Justify my shame

We all have addictive personalities to some extent. It used to be thought that addiction was a moral failing found most often in the lower classes. Abuse of alcohol and drugs were the reasons that the poor stayed poor and uneducated due to bad blood. Studies have found though that addiction is 50% genetic and 50% poor coping skills. Because of the social stigma attached to addiction, most people don’t seek help until it’s too late. Even if assistance is available, the shame that is drilled into us by parents, teachers and religious institutions, make the guilt so overwhelming that most addicts believe they deserve to suffer.

Addiction vulnerability is the genetic, physiological, or psychological predisposition to engage in addictive behaviors. Source: Wikipedia

For a long time, too long, I considered my need for D/s and spanking to be an addiction; thus shameful and the ultimate source of my guilt. I justified that need by saying to myself, I could stop at any time, it was only words and pictures. It wasn’t like I was actually hurting anyone.

That all started to change twelve years ago when I crawled up out of my self-imposed and self-created oubliette. When I began blogging—for non-D/s reasons—I gradually connected with many others who enjoyed spanking and BDSM and weren’t shy about stating their interest.

I discovered healthier ways of coping with my needs and today, I can finally state with conviction, that my need to spank and dominate is not shameful or weak or perverted. I am not addicted to D/s: D/s makes me a better person by holding myself accountable for my actions towards others.

I can give respect to all my readers and friends, because I can now be respectful towards my own desires. I want to spank. I want to be a Dom. There is no longer any reason to justify my shame.

Don’t forget to laugh

If there is one 52-second video that sums up what Lurv Spanking is all about, it’s this one.

This week’s essay is inspired by this article: 4 Signs That You Are Your Own Worst Enemy, in the August, 2017 issue of Oprah Magazine. I wanted to pull two paragraphs from Martha Beck’s essay that summed up the focus for me.

“Take the spotlight off yourself by learning the 20-40-60 rule. It’s a bit of folk wisdom that goes like this: At age 20, you’re sure everyone’s thinking about you. By the time you’re 40, you’re starting to care less that people are thinking about you. And when you hit 60, you realize the truth: No one was ever thinking about you. People are generally so busy being their own worst enemy that they don’t even notice your flaws.”

“A war against yourself can never be won; the only true victory happens when you lay down your arms and befriend the enemy. And if you can make peace with yourself, you’ll find the whole world becomes a kinder, gentler place.”

This a continuation of sorts from my previous essay “Breaking the martyr inside”, where I talked about the ways we harm ourselves with the best of intentions. Martha writes about how we are constantly warring with all those flaws—external and internal—that most people never even notice. It quickly becomes both a habit and self-filling prophecy to beat up ourselves for all our perceived shortcomings.

There is a difference of course, between those things we despise because we don’t have a perfect ass being bounced upon by a cute kitty, and genuinely harmful behaviors we should change or outgrow. Having a caring Dom can go a long way towards disarming the verbal hand grenades we lob at inopportune times, but unlike in real life, our ammunition called self-loathing, never runs out.

So laugh my friends. None of us are perfect. No matter how obedient and docile we appear on the outside, no amount of spanking and discipline can erase decades of mistakes; unless, and until, you open up that storage container and make love to your inner humanity.

Practicing a D/s diet

Hi y’all, it’s getting toward the end of the summer, and back-to-school adverts have already started. After working so hard to create a swimsuit body—cough-cough, yeah, right—it would be shame to gorge on carbs as the nights grow shorter. In the June, 2017 issue of GQ, there is an article called How to Fast: A guide for the Hungry Man. The author lays out two types of fasts. The 16:8 diet and the 5:2.

How It Works: the 16:8 plan. For an eight hour window a day, you eat however you normally do. For the other 16, fast. You can drink water, black coffee, and herbal tea. That’s it. You’re giving your body time to digest.

How It Works: the 5:2 plan. For five days a week, eat normally. For the other two, “fast” by limiting yourself to 600 calories a day. (And yes, booze counts.) A typical breakfast: a slice of ham and two scrambled eggs. Dinner is a protein-packed chicken salad.

By Jeff Vrabel: If you somehow stick with it, you’ll join a lineage of fasters dating back to Aristotle and Plato, who proved that even humanity’s deepest philosophers sweat their beach bodies. Fasting may actually put us closer to our natural state; some experts think humans aren’t designed for three squares a day and that we mistakenly regard mild hunger as an emergency. Which is why, although our loinclothed ancestors only ate when they brought down a mastodon, we invented Doritos Locos Tacos.

