Mirror diptych. Identity concealed in part by the gap. Use towel.
I arrived in Japan just after dark, having chased the sun for hours.
I was one of the first off the plane, though not in business class, and possibly the first passenger from my flight to make it to customs since I was travelling with carry-on only. I’d mentally prepared myself for a scrum at that time of day but was greeted by almost echoing emptiness. And an English-speaking woman to help me with the “self-serve” passport reader.
I was a little drunk with fatigue – the length of the flight was getting silly, but stopped short of the ridiculous – and had to navigate to the train station and buy a ticket and all. And try not not fall asleep in the train while it waited in the station. And once I arrived in the town, I had to orient myself in the dark, checking my phone frequently to ensure I made no time-consuming missteps.
I was relieved to arrive at the inn (properly a ryokan) earlier than I though; I’d expected passport control and customs to take much longer. I had time to get comfortable in my room and then go down to my meal where I was confronted with countless little plates – a little swarm of a bit of this and a bit of that.
And then, time to relax. Still roly-poly, I made my way to the onsen, the public bath/hot spring, to wash and soak. And relax.
[Looking back at my most recent Sinful Sunday contributions, I see that the last time I posted something timely (rather than the “from the vault” images in September) was almost a year ago! I hadn’t realised! I do have some images that I’m looking forward to sharing with you.]
Sinful Sunday: It’s all about the image.
This week’s Food for Thought Friday questions are about everyday clothing.
Are there specific things I always tend to wear? Yes. My winter style uniform is leggings, and a cashmere sweater over a long-sleeved T, and I’m happy to wear basically the same thing almost every day. Why? You might want to get comfortable while I explain.
For a long time I had the vague sense (that would occasionally percolate through to my conscious awareness) that my clothes didn’t really reflect me – almost like I was wearing someone else’s clothes that happened to fit me – but I had no idea what would be more me, so I just continued to wear what I had.*
Then a number of years ago, I was trying to do more sewing and I hoped to start making my own clothes and if I was going to put that much effort into my wardrobe, I thought it wise to be more deliberate with my style so as not to waste my time, enthusiasm, materials and money. I’d found a good style website and started my research.
The first thing I analysed was my colouring. Since this has to do with skin colour (and to a lesser extent hair and eye colour), it’s very objective, and I worked through the resources and reached a conclusion fairly quickly. (My favourite range of colours to wear is deep red, burgundy, and reddish berry tones. In my wardrobe, burgundy is a basic.)
Next up was body shape. This was a little more challenging because I didn’t obviously match any single category. I had a bit of this and a bit of that, and sometimes the advice for the two categories was contradictory. With a bit of trial and error, however, I was able to reach some conclusions about garment types that were likely to work and those that weren’t. Between colour and shape, I was now able to filter out 90% or more of the clothes in any given store, and home in on the most promising stuff. It was a good start.
The last area for analysis was personal style, which is based on one’s personality – think classic, boho, sporty, dramatic/creative, etc. I had a lot of trouble with this because I didn’t really know what I liked and none of the standard styles spoke to me. I needed to get to know myself better. And though it took a while, I eventually got there.
What did I learn? First, comfort is really important to me; I’m sensitive to small irritations and I’ll be miserable if my clothes bind or pinch. (Binding and pinching is only OK if my partner does it, with consent ;)) So I now choose a lot of knits and other fabrics with at least a little stretch; the t-shirts, sweaters and leggings all meet this criterion. And cashmere is warm and cuddly.
I generally prefer subtlety and blending in, but that doesn’t mean that I aim to look like everyone else, and I don’t give two shits about trends. I’ve found I like ease, simplicity and practicality: clean lines, simple design, solids rather than prints, minimal or no jewelry, generally no makeup, and I rely on a good haircut because I don’t enjoy fussing over my hair. I don’t mind wearing basically the same thing over and over, which means uniform dressing work well for me.
I’m not afraid of revealing my shape, which is unmistakably female, but I don’t like most clothing details that are coded as “feminine”, such as lace or eyelet, tulle, frills and ruffles, bows, florals, pink (any shade), pastels and blush tones, most skirts, Peter Pan collars, and the list goes on. Most of these tend to be fussy, frivolous, impractical and/or uncomfortable. The ease, simplicity, practicality and comfort that I favour happen to be coded as “masculine”. I am very not femme.
What about under my clothes? My day-to-day underwear comprises a soft bra, and panties with a bit of coverage (underwire bras and thongs for special occasions only). Underwear needs to be comfortable enough that I can forget about it. Panties are usually black so I can wear them any time, period or no, and not worry about staining. Bras are black because I mostly wear darker colours. So yes, they match, after a fashion.
Is there anything I wouldn’t be caught dead in? Yellow or orange look terrible on me. I have always hated the shape of platform heels. Frills, ruffles and bows. Loud prints. Clashing colours. Most synthetic fibres, because I hate the feel and properties of them, and the fact that they’re plastic.
As for what I like to see men wearing, I don’t have strong preferences about specific garments. Sure, suits can look good, but so can jeans. Mostly I like to see an overall sense of style and personality.
