Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reality.

The other night, I had dinner with witches and goddesses, masters and slaves, 40-year-old little girls and human dogs. It was really just chance that there wasn't a goddamn dragon present.

Of course I didn't. I had dinner with a bunch of middle-aged software developers who own a lot of cats. Why dignify their delusions?

Because they'll dignify mine. My delusions may be modest in scope--I'm pretty sure I'm an ordinary adult human--but I certainly have notions about my place in sex and the world that might not be perfectly objective. Who I am is a mix of what I am, and what I say I am. I was born female, but I'm a woman on my say-so.

Of course it's silly. Of course it's a game, and someone saying they're a dog is probably not as serious, deep down, as someone saying they're a woman. But it's not "wrong" for someone to identify in ways that don't fit physical reality. The only times I've had a right to bristle were when someone tried to impose upon my self-concept--you can be a goddess but you can't make me your worshipper. And honestly, once I get over my Internet-conditioned "ewww a furry" reaction, a dog-dude is a barrelfull more fun than your average dude-dude.

Why does this flexibility of identity seem to cross over with sex so often? You don't run into dog-dudes who just want to play frisbee nearly as often as you run into dudes who want to be dogs during sex or BDSM play. Maybe it's because sex is the only arena where adults really have a license to play. There's rules for frisbee, even when you're just tossing it around, it's not true play the way children play. Even supposed "RPGs" tend to be more about leveling up and phat lewtz than really roleplaying. Whereas "roleplay" in sex is a free-form and accepted thing.

It makes me a little sad sometimes. Not that play has become sexual, but that play so often seems confined to sex. I can get people in bed with me playing like we're the naughty policeman and the seductive suspect, but I can't get them to go play cops and robbers with me in the park. That would be weird. You have to outgrow these things. Life has rules now, so fun has to have rules now. Even when I find someone game to play Calvinball with me, it feels awkward and hollow. I don't know if that's because we can't play anymore or just because we can't stop feeling that we're not supposed to. But I see dog-dudes and guys who call themselves Lord Ravenblood as precious evidence that it's the latter.

So you know what? Fuck you, I'm a dragon.






raaaarrrr

19 comments:

  1. Nope, I have a 7 year old. I'll play cops and robbers with you in the park(Nerf makes automatic weapons and sniper rifles now!! :>). I can also build a fort around the TV so we can watch scary movies and make 2 kinds of monster blood.(one you can eat and one that is fun to play with) Go have fun!!

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  2. Vinnie - That's, like, at least two-thirds of the reason I want to have kids.

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  3. Yes! (I find myself saying this a lot whilst reading your blog). Excellent connection, Holly...and sad commentary on our cultural programming and experience as "grownups". I think this is another place where the geek group has an edge. In addition to being smart, self-amusing, and spending a lot of time thinking about sex, my fellow geeks seem to have mostly retained some ability (it varies) to stay in touch with their 7-year old selves and enjoy playing outside of sex (where it definitely is a lot of fun too). Playing kid games with a bunch of silly friends is just magical and necessary in a world where the harsh realities take up way too much time and awareness.

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  4. Even supposed "RPGs" tend to be more about leveling up and phat lewtz than really roleplaying.

    Man, you're playing RPGs with the wrong people. ;)

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  5. Williamthecoroner - Luke 18:17!

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  6. Sex already makes us vulnerable. Some people are better at accepting that -- or even seeking it -- than others, but grownups play all the time. The games and their stakes may not be what you'd prefer, but they're ubiquitous.

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  7. Bruno - Crazy head games are not my idea of innocent "whee I'm a doggy" good times.

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  8. Most species of mammals have a period when they're children where they play all the time (because it helps them learn skills & stuff), then quit & devote themselves to serious stuff when they grow up. Otters are one notable exception -- & dogs, I guess? It seems like humans are kinda in-between; we can play but it's hard to immerse oneself in role.

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  9. Crazy head games are one example, but sports, arts, animal training, banter, pleasure reading, nonprocreative sex (and the nonprocreative aspects of procreative sex), etc. are all play, too.

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  10. There's a reason people spend so much energy debating their zombie plans.

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  11. I wanna be a Grizzly Bear. Grrr.

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  12. I always get really nostalgic for childhood stuff around this time of year. I think it's because I remember the Halloween when I decided that I was too grown up to trick-or-treat anymore.

    But that's just what makes Halloween so great: grown-ups can dress up and roleplay (and it doesn't have to be sexual but if it turns out that way, most people won't complain much) and not only is it not stigmatized (not that engaging in behaviors that society at large stigmatizes is necessarily a bad thing--society at large is often overrated), it's practically encouraged! It can remind you of what it was like to be a kid with a head that was full of wonder and ready to accept anything, even if it scared the shit out of you sometimes.

    Or maybe I'm just getting old....

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  13. Look up japanese Cosplay.

    Role playing does not have to be only sex.

    And it doesn't have to include public opprobrium.

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  14. Best way to describe me is a wolf/zebra hybrid (yea, try living that for bit... a touch screwy to say the least... most so when both sides are alpha).

    Most canine play is a cross between learning and mauling. Most folks will call the police if we're playing in the front yard. So, yea to exist free and not in jail we do limit what we'll do in public. Survival instinct wins.

    Think humans have gotten to where they are on the basis of being able to suppress/shunt desires/wants/needs to the side. Mentally it isn't healthy, but for a society it's necessary.

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  15. Interestingly, I'm a serious RPG gamer, and I find roleplay during sex terrifying and creepy....

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  16. Super late to the party, but just wanted to poke my head in and say this post is fucking awesome.

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  17. I know this is a long time later, but you went up a notch in my estimation by knowing what Calvinball was.

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  18. I was extremely proud of myself when, waiting for our turn to take the ASL final (it was one-on-one demonstration with the prof) I got half the class to play tag on campus. Best. Day. Ever.
    Also, major props for the Calvinball reference!!

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