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Twenty things about me

I thought I’d play a game I’ve seen floating around, and tell you twenty random things about me. This is totally off the top of my head…

1–I’d love to be a cake decorator/pastry chef.

2–I can’t sleep unless my room is super cold, much to the irritation of everyone else in my family when I keep turning down the thermostat.

3–I’m a Ravenclaw. (I’m wearing a Ravenclaw tank top right now, actually.)

4–I love two truly terrible movies–Deep Blue Sea and A-Team.

5–My house is fully of my photography. I have two walls of family photos and two of travel photography (soon to be more).

6–Taking cannabis has altered my quality of life dramatically. I have fibromyalgia and without it, walking is painful. Most things are painful. Taking cannabis pills alleviates a lot of the pain that my medication doesn’t.

7–I can’t draw for shit. Stick figures are about the most I can handle.

8–I used to be a teacher. I loved teaching the kids–I hate the politics, which is why I probably won’t go back.

9–I was a huge Baby-Sitters Club fan as a kid. I identify as a Kristy.

10–Even though I’ve lived outside the US, I never flew on an airplane until I was 20.

11–Next month will mark my twelfth wedding anniversary.

12–If I could have picked my own name, I’d pick Katherine.

13–My favorite candy is Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

14–I’ve reread the Jewels series by Anne Bishop a ton of times. I’m so upset by everything going on in the US right now that I’m rereading them for comfort.

15–I hate coffee.

16–I love Disney–the movies, the animated movies, the music, the parks, all of it.

17–I keep meaning to write some Star Trek Voyager fanfic because the series finale has some serious issues. Janeway and Chakotay forever.

18–I almost moved to New Orleans, but I’d just met my husband and wanted to see where things would go.

19–After leaving a small town as soon as I could, and living in cities for the past twenty years, I’m shocked by the fact that I like living in a suburb.

20–I play violin. I started taking lessons in Singapore, but had to stop because I hurt my shoulder. I’ve just recently started playing again, and now both my girls are starting to learn, too.

Strip Clubs in Las Vegas

I’m still readjusting to real life after my week in Vegas alone with my husband. I wanted to write about some of the adult fun we got up to, and it made sense to start with the strip clubs. This post is based on my experiences, and is not sponsored in any way. Obviously I don’t have personal photos to use.

First a bit of advice

1-Take the free limo from the club. Taxis and hotels get kickbacks for taking you and you have to pay whatever the full admission price is. If you take the club’s taxi, you will likely get reduced admission/drink tickets. However, getting home is your problem. Popular strip clubs like the two we went to had lines of cabs outside, but the small club near the Erotic Heritage Museum that we didn’t enter didn’t so we had to call an uber to get back to the hotel.

2-Read the Yelp Reviews before you go to the club. Had we read them in advance we wouldn’t have had the bad/ugly experiences. We went by the recommendation of the travel guide and their #1 pick sucked.

3-Do not go in expecting the sort of full strip down that you might get in your home state. Vegas has topless dancing, and dancers just usually get on stage in a bikini or equivalent and bare their breasts. In Rhode Island (the nearest state with good strip clubs to Boston) dancers would come on in a costume, like a schoolgirl outfit and strip progressively down to either just a thong or nothing at all–something more burlesque by comparison. Vegas does have a few fully nude clubs, but they were either grandfathered in and can serve alcohol (Palomino Club) or don’t serve alcohol (Little Darlings or the equivalent).

The Good—Spearmint Rhino

Our first club night out, we went to Spearmint Rhino, which had the best reviews from women based on my skimming Yelp and comparing it to Sapphire, one of the other big clubs. (Sapphire’s reviews were fine, but in my opinion, Spearmint Rhino’s were better). We took a cab there and had to pay full entry (they told us it would’ve been better if we’d taken the limo).

I have gotten used to what I call the “enthusiastic woman at a strip club effect.” Dancers LOVE when a woman is there and is enthusiastic. My experience at Spearmint Rhino was no exception.

