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I did at one point promise to try to explain the Eccentric to you all. I just remarked to one of my other friends that he picks up dance partners like the BDSM people pick up play partners. Might as well start there.

In kinkster terms, a "play partner" is someone you get together with and act out your fantasy BDSM scenarios. The relationship is not considered romantic; it's not that kind of intertwined partnership. But to be effective play partners, you do have to click really hard, and be pretty good friends, or your weird little hobby isn't going to work right.

There is an established etiquette for picking up play partners. You have to be respectful, but also very, very straightforward about what you're looking for. You are negotiating unusual boundaries around things that most people find emotionally sensitive. If you have a romantic partner, it is also considered important to be up front about that and be willing to introduce your prospective play partners to…
I always have a hell of a time finding jobs. The conventional wisdom is that it's easier to find a job if you have a job, so take whatever you can get and keep looking. Unfortunately, the McJobs of the world don't want me. Employers who just need a warm body who can show up sober-ish and demonstrate a basic skill do not call me back. A temp agency got me an interview once -- once -- with someone who needed a phone dispatcher. It went very confusingly until the hiring manager and I compared paperwork and realized that the resume the agency had sent him was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the resume I had sent them. He then told me, and this is an actual quote, "You're too smart to be here," and that was the end of that. The only time I ever managed to get one of those jobs was by volunteering to work graveyard, which everyone else hates, and by lying on the application and telling them I'd dropped out of college.

I've been bidding on pet-sitting on …
If I read one more article on "Marilyn Monroe's dress size", I am going to roll my eyes so hard I will be stuck staring at my own frontal lobe.

Marilyn Monroe did not have a dress size. She had a range of measurements which would not have fit into any commercial garment, or commercial garment pattern, then or now, without extensive modification. The reason she looked so good all the time is that literally everything she wore was either custom made for her, or tinkered with by a dressmaker who knew their stuff. You will not look like that in anything you buy from a store. Marilyn Monroe would not look like that in anything she bought from a store. Clothing just does not come in that shape.

This rant is inspired by a shopping trip I took last week. I went to buy jeans, because A) it's my birthday on Monday, and B) all of my pants are falling off again. I blocked out an entire afternoon for this. Partly that was me assuming that if I wanted to get a pair of jeans that w…
I read a lot of advice columns. It's the best way I know to keep track of what people think of as normal. Not what's actually normal, mind you -- that is, what most of the people do most of the time. Just what people think should be normal, which is a different thing. One where I make a habit of lurking is the r/relationships subreddit. It has a decent mix of ordinary, mostly-functional folk, batshit crazy people with good intentions, and the usual appallingly sexist internet scum. The posts tend to get repetitive, what with everybody having to learn their life lessons the hard way, but as of late I've seen a new sort of post crop up. The question is something to the effect of, "My partner has announced they're non-binary, and as they've started presenting less masculine/feminine, I'm less attracted to them. Am I the asshole for wanting to break up?" Surprisingly (for the internet), the answer is usually no. They get the same sorts of responses that …
By the time you all read this, I will have spent an evening performing with my flamenco teacher and a few of my classmates, with a live symphony orchestra, in front of I don't know a few hundred people. I am asked on a regular basis if this makes me nervous.

Short answer: No.

Longer, more accurate answer: People freak out over being on stage mainly because it represents something that makes them significantly more nervous than other things they do, on account of the perceived consequences for screwing up. Performing in front of a crowd does not make me any more anxious than anything else in my life. The actual consequences for screwing up on stage are that you will have made a mistake in front of a crowd. The actual consequences for screwing up other things I deal with all the time are dying of starvation, homeless and alone, under an overpass somewhere on the outskirts of Boston. In comparison, "a bunch of strangers think I look silly" is not anything of note. I get up …
TIL I would fit into Marlene Dietrich's clothing.

There's an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts right now called Gender-Bending Fashion. It has the array of glam rock costumes (Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones) you'd expect, as well as modern pieces from couture runway shows. Some of the pieces are considerably older -- there are Edwardian women's "suits" á la Titanic that took their inspiration from men's business attire, and sporting and driving gear of similar vintage. A few of the outfits there belonged to Marlene Dietrich, who spent an awful lot of her career borderline crossdressing. One of them is the tuxedo she wore in the nightclub scene from Morocco, embedded at right.

All of the old clothing looks pretty small by modern standards. People are generally both taller and broader than they were in a hundred years ago, mostly owing to improved nutrition across the board. (Yes, there's a lot of crap out there these days, but we also put vitamin…
I'm still alive. Sort of.

In the past few weeks, I've had a grand total of twenty-one hours where things felt like they were going reasonably all right. Twenty-one. I went back and checked timestamps and counted.

I landed a short-term gig teaching dance for a bunch of kids. It wasn't absurdly lucrative, but if I could earn that much money every week I'd be fine long-term. I was on site for 6 hours a day M-Th and had a four hour evening on Friday. I wasn't even running around with the kids for all that much of it, I just had class periods separated by free time. It ruined me to the point where I was having trouble feeding myself and showering consistently. I would get out of there and try desperately to get something useful done and just stare at a wall, if I didn't lay down "just for a minute" and wake up hours later.

I don't think it's necessarily the physical activity that's the problem. I can do four hours of hardcore dancing in a day…