12.07.2016

Embrace And A Reminder That the Personal Is Political



I went to see a special screening of the documentary movie "Embrace" a couple nights ago with some friends. It's a doc by Taryn Brumfitt, following her as she meets and interviews people from around the world who have something to say about women's body image. You might know Taryn from a pic that went viral a while back. It's how she got into this game.

Taryn Brumfitt's 'Before and After' viral photo she originally posted to Facebook
Embrace
So, the movie is about something very simple that we all somehow know and don't know at the same time. It's about that ideal female body that the world tells us we need to strive for, and it's about how unachievable that ideal is; how draining of our emotion and time it is to pursue; how that ideal female body does not necessarily coincide with a healthy body. It's also about how deep and all-encompassing the feelings of insecurity about our appearance are - how none of us are immune.

It was a touching movie. It, as you might imagine, rang true for the audience, and it sparked some discussion certainly among my friends, and I'm sure among others in the audience too. You should fo sho check this movie out if you get a chance - and take your friends and kids and nieces and nephews with you. It's a good way to pull this subject to the forefront so you can speak it out loud with yourself and your closey-close people.

The Personal
It brings to mind a phrase I've been thinking about a lot lately. The Personal Is Political. People use that phrase with varying meaning, but in my head I see it as having to do with realizing that there are things we feel as very personal shortcomings or failures that are actually things springing more from our cultural situation than from any personal choices. I've read about the feminist Consciousness Raising Groups from the 70's and how women, when they started talking #RealTalk about their lives and their worries, found all the other women around them shared those same worries - and that gave them a clue about what kinds of issues were feminist issues that could improve with activism.

 I imagine in these Consciousness Raising Groups there's a woman named Alice or something talking about how pathetic she felt for the sorry state of her housekeeping skills compared to other women, and all the other women were like;
"Hells No!!! All us other women here have felt like you were the epitome of housekeeping, and we were all like - 'wish we could keep our house like Alice. She does it all effortless and shit.' Now you tellin' us you spend an extraordinary amount of time on that, and it's exhausting, and you try hard to make it look effortless and you still feel like your housekeeping doesn't compare to ours...Shit...our minds are blown."
Then they start talking about how all the advertising makes them feel lesser than their peers, and how they are encouraged in varying ways not to show that kind of weakness to other women, but what mindblowingly amazing relief it is to share all that with other women - to know you are not alone - to know you are normal and not crazy or pathetic. And then just that simple step of really knowing that their worries stem from something much larger than themselves changes so much about how they experience their life and how they will interact with the culture - politics included.

Our Bodies
Women's position in our world has expanded and improved in a lot of ways since the 60's, but in some very important ways we have not made much progress. I venture to say the more personal they are the less progress we've made.

Embrace hits on one of those more personal issues - pressing us to acknowledge the insanely unattainable level of youth and beauty we are expected to strive for; showing us how many women internalize and suffer from the process of obtaining or maintaining that high level and how even those we think have obtained it still suffer. It's like we're in a sort of modern Consciousness Raising Group and getting that kind of solidarity that reminds us we are not alone and that the culture needs to change in order for us to really affect our personal situation...and just the fact of actively knowing that, begins to change the culture.

Our Orgasms
And since everything for me gets seen through the lens of female orgasm, it made me immediately think about the deeply personal topic of a woman's ability to gain pleasure and/or orgasm from sexual interactions - particularly with men. This is still a topic that women feel incredibly sensitive about. There is still a strong sense that admitting weakness in this area, to both our male partners, to our female friends, and even for ourselves, could be more harmful than putting up a strong, effortless sexual facade.  In fact, the feeling that a normal woman should (when with a man she loves) be happy with her sex life and be orgasmic through normal male-female intercourse has such a strong and all-encompassing hold over us that it's hard to even see our experience in a way that isn't colored heavily by what we believe is normal.

So, I hope the feelings of personal shortcomings and failure that often plague women's sense of their own sexuality can also be eased by learning that most other women have some level of those feelings too and that the way we fit into cultural norms is more the problem here than our personal actions and capabilities. In that spirit, I think women need to keep hearing (and I'll keep saying)...
  • that the way we tend to have sex puts women but not men at an orgasm disadvantage
  • that our clitoris, not our vagina, should be the focus if orgasm is the goal
  • that oh yeah, men almost always have their organ of sexual pleasure stimulated during sex but the clitoris, women's organ of sexual pleasure, tends only to get direct stimulation in the context of 'extra' stuff - 'extra' giving us a clear indication lady orgasm is simply not deemed as important; 
  • that clues big and small all over our culture tell us that 'other women' have no problem being orgasmic during sex and that it's a problem if we aren't; 
  • that it's actually completely sensible if you have no real idea about how you or other women physically orgasm or how all your parts work down there because there is such a lack of accurate information and such an abundance of misinformation out there; 
  • that there is every indication that female bodies are as capable of quick, reliable orgasms as men, so the fact that women tend to have more problems than men orgasming in partnered sex but not when we masturbate means the problem is with how we are doing the nasty together and not with our bodies.
  • that we need larger cultural activism to fully address these feelings of personal shortcomings and failure;
  • that actively learning about all this begins to change how we interact with our world which can then change the larger culture

More Talk 
Anyway, I think what really struck me after watching Embrace was how important it is for women to speak with other women about deep shit. How we feel about our bodies and our ability to orgasm and our sexual life is deep shit. It's deep shit because it is embarrassing and because for those topics there is such a distance between how we're supposed to be and how we are. We are not sure footed. We don't know how to straddle these subjects properly, and I think learning that other women are similarly shakey about all this can ground us and help us find strength to look at our situation in a different, more realistic way, and that in turn will change us, change our activism, and change the world...because sometimes the personal really is political .



12.03.2016

Random Male Hite Report #20



Hello, friends. It's time for another Random Hite Report! In 1976, Shere Hite dropped The Hite Report where she compiled detailed survey answers from over 3,000 women about sex, masturbation, orgasms, and relationships. It's insane to me how revolutionary this book still is. Read it, seriously. We really haven't changed that much in 40 years, and it's an incredibly insightful read.

Then in 1981, she dropped The Hite Report on Male Sexuality where over 7,000 men give detailed answers about sex, relationships, and women. It too is revolutionary, and the honesty, vulnerability, and detail in this book is so important and moving. I think everyone should read this too. So, I give you a taste every now and then to entice you to get these books. Seriously, they are both like 1 cent online.



