For God’s sake, Kent thinks to himself in
the “personal care” section of the grocery store. Why does Dove think I’m allergic to purple just because I’m a guy?
He picks up the lavender-scented bar soap and inhales. It smells heavenly. Next he tries the sandalwood-scented from the men’s section. It comes in a
gray box and costs fifty cents less. It smells good but it reminds him of floor
I’m a grown-ass man, Kent thinks, and buys
the lavender soap.
The next time he’s out of body wash, he spends thirty minutes
trying to decide on one of the many “manly” smells before caving to “Cocoa
Cabana” in the women’s aisle because it smells like Valentines Day in a bottle.
After that it’s his deodorant body spray, trading in “Bold” (whatever the fuck
boldness smells like) for “Fresh Cotton.”
The first time Jeff catches a whiff
of it on him, he asks, “New fabric softener? It smells awesome.”
“Nah, switched deodorants.”
“Huh.” Jeff nods in approval. “Well, you smell like fresh
blankets out of the dryer. I have a physical urge to hug you.”
Kent laughs. Jeff hugs him and he laughs more. It’s nice.
After five months, nearly every toiletry Kent owns has been
switched over from an endless variety of blacks, grays, and occasional dark
greens and blues to white, purple, soft brown, yellow, and pink. Showers have
transformed from a perfunctory necessity to something luxurious. Women’s
products are so indulgent.
They make Kent feel and smell like he’s been at a spa. He does have to learn to juggle the fragrances appropriately or
risk smelling like a perfume store vomited on him. But it’s worth it, for how
good he feels after. He feels pampered. His skin is softer, his hair shines,
and even his pits and crotch look and feel cleaner. He doesn’t know if it’s the
products or because he really cares about the maintenance, now, since he’s got
all these specialty items to try. It doesn’t matter. He feels great.
Kent now has honest-to-God bubble baths and detox-salt-soaks.
He’s got body butters and face masks and a lip balm in almost every flavor. The
ladies at the Lush at the mall know him by name.
Kent’s still single. He’s got his cat for company, though, and
the guys, who drop by or come over for movie and game nights and get drunk and
eat all his food and pretend to chirp him for the specialty lemongrass-scented
hand soap in his bathroom. Sometimes, on roadies, Swoops will plop down next to
him on a bus or a plane and say loudly, “Damn, who’s got chocolate and
isn’t sharing? Oh, it’s just Parser. Fuck you for getting my hopes up,” and
then he’ll noogie Kent or grab his fingers and gnaw on them.
(The coaches have had to break them up before and it’s very
unbecoming of two adult men.)
More than once, one of the guys has fallen asleep next to Kent
and ended up face-first in Kent’s shoulder. They’ll wake up blearily, rubbing
their eyes and saying, “Whoops, sorry man, didn’t mean to drool on you.”
Kent was confused at first but he’s realizing that it’s because they gravitate
towards the scent of him in their sleep. He smells like comforting things:
honey and chocolate and cotton and Shea. He smells like warmth and safety. It’s
why he likes all the things he buys, so it makes sense the guys would like
Nobody rags on him for it. They chirp him, but that’s different.
Chirping, light-hearted and giggly, means acceptance. Soon his teammates start
coming up to him in the locker room or nudging him on a bus and
saying, “Parser, can I borrow some of your stuff?” and leaving with
key-lime lips or cocoa-butter hands.
But it’s when he catches Sunny—big, burly, greatly-bearded d-man
Sunny—pulling a bright orange tube of passion fruit lip balm out of his bag and
slicking it on in front of everyone that he knows for sure that it’s okay.
This post was triggered by something that @roachpatrol said over here about the expectation for girls to be sweet and clean and harmless:
Holy shit, if I was eight years younger and wandering into fandom for the first time, I can guarantee that the culture right now would’ve fucked me up and ground me down and taken away all my healthy outlets.
Picture: you are a girl at the tender young age of mumbledyteen. Up until this point you have been taught that all dark thoughts are literally hand-delivered into your head by the devil, and that the only correct method of dealing with negativity is to ignore them and pray harder. Concentrate on what is good and righteous and pure to the exclusion of all else, this is how you be a good person.
You are also a fully-functioning human being, one who can feel stressed or lonely or angry or any number of bad things. Mostly, with emotions that are still working themselves out, you feel this rumbling, white-hot white noise under everything, all the time. Sometimes it rolls in like a thunderstorm and everything else gets drowned out, and sometimes it’s only quietly muttering in the distance. Either way it’s always there, and the sound shreds uncomfortably at the inside of your brain.
When you were younger, before you were in charge of your own media consumption, your brain would shred up a myriad of saccharine stories to try and match the noise of the shredder in your head. Bad things happening, people getting hurt, characters trapped in unhealthy relationships of all kinds.
