Thursday, November 22, 2012

I don't think I want to be fat anymore.

I’m lazy. You can see it in my face. The way the skin hangs there off my chin because of the fat. I have good posture when I stand because I’m afraid I’ll develop a hunch. But my natural instinct is to slump. I feel ostentatious because I’m so tall. I love being around other tall people because only then can I look straight ahead or upward instead of looking down all the time. I have been fat for a very long time. I was once almost four hundred pounds. I weigh about three forty five now but it may as well be four hundred for all it matters. And I’ve always failed at losing weight and keeping it off because of apathy. I just stopped caring so much. It’s hard to maintain that zest. But now I am ready. I will lose weight. Not because I don’t like the way I look or at least, not entirely that. And it’s not because I want to be healthier for my own sake. I still don’t seem to care about my own well-being. I’m going to lose weight because I’m better than this. One year from now I will be thirty. I’m in college and that’s great; it’s the first step toward what I have always considered adulthood. But my age should account for something and it has never meant much to me. I am better than this. I will be better than this. I will lose weight because a fat me is a failure of everything I could be in much the same way a stupid poor me is a failure of my potential and a quiet shy me is a failure of my naturally outgoing convivial personality. I ran around the backyard with the dogs today. It felt really good.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

            I’m not sure when our inner child dies because mine still hasn’t.

            When I was about five, my mom Jolene and her sister Val would play volleyball on Fridays at a Fort Worth community center. The center also acted as a day care for me, my brother Brad, and my sister Casey as well as our cousin Westin. We would play games like Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, or Candyland. I loved Candyland especially. The pink and white swirls of the peppermint area were enticing and delicious while the molasses always made me think of my favorite food chocolate for some reason. My parents tried to get me to play sports and learn how to work with a team or develop a competitive spirit, but those simpler and more intimate games were way more fun. They say I was the one who asked to play tee-ball; they didn’t force me to play anything. But, all I remember is that time that I struck out because I couldn’t hit the ball off the tee. They got all three of us kids to start bowling eventually and I guess that’s a kind of a sporty game. But tee-ball and bowling were both on Saturdays and that interfered with my cartoon watching. Bowling took over for tee-ball but became an activity I only did begrudgingly.
It was also about this time I started collecting things; I was about six or seven. I collected mostly comic books and action figures. My brother and I had been huge fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I was three; my favorite was Donatello. He was the smartest and made cool inventions and fought with a bo-staff. I played with my Donatello action figure until it fell apart. Mutant turtle super heroes gave way to mutant powered humans when I discovered Marvel comics. Comics were a lot of fun to read and I could emulate the drawings in my own hand. Some of the Marvel action figures even came with collectible cards. One I had was this Gambit figure with a plastic trench coat, a cool bo-staff, just like Donatello. The cards were always random and any figure could come with any card but this one came with a Rogue card. I thought that was special because Rogue was this super powerful chick who wanted to be with Gambit romantically but couldn’t because her power would hurt him. Having the Gambit figure with the Rogue card meant a lot to me. Then, during my middle school years, Pokémon came out. I didn’t get the cards back then, though there was a collectible card game, but I loved the video game and it both satisfied and fueled my passion for collecting things. It married the gaming and collecting aspects of my personality nicely. I had a neighbor at the time, Bobby. We were only neighbors for a year before he moved to Amarillo, but we were close and would play Pokémon together all the time. I was sad to see him go but my devotion to Pokémon went on unerringly. I was also fanatically interested in Star Trek: The Next Generation at an early age. I had this other cousin Amy, she was a twin and my dad’s niece, who would baby sit us kids once in a while. She would watch Star Trek, but it was always on after my bedtime. I would sneak into the living room and hide behind one of the recliners just to watch the show. Even among the Pokémon craze I was still staying up past my bedtime to make sure I caught the newest episode of Star Trek. Well around 1994 the Star Trek show ended and a company called Decipher Inc came out with a card game based on the show. The game mechanics were awful, but I didn’t realize that at the time. Instead I was enthralled by the concept of the cards. The pictures for the cards were screen captures from different episodes. I committed them all to memory, knew every card function, and by looking at any of the five hundred plus cards I could tell you what episode it came from. Sadly I could watch an episode and within the first few minutes I could tell you every card that was created from that episode too. I started getting addicted to the collecting aspect because playing the game was a nightmare. I bought into another card game that combined two of my passions around the same time called Overpower. It…also didn’t make sense when you tried to play it but it was based on X-Men characters! Combining comics and card games was fantastic. My brother moved onto Decipher’s other game based on Star Wars. I wasn’t a big fan so I opted out of it.
About a year later my brother was in high school and the big card game everyone was playing was Magic: The Gathering. Even my sister’s boyfriend Nathan was playing it and he was a senior. Nathan tried to explain it to me, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how cute he was. I became more concerned with covering up my homosexuality than learning Magic. I tried to play with someone else at school named Chael. But one day some bullies decided to harass me in the middle of a game. Chael just sat there and laughed. I told him to go fuck himself. I said that I couldn’t play with him if he wasn’t my friend, and a friend wouldn’t let me get bullied and LAUGH about. I was flabbergasted when he expected me to finish the game and I realized for him it was just about winning and our interaction didn’t matter; we weren’t really friends. I also got frustrated with my brother because of our lack of ability to agree on the rules. That’s when I joined marching band and met Lori. She taught me about manga or Japanese comic books and anime the Japanese cartoons. She was one of two friends I had all freshman year before I moved again. It was good to expand my interests beyond just card games.
I gave up Magic inevitably and eventually both the Star Trek Card game and Overpower died off. Suddenly I was sixteen with no friends in a new high school with divorced parents. I guess I kind of lost myself in that world of fantasy. Not that I was participating in some fantasy or actively believing any of it was real, but collecting cards and comics and action figures sort of kept me company while life was happening without me. My sixteenth birthday came at a strange time in any case, and my big present was an expensive set of super rare Star Trek cards that I keep in pristine condition to this day. I still have never played the game.
Soon Yu-Gi-Oh! came out. It was originally exclusively a manga and anime, but had made its way to America as a cartoon about a card game. Collecting the real cards seemed to fit my life perfectly. I would go to Lone Star Comics whenever a new set came out so I could get the first editions. They had this odd policy that since first edition was also limited in supply, each customer could only buy three packs a day. Yu-Gi-Oh!, like any other card game, printed less of some cards than others. They were divided up by rarity and print quantity. Commons were like pennies if you compare to money. There were nine cards in a pack mostly made up of commons. The rarity tier included: common with nothing outstanding ornamentally; rare with silver writing; super rare with normal writing but a foil picture; ultra rare with gold writing and a foil picture, and secret rare. Secret rares were like thousand dollar bills with unique writing and a special kind metallic foil all over. When the set Labyrinth of Nightmare came out I was at Lone Star’s checkout counter getting my three first edition packs. I opened them in front of the store clerk, someone I considered a friend Daphne. Out of those first three packs I got that secret rare Gemini Elves I had been yearning for. And it didn’t stop there. I went in every day for nine days straight and bought three packs until the first edition supply ran out. And every single time, one of those three packs had a first edition secret rare Gemini Elves in them. It felt like a sign or fate. They were twin elf chicks and at the time they were really powerful cards. Strong females appealed to something in me so I put them in every deck I built. And yes I finally put in enough effort to learn how to play this game.
It turned out not only did I like the game, but I also was pretty good at it. I decided to try my luck at Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments at Lone Star. I would make my way there every Saturday. It eventually became detrimental to me to be so passionate for this game since I was taking a Saturday only class at a local community college. The class was 5 hours every Saturday and a lot of times I would just go play Yu-Gi-Oh! instead. I don’t know what I was thinking with that class. Saturdays were my special X-Men day so of course it was natural to abhor and shun anything that wasn’t a comic book shop or TV. I started making friends playing Yu-Gi-Oh!, and since I was getting better and better at the game I wanted to participate in more tournaments in the city. One of my friends at the time Stephen told me about this store on the other side of town that hosted a bigger Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament with better prizes. I hadn’t explored the town even though I’d lived there for three years and by this point and had already graduated high school. It turned out to be an anime and manga store called Shotokan. It was in a shopping center with a post office, a hair and nail salon, and a Karate Dojo whose master was apparently in one of or all of the live action Ninja Turtles movies that I loved growing up. I played Yu-Gi-Oh! there, and that’s when I met my friend Brian.
Brian was sitting at this table in the middle room at Shotokan. He was playing Magic: The Gathering with another guy named Bryan. Brian was balding but what hair he had was long. He had piercings in his ears and nose and he had tattoos. He was 6’6” and large in frame. He was unlike anyone I’d ever met; he was visually shocking to me. We talked about Magic, but rather than say I had some experience with it, I just told him I only played Yu-Gi-Oh! My mishaps with learning Magic The Gathering up to this point were the equivalent of knowing nothing about it so I didn’t feel like I was lying to him. Right off the bat I knew Brian was smart. He explained the game to me so simply and logically and I quickly picked it up. I went to the counter and bought some packs that had just come out. They were called “Legions” and the cool thing about this set was that they were all creatures. In my first two packs I got two copies of this Angel chick named Akroma. She had tons of abilities and was a powerful female character which I had always responded to in any medium. Brian told me not to trade those away to just anyone because they were really good cards. Looking back I felt like a kid. I was an adult legally of course, and I’ve never been stupid, but I had been naïve and I really did need him to tell me not to give up Akroma easily. I would have let someone take advantage of me in my desperation to make friends. I started funding my Magic habit by trading Yu-Gi-Oh! cards for Magic cards.
After one Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament I noticed that four cards were missing from my deck. Someone had stolen my secret rare Yata Garasu and my last three first edition Gemini elves. I had kept a play-set to play with and traded the other six for cards I needed and wanted. I was fuming mad about it. I had spent so much time playing the game and enjoying the friendly atmosphere. I felt like the game and the people had betrayed me. I was becoming good friends with the Magic crowd anyway so I traded seven of my Yu-Gi-Oh! cards for one guy’s entire Magic collection. I got several hundred cards, some dice, a really nice zipper carrying case and card sleeves. I still had several hundreds of dollars worth of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and this guy Andy said he was interested in buying them. He gave me forty dollars up front and said he would pay me the rest later. I gave him my collection and then he never paid me anything more. There was nothing I could do. I was really upset with him and a couple of the Shotokan store owners felt really bad for me and tried to help me out, but we never saw that money. I confronted Andy when I saw him a couple months later and I told him I wanted my money. He said he had given me the money. I said I was in my apartment and neither me nor my roommate got the money. He told me he couldn’t remember what apartment I lived in. And then he said that he put the money in an envelope in my mailbox. That got me heated. How can you put something in my mailbox when you can’t even remember what apartment number I live in? I was officially and forever done with Yu-Gi-Oh! and the people who played it. It was a terrible experience in the end, and cost me a lot of money. But it was the gateway drug to my now lifelong friendship with Brian and several other Shotokan brethren.
I learned to play Magic, but I decided it wasn’t important to be competitive. I loved making different decks but mostly I loved making friends. Now, I wasn’t really a shy person ever in my life. But as my mom can attest there were times when I just shut down and stopped being who I was born to be. I’m convivial and can talk to a tree according to one of my best friends Rachel. But I couldn’t have met Rachel if it wasn’t for Magic the Gathering.
Magic is a world-wide card game. They have a massive international tournament called a GP or Grand Prix. They’re typically held in places I consider exotic like France or even New York so they felt like an unreachable thing to me. When the GP came to Dallas, and I was still living in the area, I was eager to go and meet all these potential friends from all over the world. At the GP I met a kooky guy named Brock. I hung out with him for thirteen hours that day and he invited me to come visit him in Denton sometime. I lived in Plano less than an hour away from Denton, and it wasn’t more than two weeks later that I took him up on his offer. Through Brock I met Kaleb and Sarah and Sarah’s roommate Rachel. They all lived in a dorm at UNT and that’s also where I met my friend Joe whom I bonded with over Pokémon. I count them among my best friends even now five and six years later.
Board games, card games, obsessions with fantasy, science fiction, comic books and any amalgamation of these concepts didn’t make me who I was. They were all natural extensions of my personality. These things sheltered me from the loss of loved ones and my parents’ bitter divorce so yes I lost touch with reality for a while. But I found a way to reclaim my identity through these things as well. It’s ten years later and I’m finally giving college a second try. My college algebra teacher says a good math course will build on everything you’ve learned so far. Learning that one plus one equals two helps you learn that two times one is also two and then the area of a rectangle with side lengths one and two is also two. My life is like that scaling math education. Westin, Casey, Brad and I played games and it was a happy time for me. Brad and I loved Ninja Turtles and that led to comics and action figures and collecting things. Brad and I diverged in the reasons we collected things. I started to define why I wanted to play these games in high school and Lori helped me develop an appreciation for anime and manga. That led to me falling for Yu-Gi-Oh! making friends, branching out and discovering Shotokan next to the Ninja Turtles’ dojo. That broke me out of my shell and three year funk since the divorce and I picked up where I left off with Magic five years before.  Through Magic the Gathering I learned how to be less socially awkward or more myself which I have always thought to be ironic. And as devoted as I am to my passions I am also devoted to my friends and family.
Games have always meant friends and family to me. And they will always be a part of my life. I probably won’t be as competitive as some people. I don’t nerd out the way some people do. You can think me hardcore because I probably knew more about Star Trek than streets in my own town, but I can always point to someone worse who I think of when you say hardcore nerd. I have learned a lot about people, life, and myself through games. I’m turning twenty-nine soon, and so many Saturdays I wish I could just be with my family and play games. I will cry when I can’t do that anymore because I know that in that moment at least part of my inner child will be gone forever.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writing assignment I did for English class.