Anyway, what I do is flip to one random page and copy the contents of that page, no more-no less, directly onto this blog. Enjoy.

 The Hite Report on Male Sexuality
Knopf, 1981 pg 441

The following page is in the section called 'Relationships With Women' in a chapter called Portraits of Marriage.


"...would have to guess at it, but some of the relationships were as often as three or four times a week and sometimes with two different women at the same rate.
    "Since my present marriage, which is happy as I think one could be, I have had intercourse with my former second wife on two occasions, with a former bed partner who was probably the most sexually desirable woman I ever bedded, and the other one was a girl that for years I wanted to bed and when the opportunity came about eighteen months ago I did so, but was so conscience-stricken I did not go back when I could have. I think it is not too likely I will stray much again, although I think part of this is due to age rather than any great amount of honesty on my part.
    "I do not think these affairs in the past had any effect on my marriages - I was conscious of none. They have had none in this marriage and she does not know about them. I think she would break my neck if she did."

"I am married and have been for two years. Most of the time I enjoy the married life, but there are times when I would sooner be single again. I think most married couples feel this way from time to time, but it would take a hell of a lot to make me leave my wife. I like to think I am married because I love my wife and want to spend the rest of my life with her. I got married out of loneliness, I guess. I did not want to be alone and my wife was the only person who seemed to fill the lonely space in my life. In many ways sex with my wife has become routine. I don't like it, but my wife seems to be happy with it, or at least she never indicates a change is needed. So to get the change, the spice I need, I have taken to finding casual lovers.
    "Complete monogamy, to me, is only in the thoughts of idealists in our society. One man or woman spending the rest of their life being totally with only one person is not possible. I don't think one person can give another person everything they want or need. I know my wife cannot give me everything I need and I know I can't give my wife everything she wants. True, there are a lot of couples who say they are completely happy, but I'll bet that this is just talk to many of them. Of course it would make life a lot easier if everybody could find one person who could take care of all their wants and needs, but I am afraid life just isn't like that.
    "My extramarital experiences were not of the open marriage type. If my wife ever asks me about them i will tell her truthfully, even try to explain to her why I had them even though i am sure she will not understand. But, until she asks, I will not bring them up because it would hurt her and I do not want to hurt her, ever.
    "It may be guilt, it may be something else, but after each one of the extra sex experiences I have had, I seem to be more in love with my wife. Or maybe it's that I can bear up for a little longer without imposing my will on my wife - since she does not seem to need sex or intercourse as often as I do. In a way, I guess. my casual affairs outside marriage are holding my marriage together. These affairs of mine have had little effect on sex with my wife. When she does show some interest, I am more than happy to make love with her, but until she does show interest I have my affairs.
    "In the beginning, I was very much in love with her. We worked together..."

11.28.2016

Vintage SSL - costume pics from 2009.



So, for fun, I'm going to post this super duper vintage SSL post (with only a tad of updates). This was back in early 2009 when we were preparing to shoot what would become the movie Science, Sex and the Ladies. Back then, the blog was just about the movie. I hadn't really started doing the critiques and stuff like that. I had always meant it to be about the movie and also a place to continue the discussion the movie started, but I didn't really know what that would look like at the time. Plus, I was deep into making this movie, so naturally that's what I wrote about mostly. Anyway, it took us until 2014 to release it, but this, my friends was the start of productions, and it was fun. Below is the trailer for SSL - and you might just find some of the costumes we were stestin out in there.



 
Science, Sex and The Ladies from AnC Movies on Vimeo.


Vintage from April 4th 2009

So we had a blast on the 29th. We layed out all our clothing (it filled two rooms) and had the cast rummage through with great direction from Pat Eberle and Cathy Quinn helping to get period pieces right. We think we found a lot of gems. Check em out below.




My mom (up top) and my Aunt Cathy (talking to me) made a big ol' meal for everyone. They even brought flowers to make it beautiful. I also wanted them there to help give their opinion in the 50's, 60's and 70's era stuff. they were quite useful.



Rosalind Our Hairdresser was in attendance giving us a lot of great ideas. She's posing her with Barnaby




This is a rack of our clothes.












Ten of those outfits above made it into the actual movie.







11.24.2016

I feel weird and it's Thanksgiving and I write a blog



Right now, well the last 3 to 4 months really, I've been struggling to keep up with this blog. I vowed years ago to write 2 to 3 posts a week, every week. And I have. It's become a habit, and I get it done - sometimes I put up fluff just to get something up, and sometimes I write better things. It hasn't ever been a burden or chore either...I mean, it's been rough at times buckling down and getting the words out the way I want to get them out and all that, but I love the work. I have more topics and ideas I want to write posts about than I think I'll ever have time for.

So, the struggle these last months hasn't come from not liking the writing anymore or not feeling like I have things I want and need to write about. It's just that I've had a lot of shit happen, and I've lost a lot of my time and focus. I've been putting a lot more fluff up than I would like, and I can't even imagine putting the time and energy into doing a journal article summary right now. I LOVE those damn journal article reviews. They're my favorite thing to do, and I think they're maybe some of the most useful things I do on this blog. Even though I'm not sure if anyone actually uses them much at all, I think they have value...and I want this blog to have value. I want it to be this wierd resource for understanding what's happening out there with media depictions, journal articles, advocacy, advising, and pop science when it comes to female orgasm. So, it makes me feel a little bad when I think I'm writing more fluff than better stuff. So there's that.

I just wanted to say that. Not that I haven't written stuff in the last 3 months I've been proud of, I just feel like I lost speed on those quite a bit, and I want you all to know (because it matters to you so deeply, I'm sure) that I'll get back up to speed. It just might take a while.

The thing is, my family has had some crazy ass health problems. We got through one of them, and we're still smack dab into another. My mom is fighting cancer right now, and it sucks, but we'll get through this somehow, and life will move forward as it always does.

So, with all that said and this being Thanksgiving and all,  I want to thank you for reading the crap I write because I care about that crap, and it means something to me that you sometimes do too. I also want to tell you I'm thankful for so much and one of those things is the fact that I got to create a movie with some of my best friends about a subject for which I feel incredibly passionate, and that I get to continue talking and writing and thinking on that subject every day through this blog. I find a lot of joy in doing it.

