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The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal Below are 10 entries, after skipping 10 most recent ones in the "The Ferrett" journal:

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October 30th, 2015
09:55 am


Two People You Might Consider Giving Money To

Got two folks with entirely different causes you might ponder tossing shekels towards:

For Charity!
Chelsea is blind, and the cane just isn’t cutting it for her.  She needs a guide dog.  You apparently need to take a class to have a guide dog – which makes sense, you don’t want to hurt or put the dog out of training – and those classes, sadly, are not cheap.

She’s trying to raise $1200 to get her guide dog class covered.  She’s $400 of the way there.  Kicking in a few bucks certainly could not hurt your karma.

For Sci-Fi Fans!
If you remember my appearance on The Functional Nerds podcast, you’ll know that it’s a super-fun time for all concerned.  They interview authors with good questions, they riff, and they don’t ramble on forever (which is my #1 killer in a podcast).

Now they have a Patreon to help cover their costs and keep them running. They’re good to run.  Tune in, try ’em, and if you like it, donate.


For Gosh’ Sake!
For the record, if you’d like me to shill for your Kickstarter/GoFundMe/Patreon/whatever, I am literally the worst person in the world to ask, for I am disorganized.  (Chelsea had a kick-ass cause, and she had to bug me four times.)  I’ll occasionally do it, but I am forgetful and scattershot and never plan my blog, so it’s fine to ask but just realize I’m not the best at this.  (And if I don’t know you from the Internets, it’s a very long shot, as I usually only recommend people I know well enough to vouch for.)

Still, you’ve got two good causes above, so if you’re healthy and in good economic condition, donate.


Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/509276.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(2 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 29th, 2015
10:19 am


Thanks For Calling Me An Asshole.

“The logical next step in this email exchange,” Gini told me, “Is to apologize for being such an asshole.”

The pause was glacial.

“You realize,” I said stiffly, “That I came to you because they hurt me.”

“I get that.” She sounded sincere, even sympathetic. “But they didn’t do anything wrong, and you bit off their head. You’re the dick here.”

My fingers twitched.

“Okay.” I breathed in deeply through my nose. “And now I’m pissed at you.”

“And that’s okay,” she said.

I spent the next several hours alternating between furious silence and walking in to calmly explain the subtle reasons why she’d pissed me off. Of all people, I told her, I thought you’d side with me on this one. Don’t you see why this is just like this other thing you agreed was awful?

She listened, never returning my anger, occasionally conceding a point where she didn’t know all the facts. But she retained her overall judgement: you’ve been a douche, and you should apologize.

Seven hours later, I realized I’d been a douche and I should apologize.

And this morning, I got a text from a good friend who called me out on a different bit of assholery in a different way, and I replied “thank you.”

Because calling your friends out isn’t easy. Gini hadn’t had a great day, either, and when she got home she found her husband embroiled in a snakepit of tangled grief and anger and flashbacks, and the last thing she needed was to spend several hours with my rage pulsing through the house, carefully maintaining herself lest those banked embers flare up into a housefire.

But she did it.

So did my other friends who’ve grudgingly carried me through my irrational times.

Looking your friend in the eye and saying “You’re wrong” isn’t something we cherish a lot in this world. We give lip service to the idea of debate, but most friends and lovers are expected to provide support, to drown us in unquestioning love, to dish out sympathy.

Yet when I came looking for a heaping helping of sympathy, my wife looked down into her sympathy stewpot and said, “You don’t deserve this.” And that took courage and strength; courage to turn me down, strength to not make it personal. I was wrong, but she didn’t rub it in, she checked in on me, she expressed volumes of love.

She did everything except agree I was right.

And occasionally, I see someone take on my wife in a comment thread on one of my essays, saying, “You just agree with him because he’s your husband.” And I laugh.

They don’t know my friends. My friends will text me when I’ve gone too far, will look me straight in my eyes when they’re fuzzed with anger and give me that quiet “….No.”

You know what?

I trust them more for that.

When I go to my friends for sympathy, and get it, I know that’s real sympathy. Because I think of last night when I tossed down my bucket into the sympathy well and it came up dry, and realize that if she’s on my side, it’s because she really believes.

And when my friends tell me I’m wrong, that pulls me up short. I was surfing a tide of inchoate anger, and they called me back from shore.

Truth was: I was the asshole.

And I thank them for calling my attention to that fact, I really do. You save me when I’ve lost myself. You remind me of the tenets I’ve told you I should live by. You patrol my borders for me when I’ve forgotten where I set my lines, and you shove me back in when I’m bumping chests and looking for fights.

