They’re, Their, There

Hi. I’m SpanishRed, and I know the difference between “you’re” and “your.” I even know when to stick a comma before “and”. I have no clue if I was meant to put that period inside those quotation marks or outside them, but I have sexy eyes, so I get away with it. I’m as much of a grammar bigot as the next person when I’m checking my own blog posts. I think it’s a matter of respect,


I don’t think your internet comment or private message should be edited using a style manual. Microsoft Word and a little effort should take care of your clarity just fine. If you use “your” for “you’re”, I will want to cut you, but then I’ll remember the starving children in Africa and get over myself.

index (1)

You might not know a serial comma if it explained its purpose using interpretive dance, but I think two plus three equals eleventy, so I believe we’re even. I have no excuses for my math skills, but you might have dyslexia or (insert fake diagnosis that causes spelling necrosis). As long as your meaning is clear, I will consider my judgment of your syntax to be my personal weakness, not yours.

Continue reading


Kink: The Last Accepted Target for Bigotry

If you asked my 20-year-old self what I wanted from sex, I’d have said an orgasm before intercourse because it feels good that way. What did I know about BDSM? Cosmopolitan was my Sex 1.01 Textbook, and their best example of kink was “kitchen sex”, so I didn’t know there was much to explore.

Now GQ is pushing sex swings, and Cosmo is into strap-ons. The term “kitchen sex” has vanished into the plumbing where it belongs, but that doesn’t mean BDSM has lost its stigma, as we’ve seen in the media this year. Fetlife is where murderers hang out, doncha know? All kinksters are evil. </sarcasm> We are better off than we were in the Eighties, but in many ways, we’re bigotry’s last accepted target.

(Continued below) 


A few years back, we’d all have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders merely for enjoying a little rope. Kinks are no longer automatically labelled as sick. If you’re years late to this party, the DSM now classifies disordered fetishes as paraphilias, but you only get the “mentally ill” label if your kink causes harm to yourself or others, among other qualifiers.

Continue reading

Curly Mascara Wands Really Do Make You a Better Person

I see myself as a liberal: I don’t straight jacket myself in trends, religion or a single school of intellectual thought, but when the marketing beast opens its mouth, I believe everything it says. I really do believe that makeup is the window to the soul and curly mascara wands make me a better person. Stop rolling your eyes at me. It all happens subconsciously. It’s Ogilvy’s fault, not mine.

I’ll spend R1000 just to get one of those free cosmetic gifts which inevitably consist of luminous orange lipstick nobody would pay real money for, half an application of wrinkle cream I’ll end up using on my left knee, and truly hideous yellow nail polish. Oh, and of course the all-important makeup bag to add to my collection because it’s blasphemous to throw away something that has a Lancôme label.

(Continued below) 


One of those makeup bags is being used for its purpose: to contain makeup I actually use. Two contain my pencils. They’re only long enough to carry extremely old midget pencils, but if I don’t get some use out of these free gifts I will cut someone. Five contain the unused orange lipsticks I can’t bear to throw away. Every time I consider tossing them I remember that I may one day meet a very old lady with very bad taste who I’m obliged to ‘buy’ a gift for.

Continue reading

The Shortcut to Healing from Rape

If there was a shortcut to healing from rape, I would have found it. I tried it all. Escape only created more need to escape because all the trauma was waiting for me at the other side. Denial confused the hell out of me because eventually, I lost track of who I was. Treading water in the hope that the trauma would pass all by itself only froze me in stasis. Half-assed therapy was even less effective.

I tried everything except walking through the horror and feeling every part. I had a legitimate reason for my pain. Nobody denied that, but I had no real excuses for insisting on a short cut out of hell.



(Continued below) 


They say there’s no such thing as a perfect victim. I will tip my hat at that one. Rape is a harsh trip, and nobody gets past it perfectly the first time. In the same breath, I have to say that the only way out is through. It involves work. It involves pain. It requires you to glare at the harsh, harsh heat of reality because there is only one way to move from surviving to thriving: by tolerating every intolerable feeling.

It’s not for pussies.

Continue reading

People with Mental Illnesses are People, Not Walking Diagnoses

Much of the stigma around mental illness has to do with people not seeing us as individuals:

“Don’t get involved with people with psychiatric illnesses because you will be abused.”

Not all abusers are mentally ill, and not everyone with a mental illness is abusive. They sometimes coexist, but not often enough to become a rule. Abuse is not a result of psychiatric illness, but a desire for power and control. You don’t need to be sick to get off on manipulation. Domestic abuse specialist, Lundy Bancroft found the root of abuse to be control, not mental illness. Abuse is a thought process, not a problem of mood and emotion.

I knew someone who had a mental illness, and they were criminal/unemployable/et cetera.

I knew a dog who used to perch on the edge of the wall with both feet. Do all dogs behave that way?


“But Narcissists are evil.”

Narcissistic personality disorder and psychopathy are disorders of personality. They’re incurable and come with nasty traits like lack of empathy. Most of the diagnostic manual is made up of more treatable conditions. Not a whole hell of a lot of psychiatric conditions come with sadistic streaks, so please stop judging all mental illness as a sign of cruelty.

Continue reading

Seven Completely Unsolvable Problems

I want to eat lunch because I’m hungry, but I must mop the floor first, and I don’t want to mop the floor, so I’m not, which means I still can’t eat lunch. There is no solution to this problem.

I’m too lazy to get up from my desk to go lie around on the couch being lazy. There is no solution to this problem either.

Is it a date? Or isn’t it? I’ve asked four friends what they think. Only two of them agree. How many friends do I need to ask to find out if it’s a date or not? If I ask too many people, will that be the same as skewing the numbers to get the answer I want to hear? And what the fuck does “datish” mean?

(Continued below)


I don’t want to work. I want money. Typing that last sentence still didn’t make me want to work or earn me any money. Mankind has been trying to solve this problem ever since Mrs Ples told Mr Ples she’d give him a blowjob if he went to collect eggs from the coop.

If you say “Fetlowlife” and “postmodern gender politics” in the same sentence, does a droid-shaped torso appear? If so, does it carry you from the desk to the couch and give cash to lazy people who refuse to mop the floor?

Continue reading

Why I’m Not Out of the Closet

I live in a country where BDSM is legal. I work for myself in a creative field, so being out of the closet would probably help rather than hinder my career. I’m stillnot ready to stop hiding behind these coat hangers. Only three of my “vanilla” friends know how seriously I take my kink. I found out one had been on Fetlife all along. The other takes me to play parties. (Thanks, G) and the other friend’s idea of risqué is women’s porn. I’d say the minority of my friends judge kink, so what am I hiding?

This is where my brain shuts down and I run out of words. Am I ashamed of my sexuality? I was much more ashamed when I first let my inner sub out to play, but I learned in the space of a few months that my kinky side was more of a pro than a con. The amount of shame I have left behind is negligible, but you will see it if you use a magnifying glass.

(Continued below) 

unnamed (4)

I grew up in a household that deified privacy, and even secrecy. We celebrated sex in one sense, but mostly, the law of the house was ‘fuck elsewhere, for this household belongs to Jesus’ (or something). I was allowed to stay at my boyfriend’s on weekends, but at home, bedroom doors were not for shutting. If we pretended sex didn’t exist, it’d all be okay. I learned where babies came from much later than my friends, and when I did, it was to a Des and Dawn record after my mother had dropped the needle and run like hell down the passage.

Continue reading