So, this is pretty ramble-y, but I just have a lot of emotion in me right now and not a lot of time, and this is what I wanted to say. Lots of love to you all. and btw, I'm also very thankful for the privilege of internet meeting all you really cool people I've met through Science, Sex and the Ladies. You are all so very bad ass.

Also, here's a pic of my mom donating a Sunday afternoon in 2009 to be in her youngest daughter's strange, crazy movie about the female orgasm. That's some love, ya'll - and I'm thankful as hell for her too.

My mom on the set of  Science, Sex and the Ladies

11.20.2016

Alexandra Rubinstein And Her Sexy, Funny, Poignant Activist Art



Well, thanks to the internet and Huffpost and Buzzfeed and all that, I learned of an artist named Alexandra Rubinstein and her POV paintings of famous men going down in a series she calls "A Dream Come True (Celebrity Cunnilingus)."

This one's called "Breakfast Hamm," but you should check them all out HERE. You'll also find Drake, and Bieber, and Obama (called "Thanks Obama"), and many more.

"Breakfast Hamm" by Alexandra Rubinstein
So, I went to check her out, and I have to say, she's bad ass as hell, people. This isn't her first rodeo. She's been at this game for a minute, and that game is speaking up about the giant gaping lack when it comes to a female perspective of sex, pleasure, orgasm, desire, and fantasy - in our media and in our culture in general.

Here's the deal. We live in a world that works hard to ignore the very simple fact that women need clitoral stimulation for orgasm. It ignores the truth that no scientific literature exists showing physical evidence of orgasm caused through stimulation of the inside of the vagina, and people often don't know that women are physically and biologically able to orgasm as quickly, easily, and reliably as men. So, all kinds of BS arises from these basic misunderstandings in our culture of how women physically orgasm. The way men and women have sexual encounters, the types of things that are sexy, the way sex and men and women are depicted in our media, and the expectations of sexual encounters all are affected heavily  - and women's orgasms, fantasies and desires are often the losers.

The wierd thing is, these ways we see sex and how women and men fit into sex are so deeply ingrained in us that it's hard to even notice it. But, if anyone is going to notice it and be pissed about it, it's a woman, and we need women like Rubinstein out there pointing out how our orgasms, desires, and fantasies are overwhelmingly overshadowed by male orgasms, desires, and fantasies. She is doing the good, tricky work of bringing attention to something that maybe people don't want to think about too much....and she's doing it in a fun way - so that people might actually look. I love it. It's great activism. This woman is a kick-ass artist, and I'm adding her to the Orgasm Equality Heroes List. So congrats on getting into a list you never even knew existed, Ms. Rubinstein!

But let me just go a little more into her repertoire because the famous men going down are not Rubinstein's only badass Orgasm Equality art.

 She's also got a series called "Thirsty" that takes old Playgirl pics and creates a wall mounted bottle opener from them.

'Greg' 12"x16.5" oil on Panel/Steel by Alexandra Rubinstein

How about the "I get it for the articles" series that also takes from old Playgirl pics and works that female gaze with images where the objects of our desire are masculine and sexy but also depicts them as soft and vulnerable.

'Allan' 11" x 14" Oil on canvas by by Alexandra Rubinstein

Maybe you'd like to check out the series "Into The Wild" where she imagines some of those vibrators that exist out there - you know, the ones that for whatever odd reason are shaped like animals - are back out in their natural habitats.

'Snow Bunny' 16" x 20" Oil on canvas by by Alexandra Rubinstein


Or maybe you want something from the "New Wave" series? Let me just quote her description, 'cause I like it, and I think she's right on about the need to refocus attention on how the personal is political for women.  "These poster-like paintings are inspired by past and present propaganda, pop culture and the recent wave of feminism, focusing on modern topics and drawing a connection between the personal and the political. Empowering women to take ownership of our bodies, treatment of our bodies, and language around our bodies, and framing gender equality as patriotic. The paintings were used as designs for t-shirts that were sold to spread the message and mimic the distributions and spread of propaganda."

'Eat It or Beat It' 15" x 20" Oil on canvas by by Alexandra Rubinstein


There's many others that you will enjoy. Seriously, check her site. She's awesome and we here at SSL thank you, Alexandra Rubinstein for your special brand of art activism. Brava!

Go check her out on the SSL Orgasm Equality Heroes List.

11.15.2016

Sex And The City S2 Ep 4: A Retro SSL Review



My new little segment is back for a 2nd round (Here's the first). It's a modified, lazy version of an SSL Review. It's just me transcribing my notes, page by page, on all of the Sex and the City episodes. I watched them all - not necessarily in order - during 2007 and 2008, and I took notes on the depiction/discussion of female orgasm and female masturbation. It was my early attempt at this type of lady-gasm review stuff. Anyway, I never actually created reviews from these notes, but since they exist, I'd like to get them out there on the interwebs before they get burned in a house fire or something...thus this series.

Ramona and my SATC Notes

Anyway, the fun of this will be that I will transcribe these as word for word as I can while still trying to make it be a sensible read. I'll post a pick of the notes for your reference. I'll do one or more episodes at a time - from the beginning of the notebook to the end. I may add notes for clarification. Hopefully these won't make me look like a dumb asshole. I will add them in the TV SSL Review Master List  (of course you are also welcome to check out the Movie SSL Review Master List as well). Here we go.

The SATC Notes 
Season 2 Ep 4
  • Miranda faked - 'cause it wasn't gonna happen then had to (again) 'cause she did it the last time.
  • (the women) talked about how important an orgasm was. Not for Charlotte, more for the others.
  • Miranda faked again - during intercourse.
  • Miranda says "look at shows - he climbs on top and she comes." She says it's stupid and then says, "It's my clitoris not the sphinx."
  • But then Sam said "if I had a son I'd teach him all about the vagina."
  • The Red says the her guy she fakes with said he loves that she can come when he fucks her." She says, "How do guys think they can just fuck me and cum. don't they know better?"
  • Red tells him she faked it and he asks for help to get her off. She says, "Do you know how the clit works?." "Yes." "Well it's about 2 inches from where you think it is."
  • She's teaching dude to make her cum and is reverse cowgirl bumping (fucking) - still isn't coming, but fakes just to be nice and 'cause he learned so much. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Validates yet digs on faking orgasms
  • transfers word vagina for clit easily
  • Shows intercourse as valid way to get women to come - but only if done right - makes it seem tricky
  • Shows faking as not abnormal
  • brings clit up as important


My Thoughts
Re-reading my notes here, this seems like one of the more interesting episodes in regard to lady-gasms because it strikes pretty directly at THE major cultural misconception about how women come As Miranda (when I say Red up there that means Miranda too - she has red hair) points out, women orgasm from clitoral stimulation and not, as popular belief would have you believe, from intercourse. It seems like Miranda articulated this more directly than you normally see in these episodes, but then in classic Samantha style, she brought up vaginas when the gals were clearly talking about how dudes specifically ignore clits too much...so it kinda watered down the whole clit love thing this episode could have had going on. But it's cool anyway. 