Naturally, this got me wondering, what if D/s wasn’t 24/7, but restricted to either one of these fasts? As a Dom, you could only be in charge for eight hours a day. If you decide that sleep is not part of the hours, then that would leave you roughly eight out of sixteen awake hours to dominate your submissive. It could be breakfast to mid-afternoon; mid-morning to dinner; or mid-afternoon to bedtime. With only eight consecutive hours of D/s a day, how would you work around work? Use text and calls and pass on the physical for a day? It’s not so farfetched when you consider that if you take away sleep and work time, most people only have a 4 to 6 hour window in any case. Toss in a family, and that time slivers to minutes. Would a scheduled time work better?

The other plan, 5:2, is what I think most D/s couples+ would likely choose. Work is no longer M-F 9-to-5, but skipping all D/s twice a week, doesn’t sound all that bad when you consider that some days nothing happens anyway. This would take the pressure off in terms of feeling let down that there was no play time or spanking. The downside is deciding whether to take a two-day break, with five on, or some pattern where the breaks are further apart. Constantly starting and stopping may seem a hardship at first, but it may also ratchet up the intensity knowing that if time is wasted, then the wait will make the next on day feel more precious. So, any takers for a D/s diet?

Breaking the martyr inside

Most of my recent essays have been triggered by magazine articles—the paper kind no less. The March 2017 edition of Real Simple, had an article entitled, How to Conquer the Martyr Complex. The author Ingela Ratledge begins her essay with the following statement: Some highlighted quotations follow, but I recommend reading the entire article for the parallels between D/s and martyrdom.

Overdo. Complain. Repeat. Sounds like the worst motivational slogan ever, right? Welcome to how I roll. Biting off more than I can chew is standard procedure for me. (“Sure, I can volunteer for the spring carnival and make a résumé for my niece and cook multiple options for dinner!”) And so is feeling fried and resentful later on. I’ll corner my husband for a thorough debriefing on my saintliness, hoping he’ll be overcome by a powerful mix of gratitude and admiration (gradmiration, anyone?). Instead, he typically says, “Oh, you didn’t have to do all that.”
Of course, he’s right. In addition to juggling life’s many nonnegotiables, I’m taking on tons of extra-credit assignments—and accomplishing them through gritted teeth. I’m being…the M-word.
I have plenty of company. We’re surrounded by folks who perpetually sacrifice themselves and then kvetch about their lot. The question is, to what end? I get zero thrills from playing this unwinnable game of whack-a-mole. I’m weary of holding a grudge against those who swan around unburdened by phantom obligations.

“The concept of self-sacrifice can be found across all religions and cultures,” says Candida Moss, PhD, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Myth of Persecution. “If you live in the Western world, you are still influenced by the social values that mattered thousands of years ago.” Yep, she adds, even if you’re an atheist: “Dating back to ancient times, martyrs were regarded as brave, virtuous, and strong.” The critical difference is that historical martyrs, like Joan of Arc—as well as more modern martyrs, like Gandhi and Nelson Mandela—had higher goals. “Real martyrs stood for something,” says behavioral science expert David Emerald, cofounder of the Bainbridge Leadership Center. “For them, the suffering was not the point—it was secondary to their fight, and that’s been misplaced in current culture.”

But why are some of us more susceptible to this messaging than others? Much of it boils down to basic issues of self-worth. “Typically, martyrs don’t know how to validate and love themselves very well,” says Sharon Martin, a psychotherapist in San Jose, California. “They feel that their value is in serving others—so if they stop doing that, they will have no value.” Alas, altruism and ulterior motives make strange bedfellows, which is why bending over backward doesn’t offer a golden ticket to the promised land. Says Martin, “Martyrs don’t get a lot of warm feelings from doing good deeds.” So what’s keeping us in this racket? Partly it’s a matter of control. “Martyrs think that if they don’t do something, it won’t get done,” says Mazer. Or at least not properly. “The martyr operates on the assumption that he or she knows best and has the answer rather than an answer,” says Emerald, because the alternative—that our contributions aren’t actually essential—is downright destabilizing. “It’s a stab to the ego to admit that the world does not depend on you,” explains Emerald. Also, funneling the bulk of your energy into external situations provides a handy distraction: It gives you a pass on addressing your own vulnerabilities, goals, and shortcomings. How could you possibly be expected to finish that master’s, quit a job you despise, or make it to the gym when you’re so busy taking care of everything else?” “As a martyr, you don’t have to take personal responsibility,” says Mazer. “You can project your unhappiness and blame outward.” You may be trying to cover up the fact, says Garcy, “that you have no clue how to get from where you are to where you want to be.”

