and a post-coital conversation with The Beautiful One, My Life as a Serial Dater was born.

My point is, this has taken on a life of its own. It's gone from a simple chronicling of my experiences, to a catalyst for new experiences. It's no longer just an observation on dating. In order to be totally honest and keep it all respectful, I tell the men I date about the site. It has yet to be the cause of a date, but I am fairly sure it has been the cause of better sex. I think men are going above and beyond in hopes of reading a glowing review the next day.

So, I decided to take it to the next level. I have posted the link to this site to my online dating profiles. I have no expectations for responses. I just want to see what might happen. I posted the link last night. There was a message in my inbox this morning. It's pretty simple and pretty much what I expected: "If we go out, are you going to write about me?"

I just might, sir. But you should know I don't sleep with nearly all the men I date and if I do, I won't promise you will like your review. This site isn't about the men. It's about me. So, the egos have to take a backseat to my story. Happy reading.

My Life as a Lesbian

Ok. I am not a lesbian. I am not heterosexual. I am not bisexual or pansexual. We sure as hell know I'm not asexual. My sexuality bears no prefix. Everything in my life is fluid and ever evolving. My sexuality is no different. I can't nail it down long enough to get a good look at it or give it a name. It has a history, a present and (hopefully) a future.

A Short History of My Sexuality ~

In the beginning, there was a simple kiss. A girl kissed me in the woods behind her church on NYE. Yep, and it was a Mormon church.

Making out followed soon after. This started late in life. I was 16 the first time I really made out. There were multiple boys. It was fun and new.

Next, a failed attempt at masturbation. I would pick this task back up later in life and knock it outta the park. But in the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing.

Then, sex. Only one boy for a while, then a one night stand, then boyfriends ... for a long long time.

And then ... there were women.

I went away to school and what had been an idle attraction to women, became a lesson in the sapphic arts. This began with a teacher. She was great for the beginning. There were other partners to follow, all very temporary. It always started with long, intellectual conversation ... it always ended with long intellectual conversation. But, in the middle, there was kissing and exploring.

I developed a full out attraction to women. I watched them as they walked. I hit on them whenever the opportunity surfaced. I started paying attention to them in a way I never had. My relationship with women had once been about insecurity. If there was a beautiful woman in the room, I felt inferior. Not anymore. Now, if there is a beautiful woman in the room, I try to get to know her. I pay attention to what she says. If I meet a smart woman, what used to be jealousy is now intrigue. I want to be around these types of women. It doesn't make me feel insecure anymore ... it makes me feel empowered.

I respect women in a way I never could before. There is something about grabbing the attention of a beautiful, smart woman that is unlike the attention of their counterparts. After laying with a woman, I adore them. My relationships with women are better now. Even with my girlfriends and they are like family to me. I have no attraction to them. Under their dresses, they might as well be as smooth as a Barbie Doll, because, to me, they are nonsexual beings.

I love men. Society taught me that it was okay to do so, to a certain degree. I pushed those limits and I have a whole different relationship with men than I used to. I have real friendships with my lovers.

I love women. Not much in society really taught me that that was okay. I was supposed to compete with them for the love of men. We were supposed to be catty with each other; constantly competing. My relationship with women and sexuality should have invoked feelings of jealousy, instead, I found lust and respect.

Pleasing a woman is a great feeling. I am not sure that it will happen again, but I definitely won't say it won't. And I am truly thankful that it did. Loving women has allowed me to see sexuality in a whole new light. I am more confident and a better lover, thanks to a few wonderful women.

Monday, July 26, 2010

About Last Night ...

Let me just say, this was written in the midst of a day-after, great-sex high. Totally authentic shit here.

No big surprise, I love sex. No, wait ... Correction: I like sex. I love GOOD sex. And I want GREAT sex to marry me and have my babies. When it happens, great sex is like the perfect storm. Don't get me wrong, you don't just run up on some great sex. It requires lots of communication, lots of work on both parts, a strong attraction and head, lots and lots of head. Mouths are wonderful and we should all use and enjoy them. And a note to guys: You don't have to ask us if we like it. I have heard this question too many times. How often does a woman ask you if YOU like head? Never. Because everyone likes head.

