Cheating is Still a Gender Biased Issue

A few years ago I wrote a post aimed at women who cheat and how they give non-monogamy a bad name.  It’s something that over the years has come up time and time again, and the reason I wrote it pointing the finger at women specifically is that I feel there is a huge discrepancy between how we treat men who cheat, versus women.  And thus, I want to address this point again, but from a different angle now that I have grown a little older, wiser, and if I’m honest a little bolder with my recent life experiences.

Firstly, whenever I hear the sad news that a friend of mine has experienced cheating, the first thing I do is calmly remove myself from the situation and slowly gather information before forming any opinion.  I have learned that being Switzerland is a far more valuable place to sit than just picking sides and quickly reaching out to both parties in a quest to plant my flag on the winning side.  I am always available to listen, and provide any insights when asked, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, I do not go out of my way to seek out drama anymore.  I would rather be approached than provide my unsolicited opinions into someone else’s very complex relationship.

The next step I take, and the most important one to this post and my current gender blogging trend, is to pretend that the opposite gender is telling me the story and gauge how my reaction changes to the information (yes this is valuable in same sex couples too).   And why do I feel this is so important?  Because throughout my childhood and formative years, I bore witness to at least a dozen acts of indiscretions either through my mother, or hearing her talk with her friends about them.  And one clear thing always resulted, a witch hunt, and it was almost exclusively towards the male.  Whether the man did the cheating or not, he always seemed to deserve it somehow.  He either treated the woman badly and thus drove her away, or he was lying man-whore who should have never gotten married in the first place, or the ever common drunken mistake with the whole forgive and forget or divorce the so-and-so etc.

Growing up with this constant narrative, I began to ask myself why cheating was always exclusively blamed on the man.  And further to this, why the women always escaped unscathed even when they were the ones who very often cheated.  And this line of questioning started to expand further after having experiences of my own in the this very dicey place.  Every single time that I have come close to cheating it has been my own doing, and I would say 80 percent of the time, the man has been the one to put the brakes on.  Yes, this is full disclosure.  I was very unhappy in the latter part of my last long term relationship and I came increasingly close to cheating on numerous occasions.  And again, I repeat, I was the one who was in the drivers seat.  And what’s more, I was the one who consciously drank excessively in order to have something to blame if I got caught or needed an out.

Perhaps I am just more self aware than many people out there.  Or perhaps I just have reached a point in my life whereby I would rather be honest with myself and others than sugar coat a damn thing.  Whatever the case may be, I have not actually participated in this male witch hunt.  And that is definitely against the grain.  Yes, it takes two people to cheat.  And yes, relationships are incredibly complicated, and that only supports my theory that always blaming one side, especially the men is just wasted time, energy and makes everyone involved look even more like the assholes.  So I guess where I am at right now is that cheating is an issue for the couples themselves.  If you are going to form an opinion on someone else’ relationship, I don’t think it is too much to ask that you try and look at it from both sides first.  Cheating is a gender stereotyped issue and thus we need to ensure that we flip the narrative and judgement every once in a while, if for nothing else, than to give hope to the future generations that cheating will be discussed more fairly and judged on individual merit and not just gender sway.

I would love to hear your opinions on this, or lessons that you have learned when it comes to helping friends through indiscretions, so please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter.

The Latest Gender Debate in the Media – Transgender Actors

I just finished reading an article stating that Scarlett Johansson stepped down from the role she had agreed to play, whereby she was going to portray a transgendered person.  Obviously this has been a media shit storm from the onset, especially when it was announced that she would play this role and not someone who was transgendered themselves.  Now, I have a few thoughts on this.

Firstly, why did she need to step down or decline the role?  Why in the world does the general populous get to dictate what a producer, director, writer, etc wants or can do with their movie and their investments?  If you don’t like something, don’t go see it.  Pretty simple stuff.  And as we all know, social media is a skewed view of what the real world wants or will support.  It’s a platform that works based on the notion that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and might I just add, something I absolutely loath in real life.

