Bro job?

I read this article, which supposes to blow the lid open on the “Bro Job”.  You can go read the article, I will even link it for you. But let me first tell you that this article pisses me off.  It makes me angry in more ways than I care to count at the moment, and I feel like it is a step backwards in the fight for the acceptance of the LGBT community as part of our society.

It is my sincere hope that someday the acronym “LGBT” and the word “Feminism” are archaic social oddities of the past.  I want us to progress as a species to the point where we do not have to separate ourselves in any way and simply accept that we are part of the same amazing species that is ever evolving and changing.  For now though, they do some good and I am all for Gay Pride and those who champion “feminist” causes.

So to sum up, a “bro job” is when a straight guy gives another guy oral sex, because they are friends.  The article is stating that 1. This is more common than we think (because of course the author is omniscient and knows what we think) and 2. This is perfectly normal straight behavior and that young men giving other young men oral sex does not make either man gay.

So there is one and only one thing about this article that is any good at all, it may, and I emphasize may.  It may make some people more comfortable with their past sexual practices and help them accept themselves for who they are.. but more likely it will just help them deny, possibly repress, but at least separate themselves from others whose behavior they view as not normal.

There are several problems with “normalizing” this behavior.  First it implies that anything else is not normal, it is not normal to not experiment, it is not normal to be gay and only be with men.  So that is one issue.  Am I suddenly abnormal if I did not experiment with men in college? Is it both normal to experiment and not to experiment? Then is it not normal to be gay? and if everything is normal then why are we having this conversation?

The author presumes to give permission for someone to still identify as “straight” even if they have engaged in same sex experimentation. Who is she to presume this power?  An individual should identify as they chose to.  This is why we accept the trans community (or we should at least) as whatever gender they chose to identify as.  You do not get to pass judgment on others.  If a man wants to identify as gay, but has had relationships with women in the past, or even still engages in sexual relations with women occasionally, why do we get to label them as anything at all?

This is directly from the article here.

Ward argues that the real reason “straight” men behave in these ways is to “reaffirm rather than challenge their gender and racial identity” and “to leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men.”

In other words: They do it to prove they’re not gay.

Kinda like how a blossoming homosexual might experiment with a girl in high school or college once or twice as a way of testing the waters. We all know how that story ends.

So that first part just sounds like justifying, and mostly like BS.  But the idea that “We all know how that ends” just hits home that the author has a very narrow opinion of what your sexuality is allowed to be.

The article also discusses that

“A straight white girl can kiss a girl, like it, and still call herself straight—her boyfriend may even encourage her. But can straight white guys experience the same easy sexual fluidity, or would kissing a guy just mean that they are really gay?” 

So we are judging women’s behavior as well, and lets take a moment to realize that this author is a little obsessed with race.  This article, and presumably the book it is discussing emphasizes being white to the point of it being a little strange.  Like men who are not white are also not normal.  One wonders what she is really trying to sell?

We are so obsessed with sex that we need names for everything, we must be straight, bi or gay, we must be monogamous or swingers, we must be kinky or not.  Most people fall into grey areas, some don’t, but we are all people.  If you have had sex with one or one hundred people, men, women or both, at the end of the day you live here with the rest of us and are able to love and be loved.

Instead of needing a special name for oral sex between male friends, how about we just accept everyone pass on the need for judging their consensual sexual behaviors.  Accept that they may chose to identify as straight, or bisexual (or even gay).  Encourage everyone to be who they are and not be ashamed of it.

 

Article

 

http://www.bustle.com/articles/102655-bro-jobs-dont-make-you-gay-says-new-book-on-straight-white-male-sexual-fluidity

The end of an adventure

So about 2 years ago my wife and I decided that our insane life filled with fun, children, friends and gaming, and home ownership, was not nearly complicated enough. We decided to do foster care. Shortly after that we started a business, but that is another story.

There are many misconceptions about fostering, but this is not really what I want to talk about, so simply put, we are available to temporarily care for and house children whom for whatever reason are not able to be cared for by their own families. We are allowed to determine some parameters about these children, so we can for example determine that we do not want to have a child older than our oldest, thus not suddenly forcing him to make that adjustment. Then we take care of them as best we can, getting them to doctors appointments, their first day of school, counseling and visits with their parents or other family members. The end goal being to place them with a family that can care for them, be this their parents, extended family or adoption by us or some other family.

This was not easy, we underwent about a year of training, got CPR and first aid certified and underwent background checks as well as many interviews and home visits by social workers. We have a caseworker, the kids have a caseworker and a counselor, and someone is in our home 3 to 4 times a month just to check on us and the girls. Anyone who we might be able to leave them with (babysitters for example) must be at least 21 and undergo a background check and fill out paperwork for the agency to have on file. Basically its super complicated. We get compensated financially, but ask anyone who has done it, it is not really enough for what you are signing up for, and it is not why we do it.