The day after really good sex, there are always some side effects. There is the occasional soreness, some slight thigh and hip pain and then the natural lubrication that comes with wanting more of what you just had. And then there are some mental and emotional side effects. When a woman has an orgasm, amazing things happen to her body. Some people do drugs to get high, some drink, some over eat. Sex is really good for you, and no high in the world can compare to the high that comes from a great lover. I fully believe this statement and I am willing to hear any arguments against it, but you will never change my mind. I will miss multiple meals for a good roll in the hay.

One of the side effects of great sex is the feeling that you are in love. Give it a minute. You're not. The day after, I have to stop myself from sending texts about how great it was. A notable determination to get me off never goes unappreciated, but I let most of the urges to thank him pass. I don't need to tell him all the details, that's why I have you guys. For him, a simple I had a good time will suffice.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


This is a compilation of messages in my online dating inbox. Enjoy.



Major props on the hair, seriously. It's the hair cut of the gods. I've had that cut for like, god damn, 9 years now at least. Hair is for pussies. I think we'd get along just grand. When should we start making mistakes? Perhaps I've made one (or more) already.

C'est la vie.

Hair is for pussies?


It's been raining....

Here in Houston for days, Here is a little something to brighten your day (This track is lovely)

Hope your well, I look forward to hearing back from you. By the way. What part of Houston do you live in?

The message not so bad. The music, however ....


One time I brought the funny

But everyone used it as chip dip when it was clearly a dessert topping. Now I'm a completely serious and somber person.

Your guess is as good as mine.



This is simple and to the point, but I am not sure how to respond to this one.


Hi there...

Hi there. I'm $@#^.

I just found your profile and wanted to write to say hello and see if we could chat. But there's a little confusion... are you up north now, or just visiting Houston for the summer?

I'll be up front and explain that I'm not necessarily looking for a full relationship kind of thing. I'm just kind of looking for someone cool to get to know and hang with, and then see where it leads.

But what are your thoughts about age? Something you are open minded about? Is it just a number, or just a state of mind? Do you like guys that are older than you? Can you be cool hanging out with a guy who's a little older and more mature?

Well, check out my profile, and I hope to hear back from you.

Wonder if he's older than me....?


Did you go to Northeastern?

I didn't but I'd like to know because you seem legit.

Legit people only go to Northeastern.


(No subject)

Are you really attending a college in New England? The reason I ask is because that's where I'm from.

I didn't respond.

The next day, I got this from the same guy ...

(No subject)

Hey...sorry my email wasn't hilarious. Thought I'd say hi based on a commonality. But maybe that part of your profile was supposed to be funny. Who knows..


(No Subject)

Hi Hoe. How are you?

Did he just call me a hoe?


Moment of Truth

I wasn’t going to write this. I was going to retire Lewis as a character and call it a day. But Maria said this would make me a fake. The only problem is, in writing this, I don’t just admit it to you. I have to admit it to myself. Not to mention, Lewis will see it too. But, if it’s going to be real, it has to be real. If I don't say this, I will be lying to you guys. So, here it is. Confession time.


I have feelings for Lewis. It’s simple. It’s not casual sex. It's not a hook up. It’s long phone conversations, instant messaging, texting, kissing, sleeping together. We are walking dangerously. Things are different with him. I think about him and I smile. I think about him and I get wet. When I am around him, it strikes me to kiss his cheek or brush his hand with mine. I’ve said it before. Lewis is the Achilles heel of my serial dating. He brings the complications. He also brings laughter, excitement, orgasms and a slew of other really appealing things. But, the other night he laid his head on my chest and fell asleep and all I could think was, "Back away from the boy, Poly." I spent the next two days seriously considering never seeing him again. That didn't happen. We have talked about staying in touch when I leave Houston at the end of summer and I don’t know how I feel about that. That's like making plans and I am not in a place to be making plans with anyone. We will just see how that goes.

