azurelunatic: A pajama-clad small child uses a rainbow-striped cruciform parachute. From illustration of "Go the Fuck to Sleep". (go the fuck to sleep)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺 ([personal profile] azurelunatic) wrote2016-07-09 04:22 am

Exploding lip gloss, and other moments with Purple.

It was the traditional dinner with Purple tonight. This is the day when I was expecting to definitely see Purple after vacation, if there'd been no other opportunity. There turned out to be a beer bash, but at short enough notice to Purple that it was too late to invite me. So we did dinner; Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly is out this week. Despite getting lost (got off at the wrong exit), I got there a split second before Purple, and then scored a table while he was getting through the truckfuck in the parking lot.

We talked about many things. The main thing on my mind lately has been a kind of heavy topic, and Purple is always a delightful combination of helpful, thoughtful, calling me on any bullshit he notices, supportive, and irreverently hilarious. We also discussed: the amount of work and/or luck it takes to get a suitable counseling professional; the parameters of "bro"; the difference between one-off objectification of men and the commodified objectification of women; toxic masculinity; the angry and terrible divorces of about 4 different guys in R's working group; marriage-related name change and how "Lunatic" might be a perfectly okay driver's license name but not a resume name; role inflexibility in formal power exchange; Purple's applied-ferret-in-packing-peanuts approach to pissing off Domly McDom types trying to establish control over social groups; that time Purple made the guy with the obnoxiously big dick leave a chatroom by agreeing with him; there certainly must have been other topics also ...

Purple started chirping me about my general liking for burying my face into his shirt and hiding under his arm, and pointed out that really, he was only six foot so it was a little awkward... When I accused him of chirping me, I had to explain that it was a term of art from hockey and not related to chickens, so therefore in this context it was a really bad pun.

Occasionally Purple is the Good Example.

Case in point: I have not in fact been counting the number of times that Purple has said something that would have made me back slowly off from an acquaintance or non-friend. It's happened. The fact that I'm not able to count is a good thing. If I were counting, it would be a count-up to some sort of unknowable explosion or ending. Instead, each moment is a new beginning.

Purple and I have built up a substantial stash of goodwill between us, during the past nearly-three years of knowing each other in person. Purple also interacts with most modes of life as a dude. Not an incredibly bro-y dude, but the sort of person who has been steeped in dudehood due to general inability to escape it, and is subjected to a different-than-AFAB but still often-terrible set of unconscious assumptions and gender policing from everyone around. Over the past 2+ years, I've come to both know and trust Purple on the deepest of levels. This is a friend who I'd trust to fish a lost contact lens out of my eye. If there were no one more appropriate available, I'd trust him to go in search of a lost tampon. I have seen him display kindness and inclusion even when he didn't have to, and patience and grace.

And yet *still* every now and then, he manages to say something that makes me go "... ... ... Friend. Friend, WHAT."

Every now and then in your life, you will encounter people expressing things that you have learned to associate with the most egregious kinds of unsafety. Perhaps it's a "dogwhistle" phrase that's associated with the most insidious kinds of racism, or sexism; something that suggests that they might prefer that people like you be murdered in the streets as long as it wasn't *illegal*; or just the sort of rabbit hole you never, ever, ever want to open.

Occasionally, the person expressing that opinion or turn of phrase is someone you dearly love.

There are a few options. You could (try to) ignore it (and perhaps never trust them fully again). You could withdraw. You could start a fight by confronting them. One of the hardest possible options: ask them, carefully, what they meant by that.

Those sorts of careful conversations, by turns quiet and passionate, are an incredible amount of emotional labor and personal risk. They could go very badly. The entire friendship is at stake. If you called it way too wrong and they feel as though their position allows them to straight-up murder you, you might actually die. (See: that time [personal profile] jd casually hugged a guy and we all got to see the business end of an AK-47.) Everybody has their threshold for when they are willing to have this conversation, when they have to say something but it doesn't have to be nice, and when they have to withdraw because the priority is self-protection.

