Last week, I went to a sex shop.

Last week, I went to a sex shop.

This was not my first visit to such a shop, but it was my first truly enjoyable visit.

I’ve bought sex toys before. Usually from the internet. Usually I have a pretty good idea of what I want, and I would much prefer to shop from the privacy of my own home and without creepy sex shop owners knowing what sets me off.

This time, though, I was on the search for…something to wear. I wanted to buy a corset. This would require trying on and measuring and figuring out just which one I wanted. I could’ve done the whole thing online by buying a couple and then returning all but one–but that seemed to difficult. So, the husband and I set out on a sexy adventure.

Something close to the item I ended up buying.

We’d been to this particular shop before, and the last time, I really didn’t like it. The guy who owns the place was way too in your face. Even when we told him that we were “just browsing” and didn’t need any help, he stayed about 5 feet behind us and offered up his opinion on each product that we expressed even the slightest interest in. This time, though, we appreciated his wealth of knowledge about all things sex related.

He gave me something to try on. But then…he walked into the dressing room with my husband and I!! I was shocked by this. He explained this particular item and how to best put it on and what to look for when trying it on, and then he said, “I’m gay. Do you want me to be in here to help you try it on, or would you rather me wait outside?” I knew I wanted him to wait outside–just because I’m buying stuff in a sex shop (with my HUSBAND) doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of modesty–but sometimes I have trouble expressing my opinions if I think the other person will disagree with me. So, I was really proud of myself for saying, “I think I’d prefer you to wait outside”.

Here would be an appropriate place to talk about gay sexuality in relation to straight people. One of my best female friends is a lesbian. I have slept in the same bed with her, even after she came out to me. She thought that maybe I would be uncomfortable. Similarly, this man thought that I wouldn’t be uncomfortable with him in the dressing room with me, because he was gay. I see where they’re coming from, I really do, but, the thing is, I’m straight. I wonder sometimes if I’m too heteronormative, if I don’t want gay men to see me with my shirt off because I think that really this man might find me attractive, even if he says he’s gay. And conversely, there’s no way that my lesbian friend will view me as a potential sexual partner, because, hey, I’m a straight woman. But I digress.

The thing about corsets is that they have a very intricate way of lacing up in the back, so they usually require someone else to do the lacing. (There are videos and websites on the internet about ways to lace up your corset on your own, but I’m definitely not there yet. I can barely zip up the dresses with the zippers in the back on my own.) I assumed that would be my husbands job. But, alas, he had to learn how to do the lacing. Since I couldn’t show him, the shopkeeper came in to help him out. It was a learning experience for both of us.

Even after the corset was on, the shopkeeper stayed in the dressing room to help asses fit and sizing. He was completely, 100% professional. Still, it was weird that I was wearing something intended only for my husband in front of a complete, male, stranger. The shop owner was really, really helpful. He gave sizing and fit tips that I would never have received on the internet. He told us a lot about the background of the product, and storage tips, and even some usage tips. I keep feeling like, it was weird that he was there. I wonder if this comes from my orthodox perspective, that there were so many things “un-tznius” about that experience that it must have been wrong. And then I wonder if that’s a good thing. I’m glad I got this man’s help. I’m glad I bought the product.

I’m really pleased with my purchase. I love the way that I look in a corset. It shapes my body in a way that I’ve never seen my body look before. Suddenly, I have all these wonderful curved. Suddenly, I feel sexy and beautiful. I’m glad that I bought it, and I’m glad that the shop keeper was able to help us. But there’s this thought in the back of my head that it just wasn’t appropriate. I don’t know what to do with the thought. I mean, in the future, if I want to buy another one, I can purchase it online, now that I know what to look for and what size I am. But I wouldn’t have gotten there without the help of the shopkeeper.

I guess a lot of orthodox women have this issue, and I guess that they find ways around it. Even if they’re not buying corsets, they’re buying underwear and bras and have to be sized. And I guess they only use female shopkeepers. But what if the shopkeeper is a lesbian (not an uncommon situation for women who work in lingerie stores)? Is that a violation of tznius? What if it’s a male shopkeeper, but he’s gay? Does that make a difference? And if not, does that mean that in the eyes of tznius, there’s no such thing as homosexuality? Because thats a thought that I’m not comfortable with.