* It has taken me a long time to learn to ask myself “What do I like? What do I want?” and this is an issue I’m currently exploring but I’m pretty sure it has to do with my parents’ lack of emotional intelligence when I was a kid.
I’ve been doing my Mile High series for a good while now, but as I travel more, I’ve started collecting travel photos in locations other than planes. So this new One-Track Mind series will be for my photos taken on trains. I’ve had a quick check through the blog, and yes, this appears to be the first train photo. The beginning of a new chapter 😉
You won’t likely notice much of a difference except the loos and mirrors may be larger. And perhaps an absence of instructions and warnings.
Greetings from the Eurostar, and this remarkably clean mirror!
I have never been a fan of quickies and that seems unlikely to change any time soon.
Before my epiphany, sexual shame put a damper on everything. I didn’t feel sexy. I didn’t experience spontaneous arousal. I didn’t experience much arousal even with help. On the rare occasions when I got warmed up, it took a long time to get there and Wolf and I would usually take, oh, 2-3 hours.
The last quickie I can recall was pre-Wolf, so a long time ago indeed. My boyfriend and I had been attending a low-key social event at a restaurant one evening. As I recall, we ducked out to his car in the parking lot and we had 15 or 20 minutes before we needed to give someone a ride home. I don’t remember anything more about it (and what I do remember is very hazy), but I must have been very turned on and that pleases me.
Thing is, as a rule, I still don’t get turned on easily at all. I think my libido is just naturally low, and having had all of my early learning about sexuality tainted with that deep shame, I suspect it continues to affect my relationship with sex even now, despite the fact that I don’t feel that specific shame anymore.
I’ve been trying to figure out my turn-ons but haven’t gotten very far with the project, or there just aren’t many. Either way, it’s a source of frustration. And on top of that, depression and medication have taken their toll. The slightest flicker of libido is therefore welcomed, but if I’m going to act on it, it needs a tremendous amount of coaxing to ignite, like damp wood.
And you know? Fast and furious just isn’t my style. I don’t do anything quickly. Shopping, travelling, crafting and sewing. I like to take my time with all of it, and if I rush, I don’t enjoy it.
So for the foreseeable future, any sex is going to be slow sex.
Photo courtesy of A Leap of Faith
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After the Party : Cleaner Close #7
Denna and her convenient pervert
Slut Escritoire ||| back to school
Key to Room 237: Freya – Darker Side of Love
She was languid in the passenger seat, seat back reclined, one leg stretched out and the other bent, knee resting against the door. She could see her still limbs reflected brightly in the windshield, trees on either side of the freeway streaking through the image. When she wasn’t dozing, she passively observed the countryside and sky.
He drove in silence so as not to tax her with conversation. It made him inscrutable; she supposed the reverse was true as well. He had woken early (awake again, at a time when he was more likely to be awake still) so that he could meet her at the airport and bring her home. His home, at least.
It was warm in the car. Drowsily warm. He mostly left her to herself but occasionally he beamed at her and murmured a few words. Sometimes he squeezed her knee – to demonstrate his affection to her; or to reassure himself of her presence. Or both.
She’d been travelling for most of a day. It began when she had checked her luggage and gone through security and, though still in her city, in a way was no longer really there. Then the flight to a larger centre. In and not really in that city. In and not really in her country. Schrodinger’s airports. The interminable flight, the time zones. Just a few hours since takeoff and already it was hard to make sense of the time displayed on her watch. Neither here nor there.
As a seasoned traveller, being on a flight didn’t feel so far outside her normal life. Landing at the far end, she knew to expect that oddly familiar feeling of unfamiliarity: How is it possible that I’m really here? How can this place actually exist outside of a photo?
Passport control, that rite of passage. Then trundling her luggage cart through the double doors of frosted glass…
…And beyond, spotting him almost immediately, closing the distance quickly. Arriving safely, into his arms and care. Fait accompli.
Except… not quite. There was still the drive home. His home, at least.
On the flight, she’d imagined the exchange at the border: Business or pleasure? Oh, pleasure, for sure – sex, actually. She had smirked at herself. But it wasn’t just that. She had come here to see if she could trust him enough to submit to him, if she had the strength to allow herself to do that. Trust as an act of brute will – was that even possible?
She was almost sick with the vulnerability of it.
Something would, probably, change in the atmosphere between them after she arrived at his house. That was a big reason why she was here. They were already lovers. He could have started the game during the drive but he hadn’t and didn’t seem likely to now. But the closer they got to his house, the sooner she would be thrust out of this liminal state into… something else. She was weary and had no desire to prolong the time between herself and a proper bed, but by this point, being in the car was known and therefore comfortable in its way and she regretted just a little bit that it would end soon, because then what? When would it start? Or would it start at all? Would they pass the entirety of her visit in light amusements, without even a glimpse of the depths?
He turned from the freeway onto a city street, and the altered tone of the engine was enough to curdle her vague worries into a knot in her stomach. Six minutes later the tires crunched onto the gravel driveway.