In my old life, I would have been all for keeping in touch. I would have stopped dating and started building and planning. In my mind, I would be painting us together. Any time I liked a guy, I did that. I thought of the future and never once did my painted future come to be. The dreams weren’t realistic. They were wishes that I turned into my truth, but not The Truth.

All that having been said, it doesn’t change anything. I'm not going to stop dating. I am not interested in monogamy or a structured relationship with agreements and responsibilities. I am merging my truth with The Truth. This is real. This is what it is. We have a relationship, because all people have some sort of relationship with each other. We have respect, but we do not have expectations or obligations in relation to each other. So, Lewis and I won’t be painted together in my mind. We won’t be mentally built into something that will never be. We will just keep enjoying each other, until I go. That’s all I know for now. Lewis has me confused. But at least I know I’m confused and I don’t think it’s more than it is. Just some harmless feelings.


*Footnote - These posts are hard to write knowing the men in them are readers of the blog. Next time I am compelled to hold back, I won't. I will do my best to keep it totally honest and keep writing like no one is reading.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Well mainly just the big stick... speak however you like. But carry the big stick.

I hear it all the time. Have fun, just be safe. I hear it from my mother, my sister and my friends. They say it because they are smart people. I would tell them not to worry, but it would be an act of futility. I know my mother means it on more than one level. She wants me to be smart and be aware of my surroundings. But, she also means, guard your heart. She's sure that, even though I am dating multiple people, I am bound to get hurt. Most everyone else just means carry a knife, pack some mace and keep your phone close. I do all of these things and more.

I meet men in person, through friends and on-line. If I meet someone in person, then I generally get a feel for them pretty quickly. When I agree to meet someone that I have originally met on the internet, I generally do midday dates. Lunch dates are good. Coffee is always golden. It's pretty safe, public and perfect for midday. (I do also approve the midday beer. Just don't get drunk, you need to be in full control when meeting someone new.) When I can, I bring a friend. Safety in numbers, and if I'm bored out of my mind, she can fake a bout of narcolepsy and we can jet.

If I do choose to go on an evening date, I don't agree to meet ol' dude by the bright blue lights under I-45 downtown. He might try to kill me. I meet him somewhere public and well lit. And I bring some pepper spray or mace. I put it on an outside pocket of my bag and feel it out a few times, make sure I can get to it if I need it.

I always do a video chat confirmation first. This is a pretty good way to make sure that the 6'2" Palestinian martial artist that just moved down from NY that I thought I was meeting doesn't turn out to be the 5'6" old white dude from New Caney with a pair of handcuffs and deepfreeze in the back of his van. (Whatever. It could happen and my hypothetical Palestinian guy is random, but he's really hot and I guarantee if you met him, you'd let him get it.)

Remember, always be safe. No good time is worth your life, safety or health. A normal guy will always agree to meet you out in a safe place. If he won't, he's probably got a basket and some lotion in his basement waiting on you.

Always remember, "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again." - I know, it's creepy. Be smart and be safe ladies and gents.

Letters From Natalia

Warning. The ladies who read this blog are hot. This story ... hot. As you were.

Dear Poly,

So it happened.... you know. I finally got my brains fucked by you know who. I'm a grown 25 year old woman who is scared of getting her brains fucked.
God, what is wrong with me...! I should have done this a long time ago. It just never happened because, well, I thought I could actually have a meaningful relationship.
But what the fuck is meaningful if the person you are with doesn't even know how to fuck your brains out?!