Self Esteem

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have extremely low self esteem. In the past, this has prevented me from applying to schools, jobs, and internships which I felt were a reach, out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle (possible) rejection. It’s also impacted the way I approach relationships, but that’s a post for a different time.

When I started applying to law schools, I figured this would be a good time to work on this aspect of myself, and I applied to several schools that were “reach” schools . I have heard back from a number of the schools I have applied to, and almost all of the responses were positive. However, there are two schools that are at the top of my list of ideal schools. One I haven’t heard from yet. The other one I got waitlisted for. I found out today.

In a way, I expected this. Writing application essays was awful. As I was trying to convince the schools that I was their ideal candidate, that I was smart and ambitious and all around awesome, my insides were screaming, “NO YOU’RE NOT. YOU’RE LAZY AND STUPID AND THE WORSE CANDIDATE FOR LAW SCHOOL EVER”. I’ve really been trying to separate my emotions from rationality, but this is not making things easier.

My mom, forever the optimist, responded to my text of “waitlisted for [school a] :(” with “that’s excellent, when do u hear back?”. It took me a while to figure out her response wasn’t an insult. I guess I should have her confidence, but I just don’t. I equate getting waitlisted for schools with rejection. Similarly, when I got into a few schools but without getting a scholarship offer, I was upset. Acceptances should be cause for celebration, but I’m always looking at the negative.

I really need to work on this confidence thing. I guess I’ve been convinced that avoiding any risk of rejection is not the way to go, but I’m not loving the alternative.

Confusion

My boyfriend suffers from depression.

Does this mean I should suffer with him?

I suffer from low self esteem, and I am acutely aware of this.

I keep thinking I need to end this. I think, why should I be stuck in a relationship where my partner doesn’t want to do things with me, doesn’t make an effort to see me, doesn’t understand why all this upsets me.

And then I think, but if I break things off, I will be alone. I like thinking that I have someone to confide in, someone to share things with, someone to turn to when I’m upset.

And then I think, I’m that person for him. I’m who he turns to when he’s upset, when he’s depressed. And is it fair for me to not be there for him if I want him to be there for me?

And then I think, if I break things off, he’ll get more upset and more depressed, and now is not the time to do that to him.

But maybe now is the time to do that. Maybe I shouldn’t wait until he is happy, because then I will be set him into ANOTHER bout of depression.

I love him. I think he loves me, but he never tells me unless I say it first.

He makes me laugh. When he’s not depressed, I can make him laugh.

We enjoy the same forms of entertainment, though lately we haven’t been doing much of anything.

I will only persue a relationship that I think has long term potential. Does this?

I love him.

Alternate Personalities via Google

I Googled my name today. Among the people sharing my name were a registered nurse, a college volleyball player, a professor, and a woman with my first name who married a man with my last name and had six bridesmaids.

Sometimes I think that google is not just a search engine, it’s a portal into alternate universes. What if I had pursued volleyball after my tenure as middle school captain of the varsity volleyball team? I may just be playing college ball now, with a full scholarship and everything. What if I hadn’t been disuaded from the sciences when my 9th grade biology teacher made us watch Finding Nemo four different times throughout the year? I may have become a nurse, or even a doctor…

As I sit here sorting through the law school acceptance letters that have arrived, and wait eagerly by my e-mail inbox to hear from the others, I often ponder if the carreer I chose in 10th grade is the correct one. My roomate said the average American changes carreers 7 times in their lifetimes. Great, but I would like my starting carreer to NOT put me hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just in time for me to realize that what I ACTUALLY want to do is something I could have gone in to straight out of college.

This is where the Google portal stops being useful. When I click on the names, I read about someone who is not me. I’d like a button that I can click next to any one of these alternate selves that says, ‘how to get here’. It would tell me, in great detail, what to do to become that person, starting from where I am right now.

So, any of you computer nerds-up to the challenge??