Fanfiction, the product of a hundred thousand other mumbledyteens whose brains are all screaming the same way, makes something in your brain go ping.
Unfortunately, if the planet had ever been united on any single message, it was probably that no matter how you feel: 1) your feelings weren’t unique 2) they didn’t matter 3) they didn’t matter because they weren’t unique, they were shared among millions of hysterical, worthless teenaged girls just like you.
Fandom was confirmation of the first, but (with some hiccups along the way) outright rejection of the last two. Fuck you, our feelings do matter, and this is a story just for us.
A disclaimer: these aren’t good stories, otherwise they wouldn’t have to be defended. Their flavor of topic is not within societally acceptable bounds. Fictional characters have sex and get tortured and raped and abused, but their screaming harmonizes with the pitch of the shredder when it’s burrowing deepest.
As a teenager I never thought that my feelings were important enough to deal with, but these stories let me look at them sideways. Audience catharsis is the whole point of tragedy, after all.
And hell, these days I’m a happy, healthy adult who barely even has the urge to go looking for whump fic when I’ve had a bad week. I’m not going to forget just how much bad stuff that fic helped me air out, though, not ever. (Not to mention that thanks to all of those abuse!fics, I can recognize an unhealthy relationship at 500 paces, even if the fictional abuse was depicted as something loving and romantic. Abusers in real life don’t go around with helpful warning tags on their sleeves anyway.)
But holy shit, can you imagine if I’d found fandom as it is today.
Yes, your church is right, your family is right. Horrible things in stories are only there because they were written by horrible people, and they’re only popular because horrible people read them. The very concepts they address corrupt everything they touch.
That shredder in your head, the one that takes innocent cartoons but then shits out sadness and mayhem? That’s disgusting, you’re disgusting. How dare you think about minors having underaged sex, you minor? How dare you consider another person getting hurt? Your feelings don’t matter, they aren’t unique, they’re shared with all kinds of worthless shitbags just like you.
Every ounce of what you read and write and enjoy is going to be weighed for sin and tested for purity. You know, just like the rest of your life, except this time there’s no deity who’s handing out second chances.
Maybe that’s what bothers me most about all of this. It’s the same petty fandom bullshit as always, but “you’re wrong for liking a ship because IT WILL NEVER BE CANON” is a hell of a lot easier to laugh off when you’re young than “you’re wrong for liking a ship because YOU’RE AN ABUSIVE PEDOPHILE AND IF SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS IT’S YOUR FAULT FOR PERPETUATING IT.”
My fault, my bad thoughts, no outlet for any of them. The message to repress all the bad things so I can look like a good person, but my brain is so full of unprocessed shit that it’s solidified. Nobody actually saved any real children, but my brain sure is getting a second dose of fucked-up.
Are the people getting attacked going to be okay, will they be able to go and address their braingremlins somewhere else? I’d also ask if the people doing the attacking are okay, with all of the denial and repression they must deal with, but it seems like they’ve got venting pretty well handled by taking it out on strangers.
Hey, c’mon, calm down friends. I bet I’ve read a story that’s got a character screaming at just the same pitch you are.
It helps to read one of those and harmonize your voices, I promise.
It features a canon lgbt relationship between a gay boy and a demisexual boy, a relationship that isn’t even a main focus of the books but still manages to contribute to both the plot and the character development.
A same-sex relationship that doesn’t end tragically, that shows these two characters staying together for years to come and leading a healthy domestic life with two cats, an apartment and a joint career.
A relationship that may not start out well, that is anything but love at first sight, but grows so much through personal struggles and mutual respect, and results in something worthwhile.
A relationship that places heavy emphasis not only on mutual consent, on learning and supporting, on protection and respect, but also on individual independence.
A relationship that doesn’t cast other characters to the sidelines, that isn’t the main character’s only source of happiness, because it takes more than romance to develop a character.
A relationship with a goddamn happy ending that feels entirely deserving for both characters because this is how they love, this is how they overcome their past, this is how they grow, not dependent on each other but side-by-side.
Just a goddamn happy same-sex relationship that doesn’t end in death or separation and that involves characters actually learning to respect and love each other basically???
Lmao @ harry stealing liam's spotlight on this dreaded zexit day (unintentionally obviously but still)
LMAO AT ANYONE WHO THINKS THIS IS UNINTENTIONAL.
Okay, not really though, I’m not laughing at you. However, the stunts and album releases amongst the members of One Direction couldn’t be more blatantly linked together even if they tried.
Let’s go back one year from today…
A year ago we were thinking back to a year before THAT day as it was the anniversary of the day Zayn bid everyone fuckin adieu and spiralled this band into a narrative so ridiculous that actually retelling the series of events makes sound it even more insane in hindsight.