So there I am. It's like 9am. I'm hungover naked and pretending I'm not awake.
I feel a touch on my thigh, and it tingles. The sensation runs to the tip of my nipples and I get hard, in seconds. I feel a touch on my breast. I took a big breath and in my head I said ... "Fuck it."
Why not. The sheets went flying across the room and I was touched. I was touched like I have never been touched before. Instant gratification. I think I was cumming before I even came. My mind went blank for a few seconds and I came back to life.
I stared at the ceiling for a bit not knowing what to do next. I turned around to see her beautiful face looking back at me... and I thought, "Wow, this is what I missed out on while I was waiting for this meaningful relationship to happen?" She got up to fix some breakfast and I, still in bed, didn't move. Just laid there. I was really in shock. I had just found an amazing woman, who fucked my brains out, was making me breakfast, and is totally into me. So what do I do? What every normal girl does. I got dressed and I left while she was making breakfast. I snuck out the bathroom window and I never looked back. She's called me a few times now... asking if she did anything wrong. I haven't answered. And no, she hasn't done anything wrong... she did everything right. So right, that it scared me away. But I can't stop thinking about it... the way she touched me, the way she tastes... it was so sweet. So now here I am in bed with this dude - that I don't even like. He's dumb, so I can treat him just the way I want to without having anything serious. Cause in all honesty, relationships are bound to end regardless. I'd rather have meaningless sex with someone than go through the shits of being in a trying relationship when someone is bound to fuck it up. Pretty shitty, I guess. C'est la vie.

- Hot Anonymous Chick


If you would like to share, please send your story to:

Stories will be posted to the blog. Your anonymity is of the utmost importance to me. Please change all names and be respectful of others. Thanks for your contributions.

Friday, July 23, 2010


The power of a Weekend Night is hard to explain. I love them. Even more than getting dressed up and going out to meet new people, I like to spend a night in. The Weekend Night with a lover is the closest I will get to monogamy or a long-term relationship. It's 12-15 hours of goodness. I prefer Saturday.

It looks like this.
We watch a movie. This means we start a movie and get halfway through it before we start making out and having a long session of foreplay. (Yes I did just WikiLink foreplay. Read it. Know it. Love it.) The rest of the night we engage in great conversations about whatever strikes us. The pleasure of the weekend night is that you don't have the pressure of waking up early. You can talk about anything and when the conversation lulls, you can have sex again. There's plenty of time to give and get extended head. Time to play around and not have to get to it and get to sleep. And in the morning, when you wake up, instead of jumping up to get ready for work or get dropped at a bus stop, you can have sex again. Maybe get breakfast and then part ways.

Oh the Weekend Night. I have only had one of these nights since I have been in town. It was with Train Guy in his hotel. It was great, but I am pretty sure it will be the lone Weekend Night of the summer.

* Footnote - The Weekend Night can only be spent with a guy I enjoy kissing, snuggling up to and sleeping with. This is a select few. Train Guy was one of these guys. Even though he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, he stirred something. Oh the complications of feelings, even the Serial Dater catches them on occasion. I am working on a way to rectify or embrace having feelings for multiple people. As soon as I get a clear cohesive thought on it, I will let you know.

Flirtation and The White Boy

A few nights ago I found myself in another interesting circumstance. After an orchestra concert, some friends and I went to a house party. The party was full of mid 20's Ed Hardy wearing suburban kids. I only ended up there because I accompanied Dicky and Maria. I love hanging out with the two of them, but they always take me to the strangest fucking places.

So, in this sea of Ed Hardy and hair gel, there was James. He was cute, tall and 23. He had lots of tattoos and looked a bit like James McAvoy, only cleaner. Maria and Dicky suggested I talk to him. I was bored and we weren't leaving the party any time soon, so I struck up conversation about his tattoos. I was flirting with him openly, in that way that says "I AM FLIRTING WITH YOU." I was making lots of extended eye contact and casually touching him when I checked out his tattoos. No game. He was flirting in return, but in the way some 23 year old men do. Less game. It was almost painful. He was no match for me. It was like shooting a fish in a barrel. If my only other option for entertainment weren't sitting on a cooler and watching a group of fatter Jersey Shore look-a-likes play beer pong, I would have walked away. But I stood there and flirted for around 5 more minutes. Then I joined Dicky and Maria, who had been in the corner giggling and guessing at the enthralling things James and I were talking about.