The groom stands at the altar nervous. His neck is cold with sweat but he stands composed. His best man beside him puts a supporting hand on his shoulder and smiles while whispering some confidence into his ear. The wedding has taken months to prepare and has been in the making ever since the couple accidentally ran into each other at a Halloween party six years ago dressed as Superman and Wonder Woman. There have been ups and downs and passionate love and cold temporary breaks, but this is the expected tumult of a relationship. It has led to this moment. Groom standing at the altar when the sound of the bridal march crescendos and the love of his life is standing there about to walk down the aisle. Both sides of the aisle stand in honor of the occasion. Mother and father, brothers and sisters and in laws of all shapes and ages react. The stoic grandfather and former army officer remembers his departed wife and chokes back a tear. The estranged parents of the groom strain not to look at each other across the valley of chairs out of shame and regret they couldn’t make things work. The desperate cousin makes a visual survey of the ladies present to figure out whom to get drunk so he can make a mistake with them later in the coat check room.  Ex-girlfriends’ and ex-boyfriends’ hearts pang with love or sadness or friendship or jealousy. Eyes follow down the aisle to the altar where the couple joins hands and the march ends in gossamer chimes. The preacher smiles down issuing permission for the attendees to sit. Heartfelt vows are exchanged pledging true love and confidence and passion and honesty and fidelity. The vows are genuine and can’t be broken in this life. The preacher offers a chance for anyone present to speak against this marriage or forever bite their tongue. The groom nervously looks out at his parents and friends and exes. He exhales in relief at the encouraging silence smiles and tears. The couple kisses as the preacher announces I now pronounce you husband and husband.
And it means nothing.
                In most states, same-sex couples cannot get married. It is a well known fact that a lot of opposition to gay marriage in the U.S.A. stems from religious beliefs. But marriage isn’t a holy union unless the persons getting married ascribe to that religion. In America we have the freedom of religion and I believe that includes the right to be non-religious. No religion can be forced down your throat and on top of that we have separation of church and state. Yet there are laws that actively endorse religions and function as tools of discrimination. There’s a fundamental contradiction here. From the first amendment of our federal constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The government continues to defer to the religious sector on who can and can’t get married and yet there are over 300 legal benefits to being married. Congressman Ron Paul was asked in a 2007 interview “should gays be allowed to marry.” His answer was “sure they can do whatever they want and call it whatever they want.” During a 2012 republican presidential debate he was asked about this statement, “Are you advocating the legalization of gay marriage in this country?” Paul defended his position by saying, “I think the government should just be out of it. I think it should be done by the church or by private contract.” And I think one of the most important parts about his response is how he says that while he has his standards for marriage he doesn’t believe that he has the right nor does anyone else have the right to impose marriage standards on others. He claims that if marriage is going to be an issue it needs to be a states issue and not a federal government issue. A question I have for Ron Paul but have not had an opportunity to ask is if this means removing government sanctioned benefits from currently married couples and preventing those benefits from being passed on to future couples as well.
                But what is the real issue here? The US has always prided itself as being a government by the people and for the people. And it’s fair to say that congress has passed laws which are, possibly inadvertently, discriminatory. But they are elected officials. ELECTED. The people in office are there because we put them there. The government runs by the people because we exercise our right to vote and put a people in office who are going to fight for ideals we agree with. I had a conversation with my uncle about politics one day when I was visiting him in Texas. He said to me, “How can you support someone like Ron Paul or any republican? Why wouldn’t you vote Democrat?” And I asked him, “Why would I or should I be forced to vote democrat just because I’m gay?” My uncle’s reply was, “Because they’re the only ones who are on your side.” I disagree. Socially perhaps there are more benefits to voting democrat. And regardless of where I fall on the political spectrum I have to keep my interests in mind when making decisions. But the core of this political problem is that my immediate happiness shouldn’t come at the expense of someone else’s. And the general welfare of the country should be more important than what makes me content at home. Where I agree with Ron Paul is that we shouldn’t be forcing our views of marriage onto other people. And that’s the problem. Our government does have some culpability when it comes to social issues where they’ve allowed discrimination to seep through. But we as a people have just as much responsibility to speak to our representatives to let them know how we feel. If marriage is defined as one man and one woman then it is a failing of society and a fundamental breakdown of what marriage is intended to be. Your religion should not dictate who else can get married. You might be Catholic and your friend might be Jewish or Muslim. Because they are a different religion does the bond of matrimony hold any less value? Do you still consider them to be married? And what about two atheists who get married legally. There is no religious backing to sanction it and there is no god in their marriage. Is the marriage still valid? If someone who was of a different religion came up to you and told you that your marriage was defunct because it wasn’t done in the eyes and traditions of their belief systems what would you do? How would you react? I know I would get defensive immediately because it was my right as an adult to choose to enter into the contract of marriage.
                And marriage is a contract between two consenting adults who commit to one another for a given length of time. I can’t even say forever because half of all marriages in the US end in divorce. A statistic from the Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths Provisional Data for 2009 showed the marriage rate was 6.8 for a population of 1000 and the divorce rate for the same population was 3.4. Now, there’s a joke I’m often told when I mention gay marriage. It goes “I wouldn’t wish marriage on anyone.” Or similarly, “If gay people got married they would be as miserable as the rest of us.” There’s something wrong here. The jokes are amusing, but there are two things to point out. One, it’s so cliché to talk about how unhappy people are in marriage that it’s considered a running joke and two, there’s a clear distinction between gay people and “the rest” of the country. People who have so little respect for marriage to joke about it should be ok with gay marriage. If it doesn’t matter to you that marriages fail, so much so that it’s a point of jest, then why be angry when someone else wants to get married? It is not necessary to draw a line in the sand that says only men and women are allowed to be unhappy together. Two gay people getting married is not the fall of civilization. In fact it’s funny that what some states allow gay people to do is called a “civil” union. It is not the harbinger of the apocalypse. It is not immoral. Morality involves the decisions and discerning between right and wrong. If two people love each other and want to get married to cement that relationship how could that be wrong? We have standards for what is an adult and when you can enter into a contract legally. If that legality is satisfied then a couple should be allowed to marry and be afforded equal rights under a marriage as heterosexuals are.
                We are all human and when we talk about marriage it’s important to remember that it IS an issue of equality. Two humans who wish to engage in a relationship should feel free to do so. Whether you like gay people or the idea of two people of the same gender coupling, shouldn’t matter. Two people who want to marry and symbolically and legally bind themselves to each other are making a decision. They’re choosing to be together. Marriage was not invented by religion it is just the most common means through which people unite today. I would argue that any person who cites religion as their motive of contention against gay marriage should equally be outraged by couples who have ceremonies with a justice of the peace, not in a church but in a courthouse. Those marriages however are not in question. They are considered completely valid. It is hypocritical to say gays should not be allowed to get married but to make an exception when two atheists enter into the contract outside of church influence. It’s a slap in the face that tells me gay people are not equal citizens in the eyes of the law. They only have the rights that everyone else says they’re allowed to have. It is atrocious and flabbergasting.
                Gay people cannot control their sexual identity. Many gay people struggle with identity most if not all of their lives. Beyond what the outsider thinks they also have to determine who they are, who they like, why they like them, what kind of relationship they want to pursue, when to have sex or go in for a kiss, where to eat, what movie to watch. These are traits not exclusive to the gay community. No one is removed from the implications of being human. We all make decisions. We all figure out who we are eventually. It is this common thread between us that should unite us. We fight our predecessors and we strive to learn from history. We fight our impulses when they’re self defeating or we lose ourselves. We all struggle with humanity and the concepts of right and wrong. We make decisions and sometimes they don’t turn out right. Sometimes marriage ends in divorce. It is not an inevitability but it happens. Who am I to say that two people aren’t equipped to handle the challenges that a married couple faces? And who are you?
                If you are religious and believe in the Bible then I put it to you this way: Jesus once said let he who is without sin cast the first stone. He also was the last necessary sacrifice and his death absolved humankind of their sins. Many religions believe you can pray for forgiveness for absolution and others require confessors. Regardless of how it’s done, the idea is that you are not the judge of your peers. You are not entitled to prevent someone else’s happiness. Even if you are right about your god, when all is said and done, if the gay couple is condemned to hell upon its inception it is between that god and that couple. In death, as in life, it’s none of your business.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Not to Get Political but....