SO. The 25th of March, 2016:
Zayn’s album comes out
Louis does a pap walk
This isn’t the first instance in which Zayn and babygate were linked, as Zayn was also the first member of 1D to acknowledge that Louis’ baby had apparently been born, but did it in the strangest way possible via liking some fan’s tweet about it.
There are plenty of other instances in which early BG and Zayn’s album were constantly linked. @mellygrant and I spoke about it extensively here. But that was 2016 and just for reference.
Now here we are in a year we were so optimistic about, but instead of a year free of drama and full of new music, we’re getting a brand new revamp of Babygate, this time with a different member of One Direction. But first, back to Zayn and Louis.
Zayn’s new album is being released under Sony, which is the parent company of Syco. It’s been vague as hell whether or not Zayn’s Mind of Mine was produced by Syco, but in the early releases of songs on iTunes Syco was listed in the credits of the track. Louis hasn’t made a public departure from Syco and seeing as he’s still showing up on Simon’s reality shows, it’s safe to say he’s still linked to that flaming pile of garbage.
Even their beards work together, and if that isn’t the biggest, “Hi, I’m a red flag!” that Louis and Zayn’s teams are still working the two of them off of each other, then I don’t know what is.
Now here we are on the 25th of March 2017, and we have Louis at Ultra festival just as Zayn is releasing his first single from his new album. And just as everyone’s getting all excited for Louis’ performance you have Liam’s IG announcement of the birth of a child via Instagram and I can only wonder to myself why Instagram has to be the place where dreams go to die. Is IG the only way to announce stunts and babies?
Then MINUTES later, Harry “I love all the babies” Styles not only ignores yet ANOTHER birth of one of his bandmate’s first child, but sends the internet into a frenzy with another heaux aesthetic wiping of all his profile pictures and posting ominous blank white photos again.
And life for a fan of One Direction continues to be a constant stream of wtfuckery.
THEN we get Harry’s dramatic ass advert on ITV
So many questions. Why is he wet? Why is he emerging from what looks like a giant wardrobe? What is THIS
Why is it all smokey? (You know why…)
So now we have yet AGAIN another Babygate/solo album in tandem with each other and I’m just like
I’m sure if I start back-pedalling enough to look at times when Harry/Dunkirk/Another Man news was concurrent with Liam babygate news there will be some unsurprising links, but I’ve got better things to do like drink and play more One Direction-themed Cards Against Humanity so for now I’m gonna Zayn.
description: It was everything, from his tattoos, to his touches, to the way sweat rolled down his neck as he strummed into his guitar on stage; everything about him completely enthralled you. So why are you now, two and a half years later, on a train to Seoul, telling a complete stranger the recollection of how you became fated to forever have scars on all of your future hearts due to the happiness, but most of all the pain, that came along with falling in love with Jeon Jungkook.
The slight tremble in Jimin’s fingertips developed into a
full-blown tremor as he closed the door to his studio, effectively leaving you
behind — but it wasn’t that simple. It wasn’t that simple because he wasn’t just
leaving you behind. He was leaving you behind with a guy that you were
completely in love with… Which kind of blowed considering he was starting to
fall for you himself.
The music from the party was reverberating inside of his
chest and he knew that his ears should be ringing with anger, but instead he
just felt numb. It was like he
couldn’t hear anything; no music, no crowd, nothing.
It was all one giant blur that didn’t seem to make sense to him, and all
because his mind was screaming that nothing else mattered right now — nothing
except for you.
Jimin knew very well what leaving you in that room with
Jungkook meant. It meant every single feeling that the two
of you had ever had for each other would inevitably rekindle, and compared to what Jimin had with you,
even if he did consider it one of most amazing stints of time of his entire
life, it didn’t hold a candle to what you and Jungkook had, and probably always would have.
Okay, Elias and Laia are my angels who deserve to be together, fall in love, have a family, live an amazing life, and happiness. They're precious babies who are constantly surrounded by ugliness.But I also want Helene to be happy. She's a loyal badass who's going through hell and it isn't fair! She's a strong independent woman. A woman way too strong to be Marcus's lapdog! Don't even get me started on motherfucking Marcus-
Summary: When you found out Steve was cheating on you with Sharon Carter, Bucky was there to help you through it; inevitably, it seems, you and him developed feelings for each other. Now, in a relationship with him for a while, you’re invited to Sharon’s birthday party. Shit goes down.
A/N: I love Steve, I do. And Sharon is probably great. But in this little thing, they both suck.
“Hey Sugar, you sure you’re up for this?” Bucky comes walking into your room, fumbling with his tie and giving the piece a fabric an annoyed look.
“No” you answer honestly as you sweep some wrinkles from your dress that aren’t there, “but I have to face him sometime”
Bucky looks up at that, his tie -hilariously- half tied and shakes his head. “No, you don’t”
He sets his jaw stubbornly, he’s gonna fight you on this.