Oh - and man, I get that you wanted to be nice and all, Miranda, but you can't teach a dude that he needs to stimulate your clit and then fake a 'gasm while he's banging your vagina. You just lose sooooo much ground. We women need to stop feeling like we need to be nice and stop putting our partner's pleasure so far before our own that we don't even get any pleasure in return. You know who does need to be nice and listen to directions and prioritize their partners pleasure a bit? The dudes we're having sex with, that's who. 

11.11.2016

Sad As Shit To Remember How America Feels About Women



Pre Election
If you're not okay with a grown woman in a gym doing bicep curls while crying to the new Lady Gaga album Joanna, then you can kiss off because that is how I'm rolling these days.



The Sunday before election Tuesday, my sister invited me to the super secret, not that secret FB group Pantsuit Nation and guess what? I bawled my eyes out reading all the posts with stories from people who were supporting Hillary Clinton for president all over the country. It was positive and kind and supportive and it really brought home the fact that having a woman president means something. Strangely, it hasn't been easy to show and feel that excitement for this piece of history because there is this thing that is said all the time about how much people hate her. I never did. I've always loved her - from the time I was a pre-teen and she was first lady. It's like people have been afraid to say how excited they were about HRC - but not in this FB group. I don't know you guys, it was just so...something...to see all that excitement. I'm not the only one. My friend Stephanie texted me asking if I was just sitting around liking every post, and I was. And she was. And we both were tearing up. And my sister was too. And so were a bunch of women I'm friends with. There are like 3 million people in it or something, but if your friends like the posts, it pops up, and clearly these lady FB friends of mine were also just sitting there and liking every damn post they saw - every post.

So that was Sunday night. I continued reading Pantsuit Nation posts throughout work on Monday and continued tearing up. Monday night, I'm all excited because it's election day tomorrow and I'm taking off work and me and Charlie are headed to the gym. He keeps up on new music like 50,000 times more than me and he plays some new Lady Gaga, and I like it, so I listen to it on Spotify while I'm working out. It's nice because I'm sweating and you can't tell much, but I'm a hot crying mess listening to her lovely voice. I've had only passing interest in Lady Gaga in my life so far, but now I'm suddenly hysterical mega fan #1. It's got this country feel and there's these songs about girl friendships and people coming together, and it's just all too much. I have all kinds of feels about coming together and sisterhood and progress and beauty and more love and all that shit. All of it. And I'm excited and nervous and full of something that I can't quite explain.

Election
Okay - so I wrote all that above on election day just before I headed out around 6:30pm to an election results watch party at my fellow AnC Movies dude / long-time friend Barnaby's parents house in beautiful Fortville, IN. It's now Friday. I wanted to keep all that above as is because I just wanted to.

So, we're on our way out there and we hear Indiana got called for Trump. It was the first to go. We went blue in 2008, and I had a small hope it would happen again. My stomach was doing flips the whole way out. Barnaby's mother, a woman I absolutely love for a hundred reasons, met me in her kitchen with a make-shift pantsuit on, and we squeezed each other and talked about how terrible our stomachs felt. She was straight up raised in the hills of North Carolina  - which also went blue in 2008, so she was hopeful for both her states to do it again too. We watched the 2008 election results in that very house in '08 and saw the first black man become president. I was with my parents and sister and her family and a bunch of other people I love very much.

It was a much smaller party this time. A couple of fairly recent Hoosier transplants were there too - people I feel really lucky to have met and grown close to over the last couple years. My stomach never got better (somehow I ate a bunch of crap though). We went outside for a while to walk it off a little, and then we went into the living room and watched more. I can remember looking at the TV and imaging myself punching it. We left at about midnight not completely certain Trump won, but pretty sure. Me and Charlie stayed up through his acceptance speech. I tried to sleep, but my stomach hurt and I couldn't stop crying and I wanted to sob loud and uncontrollably, but I felt stupid even though I know Charlie wouldn't have cared. So I went into the bathroom and sobbed but not loud or uncontrollably. We live in a one-bedroom and I was only about 15 feet from him.

Post Election
I had taken the next day off because I thought I'd just want to enjoy it - first woman president and all, but I ended up having to go into work from 10-12 for a meeting anyway, and I did and I did a pretty good job of not crying randomly. But I cried a lot. I'm still crying a lot. I feel like an insane person. I read friend's FB post or Pantsuit Nation posts, or I listen to Lady Gaga, and I tear up. I think of something and I tear up.

I don't know if it's that there was such a switch from hope and excitement to disappointment. I've never ever even shed a tear for an election outcome - I'm not normally that cry-y. I don't know if it's because the man who won felt so mean - like the villain in an 80's movie won the lottery, got the nice girl, and fucked over the nice guy instead of getting his comeuppance. I don't know if it was because I felt like the woman who lost was so misunderstood and so thoroughly fucked over by a lifetime of immersion in a world soaked in lady-type-things-distaste and topped off by a campaign filled with judgement colored deeply and stealthily with misunderstanding of how women must move in the world and in politics. Or maybe it was that the man who won seemed like the very face of 'the man' - a rich old asshole who does what he wants, says what he wants, hurts who he wants, finds power in making others less powerful, and is just kinda mean - but succeeds anyway. It's gross. It might also be that his VP is the former Indiana governor who put forth some of the meanest, most restrictive and thoughtless abortion laws in the country and also one of the shittiest anti-LGBT laws in the country. Or maybe it was because the KKK endorsed him or that he not only never got Black Lives Matter - he was incredibly shitty and dismissive about it. Maybe it was the heartless crap he said about immigrants and refugees.