Second, are transgendered people actually trying to state that unless you are transgendered yourself, then you are not qualified to understand, empathize or portray what you go through?  Is this group truly preventing actors from acting?  Honestly!  Do you need to be a pirate to actually portray one on the big screen?  No?  Well then, this whole debacle is ridiculous.  Now, if you are saying that this role would have been perfect to award to a qualified transgendered person for exposure, etc, then please understand that this mindset works both ways.  If only a transgendered person could properly fill these shoes, then you open yourselves up to the criticism that transgendered people are only fit for transgendered roles.  And if I am not mistaken, that’s not what acting is about.  It’s actually about portraying someone else, and convincing the audience that your role is authentic and believable.  You know, pretend and make believe, or dare I say, to act?

Third, if this media shit storm strikes the movie or project hard enough, it could lose investors and never be made at all.  And then guess what, you just lost an amazing opportunity to bring a role like this into the mainstream dialogue.  The exposure you risk losing, cannot possibly be worth this much fuss, can it?  This seems like simple math.  Would you like something, or nothing?

Fourth and finally, if you truly believe that only a transgendered person is qualified to act out this very important part, then guess what?  You have failed to portray to the public exactly how you feel as an outsider in society.  And not to put too fine a point on it, but you will remain a victim and an outsider.  Not every member of society will be able to understand exactly what your pain is.  But know that each of us have our own unique pain, and it is empathy that allows us to work together as a society to accept and love one another.  And you do not need to wear every single human beings shoes to accomplish that.  It is time to learn how to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a more effective way and stop playing the poor me card.  We all try that as young children, and guess what?  It does not fly in the adult world.  So time to pick a different tactic!

And honestly, these arguments I have put forward can be substituted for a long list of social justice warrior causes that are currently in the media.  Stop giving grease to the squeaky wheel, just because we don’t want to hear it squeak anymore.  Instead lets try to get to the root cause of the problem and try to fix that.

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It’s Calgary’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth Time Again!

Yes, that’s right, it is time for my annual post celebrating everything that I love about Stampede, from the sluts, to the men in tight jeans, and of course the ability to drink without shame at pretty much anytime of the day!  If you are like many of my readers who have yet to experience the Calgary Stampede, I can honestly tell you that it would be worth checking out at least once in your life.  From the rodeo, to the grandstand, rides, live music and parades, there is something for pretty much everyone.  And did I mention the booze?  Because, yes, there is a lot of it!

Now one of the first things you will notice is the daisy dukes and cowboy hats.  Next, you will probably notice that the entire city transforms into a western wonderland, ripe with window painting of horses, chuckwagons and everything that can wear a cowboy hat.  And if you want to sit down for a moment, why not try one of the hay bales found pretty much everywhere?  While you take a seat, enjoy the street performers and more enticing to me is the incredible people watching.  It’s basically one big party, where young and old celebrate this incredible 10 day festival.  I actually tear up the first time I see the rides each year, and smell that intoxicating scent of mini donuts!  Our community comes together, united by western pride, and it is freaking awesome.

Over the years I have written posts about stampede sluts, dress code, and one lamenting the first and only Stampede I have ever missed.  And while I never tire of the Stampede, I have watched so many of my fellow Calgarians poo-poo the Stampede.  They see the gross underbelly of our little festival.  The extreme expense, the same ole thing year after year, and the infuriating influx of tourists on our roadways.  I get it, it can be frustrating.  But, as the eternal optimist, I see the power that the stampede has.  And the incredible way that brings people together.  For nearly a decade every time I went to the grounds I would run into my first childhood friend.  It was never planned, and was equally exciting to both of us each and every time we saw each other.  And if you consider that the grounds can get upwards of 100’000 people per day, it truly is serendipitous that something like that could happen.

I love watching my city transform for those few days.  And I love the sense of pride in seeing my city rally together to celebrate this annual time of year.  And of course, I love the freedom to dress as slutty as I want so long as I have added some sort of western flair.  It’s an outdoor event!  And it’s great… and I love it!  So go, Woop it up!  And give a little Yee Haw to your fellow cowboy or cowgirl.  So, go hog wild, have some fun.  And please, if you hook up with someone new, please practice safe sex, because I don’t want to have to keep writing posts about infidelity and STI’s in the aftermath of Stampede!

