Social Media Versus Reality: Gender

I saw a tweet on Father’s Day, that basically asked you not to wish dad’s a happy father’s day if you are not sure of their preferred pronoun.  And well, this got me thinking…

Every time I take a social media break and get out into the real world I am stunned by the dichotomy of the two worlds.  And specifically I am talking about gender.  While I will not claim to be any sort of expert when it comes to all the gender diversity, I am certainly one who likes to have an open mind and always learn more.  I try to write with a less male/female vernacular, and I do attempt to employ the “softer” tones of they or them when it makes the words flow a little more naturally.  I do this, mostly because I want my writing to be relatable.  I want people to seamlessly put themselves in my shoes or gauge a new perspective free of the gender limits.  And while I cannot promise to always get it correct, I am happy to have a broader voice that appeals to more people.

With that in mind, I sometimes forget just how staggeringly different the real world is.  Social media is this idealized bubble of how society should be, mixed with trolls and outliers for a strange balance.  It works in a weird way.  I feel secure in my views and fairly happy that I am surrounded by so many sex positive and open minded individuals, even though I have no clue what many of them look like, (thanks social media).  We get along on a level that is interesting and often educational for me.  And that is in stark contrast to the realities of the offline world.

Take for example washrooms.  The online world makes it seem like genderless washrooms are becoming more and more common place and are an inclusive, amazing steps for businesses, schools and events to start incorporating.  And in the social media bubble, I am all for it.  No one should ever feel shamed for using the restroom.  But then, I get out into the real world and remember that going to the bathroom in front of people is absolutely awful!  I do not like peeing in front of women, so how in the hell could I comfortably do that with all genders in the same space?  Oh, wait… I do.  In many swing clubs, they have a bathroom where both men and women can go together to ensure that partners do not unnecessarily get separated from each other.  So, the reality is I have been doing this for years.  And yet, in the normal day to day setting, it feels uncomfortable and just plain wrong to do.  Especially in the workplace or in educational facilities. But a swing club is like a little invite only bubble, just as social media is.  Maybe in some future reality bodily functions won’t be such a big deal.  But today, in the here and now, I do not enjoy public washrooms!

So, let’s look at another example.  Using social media, I again try to use an inclusive voice.  I work hard to be mindful of my diverse network of people.  And in doing so, I try and catch myself when I call out men or women for bad behaviour.  I make many attempts to broaden my finger pointing and use words like people, or humans or really anything that removes gender.  But, the real world is a stark contrast from this online community.   I won’t lie, it’s so refreshing to sit down with a girlfriend and bitch about all the ways men and women are different.  To talk about gender in the workplace and just how lopsided even something as benign as dress code is.  For you see, the workplace is not an open and genderless environment.  Perhaps someday it will be, but right now, we are not even close to that.  It is polarized.  Men do this, wear this, talk like this, and women have their own rules for behaviour, dress and acceptable language they can use.

Gender exists all around us.  We see men who hold open doors, believe in being chivalrous, and always pay on a first date.  We see women getting dolled up, wearing high beautiful heels, and acting in a way that opens the door for me to take care of them.  If you go to a bar, you see men talking crash and crude, objectifying women.  And you see women gossiping and bitching for hours on end over a few bottles of wine.  Men work the physically challenging roles, and drink beer to unwind.  And the ladies, well, they are the nurses, the teachers and the caregivers.  Will this change?  Of course it will.  We are constantly evolving.  But when you talk on social media forums, it feels like men and women are being shamed for doing things that feel natural to their specific genders.  And we must remember that that is not healthy either.  It takes time to undo decades of gender roles and our socialization.  And truly, I don’t see a problem with maintaining a certain level of division, so long as there is a place to include those who want to break free of their moulds.

We are living in a polarized real world society, with the online community providing us an ideologized space.  There are going to be clashes as we figure this all out.  But if I can offer one peace of advice, just be open, understanding and inclusive wherever possible.  Don’t get too stressed out about calling people him/her/they/them.  Just be kind and respectful if you are ever corrected.  This is going to take time to figure out a system that works for as many people as possible.  We cannot expect language or gender norms like this to change overnight.

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Q.E. – Nature and Nurture

When I was in grade school I remember learning about the debate surrounding nature versus nurture and how the scientific community was working on research with twins to prove if genetics stand alone in a persons predisposition.  Imagine my surprise to learn in a university course that this debate is no longer an issue.  In fact scientists have determined that the code is genetic, environmental and developmental and not just any sole area, working together to form our genetic disposition.  Aside from feeling a little old at having lived through a theory and an actual solution in my lifetime it also gives me amazing hope at finding the answers in my own life.
Let me share with you the question that I have been thinking about this last year, thus making an impact on my belief system.  How much time do you currently exert on your partners happiness.  Or to put another way, how much time do you invest in measuring your own happiness based on your partners emotional level.  I spent the last two days in personal reflection mode, whereby I kept track on day one of all of my negative comments.  On day two I kept track of all the positive comments that I made (which was even more interesting as I was moderately hungover).  When I took a long hard look at my results it was very eye opening as to whom my negative and or positive comments were geared and directed.  So then where do I take this information in relation to my blog?  Why of course in the direction of what my relationship status is compared to my previous long term one. 
I have written on my happiness.  And I work daily to ensure that I am responsible for my own happiness, and games like this really eye open for me my strengths and weakness’.  I happily report that shifting the focus onto positive comments about myself and those around has improved my personal relationships without even trying.  Confident and sexy me, is the only focus I need to have as the rest is a very happy result.  I took a risk and shifted my train of thought onto doing things that I enjoy and enhancing to my life.  I no longer sit watching my partner, wondering if he’s happy.  Wondering if he is faithful, or willing to stay with me long term, and a million other things that have gone through my head.  I wasted years of energy on this battle and let me assure you I found no winners, or even answers, just more painful questions. 
We are a result of our genes, our environment, and our development, and I cannot stress just how amazingly important this is.  I am not plagued by the same plagues of my family.  I am an individual result of everything that surrounds me and has the capacity to influence me.  I gained to much in changing a focus that was instilled since I was a little girl, “how to please your man”.  For my this was my biggest downfall, as I was not pleasing myself first.  When I was in a funk I relied on someone else to get me out of it, rather than knowing myself through and through.  How much benefit would there be to you to not worry or stress about someone that you will never be able to control?  For me the answer is priceless.  At the end of the day, there is me and only me.  I nurture my own destiny as an adult, and of course questioning everything around me.