Lap dances–the girls at Spearmint Rhino know how to give a lap dance to either a man or a woman. There’s a subtle art to giving a woman a lap dance as we don’t have a penis to grind on. I got lap dances from like four or five different girls (extra shoutout to Annamaria and Tyler Rain), and my husband and I shared a half hour booth dance from Tyler Rain. They weren’t cheap, but they were worth it.

Stage dances–We sat at the main stage right as you walk in. Like I noted above, there was nothing burlesque about the dancing, but some of the women did pole tricks, and the rest danced with varying degrees of flirtiness and interest.

Being approached–I was approached and not just my husband, which is refreshing.

Drink service was prompt. The drinks were a little weak, but I found that to be true in Vegas for the most part.

Overall it was a fun night out at a strip club, and we happily stayed there until something like three or four in the morning.

The Bad: The Hustler Club

(Sorry the pics won’t upload)

Let’s just say that the women at The Hustler Club are immune to the enthusiastic woman at a strip club effect. If anything I seemed to be an inconvenience or invisible to the women who came over to chat up my husband (I have no problem with him getting chatted up, but I don’t like being ignored or seen as an obstacle to his wallet). We’d taken the (battered) free limo to the club, and received drink coupons to be used either downstairs at The Hustler Club or upstairs at Hunk Mansion (we’ll get there in a second), but I couldn’t get any attention (in a club that was pretty dead) to use them. There were plenty of dancers, but they were clustered together by the bar.

I can only toss money at disinterested dancers for so long before giving up. There was one dancer who flirted a bit with me, but was uninterested in giving a lap dance to a woman, I guess–it was disappointing.

This is the top rated strip club in Vegas. I expected more. At minimum I expected to be able to get lap dances and have some fun flirting. But sometimes things just don’t work out as we’d hoped for.

That said, this is the third Hustler Club I’ve been to (the others are New Orleans and San Francisco), and I have never had fun at a Hustler Club. I don’t know if it’s a woman thing (in that they are disinterested in female clientele or assume I must be hostile) or if I have phenomenally bad luck or if it’s just some spiritual disconnect. Regardless, in my limited opinion–give it/all Hustler Clubs a pass and just go somewhere else.

The Ugly: Hunk Mansion

(pic unavailable)

On the roof of the Hustler Club on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays there is another club in operation–Hunk Mansion with male dancers.

My partner and I have done female strip clubs for over a decade, so the opportunity to check out the men was irresistible. I wish we’d resisted.

It’s kind of obvious that the space isn’t used or used frequently outside of hunk mansion. The stage is pretty much what my kid’s preschool used to set up–something temporary, almost rickety. The chairs and tables are much more fragile looking and battered compared to what’s downstairs. Just as downstairs, it was pretty dead.

The thing about male strippers is, apparently, that they leave me cold. “Stripping” seems to be comprised of impressive dance moves, but dance moves I have seen done equally well in the subways of New York City. They take off their shirts and pants, but there’s no burlesque or performative element to it. That can still work (see Spearmint Rhino) but there’s nothing to write home about seeing guys in manties that cover more than most European male swim bottoms that would pass muster with PG13 censors.

The above would have taken it to meh territory but there were a few elements that ruined it.

The first was, again, being ignored including by wait staff. I never used my drink tickets because no one was interested in selling me a drink, and I wasn’t waving the tickets around so there was no reason for them to think I wasn’t going to be paying for said drinks. There were one, maybe two dancers besides the one on stage and at least one of them seemed to be actively trying to avoid attention.

The crowd was a mix of apathy and from the bachelorette and several older women overt aggressiveness which made for a weird vibe. (I’d see this at Magic Mike as well).

It was, in a strange way, too well lit, unlike most strip clubs which tend towards low lighting. Which meant it felt like I was attending a PG13 talent show in a school cafeteria where some of the parents are bored and waiting for it to be over.