From where oh where did that seething sadness arise? 
Honestly, I'll admit that I am pissed and worried about all the racist, anti-abortion, and anti-LGBT kinds of things, but I don't think that's what has stirred all the raw emotion up from the pit of my stomach. I think maybe it's just the sudden feeling that people still really prickle at women doing things that don't fit comfortably in our understanding of womanly-ness - that compounded by the knowledge that a man who very outwardly said raggedy ass nasty shit about women was rewarded for that raggedy ass shit. It is somehow sad to me in a very deep way.

I spend so much of my time and energy thinking about the reality that women all over the world engage in consensual hetero sex acts that result in orgasm for the man but not the women. I think about why we do that. I think about how strange it seems that women have a clit in our genital area that can be stimulated to orgasm just as quickly, reliably, and easily as a penis can be, but we don't often do it, and men don't often do it, and sometimes neither of us even know that we can do it. I think about what it is that makes this very simple pleasure. a pleasure women can obtain using nothing more complex than our own bodies, seem so unreachable, so foreign, and so invisible to so many when it doesn't need to be.

I think about all that and I do something almost every single day to make other people wonder those things too. It definitely sucks sometimes because often I feel like I'm talking to a brick wall. I mean isn't it kinda insane that women are being hoodwinked by the very make-up of our world to believe that somehow orgasm is essential and glorious for males during sex, but it's either non-essential, impossible, or not really on the table for women? Isn't it some crazy anti-lady bullshit hidden in plain sight? Why don't people care more? I mean, how toxic to the ladies is this culture if this can feel normal to both men and women?

I know it's something deep I'm fighting against. I know that truth as solidly as I know I am alive. And, I also know logically that it's not just an isolated instance of our culture being harder on women. I know it is merely a grotesque piece of a larger poison in our culture. I know it, and it's sad, but like most women, I can mostly ignore the sadness of that reality. I can pretend that it's not that bad or that deep. I can pretend that I am untouched by it's slithering, secret tentacles that live both outside and inside me.

Clearly, I can't and don't ignore the orgasm piece the way I seem to with the rest of the puzzle. I mean, I spend lots of my time noticing and writing about that one orgasm piece. It's also not like I haven't felt a similar weird pang of sadness and desperation about the reality of our culture's outlook on ladies and our orgasms. I have, but it was over time. I'm hardened to it in a way because I've lived with it so long, and I have a plan and I know how to argue it and I do argue it and I know sometimes I make a small difference, and I keep moving forward, and it's okay.

Then I see that a man will become President of the United States of America who embodies all that cultural meanness towards women, and I suddenly realize that people saw it in the light of day, and didn't say, "What the Fuck? No."  They said, "Okay, that's fine." Men and women said this. So, it was like a gut punch reminding me that all the toxicity in our culture making people feel like our f'd up understanding of female orgasm is normal - that toxicity also makes us feel like the things Trump embodies is normal. Our sense that women don't need, deserve, or can even have orgasms is sitting there with all the shitty feelings about our appearance and our worth, and I know, as solidly as I know I'm alive, that all that stuff is as deep, as hard to verbalize, and as hard to fix as the the orgasm stuff, and that's fucking depressing.  I'm not hardened to that yet, and I don't know if I ever will be because the problem seems too big for me to make a dent in. At least I have a plan for the orgasm stuff.  So, it's just...sad in a way that makes me feel it in my whole body.

Let's review this man's bullshit nastiness about women
Seriously, our president will be a man that did not even have the basic decency to hide his shitty attitude about women. He's a man that:

  • Openly spoke about how easy it was to sexually assault women to Billy Bush in a bus
  • A man who tweeted "26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?"
  • A man who retweeted "If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband, what makes you think she can satisfy America?"
  • A man who said in a 1991 Esquire interview of the importance of arm candy, "It doesn't really matter what (the media) writes as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of a**."
  • A man who the Telegraph quoted as super arrogantly and likely obliviously saying, “All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
  • I don't even have room to go into the shit he said on Howard Stern. I mean Howard Stern himself said,“This is who Trump is...None of this was hidden...He was always bombastic. He always rated women. He always talked in a misogynistic, sexist kind of way, but he did it sort of proudly and out in the open. And he still won the Republican primary.”

No sir. He won the Presidency, and above is just a bit of it, and just the stuff about the ladies.

I'm still very raw and emotional about this, and I'm still processing everything. I do feel crazy for how sad and emotional I feel about this, but fuck it. I feel this way, and I'm not a particularly dramatic person. I think I feel this way because I should feel this way when the leader of my country openly shows me that he thinks something I am is a lesser thing - a thing for him to use as he pleases and not respect. I should feel this way, and so should all the other people he and his VP have openly told us are not important or even respectable in their eyes. We should be sad and we should be mad, and we should be vigilant.

Some nicer things to leave you with
As a parting gift, I want to post one of my fave (I like a lot though) songs from Joanne, and as I was getting a video for it, I realized there was a live version from a Hillary Clinton Rally. Love both them bitches.


11.07.2016

5 Movies Involving Politics #DirectedByWomen



I started doing this categorized List of 5 movies thing where I showcase movies that were directed by women and that I have actually seen. It all started during the Directed By Women Worldwide Viewing Party in September, and it was pretty fun, so I've continued doing it from time to time.

It's a bit off-topic from my normal fare, ya know, being that it's not specifically about lady-gasms or anything like that, but I think it fits the blog because
1. this blog is also about indie movie-making, and
2. this blog is partially about getting the female perspective of sexuality into our media. So, to me, supporting female voices in our media  means we're creating more room for female voices to speak on all types of things, which sometimes will be sex, orgasms, and sexuality. You can find all my 5-movie lists HERE.

So, since today is a very special day here in the U.S. - the day before we elect our 45th President, I decided to give you a LIST OF 5 MOVIES INVOLVING POLITICS. Some are from older lists. Some are ones I haven't posted yet, but all are directed by ladies. I, for one, am a mix of excited and nervous tonight, and if you are as well, then maybe one of these movies would serve you well. So, make sure your plant to vote tomorrow is air tight, get comfy, whip up some election eve snacks (red, white, and blue cupcakes, maybe?), and watch some politically themed movies to pass the time. 