I have not been counting the number of times I have realized that Purple is (still) more trusted than oxygen, more precious than emeralds, and done this delicate dance. Each time we are successful in navigating the issue, balancing our perspectives, and helping each other see it more clearly, he implicitly affirms that I have made the correct decision in extending the hand of friendship. I never wish to risk losing him over a misunderstanding.

We keep fucking up with each other. We keep talking it out. Occasionally, very rarely, we emerge with a fragile shell of a shattered trust and a bit of a scuff mark, and we're quietly defensive until the friendship draws us back in again. More often, we emerge closer to each other, closer at understanding our wide and weird world a little better as well.

On balance, it's worth it.

By the end of the night, my glitter eyeshadow had migrated down my face and neck all the way to my tits. Purple was amused.

We weren't meaning to, because we were both tired, but Purple and I stood out talking together for quite a while. He is amused by the state my brain's been in. I told him at least part of the story which ends with me raising a sparklepeen inspired by Twilight in the air and shouting "FREEDOM!" and then clinking it with a glass of booze in a toast.

Purple probably won't make it to the Seanan party tomorrow, or the Charlie Stross event Sunday; he's got some reading to do for the HOA meeting on Tuesday. Therefore dinner will probably be Wednesday, if it happens.

Some of Purple's hair got stuck on my lip gloss when we hugged goodnight. Apparently I should not lick his hair in the current state it's in -- sadly there have been water disruptions to his place which prevented proper shampooing.

Speaking of lip gloss, I think some exploded in my jacket pocket. This is going to be fun... I had put my hand in my pocket for some reason, and then realized that things in there felt ... unaccountably sticky. I withdrew my hand and rubbed fingers against each other, then reached back in. Yup, sticky, all right. I pulled my hand out and examined my fingers, which glistened in the dim street lamps and under the moon.

"What is that?" Purple asked.
"I think it's lip gloss."

It didn't appear to be colored, so I eventually reckoned that it must have been the transparent one with all the little iridescent glitter in it. Yay, cosmetic emergencies...

Something really hard to put my finger on has shifted in the dynamic between Purple and me, since he came back from vacation, and I'm enjoying it. I'm more at ease in his presence, more willing to be vulnerable, and delighted to tell more crass jokes of the type that make us both bust up laughing. Though occasionally they result in me turning beet red and facepalming repeatedly.

I've definitely been doing more Tarot readings lately. I should probably brush up and start carrying my deck more regularly. (I will probably keep saying this every day that I participate in a reading without having my own deck near to hand.)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2016-07-09 11:42 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for a lovely explanation/example of some of the delicate stuff to be negotiated around friendship. I feel honored to have found and been permitted to read your journal.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2016-07-09 11:54 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you! *does a small happydance*
lone_lilly: (Default)

[personal profile] lone_lilly 2016-07-09 02:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Only 2+ years? I really thought Purple had been around longer than that. I remember when you first started writing about him!

That was such a wonderful post to read. Your friendship is really neat to experience as an outsider looking in. There's so much respect! If can be so hard to find that these days.
ext_3679: (Default)

[identity profile] 2016-07-09 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Speaking of lip gloss, I think some exploded in my jacket pocket.
At least you caught it before it it migrated and caused any further problems.
umadoshi: (riceball love (snowgarden))

[personal profile] umadoshi 2016-07-10 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
*general sparkly hearts for this post*
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

[personal profile] vass 2016-07-10 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I really enjoy how you write about navigating this territory with Purple.

I should probably brush up and start carrying my deck more regularly.

So should I. I've been thinking more about paganism and ritual lately, the role it used to play in my life and how if I did it now it wouldn't mean the same thing -- I wouldn't want it to -- but it might still be a good thing.
inoru_no_hoshi: The most ridiculous chandelier ever: shaped like a penis. Text: Sparklepeen. (Default)

[personal profile] inoru_no_hoshi 2016-07-11 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
That conversation sounds like the best sort of wandering many silly places conversation. :D

Purple seems such an endemic part of your life now that it's bit of a pause to realize that it's only been a few years! I'm glad you've got such a good friend. :D