But the thing that truly raised my ire was discovering that men don’t get lap dances at Hunk Mansion. If you’re willing to pay 3x the cost you can get a short private lap dance, but the establishment is pretty anti-gay. The policy of charging men more and making it shameful for a gay/bi/curious man to even ask in the first place is ethically repugnant to me. If you don’t believe me, just read the yelp reviews. Most of the one star reviews talk about how anti-gay this place is.

So like anywhere, your strip club experience is hit or miss. But hopefully you’ll end up with the kind of experience I had at Spearmint Rhino. In fact, just go to Spearmint Rhino. I wish I’d gone back there instead of wasting a night, and ending it in a fairly irritated mood, at Hustler Club.

Seeing my photos (Wicked Wednesday 282)

It’s ironic that this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt is Mirrors. Monday I posted a snippet of For Love of Snow White, which included a mirror scene. Today I’m going to talk about photos, both sexy and not.

I hate having my photo taken. I never like what I see. I hide behind the camera more often than not, preferring to take photos of others. So it was one of the most difficult experiences of my life to decide to do a boudoir photo shoot—it wouldn’t be just photos of me, but increasingly nude photos of me. Would I like some of them, or would my self esteem be shattered by photos that reflect the negatives and imperfections I see in the mirror after nearly 40 years of being subjected to a media barrage that my value lies in how fuckable I am (and at times in my late teens/early twenties I based my self-worth on whether people found me fuckable).

About a month ago, I posted about doing a boudoir photo shoot. I purposefully wrote that before I’d seen my photos because I was worried that my own insecurities in looking at photos of myself might taint my memory of the shoot.

Well, I’ve seen the photos and we selected 16 to keep. Here are two examples of photos I’m really happy with…

I can honestly say that the experience is very high on my list of things I was terrified of, but am so glad I tried. I have been very self conscious about my body for decades and to see photos where I actually feel like I look sexy is new and a little scary. It calls what I see in the mirror most days, and gives me a hint of what my husband sees that I can’t.

 

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I’d definitely do this again, and not just because it gives me a glimpse of what’s on the other side of the looking glass.

I did a boudoir photo shoot

*This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this post. I received zero discounts or perks.*

I’ve wanted to do a boudoir photo shoot for a long time now. As an amateur photographer I’m fascinated by sexual photography–naked or nearly so bodies, fetish photography, the whole nine yards. I longed to be a model in one of those photos, but the voices in my head that said I’m not pretty enough or thin enough drowned that desire in a bog of self doubt. I generally hate how I look in photos, with the exception of my wedding photos (which the voices remind me was twenty-five pounds ago). But beneath all of that was a sense of inevitability.

Several months ago I was introduced to Groupon (remember, I just moved back to the US–I’d heard of it but it wasn’t as big a deal as it is now when we left in 2010). One day I was idly scrolling through offers in my area and stumbled across a discount for a boudoir photography shoot with two photos for a steep discount.

My partner turned forty last year and I turn forty next year. No matter what the voices in my head said, he has always found me beautiful.  decided to push my boundaries and do this shoot for him. Or at least I told myself it was for him.

I booked my date and because of childcare and travel issues had several months to dread and second/third/hundredth guess my decision. Initially I made up a bogus appointment to explain why he needed to take the kids one day while I went into San Francisco. I’m a terrible liar and my excuse fell apart, so I told him what was up. He was incredibly supportive and together we crafted the four looks I would shoot with.

The price of the shoot was just the beginning. I hadn’t thought about all the details.

In the months before the shoot…

I’ve had back surgery, and was told heels were off limits for me. But I wasn’t about to wear flats in a sexy shoot. I bought three pairs of heels and a pair of dominatrix boots.

I bought a new piece of lingerie.

I bought new lacy panties.

I bought a man’s white shirt as mine didn’t look so fresh, and I wanted a better fit.

Celebrate Your Sexy sent me an email to ask me questions, including how do I feel about photos of myself and what are my concerns. (Top concern–I’d hate the photos and it would wreck my fragile self esteem).

The week of the shoot….

I got my eyebrows, lower arms, under arms, and full legs waxed.

I got a pedicure and acrylic nails.