It’s not often that I have to rely on the grace of your good judgment, thank God.

But when I do, when I wake from the haze and realize what a fool I’ve been, I bless you for refusing to back down out of convenience. Because I know you stood tall out of love, and that means more to me than anything.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/509136.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(12 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 27th, 2015
10:25 am


The Great Waterpik Experiment

As you may recall, I lost ten of my teeth to gum disease.  Fuck you, Doctor Cappadonna, for telling me that – and I quote – “Sometimes, gums just bleed!”

So I spent several years lacking eight front teeth, humiliated eating in public, getting multiple painful gum surgeries.

As a result, I floss.


And every three months, I go into a dentist’s office, where they deep-clean my teeth and tell me that I’m not doing a good enough job.  There are still inflamed areas, deepening pockets.  And that’s hard to do, because teeth are crooked and getting in everywhere with the floss is difficult, and –

– hey, why not use a high-pressure hose to clean out my teeth?

I switched to Waterpik for a three-month period, just to see whether blasting my dental crevices with water did anything.  Which was an adjustment; Waterpiks are easier, but a lot messier, and unless you can swallow water at high speeds it all dribbles out into the sink like you’re some drooling maniac.  Plus, blasting chill water on your gums kiiinda hurts, so you gotta use warm water.

But I got my results in:

Dead even with flossing.

Which is great!  As noted, sticking a little tube into my mouth is way easier than using hooked bits of plastic to try to worm my way under my dental bridges.  And it’s quicker, and more convenient to take my travel Waterpik on the road.

This may even get better; I’m comparing novice Waterpik usage with years of flossing expertise, and I’ve started putting dollops of Listerine in the Waterpik.

So if you don’t floss, and you’re worried about your gums… try a Waterpik.  It’s working super-well for me.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/508561.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(7 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 26th, 2015
10:05 am


It’s In How You Handle Your Fuckups: Hope For Redemption, Look For Monsters

There’s currently a huge garbage fire over on FetLife, around which people are predictably clustering close and warming up their popcorn.  Of course they are.  Everyone loves a good flame war.

The details are this: coupla years ago, a very good looking and charming man espoused his brand of “Consensual Non-Consent” – which is to say that he believed that such lesser needs as “safewords” and “negotiating limits” ruined the scene. (In fact, he stated that if you spent twenty minutes over cocktails with him, he a) knew everything he needed to know about your limits, and b) had now consented to his eponymous brand of sexual conquest.)

A lot of women loved this.  (Didn’t hurt that he had fabulous abs.)  His well-written erotica documenting his real-life adventures picked up thousands of hits, as did his videos.  People created groups devoted to his style of play, debated how to mimic this man’s phenomenal performance.

This dude would find a woman and he didn’t need her to tell him what she needed – he knew.  He pushed her to the right places. He was carnal, spiritual, instinctual – and his instincts were invariably correct.

And when this man was called on the potential dangers of his style of play, he repeatedly stated that the reason he was a great Dom was that he didn’t make errors.

Well, turns out he made errors.

And as the stories flood in from his home town about some of the horrors he perpetuated, we’re seeing the usual consent violation fallouts.  “Well, I had a good time with him!”  (I’m sure you did!  Maybe even the majority of people did!  But that’s not proof he didn’t go beyond someone else’s limits.)  “These other people are just jealous of his popularity!” (They may be, and actually often are, but that’s just more reason to play carefully: if you know people have the knives out, check your shit.)

And above all, the eternal battle cry of the consent violator:

“He’s a good guy!”

The thing is, that “good guy” label may actually be correct.  I think consent is a tricky business, especially when you’re treading into BDSM experiences where the goal is to push people into uncomfortable places in order to induce catharsis.  It’s easy to negotiate poorly, or to miss a vital nonverbal communication, or even just give someone what they thought they wanted only to discover you’ve induced trauma.

Mistakes happen.  Good guys can accidentally push past people’s limits.

But I think what makes a good guy actually a good guy is how they react to that pain.

Do they put a full-halt on their activities, stopping until they can analyze what went wrong?  Do they do their best to make it up to this person they hurt, which may include such ego-free acts as “Withdrawing from their presence” and “Abandoning the need to be the hero in this story”?  Do they use this mistake as a building point to change their own behaviors and to instruct others to ensure that things don’t go this poorly again?