I will raise my hand and admit freely that I am a martyr of long-standing suffering both in my personal and professional life. I have always thought of myself as worthless, and have never been able to love who am I. I’m the worker bee/drone who does everything without asking, follows the rules, and then stews volcanic-like inside when nobody else gives a shit and I wind up mopping the floor of someone else’s mess. It has taken being out of work for the past 19 months to realize that I’m only responsible for my own actions and ethics.

Tomorrow is our 30th wedding anniversary, and for the entire time—plus the nearly two years we were dating—my wife has been ill, sometimes critically. For the past 19 months, I have been her 24/7 caretaker at home. The specific reasons and medical issues are not important, but she has been near death at least a dozen times since we’ve been together. In fact, when she was seven-years old, her parents and she were told she wouldn’t survive to adulthood. She’s now 53. Ironically, having been nursed by me, she’s in better health now, than at any time in the past. Going to the hospital only makes her sicker. The next hurdle is the possible amputation of her left leg below the knee: She goes back and forth on her decision; but it is her decision, not mine and not her doctors’. I fully support her no matter what happens.

What I took from the article in terms of similarities to D/s, is the way both Doms and subs struggle with doing it ‘right’ even more so than perfectly. Self-worth, and the lack thereof through depression, plays an outsize role in submission. The opposite, arrogance, leads many Doms down blind alleys where they abandon their subs for not being good enough for them. Whether you’re a Top or bottom, if you don’t realize that the world not only isn’t going to stop for you, but could care less about your accomplishments, then you’ll continue to be disappointed and upset when the people in your life don’t constantly pat you on the back. A simple thank you should suffice… or a good spanking.

Probably the most positive aspect of D/s though, is when both partners drop the resentment of martyrdom and make the effort to do things not for praise, but because caring for the other is the right thing to do. If both the Dom and sub take responsibility for themselves, instead of waiting to be rescued, and from a position of personal strength, use that self-confident energy to prioritize their partner’s needs, then both will want to keep caring instead of keeping score and holding grudges. Didn’t get spanked last night? It’s not a crisis. Forgot to take the trash out? The next pickup is fine. Didn’t notice the kitchen floor was waxed? Likely a rough day at the office.

Partners doesn’t mean clones. Men and women are different. Doms and subs are different. We all have different parents, different upbringings, different beliefs, different desires: We are each of us unique. The weaknesses and strengths are different as well. Have you ever given a gift without expecting something in return? Remember how good that felt? Maybe you paid for someones meal, or helped someone to cross the street. I know I’ve given directions hundreds of times before for the sheer pleasure of getting a smile of relief in return. I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need to jump up and down waving ‘look at me, look at me’ every time I do something good.

Being a martyr leads to bad choices. Life is crappy for most people most of the time. We martyrs ruin the few happy moments by obsessing over what we should have done differently, said more eloquently, reacted more politely; instead of moving on, we squirrel away the slights—both real and imaginary—until our blood pressure nearly bursts our poor hearts. In a D/s situation, this doesn’t happen [shouldn’t happen] because there are protocols in place to prevent an escalation of emotions. Many times, an instant swat on the backside will serve as a placeholder until time is available for a real spanking. To be submissive means that martyrdom is no longer allowed and ranks right up there with back-talking, sulking and other forms of verbal and non-verbal communications that disrespect the D/s compact.

Note: I did not say disrespect the Dom. Being a martyr is not directed at others, it is aimed solely at self. The self that believes they will never be good enough, and are constantly letting others down by not working harder and better. When a submissive says to their Dom; ‘I’m a burden’, ‘I’ll never be what you want’, ‘I don’t know why you stay with me’, ‘I hate myself for feeling this way’. Those are all spanking violations. Write ’em a ticket, flip up the skirt, yank down the knickers, and give your sub a nice, long spanking for disrespect. How hard is up to you, but in this case, actions speak louder than words, although re-enforcing the discipline with loving praise will help to overcome the desire for self-harm.

Hi, my name is Lurv Spanking. I’m a recovering martyr. It’s been one year since I last hated myself.