On the day of the photo shoot…

I couldn’t find one of my outfits and had to rethink an entire look. This totally freaked me out. (It was on top of my bureau so I wouldn’t lose it–which I discovered that night.)

I had my hair and makeup done.

When my stylist asked what I wanted done with my hair I said “make it look like I just had really good sex.” My straight hair was curled and teased. Since I was (mostly) going to keep my glasses on, we added fake lashes and just did some liner on my eyes. I did a blood red lip (fiery liquid lipstick from Stila–it is my go-to and the only red I’ve ever tried that didn’t look pink-y or orange-y).

All of this added up to way more than the photo shoot cost. A more secure/more cost conscious person could probably do without these extras, but this is my journey.

The experience…

I was ready about an hour before my shoot, and I sat in my car so as not to sweat my make-up off in the insane heat wave that gripped the Bay Area a few weeks ago. This gave me plenty of time to contemplate if I wanted to take anxiety medication.

I drove to the location of the photo shoot with a carry-on suitcase full of clothes/shoes/props and texted the photographer that I was downstairs.

The photographer immediately put me at ease. We talked through my outfits and shoes. She let me plug my phone in and put on a playlist (regret–should’ve had a better playlist as it wasn’t something I’d really thought about or planned for). We talked about my props and which outfit they went with, etc.

We set up my four outfits, and I changed into the first one–a sexy red dress with red heels with a matching black lace bra and panty under it. The photographer started me off on the bed, moving the lights and herself around me. She walked me through poses, and told me to tell her when something was just not okay for my back or any other reason. Some poses were indeed uncomfortable, and I gained a small appreciation for what it must take to create ads and layouts in magazines (apart from photoshop).

My second outfit was a turquoise bra and panty under a white men’s shirt and black heels. I posed with a copy of Capturing the Moment. I wished I’d brought my own laptop, but the photographer lent me hers. I’m hoping I like one of these photos so I can use it here on the site.

My third leaned hard into kink. A nightie with a vinyl/pleather breast bra top, black lacy panties, and dominatrix boots that on my five foot two/three inch frame went nearly into my vagina. I posed with a riding crop with a sparkly handle and one with a heart-shaped surface.

My fourth? Mesh with nothing under it and black heels. I should have felt self conscious or uncomfortable, but by that point I felt comfortable with the photographer, with my body, and most shockingly–with the camera.

The photos…

I’m seeing them on Friday. I wanted to write about the experience before I saw them, and then I’ll write another entry about that experience.

Final thoughts…

I had such a positive experience that I volunteered to model in a plus sized lingerie show next month. It was a safe space.

After the shoot they give you a pamphlet with next steps and it’s not until you reach that point that you learn the ridiculous per photo costs. However, this seems to be a standard thing in the world of boudoir photography. So the selection process will be brutal, or at least I hope I like enough of the photos for it to be a difficult decision.

I’d definitely recommend Celebrate Your Sexy if you go into it knowing the photos are really expensive. They shoot all over the US.

Here’s hoping that I’ll have an excellent Friday morning.

On moving, and writing

I moved back to the US in February. It’s now nearly August–nearly six months of being “home.” Except it’s not home. Not my coast. Not my state. Not my city–definitely not this as I live in the burbs. My neighbors tell me it’s a city and that there are over 100k people, to which I reply that my last home crammed nearly 7m people into the same geography of 1/4 the size of Rhode Island. In fact, it’s a lot like moving to Singapore, only I like the food more and there’s Target.

Six months.

Six months of my children begging to move back to Singapore, their unhappiness mingling with my own until even retail therapy is no form of therapy at all. Six months of scolding myself for not adjusting better, even as I know that re-entry is often as or more painful than leaving. Six months of having my youngest home all the time because here she’s too little for Kindergarten and the pre-schools all have waiting lists. Six months of trying and failing to find a place in my house where I could write but be away from my children (especially the one who can read over my shoulder and who doesn’t need this thorough a sex education at her age) when my bedroom is half the size it was and can no longer fit my office. Six months of getting lost every time I leave the house (thank Google for Android Auto and Google Maps).