I'm a gay man. It seems sometimes that just admitting that is sharing with the world my point of view on everything. People assume I'm a democrat automatically because "They're the only politicians in your corner." The thing is I've lived in Texas all my life and I've seen a good economy there while the rest of the country was suffering. And that's where I draw my line for what government should be. The government shouldn't have to concern itself with civil liberties all the time. I say this because these fights SHOULDN'T be happening in the first place. I've been talking a lot about Chik-Fil-A, what a gay person goes through in their life, comparisons between various other civil rights movements, and gay marriage. I would love to copy and paste all that I've said and thoughts I've mustered, but the truth is I hate that feeling that I'm repeating myself. I feel that repetition over original thought is the first step toward blind dogmatic sheepery. So here's my nutshell of recent thoughts regarding several issues becoming increasingly important to me.

1) Chik Fil A (CFA) - CFA has always maintained that it was a company owned by a religious family. You always want CFA on Sunday but they're always closed in reverence to their lord. I respect that they stick to their values. The owners of CFA have also come out/been exposed (whichever way you prefer to see it) as multi-million dollar supporters of defining marriage as between one man and one woman. They cite that their religious beliefs back this up. I am boycotting CFA. I have gotten flak from several friends that this is extremist and that these people are entitled to their opinions. That's very very true. But, they also have multiple millions of dollars and I have considerably less. This means my arsenal is limited in fighting back. I am a man alone in Tiananmen square standing in front of a tank. My only weapon at this point is sheer fortitude of will. I have equal rights under the constitution to express my distaste over this company's owner's remarks by not giving them my business. The best analogy I could come up with to describe why it's important to boycott CFA is "Eating at CFA is like being against abortion but donating money to a politician who is pro choice because he will lower my taxes." I refuse to believe we have to take the bad with the good all the time. If you have gay friends then why would you support discrimination? People I have spoken with argued that there is no violent action on CFA's part and in fact there is a no discrimination policy CFA adheres to when considering employees and promotions. This isn't about what CFA does in the workplace; it's about where my money goes down the line and that is directly into the pockets of people who seek to infringe on my constitutional rights for equality.

2) Some people find it hard to compare Gay rights to other civil rights movements. It's been said repeatedly that gay people have never had to go through what black people did or women for that matter. The people representing these groups have no monopoly on oppression. They seem to ignore Chinese and Japanese Americans, any actor or actress loosely associated with anyone potentially communist, Native Americans, Jewish people and so on. Oppression is no new concept but for some reason fighting oppression still seems to shock people. I have tried really diligently to avoid drawing such comparisons because it will be met with criticism that XXXX group had it a lot worse. This belittles my struggle as an openly gay man and it demeans the idea of freedom at its core. My initial reaction is guilt followed by a fierce "How DARE you." How dare you tell me that I shouldn't compare one civil rights movement to another. Yours is not special or no more or less special than any other. The fight for equality, though I believe shouldn't have to happen, is one that affects all humans. The fight for equality, so long as it is necessary, is the most important thing we can do, and once unnecessary will have been won. It's not limited to one group based on ethnicity or gender or orientation. You have no rights under the constitution to define my liberties based on your own comfort level. You have no rights on a basic human level to make any other human less than you. If you are a member of a group of people oppressed then you should be fighting for equal rights regardless. If you are black and your ancestors were brought over as slaves and then fought for their freedom and then equality and then normalcy what have you fought for? What have you earned? To sit back and watch as another group of people struggles for equality while you have the power of voice and action to assist is not only un-American it's inhuman. If you ever have put an animal's life above your own, be it pet, endangered species, or even insect because no one else will you must apply this compassion to your human neighbors. This isn't about charity it's about equality. It is asking nothing of you to step up for freedom. You are simply saying that you believe that all humans are created equal and that you will settle for nothing less. We should live that credo instead of trying to define what equality means exactly.

3) Gay Marriage - Gay marriage has its opponents and the largest and loudest is a conservative religious world. I have to break this down so you can understand where I'm coming from.

A) Marriage is a legal bonding of two people. A contract that is illegal to break via infidelity. A contract that offers those who enter into it certain privileges under the law.

B) Marriage is also in the Bible referenced as the holy union before a deity.

These are separate and not equal things. One is ceremonial and the other directly affects what liberties a person has when they decide to commit to another forever. No religious doctrine has the power to dictate what privileges the government allows any of its citizens to have. Please understand this line. Read it and read it again. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" is exactly what the constitution says. What does this mean for the average US Citizen. It means the government cannot tell you what religion to follow because telling you which one is "right" is advocating on behalf of that religion. It means that the government cannot tell a church that they MUST offer same sex marriage. But it's a little more complicated than that isn't it?

While civil unions are inadequately "separate but equal" this isn't about what other options gay people have. I don't need to step on any religion's toes in order to get my point across and I don't need to argue why what we have isn't the same. If marriage from the Bible directly affects marriage in the government's eyes then the government is officially and unconstitutionally respecting the beliefs of a religion. For that matter WHY is the government adhering to the Bible's definition of marriage in the first place? To do that indicates that the government has chosen not only to put its weight behind a religion but only ones that use the Bible.

This is the defeat of every religious argument when it comes to consenting adults entering into a binding contract that allows them the exact privileges given under what we call a marriage license today. Yours is not the only religion. If you had the right to tell me that "It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" then the next guy has the right to tell you that their religion believes women should be covered up at all times. To impose your beliefs on me is a slap in the face of freedom of religion. It is not "Freedom of religion so long as you are Christian" and certainly not "Freedom of religion so long as you believe in the same god I do." People believe in whatever gods they may and SHOCK some don't believe in a deity at all.

So why this battle? Why these people? How does it affect you? How could a couple getting married a thousand miles away from you possibly affect your day to day life? Not letting gay people get married to each other, based on the idea that marriage is at once a holy union and separately a legal recognition of two people's union, undermines the very constitution that gives you the right to speak your mind about it.