The Submissive Mindset: What is it and how to reach it.

Seek a Zen-like state. Be the void where thoughts are soap bubbles drifting in morning mist. Your being is not manipulated by unwanted thoughts.

 

‘When does a submissive reach her goal?’
‘When her ego returns the starfish to the sea.’

 

The above was a comment I left on nora’s blog recently. She was bemoaning the fact that it is so hard to get into and stay in a submissive mindset when having been a take-charge dominant woman for so long. She’s not the only person struggling with maintaining the deep submissive posture that she craves. What today’s woman seeks is a calm oasis in the vast landscape of modern society. In the past, being submissive had different connotations.

I finished reading The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert last week. The blurb reads as follows:

Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. The novel follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing—a desperate need to understand the workings of this world, and the mechanism behind of all life.

The novel is a very ambitious fictional biography, and I will admit to enjoying the prose much more than the weak plot and shallow characters. The author weaves an undercurrent of sexuality throughout the novel by creating a mechanism whereby Alma Whittaker can explore masturbation through erotic books accidentally obtained in bulk library purchases by her wealthy father. The only detailed manuscript named in the novel is Cum Grano Salis [With a Grain of Salt] and is apparently a literary construct by the author. It is an erotic treatise; purportedly being the memoirs of a man exploring the many and nuanced pleasures to be found in “marvelous bodily pricks and holes”. On page 92, Elizabeth Gilbert writes the following excerpt from the book that her protagonist Alma is reading:

I have come to believe that there are some people who benefit both in body and mind by regular beatings to the naked posterior. Many times, I have seen this practice lift the spirits of both men and women, and I suspect it may be the most salubrious treatment we have at our disposal for melancholia and other diseases of the mind. For two years, I kept company with the most delightful maid, a milliner’s girl, whose innocent and even angelic orbs became firm and strong with repeated flagellation, and whose sorrows were routinely erased by the taste of the whip. As I have described earlier in these pages, I once kept in my offices an elaborate couch, made for me by a fine London upholsterer, specially fitted with winches and ropes. This maid liked nothing more than to be tied securely upon that couch, where she would hold my member in her mouth, sucking me as a child enjoys a stick of sugar, whilst a companion—

Sounds a bit like Ruby’s adventures in The Bumhampton Chronicles, doesn’t it? This is the only reference to corporal punishment in the entire novel, unless you count slavery and asylums as implied instances: or British sailors under the lash. In any event, submission is never directly stated or acted upon, but rather assumed to be the natural order of the Universe. God first, white Protestant males next—or Royalty if not American—followed by the wealthy; then white middle-class women and the unfortunate white poor who toiled dawn-to-dusk for survival lumped beneath. Catholics, Jews, African slaves and Natives of all areas around the globe, were not to be mentioned in polite society beyond scholarly publications created to cement the white man’s place at the top.

So is the author herself a spanko? That is unknown, however, the snippet she created in Cum Grano Salis and a few pages later, shows an interest in flagellation.

Leaving behind the novel, is there even such a thing as the submissive mindset? I wrote the Zen koan posted at the beginning of this essay, because the closest parallel I have experienced to a submissive mindset myself, is during intense zazen—meditation—when all the cares and worries and emotions that beset the waking mind, drifted away into a place of empty contentment. Religion has always been protective, sometimes violently so, towards meditation/prayer as a means of enforcing submission towards the Divine. Anything that smacks of secular interference into the mysteries of the Universe has always been ruthlessly suppressed. Medicine, literature, science, sexuality; all forms of free-expression continue to run afoul of the strict tenets of faith. Religions demand submission: on their terms; or else.

“It’s a dichotomy though that the more you want to be submissive in your thoughts, the harder it becomes to quiet the chattering mind.”

The above comment I wrote for missy’s blog on one of her frequent posts about desiring a more submissive mindset. For missy and nora, among many other women in D/s relationships, they want their Doms to impose their will and demand submission through actions and words. This is in fact, how religion, and other organizations including the military, create institutions that thrive with the mindset of obedience through rote training, intimidation and fear. That mindset though is diametrically opposite to how a successful D/s relationship operates through willing cooperation and respect.

In Gilbert’s novel, Alma’s father Henry is a tyrant, created thusly by the circumstances of birth, and an early life at sea as a cabin boy. In order to carve out a life for himself, all beneath him are submissive to his needs, and any defiance is dealt with harshly. All within his orbit fear him and his temper. Henry is not a Dom. He’s a bully who’s only goal is to be richer than anyone else. Money is a vehicle with which he transcends his past and allows him to collect everything but love and an heir.