Plunder was supposed to be done nearly three months ago. After all, I rationalized to myself–it’s not like I’ll have friends there, I can just write. And write. And write. Hell, I might even finish it in the two weeks my kids are with my in-laws.  I’ve barely begun to write the second draft.

When this entry publishes, I’ll be back in Boston for the first time in nearly four years. I’m frightened it will also be too unfamiliar, too alien and that nothing will feel like home again. I’m scared that I’ll forever be in-between. Not Boston. Not Singapore. Not the West Coast. Not at home anywhere.

That melancholy, right there. That’s where I’ve been for the past six months. Depressed. Frightened. Trying to reassure my children when I’m just as unhappy as they are. Looking for doctors, orthodontists, the good Target, the good grocery store, buying a car, talking to teachers, looking for a Chinese tutor, and sometimes just too depressed to even get out of bed.

I took the first really hard steps–I told my partner that I thought I was far past the normal amount of grieving. I’d even shut out my therapist (whom I have a skype relationship of 2+ years with). I got my mental health meds adjusted to help drag me out of the darkest parts of the depression.

I’ve started writing again. Who knows if any of it is any good, but I’m at least doing it. I’m sharing here because in writing erotica we lay ourselves bare–we share fantasies, we share desire, we share romance and sex and relationships. Sometimes, a relationship is difficult, even when it’s with ourselves.

Hold me accountable to write here again. Poke me on Twitter, leave a comment on the blog, email me at delilahnight at gmail dot com and say “hey, where are you?” Writing for me = mental health.

 

Questions about Singapore

singapore flag

Here are the top 5 questions I get about Singapore in no particular order

 

1-What language do they speak?

Short answer–English

Longer answer–There are four official languages—English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil, but English is the language of government and it the primary language taught in the schools.

Singapore was a British colony for hundreds of years. It only became an independent country after World War II. The elites classes all spoke English, and the first Prime Minister and Father of the Country, Lee Kuan Yew was educated at the London School of Economics and studied law at the University of Cambridge. He didn’t speak Mandarin until his adulthood. His son, the current Prime Minister, went to University of Cambridge and Harvard.

That said, Singaporeans speak English with a distinct accent. There is also a local patois called Singlish.

singlish

The only Singlish I use is can/cannot because it is efficient. As for the rest, white people sound like asses when we try to use it and inevitably fuck it up. That said, my older daughter, who has lived here her whole life and goes to local schools, is fully fluent in Singlish. However, she code-switches–with her friends and at school she sounds like a true-blue Singaporean, but at home her accent lightens dramatically and she sounds American. This is totally unconscious on her part, and fascinating to watch in action.

gum

2-Is chewing gum really banned?

Short answer—yes

Longer answer–it’s banned for sale, but you can bring it in for personal use, you can get the stop-smoking gum by prescription, and my dentist office will sell you some kind of gum. We generally bring back gum when we go on vacation to the US.

So here’s the true story of why gum is banned in Singapore.

The trains here have sensors that tell them if anything is blocking the doors. They won’t close the doors/run the trains until whatever is blocking them is moved. The government is really into the trains running on time. People kept sticking gum on the doors and it messed with the sensors so the trains weren’t running on time so the government banned gum.

 

DSC_1808

 

3-Do they cane people?

Yes, they do. The picture above is from my daughter’s school handbook. You’ll notice that Caning is the 8th level of punishment. However, caning is reserved for boys/men only.

Caning children as a disciplinary technique is very common, and very controversial. Within my local friends, there’s a mixture of caners and not. Some of my friends were caned and think it was fine, others think it was awful. It seems pretty analagous to the spanking debate in the US. It’s frightening how normal it seems after being immersed in the culture for six years. I’m told at the secondary school level, the caning is carried out during an assembly in front of the entire school.

Caning is also used as a government punishment. That cane, though,can strip away skin and cause bleeding. This is no joke.

 

singapore

4–Where in China is Singapore?