In conclusion, with regards to most of the people who practice some religious belief in the United States of America, please remember that your religion is not a weapon to be wielded against your fellow man whenever you disagree or are uncomfortable. It is neither the shaper of every moral being nor epicenter of rational thought. It is neither the progenitor of peaceable society nor the origin of theology. It is special because it is special to you. It holds no bearing on how I live my life. And neither should my religious beliefs or incredulity affect how you live yours. Marriage as defined by your Bible can remain in tact. But marriage as sanctioned by the government cannot conform to that definition because it directly supports a religious doctrine and effectively enforces inequality.

I am an atheist and a citizen. Because I'm a citizen I am entitled to certain rights. Being an atheist does not remove these rights.

4) The following are a few thoughts and incomplete musings on gay life in modern times: What I go through in life as a gay man includes but is not limited to fighting the concept that heterosexuality is normal. It's not normal for me. When you talk about the struggle for equality, the concept of fighting for gay rights seems a lot newer than most other civil rights movements and there are reasons for that. I believe that one of the advantages that gay people have had all this time has also set the fight for equality back by decades. This is an advantage that most other minority groups don't have: the ability to blend in when times get tough. As a gay person you are as "normal" on the outside as any other human. Your outward appearance is not affected by your sexuality typically in the same ways that your ethnicity is. Thus it's harder to discriminate so long as you follow the status quo. But that is asking a lot of a gay person in a society where individuality and self expression are encouraged. It's the little things that build up without you even realizing it. I've said it before: a wedding ring indicates heterosexuality. A child at a parent's hip is indicative of heterosexual coupling. Two men playing basketball together are assumed to be straight. An attractive man at the bar will be offended if I hit on him and he's not gay and it might get me killed to do so.

This led me to think about gay bars and are they really so great? It's awesome to know that the majority of people in the club are gay and potentially could lead to what I'm looking for romantically. But it's challenging to get past this idea that THIS is the environment I have to go to to find a mate. Why? Because it's one of the only established places where the average person I hit on is not going to be offended that I think they might be gay. Most of the time in any non gay oriented establishment it's not even an assumption but the hope that the person who attracts you is gay. Being gay is not offensive. I struggle and have to tell myself that all the time. Being gay is not offensive.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Please note this is a work in progress and the words/story/tone may change but sometimes you just have to write things down.

Chapter 1.          

Home is a place where you feel comfortable being yourself without judgment. I’m not sure how possible that is when your parents and sisters are always nagging you about something. There’s just something about family that shows everyone why you are the way you are. They’re where you came from, they’re a part of you. You can’t escape them. No matter how hard you try.

Gay stared at her journal for a moment. The pen lingered on the page as if there was something missing. There was a knocking on her bedroom door followed by the screeching voice of her younger sister L’America. With her concentration burst and her temper short Gay screamed back, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!”

“It’s Tuesday and Momma says you have to set the table for dinner on Tuesdays, Allie…and you have to do the dishes after too!” L’America was pushing Gay’s buttons as she emphasized the name Allie. She knew Gay hated her real name, Alizé Rose Jones. She thought it was extremely ghetto and even as a child she had gone by Allie, Al or AJ. When she realized she was a lesbian and came out of the closet at fourteen her parents didn’t take the news too well, and the less friendly kids at school started calling her Gay-J. As an act of defiance and bitterness toward her parents Alizé told everyone she had changed her name to Gay. She said it wouldn’t be an insult anymore and refused to respond to anything else. She thought about this for a fraction of a second as her hands slammed her journal shut. She had drawn the name Gay in big lettering on the front of her journal. She also made a point not to call it a diary as she thought that was conforming too much to what girls were supposed to be.

Gay got up from her bed and chucked her journal under her pillow. She walked around her meditation circle bordered by extinguished wax-wilted candles and rushed to open the door. “I told you not to call me that!”

L’America jumped back from the door with what she considered safe from swinging distance. “I know, but I’ve been knocking on the door for the last five minutes and you didn’t say nothing. I figured maybe you’d open the door if you were mad enough!” Gay studied L’America’s face for signs of deception or malice, but she was an innocent eight year old like always. Before she could give it anymore thought L’America chimed in with bright inquisitive eyes.  “Were you astrel projectoring yourself to some princess land?!” L’America didn’t have any magic powers and was fascinated and confused by the whole idea of it. The only thing she ever dreamed of was a land where she could be a princess and have her own pony.

“Astral projection can only take me to places that actually exist, L’Ammie.” L'America looked crestfallen and her eyes started to water. “Or at least to places where I actually know how to get there or have already been to. Just cuz I haven’t found it yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” She smiled and L'America was mollified. L'America bounced toward the kitchen excitedly.

“Adora All..Gay says there’s a place where it’s nothing but princesses and ponies and some day she’ll take me there!” Gay walked down the hallway chuckling to herself when she overheard her ten year old sister Adora’s comment.

“Hah. Perfect place for a lesbo.” As Gay walked around the corner, Adora immediately froze then looked away in shame. Gay’s heart sank a little and she tried not to let it show on the outside. She was no longer chuckling as she went to the cabinet to get the dishes for dinner; her eyes were sad and her lips were struggling to smile. “Dad texted and said he’s on his way home so we can eat soon.” Adora played with a strand of her braided hair and tried to focus on that instead of Gay who she could just see in the corner of her eye.

“Good I’m starving. Being a lesbian takes a lot of energy with all that softball practice and working on the car.” Gay winked at Adora and the tension dissolved.

“Plus it probably takes you hours to pick out just the right pattern of plaid to put on your sensible shoes,” Adora laughed. “Were you really using astral magic? I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.”

“No I wasn’t, I was writing. And astral magic is very difficult to learn. Eric says only a few people ever actually master it. That’s mostly because you have to memorize exactly where you want to go or you could end up lost in the aether and most people don’t try for fear of getting lost. And astral maps are really hard to read let alone memorize.”

“I know, but I still gotta learn if I’m ever going to be a better magician than you. And Eric says I’m the best pupil he’s ever tutored.”

“Adora he says that to all his students,” Gay rolled her eyes and Adora responded by sticking her tongue out. Gay squinted with a wry smile and Adora’s tongue turned bright purple with green polka dots. L'America squealed with laughter and Adora knew it was at her expense.

“Hey what’d you do?!” Gay stuck her tongue out. Adora looked down her nose and stuck her tongue out as far as it would go. She could see the discoloration and screamed, “Stop it! Turn it back!”

“If you’re a better magician than me you can turn it back.”

“Turn it back right now Gay.” Her father had just walked in with a bundle under his arm. It was dinner. Fried chicken from a fast food restaurant.

How cliché, thought Gay as she flicked her wrist and fixed Adora’s tongue. Why bother to set the table for dinner at all. It’s not like it makes it any fancier or proper. “Hi dad.” Gay looked at her father with the same kind of resentment she felt for all men. They always felt like they were in control by design and it rubbed her the wrong way. It was a feeling ameliorated by the fact that it was her father and she really did love him despite himself.

“Daddy!” L'America rushed to her father and latched onto his leg. Adora got up from the table and commanded by the smell of the food and her growing hunger took the bundle from her father and greedily opened it as she carried it to the dinner table.

“Hey baby girl. Momma’s stuck at work so y’all can eat in the TV room if you’re careful not to get anything on the floor. But don’t be talking through my game or I’ll send you back here.”

“Yaaaaaaayyyyy!” L'America ran to claim her spot on the couch before anyone else could say anything.

Adora snarked “Haha you set the table for no reason.” She was out of the room quickly after that so that Gay wouldn’t cast another spell. Adora and Gay weren’t allowed to use magic on their sisters but a subtle spell could still slip through once in a while if their parents weren’t paying close enough attention.

“Do you have a session with Eric today?” Antoine Jones was a simple man with few ambitions outside of his family. He saw himself as a protector and provider and expected his children to be respectful, obedient, and good students.

“No it’s Tuesday,” Gay responded with disdain. The undertone implied why don’t you ever know what’s going on in my life. “Besides it’s two weeks til’ I can get a patron at Pivot. He’s busy setting up contacts and reviewing contracts.” The air of superiority Gay felt was not missed by her father.

“Oh right.” Antoine didn’t want her daughter to continue using magic once she turned eighteen. He had thought about having Gay’s powers bound a dozen times in her life but his wife Angie had always talked him out of it. “You know it wouldn’t be so bad if you was normal you know.”

Gay was offended. She loved her magic and knew her father resented it, but she couldn’t help thinking he meant “straight” when he said normal. “Athena is my hero. She’s so cunning and logical and she doesn’t need a man to help her.”

“But, it’s not like a man could hurt her. She’s a goddess.” As Gay had grappled with her sexuality she always favored Athena as a potential patron. She had said once that Athena was a virgin and Gay planned to be one forever too. Antoine took solace in that fact at least.

“The point is she’s Eric’s mother. He’s got influence with her and we’re already on good terms. I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather have.”

“And what about school?”

“Can we NOT talk about this EVERYtime we talk? It’s like that’s the only thing you care about.”

“You ARE going to college young lady if I have to drag you there myself. You ain’t gonna live off us forever.”

