As Close as We Get to Olympic Commentary

I’m sorry, but if Scandinavian women are playing beach volleyball, they could be wearing parkas for all I care.

People who fuss that they should be wearing bikinis: What is it about the phrase Scandinavian women playing beach volleyball that you don’t understand? Let your brain play with that for even a nanosecond, and what they are wearing becomes irrelevant.

But let’s say you don’t have that active an imagination, and moreover that you believe that when a woman wears a bikini, she is giving you permission to sexualize her. (That’s not even close to true, of course, but let’s suppose.)

Even then, if she is being forced to wear a bikini by some rules-making body, the bikini is not an indication of her consent.

Which is to say, fantasize all you want. That’s good; that’s healthy. But let’s not pretend that other people have an obligation to indulge or in any way feed those fantasies. And an international sports organization certainly doesn’t have an obligation of that sort — nor should it have the power.

“But if it’s supposed to be beach volleyball, shouldn’t they be dressed for the beach?”

They are playing the game on sand. That’s what makes it beach volleyball. You could be wearing a corduroy suit and moon boots, and if there’s a net and sand, it’s beach volleyball.

TL, DR: It’s the Olympic Games, not Baywatch.

Kinky Mothers’ Day!

Moms who cook get to lick their beaters.

Moms who top get to beat their lickers.

(Okay, that’s as close as I’ve got to a Mothers’ Day announcement.)

Except this: Mother’s Day is traditionally written with the apostrophe before the S, because it’s the day when you honor mother. But some people have more than one, so I’m putting the apostrophe after.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Gremlins

Fellow Mind Gremlins! Now, during the peak plaguing season, you may be wondering how to improve your professional skills. There is much doubt to sow, unease to rouse, and people to be kept needlessly awake. Follow these tips and you’re sure to succeed. Learn from your forebears!

1. 3 AM is party time.

  • At 10:30 in the morning, your person is getting ready for meetings or studying for their next class. It’s going to be hard to get their attention. 3 to 4:30, you have their undivided brain. Your person is asleep, relaxed, suggestible, and easy to tip over into despair. This is Gremlin Disco Time. Get them half awake and have at it! (Double points if you get them to wake their partner up for solace.)

2. Always carry a hammer.

  • The bigger your person‘s achievement, the thinner the glass it’s made out of. One good tap and suddenly the big publisher buying their manuscript that day is gone and they’re dwelling for an hour on how they once chipped a Hello Kitty mug their mother gave them.

3. Use success as a fulcrum.

  • When things are bad, your person is on guard and fighting to get better. But when things are good, their guard is down. Then it’s easy to tip them into a tailspin. And the higher they are, the farther they will fall. (Gremlins live for that little puff of dust when the coyote hits the desert floor!)

4. Use their natural cycles against them.

  • People – especially women people – have chemistry that varies on a fairly predictable basis for much of their lives. Watch for the right week. If they are already feeling like their face is puffy and their ankles are fat, you’re halfway to getting them to believe that nothing about their life is any good anyway.

5. Winter is the hap-happiest time of the year.

  • Gremlins do their best work in the dark. That back half of the year, between the equinoxes? Extra dark, extra opportunities for mayhem. And if your person has eaten half a box of holiday peppermint bark? See number 4.

6. Nothing’s right until everything’s wrong.

  • Sure, you could get them to obsess about whether they misspelled their client’s name in the day’s last email. But why waste a perfectly good gaslighting opportunity on little stuff? Go for their looks, their competence, their self-worth, their parents’ health, whether The Ellen Show is going to be renewed for another season. Never settle for the airline-bottle -sized despair when a Costco pallet is available.

7. Never acknowledge the truth.

  • Sure, some gremlins will get assigned to people who are smart, attractive, all kinds of competent. In fact, the more skilled a gremlin you are, the more likely it is you’ll get someone like that. If they took a moment to look at themselves objectively, they would realize that you are making all this bad stuff up. So don’t give them that opportunity. After all, if you can get them to deny everything that’s good about themselves, you can take the rest of the night off – your work is done! So lie, lie, lie — and watch them believe you.