Or do they do their best to gaslight and obscure the victim’s reactions?  Do they add pressure by withdrawing emotional support until they acknowledge how wonderful this experience actually was?  Do they dismiss the pain, making this the victim’s fault, emphasizing that their technique was flawless and it’s something wrong with her?  And if it’s one of those squidgy edge cases where she agreed to something but feels terrible about it the next day, do they double down on the legalese, sneering at “buyer’s remorse” and accentuating the fact that hey, you said yes, rather than providing care and trying to make them feel better?

I think the too-popular consent model of “Anyone who violates consent is an evil demon who should be flayed alive” is incorrect.  People fuck up.  Sex is complicated, and anyone who says differently is selling you something.

So I don’t think a consent violation is necessarily a reason to demonize someone.  But the way they handle that violation’s aftermath can be very demonization-worthy – and it’s why I think the true predators are usually outed in the reaction rather than the incident.

As for the guy on Fet, I don’t know him, nor do I know the extent of what happened.  (He’s a continent away, and I don’t hang out with anyone who self-describes himself as an “alpha male.”)  I believe the victims, naturally, but a lot of women clearly did have a good time with him, and it’s always hard sorting out an accused person’s intent from their public performance, particularly when they’ve spent most of their time in an online arena doing sexual marketing techniques.  Maybe he genuinely didn’t know about his past harm.  Maybe he’s actually remorseful.

But the difference will be this:

Does he change up his play style to account for the fact that this consent non-consent can do some ruinous harm, and maybe spend more than twenty goddamned minutes interviewing his partners before he unleashes hell upon them?

Or does he quietly start erasing the bad things he did, accentuating all the fun times his partners had, accounting “abused, traumatized women” as just part of the acceptable casualties of his enjoyment?

One way leads to – well, if not redemption, at least better outcomes.

The other way creates a monster.

Me?  I hope for redemption. But I look for monsters.

(NOTE: The genderization of this piece is weighted heavily towards male/female accounts of abuse, as that’s what this example was – and, in my experience, usually is.  But there are abusive dommes as well, and consent violation is not limited to any single gender.)

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/508288.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(41 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 22nd, 2015
10:19 am


The Abandonment Rate, Or: Date More, God, Date More

“I’m no good at dating,” a friend told me. “I talked to some people, and they seemed interested, and then they disappeared for no reason. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

I stared at her.

“You realize that’s what dating pretty much is, right?”

Look, I date fairly successfully. And I’d estimate my conversion rate from “good conversation” to “actually meeting up” is somewhere in the high teens, if that. I spend a lot of time chatting with people who seem interested in me, then we talk, and they wander away for some reason I never quite find out.

It’s not always personal, of course. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes they meet someone more suited to them. And, yeah, sometimes I guess they find me uninteresting on some level – but that’s part of the deal.

And that’s just counting the people who emailed me! If we count the number of people who I’ve tried to start conversations with and gotten nowhere, then we’re down to maybe 5% success.

5% success, and I do it well.

And I think a lot of people who date get depressed because they’ve dated like seven people, and they’re getting no response, and this means they suck. No. Dating is like baseball: a .300 batting average, which includes a generous three tries for each attempt to get a hit, is *quite* excellent.

It sucks. But there’s a metric in web sites called “shopping cart abandonment,” which is when someone puts an item in their cart and then never check out. The average abandonment percentage is 63% – six out of ten times when someone clicks on the “I want to buy that” button, they decide not to get it, and nobody’s quite sure why.

Fact is, pretty much any activity worth doing involves a lot of whiffs. Job hunting. Making friends. Submitting writing for publication. Writing jokes. Life is full of null responses, and dating is just another facet of that.

Yet if you start taking that abandonment rate personally, then you’re poisoning your own well. Rather than having four people wander away and going, “God, I must be terrible,” instead think, “The worthwhile things in life involve more misses than hits. I’ve got to get used to the idea that even the best players have low batting averages, and part of the reason they wind up being good is that they keep stepping up.”

Because the sad thing is, a lot of the folks who thrive in these cultures are the genuinely wretched ones who overestimate themselves in all the wrong ways – the moral equivalent of spammers, with a 0.03% response rate, but they’ll cheerfully try a thousand people with their terrible approach and it’ll never occur to them that maybe it’s time to change up their technique.

Meanwhile, genuinely nice people throw up their hands in despair because they’re not achieving a 10% success rate. And again, if you look at the number of swings-per-hit for the best baseball players in the world, it’s still frighteningly low. 10% may be too optimistic an estimate, particularly if you’ve got standards. It took me fifteen years of constant dating before I found the love of my life, and I consider that to be a pretty lucky catch.

