Or: Scattered Study-Rambles
The trouble with being Zen is that when I latch onto a topic, I want to learn it from head to toe, only pausing to linger on erogenous zones. I read obsessively, and then I ruminate, and then—usually—I write and write until I feel like I’ve got it figured out. So it is a pity that SlutWalk (and all its associated debates) has taken off around the world right when I’m meant to be studying for English Lit. and Ancient History exams.
As much as Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Ancient Greek magical papyri are indeed fascinating (and I say that with no sarcasm), right now I want to be reading and writing about consent, sluttery, and the way our societies define appropriate relationships. I’ve got a whole folder of essays and blogs just waiting to be devoured.
Meanwhile, I’ve also had to take a crash course in water chemistry after setting up a fish tank on a whim without—naughty me—doing any research at all. There are now several matchbox-coffins buried in the garden. Turns out tank-ecosystems are just as complicated as human ecosystems. But there’s one significant difference: you can buy testing kits for water, and they tell you exactly what your fishies need.
Yes, I’m about to use this as the lamest analogy ever. I’m so sorry.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues surrounding consent is the question of how much communication—verbal and nonverbal—is sufficient to equal “yes” or “no” in any relationship: new, old, monogamous, polyamorous, long-term, short-term, one night stand, poly, married, unmarried, straight, queer, vanilla or kinky.
I could write mountains, but why when the wonderful Jaclyn Friedman has done the job for me in her Yes Means Yes article on Enthusiastic Consent and its “(nonexistent) terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” consequences. I thought it was time to repost that link; it’s compulsory reading for anyone who loves others and/or has sex.
There are no Aquarium Testing Kits for human relationships (yep, still sorry for that analogy). Fortunately, all you have to do is ask. Unfortunately, all you have to do is ask. Navigating relationships—of any kind—requires trust, honesty, clarity and all those other pesky things we don’t want to think about when we’re feeling nervous, awkward, embarrassed, guilty, ashamed, or any of the other negative emotions we tend to learn in our earliest years.
I feel like I’m getting better at it, but like cycling my fish tank (honestly, Zen?), it takes time. And often, salt.
SlutWalk’s best effect, globally, has been to raise questions. I hope critics and supporters alike keep on asking. If we open a public dialogue on consent and relationships, so to might dialogues open up in private.
Keep up the momentum. But filter everything you read through that brain of yours, and don’t forget to come up for air now and then.
Back to Ovid…