I have added a little Stampede fun on my Patreon page!  There may be a cowboy hat… 😉

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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Drama Free on Non-Monogamous Profiles

Oh for the love of… just stop!  Using drama free as a tagline or whatever in your online dating profile especially on the non-monogamous ones is just bad from!  My stance on this should not be any surprise if you have read any of my online dating tips and tricks (feel free to search them out in my sidebar).  And I would love to just leave this one alone, but as the non-monogamous dating pool is super tiny, I figure this particular topic needs its very own post.  When I see that someone or a couple wants “drama free” in their non- monogamous profile, it the opposite of what I assume is the desired effect for the author.  For me, it is a huge red flag, so much so that I am actually turned off.  And as I see it so frequently, let me tell you a few reasons why I feel you should remove it from your profile if you are currently using it.

First up, it is such an unnecessary thing to write, in fact it borders on just being a ridiculous statement.  Does anyone actually seek out drama, and if so, are those people really ones you want to hang around with?  To put another way, have you ever noticed that the people in your life that are super concerned about avoiding drama are the ones who have the most of it?  Yes? No? Maybe? Well, look around.  Drama, is surprisingly enough very easy to avoid.  Simply put, don’t get involved in other people’s shit, especially when it has nothing whatsoever to do with you.  Because the reality is you probably have enough going on in your own life without putting your nose in other people’s business.  Life is complicated, relationships are complicated, play on your own turf!  And trust me, your life will be so much simpler and calmer if you focus on your own problems, and leave other adults to do the same, unless they ask for your help or advice.

Next up, what does “no drama” really mean?  Well, my first impression is usually that you are just looking for no strings attached sex (or NSA).  But rather than putting that you want NSA on your profile, like a mature human who knows what they want, you instead choose to sugar coat it with an over encompassing buzz word.  And it’s almost brilliant because if any feelings develop, or you get into a situation that you are not emotionally able to handle you can use the clever excuse that you said “drama free” right from the start.  And therefor you absolve yourself from having to deal with anything above and beyond intercourse.  You are soooooooo clever.

Third, part of being non-monogamous in an ethical and mature manor is knowing how to communicate.  And if you have been in the lifestyle for any length of time, you have probably stumbled with your partner and realized that you truly had no clue what good communication really was, is, and everything in between.  So for the people who believe that drama free is the ideal in the lifestyle, I have to ask you to take a picture of the view from your glass house and then send it to me.  If you are not able to ask a couple out, politely decline an invitation for sex, breakup with a couple or even talk about safe sex and the dreaded we made a mistake (STI, STD, or breach of trust) then you have no business being in any relationship outside of monogamy.  And based on what I see on online forums there are a great many people out there who believe that one form or another of the above list constitutes as drama and something that they do not have time in their lives to deal with.  Here’s a new flash, humans are complicated and fallible.  If you honestly think you can avoid dealing with all the so-called drama, then you are going to CRASH AND BURN!  Again, humans make mistakes, and you cannot completely isolate yourself from the emotions of others.  And if my understanding of the word drama is accurate, emotions could definitely constitute as a deal breaker or something you are trying to avoid.

So, let’s be clear here, people who seek out drama are not fun to be around.  People who avoid drama are equally as bad because honestly, I need to trust that if shit hits the fan, you can deal with it like a grown up!  If that is not the case, you are not getting near my body!  On a side note, that’s why people at clubs who get a little too intoxicated really turn me off.  I don’t find volatility sexy, especially because I have worked so freaking hard on my own emotional control, I know that if I can learn to control myself, you can too.  So please, remove “drama free” from your profile.  It’s sending the wrong message.  We are all trying to find our own brand of fun.  And if there is something specific you don’t want to encounter, say that.  Stop using all encompassing buzz words that do not convey accurately the type of relationship or interaction that you seek.

Did you know I post behind the scenes pictures on my Patreon?  Definitely worth a little look…