We got our first placement on December 17th of last year. Two sisters ages 6 and 4 (they are now 7 and 5).  Since then we have fed and clothed them, helped them learn and grow, talked, played, cried, gotten sick, watched movies, had birthdays, holidays and lived our lives with them.  They have been amazing and sweet and thoughtful.  They have been terrible screaming hellions.  They have been disappointed in the people who were supposed to care for them (their parents) and met new family they did not know they had.  We have, simply put, grown to love them.

Now they leave.  They will be leaving our home in just a few short days to move on in their lives, we may see them again, but odds are that we will not be kept in the loop, we have no say in it, no rights, no reason to expect it.  They will be moved and they take a piece of our hearts with them leaving an empty place that we must fill with well wishes and the knowledge that we did everything we could to help them, provide them with a model of a loving home and teach them a bit about how things should be.  This is no easy thing, but we volunteered for it, we knowingly entered into this bargain knowing, but perhaps not fully understanding the price.

A bit wiser now, on the edge of losing two little people who mean so much to us, we are forced to look at a choice we will have to make soon.  We are still licenced with our agency and they will call us asking us to go through this pain again.  Will we do it?

Yes.

Our pain is real, but so is the plight of children in need.  Children who are being abused, neglected, who are homeless, hurt, or broken in ways that most do not think about or care to consider.  This is something we can help with and so we will.

The Busy life part II

So yes, my life is busy now with the 5 children, but that is not all. I have been staying at home now for about 2 years, its awesome and I love it. My wife works at chase, and I sometimes sell things online, getting rid of stuff we have, or picking up books I know will sell for more online. This brought in a little extra money which was nice.

That all changed about 5 months ago. My wife is brilliant. She also loves Christmas. She loves doing Christmas to the point of obsession. This year I was spared the usual decorating bonanza because we were so busy, but usually there are lights, garlands, the tree of course, stuffed animals in Santa hats… it goes on.

So this year she was looking online and discovered that you can buy toys in bulk from stores for a few hundred bucks you can get a pallet of toys. Now these toys are returns, shelf pulls and sometimes damaged merchandise from major stores, but much of what you get is new, or like new, and the first pallet contained gifts for all 3 of our kids. So she asks me if she can buy it, reasoning we can sell whatever we don’t keep for Christmas and make some of the money back. I give her the go ahead and a few days later we get a large box of toys, sort through it and start listing the stuff we don’t want on Amazon. Not only did we make the money back that we paid, we made a profit.  Repeat.

So we have been buying bulk shipments of toys and selling them online.  Many we get are broken or without packaging, so those get sold on e-bay.  We had too much stuff, so we hired help.  We are not making so much that we can forgo other income streams, but we are getting close to the point where she can quit her job.  The soul crushing corporate life does not agree with many people, but working for yourself is hard.  Sometime this year though, she should no longer be working outside of the home and we should be able to sustain selling toys.

Find something you love, and find a way to get paid for it, this is great advice, but not easy.  Do what you know, this is also great advice, but learning new things is also a good idea.  We know toys.  We were kids, we have kids, so we know toys. We know what is hot and what is not.   We can check prices on sale items, clearance toys, and just toys we find at places like Aldi and 5 below and turn a profit on them.  We buy from retail stores and sell online for a profit of $5-$20 per item.   This is something we have learned and can do.  It is a little scary leaving a job that pays you on a set schedule, but ultimately worth it.

We are both still in school, and while working for myself is a great ideal, it is not what I want to do with my life.  Tania and I are both going for degrees in order to start careers that will fulfill us in ways that are not financial, my hope is that we will not need the money by the time we start our careers.

Keep an open mind, try new things.  If you are good at something, find out if someone will pay  you to do it and get to work.

Good luck out there, its a jungle.

Alex

P.S.  Really want to make my day?  Buy my stuff, check out our Amazon store here

The Busy Life

I haven’t posted in some time, and I could make excuses for that, but they are just excuses. We all have them, we all use them. so instead I will just write. I started this blog to write, to share, to express, and so I shall begin again.

Many things have happened in my life recently. I now have a 10 month old daughter, a 2 and a half year old daughter and a ten year old son. I also have 2 young girls in my care, ages 4 and 6. My wife and I are licensed foster parents now.

We took 36 hours of intensive training on things from team building to child sexual abuse. I have heard stories that make me sick. The things people do to children are unconscionable. I learned very quickly that I could not know these things and not act, so I continued the training and we completed our background checks, safety inspections, fire inspections and got all our pets updated on their shots, so now we have two little girls in our care.