1 Weiner - This one is directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg. This is about that wiley 'ol' NY congressman who got caught sending dick picks. This might be most related movie in this list to this particular election given that the recent FBI investigation into Weiner's sexting with an underage gal turned up some emails from Weiner's wife (seperated...of course) Huma Abedin...and since she's a top staffer for Hillary Clinton, the FBI kinda re-opened Clinton's email server case like 10 days out from the elections, and then went through the emails and 2 days before the election said something like - 'uh, well there's nothing problematic in those emails actually, sorry to get everyone all excited.' Point is,Weiner has actually played a part in this very presidential campaign. Also, this was actually a pretty interesting doc that I would recommend for sure.






2 Suffragette - This was directed by Sarah Gavron. I caught this in the theaters when it came out, and although this is British suffragettes not American ones, it's still political and damn relevant. The deal is that women all over the world worked their asses off, sacrificed all kinds of things and gave their lives to gain a say in their government. In fact, women all over the world are still doing that. So, if you're looking for some inspiration. This is a good one.





3 Selma - This was directed by Ava DuVernay. I saw this one in the theater too. This is a fabulous movie. If you haven't seen it, you should get to it. Like the movie above it's about people working their asses off, sacrificing all kinds of shit and even giving their lives for the rights they deserve. This one is American as hell though, but it's also universal because people all over the world have and are still having to do this work because the color of their skin. So,if you want more inspiration about how people can influence and use the political process for progress and betterment, and if  you need a little perspective about how rough the path is to real sustained cultural and political change - this is a good movie to see.




4 She's Beautiful when She's Angry - This was directed by Mary Dore. I saw this on Netflix, but I learned about it from a local organization called Gal's Guide to the Galaxy, made up of bad ass ladies who put on a pretty sweet event focusing on women movie makers. Anyway, this is a doc about the birth of the women's liberation movement  in the 60's and 70's. I loved seeing these women talk and see how far our politics and our culture have come. Also this, my friends, is the world ol' Hillary Clinton was stewed in as a young impressionable women, and having that kind of history in the White House is pretty exciting, am I right?




5 Billy Madison - This was directed by Tamra Davis. Now, yes, this is a comedy classic, but why did I add this to the 'movies about politics' list? Thanks for asking. It's because there is one brilliant clip from this movie that has been posted more than a few times over the past year as a response to some bat-shit crazy mumble jumble that has emerged from Donald J. Trumps mouth...and it's pretty perfect. Let's just call this a little cherry on the top of this political lady-made movie. Please do watch below. Enjoy.

11.03.2016

10 Reasons I'm Super Excited to Vote For Hillary Clinton



I am voting for Hillary Clinton, and it's not because she's the lesser of two evils. I think that's some weak BS. I'm voting for her because I think she'd be a good president. Now, normally I keep this blog pretty squarely in the realm of things like Orgasm Equality, or female orgasm journal article summaries, or TV or Movie reviews of depictions/discussions of lady-bation or lady-gasms, or the movie this blog is related to - ya know, things like that, but I'm making an exception this time because I want to write about Hillary and politics in general, and I'm classy and stuff.

My 3 favorites, HRC and the Broad City ladies

Let it be clearly known, however, that I'm no expert on really anything I'm going to write about, but neither are 99% of people talking about this stuff (and honestly, those of you who think you are, probably are not. Educated to some degree? Probably. Expert? - Unlikely). We are voters, not experts. We use what resources we have to make a decision, and frankly those resources are different for everyone. However, with a bit of humility and a touch of realism and a hint of common sense and logic, I think most people are capable of making an ok decision. And, I'm not disheartened that there is emotion in people's decisions or that not everyone is up to a particular standard of education about a particular set of topics. I think diversity in the electorate is not a bad thing - even if you think a lot of that diversity includes stupidity.

I am of the opinion that if everyone keeps trying and keeps talking and keeps radically and not so radically vying for their causes, things generally go in the right direction. I'm not saying it's all perfect, or good things happen quickly, or that shitty things don't happen. I'm just saying that we get to a better place where there is a new mix of good and bad shit in the world, but the mix is slightly better for more people and in more places, in my opinion, than that mix was, say, 50 years ago.

So with that said, here is my non-expert, somewhat educated, laced-with emotion, personal opinion about why I'm excited to vote for HRC for POTUS in 2016.

1 She's Got Mad Health Care Policy Cred
Heath Care is far and away my most number 1-est of reasons. Here's the deal. Health care - particularly the insurance part- in the US can be a hot trash heap of a mess. Now, for perspective, I'm not talking 3rd world deep poverty bad or anything, but for this being America and all - it sucks pretty hardcore and has for decades.

My husband and I lucked out and didn't need it much during the 8 years of our adult life we were without health insurance because it was too expensive (even though we were exactly the type of people who needed to be paying into it). Oh - but I have dealt and am dealing currently with large health care issues in my immediate family - and I've seen the havoc insurance BS wreaks. My parents both owned small businesses (and to be clear I'm not talking about the 'small businesses' I see politicians and shit on TV talk about with 20 employees and an high upper middle class lifestyle for the owner. I'm talking about what I've mostly grown up knowing as small businesses around me - having somewhere between 0 and 1 employees and affording a sometimes shaky working class lifestyle for an overworked owner). Years ago, after decades of paying into private health insurance, one heart attack and they were dropped - and the pre-existing condition made the only option state run healthcare, which was...oh...$900 a month, so that didn't work out for long. They, like many who were previously uninsured now have a plan though Obama Care, if you will. So that's good, but still, the confusion and bureaucracy and BS and insane cost that goes into dealing with the money/insurance part of health care has been enough to make me want to punch a hole in 50 walls.

The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) allowed a tiny kernel of light to come out of this massive shitstorm that is the American insurance system. I love that now we can't be denied for pre-existing conditions like my parent were. People can stay on their parent's insurance till they are 26 (I currently have a contract temp worker in my lab using this. She gets health insurance and can not worry too much while she has an entry level job with no health insurance - win-win). There are also 10 essential benefits all insurance must cover now. We didn't have that standard before and it includes thing like mental health and maternity and newborn care. Those are huge. Huuugge.

So, it's a start, but there's so much more to do. It still sucks, but if you were expecting Obama Care or any health care reform to wave its magic wand and make it all perfect, you can go back to your never-never world, because that's ridiculous. It's too complicated and too big, and there are too many opposing viewpoints about policy. Any sensible person should have known when Obama Care was passed that this was the beginning not the end. So, Lets. Keep. Going. If it gets gutted and then we have to wait another 2-40 years to get started reforming this garbage insurance situation again, I will lose my shit. I swear - I will lose my goddamn mind.