“Not right now! The food’s cold enough as it is and I’m starving!” It was an empty complaint because she could magically heat the food whenever she was hungry. In fact she could conjure food if she really wanted it. She stormed out to the TV room, grabbed a few pieces of chicken and went back to her room slamming the door behind her.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Magical Black Lesbian

I have made some more decisions about the character in the previous post:

I still need an original name for her and I've decided that the name her parents gave her will be "ghetto" in her opinion. In an act of double defiance she will change her name to "Gay" on her 18th birthday. She'll come to regret the spite with which she changed her name but will feel that it's right for her when all the pins drop.

I also elaborated more about her world:

Some people have magic potential in this world. Society accepts it as run of the mill because a lot of mythology is alive here (even ones that conflict in origins of the universe and everything). Children exhibit magical potential at birth and are usually given additional schooling in the use of their powers. While young their magic is limited only by their control, power reserves, and their imagination (they tend to tap in to types of magic that mirror their personalities. A person who loves the water and swimming might have an easier time with water based spells whereas an athlete might favor physical enhancement spells such as super speed and deft feet). However once the child hits puberty their built up reserves start to dwindle. When they turn 18 their power reserves ALWAYS falter and deplete. In this way power level is measured by how much a person has in reserve (strength of magic at its peak right when a person turns 18 is almost unheard of). If a person is interested in continuing in the magic community it is necessary to find a patron who can imbue them with their magic. The patron and pupil are then linked by magic (if the patron is destroyed once again the power reserves will dwindle until the pupil becomes powerless once again) In recent years it has also been discovered that if a pupil is destroyed magically by another patron's pupil both that patron and the killing pupil become more powerful. This has led to the Patron Wars as demons and demi-gods vie for power among the immortals pitting their pupils against each other. 

While patron and pupil are connected via their magic link the pupil's magic is often limited by the style of magic or power used by the patron. And while the pupil has magic the patron may not always be a magical being.

Gay's magical mentor as she grows up is named Ericthonius or Eric for short. He's the son of Gaia and Greek gods Athena, and Prometheus. Eric has often spoken of Gay to her mother and Gay has always idolized Athena. When she grapples with her sexuality she appreciates Athena's virginity and vows to remain quite chaste. As she grows older she decides that sexuality isn't so bad but she's never very overt when it comes to women. It was always assumed (by Gay) that Athena would be her patron when she turned 18. During her senior year she becomes very lax in her approach to everything. She gets senioritis in both her magical tutelage and her high schooling which proves detrimental as her magical deadline approaches (a new name for this deadline is required). When she offhandedly speaks about becoming Athena's pupil, Athena looks at her confused. Gay realizes she never confirmed anything and Athena refuses her request out of hand in a very stoic manner. Gay freaks out because she hadn't planned any other patron and doesn't want to lose her magical powers and spends the next three days before her birthday trying to figure out what to do. In the 11th hour she encounters a red winged pixie who offers to be her patron. Having no other choice Gay accepts the offer and signs the pact. She has the option of changing her patron after a year goes by and sees the pixie as probational until she can overpower her and prove herself worthy of another, stronger patron. 

While Gay and the pixie (unnamed at this time but I'll think of something) have some things in common Gay's frustration emerges when she can't even perform simple spells anymore because the Pixie's power level is decidedly lower than what she's used to. Flight is easy enough for her and that's Gay's only solace because she loves dancing in the wind. The Pixie pops up all the time because she wants to explore the earth realm (she comes from somewhere else and doesn't get to visit Earth often but now she's able to because Gay functions as an earthly anchor. As an anchor the pixie always arrives on Earth at Gay's side a hint that omnipresence of a deity is because of the number of people pacted to it in one way or another). Pixie is boy-crazy counter to Gay's lesbian attractions. They get along sometimes when they're caught in the moment of fun, but mostly they go their separate ways as their personalities, on the surface, seem to clash. The pixie begins to enjoy Gay's company but even then avoids her because Gay is always trying to find a new patron.

Gay's patron search:

Obviously Gay's attempt with Athena didn't work. It didn't end badly but it seemed like a matter of fact that Athena would never be her patron. After pacting with the pixie she turns to the most common patrons which is the demon community. The demon she summons with the pixie power agrees and touches her but when this happens red flame tattoos appear on Gay's face and neck and the demon suffers pain and recoils. He claims she already has a "vile patron" and claims rather truthfully "As long as you have that bitch as your patron no self respecting (re: ego driven, pompous, arrogant etc) demon will ever consign to be your patron." Gay confirms this through a few more summonings and gets frustrated. She's also confused because she's never heard of this pathetic pixie before and doesn't understand why the demons hate her specifically so much. She chalks it up to all pixies but reserves a bit of curiosity and this helps develop her relationship with the pixie beyond a generic pleasantry level. 

After the demons she finds Oberon and Titania the king and queen of the fairies. They don't mind the pixies and have a feast in honor of Gay's visit. Gay finds the party fun but she grows weary of the machinations of the faeries. She says or does something offensive to Oberon and is banished from the land of the faeries forever (which Titania ameliorates into just a year claiming that Oberon's ego is bruised and he always regrets his rash decisions in the end). In any event Gay does not get a faerie to be her patron and since she's banished for a year she couldn't try again before her next deadline anyway. 

Gay turns to Gaia, Eric's other mother. Gaia says she doesn't think it's a good idea but Gay is insistent. Gaia is willing to help but in order to try to prove to Gay that it's not worth it she presents Gay with a series of challenges. Gay finds them terribly difficult and wants to give up. With the pixie's help she manages to master all of Gaia's challenges and Gaia acquiesces to being Gay's patron. Gay respectfully declines. She claims that while she was happy to discover she was worthy of Gaia's power and it was certainly an honor, she feels that her style of magic wouldn't suit Gay. With Gaia as her patron she's never be able to fly freely again and that's something Gay craves. Gaia reveals Gay has always been worthy and the challenges weren't meant to discourage her from trying, but were efforts to show Gay who she really was. Gaia uses her influence among the primal gods and arranges a meeting with Nyx.

Nyx, deity of night in Greek mythology and sister of Gaia is a shadow in mythology. Not much is known about her because she uses her influence subtly. She agrees to the meeting with Gay but won't be attending personally. Instead Gay is told to expect an envoy. While waiting for the envoy the pixie arrives as she typically does when she's not wanted around. They have a brief conversation before the tension gets to Gay and she shouts at the pixie. Bad blood is shared and the pixie agrees that if Gay wants to make Nyx her patron "so be it" and flies off. Gay realizes she see's pixie as a friend now instead of just an acquaintance and necessary nuisance. She leaves the meeting point before Nyx's envoy has a chance to visit her. The next day Gay contacts Gaia to apologize for being so rude to Nyx and understands she's doomed to be magicless because of her own reckless behavior. The deadline is still several weeks away to choose another patron but Gay decides she doesn't deserve the power she's been given as she's taken it for granted all along anyway. Gay hasn't used her magic in the two weeks prior to the deadline and decides to dance in the moonlight one more time before she relinquishes her power completely. 

The pixie returns on Gay's 19th birthday and has another conversation with her before the ritual that would end their pact. The pixie and Gay reconcile offering up apologies for their harsh words and the feeling is mutual that they don't want this to end on bad terms. The pixie says it doesn't have to and Gay says she doesn't deserve even the pixie's power at this point she's been too selfish and childish "for someone who's supposed to be entering adulthood." From here I have an idea of where to go but I'm just not sure how to get there. The pixie's secret she's been hiding all this time is that she's Nyx's envoy and essentially just an extension of Nyx's power and influence. Gay has been tapped into the power she's always wanted all this time but only after she realizes how she's taken it for granted does nyx want to give it to her. She finds that power corrupts people (as is mentioned in...every piece of literature) and wants Gay to want the power for the right reasons and use it responsibly. I'm not sure how to make this conversation go but it should highlight portions of the pixie's adventure with Gay, the fact that Athena didn't agree because she had already figured out who was best for Gay even if Gay didn't realize it herself yet (goddess of wisdom and strategy and all that). The pixie should also reveal she was sent to Gay as the envoy of the night and was about to tell her before they got into the argument. When Gay hurt the pixie's feelings, the pixie flies away does some soul searching, fools around with some boys and realizes what she wants more than sex is respect and camaraderie. Blah blah blah mushy stuff they concrete the pact and Gay feels more powerful immediately (the temporary contract could only offer a portion of the pixie/nyx's power)

While all of this is going on Gay is going to college. About the time she turns 19 she's about to exit her freshman year. When she enters her sophomore year she's not only grappling more with her concept of beauty, her apparent lesbianism, her sexual drives versus her chaste nature, her stoic nature versus the pixie's influence and free spirit, her parents disdain for her sexual "choice" as they call it and the removing of unsupervised visits with her younger sisters. She also has to change majors because she can't make the grades in psychology which embarrasses her as she goes on academic probation. She claims "psychology is just something you can't fake with magic and that's what draws me to it." She'll eventually become involved with the upcoming Patron Wars and have several failed romances once she decides to dip her feet into the dating scene. Her romantic endeavors will include a variety of girls with differing ages and a controversial relationship with one of her professors (some find it controversial because it's student/professor some because there's a twenty year age difference). She's going to find that the younger girls can be kind of exciting but exceedingly stupid. Some of the prettier girls she's attracted to she decides are either too girly (which makes her uncomfortable), too vain, and in the worst case, too manipulative. She begrudgingly enters into a relationship with a bisexual girl and tries to keep an open mind but in the end the bisexual girl claims it was just a phase. (She does have another bisexual friend who she hangs out with and he explains how frustrating it is when people like that claim they're bisexual and give actual bisexuals a bad name. "This is why people think we don't exist.")