Later in the evening I went to the ladies room. It was a restroom that had a separate room for the toilet and bathtub. I was in that room with the door closed taking care of business. When I came out, there was James. Not sure if he realized that's not actually a waiting room, but we didn't discuss it. He leaned in and kissed me, fresh outta tha pisser. The whole thing was awkward. I had had just enough to drink to be okay with it for a minute, but AGAIN. Why all the kissing? Not to mention, he made this weird popping sound with his mouth. Like he was signaling the end of each mini kiss. He pressed me against the counter and I pushed away. Too much, kid. I was just in it for some flirting and laughing. I made my exit and rejoined Maria, where we discussed the event and watched the youngin' engage in beer pong with his cohorts.

It was an interesting way to spend a Thursday night. I wasn't trying to kiss a 23 year old, I was just trying to go to the Symphony, but somehow these things happen. I guess that's what you get for going to house parties when you are almost 30. I think next time I get that dressed up, I will hit up ZaZa or Marfreless after. You know, some place I can meet a nice 45 year old. That reminds me ... I haven't told you guys about the 45 year old, The Ex Coworker... Next time. For now, if they are drinking beer out of a sippie cup, just smile and walk on by.

Sex Mission with The Beautiful One

Have sex in odd places.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Friends

I have been catching up with a lot of old friends, recently. Being home has been great, not only for dating, but for chillin' with my girls. I have always been one of those girls that has a lot of guy friends. But as I get older, I really really appreciate my girlfriends. They are attentive, trustworthy and they always bring the fun. All the dating would not be nearly as fun if I didn't have women with which to share my story and from which to hear hilarious tales of ... all sorts of things.

We are not your average batch of women. We are a new generation, we are finding our voices and not a whole lot of light has been shone on 'our kind.' We come in all shapes and colors. Here's the run-down.

You know Lynn. She is strong, sexy, funny and she owns her own business. She has not been in a long-term relationship in 5 years and she has her ups and downs with it. I think she still questions the 'why?' of it; at times, putting the weight of it on things out of her control: the guys she likes are unattainable for one reason or another. I see the truth to be, she is dating unattainable guys, because at this point in life, she can't afford to fall in love. She can't afford monogamy right now. When Lynn walks into a room, she is immediately drawn to the man staring out the window. She will step over the piles of men falling at her feet, and never even notice they were there, to get to the one moody, unattainable artist in the room and she will probably end up buying his drink. I have never known her to seek a relationship. Her passion is in her work and her friends. Oh is her passion in her friends. This puts her at the top of the list. This chick would cut someone for me. But, she might also cut me if I really fucked up. This makes her worth her weight in gold. If I found a dead hooker in my trunk, I would call Lynn first.

Lisa is my sister. She is not in the number 2 spot. She's family. She and I have always been really close. We grew apart for a bit, but we are back as strong as ever. Lisa is married. She has a baby and one on the way. She is a stay at home mom. She is super witty. I can attribute a fair amount of wit to Lisa. She's off the wall and she's a great sister. I force her to listen to my tales of dating and she does it with a half cringe half smile. She finds the humor while holding back the puke. I love this woman. We are so similar and so different.

B is on a dating rampage. This girl is new to me and she is off the Richter. I loved her from jump street and I love her more and more with every day. And if B and I hadn't become instant friends, I would have probably hit on her. But B's earned her space in the friend category and we all know that is a more permanent category for me. She's new, folks. We will see where this goes. But, even this soon into the game, she comes in as number 3. Yep. She's just that good.

Ashley grew up down the street from me. She and I lost touch for about 15 years, but we found each other and we are rebuilding. Funny how easy it is when you come from the same place. I love this girl. She is married with 5 kids. Yes, 5. She's been married for 11 years. She's one of my biggest supporters right now and even after all the years away, we can talk about anything. ANYTHING.

Another noteworthy friend is Bella. Bella and I haven't hung out in a while. She and I were both lil' scenesters in our early 20's and we have kept in touch over the years. We were never really close, but she hit me up the other day and asked if I wanted to grab coffee. Then I had a stroke of genius. I am going to meet a new guy on Saturday. He's bartending at a downtown bar, and offered free drinks, so I asked Bella if she wouldn't mind coming along. This chick is beautiful, smart and charming. Just the kind of girl I want on my arm when I meet a new guy. She accepted. Meet Bella, the Wingwoman.