Hillary and her 'HillaryCare' in 1993ish
Hillary wants to keep going with this. Not a radical position - in fact, really the only sane one, so yes and yes again. I'm in. But more importantly about her in particular is that she's about as perfect a person as I could imagine to make serious and impactful changes to health care reform as anyone who has ever run for president. She clearly cares about this topic. She worked on it as First Lady of Arkansas, chairing the Arkansas’ Rural Health Advisory Committee — a group that worked to expand health care access within the state’s large rural population. She tried hard and failed at passing healthcare reform when she was First Lady - which to me means she has some deep, hard fought experience and learning that could come in real handy. And indeed she must have learned something because while still first Lady she helped create and pass State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to expand health care to a crap ton of America kids. This Boo knows her way around Healthcare reform. She must care about it because she didn't do this work because it was easy or because people liked her for it - because it wasn't and they didn't.

She has deep experience in the state and federal level, and she has 35 years of health care legislation knowledge. So, for my parents and my niece right now and for all the people (including myself) who will have to deal with the insurance system in the future, Hillary is who I want in the White House - 100%.


2 Pant Suits
Okay, so let me lighten the mood for a minute. The pant suits ya'll! There is something absolutely delightful about how she has embraced the pant suit as a symbol. She has a full-on sense of humor about the pant suit, with its oh-so-terrifying lack of classic womanly charm and its terribly terrible femi-nazi stank -  Hillary often makes jokes about them and her campaign offers the Everyday Pantsuit Tee.

I really do love how she soldiers on in good humor and bright businesswear. I mean, she has truly had enough scrutinizing about her clothing to create giant US-sized waves of visible shaking anger, but this bitch has class, and after many years of what I imagine has been clothing decision hell, she found a sensible, comfortable, might I even say cheery clothing style. She said, 'Fuck a skirt, bitches. Fuck a pantyhose. I got shit to do, and I will wear something profession and comfortable, hard to criticize, and rainbow beautiful! So gimme 'em all in every color!' And thus it was done, and the world was a better place...and she still got a lot of crap for her clothing, but maybe a little less.


3 She Listens
So, it sounds kinda silly, but Hillary Clinton, by all accounts, tends to listen to people. She goes on listening tours. She did it in Arkansas, and when she was first lady, and when she starts a campaign. Maybe it's a bunch of BS she's putting out there to show she cares or something, but maybe, just maybe, she actually tries to listen to people before she starts trying to legislate on behalf of them. I'm gonna bet it's more the latter than the former. From things said by her colleagues - the people who work for her, who've worked with her on causes, and from other legislators on both sides of the aisle - a fair amount of them do say she listens.

Hillary Listening Tour Monticello, Iowa April 14, 2015. Courtesy of HRC official FB page

Again, I know it sounds kinda silly to say she listens, but it seems to be a big part of her character and leadership style. And, honestly, isn't this what people always talk about wanting a politician or any leader really to do? - actually listen so they work towards what needs to be worked towards instead of just what they think needs to be work towards? Listening doesn't mean she always takes people's words and uses them to to great things or anything, but to me, it means she is informed, or at least is making an effort to be informed. And I think it means there is a level of empathy she must have with problems of this nation - because you cannot hear so many sob stories and not have at least a bit of empathy. I truly believe that.

3 She Changes Her Mind
Okay - I don't think Hillary is all over the board on issues at all, but I do know that she gets called a flip-flopper, and I also know that I like that she flips and flops on certain things. Here's the deal, I have never ever understood the worries people have about flip-flopping politician. I mean, I guess, if you say one thing and then another a minute later and then back to the old thing another minute later with no explanation, then you're just being irrational, but that's never what people mean when they say Flip-Flop. It's always that someone had a position and over a period of time it changed. AS. IT. SHOULD. If a politician has not changed her mind on a topic in 10 years, then she's probably not doing her goddamn job. Things changes over time. Information about it gets better. Circumstances change.

I very much want my politicians to change their minds, and I very much do not want the public giving them shit about it. Anyway, I actually really appreciate that she changes opinions and is not (usually) afraid to say she has and why. Mad Respect for not being stagnant - and that goes to all the politicians out there who dare to Flip Flop.


4 Straight Up Hella Experience For The Job
This one is simple. She has a lot of experience from a variety of angles. She's seen the White House from the perspective of a First Lady and from the perspective of Secretary of State. She was US Senator for 8 years introducing 361 pieces of legislation. She's seen state politics as a quite active First Lady in a rural southern state. She was a junior lawyer on the impeachment inquiry staff during the Watergate scandal. She worked at the Yale Child Study Center and served as staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund. She has also worked in a private Little Rock law Firm. She knows her shit, people - public, private, state, federal, executive, legislative and judiciary.

Hillary Clinton running for US Senate courtesy of Hillary For President official website

5 She Knows Her Way Around Politics
Okay, so piggybacking from that whole experience element I just spoke of, let me just say I have no problem with her being a life-long politician. In fact, I find it a positive. I realize there are a lot of folks out there who cry and moan about about how terrible it is that politicians are so all up in politics, that they are too part of the political system, but jesus h. christ people, how do you think political work gets done?...by people new to politics creating change through the pure innocence of their hearts and righteous knowledge of how things should be?

I get that being in politics for a long time can create corruption, but, and hear me out, it can also creates people who know what they are doing and know how to get things moved through a messy and complicated system...and in the kind of gridlocked federal government we're seeing right now, I really like the idea of someone who knows how things work and how to maneuver.

Take for instance that Wikileaked part of a speech she gave to the National Multi-Housing Council in 2013 where she said you have to have a private and public position on policy. Seems bad, but when I read it, seemed to me she was speaking quite openly and pragmatically about how to Get. Shit. Done. The 'sausage-making' (this term she used is a slightly gross buzz-word used in my job quite a bit as well) of creating policy is messy and slightly distasteful, and people probably don't always want to see it in its full glory - she speaks about the way Lincoln did this sausage-making way back when he was getting the 13th amendment passed. Her point in the speech actually seemed quite sensible and rather accurate to me.