Now go forth, fellow gremlins, and lead humanity to unsubstantiated despair!

“Serve” is an Anagram for “Verse”

When your Domme’s outside your bubble
And you’re the serving type
A foot massage and scrub’ll
Translate poorly over Skype.

The shoulder rubs, the leather care
The perfect cup of tea
Can’t be conveyed. They’re just not there
When connected virtually

When your Domme’s outside your bubble
Can’t be in the same room…
When you give Her any trouble
Your butt gets whipped on Zoom.

It doesn’t hurt as much, for sure
You don’t get quite as red
But there isn’t any aftercare
Or snuggling in her bed.

When your Domme’s outside your bubble
Although you may not touch
That’s reason to redouble
Your fealty, and as such

Make sure She knows your devotion
Stays strong and true and large,
For when your Domme’s outside your bubble
You know She’s still in charge.

Let Our Years Make Yours Easier!

Almost four years ago, I sat with relationship education rockstar Kitty Chambliss to record an episode of her Loving Without Boundaries podcast. That interview, described here, covered my polyamorous journey to that point, along with some lessons learned.

Recently, it occurred to me that combined, Kitty and I now have 50 years(!) of experience in ethically non-monogamous relationships. We have both noticed that more and more people are trying such relationships for the first time — and that a common question is whether they can endure for the long term.

So we thought we’d put those decades of experience to use showing that long-term poly is real and achievable, while sharing some tips on how to make it easier. The result is here, and I hope you have as much fun listening to it as we clearly did making it! (And yes, please do post your questions — in the comments below, or in Kitty’s Facebook group, or by e-mail at PSV (at) (yes, that’s a real address.)

Sure, we’re older, but you’re all welcome on our lawn!

Dear Zoom,

I was on a teleconference the other day using your product, and I noticed the green dot above my picture. I looked to see what it meant, and it said that it was an indicator I was available.

I think you should know that I have been dating Darlene Womble since the New Year’s Eve party at the Rod and Gun Club, so you can update your files to indicate to your other users that I am not currently available.

Thank you,

Cletus Fricassee, Jr.

A Note to Readers

You may have noticed that this blog is not being updated with the usual frequency. Five weeks into isolation, I have discovered that it is difficult to be creative, especially when writing about relationships that are particularly challenging to maintain during a period of enforced separation.

I expect that this will pass before too long, and that you will again be subject to a regular stream of more or less pithy content from this source.

Please stay safe and be well.

— Pour


I regularly serve (as today) as medical guardian for partners undergoing procedures (when one has partners of a certain age, one winds up going to a lot of colonoscopies, for example.) Usually, there is an assumption, often expressed, that I am their husband. (“We’ll call your husband when you’re in the recovery room.”) Preop seems a poor time to get into a disquisition to the contrary, and we didn’t bring the Basic Polyamory Flannel Board, so everyone nods and rolls along.

‘Tis the Season

On Christmas morning, there might be one big present under the tree. Or there might be several presents of various sizes.

And that’s one way of explaining monogamy and polyamory.

(Or maybe monogamy is Christmas and polyamory is Chanukah, but that still needs a little thinking through.)

Touch Quest

For many years – indeed, well into my adulthood – I was very modest about my body. I did (and do) not particularly care for it, but I especially did not like showing it, even in venues like locker rooms where it was odder to keep it covered than exposed.

That changed gradually, beginning in my late 30s/early 40s, for a few reasons – not least that I began to regularly get professional massages. The massage thing and the departure of modesty were really chicken and egg; it’s hard to tell which was the cause and which the effect.

But I was very fortunate in finding, very early on, a tremendously talented massage therapist who combined grace with skill, experience, and a warm, communicative touch. We were together for a couple of years, until she moved, making my loss the people of Indiana’s gain.