More to come later.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Character Concept

She’s a magic student and is an average height black female of the age of 20. She is a lesbian and shaves her head/has a short hairstyle. She tapes her boobs because she hates how big they are. She comes off as androgynous and is not overtly sexual in nature. Being a lesbian influences her decisions in life to an extent but her sexuality is not her identity. Her interests beyond magic include artistic endeavors including painting and jazz music. She loves playing the saxophone. She goes to a college and is studying music education and jazz. She likes animals but doesn’t own any pets. She has two younger siblings aged 14 and 10. They are both girls and are both girly girly. She tries to be a positive influence on them and teach them that they shouldn’t be afraid to be themselves, but her parents are so afraid that she’ll make them gay that they are never left alone together. She comes from a middle class pseudo religious black family. Her mother and father are in their 40s and blame themselves for their daughter’s sexuality and see it as sin. They are only on positive terms because she spends a lot of time away from home and doesn’t ruffle feathers when she is home, though she’s never afraid to share her opinion when it’s asked of her. As a black female she has struggled with the concept of beauty. Her nose is too big, her hair is too “black”, her lips are too big, her chin has a cleft in it, her butt is too big she’s too short her eyes are generic and black her skin is too dark. She’s had to deal with prejudice from black people because they say she’s too white and with white people because she’s too black (and she at this time only sees the world in terms of black and white because the idea has been forced down her throat that that’s the only paradigm that exists). At 16 she cut off all of her hair in defiance of social norms and started taping her boobs down. Her favorite thing to do is listen to jazz music while using her magic to dance in the night sky. She hopes to become a music teacher once she retires from the magic community.

Powers and abilities: She possesses average intelligence and athleticism for a female of her age and stature. She has studied music and psychology but couldn’t make the grades for psychology. She still pursues this as her world view changes with age, however. Her magic manifests often with purple energy but the color is usually associated with what type of spell she is casting. She is capable of casting spells, enchanting objects, making magical potions and can cast spells without verbal or physical commands though they do help her focus her energy.
Her cloak is enchanted and with it she had these passive abilities:
-          She can fly
-          She can teleport
-          She can become invisible to the eye and sensors masking her sound and heat signatures/life signs.
-          Resistance to extreme temperatures and atmosphere allowing her to go nearly into space without being affected by the cold or loss of breath or pressure.
-          Increased resistance to damage

She has demonstrated the ability to resurrect the dead but refuses to use it on the grounds that once something is at peace she’s not going to be responsible for disturbing it.
The most common use of her magic is telekinesis and a magical calming effect and on more than one occasion, teleportation.
Her power can be augmented with magical items but she’s reluctant to make deals with many demons as the first she made left red markings on her face and neck which glow when she uses that power reserve.

She needs a name.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Guide to Grindr:

When you evaluate grindr I feel you must do it on several levels. This probably goes for all other dating apps and potentially a large percentage of the dating websites that exist. I believe there are four  (potentially more or less later depending on how far into writing this I change my mind :D you can’t tell but I just changed that from three to four) basic levels to evaluate Grindr on. What it is (it’s intended purpose), What it’s actually used for, Who uses it, and why they use it.
I want to focus on two of these levels because they rely so heavily on each other when you take the other two as given/constants.

Constant One: Grindr is a Dating App. It is intended as a dating app.
Constant Two: Grindr is a sex app. That’s what people actually use it for.
Thus leaving the two fields I intermingle so often. Who uses grindr and why do they use it? Well the obvious answer is that people use grindr to find sex. But it wouldn’t be that simple considering who is writing this and the fact that I separated why people use grindr and what they use it for. Who uses grindr could also over simplistically be labeled as “Men” but even then that’s not specific enough is it? Men over the age of 18 with a max age of 99. Sorry if you’re 100 and gay, you don’t deserve to get any random play from tramps on Grindr. Too bad too cuz I’m certain some kinky 18 year old would tap that just for the sake of tapping that. Let’s break that down even further though, shall we? We know that there are people on Grindr who are under 18. And we report them immediately! (I do but yes that’s sarcasm) We also know that this means some people on Grindr are lying about their age. So roughly speaking you’re looking at guys, because men is no longer apt and is a state of mind arbitrarily assigned a number when circumstances may indicate otherwise, between the ages of ? and ??. This is confusing. Well Grindr isn’t exactly cut and dry, though you may feel a little more at ease entering Grindr world once you’ve read this. Or maybe you’ll just become concerned that you’ve glimpsed a fraction of my world and go crazy sipping soy lattes on a pink rocking chair. (I am going to steal your chair by the by) Ok so guys …wait…time warp… I have talked to girls on grindr posing as men. And then come to think about it, there are furries on grindr and people who identify as female even though they were born with male genitalia. And there are some who dress in women’s clothing but aren’t women and don’t want to become women. And then there are the transsexuals…this is too much, let’s do the time warp again. So we can’t even assume that everyone on Grindr is male. We can’t assume they are the age they say they are. I have changed my age to 99 just to see if my friend over six hundred miles away would be able to find me in the rabble. (It didn’t work, but I’m still convincible) So perhaps we could just say that “people” use Grindr. They are of an unknown age or gender, orientation state of transition etc but they are people. Can we really evaluate this on the level that people use grindr? By nature shouldn’t we want to classify which people use grindr with a label to make ourselves more comfortable? Of course we should! And I will give you the labels that help me cope with this insanity. There are people who are on grindr who are who they say they are, age, race, weight, what they’re looking for, status and so on. This group is called the honest people. Then there are the people who are on grindr and aren’t who they say they are. This group is called the dishonest people. But wait it can’t be that simple? Don’t worry! Of course it can’t! Sometimes an honest person will do something that appears dishonest. We still lump them in the honest pile. Likewise a dishonest person will often use truths to substantiate their lies. But in essence they are still being dishonest and thus forever will remain at the bottom of the heap in dishonest land. Ville? Ton? Dishoneston sounds right. This line is getting blurry and it is really tempting to assume a third category of the misfits in the middle. So let’s go ahead and create this category Misfit but you will see why I don’t believe anyone really fits there.
Ok so we’ve broken it down that PEOPLE use Grindr and that they fit (according to me) into two categories: Honest people, Dishonest people and misfits. Well now we go on to evaluate each of these groups by analyzing why each group uses grindr. We have the constant that Grindr is a dating app and it’s used for sex. How do honest people approach Grindr functionality? Honest people MUST use grindr for sex. Wait…no. See there’s the crux of it isn’t it? Grindr poses itself as a dating app. Honestly people may use it to try to find dates. Sex could come out of it so technically it’s a sex app as well. When you think of grindr, however I’m 90% certain that 90% of you would say that it’s an app gay men use to find other gay men to fool around with. Now you’re an honest person, (yes this is only hypothetical don’t worry!) and you just decided to get grindr. What was your motivation? Did you see that it was  sex app and a good way to find a friend to fornicate with? YES! This is what you’ve been looking for. Going in you know “this is a sex app” and that’s the way you use it at all times… or …wait you’ve changed your mind. The heart, the heat, the pants the dance. You are human and your mood changes sometimes. One day you really want a boyfriend and meaningless sex is getting you nowhere toward that whimsy. The next day you feel really dejected from all the insta block rejection, hate the world and/or yourself, and decide that not only do you not want sex you don’t even want a boyfriend. In fact this is the day you decide to delete grindr because it causes you too much pain and you’re seconds away from seeing if the Catholic church has a place for an atheist male nun. (I’m actually leading up to a point where this will never be true again! Stay tuned!) The next day you decide eh you just want friends and it would be nice to just be more involved in the gay world. What’s wrong with you that you can’t decide!
The truth of the matter is that you have too many options. Grindr tells you this is a dating app. If you go in thinking this and begin with the statement “Yes! This is what I wanted and this is what I will always use it for” you can wash rinse repeat the above statements with this other constant. (You begin to see hopefully why they are constants and not necessary to discuss outside of the context of these two other evaluation tools). You will still end up in this place. Grindr tells you to give yourself a name, a headline, an about you section, relationship status, what you’re looking for, your ethnicity, your age, height, weight, and offers an option for a social link (this means facebook or twitter there are no others.) You can then set your profile to show how far away from the next person you are (and this would have been a category to include for evaluation but I think knowing the reason why someone cares how far away you are is involved in the explanation of why people use grindr). Wonderfully enough you also have the option to delete your profile. Well let’s break down some categories (as fond as I am of parenthetics I’m apparently equally enamored with breaking things)