So yes, you can as a Dom, force submission through pain and fear, and render someone meek and broken to your needs. Or, you can, through selective dominance, allow—yes, allow—your submissive to tap into the well that already exists. Instead of thinking of your submissive as a tabula rasa you then write your desires upon their willing soul, instead treat them as intelligent beings who want your guidance in becoming better versions of themselves. After all, what is the difference between kneeling in a church praying, and kneeling naked in corner reflecting on inappropriate behavior?

There is of course, no real definition of what makes a submissive mindset. In this case, it seems to be an oxymoron when what makes thoughts disappear is active action, not passively waiting to be dominated. Actively seeking out actions that re-enforce the submissive bond; actively asking for a spanking when stress or melancholia rear up like the Garden’s serpent. When real-life work, family and the ever looming emergencies strike, chanting a mantra that you’ve created at your Doms behest. Having rituals that bond and release you from being in charge; even if only for awhile.

Remembering that ‘this too shall pass’, and that by taking care of your Dom first, your submissive mindset reminds them, that through service and discipline, the more they put into helping you quiet the chattering mind, the stronger and more confident you become in maintaining your submissive mindset to the enrichment of you both.

Start young and never look back

I’ve read three very interesting books recently that created this essay. I’ve been focusing more on my writing these past twelve months, but it has yet to reach a level of consuming passion. I may never get there, but after finishing the trio of books, I feel much less of a failure.

I picked up a copy of Kevin Ashton’s How to Fly A Horse on a whim, but I’m glad I did. His premise is that the creative process is a myth, and that every single person is creative; but what makes a successful inventor, discoverer or artist, is simply hard work and doing it over and over again. Writer’s block, among many other concepts, doesn’t exist. Kevin is also the creator of the phrase Internet of Things. The title refers to the Wright Brothers.

Kevin: The creativity myth implies that few people can be creative, that any successful creator will experience dramatic flashes of insight, and that creating is more like magic than work. A rare few have what it takes, and for them it comes easy. Anybody else’s creative efforts are doomed.

He goes on to use examples both ancient and modern to bolster his thesis. Along the way, he shows through studies and clinical trials, that as the number of participants goes up, creativity goes down. In fact, Kevin claims that creative cooperation peaks in kindergarten. I, like many of you, will agree with this premise. Anybody who has suffered through production meetings, brainstorming sessions and forced teamwork can readily attest to the fact that one person creating alone is the most successful. He closes the book with this:

Kevin: The chain of creation is many links longs, and every link—each one person creating—is essential. All stories of creators tell the same truth: that creating is extraordinary but creators are human; that everything right with us can fix anything wrong with us; and that progress is not an inevitable consequence but an individual choice. Necessity is not the mother of invention. You are.

Two autobiographies picked up on this theme: Yanni in Words, and Tom Jones Over The Top And Back. I found striking similarities in both men’s accounts of their artistic struggle to creative success. One similarity was passion for music, Yanni writing and Tom singing, and  another was the way that success drew sexual attention. The road is a soul crushing grind that never seems to end, but both of them used the creative and sexual fire to fuel their success.

Yanni: If you are the music, you can write the music. If you’re not the music, you’re outside, judging it. Judgment and creativity are opposites. Both are valid, but they can’t exist in the same place at the same time. To create, you have to become one with your creation and let it flow freely. You have to be in the zone. For me, I have to become one with the music. The instant I begin judging my creation, I find myself outside looking in, and the creative moment is gone.

Tom: But I was out, getting up in front of people and singing and, really for the first time, properly seeing the effect that my voice could have on a room full of people—noting how excited people and how that, in turn, excited me. I realized, with a new, even clearer urgency, how badly I wanted to do this and nothing else, as remote as the possibility of that still seemed. Let’s face it, the music business [in 1962] wasn’t exactly rushing to the valleys to sign up any Welsh pop group… The music business seemed to have plenty on its plate already. But you could dream, couldn’t you?

Both Yanni and Tom detail the long, arduous and sometimes dangerous trip to ‘overnight’ success from an upbringing of poverty. Both had loving and supportive parents, but the reality was, that their success was a steady roller-coaster of highs and lows and the only person who created the opportunities that brought them critical acclaim, was themselves. Both men had the unshakeable belief they were the best at their craft, and if only the right venue opened up, they would prove it to the world. This dogged ethic allowed them to fight and claw their way until the vision they saw as their due came to fruition.