I mean, did politicians who would like to see gay marriage legalized in 1992 really say that aloud to the public back then? Probably not often because in most places it was still too controversial to get them elected, and if you are not elected, you can't do anything at all. You lose your chance to make progress because you wouldn't make the compromises you needed to make to get elected. If you are elected, though, maybe you can make a little progress and grease the wheels for better policy in the future.

Policy making is like activism, I think. Neither is always about what is the absolute right thing to do, but about what is both possible to do and also gets things closer to right...so yeah, it sounds icky, but it's also probably quite honest to say there needs to be both private and public policy in order to get things done. This, I believe is how pretty much all politicians work to some degree because it's necessary.

The question, I guess, is do you trust that the politician in question is generally doing those backroom maneuverings and making those compromises with generally good intentions and in a generally positive direction? This is an emotional question and calls for a little bit of faith, but I think there is a lot to be gleaned from looking at what has stayed consistent about a politician's work and what their long game seems to have been. For me, Hillary's seems to actually be about fixing big problems like health insurance and making the world a better, more inclusive place for the future generation.

6 She's Actually Largely Honest When She Speaks
So part of my faith in her comes from the simple fact that Hillary generally scores quite well on fact checking compared to other politicians. She seems to at least try to say things in an honest way. She seems to not be too overzealous in her assertions, and frankly, I can't find any of these huge terrible scandals that she supposedly has had that hold any water. I mean she gets into some shit here and there like most politicians, but nothing that makes me think she's a corrupt person with largely bad intentions.

Seriously. Here's Politifact, Here's her FactCheck.org file. Here's her Snopes File. Go for it. Read up on everything you want. There's just nothing that exciting there - and compared to all the intense crap she gets for how corrupt she is and for how much people dig into her stuff - you'd think there would be something truly glaring and terrible in there somewhere. I mean this lady even got emails Wikileaked that were about campaign strategy, private speeches and secret 'sausage-making' stuff like that, and there just wasn't really anything that bothersome. Seriously, go read through the parts of the speeches that were leaked - they were snippets that the campaign worried might look the worst out of all her paid speeches...and they just weren't that bad.

So, given all the accusations and searching, and the very little that has been legit dug up - I'd say it makes me think this lady is pretty clean.

7 She Is Clearly The Future
Okay - again, can I go back to the pant suits? Let's be honest. A lot of the time she goes a step further and is clearly dressing as though she were on a Utopian planet from an episode of Star Trek Next Generation. Obviously this is awesome, and I love it, but let's be even more honest. This is a very good thing for the world. How do you expect to go into a bright, Utopian future if we don't have a leader wearing the tradition garb of Utopian futures?



8 She Has A Long History Of Working For Children's Issues
Something I didn't know about her till recently was that for her post graduate work she researched and authored a pretty important and fundamental paper about children's rights under the law. From her Wikipedia site,
"Her first scholarly article, 'Children Under the Law', was published in the Harvard Educational Review in late 1973. Discussing the new children's rights movement, it stated that "child citizens" were "powerless individuals" and argued that children should not be considered equally incompetent from birth to attaining legal age, but instead that courts should presume competence except when there is evidence otherwise, on a case-by-case basis. The article became frequently cited in the field."
HRC as First Lady of Arkansas

As I said before she worked for the Children's Defense Fund and The Yale Child Study Center. She has a long history from Arkansas to the White House to the Senate of advocating for better childcare, child health care, foster care, and children's rights. It really is important to me to have a leader with an eye towards making life better for the nation's children. She is informed about these things, and she has a history of working to get better policy for children - so that's pretty much awesome if you ask me.

9 She Leans Toward Kind And Inclusive Policy
This is actually pretty big for me. Overall, I want to see marginalized people - people who are very poor, disabled, of minority races and religions, mentally disabled, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc. gain equal rights under the law and appropriate respect and opportunity in our culture. That is important to me. I have friend and family and co-workers who fall into some of these categories and who very much need policy to give them the protections they deserve.



I do believe from what she's done and worked on in her life that Hillary Clinton feels similar to me on this, but more important to me than her personal feelings is that she supports and represents a party with good policy intentions about these things because the president, in the end, is not all powerful, and they will be supporting their party line. Will all the things get done and in a timely manner? Probably not. Sadly, many of these are not an easy fights, but it's very important to me that I support a candidate for president representing a platform that at least says the rights of marginalized people, the rights of many of my friends and family, are important - because that is a movement in the right direction.

10 She Gets Shit Done
This is merely one situation here, but to me, it speaks volumes. Hillary Clinton, as First Lady, failed at getting healthcare reform passed. She was heavily criticized from all angles - the Republicans, of course, but also from Democrats and Industry. What did she do? She tried something else that would help people afford and access quality healthcare. She worked with a Republican and Democrat to get the SCHIP passed and extended health care to tons more American children, and she succeeded. I just think this piece of history exemplifies a lot of what excites me about a HRC presidency. To me it shows
  • She is practical and goes about policy making in a way that does what needs to be done to move forward - even if it's not perfect or everything she hoped. 
  • She learns from her experiences/failures in policy making and does it better next time - and she has now had a lot of that experience.
  • She works hard and keeps working and works across the aisle to get sensible things done.
  • She has an agenda that she works toward and it seems to be things like - 'make healthcare better' not something like, 'gain ultimate power so you can become lord of America and fully reveal your true evil self'
  • She done got that child betterment and healthcare policy experience in her back pocket, ya'll!
  • She should have been wearing more pantsuits back then because she probably would have gotten that healthcare reform passed if she had


SSL Bonus:
I'm just gonna say it. Hillary Clinton has a clit, and this brings a perspective to the White House that we have not yet had. She, like most women, has certainly laid in bed after the ol' in-out where he came and she did not. She has certainly at some time in her life, probably much later than it should have been, realized where her clit was and that it was necessary to orgasms, and she probably thought how BS it was that she didn't already know that. She probably even has been confused at some time in her life about where her pee comes out (Does she have 3 holes down there? Does it come out of her clit? her vagina?). She has even likely worn that giganto mega maxipad to catch all the vaginal bleeding after giving birth. Thems right there, my friends, are perspectives that have not yet been in the mind of the US's highest leader, and in the name of cognitive and experiential diversity for creating better solutions - I think maybe it's time we had these very common, yet still unrepresented experiences play a role in our nation's highest office.

*See, you didn't think I could get the words clit, pee, or maxipad in a post about Hillary Clinton, did you? Well, guess what, I'm not as classy as you thought.