To the lovely denizens of the internet,

Hello. You've found my profile on some sort of social networking website, which suggests that I'm open to being social. Well, I am! I love talking to new people. Meeting new people I can be a little weird about, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I appreciate that conversation starters can be difficult. I don't expect a particularly long, thoughtful message, written so poetically that I weep at the beauty of it. Though don't get me wrong, I'd be all over that like a fresher on a tray of tequila shots. What I'm saying is, I'm not a monster. Simple messages are fine. That's how I start conversations with people I find interesting online. "Hi, I noticed you like X, I also love X! What do you think of Y?" or "I love that photo of you. Well done on having such a nice face." They all work for me. You don't need to jump through hoops to experience the incredible, sublime joy of communicating with me.

On to the content of your message. Do you think I'm a hottie and want to tell me? That's lovely of you, I'll say thank you. Do you fancy me so much you feel compelled to ask more personal questions about my sexual preferences? I'll explain that I don't talk about that type of thing with people I don't know well, but I won't be a bitch about it. You're not a mind reader. I don't expect you, random internet stranger, to understand what I'm comfortable with or what I'm not straight away. I'm not going to get all weird and sensitive about it. Do you think I'm so much of a hottie you want me to join you and your partner for an evening of filthy shenanigans? I'm going to say no, but I don't resent you for asking. I'll say no in a very polite way, if that's how you've spoken to me. It's all cool.

However, recently I've gotten a lot of messages from people who don't like being told no. People who will keep on pushing, even after I've made it very clear I'm not interested in them or that I'm uncomfortable talking about a particular subject. Or who seem to think they can trick me into answering their questions by phrasing them in a slightly different way. Or telling me there's no need to be shy, or suggest that I'm a prude. I think that perhaps they think this will make me give them what they want, to prove that I'm not a shy little prude. But aha! I am onto them. I've said no to them one more time. Usually in a more curt way, depending on how I've been spoken to.

And would you know, sometimes people still don't listen. After that, I will call them up on it. In a very clear, concise way, like I'm telling off a toddler. They never take it well. I don't expect them to. People who don't care when another person says no generally aren't going to be lovely individuals who'll admit the errors of their ways, even when they're spelt out to them clear as day.

I've been told by them that I'm over reacting. Or that I should expect questions like that (because god knows why, I'm a girl on the internet? Is that how these things work?) Or that they were just joking anyway. If I wasn't crazy I would have realised that, they say.

Anyway, back to you, potential new friend! You're obviously a nice person anyway, if you've read this far. I like you already. We're going to be great buddies. I've always wanted a friend with a matching anorak. Could that be you? I hope it's you, because it's anorak season. We don't want to waste it. My anorak has ducks on it. Or we could get new ones. Either way, I'm excited. We're going to look adorable.

I don't want to come across as a bitch. I'm not, for the most part. I just really don't appreciate being treat as nothing more than wank fodder. I'm not sorry that my messages are giving these people nothing to think of when they put their hands down their pants. I'm not sorry that I have no sexy photos on my profile. That's intentional. And even if I had a more risque profile, the same would all still stand; if someone says no, you stop. You don't try and argue with them, you don't try and manipulate them. You bloody stop.

If you agree with that, I can't wait to hear from you!

Love and hugs,

Victoria xx

Sunday, September 15, 2013

- I have two shelves in the fridge entirely dedicated to cheese. I have a regular cheese shelf, and a fancy cheese shelf. No one can stop me.

- I can listen to whatever bad music I want, at whatever volume I want, with only the Polish men who live above me to judge me.

- The washing machine is never full of other people's dirty pants.

- No one is there to judge me when I get Nutella all over my face because I've been trying to get my tongue all the way to the bottom of the jar.

- There are no awkward consequences if I'm noisy during sex.

- No one tries to talk back when I talk to myself.

-  I can leave my laptop lying around without anyone updating my Facebook status or reading my emails. And I can leave whatever tabs I want open at once without anyone panicking and ringing the police.

- No one has a go at me when I turn the heating on.

- I never have to hop around with my legs crossed outside the bathroom door.

- When I come home in the evening and I just want to be on my own, no one is around getting in my way.

- I don't need to be friendly to my housemate's boyfriends, friends and extended family.

- The kitchen is always free, which is great, because I am almost always eating.

- No one eats my last piece of bacon.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I have always cringed when I've heard men complain about being "friendzoned."

For anyone who is lucky enough not to have seen the countless memes or heard someone whining, please, let me explain. Being in the friendzone is when you're in a platonic relationship with someone, but would rather it was a romantic or sexual relationship. The other partner in this relationship doesn't appear interested in changing the relationship, wanting to remain just friends.

Simple, right? We've all been in that situation at some point.

The part that winds me up is when I hear someone complain about it. When I hear Tony complain about how he's always kind to Susie. How he always listens to her, cheers her up when she's upset, buys her presents, makes her laugh. But STILL she doesn't let him slip his hand up her shirt. Does she not realise that he's better than any other guy she's interested in? Has he not proved to her a thousand times over that he deserves her?

Well, fuck off to that. Love - and intimacy, and submission - aren't earned. People aren't vending machines, that you put niceness points into until what you want pops out.

I believe many things are earned; trust and respect are earned. I might look at someone and implicitly trust or respect them to some extent, but the bulk of that grows over time, and is earned through not letting me down and through being the person they claim to be. They are difficult things to cultivate, and important, essential and integral to any type of relationship.

I don't believe that love is earned. My love is given freely; not because someone has been kinder than most to me, though that may well be part of it. It's given because I can't help but to give it. It's not because the recipient of my affection deserves it; I don't turn my love off when they're having a bad day, or they're being ungrateful or disagreeable. I love who my heart wishes to love, and that is that.

In the same vein, my intimacy and my body aren't there to be earned. They are gifts of mine to share when I wish, with whom I wish; they are not something that anyone is entitled to after they've done X or Y, or waited Z amount of days. Several men have disagreed with me on this; they've felt that they're entitled to my body, they have somehow earned the rights to it, and have taken what they wanted anyway.

I know in hindsight how wrong that was of them, but at the time, it's hard to see that. It's easy to believe the lie that they deserved what they took; that it was theirs to take, that an action or perceived intention of yours gave them the right to take that part of you. It's bollocks, of course. It's yours to give, not theirs to take.

And submission, the willing surrender of yourself to another... by it's very nature, our consent is the heart of it. It is not something that should be demanded, or manipulated from us; that takes away the heart of what submission truly is.

Freely given.