Relationship: You can set your status to Single, Dating, Exclusive, Committed, Partnered, Engaged, Married, Open Relationship, and Do Not Show. You would think that “Do Not Show” is the most quixotic category because the mystery is which of the other categories are you?! But really do not show is out of sight out of mind; people on grindr don’t question your status if it isn’t there. I don’t know about you but I’m confused again. What exactly is the difference between Committed and Dating and Exclusive and Partnered and Engaged and Married? I thought partnered and married were the same thing essentially but separate but equal. Does this mean Grindr thinks that if you are married it’s to a member of the opposite sex (assumed a woman at this point) or does that include gay married couples for whom are so lucky enough to live in Iowa >_>. If one is married but not in an open relationship then why are they on this app in the first place? You can believe it’s either to have sex or date. Oh wait… “What you’re looking for” chat, dates friends, networking??? Or relationship. Oh and again the simple do not show. Ah not so simple this time. In this case what you’re looking for DOES matter even if it is out of sight. Because if you’re not looking for the same things then what’s the point in talking to each other. Ok good we’ve at least limited it to just these categories. OH! But you can click more than one option at a time! You can be looking for dates, chat, friends, networking, and a relationship! Well I believe if you’re looking for all of those things then do not show is a more appropriate category for you considering what you want from each person is intrinsically dependant on what their appeal is to you. Bored yet? Confused to tears? Then let’s get some meat in this little exploration of Grindr.
Knowing that all people on grindr can be classified as honest or dishonest (or theoretically misfit) let’s break THOSE down by what grindr allows them to say they want or not say.
Honest people:
When an honest person selects Do Not Show their information it can mean many different things. An honest person looking for sex will give you what you need to know when they are ready to copulate with you. (Wait does copulate insinuate intended insemination? Hrm. Whatever) They will be up front about their sexual desires because they came to be satisfied and aren’t leaving til they come. If they don’t have a picture of themselves posted…btw did I mention Grindr offers you the option to have a profile picture or not? Doesn’t even have to be of you so long as it’s not provable that it’s someone else… it doesn’t automatically make them dishonest and it certainly doesn’t imply that they don’t have a picture of themselves on their apparatus through which they drink in the bevy of grindr’s variety of tastes. An honest person will come at you wanting what they want and will tell you up front that’s what they want. You can trust this person because their motives are constantly clear to you. There are signals you can look for based on what a person says they want and what they talk about. This begins to dwindle into a discussion about human nature, but let’s focus on the gays and bi guys and the curious guys. Can we just say guys who are into guys who are into guys? That’s actually a mite difficult to say. Deal with it.
An honest person will either not display what they want (one reason I mentioned above so many options that you get distracted so better to say nothing than to say everything when nothing = everything) and tell you what they want from you specifically, or they will display what they want and tell you want they want from you specifically. That’s how humans work, we are always up front and don’t play games. No, that’s not right is it? Ok that’s how I am but I’m one of those people who wants something one day but not so much the next week.  Hmmmm…people are difficult to pin down.
Ok so now let’s assume that all people are different and potentially CAN be being honest with you. That seems irrefutable so let’s roll with it. I mean we shouldn’t rush to judge people anyways right? There’s zero percent chance you’re always going to judge someone accurately. …mega man. Maybe honest people always judge people fairly? But to judge without getting to know someone isn’t fair and honest people may not get past the unappealing age or profile picture to even start to evaluate the other person personally. Ok so an honest person MAY be wishy washy on what they want (depending on how harshly you decide a shift in mood should actually take!) and they may ignore people they determine (through a set of non-racial or racial prejudice) to be unsatisfying to them. If you’re honest you’re not going after that guy, he’s not your type. So are the honest people the bad guys here? It doesn’t sound good for them!
Maybe the dishonest people are conversely the good guys? Anti heroes are my favorite. Do you feel like I’m jumping sporadically from subject to subject with too many interjections and fourth wall breakages? Well I like to break things (and parenthetics :D) and I’m exhausted. I’ll type til my brain gives out and then keep typing til I realize my brain has given out. Well dishonest people can never be the good guys. I mean, well maybe parents telling their kids about Santa and the Tooth Fairy and God etc might be considered dishonest and also still good guys (I’m not trying to offend anybody with that statement. I don’t believe I have the right to force my beliefs on anyone else and I don’t care if they care whether I care if there’s a tooth fairy or not). But certainly that can’t apply to grindr. Who on grindr is being dishonest? The straight man on grindr cheating on his wife unbeknownst to her with some random man hole is potentially being dishonest. Surely he’s being dishonest with his wife if she doesn’t know about the cheating (from his mouth or actions). But is he being dishonest with you? If he tells you he’s cheating on his wife and that he just wants sex and that’s all he actually intends, he’s one of the honest ones. Still a bad guy in my opinion because the word cheat implies there’s no permission granted to allow him to do what he will with you. Now the same scenario except he’s telling you he’s a single gay man. NOW he’s being dishonest. Huzzah he is bad twice! THWART HIM MY HEROES! Oh wait we have yet to determine who the heroes of grindr are. We know they’re not always the honest ones and we pretty much assume that they are not the dishonest ones. And I’m sadly no closer to revealing all the mysteries that grindr has unraveled to me!
But we’re getting there. It’s been a little over a year of me even having grindr and I’ve been evaluating it since day 1 unbeknownst to me. There’s a lot to write out!
Well hm. Maybe honest and dishonest is a bad way to put this after all! Dishonest people are bad. Honest people CAN be bad people. I Want a hero dammit! Maybe it’s about confidence? Ok so there are the confident people and the ones who lack confidence. Insomuch as they lack or have ENOUGH confidence to do unknown variable X. A confident person will prominently display their picture because they are HOT and they know it and they show it. Unless they’re discreet. Because they’re not out. Because they’d lose their job. Ok I guess confidence is inapt as well. Maybe it’s just easier to create archetypes of Grindr mindsets and take into account all that a person could be within a reasonable amount of common characteristics. Maybe we SHOULD just ignore what a person wants and what they say they want, the information they provide and what they leave off. Some of the opinions I’ve provided assume a specific mind-set for the person reading this, ie my mind-set. Others may benefit from it while some of you may think this is trash.