You? You’re trying for life-changing things. That’s good. Life-changing things involve a lot of perseverance. So keep at it.

And know that yeah, it sucks. But it’s the only way to get to the good stuff.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/508115.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(8 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 21st, 2015
10:00 am


Ask Me Anything!

I have a lot of tedious work to do today, the kind that involves a lot of detail work but doesn’t actually suck up the ol’ brain power.

So! Ask me a real question I can answer, that you’d like to know the answer to. On any topic. I’ll do my best to answer honestly.

(Fake questions like “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?” are neither clever nor useful. You can do it; it marks you as the kind of person who doesn’t realize the joke is so obvious it’s been done a hundred times before, and I’ll think less of you for being tedious. Hey, I *told* you I’d answer honestly.)

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/507877.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(46 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 20th, 2015
10:01 am


Rapturously Hopeless.

So Gini’s been gone for two weeks.

As a human, I have been… functional.

But it’s been hard. Gini’s been sending me texts about the grand adventures she’s had – all the fun friends she met in Seattle, the adventures of getting Little Sebastian the Panel Van, seeing Portland again, sleeping under the stars, going down to Yellowstone…

And I have been melting down.

This is stupid, I say.  She’s happy.  You should be happy.  And yet there’s this little tremulous fear that she’s having such a great time that she’ll never come back to drab ol’ me, and I’m pretty drab myself without her.  I mean, the book release party was great, but I did not come home to Gini-cuddles. Driving down to Kentucky was great, but I couldn’t share all the fun of the wedding with her.  Playing Rock Band with my new friend was great, but Gini wasn’t singing.

Yet whenever she texted, I was supportive. I want her to have a good time, I do.  And I didn’t want her to have to worry about me.

But I was so sad, going to bed alone.  And I worried that maybe all her good times wouldn’t include me.

And yesterday, I got a text:

Pick UP

Dammit pick UP your PHONE

And I had my phone charging, so when I got it I called her, and I think she was crying.

“I know I was supposed to come home Monday,” she said.  “But this trip is no fun without you.  Would it be okay if I came home tomorrow?”


Yes, it would.

And she’s on her way home to me tonight, and I cannot wait to have her in my arms again, and the truth is that we’re saps.  We work in the same home, and yet we both get a little sad if one of us has to work in the living room and the other in the office.

She needs me.

I need her.

It’s stupid, and it’s sappy, and I would not want anyone but her ever.

She’s coming home.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/507503.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(26 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 15th, 2015
10:20 am


Shaping The (Ab)user Experience: Why Social Media Sucks At Preventing Abuse

There’s a lot of talk in web communities about “shaping the user experience,” by which they generally mean “you figuring out where to click the page to do the stuff you want.”  There’s conferences devoted to user interfaces, and occasionally when you get to the next level, you find people talking about the emotional experiences they want people to have when they come to a website – a “professional” site, a “friendly” site, and so forth.

But in social media, nobody ever seems to think about what sort of experiences the users will have with their abusers.

What they think about is, “What will make us look bad?”

So they go to their lawyers, and they ask, “What are we legally culpable for?” And they go to their publicity departments (if they have one) and they ask, “What will make us look terrible?”

But to a company’s cold bottom line, a troll calling women names all day gets more advertising hits.  He is a devoted user.  And so they are loath to ban anyone, because these companies make money off of large user bases, and kicking someone off risks trouble.

If you look at what actually gets most people banned, it’s generally not anything that’s dampening the “user experience” of the site – it’s stuff that’s going to get the company itself in trouble.

So they’ll ban for pictures of women breastfeeding because God forbid the advertisers see boobs and the site gets marked as porn, but people emailing abusive emails in private, well, that’s a tougher case.

Over on FetLife, if you send someone an email telling them they’re a dumb bitch who deserves to be knifed, you will get banned for posting screencaps of those abusive emails with that person’s name.  Because that opens them up to lawsuits.  The stuff the abuser sent in private?  Well, that’s bad, but…

…we’ll get back to you.

We don’t want to alienate anyone.

And so what happens is the inevitable flurry of flame wars and mobbing, where people a) achieve popularity on the site, b) get offended, and c) send their followers as an assault at someone they disagree with.  Occasionally someone gets banned for something too outrageous, but the daily aggressions are seen as just a cost of doing business on the Internet.  If you get popular, you’re going to get hatred.