The second connection I found in their words, was the early—and often—sexual relations with thousands of women. For Yanni, he states his first time was in a local bordello next door to his school in Kalamata, Greece. He was thirteen and a half.

Tom was sixteen when he impregnated his fifteen-year old girlfriend—wife at eight months, and stayed married until she passed in 2016. Tom never comes out and states he had sex with groupies—other publications have said so—but numerous anecdotes certainly imply that was the case. Yanni writes that one-night stands were his preferred method until he met Linda Evans. It is no surprise that the music industry, along with sports and film, have always been synonymous with sex and drugs. Most seem to cite the relentless pressure and grind of the creative process, along with the pursuit by willing females determined for a taste of the bright lights.

Tom: Bam! I’m on the pavement under a pile of screaming girls—taken down with a pace and efficiency that a pack of rugby forwards would have been proud to pull off. The people making the commotion outside the pub window were making that noise for me, and I didn’t know it.

Yanni: When I was on the road other girls would invariably show up, willing to share themselves for the night in very creative ways. If you’re young and away from home for two or three weeks at a time, it’s hard to resist walking into temptation. Mostly I didn’t.

Tom: It happens for the first time on one of those nights in the Copa [in NYC] in 1969. I’m drenched with sweat. Just occasionally someone on a table near the stage will reach out with a white linen napkin for me. I’ll dab at my brow with it and then hand it back. Not this one woman, though. She stands, flips her dress up, steps out of her panties and hands them up to me.
What I do with the panties is, I dab my brow with them. And then I say, ‘You want to watch you don’t catch cold.’

Yanni: I just wanted to have fun and I was honest about it. ‘I’m not looking for a relationship, and I hope you’re not. I don’t owe you anything and you don’t owe me anything. If we do this, it’s what is for tonight. If it continues tomorrow, okay, but if it doesn’t, don’t come to me and say I’ve used you.’

Tom: There was sex in the [Vegas] shows, and there was sex around the shows. The air seemed to crackle with it.
Same thing at those big seventies tour dates. Best clothes. Perfume in the air. People getting revved up. A willingness to cut loose and let go. A general horniness in the crowd. The atmosphere alive with the possibility of sex—in a way that was definitely going to play out to the advantage of the band, the crew and beyond.
As somebody once said, I was the Pied Piper of pussy.

Yanni: I liked to choose my companions rather than the other way around.
The seduction had already taken place while she watched me play. She knew I liked her because I approached her, and most of the time she’d come with me. If I got turned down it didn’t make any difference because there were so many other possibilities. But I was never a pest; you could get rid of me easily.
There were more girls than any of us could possibly be with, sometimes five times as many as there were guys.
It was rock ‘n’ roll.

Tom: So I’ve got the singer-on-a-stage thing going for me, and then television comes along and adds a whole other layer. Never underestimate the extent to which people want to have sex with people who are on television.
I was going over as some kind of love god, and I was going over so strongly that occasionally I was even persuaded of it myself. The road will set temptations in front of you that are hard to resist.

Yanni: In each town I had a girlfriend or two. Not real girlfriends, just girls I knew. Or someone I’d just met. I didn’t mind having sex with a woman I’d known less than an hour. I was young, they looked good. Nothing else to do. Let’s have some fun. There was no judgment, and I never felt guilty. You’re just driving down the highway and you’re lonely; you meet someone who eases the boredom a little bit for the night. And the next day you get up and do it again.

Tom: I think he [Wyclef Jean] was wondering, what’s it like to be out and about with Tom Jones? What goes on? So the next time [late 2001] we were both in London, I took him to the Metropolitan Hotel in Park Lane, home of the Met Bar and Nobu and a regular stop-off for me. The place was crowded, as it often is, and we sat out in the foyer having drinks—
Pretty soon, a girl came over, and she wanted to introduce herself and say hello.
‘It’s very nice to meet you,’ I said.
And then, without further ado, right there at the table, she whipped up her dress and showed me the piercing on her clitoris.
‘Well, thank you very much for that,’ I said. And then she went away.
That was it. My legend with Wyclef was sealed. ‘Man, you go out with Tom Jones, girls show you their pussy!’ He told everybody he knew, meaning that my reputation preceded me, whenever I went with him.