There are things I can and cannot talk about regarding them so we will call them Jean and Mary. Jean is 6 and very talkative, she tries very hard to control her environment. She has been moved from home to home, not by the state, but due to her living environment. She was born premature, with drugs in her system. She is very picky about food, very indecisive about everything and loves Monster high.

Her sister Mary is 4, loves hello kitty and Doc McStuffins (a doctor for toys, I recently learned). She is skittish and shy and shuts down if someone yells, even not at her. She gets very cuddly and quiet around the same time every day, but that may be because she usually gets a nap, and we haven’t been giving her one.

We are learning that childrens services does not have all the information they need, so we do not have all the information we need. Their histories are a patchwork of information, so much missing that we have to make guesses. We do our best, but we have had them a week now and have more questions than answers.

The plan is for their father to get clean, get a job, get an apparent and take them back. This is a lot for one person to do. The paperwork says we may have them for three to six months, we have our doubts. Our lives are turned upside down. Our home is a mess, we are moving down into the den and giving the girls the master bedroom. We have to get Jean into school, she may have never had any schooling and may be delayed, but we just don’t know.

Our children are difficult. They are delightful, they are loving and they are maddening. They are our reasons for doing the things we do. This has been interesting to say the least. We have someone else’s children living in our home, along side our own. We do not know how long they will be here, but we know that the longer they are here, the harder it will be to say goodbye.

Public Opinion

For Tania’s birthday we went to the Olive Garden for lunch.  It is one of our favorite places to eat, Hunter loves it, Aurora even likes it (though she likes most food).  We had a great server and they had some new items on the menu to try.  Overall the day was not great, so this was perhaps the highlight of it.  We enjoyed our food and each others company.  Talked to our children and fed them.  Sometime near the end of our meal a waitress stopped by and told Tania “I respect what you are doing.”  This had us a bit confused.  Two other servers, again not our own, stopped by to tell Tania that they thought it was wonderful what she was doing, and ask about the littlest ones and generally be friendly and encouraging.

What we found out part way through this strange amount of attention was that the table next to us had gotten up and left the restaurant without finishing their meal.  We had actually not noticed this.  Generally we do not pay attention to the tables around us, we have plenty to pay attention to at our own table.  Their reason for being so upset that they changed their lunch plans was that Tania was breastfeeding Zorya at the table.

I know that opinions on this topic may vary, as on many things.  Zorya is our second baby in as many years and Tania feeds our children when they are hungry.  Covering up, or “modesty feeding”, takes some planning ahead and is not always easy to do.  Generally speaking Tania does not cover up, it can bother the baby to have their face covered and unless it is cold outside she is not bothered by being in public while feeding.  She will sit, stand and even walk through a store while feeding.  Infants, newborns, babys, they need to eat a lot.  They also sleep a lot.  They pretty  much require constant attention.

I have stopped to change a diaper on the floor of a store (the bathroom had no changing table and the floor of the bathroom was filthy)  I put down a blanket and do a quick change.  I do not want my baby to fuss and cry through a store, mostly because I do not want my child to be unhappy and uncomfortable if I can do something about it.   I will make an effort to use a bathroom if I can, but when there is no changing table I will make do.  I am much more concerned with the safety and comfort of my child than I am with what people might say or think.  Really I would light a stranger on fire before endangering my child, so anyone casting rude glances or making comments is fortunate that I do not generally carry matches.

Our society is very backwards on so many things.  For some reason our children have not been made a priority for so long that it is acceptable to ignore them and make them less than us.  From education to health, they seem to be getting short shrift over military spending and big business.  While I agree that the economy and jobs are important, the reason they are important is to take care of families, whatever form they may take.

Here are some things you might see while you are sitting at a restaurant.

images (1) 229-breastfeeding images (4) images (3) mqdefault images (2)

 

images (5) Mother breastfeeding images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I find some of them to be more beautiful than others, some of them I find offensive.  I generally keep my opinions to myself or tell them to my wife later.  Everyone should be so discreet.

I will give the final word to this kid though.

 

 

breastfeeding1

 

Talking and my Sleep

Zorya has slept through the night for the last two nights.  For a six week old baby this is amazing.  I am hoping for a trend, but it could just be a fluke.  Still she is a very mellow baby, spends much time sleeping and much time happy on the floor.  Her sister constantly wants to hold her and covers her with blankets when she sleeps.  Aurora worries about the baby when she is not around and asks about her, tells mommy to nurse her and tries to feed her people food.  They are very cute together.