If a site has moderators, well, moderation has never been a priority cashwise, and so they’re usually overwhelmed and only deal with the biggest cases.  If they have blocking tools, those tools are usually not equipped to handle the devoted troll opening up a hundred new accounts, or a sudden influx of legit users send over from the latest popular user’s anger-dump, or a coordinated sealioning attempt.

And I think the next generation of social websites are going to have to start thinking about “the user experience” in terms of “What emotional experience do we want the user to have while they’re here interacting with other people?”

Or, perhaps more significantly: “What culture are we fostering here?”

Look, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a 4chan-style culture where everyone posts anonymously and savagery is the word of the day.  That’s one way to do a website, and it has become somewhat of a default because it’s low-maintenance.  You see Reddit moving closer to that – “Hey, we want free speech, so – talk about whatever you want.”

But Facebook has free speech, and it’s often this monstrously uncomfortable place where all your relatives go to yell their crazy conspiracy theories at you.

I think companies are going to have to start prioritizing what sort of culture they want to have, and look beyond “We want a friendly blue portal” and shift towards “We want to encourage reasoned arguments without name-calling” or “No personal attacks” or “If people start yelling, we need to calm that down.”

And I think, ultimately, it’s going to come down to defining “What is abuse?”

Because as someone who posts on the Internet a lot, I see a lot of different definitions of “abuse.”  For some people, “abuse” doesn’t exist until someone comes to their house personally – insults are just a part of the fog of the Internet culture.  On the other end of the spectrum, some think “abuse” is being called out for saying something questionable, no matter how gently that rebuttal is made.

But for the future, I think you’re going to be designing your website to last, you’re going to have to define abuse, and then work hard to prevent it.

Some of those preventions can be technical: forcing accounts to be linked to phone numbers would prevent a lot of abusive sockpuppet accounts.   Finer-grained blocking tools, like blocking people based on the number of days it’s been since they’ve created their account, or blocking based on their number of posts, or blocking based on a percentage of your friends who have blocked them, would also be helpful.

And technical analysis can probably have content filters scanning for potential hotspots and alerting moderators to them –  I’m certain there are analyses of text that could find abusive threads – but ultimately, it’s going to come down to companies starting to say “Abuse cannot be defined as just what will get us in trouble, but as ‘What sorts of unpleasantries will make people leave our site?'”

That will be an uncomfortable day, because it will limit your audience.  Take me, for example; whatever site I’m on, I am prone to reacting to other people’s posts.  If I’m on Twitter and someone says something I consider dumb, I’ll link to it with some snarky commentary.  If I’m on FetLife and someone does something unwise, I often write a reaction post to that.

And telling me that part of your site’s culture is “We don’t allow reaction posts that name other people specifically,” well, I won’t make an account at that site.  I won’t post.  I’d find that extreme. Likewise, if you decide “no breasts anywhere” and the pro-breastfeeders show up, well, keeping them away will limit your audience.

But here’s the trick: if you define a civil experience correctly, other people will want to have that experience.

Even if those people are Not Me. Especially if those people are Not Me. Because part of any good gathering is defining who’s not welcome, and encouraging those who stay to follow the guidelines.

And when you define abuse in a way that’s clear about how you’re defining civility, and enforce it properly, I think you’ll ultimately find greater use retention.  Because yeah, maybe that heavy-use troll I referenced earlier is creating a lot of ad hits by emailing fifty people a day to call them names, and is generating revenue…

…but the bottom line is not just composed of what you have, but also your costs.  That troll is costing you all the other people s/he is driving away. And whether you like it or not, that troll has to be a part of how you’re designing your website’s user experience, because the first step to containing trollish behavior is in defining “What a troll is,” and companies thus far have largely defined trolls as “People who get us, the company, into trouble.”

It may take another couple of decades, but I think eventually corporations are going to start defining trolls as “Customers who drive away the customers we actually want to keep around.”  And when that happens, I think we’ll see a much better Internet.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/507351.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(12 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

October 14th, 2015
09:43 am


If You’re Sexually Active, Do Me A Favor And Think About Partners With Herpes Now.

Full disclosure: I don’t have herpes.  But as am actively polyamorous man, I have (and continue to have) sex with people who do have herpes.  (Safely, of course.)

So do me a favor and think about your comfort level with herpes now.

Because I’ve had people actually stammer when I’ve informed potential lovers of my elevated risk.  “You – you’re touching them?” they’ve said, sometimes shocked that I’d even cuddle someone known to have it.  “Oh God. I have to… I have to check with people. I don’t know. I’ll – I’ll get back to you.”