My Nature…

I find it quite hard to write about personal things, but I am going to try something different, as it is birthday season in my family and turning new leaves and what not, so here goes.  Rather than a rebuttal about a woman’s nature to my previous post, I am instead going to write my personal opinion of my sex and relationship nature seeing as my readers are mostly female it will be easier than generalizing.

It took me quite a few years to realize that my ability to change my mind and views about relationships and sex was not necessarily a bad thing.  I always thought that changing my mind made me appear wishy washy, and under confident.  This came out in both long term and short term interactions with men.  However, after open minded reading of sex at dawn I finally came to an understanding and appreciation of how this can be turned into a real gift.  Woman really do have a sexual power over men.  We have multiple orgasms, and more importantly the ability to be turned on by a vast array of variety.  This is a concept that took me a long time to figure out that the power inside does not make me “slutty”.  Instead makes me a healthy and well rounded individual. 

It is not easy to stand up as a woman and proudly say that “I love sex” and that I do not necessarily want to end up sleeping with the exact same man day in and day out for the rest of my life.  This became especially clear to me when it dawned on me just how depressing the lives are of the middle aged married couple.  The kids move out and boom, rather than doing something to solve or spice up the marriage, the only option is divorce.  Boredom leads to idle hands and over active imaginations.  

To be clear, I am not in any way promiscuous, not that that should add or subtract any weight from the point I want to get across.  But I am aware of that strong sexual urge that sometimes exists for someone outside of your partner.  And how dare society say that’s a bad thing. If safety comes first and you are honest with your partner this is only an urge and should not mean that there is any less stability or security when you get home.  The idea that religion has placed on so many people that sex leads to marriage or vice versa is B.S.  The number of unhappy couples out there because of religion, and/or society forcing them to stay together is enough that I have brought it up numerous times in previous blogs.

I love getting dressed up and feeling sexy for both my man, as well as other men.  Turning heads of other men and sometimes women, is a great feeling.  Yet I recently read a Dear Ann letter written by a reader  that was so unhappy that her husband was even looking at other woman that she was ready to threaten divorce.  What made this story so notable to me, is that the respondent actually sided with the woman and told her that she was right to think that mere looks were cheating and she should tell her husband that if he doesn’t stop she would leave him.  Yes putting boundaries is very important in a relationship, but who wants to live in a society that is going backwards in time?  If a man cannot even look at other woman isn’t that a parallel to the corsets, or ankle and wrist covered clothing woman needed to wear not even less than 150 year ago?


In getting back to writing about me, I look all the time.  I am very aware of my surroundings and I enjoy flirting thoroughly.  I also take a lot of pride when my man gets flirted with, that he is desirable to other woman.  And I am completely OK with this and it can actually be a turn-on.  I am learning to use my ever changing sexual turn ons as a positive addition to my personality rather than a negative.  This hasn’t always been easy, and I stumble every now and then, but overall the experiences both good and not so good make up who I am.  Sex is fantastic and confidence makes it even better.

A Man’s Nature

Please ladies don’t try and change your man.  I say this because it is an effort in futility.  I have hinted previously at this statement in earlier blogs but now I am going to come right out with it.  A man’s sexual preference is there for life, what gets him off at an early age becomes the blue print for the remainder of his life.  I heard an argument on “The Show” which is a Calgary radio station which put this so concisely. 


“Why are we hellbent on making the mistake of thinking these people can be rehabilitated? Wanamaker won’t change. He’ll continue to offend. Don’t ever let him out of jail. He has a sexual predilection for kids. Just like I have a predilection towards ladies and their lady parts.
Picture a world where heterosexuality is outlawed and I go to jail for the crime of being straight. After a ten year sentence and various rehabilitation programs I face the parole board of particularly fashionable gentlemen and athletic women and swear to them that I’m no threat at all to the vagine of the world. They let me go…
Guess what I’m gonna do first… get hip deep in trouble.
Because sex is sex and we all want it in one form or another. Wanamaker just happens to want it with little kids. Curing that is impossible.”

So if it is in a man’s nature then why do so many women waste their time and effort trying to change a man.  We need to find a livable way to accept their makeup and urges.  But more than that, we need to open up communication to discuss the sometimes hurt and pain that this causes a relationship.  I am very accepting of most things but at times there is pain or emotions and the isolation in accepting the man for being a man can be overwhelming.  

There was a quote on Weeds, that basically said, “It’s not that he doesn’t love you, it’s just that men love variety”.  But that doesn’t always make it easy or OK.  What it does mean though is that if you try and change that out of a man you are weakening him and taking the masculinity out of him.  Men like what they like, and that’s all there is to it.  

We are so lucky, as women, that we can change and adapt to our sexual desires and we change our perception and wants with age and societal influences.  Men do not have this luxury, they are what they are.  So as hard as it can be not pressure them to fit into the cookie cutter mold of what your mother expects lets be brave and let them be.  Maybe we will be happier in long run.  Get through the pain and heartache together but be stronger for the amazing men in our lives.