It’s not. Singapore is a country at the extreme southern tip of Continental Asia. While many Singaporeans have Chinese heritage, it is not, nor has it ever been part of China.

 

5—Now it’s your turn. What questions do you want to ask me about Singapore?

Wicked Wednesday: Milestones

1997

 I enter college, terrified of failing. I will not go back to managing a sub shop or working at JC Pennys. I am not the first person in my family to take a college class, but I am determined to succeed. I balance a fulltime job, a fulltime courseload, and manage to pick up a boy by asking him if he’s taken his girlfriend to Titanic yet.

1999

I am shaking as I board the very first plane I’ve ever flown on. I’m leaving Boston for the south of France for a study-abroad. The French professors have a bet as to whether I’ll get on the plane or not. I do. I have my wallet stolen in Arles, and learn how you report an atm credit card stolen. I hope they enjoyed my Tower Records video rental card and the five dollars in cash I had. I fall in love with a terrible boyfriend, and am dumped in favor of his ex-girlfriend right before New Year’s Eve. But we’ll still be friends. Sure. This is my first New Year’s Eve as a twenty-one year old, and I get plastered. I end up making out with a drunk Northeastern hockey player in a porta-potty (I know, I know) and take him home. This is also the year I start to come to terms with my queerness and seek therapy because I’ve bought into all the toxic stereotypes about bisexuals.

2000

I call my “friend” who dumped me to ask how his New Year’s Eve went. He tells me he hung out with a friend, played video games and drank beer. He asks me what I did. I reply “A hockey player.” Mic drop. The porta-porty make-out was worth it.

2001

I am a college senior, writing an honors thesis for the history degree I’ve realized qualifies me for exactly nothing. My boyfriend introduces me to Literotica and I start writing. I write the infamous Wesley Crusher fanfic. I am now hooked on writing erotica. I graduate from college and become the first person to do so in my family. I become a manager of a retail store because I have a degree in History.

2002

I move to New York to pursue an MA/PhD in History. This is a terrible idea, and I flame out. New York is a cruel city and I have never been more alone and unhappy than I was there. But I saw a ton of Broadway, made new friends, and wrote like crazy. I have no regrets when I leave.

2004

After realizing how much I hated the PhD program, I get a Master’s in Teaching and get my first classroom.

2005

I meet my husband and after our first date, I tell him I want to be “just friends.” When I realize I’m an idiot several weeks later, he gives me a second chance.

2006

We get married. I write the ceremony. The West Wing is mentioned. My husband slips a Babylon 5 reference into his vows. I herniate a disc in my back and spend several months high as hell and unable to walk properly until I get surgery. This is not the best start to a marriage, but my husband is awesome. Serious props to him.

2007

I lose a baby in a miscarriage. I was only 10/11 weeks along but I am devastated. I do not move from my bed for almost a month.

2008

My eldest is born, and we almost lose her at a week of age due to an infection. She spends a month in the hospital. When she gets out I suffer from intense post-partum depression. I consider suicide a lot.

2009

My bipolar disorder is finally correctly diagnosed. I have a mild form that is often misdiagnosed as depression. I finally get useful mental health medication. My daughter, while highly medical, much to everyone’s surprise and joy does not have developmental delays or serious complications.

2010

We move to Singapore. All I really knew about Singapore before we moved here was that gum was banned and they caned some American kid named Michael Fay when I was in high school. We visit and it is hot as hell. But what the heck–we always said we wanted to live abroad, so we jump in.

2011

Kid number two is born and I sell my first story.

2014

I go to Cambodia, alone. It is the first time I’ve been outside the US on my own. I am so proud that I have a wonderful vacation all on my own.

2015

I write and sell my first novella. I nearly die from a kidney infection and deal with the medical and emotional fallout from that. Around a third of my hair falls out and I cope by dyeing it bright blue. Because why not.

2016

We are still in Singapore, despite our initial assumptions that we’d be here only a few years. My children study Chinese as a second language. I am getting a baptism by fire as my eldest progresses through local schools. We are going to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. I just finished the first draft of my novel.

What’s Next?

wicked wednesday