Aurora is talking like crazy and has new words every day.  It is amazing to me when she says some things, like princess, two, tickle and jammies.  She dances now during the credits to TV shows, she likes the catchy music.  She says “dance” and moves her arms up and down while wiggling her bottom. She cracks me up.  She wants to take walks and gets upset when we are leaving in the van instead of on foot.  Her new favorite thing is the slide.  She says slide, and she tries to climb up them, or get around to climb up to go down them.  I have one out back for her but last time we were out there for our Easter egg hunt it was all wet so we did not go down it.  She had a blast on Easter and now can say and identify an “Egg” (before it was just a “ball”) and “candy”.

Hunter is so smart he is getting himself in trouble, but school has been getting better.  He enjoys history, literature and science, but math is still difficult.  We are progressing through school much more quickly than before and doing a bunch of prep stuff for the OAAs (Ohio Achievement Tests).  I kind of dislike standardized testing, but preparing for them also gives him test taking skills that he will benefit from for as long as he is in school.  He is amazing with the girls, he takes care of and plays with Aurora and holds and kisses Zorya.  He is becoming more interdependent and growing out of his clothes.  This also means that he is becoming frustrated with the things we expect of him and we are becoming frustrated with his unwillingness to do those things.  He is growing up and getting wise to the ways of the world.  Still we must explain to him that his mess is his to clean, to be part of a family is to help with even things that are not your mess, to wait patiently when you are bored, to try unfamiliar foods, to bathe, to work, and do all those other things that make one a family and  a compassionate understanding person.  It is a much bigger challenge than  changing a diaper.

He understands so much now though, we can talk and really have a conversation.  Most times this means discussing pokemon or skylanders or ninja turtles, but sometimes it means being very proud of him.  I explained last week about the cases before the supreme court.  He said “that is really awesome!”  I wont lie, I almost cried.  I hugged him and said “Yes it is”.

So that is my life recently, just an update for those who are curious or those who care.  Best of luck to you as well.   I will leave you with wisdom from the Dalai Lama, if you are not friends with him on facebook you should change that.  He updates a couple times a week, this is from yesterday.

“As social animals a key factor to our living a happy life is friendship, trust and openness. We are all the same as members of one human family. Trust is the basis of friendship and we’ll find this if, in addition to the knowledge we gain from ordinary education, we develop warm-heartedness. This gives rise to self-confidence and inner strength, which through trust and friendship leads to co-operation with others.”

Who can I Marry?

It is the hot topic this week,  Gay Marriage. No, hold on, we don’t want to say that anymore.  We don’t say “Interracial Marriage” or “Short to Tall person Marriage” so we should just call it “Marriage Equality”.

So Marriage Equality then, what is it?  First we have to look at Marriage, but we can’t look at it from a religious point of view.  Hold on, why not?

If we look at Marriage from a religious point of view we are not separating church and state.  It is important that we do this because we need a base definition for marriage.  Some religions practice polygamy, in some you may marry an animal or rock (and even if you can’t I could make up a religion right now where you can).  So we need to stick with the states definition.  It is a civil union where 2 people can are recognized as a unit for tax (and often insurance) purposes. It conveys certain rights to both parties in regards to medical care, finances, property and children.

So now we know what it is, why is it just between a man and a woman?  Is it because they can have kids? What if one of them is sterile?  What if one of them used to be the other gender and has had it legally changed?

So the ability to procreate does not come into it.  So what is so magical about one man and one woman that they get special rights? It must be sex.  So if you can have sex that involves one penis and one vagina then you can get married.  Does that seem odd?  It should. Sex is not something the government is involved in, none of the rights granted have to do with it,  and while there are laws regarding it they are largely ignored and considered out of date and obsolete.

So if Marriage is a union of two people to grant rights and tax benefits to them in regards to property, children and each other, then why does it matter what gender these people are?

Anyone?  Remember you cannot use sex, genitals, or religion in your argument.

Hold on, I have got one.  Gay people should not be allowed to raise children together.  No, wait, that is just an opinion, not a reason. (not actually my opinion, just making a point).  There are plenty of single people raising children without support, or with the support of close family, possibly even of the same gender (gasp, two sisters raising a child, how scandalous!)  Yet there are many heterosexual couples raising screwed up kids, social services has a job to do, they can do it with same sex parents just as well as any other parents.

So what is left?  Anyone?  Can you make an argument against it without religion?  Really, I want to hear it.

I see this as an inevitability, in this country at least, as well as many others.  Some day polygamy may be legal too, and I will be honest, other than making things more complicated, I don’t have an argument against it either.  For now lets just focus on letting love be love and marriage be a civil union to recognize it.