1)      Blundr, The blunt up front horny male – This guy is on grindr because he wants sex. If he doesn’t like your picture he won’t talk to you. His first message to you may even be his cock or asshole depending on which part he wants you to play with. They can come off as rude because they BELIEVE 100% that Grindr is a sex app and nothing less. Personality? Age? Stats? These will never be set in stone because this can apply to any male. In fact you can’t even say that people with stats showing or without are more likely to be a Blundr. The thing is Grindr has a policy that you are not allowed to mention sex on your profile in any way. Blundrs don’t have the option to select “sex” in the looking for. Just thought I’d mention that here. It’ll be on the test!
2)      Friendr - The guy who really just wants to make friends – This guy is on grindr for any number of reasons. Maybe they don’t know a lot of gay people. Perhaps they don’t know gay people in an area that they’re new to. Maybe they really just enjoy chatting with other gay guys without the pressure of sex. Maybe they have gay friends but they just want a different atmosphere for communication. They will message you because your profile genuinely attracted them. Don’t be fooled, this person may want you to be hot before they’ll talk to you. If you have a picture of a frog up and they chat with you never asking for a picture they potentially could be a friendr. You’ll have to look for keywords because other types can come off as Friendrs at first. This category is also immune to any average qualifier of description.
3)      The Troll! This person doesn’t really want to have anything to do with grindr. In fact they’re only on grindr to make fun of people. This could be to their face or behind their back. Either way they’re going to do whatever makes them happy and troll you the entire time. Trolls will often lie to you just to see what you will say back. When you start catching someone in their lies you can be certain this person is not worth your time. It is at this point that I often will say what they want me to say and a little more to make them continue on in their farce just to see how far they will go. I am a master troll but I only troll the trolls so don’t worry :D
4)      Blendr - The guy who says he wants one thing but REALLY/MAYBE wants this other thing/too – Ah human nature to want simultaneously two things that pull you in seemingly opposite directions. Perhaps you are a person who wants everything always. Not meaning literally everything in the world, mind you, but specifically you’re the guy who lists out all options on “looking for” rather than “do not say.” You WANT A friend and you want to chat. That’s all you want from this guy. But you know that you also want to date and if you’re having some sort of chemistry with this friend then potentially they could also be a date. And you eventually want a relationship so…why couldn’t this friend develop into more? I mean a friendship is a type of relationship already right?
5)      The guy who wait…
See even in a list so far developed I have changed my mind and come to the conclusion that grindr is about sex! The guy either DOES want sex or DOES NOT WANT SEX. He can be a troll or a friendr but he doesn’t want sex. A true friendr is hard to find because most people want sex and the allure of grindr’s ability to afford access to sex is almost unbearable.
Ok so guys who want sex:
1)      Some guys want sex and are up front about it.  We’ve called this the blunder but even then there are so many personality types to deal with that not every case will be the same. So look at it from a case by case basis.
a.       Blundr – Specifically will send you a cock shot, ass shot, or ask you for some such information in the first message. THEY WANT SEX NOW and are peacocking as it were.
                                                               i.      Some people will ask you to trade pics in the first message, this is slightly different because after getting said pics they may find you hot but not actually want sex. They get off enough with just the pictures. Some people will send you other people’s cocks just so they can get yours. If you’re the kind of person that would be bothered by this then I recommend forcing a dialogue. You will likely get blocked once they realize it is not easy to get your cock shot.
                                                             ii.      If you don’t have a profile pic the blundr becomes a Swindlr. They will talk to you until they get your profile pic and determine if you are hot enough to proposition for sex. In fact this may be in reverse as they will proposition  you for sex in the hopes that you will show them a pic. If they don’t like what they see, either way, they are likely to block you.
                                                            iii.      The blundr is frequently on grindr and participates in a string of sexual encounters for many reasons. They could get off on the sheer number of men they’ve fucked around with. They may just enjoy sex and the more people the better. Blundrs rarely fuck the same guy twice (unless of course the blundr is also in a relationship) UNLESS their goal is to get a fuck buddy.
                                                           iv.      The manipulative blundr will try as they might to get you into bed. They may tell you tons of compliments because they believe you are susceptible to flattery. They may insult you and then ask you for sex (this is inexplicable to me but has happened often enough to prove it to me that some people believe this works. It’s potentially a derivation of lower their self esteem and they’ll do anything you want but it doesn’t work on me since I just get mad then laugh at them then troll them for being so simple while thinking they’re super manipulative) Either way it seems the main motivation behind the manipulative blundr is that they do not think they have a chance with you and/or are not good enough to fuck. If you’ve ever heard a gay guy try to convince a straight guy to fool around IN THE HOPES THAT IT TURNS THEM GAY then you probably know a manipulative blundr. The weaker your self esteem the worse off you are for knowing these blunders.
                                                             v.      Caveat to ii and in accord with iii, some blundrs actually do not care what you look like because they like sex so much. Not sure how this helps your self esteem issues if you have them (it really shouldn’t because they will literally fuck anything. Don’t eat the watermelon at this guy’s house!)
And that’s just the tip of the needle in this stack of needles. There’s more about blundrs and there’s more than just blundrs. There is no real end to this because there is an infinite number of personality types (one would argue roughly the population of the earth is the probable max but then that would indicate that one person cannot change their mind about the reason they’re on grindr. People of two or three minds about things makes it impossible to accurately and completely catalog the potential personalities gaying it up on grindr. So let this serve as a living lexicon for you to fill in with your own experiences. Here’s where things change.
Some advice when you get on grindr.
1)      Know yourself. I believe you can never know everything there is to know about yourself. But the better you know yourself the more readily (all in my opinion btw) know someone else. If you know your motivations then you can interpret others’ as well. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!
a.       I see a lot of hypocrisy on Grindr. There are thousands of guys who claim they just want someone real, funny, smart, nerdy, etc. When those people talk to you and you block them because they’re ugly to you, you lose your right to complain about this.
                                                                           i.      If you don’t know yourself well enough you could be guilty of hating the people who have your personality. If you hate people who are shallow then blocking someone because they’re unattractive is your hypocrisy and you should hate yourself.
                                                                         ii.      If you want people to want you for more than your body then show your personality in your picture instead of your nipples. You do NOT know who you are if you believe pandering to what attracts conversations while complaining about it is NOT Self defeating.
2)      BE YOURSELF! This is so important that it deserves its own number even though it’s a mix of 1 and 3 and 4. If you are not YOURSELF then you will never know if the person on the other end likes you for who you are. This is true for when someone wants sex from you because personality can be sexy, and it’s especially true for friend and relationships.
a.       Be someone else! If you’re into that sort of thing, maybe they are too…but this is really confusing for most people. It’s way better to be yourself. Unless yourself is someone else… O_o. Honestly I mean if you’re a furry or have some kink, make sure you get that into the conversation so you can evaluate how they will react to it and whether you will fit together for your purposes. If you are me then you are not kinky or a furry, but if you were you would unapologetically advertise it.
3)      Be honest with yourself. If you want sex, then let yourself want sex! It’s a natural impulse in  your body and if you’re uncomfortable with the idea then AVOID GRINDR. It’s a sex app!
4)      Be honest with other people. If you don’t want to talk to someone then by all means don’t talk to them. When you do talk to someone, if they want sex and you don’t, explain that before you hit that little block button.
5)      REMEMBER when you block someone they can’t read your messages anymore! If you sent them a reason why you’re blocking them (because maybe that’s just the way you are) they may not get it if you block the right away.
6)      Give people the benefit of doubt. When the two of you want the same thing there’s potential for a match there. This is mostly important when all you want is friendships or chat.
a.       Never stipulate what your friends must look or act like. Your friends are all different and you like them for different reasons. Having gay friends doesn’t inherently mean that you want to fuck them. It’s unfair to YOU if you limit yourself to people who are your type on grindr when choosing friends.
b.      Not everyone on grindr is there for the same reasons. Someone may surprise you though, so give them a chance to do that.
7)      Be realistic!
a.        I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go for it when you’re 32 and there’s a hot 18 year old that you want to fuck. It could happen! What I’m saying is, if you’re 32 and you want a relationship, then stop messaging only the hottest 18 year olds. This goes hand in hand with being honest with yourself and other people and knowing yourself. If you’re 32 you’re probably in a vastly different place in life than an 18 year old. Seriously evaluate why the fuck you’re fucking around with someone 14 years younger than you. If you just want sex, be up front.
b.      You can expect a LOT of people on grindr to be shallow. This is human nature yet again. But just understand that if you are the shallow person and surround yourself with shallow people your life is like a series of mirrors and…well I’m fond of breaking things. Especially in metaphors.
c.       You do NOT know someone after talking to them once on grindr. I would say that even after meeting someone you won’t know the real them (like meeting anyone in any situation actually) for a while. I’m not saying you can’t trust people; I’m a trusting simp.
d.      If you want something you should probably be able to provide it as well. Many times I have seen people WANT good conversation but have no clue how to actually talk to someone. I can talk to a stump I’m so damned good at conversation. If you can’t talk to me then you are NOT GOOD AT CONVERSATION! If you don’t have a picture of yourself in your profile then what point is there in asking someone else for a picture.
e.      If the guy in the picture looks too good to be true, take your conversation with a grain of salt. Chances are that photo is faked.
f.        If the guy seems too good to be true he’s probably a swindlr. Don’t worry, you will be able to determine through a long conversation how much of this guy is bullshit and how much is genuine gold. But be realistic here, look for the signs that something is off while enjoying what isn’t. You can still have fun while being practical
8)      Know that there ARE PEOPLE LIKE YOU ON GRINDR! You’re on grindr after all and you have your reasons for being there. Is it really impossible for you to believe there are other people like you also using this app? Well if you said yes then you’re conceited to think that. :P OF COURSE people like you exist. You may be unique but a lot of like minded people come to the same conclusions. In fact all of you like minded people just realized at the same time that I’m right. And you all gave up on grindr at the same time for the same reasons. Things that make ya go hmmm….
9)      BE CONFIDENT! There is no reason to believe you aren’t good enough for someone else. If you are being yourself (see #2) and you know yourself (1) and you are honest (3,4) then you should be confident in the final product of who you are.
a.       A subset of this is that IF you are confident it matters less and less how many times you get blocked by people. But this is covered in the block button section.
10)   Being blocked is not the end of the world – Ok so the end of the world is a bit vague and perhaps out of your spectrum of capable thought. To be more clear and hopefully relate this to you in a way that feels less cliché, when someone blocks you then they are not right for you.
a.        If you are looking to fuck someone and they do not want to fuck you then YOU WILL NOT FUCK. That’s rape so stop it.
b.       If you are looking for friends only then a potential friend will NOT BLOCK YOU. They will be drawn to your personality. A person who blocks you is repulsed by your personality and you equally should be repulsed by theirs (I mean they blocked you for fucks sake! Why would you care if that person was in your life anymore?)
                                                                           i.      No but for reals I understand that you may dwell on the potential you had. I have learned that, for me, what someone who blocks you thinks about you is useless information. If you accidentally meet this person in real life you should not be offended by them or confront them about this. Essentially they do not exist to you!
11)   Take it slow! You may be desperate to find love, but trust me when I say the faster in, the faster out.
a.       Let’s say you like the person you’re talking to on grindr. Maybe you see dating potential. Awesome, Grindr is a dating app! Don’t talk about sex right away. The conversation for the weak willed will weaken into a conversation about sex because Grindr is a sex app. Then if you don’t have sex it’s difficult to get BACK to what you were talking about before.
b.      EVERYONE IS HORNY! This is inevitable. You do yourself a disservice if you ALWAYS let your libido carry a conversation. Blundrs and Swindlrs do this dishonestly. However, even if you take it slow there’s MORE potential for more satisfying sexual relationships than if you jump into something too quickly.
12)   Be an ADULT and/or Rational! This is an adult oriented app whether it’s a sex app or not. And when I say be an adult I don’t mean be 42 or 33 or 109; I’m well aware that age does not an adult make. Experience, a combination of several of the above numbers including 1 2 3 and 4 etc make you an adult. If you are mature enough you should be able to use some common sense to help you through a lot of grindr. If you’re rational you already know a LOT of this if not all of it (but thanks for reading anyway!)
Ok I’m too tired to think and I’m pretty sure I wrote some of this stuff twice. I guess it boils down to who you are as a person and why YOU’RE on grindr. You can see the above is a long and circuitous thought process that sort of branched out of control in places. I ramble. The most important part about grindr and any dating app is what you’re expecting out of it. I don’t mean in the cynical “Well I don’t really expect anything at all.” You cannot sign up for something with no expectations unless the odds are completely random. Love is like the lottery: someone WILL win money it’s just a matter of time and luck before it happens. The odds are certainly stacked against you a lot of the time but it doesn’t have to be that way on Grindr. If you go in with an expectation that you will find sex YOU WILL FIND SEX. You may not get it right away. But if we’re talking odds these are your best. If you’re looking for dates and chats they will often lead to sex or naked picture swapping. If you’re looking for friends it’s possible but it’s also probable that this will lead to sex. Can I just say…who the fuck uses grindr for networking?
Ex Oh Ecks O - blue