These are the main players. Lynn and I roll with a crew of bad bitches: you will meet more as we go.

The Hierarchy of Dating

I was thinking tonight about the natural hierarchy in dating, even for the Serial Dater.

The Lover

In my post on Online Dating, I briefly mentioned The Lover. I told you guys I would come back to him. Here goes. I have been on two dates with The Lover. I met him on a site and we met for our first date in the middle of the day. We had lunch and a beer and then decided to go for coffee.
He picked me up and we set out. I think 5 minutes passed before he started telling me things he liked about me. This was all great. He was handsome and pursuing his dream of owning his own business. He was great on paper and so far, not so bad in real life. We had lunch and it was nice. I wouldn't say its the strongest connection I have ever had with a man, but I was definitely not ready to throw him out with yesterday's trash. He was fun.

The thing about The Lover is, he came on strong and fast. Too strong and too fast. By the time we were at the coffee shop, he was holding my hand and kissing me in front of others. Another note on me - not big on public affection ... it's a great way to get me to start lacing up the running shoes. I see it as a form of territory marking and, let's face it, I am no one's territory but my own. Anyone could have walked into that coffee shop and gotten the wrong idea.

He took me home and we agreed to see each other again. He was respectful and he was cute. He was not out of the game altogether, but he was teetering.

After about a week, I agreed to see The Lover again. He picked me up and we went to lunch again. He was ok this time. He enjoys busting my balls, which is fine. But, he also enjoys making observations on every facial expression and movement. Not ok. But, I gave him a pass, because he was still cute and kind. After lunch, we went to the movies. It was a dark room and no one was in the theatre. We kissed and 'fooled around' for a bit when we were alone, then another couple came into the theatre. Another side note - He tried to give me a hickey. I do not like the territory marking. This dude was up to no good. Then ... (record screeches to a halt) I'll be damned if this chick didn't start giving this dude head in the theatre. Either that or she dropped a contact and he really enjoyed her looking for it.

I was grossed out. We all know I am no prude, but it was too much and too public for me. Not to mention, dude was at least twice her age and the circumstances around why they were doing this in a theatre in the middle of the day kept swarming my mind. Ugh. I didn't want to know.

Back to The Lover. After the movie ended, he took me home and kissed me goodbye. His come on was still strong. If you remember, I am not big on kissing if I don't care about the guy and this guy was all about kissing. It's hard to tell someone you don't want to kiss them, so I just pulled away. But, I am sure he could feel the resistance. The chemistry just wasn't there. I thought that would be it for him. I wasn't even sure if I would blog about him...

Then, the stars aligned and he gave me the most amazing gift he could have. He hit one of my friends up on the dating site we both used. I got a text from her asking if (his handle) was The Lover. He had sent her a message. Of course he had. She's gorgeous. So, she told him that it was nice hearing from him and she had heard a lot of good things about him from her friend, Poly. He was really sweet about it and texted me to tell me he had chatted with a friend of mine.

Lesson: It's a small dating world, people. Two attractive friends on the same dating site are bound to turn up a few similar guys. No harm, no foul. Everyone got a good laugh and lived happily ever after. I am still not sure if I will see The Lover again. But I am sure he will meet a nice lady. He has a lot to offer someone and he is obviously casting his net.

At least the movie was good.

About Me

My photo
I am the product-child of the Women's Lib movement. I have a grade A education, a promising career and no immediate goal for children or a spouse. I will be 30 this year and I have spent many years in monogamous relationships. In and out of 1 to 2 year relationships, I always dated with the goal of meeting someone special. Most of the time I didn't date. Most of the time I found myself falling into relationship after relationship. These relationships were doomed to fail. They were all built on expectations that were, for me, unattainable. I love meeting new people. I find sex enjoyable and empowering and I am not happy when I am monogamous. So, after my last break-up, after taking some time to grieve, I decided to cut my societal puppet strings and get back in the game. I set out on a mission to spend the Summer of 2010 dating as many men as possible. My only initial criteria was attraction. My only limitation was - no love and no structured relationships. This is my date by date tale of what life can be like outside of the goals of relationships and love.