That makes me feel like shit, and I’m not even the one who has it. So I get real ugly whiffs of how people who do have herpes must feel.

And I think that’s because most people haven’t considered what their stance on people with herpes is. Which is ridiculous. It’s a common disease – more common than you might know, given how negatively people react to it. About one in six people is estimated to have it.  It’s going to come up, if you date around enough.

Not formulating your policy in advance means that you spring some pretty unthinkingly cruel reactions upon some poor soul who has it.

Thing is, I get that you don’t want to have herpes – hey, I don’t – but having it is often something that the folks with herpes absolutely couldn’t help. In the case of one person I know, her boyfriend had been tested negatively, they’d been fluid-bonded for three years, and his first outbreak after literally decades of dormancy happened on a weekend when they were visiting. In the case of not just one but several other people I know, sadly, they got it from their father when he molested them.

So it’s not like these folks were guilty of poor safe sex practices.  Some didn’t have a choice.  With others, the tests for herpes are poor, and often misunderstood, even at professional clinics. It’s hard to know if you have it until that first outbreak happens.

Yet there’s still a lot of shame in kink communities associated with this.

Now, I take the stance that as long as my partner isn’t having an outbreak, and we have safe sex, the risk is as minimal as it gets when you’re exchanging bodily fluids. And after seven years as an active participant, I’ve not caught it. Nothing’s a guarantee of safety in sex – but given the right treatments and practices, you can reduce risks to very small percentages.

And having seen my share of people who do have herpes, I’m not saying I want to get it – but I am saying that if you removed the fearful social stigma associated with herpes, it looks a lot like shingles.  Nobody wants shingles either, but it’s usually not a death sentence and it’s usually something that doesn’t ruin the entirety of your life if you take the right medicines.

But even if you’re not comfortable with those percentages – and you’re well within your rights to conclude that you’re not, particularly if you have autoimmune disorders – still, take a moment now to consider what your stance on the topic is.

Because if someone has herpes, they are often stigmatized and demonized for something they have no control over. When your first reaction is a freaked-out flinch, that just hurts their fucking feelings like you wouldn’t believe.

So stop now. Think about how it would be if this was someone you liked a lot, revealing this secret of theirs to you. Think about the risks now, and do some research, and make a decision in advance in case someone you’re dating sits down to have “the talk” with you.

Because there’s a good chance that talk might come up. One in six, in fact. And if it does, you’ll be so much kinder if you’ve mapped this out in advance.

(NOTE: My Uncle Tommy, who raised me like I was his kid, had AIDS in the 1980s, back when misinformation ran amuck and people refused to touch him or use the same bathroom as him because they’d get “the AIDS.” As such, I’m very touchy about contagious diseases, having seen the hurt he felt. You not wanting to have sex with someone who has herpes is within your right, but any shaming will be met with such a banhammer.)

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/506900.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

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October 13th, 2015
11:14 am


In Which I Tell Myself To “Fuck Off” In A Cataclysmic Celebration

Devoted readers will remember that when I sold my debut novel Flex, I set a secret “Fuck You, Ferrett” sales number.  For I am neurotic, and keep raising the bar on myself.

That number was my sanity number. If I sold that many copies of Flex, I could no longer complain about my sales.  It may be a small number – as noted in the same note, I’m not sure what is an impressive sales number for a debut author – but that number was the point at which I would have officially Succeeded Beyond My Expectations.  Whatever happened after that was the point where I could look at my insecurities and say “Fuck you, Ferrett, you never thought you’d get this far.”

And I got the email from Mike Underwood at Angry Robot today:

As of last week, the “Fuck You, Ferrett” number has been surpassed.  Surpassed by 52 copies, in fact.  After this, everything is gravy. (Or frosting. I like frosting on everything better.)

So I’m going to dance around today, and eat a Manwich, and be happy.  Because hey.  I did better than I thought I would.  And that’s pretty fucking amazing.

(Also, The Flux numbers clocked in at around 60% of the first-week numbers for Flex.  I have no idea if that’s good or bad, but I know there is always a sequel drop in sales.  Yet the reviews are stronger – it’s almost like I learned about writing novels between books! – and so I’m very very happy about that, too.)

(Also, I should add, Mike has been a huge proponent of the Flex series partially because he has written his own series based on geeky magic, and if you liked Flex then you should probably check out his Geekomancy series.)

Anyway.  You know what today is?



Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/506811.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(18 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

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