That began a Diogenes–like search for a similarly skilled and rewarding therapist. During this quest, I received the attentions of a couple of dozen therapists, and it is the diversity which I found most remarkable. Not just the diversity in ethnicity, national origin, race, and such, although that is itself fascinating. Instead, the most surprising part was the diversity of approaches to a common goal. These weren’t technicians of different schools or using different techniques; no reiki or sports massage here. All were supposed to be, at least, your basic Swedish relaxation massage. But the range of touch, of method, of speed and attitude is little short of wild.

Touch ranged from caring to clinical to almost hostile. Technique included graceful, nigh-balletic integrative movements – but, from others, a checklist approach to individual body parts and a near-brutal blitzkrieg against knots appearing anywhere on the body that, while presumably therapeutic, was anything but relaxing.

Attitudes toward modesty (particularly of the gluteal region) were just as varied, from methodically moving sheets to continuously cover all but a few square inches of the body and scrupulously avoiding even the outer suburbs of what might be considered sensitive territory to a massage that I think I might be able to claim with Blue Cross as at least two kinds of examination. And I understand that people who work with bodies all day may have relaxed attitudes about their own boundaries, yet I was fairly surprised with the therapist who would restrain my wrists and elbows with thighs in such a way that left me absolutely no doubt about the configuration of their nethers.

The search has been idle for a couple of years, but it’s beginning again. I hope it is relatively brief, but that the learning along the way will be just as fascinating.

An Act of Congress

Let’s be clear about something. There are two separate issues regarding Representative Katie Hill’s resignation.

One is the allegation of having an ongoing affair with a member of her congressional staff. She denies this. But if it is true, it is improper for a supervisor to have that kind of relationship with an employee. (Even by the rules of the House of Representatives, yes.)

But the other part is the public release of photos of, and allegations regarding, her private life as an openly bisexual person in a consensual polyamorous relationship. Which is only the business of the people involved. And with which there is nothing wrong.

Don’t conflate the two. The latter may be more sensational, but only the former is relevant. Outside of her professional life, she — and we all — should get to live and love however we best see fit.

(I am also bemused by the commentators saying that her private life left her open to blackmail. Apparently, they don’t understand what “living openly“ means. You can’t be blackmailed for something you’ve already told the world about.)

Where to Find Protection (anti-HPV for older folks)

So after some persuading, my MD agreed to write a scrip for Gardasil-9, the HPV vaccine, even though I am well beyond the recommended age. (Because, well, high-risk group. She doesn’t approve, but she takes good professional care.)

What I didn’t expect is that a whole series of pharmacies would refuse to fill the prescription. Apparently, because I was outside the recommended age, they were afraid of liability were there adverse consequences.

Understand, the recommended age group a) was recently greatly expanded, and b) reflects the ages the vaccine has been tested on. There is nothing inherent in the vaccine that is more hazardous depending on someone’s years; they just haven’t tried it on as many people my age. But the upshot is that many chain pharmacies have policies restricting dispensing prescriptions to only the recommended groups.

A friend in the business suggested approaching non-chain local pharmacies, but I found they did not carry the vaccine as a matter of course, and were similarly chary about dispensing. And the MD said she couldn’t administer it, because their management didn’t give that vaccine to anyone due to cost.

Then I wandered into a Wegmans grocery store. And there on the front door was a sign advertising Gardasil shots. So I grabbed the scrip and gave it a try. And sure enough, I finally got my first shot there today.

(I know, that’s not much help if you aren’t in the northeastern US, but at least there’s hope for some. And if you’re a first-time pharmacy customer there, you get a $10 coupon for store merchandise!)

I also have to say how cool it is that they post a sign like that on the front door. So many folks and businesses are uptight about anything that might be seen as sex-related, and HPV shots for youth are not uncontroversial among those who think it eases the path to “promiscuity.” So, yay Wegmans!