In closing, I wanted to include a few more quotes about creativity from them both. And also a music video of Sir Tom Jones, at age 77, crushing the song ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ The Voice UK 2017′. In the end, what Kevin and Yanni and Tom have showed, is that creativity is simply a vision of what you want your life to be. It’s all up to you to get to work and create.

Tom: And through all of this, Ethan’s [Johns] message has essentially been simple and the same: just sing. And it might seem strange that a singer needs to hear that, but it’s a fact. Everyone who has had success is asking themselves: what’s my next success? What do I do next? It eats at you like that, until it’s actually eating into your voice.

Yanni: When I was younger I got in my own way by asking myself questions like, How long does a piece need to be? What kind of music should I write? The answer is to write what you like. The piece is going to be as long as it keeps you interested. If it bores you, cut it.
Society does everything it can to fill you with a distrust of yourself and others. We grow up in an environment where we’re laughed at or criticized for thinking that what we create could profoundly affect people and maybe make a difference in their lives—or be worth doing for nobody but ourselves.

Summer of Love

It seems that ’69 never really left the Bay Area. Besides snatching up all available housing and snarling local traffic, the explosion of high-tech industry is apparently sucking up all the available sexual partners as well. According to this article called, Silicon Valley’s Sexual Revolution, in the April 4th, 2017 edition of Wired magazine; what was once called ‘free love’ or ‘swinging’ is now officially morphed into Polyamory 2.0.

By Julian Sancton: In Silicon Valley, love’s many splendors often take the form of, well, many lovers. For certain millennials in tech—as well as, rumor has it, a few middle-aged CEOs—polyamory holds especial appeal. Perhaps that’s because making it work is as much an engineering challenge as an emotional one, requiring partners to navigate a complex web of negotiated arrangements. (There’s an app to keep track of that, obvs: The Poly Life.) Some enthusiasts even claim it’s the way of the future. “If life extension is possible, we might have to think about relationships differently,” says one Valley-based polyamorist. “It’s pretty hard to have an exclusive relationship with someone for 300 years.” True that—but balancing multiple LTRs takes just as much dedication and discipline (if not more).

The article goes on to list six bullet points including this little nugget: 4. Don’t be a letch: You shouldn’t go to a get-together hoping to hook up. These are not orgies. (Though tech-nerd orgies do get pret-ty wild, what with the color-coded bracelets signaling what you’re cool with doing/having done unto you.) And stick to your age bracket—restrictions are enforced to keep things comfortable.

I have nothing against polyamory, I was involved with my wife and another woman who lived with us for two years and we parted amicably, but I have some serious questions with the way the article *nudge-nudge, wink-wink* casts shade on the entire scene with more than a hint of California crunchy granola vibe. I mean, hasn’t Silicon Valley been rocked with sexual harassment claims from female engineers? And don’t all the major tech companies have a distinct lack of gender balance, in fact, steeply tilted towards males in both status, numbers and pay? Not to mention, a whitewash of upper management with the occasional token person of color or Asian.

One of the arguments against gay marriage is that once it was legally established, and same-sex marriage turned out not to be the end of the world, polyamorists would be pushing for legal bigamy next. We all know how that has worked out for the Mormons, although there are plenty of current cultures who practice bigamy for the elites. On the other hand, it was fifty years ago that the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that biracial marriage was in fact legal. Society changes all the time, for better or for worse. Not too long ago, BDSM was firmly in the closet.

If the show Mad Men, unveiled the sordid ’60s chain-smoking sexual predators that stalked the secretarial pool in pressed white cotton button-downs, then today’s online hostility towards women in tech has been enabled and abetted by the same companies that seek to control every single aspect of our lives. I for one, don’t want apps watching in my bedroom or stalking me through targeted ads. The Internet of Things markets bold promises of inter-connectivity yet lags far behind in sensible security. Our entire online existence is at the mercy of hostile hackers who are constantly stealing identities and money from companies too cheap to protect their customers.

There is a serious and pervasive lack of respect for women in all areas and strata of society. The tech industry, along with the online juggernaut players are just that: players who give lip service to the rights of their employees and consumers while generating nothing physical that betters society. The profits are stashed away for a rainy day all the while politicians of all stripes scream at each other and let the country fall apart by doing nothing constructive. All the cute articles about polyamory aren’t going to change that equation into a positive app.